Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yesterday's storm

Here are some photos from yesterday's snow storm. The first one is my favorite, my sweetheart relaxing for a change, watching the two shows, one on tv and the other out the window. That was taken about 3:15 in the afternoon.

The next photo was taken this morning about 8 from the front door, after I pushed what snow away I could manage to push so I could stick my arm out to take some pictures.

The next photo is the other side of the front yard taken by sticking my arm out as far as I could.

This is why that was such a chore, these are my front steps.. well burried under all that snow there are five steps and a landing.

and the last two photos are the back yard taken from inside the back porch. The deck is burried in snow.

Super Stash Bowl Questions

So in reading over the Super Bowl materials I am assuming that I would be separating my squares into two piles, lights and darks. And if I came up with128 of each and paired them up I would then move forward and make those pairs into HSTs. And that since this is scrappy, color is not an issue.
Yes that is correct. You can have more or less, those were just a suggestion. And we might throw in some non-DHSs too, you know those square things... but don't worry about them until next weekend.

I’m not a scrappy person, can I color coordinate this?
You sure can, just use lights and darks of your favorite colors, as long as they contrast.

Do we have to have a certain number of each?
I could suggest a number, but it would depend on what size your squares are. Smaller takes more, bigger takes less. But what is important is that you have the same number of each. You pairs of contrasting colors, either lights and darks, or lights and mediums, or mediums and darks, or mediums and lights. As long as they contrast and as long as they are in pairs. Then you start marking and sewing and cutting.

Should I press them all?
Oh yes, press each and every one of them, I suggest you press to the dark side and then place them some place where they will stay nice and neatly pressed till kick off.

Sorry to bother you but I just want to be sure I have this right. I get how we should make HST from light and dark fabric and that the size doesn't matter as long as they are all the same. My question many should we make? I'm sure it depends on the size of the quilt and the size of the HST but a little guidance would be helpful.
Since I don’t know what size your squares are, or what size your DHSs will end up, I can’t honestly answer that. I suggest you have at least 128 of each, but that’s the best I can do for now.

How many squares do we need?
Wow, everyone seems to be hung up on a number. OK… I will say cut 128 of each. If you have large squares, you will have large DHSs and your quilt (quilts) will be huge. If you have tiny squares, you will have smaller DHSs and your quilt will cover your lap (maybe) unless you have a large lap. And who knows, you might want to add more to the DHSs and... well you will see.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Super Stash Bowl pre-game activities

What comes next? If you have cut your squares into your perfect size, great. If not you can cut now. Remember not to go too small unless you don’t mind small and making twice as many. Once you have yours cut and paired, then you need to mark them. See for the how to on marking them.

If you are using FQs or yardage, have you paired them up lights and darks? Did you draw the grid on them yet? If not, that’s next for you. See if you need help with that.

And once you have them all marked using which ever technique you want to use, I guess you can start sewing. Just keep on using up those scraps and that stash, and make lots and lots of diagonal half squares or whatever you wish to call them.

Now look, let’s get this out of our systems because I can hear the groaning… DHSs or HSTs might not be the easiest thing to make, but they make our quilts so much prettier. Oh yea I know there are a lot of pretty quilts that are just squares, but after a while those squares start to look boring. And using up your scraps, stash etc is boring too, so let’s make all those scraps and some of those ugly leftovers into gorgeous quilts by making them into diagonal half squares.

Because you have NO pattern in mind, yet, and because you are cutting your squares whatever size YOU wanted to cut them, you can make your DHSs whatever size they happen to come out. If you cut your squares six inches, you might have 5 5/8 inch DHSs. What’s wrong with that, nothing at all. No, nothing wrong with whatever size you end up with, AS LONG AS THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!

So how do you achieve that miracle… you mark carefully, sew carefully, cut carefully and press them all the same. (I suggest that you press to the darker fabric for all those who are going to ask.) If you do all of those carefully, then you should end up with a whole bunch of DHSs ALL THE SAME SIZE.

And if not, well you did it to yourself so don’t complain to me… if they are not all the same size then you will have to square them back to a common size. How? Look at Method C: on the bottom of

That’s it for now, get to work and start making those beauties. Use up your scraps, stash leftovers that you don’t know what to do with, those uglies you have laying around, get rid of all that excess. You can come back later and thank me for helping you clean up your sewing room, guest room closet, dining room hutch, or wherever you happened to stick your stuff.

I will not be posting any more clues or directions for this project until next weekend when the Super Stash Bowl will officially kick off. I will answer any and all questions you send me. I’ll start off right now with one that came in last night while I was sleeping…

“I thought this was to start next weekend?” Yes, it WAS to start next weekend, but with so many people stuck in their homes due to ice and snow, and just plain cold, I decided I would give everyone something to do. That other Super Bowl thing doesn’t start till next Sunday, but you don’t think they are sitting around doing nothing do you? Heck no, there is a full schedule for this whole week.. there’s lots happening down there in Miami this week, and now you can join in with your own Super Stash Bowl pre-game activities.

