Thank you, Leah Day

If you haven't found her yet, Leah Day's blog, 365 days of free motion quilting, you need to go there and see the wonderful work she's doing and hte tutorials she's providing. I took two of her quilting patterns and used them in my medallion that I finished yesterday.

The first is tree roots. I used this one coming out of the inner points and around that little tear drop. This is from the back of the quilt where it shows up best, but even that isn't very clear. This is very tight quilting and it fills the spaces perfectly.

The next one I used was pebbles in a stream out in the outer border. That was perfect for a curving shape around the quilt.

And, here's a picture of the finished quilt. If you enlarge it, you'll see my blue marks. It's not even washed yet. I'll wash it when I finish the log cabin. I'm about half done with it now. But, have to stop.

Sydney and I are going to Goodwill to drop off a last minute donation and then we need to do a little shopping for dogfood and stuff. And, I think we'll go spend a coupon on a pair of earrings for her. Always busy.

No big plans for new year's eve. We can't stay up late enough. We've tried, and I"m sure we'll try again this year, but I'm also sure that we'll watch the new year in some earlier time zone and head off to bed. It's just who we are. Tomorrow we start a new year. And, for the first time in a long time, I have resolutions. I'll post more about that tomorrow. And, we'll see how it goes. Til then, have a great day. Lane



Men that are 40-something should not have to entertain 12 year old girls for two weeks. It is not a pretty sight. Everything was BORING! Awww, don't you feel sorry? We've baked cookies and we've watched TV. We've done crafts. She's read most of Twilight. We've shopped. We've cooked. Still feel sorry for her?
Okay, so since all that was BORING and because I have to work yesterday and today, I put her to work. She's cleaned out the fridge, scrubbing it till it sparkles. She's washed all those specialty items in the kitchen drawers that only get used once in a while. She's scrubbed the kitchen floor with a brush and scrubbed the shower. Now do you feel sorry for her?
When I ran out of chores that needed doing, I gave her essays to write about things that have been going on around here. Feel sorry for her now?
Okay, well, here's what you don't know. She got in sooooo much trouble on the last day of school that all her electronics were taken away and I was counting on them as babysitters the days I had to work from home. But, when they ask her what her parents did about it, she has something to talk about. We'll never know the full truth about what happened. I'm not sure she does. It's all about hormones and holiday stress and wierd mother stuff and not knowing how to be friends. She won't tell us what's really going on...and what 12 year old does?
And, if that wasn't enough, Aunt Flo came for her first visit last week. 'SCUSE ME! Can we go back to crayons and Barbie, please??? I'm not ready. Oh, I thought I was ready. I really did. We've had two women friends come over and talk to her and make sure we had the supplies we needed. But, I weren't ready. And, anytime anything remotely approaching sex comes up, Rob puts his fingers in his ears and starts humming. Literally. Thanks. Last night, he even said, "You know, you're the one that's going to be talking to her about all this stuff." Yeah, like that hadn't already been made clear.

That's why, as soon as I'd done my part to make a fantastic holiday, I retreated to the sewing room. It's my refuge. And, I have spent every spare moment in there. That's how I made that mariner's compass I blogged about a few days ago and this log cabin table runner. There's one more section to the runner, but I couldn't get it all in the picture. The compass is to use as a table topper and the runner is to cover the top of a low cabinet. I've started quilting the compass, but as usual, have pulled out as much as I've put in. What I thought would look good did not.

Okay, so lunch is over and I need to get back to work. The kid is doing another writing assignment. All three have been really personal essays and when she's done with this one, we're going to burn them in the fireplace. Tomorrow, I don't have to work and she and I can actually play some more. Take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane


Back to work.

Hello, it's Monday. And, lo, I am unprepared. You saw what I worked on all day Wednesday, and Thursday I was no better. These were the days when it was good to be prepared. We didn't have to go anywhere or do anything except what we wanted to. We did get out on Thursday, just to see what was going on and it was crazy, but because we weren't doing any power shopping, we were free to enjoy the melee and without having to get our hands dirty.
Here are some of the pictures we took Thursday night. These are some of the people in our neighborhood that went the most all out on decorations.

This is Rob in front of the most elaborate village set-up we've ever seen. These folks finished their garage and put these picture windows where the doors were. Each window has a full village set up on shelves inside it. It's insane! The rest of their yard is just as full. As we were walking up, a man came out of the house. We spoke, he spoke, he got something out of his car and went back inside. Sydney was just apalled that we got caught looking in his windows. But, hey, anybody that has Santa dancing to music in the front yard wants people to walk up, huh?

Christmas Day was wonderful. We all unwrapped our gifts and then I started cooking the feast. We were six for lunch and everything was wonderful...well, except for my rolls. Don't know why, but I had the worst yeast luck I've ever had. The monkey bread didn't rise, so the balls were very dense and dough-ey and the rolls didn't rise. Guess there was something wrong with the yeast I used. But, everything else was good and there were a few laughs about the "mini" rolls at lunch.
Saturday, I pieced a log cabin table runner and yesterday was chores. It was silver polishing year and I spent 4 hours on that. Luckily, I don't have to do that but about every 6 ot 7 years or it would not be worth it, but everything gleams so after it's been done. And, the wind has been blowing like crazy around here, so there were lots of sticks in the yard that had to be dealt with. Rob started taking down the decorations. That's really early for him. He usually wants to do that on NY day.

Okay, so now it's time to work. Fortunately, I can work from home today and tomorrow. School doesn't start again until next Monday! Goodness, what will I do in this house with Sydney until then????
Take care and have a great Monday. Lane


And in the heavens, a star shone to light their way...

Okay, maybe I've taken the drama one step too far. But, I did make a star and I did finally find a few minutes to log into the internet. We're going out in a little while to look at and photograph lights in the neighborhood. I've been baking all day; a pumpkin cheesecake and a lemon meringue pie...I know, that one's not too Christmassy, but I have all those lemons, after all, and a pie used up three of them.

This little quilt is to go on a round table between our two recliners in the family room. I have one more to start that's a little log cabin to cover a cabinet. I'd like those two finished when we take the cmas decorations down on NY weekend so I can put them out when the house goes back together. We've been using a cmas quilt turned upside down between the chairs...hey, it worked, but it wasn't very pretty.

