Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I spent Sunday cleaning--but it was the fun kind of cleaning, if there is such a thing. The plan was to clean the "office" today--the office is where the computer resides, and under the desk (which spans the length of the room) are all my baskets of wool. Then there are other crafty things stored around the room in a dresser and another smaller desk and the closet. I also have a hard desk-type wooden chair that had been collecting magazines, books, and papers, and when I started to move things around for cleaning, I realized that one of the most urgent needs was to sort out the magazines and papers--because I could barely budge the chair, it was so heavy. Since most of the magazines were of the quilting variety, that meant sitting around, looking through magazines, and pulling out patterns I wanted to keep. ALL DAY LONG--or close to it, anyway. See what I mean about the fun kind of cleaning?

So this evening the office looks much the same as it did when I was about 15 minutes into cleaning it this morning, except now there's only a couple of things on the chair. Really, once I get down to the true cleaning, the office won't take long.

Did any of you happen to pop by Gran's blog and see that she suffered a fall on Saturday? She called me tonight and said she had no broken bones but she's pretty sore and bruised. I'm starting to think maybe it's ME--everyone around me seems to be falling! If she's up to it in the morning, we're going to get together for coffee at least--we've hardly seen each other since before Quilt Market other than at tea and embroidery the other day, and I'm sure there must be stories from market that I haven't heard yet.

Hubby's still alive, by the way. He's starting to adjust to being less mobile, although he DID roll over one of the cats in the hallway today. There's not much room to turn the wheelchair, so he was backing down the hallway when we both heard a cat scream. I popped out of the Sweat Shop (where I was "working" on the magazines) and saw both our cats run toward the kitchen. Neither seemed at all flat and both seemed to be running fairly well, so although I couldn't tell who had been rolled over, whoever it was didn't seem adversely affected.

I've also started to adjust to Hubby's current limitations. A friend volunteered to take me to my surgery in a few weeks, so that's one less worry. And Hubby can cook if whatever he needs is assembled for him on the kitchen counter--and I'll still have one hand to do that with--so we're not going to starve. Neither of us will be able to drive for a little bit, but I'm sure Soccer Son will help out if we have to go anywhere or if we need something from the store. So things are falling into place and I'm feeling a little less frantic. It's not ideal, but then when IS it ideal? It always seems like "bad luck" hits in a series, at the most inopportune time, doesn't it? The key, I think, is in realizing it's not the end of the world and learning to cope and adjust.

For those of you in the U.S., I hope you're enjoying the Memorial Day weekend. Traditionally, Memorial Day marks the start of summer, and we could smell the barbecues all over the neighborhood tonight. Personally, I'm feeling a craving for a BBQ'd hamburger coming on and I think I'll have to do something about that tomorrow! Thanks for taking time to stop by and visit with me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Day in the Sweat Shop

The title of this post probably sounds a lot nicer than the reality of my day, assuming that you're a reader who knows the Sweat Shop is my sewing haven. Unfortunately, though, I've gotten back to super-cleaning the house, and the Sweat Shop was the room I concentrated my efforts on today. It's such a small room, and it's jam packed with all my stuff, so the furniture rarely gets moved for vacuuming and dusting--and if you're a quilter, you KNOW how much dust comes from textiles. So I did all that and it was a big job, but it's done now for awhile. (And no Roos were sacrificed, nor did I accidentally light anything on fire--woo hooo!)

Once the cleaning was done, I finished stitching down the binding on the red/aqua basket quilt.

I think I mentioned that I'd sorted out my scrap drawers when I talked about bindings yesterday, didn't I? Well, I filled up a box of scraps for you--if you're lucky. If you're a scrappy quilter and would love to add a box of scraps to your stash, leave me a comment telling me you want to be entered. Because of the weight of this box, in order not to bankrupt myself on postage, I need to limit entries to U.S. residents--sorry! Want to take a look inside?

There's all sorts of stuff in there! I'll draw a winner on Monday night and announce the winner on Tuesday's post.

During the last part of the evening, I've been doing a little quilting, and for the past hour or so, Stitch has been very mischevious. He's been trying to get my attention by getting into and onto everything. He's really a cuddly cat, and I think he's telling me it's time to go to bed so I can pet him while I read.

I hope you're enjoying the weekend! I'm glad you could stop by for a little visit.


COMMENTS CLOSED--Winner being selected and will be announced!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Ties that Bind and the Binds that Wind

It bugs me that "wind" (the stuff that blows air around) and "wind" (what you do with thread and a bobbin) are spelled the same way, because most people, when they read "wind" think the air kind. Did you? That's not what I'm talking about--I'm talking about the other definition. Winding stuff up.

And speaking of being bugged, I still am. Things have not improved, but I'm getting tired of talking about them. For now. No promises for tomorrow. Tomorrow I might have my whine back on.

But tonight I'm thinking about all my quilting friends--those who reside here in Sacramento and those who reside in Blogland. Quilting has bound us together and I feel very lucky for that. Today was tea with Gran at Bearpaws and Hollyhocks, and despite needing a nap rather badly (another night of not a lot of sleep), I knew I needed the companionship of my friends more, so off I went to the quilt shop to chat and stitch and eat and drink tea. Very, very fun. The kind of afternoon that feeds the soul and spirit as well as the body and mind.

You all know by now that Gran and Lindy went off to Quilt Market and left me crying at home, right? Knowing this was going to happen for the last couple months, I've been chanting "Holiday Happy" to Gran over and over again in the hopes that she'd bring some back for me. (Holiday Happy is the new Christmas line Monica Solorio-Snow aka Happy Zombie designed for Lecien.) Guess what Gran handed over to me today? Yep, you guessed it! Wheeeeee!

Seriously, my photo doesn't do the line justice since it was taken at night and one can only do so much with Photoshop, but you can click HERE to get to Monica's blog and then click into her sidebar--she has photos in both her blog and her sidebar. This line will be in shops in the next couple of months--I think it's estimated for around June/July.

