Monday, January 31, 2011

Civil War Quilt

I think I mentioned that 201 is the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Not that celebrations are called for, but it is our history as a nation. Barbara Brackman, who has written extensively on this subject, is hosting a year-long blog on quilt patterns from this era and thought to be associated with the War.

She has posted now 5 blocks, each measuring 8.5" and here are four of them that I have made. The 5th is done but I already showed it in an earlier post (I think). All the fabrics were purchased at the Quilted Owl in Metairie, LA on Jefferson Hwy. They have a terrific selection of period reproduction fabrics.

I have no idea where this project will take me, but I am along for the ride!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Sunday!

Yea!!!! The Oriental Leslie BOMb is finished!!!!! Okay, I still have to quilt it, true......

ANd the Red White and Blues is complete as well. Yes there is only the simple single border but really, there is enough going on with the color scheme, any border fabric would just scream.

I had fun finishing this silly project I bought to make as long ago as last year (or was it 2 years ago.....) The Stick Chicken!
too cute. I have already made the Cat Stick but have it at the shop as a sample.
Speaking of cute....
Q. Usually she hangs out in the sewing room, taking up space on the ironing board. Shasta beat her to it today.

Shasta has been trying to be helpful as well. Here she is scrambling a quilt-top I was attempting to pin a border on. Such a help.

And to top the day off nicely, I made a loaf of seeduction bread. Very close to the loaf you buy at Whole Foods. Except lighter.

Friday, January 28, 2011

There's an APP for THAT!

I just had an absurd notion I thought I'd share..... what if these "smart" phones had a built-in scale?

WELL! They do just about everything ELSE! Camera, calendar, airline schedules, maps, recipes, albums, music, radio, streaming tv, games....... why not a set of scales? That would be useful, right?

The first time I step on it, it gets crushed. Then I regain the life I lost spent on the iPhone.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Slept til 6:30

and saw this outside.

I think it is going to be a VERY good day.

Oh yeah... and I found what I as looking for.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


As I messed around yesterday, I worked on the bindig of the Seasons quilt. That lead me to searching(!) for an appropriate needle with which to do this job. This shouldn't be a moment of aggravation for a stitcher, but alas, with me it always is.

SO I stopped and made meself a little needlecase.

Now that I have this, I hope to find my needles more swiftly in the future. The little label is one of many my brother gave me for Christmas a few years back.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yesterday was AWEsome!

I finished the sample and redid it. I posted several thought on this blog. I baked challah and made hash for dinner. And I started to finish the Red White and Blues quilt which I almost finished today. (I ran out of fabric.....oops)

So needing a new script for Flexeril, I popped done to my primary, which is a walk-in clinic, because the good Dr was "in" today . Hey, I know an opportunity when I sees it.

(She also wrote one to clear up this congestion.)But way cool was getting (unasked for) 6 refills of the Flexiril!!!!!! 6!!!!! Oh my!

So I came on home with my stash of meds, popped the decongestant and worked out on the Wii for 45 minutes...... whilst the pizza dough rested.

Yummy.... mmmmmm pizza.


Monday, January 24, 2011


God has such a sense of humor........

Background: The Amish have a tradition of always intentionally inserting one mistake in their quilts. Because only God is perfect, right?

Okay, I don't intentionally go out of my way to make a mistake. With me, this comes naturally. A few days ago I posted a photo of the new sample, 6 Halves Makes A Whole Starburst. I was SO CAREFUL while making it too, and of course I made mistakes along the way and corrected them ASAP.

I was so careful when assembling the quilt, stopping as I went and closely examining. YOU NEVER want to get to the last border and find you have a mistake, right?

SO with a heart busting out with pride, I posted this photo:

It's been hanging on the design wall ever since. I just noticed a big mistake.

Ah me...... poof! There goes that pride bubble. Back to humility with me as I go fix it!

Civil War Quilt Up-Dat

There are now 4 blocks posted at the Civil War Quilts blog and I have made them with one modification.

Week 3 had an applique block , 7 Sisters and I knew straight away I wasn't going to make that one. I was surprised to read others had them same opinion and one woman posted a photo of a single star she made as a substitute. I followed her lead.

