Thursday, May 31, 2007

Please Pass the Tylenol!

Or, the alternate title of this post "I survived the elementary school band concert"

Thing One is in fifth grade, and is just completing her second year as a flute player. Apparently musical talent skipped my generation and hers too. I suppose if she ever practiced it might help, but there probably is nothing to help the tone deaf problem.

Last week her elementary school had its own concert for all of the 4th and 5th grade music students. It was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. I saw the whole thing from the lobby because Thing Two kept covering his ears and saying "I hate this noise". LOL.

Here in our town, there is an event called "All Town Band". Basically, they select a 'band', an 'orchestra' and a 'chorus' from among the 4th and 5th grade students in town. Most of the 5th graders who are in the second year of music lessons are in the band or the orchestra, along with a handful of some actually talented 4th graders. 80 additional students are chosen to participate in the chorus. The kids practice within their own school all year, and near end of the year, all the students practice together a few times. Well tonight was the concert. Again, not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

On a quilty note: No progress on the 4 patch thing. However, over the weekend, I quilted another crumb quilt and did the binding (even hand sewing on the back). I sewed the binding onto the front of a cheater cloth I-Spy panel that has been quilted forever. I didn't do the hand sewing on the back because Thing One wants me to teach her how to do that! I'm all for that. I also grabbed a pile of blocks that I made last summer and now I've got 3 more tops ready to quilt. I think that makes 5 tops from those blocks. I'l share more about that next week...I'm feeling too tired/lazy to take picures or explain the story behing these tops tonight. Maybe I'll start quilting some of them this weekend. We'll see.

Have a good weekend....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is upon us.

On this day, we remember those who have perished in our nation's service. If you want to read about the history of Memorial Day, go here for some information.

Somehow though, the reason for the holiday has been overshadowed by the 'first summer weekend' idea. Many people seem to view this holiday as nothing more than a long weekend, time to have a picnic, visit friends, go to the beach, etc. Please, take some time this weekend to remember all those who have sacrificed so much to preserve our freedoms and our way of life. If you go to a parade, don't just stand there and drink a beer and fool around with your friends. Take the time to respectfully watch the procession, put your hand over your heart as the stars and stripes pass by and think of those brave individuals who have fought for your freedom.

This weekend we will be at our cabin partaking in the wonders of small town life in New England. On the agenda: a trip around town to see the bears, which will be unveiled this weekend, watching the Duck Races and of course, the Memorial Day Parade. Of course, as a quilter, I am going to squeeze in as much quilting time as humanly possible too!

Have a relaxing weekend, enjoy the day off on Monday and quilt 'till you wilt!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Next Project

Okay, so this will be added to the LONG list of 'projects to do' but this one is very very close to the top (I'm hoping to work on it this weekend, if everything goes right). The pattern is 4 patch stacked posies. I've seen a few other people in blogland doing this project, and last weekend at the Quilts Around Town I saw about 8 of this quilt. You know how it goes, you can tell what classes have been popular at the LQS by looking at the quilts in the show. Anyway, I fell in love with the fabric, which jumped off the shelf and begged me to buy it. The fabric I will use is a gorgeous huge wild print, Metro by Benartex
Honestly, it doesn't look nearly as great in the swatch as it does in real life...the print is HUGE and what you see in the swatch is a tiny part of the overall pattern. Unfortunately, the fabric isn't here at home, but I will take a picture to share this weekend, and you'll see what I mean. I've always liked the Stack and Whack type quilts, but thought they were too fiddly and complicated for me, the queen of mismatched seams and lopsided strips. However, somehow dealing with only 4 layers and squares rather than diamonds or triangles seemed do-able. We'll see. If not, I can always use it to catch the oil drips under my car (just kidding).

Monday, May 21, 2007

Not much going on

Not too much going on here today. Trying to catch up from being away for the weekend and prepare for the rest of the week which promises to be pretty hectic.
Here are the pictures of the quilts I sent to the tornado victims in Kansas.
One is a bricks quilt with fabrics received in a swap on the Sunshine group several years ago, the other is a crumb quilt with 4 blocks together then framed. The other two that went in the box with these are here and here

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Quilting Weekend Getaway post disappeared, so I'll do it again.

I just got home a couple of hours ago from a fun quilting getaway. Ten of us spent the weekend in Vermont sewing, shopping and eating (too much) and having a good time. Jane, Mia and I all went together...We left on Friday morning and stopped first at Yankee Candle's flagship store in South Deerfield, MA. After buying a bunch of candles, we ate lunch at Chandler's Restaurant there at Yankee Candle. Then we headed nort to Wilmington, Vermont where we shopped at The Norton House. Once we arrived in Chester, Vermont, we checked into our rooms at The Fullerton Inn, we headed over to Country Treasures and unpacked our machines and we began sewing and shopping. On Saturday morning, Sue from Country Treasures taught us a class based on Nancy Johnson Srebros book "Stars By Magic". This is what the quilt would look like:

Of course, I never follow the instructions and I made these instead: (12" instead of 18" and not including the log cabins) to dontate to a block lotto for charity quilts. I will however make another quilt with the lone star done in the technique.

I also made this top:

Then I started working on the Wickedly Easy Quilt with a new bundle of fabrics that I bought yesterday. No pictures yet...the blocks are done, but I need to play wih them on my design wall before the top is assembled.

