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

Monday, March 30, 2009

That Wacky Chicago Weather!

So yesterday morning we got about 4 inches of snow! And of course it was pretty much the only day of the whole month that we had a place we HAD to be at! We made is safely to our destination (and saw a snowplow and TWO police cars in the ditch along the tollway, along with about 6 other cars). How, I do not know... I guess fortune really does favor the foolish!
This is at our house at around 6:00am... It's snowing like crazy!
But by noon the snow had stopped, and it was really, really gray and gloomy! This is the Sears Tower (and it will always BE the Sears Tower, I don't care what some British company says!) from a Red Line "L" train. This really is a color picture... :) This is from the south side of the city.
And by 6pm, we had this: The Sears Tower, photgraphed from a Blue Line "L" train. Brilliant sunshine, blue sky, hardly a cloud to be seen! This is from the west side of the city.
As the saying goes: Don't like the weather in Chicago? Wait a little while- it will change!

Friday, March 27, 2009

If You Want Something...

Sometimes you need to design it yourself!

I have been looking and looking for a purse pattern that I really like! I thought the Amy Butler Birdie Sling bag was it... and it's a GREAT bag, don't get me wrong! But it's too big for everyday use.

So, I played around today, and made my own purse pattern!

It's very slightly shaped- 11" wide at the bottom, and 10" wide at the top- 12" tall and 4" deep. It has a magnetic snap closure and two pockets inside, one for my gum, the other for my cell phone! It has a single strap, and the really cute covered button has a twin on the other side!

It's the perfect size! I used fabric I had lying around to make this one, and I made sure I would want to use it, should it turn out well! Now I am going to ponder my stash and come up with a more summery version.

I had a really funny thought while I was making this... how did people sew in the days before fusible interfacing and fleece? :)


I am trying hard to reconcile myself to the fact that I am really not going to get anything in the ground until May. But it's so hard- I want to plant vegetables!! I want warm weather! Heck, I even want to mow the grass!

We are supposed to get 3-5" of "wet, sloppy snow" on Saturday night! NOOOOOOOOO!!!

OK, childish temper tantrum over...

I have been so sick over the past 14 days... I had a cold, and that went away, then I had what seemed to be bad allergies... until my right ear drum ruptured. And the strep test came back positive. Now I'm feeling a little better, after 2 days of the antibiotic. My ear is feeling better, too. It hurt like heck for a while there!

I decided to not participate in some of the swaps I was going to do for April. I have a million things to catch up on once I'm fully well! I know that I need to take the month off, but it's going to be hard, looking at the pictures of everyone else's quilts and knowing I won't be getting one:( I'll be back in the ring for May, though!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Quilting Blues

I decided to make a few changes, in an effort to get my quilting desire back! It's been totally in the dumps- I have made some bags, and fondled lots of fabrics and looked at lots of patterns, but nothing.

A faint glimmer came through, though, when I found Oh, Fransson's Mod Sampler Quilt Along! Here are my fabrics for that...

I took down the long list of UFQ's on my sidebar and replaced it with a list of stuff I've completed in 2009.

To be honest, my tastes have changed- a lot- and I am not sure that some of those quilts will ever be made. The ones that were already started, yes, I will finish those. But a lot of the ones on that list were "USQ's", or Un-Started Quilts. They were there because I had the fabric and pattern picked, and intended to make them! But now I am not sure I want to make them... and having them listed there made them feel like obligations. This is my hobby- I'll make what I want, when I want!

Not too much else. I have 6 of Vicki's Fabulous Shopping Bags cut out and ready to sew. I decided against the Joel Dewberry fabric... the way the sparrows are placed on the fabric makes it hard to work with- all the sparrows were getting covered with the straps when I measured everything out! So I am using a really cute (and very girly) print from Michael Miller. We decided that since we use plastic grocery bags for trash can liners and the cat litter, Hubby would just get those whenever he goes to the store (which is usually just for milk and vegetables) and I'll use the reusable grocery bags when I do our big bi-weekly shopping!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I spent some time this morning organizing my i-Tunes playlists, and I realized I have really eclectic tastes in music!! I have rock, pop, 1990's alternative, New Age, bluegrass, folk, country and classical music on my i-Pod, along with dozens of audiobooks.

