Sunday, January 30, 2011

Workshops available at my house.

I have a personal deadline to get these blocks turned into a quilt.  I know exactly what I want to do but just can't find a background fabric I want to use. I've been digging around in my stash and auditioning fabrics.  I really wish I had Kona Ash or a grey gingham to try but I don't have them and I'm on a fabric diet AND I don't have time to order something anyway.  I got these cool mod fabrics, most are from Birch, when I went to NYC in October.                                                                       

While I try to make up my mind, I have decided to offer a few classes over here.  The following are available:  
- 'How to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher'
- 'How to put the sugar back in the pantry'
- 'Directions from the den to the kitchen and how to carry dishes while walking'
- 'The closet floor isn't for clean clothes any more'
- 'How to navigate the Hair Cuttery system and receive a haircut'
- 'How to flatten a cereal box before putting it in the recycle bin'

Is this little scooter cute or what?                                     
 The workshops are geared to the college age-group.  We will not have 'How to make your bed' this semester as that is a post-graduate level course and there are no applicants at this time who are prepared to tackle such high-level techniques. 
     'How to keep your car clean' also will not be offered this semester as that is  post-doctoral level training requiring a committment to a year long fellowship.

     LOVE these mod houses!!!  Do Rob and Laura Petry live here?  (remember them?  Dick van Dyke show?   hello? anybody?)                                             

I just love these chairs, especially the detail of the bird.
 Ok now,  enough frivolity.  I need to get back to digging through my stash.  I may just resort to white but I don't want to feel that I settled for second choice.  Suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow day!

We got some snow last night.  Yesterday morning I woke up to a surprise couple of inches of snow.  All day  they were calling for 1 to 5 inches more but first there was rain.

When I got home from work yesterday it was pouring rain.  I guess it switched to snow early and we got about 10 inches overnight.  Because of the rain, the trees are covered with ice and the snow stuck to it.  It's so pretty.                                                                              

When I look out the back window into the woods, it's all white.         And the best part of this is that I didn't have to go to work until 3pm today.  That means I had plenty of time to shovel out my car.  Actually, Mr. 9patch did.  First my brother, the best neighbor in the world, plowed our driveway.  Then my husband dug out the cars.  I showed up fashionably late ready for work.

That was when I found my son and my husband trying to get my son's car out of the snowbank.  It was sideways at the top of our drive.  I helped them get it out. (I'm gonna get real for a minute here, ok?  I was instrumental in helping them get his car out.  I am the brains when it comes to snow.  The menfolk? They just spin the tires and push and grunt.  So I got bossy:  turn the wheels this way, rock the car, put on the brakes, turn the wheels back, easy on the gas etc etc. Bam! The car was out and sonny boy headed down the hill.) The menfolk were going down to shovel out some parking spots at the bottom of the drive and I headed back inside for one last brush of the teeth and packing of my dinner.  Fifteen minutes later I drove down and what did I find?  Deja vu.  A car sideways with two guys pushing and grunting.  First we shoveled, then I hopped in, got bossy, and got that car OUT of the way.  I sure hope that when I get home at midnight tonight, there will be a clear path for me.  I would rather not slip slide my way up the hill in the dark.
I am still working on the binding for the red star quilt.  Our house is a little cold so I haven't felt like handwork.  Sheesh!  That's a weak excuse isn't it?  Well, it's the only one I have.  Enjoy the view!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Paying it forward for 2011 and all-day fun at a sewing marathon.

Who wants to pay it forward this year?   Think about it.  Ipromise to send something handmade to the first 3 people who leave a comment here. To be eligible, you must also post this in your blog, offering the same thing to 3 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 3 people in 2011.  If you're game, leave a comment and sometime this year, I will surprise you with something handmade. 

 Sorry about the underlining up there, I can't seem to make it go away.  If you read
this post, you might remember that I looked high and low last fall for some Christmas fat quarters that I had cut into rectangles for a garland.  Well, when I was packing stuff up for a sewing day with friends, I found them.  Figures, huh?
And guess what?  I do not feel like sewing anything Christmasy right now.  Hope I can find these next fall.  Actually I have been thinking about designating July as Xmas sewing month.  The point would be to take the pressure off in the fall.  It's something to think about.                                                 

I had a great day yesterday.  I got together with my Wild Thread friends AND some new friends from the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.  We had a marathon sew-in day at a church near me.  12 hours of fun, food, friends, and fabric.  Yippee!  My friend, Annette, gave us a spontaneous demo of a quick folded fabric block.  As soon as I get a link from Annette, I will post the youtube video about it.  It was a cool technique and I'd like to try it soon.

