Monday, April 30, 2012

Anticipation versus the event

A friend invited my daughter and myself to a Y-Me breast cancer fundraiser.  In the invitation it said to wear Tea party hats so I got 3 at TJ Maxx and we were all so excited about this event.  My daughter even invited a friend and we met my friend there, who didn't wear a hat.  The fundraiser turned out to be pretty much an odd sortof of tribute to the woman who organized it and loved the microphone.  Sigh!  Sometimes the anticipation is more fun than the event.  I think Prom is a classic example of this.  When I taught High School girls would go insane planning their perfect Prom and lots of times, it was a bust.  (I sortof feel this way about weddings also but most people disagree with me!)

Other events are the opposite.  On Monday, as you are reading this, I will be attending my Aunt's funeral.  I wrote about finding out about it via Facebook on Friday.  I am not so much anticipating the long drive and the somberness of a funeral.  Dreading something usually doesn't add to to as feared an event. I will, after all, get to see my cousins that I haven't seen in forever.

Sewing projects can be much the same.  Something you think will be a breeze, will drag on and a project you have put off may just fall together in no time.  Anticipation and the event, many times not as related as we may imagine.

I will be in Southern Illinois for the funeral and probably won't post again until the end of the week.  I am scheduling this to go online while I am away.  I hope, that all of your excited anticipations turn out to be true while none of your dreaded match your imagination.

In the meantime enjoy this little picture I found online.  I think I need a standard sign off to this blog and yes, I know I am 6 months into it and yes, it is a bit late.  Hey, ever heard of better late than never?  But from I am going to try out this one.

Sew the pieces of your life into one fabulous quilt!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring in Chicago - too changeable for one quilt!
In March we had the loveliest spring and I whipped this quilt up on the condo door as soon at St. Patrick's day was over.  I remember that fabulous weather and I miss it but I knew it wouldn't last even as I hoped it would.  Now it's colder than I remember it being during the winter but again, I know it won't last.  I guess it is good that I grew up in Chicago, I am prepared for all kinds of surprising weather and constant change.

Today I had a new experience, I found out about the passing of a relative while reading Facebook updates.  In the past, someone from my family would have called about this expected death of an elderly Aunt.  I am a big fan of social media but it did somewhat startle me.  Imagine if I was not a fan of Facebook, I probably would have been upset to find out that way. 

Change is the only constant, our weather, our social norms and our lives themselves are constantly evolving, ever dynamic.  Maybe it is part of the reason I love to sew and quilt.  Life may be ephemeral but the quilt is not.  It is nice to have something that stays and that you can count on.  For that reason and for the sheer pleasure of tactile work,  I am looking forward to a day of sewing, oh, and the promise of good weather for next week.

Enjoy your constants and your changes!

Third and last on Memphis

 The first quilt shop I went to and my least favorite was called Quiltsmiths.  Here is my pile of loot from there.  I didn't know I would go to 2 better shops, I always buy fabirc like the grid is about to go down and I will have to live off my stash.  It was pretty dated.  It didn't smell so great. There was an Irish setter which roamed around and sniffed my butt with impunity.

The woman who worked here was so clueless.  She couldn't get the charge machine to work for 30 minutes and seemed to have stopped trying to keep up with changes in the world.
I don't want to end up like that, I want to keep up!

My step mother Phyllis keeps up!  She is probably older than this hapless clerk but so much more with it.

When we were in Memphis we went to this wonderfully funky coffee shop and I found these two items for Phyllis for her birthday present.

She likes the bohemian look, I hope she likes them and I hope she isn't reading this blog today. :)

Here is a picture of the oldest cafe in Memphis.

It has seen the railroads dry up and it is located right across from the railroad station.

It survived the riots of 1968 in Memphis.

It has adapted and it's cool in a classic way.

It has the best sweet potato pancakes and was featured on the Food Network.  Blacks and white eat and work side by side in a city that used to have terrible racial tension.

It has adapted and thrived.  It knows how to operate its own equipment!

Life lessons for how we quilt and how we live. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Memphis - second post

Here is my loot from my second favorite store that we visited, Klassy Katz.  She didn't have as much fabric but I did like this panel of the world.

I liked it so much I bought two panels.

