Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quilts for Ike - finally home

Back in the fall many many many quilters from all over the states send quilts in my care to distribute to people effected by Hurricane Ike (9/11/08). As the quilts came in I did my best to document them with photos and put on my webshots as well as place a label on the quilt of the maker and their address in the event the recipient would like to send a thank you, or at least be blessed knowing that someone somewhere cared enough to make a quilt and send to them.

Many were given out at a church in San Leon, an area in Galveston county right on the bay that had an average of 10 feet of water. Many more were given out in an area a little up the road between Seabrook and LaPorte where an entire neighborhood is just now getting to return home. Several were given to individuals that I know in the community and a few more have been waiting for a good home patiently reminding me of their presence as they have been sitting on a pew in my living room....

Today the quilts are finding a home. I had two child size ones, two lap size ones, and this large king size one that somehow missed out on being labeled. I have no idea of the generous quilter who sent this back around Thanksgiving. I remember receiving it and thinking how unselfish this person had to be to donate so much time and labor for a complete stranger effected by a natural disaster.

Well, my friend, whomever you are, rest assured that your reward will be in heaven for this act of kindness AND I want you to know that your quilt is blessing a 67 yr old pastor from San Leon who's church was lost during the storm yet was very instrumental in being a place of refuge for the community -- to this day they still give out food and assist those who have literally become homeless due to Ike. Every week we drive through the area to see more and more lots just totally cleared off of any sign of previous inhibition. It's sobering. Yet in this great darkness for our area this pastor and his little church have been a lighthouse. Many many have come to know the Savior due to the devastation of Hurricane Ike -- the church is growing in attendance and is offering a weekly "New Christians" class which my husband's parents are coming from an ajoining community to facilitate -- it is through them and their getting to know people in need that I have relinquished the last of the Quilts of Hope for distribution, asking them to reserve this large beautiful quilt for the pastor who has been a faithful servant.

The chapter is finished for me as far as distributing quilts, but the story doesn't end here. Many people are still out of their homes, many more haven't even settled with insurance IF they had it. The battles are long and hard. Many more were flooded again this week with the terrible rains. Just a reminder that life is hard, but God is good. He uses the simple things like weather and even a shared quilt to offer hope and draw folks to Him.

Thank you to all that sent their precious creations so unselfishly. I am sorry that I haven't contacted each of you personally....sometimes the best intentions go unfinished. Just know that your unselfish gift is still giving and I have appreciated being a part of this.

Monday, April 27, 2009

When Life Gives You Scraps....

...add a happy stripe and make a quilt!

Ever have one of those days? nothing wrong, but nothing right, just sorta bummed out, moody for no reason? welcome to my world...

can't pin point where it started...maybe coming back to reality after our cruise...but somewhere in the past week the little stresses started to sneak up on me....the time killers...the distractions...the small problems that want to stick to each other like glue to make you feel like there are big problems in your life when you know better...but the mood just sorta sneaks in unawares...

maybe it was the phone call at 11 PM Friday night from Son #2 wanting to know if his car insurance would cover flooding....5 inches in two hours (after last week's 11 inches and flash flooding) left him with water in his car...not a nice bedtime story that's for sure...(for the record, no, his insurance does not cover it because he only had liability, and yes, his car is going to be okay since it only ruined the carpet)..

maybe it was all the interruptions over the weekend when I was trying desperately to quilt....of course they were good interruptions like Son #1 having the day off and wanting to join hubby and I for lunch out at Subway (where I discovered today through my online banking that they were so proud of their sandwiches that they charged my debit card twice, and no I can't talk to the owner, didn't I know it was their lunch rush and he wasn't there anyway!)...and of course the interruptions by two new customers couldn't be considered a bad thing...just that it was time away from my customer quilt on the frame and the fact that in the middle of all my moodiness I was in the mood to quilt and therefore couldn't due to taking care of the other side of my business...

no...nothing wrong...just didn't feel right...didn't help that hubby has a cold and was vegging on the couch watching NASCAR....oh I don't mind him enjoying his hobby, I just needed him to vent with and he wasn't feeling well enough to try to balance my emotions....

So. I quilt.

