Welcome to my blog, we're talking about quilting and other good stuff. I'm glad you stopped by ... look around, add a comment, become a follower if you feel inclined, tell your friends about me, and come back soon!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Am I ready?? No, I'm not!!

Hi there, Cheryl, I'm glad to see you.  I love your Rag Muffin dolls!

Well, I signed up for the 2011 UFO challenge sponsored by Nancy of Patchwork Penguin, here's my list:

(1)  Uneven 9-patch 
(2)  The Story of Christmas 
(3)  Christmas RR 
(4) House-in-the-middle RR
(5)  African ribbons 
(6a) Little Christmas tree 
(6b)  Snowman and Penguin 
(7)  Black and white sampler
(8)  African ribbons 
(9)  Raw edge drunkard's path 
(10)  School house

I listed African ribbons twice because that one has a lot of little pieces. 

Each month, January thru October Nancy will choose a number at random, and we're to work on the UFO associated with that number.  Well, January's UFO is ... #3!  Which happens to be my Christmas round robin.  I remember taking a border off that one to replace it because it had a food stain on it... here's what I have:
I never replaced the border and I swanee, I thought I had my stuff all together, I looked everywhere I could think of to find the rest of this piece. 

What you're looking at is the two outer borders, I have no earthly idea where the middle part is!  I know for a fact that it's NOT in the bathroom or the oven (see?  progress!)  So..... since this is a no-pressure challenge, I've made an executive decision to skip this one for right now, sooner or later I'll find the rest of it.

So that my searching was not in vain, while I was cleaning in my sewing room I found some leftover odds and ends that I assigned to the Parts Department, and I also found these New York Beauty blocks that I made from my time at About.com:

There was a large group of us working on this pattern, I don't think too many of us finished the entire quilt but we had fun with each other while we were working on it! 

I counted 15 of these blocks, I have no desire to make any more, so I'll put what I finished into a wall hanging.  In the photo below you can see how long I've had these!

Yesterday's weather was sunny and in the 40's, it felt really good outside.  Today is supposed to be in the 50's - heat wave!!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Bear" day #2

Yesterday at work was one of those days when 10 hours seem like ... well, maybe 10-1/2!  I had to do some major hand-holding as I helped one of our clients get her newsletter ready to publish. It's an information technology newsletter (How boring is that??) that gets published quarterly, this is her second one and she's still a bit anxious. It was "Yes Debbie, all the articles are formatted and soon as you're done [fooling around] reviewing it, I'll publish it." and "No Debbie, we don't have to wait for the announcement to be approved before we post it." and "Unfortunately, there's not enough time to create a new banner if we're to meet our deadline, let's plan on tweaking it for the next issue." and "Debbie, have you noticed the graphic you want to use doesn't address the transfer of information? It's a nice graphic and I'm glad you found it, the colors do match the logo, but it's a picture of a tornado..."

Sew forth and sew on for a good part of the day. That and all my other work made for a pretty full plate! Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

Wii update - I got it working, yaaaaay!!  I had the cables connected okay (thanks Linda!) but I didn't have the TV tuned right... all those options, oh man!  In "my day" you twisted a knob to turn the TV on, you got to choose between 5 channels (3 of them fuzzy), and at about 11 pm you turned it back off because there was nothing on except the test pattern.  I should have had my 11-year-old neighbor come in, kids know how to do that stuff. 

Rhonda mentioned my postcards - yep, I made them all!  I haven't made any lately, but I like to make postcards based on holidays, seasons, or events, and I like them to be "unexpected" or with a twist. You can see some of my other ones on my guild's website - Uhuru Quilters Guild.

No sewing yesterday; this means I'll have to start 2011 with a bang and a whirrrr if I'm to meet my deadlines.  Hey, that's a thought... maybe I'll ring in the new year by working on a quilt while watching the fireworks on TV!  Any takers?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Digging out

Not me, not me!  We got less than an inch of snow in DC but lots and lots of wind, power lines being blown down, an entire tree was toppled in one area not too far from where I live.  I went out to the store around noon yesterday and it was very very cold and windy.

My sister in New Jersey sent me pictures of the great dig-out at her house, I'm sure she won't mind me sharing these.  In this picture she's at the bottom of her steps ... lots of snow! 

In the picture below you can barely see her as she tunnels towards the sidewalk.  Notice the snow-covered car across the street!

I think these were taken Sunday.  As I write this there are still people stranded at Dulles and Reagan National airports waiting for flights out ... they could fly out, but airports along the Eastern seaboard can't land them. 

