Friday, September 30, 2011

Nature or Nurture?

Are cats BORN with the knowledge that they can get their persons out of bed in the morning by standing on their bladders? Or is it learned behavior?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Typing Naked

My HANDS, that it! Yes, I got the stitches out today. YAY! I still have a few small strips of tape over the incision and I can't get it wet until Friday morning, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Want to see what I've been doing lately? I finished quilting the Halloween Lincoln Schnibbles quilt.

Even though it's a small quilt and I just did a large meander on it, it took me a couple days to quilt because it seems like I've lost those upper arm/shoulder muscles--I was awfully sore after just a couple hours of quilting!

Here's another photo--I planned it as a topper for our dresser to match the Halloween 1904 quilt, and I think you can see it goes pretty well.

My daughter has the Ghastlies quilt on her bed but she's mentioned a few times she doesn't have a Halloween wallhanging in her room, so I'm working on quilting another Halloween quilt. This next one will count toward my 11 in '11 because it's one that I pieced a couple years ago and I've been meaning to finish for what seems like the longest time but kept putting it off. I should have that one to show in another few days if my quilting muscles cooperate.

Now it's just about time for bed, but first I'll take what I hope is my last one-handed bath. Isn't it funny how much we take for granted?!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Some Stuff

I know a lot of you enjoy reading Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books--we've talked about it before. And I know that generally there have been a lot of opinions about casting the movie roles--everyone seems to have a picture in their minds of who would be the best choice for each of the characters. Have you seen the movie trailer for One for the Money yet? I ran across it yesterday. If you haven't seen it and are interested, click HERE. What do you think?

Personally, I've always pictured Sandra Bullock as Stephanie, but then I heard a rumor that she would have been fine ten years ago, but she's a little too old to start the series now. And I guess that makes sense. But I have similar opinions about most of the other actors--none of the actors and actresses are quite who I would have cast.

Someone asked about the Beverly's I went to yesterday. This particular store, which now specializes in fabric only unlike the other stores, is located on Fair Oaks Boulevard near El Camino in Sacramento. There's another Beverly's on Fair Oaks and Madison--don't confuse the two.

Tomorrow I go to my post op doctor appointment, and I'll get my stitches out--YAY! I can hardly wait! I suppose I should get to bed--I've rather quickly gotten out of the habit of waking up and getting ready to leave the house early(ish), and my appointment's downtown at 9 a.m. The next time I write to you, I'll have two naked hands. TMI?!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shopping is Tiring!

I know we all claim that shopping can be an exhausing experience, but it really IS sometimes, especially when we're not feeling completely up to par. In my case, right now that means my continuing recovery from the carpal tunnel release surgery. I think I sort of forget it's only been a week.

I've been looking for kitchen chair pads lately and found some at Target online, but the website told me the closest store with the chair pads in stock was nearly a half hour drive away. So this morning I got in the car and headed out. The map program I used warned me of traffic delays due to road work, but the back-up I hit this morning was more than a delay--traffic was virtually stopped on the highway about a mile or so before my turn off. Finally I found out why.

Despite numerous signs warning of an approaching sharp curve that should be taken at no more than 20 miles an hour, this trucker failed to slow down in time and tipped right over the center divider--right where all the road construction was taking place.

At the Target store, I found my chair cushions and more--of course! But here's what I really like to see in a Target store:

Yep, a Starbucks. What could be better than Target AND Starbucks?!

Coming back, I passed the accident site again, on the other side of the barrier. By this time, traffic in the other direction had been detoured off the freeway and they were trying to lift the truck with a crane.

A couple months ago, I purchased a Beverly's Groupon that gave me $30 of fabric for $15. Beverly's is a California fabric/craft/decorating store chain; this particular location was converted to carrying nothing but fabric and sewing supplies about a year ago; it was fun to see its new incarnation. My Groupon was due to expire in two days, so I really needed to redeem it--despite the fact that it was on the opposite side of town from my earlier excursion. Here's a general view of the store--what you see looks a little crazy but it's actually not badly organized.