Hope your holidays are working smoothly. I'm sure I'll post some of the pictures we take tonight as a cmas wish tomorrow. Take care. Lane


A queen size quilt in 21 days

Okay, that's a record for me. When I blogged about it previously, I really didn't think I'd get it finished. But, here it is and just in the nick of time. And, it's completely finished. Nothing to do after the first of the year, which was my backup plan.

Here it is with a little more of the texture showing.

And one block to show off all the feather quilting. Every large block got that same freehand, free-motion shape, as did every rectangular block and every small block. And, while all those feathers are pretty, I'm pretty tired of feathers, that's for sure. On all of them, I just marked the spine and then let the petals flow, which means they're all slightly different.

And, here's the backing fabric. You can just barely see the border feathers quilted along the edges. There will be a dustruffle made from a lighter flowery print and then the curtains and valance will be reversible, this blue fabric and the lighter print. The light print is almost the same design, but all the flowers and leaves are colors; blue, red, pink, gold and green on a white background.

Okay, that's all for today. It's my last day at work and I need to tie up all my loose ends. I don't have anything else that needs to be done before christmas except make a "monkey bread" for cmas morning. Frozen roll dough, rolled in melted butter and then cinnamon/sugar and baked in a tube pan with pecans sprinkled all in it...the perfect energy boost for unwrapping presents in front of a fire. Take care. Lane


Lovely days

What a wonderful 3 day weekend. Sydney was out of school on Friday and instead of having to work a half day, one of my deadlines got pushed back and I had the whole day off. We played and we had fun and we did a little last minute shopping for her bedroom stuff and some little gifts and to take advantage of all the JoAnn's coupons I could...and I used most of them.

Saturday, I quilted and they raked leaves. Another fun day for all of us. The neighbors came and brought presents, wonderful things for us all. They made sugar plums this year from a recipe he found on the internet. They were WONDERFUL and I intend to try to find the recipe today...all dried fruits and nuts and honey and holiday spices. Then we went out for a little dinner at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. I got my fill of holiday tamales. The tamales made me stay up late and I got the binding on Sydney's quilt, even though the last of the quilting wasn't done. But, I knew if it was bound, I could give it to her at Cmas and finish later if I had to.

Yesterday, after the grocery, I spent the day in the kitchen, making a dip for today's potluck at the office, baked ravioli, and two pans of chicken enchiladas, then Sydney and I made gingerbread cookies and decorated them. Neither of us had ever done that before and you can see from the picture that our efforts taste better than they look. But, hey, taste is what it was all about. She worried me crazy...are we still going to bake cookies? Can I cut them out? Are we going to decorate the cookies? Can I decorate? I did one or two and just gave her the pastry bag. She had a ball and some of them are cute in a kid-happy kind of way. And, with all the sugar on top, you can imagine that they taste fantastic. Too bad the frosting was a little too thick and because I'd never decorated cookies before, I didn't know it until we were well under way and I wasn't going to step back and do anything about it. Oh, well. Live and learn.

After my shower, all I could do was lay on the couch. But, it was fun while it lasted.

Take care and have a great day. Make a happy holiday memory if you can. Lane


Hoodwinked by a scoundrel.

My daughter ran a con on my this morning, apparently taking advantage of my gullibility this holiday season. She got me to take her to school so she didn't have to wait for the bus in the rain and cold. On the way, I found out she couldn't find her umbrella. Oh, brother! And, I fell for it hook, line and sinker, even rushing to get all my stuff done and giving up my few minutes of quiet meditation before I leave for the office so I could get her there on time. Sucka! But who could resist those big, brown, puppy-dog eyes.

Anyway, that meant that I didn't get the chance to post a picture for Vintage Thingies Thursday, but don't let that stop you from cruising on over to Suzanne's blog to see her great vintage ornaments and the other items linked there.

I also pre-ordered my copy of Bonnie Hunter's upcoming Book Adventures in Leaders and Enders. I have thoroughly enjoyed the leader/ender project I'm working on. If you're not familiar with the process, you can go to her website Quiltville.com to learn more about it. If you scroll down from this link, you'll find a scrappy triple irish chain. That's what I picked as my first one. I'm making a queen sized bed quilt and I've got over half my blocks pieced, using the leaders enders method on every step. It takes a long time and it didn't work out too well when I was paper piecing, but other than that, It's a great way to make a quilt without even thinking about it and using up small scraps. The hardest part for me has been cutting all my scraps to the sizes I need. I don't have all the sizes Bonnie cuts to, but I am collecting various size HST's and 1 1/2", 2" and 2 1/2" squares, all for use as leaders and enders.

I'm still quilting feathers. By the end of this project, I'm either going to be an expert at feathers or completely insane. The issue I've run into now is that if I'm not paying close attention, my loops get really big and start to fill the space. That would have been fine if I'd planned that from the beginning, but I was trying to get them to all be a standard size so I have to be careful to keep it that way. Anyway, for a bed quilt, the feathery quilting and the very mature prints are going to be perfect for a girl that's on that precipice between little girl and young woman.

Since I didn't take a new picture for the day, I dug way back in the archives for this little snowman. He's a holiday UFO, like the island of misfit toys. He was a very early piece of fusible applique and I apparently used the wrong fusible, so he's stiff and I never tried to quilt him. I really should get to it because he's cute as a button. But, he got forgotten until we pulled out a pile of holiday quilts and there he was, buried in the middle and too late to finish this season. Oh, well. I laid him across the back of a chair and there he waits, big smile and all. After the rush, maybe I'll finish him and put him our for the winter. That's probably as close to snow as we'll get.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Lane


Quilted Christmas Wreath

Good Wednesday! Wow, can the holiday really be this close? And, even though I've finished my shopping and finished my wrapping, I'm still feeling stressed about it. I'm not taking as much time off this year as I normally do because there's just so much to do around here. Not to say that I won't be home, because I'll be working from home. Sydney gets out of school this friday and is out for over two weeks. That's going to make it double tough to concentrate because my sewing machines will be sitting right there, calling out to me "It's okay to take time away from work, you work hard all year, take some relaxation time, you can sew for 15 minutes and then get back to work"...RIGHT!!! Even I don't believe that one.

