Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I  wanted to see if I could upload a video to my blog.  Of course, my best and cutest model is Toby.  Here he is playing Fetch in the snow.

The snow was deeper than Toby's legs are tall, but that didn't stop this little guy from chasing after the ball.   He reminds me of a rabbit hopping across the snow.  He was exhausted afterward, of course!

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

My dog really did eat my homework….

I met with Maryann, (who doesn’t like to be called “Boss” but is technically my boss), and we talked about the schedule for the upcoming year at the quilt shop.  I came home with a new pattern to make, and a tidy, detailed  list of things I needed to get done.  I put down my bag on a kitchen chair when I got in, and forgot that it was there.  A short time later I went into the family room and found this:
dog ate my homework Thankfully, he left the quilt top alone and concentrated on the paper items. 

I should have known better than to leave a quilted bag unprotected and within  reach of this little guy:
dog Who me?
I couldn’t resist calling Maryann and telling her that
“the dog just ate my homework!”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lefty Lament

I'm a left handed person.  There.  Now you know.

Actually, I write with my left hand which makes me a lefty, but I actually do a lot of other things with my right hand.  For example, I knit like a right-handed person because my right handed mother taught me that way.  I also throw a ball with my right hand, and bowl with my right hand. 

This either-handedness (is that a word?) comes in handy when I'm rotary cutting.  I can cut with either hand.  That annoying first cut to straighten the edge before cutting a strip to size is not a problem.

So, where IS the problem?

Well, I've started writing some instructions for a quilt class and I realize that my left-handedness might be an issue.  For example, take a look at this photo:

In my lefty world, that is how I would draw a line...ruler in the right hand, pencil in the left.  But I realize that would be backward to most people.

This photo is part of a step by step guide I wrote for mitering corners, and until I looked at this photo, I didn't realize that the whole way that I miter corners is probably backward to a right hander.  So, do I retake the series of photos to show the process  all in the opposite direction, or do I just assume my students will make the adjustment on their own?

I'll have to think on this a bit, but I would really welcome your input.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wheels keep turning

I mentioned a while back that a friend of mine was opening a quilt shop. I knew she was quilt savvy, and I expected she could do it, and she really, really did!  What I did not expect was how much her shop opening would affect my life, but it really, really has!

My lovely friend, who's name is Maryann, has asked me to teach at her shop, and also to help her write some patterns.  Of course I said "yes"! 

The past few months have been busy, busy, busy with making samples for upcoming classes, testing, writing and illustrating patterns for printing, and actually starting to teach.  I'm also the official shop photographer and newsletter writer.

As part of the shop staff, I got to attend a local fabric expo where fabric distributors were showing all their latest fabrics, fresh from the Houston quilt market.   Oh how my hands were itching to fondle every single line of fabric! 

It has been a great experience to be a part of this growing quilt shop.  However, it has required me to re-think my priorities on where I spend my time.  I have half a dozen blog entries written in my head, and no time to write them.   I may get back to frequent blogging at some time in the future, but for now things will have to remain pretty quiet around here.

Thank you to all who have read and written comments on my blog.  I will miss that interaction, but I will continue to stop by and read what you have been up to on your blogs. 

-Auntie Em

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just in time for Halloween

Here is a little project I just finished last night:

It's a pattern from The Wooden Bear called "October Scare".   My local quilt shop had one as a sample and I couldn't resist giving it a try.  I had never done fusible applique before, so a small sample like this one was a good place to start.

I layered the fused pumpkin pieces with the batting and backing and did the blanket stitch through all three layers so that the quilting was done at the same time as the stitching.   The whole piece measures just 12 inches square.

It was fun to start and finish something all in the same week, and the whole thing was made from scraps.  I went back to the quilt shop and purchased  a snowman pattern called "All Bundled Up" that I will be working on next.

Isn't he cute?  I love the little stand-alone quilt stand that allows you to change out the wallhanging to suit the season. (sold separately, of course!)

