"...for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make" ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bushfire Quilts And Other Stuff

Tia has been keeping us all updated about the blocks and quilts she has been recieving for the Bushfire Quilt Project... so far she's recieved 423 quilt blocks, 7 completed quilts, and 8 quilt tops!! And people have been sending her backings, thread, pins, and pre-made binding, too. It's been amazing to watch this project grow. The generosity is almost overwhelming- there are so many good people in the world!

Not much going on today. I am playing with my card stuff again, trying to fill out my card box with cards for all occasions. I am going to a UFO Night at Tammy Tadd Designs tonight- those are always so much fun! I have two quilts to hand-sew the binding on, so that's what I'm bringing to work on... I want to get them done and onto my completed project list for February! Talk about sneaking in under the wire... :)

I am looking forward to Monday- I'll get my partner information for 4 swaps then! I think I am turning into a swap-a-holic. It's just too much fun to make something for someone, and even more fun than that (if that's possible!) to get something in return!

Friday, February 27, 2009

10 Years

I am one of many who has been collecting the state quarters! I got a Hawaii quarter in my change today- it was the last one I needed!

As I was putting it in the book, I started thinking about all the things that have happened in the last 10 years!

I turned 21, moved from New York to Chicago, got engaged, was adopted by a cat, bought a house, got married, bought a car, and stopped working outside the home. I have learned to sew, quilt and make cards since I started collecting these. I lost my grandfather and my best friend Marie, both of whom are in heaven now, while working on this book. My nieces are both younger than this book!

Lots of life has happened since I started collecting these!

Cuppa Joe

Here's my latest finish- and it's on my 2009 Personal Challenge list- bonus!!

It's a Split Nine Patch made with charm squares from the "Bistro" collection by Deb Strain for Moda! It's so happy! The binding is actually from the "Marrakesh" line from Blank Quilting. I couldn't believe how well it matched! The backing is a flannel from the "Woolies" by Maywood studios. It's perfect for a day like today- cold, spitting snow, and very, very windy.

I have 2 more quilts that just need the hand sewing on the binding done, and they're done too! One is on the Grand Quilter, almost done being quilted, and I have another ready to go on, probably Monday. I have been rocking the UFO box this week- all 5 of these quilts are on my Personal Challenge list!

Please pray for a friend of mine- she has some serious health issues, and today she was involved in a hit and run accident- she was hit. She says she's "kind of ok...could be worse I guess- just emotionally drained and physically hurting".

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I love books. My favorites get a re-reading at least once a year, if not more! Which is why I have read the Lord Of The Rings books. Again. For the millionth time- it may be more than that! I might listen to them next time- I have them on audiobook, too. Unabridged. 52 hours of Frodo, Sam, and Sauron!

When I was a kid, my mom read the LOTR books aloud to us- twice. And to this day, I cannot read them without "hearing" the voices that she assigned to each character. I think Peter Jackson consulted my mom about Gollum in the movies- his voice is exactly the same as she did it!

I will read almost anything! My favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkein, J.K. Rowling, Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Eugenia Price, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Shelby Foote, Charles Dickens, Janette Oke, and the Bronte sisters. It's a bit eclectic!

I also love biographies. Two of my favs are "Titan" by Ron Chernow- it's about John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and "Andrew Carnegie" by David Nasaw. "The Reagan Diaries" is also very good. Ronald Reagan's love for his wife Nancy is so sweet!

I do not own, nor have I ever read, a Harlequin novel. I cannot get into authors like Danielle Steele (boring!), and I hate horror stuff like Stephen King.

Hubby loves to read, too- our living room looks like a library: we have comic books, "fluffy" books, huge tomes about the Civil War (me), lots and lots of books about trains and trolley buses and mass transit (Hubby). We have two rows of books on most of our bookcases and are considering how to re-arrange the furniture so we can fit more shelves in!

Strangely enough, though, neither of us have library cards! We both prefer to just buy the books we want. I think it's because we both like to re-read books.

