Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fear the Turtle? Bwa ha ha!!! (Another OPAM Finish)

Three Heather Bailey Turtle Pincushions...check!!!!  Let's not discuss how long it took to complete them. I appreciated all of the comments of those who attempted and failed before me. You challenged me. It's all about the stuffing,and I tell 'ya, next time I see one, I'm going to get myself a 'stuffing fork'. In the meantime, I made do with a Purple Thang (which I came close to destroying), the end of a paintbrush, a pencil (eraser end....except in a couple instances I used the pointed lead end), the tips of my scissors, and finally, a chopstick.

Little Foot That Purple Thang- 

Done...moving on to something new tomorrow. But since we're on a roll for finishing what we've started, maybe we'll start on the "What Was I Thinking/What Was I Drinking Drunkard's Path.  As for the rest of tonight, I'm crawling into bed with some quilt mags. A girl can only abide so many 3 a.m. bedtimes in a month, and I've certainly endured them for most of this month. Tonight we sleep!

Leaving you with a couple more quilts from Quilt Odyssey 2011.

If this looks familiar to you, it's because you might have seen it in the quilt mags you subscribe to. This was a winner at Road to California this past winter.

Check back tomorrow and see if I manage to not stray from the path of productivity. (Ahh, what's that saying about a road paved with good intentions?)

Good night all!

(edited to add photo of 'That Purple Thang'...which is a tool that every sewer should have within reach of their machine)

Road Trip!!!!!

(Screeech!!!!!!! Back up now!!! 55 THOUSAND Swarovski crystals? You don't suppose she bought those at Michaels now, do you?  That would be about 1000 packs. Man, I would not want to have been in line behind that woman!)

Took the day off work today and headed to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA with my sister.

Quite the applique-centric show this year (I remember it being that two years ago as well), there was a fabulous exhibition of applique (including Baltimore album) quilts (sorry, photos not allowed) from the collection of Pat and Arlan Christ. 40 quilts from the mid 1800s were on display. My sister pointed out that most of these were in amazing shape considering they were 150 years old. Something to keep in mind as we crank out our own work....someday, 150 years from now, one of your quilts could be hanging in a show somewhere, belonging to a collector who purchased it for a small fortune. (I really need to start burying those thread ends!). But, it's more likely when I die that my daughter will just cram all my quilts in a plastic trash bag and put them out for an AmVets or Purple Hearts pick up :-).

Here's a couple highlights of the show...

This was a fun one (you've got to have some serious love for Jack Nicholson to invest the time in this one....I'm hoping to see a Johnny Depp at an upcoming show)

And it was fun to run into an old 'friend'.  I remember this quilt from Houston back in '09. It was this quilt that finally made me realize that clowns really are creepy.

Ringmasters by Denise Havlan (sorry, I didn't get a readable placard shot)

The vendor mall was just okay, not a great fabric selection, only a couple vendor selling fat quarters. I did pick up some wool and of course I did my usual bag o'thread (and spent half my mad money) at Superior Threads (10 spools of silk and a large cone of 50 wt Masterpiece for piecing). I was excited to read that Aurifil would be represented at the show, but the vendor was selling the thread for the same price our quilt shop sells it for, with no discount for multiple spools (shame on him!), so I walked away Aurifil-threadless--for full price, I'd rather give my money to my local quilt shop.

Well, it's getting late. I'll post a few more photos tomorrow. I've got to get up early and pick up some milk at the Farmer's Market and since it's so darn hot, I think I'll spend the weekend in the studio. There's Turtles to finish, Drunkard's Paths to cut, and wool applique projects to prep (yeah, yeah, on another tangent, I go).

Gotta check when the next Mimi Dietrich class is scheduled and get my homework ready for that too (I think it might be next Sunday).

Sleep tight!

Monday, July 25, 2011

More OPAM Finishes....Time Marches On

The weekend finds life somewhat back to normal.