About a quarter of the space is devoted to quilting and cotton fabrics--and that section of the store looks much more organized. One of the nice things about Beverly's is that they actually carry the same designers and fabric brands that most quilt shops carry, so it's another option for quilters in search of the perfect fabric.

What did I buy? A couple of pieces of fabric that I'll use in Christmas projects. And some other non-fabric odds and ends I needed for a couple of ongoing projects.

I didn't expect it, but by the time I left Beverly's, I found the driving I did--driving my car AND driving a shopping cart around the two stores--really tired out my hand. Most of the time, my hand doesn't hurt at all, and so I tend to forget it's not as strong as it used to be. I'll be getting the stitches out in another day and before long, I'll be doing exercises to regain the strength in that hand, but in the meantime, I just need to remember to slow down a little. Sitting around and reading or watching TV isn't really a BAD thing at this point. It's just hard to remember when there are so many plans and ideas in my brain! Patience is not my strong suit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What's Your Opinion?

I finished this piece of Halloween embroidery, but I can't decide what to do to it next.

I have a couple options. I can make it into a pillow. Or I could make it a small wallhanging. And if I made it into a wallhanging, I could make it so it could either hang on the wall or, with a sleeve added to the back, it could hang in this metal frame:

Or there may be other ideas I haven't even thought of. (Making it into a toaster cover sounds like a good idea except I don't have a toaster!)

What do you think would be the cutest project?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


My hand is feeling kind of achy today when typing, so no blog post. See you tomorrow!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In Stitches

Gran had me in stitches today. Really!

I decided to take advantage of being off work to join Gran at the quilt shop for her monthly tea and stitchery. Of course, that meant I had to actually WORK on something, so I prepared an embroidery last night--this is a pattern by Lakadaisies. I know it's hard to see my pencil lines, but you can click HERE to see what the pattern looks like.

I've actually gotten pretty far, I think! I'm not sure what I'll do with it when it's done, but I like the picture--maybe a pillow?

We're also supposed to bring some kind of food to share at tea and stitchery, so I made deviled eggs. Yum!

I added a pesto seasoning and some chopped prosciutto to the egg mixture and topped them with the small orange tomatoes and basil I bought at the farm stand yesterday. Then I lightly drizzled them with a spicy olive oil. Gosh, they were good!

Earlier this week, Soccer Son came over to help me with the skeletons, but the temperature outside was about 95 degrees that afternoon, and neither of us felt like hanging around outdoors--not to mention climbing up on a hot roof--so we postponed the skeleton arranging until next week when the temps are supposed to be a little cooler. In the meantime, I've amused myself by setting them up temporarily--I've been telling Hubby that this arrangement depicts his (and his friend Terry's) last poker game. Ha!

Don't forget to fit a little play time in your schedule this weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall!

Fall officially arrives today, and what a good time it is to announce the winner of the Vineyard Seasons book by Susan Branch. There were 30 entries, so 16 seemed like a good number right in the middle of the bunch--and number 16 turned out to be Julie-Julia who said, "HI Kim. Enter me! Happy all went well. Julie-Julia"

Congrats Julie-Julia! Let me know how to best get the book to you.

It's still WAAAAY hot here in Sacramento--100 degrees today. My friend Lisa picked me up this afternoon, and we went to lunch at the Flower Farm. (You can read about an earlier trip I took to the same place--with photos--HERE.)

Despite the heat, there was a nice breeze on the covered patio, so we ate outside and enjoyed the scenery of the nursery and the pond. I found two grasses to plant in our front yard to replace a couple plants that haven't done well out there, and Lisa and I each brought home some fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil from their farm stand. Yum!

I thought I'd share a couple more photos of the Halloween decorations. Remember Cackling Rosie, my thrift store buy last year? Well, she's back!

