Thursday, February 28, 2008

A little progress, to tide me over until Saturday Sampler!

I got seven of the 20 squares needed completed tonight.....I think it will look nice when its done, with a tan border, and bound with the deep all-over meander, etc.

I like the look of the one in the link below, also (at least from the directions). It looks almost like it will have the appearance of woven ribbons....

I may try cutting this one and "kitting" it for my Red Hot Sew 'n Sews to do as a chemo quilt. If I put enough for four blocks in each kit (fabric cut in 2" strips, WOF), then everyone could do four blocks and join them into one row, and five of us could whip out a quilt top pretty quickly. I would then join the rows and attach the border. I could wait until I had several to do and then put them on my HandiQuilter......

Tomorrow's Friday - lots of work, grocery run, and no time to quilt :( But then Saturday Sampler! Yay!

We're Set!

Lookie what showed up on my porch yesterday! Karene happened to come by to pick up something at about the same time, and Mr. B got our picture with our big buy.....(we went halvsies on it!)

That box is almost up to our shoulders and it's Warm and Natural Batting.....40 yards, at a rediculously reduced price! We saved $130.00 off the original price and only paid $6.00 apiece for the shared shipping!! Our best calculations show it will be as if we got the batting for less than $5.00 a yard! I've not seen it that low in any stores. Frugal batting means more money to spend at quilt shops!!

We're going to store it in the Big Green Closet upstairs (formerly known as Laurie's bedroom).

Of course, Sadie was beside herself at the prospect of a visit from Auntie Karene.......It took her a while to stop wiggling and racing around madly, but then she said a proper "hello" in her own unique fashion. She sits up on her back feet and raises her front paws and wraps them around your hands. She greets me this way every single cute!

Off to conquer Thursday! Saturday Sampler is almost here! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's Done! And not too shabby!

It's Finished! I threw dinner in the crock pot and I went upstairs determined to conquer that last side of Laurie's quilt, or bust!

Evidently, the Time Out helped (it helped me, not the quilt!) and stitching went much more smoothly today. I finished the quilting in the border, with the butterflies and hearts.

And then I put on the binding and used the same decorative stitch for this one that I used for TiJae's quilt. In retrospect it might have been more stitching than the narrow border needed, but hey, it will never come unstitched!!

I put it on top of the island in the kitchen (obviously, I have NOT refinished that cabinetry yet! Ugh!) and I took the lint remover to it. I got all the dog hair and stray thread and batting lint off. Then I tossed it in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet and a damp towel, to tumble out any wrinkles and freshen it. Hopefully, this weekend, I can give it to Laurie. She lives closer to the beach and it's cooler there, so I hope she gets some use from it before the hot weather kicks in down there. It's bigger than it looks - four times the size seen in the picture - almost queen sized.

Fresh from the crock pot, the steaming bowls of beef stroganoff kept the Peanut Gallery happy......All in all, it was a good afternoon.

(Overlook the cluttered table!! We did!)

Next, I need to piece the back for the checkerboard quilt. Then I will focus on the rail fence pattern quilt for Michael's friend's wife....

And maybe refinish a cabinet or two. Maybe.

I'd rather be quilting!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Laurie's quilt is in Time Out again.....

Okay, here is a progress report on the Even More Tipsy Butterflies and Wonky Hearts.....At this rate, the weather will be too hot for her to use the butterfly quilt by the time I get it done. :(

I exaggerate, but still.........Sigh! I did an entire side of the butterflies and hearts border tonight.....and I'm in need of so much P3 (practice, practice, practice!) that its just not funny. The quilting will serve a purpose, and keep the batting from shifting, but I'm not really happy with the appearance of the stitching. I am not yet able to truly control the quilt movement enough as I move it under the hopping foot. I think I'm fine-tuning what I "enjoy" in quilting, and free-motion quilting while sitting down is not on the list. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have just pinned the quilt back onto the frame, one side at a time, and used the machine on the frame, to follow the border design....I might have had better control/results.

