Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quilting as a distraction

I had to drop Chesty off this morning before 7am and wasn't allowed to pick him up until 3pm so I spent the time in between quilting 3 wall hangings for my aunt and trying not to worry about him.

Chesty's test showed that he does have a collapsing trachea. Structurally, it's a Grade 1 which means the obstruction is mild when he's at rest and not having an episode. They're going to treat him medically and they put him on two new medications so we'll see how it goes. He's completely wiped out from the anesthesia and has been sitting next to me or on me since we got home.

I'm not sure how someone who doesn't quilt for a living can end up with a Christmas rush however, I'm slowly but surely working my way through it. Of course, both my Mom and Aunt have one last quilt each they want done by the beginning of December.

I haven't published a list recently but you can bet I'm working my way down my current to do list and checking off each item as I finish it. The two quilts I shipped to Mom on Monday and these wall hangings were high on the list and I'm relieved to have them done.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Chesty was seen at the medical clinic at the University today. They did an exam and chest x-rays and decided to do a bronchoscopy tomorrow. The vet found the video very helpful so I'm glad I thought to grab the camera yesterday when he was having one of his episodes.

Keith is out of town of course, isn't he always when I'm at the Dr's or Hospital with one of the boys??

Poor Chesty is pooped from spending all afternoon at the clinic and is sacked out on the couch beside me.

I love having massages

I woke up this morning and scheduled an appointment for a massage - I walked into the spa/salon 15 minutes before my appointment and found out the masseuse went home sick. Bummer!

So I was left with my second option which was coming home and putting two bindings on quilts for Mom and then shipping off those two to her and 3 to California to be distributed to those affected by the fires. One of the quilts I sent back to Mom was the one I was quilting the leaves on and overall I was happy with how it turned out.

Two of Purple Project quilts are being donated through this program mentioned on the HeartStrings blog and one is being sent to Karen, a fellow HeartStrings member who is finishing and collecting quilts. If you'd like to help, either contact Karen directly or if you'd like to send quilts for Kids Need to be Kids, you can email me for Debbi's mailing address.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another vet appointment

Chesty has always had what the vet in GA told me was probably a collapsing trachea, apparently common in small dogs. Typically, it has occurred with activity or pulling against his collar and leash but lately it's gotten worse and he's having episodes when he's resting or even sleeping. We've been referred to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the university and our appointment is tomorrow.

Since the problem is intermittent, I taped one of his episodes this afternoon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Managing UFO's

While I don't mind having finished tops waiting for quilting, I try very hard now not to let myself put aside a quilt during the piecing project because it can be so hard to go back and finish it. I set aside my July QFAH project (from JudyL's site) to work on some other things and now I'm having to make myself get this pieced.

I was not nearly as far along as I thought so rather than forcing myself to finish it all at once, my goal is to work on it in blocks of 1 hour as Judy intended - I even pulled the timer out. Until it's finished I won't allow myself to start another top.

Fall in Minneapolis

Keith heads off to Palm Springs tomorrow so we spent the afternoon together walking around town.

More free form pieced letters.....

I couldn't squeeze this one to 4x6 (the *q* and *u* are much too wide!) so it's a jumbo 5x8 size which is OK because I had plenty of room to try a pinked edge on it.

A nice dinner out and a few glasses of wine wiped away my frustration from this afternoon. Keith leaves Sunday for Palm Springs so I'll have 3 uninterrupted days to work and get somewhat caught up.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I don't normally do these ....but

Since Deb was the one who tagged me - I'll make a half a** attempt at it. Since I don't usually do these, I only answered a few of the questions and won't tag anyone else.

4 jobs I've had:
Library page
Med/Surg Nurse
Homecare nurse
Public Health Nurse Supervisor
L/D nurse many other nursing jobs

4 films I could watch over and over: I don't watch anything over and over

4 places I've lived (more than 4 here)
Newport News, VA
Courtland, VA
Hampton, VA
VA Beach, VA
Pembroke Pines, FL
Valrico, FL
Marietta, GA
Minneapolis, MN

4 favorite foods
Is Cabernet a food?

4 favorite colors

4 places I'd love to be right now
Anywhere in Europe
GA visiting my sons
VA visiting my family

What's wrong with this picture?

