Thursday, April 30, 2009

More 2009 Quilt Show Pictures

Thanks again to Grace for sending me this fabulous pictures from the 2009 Quilt Show in Chicago.

My mom, who died 6 years ago, and I both love chickadees. This little one is all quilted. However, the little red light was real. Unbelievable!

This was one of the challenge quilts. It is unusual as it is a type of landscape where you look up at the top of the crane and building under construction. I love the birds and the colors are beautiful.

Each quilt had a description of the quilt, the quilter and the quilter's inspiration. From what I remember this quilter used her memories of a city in Europe - the buildings, the swans, the music.

If you click on the pictures you should be able to see more detail.

Amazing stuff.

From these pictures, I think Grace must love birds as much as I do!

Luck be a Lady (Feline, that is)

A while ago I was talking with some friends and we were discussing rescue animals. Specifically, some very odd and wonderful ways animals came into our lives. It reminded me of my nephew Paul's story.

One evening about 4 years ago he left some friend's house late in the evening (maybe early morning). He got on the highway (this is the greater Atlanta area) and proceed to drive around 80 mph, which in Atlanta is quite normal. After a bit he began to hear a weird noise so he turned down the radio and listened.

Meow. Meeeeeow. Meoooooow.

Paul pulled over to the shoulder, got out and looked all around both inside and outside of his car. Nothing. Thinking he was hearing things, he got back into the car and drove off, again at "normal" Atlanta speeds.

Meow. Meeeeeow. Meoooooow.

By this time Paul knew he wasn't just hearing things. When he came to the next exit, he pulled off the highway and drove into a well lit gas station. He got out of the car and again looked all around.


So, he opened the hood and there was this little black kitten with a stub of a tail (which wasn't injured during this wild ride) hanging on to the engine.

Paul, being the kind and wonderful man that he is, took the kitten and put it in his car. Well, the kitten was friendly enough, but very scared and probably never knew the inside of any structure, let alone a car, proceeded to "mess" it up quite a bit. Oh, well . . . Paul was more concerned about the cat and the car cleaned up just fine the next day.

Not missing a beat, Paul arrive home. His landlord, Jamie, also has cats, so there was a litter box available and Paul showed the kitten where it was. Cats are smart and it figured it out, but it was obvious that this cat had worms, was a little sick and needed a vet. Paul took the kitten to the vet right away, had it treated and given all of its shots. Turns out the kitty is a Manx, a breed of cat known for its short, stubby tails.

For a few days Paul hemmed and hawed about keeping the kitten, but it didn't take long for the kitten to creep into Paul's heart, something we all knew happened the minute Paul opened that hood!

Paul named her Lucky.

A very lucky kitty indeed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tote Bag Blues

Through Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilt Store, I joined Team QFL, which is like a football team for quilters. We are a large group and get points for different projects, as well as discounts at other quilt stores. We have a little booklet that we can take to various quilt stores throughout Wisconsin and get stamped and receive additional points. It kind of reminds me of the Harley poker runs that my sister and nephew use to go on with their Harley groups.

Our team name is the Bobbin' Robins. We have team colors (brown and red), team logo (obviously the robin) and the Jeanie at the store has 4 "huddles" over the course of the next few months for our "team." I went to the huddle the other night and it was fun. We also get together and do road trips to various quilt shops around the state.

So, our first project was this tote bag. Now, I had NEVER done anything like this before and believe me when I say I cursed this bag out more than once. It was too much like sewing a garment. I really hated it at times. But, tonight I finished it.

I still want to add a strap from the back to the front in the center of the tote with a snap underneath to help keep it closed. And, I will probably add some decorative buttons, just to dress it up a bit.

I actually like it, despite the fact that I ripped out more than I sewed, had the bottom of the bag on the outside, almost put the straps on wrong, had to buy more material for the lining and was totally frustrated throughout the project.

Oh, well - live and learn.

Tomorrow afternoon I will try my luck at making a felt robin pin that I will wear into various quilt shops as my team logo. Should be interesting.

And, I am thinking of making additional totes.

Yeah, I'm crazy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More 2009 International Quilt Show Stuff

Thank you, Grace! She was kind enough to send these pictures from the quilt show. The first was my favorite of the "artistic" quilts. For obvious reasons!!!

Believe it or not, it is all QUILTED!

Here are my new friends, Carol and Pam. I wish we would have thought to have someone at the show take a picture of all 4 of us.

Antique Quilts

I have always been attracted to homemade quilts and quilting. This attraction is for many reasons, some of which are that I love antiques, I love the thought of making quilts to keep a family warm at night and that I have a couple that were made by my mother and grandmother. The image of pioneer women making quilts from scraps or even my grandmother piecing quilts is a strong image for me and calls to me.

Hence, I am thrilled that I am learning the art of quilting. While "artistic" quilts are beautiful, I am strongly attracted to "old fashioned" quilts with traditional patterns. Even if made with more contemporary fabrics and patterns, I still love the old patterns. I am also attracted to the 1930s reproduction fabrics, which are so popular now.