Having Holiday Happy fabric to fondle helped improve my mood tremendously. Spending an afternoon with friends helped even more. Confirming with Gran that should the need arise, she'd be right there for me, helping me dig a six-foot deep hole in the backyard--priceless! She's THAT GOOD a friend, and everyone should have at least one (although a couple more would make the digging go faster)!

Here's what I was working on today--sewing down binding.

Doesn't this little quilt look cute with the dishes and things I found at Home Goods a couple weeks ago? If only I could finish REALLY CLEANING the house, I'd be able to get these things into the kitchen instead of sitting on the desk in the Wild Child's former bedroom!

Yet another mood elevator today? A fabric infusion from Hancock's of Paducah was waiting for me when I got home from tea. I love this time of the year when the Halloween and Christmas fabrics are starting to arrive, even if my bank balance doesn't. If you haven't already seen it, check out the border print of the Alexander Henry line, The Ghastlies:

Fun, eh?!

A week or two ago, I commenced a bit of cleaning in the Sweat Shop, and part of that involved sorting through my two big scrap bins. I've always saved my leftover bindings but since I like my bindings cut on the bias, I've never really figured out what to do with the leftovers. Lately I've seen quilts that have used mixed bindings, and so I finally sorted out and wound up my binding bits and pieces. Some rolls have more than one fabric, and all are secured with a quilting pin to keep them from unrolling. (Sorry the photo's a little blurry, but you get the idea.)

I don't know if you noticed, but I used a few different leftover pieces of binding on the little quilt I just finished. I think it's a really fun look for a playful, informal quilt and I'm sure I'll be doing this again. Do you save your leftover binding pieces? Have you found any other uses for them? Inquiring minds are curious and would like you to share if you have any ideas.

Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Friday, May 28, 2010


I wanted to thank all of you for the supportive comments. It helps a lot!

We went to Hubby's doctor today and he had x-rays taken. The films showed a hairline fracture of the tibia just below the knee--the tibia is the larger of the two bones in the lower leg. Hubby was given a knee immobilizer and an appointment with the orthopedist tomorrow. Oh, and more pain pills.

The problem with the knee immobilizer is that Hubby can't get in and out of the car or transfer from his wheelchair to anything else (bed, recliner, or toilet) with it on. The doctor wasn't very helpful when we attempted to discuss solutions, and my inquiry about euthanasia merely got a chuckle or two. In the end, we all agreed that if necessary, the immobilizer would be removed briefly for transfers, but Hubby was to remain non-weight bearing, which is pretty much a no brainer because of the pain. Of course, we have no idea how the orthopedist may weigh in tomorrow on the problem--he may think Hubby needs a cast. Then what? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

I'm still pretty grumpy because the problems Hubby's injury will cause are somewhat extensive, but I think I just need to have faith that they will be resolved one way or another as they arise. Hubby and I didn't sleep well again last night, but we both took a long nap after we got home from the doctor's office this afternoon. In between taking care of Hubby and myself, I spent a little time in the Sweat Shop, so I should have something to show before too long.

The toilet that Soccer Son replaced is still leaking, despite his attempt to fix it today, but he has another idea he'll try tomorrow--silicone. If it works, maybe he'll go help British Petroleum fix their little leak down in the gulf.

Time for bed--Friday's going to be another busy day. Thanks for stopping in to visit.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Out of Sorts

I'm incredibly grumpy and out of sorts today. Why? There are a couple of reasons. (If you don't want to "listen" to me whine, skip down to the last couple of paragraphs.) For one thing, last night, Hubby went out to dump a bag of garbage, turned his foot on a paving stone, and lost his balance. When he fell, he severely injured his "good" knee. Why does that make me grumpy when HE'S the one in pain?

Well, I'm sure it's terribly self-centered of me and seemingly unsympathetic, but gosh darn it, it always seems like Hubby gets injured doing things he shouldn't be doing in the first place--he knows better! He has muscular dystrophy and is usually in a wheelchair outside because he's not stable enough to walk on uneven ground. So why was he outside in the dark, walking in an area that's not smooth and even? Seriously, the garbage could have waited until this morning.

All night he was in pain, and I don't think either one of us got very much sleep. This morning he called his doctor and had a telephone appointment, but his doctor couldn't see him until tomorrow. So why didn't he push it or have me take him to urgent care? I don't know. And I seriously doubt Hubby explained to his doctor just how limited his mobility is right now with that injured knee--he's pretty much confined to his recliner or his wheelchair, but his wheelchair doesn't fit through the doors of either of our bathrooms, so that presents problems, as you may imagine.

Another thing that's making me grumpy? Hubby and Soccer Son had been planning to replace the toilet in our master bathroom and today was the day. The whole process caused one problem after another. First there were the blue drips going from the bathroom at the back of the house, down the hallway, and out to the garage that were caused by the blue water leaking out of the tank as Soccer Son hauled it out.

Then there was the fact that the water supply hose was too short and despite going to TWO hardware stores, we weren't able to get the right part (customer service sure isn't what it used to be before the economy tanked!); Soccer Son had to come back to our house later in the evening with the right hose to finish the installation.

Then there's the fact that the tank seems to be leaking. When I discovered the leak, Soccer Son was no longer here, Hubby's stuck in the recliner in the living room, and I have no idea how to fix it, so I'm just going to have to get some towels to soak up the water until Soccer Son comes back tomorrow.

And my hands are bothering me. After trying to be fairly careful with the scrubbing and even taking a day off of cleaning yesterday, last night my hands started to get numb and achy.

All this makes me think better of days on which the worst that happens is that I suck up a Roo in the vacuum and cause a lamp to go up in flames. Comparatively speaking, THAT's a good day. And really, I DO know that things could be much worse--to such an extent that today would seem preferable. So I'll quit whining and I'll try to stop feeling annoyed and grumpy. Instead, I'll announce the winners of the Schnibbles patterns, okay?

