Sunday, January 31, 2010

Does anybody know where the Lost and Found is?

Look at this mess!
I have this big design wall and I can't even use it because half of it is used as a messy bulletin board. And how do you like my cutting table in the picture below? Can you see it? See the glimpse of grey cutting mat? It's on a decent sized table but has so much clutter it can't really be used without moving everything. If you haven't seen the TV show on A&E called 'Hoarders', and you need a little inspiration to clean and organize, then tune in to it. It comes on after Intervention which I sometimes watch while sipping a glass of wine, but let's not get into that, OK? I confess that Hoarders is the source of my recent motivation to clear out cabinets and closets in the kitchen. Now I need to watch it a few more times so I can get cracking in the sewing room. I am not at all patient when looking for things. I like to know where things are and I could never be one of those people who constantly runs around looking for car keys. But..... good grief! I have been losing things in my sewing room. A few weeks ago I looked all over for 2 days for a specific tool, I finally made due without it, then I found it a week later. Yesterday and today I have been looking for my 'stick-on' thimble things. I have a VERY sore finger from handsewing the orange peel blocks. The blunt end of the needle actually poked a hole in my finger, OWWWW! I know that I have these little stick on ovals that you can put on the sore spot, and I can't find them. I did find two other thimbles, and by the way, thimbles are very hard to use and get used to. I have a basket JUST for handsewing supplies and my stickies aren't in there. Grrrr! I guess I'll see if a Spongebob bandaid will work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Lovely 3 Days!

I have had off the last three days! Not only 3 days off, but Three Weekdays!! Heaven on earth. I can't explain why but I am way more productive on weekdays. I have always needed at least some free daytime during the week. For a while in my nursing career, I worked 'weekend option', every Sat and Sun and off Mon-Fri. that was Awesome! Until the kids went to school. Later, I worked in the Pediatric Oncology outpatient clinic at Hopkins. It will always be the most meaningful nursing job I've had. I used everything I was taught in nursing school about assessment, planning, continuity, family, and the whole patient. My patients were 'my kids' and their families were like family to me. Unfortunately, after so many years of a flexible nursing schedule, I had a terrible time adjusting to Monday thru Friday from 8 to 4:30pm. The workload was heavy, I rarely got out on time, and I hit rush hour twice a day. With the addition of such an emotionally draining specialty, it was too much and, with a breaking heart, I decided to leave after 5 years. I really needed a job that would allow me more flexiblity so that I could nourish my soul and regroup on a more regular basis. This week is a great example of this, last week I worked MLK holiday and then on Sunday and tomorrow I will work 16 hours. BUT, I have been off for the last three days!! I have both relaxed and been productive.
I have: 1. registered my AAQI mini quilt, as soon as I get its number, Tearful Broken Heart goes in the mail.
2. cleaned out and reorganized the pantry, broom closet, and kitchen island.
3. got my hair cut
4. played music (loud) and sang along (louder)
5. cooked a delicious turkey breast dinner for my hubby and son
6. caught up with the laundry (until my daughter just dropped by on her way to work)
7. caught up on all of the episodes of the current season of 24, yay Jack Bauer is back!
8. balanced the checkbook (I was 2 months behind), paid all the bills, and surveyed our current finances (with 2 kids in college)
9. sorted through and caught up with all of the paperwork that had piled up (I'm the family manager)
10. slept in every day, waking up with 2, sometimes all 3, cats on top of me.
11. finished the hand stitching on 10 of my orange peel blocks
12. watched 'Julie and Julia' while stitching, Loved it!
13. and.... last night I had to crank up production of more petals for my orange peel blocks. I was out of yellows so I worked on these. As soon as I hit 'publish post', I'm going to make some hot chocolate (with little marshmellows), heat up the little iron, get out the glue stick, pop in the movie 'Angels and Demons' and turn under the edges of these yellow petals, then pin some more blocks for sewing. Today I am very happy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Valentine Tweetie!

Shhhhh!! I can't say too much because it's a secret. I wonder who this is for? I still need to quilt it and bind it but I love it so much, I had to show it now. Most of the inspiration as well as the applique patterns for the bird and flowers are from Kelly at Don't Look Now. I just can't get enough of her designs. Makes me happy just to look at her work! And also, let's hear a shout out for Kathy and Jennilyn!!! Both are my Wild Thread friends and both are contestants on So You Think You Can Quilt at Brown Paper Packages. Only three out of ten contestants have been announced so stay tuned. There will be challenges and voting and eliminating. Even non-contestants can participate and win prizes. Each month will have a theme (challenge) etc etc. I was too afraid to commit to the whole thing, but I'm sure I'll try at least one of the months. I can't wait to tune in for this 'quilt reality' program and see who avoids getting kicked off the stash pile to become America Favorite Quilter!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My idea of straight line quilting.