While at the International Quilt Show I found a lady who was selling antique quilts, quilt tops, blocks and individual blocks. I spent more time in her booth than all the others put together.

While looking at the quilts, she had them tagged and labeled very well. If she knew anything about the quilter, she had that listed along with the location where it was made, the era and the overall condition of the quilt.
I felt a little sad looking at these quilts. They were beautiful. Someone had put love and effort into these quilts and now they were for sale to the highest bidder. What happened? Where there no family members to lovingly pass these quilts on to? Maybe family members didn't want them, just didn't appreciate them. Were they sold because some where over the years they needed the money (even now with the economy as it is)? Where they just lost and/or forgotten?

This bothers me. These quilts, whatever condition they are in were made from the heart. For the most part they were all hand stitched or machine sewn and then hand quilted. So much work and effort. Yes, some had tears and stains. Some were in sad condition. Still, to me, they are works of art for all of their original, practical beginnings.

I bought 2 packages of individual quilt blocks. Makes me wonder even more. Why weren't they finished? Were they ripped out of completed quilts because the rest of the quilt was in too bad of shape to save? What was the quilter's overall vision?

Well, now I am their keeper. The double wedding ring quilt top I purchased was made in the 1930s. It is my all time favorite quilt pattern. The Dresden Plate blocks, while very incomplete is my second favorite. The tulips are just sweet and pretty. Hopefully, with the blocks I will someday have the skills (or find someone who does) to piece them into a complete blocks and tops. The double wedding ring I would like to have quilted soon, but that might wait until I have the time and skill to hand quilt it since it is all hand pieced.
If you look closely at the tulip blocks you can see that even some of the blocks were pieced together. Probably out of old sheets or pillow cases, maybe old shirts. This just makes them even more special to me.

I think I see a new collection starting here. Old quilts, blocks, patterns accumulating. I will love and care for them and try to bring them back to the best of my ability or just leave them to be loved (again) as they are.

2009 International Quilt Festival/Chicago

I am on overload.

Yesterday I joined 40 other women and took a bus down to Chicago to participate in the International Quilt Show.


It was awesome.

I went alone, but met several very nice women on the bus - Grace, Pam and Carol as well as Shova, who amazed all of us by knitting socks during the bus ride! Once inside Rosemont Convention Center, Grace, Pam, Carol and I immediately starting looking at all of the beautiful quilts on display. Both traditional and artistic, they were amazing. After a while we decided we could only take in so much at one time, so we went to lunch.

After lunch we decided to split up and shop as there were zillions of vendors, but to meet again and finish looking at all of the quilts. This worked out great. We finished up the quilts, split up again to shop, met again for an early dinner, split up and met again to return home.

Oh, and shop I did! I really practiced restraint, too, believe it or not. I got a bias cutting ruler, a pattern for a lap quilt, 2 fat quarters for a pattern I had at home, pre-cut material for a lap quilt I saw previously in a magazine and want to make for my nephew's family, tee shirts with quilting designs on them, a small Jim Shore figurine of an angel quilting (which will be a gift) and a pre-cut pattern of a wall hanging featuring SHOES! Finally, I can mix my love of shoes and quilting!

Here's a pic of my purchases. Click on the picture to make larger and see colors better. Ahhh, life is GOOD.

But the BEST part was a vendor selling antique quilts. Oh, I did damage there! I bought several packages of just antique blocks, a couple individual blocks (see picture) and one wedding ring quilt top. More on these in a later blog.

Grace took pictures. Hopefully she will forward them to me.

What a day! What fun! What nice people!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What I'm up to in the world of quilting

A few months ago I joined a mystery quilt group. We meet at Ye Olde School House once a month and get "clues" as to the lap quilt we are making. We were given instructions as to what material to purchase and the yardage needed. Every month we get a new clue or two. I originally decided to make a larger quilt, so I doubled every thing. Now I have changed my mind and will make two lap quilts, one for myself and one to give away. The ladies are great and very friendly and I am enjoying this process and making new friends. Here are 3 completed blocks. Considering we now have used up all of the material we cut, I'm trying to figure out how these 3 blocks (there are many of each one) will all go together to make the quilt. But, that is part of the fun. Stay tuned!

I also started an Elizabeth Sampler class at the same shop. I have the same wonderful teacher, Diane, as I did in my first two quilting classes. I purchased all shabby chic material. Here are the first 2 blocks. One is the friendship star and the other is the churn dash patterns.
Click on the pictures to really see the fabic.

Today I will start cutting a Peter Rabbit themed baby quilt for Phil's granddaughter, Gianna Rose. It is in pinks and yellows. And, I have to sew binding on a table runner, wall hanging and queen sized quilt.
I'm busy!

Moon in the 'hood

Last night I let the dogs out for "last call" a little after 10pm. Gracie came right in, but Lucy Lou was poking around and then started barking at kids walking by in the alley. I had to go out and grab her to get her back in.

As always when I am out a night, I look up at the sky to see the moon. It was eerily beautiful, just rising. I grabbed my camera and this is what I got. Not the best, but I think a little haunting.