This is a little wreath I made a few of two years ago. It's from Martha Thompson's Magical Hexagons book. I gave all of them away as gifts except this one. It was a test. If you click the picture and expand it, you'll see all this crazy, busy quilting all over it. I was checking whether I wanted to do that on all of them.

It's actually an outline of the backing fabric. I flipped it over and quilted around the red flowers, the white flowers and the green leaves in matching color thread. It gave me a kind of crazy scene on the front.

Needless to say, I did NOT do that on all of them. At first I didn't like how the quilting overwhelmed the pieced wreath. But this year, when we pulled it out, I decided I did like the effect of the flowers quilted on the front. But, the biggest reason is that it took forEVER and I didn't have the time to do it on 5 wreaths.

I can't remember if this is an exact pattern in the book or just made with that method. The method is to cut out hexagons and sew them all together, then cut the resulting top into triangles and sew them together. You end up with a hexagon shape again and all those gear shapes spinning across the top. Add a border and you have a quilt. It's a pattern I'd definitely make again and might try to use for something bigger in the future.

Have a great day. Two more days until the weekend. Lane


When life gives you lemons...

But, even in Texas, it's too cold for a frosty glass of lemonade. The first year I grew lemons, I couldn't figure out what to do with them short of lemonade, but last year, we started using them in chamomile tea and my family found a new winter drink. I have three lemon trees, two are very small and I usually get 4 or 5 lemons on each. I also have this larger tree and we get 30 or so lemons from it. And, we have an orange tree that should bear about 20, but this year, it bloomed very early, while it was in the green house and there were not bugs to pollinate it, so we only got about 8. The drought meant that all the fruit is smaller this year, but it's still as tangy and sweet as ever.

The trees are in the greenhouse now and when we want a cup of tea, we send Sydney out to get one. She can eat them just sliced, but they're too tart for me.

On a quilting front, I'm still quilting in feathers. And, despite yesterday's interview, they're nice and loopy. Didn't get to quilt last night because we were wrapping the last of the gifts that we need to ship and playing with the kid. She's so 12. And, it's really nice to see her starting to relax around us. Last week, she got into trouble and when we were all around the dining table talking about it, she actually started talking to us instead of giving us that blank 12 year old look and saying "I don't know". I think we're really making progress.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. It's going to be another busy one here. Lane


The great Christmas Orphan event

I've never done this before, but I hear from lots of other quilters that they hurriedly finish those orphan blocks to give them away as cmas gifts. And this year I had orphan blocks that were perfect to finish and give. These are two extra January blocks from Bunny Hill A tisket, A tasket 2009 BOM. I was just learning to applique and these two blocks were my discards. But, they were just too cute to throw away, so I've been planning all year to add a little of this and a little of that and turn them into gifts. I even had left over binding I was able to use and they went together very fast this weekend, with just a little outline and ditch quilting. They're rustic and the quilting lines aren't at all straight, but they made me want to keep one.

I also got 50 - 5"x10" feathers quilted into Sydney's cmas quilt and one of the border sections. Feathers are fun, but we all got a good laugh at how my mood affects my quilting. Stress meant lots of tiny feathers perfectly spaced along the spine and being relaxed meant large fluid feathers with big loopy petals. And, unfortunately, I started in the center because the more I made, the better they looked. I've decided that if I get all the feathers in before the holiday, I can bind it and give it to her, and then finish quilting the blocks later....you know, during that mythical first of the year when we should be finishing UFO's and instead we're picking out BOM's.

Y'all take care and have a great Monday. I'm interviewing candidates to fill an opening in my department this week. Serious work, so I guess this week's feathers will all be teeny tiny. Lane


Oh, Christmas Quilt; Oh, Christmas quilt...

How lovely is thy sashing....

It's beginning to look a lot like a Christmas quilt, Ev'ry where you look...

Can I make one more?

Rudolph the Red Nosed Christmas quilt, Had some very shi-ney beads...

Okay, now that's out of my system.

The Christmas quilt is finished! Almost a year in the making. If you weren't with me when I started this, I had done very little applique work. My mentor bought this quilt as a kit and hers is very lovely. So lovely that Rob fell in love with it and asked me to make one too. So, in the heat of the summer, I taught myself to applique, bending over a hot iron and starching edges under. I appliqued them with a blind stitch and invisible thread and blanket stitched over that. There's not a lot of quilting. Just outlining and the occassional curlique and a couple of fun things.

This is top left. See the ornaments quilted in the dark green strip? The black on the face and the shirt are beads.

Middle-left. Here the black dots are french knots.

And Bottom-left.

Top right.

There are buttons on the wheels and one of the gifts and bells on the tree for ornaments.

Love the headless snowman and the sleeping Santa. And, the infamous nutcracker. I spent several days trying to do teeth and finally gave up and just did a solid fabric.

The border has a string of cmas lights, right down to the male and female plugs.

On my ebay purchase, tried contacting the seller again. No response. I did find them on ebay yesterday selling fabric under a different identity, but with the identical ad, except they removed the email address. If I haven't heard by tonight, I'll just post truthfully that the fabrics advertised were not the fabrics shipped. If it happens, it will be the first time I've ever had to leave anything but glowing feedback on ebay. I layed the fabrics out the other day after I posted and if I change the order and take one out, they might make an okay log cabin...I mean for a gift or something. Not everybody would even notice, huh?
Take care and have a great Friday. I hope to make significant progress on Sydney's quilt this weekend. With the shopping over, I'm really hoping for lots of free time. Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday - Toys

Welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday, sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady. Today, I'm featuring all items that are NOT vintage because they were my toys, or replacements of my toys, and since I am certainly not old enough to be considered vintage, my toys are also not old enough to be considered vintage. Stop laughing.

First, are my Tinkertoys. Remember Tinkertoys? I'd be afraid to give them to a kid now because they might poke their eye out and they'd need that eye to play video games. Anyway, I spent many hours designing and building wonderful things with this very set.

This next toy is the oldest. My sisters and I apparently put many a mile on this little dog, dragging him around the house.

And, my matchbox cars, which have more miles on them than American Airlines. Many happy hours were spent with the kids in the neighborhood, pushing these around on errands, or racing them on orange plastic tracks.

