Tuesday, July 28, 2009


When I was at Sally's a few weeks ago I forgot to bring some hand work to do. While visiting a little quilt shop I found a stack of these ferns in all different sizes and colors. The owner of the store explained to us how they were hand made and now I forget. The fabric I know is hand dyed, treated and the fern placed on top and treated again. I think.

Anyway, I purchased silver metallic threat and started hand stitching. After I got home (I didn't get very far) I decided to machine stitch the ferns and I ripped out my hand stitches. The stems I stitched 3 times and the branches once. I think you can probably see the affect better by clicking on the images for a closer look. I used a deep charcoal grey for the first border and a deep wine colored fabric for the outer border.

I am very pleased with the way it turned out. Now, it is off to the quilter.

Glads for Mom

My Dad was a very romantic fellow. My Mom was a unsentimental woman. However, I think she did appreciate Dad's romance even though as young kids we girls would have never known it.

Every year at this time Dad would bring Mom home oodles of gladiolas. She loved them. She got that little twinkle in her eyes. Ahhh, I think it paid off for Dad!

After they retired, much to our amazement, Mom got a little more lovey dovey. She would actually kiss (a little peck) Dad in front of us. They held hands a lot, both when walking or if they were sitting next to each other and their genuine affection for each other was much more evident. It was fun watching them.

In one way I got the best of both of them. I'm a romantic and I'm very sentimental.

So, to pay tribute for the the deep love and respect my parents had for each other, every year at this time I purchase at least one bunch of glads.

I know my eyes twinkle just looking at these beautiful flowers!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tea Time Block of the Month Quilt

Click on picture for larger image

I joined a Block of the Month quilt group online though The Quilt Shoppe. I'm probably paying too much, but I wanted to try it and I thought it would be fun. The name of the quilt is Tea Time.

I got my first block while I was on vacation and just had to put it together immediately. It is the center medallion of the quilt. This quilt is built out so that by the last month the quilt is done - no sewing rows together or additional piecing necessary. I think this will be a fun method to learn.

When I opened the package I was disappointed in the colors. But the more I looked at them, the more I liked them. Of course, additional fabrics will be added and more colors that will highlight the other colors and fabrics, so I think when it is done it will be very soft, calming and pretty. The instructions are very easy to read and understand.

I'm looking forward to August!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Wonderful Day

I suppose you're wondering why I'm writing on my blog when I'm on a long awaited vacation with my boyfriend! Well, I'm an early raiser and he likes to sleep in. I am such a morning person!

We are staying outside of Greensboro, GA at Reynolds Plantation. Reynolds in a huge golf community on Lake Oconee and an area where we would like to retire to. We are in a very nice 2-bedroom condo. The best thing about the condo is, other than the view of one of the golf courses, it is has a huge bath tub! I love big tubs and both nights so far have taken lovely bubble baths.

Yesterday we had a full day to ourselves. We had a great brunch at the Great Waters club house and then drove into Greensboro. We thought we would spend a little time wandering in and out of some little stores. Well, it was Sunday in a little southern town and everything was shut up tight. Greenboro reminded me of Mayberry USA. Small, but pretty and I bet the people are very friendly.

So, we continued driving and ended up on Highway 15 heading north. Ha! Highway 15 goes almost no where. Seriously, miles and miles of forest and after that farm land. It was funny. We finally arrived in Watkinsville where in May my sister and I visited a great quilt store. By this time, though, I decided not to push him too much and with the help of the GPS arrived in Madison, GA. Madison is a charming old town that Sherman passed over during the burning of Georgia during the Civil War. However, most stores were closed, but we did stop for ice cream.

We arrived back at the condo and he was able to get a 3:20pm tee time on the National course. I decided to go with him and ride in the cart as I am still not a golfer. What a great time. There was only one group of 3 ahead of us and no one behind us.  He golfed pretty well and I totally enjoyed myself. I saw so many different birds including cranes, geese and blue birds. We saw several deer and lots of dragonflies and butterflies. At one point we saw a deer that was in 75 yards of us. Obviously, she is use to golfers as she took her time walking across the course.  He pointed out a huge turtle sitting in a pond (yeah - he is such a nature boy! NOT). I can't explain how much I enjoyed myself. The course is beautiful, it was so quiet and peaceful and I could just feel stress pouring out of me.