"No reply" Anita is the winner of Hot Cross--Anita said, "Still a schnibble virgin. The hot cross buns looks like a winner to me!" And "no reply" Marge is the winner of Nice Day--Marge said, "Thank you Kim for giving me another chance at a Schnibbles pattern. I really like 'Nice Day.' I also have had carpal tunnel surgery, good luck and a speedy recovery." Both ladies were the 11th person to comment on each of the two patterns. Anita and Marge, please email me your mailing addresses and I'll get these patterns in the mail to you.

Also for other recent winners on my blog, I'll be getting your winnings in the mail before the end of this week--I haven't gotten to the post office yet, so if you were wondering what's happened to your package, that's the hold up.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me complain! Hopefully I'll snap out of it and have better things to talk about here before long!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Calmer Day

There were no catastrophies today because I decided to take a break from cleaning and hang out in the Sweat Shop instead. I'm trying hard to balance the need to get everything cleaned and organized with the need to not overdo it with my hands, so it seemed wise to take the day off. (Besides, I'm always pretty good at justifying whatever I want to do, remember?!)

So what DID I do? You know what? I'm not really sure! It seems like I spent just about the whole day in the Sweat Shop and only made two blocks. It's weird how time speeds up and slows down that way, isn't it? Yesterday the new block pattern for the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along was posted, and it's a neat one! I made two versions of the block today--and I suppose embroidering the design on the first one DID take some time, so I guess that's where half my day got sucked up now that I think about it.

The embroidery design is called Bat Boy, and it's a free pattern on the blog of Andrea Zuill. (Click HERE to get to her blog, and while you're there, check out her embroidered dog portraits--really cool! You can also click into "free patterns" in her side bar under "categories.") After finishing that block, I wanted to make a second one using the same pattern but with no embroidery, so I pieced a pumpkin for the center of the second block:

Eventually I'd like to end up with 16 blocks for a four-by-four block setting. And since I've been playing with the idea of using a twist-and-turn setting for these, tonight I started to think about ordering some extra fabric while it's still available here and there, and guess what? I found a source online that had several fabrics from the Spooktacular line at just under $3 a yard. SCORE! I ordered enough to use it as a backing too. I love finding bargains on something I really like, don't you?!

I think it's back to cleaning tomorrow, but I hope I won't have any catastrophies to report by the end of the day. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Moment of Silence, Please

Really, it's not safe to leave me unattended. I always seem to get into trouble. It's been a little crazy today.

First I'll tell you the good part. Then the bad part. Then I'll tell you another good part so you'll feel happy when you're done.

Today was another cleaning day--today it was the master bedroom. Between cleaning stuff, I took breaks in the Sweat Shop and made this little quilt top to coordinate with the other one--you can see them both on the wall; the new one is the one to the left. I had most of those half square triangles left from making the baskets plus the scraps I needed to make a few more, so it was pretty simple. I suspect I'll use the larger one on the kitchen table and the smaller one on the drawers in the kitchen.

See? When it comes to quilting, I'm pretty safe. Cleaning, though, is another story. I think I wasn't meant to clean.

Let me back track a second and explain the cleaning thing. Remember I'm supposed to have surgery on my right wrist/hand? Well, that's scheduled for June 22nd. The Wild Child is moving back home in mid-August to go back to college. I'm not sure how long it will take me to recover from surgery, so I want to get the house super-clean and organized NOW so it will be easier when the Wild Child moves back. Really, that's one of the main reasons behind the crazy cleaning lately.

So today it was the master bedroom, and that included weeding out all the clothes I no longer wear, storing the winter clothes, etc. I also have a large bookshelf of books I haven't read--some of them have been on the shelf for years and years, and I thought it was about time to get rid of the books I'm NEVER going to read. Then, of course, all the book dusting and shelf cleaning, etc. So you can imagine between those two chores and the rest of the cleaning, it took me most of the day and part of the night.

As I was getting near the end of the job--and it was getting rather late at night--I was finally down to the vacuuming. And here's a kind of funny thing. I needed to empty the vacuum "tank" before I started so I took it out to the garbage can which was down at the curb for pick up tomorrow. After I emptied it and turned back to the house, I saw Hubby standing there watching me. When I told him cleaning house wasn't a spectator sport, he said he'd had a sense of catastrophy and thought he'd better see what I was doing. Huh.

Anyway, I hauled the vacuum cleaner to the bedroom and started it up. I was really getting into the job, moving furniture and using all the cleaning attachments, but just as I was reaching the vacuum wand to clean behind a desk, the sound of the motor changed. I turned it off and switched the control over from "cleaning tools" to carpet and turned it back on. It still sounded odd. Then it started to smell bad and white puffy stuff came out from under the vacuum cleaner. Yikes! Of course I turned it off again and hauled it out to the garage for Hubby to look at.

Well, unbeknownst to me, I guess while I was using the vacuum wand, the main part of the vacuum cleaner rolled forward and sucked up a Roo. (These are little purple kangaroos that were given away free with the hairspray I use, and Stitch LOVES to play with them--he has a few.) Poor Roo. Don't look at the carnage if you're sensitive. Can we have a moment of silence for Roo, please?

While Hubby was removing what was left of Roo and hunting down a new vacuum belt, I continued to clean. What happened next was one of those crazy things you never expect to happen. I thought the light bulb in Hubby's bedside lamp needed a quick swipe with the sponge to get the dust off. POP! The bulb exploded and flames shot up. Luckily, though, the flames died when the lamp shorted out. Seriously, the hardest part was trying to convince Hubby it was HIS FAULT since he was the one with the premonition, and he was the one who did nothing to keep me safe. Huh.

Now I'm in serious need of a good soak in the (sparkling clean!) bathtub, but before I go do that, I wanted to start another little giveaway. Again, two Schnibbles patterns that are contained in Carrie Nelson's new Schnibbles book: Hot Cross and Nice Day.

