Monday, April 30, 2007

It's starting to look like spring

The trees have started sprouting leaves this week and when I looked out this afternoon it finally looked like spring.

I haven't accomplished much today but did get an off center 4 patch backing made for my Chinese Coins quilt which I hope to get loaded later tonight.

There's been a lot of discussion on Stashbuster about books. I use the bottom shelves in my bedroom studio for the bulk of mine but there are stacks in the den where I have my sewing machine and computer, stacks in the living room, and stacks in the bedroom too.

I've also been folding fabric again - I made a start when I moved in but only got a few shelves done. I tore the blues apart looking for a binding for a HeartStrings quilt and those 3 shelves are the messiest right now.

Carol's HeartStrings top is quilted and bound

Another HeartStrings quilt is finished. Pieced by Carol and quilted by me, this is such a great setting for string blocks and the finished quilt looks great. As Carol requested, this quilt will go to the To the Top Project and be given to a veteran. Here's another link to an article about the To the Top Project.

Here's a better photo of the quilting.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

HeartStrings MN area Sew-in

Yesterday was fun visiting Stillwater and getting together with other HeartStrings quilters. I brought back a finished top as well as another pile of Chinese Coins sections. I'll wait a few weeks until that special project is over and all the sections have been mailed before I start playing with them.

Keith is still out of town so I've been continuing my retreat and should have another HeartStrings quilt (Carol's top) bound and finished tonight.

Friday, April 27, 2007

HeartStrings Retreat Weekend

The HeartStrings group is retreating this weekend in celebration of National Volunteer's Week. I got the wrong week thanks to my calendar but we're only a week late! Those of us in the Minneapolis area are getting together in person tomorrow at Sue Frank's house.

I started early by loading the top sent to me by Carol to quilt and donate to a Veteran's home in New England. I think I've said it before but Popcorn by Willow Leaf Studio is my favorite pantograph. It looks good on everything. I decided since this was going to a Veteran's home I wouldn't use flowers, feathers, or hearts. I think Popcorn looks like clouds against the sky blue border and fabric.

I took a short break to have a cup of tea and check email and I thought I'd share my coffee/tea maker with you. I love my single cup brewer - I order the pods for my coffee and tea from Green Mountain Coffee.

Notice my Seattle mug?? I collect coffee mugs from my travels and every cup of tea brings back memories of one of my trips.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Another scrap quilt from leftover strips

These blocks are going pretty quickly and I really like how they're turning out. I'll probably sash them and I'm auditioning some greens for the sashing and the border. They look darker in this photo than they actually are.

I have more of the purple and red print I used on my Pineapple so I'll look at that as a border possibility too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Aging Parents

Several blogs that I read have been discussing challenges of caring for aging and ill parents and I was reminded as I read my latest book, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande, of the challenge of making medical decisions not just for ourselves but for our parents.

Two years ago Keith and I brought his father to live with us and cared for him in the months before he died of complications from Leukemia. One accusation his mother would make was that it was *easy* for me because I was a nurse. Well I hadn't worked as a clinician in 10 years and caring for a family member at home is different anyway. It was very rewarding but certainly not easy.

My Mom lives alone in Virginia and so I'm also struggling with how to be there and available to her when she has health issues. Having the flexibility to go help her when needed is one of the reasons I choose not to work outside the home.

For those readers in the group these are the books that I found helpful as I cared for Keith's Dad and I as continue to try and be there for my Mom. I would also suggest that you obtain a copy of your parent's living wills and make sure you understand what their wishes are. Some of the most difficult decisions we made were possible because we knew they were what his Dad wanted.

How to Care for Aging Parents
Caregiving As Your Parents Age
The 36 Hour Day: A Family guide to caring for persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life

And the book that helped me most when it was time to let Keith's dad go.
Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life by Ira Byock, MD

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's done - I don't like it

Finished up Mom's quilt and am ready to ship this one and her basket quilt back to her. I'm not happy with my quilting on this one because;

  1. it's too thready

  2. the quilting is too dense

  3. I don't like the medium blue thread in the white squares.

Oh well, live and learn - good thing Mom is an easy to please *customer*.

Leftover strips

I had plans to use the leftover strips from my Pineapple quilt for rail fence blocks and set them on point. I'm tired of the two bins being in the way so I started making some blocks this weekend and decided I didn't like them.

My solution was to cut them in half and I'll sew them back together like this photo. Of course, I realized as I was laying these out I'll need mirror image blocks so will have to cut sets of 4 as I go along so I don't get to many going one way.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Grand Rounds

I'm trying to get back into a walking routine. Keith and I have been walking some at the nearby park and yesterday we did a 5 mile walk. Although I walk just about everywhere I'm not even close to logging the kind of miles I was last year training for the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk. As a result (and thanks to too many dinners out!) I've been regaining the weight I lost last year.

Today I got up early and finished up Mom's quilt except for the side borders ( I have to trim and reload it on the longarm) and then took off for a 12 mile walk.

I love the pathways along the Mississippi River.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Keith and I are celebrating our 18th anniversary today. Since we just got back from Hawaii we're having a low key celebration this evening at home.

After running some errands and walking through the park to get some lunch at Joe's Garage, I decided to work a bit while Chesty and Keith watched TV (they're really napping but the TV is on).

