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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

30 Yards Of Fabric!

I had a hard time deciding what fabrics I wanted to use for the Old Red Barn Co. Quilt Along. So, I decided to make 3 quilts with the quilt along! One twin and two queen.

Yes, I'm crazy :)

This is the twin size one... all different designers, mostly Michele D'Amore. There's also some Michael Miller, Nancy Halvorsen and a couple of Moda prints in there. This is 24 fat quarters... 6 yards of fabric!

One of the queen size ones... This is "Mocha Meringue" by Michele D'Amore! I love the earthy softness of this line. I had 11 1 yard cuts, and a 3 yard cut of the large floral. So I used that one twice, and it will be the binding as well. That's 12 yards...!

And this is the other queen size... "Rio" by Michele D'Amore. Love it! I had 15 1-yard cuts of this collection. I picked out 12 for the top, one for the binding and the other two will be incorporated into the back. That's another 12 yards...!

I cut all of it this afternoon... my arms are sore!! I have some yard work to do tomorrow morning, but then I can sew all afternoon! Bobbins are wound and ready to go... I'm in the quilting zone!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Something Funny...

So I cracked up laughing when I saw the headline on Yahoo just now...

"Get Bikini-Ready In 2 Weeks"! Sounds wonderful!

I would LOVE to see the exercise/diet plan that would get me "bikini-ready" in 2 weeks!! :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

But Mom, Everyone's Doing It...

And now I am too! After seeing all the blog posts and Flickr pictures of people doing the Old Red Barn Co. quilt along, I have decided I can't resist...

I think I'm going to dive into my earthy batik stash for this one... but then there's the bright batiks... and the Amy Butler... Hm. I'll have to sleep on this one! I'll post a pic of my fabric choices tomorrow!


Well, I just dropped the only swap I was going to do in June... I'm just too busy! Add into my schedule the hour per day for exercising... now I'm super busy!! I won't be completely left out though... I still have the Buzz Cuts Bee, the Round Robin, and the Quilt Blocks for Show and Tell.

I also have the Sweet Dreams Bee- it's my month, and I am mailing my fabrics out today! It is SO exciting! I can't wait to see what blocks everyone makes. It's better than Christmas!

Thank you to everyone who left me such encouraging comments yesterday! They really meant a lot to me!! Besides being healthy and in shape, I now have a little something more to work towards... Hubby has promised me a laptop computer when I have lost 100 pounds! Now, I need to be honest. I have no need at all for a laptop- I just want one! So he's going to get me one, and a wireless router for the house when I reach that goal!

I did want to answer one comment in particular... My lovely guild friend Linda is right- there is a lot of pressure today to live up to standards set by Hollywood. But I think everyone would agree that my weight is not healthy. I have no particular final weight goal, or a particular size clothing I want to fit into. I just want to be fit and healthy- I don't want to look like Angelina Jolie!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Hardest Post I Will Ever Write

So, in the interest of no longer denying that I am overweight, and starting my weight loss journey off right, I have decided to use today's post as a "confessional".

I weigh 336 pounds.

I did not always weigh this much. I was an athlete as a teenager. Severe depression, two moves, a rocky start to my marriage and the death of my best friend all contributed to this.

But I am happily settled into a home and my marriage now. And the depression is a thing of the past! I will never get my friend back, but I will always have my memories. And she would not want me to be unhealthy.

I want (and need!) to be healthy. And 336 pounds is NOT healthy.

Time to slip on the brand new shoes and walk!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Olive Juice and Wind Turbines

I had a wonderful weekend at my sister's in La Crosse, WI this past weekend! We got her all moved out of her apartment, and also had some time for fun, like driving to the Middle Of Nowhere for a graduation party, and a trip (or two... ) to the BEST QUILT SHOP ON EARTH!!!

The quilt shop is called Olive Juice Quilts, and it is in Onalaska, WI, which is the city directly north of La Crosse. It used to be called A Stitch In Time, and that shop was OK, nothing special. I was unable to determine if there was a new owner, or if the owner decided to go a different direction... but WOW!!! I seriously want to move to the area just so I can be close to this shop!!

