Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's Eve!!!

I think I see some sun out there! That's amazing here in Portland - very rare this trip. We leave here the 2nd and am trying to think of a way that we can take Miss P home with us. Oh, we can think of lots of ways - but they all involve drugging her parents - and since they know where we live ... that probably won't work for long!

The dogs will be glad to see me gone - they practically live in the garage while we're here.

J's parents stopped down yesterday and joined us for dinner at Chevy's. We hadn't seen them since the wedding 3 years ago! Always fun to get caught up and to hear about all the changes and adventures in their lives.

Been reading Stashbusters digests - good thing - cause it would take a week to get caught up. This computer doesn't really like long emails - so I've been pasting them to Word and boy - this morning the 4 digests pasted added up to 146 pages!!! Granted that's a lot of headers and enders and large type - but still - 146 pages!!! And that was just one day's worth! I do miss sewing along with all the gals that ware working in their sewing rooms. But been hand quilting during one of the daily naps Miss P still takes. Have to admit - I nap during the other one! Only one thing harder than being a 15 month old - and that's following a 15 month old!

Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday. Poor dear - has to put up with football every birthday. So we're going to escape the football games and do a little shopping again. DH is making his famous Eggs Maranara for breakfast. Think Denver omelette with sausage instead of ham. And I'm making pizza for dinner (rice krispie treats for her "cake"). And we'll have to start packing up. We're out of here Wednesday morning!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Snow on Christmas Day!!!

Yes, right here in Portland OR we had the biggest fluffy snowflakes on Christmas Day! So pretty against the fir trees in the back yard. And of course, unlike Nebraska snow - it didn't amount to enough to shovel! What a relief! :>

A and J2 came Sunday night and 6 adults, 2 dogs and a 15 month dynamo sure make a house seem small! But we survived. I usually put a dozen Eileen's Cookies in everyone's stocking - but DH pointed out that we were probably over the allotted suitcase weight already and we could do without this year ... darnit - don't you hate it when they're right? So I made rice krispie bars with M&Ms here and put a giant piece in a baggy in each stocking. We opened a few presents Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning after a breakfast of Eggs Maranara. Miss P made out like a bandit! And J2 taught her a new game - you open the door and I'll shut it - and again and again and again - thanks J2!!

I joined in the Stashbuster's UFO challenge this year. I forgot my FQs, but remembered Cher's address - so I actually went into a quilt store and bought just the FQs I mailed to Cher. That's a first for me! So after almost 2 months - I'm still legal in "No Buy!". It's a miracle!

Tomorrow L is off work so we plan to do a little after Christmas shopping. Then Friday DH and I head to the coast for a "ride-about" and our favorite restaurant in Oceanside for our 35th anniversary! How fast the time flies. Like one quilter said - "I keep forgetting it's my children who are 30, not me!"

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas from rainy Oregon

We made it. It was not a sure thing! There were LO-O-O-ng lines at the airport; I always get tagged in security because of my new knee. We sat at the gate forever (we left 45 minutes late)! We got lucky - came into F4 and left from F12 - that may be the closest connection we've ever had! We hustled thru the airport and they were almost done loading our connecting flight! Woohoo! Glad we made it.

Always tired after a day starting early and traveling - but have to admit - seeing Miss P at the airport was a joy. We've been playing and watching all that energy is amazing. She's so-o fast - only one speed as far as we can see - full out! No wonder her momma is thin. Hope it works on Grandma while I'm here!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Time

We have a small group at work that quilts once a week at lunch. We laugh, sew, consult and even talk with our mouths full! I found some wonderful wood ornaments that you can insert a picture into at JoAnn’s. One said “Joy” – that’s the last name of one gal in our group. Of course, she collects “JOY” – who wouldn’t!!! And then there was a penguin – P collects penguins, and snowmen (me, me!) And I had grandiose plans to paint them at home and present them … that went by the wayside! I could just save them until next year – if I could find them again! BUT instead I brought them, paints, brushes, a plastic tarp for the table and we did it together! It worked out great – everyone enjoyed it, each did their own ornaments and whenever I see mine, I’ll think of the group laughing together while we painted them. A better memory than what I had planned!

So-o as you are panicking about how close Christmas is and how much you have left to do … what can you do together with the recipients? It was a stress-buster in more ways than one!

We head out early Friday morning – and I do mean O’dark-thirty. So I probably won’t blog again until we reach Oregon and catch our breath! And get reacquainted with Miss P.

So Merry Christmas to everyone. I’ve enjoyed remembering favorite Christmas memories and activities back when the house was full of kids and pets … I hope you enjoyed it too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stash busting Report - woohoo!

Tonight was the best Christmas party of the season - the Scrap Happens party! We had a great time and got a lot of loot! 10 FQs, needles, thread, a cool zipper small bag, a tin, magnet, mug,cooking whisk with kisses!, binding corner tool and then personal gifts too! It was heaven!

I can now tell you what I've been doing to bust stash. I cut 70 pairs of nickel squares for 8 people - mostly beige-ings from my stash. That's 18 1/2 yards!!!

I made a chicken block clock (1 yard) and for my mom a cushion for her walker seat for the dog to sit on and a walker bag to match (2 1/2 yds) For a grand total of ... drum roll here ... 22 yards! Now that was fun!!!!

I had to pack the chicken clock in a pizza box - so I got a second box for a quilted bag. My DH asked what the boxes were for - I said the clock and a quilted bag - and he said, "So you're giving her a watch???"

Now we can relax and enjoy the family Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Now is the time for all good quilters ... to reevaluate!

My deadline is earlier than yours - I leave for Portland next Friday and I can't take my sewing room with me! Although you know, we always try to do that!

We often push ourselves to the limits to prepare for the big day - that we're too exhausted to enjoy it and the week before. So we meltdown!

That's what happened today for me. I got a lot done yesterday - had a full list for today though and it just didn't happen. So like every woman a week before Christmas -I'm reevaluating what exactly is needed. What can be finished fast, what can be left by the wayside.

The music at church was wonderful today and I enjoyed the baby shower. But when I got home I was ready for a nap. So I took it! Made the day go too fast for my list though! Revision time!

Wrap my secret pal gift (had to get special boxes today)
Finish mom's walker bag
Cookies are off the list

I'll report on stashbusting tomorrow - you'll be surprised!

Does anyone else summarize the year and make plans for next year? When the kids were little, the week between Christmas and New Years was the time we wrote predictions. When they were real little, they drew them and we wrote what it meant: "I'm going to a circus!" Then we sealed them in an envelope and put them away with the Christmas decorations ... to be opened the next year. It was always interesting - we didn't remember what we'd predicted and were surprised when we opened them.

An easy prediction/resolution is more quilting, UFOs finished and a stash busted!!! Now all I need is the details! :> A good quilting friend once said her resolution was "Gain 10 pounds and read trashy novels!"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa's bringing books

Do you tend to buy alot of one item for gifts? One year I was on a DVD spree! Gave one to my daugher L; but she already had it. I took her to the closet in my sewing room and let her pick out another one - she promptly announced I had a video store up there!!! Miss P is getting alot of books this year. It seems like the thing to do with the lead paint scare, etc. I've had alot of fun trying to find the books my kids grew up with. Barnes & Noble and make finding old books easy. What are the favorite books you think of?

Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
The Runaway Bunny
The Monster at the End of this Book
The April Rabbits
The Pokey Little Puppy
Penrod's Pants
5 people in my family

Miss P's getting some of those I just listed - but I've wrapped alot of books tonight!

On my list:
Completed my secret pal's gift [what a relief!]
Made the dog pillow for my mom and 1/2 done with a walker bag for her.
Wrapped all the presents I could find :>

All in all - it's looking pretty good! Good night, sleep tight!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's the weekend!