Recently I have gotten into audiobooks. They are great because then you can "read" while you are doing other things, like quilting! Audible.com is my usual source for audiobooks. If you like audiobooks you should check it out!

Monday, February 23, 2009


One of the places Vicki, Hubby and I went on our trip to Chicago yesterday was Quiltology, which is, as far as I know, the only quilt shop within the Chicago city limits. I've wanted to go for some time, but it's not easy for a suburban girl to get to! It was a lot easier to get there since we were already in the city, though.

I loved it! They sell fabrics that you do not see in the 'burbs, which is really a shame! The quilt shops out here are nice, don't get me wrong, but they all seem to carry the same stuff (except Quilt In Joy. She carries some of the newer, more modern stuff!). This place was completely different from anything I've ever seen!
I had never seen or even heard of Patricia Bravo before yesterday. And I love her fabrics!
These are from her "Revive" collection.

These are a mix of Amy Butler and Patricia Bravo. I thought they were fun! I also picked up a Blue Underground pattern called "Modern Thinking". It's fabulous! And easy, which is a bonus...
Quiltology also carries Joel Dewberry, Kaffe Fassett, and they have a great selection of batiks! They have lots of Minkie, and they carry solids from Benartex that feel so nice- they're not stiff like a lot of other solids are.
Today I am quilting! I am almost done quilting one quilt, and I plan to get the next one on the machine and quilted today as well. I need to get some of my UFO's done and off my mind- and off my list- so I can dive into these fun new fabrics!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Was Old...

Vicki, Hubby and I hopped a train and went into Chicago today! We went to the Art Institute and Quiltology (more about Quiltology tomorrow... a LOT more!). It was such a fun day!

We saw some really great paintings at the A.I. I just loved the colors on some of them! And we came across a painting with a very interesting little detail...
Look at that floor! This painting is from 1490! Long before Ohio... :) I didn't get a picture of the whole painting, but it's called "Virgin and Child Crowned by Angels" by Colyn de Coter.
There were many other lovely paintings! Here's one of my favorites:
It's called "Kitchen Still Life" and is attributed to Paolo Antonio Barbieri, from about 1640. I love the whole scene, but the detail on the mushrooms is just wonderful!
This one is called "Still Life With A Basket Of Fruit And A Bunch Of Asparagus" by Louise Moillon, 1630. Doesn't it look yummy? :)

The Art Institute has some architectural items too, taken from Chicago buildings that were (most unfortunately) torn down or remodeled.

This is an Adler and Sullivan elevator enclosure grill taken out of the Chicago Stock Exchange building that was demolished in 1972. I LOVE the detail on this, and am really thinking hard about how to make this into a bias-tape applique!
This is a Frank Lloyd Wright window from the Emil Bach house. I love it! I think it may become a quilt too...

I took almost 200 pictures at the museum- and that was with the textiles and quilt exhibit closed! It will re-open in May- the galleries have been undergoing extensive remodeling. I cannot wait until it opens- I have been told that some of the quilts they have are amazing!

Then- we went to Quiltology...... :) :) :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Branching Out

I have been very inspired by some other blogs lately, mainly John (he has pics of some really beautiful Gee's Bend-type minis that were made as part of a swap), Sarah (who's green quilt is out-of-this-world gorgeous!) and Paige.

I have started to look more closely at improv quilts, and quilts that have not been my "style" up till now. The Gee's Bend quilts are a good example of what I mean. I have always thought they were beautiful, but never, ever, EVER thought I could make one. I am (was!) everything-must-be-square Jennie, after all!

I put together a lovely gathering of fabrics to help me get started on my improv journey:

I started small- I had used fat quarters to make blocks for a 4-patch swap I am in, so I took the leftovers from that to dip my toes in, so to speak... this was my first EVER "wonky" block! And, as Hubby pointed out, it IS square... just not all the seams are square to each other!

