Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 UFO Challenge–#5 Done ! ! ! !

For Judy’s 2012 UFO Challenge, #5 was chosen for January.  It was a worry for me because even though the quilt was made, it was at the long-arm quilter (Country Threads in Garner Iowa) and I didn’t know if I would get it back before the end of January.  BUT, it came today!!!!  I immediately dropped everything I was doing, sewed on the binding, and hand sewed the binding to the back.  Here it is….

UFO #5 001

It is a small quilt, made from a charm pack called Cherish Nature (don’t know the manufacturer – I bought it long ago).

Here is a close-up of the quilting.

UFO #5 002

And here is the pieced back.

UFO #5 003

I think it looks nice on my entry dividing wall.

UFO #5 004

Now I am excited to see what number Judy draws for February.

My niece, Becky, got her #5 done also. Go take a look – Mustard


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Design Wall Too Small

How big is your design wall?  I thought mine was pretty decent sized, but in laying out the rows of blocks for my cousin’s quilt, there are three blocks falling off each end of the board.


That doesn’t work too well when deciding the arrangement of the rows.  So my solution was to lay all the rows out on my queen-sized bed.


Putting numbers on each row will keep everything straight as I add sashing and sew it all together.


Still a lot of sewing ahead of me, but once it is all organized, I feel better able to tackle the assembly.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Bee Group at my house tonight

The chocolate cake I made yesterday was for the Bee Group that came to my house tonight.  Here is a picture-heavy blog-post of our Show-N-Tell.

 Wonderful red and white combination.Bee 001

We all agreed that the wide rick rack adds the wow factor to this quilt.Bee 002

Seed packets for the gardener.Bee 003

A Christmas wooly block of the month.Bee 004

This quilt has some wonderful soft fuzzy blocks, and….Bee 005

I just love the backing fabric.Bee 006

Simply spectacular!!!!!Bee 007

An almost-finished table runner with great fabric.Bee 009

And a broom wall hanging for the kitchen door – so adorable.Bee 011

And lastly a colorful charity quilt.Bee 013

The cake was very good, but there is a lot left over.  It’s January and quite a number of the ladies were skipping the extra calories!


Sunday, January 22, 2012


Do you make a mess when you bake?  I do.  Oh my.  I get flour all over the kitchen and all over me.  I try to be careful, but flour seems to fly and chocolate seems to splatter.  There must be at least a fourth of a cup of flour spilled around the mixer.

baking cake 001

Multiple bowls, spatulas and spoons are needed for one cake.

baking cake 002

But the result was amazing.

baking cake 003

This Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake is cooling and will be sprinkled with powdered sugar and served to my Bee group tomorrow night.  I hope it tastes as good as it smells.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Snowy Day

What does a retired woman do on a snowy day?  EVERYTHING.
I sewed on my cousin’s quilt -
snowy day 001
But I didn’t do the ironing yet of those sewn rows.
snowy day 002
There was some knitting accomplished -
snowy day 003
And some Kindle reading -
snowy day 004
And a little stitching -
snowy day 005
Some periodic checking out the front door to see how much snow had accumulated on my driveway -
snowy day 008
And now I’m going to start making some blueberry muffins for a church dinner on Sunday -
snowy day 009
I did sneak out for lunch with my good friend, Brenda, to celebrate her birthday.
When I get to stay home, I really don’t mind the snow at all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Cold Saturday

It was a cold Saturday today – a good day to stay home and work on projects.  While listening to my favorite NPR Saturday morning programs, I finished this simple knitted scarf.

Jan 14 002

Although it does not show up in the picture, there is a nice forest green in the yarn that will match my green ultra-suede jacket.  I think I will wear it tomorrow to church.


Also on my agenda for the day was to continue cutting sashing strips for my cousin’s quilt.  Since cutting can get tedious, I began some sewing of the strips and rows.

Jan 14 005

It’s beginning to look pretty good up on the design wall.  In order to be sure the width would be about right, I laid the sewn rows on my guest bed.  With a border added, I think this will be just right.

Jan 14 004


I also worked on another knitting project that has been in my knitting bag for years and years and years.  There was a dropped stitch that I needed to fix, and while holding my breath, I carefully grabbed the dropped stitch with a crochet hook and worked it up the ladder of knitting to the current row.  It is the first time I have ever managed to fix a major mistake like that.  My wonderful Aunt Betty (the knitting Queen) is looking down from heaven and applauding. 


Now it is time to go to the kitchen and make a batch of beer bread muffins.  Yum. 

I’m very grateful for this cold Saturday at home.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day

Yes, it finally snowed here in the northwest suburban area of Chicago.  This is looking out the screen of my back porch.

MB start quilt 007

There was a lot more cutting of fabric today in my Quilt Studio.  Last night my niece spent the evening with me, using the AccuQuilt Go Cutter to cut tumblers.  While she cut, I put a sampling of squares for my cousin’s quilts up on the design wall.  We both agreed that there was too much green and not enough of the gold and red.  She helped me pick out some fabrics from my stash and today I cut more squares.

MB start quilt 001

There are gold, green, red and three fabrics that combine the red and gold.

Up on the design wall they are getting closer to the look I want – and I threw in a row of sashing to see how that will look.

