Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Day Off, and "just 30 minutes" has been successful

It's Sunday! Family worship, quick lunch, NASCAR, quilting. What could be better!

Earlier this year I made a list of all my "project started" and organized everything in clear project boxes in my sewing room, a visual reminder that I had a lot of piecing to do! I've been trying to work through those projects but have to admit I've been distracted a little and played around with some instant gratification quick scrap quilts in between those patient UFO's.

Well, today I decided to return to my original goal of working through my already started projects and since it's my "day off" today was a great day for some quilting fun.

Last year I decided to redo my living room. In the past we had this really ugly blue couch and I'd tried to make the room livable by adding beautiful blue curtains and a blue and yellow quilt to hang on the wall...that was three years ago. Last summer we replaced the blue couch with a new brown couch -- and I decided that the blue just had to go. I had just quilted a quilt for the local quilt shop that was to be a block of the month and fell in love with the fabric. Upon close inspection I realized it was fabric from a cover of The Quilter Magazine (March 2008) and it just seemed to me that this line of fabric by Marianne Elizabeth would be perfect in my living room.

I started the project in the magazine (also on the home page of Marianne's website),how be it, making mine smaller to use as a lap quilt on the couch, and got as far as the setting triangles prior to adding the borders. That's when it became a UFO (sigh).

Wanting to replace the blue and yellow quilted wallhanging I decided I needed to use these same fabrics for a borders class I had signed up for during the summer. Alas, that's still among the ranks of "projects started" needing only 2 more borders to complete.

In the meantime I made the living room curtains...that took months to complete...takes a while when you primarily work on your "days off" (for me that's Sunday afternoons). They were completed by my open house at Christmas (nothing like a deadline of having guests to motivate!)

And with those same thoughts in mind...that of having a deadline with guests coming next month for longarm workshops with Jamie Wallen...I decided it was time to add the borders to my Quilter's Magazine Cover Quilt I fondly just call "Living Room Split Rails". Ta da.

I even pieced the back and prepared the binding in hopes that I'll be able to quilt it in the next few weeks if I can get caught up on everything else. Keep watching the side bar for those Quilts in Waiting to turn into Finished!

In the meantime I have stolen about 30 minutes almost everyday and finished up the binding on this fun little lap quilt. I call it "when life gives you scraps add a happy stripe and make a quilt"

I had fun quilting it and of course one of my butterfly (logo) found it's way among the fiddle faddle. That's what I call my freestyle quilting when I just take off without a plan and just doodle. I took a few close ups and will post them later in webshots.

These were left over strips from my "ugly quilt" made earlier this year. Individually I love the fabrics, there's some really fun ones. I do like tropical related fabrics so that explains the lobsters, fish, whales, parrots... but what I've discovered with the recent quick scrap quilts has been that I need a calm, somewhere to rest the eye...that's where the stripe came in, although it's anything but calm! A few weeks ago I tried again and made another scrap quilt...I don't think I took photos of it, but it's now in the Quits in Waiting category (complete with pieced back and prepared binding)...anyway, I'm learning some valuable lessons about color value and hope to do better in the future (grin).

In an effort to finish using these particular scraps I pieced the back and I think that's my favorite part of the quilt, that's its somewhat reversible. Several years ago when I was new to longarm quilting and quilting in general I had a friend ask about the possibility of a reversible quilt and I sorta pooh-pa-ed it saying that it would be a waste, better to have two quilts than something reversible. Well, never say never. I like the way this one turned out.

And as always, Pixxie is proud of it too.

Such is my beginning of what I hope to be a good quilting week! Maybe next weekend I can work a little on that other living room quilt...would really be nice to have it "all together" when I have my guests....hum...deadlines are good motivators don't ya think?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a Dog's Life

It's been a long day, a good day, a good week, just busy and tiring. As I was reaching above my studio couch to turn off the shop light to call it a night guess what I saw? One tired pup!

