Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter on the way

 I am having my family here for Easter and I have the spring quilt on my condo door and a few bits of Easter decorations in my kitchen.

This Easter apron is the second one I have made and neither one make my heart beat faster.  Is it the fabric?  The colors?  Do I have some sort of deep seated resentment for Bunnies?

I am not sure but it is the holiday for which I have done the least amount of sewing. 

Maybe I am not a pastel kind of girl?

Do jelly beans turn me off?
 Here is an Easter table runner I have on my kitchen island along with some little Easter doo dads.



I think that I really liked Easter best when I wasn't around to celebrate it with my family.  No offense family, I love you all!  But it's not like Christmas or Thanksgiving when I would die if I were not with them.  I taught French for 16 years and ten of those years I led student groups to France over spring break which always fell over Easter weekend and beyond.  I was trampling around Paris, London, Normandy and Provence.  Quite frankly, that beats the bunny any day of the week.  Of course I was also leading groups of 20 to 40 teenagers.  
Hey, you know, Easter at home at its pluses as well!

On my sideboard I have one antique bowl from my Mom mixed in with Peter Cotton tail children's china that my girls received from my Mom and sister when they were babies.  It was too good to actually use but it does look good on display with some crystal and a bunny candy dish.

I will enjoy setting the table for Easter dinner, I have some tried and true linens I made years ago plus I love my Hadley dishes.

I am feeling better about Easter now, heck, I may even eat some jelly beans!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Facebook and quilting

This is the best contribution to my quilting life that I have found on Facebook.  I actually love it and shared it to my wall.

I "like" lots of different quilting pages.  This is probably my favorite page.  Quilters Club page  I read a variety of posts that come through my feed and I have entered all kinds of contests to win fabric, fabric bundles, supplies, etc.  I have won none of it.

I also like the page that AQS has. AQS facebook page  I entered my blog there and I was blog of the week which was very fun.  I find that people are using the AQS page to just advertise their own blog or product.

I always thought that I would use Social Media more in my sewing life but I really haven't. 

I like sewing/quilting and magazines about quilting and sewing.  I adore visiting shops and buying fabric, even online.  I love books and patterns.  I just haven't extended this love to digital quilting sites. 

I love quilts and I love Facebook, I just haven't joined the two.  I will let you know if I figure it out.

Until then, I will post my quilt pictures here and on Facebook when they are done.  I will connect with friends on Facebook and with fabric in my sewing room.

And of course, I will blog about it all!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


 I joined Pinterest about a month ago.  I set up 5 boards - I like it, For the Home, Travel, Sew much fun and Quilts.
It automatically made me followers on Pinterest of people who I am friends with on Facebook.

There is a a way to just see what they have "pinned" or you can just have everything that has been "pinned" or go to an interest of yours and see what has been "pinned" about that subject.

If you like it, you repin it to your board.  The whole thing seems to be digital bulletin boards of pictures which are attached to web addresses.  Like bookmarking but with pictures and organized on boards.

I "pinned" this.
And this.

Ok, now I guess I go back and make these items?  I already have a file drawer full of patterns and magazine articles I would like to try.  I guess this is just adding to that file, but digitally.

People seem to "pin" a lot of recipes.  I try to avoid cooking so that part did not appeal to me.

I added to the feed some "pins" from my blog which people "repinned" but no new blog followers.

If you would like to see my boards, be my guest.  My pinterest home  Click here!

There are a lot of ways to investigate your interests, your friends and in general waste time online.  Except for reading this blog, that is a wise investment of your time!

I admit it, I am hooked on Facebook and Yelp.  I like Goodreads.  I use email.  I tweet every once in a while.  I have a drop box account.  Now I have a Pinterest account.  Maybe different social media and online sites appeal to different people.  I did find a knit shop whose Pins I like by the name of Merche Grossomodo.  I even found her on Facebook.  Now what?

What do you think of Pinterest?

Oh, feel free to "pin" this to one of your boards!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One more section quilted

 I got another section of the City Green quilt done.


I wish I could say that I am loving quilting this but I cannot.

The second time through I have to literally force myself to quilt.