Is everyone else planning on sewing til the cows come home??? My list of things to do this weekend is LO-O-O-O-O-NG! It's also my last weekend at home before Christmas. No - I'm not complaining about getting to Oregon and Miss P a few days early ... but I'm not ready for the last weekend yet - it's time for a list!

Finish secret pal gift
Wrap the rest of the presents
Make dog pillow for mom's dog
Bake cookies
Go to a baby shower???

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Homemade Christmas Presents

What's your favorite Christmas present to give? I've made a LOT of Christmas presents over the years. I made pillows for 5 years for my sisters and my mom. The first year I didn't make one for my mom - and then I heard about it for MONTHS afterwards. From then on I made one for her also. The first 4 were seasonal pillows. Little kids with a poem about mittens, a pumpkin, a RWB basket of flowers and fish with an American flag. The fifth one was 3 angels. I also made a redwork Santa pillow for my sister who always ends up having Christmas at her house. [Hey, she's the one that added a giant family room and then decorated it red and green!]

I made ornaments for years too. Counted cross stitch Santas, mini stockings ... skinny hanging Santas who tote sticks ...

One year I made dog blankets. There was really cute dog fabrics out that year - they were whole cloth quilts. But I had just gotten my Janome and I put a strip across the back that said the dog's name and "sit, stay, good dog!"

I'm finishing my secret pal's present this weekend - I hope - the exchange is MONDAY! Hope all your presents are made and you're ready to relax into the holiday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dogs at Christmas

We got a Christmas puppy in 1988. We had to pick her up at the beginning of December - her parents were leaving town and couldn't wait until Christmas. We decided that we'd bring her into our house early - after all, she was about to be part of the family. We hid notes around the house and the kids followed the clues to their dad - sitting under the ping pong table with Pepper, a miniature schnauzer on his lap! She was in the kitchen most of that Christmas. But the next Christmas she discovered the Christmas tree in the living room. Pepper, the forest dog! She loved laying under the tree - it was next to her favorite window too.

We don't put the presents under the tree until 2 days before Christmas and that was the year I bought 3 Eagle Chip tins. They were big. So big I wrapped them in white tissue paper. Pepper came bounding up the stairs and around the corner, heading for the tree and spotted them under the tree and started barking at it! Every time she came around that corner for the next 3 days!!! We miss that dog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No snowday for the likes of us!

The University didn't close - it was a long shot anyway - the university hardly ever closes. Especially in the winter and that's my DH's fault!! In 1970 there was a HUGE snowfall. At that time Othmer was under construction - and for some misguided reason they were stockpiling the snow removed to there. Enter the frats vs the dormies. Yes, the biggest snowball fight - no war is the correct word - in history. The 2nd floor of the dorm was "jock city" and they jumped out of the windows into the snowbanks to join in the fight! Well, the campus police came down 16th street in force - and united the teams - against the police! The police calmly backed away and since then - the university never got over it. There are no snow days here!! Well, hardly, anyway. That IS a true story - I live with a witness/participant!

No more snow or ice expected, but highs in the 20s for the next 5 days! Brrrr!

String quilts are a hot topic in Stashbusters group right now. Strings are interesting - they grow when you're not paying attention! One summer my mom, my sister, G and me started making string quilts. There were more strings at the end of the projects than at the beginning!

I made string stockings this year for Santa socks for guild, I saw the neatest string stocking by a friend. C started with a panel and cut strings out of the bird, a hunting dog and some other details - combined it with some other strings to make an awesome stocking for her hunter husband. Great idea.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another winter storm headed our way ...

Is it too late to move to points south? (way south) We're all doing our "snow day" dance - but we need to keep electricity, please - or what's the point??!

Here's our Christmas tree. My parents tended to put up designer trees - not my favorite so my tree has ALWAYS been homemade, treasured ornaments. That ice cream cone at the top was made by A in preschool! He's going to be 33 this year!!!

Our favorite time of day during the holidays was bedtime. The kids got ready for bed - and if they got ready fast enough :> we turned off all the lights except the Christmas tree lights and sat and sang Christmas songs. The kids usually had a song to memorize for a Christmas program; each picked one and then we usually sang one more ... cause we're softies! I'll always remember the little voices singing. Our favorites were Holly Jolly Christmas; Away in the Manger; White Christmas and Up on the Rooftop.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Winter has set in

My DH does most of the cooking around here - I admit it - I'm spoiled. He works from home and quite frankly, he's the better cook. A wizard with a grill, etc. Well, winter seems to be my cooking season. I do the soups, the lasagna and the heavier meals we crave in the winter. The high this weekend was 20 something... so we hunkered down and I cooked both days. Soup yesterday with biscuits and lasagna today.

Meanwhile I worked on my quilting group's presents. It's all hush hush for another week - but I've put alot of time into this year's. We'll see if they like it! BUT I'm afraid I may be avoiding finishing my secret pal's gift. It wasn't totally planned out - I like to do my own thing! - I can't avoid it for long - we exchange gifts the 17th.

Finally bought my mom's present yesterday - a talking clock. She has borrowed one and it doesn't have the booklet with it - and she wants her own. My mom is legally blind now and it has narrowed down her life so much. It's hard to shop for her ... so we talked. For the remainder of my present to her I'm writing a check to one of her favorite charities. - she has 5 she supports. We'll see which one she picks.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

2 weeks and counting!

Okay - major panic time here. We'll be in Portland babysitting two weeks from today! I'd better get busy!

Today I met a friend at the library meeting room and we sewed - oblivious of a "winter mix" coming down outside! When we went out - someone had frosted our cars! We were both working on projects that not our favorite things to do [pink disappearing 9patches, anyone!] And it was great distracting ourselves, getting caught up while accomplishing that.

Advent calendars is my topic today. I love my advent calendar - you see the 25 days in December below and you decorate the Christmas tree and it gets fuller and fuller as it gets closer to Christmas. It never fails to surprise me how fast Christmas comes. Yes, I'm 55 and my children are grown and gone ... and I do the advent calendar every year! It's a tradition - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Programs

Sorry I missed writing yesterday ... long day.

We had the most beautiful snow. I started to work from home and nothing. I got to 66th st and the radio mentioned it was snowing in South Lincoln. I was in North Lincoln and figured I'd get to work without problems. About 56th it started snowing. About 40th I had to turn on my windshield wipers! And by the time I got to 14th st - my parking lot - I put on my boots to walk the 4 blocks to work. It was big flakes, fluffy and it snowed for two hours. We got close to 5 inches. I enjoy watching snow from inside. Unfortunately, I was looking out my office window! The streets were, of course, terrible and Lincoln had over 100 accidents yesterday. It's official - I drive like an old lady - but I made it to where I needed to be without a scratch.

After work I went to Mom's and we waited for my sister to pick us up for a Christmas program at Capital City Christian. It was wonderful. Church programs are "a must" for the season. If you don't have a church home - look in the paper - there are hundreds of special programs this time of year. Go to one - you won't regret it.

We also go to church services on Christmas Eve. Usually the 11 pm service - there's something magical about coming out of church at midnight, hearing the bells and knowing it's Christmas. My favorite part of the service is the lighting of the candles. Our church passes out candles to everyone as they come in and at the end of the service the we pass the flame. When everyone's candle is lit - it's a beautiful light. Reminding us of the change we can make - if we only do our part - nothing big - just a little light.

This weekend I have do our Christmas cards, wrap some presents and finish some quilted Christmas presents - first I have to decide what to make! Man! It's way too late to not know WHAT you're going to make!!! What have I done to myself????

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Cards - what's your take?

