Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February's Finishes

  The first six will be donated to charity in top form. I will donate backing and binding fabric also, so they can be easily finished.  And the last two will be quilted and then sold to raise money to get more quilts quilted for charity, so I can donate some finished quilts too. 

And ALL of them are from my friends UFO box. 

To a survivor, every day as one more day!

What would you do with one extra day?

That seems to be the question of the day, wonder why?  Surely not because February 29th only comes around every four years.  One extra day is more important than February 29th. 
Think of all the people who are fighting or have fought cancer, the survivors.. to them every day is that one more day.  To them every sunrise and sunset is one more, every hug is one more, every everything is just one more, because they are survivors. 

Don’t waste February 29th thinking it is an extra day this year, do every day like it is one more day, like the cancer survivors of the world do.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No sewing today

I didn’t get any sewing done today sadly.  I had to go out and find a new iron.  I’m fussy, I like one that shuts off after so many minutes or when tipped over and I like a light weight iron too.  And I like one with a good steam and spray.  Black and Decker has been my brand for as long as I remember so I went to the Black and Decker outlet first, and it was worth the trip.  I found exactly what I wanted, and a new iron for the retreat box too. 

Then I went to the marine supply store, I was looking for something special, a new tackle box to become my retreat supply box.  I found one that I was pretty sure would fit most of what I needed to take retreating with me and bought it only after I was assured I could return it if it wasn’t right.  When I started putting stuff in it I was amazed at how well it did work, and I got more in it then I even planned on putting in it.  It’s not purple but it’s as close perfect as a tackle box can be for my use!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Almost the end of February

Tomorrow would be the last day of the month, but every four years we get an extra day.  I need that extra day this month, to catch up and get organized. 

I’ve done well this month, but not as well as I wanted to… well not in what I wanted to… am I confusing you, I am confusing me, LOL!  I’ve had a productive month but haven’t finished any UFOs and haven’t made any more Jacob’s ladders. 

I’ll make a full report Wednesday, might as well take advantage of that extra day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Service interruption

Yesterday I had a busy sewing day until the unfortunate passing of another iron. I’m not sure how long I’ve had this one but am sure it’s been four or five years. I do know that I really liked it. I may not have when I first got it, you know that adjustment period we have to go through. But I soon learned it’s on and off schedule and knew how it worked dry and/or wet. And then … sigh… it stopped heating. 

Well no big loss, I paid about $6 for it and I think I can afford another one.

I had a busy sewing day, maybe I wore the poor thing out. The night before I had taken the pile of triangle squares that were all darks and separated them. Yesterday morning I cut some tan-on-tan squares, then cut those into triangles, and then paired them up with the dark triangles, making half dark and half light triangle squares. Then I sewed those all into pairs, then into pinwheel squares. And then I sewed them into eight rows.

I had joined and pressed the first two rows, and added another row and went to press it when I discovered the iron’s demise.

So I closed down the sewing room and came downstairs, only to realize that a storm was brewing, thunder and lightning off in the distance… I sat down to post and there was no internet. I reset the modem and router, still no service.

I’ll admit, it was hard going to bed without checking email one more time, but I managed. When I got up this morning I rushed right in… to get my cup of coffee… bet you thought I was going to check email, LOL! Well that came second. And still no internet. Then I remembered I could check email on my cell phone… DUH me. So I checked, tried to make a few replies although I’m still not sure they went through.

Then I pulled a retreat iron out of the retreat box and headed back upstairs. I ironed and sewed and ironed until the top was finished.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How Big?

I'm repeating this post because in the last three days three different people have asked me questions which are answered in this post. (Originally published Tuesday, March 23, 2010)

I’ve been having a running email conversation with another quilter for the last two days. She started off by asking me how many blocks she would need for a queen size quilt. I replied that I needed to know what size blocks and we’ve been going on ever since. I decided that maybe I should share some of our conversation here, because it might be helpful to others too.
Before you know how many blocks you need you need to know what what size bed you will be putting the quilt on, and how much of it you want covered by this quilt. Do you want to tuck it under the pillows? Do you want it hanging on the floor? Do you just want it to cover the top of your bed?

