Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All !!

It's Christmas Eve and I am tucked warmly into my sister in law's home ... my eldest niece has just left for church services with her boyfriend and his family, my DH and his mom have just left to go pick up the younger niece from a friend's house. Adding the teens back in to the house this evening will bring more holiday excitement aka noise into the house - which is so wonderful! Christmas is more funs with kids and of course my house is usually just boys so this year with my niece's will be special!

We have shopped and shopped and not because it is the season for spending but because we have searched out what we hope will make our loved ones most happy. I can't wait to see people's faces tomorrow morning. Tonight we will have an incredible dinner prepared by my SIL and then open just one gift before bed. Tomorrow will be presents and more food and family and fun.

#1 niece and I did a run to Hobby Lobby and picked up fabric and tools for her sewing machine that I sent down last year when they moved. The old Kenmore is probably from the 60's - but solid metal - no computers on board and is one of those machines that will never die! So later we will have the walk through of care and maintenance and sewing lessons. We picked out some really cool fabric and I think she wants to make a tote for me, but I got more of it and am going to make a quilt for her. She will be surprised.

#2 niece is interested 'maybe' in crocheting, so I have picked up a learning kit with hooks and some great purple yarn for her to try and see if she likes it. If not that's okay, she likes crafting so sooner or later something will 'stick'.

It's been a great trip -although I dread the long drive home. I drove right by MaryJo's fabrics in Gastonia and will probably go right by it on the way out also - only because I know in April I will be back with a gaggle of girls from the retreat and we will be going to MaryJo's at that time.

Well - signing of now - going to call my baby who is home alone this holiday - well he's with Merlin but mostly alone - and make sure he got his pizzas from Lou Malnati's and is safely home for the night. This is the first Christmas apart for us and although my brain tells me it's a natural part of letting them grow up and be independent.... my heart still misses him.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, give thanks and love - Toby

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another quilt done and gone...

This is the twin sized quilt I made and sent to a friend in NC that was celebrating her big 5-0 birthday with a quilt donation. She challenged her BB friends to donate a quilt hoping to get 50 (the same as her age to be) which would then be donated to an orphanage in North Carolina.

This is actually made from a charm pack (5" squares - one from each print of a collection) and a lovely background fabric in a soft white with blue swirls. Much better in person than as seen here. Anyway - I bought the charm pack and the background on our trip to Texas almost 2 years ago. The pattern was something I just made up as I went along and resulted in staggered framed boxes of the focal fabrics set vertically with sashing. More of the strips are in the border surrounding the center. I really enjoyed making it and hope some young person will love it also!

I have been home just a week from a busines strip to Calgary AB where I did some Christmas shopping, and some crafting on some small needlework I brought from home. It was very cold and the ground was snowladen, so we stayed in a lot! This trip we decided to stay in a downtown B&B (at a fraction of the cost of a hotel) and it was really nice. We met several people at breakfast and then saw them each day of the stay and it was like visting with friends for that hour every morning! I think we'll look at doing this again when it makes sense.

I am just one week from going on vacation for the year end and cannot wait. It's been a very busy fall and there's still so much to get done... I am looking forward to the long quiet drive...okay maybe not so quiet I am going to have Mark make us a USB stick of sing a long christmas carols... and I am excited to see the girls (my nieces) and shop with them and cook with them and just enjoy being with the family. I will miss my own family but maybe next year we can be with them somewhere.

That's it for today - I'll try to get back soon with more quilt pictures!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The wall to be

Well - darn if Blogger doesn't want to upload another picture - let me try another post!!!

This is the wall I started building this past weekend - you can see from halfway back the driveway (yes my front yard is about 100 feet deep (and the back is twice as long!!)

You can see here how it curves from the driveway in then out around the giant old blue spruce then in then out to go around a new to be planted Norway Spruce and then it will sweep back up to the house. I still need to get the back border of the wall in, and the top layer of brick on the right - and then I am also replacing the gray block that is in the raised bed on the other side of the sidewalk. This new block matches our paver sidewalk and will bring more color to the front of the house. It will be planted with evergreens, and red barberry rockets and crimson barberry shrubs (to be moved in the spring) and hostas and purple and red and yellow perennials. Also little butterfly corner....

This weekend Stephen and Tony amended my garden area to plant my 2 blue berries and two blackberries - hoping for some fruit next summer. That's in the back yard!! Our neighbor had to have his big shady honey locust taken down last week -so now I will get more sun in my back yard. Love the sun but I will miss his beautiful tree.

Finally getting my groove back.....

It's been a while since I blogged - but life has just been whizzing right on bye!! Let's back up - trip to DC in August for work - then home for two weeks and back on the road for some R&R in Seattle with Fred and Family - made some new friends, met lots of new people at a great party in the city and celebrated labor day (or the lack thereof) with some new and old friends. Then up to Vancouver for two days of work, then home again and back to work! whew - I need vacation from my vacation! Stephen stayed home and cared for Merlin all was well. He is busy with school and just enjoying it so much more this year!

