Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What is this block???

Please, can someone help me find out what is the name of this block????? DH bought me this beautiful top for Christmas, and we don't know the name of it. The quilt is in good shape, and I'm going to finish it for our bed sometime after I unwrap it on Christmas morning. I can't find it listed in any of my books. Hmmm...I think I need to tell DH to buy me Barbara Brackman's encylopedia.

Update: It looks like Jackie and Diane are right, the pattern is "Friendship Knot" Here is a picture and an article on this website

Monday, December 17, 2007

A surprise in the mailbox!

Oh my goodness, I was very surprised to find a fat, heavy envelope from Australia in my mail today!! Gail in Australia sent me a Thank-you package! Inside I found two of her wonderful patterns, a bag of gummy worms, a fabric postcard with a nice note on it, and several chocolates! I'm sorry that my picture is not very good, but it was all I could do to keep the children away from the chocolates and gummy worms while I quickly took a picture!!! Thank you so much, Gail!!!

I spent yesterday working on organizing my stash. I'm folding the pieces larger than 1/2 yard around my 6" ruler, then sorting them by color. At this point, I'm tossing smaller, non fat quarter pieces in a pile. Eventually I will cut them up in strips, squares and bricks accoring to Bonnie's system. In the meantime, I cut myself a kit to make a Pineapple Blossom Quilt and a Bricks and Stepping Stones Quilt. Hopefully I'll be able to work on them during the Christmas vacation week.

I'm nowhere near finishing the organizing, but I'm pleased with how it is coming along so far.

I'm still debating my options about what to do about the sick sewing machine. I'm leaning toward buying another of the same model on Ebay. It will cost me about $700 to do that, but then I'm not losing anything for all the extra feet, bobbins, etc. and besides that, my drop in table is specially fitted for my current machine...that would be another expense to take into account if I buy something else. But like I said, still thinking...

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Winter continues here in CT.
The governor is one phone with the TV News guy begging people to please GET OFF THE ROADS. Go home and relax. Apparently, this afternoon everyone left work at the height of the storm and got onto the highways which were in bad shape. There were numerous accidents blocking the road, heavy traffic and lots of snow and thus the snowplows have not been able to clear the roads. What a mess. I do not remember these sorts of traffic messes during snowstorms in years past. Have we all forgotten how to drive? Is it that so many of us have 4 wheel drive that we go out when we shouldn't?
Here in my area we had about 5 or 6 inches of snow. Not as much as predicted, but it did come down fast and heavy, then it got sleety, which of course makes a mess and causes problems on roads and with the power lines. Luckily, our power seems to be fine here. We are pretty lucky in my town, we have a municipal electric company that helps keep our rates relatively low. The best part of it is that all the guys who work for the power company live here in town and they do a fabulous job...compared to anywhere else we have ever lived, we very rarely lose power.
The plow truck did not get stuck on our little road this storm...that's always a plus. Our cul-de-sac only has a few houses, and we are on a steep hill, so sometimes our street is a huge challenge for the plow drivers. They worked for a long time here today, and all seems to be well. The UPS truck came thru right after the plow, and I have received almost all of the gifts I ordered. I'm still waiting for one package coming from Canada and another that I just ordered this morning.
Once the snow completely stops in a little while, I am going to go out and finish shoveling the steps and the path to the front door. Then I'm going to rest up, because apparently we are going to do this all over again on Saturday night. Except that the storm coming Saturday night is supposed to be much BIGGER than this one.
At the moment, they are predicting 12" of snow for Saturday/Sunday. I guess that means Breakfast with Santa, an annual tradition for our family will be cancelled.

Watch for my next post....I'm going to be doing a giveaway for my 100th post!!!

My poor baby

Uh Oh. As I mentioned recently, (oh, okay, I've WHINED), my machine has been acting up. The light is out, the needle down is not working properly and the top thread keeps breaking. I've cleaned, I've oiled, I've changed everything I could change. And it still seems sick. Yesterday, I took it to the Tony, the Sewing Machine Repair Dude.

This morning, Tony called me and said "I have bad news, very bad news". Apparently, My machine has an electrical problem in the board. This is beyond the ability of the fabulous Tony. There is also some mechanical problem in the feed dogs.

Tony has suggested that my options are to trade the machine in and buy something new, or send Bernie on a European Vacation to visit his ancestors at the Bernina Factory in Switzerland for diagnosis and repair. Why don't *I* get offered a trip to the Swiss Alps? Tony suggests that replacing the board will probably cost $500 and up. Yikes. And even then, they'll only guarantee for 90 days after.

My machine is 12 years old. I LOVE this machine and have always said that I am not even tempted by the new TOL machines, none of them seem to be as good as this machine. I've only ever done minor repairs, oh, and I wore out 2 foot pedals along the way. Now I have to decide if it is worth spending a hunk of money to repair it, with no guarantees or if I am better to trade it in and start with something new. I'm also thinking that maybe I should try to buy a used 1630 from someone else. Hmmm.

Any suggestions? Has anyone sent their machine to Switzerland to have it fixed, and was it worth it? If I buy a new machine, what the heck do I get? I have a backup machine that I can use for a good long time if I need to (its a Bernina 135) but I really don't like the 135 all that much. What to do, what to do???

A Snowy Evening with Mark Lipinski

Last Friday night, a local guild hosted a lecture (followed by a Saturday class) with Mark Lipinski. I had been planning for months to go to this lecture. Arranged my schedule, made sure hubby would be home to deal with the children etc. The lecture was about 25 miles from home. For the 7:00 lecture, I planned to leave early, around 5:30, grab some coffee along the way and get there early for social hour.

