Monday, October 22, 2012

Dear Ms. Brackman....

Dear Ms. Brackman,

Please, no more Y-seams for a couple of rows....

The Wimp

No, I really did not send this to Barbara Brackman, the wonderful and much appreciated designer of the current Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week quilt! )

It's my own fault, you see.  Have you ever heard anyone refer to a delightful diet concoction (example: HealthyChoice icecream) and wonder out loud, "how many servings can I have before this is NOT healthy!?!"

Well, I figured if ONE block of the week quilt was so much fun last year..... where I made this beauty (Barbara Brackman's Civil War block of the week, pictured before I corrected one upside-down block!):

Then making TWO of the Grandmother's Choice quilts would be double the fun!  RIGHT???!!

Well, this is true in the case of some of the blocks which are..... well....  which don't involve Y-Seams!!

So far, here are a few of the blocks I've made:

In all seriousness, Ms. Brackman is challenging me in a good way!  I love this new BOW and I'm actually enjoying the blocks with Y-Seams too....  When I'm finished with them, it is very satisfying to look at the growing stack!  I've already mentally picked the recipients of these two quilts and I think the history behind each of the blocks will be especially meaningful to them.  I'm already looking forward to the new block next Saturday!

(I'm keeping track of this quilt's progress, color placement, etc, on my OleFrogEyes virtual design wall.. click here to see: )

Highlights of Cody trip

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Cody 2012

My trip was uneventful and I arrived in Cody on time.  Mom and Dad collected me and my bags and off to the house we went.  Dad got a kick out of the fact that I used more “strings” to pack in an empty area in my suitcase….  He says there is something magic about strings.  We keep taking them out of the box and making squares and the level never seems to go down.  Now that I added more, his string box is bursting.  We’re planning to make a lot of string blocks this trip.

One of the first things we did was run out to the workshop to look at the old Singer machine that he is working on for me.  Jason had found this machine last summer in a home he was working on, (here) and the owner told him he could have it!  Dad has cleaned it up and after removing a ton of old junk, oil, lint, fuzz, and more caked on oil and dust from the innermost parts of this machine, she is turning smoothly!  She runs more quietly than any machine I own!!  I will post pictures of her later – I was so stunned by how great she looked without the layer of dust, grime and oil, that I completely forgot to take a picture!

She needs a bobbin case, and a bit of adjustment to the tension, and she is going to be perfect for piecing blocks.  I love her already!!  She was born on Laurie’s birthday, in 1947!  So I think I will name her Kristin (Laurie’s middle name.)

Wednesday I got a good walk in early in the morning, revelling in the temperatures!  With the wind chill, it was a brisk 19 degrees and I cut my walk short because I am a wuss!

(it was pretty, even if it was cold, as I watched the sun come up.)

We charged into town and obtained some fleece to back a baby/lap quilt I wanted to finish for a charity auction Dad is involved with.  I also had brought a quilt with me in my suitcase that Nancy had donated and Dad was thrilled to have it for the auction.  The better part of the afternoon was spent quilting the baby/lap quilt, and I got the binding on later in the evening.  

(The top picture is all I had left of the material  Yvette shared with me that I used to make the baby/lap quilt - I used up nearly every bit!  The tiny leftovers pictured went into the string box!)

It took way longer to quilt than it should have because I kept getting distracted with the neighbors in the yard behind the house.

Yes, it's the Boyz Club meeting again!  There were five bucks and a number of does.   They were so pretty!

At one point, all five of the guys laid down together and muttered among themselves as they chewed on some alfalfa!

Later, I walked down to get the mail at the boxes at the end of the street (a decent hike actually!) and I had to stop and take a picture of the neighbors on that side of the house...

(Where's the beef?!)
Today, we hit the gym first thing in the morning, and I did a respectable amount of jogging on the treadmill and then did some time on an elliptical machine.  We patted ourselves on the back and had a nice lunch.  Mom always makes things taste so good – I don’t know how she does it….  She swears it is just because I didn’t have to make it myself, that anything made by someone else tastes better, but I think there is more to it than that!  After lunch, the Great String Block Challenge of 2012 commenced.  

Two sewing machines purring, and many trips to the ironing board….  We accomplished three of the seven rows for a string quilt today!  :)

Monday, September 10, 2012


Long time, no talkie, errr, bloggie.  I miss keeping track of my projects and my little life in my little corner of the world…must try harder to make time for it!

                     (How do you rotate a picture!)

                                               (Soon will have curtain covering closet area.)

I've been getting more done in my sewing room, now that I have relocated it from the loft into Laurie's old bedroom.  This forced me to organize, prioritize, store creatively, and otherwise get my UFOs and future projects delineated.  I've been working on it nonstop; I blame it on the coffee. 