The pull of "the box" was pretty strong at the beginning, but I managed to resist, and came out victorious- and with this darling little top! It's called Ebudae. That's an Enya song that was playing on my i-Pod when I finished the top.

That's Hubby holding it for me. Funny story about the border: I could not decide which of the two outer border fabrics to use. Hubby was called in to give a consultation (I do this frequently, and have never been disappointed with the results!). His suggestion: since it's supposed to be wonky, why not use both fabrics for the border? As you can see, I liked this idea!

I am having a lot of fun with blogs and Flickr groups. It's very enlightening to see what people in different parts of the world are doing! The swaps are a lot of fun too. I wish I had time to participate in all of them! It's so much fun to get something from someone you don't even know, really. The ideas and fabric choices are all fresh and new- and I learn something from each one.

My mini quilt from Carol in Iowa is a good example: I would have never in a million years thought to use the bright orange fabric she used- especially not with teal, brown and black. But it makes the quilt fabulous, not just "pretty"! And I have learned that I should not automatically rule out a fabric or color that I don't think will work. It just might be the one fabric that's needed to make the quilt shine!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I don't know why it is, but I always seem to want to organize stuff when I'm sick. I am feeling a lot better today, BTW! Last night, though, all I wanted to do was make something look neater and be more user-friendly than it was!

So, I organized my cardstock! I have a LOT more cardstock than I thought I did! It's all from Stampin'Up! (I used to be a demonstrator, so most of my stuff is from them), so I organized it by the color families they have in their catalog. It's all in here, too, so I know I don't have packages of cardstock floating around the house, waiting for me to find it AFTER I order a new package (which is why I have 4 packages of hunter green cardstock...). I think it looks pretty all together like that!

Then today I pulled from ye old stash (and took a short trip to Quilt In Joy...) to put together this!!

I am going to try making a "wonky" or "improv" quilt... I think the time has come to break my "every seam must match or else it goes in the lit fireplace" attitude! I was also inspired by a post on quiltsalott's blog, and I think I am going to hand quilt it using a "big stitch" technique. Won't that be liberating? Taking all of my perfectionist tendencies and throwing them right out the door at once? I am looking forward to making this quilt!

We are supposed to get socked with snow again tonight and tomorrow- they said 6-10", with the bigger accumulations closer to the Wisconsin border... which usually means me, since my house is only about 15 miles from the border! Oh, well. I am glad it's hitting on a weekend this time- that means Hubby doesn't have to go out in it to get to work!

I am trying a new/old recipe tonight for dinner... it's lasagna, but it's cooked all day in a crockpot! I want to use my crockpot more. It's so nice to just throw stuff in and let it cook all day!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mini Quilt Swap

Vicki introduced me to a group on Flickr that swaps mini quilts every month. It's so much fun! There's always a theme (February's was paper-piecing), and there's always an "Anything Goes" option too. Most people sign up for both... like me!

I got a package from my paper piecing partner today!! I ADORE the quilt she made for me, and all the goodies she sent!

Isn't the quilt gorgeous? It's 13 1/2" square. That pop of gold just makes it stand up and say "look at me"!! And I have been- I've had it for about an hour, and I can't stop looking at it!

She also sent me 4 batik fat quarters, a zipper pouch, a needle holder, and three hot cocoa packets!

This package really brightened my day, since Im still feeling icky. Hubby (wonderful, wonderful Hubby!) took pity on me last night and, with LOTS of directions from me, washed a load of laundry that will keep us going for a few days until I feel better! I had better feel good by Sunday- Vicki and I are going to the Art Institute in Chicago- the Impressionist paintings are back from a loan to a museum in Texas. They were gone when I was there in August with my sister, and I really want to see them! Plus it's free admission this month, thanks to the MetLife Foundation.

Off to make more cards- I had an idea for a cute little 3" x 3" note card, and it's actually turning out as cute as I thought it would!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sharing Can Be Good... Or Bad...