I'm almost done with our Christmas letter. Truly, I'm not one of those that you hate! I use 1/2 sheet of paper and there's a picture at the top! But we all get those letters that when we see the envelope we groan and set it aside until we are feeling stronger!

One letter that we get is TWO pages, single spaced!!! I have to have a cup of hot chocolate to tackle that one. And DH relies on me for the "executive summary"!

How is it possible that Christmas is approaching at the speed of light? In two weeks and 2 days we head for Oregon. Time to panic.

Miss P (14 months old now) went to see Santa at Daddy's Starbucks - don't like the looks of Santa!!! Nope, not at all!

I finished my Stashbusters fabric Christmas post cards tonight - they'll go out tomorrow. They turned out cute - I'll show you a picture later when they've been received. A friend is mading a calendar with monthly mini-quilts - the Santa was so-o cute that I threw him on the copier and reduced him to PC size! Easy peasy! C, my friend from Arkansas was here last weekend and she helped me cut all the pieces ... both nights, poor dear! Good friends are irreplaceable!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My husband's bookcase story

Two days ago I showed you "my" bookcase decorations in the family room - this is "my husband's" bookcase. Mine cheerily says, "Merry Christmas" in wooden blocks. DH's grumpily says, "Bah Humbug!!!" My mom always wrote things out in wooden blocks and I love doing that!

Favorite presents for kids: We went thru a really lean year or two. One year to fill the kids' stockings I made surprise balls. They were preschool and elementary age that year. Take one roll of crepe paper per child, some penny candy, small toys and a pile of coins,[if they are different-dimes, pennies, nickels, quarters it helps them learn their money -or not to trust their brother!!!]. Wind the crepe paper around the first toy and then keep adding other treats as you continue wrapping. The kids were so excited - at one point the crepe paper was unwrapping so fast that the coins and candy were flying thru the air! LOL!

My mom and dad wrapped a present without a box one year for me - and at bedtime I was allowed to squeeze it and try to guess what it was! Doesn't sound like much - but it was fascinating! It was a HARD stuffed pink poodle! Everything was sticking out - 4 legs, the nose, the tail, the top of the head ... I had no idea! It was the first present that I opened that year.

Nowadays, our favorite stocking stuffer is a dozen "Eileen's cookies". This bakery in Lincoln stacks their cookies in a round plastic bag. It takes up just enough room that we don't go broke filling stockings and each one of us has our favorites - Monster cookies anyone?

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Best Christmas party

Me (on the left) and S last year at the Scrap Happens Christmas party. It was at J's house and we loved all her decorating. I made the snowman pillow for Sue.

Tonight was Scrap Happens - my small group. There are 9 of us and we meet at each other's houses. Cozy, if not well lighted! I need this group - we laugh and relax and get to see each other's projects. A little consulting, a little kvetching!! It's fun.

In two weeks we have our Christmas party - one of our favorite Christmas parties every year. Everyone gets gifts for everyone ... there are alot of FQs given! We take turns handing them out and we take our time. And then you get a present from your secret pal - and get to find out who she is. It's wonderful - "quilt-y" gifts that your family just doesn't get for you.

Being spoiled by friends - it's just what you need before the holidays!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Now that was a busy weekend!

Today's picture is one of the family room bookcases. The Santas are counted cross stitch by Prairie Schooler. They started designing the yearly Santas in 1985 - I have all 22 patterns, 16 of the Santas are stitched and pillowed and displayed, 3 are stitched, but need to be pillowed - just finished them this fall and I need to stitch the last 3. Luckily, Christmas comes around every year!

I love Mary Engelbreit Christmas tins - can you tell? One Christmas my daughter L came into the room and said, "Everything is me,me,me around here." I thought, now what? and asked her what she meant. "All the tins have ME on them!!!!" That was a relief!!! LOL!

Most of the decorations are up. The trees are decorated and we watched our first Christmas DVD last night. Love Actually. Darling movie FOR ADULTS - there are so many big names in it and I can never remember who they are! Hugh Grant is the new prime minister of England! Others include Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, January Jones, Rowan Atkinson

Judy L is having weekly accountability in reducing stash. We should report on Sundays - I'll see if I can get the link to work. This week I made 14 - er make that 13 Christmas post cards. The wonder under should NOT be ironed upside down! I did on the first card [insert your favorite cuss word here!] ... but if you get a sticky iron, leave it on and place a dryer sheet on the edge of the ironing board, "scrub" your iron against it. Works like a charm.

The PCs were from stash of course. PCs aren't very big but in groups they add up. The backgrounds were almost a FQ! Last weekend - before I joined this effort - I made borders for Birds of a Feather all from stash. Ice cream cone borders in greens and a few blues ... still haven't gotten them actually on the quilt - there were spacer borders to be figured out! ICK - math.

On the "No buy" front I managed to go into JoAnn's twice without buying anything extra! The first time I needed to get a ruler and timtex for the PCs. I had the 40% off coupon and got a 90" wide back for Birds of a Feather. That's all - no unauthorized purchases!!! A FIRST!

Today I had to go get some tiny jingle bells for the PCs. I did buy Quiltmaker to see Bonnie's article and two skeins of 738 floss that I was out of ... it feels like such a hurdle but I'll bet some people can do this any time they go!!! Amazing!!!

Nancy Rose, a week ago, asked us to list what we've accomplished - I thought she meant for the year after seeing her list ... she meant for the month of November! YIKES! I just don't move that fast anymore!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

And the countdown begins

December 1st! Wow - that was fast! Lincoln is an "almost northern" city that thinks that it isn't! On the first Saturday of December we have the Star City Parade - it had to be cancelled today. We've got ice. We haven't been to the parade for years. We went a lot when the kids were little. I remember sitting on the hood of G's car with my two kids, G and her three kids. [Cars were bigger with flatter hoods back then!] Huddled under blankets with a thermos of hot chocolate.

Then there was the year that my girl scout troop was one of the troops picked to carry the banners announcing each entry. The girls were dressed in angel gear and the wind really whipped that glitter edged wing into their cute little faces. Ouch! That's Miss L - the mischievous angel on the left in the picture above. One thing I discovered about walking with the girls in the parade - on a cold day you can see a bunch of quilts in the crowd. Most were "picnic" quilts but there were a few that were not. "Grandma's best" is not the one you take to keep warm at a slushy parade!

Also pictured above on the right is A as one of the three kings in the annual church Christmas pageant. Another activity we were involved in every year. Something always happened that made you smile. But not like one of my favorite movies: "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." Loretta Swit is the emergency choir director! Really fun if you can find it!

Decorating commences today - I'll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Picture from Christmas Past

How does time go so fast on the weekends and so slow during the week??? I got a lot done this weekend – but of course, not everything on my list. *VBG* Maybe I should re-evaluate my list! I took a break from the computer. Came back to a zillion digests from Stashbusters on email!!! Good heavens!

I love Christmas. That being said – I did nothing to get ready for Christmas last weekend. The photo above is part of my Santa collection in front of my Grandma Grant's Christmas tree quilt. A few years ago I just laughed when they said cutting a large print for smaller pieced blocks was a "new technique"! I don't think so!

I’ll decorate on Saturday December 1st. My goal is to blog every day in December, at least up to Christmas, sharing favorite decorations, traditions and memories. Consider it an advent calendar of memory “presents”. Hope you will add your favorite holiday memories and decorations in the comments.

Here's a teaser to last you until Saturday: I love Christmas tree skirts. They make a great gift for newlyweds or new parents. I always put light backing on them. This is so they can trace their hands on the back. An easy tradition – on decorating day – trace the children’s hands on the back of the skirt. We traced their hands with pencil and then livened it up with liquid embroidery. AND of course, when we got the dog we had to add puppy paws on the quilt. (wet puppy feet on brown paper – draw around, cut out and then “transfer” to the back of the tree skirt) only did that once – convinced them that dog feet don’t change that much!!! We only drew the adults’ hands once too. By the time the kids left home we had a lovely spiral of hands circling the back of the tree skirt. I love it every year.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What fabrics do you use for backs?

