Friday, December 29, 2006

Fun Time

Family is coming to visit so I'll be off for a week.
See you then. Katie and Kipper Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Chirstmas in Florida

My DD2's screened in porch and back yard. We sure don't grow trees inside the porch in MI. Yup, the oranges were great.
Nice visit.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Card to You

Several years ago a dear friend sent me this card. I love it so much I have kept it and, as you can see, have scanned it.

May all of you have a Peaceful Holiday and New Year!

Katie and Kipper Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hand Quilting

I actually like doing this. Finn is right that it is relaxing and a good time to let the thoughts wander. I'm sure I'm not doing it correctly but that is fine with me. I have some trouble keeping straight. Each needle load wants to go off a little on its own direction but just step back a few feet and it looks okay. No quilt police here.
I like the cross hatching on point that I am doing. Popping the knot is really neat. I am surprised every time I do it. Thanks for the marking ideas. I'll be trying more of them later. So far I like the blue-wash away pen for the lighter fabrics and I discovered I could put a couple of my flower pins through the dark and follow them I don't care for sewing with the tape as well but am doing some of it too. I think I have at least 3/4 of Autumn Walk done. You can see in the last pic that Kipper lets me know when I need to stop and go for a bike ride.

I am using two strands of DMC. It is a deep gold color (610) and I really like it. I like to use DMC for darning. Yup, I nicked the fabric when cutting the thread from a final knot. The very busy backing and Hobbs batting are great, as is the basting spray and pinning method. I'm used to using a thimble and although I'm not doing the stitching correctly, I'm getting a good up and down motion and could make the stitches closer now.

Did you know that DMC is made in France? Interesting what I discover when reading labels. You probably knew, but I didn't, that Hobbs batting is made in Waco, TX. I watched a TV program Lap Quilting with a very interesting segment from their factory.

When doing a web search on methods of marking quilts, I found Appalachian Quilt Marking Techniques I wish this would just turn into a site to click on like it does in my e-mails. Would someone please tell me how to do it here? There is a site at the end of the article that takes you to the original material including audio. This site is
They women told about using left over fabric from making clothes and never buying fabric to make quilts. They talked about how the quilts were to keep the family warm with three or four on each bed. With blankets and better heating, the quilts weren't needed. One lady now uses an electric blanket. Another said she now kept just enough quilts to cover the beds when she had company. Another gave quilts to her children and grandchildren and hoped they "would enjoy them but would also take care of them so that they will last." Use but not abuse was her motto.

One method for marking was to dip a string in thick flour paste and snap it over the quilt. They also talked about pencils and chalk so maybe not that much has changed.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

This is stained glass from the Chicago display.

Not much to say today. It is my DH's
birthday. He died eight years ago. Remembering his favorite cake - German Chocolate.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Anyone Know These?

Last winter my senior park here in FL had a rummage sale. Someone had just bought a home here. It was full of Posted by Picasathings from the lady who had lived there before. The new owners donated a great deal of these things to the sale. There were many hand crafted items that were in plastic and obviously had never been used. We put these up as one of the door prizes and I won them. They are very well made. Anyone seen them before? Do they have names?

Update on Flooded Basement
I found out I had a rider on my insurance that limited damage from failed sump pumps to $5,000. An adjuster came today and okayed payment of the max amount. Now I can wait until I get back to MI to see if the water heater, washer, dryer and freezer work. Also to replace paneling and paint. I sure have a good neighbor who has helped me thu all of this.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Gifts

When our children were small Santa brought all the goodies and set them up like a store window display around the tree. But as they got up earlier and earlier, Santa began to wrap them. Stocking could be taken but everyone had to be up to unwrap presents.

Where did you hide gifts? Of course in boxes much larger than the gift. Other places were in locked suitcases and the trunk of the car. One year DD2 wanted a huge stuffed animal. We got her one that was about four feet tall and hid it in the truck camper. On Christmas eve we brought it into our bedroom closet. Inside a small box under our tree was a note telling her to look in our closet. For once, we really surprised her.

After the Santa years, we always passed out all the gifts and then starting with the youngest child, opened one at a time. Everyone got to enjoy seeing each person's gifts opened and pictures were taken. The person also got to enjoy seeing the unwrapping of the gift the gift they gave.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Water, Water everywhere

I am borrowing two sayings that Finn posted today. They are "Life is what happens while you are making plans." and "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!"

I'm not equating my MI basement flooding to Finn's eye problems, but the saying are so perfect for me today.

