Wednesday, June 30, 2010

not a F.O.

Month 5 of the Civil War Tribute block of the month. I am very upset that the (silly) company only sent 9 inches of the dark brown print to complete 4 12 inch blocks...seriously not nearly enough. I am quite sure it was an error. So, I modified the pattern just a little to reduce the number of half square triangles, making flying geese units instead. This helped stretch the fabric, but I still have to run to B and B quilting tomorrow to get the extra fabric needed to get the other 2 blocks done. This Block of the month is turning out to be a very beautiful quilt. It does have a few areas where I would change the way I put a block together, but over-all it is stunning in appearance. Looking forward to month 6...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Purple Passion

Well, it has been a few days since my last post. I desire to not let my blog go for more than a week without a post. Even if I have to make some crap up or post my UFO's (now there's some reading material)...I will prevail. Above you will find the F.O. of the month. I really don't know why this one decided to squat in my sewing room for so long. I guess it liked the atmosphere. I tried very hard to run it off, but you know how it is when you are nice to runaways.

The way that this purple batik beauty came to be is this: I found a pattern that I wanted to try called ''Sweet Dreams'' by Tiffany Burrow from McCall's Quilting magazine August 2001. The opportunity knocked when Melissa Picha of Mt. Calm, TX wanted a quilt top for one of her rooms at her retreat establishment called Compass Centre. I figured that I could make this quilt top to practice the pattern. It was perfect. I wasn't going to fall in love with it because purple is my least favorite color....WRONG. This is the only project that I have ever done for someone else that made me sick to my stomach to send away. I cannot say that I completed a U.F.O. exactly since I am now collecting aqua batiks to do it all over again, but in a teal, aqua, and turquoise color scheme. Great. Just great. That will take another 2 years. Not because it is a difficult pattern (super easy), but because I now have to put it behind all of my other projects.

You can see that it is on the cover, but the colors are so very different. I had to turn the pattern sideways and double it top to bottom to make it into a full/queen size. I also drafted the outer border to get it to measure 81''x 106''. I just hope that I can somehow inherit that quilt....I would have to do a lot of dishes at the Compass Centre to even get my foot in the door on that one.

All Powerful and Ever Loving Fabric

Do any of you have a fabric that you love so much that it makes you stomach hurt because you only have a fat quarter of it? I realize that I can still get my hands on the above fabric. It is Moda's Rawhide, and is still available; but with my luck not for very long. I love it, need it, desire to have yards and yards of it. What for? Hell, I don't know. I guess I will add it to my pile of do-not-cut-or-you-die fabric. It is rare for a scrapquiltin' crazy like myself to fall in love with any fabric of yardage, so that tells me to buy the bolt. Buy the damn bolt or suffer skin boils, locusts, and floods. I decided to post it to see if there is anyone else out there that has a favorite such as mine. Who knows, I may have it in my hold-on-to-until-someone-begs-you-for-it fabric pile...share your thoughts and swatches.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book o' the Week

I love this quilt idea. It has very simple blocks; and simple usually isn't my style. I can see any little boy loving this quilt. There are not too many quilt ideas for boys these days that don't incorporate some kind of licensed printed fabric. Both of my parents worked at Burlington Northern Railroad before everything became computerized. Dad was a train dispatcher, mom was a keyboard operator. They lived in Minot, North Dakota at the time. I was happy to see a few tidbits about ''back home'' in the book as North Dakota was/is a big railroad state. I never heard any stories about hobos though, other than the one my sister, JoAnn and her husband, Carl told me about Oriska, North Dakota. The railroad tracks go through the small town right next to their house and Oriska's cemetery. Carl's family takes care of the cemetery; so they are the people that will dig the 6 footer should anyone need one. Unfortunately, since the cemetery is right next to the tracks, many, many hobos were buried there in unmarked graves, and occasionally, one is accidentally dug up when preparing a new grave. I cannot think of why so many of them were buried there other than it's damn shittin' cold up there and many of them probably froze to death in the cars. The hobos most likely all knew of a little place called Oriska that they could put their 'knights of the road' friends or family to rest. Even if you don't make the quilt, buy the book. Its neat. I'm glad I did.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunken Treasure

First. I need to tell you that this is not a picture of me; however, it is the mental image that I have of myself whenever I am taking fabric out of wastebaskets from sewing rooms, retreats, and classes that people have thrown away. I am amazed at the beautiful gems that are tossed away. I know that it is only a square inch of 1800's reproduction...but it's pretty. And it's mine.