I almost didn't see her. Typically the purple quilt is tucked into the back of the couch and the orange quilt is tucked into the bottom cushion- my version of a quilted slip cover...occasionally Pixxie likes to pull out the covers and burrow her way underneath -- but this is the first time I think I've ever seen her "covered up" like this!

Night nite Pixxie. I guess you really do think I make all the quilts in the house for your pleasure! Oh but the pleasure is all mine, this pup really makes me smile. Hope she brighten your day too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

30 Minutes to Sew

My hubby calls me when he leaves work "on my way home darlin'" and I know I have about 30 minutes, give or take depending upon traffic, before Pixxie and I greet him at the door -- Pixxie gets a treat and I get a kiss (grin).

Well, today I was at a stopping point on a customer quilt and decided that I should take those 30 minutes for myself! Why not, close of business for me too right?

Earlier this year I purchased these really neat project boxes and actually counted how many UFO's I had, or as I now call them "projects started". I've seriously been wanting to finish them, but seems this past month or two I haven't had too many Sunday afternoons to call my own, and when I have I've wanted a little more instant gratification than working on a UFO -- in other words, I've been doing quick scrappy quilts that could be pieced in a day...or two. New projects not finishing old ones GASP!

The past couple of Sundays I've been working on this project, trying to finish up some fabric leftover from the whirlwind quilt I made earlier in the year. No, it wasn't a part of my UFO countdown, but I couldn't resist. I needed to work with something fresh.

So I pieced the blocks all one day and actually left them like this on the floor of my studio until this Sunday when I sewed the blocks together and added borders, pieced the back, cut out the binding and put it in the "quilts in waiting category". I couldn't believe I left them out all week, even having customers step over the mess when they came...but I had struggled too long with the layout that I wasn't going to take the risk of messing it up.

Okay, so fast forward to today. 3o minutes. Hum. I do have a 'project started' that has all the blocks complete, why not lay them on the floor and each day at close of business spend those 30 minutes working on it? Why not indeed. In a matter of day I might make a small dent that would speed things up on Sunday afternoons, my day off, where I could really then begin to see some progress.

So, that's what I did -- and of course Pixxie had to get into the act of my 'documentation' for my blog! Hum...the only flaw I have in this is that I'm finding the older the UFO is the worst my piecing was! I'm just going to have to live with it, tell the quilt police to go home, I'm wanting finished because finished is good!

I'm making my way to the finish line thirty minutes at a time!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

Simple Simeon right?

I mean, the hard part was the hunt - having to purchase under pressure and with the added restrictions of 'fitting the hole'. Well, that and the cleaning out of the spoiled food, not to mention the floor underneath. Ah, but we were ready! At 7 AM today, we were ready. Delivery scheduled for Saturday - a sigh of relief after being without a refrigerator since Wednesday.

10 AM came, the phone rang with what I hoped to be the much anticipated call that the delivery truck was on it's way...


"Mrs. Overton? I'm calling on behalf of ......... to let you know that your refrigerator will not be delivered today, your model wasn't in our warehouse"

"Excuse me? We bought the floor model, of course it's not in the warehouse, it's on display in the store."

"Well the store didn't bring it to us, they are suppose to bring those to us.....we need to reschedule your delivery because our drivers have already left"

"You don't deliver on Sunday do you? I guess we're talking Monday?"

"No mam, the earliest I can reschedule would be Thursday the 14th"

"I don't think so. (said nicely but firmly) I've been without a refrigerator since Wednesday night, I purchased this one on Thursday, I understood having to wait until the truck could come on Saturday, but my paperwork says Saturday the 9th and I need my refrigerator. I have out of town guests coming in for Mother's Day weekend that will be arriving around noon and I don't have a refrigerator. It's only 10 AM, you have all day to come up with a solution, I need you to assist me with this problem."

"Mam, I can't, the truck has already left and the driver has his route. It will be Thursday the 14th before we can deliver."


