Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monthly Obligations and an Interesting Development

It has been a busy afternoon here.  I looked at my list of monthly birthday blocks and discovered that for March Carolyn wanted six inch CWs, anything but 9-patch blocks.  I had a lot of fun making four for her; once I got started, I really didn't want to stop.  I still need to make one more March block for Julie and I'm hoping to do that this evening yet.

Realizing that April is going to be a bit busy for me, I looked ahead to find that Jo wanted a 9 inch Churn Dash of CW on shirting and that was quickly and easily accomplished.  As soon as I have Julie's block finished, I'm off to the Mailboxes place to send them to their rightful owners.

Something has happened to me that has not happened before.  Someone has become smitten with Melanie Wilkes and has asked to buy her.  I've never sold a quilt and  never wanted to because I thought that somehow that would take the joy out of the craft, and this person knows that.  But she thought she'd ask anyway.  I told her "no" right away.  And then thought about it.  She's a wonderful woman who has meant quite a bit to me for nearly forty years.  She's given to me in many ways and has never asked anything in return.  I've already got another CW quilt in my mind and a person only has so many beds (we have two).  So I wrote and told her I'd changed my mind.

Since this is a new experience, I didn't know how to price Mellie.  I knew she wasn't going to be cheap (like Emmie Slattery) because she's so big (queen size).  I added up the cost of the batting, the backing and binding fabrics, and guestimated the cost of the fabric in the top; they I added on what the machine quilter had charged me.  I came up with $260.  I asked my friend if she could go $350.  For any of you who have sold quilts, I'd love to hear from you whether my price sounds right.  Or is it too high?

Today is the last day of February.  Thanks be to God!

On the . . .

On the Wall: Going Rouge, waiting for next border of HSTs

On the Chair: Mason-Dixon, whose hand-quilting has been a fall-to-winter project, recently interrupted for the binding of Melanie Wilkes, but nearing completion

On the Bed: Melanie Wilkes, whose binding was finished Friday night during the short track relays

On the Floor: Bodacious, the most inappropriately named cat ever, looking disgusted as is frequently the case

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beautiful Blogger (Wake Unto Me?)

I've received an award!  Ordinarily I have asked not to receive tags or awards, but since the re-do of my blog a couple of months ago, I've been so happy with its appearance that I decided to gratefully accept the award and play along.  The award-giver is dear Julie whom I've "known" for about ten years after meeting on an ill-fated swap list.  She's a real peach and someone I'd love to get together with IRL. The conditions for accepting the award are: 

1. Thank the person who gave you the award. Thank you, Julie!
2. Paste the award on your blog (see above)
3. Link to the person who nominated you (see above)
4. Tell 7 interesting things about yourself (see below)
5. Nominate 7 or 8 blogs (see below)
6. Post links to those 7 blogs (see below)

Here are seven things you may not know about me:

1.  The first thirteen years we were married, we moved thirteen times.  It was annoying, but one of the benefits was seldom having to do serious spring cleaning!
2.  I hated gym in school.
3.  I discovered quilts when first visiting my husband's grandmother's home while we were dating.  I hadn't really been conscious of quilts until then and I was so smitten that my future mother-in-law made me a quilt for my bed before we were even engaged!  I still have it, packed away in the attic.
4.  My love affair with William Morris is evident in many rooms of my house.
5.  The Fires of Spring is a book I've read almost as many times as GWTW.
6.  I have M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.  But I didn't pursue ordination.
7.  I have a small collection of primitive style Noah's Arks.

And here are my seven nominees for Beautiful Blogger.  I have that back-in-grade-school feeling of  "will my friends be hurt if I don't pick them," but I'm trying very hard to pick blogs that are unusually aesthetically appealing.

1. Nicole is a woman I wish lived right here in town.  I think about how she would liven up our Saturday sewing days down at the church.  She makes and posts pictures of absolutely exquisite quilts and has inspired me to the most sincere form of flattery.
2. Paula is the generous, creative soul who rehabbed my blog for me.  Hers is clean, crisp, and features a terrific picture in her "About Me" section.
3. Chickpea just changed her header photo.  I loved her old one; it was spools of thread.  Just gorgeous.  She writes about a lot of different things and takes lovely pictures.
4. Diane's blog is gorgeous, spare, clear, and thought-provoking.  She takes terrific photographs and is free in sharing her reflections about what she is reading these days.
5. Emilie doesn't post often.  But she's a beautiful writer and usually has pretty pictures to accompany her posts.  She's led a fascinating life.
6. Lily's blog has been a bit sporadic lately.  She's experienced some life changes.  She's amazingly creative and shares what she's been up to.  She also has a beautiful daughter who is featured in many of her posts.
7. Somehow I'd lost Tracey's blog and couldn't remember the name of it.  I found it again and was so happy!  I love to read about her life in Oz and to see her spectacular photographs.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In A Bind?