Even while I am doing it, I am thinking of excuses to stop quilting. 
 As a result I was quite pleased to have this section done.

Maybe I will be more motivated now that I am moving along?

I hope so because quite frankly, it has taken me way too long.

The brown just seemed to bop right along and then wham, I hit a brick wall.

I actually could have started on the next section of circles but it seems more even to turn it after a group of honeycomb, circle, circle and honeycomb. 

I did the math TWICE to make sure this will work out evenly.  I have suddenly decided it probably won't. 
At any rate, I am slowly persevering. 


I rolled up the quilt, one more section and then I will be half done.

At least when it is done, it will be done.  There are very few things like that in life.  Done with the laundry?  Just wait a couple of days, there will be more.  Same with a clean house or graded papers.  But an educational degree and quilting never have to be done again.  You have that degree and it's yours for life.  Same with quilting.  This quilt will go on the wall.  Once I am done with it, I will be done.

Maybe I should just go up there and finish it off.  Or, I may need to relax and have some more dark chocolate.

It will get done.  Eventually!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hot for Chocolate BLOCKS!

 Hip hip hooray, all the individual square are done for both Hot for Chocolate quilts.  I keep the squares separate however so I will do the blocks for each quilt and not mix them up.

I roughly divided the triangle blocks, rectangles and brown squares on the chair next to my sewing machine.

I put the picture of the finished quilt right by it to keep me motivated.

These are randomly placed.  I go through and select one block's worth of squares.

I try to avoid having same fabrics next to each other or more than twice in a block.
 Once I select the squares, I line it up on the ironing board.

You can see better how all the pink or red squares have been joined into rectangles and all the triangles are joined together.

This was tedious at the beginning but it makes the blocks sew up much faster.

I am liking the fabrics again!

When I get the horizontal strips put together, I transfer the block next to my sewing machine after pressing the strips in opposite directions.  That way the block will lay flatter.
 Here is a block waiting for its last sewing.

(A side note, I like using its correctly.  On Facebook and Yelp I have noticed that people have no idea that it's = it is.  They think it is the possessive of it.  It's not a hard concept to learn and has its own reward.  Grammar rant over, thanks for indulging me.)

When I sew the horizontal strips together, I just have to press the block.
I have four all made.


I have one lined up, one with horizontal strips done and one waiting to be pressed.  I keep a regular assembly line going.

Each quilt needs 20 blocks.

I am planning on making all 40 blocks before I piece the top.

All this fabric has made me actually hot for chocolate.  I eat dark chocolate strictly for medicinal purposes, ha!

I actually read about one study that said dark chocolate is more effective than statins for lowering cholesterol.  I don't know if that is true but I have low cholesterol and I eat dark chocolate every single day!

Hot for chocolate - in quilts and in life!

P.S.  Thanks for voting for my caption, I won!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Spring

I do love spring, there is just the promise of new beginnings in the air plus the weather is getting better.  Baseball starts and as Cub fans, it can be the best time of year for us.

This quilt is on my condo door every spring and I have a rag rug in blue and yellow underneath it.  It says come in!  Let's get some ice cream, let's see the baby birds and enjoy the rain.  Let's play two!

It also says, hey, it's spring and you aren't done with your winter sewing Miss Quilt blogger!  Short blog today as I work on City Green and Hot for Chocolate.  It is spring but to have new beginnings you have to finish up the other projects. 

Happy sewing and if you see me on Facebook or out and about, tell me to get back into my sewing room and get those projects DONE!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More fun projects to make

 After teaching today I drove over to Thimbles.  Remember I told you that I had ordered an apron pattern and they had called to say it was in?  I finally went over and got it.

But, really, to drive all that way and JUST pick up a pattern.  Who would do that?
Not me, duh!  I picked up 4 fat quarters and a half yard piece of yellows and pinks plus a polka dot that went with them.  I want to make a quick spring table runner.  I just put away all the St. Patrick's day stuff and need a fresh table runner!
 Here is the pattern.

Isn't it cute?  And it takes two yards for the front and back just like my other favorite pattern, plus some trim fabric.