Same rules as last time:

You are eligible to enter the drawing if (1) you are new to Schnibbles; (2) you don't have and don't so far plan to get the new Schnibbles book; and (3) you're able to make up your mind between the two patterns shown above--because when you comment, you have to tell me which drawing you want to be entered in and you can only enter one. A couple other details? Only one entry per person please. I'll draw the winners on Wednesday night and post the names on Thursday's blog post--and you must come back to visit to claim your prize. If either pattern is unclaimed within a week, it will go into another drawing.

Good luck!

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Comments closed--winners to be announced shortly.

Monday, May 24, 2010


You know yesterday's post? I could pretty much repeat it to describe today. Made coffee, waited for everyone to come help clean, no one showed up, I cleaned the second bathroom, and I worked on the basket quilt during periods of grime soaking.

Not only did I not get to go to Quilt Market, but I spent much of the time in my bathrooms, inhaling fumes that are undoubtedly detrimental to my health. I live a glamorous life, marked by one high point after another.

But there's a small glimmer of happiness in my day--the Picnic quilt top. Shall I show you? Okay, you twisted my arm.

Remember the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray lived the same day over and over again? Well, I still have the livingroom, two bedrooms, an office, the Sweat Shop, and the kitchen left to clean. I'll have the coffee ready at 9 a.m. No, I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ah! That's Better!

Where WERE you this morning? I waited and waited and drank cup after cup of coffee waiting for all of you to show up and help me clean, but no one came! Sheesh!

Thank you, though, for your cleaning tips. They helped a bunch! Really, between all the waiting and all the coffee drinking (and then all the running to the bathroom that naturally follows all the coffee drinking), and considering the lack of help, I only really got one of the bathrooms bright and shiny clean and that was a heck of a lot of work. A few days ago, before I asked you for tips, I'd checked the internet about those hard water stains and mineral build up, and I tried out the method where you stick vinegar-soaked cloths over the areas, hope for the best, and then scrub and scrub, but that didn't get all of it so I asked you.

Today I first tried the Scrubbing Bubbles. That worked okay for the soap scum, and it's something I'll probably use every few weeks, but it didn't get rid of all of it. Then came the Mr. Clean Eraser, and it worked pretty darn well! I'm glad I used the larger, stronger bathroom one because by the end of the job, it was pretty much falling apart. I still had a little bit of stuff that Mr. Clean wasn't able to cope with, so then I used the baking soda soak. And then the vinegar soak again. And then I carefully scraped off what was left--I felt like a dental hygenist scraping teeth! FINALLY, finally, the bathtub looked pretty good, so then I tried another tip I'd read online--I used a car polish on it so water will bead up and run off instead of leaving more hard water deposits.

After that, I cleaned the rest of the bathroom. And can I just voice my opinion that women over 40 shouldn't have to get down on their knees and scrub anything? I think their children should do it for them. I think I'll have bruises for awhile.

But do you know what the hardest part was? When I got all done, I took a bath and for the first time in awhile, I could clearly see myself in the chrome fixtures. Egad!

Between all the soaking parts of the cleaning, I worked a bit on the basket blocks. Then I worked on them some more this evening. Yes, I think Sinta is an incredibly wise Schnibbler. I like this positioning of the colors much better than what I first tried.

I still have several baskets left to make, but then I have another bathroom to clean tomorrow, so there will be more time between soaking for sewing. I'll have the coffee on by 9 a.m., so if you feel like helping out, come on by!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Guess I Should Blog

Remember my post several days ago asking anyone going to Quilt Market to be on the lookout for Lindy and Gran? Well, I had a comment this evening on that post that said, "I found them!! They were dancing fools tonight at the Moda dinner!! I couldn't get them off the dance floor!" Unfortunately the commenter was "no reply," so I couldn't get any details, but that launched me on a search of blogs, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook for Quilt Market photos to see if I could spot them. No luck so far.

But you know how time magically telescopes when you're on the computer? Suddenly a couple hours had gone by and I realized I'd better blog soon, or I'd be sleeping on the keyboard. So here I am.

I wanted to thank all of you for the cleaning tips. Late this afternoon, I made a list of everything you mentioned and hit the grocery store to round up all the products I might possibly need, including several you didn't mention. I now have a plethora of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. I actually had ONE package under the sink that had been there for years and never been used, but since I wasn't certain about the shelf life of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, I thought I'd be better off buying another package. Shucks! They had Mr. Clean Magic Eraser EXTRA POWER (50% stronger) and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the BATH (30% LARGER and more durable)! Since I couldn't decide between the two, I thought I'd get both and test them--I'll let you know. (BTW, they had one for stoves too, but I thought three of these products was enough. I DO draw the line somewhere!)

That's not all my cleaning products though. I'd been to the OTHER grocery store a couple days ago and came home with several products that Hubby moved out to the garage, so they didn't get their photograph taken. Suffice it to say that with all the stuff I have, I'm pretty sure all I need to do is go to bed tonight, and the products will clean the house themselves. Hubby laughs at me. I don't know why. Just in case, though, you're still welcome to come over at 9 a.m.--I'll have the coffee on and if the house has cleaned itself, we can just drink coffee and chat.

Also earlier in the day, I was doing a little blog surfing and read Moose on the Porch's post about not going to Quilt Market (I know the feeling!) and asking what those of us not going were doing instead. That reminded me that tonight was Friday Night Sew In night! Not quite as good as Market, but not too bad either.

Well remember my aqua and red fabric piles and my plan to make the Schnibbles Picnic quilt? I tested out some blocks the other day and was quite disappointed at how anemic they looked. Here's a photo of them stuck up on the design wall with some sashing and setting triangles:

I figured I really had used the wrong background fabric but it was the only thing I had on hand at the time, so I went to Bearpaws & Hollyhocks yesterday to find some other background fabric. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that wasn't my only problem. I think working with these colors can be a little tricky!

