Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Don's Wonky Leaf Quilt

Almost finished. I have the binding made and will machine it on tonight. Then I can sit by Daisy the rest of the week and do the hand stitching on it. Beautifully quilted by Judy! Don's going to love it!

I haven't figured out how to adjust colors on this camera yet. But, hey, at least I can get them to post!

Busy day at work today. Then high wind warnings posted on all the lighted signs on the freeway coming home. It's really howling, and the leaves are totally covering my front stoop and sidewalk. Daisy was up to her chest in them when we walked out the door tonight. Of course, with four inch front legs, I guess they weren't that deep!


* Convictions
* Chipotle cashews
* A roaring fireplace

Monday, November 27, 2006

100 Dutch Treat Blocks

These little puppies are 4" finished. I'm going to take a break until after Christmas, and then start the last 96.

I've got a new camera that I can barely operate. A new printer, too, although that one was fairly easy to install. (I walked into a sale at Office Max!) This is when I miss having a computer person in the house -- naw! Forget I said that! LOL


* Frozen pizza
* Spending only $50 at Target tonight - a first!
* Daisy sitting up and begging for half an hour. :)
* Finally cooler weather!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Recovery

I have been really lazy since Thanksgiving. I have been content to do no more than sit next to Daisy on the sofa and applique on my Dutch Treat blocks. The good news -- I finished the 100th block today! That was my marker. I told myself way back when I started this project on 7/4/04 that if I ever made it to block 100, that I'd have to finish the quilt. I've enjoyed these little blocks. Too bad I had to put it down for a long period to get my shoulder fixed or I may be further along now. ONLY 96 blocks to go!

Yes, I am heading out bright and early in the morning to look for a new camera and probably a new printer, too. Merry Christmas to me.

I was really good on Friday at the 25% off sale at Ginger's, the new quilt shop. I got there at 7:00 a.m. and left at around 9:00. For the first hour and a half I was only picking out quilty Christmas gifts, but I panicked in the last half hour when I realized I hadn't gotten myself anything. So I picked up two yards of four pieces of fabric, an orangy floral. It's pretty, but I have no idea what I will do with it. The stash grows .... sigh!

But on a stashbusting note, I needed a background fabric for the Serenity pattern by Verna Mosquera. I picked up all the other fabrics at Thimble Creek while at retreat. I looked and looked in my stash and nothing seemed right. I had resigned myself to using a white-on-white, but Jane said she had something that would work. I went upstairs to turn off the lights in the stash room, and I spotted it, the perfect background. It was hiding up in my stash room all the time! I feel so smug - teehee!

Bindings are calling to me. I plan on getting two bindings sewn on tomorrow so I can sit and stitch them down next week. Both of these need to sent to Louisiana for Christmas, my niece's quilt and the wonky leaf quilt for my brother. Judy did an awesome job on them. Then one more binding for a quilt for my bed for the holidays, and I'm all caught up on finished quilts. Then I'll tackle the backings in the UFO pile! My New Year's resolution is to have no more quilts just sitting there needing backings ever again.

On a sad note, my sister-in-law's mother passed away on Wednesday. She lived with them until their house burned in August. Gail visited her on Wednesday, brought her some poinsettias and decorated her room. About 30 minutes after she returned home, the nursing staff called her to say that Maybelle had died. She was in her early '90s and had Alzheimers. My heart goes out to Gail. They have been through so much in the past few months.


* The abandances in my life ... health, happiness, friends
* Nicky's good news! A baby on the way!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Insomnia Gets Me in Trouble!

When I can't sleep, I wander downstairs and start window shopping online quilt sites. Honest to Pete, I don't even remember ordering this!!

Does anyone do any of the quilt clubs at I got a big box of stuff today - beautiful stuff!

It seems I signed up for the Quilt of the Quarter Club. The quilt is Pumpkins, Turkeys & Geese. It's a great quilt.

Then apparently I signed up for Linda's Club, and received the Apple Basket kit. I like this one, too.

But what had me stumped was a huge bag of scraps. OMG, what else did I sign up for? Turns out I got these for being a new club member. Great scraps. Big, usable Moda pieces. These will definitely get used in my prim projects next year.