Friday, January 29, 2010

TGIF finally

I've decided to post everything on my web page rather than in three different groups and here, so instead of posting steps I will be posting links.

The introduction which was a PDF file is now a web page and can be found here.

At the bottom of that page is a link to the next step and so on as far as I have gotten for now... more coming soon!
Not tonight though, LOL!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Well my Super Stash Bowl certainly got some attention, but then again I did post it on two of my Yahoo groups and on my web page as well as here on the blog.

Funny how people ask me questions that I already answered, can’t they read?

One lady asked me if I could tell her how much fabric she needed. I had already answered on 5. What are the yardages… depends on how many you have. The same person asked me if she could use her scraps, answered the first time, #6 Can I use scraps… if you have them, use them

Another quilter wanted a sneak peek at the finished project. I told her she would have to finish it before she could peek at it. Then she said can you show me yours… I told her I stopped playing that game when I was 8. And besides, my scraps are totally different from her scraps and no way could or would our quilts look alike.

A few ladies wanted to know if I would post the precutting directions soon so they could get started on them, yes I will, maybe even tomorrow… I’m working on it.

And several ladies asked me if this was a mystery... I don’t know about you, but most of my quilts are mysteries. I have a general idea in my head when I start them, and even with Electric Quilt and all of my diagramming, my quilts always surprise me when I am finished. So yes, this is a mystery, a total and complete mystery. And how you solve it will be up to you, your stash and scraps, and your willingness to play along.

My only guarantee is that you will use up some of your scraps or stash and that you will have fun

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The rest of the 100

I got a lot of criticism because I quit at 50, so here is the rest of my list. And I’m starting at 48 so you will remember where I was going… that was the only way I could continue.

48. I get my ideas for patterns from all over, and hardly ever from quilt books.
49. I own a full bookcase and then some of quilting books
50. I have not touched one of the above since we moved them upstairs in August 2008
51. Some of my pattern ideas come from floors. I see an interesting floor, photograph it, and make it into a quilt
52. Some of my pattern ideas come from magazines, and I do NOT mean quilt magazines. It’s surprising how many ideas you get while waiting for a Doctor’s appointment.
53. Many of my pattern ideas come from friends “mistakes”
54. My pattern making process is top secret
55. When I get an idea, I first sketch it in whatever is available at the time such as the back of a Drs appointment card, or paper napkin
56. If possible, I photograph the inspiration, if not, see #55
57. If I need a new pattern idea, I look in my purse for sketches from #55. (I recently found one that was about five years old when I got out a purse to use over the winter)
58. I try, try being the opportune word, try to make all of my BOMs 12 1/2 inch blocks.
59. I have a collection of funny size blocks as a result of #58.
60. To me the hardest part of writing a pattern is the fabric requirements
61. I always like to overestimate, to allow for booboos and building of the stash
62. Stash building at one time was very important to me. Note past tense.
63. I started stash building in the 70s while working at a fabric store
64. I collected “pretty” fabrics when I started stash building, not necessarily cottons.
65. Back in the early 70s there wasn’t a lot of 100% cotton on the market
66. Most of my quilts made in the 70s have blends in them, some are all blends
67. I also collected polyester in the 70s
68. Most of my stash went into storage when we went overseas in 1987
69. Most of my stash was used to make blankets for homeless people when we came home from Europe in 1992
70. I designed my first quilt pattern in 1993
71. I still have the sample quilt from #70
72. I started stash building again in the late 90s while working at a local quilt shop
73. I got paid in fabric at that quilt shop
74. When I finally did get a pittance for my work, I used it to buy fabric anyway
75. I started traveling to teach in the late 1990s
76. I have taught classes in eight different states, TX, NC, VA, MD, PA, NJ, NY and of course here in Delaware
77. My favorite classes to teach are mysteries, because the students have no expectations of what they will do, and they usually outdo themselves.
78. I would rather teach someone to make their own quilt than to make it for them
79. My most difficult student was a nightmare in teaching
80. My most difficult student has become one of my dearest friends (love ya Joanie!)
81. I have made many wonderful friends through my quilting
82. I started retreating in 1997 when I was talked into it
83. There have been 31 “official” Quilters Retreats as of now
84. There has also been 13 “other” Quilters Retreats, held for private groups
85. A total of 301 ladies have attended Quilters Retreats since 1997
86. Quilters Retreats are my favorite way of teaching, and making friends
87. I do the Quilters Retreats for fun.
88. When the Quilters Retreats stop being fun, I will stop doing them
89. Stash building is no longer a priority
90. Using up my stash is now a top priority
91. I have enough stash to last me two lifetimes and then some
92. Eight of the ten newest quilts I have made were from my stash
93. After seeing quilts I have given as gifts abused, I do not like giving quilts as gifts anymore.
94. I probably will only make quilts for my boys, if they ever ask for one, no one else.
95. Although both boys have two or more quilts I have made for them
96. But… if and when they decide to tie the knot with their special ladies, I will make quilts for them if they want me to
97. And I most certainly will make baby quilts, if that day should ever come
98. To the best of my recollection through photos and other records, I have made a total of 386 quilts (give or take a few)
99. Of those quilts, over 260 are still in my possession
100. I need to sell a few quilts, to lower my inventory, and to raise money for Relay For Life.
Want to see my quilts for sale?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What a day

