Friday, August 31, 2012

Small Quilts

If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.  
~Doug Larson

It's almost Labor Day weekend.  Three days to relax and enjoy.  We don't have a lot planned for the three days.  Perhaps we will go to a movie.  Yes, out to a theater to sit in the dark and watch a movie on a really, really big screen - lol!  We definitely won't be going out of town.  We try our best to stay off the freeways and highways on any long holiday weekend.  It's still supposed to be hot so we won't plan any outdoor activities.  Maybe we will play some Wi.  Hopefully I will get some stitching in.  What are your plans for the 3 day weekend?




Apples are one of my favorite fruits.  I especially like the varieties Pink Lady and Honeycrisp.  And you can never go wrong with an apple crisp - yummy!!  Here are a few facts on this wonderful fruit:
The crab-apple is the only apple native to North America
Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie
2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States
The science of apple growing is called pomology
The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black Sea
Apples are a member of the rose family
The largest apple picked weighed three pounds
It takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple
In colonial time, apples were called winter banana or melt-in-the-mouth
Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C
The apple is the official state fruit of Washington, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia
Apple trees don't bear their first fruit until they are four or five years old



I need your help/advice.  It seems as though 50% of the quilts I make end up with a wavy border.

I don't know what causes it and I don't know how to prevent it.  Does anybody have a sure fire way to prevent wavy borders?  Please let me know either below or through a separate email.  Do you know of a video or tutorial that I could watch or read?  All help and suggestions are welcome.


I finished a Loving Hands quilt last week.  This will be my donation to the guild for September.

I created this quilt using the Squares Upon Squares pattern.  I like how it makes little hearts in each square.



I recently completed a little foundation paper pieced quilt that I will be entering in our fair next month.

I named this quilt "Bubbles".  It is made from the pattern, Tropical Fish Pond, by ABC Patterns.  It measures 12.5 inches square.   I am very happy with background fabric I selected but should have made a couple of the fish a bit brighter.  I'm still learning to work with batiks.  Who knew that there was a totally different way of looking at that kind of fabric.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  
~Dr. Seuss

How is your week going so far?  Did you have a nice weekend?  For me, so far so good.  Our weekend was fairly quiet and gave us time to recharge our batteries.  Recently we've had a couple of tree branches break off.  One was a rather large pine branch and the other a middle sized branch of a bush that turned into a tree.  I told my DH that the birds in the neighborhood must be getting too fat.  In all reality, it's probably because of the heat.  The smaller branch is the one that startled me as it went down right outside my sewing room window.  The forecasters had predicted cooler weather, which we had for two days, but we are supposed to back up the old century mark again tomorrow.  Even the plants and trees are tired of the heat.  Oh well.  I'll stay cool inside while I stitch and quilt.




The octopus - a creature of nightmares and underwater spooky movies.  All those legs seem like they would get tied in knots.  However, there are time when I wish I had 8 hands, especially when the girls were little.  Here are a few facts on the demon of the sea:
An octopus species known as the mimic octopus can actually impersonate other creatures
All octopuses have three hearts
They have no bones and will not be able to maintain their shape out of water
* The octopus has blue blood
They have a very good eyesight but can not hear
All octopuses can change their color
When threatened or provoked, the blue-ringed octopus will quickly change its color to bright yellow with blue rings on it
Sometimes octopuses may shed an arm to escape a predator
An adult Octopus can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime
The octopus is considered to be the smartest of all invertebrates. In captive environments, octopuses are able to complete puzzles, mazes, and be trained. In some cases, octopus can be seen playing with their toys or keepers



I have continued to work on my Dancing With The Stars blocks.....

This block is called Tango.  The center square is really a warmer purple than the photo depicts.  The Tango dance dates back to the 1890's and originated in the lower class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

And this one is called Mambo.  I hadn't heard of this dance but looked it up and found out it is a Latin dance of Cuba.  The Mambo dance was invented in the 1930's in Havana.  It's been fun relating the blocks to their names with a little bit of history.  
I'm still loving foundation paper piecing and look forward to creating each new block.



