Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dog Gone

After five months my DS's dogs Betsy and Tess have gone back to live with him. They came here while DS and his family sold their house in AL and bought one in MI and moved. I was glad to be able to help them by keeping the dogs and Kipper and I will miss them. My DS showed me how to give a dog a haircut. Can you believe that Kipper grew all that fur in just a couple months? He is one COOL dog again. Tess got a cut too. They are both very well behaved and seemed to really enjoy the grooming. Well, except for the ears and feet.

The last pic is of my tomato plant that was so pokey about producing ripe tomatoes. Sure lots of great ones now. By the way, Kipper just loves tomatoes. He doesn't eat people food except I give him a bit of some fruits and veggies for a treat. Probably his favorite is a bite of banana but a bit of tomato is high on his favorites too.

I decided to be more realistic and reset my goal for Finn's New Year's Eve Party finishers to two quilts. I can always increase that goal. I planned to spend all my time finishing UFOs. Well my LQS bulletin just came in the mail. It has two classes that I could finish before I head off for FL. Oh, I am tempted. If I finished two shouldn't I be able to start two new ones? Makes sense to me. I don't quilt to any rules anyway so.....
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Where Have All The Greens Gone?

Recently Finn challenged us to finish some UFOs. She is letting each person determine what "finished" means. I'm not much of a joiner and hate deadlines so I thought about it long and hard - well for a couple minutes anyway, before I joined. Finn asked how many quilts we planned to finish by the end of 2008. I'm not good at judging how long it takes me to do anything so
should I say 1 or 2 or ? I decided on 8. I told you I'm not good at time perception. I really need to finish some quilts so why not.

I decided that the first step was to get the UFO ready for the final quilting. Is it big enough? Does it need borders? What about backing and binding?

I sewed the duck fungly together and auditioned borders. I didn't like any of the stoppers - not black nor any of the reds. This is not a bold quilt and I wanted the ducks to be the eye focus. So I just skipped the eye stopper border and finished with more of the green. Then I cut and ironed more of the green for the backing and binding. So all it needs is sandwiched and quilted. I plan to get several quilts to this stage and then.....

Now for a rant. Where have all the greens gone? First what is wrong with my camera or is it my computer? Everything looks blue. This strip is shades of green and look at it. I have been complaining about not being able to find true green colors. The last pic are all greens from my stash. The pic has completely lost any shade of green. The darkest fabric is the green in my duck quilt. It is the very color of the green in the Mallard ducks' bills. Looks gray/black to me. So I shouldn't rant about these colors because you can't see them accurately anyway. But I will anyway. I looked on the Internet and found these greens - avocado, olive, spruce (a light green mixed with so much blue), moss, teal, seafoam (looks like a light blue to me), willow (looks gray), pine (looks blue green), hunter (even this one has a lot of yellow in it), lime, nectar and jungle (that one is black and green). Is this all my computer or have a suddenly developed a color vision problem?

Okay, rant done. Back to the sewing room.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

They're Ripe

How pitiful is this?
But bigger ones are coming. Yey!

Quilting Stash

Recently I've been reading blogs about whether to keep a stash or not. I am definitely a stash keeper. Actually my stash came before I started quilting. I started sewing as a teenager. My mother sewed but she also worked full time so didn't have a lot of time or patience to teach me. My grandma did. I also took home economics classes and by high school, I was sewing many of my clothes. I continued to sew after I was married and and babies. Eventually I took more classes and even made coats for my DDs and my a pair of pants for my DH. Notice that I said "a" pair of pants. That was never repeated. Anyway, I always had some fabric around.

Stash keeping comes naturally to me. I'm a pack rat. I have a strong desire to keep lots of things, especially old things that belonged to my family. I also have some old fabric.

I like fabric. I like to look at it and think about what I might create with it. Sometimes I don't know why but I just know that a fabric has to come home and be in my stash. I like all kinds of fabric but am especially drawn to bright colors and bold patterns. I also like to put fabrics together in different ways.

