Tuesday, February 23, 2010

9 Patches for Illene's Quilt

Today I finished my 9 patch blocks for  Illene's quilt at Bluebird Quilts blog.  Although the colors are soft, the picture unfortunately looks washed out.  They will be posted to Australia in the morning.  Hopefully, they will be a good addition to the quilt.

Belated Makes Me Happy Monday

My husband's Uncle Frank was born on February 29th.  When my children were little, they loved to tell their friends how their uncle only had a birthday once every four years.  Although, this isn't leap year, it is Uncle Frank's 70th birthday.  We decided to celebrate in a special way.  One of the local restaurants is presenting special celebrations for Chinese New Year.  On Sunday, we took several members of my husband's family along with Uncle Frank and his wife (my late mother-in-law's sister) Aunt Mary to the restaurant for dinner and birthday cake.  While there, we viewed a Kung Fu demonstration and two dancing Chinese dragons.  The loud drum and cymbals that accompanied the Dragon Dance kept conversation to a minimum, but it was great fun.  Before dinner, traditional New Year's red envelopes were distributed.  We we instructed to put "something green" in the envelope and put it in the dragon's mouth if we wanted good luck in the New Year.  It was difficult to get a good picture because of the lighting and the constant movement of the dragon.  My son took a not so flattering picture of me feeding the dragon.

While we didn't manage to get a picture of Uncle Frank and the dragon.  Uncle Tom managed to survive his dragon encounter.  While Aunt Eileen tried hard to get the dragon's attention.

Spending time with our family left me with a very Happy feeling on Monday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Makes Me Happy Monday

There's nothing like spending a special weekend with your child to create a happy Monday.  Over the weekend we visited my Viking daughter at college.  She was part of a demonstration by the Kendo club during the Yuki Matsuri (Japanese Snow Festival). It was the first time that we saw her in her Kendo uniform and using her shinai.   There is nothing scarier than chicks with sticks.

I am very proud of her for her determination and her indomitable spirit  that keeps her meeting all of the challenges that life sends her way with humor and grace.

Design Wall Monday - February 15, 2010

My "design chair" today is holding 4 snow globe blocks constructed for the Quilting Post Snow Globe swap.  They are waiting to be trimmed to the correct size.  It was the first time I  appliqued  with my Sapphire 870 since I purchased it almost 2 years ago.  I used a narrow satin stitch and am very pleased with the outcome.

Don't to forget to check Judy L's blog to see what exciting things are on other blogger's design walls.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stash Buster Report February 14, 2010

I missed posting last Sunday.  The report was not pretty.  8.75 yards purchased, but none used.  Of the 8.75 yards, 3.75 were a black and white print to be used as a quilt backing (at 44 percent off it was a steal), 3 yards of a spring green Kona, and 2 yards of a green and white print to be used for backing a baby quilt.  This week, I purchased 3 yards of a green  Kanji print to be used as borders and sashing.  I did manage to sew the borders on 2 tops, completed 4 blocks for the Snow Globe swap at The Quilting Post, and will be mailing twelve 12.5 inch blocks to Tammy to use for  Sunshine guild quilts.  These minor accomplishments have used up 4.75 yards.  Small "Yeah!" for a small dent in the stash.  

Used this Week:       4.75 yards

Used year to Date:    8.50 yards

Added this Week:     11.75 yards (2 week total)

Added Year to Date:  24 yards

Net Used for 2010: -15.50
Don't forget to visit Judy L's blog blog and find out how much stash busting everyone else has been doing this week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Too Good to Cut Challenge Quandary February 13, 2010

I'm stuck and I could really use some advice.  I have been taking my Too Good To Cut Challenge Jambalaya blocks out every few days to try and decide what to do with them.
Problem Number 1:  I know that I have too many blocks that have an outer row that reads pink.  I'm not sure what to replace them with.
Problem Number 2:  Although my favorite not so LQS owner helped me pick out two possible border fabrics, both of which I love, I'm starting to think they are a bit blah with these blocks.
Question 1:  Which color options should I pick to replace the "pink" blocks?
Question 2:  Should I place a thin (1 inch) border in a dark color or black before attaching the 4 inch border.
Question 3:  Should I look for another fabric for the border?  I would really rather avoid this, since I am trying to avoid buying more fabric.

Please let me know what you think.  I have avoided cutting into my lovely box of batiks for years and I really want to make a quilt I can love.  I also have LOTS more and want to make another batik quilt, but that will depend on the final outcome of Jambalaya.

The colors are a little more vibrant in person.

I thought I could replace one of the "pink" blocks with a block similar to this one.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow What's New?

Yesterday's snow storm petered out sooner than expected.  Instead of the 12-18 inches that was predicted, we wound up with 7 inches.  Retired Guy and Sir Galahad finished shoveling the walks and stoops today.  Since Sir Galahad doesn't have class until 6:00pm this evening, they settled in for some snow activities.  Retired Guy built a snow bear and Sir Galahad created a snow elf.  To give you an idea of how large their creations were; Retired Guy is 6 feet tall and Sir Galahad is 6' 4 inches.

Advice Please

This week I have been working on string blocks and scrappy chunks for donation quilts.  The picture below shows some of the sixty-six 5.5 inch blocks.  They are very scrappy and I want to find a way to tie them together so that they don't look like the explosion of a scrap bin.  Some of the blocks are laid out on different pieces of fabric:  Kona red, a random piece of bright white, and a tan Thimbleberries floral.  I can't make up my mind which color works best.  I am open to any suggestions about setting or colors for sashing or alternating blocks.