So I call the store where I purchased the appliance and the wonderful customer service gal who helped me pick it out immediately started digging into the problem. Their paperwork said today but the delivery company's paperwork said next Thursday. (some sly person changed the paperwork I'm guessing). She said she was trying to find a solution, that the contracted delivery company was suppose to come pick up the floor model, all the paperwork indicated that it was a floor model and not a warehouse item and that she would speak to the manager who happened to be tied up in a meeting -- could she call me back within an hour or so. Oh, and did I mention that I shared with her that I either needed the refrig delivered today or my money back to go somewhere else and purchase my 'second choice' because I needed an appliance! Of course all this was I hope said very sweetly as I firmly believe you can atrack more flies with honey than vinegar (grin).

Noon came. True to her word she called back, said they were working on the problem, that is was possible they would use their own truck and bring it out, she would keep me posted.

2:30 PM. Long long day. I called to check on the progress...seems they really were working on it and doing their best but it would be delivered today she just wasn't sure of what time. Sigh of relief!

4:40 PM Time for my two hour update. I call again, my sweet little gal had gone home but she left me in capable hands of another associate who assured me that it was indeed on a truck and now it was a matter of routing, I'm guessing they had something else to deliver too, which was fine with me, I was just relieved to hear that it was being moved this direction! She thought it would be closer to 6 PM and said that if I needed to run a quick errand to do so, they would call when they were about 20 minutes out.

In the meantime during the course of watching the clock for 2 hour updates, my guests did arrive. Since there was nothing to eat in the house we did manage a quick run to Subway for lunch around 1 PM and had hoped the appliance would have been delivered in time to go out for a nice supper at the Kemah Boardwalk...when I learned that it would be near 6 PM we decided that would be too late to try to go out to eat on a Saturday night so I decided we'd make some potato soup from a mix I had in the pantry, but I wanted to run to the store to get some grated cheese and pick up some crackers....I knew I couldn't do my "grocery" shopping since even with the refrig on it's way it wouldn't be cold enough left hubby and Pixxie guarding the house waiting on the phone call and we ran to the local grocery store.

You guessed it! They came and went while I was gone. Can you believe that! I waited almost 11 hours for delivery and I missed all the excitement!

Ah, but it's here, and it passed Pixxie's inspection. This is the cleanest it's ever goin'a be so take a good look at my new kitchen appliance!! We were told to let it sit for 30 minutes before plugging it in (something about the freon and transit) then to allow 24 hours for it to cool down before adding food.

The good news is it kicked in when we did plug it and and the lights even work! The real test will be in the morning when we check the temperature...

So, it's been a long day and my guests have been most patient. We've made plans to go to I-Hop in the morning for breakfast before going to church. Guess I get a Mother's Day breakfast out instead of a lunch out! But that's fine by me. Looks like I got a new refrigerator/freezer for Mother's Day too!

I'm a happy camper. And the gals at my local store are to be praised for their persistence in trying to find a solution for me, especially when the gal at the contracted delivery company wasn't willing to go out of her way to help a lady in need. I will be writing my comments to the corporate office stating the facts, and again, praising the manager who took it upon himself to personally make a delivery so this lady didn't have to go another week without a refrigerator!

All's well that ends well!

Hum? Was this a test?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sneak Peak - what's on the frame

I managed to play catch up a little today after being distracted the past two days. Thought I'd give you a sneak peak of the beautiful custom gracing my frame this week...This was a block of the month a year or so ago from Quilts By the Bay, I quilted the original shop sample and now one of the ladies who signed up for the BOM has brought me hers to quilt...I'm doing it a little different -- love to play around with new ideas. This is a sampler quilt with log cabin settings. Instead of doing a 'running' feather down the quilt I'm doing mirror image feathered hearts in each log cabin block and enjoying how it's turning out. Each sampler block is done differently of course and there's three narrow borders as well as a wide border that you'll just have to wait until I'm done to see how it looks (aren't I the meanie).