We have such a great space to work in at this church.  Tons and tons of natural light, plenty of tables, a kitchen we can use.  I took my computer and speakers so we could have music. 

We also played a fun dice game called  Left, Right, Center.  Each of us brought 3 FQ's to play with and one person went home with ALL of them.  Here is Linda raking in the FQ's. 

And wouldn't you know, Linda owns a quilt shop!!  But the funniest thing is that she had forgotten to bring her fabric and projects.  So she got to work on something after all, lol.

We immediately had our Mug Rug swap so the losers in the dice game could soothe our hurt feeling.  We each brought a mug rug in a paper bag and took turns choosing a bag.  It was fun to see what everyone had made. Heather got to choose between two.  The idea is that one was for lefties and one for righties.  She chose the flower.                                                          

Jen lucked out with a cute birdhouse with a couple little birdies.  You know I felt a little envy over the birdies.                                                                     

Nichelle got some cool flying geese made by my friend Annette.

Oh that lucky Pat!!  Look at the cool fabrics in hers.  

Rebecca's rug was rockin some selvages!

And here we are,  all showing off our new treasures.  We were very amused that so many of us were color coordinated with our rugs, lol.                                     

So what did I get done when I wasn't eating or playing?  Well, I finally got this quilt quilted.  I gave it away as a Christmas gift when it wasn't finished.  I've become so desperate to get it off my plate that I did what I call  'cop-out quilting'.  PLEASE   don't judge me!  I had planned to quilt feathered circles in each of the big squares but I began to think I would never  finish.  So, instead, I just did some (ok, minimal) straight line quilting in the center then I meandered in the border.  As I type, all that I need to do is hand sew the binding.  It's for my brother's new girlfriend who is VERY nice.  We really like her and she really fit right in with this nutty family.  Most important is that she makes him happy.  Yay!

After I did that quilting,  I put some borders on this quilt.  Since I'm on a fabric diet, I had to rummage around the stash for fabrics to match.  I had several possibilities but no combos  that we all got excited about.  Then my friend, Janet, (my awesome friend Janet)  pulled out the solid lime green batik that you see for the inner border.  Yes!!  We have a winner.  Thank you Janet, thank you, thank you!

I know just what baby is going to get this quilt and luckily I have plenty of time to find the right backing and finish up.  Hopefully I won't be driven to any more  'cop-out quilting'  this year.
So a very fun and productive day.  We even had some late evening dancing and throwing of scraps into the air like confetti.  Kathy brought a bag of scraps to give away and we had some fun with them.  I worked a little on my scrappy blocks.  I now have a plan for them.  I need to do a little fabric shopping in my stash and then hopefully I'll have something to show.    Now don't forget to comment if you want to play along with the 'handmade pay it forward'.  G'nite all! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Exhaustion: noun, the state of being exhausted, extreme weakness or fatigue.

This past week, my work schedule was crazier than usual.  We had a very high risk case on Wednesday so I worked a 16 hour shift that day.  I could have gotten overtime pay but I chose instead to have off today, Friday.  Yay!  I'm really pooped but I will make good use of my day.  First I had to take two cats to the vet.  Last night my husband and I went and got 2 new cat carriers.  Silly Mrs. Puff thinks this is one fine place to hang out.  She even slept in it last night!                      

Tomorrow is a sewing marathon with my friends in my mini group, The Wild Threads, and I also invited members of the brand new Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.  I plan to pack up my projects, machine, sew-ezi table,  coffee makings etc etc and be ready to roll out first thing in the AM.  We are doing a Mug Rug swap, I'm ready for that.  We are also playing a dice game called Left, Right, Center.  Everybody starts with 3 items (fat quarters tomorrow) and one person will go home with ALL of them.  Hope it's me! 

I'm taking my camera tomorrow and will get lots of photos of everything the happy quilters are working on.  And maybe some great shots of raucous behavior involving fat quarters and dice!     Well, what do you think, should I just keep this cat carrier out and let Puff use it for a bed?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One step closer.

Squaring up.  It's boring. It takes too long.  It reminds me that my piecing wasn't perfect.  I'm not a perfectionist so if I have to square up, you know the piecing is rough.  Oh well!  Here are my 45 pinwheel blocks.  I just circled each one using 2 and a half inch strips.         

