Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Lapquilt

When we moved to Cairo in 2003 I was thinking: it's going to be sunny and warm - we won't need quilts to USE. Fat lot I knew. Buildings are all made to stay cool, not retain heat. Lots of concrete and marble - brrr. So I had to make a couple of lapquilts in a hurry.

I decided to make myself a Halloween-themed quilt, thinking I'd make something to use for the rest of the year later. I got out a couple of jack o'lantern prints that I absolutely love - their grins glow in the dark. I didn't want to cut them up, so I left all the pieces as they were, except when I had to cut them down to join them to something else.

Here's my husband holding up my quilt (this is all you'll ever get to see of him). As it turns out, I use this year round - makes me smile no matter what the season is.

Yes, it's long. A "lap" quilt for me has to tuck under my feet and chin with some extra to spare. This quilt is the perfect size for that.
Even better than a cozy quilt and a cup of tea? Adding my sweetie girls sleeping together peacefully. They woke up when the camera came out, but at least they didn't start squabbling - at least not right away.
Lily and Pokey:

Now when I look at the fabric, I wished I had more of the jack o'lanterns to use in other quilts and this purple fabric that also includes ghosts and bats is a hoot. And some of the others I think, why did I ever buy this?
The rest of the post is geeking out so if you have no interest in sf/fantasy tv, feel free to skip.
I've been on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon. It's finally the right time for me to watch all of them, though I have to admit I've discovered a fondness for the fast forward button. I know, it seems wrong to not watch all of every episode, but quite frankly I can't stand Drusilla - all the face twitching and growls get old real fast. I'm so crazy, I'm so crazy - boring. Don't want to see anyone tortured either. Okay, I know it happens, that's enough.
Plus you have some episodes that are dogs. Third Season first ep, Anne? Boring. At least the bits with Buffy in NY. But the bits with the Scooby Gang are great. After watching Dead Man's Party I've realised I really must watch Shaun of the Dead this year.
Yesterday I watched BtVS' Band Candy - definitely one of my favorites. That's the one where the grownups all regress to teenagers. Then my sweetie and I watched a season two ep of Eureka where a bunch of the physicists all became dumb. Hee hee hee - fun to watch them close together like that.
I had the urge to start watching Buffy after getting the BtVS season 8 comic book, vol 2. Xander looks great in his eye patch. I just need more more more Buffy. Hope someday they'll do a few tv movies or a mini-series. Not just a big screen movie - don't get nearly enough character development in those. That's one of the joys of rewatching the series - all the tiny early fragments of Jonathon. So fun to see him young and innocent. What he becomes later wouldn't have meant nearly so much without this.
Ya'all have seen Buffy right? And Eureka? If you're still reading this post you should at least try them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scraps & Shirttails

Wheee, I have internet this morning. Not a great connection, but at least I can get a few things done. Got my iPod loaded with podcasts so I have something to listen to again, got mostly caught up on blogs, and was even able to upload a couple of photos for you.

My copy of Bonnie Hunter's Scraps & Shirttails arrived. Woohoo. Lily with the page turned to my favorite quilt in the book, Cactus Patch:

It's so exciting that a friend has published a book. whee. Not only that but she sent me a small box of her repurposed fabric - some of it is pictured in the book on pages 14 thru 17. I have famous fabric - I just wish I was as good as Bonnie at using it. She's amazing.

Here are some little blocks I made. Not thrilled with them, thinking maybe these would be better if I mixed some solids in.

Or maybe the scale of the fabric is too large for the size of the blocks... Ah well, the only way to find out if something works is to try it and PLAY.

I have to be quick with this post since my husband needs to get online too while the getting is good. Something boring about paying bills. Before I go though, want to give a shout-out to Be*Mused Jan who's working on what hints to be a wonderful little space-themed quilt and who posted a link to the best Halloween costumes I've seen in ages - for plants. I wish I had a craft store nearby (that didn't cost an arm and a leg) - very inspiring.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Internet Problems

Hi guys, sorry I've been so quiet. I'm having horrendous internet problems lately and this is the first time I've even been able to access my blog to post. Reading blogs hasn't been possible either, but maybe this is a good sign.