Tomorrow (today) I plan to make a pumpkin-buying trip--her lap is a perfect spot to hold a rather large pumpkin. And I have another photo of the living room--I wanted to share this idea with you. The framed "picture" above the fireplace is actually a fabric panel--simple to do if you have a frame on hand and the panel can be used later in a quilt or other project--or left in the frame if you prefer.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deja Vu

Before my first carpal tunnel surgery in June 2010, I didn't really know what to expect as far as sewing after surgery and how long I'd be unable to use my hand very much. In the end, I found the surgery didn't hinder my sewing much at all, although it's not wise to sit and sew for TOO long. I knew, though, back in June 2010, that I'd probably die of boredom if I couldn't do some sewing, so I got everything prepared ahead of time to make the quilt that's now on my kitchen table--a couple of you asked about it.

I used this pattern, Scrappy Trails, as the general idea, although I can't remember whether I cut everything to the same sizes. I DO recall that I cut all the strips and center squares from fabric in my Halloween stash before the surgery so I could just sit and sew simple seams afterward--I figured I could do that single handed if necessary.

Of course, since everything was cut already, it only took a few days to sew the rest together. I don't remember when I quilted it, but I just used a large, all-over meander, so the quilting went pretty fast too.

It felt kind of odd to pull it out and put it on the table and remember back to my first surgery just before I was going to have my second!

This time, I really didn't pre-prep any projects, but I'm finding plenty to work on anyway. More than enough to keep me busy between pain pills and naps, that's for sure! The soreness and ache is pretty minimal now, so I don't think I'll be doing too much more napping or taking very many more pain pills, so maybe I'll have some new projects to share before long.

In any event, this Halloween project is a nice and simple way to use some of your leftover Halloween scraps. Click HERE for a link to directions for making the half log cabin blocks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Postop Post

Thanks for all the well wishes! Surgery went well and I was out of there by 9:30 a.m. or so. I had Hubby take me to breakfast on the way home--I've never suffered postop nausea, so I took a chance on eating, and I was just fine.

We finally got home late morning and after making the necessary calls to let everyone know I'd survived, I took a nice, long nap. Yummy!

Later in the day, Hubby and I went to a movie and an informal dinner at our favorite hot dog place. I've been in a little discomfort on and off, and it's about time for me to take another pain pill--I have a feeling it's going to put me to sleep since it's been a struggle to stay awake this evening anyway; I figured I'd better write something first and schedule this to post long after I expect to be asleep!

Here's the little giveaway I mentioned--this Susan Branch cookbook, Vineyard Seasons:

I found this one at a thrift store and bought it, not realizing I had it already. If you'd like a chance to win, just say "enter me" in your comment. A couple rules: For this one, only US residents (or those with US addresses--I know a few Canadians have them). Also, you have to come back to see if you've won--I won't email you.

I'll pick a winner randomly on Thursday evening to be announced on Friday's blog post. Good luck and remember to come back and check!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And Not a Moment Too Soon

Done! All my indoor decorating and housecleaning is done--mostly. I still need to get some pumpkins later in the week, and Soccer Son will come over in a couple days to help with some outdoor skeleton decorating, but the majority is done. Just in time, too.

Because in the morning, I'm having carpal tunnel release surgery on my left hand/wrist. I had the right one done over a year ago, so this time I know what to expect. In the next couple days, I'll probably post briefly. I might miss a day or two but possibly not. I've taken photos of the Halloween decorations, so I can at least post a few photos on days when the hunt and peck method of right hand typing gets old. And I have a little giveaway planned--nothing too exciting, but it's something I have two of and thought someone else might enjoy having one.

Now it's time for me to finish getting ready for bed so I can try to get a little sleep before the alarm goes off super early in the morning. I'm not sure WHY surgeries have to be so early, but I guess it's just as well to get in, done, and out again. Thanks for checking in on me!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lincoln Halloween

I've continued to work on getting the house decorated (and cleaned!) for Halloween but on this, the second day of my decorating labors, I found that more frequent breaks were necessary to rest my legs and back which, at this point, feel like they'll never be the same again. So what did I do during my breaks? I put the blocks together for the Halloween tabletopper I've been working on and added the borders too!

