Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dakota vacay

Tomorrow my husband and I leave for eleven days in the Dakotas plus a bit of Montana.  I have never been to any of these states so I am excited.  I want to see a buffalo, not sure why I just do.  I must have some Dances with Wolves fantasies?

I also am looking forward to seeing Mount Rushmore.  This picture and the one of the buffalo are probably better than the ones I will take but for one small detail.  I am not in the picture!  Oh yes, I want pictures with me in them!  Then when I look at my photo album years from now I will remember that I went there!

I also hope to visit some quilt stores, duh!  Quilt stores in South Dakota  I found a listing of them and I am really pretty hopeful we will hit some.  If not there, then maybe on the way back, heck up the street from here if needs be!

I will be back July 8th but probably won't post until a couple of days after that what with laundry and all.  You thought I was joking about enjoying the weather over the summer and not focusing on the blog?  Nope!  I am having lots of fun and sewing whenever. 

Sew happy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book review - Anna Quindlen

I gave this book one star and that's unusual, I love to read.

I got fooled, I admit it. I have enjoyed Anna Quindlen's novels in the past but I should have done more research on it. This is a pretty lame excuse for a book - let me write essays that basically all deal with the same thing so I can make some more money. I used to feel that I had something in common with her because both of our mothers died young of ovarian cancer. But that's all I have in common with her and quite frankly that event happened primarily to our mothers not us.

Anna describes her self satisfied, smug old age and reveals what a privileged life she has had. Her hair is still thick! She barely has any gray! She has the same husband, three terrific children, an urban life and a country home. Her crosses to bear in old age? Glasses. I am sobbing for you, honey. She happily tells us that she has had no other diseases, pains or misfortunes but oh those pesky glasses of which she has multiple prescription pairs but can never find one. Wow, that is such a compelling story. She brags about a lot but seems to find such pride that she is just taking old age in stride because botox, facial fills, laser and a personal trainer are apparently such courageous ways to view the aging of your body. She is so brave that she stands on her head, her head I tell you! And she is working on a one armed push up.

I asked for this book for Mother's day and now I am so mad I did, because Ms. overly proud of herself got more money and believe me, she doesn't need it.

If you want to read it, let me know and I will lend/give you my copy. Or get it from the library but for goodness sake this paragon of annoyingly cloying contentment doesn't need the money of hard working people who have known real challenges in life.

Friday, June 22, 2012



I finished quilting the table runner, they are so fun to quilt because they are, obviously, quite small in comparison to a quilt.

I quilted flowers in the squares, circles in the yellow borders and tulips in the outside borders.

I did feathers in the other table runner but I didn't think they were good enough to do for a present.

Here you can see the details of the quilting.




All done in pink and I am pretty happy with it.

This weekend I will get it off the long arm and do the binding.  I want to get it done before we go on vacation.

I also finished that apron for Emily's friend and delivered it to Emily.

I think the colors are fun and maybe she will make the rest of the present match the theme?

I know that it's just an apron and maybe Emily's friends at one point in their lives thought I would make them quilts.  Maybe when they have babies?  Or bibs....

I am also working on the heart blocks for the second heart quilt. 

Two done!  Two with the strips done and 16 more to go.  Slow progress but progress!

Today I got some sewing done because I went walking with a new friend.  It's fun to make a new friend when you are 59!  Walking takes so much less time than swimming.  I will try to get some more done and get a few more blogs done before we leave on vacation.

Sew happy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


You may have noticed that I changed my blog parameters for the months of June, July and August.  Instead of sewing 4 hours a day and then blogging about it, it's enjoy the weather.

Call me a teacher for life (OK, Hi teacher for life) but I think of the summer months as being "off" time.  Give me a break, you are thinking, you are retired!  Yes, I am but this was my job and now it's the summer!

I will still sew and blog but on a more whimsical schedule.

Plus, I am trying to exercise more.  Sigh.

I am swimming, I even swam a mile. 

I am biking, may even try my every summer ride to Harlem.

