Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tired, tired, TIRED!!!

It started last Wednesday when I worked 16 hours so I could get a long weekend off from work.  I got up Thursday and started packing.  This is MOST of what I took on retreat.  My sew-ezi table was already in the car.  See the black and white bag on the right?  Clothes, toiletries, and a Stieg Larsson book.  Everything else is sewing related, lol.

I hauled it all to Camp Hebron in Halifax, PA and had myself set up by 8:30 pm.  This year I parked myself in the back of the room so I could take advantage of the bench by my table.  It was perfect for hand sewing, relaxing, thinking, sipping coffee, etc.  I love Camp Hebron, they have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and ice water available to us 24/7.  I've gone on this retreat 4 or 5 times and this was the second time I forgot to take a travel mug for coffee.  See the two white mugs on the table?  I got coffees two at a time until I got to a local Rite Aid for a new travel mug. 

I invited a friend, Stephanie, on retreat.  It was her first retreat and she had it all figured out. She packed all the right stuff and fit right in, making friends and getting busy.  I'll show you some pictures of her work in another post.  I took lots of pics at this retreat.

I decided this would be a 'finishing' weekend for me.  The first thing I did was finish hand sewing the binding on this quilt.  Bam!

I really love the back.

Next up, I sandwiched, basted, and started quilting my red and yellow quilt.  I really need to give it a better name.

No fooling around, I got this baby DONE!  Quilted and bound.

And the back.  Love it, love it, love it.   Don't love my 'retreat hair'.

But wait, there's more!  I also sandwiched, basted, quilted, and bound this little baby quilt.  These are the tumbler blocks I cut with my Accuquilt when I first got it.

This is a bright and cheerful quilt for someone I know.  I used the last of my red with white dots fabric on the back.  I really need more, it's like a staple for me.  And I did the binding with bright stripes on the bias.  LOVE. IT.
I also finally sewed down these little appliques on some cloth diapers for burp cloths.

AND I put some borders on this pinwheel quilt.  If you know me, you know that I consider most borders a big chore.  Bleh!  So I kept it simple for this, also it's a pretty big quilt already.

The colors are soft and feminine and I think the green is soothing.  I'm not sure what I am going to do with this quilt yet.  It may go into the 'just in case' closet.  I don't have any quilts done right now for unexpected events or gifts. 
OK, that's it for now.  Time to go to work.  I have lots more to show from retreat but this is pretty much all I got done.  Phew!  I am very satisfied and that's a good feeling. 

Seeing Red (and white)

Red and white!  OMG, this quilt exhibit is unbelievable.  Look at how these quilts are displayed!

Just floating.  Kudos to Thinc Design for the fantastic display.  These quilts just captivated me.  Yesterday I went to New York City on a day trip with some of my quilting pals and we went to the Park Avenue Armory to see hundreds of red and white quilts from the collection of Joanna Rose.  It was fantastic.....beautiful......inspiring......captivating.......etc, etc and blah blah blah.  I am exhausted after retreat and a day trip to the Big Apple.  I will show you more later.
Right now I need to get some sleep.  I had a LONG, productive, and FUN weekend.  G'Nite!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gotta love free Wi-Fi and Panera bagels.

Hi bloggy friends.  Here I sit in Panera so I can use their wi-fi.  That's right, no internet or cable at our house.  A wicked storm charged through our area last night and some lightning and thunder action and a kaboom......blah blah blah.  Thank goodness we have power though.  I worked 16 hours yesterday so I could have off today because I am heading out for retreat this evening. I am perturbed that I have to leave without knowing who got voted off Survivor.  Oh please tell me it was Philip with the pink underpants.  He is koo koo.   Anyway it's just past 4pm and I plan to leave for Halifax, PA at about 5:30 (always good to plan to hit the road at rush hour, right?). 
   Have I finished packing? ------ NO
   Do I know what I want to work on? --------NO
   Did I make something tasty for our potluck dinner? -------NO
   Is my house tidy?  ------- Not really.