I am amazed that some people make quilts like I would clothing - by finding a pattern and then buying the amount of fabric needed to make it. Sometimes I have a pattern in my mind but for the next step I often just select some fabrics, start sewing and then add as I go. I haven't been very good at seeing in my mind what it will look like, but I think I'm trusting my insticts and am better at that now. Maybe I just feel freer to jump in and see where the jouney takes me. I have made a couple mystery quilts at my LQS where I had to have some preparation done. I had to have so much of a light medium and dark. I watched other quilters shop with the advice of the staff. I did this once and never finished the quilt. I'm not sure why. I liked the fabric but maybe not the pattern. Maybe just not together. I'm not sure. For the other mystery quilts that I made at the LQS, I looked through my stash and occasionally purchased an additional fabric. Once I made a small round-the-world quilt and it had to be preplanned. But the selection of fabrics to flow together was the fun of doing it.

Another thing I've done was buy fabric from places where I traveled. The quilts made from this fabric remind me of my visits there. The Williamsburg, Virginia, fabric went into my DGS's quilt and I used the Hawaiian fabric for one that I keep by my TV/hand sewing chair.

At one time, I'd finish my quilt and only than look for backing fabric. I never had a piece large enough in my stash and had problems finding reasonably priced fabric that I liked. So for a while I kept my eye open and whenever I saw a potential backing fabric, I bought it. Now I have a backing section in my stash. I'd never cut into those pieces but for the current duck quilt I'm working on, I did. I'll have enough for the backing too.

I also keep leftover and bits of fabric. I have thought maybe I'd make a quilt using these bit s but I don't know if I ever will.

Only lately have I thought I needed more fabric choices in areas of my stash. This is all the yellow I have? I've also become more aware of trends of the time. Why aren't there any forest green fabrics now? I like various colors with yellow, red and blue coming to my mind just now.

Lately I been facinated with making 4 patch posy quilts and keep my eye open for potential fabric. When I find them, they go into the stash. I also aplique and keep bits and pieces for that. Sometimes I get an idea for a theme and gather stash for it. For a while now, I've been collecting B&W fabrics.

I also have a secondard stash in FL. It is much smaller than the one here in MI. When I think about my migration trip in the fall, I think about projects I might want to take with me. I have been taking one suitcase filled with sewing goodies, incluidng some fabric and books, down each fall but this year, with the extra charges for this suitcase, I'll have to think more carefully.

Of course blogger's spell checker isn't working today. Also sorry about the glare in the pic. There are mirrows in the back of these china cabinets. Not sorry about the mess - just a working room.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Not Yet

My neighbor just brought me over these two large ripe tomatoes. I know what I'm having for lunch. I went out to check mine again. Does it look like that one might be thinking of changing color? They are smaller too but there sure of lots of them. I did trim away some of the leaves and the sun can get to them. Patience, Katie.

Duck Quilt

I discovered that the black fabric I thought about using with the duck fabric was bleeding a little so I had to wash it several times with one of those color grabber things. I found this green (does it look blue in the pic?) and decided to use it. I have a lot of it so can use it for backing too. I decided to cut the duck fabric 4.5 by 8.5 and the green is 4.5 square. I'm flipping every other row to get this pattern. It makes it easy for me to keep any ducks from turning upside down. Now I think I might like the duck fabric to have run horizontally. The light from the window onto my ironing board messes up the color. The bottom pic is better but... The green and tan match colors in the duck fabric. This is the most lickity split pattern I have ever used. But it makes a nice looking quilt. And it got me back to sewing on my machine. And using some fabric that definitely falls into the fungly category. I know this isn't really the fungly sewing Tonya suggested but it was her inspiration that got my machine humming and here's one big thanks to her. I'm even looking at some other patterns and thinking. I really need to get inspired to sandwich and quilts these tops next.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