Cristin at Sew This is My Life is making the cutest baby quilt for her baby who is due in 10 weeks. She's in the market for quilting suggestions so I thought of this wall quilt that I made about 5 or 6 years ago. Ricky Tims came to my guild and I was able to buy some of his hand-dyed fabric and his Convergence book. This is my first convergence quilt, very fun to make. I decided to quilt the body with all straight lines using a variegated thread. I didn't mark it at all, I'm lazy like that. I just varied the distance between each stitching line, sometimes doing three lines together, or two, or just one alone. Then I turned the quilt 90 degrees and did it again. When I got to the border, I just free stitched around the flowers.

It shows a little better on the back. Forgive the puckering, I think I'm a better quilter now, lol.
So I told Cristin to check this out (I'm sure she can do a better job!)
Check out her blog and see if you have any suggestions.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wacky husbands and giveaways!

Mr Mathis just came in and asked me if I ever wish I was a 10 patch nurse. Lol, rofl, and lmao!! What a cornball! There is some gorgeous fabric on its way to someone lucky soon. Marabella! Go to Katie Cupcake and leave a comment to enter her giveaway. It's just lovely.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ta-Daaaah!!! Chickens.

Over a year ago, I found this book and HAD to have it! Each block represents a different chicken recipe, and the recipe is included. I thought it would be fun if the Wild Threads made a block each month and made the dish too, to eat at our meeting. We got through four months. Oh well. I kept up with my blocks though, and here is my top finally finished! I really like the setting and I'm glad I put the effort into the dark flanges around each block to set it off.

This is Chicken Divan. I used an embroidered corduroy for the sofa. Notice the empty chocolate box on the floor, and the book is 'The Sky Fell' by C. Little. Tooooo funny!
Chicken Caesar!

Stewed Chicken!
Hawaiian Chicken!

Chicken a la King!! This one really cracks me up! I put beads on his crown.

Chicken Chow Mein!

Chicken soup.

Southern Fried Chicken!

Chicken gumbo! My friend Cheryl made this block with the chickens feet hanging out of the pot. It looks great, I wish I had thought of that.

Chicken Italiano!

Chicken Cacciatore! Get it? Catch, cacciatore? Hee hee.

Chicken in a basket!
Aren't these the cutest and funniest blocks? I hope Linda Huber and Bonnie Collins come up with another fun pattern to make. I'll pick a backing from my stash this week and then I need help with quilting ideas, so start thinking please.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UFOs part 2, and Final

Have you missed me? Sorry, I have apparently been in a slump, and I have figured out why. For about 4 months before the holidays, all of my creativity was about finishing things for Christmas and gifts. Whenever I saw something that I wanted to try, I would tell myself that I could do it in January. Then I had to go and make that resolution about finishing things up. I really like to get my 'chores' out of the way before having fun so I have been staring down at all of these projects, bleh. This first one is 2 inch apple cores all hand pieced. I was going great guns on it for a while then stalled when I tried to decide how big to go. It is also a charm quilt, no fabric is used twice. I really like this project but I'm OK with it waiting a while. Next, I have a couple of stray paper pieced blocks. Carol Doak visited our guild and I took her workshop, making the block on the left. Then, for fun, I made the one on the right. I really love them but their final destination is undecided. Pillows? Maybe. Or maybe I'll take Bumble Beans advice and try a kitchen sink quilt some time.
And these lovelies have been parked on my design wall for at least 2 years! I haven't even stitched the applique down. Shame, shame, shame Lisa!!! I do see completion for these this year though, I mean it.

And now! One of my favorites. Crazy chickens! Each block represents a chicken recipe. The Wild Threads started this project as a BOM, and every month we made the recipe to go with that month's block. We didn't get very far, who knew there were so many people who aren't fond of chickens? I am the only one who made all 12. I've been putting this top together for 2 days now. Tomorrow, I will show it off, with closer pictures of these chicks.

