Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vacation is over!

Well - back at work - in the snow - seems very anticlimactic after 8 days in Seattle!

The trip was great - we went to lots of cool places, Downtown Seattle of course with Pike's Market, Undercover Quilts, Ivar's seafood, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and the underground tour. Another day we went to the Expereince Music Project and the Sci-Fi Museum - many thanks Paul Allen!! - and really enjoyed those venues, took the monorail into town and ate some great Thai food.

We also visited Snoqualmie Falls, and Roslyn the town made famous in "Northern Exposure" the TV series. It's a very old coal town, all the buildings look like a western town, very cool - they also had a new quilt shop in town "Crazy Quilts' with wonderful,inspirational quilts and many fabric collections including batiks! I did not pocket any coal from the display to put in someone's stocking this year!

Another day we drove (and drove and drove) over to the Olympic Peninsula, taking the van on a ferry from Edmunds WA to Kingston WA to go to the town of Forks, which was the town Bella and Edward live in from the book/movie Twilight. Twilight (the movie) just opened two or three weeks ago so the town is ready for the marketing of twilight merchandise - and it was interesting! We went into the little corner drug store and I discovered they have a wonderful fabric department featuring many quilting lines, moda, etc.. at good prices! I was able to get a piece from the Jim Shore Noah's Ark collection that the Roslyn store was sold out of - and I found an incredible piece for my brother's quilt that I can't tell about yet! (just in case he visits this site!)

I was able to use my new/old sewing machine the last day I was there to sew privacy panels for my brother's french doors to the den, but that was about it! We were on the go or hanging out the rest of the time.

I did go Black Friday shopping about 1 am at the local outlet mall with my SIL Sharon and scooped some good deals for me - no christmas gifts! Oh Well!

We had turkey at my SIL's home on Mercer Island and really enjoyed having everyone together - not to mention all the good food and desserts!

The weather was about 20 degrees warmer than at home so it was a nice change, and of course landing in snow after midnight was not fun - so we are ready to go back at any time!

That's all for today - but I am on Facebook last now - if you'd like to be my friend there please send an invite to Toby Bobbitt! Ciao!!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No picture today

Just an update as I get ready to leave on vacation. At long last our trip to Seattle starts in just 38 more hours. I am very excited to go out and spend some time with my brother and behave like a tourist in Seattle and the area. Not to mention we had snowflakes this morning as I came in to work and it's about 20 degrees warmer in Seattle this week!

I have been working on several sewing projects but not making a lot of headway. I am taking out a homespun quilt for my brother's new house and will have to get pictures of it somewhere along the way, right now it's in a suitcase! I purchased a vintage sewing machine in an oak desk (yeah Craigslist!!) and had it delivered to my brother's house so I am taking out a huge suitcase full of home dec fabrics to do some window treatments and other stuff while I am out there! I sure do hope he likes what I'm bringing!

My quilt for the Ronald McDonald House Crayola challenge is sandwiched and just waiting quilting when I get back from Seattle. I love this quilt and can't wait to share it with you! The colors are so unique and not what one would choose but that was the challenge!!

This past weekend I had the absolute joyous experience of dinner with a childhood friend who was in town for a conference. We had not seen each other in 30+ years, so a lot of catching up - but it seemed like the years just melted away. I am really looking forward to staying in touch and getting together in the future. I should have a high school reunion in 2 more years - maybe then we can make it happen again!

Well that's about all the news. Work is great -busy at year end - but I do thrive on that so I am happy and the family is all well so what more could I ask for? Stephen will be joining us in Seattle for Thanksgiving and Thomas will be flying to NC to participate in a regional cross country run, which he is hoping will get him noticed for some collegiate scholarships.

As soon as we return from Seattle the Christmas season will be upon us with decorating and gifting and entertaining in addition to the work we do through Lions Club and American Legion. Someday our lives will calm down, we hope.