And two companions fabrics - one with city scenes and the other with bits of language.  Then for good measure I got a dot fabric that matches with it all.
Oh and a bit of zebra fabric.  I like bits of animal fabric.  No, I don't know what I will do with it.
I think I liked it because of the world languages and just a view of ourselves as citizens of this world.

When we were in Memphis we visited the National Civil Rights Museum which incorporates the motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

It was a very sobering experience and certainly evil and hatred triumphed that day.  All of us have to fight against that and teach our children that they are indeed citizens of a wide and diverse world.  I am very glad that a museum like this exists and I support its mission.
To that end, I wanted to buy things in the gift shop and Father's day is coming up.  My Dad is hard to buy for so I do actually buy him gifts at museum gift shops.  I support something I really like and get him a unique gift.

I got him a hat, a fan, a t-shirt, a bumper sticker and a tote bag to put it all in. 

On the back of the shirt it has the quote which I took away from this visit and will remember in my quilting life and my whole life.

"You can kill the dreamer but you cannot kill the dream." 

Amen to that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Graceland - part one

 We spent the weekend in Memphis.  The trip was to see Graceland just because I decided about 7 years ago that I needed to go, needed not wanted.

Of course when you are in Memphis you also eat a lot of BBQ.  A lot plus other southern cooking.  Wow, I am darn lucky I got home before we both had heart attacks.

And whenever we go anywhere, we always seek out quilt stores, natch!
Here's my loot from my favorite one that we visited - The Quilt Barn.  It was in the suburbs, there are no quilt stores in Memphis.  In fact, Memphis has had hard times.  Its demise began with the ending of the railroad, the growth of the car, white flight, riots after Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination and then general neglect.  But, about ten years ago it began a rebirth and you can see cool stuff in the downtown.  I hope it continues.  Maybe there will be a quilt store downtown some day.

This shop was friendly, smelled good and was clean and modern.  I got a pin from there - you can see it in the middle.  I also got pins from Graceland.  All of these will go on my pin quilt.

And here is our obligatory goofy tourist picture.  I seriously cannot get enough of these.

I enjoyed seeing Elvis's house and learning about him.  It is the second most visited house after the White house and I think it's because in a lot of ways Elvis was like us.  He struggled with his weight, his marriage didn't work out.  He loved his parents and child.  He had talents but also demons.  He had a whole bunch of fun with his money and his house will remind you of every house you ever saw in the 1970's.

I like him even more since I went there.  I am glad I never had to battle his demons and I am even glad I didn't have all his money.  I got to hear his music, eat some good food, it was a good time.

Plus everyone in the family got a tacky Elvis souvenir!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby Quilt at Guild

 Last Wednesday I went to my Quilt Guild.  I have to leave early as I teach my Spanish class at South Suburban College but I was really glad I went.  (Sometimes I am working on my lesson plans or grading papers and don't even go to guild before.  I know, I am naughty.)

We always have great quilts in our show and tell but you know how some just speak to you more?

I loved this traditional baby quilt.
But then when she flipped it over and showed the back I loved it even more, she created a modern quilt on the back.

I hope and pray that I can use this idea to make a baby quilt for my own grandchild one day.

I wanted to post this pictures from our Guild's facebook page so when I need them, the pictures will be in my blog and I will use the same sort of idea.

OK, now I am going to Graceland tomorrow so I will leave you with a link to a Youtube video.  I am not blogging on Monday, it's Darcy's due date, I think I will just chill that day!

See you on Tuesday cause I'm going to Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee .  Paul Simon - Graceland

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good news - I finished the Indian tunic!

Bad news - I finished it today, Sunday.  The event was Friday.

That's ok, I like this tunic and I will wear it with black pants and sandals.  I would have finished it had I not taken the sleeves out and redone them.  I had made the tunic a bit more generous in certain key areas where nature has blessed me with abundance.  However, I didn't think about the overall proportions of the garment and the shoulders were too wide - the sleeves started probably 2 inches down my arm.  I took the sleeves off, cut off probably an inch from the middle of the shoulder and sloped down, tapering what I cut off.  Then I put the sleeves back on but I used the full 5/8" seam.  When I only had one sleeve back on at 5:30 on Friday night and we were leaving at 6:00, I knew I would be wearing the original dress.  On Sunday I put the other sleeve in and hemmed them plus the garment itself.  I then decided to tack down the neck facing and sew it on by machine as well.