Here is a quilt top that lost his way. I love Kaffe Fassett fabrics and have quite a lot. A year and a half ago, I took it all on retreat and just started cutting and stitching. It's quite big and now I just need to decide on a border (or not) and 'git er done'.Next item on the menu is a Round Robin. It started with the 3-d flowers in the center (that's my block) and the rest was added by the Wild Threads. This was a fun challenge and I love being able to identify my friends' style in their contributions. I just need to let this marinate a little longer before I decide where it's headed.
And man oh man is this an old project. The center is fused and very STIFF! I'm done with it!! This is going to the Wild Thread UFO swap and someone else can have it.
This is from a bunch of leftover half square triangles. I have been planning for a long time to put a few borders on it and make it a lap quilt. It will probably become one of the quilts I plan to make to have on hand as an unexpected gift.
Last but not least, this is from a batik block swap. Organized by a friend of mine, 9 people from my guild used all batiks and swapped blocks every month. Unfortunately, one person dropped out without telling us for months or finding a replacement. This swap wobbled and sputtered and limped along to the end. We all pitched in and made extras and tried to keep it all going. We made it to the end and gave our organizer a gift for her HUGE effort. I will finish this quilt this year because it really is pretty. So there you have it. Lisa's unfinished objects. I have more but I'm sick of thinking and talking about them, so I will stop. I think I will head back to the chicken coop and work on my birds. Tomorrow, I will unveil the finished top. Bye-bye!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative quilt is done!

My little quilt, 'Tearful Broken Heart' is done. I tried to quilt little teardrop shapes all over it and they turned out 'so so'. To draw attention away from my quilting, I embroidered little red tears over the quilt. Hope it works, lol. This was fun to make and I have some ideas for some others I would like to make. Hopefully I will get this in the mail to Ami Simms this week. Well maybe next week. the Wild Thread are having a quilting marathon next Saturday, maybe I'll take it for show n tell. Meanwhile, the nativity wallhanging is quilted and just waiting for binding, phew. AND... I stitched down the petals on two more blocks for my citrus Joseph's coat. I got a little shout out for my blocks from Kelli over at Don't Look Now. Thank you! That was fun.
Now, about those definitions for WIPs and UFOs. I am not too happy. It appears that many people (well, just three of you) have some harsh restrictions on allowing projects into the UFO club. I did NOT know it was so exclusive. The negative side of this is that I can finish lots of projects without reaching my goal of completing 3 UFOs this year. The positive side of this is that maybe I don't have so many UFOs after all. I so think that I should be able to amend my resolutions up until the end of January. After all, I had definition confusion, right? Maybe I will amend my list to mention completion of WIPs, I seem to have LOTS of those. Now I gotta go get stuff ready for next week's marathon. I have two quilt top finishes planned and I can't wait!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

WIP's vs UFO's ! Smackdown !

This is a Nativity wallhanging that is a gift for my mother. Ummm, yes, it's a Christmas gift, and no, it's not finished. So! My question is--- is this a WIP (work in progress) or a UFO? I really need some help with my definitions. The pictures yesterday are a project in the same boat. Not finished but almost. These haven't been waiting a long time but I have stopped working on them to work on other things. So let's have it folks! When does a WIP stop being a WIP and start being a UFO?
Pssst - I don't want to twist any arms or anything but my resolutions for 2010 did not include any WIPs, just UFOs. Bye-bye!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Making do without sushi grass!

While I wait for someone to get me some sushi grass, I decided to play with other 'found' materials. Santa brought me a tin of Pirouette cookies for xmas, a really big tin. I ate a few, gave some to the Wild Threads, took some to work, and ate some more. When the tin was empty, I couldn't throw it away, it's a great size. Some pretty paper, a little mod podge and it will make a nice storage tin. But then, I noticed what was in it. Look!! Corrugated paper.
Add a few raggedy fabric strips, and some old fabric crayons. I rubbed a crayon across the paper, sewed some strips on, cut out a shape and ......

Voila!! A broken heart, :( I sewed it on an ombre background square, but felt that it needed something else.

So, I stitched the heart back together.
I would love to finish it today but I have to get to my day job (the one that will pay for some sushi so I can get my grass!). I think some qulting and binding will do it, unless I find some other useful 'trash'. Happy Tuesday everybody, Wordless Wednesday tomorrow. My xmas BOM is together finally, just needs its border then finishing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ummm, still learning how to blog.