I signed up for the COF quilt retreat next April in Charlotte NC so I am already working on a round robin challenge (which I cannot share with you until it's over!) and I had a queen quilt - Daisies for Kristen - which I just popped in the mail today to Kristen in TN. Kristen is Mormon and has been on her mission rip the past two years - she comes home this week and her mom is my BFF from UT Brenda. SO when Brenda started re-doing Kristen's room for her arrival I was solicited and quickly jumped on board to make Kristen's new room daisy-licious! Shown above - the colors are much brighter than it shows - weird light early in the morning!

I have been really fighting the asthma this year - all year and realized two weeks ago that I needed more help. So back to my favorite pulmonologist I went and after a week on Prednisone and two other steroids I can breathe again - and I can be active again - and I felt like superwoman last weekend - so of course I got in over my head and ordered two skids of landscape block to be delivered so I could re-scape the front of the house! Well - now the block is here and my dosage is lower and not quite as SuperMom but I went at it for 6 hours on Saturday - digging, trenching, graveling, leveling and laid in a whole skid and boy am I sore!! I am not even half way done but all of the bottom layer is in and so fdar I am very happy with what I think it will look like. Making a lot of work for myself for the spring - but what the heck it was time for a big change and Mark still won't let me demolish the front porch....hmmmmmmm

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting back into it!

So - when last I wrote I was trying to get back to sewing... well I still have trouble tearing myself away from the big screen TV each night - having shows on the DVR makes it so easy to watch back to back episodes of may favorites and before I know it the night is gone!

Anyway - I have started on my nine patches - and the first batch of 17 sewn late one night had some serious measurement problems and ripping out nine-patches is a horrible waste of time for 1/8 inch overall shortage - so I have just cut new strips and am paying more attention to those seam allowances and making sure they are truly 'scant'. I got a set of 17 more cut last night and pressed and if I do a little every night I will make the deadline - no problem. I may slow down a bit when I get to the ones cut from FQs but once I do the math and have a cutting plan I think it'll be okay. The shorties - I can use in some other project of my own or maybe in a pieced backing.

Did I tell you I signed up to go to a quilt retreat? Well I did!!!! I am so excited. Next year, spring, Charlotte NC, 100 quilters that I have been sharing with on the HGTV BBS for more years than I can recall. I am also in a Round Robin with a group of them which is kind of a cool thing - here's how that works.

We are each in a group of 5-6 quilters that signed up, we each make a center block of our choice, pieced, applique, crazy, whatever. We send to the next person and they add a border on all sides that must be pieced, appliqued, or whatever and they send it on. We have a long time between mailings which is an advantage for me. At the end - when we finish the last round we send it to one person who is going to take them all to the retreat and there will be a show and tell and delivery at the retreat. So we live in anticipation of what the finished piece will be. The center block can be no more than 9.5 inches and each border no more than 5.5 inches - so it will finish wall hanging size but one could always add extra borders and make it a throw or larger. I think it will be great fun. Once I get my center block done. I am torn on what to do - I started a Cross Sticth that I was going to put borders on - but now I am afraid I may not finish it on time. Forgot that I had not done cross sticth in 20 years and this one has like 5 shades of gold in it! I do have a back-up block in case I don't get it done!

We also have small groups for the retreat overall and mine is a combo of old and new friends so I am really looking forward to growing relationships over the next 9 months and then meeting in Charlotte.

This past week Mark and I got our reservations made for Labor day also! We will be in Seattle from Friday night until Wed and then up to Vancouver for me to work for 2 days and Mark to sightsee. Should be fun - can't wait to see the family. Stephen is starting school again on Monday, so he will be home with Merlin, enjoying the single life again! We always come home from being away and they are like best buds, which is nice to see. The rest of the time Mark and I dote on the dog so much I think he neglects Stephen. Are we giving that dumb dog too much credit? He is awfully dumb - though we love him to pieces!!

Here's my baby - when he was a he's 6 and has gray coming in around the muzzle...
He went to the vet last week for his annual visist and he is down 3 pounds. Not a lot to you and me, but it's 10% of his body weight, so we need to get a couple back on him. He should be around 34 pounds. Small enough to snuggle and big enough to be a 'real dog'. I think the weight loss is from restricting his human food.... we also put him back on Omega-3's for a shiny coat and allergy protection.

That's all for now - Toby

Friday, July 30, 2010

Where has my quilting gone?

I have been asking myself that same question for a while now. Other than alterations to Caroline's dress I haven't been near the machine in too long. I did sew some binding down last week - on a runner I made over 7 months ago!! so - something is wrong!!