I found a pattern by Terri Attinkson in her book called Spring Cleaning...the pattern is Lasagna...it's just a bunch of 4 inch strips in a build a brick fashion and I thought I could whip it out rather quickly and get out of my funky mood. So Saturday night I did just that. I used some 5 1/2 inch strips I had from a previous project, cut them down to size and away I went. Got the rows all done before bedtime and decided that I wanted to do a little pattern adapting -- instead of continuing with a border made from contrasting bricks I would do a fun bright border (which I hoped would help the look of the quilt, I didn't like the way the scraps were playing together -- even though there were some fun ones in there like the whales and fishes there were too many duds for my liking, take a second look at the photo up top and I think you'll agree.)

Saturday night right before I went to sleep I had an 'ah-ha' moment. It was funny because I must have made a little noise since my hubby asked if I'd just discovered something! I had, I decided that this little quilt in the making needed to be punched up a notch by having a pieced back and that way I could use up the rest of the scraps that weren't playing together nicely in this same quilt never to have to worry with them again. A guilt release for using my stash that's for sure!

Okay, Sunday comes and I have the afternoon to myself as hubby is now feeling somewhat better and really enjoying the Talladega race (did I mention that we celebrated our 20th anniversary selling Ben & Jerry's at that track? another story, but good memories). hum..okay.

Since I wasn't real thrilled with the bricks I decided to use a happy stripe to brighten up the quilt and I decided that it was a good time to practice my mitered borders. I'd learned from Winnie Flemming how to cut the border to fit as well as how to put two borders together and make one miter. That part worked out okay...what I wasn't pleased with was the way I joined my strips to make the piece longer...generally I use a diagonal to splice...I think I should have used a straight seam...it looks a little catty-wompus...I may go back and redo it...

Align Center
I then pieced the back and hope when it's all said and done that it will be a fun little cuddle quilt.

My hubby decided that Pixxie needed to be dressed up to match the quilt....

So you'd think after a day off to quilt I'd be out of the doldrums ... well, I thought so too. maybe it's because it's overcast and rainy looking again....hubby had the day off and I really didn't want to work so suggested an afternoon movie....he asked if I could afford it! I told him it was the matinee and he said he meant 'time off' .... away we went....only to sit in a darken theater for over 35 minutes while they tried to repair the projector before asking for a refund...so much for trying to cheer me up!

Guess I just need to shake it off and realize that sometimes life does give you scraps...I hope I remember to add a happy stripe and just make a quilt. (And hope for a sunny tomorrow!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tools of the Trade - or "Back in the Saddle Again"

As in "back in the longarm SADDLE STOOL" and quilting as desired! I thought it would be fun to take photos and 'document' what I did today as a sort of tutorial or demo of the quilting on this customer quilt. It may give some of you ideas to try something on your own longarm or it might give those of you that send out your quilts to a professional to have an inkling of the behind the scenes.

For whatever it's worth, here's my play by play report on today's progress.

The border of this quilt is to be formal feathers, sometimes referred to as "over the top" feathers. This is a look that is suppose to mimic hand quilted feathers (or so they say -- who are those they sayers anyway?) I have lots and lots of rulers and templates in my longarm tool stash and have found through the years that I really prefer to use them to mark my quilt with instead of actually attaching the extended base and using them to quilt up against. It's not as perfect chalking them as I do tend to get off the lines every now and then, but once the chalk is erased no one knows (tee-hee).

I marked the center of the border with a line and then used one of my rulers to make the soft wave and one of my circle rulers to make the 3/4 corner.

Nothing special or fancy about the start, just a figure 8. Then away I go!

I like to 'go spineless' - a term coined by Lisa Calle. I highly recommend her DVD and workbook Feathers of a New Generation One reason I like this method combined with the chalk spine is that I don't have as much thread in the center spine -- it also allows me to work on both sides of the spine and work my way down instead of doing one side, back tracking, and doing the other line. Let's face it, some days are good back tacking days and some aren't.

