Saturday, December 05, 2009

"Garbage Can" Christmas Tree

Thank you all so much for your kind words and encouragement on the last post. I am plugging away at the book. A pic of red and white fabric, along with little Pokey toes. A commenter asked about this fabric - it's the Ruby colorway from FreeSpirit's Bellbottom line.

On the topic of red and white fabric, both Kristin and Wanda sent me scraps. Woohoo, so much fun to have early 80's pindots and hearts. Thanks, guys!

My friend Bonnie uses what I call the Garbage Can Method for her utility quilts. Another name for it would be Everything But the Kitchen Sink but I like my name better. Whatever fabric she's got, she'll use no matter how ugly. (Poor quality is a different matter...)

Even when Bonnie's doing a more controlled quilt, she's still really loose about choosing fabric. I loved this post she wrote about picking reds for her Christmas mystery quilt.

I've just been able to loosen up this year and use everything in a quilt (my Hope quilts). And this is my "Garbage Can" Christmas tree. Usually I try to put the red and white ornaments on a different tree and I was so happy a few years ago to only have the bright wild stuff on a tree. Well this year it all happily goes on one tree and that includes the disco balls.

Not that I can seem to get a good photo of it. (I'd try to get another photo but it's raining like crazy out in the world today.) Christmas tree and palm fronds, ah, we're back in Florida:

In my Hope quilts I used fabrics from friends - this tree has ornaments from friends:

Reminders of places we've lived, such as Paris:

and Cairo. Okay, this eyeball isn't really an ornament but I think it's a hoot to have it here - it gives this tree extra personality and I suspect these eyes can't be found on many other christmas trees.

Also part of my Christmas display is the phrenology head I bought in London and the Egyptian glass-marble lampshades that look like xmas trees to me.

In an abrupt change of topic, Howler was at the vet's this week, poor guy. He freaks out (and has to be gassed for the examination) so it's a horrible experience all around and we put it off longer than we should. Howler managed to bite the vet tech with two of his five remaining teeth. Apparently he moves faster than anyone at the office had ever seen such a fat cat (he weighed in at 22.9 lb) move before. Howler is the black cat, here pictured with his brother Habibi:

Howler had a bladder stone, a urinary tract infection, and a bunch of other nasty conditions. We just hadn't caught on that was the reason for him peeing on furniture and we now feel guilty for not getting this taken care of earlier. But as I explained above, it's always a trauma.

Anyway, he underwent surgery to remove the stone and is back out of the hospital. He's happy to be home, loving, sweet and very mellow from the valium he's on. He goes back in two weeks for staple removal and a good teeth cleaning, which he desperately needs. I feel sorry for him but the good news is that he hopefully won't be going in all the wrong places.

I haven't talked about tv in forever so here's a quickie update on what I'm watching (or not).

Top Chef: Las Vegas is enjoyable - I was sure from the very beginning that the final four would be the ones who did actually make it. No spoilers here, but I was very sad to see the fourth one go home. Have to wonder how much was based on food and how much on the personalities that the producers wanted in the second half of the finale.

White Collar? Bleck. I was really hoping for something more intellectual - the FBI pursuing white collar criminals, not hostage takers.

I'd be watching last season's Lost and Chuck if they were just out on DVD. I'm so excited both are coming back soon. I really loved the first season of Chuck - what a fun show.

I'm all caught up on Fringe (except last night's), which is loads of fun. So happy to have a show that doesn't feature lawyers, doctors or cops. Okay, they are FBI but X-Files FBI not regular real FBI. Excellent acting and I'm enjoying the writing although I sometimes wonder what the heck they're doing. Did faux Charlie really have to get discovered that quickly?

Also caught up with 30 Rock - still loving me some Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin - and The Office, which has been rather depressing of late. I almost wet myself watching this bit from last year:

It's all geekness from here...

I think it's good news that Dollhouse has essentially been cancelled - I have all of this season's episodes recorded but can't work up enough enthusiasm to watch.

