Monday, May 24, 2010 4 Comments »
In our last episode, I had arrived home from a not-so-fabulous day at work, tripped over the dog and found a surprise box waiting for me just inside the front door. 
The speculation was that it contained the mini quilt from my secret swap partner in the Modify Tradition Mini Quilt Swap.   This is the first swap of this kind I'd ever done, so my curiosity and anticipation neurons were on overload.


My secret swapper turned out to be Julie (a.k.a. Jewel), from California.  We were supposed to post clues about our color/design tastes on our blogs, and also post visual clues on Flickr.  I said that I liked bright, happy colors and a crisp look.  JULIE NAILED IT!  She created a riff on a classic 9 patch, using all of the colors that make me sing and do a happy dance.  The quilt is wonderful!

Take a look at the lovely quilting detail.
                  And the cute back.

Of course no quilt is complete without a label, so....

My mini quilt is now hanging in my sewing room, up on a wall where I can look up and see it as I sew.  The colors just make me smile.  Of course knowing that someone made it just for me, is the best.  

But wait, that's not all!  Julie took note of the fact that I'd mentioned the fabric line Breath of Avignon as a favorite and an alternative color inspiration.  So tucked in the box, along with the quilt, were two charm packs of Breath of Avignon and a Scnibbles pattern to make with them!   Can you believe that?  It's almost as though she got inside my head  -- I've been wanting to do a Scnibbles in the worst way, but just never got arount to it. 

Julie, you did an amazing job.  I'll admit I was leary at first of doing a blind swap  -- one hears tales of partners who don't fulfill their end of the bargain or who do a less than great job.  This, however, was a wonderful experience, and I am the richer for it.  I have a beautiful, sunny quilt to look at every day, and (I hope) a new friend.

Now, with any luck, I should be finished my swapper today or tomorrow & have it off to its new owner by the end of the week!

Doin' a Happy Dance!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010 2 Comments »
It was a semi crappy week.  Friday was the last day in a string of "God I hope this isn't all there is in life" days.  I was weary.  It had been a bad hair and elastic-waist pants kinda day.  The train stalled on the tracks & we sat for half an hour in a crowded car.  The guy next to me smelled of beer and very stale cigarettes.  I had forgotten my book & had nothing to read.  I'd neglected to charge my cell phone.  When I finally shuffled in the door at 7 PM, I tripped over the damn dog. 

But wait. 
What's that box? 
I didn't order anything, did I? 

Ooooo, it has a California return address on it.  It's very light.  Could it be?  Could it be my mini quilt from my Modern Traditions Quilt Swap Partner?   Well folks, I'm gonna keep you in suspense.  But maybe this will give you a clue:

Stay tuned for details in my next post!!!!!!!

Desparately Seeking........

Friday, May 21, 2010 5 Comments »
I need some help finding the name of a fabric.  It's plain white, has a very close weave, and is soft.  The best comparison I can make is to a really nice cotton percale sheet. 

I bought a large piece some time ago to use as the background on a baby quilt.  I liked it because it had a soft "hand", wasn't muslin-ish or even vaguely see-though, and (as I found out) laundered quite nicely to give the quilt a soft, huggy, antique quality. 

Well, as you can probably tell, I am out of it & desparately want to procure more.  Other than the description I've already given, all I can tell you is what it's not -- it's not Kona and it's not Moda Bella.  And, of course, I can't remember where I got it (she said, banging her head on the sewing table).

Any ideas?

PS.  Why in the name of heaven don't the selvedges of these "plain" fabrics have some sort of identifier?  It would make things so much easier -- and avoid head injuries.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Starz.......

Monday, May 17, 2010 12 Comments »
Remember that Modern Tradition little quilt swap thing?  Here's what happens when a honey bun of very cool Kaffe Fassett, and a some plain ol' white background fabric meet up with a paper piecing instructional DVD in Pat's sewing room. 

Add a some thread, step on the magic foot pedal, fold, slice, sew, press.  Fold, slice, sew, press.   Fold, slice, sew, press.  Then you start to see some results. 

On the Fringe

Sunday, May 16, 2010 1 Comment »
I never need a calendar to let me know when Mothers' Day is approaching.  More common in the southern states, our Fringe Tree (also known as "Old Man's Beard") has flowers that look like fringe, and when in bloom, gives off a heavenly scent.  No matter what the winter and spring have been like, our tree always seems to be at its peak bloomation (grin) during the weekend of Mother's Day.

I love this tree.  Our high school's prom was always held on the Saturday before Mothers' Day, so it's been the backdrop for innumerable prom pictures.  Even when not in bloom, it makes a wonderful background for late Spring and Summer photo ops.  It's low enough to the ground to provide easy climbing for cats and kids -- matter of fact, my daughter used to sit in a low crook of the branches to read.  Part of its beauty is all of the memories it holds.

The weather here in eastern PA has been so erratic and so cold at times this spring,  I really thought that this might be the year the fringe would be delayed.  I should not have worried.  Just like clockwork, that tree bloomed on Mothers' Day.    My beautiful daughter Kate and her handsome husband Paul arrived to take me (and DH) to an early buffet dinner at a fine old inn in our area.  Of course I took the opportunity to use that venerable Fringe Tree as a backdrop for yet another memory. 

Kate's on the down-hill side of her 5th year of teaching 5th grade.  She's smart, creative, funny, and has one of the biggest, kindest hearts ever.  Paul is a nurse, and just started on a very challenging new assignment on the most critical CT Surg ICU unit at U of P Hospital.  Like Kate, he's smart, creative, extremely funny, and has a kind heart as well.  They are perfect for each other and they make my heart sing.