Friday, August 24, 2012

Halloween or Spring

Heat, ma'am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.  
~Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir

My week of relaxation was interrupted by an intestinal bug.  Not fun!  The only plus side to being sick was feeling chilled most of the day.  I didn't even have to have the ceiling fan on to stay cool.  I definitely stayed away from the sewing machine since I knew any attempt at sewing would not go well.  Sleep and a bit of stitching and I seem to be coming out on the good side.  We only have a few errands to run over the weekend and the temps are supposed to be in the mid nineties so everything looks promising.  Hopefully there will be time for some stitching.  What are your plans for the weekend?




Does this take you back to your childhood?  Are you creating quilts using crayons?  So many colors are available today.  I remember receiving a box of 72 Crayola crayons for Christmas as a child and thinking there wasn't anything more beautiful.  Here are some fun facts:
The first box of Crayola crayons was sold in 1903 for a nickel and included the same colors available in the eight-count box today: red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange, black and brown.
In the last 98 years, more than 100 billion Crayola crayons have been made.
The name Crayola was coined by Alice Binney, wife of company founder Edwin, and a former school teacher. She combined the words craie, which is French for chalk, and ola, for oleaginous, because crayons are made from petroleum based paraffin.
Crayola crayons currently come in 120 colors including 23 reds, 20 greens, 19 blues, 16 purples, 14 oranges, 11 browns, 8 yellows, 2 grays, 2 coppers, 2 blacks, 1 white, 1 gold and 1 silver. 
The average child in the United States will wear down 730 crayons by his 10th birthday (or 11.4 boxes of 64s). Kids, ages 2-8, spend an average of 28 minutes each day coloring.
Crayola crayon color names rarely change. However, there are exceptions. In 1958, Prussian blue was changed to midnight blue in response to teacher recommendations that children could no longer relate to Prussian history. In 1962, the color flesh was changed to peach recognizing that not every one's flesh is the same shade.
* 25,000 crayon users voted on their favorite colors and the number one favorite color is blue.
* According to a study completed by Yale University, the scent of crayon is in the 20 most recognizable to American adults. Coffee and peanut butter are in spots number 1 and 2. Crayola® crayons are number 18 on the list.


YES I KNOW......

The last thing I needed to do was join another swap group.  I was asked to join a yahoo group (Rugs With Friends) that is made up of only 10 members and we only swap every other month.  It's being hosted by Ida.   My first swap partner was Maria from Australia.  We had the option of making a holiday mug rug - Halloween this time, or seasonal.  I went with seasonal since not all of Australia celebrates Halloween.

Doesn't this mug rug scream spring?  It is raw edge applique and I just did a simple along the edge stitching.  The colors are much more vibrant than what appears to show up here (hmmm....maybe my camera needs new batteries).  It measures 8" X 10", a little larger than I normally make but that size fit the bird and flowers best.  

Here is the darling rug that Maria made for me!  I don't know if you can see it, but just above the ghost on the left is a button spider hanging from his web.  Isn't it the best Halloween mug rug?  Too cute to get coffee stains on but it will look good with my other Halloween decorations when I put it out in October.  Thank you, Maria!!



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A More Relaxing Week

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.  
~Russel Baker

Who would ever think that I would celebrate having 3 days in a row below 100 degrees.  We crested at 98 and 99 degrees over the weekend.  I know it's all psychological, but those few degrees make all the difference in the world.  Last week was more busy than I care for.  We had something going on three out of the five evenings and then I had a full day work shop on Saturday.  It felt so good to be able to stay home on Sunday.  Luckily this week will be much more relaxing.  So far I don't think we have anything in the evenings to attend.  I'm looking forward to some serious sewing and stitching time.  What are your plans this week?



Julia Child

Last week was Julia Child's 100th birthday (August 15, 2012).  What a wonderful lady, so full of spunk and the creator of so many recipes.  Here are a few fun facts on this amazing lady:
* She was the first educational television personality to receive an Emmy
* Julia was 6'2" tall and played basketball at Smith College in Massachusetts
* The French Chef was the first cooking show on PBS, premiering in 1963.  Julia had new cooking shows air over the next five decades.
* She donated her home to Smith College and her kitchen to the Smithsonian Institution.
* While filming the Baking with Julia series, she used 753 pounds of butter.
* In 2003, Julia was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States highest civilian honor, by President George W. Bush
* She wore a size 12 shoe
* She was a breast cancer survivor
* Her nicknames were Juke, Juju, and Jukies
* Julia has a rose named after her that she chose herself.  It is butter-colored.



