Friday, January 30, 2009

Cat Fabric

I continue to play around on my new Mac. I soooo should have taken my external hard drive to the Apple Store and had them move everything over onto the Mac. Trying to get all of my windows-based music up and running. After a couple of software downloads I HOPE I've finally got that working. And did I tell you that I'd managed to download about 5 duplicates (if not more) of each of my photographs onto the hard drive when I was in Paris and then onto the Mac when I got here. I'm not even sure if I'm deleting them off the hard drive or just off of Picasa... Trial and error.

Anyway, I had some queries from the last post about fabric. So here's Habibi being a pretty good sport about getting fussed with, as compared to Howler who bolted. This is 2007 Cat's Meow by RJR.

I fell in love with the one-eyed monster the moment I saw him on this fabric, though quite honestly don't love the entire thing. That's when I have to remember that I cut it up into little bits and it will look quite different. This is Wild Things by May &... - sorry, that's all the title that was on the fat quarter. I asked at JaMPatch where I bought it and they said it's a few years old. I did an item search on (a great tool when you're looking for a specific fabric) but had no luck.

Speaking of JaMPatch, I went over on Wednesday and helped the owners with their new blog. That was a lot of fun. I don't know if quilt shows ever have a room of computers that are hooked into the internet, but it would be fun to teach blogging there to get even more quilters involved. Maybe folks would have to bring their laptops and we'd meet at a coffeeshop with wi-fi...

Since I had the camera out, here are a couple more kitty pics for you. First is Pokey sitting on the back of Raspberry Rumspringa. I thread basted this one because I didn't want to lose any space in my suitcase to all those safety pins.

Lily sleeping in her cat carrier. Obviously no trauma associated with being stuffed into this for a long flight, multiple times. Howler also sleeps in these, which is pretty funny given his bulk. I think they feel safe since they can only be approached from the front.

What else is going on with me. Lots and lots of tv watching and hand quilting on Raspberry Rumspringa. That's no surprise really - when I'm a bit stressed out that's my favorite activity in the world. Okay, even when I'm not stressed.... The rest of the post is going to be about tv so feel free to bail out now.

I finished season one of Chuck. I really adore that show about the guy who has all sorts of government secrets downloaded into his brain. It's so much goofy fun with spy action, romance, friendship, family. Kind of a less serious Alias. I adore the characters and enjoy spending time with them. And hey, that was Marshall as a bad guy!

Also watched all of Wonderfalls, which I also enjoyed and am sorry there are only a few episodes. At least they had a chance to kinda tie things up at the end, so it felt complete. It's another one of Bryan Fuller's shows and I definitely prefer Pushing Daisies (of course) and Dead Like Me. The latter has a straight-to-DVD movie coming out soon, I'm hoping for the best.

I tried Fringe, but decided I need to watch these from the beginning. Watched a commercial for Lie to Me and didn't even try it. Watched one episode of The Mentalist and felt so-so about it. I liked the main character well enough but hated all the young, overly attractive agents he's working with. Pulease. Put him in a show like Columbo where he's solving crimes on his own and I might make this one a habit.

The first episode of Trust Me was okay about two friends in the crazy world of advertising. There are bits of it I liked but they are kidding about the "You can do it with one hand" tagline for the cellular phone company, right? That one is an instant dirty joke waiting to be mocked.

Finally saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. sigh. Wanted to like it a lot more than I did. Seemed like they were just going through the motions rather than enjoying themselves. And somewhere along the way I just really started disliking Harrison Ford. Not his old movies mind, but everything he's done since the 1980's. The last movie he made that I really enjoyed and thought he'd done a good job in was Presumed Innocent way back in 1990.

Holy cow it just started raining here. Insane crazy pounding rain. Wheeeee! Time to get off the computer!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yet More Fabric

I've been a fabric buying fool - but that's what happens when you're out of the country for too long. You get back and there is all this luscious beautiful fabric and you kinda go crazy. Or at least *I* do. This is the fabric I bought at Quilter's Choice in Jupiter, FL. Lots of bright happy colors - living in Florida really does something to my color palette.

