Monday, December 17, 2012

New blog - new email enrollment

I just had dinner with a friend who subscribed by email to this blog.  She is the second or third person who didn't realize that to get the new blog by email, you have to subscribe at my new blog home.

Here's the new blog's address.

This blog will stay here, I have some posts I really like and want to keep.  But the new stuff is at the new Chicago Now space.  Check it out, I've been posting on some pretty diverse subjects but tying them all into my quilts or my sewing. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blog has moved

Hi there!

I thought I would try something new and join a community of Bloggers over at Chicago Now.  I guess I was able to fool them because they said, sure come on over.

So I will be blogging over there, maybe permanently?

I just published my first blog there and phew, wordpress is trickier than blogger.

I am going to give it a try.

Come visit me there, you can even sign up to have the blog sent to you via email.

Just click here!

New blog

See you at the new spot.

Sew happy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Working together

Nope, you are not seeing double.  (Well unless you see more than two quilt tops!)

I finished putting all the quilt blocks into rows and the rows into tops.  Yay!  It is such a good feeling to make measurable progress and I think it is one of the reasons why I like quilting so much.  All my little bits of work add up to a whole and it stays whole!

Next week I hope to have the borders on and be working on the backs.  I am telling you right now that I am doing the back a little backwards, I am going to make borders in a size that will not make this top wider than the fabric I have for the back.  It is 54 inches wide, these are lap or wall quilts so they can give up an inch or two and fit and we will all be happy.  Well, I will be happy.  Because I will be working with what I have and making it work, and as a result creating less work for myself.  Working smarter, not harder!

What other quilty things have been going on?  Not as much as I would have liked because I had my annual back to school cold (achoo!) and I am only teaching part time and college at that!  I guess some rituals never die!

One of those rituals is football in the fall.  We went to our first U of I game for the season.  It was warm and we won so it just didn't seem like U of I football but I know it is because the calendar tells me so!  Let's do the fall rituals.

We threw out the scraggly flowers on the front balcony and put fresh mums and pumpkins out there.  I put this quilt on the front door, it has just the right colors for early fall.  My friend, Marge, gave me a fabric bundle once of these terrific prints and stripes.  It was perfect for the early fall quilt, not the darker colors of Halloween or Thanksgiving.

 I am lucky to have so many good friends, like Marge, in my life.  Some of them, like Marge, have been in my life since college and others have brightened it up for the past couple of years. 
My friends are all different and in some ways like the fabulous backing fabric I already have for the heart quilts.  In order to use it in the best way, I have to make the borders fit that size.  In order to keep my friends in my life, I have to be able to see them, communicate with them and talk with them in the way that works for both of us.  You can't just make the quilt top any old size if you want to not have to piece the back and you can't just do whatever you want all the time and expect your friends to still fit in your life. 

Here's to quilt backs and fronts that work together and friends who do the same. 

Sew happy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Second year of blogging, balancing

 Hip hip hooray, I have all the blocks pieced for one of the Hot for Chocolate quilts.  What a nice feeling.  It has motivated me to work harder on the second one, I have two rows of blocks pieced for that quilt. 

Which means, add some borders and I could be quilting them on the machine in a week...or two..

I am so confident that I dug out the backing fabric so I could wash it. 

Do you remember this fabric?  I got it on a super good price at the Crate and Barrel outlet.

I have ten or more yards of it!

I have it all in the washer right now.  As I look at the two pictures, it doesn't look as good as it does when they are side by side.

I am going to say they look much better when next to each other plus I really do like that fabric.  Yes, I know if I worked all the time on sewing, they would both be done.  But I am busy doing other things!

 I started my new job and working on the works of Isabel Allende has really got my brain on fire!  There is nothing like trying to understand the world view of another person to light up your head.  I enjoy teaching my two classes.

I also got my second photo book from Snapfish - it didn't arrive so I contacted them and they made me a second one and overnighted it PLUS gave me a credit for another photo book.  Isn't that amazing customer service.  I love really liking a company.
Speaking of really liking something, look at this delightful lamp!

I could not love it more, I really could not!

Yesterday my husband and I went to Cantigy gardens in Wheaton and afterwards I went to Serene Teaz and found this little cutie!

I have it on my desk and I am looking at it right now.