I never know exactly how things are going to turn out until I'm done. I use the Cotton Picker to 'erase' the chalk lines and take a look to see if I passed (grin). Like I said, every time I do this it's unique, depends upon my mood, if the dog barks at the UPS man and scares a bump in my quilting or if I'm hitting the back tacking good or not. I know the gals with computers can do this perfectly, but I enjoy the creativivity and individuality of each project. I hope my customers do too.

I don't know if you can see it or not, but the feathers work their way from corner to center meeting in the center. This allows me not to have to worry if the waves work out or not (up, down, up --- do they work out evenly and meet in the middle to form one line or not -- I've eliminated that with this method). This also makes it easy for me to work down the sides and eliminate turning the quilt (sometimes I do have to turn, but not this design). And another benefit of the spineless feathers working both sides is I can stop without a big notice in the break of my stopping. Once I do the interior I'll advance the quilt and take up on the border where I left off until I come to my middle point on the side that I previously marked. Hope this makes sense.

Okay, on to the center. This customer drew out a pomagranate and asked if I would quilt that in a contrasting thread in each snowball block then do some feathers or something around the rest of the setting. I audition designs with a dry erase marker on a sheet of clear plastic that I've lined with purple duck tape (as a visual stopping point so I don't mark on the quilt top - dry erase marker DOES NOT come out, ask me how I know!) Sometimes I do what I draw out and sometimes I don't. Most of my customer give me a general idea of what they want and then allow me to interpret it my own way. I work best that way, as I never know what I want to do until I start doing it, and even then sometimes I change my mind! Fickle female, that's me!

Oh, I wanted to show you something here -- my A-1 Quilting Machine has adjustable handlebars called EurgoGrips. When I am doing ruler work, like this stitch in the ditch around the snowball, I can totally move the left hand control out of my way so I can hold my ruler. Each of the handlebars are indendandly adjustable in countless directions and arrangements assuring me total comfort no matter what I'm doing. A nice feature if you are doing research on longarm features (and there are sooo many more that I love about the A-1 but lets get back to the other tools of the trade). On this quilt I decided that I needed to stabilize the snowball with SID (stitch in the ditch) because I will be ignoring it for a while as I work through one color of thread all the way down the quilt and then re-roll to come back and do the pomegranates in a different color. Without stabilizing it I run the risk of the batting bunching up or the backing puckering. An added step but worth it in the long run.

The SID completed for the amount of quilt area available on my frame I then audition another tool to see if it's something I think I might want to use as a design element. My clear plastic and dry erase marker are one of my most used tools of the trade.

Yep, I think it will do, don't you?

Next I did some longarm feathers, also known as Jamie Wallen's Feather Flurry. His designs have influenced a lot of my quilting and I highly recommend his DVD! He has been a guest teacher in my studio in the past and will be giving workshops again here this summer.

Well, one row is complete, time to advance and start on the next row....but that will be in the morning. It's Friday night -- date night! Looks like tonight it's leftovers with a rented movie, but hey, it's still a date! Hum...maybe there will be popcorn later -- who knows!

Happy Friday night everyone!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Zippered Bags

Tonight we are celebrating my sister-in-law's birthday...and I needed a gift...well, since I've made a couple of tote bags this past month or so I've sorta been in the "bag mode" and recently while catching up on some reading I was inspired by Laurie's story (Stone-belle) on reducing her stash of zippers by making little zippered bags. You can read about it here and do a search for zippers so you can see all her creations.

Well, Laurie is "local" and offered to let me come play in her zipper stash but alas, there's just been so much to do this week that I haven't ventured out. Not to be undaunted, I called another friend, Kay, who is known to be a source for just about anything you need or don't even know you need. I knew she frequented thrift store, estate sales, and all sorts of treasure hunting adventures so I called her and asked if she would be on the look out for a fire sale on zippers for me. She did better than that, yesterday she showed up on my doorstep with her zipper stash!

I found two that I needed for today's project and she's given me permission to use whatever I need. I'm not going to count her stash but Laurie, I think she's got you beat in your count of 70+ zippers on hand -- however, you are hands down the winner in reducing your stash and making beautiful zippered pouches. I'm still wanting to make more and will revisit your posts for more inspiration.