It felt good to get back to work today, but unfortunately this quilt isn't going to be finished by mother's day....I had to stop this evening and toss out all the bad food in the current refrig and get hubby to pull it out so we can mop under it in preparation for the new one sometime Saturday. Key word, sometime. Ya'never know when those delivery guys are going to show up - depends upon how they pack the truck! Another lesson in patience.

The interesting thing is I'm expecting out of town guests sometime tomorrow so that's going to compound things as far as a trip to the local grocery to restock all those items we had to toss. Ah, such is life!

So stay tuned sometime next week I'll post the finished quilt on my webshots along with a couple of others that I've finished recently. I really do quilt in my spare time (grin).

Hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day weekend spent with family and friends! ko

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bumps in the road

As much as I like to think that life is just rainbows, the reality of it is there are some rough roads out there too. Making me 'practice what I preach' as far as 'choosing joy' is concerned. That's pretty much the summery of the past two days...only one thing went as planned and that was because it was the first thing of the day yesterday! I made it to my second day of water aerobics at the YMCA! Had started this last fall when I injured my leg after Ike and was pretty faithful until temps dropped down to 45 (it's an outdoor pool) and this week I made the decision it was time to go again. M/W/F -- I'm 2 for 3 so far this week...from there it's sorta gone down hill or off the beaten path so to speak.

Yesterday my son calls to say that his car had been towed from his apartment complex...he parked in the wrong there were several hours spent trying to negotiate and get his his car out of hawk...I'll spare the details but we were given a break on the towing fee due to the area being unclear that it was indeed a no parking that ended well...but it took up my afternoon and the rest of the day seemed to be unproductive ...

Then hubby comes in from work and discovers our refrig/freezer isn't cool -- the milk had curdled (I skipped breakfast yesterday and was on the road with the little car crisis that I didn't eat anything out of the refrig and hadn't noticed). He decided to pull out the appliance and clean the coils hoping that was the problem.

Nope. At 5 AM when he left for work this morning he woke me up and said "you need to go refrigerator shopping today." So much for catching up from missing a day of quilting yesterday!

So on with my mission. Not an easy task having to buy under pressure, not only that but to be limited in my selection due to (1) needing white to match the rest of the appliances and (2) needing to be a certain size since the current refrig/freezer is recessed in the wall and there is NO other place in the kitchen to put an appliance. Undaunted, I get my trusty measuring tape that once belonged to the master craftsman I called daddy and measure my current appliance as well as measure the opening or what I've fondly called today "the hole". And yes, being the daughter of a master craftsman I do know how to properly measure (grin). By the way, because we inherited this machine with the house we have no idea of its age and decided we didn't want to invest in repairs.

So armed with a little notebook with my dimensions I set out on my quest. I decided my shopping options included Conn's Appliance, Fry's Electronics, Sear's Appliance, Best Buy, Lowe's and Home Depot -- all within a 20 mile radius (how blessed am I to have such choices!!).

Or so I thought. Refrigerators come in so many shapes and sizes now days, not to mention price ranges -- but I was very very limited in finding one that was short enough to fit into the HOLE. I guess when they remodeled this house who knows how many years before we purchased it that refrigs were shorter back then. Oh my.

I'll spare you all the details of my search. But I did narrow it down to two appliances, one at Best Buy and one at Lowe's, who thankfully were near each other as I did make several return trips to make sure of my purchase. The sale price was the same, the difference was between top freezer or bottom freezer as we had previously decided we did not want side by side any more. Of course I'm text messaging hubby at work and on the phone more than once with my sister and my mother who have much more experience in this department than I do.

