Friday, December 30, 2005

Top Is Done!

I managed to finish the Depression Quilt top today! Looks pretty nice and I will upload a photo when I can. It went together quickly once the blocks were complete as the blocks could go together any which way.

I now plan to finish the binding on the Bug Quilt. Poor kitties are wondering where all their lap time is going. It's snowing (all day) and no lap? Ptolemy is the worst, so he will be on my lap while binding. He's somewhat moveable (read: lighter weight than the other moose). I also did a few blocks of my charm quilt, finally deciding how to get the look I want when I put these together. They will be color-blocks of triangles. I'm trying to get emerging mountains--yeah, well, the only time that truly worked was when a gal used all blue, but I'll try.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blocks Are Done!

I've finally finished the blocks for the Depression Quilt!! All 56 of them! Tomorrow, I'll start sewing them together. My sister and BIL's return has been delayed due to an incoming snowstorm. They drove out in one and pretty much had enough of bad weather driving. Maybe they'll find something fun to do tomorrow in Milwaukee? Anyway, this just means more block sewing, but, alas, for you, no photo updates until I get home. So, it looks like I still might get this quilt top done before the end of the year. The bug quilt binding is nearly done. I should get that done tomorrow during the kitty cats' 1 hour lay-all-over-me-and-purr daily event. The kitty that was most timid with me now seems to be my constant companion.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Morning all, I hope your day is enjoyable! We have an almost soggy Christmas out there, but heck. That's better than the -25 F (I'm not kidding) we had one Christmas Day. That year, my cousin had to keep starting her car every hour to be sure the engine didn't freeze or it wouldn't start (alas, she didn't have an engine block heater). I made it to my parents yesterday. In the van? Noooo.. wouldn't start (of course). Happily, my brother's vehicle (an old Berretta) worked fine (just lacks working turning signals and a rear view mirror). Drives nice though.

I didn't realize that my Christmas present to my parents (DVD-March of the Penguins) would challenge them. Their television system hasn't been working right for awhile and so, now my Mom is inspired to get my brothers to fix the darn thing so she can watch her DVD. Guess what they are doing this a.m.!? We will be back to our respective rural MN spots this evening.

I just have a few little presents. A miniature, battery powered lava lamp. Very cute. I also have two Magnetic Poetry Kits. One is called Genius (why use a 4 letter word when a 12 letter word will do?) and Country Songs (for them with busted up hearts). I look forward to my daily silly moments. Oh, and this years' Knitting Pattern Day-by-Day calender! More things to knit!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cat in a Basket!

I finally have a photo of a cat in my knitted cat bed enjoying it! Huff is our model. He and his 3 other housemates love this thing. This basket was felted using Lion's Landscape Yarn and topped with Fun Fur. It's a great yarn for this project with one caveat. The sides just won't remain stable. They wobble over. While filled with one 16 pound cat, it is not obvious. On the other hand, the cats don't care as they sleep on it whatever way it's laying there (and flip it over sometimes as well). The advantages of this basket is that it is machine washable, but I would put it over a round shape to dry. I actually finished this bed in May, just didn't have a good kitty photo of it. Instructions and gallery are available here:
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I've finished half the blocks for the Depression Quilt. Since the weather is holding up, I will be going to my folks for Christmas, so am not likely to finish it this weekend. I did go on a journey to Brainerd today and bought backing and binding. Alas, I forgot both batting and pearl cotton. Here's a photo of the sewing area my sister set up. Yes, tunes are within easy reach! On the right is a table she bought at a hardware store-really nice wide sewing area and it is stable! There is a clamp light to light the area just behind the sewing machine so there are no shadows. The ironing board is directly on my left. You'll note that I'm using a clear lid from a container across the ironing board and table. I work on this piece and use the block on the ironing board for my leaders and enders. My example block is actually under that lid. Not seen is the large cutting table to the left of the ironing board. For lighting, she is using the greenhouse light she uses in Spring to start cuttings. You have to be somewhat careful-you can get sunburned-but the lighting can't be beat! My sister does not quilt-she makes costumes and doll clothing, so that daylight lamp lighting is pretty crucial for her work.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quiltings Are Happening!

I am happy to report that I have finished the planned quilting on the
Bug Quilt and am currently hand sewing the binding to the back. Once finished, I will decide if I want to add any additional quilting (such as butterflies and dragonflies). To give myself a break (moving a quilt around is harder than it seems day after day), I am working on making the blocks for the Depression Quilt. I had planned to finish this scrappy top before the end of the year and it looks like I will make it. I have 14 blocks done (need a total of 56) and they are going along well. Although I originally planned this quilt to have a border, I have so many squares that I will likely go borderless. I will likely make this into a comfortor and tie it.

Of course, the van won't start again. I didn't actually need to go anywhere, but it just leaves you with this feeling of being stuck (is that my suburban habit showing through?).

edited to add: Link to Depression Quilt (

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It Is Cold!

Today, I woke up to below zero weather. I did what any other smart Minnesotan would do. I stayed indoors and watched movies with the cats. The cats, you say? Well, these babies are very warm heater cats. You place them around you and they stay there, keeping your body parts evenly warm. The problems start when you have a sudden need to use the bathroom because dislodging several roughly 16 pound animals, that don't want to move, is not a thing of beauty and grace. So, thank you Ptolemy, Huff and Puff for your warmth and attention today. And thank you Lady SpitAndStomp for just stretching out on the floor.

I did manage to knit more on my sweater, but I was distracted by my movies (which included DVD version of Beauty and the Beast and several Westerns). Tomorrow, back to quilting.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Snow, snow and snow

It started snowing a few days ago and never stopped! Ok. Now it has. I have managed to quilt about 1/3 of the bug quilt. I have since been worn out either shoveling or just walking to the darn mail box (3/4 of a mile, mostly uphill) in the snow. I've been pretty much snowed in since Sunday. My vehicle (old Mercury Marquis) won't make it up the driveway and my BIL's van wouldn't start. Now it starts (yes!), but the engine light came on. I hope it's just low in oil, which I will check when I have light tomorrow to see. The dairy farmer and his wife next door at least are there if I need other help. At least I made it to the tiny town of Browerville to get milk products, which I was sorely lacking.

Rural Skill Alert: I have now acquired a new skill. Lighting and successfully maintaining a fire in a wood stove. I've been trying to get one going all week. We have had great heat all day and I stoked it again to continue for part of the night (this saves on my sister's heating bill since the temp is down to 7 above now).