I scored a Keurig with a small portion of my summer dog sit money (the rest went in my future long arm fund!) and I've been hopped up on caffeine ever since.  I use the MyK-cup and coffees bought on special, and I am loving the fresh cup every time! Yum!  Such an improvement in flavor!

I've been busy with sewing projects and wedding preparations. 

I have made a few more owl potholders, and I liked the pattern so much that I even enlarged/appliqued one on the front of an apron, to match a potholder I had already made. (Using the light box that Yvette gave me! Thank you Yvette!)

During a week long dog sit in August, I whipped up a snowball quilt from a layer cake that Beth passed to me (Thank you, Beth!!)….

This week I've been quilting it.  I am going to echo the same design you see on the white squares formed between the snowballs, in the center of each snowball, only slightly larger. 

This was all prompted by a bit of uncooperative behavior from my Janome 1600PBX on the Handi-Quilter frame…   I had purchased a used carriage that would allow me to quilt from the front of the machine (needle end, more like a "real" long arm), rather than the back of the machine.  I was hoping it would work well, but something just wasn't right.  Skipped stitches, dragging machine, breaking thread and minimal control…..  combined with pilot error, I'm sure!.....  I finally took it off the carriage and off the frame, pinned it, and I'm quilting this using the Janome off the frame, just sitting on the table and pushing it through.  Working like a charm!  I guess the carriage will get set aside permanently, and I will try stippling from the back of the machine (like I used to) on the next quilt, before I give up on the Handi-Quilter frame completely.  Everything else has remained the same (needles, threads, etc), so I'm thinking the culprit may be that used front-carriage (and me!). 

Also while dog sitting, I have continued the String Quilt Blocks....  I have the best quilting friends in the world, and their contributions of fabrics from their stashes mean I will be able to make MANY of these quilts for Dad and Mom to give to the Crisis Center they work with. 

Wedding preparations continue.  Shower invites were sent out and Laurie's shower is this weekend. 

Karen is making adorable cupcakes with wedding dress bodice "picks" that are stuck in the top of the icing - I will post pictures after the shower which is next Saturday.  Wedding invites have gone out, engagement pictures have been taken, suitable outfit has been purchased for the Mother of the Bride….. including pumps.  Having not worn such things in probably two decades, the likelihood of me going tail over teakettle is high!

That's just two of the pictures taken at the beach in Laguna….  The photography session and pictures were a gift from Jason's aunt!

I feel the birdhouse fever coming on…..  that's what happens when I'm in Michael's to purchase wedding favors/ring bearer pillow/flower girl basket, etc, etc, and I have to pass THIS each time I try to redeem a 40% off coupon.

Soon as things calm down, I'm sure I'll be taking my 40% coupons back to Michael's and coming home to make more of these.  (And just how do I turn a picture on this blogger program?)

Last but not least, I started a new Barbara Brackman Block of the Week called Grandmother's Choice this week.  ( 

I had some fabric with hearts on it that I had been saving for something special, and I found some perfect coordinating fabrics in a big bag of goodies that Nancy had given me (Thank you, Nancy!!)  They all go together Sew Well!!

First two blocks are below, and are also posted on my Ole Frog Eyes virtual design wall. 

I found Ole Frog Eyes to be a fantastic tool when I made Barbara Brackman's Civil War Block of the Week quilt….  It made it so easy for me to make sure I wasn't using too many similar colors in one area of the quilt, and also kept me from too frequently duplicating actual fabrics in blocks that might end up next to each other, etc.  You can click on my Ole Frog Eyes widget at top right of my blog to be connected to my Ole Frog Eyes page.  LOVE IT!

Michael is on vacation this week, which means I'm assisting in a lot of the projects on his "to do" list…..  but hopefully I will be upstairs in my sewing room each day too, and have more to show/blog next week!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

More progress! :)

I finished my red/white/blue (with quite a bit of gold) sampler quilt top.  This quilt is a Christmas present for someone very special to me! Shhhhh! Can't say more!

It is in a box and ready to be FedEx'd to Cotie (, a long arm quilter extraordinaire that I have had the privilege of sending quilts to several times in the past.  She's such a sweetie!  I can get lost on that link, which gives several more links to her web shots pages - so much eye candy and beautiful quilting on those pages!)

I had two extra blocks.  One was a boo-boo block that I remade because I didn't think there was enough contrast in the block.  Another was a block I inadvertently made twice!  That's what happens when you have too many UFOs and you are not meticulous about leaving yourself notes as to what is done, and what is not!!