I did actually buy some lovely chocolatey brown too, but it just didn't go well in the picture. Have you tried these new mini rotary cutters? I played with one at Joes' house and loved it. I feel like I have so much more control over what I'm cutting when I'm just working on one layer.

These are the fabrics I got from the JaMPatch:

They warned me that this incredible gorgeous purple really needs some careful handling since they were able to dye an easter egg with all the loose dye when they tested it. It's gorgeous and will be worth all the trouble, I'm sure. That yard of fabric at the bottom with the spider is some of Jane Sassaman's Prairie Gothic. Wheee, love it. I'm thinking I'll use some big blocks of it somewhere but it will also be cool in smaller pieces. 

See that fabric second from the upper left corner? Red and cheddar? That's some of Heather Bailey's Bijoux line. I love this colorway in particular and am really tempted to go back and buy more, but figure I need to try using with it first and see how it plays with others.

Now all of you who were worried you were at the wrong blog when you saw repro fabrics in my last post can rest easy - see, it's still me. I can't believe though how hard it is to find gorgeous blues, esp turquoise and cyan. It's been that way for a couple of years now and it's time for those colors to be back "in."

But my, the quality of fabric has improved. I'm amazed at how many soft, saturated fabrics there are. It seems like they are using higher thread counts and what a difference that makes. Yummy.

Nichi asked if I usually buy pre-cut fabric and the answer is no. That's something I've been doing while in Florida and most of my stash is back in Paris. Buying charm packs is a great way to instantly expand your fabric choices.

When Bonnie was visiting me here almost two years ago (eek, was it that long ago?) I had a bit of fabric and she brought some strings and crumbs with her, but we needed more fabric with zing. We got a few fat quarters and a couple of charm packs to help in making Love on a Shoestring Budget. Buying those little packs is a really fast way to get started on a string quilt. You don't need big pieces to play with crumbs.

By the way, threw those 4" blocks (with pinked edges!) into the wash  -- on the hand washables cycle -- along with some other fabrics and they came out fine with hardly any fraying. No need for a net bag or anything else. Yup, gotta get a pinker.

My husband left yesterday to go back to Paris. Sad. I'll be seeing him again in late spring/early summer for at least a visit so we won't be too long without him.

I've been watching tv and hand quilting instead of the many chores I should be doing. It's sooo soothing, but I do recognize that I have to get to work. I said that in my last post and did I do it? Nooooo. What a procrastinator.

I leave you with a pic of Pokey investigating the new fabric:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric

Wheee, fabric in the mail from The Fabric Square Shop. First off, a 4" charm pack of Judie Rothermel Charleston IV full of double pinks and chocolate browns. I have so been ruined by my friendship with Bonnie and Siobhan, both of whom love antique quilts with such a passion. I pore over quilts with them while they describe the fabrics and it's really made me love these quilts too, even though a few years ago I would have ignored them in favor of any Amish quilts nearby.

Man, I am still struggling with photos and getting them where and how I want them. That pic above should have been cropped. And why can't I get these pictures to drag so I can change their order? Sigh. I know I'll get the hang of all this eventually but in the meantime it's driving me nuts.

Next, a 10" charm pack of 1974 Urban Chiks fabric. I really love the bold patterns in these fabrics, just wish they had a true white background rather than off-white. They are marvelous though. Does that mean I am remembering the styles of the '70s fondly now? I did voluntarily listen to "I Will Survive" on the radio the other day.

My favorite fabrics from Deb Strain's Love is in the Air. I love the colors in this collection - lime green, pink, red, white and chocolate brown. These squares unfold to 10" and I threw them in with some other fabric in the washing machine - I have to wash sizing out or my allergies go nuts. Anyway, I was really pleased with how well they did - a tiny bit of unravelling, but not much. Is that because of the pinked edges or the small size? If it's the pinking I might just have to get myself one of those rotary blades and start using it a whole lot. Not that it would help with jelly roll strips - you know those would knot up together.