Well that's all for now, maybe I'll get some sewing in this weekend - I'm falling behind!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow to the north of us... Snow to the south of us...

As I'm writing this on Sunday night, we do have snow coming down but not like I thought it would be!  I went to the 7:30 service this morning and all was clear; by the time we got out between 9:15 and 9:30, the temperature had dropped and there were teeny, tiny widely-separated flakes floating lazily down.  My sister in New Jersey said it was snowing really hard and the wind was making it drift.  My niece in Fayetteville (NC) sent me pictures she took Sunday morning showing her 2-year-old playing in snow almost up to her knees!  Snow to the north of us..., snow to the south of us..., but here in the District we've had teeny tiny widely-separated flakes floating lazily down... until about two hours ago, then they stepped it up a notch. 

This is a picture I took from my front door, you can see the snow is starting to accumulate but it's not at shovelling level just yet.  Monday is my work-from-home day, so I won't have to worry about driving to work in whatever we get tonight. 

If you have family or friends returning home from being away for the holidays, I wish them safe travelling through the snow and a safe arrival home.  I think this guy has the right idea:

I was a very, very good girl this year, so Santa brought me a Wii for Christmas, but I couldn't get it set up, waaaaaah!! 

I even called Direct TV and, I have to give the guy credit, he worked with me for a very long time but we couldn't get it up and running. It must be something uncomplicated that I'm not doing right but we disconnected cables from one thing and reconnected them to other things -- there's an awful lot of cables back there! 

There are all kinds of ports on my TV to plug into, but not the right combination of red-yellow-white that I need for my Wii.  Wish me luck because "Wii want to play!"


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas one and all!

'What's to-day, my fine fellow?' said Scrooge.
'To-day?' replied the boy. 'Why, Christmas Day.'
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Merry Christmas, everybody! 


 Wishing you a Christmas...

 that is merry and bright, ...

filled with the joy...

of the season!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Rides Tonight!

When I was a kid, Christmas was definitely the best time of the year!  You see, I was born on a small farm in North Carolina and we didn't have a lot of store-bought things to play with.  We seldom got "store-bought" candy or "store-bought" toys or "store-bought" fruit. 

My mother made home-made cakes, pies, ice cream, fudge and molasses candy, but because it didn't come from a store, we disdained it -- while we gobbled it down!  We had apple, peach, pear, hickory nut and black walnut trees; white, red and purple grape vines, all the huckle berries, blackberries, melons and cantaloupes we could eat -- but because they were home grown and not "store bought," deep down inside we really weren't as grateful as we should have been.  Little did we know!

So when Christmas time rolled around, we kids would be giddy with joy and telling each other "I know I was good!"  "Nuh-uhn, I was better than you!"  On Christmas Eve the older ones would tell us young'uns "You better watch out, Santa rides tonight!"  We knew that meant a candy cane, a toy if we were lucky, and lots of "fruit and stuff."  Now, we did have a fireplace but somehow we never expected Santa to come down the chimney, so we would "set a box" to collect our booty.  Sometimes we'd be in bed by 7 pm, waiting for Santa!

Sure enough, when Christmas morning rolled around we saw that Santa had come through one more time!  There were big grins aplenty, lots of sweet treats, and enough excitement to keep us out of mischief for at least a few days...

I think that our childhood memories are sometimes the best ones for two reasons - one is that we can recapture the feelings we had and relive them; the other is that we look at those experiences from an adult's perspective and see how precious that time of innocence really was.  We were forced to use our imagination because there were no iPods, Nintendos, Wii, robotic this or that... A stick could become a baseball [pinecone] bat, a pony if you straddled it, or a pogo stick if you held it straight and jumped high enough.

Times have changed and gotten more complicated, but memories live on.  So, this Christmas I hope we can all celebrate where we are right now in our lives, knowing that precious memories are still being created that we can pull out, examine, and be grateful for... not only by us but also by the ones we love.

Until later

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting in the mood

Do you like my singing reindeer?  I think the music helps make this time of year especially special!  I won't annoy you with a music gizmo though ... sometimes I think if I hear the Christmas Shoes again I'll take mine off and throw it.  To each his own, though.  :O)

At the 2009 Scrapbagger's retreat (they're held every 2 years), one of the assignments Carolyn gave us was to create "ribbons" to swap with each other.  We were given a specific size range - width and length - of the ribbons, along with 3 pieces of fabric to include in each ribbon as we desired.  For example, the ribbon could be 24x4, 18x6, 20x3, 20x6... you get the picture. 