Plus, I have gotten back into the indoor pool, my buddies from Aqua Exercise are meeting me even though I can't be in class due to my job.  Those are good buddies!

Why am I writing all of this?  So you know why I am only done with one quilt top.  Quilters cannot just quilt, they have to have balanced lives!  Being a retired teacher sure helps with my balance.

I have tried to balance writing the blog as well.  I have now been at this for a bit over a year.  (Happy blog bday to me!)  At first, I did it every day!  Then five days a week!  Then three days a week and now I am aiming for once a week.  I love musing about my quilts and showing them off but I have to balance it with the rest of my life.  Plus, heck, no one but my husband has read all of my entries, you can just go back and read old ones if you want more entries.

I will write again in about a week or when I get that second top pieced, whichever happens first.  In the meantime, try to keep your life in balance and make a quilt of all the things in life that light up your brain.  Or your desk, as in the case of my cutest ever tea pot lamp!

Sew happy!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Quilt shop travels

I am home from all my travels.  The laundry is done so it must be time to recap my quilt store booty from traveling out west. 

First store I hit was Big Sky Quilts in Great Falls, Montana.  Big Sky Quilts has a web site which you can access by clicking on the link. 

I loved this shop, the ladies were so darn friendly.  I had to call for directions as the address in Yelp was listed incorrectly.  But it was worth the search!  I got so many cool patterns and I really hope I get to make all of them some day, I need to refresh some of my kitchen linens.  I also went a little wild and bought some fabric plus a panel with bison.  Yes, bison.  No, I am not quite sure what I will use it for but my daughter has a friend who is nuts for bison so maybe she will get a surprise apron in the mail.  I also picked up some fat quarter batiks to donate to a basket at my quilt guild.  Plus a bit of yellow with black but I may just be able to use it with my others.  I also picked up the pattern for a quilt that I can use with the 25 million grey and yellow fabrics I have purchased. 

 Our next stop was Bozeman, MT which we used as our base for visiting Yellowstone National Park and which I loved for its restaurants and store.  I went to Main Street quilts.  Main Street Quilts does not have a web site but the link will get you to its Yelp reviews, address, etc.

I loved the physical layout of the store itself and I got a book, a magazine and some yellow and grey fabrics.  I was obviously not a regular there and while everyone was cordial, it was not an effusive welcome to our store. 

I am sure my lower purchase amount reflected this.  When you feel like old friends like I did in Great Falls, you just naturally buy more!
  Our third stop was Pocatello, Idaho, home to Sage Creek Quilts.  Here is their website.  Sage Creek Quilts

What a fabulous quilt store, just chock full of amazing fabrics - what a selection and a great balance between traditional and modern.  They had all kinds of grey and yellow!  I was in heaven.  Also picked up some Kaffe Fassett and a print to go with solids.  Also, 4 checked dishtowels to decorate and a book.

This was such a great store with a place for machine quilting, friendly clerk, it just had it all.  Of all the quilt stores I have visited on my travels this one is in my top three.  The other two are one in Hannibal, MO and the one I visited next!

After our trip out west we went to LaCrosse, WI for a wedding.  This is the top one of my top three in the county.  Olive Juice Quilt Store

It is just an over the top fun store of abundance.  It is visually appealing, fresh, clean and light filled with whimsy and new fabrics.  I got two kits and some more, you guessed it, yellow and grey fabrics!

I was so happy to go to the wonderful wedding and so excited I got to visit Olive Juice quilt store again!

Once we got home I had to slam myself into my new part time Adjunct job.  I was up there for training two days and spent the rest of the time doing my syllabi for my two classes.  This will take time away from my blog! 

I started this blog when my class didn't fill last fall and I needed some structure to my days.  It really helped focus me!  Now that I am working again, I will probably post just once a week.  I hope to have some good progress on the heart quilts.  And I want to start the grey and yellow quilt for my grand daughter who is due in December.  I seriously have enough fabric for about 20 grey and yellow quilts so we shall see where all that leads!

I am going to keep trying to sew or knit four hours a day I just won't be writing about it every day.  We'll talk just not every day!

Sew happy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thoughts before hitting the road

 One of the things I love about social media is that you can steal, I mean borrow, all kinds of fun pictures.

