Thursday, December 31, 2009

Totals for 2009

Because of the One Project a Month challenge [OPAM], that was to FINISH at least one project each month, I set up a sidebar recording system at the beginning of this year. Now I can easily see that I finished 25 quilts of various sizes [12 definitely UFOs and some not], 17 doll quilts, and two grocery bags.

Now how many new projects did I start that are NOT yet finished? SIX, new UFOs going into 2010.

How many OLD, ancient, tottering UFOs do I have?
TEN that are at the "flimsy" stage, blocks sewn together, no border as yet.
ELEVEN piles of blocks, maybe not the "right" number of blocks, and I know there are some more of these lurking out of sight and mind
TWO that are patterns with chosen fabric.

That's an approximate total of 30 projects already in my sewing room. Let's see . . .
if I finish TWO a month, and finish anything ELSE I start in 2010. . .
I'll still have six UFOs going into 2011. Well, that would be a much better number.

Can I finish or get rid of two a month? Do I want to say I will? Is that how I want to spend my time?

I'm going to sleep on it.
See you next year with my answer!

Bread for New Year's Eve

Carefully keeping my back straight, I mixed up a new batch of dough and then baked two loaves of the "Master Recipe", so we have our carb for a festive dinner. The chicken thighs are defrosting. One of the guests just called with regrets because she has a sore throat and doesn't want to share. So we'll be just five friends of similar age. [Let's just say 65 and up.]

Since we all go to the same exercise class, maybe I'll lead us in some stretching moves to improve my back and theirs! We can wear silly hats while we do it, fall down, call it "drunk" and go home by 10 PM., avoiding the really drunk people on the road. A New Year's party for the truly mature!

My back is a little better. I think I'm learning that what sets the cramps off is leaning at a certain small angle forward, like I do at the sewing machine. Since I was spending a lot of time there in the last days, finishing UFOs before the end of the year, I am now taking the day off from sewing, and maybe tomorrow and the next day. I will se if that leads to my total recovery.

Best wishes for 2010 to all my blog readers. And let's call it "twenty ten", that's one syllable shorter than "two thousand ten", and will serve us better for the next 90 years. [Anyone hanging around that long to check?]



A warm, safe house
Plenty of food
Good health
A loving, dear husband

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

YES! UFO # 9 is done!

These madras patches were already sewn together in strips when I found the bag.

Now it is a 34 ' X 35" baby quilt for the Butterworth neonatal unit.

I got it done even tho' I seems to be having muscle spasms in my back. I tied the heating pad around me and sat very erect at the sewing machine. But twisting is not in my program!



Had the grocery shopping done before this started
Had a heating pad in the house
Have Charlie here

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

UFO #8 finished

Binding in process this morning. Note: a bit of the black and white batik backing is showing down near the floor.

Catherine Martin's excellent idea for the quilting pattern.

The whole thing, 66" X 96", hanging on the kitchen wall before I took a walk through the meadow. The SUNSHINE outdoors was its own thrill, but it was also fun to see this through the kitchen window as I returned to the house.

This was my idea for the Black and White Challenge , which was to include one other color. And the simple, simple plan for a zig-zag [two-rail fence] came from Amandajean at .

This was finished well before dinner, so I looked through my cabinet of UFOs for some pineapple appliques already sewn together that Dianne gave me "to do something with". I found it. But I also found these blocks which leapt into my hands. They are now put together into a baby quilt, and I have started quilting.



Sunshine after much dark gray sky
Christmas stocking candy--a big pile like Halloween!
Another C.J. Box mystery

Monday, December 28, 2009

UFO #7 finished

Here is my seventh UFO finish since the beginning of November. Back from my quilter today and I quickly made the binding, applied it, and wrote the label on the back with a permanent marker.

I made this from 12 Fat Quarters at a retreat back in February.

But wait!
That's not the front of the quilt, that's the BACK, Bonnie Hunter style!

Here's the front:

I made it a little longer by adding top and bottom borders, which were made from leftovers of the FQs. In the end it was 48" x 78", really a good length for adult napping.

I picked up another quilt from my long-arm quilter with this one, so I can get that bound and labelled tomorrow for my eighth finish. Then to find ONE more UFO that I can finish on Wednesday and Thursday. Whoopee! I think I'm going to make my goal of NINE.



Zeke returned from the kennel all clean and fluffy
Kate's vegetable soup for lunch
Quiet plans for New Year's Eve

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Enjoying Christmas Gifts

Three grands learning how to play RockBand! [We hope to never again listen to "Eye of the Tiger".]
Coolest Grandpa enjoying toy from his Christmas stocking.

Our daughter Martha enjoying the "TV watching" quilt, which the family received.