Over the last couple months, I've made two Bee blocks for the hostesses of Let's Bee Together.

This was the block Bailey chose for us to make.  It is called Carpenter's Star.  I thought it was going to be hard to make but it went together easily - as long as you followed the instructions.  The fabrics were gorgeous - the camera did a very poor job of picking up the beautiful colors no matter what kind of lighting I used.

Charlene was the hostess for August.  This block is called Butterflies' Delight.  This was such a bright and cheery block to work on.  I love the fussy cut hummingbird and butterfly.



I have been working on my counted cross stitch project.  I try to do at least a little stitching every day.

I know this doesn't look like much but sometimes you have to work the boring to get to the exciting.  Wait until you see the next update.

Design:  Desert Mandala
Designer:  Martina Weber / Chatelaine Designs
Fabric:  Antique White Belfast 
Stitched:  2 strands of DMC floss over 2 threads
1 strand of Treasure Braid over 2 threads

This is the latest block I made for WOCS.  It is a piece going into a special quilt for someone recently diagnosed with cancer.  



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Is NEVER Going To End

Life is not about discovering our talents; it is about pushing our talents to the limit and discovering our genius.  
~Robert Brault

Hot, hot, hot!  That's what it's been here in the central valley of California.  Our highs are hovering right around 108 degrees and our low was a measly 82 degrees Saturday morning.  Even though I am a native of good ol' Bakersfield doesn't mean I have to like the heat.  As far as I can tell, nothing good comes from this heat.  Thank goodness for the air conditioning, and right now it's working overtime just to keep the house somewhat comfortable.  Hopefully this heatwave will end soon but they aren't predicting that to happen until at least next week.  Thinking cool thoughts and keeping busy with quilting and stitching helps a little.  Oh well....on with the day.




For some reason my mind went to the sea this morning.  Maybe it's because I was thinking of cool, fresh air instead of the oppressive heat and smog we've been experiencing the last few days.  Sponges.  What are they?  Well, let's see what I found out:
Sea sponges are classified as animals, however, lack the brain, the central nervous system, digestive system and a cardiovascular system.
Because sponges move only a couple millimeters each day, they have a unique method for eating. Using their unique design, they eat by filtering water through their pore cells and digesting water and food with their collar cells. Water escapes out of the sponge from a top hole termed the osculum.
Sponges can contain 16,000 other animals inside of it.
To prevent other sponges from attacking them, Sponges can produce chemicals to keep other sponges cells from growing
The chemicals that a sponge produces are being used to find a cure for cancer and many other diseases
One of the largest sponges ever was almost 10 feet wide.
When a part of a sponge breaks off, the broken part will form a new sponge.
If you strain a sponge through a cloth it will form a new shape on the other side
What we think is sea sponge lying on the beach is actually just its skeleton. The skeleton is composed of needle-like splinters called spicules and a mesh of protein called spongin. A microscopic examination of this skeleton can tell us which kind of sea sponge it is.



Last week I received a darling doll quilt from my swap partner, Anita.

The theme for August was "Warm and Sunny".  Isn't this just perfect?  I won't tell you which of the fun ladies best depicts me - lol!  Anita's work is amazing.  I love the play on words that she stitched in the sky.  Thank you so very much, Anita.

Anita and I mailed off our doll quilts on the same day.  She lives in Florida and I live in California.  The route from east to west won.  Here is the little quilt that I made for Anita.
The center block is a foundation paper pieced pattern from Carol Doak's Scenic Scrap BOM.  What I thought was a beach ball is supposed to be a beach umbrella.  Oh well, it's still a beach scene.  I bordered with yellows and oranges and then did straight line quilting with a variegated thread (oranges and yellows) to depict the rays of the sun.  
Next month is Harvest Time.  I have no idea what I will be creating for that!