You will be very happy to know that among my many mental disabilities, hoarding is not one of them. I am not a complete weirdo when it comes to collecting the fabric scraps. My sewing room has an order to it and I am very proud of my organization when it comes to my valuable property. I use the scraps in many of my projects. My precious stash is where I go to first to find just the right color of blue, or pink, or is my color palate. It is where I get my inspiration. It is how I test creations.

You know that knot that you get in your shoulder and neck that takes a massage therapist about an hour to remove? That knot goes away on its own when I get to visit my quilting room for a few hours. So you see how important your garbage is to me? Please don't throw it away. Let me pay you for the fabric. Let me pay you for postage. I would be happier than a June bug at a porch light sale.

If you describe your fabric pieces as: bits and pieces, castoffs, chunks, crumbs, discards, ends, fragments, hunks, iotas, junk, leftovers, modicum, odds and ends, parts, particles, pieces, portions, remains, shreds, slices, slivers, snippets, specks, traces, or remnants;

I call them: prized possessions, abundances, apple of my eye, cache, finds, fortunes, gems, pride and joy, prizes, riches, treasure trove, valuables, and gifts; but definitely not garbage.

I am not hurting for fabric, mind you. I just hate seeing those beauties in a garbage can. I am doing this for my country, for my planet, for my sanity. Plus, it does not make any sense at all for me to save the whales. Who has that much room? Especially if you want to collect the whole set.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Give Me Dollars, I Hate Change.

Pretty soon I will have to update my blog appearance. A few years ago, when I started my blog, this polka dotted background was one of the templates to choose from. I don't even think it is available anymore. It is so hard for me to go through any kind of change in my surroundings. I don't know what kind of mental disorder that is associated with, (maybe that is the OCD in me) but I can't do 'new'. In my house everything has a place (not that everything is in it...) and I am comfortable with the familiarity of it. I would be one of those ladies with avocado shag carpeting in her living room for 50 years simply because it is still clean, in good shape, and looks damn sexy. God I hate change. I stress about towels that have faded in the bathroom because ''I liked those. They were perfect for my color I have to come up with a replacement''. This is how I feel about changing my blog.

But the funny thing is...I almost always like the new towels, or the new carpet (orange-rust...JK!) It is just getting out of that comfortable place that I have created for myself. Now to relate this all to the quilting world:

You cannot have any fun quilting if you don't, on occasion, throw that yellow in...or lime green, or (gasp) orange-rust. Just do it. You will end up loving it even better.

Watch for my new and improved blog coming in the near future to computers near you.

p.s. picture was stolen from someone, who stole it from someone else. It is not of my home (thank God)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Getting a break!

I took a break from my projects (to start a new one?) I bought this pattern a few years ago to use with my silk Japanese kimono fabric. The picture you see above is using regular quilting cotton because I didn't want to practice on my silks. I have come a long way with perfecting my paper piecing skills in just a few short months. (Thank you Carol Doak!) If you are ever in the middle of a project and you are in the phase of tearing your hair out or if your brain cells are falling out of your is time to cheat. I always have a list of things that I want to try, whether that is a technique, a sample of a block, or a new stitch on my machine. Whenever I get crazy, I just take a break from that project with one of these things. It is usually just a short, quick thing; something to take my mind off of the other one for just a few hours or a day. (Maybe I should list these in a little black book...that would be funny.) I find that it is much easier to tackle that stupid project that seems to laugh at me from time to time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

Yesterday, I removed EQ5 and EQ6 upgrade from my computer....Because my EQ7 was delivered! finally. I am so excited to plug all of my quilt files into this baby and plan away. I can't wait to use and play with some of the new features.

I just don't know how I would get along without it now that I have it in my life. I wasted so much time before EQ came along just planning borders, figuring yardage, making templates, making mistakes. I am pretty darn good with math, but now I can free up valuable brain space for important things like facebook and blogging.

I know that I should read the tips and lessons, and I promise to do that. But first I want to just jump in and look around for a few hours. I will report back to you all soon on what I think of the all new quilt program. Have a great day quilting, everyone.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I feel so much less stress these days due to the fact that I know how to use the word "no'' now. For the last 2 years or so, I have really nailed it down. Learning how to say it is not easy at first, but you are not doing anyone any favors (especially yourself) by letting others take advantage of you; whether they know that they are doing it or not. Don't get me is completely fine to say 'yes'. Just make sure that you are saying yes to things that you really want to do. In the past, I have been exposed to all kinds of people that ask for assistance of one form or another. Some of them are your normal, run of the mill, kind of folk that are just looking for a quick answer or advice. Maybe they want me to show them how to sew a button know, the normal ones. But, a few years ago, I have been asked to do all kinds of things in the most humorous ways...

''I will LET you make me a quilt." This one absolutely kills me. It is hard to keep a straight face sometimes. ''Really!? Me? How did I get so lucky to earn the honor of making you a quilt?''