When I ride in the cart with him, I usually will putt from approximately the same place where his ball lands on the green. I did this again and it is fun. We had a lot of laughs.

We relaxed at the condo and had a dinner of crackers, chicken, cheese and fruit. It was great. It seems we haven't spend much quality time together lately. This is definitely making up for it!

I didn't realize how stressed I was until yesterday. It is so pretty here and so quiet. No boom boxes, no squealing cars - so different than living in "the hood." As I write this I am looking out the window onto o the golf course. Another deer is walking along the edge of the green.

Do I have to come home?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meeting Meandering Mary (and more)

Saturday Meandering Mary (the name of her business) came down to Ye Olde Schoolhouse to meet some of the ladies she has been doing long arm quilting for. Mary lives in New London, WI. When Jeanie (owner of Ye Olde Schoolhouse) goes to her lake house in that area, she hauls quilts back and forth. It is great of Jeanie to transport all of the quilts. Terri and I decided to go out to meet her. I really wanted to meet and to thank Mary for the beautiful work she does.

Mary had one of my mystery quilts completed so Terri snapped a couple of pictures of us. The pictures also show some of the great class projects offered at the shop.

It was so nice to meet Mary. Her work is outstanding. I will post more pictures of this quilt when I get the binding on, but is it very pretty. She has oak leaves around the border. Mary was having a little drawing, too. Terri won a gift certificate for 25% off her next quilting job and I won 25% off of my next batting. Of course, Terri and I bought additional quilting supplies while at the shop.

Terri and I then went to Bay Shore for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Then we shopped. Nine West (we both got shoes), Coldwater Creek (Terri did damage there), J Jill (I got a top) and Talbots (we both purchased items, but I really did damage!). We had so much fun and everything was on sale. After Bay Shore we stopped at a jeweler where I had ordered a dog print charm for my charm bracelet. I dropped off the bracelet so the charm can be attached. Then we drove back to my house along the lakefront. Traffic was bad, but it was worth it as the lake was beautiful and there were tons of sailboats out which made it even prettier to view.

It was a fun, busy day. I even had time to get a pedicure and my nails done. Later I trimmed down the mystery quilt so I can machine sew the front of the binding on.

Out to walk my doggie girls now and work in the yard most of the day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blue Dragonfly Quilt (or shoulda, woulda, coulda)

I bought this great dragonfly material at a quilt store in Dahlonega, GA last Christmas. (I believe the store is Magical Threads - an old house, a couple of long arm machines inside and lots of little rooms that have tons of fabric). I love this material. But I finished off the bolt and only got 2 1/2 yards of it. No more to be found, either. Believe me, I looked!

So, as a very newbie quilter, I found a window pane pattern in a book that looked easy enough and bought great matching material and set out to make my first "difficult" quilt. By that I mean using sashing and posts and not having an instructor to guide me.

Since I didn't have enough of the dragonfly material for all of the quilt top, my co-worker, Judy, came up with several designs where I could mix in the yellow so that most of the top that you would see on the bed would be dragonflies. I used the blue for sashing, purple as what (at that time) I considered the border, along with more yellow. The posts are bright green. All of the fabrics really bring out the colors of the dragonflies.

I really do love this quilt. It is a huge queen sized and the colors are so rich.

Meandering Mary did the quilting and it is outstanding. I love the dragonflies in the squares and the swirls in the posts and sashing. It was a lot of work for her and it paid off. She is awesome!

However, once I placed in on the bed and really looked at it I realized what I probably should have done. First, make the sashing the yellow or green material and mixed up the blue, green/yellow and purple with the dragonfly material. More of a "patchy" for mixed up look. At the time I made it, I really wasn't ready or skilled enough (probably too scared) to add a real border, but a solid border would have looked great.

For some reason, the yellow looks a little orange.

Oh, well . . .

I still love it. The sashing and posts really came out great. And, I am using it - making it the first quilt I have made that I have actually slept under.(Phil's snoozing on the couch under it doesn't count!)

It was a huge learning experience for me. And, I learned that I should stick to printed patterns for a while before I venture out to try my own designs.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

UFOs (Unfinished Fabric Objects)


Up in the Sky!