I love the moon.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Nan, Bert, Freddie, Flossie, Nancy, Cherry, Vicki, Trixie and the Rest of the Gang

When Shelley and I were little (we met when we were 8) we both loved to read. Still do, but I digress. Our favorites at that time (c. 1963) were the Bobbsey Twins (Nan and Bert, Freddie and Flossie).

We would walk over to each other's houses and spend the hours reading and trading books. I had copies that my sister's had read.

As we got a little older we moved on to Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames and Vicki Barr. Everyone knows the girl sleuth, Nancy Drew. However, many might not know nurse Cherry Ames or stewardess Vicki Barr. Oh, the adventures these girls took us on. I was especially fond of Cherry Ames as my mom was a nurse.

A few years later along came Trixie Belden with her best friend, Honey. She was more our age by then and we loved her.

We knew all of the characters in these books and would act out the plots or make up our own. It was great fun. At the time we didn't realize that these fictionalized girls probably taught us a lot about gumption, adventure, friendship and that girls can and could do anything, even if (at that time) a handsome boyfriend, brother or father rescued them when they got into trouble ( and they always did). In today's novels that wouldn't happen - the girl hero's would figure it out and rescue themselves or another girl would come along and save the day. The point is, these characters were not afraid to seek the truth, conjure good over evil and help others.

To celebrate our vacation together, Shelley, who is still in love with all things Bobbsey related, made us each the tee shirt below. With the help of her daughter, Brooke, she copied book images off the web, ironed them on to the shirts, added little X's and cute buttons. Shelley had a blast makng them and I appreciate the gesture. They were a riot to wear. Women all over Savannah recognized the books. Unfortunately, I got a couple of stains on my shirt (now all removed), but could not wear it again during vacation, but what fun we had that one day.

Times have changed and books for young girls are more sophisticate. For us though, in the early to mid 1960s we were very innocent. The books were appropriate.

So, hats off to Nan, Flossie, Cherry, Vicki, Trixie and Honey and all the other "girl" book characters. I still love and admire you. Thanks for the memories. And, the lessons.

My "Sweet Little Quilt"

I'm starting to make up names for my quilts now. Scary.

This is a twin size quilt I made for the house Phil and I will someday have. It is part of what I hope will be a "shabby chic" bedroom consisting of 3 twin beds. I have the first quilt finished (see previous post - it is the purple quilt), but it will be a while before I get to the 3rd and last quilt. That's OK since we don't even have the house yet!

I do think this is a sweet quilt. It is a basic 4 patch, with the same fabric in two of the squares (white on white) and matching fabric in different colors in the other two squares. I picked up the purple off of the first twin quilt I made.

It has basic all-over quilting, which I had done at The Patched Works.

I love it and so far it is my favorite.
Sweet and simple.
Double click on images to see quilting & material better

Happy Birthday, Sue!

As mentioned in a previous post, my sister, Suzanne, turned 65 on March 29th. Phil and I were lucky enough to be there when her dear husband, Marlon, surprised her with a party that included all the neighborhood kids (and their parents) she does child care for. Here are some pictures of the celebration. Sue said she couldn't fall asleep that night because she couldn't stop smiling!

Sue and Marty just remodeled their kitchen and painted their kitchen, dining area and family room. New granite counter tops and a great red in the kitchen area. The other areas on in beiges and browns.

Nothing like kids around a cake and sparklers!


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ahhhh, vacation

March 20th, I left for a nice long vacation. I had rented a timeshare in Hilton Head, this time in the Sea Pines area- right by Harbor Town - and my gal pal, Shelley and I enjoyed a week long stay there.

Hilton Head is OK. It is pretty, but I would not want to live there. If you don't golf, I imagine there isn't a whole lot to do there, either. But, retirees seem to love it. I really tried to get a timeshare unit in Charleston, where Shelley and I wanted to spend a week, but it didn't happen.

We did explore Hilton Head and the outlet stores! One day was spent in Savannah and the highlight of the trip, I believe for both of us, was an over night adventure in Charleston.

Shelley booked us a double room in a 240 year old B&B in the historic area. It was lovely. And, we were able to walk all over town. As in Savannah, in Charleston we took a carriage ride to learn about the area and decide which areas we wanted to explore. We toured a beautiful old mansion, explored a cemetery dating back to the early 1700s, shopped in the "ritzy" area, and walked (as well as drove) along side streets to explore the beautiful architecture of Charleston.

This picture of a typical old house in Charleston if off the web as my battery died in my camera and I can't find the charger so I can upload pictures.

We had some great meals in Charleston, too. (We ate our way through the whole vacation!). I had fabulous grits and shrimp. And, we had a great, fun meal at Jestine's. I even got to a small quilt store a few blocks from our B&B.

One day we also drove into historic Buford, SC and explored the harbor and old historic houses.

It was a fun week with Shelley. We have known each other since we were 8 years old. Although our lives took different paths the friendship still exists and I am very thankful for that.

During this time Sue had her 65th birthday. Marty surprised her with a party consisting off all of the kids (and their parents) she does child care for. Some additional neighbors came as well. Their house as packed and it was so much fun for all of us.

Back to the grindstone!