Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taos Architecture

This rusty old sconce is the last of my photos from our recent trip to Taos that I will share. There were several of these around the play area. I wonder what it looks like lit up at night?

I have been working on some sewing projects that I will share with you soon. My guild is going to be doing another block swap soon. We'll be doing a disappearing 9 patch (or tossed 9 patch), so I have made up a small charity quilt top to demonstrate what you can do with these blocks. I am also making a more planned version using Cub Scout and Boy Scout fabric that will be for Parker. My mom sent me a couple of quilt tops to quilt and then give to charity in addition to one that she wants back because she plans to give it as a gift.

I've also been asked to make a few more thread catchers to sell. A lady who came to our guild's demo day on National Quilting Day bought one and would like two more! I'll probably make three or four and just let her choose two from these.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Carved Column from Taos

Another inspirational architectural photo from Taos. I just love the woven look of this column.

I tried to post this earlier today but when I "uploaded" the photo there was nothing there. The upload window said it had uploaded the photo, but I couldn't see it. I've also had trouble occasionally with Blogger rotating my picture. It looks correct in the upload window, but when I put it into my post it's rotated 90 degrees. Weird!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Science Saturday - bridges

The activity yesterday at Science Saturday was popsicle stick bridges. First there was a discussion about bridges and how they are built. Then the kids were instructed to design their own bridge. It had to span at least 14 inches and could use at most 45 sticks. Parker and I started designing and came up with a "teepee" bridge design. The top view photo below may make the "teepee" idea a bit clearer. The popsicle sticks were hot glued together and then the joints were reinforced by drilling a small hole in the joint, adding a piece of broken paper clip, and adding more glue to hold the "metal pin" in place.

After the bridges were all constructed, they were tested. Two bridges were set up on stools 14 inches apart and weights were suspended from them. They kept adding weight until one of the bridges broke. Then another bridge was brought up, weight was added to get it up to the same weight as the first one, then the weight adding continued. Parker's bridge never broke! After all the other bridges broke they were going to try to break Parker's, but it slipped off the stools before it broke. So he got to bring it home. He didn't want to break his bridge anyway. Once he found out that they were going to try to break it, he didn't really want to make it, but he didn't want to leave either. I said he had to make a bridge or go home, so we made a bridge. And it all worked out for him.

By the way, Parker's bridge was the "last one standing" because triangles are stronger than squares. Most of the other bridges made were square or rectangular.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Painted Hibiscus

My first Paintstik project is finished. I bought myself a set of Paintstiks for my birthday and painted this that afternoon. I made a stencil using freezer paper and used the silver, a blue and a green to paint this on a piece of turquoise hand dyed fabric. The silver turned out more gray than I was hoping. Maybe the background is too dark or there isn't enough contrast. After painting it and letting it cure, I didn't know what I wanted to do next. So I did nothing for several weeks. In the end, I just hand stitched around the flower and leaves then echo quilted the design. I used one strand of DMC floss for the stitching. It turned out alright for a first project. I have a few ideas of things I'd like to try next. Not sure when I will get a chance to play with the Paintstiks again, but I'll post photos when I do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Laundry room painted - finally

I spent most of my day, up until now, painting my laundry room. It is done, everything is cleaned up and there is an hour left until Parker and his friend Jamie come home from school. I painted the high traffic areas first so that they would be dry by the time they get home.

I wasn't going to post today, because I was painting, but I read about this site on one of the blogs I follow. You must go over and check out these sheep made from telephones. Click on the image to enlarge them. These are fabulous and so creative, I think.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mystery Quilt Ready to be Quilted!

Above is a photo of my pieced back for my king size mystery quilt. It's so big that I can't really get a good picture of it! I've got to do a little stay-stitching around the edges at the seams, then it is off to my long arm quilter. I already have the binding made so I will be ready to just sew it on when it gets back from being quilted.