On another note, the little patriotic table-topper is finished.  It's one of the few things I've actually made for myself, and I just love it.  Those little star blocks were buggers, though -- only 3".  It's on the coffee table in my family room where I can enjoy it every day.  Don't pay attention to the date on the picture -- I never set the date function on my camera to the correct date.  Oh well.

I'm working on the Modern Tradition small quilt swap I posted about a while ago.  What I'm doing is still a secret, but I will tell you that it involves a Carol Doak DVD on paper piecing I found hidden in my sewing room, and some Kaffe Fassett fabrics inspired by Wanda.  Quite a change from the Civil War repros!

Modifty Tradition Swap

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 2 Comments »
I think I am way WAY out of my element on this one, but I'll give it a shot.  I'm participating in the Modify Tradition Swap, and I need to give my secret partner some hints about what I like.  We are doing small quilts to swap, using traditional blocks & modern fabrics. 

For my Swap Sister:  have at it!  I like bright colors.  Hot pinks, sunshine yellow, turqouise, lime; or the bright colors of the sea.  I also like the crisp provincial French colors of royal blue, red, yellow and greenike the fabric line Breath of Avignon).  Even patriotic red, white & blue.  I'm not so much into muddled colors -- I like crisp contrast.  Bright stripes, white dots on a strong backgroun. batiks -- my o my, batiks.  Any design is fine with me, although I'm not big on applique.  I'll try to find some pictures to post on Flickr (Lord help me!), but the ones on the Modify Tradition "Communication is Good" post fit my taste.  I see that a number of the example quilts are from Red Pepper, one of the blogs that gives me color inspiration. 

I may be hanging your quilt in my sewing room, or I may be taking it to work to hang in my office/cube to brighten my day. 

Here's the link to my Flickr stuff.

Wally World

Sunday, May 02, 2010 2 Comments »
I don't know if you've seen the emails making the rounds called "People of WalMart" -- we are now up to PoW4.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE WalMart.  Especially now, when money is tight.  You have to admit, however, that there are a lot of people who don't exactly put their best fashion foot forward when doing a WalMart run.

I have a good friend who needed a laugh in the worst way, so I forwarded the email.  Then I sent her an account of my very first visit, many years ago.  She got such a kick out of it that she's persuaded me to post it here.  I hope no one is offended. 

My son went to school in a Indiana, PA.   It's in the western part of the state, at the foot of the Appalacian mountains. Other than the University, the population leans toward blue collar, on the lower economic end of the scale;  there is a segment of the population that could be called red neck.  Schools close down for the first day of deer huntin' season. If it's cold outside, most people wear plaid flannel shirts, cammo or orange hunting jackets. The town also has one of the very first super Walmarts ever built.

When we took Andy to school for the first time, we visited the local WalMart to get supplies. We had never been to one before, and here we were in a SUPER Walmart. There were lots of students/parents, but there were also a lot of natives -- portly women/men in skimpy NASCAR garb, 16 year old, pimpled couples with a baby stroller, a lot of hunters checking out the huntin' gear. For some, teeth were in short supply; tattoos were not. We were dressed in our best take-your-firstborn-to-college Land's End outfits.  You get the picture.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw an enormous bus that looked like a tour bus of some sort. It had various Bible verses on the sides in large letters as well as the word REPENT, and big crosses as decoration. The front of the bus said "The Christian Cowboy". Not my religious tradition, but one that I'm OK with.

Once we got into the store, we heard very loud gospel music and someone anouncing The Christian Cowboy over the loud speaker. Then we saw him. Right there, in the front of the store, just behind the checkout lines. The guy was in full cowboy regalia (10 gallon hat, high-heeled, pointy-toe boots, silver spurs), and clothing heavily decorated with silver-stud crosses & a picture of Jesus (in color) on the back of his leather cowboy jacket. He had tables in front of him dislpaying the various CDs he'd made, books he'd written, and assorted pamphlets. He was singing Amazing Grace. Loudly. It was hard not to gape.

Then we noticed he was wearing a cowboy-style leather holster, with a leather ammo belt across his body. Hubby &I both looked at each other, then back at the cowboy, then back at each other. Christan Cowboy -- holster? Ammo? What's wrong with this picture?  He must have seen us, looking like preppie tourists, staring at him. He looked me in the eye, reach for the hoslter, and pulled out A BIBLE, which he pointed at me like he would have pointed a gun. It was then that we noticed that all of the ammo slots in his ammo belt held tiny crosses. "Ya gotta be prepared to shoot that ol' devil", he shouted. Hard to argue with that!

We headed for the shampoo section & didn't know if we should laugh or cry. 

Although  that particular WalMart became a frequent haunt during our kids' years at IUP, we never saw that cowboy again.  We never stopped looking for him though!


A Chance to win!!!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010 0 Comments »

EQ7 is almost here!

I have been playing with EQ6, but haven't become a "pro" yet.  It certainly helped me when I was trying to make sense of The Farmer's Wife blocks, though.  And now that I find myself needing to do a number of baby quilts, it seems like a perfect opportunity to play & design.

Wouldn't you know that the folks at the Electric Quilt Company are coming out with a newer, BETTER version, with details being announced on May 3rd.  I'm an admitted gadget freak and techno child, so you can bet I’ll be one of the first in line to get the new version, .  Lucky for me (and you) that the good folks at Electric Quilt are having a giveaway! A GIVEAWAY!!!

If you’re a blogger and want a chance to win a copy, click here to see how.  Come on -- how can you resist a chance for something free?  Want to learn more about this amazing software?  Check it out now!