Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Basting, Quilting, and Basting some more...

I spent Saturday at Dawn's and got quite a bit done on the quilting front, in spite of a stash enhancement trip for Dawn, leaving to pick up lunch, and a tremendous amount of yakking going on.

The first order of the day was to baste and quilt the flannel baby quilt I posted about here.  T is taking off on Saturday for a three week visit to see his family, so if I can get this quilt done before he leaves, he can take both of the baby quilts with and I won't have to ship them at Christmas time.  His mother will take care of the wrapping for me.

For the quilting, I just did my wavy line grid pattern using King Tut in the Tiny Tuts color on both the front the back.  I really like how it turned out.  Here is the quilted, but untrimmed quilt:

A close-up of the quilting:

And the back:

Close-up of the quilting on the back:

The box from my sister didn't arrive until yesterday, so I couldn't do anything with the binding on Saturday, but the good news is that there was a half yard of the lavender fabric in the box, so plenty for the binding.  I got it pressed last night and will hopefully make and attach the binding today.

After I got the baby quilt quilted, I spent the rest of the day basting some other small quilts.  First up was this piece, which wasn't even supposed to become a quilt.  I made up this piece just to test out and practice the buttonhole stitch on my machine, but I ended up liking it so well that I found a border fabric in my stash and added it to make this little quilt top.  The binding will be the same fuchsia fabric as the inner border.

This next piece isn't really a quilt, more like a trivet.  I had an orphan block from that bargello quilt I posted about awhile back.  I added some borders and here's what I've got now:  


And finally, I also got this small quilt basted and ready for quilting.  This quilt is from my beginning quilting class in, ahem, 2001.  Nothing like procrastinating a bit!  The piecing leaves something to be desired, but I love it anyway, mainly because of the color combination.  Purple and yellow rock, in my opinion.  LOL 

Friday, August 27, 2010


I tried to come up with a catchy title for this post, but in the end, I decided to just go with something simple.  Really, the post is about seeing family while on vacation, and pictures from those trips, but seeing as even the most recent vacation to see family was almost two months ago, I felt it would be misleading to put "vacation" anywhere in the post title.  I had planned to share these photos shortly after returning from my North Dakota trip back in July, but time has gotten away from me once again.  I still wanted to document the trip for my own purposes, so I decided to go ahead and do a post now even though it's way after the fact.  I also figured that I could use this as an opportunity to introduce you all to my family.

I'll state right up front that this post will actually contain pictures from my last two trips home, in 2008 and 2010.  I wasn't blogging in 2008, but we got some excellent family photos during that trip whereas this trip we either didn't get great photos or we didn't get a photo at all.

Case in point.  Me and my dad.  Somehow we never got a picture of just the two of us during this trip, or even a picture of me, my sister, and him.  During my trip in 2008, well, at the airport the day I flew back home, we got this picture.  My dad is actually smiling in it, which is a small miracle!  I liked it so much that Jen, my sister, had it enlarged to an 8 x 10 and I have it framed and hanging on my wall.

Also at the airport (nothing like waiting until the last minute), we got this picture of me, Jen, and Dad.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably point out that my sister is the natural blond in the family and I am the brunette.  You certainly wouldn't know it by this picture, would you?  LOL

Jen and I managed to get a picture of just the two of us this year during the Fourth of July gathering at Dad's house.  Note to self - take pictures BEFORE standing out in the wind all afternoon and for sure before standing over a hot grill for an hour or two.  Dad and I teamed up on the grill and everyone said we did a great job, excluding the two hot dogs that rolled off, so the wilted hair and melted makeup were worth it for the memories.

Dad and Jen.  And another smile from Dad!

My dad had 13 kids in his family, of which 9 are still living.  All but one of those 9 live in North Dakota and 7 of them were present for the Fourth of July gathering.  It took some near threats of violence (not really, but it did take some convincing) to get them to pose together for a picture, but we did it.  Here are my dad and his siblings.  You might notice that the not smiling for pictures is somewhat of a family trait *sigh*.

Here are me, Jen, Gloria (Dad's significant other), and Dad.  Not as good as the picture from 2008, but we'll take it.

When I was home in 2008, one of my Dad's brothers stopped by and we managed to get this picture of them.  I hadn't seen my uncle in years, but used to spend a lot of time at his farm when I was growing up, so it was great to see him and also great to get this picture of he and my dad.   They are ten years apart in age, with my dad being the younger one.  And look, they are both smiling! 

My mom also came from a large family - 10 girls.  My poor grandfather.  What he must have had to put up with!  They are all still living except for my mom.  We lost her to cancer in 1992.  A bunch of my aunts and us got together both during my trip in 2008 as well as this year.  In 2008 we were only able to meet for dinner together at a restaurant, but we got some nice pictures from that gathering.