Hope you have a wonderful warm safe holiday and I'll be back!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

2008 Scrap Challenge

The Scraps to Treasures challenge is over for 2008 so I can finally post my quilt. This is an annual challenge that quilters sign up to participate in on the HGTV bulletin board. As many quilters as sign up is how many quilts get donated back to community organization or individuals. This year it was 54 - so quite an impact. Every quilter must send in 2 6" squares of fabric for every participant. Then depending on your previous year's performance you can also be allotted additional fabrics to add in. Each quilter makes their quilt, sends in pictures, then waits!

My quilt this year was donated once again to be raffled to benefit the activities of the American Legion. I called it "Loose Change" . The shape of the blocks are called 'coins' and loose change is what the legion membres collect at various times of the year for fundraising, through Poppy Days if you are in the Auxiliary or GTTYWG (Gifts to the Yanks that Gave) if you are a legion member.

So here's my quilt - it measured about 75 " square - so it was large enough for a double bed. It is backed in a tiny all over flag print. Sorry for the fuzzy pic - it was taken with the phone!

Enjoy! Now home to start the Crayola quilt for Ronald McDonald House Charities!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another oldie that I loved

I write this title and am not sure if I am referring to the quilt picture or the person I gave it to many years ago.

I found the cat fabric made by Red Rooster and outer border by Moda in a small shop in Phoenix AZ when I was out there working one summer. The antique stuffed cats reminded me of the mother of a friend of mine when I was a child. Pauline had a wonderful house filled with antiques and collectibles and one of the things she collected was stuffed tabby cats made from fabric panels. I don't know when the panels were originally printed, but they were reprinted in... I believe the 60's. Anyway, Pauline would find the cats at sales, then people would bring her cats they found at sales and she ended up with many many stuffed tabby cats. About 7 years ago I went back to my hometown in Western New York, reunited with Laurie my childhood friend and when we went to visit Pauline she had all the cats lined up on the stairs to the second floor of her house (now unused). They were looking like they had all been coming downstairs and stopped for a short sit and then you walked in!

So when I saw this fabric I had to buy it and make Pauline a quilt. I bought all there was of the cat panel and it was just enough to make this quilt. But once I got it made, I loved the quilt so much I searched for months on ebay until I found more of the cat fabric. The seller had a large quantity and was selling it whole piece. So I now have 9 yards of the cat fabric in my stash!

I mailed the quilt to Pauline that Christmas and do I have to tell you she loved it? I visited the following summer with my son Stephen, we road tripped the day after school ended from Illinois back to Western New York and of course visited with Pauline and saw the quilt spread over the couch in her home. We were there to shop the 100 mile yard sale and Pauline and Laurie and Stephen and I really did most of the miles! Well, don't you know Pauline gave me a couple of her stuffed cats to bring home. I was so touched. Seeing them justtakes me right back to being a kid.

Pauline passed away early this year. I regret I didn't get back again to see her. But she was a wonderful woman and mother, who never failed to make me feel as special and cared for as her own kids. Some day I'm going to have to make that other quilt for myself and put it on the bed with Pauline's cats and enjoy the many happy memories of my youth and Pauline.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Quick Update

Well - it's almost fall in Illinois, in fact with cold weather this week after Gustav's rains blew through here it really feels like football weather! From running the AC one day to wanting a fire in the fireplace the next night - it's quite a change!
I finished my Scraps to Treasures challenge quilt on schedule but can't post a picture yet, because the challenge is not closed. That will be in two more weeks I think. I've been busy unpacking fabric from the garage into my new sewing space and getting rid of lots of old stuff. A major remodel is a great opportunity to identify how much you really can live without!!
I also finished my flutterbye block swap on the HGTV boards and someday will get those blocks put together into a quilt top!

The attached picture is my first HGTV swap quilt from when I joined the boards about 5 years ago. It is an Autumn Log Cabin (queen size) and I love it - I keep it on my bed in the fall. Right now it is in the family room and after many washings it is so soft and snugly. The blocks are signed by the women who participated from all over the country so it's a nice trip down memory lane when I look at it.

I also finished a table topper for my brother this week done in beautiful batiks that I bought in Boston last month and I have signed up for a new challenge using the Surf and Sand collection from Marcus Brothers. It is lovely blues, taupes and cream in retro designs and paisley. I used it for a throw for my SIL this past winter (which I mailed away without taking a pic!) and I loved it , so I am happy to be in this new challenge. I am supposed to have 8 blocks done by mid October! EEPS!!!!