I don't know why, but just can't seem to get myself motivated to sew, but I have been handquilting on Rumspringa.

The one big thing that is going on here is that I'm going to be coming back to the states earlier than expected. Sometime in January my husband and I and all the cats will fly to Florida where we have a place to stay. He'll spend two weeks on the beach and then head back to Paris to finish up his tour, which will hopefully be shortened. My husband had always planned on bringing us back to the states early - he doesn't want to traumatise the cats with the pack up - he does worry about them so.

I need the sun desperately and this will give me a chance to get medical issues taken care of and work on the book with Bonnie. Don't have any news for you on that front, just that we're still working on it slowly but surely.

So I'm starting to sort through things. Not really seriously, just staring with the magazines. One thing at a time.

I'm ready to stop living the gypsy life, but we're not quite there yet. This is my last overseas post though - I'm done. It's way too hard with the cats, plus I'm ready to be more serious about this whole quilting thing.

By the way, my husband actually watched all of Pushing Daisies Season One with me and really enjoyed it. Woohoo. Hope ya'all are watching it too.

Now, fingers crossed I can actually get this to publish. I'll probably be posting really rarely for a while, please hang in there with me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Portrait of the Quilter

Portrait of the Quilter as a No-Longer-So-Young-But-Surely-Not-Middle-Aged Woman

I thought it was time to update the pic in my blog profile so I asked my husband to take some photos of me. You'd have thought I was asking him to walk on broken glass. He hates having his own photo taken and apparently it's also torture to take a photo of someone else.

Those are my new earrings I got for my birthday this weekend and I made the necklace years ago while I was living in Cairo. I've got different eyeglass frames from my previous photo and definitely more gray hair. But I like the smile in that older photograph - more me even though that's not quite what I look like anymore - so I'm not going to change photos in my profile.

I got some books for my birthday - woohoo. I did a good job selecting them if I don't say so myself. The only real celebrating we did was eat out for lunch every day of the long weekend. And yeah, okay I did have a couple of desserts.

Since I've been so lazy about posting I have a few links for you.

First off, make sure you're reading ComicBookLady's blog Quilt as Desired. Besides being a wonderful blogging friend, she's also recently attended Gwen Marston's Beaver Island Quilt Retreat and got permission to post loads of photos from the attendees. Here and here are the posts she's written so far, but I know there's more to come.

Loco Quilter Kimberly has put together a bunch of Halloween faces together for a very fun seasonal top. You can find my tutorial for piecing faces (specifically Frankenstein's Monster) here. And suggestions for making jack o'lanterns, and an alien, witch and mummy are here.

I've been doing a lot of reading. First off, the new Pendergast novel The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It was okay, but no great shakes. The books used to have eerie, creepy events happening that by the end could always be explained scientifically. Well, we've gone well beyond that now. Rationality out the window and I kinda miss it.

Stuart MacBride's latest (in paperback) novel Bloodshot about Aberdeen police detective Logan MacRae left a bad taste in my mouth. Just went too far at the end. I don't like feeling grimey from my reading and if this had been the first book I'd read by the author I wouldn't be reading any more. I did like the first two though, so I'll give him another chance. Oh, and the U.K. title of the book Broken Skin is MUCH better than the stupid title the U.S. publisher put on it.

Continue to love Ian Rankin's broken down Inspector Rebus. Naming of the Dead was an enjoyable read. Not a great memorable book, but well worth reading.

That's it for me. later...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gargoyles Again

Okay, I should be working on the tutorial for making wonky jars and bottles. I've at least gotten some made.

This is for the new Quilt Together House, Home, or Pantry. Thank you for your response, I love that so many of you have already joined up to play with me. There's still space, just send me an email if you want to participate. I've sent out all the invitations for everyone who's already asked so if you haven't heard back from me, uh oh, please email me again.