Parker and I tried a new recipe this week. He saw this on the container of Kraft Parmesan Cheese. It's called Easy Baked Parmesan Meatballs. I substituted dried basil for the parsley, because I like basil better and I didn't have any fresh or dried parsley. This recipe meets or exceeds all of my requirements: (1) I/we like it, (2) it is easy to make, and (3) makes enough for more than one meal. You could easily make up a couple batches of these and freeze them, either before or after cooking, to have on hand for a quick dinner, another plus in my book. We got 14 meatballs out of one recipe and Parker enjoyed making them. He had a bit of trouble mixing the ingredients together well without slopping raw meat on the counter, but with practice he will get the hang of it. I served these with angel hair pasta and Prego sauce, salad and bread.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Snow

Another spring snow storm is moving through our area. We got at least 6 inches of snow last night. As I write this morning, it is still snowing lightly. The forecast calls for another 4 to 6 inches today. We'll just have to wait and see what actually happens.

I always feel sorry for the birds when it snows.  These finches have been enjoying the sunflower seeds we put out for them this morning. I took these pictures from an upstairs window overlooking the feeder. I just love the colors of the little guy's back in the first photo!

Off to work today. These photos may be the only creative thing I get to do today. *sigh* Hope you get to be creative today!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Great Minds Think Alike

I made this little quilt about 2 years ago with left over fabric from another quilt and some great buttons. Yesterday on one of the blogs I follow, Ruthann posted about a little quilt she made also using left over fabric from a quilt and these same buttons. Click here to go the her blog and see her quilt.

I'll have to look and see if I have a photo of the quilt these fabrics are left over from. I made it for a baby quilt contest put on by Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine. I didn't win, but had a good time designing and making my quilt.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Carved Columns from Taos

One of the interesting things about going to Taos is the architecture. This column is in the play area behind the toy store Twirl. Here is a detail shot.

The carving reminds me of a traditional quilting pattern and some applique.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy National Quilting Day

My guild held a demonstration day today in honor of National Quilting Day. We had eleven demos, a boutique selling items made by guild members, door prizes and raffles tickets for sale for this years guild raffle quilt. I made these pin cushion/thread catchers for the boutique.

They all sold. I'm pretty tickled about that. I wish I had made more, but it is so hard to know what is going to sell on any given day. I didn't want to be stuck with a dozen of these.

Other exciting news - I won last weeks drawing from Pat Sloan's Radio Show! Click here to go to Pat's blog. Toward the top of the page on the left you can click on the link for her radio show, Creative Talk Radio. I'll be getting a book written by one of the guests on the show, Linda Poole.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Taos Architecture

This little window was in the wall dividing the two play areas in the playground behind the toy store Twirl in Taos. I just love these old shutters. The color combination is also a favorite. Below is a photo of the other side of this window. The iron work is great!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day Trip to Taos, Part 2

Here is Parker in front of the toy store, Twirl. If you go to Taos, just look for the duck. Then you will have found the toy store.

In the play area out back there are musical toys, mainly drums and these crazy xylophones. The xylophones have a surprisingly nice sound.

There are benches for parents to sit, a tree house and a large, nicely designed padded climbing area with a bouncy room, a slide and more. There are hoola hoops lying around to play with and little animals, like the duck, to sit on. As you can tell from the xylophone photos, it is shady area - a plus in my book.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day Trip to Taos

Yesterday we took a day trip to Taos, New Mexico. It is only an hour and a half drive from Alamosa, CO. I stopped in one of my favorite quilt stores, Taos Adobe Quilting. Above is a photo of what I bought. They sell lots of southwest style fabrics, have tons of the brights I like and feature fabrics designed by local artists. They also have a nice selection of Laurel Burch fabric and other merchandise - bags, mugs, this little wrist wallet/purse. While I shopped in the quilt store, Tony and Parker were at a toy store a few doors down from the quilt store. The name of the store is Twirl. They sell all sorts of interesting toys, have a koi pond inside the store and behind the store is an awesome (free) playground. Parker spent more time on the playground than he did in the store! I'll post a few photos of the play area another time. Lots of interesting architecture in Taos.

On the way home we stopped at the gorge bridge. There is a rest area on the west side of the bridge.

Tony and Parker walked out halfway across the bridge and dropped rocks into the river below. Boys! They see water and have to throw something in it!

I stayed at the rest area and took photos. It is always windy on the bridge. It was a sunny day but with the sun going down and the wind, it was getting cooler fast. With my new camera, I don't need to be very close to get good photos though!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finishing a UFO

I did the cross stitch parts in 1984!! (I was in high school)  I found them when I cleaned out my cross stitch stuff a little while ago. I thought they were too pretty to just leave in a box. So I satin stitched them onto a piece of wool, cut a backing piece of wool and blanket stitched around them to make them into ornaments. Originally I was going to turn them into sachet pillows. But then they would be in a drawer instead of a box.

