Sunday, June 29, 2008


Otto's top is pieced! Well, the main part, anyhow. I plan to add a couple borders.
And I made some stars for the back.
And here it will have to wait for a couple weeks. We leave tomorrow for my niece's wedding and a vacation. We decided today to bring my husband's old laptop, so I may have internet access, but I don't know whether it will be available everywhere we go, or how much time I'll have to use it. But if I can, I'll post a photo or two. I hope you all have an enjoyable couple weeks!

Also, I want to thank Jill at Life with Nature Girl. She gave me an Arte y Pico award for having helped her when she was a new blogger. Her kindness and appreciation really touched me. I need to pass the award on to other bloggers, but it will have to wait until I return. In the meantime, let me say that it is a great pleasure reading Jill's lively blog, and any tips and advice I shared with her are no more than what so many other bloggers have shared with me. I really enjoy the online friendships I've made. Thank you all!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Watching Otto's back

What a blast -- I finished piecing the second of four panels on my baby quilt (for little Otto, who was born yesterday!), and then started to work on the back. First, I made him a house with a dragon in the doorway and gumballs on the roof (forgive the blurriness, please...).
And of course, he should have his name on the quilt. What name could be easier to piece than "Otto"?
Time for dinner now, but when I get back to it, he'll have stars and maybe a sun (just thought of that!), plus a tree... and his name ... and ????

I forget, which is the quilt back and which is the front? :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Talking stash

I'm making my first quilt ever totally from my stash! I pulled half the fabrics I own, and ended up chosing these.
I love them! And they play so well together.

Choosing, discarding, putting back, arranging, rearranging -- the whole process was really fun and got me to thinking about the concept of a stash. When I first started quilting, I had no idea why anyone would have a stash. Don't you just decide on a quilt and buy fabric for it? Ha! I totally misunderstood the process. Having a stash is like having a mini-quilt store right in your own house and stocked only with fabrics you love. How much better could it get? It lets you design a quilt as you go, lets you make it your own. It's taken me awhile to get enough fabric to have any sort of stash (and mine is still pretty small). But I now know that if I absolutely love a fabric, I need to buy enough to really use. I have lots of fat quarters that are great, but it has become clear to me that I need several yards of certain types of fabric at the ready because they are what I always come back to.

So what will my stash quilt be? It's a twofer. The front will be a baby quilt for some friends whose baby is now overdue (talk about waiting till the last minute to make the quilt!). I'm making a Trip Around the World using Bonnie's pattern at Quiltville (I didn't have much yellow, and it's just a baby quilt, so I played around with the measurements and cut everything at 2-3/4"). Here's one panel.
I'm using the leftover segments and fabric on the back to do some free-pieced zigzags and stuff (not sure what yet). Backs are great for practicing -- and who knows, the kid may like that side better!

Wanda at Exuberant Color made a wonderful TATW and I'm going to use her quilting idea. Thanks, Wanda!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pomp and Circumstance

This is especially for those family members who didn't get to join us at my daughter Valerie's graduation. There's no quilting content, but I'm happy to share the big event with any of my blogging friends who don't mind wading through family photos. :)

Valerie is now a college graduate!
What a wonderful weekend we had! After Brian and I got off the plane, the kids took us to dinner and presented us with a 25th wedding anniversary book they had made of photos and memorabilia from our wedding and their childhood years. It's an absolutely wonderful gift, and we keep looking at it. Thanks, guys! We will always cherish it.

Here are Val and Jocelyn at the graduation picnic on Saturday.

Sunday was graduation, which always starts with the Wacky Walk. Instead of marching solemnly into the stadium, the graduates carry signs, wear costumes, perform, do all kinds of things as they parade in. There are no lines, no rules, just celebration. (Kind of like liberated quilting!) Here's a pre-Wacky Walk photo of Caley, Brooksie, Val and Nessa in their shades. They each carried a huge balloon (Val's was a champagne glass, maybe because she's from Champaign?).
As you can see, they all had a blast coming in for the ceremony.
Eventually everyone took a seat.
Oprah Winfrey was the graduation speaker, but those of us in the stands found it easier to see her on the big screens rather than on the stage. If anyone is interested, you can listen to her speech on U-tube if you click here. It's half an hour, though!
After the big ceremony, everyone dispersed to departmental ceremonies to formally receive their diplomas. Here's Val getting hers. Yay!!
Someone can't stop smiling.
Of course, we took lots of photos after the graduation. Here's Val with her grandmother.
And with Kim and Craig, Val's cousin and her fiance, who came all the way from Florida to celebrate with us. We were so pleased to see them!
Val's parents were pretty proud of her.
We had a wonderful family dinner that night with the Bay Area family, but the restaurant was dimly lit and my photos are terrible. Sorry! It was so great to see everyone and it meant a lot that they call celebrated with us.