This pattern is a Schnibbles pattern called Lincoln; I've used many of the same fabrics that are in the bed quilt I showed yesterday, and this one will serve as a tabletopper on our dresser. Maybe tomorrow I can get it basted and quilted--or at least started. I'll still need to piece a back--it's a little too large for a single standard width of fabric.

Thanks for all the complimentary comments on the Hallowe'en 1904 quilt. Some of you said it was on your list of "someday" quilts--as it had been on mine. It's really great to finally get it done after working on it over the course of the past three late summer/early fall seasons. And, of course, it's just about time to go crawl underneath it for the night. I'm glad you stopped by!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hallowe'en 1904--Done!

As planned, I spent the day decorating for Halloween. I still have the kitchen to do tomorrow, but I've made a great deal of progress. And now that I have my bedroom put together, I can finally show you the completed Hallowe'en 1904 quilt.

And remember the vintage quilt I bought at a thrift store when Hubby and I were on vacation? I wanted to use it somewhere but I didn't want it to get too much wear, so I finally settled on putting it on top of the armoire.

Some of you commented yesterday that it's still too hot where you live to think about decorating for Halloween. Here in Sacramento we're in the 80s and 90s too, but I never let that stop me. If I was going to wait for it to cool down, we'd probably have Thanksgiving before Halloween! So I just figure mid-September--when it's almost officially fall--is a good time to get busy decorating, even if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Time for me to go to bed now and rest my achy body because there's another day of decorating ahead. Good night!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

Did you participate in the Friday Night Sew-In this month? I finally remembered to take part--most months I remember after the night has passed! This time, although I got a late start, I spent several hours of quality quilty time and made the star blocks for this quilt I'm making from the Schnibbles pattern Lincoln.

My weekend plans involve getting the Halloween decorations out of their boxes and artfully distributed throughout our home. I've arranged for Soccer Son to come over on Wednesday to help get the new skeletons in place (neither Hubby nor I are up to climbing onto the roof any longer, and I want one of these guys up there). I stopped for groceries at Trader Joe's tonight and found they had pumpkins for sale. Oh, my! Now I feel I'm LATE with my decorating! The pressure's on; I'd better get a good night's sleep so I'll have the energy to get going in the morning.

I hope you have a good weekend planned! I'm glad you could stop by and visit.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Year of Applique?

In 2011, I made a commitment to myself to try to finish 11 quilts that were "in progress" or needed to be made for one reason or another. I don't know if I'll get 11 done this year, but it's been a pretty good goal--at least it keeps me from drifting too far off the path. And I'm not saying quilting needs to be structured like a "chore"--just that for me, I have a habit of not finishing what I begin, and I wanted to make more of an effort to complete some projects that had been lingering long past their "best before" date, you know?

For some reason, though, I find myself yearning to do some applique. Yep, I know many of you don't enjoy applique or are just plain scared of it, but I find it a relaxing and creative pleasure.

I've been thinking that maybe 2012 will be my year of applique.

Remember when Gran and I went on that mini shop hop a couple weeks ago and I picked up some fabric for the Halloween quilt? Gran was looking for some fabrics to make this quilt:

Last Saturday, when my stitchery group got together, we started talking about it, and I was the only one of the six of us who didn't already have the book! So as soon as I got home that night, I remedied THAT little discrepancy by placing an order with Amazon.

Our group decided we would work on this quilt together at our monthly get togethers, and there are a couple of us who are willing to demonstrate our applique methods to the rest of the group, so we'll all learn something new in the process. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? (Well, maybe not, if you don't like applique, but that's okay too.)

I have a couple other applique projects I've started and not finished. At one point, I began designing a 12-block applique quilt--but I only finished the first two blocks and drew up the third before I put it aside. I think I'd like to get back to that one.

And I have an appliqued duck quilt that I'm designing--I only have two more blocks to applique before I can start to put it together, so I'm not that far from finishing it really.

Then there are all the wool projects I've been wanting to work on but have put off.

