Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Morning---Back to work, but I wanted to catch up from the holiday. I had a great time with four days off. Thanksgiving was fun. Enjoyed food and family. It fun seeing your kids grow up. Chelsey manages to juggle school, work, and a social life better than anyone I’ve seen. She’s toting A’s as far as grades go. Don and I sit back in amazement--- why couldn’t she do this last year? I guess everyone has to find the path. She babysat Saturday night. She was rocking one of the kids and the chair backed into a shelf. A birdhouse fell and she covered the kid, but now she’s got a heck of a black eye.

“Eric—how does it look?”
“Chels, you won’t even be able to tell after you get make up on…”
“Eric--- I have make-up on.”

Friday – Ransom and I threw out the pumpkins, gourds, and fall leaves. Deer food for the forest. I swapped out quilts, tucking away the pumpkin ones and bringing out others. Eric walks in the house—“Mom, your having fun.” Usually, after I make a quilt, I’m sick of it. But if I put it away for a while, take a break, I find a friendship with it after all. And when you bring out old quilts it truly is like finding old friends all over again. Eric will sit and let me go on and on about the squares, the fabric, what I’m going to do with the quilt----Man, I like that kid. Even if he’s not interested, he does a great job at faking it. He’ll be home for a month in two weeks.

I machine quilted the Bear Family quilt Saturday Night. It was almost a “family" project getting it loaded. I understand why quilters say they load a quilt one day and quilt it the next. I didn’t have any backing to coordinate, so I had to go to Wal-Mart--- my only local choice. The fabric wasn’t square and didn’t pull right. I hope I haven’t made a bad mistake. I’m washing it with Baby soap before I give it away just in case.

And I’ve almost quilted another block on the Primitive Garden. Here’s a “wrinkled” snapshot. I’m getting better--- the legs are even part of the single piece of the crow. I never quit trying.

I’m headed to Louisiana to visit my folks on Wednesday for four days. I’ll get a lot of one on one with my mom and we’ll decorate her tree. It’ll be fun. If we don’t chat again, take care.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I’m not even a “purple” person, but I’ve been holding onto these fabrics for a week. Contemplating a couple of Christmas gifts, I think I’m going to put these to good use this weekend.

Eric made it home safely. Due to an “issue” with his laundry card, he brought home a ton of dirty laundry to share. I just laughed. The turkey’s thawing. The menu’s planned. We’re not having out of town family. It’ll just be the four of us. But don’t feel bad for us. We have great holidays with just the four of us. Everyone helps cook the meal. Board games are played. Snacks and cheese and sausage trays are a definite. We’re not worried about protocol and the clothes we’re wearing. It’s fun. I have great thanksgiving memories with just the four of us.

The faces have been embroidered on the bears. I was nervous about doing it---not wanting to mess up the quilt, but I’m pleased. I even got the buttons on the night gowns.
I did some mending and played with the Primitive Garden blocks a little last night waiting on Eric.

It’s been overcast all week, snow showers that melt by daylight every day. We’ll have snow soon enough.

I guess it’s only fitting to pause and count our blessings this time of year. I’m grateful for—
My faith
My family
My job
My quilting--- It has opened doors in finding friends. Quilting has given me something constructive to do with ‘free time’. It has allowed me give and share with others…an incredibly good feeling. On the other side, Quilters have shared so many wonderful things with me. Quilting has given me an appreciation for quilters both past and present and their talents in creating beauty from squares of cloth.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