What finally occurred to me was something Sinta (the co-Queen of the Schnibbles Parade) had suggested--using aqua for the background and red for the baskets with red and white for the accents. Yep, THAT would keep them from looking anemic! So I spent Friday Night Sew In cutting out new pieces for the Picnic Schnibbles quilt. I got most of the half square triangles sewn and have started trimming them to size.

If I still don't like it, I'm going to revert to what I was thinking before I got sidetracked by that luscious aqua and red pile of fabric--using Sweetwater's Make Life charms for this quilt. It would still have aqua and red in it, but it would also have several other colors in it. So we'll see--first I'll make a few blocks with what I've been working on tonight.

I must say you've all been remarkably patient reading through all the stuff above to get to this point where I tell you who has won the two Schnibbles patterns. The winner of the Little Red pattern is #11, Anonymous Cindy, and the winner of the Plan C pattern is #22, Lady of the Cloth. Congratulations ladies! Please email me your mailing addresses and I'll get them in the mail in the next few days. For those of you who didn't win this time, check back--I'll be giving away a couple more Schnibbles patterns soon as well as another scrappy prize.

Thanks for stopping in to visit, and if you happen to be at Quilt Market, don't forget to watch for Lindy and Gran! I'd love to hear about any sightings and I'd love even more to see some photos!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Little Something for You and a Little Help for Me

First, I'll announce the winners of the May Day Giveaway--remember this fabric? I was giving away about a quarter yard of each of these four fabrics.

And yep, I DID say "winners" with an "S," because I decided with so many entries, I'd be a little generous and pick two winners. I would have liked to pick three or four but, rather selfishly, I wanted to keep a little of the fabric for myself.

As usual, I asked Hubby to give me two numbers, and he picked #51, Jenesq (no-reply), and #227, Sandra :). If the two of you could please email me your mailing addresses, I'll get the fabric in the mail to you shortly. (You can click on my profile and then click on the email link in order to email me.)

And now for a change of subject. Remember I mentioned cleaning house the other day? Well, I still haven't exactly done it. Somehow it turned into something like spring cleaning at a snail's pace--I've actually BEEN cleaning, but it's going slowly because I've been cleaning all that stuff we tend to put off in order to do things that are more fun. As a result, stuff has become fossilized on several surfaces. And I thought I'd ask you for help. Can you be here Saturday morning at 9 a.m.? I figure if there are about 500 of us, it shouldn't take too long. Okay?

What? You'd love to be here but you're busy on Saturday morning? Well, can you at least give me a tip or two? Come on! Help me out here! Do you have any cleaning secrets? Any homemade cleaning solutions grandma passed down that work wonderfully for you? Any commercial products that do such a good job, you're just blown away?

Specifically, here are a few cleaning chores I'm looking at that I could use some help with:

Removing hard water stains from a fiberglass bathtub

Trying to get dust off stacks and stacks of fabric

Cleaning windows and mirrors without leaving smears

If you have any tips that will make my house sparkle and shine, particularly tips that will make it sparkle and shine faster and easier, I'd sure love to hear them!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's a Schnibbles?

Looking for the May Day Giveaway? Click HERE.

* * * * *

I know I talk about Schnibbles quilts a lot, and for the most part, I assume you know what I'm talking about. But with having taught a class recently and talking generally to quilters about Schnibbles quilts, I've learned that many people are Schnibbles deprived unfamiliar with Schnibbles.

Schnibbles is a quilt pattern line designed by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company. Schnibbles quilts are small--usually between 30" and 40" square. They can be made using two charm packs and sometimes a little bit more fabric for the settings. In Carrie Nelson's new Schnibbles book, Schnibbles Times Two, she has reprinted some of her earlier Schnibbles patterns and also converted the patterns to make larger, lap sized quilts. The larger quilts are much like the smaller ones but are made using two LAYER CAKES and sometimes a little bit more fabric for the settings.

The small quilts are fairly quick to make, and I like the flexibility of purchasing small quantities (charm packs) of fabrics, having the pleasure of experimenting with a new line, and not ending up with a ton of scraps to add to my overflowing scrap bins.

The Schnibbles class I taught--and the few that will follow--involve patterns from the new book. In looking through the book, I've realized I have several individual patterns that have been reprinted in the book, so I thought I'd share them with a couple of you who may be Schnibbles deprived unfamiliar--until now.

If you do not have the new book and are interested in one of these two patterns . . .

. . . leave me a comment on this post telling me which pattern you want. Don't tell me you'd be happy with either one because I need to decide whether to put your entry into the drawing for Little Red . . .

. . . or Plan C (I made a large version of this pattern using the new Bar Harbor line--terrific for a summer or 4th of July quilt).

Okay, to recap--you are eligible to enter this Schnibbles drawing if (1) you are new to Schnibbles; (2) you don't have and don't so far plan to get the new Schnibbles book; and (3) you're able to make up your mind between the two patterns shown above. A couple other details? Only one entry per person please. I'll draw the winners on Friday night and post the names on Saturday's blog post--and you must come back to visit to claim your prize. If either pattern is unclaimed within a week, it will go into another drawing.

Converting quilters, one Schnibbles at a time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So Help Me Out Here

I've already managed to justify--to myself--how I can make an aqua and red quilt NOW when I should be doing other things. You see, I was a late arrival to the Year of Schnibbles group and have managed pretty well to catch up, but there's one quilt I still haven't made--the Schnibbles Picnic quilt:

And although I'd really like to justify sitting down and starting on it NOW (I'm writing this in the early afternoon of Tuesday and will give Blogger STRICT instructions to post it at midnight), I just can't seem to find a way to justify putting off cleaning house YET ANOTHER DAY. Hrumph.

But besides all that, I'm not sure how I want to use the fabrics in this quilt, and I thought I'd get a little input from the masses. (No, that doesn't mean I'm going to get up at the crack of dawn and go to mass and pray about it--not THAT kind of "masses." I mean YOU people out there who are kind enough to stop in and visit.)