Now, these next two aren't really vintage...really. They're toys I had as a kid, but don't know what happened to them. But, when I was starting to use my sets as cmas decorations about 15 years ago, I replaced mine because of the many happy memories. My Mr. Potatoe head was very like this one. It was not one of the originals where you actually used a potatoe. And, the barrel of monkeys usually hung from the bottom of my tree every year. .
And, finally, Lincoln Logs. Again, fond memories of building things with my Dad and my Lincoln Logs. Oh, childhood. Passes way to fast to appreciate it.

So, that's a glimpse into my past as I pretend these things are not vintage. Take care and have a great day. Lane


Let the buyer beware...

I have always had good luck on ebay. I've recently bought bobbins and the foot I showed yesterday and before postage got so high, I bought a lot of stuff there. Always a pleasant transaction. This week, I found fabric on ebay....Oooh! Inexpensive fabric; a quilter's heaven. But, I was leary of buying something I couldn't see so I didn't dive right in. I decided to start with a little honeybun of the most fantastic set of brown fabrics. Perfect for a log cabin table runner for the living room. I bid, I won, I paid, I waited.

Da da da dummmmm. What I got was not what I expected. None of the fabrics in the honeybun were in the photo on ebay. The ebay photo showed a perfect set of matched fabrics, with an even mix of darks and lights. This is what I got.

They don't go together and frankly, some of them are down right ugly. And, even though the seller guaranteed 100% satisfaction, they aren't answering my emails. So, all that I can think to do is replan my log cabin and toss these in the scrap bin. They'll be perfect to cross cut into squares for some small scrap quilt...someday. And, I'll have to pull new fabrics for my log cabin. I might go ahead and use a couple of these, especially the lighter ones. But, all together, they don't amount to much.

I did a few more feathers last night and then I decided it was time to stop practicing and put the quilt in the machine. I got started on the ditch work, even though I still don't have a plan for what to do in all those squares and rectangles. I'm hoping that now that it's in my face, so to speak, it will tell me what it would like. Sydney found something she liked on the cover of my free motion book this morning, but I'm feeling a little intimidated by it. I brought the book with me to work today so i can look at it periodically. Lots of lines with a very gentle curve that even the author didn't get straight. Am I willing to try?

Take care and have a great Wednesday. We're one day closer to the weekend, but unfortunately, that means we're also one day closer to the holiday and I'm not really sure I'm quite ready for that. Lane


A new foot

This is my new foot for my Bernina 930. I've wanted one of these forever, but thought; oh, really, how much difference can a foot really make, huh??? I am surprised. I finally figured out a way to get it for less than the $35 price that a real Bernina foot costs. I have an adapter that converts me to a low shank foot, so that's what I got, and a generic low shank foot was about $13. Okay, so what difference did it really make? My stitches got longer. Right away. I'm still practicing feathers and this morning, I switched back to the old darning foot which has a circle about one quarter the diameter of this foot. And, my stitches got tiny again. I like a nice long stitch, at least 1/8 inch, and I was having trouble consistently moving the fabric fast enough to do that in my free motion work. Switched to this foot and my stitches immediately lengthened and my curves became more even.

The feathers are getting better. I've done about 32 and now I can plan what I want the feather to look like and how much space I want it to take up and I can make it do that. I just haven't figured out which design I like best; large petals, overlapping petals, small petals with outlines, make the petals larger to fill in the corners, start in the center, start in a corner? I just keep trying different combinations but none have spoken to me yet. And, since there are soooo many squares and rectangles to fill, I want to find just the right one and use it consistently.
That ugly fabric I'm using for my practice piece? That's something I picked up when I was making Linus quilts. What was I thinking? Poker and chips for a teenage boy? That wasn't going to make me very popular. So, I asked Sydney to look in her stash for something ugly for me to play with. This is what she gave me. We agreed it was the ugliest one either of us owned.
Take care and have a great day today. Send my Mom some well wishes if you get a chance. She's going to have a little routine maintenance work done on Thursday. I'm not exactly sure what that means and I've learned not to ask women to explain things they word so delicately. It's just best not to know. Talk to you soon on the blog. Lane


Sydney's quilt

Remember about a week ago, I decided to make a quilt for Sydney. What I was thinking I do not know. But, I was at least smart enough to pick something simple since I was on such a short deadline. This is the top before I put about 300 safety pins in it. It's about 85"x85"; plenty big enough for a bedspread on a queen sized bed. It took one Moda Layer Cake and the dark from a set of Charm Squares plus 4 blocks from my stash. The border and back fabric is my first time to try the 110" wide backing fabric. I like it! No seams up the back!

I'll mix the light charm squares with some darks from my stash and some leftover border fabric for pillow shams and I have some eyelet that I got from someone for a dust ruffle. A new set of curtains and her room will have a full face lift. I'll probably use more of the backing for that. It is very price conservative as I'll only need to buy the width of the window, not the length.
Last night I started teaching myself to make free motion, free-hand feathers. I made a muslin with 20 squares on it. I attempted feathers 20 times and still was not liking it. I switched thread colors and started putting new feathers in over the first set and by about number 24 I was pretty happy with the shape of them. Now, I'll have to start working on how to make them fill the space. Oh, well. Always something new to learn. That's one thing I love about quilting.
And, I finished my cmas shopping. We all went together and we shopped until I could hardly move. By the end of Saturday, I was one store short of being done and we went there before the grocery yesterday. Now, I have all that wrapping and shipping, but at least the shopping is done. The weather was so cold and nasty that we hardly waited in line anywhere and when the weather got pretty and the lines started to form, we were ready to go home. And, I can rest knowing that Mastercard will have a very nice holiday!
Y'all have a great Monday. Stay warm (or cool!) and I'll be keeping up with you in blogland. Lane


Black really does show off all colors.

Rob's been sick most of the week and for some reason, he adopted my cuddle/lap quilt. He left it on the bed and our huge black cat adopted it. Now, I don't know when I'll get it back...

This little quilt was made from one of those perfect combinations of fat quarters that I sometimes end up with and want to use together. I buy them over a period of time and stack them next to the serger to get them ready for laundering and at some point, I realize that they're perfect for a quilt. This one came from me trying simple patterns for Project Linus quilts last year. I stacked the 8 FQ's and cut them all at the same time into 8 pieces. Then I numbered the stacks of pieces 1-8. On stack one, I moved the top fabric to the bottom of the pile. Stack two, I moved the top two fabrics to the bottom of the pile and so on so that I had every pile in a different order. Then, I sewed the top layer all back together and then the second layer and on until I had 8 blocks, each with 8 colors. No fabric is repeated in the same spot on any block. The quilting is simple geometric shapes in each section that are repeated in the border. The border is one of my favorite batiks. Love my little cuddle quilt. It's perfect for a long winter's nap.