Samantha wearing her "New Moon" fingerless mittens, which I made in St. Louis. Then I made a pair for Aunt Bebe, who "always" has cold hands. [Thanks to Melody Johnson for pointing out the pattern!]

Lots of other presents were exchanged and exclaimed over.
We ate lots of delicious food.
We celebrated John Sr.'s birthday.
We introduced Granny and Aunt Bebe to playing our game "Follow the Star".

And this is how much of a sock I was able to knit during the drive to and from St. Louis. I had to take my turns driving, and then darkness fell, both cutting down on the available time!



Lots of laughter and some quiet conversations
Gifts for people in Haiti:
----a house from Charlie,
----a water pump from Marti & John
Safe trip driving home in unsavory weather

Monday, December 21, 2009

Leaving for St.Louis

We are packing the car for a morning departure. After [about] eight hours on the road we hope to arrive at the hotel near our daughter's family. We will be there through Dec 26, our son-in-law's birthday. Back home next Monday.

So we have pushed our Mary and Joseph creche figures to hurry their travels and get to the stable so we don't have to leave them out in the cold. Hopefully the animals will help keep the barn warm.



Lunch with Megan
"O Antiphon" service again tonight
Ready to try Christmas away from home

Saturday, December 19, 2009

UFO #6 finished

The Christmas goodies . . . . Mint Melts from Crate & Barrel and I made my second batch of Russian Tea Cakes. The first batch were left too long in the oven, not really burnt but some scraping needed on their bottoms, and then the taste was a little too "brown" for my memories.
Around the baking procedures I finished off this Bargello baby quilt.

For the borders I tried a freehand stem and pointed, drooping leaves. Now it looks to me like Corn Everlasting. But it fills the space adequately and makes me feel more competent on machine quilting.

And here is the flannel back. I caught a few small tucks, but overall it looks really fine-- rather like a whole cloth quilt.

Need to wrap presents now, and make some Rum Balls. Then on to another UFO [or maybe sewing a few blocks together for Bonnie's Caroline Xmas mystery].



Charlie goes shopping and asks, "What can I pick up for you?"
O Antiphon service last night at Dominican Center
Marion McPartland's "Piano Jazz" on NPR

Friday, December 18, 2009

SpoolSpinners' Holiday Party

Last night our quilting bee had good food, and a fun pin cushion exchange. After they were unwrapped, we put them all on this table so we could do more oooing and aahhing. Since I don't use a pin cushion, I did play along, but was really impressed with the creativity shown. All very different and hand made.

Secret Sisters were revealed. I received EIGHT round napkins that can be folded in to Christmas trees. And then there were the straight pins. . . . At our September retreat, I forgot my box of pins at home, so I went around the room and begged or stole two of three pins from each other quilter. I was roundly roasted for this thievery then. And my Secret Sister, MargEd Kwapil, gave me 450 pins at this party in December! Don't think I will ever run out again.

My own Secret Sister was glad to get her table topper and a Jim Shore tree ornament, but I forgot to take a photo.

Back home I have been machine quilting this baby UFO that was also bordered at the September retreat. Now to figure out how to quilt that outer green section.



Relaxing and skin cleansing facial this AM
A few Christmas cookies have been made
Presents I was awaiting came in the mail

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daughter of UFO #5

This morning I finished quilting the "Leaded Leaves" table runner for my Secret Sister.

Then I made the binding [to match the outer border] and applied it to the back of the sandwich.

I fold it over to the front and sew right along the edge. I am helped by moving my needle position one step to the right. This, mostly, keeps me from falling off the edge and missing the binding edge altogether.

Here's the final look, with the quilting following the leaves pattern in the batik in the bottom and top panels.

Finally with the binding finished, I wrote the date and my town, name and recipient on the backing between the two lines of quilting.

This went so quickly that I decided I SHOULD really also make the second one which is for myself, before I could say that I had "finished" this UFO. After all, all the blocks were in the same bag, and I had originally thought that they would all be used in ONE project.

So here is the second one at dinner time. This is NOT fall colors.

I had no acorn, but only seven leaves. The oddest leaf went in the Orphans' box. I am putting more sashing in this one to make it long enough to serve as a double placemat on our dining table. Charlie and I sit on opposite sides of the table, across the short dimension. This can lay across the middle and serve both of us.

I'm going to get this done before returning to the Carolina Christmas mystery.

Meanwhile I am enjoying another C.J. Box mystery novel about Joe Pickett, a Fish and Game Warden in Wyoming.



Charlie is cooking dinner
SPRAY basting worked well today
UFO progress

Monday, December 14, 2009

UFO #5 in process

Before Bonnie came out with the next clue, which she did today, I decided I was going to finally make something intentional for my Secret Sister.

These blocks were made maybe two and a half years ago, when my good friend Dianne had a workshop at her house for about twenty of us. We all brought "fall" batiks and black fabric and she taught us the technique for theleaves. [Later she gave us each one acorn block.]