I decided one sure fire way to kick start myslef againwas to goget some more fabric - so I signed up for a 9 patch exchange on line and it is in Civil War Reproduction fabrics (which I do NOT own) so off I went last night. Fortunately we have a quilt shop near me that I know specializes in these fabrics so I went down after work and spent a good two hours stroking and matching fabrics. I walked out a whole lot lighter in the wallet but I love the fabrics I chose and I got most of it on sale. I also hit the FQ sale and so I got some variety for the future also. Now I am excited to get my 9 patches done and mailed in - though the swap doesn't complete until Sept. I will use this as a way to get back into my room!

I actually had started clearing the room to prepare it for Stephen but we have decided to see how he does his first semester back at school and if he gets good grades he will move down then - so I get to keep my room for 4 more months. I don't mind giving it to him, I hope it is part of his motivation to do well. I'll have lots of time to sew in it after he graduates and gets a job and leaves for his new life in 3 more years! (fingers crossed!)

So it is in a bit of upheaval right now and I hope to spend some time down there this weekend fixing it back up so I can use it!

Fallen off ?

Well - I fell off the blog for a bit - so the last day of vacation - nothing really spectacular -

We headed out early from Mineral Point, going north til we could catch the road east that would take us to "Little Norway' . Mark and I are big fans of the old Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 so this was a must see. Little Norway is a property just SW of Madison (still part of the drift) anyway this area was setttled by Norwegian immigrants. For the exposition (previosuly mentioned) Norway had a rendition of a traditional StaveKirche (church) built in Norway then dis-assembled and shipped to chicago and re-assembled. This was the Norway display at the exposition. After the exposition the Stavekirche was sold at auction to a Norwegian man who had it moved to a vacation property near Geneva WI. This property was later sold to WIlliam Wrigley (gum anyone?) There it stayed until the mid 1930's when Bill decided to sell it to a Norwegian friend of his who once again had it dismantled and moved to the farm (it's present location). The farm had originally been settled by a young couple who lived in a dug-out (literally a small room dug into the wall of a hill) for several years. When their second daughter was born they built a small cabin outside the dugout and had yet another daughter (or was it 2?) anyway - today there are little buildings dating back to the turn of the previous century ringing a lovely green space. So the Stavekirche moved there and the buildings were restored and inhabited by family and used as a summer getaway place for over 70 years. Today the property is still in family hands and is open to the public. It houses the largest collection of Norwegian artifacts held by an individual and is a wonderful example of how the Norwegians settled and lived. You can picnic at the park and there is a small gift shop. Tours are given by local girls in traditional garb and they are very informative - highly recommend.

Well it rained on us while we finished our tour of Little Norway, so by heading south we could drive out of the rain. Several rolling hillsides later we arrived in New Glarus. This town was settled by immigrants from Switzerland. We arrived in time for lunch and queued up at the traditional Swiss New Glarus Hotel for a yummy soup and sandwich combo. But first........ as we pulled into town we espied a resale shop on a major corner and there on the front step was a fine set of kissing dutch children lawn ornaments. Mark has always wanted a set, so after parking and despite my grumbling tummy we went there first and purchased the set. They have their original paint job which includes tulips in assorted colors and were just wonderful. They also weigh a ton being made out of cast concrete, so we had lunch then drove back around the block, and lovingly secured them in several blankets in the trunk. I'll have to post a picture. They are pretty darn cute.

Well that was the end of our sightseeing, we had a deadline to get home so we set off crossing into Illinois near Rockford and then caught the highway (and heavy traffic) back to Roselle. The kissers are in the front of the house under our big spruce tree. Far from the road so they won't go 'missing' and close enough that I can see them and smile every day. Mark wants to now plant and build a whole vignette around them - more on that later!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day two of the Long Weekend

SO... Sunday was our second day in SW WI and we spent a bit of it sleeping in and almost missed breakfast in the hotel lobby - but we made it in time for me to have a nice belgian waffle and Mark is on a new healthy kick so he had a bagel and a piece of fruit. It's really good to see that he is learning how to eat fruit and manage his diabetes, for the last 12 years that we've been together I rarely saw him eat fruit and he always blamed the 'natural' sugars. So this is good!!!

After breakfast we headed North about 15 miles, drove through the nice little town of Dodgeville and up to The House on the Rock. This is an attraction that you pay to walk through and see all the stuff a man collected in his life. It's kind of a weird story but this son of well to do parents in Madison used to go picnic on this big rock that was in the middle of a farmer's field. One day the farmer caught him out there and instead of throwing him out, took $10 and let him stay. Years go by, the farmer decides to sell, the man buys the farm, and begins building on top of the rock. People come out to picnic, or people see construction going on and they want to go see inside, so he charged them 50 cents. The more he made on admission he realized he could finance himself and his vision so the more he spent, built, bought - including the two neighboring farms so he had space to house his staff of engineers, caretakers etc. He was into animatronics and calliopes and he has whole rooms dedicated to animated music of different themes.