This is the check spring to my longarm in two pieces. I found the piece on the (R) on my quilt top this afternoon. Luckily I had two replacement springs , unfortunately the one I tried to use for the first hour or so was defective!!!!

I spent all afternoon trying to replace this and ran into one issue after another. Finally, I think it's OK after quilting 2 additional blocks without problems but I was ready to pull my hair out. Let's just say the instructions didn't exactly match up to my machine!

On today's agenda - more leaf quilting

Here are a couple shots from last night - the second photo is a little blurred because I wasn't using a flash and the *optimal* time for taking photos in my studio had already passed. You can click the photos for a larger view.

I sent these to Mom and she's happy so far.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just a little whine

I'm sure I've mentioned many times before how much I struggle with custom type quilting. So here I am again today quilting another one of Mom's (they're always hers or my aunt's tops!) and hoping this doesn't come out too bad.

There are 4 borders, setting triangles, alternate blocks, 9 patch blocks and even a small center applique that all have to have some type of quilting element. I usually manage to be happy with some and unhappy with others so we'll see how this goes.

Part of my inspiration for the quilting is a new book called Just Leaf It by Kim Stotsenberg. I find leaves much easier to quilt than some other motifs and she has some really nice ideas for filling borders and blocks with them.

Reading a post on Bonnie's site tonight made me realize that I had never shared my good news from a month or so ago.

Many of you know we moved to Minneapolis from the Atlanta area last December as a result of Keith's company moving their corporate offices. At the time we had to commit to staying at least one year. While I won't go into all the details, my distress was due to it looking like we would be facing another move.

Luckily, things worked out very well and Keith was actually promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing. I've come to love living here in Minneapolis and while I know it won't be our final move I was more distressed than I realized at the thought of moving again so soon.

I hope things work out as well for Bonnie as they have for me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back on track

I finished quilting the top for Mom this afternoon - just in time too as she had shipped me a 3rd one that needs to be done before Christmas. I also finally got out to the post office and shipped/mailed several things that have been waiting since the weekend.

Chesty is better today - the steroid shot made a big difference and he's just about back to his normal self.

After quilting and running my errands I had a little time before meeting Keith for dinner and decided to try a postcard with the free form pieced letters everyone is doing. Of course, it would have probably helped had I read Tonya's tutorial first but all in all it's not too bad for a first attempt especially since I had to limit it to a 4x6 area for the postcard.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm getting behind again

Chesty had vaccinations yesterday and had a painful reaction to one of them. He was in pain during the night and then when I called the vet's office they tried to tell me it was normal.

Well, I knew it wasn't and insisted he be seen again - finally after being seen and getting a steroid shot to decrease the inflammation he is better tonight.

He's such a sweetie and I always feel so bad when he's sick or hurt. Here he is on another day keeping me company in my studio. Hopefully, tomorrow he'll feel like sitting on the window seat while I finish up the quilt of Mom's I have on the longarm.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My favorite time of year

I LOVE Autumn and it's hard to stay inside and work when it's breezy and beautiful outside. The view from my window is tempting me to go out and play. I'm going to make myself load a quilt and then allow myself to go for a walk.

I decided to create an online album for my Postcard Journal Project and you can find the link on my sidebar. I added another photo from a card I re-created last night (the first one was made last week and is being mailed today).

I was clicking around the internet this morning and found Jeanne Williamson's blog the author of The Uncommon Quilter - the book that inspired my journal project.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Postcard Journal project

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to begin a journal project using postcards. Although I'm going to recreate a few postcards that I've already made and sent - this is my first card made specifically for the project.

Obviously the pink strings celebrate the HeartStrings Sew-in I attended yesterday. If interested, you can see a photo slide-show but since I was the photographer you won't see a photo of me - yet. I think Sheree has one she took of me that she plans to share.

HeartStrings Sew-in

We had a great time yesterday and got a lot done. I'll be posting photos later today but for now here's one of the Pink top I assembled. These are the blocks Mom and I pieced a couple weeks ago when I was in VA. It's taken outside the small church in Kasson MN where we met.

Sheree did a wonderful job of making the arrangements and acting as hostess for the sew-in. I have really appreciated the efforts of Sue, Kathy & Rhonda, and Sheree to arrange these get-togethers for the MN/WI area quilters who are a part of HeartStrings.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post. I know everyone is probably tired of hearing about copyright but issues continue to flare up and I was curious how others feel. I just wish there were some guidelines available regarding copyright as it relates to quilting and the internet.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


It's a hot topic right now and there's lots of discussion out there and not all of it's accurate.

