Saturday, May 28, 2011


She did it.  My oldest, my baby girl, my favorite daughter (lol, I only have one girl), my hilarious (I kid you not), beautiful, creative, funloving girl has graduated from college.  We are a low key, low maintenance family and don't make a big hoopla very often.  By the time we found Olivia after the ceremony she already had her cap and gown off.  I made her put it back on, hee hee.

I hope I was more excited about her degree in Fine Arts and Photography than I was that I finally got to show her the SSP.  It was close though.
A couple of months ago, I was cleaning out Olivia's room  (why on earth would a quilter be eager to clear out her child's room? lol) and I found a little memo book all decorated.  She used to paint everything with nail polish. One mother's day I got a rock all painted like an alien because I was such an X-Files fan.  It was painted with scented nail polish too, whooo!   Ok, just a smidge off topic, back to the memo book.  When I opened it up, there was a list.  In lovely silver gel pen with a touch of sparkle, she had written a list of things to do one summer.  The summer of 1999 actually.  It was so cute and funny I saved it to show to her.  When I gave it to her, we had such a laugh.  The kind of moment that we'll never forget.  As she read through the list out loud, we howled and gasped for air and rolled on the floor as tears ran down our faces.  I know it won't be as funny to you, but for us it was hilarious.  So the SSP?  I don't know how or why I got my brainstorm but I'm glad I did.  I turned that list into a quilt.  
            So thank you all for being patient and here it is................unfinished, bleh.  This is how far I got when it went into the gift bag.  I still needed to put a solid border around it to make it bigger.
She Loved it!!!!
I think this first block had a lot to do with all the laughing.  She has NO recollection of wanting rabbit's feet. It's my favorite block I think. 

We had two new kittens that summer.  We liked to see how much they grew.

Yes, she painted the mailbox that summer, with flowers and a rainbow on the front.  Sadly, it's gone now.  It's not a good idea to have a good looking mailbox out here.  Bored teenagers like to give mailboxes a beat down now and then.  For a while it was all dented and twisted and we had it tied to a tree even, lol.

Awww,  Claudia was our old lady cat.  We miss her.

We have no clue what clock this is and as far as I know, she has never done any embroidery.

This one gave Liv another big laugh. 

Oh yes,  we had many floss friendship bracelets that summer.


There is really nowhere to ride a bike out here.  Our driveway is gravel and the roads have no shoulders.  Oh well.

Putting these blocks together was one of my biggest challenges.  I put the kona charcoal background up on the design wall and started playing. And staring.

I made a few little filler blocks so I wouldn't have big open spaces.  The little gal is from a Don't Look Now pattern.  I love Kelly's patterns!!  Love love love them.

Back in the decision making stage.  I didn't make a firm plan ahead of time,  I just started piecing words and then put them together in blocks.  Even deciding the word grouping took me lots of thinking time.

And let's not forget the Arithmatic.   Lmao!  Remember the days before it was mathematics?  I ended up with a tall skinny quilt so I needed to make side borders.  I am getting braver about piecing borders.  I wanted to keep it fairly simple and not distracting.

And of course I wanted it to be complimentary, so I used these purty fabrics.

And then,  omg,  the quilt still wasn't big enough, so I had to audition fabrics for the outside border.
Hmmm,  too much green.

Eh,   I don't think so.

Oooo,  possibly.



I love this Denise Schmidt fabric (from the Joann's collection) and I used it for the little dress in the quilt, but it's too busy.  Rats.

Bigger auditions.  The print on the left is also Denise's and again I chickened out of a print.  Liking that red more and more.

Had to try the dots again, tryin to make them work, ha ha. 

And just for fun,  I also gave Olivia fifty rabbit's feet.  I got her to open this first, just to get her thinking about the list.  I'll keep you posted if we do anything with these.  Under consideration is a garland or maybe a Christmas tree.

Yesterday,  I got the borders on.  Yup, I went with red.  I kinda think of red as a neutral.  The quilt now measues 76 by 95 inches.  Guess that will do.

My kids.  (this was after I made her put her cap and gown back on)

Proud dad.

Proud mom (and dad).

And what does the future hold?  No clue but I predict something awesome.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why, Hello!!

Shame, shame, shame on me!  I'm such a neglectful blogger.  I am so sorry.  Life is just getting the best of me these days.  I have been sewing and creating.  Can I show you?  Not much.  How is the SSP going, you ask?  It's getting there.  I am very pleased but I have to get a final border on it.  Have you ever worked hard on a quilt and thought, wow! This is going to be a great size, and then you measure it?   I was starting to think the SSP was going to be a nice bed quilt but, actually, it's barely a twin.  Phooey!  Anyway, I'll boost it's size a little but it won't be quilted by Wednesday.  Wednesday is G Day (graduation day).  So stay tuned friends and I promise a nice reveal by the end of the week. 
While you wait for a glimpse of my 'masterpiece', I will share some random photos.  This is my chubby cat, Chester (Chet for short).  He sleeps a lot, lol, and I think it's amazing that he was able to get up onto this.  I'm also grateful that he didn't knock my fancy ass Reliable Digital Velocity iron onto the floor.  He would have been in BIG trouble. 

It's a fact that cats always make themselves at home in an inconvenient spot.  This is my ironing surface.  I have to keep a sticky roller handy before I can iron anything.  Rosie is our smallest cat, she's a manx (no tail).  Both of these cats are so darn SWEET.  Mellow and friendly to all.  Rosie would be perfect if she wasn't a hunter who feels compelled to gift us with her trophies on the doormat.  Ick! 