I also am working on my other Egyptian cross stitch project and continue on the Banff sweater. Unless I get to a larger town to print out some of the digital photos, alas, you will have to wait until I get back home to see any photos. I've been spending a lot of time doing scrapbooking as well. I have way too much stuff!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Little Progress

Most of today was spent getting craft things together to go housesitting (yes, delayed until Sunday). I did get a little knitting done last night though. So far, I've done 9.5 inches on my Banff sweater and have completed the bottom ribbing finally. The original length of this sweater is 24 inches, but unfortunately, a sweater that short is not at all flattering on me, so I will be adding probably 6-8 inches to that. Again, I do plan to update, but due to my sister's slow baud rate, that may not be possible. So, if that is the case, look for more towards the end of the month. Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Things To Finish

I bought the fabric needed to do the finishing for the two quilts I'm taking to finish while housesitting. These quilts are the Bug Quilt and the Fish Bowl Quilt. In addition, I have two tops that I have been piecing to take as well. One is a nearly finished Thimbleberries quilt top and the other is a totally scrap quilt. I am also taking my Banff sweater to knit and my next Egyptian God to cross Stitch (I think it's Hathor, but not sure of the name). It is possible I can get all of this done, but as long as I get the two quilts quilted, I'll be happy. I'm still debating on whether to join the UFO group again this year. The UFO group is a support group to finish Unfinished Fabric Objects. I appreciate the support to get things done. On the other hand, I really want to focus on getting quilt tops done so I don't accidentally use fabric intended for something else. It also shows me what fabric I can piece together for a backing!
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Houston Quilt Festival Photos

I am finally starting to connect with my digital photos! Finally, I can share with you a few of my favorite quilts from the Houston Quilt Festival held in Houston in October 2005. As mentioned before, I have a preference for traditional designs. Often done in new fabrics and arrangements, they are still traditionally based. I don't actually have many photos of non-traditional ones.

This first quilt uses friendship stars combined with a new popular style in batiqs. This is mostly a paper pieced quilt.
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This quilt was made with the popular Stack and Whack method and includes a stained glass cutaway technique.
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I love this quilt and I even have a pattern for it. The leaves are made from your leftover scraps. Lots of bias vines...lots of it. This is also a quilt that can be quilted in sections.
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This is a Lady of the lake pattern with an exceptional appliqued border. Spread out, the border seems too busy, but if laid on a bed, the angle seperates that.
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A new way to do Hawaiian quilts. Hand dyed fabrics varying color along the way.
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This quilt didn't resize well. It's a string quilt featuring flag/Independence Day fabrics. String quilts are not my favorite; I think of them as utilitarian and that's it. This one changed my mind. Coordinated fabrics work very well in it!
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Hope you enjoyed my favorite quilts from the quilt show.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sweater Making

I started my Banff sweater on Friday (Dec. 2). So far, I've progressed with 4 inches of ribbing. I started it on Dec. 1, but just couldn't stand the back and forth knitting so recast on using circulars. TIP-be sure to drop 2 stitches (used for sewing up) when switching a pattern to circulars. I forgot, don't want to rip back, so am just continuing. I am making notes since I will likely make this sweater a second time! I hope to make this sweater again, but in-the-round and top down. Way easier to fit.
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Banff so far

The housesitting plans have changed and I will be leaving on Saturday to house-sit and likely not returning until Dec 28th. I will still have internet access, but with my sister's slow dial-up, Blogspot is a little hard to operate. I plan to bring 2 quilts that need quilting, all my scrapbooking stuff and my Banff sweater. My sister and BIL live in rural Minnesota and I will be caring for their 4 cats. She lives 45 miles from the nearest quiltshop. Heck, even Ben Franklin closed up so you can't even buy thread nearby any longer. So, I hope to get lots of stuff done (keeping in mind that cats like to hinder).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Knitting and Holiday Fudge

Today I went to the new yarn shop (less than 1 mile away). Wow, has it changed since they got settled in! I've already made some choices of yarn to buy when I get the next income check! In the meantime, she gave me some tips on working with nubbly yarn (I have Bernat Boucle), that might make things easier. I had to go down to a size 8 circular needle to match the gauge in the Banff sweater. I also bought some wool roving for the sheep slippers (Fiber Trends Pattern) that I would like to start soon. I'll still need a felting needle, but they were not currently in stock. Most of the roving I see for sale are very large quantities. I don't need much!
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Fiber Trends Pattern: felted slippers

Here's a recipe that my neighbor gave me nearly 30 years ago. It's a widely used recipe and makes delicious fudge. Easy, easy, easy, even my brother, the non-cook can make this! And it is fast and not affected by rainy days (as is the case for a lot of fudge recipes). Please note: I copied and pasted this from the Southern Cooking section of, but it is exactly the same recipe I've been using all these years when I need EASY and Fast fudge.

Quick Chocolate Fudge

3/4 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine evaporated milk with sugar and salt. Bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in nuts, marshmallows, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until marshmallows have melted. Pour mixture into a buttered 9-inch square pan. Cut when cooled. Store between layers of waxed paper.

Monday, November 28, 2005

More Towels

Yes, I have finished MORE towels. Another 8 for my Mom to give to a co-worker. You saw the in-progress photos--here they are completed. Instructions can be found at:

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I've been mostly working on scrapbooking stuff since I returned from Texas, but will work in some needlework here and there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Finish, Process and Stuff

Here it is! My finished Thoth! My first 2005 cross stitch finish! Easy to do, looks great. I can hardly wait to start the companion piece (Horus)! I would also like to stitch Anubis and Bastet, but alas, I don't have charts and haven't found any online either. No reason why you can't do this project on 28 ct, but I wanted a travel piece and 18 ct Aida is what worked in most lighting conditions.

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Design by Julie Hasler. Stitched on 18 ct ivory Aida using DMC floss.