Never the less, I am down to only one side left to go, and hopefully I can then bind it and get it to Laurie and she can curl up with Billy and watch a movie with it!

Michael and I went out for an adventure this afternoon. He initially billed it as a "hot date" to get my attention, but we downgraded it to an "adventure" as soon as he told me what we were doing. One of the many projects we have going on right now is the rehabbing of an old car that has been used/abused and we want to eventually sell it. But first it needs a lot of "stuff".....Like a windshield, for starters, and a headliner, since a couple of sodas exploded inside of it one hot day, and everywhere on the ceiling that coke splattered? it rotted the fabric away. I'm familiar with the stories about how Coke eats away at things....and this proves it!

Also, whenever we are out in that car, whoever is driving has to walk around the outside of the car and let the passengers it is missing some inside door handles. (I have no idea why.) So today, we went to the Car Cemetary....

Mr. B. thought this would be a swell way to pick up a couple of handles, cheap. And we do love cheap in this family. Why, look at the grin on his face over a marked-down sun-dried tomato-flavored turkey breast he found at Ralph's,

and the toilet paper he scored at less than 42 cents a roll......

No! Instead, look at those beautifully finished cabinets behind him! But, I digress.

I do that a lot. Senior moments and all that.

Anyway, we searched not one, but two separate car cemetaries (Pick-Your-Part lots), and came away empty-handed. Actually, I was surprised at how hard it was to locate the type of car you were looking for. Umm....what was that car....back in its day?

Tell me, can you identify those white cars on the left??

But the trip was not wasted....We stopped at M&L Fabrics on the way home and I grabbed yards and yards and yards of fabric in a white-on-white design for the back of the checkerboard quilt. On the way into the store, I admonished Mr. B. to make sure I didn't get carried away. It is, after all, a really huge fabric store. I resolutely headed back towards the white-on-white section, and then promptly got side-tracked by a row of florals. And instead of pulling me along by my ear, Mr. B. started pointing out some patriotic prints he "really, really liked......that one, and That One, and......oh I really like that one!!" I had the strangest feeling of deja was the same reaction he had in the Michael's Craft Store the last time I was there with him! He wasn't making sure I behaved....he was enabling me! He even paid!! :)

Far be it from me to complain! I got the white-on-white, and then tossed in about three yards of a white-on-beige. Then, I got points for being frugal myself, today, by stopping at Joann's and scoring rotary blades at 40% off! Yay!

So at the end of our adventure, I went on ebay and found the two car door handles, for $7.95 (for the pair!) plus shipping. Mission accomplished!

I went upstairs and went a few rounds with the uncooperative butterfly quilt, and then after putting it in Time Out, I cut and assembled a test square for a quick rail fence I'm doing for a friend of Mr. B's, whose wife has cancer. I don't know her favorite colors, but I'm hoping the green and blue and the garden print are appealing and brighten her days as she undergoes treatment.

Karene was emphatic about wanting to see what it looked like, even though it is the simplest of all here it is. ;)

This Saturday is the first Saturday Sampler! Whooohooo! Karen and I are looking forward to the challenge! However, to increase my chances of doing well, I plan to attend the instruction session on Saturday and then make the square in class with Teacher Extraordinaire on Sunday!! Heh-heh!! Ellen told me that Ann did that last year and I remember seeing some of her squares - they were beautiful!

It's late and I am Le Tired. Tomorrow.....(as I cross my fingers).....I will conquer the Last Side of the Butterflies and Hearts!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our Tigerbaby has a Tigerbaby

Too cute.
She buried it in the backyard the first day Mr. B. let her play with it.....we couldn't figure out where it went.....he found it with the legs sticking up out of the dirt like a crime scene....

He dug it up, washed it, dried it, and now she's walking around with it in her mouth....."my baby....MY baby....MINE!" she says.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents' Day Observed!