I watched Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season two and am sad that show got cancelled (should have been Dollhouse!). No, I didn't like everything that happened in the season (way too many terminators showing up and they were all way too easy to kill) but still want to know what happens next.

In November, I read a headline about Joss Whedon wanting to buy the Terminator franchise and I was all excited - I'd LOVE to see what he would do with it. Of course it was all a joke. Sigh. Hopefully once he's through with Dollhouse he can work on a great project, instead of a mediocre one. Sorry, I really don't think Dollhouse is worthy.

That's it, I gotta get back to work now. Ya'all take care.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Secret Project

I can finally tell you all about the secret project I've been busy working on. Drum roll please...

I'm officially working on my liberated letters book. I actually have a publisher and signed contracts - woohoo!!! I've been so crazy working on it because the chief editor called after I got home from my surgery (when I was still somewhat out of it) and I have to turn in the manuscript on January 7th. Eeek. I can't give you details about it now, but will as we get closer to the publication date *fingers crossed* in 2010.

So I've been neglecting you, dear readers, but for a very good reason. I will continue to neglect you until some time in January.

Before I sign off, big thanks to Gwen Marston for her support and mentorship, not to mention the inspiration for all of my liberated work. She's a true sweetheart. Buy her book - support liberated quiltmaking.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there. Ya'all take care.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I know, I know, I'm a terrible blogger. I did warn you though!

I've been really busy, making myself crazy. I finally realized I had to fit in some hand quilting (Slither Eek makes its return) and sewing to get some balance in my life. This is my current sewing project - yes, I started a new one and no, the previous one isn't finished. I want to make a scrappy red and white sampler that's super busy. Don't ask me why, that just sounds fun.

I thought with all the different patterns that the letters would be much harder to read than they actually are.

All it took was getting fabric out to lure Pokey into posing for pics again.

My gorgeous sweet baby.

I have a long list of things for this post since it's been so long since my last one. Have ya'all heard about the new Gee's Bend fabric line and kits that have just come out? What the... Huh? Really??? Am I the only one who sees this as an incredible contradiction?

The quilters of Gee's Bend became famous for their quilts made of recycled clothing and now there's a line of new fabric??? They work in an improvisation style and yet there are kits??? I took a look at one, hoping that it was actually a subversive attempt to get quilters working without rulers etc and just winging it. Nope, concise instructions for making the exact quilt. I mean, exact "cut this triangle exactly this size" and that one that size instructions.

Sheesh, I don't begrudge the Gee's Bend quilters wanting to get a reward for their hard work. I really don't. It just disappoints me. I've been hoping for a book written by the women themselves about how they work, and so far that hasn't happened. Instead we get Quilt Police instructions. sigh.

I did actually buy some of the fabric. I'd call them batiks - like the ones I loved so much from Bali Fabrications that aren't available anymore. I'm hoping they're that easy to hand-quilt through because I love the colors.

In other quilt stuff, I went with a friend to the World Quilt Show put on by Mancuso Brothers in West Palm Beach. It was bigger than I thought it would be and very well attended. We went early on the first day and I think I was one of the youngest ones there. Didn't see a single child. Ah, Florida.

I was disappointed that so many of the quilts were Art Quilts and very little playing on the traditional side of things. Nothing liberated. No antiques. And all the glitz? All those stinking crystals? There were several quilts that would have looked better without them. I mean, you're using silk for goodness sake - it's a gorgeous fabric, don't tart it up.

I did buy some things so that my husband could accomplish some Christmas shopping. In other words, I buy the presents I want and it makes both our lives easier. So no pics.

While I'm on a whinging streak... The finale of Project Runway? Bleah. Dark and uninteresting. I didn't care who won.

Before I go off on a tv tangent, I've got a bunch of quilty links for you, in no particular order.

For anyone lucky enough to live in the San Francisco area, there is a show at the Fine Arts Museum of Amish quilts from the collection of Stephen and Faith Brown. The show is on until June 2010 - definitely one I'd love to go to, but I'll have to be satisfied with the book instead. Apparently you can't have too many books on Amish quilts... There is a good article on the show here.