More Fugly Fabric

I finished another exact copy of the blue butterfly flimsy without borders that I last showed you. They are big enough to stand alone but I think they would look really good with borders. These are fast and easy. I've never done this before and it was just what I needed. I have so many fungly fabrics in my stash. I am attracted to bright colors and bold prints. The ducks have been around for a long time. Wonder what I had in mind when I bought it. The tan goes well with it but it has some blue (see the top area) stain from a fabric that faded when it was washed with it. I had rewashed it but there is still some of it. I think there is enough good fabric to use, though. I went for the yellow again but then the red. But there is no red in the print. It would be okay but I think I like the black better. This would be more of a man's quilt and he might like the black. Looks like I have enough of these fabrics to make a throw. I'll have to do some thinking to keep the ducks upright. There are a couple small pieces of butterflies. One is half and the other only a 14 inches. They have a brighter orange than the pic shows and I have a lot of orange fabrics. Any ideas? I had to show you the red/orange wave fabric I have. It is the same pattern as the blue I just used. I just love them and they are good quality. Next decision is borders for blue funglies. I think I will name it Blue Butterflies. I must think about quilting these and some others I have ready to do.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blue Fungly

I had so much fun with the last one that I hunted through my stash for more fabric. Oh, there is that butterfly one. There are yards and yards of it. What else? The blue wave-like fabric has been one of my favorites that I occasionally drool over. Okay, use it. The yellow is brighter than the pic shows. This pattern is so easy and yet looks so good. I turned all these blocks the same way rather than opposite rows like I did in the first one. This one is also a row wider and longer so with 8" blocks, it is the same size as the first one is with borders. These make a nice size for a cover up when in a favorite chair. I had so much fabric left so.... Should I make more blocks? Yup. I'm already working on them. Should I add to the the one I have or make another throw? Hum......

Ancestor in Civil War

What I'm I reading? A very detailed book about the Battle of Trevilian Station which was the largest all-cavalry engagement of the Civil War. Am I a Civil War buff? Although I enjoy historical stories, I'm certainly not interested enough to read 391 pages about the details of one battle. So, why am I reading it? My g g grandfather was there as part of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry. I have been trying to put to paper the information and stories I know about my ancestors. I didn't have any info on this branch of my family but thought I should at least write the names of my grandmother's parents. On the internet, I found the cemetery where they were buried and found that my G'ma's grandparents were also buried there. There was a lot of info on the computer about this area and soon I discovered that Lafayette Williams got a $6 per month Civil War pension for an injury to his leg. I went to my Senior Center to use for more info. I decided to spend the $25 and get a copy of all Lafayette's war records from the National Archives. Lafayette's enlistment papers of October 1, 1863, show he was 5' 7" tall, had blue eyes and brown hair and his complexion was light. He was a farmer. Lafayette was hospitalized on June 15, 1864. After four months in hospitals (first in Washington D.C. and then in Pennsylvania) he returned to his unit and served until the end of the war. I wondered where his unit served so I looked it up on the computer. Can you believe there is a list of all the places and battles where the Sixth Ohio Cavalry was? Oh this computer info is really great. So where did Lafayette flight? In Virginia. He was at Appomattox Court House when General Lee surrendered. Do you suppose he actually saw it. Not likely. but possible. Then I wondered where he was when injured and hospitalized. Trevilian Station. Of course I had to look it up and discovered this whole book about the battle. They had an inexpensive, unread used copy and I had to buy it. It just came yesterday and I have read 45 pages. Included is information about the generals and cavalry movement. There are also quotes from people who were there. These are what I find the most interesting. Lt. Asa Isham was also there with Custer's Michigan unit and on pages 37 and 38 the author quotes his description of the march before the battle. There is nothing particularly exciting or delightful in thumping along at a trot in a cavalry column. The clouds of dust, sent up by the thousands of hoof-beats, fill eyes, nose, and air passages, give external surfaces a uniform dirty gray color and form such an impenetrable veil, that, for many minutes together, you can not see even your hand before you. Apparently, just at the point of impending suffocation, a gentle sigh of wind makes a rift, and a free breath is inspired. Dust and horse-hairs permeate everywhere. Working under the clothing to the skin, and fixed by sweat, the sensation is as though one was covered by a creeping mass of insects. Accumulations occur in the pockets; the rations come in for their full share, and with the bacon, particularly, so thoroughly do dirt and horse-hairs become incorporated, that no process of cleaning can remove them. But there is no better appetizer than horseback jolting, and little squeamishness with genuine hunger. A hunk of dirty, raw bacon, with "hard tack," on a campaign, are partaken with keener relish and enjoyment than "a good square meal," when engaged in less arduous duty.