This one was me on Saturday night, I was just all out of sorts.  Didn't win at cards, didn't get to spend any time with Shelby, didn't get to see the meteors, cranky with my hubby.  It was just a cranky kind of day.

Doesn't this little picture sum it up?
 Today I had a cranky hangover.  I wasn't cranky any more but boy did I need coffee.

Then I saw this!



Today was a much better day.  Had a nice breakfast with my hubz and saw former students.  Boy, those former students can make my life's work just seem so meaningful.  They are so very kind to me with their words and making sure they see me.

It does a body good, to get some gratitude!

I loved this little picture also.

I will get a chance to read, big time, as Cliff and I are hitting the road.  He has a business trip to terminals in Great Falls, Montana and Pocatello, Idaho.  In between, we are going to stop at Yellowstone National Park.  Fun!  The minute we get home, we are leaving for a wedding in La Crosse, WI.

So no blogs for about two weeks.  I will be back the week of September 27th.  I hope I have visited some quilt stores and hey, maybe even made some sewing progress!

Enjoy the end of your summer!

Sew happy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

City Quilting

 When I travel, I love to visit Quilt stores.  Two years ago I was in NYC with my friend, Vicki, to attend the White Coat ceremony of her daughter.

Lucky for me, Vicki indulged me by visiting The City Quilter.  I had read about it a Quilt magazine.  Here's a link to it

Did I mention that I am really bad at directions?  So not only did Hayley and Vicki go with me, they actually led me there!
 I loved this shop!

Right in the middle of NYC there is this oasis of fabric and thread.  What a great way for people who live in the city to continue quilting and buying fabric without having to drive a great distance or order fabric by mail.

Here you can see myself and Vicki in August of 2010 when I was lucky enough to visit here.

I know what you are thinking, are there quilt stores in the city near where you live?
Since I live in the suburbs, I had only visited fabric stores, not quilt stores in Chicago.

So I looked on the internet and by golly there is a quilt store in Chicago.  Here is a link to it Quilt store in Chicago  I will have to check it out some time, it is called Quiltology.  Any readers ever been there?

Which begs the question, what is the theme of this blog post?  Well if you look at this picture, you get an idea of how my brain works.  So I started with The City Quilter in NYC and ended with a store I have never been to.

Pretty cool, yes?  If you are a quilter, I think you understand!

I am working on the Hot for Chocolate tops and will post next week before we leave for Cliff's business trip.

Sew happy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hot for Chocolate rows, part 2

 Remember yesterday's post?

I discussed how I was able to strip piece the blocks on the sashing.

Here's another picture of me doing that. 

I also posted a picture of the 4 blocks of the second strip sewn together.

We ended with cutting a brown sashing strip into 8.5 inch strips.  I cut four of them.

Then I take three of them and strip piece them onto a 2.5 inch strip of the corner stone fabric.
 See here they are!

Yes, it is a quarter inch seam.

I do love the quarter inch foot I have for my Bernina.

I get emails from the Bernina people all the time, webinars, videos, etc. are all available to me because I registered my Bernina when I bought it.  Maybe this winter I will have time to watch some!
 After I have sewn all the brown strips onto the pink corner stone fabric, I cut them apart.

I sew three of them onto the pink fabric.  The fourth one doesn't have a cornerstone.  I know, it seems a bit odd to me also.

But I decided to make the quilt like the pattern shows it as I like it.

I am just tinkering with the sashing directions.
 I sew the four strips together.

Then I press them towards the brown strips or lay the cornerstones flat, spread out.  This will match up with the block pieces being pressed in.

It will make the seams lay flat.  Yes, sometimes I forget which way to press things and then I make it up as I go along, always looking.  But I have this down, block strips versus sashing strips I always press this way.

There is the first row with the sashing row attached.  I am going to attach the sashing row to the second row and then combine the two.

But right now, that is as far as I have gotten!

When I get a chunk more done, I will blog about it.  I hope to have this top done before we leave on a business trip of Cliff's next week.  Maybe I will be able to visit some quilt stores!

Sew happy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First two rows of Hot for Chocolate part 1

 Here is the first row of the Hot for Chocolate quilt.

I love it! 