After that it will be the RMHC Crayola quilt which is due in December, I have my pattern ready, I planned it in EQ5 (my quilt design software) in fact I designed two - one for the charity and one larger for me to keep!

Thanksgiving we are heading out to Seattle for a visit with my brother and his family. It is sure to be a good time and I will get to make a mess in his kitchen instead of in mine!! I am shipping out a spare sewing machine and fabric in advance so I don't have to carry it on the flight and hope to put some things together for his home while I am there! I'll leave the machine for future trips.

Stephen will be 21 soon, so I hoping to finish his Celtic quilt that has been waiting over 2 years to be quilted.....part of a long line up, but his is getting moved to the front of the line. Hard to believe 21 years have just flown by, but I am very proud of him and the man he has become.

Well - That's it for today! More soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Long time no chatter!

Came across some older quilt pictures, so I am going to post them over the next little while, until I get new pictures taken I guess!

I have not taken pictures of all the quilts I have made over the years. Many I finish just in the nick of time to pack them up and ship them off or give them away. I don't feel as strong a need to memorialize my efforts as much as I really just want the recipients to enjoy them. Here is one I made for QWL, Quilts with Love. I have been associated with this group for 4 or 5 years. A military mom friend in MO started it with a quilt request for her son on his way to the middle east. It has turned into a huge undertaking with volunteer quilters all over the country participating and has resulted in over 1,000 quilts being sent directly to soldiers.

This one I made from our Legion Post 1084 in Roselle, IL. The white squares have personal sayings and prayers from the Legion members. I really liked this one!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Window shade is up in Family Room

The window shade finally went up night before last - had issues with getting the rod in the right place - but it's done and works well to block all the light. I used some great fabric I found at Calico Corners in Brookfield, WI when I was there in March. Had intended to use it for pillows on the couch, but was able to purchase more by phone last week, and one of my team was going there last week and picked it up for me! So that worked out and tomorrow I should have the new in my hands and am ready to make the pillows for the couches. I picked up the pillow forms a week ago so progress is being made - not perfection! Not yet anyway.

I am struggling with the pattern to use for the charity quilt that will be raffled off on Aug 1 weekend. I have over 100 6" blocks of all different fabrics. I can add 2 fat quarters more, plus one yard more. And from that I must cut each square at least once and use at least 2" from every square. Sound easy? Not when you are trying to make as large a quilt as possible so that you can get a lot of sales on it at the raffle! It will obviously be very scrappy which is my favorite style. I may play with some fabrics tonight and just do it!! That's how I approached it last year.

This past weekend Mark was sworn in as Director of our Lions Club again. This is a one year term, then we'll see what's next. I get sworn in next month I think as President of our American Legion Auxiliary. Exciting times for a Canadian! LOL!

Have shopped some more for my brother's new home and looking forward to my next visit to Seattle.

More later - will post a pic maybe of the valance material - very funky!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lots of work, very little sewing!

Have been working hard and skipping lunch breaks, eating at my desk all week, so very tired at night. Not much new on the sewing front. The boys are clamoring for the window shade to be done in the family room so they can better view the TV, so I worked on cutting that last night, but sewing machine is in new studio and french doors are not yet up and the TV was blaring and I just couldn't sit in all that noise and didn't have the 'oomph' to haul the machine back upstairs, so maybe tonight. I already have the rod so it should be a quick job.

I have been receiving the 'flutterbye' blocks from the exchange I am doign via the HGTV quilters BBS and really love them!

We went to dinner last night with Sara (h?) , my son Stephen's new girlfriend. She's very nice - very cute freckles. Didn't open up much but I am sure her first time around the family was a little uncomfortable. I do remember that feeling, it takes some time to get over. I look forward to getting to know her better as their relationship progresses.

We had a tree man at the house yesterday and he will be back today, trimming our maples of old growth, doing some de-stumping and cutting all the wood from our 3 tree removal project last year into firewood sized pieces. They got about 30% of that task done yesterday and hopefully will be all done today. Then I get to go buy new trees or shrubs and replant the area in the patio that I cut down a few years ago! oops!!