I know lots of quilters love using one entire line of fabric all together in one quilt with nothing else, but it just doesn't do it for me. Makes quilts too predictable. I'll often buy the same fabric pattern in several colorways if I love it, but then I mix it with lots of other lines as well. Look at this selection of chocolate and pinks from the Charleston collection and Love is in the Air all mixed up together:

I think they look great together, plus it's much more unusual that way. Now we'll see if I'm brave enough to throw those 4" squares in the wash. I think they'll do well.

I have to organize all the fabric I just bought (more on that next post) so I can actually find things. Right now my dining room/sewing studio is a huge mess. It should at least start out organized before I trash it.... sigh.

I am really excited - if things go according to plan I'm going to have a chance to meet up with Gwen Marston while she's visiting Florida next month. Woohoo!!!!! I'm hoping I'll get a chance to see some of the new quilts she's making for her new Liberated Quilting book. Of course I'll share pics with you.

Thanks to a couple of you who let me know that this blog was mentioned in April issue of McCalls Quilting Magazine. I still haven't seen a copy of the mag yet, but hope to soon. Of course it figures that my blog is completely and totally boring right now. Sorry about that.

When I was at the JaMPatch quilt shop on Friday, one of the shop owners recognized me from the blog. First time that's ever happened. It's my favorite shop in the area - a bit of a drive for me to get to Stuart, about 45 minutes, but it's worth it. I'm living in Palm Beach County, by the way. Anyway, I drove with the window down, singing along to the B-52's. 

Life is good. It's warmed up enough that my husband is spending time at the beach, his favorite activity. He had a seagull actually swoop in and steal a potato chip out of his fingers the other day. Eek, the birds. And I'm completely sated with entertainment. When you've been out of the states for awhile there are so many books and shows you've missed and it's a blast to catch up.

We've been watching lots of tv and I LOVE how fast my Netflix gets delivered here. We finished watching Rescue Me Season 4. I know some thought this season dull but I really liked it. Not all the melodrama of the past and it's great to see Tommy Gavin try to be an adult. The family AA meetings? What a disaster. My favorite parts always have been and will be the quieter moments - the conversations about metrosexuals and favorite movies.

Watched some more Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Just adore that show, makes me laugh and drool all at the same time. His visit to South Beach, Florida made me want to get into the car and drive down to Miami for cuban food. And ooh that shop with the eyes for protection against the evil eye - very cool.

What we haven't watched is our beloved Burn Notice. My husband wants to wait and watch them all on DVD. Sigh. I hate waiting, but it's not like there isn't lots of other stuff on for me.

I'm not missing the weather in Paris at all, but definitely miss my friend Will. Good thing she has started a blog, Not So Zen - Quilts in Paris. She's Dutch, lives in Montmartre, and writes in English. She makes beautiful quilts - my favorite ones are full of fabric she's reclaimed from antique clothing, sheets and other textiles.

Have you seen Nichy's blog QuiltyCat? She's Italian living in Italy but writes in English. She just completed a marvelous baby quilt that included some free-pieced letters.

Brenda posted a mini-tutorial explaining a shortcut she uses to make free-pieced letters. She gets a really nice font that way as well as saves time.

I've seen some fun quilts and quilt tops made with free-pieced letters to celebrate Obama and his inauguration. I'm going to do a blog post about it soon. If you'd like me to include yours, send me an email with info. I've got a list started, but I'd hate to forget anybody.

