Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We had a great group for our annual trick or treat party. And my camera arrived this afternoon!!! It takes great pictures just on Auto. It arrived after lunch and I was so busy preparing for the party and our haunted gingerbread house decorating that I haven't had much time to play with it on other settings.

My haunted gingerbread house.

Parker and his jack-o-lantern. We carved it on Tuesday afternoon. He has slept with it in his room every night since and it sat on the toilet to watch him take a bath!

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Toy!

Still no camera, but my new laptop arrived this morning. I had planned to spend the afternoon working on my Funky Santa but I think I will be playing on my new computer instead. I got a Dell Inspiron with one of the fancy designer tops. When the new camera arrives, I'll post a photo.

We are preparing for tomorrows Trick or Treat Party. Halloween is a big deal here. If the weather is bad we'll have about 150 trick or treaters. If the weather is good we have had as many as 350! I have a large black caldron for candy and I usually give out the whole thing. It should be cold tomorrow night but clear so we'll see how many we get.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Funky Santa

I began quilting my Funky Santa quilt this afternoon. I did some quilting in the ditch with invisible thread mainly as basting. Then I started quilting down some of the appliques.

This photo was taken some time ago. I still don't have my new camera yet. There isn't much to show anyway since most of the stitching I did today is not meant to be seen. I tried recharging my camera batteries today and putting them back in the camera to see if that helped. It didn't.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Photos

A few images of our day at the pumpkin patch. Above - Parker, Jamie and Scare Crow.

The corn maze

Our pumpkin

Jumping in the corn pit

I should add that all of these photos are courtesy of my friend Julie Brooks, aka Jamie's mom. My new camera has shipped but won't be here for about a week.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

No post yesterday because I went with Parker's second grade class to Diana's Pumpkin Patch and Awesome Corn Maze in Canon City, CO. I left the house at about 7:50 am and did not get home until almost 6:30 pm. Canon City is about a 3 hour drive from Alamosa. I forgot my coffee so I had a caffeine headache by noon and not enough Advil, but the kids had a great time. We walked through the corn maze in small groups and got totally lost. Our group never did find the exit but managed to find one of the entrances to get out. All the kids got to pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch to take home. The rule was that they had to be able to carry it themselves. Parker and the other kids with a parent on the trip were lucky because they had an adult to help carry. If I get my camera before Halloween (I hope!!) then I'll post a picture of it. There was an area boxed off by bales of hay and covered with an awning that was filled with corn kernels, like a sandbox but with corn instead of sand. The kids had a great time playing in that. Then they got to go on a hay ride and we made smores around the campfire. All that sandwiched between two 3 hours drives.

Other parents took pictures and with their permission I hope to post a few photos of the trip later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Lucky Day

You will never guess what I found in the street this morning on the way to the bus stop with Parker - a fat quarter from the Gray Goose (local quilt shop)!!!! I couldn't believe it. It's the strangest thing. Who dropped it? What did they plan to use it for?

I would take a picture of it to post but, alas, my camera is still not cooperating. I ordered a fancy new camera yesterday from Amazon but opted to just use the free Super Saver shipping rather than pay extra for faster shipping. I live in such an "off the beaten path" area that they don't even guarantee their 1-Day or 2-Day shipping to my zip code.

I need to wash my new found treasure since it's a bit dirty from laying in the muddy street. It snowed all day yesterday, until about 5:30. Then maybe I'll make something with it today.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We woke up to the first snow of the season this morning. I was going to take a picture to post but my camera is not cooperating this morning. Maybe later. I hope a little rest will help it but it has been doing this for months and I fear this illness is terminal. It had been doing so well lately! Luckily I have been camera shopping online so I know what I want to get to replace it. Unfortunately I can't be a new one by Friday when I am scheduled to go to a pumpkin patch and corn maze with my son's second grade class. I guess I'll just have to enjoy to trip instead of playing photographer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Visual Texture Exercise

My art group met today and this is what I made. We did an exercise from Lyric Kinard's new book, Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises. It's a great book and click here for her blog. For the exercise you make copies of fabrics with interesting texture. Then you use the copies to design something using simple shapes. When you are happy with your work just glue it to a piece of paper. We had lots of fun with this activity. One person said, "this was a great activity but not something I would do at home by myself." I agree.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flannel Scraps