Friday, August 10, 2012

Quiet Week

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  

~Dr. Seuss

This has been a very quiet week for me.  No shopping or meetings in the evenings.  I've been able to get in a lot of sewing and stitching.  Now next week will be the complete opposite.  I have something going on 4 evenings and a full day next Saturday.  Luckily we have only a couple of errands to run this weekend so there will be time to charge the batteries.  How has your week been?  Will you have a quiet weekend like me?




Watching a crab skitter across the sand at the beach is so much more fun than watching a spider climb my wall.  And they make such a wonderful meal!  Here are some interesting facts about crabs:
A crab is a decapod (meaning having 'ten limbs') which has eyes on short stalks and a broad flattened carapace (a hard protective covering of bone or chitin) with a small abdomen folded under the thorax and pincers
Soft-shelled crabs are blue crabs that have recently cast their shells
About one-quarter of the crab's weight is meat
The Crab typically walks sideways
* Average crabs live no longer than 3 years.
* The crab's scientific name is Callinectes sapidus which means "beautiful swimmer"
* If a crab loses its claw, the claw will grow back
* The teeth of the crab are in its stomach.
The biggest crab till date was found in Maryland. It was a male and measured 9 inches
The most colorful crab in the world is probably the Sally Lightfoot Crab. It has red, orange, yellow and white colors.



I continue to work on Dancing With The Stars.  I have made another Lambada block and then added....

This block is called Viennese Waltz.  I'm still lovin' FFP!



Last week I sent in another completed cross stitch block to WOCS.  

They are creating a quilt with a beach theme.  These flip flops worked up quickly and were easy to work on in the car.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More From The Long Beach IQF

You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.  
~Charles C. Noble

Hot temps just seem to be continuing.  This week we are predicting we will be above 100 all week with our lows only dipping down to the high 70's.  YUCK!  I guess I won't be venturing outside much this week.  But that's okay.  I'll just stay inside quilting and stitching under the air-conditioning.  We were able to watch some of the Olympics this past weekend.  It is emotionally hard to watch these for me.  I get all weepy with the emotions of the winners.  It doesn't matter which country has won, just seeing the happiness on the winners faces gets my tear ducts working.  I'm such a sap!
(For some reason, I can't change the type size or color of the above paragraph so I apologize if it hard to read)




Every two years we are privileged to watch some of the best athletes in the world, alternating between the summer and the winter Olympics.  How about some history on gymnastics.
* Gymnastics has been around for over 2000 years but as an competitive sport it is a little more than 100 years old.
Gymnastics as a sport evolved in ancient Greece It was started as a beauty and fitness practice during those times. Initially, the skills of mounting and dismounting from a horse formed part of this great sport.
Gymnastics became a full fledged sport after it was separated from the skill required by circus performers.
* In 1830s, the sport of gymnastics was introduced to United States and its school systems by such immigrants as Charles Beck, Charles Follen and Franci s Lieber.
* The first large-scale competition was the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece. There Germany have been the dominant team by almost sweeping every medal. Five countries have participated in this event. Men's competitions included horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, rings, and vault.
* During 1924 Olympics in France marked the beginning of what they are today. In gymnastics, men started to compete for individual Olympic titles in each gymnastic event.
* The first women's gymnastic team debuted during the 1928 Olympics. The first women's event during 1928 Olympics was the team combined exercise, where it was dominated by Netherlands.
* The first U.S. women's gymnastic team competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.



Here are a few more photos from the Long Beach International Quilt Festival....

It's A Puzzle created by Becky Grover of Ann Arbor, MI, for the Hoffman Challenge.
This quilt combined two things I really like to do - quilting and putting together puzzles.

Hanami Ribbons and Blossoms by Nancy Adams of Annandale, VA.
Another gorgeous creation for the Hoffman Challenge.

Springtime In The Garden by Mary T. Schneider of San Jose, Calif.  
This quilt combines raw edge applique, hand applique, bobbin work, and free motion quilting.  Mary worked with a pattern, In Spring, by Kellie Wulfson, and did some modifying to make the piece her own.

Gardens by Susan Brooks of Louisville, Colorado
This is actually 3 different panels and all raw edge applique.  Susan used images from her own garden to produce these beauties.  These were some of my absolute favorites at the show.