We (my sister and I) decided on the bottom freezer...several reasons actually - one being that was my hubbies preference if I could find one, two because I liked opening the refrig door to have all my most used items at eye level, and three because it was the best buy (no pun intended because I did purchase from Best Buy). I was able to purchase the floor model on clearance for almost half price of an untouched one because it was last year's model! Praise the Lord! The other one's retail value wasn't as high so I sorta felt like I got a better appliance for my money. Being the floor model I don't care that it will need a little elbow grease to get the smudged hand prints off the handle. Give it a week or two at my house and it will look like that anyway (grin). And I didn't care that it didn't have an ice maker (could have added one) because we make our ice from distilled water anyway -- our local water really needs a filter and we don't have that, so our current freezer had the ice maker turned off anyway. Other than that, it's a nice modern refrig/freezer combo that I think will look good in my kitchen and more importantly, do it's job of keeping things cold!

I am really praising the Lord that we were able to have such a nice refrig for an affordable price, especially since we hadn't budgeted for this and had to purchase under the gun. Only negative is they can't deliver until problem, just told hubby he has to take me out for dinner (tee hee) somehow I can always manage a dinner out!

I guess the next day and a half I'll be eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches because that doesn't need to be kept cool. I'll just pretend like I'm camping -- until tomorrow night's dinner of course!

So yep, there's been a few bumps in the road lately, but golly, that's life. Where would a rambler be if there wasn't a little drama every now and then.

Whew, shopping takes a lot outa a gal...more later!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Now That's One Organized Bag!

At least that's what my hubby said when I modeled my newest Sunday afternoon creation.

Indeed it is! There are pockets on the outside and pockets on the inside.

I picked up this pattern "Sew Awesome Bags" by Wilma Niemann (743 Butler, Valley Center, Kansas 67147 from the Kingwood Quilt Show on Friday. I purchased it from Nana's Parcels (102 Pecos St, Glen Rose TX 76043 254.897.4313) and knew immediately that the fabulous beach stripe that I purchased from P&B this January would make a great bag. You may remember from an earlier post that my sister-in-law received zippered bags made from this fabric. I do have plans for a few for myself before this bolt is gone (grin).

This was the first time I'd worked with a product called Decor Bond by Pellon. I love the way it stiffin'ed up my bag! I think I need to find this on the bolt too, can think of lots of future uses...

The inside of the bag called for a long strip that would be made into several pockets, with you making the choice for the width and how many divisions. Since my interior was a dizzy stripe I figured I'd better use my beach print or I'd never find my pockets! (I have a bolt of this stripe too, so I'll be useing it a lot -- you may remember it from my "Ugly Quilt" I made in Feb -- I do like the stripe though! )

I made the pockets to fit my travel "wet wipes" (Swine Flu and all, it's good to be able to wipe my hands when I need to), my glasses case (which I'm seriously thinking of remaking in beach print), my checkbook, and my calendar. If you'll notice I added a loopie to hang my keys on (left) I use a carabiner for my key ring and it's handy to have a place to attach it so I'll always know where they are without digging deep into the bottom of my purse. The red on the bottom is my plastic canvas I'm using to give the bottom some strength. It would probably be nicer if I encased it with the same dizzy blue stripe, but again, it's nice to give my eyes a break when looking into this bag!

The pattern called for a plain little pocket on the other side but I decided to try to figure out how to make a zippered pocket. I'm really into zippers since my friend Kay loaned me her zipper stash to play in after telling her about all of Laurie's neat creations I found on Laurie's blog. Have to say it didn't turn out perfect, but I learned a lot! I wanted a zippered pocket to keep my wallet in, again, so I'm not digging to the bottom of the purse. Hum, and probably my lipstick.

One other change that I made was to lower the position of the interior pockets, I've found with other bags that I tend to overload the pockets, so if they are closer to the bottom then the weight falls on the bottom of the bag and is not pulling down the sides (does that make sense? I can do it better than I can explain it.). I really love to be organized. Pockets are wonderful.

I think the back is pretty too. I figured with the button closure (Velcro actually) that I could keep it straight what side was what, but it does help that the colors are a little different too. Can you see all the possibilities of this beach stripe fabric? I'm going to have fun working through this bolt!