That's what my calendar said. Presidents' Day was also listed as a day that my busiest account was closed on their 2008 schedule. Karen had Presidents' Day off. We saw the opportunity on the calendar and immediately started conniving, working, preparing and arranging......

I cooked Big Bird #4 (a turkey purchased on sale at Christmas and put in the freezer) and made gravy in advance. I had already peeled 4592 potatoes and made garlic mashed potatoes for Michael for his Valentine's Day meal.....deliberately making so many that there would be left overs in the freezer for the weekend and Monday. If he didn't want turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy (and if he wasn't deathly ill, which would be the only reason I could think that he would not!) I also made a fresh batch of the new favorite onion soup recipe. Karen made some miso soup and I made a vegetarian pasta recipe that was also easy to reheat.

Hungry tummies were covered. Karen and I ripped through the cleaning, our respective laundry, a bunch of silly things on our "to do" lists, and I typed and proofed everything I could. I announced to the world and anyone who would listen that Monday, I was not doing Dishes, Dogz or Donuts. ("making the donuts" has always been our euphemism for "working".)

That meant that today was one whole entire day I could spend in my sewing room! And as a result, I have a completed quilt top!

I finished attaching the "piano key" border and the checkerboard corners. Now it's ready to go to a long-arm quilter for an all over meander and then I will bind it in the same blue I used for the sashing between the checkerboards. Yay!

Karen worked on her rag quilt. She sandwiched batting in between pieces of flannel and used a zig-zag stitch in an X-shape across each square.

The squares were joined today into the quilt and she has started clipping the seam allowances.

We figure we should get that completed with the nifty scissors Ellen loaned to us, over the next day or so, and then we can wash and dry it, and the edges should turn into something approximating this:

I'll post another picture when we see how it comes out of the dryer!

All in all, a good day. I don't want to go back to work tomorrow! My next project will be to complete another UFO, the Inebriated Butterflies and Wonky Hearts border of Laurie's quilt. I think I will trace the pattern on the three remaining sides on the high table at Leah's in class on Sunday, and start stitching right after that. The rest of this week......


More blasted cabinets in the kitchen. Slowly but surely, I am finishing a few things. It feels good!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine, Valentine!

My blog has been a dud lately, mostly because my days have been filled with proofing transcription, and this..............

And I am pretty sick of the kitchen rehab project. But since I turned on the faucet at the sink a few days ago and was rewarded for my diligence in doing dishes by a fine, thin spray of water that arced directly, and with great precision, into my left eye.......and since my cabinet under the sink now holds only a roasting pan to catch leaking water from any number of hoses located in that area.....

I need to finish this refinishing gig. Soon.

Then I can seriously pick out the appliances, countertop and sink.....and schedule the Knights with Shining Armor to come and install them! I'm contemplating scheduling a demolishing party, for the Saturday before they come to begin installation on Monday....

I'm kind of looking forward to that. Me, a sledge hammer, and a counter top that I can beat to smithereens. Our neighbor said that when he had his kitchen counters replaced, the contractor wanted $1,000 to remove the old one. So we're going to try to do that ourselves. Another neighbor did it quite successfully, at about 11:30 p.m. one Tuesday night a few years ago. We know this, because they kept us awake with the smashing and banging, until about 1 a.m.!! But that's okay, because if they can do it, we can do it!! (the demolishing, not the disturbing of the peace!) What we lack in knowledge or finesse, we more than make up for with willingness and effort!

Today was Valentine's Day. I took a hint from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman's blog, and decided to try her garlic mashed potatoes, rubbed pan-fried steak, and chocolate pie, for Mr. B.

Roasting the garlic was so absolutely simple......the smell of garlic hung in the air and oh my, it was mouthwatering. I got it roasted this morning and set aside to add to the potatoes later in the evening.

The chocolate pie? To die for. Here's a picture of my finished masterpiece.