I'm not really crazy about my quilting on this - it's one of Mom's quilts and she said I could practice on it. I'm trying a overall leaf meander and I think it's kind of thready - not terrible but not great.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chinese Coins top finished

I got the final borders on this morning. I wasn't sure yesterday how much I was going to like it but now that the top is finished I do (like it). I don't know if anyone else is working on Chinese Coins for HeartStrings so I may or may not get additional sections for another quilt.

I wasn't using a pattern and debated how wide to make my sashing strips and borders. I did searches on google and webshots looking at other versions before deciding on 2 inch sashing and 4 inch borders.

In response to a question about the size of my coins - they're trimmed to 5.5 inches wide. My sashing was cut 2.5 inches, and my borders cut 4.5 inches. The overall quilt is 55x70. I would have made it a bit longer but the green fabric turned out to be only 1.8 yards and not 2 as I originally thought. I barely squeaked the sashing, border, and binding out with just the piece below left - how's that for cutting it close?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Today's progress

The final borders still need to be added but it's getting there. For now, I'm taking a break and going out on my balcony with my book and a glass of wine.

Chinese Coins

I debated what I'd work on today and the Chinese Coins won out over loading another quilt on the longarm.

I put the sections I have up on the design wall and can see a few I need to move around. I had thought I'd use the blue fabric for the border and sashing but I like the green better.

Can I get this top done today? I still need to make about 2 rows of coins and I also want to walk downtown this morning or afternoon to grab a bite to eat and visit the bookstore.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I'm on a roll! I finished quilting a HeartStrings top today and posted a photo and the story behind the quilt on the HeartStrings Blog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Another UFO

This is the quilt I've been practicing on. I bought this top off eBay a few years ago intending to quilt and donate it. I wanted to *learn* to use my Featherz wreath template that I bought with my Circle Lord and I hate practicing on muslin so I decided to use this UFO as my practice piece.

I'm getting ready to get the binding sew on and will stitch it down tonight watching TV with Keith and then it will go in the stack of quilts to be donated.

Next up for quilting will be a HeartStrings top made by May - I'll quilt it and send it back to her to donate in memory of her sister.

Monday, April 16, 2007

VA Tech

You may recognize this quilt from a blog post last July. My Mom and I made it for my niece who was heading off to VA Tech for her first year of college.

I spoke with my sister earlier and Laura is OK but my thoughts and prayers go out to all those killed or injured as well as their families and the entire Tech community.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Quilt Pink

Is anyone else watching the Quilt Pink eBay auction? I have one of the quilts that was auctioned a couple years ago and I'm watching this year's auction too. I wish we could see all the quilts so I'd know which one was my favorite before bidding.

I'll also be watching to see how my Quilt Pink donation does.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pineapple top finished

I went to the quilt shop yesterday to get a blue border for my Pineapple quilt - as you see it's not blue! I really miss my quilt shops in Marietta - the one I've been going to here really has limited fabrics choices.

However, they do have a nice rack of fabric that is 50% off. This border was on that shelf as well as 4 other ones I bought - good thing I'm not in the Stashbuster No Buy group. This is not the best picture but the border is a deep purple with a red print.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Home again

One last sunset on the Big Island

What could be better than sitting on the beach in Hawaii, in the shade of a palm tree, reading a good book?? However, I was SO happy to get home this afternoon and run to the kennel to pick Chesty up. We had a wonderful time but 10 days was such a long time to leave my baby!

I have tons of pictures but once I go through all the disks I'll create a Hawaii album on Picasa so those of you who are interested can take a look.

I have lots of running around to do tomorrow but hope to get back to quilting on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Top 5 blogs that inspire me

I'm just getting caught up with email after vacation but I've been tagged on a couple sites so I'll quickly respond with my top 5 inspirational blogs.

As everyone one else has mentioned - there are many other blogs out there that I follow which provide inspiration for my quilting - you guys know who you are because I visit and comment on your blogs. Thank you all for sharing.

Judy - for starting the Stash Quilts blog ring, Quilt for an Hour patterns, her stash challenges, her quilts - no matter how busy I am I always check Judy's blog for updates.

Bonnie Hunter - Bonnie = scrap quilts. Her website has even more goodies.

Jeanne's blog - She's another scrappy quilter whose quilts strongly appeal to me.

Patti's blog - I love her applique quilts but it's her scrap quilts that really inspire me.

HeartStrings Quilt Project - I know I write this one BUT I started it because I was so inspired by the work being done by quilters involved in the project that I wanted to share their work on a broader scale.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Frustration sends me back to my strings!

I'd assembled my Pineapple blocks before my trip to GA but hadn't yet put the borders on. I'd originally planned for this to be a king size quilt but Keith wasn't crazy in love with it so I decided I'd make it twin size for me to snuggle on the sofa with because I do love it!

I decided yesterday I'd get those borders on before allowing myself to sew more strings but the blue I bought for the border just wasn't going to work. The color was PERFECT but the print didn't look so great when I cut it up (I can use it on the back). Unfortunately, I don't have another piece of fabric in my stash that is this exact shade of blue which I'm determined to use. So the top went back up on the design wall with the red border strips and it will wait until I come home from Hawaii.

Blogging Vacation
I'll be gone from April 3rd through April 12th and most likely I won't be blogging. I decided last night rather than try to keep up with the blog I should take a vacation. So I'll see you all in about 10 days.

I will be making a post or two over at the HeartStrings Quilt Project Blog as the spirit moves me. I love all the stories I'm hearing from people participating so don't be surprised if you see an entry over there.