Friday, August 15, 2008

Nashville, TN

I guess I lied. Well, not really. I just ran out of time. I had planned on posting pictures and story about "Birds of a Feather," I didn't get around to it. If you haven't heard of this book, you can check out the book on Amazon ... here's the link:
Take a look ... I promise I'll post the blocks I've completed when I get home.

So, where am I? Well, Nashville, Tennessee, of course! Actually, this is a very strange place for me to be. I'm not much of a country music fan ... shhhhh ... don't tell anyone ... that's a very blasphemous thing to say here. I don't hate it or anything, just never acquired the taste for it. More of a rock and roll or classical music girl.

Anyway, we're here for a reunion of my DH's Army units ... the 7/17th Air Calvary ... and this year we ended up Nashville. I love to go to new places, so I always have a good time and it's great to see the women that I've come to know and love over the years.

We went on a bus tour of Nashville today and of course, we stopped at the Ryman Auditorium, so I thought I'd share a picture of my debut at the Ryman ...
I visited a couple of quilts shops when I was here. I highly recommend both of them, so if you're ever in the area, stop by ... here are the links: Quilter's Attic and The Quilting Squares Quilt Shop. Very friendly folks!

We're off to dinner ... see ya'll later!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How creative am I, really?

I generally think of myself as being a creative person. And, I always thought that if I didn't have to work, I'd be creating all day long. Designing new quilts, finishing projects, designing those tote bags I've had running around in my head for ever and all those little Christmas ornaments that peep from the corner of that oh so creative spot in my brain.

But, I haven't done any of it! I haven't been working for more than two months now and what original thing have I created? Nothing. Sure, I'm job searching, interviewing, etc., but I have plenty of extra time and I still daydream about those creative things, but I don't sit down and actually do them.

I think what I'm discovering is that creativity is also work. Daydreaming isn't enough.

So, my plan. Add one hour of creative time per day ... dream the dream and act on it. One hour a day!

More to come ...

By the way, the kitchen curtains didn't get made (surprise, surprise). I broke down and hung the cow curtains. And, now that it is nearly time to put up the Fall curtains (these are already made, thank God!), it's time to move on and think about other things. Enough of curtains for now.

I will post tomorrow about Birds of a Feather ... 'til then, night-night!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm back!

Hey there everyone in blogland, I'm back! Maybe you didn't notice that I was gone and, in reality, I never left. I just haven't blogged. Life took a curious turn for me ... I was laid-off from my job, so my life has turned into a big job search. It's been nearly two months now, got some job hunting irons in fire and hopefully one of them will pan out.

In the meantime, I have been quilting. I finished two small projects and have started a new block of the month. I'm also "working" on (quotation marks because I have the fabric and know what I plan to do) new kitchen curtains. Not the bird houses I designed ever so long ago ... anyway, you'll see. I'm going to get these done this week and will post here. (My poor husband is tired of the bare windows in the kitchen ... I promised to get these done or else I'll have to hang the old cow curtains that I so tired of ... ugh!)

Here are the two small projects:

This was from a class I took on Flag Day in June (the 14th) ... very fun and very quick. The poem is embroidered:

This was from a class I took last summer (wool applique on cotton background), but never finished ... completed it up before 7/4 of this year:
Both projects are hand quilted.

I'm also working on making another one of these Scrappy Flags ... got this pattern from an episode of Simply Quilts on HGTV ... I made and finished this one last year, it hangs in the livingroom:

The half square triangles for the new quilt are made and squared up and ready to be sewn into stripes ... smooth sailing from here on out. I'll explain what the second quilts is for later when I show you the finished project ...

The block of the month is "Birds of a Feather" you may have heard of the book ... I love, love, LOVE this project and am really enjoying working on it. More about this in a couple of days.

Okay, enough for now, I'm off to visit other blogs and say hello ... I've missed visiting with you all, hope you stop by!