Comicbooklady made a fantastic Thinking quilt which I truly love.

I love how Bemused Jan is playing with her orphan blocks, including the houses on cheddar.

I'm not sure I ever posted a link to House of Krom Sarah's great Friend quilt that included a free-pieced gnome and mushroom. oops, that was way back in July. Sarah also made this wonderful placemat (I love how the "thanks"glows)... a swap with Knit One Quilt Too Kristin, who made this darling apple placemat.

Scraps and Strings Brenda made a wonderful wonky houses quilt with words and I love the work that she and her Strip Piecing friends have recently made (especially that Noel quilt!)

J's Quilting Blog Joyce also played with houses and words in Kitty Corner and Patchery Menagerie Lynne too! Lynne has been posting a lot, so just take a peek at her November archives. Caitty Quilts Deborah did a bright whimsical houses quilt that includes applique as well as liberated piecing.

Pokeytown Kim added liberated letters to crumb quilts. Wonderful! I've gotten a sneak peak at another liberated project she's working on, so I know there will be upcoming wonderfullness on her blog.

Dordogne Quilter Clare is making great progress on hand-quilting and piecing two great projects.

So happy to have Quilt Words Meg posting again. She finished her lovely soft linen quilt with the gorgeous freehand fans and lines hand-quilting.

I'm sure I haven't managed to link to everything I want to, but I've worn myself out ;) Besides, I need something for another post...

I am actually doing really well, no cause for concern for my blogging absences. Ya'll take care!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


I was so excited to see an advertisement for Gwen Marston's new book that I scanned a pic to post on the blog. That's my stickie on it with Woohoo!!! - that wasn't part of the ad. I was looking at the image on my computer when Pokey came by for a peek, so you get an unexpected photo of two of my favorite things in the world. Kitty Pokey and Gwen's book.

Not that Pokey is a thing: she's a tiny cat person.

I spoke with Gwen last week. I'm sure I've mentioned before that she's my hero. I finally asked Gwen if I could use the word Liberated to describe what I do. Now obviously it's liberated, but could I capitalize and make it official. No more having to always say "free-piecing" to describe things. Guess what?

Gwen said yes! Woohoo again. It's Liberated Letters now. She's happy to have others use that term to describe this style. I didn't want to step on her toes or infringe on her copyright or make her unhappy in any way. No such problem. She is a doll. Am I gushing too much? Sorry. Last bit of Gwen news and then I'll change topic.

Gwen's website has been updated and we can now pre-order autographed copies of Liberated Quiltmaking II from her. It's a big deal to do it that way and support her directly. You can do so here. The retreat dates, information and sign-up form are already posted for 2010 too. The theme is Liberated Quilting. I sooo want to go.

I am finally totally done with the whole sluggish, can barely move, when will this anesthesia be out of my body thing. I'm excited, happy, energetic. Of course my bad knee has blown up, but that was bound to happen. At least it's not too bad (and doing much better) - I refuse to go under another general anesthetic this year.

My husband has gotten so incredibly fit, not to mention tanned, it's disgusting. He looks 20 years younger than me - gack. He bought a set of scales that tell not only a person's weight but their percentage of body fat and body mass index. Stuff I did not need to see. I've managed to keep off the weight that I lost during/immediately after surgery but haven't done as well at losing more. Note to self: must stop weighing myself in the morning and then again in the afternoon when I've gained six pounds. Food and water are that heavy?

We are eating healthier and that's definitely good. Sweetie has been doing most of the grocery shopping which keeps me from all that impulse naughtiness I usually fall prey to. By the way, have you tried 100% whole wheat Angel Hair Pasta. Just that kind. It's wonderful, doesn't taste whole wheaty at all and I've tried three different brands. Love brown basmati rice too, whereas regular brown rice makes me want to cry rather than eat. Course you do have to love basmati rice in the first place.

