Sunday, September 30, 2007

Aunt Joan's Quilt

The quilt that I quilted at Michelle's yesterday has a little bit of a story behind it that I'd like to tell.

In December of last year my Aunt Joan became very sick. She was in Congestive Heart Failure. Towards the middle to end of January we knew the end was near. On Friday the 19th my mom and I went to my Grandma's to sit with her. If we got the call, we would be together. We were trying to convince my Grandma to go with us to see her but she felt like she was intruding. Finally at 10pm she decides she wants to go. We drive over to my Uncle Bob & Aunt Joan's House and the lights were all out. Everyone had a long day and finally settled in for the night so we kept driving home.

The next morning we had Block of the Month at Bits & Pieces. They had a neat quilt on display and fabrics all cut into a kit for it. I don't know what possessed me to buy it other than the fact that it had a really cool striped fabric that I fell in love with. The fabrics wern't me, but I just needed the kit. Afterwards we ran to pick up my Grandma and head over to my Uncle & Aunt's house. She had just passed moments before we arrived.

It was a very sad day but our family always manages to pull together in times like these and we had an Irish Wake to toast to the memories of my Aunt Joan. I'm not a big drinker and since I was our driver I think I nursed 2 drinks over about a 12 hour period and I was our driver. Once my Grandma was tucked back at home my mom and I went to her house to unwind. Mom decided to pour herself a drink and I had nervous energy so I was just going to cut out my quilt. By mom's second drink I was sewing my quilt top together. It went together quicker than I would have imagined. As she went for her third drink I was putting the borders on and asking her when she was going to offer me a drink. She made mine really strong so I could "Catch Up." Well, the borders looked pretty wonky so it was a good thing I was done.

The quilt top has sat here all these months in my to be quilted pile. I've never been quite sure what to do with it. It doesn't match anything in my house and the fabric choices are REALLY out of the box for me. The bird print and the border print are not something I would have ever picked out myself.

I decided to take this quilt with me to Michelle's to quilt because it required the least complicated quilting of anything else in my stash. The entire time I worked on it I had my Aunt Joan in the back of my head. Which now made me think, what should I do with this quilt. I had been thinking of giving it to my Uncle Bob but the colors were just stopping me. However, when my mom suggested the same thing, I realized that's where it is meant to go.

It's not going to remotely match anything in his house but I'm hoping he'll accept it as my memory of my Aunt Joan and so he'll know that I'm thinking of both of them...and not so much as, "Oh, this is really hideous!!"

With that, here's my finished quilt.

Hey! It's a Movie!

I had a fantastic time yesterday. Unfortunately I'm off to the ball game so I'll have to tell you all about it later on. In the mean time, I've Cre8ted a movie for your viewing pleasure....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Speed Control Cable

It arrived today!! I just tested it out on my machine and it works. Now I really can't wait to hook it up to the frame so I can just quilt away.

I've also been giving thought to making new leaders out of canvas with zippers. I'm going to need a small set and a long set. I'll probably make an additional small set so that I can quilt a quilt but have another one pinned and ready to go on.

I can't wait to learn all the ins and outs on Michelle's tomorrow.

I ended up not cutting my backing. I'll just do that tomorrow when we get there. Yeah I know I should have been more prepared. Sigh.

Friday, September 28, 2007


The Brewers Lost and the Cubs Won. Damn you Diane for throwing your goat at me after I pushed you under a ladder hoping your team would get bad luck. You're stupid goat jinxed me. =( Of course, you are doing the happy dance and well, you should.

Mike wanted to post an anonomys comment regarding the smoke/fire incident. He feels like he's getting bashed by all of you ladies. LOL. Seriously..I smelled smoke. I told him the next time the dog and I would just leave and when he burned up and died to just remember what happened the last time when I tried to warn him.

BUT, we're going to Iowa tomorrow. It's 11pm and I still haven't packed a gosh darn thing yet. I supposed I better do that before I end up taking a bolt of muslin with me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm So Tired

Last night I was sitting on the couch minding my own business, cutting out my Halloween Wallhanging when I start to smell smoke. Like something is burning type smoke versus someone outside having a cigarette. It grew stronger and stronger until I decided something HAD to be burning. I go wake up Mike and tell him I think there's a fire. I wake up Holly who is refusing to get off the bed. I tell her if she doesn't get up I'll wrap up the quilt she's in and carry her out. I throw on a sweatshirt, a pair of shoes, grab my purse, cell phone and keys and fly out the door because I'm completely without a doubt serious that something is on fire. Mike takes his precious time. Comes outside, walks to the edge of the building and without a word walks back in. I figure he's going up to check on something. After 10 minutes or so, Holly and I are STILL standing outside. I'm wondering if something happened while he's in there beause why is he not coming back out? I'm too afraid to go back in. I contemplate calling him because yelling for him isn't working so finally Holly and I fly up the stairs to check. HE WENT BACK TO BED.


I couldn't sleep. I bet I didn't fall asleep until 4:30 because I was so worried about where this smell was coming from thinking if I fell asleep I wouldn't know if it was a fire or not.

I'm also livid that he just went back to bed. Never bothering to say he thought everything was fine.

Ok, if I'm talking about bundling up a quilt around my dog who won't get out of bed to throw her over my shoulder, everything is NOT fine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not feeling too Cre8tive Tonight

I never did get to post about Batik Club at Patched Works yesterday so I'll have to do that now! Our evening started out at Baker's Square where we always meet for dinner when going to the Patched Works for any kind of function. We go to the function and go back to Baker's Square for Pie afterwards. Maybe there should be a Patched Works and Pie punch card!! LOL. Julie...get on that! We'll bring you pie. =) Anyway, it was Maureen, Sherry, my Mom and I. Our fabrics this month were gold and burgundy batiks and we got an awesome wallhanging pattern that is more artsy than traditional that I can't wait to try. More amazing; my MOM can't wait to make it either and she's a traditional quilter, not interested in artsy stuff so I was VERY surprised. Yep, it's THAT cool. I'd post a picture of the batiks but to be honest; I'm feeling a little lazy this evening!

After work today I ran over to Bits & Pieces to cut batting and backing for Project Linus Quilts. My mom met me out there. I don't know what happened but out of all the quilts my Grandma, Mom and I made this month only 7 quilts made it out there with us. I know I have 2 of my Grandma's in the backseat of my car that I realized I didn't put the borders all the way on. Grandma started out with 11 so I'm not sure where they are. I know they are SOMEWHERE, and don't any of you try to tell me that they're in my trunk. I organized it today at lunch just to be sure. It turns out I'm down to only 4 bags of batting in there but I do have a bag of pillow cases that I keep forgetting to give to my Grandma to be ironed, a bag of pillow case fabric that is waiting to be sewn, a few blankets and towels for when Holly and Murphy are messy and sit in my back seat, the tripod for my 35mm "real" camera, a chair in a bag some Moda Chocolat fabric that will be made into pillow cases, curtains and pillow shams someday when I finally finish my Turning Twenty Again quilt and I think that could be it. It's all good stuff that I've got in there. I don't care who makes fun of me for it.

Anywho, I got some black fabric for the borders and binding for my 2nd Friday BOM quilt and two Christmas charm packs. I'm going to use one of them to design a small tree skirt for us. We have a small tree, it's pretty narrow and about 4 feet tall. I'm making yo-yo garland to go on it. Anyway it gets pushed against the wall so there's really no room for a tree skirt to be unfurrled around it. So I'm thinking I could have it be three sided with just a narrow drop in the back. We'll see how that turns out.

