Monday, April 28, 2008

Paducah Quilt Show

I made it out to Paducah, KY not once this past weekend but twice and still did not stop at all the places which existed to shop and show quilts. The first day was spent looking at the contest winners and other quilt entries as well as shopping in the main building. Some beautiful work, painstakingly detailed work! The second day, DH said he'd come along so I only spent about a 1/2 day there but it was productive. I found fabric for a quilt for DD as well as some fabric for a friend's DD who is making her first communion in May. I plan to make a quillow for her so I'm thrilled. To top it off, I was also able to pick up a stitch regulator for my Voyager sewing machine. This should help me a little with those angles and such on my quilting designs.

The show was indeed huge. That entire area of the city seemed to be taken over with quilters and vendors and I'm sure it's BIG business for Paducah itself since many of these people stay in hotels and eat at the local restauarants. I don't know how long this show has been in Paducah but I can say that it appears it will be there for a while to come.

I'm glad I went. I had a good time and didn't spend too much. It's a blessing to have to fly back home b/c then I weighed each prospective purchase with the desire (or lack thereof) to carry the item home. Most of the time, I was uninterested in the extra weight. I'm sure DH is thankful for that!

Until next time... B

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What a weekend

This weekend my husband and I attended a friend's wedding in St. Augustine, FL. The bride was beautiful, the wedding was beautiful and the weather was beautiful. We had such a wonderful time and the ceremony and priest's sermon couldn't have been a more poignant reminder of all our love for each other and God. How blessed we felt to have been invited to celebrate this day with our friends!

From FL and walks on the beach to KY this weekend, I'll be going to the American Quilter's Society Quilt Show in Paducah. I cannot wait to see all the wonderful and detailed work by true artists.

I'll let you know if it lived up to my expectations.

Oh, and one more thing. To follow up on my other post regarding having a facial for the first time. One word... AWESOME! I will definately have a facial again. I highly recommend it. It felt great but for sure, have one done at a reputable spa because you just don't know what you will get from anywhere else.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I've created a monster

One of my sons is a largely introverted child. He is very analytical, loves the computer and games which include building cities. He also loves the history channel and all shows that have anything to do with the growth of civilization. I write this to explain, in part, how I have to force him outside. I've decided this spring and summer, weather permitting, all kids were going to have to play outside as often as possible.

This son is also very hesitant in trying new things. I've been encouraging bike riding for a couple years now. He knew how, he just wasn't sure of himself and refused to practice. I guess he got tired of me mentioning it so he brought his bike out to practice the other day. Yesterday, I went out and gave him a few pointers and encouraged him to just keep at it. Well he did and he gained his confidence. He then spent most of the afternoon riding his bike. Later, we went to a friend's house and he rode one of the bikes there.

This morning, he got up, checked if his sister wanted to join him and asked to go out and ride his bike. Fantastic! That's two kids down and one to go. When we get the youngest comfortable on his bike, then we will start taking short family bike rides. Small walks work but I know the bike rides would help to break up the monotony of that and it will give us all some exercise and bonding time. As a blended family, squeezing this in in a way the kids and adults are all having fun is paramount.

I'm just so happy that this long time coming confidence for this one child has finally occured. When my youngest is ready, we'll get working with him too. I imagine, though, it will be soon this summer. He's not one to sit and let his siblings to be able to do something that he can't.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Double Wedding Ring Quilt

Alright, the double wedding ring quilt. I decided I would do this for one of my dearest friends. She was married on July 4, 2007 and it's now April 2008. This project was conceived before she was married but work was extremely slow. I purchased a cutting template for the quilt pieces and I purchased all the fabric the templates said to get. Unlike all my other quilts, I actually got the bright idea to practice cutting and sewing these pieces together.

HOLY COW! Am I glad I tried practicing! I tried every way possible to get the points to match with curved piecing. I do not know if my cutting was off or if my sewing was off but in case it was sewing, I even purchased a presser foot to aid in curved piece sewing. Still, couldn't get it. I pinned and pinned, I tried with either piece on top, I sewed a couple bites then stopped and repositioned, nothing worked.