So here's what I have so far--you'll see I've labeled my stack o'fabric with what I think I'd like to use as a border and inner border (see, I've already decided I'm changing the pattern on that part and I just might also throw a little red border between those two as well), the background, and the sashing, but I'm uncertain about the baskets themselves.

Should I make:

1. All RED baskets with AQUA accents (stylistic "flowers" I suppose!)
2. All AQUA baskets with RED accents (this is probably my own least favorite option right now)
3. Half RED baskets with AQUA accents and half AQUA baskets with RED accents (I'd probably place the RED baskets all in the middle "patch" and the corners with the AQUA baskets in the center sections on the outside--or should I just alternate them evenly?)
4. Or . . . ? Is there another option I'm overlooking that you'd suggest?

One of the really nice thing about Schnibbles quilts is that they're small enough to be fairly fast. Kind of like going on a quilt diet--everything in MODERATION! I'm very, very good at justifying doing whatever I want, aren't I? Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And Jiminy Cricket Stayed Home

You may remember my post of a few days ago in which I told you I sometimes hear Hubby's "voice" when he's not around, just like freakin Jiminy Cricket. This morning, though, Gran picked me up and we made such a fast getaway that for once, Jiminy Cricket wasn't able to follow. (Truth to tell, I had him tied up and duct taped in a closet.)

Guess where we went?

Do you know where we went now? Yep, Home Goods, and it's a Jiminy Cricket-free zone! Look what I found (there were actually four of the little red/white cups, but I just got one out of the box to show you):

Yummy, eh? I think it will all play verrrry nicely with the other red and red-and-white polkadotted beauties I already have. I'm SOOOOO ready now to start decorating for summer! (And I really was in need of a little inspiration too.)

Only problem? I'm feeling a tabletopper quilt coming on. Normally that wouldn't be a BAD thing, but I need to design, stitch, quilt, and write a pattern for a quilt I'll be teaching at the end of July, and I only have something like a month until I have hand surgery. When will I have time to make a tabletopper?

Still, I don't think I'll be able to resist that pile for long. I'm pretty sure that SOMEHOW I'll find time to sneak in something like a Schnibbles pattern. I have no willpower. Speaking of which, I guess I'll show you the other thing that came home with me.

Can't tell what it is all folded up like that? Here, now can you tell? It's back there under the window:

When I got it home, Jiminy Cricket said the color didn't match the house and someone would probably steal it. I can tell I'm going to have to get another couple rolls of duct tape. Sigh.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Little Giveaway!

Usually when I teach a class, I have a giveaway of some sort--often it's a "virtual student" giveaway, or I have a drawing for a free pattern, but this Schnibbles class was a little bit different since it wasn't based on one of my own patterns. However, many of you really liked the Charming Gift Bags I gave my students and several of you asked about the black floral fabric, so I thought the least I could do was to put together the fabric to make a few of these bags and have a drawing for a winner. So here's the fabric the winner will get--it's approximately 1/4 yard of each of the four fabrics pictured:

And yesterday's blog post has a link to the pattern over at the Moda Bake Shop. So there you go! A little giveaway!

I also wanted to announce that I've finally listed my previous class patterns and kits in my Etsy shop (click HERE). You'll probably remember those are the patterns for the picnic quilt and tote and the wool applique projects. In addition, there are (as I write this) five kits for the bird and heart pillow and three kits for the bunny pillow--the kits come with the pattern for all three projects and--if you chose to buy one of the kits and ASK FOR IT IN THE COMMENT TO SELLER BOX--I'll also send you one of the class handouts that talks about wool and where to buy it and felt it and how to dye it. But since it's a free little bonus just for you guys who read my blog, you have to add that into the comment box, okay?

To enter the giveaway for the fabric to make at least three of the Charmed Gift Bag, leave me a comment saying you want to be entered. I'll draw a winner on Tuesday night and announce the winner on Wednesday's blog post Thursday and announce the winner on Friday's blog post (I revised the deadline in order to comply with the rules for the May Giveaway Day--click on the icon in my sidebar). This giveaway is open to anyone, including those outside the U.S.

And here's another little teaser for you--I'm going to have another (different) little giveaway in the next few days, so stay tuned and good luck!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Too Darn Cute!

NOW I can show you what I was making for my students the other day. Charmed gift bags! Aren't they adorable?

Kim Walus of Bitty Bits and Pieces designed the bags to hold charm packs, and the "recipe" can be found at the Moda Bake Shop HERE. Kim often has great patterns and tutorials on her blog (right now she has a couple posts that demonstrate how to make cute crocheted flowers and covered button centers). For these bags, I just used fabrics pulled from my stash--four fat quarters will yield three of these cute little bags. All of the bags were made with the same floral for the outside, but I made the linings, handles, and pleated edges from several different coordinated fabrics.

I thought these bags, which hold charm packs nicely, fit well with the Schnibbles/pre-cuts theme of the class as did the "nibbles" I put in the bags. You might want to make up a couple of these to hold graduation gifts or summer vacation goodies. Or bridal shower gifts--after all, it's getting to be that time of the year. Isn't it crazy how quickly the year is flying by? I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Workin' in the Sweat Shop

Sometime this week I was doing some running around town and I stopped at the Goodwill store near my home. I don't remember wanting to find anything in particular; I think it was just a case of having a little time to stop and browse. I found several Spring colored dishes that reminded me of Fiestaware and I had about five of them in my cart with the thought that they'd look quite cheerful in my kitchen hutch, but gosh darn it! As I was pushing the cart around, I kept hearing Hubby's voice in my head, asking me WHY I'D BOUGHT MORE DISHES! I swear sometimes it's like shopping with Jiminy Cricket! So I put most of them back. I did find this, though:

And when I got it home, sure nuf Jiminy Hubby asked me WHY I'D BOUGHT ANOTHER BREAD BOX because we already HAD a bread box. Ha! I fooled him, though! When is a bread box NOT a bread box? When it's a Moda Bake Shop Box!