Watched the Brewers lose. Mike wanted to go at the last minute today but we decided against it. Good thing I guess. I'm going Friday and Sunday. Mike is going Tomorrow, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

I started working on some Bloodchained coasters for Diane. I traced the logo onto heat and bond and ironed it onto red fabric. Keep in mind the logo has to fit on one of the corners of the coaster. There needs to be a little hole in the top of the logo. That's not working so well. I've been trying to do a decorative little stitch to blacken it and I keep ripping the top off. I tried using black marker for a dot but it bleeds and then blends in with the red. I'm not sure what to do at this moment. I could put a black piece of fabric over it, but what are the odds of me being able to cut a circle out that is only about 3mm across?? A black hot fix crystal? Any other ideas?

I've also been giving my bargello a lot of thought. While I love the idea of an all over leaf pattern I don't know if I'm ready to hand a quilt over to someone else to quilt. Following the swoop is totally something I could do on my own. Perhaps I could do a leaf border with lots of practice. Or, maybe applique a few leaves into the border. Now that could be slick. It's a long ways off from that point anyway! It's nice to know I've got options.

I'm just not feeling creative this evening. Maybe I'll go work on tracing a Halloween Wall Hanging onto Heat and Bond. That doesn't take much thought and it's going to take me quite a while to cut this sucker out.

So, I wonder...Is my mom ever going to post a blog post again? Can the Brewers make it to the Post Season? Can the Cubs get thrown off by the curse of the Goat? Will the Packers win again this Sunday? I don't know, I really only care about questions 1 & 2.

You know, I've been thinking about these MeMe awards. I feel bad for not nominating Debi. I just assumed that you couldn't nominate someone who already had one. Nooo, my 6 people just nominated all the same people I did. =) I think next time, someone else picks your adjectives for your name. I had a hard time doing my own, but I could come up with lots of cool ones for everyone elses names.

Bargello Progress

Woo hooo!!! I've got the top half of my Bargello Quilt completed!! I do have two remaining strips but I will wait to add those until I know for sure that I can get the same amount of strips out of the remaining two tubes. I should have gone to bed a long time ago but I couldn't resist since I was so close!! The top half currently measures 61 x 44 so complete it should be 61 x 88. It'll be big; but I'm not good at making normal sized lap quilts.

I was chatting with Vera today about how one would quilt this and she suggested an all over leaf pattern. Subtle but still quilted. I may have to splurge and get it done because it could be years until I'd be comfortable enough to do that myself.

So now my question is, what about copyright? I pulled the fabrics. I cut them and sewed them into their tubes. I started cutting and assembling based on ideas for measurements that Jaja had given us. After I had about 1/4 of the top sewn and another 1/4 cut I was directed to look at an issue of Fabric Trends that had an article on Bargello Quilts. I really liked how they had theirs laid out so I worked with a section of it. I have many strips that are thinner than their suggested strips with quite a few extra steps in between what they had listed for cutting. A few that are as wide as they suggested. I liked how theirs flowed so I tried to follow the same line. They worked with 9 fabrics repeating 5 times, I'm working with 22 fabrics repeating twice. If I were to enter this quilt in a Quilt Show or State Fair; whose pattern is it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Interview with Bloodchained Author, Diana Laurence

You asked & she answered. Here are the answers to all of the burning questions you had for Diana Laurence!

Cindy (aka Peony the House Elf) asks, "How did you get hooked on writing? Was this something that you always dabbled with and one day tadaa your first book?"

Diana says: Cindy, I got hooked on writing when I first learned to scrawl the alphabet with a crayon, LOL. I started writing poetry and short fiction when I was eight or nine, and my first published story appeared in 'Teen magazine when I was thirteen. I wrote for fun all throughout my childhood and youth, and after getting my English degree I started freelancing, mostly magazine articles. I completed my first novel when I was 26 and almost got it published; in retrospect I'm glad it was ultimately declined because it was really bad! My first big break was a book of devotions published circa 1988 that sold something like 25,000 copies. By that time I had four unpublished novels completed, and I still longed to sell a full length work of fiction. The advent of the internet, epublishing, and the rise of small press made my dreams come true: I now have two anthologies and three novels out in paperback.

So it wasn't exactly ta-daa! The publishing business is as hard to succeed at as acting. You can want it, be good at it, and still struggle for success all your life. But if you love to write, you'll do it no matter what!

Maureen asks (regarding my having written Bloodchained "by committee"), "How did take all of the suggestions and come up with a cohesive story and plot?"

Diana says: As you obviously guessed, it would be impossible to take 64 people and have them just brainstorm out a book. Well, Maureen, here's how it worked: I held polls, majority rule, to decided what the genre of the book would be, along with point of view and sensuality level. Once my partners had chosen paranormal fantasy for the genre, I thought up three possible plots and wrote up little synopses. Again, I went with majority vote. Interestingly, although the vote wasn't close, my own favorite wasn't chosen! In retrospect, my partners were smarter than I. LOL At that point, I drew up character sketches for the main characters and took nominations for their names, and again held a final vote. And then, after that, I started writing. I posted excerpts with questions to get feedback and ideas from the partners, and used another couple of polls for more decisions. During the final phase, I had six volunteers edit and critique the entire manuscript.

Asks Maureen, "How do you decide which suggestions stay and which ones you do not use?"

Diana says: I do have final say, although it's always been my policy if someone else suggests something, I take their advice if at all possible. I'll only reject it if there's a problem. That's the way I deal with my editor's comments, so I did the same with my partners in the Bloodchained project. I figure, I only know my own perspective. If a reader has a different view or idea, chances are many other readers will feel the same way. And I also figure editors and readers won't even bring a criticism up unless it's important, so I take those remarks seriously.

"How long have you been writing?" asks Maureen.

Diana says: If you start with my first piece that got public recognition, that would be a short short story I wrote in fourth grade called "600 Yards Under the Shoe," which was read on a radio show. That--choke--was 42 years ago!

Maureen wonders, "What inspires you to write and who or what is your muse for writing?"

Diana says: My basic modus operandi is that I'm in writing mode, pretty much 24/7. There's almost never a time I'm not in the mood. But as far as inspiration and muses, what will really get me fired up to write is a strong male character. (See why I prefer to write romance?)

There have been a lot of actors, book characters, and celebrities that have really captured my imagination and inspired me to write. I'm sure you'll find a few examples amusing: Once there was a guy I stood by in line at New York & Company with dark hair and amazing blue eyes; that guy gave me Prince Edan in "The Queen's Lady and Her King", while the handsome fellow who owns Milwaukee's Planet Bead shop inspired Tom in "The Guy from Beadsville" (both those stories are from Soulful Sex Volume III). David Wenham as Faramir in "Lord of the Rings" gave me Will in "Abigail's Archer" from Soulful Sex Volume I. My one true love in the world of hockey, the Canadiens' Guy Carbonneau, inspired Etienne in "Je t'aime Etienne"; Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi was the spark for Tristan in "As Commonplace as Rain" (both Soulful Sex Volume I). Etrae'u from "Conjugals" (Soulful Sex: The Paranormal Collection) sprung from James McAvoy as Leto in the "Dune" mini-series. Adesteis in "The Chieftain's Man" (The Fantasy Collection) is a spinoff from Edward James Olmos as Admiral Adama on "Battlestar Galactica." And my current Huge Celebrity Crush, Les Stroud aka "Survivorman," is barely disguised as the title character in "Spacewrecked with Joel Fennimore" (The Science Fiction Collection).

Lastly, Maureen inquires, "Do you have a special place that you write? If yes, what is it like?"

Diana says: My little office area is actually in the living room. My husband typically retires upstairs in the evening so I have plenty of peace and quiet, and easy access to the kitchen for drinks and snacks. LOL I love the ambiance of the room: arts and crafts décor, natural colors, plants and stones and such. Our three cats keep me company, particularly Cody, who likes to stretch out in front of the monitor and sleep while I write.