Yup, my sump pump went out and the basement really flooded before my neighbor found it. They have pumped it out and got the furnace working again. I've called insurance and getting people to clean it out including the spoiled food in the freezer. The water was at least 18 inches deep and all appliances are out. Oh, well, just stuff.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

This morning I was sitting in my chair quilting on Autumn Walk and watching Sunday Morning on TV. They had a segment on real vs artificial (they called them permanent) Christmas trees. It was recorded in MI.

Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth (known as Little Bavaria) was the setting for half of the segment. This store is the size of 1 1/2 football fields, is open all year and has everything related to Christmas. They have over 6,000 styles of ornaments with half of them being exclusive designs of Bonner's. The TV program showed some of the trees that they sell. Half of them are now prelit and have hinged branches. They range from the old fashioned ones with big bulbs to the super modern designer ones with high tech bulbs. I usually go to Frankenmuth at least once a year to have a chicken dinner and listen to the accordion music but I haven't walked through Bronner's in a few years. I must do that again next summer. With all the auto, water and nature places, it always amazes me that Frankenmuth is the most popular tourist place in Michigan. To me, it is just a neat nearby town.

The second part of the program segment was set on a tree farm in Armada. My Great Aunt Rose lived in Armada and made wonderful quilts. She died over 40 years ago and I really wish I had one of her quilts. Her son lived with her and worked nights. He came home one morning and found a finished quilt on the table with a note where to donate it. He checked on his mother and found she had died in her sleep. Isn't that the perfect way to end life here on earth?

Back to the trees. The farm on the TV program was typical of the many family-owned tree farms in Michigan. They loan you a hand saw to cut your own tree (or they will do it for you). Then they put the tree on a machine to shake all the loose needles off. They will also drill a hole in the bottom of the trunk to make it easier to put the tree in a stand and finally run it through a machine that puts a net over it to make it fit in or on your car or truck. I'm sure many States have such places but for you city folk, this is where your trees come from. I am now in Florida and have often wondered how fresh the real trees I see for sale here are. On the TV news the other day they were showing a large truck being opened. The trees that were inside had been cut in Michigan and still had snow on their branches. With today's transportation, at least some of the trees are fresher than I thought.

As a child, we always had a tree but we bought it from a lot. It's funny but I don't remember decorating it and, although I have so many things from my original family, I think the only thing I have from the tree are some old fashioned strings of bulbs.

I remember the first tree my DH and I had. We had only been married a few months and I was pregnant with our first child. We lived in an apartment and it didn't seem practical to get a tree. But I looked at them as I walked by the nearby lot. Finally just before Christmas, when they had the stands, lights and bulbs on sale in the Ben Franklin Store, I bought the decorations and a tree. It was 1959 and I remember the man sold me the tree for $1.

For the next many years, the whole family went to a tree farm and cut our tree. This included a wagon ride to the field and hot chocolate and a cookie afterwards. Sometimes they would have a fire going in the field to keep warm. We would all wander around looking for the perfect tree. DH liked short needled trees. Everyone always teased me about wanting a "Charlie Brown" tree. DH also liked to get one a little too tall and cut it off to the right height. It was a major event to get the tree up straight and select the best side to be toward the room. We put on lots of lights and garlands around and around. Then the bulbs and finally lots of tinsel that was put on one ice sickle (sp?) at a time. What wonderful trees they were.

With two daughters born just a year apart, I remember putting the unbreakable ornaments near the bottom. Even so the tree got tipped over. The inexpensive stand was not that stable so DH fixed that. He nailed it to the floor. A few years later a cat adopted us. She was pregnant and that Christmas we had kittens to enjoy the tree. I think cats always believe the tree is put up just for them and the water in the stand is much better than what they drink in their dish during the rest of the year. That year the fragile ornaments, including many that the children had made themselves, were put higher up. The kittens climbed the trunk but not out on the branches. You can be sure that tree was nailed down.

I no longer put up a tree but I sure have some great memories.

I loved Libby's (simplylibby) description of her childhood Christmas memories so much that I've gone back to read it over and over. I'm sure you would love it too.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Is Coming

I know Christmas is coming because I saw advertisements on TV for both the light that coming on with clapping and the clay pet that grows fur. VBS

I'm having a great time hand quilting Autumn Walk. The secrete was getting the great sandwich. I am doing a cross hatch on point. I don't want to put it down but limit myself to an hour at a time. Great to do while listening to audio books, too. I think I have about 1/5 of it done already. No stitching for the quilt police but I never do any part of quilting for them anyway.