It took a few hours to go through and you just get to a certain point and realize it's kinda freaky weird. Why would a grown man collect dolls and then have a whole multi level carousel built with them on display? and he has mannequins with wooden wings flying overhead in the main carousel room? and rooms and rooms of doll houses? There are some interesting collections and interesting 'made' things but there's a little sign along the way that says the collection was valued at 4.8 million dollars (it's an old sign so mark that amount up for inflation!) and you have to wonder what kind of person does this? Think how many people could be fed, clothed, etc with that money. Oh well, we paid to see it, so what does that mean? LOL.... We mostly went because Mark had gone when he was a kid and it's fun to see how your perspective changes with age (and wisdom!) so we had to do it!!

We headed back to the hotel and hung out in the pool and hot tub (mostly) and met some local people who gave us the info on dining choices in the area. (no cuisine - just good old eatin') but also pointed us towards New Glarus - more on that location on my next post!!

So we ate, and wanted to see fireworks but didn't trust the weather. We drove back to Mineral Point, had some incredible ice cream (double dips in a sugar cone!!) at the Atomic Ice Cream store on the main drag and then headed back to hotel. Sure enough right when the fireworks should have started the heavens opened up and it rained like crazy!!! We decided missing fireworks was fine this year and we lounged until it was time to go to sleep again - rest needed for Day Three of the weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Long Weekend in WI

This is my friend Brenda's husband Dean. Dean was NOT in SW WI with us. But I did think about him and Brenda an awful lot as Mark and I headed off on Saturday for SW WI. I was thinking about Brenda and Dean first because they came up from Eastern TN to see us a few weeks ago. Really they came up for an Eagles Concert at Soldier Field so it was a quick trip but the bonus was they got some visiting in with us too! Anyway - Brenda is just a road trip crazy girl! We did lots of them when we were buddies in University together (UT Knoxville). She has done the concert in Chicago trip several times over the last 10 years (since we got the house) and it's always an adventure for her and her passengers and I always love seeing her. I thought it was only natural that as we started our road trip I be thinking about my road tripping friends!!
So we started out a little later than I had hoped in the afternoon but our only deadline was to be in Mineral Point WI by 8 pm as we had tickets for theatre.
We started across Illinois on I-90 to Rockford but then headed north up to Jaynesville, WI (home of Jaynesville Flyers - wooden wagons) and decided from there on we would take back roads. It helped the decision that we were warned at a friendly roadside stop about the zero tolerance of local law enforcement for speeders, especially speeders with out of state plates! So we caromed around and across rolling hill sides and saw some beautiful farms!
I also saw some quilt barns on the way! I was surprised because I knew they were popular in Ohio but I guess the word has spread across the midwest. I remember being young and driving south through PA and seeing the PA Dutch symbols on homes and barns but this was my first quilt barn experience. It was pretty cool and no - we didn't stop for pictures!!
Why SW WI? Good question. Not just the proximity to us but also this is a very different landscape than most of the midwest. Many years befor emy time (believe it or not) as the glaciers headed south the scraped the midwest flat. For some reson they drifted over the SW corner of what is now WI and the land was left with rolling hills and lots of abandoned rocks (think HUGE boulders) from the glacial movement. This area is referred to as the 'driftless' . Well, in those rocks there were minerals!! So when the minerals were discovered (early 1800's) settlers flocked from EU and the East coast. Many of the miners were from the Cornwall area of England, andthey constructed the town of Mineral Point in their traditional style using the local rock . By the mid-1830's the minerals were playing out and news of the CA gold Rush came and the miners left Mineral Point in droves. One day saw 60 families leave town all at once!
Time goes on like it always does, and eventually some preservationists saw the beauty and history of this area and decided to restore what could be saved. The town has evolved into an artistic center. So now there are historic homes you can tour, art galleries to browse where you can meet and see the artists in action and there is also a nice local theatre group. It is outdoor theater in the woods, with interesting original productions, very talented players and musicians. We saw a play called "You Have No Idea"and enjoyed it very much. If you are interested in more info on the theatre group visit
More tomorrow!!

The dangers of editors!

I composed a lovely entry on the blog last week and meant it to kick off a series of postings about all the wonderful places and things we did in SW Wisconsin (WI) over the holiday weekend. Then I went to find a picture to put on my entry and while I was in editor I noticed a spelling error and when I fixed it, I got an error message and when I hit my back button I lost the entire posting!!
I was so upset I just logged out and never started the series - but now I am back and ready to tell you about some interesting things to see in SW WI - just in case you're ever in the neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

GO, GO Giveaway!!!