It was late when the call came. It was 5:39 and I was sound asleep. I'd wakened around 5 and looked outside and it didn't appear to me that there was enough snow to close school.

One of the worst things that can happen at our school is to have snow begin -- or worsen -- during the school day.  As an independent school, buses from as many as ten or fifteen different school districts transport our students.  And we have high school students who drive themselves to school.  On those days, the various districts close at various times, sending their buses to pick up their students.  And our kids, godblessem, get on their cell phones between classes and call home, begging their parents to call school and have them dismissed "for safety driving."  It is an absolute nightmare.  When we decide we are going to close early, there are many, many families that we must notify and find out whether they can come and pick up their children.  It is the worst kind of day.  With the probability that our day would turn into this awfulness, we closed.

I put the day to good use, finishing the last of the Simple Flower Baskets for "Going Rouge."  Got 'em up on the wall and am about ready to put them together in fours and then apply a lattice.  That was my morning.  

After lunch and a bit of a nap, I went back downstairs and pieced the binding for Melanie and got it machined on.  I'm ready to begin the hand-stitching.  Tonight I'll set aside the hand quilting on the Civil War baskets quilt (Mason-Dixon?) and begin work on that binding.  The Olympics are nearly over, but if I sprint, there is still the possibility that Melanie could get finished before the torch is extinguished!

Especially if the weather-guessers are right -- they have been talking about perhaps ten more inches tonight.  And you know what that would mean.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Melanie's Home

My Melanie Wilkes quilt came back from the machine quilter today and she is looking very, very nice.  I had hoped to have her back in time to get the binding done during the Olympics.  That's pretty doubtful at this point, but it won't be a whole lot longer until she is done.  You can see her as a flimsy here

I couldn't remember if I'd cut binding for her already (I hadn't) or whether I had fabric designated for binding.  So tonight I dug around downstairs and discovered that I have enough of the same fabric as was used for the backing and can make the binding out of that.

There's a serious rumor of additional snow Near Philadelphia come Thursday night.  Which could mean a snow day from school on Friday.  If so, guess what I'll be doing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Nice, Nice Weekend

I'm continuing to work on Going Rouge and have now finished all six of the Sugar Bowls.  Here are three of them.  Still to come are Cake Stand (I'm cutting them today) and Simple Flower Basket.  I had thought that this quilt would take a long, long time to make (and perhaps it will!) but it is going together pretty smoothly.  Sometimes I lose track of which is background and which is basket when I'm working with the fabric.  I'm not too alarmed at that since every block is different.

The Rouenneries fabric has a very pretty selvedge and I've cut and saved them from all of the FQs that I'm using for the baskets.  I'm not a selvedge person, but I know there are those of you who are doing things with selvedges and if you are one of those people and would like to have mine when I am all finished with this project, let me know and I'll send them off to you.  First to claim them gets them.

The shower for Amy was a big success.  It was fun to work together with her Mom on this project.  Everyone was so generous; Amy and Andrew received a marvelous assortment of gifts including some amazing Calvin Klein onesies, a couple of gorgeous crocheted shawls, and a hand-crafter Minkie bear and many, many other things. 

No one felt like cooking dinner last night so we went out with A&A and Amy's parents for a delicious dinner at CinCin and then came home and fell asleep in front of the Olympics.  The kids left for home after breakfast this morning and I've been doing laundry, piecing blocks, and making turkey soup with the Olympic events on in the background. 

Truly a nice, nice weekend.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Circus Rings

Amy had selected the fabrics back in December when the whole family was in Richmond. We'd driven over to Quilting Adventures, Amy and Sherry and I, and had fun together starting with the print and then adding coordinates. I didn't know then what block I was going to make but I was definitely thinking a pinwheel of some sort.

The animals were zoo animals, but I couldn't stop thinking circus. I guess it was the circles. And the addition of the prairie points (my first ones ever) underscored the circus idea. When it was time to do the quilting, I decided to echo the circles from the print, thinking of circus rings.  You can see it close up by clicking on the photo.

Today was Amy's shower. And finally I got to share it with her. And with you.

I love this quilt. And I love the little guy who will use it. In just about two months.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Basket II

I haven't stopped making baskety blocks.  In fact, I'm this close to halfway finished the thirty-six I had planned.  These are the Basket II blocks, all but one of them.  That one is in the works.  When it is completed, I'll start on Flower Basket, followed by Simple Flower Basket and Cake Stand.

The more I think about it, the more "Going Rouge" seems right. 

Back to school today after six full days off.  Took me most of the day to get through the mail, both snail and electronic.  And, of course, I kept thinking it was Monday. 