In continuing health news, Pokey is doing great. She was the most bouncy happy lively bundle of fur this last week. She's not too happy with me today because I took her to the vet's for her saline. I'm now only taking her every six days instead of three times a week. I think she's so much happier this way even if she does come home with a hunchback and her little cat suit all stretched out. She's definitely got baggy sleeves today.

I can't believe I forgot to tell you that I finished the hand quilting on the Margarita Quilt. Still no binding yet, unsurprisingly. The only hand quilting project I have now is Slither, Eek, Boo. Don't take it the wrong way (it's a wonderful quilt) but I hate working on it. Too massive and heavy. Maybe when I'm down to zero hot flashes and the weather finally gets cold(er) it will be more enticing.

Didn't do anything for Halloween this year, not even the decorating. It felt pointless to buy candy to give to kids when there's only about three of them living in the area. This so IS Florida. Instead sweetie and I went out for Mexican food. I figured the calories from the chips and Margarita, and the cheese, and guacamole and okay, all of it, would maybe somehow add up to the bag of trick-or-treat candy that I didn't buy and then eat all by myself.

I am crazy crazy busy with a project and will be a baaaad blogger for awhile. I won't be disappearing, but will post infrequently, just like I have for the last couple of months.

I'm outta here. Ya'all take care.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Belated Thank You

I need to say a very belated thank you to V of Bumble Beans for organizing this quilt, sent to give me hugs during my recovery from surgery. I don't know what the whole process was or what everyone did, but I got this wonderful two-sided quilt made by some blogger friends (all of whom are listed in my sidebar).

There are blocks on the top from Sarah of House of Krom, Threadlines Kathie B, Quilt Diva Julie, Comicbooklady, Kristin of Knit One Quilt Two and Siobhan of Scraps and Threadtales as well as V.

The other side of the quilt is all about love and kitties. Lynne of Patcherie Menagerie made the Purring 4 You block and Roz of Counterpane signed her heart in embroidery.

Cheri of Jovaliquilts made blocks which got lost in the mail (argh) and Brenda of Scraps and Strings sent some too--pictured here-- but they didn't get to V in time. (I've got them now and will do something fun with them.) Nonetheless, V included their names along with everyone else's in the quilting.

I wanted to include a picture of me using the quilt, but I looked horrible in every one. So instead you get Pokey rolling very appropriately by the kitty emoticon):

And Lily on the back of the recliner - love the kitty fabric she's posed on:

[That's an older pic by the way. I've felt well enough to do some sewing, so I've progressed on this Hope quilt.]

Speaking of gifts in the mail, Clare of Dordogne Quilter sent me this little charmer:

Thank you all so very much and I apologize for taking so long to acknowledge the lovely presents.

Also arriving in the mail, a package of Bell Bottoms from the Fabric Square Shop. I love the red and white fabric in particular, but look at all the bright colors and bold patterns.

I had my final visit to the doctor who did the surgery - everything was a-okay in my belly. Clean bill of health is a woohoo, but it's gonna take another couple of weeks to finally be over the fatigue. I've been having hot flashes like crazy - stupid menopause. So I'm now on a low dose of estrogen which please, please, please will help with that and maybe the fatigue too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Design Wall

My sweet husband got a permanent design wall up for me for my birthday. It's a great present although I have yet to make full use of it. It's 7' x 7' and made of 3/4" styrofoam insulation panels cut down into four sections and covered with flannel. I'd have preferred gray or a khaki (something in a medium value) but couldn't find it so went with a light yellow.

This design wall is definitely constructed ala Lazy Gal. I didn't iron the flannel first and it's hardly perfect. But it's functional, does what I want it to do, and we got it done relatively quickly.

I did all the piecing on this hope quilt top before my surgery and have yet to get back to work on this. Sharon, you have another fun name for this thing? I loved Hope Strings Eternal, what would this one be?

I still haven't gotten back into the full swing of things. Slowly slowly.

I have a bunch of fun quilting links for you.