As you can see, Emily and I had a grand time at the event and wearing our Indian garb.  Cliff did not dress up!  The best part, besides dressing up and seeing what everyone else wore was  the Indian dancing.  So fabulous.  I was smiling like a fool and pretending that I could do it too.

What I also liked was remembering how much faster you can make a garment than a quilt.  However, when a quilt is late, it doesn't really matter.

Are you wondering if I got any other sewing done this weekend?  Well, technically I do get the weekends off plus Saturday we went downtown to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary which was on Sunday.  Happy Anniversary to us!  Sunday was book club at Emily's house.  By the way, today, Monday, April 16th is Emily's birthday.  Here she is at her very first birthday. Those 30 years have sure gone quickly.  Happy Birthday, Emily!

So, no I did not get any other sewing done but I had a great weekend!  Plus I have an exciting week coming up.  I will post blogs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but then we are off to Memphis.  I will post again on the Tuesday, the 24th of April.

Yay, I love weekends away and maybe I will get to visit a new quilt store, yes, something to Yelp about!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Indian style clothing

I may have mentioned before that I love Yelp.  I even have a link to my Yelp reviews at the bottom of my blog.  I write so many reviews (for free) that I am an elite - not that hard to be.  Basically write reviews that people can read with basic grammar, spelling and boundaries.  If you are an elite, you can go to special Yelp events for free!  It's fun!

The latest Yelp event is at an Indian restaurant and in the invitation it suggests that you wear Indian inspired clothing which I ignored until a friend mentioned she had purchased a sari on Ebay.  Oh boy, I better get going.

My daughter and I went to a women's clothing store on Devon Avenue in Chicago and I bought this Kurta there for the event.  But then...I started to have doubts.  (Yes, I am crazy but you know this from reading the blog.)

I went to Vogue Fabrics in the city and got the pattern and crossed the street to buy fabric at Rainbow Fabrics.   I purchased 3 yards of the silky translucent orange and 2 yards of a satiny lining. 

 I have created this so far - needs sleeves, facing and hem.

Do I like it better than the dress I bought?


It is Friday morning, the event is tonight.  Will it be finished?


I will let you know Monday how it all turned out!  Maybe I will do a Yelp review on my own sewing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Game of Thrones and Quilts

I succumbed to Peer Pressure and watched all ten episodes from last year of The Game of Thrones about two weeks ago.  I was hooked because of the fantasy part of it; the violence was a bit of turnoff for me.  My husband was excited, another show we could watch together.  Since I had had so much luck finding links between Hunger Games and quilts I thought, let's see what there is with these devious characters.  It's a book and a very popular show.  There must be lots of things on the web!


There was nothing. 



Not even instructions for making Kaleese's costume.

(Although now that I look at this I am wondering if I wouldn't make a quite a splash were I to wear it to my next Quilt Guild meeting.)

If there is nothing on the web, we shall have to create it, yes?

I searched for blocks whose names contained the word Throne.  Zilch.  But I hit paydirt (pay quilt?) when I looked for those which contained the word King.  On the right, King's cross and on the left King's Crown.  I am thinking a border of the Cross with blocks of the Crown and something fun in the middle.  The choice seems obvious as the second season begins.  A dragon!

Here is one that seems very Game of Thrones!

It makes me wish I had one of those electronic software programs for designing quilts.

I don't actually want to have a Game of Thrones quilt, I just like the idea of designing one.

TV shows, books and movies can be like that.  You don't want to live it, it's just a fantasy. 

My real life is much better and so are my real quilts.  But in that fantasy life, I am wearing that super cool outfit and working on my Game of Throne quilt.

Enjoy either your real life or your fantasy one.  I feel there is a lot less laundry in the fantasy life... but less dragons in the real one!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quilters vs. Zombies or Vampires

My husband often dreams about Zombie invasions where he is the hero, saving us all from these creatures.  (No, I am not making this up.)  He remarked somewhat offhandedly that he would not be as successful against Vampires because they are very quick.  In his dreams couldn't he be quick?  Apparently not. 

I often dream about sewing.  Super exciting, yes?  These are my favorite dreams, I am very successful in these dreams, no mistakes, no ripping. 

Hmmm, what if you combined all these elements?  How would quilters stand up to Zombies and shudder to think, Vampires?

Zombies:  Slow, eat humans, don't sleep.  Kill them by destroying the brain.