Flower Garden by Lynn H. Woll of Tacoma, Washington
This is all raw edge appliqued with beading and embellishments.  The photo doesn't show all the vibrant colors in this beauty.

Harmony In Nature by Harumi Asada of Higashiura, Japan
This amazing creation is hand pieced, hand appliqued, and hand quilted.

Here is a close up of Harmony In Nature so maybe you can get an idea of the detail.  I could have spent hours looking at this one!

Flourishes by Pat Kroth of Verona, Wisconsin
Hand-dyed, fused applique, and machine quilted were the techniques used to create this.  There were several types of this quilt and seems to be becoming quite popular.

Artists Village
This was a collection of 3D quilt buildings created by Kathy York, Jane Davila, Judy Perez, Leslie Jenison, Jamie Fingal, Connie Hudson, Sherri McCauley, Barb Forrister, Naomi Adams, Laura Wasilowski, Frieda Anderson, Melanie Testa, Frances Holliday Alford, Susan Else, Lisa Call, Pamela Allen, and Vickie Hallmark.  Perhaps you recognize a few of the names.  

The Quilt Show by Carole L. Corder of Kettle Falls, Washington
This adorable quilt was hand and machine pieced, needleturn applique, and hand quilted.  Carole said all of the small quilts were inspired by her grandmother's traditional quilts from the 1980's.

Here is a close up of one of the small quilts.  The entire quilt was truly a work of art!

I hope you enjoyed the quilt show tour.  There were so many more quilts that I enjoyed and wish I could have shared with you.  I'm already looking forward to attending next year's IQF.



Friday, August 3, 2012

A New Project

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.  

~Art Linkletter

Has everyone been watching the Olympics?  Unfortunately I haven't seen much of the games.  I'm either busy sewing during the day or they come on after my bedtime.  My DD#2, on the other hand, has probably seen more hours of the Olympics than most.  She is a big sport fanatic.  She will watch almost any sport so she is in hog heaven - she gets this sports watching trait from paternal grandmother - lol!  Hopefully this weekend we will have some time to watch at least some of the games.  Which sport is your favorite to watch?  Me?  I prefer the winter Olympics but do like diving, gymnastics, and rowing.




I use at least one straw each and every day.  Bright and early (well, really dark and early) I open a can of Diet 7-Up and insert a straw.  Did you know you can anchor the straw in place if you angle the pop-top so the straw can go through the bottom hole?  I got really tired of the straw trying to escape from the can because of the fizz and figured this out one day.  I have used every color of the straws above plus more.  And it has to be a bendy straw or I'm not happy.  Here a couple of facts about straws.....
- The drinking straw dates to the ancient Sumerians, who used them to drink beer. A seal from 3100 B.C. depicts two men using straws to drink beer from a crock, and archaeologists discovered a gold and lapis lazuli drinking straw in a Sumerian tomb.
In 19th-century America, people used naturally hollow rye grass as drinking straws. Frustrated with how these natural straws began to disintegrate in beverages, Marvin Stone invented a wax-coated paper straw, which he patented in 1888.
Joseph B. Friedman made another major advancement in drinking straws: the bendy straw, which he created by molding a paper straw around the grooves of a screw. He patented the invention as the "drinking tube" in 1937.



I have started a new project that I'm really enjoying.  I have begun the quilt by Carol Doak, Dancing With The Stars.  I even splurged and bought the exact fabric that she used to make up the quilt.  It is a foundation paper piece quilt and the CD allows me to print out the pattern with ease.  I have a new love in the world of quilting!  No, it's not Carol Doak, but foundation paper piecing!  Here a couple of the blocks I've made....

This block is called Lambada.  I have to make 15 of these as they are the connecting blocks.  So far I've made three.

This is the second block.  It is called Lindy Hop.  I make a Lambada block before every new block so that way I don't get bored making the same block all the time.  Like I said, foundation paper piecing is my new love :)



I have continued to work on my large counted cross stitch project but have taken a bit of a break to make up three blocks for WOCS.

One of the blocks they requested to be made was tropical fish.  I finally found this pattern through an Etsy store.  It was fun to stitch.  I have made couple of other designs but I will share those another time.



And since last time I included a puppy video, I think all cat lovers can relate to this video.....

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