By the way, the bags are an adaption from Pat-e-Patterns.com The Scrappy Cosmetic Bags -- one is almost the size of their Traveler it's tall enough to hold a water bottle inside - that's what's helping it stand for the photo shot and the other is the Weekender. Only difference, theirs are actually pieced, I cheated with a beautiful beach stripe from P&B -- gotta work on my fabric stash ya'know!

I'm thinking that Traveler would be a good size to add some shoulder straps and perhaps a pocket on the inside for a quick goin'to market bag...who knows...but for now, it's time to get ready for the birthday party! I hope she likes the little bags...it's that dorkey homemade look that is coming back in style! At least I hope that's so!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why I love what I do!

I received the following email this evening:

Karen, my daughter, Aileen who lives in Mexico but presently resides in Paris, France where her husband of 8 months works sent me a website to open. Imagine my surprise when I was viewing the first quilt I ever pieced and you quilted for me. That quilt now resides in Tepoztlan, Mexico where Aileen has a home in the mountains of Mexico and where she and her husband, Jay, are when he is not busy working for the European Lung Foundation in Paris.
Everyone who has ever seen the quilt has had nothing but praise for my first attempt at piecing and your wonderful quilting work.
Thank you for giving me such a pleasant surprise when I opened the website she sent me. It had been listed under home and garden websites, and I don't know exactly how she came across it.
Barbara P.

To which I replied

I'm guessing that the photo was in my webshots albums? http://community.webshots.com/user/quiltsnkaboodle ? if so it's under the 2007 Fall quilts.... if this isn't the website she sent you to I'd be curious to know where it was! I truly appreciate all my customers allowing me to post photos of their beautiful creations -- it's my online show and tell and my portfolio. How wonderful to know that this quilt is getting world wide attention but more importantly that it's being loved by your daughter as intended.
Karen O

Her quilt is called Butterfly Stars and is in the middle of the album.

Something about this simple exchange has made me stop and reflect on how little I'm aware of the impact that people make in our lives and how interconnected we all are. Someone I don't know received a quilt that I assisted in the completion of and that quilt resides in a foreign country of which a photo has the potential of being seen around the world. Mind boggling.

Makes me wonder if I'm mindful of the little things I do each day when I come in contact with someone -- are my words, actions, or deeds a blessing or a curse? Do I reflect the love that has been shown me through my Lord and Savior -- is His light shining in me or am I in an attitude of sin and ungratefulness and tarnishing the name of Christ by my actions, words or deeds? How many people crossed my path today? Some in person, like the beautiful young lady that served me my Smootie King frozen drink (for dinner tonight) or the lady coming out of the grocery store parking lot who I let ease into traffic in front of me -- some I might not have even noticed but subconsciously offered a smile in passing. Or what about the folks I'll never meet, those that see me in public or read things I've written...did my actions or words bless or curse? Sad to say, sometimes both. Oh that I might strive to always speak blessings and take time to offer a kind word or a helpful hand.

We pass through this journey of life so quickly... a grim reminder as I've learned of at least three lives passing to the other side just in the past 48 hours...some I didn't know, but knew those who did, one I did know and have reflected with others as they spoke of their last conversations with this precious one days before their journey on this earth ended and their journey into eternity began. Again, makes me wonder....oh how I want to be an encourager, a light that reflects the Son, offering contagious joy and the promise of life eternal spent with Jesus if you but know Him. Actions speak louder than words. Human frailty causes me to fail, but my hope is that I reflect more on sharing joy and being joyful in whatever task comes my way. Right now I'm blessed to be a quilter (and a wife and mother too of course, it's equally important to be an example to your family as well as to the world).

Ah...but as a quilter I do love what I do! And appreciate the customers who entrust their precious quilt tops to my care. The joy is knowing that even years later they are enjoying a quilt that I assisted in and somehow a little part of me is shared and goes on and on and on -- even anonymously. Joy is a choice and joy is contagious. And, I think joy can be seen in quilts, don't you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Machine is Happy!

My A-1 (longarm) is happy again, it's being used as intended! Having been out of town more in the last 6 weeks than being at home it has probably wondered when I was going to get back to work!!

And boy does it feel good! I love my machine. It truly is a joy to use and to be able to assist my customers in finishing up their heirlooms. This particular quilt is a signature quilt from a family reunion, sure to be an heirloom for generations to come!

