Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
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
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 STANDING OUT THERE WITH THE DOG THINKING THERE'S A FIRE AND WONDERING IF I SHOULD BE CALLING 911 OR NOT AND HE'S IN 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
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.
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
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 www.dianalaurence.com/charactergallery.html to view the ones previous to Bloodchained, and www.bloodchained.com/characters.html 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 www.bloodchained.com/tavern.html 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 www.bloodchained.com/buy.html 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!
Monday, September 24, 2007
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:
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
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.
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.
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!
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"........so here are my 6:
Yeah, I sooooo had a hard time coming up with Adjectives.
- Last month and this month's Moda-U blocks
- Second Friday BOM Block and assemble last row onto the quilt
- Celestial Migraine September Blocks
- 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
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
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
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!
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.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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!!
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!! =)
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!!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
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.
Once they were together I began to panic. I was afraid to cut; I was afraid to lay them out. So, I called my Mom....at 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 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
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's "Charity Sewing Night" but I think I'm going to skip it to work on my own projects.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!!
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.
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 to join PickleRoadStudio
Thursday, September 13, 2007
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.