I really have to start sleeping the night through!

Another surprise in the mail today was a letter from Southwest Airlines. They apologized for the inconvenience on our flight back from retreat. They said it was due to a "prank phone call." Anyway, there was a voucher for $100 good until 11/13/07. So Jane and I each get $100 off our retreat flight next year! We were seriously considering driving up, but this might sway our thinking in that regard. Surely lightning wouldn't strike twice! We surely wouldn't have another security problem next year! Hmmm, something to ponder!

This is going to be a busy, busy short week at work. So tomorrow is hump day! :)

This weekend is shopping for a camera! I'm lost without it. I'm going to look for a new printer, too. This one was real expensive, but is about four years old and is driving me nuts. I can probably get a similar one for half price now!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


A couple of you asked for a definition of neutrals. Wow, a loaded question! I'm going to explain the neutrals that we talked about last weekend at Retreat, and how Alex demonstrated those to us.

Her neutrals are shades of white to light brown. This would include creams, tone-on-tones, dark tans, gray (yes, gray), etc. The quilts she brought from her neutrals book coming out in the spring were interesting to examine. A lot of different fabrics, a LOT of them. Small figures, polka dots, flowers, stripes, checks.

Most all of those quilts had another color punched into it. Not to highlight that color, but to make the quilt sparkle. Alex had a neutral quilt in one of her older books. I'll go digging in my unorganized book shelves this weekend to see if I can find it. That quilt photographed as mostly white/tan, and I was so surprised to see a touch of green in it when I examined the quilt in person.

One quilt that will be in the book was made by Paula Reid. Paula is a machine quilter (Bernina) who quilts the majority of Alex's quilts that are published. Paula is a master quiltmaker in her own right. Her quilt was stunning. It was soft whites and beiges, with touches of pale pinks in it. At first blush you didn't see the pink. It didn't scream at you. But when you looked closer, you could see the beautiful neutral backgrounds with soft pink florals on them. She used a very pale floral fabric (Yuma maybe?) on the border. And, of course, the gorgeous feathers she quilted throughout the quilt top just made that quilt sing.

Holly and Jim, two of our long-time retreaters, went on a neutrals shopping spree. They came back with FQs of over 50 neutrals each. They went across the hall into the dining room and spread them out. Absolutely stunning fabrics. Jim also picked up several FQs of soft blue to incorporate in his quilt. He has the most wonderful eye for color. Some of you may remember Jim Kankula. He was only "Simply Quilts" a couple of times. He's the guy that dyed fabric using the shaving cream method. Alex also dedicated her paper piecing book to Jim. A fabulous, funny guy! It's a joy to see him every year at retreat.

I've already made a neutral quilt. Jane gave me a huge bag of neutrals for Christmas a couple of years ago. That quilt is just squares with sashing and cornerstones, but I love it, especially since it was one I could sew one-handed while recuperating from shoulder surgery. I'm also working on Verna Mosquera's White Christmas applique pattern. I have a goal -- to get the remaining blocks prepped as soon as possible so I can "release" the rest of the fabrics in my huge neutrals basket back into the stash.

We are to collect neutrals all year for our 2007 retreat project. I'm off to a flying start in that regard. I need to pick up some very soft grays, and decide whether or not I'm going to introduce a color into the fray. Since there will be quilts with pink, blue and green at the next retreat, I'm thinking maybe a soft yellow. I don't know. I need to ponder that for a while. After all, I've got 12 months until next retreat!

I hope this answered most of your questions. I know there are other colors such as black that can be a neutral. But for this project, we're using the white to brown pallet.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Back from Retreat

What a glorious four days! We had so much fun - and laughed so hard we were crying. I finished all the component parts for my retreat project, but decided to wait until I got home to figure out the layout. I brought the red and white shooting star blocks and got those almost all sewn together. I want to finish up both of these tops over the Thanksgiving holidays. I'm real ready to get started on something new. Oops, I have to make my boss' quilt first. Darn!