Hubby and I share lots of stuff- books, tools, blankets, etc. One thing I could have lived without him sharing with me is his cold! He has been sick the last 3 days. I was really starting to hope I would escape it, but no such luck! Fortunately for me, I can stay home and drink tea and do next to nothing when I am sick. Unlike Hubby, who drags himself off to work every day, regardless of how he feels!

One thing I did today, after I had done the bare minimum work around the house, was sit and make some cards! Stampin'Up! has a new stamp set called "Quilt Quips". Well, how was I supposed to resist that? With all the swaps I am participating in now in Flickr-land and blogland, I wanted some cute cards to send along with the mini quilts and blocks and stuff that I am swapping with others.
This one was inspired by a four-patch quilt block exchange I am participating in through one of my Flickr groups!

And this one was inspired by the fact that I like blue and green together!
That's about the extent of my accomplishments today. I hope I will feel better tomorrow- it's laundry day and I really can't skive off on that!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rainy Days And Mondays Challenge

Today I came across a cute little challenge! It was at Tracy's, and it was to make a mini quilt out of 1930's fabrics- today! So I did it! I pulled out the very few 30's fabrics I have, and whipped up this little cutie! The pattern is known as Chinese Coins.

I also learned a new computer trick today, thanks to Hubby- I now know how to blur things! I have wanted to show my labels, but Hubby didn't want to have my whole name splashed for everyone to see- so now I can blurr out my last name and show the rest! Here's the label for the challenge:

I also finished up 2 mini quilts for a swap I'm in, but I'll blog those later- I think the ladies who are to receive them read this, so I don't want to spoil the surprise!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bushfire Quilt Project

I got my blocks done! 10 blocks are ready to go to Australia to be made into quilts to comfort the vicitms of the bushfires!

I also bought backing fabrics to send.

They'll go in the mail tomorrow morning!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Am A Homemaker, Not A Housewife!

I was running errands this morning that included a trip to the grocery store. I had the unpleasant experience of running into a former co-worker. This former co-worker has always been unfriendly to me, despite the fact that I have never been anything but polite to her. She got really nasty when I left my job 3 years ago to be a homemaker. Nearly everyone else I know thinks it's great, and I have more than one friend who wishes they could do the same. Not this person! She said I was "betraying" the women's rights movement to be a "housewife" and "become a slave" to my husband.

Today she asked me if I was still "sitting around all day doing nothing". I just smiled and walked away. I wanted to ask why such a busy career woman as herself was at the grocery store at 9:30am on a Thursday, but I restrained myself. Barely.

Anyone that knows me (Mom? care to jump in here?) knows that I am stubborn, and I simply don't do things I don't want to do. The comment about becoming a slave to my husband was really funny to me, because I cannot imagine anything being further from the truth!

I really feel like it's a give and take thing. He fights Chicago traffic for nearly an hour to get to work, works all day, and fights Chicago traffic again for nearly an hour to get home. He earns the money we need to have a house, cars, electricity, food, and indulge our hobbies, which are numerous. He is an excellent manager of money (something I am not, but he is teaching me!). We do not have a mortgage on our house- we paid for it with cash. We also paid cash for our cars. We pay cash for everything, actually! We have no debts at all, and that is very nice in the current economic climate!

I clean the house, do the laundry, plan our meals, cook our meals, do the grocery shopping, and make sure the bills get paid. I also take care of the yard in the summer (I love mowing the grass, I have since I was a kid!) and plant and tend the garden, which is pure joy for me, and healthy vegetables for both of us (and usually our neighbors!). I also have time to sew and knit, which I enjoy very much! I wish Hubby could have as much time to indulge his hobbies.

My understanding of the Women's Rights movement, in it's original form, was that those women were fighting so women could choose. And this is my choice! I choose to be a homemaker. I love what I do! It's a lot more relaxing than going to an office every day. Here's something funny- Hubby and I each think the other has the harder job!