In addition, I thought I would provide some step by step on doing crocheted topped towels. It's very easy when you have the proper tools. I start with a good quality towel, although even the cheaper ones at KMart have stood up well to repeated washing. I currently use this marvelous awl that my BIL gave me. You can buy one at a hardware store. This is the best way to make the holes. Alternatively, I used a small nail and a penny nail. The small nail made the initial hole and the penny nail made it large enough to crochet through. There may be other ways to do this (knitting needle comes to mind). Many women use scissors to make the holes. This is a mistake, IMHO. It is NOT worth $150 emergency room visit co-pay! I know 2 women who ended up with stitches and 1 woman who lost the feeling in her finger by using scissors which slipped. So, be warned. Finally, use any acrylic yarn. Test it by making a swatch and throwing in washer and dryer. If the results are acceptable, use the yarn. Even that eyelash stuff works if you like the result after it's been washed and dried. Cotton or cotton blends work also. I did not like the result using wool-but you might. Red Heart is often stiff going through that first row-just use a smaller crochet hook.

To make a crocheted topped towel, cut the towel in half with sharp scissors (you will be making 2). Then fold over a small part of the cut edge and either zig zag (better) or straight stitch. If you don't own a sewing machine, then just hand stitch this over. I do not know if a serged edge will work (I don't own a serger). Test one towel in the washer and dryer--if it doesn't fray, no problem.
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Front and back of towel after sewing.

Next step is doing the holes and the first row. I make about 5 holes and then single crochet through using an F or G hook. Once that first row is done, I typically switch to an H Hook. I just picked these sizes-they give me the results I want. Experiment. These are fun to do and once you've established a pattern, you can do several in an evening. I don't do all the holes at the same time as they are hard to find in the fabric. Terry is sortof 'self-healing'.
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First row in progress

Once you are done with the first row, use whatever pattern of stitch that you want. I hit on one that I particularly like (it doesn't need a button in deference to my Mom's bursitis), but I occasionally see others that I really like that are unlike mine.

Other notes of interest-my sister asked me to housesit for almost 3 weeks. That means I can not only get my rural fix, but finish quilting at least one quilt (she has a table that makes machine quilting easier) before the end of the year. Now, I already got my partial fix by traveling in rural Texas, but it's so much easier getting things done when I don't have to stop and make meals unless I want to. As some of you know, I'm disabled, so don't have the time constraints of a job (just everything else). Generally cheaper too as the closest quilt shop is 45 miles away. On the other hand, Grubers is right on the way. Happily, sis/BIL have made arrangements to have someone else with a tractor plow if it snows. I just wasn't up to get up close and personal with John Deere.

The Banff Is Emerging

There's a sweater pattern that I've just been dying to try called the Banff Sweater. However, I didn't want to spend tons on this as I don't know how it will look on me. Some oversized sweaters look great while others just never look right even if they have a reasonable fit. If my result works well, then I'll reknit it in a bulky brown or denim tweed. I do plan to add some length as I prefer a longer sweater. The free pattern is available at (look in the Archives under Pullovers).

To make this sweater, I bought a bunch of Bernat Boucle in 'Earth Tones' today at Joann's. Earth tones is a combination of several browns and soft black. I really like tweedy looks. It is barely a bulky yarn, but I'll do a swatch with larger needles and see if that doesn't take care of matching gauge. Annoyingly, Bernat does not list yardage on the package, so I had to guess. Checked the web site (it's 255 yards), and 8 skeins is roughly twice the yardage required. Well, good thing I can return extra! I sortof debated over the Bernat and the new Joann's Rainbow Boucle in a denim. I'd like to find a review about how the Rainbow Boucle washes up.

Oh, yes, and I also bought some double pointeds and a couple balls of a variagated blue sock yarn to make Wendy's Toe Up Socks. I've been meaning to do these for some time, so at least now I have the yarn to do so. The socks are in a springy blue color, so if I don't get to them right away, not a problem!

I already have yarn and needles for Babba's Bed Socks. This was a pattern recommended by a knitting friend and uses 2 skeins of Woolese. This was going to be a take-a-long project, but my yarn choice was a little dark. I'll be working on these as soon as I finish my Mom's latest towel topper request.

Interesting tip from Lilly Chin on Knitty Gritty the other day. For garments, she suggests making a swatch, then hanging it (with some weight) to get the correct gauge when worn. Knitting stretches when you put it on, so this certainly makes sense.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter Day!

It's Harry Potter opening day and I will be off to that at 1 p.m. show today. I'm very excited. I also plan to see Zathura (sp?) this weekend. Trailer looked good.

I've been making progress in several areas since my last post. All my photos from the trip are developed or printed and I just haven't gotten around to uploading any here. Now, I'm sorting through in order to plan my scrapbook pages. Other than an album and pages, I don't think I actually need to buy anything else as I have so much stuff already.

Finished my cross-stitched Thoth! I have an actual FINISH for 2005!!

Mom has more towels for me to crochet. I have done all but the trim on 4. Still have 4 to go. These towels are for Ena, one of my Mom's coworkers. Ena bought towels that matched her kitchen decor. As a gift, my Mom is having me crochet the towels (yeah, I know, but its my Mom and saying no to Mom just so doesn't work). Ena and her husband, natives of Belaruse, just passed her US citizenship test and thus the gift (she speaks Russian, BTW). Then they will be able to go back and visit relatives without fear of retribution from the dictator state.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Finally, Justin McBride won the PBR Bullriding Championship! Right down to the wire too--he finished up his 8 seconds nearly upside down on that bull, but held on to the end. You might wonder, what does Bullriding have to do with crafts? Absolutely nothing except that I crocheted while watching it for the last year, so that I could root for Justin (he was the leader last year and broke his leg just before the finals). Now I can move on to other things on Saturday night (especially since my Netflix account has reactivated after vacation).

I spent most of the weekend looking over digital pictures to decide what to print as well as working on my cross-stitch of Thoth. That is going very well. I'm a scrapbooker as well as needleworker, so many days are about to be spent at Archivers, getting these photos into a book pronto. I don't have table space at home to spread out, so I get page packets together and just work on them at the store. Although I own most of what I need, sometimes it helps to be at the store when you find you don't have just the right thing.

I stitched on Thoth while watching the bullriding. Here he is in his current state. I've done all of the figure and just started on the backstitching. I also have the pedestal started. This is quite a fast project, but if you hate color blocks, skip this project! This particular one comes from Julie Hasler's Fantasy Cross Stitch: Zodiac Signs, Mythical Beasts and Mystical Characters. If you really like Egyptian designs in cross stitch, I would recommend purchasing Egyptian Charted Designs by Julie Hasler (printed by Dover). These are lovely, uncomplicated designs that can be done by any cross stitcher on either Aida or some other fabric (over 2 threads). If you prefer more detail, Teresa Wentzler has a great design. As for the book, Fantasy Cross Stitch, I don't recommend it for a beginner. It happens to have some beginner projects, but most require more experience. I bought it mostly for the phenomenal (and complicated) Zodiac designs. I plan to start on Leo (my sign) sometime next year.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Texas Trip Stuff

Now that I've sortof organized since my return, I can post again.