Here's a link to a series of articles about quilts and copyright from Quilter's Newsletter Magazine that's fairly understandable.

Here's a question for you - if you make a quilt from a published pattern are you allowed to post a photo of YOUR quilt on your blog or on a photo site such as Picaso or Webshots? And how many of us have seen quilts from published patterns in quilt shows? Read the above articles and tell me what you think.

Friday, October 19, 2007

At the risk of having Deb give me a hard time......

First, the HeartStrings stuff. I quilted, bound, and labeled this donated top yesterday. Since Mereth's pantograph Feather Me was still on the table I used that one - it quilts up SO pretty.

Tomorrow I'll be traveling south to attend the HeartStrings MN area sew-in. We'll be working on our October Project Pink. If you'd like to join us in spirit and make some blocks to send in click here for the guidelines and mailing address.

I always label my quilting as scrappy and traditional versus *art* quilting like Deb's so I know I'm leaving her an opening here ....

I admit it, the postcards are fun so the first thing I start doing when I become interested in a subject is to look for books to inspire and instruct me. I showed the first book I bought in a previous post but on Wednesday I found two books on art quilts that I hope will inspire future postcards. I haven't completely read through both books but the parts I've read are wonderful and the quilts and photos very inspiring.

Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila & Elin Waterson
The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson

I'm toying with the idea of doing a series of small quilts (postcards) similar to what Williamson describes in her book. She did one quilt a week for seven years....I'm not committing to any time frame but I like the idea.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

String Bins

Several people asked about the mesh bins I bought yesterday and am using for my strings. They're by Design Ideas and mine were labeled *FileBox*. They didn't have enough of the silver ones so two of mine are black.

I bought them from OfficeMax but I didn't see them on their website. I can't put my hand on the receipt right now but they were about $15 each. More expensive than the plastic bins with the larger holes but they're more suited to my purpose and worth it to me.

The tree right outside my window has turned turned to a beautiful gold and I had to snap a photo this afternoon as I was putting one of my fall quilts on the chair. It's a rainy day so I'm staying inside and working!

Birch Trees

I had to try another postcard before bed but I don't know that this second one is any better. The first one is on top (in the envelope ready for mailing). I'm still not crazy about the zigzag edge. I haven't been fusing the top and back to the Peltex - maybe that would keep things from shifting on me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More organizing

I don't know if these bins are going to function any better but for now they're neater - remember the mess blocking my ironing board? Today, I went out and bought these open bins , sorted my strings by color, and stacked them in the corner.

I still have to figure out what to do with the bins on the ironing board. Some are project *leftovers* that I'm hesitant to toss in the new bins because I can get another project out of them - I just don't know if I can keep them sitting around until I get back to them unless I find some other spot for them to free up the ironing board. I really miss the space I had in Marietta!

Halloween costumes anyone?

Chinese Coins #6

There was ONE thing I wanted to mark off my list today and that was this top. Before stopping to make dinner I had it together except for the top and bottom borders and I just now sewed those on and tossed it up on the design wall for a photo. My clock says it's 12:15 but since I had to clean up dog vomit and retake the photos I know it was done before midnight!

The sashing looks black in this photo but it's actually a deep purple. For those interested, you can find instructions for this Uneven Chinese Coins quilt at .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Back at work!

I realized today why I should always work on these Chinese Coins quits here at home. I use a lot of pins when sewing these vertical rows together and it is SO much easier to stretch them along my longarm table than to crawl around on the floor like I was doing at Mom's. This top is together except for the top and bottom border - yeah!

I took my new Janome Jem Platinum machine out of it's box and decided to make sure it worked before packing it up for my HeartStrings sew-in on Saturday. One of the features I didn't think I would use is the start/stop button you see in the photo below. This machine can be run without a foot pedal - believe or not it was pretty easy and I kind of like it!

I think I'm going to love this little machine!

Seriously, tomorrow I've got to get back to work!

I'm not very artistic but here's my interpretation of the birch trees we saw this weekend on the North Shore. Maybe I should have studied this photo first and made a pieced background. This is my first attempt and I'll probably give it another shot but not until I get some *real* work done.

