Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Today is my son's 20th birthday. He is our one and only so it is always a special day, especially today as he leaves his teen years behind him and enters into adulthood. The first picture was taken when he was three years old. See how nice he sat!! He was always an obedient and easy baby and toddler but BOY oh BOY were the teen years exciting!!! Alex has always been an excellent student. But he has a mind of his own and learns from his own mistakes. He has always made us proud and he has turned into a personable young man. This other picture was taken 2 weeks ago when we were in Las Vegas. I guess I am a little nostalgic today as he is not with us but has returned to school in Vermont. So we weren't able to light candles on a cake with him today. But I did call his cell phone and sang Happy Birthday at 7:30 this morning which is the time he was born 20 years ago today!!!

On the quilting front, I came across a FG quilt on someone's blog, either Patti or Dawn,(I get you two confused!!) and loved it. I remembered that I had a bag of wayward FGs in my closet so decided to pull them out. I think they were from a tablerunner that never came to be. At any rate, I picked through my stash and I still had some pieces of 5 of the original fabrics so I am putting together a FG quilt. This is to pass the time while I wait for the border fabric for my mystery quilt which I found online thanks to Dawn and it should arrive by the weekend.

Photos of my progress on the FG to follow!!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mystery Quilt from Hell is HEAVENLY!

Here is the mystery quilt that I started in May, 2002 and will finish in August, 2006. This is my first and possibly last mystery quilt. As I previously posted, I had a HECK of a time working with the crazy cutting and sewing instructions. A quilting friend of mine who has watched me struggle with this over a period of time aptly named this "Mystery quilt from Hell". But now that it is done, I really like it. I am not a big fan of star blocks but this one is pretty intricate and I really LIKE it.

I was hoping to show it with borders but of course, this saga is not over yet.. I used the fabric which I was to save for the borders in another quilt some time ago. Who knew I would actually finish this UFO??? So, I will be off to the fabric store tomorrow for the borders but I wanted to share this with everyone. The lighting in my living room is horrible. It's actually much brighter but once it's finished I will take another really GOOD picture.

On another note, I wanted to say that a couple of you blog gals were in my sewing room with me when I was working on this quilt. I I don't know which of one of you mentioned this, either Dawn or Patti or Judy, but as I was clipping seams to make things lie flatter, you were there.. And when I looked to see if this was square, Tonya was in my ear saying " I don't mind if it's a little WONKY! Anyway, the more you trim the smaller it gets!" LOL.

I have coffee with 28 super quilters and super ladies every morning and little bits of your lives mix with mine. Your experience in quilting is overwhelming and I have learned so much not only about quilting but about the many women living all over this country as well as other parts of the world -Egypt, Australia, the Netherlands and England. So thanks for your encouragement, your advice, your knowledge and your love of quilting. I've done so much more quilting in the last couple of months and it is thanks to all you ladies out there in quilters blogland.
BTW, who is the gal who just bought the Christmas fabric to make her quilt?? You mentioned the website, which I visited and LOVED, but of course, forgot to bookmark it. If you read this, please email me the link.

HUGS to all!!! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Why do I quilt???

Patti had asked us to ponder this question. I posted this some time ago but my love of quilting comes from my sister. I always loved sewing, knitting, cross stitch and other crafty things but had never tried quilting. I was visiting my sister in Florida for the Christmas holiday and we went out one afternoon to fondle fabric. It was during this visit that she "infected" me with the quilting bug. Not long after that, I joined a local guild, The Apple Valley Quilters, and there was no turning back!!

Quilting gives me a way to express myself creatively that I never thought was possible. I love the different techniques, I love the variety of fabric, I love that depending on the person I am making a quilt for or the mood I'm in, I can tailor my quilt to that purpose. I love making something with my own two hands. I love the process, I find it calming..

There are days when work is really hectic or crazy that I come home and can't wait to go to my sewing room. I may not sew, I may just pull fabric or look at quilting books or patterns but it provides me with an oasis from the day-to-day craziness of life.