How big will be blocks be finished, in the quilt? Are you planning on adding any borders, and if yes, how many? Do you want to have sashing between the blocks, and if yes, how wide? Would you like to make a block border, or block sashing? How did you visualize this quilt after you are all done with it?

Standard mattress sizes are - crib 27 X 52, youth 33 X 66, twin 39 X 74, full 54 X 74, queen 60 X 80 and king 78 X 80. This is what size the top of the mattress measures, period!

A comforter usually covers the top, sides and foot of the mattress. You use it with a dust ruffle to pretty up your bed. Sizes for those are - twin 66 X 86, full 76 X 86, queen 86 X 88 and king 102 X 88.

Bedspreads usually fall almost to or all the way to the floor and allow for a pillow tuck. Measurements for those are - twin 80 X 108, full 96 X 108, queen 102 X 118 and king 120 X 118. However, how many pillow that allows for, or what thickness, I can't say. To be safe, you probably should get out the old tape measure and see what measurements you come up with yourself.

Another thing you really need to remember, your quilt top will shrink when it is quilted! Don’t lay the top on your bed and stop sewing because it fits, ask me how I know. I learned that lesson the hard way. If the top just fits perfectly, the quilt will be slightly smaller.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today’s progress

Remember that stack of triangle squares from yesterday, the ones I was sewing into pairs?  This morning I finished pairing them, and this was what the pile looked like when they were all done. 

Next step was to sew the pairs together into pinwheel blocks, and that is what I did today.  I now have 48 eleven inch pinwheels… not quite enough to make a large quilt and that’s what I’ve decided to do with these. 

There were a few, two dozen or so, triangle squares that were either two lights or two darks and didn’t fit my pattern.  So tonight’s job will be to carefully separate them, very carefully since they are bias.  Tomorrow I will cut some of my own fabrics to supplement what is needed, I think it will be lights, and make some more pinwheel blocks.  My goal is a very large queen size totally scrappy pinwheel quilt…. I hope!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday I didn’t sew, I worked. Eventually I'll tell you what I was working on. Today I am sewing. Is the quilter’s block gone, yes and no. My block now is what do I really want to do first. I have so many things I want to work on that the minute I walk in the sewing room I’m overwhelmed by the possibilities.

So what do I do? Mindless sewing. I opened up the box that was to go to the retreat and pulled out the first stack of blocks. These look like a variety of miscellaneous swap blocks, I even found some of my own in there. I vaguely remember making them, I think. They were all the same size so they all went in the same quilt. Another charity top finished.

More mindless sewing. There must be a thousand or more triangle squares (formerly known as DHS or HST). What to do with them all? Why sew them together of course. First in pairs and then… well we’ll see what happens next.

But I’m sewing, getting stuff done and having a good time… sort of.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Quilters block

I think I might have it… quilters block…. I just can’t get motivated to sew.  I went up to the sewing room and found myself…. cleaning…. shudder.  Since when would I rather clean than sew?  Never in my recollection, there must seriously be something wrong with me.  It might have something to do with the piles of finished quilts on the cutting table, most of them waiting to be taken to the retreat for delivery to charities there.  Or the pile of scraps, squares and orphan blocks, also waiting for the retreat, since I’ve decided to make those my project that week… 

When I was sort of done that cleaning thing I sat down and went through my mystery files, trying to decide which future mystery I wanted to make the sample for next… to many to choose from so I didn’t pick any. 

Then I looked at my UFO list, most of them need quilting and I don’t want to quilt and the one that slightly interested me I couldn’t find.

Maybe I should clean some more?

Friday, February 17, 2012

What did I do today?