As you can tell from the foreground I'm still 'unsettled' as far as my unpacking and deep cleaning is concerned. The suitcases from the cruise are waiting to go to the attic (the door is right above their waiting area). Hopefully when hubby gets home from work I can sweet talk him into taking care of this eye sore -- by then it will be a little cooler to open up that attic! We keep saying we need to deep clean the attic, but don't seem to find the time in the winter when it would be tolerable (grin) -- imagine living in hot humid Houston area and going into an attic that is twice as warm as the outside temperature (or at least it feels that way to me) Oh well, out of sight, out of mind!!

Since coming back to the "real world" I'm trying to be a better balancer...a little time each day to catch up on those home projects in between quilts, and a little time every few days to catch up with emails, blogs, and online chats. I have had a little difficulty with emails lately, I use Outlook to view my mail and it has a problem. I've researched what I need to do to fix it but haven't wanted to devote the time, so am relying on the data on my phone to read important emails -- takes more of an effort to "text" an email reply on a phone than a laptop keyboard, but hey, life is full of challenges and if this is the least of my worries (which at the moment it is) then I am more than blessed!

Okay, lunch break is over, a few distractions with the computer, and I'm ready to go dance with my machine again! Yep, I'm happy too (grin)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Still MIA

I know I should have loaded a customer quilt on the frame today -- but the need to get things back in order called louder! Spent the morning doing laundry from our trip and decided while I was at it that my closet needed to be rearranged -- switching out the fall/winter clothes for the spring/summer clothes (which in our area just means long sleeves switched out for short sleeves or sleeveless!) -- fact is, they are all in the same closet, just on a top rack or a bottom rack in my accordion door closet (grin) but I like the current ones on top....while I was at it, I discarded a few items that no longer fit or are no longer in style...we make regular trips to a local thrift shop and rejoice each time we go in to see that our previously donated items are no longer there...makes me feel like I am contributing to my community...one person's discards are another person's prized purchases!

The closet completed I decided that the rest of the bedroom needed some attention. Seems like it's been ages since I deep cleaned. Evidence -- a felt pad of Pixxie dust under the bed, behind the nightstands, in the corners behind the dresser. UGH! How can one small dog produce so much hair. I swear, she outa' be naked by now! SIGH.

So I deep cleaned, including going through books and magazines that have been crammed into the shelf below my nightstand as well as enlisting dear hubby's help in moving the furniture and taking the mattress and box springs off the frame so we could do a deep cleaning under the bed. Yep, you guessed it -- one of Pixxie's sleeping areas. Her quilt is in the dryer right now after having been washed to remove all the Pixxie dust. She is privileged to sleep on one of my very first quilts -- ya'know I love my pup!

So tomorrow perhaps my longarm won't continue to think that I'm MIA or AWOL and maybe I can catch up on some of my blog reading...in the meantime, our bedroom looks so fresh and clean. The reward will be a good night's sleep!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Still celebrating!

What a better way to celebrate an anniversary than with an anniversary cruise! And just like a honeymoon -- no children or cute puppies allowed on this date. Poor Pixxie, she really tried her best to sneak in the suitcase!

We just returned from a 5 day cruise that left out of Galveston on Monday -- left late! I was afraid we weren't going to get to go -- at 10 AM we were called by the cruise line to say that the Galveston Port was closed due to fog. We were to board at noon and sail at 4 PM, they asked us not to come until 4 PM!

Finally we were at the terminal What a long day, hurry up and wait... and wait we did, in LINE! Check in seemed like miles and miles, but finally we were on board and ready for our holiday.

Our waiter learned it was our anniversary and they joined in our celebration. The first night we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the Houston Ship Channel.

We were on the Carnival "Fun Ship" Ecstasy and it certainly was fun! Our main activity the first day at sea was to just totally relax. No cell phone, no email, no appointments, no obligations...except our dining (grin) that was at 6 PM each evening, something we really looked forward to because we had such wonderful couples sharing our table and a wait staff that was both professional, personable, and entertaining!