And one of the main reasons is that I LOVE QUILTERS. This sentiment has been echoed on many other blogs but it bears repeating. Quilters are giving, caring people. I have made so many friends through quilting. Whether in person through classes or my guild or through Blogland, it is comforting to know that others are thinking about me and care what happens to me. I check on my blog gals every morning to see what is happening in their little corner of the world. We not only share our quilting accomplishments or problems but we also share our lives - the good stuff, the bad stuff, the excitement and the sorrows. Although we are all different and come from different places, we are joined by our love of quilting.

I thank God every day for this tremendous gift he has given me and for my ability to share it with others.

thanks to Patti for reminding us how lucky we are to be quilters.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Making the Transition

I woke up again last night and thought I was sleeping outside and that I was on a boat. This has been happening ever since I got home from the Grand Canyon. While we were there, I would wake up during the night either hearing the noises of other campers or little critters in the area. It's the weirdest feeling not knowing where you are!!

This first picture is one of the many waterfalls we saw on our hikes. This one is of Havasu Falls. The pool underneath it was deep enough for swimming which felt great after hiking. The next two pictures are of our camp. The first one shows us all set up and cleaned up. The second one was day 2. This camp was a hot one!! Alex is lounging on one of the cots and I am trying to find a piece of shade.!! The temperature ranged from 85 to 105. It never felt that hot while you were traveling but once we put into camp around 4:30, you could feel the heat. Of course, we all helped unload the boat and then had to set up our cots and tents before dinner.

This is a picture of the boat we traveled on. All of our gear, the tents, the cots and all of the food and cooking utensils were on this rig. It's pretty amazing how they load everything on.

So now I am trying to get back in the swing of things. I have done 3 loads of laundry, gone to the supermarket and sorted through the mail. On the quilty side of life, I sat down and put together two rows of the mystery quilt.

Now that DH is gone to NJ for the weekend, I hope to get lots of quilty things done. I will post my progress on Sunday!!! have a great weekend, Blog gals!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back from the Grand Canyon

Well, I'm back from our white water rafting trip down the Colorado River. Here are a few pictures from the over 200 that my DH took while we were cruising through the rapids. This first one is of my DS, Alex and my DH, Bob. Most people see the Grand Canyon from the top. We spent six days looking at it from the bottom up!! In addition, we rode through more than 40 rapids on our boat. It was wet and wild!!!

The second picture is of Alex and I on the boat as we await the next rapid. This was a 2 boat trip with about 15 people on each boat. We had folks from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Bloomingdale, Michigan, Portland, Oregon as well as a couple of stock brokers from NYC. There was also a group from Sherbrooke, Canada. All of them spoke French and most of them also spoke English. They were a fun group and added a lot to our trip.

Four years ago, we took the 3 day trip from the Bar 10 Ranch to Lake Mead. This time we left from Marble Canyon and ended at the Bar 10 Ranch so we have gone through every rapid on the Colorado River. We also stopped to do several hikes to waterfalls that were just spectacular. We slept on cots under the stars. It's hard to imagine how many stars there are with so many city lights. This city girl was blown away!!!

Our guides were fabulous! They knew all about the geology and the history of the Grand Canyon and they were fantastic cooks. We had surf and turf and chocolate cake all cooked in our camp..

The vastness of the canyon sure makes you feel pretty insignificant. It is just so beautiful!

WHewww!!! Needless to say, I am still recovering from our trip. My DH is headed to visit friends in NJ this weekend and I hope to get back to quilty things. I did do some hand quilting on my little civil war quilt on the plane to Las Vegas but still have lots to do. I hope to have my mystery quilt top done by the end of the weekend and have it posted on Monday.

I have been catching up with all my blog gals. Boy, you all have been BUSY!!! I am impressed with the work being done with Judy L's quilt an hour a day and with Tonya's challenge.