I spied this apron fabric as I was making my way over to the cash register.

I love it!  I had to buy some but then the quandary was, how much?  I settled on 4 yards, I figured I had the reverse fabrics and trim fabrics in my stash.  Or do I?  More shopping?
This cutie patootie pattern also caught my eye.

Not the thread catcher, which is just fine, but the lining for the mug.

I have lots of mugs around with stuff in them.

This little liner allows you to put things on the OUTSIDE of the mug as well.

Pure genius!  I sense a new gift item on the horizon!

I love the excitement of the new project, the fresh fabric, the perfect table runner.  New inspiration for my spring.

Sorry, I can't write any more, I need to go SEW!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fabric of a New Nation

 Two college friends of mine met at the Art Institute a couple of weeks ago but I had a previous engagement and could not meet them.  One of them told me about this exhibit that was there through May.

I am a member of the Art Institute and so I wanted to go but I couldn't save it for an Adventure Friday as my daughter will be teaching until the end of May.

Enter my sister, she and I decided to have a Sisters Only Adventure Friday and she let me choose what we would do first, go to this exhibit.

It was small, very doable, and had quilts and coverlets.  I enjoyed it all but took pictures of my favorites. 
 What surprised me was that these quilts were in such fabulous shape.  My quilts will never be in exhibits!

Can you imagine making something so amazing and then putting it away and never really using it?
 Even the color of the fabric is still bright and vibrant.

The quilts were in better shape than the coverlets which seemed to show wear where they were folded.  

Think of all the applique and then, put it away and keep it safe.

 If I could have chosen one quilt to take home, it would have been this one.

These are my colors, I love all blues but indigo really makes my heart race!

Plus I love the flying geese border.

These quilts were obviously ART not crafts for the home from the very beginning.
No child snuggled under this quilt, maybe rubbing it and then barfing on it.

This was made to be looked at and as a result we can see now examples of extreme quilting - women who could make something that did not have a function, it was just for the sheer beauty of it.My quilts are not like that but they have kept my family warm and been through the wash.  

I am glad someone kept these pristine and I am also glad, my quilts don't have to be.  There is room in the quilting world for both.  If you would like to see or read more about this exhibit, here's a link.  Art Institute

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How do Quilters spend the weekend?

I used to teach five days a week, now I teach two.  Yes, it is lovely.  I teach on Mondays and Wednesdays so theoretically, my weekends start right after my second class. But I don't consider the weekend to be starting until I am done with my Aqua Exercise class on Thursday. 

I think of my weekends as being Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  When my daughter was unemployed, we all really wanted her to find a teaching job, which she did.  But to make the unemployment seem more fun, we had Adventure Friday, my daughter, my sister and I would go to various places in Chicago.

This past Friday, my sister and I kept up the tradition and went to the city, meeting at the Art Institute.  We wanted to walk from there to Millennium Park but the street was closed down because the President was in town.  We walked out the door of the Art Institute and watched his motorcade go by minutes later.  I am pretty sure he mouthed, "Good job on those quilts" as he sped by.

We also went over to Cloudgate, better known as The Bean.  I am trying to think of a way to incorporate it into a quilt.  I just love it.

Saturday was St. Patrick's day and my husband and I had ourcard group here for a Irish themed card night.

What fun just to set the table!

As if this wasn't enough excitement, my knitting group met here on Sunday.  It had been a while since we had met so I was the only one who did any knitting, we had so much talking to do.  Yes, as a matter of fact it is hard to knit something tricky and talk!  But I knit because I needed help big time and my friends are awesome knitters.

I bet you didn't know how wild Quilter were on the weekend.  Wait, you haven't heard about the trip to the Art Institute, that is a whole blog entry unto itself!

Tomorrow:  Quilter weekend part two!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Yes, I know I haven't updated on the two main projects in a bit.  I got distracted by aprons, caption contests, teaching, Yelp reviews and the weather!  It is crazy good with the emphasis on crazy.  When it is the summer and it is super hot, my sewing room is nice and cool.  When it is winter and really cold, my sewing room is nice and cozy warm.  When it is a freakishly early spring, my sewing room is sortof stuffy and warm, and not a good warm!