I've done a tutorial on using plastic template material in applique on my blog in the past, but I don't recall doing a tutorial to demonstrate the applique method I use for everything else--which is pretty basic, really. I'll try to do that before long so maybe those among you who are intimidated by applique can give it a try. And maybe you'll join me in adding a couple of applique projects to your quilt list for 2012. I hope so! It will be fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mid-Week Break

Sometimes the most appealing idea for after dinner "entertainment" midweek is taking a warm bath and putting on my jammies early before heading off to bed with a cup of hot chocolate (or iced tea in the summer) and a good book.

This is what's on my nightstand tonight (click link at "this" to see the book at Amazon):

What's on yours?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Cool is THIS?!

There's a story on the internet about how Target customers overwhelmed the stores and crashed their internet site several times today because they were anxious to get Missoni-designed-for-Target goods. I was in the Hundred Dollar Store today and was completely clueless about Missoni because THIS is what really interested ME--

Why didn't someone come up with this idea before? After all, isn't the Hansel and Gretel story one of the scariest witch stories of all time? People need to have parties centered around decorating these things. I'm excited! Aren't you?!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sew Now What?

Is anyone else out there surrounded by freaky people or is it just me? Is there a full moon or something?

Our younger cat Stitch (yes, I'm lumping him in with "people") usually sits/lays on the desk next to me while I'm on the computer, but he was acting really spooked tonight. When I petted him, he jumped a mile in the air, and he kept looking down off the edge of the desk as if there was something down there. Ghosts, maybe? Certainly nothing I could see! Finally he just jumped off and went and sat in the hallway to wait for me. But, of course, that wasn't the oddest thing of the day.

I called Hubby at home, late in the morning, when I knew he'd be up. After our initial exchange of greetings, he said, "Where ARE you?!" Somewhat perplexed, I replied, "I'm at work. Where should I be?" "Isn't it a HOLIDAY?," he asked. Seriously, I'm thinking it's been WAAAAAAAY too long since Hubby's had a job or done anything else that required a regular schedule.

I finished the Hallowe'en 1904 quilt the other day and put it on our bed, but I haven't taken a photo to share with you yet. First, I need to do something about the pillowcases and those panels on the wall above my bed. I'll show you how it turned out as soon as I tweek the surroundings to match.

In the meantime, our project for the Le Petite club this month is freestyle--we can pick our favorite Schnibbles pattern and I picked one called Lincoln. That pattern alternates star blocks with rail fence blocks. I'm using the leftover fabrics from the Halloween quilt so it will make a nice companion tabletopper for either the desk or the dresser in our bedroom.

I finished the rail fence blocks tonight; tomorrow I'll start on the stars.

Finally, the winner of the witch block is Carol of Carol's Crafty Creations. I'm sure Carol will find something cute to make from the block and I'll look forward to seeing what she does. Carol, please send me your snail mail address and I'll put the witch on her broom and point her in the right direction. Congrats!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Halloween Leftovers

I'm guessing there's at least one of you who would like a witch block to make into a Halloween something-or-other, right? I was originally thinking about a small wallhanging but the idea of a tote bag or pillow just popped into my mind. I'm almost tempted to keep it! But I know I have plenty of Halloween projects already so I'll share.

Here's what it looks like now--it needs some trimming.

The legs dangle. Cute, yes? This orphan block is leftover from a quilt I made from this Buggy Barn pattern. It's in their Frightfully Crazy book:

When you make the whole quilt, you make nine blocks so you can do all the switching around of "parts" that's needed. That means there's one leftover.

If you'd like to adopt this orphan block, please leave me a comment, letting me know. I'll pick a "winner" tomorrow night and announce it on my Tuesday post. Good luck!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I've watched several television documentaries lately that looked back on 9/11. Can it really be ten years since it happened? Sometimes it seems like it was longer and sometimes it seems like just a couple years.

Back then, it was my habit to turn on the TV as soon as I got up and watch Good Morning America while I got ready for work. On that day, as I watched, I saw footage of the planes hitting the towers. In my mind, I remember watching the first tower burning and then seeing the second plane hit, but now I wonder if that was live or a replay of earlier footage. Before I left for work, both towers had fallen. It all seemed surreal--it still does in many ways. And, of course, there was the third plane that hit the Pentagon and the fourth plane that crashed before hitting a target.