Last week I went fabric shopping at Walter E Smithe. They are a high end custom furniture store in Chicago area and I am fortunate to have their outlet store right down the street from me!! I have got some great deals through the years, and love the shop! When they custom upholster a piece they often have leftover fabric and so send the leftovers to the outlet and sell it for $5 a yard! This is usually $45 and up a yard fabric - so it's incredible! So last week I was looking for fabric to recover my brother's dining room furniture after he moves. His home style is mission and his table and chairs are black, so I really needed the right fabric to bring a 'mission' flavor to them. Well, I bought a piece in a deep rust shade with a cross hatching of same color velvet which is gorgeous and works with the black and brings in the graphic lines of mission styling, but then I got home and looked at a piece I picked up a few months ago for my own family room and decided that might be better for him. I have struggled with the decision all week since I might cut the one for my family room window shade and have finally decided to fly both out with us at Thanksgiving and let Fred decide for himself. I have a spare sewing machine that I was going to pass on to my mom anyway, so I will just take that with me and leave it at his house for the future. Oh - I also found a 10 yard bolt of a beautiful chocolate brown, taupe, seafoam, teal, cream striped chenille that I just couldn't leave. I'll use it someday.....somewhere!

Got to run - more later!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Whew!! Finally back!

Been a while since I posted - I was out of commission for a few weeks with a nasty respiratory infection and then was away for 5 days in Seattle to attend my nephew's HS graduation. So much has happened I think I'll have to abridge it.

The carpet is all done in the basement, now we just need to hang 4 doors and finish moving in the furniture and 'stuff' from the garage.

I am not yet sewing in my new quilt studio, but hope to do that within the next few weeks. I am moving things down, just no time for sewing right now.

The trip to Seattle was wonderful, spending time with my family always is. I almost cried during the graduation it was a wonderful ceremony delivered primarily by the students. So much talent it was awesome. I also made it to Pike's Place Market and spent a little time in Undercover Quilts a bountiful quilt shop in the market. Came home with some lovely Aussie fabrics and a really rich batik (lots of that) !! I was able to see the home my brother is closing on next week, it's very nice I think it will be perfect for him and since it's new construction all the work is outside which Fred really enjoys. It will be a challenge but I am sure it will be great! My flight was cancelled on the way home due to tornadoes in the midwest, so I actually spent an extra evening with the family and I really enjoyed that.

I'm attaching my first picture here of a wallhanging I am mailing to NC today to be raffled off on July 1 as a fundraiser for McDonald House Charities. It was a charity challenge on the quilting message board so there are actually 22 small quilts being raffled. Reportedly the winning tickets will be pulled by 'hunky' local firemen! The challenge was called Life is a Bowl of Diamonds and the challenge required that we each pick an item for our 'bowl' , we could use only black, white and colored fabric related to our item, and we had to use diamonds somewhere in the quilt. My diamonds are appliqued for the flower petals. The water and black background are both batiks from bali and it is created in the sashiko style of quilting with white thread hand stitching against the black to create movement. The border is swirled print from Kona Bay that mimics the sashiko. and the flowers centers are tiny beads in varying shades of blues.

Well - That's it for today! More soon - as it happens! Thanks for the visit!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Day Older - but a lot more accomplished!

Took off work on Tuesday for my birthday, Stephen was also off work, and DH, Mark took the day off to spend it with us. The carpet finally came in on Monday so I picked it up Monday evening along with the finish nail gun and more oak trim. We all got up early and were back at work just after 8 am Tuesday morning. Staining, carpet laying, installing trim - we were in great shape when the couches arrived at noon. A little more finish work and we were off to run errands and go pick up our new TV. We decided on a Sharp 52" LCD. Got it in the house just before the rain started and into place within minutes. It is a wonderful addition to the family room and I have already enjoyed it almost ever night since. We went out to dinner at a local char-house where I indulged in a big filet mignon dinner. I don't eat red meat very often, so it was a change.