Finally, I enlisted the aid of other quilters from one of my Yahoo groups and someone mentioned the Quilt Smart method. This is a brand name product which is fusible interfacing. No curved piece stitching, just iron the pieces onto the block with the interfacing and applique in place. Aside from the extra steps of sewing the intefacing to the curved arcs and then turning it inside out and ironing it on, there's really no extra work! -wink-

On a serious note, while this is working out beautifully for me so far in this quilt, I cannot help but feel I'm "cheating" and it's not really a true Double Wedding Ring quilt but hey, I guess the fact is, I'm still sewing it and quilting it so it counts, right? I chose 30's prints and the 20/230s pattern since they have been living in a 30s home and have been painting and taking care to show off the period architecture.

My practicing took place before the wedding. My actual work cutting and sewing the fabrics started after the wedding. I will probably finish this just in time for their 1 year anniversary at the rate I'm going.

Oh, don't let me forget to mention, so many little things have gone wrong with this from the practice piecing debacle to actually having it all set to go and realizing I have no fabric chosen for the corner 'diamonds' in the quilt. I've been to quilt shops near here but nothing is sold any longer and I didn't want to purchase a color online only to have it not match to what I was looking for. I searched for weeks for a suitable fabric but finally, turned to my stash and found a solid and very light print which work. I'm a bit bummed about stepping away from 30s repro prints but you do what you have to.

Other happenings? I've spilled coffee on the blocks, I've had issues with the applique with invisible thread, I had to reset a few blocks because I've somehow messed up the original placement. The only reason I haven't yet been discouraged is because I know, no matter what, she will appreciate each and every stitch.

I am currently building my rows. I hope to finish the top this week. Keep your fingers crossed.

I am finally a part of the "GIRL" league!

It's official! In my mid-thirties, I can finally say I'm only missing one thing off of that girly girl stuff to do list but that's actually scheduled for next week.

I've been waxed (face and lips only, at least), I've had a couple back massages and today, I had hand and foot massages along with my manicure and pedicure. Next week, an actual facial.

Yes, sounds mundane and boring to you reading but to know me means you know how odd this all is for me. I play sports, bite my nails and rarely wear nail polish. It's a good day if my hair comes out of it's ponytail and a great day if I put make up on at the same time!

Back on topic, however. I can say my heel feels a lot softer than it ever has before and I can now say I understand why girls like this. It's a break from everything. You HAVE to sit there while someone else handles the details of massage, polish, cuticle cutting, etc. It's easy to do from the customer perspective. Just pick the polish color and sit. Ahh, too tough.

So the question is, will I go back and have this done again? Yes, I think I will but probably only on rare occasions. I don't like to pay for these things too much but I am realizing that I'm getting older and much more surprising to me is that I see the wrinkles starting or the bags under the eyes getting darker and I realize that I don't like it too much. Well, I don't like looking older than I feel, that's really what I don't like.

So, I'm starting the girl thing. Testing out various inexpensive ways to treat myself and have the things done for me that I don't want to bother with. Manicure, pedicure, eyebrow waxing, hair coloring... I'm really curious to see how a facial feels now. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My quilting history (all 2 years of it!)

My quilting started with the desire to give a personal gift to an acquaintance expecting a baby. I came upon a fabric with pre-sewn squares and knew this woman liked quilts and sewing so I purchased the fabric and a coordinating fleece. I wrapped the fleece around the edge of the quilted fabric and sewed along the edges. Then I tied the two together throughout. It came out very nice.

I saw another fabric in blues, which was also pre-sewn squares, and I purchased that for myself with matching fleece. I followed the same process. I was very pleased wtih this. Some where in there I realized that it couldn't be that hard to just sew the squares together and with another girlfriend expecting, I decided to do just that. I chose fabrics based on her nursery theme but chose them in different textures. I had 2 cottons, 1 cotton flannel and 1 chenille. Then I had the anti-pill fleece backing. I searched online for simple instructions and cut and sewed away. I loved it and she loved it.

