Saturday, December 31, 2011

it's heeeeere!

here it is, 2012, a new year; 366 days or 8784 hours or 527,040 minutes or….you get the idea.  As quilters, all these lovely minutes are tantalizing segments of quilting, sewing, binding, patching, appliquéing, designing, traveling, learning and socializing.  Don’t forget, though, included in those segments are possibly (gulp) cooking and cleaning, driving, family nurturing, working, healing, refereeing, caregiving, and maybe even just surviving.   When it’s put in that perspective, we are amazed we even got any quilting done at all.   But reducing life into an efficiency task isn’t necessary.  What is important is to make the best use of our time, be good stewards of those precious minutes, like we take care of others and planet earth.  

the start of a new year is a time for resolutions, hopes, plans, goals more quilting!  I’ll throw the proverbial caution to the wind and carry on as usual, drooling over woven cotton and its color that calls this moth to its flames.  I’ll still cut it up into little pieces and sew them back together, satisfying my creative soul like nothing else.  You might think sheesh; this woman needs to get a life/job/husband/grandchildren, something to steer her off this over-zealous quilt fetish.  Well, I do (sort of)/looking/happily divorced/not yet, but none of those things fill that little corner of quilty hunger.  From the look around, though, I’ve plenty of company in that respect and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Not for a year/day/hour/minute!

Friday, December 30, 2011

chain piece frenzy

thursday was a super sewing day.  first, i finished a window curtain for my DSIL that gets mailed today.  thank you for being patient!  then, i went back to my orca bay project, still working on catching up.  i squared up the cheddar squares that were done, yes!  next, i tackled the triangle part.  here you see my stack of chain pieced triangles.  i wish i could say they were done but nooooo; today i must cut more and re-chain this entire pile!  then they will be done.  the last thing i did was wind 5 more bobbins as i used up 6 whole bobbins this week so far.  bonnie will be posting the final part this weekend, so i'm hoping another week will have this into a flimsy, two at the most.  this needs to be gone by the end of january for certain and i need to get back to quilting on the amish center diamond.  do you think i can do 2 finishes in january?  i'll certainly try. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

comments on orca bay colors

i sure do appreciate everyone's kind comments about the colors i chose for "fat tuesday on orca bay."  i have to admit, i only went with the scraps of which i had the most.  these are not especially favorite colors of mine at all.  i went for high contrast and when i pulled them and put them together i realized how "wow" they actually were.   hope you all keep watching and see when the cheddars and more purple added to the mix.  ****  our 50-degree temps from today are slowly waning and frigid air moving in slowly.  this day has been another gift for us, usually knee-deep in snow and ice about now.  i feel bad for the people who rely on snow for their daily sustenance, snowplowers and the like.  but i have to say it's real nice to go out and not have to clean off the car or inch along on slippery roads.   but that's today; tomorrow could be an entirely different situation.  now, off to shower and slip into those jammies.....

tuesday progress

the stars are stacking up and making good progress on orca bay.  still have most of the purple strippies to do and also more of those green triangles too.  with temps hovering around 50 here today; that's right, 50...will be sewing with the window open until tonight when it's dropping to 14, right...14!  wacky winter indeed!

Monday, December 26, 2011

book recommendation

i've always been a reader and had a love of books.  when i was 16 i was at the local library in a very upscale town south of Boston.  the librarian was a stodgy yankee who had been in charge since the mayflower, i think.  i pulled a book from the shelf titled "light in the piazza."  it was a thin book but sounded interesting.  dear old mrs macduff (really, her name) looked at me over her glasses and said, "this is an ADULT book you know," and i replied that i knew very well.  with hesitation she checked it out for me. ***  currently being unemployed, i read stephanie plum before going to sleep and other various mysteries, legal dramas, contemporary novels and some quirky books as well.  recently i finished a book called, "the end of everything."  this is an eerie, contemporary mild thriller type of book.  not too many dead bodies or whodunit plots, but eerie nonetheless.  if you enjoy a non-gory, non-gumshoe book with a modern headline topic, by all means read it.  it's not a hugely thick book but you won't want to put it down once it's started. 

shelf progress

this is what i got done this weekend; rearranged shelving stuff after flinging most of the vinyl LPs.  got all my shoeboxes on one shelf; shoebox contents got re-org'd as well as on the shelf itself.  the orca bay shoebox is on the sewing table, as is the feathered star.  both should be empty sometime in january and, at this point, i don't have any projects to be added.  however, i neglected to "neaten up" my 2 strippie totes, the messy looking ones but in time, in time.  next up, the elfa drawers!  *****  got my 2012 calendar up already, don't see any point in putting it off until january 1st...

