Wednesday, December 31, 2008

BURRRR: Thoughts on my dogs and quilting on a cold winter day

It is cold outside.

My dogs go out, go potty and run back in. No sniffing, no poking around. The doggie door on the outer porch door gets very stiff in the cold and little Gracie has a hard time pushing it with her head to get in the porch and, therefore, back into the warmth of the house. Lucy Lou, on the other hand, gives it a good shove and strolls on in. I notice that Gracie waits for Lucy Lou when she can and catches the door once Lucy Lou is through it. However, this morning she wanted back in and pawed at the stiff plastic door until she got through it. Poor pup.

Yesterday Phil and I picked up my "doggie" themed lap quilt made for my doggie sitter, Mary Sue. It is a very simple, large block quilt I sewed together in less than 5 hours and took in to have professionally quilted. I'll post pictures when Mary Sue comes to pick it up. Late yesterday afternoon after Phil when back to Illinois, I machine sewed the binding on to the front of the quilt.

As I settled in last evening to start hand stitching the binding to the quilt back I decided to bring in the latest book on CD I am listening to in my car. There is nothing worth watching on TV and I wanted some noise in the background. I'm not much of a listener to music when I am alone and the TV is off, preferring the quiet. But, last night I wanted sound.

What a delightful evening I had! The lap quilt was spread out on me, keeping me very warm. Gracie jumped up and snuggled in under the quilt as I stitched, adding another layer of warmth. Lucy Lou was in her basket snoring gently and I listened to my book. It is Time is a River by Mary Alice Monroe, another good Southern female writer. (I really like Southern women writers). I'm enjoying it.

I like my own company. I like keeping busy when alone, which is one reason quilting has become so important to me. I'm being creative while making things that are useful. During the daylight hours I do the cutting and sewing of the quilt pieces, watching the blocks accumulate and the quilt pattern appear. I enjoy the quiet of my home, watching the birds at the feeders from a couple of different windows, stopping to rub the bellies of the dogs or play with them, cooking simple meals. Piecing together scraps of fabric that turn into something beautiful.

Now I have discovered another pleasure for the evenings. When I want a little company, while hand stitching at night, there is always a book on CD awaiting to be discovered.

Ahh, another simple pleasure.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Baby, Baby Part Two

Last weekend while in Georgia my sister, Sue and I met up with Ed and Libby. Ed is our real estate agent at Reynolds Plantation where Phil and I will be buying property this year. Not only is he our real estate agent, but both Ed and Libby are turning into our good friends as well. Ed and Libby will be grandparents very soon.

As I had posted previously, here is pictures of them with the baby quilt I made. They seemed to love it although they had not had a very close look at it!!!! Anyway, I am thrilled with the quilt and the fact that they like it.

This, to me, is what quilting is all about.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Something Sparkly

My very loving, Philip, gave me a cute snowman pin and a top of the line GPS system for Christmas and well as some money with the instructions to, "buy yourself some sparkly while you are in Georgia for the holidays."

Now, usually this would not be hard for me to do. And, since my sister, Suzanne, and I have been shopping in stores within a 200 mile radius of her house, you think by now I would have found something sparky. And, I have looked.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to look at it) we have been to many quilting stores in our travels. And, I have bought material. One pattern is gem colored dragon flies that I will turn into something for a bed and I bought a blue and white patterned quilt kit that will make up into a "china plates" lap quilt.

But today, while in Marietta at the Red Hen Quilt shop I found beautiful, slightly Asian inspired, dragon fly material with matching green and gold material. Very soft, very pretty and elegant. This is exactly the material I have been looking for to make a king size quilt. The quilt will be used in the house that Phil and I will be building. I bought over 11 yards of it, plus 4 yards of each of the coordinating materials. Well, I'm figuring the quilt, pillows, etc. for our master bedroom. And, the material does have a slight gold thread running through it. There's the sparkle.

I find this a little scary. Spending my "holiday" gift money on something other than a nice piece of jewelry or even shoes?

