Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Putting the blocks together.

Bob demonstrates the skills that earned him the title, "world's most annoying cat."

30 blocks needing a border, or two. 
My cats have the ability to inflict themselves in my projects, sometimes while the fabric is going through the sewing machine and while I'm desperately trying to push the fabric through the sewing machine despite the 15 pound weight that is now sitting on it.  Sorry Bob, now everyone knows you are getting ready for a long winter.

Regardless of the time-out to deal with the annoying cuteness around me, I got the blocks all pieced together.  They now need a green border, followed by another striped border.  I decided that all of the blocks I made worked together and so I ended up keeping them all.  I'm very pleased with the results.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The blocks are done!

Block 25

Block 26

Block 27

Block 28

Block 29

Block 30
Whew!  I've finished piecing all the blocks for my brother's quilt.  I'm going to lay them out tonight and see how they look together.  I've told myself to go ahead and remake anything that doesn't look like it fits in.  I kind of hope that doesn't happen, but I know myself enough that I will never be able to look at this unless it looks perfect in my eye.  I talked to my brother yesterday and told him he'd be getting a quilt in a month or two and he was excited and really surprised - which makes me think my blog readership among my family isn't quite what I thought it would be.  :)

Off to work off yesterday's cheese and pasta fest on the treadmill.  (I'm going to work out on the treadmill, not that the pasta fest occurred on the treadmill.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

A winter wonderland (taken in 2008).
Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you are all exactly where you want to be and if not, then you are treating yourselves appropriately.  I love Christmas and even though I won't be with family today, I plan to enjoy it with friends.  I think there is too much pressure put on people to have the "perfect" day - check out any tv Christmas special and you will know what I mean.  Enjoy what you have, call up or email people you haven't written in awhile. Indulge in a glass of wine, relax by eating out, whatever makes you happy, but be grateful for what you have and don't be stressed because you aren't having a large meal with Santa Claus as the surprise guest.  

As I said, I won't be with family this Christmas.  My family knows that the feelings of generosity and familial love can happen on other days so we enjoy the time we have together when it happens and we don't force the issue.  I will never fly during the winter again because the stress of "will I make it there in time" detracts from the happiness of "I get to see the family again."  Today, I am making pasta sauce.  When I was a kid, my mom always made pasta sauce on Christmas Eve.  Sometimes we all made homemade ravioli to go with it and got the kitchen properly coated in flour and sticky dough.  For me, a pot of boiling water, steaming windows, and the smell of garlic will always be home.  I'm recreating that today.

Merry Christmas!  Oh, and one more thing -  Thank you, each and every one of you who stop and read my blog.  I so enjoy this on-line community and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to meet new and creative people.  I am amazed by your talent, your thoughtfulness and your support.  Thank you and enjoy this day - however you see fit to enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A finish - just in time for Christmas

Bet you all had forgotten about this one....

Halloween Mix-Tape, the front.

A quilting close-up. 

The highly pieced back. 
Whew, didn't think I'd get this one done in time for Christmas. Not that it is a Christmas present, but that was my goal and I wanted to make it.  Over the weekend I finally managed to get this into town and quilted it on the long-arm.  It was my fourth attempt to quilt it.  That's right four attempts - one involving actually loading it onto the long-arm and then unloading it when I discovered that the long-arm machine wasn't in service that day.

At any rate, I used a free motion stipple pattern which I am claiming looks like spooky ectoplasm over the top of the quilt.  (I really don't think it is Christmas unless someone brings up ectoplasm.)  I used up all my scrap Halloween fabric for the back and then had to convince the woman at the LQS that it was indeed the back.  I thought it was funny (irritating) that the woman who helped me on attempt one really didn't like that I pieced the back.  She was fussing about how now I had to have it perfectly centered and that would be so much more work.  I told her my intention was not to have it perfectly centered and it was carefully measured so as not cut off the top or bottom of the pieced rows after it was quilted.  Her response was basically, "well, I know you don't mind that it isn't centered."  Sigh, the first encounter with the quilt police is always the hardest.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bloggers' Block-A Palooza

Have you seen this yet?