When I pulled these out yesterday I couldn't believe I've had them for almost 2 years(?!), and I haven't "found the time" to put them together into a quilt.  The way I laid them out, you can't see many details but they are all too pretty to not use.  It's generally understood that at the current retreat, you will have completed a quilt made from the block exchange of the previous retreat.  Time flies whether you're having fun or not!
Maybe after I see what the other ladies have done with their collections...?  yeah, right

Yesterday I got a navigation system installed in my car, which came with a blue tooth - I think it's way kewl!  I've never had a nav system before, so I had to test it out to see if I could trust it.  There was only one street it took me down that I rarely take (Georgia Avenue through Silver Spring) because it's so congested along that stretch, but I was game and went along for the ride.  I had to laugh earlier as I was tooling down 270 and I heard this voice (her name is Amy) say "you are exceeding the speed limit."  I said "everybody else is, too!"  Shoot, I was only going 5-6 miles over the limit, and people were whizzing past me like they were going to a fabric sale!

The blue tooth is way kewl!  If you get a call, the nav screen changes to show you (among other things) little phone icons - green for answering and red for ending the call.  It didn't like my phone being too close, so I put it in my purse to avoid that funny "byeeemp" sound.  I also got a lo-jack that I had to register when I got home, so I'm all set!

New car, new nav toy, "new" exchange blocks to play with ... I can feel the mood!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another "bear" day!

The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached..
It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. 
"I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?" said Scrooge.
"You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us," Scrooge pursued. "Is that so, Spirit?"
The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head. That was the only answer he received.
"Lead on," said Scrooge. "Lead on. The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit." A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
As I've said before, sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you... he got me yesterday!  We were extremely busy at the office and almost short staffed because of all the use-or-lose leave people are taking now.  The team member that I work with, works at home on Tuesdays and it's usually seamless - in other words it's just as if he's physically at the office - but I swanee sometimes I think he falls asleep at home!  Else why doesn't he respond to emails or answer his phone, eh??  So much for that bear.

I was poking around on my junk design wall yesterday and saw this block I made a few months ago.  When I made it, my first thought was to make it the size you see here, but on second thought maybe I'll use it as the focal point for a larger hanging.  I fused some batiks to create a stained glass window slightly above and behind her, then again I don't know if I'll incorporate stained glass into the finished piece.  Still thinking about that one.

My guild is planning a quilt show for 2011, so there's a distinct advantage in making this block into a larger wall hanging...more mileage I guess.

This block is appliqued as you can see; I like the process because - at least the way I do it - it's more forgiving than following someone else's pattern.  Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful patterns available and they have their strong points, but sometimes I have to find my own way through a piece.  The picture that inspired me was a full view of a young lady with her hair in a ponytail, in slacks, kneeling at a table.  I cut her off at the waist, moved her hands into a prayer position, and transformed the slacks into a dress or jacket (I'll let you decide!). I used a head dress instead of hair.

I think it'll turn out okay!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More retreat blocks

"Spirit!" said Scrooge in a broken voice, "remove me from this place."
"I told you these were shadows of the things that have been," said the Ghost. "That they are what they are, do not blame me!"
"Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!"
He was conscious of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness; and, further, of being in his own bedroom....and had barely time to reel to bed, before he sank into a heavy sleep.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
* * * * * * * *
The days just don't seem long enough!  Today is Winter Solstice, so we start getting one minute more of daylight every day until Summer Solstice, where we start losing a minute every day.  But hey, I'm glad for the one-minute gain right now!  They're calling for more snow before Christmas, but they've been wrong before [crossing fingers].  Yesterday was cold, but sunny... it was sunny - if that makes a difference! 

For our Scrapbagger's retreat in Deep Creek in April, each person had to choose a block from a list that our fearless leader (Carolyn) gave us and make a bunch to swap with everybody else. We were given a half-yard of focus fabric, a piece of which had to be included in each block.  What a challenge!  I call her "fearless" because pulling together a retreat can not be an easy job!

All blocks came from Quilter's Cache; mine is called Wavy Navy... 7 down, 10 to go!  I believe it's okay to post this because it was not a secret project - we do have one assigment (a pass-it-along story) that she specifically said is a secret, so I won't mention that.  Another assignment is to make a quilt on a specific subject - Carolyn, I promise not to blog [blab] about it, LOL. 

Hello followers, it's good to see all of you! [waving and grinning]. 

Sew forth and sew on

Monday, December 20, 2010

No to this, yes to that...