This is my "haul" from Olive Juice Quilts... they have everything! Moda, Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Anna Maria Horner, Tina Givens, Valorie Wells, Alexander Henry, Kokka, linen, Civil War, batiks, 30's... it was paradise!! And their classroom... *swoons*... I have never seen a bigger or nicer classroom!! The whole shop is just amazing, and if you are ever on I-90 headed through that area I strongly urge you to get off the road and go to this shop. Heck, I urge you to make a roadtrip just to go to this shop!!

I can't help but think it's a little unfair that a small area like La Crosse gets to have a shop like this... there is nothing that even comes close to it in the entire Chicago Metro area.

We also drove out to Austin, MN for the graduation party of two of my sister's future roomates. No offense to anyone from Minnesota, but I seriously cannot imagine a more boring drive than the one across southern Minnesota on I-90!

The one WAY cool thing was the wind turbine farm... miles and miles of wind turbines spinning in the wind... I didn't have my camera with me, unfortunately. I LOVE those big wind turbines- I think they are so beautiful!! And I love the fact that they are also making electricity without pollution. I will never understand why there is so much opposition to them- I would so much rather see those than the steam from the stacks of the nuclear power plant 40 miles west of me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The First Step And LOTS Of Pictures!

So you know how in 12-step programs, the first step is always that you need to admit you have a problem? Well, I did that with my last blog post... and, oddly enough, that simple admission seems to be what I needed to break through! I have been getting so much done!

This was the "Strawberries and Cream" swap from the "Fat Quarter Fabric Swap With A Twist" group! On the left is what I sent to Shelly (Pink Punk Boutique). And on the right is what she sent me!! This was her first swap ever... and man, did she go all out!

This is what I sent to Diane for the "A Little Fabric, A Little Chocolate" swap on Flickr. She sent mine out today... I can't wait to get it!

This is bound for Italy- to Julie, for a pincushion swap.

And this is one of the blocks I made for John for the Buzz Cuts group... the other one is a secret :) I mailed this out to him yesterday, along with the fabric he won in my blog giveaway.

And last but not least, I got all the way done with the yoke and was starting to work the body of a knit sweater when I found several mistakes. UGH!! I decided to frog (rippit!!) the whole thing and start over. This is what I have done so far on the new sweater... and I am MUCH happier with it! I'm using a pattern as a base, but doing my own thing with it. Which is why I made so many mistakes. Because I am NOT a knitting expert :)

Today I am getting my fabric ready for the Sweet Dreams Quilting Bee, finishing a block for Carol in the same bee, and getting ready to leave for my sister's tomorrow! I just have to get my clothes together, and find the air mattress... and make sure I leave plenty of prepared food for Hubby- he doesn't cook very well, and I don't want him eating junk while I'm gone!!

Then when I get home I will make blocks for a little Round Robin I was invited to join, and make a mini for the S.T.U.D. "Alphabet Mania" challenge... I have the letter "Y"! I know exactly what I'm going to do, so it won't take long... I will just squeak under the deadline!

And for June? ONE swap. And it's a goodies swap, not a mini quilt swap. That's all! I'll still have Buzz Cuts and the Round Robin, too. I have 6 quilt tops of my own ready to quilt, and my goal is to have those done by the end of June!

PS: Go check out http://quiltsalott.blogspot.com/... she made the cutest little stuffed animal I have ever seen!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Motivational Meltdown

Hi all... I have nothing new to show you... the reason being, I haven't been doing anything! I seem to have hit a wall as far as quilting and sewing goes. Grrr! I have so many things to make, and NO motivation to make them!

I've been spending my time cleaning the house, working in the garden, and knitting on the porch. I'm going to my sister's for Memorial Day weekend and am hoping that I come back motivated and refreshed. I usually do- my sister and I always have so much fun, and her church and the people there always renew me. I sometimes wish I could live there- even if it is in Wisconsin... :)

If I am swapping with you, or in a bee with you, don't worry! I take commitments very seriously and I won't let you down, I promise!

Friday, May 15, 2009

150th Post Winner

OK!! Here we go....

My non-scientific method: Hubby does not read my blog. At all. So I asked him to pick a number between 1 and 45.


"Just pick a number!"

"Is it for a blog thing again?"


And he picked.... #17!!!