a busy gap week

with Christmas now over, i can set my sights to a new year and getting organized.  usually i spend the week making lists....UFO lists, plans for the new year, things i want to do and must do.  this week will be no different.  i am totally excited!  i've already reorganized my shelves a bit, labeling my kits and shoeboxes to make it quicker to locate things.  i've also copied most of my vinyl LPs to CD and flung them, making more space, not to mention lightening the load significantly...those suckers are heavy!  i've already gone through all my commercial patterns and flung the no longer wants.  i've also roughed out my budget for the next few months--the basic and the particular--to get an idea of upcoming expenses and need to pay items.  of course, my 2012 UFO list is made and documented.  very soon i am hoping to get some flimsies basted, those for which i already have the backs and batts, and set aside for quilting.  i've also cleaned out the sewing table of all notions and the like of no longer wanted/needed and flung.  paring down and organizing is not only fun it's necessary, given our small digs.  i'll be able to start the new year off with an organized space and clear decks.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

i just had to say....

now that everyone is probably up and into gifts and such; me, i was awake at 4 am so i'll be taking a nap later for certain.  had a delish breakfast hours ago and working on some yummy tidbits for grazing; listening to christmas music.  no big dinner here today,  we'll have our annual roast beast on new year's day.  enjoyed our traditional clam chowder supper last night before gifts, so some is leftover of course.  wishing you all the very best holiday ever. 

2 cross-stitch christmas finishes

DD is a cross-stitch expert and years ago i started this piece for her to carry her projects.  while cleaning out my cross-stitch stash, i came across it again and decided to get it done for her.  so here's the finished bag with the cross-stitch that i did, nowhere near as exceptional as her work but i know it'll make a good carryall for her work.  the heart below was finished long ago and put away for someday.  this year it got completed and given to my elderly aunt in assisted living to brighten up her space.  i don't have many more unfinished cross-stitch projects but i am determined to finish them all....sooner or later. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

first four on christmas eve

just for fun i decided to whip together these 4 squares to motivate me to finish the units still lagging so far--the purple strippies and the green triangles.  it never ceases to amaze me what beauty scraps can create.  it's the color that does the work, not the prints at all.  in fact, if done right, the prints should become invisible.  if you don't believe it, just squint.  me, i'm mesmerized and tantalized by color.  from the crayola box to paintbox to fabric to fireworks.  many artistic gurus have encouraged and taught me to develop my love of color into a real working, love relationship that continues to feed my creativity.  thank you one and all. *** a most blessed Christmas to those who celebrate, too....."and the beautiful red bird on Christmas shall sing, for the manger at Bethlehem cradles a King"

Friday, December 23, 2011

friday sewing

today i finished the cheddar strippy squares.  also got the squares from part 6 cut as well.  tonight, it's square up and rip; square up the cheddars and rip out the papers is what i mean.  i also worked a bit on the purple strippy squares; it'll take a few days to get them done.  i am also hoping to get some of those ohio star blocks assembled too, not to mention more of the green triangles.  bonnie said there were 8-9 parts of this mystery, so i'm thinking 2-3 more weeks and i can get back to my UFO list and some other projects.  i have another of bonnie's mystery projects as a UFO but i many abandon it, not sure yet.  ***** the inevitable happened overnight, we got about 2" of very wet, heavy snow.  it rained some this afternoon and will be cold tonight, so i imagine it will be icy tomorrow morning.  i was busy all day and didn't venture out at all and might not tomorrow either. i'm missing DD and DSIL this Christmas again but they have to work.  that leaves a big gap in the celebrating for me but i know it can't be helped.  even so, much for which to be thankful this holiday season.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

finally a sew day

last night i did get more units done on orca bay and today my hope is to finish this stack of cheddar strippy squares.  that'll leave me with the purple strippy squares and the rest of the HSTs to do.  bonnie has already posted part 6, assembling some ohio star squares.  i'm not quite keeping up but this should be a january finish, along with the amish center diamond.  ***** last night i also worked on the last of my 5-in-5 challenge pieces, a small patriotic wallhanging that will be finished before new year and will also get deleted from next year's list.  ***** first day of winter and we still have bare ground here.  this is my kind of winter for absolute certain, though every day like this is a gift and we know it well.  sooner or later old man winter will pay us a visit. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

i AM sewing...

albeit very little these pre-Christmas days with a heftier-than-usual to do list.  these are my triangle units on the corner of a very old sewing table.  the chunk you see that's missing from the corner looks larger than it really is; however, the sewing table will be retired soon i hope.  the old viking is simply too heavy for its fragile condition.   but i digress....yes, i got in some sewing time yesterday.  today should be the last day of chores and i should be able to get back to orca bay for the remainder of the week.  not sure at all if i'll be up to speed by friday's next part or not, but i can try.  i also want to finish piecing the feathered star top and also finish another small piece for the 5-in-5 challenge.  ***** today is a rain day, which is a much better 4-letter word than snow.  it'll come soon enough for me.  **** did i mention...i HATE carpet on the sewing room floor!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

so this is christmas?

yesterday morning it was 11 degrees....this morning it is 39 snow here or even in sight!  i can take this weather until march for sure.