The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door, and asked Scrooge if he knew it.
"Know it!" said Scrooge. "Was I apprenticed here?"
They went in. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig, sitting behind such a high desk, that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling, Scrooge cried in great excitement:
"Why, it's old Fezziwig! Bless his heart; it's Fezziwig alive again!" A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
* * * * * * * *
By now you're probably wondering how the quotes from A Christmas Carol tie into my blog post... the answer is "not at all!"  I just thought I'd quote Dickens just for the heck of it.

Yesterday after checking my email, I had to pat myself on the back for saying "no"... I said "no thank you" to 50% discounts at eQuilter; "nope" to Hancocks of Paducah; "nuh-uh" to The Cotton Club; "no way" to Thousands of Bolts!   I spent some time organizing, sorting, playing with the fabric I already have, so it was easier to say no.  Sort of like saying "no" to a slice of sweet potato pie while you have a mouth full of lemon pound cake.  Tempting, but you know you can really do without it.

I was able to say a big  "yes" though... I went out on another car hunt and found the style and color I wanted, signed the papers, yadda yadda yadda, drove the car home.  I had an embarrassing amount of stuff to transfer from the trunk and the inside of the old car.  Golly geez, I found a CD that went missing over a year ago!  Now, all that mess is in the trunk of my new car.  I only wish I hadn't been stoopid enough to fill my tank before I went out, though.  Today is my work-at-home day, so I may spend my lunch break clearing some of that stuff out of there.

I saw this picture the other day and it just about cracked me up!  It's probably on somebody's Christmas wish list for so many reasons...

Until later

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And the winners are...

"I wish," Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his pocket, and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his cuff: "but it's too late now."
"What is the matter?" asked the Spirit.
"Nothing," said Scrooge. "Nothing. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that's all."
The Ghost smiled thoughtfully, and waved its hand: saying as it did so, "Let us see another Christmas!" A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

* * * * * * * *

raffle tickets ready to roll!

Yesterday my guild had its annual Christmas party, and a grand time was had by all ! We had good food, good fellowship (especially with long-lost members), and a hilarious gift-swapping game where the recipient had to sing a Christmas carol pulled from a bag, in order to keep the gift. 

Three lucky winners won the drawing for the Chesapeake Treasures raffle quilts - king sized and queen/double sized bed quilts, and a 73x73 wall hanging.   My congratulations to the winners!

As I was listening to my iPod last night I noticed (again) how frayed my ear buds were, then I started pulling the stray pieces of rubber off ... bad decision!
The one on the left side lost a piece off the cord and separated right before my eyes!  Do you suppose it's time to get new ones??

Until later,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Preparations, preparations...

"Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?" asked Scrooge.
"I am."
The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
"Who, and what are you?" Scrooge demanded.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past."
"Long Past?" inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.
"No. Your past."   A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

* * * * * * * *
Do you ever have times when the day "feels" like the day it is?  Saturday feels like a Saturday or Monday feels like a Monday?  To me, yesterday didn't particularly feel like any specific day, although it was Friday, the end of the work week.  Lest I laze the day away, I sorted some fabrics and worked on retreat assignments, so I had my nose to the needle most of the day.  Surprisingly, it was a nice sunny day after we got over the black ice at rush hour, a few accidents on the Beltway but I didn't have to be out there. There was still some snow on the ground and sidewalks that was the soft kind, meaning I shoveled my walk then used the broom to clear the rest of it - I didn't even have to use sand or salt!

This is my take on one of the retreat assignments; I don't think it's a secret, so it's okay to post it.  ;o)

Retreat participants were given a fat quarter of a blue batik and told to create a block that reminds you of the "ocean." Well, I sculpted a moon over the ocean at night, piecing for the base and then appliqueing pieces of fabric for the water. I also added a few beads to resemble bubbles floating on the waves.  I chose this design because I liked it, although the block didn't have to "be" the ocean, it had to "remind" you of the ocean.  I have to finish up two more retreat assignments, and I'm done!

I chatted with my sister in NJ yesterday, she's making her famous pork BBQ for Christmas, woo hooo!  She bakes the pork shoulder in a "secret" sauce and freezes it until Christmas - it's vinegary and delicious!  I've had it before, and I highly recommend it.

I might have mentioned before that I'm a member of Uhuru Quilters Guild; today is our Christmas party, ugly fabric auction, and the drawings for the raffle quilts.  Unlike previous years, this year there are three quilts of the same general design, but in three different sizes.  The quilts are really pretty - I hope one of my ticket buyers wins!


Friday, December 17, 2010

A few of my favorite things

"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits.... Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one.  Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.  The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate...." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

* * * * * *
At this time of the year I always look forward to seeing my favorite movies on TV... It's a Wonderful Life and The Polar Express are two of them. 

