Monday, March 24, 2008

Jimmy Buffet Quilt

I made this quilt a couple of years ago and taught a class at my LQS during one summer. I have affectionately named it the Jimmy Buffet Quilt because looking at it reminds me several Jimmy Buffet songs -- Margaritaville, Fins, Changes in Latitudes -- just to name a few. The houses, cabanas, palm trees and sun are paper-pieced and I only used batiks. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I sold the quilt to someone who walked into my LQS, saw the quilt and asked if it was for sale. The woman and her husband spent their vacations in the Caribbean and she wanted to give it to him for Christmas. So I sold it with the intention of someday making another one for myself -- just as soon as I find a blue for the sky . . .

Caryn was a student in my class that summer and made 3 of these quilts AND gave them away -- fortunately one was for her DD so at least she can visit it or the quilt visits Caryn when DD is home from college.

Progress . . . .

I completed the last of my nautical bluework blocks tonight!!!! I started these blocks last April just prior to our trip to Florida. I thought they would make a great project to work on while sitting in the airport, flying in the plane and during other quiet moments throughout the vacation. Prior to our departure I carefully searched Continental Airlines' website to ensure I was able to carry a needle and scissors onto the plane. Luckily I was able to bring a pair of scissors that were less than 4" so I packed up my project including my favorite stork scissors and off to the airport we went. No issues going to security to fly to Orlando and no issues flying back into Newark. Fantastic -- the perfect travel project, no prep work, just one color thread and a basic embroidery stitch. Later in the year I would travel to Toronto on business with the same project, same scissors. No issues leaving Newark with the scissors and needle in tow. BUT when I went through security in Toronto to return to the States, I was told my scissors could not fly in the cabin with me. Evidently you can fly within the United States with scissors and you can leave the United States with scissors. However, one is not allowed to bring scissors into the country -- go figure. So since I did not want to check my carry on and wait forever to get my luggage upon my late night return to Newark, I left my little stork scissors in Toronto. I hope they have made a Canadian quilter happy :) Next time I fly I am bringing a container of dental floss to cut my thread.

Here is a sampling of the blocks - there are 15 in all. I plan to alternate the bluework blocks with a modified nine patch.

I have the border fabric picked out -- a lighthouse toile that I found at one of the quilt shows a couple years ago. Now to find the fabrics for the modified nine patch --- hmmm guess I will have something to look for in Lancaster. I might have to revoke my promise to leave the checkbook home.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Work, Cleaning and Taxes

It was not a very productive week for sewing. I got stuck working extra hours to get the latest forecast done. Had to clean the house for the company I am expecting for dinner later today. And spent a few hours digging through paperwork looking for additional tax information that the accountant requested. I did manage to get the binding turned on a baby quilt that I made for my aunt to give to her best friend's grandson for his first birthday but other than that there hasn't been much sewing going on in this house. Some weeks are like that -- hopefully things will improve and I will find time to sit at the machine or as least pick up some hand sewing this week. Next weekend is the Quilt Show in Lancaster. The Posse was unable to go this year as the son of a Posse member is getting married. Maybe next year ..... So DH and I will take a ride to visit the show and see some of the Amish countryside. DH eagerly agreed to go as he loves Amish cooking and there are several good places to eat in the Lancaster area.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Out with Winter, In with Spring

The weekend was spent taking down the snowmen decorations and cleaning in anticipation of the upcoming Easter holiday.

The snowmen were replaced with bunnies and eggs .... the eggs were my first foray into working with wool.

Now the house has the feel of Spring . . .

Friday, March 14, 2008

Meet Malibu Blue

I thought I would introduce Malibu Blue, my one-year gray tabby. I adopted Malibu last year from a local animal shelter. He is a "ferrel" cat as he was born outside. He is one of the most loving cats, on his own terms, even though he can still be very skittish. If company comes, you can be assured that they will not see Malibu during their visit. I have had visitors question whether I really have a cat.

He loves to assist in the layout of quilt blocks . . . .

Although he would rather play with them . . .

If I could only decide on the placement of the blocks and get this top pieced and to my long arm quilter ..... LOL!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Forward . . . .