I think there will be more of these in my future.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

October weekend

A busy weekend here in my neck of the woods.  My husband and I travelled 500 miles round trip to visit with family.  A lot of driving for one weekend, but the beautiful colors of Fall have started making their appearance and made the drive very enjoyable.  It’s not peak foliage yet, but it’s still pretty. 

curly tail Today I took Toby for a walk, and then we stopped and chatted with a few neighbors.  While we were standing there,  a car pulled up with a man and 3 kids.  He said that they were on a scavenger hunt for their church and one of the things they had to find was a person walking their dog.   He asked if they could take a photo with Toby.  Of course, Toby was delighted to oblige, so they all got out of the car and we got the picture.  The whole thing took about one minute and then they were gone on their way looking for the next thing on the list.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Black and Brights

Recipe for a Black and Bright Lap quilt, sure to bring cheer to anyone who gets to use it:
Take a gloriously bright jelly roll:
jelly roll

Add a few more brights from the stash:
stash fabrics

Combine with a mysteriously mottled black batik:
In progress

Sew like a crazy person until you can put together a few blocks and see how it will all turn out:
block layout

Satisfied that you won’t go blind when looking at the finished quilt, continue sewing until you end up with this:

The pattern came from this book:
Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Sewing Buddy

When our family adopted Toby as a puppy last year, I had visions of him being my companion in the sewing room, blissfully sleeping at my feet while I sat at my machine, like so many other dogs in so many other bloggers quilting rooms that I had seen.

I am happy to report that  now that Toby has been with us for a little over a year, the concept of sewing companion is ever-so-slowly starting to take place.

After a vigorous game of “fetch”, followed by a long refreshing drink of water, followed by a good gnawing session on a rawhide, I finally got Toby to settle down on an old comforter that I placed under my sewing table.
sewing buddy

He settled in contentedly for about ... 20 minutes. 

Then I looked down, and saw this:

sewing buddy part 2

Maybe it was the electric cords, or the contents of the storage bins on the shelf, or just wanderlust, but Toby had inched his way off the comforter and towards trouble.  My sewing session was over at that point, but at least  I had experienced  a little taste of what it’s like to have a sewing buddy.

Although, a true sewing buddy would probably not have done this to my favorite thimble:

Does this face say “Guilty” to you?

work in progress
Yeah, I thought so too.

I guess that “Toby the sewing buddy” is still a work in progress.   I just hope he doesn’t become another UFO.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Flower Wednesday

Another Wednesday has rolled around, and I have some progress to report. (Afterall, that's what the motivation behind "One Flower Wednesday" is all about, right?)

The green ones are made from the basted hexagons I showed in my last post, and the blue one is new from scratch.  I forgot how much fun it was to make the flowers with fussy cut hexagons.   Here are a few fussy cut hexies that I have already completed:

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One Flower Wednesday

I have one new flower to show this week.  Pretty in pink with little dog bones.
all done
The pink one is the only flower I have finished this week, but I also got several new sets of hexagons basted and ready to sew:
all ready to go
(I really need to get some more yellow centers ready)
For now, I have them stacked neatly in an eyeglass case.
all ready to travel
The “One Flower Wednesday” group has really helped get me re-motivated to work on this project.  My original goal was a table runner that needed 29 flowers to complete.  I’ve made 30 flowers now, and want to keep going.  I need to find a bigger table…..

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet....

Nothing can keep this devoted dog from his tennis ball!

Thanks for the encouraging comments regarding Toby's injury.
After a rocky start, he has adjusted  pretty well to wearing the cone.  The little rascal has even managed to get access to the toenail that he is supposed to be keeping away from, but only just barely.  I don't know what else can be done, so we are just keeping our fingers crossed.

The pup has figured out eating, playing and the usual canine mischief while wearing the cone.  He's even pretty good about taking his antibiotics.  (Wrap up anything in a piece of bread and Toby will happily eat it.).   The only thing he cannot do while wearing it is fit into his crate.  Since the crate is his bed, it meant coming up with a new sleeping arrangement.  We ended up taking the cushion out of the crate, putting it into Toby's normal sleeping corner and blocking him in with furniture and a baby gate.  I hope he adjusts back to sleeping in the crate when this is all over with.