I started this yesterday evening and finished it this morning. I usually put flannel on the back of my charity quilts. The hospital prefers flannel backed quilts and since it gets so cold here I just put it on the back of most charity quilts I make. I usually make my charity quilts about 40" by 48" so that they only require 1 1/2 yards of backing fabric, without piecing the backing. This means that there usually isn't much left over of backing fabric, but I have been collecting some scraps from backings in a drawer. My drawer is now full so I decided to do something with these scraps of flannel. This is my "boy" version. I have enough to do a "girl" version too but that will have to wait for another day. I plan to use that "what was I thinking" fabric for the back of this. The flannel will be on the front of this one, but so what.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crop Circles 1, again

I finished it, except for the binding. I haven't decided how I want to bind it yet. If I had thought about it sooner I would have pillow-cased it so it wouldn't need binding. I could still add a second backing fabric and do this. I don't think it is that important to completely finish these little projects though. I'm not sure what I will do with them other than file them somehow for future reference. Maybe I'll just zigzag the edges and then pin or sew the series together into a cloth book. At the moment I'm going to do nothing and just move on to the next project.

I really like this one though! Turned out pretty well for just using scraps from my pre-fused fabric stash. I did put fusible on one fabric, far right on the bottom row. That is some cookie fabric I used to make napkins. The printed cookies were the perfect size for this little project and I thought is was funny to make one of my "fields" from a cookie. I image that Cookie Monster lives on that farm!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Parker's Cat-o-lantern

Parker still needs to quilt this but I thought I'd share his progress. The background was made by one of the ladies in my art group. She made several photo quilts for gifts using woven backgrounds. For this one her granddaughter was wearing orange and black so she made this background but it did not work at all for her project. I said that I could see a jack-o-lantern on it and she gave it to me. It has been on the corner of my design wall for months. Parker asked me about it a few days ago and I told him my plan.

Recently I showed him an article in the current issue of Love of Quilting magazine about a boy, about his age, who made a quilt. The article outlined all the steps he took. The first one being to make a plan and draw a sketch. Parker went straight to his room and came back about 20 minutes later with a drawing of this jack-o-lantern. He asked if this was a good enough plan and could he use the woven background. Not wanting to squash his initiative, I said yes and got out my bin of solids. He picked out his fabrics, drew his pattern pieces on the back of some fusible web and then rough cut them out. He then ironed the fusible to the back of the fabric, a first because I have made him very aware of how hot an iron gets and he has been too afraid to even touch an iron - on or not. He cut everything out himself and I helped him place his pieces then he ironed them down himself. I plan to let him try to quilt this himself on my good machine. He is always asking to use my good machine so he is very excited. He has been practicing on my featherweight and has gotten pretty good at sewing a straight 1/4" seam so I think he is ready. We'll see, maybe tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween

This picture was taken a couple days ago. Parker is going to be the Wolverine for Halloween. There is no school today so I haven't gotten any work done and haven't had any time to play in my sewing room.

Parker and I had dentist appointments this morning too. Parker had a good check-up. I have a cavity and have to go back in two weeks.

Somehow I need to find time to get myself ready for guild tomorrow. I am teaching the guild how to make tote bags. Hope all goes well with the class!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crop Circles 1

This is what I have been working on as my art project for this week. I'm calling it "Crop Circles 1." I have had this idea for a while but flying out of Alamosa last month for the wedding reminded me of it again. After I got home I drew a quick sketch. I'd like to make a larger version of this idea sometime so right now I am just trying different things. On some of the circles I am zigzagging around the outside, on others I am using a straight stitch. Some will have no other stitching inside, others will have circles or lines quilted inside. The small little orange wedge on the top row, middle circle will have little rectangles to represent the farm house and out buildings. I had planned to hand sew circles and lines in the "fields" but I used scraps from my pre-fused fabric stash and not all of my fusible is condusive to hand sewing. Maybe next time.