Header graphic

18 quilt bloggers are getting together to bring the internets the first Bloggers' Block-A-Palooza.  It's a two block a week, quilt a long.  They haven't given many details so I have nothing to share, but I'm seriously thinking of doing this because I only have four or ten projects in mind and I'm only heading into my busy season at work which will prevent me from completing those four to ten projects so I might as well enter a quilt a long.  

Okay, deep breath.  The details are at Fat Quarterly and at other random places on the interwebs.  Like I said, I haven't really decided if I'm going to do this or not.  They will be using the Sunkissed line by Sweetwater for Moda.  If I'm going to do this, I'm going to grab random fabric from my stash which makes it dangerous - I'm such a living on the edge kind of gal.  (You hear that, jerk who thought I was boring because I wouldn't go skydiving with you - guess you regret not calling me now, don't you?)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In - December Edition (Pt. 2) The results.

I don't think I had ever looked forward to quilting as much as I did yesterday.  I had a really busy work week and just needed to do something different and a tiny bit artistic.  Plus, I needed to feel a sense of accomplishment because sometimes at work I feel a bit like I'm constantly rolling that stone up the hill - only most of the time I can't get the momentum to get that stone started in the first place. But, this is not about me whining about futile efforts, no, this is about Friday night sew-in.

Block 23. 
I was and still am very proud at how well this one came together.  The squares are 2 and 3/16 ths - there's bound to be some errant cutting with the 3/16ths.  I find drinking wine during this process reduces the stress level.

Block 24
I tore through this one. When I finished I thought that I was going to get so many blocks done and it would be the most productive night of quilting ever.  Then this happened.....

Resistance is futile.  
Sam has a way of getting me to curl up around him when he needs a nap.  He throws his weight against me and I sort of envelope him.  He then sleeps for as long as my legs will let him.  I'm kneeling at the table in this picture.  But, this signaled an end to the evening and a time to pay attention to the cats.  Here's the thing:  when the cats want attention, they get it and there is no discussion.  Maybe that sounds sad, but they are all rescue cats and I am honored that they want the attention at all.  I know a woman (who is better than me - you can tell in the way she talks to me. I'm not sure that she is better than me, but she is very certain) who I told this to and she rather snottily said, "well, if I did that I wouldn't get anything done."  And I thought, yes, but you just told me about how your cat peed on your ironing board and I don't have that problem.

Anyway, I digress.  Today is attempt four at quilting the Halloween quilt.  I'm fairly certain locusts or meteors will stop my trip into town today.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bob gets stoned

The cat army does have its admirers.  Their loving and kind sitter brought them a Christmas present - a firmly compacted catnip ball.  Bob immediately claimed it as his own.  

"What's that noise?"

"Oh catnip ball, you will be mine. "

"Wait, what just happened?"
Thank you Karen! Bob, Sammy and Scout love this.  (Well, Sam and Scout will when they get a chance to try it out.)  You've managed to find the perfect gift for these guys.  It's a Festivus Miracle.  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In - December Edition (Pt. 1) The results.

Block 22
Friday night sew-in is over for me.  I actually had to force myself a bit to do this even though I had the colors picked out and the block idea set for about a week.  The problem for me right now is that I'm a little tired and grumpy because I have to go to work tomorrow and I worry that if I'm grumpy it would carry over into the quilt.  I also don't bake when I am in a bad mood because baking only really works when you wouldn't rather be drinking a large scotch.  At any rate, I'm going to work tomorrow and will probably be there until the wee hours of the morning and we've been warned about a pineapple express blowing through in the afternoon so I'm bringing my wellies so I can make it to the car (parked approximately 20 miles away from my door) without looking like something the cat dragged in.  (Seriously, I've seen what they drag in, you don't want to look like that.)  Speaking of things the cat dragged in, two members of the cat army have spent the last hour batting at something that is underneath the couch.  I'm not quite brave enough to look at what it is they are batting at and to see if it needs removal/rescue.  Tomorrow will be a fine day for critter extraction if needed.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Stimpy Quilt - Blocks 18 - 21

I finished a few more blocks today while watching the Oregon Ducks clinch a spot in the BCS championship game.  This is where I complain that the BCS has destroyed college football and I want to go back to the time when the Pac 10 champ played the Big 10 champ in the Rose Bowl.  It does look like my Badgers will be playing in the Rose Bowl this year so at least I have that.  But, BCS - you and I need to talk.

