Friday, September 26, 2008


Notice I didn't imply that I finished anything. These are some the projects the gals at my quilt retreat last weekend were working on.

The fabrics in this evening bag are so yummy you just have to touch them:

I think this bag is going on a trip at some point. Maybe it's large enough to smuggle me aboard?

A strip swap from a previous retreat finally got finished:

My favorite lawyer and I started this quilt 18 months or so ago. Mine's in pieces in a box. Here's my friend's:

She's such an over-achiever! (And I love her even though she can't comment on my blog)

We clucked away all weekend making chicken blocks:

They grew up and turned into this quilt:

The retreat ended Sunday afternoon. The quilt was quilted, bound, and delivered to the intended recipient by Wednesday. Apparently there's more than one over-achiever in the group.
I managed to piece a simple scrap quilt:

This will be a wedding gift for another of my daughter's teachers. He's getting married in October.

And I miss my A number-1 quilt holder upper. He went back to college.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If you give a moose a muffin....

.... he'll want some jam to go with it.

If you give me a muffin, I'll eat it just the way it is and be extremely happy.

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Fresh chocolate chip muffins. I also made fresh strawberry-orange muffins.
to my new best friend: Lie to me and tell my that my photos are crappy because I use a really cheap camera instead of my extreme lack of skill. See you Saturday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working on....

This was a strip club quilt from a year or two ago. The light in my dining sewing room doesn't do the fabrics justice. They are gorgeous!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I love quilters!

So much so that I spent a whole weekend with them, just hanging out and sewing (in our PJs most of the time).

The view was incredible:

Even though that picture doesn't capture the mist over the river in the morning, the blazing sunsets, or large ships sailing by.

We were well fed:

That is just the snack table. The kitchen was also full, and more food showed up at mealtimes! There was even a really cute bagel delivery boy......

We enjoyed luxurious accommodations:

It was a good thing though. Who wants to sleep when there's quilting to do?

We stayed toasty warm:

Several of our women were expert fire-tenders and keepers of the hearth.

So, basically, we had a blast!!!! When's the next getaway????


note: the bagel delivery boy may or may not be married to the founder of our little group.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Deal Maker

I have a crush on a man named Myron. I just finished reading Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben and am shocked that I haven't heard of this book before; it was fantastic. I was in suspense until almost the end, but the wit and style carried me through the book easily. Please oh please let there be another book featuring Myron Bolitar and Co.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Martha has a blog?

She most certainly does! See? And she wants to see your blog, too. Leave her a comment and she may check out your blog.


It snuck up on me again. Today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day". Check it out, or walk the plank!


Another Finish

Last summer I made a new quilt for my bed. The leftover blocks made a nice baby quilt:

My son's church is experiencing a population explosion. I'm sending a bunch of baby quilts for him to give away. Babies are cool, aren't they?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So long, old friend

I recently damaged my sewing machine. This week I'm investigating the fixing vs. replacing costs. It's a Janome Gem Gold and I literally loved it to death.

Since I still had sewing to do, I pulled out my old Viking 500.

I bought it in 1996 and used it exclusively until the last few years. Sewing on it this week, I realized that I'm not very happy with the quarter-inch. If I use the quarter-inch foot, the feed dogs pull the fabric in a displeasing manner (was that polite enough? because I used less polite words earlier).

I re-boxed the Viking and pulled out my daughter's Janome Sewist 509 and have been using that with much better results. It's a short-term solution, but sometimes that's all you need.

I've been feeling very guilty about my perfectly good Viking that I plan to never use again. I feel like a whiny princess for not using a machine that still works. It's so old that it would be very difficult to sell. I offered this machine to my mother, my sister, a friend, and my son's girlfriend. No takers. Recently we had company (could this be the inspiration for the clean dining room? I vote "yes") and my friend wanted to see what I do. I took her into the pit sewing room. She asked about all the machines and I asked if she wanted one. She excitedly said yes! My Viking 500 has a new home and my friend is now dreaming of hems and curtains and gifts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So this is the dining room?

Finally, I got all my quilting crap stuff moved out of my dining room:

My family was kind enough to help. I truly appreciated the help. Unfortunately, everything is now thrown back in my sewing room. I will not show a picture of that pit. Maybe later. Probably not.


I just noticed one piece of debris left on the dining room chair. His name is Spike. He's very active and enthusiastic. Can't you tell?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Retreat or Advance

You decide.

I spent the weekend at a wonderful quilt shop with 17 of my newest best friends:

We ate really, really good food. We played games. We won prizes. Oh, and we did some longarm quilting, too.


These were amazingly talented and wonderful women and I was honored that they chose to spend a weekend with me, learning more about longarm quilting.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Dexter or not to Dexter, that is the question

I've seen the Dexter dvds at the library and been sorely tempted to watch them. I absolutely ADORE the Dexter books. If you haven't heard of them, Dexter is a serial killer. And the good guy. Yeah, I know it's strange. The books are very, very dark but somehow funny and I completely get that.

I went to Showtime's website and watched trailers for Dexter and I had serious issues...... that wasn't MY Dexter. Does that ever happen to you? I've had a picture of Dexter in my head since I read the first book a few years ago. The tv-Dexter didn't match my mental picture and I'm afraid that watching the show will ruin my crush on book-Dexter.