There are three scenes in The Polar Express that I just love... one is the Hot Chocolate scene on the train, those waiters have it all together! 

In one part, at the North Pole, they're waiting for Santa to appear, and some of the elves are harnessing the reindeer for the sleigh, and I tell you those feisty reindeer are jumping and leaping all over the place!  Everybody's singing, the elves are climbing over each other to get a good view, they're playing the trumpets... and when Santa finally appears they go wild!!  That's a really kewl scene.

Another scene is when the elves are filling Santa's bag with toys and they discover the main 4 kids in the bag, they tell this know-it-all kid to have a good trip [or "don't slip" or whatever] and boot his tail out.  Then they're loading Santa's bag on the sleigh when it gets stuck on the star at the top of this humongous Christrmas tree, then the parachute crew has to use ropes to guide it down.  I really like that movie!

Yesterday we were under a winter weather advisory - definitely NOT one of my favorite things!  I left the office shortly after 1:00 and got home (usually a 35-40 minute trip) at around 2:45.  The roads were so slippery, even at my top speed of 25 mph I skidded a couple times when I stopped at a red light.  Scary, I tell ya!  Isn't it funny how you don't notice those little hills until they're covered in snow or ice?  The good news is, they called off the advisory but now they're saying we may get more this weekend anyway.  I know I'm whining, but we're not supposed to get snow until January  :o*(

I didn't get any sewing time in yesterday, sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


Thursday, December 16, 2010


But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?'
'It is required of every man,' the Ghost returned, 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world-oh, woe is me!-and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness.'

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
* * * * * * * *
I've developed a taste for VitaTops!

I can't remember how I discovered them, but you can order them online or get them locally.  In the DC area the Giant Supermarket and Target carry them in the frozen food section, near the shelf where you find those veggie burgers *cough*. 

My personal opinion, I think VitaTops are tasty, especially CranBran and AppleBran: only 100 calories each, low sodium, low fat, 5g fiber.  Great for a snack; sometimes I eat one at lunch with a green salad  Actually, what they are, are carb-friendly muffin tops.

I made a few more iPod holders after I got home from work yesterday, they really work up fast.  For these I used batiks and I made them 1/2" narrower than the first ones, and I didn't see any significant difference in how my iPod fit in there.  I did notice, though, that when I went to turn them right side out, it was just a smidgen tighter but that's no biggie!

I'll take them to work and sew on the buttons and they'll be finished!  It probably would have been a lot easier if I had just used the same fabrics for all of them, but I wanted all of them to be different, what can I say?

And now, gentle reader ... I have a request that only you can grant!  If you are in the DC area and are singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" or "Baby It's Cold Outside" or "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"... would you please stop!  I think the weather man is calling for a possibility of snow before the end of the week, let's not encourage him!!

Until later

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Binding and shivering

As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell.... It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing.  A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
* * * * * * * *

Last night was my night for binding a quilt as I listened yet again to "An Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon.  I love that Outlander series, she has such a way with descriptions that I can feel myself right there, in 1775.  While I was sewing I could hear the wind woo-woo-wooing outside, it even sounded cold!

I made this star quilt using crumb pieceing for the star centers with "liberated" points; for added interest (or confusion!) I used different color backgrounds around the star points. Then, as if that weren't enough, I used a black-and-white wavy striped fabric for the sashing, with white-and-black cornerstones ... and the Three Stooges are nyuck-nyuck-nyucking around the borders. Didn't I know when to stop?? I made this quilt last April at a "sew-away" weekend in Deep Creek, Maryland.  This one is for my bed; I named it "A Star is Borne" because I had taken (or "borne") stars to a place they'd never been before.  They may never go there again...

For a laugh, I thought I'd throw in this news item about peopling airing their Festivus grievances in Adams Morgan, Wash. DC.  (Note: if you're seeing this several weeks after it was posted, it has probably been archived by News 4, so the link will be broken.)  If you were a Seinfeld fan, you might recognize Festivus as an alternative holiday that George Costanza's father celebrated, airing grievances he stored up all year.

As you can see, Washington DC has some of everything, but as for me, I celebrate Christmas the good old-fashioned way!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Rainy Sunday

"Sitting-room, bed-room, lumber-room. All as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and basin ready; and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge has a cold in his head) upon the hob. Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. Lumber-room as usual. Old fire-guard, old shoes, two fish-baskets, washing-stand on three legs, and a poker." A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
* * * * * * * * * *
Yesterday the weather wasn't designed to make you jump up and click your heels, unless you like it dark, cold, and rainy.  I have no idea what the temperature was, I only know it was wet and c-o-l-d! 