CPS asks, "Do you start with a general idea and then start breaking that down into smaller bits and adding and elaborating on them to create the book? Always thought if I should try writing that might be the way I would try it. "

Diana says: That's one way of describing it all right, CPS. Typically, and especially with the longer works, I start with at least two compelling characters in mind, and a basic theme and conflict. I may have a particular few scenes conceptualized from the get-go, but it impossible to invent an entire novel before you start writing it down, the way you must have a quilt completely planned before you cut the first piece.

The interesting thing about the fiction writing process is that much of it happens subconsciously. What I mean is, you bring the characters to life and they act out the story for you to record. Sometimes the things they do and say really come at you out of the blue. So in a sense the book does write itself!

That said, you also have to apply your rational mind. Bloodchained, of all my novels, was the one that required the most careful planning. I reached a point about midway in the first draft where I had to make a timeline with notes to get my mind around the plot. The book uses a lot of flashbacks and plot twists, and I was worried I was getting lost in the tangle! As I approach the end of a novel, I finally know the rest of the story and will sometimes jot down a summary for myself at that point, to be sure I remember to tie up all the lose ends properly.

And I can't emphasize enough the importance of editing, which is almost a completely rational and deliberate process. Some newbie writers think when you arrive at "The End" you're done. In fact, you have as least as much work ahead of you as the drafting required. You can tell a great story but still have a bad book if you neglect the polishing and perfecting. Personally, I love that part! To me it's like taking a paint-by-number style picture and fixing it up till it looks like a Monet. Then I hand it over to my editor and she helps me make it even better!

Jen asks, "How do you come up with all of the names that you use and the places where your book take place? Are they fictional or based on real places? Are they real places with just new names?"

Diana says: A fantasy writer once told me I have a knack for inventing names that don't sound hokey. That certainly is useful if you want to work in the fantasy genre. I think it's just a corollary "bonus gift" that comes with a wild imagination. I have always found etymology--the origins of words—fascinating. It helps when you have to invent names. Like the Bloodchained town of Seaton, for example, is obviously a city on the ocean. I had the most fun once writing a song in an alien language. I actually did try to have etymological and syntactical patterns in it, so it would seem like a real language.

Of course the places I invent are to one degree or another based on things I've really seen, whether in real life, books, or movies, but adapted for the purpose. Gilder's Inn draws elements from dozens of bars I've been in (particularly Milwaukee's Von Trier!), reinterpreted for the Renaissance-type period. The Temple of Love was interesting to do because it's a hybrid of a palace, a house of worship, and a monument. There's a bit of the U.S. Capitol in it, as well as some things pulled from shows on HDTV!

Inquires Jen, "The pictures in your trailer; how do you decide what a character is going to look like as you're writing?"

Diana says: The process I used for Bloodchained was unique. Because I had to start out by writing character sketches for my partners to read, I deliberately had specific faces in mind for the five main characters, before I started even writing the book. All five are based on celebrities (I'll never tell who, LOL), altered in various respects. This was really useful as it turns out; much easier being vivid and consistent in my description going forward. I'm going to do it that way more often in future.

Usually, though, I may or may not have a look in mind for a character until I get pretty well underway. I'll admit, to me appearance is more important with my heroes, and almost always very certain from the get-go. I have to be in love with them, remember? LOL Sometimes the physical description is more of an afterthought, especially with minor characters.

I should explain about those pictures in the trailer. About a year and a half ago I discovered a pretty cool technique for making portraits. It combines face generation software with working in Photoshop, and makes the process much easier than using pencils on blank paper like portraiture used to be for me. (I'm average at drawing.) So I started doing portraits for my website of all my characters as I released books. Please visit to view the ones previous to Bloodchained, and for the BC gang. I've done 73 character portraits to date; many of them are used in my romance fortune telling card set, "Diana's Deck," which I also sell. I don't know of any other authors that do this, but I have a blast with it!

Kristie wonders, "Do you have plans for another book yet???"

Diana says: I'm waiting on readership response, but I ended Bloodchained with all kinds of possibilities for a sequel. I'll let you in on a secret, I'll be really sad if I don't get to write it! So please buy the book, read it, and then go to the Fan's Tavern area at and vote in my little poll that you want a sequel, 'kay? LOL

Asks Kristie, "And where can I purchase this book??? I very rarely purchase my books new, but I would certainly buy this one."

Diana says: The book is available online, from the publisher as well as lots of online retailers. Just go to the "Buy" page at and there are links showing you a bunch of good options. If you prefer to buy in stores, you can go to your favorite bookstore and ask them to order it in for you. It's worth it just for that gorgeous cover, designed by my daughter Katie the professional artist. I hope you'll all visit the site and see the goodies there: an excerpt to read, my portraits of the eight main characters, info on the Bloodchained Marketplace shop, etc.

In conclusion, this was one of my most fun interviews ever! Thanks so much to Jen and the quilting crowd, you guys rock.

If this has brought up any more questions, please feel free to ask them! I'm almost halfway through Bloodchained and I'm hooked!

Bargello....I'm in love

I actually got quite a bit done on it. Then again, it IS 1:15 AM!! I couldn't help it, I was having so much fun. I plan to keep sewing on it tomorrow after Batik Club. I'd probably get a lot more done if I'd stop staring at it for 5 minutes at a time!

I'm running out of design wall. I might have to turn it sideways in order to continue!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tap Tap Tap...Is this thing on??

Wow, where is everybody today? No new posts to read. =( I feel lonely in the land of Blog.

Tonight I picked my Grandma up for dinner at my Mom's. Grandma surprised us by having dinner ready. GMA and I stopped at Radio Shack to pick up a connector for my Grace Speed Control. Right connector but it's body doesn't taper enough to go into my machine. =( I'll have to consult my Dad the electrician to see what my next option is.

I started working on the Celestial Migraine Block of the Month that Planet Patchwork is putting out. Of course, it started in February and I'm just starting it now in September. That's ok, I'll catch up. I bought the same fabrics that Kristie is using for her Celestial Migraine quilt because I liked her blocks soooo much. You're supposed to do two of the same block in the same color but after looking at the picture I decided that wasn't really necessary. I bought extra colors so I'm planning on making each one differently. If it's a Migraine quilt, it might as well be a Migraine to cut out, right? So, here they are my first two blocks:

I just got home about an hour ago and I've been working on cutting some bargello strips. I'm at the end of my design wall so it's time to set up and sew what I've got so far so that I can re-position. If I get any more sewn tonight I'll upload a picture.

As I was sitting here writing this I heard the unmistakable sound of Miss Holly about to throw up. I came running from the office, Mike came running from the living room. Both of us trying to figure out where she was. I have the best dog in the world....she gets sick IN THE BATHROOM ON THE LINOLEUM FLOOR!! I kidded with her and said next time she should aim for the toilet bowl. I don't know how we did it; but we trained her to go into the bathroom when she's sick. Probably because it's the most direct route from our bedroom when she gets sick in the middle of the night. We'd lift her off the bed or pull her in there just so we wouldn't have to clean the carpeting or the bedding. Now, she goes there on her own. All dogs have quirks...but this quirk is the bomb!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Moda-U BOM Blocks #8 & #9

Wow, did I get the stuff done today! I made these two blocks and I made the identical two blocks for my Mom.

Tomorrow we're going to have my Grandma over to my Mom's. It's dancing with the stars night. I hate that show!! We were supposed to go to my Grandma's but this way I can sew and my mom can do a few things around the house. I'll pick Grandma up on my way home from work. Charity Night will be on Wednesday Night when we go to Bits & Pieces. We're going to cut backings and batting to put with quilt tops so they can go off to the quilter.

A few of you have asked how long it took me to quilt the Project Linus quilt on "Arlene." After I had it pinned to the leaders and got set up, it took me about 2-1/2 hours with some interruptions. It's just going to take me a while to get a nice fluid stipple down. I know what I want to do, I just need to make myself do it slower and more fluid. I was really happy that I didn't have any eyelashes in the back. But wow...I have some "toe catchers" in my quilting. Ok, not that bad but bigger than I'd like. My biggest problem at this moment is remembering the area I have to quilt in! I'd also like to get the speed control figured out this week. I think I just need to get a little adapter.