With the upcoming Sew-in for HeartStrings coming up on Saturday, I went out and bought a *portable* sewing machine to take along. I've been debating buying a small machine for a while and finally decided to just do it.

I've heard lots of positive things about the Janome Jem machines and bought the Platinum 720. It has needle down and a blanket stitch (I don't like machine applique but I occasionally do some) so I chose it over the Jem Gold even though it was a bit more expensive. The dealer told me that my Elna was made by Janome and I found the machine had some similar features. I was particularly happy to find that the 1/4 inch edge foot is the same as mine.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I probably should just let this go.....but

After reading a post on Deb's blog yesterday I had a feeling someone had made some kind of nasty comment so I wrote and asked her about it.

I couldn't believe when she wrote me back that she'd had an anonymous comment that said "sisters who don't get along, should not play together in public and annoy others with their rivalry".

I try to be nice but people like this really piss me off. If I don't like how a blog is written, I don't bother reading it - how hard is that?

I also had a question from Pam about what I'd charge to quilt a king size quilt. Sorry Pam I don't do any quilting for hire. I have more than enough to keep up with with my HeartStrings quilting and the quilts I do for family. Deb, Judy, and Bonnie all quilt for hire just to name a few.

Happy Birthday Chris!

My oldest son turns 24 today (yes, I was just a baby when I gave birth)! Hope you have a wonderful day Chris.

You can see photos of Chris from his wedding last year. He will also celebrate his first anniversary this month.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We're Back

We had a great time this weekend driving up to Duluth and the North Shore. Hopefully, this week I'll get back to work!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I should be too embarrassed to show you this photo but this is why I've had to clean today. I'm looking for a solution for storing my strings since the bins are taking over in this corner of the room but I've got so much stuff piled up you can't see the bins! I don't have a lot of room between the sewing table and the ironing board but I know if I find something that uses the space going UP then I should be able to have my strings and scraps more organized.

The rest of the apartment is messy too so I've been cleaning and doing laundry but still have plenty to do. Tomorrow, Keith and I are going to take off and head to Duluth for a couple days. No plans - we're just going to let the GPS guide us around. I'm excited about seeing one of the Great Lakes for the first time!

Keith's off at a company event tonight without me. They're celebrating 50 years and while they have their sales team in town they're having a Gala - no spouses and he has to wear a Tux! Can you believe that this is the first time he's worn a Tux in 18+ years of marriage and he walked out the door without me. Bizarre!
I'm going to go sit in front of the TV for a couple hours and stitch on my doll quilt.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Judy's Design Challenge

Since this challenge was to design a quilt we might actually make, I decided to work with Christmas colors in a size suitable for a table topper. See Judy's blog for the challenge parameters.

I used EQ6 and came up with as many variations as I could before weeding them out one by one. I kept 5 of the 16 plus versions I came up with from simple to more complex to help illustrate my process. The one pictured below is probably my favorite and the others can be seen in my Picasa album.

Well I asked......

First, the binding on the card isn't as dark as it looks in the photo but it does have a strong contract. I was surprised that (almost) everyone preferred the look of the zigzag edge as I personally prefer the binding. I wanted to be able to do the zigzag well enough to use it in pinch. I'll probably continue to use both as well as try some other suggestions too.

The pen I used on the back of the first two was too thick and messy looking - I found one that writes with a thinner line AND I stayed further away from the edges when writing. I debated about NOT sending the first two I made but heck, the recipients will understand that I'm in a learning phase!

Mailing the first one was a challenge yesterday as he tried to tell me I had to mail it as a parcel (versus a letter). Luckily I was reusing Deb's envelope and was able to show him the stamp she'd used to mail hers. He also said that since it was in the clear envelope, it was not a "postcard" (I knew I couldn't use the same postage I'd use for a postcard ). We'll see if she gets it! (He did hand cancel it as I asked but told me it would go through the machine anyway saying "everything does".)

I printed some information from the site where Deb bought the envelopes that I plan to take with me next time.

Finally, for those of you interested in learning more about fabric postcards I found a site that has several tutorials listed. Thanks to Vicki and Deb for inspiring me to try these.