Now my SIL was expecting I decided to try something a little more creative but still easy. Instead of 4-patch (as I later learned it was called) I did a 9-patch. I tried using a different fleece and instead of wrapping it, I added binding. Can't complain about the job done but I won't do any binding on these types of quilts any longer and I'll only use the anti-pill fleece. I like the weight and look of those better although the fleece for this blanket was lightweight enough to make a good "car blanke" like I had initially wanted.

All these fleece backed quilts had been tied and lap-top size. I could have paid better attention to sewing a straight 1/4" seem but, well, live and learn. These blankets moved on to a couple requests from friends. One saw a pattern and fabric kit on eBay so we got it and I sewed it with a fleece back. Hubby liked it so much he asked me to make one that matched the couch so we had a throw. These two done and tied, I was ready for a challenge beyond just squares large and small.

Wouldn't you know, a couple more friends were pregnant! I created a log cabin variation for one and a pieced star for another. I really loved the feel of different fabrics so these were created with flannels and cottons as was the rail fence I created for my nephew. Finally, another friend adopted a girl from Guatemala. She was under 2 when she arrived to her new home so I created an appliqued quilt with chenille hearts.

Alas, I'm getting tired of all this tying (although I'm still fairly convinced that if my friends have any more kids, I will still tie the baby quilts I make... keeps em cuddly to me). I have now decided to try quilting the top, batting and backing of a couple small pieces (like placemats). I have discovered I don't mind doing this on my standard old Brother from Wal-Mart, but I quickly realized it would frustrate me to do this on larger pieces. Since I rarely buy toys (compared to DH's motorcycles and other toys), I decided to look into getting a new machine specifically so I could work quilts. I'll talk of those (yes, those - plural) later.

Keeping in mind I now had a machine I could do something with, I committed to piecig the blocks together and the quilting portion of a charity quilt some online friends and I have decided to create. There were several delays from all of us along the way but I'm finally starting the quilting of this top. I can't wait until it's finished to show everyone.

I also am working a double wedding ring quilt (been off and on working it for about 8 mo. now) which I will also post about separately. I've finalized a photo memory quilt and finally, I've tried my hand at some hand quilting. I purchased a panel and pre-cut squares for a Christmas wall quilt. I gave it to my mother as a gift but for my first time hand quilting without any instruction, it came out pretty good and she loves it which is what matters most. Suffice it to say, I wanted more challenging work and I jumped in head first!

My other ongoing projects? Pieced and appliqued (I machine applique these) blocks as part of a bible study online, particularly the psalms, and a NYBeauty quiltlet challenge where we have to try to make an "ugly" fabric pretty. Since I've never paper-pieced, I joined this to teach myself how to do this and practice with it. I have to say, while it didn't work because of the fabrics chosen, my actual piecing with paper was better than I thought it would be on my first try! Woo-hoo!

Alright, this has been a long post so I'm going to end it here and pop in again later with ramblings and musings as they come. Cheers!

Oh, one final note, all the quilts in this show were patterns bought or found free on the internet. None are my own.


Hello! The name of this blog developed simply b/c I've found a passion for quilting and it's become a very obsessive hobby. Maybe one day in 10-15 years, I might try selling a quilt but for now, I'm content to practice it for me and all the poor saps (I mean lucky recipients) who receive the quilt as a gift.

The other part of the title came about because I am full of sarcasm. I laugh at the world and myself a lot. I may be hard on myself or even sound like I'm criticizing myself at times but it's all in good fun, to me, for me because... I'm all about me!

Oh, yeah, and my kids. I'm about my kids. And my husband. He counts, too. Speaking of the kids, we have 4 total, 3 boys and 1 girl. Two are step-children to my husband and two to myself. It's an American blended family! My husband is in the military so that adds a fun dimension to our home life and routines. Despite my comments above, I'm blessed to have met him and to have him and the kids in my life.

I hope you have a nice day and thank you for stopping by!