I just found this link and am sure you will want to go visit it also - for the chance to win an Accuquilt GO!
I have been seeing dramatic progress being made by users of the GO cutters - and am hoping that having one will help keep me closer to all the inspiration I am constantly subjected to!
Anything that helps speed the cutting process equals more quilts to be made! It's a win and it's FUN!!!
Join the Accuquilt group on Facebook or go to for your chance to win!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

13 years to corrupt him!

Well it has finally happened my husband has brought home something from the neighbor's garbage! LOL..... I never thought I would see the day. I drive by on garbage day and my head spins to make sure there's nothing good out there, but Mark has always been against curb-sailing.

I remember back in 2000 we had just moved into the house and we drove down the street and a neighbor was discarding two lovely white wrought iron chairs for the yard. I oohed and awed and Mark refused to stop. We came back a couple of hours later and they had 'moved' to the side yard of another neighbor whose husband is an attorney and on the school board! To this day they are part of a nice little vignette in that yard - and they could have been mine!!!!

A few years later we were on our way somewhere one evening and I spied a vintage chrome/formica pedestal table at the curb. Lovely - oval, yellow top just like the ones I remember from my childhood. Mark was mortified when I whipped the van into a three point turn, jumped out, popped the back door and yelled at him to come help load it. It got moved to the garage and we never got a place to put it or use it so we ended up taking it to the street a couple of years later and turned around a few minutes later to see our neighbor snagging it for his farm down in Southern Illinois!

Maybe we should just have a neighborhood swap meet?

So this morning in lieu of a swim Mark got up early and decided to take Merlin for a walk and on the way back spotted two white adirondack chairs and a small side table at the curb around the corner. He stacked them up, carried them home and set them up in his 'cigar corner' of the yard. He seemed quite proud when he told me - so we'll see how this goes. The timing was right because we had been wanting to buy a couple of new ones for the back yard and looked at them this weekend but now that we don't have the van we can't make impulse or large sized buys like that anymore. We then talked about maybe getting an old truck for when we do need to haul large stuff - hmmmm if we get a truck will Mark go curb-crawling with me?

What do you think???

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Only Tuesday??!

For some reason I keep thinking today is Wednesday, but it's only Tuesday!

Yesterday the dept at work was supposed to do an outing to the Summerfest in Milwaukee (think lots of music at lots of venues and lots of crowds!) but we had a number of people out ill and we all got too busy with work in the morning and so we ended upjust leaving work aboiut an hour early and going to a local restaurant with outisde seating and relaxing for a while before heading home.
I am thinking Mark and I might go up this weekend and overnight in Milwaukee to see some bands perform - tough choices - lots of good bands.

So Mark did not get up and swim today though it would not have disturbed me anyway as I had been up a few times with various interruptions - the dog barking at nothing, sinuses, headache... I finally ended up sleeping in 4 different spots over the course of the night before it was time to roll out and get ready for work!

It's a beautiful day outside and I'm am going to head out and catch the last few nice moments - more later - !!

Monday, June 28, 2010

This weekend...

Busy busy weekend - between naps!! Stephen was with us all weekend but spent a lot of time out with his friends. Friday night Stephen and I went shopping for the items needed for the NC VA hospital bbq then stopped for sushi at a place he knew. Good sushi - not too much!
Saturday I was up and out early to go get a pedicure then to Joanns for a quick buy and then to a local store that was hosting a book signing by 5 authors one of whom is my favorite Emilie Richards. Emilie is also a quilter so I took a strip of batik and had her sign that and she had me sign the bottom edge of one of the batiks I took her. (took her 1/2 yard each of two coordinating indonesian batiks - tied with a ribbon and a little chocolate.) So we will both have signatures in some future quilt. I am thinking of doing another 'favorite things' quilt and that's where Emilie's strip would go.
So that was a thrill - her next book Fortunate Harbor hits the stands on Tuesday so please look for it. After the book signing I headed home and read! and have no recall of anything else that night! LOL - I did throw together a stir fry and had dinner with Mark.
Sunday Mark and I headed out to get some fresh fruit, I wanted to make some strawberry jam - and I brought home 10 pounds of Strawberries, 3 quarts of blueberries and a blueberry bush so in another year or two I will get free blueberries!! I even have a spot to plant it in planned. Sunday afternoon and night I made all the strawberry jam in about 20 different sized jars - larger ones for the strawberry lovers and smaller ones for gifts baskets or whatever. I have not tried it yet - hoping Stephen will be my guinea pig! LOL.
Mark got the pool vaccuumed out and said it is perfect for swimming - in fact he wants to swim every morning. That 6:30 alarm this morning really was irritating - but maybe I will join him - gotta see how he swims in a circle! The two of us could create quite a current!
More later - Toby

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am a jam maker!