Vampires:  Fast, drink blood, fear daylight and sleep in coffins.  Kill them by staking them through the heart.


Here goes the dream:

You are in your sewing room, trying to finish a quilt for a present for tomorrow.  Here come the Zombies, slowly.  Grab those bins of fabric that you have been meaning to go through.  Shove it in the Zombie's direction, tripping him.  Tip over huge stack of quilting magazines and books you've been saving for the past 20 years.  Bam, right on the head, brain destroyed,  done.  Go back to your stitching.  The deadline is way scarier than the undead. 

Next invasion:  Vampires.

Again, you are in your sewing room sewing the binding on that same quilt.  (A mere zombie invasion does not dissuade a true quilter from finishing.)  Vampire zips into your sewing room and announces he wants to drink your blood.  What?  Blood?  That's impossible to get out, not going to risk that near your quilt.  Quickly, flip your OTT light from focusing on your sewing to a direct beam into his face.  You chuckle at the screams and flip your yardstick across the room, effectively staking him in the heart.  Again, no problem for a Quilter we have faced true emergencies like running out of fabric or thread.  Return to final stitches.

Quilt - done
Vampires and Zombies - defeated
Score one for the Quilter, no, score three for the Quilter!

You're welcome for this interesting dream scenario for tonight. Don't worry, you are sleeping under one of your quilts, you are invincible. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter linens

 My favorite part of every holiday is setting the table.  Second would be creating the linens I use to set the table.

This year I used placemats and napkins I had made a few years back.  I haven't used them in a couple of years so they seemed new to me and I had even ironed them when I put away back then.  (Some times I really am one smart chick.)

The new part on the table were the place cards/goodie boxes.  I bought them at Joanne thinking they would fit a cupcake but they did not.  I decided to use them for tiny "Easter Baskets" and write people's name on them.  It was all fun and good until I was making the tissue paper flowers last night.  Then I may have hated them.  Maybe.

I even had a cover for the coffee table, yes!  I do like my past self every once in a while.  It is ready for the appetizers.

I am writing this on Easter morning but it will not post until Monday morning.  By then, all the colorful Easter bread should be
distributed to various guests along with cupcakes.  I found the boxes at Party City!

I have too much of everything and sometimes I wonder if the whole day is too much.  I am not sure anyone even cares about it all but me!

By the time you are reading it the day will be over and I will probably have decided that it was all worth it.  But right now, Easter linens or not, I am thinking spending the weekend in some vacation destination might be the way to go!  I could sew a quilt in memory of the Easiest Easter Ever! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hunger Games and quilting

When I taught middle school, I liked to read what my students were reading.  Sometimes their choices surprised me.  I read The DaVince Code because of my students and Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone.  I read bunches of Rebecca Caudill winners. I read and bought The Series of Unfortunate Events books for my own children after seeing my students gobble them up.  Probably the most fun was reading The Twilight books; my girl students were breathless to discuss it with me.  Just as I was retiring in 2010, The Hunger Games series came out.  The premise, teen agers fight to the death, kind of left me cold.

Flash forward to 2012 and everyone is crazy talking about these books.  Women in my Aqua Exercise class are reading them, Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune has a column about the books.  Why all this interest?  The movie hype is relentless and successful. I knew this just wasn't my kind of movie, I like to maintain a more positive balance in life.  But people kept talking about it on Facebook so I thought, what the heck, I will allow myself the luxury of not reading the books first, I will just see the movie.  And so I did.  And while I think Jennifer Lawrence is a terrific actress and I liked the set up to the games, I could not enjoy watching teen agers kill each other.  I think this story has been written before, wasn't Lord of the Flies like this?  (Only a better story?)

On the way out of the theater, I was musing that this was one story you couldn't tie in with quilting, no way to write a blog about it.  What could you do, have teenagers compete in sewing games and  then use their needles and pins against each other, sewing each other to death?

When I got home, I googled Hunger Games and Quilting just for giggles.  BAM!  Lots of hits!  I am underestimating quilters.  Here is a logo for a site that is looking for quilters to upload ways to make quilts about the books/movie.

Hunger game quilt squares

And I found a Flickr series of images about quilts squares based on the movie.  You can click above to see them yourselves.

And many quilters have blogged about their love for the books.  So there you go, quilting does literally tie in with everything in life.

Making a quilt about your favorite book or movie, genius!  That beats teenagers fighting to the death any day of the week in my book. 