These are finished after 26 years! I wonder what I planned to do with them when I started them?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quilt University Homework Assignment

This is the first little quilt I have completed as part of my Quilt University class, Playing with Lines and Shapes by Lily Kerns. The first assignment was to make a bunch of little sketches. There was a lot more to it than just drawing a bunch of sketches, but I think you should take the class if you want all the details. Part of the second assignment is to translate one of your sketches into fabric. Below is my original sketch. I enlarged it to standard paper size, printed it out and used it to make a pattern for the above quilt.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pottery Shapes Completed

Here is my finished Pottery Shapes piece. I am very happy with how it turned out. This started as an art group homework project. We got together and took photos of vases, bottles, baskets and anything we thought had an interesting shape. Then for homework we were to take two or three of these objects and arrange them so that they overlapped, but piece them so that you could still see the outline of the objects in the back. However, none of the objects we photographed appealed to me when it came time to actually make something. So I was a bad student and didn't do my homework.

A couple of weeks later I got a Sundance catalog in the mail. The middle pitcher in my pottery shapes piece was on the cover of the catalog. I thought it was such a nice shape and a cute pitcher. It came in creamy white and turquoise and green I think. I thought "this is such a nice pitcher maybe I should order one," until I saw the price - $90!! I realized that buying one was out of my budget, so I used it as inspiration for this piece. The other two vases were also from the catalog, but I don't think they were for sale. They were just props in a photo spread selling other objects.

I've been a busy bee while my boys are away skiing. They called about an hour ago and are going to spend another night. It snowed all day at the ski area. The roads are bad and my husband is tired, so they are just going to spend another night in a hotel and come back tomorrow. I miss them, but I really enjoy the peace and quiet in the house when I am home alone. Over the next couple of days I will be posting about all the things I was able to finish this weekend. No painting though. My back is a little better today, but still sore and I didn't want to risk overdoing it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thread Catchers

My guild is have a Quilt Demo Day at our next meeting, March 20th, which happens to also be National Quilting Day. If you are in the area and want to attend here are the details:

Monte Vista United Methodist Church, 215 Washington St. in Monte Vista, CO from 10 am until 2 pm. Members will be demonstrating various quilting and quilt related techniques. There will be quilts on display and a boutique selling member-made items.

I am thinking about making up a few more of these thread catchers to sell in the boutique. I made the one on the left months ago, maybe a year ago, but didn't finish it because I didn't have any sand for the pin cushion part. Recently I got some play sand and decided this morning to sew up the other one I had already cut out to see if this is something I could make up quickly. The jury is still out.

As I reported yesterday, Spring Break has begun here. In a surprise move, this morning my husband took Parker skiing. They will be skiing today, spending the night in a hotel near the ski area and skiing again tomorrow before returning home. So I have some unplanned time to myself! Woot! Woot! I don't know if I want to spend my free time making up these thread catchers or if I'd rather work on my Quilt University homework or if I should paint the laundry room or do something else. To add to the indecision, I was rearranging some more in my sewing room this morning and strained my back while setting a heavy basket of magazines in a hard-to-reach corner. Painting may not be a wise choice now, at least for today, but I really want this project done. I'm going to have a cup of tea and listen to a podcast before making a decision.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

Been perusing the Favorite Photos file again. This one was taken February 11, 2004 from the kitchen window of our house in Macon, GA (before we moved). This is Maggie sampling the "bird soup," one of her favorite drinks.

Today is the first day of Spring Break. It has been busy! I took Parker over to the Science Fair on campus this morning. He had a vision of what it was like that I knew was not accurate, so I wanted him to see reality. I'm not sure what he thought, but he seemed to enjoy looking at the projects after getting over his disappointment with reality. He was thinking it would be more like an invention fair where you could try out really cool things like an anti-gravity room. Then we went to Walmart, the grocery store, home to put away the groceries, back to the grocery store so Parker could buy something out of the trinket machine because he didn't have his money the first time, then to the paint store. We watched Stuart Little 3 (again!) this afternoon and now "mom needed a time out" so I'm hiding in my room. I have no idea what we are having for dinner.