    I did do a load of laundry, tidy the kitchen, and run the dishwasher.  I filled my gas tank and bought some chocolate (I have my priorities straight!).  I had a nice talk with my son who has a close friend with some serious health problems. (yup, I really do have my priorities in place)  I am showered and dressed (thank goodness since I am in Panera!) and my hair is fluffy and sweet smelling!  Now I just have to make a decision for my projects and load the car.
    Do you think it's bad that I haven't yet told my retreat roomate that I have been told I snore?  I packed lots of earplugs : ) .
     Sorry I don't have any pictures today but I promise to take some at retreat.  Let's hope I have internet when I get home on Sunday.
     By the way, here's a tidbit of info.  I can wiggle my ears, and so can both of my kids!
  Have a great weekend friends, I know I will.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I'm going on retreat.  That's right, friends, going on quilt retreat with old friends, a new friend, and guild friends.  Through the wonderful and magical world of blogging, I discovered a new quilter friend, a nurse who works five floors below me at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  We've talked a couple of times, met once, read each other's blogs, and now we are going to be roomates on retreat.  Oh my gosh, I love retreat.  I am going up to Camp Hebron in Halifax, PA on Thurs. evening and staying until Sunday afternoon.  LOTS of sewing time and I still don't know what I want to work on.  Hmmm, something will rise to the surface on my
'want to do'  list.  I belonged to a guild for a few years before I got myself together enough to commit to a retreat.  Once I went on one, I haven't missed.  That's right, twice a year I have an awesome weekend full of friends,  fabrics, sewing, quilting, laughing, and a bit of chocolate thrown in.  Each time I go, I get a little more organized and efficient.  There are a few things I wouldn't go without.  Have you ever seen one of those portable design walls?  They look wonderful and portable and they cost a pretty penny.  My secret weapon is this!
Isn't this pretty?  A $3.00 flannel backed tablecolth from JoAnn's. 

Combine it with these hooks from 3M and you have a very cheap and portable design wall.

I used masking tape to strengthen two corners of the tablecloth and snipped openings.

Pop up the 3M hooks and 'BAM!'  instant design wall!  The best part is that the Command strips on the hooks will come off the walls without leaving a mark.  Perfect for retreat.  (one time I forgot to take the hooks down, I looked for them  the following year but they were gone,  darn!) 
The flannel on the tablecloth is great for holding blocks.  Check this out.  One the left is my design wall in my sewing room.  It's covered with batting and works great.  To the right  is my 'travel design wall'. 

Ta dahh!  I ran out of room for all of my wonky churndashes so I put up the 'travel wall'.  Look how well the blocks stick!  No pins at all!  By the way,  I now have 43 of the wonksters made.  I am completely undecided on whether or not  to make more.  I hope I don't take too long deciding because I really like them. 

Have time to check out another retreat tip?  Here's a mini ironing surface.  I took a TV table, padded it, and used a staple gun to cover it with a piece of old sheet.  Easy-peasy!

And it folds flat which makes it so easy to pop in the car for a weekend. 

And my latest idea is to pack my individual projects in these boxes.  These art bins are a little expensive when full price but JoAnn's often marks them half off.  Nifty way to organize projects huh?I tend to WAY overpack for retreats.  I just keep tossing in more and more fabric.  I am just so worried about getting there and not having  something.  Yeesh!  This time may be different.  I think.  Maybe.  I hope.  Well,  tomorrow I work 16 hours.  That's part of the price I am paying to get a long weekend.  I need to hit the hay soon.  Thursday, I will sleep in and then force myself to decide what to take to work on.   
If I have a few spare minutes tomorrow, I will make a list of stuff to pack.  I am so excited about my weekend.  And there is a surprise ending on Monday.  A daytrip to New York City for a fantastic quilt exhibit.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fabric Memories.

I didn't have any time to sew today.  I had to go into work early for a meeting.  While I ate some breakfast and drank some coffee, I sat in the sewing room and relaxed.  It's nice to look around and think about what I'm working on.  I am going on retreat in a week and a half and haven't yet decided what to work on.  More on that topic later.  As I looked around, I saw this plaid fabric and right away started thinking about my friend from work who is very sick. I used this for the back of his quilt.   Do you ever see a fabric in your stash and it makes you think of a certain quilt?  I started looking around at other fabrics.

This little fairy fabric always makes me think of one of my oncology patients. Such a shy little sweetie, the first time I met her I called her 'tootsie'.  She was so tickled, she looked at her mom with a big smile and said, "She called me tootsie!"  In no time she was one of my favorite patients.  I made her a quilt using this fabric and she loved it so much.  Sadly, she died following a bone marrow transplant for her leukemia.  I love thinking about her but sometimes this fabric makes my heart heavy.  I have a half yard left and I'm never sure if I should just use it up. 

I used this in a quilt I made for one of our surgeons when she left for another job.  I miss her.  She's an AWESOME pediatric surgeon and I wish she had stayed with us.

This was used in a baby quilt for a friend who is chinese.  She loved it.