No, seriously, I’m asking, cause I have no idea.  I got up late, bad night, so half the day was wasted.  Then I sewed because when I went to take photos of the two little pioneer braid quilts I realized I’d left off top and bottom borders.  Then I unpacked a few totes from the fall retreats… don’t  ask.  Next thing I knew John and I were out to dinner then shopping at my least favorite place in the world… shopping for Sheryl and of course we had to pick up a few things too.  Now it’s 8 and I feel like I ran a marathon.  Maybe I’ll go to bed early.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I forgot how hard it is to properly put together a quilt backing.  First you have to find the fabric you want to use.  Then you have to measure the quilt and make sure you have enough backing.  I always have to triple check because I’m famous for not sending enough backing to the long arm quilters.  And if you are like me, you pick two that there isn't quite enough of before you find one that works.  Before you can even start to sew you have to iron… and ironing those long long pieces is as bad as ironing sheets… and who irons sheets anymore?  (If you do I don’t want to hear from you!) 

Then you finally get to sew them all together … and sewing long long 90 some inches of just sewing is boring.  I think I’d rather make ten quilt blocks than sew those long long pieces.  And if your quilt is too wide or the backing too skinny you have to sew two of those long long seams.  

And then, well then you get to iron them again because they always wrinkle on the machine and you have to press down the seam allowance.  And when that’s all done and over with you’re too tired to do any more sewing for the day… or at least I was!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Yesterday I tackled my friends UFOs again.  Why?  I really don’t know why, I have plenty of my own UFOs, but this lady keeps sending me boxes of her UFOs, blocks, scraps, and even partially made quilts.  Yesterday I used up the pioneer braid strips she made into two little lap quilts, no photo yet but I’ll get one later.  When I finished those I opened up the box and the next thing in her pile were some scraps and W-O-Ws which had already been sewn into rows.  So all I had to do was sew the rows together into a quilt, taadaaa. 

This is on top of a queen size bed, and it hangs down a bit on each side, but very little below the end of the bed.  Nice size I think once borders are added.

Here is another one of her UFOs I finished, pineapple blocks which she started and sent to me to finish.  This one also is a nice size, and will certainly be lovely when finished. 

Now here is my predicament.  I could get them finished and then sell them to raise money for my charities, although finished quilts really aren’t making a lot of money these days.  However that takes money, and my long arm quilting budget is zero right now, no money at all in the budget for quilting.  And I’m wondering, how are tops selling?  I know for a while people were paying nice money for finished tops… I wonder if that’s still true.  I could sell these two tops and get some money in my quilting budget and get some serious quilting done.

What to do what to do… 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Odd email

In December while we were in Florida I got an email from a lady saying that all of my blocks were old and nothing new, so why was I bothering to publish them.  I replied to her something like because there are always new quilters who don’t know what is old and what is new.  Honestly, that was the best thing I could think of at the time, and since I was on vacation I didn’t want to stress over it and I didn’t. 

I know that not all of my blocks and/or quilts are originals.  Heck, most of them aren’t.  But maybe, just maybe, my way of making them will be easier for someone than someone else’s directions are.  That is why I do what I do. 

Today I opened up the most recent Love of Quilting magazine from Fons and Porter.  I sure hope the lady that sent me that email doesn’t read their magazine… in this issue are some really old blocks and/or quilts. 

Churn Dash by Liz Porter, old as the hills, but I looked at it and read it over, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ve made Churn Dash quilts, and I’ve done Churn Dash blocks but I still enjoyed reading the article and looking over the directions.  A new quilter probably would be able to do that easily, and I am pretty sure some new quilters must purchase that magazine.

I also got a good giggle over their articles on Triangle-Squares.  What was funny… just the name.  Not Diagonal Half Squares as I like to call them or Half Square Triangles as other people call them, just plain triangle-squares.  I wonder if I can start calling them that without confusing myself and everyone else who does any of my BOMs or patterns.  There are a few good points for new quilters on those pages too.

