Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Long Time No Blog

It's been so long since I posted..... just so much going on, not the least of which was computer issues. Our USB port died a slow death, so for awhile it was working intermittently. That's pretty frustrating when you're trying to print or upload pictures and it changes its mind!! It's officially dead now, so I've got all my peripherals (the essential printer and camera, anyway) plugged into the back of the computer until DH gets a new hub and restores my work area to some semblance of order.

And all the while I've been working like crazy at the bookstore as Holiday sales are picking up, working at the Farm (bookkeeping), sewing things and getting ready for a December 6 boutique, and in between..... SLEEPING. That's been my life for the last week. I hope to get some pictures of some of the cute (I think) aprons and things I'm accumulating for the boutique so I can share them here.

In the meantime, here is a picture of one of the two identical Christmas Crackers I made for the Crazy Quilting International 2008 Christmas Cracker swap. The fabric is a home dec taffeta I purchased at a local Home Fabric store. Inside is a 7" tube (recycled paper towel roll) filled with "goodies" for my two recipients. The "goodies" include fabric, laces and trims, and the like (don't want to give too much away here in case Hideko or Donna read this blog!). They have to wait until Christmas to open them!

Also, I had a request from a CQI friend to show the fabric I used to make the "dahlia" on my Harvest pillow (posted here). This was a piece of fabric given to me by my friend Gerry (olderrose). I should've included something to show scale, but since I didn't, the piece you see is maybe 6-8" across.

Must get back to sewing. Will post some pictures in a couple days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Harvest Challenge Block

Last May, Evening Star Designs announced a Harvest Challenge contest. Carolyn put together a remarkable kit of harvest fabrics, trims and beads. The purchase of this kit was the entry fee to the contest. The original deadline was October 6, and my piece (a pillow, or cushion) was completed for that date --- BARELY! LOL. When I found out that the contest deadline was extended to November 6, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was able to work some minor changes and additions, with creative input from a special friend.

Anyway, I've waited for a week now, and I'm dying to know the results. However, I had an epiphany this morning and decided I don't mind not knowing..... no matter how my piece does, I'm very happy with it. It was one of the most rewarding projects I've ever worked on.

I started it before my DH got really sick in September, and worked on it in the ER, his hospital room, when he got home and was asleep, while in the waiting room at the doctor's office, and when he was home, recovered and in fine form enough to tease me that I should add some "bluetonium" to it (his terms for blue plastic beads, ggggggggggg) !!

This is the completed pillow, which measures 15 x 15".

One of my very favorite features was this large motif that I fussy-cut from the black print fabric that was provided. The motif was not whole, so I placed it along the left side where it would line up with the edge of the pillow. Once it was appliqued on, I began beading it. Each leaf is outlined in gold seed and then black hex beads. There are spots beaded here and there on the interior of the design as well. I also added the requisite spider web (with no inhabitant!) in that area.

The spider web is connected to vines that sort of "grow" out of the leafy green fabric. This fabric was one that I added to the mix and is a favorite of mine for autumn blocks (I used it in my November 2002 block that was in the Quilting Arts 2002 calendar). I used silk ribbon to embroider more leaves and sort of carry the pattern over the lower seam line.

This central area contains a mass of flowers in different shapes and colors. The yellow crocheted one is a vintage motif cut from a doiley. The red "dahlia" I explained about in an earlier post here. Other flowers are ribbon roses, folded flowers, yo-yos. Leaves are various ribbon and SRE treatments, as well as more beaded leaf motifs from the provided print fabric.

This is a close-up of the lower right quadrant. The fibers and beads and ribbon were required elements. The lace and buttons on it are vintage from my collection. I don't know if you can see, but I did make some stumpwork "berries" to embellish another piece of that gorgeous black print fabric.

Finally, here is the lower left quadrant. I blogged about the squirrel and wheat in the link above, and the felted pumpkin here. I learned several new things in working on this pillow, which I guess is always part of the fun and challenge. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Unique Contest

Near the beginning of my blogging life (that would be earlier this year), I posted a picture that evoked a comment from Dana of Unique Christening Gowns in Australia. We've kept up with each other's postings over the months. Dana sews the most gorgeous christening/baptismal gowns and blogs the process. As crazy quilters, art quilters, fiber or mixed media artists, or whatever, most of us love to see each others' works. We draw inspiration from the ideas of others and appreciate the work and talent that goes into our own chosen medium(s). I can promise that you'll feel the same way about Dana's gowns.