I started my trip at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. Wow, those buildings are awesome--wonderful art deco style. Of course, I checked out the Creative Activities area-plenty of quilts! Not too much cross stitch or knitting and only a couple of crocheted afghans. It took me half a day to figure out what was wrong at the Fair-no kids. Unlike the Minnesota State Fair, this fair starts after the kids are in school, so you don't see any teenagers until after 4 p.m. The evening parade and light show was worth staying for. Wow!

Loved the Ranch Rodeo at the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering in Ft Worth Stockyards( I was surprised about how much of the cowboy music I already knew. Also took the time out to visit Cabbage Rose Quilt Shop in Ft Worth ( and bought lots of western fabric/patterns. I think I spent more than two hours there! They were also very helpful in giving me directions to other quilt shops that also carried western stuff. Unfortunately, I missed out on most due to arriving after they closed.

Meandered my way to San Antonio via rural highways. Much better than the direct route not only for scenery but for a more relaxing drive. Saw the Alamo and cruised the River Walk (some fine Margaritas were drunk as well). Visited Cross Stitch Plus in San Antonio ( This was a wonderful shop and carried a good selection of Western/Texas patterns also.

After San Antonio, I drove to Houston. Unfortunately, due to the Astros, there simply were no hotel rooms to be had for the weekend (if you didn't already have reservations). So, I did the Houston Quilt Festival all in one day (and had to skip my visit to NASA). Exhausting, but doable. Bought lots of stuff, but limited my fabric purchases to small/tiny prints (best place to find them). My most significant impression of the quilts was that there were many more 'artsy' quilts and modern designs than traditional. I tend to prefer traditional.

Returned to San Antonio and visited both the San Antonio Zoo and Sea World (and finally got sunburned). Then chose to visit caves, which were wonderful! I stopped at Cave Without A Name, Natural Bridge Caverns and Caverns of Sonora. Even if out of your way, they are all worth stopping for. I managed to get as far west as Ozana, then started going north to Abeline. If you plan to visit, check ahead. They have fewer tours at this time of year. For more information on the caves I visited:

I got the biggest kick out of the guys. As soon as they heard I was from MN, they would immediately launch into the problems the Vikings were having. So, yes, without ever hearing the news, I had the blow-by-blow account of Culpepper's injury. When I get all my photos back, I'll upload some!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Back from Texas

Hi y'all! Just letting you know that I'm back from Texas! Ready to go back to West Texas already. Will be posting more information later, but I did go to the quilt show in Houston, quilt and needlework shops and traveled around West Texas a lot (as far west as Ozana). Got quite a bit done on a cross stitch project also. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite photos from the trip. These cows were in the Boerne, TX area (By the gate for the Triple R Bar Ranch)
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For the crafty part of today's post, here's the start I made on the Egyptian God Thoth, a design by Julie Hasler. This is a very good travel project. Design uses 18 ct Aida which is way easy to see in most lighting. It is also all whole stitches. I've completed virtually all the body and have started on the pedestal.
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These are some motifs I made on the scrap afghan on the plane. Note that there seems to be some difference in gauge due to different yarn. I don't usually worry about these too much as they seem to work out when put into the afghan. Travel lesson learned. BLUNT scissors. Mine were too sharp ended and had to be dumped before airport security would let me through (they were only $2). So, bought child blunt scissors at Walmart. No problem with security and they cut through yarn and floss fine.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Off To Texas

Just letting you folks know that I'm leaving today and won't return until November 3. I'm taking a couple of cross-stitch projects and a crocheting one! Yeah, well, I'm sure I'll have quilting ones after the Quilt Show.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Happy 75th Dad!

My Dad is 75 years old today! Given the amazing bad luck of medical problems that occurred 10 years ago, it's quite a celebration. He took early retirement years ago (been retired 20 years now) and still works on large household projects (the current one is installing a new whole-house air conditioner).

We had our family party last night. My Dad was a member of the original Mickey Mouse club in the 40s (it actually started in the 30s) and always enjoyed the character. My sister, Mary, made him his very first Mickey Mouse cake. Note the tiny Mickey heads going around the top. I normally climb on a chair and take a photo looking down, but my knee made that too difficult this time around.

On the craft front, I donated an entire box of scrap yarn to the elementary school that my Aunt works at in St. Paul. This school has a large poor and immigrant population whereas most of the schools in my area are well to do. Last year, I found them a whole bunch of yarn at garage sales (they've used it up in craft projects). So, I'm happy this stuff will be well used. As soon as I finish the current scrap projects, all the rest will go there as well (yeppers..I have a whole second box filled!). I leave for my trip on Wednesday, so am deciding what project(s) to take with me on my trip. Given that scissors and threading needles are an issue on the plane, I might take one thing for the plane and one thing for 'down' time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Miss My Mac and other silly stories

While organizing some of my photos on the computer, I came across a picture of my old Mac. I miss him. This is a photo of him moments before he was packed into the car to be taken away to be recycled in June 2004 (teary eyed moment). I bought him in 1987 at a cost of $1,500. I still haven't sold the printer (the 24 pin dot matrix one still has a market). My replacement Mac is older than dirt as well (bought in 1994), however, it still works for everything I need it for except for the Internet.

