Monday, May 29, 2006

Family things

Well, the grandkids were here and were terrific. The adults (did I say that??? my boys...adults???) went to the Renaissance Festival. Here's a picture of them with a friendly Dragon. The next evening we went to a Japanese Steak House for Jim's official 'good-bye' dinner. I think we had more fun watching the childrens reactions to all the fancy cooking action-especially when the chef made a flaming volcano out of some onion rings! This photo doesn't show the flames, but the little guy has recovered from his initial shock! We'll be together today,too.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Time is rushing by

Jim's leave is coming to an end, so things have been busy around here as we try to arrange outings and family dinners, starting physical therapy, etc.. Today I will have the grandkids so that David and his wife can join Jim and a friend at an outdoor event. I'm sure that I will be exhausted- the kids are very good, but there is a a reason that the young have children!

I look forward to having them and I hope that I can get the younger one down for a nap. My granddaughter has been asking to do some sewing each time she has visited. I can't supervise her on the sewing machine and watch the little one properly, so IF I can get him to nap, we will work on something. In the past year I've had her only twice without the little one along, and each time we made something. The first time she made a pillowcase for her bed, the second time we made a little quilt (very little) for her doll. Now she keeps wanting to sew some more-YIPPEE.

As for me, I did get a few minutes up in the sewing room the other day. I ran the PCQuilter a bit on my practice muslin. I have to take that off and put one of the quilts on and "git 'er done". I have about 11 tops waiting........and waiting. The pictures here are of one of the tops waiting - it was an online mystery quilt on Planet Patchwork a while back.

While up there I also made a very quick and primitive padded bag for our portable gps unit. I worried about it hitting against something and cracking the screen. I picked two ugly fat quarters (don't know where they came from, I KNOW that I didn't buy them) made a sandwich with batting in the middle, serged the edges then folded one end up to within about 4 inches of the other end, serged those sides, made corners at the bottom. The top 4 inches makes a flap over the top and the gps and its cords fit in quite well.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hot and lazy days

Yes, yesterday it was close to 90 degrees and today wasn't much cooler. I had a lot of errands and chores to get done and the heat was draining. (no, we didn't put on the air conditioner...but we won't go there...) Anyway, today I finally got to do a little in the sewing room. I did a little of the Stashbusters counter sweep, putting some things away that were on various surfaces. Still more needs to go away, but its a start. Also was able to rehang my 'design wall' which consists of one of those fleece blankets you can get really cheap at Linens'n'things. I think this one was $5 or less and it is queen size. Blocks stick to it pretty well and when they don't, there are pins nearby. I'm still thinking about those bowtie blocks and have tried a couple of other layouts. You may notice an empty space......well, that's because I was so busy making blocks for the swap that I forgot to do an extra one for myself! DUH! I still have fabric and will make it when I go to join all these into a top. Also got all my b&w 4patches done for the stepping stone (Bonnie's) while I was at the sewing machine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The first step is...

OK, decided to get out of the stalled state and start...the first step is to make the first step, so...I pulled some whites and blacks from my stash, cut strips and have put the strips together. Got some seams pressed too before I had to go to a doctor appointment. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to cut them into smaller units to be constructed into 4patch blocks. Black and white strip sets aren't all that fascinating, so I won't post a picture. Looking forward to making some more progress tomorrow - even if I can just steal a few minutes between other obligations. Have thought about the bow tie blocks, and I think I will make 4 more to be put as corners of borders. The existing blocks are 8" squares, so that big a border all around will get it to almost 50" square. Not firm in that decision yet, but thinking along those lines.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cobwebs of the mind

Ever find yourself spinning your wheels because there are so many things to be done that you don't know where to start? That seems to be my normal state of being. I have been debating whether to start slicing and dicing fabric to have ready for a 'leaders and enders' quilt that I want to do, or, working on a WIP/UFO. A while back I participated in an online block swap - now I have to decide how to set the blocks into a top. The blocks were dimensional bow tie blocks. Swap guidelines required unbleached muslin(for signing/background) and Civil War reproduction fabrics (or other pre-1900 fabrics), and the block had to be sewn on a 'people powered' machine dating from before 1900. This was a fun project and the blocks that I received were wonderful. Now I have to figure out how to set them. I tried several layouts, one of which is shown here. This won't make much more than a crib size. I'm thinking alternating blocks or sashing. I plan to finish assembling the quilt on my 1898 Singer hand crank. I don't promise to hand quilt it though! I keep hoping that the solution will suddenly come to me......I keep is still a UFO.