And # 17 is:

"John said...
SERIOUSLY??!! What an AMAZING giveaway prize! I'm John from North Carolina, and I sure do hope I win!! Congrats on reaching this milestone.
May 13, 2009 1:35 PM"

YAY John (AKA QuiltDad)!! I have your address already, so you'll get it shortly (probably with your Buzz Cuts blocks that I plan to make next week)!

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and commented! I found several new blogs to add to my list... I need more time in the day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

150 Posts and 5,000 Visitors!

WOW!! Sometime in the night last night the 5,000th visitor to my blog stopped by! And this is my 150th post! And both of these are since November 6, 2008!!

I am having so much fun in Quilting Blogland.... you are all so nice and inspiring! I have learned so much and been so inspired by the people of Blogland!

So, I want to give you something! That's right, a little giveaway!

My giveaway is an 8 1/2" set of squares and a 6 1/2" set of squares from the following fabric collections These are complete collections- 1 square of each size from each fabric in these lines!

Arcadia by Sanae for Moda
Red Letter Day by Lizzy House for Andover
Granville by Nicole DeLeon-Hoover for Alexander Henry

All you have to do is leave me a comment with your name and where you're from!

For example: "Hi! My name is Jennie, and I'm from Illinois"

I'll randomly choose a winner from the comments left before 8:00am Friday May 15 (US CDT)!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I'm still here... I've just been so busy making stuff and doing yard work that I haven't posted!

I am working on swap stuff today. I have 2 ready to go to the post office, and I'll go there on my way to the store to get the stuff I need for a couple more swaps! Then I have blocks to make for Buzz Cuts and Sweet Dreams bees. And a pincushion swap, and a mini quilt! And I'm seriously cutting back on swaps for June!

Here's our weather forecast for tomorrow...

"Details for Wednesday, May 13: Strong thunderstorms likely. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. High 69F. Winds SSE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 70%. 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. Wednesday night: Thunderstorms, some strong in the evening, mainly cloudy overnight with a few showers. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. Low 48F. Winds WSW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 70%"

Lovely! Nothing like seeing the garden bashed to pieces by hail... at least it's early enough to plant again, should it come to that.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Realization...

I've been prewashing and pressing a LOT of fabric in the last few days, getting it all ready to be used! And with each and every piece I've pressed, I've been looking at it and saying "oh, I can't cut this up, it's too ______________" (fill in the blank- pretty, cool, etc).

But how am I supposed to make quilts out of it if I don't cut it up? So I am taking all the fat quarters and cutting them. ALL of them- even the brand new Erin McMorris ones I just got yesterday!

I will cut an 8 1/2" strip (2 squares), a 6 1/2" strip (3 squares) and a 2 1/2" strip. From ALL of them. These shapes are easily adaptable to many quilt patterns. I should have about an inch or so left over from each one- sounds perfect for a spiderweb quilt!

I have plans for some very simple quilts- sashed squares, coins, half-square triangles, pinwheels, that sort of thing. They are the quilts I have always wanted to make, but was told that they were "too simple", and that quilts needed to be more "complex" to be a "true" quilt.

I also have some plans for experimenting with texture, such as tucks and pleats.

One thing I have learned recently? The whole quilting industry is geared towards a much older, much more "traditional" quilter. I'm about 20 years younger than the demographic most fabric companies, quilt shops and magazines are targeting (notice I said "most", there are some that are realizing there are younger quilters out there- thank goodness!). So I'm going to make the quilts that I want to make, with the fabrics I like (even though I have to mail order them at the moment, since no shops around here carry what I want). I am not going to try to "fit in" to the mold the quilting industry has set out anymore. I'm going to do it my way!

{Cue Frank} :)

PS- Quilt In Joy- my closest local shop (and the one that has oodles of batiks and solids!) has featured one of my quilts on their website!! Go to their website and click on the "About Us" tab and scroll down to the "Customer Creations"- it's the 3rd one down on the left side- the wedding quilt I made for my cousin!- Jennie

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


This was a banner week for recieving swap mini quilts! I got my DQS6 and my S.T.U.D. quilts within 2 days of each other!

For DQS6, our partners were secret, and the person we were sending to was not the person sending to us!

I sent this to Sudi-Laura in Massachussetts for DQS6.

And I recieved this from Lynn in North Carolina! I just love it- it's so bright and cheerful. The flowers are supposed to be the back! I have them facing out right now. They are too cute to hide!

