Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pot Holders Done

I finished the remaining pot holders for the dozen I'd promised the organizer of the Parish Fair. They are so  much fun to make!

Recently I found a pattern for oven mitts. I never use them, myself, because my hands are small and I don't trust their bigness. But I know most people prefer oven mitts to pot holders. I'm thinking it might be fun to make some.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Morning Report

It's been a busy weekend and not over yet. On Friday, Marsha and I went to the Mancuso show at Oaks. Saturday found the Usual Suspects sewing together in fellowship hall. Company for dinner that night, ushering at 8:00 church this morning, and putting down lots and lots of steps on the FitBit (Joe's being away for the weekend has given me sole responsibility for Blackberry's walks); all of this has me feeling a bit tired here on Sunday Morning.

The Mancuso show was much like all of the rest of the quilt shows I've attended in the past several years: The majority of the quilts were small wall hangings, and the emphasis on the larger quilts seemed to be heavy, intricate machine quilting. I don't make very many wall pieces; mostly I like quilts that are used rather than just admired. When I give a quilt away, most of the time I tell the recipient: "Please don't hang this on the wall! Use it to sleep under, make love on, or to serve as a tablecloth (preferably not all on the same day)!"

I took this picture to show Joe, who just loves these kinds of windmills. I've developed quit a fancy for them, too; it's kind of nifty to be driving along in the mountains, round a bend, and see a whole line of them majestically standing there.

Spent some time perusing the vendors; there were the usual ones with the very latest ruler/device for some nifty way to make a block, there were some nice purveyors of international fabric, not as many non-quilt-related products, and lots of fabric.

I surprised myself by buying a sashiko kit from one of the international vendors; it was $16 and came with a gorgeous piece of indigo fabric stamped with a terrific dragonfly design, sashiko needle and thread. Not at all my usual kind of thing, but I think I could envision the finished panel turning into the side of a tote bag.

There was one vendor selling batiks and you prolly can guess that I spent some time and money there. He had not the usual Bali-Pops packages, but groupings that he had put together with different themes. I really liked them and bought one package of very brights called "Mardi Gras." Then at lunch (the hot buffet featuring surprisingly good ziti with red sauce and equally tasty Caesar salad; my Weight Watcher group would have been proud of my good choices and my deeming the mass produced German chocolate and carrot cakes "not worth it" but I wildly digress) Bobbi mentioned that she had noticed brown paper grab bags at that same stand. Marsha and I made a beeline for them, were tickled to see that they were $8 for 40 strips, and each purchased two. I opened mine as soon as I got home and immediately began a new project (who, me?) because they were that terrific.

Today I shall return to that new project (yes, I'm that enthralled with it!), catch up on domestic responsibilities, take a couple of nice walks with Blackberry and work on binding the church fair pot holders.

I'm sharing this one final quilt picture, not because I would sleep under it/make love on it/use it for a tablecloth, and not because I would hang it on my wall, and not because I would ever attempt to make such an amazing project, but because I have felt like that. Not often, but on occasion, and it is a very, very good feeling.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Parish Fair Offerings

Well, here is Sophisticated Strings, all machine quilted (stitched in the ditch) and bound! I'm pleased with how it turned out.

The little church where I work is having a parish fair in a few weeks and I offered a baby quilt for the Silent Auction. I think Sophisticated Strings fills that bill  nicely and hope that it will bring in a little money.

Yes, I'm going to count it towards my 101 Projects to use up scraps. One day this week I'm going to set up a separate page for these projects.
The parish fair coordinator seemed so happy to have the offer of a quilt that I decided I'd make a dozen pot holders to donate to the crafts booth. These are the first two.

I had a great time making them. The other ten are all pieced and sandwiched. I'm slowly binding them (wrap around binding from the backing) in front of television.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dance as Though No One is Watching

My friend Pat, knowing my penchant for dancing ladies, sent me this picture months ago. And it's been on my desktop ever since. I love it.

That's all. I just wanted to share it because I love it.

And for some reason it makes me think of my other friend Karla. Who once danced in the rain.

Thanks, Pat!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Cups Runneth Over?