The "most songs from one artist" goes to: Alison Krauss and Union Station! I've been listening to her since I was a kid. I really can't remember a time when I did not listen to, and love, her music! Second place in the "most songs from one artist" category goes to Enya. I can't remember a time when I did not listen to, and love, her music either!

The"most of any genre" goes to: 1990's Alternative Rock, which is just about as far from Bluegrass and New Age as you can get! But it's totally my favorite genre. Give me some Bush, Better Than Ezra, Collective Soul and Vertical Horizon and I'm a happy girl!

The "most listened to song" goes to: "Abilene" by Runaway Dorothy.

I was introduced to Runaway Dorothy through a podcast about a year ago- and about 3 months before their album officially came out! I contacted the band, to see when the album was going to come out, and was rewarded with a free download- of the whole album! It's called "The Arc". I love it. Runaway Dorothy is awesome. I highly recommend that you check them out!!

Some of my favorite bands (in no real order, but my favorite is first!):
Evanescence, Runaway Dorothy, Sarah McLachlan, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Enya, Daughtry, Lifehouse, Barenaked Ladies, Fergie

And some of my favorite songs (again, no real order, but my favorite is first!):
"Missing" by Evanescence
"Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie
"River" by Sarah McLachlan
"Abilene" by Runaway Dorothy
"Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M.
"Far Away" by Nickelback
"Frozen" by Madonna
"In My Life" by Judy Collins

And lastly, my favorite song lyric:

"But stories always end
And if you read between the lines
You'll know that I'm just trying to understand
The feelings that you lack" ~ from "If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Swappy Stuff

Here are some more swaps I have done recently!!

This was sent to Lish in Indiana for the S.T.U.D. Anything Goes category for March. She also likes to knit, so I sent some pretty yarn! And who doesn't like chocolate?

This was sent to Toni in Montana... She's big into going green and reusing... she said she especially likes to use old jeans! Well, I have plenty of those, since Hubby's so hard on them, so I sent her a couple pairs. I also sent some 5" squares of fabric.

This is my first Buzz Cuts block, for Kathy in Oregon! It's an original block- I didn't follow a pattern, I just made it up as I went. I think I have enough of the fabric she sent to make another, different block. Once inspiration strikes, I'll get to it!

I went to Ikea on Sunday afternoon with Vicki and Paige. It was interesting! I had never been there before. They have some nice stuff, but they also have some not-so-nice stuff. You have to be careful! I picked up some kitchen things, like spice jars and cutting mats.

Not much else. It's pouring rain with brilliant sunshine right now... and no rainbow. I feel cheated!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Secret Easter Swap

YAY!! My partner received (and loves!), her Secret Easter Swap goodies! So now I can tell you about it!

Julie over at Bush Baby Jag organized the Secret Easter Swap. What's the "secret" part? You don't know who's sending you a gift! She sent out all the info in e-mails.

I was to make something for Shari in Perth, Western Australia! It was so much fun to "stalk" her blog and get a feel for what she would like. I ended up making this!

It's a coins quilt made with charm squares from the "Nature's Chorus" collection by April Cornell for Moda. Isn't it just bright, and springy, and happy? It's about 12" high by 10" wide.

I sent along some other goodies too, a couple pages of stickers and some Easter ribbon.

I wanted to send some chocolate, but the info on the USPS website about sending food to Australia was confusing. I think it would have been OK, but I didn't want there to be any problems, so I left it out.

I am really happy she likes it! And I still have the excitement of waiting for my Secret Easter Swap package to arrive- and I have absolutely no idea who (or where!) it will come from!

Vicki's Fabulous Shopping Bag!

Here it is! My first "Vicki" bag!! It was super easy to make- her pattern is awesome! I found just a couple little things that need tweaking... but that's why she's having friends test it before the final pattern comes out!

Isn't it fabulous? These bags fit so many groceries! And LOTS of fabric, as Vicki and I proved at the Madison Expo last September... :)

And that big bag folds up into this!! It fits right in my purse, perfect for going to the store!