I will post a few more pictures over the weekend to show you our campsite, the guides and our mode of transportation for our trip. We went with Western River Expeditions. I can't say enough good things about this operation. They are top notch.

well, all for now...
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Thursday, August 10, 2006


I have been sticking religiously to the "hour a day of quilting" that many bloggers are following. This is in training for Judy L's scrap quilt which starts on Monday. My mystery quilt is going well. I was all set to start sewing the rows together when I found I was missing 32 additional sashing pieces which I thought were done. These darn instructions are horrible!! Luckily, I have a picture of the layout which led me to the discovery of the MIA pieces. I must add that each sashing piece has a flying geese unit on either end.. (I was wondering why I had a ziploc bag full of FGs!!)

So last night, after a board meeting for our guild, I dutifully sat down and put them together. I have a kitchen timer which I set for 60 minutes and when it goes off, I can stop or continue. I find that usually that's enough time to complete a step.

I also have my civil war quilt basted and ready to hand quilt. I am going to quilt on the diagonal a 1/4 inch off the ditch but would love suggestions for the border which is 3 inches and pink. Suggestions welcomed!!! I will be taking this on the plane for our vacation on Sunday and it will travel down the Colorado River with me on our white water rafting trip.. I figure it will keep me busy during our down time and I will be sticking to the "60 minutes" plan..

Will try to post pics of my progress on the Mystery Quilt before I leave on Sunday..

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Progress on the Mystery Quilt from Hell

Here is a picture of the block for my mystery quilt. The reason I call it the Mystery Quilt from Hell is because I have been working on this quilt on and off for 4 years!!! This was also my first (and last) mystery quilt.

As you can see the blocks are pretty detailed and the directions were poorly written. They were broken down in three steps (which each included 3 to 4 substeps to be done). The thing that made it more confusing is that you didn't do all the cutting up front. Each step included cutting and sewing directions, which I didn't realize and ran short on some of the green fabric. Thanks to my friend, Debbie, who hoards fabric she was able to pull something from her stash that matched perfectly!!

The first step was to make 80 flying geese units!! I started this on a retreat and after making all the flying geese was ready to fling it out the window!! Every now and then I would pick it up but each time it was like starting over trying to figure out where I left off and what part was next.

At any rate, I made this one of my UFOs or PIGs to finish for our guild's PIG roast in September. I have now completed all the blocks (12) and all of the pieced sashing units and I am ready to put this monster together. I had been planning to give it away since it had given me so much heartburn but now that the blocks are together I really like it...

I am sticking to at least an hour a day of quilting and doing that got these blocks done. I had been working on them for about 20 minutes and was ready to push them off but stuck with it for the full hour and they were completed.

Monday, August 07, 2006

my quilting weekend

NO pictures today but will try to add them tonight..

On the first Friday of the month, my friend, Diane at Clover Hill Quilts, has a Midnight Madness evening where she keeps the shop open and for $5.00 each, we get together and quilt and have pizza until Midnight (well, actually, about 10 pm and we are pooped and ready to go home!). This Friday I went over and there were only three of us, but I did get quite a bit accomplished.

I got the borders on the little civil war quilt and made the binding. I want to cut the back and batting and get it basted so I can take it with me on vacation for hand quilting.

I also worked on my Mystery Quilt from Hell.. I got the rest of the block pieces done and I am ready to put the blocks together. I have one up on my design board and will put a picture on this week.

Saturday was gardening day. Spent the entire day with DH in the yard. It needed some TLC. After all our hot weather, Saturday was a great day to be outside. Saturday nite DH and I watched a movie on TV after a nice dinner out on the patio.

Sunday I went to the mall with DH to help him find a bathing suit for our vacation. He has lost quite a bit of weight over the last couple of years but was still wearing the baggy bathing suit. We found a couple that he liked and I also found some shorts on clearance.