Friday Night Sew-In - December Edition.

A drink my travel companions and I invented in Bruges.  It is not for the weak. 
Friday night sew-in is back and it means business in December.  Instead of one night of crafting, the sponsors Handmade by Heidi and Crafty Vegas Mom are hosting two nights of crafting.  December 10 and  December 17th.  Go to button on the right (Friday night Sew-in) to sign up.  Post your results on the flickr page the following day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Stimpy Quilt - Blocks 12-17

These blocks are the product of about three days of work.  It is surprising how much work can get done when you are trapped in your home during cold and icy weather.  I also managed to cook a turkey, freeze a sizeable portion of it and make some broth. The house smells like turkey now and the carcass has been relegated to the compost bin where it can do no more harm.  I plan on making turkey lentil soup this week as well as saving some of the broth and turkey for the chili cook-off at work next week (I think it's next week, if not I will have turkey chili for myself.)  Speaking of work, I've been away from the building for nearly a week and that all ends tomorrow.  I am optimistic that the plants have made it this far without me but I am sure they will be happy to see me in the morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


There was not a lot of happiness in the cat army today.  

Sam decides his next move.  At no point did I tell him that he had to go outside.  

All the action (ice) was on the ground for this one.  
Visitors who aren't cats make it here too.  
I hope this melts tomorrow.  

I worked from home today so I could avoid the sheets of ice on the road.  It really is about as icy as I've ever seen it out here - during my walk today I nearly did the splits while crossing the road.  Luckily no one was around or the sound of my scream drowned out the laughter.  At any rate, I'm going to make a break for it tomorrow afternoon.  Temperatures should get above freezing then and it would be nice to leave the bunker for a little bit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Stimpy Quilt - Blocks 8-11

These blocks are from two days of work - most of which was done today because it was so very cold out and snowing here.  While the cat army was not impressed, I thought the snow falling through the pine trees was beautiful.  And, yes, I know that my commute tomorrow morning is likely to be an icy mess from hell. I am not looking forward to that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In - November Edition. The results.

Block #6

Block #7
Friday Night Sew-In is over for another month.   I only finished two blocks this time, but it was a lot of fun to get that done and know that other people were working on their projects as well.  I'm off to post my results on the FNSI flickr page.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Stimpy Quilt - Blocks 1 - 5

My first block - that center square is 1.5 inches. 

I do love a good four square block.  

The center block is made up of 2 and 3/16 inch squares.

This shadow of a cat is a reminder that the final product will have to be laundered before used by the family member with cat allergies.  

I took my final furlough day today and am done with those until the end of the fiscal year.  Since it was (and still is) raining out, I thought a day of quilting would be in order.  I finished up five blocks of this puppy and am getting the hang of it.  Note to my brother:  Some of these squares call for half square triangles of impossible to measure lengths (2 and 3/16 inches).  It may be slightly difficult to get them all to match up and look pretty with the borders.  Take out your contacts before viewing this quilt and you should be happy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Stimpy Quilt

The pattern I'm basing the Stimpy Quilt on.  

Fabulous fabrics!
I've got the binding cut for my Halloween quilt and the backing and the front of it put away ready to be quilted on the long-arm tomorrow.  The batting is from a bag and is airing out on the guest bed to restore its springy-ness before quilting tomorrow.  In the meantime, I've decided to put together the ingredients for my next quilt.  The pattern is called Dad's Plaids and is from the May/June 2010 issue of McCall's Quilting.  Because I am making it for my brother and because I'm not using plaids, I am renaming it for my purposes.  This will be the Stimpy Quilt.  If you are a member of my family, you will understand.  If you are not a member of my family, you should join - we have cookies.