One final photo ... my flower gardens are a disaster this year, but my pots are doing great ... nasturtiums, blue lobelia and spikey grass-like plant (whatever that is called).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Favorite Tree

There are many trees that I love, but this one, is special. I love to watch it move through the seasons. This tree, stands strong through all weather, good and bad, it is a very a strong and determined tree. Here it is today with it's spring leaves finally unfurling:

It was my birthday recently (happy birthday to me) ... here's a couple of photos from the "big" celebration (well, we like our celebrations small, what can I say ... it was a wonderful birthday).

Lee and Pip singing "Happy Birthday" to me ... Bailey was singing as well, he was sitting on the floor, and I didn't get his picture (sorry Bailey!):
And here's my birthday ice cream adorned with a cute little candle and candle holder from Angela (thanks Angela!):
Quilting?? Oh yeah, this is a blog about quilting ... I nearly forgot! Only kidding! Right now, I'm basting the border pieces for Aster Blast and I've started a new project ... more about that, next time! :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Visit to Pickity Place

One of my favorite places to go, especially in the Spring, is Pickity Place in Mason, NH. I went there recently with my friends Marie and Angela. We had a wonderful meal (all meals are made with fresh herbs from their gardens) and then had a walk through the gift shop and gardens.

Here we are enjoying our lunch:

This was a special birthday treat for me ... thanks again, Angela and Marie! I had a wonderful time!

We all had Beef Wellington ... yummy! And the dessert ... lemon cake with blueberry sauce in the center and a lemon flavored whipped cream ... YUMMY!
The flower was from their garden and edible ... I did eat mine, because I am a mildly brave person as far as food goes ... it tasted like grass to me, and they always seem to taste like that for some reason. I guess I don't have the most sophisticated palate ... :-D

The cottage at Pickity Place was used in the illustrations for the Little Golden Books version of Little Red Riding Hood.

The big bad wolf is still waiting for Red (sleeping under a quilt, of course!):

Here are a few glimpses of the grounds ... it really is beautiful there ... even though we had a cold and rainy day.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Signs of Spring II

Finally, some quilting news ... I've completed the Signs of Spring wall hanging. This was begun ever so long ago ... when we were still under deep snow! It's now hanging in the planned space in the kitchen adding some Spring cheer on a cold and rainy day.

I haven't had a chance to decorate around it yet, so here's the wall hanging by itself:

One of the things I loved about making this was the embroidery! I learned to love sewing by doing embroidery and crewel work when I was young ... as I recall it all started at around age 9 or 10. I can remember sitting on the beach in the summer and stitching away. Doing the embroidery on this project brought those memories back. I also remember reading and laying on the beach all slathered up with baby oil. Ahhh! The glorious 70's!

Anyway, a couple of my favorite stitches were of course, the Lazy Daisy stitch and French Knots! I guess that's why all the memories came flooding back ... here's the detail:
What a sweet little face ...
Happy Spring!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mythological Creature in Rural New Hampshire!

On Thursday, May 1st the mythological "Dachsicorn" was spotted in rural New Hampshire. This animal, long thought to be an old-wives tale, was spotted and captured on camera by a resident of southwestern New Hampshire.

The story goes that this creature was infamous for a loud, dog-like, barking noise, it's desire to "taste" it's prey by continuously licking their hands or neck (or any bare skin) and it's insatiable lust for belly rubs.

Here's a view of the creature at rest:
Note that it's bed is in need of cleaning ... the Dachsicorn was also infamous for it's lack of tidiness. Also note it's chubby and cute physique ... this trait was intended to catch it's victims off guard in order to procure treats and even more belly rubs! Pure evil!

A close-up view of the beast:
Be on your guard!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring has sprung! Subtitle: Support Hose for Greyhounds

Where does the time go? I wrote on Monday about my wonderful Pay It Forward gift that I received from Jacquie (that I'm still enjoying immensely) ... had other things to write about, but the week slipped away and here it is, Saturday evening.

Well, better late than never, I suppose!

So where does the time go? Well, first of all. I've finished all but the binding of Signs of Spring. I plan to finish this tonight and will (hopefully) show you tomorrow.

Otherwise, I've not been doing that much quilting ... but I have been walking, walking and walking some more ... here's my walking companion.