Saturday morning I headed out to meet my sister at one of the local quilt establishments for the unveiling of their Christmas fabric. Always one to support the local shops, I picked up 4 yards of WinterBerry Lane from Red Rooster. Looks like it'll make a nice little table quilt that will serve through winter...that is if I can actually finish it by the end of the year. 

Heading home,  I had the windows down, and I'm cruising down the road, about 40 mph when I hear something hit the windshield or the side mirror, and as I glance in that direction, something somewhat large and very black has sailed into my driver's side window and is now ON ME. Momentary panic, but I'm coming up on a red light so if I can just keep it together until I stop I can jump out of the car screaming and flailing wildly at myself when I come safely to a stop.

As I look down at my shirt I can now see just what the big black monster hanging on to me's not a bird, it's not a bat, its not some mutant gigantic bug...well, okay, it is a bug, and while it is the size of my fist, it's not so threatening once I discover it's a beautiful black and blue butterfly, that is clearly not doing very well, having just bounced off a 40mph impact with my car.

Spicebush Swallowtail

I'm trying to gently pick it up by a wing, or scoop it up in my hand, but now it's crawling across my stomach and trying to get under my seat belt. While I am not a bug fan...pretty or not...especially when they are crawling on me, I'm trying to figure out what I can do with it. Clearly, this isn't one for the vet, and  from the looks of it, this butterfly is mortally wounded. I'm also the 2nd car in line at a light with a dozen or so cars behind me, and the light has just turned green. The best I could do was take it in my hand and hold it out the open window and hope it could fly.

(At this point, it would be best to just let you write the ending to this story yourself..I'm a 'glass half empty' kind of gal, while you might be a 'glass half full' type.)

On the sewing front, I spent the rest of the day attempting to make 3 turtle pincushions.


Got so far as to stuff one and it was not good. No, not good at all. So I unstuffed her, tweaked the seams a bit, laid it aside and set off on another project:

This is an 18"x18" quilt block carrier from Elly Sienkiewicz's Baltimore Elegance book.

It's made from some JoAnn fabric I bought when I first started quilting and have had sitting in a cubby, and the hubs finally bought the FoamCor home from scraps from work on Friday, so this was a 'free'  project.

You lay your blocks, fold in the side flaps, fold up the bottom flap and tie it up. Keeps your blocks nice and flat until you're ready to put them all together. The block on display is one of the papercut blocks for my Baltimore Album that I finished on the trip to Ohio last week.

If you're liking this block carrier and want to make one of your own, let me just warn you that Elly doesn't provide the clearest directions, and unless you have a set of Fasturn tools, you're going to need an alternate method for making the ties and the handle, and you're also going to have to adjust the sizes of your FoamCor pieces if you go with where she tells you to place your handle and the side flaps....I'm just saying that this is not a project for the faint of heart. This was an all day project, and I expected it was something I was going to knock out in a couple of hours (bwah ha ha ha).

Well, tomorrow  it's back to pincushions....FEAR THE TURTLE! (if you live around here, you get that :) ).

Have an excellent week (and thanks to all for your supportive comments last week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Time To Move On

Today has been a day of reflection...serious reflection.

Now that my sister's funeral is behind me I can direct my attention to a self-centered bride and an overly critical, likely to be ex-, husband. God give me strength. (Though, it's likely I'm going to have a pack of Marlboro's in my purse before the week is out...and I will blame my family for that, regardless of who it is that lights the matches).

Before I left for Ohio I had asked my husband to pick up some FoamCor so I could come back and make the block carrier from Elly Sienkiewicz's Baltimore Elegance book. Clearly he didn't hear me, lost the note with the sizes, didn't think it was worth the effort, so that's on hold until I can get over to Michaels to pick up what I need, myself--which is what I should have done to begin with. (Really, by now I should know better....if you want something done, do it yourself.)

My daughter's in a snit because I told her it was too late to send out 'Save the Date' magnets (not yet ordered, and if they were, they'd be mailing the week before the invitations). Of course the hubs is being pissy because I'm stressing the daughter by 'throwing a roadblock' at her plans. He thinks we should just roll up and set fire to a couple of Benjamins and f--k wedding etiquette so as not to stress the bride. (Hel-lo....does he consider the level of stress he's causing the MOB? This is why he's going to be apartment hunting on October 9th.)

