Friday, October 28, 2011

Hard-Core Cuddler

My little lab, Luau, was a hard-core cuddler right up until her very end.
Now her struggles with adeniodal cancerous tumors are all gone and she has passed peacefully into another realm of reality that is beyond my grasp. As Felix and I left the veterinarian's office we felt sad but also glad that there was no suffering. My prayer was; "Thank you, God, for your beautiful gift which I now return to you."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Across the Spectrum

Across the Spectrum is a lovely quilt designed by Sherri Bain Driver and all done in Civil War reproduction fabrics. It was featured in the January/February 2011 issue of Mc Call's quilting magazine. My wonderful Civil War reproduction Yahoo swap group, Nickelswap, has picked it up as a monthly block-swap. I sent in my 3 sets of CW pinks and 3 sets of CW blues earlier this month, but forgot to get pictures.

Right now, I'm working on the blocks for the November 15th swap, which will be Civil War yellows, greens, and oranges. The Criss Cross blocks, as they are called, use smaller pieces than I am used to working with, and I need 6 identical blocks per set.

These blocks are 5" unfinished and will be 4 1/2" finished in the quilt. The ecru fabric is "Pie Crust" Primitive Muslin and has a very softly mottled tea-stained look to it.
I'm working on some greens, too. Here are the strip-sets assembled and pressed being sub-cut into units to be sewn back together into the blocks:

Because of the deadlines, I have completely set aside my Blue Ridge Beauty for the time being, but I hope to get back to it.
In the meantime, I had gone quite overboard on ordering fall bulbs, especially the large yellow Dutch Master daffodils! I bought 80 from Breck's, and then ordered 50 more from the Belknap County Conservation District fall fund-raiser sale. I gave away bunches of them to my sister, Anne, and to her adult daughter, Michelle, for their respective birthdays. But I still had a LOT to get into the ground! My dear son, Matthew, came to the rescue!

I lost track of the exact count but we put in over 50 and got them all in before dark! Yippee!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Birthday Fun!

Hooray! I'm 62 years old today! Here I am just outside my sister Suzanne's house proudly showing off all the lovely birthday loot that she gave me. That is a purple batik scarf from the quilt show and the sweater she hand-knitted for me all intertwined with pretty cotton quilting string bits in lavenders and creamy neutrals. Can you see the bright teal tea towel peeking out of that pretty basket?
Yesterday, she took me and her friend Patty out to lunch in Cornish, Maine, at Krista's Restaurant. It is so popular that we waited an hour to get a table and we all swore that we would NEVER come during Sunday Brunch again! After all, we are all retired and can go on a Thursday or Friday and avoid the crowds. The food and the decor was great. But I was saddened that The Barking Rose Quilt shop doesn't keep Sunday hours, so we missed out on that one.
Here are Patty, on the left, and I am on the right.
Here's my sister, Suzanne, our hostess with the most-est!
On the way home, in the brisk fall winds, the fall colors were being stripped away right before our eyes!

Saturday, I had treated myself to 20 fun-sized scraps from the Keepsake Quilter's shop twenty-five cent scrap bins. Ahhhhhh, now that's the way to make yourself feel rich for five bucks!
So today I played a bit in my Quilty Cave down cellar, making 5 more Cheddar Bow Tie blocks from the new scraps! I also visited my village post office to mail off some cheddar bow tie swaps and some Girl Scout registrations to forward on to Council for the 2012 year.
Speaking of registrations, I did my car and the snowplow truck, too, at my town hall. Now if I can just get my safety inspection after the snow tires are swapped onto the old girl, and, oh yes, those wipers must be repaired, too. Then I guess I'll be the finest tiger in the jungle!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mailbox Goodies!

When I got home from the parts store with the new wiper assembly, I picked up the mail at the mailbox and was delighted to see that I had received a big squishy envelope from my new friend Shelley in Connecticut. Yippee!
Shelley and I had agreed to trade a set of 20 Cheddar Bow Tie blocks, and I had already sent mine down to her.