Meanwhile, on the home front the house was really hopping yesterday. All the boys and their families arrived with bags and bags of food. I think that we may have had more food than at Thanksgiving last year! Everyone brought their own meat, then one brought veggies, one dessert another appetizers. I swear they must have used every dish in the kitchen. But they also brought Mother's day cards and flowers.....and candy. The boys assembled a little grill, the girls and I chatted up a storm and giggled lots and the kids ran around the yard and played computer games, whooping and hollering. A very nice mothers day treat. And then suddenly, they were all gone, all leaving at the same time and the house was emptier and more quiet than before. We both slept soundly last night, and I'm sure that I had a big smile on my face all night.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Trying to be inspired

Well, its been a week or so since I have done much quilt related. Yesterday I spent less than an hour doing some learning exercises on my PCQuilter. I want to get the practice muslin off and put on a top. I have quite a few waiting to be quilted. Have to just put one on and go to it instead of trying to learn everything perfectly first.
My quilt guild had a meeting earlier this week, and I took several of the tops I have made recently for 'show and tell'. At queen size, this is the largest. This one was designed by Dorothy Young who has a yahoo group to do her designs as mystery quilts. She excels at giving clear instructions for projects which have been tested several times and she manages to give lots of guidance without giving away the 'mystery'. This one Dorothy calls Magic Ribbons. Now I have to decide how to quilt this, but no rush on that, as I have several smaller ones to get started on first. I'll just work my way up to this one!
I don't know that I will have much of a chance to do much in the next few days, either. The Corporal will be home on leave before he deploys, and I imagine that we will be pretty busy 'visiting'. I know that tomorrow (Mother's Day) all three boys plan to be here with their families/girlfriends. I was informed that they would be using my grill and my table for a family gathering in my honor. No one mentioned who was supplying the food or doing the cooking..............should I start to worry?
I guess I'm just too distracted to feel very inspired. Besides all the family things going on, there are several projects I'd love to start, but I'm trying to be 'good' and finish off a couple of UFOs first. Trying to be 'good' is what always seems to get me 'stalled' instead of 'finished'. Somehow, I think that if I manage to get to anything quilty, its going to be something fun instead of *sigh* anything requiring self discipline.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Our Maiden Voyage

Last week we took our maiden voyage in our new little camper. We stayed just one night up at a campground on Lake Lanier in an effort to learn all we need to know in order to use our Aliner. Aliner's are folding campers, much like pop ups, except they have no canvas and are hard sided. We visited a number of camper/RV dealers before buying. We viewed several types of camper that were small enough to be towed by our van. It was essential that we buy something that I can operate totally by myself. We needed to 'try on' a camper for size, fortunately, camper dealers are good about allowing you to set up and close up campers to show you how easy it is to do. We also needed something that would be easy for Paul to get in and out of, and to move safely inside , so we had to test this out as well. Paul is quite happy with the camper. I enjoyed how easy it is to set up. I'm sure we will both enjoy it more as we become more familiar and therefore more adept and comfortable using it.
At this time of year the campgrounds are still half empty during the week, so things are quiet and private. Except for the occassional light or the aroma of a campfire, we could have been alone on the lake. Well, almost alone....There were a few boaters and a jetski and water skier zooming past a few times. They provided us with some entertainment and caused small waves to lap the shore, creating a much more pleasant sound than their boat motors!
We had wonderful weather, a beautiful and peaceful site right on the water, and a great camping companion. Nick was a great camper. He never barked the whole time we were gone. He was constantly observing all that went on around us, and was especially interested in the fish that occassionally would jump out of the water. He did indicate that he would have preferred sleeping in one of the beds instead of on the floor, but then one of us would have had to take the floor-and that was NOT going to happen! We appeased him by making a very cushy bed for him to ride in for our return trip. He is nothing if not magnanimous and has accepted our apology. Now that we are home, he is back on duty. He needed his little vacation from his job of alerting us of all the UPS/FedEx trucks that drive past each day. I'm not sure if he is trying to scare them away or is miffed that they haven't brought something for him!

First things first

Well, I've finally done it. I've been thinking about starting a blog and now I have one. I need to see how this stacks up and fine tune it. My plan is to chronicle my quilting, camping and some everyday life- thrilling stuff, huh?