On Wednesday our port of call was Progreso, Yucatan Mexico. While there wasn't a fabric shop in sight there certainly was plenty of 'eye candy' for this quilter! The beach vendors were as numerous as the sands. And colorful! Hats, floaties, jewelry, trinkets, mangos, singers with guitars, henna tattos, and ladies wanting to talk you into a $10 massage. It was almost overwhelming, one by one and two by two they kept coming. It was almost tiring having to smile so much and say "no thank you"...just part of the scenery that makes Mexico what it is! Colorful with beautiful people -- especially the children.

These ladies were so beautiful -- I loved their dresses, wishing once again that Mexico was known for fabric by the yard, I would have come home with a trunk load! The colors are just breathtaking! And the handwork on their linens are to be truly admired.

We did enjoy our morning in Progresso. It was soooo hot that we decided it would be in our best interest to "rent" some shade. We parked ourselves at a beach side restaurant and enjoyed the sights! Do we look relaxed? We were certainly doing our best to de-stress!!

Our only disappointment this week, if there was any, was missing the sunsets due to our scheduled dinning -- but we did enjoy our dining experience so much that we figured you could only have so many sunset photos anyway... On Thursday we managed to get up early enough to enjoy the sunrise as we were pulling into port in Cozumel Mexico.

One of the reasons we chose this particular cruise to celebrate our 29 years was due to this port of call...in 1980 we spent almost a week in Cozumel for our honeymoon. While both the island and ourselves have changed a lot, there was still the romance.

We spent the day at a local park that catered to our every need. Beach chairs, umbrellas, floaties, a nice buffet -- and yes, we did get in the water on this excursion. This was the view from my chair, and yes, I had my own palm tree!

Before we knew it, we were headed back to Galveston. We enjoyed watching the tug boat come along side our ship this morning once we entered Galveston Bay -- and the dolphins that liked to leap in front as if they were the ones leading the way!

If you'd like to see more photos of our cruise I haven't disappointed you -- check out my webshots . Keep in mind, this was more of a relaxing cruise for us instead of one filled with lots of excursions -- but I think you'll still enjoy the slideshow...

Getting off the ship proved to be a hurry up and wait experience almost like our entry. Guess even on vacation you can't avoid lines. Our skies were now overcast and we were thankful that the rain held off until we arrived home and were welcomed by Pixxie.

Only a few hours later afternoon turned to night as the sky became black with a downpour of rain. I believe the last I heard on the news our area got around 9 inches of rain in just a matter of hours. We've had our yard 'flood' before but never like this -- it just kept rising and rising - to the point you couldn't see where the road ended and the ditch began. If you look closely to the far right you can see the little wooden board that marks our driveway. Across the street our neighbor's cars almost have water in them. There was no high ground to be seen on that side of the street.

This photo shows just how deep our ditch is - that's a full size rake stuck down in the ditch! Not long after this photo was taken I noticed three pre-teens walking down the street in their rubber boots. They found our wooden railing and in turn each jumped into the ditch. In their fun I'm sure they didn't worry about what they might be jumping into -- I was thankful that hubby had just racked out the ditch and drain pipe earlier to aide in drainage -- it also keep these fun loving kids from landing in twigs, limbs, and a pile of leaves!

As our day comes to a close we've unpacked the bags, started a couple of loads of laundry, made a grocery store run (fortunately prior to the storm!) and are settling back into our 'normal' routine. Hum...yet things have changed after our adventure. For one, I do feel more relaxed and less stressed. I've had some quiet time to reorganize my thoughts and a few priorities. Kinda feeling like myself again -- guess vacations and a little romance are good for that...I highly recommend it!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

29 and holding

The ole gray mare just ain't what she used to be -- but she knows how to hold on to her fellow!

Yes, today we not only celebrate our Risen Savior on Resurrection Sunday, but we also celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.

We certainly don't look the same, but we feel the same! At least we feel the same about each other!

Thought I'd share a few photos from the OLD family album...

Here we are on our wedding day, 4.12.80 We were married in Texas and within three months made our big move to Tennessee.

Our anniversary does fall near Easter -- here we are Easter 1985 celebrating 5 years together and the birth of Son #1 outside our home in Tennessee.