And another oldie, Bow Ties!  Oh I sure hope the lady that sent me that email doesn’t read this issue, surely she will complain to the publishers if she did. And if she didn’t, she’s missing out on some good stuff!

In the quilting world everything is new to someone and even the newest is old stuff to someone else, I guarantee it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine’s dinner early

My honey and I went out for lunch today for Valentine’s Day.  We figured it would be less crowded than on Tuesday.  His choice was Outback which was fine with me, there are plenty of things on the menu I like.  There were hardly any cars in the parking lot and lots of seats available.  However it was a little chilly in there… and after we sat for a few minutes we decided it was just too cold for us to enjoy our meal. 

His second pick was TGIF, and it was delightful!  We both had meals we enjoyed and didn’t freeze while eating. 

However, now I have to come up with something yummy for dinner on Tuesday, LOL!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today's progress

Today I decided I needed to finish something.  I opened up a box marked UFOs and found some nine-patch blocks set with scrappy squares which were already in rows.  I counted, recounted and I had to cut a few more scrappy squares, I used some more retreat uglies, and then sewed three nice size (I think) kids quilts.  These will all go to Project Linus. 

No, not one of my monthly projects, and not even on my UFO list (and they should have been),  but three finished tops which will soon be in the mail.  Now I think I’ll make a cup of tea and watch the snow fall before it stops….. whoops too late, already stopped!

Friday, February 10, 2012

BOM updated

There are still a few people hanging on for the ending of the 2011 BOM sampler.  So just for them, here’s the next block, Garden of Eden. 

As you can see from the sampler, there are just two more empty spots.  I have the patterns ready for both, and will post them on or about March 1 and March 15.  If any of my readers would like links to those blocks now, send me an email.

While I was updating the web page I decided to update Katie’s Sampler.  Katie is a young mother, fairly new quilter and busy lady all around who was going to make a sampler quilt and share her adventure on her blog.  As always happens, life got in the way and she’s put the sampler on the back burner for a while.  (And we quilters all know how that goes!)  Just incase there was anyone out there in the WWW that was following Katie, I updated her sampler page, adding links to all of the block she chose.  Now you can work on your own, or wait for life to let Katie get back to it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Emails, some good and some well I’ll just say interesting….. 

First I got an email from Becky and Tom, friends I had not heard from in a while.  Becky said that Tom said to tell me that two of the quilts on my UFO list he was pretty sure I’d donated to them a long time ago.  That is good news!  That’s two off MY UFO list, and two that were donated to CHIP… Children’s Hospital in Phila.  Thanks Tom and just for that I’m sending you two more of my UFOs, LOL!

After that email I decided to go looking for UFOs, how many others are on that list and don’t belong there?  I pulled out six little (baby size) quilts and decided I just didn’t want to finish them, so I’m donating them.  Two will go to CHIP through Tom and Becky and four to other charities on my list.  One quilt on the list I was pretty sure I finished, I remember showing it… but I can’t find it, done or not and I don’t have any photos.  So I’m listing it as Missing… until I clean out my quilt closet. 

When I finally got back to the computer I had an interesting advertisement.  “Get a CHI flat iron for $59.99”  I’ve been looking for a nice flat iron, something with no holes but that’s lightweight, so I decided to look at this one… how disappointing. 

"Did you forget something?"

"Did you forget something?"
That was the subject line in an email I got this morning.  When I opened it, it was blank.  But since it came from Kathy, I was pretty sure I knew what she meant and sure enough, I'd forgotten to blog yesterday!  Whoops!

Bigger whoops if you knew I was on the computer a good part of the day yesterday.  I’ve been working on the last few BOMs web pages for the 2011 Sampler.  Let me explain, I had all the blocks picked out, and did the word instructions and diagrams as I made each block.  Then I ran out of my B&W fabric and didn’t want to go buy any more.  (I’m trying hard to use what I have and not buy any more.) 