My only frustration has been the markings. I had a pen that made blue marks that disappeared with water on a cotton swab. But it was nearly used up so I went to Hancock and bought another. It doesn't work. The first was Clover and the one that doesn't work just says The Fine Line by W.H. Collins. I also found an unopened pen that disappeared with air. It doesn't last for ten minutes. I marked some with slivers of soap but it is messy. One problem is I have both very light and very dark fabric to mark. I even put some painter's tape on to follow. There has to be a better way. Help, please.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Guess What I'm Doing

After trying everything, I concluded that this FL sewing machine has problems. My walking foot on my MI machine worked so well so I didn't anticipate any problems here. I finally abandoned all tries at various types of quilting and got the tension and stitch back to a regular one for sewing. I am hand quilting! Yup, I really am. After all this is a experimenting/learning quilt. I am using two strands of
embroidery floss and it is working well. I decided to just cross hatch it. So far so good.

Top pic is nativity set I bought here in FL a few years ago. It is a plate with raised figures which sets behind other figures. See second pic. It has a great 3D feel to it.

Bottom pic is Kipper checking things out through my front window this morning. Guess all was well as he is now napping on the couch. Notice my swivel chair where I sit and look out too. I took the screen out of this window so we can see better, well, as long as I keep the nose prints cleaned off. I have six windows like this across the front of my mobile home so can open the rest with screens. You can also see the quilt with the safety pins. It is hanging off my cutting/sewing table which is really a dining room table.

Weather cooler so that yesterday I made a pizza. I hate to turn on the oven in the hot weather. It is only to get up to 70 today and cloudy so I'm planning on making soup. Anyone want to come for lunch?
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks

I have successfully sandwiched quilt! My problem was I never could get all the layers together right. For the last one, I matched the front to blocks on the backing. Very big job and not all that successful. This time I picked up a hint from a TV show. They laid out the batting and smoothed the well ironed backing on top of it. Then they lifted up parts of the backing and lightly sprayed the back side of the backing with basting spray. Smooth it back down.This makes the batting and backing one unit. Then turn the unit over and add your top. When all smoothed out, lift parts of it and spray. This was suppose to be complete but I then pinned it. I love that batting I got. Also the curved safety pins. Anyway it looks great.

Now to the sewing machine. The walking foot won't work. And now I have everything all messed up. After way too much time yesterday trying everything, I gave up. I told the elves to fix it last night so today I will see how they did.

Yesterday I went to the see the Marie Osmond Christmas Show. It was excellent. She certainly has a tremendous range of songs and really did a great performance. She came into the audience and shook hands. I was sitting on the end of a row and got to shake her hand.

Microsoft gave me an update and this caused me to loose all my favorites and I can't even get into my mail this morning. I'm running a virus check now.

Hope you have more stepping stones than stumbling blocks today.

Monday, December 04, 2006


The top pic is another Christmas bit I made many years ago. It is 12 inches across. I sewed on the bias tape and then to a sweat shirt. Later I threw the shirt away but cut this off and may use it for a table decoration. I probably should figure some way to hang it up rather than set something on it. The red is a deeper Christmas color than the pic shows. Posted by PicasaI enjoyed doing it and how it looks but haven't done any other Celtic designs.

I had a talk with myself about getting a positive attitude about sandiching my quilt. I bought some good pins (sorry about the focus) and have started the progress. I can do this!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This is a ceramic tree I made many years ago.

A bit ago someone was asking what was our cheapest quilting hint. The Scotch tape used to seal boxes is mine. I keep some by my machine and ironing board and even hand sewing chair. I especially like it to pick up after ripping out. And I can run it over my shirt too.Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Silver Springs

Yesterday I went on a bus trip to visit Silver Springs. I enjoyed the river cruise with the glass bottom boat. We also saw lots of birds, wild alligators, turtles, deer and monkeys. At some point, someone brought in some monkeys to a nearby place. They ran away and live in the wild here. Very interesting. We also had a nice dinner and listened to some great vocalists with songs of the season. After dark the park was lit up with holiday lights and then they had a parade of lights on the water. Nice day.

I was hoping Kipper and the elves would sandwich Autumn Walk while I was gone but no luck. Kipper said the backing wasn't ironed. Oh, me.
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Thursday, November 30, 2006

No Borders Now

After making a border strip, I realized that my problem was that the quilt was not wide enough for its length. It is 72 x 48 with a 6 inch extra row at the top in this pic. I'm going to add another 12 inches to the width and I think 60 x 78 will be better. I don't have the two 24 inch strips sewed together yet.

I bought some great batting. It is Hobbs and was expensive at $19 for queen size which was the only size they had. I usually use cotton but wanted poly for this utility quilt.

I also found some great backing fabric at Hancock. It was $2/yd on the sale pile. It is a 2000 design by Sunday in the Park, if that means anything. I've already washed it and it is really good fabric. It is strange that sometimes Quilt Store fabric, which costs more, is not this quality. I guess other things like how long they have had it in stock and such also affects the pirce. Anyway this should work great.