An outstanding weekend – I left work at 2:00 pm on Friday and knocked out most of the housework for the weekend. Childless, Don and I grilled steaks and caught up from the week. I walked into my sewing room late Friday night, going to start organizing and moving fabric into my cabinet. I looked on the counter and the Teddy bear quilt was all over the counter. I can’t stand wasting, and leaving “unfinished business”. I studied it a second and took the seam ripper to it. Starting back at ground zero, I went to work on it. Remember here is the pattern.
I explained in an earlier post how the family that was to receive this quilt had four kids.
I remember as a kid, if there wasn’t an even number of everything my brother and I fought about it. All the way down to characters on a cereal box… I didn’t want anyone left out so ---enter stage left--- the Polar Bear. Well, Tracey left a comment about how she could incorporate the quilt into her crew of kids---All I kept thinking was, “ Come on Tracey… you are from Australia, you HAVE to have a Koala Bear!!!”
I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I ditched the calico bear studied pictures of Koala bears and so, this is what is what my Bear Family Quilt looks like. I still have to embroider the mouths on the faces and the toes on the bear paw.
I’m pretty pleased. I’ll, hopefully, get it stretched and quilted in the next week. I’m thinking I’ll outline quilt the bears and then a soft meander on the patchwork. Hey, this was a stash buster. I pulled pieces from my stash. The only thing I purchased was the fleece for the Koala bear. The pattern talked about using textured fabrics and how kids would love it. I have cotton, fleece and wool pieces. I kicked around fake fur, but I worried it wouldn't wash well, and I'm counting on this piece getting lots of love and needing tons of washings....

Saturday afternoon Don and I made a pot of coffee and listening to the High school semi final ball game. Not being able to just “sit and listen”, I traced, cut and even ironed down the pieces on that Primitive garden block and I’m ready to plow into it on nights when I too tired to do anything else. Our kids lost, but put up a heck of a fight down to the fourth quarter.

Packers won, and Don and I started the ‘Winter Workout’ routine. I think it’s going to be a good week….

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nothing like pumping $3.26/gallon gasoline at 5:45 am in 28 degree weather to get you good and woken up early in the morning--- Yuck!! But that’s what I’ll be doing in about 10 minutes.

It should be quiet today with deer hunting/firearm season in full swing. It sleeted some yesterday evening but Ransom and I got our last run in for two weeks until the season closes.

Here is the next Primitive garden block.
They call it the sap bucket. If I counted correctly it’s 42 pieces of appliqué. Lots better that the 102 of the watering can. I love the colors.

Chelsey’s heading downstate to the semi-final high school football game. This one is an overnighter, so Don and I have a weekend to ourselves again. He’s on call, but still I should get lots done.

My new icemaker—the other one died…
Lavender & vanilla fabric softener

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Check if off ---- another Primitive Garden Block completed. I was ready for “burnout” to kick in, but before this block was ironed or squared up, and I went down in my sewing basket deciding which block to start on next. Tomorrow I’ll have a photo of it. I do think every block should be as easy as this one. The next block has 42 pieces—if I counted correctly.

The weather for the past 3 days has been in the Mid 50’s every day. Winters are so long we’ll take every day of this we can get. The 15th is opening day of shotgun deer season. That means Ransom and I have to tuck away for two weeks. It’s not safe to be in the woods. I almost hit a Buck on the way to work yesterday, so there should be a bumper crop.

Friday night Don and I went to see American Gangster. We stopped for ‘Takeout’ on the way home and as we headed up our road, there was a huge Black Bear strolling down the middle of the road. He moved over to let us by—Wish I had my camera… it was a sight.

I won’t be quilting again until Thursday. I’ve got work on my Sunday Class tonight to do and Church tomorrow night. I’ve got to get our turkey for Thanksgiving this week. Don laughs at Chelsey. No one is really crazy about turkey, so I suggested Chicken or Ham. But Chelsey declared that we WOULD have turkey… doesn’t matter if we like it or not. It’s what you do on Thanksgiving…” Don laughed. “Mel, she’s just like you….”

I’m OK with that…

Emailing Friends
Talking with Eric
Apples for snack

Friday, November 09, 2007

If I can make it through the day I’m looking at the weekend… at last. Wednesday I drove 9 hours (4.5 each way) to pick up Chelsey from her leadership conference. Pretty proud of myself. I’ve never driven that far or that long. Yeah, I know, I’ve led a sheltered life. Chelsey and I laughed and relived her week all the way home. I knew I was pretty far north when I started picking up Canadian radio stations…When then said the High temp for tomorrow was between 2 and 3 and the low was –1…I stopped and thought---I didn’t know it was supposed to get that cold, and then it clicked…Celsius… yeah, I know… more of that really sheltered life thing….