Check out new blog Fun with Barb and Mary to read about their quilting adventures. Between the two of them they see lots of quilts, not to mention show off their own - I love their interpretations of a classic here. Look at the amazing fan quilting on these antiques. yummy.

New-to-me is Ann Champion's Blog where she's been featuring some wonderful antique finds as well as her own colorful quilt in progress. In particular I love this String Star (although it seems to me there should be another name for this block, but I can't think of it) for it's use of striped fabric. And lovers of cheddar should be sure to catch this Railroad Crossing.

Speaking of striped fabric, check out this awesome mid 1800's star quilt. I love the modern look of it. Whee.

Sticking with the theme of antique quilts, what looks like an amazing exhibition is on at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA until November 15th. It's called Master Pieces: Haberdashery Textiles in Antique Quilts. The quilts are all made out of men's clothing. Quilters Spirit did a great write up on it here. I totally love these quilts, just wish I could see the show.

Jennifer D of Pasquali Rumpus did a really fun job free-piecing letters in this pillow. I'm lucky enough to have a couple of Jennifer's words in Cake.

In a Halloweeny mood? Check out Brown Dirt Cottage Belinda's fabulous Boo ghost blocks that she designed herself. So much fun.

Quilt as Desired's Comicbooklady went to Gwen Marston's quilt retreat and sent back some great photos. Love Gwen's work and CBL's too. I am so envious!

Laura at Cloth and Mind finished up her wonderful wonky houses and words quilt top. I love it and check out the way she did her Us and Ws. Great job.

Bumble Beans is doing a really fun Waverunner quilt-along. Very improvisational, very fun. Have to admit, it'd be scary for me not to use the rotary cutter. Eeek, I look forward to seeing all the amazing quilts that come out of this.

On a non-quilt related note, I gave up on Flash Forward about 15 minutes into the most recent episode. I didn't like any of these people and didn't care what happened to any of them.

I'm almost finished watching the first season of Fringe and then I can get caught up on the new ones. I'm really enjoying it. Not a perfect show but I love the characters, especially the Bishops. Now if they could just stop using LSD to solve crime it would be that much better.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Liberated Quiltmaking II

Whee, oh boy! Gwen's new Liberated Quiltmaking II book is now expected to come out in January 2010, rather than spring (which was the last bit of news I heard). I am already excited about it. Here's a peek at the cover:

I got this info directly from AQS:

At long last! Gwen Marston has updated her signature Liberated Quiltmaking!

The fascination with Gwen’s Liberated Quiltmaking has generated a demand for more, more, more! First introduced in 1996, her distinctive processes for creating original quilts are expanded in this new volume.

Gwen presents nine Liberated Quiltmaking processes including Liberated Square Within-a-Square, Liberated Medallion, and Re-cut Blocks and Sashing. Each process is clearly illustrated with step-by-step instructions, pieced samples, and loads of example quilts. Multiple techniques and variations are also given.

Liberated Quiltmaking II provides a way of working without using templates or set patterns. Truly original quilts result from these processes that engage the quilter’s intuition and emotion as well as technical skills. Quilters with some experience will enjoy putting pizzazz into their designs.

Gwen Marston has been a professional quiltmaker, author, and teacher for more than three decades. Her work has been shown in group exhibits throughout the United States and abroad and in 21 solo exhibits. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines over the years. This is her twenty-fourth book. Gwen lives and offers quilting retreats in her home on Beaver Island, Michigan.

Ordering information: or 1-800-626-5420

Me again and can I just say Woohoo!

I am so bummed I'm not at Gwen's quilt retreat right now with Bonnie and Lucy and all the other folks who are having such a good time. Of course I'd be pretty worthless, unable to sew a stitch, but at least I could talk.

No, I haven't decorated for Halloween. I have Halloween Houses up on the wall, since Janet was using it for inspiration for sewing liberated houses while she was here. And a fun pumpkin that Marge F. sent me (thank you!) is up as well. Things are such a mess right now and other projects have higher priority (need more shelving). And it doesn't help I need so many rest breaks.