I got up late, not saying HOW late, but much later than usual for me. Guess I needed the sleep. However, that put me behind, and I think I will be forever catching up. There was a lot of Relay work to be done today, and that’s all done now, for today anyway. I have a plan for tomorrow since it will be exactly 100 days to the event... and since I want to see how many people are checking the web site too.

I put some quilts up for sale too, for Relay of course. If you want to buy one, check my Quilts For Relay Sale page.

I sewed yesterday, enough to finish two new mystery patterns. Note the word patterns... I made the blocks, which confirmed to me that my directions were right, at least the cutting part. Now I will tweak the patterns some more and send them out to be tested.

I got some feedback on my 100 things posting yesterday... yes I know I stopped at 50. But at the bottom of the list, I did say to be continued, right? Yes I just checked it, right down there it says “To be continued… I hope.” And I am working on it, I promise. It’s just that there are so many other things to do, and I won’t even mention housework… no I’m not going there.

Now I think I will get some breakfast….errr… lunch

Monday, January 25, 2010

100 things

100 things about my quilting that people may not know
1. I started quilting in 1974 to help a friend with a quilting demonstration.
2. I was instantly hooked
3. My first quilting lesson was sitting and watching a lady hand quilt on a frame
4. I learned nothing and have had no real quilt training since
5. Machine quilting (and piecing) wasn’t considered quilting when I started, so I had to teach myself
6. I did just that and still do
7. I did take a quilt class in guild one year. The teacher was awful, and everyone in the class came to me to ask questions, so I don’t count that as a class I took.
8. Oh, I hired a teacher to teach quilt-as-you-go at a retreat one year, and I sat in, so maybe I have taken a class, if that counts.
9. The very first quilting project I attempted was a Long Star.
10. I finished it (eventually) and still have it.
11. I actually still have three of my first four quilt projects, none are quilts.
12. When I went looking for quilt books back then there weren’t many. The one I bought was only diagrams of blocks, no directions and not a single measurement.
13. I decided to pick my favorites from above book and make a quilt. I cut out all the pieces, then years (almost 20) later I threw them all away.
14. I have thrown other unfinished projects away
15. I have throw finished projects away, can you say ugly and poorly made?
16. I just remembered, Candy did a quilt project at a retreat another year, and I did that, but was that a class or a project, and what is the difference?
17. I taught myself quilting by trial and lots and lots of errors.
18. I am a quilting packrat
19. I usually, underline usually, know where to find things
20. I love sharing my quilting stuff
21. I love sharing my quilting knowledge
22. I love Electric Quilt and have since EQ2
23. I don’t use half of what EQ6 has to offer
24. My favorite color is purple
25. The color you see the most in my stash is red
26. The color you see the least in my stash is pink
27. I don’t really have a color I don’t like
Although, I rarely wear green, make me look sick.
28. I prefer old fashioned traditional patterns
29. I love twisting up old fashioned traditional patterns and making them new
30. I’m not much into art quits, but I appreciate them, well some of them anyway
31. I don’t like appliqué, not one tiny bit. I love looking at it, I just don’t do it
32. Paper piecing is a waste of paper and time, totally
33. My favorite quilt is the one I am working on now, or the ones I guess, since I work on many at a time.
34. I love 30s fabrics and reproductions, but only the ones that look like real 30s fabrics and feed sacks.
35. At one time I owned every Aunt Grace fabric on the market, but I ran out of room to store them, and I use them, so they aren’t all fabric any more. Some are now quilts.
36. I have almost two dozen quilts using nothing but Aunt Grace Fabrics
37. Only one of my 48 UFOs is made with Aunt Grace fabrics
38. I have a total of 48 UFOs on my UFO list
39. The oldest UFO was started in 1991
40. The newest UFO was started last spring
41. I like piecing better than quilting, which is why I have 48 UFOs
42. I send most of my quilts out to be quilted
43. I have a list of a dozen or so quilters
44. I don’t share my favorite quilters names but keep them secret, or try
45. There are a total of 15 new patterns/mysteries in the works as of today 1/25/10
46. There is one new pattern in the works for the November Retreat (and Mystery group)
47. There are 11 new quits in my EQ file which I have not even started the patterns or diagrams for.
48. I get my ideas for patterns from all over, and hardly ever from quilt books.
49. I own a full bookcase and then some of quilting books
50. I have not touched one of the above (not since we moved them upstairs in August 2008)

I’m never going to make it to 100….
Maybe it would be easier to write 100 things I want to do before I die, you know, my own Bucket List… but that would be too easy to list, simply my UFO list and a whole bunch of PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks)and WHIMMs (Works hidden in my mind) I could go over 100 easy on that list!
To be continued… I hope.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday was mystery day too

Friday was mystery day on Mysteries For Relay, but it ran over to Saturday, mostly because the ladies were working or had other work to do on Friday. There were quite a few sewing yesterday, but no finished tops yet to show for their work.