Now I am struggling with the need to find storage for the quilt room and get moved in while up against several deadlines for charity quilts to be delivered. I shopped last night on the way home and will do the same again tonight and hopefully make some decisions and purchases.

It's hard to get going with everything scattered.

Stephen is at the ACEN convention this weekend, he hauled out about 5:30 this morning to start getting ready and we had a gaggle of young people in the driveway when I headed out for the office at 6:30. Stephen took my van so they could all car-pool together and keep down the cost of parking. So I have his car for the first time. It's rather nice driving a sedan, though it does feel smaller in the cabin space than my usual passenger van.

Tomorrow is the MD-1 Lions State convention in Itasca. so another busy weekend, and then next weekend more busy-ness with the in-laws arriving back from Florida and wanting to get together for May Birthdays and Mark's birthday on Friday - still no shopping done for that! OOPS!!! Something else for the list!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

No carpet yet!

Worked our tails off all weekend - including an extended trip to the local HD to pick up the carpet tiles that were supposed to be in on Friday - only to be told they were not in. Called again this morning and the Customer Service rep this time tells me they couldn't have come in on Friday - Holland doesn't deliver on Friday (the trucking firm). So someone is jerking me around again, and as frustrating as it is, we have a backup plan and will not delay the remaining work.

We finished installing the wall to wall carpeting in my quilt studio - it's the loveliest shade of blue - sort of a Wedgewood blue - and will match one of the stripes in my victorian loveseat which I plan to put in the room. Right now the room is empty, so when the furniture comes tomorrow for the family room, since we have no carpet there, we can put it in my quilt studio. It will be an easy move through the double french doors after we do get the carpet installed.

No progress on furniture. Spent lots of time staining and polycoating the last of the trim and french doors so we will install those tomorrow. I did get some rest time on Mother's day, we ran errands and I picked up a couple of inspirational quilt magazine's at the book shop, then into the mall where I snagged a few great deals in the ladies department and got a new battery in my watch at the jewelers. I cooked dinner, which we ate in front of the TV and that was about it!

I was hoping to do some planting and yard work this weekend, but it rained quite a bit most of Sunday and the family room has to be our priority at this time. Maybe next week or the week after I will be able to come up with some time to do that! Of course we are booked for the next 3 weekends with Lions and Legion activities, but I will find the time somewhere.

Off to work now!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's almost here!

Got a call this morning that our carpet tiles will be in town tomorrow!! This means we have a lot of work to do this weekend. The last 5% of details like caulking moulding that makes a huge difference. I have already scheduled Tuesday off from work so the furniture will be delivered then also and we'll be most of the way through having a finished family room again - oh and my quilt studio! I am still trying to figure out how to get an antique china cabinet down there for my fabric storage! To aid the cause I went and bought more fabric the other night. We'll have new quilts for our new couches.

This has been an excruciatingly long work week, little sleep most nights. Don't know why but allergies are raging and can't wait for this spring pollen season to cease! I do need to get out in the garden and plant my annuals and do some weeding, but the family room comes first. Gotta run - more later!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Link Added

Added a link to The Bright Spot Lighting. This was the source for my Frank Lloyd Wright Dana House reproduction lamp. I just love it and it will be perfect in our family room! Item DT101016 in case you want to check it out.

Here's a trivia snip from my mom -

Olivia DeHavilland (of Gone with the Wind fame) was the niece of Frank Lloyd Wright.

2 steps forward, 1 giant step back!

Spent most of the weekend working on the basement remodel, though I also squeezed in a haircut, pedicure and a little shopping. I finished painting and staining the trim and baseboards and we installed most of the trim on Sunday. We also installed the drop ceiling in the quilt studio, and picked up the wall to wall carpet for the quilt studio. I still have to stain and poly the door jambs and double french doors for the entrance to the quilt studio from the family room. That will be sometime this week.