Well, this weekend was really short. I'm either an optimist about how much I'll get done or a blithering idiot about time! LOL! I think I'll choose the former!

I did think about the border designs on the two quilts ... but didn't get to them.

I washed a ton of pinks and ironed them and cut nickel squares ... my DH wandered into the sewing room at one point and said, "Wow - it looks like there was a pink explosion in here!!!" So true!

I got half my 8 foot cutting table cleared off. But it's just so easy to stack on it! I turn around and someone (okay, it's me!) has piled something on it "for just a minute" ... or week or two! Don't you just hate it when you realize you're not so much organizing/clearing out as moving stacks from one place to the next!

BACKS: On the Stashbusters list someone brought up buying a coveted fabric for a back to make it a legal buy. I hyperventilated!!! I couldn't buy expensive fabric for a back - I guess I'm just too cheap!

I'm known for my funky backs! In fact, I'm a little too well known! Someone kidded me in a guild class about a "doni back" and the teacher then repeated that in the guild meeting, in front of 350+ quilters - my friends almost fell off their chairs laughing ... and I turned "Husker Red"!

I'm a scrappy patchwork quilter so I tend to make scrappy backs. But I used to grab any fabric out of my stash that was the right amount. - in my defense - those peaches on back of my snowman quilt DID look frosty!! LOL!

BUT the one thing I never do is buy $7+ dollar a yard fabric for backs. That's what big sales are for. What do you do for backs??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ladies - start your sewing machines!

Not only is it the weekend, it's also many days less to Christmas than you think it is!!! Did that make sense? We've had such a mild fall this year that Christmas season is sneaking up FAST! I don't want to talk about it NOR think about it! :>

We'll be headed to Oregon for Christmas and while we're there we will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary! WOW! It's amazing how fast it can go!

I read a great quote on Stashbusters this week. "I keep forgetting it's my children who are 30; not me!!!" She used a larger age for her children ... but I smile everytime I think of it.

This weekend I hoping to:

. design and cut outer borders for "Birds of a Feather"
. design and mark quilting for the 2 borders of "Starry Starry Nights"
. wash and cut pink nickels for the two disappearing 9patch graduation quilts. (I have pieced the 9 patches for the green one - but holding back on that one until I get the pink ones done. I'm not that fond of pink!!! But it is growing on me!

I've got soup in the crockpot for dinner, DH just left to play golf - I'll let you know how it works out!!!

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Moving in Slow motion!

I felt so out of it this weekend - everything seems to be taking twice the time I thought it would. I had some cuddle quilt tops from guild. In the last week I tied two of them and sewed the binding on. I tied the third this weekend and I hand-bound all 3 cuddle quilts to turn in tomorrow night at Guild. It seemed to take forever. I really thought I would get more than that done ... but no.

Miss P is at the top of the page - in her Halloween costume - I couldn't resist, since that's how I've been feeling - like a turtle!

C, a good friend, sent me her stash! She's cleaning out and consolidating an apartment and her home - and we both like the same types of fabrics ... I pulled 3 grocery bags of the fabrics to share - but it's really hard not to add ALL of it to my sewing room! I only kept less than 1/2???? Isn't that ridiculous ... I need to clean out; I went on "no-buy" and I'm keeping 2 grocery bags of C's stash ... I guess, I'd have kept it all before! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, November 5, 2007

What's the buzz?

The Yahoo group of Stashbusters is now 3001 members! Just think of it - a resource of 3000 quilters at your fingertips - all the answers are there, just waiting for you. There's been some interesting topics lately:

Dream List - Kind of like a "life list" for bird watchers. What quilts do you want to make in your lifetime? And what is keeping you from making it? My list includes a log cabin quilt and a house quilt. Both scrappy, of course. Both are fairly easy - so what am I waiting for? They've been on my list for years ... but when it's time to work on projects - others jump in front of them. BUT 2008 is the year for a log cabin. It's now at the top of my [very long] list.

No Buy: I joined the Stashbuster's "no buy" group. It started November 1st. AND Nov 3rd I was teaching a class at a quilt shop all day on saturday - didn't buy any fabric - I did order a plastic sewing machine mini-table. Oh, goodness, what do they call those?? The brain is going - fast - but I didn't buy any fabric. So-o-o a king sized scrap log cabin will be a good start ...

Reorganizing the stash: Sometimes it seems we work so hard at eliminating fabrics we no longer care for that we don't have time or energy to work with our favorites. We love fabrics or we wouldn't be in this position. But it's time to pick up a favorite and plan around it. I've got a little box set aside of favorite scraps that I was going to do a Road to Oklahoma with them. I think there's enough for scrap log cabin logs too.

I finished 6 Santa Socks and it's a week before the guild meeting! That may be a new record!

Fall Gratitudes
1 Time with family
2 Autumn colors brightening up my commute
3 Quilting time

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Haunting!

Trick or treaters are ringing the doorbell! But I haven't had time to blog this week. My mom is in the hospital - 89 years young and just well enough to be cranky. It made this week very, very hectic.

The picture is of my granddaughter, Miss P - last year. Can't wait to see this year's halloween picture - maybe by the weekend? Please L?????

On to the next big holiday ...

This weekend I'm teaching a class on how to finish Christmas stockings. Has anyone else found themselves making stocking after stocking every year? It started with the first Christmas away from home for my son. Poor darling - he needs a stocking for Christmas - and for the roommates too. Well, obviously there was a new roommate or "good friend" the next year ... and you would think I would have learned - but when my daughter left home - I started again!!!

Then there was the blended family of my niece ... then whenever anyone got married ... a matched set was required. The problem was to make them so they all hung at the same angle. So I started experimenting. Instructions next week. I thought I'd have them done today, but ran out of time. I HAVE to have them done by saturday for class ... tick, tick, tick!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stash Management - ha - it's managing me!!!

Okay - I read the digests from Stashbusters. I'm attracted to all the magazine articles about arranging your space. I even have the book ... so why am I wallowing in stash!!!

Last week I admitted that my sewing space looked like a tornado went thru it - twice. It's not better! I'm working with my nickel squares - making disappearing 9patch college graduation quilts for next May. [FIVE family members need quilts!]My nickels take up most of 2 office paper boxes. Well, they've exploded as I thumb thru them finding pinks and greens. The stash is falling out of the closet ... so I started sorting thru my least favorite color groups. Using the "I don't like you anymore" method of sorting - I've gone thru 3 milk crates. [ 1/4 paper box gleaned] I think I'll keep a 5" strip from each one before I pass it on.

I start "no buy" next month and I need it bad! Meanwhile - what a mess and Christmas is looming ... my sewing space hardly ever gets "better" this time of year.

Send help!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm back!

Boy, it's hard to come home from retreat. Nothing quilty to look forward to ... and my sewing room looks like a tornado went thru - twice! We had a great time. It was a rainy weekend so most of our "walks" were to the snack table! I had a sugar hangover on Monday!

I didn't get as many disappearing 9patch tops done as I'd hoped! Okay - so my expectations may have been too high! I did get 1/2 the blocks done for 2 pink quilts and 3/4 of the 1st blocks done for a green one.

I also quilted the inside of "Starry Starry Nights". Have a small border and then figure out what I'll do on the large border. But I'm getting there.

Did some "retail therapy" Friday on the way up. I'm about to go "No buy" November 1st in Stashbusters - this may have been like "Last call at the bar!" Bought a great kit with "Holly Jolly" fabrics. It's pictured above - Miss Rosie's Toulouse - don't you love it? It's an awesome quilt. Three other friends ended up buying it too! We'll have to get together to sew!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm off to retreat!