I am glad I now have a group of testers who can test the patterns for me. They are important for many reasons, and I sure hope they know I appreciate them. First, they sometimes find my booboos... and I mean more than anything my typos. Typos and grammatical errors, and occasionally math errors too. And I say sometimes, because there have been times that four people plus me check the pattern and as soon as I post it someone finds a booboo, LOL.

The other reason they are important especially now, is that I like having a finished top to show when I give a mystery. Since I’m not sewing a lot yet, the mysteries would be spaced a lot further apart than six weeks if they had to wait for me to finish a top. Yesterday when I posted the final clue revealing the mystery, I had four quilt tops to show, all testers. Thanks ladies.

And while they were sewing Mystery #12, I did very little on my Mystery #11 but I did make a block for a future mystery, one with no diagonal half squares or quarter squares either. I think they will like this one... I know they will appreciate a break from DHSs.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have two things to share today..

First I had a few emails about the quilt over my sewing table. Interesting story, no I did not make that. That is a rescue quilt, or at least that’s what I call it. I bought that quilt. It is hand pieced and hand quilted and very nicely made. I bought it… I hope you are sitting down… I bought it at a yard sale for $10. It was folded up and sitting on a table with a lot of other miscellaneous junk when I rescued it. I asked what they wanted for it, $5… I gave ten because my conscience wouldn’t let me steal it. (It hangs nicely, but looks crooked in the photo. That’s because there is a light switch under it which makes it stick out in that corner)

Second, yesterday a quilter/Relayer friend challenged me to raise $100 from strangers. To make sure they were strangers, I wasn’t allowed to blog about it, or send any emails, or ask any of my yahoo groups. She bet me a sizeable donation that I couldn’t raise $100 over the weekend.

My friend never mentioned facebook, so I put out a plea on there. I asked for $1 donations only. I received almost instantly a $10 from someone I don’t know, then another $10, and $1 and then a $100 donation followed by more and more… total count as of this morning $216.

This warms my heart in so many ways I can’t begin to explain it. All but two of those donations came from total strangers. They were on facebook, probably friends of friends or something, I’m not real sure how it worked, but it did. The other two donations were from people I know, one I have met in person, one I have not. One is an on-line friend who I have known only on line but for about 12 years now (THANKS MARY ANN). The other is also an on-line friend but one who has attended two retreats, so I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her (THANKS RENEE)
Together we will beat cancer!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mystery Day

It’s mystery Friday on Mysteries For Relay. Last night when I told John he said don’t you usually do them on weekends… yes, I usually do, and I have no idea why this one is starting on Friday, but it is. Most of the ladies don’t do the “mystery” anyway, they just wait for the full pattern to be posted, and then do that. If they want the mystery, or the full pattern, both stay on line about a week, so they can do which ever they please.

It’s my pleasure to do these mysteries, my way of thanking all of them for helping me help others fight back against cancer. There are a few survivors on the group, and a few who have family members or friends who are fighting now, and a few who have lost loved ones to cancer. I’m sure they each have a reason for joining and I’m not real sure it is for the mysteries. But that’s ok, they are helping a good cause and I certainly appreciate their support.

I will be sewing with the ladies this time, in my new sewing corner in the office. John helped me bring down what I needed from upstairs and we set up my little Jenome and now I can sew. I won’t be working on this mystery, but the one we did back in November. I want to finish that one, it’s for our bed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A year?

This is my 365th post, which is a year’s worth of ramblings. However this blog is almost five years old. I signed up for a Blog because everyone was talking about them and I figured I’d better see what they were about. I got my own blog and promptly forgot about it. Then one of my quilter friends sent a link to her blog which I found quite interesting and remembered I had one too.

At that time we were trying to find a place for our boys to live so we could be empty nesters. I blogged about that adventure and a few other things the first year. I have no idea why I blogged what I blogged about, but I did.

Fast forward and now I blog pretty much every day, or at least I try to. I’m still not real sure why I have one, but I sure do enjoy it. I still don’t always know what I’m going to say, so sometimes I will not blog at all, and sometime… well sometimes I post more than once.