Aren't they beautiful? I had requested that Shelley send me matched pairs of two of a kind so that I can do a circular setting rather than just an all diagonal setting, and she was as good as her word. I just love her fabrics! The reds are drop-dead gorgeous; I'm always a sucker for florals, love 'em. But this lavender purple paisley is the one that grabbed my heart. It is already my favorite.
Thank you so very much, Shelley!!!!
But wait, there's more! When I had tucked in a small French Lavender filled sachet into the pouch going to Shelley, she had promised to return the favor with a special treat for me. I had no idea what she would choose to send. What would it be? Well, now the mystery is solved:

It is an absolutely darling, hand-crafted by Shelley, recipe-holding pouch with a button and loop closer, complete with sorting cards and preprinted recipe labels!!!
Oops! My bad. Shelley says that it is a coupon caddy, but that I'm free to use it however is best for me.
How cute! I confess that I may just commandeer this to use as a travel kit bag for taking sewing notions to workshop classes. It is big enough to hold my rotary cutter, scissors, bobbin box, needle case, and sewer's awl. I just love it!
Thank you, Shelley, it is SEW appreciated!


There are pros and cons to driving a 22 year old Mercury Marquis as your regular ride.

You never worry about minor scratches or body bumps because there is already a spot of rust here and there. You never worry about anybody wanting to steal your car because it is an old wreck.
You get tons of leg room and never need a running board to be able to get into the car.

Ahhh, here's the big "But..."

You must accept the semi-constant risk of break-downs that can be very inconvenient! As I drove Matthew, my unofficially adopted son back to his dorm at New Hampshire Technical Institute, my wipers decided to quit while it was raining. Sigh. It was a big mist, not a downpour, at least. The wiper seemed to be hitting and binding or sticking on the underside of the front part of the hood. I would pull over and Matthew would flip the blade clear of where it was bound and then they would wipe fine for a few miles until they got stuck again.

So I was able to complete the trip with a few stops for wiper blade clearing and decided to take some pictures of the foliage as I meandered homeward. Today heavy winds are predicted, so it will take away all the pretty colors and strip the trees bare, so I'm glad that I got these shots.

The parts store called to say that the new replacement wiper arm assembly is in, so off I go to fetch it and to pick up my fall order of Dutch Master Daffodils from the Belknap County Conservation District's sale. Pray for clear skies!!!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Forward Progress

Sometimes forward progress seems maddeningly slow, other times there is a great big fat creative burst of energy. Today was somewhere in the middle of those two. I had a morning sewing session that produced 10 new units of Cheddar Bow Tie blocks, that were all cut from scratch. What made it extra fun is that I had started cutting up some already-prewashed fat quarters into 2 1/2" strips for the qvwashedswappers bonus strip swap that is due October 15th. After cutting the strips for the swap, I found that I had plenty enough left over to make some 2 1/2" and 1 1/2" strips to make the squares for my bow ties. One task just flowed seamlessly (? hmmmm) into the next. Now my basket of bow ties is 250 strong, and that is even not counting the 20 that I sent off to Connecticut on a swap!
I confess that I am still kinda dragging my feet to finish up all those 448 Half Square Triangles for my Blue Ridge Beauty. So today I pulled down my shoebox and did an updated inventory of how many I DO have made. I figure that concentrating on the posititive is always a motivation-builder!

I made about 20 more of them and then was very pleased that my final tally for the day was 365! That's only about 80 more to do! I'm winning!

And once again, my clothesline is all aflutter with dreamy florals in beigey tawny pinks and sagey greens. I will definitely need to shop my stash for some darker notes to give better contrast. I'm thinking of using these winnings from my guild's Penny Sale in another Chain of Faith quilt by Jo Kramer as featured on Moda Bakeshop (
I still very much dislike the turquoise with orangey reds and a lot of white that seems to be all the rage right now, so I'm bucking the trend and going my own way.
As I work along, I am using 2 1/2" lights and darks sewn into four-patches as my leader/enders. I have already amassed over 60 of them! I love the way they worked on my Pawprints quilt:
But I recently came across the Double Four Patch at ( and I want to try that pattern, too. I'm still playing around with whether or not to use greens as the anchor color.

My guild has a lovely tradition of buying a couple of dozen very large potted crysanthymums wholesale to use to decorate our show. They look and smell delightful. At the end of the show, those people who were work committee chairs and co-chairs each take a mum home as their "thank-you" present from the guild. I was co-chair of hanging and was delighted to claim this silvery pinky-red mum.
With today's near-record temps of 79 degrees, I needed to water it and I did. I hope to enlist Matthew's help to plant it at the far right-hand end of the new hydrangea bed that he put in earlier this summer. It would go right about where Raven is standing here:
It's hard to see her black outline as she proudly holds a windfall peach in her mouth. Yes, my crazy dogs love peaches! LOL!
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