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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Birthday post & Where Sharon's From

This is one of my favorite parts of my garden. It's quiet, and shady. When I planted these Columbines, a friend of mine told me they were invasive and that I would be sorry that I put them in the garden. But, I love them because they are SO invasive and hardy. When all the rest of them get their faces out, I'll take a picture of the entire bed of them, but right now, the original natives are the only ones blooming. The others are a light lavender and a dark purple. They'll peek out later. I've tried to keep everything in this section in these colors, so they can shine up from the shadows. It's right by the steps that lead into our backyard deck, and I can sit on the steps and contemplate the world as it goes by:)

And since it's my birthday on Friday, I thought it would be fitting to have a blog entry that says "where I'm from". I truly enjoyed this exercise from Fragments from Floyd. Be sure to read Holly's Where I'm From poem too! Give this a try, and I promise you that you will have pleasant memories floating to the surface in no time at all!

Where Sharon's From

I am from apple dumplings,
from Capezio shoes
and phosphate drinks.
I am from the laundry flapping in the wind
and the penny pinching.
I am from the pink hollyhocks,
the double blossoms perfect
for making a clothespin baby's skirt.

I am from the scrabble dirt farmers
and wide hips and big feet,
from Rollie and Isabel
and all the Unknowns in the genealogy charts.
I am from the stubborn and the strong.
From "work before pleasure" and
"idle hands are the devil's workshop".
I am from vacation bible school
with baptismal blue Bible gifts.

I'm from the Heartland,
tacos and enchiladas,
pot roast on Saturdays
and fried chicken on Sundays.
From my Papa's softly whispered "Bonita Chiquita",
and my Father's arc welded steel,
and my Mother's sudsy hands.
I am from forgotten
black and white pictures,
misplaced names and places.
Faces that look at me from the mirror of my life.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Windblown Flowers

I decided I needed something scrappy and bright to play with after all those drab shabby chic samplers I finished off a couple of weeks ago. But what? I have so many blocks waiting for something to happen to them, it's hard to choose.

So as I was going through my box, I discovered these some painted blocks that I bought in Paducah oh so many years ago when I went. (Click on the picture for a larger view of the blocks.) So in honor of Dawn, I thought I would work with them!

I really didn't buy much when I went to Paducah that year. I was so overwhelmed with the heat that year, the people and the sheer number of the quilts, and how much money I *didn't* have to spend. On the last day, I finally made it to the outlying areas. I can't remember what the name of the building was where this lady was sitting in a corner booth in the very farthest corner, and there weren't 't many people in that building, either. She was bent over her work, and it looked like she was painting. The closer I got, the more I could see that she was indeed painting. But what?

She was sitting there with her "fabric medium" and regular paints and painting things that she said had inked. You could buy the blocks painted or unpainted. I thought the wildflowers were lovely, so I got those first. The more I thought about how soft they looked, and how I was SURE I couldn't ever paint anything as lovely, I decided to get the Sunbonnet Sues that she had done as a "book" with the actual Sunbonnet Sue story. I think there are 26 of the Sues. I can't remember what year this was - maybe 1995 or 1996? There weren't the nice embroidery machines then for the home embroiderer, and there definitely weren't any fabric inks. You had to do it the old fashioned way with "fabric medium" and paint. So I think it's high time that these were completed don't you?

I've also been toying around with the idea of using the windblown block adaptation from Sharyn Craig's Great Sets book. I just love this book, and so far, I think I've used an inkling of an idea from almost everyone of the sets she recommends. It was perfect for these little blocks, too! This book really helps you get excited again when you have sets of blocks and you don't know what to do with them.

I started out using a light cream for the lightest color in every block and by the time I had four blocks cut out, I realized it was just too blah! I wanted color, darn it! So I just started pulling fabrics from the bin that I liked. I only reject a color if I had used it three times already. I also chose a dark, a medium and a light for each color of the block. Old time color placement makes you work hard! I had no idea what the borders were going to be, but I knew I didn't want just a band of color, and I must have gone through about 20 or so pieces of fabric before I landed on this green fossil fern and lavender piece for the outside edges. Hubby was a bit concerned about the "wild colors" when he saw it hanging on the wall waiting for cutting, but now he really likes the way it "shines" around the edges. So do I!

This little quilt ended up being 36" X 41", just the perfect size for my Queen's Powder Room display wall. Now, all I have to do is quilt it. But, that can wait for another day!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Quirky Things

Quirky things about me (I was tagged by Judy at Quilting with Ragdolls)

1) I don't much care for cookies, but I LOVE cookie dough. About the only kind of cookies I really really like are those that are so soft and gooey that I think they are raw!