I think I know what I will be making for Christmas gifts this year... what better way to tell family and friends you love them than to give them tools to help them go green and be kind to the world God created for us?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pattern Testing

I volunteered to test Vicki's pattern for her Fabulous Shopping Bag (that's my name for it- I think she is still trying to come up with the "official" name!). I have my fabrics picked, and I am ready to go!

I'm going to make my very first bag out of these- they're "Woodland Bloom" by Lila Tueller.

If all goes well (and I have no reason to think it won't!), I am going to make myself a set of 6- from my beloved Joel Dewberry Sparrows. I have 4 now, that Vicki made for me out of really cute fabric from the "XOXO, The Cat" line. But Hubby doesn't like to use them! He thinks this fabric is more "masculine". And it's my favorite fabric ever, so I will make us both happy and use it to make more bags!

Not a whole lot else. I have had a terrible cough that my doctor says is due to allergies. I agree with this, because I don't feel sick, my throat is just real tickly! I'll just have to bear it, though, since I refuse to take any medications for it. I just don't trust those kinds of medicines, especially since the one I was taking is now under investigation for causing suicidal ideation and severe depression. Both of which I suffered with- until I stopped taking the medication. Then I went right back to my normal, happy self. I never want to feel the way I felt during that time again- I'd rather tolerate the allergies!

I also had to find a new dish soap... I think the one I've been using for the past 5 years must have been reformulated or something. I started using a new bottle last week, and my hands and forearms broke out into horrible rashes! I actually had to get a prescription hydrocortisone ointment for it, it's so bad. I found a new dish soap that says it's hypoallergenic, and free of dyes and perfumes. So far, so good!

And lastly, I would just like to say that I love Trader Joe's :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stash Fun

I spent some time yesterday just looking at my fabric (and petting it, a little...). I rounded up all my black and white prints and put them together in a tub- don't they look great together?

I also finished pressing my Amy Butler fat quarters. They are so happy!

I also finished up another swap quilt that I am going to be mailing today. It's super cool! Once she gets it I'll post pictures of it. I almost didnt' want to send it away!

I've been following the story of Natasha Richardson. It's so sad. Everyone, PLEASE wear a helmet when you are cycling, rollerblading, skiing, or riding a motorcycle. The helmet is designed to absorb the impact that otherwise is absorbed by your brain. A helmet can't absorb all of the impact, and if you have a blow to the head while wearing one you should still see a doctor. But even a seemingly minor impact can rupture blood vessels in your head and cause your brain to start swelling. Helmets are proven to reduce injuries to the brain. Adults need to wear helmets too! I know helmets aren't very "cool", but they are a heck of a lot cooler than being dead.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fabric Diet

So yesterday I spent an obscene amount of money at Quilt Arts- but how can you turn down Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry- for $5 a yard? You just can't. It's not possible!

Now I am going to go on a fabric diet. Seriously- I have so much fabric I can hardly find places for it all! My culling and cutting did no good- my sewing room is just as crowded as it was before. And I have many, many more yards coming! Everything I bought yesterday has a purpose, but I'll still have to deal with it until I can get it sewn!

So, no more fabric for me! No more Etsy, no more local or internet shops, and definitely NO SHOWS- which includes the International Quilt Festival coming up here in Chicago in April. I will go to the show in Madison, WI in September, though. I think I can sew through some of my stash by then! So from now until September- no fabric purchases.

I found out recently that there are some members of my quilt guild going through hard times financially, and they can't buy fabric right now. I think that's a perfect place to give away some of my fabric!

This is going to be hard. But I know I can do it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Warm Weather

Wow!! Yesterday was 67 degrees... today it's supposed to be in the 70's... FINALLY!!! There's supposed to be 30mph winds today, though. And then it gets cold again. But it's warm now, and I'll take it!

I spent the whole day yesterday washing bedding, quilts and towels and drying them on the clothesline. I also picked up all the branches that were down from the ferocious winds we had this winter and put them on the pile of stuff that came down last summer in all those terrible storms we had. When Hubby got home we had a "high temperature volume reduction" as he calls it, or a fire, as I call it, and got rid of all the brush! It was so nice to get rid of that pile.