The flight home was real interesting. We left the hotel at 12:00 noon and took a taxi to Oakland airport. It's a 50 minute flight back to Ontario airport - normally. We boarded and taxied away from the terminal, and sat for what seems like an hour. It was probably close to that. Then the pilot said we had to return to the terminal for dispatch instructions. They brought the plane almost to the terminal, but then stopped again. We had to remain seated, no A/C in the plane. Then the pilot came on again and said we were going to be brought to Terminal 1 for rescreening of all the passengers, the baggage and the plane. We were escorted to the far end of the airport grounds and taken off the plane and put on buses.

When we walked off the plane, we could see the whole plane was surrounded by FBI, air marshals and Oakland PD. Bomb sniffing dogs were out there, and our luggage was all spread out on the tarmac. We were escorted back into this secure terminal, screened again, and the wait began. Finally they let us go to the bathroom in escorted groups, and brought in some soft drinks.

To make a very long story a little shorter, the FBI came in and arrested a guy that was in our waiting area who was wearing a black teeshirt with a large "Police" across the front of it. I had seen him but thought he was part of the security team. Jane told me there was some derogatory comment on the back of his shirt. They then asked the last two rows of passengers to step forward, and those folks were interviewed. Finally we were escorted back on the plane.

We arrived back in Ontario at around 9:30 p.m. One of Jane's bags wasn't on our flight, but they told her it would be on the next flight coming in a little later. She decided just to take me home and deal with that later.

The whole process, while extremely irritating, was interesting. I have never been on a plane where there was a security problem before. Jane overhead someone saying that this guy made some comments about what was in his luggage, and this was apparently overhead by a flight attendant.

We heard at retreat on Saturday that there was a heightened security alert, but by the time we got to the airport on Sunday, it was back down to orange. But it is comforting to know that the airlines and the security forces take this sort of thing very seriously. VERY seriously!

We went to three quilt shops while at retreat. Friday evening is shopping and dinner on our own. We went to a shop that I can never remember the name of (sorry), to In Between Stitches in Livermore, and to ThimbleCreek in Walnut Creek. I love ThimbleCreek. I spent mega bucks in there - but, hey, it's my once-a-year dispensation!! I picked up a lot of patterns, and a tower, both cotton and the silky plaids, of the new Fig Tree line from Moda. It's called Folklorique. Gorgeous!!! Lots of other stuff, too numerous to list here, but I'll suffice it to say that I'm all stocked up until next year! LOL

I'm slowly catching up on all the blogger shenanigans while I was gone. Everyone ignored the rule --- no talking while I'm out of the room!

It's good to be home, but I miss everyone already. This is my fourth retreat, and some wonderful friendships have developed over the years.

Alex has a machine quilting book coming out within a couple of months, and next spring is a book on neutrals. She brought several of the quilts from the book. To say they were stunning is a huge understatement! Our retreat project next year will be a neutral quilt, and we're to collect billions of them this year! Oh, darn, more shopping! :)

Well, I have a picture of Alex and me, but I can't get it to post. Probably just as well. I look like Miss Piggy! Guess I need to go on more than a fabric diet! :(

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Off to Retreat in the A.M.

I didn't get home until almost 8:00 tonight. I called my hairdresser and she agreed to take me in at 7:00 for a recut. She left this short hair way too long. It's so thick and slightly curly, so it was doing all sorts of weird things since my haircut on Saturday. Now I think I can manage it okay while I'm gone. I just didn't want to have to spend an hour each morning on it.

I got almost all the way home and felt something in my pocket. My file cabinet keys. Geez. So I turned around and went to the CEO's house and knocked on the front door. His wife thought it was funny. I'm so glad I found them. Imagine the problems that would have caused tomorrow!

I'm waiting on socks and underwear out of the dryer to finish packing clothes. I'm trying to figure out how to get the quilty stuff and clothes in one suitcase. It's always something!

Anyway, Jane is coming to get me at 8:00 a.m. and we're off to the airport. We're going to have so much fun. I can't wait. It'll be so good to see all my friends, and make new ones. And it's always great to get to be with Alex and Paula Reid.

Here's a sneak preview of Judy's quilting on my niece's quilt. It's beautiful, Judy. I can't wait to see it in 3D! Next week!

Monday, November 06, 2006


Thank you, Jeanne, for sending me a copy of my post! Since this is my journal, I'm going to retype it. I'll need it to remind myself of all these things next year!