In 1988 we added Son #2, also Tennessee born and bred.

This is our little family at our 10 year mark 1990

15 years 1995
2000 -- 20 years was celebrated at the Talladega Superspeedway
during our time as "modern day gypsies"
when we lived in an RV with the boys and worked on the road
at national special events.

By 2005, our 25th Anniversary, we were no longer displaced Tennesseans, we gave up the RV to settle back in our home state of Texas.

Seems like yesterday when I took this photo on our honeymoon
in Cozumel

And now, it's 29! Wow! We've only just begun!
Many more beautiful sunrises and sunsets to share
together, forever!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just call me a Bag Lady

My mother has a thing for shoes. I guess you could say I have a thing for bags. It's been awhile (a day or two) since I've made a new bag -- 'least wise one for me (grin). And yes, it's big enough to smuggle Pixxie -- but she reminds me that she's not that kind of dog!

Taking the photo at night must be why you can't see that this is actually a deep purple. It's really pretty fabric, Sweetbriar by Pat Sloan for P&B, something I picked up in Dallas earlier this year. Inside is a nice green with purple stripe, a part of the same collection. By having a lighter fabric inside I think it will be easier to see the contents. At least that's my theory. I thought it would make the perfect tote for the beach or a day of shopping or both! Love shopping along the beach front at all the little tourist trap places. I like little stuff, nothing fancy, just always on the lookout for something unique and memorable...

In fact, the pattern is called The Shopper by Indygo Junction (IJ830) I saw it in a catalog and then asked my local quilt shop to order it for me. I try to purchase locally when I can -- if I did all my ordering over the internet then my local shops would have to close their doors and then where would I go for group therapy or a little fabric fix (I'm known to usually walk out with a fat quarter or two). She was more than happy to order it for me and ordered a few more to carry in the shop -- hum, I may have started a new trend here locally who knows!

Anyway, it worked up pretty quick, lined and everything. 26" x 16" x 7" I think if I make it again I will put interior pockets and maybe a closure on it too...but the plans for now will include placing little zippered bags inside to keep my necessary items organized and utilizing the rest of the space for that beach towel or whatnots I find along the way.

My son said it went with my hair. I didn't know how to take that ..... I think he liked it, never can tell with this younger generation! Anyway, it was a nice afternoon project and I'm eager to use it soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I really have been busy, promise!

As much as I ramble I think sometimes folks get a little worried if I'm silent (grin). Well, I'm coming up for air and thought I'd share what I've been up to lately.

Just today I made a grocery tote bag for my mom. A day late, her birthday was yesterday. SIGH. but I think she'll still like it. I found the pattern in Quilt April/May 2009 #99 issue. So what do you think? It has nice handles too.

I really have been doing more than fooling around with a grocery tote -- I've been covered up the past few weeks with some beautiful custom quilts. These quilts will be in an upcoming guild show in Kingwood the first weekend of May -- oh! before I show you the latest quilts I just have to show you the raffle quilt for Kingwood -- I quilted it!

You can find out more about it and how to purchase tickets on their website.

Here's a couple of quilts that I've done this month -- again, both will be in the upcoming show.

Its hard to see the quilting in these photos...perhaps you can click on them to make them larger (?!?!) I'm not sure. If not, you can visit my webshots and make them larger there -- or better yet, see them in person! I felt like the quilt needed matching thread because the focus really is on all the beautiful fabrics. I really like this quilt. It's done with wool batting and is very densely quilted.

This next quilt has got to be the largest quilt that has ever graced my frame and one that was on it the longest! 109 x 122. Whew! It took a long time to get to the bottom of this one! Ah, but what joy to be able to hang it up and see it finally in it's fullest!

I loved using the wool batting on this, gives the seashell a faux trapunto look don't you think?

By seeing the back I think you can get a better picture of how dense the quilting is on this quilt.

It's sometimes hard to "see" the quilting with matching thread -- here's the front border treatment as well as the view from the back.

This photo shows what's left of my cone of thread! The blue represents the size the white one started out at! I estimate over 4,000 yards were used in this quilt!

So now can you see why I fooled around and made a grocery tote today? GRIN

I just love my job!