Here's a funny story about Parker. We had our Parent/Teacher Conference on Tuesday. His teacher asked who Parker's new little friend is. She has been babysitting him during recesses and PE because Parker doesn't want him to get stepped on outside and she was just wondering who she was babysitting. It's Stuart! Luckily, his teacher appreciates Parker's imagination and goes along with it as long as it doesn't interfere with the workings of the classroom. I made a good choice and he should be in her class again next year.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Snow

We woke up to 3 or 4 inches of snow this morning. I had another busy day lined up but I managed to take a few photos before getting started on my day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pottery Shapes, Part 3

I'm still working on my pottery shapes piece. I really love the effect the hand stitching creates. I am using two strands of DMC floss on the shapes. I picked colors that closely match the fabric used. Since I cross stitch too, I have quite a stash of DMC floss. For the background I used three different variegated colors of 12 weight Sulky cotton. Here is a detail shot.

I still need to finish stitching the brown vase, the right most one. I'm not sure how I want to finish the edges, traditional binding, zig-zag stitch, pillowcase with another backing fabric and cover my stitches, ...

If you are interested in seeing the previous posts on this project, the "pottery shapes" category label will get you there.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Top Done

A few days ago I promised to post a photo of the completed top of my king size Mystery Quilt. Here it is. This is the best photo I could take today. It is snowing off and on so I couldn't hang it on the clothes line. It is so big I'm not even sure I could get a good picture using the clothes line! I need to add another 24 inch by 132 inch piece to my backing before I can take it to my long arm quilter. I planned to do that today but then decided that I wanted a box of wool from the very back of my sewing room closet. Now I've made a huge mess in my sewing room as a result.

I may decide to try to sell some of this wool. It was given to me about 3 years ago by the mother of a former neighbor. The wool belonged to my former neighbor's sister who was planning to use it to make suits for herself. Then she quit her job so she didn't need any more suits. I've got a very heavy jam-packed small moving box full of wool. I've realized that this is more wool than I could ever even plan to use in my life time! So I'm thinking about sorting it and selling some of it. I could use a little extra cash to offset the costs of my fabric addiction. I'm not sure how to sell it though. Maybe just a guild meetings or possible an Etsy shop.

Childhood Milestone

Yesterday Parker made his own lunch for the first time. Here's the story.
About 10:50 am Parker announces that he is starving and asks when's lunch. I say not for at least another half hour. He and his dad begin working on building Lego items for Stuart (yes, Stuart Little Weathers is still living with us). About 11:30 am I ask Parker what he would like for lunch. He says that he's not hungry now. I am, so I fix my lunch. Just as I am sitting down with my lunch at 11:45 am, Parker announces that he is starving. I say "Sorry, you'll have to wait until I finish my lunch before I fix yours unless you want to fix it yourself." Parker decides that he will fix it himself. Tony and I decide that we are going to let him, as long as it doesn't involve a sharp knife or other potentially dangerous items. (I make all the bread for our family so making a sandwich usually involves slicing the bread. The loaf was almost gone so Parker just used the heel which did not require slicing.) The photos are the result. He fixed himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with grapes and a glass of water.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Science Saturday

At Adams State College, where both my husband and I work, they have started a program called Science Saturday. It is geared towards school age kids from kindergarten to high school. The program has only been running for a few months and there hadn't been that many kids attending, until today. Over the past two weeks they have been doing quite a bit of advertising and today's topic - Lego Robots - drew a crowd. I'd guess about 30 kids and about 20 parents. They learned about robots in general - how they work, their limitations and strengths. Then the kids had the opportunity to program a Lego Robot, download the program into an actual robot and then watch your robot execute your program. It was fun, but chaotic.

In the photo below, Parker and Jamie are doing one of the introduction exercises. One person, Jamie, has a picture with a grid super imposed over it. He then has to tell the other person, Parker, 1 or 0, depending on whether or not the square has part of the picture inside it or not. Then Parker had to shade in the appropriate square. They didn't get very far. Time was short for the exercise which caused Parker to get quite frustrated. But he really enjoyed getting to program a real robot.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Another Favorite Photo

This photo was taken October 6, 2006 in our backyard. Yes, I've been looking through my Favorite Photos file again. A friend came yesterday and purchased most of the largest baby items I had to part with. Getting a little money for these things makes parting with them a bit easier. I bought a couple of plastic bins to store the few items we are keeping. Mainly some books and a few cute plate sets and baby spoons.