Check out Dana's blog at
She is having a christening gown giveaway. The winner will pay shipping charges, which is only fair, but it is noteworthy. The gowns, however, are to die for, so WHAT A DEAL!. The picture above (posted with permission) shows one of her many lovely creations. Go check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun Weekend

On Sunday, my DS Ryan (age 30) and his fiance Kim came over with the family for dinner. Kim's two children Easton (10) and Lauren (4) will soon be our "grands"!! Joining us for dinner were Kim's two (adopted) sisters, Carly (10) and Caitlyn (12).

I was ready to entertain the kids, and we made snowmen from empty (and clean) creamer bottles. There were markers, sequins and buttons, fabrics (for scarves) and a few other things for them to use as decorations. This was a good activity last summer when I was the arts & crafts counselor at Wheeler Farm's summer camp (we studied holidays one week and did this for our Christmas craft).

Here are Lauren and Caitlyn (front) and Carly and Easton in back.

We ate dinner, and then the kids drew and colored pictures, then played dress-up with the big box of fabrics and costumes I've accumulated over the last year. Kim brought me a large plastic bag (the zippered kind that beadspreads come in) full of fabric samples that her employer was going to throw away. She works as a decorator/display designer for R.C. Willey Co., where my son Ryan is an electronics salesman (that's how they met). WOW. Most of these are gorgeous and good weights for crazy quilting or pillow backs. It was like an early Christmas!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chili Recipe - REALLY Different!

My friend Karen South shared her chili recipe several days ago, and has invited us to share our own recipes and link back to her. I've seen several others posting their recipes, and this has become a fun thing for many of us. So, I thought I'd join the fun. And it HAS been fun whipping up my recipe for you.....

I am not (and have never been) a fan of chili. My most vivid chili memory is the time I was 7 years old and Mom served chili for dinner. I hated it and could not eat it. But Mom was determined that I would, so a battle of wills ensued. I was not allowed to leave the table until my bowl of chili was done. I tried. I gagged. I sat there until bedtime without eating it. I WON!! I went to bed hungry, but Mom never tried to get me to eat it again.

Unfortunately, there are other poor souls in my life (DH comes to mind), who enjoy chili. Not wanting to deprive them of their somewhat questionable choice of food, I have come up with a tried-and-true chili recipe for those of us who live with Chili People. It’s worth every step.

(an original recipe by Cathy Kizerian)

  1. Put shoes on.
  2. Grab purse and keys.
  3. Trip over cat as you head for the door.
  4. Get in car and carefully back out of the driveway.
  5. Head toward main thoroughfare a block away. Stop at corner and signal for left turn.
  6. Wait while everyone south of the Canadian border decides they need to get home via this street, blocking your left turn.
  7. When a reasonable clearing appears, shoot the gap!
  8. Refrain from flipping the bird to the guy on the cell phone who just honked at you.
  9. Drive to Del Taco.
  10. Get in drive-through and order 3 Chicken Soft Tacos.
  11. Retrieve necessary change from wallet. And console. And under the seat.
  12. Grab tacos, pay and leave, grateful they won’t remember you tomorrow.
  13. Return home by retracing your route.
  14. Park car and grab tacos and purse.
  15. In the house, watch out for cats underfoot.
  16. Trip on shoelaces.
  17. Open cupboard and grab a can of Hormel Chili.
  18. Slop it into bowl and nuke it for 2 minutes.
  19. Call DH in for dinner and set bowl of chili in front of him.
  20. Enjoy your own Chicken Soft Tacos!

CQ Block for Breast Cancer Quilt

OK, so this block was due to dear Leslie by the end of October. My excuse for my tardiness??? Um.... let's see... how about.... we all need more fashion in our lives and it's fashionable to be late. NO?? Well, the truth is that I just couldn't get motivated. There, I said it. I'm currently in a cream on cream RR, and I've had a ball with that. But I pieced this block WHITE instead of cream, and that really made a difference to me. I just don't like plain white. Lesson learned. So, I'm not really pleased with the block, but for better or for worse, here it is.....

And here is a close-up of the stuff going on in the center:

Leslie has done a marvelous job of coordinating volunteers this year to make these blocks. She is putting together a large center block, and will take the donated blocks (probably totaling over 3 dozen by now) and join them into a large quilt. These blocks have all been made from bridal fabrics. The quilt will have a hearts theme, and once completed will be donated in order to be auctioned off. The proceeds will go to breast cancer research. A great cause!