The next day Val and her closest friends had a final get-together. Here they are -- Brooksie and Jenna in the back, and Val, Caley and Nessa in the front.
Congratulations, Val! You worked hard and did a great job!

Friday, June 20, 2008

O frabjous day!

I was so excited to see a little box in the mail when my neighbor gave me everything that had been delivered while we were away. In it were these great half-square triangles from Quiltdiva Julie! When she first posted that she was making an Inside the Rabbit Hole quilt, I couldn't believe the coincidence -- I had just been designing a jabberwocky quilt in my head (my mental quilts are always far more stunning than my actual quilts). We exchanged ideas about what a jabberwocky quilt would look like, and then Julie sent me her extra HST's from her Rabbit Hole quilt. Such a wonderful gift! It was totally unexpected and all the more delightful for that. Thank you, Julie.

For those of you whose memory of jabberwocky is hazy, here it is. It's from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

Project Linus National Conference

Yesterday I volunteered at the Project Linus Conference in Bloomington, Illinois. Chapter coordinators from all over the country came for several days to make plans, learn new skills, get inspired, and help each other out. Mary Balagna and the other coordinators did a magnificent job -- no detail was overlooked, and there were lots of little touches that made everything run smoothly. My friends Marge (in the photo below) and Debbi and I demonstrated Happy Houses blocks, and every attendee had the opportunity to make one and take the pattern home to their chapters. You can find the instructions here.
The event was at a hotel and conference center -- here's one aisle, all set up with booths (before the attendees entered!). There were vendors, too.
It was a long day and I was so tired when I got home, but it was truly a feel-good day and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Come say hi!

If you'll be at the Project Linus National Conference in Bloomington, IL, this Thursday (June 19), please come introduce yourself to me! I'll be demonstrating Happy House blocks at the Expo. Please stop by!

Friday, June 13, 2008

If you want a copy of Liberated Quiltmaking... Gwen Marston, please tell Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilting. If enough people are interested, AQS will consider doing a reprint! Read her post, then either leave a comment on her blog or email her if you are interested.

I've never seen the book, only dreamed about it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stuff I'm working on

One million layouts later and I'm no happier... all suggestions welcome! I've been playing with the layout for my Stroop quilt (and I didn't think to photograph each time, wish I had). I quickly tossed the words down on the background just for this photo, to give you an idea. The light was streaming in and the black borders on the words were unfolding, but at least I managed to get my toes in the lens!

I have tried putting the words across the fabric horizontally and I've tried them going helter-skelter (which ended up being my least favorite look), but nothing quite works. I don't know whether it's simply my usual doubts in the throes of any project, or whether I just need to keep trying. I'm thinking I may want some small squares of color in addition to the words, and that may help. I have border and binding ideas, but first I need to figure out the center!

Friday I spent the day stitching with my friend Bunny. We've "known" each other for a long time through our Project Linus quilts, but didn't meet face-to-face until last week. Bunny invited me to her house to work on Priority Quilts for Ami Simm's Alzheimer's fund raising.

We ended up doing lots more talking than stitching, and it was so much fun! Bunny made a mask quilt and I decided to play around with a pieced black-and-white background that I think will be perfect for a colorful applique on top. I still haven't stitched rows together, but I laid a few out and added some bright scraps for the photo so you'll see what I'm planning.

I also pieced a Yellow Brick Road quilt for Here's a Hug. The Central Illinois chapter of Project Linus is making blankets for children whose mothers are in prison. The mothers have specified their children's interests and favorite colors, and we're making quilts for each child. Someone donated a YBR outdoor themed kit to us and it perfectly fit the interests of one of the teenage girls. There's a tiger print for the border, but I'm not sure whether I'll use that or find another fabric.
Yellow Brick Road quilts are awesome in their efficient use of fabric, but they are not that interesting to make. Still, sometimes I want nothing more than stitching row after row after row of nice, straight seams.