Quilt Retreats! What a wonderful invention. I’m leaving tomorrow for the Lincoln Quilt Guild retreat. This is probably my 20th one!!! I started going the first year we moved back to Lincoln and that was 1987. I got here in July and by Sept I was in guild and on my way to Retreat.

Some retreats are fancier [and more expensive] than others. Ours is KISS [Keep it Simple Silly!] We have guild members do demos and basically bring what we want to work on. We stay at a 4H camp above a state park so there are miles of hiking trails available. We sleep in bunk houses – pretty primitive, but they do have showers in the bathrooms and heat. The lodge, where sewing and meals take place, is a step above primitive and since the guild has gathered there for over 20 years – we’ve convinced them to make some improvements – like electricity upgrades. We rarely lose power any more – but we all know where the circuit breaker box is just in case! A few years back they were lucky enough to gain a chef on staff. Tom is great and we’re so happy he’s there – meals were pretty miserable before then.

Before I moved back to Nebraska, I belonged to Love Apples Quilters of Southern New Jersey. We had a retreat at the senior citizen Salvation Army Camp in North Jersey. It was all in one building and very nice. A wonderful hiking path around the lake there.

Memory: I was manning the check-in desk in Jersey. A quilter brought 4 LOADS on a dolly past me to her room [quilters tend to over-estimate what they will get done at retreat!] :> AND then she came and asked me where the nearest Kmart was – “I forgot my underwear!” And that, my dears, is why I have a packing list!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Auburn hair

Well, that week was a disappointment! It was a race at work. Okay, not a race, exactly - more of a "hurry up and then wait" type of week. Move on - that's over. Next week at this time I'll be in the middle of a 3 day retreat!!! Oh, did I mention that I'm really looking forward to that???

Two threads have really caught my interest this week on the Yahoo Stashbusters list. Grey hair and project lists:

Grey hair: I turned grey early in life (thanks, birth mom!) I had auburn hair naturally; and when the grey came in it dulled down the color and the shine. I started with henna treatments when I was 22. It was like putting algae on your head - the smell was distinctive! Did anyone else do this? I didn't like the thought of chemicals and this was supposed to be more natural. Fast forward to 40! And it does seem like that - a fast forward! I was using the chemicals by then, but I was getting a great skunk streak of grey within 2 weeks of coloring it. I had it done at the shop - I did it once at home and it was a disaster! Dark coloring and white woodwork = not a good combo! But time to "age gracefully!"

Growing out - it looked awful. :> My hairdresser decided to streak my hair and see if we could blend it in alittle. Not as successful as we'd hoped! I took my girl scouts to a pool with a slide that summer. As I walked to the other side of the pool I heard from above [the slide not God!] "Good grief, that woman's hair is plaid!" I didn't even look up - I knew who he was talking about!

Finally - grey hair. When I got a compliment on it at work, one friend sniped back, "Well, sure, you didn't have to be here while it was growing out!" When my dh said he really liked the auburn hair and did I think I'd ever go back - I had to say a resounding "NO!"

Lists of projects:
I'm in Institutional Research - work with data - it's what we do. Excel spreadsheets and Access databases - the best way to learn them is to put in something you're interested in. I started keeping track of all the books I read in excel. Rating them and sorting them by author, etc. It's a great system - I can look back at any 4 star rated authors from the past and see if they have anything new out.

I have an excel sheet called "Mylife(year)" It has many worksheets - knee problems, Christmas lists - past year and current year, gifts bought for Mom's day, birthdays, etc. Packing lists - this works excellently! I have basic lists for things I take to Oregon every summer (tin to put seashells in) and to Retreat (I always forgot the fly swatter!). Lots of sheets about quilts - spending, projects and finished projects. My quilt projects page has 95 projects listed. Including UFOs, PIGs, Whimms, WIPs and DSDs

PIG - Project in Grocery Sack - been gathered but just sitting there
WIP - Work in Progress - intermittent bursts of working on it
UFO - some work done - been sitting there waiting
HuSsY - Haven't Started Yet - have pattern/idea - gonna be great!
DSD - Dreaming of Someday Making
Whimms - What is in My Mind

The trick is to come up with a system that meets your needs, but doesn't take up all your time. Keeping the same worksheets each year helps - you're familiar with it. You'll find that you add a sheet every few years and take out one that no longer applies.

At the end of each year I write a sheet in a notebook about that year. Important events (weddings, ...) Finished projects. What I entered in the fair or guild quilt show. How many books I read. Weight I lost - or gained!!! Bullet points! I like to compare years. What seemed like a year I got alot done often doesn't measure up - and vice versa!

Well, on with the weekend - I have to get organized for Retreat next weekend - time to print out my packing list!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quilting time - post cards vs quilts

Like many quilters I got hooked on quilted post cards this year. They are so much fun because unlike quilts; you can make 5 in an afternoon. It's a small size - 4" x 6" so you can try different techniques. Being a newbie - I usually make a copy for myself too. They're small and easy to collect. Your whole collection fits in a drawer! Getting them in the mail is fun!!! It's a finished project being delivered so there's no "guilt" with that package. No "when will I ever do something with these blocks or fabrics?!?"

Now - let's get serious - what's bad about post cards: there's only limited time to work in the quilting room. Working on post cards takes up some of that time. Is it easier to work on post cards than to fix a stalling out point in a quilt? Sometimes.

That all being said ... I'm off to finish two post card challenges!!! We'll settle what else needs to be done later!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hanging out with friends at Quilt Retreat

I love fall - I really shouldn't - I'm allergic to it!! But it always makes me smile! The first tree on our street is showing it's colors. We've been able to open up the house - I know - allergies - but it just feels so good to cuddle under the quilts with the cool night air.

Of course, I love the first days of each season - the first cool fall day, the first sprigs of green in the spring; that first really HOT day at the lake and of course, the first snow ... it's one of my favorite parts of living in Nebraska - we have all four seasons. We won't discuss how I feel by the end of each season!! LOL!

Another exciting part of fall is "Quilt Retreat!!" Our guild has a fall retreat at the 4H center by Gretna NE! One year someone in my office was going to San Francisco for a 3 day weekend - I was more excited about going to Gretna than he was about his trip! 80 crazy quilters lazing around, meals made by a chef!!!, no family members wanting you to do something - I will admit it was calmer before cell phones ... but I just turn mine off!!! We sleep in cabins, it's pretty rustic but then again it's pretty cheap! We sew and laugh all hours in the lodge. Usually the last quilters at night meet the first quilters in the morning. It's magical and it's happening in 16 days! I have to start making lists and packing the projects I'll take.

And of course, it's by GRETNA - where one of my favorite shops is. The Quilted Moose was in the Top 10 shops this fall! Well deserved honor. We somehow always manage to stop by before checking in; and sometimes during the day Saturday for supplies and sometimes on the way home!!! LOL! Quilted Moose loves retreat!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A little piece of heaven!

Okay - maybe most people wouldn't call it that! LOL! My DH among them! And I'll have to admit that it MAY HAVE gotten a LITTLE out of control! Not at it's cleanest or most organized - but it looks like this more often than not.

That's my main stash in the closet - but backings and the kid's "I spy" prints are in the cedar closet. The table is the main cutting station - and the bins underneath it are ufos, pigs and supplies. Two of the bins are denim - ready for jeans quilts; my usual HS graduation present. One bin is reproductions ready for the Lori Smith project I'm working on (and off) - Remininsce. Another bin is 4 1/2" 9 patches from an internet exchange that kept going - I hosted it for years and then started up one with our guild's evening workshop. Seriously, these little cuties mate in the dark - there's more of them now than I started with!! And that's a good thing!