Thanks for taking a look.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine Giveaway

Visit Cherry at Cherry Menlove's blog and enter her Valentine's giveaway.  She has a fabulous Le Creuset heart shaped casserole, heart shaped dishes, and a heart shape to help you fry the perfect Valentine breakfast eggs.
There are plenty of lovely recipes to try at her blog including a chocolate hazelnut pie and lots of crafty goodies for you to try.

9 Patch Outreach and Giveaway

Visit Lyn at Bluebird Quilts to learn about her French General Moda Charm Pack giveaway.  The giveaway is in  conjunction with a 9 patch project she has started for her friend Ilene.  Quilters all over the world are making blocks for this special quilt.  If you have a moment check out her blog by clicking on the button over on my sidebar.


Snow Day February 10, 2010

The snow storm blanketing the east coast has finally made its appearance.  As I sit in my family room posting on my laptop, the snow is getting heavier.  It's like being inside a snow globe.  We live at the top of a cul de sac so  the only cars that travel our street are people who are involved in some way with the dozen homes here.  The schools are closed and this morning I have only seen one SUV turn down our street and two cars traveling the street at the top of our block.

My husband brings our bird feeder in the house each night to discourage our local raccoon population from hanging around on our deck.  This morning when he put it out, the birds were frantically hovering around him waiting not too patiently for breakfast.  We get a good mixture of avian friends enjoying the black oil sunflower seeds at our feeder, including:  tufted titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, blue jays, Carolina wrens, song sparrows, downy woodpeckers, finches, chickadees, and a very pushy flock of juncos.  We also have a pair of mourning doves that visit, but they  hang around on the ground below the deck picking though the food that has fallen from the feeder.  Occasionally they come up and gingerly try to get seeds from the feeder, but they are heavier than the other birds and they often trigger the weight thats shut the feeding compartment.  

This is the first "squirrel proof" bird feeder  we have had that actually works.  It is similar in design to our last feeder that was mounted on a post.  At the end of the feeding season we neglected to clean it and put it away.  The following fall when we planned to start feeding the birds again, we opened it up and saw that a squirrel had been living inside.  In our area, the squirrels make large nests (dreys) in the trees.  Although they often make their way into attics and chimneys, I'd never heard of one squatting in a metal bird feeder before

I hope you're snug and warm wherever you are.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Design Wall Monday - February 8, 2010

Although I did manage to work on a few things on my list from last week, I became fascinated by making scrappy little blocks.  This week, I made thirty six that I squared to 6.5 inches and forty five that squared to 5.5 inches. The blocks below are a sampling of the 5.5 inch blocks.  They look a little limp because they are taped to the hall closet door.

Don't forget to visit Judy L's blog there's always something to see on the other design walls..

Makes Me Happy Monday - February 8, 2010

My Viking daughter attends a women's college in New England.  She calls home every Sunday evening to chat about whatever happens to be going on in her part of the world.  As soon as I wake up on Sunday morning, I begin to count the hours until it's time for her to call.  She really doesn't like to use the phone and rarely has usage on her cell phone other than calls to us at home.  She tells us that she sees her friends everyday so she doesn't need to call them and thinks it's foolish to spend time on a cell phone narrating the mundane happenings of daily life.
We planned to pick her up this Friday so that she could spend her 3 day President's weekend holiday at home.  She belongs to the Kendo club (Japanese martial arts form that features sword fighting and very cool uniforms) at school and they are appearing as part of Yuki Matsuri (a Japanese winter festival) at the campus on  Saturday.  I was disappointed that she wouldn't be coming home, but she invited us to spend the weekend up at college and watch the performance.  We've never seen her in her uniform or using her shinai so this is a special treat.

File:Kendo uniform parts.png

I planned to use our frequent flyer miles to pay for the hotel room.  This morning as I booked the reservation, I found a special deal ( $50 off the regular price of the hotel room, plus a $15 Visa gift card for each night's stay).
Now I can't stop smiling thinking about how much fun it will be to watch the "Chicks with Sticks" go through their Kendo paces.  So this is what makes me happy this Monday.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Design Wall Monday - February 1, 2010

I didn't post my stash report yesterday, because I didn't have anything to report.  I did buy 2 yards of Insulbrite on sale at Joann's last Monday to make an ironing board cover and tea cozy, but no quilting fabric.
I worked on multiple projects last week.  Unfortunately, I was very scattered and didn't finish anything.

Over the weekend, I made string blocks.  The picture below shows most of the blocks.  I completed 15 more blocks that are not in the picture.  Sorry, but my computer was not cooperating this morning so I wasn't able to turn the picture properly.  I started to sew them together this morning.  It was the first time I ever sewed string blocks and it won't be the last.  It really is fun and very fast.. 

I have decided to set specific goals for myself this week in an attempt to actually accomplish something.

*  Sew together string blocks, cut and sew border
*  Make 5 new blocks for pastel rail fence quilt, sew blocks together, add borders
*  Applique 4 snow globe blocks for The Quilting Post swap.

After typing it, it seems like a lot.  Hopefully, I can stick with my resolve.

Don't forget to visit Judy L's blog to see more design walls.