2nd Friday BOM #12 & Completed Quilt Top

Ok, so it's not quite completed. I still need to buy the outer black border and attach that and some purple piping. I'll pick the black up on Wednesday when I go to Bits & Pieces.

Here's my 12th and final block.

Here's the completed quilt top. It's so exciting having it all put together!!!!

For those of you who are making this quilt, don't be afraid to move blocks around to make it your own. When I put the first 9 together I made a change or two and when I just added this last row of 4, I wasn't happy with the amount of orange in one section so I added the strip to a different side. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

First Quilt on my Little Gracie Frame!

I just finished quilting my first quilt on my Little Gracie Frame. Which by the way, I've named my frame Arlene after my Grandma.

The first quilt was a Project Linus top that my Grandma completed. My quilting isn't that great but it's a learning process. I have some pretty big stitches but I have a lot to get used to.

I still can't get my speed controler to work. I don't have the right connections. I think it's going to take a trip to radio shack. I'll consult with my Dad the electrican first just to make sure the voltages and everything aren't ultimately going to hurt my machine.

Here I am setting up:

I think I'm busy saying, "DON'T TAKE MY PICTURE."

Once I got situated my Aunt Kitty called and said her and Grandma were at Hancock's. I told them to dawdle on over once they were done. My Grandma walks in and wanders over by me. I'm just quilting away. She was just soooo excited that she had little tears in her eyes. She's just sooo excited. She was tickled that I was quilting and doing it on one of her quilts.

So here I am, the first quilt is done. I had to set it up "Michelle Style," to take it's picture!

I got a MeMe!!

I've made a wonderful friend because of blogging. Her name is Debi and she has awarded the "Make Me Smile" award to me. Thank you Debi!! I like to read Debi's new entries, and to think I just happened upon her blog accidentally. This is my first award and I am so excited. Blogging about my quilting and family adventures is a lot of fun for me and it keeps me quilting! Debi also tagged me for a MeMe. I have to use the letters of my name to share something about here goes:


Now the rules of this MeMe are that I have to tag 6 other people to participate and these people also receive the "You Make Me Smile Award" here are my 6:

Yeah, I sooooo had a hard time coming up with Adjectives.

Getting Ready for Sew-A-Palooza Sunday

I think I'm all packed and ready to go over to my mom's. My sewing machine is already in my car I'm just packing up my projects. I think today I will focus on my block of the month blocks.

  1. Last month and this month's Moda-U blocks
  2. Second Friday BOM Block and assemble last row onto the quilt
  3. Celestial Migraine September Blocks
  4. Coasters for Diane

Today we're also going to run to Bits & Pieces to get the black fabric for our 2nd Friday BOM. Mom needs it for the sashing, border and binding, I just need it for the border and binding. I won't get to that today though because I need to make piping yet.

Then it will be time to load on some practice fabric to play with my frame.

If I get all this accomplished, then I'll get to work on my Bargello this week!!! I'm so excited to move further and complete the second 1/4 that will make up 1/2 of the quilt.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A busy Saturday

Today didn't start off too hot. I had taken an extra muscle relaxer when I went to bed because my neck was feeling soooooo horrible and it really knocked me for a loop. I typically wait to take an extra until the weekend (Ok, let me clarify - I was supposed to be taking 3 pills, three times a day and I couldn't handle that so I'm supposed to take 3 a day. I'm lucky if I get one in a day because they really knock me out. So when I say I took an extra, it's really not extra) because they make me so foggy. I woke up feeling sort of hung over like I really could have stood an extra 2-3 hours of sleep.

Mom and I had breakfast at MickyD's and then went to Bits & Pieces for Moda U block of the month. I picked up some red and black fabric because I got the brilliant idea to make Diane a set of coasters to match her book cover. I'm going to use a little heat and bond to do the blood/heart icon. We found that they also have a lot of choices for black fabric so we're going to run back over there tomorrow so that my mom can get her fabric for our 2nd Friday block of the month quilt and I can get my border and binding fabric. I'm not sure when I'll finish it; it will take me a while to get brave enough to finish it on my frame!!

We headed home to pick up the pooches because it was Wag Fest. It's also Murphy's Birthday today. I was very disappointed in Wag Fest this year. There was hardly any vendors and we didn't get to see the pet psychic this year because she was booked. Ok, before you all fall off your chairs laughing; let me explain. Last year on a whim My mom and I signed up to do this. It was a donation to the Humane Society and since Holly & Murphy were both adopted I'm all for that. I went into it purely as a non-believer just for the entertainment value. All this lady knew going in was both of your names. It was all well and good until she told us that Murphy was glad that when my mom adopted him that she gave him a fresh start by changing his name from Midnight to Murphy. How the heck did she come up with that? Midnight WAS his name when he was adopted. Then there was just funny things, like Murphy wanted a cat. Now, she pegged Holly pretty well too. I wanted to know why Holly didn't like to go on walks and was told that she wants the world to come to her. I was told that she only wants her toe nails clipped at most 3 times a year because she hates having her feet touched. Ok, she could have figured this out because Holly does have long nails...she has to be sedated to get them cut. Then this woman proceeded to tell me that my previous dog Sherman (yeah, she totally came up with his name) wanted me to know that he wasn't in pain and that we did the right thing. Ok, yeah, right then and there this was all too much for me and I turned sheet white. I still don't know what I believe; there were just too many coincidences for it not to be real; but at the same time I'm not ready to admit that I'm a believer.

We were supposed to go to lunch, but I was too tired. I still just felt exhausted from the moment I got up this morning so I went home to try to take a nap. That didn't work out so well. Every time I turned around the phone was ringing.

Holly and I then headed off to my Dad's for a barbeque. His three brothers and 2 of my cousins where there - one with a fiance and the other with a girlfriend. Ok, I honestly couldn't tell you how much older I am than them but I have Zero in common with them. Talk about feeling like a total outsider. I felt like Mike would feel if he was abandoned in a quilt store. More than once I just wanted to leave. It's not that my cousins were unfriendly but I don't think either of them said more than hello and goodbye to me. I just don't fit in well with my Dad's side of the family. I'm ok with my dad and then any one of his brothers; but yet not when they're all together. I don't know, I can't explain it. But, Holly was such a good girl. I was so proud of her. Oh, and let me tell you, I am thankful that the screen door on our patio doesn't work as well as the screen door on my dad's patio. Holy Crap. Holly kept letting herself in the house. Someone would shut the door with her inside, she'd come back and nose it and let herself back out. It was pretty funny. Holly definitely thought it was a game.

I just got home and I read my email. My cousin and his wife lost their baby on Thursday. I'm sad, I know how happy and excited they all were.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Frank's 35th Anniversary Sale

Tonight my Mom, Maureen and I went to Frank's Sewing Center to their 35th Anniversary sale. I got a few tips for working with my Little Gracie Frame from Wendy and I'm going to try some larger; more heavy duty needles. I also think changing my thread path will help out...A LOT. I knew the thread path was a problem but I didn't know how to make it normal. I think I'm confident to try again on Sunday.

We all swore we wouldn't do it; but we each bought a crystal setting wand and some crystals. They just seem like so much fun; they were everywhere at the quilt show. Picked up a few new patterns and a charm square pack.

It seems like Maureen was the only one who played my game of finding all the samples of mine that were hanging so I'll have to whip her up a fun little giftie. Of course, I can hold it over her head that I could use some of the ugly fabric strips from strip poker! HA HA!!!