The colors above are not absolutely true. Close but..... and I look forward to next week's block.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Keeping It Classy at the White House

During the State Dinner for the Premier of China, Hu Tsing-Tau, as a special treat renown pianist Lang Lang played an anti-American song for the assembled guests. He expressed his delight to play it on his blog and some of his fellow countrymen have bothered to explain the slap in our face to the press. I hope you stumble across it as you read the paper tomorrow morning.

Everyone in China appreciates the insult so please allow me to thank you so much to all of you who applauded this. It just feels so great to be humiliated in return by the very people we were hosting with high honor.

Ta DA!!!!!

isn't this pretty?

6 Halves Makes a Whole Starburst. Full disclosure: the name of the pattern is misleading... yeah you use 6 half-yards cuts AND 4.25 yards of the background AND 1 7/8 yard of the borders and medallion..... so ...... really....... not fair. Catchy but not true.

Now, it's BIG too! 64" x 80" . The quilt in person is even nicer..... great batiks.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


It was blurry cold outside this morning when I let the chickens out of the coop. So cold, the water froze in the two troughs. Take a look at this ice formation and see what you think. Have you ever seen anything like this?

? Weird, huh? I wish I captured the depth better. The ice is in layers, about 4" deep and then the water is 1 inch deep at the bottom. Again Weird, because it was completely thawed and liquid while all this on top was hard and iciled. Is that a word?

I have a camera app on the phone that takes artistic photos. Here is Stu

He usually isn't so thalo-green

I Mail This Out Today.....

 January 22,2011

P.O. Box 33170 

Detroit, MI 48232-5170

To the CEO of GM and anyone who might actually give a damn,

While perusing the internet this past week, bothering no one and minding my own business, I find with far too great a frequency that Chevy advertisements pop up and obliterate the entire screen I am attempting to read. I do not exaggerate when I say “the entire screen” and there appears to be no x to merely flick the ad back out into the ether.

Not only is this annoying, it is invasive. This in-your-face method of inserting your product into my life has made me completely in opposition to your automobiles. Watching television was bad enough with endless blaring commercials set a volume to blast the viewer out of the room. Now you intrude my moments of solitude on-line.

As a result of this ad campaign, as a one-man boycott I will never purchase a GM product again. So well done and please tell the genius behind the obtrusive adverts I send raspberries and pop-ups in his general direction. I hope he/she sees them in his/her dreams. You might also mention the concepts of “less is more” and “flies with honey”.

Please don’t bother to contact yours sincerely,

PS, Thanks as well for forcing me to send this via the US Post. Interesting how it’s ok for you to use the cool-kid IT to get to us but don’t allow the peons to use it to reach you in response.

Friday, January 21, 2011


If I could return to college for a degree, I believe it would be a blast.
My thesis would be the impact of high animation on the western psyche.

One chapter would be entirely devoted to the philosophy of Oogway:

Oogway:" One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it. ..."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Linda Kay and I are going to give a short talk on quilting in America for members of the DAR and during her research, she found that :

1. This is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War and
2. Fabric manufacturers are promoting fabric lines and
3. Designers are cranking out commemorative patterns.

Which leads me to this:
Barbara Brackman has a blog that will post a new pattern each week for a Civil War Quilt and I have made the first block to show at the talk.

Back in November LK and I went across the lake to visit the 2 shops there. THe Quilted Owl has a terrific selection of "period" reproduction fabrics. It is here that I picked out a selection "Civil War" fabrics for future use.

I didn't realize the future would show up so quickly.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Well, THAT worked!

Actually, the past post had nothing to do with making feel better. I DO feel better but the cold lingers on. et's just say, "It's not slime.. it's MUCUS!"

and I stay busy working not on the piece you saw below but a new sample for the shop, Six Halves Make A Whole Starburst. All batik and very pretty.

I have also been hanging small finished projects in the sewing room to make me happy. Old friends hanging around and speaking.

I started sewing the binding on the Seasons quilt, using fabric I have in the stash and honestly, it looked wrong. So I frogged it off and will buy a better color choice Tuesday at the shop. You know, I just thought, I have put this much into this piece, why frame it with an awkward binding?

Kat came home sick as well and after doctoring her up with King Ranch Chicken, (thanks Meredith) she perked up. Yesterday we fired up her Breville pie maker and made both pot pies and pecan pies. So cool. Too bad they are out of stock everywhere. I bet they will make a return visit to the William-Sonoma shelves but it might be a while.