So, the back story on this is that I don't have an easy time finding a bra that (a) fits well, (b) is comfortable, and (c) is pretty. Most of the time I guess and generally get two of the three criteria met. Not long ago, after losing some weight, I went over to the gourmet "foundations" store not far from home. The cute young thing there proclaimed that I was swimming in my bra and practically ripped it off of me. She returned to the fitting room with three choices and one of them fit very well, was surprisingly comfortable and while not exactly pretty, it wasn't bad to look at. It was also forty-eight dollars. I tried not to flinch, although this was twice what I was used to spending for a bra. I bought it, took it home, investigated the make and model number on Ebay and within a couple of weeks had acquired four more in various colors, at prices ranging from $15 to $30. Life has been good, as far as The Girls are concerned.

Recently we went away for a long weekend, and while on the initial leg of our drive, I realized that I had brought along a white linen top and no white or "nude" bra. Our destination was in an area unlikely to be home to a gourmet foundation shop. I've never been a fan of the black-bra-under-white-top look, though after seeing quite a bit of it last year in Scandinavia, I have found it less distasteful than previously. But have never tried it. I spoke to Himself, who was driving, and he confirmed that he didn't care for that look either, and perhaps we could stop somewhere and purchase a white one. I was less than optimistic, but agreed. Destination #1 offered nothing more than a Walmart. Oh, well, in I went, leaving You Know Who playing Angry Birds in the car.

There wasn't a whole lot to choose from in the size I've been wearing. There were precisely two, one in nude and the other in white. I grabbed it and confirmed that if it didn't fit I could, indeed, return it. The next day, with no confidence whatsoever (yes, I know you can already see where this is going), I snipped off the plastic tags and put it on.

I wore it all day. It fit just fine. It was amazingly comfortable -- the underwires didn't dig in, the straps were soft, and it didn't ride up in the back. And it was no less pretty than the forty-eight dollar model from the gourmet place.

It cost nine dollars and eighty-four cents.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I'm here to tell you that I never really got an understanding of that whole "six degrees of separation" concept that people were so dazzled by several years ago.

But . . .

Here's what happened:

1. I subscribe to the Star Clippers blog. They operate those clipper ships that we love and I like to know what is going on there.

2. Not long after we returned from our Italy/Croatia trip, that blog featured a post by a young woman who had been on the same cruise that we were. I left a comment.

3. Someone at Star Clippers followed the comment to my blog, discovered that I was writing about the trip as well, and asked if Star Clippers might cross-post my posts. Well, of course.

4. Someone in Maryland read one of my posts and wrote to me to say she had enjoyed it and, by the way, she had grown up in Small Town Near Philadelphia. There are many small towns near Philadelphia.

5. But this lady grew up in my particular Small Town Near Philadelphia.

6. So I wrote back and told her that was my town.

7. She wrote again and said she believed she was a bit older than I am, and provided her growing-up address. Which happens to be on one of my walking routes. And which happens to be literally around the corner from the street where I grew up.

8. I recalled a girl a bit older than me who had lived on that street and had the same first name as my correspondent. That girl had a younger sister with a particular health issue and I remembered as a child being a bit mystified by not being able to eat cookies because of having diabetes and being afraid that I would "catch it." (I liked cookies). So I wrote back again, mentioning same.

9. Yup. This woman is the older sister of the non-cookie-eater and, in fact, was in high school with my sister, probably in the same graduating class.

What more can I say?

Monday, September 09, 2013

Strings Update

The two bags of strings are going in the mail today to Blogless Marilyn K in California. Thank you to all who showed interest.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Summer Travel: One Final Post

While we were on vacation, Joe kept a sketchbook diary of places we went and things we did. Here is a sampling of those drawings. Clicking on a sketch will enlarge it.

Corfu, Greece

Ponza, Italy

Rovinj, Croatia

Royal Clipper, Hvar, Croatia

Royal Clipper, Kotor, Montenegro

Royal Clipper Morning Cleaning

Tor Tre Teste Church, Rome

Saturday, September 07, 2013

More Strings . . . And Won't You Join In?