On the quilting front: I've finished the top of my king size mystery quilt and stay stitched around the edges for my long arm quilter. A photo will be coming soon. I've also already made the binding. I am working on the backing, just sewing together the largest left-over pieces from the front. This quilt is killing my neck and left shoulder. It is so heavy! The top is heavy. The back is heavy and getting heavier because I'm not done with it yet. I can't tell you how many times I've been sewing and suddenly realized that the quilt is not moving under the needle anymore because my chair has rolled onto it and it's stuck!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day

Look what my sweet husband got me for Valentine's Day. It arrived today. I don't know when he ordered it, but it is here now and "it's the thought that counts." And do you see the little orange sticker on the left side with the big $20 on it? That is a rebate offer. So I can get $20 back!! I think that $20 may have to just go into my fabric cash stash, don't you. I haven't even had time to open it yet.

Despite having to go to work today, and despite vacuuming the whole house, I managed to get the final four remaining borders sewn onto my king size Mystery Quilt. I've got to stay stitch around the edges since the final border is pieced. Once I get all this baby stuff out of my house, which will hopefully be happening tomorrow, I'll lay it out again and take a picture to post. I hope to get the backing made soon and get this thing off to my long arm quilter. I wonder how long it will take me to sew the binding on? I don't think I'll keep track.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cross-Stitch Ornaments

A photo of my first cross stitch snowflake stocking pattern. I've designed another one that I am currently working on. I had my fasting blood draw this morning and just played in my sewing room while listening to podcasts the rest of the day. I mainly continued straightening up and cleaning in the sewing room but did do a little piecing on the remaining borders for my king size mystery quilt. I did make a short trip to the Gray Goose (my LQS) for some retail therapy after this mornings "trama." I bought a nice fat quarter bundle and have them ordering a hinged mirror thing that I need for my Quilt University class. I'm installing my EQ software and plan to play with it some this evening.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do you EQ?

I've already posted once today but just had to share my exciting news.

I bought EQ5 all most 2 years ago. It took me a little while to get started with it but once I did I was enjoying it. I hadn't really designed anything yet, mainly just done some of the exercises and played around. Then I started have computer problems, unrelated to EQ. My husband decided we should wipe my hard drive and reinstall everything so I copied all my important files onto an external hard drive and then turned over my computer to my husband so he could do his thing. I didn't copy my EQ because I had the disc, so I could just reinstall it after everything was cleaned up. BUT ... then I couldn't find the disc! Grrrr! I've been looking for this disc for over a year. I found the Design Cookbook and Getting Started book, but no disc. Until this morning! I was doing a bit of cleaning of my bookcase in the sewing room. In the process of straightening up the books, the disc just fell into my lap! I have looked for it before on the bookcase, but I guess it had gotten shoved to the back so wasn't easily visible. Anyway, now I can EQ again! Might even have to upgrade to EQ6. (By the way, the hard drive wipe worked for a short time but the computer was 6 years old and I ended up getting a new one this past November)

Doctor appointment followup: I had a good check up but do have to go get a fasting blood draw in the morning. As my reward for doing this thing I really hate doing, I've signed myself up for a class at Quilt University. I'm taking Playing with Lines and Shapes. If you are so inclined, join me. I've done the free sampler class on borders and am looking forward to trying out a "real" class.

Baby Quilt Done!

I had hoped to get this in the mail today but the USPS website is having "issues" right now and I am unable to print out postage. I'll try again later, but this means that it won't get mailed until tomorrow. Oh well, it's done! I really like how the back turned out and the front is pretty cute too.

On the home front: I'm killing time before I have to go to a doctor's appointment - just an annual check up. I'm not expecting any surprises but it does cut into my sewing time. I'll take something to work on though. I'll probably have to go get blood work done tomorrow morning. However, my new plan is to reward myself by making and going to all these yucky appointments. I've already got my "prize" for today's appointment, but blood work will definitely warrant getting to purchase a goody.