Anyway, along with that, I also found an opportunity to take a photo of another afghan that was finished in the past. This was my first Mile A Minute Afghan and made for my Mom. The light blue was Orlon, while the dark blue was a newer acrylic from Caron. I did this entire thing during lunch hours at work in 1992. This is a satisfying pattern-it looks pretty and finishes fairly quickly. A variagated gives an entirely different look. Change to woodsy colors and it's a guy afghan. With the no-dye-lot yarns, you have to be much more selective of yarn choices or the result isn't very soft. The specific pattern used for this one is a booklet (still sold at Joann's and Michaels) called Learn To Crochet The Mile-A-Minute Annie Way (there's a photo of the booklet in my July 15, 2005 blog entry). Lots of other Mile-a-Minute patterns are available, but the one I received from a gal in England is my very next one.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

So Many Squares

Finally, I have cut and sewn enough HSTs to finish my Depression Quilt ( I now have enough for 59 blocks. Originally, I was going to have a pieced border surrounded by 2 narrow borders. I may skip the border entirely as the blocks themselves will result in a full/queen sized quilt (84x96 inches), which is as large as I make them. Decisions, decisions. Blocks will be made when I return from vacation, so I've time to think about it. By then, I will also have decided if I want to quilt it or tie it. Here they are in a box that is now too small taken with my new digital camera (Kodak Z700). I haven't quite the hang of the software yet. Trying to sharpen the image results in these little white crackles along the fabric edges.
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I'm getting the hang of using my bifocals, although they still don't help with needle threading much, darn it! I have nearly finished the individual rows for my apple core charm quilt. (charm quilt- no two fabric pieces are alike). This is a lap quilt that I started in 1996 and is hand sewn. Unfortunately, I seem to have permanently lost 2 rows of this quilt, so need to figure out what to do about that. When I get all the rows laid out, I can then determine what fabrics I need to supplement with. I have hundreds of charm squares to fill in, so it is not a problem.

I chose the Kodak Z700 because it was recommended by several cross stitchers. Most automatic cameras don't do closeups very well and scanning has resulted in some very weird colors. Here's my finished Peanuts project. Shows every thread! Now I just have to get this thing framed!
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Friday, September 30, 2005

The Sale

I went to the final closing sale for my LNS which closes forever today at 5 p.m. Everything was 75% off (25% off stitch models). So, I bought some items I normally would not have, but at 75% off, it seemed too good to pass up. Bought a few more Lizzie Kate items, Prairie School patterns, Lincoln fabric (never had that before), Klostern fabric, more Treasure Braid and a single stitched model (a snowman). That will be fun.

Right now the weather is wonderful! I'm happy to hear that the heat wave has diminished in Texas as well. I just wasn't looking forward to roasting next month. I'm such a coward.

Not much else done in the crafting area other than I'm finishing packing up what will be packed up for the Winter. Not going to be able to paint for more than a week-I hope it remains warm enough to keep the windows open! Oh, and I have a temporary cooking blog on the new MSN spaces. I was just trying it out and it seemed a good way to get the recipes to my sister too. Visit it when you are hungry.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Other Stuff I do

Do I only do needlework? Nope. I love movies and books.

I am not a regular TV watcher. Not that there are not good shows on, but just not important enough for me to remember to turn the TV on. I tried, I really did, to enjoy Desperate Housewives, but I was just so turned off by some of the characters that I just stopped bothering. I've been watching 24 (Keiffer Sutherland) on DVD, so will make an effort to see the episodes as they air this year.

I'm very much a movie watcher and I will admit that my preference are high body count movies. Horror, thrillers, action adventure are movies I will go out of my way to see generally (OK..Blade did have a little more blood than I could take, but oh well). I also like kid-like movies (Shrek, Ants, Nemo). I occasionally like a romantic comedy, but I wait until it's on Cinemax to see it. The last one I really liked was You Got Mail. I did rather like Meg Ryan movies, but she isn't 'cute' anymore. So far, I haven't found her particularly good in dramatic roles either.

I have boycotted Tom Cruise movies since 1997. He may be a good actor, but a fruitcake whose career should die before he does any more damage. Seems others are finally catching on!

Most recently, I went to see Corpse Bride. If you didn't like Nightmare Before Christmas, you won't like this movie. It has an interesting story, but the music isn't anywhere near the caliber of the first movie (stories aren't related..just the style). I enjoyed the movie, but this is not one I'd watch over and over. Featured trailers for future movies that looked interesting included Chicken Little, the next Harry Potter movie and Chronicles of Narnia. I go the first day to every Harry Potter movie. Just gotta.

I can no longer read my favorite books. I have eye damage that makes reading a book very difficult. In fact, I haven't read a single Harry Potter book, yet I know them very well via audio editions. On a computer, I can adjust contrast, font, and all making reading easy. Can't on a book. Some of my favorite authors include Anne McCaffrey, Christopher Stasheff and most recently Dean Koontz. I've also become a fan of funny vampire romance books. It's dumb, but hey, I enjoy them.

Ok..well, I'll add more if I get to it today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Storage for the Scrap Obsessed

Today's posting is for the fabric obsessed. If you are not fabric obsessed, you will not see a point here.

There's been discussion on some quilting boards about how to handle your scraps from quilting projects. I used to have several scrap boxes; it would take hours to go through trying to find stuff to make into something. Then I had to iron, sort and cut. I adapted some of the suggestions. These days, I have a small scrap box and regularly go through and cut pieces into usable sizes. I want stuff that works with quick-cut methods as well. That way, when I'm ready to start a project, I can just start. I also can get a really scrappy look as I have such a variety. However, my collection is not huge. My storage space is small (a bookshelf). How do I organize?

My most common square sizes are 2 7/8 inch, 2 1/2 inch, 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch. I have a couple of other sizes for specific projects. The trick to storage is to store in such a way that you don't have to reiron when ready to use. At the same time, you don't want to become too obsessed with perfect organization. My stuff all has to fit on a bookshelf, so it has to be light. I store my 2.5 inch squares in a photobox, purchased from Michaels. Shoe boxes are too flimsy to constantly take on and off a shelf. I can make a large twin sized quilt from the squares that would totally fill this box. I keep my 2 inch squares in an ice cream bucket. Filled, there are enough squares to make half a twin sized quilt.
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I have 2 collections of 1.5 inch squares. One collection is sorted by rainbow colors for a planned quilt. The other quilt, inspired by Bonnie from Quiltville, uses everything else. It is a log cabin look-a-like. Coffee cans are great for these really small squares with one caveat. If you don't like the odor of coffee, use something else as it takes quite a few washings to completely eliminate coffee odor. Once these two quilts are complete, I will never again save 1.5 inch squares! Ahh...but the challenge. This is a project that I expect to take years, so I don't stress over it.
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This black Tupperware box, purchased for a buck at a garage sale has worked splendidly for my 2 7/8 inch square and triangle collection. I use the Scrapsaver and surprisingly, have not had any problems with stretching on the bias edge of the triangles. Perhaps I'm more careful than average? In any case, again, I have enough squares to make a twin sized quilt. Next to the box are two fabric collections for specific planned quilts. The 5.5 inch blue squares will become half-square triangles with an appliqued dragon. The 2.5x6.5 beige/tan background rectangles are for a project featured at called Scrappy Sister's Choice. Most of these were long strips leftover from trading 6 inch squares of background fabrics with other quilters through the mail. I always buy some extra in case of shrinkage or cutting errors.