I came home, intending to work on my block of the month for Moda U and that just didn't happen!! I went to bed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Egg Money BOM - Block #1

I ran out to Frank's Sewing Center after work today to drop off some of my wallhangings for them to use as samples for this weekend's big SALE. So, I issue this contest to get you all in the store, checking EVERYTHING out and falling in love with all the new items (Especially the Charm Packs and the Jelly Rolls - remember ladies; we've got to buy them and make them popular enough for Brad to keep ordering them). The prize will be a little homemade gifty from me to the first person who is able to tell me how many samples in the store are mine and which ones. The person with the most correct answers wins. Ahem; My mother doesn't count - as she knows what I've made....Wendy probably has to sit this one out too.

I was on my own for dinner tonight so that consisted of 2 mini twix bars, 2 "jello" squares and then popcorn. The dinner of champions.

Mom and I worked on our first block for the Egg Money Quilt. If you're interested in doing this BOM with us please scroll down a few posts and subscribe to the Egg Money Yahoo Group that I set up and join in the fun with us. I really liked how this block turned out. We used fusible interfacing so that we could turn our pieces and we sewed batting to that so they'd be puffy. My mom and I got all of our 30's Fabric last year when a Local Quilting Store was going out of business. We've just realized though that a lot of our fabrics, really don't match! So it will be a challenge to make everything work and not buy things to swap out. I sewed the pieces down with a white blanket stitch. It's sooo cute!!
I read a few chapters in Bloodchained which is where I'll be headed back to as soon as I'm done typing this post!

Bloodchained, a novel by Diana Laurence

I wanted to share a trailer that my friend Diane put together to promote her new book, Bloodchained. Please watch the trailer and comment with any questions you may have about the book, the process of writing this book or Diana Laurence's other works. I'll be interviewing her on my blog within the week so check back for answers to all of your burning questions!!

Here's what Diane has to say about her book:

THE ORIGINS OF BLOODCHAINED Bloodchained is a very special book, because in a sense, it has over sixty authors.

Let's start at the beginning, approximately New Years 2007. Diana Laurence was finishing up her latest romance anthology, Soulful Sex: The Paranormal, Science Fiction and Fantasy Collections, and thinking about what she would write next. She wanted her next work to be something different, and to be something lots of readers were looking for. An interesting thought occurred to her: why not capitalize on the available technology of the internet—things like Yahoo Groups, blogs, chats, and online surveys--to make a book that was truly a team effort? Certainly these technologies would make it easy to kibbutz with a big group of people, get their input and opinions, and really make them part of the creative process.

Thus was born the "Soulful Sex Partners" Project, named after Diana's popular series of tasteful erotic romance collections. Diana invited readers and fans to sign up, and by March had over fifty SS Partners, and the group ultimately swelled to 63.

The Partners included males and females from across North America and all over the world. There were 20-somethings and 60-somethings, longstanding Diana Laurence fans and newbies, authors and editors and reviewers. What they all had in common was excitement about taking part in the creation of a brand new romance story. The Partners participated in all kinds of ways. They chose the genre and point of view of the book. They specified the level of sensuality of the writing. They selected the plot from a choice of three possible synopses. They named the lead characters. They provided feedback for the early chapters and the initial plot development. They helped Diana make key plot decisions. A subcommittee of Partners served as Advance Readers and read and edited the entire first draft of the book. Their suggestions and edits were incorporated in the rewrite and helped make tremendous improvements in the story and text.

It is completely true to say that without these readers and fans, Bloodchained would never have come to be.

-Diana Laurence


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bargellos, Bordellos and Bras

Boy, I bet that got your attention!!

I was on the phone with my Dad tonight trying to explain about my Bargello quilt and he kept mis-pronouncing Bargello as Bordello. Finally I think I said something to the effect of, "I'm not running a whore house here..."

A few days back there was some discussion on my Janome 6500/6600 Yahoo group about bra straps slipping. Someone suggested moving the straps an inch to inch and a half closer to the strap. Duh, why didn't I think of this years ago? My straps always slip. I bet my straps are off my shoulders 95% of the time and they're really annoying. As I sat down at my machine to work on my Bargello quilt my straps slipped for the last time. I had it. I whipped off my bra, ripped out the stitching on the back. Moved it over, straight stitched it on with black thread (It's an off white bra; I was a woman on a mission). Bing, bang, boom and I put it back on. Wow, what a difference. My shoulders even feel different. I'm not well endowed by any means but I wonder if that is part of my back and neck problems; ill fitting bras. So next time the spirit moves me I'll replace the black thread with off white and secure it on there nice with a zig zag stitch. So ladies; pull off your bra and modify!!!!

My Bargello is coming along rather nicely. Bethany had suggested I go and take a look at the latest Fabric Trends magazine. I couldn't remember why that magazine seemed so familiar. As I was flipping through, there was the quilt that Julie of the Patched Works designed and quilted. Now I'll have to take it with me the next time I go to the Patched Works to have her autograph like she did Michelle's copy! Anyway, I flipped to the page with the bargello and I fell in love with their design. Mine was already started so I'm still kind of winging it and doing my own thing regarding the sizes of strips but I'm using the basic concept of theirs. I've now got my quilt top a 1/4 of the way done. I'm so happy with how it's turning out. I just LOVE it. Love, love, love it!!

Ohhhh, the music, MAKE IT STOP!!!!!

I'm soooo, sooooo, sorry about the music. Please everyone stop sending me hate mail. Not quite hate mail but stop complaining, PLEASE!!! I would make it go away if I could but nothing I'm doing will make it go away.

The music is actually from a DRAFT post, my friend Diane did a "movie type" trailer for her book. The trailer is really cool so I am going to do a blog post about it. I didn't post it yet because she wanted to edit the trailer. Now I completely deleted the message but the music just won't go away.

Yes, I know it's creepy music, it's a creepy book!!! Maybe that should all leave you wondering enough to want to read it!! =)


Egg Money Block of the Month

A bunch of us in the land of Quilting Blogs, have been talking about working on Eleanor Burns Egg Money Quilt as a block of the month with our blog friends. I created a Yahoo Group for our Quilt. The group is just meant for us to encourage each other. If someone wishes to work faster or slower that's absolutely fine.

We'll start with the first block in the book which is Grandmother's Flower Garden. Nancy-Rose has already made her block so she's got a head start on us!! We'll move along month by month unless the vast majority are finished; then we'll move on to the next one.

Join in on the fun!!

Subscribe to EggMoneyQuilt

Powered by

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ohhhh, I started sewing my Bargello together!!

Thank you all for your comments about the Cult. I feel a lot better. I did sew tonight and I didn't even make it to my mom's yet to get the pad from under her treadmill. I'm going to give that a shot to take away the vibration. If it works, then I'll probably buy a similar mat but one that fits my space better. Or; I'll end up buying anti-vibration mounts from work and then I won't need a mat at all!! I figure if they're good enough to put on the bottom of heavy manufacturing machines; they're good enough to put on my light weight table!!

All evening I worked on sewing together my remaining 3 panels for my Bargello quilt. I dusted off my "Design Wall" and set to work.

My design wall is nothing more than 4 binder clips that we have nailed to the wall above a long closet in our Dining area. I haven't used them in years; but they're up there. I bought a long length of flannel backed vinyl years ago. I keep it rolled up and under the bed. It looks pretty wrinkley but it works just fine.

Once they were together I began to panic. I was afraid to cut; I was afraid to lay them out. So, I called my about 9:45 and she came over. I didn't get too far; I only have about 6 strips sewn together an only a few extras cut on either side. Tomorrow I should get a little further. After I get these strips sewn, I'll start working out from one side and switch to the other. I'm totally doing this as a fly by the seat of my pants type of project. God help me when I try to do the other half!!