2) People like to talk to me, or maybe it's because I always talk to them, they HAVE to talk to me. Recently, I was with some friends at a store, and they said I couldn't go to the checkout line because we were in a hurry. I couldn't figure out what they meant, and they explained how I always get into conversations with the clerks, and before you know it, I've discovered where they are from, how many kids they have, etc, and then we're late! You can meet so many interesting people that way, you know? When I was in CA, the fellow who checked in my car at the Hertz lot was just smiling so BIG! I had to comment how beautiful it was to see him smile. Turns out he is from Sri Lanka, had family members who were devastated with the tsunami, and he was getting ready to go back there for 6 months. All the while, he was speaking in that beautiful sing song rhythm, calling me missus, and smiling all the while. A really nice ending to my trip - so I don't really care who laughs at me for talking to people so much!

3) I love being barefoot. If I could, I wouldn't ever wear shoes or socks. I go barefoot in the house in the winter, and I can hardly wait for the season to come when I can walk through the grass with no shoes. Have you ever stood in the mud, with it gooshing between your toes on a nice warm day? Walking across gravel slows me down these days, but doesn't stop me!

4) I could easily be a "modified hermit", inviting people around when *I* want them. Don't get me wrong! I love being around people, but mostly on my terms. I value my "alone" time, and I get cranky when I have to be "on" so much in any given day or week. My profile shows me to be an extrovert, but as I get older, I think maybe I just learned how to be an extrovert, and I am really meant to be a cranky old lady, living alone.

5) I am fearful in the dark. I think it goes back to when I was a little girl. My dad delighted in scaring my sister and me all the time. For example, he took us to the old black and white spooky movies at the drive-in theater, and then made us walk up the stairs to the house by ourselves, late, late at night. At some point, he would always jump out to scare us. If he didn't get us then, he would spook us after we went to bed. I can't tell you how many times I wet my pants late Friday night trying to get into the house before he scared us! And then once in the house, I had to be aware of the "ghosts" that he told us lived there with us! It drove my mom crazy, and I think maybe I'm a little crazy now, too, because of it!

6) When writing a paper for school, or a letter to someone, or even my blog page, I can't start on a blank page. When I was in school, I had to write a sentence on the top of the page, anything really to get me started. Sometimes I would just write, "Write SOMETHING, ANYTHING", hit the carriage return and then I could start. It was really hard to do this because at that time, word processors were something that very few people had, and I was just using an old fashioned typewriter. I even went so far as to skew the paper above the piece that I was typing on so that it looked like it was part of the paper. It's easier now that I have the capability to go back and erase something that I have written, or often on the blog, I will load my pictures first so I can see that there is writing there already.

I'm like Judy, and I'll leave you to list some quirky things about yourself if you'd like. It's a nice way to get to know someone behind their profile, so to speak.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

For Shirlee

The Kansas City Star published a quilt block pattern in the newspaper each week from the fall of 1928 until 1961. They apeared as line drawings, and over that period of time, there were over a thousand printed. Many quilters collected them each week, and we still run across boxes or binders of these original patterns when you go to auctions or estate sales. Barbara Brackman and Terry Clothier Thompson are two local quilters (nationally known) who have participated in bringing back this tradition for the Kansas City Star, only instead of weekly, one is published monthly. Edie McGinnis, another local quilter, puts them together at the end of the year in a book. You can find these patterns and books HERE

This is Shirlee and her version of this year's Kansas City Star monthly patterns published each month in the newspaper. Isn't it beautiful? Shirlee is one of the Amazing Quilt Babes, and we've been stitching together now for over 10 years. She always chooses the greatest colors, and does wonderful applique work! She's another one who seems to work fast, too!

And something else about my friend Shirlee? She reads my blog everyday, and I think she scrolls through all the Quilt Mavericks blogs too. But you'd never know it, because she never leaves a comment - do you Shirlee?

This is Ibby's block from the same pattern. (Sorry about the rug pattern the block is on.) Notice how Shirlee and Ibby have put the pieces together on the opposite sides?
This is Shirlee's second block (with Ibby's hands holding it!)
And of course, what's a blog posting without a cat helper? It almost looks like Clyde threw the fabric out of the box, doesn't it? Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, April 17, 2006

So you think it's gotta go, do you?

I thought I could provide a good laugh today!

This has always been my favorite dress. It's so nice and soft; well worn denim. It's missing buttons, some of the buttons are sewn on with the wrong color thread; it's got chlorine stains on it. But I just love it! Loose, flowing, soft, and oh, so comfortable!

While I was weighing this morning, I was singing a happy little song because I broke a barrier that has been my goal for two weeks (one of the zero numbers, you know?) Hubby brought this dress to me and told me that it HAD TO GO - it was time!

I just couldn't believe I couldn't wear it anymore, so he had me take this picture as proof that it wasn't going to work! Hooray for the weight loss and change in sizes, but boo hoo for my dress! LOL! Two sizes down, and two more sizes down to go!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another UFO ready to have a backing

So, this quilt was made on a Superbowl a few years back. So, it had to have borders. So, I wanted to use up some more fabric. So, it ended up being 83" X 83"!

SO, BIG!!!

It was a mystery quilt posted by my small on-line friendship group. Again, not my cup of tea, but it was a nice challenge to do a mystery on-line. I was good, and didn't read ahead, either!