As I was going through my sewing room yesterday, I found these little crooked house blocks in a container of odds and ends.  Donna Radner showed me how to make them a very long time ago (dare I say 3-4 years??) and I only made 5 at the time, intending to go back and make enough for a wall hanging.  I'll just add this to my "to-do" list ... this is not, I repeat not, a UFO! 

Since I refuse to create another UFO, I invented myself a very special category which I've named "whenever/if ever".  These blocks fit that category to a "T"! 

Here's a picture of the CR-V I'm thinking of getting... not in red though; it will either be the Royal Blue Pearl (another word for deep blue) or Opal Sage Metallic (pale green) - I think we pay them to come up with these color names. I'm leaning towards the green because supposedly light colors are easier to see at night. Whatever. 

In any case, I didn't do any car-hunting yesterday because it was so cold and dreary outside; I only wanted to stay inside and play with my stash.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

And then there were two

'A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!' cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.
* * * * * * * * * *

Eeeeg!  After buying another throat plate, I can't believe I found my original one yesterday morning!?? I don't need two of these things, they're metal and they last forever!

I was doing a little tidying up in my sewing room when I found the original plate in a plastic shoe box under some pieces I cut who-knows-when for who-knows-what. I've said before that if you can't find something, look under a pile of fabric... I should have remembered that.

This is a quilt I made for my sister Ruby for Christmas 1997, one of my first quilts. It's a paper-pieced pinwheel design and, because she collected elephants (as well as being a Delta), I threw in one elephant block as a surprise (that's an elephant button on his face). I named it "One More Elephant."

Ruby passed away from cancer in 2008; she was one of the best sisters you could ever have! She was generous, inventive, fun-loving, not afraid of a challenge, and a good cook. One night several months after she died, my brother-in-law had gone to bed and was asleep when all of a sudden he stumbled into the hallway yelling, "Ruby! Ruby is in the bedroom!" To say he was "pale as a ghost" wouldn't be accurate because he's a rather dark-skinned Black man... but he was getting there. I'm telling this as I heard it. I don't know what he did to get on her bad side, but this happened twice already. Now, he's in his mid- to late-seventies and in reasonably good health, but if she pulls that trick just one more time ...

I didn't get any sewing done yesterday, but I did have adventures in Honda-land, as it were. I definitely want a new car before the end of the month and I'm pretty sure I want a CR-V, so I comparison shopped and test-drove three of them; man, it took hours. Naturally the dealer wanted to reel me in by offering a deal that was good only if I "accepted-the-deal-and-drove-the-car-home-today!" I was expecting that, but I still don't like being pressured, it "gets my back up." This is the end of the year, dealers want to move their cars, I believe I can get a good deal when I'm ready. 

Today I'll work on more retreat projects.  Until next time...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

A lazy Friday

"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that....Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail." Excerpt from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
* * * * * * * * * *

Have you ever had one of those days when you know you should be doing something -- housework, laundry, shopping, de-cluttering -- but you just don't want to?  Me either!  ;o) 

Well, I didn't de-clutter or do housework or laundry, but I did go to Hancock Fabrics to pick up a throat plate from my favorite sewing machine repairman.  I misplaced or lost the one that came with my Singer Touch n Sew when I bought it way back in the last century ... 1971 to be exact.  That machine has so many good qualities, even after almost 40 years!

I wanted to play with my fabric, keep it moving from point A to point B, so I worked on my retreat projects and made a few more string blocks.  I don't have any real plans for these blocks yet, my first thought was to cut them in half and use them as a scrappy border.  They are trimmed to 9-1/2  inches square, simply because that's the size of the square ruler I had. 

Meanwhile I'll keep making these blocks whenever I don't want to "think" or follow a pattern; no pressure, no deadline.  I might start another batch that are color coordinated or all lights, in case I want to do Bonnie Hunter's Roll Roll, Cotton Boll mystery sometime later. 

Well, that was my lazy day, I hope you had one too!


Friday, December 10, 2010

They also serve who sit and wait

That's what I had to do for the past two days at DC Superior Court. You see, I got my once-every-two-years call for jury duty, and I was "fortunate" enough to get picked for a trial.  I had an awfully long wait to get inside yesterday morning, standing outside in the cold for 35 minutes!  I swear to you, my face felt frozen, I could barely move my lips!  When I finally got inside there was only one scanning station at that entrance, the same entrance the judge himself suggested we use "because we stood a better chance of getting in quickly."  They were looking at every little thing and I was 5 minutes late getting to court, thank you very much Mr. Judge.  But the good news is, the trial is over and so is my service for another two years, yaaaay! This is how I felt when I got home yesterday evening:

"Getting to Town" mug by Annie Lee                           
 I didn't have whatever it takes to do anything quilty yesterday evening, so I thought I'd sort out my sewing room, there's always cleaning to do in there!  I pulled out these quilties that I got in a swap with my Guild last Christmas, I need to tie them into a book:

The one below, from my guild's Quiltie of the Month, is so cute I had to show him separately; it wasn't part of  last year's swap.  November's theme was, "Letters to Santa."