Hmmm?  Not telling.  Sorry.

This is my friend's butt.  I was admiring her pants and told her that they really made her butt look good.  So I decided to take a picture to show her, lol.  I won't mention her name though but, seriously, isn't that a great butt?

My design wall.  Yesterday I practiced some SSP avoidance (or burnout).  I belong to the fledgling Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild and we are participating in the Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton charm pack challenge.  We voted and chose the classic colorway and I already had a charm pack of darks.  I combined the two and this is what I have so far.  Each of these little blocks is 4 inches.  I haven't sewed them together yet.  If I want it bigger, I could sash them, but I like the way this looks.  Guess I'll have to ponder some border action.   I shudder to say this but I might be starting to enjoy borders.  Aaack!  Ptew!  Eeeeeeeks!  I need to go take my temperature or lie down or something.....................

This morning I did some more avoidance and played with these triangles. 

This is the layout that I had planned for them, but it wasn't doing it for me.  I actually have 4 or 5 rows sewn together and I plan on picking them apart.  Nutty, huh?  As far as I'm concerned, it's better than making a quilt I don't like or creating another UFO.  I'm actually sorry that I cut so many of these triangles.  Oh well.

So,  this is my design wall today.  The big project I should be working on is marinating in a bag on the floor and I need to get ready to go to work.   Let's hope the operating room is quiet this Sunday evening.  One of my girlfriends from work broke her leg this weekend and ended up as a patient in the OR where she works.  That's a bummer for sure!!  I wish I had a finished quilt for her.  Remember those 'just because' quilts I always talk about?  THIS IS WHY I NEED THEM!!!!  Now I'll just have to take her a potted plant or some other dumb thing to brighten her hospital room. 
So what do you do for last minute gifts?  Do you keep a stash of quilts handy?

Monday, May 9, 2011

OMG! A close call!!!

Well, part of my SSP (super secret project) has been exposed, darnit!  Last night I was sitting in my sewing room, minding my own business after an afternoon of brainstorming and working on my SSP, when my daughter wandered in after work.  She gets off work at 11pm AND she doesn't live at home!  I usually know when she's coming.  So there I was with the SSP proudly arranged and displayed in all of it's colorful brightness on my design wall.  I had a brief moment of  'oh good grief' and 'oh boy! I can finally show her!'  but that passed and I shouted FREEZE!  She had her back to the design wall so I jumped up hollering 'DON'T MOVE!  CLOSE YOUR EYES!' and who knows what else.  I was going to pull it all down but I had spent all day arranging and rearranging dogonnit!  I spied the flannel backed tablecloth that I use as my portable design wall.  It was all folded up with my triangles still in it from my last sewing marathon with my buds.  I quickly unfolded it and pinned it right up to cover my precious SSP.  So this is all she saw, whew!  Some of those triangles are wrong side up  from unfolding, lol.  
    So, the fact that I am making some kind of quilted surprise is out.  Waaaaaah!  My daughter, Olivia, is graduating from college this month with a fine arts degree in photography.  I asked her what she might like for a graduation gift and she said, 'I don't really need anything.'  I really love that girl but, honestly, gimme something to work with honey!  Well, I truly had a lightbulb moment and the SSP was born.  I know she reads my blog but I'm not sure how often so I can't tell all just yet.  I'm bummed that she knows I'm making something.

I've decided to show you another little sneaky peek.  The SSP wasn't going to have any applique but yesterday as I sat and stared at it, trying to decide how to fill some spots, I had a little aha moment.  How cute is this bike?  The design is from McKenna Ryan's Beach Walk pattern. 

Okay folks, show's over.  You (and Olivia) aren't getting any more out of me today.  Now go back to your regularly scheduled blogs!! Go on now,  shooo!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's hard for me to keep secrets.

Don't get me wrong,  if a friend asks me to keep a confidence I don't have any trouble.  That's honorable.  BUT, when I have something I'm excited about, I have such a hard time keeping it to myself.  So while I hide my design wall from you,  I'll show some other stuff. 
Last month, my sister and her family came to visit from California.  Here are her two kids, Lucia (Lucy) and William (Buddy) with their 'Auntie Lisa'.  It was a lot of fun seeing them as well as Hannah and her husband, John.  Before they got here, Hannah let me know that Lucy wanted to learn some hand sewing.  Oh boy!  Auntie Lisa got excited and poked around some books and got an idea.

I showed Lucy how to trace and cut some simple shapes.  Then she learned how to stitch them onto a background.  We had fun  embellishing with some simple embroidery and buttons.   Lucy suggested we make this into a quilt.  Great idea but not enough time this visit so I had another idea.  I kept this project here while the west coast relatives flew home.  And I got busy right away!

I grabbed some batting and backing and quilted up this little mini.  I also stitched around the owl, sun, eyes, and tummy to make it a little sturdier.

Ta-dah!  A pillow for Lucy!  Isn't it great that I've been building my stash of solids?  I found just the right aqua for the binding.


AND........ I used my favorite tip for the back!  A shirt.  I have a little stash of shirts from the thrift shop and this pink check was perfect.  It's so easy to whip up a pillow this way.  No zipper, no flap, no fancy closure, just measure, cut, and sew it together.  Open up the buttons and put the pillow in.  Easy peasy!  And I always get a kick out of the pocket.  Too bad I didn't sew up a little softy for the pocket.
I already have a plan for the next time they visit.  I'm going to get everything cut out and ready for a quick and simple quilt.  Then I can turn Lucy loose with the machine and see what happens.  Sounds fun to me!