So I made my sampler sample, had it quilted and put the binding on and declared it finished.  However, the diagram on line shows 16 blocks and I had 15 picked out, I just stopped at 12.  In my head it was done.  Then January rolls around and I started my 2012 projects and quite a few people ask me about the rest of the blocks for the 2011 Sampler. 

I checked my files and I had blocks #13 and 14 completely finished, word and web page and I even had made sample blocks.  But #15 I had nothing except the EQ diagram of the block and there was no #16.  So yesterday I made block #16 and did the web page, it’s now ready to go on line.  Block #15… not so ready.  It’s a tricky one to diagram, and I want to be sure of my directions, so I’m going to make another sample and then it will be ready. 

And in all that I forgot to Blog.  And someone else reminded me I hadn’t posted on Facebook lately.  Hmmmm sorry about that.  So today I checked in there…  again changes and I’m not sure about some of them.  But I was on, I even posted something to prove it, LOL!  Now back to the important stuff, sewing!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The BIG game

I only have two comments on the events of last night… I think Kelly Clarkson must have read the same email I got and shared yesterday here on my blog.  I felt she sang the National Anthem with the respect it deserved.  No fancy costume, no overdone make-up, no glittery backup singers.  Just respectfully honest and pure.

As for the halftime show,

Sunday, February 05, 2012

National Anthem at the Super Bowl - an editorial

“So, with all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the national anthem at a sporting event: save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts. Just sing this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten — straight up, no styling. Sing it with the constant awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world. Don’t make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification. Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud of you for honoring them and the country they love — not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician. They could see that from the costumes, the makeup and the entourages. Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America , not you.”

I didn't write this, but I certainly agree, so I'm passing it along!  If you agree, you may pass it along also!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Rainy Thursday

I forgot to mention one very important bit of news yesterday.  My mother-in-law Arden who went into the hospital on November 22 for outpatient knee surgery finally came home.  It’s been a long difficult emotional recovery, but she did it and is home where she belongs.  She even cooked dinner for her and Pop last night.

I didn’t get to see her, I haven’t yet, because of this horrible cough I have.  I was worried I might pass it along to her, and even though I’ve been on meds I didn’t want to risk it.  When I want to the Doctor again yesterday… don’t ask… he said that under the circumstances it may have been a wise decision on my part.   

And I finally have a medicine that is controlling my cough.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, it controls me totally.  I took the first dose before I went to bed last night and slept from 10 to 9:30 this morning.  Then I got up and took another does and fell asleep in my chair doing a binding.  I woke up and went to bed around 1 and John woke me up when he got home from work.  I’m not sure which is worse, coughing all day and night or sleeping, but right now I’m enjoying the sleeping!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

About my flowers

Several people have asked about my pink flowers I showed the other day.  That is a Camellia.  While driving around one winter I noticed a tree blooming in February.  I had to turn around and look at it and soon found out what it was.  I had to have one, something that blossomed in the winter! 

I don’t remember where we bought that one, but it’s been in our yard for about five or six years now, maybe a little longer.  It normally blossoms in February or March but this year in January.  Well it has a few blossoms on it, and is loaded with buds.  I can see it from my recliner, so will not miss one of the lovely flowers. 

I actually got two more Camellias for my birthday from Cheri.  She brought me an April Dawn Camellia, pink with white edges and a Winter Showman Camellia, a delicate white.  I can’t wait to see them bloom, but will probably have to wait a year or so, they’re still small.  (And I have to protect them from the neighbors escaping goat too…grrrr….)

As for my daffodils, I have thousands around the yard, and most of them are up and many of them are budding.  I’m hoping a cold snap doesn’t kill the flowers.  Then again, I’ve had daffodils blooming in snow before, they are a hardy plant. 

The yellow crocuses are early bloomers also, but I’ve never had flowers in January before.  I can’t wait for the purple ones to show off their color!