Here are the five aunts that got together with us for dinner.  The one on the far left is my godmother and two of the other four both lost their husbands in the last year, so it's been a rough year for my mom's side of the family.

The whole group of us:

I loved this picture that Jen took of me and my aunt Judy.  We spent many a vacation at her house when I was young since she lived on a lake and her kids were roughly the same ages as Jen and I.  I see her a bit more than the rest of the family because she comes down here for vacation sometimes and usually we can at least get together for dinner.  And she has email, so it's easier to keep in touch.

And finally, a picture of a few of us cousins and another aunt (that would be number six for those of you keeping count), from this year's get together, which was held at the home of one of my aunts.  My aunt is in the front left, next to her is my cousin Michael, his wife Patti, me, Jen, and my cousin Barb.  The gathering this year was at Barb's mom's house.  For those of you who have been reading my blog since February, it was Barb's dad that I posted about losing to cancer in early February and the day we got together was the day after what would have been my uncle's birthday, so it was nice for Barb and her mom to have a lot of family around that weekend.  Barb and I were pretty close growing up and Michael is the son of my godmother so we spent a lot of time at their place too.  I hadn't seen either Barb or Michael for over 10 years, so it was great to spend some time with them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What I've Been Up To

It was a busy week last week with lots of personal and work stuff going on, but I did manage to get some quilting time in.  I spent Sunday at Dawn's and cut and layed out the second flannel baby quilt I am making for a Christmas gift.  I used fabric samples from my stash along with a new dot flannel that I bought in North Dakota and just cut squares and put them together. Easy peasy.  Here's the finished top.  I'm not going to add a border as I think it works just like it is.

A closeup of some of the fabrics:

And the backing and binding.  The backing is the plaid on the left.  It is a brushed cotton fabric that I had in my stash.  The binding is also from my stash, and hopefully some of my sister's stash.  I don't have enough of the lavender fabric left in my own stash, but when I was back home my sister wanted to get rid of her fabric so I picked out a box full to be shipped to me with some other stuff she's sending.  I'm pretty sure that she had some of the same lavender fabric and that I added it to my box.  I hope so.  Otherwise I have to go shopping for something.  Either way, I'll find out soon enough as the box is en route to me as we speak.

Most importantly, I'm happy to report that the quilt top has been inspected for quality control and Echo tells me that it has passed.  As a point of reference as to how big Echo is, the quilt top is 32 inches wide.

Of course I also have a couple of pictures of Sassy to share.  She looks pretty cute in this first one.

Unfortunately, you can probably tell that she's in the pantry *sigh*.  If she's nearby she comes running when you open the door and leaps in unless you can catch her first.  We've given up trying to coax her out and instead just shut the door and leave her in there.  With the intention of checking in a couple of minutes, of course.  Let's just say that she's able to survive in there for longer than a couple of minutes.  Or thirty. 

Here's another picture where she looks quite comfortable in a place she shouldn't be.  On top of the china cabinet.  She was watching me work out.  At least she was just watching and not offering any suggestions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ten Secrets to Living a Happy Life, in Pictures

Everything you need to know about having a happy life can be learned from watching animals.  Here are ten ways to make your life a happy one.

1.  You should always be yourself, even if everyone else thinks you are a dork:

2.  Practice yoga to reduce stress:

3.  Don't try to fit where you don't:

4.  Smile as often as possible. 

5.  Relax and just enjoy life:

6.  Tolerate others that are different than you:

7.  Make friends wherever you go:

8.  Share with others:

9.  Stay healthy by eating good food like lettuce:

And finally, number 10 - get plenty of rest:

My regular readers will recognize Sassy, Tyrone, and Echo in these pictures as they are regular contributors to the blog, and the dog picture was in a post just recently, but I wanted to identify the other two cats I showed.  Kati is the cat in picture #1.  I got Kati as a kitten when I lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota and she moved with me to Arizona in 1990.  I lost her in 2005 to kidney failure at the age of 16.

The cat in the picture for #4 is Baby whom we lost in July 2009 at the age of 18 due to kidney failure.  She was a stray that we tamed and she was a petite little thing her entire life, never topping 6 pounds.  She was truly one of the best cats we ever had.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Flannel Baby Quilt is Done!

Christmas gift #1 is done!  And it's only August.  Woo hoo!  I made the binding for the flannel baby quilt on Sunday, attached it, and finished hand sewing it down on Monday.  I was really liking the binding through flannel.  The needle was sliding through like butter.  I make so many batik quilts that I'm used to binding those and this was a refreshing change to say the least. 