As I said in previous posts, I am hooked on quilting. This trip proved it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Odd Christmas In Deed

I'm in Suwanee, GA, which is outside of Atlanta, spending the Christmas holiday with my sister, Sue, and her family. Those around the dinner table on the 25th will include 4 UU's, one Pagan and one Jew. Should be a hoot!

In any event, I am out of Wisconsin and today it will be 60 degrees here. Sue and I are driving up to a little mountain town to do some last minute shopping. I won't have boots on or a scraf, mittens or a hat. It's wonderful.

Phil is back in Illinois, sick with the flu and buried under snow. I am worried sick about him, but his kids are with him and he is going into the doctor today.

My doggie sitter, Mary Sue, has already paid a neighborhood kid twice to shovel my sidewalks. Oh, well . . .

I'll be back on Sunday. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby, Baby

Here is my first ackward attempt at making an actual quilt. It is a baby quilt, made for friends of ours who will become first time grandparents in late January. Obviously, it's a girl!
I pulled the quilt pattern off the web. I guess it is the "furrows" 4 square pattern (based on the furrows you see in fields). I think it turned out very cute, if you don't look too closely! It was professionally quilted by Kathy Holz.

I am just finishing a twin size quilt of the same pattern only in purple.
To the right is the backing of the quilt. I hope Ed and Libby like it!

Tea for Two

One of my very favorite things to do when I visit Anne-Marie in Ireland is sit around her kitchen table, drink tea (Lyons tea) and talk. So, once I started quilting and went overboard on my first project, table runners, I had to make Anne a tea theme table runner. Then I thought, "What the heck, I'll make her a tea cozy to match!"

I posted the runner and tea cozy to Anne last week. Hopefully, she will get it in time for Christmas and she will not open this blog until she receives the package.

The tea cozy is slightly lopsided. That's OK. I know Anne will get a kick out of it. I pulled a pattern off the Internet, but in the end I just traced the tea cozy I purchased on our trip to Scotland in 2007. To the right is a picture of the backing and you can see the quilting. I had it professionally quilted by Kathy Holz.

So, Anne-Marie - keep the kettle warm. You may see me sooner than you think!


Monday, December 01, 2008

Things I have (or haven't done)

My friend, EarthboundSpirit, posted this on her blog. You are suppose to "bold" the things you have already done in your life. Well, here goes:

  1. Started my own blog
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band
  4. Visited Hawaii
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than I can afford to charity
  7. Been to Disneyland/world
  8. Climbed a mountain
  9. Held a praying mantis
  10. Sung a solo
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris
  13. Watched lightning at sea
  14. Taught myself an art from scratch
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown my own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitchhiked
  23. Taken a sick day when not ill (guess that secret's out)
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping
  27. Run a marathon
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
  31. Hit a home run (maybe in my soft ball playing years)
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught myself a new language
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (for about a split second)
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelo's David
  41. Sung karaoke (when I was drunk)
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance (back in June - car accident)
  47. Had my portrait painted (sketched by a dear woman friend who is an artist)
  48. gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business
  58. Taken a martial arts class
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
  62. Gone whale watching (one of my great wishes)
  63. Gotten flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
  67. Bounced a check
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job (I was very young)
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
  77. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  78. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  79. Published a book
  80. Visited the Vatican
  81. Bought a brand new car
  82. Walked in Jerusalem
  83. Had my picture in the newspaper
  84. Read the entire Bible (read big chuncks, but not all)
  85. Visited the White House
  86. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  87. Had chickenpox
  88. Saved someone's life
  89. Sat on a jury (three times!)
  90. Met someone famous
  91. Joined a book club
  92. Lost a loved one (only too recently)
  93. Had a baby
  94. Seen the Alamo in person
  95. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  96. Been involved in a law suit (if divorce counts)
  97. Owned a cell phone
  98. Been stung by a bee
  99. Ridden an elephant