I continue to hand-quilt on my Civil War basket quilt when I watch Olympics.  And I need to contact the machine quilter -- she was supposed to have Melanie Wilkes back to me so I could bind her during the Olympics.

All in good time, I suppose.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sweet Dreams, Caroline

On the fifth day of the six-day weekend of 2010, Joe and I went up to Sherry's after church.  Caroline will be two years old in two weeks, and it was time to pack away the crib and set up the Big Girl Bed, so we went to help. 

Fortunately, her quilt was finished some time ago.  It's a bit sophisticated, I think, for someone not-quite-two, but the one I'd initially planned for her was deemed by her mom as "too mature" so it was set aside for later on. 

We had a lot of fun and got quite a bit done.  Of course Sam and Caroline had to "help" which made our job more interesting.

I had seen a set of pink and white polka-dot sheets that I thought would be pretty with the quilt and brought them along.  When Carrie's bed was assembled and the linens were on it, it was coincidentally naptime.  She crawled right in and zonked, as though she'd been sleeping there for ever!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


A six-day weekend in mid-February. Unheard-of. The blizzard that struck Philadelphia and Nearby on Tuesday night closed school on both Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday afternoon, the eve of a scheduled in-service day for faculty and staff, the roads inside the City of Philadelphia still hadn't been plowed and it seemed unlikely that employees who live in the City would be able to get to school. So, a third consecutive snow day. Then the weekend. And Monday, a scheduled holiday. Serendipity.

I spent the first two days mostly playing. The third day I spent much of the day cleaning my china closet. Sewing some. Making a run over to school to pick up some work to bring home -- stuff that really couldn't wait until Tuesday. But not too much of it.

Finished my Baskets of Triangles and just love them. And today I started my Cactus Pots. And love them just as much. Half of them are done.  They're mighty sweet.

Been thinking about a name for this quilt and know that if I have to force it, it isn't right. Considered "Going Rouge" and haven't totally eliminated it. Thinking about honoring our serendipitous six-day weekend and putting Serendipity in the name. Hasn't become clear yet.

A totally unrelated piece of serendipty came in the form of a box of miniature Hawaiian bananas that arrived yesterday --our monthly fruit box from Harry and David. It came, as always, with a suggested recipe in the box. I usually don't do anything with the recipes, but Joe got ahold of it and, friends, last night during the Olympics he made and served Bananas Foster.

Sweet. Serendipity.

Maybe that's the name I'm looking for: Sweet Serendipity.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day(s) Report

A snow day. Followed by a second snow day. Bliss.

Here's what's happened vis-a-vis Rouenneries.  First I went through my block books and selected six different 9-inch baskety blocks.  Next I untied the FQ pack of Rouenneries and assigned four or five FQs to each of the baskety patterns.  That way, when I mix up the baskets into their foursomes, I won't have to think about whether a fabric is being repeated in the foursome.  I had a  few FQs remaning and consigned them to "emergency" duty, for when I run out of a designated fabric. 

Then I began working on the six Basket of Triangles blocks.  Nearly ran out of the gray fabric and, in fact, some of those wee triangles are actually pieced!  Used one of the "emergency" fabrics for the setting strips on a couple of them because the gray was truly gone. 

I am loving it.  I am loving the baskets.  I am loving the fabrics (more about which in the next paragraph).  And I am loving the slowness of the process.  A few months back I realized that for the most part, I'm not interested in making quick quilts.  Sure, there are and will be exceptions to that.  But what I want to do now is make more intricate quilts, the kind that take some time to do right. 

My project is crying out for a name.  I simply can't call it "Rouenneries Baskets" or something like that.  For one thing, gorgeous as the fabrics are, I really don't know how to pronounce the name.  I have virtually no French at all.  So I don't know if they are ROO-en-nerries or roo-ENN-erries or even rou-enn-err-EEES.  And I don't care much.  I'm just waiting for inspiration to strike.

Other happenings here on our first and second snow days of the year:  Himself has been out multiple times with the snowblower, doing the driveway, the walkway, the sidewalks, and the walkways for our neighbors.  One of whom thanked him with a nice bottle of wine!  Also, yesterday, for the first time in his life he made bread!  We have his late father's recipe for a delicious dill seed and rye loaf that all of the family calls "Grandpop's Bread."  Makes six loaves.  So, anticipating the snow day, off Himself went to the grocery store with his list, and spent much of yesterday afternoon at his task, calling for multiple consultations and leaving a fair amount of flour and crumbs about.  But I don't care.  The end result was delicious.

And I finished the new John Irving, Last Night in Twisted River.  Got off to a slow start, but classic Irving with a bear, an imagined bear, a bit of mutilation, some echoes in the plot, and just generally fine, readable writing.