I was beat last night. I would have done some handwork, but didn’t have anything ready to go. So that’s what I did. I knew I had no business being behind my sewing machine, so I traced, cut out, and ironed my next BOM piece. I even stabilized the background with interfacing and sewed on the muslin strips for extra room. So next time “I’m tired”, I’ll have entertainment.

This isn’t a gift to me--- this is a 9-1-1 gift that I felt a mandatory obligation to ship out earlier this week. I sent this to a friend who has never read one of Jennifer Chiaverini’s books. She said she’s not even much of a reader. But I guess I’m no different than a drug pusher… because I intend on getting her hooked. She’s crazy about quilting and loves fabric more than I (if that’s possible). She’s going love the books, I just know it…

On Wednesday when I was headed to get Chelsey---she started panicking that I wouldn’t get there on time. Don was supposed to pick her up, but work was too demanding. So, I left and hour earlier that I felt I needed to “just to make sure”. Of course, I got there, an Hour too soon. I called Don to let him know I made it (cell phones are wonderful), He says, “You’ve got time to go to a quilt shop--- did you get one picked out?” I had been so wired about the distance—I hadn’t even thought about fun. “No, I didn’t have time…” so Don comes to the rescue… “ I’ll Google it…” So from his desk, he finds me a shop and tells me how to get there… What a guy. I’m going to remember this… At least for the next 3 or 4 times he aggravates me---he gets a get out of jail free pass--- you can’t be mad at a guy who would do that for you….

I went to the Quilted Moose, It was a small shop, but the lady was incredibly friendly. And I even stumbled across a Joann’s Fabric store too. Here are my souvenirs from the trip.

Is it fate--- just maybe….After a tough day at work yesterday, I headed to the grocery store. With the time change, it’s getting dark really early and I wanted to get home to run Ransom. Of course… I had to practically park in the next county--- everyone needed groceries the same time I did. But because of that, I had to walk right by our local bookstore and I got the last copy of this….

I could have got it cheaper on-line, I know, but somehow it made the long lines at the grocery store a little easier. It was destiny. I was meant to have this book.

I think I’m looking toward a great weekend…a road trip, some quilting and a good book….

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It’s a good morning. We’re having a frightful windstorm, but it could be worse. They were forecasting 6-8 inches of heavy snow. So in the grand scheme of things, I think we lucked out. When I got home from work yesterday, Ransom and I made a dash around the yards and threw out the remaining geraniums, pulled up the garden spikes and brought my scarecrow in. We held onto summer as long as possible. We’re now officially tucked in for winter.

I've made a friend. She doesn't have a web journal, but contacted me through mine. We've been swapping quilting stories and photos back and forth. Last Wednesday Don brought this package of goodies in from the mail box. It was wrapped in brown paper with fabric leaves ironed on it. I wish I had taken a photo of the box. I was just so excited, I was like a little kid and forgot to. There was a bag of buttons-- I have a thing for tree buttons, three fat quarters. Note paper, a small journal, a quilt pattern and this darling scarecrow that is on my television right now. For all the good, bad, and ugly on the internet, I'd never have met her without it.

These postcards are going in the mail today. I take no credit for originality. There are so many cute designs out there on everyone's journals. I'm sure I was inspired by others. You see a darling design, you just want to build on it.With a postcard, you just want to share it with someone else. I
think I started out with nine. I worked on them last week on an old machine. I was tired before I started. There was poor lighting where I worked. I brought them upstairs and looked at them--- a total mess. The margins were incredibly off; the zigzag stitch was skipping points… I literally chunked them in the trash and went to bed. I have so little time to sew--- the projects could at least cooperate and turn out decently!!! After a good night’s rest, my old faithful seam ripper and I regrouped. I lost a couple. I added binding to one that’s already been mailed, but I’m satisfied with the results.