Remember I have to do two tops and each top has 5 rows so this is 10% of assembling the rows.  Plus the sashing on the top and sides does not have cornerstones and will be added after all of these are assembled.

How did I assemble this row?
 Let's start the second row.

I attach 3 squares to a strip of the brown.

I can line them up and zip them on pretty fast.

Yes, of course, these are 1/4" seams, we are quilting after all.
 Then I cut them apart.

This is a little hard to see.

The pattern has you cut the strips into 8/5 inch strips but I think it is easier to sew them on and then cut them.

Hey, you can do it either way when you are making your quilt!
 I line up the 3 that now have a brown piece of sashing on them and I sew them in a line.

I add a fourth one that has nothing on the side.

Since this quilt has sashing without cornerstones, those ends will be added like a border.

Once all four are joined, I flip them over and iron the seams into the sashing. 
See, it is laying there waiting for the row with the cornerstones.

To make that row, I do cut 8.5 inch pieces of the sashing.

OK, that's all for today.

We will continue tomorrow.  But don't worry, there is a happy ending to this story!

I was away in NYC and my return flight was canceled so I spent an extra night and dropped some money on a hotel room just to sleep nearby and return for a 6:30 am flight.  Grr, I could have spent that money on fabric.  Flying just isn't as much fun as it used to be!  I spent all of yesterday just drooling and recovering so this top might not get put together as quickly as you might expect!  I was pooped and a bit stressed out.  I am glad to be home and thinking about quilting but before that, I did have a great time!

Sew happy!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Downton Abbey and Sewing

 My husband and I just finished a two week marathon of watching Season One and Two of Downton Abbey.  Oh, fine, we did sometimes try to speak with British accents after watching say three episodes in one night.

Now I know what you are thinking, there was no quilting in this program.

Sadly, you are correct.

But there was sewing!

The servants did the necessary sewing.
 And the family members did decorative stitching.

I would love to know who actually did that stitching.

Do you think Cora could really sew?  I mean, I like her, I do!  Well, most of the time.  (When she isn't being hoodwinked by O'Brien.)

But what are her talents?  I don't hear her singing, playing an instrument or really anything.

Maybe stitching is her main talent!

In this period soap opera there is at least that, they do more than just drink beverages and change clothes. 
 Why here they are having a regular sewing bee!  Probably making something we will never see finished on the show.

I will miss Maggie Smith, she was a hoot!  She was at least consistent and had some of the best lines.
 Boo, hiss, here is the evil O'Brien.

Sure she redeemed herself every now and then in the second season but hardly enough to wipe out all her evil doings in the first season.

Plus don't you think it is handy the way that they label the villains?  They smoke!  Yes, she and Thomas are always puffing away.

This show was probably NOT sponsored by any tobacco companies!

She is doing a little stitching here but probably more plotting!

Is Ethel sewing here?

And how about the moral tale with her?

Whoa, did she pay for her wild oats!

I wonder if there will be more developments with her next season and more importantly, will she sew more?

If you haven't watched Downton Abbey I tried to not put any spoilers in this blog entry.

We will have to wait and see what happens next season, this fall in Britain but not until January for us!

In the meantime, I am going to NYC tomorrow to see plays with friends in the city on Saturday.  No quilting adventures but plenty of fun.

Sew happy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


 Saturday night we were lucky enough to attend a Quinceañera of a lovely girl.  

Look at that dress!  Many of these gorgeous dresses are hand made.  Can you imagine?
 She also had a lovely sash which had been embroidered with Mis Quince Años on it.

We were so lucky to have been included.  And I marveled at all the work involved.
 Look at the flowers!

Just cutting up the oranges for 30 tables and putting sashes on 300 chairs!

There were two live bands and a DJ plus all kinds of choreographed dances. What a fiesta!
 The theme was masked ball and the main color was orange with the secondary color being the yellow.

We loved being there!

I just hope I never have to sew a dress for a Quince!
Here I am with my student who invited me. It was the Quinceañera of her sister.

I was so grateful to her and glad I had those orange polka dots in my dress, hey, I kindof matched!

I hope all your fiestas are as swanky and fun!

And that you don't have to make the dresses!

Sew happy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Valentine's day quilts - Emily and Shelby

 I finished all 40 blocks, 20 for Emily's quilt and 20 for Shelby's quilt.