Normally, Toby is a happy camper when he's in his crate. 

This past weekend, when we were traveling, we took the crate with us for him to travel in, and also as a familiar place to sleep.  My parents-in-law, who had him as a houseguest while we stayed in a hotel,  said he was quite content all night. 

Only 5 more days until the cone comes off.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my furniture, the doorways and my shins will survive. 

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Too much excitement

This poor little guy broke one of his nails pretty badly during a rousing game of Fetch and had to go to the vet. They don't want him to keep licking at it, so it's "Toby the Spacedog" for the next week.

Toby absolutely hates it of course. He tried his best to pull it off, but eventually gave in. His spatial perception must be all off because he's just kind of playing statue for now.

Please tell me that your dog has been through this and everything will be all right.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer pleasures

ripe for picking
This weekend we took a road trip to visit my husband’s family.
My father-in-law has a large garden, and the raspberries were ripe for the picking.
rasberry bushes

There were so many raspberries that we had 3 baskets full in no time at all.
rasberry basket

My father-in-law also grows grapes, although they were not yet ripe.

He has a lovely perennial flower garden too.  When I saw these little beauties:
grandmother's garden flowers
I  couldn’t help but think of Grandmother’s Flower Garden:
grandmothers flower garden hexes
Now I’m off to check out the cookbooks for a good recipe for raspberry pie….

Friday, July 9, 2010

Memories of Nana

Today I wish to remember my Nana who passed away 3 years ago at the age of 101.  Nana was my father’s mother, and today would have been her birthday.

Nana was a wonderful grandmother and great grandmother.  We were very fortunate as kids to live in the same city, so we saw her often.  The memory I associate most with Nana was her cooking. It was spectacular.  She could make all the traditional Italian recipes, but she could also make the most wonderful one-pot meals from almost anything she had in the refrigerator.  

Every Wednesday she would cook up a big pot of pasta with either vegetables, beans, or meat, and drop it off at our house for our supper. All she asked in return is that we bring the empty dish back to her so she could fill up it again for us the next week.

Nana & Barry

When I was young, Nana would sometimes babysit for my siblings and me on a Saturday night and she would keep us entertained by making homemade pasta.  I remember being amazed as she made a little well  of flour right on the kitchen table and then cracked an egg into the center of it to start the dough.  She would roll it out by hand using a big wooden rolling pin that my grandfather had made for her. 

After rolling it out nice and flat, she would start at one end and roll it up like a long jellyroll and  then cut it into strips for fettuccini.  Our job was to unroll the strips of pasta and then hang them over the backs of the kitchen chairs to dry overnight. (She would cover the chair backs with cotton dishtowels first.)  The dried pasta would be used for Sunday dinner the next day.  Oh! I can still taste how yummy it was!

Xmas Eve 1980 A

Nana was always quick to lend a hand when needed.  Up until the last 10 years of her life she was still helping others.  She once had a job as an aide to an elderly couple, doing some cooking and light housekeeping.  Nana was older than both of them at the time.

Laura takes a wedding photo

In addition to her cooking skills, Nana was an avid crocheter.  She loved to use crochet cotton and the smallest of crochet hooks to make doilies and table cloths.  The Pineapple pattern was her favorite.  She gave me a beautiful crocheted table cloth in the Pineapple pattern as a wedding gift.


I asked Nana if she had ever made a quilt.  She told me that she had made one once, but that one day it was stolen off her clothesline in the backyard.  I was disappointed to think that not only had Nana lost her handiwork, but that I would have loved to have seen it.  Her response was, “Whoever took it probably needed it more than I did.”  That one line sums up Nana’s philosophy on sharing.  More than once I heard her say that there was always room for one more at the table.

Nana was a big part of our lives, and barely a day goes by that someone doesn’t mention her name.
Nana at 90
Thank you, Nana.  Happy Birthday!
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