I was excited to be invited to join a group called Buzz Cuts! It's 16 people, and every month 1 person sends out fabric, and the other 15 make blocks from it, and send them back. It's a 16 month project. How fun is that? They had a member who had to drop out, so I was invited to take her spot. I don't send my fabric out until April 2010, but I should get my first packet of someone else's fabric soon!

Today I am getting some serious house cleaning done. Isn't it funny, that when it's so nice outside I want to be inside, cleaning? I think the spring cleaning bug has bit.

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, and I plan to use the day to finish up some swap minis. I have 2 to finish and get out before the end of March. I also want to get going on my Pay It Forward projects. I hope to get those out by the end of May!

In April I am in 3 mini quilt swaps, a pincushion swap, a fabric and chocolate swap, and I'll have the Buzz Cuts blocks to make. Swapping is so much fun!

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Retreat!

Wow- I really had fun at my retreat this weekend! I got SO much done- it was super! I stayed up until 1:30am Saturday morning, and 3:00am Sunday morning. We had so much fun- and absolutely fabulous food!

Here's the stuff I worked on:

This is a split 9-patch made with the "Tranquility" line from Moda. I had the center all done, and I got the borders done on Friday.

This is my Amy Butler's Birdie Sling bag- kind of...! I changed the handle- I really, really did not like the handle in the pattern, so I took the idea from Amy Butler's Frenchie Bag to make these handles! It was really easy to make, but it took a LOT of time to cut out all the pieces and fuse all the interfacing. I only got one done.

All I did to this was get the sashing and borders on. I really love this! It turned out to be about 25" square. I'm just going to do some really simple ditch quilting on this.

And this is the reason I was up until 3am this morning- "The Posh Quilt"!! I started piecing the blocks for this at 11pm Saturday! Vicki and I played with the layout, but finally gave up at 3am and went to bed. This morning Paige, Vicki and I got the setting to what you see here! I didn't get the borders done because we decided my original choice for the inner border was NOT going to work. And the fabric we decided I should go with was at home!

I'm super tired now. But it was a fantastic weekend! I wish there could be a retreat every month. Or that the retreat could be a week long!

***I just read the update from the Bushfire Quilt Project- here's the stats according to CampFollowerBagLady!! This is a total of 85 quilts. WOW!!***

Donated quilt blocks - 1223
Enough to make - 48 star quilts
assembled quilt tops donated - 30
finished quilts donated - 7

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Last Wednesday I went out to QuiltPlay! It's a new quilt shop in Grayslake, IL. I really wish it was closer to me... but perhaps it's a good thing that it's an 80 mile round trip...

They had flannels on sale- aren't these awesome? The birds and the dotted ones are Valorie Wells, and the flowered one is a Robert Kaufman print.

Amy Schilme's Forest Friends! I think I am getting into an owl thing... there are so many cute owl fabrics coming out!

Some black and white I picked up, along with 2 orange batiks. I did not buy these intending to use them all together, but I have changed my mind since I took this photo! Don't they look stunning together?
Great book with a really nice technique for paper-piecing miniature quilts!
I also got to meet Susan ("chickenfoot")- she's the one coordinating Doll Quilt Swap 6!

Friday, March 13, 2009

100!!! And The Winner Is...

Andrea from NY!!!!!

"Congratulations on getting to 100! I'm Andrea from New York. I don't have a blog myself, so I have to leave my comment annonymously. But you know me - quiltedoma from flickr!"

And here's what you've won!!

It's a set of 37 (!!) fat quarters from Nancy Halvorsen's "Cider Mill Road" collection! That's one of each in the whole collection! I hope you enjoy it!

I'll get it out in the mail to you on Monday, Andrea!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and played along! I had a really fun time reading all the comments! It's been a lot of fun blogging this far, and I look forward to blogging more in the future!!

I'm off to a quilting retreat for the weekend- see you all on Monday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

100th Post Giveaway!!!!

Here we go, boys and girls! This is my 99th post since starting this blog!

I am going to give.... something... away! that's right- I'm not telling you what I'm giving away, other than to say it is 100% cotton quilting fabric.

Here's what you need to do!