This is Jolene and as you can see she had a bandage on her leg. Jolene has arthritis in her back legs and was having trouble getting up the stairs of the deck and into the house. She scraped her legs on the steps and had to be bandaged for a couple of weeks. She's doing much better ... no more bandage and, with the help of daily aspirin, is feeling much better. In the meantime, we're walking more ... twice a day ... down to the lake (or further) and back ... good exercise for both of us!

We're experimenting with "support hose" or leggings to try to protect her legs ... I made these from an old pair of leggings ... they fall off when we go walking, but I'm experimenting with the design. She's much happier without them at the moment. Maybe it's the color ... maybe She's worried that all the other dogs are going to make fun of her for wearing stockings ... she looks pretty mortified in the photo ... ("oh mom!").
In the meantime, Spring is finally here ... here's a daffodil in our garden ... (thank you for the bulbs, Dan!) ...And some down the road ...A neighbor's forsythia ...
I love that yellow and green ... so bright and happy!
And Laurel Lake, with beautiful Mt Monadnock in the distance ...
It's a beautiful place to walk every day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Package in the Mail!

I think I'm the luckiest quilting blogger in the world! I just read on Jacquie's blog that her Pay it Forward challenge gifts were ready and then, what was waiting for me when I got home??? A wonderful package! Here's the beautifully wrapped package ... with real ribbon, that, of course, I saved. Actually I saved the paper too ... I don't usually do this, but I really liked the paper!

And the surprise! A beautiful tea-cup wall-hanging! Designed and made by Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio.
I joined her Pay it Forward a little bit ago and was so thrilled to be selected as a recipient because I love her creations! What Jacquie didn't know is that I also love tea cups. I'm not much of a tea drinker, but I have some beautiful old cups that I cherish AND I was planning on putting some out this Spring. I haven't done the Spring decorating in the kitchen yet, but when I do, I will show you how I use her quilt and the tea cups ...

I love it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Jacquie included this cheery pincushion too ... how delightful ... I've already started using it!
Thank you again, Jacquie!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Maple Leaf Memories

Like many quilters, I have a pile of UFOs. I have a goal to finish them ALL this year. Ambitious, I know, but it makes me so happy to finish projects!

This is a project that I love, love, love ... I'm dying to finish it, have it quilted (I typically only hand quilt, so I plan to send bigger quilts out to be quilted) and use it on my bed!

This is called Maple Leaf Memories. From a class that I took year ago ... isn't it scrumptious?!?
Fall is my favorite season ... there is nothing that I love more than the changing of the leaves ... I had so much fun making each of these blocks ... it was so exciting to see how each one would come out. I actually made more blocks than I needed ... so I have a half dozen orphan blocks!

Here's a more detailed view (my sock-clad toes included):
So, if I love this quilt so much, what is the problem? It's the border ... the flying geese ... I have to make 60 of these 4 goose units ... I've made 34 ... I'm getting there, but they are time consuming and I find that I can only stand making them for so long. Every week, I tell myself that I'll make two a day, but it doesn't happen. BTW, there will be a thin red border between the maple leaves and the flying geese and the another thin red border on the outside of the flying geese ... love those flying Dutchmen in the corners.
Anyway. My goal ... is to be done with the flying geese, and have it all assembled by the end of April! I know I can do it ... so here we go ... I guess I'd better make a few today ... :-) ... okay, here I go ... what's that? ... is that the laundry calling me? ... oh what, I think one of the dogs needs to go out ...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday Thoughts ...

Spring really is coming to New Hampshire! The snow is melting, the days are longer, the robins are back, the Canada geese are passing through on their way home! I can smell it in the air, feel it in the breeze ... Ahhhh!

I can't wait to get out into the yard and start gardening!

In the meantime, I've been working away on the border for the Angels in My Garden BOM I wrote about a bit ago ... it is nearly half done. I get the directions for the rest next week. I can't wait to have it finished and to start quilting it.

Next, I'll be putting the borders on Aster Blast and begin the applique this weekend.

Then ... I need to introduce to you another UFO that I really want to finish. It's called Maple Leaf Memories. From a class I took one year ago ... I'm still working on the endless flying geese that go around the border. I will take pictures of the center this weekend and share that project with you as well!