I'm sure this was what my g g grandfather was also experiencing. I will have a full day today at my sewing machine, watching the Olympics and reading more about the Battle of Trevilian Station.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008


When will I get a ripe tomato? I am so anxious. My neighbor has some. She even shared a couple with me. The nearby greenhouse gave everyone who bought a flat of plants a tomato plant. I got two. The other one (no pic) got frosted out a week after I got it but amazing, it also came back and has grown like mad. It has dense foliage and has some tomatoes but this one is just full of green tomatoes. I think there are about 14 on this one plant.

I worked on this pond area yesterday and got the weeds out and many things trimmed back. I have more areas that need attention but it is so nice to have this area cleaned up and looking good. I see this area from my front porch.

I tried to take a pic of my fungy quilt flimsy out on my clothes line but the wind is blowing too hard. Here it is pinned over a window so messes up the color. I hope to get a good pic of its true colors soon. It is very bright and part of the yellow has a mustard tone. I tried a red eye stop border but preferred this black one. I really do like how it turned out. I needed to go near JoAnn's on Friday so I stopped in and bought some poly batting. I usually use cotton on my full sized quilts but I figure this one will be washed frequently so I wanted the poly. I didn't have a discount coupon but the batting was 40% off anyway. I bought some of an inexpensive one and also some that is fire resistant. Has anyone ever used that? I plan to some how quilt it on my sewing machine. When finished, this quilt will be about 44 by 60 inches and will make a great cover up when sitting in a chair. I haven't named it yet. Yesterday I pulled fabric to start another one. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What's for Supper?

I saw where Finn was having fried potatoes for supper the other day. Her pic sure made me hungry so when I found some new red potatoes at the market, I just had to have some. How do you cook yours? My mother liked the new potatoes boiled and then put them in a white sauce with new peas. For fried potatoes, my mother boiled them first and then fried them, usually using the left overs from the day before. My husband was from Arkansas and he like his fried from raw potatoes. I learned to like them that way too. I also add a little onion. Very good.

Ugly Fabric

Tonya and Bonnie are having a challenge to use the ugly fabric from our stashes. Hum... I have some alright. They made several blocks with each having different ugly fabric. I set out the three in the pic and made a block but I wanted to use the fabric up so made more of the same block. I laid them out and think I like them as in the last pic. It was good to spend several hours in the sewing room today. I know many people do all the cutting, then sew all the small squares, etc. I prefer to cut for about five or six blocks and then sew that amount for each step. Then I repeat for another five blocks. I guess I get too bored doing the same step for too long. Each of these blocks will finish eight inches. I used up all the multi colored fabric and almost all the red but have more of the yellow flowers. Maybe for a border?

My DS and family have moved into their new house here in Michigan. I sure miss having the kids visit. I still have the dogs as the area in their new house where they will live is in the walk out basement and it is still being finished.

Today was primary election day for local candidates here in MI. When I voted, someone thanked me for doing so. I got thinking and I can't remember an election where I didn't vote. I try to be informed and then express my opinion. Voting is important to me. I won't enjoy the constant hassle of the candidates from now to November but will be casting my vote.

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