Fort Sumpter Block

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1 Comment »
I've made my first 2 blocks for the Marcus Civil War Tribute BOM quilt. We will be making one or two sets of blocks each month over the course of the next year, with each block commemorating a different battle in the Civil War. In this case, the "set" consisted of an 18" block and a 12" block, based the Spinning Hourglass pattern and made in rememberance of the Battle of Fort Sumpter.

I'm still not nutso crazy about the fabrics, but my hubby really likes them. The finished quilt should be just wonderful -- right up his antique alley. The project has also kindled my interest in this period of history, prompting me to buy a book from Amazon to bolster the brief history lessons that accompany each block. On the recommendation of another quilter in the class, I also read The Lost Quilter, by Jennifer Chiaverini. I had never read any of her Elm Creek Quilt series, but I will certainly be reading more. This particular novel added a different dimension to my Civil War studies -- it was a fast and very enjoyable read!

Because there are more block sets than months, March will bring double sets. I'd better go read my book so I can figure out which battles those blocks represent -- don't want to be the class dunce!

A plug for a very cool fabric source

Monday, February 15, 2010 Posted In , , 0 Comments »
I really do like looking at and purchasing fabric on line. I miss the tactile experience of fondling the stuff, and sometimes it's tough to match fabrics easily, however the fabric availablilty is so wonderous it's hard to resist. In addition, There are fewer and fewer brick and mortar stores in my area -- and I almost know their inventory by heart.

I'm working on flannel baby quilts at the moment. Not just any flannel will do, so I went off on an internet search for unique fabric with a personality. The hunt was especially intense for fabric for a blanket for my newest grandbaby, Madeline Rose, due to make her entrance into this world at the beginning of April (she will be joining big sister & brother Annabelle Christine and Ian McKenzie).

Momma Jamie had already picked a focus fabric for her "real" quilt -- a now hard-to-find bird print from Andover's Frippery line by Kathy Wells.

Let's Be Civil

Saturday, February 13, 2010 1 Comment »
We all need another project, right?  Well, I'm embarking on a journey today. 

I've signed up for something I've never done before -- a Block of the Month Club at my LQS.  This particular one, Civil War Tribute, appealed to me because it not only involves making a magnificent and challenging quilt, it also incorporates monthly sessions to learn about the various battles commemorated within in each of the blocks. 

Here's the class description:

 As we approach the 150-year commemoration of the American Civil War in 2011, create a reproduction quilt that recalls the drama of this significant era. Featuring Marcus Fabrics' CIVIL WAR TRIBUTE COLLECTION designed by Judie Rothermel, coupled with Homestead Hearth's original design, this project is based on classic quilt blocks and variations. The result is a beautifully detailed quilt measuring a generous 100" x 112", and conveniently divided into twelve monthly installments. A variety of sawtooth and star blocks perfectly showcase 48 of the collection's prints. Each of the quilt blocks represents a major battle fought during the war. Historical notes about key battles in the Civil War with source material and quotations are included.

If you want a better look at the fabrics, you can check them out here.

You know you have a problem when......

Monday, February 08, 2010 5 Comments »
You know you have a problem when you've been snowed in,  cooped up in the house for 36 hours,  you finally dig out from the 24" piles of snow, get yourself all bundled up, pack your cell phone, some flares, bottle water, snacks and a couple of blankets, say goodbye to your loved ones,  and brave the icy roads to go foraging for supplies.....



Saturday, February 06, 2010 7 Comments »
At least that's what folks in the media are calling Saturday's storm here in the NE.

These were the scenes outside my front door this morning at about 9 AM. There should be a road between those trees, but the snow plows haven't found it yet.

I live a bit to the north and west of Philadelphia, so we did not get hit as hard as our neighbors to the south in New Jersey or Delaware; we still got whalloped with between 18-20" of the white stuff.

That thing that looks like a large brick of white ice cream is really our Chevy mini van.

It looked like this from the back porch.

As is customary here outside Philadelphia, stores were jammed on Thursday and Friday with people laying in provisions for the storm. They were so busy (the meat cases were stripped clean, for heaven's sake!), and the Home Depot-type stores possitively depleted of snow shovels and rock salt, it occured to me that declaring a snow storm every other weekend could really do wonders to bring us out of this recession. And a snowstorm on Superbowl weekend?  Jackpot!

When my sister lived in Minnesota, they used to laugh themselves silly at her accounts of Pennsylvania pre-snow rituals. For instance, no matter how much you have in you cupboard or freezer, you must always make a trip to the store to get extra bread, milk, eggs and toilet paper.

You must always fill up the gas tank in your car.

You must always park the vehicles in your driveway in a line, covering as much of the driveway surface as possible with cars (less shoveling later). The car at the bottom of the driveway must be parked facing out.

You must make sure you have plenty of reading material on hand and (in my case) a bottle or two of wine. I may not actually get around to drinking it, but who wants to take that chance?

I must have extra cat food for for Junior, (it takes a lot of energy to watch those flakes coming down), and food for Maggie the Wonder Dog, since she can work up a powerful hunger romping in the snow!

And even if you are not a teacher and no longer have school-age kids at home, you must still listen to the school closing numbers on the radio.  All morning long.

We started a fire in the fireplace early this morning; I made a batch of steel cut oatmeal in my handy-dandy rice cooker; I got a huge pot of Amish Chicken Corn Soup going on the stove, and I made a batch of the dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day so that I can make pizza later. All this is a little nuts since it's just me and the Mr. here at home, but that snow just brings out the nesting instinct in me. 

And now I'm contemplating whether or not I should set up my featherweight in front of the fireplace in the family room.  I know.  It's a sickness.  I can't help myself.  Is cabin fever setting in?  Hopefully I won't run through the house writing REDRUM on the mirrors.

More snow predicted for Tuesday.

Oh Baby!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 0 Comments »

No, I'm not pregnant, but this is shaping up as a very busy year for baby shower invitations. Hmmmm.

The PattiCakes baby gift du jour is a flannel baby quilt/blanket. Very easy, and fairly fast to make. I will post pictures in a few days once I get the most current one done.

All you need are two coordinating 1.5 yard pieces of flannel, a 1.5 yard piece of batting, and a contrasting piece of flannel for binding. Make a quilt sandwich (I spray baste), then machine quilt in a large motif. Most of the time I do a big diagonal grid, but I've also done a big ol' meander (a walking foot is advisable). Trim the edges, then bind.

On occassion I've used the thick poly batting and tied it rather than doing the quilting, but I don't think the result is as sturdy. This is meant to be a blanket/quilt that can be spit up on, thrown in the washer, put on the floor as a soft place to play, thrown in the washer, flung over mom's shoulder to shield while breast feeding, wrapped around legs in a stroller, dragged around the house as a "buddy", then thrown in the washer again.

And guess what? Right now Joann's fabrics is having a great sale on their snuggle flannel -- $2.49/yard! AND they have some nifty coupons. With all of these baby shower invitations pouring in, I'd better stock up!