The time change this past weekend has put me out of sorts this week. I keep telling myself "it is only an hour -- this can't possibly have that much impact on my life." Well I guess it does :) Having grown up in the 70's I certainly remember the long line of cars on the main street outside of our development waiting to get gas at the nearby gas station. I remember my parents feeling fortunate that the license plates on the two family cars were even and odd so that on any given day, they were able to put gas into them. Now that I am in my 40's and seem to struggle more and more with the time change, I am starting to wonder if we really need Daylight Savings Time. Perhaps I should move to Hawaii ... beautiful beaches, sunshine almost every day and they don't participate in Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Quilt Show Goodies

I thought I would share a few of the projects I picked up at the quilt show last weekend. Anyone who knows me would agree that these are definitely "Mary projects". In fact the members of the Posse saw the Tropical Sunset quilt before I did. They insisted that I come look at this "Mary project" and completely agreed with me when I said "I just have to have this". This one has moved towards the top of my list. I just need to get a few UFOs finished and get a handle on my CW blocks and DBJ blocks. Yeah, right! Although it is Sew Day with the Posse today and I have picked out some more fabrics for the next few blocks. Maybe I can get the fabric cut and sew some blocks today :)

More Civil War Blocks

The civil war blocks were calling to me last night so I put my Baby Dear Jane aside to work on the blocks. With the completion of these four little blocks I have now completed the blocks from Week 1 as well as two from Week 3. I have not decided whether I also want to piece the Love Letters blocks. I have the book and the CD .... I keep thinking this project would be more manageable if I only attempted to piece blocks from one book. Then I think "hmmm once I complete the civil war blocks and put them into a quilt, would I really go back and piece the Love Letters blocks to make a second quilt? Probably not." Tomorrow night I will cut the fabric for a few more blocks so I can piece them on Saturday. Saturday is Sew Day at the firehouse. Several hours of sewing, chatting and eating without any members of the male species. It is supposed to rain on Saturday -- what better way to spend a rainy Saturday than sewing and catching up with a few quilting buddies?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dear Baby Jane or Nearly Insane?

Sometimes I think I need to go back to school and learn how to say "no". The Dear Jane quilt has been on my project list for a few years but I haven't really given it serious thought as I always considered it a "once in a lifetime" project and figured I would start on it when I retired 20 years from now. I had become somewhat serious about it again after seeing the original Dear Jane quilt on display in Vermont in 2006. But then other projects became a priority or more interesting and the Dear Jane quilt moved down the project list.

One of my dilemmas in starting this project was what fabrics to use -- 30's, civil war reproductions, batiks, two colors, etc. The time has come to resolve that dilemma as you will see from my sidebar I have signed on for the Dear Baby Jane blog group. In addition, I am participating in Megan's sewing group. So last night I resolved the fabric dilemma:

After making that decision, I was feeling confident and moved onto selecting fabrics for the first block in the Dear Baby Jane blog group. I even pulled out the book and freezer paper to trace the templates for hand piecing. And then my motivation ended, it was getting late and I was feeling tired from a long day at work so I packed up everything. I went to sleep with every intention of waking up earlier so I could piece before I went to work. Ah, but the sound of the rain and the dark, gloomy day made catching a few more minutes of sleep seem more enticing than waking up early to hand piece. I could always piece the block tonight. . . . so if I stay true to my promise to myself, I will post my progress tomorrow.

A Bit of Detective Work

Imagine my surprise as I walked out of the house this morning and saw my front yard.

My first thought was "gee the paperboy (man) is really strong -- he managed to knock over the fence". After feeling frustrated and annoyed that someone would do this and not even leave a note, I remembered I REALLY needed to be on my way to work. After a brief conversation with DH, we concluded that we do not have a strong paperboy as the paper that is laying near the fence is actually from February 22 and had been buried in the snow! So the mystery continues and may never be solved as to how the fence was knocked down. Well at least DH has the first item on his "honey do" list for the Spring.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I don't think there is anything better to inspire one to start sewing then buying new fabrics. I was able to complete three civil war blocks yesterday which brings my total to five completed so far. I have four more cut out which I hope to piece tonight.

I am also inspired to create after walking through the quilt display at a show or after show and tell at the local guild meeting. Sometimes all we need to get our creative juices flowing again is to see what others are doing or have accomplished.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Posse Outing

The Posse gathered for an outing yesterday. The "Posse" is a term that my DH has given to my circle of quilting friends. After a few phone calls and text messages yesterday morning, we coordinated our meeting time and place. We were a bit worried the snow storm might have delayed our departure time but luckily the weatherman was wrong again! Soon we arrived at our destination -- the local quilt show! Our approach to the show was varied. Some of us purchased items immediately upon seeing them in the vendor's booths. While others made a list and decided on their purchases at the end of the day. I have tried several times to first walk through the vendors, make a list and come back at the end of the day. But that approach just doesn't seem to work for me. What if the item is gone when I finally decide to go back and purchase it? On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for the wait and see approach -- just in case something better is lurking in those last few aisles.

Happily I was able to cross off a few items from my quilting wish list -- civil war fabrics for my Civil War Diary blocks, fabrics for my ongoing I Spy quilt and plus a few items that I didn't even know I needed before I left the house.

Below are civil war reproductions that will work nicely with the Civil War Diary blocks ....