Pretty soon, we'll start seriously addressing the planting of seeds for the spring gardens and I already have been collecting the seeds for this. We are still harvesting carrots, beets, brussel sprouts and kale. We ate rutabagas in the pot pies and they are delish.

The leeks I am happy to report are growing despite of the bitter cold nights. I planted 26 and they all remain, so far. The artichokes are a different story, however. I think we have lost the first one totally now unless it makes a come-back when the earth warms up. The other two are hanging in there but don't look as healthy as I hoped they would. Oh well, no ones said this would work but I am going to start RIGHT NOW with growing new ones in the hopes that we might get a few heads.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This will make me feel better.

Something I am working on



With myself. I am constantly excavating in the sewing room. In search of you name it!

A piece of fabric I KNOW I have.
A bill. Payment due "today"!
A cutting ruler or marking pen or seam ripper...
The checkbook!

Right now... it's the second page of a two-page pull-out pattern for an apron. gggrrrrrrrrr

I Know it's here...... I can't have tossed it.....

steam steam grrrrrrr

You know, of course, what this is a symptom of, yes?

Clutter: nothing other than postponed decisions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alec....Chris..... Craig..... really?

hmmmmm.. This is a dilemma. I may remove this post but for now, I'd like to chime in on this game of "Throw the Blame on the Right",

Alec Baldwin, no friend of the Right-Leaning politicos, said this in 1998:
During his appearance on the comedy late night show Late Night with Conan O'Brien on December 12, 1998, eight days before President Bill Clinton was to be impeached, Baldwin said, "if we were in another country... we would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families, for what they're doing to this country."[48] Baldwin later apologized for the remarks, and the network explained it was meant as a joke and promised not to rerun it.[49] .
Perhaps Alec famed the flames in this nut.

And over in California, someone thought this would be amusing as Halloween decorations:

OH! Remember this cute one from Craig Kilborn? No? Of course not.... but surely you recall that silver screen "fantasy" about the assassination of then sitting President George W. Bush. Don't pretend you don't. C'mon..... t was explained to me as just ART! Who would be crazy enough to actually ACT on it? Right?

HA ha, Chris! It's okay to target Rush! Everyone in America hates HIM! Right?

I guess all those journalists and politicians screaming NOW about how inflammatory the Right/Conservatives/TeaBaggers?FoxNews are and have been never manage to see it in the mirror.

but...... I don't think the man who shot all these people in Tucson had been influenced by anyone in the Political arena. He has been described by first-hand observers as being mentally disturbed. The guilt lays at his feet. Alone.

If it is proved that he as been enabled by people to continue his life unmedicated or unsupervised, then let's revisit culpability.

Until then, chill. Stop trying to assign blame and watch yer words. You never know who you might elbow over the edge of sanity.

We really need to muzzle ourselves individually before the Government finds a way to do it collectively.

Rhubarb and Stitches

I am feeling somewhat better.... enough to do a little work on the big machine. I put a quilt up a few days ago and walked away to bed. Then I would wander back in to check email, I'd stop and look at it for inspiration.

This usually works for me. When I am working on a quilt, I have an idea of what I'd like to see in the negative spaces (always my challenge spots) but by the time they get on the frame, those thoughts are well gone. This one was no different.

One of the things I wanted this modified long-arm for was to free up my limited access to width that quilting on a sewing machine offered and I have been practicing now for several years. I think I am better than ok but not great and especially not at coming up with my own patterning. I go to Leah Day for ideas and springboard from her. She has great ideas and instructional DVDs for those of you who want to free-motion quilt with a sewing machine. She's a master.

So I thought I'd use this quilt to be my first Do It Meself design and not fall back on my usual scrolls and vines and hearts. I wanted the recurring Churn Dash blocks to really stand out without outlining them (my usual) so I stitched tiny flames I call quicksilver. That worked nicely...

The quilt is made up of the Fours Seasons around a center square so each season will be unique. I am thinking of imagery from that time of year and as we are deep in the arms of winter now and it is blustery up here, I thought I'd go with long waving lines to depict wind or fallow fields. That opening is approximately 18" wide. Summer is on the opposite side and will have sunflowers everywhere. Spring is rolled up on the bar and has curling growth branches and leaves. Fall is still below and will have fallen, blowing leaves.