On Saturday, our stitchery group spent the day together and we could hear the planes from a nearby air show--the sound, which was very loud at times, was quite startling at first, particularly since this was just a day before the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attack and that's been on our minds.

A few years after 9/11, I painted the top of a bookcase in my bedroom with star quilt blocks. This was one of the blocks I painted:

It's hard to see, but the top left corner has a 9 and the top right corner has an 11. I never made a 9/11 memorial quilt, so I suppose this is my memorial to the tragedy. Of course, I don't think any of us who were around then need anything to remind us--we'll always remember.

What were you doing on 9/11? Did you make a memorial quilt or anything else?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting Ready for Halloween

Someone reminded me today that I have a couple of Halloween tutorials I've posted to my blog over the past few years with links to them over there in the side bar. There's the Happy Jacks quilt and then this cute Halloween treat bag:

I love to get digital downloads from Etsy because they cost only a few dollars and they're delivered by email--usually by the next day. I've purchased a couple more Halloween downloads this year but I haven't had a chance to play yet.

To print images on fabric, I just iron muslin onto freezer paper, and that makes the sheets stiff enough to feed through the printer. If you've never tried it before, maybe this is the time to try out a little weekend project for a special friend or loved one. (I like to print these in black and white and then add colored highlights with colored pencils or crayons.)

The weekend's here--and that means it's time to play! Have fun!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guess Who's Here?

Our fall house guests arrived on my doorstep yesterday, and one of the first things Hubby wanted to know was where I was going to store them. He's SUCH a party-pooper!

I thought I'd just leave them in their boxes for a few days at least. Remember I told you they were coming in THIS post? I broke the news to Hubby a couple days later, and I've got to say, he wasn't too happy with my office manager. I told her, of course. I figured she needed to know before the next firm get together, which is scheduled for the beginning of October.

I love to decorate for fall and Halloween, but I haven't decided when to do that this year. Maybe the weekend after the one that's coming up--that will be just before my carpal tunnel surgery.

Last year I had a little contest to name my newly-acquired thrift store witch, and Pink Flamingo Dianne came up with the perfect name: Cackling Rosie. I may need to do something similar this year with these new additions.

If you love to decorate for Halloween, have you started yet? When do you think you will? Are you adding any new decorations this year? Inquiring minds . . . .

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hallowe'en Pattern Winner

I was sitting in the Sweat Shop, quilting away until I thought my arms would fall off my shoulders, and I thought, "I'm going to pick entry number 26." I don't know why--no rhyme or reason; that number just popped into my mind. So in counting up the 26th email entry, I found the winner is Abbybeth, a relatively new quilter who commented:

"one of my besties and I are loving this pattern - it'd be really fun to work on it together! Thanks for offering it up :)"

Congrats, Abbybeth! I'm happy that you'll be sharing it with a friend too--after all, I think that's the best way to quilt! Please email me your snail mail address. You can just click into my profile and then click on email. I'll get the pattern in the mail to you shortly.

Thanks everyone else for playing along. I wish I had patterns for everyone--this is a great quilt. HERE's one source for the pattern (click on the link), but I'm sure there are others if you search.

It's time now for a nice, hot bath and a rest for my weary shoulders--after all, I might need them again tomorrow. See you later!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oh, Hoppy Day!

I wanted to tell you about a couple blog hops--just in case you spend a lot of time under rocks like I think I must.

Moda Country Fair. Do you know about it? The blog hop started today. Well, yesterday, really, but it's still Tuesday for me. The first stop was a visit with Sandy Gervais and Pieces From My Heart. Twenty-seven designers involved in the Moda hop, and the hop carries on into the beginning of October.

Blog hops are great vehicles for new ideas, inspiration, and patterns, and Moda's Country Fair hop promises to be no exception. Sandy Gervais has a pattern for a cute little purse. (By the way, how about using the hop to get ideas for Christmas gifts? What woman or girl couldn't find a use for this darling little purse?!)