But I do like these projects so I worked on them today.  I think I am stalled a bit in both because it is becoming a bit repetitive.  I think this is the last time I will quilt a whole quilt in one color and then go back and do the second one.

But I got a whole row finished today and I realized that my lame excuse of not wanting to finish until Cliff is off his crutches is gone. The man is a walking miracle ladies and gents.  I am thrilled plus so happy to not being doing the garbage!

 You can see a close up here of the 5th row, all the circles done, I even had one wobbly circle which I ripped out and redid. 

Underneath you can see the first circle done in the 6th row.  It makes me feel like I am almost done with that row!

I was very distracted (early onset?) and I completely forgot to go for half of my quilt guild.  It is on Wednesday and I have to leave early to teach my class.  This summer I don't teach and next fall they have slated me for a 1:00 start on my class so I only have April left where it is an issue. 

All the triangles for the second Hot for Chocolate quilt have been sewn and ironed and about a third of the bunny ears have been clipped off.

You are probably thinking, "Boy, these triangles have been taking a long time."


Finally I will get to put the blocks together. 

Patience is an important virtue in life.  Sometimes you have to wait for your husband's ankle to get better.  Or possibly you have to wait and see if you win the caption contest.  Or maybe you just have to muscle through the boredom of lots of triangles and a second time of quilting the same quilt.

I can do it, I can stay the course.

But if the weather stays so warm, it might take even longer!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's day

Happy St. Patrick's day tomorrow!  
I have shown you this quilt before but I love looking at it and hey, it's my blog so I am showing it again. 

Irish chain in green and white and it is number one.  I will start on number two when I get a few other quilts done.  Oh, that means I can start collecting fabric.

Now that's a happy St. Patrick's weekend!

We are having a wee party tomorrow night for our card group but they are not wild leprechauns so we should all survive just fine.  I hope you do too!  Erin go bragh my lads and lassies!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Remember the antique mail box that was made into a bank I showed you last month?  I use it as a place for special threads.

My husband has one very similar but it is a double box.  We have it in our bedroom.

A man who works for the same company as my husband but in another state made them for us!  Wasn't that nice?  We pick up shot glasses for him when we are on vacation.  But he has MADE us things.

In my book, gifts that you MAKE for people are gifts that are truly from your heart.  Fine, maybe I do say this because I made a lot of presents for people.

But I wanted to MAKE him something in return.

You already know where this is going, don't you?

I think I showed pictures of the fabric I got for him.  He is a huge fan of Mississippi State.   (Do you remember when you were in like first grade and you learned how to spell MISS ISS IPPI?  I don't think I have ever had more fun spelling.  But I digress.)
I found fabric from there on the internet as then got bull dog fabric and little paw prints.

I made him this apron and with the left over paw print fabric, I made two hankerchiefs?  Doo rags?  Napkins?  Whatever he wants!

I am not sure that his heart's desire is to have a Bulldog apron but I wanted to give him something from my heart and hands.  When little Darcy was delivered, he was so very empathetic and made me the bank to express with his hands what what in his heart.  I am doing the same, making him an apron to say with fabric, thanks for being such a good and thoughtful person.

Plus, how many times can you get an excuse to sew with bulldog fabric?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New apron pattern

I tried a new apron pattern.


I love that old apron pattern.  I bought it in the mid 1970's to make a white apron and go to a Halloween costume party as a chef, I even found a chef hat.

Flash forward 30 years and I got on an apron making kick and I have not stopped since!

Once you get hooked on aprons, you are totally hooked, trust me on this.

I am positively evangelical about aprons!  They look cute hanging up and they are super handy to wear while you are cooking.  Leave it on while you eat and you know that it is then an adult bib.  Is there a better item in the world?  I have made them and given them hundreds of time.

I saw a new pattern which made up to the apron above.  I like it but quite frankly, I think I like the old basic more.  But I saw another new apron pattern at Thimbles and they ordered one for me.  They called to say it was in but I haven't hustled over there to pick it up.  Maybe one new apron pattern per month is enough?