So in celebration of the “first year’s sort of anniversary” of the blog I’m changing the header. I may not like it and change it again, but I’m tired of looking at that newest license plate. Which by the way, I never put on the car… no I still have my lighthouse tag…

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Can you hear the hallelujah chorus in the background, or perhaps Snoopy’s classic happy dance song…. Here, click on this and then continue reading…

I am Snoopy dancing, sort of, because I just finished quartering all 64 of the blocks from the November Retreat project. Yes, all by myself, sitting, standing, sitting and sitting again…. But they are done! YEA!!!
Music stopped, now on to the sewing... as soon as my knees settle down from all that dancing I will go sew a few together.

Sewing yet Marge?

Quite a few ladies have emailed me recently, wondering if I am sewing yet. Your concern has warmed my heart, thank you. I can report that the answer to that question is yes… although not near as much as I would like to be. I did some mending for Kelly this weekend and it felt good to be sitting at the machine. Sure it was just a three inch hole in a seam, but I sewed it shut!

Incase you aren’t up to date on me... I had knee surgery back in November after six months of agony. Surgery was great and I was painless almost for about five weeks. Since then the pain is creeping back slowly but surely, as are the immobility issues. Stairs are an issue and have been and my sewing room is on the second floor. Standing for any length of time is an issue and I stand up when I cut. When I saw the Doctor he said it was arthritis and I would just have to live with it until the knees needed replacing and they weren't ready yet. I tried to tell him otherwise, but he wouldn't listen to me.

Yesterday I spent some serious time in the office going through the things we have brought back to the first floor, to see what I could work on. I have two UFOs, both mysteries from the Mysteries For Relay group, samples I have never finished. Both require squaring and cutting into quarters, which means standing up and that is still an issue. I stood and squared until the knees started hurting too much, and then tried sitting down and cutting. I’ve never been as accurate that way, but I guess I will have to learn. After an hour of cutting, I gave up for the day.

I will go back, every day, and build up the stamina as I square back the blocks. And I will practice cutting sitting down too. I’ll get all 64 blocks squared, eventually.

Then I will work on a few new blocks for new mysteries, which will add to my UFO list, but I need to get them done so I can pass these patterns on to the testers!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ads on blogs

I’ve been playing with my blog features, you’ll see why in a few days, and I noticed this link to monetize. I wasn’t sure what it meant, so I clicked on it.

Make Money with AdSense
Earn money by configuring Google AdSense for your blog.

Ads on blogs, oh yea, I’ve seen those. I kind of find them annoying. Almost like spam, but because I visited that site of my own free will I asked for it. Not sure it’s for me or my blog.
Google automatically chooses which ads to show based on your blog's content, and you earn money when visitors view or click on these ads.

OK now I KNOW this isn’t for me. Why? For one thing I don’t just talk about quilting, and who knows what google might decide to put on my site. Imagine what you might find advertised here based on previous posts…
Visit such and such a casino next time you come to Vegas
Buy Raffle Tickets Here
Used Cars for Sale on this site
Weather news direct to your computer
Spam by the case, and recipes to go with it
Find your private retreat in paradise
Hire Lawyer Jo Smow to solve all your mysteries

It’s like the “ads” that Yahoo places on the bottom of Mysteries For Relay group..
One Dollar candy bars, Low minimum Free shipping. Profitable fundraiser.
Your Guide To Home Improvement. All About Relay Sockets.
Update your Usb Relay Driver w/ Official Drivers.
Nope, I will skip that blog feature, but I will be paying attention to other blogs that have them, and asking if they are worth it, anyone ever get any money from the ads? Just wondering.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I watched the news again

I actually turned on the TV to see when I might see the sun again and DH apparently had it on a new channel last, so that came on first, and there was another report about the devastation in Haiti. OK, here’s the thing, as quilters we want to send quilts. But get real, those people don’t need quilts now. And if we all send quilts they will clog up the process of getting things they really need down there. Things like water and food and medical necessities. Right now the ONLY way a quilter can help is to send money, and send it to a charity that you KNOW will give 100% of it to the Haitian people (NOT the Haitian government) My suggestion is the American Red Cross.

ANOTHER REASON THEY DON'T NEED QUILTS, it is in the 90s there most of the time. Any quilt you send there will most likely be slept on, and possibly on the ground too.

100 things about me

I was challenged, and I don’t often follow along when challenged, but this was challenging and I wanted to see if I could do it. I was challenged to write 100 things about myself that people might not know. Well… there was the challenge… at retreats and sewing bees, while we are sewing, we talk, and I’m pretty sure everyone there knows everything there is to know about me. No, not everyone goes to my retreats or sewing bees, but..

And there was another thing about this that bothered me. When you write such a list, and put it out there where everyone can read it, you are opening up your history, and perhaps your identity. And with identity theft such a big issue these days, I’m not sure I want to write it on here.

And in my case, it could get pretty personal, and I don’t want to go there. Not even just for me, let alone for anyone else to read… no I will pass thank you.