Well, somebody several people pointed out that strings were addictive and oh, dontcha hate it when the multitudes prove to be right?

To the left is the second set of string blocks that I made from the second bag of Julie's string left-overs. I'd taken the first bag and added to them and made my first string project earlier this week. The strings were not from my palate at all, and I called the project Sophisticated Strings. And I loved the results. The blocks are all put together now and waiting to be finished later this month. This second one is more my usual color range, and I think of it as Sweet Strings. Both projects will be either tied or machine quilted and given to my Circle's current charity project, a grass roots agency to help under-resourced new mothers and their babies.

And here's what's left from my plunge into the world of string quilts: Two bags, both containing some of Julie's and some of mine, one batch "sweet" and the other "sophisticated." Friends, I really need them outta here so I can return to my regularly scheduled programming. So my thought is to pass them along to one of you who has been thinking of joining the string phenomenon (here Near Philadelphia we would be inclined to say the "string band," but that's kind of an inside sort of thing). Would you like these strings for your very own? Would you maybe think about adding to them and then passing them along yet again?  Leave me a comment and tell me whether you've strung before or whether your a newbie. This has to happen fast -- a post office run for other purposes is scheduled for Monday afternoon. So leave your comment, and on Sunday night I'll draw a name in the hope of getting the address in time for that there post office run. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Strung Out

Oh, I've had such fun these past few days! It started when I won two bags of Julie's left-over strings that seemed to be separated already into Sweet and Sophisticated. I opened the Sophisticated bag and added from my Australian, my batiks, my miscellaneous, and a few Kaffe/Kaffeish scraps. Not being as liberated as some stringers, I made all of my strings the same width from end-to-end.  I cut twenty-five muslin squares.

Then the fun began! I decided to use one Kaffe fabric for the initial center strip on each blocks. And then the layering/building began. I chain pieced, reaching into the bin of strings somewhat randomly (Funny, Mrs. Goodneedle wrote just today about having some trouble with random!) and built and layered. Then the blocks were trimmed to 8-1/2 inches and put up on the design wall.

I think this may be the final arrangement. Next they'll be sewn together to make a quilt for a Sophisticated Baby. I just happen to need two baby quilts completed by the end of October. How convenient that I have the bag of Sweet Strings to plunge into!

Oh, yes, down at the bottom of the photo you can see part of the project I should be working on!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

It's Julie's Fault!

This weekend was supposed to be devoted to a couple of quilts for a couple of kids. My three-year-old grandsons have made the move into big boy beds and of course Grandmom is making them quilts. The plan is to have them for Christmas. The quilt for Eli is complicated, involving considerable handwork and a rather intricate lay-out that looks good on paper . . . . Nate's quilt is being assembled from a set of folk art applique blocks that were swapped in the last century. Plus there is a border I saw on Pinterest that wants to get on it. So the plan was to spend a lot of the weekend prepping blocks for Eli and finishing the lattice for Nate.

Well, one thing led to another, you know how that goes, and by the time I wandered down to the studio, I was not quite as focused on my original purpose as I should have been. Too bad, because what caught my eye was the strings that I had won in Julie's recent give-away. Julie had separated the strings into two different groups and right away I knew that one group was Sweet Strings and the other was Sophisticated Strings. I picked up the Sophisticated Strings, just to look at them, mind you, and that was when the trouble began. I thought of some nice Kaffe and batiks and odds and ends that would nicely supplement Julie's offering and started to cut. And then I found some muslin left-over from a recent quilt back. And, well, you would have done the same thing, I am sure.

I'd never done anything with strings before. Never. I cut twenty-five nine-inch foundations. I had a lot of one particular Kaffe-or-Kaffe-affiliate print and cut plenty of that to use for the center string on each block. And so it began.

At this point I have twenty-five string blocks in various stages of completion, most of them pretty darned far along. And it just so happens that I need a charity baby-size quilt for the first week in October. And Sophisticated Strings are going to fill the bill.

Nate and Eli? I'll get back to them once this is out of my system. Unless the Sweet Strings sing to me.

Oh, dear.

Well, it's Julie's fault, don't you think?