It is a plane? Is it a satellite? Is it a Unfinished Fabric Object?

And, just what is a UFO (in the quilting world)?

Now, I have at least 7 or 8 projects in my quilting queue. They are neatly stacked and/or still in their packages. I haven't started them, although I look at them a lot. Are these considered UFOs?

Or, are UFOs projects started, but put aside for a while? And, what length of time makes them UFOs?

I have one quilt that has been sitting in my office for 6 weeks waiting to have the binding hand stitched on. I just finished up the binding on another quilt last night, so I will start on this quilt tonight. Was that considered a UFO, even though it wasn't put aside for long - just waiting its turn?

I'm confused!

I'm trying to do my projects in the order that I purchased them (or the fabric). My Friendship Star fabric was purchased last fall, but I am now plugging away at it. Then comes the Broken Dishes wall hanging, then my dragonfly king sized quilt (in between someplace a lap quilt for my nephew), then the 1930s quilt, then a "shoe" wall hanging, then one other quilt I can't remember, then a big block quilt, then an Irish Chain queen for my great nephew, then a twin size patch, then. . . . .
I'll be throwing in some quick projects, too, since most of these are large quilts and I will need some immediate gratification.

Are all of these UFOs?

After reading a lot of quilting blogs UFOs get mentioned a lot. I really don't want to have too many sitting around. However, is it just part of quilting?


P.S. I forgot to mention the 2 block of the month (BOMs) I started. Yikes! Who has time to work?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Visit to the Cemetery

On Sunday, after I had been home for a while, I decided to drive over to The Patched Works to purchase backing material for my Jars Aplenty project. Well, they were closed for the holiday weekend. I knew this, but forgot. However, I wasn't the only goofball as 2 other cars drove into the parking lot as I was pulling out. Two other disappointed women!

Since I was sort of on the right side of town I decided to visit the cemetery, Wisconsin Memorial Park. I hadn't been there since my father died in November and I knew the headstone for both my parents was now in place and that one of us girls should check it out and make sure all was in order. Plus, it was time I went.

There is something about cemeteries I kind of like. Peaceful, obviously, but to me they are calming, too.

My Mom died in 2003 and was cremated. My father also wanted to be cremated and their wish was to have their ashes mingled and then to be buried together. We kept Mom's ashes in Georgia at my sister's house until Dad died and then followed their wishes. Their headstone was picked out by Dad after Mom's death. It is really pretty - with trees and mountains. It is easy to tell that Dad picked it out.

It was weird, though, seeing both their names on the headstone. There was a finality to it. They are in the family plot, next to my grandparents and my uncle and aunt, as well as other family members. My ex-husband, Bill, is buried there, with my family, as well.

It was a lovey day out and they are all right under a large oak tree. I sat down and cried a bit. I really miss my parents. I also had a good talk with all of them, asking for their strength, love and guidance. I have been feeling like I am approaching a crossroads in my life. There are decisions coming up that I need to make that will affect the rest of my life. I needed to be grounded by them. I needed the stillness and beauty of the cemetery. It felt good. It felt right. I didn't get any immediate responses from them (smile), but I know I will.

I think I will go back several more times before the snow falls this year. I feel the strength and solidarity of them surrounding me. It's a good feeling.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Weekend at Sally's Part II

Friday and Saturday we never left Sally's property (all 12 acres). I did venture out mid-day to walk down to her mail box and walk all around her property on Friday. We were too busy quilting.

We finished up the little lady. I think she is perfect. I found backing for her in Sally's stash.

We cut and pieced the Jars Aplenty. We were both tickled with the results! The napkin is from Sally's stash. Also in Sally's stash there is fabric for all of the major holidays. We decided next time we would do a Jars Aplenty in holiday fabric - each jar a different holiday fabric. We would call it "Holidays in a Jar!"

Sally, who is a newbie quilter, started her tea cup place mat on Saturday. There were a couple of errors on the pattern and not enough fabric was included in the kits. However, Sally's friend, Jean, brought Sally a ton of quilting supplies, including 3 (yes, 3) bins of scraps, some quite large. I guess Jean quilted a few items and decided it wasn't for her. Lucky for Sally, though! We used my machine to piece all of the projects we made. Isn't the pocket for the tea bag cute?