I am getting lots of tv watched. I saw two episodes of Flash Forward and can I say bleah? How such an interesting concept can go so horribly wrong so quickly I don't know. I was sooo tired of hearing Benford blah blah blahing on about his wife having an affair she hasn't even had. And his partner, oh poor me, I'm going to die. Maybe you were asleep, buddy, or under anesthesia. I fast forwarded through parts of the show. Not a good sign. It has one more chance.

Stargate: Universe? Horrible horrible horrible. Dark, dreary, dull. I watch Stargate: SG-1 for the fun and humor and adventure. We turned the pilot off after 45 minutes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'm Okay, Really

Sorry I have been so neglectful. I haven't gotten back up to full energy yet, but I'm feeling fine, mostly. Thank you all for your wonderful emails, cards, gifts, notes, and calls. I appreciate each and every one even though I've been terrible about responding.

I had a wonderful visit with my aunt, just sorry that she couldn't stay even longer. My husband arrived safely and it's been great having him here. A whole bunch of boxes arrived on Monday, my belongings from France that I wanted here rather than in storage. Of course the movers somehow managed to lose all the wires needed to put the shelves in the bookcases (aka fabric cases) so my husband had to do some DIY fiddling to make it work. Voila, Pokey has another place to hide.

It's frustrating to be so incapacitated. I'm not allowed to lift more than 3 pounds (though I'm not even sure how much that is) or bend down to pick things up. Poor sweetie pie pretty much had to do all the work to get the boxes moved around and emptied. But at last the boxes are empty and I can once again get to the computer.

Not that I'm spending much time on it... I am getting lots of hand quilting (the Margarita Quilt) done. Ya'all take care and don't worry if I don't post until next week.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Home Safe and (Relatively) Well

After five nights in the hospital I finally got busted loose this afternoon. Whew. The surgery went well, turned out that it was an unusual fibroid. Between that and not eating much I've surely lost some weight. Best news of all is that the final test results say everything is benign. Woohoo.
So good to be home with the kitties. They're doing fine, although they'd gotten a bit skittish. Pokey made it safely to the vets and took her meds. woohoo. They're all happy now and being friendly to me and to Janet. Pokey even slept on me some this afternoon. I'm just making sure to have a big pillow across my belly every time I sit down.

Thank you all so much for the well wishes. I appreciate each of you so much. Take care.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Felice's Quilt

Look how cute this top is that Felice made. These weren't her very first letters (those were boo) but awfully darn close. I know it frustrated her to make these to an exact size, but she did an awesome job of piecing the reindeer names.

She's figured out some of her own variations on letters too - take a look at those Ds in Donder. [Is the reindeer supposed to be Donder or Donner? It's actually kind of interesting to read about it.]

And look at Felice's cool M:

and R:

Great job, Felice. I've had those photos for three weeks and am just now posting them. d'oh. I've been distracted.

A quick non-quilting interlude and then I'll be back on topic. Tomorrow is my surgery. I have no idea how long I'm going to be in the hospital, but I know kitties will be fine. My cousin is here now and is already allowed to give Pokey belly rubs. It's been fun talking with her (Lisa, not Pokey), just too bad it's under these circumstances. I am cranky cranky today - not allowed to eat a thing except jell-o, plus I have to drink this really vile stuff.

Back to quilting. I finally decided what setting to use for my leftover Hope blocks. At first I was thinking of putting a 2" string border around each word, but that looked a little busy. (My friends got quite a laugh out of that "little." Okay, it looked very busy.) I'm liking this though:

I had cut out bunches of 4" strings thinking they'd be fun to us as components in a crumb quilt. Well, they are, just not quite how I was thinking.

Pokey is doing well. She had blood work done on Monday and she is slightly better. Woohoo. Here she is modeling some fun new fabric from the Fabric Square Shop.

I love the Spook Tacular - wheee, fun Halloween especially the design with all the little spiders. I thought it was fun to see this bright fabric next to the Shirtings 1870-1900 line - it really does all work together.