Sorry, but I needed to rant a little. This woman has always gotten under my skin, despite my best efforts to not be bothered by her! I do not criticize her choice to have a career, and I cannot imagine why she attacks my choice to be a homemaker.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Got An Award!!

Yay! It's so fun when other people, people you don't even know, think your work is worthy of an award! It started when an admin of a Flickr group invited me to add my photos to her group "fabric, patchwork and quilting". Then another member of that group gave me an award for my "So Ends A Fair Day" mini-quilt!

I am so happy to have discovered the world of online quilting friends! Everyone is so kind, and generous, and I am really having fun with swaps, and seeing what others are doing. It's so inspiring to see the quilts and the creativity of people from all over the world!

I'm off to do some outdoor work now- it's almost 60F! Tomorrow is supposed to be icky and rainy, and that will be a perfect day to stay inside and make star blocks for the Bushfire Quilt Project. I was at one of my local quilt shops today and got some fabric for $4/yard to send to Tia for backings for these quilts, too. I plan to get everything together and mailed by Friday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bushfire Quilt Project

OK, so this is my third post of the day, but anyway...

I just found this group on Flickr, and I am so glad, since I have been aching to find a way to help those in Australia who have lost their homes and their loved ones. Check it out- it's so easy, making a few quilt blocks only takes a couple hours, and it's an APO address, so it won't cost a lot to send the blocks from the USA. The woman heading this is the wife of a US Army soldier stationed in Australia, and she is going assemble and quilt the blocks there.

I'll dig around in my stash and get going tonight!

PS- I guess this is catching on- I just saw that QuiltDad has posted about this, too!

Garden 2009!

Oh, I can't wait to get out and get started on the garden! I just ordered my seeds- I am so excited! I love planning for the garden!

I have decided to plant (in no particular order...)
Green beans (for freezing)
pickling cucumbers
Sugar Snap Peas (these will be frozen whole- if they don't all get eaten straight from the vine!)
Little marvel Peas (these will be shelled and frozen)

Yikes! It's a big one this year! I intend for us to eat from it over the summer, and have plenty to freeze and can for next winter. I am tired of buying vegetables from questionable sources, and I personally like to eat vegetables I've grown myself. I know what went into the soil, and since I grow organically I know there's no pesticides or herbicides involved. Plus, veggies just taste better from the garden!

Now to lay out the garden and decide what goes in which bed (I garden in raised beds), and how many new beds I want the CEO to build!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Release From Prison!

Oh, we had the nicest weather here in the Chicago area yesterday!! I spent the entire day outside! It got up to 55, and it was sunny, and the breeze was... well, it wasn't warm, but it wasn't too cold! It's supposed to be in the 60's on Tuesday. With rain- and thunderstorms. I am afraid of thunderstorms. So I hope the storms go somewhere else!

I planted an indoor garden of lettuce, spinach, radishes and a bush tomato that gives off 1" fruits! We'll see if it works- I have been toying with the idea all winter, and yesterday I did it! If it works, I'll start early in the winter next year, and grow our salads instead of buying them!

We also took my car to the car wash. How amazed we were to find that my little Jetta is green! It has been a kind of grayish-white color because of all the salt.

I hope all my Australian friends are doing OK. It has been heartbreaking to watch the footage and read the stories about the fires there. And it's angering to think that someone deliberately set them, like the officials are saying. Whole towns are burned to the ground, and 100+ people are dead, the news said today. It's so sad. I am praying for everyone Down Under!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pay It Forward People!

I am really looking forward to making stuff for Amy and Amanda! As for my third person, I have decided that I will send something to Ann- she chose me to give something to as part of her Pay It Forward, and got me involved in this lovely idea!

If Amy and Ann would be so kind as to send your real address to the e-mail in my profile, I would appreciate it! Amanda, I have yours already!

I hope to get stuff out by the end of March- I already know what I'm making, I just need to make it!