I'm stumped. And going to read the Dexter books. Yet again.

Friday, September 12, 2008


A few years ago I took several blue fabrics from my stash and made up a bunch (80!) of blocks. I sewed them into 5 baby quilts. This is number 3, I think:

Preparing this quilt for photography caused a minor ruckus in my household. I used a new batting, Quilter's Dream Green (made from recycled soda bottles), and wanted to test it thoroughly. I threw it in the washer and dryer to see how it would wear. More than one member of my family questioned me about running the dryer. I rarely/never use the dryer for laundry. I have probably dried one load since April, since it was raining and we had to leave town the next morning with clean laundry.

Runing the dryer..... one more thing I'm willing to do for my art. But only on occasion.


Note on the batting: It washed beautifully and I will definitely use this batting again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

...make lemonade. When life hands you smooshy bananas...

...make low-fat vegan banana bread from The Veganomicon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Working On......

Cleaning out the 2.5-inch strip bucket. This will likely be a graduation quilt for some young man.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'd walk a mile for a quilt class

I'd also drive about an hour to Pinwheels. It's a great quilt shop, and one with a great big heart. They recently spent a day sewing back-to-school bags for young students who would otherwise not get the needed school supplies.

Quilters are definitely above average individuals.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wedding Quilt Update

My daughter gave her photo teacher the wedding quilt today. The response was as wonderful as one could ask for:

"You shouldn't have." "Your mom MADE this?" "This is the best thing anyone has ever given me."

Isn't it wonderful that a simple scrap quilt can bring so much joy?

The Picoult Plunge

Do you read Jodi Picoult's books? I do....... sometimes.

I read The Tenth Circle about two years ago. It really got to me. Difficult subject matter, difficult resolution. It took me nearly a year to work up the courage to read another one of her books. That time I chose Nineteen Minutes. It didn't rock me like The Tenth Circle did, but I didn't want to rush right out and read another one of her books, either. I was able to figure out the ending of the book, too, and that's a huge turn-off for me.

Last week I took the Picoult Plunge and read The Plain Truth. It was somewhat predictable, but I mostly enjoyed the journey.

Which book of hers should I read next? You can tell me now, but it may take up to a year for me to be willing to crack the spine.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Finish on a Friday

Over the summer, my daughter repeatedly told me that her photo teacher was getting married. Eventually I got the hint. Here's the quilt we I made for her wedding:

And a closeup of the quilting:

I <3 this quilt.

size -- approx. 65x78 inches
batting -- Mountain Mist White Rose (I'm starting to like this batting that I have an entire roll of!)
thread -- Perma Core off-white something or other
fabric used -- 270 five-inch squares from my scrap buckets

The binding was hand-sewn last night courtesy of the Giants game, McCain's speech, and a lot of tennis on TV.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What Did You Do Today?

Most days I can answer that question with mundane things like "work" or "laundry" or "ran errands". Today's answer is "I saved someone's life".
I am a platelet donor. Whenever I have a couple of hours to spare, they hook me up to a fancy machine that takes my blood out, spins it around, keeps some and gives the rest back. Need proof? Check this out:
They give you nice blankets and heating pads if you get chilly. You can see the wires for my MP3 player. I listened to 90 minutes of a good psychic crime novel. When I was done donating, I got a pretty purple bandage on my arm and access to the goodie table:
I ate Cheezits. And I saved someone's life.
If you have a couple of hours to spare, consider donating platelets or whole blood. Someone did it for my mom, and I do it to honor those donors.

Finally, A Finish

Last February, a group of wonderful women held a quilt retreat. They invited me to join them. I was out of town for most of it, but I did get to spend a little time on Saturday evening and Sunday morning with them.

We worked on our own projects for most of the time, but we each made this tablerunner:

(Isn't my son's 1992 Camry gorgeous?)
These ladies are having another retreat this September. I will get to spend most of the weekend with them, leaving only to teach 2 classes at the local quilt shop. I'm already sorting through projects, trying to decide which to take with me to finish.
I know one thing that will be at the retreat: Death By Chocolate. Made by one of my favorite people. And that person is reading this, my camera is on the trail somewhere between my house and yours. Let me know if you find it, ok?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Old Tobacco Road, part 4

I have no pictures of part 3, since my camera is enjoying it's time on the Appalachian Trail without me.

I do have a picture of part 4, since I went out and bought a new camera today. My camera was only 18 months old, but it wasn't working very well. I was trying to make do with it (smacking it around, waiting and waiting while it decided if it was going to take the picture yet, etc), but losing it made the decision to replace it much easier. Oh, and my new camera is pink!

On to step 5 (maybe).
About the camera: I have really low requirements for a camera. I only take snapshots. I like a camera that is small, has a decent optical zoom, and is fairly inexpensive. Done!

But I live in the woods!

I just finished "The Woods" by Harlan Coben. It was fantastic. Not necessarily uplifting though. It's a rare joy when a book twists and turns without my knowing where it will end.

Mr. Coben's woods, however, are much different than mine. Mine aren't scary.