I decided to make those two extra blocks into quilted pads to put on our side tables in the den.  I wanted something that is extremely washable and not at all delicate - since things like peanut butter and sloshed drinks end up on those tables. 

I plan to have those tables refinished (or maybe take the plunge and refinish them myself - I'm leaning towards that option!) and when I do, I will make new quilted pads that cover the whole blessed top  of the tables, to protect them! Might even put glass tops on there, to boot.  We are a bit tough on furniture in this house.  These tables are important to me, for sentimental reasons, so once they are refinished they better stay looking nice!

This week, I'm living at the home of a dog sit client...  They have two very young, very rambunctious, energetic, lively, active (etc, etc!!) Australian Shepherds.  This place resembles a segment of the old show Wild Kingdom much of the time.

They are really sweet, good dogs.  Moving too fast for the camera, above....

And caught in a slower moment here.  During the days, I'm working on my typing and proofing, etc, on one side of the kitchen table at their home.  In the evenings, or when I get caught up, and the dogs are zonked out and in "recharge" mode....I zip around to the other side of the table and sew!  Yep, I brought a machine and a project(s) down here!

I'm making a string quilt top this week.  This time, I'm trying a center strip of smaller blocks, in each square.

I like it, and I have 12 blocks done so far.  I should whip out quite a few blocks today, since it's the Fourth of July and hopefully all my dictators are out of their offices enjoying the day with families, and not dictating any reports to be transcribed!

I like the way it looks, but, I think the center strip of blocks would be more effective if it were more structured.  I'm thinking a black/white checkered effect, or some sort of more obvious center strip that is more controlled, would be more evident when viewing the whole quilt.  But even so, I love how this top is shaping up; it will be going up to Dad's for the next auction for the women & children's crisis center, or for any of the safe house beds that might need a colorful quilt.

Wishing everyone a SAFE and Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Checking in...

More than anything, I'm checking in to see if blogger has made any huge changes while I've been lost in my sewing adventures.  Seems like every time I let a month (or three) go by, I come back to a format I am not familiar with!
Anyhoo, that's my story and I'll see if I can post a few pix.  I spent this past weekend sewing.  Made my days, I tell you!  I am feeling the effects of the recession in my transcription business, but the upside of less work, is more time to sew.  I could get used to this "weekends off" stuff! I sewed with Ellen and Karen on Saturday and got to meet and enjoy the company of her delightful cousin Melanie.  We had a ball!

These are from a red, white and blue sampler I'm doing...  Ellen and I are both making this one.  I've been working the blocks in scrappy goodness while she used some fabric that was bought specifically for it.  I'm enjoying these so much (they are 12 inches finished - LOVING the size increase from the Farmer's Wife types!).  We've got another one planned to begin! Sunday I joined everyone at the Orange Quilt Bee, and made two more blocks!

I have two more to do, and then I'm ready to throw on setting triangles to make the blocks even bigger, and will make a twin sized quilt, sashing in a dark blue, I think.  As a friend pointed out recently on Facebook, it's less than 200 days until Christmas, so I need to get hopping on this one and get it quilted! While I was at the Bee, I saw some pretty awesome quilts that were calling me....this one even had my name spread across it!

Jenny was working on binding a quilt she has made as a wedding gift!  Pretty!

Karen persevered, drank coffee, frogged mis-sewn portions, and persevered some more . She now has a finished flimsie ready for the quilting frame.  AWESOME!

I saw this wall hanging, caved in, and placed an order for it.  This will be made from Christmas stash drawer(s).... that justifies it, right!?!  (sorry, dark pic!)

I saw this cute Sunbonnet Sue being pinned!  It made me want to run home and make a few more of my  Sunbonnet Sue blocks.  I've been doing about three blocks a year and getting side tracked! Snicker!

So cute!  I enjoyed spending time with Karen, Ellen, Jenny, Yvette, Nancy and Pat.... (We missed Beth!!)  Such fun ladies!!  The shop hop is going on this weekend and next, and that means extended hours.  We're planning to get together early before our final class with Janet 'Sensei' for June, and sew the day away again!

This week I'm going to quilt a lap sized quilt Karen has made for a girlfriend, and this weekend Jason is finishing the flooring in Laurie's old room - the Great Move (of the sewing room from the loft to that bedroom) will commence after that.  Combine that with three dog sits over the next two weeks (two overlapping for seven days!), sewing time will be at a premium, and most of my time will be spent knee deep in dog hair and wagging tails.... It will be a while before I have much to show here.  But I'm seven blocks from done with Farmer's Wife and two blocks from done on the Red/White/Blue sampler, so hopefully, I'll whip those out and be ready to start new projects in the "new" sewing room.  That's all, folks!  I'll see if this posts successfully!  :)