There are links at the bottom of the Pieces From the Heart blog to the rest of the Moda designers and a listing of their days. By the time you read this on Wednesday, it will be Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill's turn.

By the way, just in case you're not hopped out by the time Moda's done with you . . . well, did you see the badge in my sidebar about the Ghastlies Blog Hop? Yep, we're having one and the plans are currently being firmed up. I'll let you know a few details soon. I think it's going to be fun, so save a little energy for us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hallowe'en 1904

Gosh, thanks for all the compliments on the Halloween quilt! A couple people mentioned how quickly I'd gotten it done--not! Seriously, I've been working on the quilt since 2009 when the pattern came out, and by the time I pulled it out again this year, I only had two blocks left to go and then the border--and I've been working on those two blocks for the last week or two, so I'm not as speedy as I might seem.

First thing this morning, I went out to the garage and set up my two tables and got busy pinning the quilt. I was surprised to find it took me four hours to pin baste! FOUR HOURS! But it got done and then I took a nap. Later in the afternoon, I started the quilting. I think it's going to go relatively quickly, but it will still take about a week, I think, to finish.

Someone asked about the size of the quilt--the pattern states it's 90" square. I made mine about 10" larger by adding the inner border and the longer piano key strips, and the photo I showed yesterday was on my king size bed.

Now that I'm done with the pattern, I'd like to pass it on. From the comments, I gather several of you already have it, but if you don't and you're seriously interested in making the quilt, please leave me a comment saying you'd like to win the pattern.

I'll pick a winner Wednesday night and post the name on Thursday's blog post. Make sure you come back to see if you've won. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Progress Update

Hallowe'en 1904: On Sunday, the blocks were sewn together and the center of the top was "tested" on the bed for size so I could decide what to do for the borders.

I decided the quilt was quite long enough and didn't need a final border along the top edge. I thought I'd vary the pattern a little by adding an inner border so I didn't have to exactly match seams between the center and the border. That worked quite well!

I thought I'd cut the piano key border pieces 8" long. Now I wonder if I should have cut them 10" instead to allow for shrinkage? I think it will be okay.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning--just before writing this post--I finished piecing a quilt back. I decided to echo the piano key border design along the top edge of the quilt so when the quilt is turned back, the pieced edge will show.

In the morning, I'll pin baste the quilt. Now it's time to get a little sleep!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Better Than Expected

I expected to spend a relaxing Saturday working on the Halloween 1904 quilt, but then the telephone rang as I was cooking breakfast. It was Gran, calling to ask if I wanted to join her in a little shopping trip. Well, of COURSE I did! In fact, I'd been thinking about shopping for a few more pieces of fabric to use in the piano key border for the quilt I'm working on, so Gran's timing was perfect. After breakfast, I got ready to go and we met at her house.

On our outing, we visited three quilt shops, but I only took photos at one, because although the shop has been in business for a few years now, they've moved to a new location and this was our first visit.

Here are two photos of Shared Stitches, which is located in Shingle Springs.

I meant to take a photo of the outside of the shop, but I guess I forgot by the time we left--we spent quite a bit of time there, looking through their selection of 1800s fabrics.

Here are the fabrics I brought home for the quilt:

Some are the same prints I've used in the center and some are new, but all seem to work well together.

Both of us were taken by the print in this Advent calendar panel. It's from a line of fabric called Julen by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning. We found these at the High Sierra quilt shop in Cameron Park. It felt non-traditional but at the same time, it didn't seem too modern.

We got back to town in time for me to stop by the grocery store and cook dinner for Hubby before he went out to visit with friends, while I stayed home and finally had that relaxing Saturday I expected. By the end of the evening, I'd finished the last block.

Tomorrow I'll put the blocks together and then "test" the size on my bed so I can decide how wide to make the borders--I think I want mine a little larger than the pattern, but I'm not sure how much larger it needs to be.

With what little time is left of this evening, I think I'll go to bed and enjoy one of my other purchases.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Long Weekend . . .