I've been really, really, really bad at responding to emails lately and commenting on blogs. I just really haven't had much time to sit down and do it. I'm still trying to move my blog posts over from the other site. I'm in the home stretch so I guess I have a one track mind. Since I can't sew after 10pm, I'll be staying away from the computer until then. So yeah, I have 108 emails in my in box that all need to be replied to. Yikes!!!
When I did read my email tonight I was excited to see an email from Karen; the woman at the Franklin Public Library who runs th Care Package program that I make the pillow cases for. I'm copying the message here because it's just so darn exciting!!!!!
Hi Jen,

I got a call from an on-line magazine,
"Viv", they are doing an article about creating crafts to support good causes and they want to print pillowcase directions, mention our project and encourage people to sew! They have the directions I currently have posted on the library website, but the ones you put together for the workshop in March were so much better I was wondering if we could use those. I have to get back to Angela at
the magazine ASAP.

I'd also like to print lots of copies to take the Racine Lighthouse Quilt Show the first weekend in Oct. They are giving me a space to set up a display to recruit more sewers. Interested in coming along?


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Cult Strikes Again

I'm feeling disgusted, sad, angry, hurt - the list could go on and on.

One of the cult members that is STILL living below us knocked on our door to tell us to turn our base down. This was after they beat the living shit out of the ceiling and scared the crap out of Holly. We've lived here since June of 1999 and this is our first noise complaint. We barely had the TV Volume up so the complaint is about my sewing machine. Which might I add was only going at about 1/2 speed to begin with. What the hell am I supposed to do? It was 8:30 at night. So their kid can scream at all hours of the day and night but I can't sew? They can leave their garbage on their porch for three straight weeks but I can't sew? One of them can swipe my money but I can't sew? They could hold loud meetings in that apartment and chant to the point where I had to take Holly to my mom's every day, but I can't sew?? This then launched Mike and I into a huge argument and I ended up sobbing for an hour. I'm still upset over it. I'm so sad and feel so defeated that it's not even funny. What the hell am I supposed to do? Sew in the garage? So fine, when I get home from work tomorrow I'm going to move my machine, and ironing board and ott lamps to the garage. I'll go to my mom's and get my plastic table. I'm not going to stop sewing because of them and I can't sew at a snail's pace either just to satisfy them because it's not at all enjoyable. I'll never be able to use my frame in our apartment. That'll have to go to the garage too and then I might just well get a parking permit to park on the street so I can leave my stuff up and just take my sewing machine back into the house every night so that it stays safe.

I'm just beyond sad. I cut my speed again in half on my machine so it was only at about 1/4 speed. Do you know it takes 8 minutes and thirty-four seconds to sew one 44" strip to another? I was so bored doing it that I actually fell asleep at my machine. I'll never get my bargello done at this rate. Actually, I won't get anything done at this rate.


It was a blast with the exception of my purse and my confusion over my quilt frame but I'm glad it's over! I added an additional post to Friday and finally got around to adding Saturday and an additional one for Sunday. I added them chronologically so you might want to scroll down a bit to make sure you've read them all. That is, if you're interested in reading them...but isn't that why you're here? =)

It's "Charity Sewing Night" but I think I'm going to skip it to work on my own projects.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ughh, What am I doing??

I was able to download all the directions for my Little Gracie II quilt frame directly from their site. I'll have to go over it with a fine tooth comb next time I put it together to make sure I did all the legs correctly. The machine carriage was already together so all I had to do was plop my machine on. WOW...what am I doing? I feel way out of my league. I had the most difficult time getting my machine on the carriage. I also couldn't make heads or tails of how I need to thread my machine. Sure; there's a cone holder and eye bolt; but it's on the side opposite the side that my thread would normally go on (like front of machine instead of back) so the "path" now goes naturally through the thread cutter. This can't be right. I also couldn't maneuver my machine enough to use my telescoping thread guide that is part of my machine.

I couldn't get my foot pedal to work right. I don't know if I should be facing it side up or side down; the wood just seems so slipery as is the foot itself. I ended up using it with my start/stop button which I was actually more comfortable with anyway.

My tension was off; I didn't play with it too much because I knew my thread wasn't going in all the right directions. It wasn't bad but I suspect it had to do with the path of the thread. I'd like to work that out before I go changing other things.

I broke two needles; one right after another. That's when I packed up and called it quits for the day. I wasn't frustrated with it; I was more scared that I was going to break something and didn't want to take any more chances.

I'm afraid of taking off the practice fabric that's on it to put new practice fabric on to practice further because I don't know if I'd get it on the right way again.

I'm worried that I'm never going to get the hang of this. I feel like I can't get down to Michelle's soon enough so that I can learn the ropes. She has a Hinterberg frame but I'm guessing that the set up is fairly similar.

I knew the frame was large; but it just looks so much larger when it's set up at home. It's currently set up at my mom's but I know I need to bring it home. Mike is just not going to be thrilled with me AT ALL even though I intend to only put it up when I'm going to quilt a quilt. Oh, what did I do????

I made a new cell phone leash with my red poly clay piece, some chain and a few crystals. It looks really long but it's actually just long enough for me to slip my 4 fingers on my hand through.

I really wanted to work on my Bargello today too. All I ended up doing was laying out all my additional strips and pinning them into sets of two to be sewn. I hung them all over a hanger to keep them organized. I'd read about this tip before; just never done it.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my charity sewing night; I can't help feeling like I just want to play with my own projects. I have no problem working on Project Linus quilts but I'm currently caught up, it's the darn pillow cases that I'm burnt out on. I can't get myself to work on them and then I end up just sitting there avoiding them for hours at a time and then not working on anything.

I feel so violated

Two hours ago, Holly and I left for my Mom's house. Purse, ruler bag, backpack, leash in hand. I got to my mom's and was their long enough to eat my cold left-overs from her fridge, put some info that I had printed out for myself from the Grace website into page protectors and realized I had a headache that wasn't going to go away on it's own. I started looking for my purse which I couldn't find. I came home to look; wasn't even gone a full hour. Found it on my doorknob. There wasn't much in my purse because I just had the necessities for our Quilt Show yesterday. I had my digital camera, cell phone, 3 Zomig's in their blister packs (Migraine Meds) and wallet which contained what to me was a large amount of cash that I had accumulated from the last 2 years of Christmases and Birthday's saving for a "rainy day," 1 debit card, one credit card, Health Insurance Cards and a AAA card. Needless to say, everything was there except for my cash.

I called the non-emergency line to ask if you even write up a report for something like cash and they said to come on in. Mike met me there and the report is now written up. I came home and there's one of the "Cult members" (I know I've failed to mention that THEY'VE NEVER LEFT AS PROMISED), sitting on the porch. I ask him if he saw anything. He says, "Oh, that's your purse?" I said yeah, "Can I have my cash back?" He says, "I didn't take your cash, I just went through it to see where it belonged." Sigh, whatever, I came in the house because my head STILL HURTS. Mike is currently waiting for the people to get back to our Apartment Complex Office to mention this incident to them. I'm waiting around for him to get back because I'm curious what they have to say.

Granted, I'm glad my phone, credit cards and camera are here. That would have been a pain. But man, when I think about the fact that I didn't have the guts to spend that money all these years; hung onto it for just in case Mike and I needed it for something or an emergency. The one time I take it somewhere with the possiblity of using it and don't spend it; the day after it's stolen.

I just know it had to be one of the "Cult Members." The rest of our neighbors (which are very few because of the Cult) aren't like that. They're nice people.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Madison Quilt Expo

My Mom and I were on the road by 7:50 to pick up Maureen. We picked her up with snacks in her hands and hit the road to Madison. Our car ride was great; always lots of great entertainment with the three of us. We could probably tell goofy experience stories until the cows came home and never repeat a single one.

As we got closer to Madison it was very apparent that we were in the same traffic as those headed up to the Badger Game! I asked my co-pilot for which direction we were supposed to go through the interchange and she got that ok; but there were directions that were 2/10ths of a mile later that I didn't get until we were about 3 miles down the road. So ok, now we were in front of a Kraft Hot Dog plant by the time we could turn around. Talk about FUNNY. It was fine we just turned around and the directions got passed from my co-pilot to our backseat driver. Backseat driver isn't a good name; but co-co-pilot sounds really, really stupid. Anyway, we made it!