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I absolutely love these little plastic shelf boxes. Unfortunately, I don't have the footspace for them. This little bitty one, which fits on my bookshelf, seemed useful for storage, but it quickly fills. Instead, I use it as a staging area. The top 3 shelves I put cut shapes (Drunkard's path, pyramid, tumbler) for charm and charmlike quilts and the bottom two are for storing chain-pieced leaders and enders for the log cabin look-alike. One has lights, the other darks. When those drawers get filled, I spend a couple hours sewing them together into blocks until they are empty again.

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I just loved this little plastic basket that I received when I purchased some charm squares from my LQS. I store 4 x 1.5 inch strips in here. Then, when it gets filled, I sew together a whole bunch of them, trim to 3.5 inches and add them to the utility quilt I am making. It is going together round robin style in order to maintain a complete random look.

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Finally, I keep referring to Bonnie. Bonnie is a professional machine quilter in South Carolina who maintains a great site that she has even improved! A recent feature shows her pieced quilt backs (she uses leftover 10.5 inch pieces to piece her backs rather than use yards and yards of the same fabric). OH..oh..ohh...and I bought my plane ticket for Texas yesterday!! I hope a cold front comes through before I get there in mid-October. A heat index of 111 in San Antonio does not sound good!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Storm Damage and Progress

As I type this, I am surrounded by the sound of chain saws. Last night, while watching TV about the path of Hurricane Rita, and wondering if I'm even going to be able to go on my Texas trip, we got hit by a big storm that caused significant damage. In fact, there was a tornado only a couple of blocks away (F2 about 50 feet wide, meterologists say). We, however, had straight line winds estimated at 80 mph. So, we've lost a couple of trees and had a 'train wreck.' My Dad's scale model Christmas Train broke its bracing and fell sideways. The caboose lost it's roof. The trees we lost were due to be cut down in a couple of years, so it's not too tragic. Some folks lost all the trees in their yards and of course, some folks lost their homes. A large section of the business district in both Blaine and Coon Rapids lost power all day, so I wasn't able to get my bifocals today. Darn it.
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Note the 5 gallon buckets to get an idea of how big this Christmas lawn ornament is.

Every evening, I've been doing about 1/2 an hour of sewing on the Depression quilt. I just make HSTs. It's also one of the few things I can do on any craft stuff without getting these new bifocals as I can't read directions and work on project at the same time! Darn it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Needlework Shop Closing and Ebay Rant

I found out over the weekend that the needlework and framing shop closest to me is closing at the end of this month. The owner just decided it was time. Apparently their reduction sale has been going on for a couple of weeks, so there wasn't that much left that I really needed to buy. However, what I did buy was 60% off! I will share it with you!

My first item was a Shepherd's Bush seasonal project entitled "Happy Heart" that includes all the buttons. I liked it and it was a little different from what I'm accustomed to doing. Bees seem to be popular again.
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I bought a very few threads. I really liked Treasures braid and loved the fuzzy Alpalca. I resisted buying any of the hand dyes, silks and such easily since I just really don't get into using them. They are nice, but often don't show up well on my backgrounds. I miss a lot of the subtlety unless I have bright sunshine. Could be because I'm red/green color blind? I don't know.
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This next one is just a little project called "Dizzy Busy Bees" by The Sweetheart Tree. It also includes a tiny bee to be added to the stitching. I don't hesitate to buy these types of things used as it's relatively easy to get the little figures mail order.

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I would have loved to have purchased a couple of the stitched models, but with my Texas trip coming up, I really jumped on myself to stick to my budget. As such, I still spent $26 today! I want to stop at some of the stitching shops in Texas as well, since I'm sure they carry an assortment that isn't readily available here (catcus, cowboys, western, for instance).

EBAY RANT (you can skip this if you want, but if you are a small seller, keep going!)

On to the rant about Ebay. A year ago, several people that I know predicted that Ebay planned to run off all the small sellers (these are the folks that brought Ebay to where it is today). They are currently doing this with new rules at Paypal. Many of you might not know that Ebay purchased Paypal a couple of years ago. I have a Paypal personal account. This has restrictions such as I can only receive $500 in any month, limited number of transactions (I think it's 30) and can't accept credit cards. That's fine--I'm not in business. I sell 25 things roughly 4 times a year. I am typical. I am also being run off.

Two months ago, Ebay started notifying folks that used the Paypal icon that you could only use the icon if you accepted all forms of Paypal payment (in other words, no personal accounts). It confused people. Fine, they have to respond to buyers, even if it's because the buyers refuse to read the payment information. This allows buyers to list only auctions that took Paypal credit cards. The latest thing is to cancel the auctions of folks who do not take credit cards, and do not use the Paypal icon, but accept Paypal bank transfers (e-checks). In other words, personal accounts. You aren't even allowed to list in your description that you accept Paypal cash or e-checks. Now, if you are in business, accepting credit cards is simply necessary today. But as an individual who is selling her personal stuff, why should I have to pay fees for accepting money when I have a PERSONAL account? Several others have predicted that those who don't offer Paypal at all (just money orders or Bidpay) will eventually be knocked off. Ebay greed probably to pay for their billion dollar mistake. Let's look at a recent example applying the new rules. Since I am not a business, I don't have enough transactions to generate any discounts, so would be paying full fees. A used cross stitch booklet which sold at auction for $2 plus $1.50 shipping. Fees are:
    • Ebay Listing Fee: .35
      Ebay Final Value Fee: .35
      Paypal fee for accepting money: .30
      Paypal % fee for accepting money (includes shipping): .09
That's $1.09 in fees for a $2 booklet. There is an additional hidden fee. You also get charged for cash transactions as well as the credit card transactions. I have a personal account for a reason. I am not in business. Guess what. Come November, I'm not going to have an account at all because I'm going to cancel both Ebay and Paypal accounts unless Paypal removes their restrictions. It's a little like the fox in the henhouse with a fiduciary dictating what occurs in a sellers' environment.