So... I got a canning set (HUGE!!) from my in-laws for my birthday (thanks Mike and Jean) and had to put it to immediate use. Whipped up a batch of blueberry jam late last night, allwent well just like the recipe said and at the end of the night I had the requisite mess in my kitchen and 4 sparkly little jars of jam! I actually cracked one of them open this morning and spread it on some 100% wheat toast and it was HEAVEN!! No really - there was something so special about taking a bit of something you have made yourself, from scratch - and you know all of the ingredients in that jar and exactly how it was made - it just makes it taste so much better!

Anyway I love my canning set - I realized I do need a special rack to hold my little jars in place but I am ready to become canning queen of Roselle! I may actually have to put a garden in next year and then it would really be from scratch!!

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to eat better and you can actually save money. 4 jars of jelly would have cost about $20 at the grocery and they cost about $7 to make. I am also going to make spaghetti sauce and can it by the quart - that will save me at least $3 from every store bought bottle of sauce.

Every little bit helps when it comes to saving and it's fun !!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More of Julian

Okay - last one for today - this is julian actually sitting on his quilt. Wasn't it wonderful how mommy Holly dressed him to give some contract with the quilt? This thing is big - probably 50 plus inches by 60 inches - so he can move up to his toddler bed with it and if it lasts it could be a throw in his dorm room or first apartment! Really big - but filled with love and as he uses it and mommy throws it in the washer and dryer it will get that vintage wrinkly feel most quilters love. I know I do!

Julian baby pictures

Here's one of Julian with his crocheted baby blanket. Very oversized so it will last - made out of chenille boucle yarn, two strands held together and worked in double crochet at the same time. Light yet warm!

Julian's gifts

So I finally got a picture of the quilt for Julian before i mailed it and as usual I took it in my office with my phone and the colors are all wrong. But here it is. I showed the back because it is a beautiful lime green and blues and yellow and you can't see it at all in the picture. Oh Well. Going to post two more shots compliments of Julian's mommy who posted these on Facebook for me.

This is a snowball block with different contrasting colors in the corners of the blocks and when the snow balls came together it was fun to make sure no two corners of the same color were in contact with each other!! It was my first timemaking snow balls but will definitely not be my last. Fun and fast!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Another year older!

I'm not announcing this to the world - just to the few who actually read my blog and you probably already know I had another birthday! But did you know my DH Mark also had his? It's true! He'll never catch up to me but we each get one per year - and that is a good thing!! We all got what we wanted for our birthdays and for mother's day, I got a visit from my mom - what could be better?

Things are going well - I have the baby blanket in my car to mail tomorrow and will snap a pic before mailing it - along with a crocheted baby blanket for Julian!

I also finished piecing that top for the bride/mom and once I can get it off to the quilter or onto my frame - whichever comes first - it will also be on the way to being done done!! This is my first quilt in 30 repros and lots of white on white and I do love the vintage look of the quilt. I should really stick to the vintage patterns and fabrics - I find such beauty in their simplicity.

So It's the holiday weekend and I will be sleeping in, selling poppies, doing yard work and still looking for that piece of art for my bathroom! It's the one last thing I need/want. Hoping to get pics of the new room this weekend also and will post!

Looks like we might get a summer in Illinois this year - all the locals are excited ! I am just looking forward to a little rest between all the activities of the Lion's Cluba nd The Legion.

As you enjoy your holiday please remember our veterans and wear a poppy!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

DRAT - and Drat again!!!

Best of intentions and poor follow through - good thing I am better at work than with my poor blog!

Life has been oh so busy! - I have been away from the sewing machine for a few months!!

Winter blahs?
Hormone angst?
Lack of mecdication?
Too much medication?

I don't know, and not sure I need to analyze the reason - just glad I am back in the sewing room and looking forward to more quilting soon! I was working yesterday on a baby quilt, the last thing I pieced because the baby is due in just three more weeks !! My best friend from college oldest daughter is having her first child (a boy)!! just about on my birthday! What a funny gift - does this mean he has to be called Toby? I'll suggest that! LOL...

so I worked on the baby quilt and worked some more on a long overdue wedding quilt - dare I admit??.... yes I shall ... it's for the mother to be !! So you know it is LONG overdue, but in all fairnesss I did make her one earlier but then decided to let her pick her style so I had to start all over again!!! I am struggling with hundred of little 6" blocks, way smaller than I usually go!

The big annual quilt fest was in Chicago this past weekend and too late I heard it is the last year for Chicago, next year it will be in Cincinnati, OH. I have not gone for several years, admitting I have a huge enough stash to last my life and the ease of internet shopping is just so great - so I did not go.... but I did go to Quilter's Destination in Arlington Heights and spent many hours there working with their wonderful store staff to select fabrics for a new Log Cabin quilt for my room and a few other irresistible pieces of fabric. I got one batik that literally can take your breath away. I fear I may never be able to cut it! The Log Cabin is in new colors, so the bedroom will also have to be re-painted to go with it - see how that works???