You probably can't read the writing but it says "Dear Santa, It was a dark and stormy night..."

Here's a little peek - the quilt I'm supposed to be quilting while I'm playing around on this computer:

Sew forth and sew on...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A little nonsense now and then...

At my agency I had done a significant amount of work on developing and launching a new web site for an office complex that we are building in Rockville, and I maintain it.  The web site is considered a "high visibility" project, since the complex will consolidate four satellite locations that are now scattered in Rockville and Bethesda, Maryland.  Sew forth and sew on. Because of that, a couple days ago I got a Special Act Award ... in the form of time off!  Now, this is practically mid-December, right?  I'm "this" close to having a use-or-lose leave balance - and I'm awarded with more time??!  The government works in mysterious ways to be sure.  So much for that nonsense.

Hi there Kyra, I'm glad to see you!  I was touched by the article you shared about Geraldine Zillions, what a brave lady!  You mentioned my postcard - I have more posted on the Uhuru web site, although I've gotten lazy and haven't made any lately!  From the main page, just click on postcards, or go here.  :o)

Last night I made these three ipod/camera holders, and I must say they turned out nicely!  The first one was slightly crooked, but I think that's okay because it's a cutie.  The loop turned out a bit on the large side though; I made a covered button for it with a little kit I got from JoAnne's.  When I sew buttons on the other two they'll be done - super easy!
For some reason mine look wider than the picture on the tutorial, and actually I think it'll be okay to make them a bit narrower - maybe by 1/2 - 3/4"?  My iPod looks lost in there! 

Here are a couple mug rugs I made before I got sidetracked by who knows what; the cute snowmen were fussy cut from yardage and appliqued to a white background.  The little tree is made from 3/4" strips of Christmas fabric - I just need to attach the binding and it'll be done.

I wasn't trying to make a flag but they sorta look like one, don't they.  In the next few days I'll make a few more iPod/camera holders, try to get the small quilt finished, work on my Brown Bag quilt...sew forth and so on...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just poking along

Last night I basted a quilt I made for my great-niece, I should be able to get it quilted and mail it off in time for Christmas.  I'll post a picture after it's quilted.  Maybe  ;o)

Then I dug into my batik stash and pulled some fabrics to make a few camera/ipod holders from a tut I found at Sew Mama Sew.  The tutorial looks really easy, so it shouldn't take long to make the first one ... then we'll see how many I can make this weekend.  The fabrics below are for 3 different ones:

These are my latest fabrics from The Fabric Peddler in Capitol Heights, Maryland:

Nadine just got in that lovely batik that's on the top, it's sort of a mottled brown-gold-rust color ... well, it's hard to describe but you can see it!  The one beneath it has the alphabet, a thru z, written in script; it was on sale and I bought all that was left on the bolt because I'm a little piggy.  :o)   Here's a close up of the pattern:
Isn't that gold-y color really pretty? It's one of those pieces that has to look great no matter what I put it with, so in my book it's a sure winner! 

Thank you all for visiting and for your comments, I like getting feedback!  Carol, I would love to get to know you through your blog, aren't they a great invention (whose idea was it, anyway??). You can spend literally hours going from one blog to another one, to another and another!  Mama, I like your slow-poke "confessory," - even if I didn't work full-time, I doubt I'd be a quilt-a-week person, LOL.  Wanda I look forward to seeing your completed embroidery quilt!

Sew forth and sew on until later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good intentions

I believe at any given time the road to a finished quilt is filled with good intentions.... This is the quilt that's on my bed now:

It's an Endless Chain quilt that I made [completed] in 2002, the pattern came from an Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  I wasn't in any particular hurry to get it pieced, I believe it might have taken 12-18 months to finish, but I like the results.  It was paper foundation pieced, a very scrap-happy quilt!  

This is the quilt that I wanted to have on my bed now:

Do you see the problem??  I received some of these blocks in a group exchange when I was a member of About.com, some are the result of a Fons & Porter workshop series my guild had a few years ago.  Every December I tell myself that by next December I'll have a Christmas quilt on my bed....  Good intentions.