And for S.T.U.D. I was paired with Cary in North Carolina. The theme was "Spring Flowers".

So I sent this to Cary...

And this is what she sent me! Such cute fabrics, and the linen on the back/binding is great!

I tripped and punctured my right palm with a rustly nail yesterday while out working in the garden. In addition to having a seriously sore right hand, I also have a sore left arm, since I had to get a tetanus update as well! So the garden work is on hold for a couple days. I am pressing fabric and making bee blocks today.

Something funny (in an ironic sort of way): the last 2 times I have had to get a tetanus shot were because of cuts to the palm of my right hand- one 8 years ago, and one yesterday!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Busy Bees

The crabapple tree has outdone itself this year! It's so gorgeous and fragrant! I wish I could just put a chair under it, or a quilt, and read or nap. The reason I can't? The tree actually sounds like it is buzzing. there are so many bees!
I was able to get a really good shot of a bee hard at work in the tree. I am glad there are so many bees- they will pollinate my apple trees!

This was the 10th flower this bee landed on as I watched him! Watching the bees made me feel lazy. Even though I have been up since 5am and working non-stop- laundry (hung on the clothesline) bread baking, and I've been outside most of the morning, working on the gardens!

Here is the newly filled "kitchen garden" bed! It took 12 wheelbarrows full of dirt and 3 bags of composted manure to fill it. We had this totally useless space in front of the house that was impossible to mow... so I covered it with plastic and mulch for 2 years! It killed all the grass and weeds. Now I have the bed there, surrounded by mulch. I'm going to plant lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots in it. It's right by the front door, perfect for picking salads in the summer!
I also got the cantaloupe, zucchini and some radishes planted. The cantaloupe and zucchini have their own little mini beds outside the garden fence- there isn't room for them inside it! This way I can train them out into the yard. I plan to do the same with the pumpkins. The radishes were planted among the broccoli. They will be long gone by the time the broccoli is big enough to shade the whole bed, and the radishes will help keep the soil loosened for the broccoli!
Now I'm headed back out to plant my sunflower "field". I am going to try to get some seeds for roasting. I love sunflower and pumpkin seeds, roasted with just a hint of salt! It's a fantastic fall and winter snack, and good for you, too!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Last night I met Vicki at Joann's, just to browse and see what was there. We were both interested in picking up some linen, if there was any that was nice. There are so many awesome things being done with linen right now in the quilting world!

Well, not only did Joann's have nice linen, they had it on sale! YAY! I got 2 different ones- a dark brown and a natural. And last night I woke up at 3:30am with this idea! I've actually started keeping a notebook in my bedside table, since this isn't the first time this has happened.

The white is a Moda Bella solid- these have replaced Kona solids as my favorites! The Moda ones are SO much softer and nicer to work with. The circles and the binding are Amy Butler solids. And the brown is 100% linen!

I liked working with the linen, once I had sized it to death! It's pretty stretchy, but I used a LOT of Magic Sizing on it.

I quilted it very closely with pink thread on the brown- the lines are about 3/8" apart. I did tiny loops with white in the white part. This was a pretty big deal to me- I am usually scared to death of free-motion quilting! But I was determined, and I think it turned out pretty well! I have finally found my speed: machine on half-speed (my Pfaff has a button I can push for this), pedal to the floor. It worked great!

It's about 12" square. I'll get it up on the mini wall tomorrow morning!

Now I need to go plan more projects using linen.... :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Goal Oriented

I've been just kind of "drifting" through my days, not really having any clear cut goals for each day besides the daily housecleaning that I do. This hasn't been working very well, since I am the kind of person who wants to do everything! Then I get overwhelmed, and don't do anything.

So I decided I am going to set goals for each day! Chores, quilting, knitting, gardening... it doesn't matter what, but I am actually writing my goals down the night before. Somehow working from a list makes everything easier!

For example: my goals for today are: 1. exercise, 2. plant seedlings in garden, 3. turn 4 lbs of strawberries into jam, 4. finish knitting sock.
I have done all but #4, and that is going to be worked on- as soon as I'm done here!

Here is #2 on the goal list!!

And #3 on the goal list.
I don't have a picture of me exercising... trust me, you don't want to see that! Now I'm off to work on a sock... there is a certain holiday involving mothers coming up... and I have 2 of them that need gifts :)