Take care and have a great Friday. I'm going to try to finish my cmas shopping this weekend and get very far along on Sydney's bedspread/quilt. All 25 blocks are assembled and the first row of 5 is together. Thank goodness I don't have to have it finished in time to mail. See ya' round the net. Lane

Vintage Thingies Thursday, my ornament collection

Vintage Thingies Thursday is sponsored by my friend Suzanne. She's also featuring vintage Christmas today.

Okay, so this post is about some things near and dear to my heart. This is my ornament collection. My Mom started it for me when I was but a wee bairn. When I bought my first house, she sent it to me for my first cmas tree there. This year, I did not hang it on the tree, but instead hung it on a swag over the dining room windows. (note it took two photos. it's not a corner window with badly hung curtains). As she added to the collection, my Mom dated the ornaments so I know the year she gave them to me for most of them.

These are some of the oldest ornaments in the collection. They came from my grandparents or from the boxes of ornaments my parents bought for their first tree.

This angel is the oldest one purchased for me. It is dated 1966 (stop doing math...it won't tell you how old I am because this was not my first cmas).

This is the ornament from the year I graduated high school (I mean it, stop doing the math.)

These are some ornaments we added. The pickle we got after Sydney came to us. Traditionally, the person that found the pickle got to hand out the gifts, but we play a meaner version of the game because we only have the one kid. She can't hand out the gifts or start opening until she finds the pickle...mwhahahaaaa!

And, these are the dated ornaments that Rob and I have added since we've been together. They're LiBien ornaments from Pier 1. They're advertised as hand painted from the inside. They're so perfect that I wonder. We buy one of the large ornaments and one of the very small angels every year.

Okay, that's my ornament collection. You can see lots of other things in the background. It's enough ornaments to cover our rather large tree and this year, we didn't get to display it all. There are duplicates of some of the ornaments and because we had limited space this year, I had to leave the dups in the boxes.

Take care and check out everyone else's vintage posts. Lane


Pink is the new green.

At least around our house it is. Yes, Becky, we do have the pink tree again. This is the tree in Sydney's bathroom. We found the pink tree at a garage sale and since pink was her favorite color, we had to have it. And, since it has pink lights, we had to have pink ornaments and a pink topper and pink garland. Now, I don't have a problem using pink as a cmas color. I love a nice dark rosy pink with an eggplant purple and gold for cmas (you'll see things in those colors in future posts), but I have to say that this level of pink is a little surprising when I walk past her bathroom at night when the lights are on.

So, that's more of how we celebrate the holidays. There's lots more to show you tho. Wait until tomorrow when I show off my vintage ornaments for Vintage Thingies Thursday. Have a great Weds and we'll see ya round the net. Lane


Oh, Christmas Tree...

So, I promised y'all pictures of our cmas. I got this one taken this morning. I found that if I got you the whole tree, it got to small to see anything on it. This is our red ornament collection. We collected all these and used to hang a swag all the way across the living room ceiling and just fill it with red ornaments. But, that meant up and down the ladder to hang all the ornaments on the swag. I was really organized about it, but last year, I decided I wasn't doing it again if we didn't figure out a way to decorate it nearer the floor and then raise it to the ceiling. And, we didn't figure that out. So, that made all these red ornaments available for the tree. The tree has just a few white lights that backlight the ornaments. We really scaled back this year.

And, I'm still sewing on little buttons and beads and bells on the cmas quilt. Who'da thought it would take me as much time as it has just for those little finishing touches. I guess, working on one block at a time, I lost track of how many had little embellishments that I was skipping until after it was quilted.
Y'all take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane


Quiet time

Yes, over the 5 days we spent together, we actually ran out of stuff to talk about. So, yesterday was a very quiet day around our house. Just chores and junk.

And, I started a quilt for Sydney for Cmas. She desparately needs a new bedspread. When she came to us, she needed so much, so we bought one of those "bed in a bag" things that had it all; bedspread, dust ruffle, shams, curtains, valances and some assorted pillows and I think we paid about $30 so you can imagine the quality of the fabric. That was over 2 years ago and it is worn out, so she's getting a quilt. I'm using Moda's Wiscasset Layer cake and charm pack and making my own pattern. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's not an original. It looks like one quarter of a disappearing 9 patch block (thanks, Cheryl. I thought of it after seeing all yours). I used the dark square from the layer cake and the same dark square from the charm pack and I cut the light squares from the layer cake in half. I had to add 4 fabrics, but that's okay. I was trying to match a chair that we put in her room earlier this year and it has green and the fabric collection doesn't, so I got to add some of my favorite greens to the mix as well as some lights from the stash. I'll try to show a pic, but the only place I can lay it out is in the living room. She almost caught me yesterday when I was toying with where to put everything before she got up.

I also finished the quilting on the cmas quilt and got it washed and laid out to dry. Today, I started adding the beads and buttons and bells that will finish it. Well, almost finish it. I decided to try my first all machine binding to try to save time. And, I made a real mess of it. So, after the holiday, when it comes down, I'll fix the binding. It looks fine from the front, but the back of the binding is a real mess. I got frustrated with the time it was taking so I stopped part way and just basted the rest down. I can do better.

And, we put out the cmas decorations. It's a Friday after Tgiving ritual at out house. Reach and stretch, lift and carry. My poor back. This year, Sydney was a real help. She and I do the tree every year and this year, we did a swag over the windows in the dining room. Rob does all the village...and he has enough that it takes him longer to do that than it does to decorate the tree! And, Sydney has two trees that she put up by herself with help from us for the lights.

We spent a small part of our time cmas shopping. It feels so good to get that started. I'm not sure why, but we didn't encounter any crowds. I can only guess that the crowds came out as soon as the stores opened and we didn't get out until 10-ish on the days we shopped. Anyway, I hope none of the stores were counting on the customers we saw to put them in the black. The only place that was busy at all was Hobby Lobby and they were only busy in the cmas decorations dept.