Monday, December 19, 2011

test drive

since last night was to be the coldest night of this season so far....temps hovering around 10 degrees...i added this to my 2 regular quilts.  yes, we do have heat in the apartment but i leave my window open a tiny bit because i like it a bit cooler when i sleep and the heat control is behind my elfa unit and difficult to access.  i actually folded this in half covering just the end of the bed.  happy to say i was quite toasty and not too warm.  once finished (january maybe?) it'll be a welcome addition to my regular bedding; until i get another quilt done that is.  ***** today's plans include more on the orca bay, some holiday errands and baking. a couple more days and i'll be done and can work on my various projects as desired.  still no snow.....great!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

it can't be christmas....

without perry como, for sure!  ever since i was in the 5th grade, i had a crush on perry como.  i would watch his show faithfully every week.  i was constantly sending him letters.  if you peeked inside my schoolbooks, you would nearly always find one in progress.  even in black and white he was my idol.  he would sing, "dream along with me," and i was right there, dreamy and starry-eyed.  he never read one of my letters on the show but that was okay, no doubt he saved them for when he was alone in his dressing room, right?  i was certain of it!  we even shared the same food likes...."hot diggity, dog diggity" and i liked hot dogs too.  when color TV came, especially when color TV came, he was dreamy.  i have this christmas album and others too.  in fact, i just copied all my christmas LPs onto CD so i could take them in the car.  sadly, perry is no longer with us but he lives on in spirit and CD.  thank goodness for that, but it's not nearly enough for me. 

a maine snowman

this is the only kind of snowman you'll find in these parts of maine, hopefully for the entire winter!  up north they have snow, of course, but not around here.  my mother made this little cutie as a decoration and sent it off to my florida nieces/nephews.  he's so cute and best of all, doesn't melt.  it's a commercial pattern and was easy peasy to put together.  guess where she found that luscious christmas print....yep, she raided my stash, with permission of course.  *****  slowly working on my strippy squares, and i do mean slowly.  they'll get done when they get done.  i did cut a whole stack of green triangles too, for the HSTs.  christmas prep comes first, though.  and with these cold temps, it's finally starting to feel a bit christmas-y too!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

vision of sugarplums, er, strippies....

here's the awful truth....i have this many strippy squares PLUS cut more triangles and sew them on the HSTs yet to do to get "caught up" with "fat tuesday on orca bay."  today's list includes making a small window curtain for DSIL and then i can work on this mystery project.  ****  the upside of having a small family is lots less to do when holidays come around.  due to work schedules, it's just going to be mom and me on christmas eve and christmas day.  even at that, there is much to celebrate; in fact, every day is a celebration of sorts even if in a melancholy mood, which seldom applies to me.  so, i should get a lot of sewing done.  i've also been doing some just plain relaxing needlework--cross-stitching--on some tucked away UFOs.  **** our tree is all decorated and looks great.  and surprise!  today we are having SNOW!  that's right; big, wet flakes are coming down right this minute.  our luck ran out and winter finally arrived.  only 2.5 months until spring, though...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

smells like christmas!

got our tree yesterday and put it up last night.  immediately the room filled with the heady aroma of fresh balsam.  just because maine is at the bottom of the forbes list of states for job creation and economic opportunity, doesn't mean you can't get a decent christmas tree.  in truth, this might have come from canada because those fanatical environmentalists get their shorts in a twist if anyone mentions cutting down one tree within the pine tree state's borders.  even if we were sitting on a century's worth of crude, there would be no way it could ever be drilled.  state officials spend wasteless time getting kids into college to train for jobs that don't exist and never will as long as this practice continues.  so all of you who dream about the idyllic life in maine can let that dream go.  the only people who live that kind of life here are those who earn their money martha stewart, john travolta, tom selleck and their ilk.  ok, off the soapbox....i'll dispense with my inner scrooge....god bless us everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

first christmas quilt

not exactly amish but simplistic anyway.  i didn't want to make a "normal" double wedding ring with tons of pieces; i did that after i made this one.  i love the forest green/wine combo for christmas instead of the kelly green and red.  this quilt was entirely hand pieced and hand quilted.  i started it on a whim and didn't buy enough green, so there is a slight color variation, normal for antique quilts of course.  it has a nice cotton batt and a decidedly antique feel and drape....i'm totally happy with it.  **** for all you boomers out there who remember the patty duke show and her award-winning film, the miracle worker, made at a tender age.  today she turns 65 and if you go to, you will see her tell how she applied for social security and medicare online....yep, she is the poster gal for social security, her and chubby checker too.....what a hoot! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

year-end stash report

all year i've been keeping track of quilt-related expenditures and amounts of acquired stash.  this was strictly for my own purposes, for curiosity sake.  as of today, i've purchased 31.75 yards of fabric.  i didn't count backings here, which is usually muslin.  according to the stashbuster UFO secretary, i've used up 50.75 yards in finished projects.  i think she only counts the tops as well.  this means i'm not adding to my stash at all.  the flimsies that are done are not included in this figure either, nor are works in progress or kits in shoeboxes.  i've been able to tell just from available space that i am not adding to my stash; it gets circulated of course, as things get used up and others get added.  what has increased is my stash of finished things--tablerunners, wallhangings and quilts.  i've donated some and gifted some others.  The final result here is that i am not needlessly or wantonly collecting fabric, though sorely tempted.  i've also sold off a few books that i no longer want and also donated various notions that were languishing around.  after the new year, one of my first purchases will be enough wide muslin to finish all the bed-size UFOs i currently have.  with my income taking a downturn, it'll be good to have on hand whatever i'll need for future finishes.  on the quilty front, 2011 was a pretty good year. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

aw shucks...

