Saturday, March 31, 2007

Getting to work

I've actually been working in my sewing room quite a bit. Sadly, I think that it's mainly because my husband has been home and if I'm not busy he will most likely want help digging some holes or clearing brush or something. I help out outdoors sometimes, but I definitely prefer sewing or quilting! Check out the cute thing I made today. I found this idea here, and thought it was brilliant. I had wanted to get some watercolor pencils for a young artist I know, and this idea came along at the perfect time.
She loves to draw cats, so I used this Laurel Burch fabric for the backing. I hope she likes bright colors. I'm not really into brights, but I love Laurel Burch's fabrics anyway, they're so imaginative and charming. I think it turned out pretty well for my first one. I used batting between the layers, I think it will help keep the pencils in place. Maybe I'll make one for my colored pencils, too.
My husband talked me into getting a new bike yesterday. We both need to get in better shape and lose some weight. I'm diabetic, and the complications that can go along with that are pretty scary. DH's cholesterol is way too high, so this will be a good thing for both of us. We went for our first ride today, it was a bit cool out, but it was really nice to get out and ride again. It's so great that spring is finally here, people are out working on their lawns, getting exercise, playing with their families.

This is another UFO I've been working on, I had leftover blocks from a quilt I made for my oldest son, and since I have tons of batiks I thought it would be a good idea to keep going. You might think I would have used up quite a bit of my batik stash making these, but no, there will be many batiks left for my gr-gr-grandchildren. I've pretty much accepted that they aren't going to quit making beautiful batiks and I'm not going to be able to resist buying some of them, so hopefully the quilting gene will be strong in future generations. My oldest son wants to learn to quilt, and my daughter has dabbled in it, and also likes to sew a bit, so I'm ever hopeful.

This is the other side of the quilt, it's a little bit different from the first one as I'm making an odd block here & there from batik scraps. I really don't like this side of the quilt, but my kids all liked the 'loud' side on the last quilt, go figure. I make the blocks individually and machine sew them, then sew them together (tutorial here)-scroll down on the page. I don't have the set up to machine quilt large quilts, so this is the best way for me to do it. I mostly hand quilt, but I do a bit of machine quilting here and there.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Quilts & more quilts

To make up for the lack of quilts in my last blog, today I'm giving you lots of beautiful quilts. I've been back to Shipshewana, one of my favorite places to spend a relaxing day. The pic on the right was taken at Lolly's, that wall of quilts just knocks me out.
The weather has taken such a wonderful turn, yesterday the temps got to around 80! Some crocus and daffodills popped up, and the birds are singing like crazy. It's heaven after that long winter.

This pic is from Rebecca Haarer Arts & Antiques. They have so many wonderful things in this store, I could spend the whole day there. I believe the quilts are mostly Amish & Mennonite made, most are vintage, and the quilting is amazing. They have a cupboard full of vintage quilt blocks that I lust over, and so many other great things I won't even try to list, you'll just have to get there someday and see for yourself.

This quilt is on the wall outside Lolly's Fabrics. I love the colors they used, the white really shows off the applique wonderfully. I actually resisted buying the pattern, I still haven't started the Christmas quilt that they had hanging up there over the holidays. I'm trying not to start anything new until I finish up some UFOs.

I'm trying not to buy much fabric either, until I use up more of what I have (hmmm...not sure how that will work when I'm not starting anything new!). I really need to dig in to my stash and get rid of some of the older stuff I'm probably never going to use. So far I haven't been able to bring myself to part with much of it.

I did get these postcards done for an on-line swap, didn't use up much fabric, but I actually got them finished before Easter! I wanted to try out my new wool punching tool thingy on the wool card, but I think the wool I chose was too thick. The heart was starting to stick, but the bunny was just getting shredded, so I ended up starting over & doing a blanket stitch around the edges.

Time to get back to work on those UFOs, hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Back Home Again

I'm betting the majority of you can guess where we were on vacation by looking at this photo (that's our son, Alex). Both our boys live in California, near San Francisco, and we finally got to visit them. It was a great time, March is not my favorite time in Michigan. When we left we had knee high snow, but fortunately it almost all melted while we were gone. We had beautiful weather in California, the bay area is really nice. Beautiful, but too many people and too expensive for me.

I do love these poppies, they were all over. Everything was blooming; daffodills, day lilies, honeysuckle....all kinds of beautiful flowers & shrubs. We didn't do a lot of the touristy things, we just wanted to relax and see the boys. My brilliant oldest son did take me to San Francisco to the Britex fabric store, though. It's like heaven, 4 floors of every kind of fabric, even hand woven fabric from Nepal, it was amazing. I so wish I lived near it, I'd be in there every day. If you quilt, sew or make crafts, and you ever go to San Francisco, you must go there.

We also went to Monterey, we went to the wharf & also drove down the
17 Mile Drive which is wonderful. Some rich and famous people live there (I think Clint Eastwood lives there or used to), the drive takes you past some huge and very expensive homes, but also some great views of the ocean. Well worth the $9 in MHO.