Some of this Lizzy House fabric went on a little lovey for my nephew.

I started to pull fabrics out that reminded me of people and projects and quickly decided to quit.  Almost all of my fabrics could go into this picture.  If I haven't used something yet, I can usually remember why I bought it or what I bought it for.
Fabrics in my stash are a little like my oldest jeans or t-shirt.  Memories are attached and they are comfortable and comforting.  What could be better than putting them into a quilt?  I still have lots of bright nursing tops from when I was a nurse on an inpatient unit.  I have always planned to put them into a quilt some time.  Maybe I should put some of these fabrics into it too.  My personal memory quilt. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Wonksters!!

I am still playing around with my wonky blocks.  I should mention that it takes longer to make a wonky block than a classic block.  I didn't expect that.  Instead of using speed techniques to makes lots of  identical half square triangles, each one gets made individually.  Here are the first dozen. (yes, I still hadn't fixed the first one.)
Up to nineteen.  I am using my hand-dyed fabrics for some of these.
 Twenty-three!!  AND,  I finally fixed it.  I feel much better now, lol.
This picture doesn't do this one justice.  I like the pink and aqua together, very cheerful.
SURPRISE !!  It came, my Kona color card came!   Boy is this going to come in handy for this 'year of the solid'.  I plan on using solids to pull together lots of tops using my scraps and my stash.   For now, I just want to drink in all the pretty colors.   Mmmmmmm.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good and not so good moments in the old sewing room.

Last weekend the weather was rainy.  Perfect for hanging in the sewing room gittin creative.  I pulled out the 4 and a half inch squares I had made from  my scraps and started playing around.  Hmmm, this isn't right.
Let me introduce you to my leetle friend, Mr. Seam Ripper.
Better.  The one on the right was first and I'm not liking it much.  The left is more like it.
So I continued on.  I really love  this block. Fabrics with words are so fun. 
Surprize!  A tiny pinwheel.
And a star from the Bonnie Hunter workshop.
My first batch and there will be many more to come.  I really need to fix that first one, though.
We have four cats.  Some day when my son gets his own place, he'll take one with him. (Thank goodness, she's a bully.)  Two of the cats like to hang in my sewing room.  I've discovered that I need to 'cat proof' this space.  Last week I came in to see that a glass dish with some shells had mysteriously fallen to the floor.  Hmmm.  Today as I sat here reading some blogs, there was a CRASH.  This little storage container for my Bernina accessories got knocked to the floor by Daisy.  The doors popped completely off and my 'feet' flew everywhere.
I scooped it all up and put it back together.  Then I saw this!
Geez!  Apparently, the Bernina box hit my ruler on it's trip to the floor.  Darn!  At least the broken piece stayed kinda in place thanks to the non-skid vinyl on the back.
Who needs duct tape?  I fixed it with masking tape.  Ta dah!  This should  hold me for a while.  I
Just as I repaired the ruler (after reassembling the Bernina box), I heard a noise and looked around.  Now what, Daisy?  She was thinking of bedding down in my basket of neutrals until I gave her the evil eye.
"Did I do that?"   Yes, Daisy, you did.  She got her claw stuck on some of my little blocks and 'flung' them out of the basket.   Looks like I need to give this kitty a cozy place in here so she'll stay off my things.  Either that or keep cleaning up, lol.   Oy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What do you think of this?

Well?  You like it?  Nice quilt huh?   Ha!!  It's a quilt back for my red and yellow quilt. 

Since my fabric diet is over (thank goodness!) I went to my local JoAnn's with coupons in hand.  I was looking for fabric to use for the back of my quilt.  I found this cute birdcage fabric that had the perfect colors. 

I also snagged a yard of this gray with the pink birds.  These fabrics are designed by Heidi Grace for JoAnn's.  They have really come a long way in fabric quality at JoAnn's.  I'm so glad that they finally recognized the popularity of quilting. 

While I'm showing off fabric, here are my birthday goodies.  Kona solids, yum!  See the green on the right?  I have already used it up.  The green on the bottom left is the one I used on the pinwheel quilt.  I am really loving having nice solids to work with.  If I could do some whining for a second, I really wish I knew when my kona color chart (the one on backorder) was gonna get delivered.  It's really hard to pick colors from a computer screen.                                                      
I am going on a weekend quilt retreat in a few weeks.  That means I need to start thinking about what to work on.  I know for sure that some of these solids are going to be packed up for retreat.  Oh boy, I can't wait!!  If you ever get a chance to go on retreat, DO IT!