One stack of bins is strips. I cut 1 1/2" thru 6" and keep them in their own bins. There's also plastic shoe boxes full of squares the same size. That's a good project for nights in front of the tv. New season starts next week - you know! A box of scraps, a tv tray with cutting mat on it, a ruler and rotary cutter.

The book shelves is pretty much ALL my books and magazines. There is one stack of old Quilter's Newsletters in the guest room - something for my overnight friends to read! I do make it a point not to let that overflow. Small comfort!

So, my assignment, should I chose to accept it ... [dating myself here! :>] is to fit all this stuff back into a working sewing room. To work on ufos and pigs and stay away from dangerous environments - local quilt stores!!! And enjoy this rather than feel guilty. Any suggestions are welcome!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The whirlwind tour!

What a fun week - Miss P started walking in honor of the occasion - sometimes like a drunkard sailor! She gives us all heart failure with all the "close calls" for bumps on the head.

What a sweetheart - I hope her mom and dad don't mind if I keep her here! It's going to be hard to say good-bye tomorrow. So-o I thought I'd better write today!

Pictured is highlights of the visit.

The happy family - daughter, her husband and Miss P

Miss P and her personal birthday cake! The cake and cupcakes were made by a good friend of my daughter.

Bottom picture is Miss P, her mom and grandpa. Grandpa's bday is the next day - so from now on - party for two every fall!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Miss P is on her way!

A quick post before the 1 year old whirling dervish gets here! LOL! And yes, I'm counting the minutes.

Nickel quilts: I'm the nickel exchange chair at our quilt guild. I love scrap quilts so what could be better than nickel quilts? We've been exchanging for 2 years (starting 3rd year) since Pat Speth came and spoke at our group. That's a long time! I'm trying to drum up some more excitement / participants so this year I'm handing out patterns and projects that use nickels - but aren't in Pat's books.

September I gave out the disappearing 9patch block. There's an excellent tutorial online by Helen Bailey I'd be interested in hearing from other quilters that had used this block. I need to make college graduation quilts next spring - so what's the difference in looks if you make "regular" 9patches - 2 fabrics and then mix up the quarter blocks rather than make "scrap" 9patches and mix up the quarter blocks??? Inquiring minds want to know!

See you after Miss P's visit! Warning - there WILL be pictures!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ready for Company!

Now that was a better weekend! I managed to make the birthday girl's cape, the teddy bear cape, her "comfty" and one soft book. A friend came over to lend moral support LOL! and she made my "Disappearing 9 patch" samples for the guild Nickel Exchange tomorrow night. It was a great Saturday.

Today after running errands with my mom (89 years young!) I cleaned out the spare rooms and baby-proofed those rooms and the main rooms. It involved lots of relocating! I vow not to put anything back into those rooms after everyone has gone back home.

This winter our 'project' is clearing out all this 'stuff'! Hope it feels as good as I hear it will. So far, when clearing stuff out of the sewing room and stash, - 2 weeks later I've found a use for what I'd cleared out!!!

Thursday night was a blast! J and I went to Gretna to pick up our kits. Deb, the shop owner, was so excited to make the cover of "Quilt Sampler". It's a giant party this week as everyone comes in to say 'Congratulations!' Way to go, Quilted Moose! PS - the kit is awesome!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Can you tell I didn't get much done last weekend!

You are my conscience - I avoid you when I fail to mark anything off my "to do" list.

The game was so-o hot on Saturday. Can you say "par-broiled Huskers"?? I wore a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen. Fat lot of good it did me!!! Sunburn is not my friend! It saps my energy and disturbs my sleep. My neck was red and sore until today! It's still swollen. I get really cranky!! You think I would learn, but the first game always surprises me!

I worked with the B family photos this weekend - almost done! Hooray! Cleared my cutting table - so no excuses not to jump right in and get Miss P's birthday stuff done. Only 8 days until they get here! Gulp! I have GOT to get my act together!!

Tomorrow night a friend and I are going to one of my favorite quilt shops: The Quilted Moose in Gretna NE. They have been picked for one of the American Patchwork & Quilting Top 10 shops!! A well-deserved honor. Now that the magazine is out - our kits are ready! Just what I need! But I can't resist, the Moose creates the best kits and BOMs! The kit I'm picking up tomorrow night is on the cover of the magazine pictured!

I love "Quilt Sampler" even when one of our local shops isn't in it! I buy every issue. Then I cuddle up on the couch and highlight the top 10 shops in my Quilter's Travel Companion book. When that book is updated - every 2 years - it takes me weeks to transfer the top 10 shops into the new edition!! Can you tell that once I made a bad choice as to which shop in Minneapolis to go to??? Yep, went to a crappy shop instead of a top 10 shop! Never again!!!

I'm not even going to list what I need to do ... I'll let you know how the weekend goes - you'll be able to tell if I get anything done!! LOL!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Let the race begin!

Sorry I didn't write this week. It was one of those weeks that ended up entirely too busy. Background story: When my daughter L was just in kindergarten she had been taking "gymnastics" for a couple of years as a preschooler. The teacher asked her to be on a special traveling team! At 5!! But, we sat down and talked about it. I told her it was really special to be on this team BUT she would have to go to class everyday (!) after school. So she would only be able to play with her friends on the weekend. We thought about it and talked several times that week. At her next class she went up to her teacher and said, "Teacher, I can't be on the team. I'm sorry, but if I have too much to do 'I'm miz-ther-ball' (miserable)!!!" That has been our rallying cry ever since!!! AND that was this week!

Today is the first Nebraska football game. I'm a fan - living in Lincoln and then add working for the U - you pretty much HAVE to be. But I'm not a rabid fan! LOL! It's pretty much the "only game in town" and they are alot of fun. I enjoy going and being part of the crowd. The stadium IS the 3rd largest city in Nebraska on football Saturdays. I just wrote the games on the calendar - YIKES! We usually have 6-7 home games, but usually there will be "bye weeks" and away games in a row. This year 4 out of 5 Saturdays in Sept are HOME games! What's a quilter to do?? Thank goodness the first game is on the three day weekend - I can come home and regroup!

My almost 1 year old granddaughter, Miss P, arrives in 12 days!!! I've really got to get on the ball here. I started clearing the guest rooms last weekend. Funny how I didn't get as far as I'd hoped!

I moved all the "B family" photos into the sewing room. Hoping that laying them out in there would inspire me to finish them in a hurry. Okay - what was plan B??? After all "M family" photos are waiting in the wings for the same treatment.

I've got to get the photos out of there! I've got to sew 2 things for Miss P's birthday. So here's my list for the weekend:[And I feel it's really realistic! NOT!]

1. Sort "B family" photos ready for D to put into software program and basically ready to mail the actual photos to various family members.
2. Sew "Birthday Cape" for Miss P
3. Sew "comfty" for Miss P - buy ribbon embellishments
4. Finish all UFOs and totally revamp the sewing room - oh wait a minute - that's lifetime goal!

I'll let you know Monday how far I got! Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

How can it be the end of August already??

Next weekend is Labor Day!! Time is going amazingly fast. Miss P is going to be 1 in just 3 weeks ... how is that possible?

I've posted a picture of "My graduation quilt". This is a quilt I made for myself when my youngest - my daughter graduated from HS in 1997. I wanted something to remember all the school days and programs that was so much of our life. L was in jump rope club in elementary school - encourage your kids to join if possible - it was wonderful! So the pattern was a natural for me. A good friend asked me where A was. I fluffed her off. But she pushed the point and I said, "He must be behind the schoolhouse smoking!" - which he did on occasion! And after we stopped laughing I just had to add smoke rings coming from the left side of the school house. My son has always had a great sense of humor and thank goodness he took this teasing in the quilt in stride too.