So, that's our holiday break in a nutshell. I'll get some pictures on here starting tomorrow. Taking pictures seemed like such a daunting task that I never got to it and this morning, we had unexpectedly cold weather, so I had to spend my few free minutes moving plants inside the green house. Take care and have a great Monday. Lane



Well, it is the day of giving thanks and this morning, when I woke up, one of my first thoughts was that I wanted to share some things I'm thankful for. I think sharing them makes them all the more special.

I'm thankful that we both have jobs and that we can provide a loving home for Sydney. I'm thankful that we have a comfortable home where we can all feel safe. I'm thankful that I have family and happy childhood memories that I can try to pass along to Sydney so she'll be familiar with some of the old traditions that my parents shared with me.

I'm thankful that I have a full sewing room and a partner that will let me use it without being jealous of the time I spend there. And, I'm thankful that I can afford to make quilts, in both time and money.

I'm thankful that I have a job that I enjoy and that I am confident about.

I'm thankful that we have friends, and while I wish they could be with us today, I'm sure that they will be back to us for their favorite holiday traditions soon. And, I'm thankful for co-workers that are more than just co-workers. They're friends. And I'm thankful that I work in an environment where the is little strife.

I'm thankful that I can still afford to hand dollars out the car window to help those less fortunate. And, I'm thankful that my family has health coverage.

And, I'm thankful for my internet friends. You guys are terrific! It's odd to think that without the internet, I might never have met you.

Okay, that's enough being thankful. Now, I have to go cook. Okay, okay...I'm thankful that we have all that food to cook, even if I'm going to spend the better part of the day cooking it and cleaning up after it. Happy Turkey day to you. May your turkey be moist, your potatoes be smooth, and your green bean casserole be firm. And, God willing, may none of of us that are cooking poison anyone this year. Lane


Feeling tremendously better.

I guess after yesterday's little tirade, I was able to get all that off my chest and move forward. Now, I have the beginning of a cmas gift list, my blood pressure has dropped, and the cold sweats seem to have passed. I think it must have been some planetary alignment thing.

Today the sun is shining, it is crisp and clear, and I got another block of the cmas quilt quilted. That's 2 1/2 so far plus most of the ditch work. Sydney is going into tutoring for math, so that's one less series of arguments for us to have. And, tomorrow Rob and I are only working half day. Now, the second half is going to be spent taking Sydney to the latest vampire/werewolf/teenlove/kiss-kiss movie starring boys that can't afford haircuts, so don't get too excited for me. But, in general, everything seems to be aligned just about right.

Guess I just needed a day to be ungrateful before I could get into the holidays. Who's going shopping on Friday??? I'm not. After tomorrow's movie, I might get some shopping time in, if I offer to take Rob someplace really special for supper, but after that, we're not leaving the house except in the event of an emergency. And, yes, our very small turkey did come out of the freezer last night. There should not be a problem being ready to cook in a couple of days. The potatoe rolls are rising in the fridge along with the copper penny carrots that are Rob's favorite vegetable and the cornbread full of onion and celery. There's a pumpkin pie in the freezer that I made a couple weeks ago. Two more small casseroles and some yams and we'll be ready to light the candles. Oops! I forgot the candles.

Y'all take care and have a wonderful Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This weekend, I'll probably post some pics of cmas decorations. Rob insists that we start putting them up on Friday after Tgiving, but I insist that we can't start until the dishes are put away (my own little way to delay the merriment and the dusting). See ya'. Lane


Ho, ho, humbug

It's here. I've put off thinking about it until I can't anymore. It is the holidays.

I've been so busy with 6th grade homework and 6th grade issues and just trying to hold it all together and I've temporarily lost my ability to look forward to anything...well, anything but quilting. So, I've absorbed myself in my quilting and just tried to do my best to get through the rest of it, refusing to acknowledge that the hardest time of year is yet to come. And, now the holidays are upon us and I forgot to take the Turkey out of the freezer this morning and I've only got a few Cmas gifts under my belt. I am truly unprepared.

There was a time when I competed with Martha Stewart at holiday time. I could make everyone a homemade gift, whip out the perfect meal for 25, serve it with the perfectly polished silver and every serving piece you could imagine on an immaculately white, starched table cloth. Every light twinkled, every ornament shone. The handmade stockings were hung in front of a clean fireplace and the dogs all got a fresh haircut. There were fresh jams and jellies and real fruitcakes (no, not the candied fruit. real fruit and soaked in rum for a month).

Now, don't get me wrong. I've never pretended that I did all this stuff to make other people happy. I did it because it made me happy. But, at some point, what makes me happy changed. I didn't plan it. But, it happened none the less. I went from wanting to do all this stuff for others to just wishing they would chip in and send me to a hotel for a few days.

Handmade, Homemade, those are words I'm not even going to think about this year. I've always toed the gift giving line, but this year, I think I'm going to make the final concession: gift cards. I held out as long as I can, but apparently, I made a huge mistake last year, after the stock market near crash and 40% of everything I owned went away in the blink of an eye and for the first time (at least the first time I knew about), my gifts were not deemed worthy. And, as much as I'd like to just say "Nuts to you!", and as much courage as I've tried to gather to say something only slightly more polite than that, I've decided to take the good old reliable solution and "throw money at it" to make this particular problem go away. I haven't made so much as a batch of jam.

Oh, I'm still planning to shop for Sydney, although I have to admit that I am not excited about it after the really hard year we've had with her. And, I'll shop for Rob even though he has everything I can think of to buy for him. I have a snowman block that I can finish and send my MIL. I made a batch of holiday ale for my co-workers. And, I always come up with something fun for my best friend. I found some really simple ornaments in a quilting magazine the other day and I think that if Rob will help, I can probably pump out a few of those. Everyone else, and you know who you are, should think about what you'd like to buy with your Target gift card.

Curmudgeon, Scrooge, bah! humbug! When did I go from the perfect holiday person to someone that just wishes it was January already? Oh, I know...it was sometime around when I got chastised because last year's gifts were "cheap". Or, maybe it was around the time my kid decided her new parents needed to be punished for what her old parents had done. Oh, oh, no! I know. It was when people stopped appreciating all the really cool stuff I was doing for them because I enjoyed it and started wanting something else. Yeah, that must have been when it was.