More postcard experiments

I finished the binding on my first fall postcard and made another one trying the zigzag edge again using some of the tips I got from you all. As you can see it is much better than the 1st attempt.

I'm tempted to take out the FALL stitching on the first postcard because the 1st *L* is right against the binding - but I think I'm going to leave it. I have a 3rd one to finish tonight but won't post it until it's received.

So my question is - which edging do you prefer - the bound or zigzag? (Click on photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm declaring a week without lists!

I have lots that I should be working on especially after being gone for so long but I've decided this week I'll just work as I please. No lists, no pressure.

Next week I'll start working my way through my *need to get done* list but for now I'm just going to play.

Thanks for all the suggestions for the postcard edges. I'm going to give them a try but I went ahead and put a binding on this one covering up the ugly sewn edge and just have to stitch it down tonight.

Monday, October 08, 2007

What's the trick?

I spent part of the day running errands and unpacking. I didn't feel like loading a quilt or finishing up the coins quilt so I made another postcard.

Can anyone tell me the trick to doing the zigzag edge on postcards? Mine kept getting pushed down into the throat plate and I finally had to do the last side from the middle out. As you can see I didn't do a very good job.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Looking toward the park from our balcony there's still a lot of green but if I look across the street the leaves are changing. So far I'm not too impressed with my first autumn in MN. I miss fall in Kennesaw and the North GA mountains!

I seem to have a serious lack of will power! I was up last night until after 2AM working on a fabric postcard. I gave into my desire to work on doll quilts but I planned to resist the postcards. Deb, do you have any of those clear envelopes you could send me?? Or you could just share the link for me to order some.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Garmin GPS c340

Keith and I tested out the GPS unit today. It was great - we were easily able to make a couple unscheduled stops. Since I don't know my way around the areas outside downtown Minneapolis, we would have had to come home and look up the address and directions without the GPS.

I've been working on recreating a quilt I made after Sept 11, 2001 but wasn't able to put my hands on a photo. Hopefully I'll be able to find a file of the photo on one of my backup CD's. I posted an instruction sheet for this one and for the 30's Roman Stripes quilt. Hopefully I found all the typos!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Amazon Prime

I'm home from Virginia and found multiple packages from waiting for me. In addition to the GPS system from Garmin, all these books were waiting (and I still have a couple coming).

Just before leaving for Mom's, I signed up for Amazon Prime. I pay an annual fee of $79 and I get two day shipping with no additional charges. It's a great deal for me and rather than waiting to order several books, I just order them as I want.

My flights weren't too bad - only an hour delay coming out of Atlanta but I just qualified for Silver Medallion status with Delta so I was upgraded to business class for the Atlanta to Minneapolis leg!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reading List

I don't know if anyone has noticed that I've moved my reading list to Shelfari. I haven't gone back and added the books already read but I have been adding them going forward. Clicking on My Reading List in the links section on the right will take you there.

I can't count!

I miscounted the finished blocks last night and thought I needed another 20 for the Project Pink quilt. Mom was up this morning and made 12 more blocks and as I was trimming those and recounting my stack I realized we were done - 48 blocks ready to take to our HeartStrings October Sew-in.

As you can see, I have plenty of strings left so I hope to get some blocks made to send to Jennifer for the group quilts.

I head home tomorrow. It's always nice to visit Mom but I miss Keith and Chesty and I'm ready to get back to work on the stack of tops I have waiting for quilting.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A quick note

I've got 28 of my 48 Pink blocks made for HeartStrings Project Pink. Mom helped out and made a few and then I worked on them this afternoon and evening. This photo was snapped after finishing the first 12.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I brought Chinese Coins to work on but didn't have enough for my last row so I won't be able to finish up this quilt. I did get all the sashing strips sewn onto the coins and it will just need to be sewn together and borders added once I get home. I really like the purple fabric I'm using for the sashing and border although it looks a little dark in this photo.

The instructions for this version can be found on my site.

Since October is Breast Awareness month, check out the HeartStrings Project Pink and you'll notice that I've gone Pink for October on my blog.

Mom's working a little on another Roman Stripes so I took some photos and plan to write up an instruction sheet for that quilt too.

Monday, October 01, 2007

GPS System

Does anyone have a portable GPS system for their car that they've bought and love?

I'm getting ready to buy one and am looking for recommendations. Thanks!