While I was whipping potatoes and searing that steak tonight? Mr. B. had his dessert first!! Hey, as they say, "life is uncertain - eat dessert first!"

I gave making a homemade card a try - here's the result of my attempt:

And the inside......

Mr. B. gave me my favorite sugar-free candies, and a card, with fat quarters in disguise inside!!!!

Well, that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the "green", anyway!! To the quilt store I shall go!!

I hope everyone had a day steeped in chocolate and filled with happy memories that were made.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Sampler Plus Show 'n Tell

Karen and I got up early to go check out the Saturday Sampler for 2008 at Leah's Fabric Gallery.

Janet Salcido, Teacher Extraordinaire, has been working very, very hard to make this year's quilt, and it is positively gorgeous. These two pictures show the "early birds" gathering for the Show 'n Tell.....our numbers easily doubled by fifteen minutes later.

I'm sure you can do this year's Saturday Sampler quilt in any fabric you like, but they have kits made up for a floral, and a batik. Here they are!

The Floral:

The Batik:

I am not sure if Janet made both the floral and the batik sample, but they are just stunning.....and if I find out someone else made the batik, I will update this.

I made a slideshow of some of the Show 'n Tell portion of the morning. However, it wouldn't let me imbed it instead I will just post a link to an album containing all the pictures.
These are last year's Saturday sampler quilts. If completed by today, the quilter received a $10.00 gift certificate from Leah's. Some of the quilts shown are BOM quilts from earlier years, and also some of the quilts are last year's sampler, done with different fabrics.

To see all the pictures Karen took this morning, here is a link to the entire Photobucket album:

Saturday Sampler Snow and Tell

After we left the Show 'n Tell, we headed for the gym. We were all gung ho to get back on the exercise "horse"......having fallen off somewhere amongst a pile of Christmas cookies, back in November. We pulled up to the gym and it appeared that every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Mildred, Maude and Sue) were there. Change of plans! We went home and got Le Tigre the WonderDog, and went up to the reservoir and walked a bit. Can we say "happy dog?"

This next picture I told Karen we should caption as "Tiger praying while Karen is driving!" Karen is an excellent driver, but it's a funny picture!

(Click to enlarge and notice her eyes squeezed tightly shut!)

Oh, we also picked up the instructions for the first (and second) of the 2008 Mystery Quilt BOM at Leah's! Karen and I will likely go to M&L's for material in the very near future so we can start that also! Sew many projects!


Friday, February 01, 2008

Honey Almond Wheat Bread

Karen's current favorite!

Baked up pretty well! She likes to make toast out of it for breakfast. It actually rose better than a loaf of plain white flour bread that I made for Mr. B.

He liked his just fine, but I think the wheat bread has a deeper flavor and this time, I didn't have any big air holes in the dough. Yay.

Honey Almond Wheat Bread
1-1/4 cups water
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pats
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon active dry yeast

I tossed all into the bread maker, liquids first, then butter, then yeast and the rest of the dry ingredients except for almonds. I like to use my breadmaker for the mix and the first rise. I let it run for about 15 minutes and then tossed the almonds in. They get broken up even further and mixed in just fine. After the first rise, I punched it down and put it in a bread pan to rise again, and then baked at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Smelled great! (much better than the onion soup two days ago!!)

Here's a picture or two that I just found on the camera, from one of the highpoints of my week! Laurie and BillyBoyfriend came to dinner and in this picture, they were looking at the calendar Karen found for Laurie that is full of pictures of Shiba Inu puppies....So Cute....I'm not even a dog person, and I like Shibas..... :)

Click on pic to see Mr. B as he proves that he is six at heart.

Max the Wuss Wonderful is seen here, looking grudgingly tolerant of Sadie as she invades his bed..........

and demands that he play with her.....
....."the little alpha brat pipsqueak!", he thinks....

HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE!! I am headed for my sewing room!