Ignore the pink stuff in the top left.  It's some gauzy stuff that was wrapped around some Valentine flowers I got last year.  I'm saving it for something artsy.  I don't know what, probably a mini quilt, maybe for AAQI. 

I started running out of strips so I had to circle some of the pinwheels with a mix. 

I don't think it is very noticeable and anyway, it adds interest.        
So I have 45 blocks that are 9.25 inches square.  I guess I'll set them 5 blocks by 9 blocks unless anyone has a better idea.  All suggestions welcome.  Gotta go to work now so have a great day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I just love 3 day weekends!

Well my bloggy peeps, at the risk of reminding myself of a painful football loss (with Steeler's fans present), I will share with you my sources for some very tasty sangria and dip.  The sangria makes quite a batch so I just put it outside instead of in the refrigerator.  So far, I haven't had any trouble with raccoons taking the lid off.                                                                          

These are the basic ingredients.  I got my recipe out of the Pioneer Woman's cookbook so I am hesitant to print it here.  I will link you to a blog post of hers with a sangria recipe, here.  So far, I have always made it with white and red wines but I would like to try some variations with just white.  The surprise for me was the rum and vodka, both orange flavored.  They add a wonderful 'kick', if you know what I mean.

And now for the easiest and tastiest dip EVER!!  I have been making this for quite a few years and I often get requests for it when parties are being planned.  I always make sure I have some of this relish from Harry and David in my pantry.                                            

Two bricks of cream cheese and one jar of pepper and onion relish.  I toss it all in the 'ol Kitchen aid mixer and it's done.  That's it.  Embarrassingly easy. It's awesome with chips like Tostitos but also good with crackers and anything else you want. There are also other relish blends to try, all are good and tasty.                            


How do you like this little cutie?   I think she'd be a lot cuter without the Steeler's jersy.  This is my cousin Kate's youngest, Sophia.  I always wanted to try making one of these little tutu skirts.  There are tutorials all over for them.  I decided to make one on Saturday for her (and it was a good way to sneak a hint of purple on her, hee hee.   

I found this tutorial for half square triangles last week and just had to try it.  I pulled out a few charm packs I had and in no time there was a pile of 180 HST's and then 45 pinwheel blocks.  Despite my complete distaste for squaring things up, I did do it on all of these blocks today.  They really needed it.  I don't know about you but I find it difficult to stitch accurately with the charm squares that have 'pinked' edges.  I am working on a simple way to set these.  I'm sure it will go together quickly and hopefully I can show you this week.                                                                                           

Today, we finally got all of the rest of the xmas stuff put away.  My husband helped in spite of my earlier promise to do all of it if he only did the tree.  What a sweetie.  I had to get a picture of this little creche.  It is my favorite of ALL of my Christmas decorations.  It's only about 4 inches tall and is light as a feather since it's plastic.  As far as I know, it's older than I am because I think we have always had it.  I'm not sure if my mom gave it to me or if I just 'confiscated' it one year.  I hesitate to ask, what if she asked for it back.  I don't know why but I just love this, maybe I'll check out ebay and see if I can find any others like it.

Well, if I leave right now, I can make it to my guild meeting on time.  But it's cold outside, waah!    Until next time....g'nite!! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Not sure when this happened!

I'm a football fan.  It's a recent transformation for me and it's because Baltimore is so darn cute when the Ravens play and especially when they are doing well. (plus I adore Joe Flacco)  If you are not into football  or if you are a Steeler's fan, please bear with me.  Baltimore gets a little excited about the Ravens.  And today is a BIG game.  Our longstanding rivalry with the Steeler's combined with an important post-season game has ramped up 'purple frenzy'.  Last night at work, on purple Friday, many of us were wearing Ravens scrub hats.  We have a big bulletin board at the OR entrance covered with Ravens photos.  And guess who came to visit my operating room?  A team of surgeons from Pittsburgh!!  Boy were we ready for them.  We plastered the room with Ravens pictures.  We have a huge flatscreen hooked to the computer (for showing scans and xrays) and we put the Ravens logo on it.  All in good fun of course.  They had Steeler's hats on and there was friendly ribbing back and forth.
     So if you don't mind, please cheer for the Ravens today.  I'm going next door to my brother's (he has the biggest TV and he is a master chef on the grill).  Just to show that it's all in good fun, we invited my cousin, Kate, and her husband, Frank.  They are Steeler's fans.  My big jug of killer sangria is mixed and marinating outside on a snowy table and I have the makings for my fabulous dip ready to go. It's sinfully easy.  How about I post the sangria and dip recipes tomorrow?  Have a great day and I promise a quilty post this weekend.     