I'm so excited about Alex's retreat. We're flying up Thursday, so not much longer but a whole lot to do before then. (I must buy a new camera!)

I've been thinking a lot lately about where I want my quilting to go next year. I hate making lists because I feel like a total failure when I don't complete them. I'm way too goal-oriented to enjoy that process. But I've focused on a few things that I'm going to do next year, and I made a list! LOL

1) I'm going to concentrate on stash. I've got more fabric than I'll ever be able to use in my lifetime, but I'm going to try to make a huge dent in it. If I pull a piece of fabric out of my stash to use some in a quilt, what's left is not going back into the stash. It'll either get used on a pieced backing for that quilt, or will be cut up into the strip bins for the scrappy quilts.

2) I'm going to make a couple of scrappy quilts, or more, next year. This will be hard for me as I don't do scrappy well, but here's my chance to get over that hang-up. Even if I use only one neutral fabric for the background, the rest of the quilt will be out of those scrap bins.

3) I'm going to concentrate on quilts from the several hundred quilt books I already own. I'll admit it - I'm a quilt book addict. But if I seriously curtail the purchasing of new books, I'm sure I'll discover dozens of quilt patterns that I want to make out of the books I already own. Probably more than "dozens"!

4) I'm going to get serious about applique next year. Now, that's not to say I haven't always been serious about it, and I've made some wonderful appliqued quilts, but I've got a couple started that are begging to be finished, and I've got all the fabric pulled for a couple that have been just sitting in the closet for two or three years. What am I waiting for?

5) I'm also going to seriously curtail pattern purchases. Jane said it best -- she will oftentimes buy a pattern for a quilt that she really doesn't need a pattern to make, but just so she won't forget about it. Maybe a notebook of thoughts and ideas like Finn has would be better.

6) I'm going to make as many Christmas quilts as I want. I absolutely love Christmas quilts, probably more than any others, and I've made quite a few of them. I've enjoyed making them; they make me smile the whole time I'm working on them. So next year if I get the urge to sew and hum "Jingle Bells," I'm going to go for it!

7) I'm going to not feel guilty at all for making quilts out of my favorite colors. I always feel like I must deviate, play with other colors; make a quilt from a color that I've never used before. Why? If those colors give me joy, then I'm going to make them!

8) I'm going to sew for at least one hour every single day. It may be at the sewing machine. It may be sitting on the sofa with Daisy snuggled up next to me while I applique. But one hour a day -- every day. Thank you, Judy!

9) I'm going to slow down a bit and enjoy the process. I did that this year. I didn't do power sewing like I had done the first four years, and although I made less quilts, I absolutely loved every minute of the sewing. Like the leaves for the quilt for my brother. I made those leaves one at a time, and I fell in love with the different fabrics in each one of them. I've made over 80 quilts in five years. What's the rush?

10) This is going to sound funny, or maybe silly, but I'm going to "link" my quilts. Every quilt I make is going to have a piece of the previous quilt in it, even if it's on the back. Our forequilters didn't have the luxury of running out to the local quilt shop when they sat down to make a quilt. Often several of their quilts had some of the same fabrics in them. I actually did this one year, and it was not hard to do. In fact, it was kind of fun. I wish I hadn't stopped doing it.

11) I'm going to put a little humor in every quilt. It might be real subtle, something only I will "get," but it'll be fun trying to figure out how to work the humor in. Jane gave me a ton of neutral fabrics for a quilt, and in it was a piece of frog fabric. I giggle every time I look at that quilt. And when I did the "Around the Block" quilt, I used some French fry fabric for two windows. It just looks like a yellow/gold -- but look a little closer! Another giggle moment! Even a serious quilt can have something hidden in it that's fun!

12) And, finally, I'm going to enjoy my quilt making, something that hasn't always happened. By making only the quilts I want to make, slowing down the process a bit, using colors I love, and adding a touch of humor or whimsy to each quilt, I think it's going to be a fabulous quilty year!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Broke Blogger

Geez, you can't take me anywhere! Several of you have emailed me to say that you're not able to post a comment on my last blog. You're right. It won't let me in either. Sorry about that. I really do appreciate the emails from you encouraging me on my Ponderings!