Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Superman Wears Cowboy Boots in Texas

This is not a picture from Halloween, it is just a little dress up play with the cutest grandchild in the world. We just returned from a trip to Texas.

We spent a few days in a beautiful log home on the lower Colorado River in the Texas hill country, located about an hour northwest of Austin.

The weather was beautiful, the water warm enough to swim in.

We had four generations on this trip, we were very happy to have great grandma come along.
We spent lots of time outside on the porch, visiting, reading, the fishermen in the group got in some fishing,
and of coarse playing with our grandson.

I frequently found time on the swing to get some stitching time on the Civil War Bride quilt.

We went back home to Houston for a few more days with my son’s family. I can not believe I did not get a picture but the Texas bluebonnets and other wild flowers were blooming all along the highways, it was just gorgeous.

In Houston I did manage to visit a few of the quilt shops during the spring shop hop. I resisted the temptation of getting the Friends of Baltimore patterns, they are still only available as a block of the month, it will be next year before you can purchase all the patterns together. At this time I want to focus on some finishes of the current quilts I am working on, so for now I am remaining disciplined. Today I am unpacking, doing laundry, and sadly putting our summer clothes away in the back of the closet because this is what is going on in Nebraska…

Happy Stitching,


Friday, March 18, 2011

Under My Needle

I am caught up on customer quilts, and nearing the finish of the Civil War Bride Quilt so currently under my sewing machine needle is a Roseville Album block. The cactus block has a number of little flowers on each stalk and the pattern showed each flower with a separate dark brown stem. I choose to do some super fussy cutting and cut each flower at a place in the fabric so the stem would be a different color, trying to get a darker more "stem like" color.
Now I am working on the blanket stitch applique, I use a King Tut variegated thread to blanket stitch, but some of the little stems will require a thread color change (not always is machine applique faster). Earlier this week I completed my third block, and because the pieces were large the applique on this block was completed in one day.
I am going to say good bye for a couple weeks, I am headed to Texas to see the cutest grand baby in the world - and his parents. The Houston shop hop is going on the week I am in Houston and Quakertown quilt shop http://www.quakertownquilts.com/ is calling my name (in my mind) to just go and "look" at Sue Garman's Friends of Baltimore pattern. Isn't that a little like going to the local humane society to just look at the puppies and kittens - do you really come home without one?
Happy Stitching,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Great New Book

I just received Janice Vaine's new book, "The Art of Elegant Hand Embroidery Embellishment and Applique". This book is just beautiful, it is a hard cover, spiral bound so the pages open completely and stay open (love that feature on an instruction book). Janice has taught at Elly Sienkiewicz' Applique Academy. The book has a section on needle turn applique and her technique of "Perfect Placement Applique" which is a form of back basting applique. There are 62 embroidery stitches, 20 ribbon work techniques, 8 stump work techniques and 10 fabric techniques. The book also includes over 100 four and eight inch blocks and the patterns are on a DVD. Janet is also offering a free block of the month starting in April based on techniques and blocks from this book. Check it out at: http://www.grahamcrackercollection.com/GrahamCrackerCollection/Ribboned_Bouquet_Block_of_the_Month.html
What fun this is going to be.

I have been working on some customer quilts

and just got Sara's quilt loaded on the frame and I am ready to start quilting it. This quilt has such wonderful fabrics and colors, I just love it, it is a joy to work on and get to see. It is a great pattern (I believe it is a Miss Rosie's design) for using jelly rolls.

Lisa used the same pattern to make a graduation quilt for her nephew. She used all fabrics from her stash - well done!
I also finished the Santa Baby quilt!

This is a pattern from the book Positively Crazy from Buggy Barn. I quilted holly leaves all over the quilt. I made this quilt for my friend Jan, we were working with a special size to display in her home so it is a little smaller than the pattern and I made a table runner out of a couple of the extra blocks.

I did not show you my friend Leslie's fabulous quilt she was working on at our recent quilt retreat.

The blocks were colored with crayons and just beautiful embroidery detail that I hope you can click on the pictures to enlarge and appreciate her wonderful work. She found the perfect border fabric (that looks like little roof shingles to me - perfect for these little cottages). She has been working on this quilt with her granddaughter Claire in mind, but I think she is falling in love with this quilt and might not be able to part with it. I can not wait to see how you quilt this Les.

Finally a word about the earthquake disaster in Japan. My sweet daughter-in-law's immediate family is okay, they have not been able to reach some cousins who live in the north. My thoughts have been sort of an ongoing prayer this morning for all those affected by this terrible disaster, and for Kaori's family, and for her many Japanese friends in the Houston area who I am sure are so very concerned for their family members so far away. May God surround you in his loving arms, keep your family members safe, and give you peace of mind.


Friday, March 4, 2011

C'mon Spring!

It is a dreary cloudy day in Nebraska, and the weatherman says snow tonight. Really? Yuck! After finding myself in a blizzard last weekend and snowed in at my quilt retreat, we have had some teasingly spring like days this past week. The snow has all melted. C’mon Spring! It is officially 15 days away yet, but C’mon!
So I decided it is time to make a little of my own spring. Friday is my day off, I get lots of sewing done after I race thru my chores like cleaning and grocery shopping. So as I gazed out my sewing room window at the grey day I decided to get out a little glorious color, my Roseville Album blocks. They have been languishing in my sewing room while I have been spending most of my sewing time working on the Civil War Bride Quilt. I really have a lot of them done, and I think I am going to leave them on the cork wall just to enjoy them.
Look at this cute little tote bag my friend Pat brought me from her recent trip to Las Vegas. She knew I like Kaffe Fassett fabric and found this tote bag with Kaffe designs, I love it.
The cloudy day made me think of comfort food and I threw together a huge beef stew and invited a favorite couple over for dinner.
I got some bread bowls from the local bakery to put the stew in. Just to rebel against this wintry day I made one of my favorite summer time desserts, cherry cheesecake. To finish off the menu I got a bottle of wine picked simply because I liked the cork and I collect wine corks.
This is a Riesling called Lucky Duck - note the duck on the cork.
I like to date the corks and then throw them in the cork basket on my coffee table.

So we have a wintry day, I am wishing for spring, and I made a summery dessert, just to confuse my season sense a little more I am working on Santa Baby blocks.
This is a pattern by the Buggy Barn ladies Pam Soliday and Janet Nesbitt. It is from their book Positively Crazy. These blocks are very aptly named (positively crazy) I can only describe them as wonky. Somehow you go from this,
to this,
and finally the best part of the whole process - lining up the diagonal line on the ruler down the center of the block and squaring them up.

Have a wonderful weekend all,