So what else is new? Well - we got a new bathroom! Totally gutted our old main bathroom and tossed the 1955 rose colored tub, sink and twink for lovely new biscuit and granite and ceramic tile and glass tile all around. The re-do process was definitely quicker than the planning and shopping, just 3 1/2 weeks from demo to done after 9 years of planning!! lol - so we are very happy and very grateful to our remodeler and we are already thinking ahead to our next projects. I'll post pictures after I get the grout sealed - hopefully this week!

This winter we also repainted all of the first floor except for the kitchen which worked out great - because we just kept the draperies in their dry cleaning bags until the bathroom was done and we saved them from all that dust! The dust is just incredible - we are going to have our vents vacuumed professioanlly, but we may have the remnants of this around for a long long time!!

Other than that Stephen is out of work but searching hard for a new job. He totalled his car during a blizzard this winter but was unhurt and he now has a new used car he likes. Thomas is wrapping up his last few weeks of being a Univ. freshman and we are looking forward to a visit. Work is busy - more opportunities than I have time for. Mark's work is fine - everything is good!

Started yard work last weekend, then had a freeze the last two nights so no planting for another month yet. One of my neighbors was trying to burn her old dead plants and burned up one of my arborvitaes so I guess she is buying me a new tree! Sad part is that it was one of the few older ones - so about 6 feet tall! very established - but I love my neighbor more than my tree - and we can laugh about it! I took her mind off it by giving her the tour of the new bathroom. We did get the patio furniture out for the season and discovered a new crack in our raised terrace -I don't know if it's from the tree we had removed from the side of the terrace two years ago (doubtful) or the earthquake we had last month (more likely).

Travel for work will be starting again soon for the last bit and then I will be done with that I believe. Life is all about transitions I guess - more on that later.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minor Update

I am inspired daily by many of the blogs I read. I find it amazing that many people see the same image in daily life and yet perceive it differently. In work we have spent considerable time talking about intentions versus perceptions and how there can often be a gap between the two. Hmmm something to think about......again....

I have finished my Crayola quilt, and was going to mail it today but could not find my camera this morning. In the clearing of the LR and DR last weekend (getting ready for major re-paint) I put it in the kitchen cupboard with the drinking glasses so I would see it every day and know where it is - and now four days later - it is gone!! I will have to ask my DH tonight and get a picture before mailing the quilt tomorrow!

Tonight is our monthly Lion's Club meeting, Friday is something else going on I can't recall, Saturday is our annual Auxiliary Speakeasy dinner/dance and Sunday I prep for another diagnostic procedure to happen on Monday. As much as I hate the procedures I get rewarded with pancakes afterwards so I am looking forward to my trip to IHOP Monday afternoon!

I was reminded today of what a small world we live in. The nurse calling to pre-screen my meds for Monday recognized my phone number at work as the same exchange as her husband's work number, who incredibly in this company of 10,000 plus people works across the hall from me and we interact frequently!

I have a gift certificate from my frequent buyers points at a local quilt shop and it's starting to burn a whole in my wallet - so I think I may try to get over there soon and spend it on something for the stash! The challenge is spending ONLY the certificate! LOL.....

Mom has been calling and complaining about the cold down in Florida, so I have ordered some new velour outfits for her to be warm and comfy in. It's great to shop after the holidays and when seasons are changing in the stores, I scored some great deals at Coldwater Creek Outlet on-line and it will be hopefully a nice surprise for her when they arrive.

That's about all the news that's fit to print - more later!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Working Hard and Hardly Working

I have been working very hard at work, and hardly working at all at home. Sometimes that's just how it is and we ride the wave until it levels back out again!

I love my work, it's great working for a company that really makes a difference in people's lives at a very personal level. We've gone through a lot of organizational changes in the past 6 months and we still have more change coming, but we are all trying to feed on the energy that comes with change and are motivated by the successes we have seen to date. So I am working hard and running on adrenalin a lot!!

At home not so much is getting accomplished, I think after the hectic end of year with guests and redecorating and shopping and more guests we are just tired! I did finish piecing the top for RMHC and will be quilting that this weekend so I can get it in the mail the first of the week - watch for a new posting next week with a picture!

I also pulled fabrics last night to make a baby blanket for a friend's daughter who is having her first baby and it will in fact be the first grandchild for my friend. Funny - this my friend's her first child and when she was born I sewed for her a funny yellow quilted bunting with a frog applique and I think I crocheted a baby blanket (but who can recall after all these years?) Her next three children I don't recall sewing for and when she had number 3 I was delivering Stephen so I was really busy with that! But now it's nice to think that I am sewing something for the next generation - it's kind of like a legacy. Which has me thinking maybe I need to just start making baby blankets and stacking them away for this next generation. I do want to make the quilt I promised to Stephen when he was 4 years old "for his baby" so whenever that happens it will be done, whether I am here or not.