Woke up Monday morning at 4:30 - unable to sleep any more - so at 5:15 got up and went down and in the next hour finished about 60 more feet of oak baseboard and was able to return the rented finish nail gun at 7 am on my way to work. I was planning to put in the wall to wall last night and the carpet tiles in main room this week so we could get furniture next week (maybe for my birthday?) but we got a call last night that the store we ordered our carpet from had received notice from the vendor that the matching broadloom (for stair runner) was discontinued and they had cancelled the whole order. I am simply livid after waiting for than 3 weeks to get that message, then being told we would have to re-place the order for the tiles and wait two weeks again. So I just called and reamed one of their managers and am expecting them to expedite the order. If I had a choice to get it somewhere else I would, but this is a custom style and color available only through this big-box retailer. We'll see what happens - but it looks like I will not be getting new furniture delivered on my birthday.

Work is good, family is good. My brother has just put an offer on a house out in the Seattle area, I am hoping he gets what he wants and that I will be able to see it when I head out there next month.

Today is my Nephew's birthday -

Happy 19th Freddie!!! Enjoy your last 'teenage' year!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

First Blog - How Exciting!!

SO... just opened this blogspot, motivated by jealousy and intrigue after viewing a friend's blog and am hoping it will become a vehicle for sharing my passions and information with anyone who cares.

I am, much to my husband's dismay at times, a highly productive person. I always have at least 10 projects waiting in the wings. This leads to very animated discussions with him and sleepless nights for me as I lay awake planning and making lists in my mind. I think I'm normal... however not many seem to agree with me. I asked my husband a few weeks ago, what do people without hobbies do with all their time? I answered my own question by looking around and realizing they probably do laundry or clean their houses. How boring!! I would go bonkers! It's not that I live in a pigsty, but it's certainly not at the top of my priorities.

So, as a start let me tell you about my quilting. I have been quilting off and on for a long, long time. More off than on in the early years but pretty much constantly for the last 8 years. I love art quilts, but really prefer that people sleep under my quilts. I make them to be used, not hung on a wall and generally don't make anything smaller than a queen size. I do this on a Kenmore sewing machine I received as a gift 31 years ago. I have always been a fabric lover, and have been known to spend all day in a fabric store! When I was younger I made clothes, now I don't even repair my own clothes other than hems. I have been quilting in my dining room for the last 8 years, and my DH is tired of fabric all over the house, so for the last year we have been working on a major basement remodel which includes a 12 x 12 quilting studio for me. At least we are hoping there is enough room in there for all the fabric and my sewing machine. I do have a New Generation quilt frame and Pfaff quilting machine waiting to be set up, but it will not fit in my room so the garage will be an extension of my work space.

I have two sons, Stephen who is 20 has just taken 2 years off from school but is returning to college in a few weeks. Stephen lives at home and works full time at Half Price Books. He has always been an avid reader so the job is perfect for him. He has incredible artistic talent which he also applies to one of his other passions which is anime. He develops and draws original characters and storyboards and he looks forward to attending the Acen convention each year in Rosemont (a Chicago suburb) which is fortunately close to home.

Thomas is 17 and will be graduating from high school next year. He lives in Texas most of the year, with his mother and family. Thomas is an accomplished athlete and his current passion is running. He participates in both cross country and track. Last year at 16 Thomas competed for the second time in Chicago's Race to the Taste. Out of 1878 finishers he came in 12th and came in first in his age category. We are very proud of both of our sons.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. I don't think the honeymoon is over yet, which I guess means we chose well (this time!) (Hope he agrees!) He brings light and laughter to my life and I often think of him as the calm in my storm. We actually have been married 3 times. The first was in January when I knew none of my family would want to come to Chicago in a snow storm for a wedding, so we were married by a judge in the judge's home. The judge was actually the father of one of my husband's co-workers, so it was a very personal and wonderful event for us. I cried all the way through and my husband was afraid I was unhappy ! It's funny in retrospect, but not at the time. We had a church wedding the following summer with attendants and the gown and everything and then we had a honeymoon in Cancun. It was a huge spurge, but so wonderful! I think it was 2 years later on Valentines Day Sunday, that our church offered a ceremony of renewal of vows for any couples interested, and so we did it again in front of our friends and fellow parishioners.

Whew - I am tired - this is almost like therapy - or at least what I think therapy would be like - so I am signing off now - more later and pictures to follow.