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend fun!

Well I searched and searched and couldn't figure out where I saw this.  I am SO sorry that I can't give credit.  I know it's a blog I read and love and comment on.  Sadly I couldn't find the post.  If it was 'you' , please speak up and I will sing your praises!!    Anyway,  check out my new/old kitchen towels (or tea towels if your prefer).  I took vintage tablecloths that I had and cut towel sized portions.  Then I just popped some binding on them.  Ta dah!                                       

It was fun picking out some nice bright fabrics for the bindings.

If you are worried about me cutting into vintage linens, I had already  cut into these to make some pillows a few years ago.                                                          

I made four of these because it was so easy.                     

See the red check that my mom gave me last week? 
I cut the bindings for the towels with my Accuuilt Go.  I had skinny little fabric strips left over so I started to play with them.  I wove them into square patches. I have been wanting to make some mug rugs and I have a swap coming up so I kept on playing.  Using one of my new books, Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman, I threw on a little applique.                               

More of the red check from mom.


And I have wanted to make a tiny banner for a while.  Just because.

See my weaving?                                                      A fun weekend.  Now I have to go out in the cold and drop my car off to be serviced tomorrow.  Maybe when I get back I'll put on my PJ's and have some hot chocolate.  Enjoy your week.  I have some thoughts about my studio arrangement that I'll share in the next post.  I have some kinks to work out with the arrangement. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Diet Sabotage!!

My mom reads my blog  (hi Mom!).  She's not a follower though. (I think that makes her a lurker.)  And she doesn't comment either.  Can you believe that?  But she says she reads my blog.  And sometimes she mentions something and I can tell she's been reading it.  (Hi again Mom!)   So can you believe that right after I post about the 'Fabric Diet'  she gives me this!  She said she thought I would like them, and I sure do.  Lemme tell ya, this gal has one fabulous stash.  Once in a while if I get really hung up for something like a border or sashing fabric, she's nice enough to let me 'shop' in her stuff.  You know that's pretty nice because I think I would hyperventilate if someone went pawing through my fabrics looking for something to use.  Please tell me there's someone else out there who loves their fabric cuts like their babies.  Please!                                                           
   I have some weekend plans for the red one.  I saw something on a blog last week and I shamefully can't remember where, but I will be copying it this weekend.  As soon as I remember (or find) where I saw it, I will show you what I'm doing.  And you will see some of that red on it.   But guess which of these fabrics is getting to me?  I can't explain why I like the one with the chicken poop color the most, but I do.  It's a lot like a plaid men's shirt so maybe it's my recent workshop with Bonnie Hunter.  Or maybe it just reminds me of when I was a kid and we used to go snooping around the chicken yard looking for eggs.  My cousins, siblings and I could be naughty. Hooo boy, we had acres of pastures and trees and streams, ponds, barns, ponies, pigs, chickens, sheep, dogs, and cats to tempt us every day.  We were NOT to chase the pigs though.  It's bad for them and if we wanted to have sausage patties with our buckwheat cakes in February with Mimi (my grandmother), we better leave those pigs alone!!Yeesh!  Off topic, huh?   So while I am trying so hard to get my 'studio' in order,  apparently my mom is straightening up her stash too.  It's ok though, I can and will find room for all goodies finding their way up to my lair. 
     And while I'm mentioning my good ol mom,  let me tell you about her.  She is one sharp cookie.  If you get stumped on a crossword, give her a call.  And think twice before you play a game with her (like Bunko) because she wins.  Always.  She has a desktop computer, a laptop, and an Ipad, not to mention fancy sewing machines that do all that digitizing computerized embroidery stuff that I don't have the time to figure out.  (Get ready, I'm going to taunt her.)  But, poor mom, she just can't figure out how to be a follower.  And it's so complicated to leave a comment, isn't it?  I guess it's just too technical for a senior citizen.  Hey, Mom, do you need me to show you how to turn on the dishwasher?  Hee hee,  ha ha!  I have 63 followers now and I am going to check tomorrow to see if I have 64, hint hint.  I expect a comment too.  Just for good measure.  Night everybody!