University starts tomorrow and first football game is next Saturday! Football Saturdays really crowd the weekends. YIKES - fall will be in full swing before we're ready for it. And hopefully cooler weather will follow.

Two friends and I went to the state fair today. After making lunch out of Indian Tacos - taco fixings on fry bread - it's great! We wandered thru the needlework exhibits, the photography exhibition and then we got serious and walked thru the quilts. What a great "show". My friend J took over 600 pictures! I'm pretty sure we got all of them - maybe more than once! We always have to walk the aisles the first time - then circle back going the other way ... you always see at least one quilt you didn't notice before.

Oh - did you notice? I got to cross off the wool penny rug from my fab5+ list! YaHoo! A finished project. Onto the next ... I'm hand quilting "Starry Starry Nights" that may be next if I get busy on it.

Mom said she heard on the radio that the average American reads 4 books a year! It was down from 10! That sounds incredible low to me. I keep track (I'm a data person, what can I do!) and I read 40 - 60 books a year. Used to be more! My DH doesn't read very many "books" but reads several papers a day and 5 business magazines a week and golf magazines ... Seems to me that someone isn't doing their share!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

School's Starting

Don't you just love the beginning of school? I do. The heat and humidity here have eased up about 10 degrees and 10% - finally, I can breathe outside! Come on fall weather!

I work for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Institutional Research & Planning Office. We're scrambling this week to get ready for the start of the fall semester next Monday. But even being too busy doesn't keep me from loving fall. I think the beginning of school is a great time for resolutions. This year I can recycle all my January resolutions! How about you? Ready to recommit to some changes?

Only 124 days to Christmas! I haven't even really decided what I'm making for anyone let alone started any projects. I usually make something for my mom, my small quilt group, pillows for my sisters and of course, something for my secret pal. Hmmm, this weekend I should look into that!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer Blahs!

Another HOT MUGGY weekend in Nebraska. It's still sapping all my energy. But I've pinned the last two sides [with the tabs] on the wool penny rug. Hope to finish it Monday night at my small group meeting - Scrap Happens.

I was reading a blog about revamping sewing spaces and someone suggested the book "Reorganizing from the Inside Out". I got it from the library and started it. It's interesting and really makes alot of sense as to why there's clutter. I'm working my way up to the sewing room - but cleaned out bathroom cupboards this weekend. Surprising how good it feels!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Okay - I'm a dope!

Did you realize that this summer is almost over??? I missed the sign up for the fair by a WEEK. I usually have a week after coming home from Oregon to take care of the fair. I forgot we went a week later than usual. So I'll be buying my tickets full price - darn.

Above is the Oregon Lighthouse quilt I entered last year. The lighthouse panels are silk screened. I got a 5th place ribbon on it - but I also got an offer to buy it! Thanks - but no way! It's a favorite! The small wall quilt in my hands is a Quilted Lizard accidental landscape - the beach. That technique is fun and addictive.

So without the fair entry to worry about - it's on to worrying about what to put in our guild's show next June!

I got all 16 penny rug tongues [tabs] done - hope to finish assembling it this weekend. Hmmm, where did I put those instructions again! It's one of my Fab5 - I'm so excited to cross off my first finished project using this method! Don't you love lists!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Night Report

Well, that was a weekend! Got a lot done. Washed 5 loads of fabrics – I found fabric given to me as a Christmas present last year! Guess I hadn’t cleared the cutting table this year and hadn’t washed fabric for quite awhile. It IS an 8 foot table and I can usually displace things to one end or the other! All that fabric was on it though.

Today 3 quilting friends came over and we consulted and sewed and had a great time. I’ve got 13 of 16 wool penny rug tongues ready. Now I have to find the wool and cut 3 more – the red just shredded on me. Plan B coming up.

I think I can safely sign up for entries on the State Fair site – Kinsey’s Whimsy and the penny wool rug. And buy cheap tickets! Above is a picture of Kinsey’s Whimsy. The guild challenge was to create a quilt for a character in a book. I chose Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton’s mystery series. “A is for Alibi”. I used the leftover blocks on one of my famous backs!

My backs - guess it's time to come clean! I've been known [LOL!] to put weird backs on my quilts. I once made a snowman quilt - it was an original adaptation to a "Red Wagon' design. I was in a hurry - grabbed a "cold" looking peach fabric. Yes I've taken a lot of flack for it - my excuse was to say ""Even in the worst winter spring is on it's way!" Hey - it looked fine until the red binding wrapped around to the back!

Alright, fast forward a few years. I was in a workshop with a great teacher when she showed an unusual back - friends in the class all chimed in "its a doni back". She laughed, we all laughed but then she announced it at the guild meeting that night! My only 15 minutes of fame [I hope!]

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quilting in the Land of Plenty

Okay, now I'm more like myself now! I wasn't sure I'd make it the whole week at work! But now it's the weekend and time to chill out! - in the sewing room! This week I turned 55 and I'm having a little trouble with that! I don't usually have any set backs with birthdays. But 6 months later my new knee isn't up to my standards yet. And I FEEL like an old woman! Gotta to work through that and get back to me. I'm afraid that includes the 4 letter word we all hate - diet. Losing weight could make the difference.

When we got home from Oregon we piled everything from the car out of the way - yep, you guessed it - in the sewing room. What a disaster! That room was pretty much a mess anyway. Tomorrow morning I'm going in!! I peeked in today and that is a mountain of FQs on the cutting table. My small group - Scrap Happens - always brings back a FQ from a trip for everyone. Apparently we've been really traveling lately! YIKES! Add what I bought on my trip and there's a whole lot of washing that needs to be going on!

Two weeks to the State Fair. I love entering things in the fair - not because I'm so good - I'm not. But I think it's fun to see all levels in competition. My quilts can inspire someone to go home and try also. PLUS - I really love to buy the cheaper tickets!! I LOVE the fair. I've got the Guild's Literary Challenge but I'd love to enter the wool penny rug. That means 14.1/2 tongues still needed. This weekend better be a long one!

I'll check in Sunday and let you know how it went.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Home Again, Home Again!

Back to normal life and fighting it just a little! It's hot and humid - ICK! Back to work and trying to get caught up. Maybe if I could play in the sewing room - this weekend some friends are getting together to sew and that will help.

The State Fair is coming up at warp speed. I always enter something - mainly because I can buy cheap tickets then. This year ... I have finished the Guild's literary challenge so that's a possibility. I'd love to finish the wool penny rug to enter. But I'll have to get serious real fast. I still need to applique on the tongues and connect them - there are 16 of them. Maybe it's a possibility.

I'll write more when I have a plan!

Monday, July 30, 2007

On the Road Again

The last days in Brookings have been awesome! Our usual great weather showed up and we enjoyed 4 days of sunshine. We visited our favorite beaches and today drove up 101 and visited our favorite viewpoints! At night, well, we sit in the alcove and watch the full moon reflect off the ocean - and it's perfect.

This vacation has sped by. I didn't get much quilting done. Nor reading. I'm not exactly sure what we did do besides relax and refresh. I always pack too much - of the wrong things! I brought books, magazines, piecing, applique, quilting, my wool penny rug and counted cross stitch. And I'll haul it all home! I just didn't know what I'd be in the mood to do - who knew it would be "none of the above"! LOL!

As we head up the coast tomorrow we'll meet L, J and Miss P for 2 days on the by Lincoln City and Depoe Bay and then back to their house in Portland. I probably won't be able to post again until I get home Saturday, August 4. Know that I am savoring all the ocean views we see and visiting MANY quilt shops on my way home. See you back in Nebraska.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Whale's Tales

Grey mornings at the coast have yielded a new favorite past-time - Whale Watching! There's a whale in our cove this year. I've heard from 2 different residents here that it's probably a teenage male. For some reason they drop out of the spring migration and hang around until the return trip. Cool!