But as I said, it was a challenge that made me think… so I’ve decided to do it, but in a different way. I’m going to write 100 things about my quilting that people may not know.

Stay tuned, this list isn’t going to happen in one day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anyone up for a mystery?

Friday starts Mystery #12 on Mysteries For Relay, and there is plenty of time to join the group and get in on the fun and help me with my fundraising at the same time. I ask a $5 donation per mystery or $30 for a whole year’s worth of mysteries on my Relay For Life web page. We have new mystery about every six weeks or so, and you don’t have to do them at all if you don’t want to…. After each mystery is completed I put a full PDF file on line for the members to save to make whenever they want to. That way if you can’t sew on the weekend of the mystery you will have the pattern anyway.

(And if you are a member of that Scatterbrained Club who always forget to download the full pattern, I will email it to you, LOL)

The next mystery will be held on Mother’s Day… Mother’s Day in the UK that is which is March 13 and 14. Mother’s Day here is also Relay For Life weekend, and I will be much too busy and tired to do a mystery that weekend.

AND I have decided, since we had to cancel the Spring Retreat, that we will do a Spring Retreat mystery. Starting on April 6th I will post clues daily, or more if people are sewing and ask for them.

So if you want to join in on our fun, all you have to do is make a donation to my Relay For Life web page. ACS changed the minimum donation to $10, so that will get you two mysteries. Or you can make a $30 donation for a whole years worth. If you just want to try one, send me an email and I will send you a PayPal invoice, and you can donate that way, but you won’t get an ACS receipt for your donation. (BUT every penny, minus PalPal fees will go to ACS I promise!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do people just sign up for things to get prizes?

I was emailing a friend back and forth, that one who bought the selvages, and she was commenting on my blog. “I didn’t know you had a blog” she said, and “it’s fun to read.” Then she said something that sort of hurt, but I was due that since I criticized her for buying selvages… she said I didn’t have a lot of fans.

OK, it only hurt for a minute, but it got me to thinking… what is a fan? Do you have to read me every single day to be a fan, or can you just stop by here occasionally and still be a fan. Does it even matter.

Then my friend (I think she’s a fan now) said I should give something away to get more fans. That made me think… do people visit blogs just to see what prizes they can get?

I asked her that… she came right back at me, “Why did you sign up for the Christmas quilt show, weren’t you looking for a prize?” I laughed, I’m never looking for a prize, and I really didn’t even know there were prizes. I thought it was just a way to explore other quilters Christmas quilts. I looked at every one, and even went back again recently to see if any more had been added. Prizes, I didn’t pay any attention to that.

So let me ask… do you sign up for, join in something, read or follow or be a fan of a blog just for the prize? My friend admitted she did, she signed up for every freebie she could find, every give away, everything that might get her something.

So friend let me ask you and the rest of my readers, are you looking for a prize when you read this? And do you sign up for everything and anything that might give you something for doing so?

Sorry, all I’m giving away are my words. Right now at least.

PS, something I just thought of, how does one know if they have fans or not, and does it matter. I would write even if I was the only one who read it. If you are a fan, thank you. If you just happened to find this, thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 15, 2010

There is something bothering me…

I probably will come off as a meanie for saying this, but.. I want to help the people of Haiti just as much as everyone else does, but how about the people here in our own country that need help and have needed help for years now. How about all the neighborhoods that were destroyed when Katrina came for a visit. How about all the families who have lost their homes and are living in cars due to the economy. How about them?
I shouldn’t watch the news, it upsets me too much. I think I will go back to not watching it again, it’s easier that way.


Quite a few years ago there was a selvage quilt in the Lancaster Quilt show. I saw it, admired it, and forgot about it. Until the following year when one of the ladies came back to the Spring Retreat after the show all excited about a selvage quilt. C was tickled with the idea and said she was going to make one, and sure enough she did. Here is a photo of her selvage quilt a few years later. I said maybe I will make one, since I really did like C’s, a lot. I started collecting selvages and that’s as far as I’ve gotten on that project.

Well in my email yesterday was a photo of another selvage quilt, made by another quilter and made because she liked C’s quilt so much. It was a little different and very interesting, and made me want to work on mine. But since I’m not sewing right now, and since I don’t have near enough selvages…. Hey wait a minute my brain says, where did she get all her selvages from in that amount of time. C worked part time at a quilt shop, and it took her several years to get enough for her quilt, and I sew pretty much full time, until recently anyway.

So I sent an email off, starting of course with nothing but praise. I really do like her selvage quilt, and I told her so, several times in different ways. I like her colors and her sashing and her setting, I loved it all. But I’m nosey I said, “where did you get all those selvages so fast?” I waited a few hours before she replied, and imagine my shock when she told me she had bought them.