I made this one for a friend who has a new cabin on a lake.  I bought her a Welcome to the Cabin sign to go with it.  The great thing is that I will never go to her cabin so if she doesn't use it, I will never know!  And if she does use it, it may be in the wash or whatever.  I don't like to give gifts where there is this pressure to use and display something!

It's the middle of March, I will make way over to Thimbles and get the new pattern.  I will expand my horizons. 

But, I still get to make some from the old pattern, ok?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Asking for a favor

I am hijacking my own blog today.  (Would that be blog jacking?)

At any rate, the blank cartoon is from The New Yorker.  Every week they have a contest to provide a caption for the blank cartoon.  I started subscribing to The New Yorker after I retired in June of 2010 when everyone was talking about their articles so much on Facebook.

Then I decided to enter the caption contest and I never won.  Then I made it a goal and I put a reminder in my google calendar and every single week I entered a caption.  And every single week I lost.  Until last week!  I got an email on Wednesday while watching the old movie "For Whom the Bell Tolls"  and I may have been a little bored so I went to the bathroom to answer it.

Still I was skeptical until I checked the website last night (hey, they said March 12 and it was March 12 when it was only 11:30 here.)

There it was, my name as a finalist in the caption contest.  This should be enough, right?  That was my goal, right?  Well....maybe now I want to win!

Can you help me out?  Can you vote for me and tell all your friends and neighbors to vote for me also?  Here's the link  Vote in Caption Contest

Thanks, I am pretty darn excited!  I know, I hide it well.  Even if I don't win, it was still super fun to be a finalist.

Thanks again!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Flannel Quilts

I went through a stage where I made a whole lot of flannel quilts.  At first I tied them, then I machine quilted them on my sewing machine, then I had them quilted and now I quilt them on Gladys. 

This was one of the first ones, I made it for the 21st birthday of my oldest daughter, Emily.  She will be 31 next month.  I am in shock as I write that!

I also made one for my father for his 80th birthday and he is 90 years old today.  90 years old!  Isn't that great?

I think he likes to use the quilts I make him so the back of the quilt shows.  Hmmm, well, I guess when you give a gift it is just that, a gift and the person can do what they want with it!

This is the first flannel quilt I made for my husband.  I bought the fabric when we were on our honeymoon in Colorado in 2000.

He loved that quilt.  To death!

I tied it rather than quilt it and it just couldn't live up to all the love.

I made him a replacement and this one was then an extra rather worn out quilt with no chair to call home.

So I put it in the trunk of my car just in case I ever needed a quilt and had access to my trunk.  I also had in there an afghan someone had made for me in 1975 which outlasted my first marriage for which it was a wedding present.

At some point, I thought they needed better new homes and I donated them to charity!

 Right after I made the above quilt for my husband, Shelby realized that everyone had a flannel quilt but her. 

So I made this one which I tied and you guessed it, it has not survived to the present day.  I made her a replacement for it which I quilted on my sewing machine and it has deteriorated rather badly.

But good news, the third flannel quilt has stood up well.  Why?  I think it's because it stayed here when she went off to college.  NO!  Wait, obviously it is because of superior skills and workmanship gained over the years!

As a result of all the untimely demise of flannel quilts, I am not that fond of the fabric.  Too bad because I have too many scraps.  I need to find a place to donate all that flannel.  Or, I could make another one?   Nah, let's give the fabric away and move on!

And happy 90th birthday, Dad!

Friday, March 9, 2012

March - birthdays

March Quilt

March is the birthday month around here, two sisters and my dad all have March birthdays.  My Dad is in Florida for the winter months and only one sister lives near me.  So I get to celebrate with her today, in fact as you are reading this we are probably out having an adventure for her birthday.

I like birthdays, I like letting people know that I am glad they were born.  But I like doing it low key, my sister is the same way.  So, we won't be in Vegas nor have anything to regret.  It may involve tea or sandwiches!  I just want to let her know that I am glad she is alive and my sister.

Birthday table runner

When I have birthday celebrations at my house, I use this table runner.  I made one for my daughter and I liked it so much, I made one for me.