I've decided that this quilt will probably be the gift for our other nephew's baby that was born last November.  She is a cousin to the new baby just born in July.  I gave the parents a fuchsia and yellow afghan I'd made for her for Christmas last year and they said the colors matched her room, so I thought that this quilt would go as well.  Plus, it's on the bigger side, so it may work better for her than a 6 month old.  I've pulled all of my other flannel, which isn't a lot, to see what I can put together for the new baby for Christmas.

So here's the finished flannel baby quilt that I originally posted about here.

On a feline note, poor Echo is getting goop put in his eye again. When we first got him from the shelter last fall, he had a bad kitty cold and his one eye was really messed up.  Back in May, his other eye started acting up and the vet said the kitty cold virus will probably recur for his entire life.  So he got goop put in his right eye for a number of weeks because it didn't clear up as quickly as it should have.  He's been fine until this week when now the other eye is watering and inflamed.  So now he's getting goop put in that eye for 10 days.  Poor guy.  At least it doesn't make him feel bad and he's his usual self other than looking like a pirate half the time because he's holding his one eye closed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Zipper Done

Just a quick post today to show you my stitched piece I finished recently - Bent Creek Summer Zipper.  I started stitching this piece in early July while on vacation and signed my name to it on July 31st.  It must be some sort of record for me to actually start and finish a stitched piece in the same month.  Usually it's not in the same year!  And, I am diligent about "signing" my stitched pieces, even though I am still completely lax on getting my quilts labeled.  The stitched pieces are so much easier to sign than doing a quilt label, but that's no excuse.

Here's the stitched piece. 

The reason it's named Summer Zipper is because these kits come in cute little zipper bags and there was one for each season.  So far I've stitched Autumn and Summer.  The bags are great!  They are super sturdy.  This designer had another Zipper series where the bags were long and skinny like pencil cases and I've been using one of those bags forever as my take along sewing kit with needles, scissors, seam ripper, etc.  It's perfect and is still holding up all these years. 

I posted about one of the other Zipper pieces back in December in one of my first blog posts.  Since most of you weren't around then, here is that piece again.  It was called Scared Crow Zipper and it was super fun to stitch.

And here's your Sassy fix for the day.  She looks innocent in this picture, but what she's really doing is waiting for us to leave so she can pull the clothes down that are hanging on the drying rack.  We now either need to lock her up or lock the clothes up while they are drying.  Little holes from kitty nails in clothes are not a good thing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Halloween Cat Quilt is Finally Done

I put the final stitches in the binding of this little quilt last week.  This is one of my oldest UFO's.  I pieced this top when I'd only been quilting for about 6 months way back in 2001.  Not having a clue or the skills to quilt it, it sat for all these years.  I finally felt comfortable with my FMQ skills earlier this summer to give it a go on quilting this quilt.  I just did a simple loop-de-loop in the cat blocks and then did my wavy line thing in the sashing and borders.  I am pleased with how it turned out and now I can display it for Halloween.  If I remember.  I am not the best about decorating for holidays, especially one that I'm not too thrilled about.  Don't get me wrong, I love the whole color scheme of Halloween, and love making Halloween quilts and stitched pieces.  I just don't like the actual holiday itself.

So here is the finished Halloween Cat quilt:

A couple of close-up pictures of the blocks and the quilting.  I used Sulky Rayon thread in purple and orange for the quilting - purple in the blocks and orange in the sashing and border.

A peek at the back:

And finally, a picture of our own Halloween cat, Mr. Echo, lounging in the sun:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lots of Cat Mats Done!

When I took my trip to North Dakota recently, I took a lot of yarn with for crocheting cat mats on the plane and when visiting.  It was definitely worth the luggage space it took up.  I even bought two more skeins of yarn while I was there since I was quickly using up what I had brought with me.

I got six done while I was back home.  This picture only has five mats in it because the sixth one was completed in the car on the day I left and I didn't get a picture.  All of these mats were left with my sister to mail to me along with some other things of hers that she is passing on to me.  These weighed just enough to put me over the weight limit for my checked bag.  They also couldn't be put in my carry on because that was jam packed with all of the fabric I had purchased, which weighed far more than the cat mats.  So, they had to stay behind.

I've gotten a few more in this style completed since I've gotten home.  Actually, the colorful one in the picture below was mostly completed on the plane ride home.

I had some other yarn I wanted to use up, a melon color and some black, but rather than alternate the two to make the type of cat mat in the above pictures, I used a J hook and crocheted with two strands at a time, one of each color.  I've never done that before and it was surprisingly easy and didn't take long at all to whip up the mat below.  I will definitely use that technique again, maybe for a scrappy rug for the house.  The colors in the picture look more orange and black, but the reddish yarn was really a melon color.  This style is really thick and sturdy.