Now perhaps I should mention that since I'm teaching a Schnibbles class tomorrow, I think it's my DUTY to buy just about all the charm packs I can find. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. So I wanted something to keep my charm packs in. And I also sometimes buy extra fabric from a particular line and keep it with the charm packs in that line, so the bundle of charm packs and fabrics takes up a little more room than just charm packs alone. Turns out the bundles fit just fine inside the bread box and the lonely little charm packs that don't fit inside, sit nicely on top. Genius, eh?!

Tonight I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up and organizing things in the Sweat Shop. I had just about everything ready for tomorrow's class and it seemed like a good "stopping point" in my quilting life to get things in order before starting the next project. While I was working, Stitch threw himself down in the middle of the room and amused himself by grabbing my leg every time I tried to step around or over him. I thought some of you might be amused too.

Look what came in the mail today!

Hip Holidays by Quilt Soup. This, despite its flat appearance, is a fat quarter bundle. I soon had it properly folded though and stacked along with the 12 Days of Christmas bundle--it's a veritable Christmas fabric TOWER! But did you notice it's not quite full?! Like Jello, there's always room for fabric!

Thanks for stopping by to see what I'm up to. The weekend is here--I hope you have a wonderful one planned!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Alert! Be on the lookout for a pair of suspicious looking characters! Two of the women in the photos below are expected to flee California jurisdiction next week. They are believed to be traveling to Minnesota where they have contacts--quilting contacts, that is! And I'm darn jealous.

That's Lindy, the owner of Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. Isn't she cute? This photo was taken at the time of the last class I taught, which just happened to be on her birthday. Yeah, she doesn't always wear the tiara--it was a special day. Anyway, Lindy's heading off to Quilt Market next week and Gran gets to go with her. That's Gran on the left in the photo below, with our friend Eileen of My Quilting Porch.

If it wasn't for all the extra luggage charges these days, I'd stow away in their luggage. I know they're going to have a wonderful time while I sit here in Sacramento, left behind to read the blogs of all the quilt people who are sharing that heady Minnesota air and having a wonderful time right along with them. So sad. Of course, if I look long and hard enough, I just might find them. After all, last year I spotted Lindy on someone's blog, wandering through the Bunny Hill booth:

(That blonde woman on the far right is Lindy.)

If YOU'RE going to Quilt Market, be on the lookout for these two, and if you see them, please take a photo and send it to me, especially if you catch them doing anything of a compromising nature. Or at least say "Hi" and tell them it wasn't very nice of them to leave me at home, crying in my keyboard. In fact, now that I think about it, I think we need to have a game of "Where's Lindy and Gran?" Kind of like "Where's Waldo" but different. If you go to market and are able to spot them there, email me a photo or tell me when you saw them, where they were, and what they were doing. Points will be given for each spotting and there may well be a prize for the most spottings. Hey, I gotta have SOME fun, don't I?!

P.S.: I'd really like to show you what I've been working on today, but it's a surprise for my students in Saturday's Schnibbles class, so you'll have to wait. Really cute, though--it's something I got from another talented blogger designer. Blogs are so inspirational, aren't they?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Slit My Wrist!

No, really! I saw the surgeon today, and that's just what he's going to do--cut into my hand/wrist and cut through the carpal tunnel sheath to free up the nerves. I don't have a date for surgery yet--next we wait for approval by the workers' comp insurance company and then schedule the surgery. Right now, it looks like it will probably happen around mid to late June.

You know what that means? From the time of surgery, it will be six to eight weeks before I'll be able to use my right hand. I figure a couple weeks into it, I'll wish the doctor had slit my wrist in a BAD way, because not only will I not be able to sew or type very well, but I understand I won't be able to do all the other things in life that most of us take for granted--stuff like pulling up my pants. And who's going to clean my house? At least dishwashing has never been my "chore" so I won't have to give that up, but the rest isn't going to be easy.

The surgeon tells me that given the measurements in my left hand, I'm a candidate for surgery on that one too, but I'm not really suffering any functional limitations in the left hand right now, so we'll put that off. Once I return to work and full time typing, if the left hand starts to bother me, we'll try a cortisone injection, but he said the right hand is probably too far gone for a cortisone injection to be very helpful.

Anyway, when surgery is scheduled, I'll let everyone know, because after surgery, I'm not sure how often I'll be typing posts with my left hand for awhile. ARGH! Maybe I'll also post a volunteer sign-up sheet for things like cleaning my house, pulling up my pants, tying my shoes, etc. Seriously, though, if you've had this surgery on your dominant hand, do you have any tips to help me get through it without going crazy? Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along, Block 6

Did you see the latest pattern? It's by Nanette of Freda's Hive. I think you already know that I've been tweeking the patterns to fit my Halloween theme, and this one's no exception; but this time I had to cheat a little bit--I used some fabric from my stash that's not from the Spooktacular line I've been using up until this point. I probably should be beaten with a fabric noodle for my transgressions!

So here's what I came up with this time:

The completion of block 6 means I'm half way done--it sure has gone by fast! I thought I'd put all six blocks on the design wall to see how they look so far (they're in order with block 1 starting on the top left).

I have plans to add some embroidery to a couple of the blocks--the first block needs some words added into the white strips, and I'm thinking about embroidering "Knock Knock" onto the Franc N. Stein block. That would go in the white strip in the center of the block.

I usually prefer square quilts, so I'm thinking about adding four more blocks to what the designers give us--maybe I'll make some applique blocks, but I'm not sure. I think I'll wait and see what the next several blocks bring. If you haven't been "playing along" with this so far, it's not too late to join. The blocks are pretty quick to make and you don't REALLY need a jelly roll. No one's going to kick you out if you make your blocks from stash or whatever suits you. Trust me--I'm a rule-breaker, so I know what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moldy Oldies or History?

I don't know why, but I've never really liked stuff that's old but not too old. Especially now, since I'm also old but not too old. Mid-century modern? Nope, been there when it was NEW, and it's just not that exciting now. Harvest gold? Avocado green? Burnt orange? Gag. Early rock and roll? 80s hair bands? Nope. Liked it all when it was new, but now it's old and tired.