thanks to all who left such nice comments about my "fat tuesday on orca bay" color combo....sure is appreciated!

celebrating ecumenically

last week we attended the USM chamber choir concert at the baptist church in portland.  saturday we arrived at the greek church for a replay.  yesterday we went to the lutheran church for the saint lucia celebration.  ***** today's agenda?  some baking, some mundane chores, some sewing.  plus wrapping, packing, mailing, etc.  it's a most busy time of year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

strippin' and rippin'

so here are the three colors together, the purple, cheddar and green.  i do believe this quilt is going to be bright!  i've started both strippy units, the purple and cheddar.  when i cut the purple triangles at first, i cut them so the strips are horizontal, but bonnie shows them cut on the vertical.  i don't think it will matter in the finished quilt, scraps are scraps after all.  but even if it does, i'm still going to use them.  my cheddar stash is small compared to the purple, so there will be more variety in the purple.  que sera sera.  so i now have 5 days to finish all these; we'll see how they go.  hoping the purple tones down the blinding cheddar somewhat.  ***** cold but sunny today; hard freeze overnight; still no snow here, keeping my fingers crossed for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

friday night report

it was the amish center diamond that got selected for friday night sew-in.  i finished the 3rd brown triangle and went on to quilt brown corner squares in the next border.  today's focus will be on the one christmas gift i've yet to finish and also the fat tuesday on orca bay strip squares. ***** i'm all "registered" for the stashbusters' 2012 UFO challenge.  the list is on the left side of my blog and it seems quite long but many are small projects that can be finished relatively quickly.  i am hoping that "fat tuesday" will be added to the list; though it might not be a flimsy by the end of the year as bonnie has said there are 8-9 parts to the mystery.  with all christmas prep and celebrations, there won't be a lot of sewing progress in the next few weeks.  fortunately what gift shopping i've left to do can be done in a couple of hours.  no matter, the maine winter looms on the horizon which always gives plenty of opportunity to hibernate in the sewing room.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

do you think?

does somebody at kimberly-clark make quilts....or maybe married to or knows a quilter?  this looks a lot like cathedral window pattern to me.  **** doing the happy dance here as just last night finished all 350 HSTs for bonnie's orca bay mystery.  whew, in the nick of time too as part 4 is already posted  (does that bonnie ever sleep?).  this week i'll get to play in the purples for a change and rip up more of that old phone book too!  the old viking got a clean out last night as well, plus a new needle before moving on in the mystery.  love these old mechanical machines; a bit of oil and TLC and they run forever....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

string stash

yesterday i had to cave and get a shoebox tote for my string stash.  before this, i had flung or trashed my strings but with the cost of fabric skyrocketing, the value of those little pieces add up and guilt prevents me from tossing them any longer.  i might still fling them at some point, but for now they needed an official home, even if temporary.  no doubt after i finish my cheddar string blocks there will be more to add.  with my income dropping after the new year, i just might keep them as a future project.  ***** ok, i'll confess...i'm on drugs.  that would be legal, prescription drugs aka a mild antibiotic for sinus/ear infection.  been feeling not quite 100% since return from maryland and it wasn't just melancholy.  if i stay out of the rain, i'm sure i'll feel 110% very soon.  i am a firm believer in pharmaceuticals; the legally, appropriately prescribed ones that is.  **** nope, no snow yet.  we got rain so it's a happy dance here on the coast.  our luck can't hold forever, though, but the longer it does, the shorter this maine winter will be.....and as martha says, always a good thing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

friday night sew in

it's this friday night and which project should i choose?  there are 3 on the december saturday!