For some reason I have been thinking about my mortality lately - maybe it's the persistent iron deficiency that they can't figure out, or maybe it's just old age and being tired - but I am dedicating myself in 2010 to improving my health and my home by unloading, de-stressing, and just simplifying. It's easier to do now that it's just Mark and I at home and we have a good start made - so I am looking forward to continuing.

Within the next few weeks Mark and I will be packing up everything in the living and dining rooms and consolidating all of the furniture to the center of the room to do scraping, skim coating, and repainting. We had some water damage last summer through a roof leak and with plaster walls and ceilings it caused the paint to lift. Which I guess is better than getting holes in the drywall, but it will be a mess for a while anyway! Of course I want to do a larger project while we're at it and replace our fireplace wall, but I will probably back off on that in exchange for getting what I want in the master bathroom this summer when we do the major remodel in there. I have hated that bathroom for 9+ years so this is a big year for us!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Loree's Friendship Star

Here's a pic of the birthday surprise quilt for Loree - it finished about 72 inches square and is made primarily of the Hoffman Empress collection. gotta run - pizza is here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back in Chicago!

Well - The trip was great - quick but great! I had to keep it a secret as I was flying back to Buffalo then driving in to Niagara Falls to a surprise birthday party. I have yet to unload my pictures but hope to get that done soon and will add one here of the quilt being delivered to Loree. Loree is a friend of my mom's (mine too) back from when I was about 14 years old. (That wasa LONG time ago!!!) They have remained best friends although time and distance has kept them apart and Loree's family decided for her 75th birthday that they would have a party! They had a beautiful event at the new Seneca Casino Hotel in Niagra Falls, NY and it was incredible. The event which was cocktails, dinner and dancing, was hosted by Loree's eldest daughter Linda and planned by Linda's daughter Chandra. Everything was just perfect and so much attention to detail it was amazing especially since Chandra does not live in the NF area. This would be a feat if you were local, let alone living 500 miles away.

We were afraid with the snow storms in Chicago and the East coast on Wednesday and Thursday that our flights Friday morning would be impacted - Mom was flying up from Miami and I was flying across from O'Hare scheduled to meet about 15 minutes apart in BUF. Both of our flights were delayed, but I arrived only about a half hour before Mom so I was in baggage claim ready to meet here when she arrived. The trip to NF was simple as there was very little traffic on the snowy roads. I had a rental car from National and they upgraded me to an Impala which handled the snow and slush with no problems. We made it in by 2:30 and the party was at 5:30.

I had brought the quilt in my suitcase so I could also pick up some bread from DiCamillo's bakery in Lewiston to bring home. The quilt was spread on a table in the cocktail/dancing room and everyone signed the back with messages to Loree. I ran upstairs at the end of dinner to iron the back so the pigma ink would be permanent. It was really wonderful to meet all the kids that I knew from my own youth and see the poeple they had become in life. Most have remained in NF, which is so different of course from my countrywide ramblings. But it was really beautiful to see 4 generations of a family come together with such love for Loree. Most of the kids gave little speeches of thanks, or read poems they had written and one of the grandsons did a rap. Mom and Loree were glued side by side all night just taking it all in, and it was nice to see them together again!

I'll post again soon about what else I did in NF!

Well - It's time to work, so I'll add the pictures later - but I am home again and now working on my Crayola challenge quilt for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. This is my third RHMC challenge and I am really enjoying the quilt. I am making a Snail's Trail pattern and my quilt is Crayola colors Carnation Pink and Aquamarine. It is due to be at the host's home by February 1, so I am working hard on it. I made 15 blocks last night and hopefully can get five more out of the pink fabric I have. Otherwise I may have to do some substitution.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Surprise quilt finished!!

Yes - I finally finished it this weekend and will be packing it away for a trip later this week. I wasn't thrilled with the quilt as I made it, each block was pretty, but it's not really 'my' colors, and when I put the blocks together it was 'okay'. It wasn't until I finished quilting it at 4:30 Sunday morning that I said -'wow - this works' and I love this quilt. I'll give more details when I post a picture next week (after reveal) and hopefully it's new owner will love it as much as I do.

Now my home is back to just Mark and I (and Merlin) and it seems very very quiet, but I really, really like it!! I love my family and friends and entertaining, but it had been just two weeks since Stephen moved out before the holiday started and I felt like we hadn't really transitioned into being empty nesters. I feel like now we can start on that next phase of our lives together. So... as I try to tell my husband last night how much I like just the two of us together, he tells me he doesn't! LOL - city boy - he's used to more hustle and bustle and constant noise. I held my tongue and didn't remind him the holiday was different for him than for me (gift shopping, food buying, food prepping, decorating, cleaning, etc etc) Maybe next year I'll let it be his turn altho he swears that somewhere in our wedding vows I agreed to doing all those things for him! Oh well - it's never boring.....