MB start quilt 006

The picture is a little fuzzy and the colors are not true, but I’m starting to be happy with the fabric choices.  Maybe tonight I can get a row all complete.  First I have to cut a lot of 2-1/2 inch strips for the sashing.


I also cut out some squares of muslin and batting to make “sandwiches” for machine quilting practice.  Although I will never try to quilt bed quilts on my domestic machine, it would be nice to be more proficient at machine quilting for doing small quilts.  The experts keep saying “practice, practice, practice.” 

MB start quilt 004


When I got tired of standing at the cutting table, I took breaks to knit a few rows on various knitting projects.

MB start quilt 005


My niece and I talked for hours about all of our projects - unfinished, in process, next, and dreamed about.  It is impossible to be bored when you quilt, knit and/or stitch.

How fortunate I am to be able to stay home on a snowy day and work on my projects!


Monday, January 9, 2012

One Shop Hop

My friend Liz and I went on a Shop Hop today to one quilt shop.  It was south of where we live, but worth the little trip.  I bought two fabrics that I think will look good in the quilts I am making for my cousin.

more MB fabric 001

I really love the sunflower fabric and the green fabric looks a little blue in the picture, but it is true green.  Both are luscious batiks.  That is all that I bought so I managed to spend less than $20.00.  I do believe that is a record for me!


Friday, January 6, 2012


After a busy morning on the phone, answering emails, and doing some accounting work for my church, I decided to spent the afternoon stitching.

I had moved my stitching chair (the red one I keep moving from room to room) back to the living room and I planned to stitch and listen to a book on my iPod.

First, I needed to get a load of dirty clothes into the washer

Then I went to the counter in the Quilt Studio to grab my iPod player. It wasn’t there. Ok, where did I put it? I’m very good at being tidy and too often put things away,  proceeding to forget my hiding spot. I opened every drawer and cabinet in the entire Quilt Studio and basement storage areas. I finally gave up and decided I would just have to use the ear buds.

iPod 002

In my kitchen is this Martha Washington cabinet. Lo and behold, the iPod player was in the side bin. When on earth did I put it there and WHY? I have never used the iPod player upstairs, so why would it have been stored in the kitchen? So weird.

iPod 003

Into the living room I went with my little iPod player. I decided I better set the clock on it so that I would know what time it was while I was stitching. There is a law, I believe, that every electronic devise must have a completely different way of setting the clock than any other device. This little device had me baffled. So I went looking for the instructions. Fortunately I had put the instruction book with the iPod player in the cabinet. Sometimes I do learn my lessons. The first direction was to turn the power off. Huh? Turn the power off? What – unplug it? On further reading I discovered they were referring to the power on the remote. Hmmmm. I forgot there was a remote. It was in the very bottom of the cabinet bin.

iPod 004

With the time set, I settled back in my chair, turned on the iPod to the book I had been listening to in the car, and figured out where I was on the stitching chart. I got my needle threaded and was just about to begin stitching when I realized that the book reading was winding down to the end of the book. Sure enough, the reader ended the sentence and then there was silence. “Epilogue”, she said next, and read for another five minutes or so.

iPod 005

Grabbing the iPod, I went to my computer to find an audible book on my Wish List to download. I chose one quickly and downloaded it – no problem. Then ITunes said I wasn’t authorized and asked for a password. Do you have about 600 passwords like I do? Of course I had to look it up and when I put it in it didn’t work. I re-typed it and iTunes informed me that it was again wrong. Errrrrrrgh. I pushed the button to have them send me my password and waited for the promised email. Nothing. I looked at my passwords again and it suddenly dawned on me that I was using the Audible password and not the iTunes password. Duh. Once I used the password for the right program, it all worked and the book was now residing on my iPod.

At that point, the washer buzzer buzzed. I ran downstairs, put the wet clothes in the dryer and started another washer load.  As I passed through the Quilt Studio, I spotted the fabric I cut the other day for my cousins quilt.  Nice to see it all organized and almost ready for sewing.

iPod 001

Back upstairs I made myself comfortable in my red stitching chair and began to stitch while listening to a new book. Ahhhh. So nice. Too soon the washer buzzer buzzed again.

By the time I got the dry clothes either folded or on hangers and put away, and also got the next load in the dryer, there was an email that needed attention and of course I then got distracted by new blog updates. Too soon it was time for dinner. A whole afternoon to stitch and I got only two lengths of thread stitched.

There are just too many distractions at home to get much done. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I’m retired but I truly think I got more done when I was working full-time!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Last puzzles for 2011

Jigsaw puzzles can consume my attention for hours on end.  In order to get anything done in my life, I have to avoid jigsaw puzzles as much as I can.  However, I do allow myself to enjoy them during the holidays.  Tonight I finished up the last puzzle for this holiday season. 

last puzzles 2011 006


And Saturday I finished up this puzzle.

last puzzles 2011 002

There is one more puzzle in the animal series as it was part of a box of  five puzzles.

last puzzles 2011 003The one I haven’t done is the tiger and I will not be doing it anytime soon.  It is time to get back to my quilting projects.

Fortunately I am puzzled out and eager to work at the cutting table and sewing machine.  I’m making no promises about how much or what I will get done in 2012 but I hope to do enough that I need to post to this blog more often.