Let’s be fair here, I told my quilter friend I was going to blog about her selvage quilt, but I’m not going to show a photo, because she will be showing it around her quilting circles, and doesn’t want anyone to know I am talking about her. (Yea right like any of her friends might just happen to read this, I don’t even think she normally reads this, but she will now because I told her I was going to write about my shock)

SHE BOUGHT THEM. In a store on line. She BOUGHT selvages in an on-line store. I was afraid to ask how much she paid for them, but she was kind enough to send me the web site. Which I am not going to share… nor am I going to buy any. After all, the selvage is the part people throw away, which means that some store is collecting the trash and selling it. Oh ok, I know they don’t trash pick, I hope, but cut selvages from their yard goods.

But how much… ok you do the math, I’m not even going there. You can purchase 100 selvage strips between 4 to 6 inches length about (love the “about” part) one to two inches wide. For only, yes ONLY, $9.99. BUT don’t forget shipping. Yes, add that shipping cost. If I were to order one package of selvage strips the shipping would be only $10.80. I didn’t believe that, so I called the shop. They use flat rate boxes and that is their policy.

No thank you, I’ll keep collecting them for myself. (And to my friend, you know I love you and I just hope that your honey buns doesn’t read this and figure out I am talking about you. Poor guy might die of shock, LOL)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Relay, quilts and lots of reading

While looking for some new fundraising ideas for Relay I happened to find a new quilters blog list… Honest that’s how it happened. I really need to raise some more money, because more friends have heard those dreaded words “you have cancer”. I want to help them, but I’m helpless. I want to make them quilts, but they are quilters and have quilts already. I want to find a cure, but I’m no scientist so the only way I can help them is to raise money. I’m going to put a few of my quilts for sale, maybe that will help. And I think I will raffle one off… maybe that will help too. But…I wish I would win the lottery, but I haven’t bought a ticket in months.

OK, so I think I googled about fundraising with quilts… or something like that, and I found a blog that had a quilt she was raffling off. (Raffle was over and she raised $486) and I noticed this blogger was on a quilter blog list, and I clicked on that link and wow… another 890 some quilt blogs to look at. At one point I had so many web pages open the computer started making funny noises. Oh wait, that's just my tummy growling. And next thing you know, the day is almost over and I’ve done practically nothing.

Well I did work on the Relay site some, updating after last night’s meeting, and I did work on the Registration Rally email, which should go out soon… but no quilting, and no fundraising, just reading reading and more reading. Quilters are interesting people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jelly rolls

Jelly rolls… I see lots of quilters using them, well at least talking about using them on their blogs and honey buns too, and charm packets. I have a problem with all of them, and have heard about other people having problems with them too.

My problem is I prewash… religiously. No fabric enters my sewing room without being prewashed. Why, because fabrics bleeds occasionally and it shrinks. Don’t tell me it doesn’t I know otherwise. Yes I know the manufacturing process had changed, but guess what, some fabrics still shrink. No I don’t buy cheap stuff, I buy good stuff, and yes, sometimes it shrinks.

And colors run, or bleed. Again, I know they manufacturing process has changed, but guess what, colors still run. Do I want to make a quilt and have one purple or red or blue or even green run when I wash it.. not me.. nope. And don’t tell me it washes out, not always, and I have proof. I have a wall hanging that had reds running all over it, and they won’t wash out. (I keep it as proof as to why I pre-wash when I do a class)

Other people have had problems with these pre-cut fabrics too. One lady wrote me recently that her mystery was pulling apart and wanted to know why. I asked her to check her seam allowances, she said they were 1/4 inch but… "the fabric has a zig zag edge." I wasn’t sure what she meant, so she sent me a photo, the fabric was pinked and … it wasn’t pinked well and she didn’t allow for that and yes, the seams were pulling apart.

And other quilters have told me that they have bought jelly rolls and buns that weren’t all properly cut. If you pay for 2 1/2 inch strips you want 2 1/2 inch strips, and not 2 3/8 inch strips or 2 5/8 inch strips. And you want them to be cut evenly, not so crooked you need to recut most of them.

Yes, those jelly rolls are pretty, and yes, most of them are ok to use. But it’s a gamble I am not willing to take. (I won’t even mention that the cost is insanely high when you calculate what you get for your money.. nope, won’t say a word about that)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I will not be tempted

No, I will not be tempted to join any swaps, mysteries, quilt-a-longs, challenges etc this year. I have enough of my own quilting to do. Between the 48 UFOs I have and the 11 new Mysteries For Relay which I have not made myself and the one retreat project that I would like to do for the November retreaters and the other 19 blocks and/or quilt designs that I’ve been working on, I do not need to be tempted to make anything else. You can flash your fancy jpgs at me and show off those bright and beautiful fabrics, but I will not join in. Hear me… I will not join in… I will not join in… I will not join in…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Retreat questions

My posting from yesterday brought a few retreat questions to my email box this morning. One retreater asked “does anyone need our help?” That showed me why I love doing these retreats, the friends I’ve made. This lady isn’t well off, and yet she is willing to help in any way someone she really doesn’t even know. No one is that bad off thank goodness, just cutting back on things they can do without, like a weeklong quilt retreat.