Yesterday was sunny, but windy and c-o-l-d!  The temperature was in the 30's and they say there were snow flurries off and on, but I didn't see any - I was busy working.  When I work at home sometimes I get busy and don't get up often enough and move around, so by the end of the day I'm ty-yerd

Before I say goodbye I want to publicly thank Yetunde (Sistah Stitch A Lot), Wanda (Exuberant Color), and Nancy (Patchwork Penguin) for helping me get my blog up and rolling - thanks for being there, ladies!!  I couldn't have done it without you.

Sew forth and sew on until later...


Monday, December 6, 2010

It's a Good Thing

Well actually, it's two good things.  The water filter on my kitchen faucet had started squirting water all over the place, so that was my first clue - I'd have to get another one.  So happens I was headed to Costco, so I picked up another PUR filter and installed it yesterday morning.  This one is a newer model than the old one, and it's really, really easy to install.  No more screwing the black thingy to the silver thingy ... you just hold down the faucet with one hand while pushing up the filter unit with the other hand, it clicks into place!

You're probably wondering about the FiberOne box in the picture?  Well, that's the other good thing!  I kept seeing the ads on TV, so I thought I'd try it because the fiber content was so high - 14 grams of fiber per half cup!  And, the Hungry Girl likes it.  Long story short, it's really tasty, I ate it with a tablespoon of raisins along with soy milk.  It's a good thing.

Here's one more challenge quilt from my guild (another good thing), this one completed in 2008.  Our country was in the midst of the presidential election, so the challenge was to create a quilt, wall hanging, wearable art, or some other patriotic-themed item.  The piece was to embrace some phase of the electoral process; it could reflect the issues, the candidates, the headlines ... it was our choice. 

I chose the Democratic donkey which I appliqued onto a neutral background, surrounded by stars cut from African fabrics.  The borders are just random strips of  fabrics in different widths, with a few masks that I cut from yardage.  The donkey seems to be looking over his shoulder, and I placed warrior figures along that edge of the quilt as if they were protecting him.  The quilt is 32 x 40, and I named it  "We Got Your Back."

Our patriotic-theme quilts hung in the newly-renovated Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis, Maryland, for six weeks during January - February 2009. 

Sew forth and sew on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This says it all ...

As Time Goes By...

Yesterday while I was chatting with my sister, we started trying to remember how long my parents had been married.  Neither of us know where their marriage certificate is, so the closest we can figure is that they married in 1938.  My father passed away in March 1969 and my mom passed in September 1995, so that makes it a 31-year marriage?  Wow, she outlived him by 26 years - lived withOUT him almost as long as she lived WITH him. 

This is a post card I made from an old photo of my parents, I must have been 6 months old when this picture was taken -- see the big grin on both their faces?  ;o)

It's kind of humbling to realize that my mom was younger in that photo than I am right now.  When that picture was taken, PC's hadn't been invented.  Oh there were computers, but they were probably as large as the room you're sitting in, nothing like we're using today.  That reminds me of when one of the "youngsters" came to work at my agency one summer and she didn't have her PC yet.  I told her "You know, back when I first started working [40 years ago], we didn't have PC's at all."  She replied in amazement, "But how did you get on the internet!??" 

Oh well, sew forth and sew on...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

No Playing Time

Yesterday, after running errands, doing housework and laundry, there wasn't any time left over to play around with my fabrics...oh well. 
A couple months ago I thought the Brown Bag quilt contest (button on the right) looked like a fun way to get rid of some fabric, and I was partnered with Emily at Quilt Doodles. We had to exchange a total of 2 yards of fabric in different sizes - these are the fabrics I sent her:
She sent me these and she even coordinated the colors!

I already know how I'm going to use it and I've decided on my pattern, but I haven't cut into the fabric yet.  The completed quilts have to be posted no later than March, more on that later.  Until then, sew forth and sew on.


Friday, December 3, 2010


That's the time I saw on the clock radio when I accepted the fact that I wasn't getting any more sleep this morning, so I got on up.  My day starts at 4:15, I work four 10-hour days with every Friday off, so I'm off today, yaaaaay!!

I started cleaning my sewing room and found these 2 pieces of a long-forgotten angel under something:

 I think she'd make a cute wall hanging, I might give it a whirl today.  What do you think, is she a "day" angel...

or a "night" angel??

What do you think?

It's already 7 o'clock so I better get moving.  I have an eye doctor appointment today in Gaithersburg at 8:45, and there's a really bad backup on the Beltway because of an accident, so that's out.  No way will that be clear by 8:15 so it's the back roads for me!

Until later - Sew forth and sew on!