Wow! You cannot imagine how good it feels to get that off my chest. I've been carrying it for a while. I'd say quietly, but I'm sure it's come out in some unintended ways. Sometimes I just need to share what I'm feeling to change it. Who knows, maybe I'll even use some of that sugar I've been hoarding and make a little batch of jelly.

Y'all take care and I hope you are planning a wonderful holiday for yourselves as well as for those you love. Remember, it's about you, too. I'm certainly going to try to focus my thoughts that way. Lane


The Great Cleveland Shop Hop pictures

I'm HOME! I know it was only two days, but they were a work filled two days, so I was really glad that I got to enjoy my little shop hop. The other highlight was our Weds nite event, which was a double elimination pool tournament that my team won. There were some funny rules meant to make the game go faster, but pool is pool and even though it had been years and years (and years) since I'd played, I was an asset to the team...well, I made the first few shots and got cocky and started missing, but after I gave myself a little talking to, I was able to focus and make some more shots.

Anyway, if you missed my post about the shop hop, here's a link that talks about the stores I went to: hop. The top row is the fat quarter bundle I picked up in all browns. I'm wondering if I want to make an all brown quilt, which would certainly be fun to find a pattern that would show up even though I used just one color, or if I want to add some other fabrics to them and make something. Either way, I don't want to just add them to the stash. I want to keep them separate. The next row is the half yard cuts I picked up and plan to make a quilt from. And, the pattern is there, too. Now, what to do with the pattern??? The quilt store owner, that made the inspiration, made it all out of batiks and it was beautiful, so I might do the same thing and use the collection of fabrics to make a different pattern. Her mistake? See the black diamonds? She accidentally left those out, so it was all 6 pointed stars. Yummy! Decisions, decisions; making decisions is half the fun of quilting, right? I know that Bonnie Hunter is posting a new mystery for cmas in red, green, gold, and neutral and these fabrics would be great for that even though I had looked forward to using scraps to make Bonnie's pattern in the spirit of her work. But, with all the WIP's I have, there's no need to make these decisions right now.

This next picture is what I'm calling an accidental quilt. It's all remnants and random fat quarters that I picked up here and there over a couple of months. I piled them up waiting to serge and wash and realized that what I'd collected would make a really nice little quilt. Now that I look at the picture, the colors aren't quite as vibrant as they look here, and they go better together than this photo shows. Haven't decided what to make, but again, I plan to bag them together for a future quilt. Wouldn't they make a cute baby quilt? I love primary colored baby quilts.

Okay, so that looks like everything I'll need to make quilts in 2010. We'll see if I can actually stick to this. Maybe '10 is my year to stick with my "no buy". Wouldn't that be sweet!

Y'all take care and have a great Friday. I have a very busy Friday at work planned to try to get through the hundreds of emails that I got over the last few days while I was out of pocket. I tried to read as many as I could in the hotel room, but really, who can work all the time? I'd be a very dull boy indeed. And, we can't have that now, can we. Lane


The Great Cleveland Shop Hop

Fly, fly, fly, drive, drive, drop my co-workers off at the hotel and the Great Cleveland Shop Hop began. Goal: Find a pattern and get the fabrics I'll need to make it while here in Cleveland. Buy half yard pieces.

Every story needs some tension to make it interesting. Quilt shops close at 5 and 5:30, with one shop open until 8. I didn't drop the guys off until 4:00.

Shop 1: Quilts and Sew Forth in Mentor OH, a nearby suburb of Cleveland. The owner there was very, very nice and the store is in an old house and it is packed to the gills with fabrics. She advertises thousands of bolts and I believe it. I didn't find a pattern there, but I did find two great greens and a pack of beautiful brown fat quarters. They suggest that instead of the other stores on my list, I go further north.

Shop 2: Cottonpicker's quilt shop in Madison, OH. This is a small storefront shop, but she has lots of great fabrics. Here, I find my pattern. She's made it and it's hanging on the wall. When I ask if she has the pattern, she says yes, but points out that she made a mistake, which is what made the quilt come out the way it did, so she talks me through her mistake so I can make sure and make the same one (;-))Lots of background and 60*, six pointed stars. I picked up a half yard of a green with tiny red flowers in it and another green with larger red flowers that have gold centers and the pattern.

By this time, it's getting pretty late, but there's a sewing machine dealer where I can get a Bernina quilting foot. But, I took the wrong lane and couldn't exit. By the time I could turn around and get back, I'd driven past a really bad accident, so that was out. I'd never have gotten back there by 5:30.

Then, I drive all the way back across Cleveland to get to Quilter's Source in Parma, OH. It's the shop that's open until 8. Here, I got a great red and a gold. I also got an off white batik to go with a quilt Rob has requested and a Moda pack of 5" squares (sorry, I don't know what those are called) to use in a baby quilt I need to make.

All in all, a great trip so far. After sitting in traffic for what seemed forever, I finally got back to the hotel and have had a sandwich and have just realized how tired I am. So, time for some resting to get ready for the work that actually brought me to Cleveland in the first place. But, so far, I have to say it's my most fun trip to Cleveland ever! Now, I'm going to sit and baste some hexagons until I drift off to sleep.

Y'all take care and have a great couple of days. I don't know how much time I'll have to get back online but I'll let you know how the rest of the trip goes. Lane


One stitch after the other, on and on...

I'm almost half way around Apple Pi, whipping the binding down. And, my mind is moving on to my next project. But, there's no need to start thinking about that now. There's no time to work on it, so why torture myself thinking about it. Speaking of torture, we're going to have to replace the carpet in our house...soon. Rob surprised me by walking through the flooring section yesterday, looking at prices. Now, me, I can make a decision, place an order and get the furniture out of the house for the installation without ever looking back. Rob, on the other hand will suffer long and hard to make sure he doesn't regret whatever we do. I think I've just about talked him into pulling up the old carpet and painting the floor and spreading area rugs around. The prices yesterday helped, that's for sure. It's so hot down here and I really think that having the concrete slab exposed would keep the house so much cooler in the summer. It would be colder in winter, but we only have one cold month a year anyway. It would be much cheaper to keep it warm for a month than to keep it cool for 6 months. We have two neighbors that did it and it really worked for both of them. But, they painted their floors flat and dark. I'd want something with some shine and a nice neutral. I teased that we'd paint it light green and paint a big red oriental carpet in the center. That did not go over very well.