1.  the one christmas gift i'm making this year
2.  fat tuesday on orca bay
3.  amish center diamond

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


i found all of these at the local marden's, that famous fabric place.  they have plenty more but i restrained myself.  i am going to have to return, though, and restock my greens as i've used nearly all of mine on this mystery project.  maybe santa will bring me a marden's gift card, wouldn't that be great!

today's orca bay progress

not bad, eh?  over halfway done with the HSTs and i also got 2 of the strip squares done as well.  i'm using the phone book pages and they really work up pretty quick.  i am so loving this cheddar with the green; wait until purple is on the scene--it's a fabric version of the king cake!  **** last night got another brown triangle marked with clamshells to work on while listening to TV.  though we have no real cold weather yet, it'll be here soon enough.  right now i've got the window open and my little fan on during the night; it's THAT warm in here.  one of the downside attributes of complex living.  that and nosy neighbors who park in front of my window with their high beams on and just sit curtains and blinds are drawn but even so.  in my opinion that shouldn't be allowed; those spaces should be marked off.  after all, it's somebody's bedroom.  there are 2 bedrooms (plus mine) on the parking lot side. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

weekend sewing

i did get some sewing done this weekend.  i had to cut strings for the string blocks, the cheddar.  for some reason, i don't have a stash of strings at all, just a very few and no cheddar at all, until now of course.  i got some of the HSTs done and another stack ready to sew together. hoping the mystery gets to purple fabric soon as i'm getting a little weary of green fabric.  the good news is i've nearly busted my entire stash of greens.  *****   i also worked on another project, a secret project i'll show after christmas.  i'm enjoying the mystery but also anxious to get back to my previous 2 projects, the feathered star and the amish center diamond.  plus i have 1 more small piece to finish to complete the stashbusters 5 in 5 challenge; that's 5 finishes in 5 months.  ***** today's nonquilty list includes a haircut and some sundry household tasks. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011


it's true, all 224 hourglass blocks are done!  and i've started on the 350 HSTs as well.  the small strip squares will have to be put on hold for the moment, although i've the fabrics stacked on the sewing table along with the foundation papers.  aside from job hunting, there are no other plans in the upcoming week.  i still haven't vacuumed either but, oh well, tomorrow's another day.  in the evenings i've been working on a gift and hope to get back to the amish center diamond soon.  time marches on and so i'm off to get dressed and get sewing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

FTOOB part 3

part 3 of Fat Tuesday On Orca Bay consists of HSTs or half square triangles, but did she say 350?????  say again????   350?  i'm wondering if i have enough green fabric for these; well, i probably do of course, but really....350???  i still haven't started part 2 yet....yikes, better get going!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a portent

wondering if DD put up her advent calendar today? 

2 triangles done

just this morning i finished the 2nd of 4 triangles on this amish center diamond quilt.  only 2 more to quilt and i can move "out" to the next border and corner squares.  i've got the pattern for the corner squares already but still deciding on the border sections.  meanwhile, back at the old viking, i'm still working on the hourglass blocks and they are slowly getting done.  part 3 is posting tomorrow and i've still part 2 to do yet.  like where does time go?  for somebody with an empty life, it still just evaporates.  ***** speaking of that, it's december 1st today with only 3+ short weeks to christmas.  our warm weather seems to be on the wane.  except for our freak halloween snow, it's been green grass here so far, not christmas weather at all.  **** since worrying is considered a sin, i'll just say there's a situation of concern to me, could or not be justified, but at this moment it does weigh heavy on my mind.  if you are a praying person, my petition is for resolution and restoration to peace for this particular issue.  **** and last, kudos to my brother and his blues band members.  they have scored top place in the maine contest and are off to nationals in january; this is a real dream come true for one with the love of music in his veins.  congrats to them!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

keeping on

yes, i am  still working away on the hourglass blocks for bonnie's mystery.  i'll get there, i really will, especially with the help of my diet pepsi!  and i've renamed my version...fat tuesday on orca bay, because of the mardi gras colors.  ****  just 3 days out from visiting my chick and her hubby and i'm seriously missing them.  in fact, it was a lonely trip north on the train saturday, feeling like i'd left my heart behind.  i'm working hard to be a good mother-in-law and hope i am succeeding in this new role. **** last night me and mom took in an early christmas concert by the USM (alma mater) chamber singers...always an excellent event.  but with these warm temps, it's difficult to feel christmas-y.  time to get out the holiday CDs i guess.

Monday, November 28, 2011

orca bay progress

back to our regularly scheduled project!  before turkey day (actually it was ham day) break, i had finished this many of the quarter square triangles for part 1 of orca bay.  bonnie has now posted part 2 so i've a bit of catching up this week.  i think there about 100 in this small pile, not even half of the required 224, so the old viking is going to be smokin'!  i've a few errands today and a few household chores as well, but after that it's clear sailing sewing-wise.  **** while in maryland, i looked over some senior housing possibilities.  yeah i know, i don't feel senior and certainly don't look senior either, but my birth certificate says otherwise.  course my actual years are immaterial in today's ever-youthful culture; why, even my mom at nearly 85 still drives, keeps active and would be working if she had her choice.  i, too, would be working if i could.  my hope for a career is nearly gone, a real heartbreak for me.  i got a taste and wasn't permitted to dive in to the full banquet of a career i really enjoyed, for reasons too numerous and nefarious to list.  i never had dreams of corporate ladder ascension, only of doing a job i really enjoyed, was fulfilling and rewarding.  so, when life gives you scraps.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

1 down, 2 to go...