Talk about a ton of vendors!! Maureen says this isn't even a taste of what's at Rosemont every year. Yikes; maybe that's one I should skip for now. Maureen and I were each ready to make a purchase at the very first booth but we decided to hold off because of the weight of our purchases. Still it wasn't too many booths down where we all made our first buy of the morning. I had quite a few good finds.

These will be shared with my Mom and will go into our Egg Money Quilt

This is for Mike since he sells Fire Hydrants. I'm not sure what I'll make for him; maybe it will be in a pillow case or something.
This Oriental Teal will go with my other Oriental Teals in a TBD project.

ABC Panel will be fantastic with some bright borders for a baby quilt.
This fabric will become a Bucket Tote from the Lazy Girl Bold Bags book. I had purchased some fabrics for this bag earlier in the year but decided to make two wonder wallets and two runaround bags out of it. I've been kicking myself ever since because I really wanted to make the bucket tote with this fabric.
The Blue Pansy fabric I already had. I bought the other ones to go with it. I think I need a few more purples and limes to go with it. I'm going to put the pansy fabric in the center of the quilt and then squares of the others framing it for a nice simple quilt. I just don't want to cut the pansy up because it's sooo pretty. If anyone else has a better idea; send it my way.
I LOOOOOVVVVEEE snowflake fabrics. I'm not sure what I'll use this batik for; I might just continue to pet it for eternity.
This panel is all cute quotes and sayings about dogs. I'm going to use it with my Moda Dog Fabrics.
These batiks will either go in my Ocean Waves quilt or will be thrown in with something else somewhere down the line.

We got to attend an Eleanor Burns lecture on the Magic Vine Quilt. It was wonderful. She's just so darn funny. When I was a kid my mom used to watch her shows and I would make fun of her unmercifully. Whose laughing all these years later? Now I love quilting and I love Eleanor's Quilt in a Day patterns. Between my mom and I we must own every book of hers. I never gave the Magic Vine book a second glance until we were watching her lecture. Those quilts were beautiful. Just outstanding. So easy too. I ended up buying the pattern, ruler and pre-printed interfacing along with a charm pack of 82 squares that should be able to make all of the flowers. The only fabrics I'll need to add is for the leaves, vines and background. Mom and Maureen bought this kit as well. Hopefully we'll all work on it together little by little. After the lecture Eleanor Burns signed my Underground Rail Road book and I got to have my picture taken with her. She had an UGRR DVD for sale. It's about all of the stories about the quilt blocks. It turns out she got most of her information from the book "Hidden in Plain View" that I read not too long ago. The DVD doesn't show her making the quilt; which is fine because I've done mine but it's perfect for the UGRR junkie that I've become. We each picked up awesome Quilt in a Day back packs. I have a rolling backpack from QIAD that I LOVE that I use all the time. It's got the perfect pockets. These backpacks have tons of pockets as well and they were on clearance for $7.50 each. It's very similar to the backpack I use for my photography stuff so I think that's why I like it so much. Mine is red, Maureen's is Blue & Mom's is Yellow.

Something that we noticed that is extremely hot right now are hot fix crystals on quilts. I would have never thought to do it but the more I saw, the more I liked the look. It would have to be on something artsy. They're not supposed to come off in the wash but I don't know how crystals would feel if you raked them across your bare legs! They would also be cool as tiny embellishments on purses. We saw some on the Lazy Girl Chloe bag and they looked fantastic; just the right amount.

We finally arrived at Jennifer Patterson's, "Quilted in Clay" booth. I'd been dying to see her work in person. I really wanted a UGRR pin a while back but they were sold out. She says another set is in the works so I'll keep checking back. In the mean time though; I've become a Quilted in Clay junkie! It's just amazing when you realize how large of pieces she starts out with and then it gets stretched and stretched and stretched until the images are tiny. Then they're sliced off and made into jewelry. I bought a 30's sampler pin, a Mobius charm that I will add to my cell phone and two little buttons that I will sew onto new name tags for my mom and I.
Pictured above is Jennifer Patterson of Quilted in Clay showing her polyclay "canes" for a new design. I just can't describe to you how awesome her work is. I was so excited to have met her that I called my friend Diane who has recently taken Polyclay on as a new hobby. I'm so stupid; she was on vacation!! DUH!! It totally could have waited until Monday. Sorry Diane!!
As you read above; my mom bought a backpack while at the Quilt Expo. She also bought a Dick and Jane lunchbox that was put out by one of the fabric companies. She decided it would be PERFECT to take her lunch to work in. I love it, it's so cute!! However, between the lunch box, the backpack and the purse across her body with the little tennis shoes and capris, she looks like a tall kindergardner. She's soooo cute. So folks, she's taking a class at MATC this semester, this is the official "First Day of School" picture of my mother. =)
I picked up this fantastic new magnetic pin cushion by Clover. It has a cover that fits on top. For years I've been getting stuck by pins while taking my cushion places with me.
Maureen bought herself, my mom and I each one of these awesome signs. Nothing could say it any better!!
You know how my web page is titled, "The Insane Ramblings?" Well, that's what I'll be once I finish these itty bitty's!! The carpenters wheel wreath won't be too bad. The Fallen Leaves I'm going to make with my left over slivers from my bargello quilt. The diamond log, what can I say besides that I'm insane for even considering that one but it will be stunning when it's done.
Last picture, but not least...I picked up this awesome wooden inlaid Carpenter's Square key chain. I seem to be just hooked on this square latley!
I wore my new Croc's to the Quilt Show. Besides the fact that they have no air holes because they're meant to trudge through snow in, they were fabulously comfortable. My feet didn't get tired until the very end. Those shoes are truely wonderful.
We almost missed an entire section of vendors. One minute I'm looking at Dasiy fabric and the next minute I turn around and see Kelly, and then Marla from Bits & Pieces. I had no idea that they were going to be at the Quilt Show vending. Then again they didn't either until the week before. The Expo had a cancellation and offered the spot to them. It's always so exciting to see one of your home shops out at a big show. They really pulled out all the stops; their booth was wonderful!!!

On our way home we decided to go to the Machine Shed for dinner. Maureen's Husband Mark joined us. It was really nice to get to meet him. No Michelle, I didn't have the Smoked Turkey Ruben; I almost did though because I was thinking about you!

When we got home my mom and I pulled our our purchases for show and tell. Around 10:30 I decided it was time to bring my new Quilt frame in from the Garage. I've decided to name her Arlene after my Grandma. It's sort of funny trying to put a frame together without directions. Brad was going to be digging them out. Of course; once I had it most of the way together I found that you could download the instructions online...all 32 pages worth! Sigh. There are some hex head screws in the frame that aren't really condusive to taking it up and down between uses so since I sell knobs at work I'm going to see what will work and change them all over to the knobs that my company sells. I just need one with a head small enough but grippable so that both can be turned. I'm sure I'll find an alternative. I didn't realize how big it was until it was set up in my Mom's living room. Mike is going to flip his frigging lid when I bring this home. I'm almost scared to! I'm not quite sure where I'm going to go with it. I wasn't planning on getting one until someday when we had a house. I just couldn't pass up this deal though. Especially when Brad told us that the new models are going to be double the price and he really didn't see the changes that they made as being improvements.

On that note; I'll leave you with a slide show of quilts that we saw at the Expo. None of them were made by us. If you see us in a picture with a quilt it's just because we liked it and we were trying out pictures so that we'd have cool backgrounds so that we could add the pictures to our cell phones so that the picture would come up instead of the caller id.

Kristie, I hope you can figure out which quilt I took a picture of with you in mind. Bethany, I took one with you in mind too; can you figure it out?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Block of the Month Party

I realized I was too excited to tell you all about the rest of my Friday night at BOM.