At 3:00, it started snowing. Hard. I turned on the weather and the meteorologist kept proclaiming "FLURRIES". The snow was coming down quickly, and it was accumulating on the roads. This was our first snow of the year...we'd had about
1/4" of ice few days before, but of course everyone forgets how to drive during the first snowfall of the year. DH said, GO NOW at 4:50. I was in the car and on my way by 5:00. Two hours to the lecture, 25 miles to go. No sweat. Or so I thought.

Luckily, I was in the Subaru, so I had no driving issues besides all the idiots on the road. HOWEVER, these 'flurries' turned into only 1 1/2" of snow, but the roads were slushy and icy, there were lots of spinouts and such. All in all, it took my until 7:10 to arrive at the lecture. Sure, I probably should have turned around and gone home, but by 6:15 the snow had stopped, so I figured the roads could only get better, I might as well soldier on. I made a phone call and found out that lecture was NOT cancelled.

When I arrived at 7:10, Mark was still not there. Apparently he had left New Jersey at 1:00 for the 2 1/2 hour drive, so that he would arrive early. HA! He was still on the way and would do the lecture or reschedule if the guild ladies would prefer that. Since a fair number of people were there already, it was decided that they woudl wait fo him to arrive. Mark finally arrived about 8:00 or 8:15. He hadn't shaved, showered or eaten, but hey, we quilters must perservere, so he gave the lecture.

More than two hours later, we had seen dozens and dozens of quilts. This was THE BEST lecture I have ever been to (until this point, I would have said John Flynn's was the best I had ever attended, but Mark is WAY funnier than John). I laughed so hard I thought I might pee my pants. Mark showed us his fabulous quilts, shared a lot of stories about his magazine and we all hd a great time. He brought so many quilts, I can't imagine how he stuffed them into his car! I took a ton of pictures, but I'm not going to post them on my blog because he asked us not to, and I am going to respet that. I do think that I can show the picture that shows just how many quilts there were: 10 of these huge bags (from the dollar store, I have some of these bags and they are fabulous, btw!).

For Mark's post about his visit, read his blog on his website.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

November Goals Review

Oh boy. I didn't do very well with my November goals. Here is what I had hoped to do in November:
* tops for my 40th birthday challenge
* goodies for Christmas Swap
* bind square dance quilt
* finish denim quilt
* starburst quilt - finish top

I did the goodies for the Christmas Swap, and I did finish the Denim Quilt. I also made my name block for Tonya.

After that, things went way downhill. The 40th bir5thday challenge quilts just didn't happen, though I did play with the blocks and make a few extras. I never touched the binding on the square dance quilt, and I didn't finish the top of the starburst quilt, but all the blocks (minus the replacement one) are finished and on the design wall.

I did get sidetracked and make myself a purse and totebag. I quilted my Tossed Salad quilt, and I also quilted a one of the blue crumb quilts (though I haven't shared that photo yet).

For December, I'm not even going to try to set any goals. I'm just going to maintain the status quo until I get past Christmas. I'll probably go wild playing during the week after Christmas when I'll be feeling much less stress. During that week, I'll probably try to finish up the binding on the several quilts that need it and then see what happens beyond that.

Christmas Shopping is Finished!

Hurray! The last of the Christmas shopping is finished! I sat here at my computer and ordered the last few things from the fabulous today. Next week, the final gifts will arrive conveniently at my front door and I won't have to go and battle the crowds to get them!!

I do have to finish wrapping. I'm about 1/3 finished with that task. The biggest issue is to decide which gifts are from Mom and Dad and which are from Santa. That has to be determined before I wrap because of course, Santa wraps in his own wrapping paper that is different from Mom and Dad's wrapping paper.

Fortunately, DH and I do not have any Christmas Eve toy assembling projects to do this year. Two years ago we had to assemble a Thomas Train Table. After we arrived home from my Mom's house at midnight. It made for a very long night. I decided to be sensible this year and only buy small stuff. Video games and Ipods take up a lot less space than Little Tykes Kitchens and Train Tables!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

MY SSSC Gift is here!

Today when I went out to my mailbox, I found a big fat envelope from CJ in Calagry, Alberta, Canada! My SSSC gift is here! Hurray! I gave the envelope to my DH, so that he would hide it from me until Christmas.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tossed Salad Quilt

Here is a preview of my Tossed Salad Quilt. It still needs the binding, but I'll show part of it anyway. This quilt is for ME. It started as a Block Lotto for one of my quilting groups about a year and a half ago or so. We were to make the wonky log cabin type blocks in colors that made of think of a tossed salad, mostly greens with touches of other colors. I had so much fun making these blocks that I got way carried away. In the end, I was not able to go to the meeting where the blocks would be raffled off. Instead of sending them with someone else, decided to keep them for myself! This quilt is the result. I love the colors in it. Perhaps I got a little carried away with too much purple in it, but since purple/green is my favorite combination, thats okay!!

Busy Weekend

I spent a lot of time working on projects this weekend, and I did manage to make my deadlines! Yay!

The secret Santa Swap gift was mailed to a location far, far away. I can't share pictures until after Christmas. I can tell you that I was happy with the results of what I made, and will be making that item again for myself.

The other secret project was my name block for Tonya as a thank you for her blog-class. I was very pleased with how it came out, and surprised that my letters actually came out sized consistently this time!

I also worked on my project for Tonya's Winter Class. I made little wonky churn dash blocks that will be in the project.

I did two other projects, but you'll have to come back tomorrow to see them because I haven't taken pictures of them yet.

After all that, I worked on wrapping Christmas presents. I need to spend the rest of tonight digging around in the basement for the Christmas decorations. I'm only doing minimal decorating this year, but do need to find the most important things or I might get run out of town by Thing One and Thing Two.