holiday that is.  had a wonderful thanksgiving with DD and DSIL and DSIL's parents. wonderful family time, great food....can't beat it.  i was near baltimore and it was 70 degrees on thanksgiving day....super gorgeous day!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

blog break

recently i found this stunning piece of priceless artwork in among some school papers of my daughter's, just in time for thanksgiving too!  i'll be taking a brief break from blogging until after the holiday.  i'll still be sewing and enjoying our unseasonably warm weather here in coastal maine.  i wish everyone an enjoyable, thankful Thanksgiving. 

feathered star update

so, as of yesterday (friday) i've gotten half the star sewn together.  it's all set-in seams and i had to take a break.  today i must do some garment sewing tasks so it'll probably be monday or tuesday before it gets all sewn.  i have to cut the corner squares and setting triangles also for the next step.  once they are in, it's just the border that remains.  it probably won't be all assembled as an official flimsy until after the holiday.  it looks pretty good so far, though, i think.  ***** last night for quickie sewing whipped up more of bonnie's mystery QST (quarter square triangles) or hourglass blocks.  i am going to try and get these done by tuesday before the holiday and the next installment is posted next week. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

so far so good...

here is square 1 and yes, i do have more than this itty bitty QST done.  i spent most of the day on the feathered star, however.  the pattern calls for setting in all those HSTs and the larger triangles they are attached to.  i got half of the star itself pieced today and then had to quit for the day.  no point in sewing more when it becomes a tad stressful.  then i turned to bonnie's mystery.  i had cut strips earlier in the day after pulling what i could from my strip shoebox.  i'm new to the companion angle ruler, so it took a bit to get acclimated and then i got to sew.  bonnie's black is my green.  not sure how long i'll be sewing tonight but i'll show them as i go along.  i still have to get a few more green fabrics for this project as i've pulled all i have and there simply isn't enough.  how are you coming along?

it's mystery time!

that's right, today is the start of bonnie hunter's mystery called 'orca bay' in homage to her most recent alaska trip.  i'm still in my jammies but not for long.  normally i don't do mystery quilts but this one has a friendly-for-me size and i've nothing else really pressing (no pun) to do, so i'm going to see if i can keep up.  that whirring noise you'll hear a bit later on is the old viking at full to join me?  **** last night i started quilting in the large brown triangles on the center diamond quilt.  i had to scrounge around the kitchen to find a circle the right size for my clamshells, which i'll probably start later on today.  i'm also hoping to get the feathered star assembled before turkey day plus i've got that garment item to whip up too.....good thing i got the laundry all done.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a little finish

if you saw my pink pinwheel baby quilt earlier this year, then you will recognize these leftovers.  amazingly, those 9 FQs i bought were enough for both quilts, this one being a bit smaller and simpler, but a quilt nonetheless.  this one is also tied instead of quilted.  it'll now go in the stack of finished items for some future time when needed.  i still have some pink pieces leftover from THIS quilt too, enough for maybe a doll quilt or a couple of placemats. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

center diamond so far

so this is what the first border looks like all quilted.  unfortunately, the thread shade that was available at the LQS is a tad lighter than the fabric, so it will show slightly once the chalk marks are gone.  couldn't be helped at the time and i wouldn't take it all out now.  this design is from one of my books that i cut out myself, but i did have to draw the individual feathers, helped immensely by the class i took in nashua with sue nickels.  so, it's coming along nicely i think.  it was set aside for a bit during our brief episode of warm weather, but this weekend promises a return to cool, november temps so i'll start on the brown triangles and clamshells!  ***** last night i also tied a baby quilt made of pink pinwheel leftovers; today the border.  i also worked more on the feathered star sewing up all those itty, bitty triangles for the "feathered" part.  next up is a garment item that needs to get finished before friday and the start of bonnie's mystery!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the 3 fabrics

see what i mean?  though i really like all 3 fabrics, the 3rd choice (far right) was my hands-down fave.  the middle had too much gold and the left wasn't navy at all.  i chose the first (far left) partly because of the olive green and turquoise combo, but when i saw the last fabric i couldn't pass it up at all.  no regrets whatsoever. 

star so far

i've left this photo a bit larger so you can see the print fabric i used, which i totally love!  note:  the blue/yellow dots are pinheads!  the border will also be of this luscious print.  when i was planning this project--it's a gift--i bought some fabric online.  it arrived but was not as pictured.  i then purchased another print locally more to my liking.  before i could get this project started, i saw yet another print i liked much, much better.  a quandary...should i buy yet another piece for this project?  wouldn't be frugal but would i be happy with it?  my inner color guru said "no" so i did get the 3rd piece, this one, and it's ideal i think.  i love the color combo of maroon/navy and with the gold it's perfect.  it's one of the very few times i ignored my frugal angel and went with my heart's choice.  i still have the other 2, and i'll post a photo of all 3 so you can see why i made the choice i did.   with this much progress in one day, i might have the wallhanging all pieced by week's end, thus emptying yet another shoebox!