Natural Habitat

My cat is so much fun! She has the best personality of any pet I have ever had- she's so personable- and demanding! Here are some pictures of Lucky in her "natural" habitat:
This is her usual morning. Sleeping on the bed, under her own quilt. Looking really ticked if I interrupt her in any way. Like I did this morning, both to put laundry away, and then to take this picture!
She LOVES drinking from a cup- especially milk! You should see her begging for milk- it's hysterically funny- and very hard to resist. But we do (most of the time) because milk isn't very good for an adult cat. We usually only give her water this way. As you can see, she is large enough without a lot of "people" food thrown in! She has a metabolic disorder, according to the vet.
She actually was larger than this when we first got her- we were able to get her to lose about 6 pounds with a special diet and exercise (playing with string, carrying her out to the end of our driveway and having her walk back, etc). But then she kind of levelled off, and we couldn't get any more weight off of her. Our options were (1) to do nothing except keep feeding her the special food and playing with her, to keep her somewhat in shape, and love her as long as she lives, or (2) try to give her expensive shots that might do something, but probably wouldn't do anything except make her hate us. We went with the first option! She turns 10 on February 14, so she's doing pretty good!
To quote a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon: "all that fur must be strictly ornamental"! She is always in the sun, or under the quilts, or next to the furnace outlet in the floor! Even in the summer she will lay in the sun- until it gets too hot, then she goes and lays on the cool tile, or next to the air conditioner outlet!
She likes being places she's not supposed to be, too, like this! How decadent, all curled up in and on the down comforter! This picture is from last spring, actually, when I was washing all the bedding and changing back from the flannel sheets- and closeting the down comforter for the summer!
We really, really love our Lucky kitty, and are thankful that she adopted us!
And finally, a quote from my dad: "Dogs have owners. Cats have staff." This is very, very true in Lucky's case.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Please Participate In My Pay It Forward!

C'mon, everyone! Don't be shy! You know you want me to send you something! Please sign up for my Pay It Forward. It's not hard. The gifts you make to give to others don't have to be elaborate, just something you made! Cards, a scarf, a mini quilt... the possibilities are endless! You don't have to do it right away, either- you have a year to host yours.

I am looking forward to making things for Amy, and I'd love to make something for you, too! Go to my Pay It Forward post and sign up! The next two who sign up are in!

3:45pm edit: YAY! QuiltMom (AKA Amanda, AKA one of my best friends!) is going to Pay It Forward!! One more... last call...!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I decided this year that I would not make some grand resolution, but that I would make monthly resolutions, to be decided upon when the time drew near. These will hopefully spill into the remaining months of the year, but I felt it was easier to resolve to do something for a month than for a whole year!

My January resolution was to reduce the amount of junk food I ate. And I did it! And I lost 11.6 pounds, even though I was unable to exercise due to a badly bruised hip (which is feeling better, and the doctor says I can start exercising again on Monday!). I definitely have plans to keep this one going. It's pretty easy, once you get over the cravings. I swear, I think certain foods have addictive substances added to them. Giving up one of the things I really liked was as bad as giving up cigarettes (which I did over 7 years ago)!

February's resolution is: spend no money on quilting, knitting or cardmaking for the entire month. This has one exception: I am still waiting for the knitting shop to get the needles I need for a sock class I am taking at the end of the month. Once they come in, I will be buying them, and it will have to be in February, since the class starts on the 28th. But they were ordered in January!

4 days in, and I am doing good! I have been deleting all the e-mails from Fabric Depot and the like unread, so as to reduce temptation. And fortunately the new Stampin'Up catalog came out in mid-January, so I was able to get what I wanted from that (which wasn't much) before the resolve kicked in.

It's been fun re-acquainting myself with the stuff I already have, instead of burying it with gobs of new stuff. I have so many ideas floating in my head for projects in all three areas that I have started writing them down so I don't forget them!

I think monthly resolutions are the way to go. A month doesn't loom ahead quite as badly as a whole year! I'll have to start thinking of one for March soon, so I can plan for it.