I will pause while you finish your applause.

It was a long time coming, I know!  What I liked about it was once I had all the pieces cut and some of them joined, it was mindless work I could do whenever.

But it is done now!

 I looked through the project boxes for the other fabrics and really had to reread the pattern to make sure I got the right browns for the different areas of the quilt.

I cut 6 strips of brown for each stack.

This is the brown I will use for the sashing.

I poked around looking for pinks or reds for the cornerstone.
 This is what remained of the fabrics.

The brown is for the outermost borders and the reddish stripe for the inner borders.

That left the blackish red for the cornerstone fabric and I didn't like it.

Later, I found a much better red which was hiding but not sure I had enough of that.
So I did kind of a naughty thing, I went into the project boxes for the brown and pink quilt I am making with my friend in DC and stole this pink.

Yes, I did feel a little guilty as a matter of fact.  BUT this fabric began with another fabric which I used in a different project and then transferred to this box at the end of that project.  PLUS this project has been stalled since 2010, hey you snooze you lose fabrics around here!

I cut two strips of this for each quilt.  Now tomorrow I can start sewing them.  Well, after swimming, my dentist appointment and some tutoring!  Life is full and fun lately.

Sew happy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympics and Quilts

Quilts and quilters are always part of any major life event be it personal or international.

The Olympics beginning in London on Friday, July 27, 2012 are no exception.

Here in the US, our quilt celebrations might be on a smaller scale.  I love these rings!

But in London, it's on a much larger scale.

There is an incredible project entitled Quilts4London.  Here is a link to the whole project.  Quilts4london  This project made 17,000 pennants, one for every athlete to take home as a gift.  Can you imagine organizing this?  And a full sized quilt was made for each nation.

There are exhibits as well about this project.  It is stunning to read about.

But the quilts don't end there. 

Here is the bed covering on the bed of every athlete.

Obviously these are mass produced.  I really like them because they have the sports but it is made in a quilt design. 

I think the photographs have very different color values for the quilt. The darker print was used in a web site objecting to these quilts.  Sew silly!

I wonder if these will be sold commercially after the event?

Want to learn and see more about this project?  Me too!

I plan to buy this book to learn all about the various quilts made for the Olympic games.  Here is the link if you would like to purchase one yourself.  Quilt book

I am in awe of the giving nature of quilters, a quilt for every nation and a pennant for every athlete.  Sew generous!

I am glad this project went smoothly, unlike the knitting controversy which has since been settled.  If you haven't read about it, here's the story.   knit controversy

Quilts and the Olympics, wrapped together in gifts of love.

Now let the games begin, I hope to watch and quilt in solidarity with the quilts4london group!

Sew happy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


 I saw this on either Facebook or Pinterest, quite frankly sometimes all of my computer fun blends together.  Going on the computer is one of my hobbies and I love Facebook, Yelp, Goodreads and my blog. Infrequently I look at Pinterest or Twitter plus a dabble or two in Instagram.  I can really get into it!

But my main hobby is sewing and while I agree that my sewing is my therapy, I disagree that it is cheaper than a psychiatrist. No way!  I have machines, threads, needles, patterns, books, furniture and then the fabric.

Sew much fabric!
 Speaking of fabric (and really when am I not?) my friend Gina and I went to Thimbles quilting store in Lockport and bought the fabric for the sashing and cornerstones for our heart quilts.

I have all of my blocks, 6 made by me and 6 made by Gina.  They are all red and white, all shades of red and white into cream.  So we got the black with some dots for the sashing and the geometric red and white for the cornerstones.  We hope to find a red and black for the back.  First we have to make the tops!
I finished the second table runner.  I was going to give it as a gift but I wasn't satisfied with the tension on the back so I gave it to Emily.  I kept the first one for the same reason and it looks great on the island.  You can see both of them.

I have to get that tension issue solved once and for all.  Apparently there is a device that can "read" the bottom tension of whatever thread you have in there and tell you what adjustments to make.  Natch, I will be buying one!

Tomorrow I will be downtown again so no blog.  I am working on the heart blocks for the second quilt, I have 8 of them finished.  Maybe they will all be done when I write again.  I will let you know on either Thursday or Friday.  I have to enjoy my summer as well as my sewing!

Sew happy!