Now, quitting Ebay isn't such a bad thing. I have noticed, in the last year, that there has been a HUGE dropoff in the market for most used cross-stitch, knitting, quilting and scrapbooking books and patterns. I think it's called market saturation. The only thing I can get on Ebay that is difficult for me to get elsewhere are punchies (for scrapbooking). But those businesses will mostly disappear as well. How can you keep offering punchies for $1.25 when much of it goes for fees? my soap box. I guess I'll go back to trading charts (or offering them free for postage).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Crafts and Help

I'm not going to belabour this. Right now, cash donations to either Red Cross or Salvation Army will do more for most victims than anything else. However!

Quilters: American Quilters Society (AQS) and the International Quilt Festival (IQF) are both requesting quilts for hurricane refugees. IQF has requested twin sized and AQS requested twin through king-sized. They do not want infant/child quilts. Prefer poly batting (dries faster), but cotton is fine also. Don't forget the long-legged guys! IQF will deliver quilts to the Houston shelters. AQS will store the quilts in their wonderful warehouse facilities in Paducah, ready to ship where they have been requested in the disaster area. This will catch many of those smaller shelters when they are ready to get them. These requests are for finished quilts-they can be quilted or tied.

Here's the link for Intl. Quilt festival:
For AQS: Send donated quilts to:AQS Quilters to the Rescue, c/o American Quilter’s Society, 5801 Kentucky Dam RoadPaducah , KY 42003

This is going to be a long term effort at many of these shelters in several states. If you want to knit or crochet afghans for refugees, go ahead and do that. Warmer blankets will be needed in a couple of months. Make them adult sized. Eventually, you'll be able to find addresses of where to donate these for hurricane/flood victims. If you want to make bright, cheerful afghans for kids, go ahead. Just don't make them baby sized or use poor quality materials. Be sure everything you use is machine wash/dry. Don't forget that local need is still there--keep making the blankies for, battered women's shelters, local law enforcement and such.

Also, I'm thinking that soft toys or pillows might be an appreciated item once the basics are taken care of. Something for a child to hug and hold or to identify a teenager's cot. Just ideas.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Well, what can I say? It's a huge disaster to the US. I can't even imagine how difficult it is going to be for everybody in the Southern areas struck by this to recover. I don't have any relatives or close friends in the disaster area, but I am very much aware of others who do. The economic impact will be long felt as the affected areas were very dependant on tourist dollars. Anything else in today's post is pretty trivial in comparison.

New Orleans was to be my last stop on my Texas trip in October. I wanted to go there before they lost all the big trees (and I've never been to the South before). Only last Wednesday, I decided against taking the train for the whole trip, due to connection times in Chicago, so I had yet to buy my tickets. I still plan to go to Texas, although it's possible they will cancel the big quilt show in Houston (end of October). If they do that, I will just remain in the areas between Dallas and San Antonio.

I am continuing to pack up my quilting area for remodeling, cut fabric for the scrap quilts and work on those crocheted scrap squares. I'll try to give some interesting pictures tomorrow for a sort of end-of-month wrap up. That is, after I go to use my birthday discount at the local quilt shop!

Also, don't forget. If you haven't already, September 1 is the last day to download patterns from as they have left the yarn business. I tried just SAVE and it doesn't work for my setup. Easiest for me was to open WORDPAD, copy and paste the photo, then copy and paste the instructions column by column (the graphs are photos also). The majority of patterns are crochet, but there's a lot of knitting ones also. After you have downloaded your patterns, be sure to BACK UP all your patterns. I have mine on a CD as well as one of those little bitty portable plugins.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Swap Blocks

I've been simultaneously working on finishing two sets of swap blocks, selling stuff on Ebay, trying to get my sewing machine problem solved, visiting with unexpected stayover guests and having medical problems. Egads. Things just come in bunches sometimes.

Here's the block that I made for Barbie Block Swap Two. I'm not certain what this pattern is actually called (Chasing Geese?), but it's a nice one for featuring a really wonderful fabric. Those geese (little triangles) are 1.5 x 3 inches finished. They come out exactly sized using Eleanor Burn's Flying Geese ruler. There are other methods of making flying geese, but when you have this much exactness required, this ruler can't be beat since each goose is made larger and cut back to exact size.
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Sorry for the poor color. The geese and the center are different pinks.

Rant Ahead: One of the holdups for finishing the blocks for my block swaps was being unable to get Kona White from my local Hancock Fabrics. They ran out of white more than two months ago. I have requested this several times. Still not in. I don't want to have to switch all my solid fabrics shopping to mail order, but I see I'm losing my choices here. The only quilting store that carried any kind of significant selection of solids closed some years ago. Hancock's carrying Kona helped alleviate that, but I can see lots of orders to Hancock's of Paducah in my future.

Also, someone asked about that chevron afghan featured behind the scrap afghan that I am making (see Aug. 18). The chevron one is not a take-a-long project. This is primarily because you only crochet one line and then move on to the next color. So, you need your whole box of scrap yarn to work on it. It actually looks nicer if you use two rows of one color rather than just one.

Friday, August 19, 2005

One Is Not Enough

It just isn't enough for me to have only one scrap project going. Must have more. Must have more. I started another scrap afghan. This one comes from the Leisure Arts Booklet Old Timey Afghans. Here are some of the little squares that I am making. Very simple design will be surrounded by one row of black and then just sewn together. These go together pretty nicely. If you do this pattern, there is an error (3rd row, need one more dc at the very end of the row). As mentioned before, I leave the ends loose and then use a large yarn needle to finish them off. Needed something to while away the time while chauffering a relative to a 3 hour medical appointment. Still have that beer box full of leftovers, although most will go to a St. Paul elementary school towards the end of September for their projects.
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The One Line Afghan went on its way yesterday (cousin and SO). The Kitty Kat Quilt goes away with its owner tomorrow (my sister and BIL). I will miss my finished projects, but I'm ready to move on. Of course, we won't mention that I have another 42 blocks of Kitty Kat quilt (mostly Christmas colors from a swap), so I will be making another, eventually. It will get put away until other projects are done. My younger brother has (gasp) requested a quilt. I'll let him look at quilt projects after I get back from Texas. All my fabric is being put into storage until probably the end of the year (I'll have my UFOs and current projects here). I have no lack of projects to finish!

Today (and the rest of the weekend), I am concentrating on making swap blocks. A little difficult as the guest bed is in the quilting area, which is also under construction. If I can get all the cutting done today, I'll be able to just sew, sew, sew when they leave tomorrow and finish by Sunday night.