Now, something else I'd like to mention is LK told me about something she learned from Mona Jones and Deb Covington: don't attach the topquilt to the leader; allow it to hang over the bar and drop along with the excess batting. Then stitch the quilt top across the top (I already figured this out long ago) and THEN secure the edges as you go along. That keeps the top taut enough for the frame.

Now, I saw Deb do this years ago and thought that's not for me... but when I loaded this top on, I thought I'd at least give it a try. It works. Whaddaya know........ who says I can't learn a new trick at the ripe old age of 51?

And because NPR says it the thing this year, I made a pie. Rhubarb Strawberry, fresh outta de oven, berling hot fillin'. I present: pie.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cutting Edge, my friends..... Cutting Edge

#2 Daughter asked for a Breville Piemaker from Williams-Sonoma for Christmas. She's the one who got me hooked up with the Pioneer Woman (see Hot Links) and has been delving deeper into the glories of good eatin'.

It doesn't hurt that we live "close to the land" and throw all sorts of veg in her general direction and coming from two sides of really excellent grandmotherly cooks, how could she be any other way? Both girls are healthy cook-eaters (think of it as something like singer-songwriters.)

So we got both kids each one (since they live @450 miles apart, sharing seemed out of the question) and they got jiggy with it. And don't think of it as fruit-pie exclusive! The first thing they whipped up was pot pies!

And now, looky here........ NPR has noticed that pie is the haute cuisine d'jour.

Shoot! I knew that back in December.

Day Five

uuuhhhhhhh. I am sick of being sick.

Just thought I'd complain.


Thursday, January 6, 2011


... you could do just one thing exceedingly well, what would it be?

I mean so well that people pay you to do it and therefore you must do it frequently. Not merely as a lark.

What Would You Do?

Ha-CHHOOO-ppy New Year, Ya'll

It's always a good thing to get a cold out of the way early in the year.... so I started yesterday. Scratchy back of the throat. Slept horribly last night and awake with achy joints and neck muscles. Sinus blockage...... yeah, me!

Well, all is not gloomy. As I suffered the throat itch and soothed it with lozenges, I finished the Eleanor Burns Victory quilt-top.

I think it came out very nice...... I will have to stop and think how I will do the quilting part of it.

Today, slowly, I will put on the machine the seasons quilt because I would really like to hang it over the sofa. It is too small to use on a bed and too big to have draped on the back of a sofa. But a pretty good size to hang on this largish wall with nothing on it at the moment.

Oh NO!!!! I just read in the book that this quilt should measure 88" across the top. I might not be able to do the quilting....... hmmmmm...... change of plans?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Well, I made my goal from last year..... I was so relaxed, easing into this one, I fell asleep by 10.30pm.
Hear me out: I usually am snoring by 8:30pm, wiped out by the day's activities. So, to be AWAKE past 9:00 is something of a challenge and to be relaxed and awake is truly an achievement.

I hope anyone reading this drivel had a wonderful and wonderous Christmas holiday. Ours was both joyous and peaceful.

We hosted the 5th Borgasmord on Christmas Eve

and had a standing-room only crowd. The food evaporated (note to self: make an extra Jansson's Temptation next year) (I mean.... who knew my fellow Americans would grow to love this dish?)

Myself, "Aunt Mary" and Jan

Akavit. So much to tell. In the past, we simply looked each other in the eye, said skol and knocked the shot back. This year, to be more traditional and, let's just say it true, more Swedish, we sang "Helan Gar". Badly, be truthful, but we sang it! The first 2 times in English, just to get them liquored up enough to thrust the Swedish version at 'em.

But THESE guests are courageous and intrepid. They sang with gusto and reverb. Of course, the reward is worth it. I love these people..... the best.

The weather cooperated splendidly. It was cold enough to enjoy glogg and warm enough to play games outdoors. Kubb was a hit! Considering only a handful of people there had ever played, let alone seen the game, it came as a surprise to find a ringer in the list of participants. Nick..... have you been practicing? HHMmmmm? Did you play jai alai in college, perhaps?

And silly indoor games as well..... this one was interesting.

And as it is difficult to get all the young 'uns in one shot, here's a way...

Two sad observations. 1. The hours pass too quickly. 2. We must wait 360 days to do it again. But on a happy note: I have our jultomtes all picked out for next year!