Monday, November 14, 2011

blue cheese repost

decided to do this right away so i can get back to the old viking.  **** for the little dresden plate quilt, i heeded the admonishment of the frugal angel on my shoulder and pieced batting AND backing so i wouldn't have to make a purchase.  i still have some white scraps, pieces left over from border trimming, and hoping to piece more for other small projects backs. **** and now back to your regularly scheduled day! 


this morning i started assembling a feathered star wallhanging for DD/DSIL's home.  no surprise so i can talk/show here.  last summer when i made this pattern star it wasn't quite perfect, but lo and behold!  this morning's effort turned out pretty good....i was a bit stunned.  i always attempt this star with a bit of trepidation.  it's probably because of the oxymoronic karma in my little room, 60-degree weather AND christmas commercials on TV; 2 quilts on the bed and me still wearing my summer clothes.  ***** i've got my weekly to-do list made, not much earth shattering, just trying to keep busy.  **** went through my repro stash and surprised to find i've a number of jo morton fabrics.  i've separated them into their very own shoebox for ease with future projects.  later on today i have to post another photo of the blue cheese bowtie project, per request of janet.  i haven't done anything with this as i might possibly add to it and make it a tad larger, remains to be seen.   

Sunday, November 13, 2011

another flimsy

this one's a little quilt, only 30" square; 25 6" blocks.  it's going to be hand quilted with the cross-hatch design and then bound with the lavender.  this is probably my last 30s style quilt.   i've given away all the pieces i had left and kept only the true vintage pieces inherited long ago.  done this year?  not sure...maybe or maybe not.  **** in addition to getting this little top done today, i quilted more on the amish center diamond.  i'm working on the last border segment of the first round of borders.  next come the triangles, which will be quilted with a clamshell design.  this is a no rush project but it's moving along fairly well.  ***** this week i have to make a new clothing item.  it won't take long but it must get done this week.  i might set aside a day this week just to baste small projects, too....we'll see. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

autumn change flimsy!

and here it is....this is rachel griffith's design from 'quiltmaker' jul/aug 2010.  hers was pictured with tans and turquoise with a cream background but i dove into my luscious stash of autumn prints and made this version.  it'll be quilted--hand quilted naturally--with various leaf/acorn/vine designs and then bound with a scrappy binding of....what else but autumn fabrics!  this is a future gift for somebody special.  i had to take this a bit far off at an angle because my room is small AND the close-up version completely skewed the colors, which are fabulous.  so now you know why i haven't blogged in a few days.  i've been busy sewing on this and a few other things too.  plus a bit of room cleaning was also necessary.  the shoebox left empty with this flimsy finish now has a new resident project.  they don't stay empty long, i'm afraid.  **** today i've also been quilting on the amish center diamond.  i've got all the open spaces planned except the next-to-last border, a 5" border.  i've a baptist fan stencil i might use or i might try my hand at a wavy feather design, now that i know how.  **** still on the job hunt as usual.  now that beach weather has passed, there's a lot more time to sew.  after thanksgiving holiday i plan to ramp up my efforts. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2 little packages

from janet are some purples just perfect for bonnie's mystery quilt coming up soooon!  then, my swap gift from the jo morton online stitchers' group.  even without these two little gifts, it's a glorious day here in coastal maine...temps over 60, sunny, light breeze...perfect!  **** been doing a little of this'n'that sewing, nothing to show yet.  gotta get back into regular sewing; first, the autumn change flimsy needs finishing.  i'm also hand quilting on the center diamond.  always something to do, just a question of motivation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

another nashua beauty

this was a group project by Coastal Quilters in's Arena Farm in Concord and it really does look like this.  very often in the autumn i would be in concord and drive right past this farm and there would be piles of pumpkins...the beautiful oranges against red barn, blue sky and all those changing leaves.  this is considered 'country' but not far from the city.  i would occasionally stop and pick up some apples or fall veggies.  unfortunately, i read they recently closed.  so glad it has been preserved in cloth. 

thank you, catherine!

last summer i received an e-mail from catherine sanchez of 'australian homespun' magazine asking if i would mention their new digital service on my blog.  i was happy to do so; it makes for easier and quicker accessibility by non-aussies.  today in the mail i received a personal thank you and 3 sweet!   i was truly delighted!  it was a  bit of a down day after a brief respite from maine/no-job misery and these cheered me up a bit.  i'll stop here because i'm in a serious griping mood.....