The Jello Shots were a hit. I ended up with 2 large packs of watermelon jello; which to my surprise is now green jello instead of pink. To make jigglers this takes 5 cups of water. I used 4 cups water and 1 cup watermelon vodka because I couldn't find watermelon schnapps without it being watermelon pucker so I tried something new. Since it was my first jello & vodka experience in about 12 years I didn't want them to be over powering. But I think next time I'd bump the water down by 1/4 cup and vodka up by 1/4 cup and see how that would come out.

Wendy went over the final block with us. It's tricky so I actually sewed the middle there. I was using a longer stitch length so I need to re-sew it but at least I know what I'm doing. It has a 3-D center. I can't wait to get it made so that I can get the final row of that quilt top put together.

This next week Friday & Saturday is Frank's Sewing Center's 35th Anniversary Sale. There's going to be a lot of great specials so if you're local you're going to want to click the above link and go check it out. The Fall Class Schedule is also posted on the website. There's quite a few new offerings including a Thread Lecture that's going to be given by Brad.

I know there was more that I wanted to say but I can't seem to remember it at the moment!

Ohhh, I know what it was. I took my finished Yo-Yo Flag for show and tell. Wendy asked me if they could borrow it to have it on display for next weekends big sale! They're hoping that they'll get their Yo-Yo makers in on time and can display the flag with the makers! I'm really excited!!

Giggle, Sew it went like this...

Maureen and I were at Frank's Sewing Center right after work to baste her Mother In Law's Quilt. As we were basting Wendy and Brad were telling us about their upcoming 35th Anniversary Sale in two weeks. Then they got to the good part. The have a Grace and Little Grace quilting frame in their shop. New models are coming out that they need to have in their store so they needed to sell the floor models and cheap. So I immediately decided the Little Grace needed to come home with me! I'm so excited!!! We shoved; and I mean shoved it into my Mom's Chevy Tracker which I then needed to drive home because I had a frame to the head...giggle. On Sunday I'm going to work on putting it together out in the garage because I don't have the directions; Brad was going to have to look for those. Sue in my BOM group has one as well, she was going to try to get her hubby to scan them for me. I've seen how it goes together but you know, that's irrelevant at this point! I've even got the practice sandwich that was on it at the store and Brad sent me home with the Leaders that Wendy had made for it at the shop!! It's funny though, it has hex screws where it could have hand knobs and right next to it will be one with a hand knob sooooo when I get to work on Monday I'm going to look up some part numbers and put hand knobs on all of them to make assembly and disassembly go much quicker.

In two weekends, my Mom and I are going to visit Michelle in Iowa. I'm hoping to get lots of Machine Quilting tips from Michelle as we do a quilt on her frame.

Quilter's Home Magazine

Wooo Hooo!!! My Favorite Magazine - Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home Magazine is finally available for subscription as of today!! The URL is really long so I created a tiny url for it. If you click that link it will take you to the subscription page.

I got the notice about it today from Mark's Yahoo Group. It's a very, very chatty group so I had to switch to Important Notices Only because I just couldn't keep up anymore. Needless to say, I was THRILLED to get this notice!

Click here to join PickleRoadStudio
Click to join PickleRoadStudio

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Changed the Bargello Already

Tonight after work I met my friend Ruth for dinner at IHOP. It was great being out with her; just like old times. We both just play off of one another so well. Of course; we're probably the only ones who find us funny, but that's ok; we're secure with it! When we got there the hostess asked us how we were doing today. We answered and then I asked her how she was doing. You would have thought I gave her the world. She said in her 8 hour shift, I was the first person to ask her.

I just couldn't live with fabric #5 the light brown where it was so I just ripped it out and moved it over to the rest of the browns. I'm much happier with this. Now I can start sewing the rest of my strip sets together.

I made my Jello Jigglers tonight for tomorrow night's Block of the Month bash. I'm trying something new though. Can it really be considered new when I probably haven't made jigglers in about 8 years? We used to do Watermelon Jello with Watermelon Schnapps. I did a 1/3 of the recipe as the schnapps and 2/3 of the recipe with water. I couldn't find Watermelon Schnapps; only Watermelon Pucker and the one other time we used that it was god awful. So, I opted for Watermelon Vodka and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works. I made a double batch so that should have been 5 cups of water. I did 4 cups water, 1 cup vodka. It's probably a little too mellow but I'd rather have them that way than overpowering vodka flavor. Here's hoping they solidify!!

I ordered two new pairs of Crocs and they came in the mail today. I'm sooo excited! Most of you probably don't know but I started wearing Crocs in March and haven't worn a "real" shoe since then. I'm even wearing them to work. They're soooo comfortable. They're coming out with new styles all the time. My favorite ones are the Mary Janes and the Flip Flops. My Mary Jane's are black and my Athens Flip Flops are light pink and grey.

That's all well and good for summer but I needed something to wear for winter without holes. I picked up the Mammoth in Oatmeal and the Troika in Black because they don't have holes (well, the mammoth does have top holes but it will just be my knocking around on the weekend shoes) and they have a little heel to keep you a little higher out of the slush.

It's way too warm yet for the Mammoth, but I think I'm going to give the Troika's a spin tomorrow at work. They might end up on my feet for Saturday's quilt show.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1st Bargello Panel

Well, here it is, my first Bargello Panel. I decided to do 4 tubes right away so now I need to cut the additional 2 since I started with 2 cut. If it ends up too large; then I'll just make two quilts! But, by basing my measurments off of Kristie's quilt I think I'll be ok with the 4.

I'm not too happy with the 5th fabric in from the left. I'm not sure why we put it where we did but it's there now and it's staying. I added fabrics #1 & #5 when I stopped at Patched works today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Batik Pineapple Table Topper

It's coming along so nicely! I think I'll even have enough fabric to make a second one which would be a great Christmas present to have on hand. Or, maybe I'll hang it in my cubical at work. I still have my spring things hanging up. I'm really tired of looking at them.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to sew the four squares together and remove the paper. Then it's just borders and binding; that's the easy part though! I'm not really sure how to quilt it. I think stitching in the ditch might be my best course of action because I don't want to compete with the batiks. Even though I intend to put it on the center of my kitchen table, I intend to put fast finish triangles on the back so that if I ever get a whim to hang it I can.

Tomorrow I also need to run over to the Patched Works right after work so that I can redeem my coupon that is in my coupon book. It expires Saturday and I won't have time to run there on Thursday or Friday.

My Grandma called tonight around 7:45 to let me know that she finished all the Project Linus Quilts that she was working on. They'll still need borders but that is my job. She wanted to know when I was bringing more kits. I don't have anymore and I don't have time to run to Bits & Pieces to grab them quick. I really don't know what to do; giving her things to sew makes her sew like crazy and wear herself out but not giving her something to sew is going to be just as bad!!! Maybe I should call Homespun Creations and see if they are open and if there are any more kits left at their store. If there are I could run there at lunch to grab a bunch. I've got to call Kelly anyway to find out when our first meeting for Project Linus is going to meet. It should be this next Monday.

This is going to be one busy weekend! Thursday night after work I'm having dinner with my good friend Ruth. Friday night after work I'm meeting Maureen at Frank's Sewing Center to baste the quilt she's making for her Mother In Law then we have our block of the month meeting after that. It's our final meeting for this session so we're having a party. I actually think I'm going to take jello shots. Well, jello jigglers. Watermelon Jello with watermelon schnapps. They're quite mellow!! I haven't made them in years. On Saturday, Maureen, my Mom and I are going to the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison. In addition to checking out all the awesome quilts at the show and shopping the vendors we're doing a 1 hour lecture with Eleanor Burns. It's funny, when I was a kid I hated when my mom had her show on. Now, I think she's great. I'm really hoping we get to have her autograph a book or something; that would be really cool!!!!!