I wasn't able to post this morning and now have the quilt top finished into two pieces, each 30 x 78. I'm now going to have to make a decision about quilting it and then sandwich it. How to make a tight sandwich still alludes me. I really am just a topper.
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News From Florida

Just in case you missed these.

Today is the last day of this year's hurricane season and no hurricanes came to Florida. Last year, and the year before, there were several and each time the state allowed the insurance companies to raise the rates because of the hurricane claims. Do you think they will lower the rate this year. Nope. Up another 12 %.

At 4:00 a.m. the police were called to a swampy area of a large local lake that is well known, and posted, to have alligators. Four officers somehow managed to rescue a man from the jaws of a large alligator. The man is severely injured. His truck was parked nearby. They are not sure why he was wading. He was also naked. Guess he didn't want to get his clothes wet.

If this were fiction, no one would believe it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Idea

Read these posts backwards.

What do you think of this one?
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Borders or Not?
The question is whether to add borders or more blocks and no border. It is a busy quilt so I'm not sure. I do like a narrow green stopper, if I use borders. The last pic is what the filler blocks look like. I'd add more of these, if I don't border. Usually when I audition, I know what to do but am very undecided this time. I know it is hard to tell from pics but what do you think?
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New Name
No more brown and green. After viewing Tim Rice's lastest pics, I'm naming my quilt Autumn Walk. Tim takes such wonderful pics. His blog is Sorry I don't know how to make this a click to get there.

I have an idea for a border I might like for the quilt. What do you think of piano keys? I'll audition some and let you see.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More Brown and Green

Here are two more blocks. For the bottom one I used another stitch from my machine to embellish it. I also made enough regular ones to finish six 24 inch blocks. I don't think 48 inches is wide enough and it probably should be longer too. I auditioned some borders but didn't like them. I think I'll add another 12 inch row to the width. I started to cut and sew some more regular blocks. Then my big problem - how to sandwich and quilt it. I really am just a topper. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More Blocks and Comments

First some comments on yesterday's post. Sorry Paula and anyone else I grossed out with the pic of my finger with the fire ant stings. I'm a retired health occupation teacher and
look at such things differently. I thought people who had never seen how the stings look would be interested. Thanks Cheri from southern Texas for the info on how to get rid of the ants. I was unable to e-mail you to say this. Guess what Finn, the Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas says there are some benefits to having fire ants. "Fire ants have been shown to decrease some pest insect numbers. Cotton growers in Texas and sugarcane growers in Louisiana appreciate the predatory nature of the ant. Also, tick presence may be decreased in pastures infested with fire ants."

I worked a little more on my brown and green quilt. I sewed some blocks together to make 24 inch blocks and made some more. First two pics are 12 inches. Last one is 15 inches from brown point to point. Is it a star or blocks? Don't know if I will use it in my quilt as it is so big and I don't know how to make it square. This is my first try at Y seams and they weren't as bad as I thought they would be. As of now, I'm aiming for 48 x 72". Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fire Ants
I wrote about these pics and blogger lost it. grrrrrr I'm really one growling dog about this.
Guess I'll just have to try again.
Well, the first pic is my left hand the day afer fire ant stings. Yes they don't bite but the tiny little things sting. And not just once. Their stinger is one their abdomen and they move around in a circle stinging repeatedly until you get them off. I knew better but.... I have a few more stings on this hand and one on my other hand.

My DD2 came for a nice Thanksgiving meal and visit which included a pool and hot tub visit. I used to have a yard service take care of what I call a date palm tree. Each year the top grows more and the bottom layer of branches/fronds dies and have to be cut off. Some other plant uses these areas as a host and grows there. I think the service sprays them. Some people let them grow. Anyway my DD and I pulled and cut them off. On one dead frond near the ground, there was another guest - the ants. My daughter wasn't stung as she had on gloves. They don't hurt that much when you are stung but later the reaction and itching is horrible. They are suppose to improve in three days but I've had problems for three weeks. The eruptions look like they are infected but it is just a reaction to the poison and you aren't suppose to break them. The oral antihistamine I'm taking makes me sleepy (they all do for me) so I guess I'll just nap away the rest of the weekend. Yes, I did go buy more gloves.

The second pic is a UFO I found here in my FL cupboard. I put a thick batting under it and stuffed the leaf parts as I quilted them. I know there is a name for that but I can't think of it. I don't have anything to use for the back of the pillow and am not sure I want to venture to even the fabric store this weekend. I have no idea why I had started this layout of the Drunkard's Path but I did. Interesting anyway.
I printed this post before trying to post it again so it will probably work this time. Posted by Picasa