I also plan to get to a few other quilt shops in the local area and take you along so you can have a peak ... there are so many great shops around here! It seems like I'm always discovering a new treasure! Look for these trips over the next few weeks. It's a shame that working interferes with my quilting! (Ha!)

Have a very Happy Thursday!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Center Finished!

Just wanted to share that I've finished putting together the center of Aster Blast! [Woohoo ... doing the quilty dance of joy.] The center was a killer ... it's far from perfect, so don't look too closely ... :-)
Now, gotta take the dogs for a walk ... here's Pip asking to go ...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Signs of Spring

There is something so exciting about starting a new project! And, although I enjoy involved projects, there is something to be said for the instant gratification of an easy project.

I started a class today at Pickering Farm called Signs of Spring. It is a sheep with a checkerboard on it's back. I'm using 1930's reproduction fabrics and it is bright and Springy and cheerful! Very helpful because it still looks like this outside:
Here's the checkerboard on the background:
Here's the pattern for the sheep with the checkerboard:
I'm loving it! Next week we're doing the embroidery on the sheep. I'm so glad that embroidery seems to be making a resurgence! It was one of the first things I learned and one of the things that made me fall in love with sewing and needle crafts.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

Want to join on the Pay it Forward Challenge? I've joined over at Jacquie's site Tallgrass Prairie Studio and am excited to participate.

I need three folks to join in though ... here are the rules:

The first three people to join the challenge on my blog will receive a gift handmade by me. I will have 365 days to make and send your gift. It might take me just that long! Well, maybe not. You must then do a post on your blog inviting 3 more people to join in and receive a handmade gift from you.

If you would like to join, please specifically say so in your comment. Let's spread some random acts of kindness together.

Truthfully, I'm a little bit nervous about doing this, but I think it'll be fun!! And am already planning what I will make.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Confessions of a magazine addict ...

Thanks for your input on the fabric choices for Aster Blast! I decided to stay with my second choice and have started to applique the centers and baskets. In the end, it came down to laziness ... I didn't want to take apart all of those stems, even though some are a little crooked, but, in keeping with my "it doesn't have to be perfect" philosophy, I didn't correct all of them (okay some were ridiculously crooked, so I had to fix them ... I admit to being a closet perfectionist).

More confessions ... I am addicted to quilting magazines. I receive two by mail and buy anywhere from 4 to 6 additional magazines every month or so. Sometimes it an "or so" because magazines just don't fit in the budget that month, but they are one of my favorite indulgences.

So yesterday we went off to the Borders in Keene, NH and with great delight, I went down the aisle where the quilt magazines are stashed. There is a bench at the end of the aisle and I usually sit there and look them all over, but some woman was in my spot and wouldn't give an inch, so I just stood in front of her and looked at the magazines. Really, how can someone not recognize when one of their fellow human beings is in desperate need of a magazine fix? How inconsiderate! Hmmmm ... maybe she was in the same position as me ... although she was looking at cooking magazines, couldn't be the same thing.

Anyway, I came away with my two treasures and with the next one planned ... here are the two I bought yesterday:
I'm loving Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home. Not your average quilting magazine, you can count on an unconventional view of the quilting world. Mark has a talent for saying like it is and not mincing words about taboo quilting subjects. I love that ... we "quilters" tend to take ourselves so seriously ... what's the point? I enjoy Mark's writing style and for some reason, being called somebody's little "poodle" or "chicken" is endearing to me.

Then I bought the BH&G American Patchwork & Quilting. I'm always attracted to their magazine ... it's candy for the eyes. And they have lots of do-able projects that don't look too scary (and I can be a scardy-cat ... more on that later). I like the AllPeopleQuilt website ... lots of great information, free patterns and stuff. I get their e-newsletter and generally find a few interesting things there. It's very commercial, but what can you say? It's BH&G?

So then at home. I get the following:
I have gotten, Quilters Newsletter, off and on, since I first started quilting (late '80's). I love looking at the magazine. But honestly, some of the projects scare the heck out of me ... there are a bunch of sewing geniuses out there in the world and the thought of measuring up to that ... eek! However, now that I have my new "it doesn't have to be perfect" attitude, I'm not so scared ... I do love this magazine, the articles are good and I like learning about the history of quilts, etc. The magazine, on the whole is pretty "serious" ... probably it's only downside.