Come back tomorrow and I'll have something sewn to show you. I NEED to sew something  (because I shudder to think what I might do otherwise).

And most importantly, thanks for the thoughtful comments regarding my sister. I truly appreciated the comfort of friends. Especially in the absence of family. Love you all.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Drive By Posting

(She's back!!! Lots going on...we'll get to it..for now, suffice it to say that I've been neglecting the house, myself, the hubs, the wedding plans, so I'm trying to play catch up and the quilting has taken a hit.)

One of the projects I'm currently working on turned out to be way more tedious than I could have imagined. This would be the New Twist on Drunkards Path project, which I am going to rename The Twisted Drives Me To Drink project.

I shall  not bore you with how many times I had to go back for fabric and redo blocks for one reason or another. This project is most definitely my top pick for 'not as easy as it appears' in the videos and handouts. 16 blocks had to be done with the stitch pattern. Now we move on to cutting them out as well as cutting out all the other fabrics. But before we can do that, we've got to remove the 'tear away' (are they serious? on what planet and in what atmosphere does this stabilizer actually 'tear' away) from the above-mentioned 16 blocks, and this requires a raft of different scissors and lots of breath holding so I don't accidentally snip the fabric while cutting away the tear away. (sigh)

On a lighter note....How about a no-sew pin cushion?  Get yourself a nice block of wrapped (very important, lest you desire having little soap crumbles all over your worktable) scented soap and poke quilting pins into it. Bonus is that the soap acts as a wax on the pins, making them glide through the fabric. Cool!

I'm finally catching up with my to-do list and was tackling a little mending tonight and thought I'd share my mending thread source. This cool item is a little braided 'scarf' of threads. You can get it at JoAnn. There's a bunch of strands in each color and you just grab one and pull it out of the hank of thread and off you go. I went my whole life not knowing about this cool product and just found out about it from a teacher in a class I was taking a couple years ago. A worthy tip for passing on.

As of this evening, my house is clean, my laundry is done. The eye is still screwed up, but I'm told it may take 12 weeks for it to clear itself up, and I'll be revisiting the retinal specialist next month, so I'm just trying to not dwell on it and ignore the 'smudge' in my vision.

I've got so many projects started in the studio that I've been neglecting that I'm looking forward to getting started on. If I had more than small scrap pieces of FoamCor in the house, I'd have made myself a sweet applique block carrier out of Elly Sienkiewicz's Baltimore Elegance book today. And yes, I could have got up this morning, at the crack of dawn, finished the cleaning and run over to Michaels for the FoamCor, but the path of least resistance was to sleep until 10, give the hubs a note with the sizes I needed cut, and ask if he could pick them up for me tomorrow from his office and it will wait until next weekend..

What little time I did have in the studio today was spent packing up some handwork that will occupy me on the 5-1/2 hour drive (each way) to Athens, OH tomorrow (my oldest sister, who has been ill for quite some time, died this past Thursday).

I hope to settle back into the studio once I get back from Ohio, so stay tuned for show and tell. (And fingers crossed the hubs and the dogs manage to keep the house clean while I'm away).

Enjoy your week. Stay cool!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Accuquilt GOI! Bust My Stash Photo Challenge

Have you stared at your fabric stash and wished that you had the time and energy to cut up your fabric for future projects? AccuQuilt has the answer! Click on the following link to participate: or go to AccuQuilt’s Facebook page and click “Like”. Then go to the ‘Bust My Stash’ tab under their profile picture and upload a picture of your fabric stash. Submit your photo by Friday, July 22nd and you’ll be eligible to win a GO! Mix & Match 12” Starter Set. The photo with the most votes by July 31st wins! Photos will be voted on by viewers and fans of the AccuQuilt Facebook page using the following criteria: relevance, creativity, and originality. Share with your friends during the voting period to increase your odds of winning!

Good Luck!