With all these pockets I don't know what I'll put in the purse! Did I mention that the outside pocket is large enough to hold my water bottle? Yep, I'm thinkin this is my 'going to market' bag -- only I'll need to make one in fall colors before I go to the Houston International Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in October But this would be the perfect bag! Right now it's getting close to summer and this will be my beach bag or my whatever bag. A bag for every season....

One can never have too many bags!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Day Off to Attend a Local Quilt Show

And what a wonderful day it was! My friend Trish and I drove 60+ miles one way to attend the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild Show that continues tomorrow.

And what a pleasant surprise to find that one of my customer quilts won 1st place in the Professionally Quilted Category. This talented lady was the recipient of 7 ribbons in various categories! Her applique is indeed award winning!

You can visit my webshots to see close ups that I took of her quilt when it was here in my studio.

We truly enjoyed the day - I loved the way the guild had each little area 'decorated' by themes...I've shared a few group shots to give you an idea of how beautiful and inviting this show really was. Trish said she enjoyed reading all the captions as much as she enjoyed looking at the quilts. I think our favorite one was "Flying Geese From Hell" which read for my first quilt I chose this lovely pattern marked 'easy' however since I'm a beginner, many of my flying geese were done 2 times, hence the name. I practically did the top twice. I still love it."

Or what about this one on a garment "Too Tall and Too Fat Bog Coat" where the maker stated This reversible bog coat was my first serious attempt to make a quilted garment. I took a class back in 1998 where I was told I was too fat and too tall to make it. It took me a decade to complete it, and every time I wear it I smile, knowing I proved the teacher wrong!

The quilts were beautiful and I took almost 150 photos! I love coming home and seeing the show again. Many times I'm so caught up in the eye candy that I can't really remember what I saw and I want to be able to look at the quilts again. The lovely colors, patterns, and of course I have to check out the quilting!

Here's a few photos of the layout for your enjoyment. I thought the decorating committee out did themselves! What creativity!

The quilt in the corner had pooh bears on it

Loved the scrappy quilts!

Talk about school spirit! Texas A&M was well represented

By the way, one of my customers actually designed the quilt on the left and the pattern was marketed through Quilts By The Bay in Galveston I quilted the's somewhere in my webshots around the fall of 2007 because it was in her booth at the Houston 2007 was a popular kit that year.

One other thing I enjoy about a quilt show is being around a lot of quilters! We ran into so many people that we knew -- which I found really amazing and lots of fun, especially considering the distance. Ah but for quilters, there is no distance is there! Across town, across the state, or across the internet, somehow we all manage to connect. Truly was the icing on the cake for the day!

I typically don't shop at quilt shows. (gasp! please forgive me all you wonderful vendors) Just don't need anything and usually am on a tight budget. I sorta blew that today (grin). I've been working through my scrap drawer lately -- made a scrap quilt last weekend and have started one for this weekend (stay tuned) so decided that I needed to replenish my fat quarters with some bright fun I was on a mission....and got a little distracted when I came to a booth that had one yard cuts ($6.39, who can resist that!!) and oh did she have my colors! I bought 11 out of the 12 one yards cuts pictured below (paid regular $8.50 for the beautiful Kaufman on the bottom right, but it was worth it) and I did manage to find two fat quarters that met my criteria of bright and fun! I love things with black backgrounds and lots of color as well as anything purple or just bright. It's all good and it all came home with me today. That and a book and two magazines....needed some reading material for bedtime (grin).

By the way, this photo is sideways, I don't know why blogger turned it and I can't know how to change it, so just turn your head and put the fat quarters on the bottom and it really looks better.

Yep, it's always refreshing to take a day off and go to a good quilt show -- it's sew inspiring! Thank you Kingwood for a great show, and thank you also for allowing me to quilt your beautiful raffle quilt -- I hope you call my name tomorrow at the end of the show! I'd love to have this one hanging in my studio!