I have chores I need to do. I've been acting like I'm on vacation, but at some point I do need to settle in since I really am living here now. Woohoo!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Here and Happy

I got my new Mac computer and there has definitely been a steep learning curve. I think I've got at least a bit of it figured out and managed to edit a photo using Picasa3. Here's a pic of Bibi here in our new home:

So let's see. The move from France to Florida went smoothly. We used Animal Land pet movers to take care of Habibi and Howler - there's just no easy way to get those big boys out of their cages at the airport. I recommend Animal Land - they did a great job getting the boys to Paris as well as getting them back home.

Pokey and Lily were forced to wear the humiliating pink harnesses so that I had something to hold onto while they were out of their carriers. I held the harness AND the end of the leash to be doubly sure - almost losing Pokey at the airport in Washington DC a couple of years ago was terrifying. The little girls didn't make a peep the entire trip - they are good travellers. 

There was definitely some unhappiness when the kitties all arrived, but now they are all incredibly happy soaking up the sunshine. The little girls still hiss at each other - I expect that will last for a few months. Pokey discovered the joys of opening kitchen cabinets and after getting herself stuck in the one above the refrigerator we've had to block that off.

As I said, I crammed quite a few quilts, scraps and strings of fabric and even a bit of yardage into the two suitcases and two duffel bags. I brought a few items of clothing and even let my husband bring back a pair of shorts and some flip-flop sandals - awfully generous of me. Right now everything is a disaster - haven't figured out how to organize it all.

I brought Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking in my backpack - no chance of losing that. Speaking of Gwen, I spoke with her on the phone today. Very fun - what a gracious, wonderful, funny woman she is. I asked if she had any information to pass along to ya'all - this is her tip of the day: If your car doors are ever frozen shut you can get them open with a crowbar.

Eek.  You know there is a whole long story to go along with that one. And here I've been feeling cold at a relatively balmy 55 degrees. My husband is so desperate for some beach time that he went for a couple of hours today despite the chill.

I've been spending a lot of time getting set up, making this home for the next couple of years. I now have broadband internet - woohoo is this ever fast. I've also revelled in having all sorts of english language tv shows again. Good to just veg in front of them with hand quilting when I'm in need of zoning out.

In addition to those kinds of jobs I've been spending time with my husband while I can - he has to leave next week to go back to Paris for who knows how long. Additionally a friend is in town and we've had fun eating out - mmm Mexican food and hot wings - not at the same meal.

Okay, I gotta run. I'm getting a better handle on this computer so it shouldn't be so long 'til my next post. Take care.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Safely in Florida

Thanks for all the well wishes. Just a quick note to say that all of us made it safely to Florida. As did my luggage, which had about 18 quilts, several tops and lots of scraps. So woohoo. Have lots of tasks to do and dial-up is interminable, so it'll probably be a bit before you hear from me again. cheers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inspiration from Gwen Marston

Part of the reason I'm having such a hard time with this upcoming move is that I won't have all my books and fabric once I'm in Florida. There's only so much I can take with me and shipping costs do add up. I know in some ways it will be a good exercise for me - only quilting with the stash I have on hand will force me to be more creative.

I am taking some of my solids with me. I still really want to do a quilt combining my letters with Gwen Marston's book Ideas and Inspiration (available from her website, which has recently been updated with news from Beaver Island).

I have Gwen's permission (in a roundabout way) to share this quilt with you. It's Strippy, made in 2007 and measuring 39 x 49

I love everything about this quilt. The colors and different sizes of blocks. Yummy. I can envision adding a word here or there in a large block. My quilt wouldn't end up looking like this one, but hopefully have some of the same elements.

Can you see how this is constructed? There are eleven vertical rows. Those are the longest seams, so you know they were sewn last, not counting the borders. Still can't quite figure it out? Print out a copy of this picture. Then take paper scissors to it. Cut along the long seams separating the rows. You can cut keep cutting along seams, always starting with the longest ones available.

One of these days, when I'm settled and have some fabric, I really do want to have a class/get together where we work with my letters and Gwen's book. Should be lots of fun and I hope you'll join me. You will need to have a copy of Gwen's book though - that will be a class requirement.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to pack Gwen's Liberated Quiltmaking in my backpack. There's going to be lots of other stuff in there like my nice camera and the external hard drive... Ack.