For the first 5 years of coming to the coast we NEVER saw a whale. DH was convinced they were "urban legends" dreamed up for the tourists. Even once in December, we were on the Northern coast during the migration period, we stopped at every whale watching post - nada!

Then on a July trip a few years back, there were a lot of boats in the cove. We were both standing at the alcove window trying to figure out why and we saw the 1st really great whale tail flipping out of the water - it looked bigger than one of the boats there.

Last year there were a lot of whales spotted with friends from California, B & D. I'm convinced that D is a "whale whisperer." She can call them! But none of those were this close - not right in our cove - not seen from the comfort of our alcove! The whale is making up for the less than magnificent tide pools this year. Seeing a whale every day makes up for pretty much anything that's wrong!

The beach, this year, is higher - filled in with maybe 4-5 foot of extra sand. The cave is filled in and there aren't many tide pools. Last year it was the complete opposite. Gorgeous tide pools with at least 4 types of starfish including sun bursts - they have 19 legs! We've seen two sun bursts this year but last year there were 3-5 of them [orange, red, purple] in every tide pool.

Tuesday, we tried to get out of the grey fog. We drove up the coast to Bandon. I visited the quilt shop there and DH went out to the famous Bandon Dunes golf course to buy a sweatshirt. On the way out of town we found the new golf course - Bandon Crossings and DH is planning a trip back up there to play 18. The Curry County Fair starts tomorrow in Gold Beach, a Rainbow Rock quilting friend-K and I are planning to go and check out the quilt entries.

Our time here seems to be speeding up - only 6 days at the condo left and I'm worrying about fitting all our favorite spots in before we leave! Hope it clears off this afternoon - we still need to hang out at Harris Beach State Park. Or we can visit the Redwoods again ... or sit here and watch our whale! Remember Doni - no demanding schedules on the coast - we can play it by ear - we'll be back!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Grey Days on the Coast

We've been coming to Brookings OR for 9 years. Amazingly enough - this is the most grey days we've ever had! It's been "winter weather" for 3 days - we even saw a rainbow between clouds. It's good to know that rainy weather doesn't bother us - since we're hoping to retire here.

A & J2 left yesterday. We had brunch at Mattie's Pancake House and off they went - back to sunny Ashland. We came back to sitting in the alcove and a rainy day nap. I think I'll get a lot of quilting done here. I sat in the alcove and quilted on "Starry Starry Nights" for a few hours, watching the ocean. The ocean was really flat the first week of our stay - more like a lake. But the tide turned(??) and we're getting alot of wave action on the rocks now. Poosh!

I offered to buy some Amy Butler fabric for a friend back home - it's certainly adding to my stash too! I go into the store and start looking around - dangerous if you're a stashbuster! I belong to the Yahoo stashbusters online group. Although I didn't take "the pledge" not to buy fabric this year, it always makes you think and feel guilty as you buy. I'm definitely buying less than other years, but more than I'd planned. I had high hopes!

Looking forward to retiring also adds into the mix. We'll be moving from a 2600ish square feet house to a 1100ish sf condo. And frankly, my sewing room could expand to 1100 sq easily! I'm measuring the guest room closet this trip to see how many cubes (dairy carrying cases) of fabric I can fit in. Like most quilters I love fabric! And each year the market has it's variation. This year it seems that the greyed pastels are hues we haven't seen for years. Last year I think it was the mottled backgrounds. A well rounded stash is always a plus for scrap quilters! Or is that just an excuse??? I tend to be attracted to "tone on tone" and reproduction fabrics. Although I've been branching out into brighter "tone on tone"! LOL!

I've been quilting for 32-33 years and my stash is LARGE. Just chuck full of "old favorite" fabrics. I'll probably have to donate 1/3 of it to charity when I start cleaning out. Our church is making prayer quilts and the Lincoln Guild makes cuddle quilts for our local area and Christmas stockings and bags for the shelters at Christmas. I'm picturing "two for me, one for guild and one for church" when I start clearing the sewing room out.

Stashbusters has a "Fab Four" set up. As you might notice from my sidebar, I adapted it to a "Fab Five+" for my use. It was so funny - I agonized over which 4 to pick from the multitudes of UFO and Whimms I have ... for days ... and then someone on the digest said - it's your hobby - do what works for you. (Thanks!) Picking 5 UFOs and one "new" whimm from stash worked. Although I do have 5 groupings so far!

I brought 2 Fab5s on vacation with me. The blue/gold stars and the wool penny rug are hand work and I'm hoping to get the majority of the handwork done before going home.

I named the blue/gold stars wall quilt "Starry Starry Nights" this week. This poor quilt has been languishing in my closet for a decade! A good friend, MJ was watching me layout 5 pointed stars with alternate blocks. She reached in and twisted a star!!! I'd always put them in straight -top of the star pointed top- order before. I was shocked!!! LOL! But I took the challenge and twisted them throughout the quilt. Hoping it looks like stars twinkling in the sky. But it aged in the closet til now!!!

Well, the sun has come out and it's twinkling on the ocean. 1 hour to low tide and it's time to watch for the water to recede from the rock we use to determine whether we can get around the point. We'll be walking our beach today at low tide. Guess I'll go back to quilting in the alcove til we head down.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Redwoods and a Whale!

A and his girlfriend are staying with us for a few days. Yesterday after walking the beach during low tide. We headed out for lunch and on down to the Redwoods. Last year we discovered the main campground and picnic area of Jedediah Smith Park and we explored that further. Walked across the summer bridge into Stout Grove. After walking, A showed us that he still remembered his rock skipping lessons from Dad. There are good rocks there and even against the ripple of the river he got 6-10 skips most of the time. Can you tell that I love the little joys of life!

This morning there was a small whale in the cove. We were sitting in the alcove of the condo watching the pelicans. They were back in force today. And - wait a minute, what was that??? Yep, caught about 10 spouts and a glimpse of his back and tail. He hung around for 30 minutes or so. I was just about to wake the kids to see him, and off he went.

Heard from L that Miss P took her first step this week. Told her to make her practice so we can see her before heading back to NE in 2 weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life on the Oregon Coast

Hi! I'm doni, a quilter from Lincoln Nebraska. I work for the University of Nebraska and am lucky to have enough vacation to spend July in Oregon. My DH and I love missing the heat of July back home and we are always excited to spend time on the Oregon coast.

My children are grown and both live out here. L is my married daughter (J is her husband) with a 10 month old baby girl - Miss P - living in Portland. A is my son who lives in Ashland. He's not married - yet - but we really like the gal he's serious about so we're hoping it works out.

We spent the first week of vacation up in Portland. We got a lot of babysitting time with Miss P - she's growing so fast. Aren't grandkids fun??? Everything they do is delightful and you can always hand them back to mom when they're too fussy.

I managed to hit 3 quilt shops and participate in the Oregon "Road to Inspiration" shop hop. My favorite shop in Portland (so far) is Pine Needle in Lake Oswego. I love their shop set up and of course, I'm a big fan of their sale area.

I got to go to Speckled Hen in Wilsonville this time. They are going to be in the Top 10 Quilt stores this fall. Cool shop and I loved their shop.

Friday we headed to Sisters for the Outdoor Quilt Show on July 14. Sisters is a great town - I love visiting there. This year during the quilt show they closed the highway through town and it was GREAT! We didn't miss the exhaust or the livestock trucks stuck in traffic. It opened up the whole town. You could step back and get a picture of the quilts hanging on the buildings. Great job!!