Here is Maggie sunbathing on the back of our sofa. Notice the cord coming from underneath the quilt in the bottom left of the photo. Yes, there is a heating pad underneath the quilt for the early morning before the sun hits the back of the couch. I hope that when I am the equivalent of 19 in cat years I will be treated as well as her.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reading in Bed

This morning when I went into Parker's room to get him up for school he was already up. Reading in bed! Yesterday our Scholastic book order arrived at school and he came home with the starter pack, first 8 books, of the Magic Tree House series. I wasn't prepared for how excited he would be to get these books. He had the books in hand when he got off the bus. The first thing he told me was, "look what my teacher gave me today!" (I'm not sure he realizes that I order these books and pay for them.) His first grade teacher read a couple of the books to the class at the end of last school year. I thought they might be a bit above his reading level but figured he and his dad could read them together. Well, he can read them himself. My little boy is growing up so fast! (sniff, sniff) But I am so glad that he enjoys reading.

Not much sewing in my future for today. I've got lots of work to do. But I left the basting tables up from yesterday's squaring up session in hopes that I will be able to baste together the next quilt I need to quilt. I've two in line - my Funky Santa quilt and my nephew Zeke's quilt that my mom pieced. I'm not sure which one will be next. I'm thinking I need to do something for me next. I plan to quilt Funky Santa in the ditch to stabilize it, then add some more appliques and do a lot of custom quilting. If I get Funky Santa started then when I get stuck and need time to think a bit before continuing, I'll have Zeke's quilt to focus on. Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sister's quilt - my part done

I squared it up this morning and sewed the binding to the front. My part is done. I hope she likes it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sister's quilt in progress, Part 2

The quilting is complete! I've made the binding, she is using the border fabric as the binding also. I will attach the binding to the front for her and she will stitch it to the back herself. I just did an all over large stipple for the quilting. If I had more experience and/or a long arm machine I could have done a more interesting pattern. But I think this will be sufficient for how she plans to use it. In the shot below you can see the backing fabric she chose. It is a nice complement to the top.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sister's quilt in progress

I'm taking a break from quilting my sister's quilt. My hands and wrists get tired after a while since I just have my regular sewing machine to quilt on. Her quilt is bigger than I thought. It filled my basting tables so that's about 72" by 80". My machine does not like one of the fabrics she used. It's a white on white she used as background for the pieced blocks and an inner border. The fabric is not a true print. This means that the little white stems and leaves are applied to the white background and are slightly raised. I don't know how this kind of fabric is made but I think the appliques are fused to the background somehow. Anyway, this fabric gums my needle and was causing my machine to drop stitches. She chose a flannel for the backing which didn't help. I was panicking until I realized that my machine was only dropping stitches when I crossed a seam that involved this white fabric. I quilted one hole length of the border with no problems. So off to the quilt store to purchase every kind of needle they had in a 90/14 size. I started with a quilting needle in the 90/14 size which is what I usually use with flannel backing. So far the denim 90/14 needle is working fairly well, but I'm on my second one. I don't know if the first one had a defect or what, but my top thread kept breaking. Thus far with the second needle I haven't had that problem. On the up side, I am getting lots of practice at starting and stopping while quilting.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Painted Pumpkin

Today was the last Farmer's Market of the year. I bought a few Jonathan apples, a couple pounds of fingerling potatoes and a blackberry pie. At the last one they set a table up for kids to pick a pumpkin and paint it, for free! Here is Parker's creation.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Recycle Art 1

I "finished" my first quilt in the recycle series. I put finished in quotes because I am going to wait to do the binding until I have completed the series or at a least a few more in the series. I'm not sure how I want to display these, individually or as a group. If it's as a group then I'd like them to be bound the same.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Story of the Star Bangled Banner

I went to my PEO meeting this morning. Our program theme for this year is music and today's program was about the Star Spangled Banner. The lady giving the program had us listen to the following clip she found on You Tube.

It is a little long - 11 minutes - but you won't be wasting your time. I knew the basic story from grade school but this will sure make me think about what I am singing from now on.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recycling and Playing

I've been a bit grumpy lately and I was trying to figure out why. I think that I haven't been getting enough playtime in my sewing room. So I have embarked on a new attitude adjustment program. I am going to take some advice I have read in a magazine and try to create one piece of art a week. In reality, it will probably be one piece of art every other week. That doesn't matter to me though. I figure that if I get to work on my "art" piece at least 15 minutes every day, I have been successful in my plan.