And I am walking which led to 5 bee stings on my arm.  Yikes!  But I will prevail and you know why?  Because you can eat more then!  You work off calories then you get to consume treats.   Yes, I have always been consuming treats but now I am trying to be a bit healthier.  I record my food and my exercise at 

I am trying!  But it does take time away from my sewing.  It is hotter and sweatier.  I need to balance it all a bit better.   I need my sleep, reading time, computer time, reading time, family time, friend time and now time to exercise. 

I will work it out but it's the summer, it's meant for outdoor fun.

I will still blog, just maybe not as much!

Sew happy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Table runner number two

You may or may not remember that I was not so happy with the bottom tension of the first table runner.

I wanted to make sure that this did not happen again on this one! 

I loaded up the new table runner and redid the bobbin and the threading. 

I did some stitching just to stabilize it.

On the end I put some of the handy dandy Mark Twain fabric that I had left over.

I stitched around and did various speeds.

I then flipped to the camera function of the machine.

I don't use it that much but this is why it was put on there.

The camera shows you what the stitching looks like.

I moved it all around and checked the stabilizing stitching as well as the stitching on the Mark Twain fabric.  

I tried to take a picture of the picture that the camera shows me of the back or bottom of the fabric.

Pretty cool, huh, to see what is happening where you can't see it!
 But then I wondered. 

How would I know what bad stitching looks like?

Can I really trust that camera?

So I went over sans camera to the end.

I looked at the top sewing. 
Then I took my hands and flipped that piece over.

Call me cynical but I just had to see!

And my camera?  It did not lie.  The back stitching tension was just fine.

You know what they say, trust everyone but cut the cards!

Sew happy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blue bird of happiness

 I recently bought this pin cushion, I love it for many reasons. 
First of all it is hand made of wool and looks like a cake.  I even purchased the little cake stand they had it on at the gift shop.
I was attracted to it because of the blue bird, our family's way of representing Emily's baby Darcy who flew away from us.
Now we also think of it as the promise of happiness to come when her baby is born this December. 

We have ordered and found birds and people have given them to us.  The flying bird was made by a man who worked for Cliff's company.  The little bird I found on line.  Both of these are in my sewing room.

These two are also.  The little guy on the shelf was made by the same man, he was very compassionate about this time in our life.

In back of my threads, I keep a greeting card with a blue bird on it.  I like seeing all these blue birds when I sew. 

On my desk, I have a blue bird that my friend Diane gave me that she had had for many years but wanted me to have.  In the bathroom, I keep a similar one that a favorite former student gave me.
Next to my bed, I have this little blue bird hanging from the lamp from my friend Gina and next to my TV chair, I bought myself this little cutie.

My very first blue bird I bought in Spain in 1975 for my Mother and I received it back after her death.  It sits with a Lladro buddy in the living room and it is special that I liked blue birds way before they were a source of solace.

The pin cushion is useful and meaningful and joins other comforting birds in my sewing room collection.

Remembering the past and hope for the future, those are our blue birds of happiness.

Sew happy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Books and quilting

Anne Tyler is my favorite modern fiction writer, her books just speak to me!

I was invited to a book club where they are going to discuss her book, Back When we were Grownups.  No problem, I have read all her books I just need to show up.  Then I decided to skim it.  From the first page I fell into the book again but went to bed before I finished it.  At 4:00 am when I got up to go to the bathroom, I grabbed the book and at 5:30 I finished it and went back to bed!  Great read.

The book she wrote before my "Back when we were Grownups" was entitled "A Patchwork Planet" and I thought it would be my absolute favorite but it wasn't.

I am a solitary quilter and have very deep feelings about sewing.  It is hard for me to put into words the role of sewing and fabric in my life.  I think the book that came the closest to expressing it was "The Dive from Clausen's Pier"  by Ann Packer, which I lent to a friend and she gave it away.  The book isn't even about sewing per se but the protagonist sews. 

I really enjoy Elizabeth Berg's books as well.

When I saw the cover of this one I thought, bingo, finally the quilting book for me.

Nope, it wasn't.

It was a fine book but didn't resonate about sewing.

Maybe these are two pleasures - reading and quilting which can't be combined for me.  Maybe they are so inside of me in separate areas of love and like ketchup and chocolate they just can't be combined.

People have sure tried however!