I don't have all of this blogging and computer stuff figured out yet, as demonstrated by my most recent post. The library post, you ask? Nope. The 'brain 24/7' post, which somehow looks like I posted it yesterday before the library post. You see, yesterday morning I uploaded all those pictures and saved them as a draft which I finished and posted this morning. I guess when you go back and finish a draft and post it, it keeps the original date. I'm sure there's a way around it, and I will ponder that another day (a la Scarlet O'Hara). Anyway, I didn't want to post without a picture so, do you want to know what that pile of red is up there? It's been crumpled up in that baggie for a while. Yup, another UFO. A LONG time ago, I cut and pinned those red squares together. It's supposed to be another little patchwork doggie. Maybe some day, sigh.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Anyone else out there have trouble at the library?

I was going to post some pictures of my UFOs..... but then I made a quick trip to the library. Quick!! Ha ha. I'm like a kid in a candy shop when I go to the library. First I went to the new fiction shelves up front and found a few books that looked good. (mind you, I just got 5 different books for Christmas) Then I hit the non-fiction aisles. First some photo blogging books for my daughter, the photography major, then the quilting section. I grabbed a few Kaffe Fassett books just because I like to look at the purty pictures. Then a Denise Schmidt quilt book. I love her style. Then I found this book!!!! If you can't read the small print, it says, "Small art quilts created with paper, plastic, fiber, and surface design." Let me give you a hint... my husband just went to the grocery store and I told him that if he saw any sushi packaged with the fake plastic grass, to buy it! Yep, I'm in search of 'sushi grass'. And you know that plastic mesh over the top of those cute little clementine crates, I could use some of that too. I have wanted to make another little quilt for the Alzheimer's Initiative, and this book just gave me the push I needed. Ooooh yeah! I'm gonna get out some paints, crayons, crazy threads and yarns, maps, newsprint, and all kinds of 'whatnot' and have me some artsy fun. And don't go nagging me about UFOs, I have ALL year ahead of me!

My Brain runs 24/7!! UFO's Part One.

When I figure out what guides my brain on its journeys every night, I will write a bestseller. You heard it here people! My family knows that I am a vivid and imaginative dreamer (and Jon lets me know when I shout and talk in my sleep, although when I shout I usually wake myself up). My favorite dream was about getting a new pet - a 'tomato colored' Dinky. A Dinky, apparently, is a lap-sized pony! (btw has anyone seen the new mini pigs? I'm serious! google it.) Anyway, back to my dream, the tomato red Dinkys are coveted and I had one, yay! I wish I could remember what I named that ol' Dinky. Maybe I should write a children's book....... Okay, I am now waaaay off topic for this post. Last night I was dreaming about UFOs (gee, wonder why?) and I woke up with the realization that I missed two the other day. This first picture shows them. My guild had some block swaps a few years ago, one was jars with bugs and the other was cats. I love cats so I signed up for that one twice and have 24 of those blocks. I should have taken these when I went to the Project Linus marathon.
So, this post is only showing blocks from swaps. Apparently I can't resist a block swap. Any of you Wild Threads reading this will hopefully understand why I hesitated to join our winter theme swap. And maybe you'll even show remorse for pressuring me until I signed up. This is supposed to be the year we conquer UFOs and now I'm gonna have another!!! Below you will see my birthday blocks. I have an online group of friends, The Blockswappers, and for a while I participated in the birthday swap. These are the blocks I got, aren't they great. They are waiting for me to be smitten with some setting inspiration.
These are from a Wild Threads fall/Thanksgiving swap. Don't you love the center block and the mashed potatos?

Here are some signature blocks from the Blockswappers. The batiks are gorgeous.

These are from two Blockswapper swaps. One was red & white and the other blue & white. I also have some red/white/blue not pictured. I actually used some of them for a wallhanging to donate to my guild's silent auction. Amazing, huh?
Here are some black and white basket blocks from a Wild Threads swap. They are 12 inches.

And here are some 9 inch black and whites from the Blockswappers. I can't decide whether or not to combine them with the larger b&w's, so here they sit.
Here are some 12 inch blue and white blocks that were actually not a swap but a BOM from my LQS. (sorry non-quilters, that's Block of the Month from the Local Quilt shop). There are a dozen of these and they are lovely. Alas, again I have stalled while pondering setting possibilities. And should I combine them with my smaller blue and whites?

So, there you have UFO's, part 1. And please! For the love of all things quilty, don't let me sign up for any more block swaps! Starting after the winter swap of course. And if our guild does another 4 inch block swap, I'll make an exception for that. And of course, I could be tempted by a Dear Jane. SLAP ME!! Please! Someone SLAP ME!!