I WAS going to donate this to a charity organization that provides blankies for women. But, when I took it out of it's bag, I realized it was just way too big! So now, I am going to make a backing for it, and send it away to have it quilted in an all over pantograph. Maybe it will be a nice present to put back on the shelf for when I have the "need" for something special to give to someone.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another sampler

I'm supposed to be cooking dinner. But what I really wanted to do was just finish up the cornerstones on the garden path setting for this sampler quilt. SIGH What was I thinking last year? Another sampler. AND another pink and green quilt!

This is the quilt top so far, not sewn together. It was the $2.00 block from a LQS, that really was $5.00 a block since I never got there after the first one on the right day for pickup. So, I think the quilt top actually cost me more than if I had just made it myself. The original sampler was supposed to have pink where I have the neutral. This will probably be a Christmas present for someone! The green is a muddy green, and the other colors are more "greyed" than I prefer. They called these colors Shabby Chic, but I just call it drabby.
And what would the first day of opening the pool be without the appropriate kidlets playing in the water. Here are my darlings that live close by. It was only chilly when we got out, but quite nice to play in and under the water!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tres Trio

I have two friends with whom I exchanged 12" blocks with last year. I call us the Trio for lack of a better name. That's how I note our outings on my calendar, and that's how I think of us when we do these sort of projects. They wanted to do 12" blocks, so I said OK, and away we went. I don't usually care for 12" blocks because the quilt ends up so big, especially if you want to be creative with the setting.

We exchanged our focus fabric, and then our goal was to make each other (and ourselves) 10 blocks. They each were to be the same block pattern for each person for each round, just using the focus fabric we were given.

I scrounged through my stash, and found this wonderful burgundy floral fabric that I had "saved" for a special project. I had no idea what that special project was, since I didn't have any notes or any other fabric put with it. So this fabric became my focus fabric for a special project. I had three yards of it, so each of us got one yard. We finished this exchange around Christmas time last year.

I put the blocks up on the design wall, and they were just so busy as they were, I knew all they needed was a plain sashing and plain border/s. So, last weekend, hubby and I went to Lawrence, KS (home of Barbara Brackman) and he chose the green sashing. I had thought that this quilt would require a romantic pink sashing/border but just wouldn't go with anything pink! The green is from the Red Rooster line and it looks sort of like a moire. And, I just barely had enough fabric left to do the outside borders. There's only 2 pieces that are about 6" X 7" long! The quilt will be big enough to fit our king bed if I put it sideways. It finishes at 88" X 101".

As you can tell, hubby is happy with this quilt! He says it's HIS, all HIS!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is officially here when I wake up to the little trills of the cedar waxwings in the Kanardi junipers. They come in flocks of a hundred or so, stay a week or 10 days and eat all the blue juniper berries to get energy to finish their trip to the north. They are so perfectly beautiful with their black masks, yellow dipped tails and red spots on their heads. This is the view outside my sewing table, just to the west of the junipers where they are busily eating their fill.

This is our favorite Spring quilt. My hubby bought the kit for me in AZ at the Chicken Coop in Mesa moons ago. I carried it around for a couple of years, stitching on it whenever I was at the hospital with my dad or my mom. I took it on vacations to Colorado, and to the Caribbean. It's all hand pieced and appliqued, except for the binding. It's quilted with different kinds of embroidery stitches using perle cotton, and it is always the first quilt I think of when it's time to get ready for the season. It's about 60" X 72". I so enjoyed all the time I worked on this quilt. Maybe I need to make up another "kit" to carry around for another season!

This is the view once the sofa table is put back, along with the lamp and my Mr. and Mrs. Wabbit guarding the candy dish.

Close-ups of the "quilting" embroidery stitches:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

New baby in the house

I've sold my other two black featherweight machines, but I kept my favorite one. I know it was manufactured in St. John's, Canada in the 40's-50's. It sews like a dream. I haven't been using it, though, since the bed of it was a little small, and I have gotten quite used to sewing with my Pfaff machine inside the sewing table, with a nice flat surface.

Since I am going to Gwen Marston's retreat in September, I knew I needed to get this sewing machine in great condition to travel because there are no rental sewing machines there. As I was getting it all cleaned and ready (am I anxious or what?), I thought about an extension table to make it easier to use. I looked everywhere on-line, and then I looked on Ebay. I found a extension there, but it had already sold. So I dug a little further, and I finally found the maker of it, found his website, and ordered it! It came yesterday, and I couldn't be happier!

If you are looking for something like this you should check out Matt Reitzug's site. I can tell you that this little table is EVERYTHING he says it will be. Mine is the "mini" so it should fit in my suitcase quite nicely. It weighs under 3 lbs too, so that's great, too!

So, now, I just need to get the needles and the attachments together, and the machine will be ready. Well, maybe not. I've been thinking I need to make a quilted cover for my new little table, and heck, why not a quilted tote for the machine too. I mean, after all, it won't be going in it's original case. I plan on putting it in my wheelie backpack as a carryon!