And now Polly's rumoring about a possible cancellation of tomorrow's in-service day.  Bring it on!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inspiration on a Snow Day: Thank You, Nicole!

Oh, how splendid it was to receive that phone call last evening!  Yes, the one that confirmed that today is, indeed, a Snow Day!  Our first of the year!  And ever-optimistic Polly is predicting another tomorrow! It was lovely to sleep in until 8:18 instead of 6:15, and I've been a bit of a sloth all morning!  I did get my current project finished, the one involving these darling fabrics. But I can't show it for another week and a half. It is probably the most intricate and detailed baby quilt I've ever made and I had such a good time with it.  Tried something I've never done before, and it worked out just fine!  Do stay tuned!

I was trolling the blogs this morning and wandered over to Nicole's to see what she was up to and oh, my, was I glad I did.  Go take a look.  I've seen a few quilts on the blogs lately that have groups of four baskets arranged base-in, and I kind of thought I'd like to try this sometime.  Nicole's are delightful.  And got me to thinking about the Rouenneries FQs that I have been fondling for a few months and how baskets seem to be the default block for me (when I'm not making Louisiana or Churn Dash).  I'd pretty much decided on another use for the Rouenneries.  But the fabrics I needed for the borders did not materialize (pun intended) at Christmas and I began to wonder if perhaps that was a message from St. Quilta that I was heading in the wrong direction.

What if I started making 9" baskets out of these FQs?  And putting them in groups of four?  Wouldn't that be fun?  And then once I had the baskets pretty well along, I could decide what additional Rouenneries I'd need for borders and use the Hancocks gift certificates from my recent birfday to finish a top?  Wouldn't that be nifty?  

And wouldn't that be a marvelous use for a Snow Day (or two)?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snow Dance

Well, despite the snow that the South has received this winter, and the resultant days off for school employees and children down there in those parts, the Philadelphia area has not been so fortunate.  Our major snowfalls all have been on weekends this year.

What a waste.

Polly says that is about to change.  She is predicting that the storm the weather-guessers have scheduled for tonight will yield us not one but two days off.  I want to believe her.  I want to trust her.  But, friends, I tell you that tonight I am doing the snow dance in a very focused way.  And I'm sleeping with my 'jamas inside out.  Just to be sure.

PS:  The beautiful illustration was lifted from here.  I couldn't resist it.

Monday, February 08, 2010


For a person who tries very hard to keep up with technology (bought a laptop, joined Facebook, started a blog, created Yahoo groups), I have been resistant to getting a cell phone.  I used to joke that I was the last surviving person who had neither acquired a cell phone nor been to Disneyworld.  They my daughter became pregnant again and I realized it was essential that she be able to reach me at any time, at any place.  So I bought a "disposable" cell phone.  I learned how to use it, and after the baby was born, put it away.  I wrote here about getting that first phone.  Now with two expectant daughters-in-law, one of the tasks on my February goal list was "get a cell phone."  The place where I'd bought the first one no longer sells the minutes needed to put on it.

So today I went up to The Mall and visited a couple of cell phone stores.  There are no fewer than four and prolly five different cell phone stores at our mall.  And the ones I passed had gobs of people in them.  I couldn't figure that out.  I imagined they'd all just come back from Disneyworld.

So I bought one.  It cost $20 and came loaded with $10 worth of minutes.  I bought some more.  I can get more by going back to The Mall or even directly through the phone somehow.  Then I came home and used it to call my sons and give them the number.  

Joe says that I'll use it more than I think.  He might be right.  I'll be happy to have it when I drive out to White Oak next month.  And I can think of a few more times it might come in handy.  If I remember I have it.

So I'm back to keeping up technologically.  But please don't expect that I'll Tweet.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Blueberry Flan

Take a look at this combination, readers.  Is it not utterly delicious?

Picture lifted with permission from Kathie (who writes a nice blog, I might point out) who seems to be as smitten with these fabrics as I am.

I've already got plans for a block swap using these colors.

Indigo and caramel.  Gorgeous.  Delicious.    Picturing a delicious dessert.  Something like creme caramel or creme brulee or . . . oh, yes . . . flan.  With freshly picked blueberries.  Blueberry Flan.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sparkle Plenty

Sherron subscribed to a BOM that provided enough fabrics to make four little six-inch batik stars each month.  She made some of them and decided they really were not her thing.

So she hung onto the little packets as they came in, and when everything was there, she asked me if I wanted the project. Oh, did I!

So I've cut about a third of the packets and am using these stars as my leader-ender project. They are so darned cute! There doesn't seem to be a lay-out for how the designer planned for them to be assembled. I'll figure that out when they are all done.

But I do know what the quilt will be named: Sparkle Plenty.

Anyone old enough to remember her?