My favorite one of all really has to be this one: "I have about 20 quilt tops that my grandmother made that I would like for you to hand quilt. How much would you charge for that?'' ''Um, how about you just pay off the national debt instead?'' I am quite sure that there is someone out there that would love to do this for you, I just simply am not that person.

I guess how I look at it is this: There are too damn many people in the world that think that money can buy you anything (unfortunately, most of the time these people are right). Then there are others that just want everybody else to do their 'dirty' work. Sometimes these folks are one in the same. Michelangelo was famous for making sure that people paid him what he was worth as an artist. He believed that if artists always did jobs for little or nothing, that is all that art would be look at as...little or nothing. So, I do tell people what I charge. That usually gets rid of them; but at least they leave a little more enlightened, and realize that quilters should be praised for their abilities and never taken advantage of. And when someone gives you the vibe of ''I'm too important of a person to do unimportant things'' tell them that you are working very hard to finish quilts for the people that deserve your quilts the most...your family.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quilt 'til ya Wilt

Don't you just LOVE it? I just got this one done yesterday for B and B quilting. The pattern is called 'Out on a Limb'. I think that I am going to use the same pattern using some of my vegetable fabric.

Considering that I have a 4 month old baby that I still breastfeed, and a 4 year old (that just became potty trained-YAY!), I manage to complete many projects. I know that there are a few of you out there that might be reading, saying ''Well, what the hell? When are you going to send my project back to me?'' I promise that they will be done this month. I am so sick of having all of these other projects taking up my valuable quilting space so I am on a crazy mission of completion right now.

I am also teaching a class pretty soon on project organization and meeting your quilting goals. So, I don't want to be to be hypocritically telling people how it's done. As long as I follow my little magic plan, I find myself getting all of these babies done. Many people ask me how I get so many things done. They say ''Didn't you just have a baby? How do you find the time? What does your medicine cabinet look like?'' One gal said that she quit quilting completely until her kids went off to college. Not quilt for 18 years?

There is a small list that I have of things that I will never give up until I am put into a box:

1) Quilting
2) Coffee
3) Chocolate
4) Loving my family

I was going to add alcohol, but let's face it; I can disgruntledly live without...if I really had to. But I really love, love, love Mexican Martinis.

NOT QUILT FOR 18 YEARS!? I can easily imagine a flock of pigs before that happens.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Seriously, I didn't think that my son would be potty-trained until puberty. I don't know why he went from sitting in his own poop for hours (and liking it), to going every single time on the toilet. I was a hair's breath away from crossing that thin and very fragile line between normal and psychotic. Just a phone call away from 'please, come to pick me up for a visit to the farm'. Just when I think that I don't know what the hell that I am doing as a mother, he goes and pulls a 'gotcha' on me. I am totally unprepared for what he has in store for me next...what will it be?
Cleaning his own room? Doing his own laundry? No. That can't be it. I asked him to bring me the broom today and he replied ''Sure. What does it look like?''

I am not a spanker, so I had to hold my breath and bite my tongue every time I caught him 'hiding behind the chair'; which comes in pretty handy anyway. I usually had to hold my breath for hours. By the time I 'came to', I was laying in the middle of the living room floor with popcorn kernels, cheerios, and pop tart debris smashed into my hair, one of my socks missing, sharpie make-up on my face, and Toy Story 3 stickers on the back of my shirt. (OK, the sharpie make-up was a total dramatization, but believe me, it would have been an improvement.)

Now he makes a point to tell everyone that he goes potty in the big potty chair. He not only tells our waitress, grocer, neighbor lady, postal worker, pharmacist (my pharmacist already knows), doctors, nurses, random teenagers, and whoever is on the phone if he manages to answer it before I can; he tells them that his mommy can't pee like him because she doesn't have a wiener.

So, this evening, I am enjoying a well-deserved glass of wine. The kids are in bed. We said our prayers to the toilet gods and thanked them for saving mommy's brain from being studied at a local college. I am going to my quilting room. I am going to quilt until I grow a wiener.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I NEED a Retreat

These are the blocks for month 4 of the Civil War Tribute quilt. I am making one for myself and I am helping on another one. So far, I have completed all of month 7 blocks (the 99 piece version), and months 1-4. I am just getting ready to start on month 5.

I am really getting caught up on the other projects looming over my head also. I have a serious goal to get at least 5 or 6 projects done this month...without having to start a crack cocaine habit. Maybe just a little chocolate. Maybe just a little more. Maybe a cup or two of coffee at 2am.

I am already sleep deprived, I might as well party like a quilter on retreat. OK, maybe not that crazy.