Another special friend sent me an email saying “Your blog post was just so very sad.” I was sad when I wrote it and still am. I will miss the Spring Retreat since it is so relaxing and I usually get so much done at them. I will miss even more the friends that I won’t get to see for a few more months or even a whole year.

I myself thought of making the retreat shorter and another retreater asked if a shorter retreat would help someone be able to come. Sadly, not this year. Things are just tight all around. And there were not enough of us who could come to break even.

“Will you cancel the other retreats too?” I sure hope not, but if things get worse and the ladies who are signed up for October and November start dropping out, we might have to make some changes. If things get really bad and people start dropping out, we could combine retreats. But I’m not going to even think about that, not until the end of the summer at least. I will make a decision on September 1st, but as of now, both October and November are good to go.

Not to worry, we will have our retreats and hopefully both of them. I have new patterns for the October Scrappy Happy ladies, and I have a new pattern I am working on just for the November retreaters (and possibly at the same time the Mysteries For Relay group too)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spring retreat continued....

I did something today that I hated doing, more than anything else in the world I can think of… I canceled a retreat. I had no choice, the economy made it impossible for it to happen. I got my first cancelation about two weeks ago, one I sort of expected, since I knew this lady was having some hard times. A few days later I got a second one, that I should have expected, but didn’t. Then a third and a fourth, within hours of each other. And today another one, which was so to speak the bottom of the barrel. I had been playing with the figures, and I knew it wasn’t looking good, but I had such high hopes.. now shattered.
No one was looking forward to this get away more than I was.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Spring Retreat

Normally the Spring Retreat is held the same time as the Quilters Heritage Celebration, but long after last year’s show, and after arrangements for this year’s retreat were made, the show was cancelled. Then AQS announced that they would be having a show in Lancaster, but the dates were not the same as the Quilters Heritage Celebration so the retreaters had a decision to make, show or no show. I gave them a choice, change retreat dates and do the new AQS Lancaster show, or just have a plain old retreat and get some serious sewing done. The twenty-four ladies who I polled ALL said they could go a year without a show.

The majority of them said they had enough sewing to do to keep them busy a month, let alone the week that was the retreat. Others said they didn’t need to buy anything or be tempted to buy anything or get any new ideas so could go a year without a show. Others said they would enjoy shopping their favorite quilt stores without the show crowds for a change.

When this all happened I was still sewing, my knees were cooperating more, and the stairs, although not a pleasure, were doable. Little did I know… Now those same stairs are almost Mt Everest to me, and just as impossible to manipulate. Now sewing is a distant memory, since the last time I did any was at the fall retreats. And NOW I am looking forward to the Spring Retreat and a whole week of quilting with such anticipation I can hardly stand it.

Imagine, five glorious days in a beautiful hotel overlooking lovely Amish farms, breakfast every morning right there. A gigantic conference room to sew in. All the sewing time you want 24 hours a day if you can stay awake that long, and nothing to interrupt you. A quilt shop within walking distance (if you are walking better than me anyway) just in case you need anything.
And then the economy hit bottom...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Funny emails

I’ve had a few interesting emails lately that I wanted to share with someone. First one was back in early December. The writer wanted to know how much it would cost for a 45 by 60 log cabin. I started to reply with an estimate… I actually figured out what such a quilt would cost, estimated fabrics, quilting, labor etc, and had a nice estimate written up to send. When I hit reply I read again the original email, and it was “how much it would cost for a 45’ by 60’ log cabin.” I wondered to myself if that was a typo on their part, after all " is the uppercase for ' and that would be an easy mistake, I’ve done it myself.

So I replied, starting off my email with “If you are looking for a quilt the cost would be much lower than is you are looking for a wooden log cabin.” Shortly after I replied I heard back from them, “If you can build us a log cabin with that price you are hired.”

Monday in my spam folder was a request for so many tons of stepping stones to be delivered to such and such an address and they wanted to know how soon I could deliver and wondered if it would come from a local supplier. Well since they wanted tons, I knew that was a mistake, so I just deleted it.

Then I wondered, why did they email me for stepping stones, so I googled Stepping Stones and was on page 15 before I thought… they asked about stepping stones Delaware or Delaware stepping stones, and sure enough there it was. Google stepping stones Delaware I am the first one on page two. Google Delaware stepping stones I am on page one…I guess they didn’t know what a BOM was.

Today’s spam mail included a request for an estimate for attic windows in upstate Delaware… I have no doubt he googled Delaware attic windows and had no idea what a BOM was… but if you click on the google link, or any other search engine link for that matter, which they all had to do to get my email address, they had to see the BOMs, and had to know I didn’t sell log cabins, stepping stones OR attic windows… right?