Sally did a great job on this project. I love, love, the colors. By the time I left early Sunday morning, she had a lot of it hand quilted. I would love to have one hanging in my kitchen. (That, dear Sally, is a direct hint!)

Saturday I was a little under the weather due to a medication error. So, I napped, read, made pasta and a Waldorf salad - just hung out. Sally made wonderful fish. Yum. We ate well over the weekend!

It was fun to teach Sally the little I know of quilting. At one point she said, "Isn't this wonderful? We are so comfortable around each other that conversation isn't necessary. We work well together." Ahhh, Sally - that's why I love you! Friends like Sal are far and few between!

Sally has been bitten by the quilting bug! Her cup of tea (pun intended) is hand stitching and she does a beautiful job. This is her very first project, a pillow all hand done. No pattern, either. I'm impressed.
I left early Sunday morning. Stopped in Indiana long enough to go to the bathroom and hit the Skyway and straight through Chicago no problem. Stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Kenosha for an early lunch as by then I was very hungry.
What a great weekend!

Weekend at Sally's Part I

I drove to my dear friend, Sally's home in Watervliet, MI Wednesday afternoon for the long holiday weekend. I hit a lot of traffic from Dempsey through Jackson in Chicago. Caught the Skyway and breezed through the rest of the trip. Got to Sally's in time to celebrate her birthday with Amy and Jerry. We had a yummy dinner in Coloma and returned to Sally's where shortly afterwards Amy and Jerry went their separate ways back to Illinois. I'm glad I made it in time for dinner as it is always fun to see Amy and Jerry.

Thursday we hit the road. Stopped at an antique store in Watervliet and several stores in Benton Harbor. One was a great dollar store and the other a health food store. I wanted Sally to candle my ears that night. However, before these stores we found 2 quilt stores.

Carol's Cozy Cottage is outside of Benton Harbor, really in the country. It is even down a dirt road. It is very cute on the outside. However, it is small and she doesn't have a large selection of fabric at all. Maybe 30-50 bolts? She seems to cater to her church group or other church groups. But, it was nice and Carol is very friendly. I bought something to hand stitch while at Sally's and Sally bought a cute tea place mat kit. More on this in my next post.

Next we found Loving Stitches in Stevensville (?), MI. And, we found Holly - the awesome owner. Not only is it a quilt store, but Holly has a perfectly charming English cottage garden that people are free to explore and enjoy. Sally and I were amazed at the wandering paths and all of the different flowers.

Holly in front of her shop

When Sally and I walked into Holly's store there was a very young girl there, maybe 14 or 15, who Holly said was her daughter, Heather. I was surprised as Holly has over a dozen kits she made up for sale and all have been sewn and most were machine quilted by Heather. Also, on several of these quilts there was some with beautiful applique work, also done by either Holly or Heather. Sally and I oohed and ahhed over these samples. Holly has a very nice variety of fabrics, too.
Sally and me in Holly's garden

We got to talking with Holly (who is a lovely person) and in the course of conversation she showed us pictures of Heather quilting at age 5. In the photo album was a picture of a young woman on her wedding day. Turns out the young woman is Heather! Holly, with a twinkle in her eye, asked us how old we thought she was . I said 35-37 and Sally quickly agreed. I looked a little closer at her and thought to myself, "Well, maybe 42 at the most." Ha! Holly is 62! Yes, SIXTY-TWO. Sal and I were flabbergasted. Truthfully, this woman doesn't look older than 42 max. She has beautiful long blonde hair - all natural. And, Heather? Not a young teenager, but 25 years old and married!

Of course Sal and I asked Holly her secret to looking to young and beautiful. Holly said she never smoked, never drinks anything but milk, water, and fruit juices, eats healthy, loves to be outside, loves to golf and she keeps herself busy. She also has a great outlook on life, which is very evident.

Sally and I asked her about guilds and classes for Sally and Holly told us about a quilting guild and a group that meets at a nearby library.

When we got home Sally made us a wonderful dinner (she is just a great cook). We worked on my little lady project and later cut out all of the pieces for Sally's tea place mat.

It was a great day.

Plaque in Holly's garden