Monday, November 7, 2011

nashua shopping

yep, this was it.  some quilting thread for UFOs, purple/green FQ for bonnie's mystery, the kaffe fassett FQs and the pink pencil leads.  the stashbuster UFO coordinator tells me with my finishes this year, i've busted over 50 yards of fabric.  that's pretty good, i think.  that means i've probably got 150 yards left, or thereabouts.  because most of my fabric pieces are half yard or less, and lots of it are cut up into strips or squares, it's difficult to actually calculate.  that 50+ yards was in 11 finishes; so 33 more finishes and it'll be gone.  and that isn't all bed-size quilts either.  this info is very encouraging indeed.  **** our temps this week are hovering around 58-60, so should be a quite nice...except for the afternoon dark, that is.  will take a day or two to adjust circadian rhythms. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

back from nashua

best of show went to this astoundingly beautiful quilt by LINDA ROY called "Irish Cream."  Plenty of action here....stippling, trapunto, cathedral window sashings and hand quilted too!  i just love it when shows acknowledge hand quilters along with machine quilters...makes my fingers tingle!  **** kudos to the team for organizing this year's gathering, especially difficult given the fact that the venue abruptly closed on them earlier in the year AND just days before the freak early winter storm knocked out power.  many not far west are still without electricity, but was restored in time for the show to go on.  i sat at admissions for a couple of hours and more than one quilter arrived still without electricity but who cares when there's a quilt show on?  **** seriously, i can't extol the virtues of this show enough.  it's all juried and it's always stellar.  my admissions cohort, terry burris, had 2 quilts in the show...i was impressed!  **** my one class was sue nickels and drawing feathers.  since i make a lot of amish quilts, i'm always looking for over-the-top designs to quilt (it's the part i love most, remember?) and despite being totally exhausted for this evening class, i was giddy with design fever.  it'll take practice of course, especially since rulers and i are uneasy partners, but since my focus is not perfection, i believe i can be successful.  i imagine the person who drew the first circle or invented the wheel was equally excited.   designing in my head for the 2+ hour trip home last night helped keep me awake and alert.  thank you time change...i got an extra hour that i so badly needed!  the vendors?  watch tomorrow....

Friday, November 4, 2011

the quilting so far

if you look closely, i hope you are able to see the extensive quilting i've done on this center square.  i decided to use matching thread to see the result and i am pretty happy with how it looks.  i've read the amish use matching thread for humility, but my reasons are purely experimental.  believe me when i say i'm not trying to hide perfect 13/inch stitches here.  did i mention i absolutely LOVE amish quilts?  i think i did once or twice.  **** up again in the night.  sometimes when i have only a light supper, i wake up hungry in the night.  a container of yogurt fixes that.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

bonnie's mystery post script

kept wondering where i'd seen this color combo before; it's not my usual at all.  then tonight it finally came to me....mardi gras colors!  green, purple, yellow (sort of)'s hoping it's DONE by mardi gras....LOL.  poor bonnie, off on another cruise.  i'll keep her in my daily prayers hoping she can tolerate such despair!  no, not jealous at all.  it looks like terrific fun and i'd love to go on a cruise, but the ship would have to stay on terra firma or chained at the dock, hardly likely.


a comment to an earlier post questioned my mention of "nationality."  Our complex is close to employers who specifically hire immigrants and so the majority of tenants is predominantly non-WASP, no slur intended and no big deal.  i've lived in a lot of situations while homeless and trying to get re-settled since 1993 and experienced good and bad in ALL people, including (sadly) people i've known at churches i've attended for many years.  we try to be respectful, considerate tenants, even to the point of not flushing our toilet in the night because of the noise.  often i rise early but don't watch TV or use the sewing machine because of possible noise.  if there is pot smoke or burning incense smoke coming in my window, it's because it's too strong, in too close proximity or it's directly outside my window in the parking lot.  ordinary household smells cannot be avoided when living in close apartments.  paying one's rent is NOT carte blanche to do whatever whenever without any regard to others in a complex such as this.  i have never believed that immigrant equals ignorant but neither did i just arrive here from sleepy hollow.  even when i owned my own stand-alone house, there was a suspicious skunk in my driveway for 2 weeks straight, even on rainy nights.  i'm pretty sure it was a 2-legged one.  real skunks know enough to stay in out of the rain.   

quiltville mystery

yesterday bonnie posted some color ideas for her upcoming mystery but i was way ahead of her...for once!  i had already pulled mine and here they are.  why these, you ask?  simply according to how much i have in my stash.  she's using red/blue/black; i don't have any black stash at all, only some solid.  i have been collecting cheddar pieces recently and i knew it would WOW.  what else then?  not blue for a change, but purple and then green.  i do have to pick up a few greens and purples, though, as i simply don't have the quantity of stash in any color that many others do...except for blue.  i vetoed red simply because i just finished a predominantly red quilt.  of course i do have enough lights for background.  after christmas it's time to reorg the stash again by color to see exactly how much i have of each.  next to the strip stash to see what's there i can use.  ******   not much to show quilt-wise as i've been quilting on the center diamond.  i've just about finished the center square and have designs planned for the rest of the quilt now.  been making a few stencils to use from my oldie but goodie books by shirley thompson, the first titled "the finishing touch" and her second one as well...title escapes me at the moment.  i bought these books back in the early 1980s and have used them frequently for design ideas ever since....a worthwhile investment i'd say.