I'm off tomorrow for several days -- my daughter Valerie is graduating from college this weekend! We're so happy for her, and are eager to see all the California family who will be there to help us celebrate. One of my nieces says it's a real possibility that she'll deliver a baby while we're there, too! The more, the merrier!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Will Paducah be in Paducah in 2009???

A member of my quilt guild just posted a link to an article that says a decision will be made in the next two weeks whether or not to hold the 2009 quilt show in Paducah or another city. Check out the article itself: Quilt Show Could Move in 2009.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Alphabets, letters, words -- gorgeous! You can play with them to your heart's content over at typogenerator. (I learned about this from Julie at High Fiber Content.) Type in a word and it compiles images from the web. You can have it try the same word over and over again and get entirely different images, or you can ask it to keep certain aspects only (text, color, background) and change the others. I typed in "peace" and here are three images I got:

Oops, I just posted this and all the images seem to have disappeared! They are still there in my html version, so I'm hoping you may see them, but they don't show up on my computer. Try it for yourself, it's great!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A little excitement over breakfast

Rains and winds and floods, oh my! The noisy weather, a broken sump pump, and uncertainty about flight cancellations for a trip my husband started this morning kept us from getting very much sleep last night. When I finally sat down to breakfast, I started browsing through the recent issue of Quiltmaker and saw my blog mentioned! I was so tired, I thought I somehow had misunderstood, but no, there it was. It's not this blog that was mentioned, but a blog I keep to showcase my guild's donations to Project Linus. How exciting! If you have the magazine, check out page 22.

If you are interested in making quilts for Project Linus, please take a look at our Hearts for Linus blog. You can get lots of ideas by browsing through the quilts. Also scroll down the sidebar and you'll see links to some easy patterns available for free on the web.

Things are back to normal, at least temporarily. Our internet connection was restored about an hour ago (we had none for about 15 hours), we have a new sump pump, and miraculously my husband's flight was not canceled. But it's clouding up again and they say more bad weather will be arriving soon. I'm not going anywhere, I'll just stay home and quilt!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Swap quilt and alarm clocks

My swap partner for the Miniature Booty Swap, Pam at My Creative Mind, has received her quilt! Yay! I hope she enjoys it. She just redid her sewing room in red and yellow, and asked for a quilt in those colors with flowers.

Overall the swap has been a very positive experience. I visited the blogs of everyone participating in the swap and have really enjoyed getting to know more quilters online. It was also a real challenge trying to figure out a design that someone I don't even know would like. AND -- I received a fabulous swap quilt myself from Toni, the Quilting Pirate!

I want to point out the Quilting Bloggers logo in my sidebar. If you click the logo, it will take you to the Quilting Bloggers website where you can locate other quilting bloggers in your country (and state or province in the US or Canada). The more bloggers who register, the more useful the site will be, so please consider registering if you haven't already.

And now for something completely different ...

DD 2 had her twenty-first birthday last week and told us she was planning to celebrate at midnight. DH and I debated phoning her on the stroke of twelve to wish her a happy birthday, but midnight in California is 2 am in Illinois, so we decided to wait. But at 2 o'clock on the dot I woke up and sat bolt upright in bed before I realized I was even awake. Pretty exact for an internal alarm!

I don't trust my internal clock, and not because it doesn't work. It works great. I wake up every morning at the same time. But if I have to get up extra early for some reason, I set that infernal alarm next to my bed (the alarm with the awful buzzing noise), and I usually wake up just before it goes off anyway. Occasionally I've had to rely on my internal alarm, but then I sleep very fitfully because I'm afraid I'll oversleep. I think I don't trust my internal alarm because I don't understand how it works.

So I did what any computer savvy person in the 21st century would do, I googled it. It seems that some researchers in Germany have shown that our body starts releasing stress hormones about an hour and a half before we plan to wake up so that we awaken at the appointed time. You can read a Psychology Today article about it here. The research doesn't explain everything, but it's an interesting start.

Anyhow -- I'm curious. Do any of you rely on your internal alarm clocks?