Is anyone else watching Top Chef: Las Vegas? I've been really pleased with this season. The contestants are really high caliber and, so far, professional. I like the focus on the food, rather than who hates who.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Quick Update

The good news is that it's probably benign, the bad news is that my medical problem is a tumor and it's going to have to come out along with a few other bits of my anatomy. No easy robot surgery either. Sigh. I'll be having the surgery sometime before the end of the month. My aunt will be coming for sure and my husband will get here in October.

I'm once again showing you an old photo - don't have anything new. I've done some sewing, but haven't had much in the way of focus. For what it's worth, Pokey is doing well. I went and bought a whole bunch of plastic under bed storage bins - I'm going to see if I can barricade Pokey's hiding spots.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I've been dealing with medical issues the last couple of weeks. I have a pelvic mass, probably most likely benign. But it's large and it has to come out but until all the test results are back the doctor doesn't know how she can preform the surgery (the easy robotic way with just keyhole incisions or the tradition surgical route) or when it needs to be done (in a couple of months, sooner, soonest).

I'll either be in the hospital overnight (best scenario) or several nights. My recovery time could be up to eight weeks depending on what has to be done. It's hard to plan. I'm worried about Pokey - she still has to get to the vet and I sure won't be able to crawl under the bed to get to her.

Ugh. I hate this, I hate the not knowing. I hate that my family is all so far away. My aunt (who's a quilter - yah!) is going to come help me out. I have this faint hope that I'll feel better really quickly so that we can have fun and sew but I know I'm fooling myself. I'll probably be spacey with drugs and cranky.

I probably won't know anymore or have the surgery schedule for another week. So welcome to the waiting game.

So anyway, that's what's going on with me. I haven't gotten any sewing done (that's an older photo of Pokey with Hope Strings Eternal) and barely any handquilting. I've definitely been reading too much medical info on the internet.

Later. Ya'all take care.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

French Hatbox

Is it just me or is this summer lasting a long time? It's still getting up into the low 90's here and I am sooo ready for cooler weather. Kids in the area went back to school last Tuesday, so that means summer should be over, right?

I got some gorgeous lovely soft fabric from the Fabric Square Shop: the French Hatbox collection by Free Spirit. Some of the colors match Pokey:

As I pieced Hope Strings Eternal I really noticed the lack of light fabric in my stash. For so many years I only bought darks and mediums. I'm really drawn to intense colors. To illustrate my point, here's a photo with a quilt I made in the late 1990's. This was totally my palette back then and I wouldn't buy any other colors except for holidays and those did NOT get mixed into regular stash.

A detour off-topic: Uh oh, a Lily/Pokey standoff. Lily usually gets the better of these matches - she's meaner, or maybe just more aggressive, as well as bigger.

Back to French Hatbox. These fabrics will add some lights into my stash, but still have some fun color. I love these big roses especially on the light green background.

These fabrics make me think of the watercolors that Carol Gillot features in her blog Paris Breakfasts. It would be so fun to get one of her paintings where she puts your pet in Paris. My cats have even lived there, so it would be fitting. Not that they ever got to leave the apartment.

Back on the topic of the fabrics: As much as I love them, I wouldn't use them all together in one quilt - that's way too matchy for me. My pet peeve is definitely quilts made from just one line of fabric. But I don't mind having a few fabrics in a scrappy quilt that are from the same line but in different colorways. I have a couple of friends who HATE it. Not me, as you can see from my current quilt in progress:

Have my color tastes changed. Those dark Amishy colors just don't look right in Florida, but these sure do.

I'm so excited Project Runway is back on. woohoo! There are a couple of contestants who are into old Hollywood glamor, so I'm hoping for good stuff from them. The judges definitely sent the right person home.

I really enjoyed the All Star Challenge. I like the designer who won, although I thought the clothes were ugly with the exception of the red carpet dress. I was happy that the designers I think are complete jerks didn't win.

I'm also watching Top Chef: Las Vegas. I've actually eaten at one of the restaurants: Zaytinya in Washington DC. I loved it because it was all mezze from the mediterranean region - just my style of food. Too bad the chef is such a sexist jerk.