Changing the topic, but still thinking about the move, Howler and Habibi are going via a pet transport company. They're getting picked up this morning at 11:00am. I think we've come up with a good plan to get them into their cages. It would be so much easier if we could do it how we've done it before, but now they're too smart to fall for that again. We'll be taking Lily and Pokey with us tomorrow as carry-ons.

I expect this will be my last post from Paris. Not quite sure when I'll be up and running in Florida, but I'll see you then.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Signs of Amsterdam

A variety of signs, old and new, from my trip to Amsterdam in December.

Me standing in the "I amsterdam" sign. If sign is the right word.

We're leaving on Tuesday for Florida. I'm feeling kinda sick and panicky. I've told you before I don't like moving, don't like changes. Doesn't help that my allergy meds have failed me. Massive headache - eeeek.

I've been asked how I'm getting it to say Lazy Gal Quilting on my photos. I've explained before how I use Picasa to get my photos ready for blogging. When you choose the Export Picture to Folder option it pops up a thingie and asks what folder to send the new pic to, what size to make it and at the bottom, Picasa3 now has an option to Add a Watermark. Just choose that and what words you want and it will do the rest.

To get my mind of all the things I should be doing right now, here are some links for you:

Lynne at The Patchery Menagerie is making a wonderful alphabet sampler. She's making rapid progress so I don't want to single out a post, but try her January archives. I love reading about her decision making process what to put in, how does it look?, try something else.

Holly posted a fun inspiration for making wordy quilts. Too bad my text messages are all so boring.

Amy a la Mode is posting some wonderful antique family quilts. I love the Double Wedding Ring with orange and the Wagon Wheels baby quilt but there are many more to see.

Jacquie of Tallgrass Prarie Studio is hosting Project Improv to encourage quilters to try exactly that: improvisational quilting. Whee, it's going to be fun to see what everyone comes up with. She also just finished piecing a wonderful top called Bloom.

And last but definitely not least I am so proud and thrilled to see the fabulous Home quilt that Tanya just completed. She started it in my first ever online class and it is just so wonderful.

Ooh, and speaking of finishing quilts, I put the last stitch on my Bed Quilt. woohoo. It's way too big (and too dark in this apartment) to get a good pic of it, but here's one from awhile ago. Eek, look at the date on that post - Bonnie finished her amazing machine quilting job and mailed it to me way back last March and it's taken me this long to get it bound. Bad quilter, bad.

I'm back to the salt mines now - getting prepped for my move. Ya'all take care.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Canal Houses

More pics from my trip to Amsterdam last month. My friend Will and I had a lovely walk along the canals. It was beautiful but cold.

I love this house. Look at how it's leaning on its neighbor:

It's funny when I think about it. This house has the same things that I love in quilts. There are words on it - the house is named the Cape of Good Hope. And it's so wonky. Look at the shapes of the doors in particular - aren't they marvelous.

Different house. I loved the pink mixed in with orange for the detailing:

Another wordy house: It really doesn't matter. How mysterious.

In other news, my boring sorting/trashing/organizing life continues in sporadic bursts.

I finished watching Desperate Housewives Season 4. It was okay. Mildly entertaining but forgettable. Nathan Fillion was completely wasted in it - I want my Firefly back.

My sweetie and I are rewatching the first season of Burn Notice - we both just really enjoy that show, and it's getting our brains prepped for Florida. I love how the show isn't just jiggly 18 year olds, but actually features some "mature" actors. Wonderful humor as well as action - woohoo.

Our PC is dying a slow death. Well, I hope anyway, I don't want it to just go kaput. It makes loud grinding noises like it's ready to take off in flight. eeek. Must be time to back up photos etc again.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Thanks everyone for your thoughts on my Joy quilt border. I made up my mind yesterday and added borders. Voila:

The entire quilt was made with 2" and 4" strips. This is about 44" x 34" That's one item of my to-do list.