HISTORY, though--well, that's cool! Stuff that's older than me. Antiques. I admire quite a lot of them! And modern things that are based on history? Excellent. Stuff like civil war repro fabrics, archaeology, historic documentaries, Steam Punk--all quite nice, as far as I'm concerned.

I mentioned the other day that working with this Freebird line by Momo was a bit out of my comfort zone, but when I said that, I couldn't have explained why. I just knew the fabrics were different from the type that normally appealed to me. I finally "got" it though--this line is sort of retro 50s/60s. Which, of course, puts it in the moldy oldie category!

As with most things, I guess there are exceptions to the rule. Although I don't usually enjoy working with modern reproduction fabrics (i.e., 30s fabrics and newer), there's something about Momo's designs that draws me, and I really had some fun working with Freebird on the Schnibbles Four Corners pattern. Here's how it turned out:

Originally, I thought I wanted plain sashing between the blocks, but in the end, I opted to use Sharyn Craig's Twist and Turn "sashing," alternating between red and white. Once I used that treatment on the blocks, I kept wanting to add plain sashing as well, but everything I "auditioned" just seemed to detract from the blocks, so I finally gave up. I made one last attempt to add a small, plain inner border, but that also seemed to detract from the blocks, so in the end, I added the pieced border and called it done.

As I was working on this, I thought I'd like to embellish the quilt with rick rack, but now I'm not sure where I'd put it, so maybe not. I suppose I could use baby rick rack to outline the blocks, but I have a feeling the quilt is so busy, it would just be a waste of rick rack. Or it might be fun to get some large buttons to match one of the brighter colors and place them at the intersections of the blocks--where the red and white pieces come together. I like that idea!

One of the things I want to talk to my students about in Saturday's Schnibbles class is how they can make simple changes to patterns and settings to end up with a quilt that's just a bit different from all the others, and that includes ways to embellish quilts. If you've been following the Year of Schnibbles parades each month, you've probably seen many examples of quilters doing just that. If you have any other embellishment suggestions for this Four Corners quilt, please leave me a comment--I'd love more ideas to discuss with my students.

It seems to me that many of our younger quilters are drawn to Momo and other new designers whose lines are reminiscent of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but maybe that's just my imagination. Of the "categories" of fabrics on the market now, which appeal to you most and what's your general age bracket?

Up until the past few years (which would put me in my 40s), my favorite fabrics have been Thimbleberries, 1800s reproductions, and homespun/country/primitives, but in the last couple of years (which would put me now into my 50s), I've grown slightly tired of the darker colors and have been more attracted to the brighter fabrics, like those designed by Quilt Soup, Mary Engelbreit, and Sweetwater--I don't know what category to put those in but I suspect you know what I mean. So how about you? What gets your creative juices flowing?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Mixed Bag

You may remember Hubby and Soccer Son were going out of town for the weekend and I was kinda excited about having the house to myself, right? Oh, yes, it was pretty nice! There WERE a couple drawbacks--I kinda missed Hubby. Mostly I missed the way he does the dishes and makes the bed every day, but I also kinda missed his company and a warm body to sleep with--the hairy little bodies of our two cats don't count! Still, there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping anyway--one sort of longish nap late Saturday afternoon and about five hours of sleep Saturday night (because I didn't go to sleep until 4:30 a.m. and those two furry bodies insisted I get up at 9:30!).

Here's what I worked on in the Sweat Shop. First, I finished quilting and binding the Schnibbles X-Rated quilt.

I added a few rows of "X"s as well as pieced basket corners, a large border, and appliqued flowers to the original Schnibbles pattern. Of course, all this was done awhile back; I just kept forgetting to quilt it. Until now. Here's a close up of one of the corners--

Then I also worked a little bit on the Schnibbles Four Corners pattern I'm making using Momo's Freebird charm packs--you'll notice I still have a couple blank spots on the design wall, which means I have a few more blocks to piece.

I'm going to add a sashing to this pattern. I found a great red and white American Jane print; once I get the blocks made, I'll cut a couple strips and see how it looks.

Next up? Oh, probably about a million things! I'm teaching a Schnibbles class on Saturday and that's one of the reasons I've been in Schnibbles overdrive lately. This week, I'll need to get a few things ready for class. Then there's Thimbleberries Club on Wednesday, and I have a few BOM blocks to piece before the meeting. And I think the next block of the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along is due out NOW.

Also over the weekend, I did some reading. I read Grave Goods, which is book three in the Mistress of the Art of Death series and I've read about half of The Black Cat, the newest Richard Jury novel by Martha Grimes. Both books are so good, it was hard to put them down to sew!

I also did a little cooking--hence my lament for the lack of Hubby and his dishwashing skills! I made a batch of Mimi's Corn Chowder and then I tried a recipe for noodle pudding. Have you ever eaten and/or baked noodle pudding? Last week I was reading a book that included a recipe, so I was anxious to try it. Seriously, I was not too impressed with this particular recipe, and most of it ended up in the garbage, but I can see it has possibilities. I think the one I tried had too many eggs and that made it kind of dry. If you any experience of the noodle pudding kind, let me know what you think.

Finally, I wanted to mention my "followers." When Blogger developed the whole follower thing, I was a little divided about what I thought of it. On the one hand, it kind of seemed like a popularity contest, but on the other hand, it was a way for people to keep track of blogs they wanted to read. So, after some brief thought, I opted to NOT put the follower widget on my blog. More recently, though, I realized that if someone wants to follow a blog, it's easier to do that if they can just click on the icon on the widget in a blog side bar, so I stuck it on my blog after all. To find it, though, you have to scroll WAAAAAAAAAY down to the bottom of the blog page. So, if you're someone who likes to use the follower option and didn't know where to find it on my blog, now you know!

I hope you enjoyed Mothers' Day and had a lovely weekend! Thanks for stopping by to hear about mine.