Happy reading or quilting, just not to the death. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cooking versus sewing

I love to sew and quilt.

I do not love to cook but I do love to eat.  I also love plays and we have a subscription to the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago.  It is just a wonderful small theatre with cutting edge plays and simplistic staging.  The money behind the company seems to be David Schwimmer but I have only seen him in one play.  Because we are season subscribers, we were offered early chances to buy tickets for Cascabel - a cooking/theatre/Cirque de Soleil offering featuring celebrity Rick Bayless which is sold out for its entire run.

I love Rick Bayless, he has the PBS series on Mexican cooking, One Plate at a Time.  He has three restaurants in Chicago - Xoco, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.  I am silly enough to be very happy that I have eaten at all three restaurants and even taken pictures at them.  (Yes, I am that kind of silly!)

Here is a picture of me and Emily at Xoco and a picture of the restaurant itself.  This is his most casual of his three.

Oh, you say, you would like pictures of the food also?

Unbelievably, I have some but I will spare you!
 Rick Bayless is a "rock star" chef - he has been on TV, sold all kinds of books and won Iron Chef.

People come to Chicago, in part, because of some of our favorite restaurants and his are top choices.

When I was retiring, Emily got me to her house and dressed up because she had promised me that we were having a family dinner at Topolobampo to celebrate.  When I walked in and was stunned by the people shouting SURPRISE the first thing out of my mouth was, "But we have reservations at a Rick Bayless restaurant."

The trip to Xoco with my sister and Emily was a make up for that miss.  My sorority sisters agreed to go to Topolobampo with me and here are Cliff and I at Frontera for my birthday in 2011.  Hmm, I think I really like Rick Bayless!
So, when he was standing around the lobby being all gracious and allowing people to take pictures, I raced over there and had my taken, hence the picture to start the blog.

All of this from a woman who doesn't really like to cook and if my life depended on it, I couldn't make anything as delicious as he does. 

Cooking seems to generate a lot more interest and respect than sewing.  Why is this?

Does Quilting need its own reality show?  I had that list of ideas back when I first started this blog.  Or is it because the food disappears with the use/enjoyment and our products live on?  For whatever reason, the domestic art that has hit the big time is the one produced in the kitchen not in the sewing studio.

Oh well, I can go to restaurants and have the fabulous food and come home to sleep under handmade quilts.  I'll take that deal!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Early birthday posting

 My husband had a weekend work meeting in Dallas so I was left to my own devices from Thursday through Sunday.  I was able to see friends, go to lunch with Shelby, go to the dinner/movies with Emily and Shelby plus breakfast with all my kids; Emily, Joe and Shelby on Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon I had "linner" with my sister.  (You might see a pattern here - I am not so fond of eating by myself!)
This took care of me until Saturday night.  There is something about Saturday night, you just want to be with your best guy!  Since I couldn't be the obvious second choice is sewing!

Cliff's birthday is Sunday so when you are seeing these pictures on Monday, all of this will be in the laundry. 

I had purchased this Happy Birthday fabric back in September when I visited La Crosse. 
 I decided to hem up all four sides on a piece of fabric that was about 2 yards long.  Then I made a Happy Birthday apron with the sale striped fabric I got in Woodstock last month.  For the straps, I found 3 different ones in my stash of extra straps.  Having them all different makes it more festive!

I sewed while the TV played the NCAA basketball games.  My teams were not in the games so it was just interesting to hear the excitement.  If Illinois had been on, I would have been a nervous wreck!

After I got the fabric hemmed up, I added the birthday table runner I have shown you previously and set the table.  Luckily, I had green napkins that looked just dandy with what I had going on. 

I love setting the table!
Cliff got his main present before he left on his business trip - new headphones for the plane!

I got him some books and cards while he was away.  Here is the trunk with the presents and apron all ready.  I will pick up the cake tomorrow morning at 10:00 am. 

Then, what else do I have to do?  OH YEAH, cook!
I sure wish I loved cooking as much as I love sewing.  I will make some twice baked potatoes, salad, green beans and then steaks on the grill.  Done!
If you are clever you have noticed that my husband's birthday is on April 1st, yep, no fooling that is his birthday!  But I will not play an April Fool's joke on him, I did the sewing and we will toast him and make sure he knows we are glad he was born.

Happy Birthday, honey!