After shopping, I vacuumed my car (as I promised myself) and then headed to sew. I first shortened a pair of cordoroys for my DS and then did some REVERSE SEWING. Some of my progress on Friday nite needed to be undone. Must have been the glass of Pinot Grigio?!?> at Diane's. I did start the blocks for the Mystery Quilt and should have it finished in time for our guild's PIG Roast.

I like the idea that some of the blog gals have to spend at least an hour a day on quilting. Will give that a try.

LASTLY, I wanted to thank Patti for her super ideas on scrap management and all the helpful info I have gotten on her blog as well as Gail for her super ideas for practicing on the machine quilting frame. All of you blog gals have really added another dimension to my quilting experience. I feel like I'm back in HS gabbing with the the girls every day!!! HUGS to all of you..

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Inspired Piecing

I was inspired by Finn to pull a UFO from my closet to finish. This was a little kit I bought in Indianapolis a couple of years ago when my DH and I went to the NCAA Women's B-ball Final Four (Go UConn Huskies!!). This shop had an entire room of civil war reproduction and another room with wool!!

At any rate, I figured that since it was a kit, I would divide and conquer as soon as I got home. Needless to say, that did not happen. I started it at one of my guild's winter retreats in RI. The finished blocks are 2 1/2 inches which means the little blocks in the four patches are 1 7/8. I didn't have a single hole throat plate at the time so after a half dozen of these little blocks were devoured by the machine, I put it away. I did, however, buy the throat plate which I love.

Fast forward two years, and thanks to inspiration from Finn, the blocks are together !! I am currently auditioning borders and hope to have them on by the end of the weekend.

I think that putting it on my blog as a "Work in Progress" put a little pressure on me to finish. For me, by making it "public", I felt the need to persevere and mark it DONE. So I am going to add a few more of my UFO's to the list hoping that it will motivate me to finish some old projects.

I am noticing on the many quilters' blogs I follow that a lot of gals are scaling back on buying fabric and digging into the closets to finish orphan projects and use more stash and scrap fabric. I wonder if the economy (high gas prices,etc.), the war or another force is at work which is causing us to reevaluate our values, take stock of what we have (both in our lives and in our stashes) and consequently this is trickling down to our quilting. Hmmm.. I wax philosophical!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Last night, I came to a realization. As I become more absorbed with quilting, I spend more time sitting. This goes with the territory. But last night as i tried on shorts and (UGH!!!) bathing suits for our upcoming vacation, I realized that I have fat quarters!! and I'm not talking about the 18 x22 inch squares stacked three rows high and two rows deep in my stash... Seems that while I've been quilting, my FQs have been S-P-R-E-A-D-I-N-G!!

I had been pretty religious about getting on my treadmill 3-4 times a week. I felt that if I was exercising, it was OK to watch my TV shows which I Tivo'd - like Sex & the City and Simply Quilts. But the last few months, I have been slacking off. I tried to blame it on Alex Anderson. Since "Simply Quilts" has been all reruns, I stopped taping it. I had little to watch while I walked. It doesn't help that the treadmill is located in my DS's room. It used to be in my sewing room but once the Gracie II frame arrived...well something had to go! His room was fine since he is in college and is only home occasionally. But now with summer here, I have to coordinate around his sleeping schedule. I have also had some back problems which is another hurdle to climb over and then there is the HEAT of late here in the Northeast. At any rate, the treadmill has been used more for holding errant shirts and shorts belonging to DS than by me.

Sewww, here I am two weeks before vacation which is actually going to be sort of physical. We are doing a white water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon with camping, hiking, etc. I have decided that I need to get back to the relative shape I was in a few months ago. I know that this won't happen overnight but starting today, I promise to get back on that contraption at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I'm hoping to report at the end of August that my FQs measure less than 18 x 22!!

I notice that some of my blog gals are going FABRIC FREE for the month of August. I don't know which will be harder not buying Fabric for 30 days or exercising 3 times a week!!!!

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I am taking this one with me to Florida for Cayden who is now ON THE MOVE. Just started walking! Not sure why the pictures are so pinky! I ...