Birthdays are like that, it is a celebration of that person but really the present is to you, you get to have that person in your life.  And sometimes, you copy their table runners for one more present for you.

Enjoy the people who you are glad they were born this weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Barn Quilts - Door County

  In July of 2011, my husband and I went on a long weekend to Door County, WI. This was just a vacation, no real idea of finding quilts.  (Well, I am fibbing a bit, I had, of course, looked up quilt stores in Door County.)

We were driving around and I spied a barn quilt and then another!

Of course we had to find them all!

We did not have a map or the booklet like we had had in Kankakee so we only found six.  I hope we found them all!

Once again, I made them into note cards.

The outside of the card is the whole picture of the barn quilt.  On the inside I put a small version of the close up and tell where the barns are located.  And I put the name of the photographer, me!

 Here are the cases I made this year for the barn quilt note cards.  I showed them before when I was showing what I had made for Christmas presents but I hadn't shown pictures of the barn quilts.

I kept two sets of cards for me but no case.  Now I wish I had, it would be handy for coupons!

This is the last blog for this week, I am taking the day off tomorrow to celebrate my sister's birthday with her.  Yes, I know it is not a federal holiday but maybe it should be!

Enjoy the quilts around you and think how else you could enrich your life with them. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not all quilts are fabric - Kankakee

In the fall of 2010, my husband and I toured the Kankakee County barn quilts.  I saw a picture of one in a calendar, looked them up online and we were off.  (Stopping for lunch and pie at Blue's Cafe!)
Before you look at some of my favorite photos from that trip, here's the link if you want to drive around and do your own tour.  Information on the Barn Quilts

There is a tour next month but you can just drive your own car!

I loved taking pictures, I took a long view and a close up of each barn.  I then used the pictures to create note cards.  I had ten different note cards and got ten of each.  That made ten sets, four of which I kept.

The other six sets, I gave away as presents.  People really liked them.   I made little draw string padded bags to put the cards in which you could use to store your portable GPS in when all the cards were gone.

Here are the bags with the cards inside.

I also reviewed the trail on my Yelp account.  Here is a link to that.  My review of Barn Quilt trail

What's that you say?  You are also interested in the pie?  I would be, too!  In fact, I need to go back there and get more pie!  Blue's cafe

Isn't quilting the best hobby?  It gives you a chance to travel, take pictures and create presents.

Oh, and eat pie!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What our sewing tells about us

 Four rows of quilting done, that's 25% of the squares done. 


Plus, the next two rows that I have to do are the circles so they should go pretty quickly.

I know this quilt is seemingly going slowly but I am doing two colors and rolling the quilt through two times!
 Here you can see the quilt ready to be rolled up again.

The rolling goes faster and is easier as I am only dealing with two rollers, just one at each end.

I know a woman who stabilizes all her quilts this way and drops the roller which controls the top.

I had found that I don't like that method for general quilting.  I think I can get the quilt tighter with 3 rollers.  But it is not an option once you have quilted down the top.
Here is the City Green quilt, all rolled up and ready for four more rows of quilting.

I don't know if you can notice it but the back is pretty darn thready now!  That is the disadvantage of the quilting in the small squares, it is so much stopping and starting. 

The brown quilting was all connected,  so not many threads.

Besides working on the City Green Quilt I also visited the Ernest Hemingway Museum and Home in Oak Park. 

There were quilts featured in the home which is decorated in the Victorian style.  But many of the quilts were Crazy Quilts, that stage of quilting when American Women of leisure showed off their needle skills.  The prestige of having leisure time!  Ernest even had his own sewing basket but he was only allowed to practice his sewing skills on repairing his father's clothes.  Yet, he was dressed in dresses way past the age than  most boys of his era. 

Trying to understand an author or an age, sewing used to provide valuable clues.  Nowadays, not nearly as much as most people don't sew.  I guess the fact that I do provides clues to me and my psyche as much as Ernest's family's quilts did.  My blog and sewing obviously prove that Quilters are wonderful women with great looking bed coverings and wall decorations.  Quilters rule, duh!