Speaking of guys who don't think much of women, woohoo, Mad Men is back. I am so bored with seeing Don Draper's affairs. We know he's an unfaithful jerk, let's get on to something that moves the plot along please. I love the bits of the show that take place at the office - that's the dynamic that fascinates me. Go, Peggy, go!

I'm watching Warehouse 13, but it doesn't thrill me. It feels so been there, done that. We've got Mulder and Scully reborn, only without the charisma and wit. Instead it's just petty bickering. I wish the awesome CCH Pounder had a bigger role.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I completed two quilt tops this last week. I just needed to get borders on Cake, formerly known as Hope is a 4-Letter Word. Cake is so much easier to write. Anyway, this is a hint of what it looks like:

Does it makes more sense if I pull back a bit and you can see that the top is draped on the cutting table?

It was much easier to work while Lily slept peacefully in the quilt tree. Far too often she was in the way. Getting under:

or just on top

So the Cake top is done. I also completed another small wallhanging, a secret, but this is what it looked like in progress:

I'm hand quilting that now. So much easier to quilt a small quilt with the weather so hot. I pulled out all the name blocks ya'all sent me and have to admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed. Aiyeee, another giant puzzle quilt. So I stuck them back in the drawer.

I played with fabric for another new wallhanging, this one very citrusy with lemons, limes and oranges. I think I'm boring Pokey:

Pokey is doing well. To clarify, she's doing as well as she can do. She still has all that damage to her kidneys - that never goes away. We go to the vet three times a week so she can get fluids. But she's happy and still the most energetic of our cats. Not that that's saying much - cats do sleep. Pokey is hunting socks this morning, although she refuses to play fetch with me. I throw a sock down the stairs and she waits for a few minutes--until I've sat back down and restarted whatever I was doing--before bringing it back up.

Have you heard about the Iraqi Bundles of Love project that Kristin La Flamme's husband is working on? This is a great short-term project to get sewing supplies to those who need them in Iraq. Kristin does a better job of explaining it here and here is a list of possible items to send. I gotta get hopping on my own bundle. I'm terrible about procrastinating and I knooow how slow the military mail system is.

Some quilty links for you. I'm enjoying Deb Rowden's Thrift Shop Quilts blog. The title pretty much sums up the kind of quilts that Deb buys and makes: utility quilts and making quilts from recycled clothing. I LOVE these blocks she's working on right now (here and here) a la Anna Williams.

Quilt Pixie has been using (and explaining) the quilt-as-you-go method for machine quilting her crumby alphabet sampler. very fun.

I gotta motor. Ya'all take care.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


One thing I can say for Florida. It is hot. Hot, hot, hot. It's definitely a drawback to doing any sewing - I really have to think if I want the iron on. It doesn't help that we get so much sun in through our beautiful windows.

I got this great quilt pic from Teresa C. who's allowing me to share it with you. These were Teresa's first letters and she did them wonderfully. Unsurprisingly, the flames are appliqued, otherwise that would be a looot of seams. She made this quilt for a Sarasota Guild quilt challenge: create a small quilt using the phrase “Days of Summer” as the inspiration. yup, this is definitely summer.

I have been unable to decide what to do with leftover Hope. I did ponder adding plaid triangles to set these blocks on point. (I don't think Pokey actually cares which fabric or setting I use, so long as she gets her belly rubbed. Look at how well her belly fur is finally growing in.)

Or having alternate plain squares, with the plaid on the bias. I wouldn't have to sew any extra blocks that way.

I'm actually amazed at how many of ya'all like the dots in the last post. I was sure that would be the least favorite. Anyway, I've been doing too much thinking and not enough deciding, so I've done nothing with these blocks yet.

Equal time for Lily. This is one of her favorite poses, with one leg stretched out.

I've got the a/c cranked so that I can work on a little project I started earlier today. I've been dreading turning on that iron, but there's only so much I can do without it....