I'm adding the Texas State Fair to my itinerary for my trip. I've never been to any other State Fair, so that should be fun (different kinds of cows also).

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pets and Crafts

Most blogs I visit include their pet pictures. I don't actually have a pet since my nearly 19 year old cat died several years ago. I am, however, keeper of the EO (Evil One), otherwise known as Fiona. Fiona is my sister's tabby cat, but for several reasons including wanting to be an only cat and illness, she lives here. She is going on 16 years old now and weighs in at 5 lbs. 14 oz. So, she is a small, skinny cat. Her normal daily routine is sleep. Occasionally, she will awaken for food, water and attention, but she prefers to burrow under a quilt or afghan and sleep all day. At night, she rests from her daytime activities and sucks heat from me. Here is her lioness pose when I brought her out in the sunshine today.
This was supposed to be the 'official' portrait for the Kitty Bed Gallery for the Felted Kitty Bed Knit-a-Long. As you can see, the kitty barely cooperated and the color is terrible. I will try to fix that tonight. I used Landscape yarn in variagated pinks. This is a yarn from Joann's that is half 100% wool and half poly. It results in a felted item with nubs. It looks really nice, but unfortunately, it lacks stability. The kitty bed sides insist on flopping over. This would be great for a purse, but not a kitty bed. The upper edge is finished with a couple rows of eyelash yarn (also from Joann's). It really looks nice after coming out of the wash. I'm giving Fiona two months to sleep in it--if that doesn't work, I have two other households to test the bed in.
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This soulful look is from my other sister's dog. She is a large sheltie named Brandy. She is laying her head on my very first quilt, the Teepee quilt. Brandy is very gentle with stuff, so I don't worry at all about her using quilts. She's not a digger. Even when playing through blankets, she is incredibly delicate. The thing about Brandy is that she is always cute. This dog does not have an off or ugly day. In fact, the only reason her ears aren't upright in typical sheltie fashion is because my sister was taking the photo (and she's the alpha dog). Brandy is 7 or 8 years old.

So, there you have it. My pet photos. Before I leave you today, I thought I would share a photo of the sexiest cross-stitch project I have ever seen (being sold on Ebay). Wonder if I'll see anything like that in Fort Worth in October?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Goodbye Peter Jennings

I've missed seeing Peter Jennings whenever I watch the news. He's been anchoring on ABC pretty much my entire adult life. The one thing he said to learn from his illness was to quit smoking. As an ex-smoker myself, I can understand not only how hard it is to quit, but also how easy it can be to start again.

I'm fortunate. I finally quit after 7 or 8 attempts in January 1991. I recognized that my problem wasn't nicotine addiction so much as the habit of smoking (like biting your fingernails). In the 3 months prior to that, I eliminated habitual places, where I smoked, one at a time. Finally, the only place I smoked was my chair. The day I quit (mid-January), I started an afghan. I made it a goal to finish it for my sister's birthday and it kept my hands busy, busy, busy. Yes, I finished it by February 16 (the night before). I also found that I had to eliminate certain things. Beer was one of them as I always smoked when I drank alcohol. It took about 3 years before I could drink a beer without craving a cigarette.

All of my cigarette money went to buying needlework stuff, so technically, I didn't really save any money by quitting smoking. I created a new demon--one that could fall in on me if the piles of stash get too high!

Today, I didn't get any needlework done so far, but I have been sorting and packing away in anticipation of repainting in September. All these fabrics I had forgotten about, I get to visit again. I am also using my 2.5 gallon Hefty zips to sort out stuff needed for planned projects. I found that these are large enough not only to contain the book/pattern, but also to keep the fabric somewhat wrinkle free. It also reminds me to stop buying more fabric....

Friday, August 05, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me!

I'm 39. Again. Here's the cake my sister made featuring my favorite cartoon character. That strange stuff on top is multicolored sprinkles. The only needlework I've done is undoing a giant multicolor yarn knot. The pieces will all go into the Colorful Granny afghan. Oh, yes, I'm in a unique category. I started out having two younger sisters...I now have 2 older sisters. :)

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Swap Blocks

I have often joined online block swaps over the years and really enjoyed them. It started with Compuserve back in 1987 (yeppers, before Netscape!). Currently, I primarily join block swaps with QATW (an MSN quilting group) and Quilting at I prefer a centralized swap where the blocks are sent to a hostess, swapped out and mailed. This is a fun thing to participate in, particularly if you are not a member of a local group, but it does get expensive (you almost never seem to have the fabric in stash) and can be time consuming. I've learned to plan better and try to get everything together early on. All the swaps featured in this entry are from QATW (last 6 months or so).

The results of the Ocean Waves swap from earlier this Summer. The results were wonderful! One of the participants provided a good photo of a bunch of her swap blocks laid together. Notice that an arrow appears! I never even noticed this effect until I saw it in black. Requirements were black fabric for background and brights. I think most of us used Kona, as it is a very consistant black across the country. Here's a link to the pattern we used:
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Photo by Lea Anne

Saturday, I received my swap blocks for the Barbie Quilt! These are really nice! I'm still in the process of completing a block for Barbie 2. My first design wasn't working with the fabric selections, so I'm making a different choice. Once I'm happy, then I can go into production and finish all of them. Notice the cute bikini block in the lower left corner (thanks DJ!). I've had a couple of ideas as to how I want to set these, but I'll wait until I have all the blocks. I also need to make the Barbie silhouette block. The requirements for this swap were that you use only pink, black and solid white.
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Here's a prior block swap that I completed. It was Country Baskets (yep, another QATW). Think Thimbleberries colors as this photo sortof washed that out. There were subsequent swaps of the same group, but at the time, I couldn't join. So, I still have more blocks to make before I can finish this quilt. The swap blocks add variety that I might not otherwise have. If you would like to make these blocks, here's a link to the pattern. The instructions are excellent!

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I hesitated for a long time, since my vision worsened, to join block swaps because mine don't always come out exactly as they should. Several ladies told me to stop agonizing over it, but just don't trim the final block to size. That way, if someone really doesn't like having corners exactly meeting, they can fix it themselves.

Thoughts for July. I'm really amazed that I finished several large projects last month! It's always nice to have a finish to spur you on to finishing other things. On the other hand, due to remodeling at the end of August, I have to put a lot of my projects and fabric into storage. Eeep. On the plus side, I'll be focusing more on cross-stitch. Other good news is that I'm finding all the parts for some of those UFOs that need to be done.