Here in the United States, the three-day Labor Day weekend has begun. This always signals the end of summer, although in reality, here in Sacramento at least, the summer heat will linger through October. We can dream, though. Autumn is on its way and the mornings and evenings will get cooler.

What are my Labor Day weekend plans? I want to work on that Halloween 1904 quilt I showed you the other day. I have two more star blocks to applique and then I can put the last block together and assemble the quilt, except for the piano key border. Of course, I'll work on the border this weekend too. And if I get that far, I also plan to set up the tables in the garage and pin baste the quilt. (I bought a can of spray baste not long ago, but this one feels too large to try out a new-to-me technique--I'll wait for a smaller one.)

I went to the dentist this morning, expecting an infection in my jaw or something wrong with the tooth I had a root canal and crown on about a year and a half ago. Instead, I learned that the next tooth back from that--the molar at the very back of my mouth--was missing a little piece that had cracked off next to a filling and I never even knew it happened. So I ended up with an "emergency" root canal. My mouth will be a little sore over the next day or two, but nothing like the pain I've had the last few days. I'm SOOOOO glad the dentist and the endodontist were able to help me today before the holiday weekend! I sure don't enjoy going to the dentist, but it's better than the rather painful alternative of continuing to put it off.

Now I feel I can get on with the weekend and really enjoy it. How about you? What do you have planned? Any quilt projects? Family time? Whatever it is, I hope you have a wonderful time!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Obligated Blogging

You've seen the "Blogging Without Obligation" tags, right? I can't do that. I don't feel right taking a night off unless I bring you a note from my doctor.

I remember back in my early blogging/blog surfing days, I used to read Pioneer Woman every morning, and if she didn't post, I was sure a herd of cattle had stampeded (is that a word?) her to death. And I'd worry all morning, just as if she was a close, personal friend. And, of course, that was never the reason; it was always something like her popularity had exceeded her bandwidth and crashed the entire Oklahoma internet. I'm pretty sure none of you would anticipate that kind of thing would be the reason why I would miss posting.

(Funny how I do a whole blog post telling you why I'm not doing a blog post, right?)

Anyway, I have nothing much to say tonight and I'm feeling a little cranky.

I'm at work and it's 8 p.m. (but I'm leaving in a minute).

I have a toothache. I see the dentist in the morning.

I have an upset tummy. (Quite possibly because I see the dentist in the morning.)

Manager Man's plane arrives from New York in about 20 minutes--he'll be staying with us for a few days. (Okay, I suspect he's really staying with the Wild Child, but since she lives with us . . . .)

So I'm going to go home now and not turn on the computer. Please don't miss me too much. I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Internet Fame and Fun

The internet is a funny thing. Some time ago, I learned that if you do a Google search for "Kim Quilts Nude," you get my blog. (I tried it again just to make sure, and yes, the first several results are me.) No, if you're a newer reader, you haven't missed anything, really. I just used to identify that photo of me as a nude self portrait--the one where you just see the top of my head.

Around my birthday, a couple of my friends took me to Chevy's for lunch, and we took a photo of our margaritas and I posted it on my blog. (Click HERE if you want to see the photo I'm talking about.) Not long after that post, I did an image search on Yahoo for "Chevy's chips and salsa"--I wanted to find a photo to send to a friend along with the suggestion we go to Chevy's for lunch. One of the photos that came up was a pretty cool looking shot of three margaritas. It took a minute or two, but before long, I realised it was OUR photo! Yahoo had indexed it from my blog.

Of course, having had the "Kim Quilts Nude" experience under my belt, it didn't surprise me too much, but my friends were amazed--it kind of felt like we were famous!

So we did it again. I don't think the shot is quite as pretty this time, but the margaritas were just as good--especially on a hot summer day!

THIS time, we at least managed to get the chips and salsa into the picture. I'm going to call this one the Chevy's Margarita Girls. Or, better yet, Nude Chevy's Margarita Girls. I bet we'll be even MORE famous soon! I'm pretty sure it's just a matter of time before the Chevy's endorsement deals roll in.