Then I also get Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting ... they generally have easy to accomplish projects (not that I'm always looking for easy, but something that could be completed in my lifetime would be good) ... more do-able like the BH&G magazines. My only complaint about this magazine is that they are constantly plugging the F&P products. Not that I dislike the products, but, enough already!

So if Quilters Newsletter is for the serious quilter, F&P's Love of Quilting is for the the more down to earth, "get 'er done," kind of quilter. I like them both, so maybe I'm a little bit of both.

And, oh goody, this just arrived today ... the latest edition of QNM:
I'm in magazine addicts heaven! I'm off to read ... Shatzie and Bailey just came in to join me ...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Color Woes

I've struggled with the color selections from the first with Aster Blast (pattern from Quilter's Newsletter Magazine).

I purchased some of the fabric, the pink, blue and white with a different project in mind. But that project turned into something else and I soon decided to use these colors because I loved this pattern so much. I later picked up the brown for the stars and stems and the reddish-brown for the baskets. I was never easy about the color combo, but after putting together the star points, I was feeling better about it.

Then, I started working on the applique and ugh! Nothing was working anymore!

First of all, I had picked a lighter background fabric and when I put it next to the star points, the white fabric got lost ... so that had to go. I picked up the darker fabric and the star points "popped" better and I was happy. However, I didn't think about what this would do with the flowers ...

So, the other day, I put it all together and this is what I got:
UGH!!! Could it be any uglier? The basket fabric overwhelmed everything and had to go and then the flower centers overshadowed the flowers rather than blending in. So then I started thinking ... maybe pink or green for the baskets? Maybe the brown for the flower centers, but, no that would over power the flowers too ... such color woes!

So, I ended up at Pickering Farm yesterday to look for alternatives ... with Diana's help, this is what I ended up with:

Okay, better ... the sage green picks up on the green in the blue and white fabrics and the brown centers don't totally overwhelm the flowers ...

Something about it still bugs me though, but I'm charging ahead with this color scheme. It'll probably all look different by the time I get it together and put the border on anyway.

I have to say that I've struggled with color on this project more than any other ... I usually just pick the colors and charge forward and it works out. Do you ever struggle with the color like this? How do you solve your problems??

Well, back to it!

Happy Easter to those that celebrate the holiday!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy First Day of Spring!!

Spring is here!!! We're very excited to see it finally come to New England ... on the calendar at least!

I'm posting a picture that I took the first year we were back in New Hampshire. After only a year in California, a Spring snow was a novelty ...

This a photo of an early morning Spring snow on a beautiful huge forsythia bush here in town ... we'll probably see a very similar scene in about a month.

Hope it's been a great day for all ... more on the weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

True Confessions

I have an obsession to confess ... it's seasonally appropriate kitchen curtains. The other rooms, not so much, but in the kitchen ... they must be changed each season.

Part of the problem with this obsession is that even though I have curtains for each season, when it gets time to change them, I decide I'm sick of the ones that I have and start to plan something new.

The plan becomes more and more elaborate until I get to the point where I've run out of time, the season has started and I still have last seasons curtains up.

Here are pictures of this year's winter curtains. Nothing elaborate or fancy. But I dreamed about these FOREVER! Don't you just love that fabric?? Look at those trees? And the fences? To me, the wintery scene is evocative of a warm and cozy fire in the stove; sitting and quietly sipping hot chocolate. Much like right now, except I sit in the glow of the computer and I'm drinking tea.

So, my latest curtain obsession? Birdhouse curtains ... not just any birdhouse, but paper foundation pieced birdhouses made from 1930's fabrics (won at an auction last year), with little appliqued birds and flowers ... how cute! And, they'll go with the wall hanging for the class that starts in a week and half ...

Have I started the birdhouses? Have a planned out every detail? Well, no! There are still two days until Spring starts and there is still snow on the ground, after all! Good grief!

I have the fabric, I have a rough sketch ... we'll see where it goes from here. I'll be sure to let you know if the Winter curtains are still hanging in June!