Now, about the project we were working on: I made only the lone stars and didn't assemble the blocks into anything. Several of the ladies made the lone star, and the first round of borders for a table runner (a couple of them even got it quilted and bound!!!). One or two went with a lap size, a couple with a twin size, and Pat bravely worked on a Queen size! Everyone except me went home with either a finished top or a big start on the top. Here are some pictures of everyone elses projects. My apologies to Jane. For some reason, I never got a picture of her top, but I will get it at guild and add the picture then!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to Me is my blogiversary. Whoda thunk it? I never thought that blogging was something I would do. That is, until I went to Bonnie's website and discovered her blog, which led me around the Quilt Mavericks webring. Soon, I realized that there was a whole other world out there on the internet that was totally unknown to me. One year later, here I am!

Today I had a busy day, just doing Mom stuff and living life. Unfortunately, no quilting. I have hope on the horizon though...this weekend I'm going on a retreat! One of my quilting groups goes to Vermont for a quilting weekend each year. For the last 7 or 8 years, I've wanted to go, but it was always on dance recital weekend, so no dice. This year however, the retreat week changed, recital dates changed and I am able to go! Woo Hoo! On Friday, 12 of us will be going to the Fullerton Inn for the weekend, and we will be taking a class at the Quilt Shop next door. I can't wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm doing something BY HAND!

Okay, so it is an oddity, but it does sometimes happen. I'm working on a little project for one of my guild challenges. The theme is WINTER, and we are supposed to do something that either reminds us of winter, something we like about winter, or somewhere we would like to be in the winter. Hmmm... I decided that I should do something small because I really should be working on UFOs or something rather than starting a new proect for the challenge. Well, I found some little applique/stitchery blockes on Pat Sloan's website. As you can see from the picture, I haven't gotten very far, but getting started was the biggest hurdle...this should go fast. I have used regular crayons to color the design (no applique here, it needs to be done this century). I will be embroidering the black lines in DMC embroidery floss to finish the block. After that, I think I'm going to make it into a journal cover or a photo album cover. Thats something I've wanted to try anyway, so I figured that would be a good thing to do. This challenge project needs to be finished for the end of June.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bears in the Valley

Last Friday, we attended the first Bears in the Valley event in Vermont. Basically this was a village stroll...the sneak preview of the unveiling of the 56 'baby bears' decorated by school children in a number of schools in the area. I'm sharing a few pictures of my favorites. You'll notice the bear with the felted wool circles, the bear with the patchwork paint job, and the 'reflections bear'with the mosaic mirrors. These bears will be auctioned in October with all the money used to support arts education in the valley. The big bears will be unveiled Memorial Day weekend, and they too will be auctioned in the fall. Isn't this fun??

Also last weekend, we went to Chester, Vermont for "Quilts Around Town" which is part of the Okemo Chamber of Commerce, and organized by Sue Ashe, the owner of Country Treasures Quilt Shop. There were towns in a number of locations throughout town, both inside and hanging on the porches of many of the businesses. Thing One and I had a great time. We watched a couple of demos, including one by Froncie Quinn, who works in conjunction with the Shelburne Museum.

Here are a few quilts we saw while we were there:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Batik Tambal

Last night, I visited another guild in my area (which I have decided to join as a member next month). They had a speaker who presented a neat hands-on workshop.
The speaker was Trish Hodges, from Batik Tambal here in the Hartford area. She talked for a few brief minutes about how Batiks are made, then she showed us some tjaps (chops) which are copper stamps dipped in wax to print the batik design. Instead of using hte tjaps for batiking, she showed us how to use them with Shiva Paintsticks. We putthe tjap under our fabric, secured it with an elastic then did a rubbing over the top of he tjap, much like we used to do grave rubbings or rubbings of veins on leaves when we were kids. I'd show you mine, but I need to wait for it to cure a few days, then heat set it.
I'm kind of thinking that I'll use the little pieces I did last night as the beginnings of some fabric postcards. We'll see...

On another note I have four quilts ready to stick in a box and send to Kansas. Luckily, I still have some quilts here that haven't been donated yet. Most of these I have left were deemed 'too big' for the local Ronald McDonald House, so I was planning to send them elsewhere. However, they are being diverted to Kansas. Tornados are not something that we experience here in CT (not impossble, just very unusual), but to me, they seem like the scariest of all possible weather disasters. Sure, hurricanes are scary, blizzards can be scary too, but with both of those, we get days and days of warning. With tornadoes, that just doesn't happen. And even more scary is the pictures you sometimes see of a flattened house with the house immediately next door totally unscathed. The quilt pictured here (the double four patch) is destined for Kansas. I'll share pictures of the others I'm sendng as soon as my camera charges enough for me to take pictures.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun, fun, fun

Who needs complicated patterns? Sure, I love to look at all the fancy-schmancy patterns and quilts when I'm at a show or surfing on the net. But when it comes to actually making quilts, I'm way on the other side of the fence...nothing fancy comes from my studio...I only make the simple quilts. I took a class with Anne Gallo and Susan Raban several years ago, and the class was called "Idiot Quilts". Yup, thats the perfect term for what I do. Mary Ellen Hopkins calls them "Kindergarten Quilts". She says why do something complicated if you can use a simple pattern and let all the great fabrics we have do all the work for you? I have wholeheartedly embraced this attitude, and so I make simple quilts. 95% of what I do is quilts for kids, so they need to be sturdy, bright and fun, and Kindergarten quilts work well for that. Some of the ladies in my guild ask how I manage to make so many quilts, and the answer is this: KISS (Keep It Super Simple) and let the fabrics do the work.

The quilt pictured above is a simple 4 patch that I did last fall. The fabrics are fun and bright. There are lots of bright fabrics and some novelties in there to keep a child entertained and happy. I had fun making the quilt, never had to pull my hair out. To me, thats perfect :-) I plan to do another one like this soon.