Friday, November 30, 2007

and another thing

Today I took 6 baby/child quilts down to donate to Building Futures with Women and Children. I mentioned them before, I think -- they have women's shelters and also set up women and children in apartments once their "domestic issues" have settled down. Anyway, it was a young man who accepted the quilts and filled out a receipt for me. He looked at the quilts and complimented them, and then said "and they're in such good condition!".

Uh... they're brand new?


what were they thinking?

First, proof that I did actually finish my "Trees All Around" quilt. It's very wonky because I used a leftover square of poly batting -- always a mistake for a wall-hanging, IMHO. But I like it anyway. I have a wall in my entry-way that is perfect for 24" wall-hangings, so I continue to make more of them and rotate them around.

I received my squishy from an obnoxious fabric swap today -- this is a deal where you send in 10" squares of stuff lurking at the bottom of your stash (actually, some participants go out and buy ugly fabric on purpose for these swaps!) . All I can say is "accckkk!" -- homage to Bill the Cat...
I admit to having been in three of these swaps over the last few years, and I now have a (clean) pizza box full of these squares. I put together one set of stack & slash blocks using a few of the squares, to see if the ugliness would magically blend away, but no such luck! Here's the bulk of my new squares:

Here's a few that I actually sort of like:And this is the piece de resistance -- the donor refers to this as "Y2K Baby Butt fabric":This is about the size of a fat quarter, not just 10". She wanted us to get the full effect! Why on earth would anyone manufacture this fabric?

What would YOU do with these squares?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

home again

We got back from Wisconsin at midnight last night. Despite all the chatter about delayed flights -- and the fact that our flights both going and coming left nearly an hour late -- we were pretty much on time all the time!

The Thanksgiving dinner was surprisingly good! I was a little worried about the tendency for my in-laws to make everything from cans and packages... but that didn't seem to be the case. There was a distinct lack of greenery though: my Brussels sprouts were the only non-starchy vegetable besides the obligatory green beans smothered in something from a can and topped with something else from a can.

(Steam the Brussels sprouts until tender but not mushy; toast some hazelnuts in a pan and then remove skins with a towel and chop in half; mix the sprouts and nuts and drizzle on some hazelnut oil; sprinkle with kosher salt; mix it all up and eat!)

We were hoping to have a little snow, just to make it seem like a real Wisconsin experience -- and we did! Just about 2-3 inches, but it was so pretty! Here's a very bizarre photo from our hotel room. It was enough for me to be able to throw a few snowballs at Al (memo to self: put gloves on before making snowballs) Boy, was it cold for a California girl! Most days were around 29-30 degrees F. I wore a lot of clothes, but there were still some frozen bits sticking out. I'm often tempted by Madison because it's such an interesting city, but the weather (summer and winter) would definitely take some getting used to. Here's a photo I took in Mineral Point, a small town about half an hour away -- there are lots of artists and antique stores there. Things iced over like this are seldom seen where I live!
My friend Carol took me to the most amazing yarn store -- it's called Lakeside Fibers, and it is HUGE and friendly, and has a nice cafe looking out over the lake. I don't need any more yarn, but I succumbed to some gorgeous red Berroco "Foliage" to make a scarf out of. Apparently the colors are supposed to resemble New England fall foliage; mine is "Japanese Maple".

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lots of little stuff...

It's been a pretty quiet week here, as we segue into a new season. It's still up in the 60's every day, but the nights are cool now. Al and I are taking off for Madison (Wisconsin) next week to see his family for Thanksgiving so I'm trying to steel myself for the change in climate! I've never been back there after mid-October before -- but we haven't been for a couple of years, and the older folks are getting older... and so it goes. Possibly the worst part is not having my own turkey leftovers to play with, so I already know there's going to be a "mini" Thanksgiving at our house soon after we get home!

The family pressure can get a little overwhelming, especially for such a short visit. Luckily I have one fine friend (my father-in-law's neighbor) who I can sneak off with for an afternoon for my time-out, while Al entertains his mother! Did I mention I have two mothers-in-law? Is that fair?

My biggest quilting success of the week was the decision to hand over my giant batik jewel box top to the long-arm quilter. I had it all pinned, and it sat here for a couple of months while I tried to make myself start quilting... but at 100" square it wouldn't begin to fit on the handiquilter frame, and I just couldn't see pushing it through my machine on the dining room table. So -- it's promised for mid-January and I hope to have it on the bed by the end of that month! (I know I posted this photo before, but here it is again)
Then, I finished up this very-bright baby quilt that had been started last year. I've accumulated a small pile of baby & child quilts that are intended for charitable uses, but I have trouble figure out who to donate them to. The local guild gives a lot of quilts to the children's hospital here, so I'd like to find another outlet. A couple of years ago I gave some to a women's shelter called "Better Futures for Women and Children" -- in addition to the shelter, they help women get set up in new apartments. Maybe I'll get in touch with them again, and create space in my closet for a new stack! I like to do the various mystery quilts in child-size versions, so they seem to add up.

Finally, this is a top that resulted from a mini-group project a few weeks ago. It came from a Sara Nephew pattern, and it's called "cube in the corner" -- my version is called "Fade to Black". It's a little bit wonky -- there are a million bias edges to deal with -- but I think it will quilt out, as they say. And -- the whole thing was made from stash! Of course I haven't decided how to quilt it yet...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

what's on my bed?

This question has been circulating in the blogosphere, so here's a photo of the first quilt I made for my bed. I won some of the blocks in a monthly block raffle that one of the LQS used to have, and then made a few more. Our bed is troublesome because it has huge posts at the foot, so quilts have to have a square cut out at each side -- when I had this long-armed, I had to baste in some muslin squares so that she could load it on the machine properly!
I have a new bed quilt waiting to be quilted, but I'm still nervous about starting in because it's so big. I should probably just suck it up and send it to a professional, so that I can have it on the bed before another year goes by... guess I have to take all the pins out first, though!
The "Winter" round of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap is starting up soon. This is for small quilts (16" - 20" square, I think) and the "Fall" quilts were wonderful! Check out my sidebar and click on the button for more information or to sign up.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

a little something from my garden

I found this big beauty in my garden yesterday -- actually, I've never seen a real live mantis before! She (I think it's a she) is 3 inches long, and has been hanging out in the Mexican Marigold for at least two days now... guess I won't be pruning that overgrown bush anytime soon.

I've managed to get a little sewing done this weekend, but just a little. I finished sewing together the "Trees on my Table" top that I showed last time. I won't add another photo of it until it's quilted.
And, I finished up my oldest UFO -- these were the first blocks I made from actual instructions -- Quilts, Quilts and More Quilts to be exact! I made them about 7 years ago and had assembled them into part of a top a couple of years ago. Not very exciting, but I feel like I've come a long way (baby)! This is the quilt that I did feathers on a couple of weeks ago. They came out better than I expected, but not really even... All the fabrics are either vegetables or bugs.