1. leave me a comment on this post telling me your first name and where you are from. I'll mail outside the US, so feel free to jump in, international friends!

2. Comments must be posted before 12am (midnight)US Central Daylight Time on March 13, 2009!

I will randomly pick a winner on Friday, March 13th. I will post pictures of what the winner has won in post # 100!!!

Another Reason To Garden

I read a news article this evening that reinforced my decision to grow my own vegetables- customers at a grocery store in Queens, NY found baggies of cocaine stuffed into peppers!

I can guarantee that you will not find illegal narcotics in anything I grow!


Yesterday was so dark and gloomy! I wanted something to brighten it up- so I cut out this!

I bought the rainbow fabrics from the "threadsofconversation" shop on Etsy. The white is a Moda Bella Solid. I am going to work on it at the retreat this weekend! I decided the Amy Butler bag was too complicated to work on at a retreat- I'd rather work on it when I am home and can concentrate on it.

I am still working my way through my stash, cutting fat quarters. It's been nice to fondle all my fabric! And it's a nice, cheerful project- especially in the gloominess we've had for the past 3 days. We are supposed to have another day of storms, possibly severe ones, and then it will get sunny tomorrow.

I am going to visit a new quilt shop tomorrow (well, new to me...)!! It's called QuiltPlay, and it's in a town about an hour east of me. I would never have known it was there, except that one of the "swap mamas" for the Doll Quilt Swap works there! That's why I am going tomorrow- she works on Wednesdays, so I get to meet her, too!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Real Life Test

The first week of March is Tornado Preparedness Week here in Illinois. Yesterday some areas south of me got a real-life testing of their knowledge and preparedness. It seems that no one was hurt, though, only property damage. Thank goodness!

We had a few really bad thunderstorms yesterday. I am so scared of thunderstorms- my main fear being that there will be a tornado with no warning. Yesterday I just sat down and knitted while it was storming- that seemed to help keep me calm, although Hubby says I was still very pale. I get the whole fight-or-flight response- I get all pale and nervous and jittery. Sometimes I'll even invent a reason to be in the basement.

We got about 3" of rain from the storms yesterday- and are supposed to get 2-3" more tonight and tomorrow! I am so thankful that my house is on high ground (almost the highest point in my county). We have never had a flood. And it took 19 inches of rain in one month (August 2007) to get to the point where our sump pump even ran! The pump has run more from us testing it than it has to actually keep the basement dry.

I Want My Hour Back!!

It was SO HARD getting out of bed this morning! It was so dark! I really do not see how on earth anyone could think this whole daylight savings time thing saves energy, or makes people more productive. I feel like I am wading through mud today- I just can't get going! I hate this time change- I always feel "off" until we get back to normal time in the fall!

I am sorting through my fabric stash again today. I have decided to take a really close look at what's there and decide (1) if I really think I will use it and (2) if I should try to sell it, or give it to charity. There are a few places I want to look at around here as far as charities go- there's a shelter for domestic violence victims in my county, and I am thinking that I may make several simple quilts (Yellow Brick Road, that sort of thing) for them.

I am cutting a lot into fat quarters, too! I have had so many ideas for quilts over the past 2 days! I started writing them all down so I wouldn't forget them. Now I just need to do nothing but sew for the next 100 years, and maybe I'll get them all done!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Stash #2

Joel Dewberry Sparrow and Stripe

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I have been "evaluating" my stash over the past few days, wondering why it is that I just don't seem to like using it! And then, it hit me: I like to start with small pieces (fat quarters, etc). Most of my stash is in 1 or 2 yard cuts. I don't like working with those larger cuts, so they end up sitting while I go out and buy fat quarters!

So, I'm cutting! Years of experience making fat quarters in the quilt shops I have worked in are coming to the fore!

If it's a collection, or ones I've grouped together (like these), I am keeping one group of the fat quarters together, and then the other half will be sorted into color ways in my fat quarter drawers. And I'll still have plenty left over for sashings, borders, etc...

These are my "Cider Mill Road" fabrics from Nancy Halvorsen. They're next up for the fat quarter cutting machine (i.e. me)! It's a nasty, dreary, rainy day today... perfect for staying home and playing with fabric.