I’m marching onto another Primitive garden block.
This one is 6 ½” by 8”. I hoping it’s pretty easy. I love the seed packet.

I’m working four hours tomorrow and heading to Sault Ste. Marie to pick up Chelsey. It’s over four hours of driving time but I have my new Eagles CD to keep me company.

Don joked with me last night about wanting a free weekend. I told him we had one last weekend. He laughed and said, “No Mel, I ‘quilted’ all weekend. I picked up sewing machines. I put together quilting frames. I stretched quilts for quilting. I don’t think I had a free weekend.”

My response…”Didn’t you have Fun!!!!”

Monday, November 05, 2007

Last Friday was a holiday--- 29 years since the first date with my husband…..And it landed on a Friday night just like the first time. I have had a few “first dates”, but can’t remember the details…but I remember every single detail with him….I guess that’s how you know if he’s “the one”.

We went to pick up my sewing machine that went in the shop for 4 months….it’s like the return of a long lost son. And it purrs like a kitten. Don also bought me this Grace frame.
I’m totally enchanted with it. We talked about it, and it’s a first step into the world of long arm quilting without the huge expense. I can practice, have fun, get my kids through college etc. The biggest struggle I had with machine quilting is the tucks in the back from the quilt not being stretched well enough. Problem solved. I’m basically a weekend quilter, Maybe 2 or 3 big projects a year, so I’m excited about the new toy. And you should see the feathers I’m whipping out on my practice quilt. Eric called this weekend and gave me sass…”Gee mom, I don’t think Aunt Bee had one of those…. I think I maybe could even quilt with that thing….”

Don put the contraption together; I studied the book. I just kind of looked at it for about 24 hours. And Don asked “You don’t like it???” I loved it. I was just scared to death of it. And that’s the way it always is….. even good changes and new things are tough for me. But thanks to his nudging… I’ve been meandering and playing with pantograms all afternoon…after the Packer game, of course.

I still have to press my Primitive Garden block,
but here’s the latest completion. I have 3 blocks to go. The little purple flowers had tiny petals on them. It was just way too tedious for me. I want to relax and enjoy this so I made the executive decision to turn them into primitive "circle flowers" and I think they look just fine. I received the first border in the mail last week. It’s appliqué also. I’m thinking about making it just solid and omitting it. There’s patchwork throughout the center that will connect the blocks, so I don’t think it will even look like “it’s missing something”. But the jury is still out on that decision….

Chelsey is downstate teaching a Leadership workshop. So we’ve been without kids for 3 days with 3 to go…Even Don says…. This is kinda nice….

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I’m behind in posting--- why? I’ve been busy living I guess…. It doesn’t mean I haven’t stitched, just means I haven’t slowed down long enough to collect my thoughts.

Photo opts first----Here’s a Cat, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and Little Red Riding Hood…aka Hannah Chelsey, Courtney, and Jordan. I made Chelsey’s Peter Pan costume. I finished it Monday night, with a day to spare. They ‘trick or treated’ last night, but instead of collecting candy, they collected canned goods as a food drive for Feed the Children in Michigan. I was amazed at the number of kids that came out for the drive and even more amazed at the amount the community gave. Many times, it’s hard to scrape up money, but everyone has extra canned goods they are willing to part with. I’ll post the total figures when we get them.

Eric was home over the weekend---We cooked and spoiled him for two days and he’s back at school until Thanksgiving. I thought he looked tired and thin, I fattened him up while I could and he slept till almost ten everyday he was home.

Finished another Block on the Primitive Garden… It will be on my next post. I’ve made eight Postcards to go out this week.

Hallelujah moment—My sewing machine is fixed. Don and I are picking it up this weekend—hopefully.
I better head off to work---I can’t believe it’s now November…