Sydney finished her book yesterday while I ironed and embroidered. And, she finished the book report with a minimum of whining. It's a "brown bag book report" so not only did she have to write a short summary of the book, but she had to decorate a brown lunch bag and put 10 things inside that reminded her of the book. They decorated the bag on Friday while I took a night off from her schoolwork and we scurried around pulling things from around the house over the weekend to go inside. I think she's pretty proud and she certainly did "A" level work. Poor thing. She never gets to rest from Rob and my perfectionist tendencies.

And, yes, I did pull threads for that little bit of embroidery I wanted to do. And, I'm glad I didn't take it on a two day trip. It was more bulk in the luggage than what I originally planned to take as finger work and I was finished in an hour and a half. I'd have been so disappointed on the second night with nothing to do. Idle hands are the devil's workshop. I'd probably start something new!

While I'm in Cleveland, I've arranged for time away from the group and to borrow one of the cars to go quilt shop hopping. I've always wanted to do that, but there's never been time. This time, I took inspiration from Erin (My Patchwork Life) and decided I'm doing it. So, I've found the shops I want to visit and looked up the addresses and phone numbers. Two are near the hotel and one is nearer the airport. I have to take two co-workers to the hotel when we get there, but then I get the car. The stores closest to the hotel close at 5, so I'll hit them first and the third place is open til 8 so plenty of time. Then, I plan some Italian at my favorite Cleveland "hole in the wall." Back to the hotel early and plenty of time to play.

Y'all take care and have a great Monday. We'll see ya round blogland. Lane



Well, sorta yeah. When I got the binding on and turned the first corner stitching it down, I realized i had not quilted in the corners. Uggghhhh. But, I'll wait until it's bound and then put that in.

We talked about quilting for texture in threads that disappear into the background. Here's the quilt front lit. See the apple with the bite out of it? Tee-hee...i crack myself up.

And, here's the quilt side lit. You can see how much texture there really is. Just makes me want to reach out and rub it.

I expect to spend a lot of time listening to the book and whipping down binding. And, I picked a project to take to Cleveland next week. It's just basting hexagons, but, who says a project needs to be complicated to be fun. It's certainly the most portable project I have. But, I'd rather pull out embroidery floss and embroider the month names on one of my BOM's. That takes enough ambition to pull out thread during what is shaping up to be a very busy day.

Y'all take care and have a great Sunday. We're watching a long movie about the 70's that's really good. Lane


I can see the finish line!

I couldn't resist a little quilting last night, so I had Sydney do her reading aloud in the sewing room while I sat at the machine making repairs to my quilting on Apple Pi. Only had to ask her to speak up once. We are reading the best book! I can't wait to find out what happens next.

The long jog to finish Apple Pi is almost over. I can finish the quilting in no more than 3 hours. Then, there's cleanup (you know, the hunt with a magnifying glass for dangling threads). I'm also going to try to run over it with one of those sticky lint brushes to see if it will help me find those long threads that the quilter never sees, but are always found when you're showing off the piece under a bright light. When I had to walk away this morning, I spread it out on the sewing table and set the light just above one edge so all the texture would show up. Can't wait to share that picture with you guys. Finish the quilting and get it bound and I'll be done!!! Yeah!!

I was found on facebook by an elementary school friend the other day. Wow, that goes back a long way. We were in school together from first grade until 9th grade. She was a beautiful girl and looks fantastic. Made me feel old. My high school sweetheart's daughter was on the homecoming court this year. (No, she never knew I had a crush in high school. She married a boy she's dated since before I met her. I had to settle for just good friends. Wonder if things would have turned out differently...hmmm...nah, probably not.) That also made me feel old. So, I dressed up in my best cowboy clothes and boots for work today. Hey, look pretty, feel pretty, right?

From Sydney's math book: If Maria bought 5 1/4 yards of material and made a dress that took 3 1/8 yards, how much material did she have left? Sydney's answer? 2 1/8 yards. My answer? None...she quickly added it as the perfect border for a quilt she had in progress. (Have you ever found that you wear colors at the same time you're using them in a quilt? I sure have.)

Y'all have a great Friday. I have to leave work early because our neighbors, who keep Sydney between the time the bus drops her off and the time Rob gets home, are out of pocket today. I plan to use the extra time at my sewing machine. Maybe I'll even be able to talk Sydney into reading so we can get that out of the way so we can watch TV tonight. Rob would appreciate that. See ya'. Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday

Hi, everybody! Welcome to VTT sponsored by my friend Coloradolady (Suzanne). Suzanne is featuring a set of dishes that remind her of her childhood today. At the bottom of my blog, I've left a little note to Suzanne about those dishes.

Today, I'm in honor of my Dad's very good news after his procedure yesterday, I'm featuring a quilt that came from his parent's home. This is a real beauty with blue stars, muslin and the sashing is red with green cornerstones. It is beautifully pieced. The pattern is either Sunflower or Sunflower in a Star, I can't remember which. I stumbled up on it very soon after My mom gave me the quilt and didn't get it and now, I can't find it again. The yellow sunflower petals are sewn in such a way that they are three dimensional, which explains why the lines don't look straight. It's because they are sewn into the seam between the two blue starpoints, spread and pressed flat into the teardrop shape of a petal.

The top is beautiful, but I think it must have been purchased or handed down. The quilting is not up to the high quality of the hand pieced top. The backing is the thinest navy polyester...so thin that you can see the batting through it and the quilting stitches are very large and nowhere near straight lines, but done in a dark blue thread, so each and every one of them shows up on the top. One day, I hope to pull the quilting stitches, replace the poly batting and backing with cotton and re-handquilt it. One day...you know, that day. That day when i don't have 44 other quilting irons in the fire.

Now, for my funny Suzanne story. Suzanne is featuring a set of dishes just like the ones her Mom had when Suzanne was a kid. If you remember, about 6 weeks ago, we went antiquing and had the challenge to buy a full place setting to use at our supper that night and we could only spend $3. My plate was from that set. The set must have been popular in the are we were in because we saw a ton of it, cheap! I even went into some thrift store and saw a whole set, with serving pieces. Wish I could remember where, Suzanne!
Y'all have a great Thursday and jump on over to Suzanne's site and see all the other great vintage items people have shared. Lane