 I have all these novels which are readily available in quilt stores.  They tell stories against a back drop of quilts. 

People give them to me for presents and I thank them and love that they know me so well that a book about quilting just seems perfect.

But the books are all boring!  I feel bad!  I want to love them. 

You are thinking, wow you are one hard to please reader!

Yes, but one book and the movie worked completely for me.

I loved the book "How to Make an American Quilt" as well as the movie.  It is a short book and I had never heard of it until my friend Laurie gave it to me years ago.  Loved it!  And the movie!

Now there's a thought, I should reread this book and rewatch this movie.

But not tonight!

I need my sleep tonight.

Sew happy. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

If any of you are beginning quilters there is a very cool project going on to help you.

It is a quilt along at this website Beginner's quilt- along .

It is a great way to start quilting and have help along the way.

If you have any questions about it or need help you can ask me!

Sew happy!

Black Shoes

Here I am, the naughty shirking Quilter.  You may be wondering, what have you been doing besides quilting Ms. 4 a day lady?  I swam and walked in the morning.

Also, I have been hanging out with Emily and  my teacher friends.  Lots of my buddies are free now and can run around with me. 

Plus, I have been looking for black shoes. 
I have these three pairs from the trip to Spain, good for walking, but they require socks.
 Is that all the black shoes you have? you ask.

No, I have more!

I have these three pairs which are all Alegrias and I wear quite a bit in the cooler weather.  They also require socks and are good for teaching or going out to lunch but not for walking around all day in.

Plus I need black sandals.
Don't you have any black sandals, Imelda quilter lady? 

Why yes, I do.  I have two pair of Alegrias (one patent, one leather) and a pair of Birkenstocks.  I wore the Birkenstocks downtown with Emily on Monday.  We walked for donuts, then over to the museum, then through the museum and onto lunch and finally Millennium Park.  By the end of the day my feet were shot, really hurting me!

I need sandals to walk in!
Well, because I am going to NYC and to DC for weekends with my girlfriends this summer and both will require a fair amount of walking around. 

So, in spite of having a closet full of black shoes, I needed more.  My cute Cliff went with me on Tuesday and I found these two pairs.  Not the cutest, but comfortable walking sandals.  I wore the Walky brand ones today, very comfy.  I will wear the SAS uglier ones on Friday.  I need to break them in.  I need to be able to walk all day and not whimper and whine. 

So you can see why I didn't sew this week - Monday downtown, feet hurt.  Tuesday, shoe shopping.  Wednesday, trying out one pair of shoes shopping.  See it all makes sense now yes.  Oh, I mean if you are a woman it makes sense how I had 9 pairs of black shoes and still needed more.  (And yes, I do have other colors of shoes but shhhh, it's bad enough to have revealed this much about my black shoes to my husband!)

I wish you comfortable shoes and good times walking in them!

Sew happy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shoppping and shenanighans

 I have been quite the naughty blogger, I admit it.  I have been going to movies with Cliff, seeing friends for tea and having adventures with Emily inbetween the end of her regular school year and the start of her summer school.

Today at least the shopping involved some fabric.  We ended up at the Crate and Barrel outlet store where they have gorgeous Marimekko 100% cotton fabric from Finland, 54 inches wide for 6.00 a yard!  Yes, that's all.
 See the gorgeous red, I bought 10 yards of it.  I am thinking that it could be a great backing for the two heart quilts - so cheap!

If it doesn't go well then I have ten gorgeous yards to do something else with.

I also bought this 5 yard piece of all these gorgeous values of yellow.  I love it.

Emily approved of it as well.
 So I bought another 5 yard piece.

I am hoping to use it to make drapes and maybe other fun stuff for a nursery.

Hopefully, this will be needed mid December as Emily is due with "Tough Cookie" on December 16th.  It's a bit on the quiet side now.

It is hard for us to choose to trust happiness but we are trying!  Fingers crossed for Tough cookie to make it here safely.
Yesterday I bought these fabrics for an apron.

A very good friend of Emily's is getting married in October and Emily is in the wedding.

This friend is having a shower in July and so I thought I would make an apron for Emily to put with her gift to Bridget.

That's all for today from the naughty quilter.
Sew happy!