I would have loved to see California as it was when the first settlers arrived there. It must have seemed like heaven after the trip across the desert. Too bad my ancestors got to Michigan & said "Good enough!". Not that I'm complaining about Michigan, I think we're blessed with an abundance of beauty here, but the long winters get tiring and it's definitely not a great place to live right now if you like to work for a living.

(Warning, airline rant follows) Oh, I didn't mention the NIGHTMARE we had getting there. My husband got our tickets through Orbitz, and when we went to check in we were told that we were on standby (we had no idea, nothing we had in our papers told us or we would never have bought those tickets). The lady at the Delta desk told us that Orbitz always overbooks by 10% & we wouldn't be making this flight. We were in South Bend, Indiana, supposed to go from there to Cincinnati & then to San Francisco. She said they could shuttle us to Chicago & we could go from there to Atlanta & on to San Francisco. The shuttle was a van with 7 of us squeezed in, we got to Chicago just as our flight was leaving, so the lady at the Delta desk there said there were no flights that would work out, but she could put us on a flight to Atlanta, to a connecting flight that was scheduled to leave a half hour before we got there, but was supposed to be running late. If we missed it, they'd put us up in Atlanta. She also said our luggage would be on a different flight, so to get what we wanted out of it. We didn't have room in our carry-ons, so we just grabbed night clothes. Soooooo, next we got to Atlanta & of course the flight just left about 5 minutes before we got there, we had to get in line with a bunch of other grouchy people, and when we got to the desk, they guy said there was a flight to Oakland, CA, but we would have to run to get there. We just made it by a hair, and we actually got to ride in First Class. That was pretty cool, I'd like flying a lot more if I could do that every time. Anyway, we did finally get there early the next morning, exhausted and upset, but at least we made it and our son was great about changing plans several times and picking us up. Unfortunately our luggage was still in Atlanta, and we didn't get it for a day and a half (they lost it and said they had no idea where it was). We had to buy clothes as we were getting stinky, and if I still had the baggage claim number the airline would be willing to give us $25 towards what we had to buy. I'd like to see them buy pants, shirt, underwear, socks and toiletries for $25. The airline did give us vouchers for future tickets, but I have to tell you it wasn't worth it, and from what I'm reading in the papers things like that are commonplace now. So be careful when buying tickets on-line, I'll bet it's not just Orbitz that's overbooking flights and that just makes me livid! Every person buying a ticket to those flights has somewhere they need to be, other flights to catch, family waiting for them. It's total bull*%&!* to overbook flights.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Not so much from my perspective, but maybe I'll appreciate it more after I get to California next week. We got about another foot since last night, after it rained off & on for a few days, so it's caused a few traffic deaths. Fortunately we've been able to stay on the roads so far. It seems to be causing some problems for the wildlife around here, we've seen a possom come out of hiding a couple of times down by the pond, the poor thing has a heck of a time struggling through the deep snow. Apparently he's trying to get water from the pond, but I don't think he's had much luck. My kind hearted daughter had to run down and put some corn down by the edge of the pond in case he was hungry.
I just got the picture of these turkeys in our back yard a few minutes ago. We've never had turkeys right in our back yard like this, there were a dozen of them scratching and pecking below our bird feeders. The birds were not too happy about that, they stayed up the trees waiting until the intruders went away to get back to eating.

We're having a hard time keeping the bird feeders full lately, and we have several feeders out there. We love watching them, though. We've had a lot of cardinals lately, they look so bright a pretty against the snow & the brown of the trees. The black capped chickadees are funny, they seem to be the bravest. When we're filling the feeders they flutter around our heads and sit nearby on the branches calling out chick-a-dee-dee-dee. I understand that it's not too hard to train them to eat from your hand, but I'm too impatient to stand still long enough to try it.

My daughter and I actually made it down to Shipshewana, Indiana, this week. I got this cute little hanky at a toy store. They had a few different kinds, wouldn't this make a cute block for a baby quilt? It's made by Schylling Co., and was only $1.95.

Fortunately for me we have to go back to Shipshy next week. We've been looking for a cupboard for the kitchen to go in a spot where we had a window taken out when we added on to the house. The builders did a rather nasty job of filling in where the window was, so we definitely need to cover it up. I've been looking for months for something like a jelly cupboard, and finally found the perfect thing, I think it will fit our house very well. Of course I'll post a pic when we get it home & in place.
Not much progress going on with quilts lately, I've been working on a paper project, and slowly plugging along on this. In a couple of weeks I should have some much nicer pictures (of San Francisco!), our two sons live out in that area and we're finally getting out there to visit them (good timing, eh?). I hope to visit a couple of fabric &/or quilts stores while I'm out there, if you know of any that are outstanding in the San Francisco/San Mateo/San Jose area, please let me know!