I put art in quotation marks because I'm not trying to create a masterpiece every week. My goal is to practice my design, color and composition skills along with practicing and trying out new techniques and materials. I started yesterday and this is what I've got going on so far.

The horizontal stripes were cut from one of my husbands old shirts that he no longer wants. The gold vertical stripe is from some fabric my mom gave me recently. I have no idea what the fabric content is, but it's not cotton. It is has some gold metallic threads in it and it frays easily. I am encouraging it to fray. I used some of the decorative stitches on my machine to sew down the horizontal stripes. On the middle one I even used two threads threaded through one needle on my machine. I'll take a detail shot of that later. I have learned that it is difficult to go around corners when doing a decorative stitch. I need more practice with that. I also think I should have cut the stripes from the shirt differently, leaving out the cream lines and circles in between the colored stripes - next time. I am thinking that I will do a series of these using this shirt.

Here's a picture of the shirt.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Windy Monday

This morning I went to sew at my local quilt shop, The Gray Goose. I just meet a few friends once a month and we work on whatever and visit. My husband likened it to old men meeting at the fillin' station or barber shop. I guess it is a bit like that. I worked on my cross stitch stocking ornaments. I've got eight done, four to go. Had to buy more red thread today though. I think I've used four skeins of it so far!

It is very windy here today. I washed sheets this morning and tried to hang them on the line. I didn't even get one sheet up. The wind was blowing so hard that the line was dancing, the sheet was being blown into me. It isn't that cold, but wet sheets in the wind are very cold. It took me about 2 minutes to realize this was not going to work out. My hands were hurting. Oh well.

Parker's friend, Jamie, is coming to our house after school today. Better go meet the bus.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Some photos of my scouts taken October 1st before their weekly den meeting. Parker is a Wolf this year, his second year in scouts. They are in the midst of the yearly popcorn sales event. Last year Parker did well, but didn't sell very much. It was his first year in scouts. By the time he got the forms the sale had been going on for about two weeks. Most folks we knew had already purchased from another scout. This year they started selling the very first day of the sale. So far he has filled up two order sheets (25 sales) and started on a third. As with most fund raisers like this, there are prizes given for sales and each level has nicer prizes. Parker set his sites on a telescope at the $1100 level. I didn't think he would even get close to that amount in sales, but he is currently at $965 with a week left to sell. He has worked very hard, selling almost every afternoon after school. I hope he makes it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

Yesterday I began preparations for teaching a tote bag class to my guild at this months meeting. To double check my cutting instructions I cut out pieces for two bags, one from home decorator fabric and one from regular quilting fabric. I searched my stash for some regular quilting fabric to use and look what I found.

What was I thinking!? After cutting out the bag parts, I still have almost 4 1/2 yards of this! I seem to remember purchasing 6 yards of this! Why, why why? I probably bought this 10 years ago. My tastes have changed since then. I guess I have backing fabric for my next couple charity quilts.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mystery Quilt, Part 1

Late yesterday afternoon I had about 45 minutes before dinner and I wanted to sew something. Looking around my messy sewing room, I spied my fabric for the mystery quilt my guild is doing. I had not yet made the blocks for last month and I don't even have the directions for this months block. (I missed the last guild meeting because I was in Nashville for Liesel's wedding) I looked at the directions for last months block and decided to start them. They are on the far left in the photo. I used all fabrics that I purchased in Nashville, mainly because they were on the top of my fabric stash for this quilt. The two bags of fabric in the picture are what I'm using.

The pattern called for a focus fabric, background fabric and two dark fabrics. I prefer scrappy quilts so I am using brown as my background, blue and green as my two darks, and the focus fabric is in the center of the Ohio Star blocks. It doesn't really show very well in the picture above but I will have more posts on this and next time I'll try to take better pictures. Following the pattern, the quilt will finish at large lap quilt size. I asked our Projects chairperson if the pattern could be expanded with more blocks to make it King size. She says yes, so this will end up being our new bed quilt for our new king size bed.

I've made three types of blocks thus far. There is a fourth block, handed out last month. I will get the directions next week and maybe I'll have time to put it together before this months meeting. We will be assembling our quilt tops after the guild meeting in November. I don't know if I will put my blocks together then or not since I am going to make it larger.