I spent yesterday with with some dear friends who were in town for just a short while. We climbed to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral and now I'm paying for it. Ow. I do love the gargoyles that live up there.

The weather was lousy most of the day and this break in the clouds was most welcome.
We also hit Montmartre for the Sacre Couer and Croque Monseiur sandwiches, the Louvre for the ever small Mona Lisa and a quick walkthrough of history, Angelina's for hot chocolate (I was even good and just had iced coffee - that hurt!), a walk down the Champs Elysees and a ride on a Bateau Mouche on the Seine. Whew, that was all tiring but wonderful.

I've got some links for you.

First, some funglies: Here are Cheri's and Brenda's.

True Blue Nancy is working on a wonderful HOPEful quilt. I love how it's got both Lazy Gal and Gwen Marston inspiration.

Speaking of HOPE, I hope you've been checking out the wonderful Priority Hope Challenge quilts folks are generously making for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Still plenty of time for you to participate too if you're interested.

This is a hoot. What happens when Jack O'Lanterns drink too much beer?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Announcing the House, Home, or Pantry Class

It's gotten cold here - finally feels like fall. Seems like the trees never turned pretty colors, they just lost leaves. I've decorated with my Halloween quilts - woohoo! Kinda ridiculous how many of them I have AND how many more I want to make.

Here's Pokey with Halloween Faces in the background:

I've finally decided on the theme for the fall/winter class (not that I'm calling it that). It's House, Home, or Pantry. I've started the class blog and explained it all there. I hope you'll join me. You can make the quilt as silly, holidayish or serious as you like.

I was thinking that I'd make a Wooooohoooo haunted houses quilt. Buuut I do already have a Halloween Houses quilt. This was the third quilt I made using Gwen Marston's liberated houses method and this was where I realized I could indeed free-piece letters.

Instead I'm making a Witch's Pantry inspired by the great quilt that MamaSpark made. Mamaspark also inspired Dote: look at hers. All of the jars for our class have to be free-pieced and I bet some of you can figure out how to do that on your own. But I AM working on the tutorial to make wonky jars and bottles - I'll have it posted soon.

I'm such a procrastinator, figured I'd better announce that I'm working on the tutorial though so that all of you could pressure me to get it done.

Please come play with me! That class blog is awful lonely at the moment...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pushing Daisies

I've been busy with non-blogable things like laundry. Well, I guess it's not NON-blogable - I could physically do it, but I'd put you all to sleep. You could sleep like little Pokey:

I got all my Netflix discs at once, which I love and hate all at the same time. I LOVE having something to watch while I handquilt, but hate not having them nicely spaced out. Finished Entourage Season 4 without even knowing it was over. I was looking for the next disc, but oooh no, there isn't one. It's one of those shows that I do enjoy, but definitely fluffy. I'm not emotionally invested, just amused. I don't need to watch it over and over again. Not like:

Pushing Daisies. I LOVE Pushing Daisies. Ned has the ability to bring the dead back to life with a single touch. One touch = life, but two touches = dead again. Oops. The show's got a real morbid side but at the same time it's really sweet. Not everyone does, but I love The Narrator - he adds the fairy tale-iality of the show. Every episode is a mini-movie. Super saturated colors, great acting and writing. I forgot to mention the show is a mystery since Ned can ask murder victims who killed them.

If you like Amelie, Beetlejuice, Dead Like Me, Addams Family, Edward Scissorhands, Moonlighting, Edward Gorey, Lemony Snicket, or Christopher Moore then give the show a try. You don't have to like all these things, just one. You may not like the show, but you should try it. Seems to be a show you either love or hate. My husband of all people enjoyed the first episode.

The ABC home page has lots of info for Pushing Daisies and it will get you caught up so you can start watching the second season of the show. Even better, watch the first season - it's fabulous.

You'll get some quiltiness after all in this post. Check out Marit's blog Quilt It. She makes wonderful light colorful quilts and her cats are gorgeous. Check out her Maverick Stars quilt and I'm thrilled to have helped inspire her Tea for Two quilt.