It snowed here the other day and I completely missed it. I was happily sewing and noticed that the sun came out in the afternoon. Boy was I surprised to walk out and find snow on the ground. These are the pedestrian and bike lanes in the middle of the boulevard. The snow had melted everywhere else.

There's a 60% chance of snow today - eek.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Border Auditions

I've slowly been puttering away on my happy plaid quilt. Last time you saw these stringed bits of paper they looked like a Chinese Coins quilt. Not any more. Now I've got a nice big Joy in the middle. I've sewn the first border around the quilt and am trying to decide what next. I think it's too small as it is. So this is what it looks like with another set of strings at top and bottom:

I love how this darker purple looks with these fabrics. Here it is as a border before I add the extra stringed bits:

I've been avoiding adding a whole lot more to the sides since this quilt is already wide. But is that just making it look dorky? Maybe I need more on the sides too. Any preferences out there?
Oh and I'm open to a name as well. Right now it's just Joy in Plaid. I'm a boring namer.

Today I got the binding machine sewed onto my Bed Quilt. At long last. A picture of Lily with the quilt as I began wrestling with it.

Lily is such a screwball - she's starting jumping onto my back again. It's one thing to leap onto a horizontal back but quite another to do a vertical landing that includes digging in claws. Aiyeeeee. Good thing I keep trimming her claws, even though she squeals and struggles.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Amsterdam Bricks with Cheddar

Happy 2009 to everyone. I'm not going to list resolutions or what I want to accomplish this next year because I am nearing freak out trying to decide what has to go back to the states with me on the plane, what should be mailed, what can wait until whenever it is that my husband gets moved out. eeeek.

So instead I give you more pics from my trip to Amsterdam last month. I love the brick combined with cheddar-colored details:

I adore this in particular: the lavendar bike parked in front of a canal house:

I just wish I'd had sunnier weather and more time.

In tv watching, I marathoned the first season of 30 Rock and absolutely adored it. I don't know (and don't want to know) what happens next but I love the relationship between Liz Lemon and Jack. They are both such great characters and remind me of Mary Richards and Mr Grant.

My husband and I just finished with Monk Season Six. It was okay. I wish they'd give the OCD stuff a rest and focus more on the mysteries. We thoroughly enjoyed Jonathon Creek Season Two - that one I can wholeheartedly recommend. Jonathon creates magic tricks for a magician and uses his skills to solve crimes that no one else can.

Yesterday I started basting Raspberry Rumspringa. I shouldn't have - would have been more efficient to pack the backing and top - that would take up far less room. But I really needed something mindless and I have to have something to hand quilt or I'll lose my mind. I'm really noticing the pain in my middle finger - I'm sure it's arthritis.

I have a bunch of links to share with you all. In the last post I showed you how my L-O-V-E Letters Challenge quilt turned out. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and compliments. It was so much fun to see what Kristin, Karen, and KathieB all came up with for their letters. While you are at Kathie's do check out the link to her inspiration - it's wonderful. Meanwhile, Bonnie lost some of her love and hasn't made a quilt just yet. No wonder since she's probably working on ten other projects not to mention all that travelling...

Brown Dirt Cottage Belinda finished a wonderful quilt for another Bonnie, this one a baby. It's hard to believe this is Belinda's first finished quilt - she did an amazing job.

Speaking of baby quilts, I love this 10 Wishes quilt that California Girl in Oz Dianne just completed. She used the free-pieced letters in the border and it's fabulous.

Finally, I love my friend Siobhan's quilt-related top 10 list for 2008. Go check it out - you may just find some new online resources you didn't know about. What would your number 10 be?

Ya'all take care. I adore you all, thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving me comments. It means a great deal. Have a safe wonderful 2009 full of quilty goodness.