After we had all cut out blocks in half on the diagonal, we had an everyone ended up with much more variety than when we came. I came home with enough halves to make 12 blocks.

I am going to make this table runner for my Secret Sister, and then make another for myself.



Exercise class today
Christmas shopping on the internet, almost finished!
Pork roast and Waldorf salad

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And the Back

This side may appeal more to a small child than the front side does.

T is for Tessellation

Fourth UFO finish since November 1. Hurray!

The blocks for this one were made many moons ago at a workshop where we were to design our own tessellation, a single shape that interlocks to cover the field. After these blocks 'rested' for quite awhile, I sewed them together, more or less to keep them form getting lost. At a September bee retreat I finally found the right fabric and put the borders on.

Yesterday and today I did the machine quilting and binding. It has finished to 38.5" square. How's that for an ODD size? Oh, well, that's just the way I work. If it's not big enough to be a bed sized quilt, I just stop when it seems to be done. This could be a neonatal quilt for the Guild collection next March--or I could give it to my Secret Sister.

Advent 3 and we were at Bethlehem Lutheran this AM. We had a close encounter with John the Baptizer asking us why we owned TWO coats when there were cold people out on the street. Good question. If we have food, why are we not sharing it with the hungry? Hmm, another good question.
Darn! These questions make me think I need to change my life.
Maybe I'll stop going to church.


Good preaching
Warm coats!
Plenty of food!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mistake slows progress

When I got to pressing my "Poinsettia Stars", they were looking very good, until I opened one up and found this:

Not so good! How can this happen when I only have to do the SAME thing over and over for 48 times? Oh, well, I have ripped it open and resewn it. Now I DO really have 48 blocks that look the same. [Yes, Bonita, it does get a little tedious at times, so it is good to do them in sets of 10 and then take a break!]

I picked a Un-Finished Object [UFO] that has had two different "waiting" periods, and I have made the binding strips and the backing. Now I am quilting it on my machine; since it is only about 40" square, I can maneuver it through the small space of the harp of the machine.

A few more T's to quilt and then the borders.
I'm calling this "T is for Tessellation".

Charlie got to the airport at about 11:30 last night. It was quite a change for him to find 11 degrees instead of the 80 they had in Haiti.


Fun to sing the GRWC program again at MAJIC
Learning about Food for the Poor from Charlie
Met Opera on the radio while I sew.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Step 5 almost done

I did complete the Fox and Geese blocks last night, though I have not yet squared them up.

Here is one possible way they could be put together.

Then I began on the alternate block, which Bonnie calls "Poinsettia Star".
First we take the two HALF units made earlier, a "twosie" in neutrals and gold, and a red diagonal stripe, and we sew those together.

This makes a half a block.

Finally we sew the two halves together.

I have finished 10 if the needed 48 blocks, and expect to finish the rest this evening.

Here's a look at what the two blocks look like mixed together, as if they are going to be placed alternately.
But we don't know yet what Bonnie has in mind for the setting!


I've had a lovely quiet day, only opening and closing the door for Zeke to go out and investigate the blowing snow. Not truly a blizzard, for the visibility hasn't been dreadful on our property. However, all the weather gurus said that we should all stay home until 6 a.m. tomorrow. This suggestion didn't stop the UPS truck from arriving with a Christmas present I just ordered two days ago!

Time to heat up my tea.



Garrison Kieller show on PBS last night
Heat, light and water still working
Wool socks

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Starting Step 5 of Carolina Xmas

Piles of units are lying on my cutting mat awaiting their first opportunity to bond together into a larger block. I finished these piles just last night.

I even had the black ones squared up, but then my eyes began to fail me, and I needed to put some more time in to the C.J. Box mystery I am reading. So I quit.

Now I am following Bonnie's instructions
on how to join these together. There are to
be 52 of these blocks at the end, so 104 of the half-blocks. I have made a "lot" of these.

And I have also put together 12 of the blocks. She says they are called "Fox and Geese".
Well, isn't that nice!

However, I have many, many more to make.

And I'm not going to show you the alternate block until I get done with this one and go on to work on that one.

But other news from today: My every-four-weeks trip to the eye doctor.
"Everything is perfect," he said.
Therefore no injection again this month.
That makes two in a row that we have skipped.

Hurray! Someone has been saved the $2000 cost of the injection material [Medicare and Blue Cross] and I have saved an afternoon for sewing because I didn't have to keep my eyes shut for 5 hours to recover from the insult to my eyeball.


A warm house [wind and snow outdoors]
Electricity [may go out in this storm]
Kathie being my driver [Charlie in Haiti]

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cutting for Step 4

Sunday after church I rested from the concert on Saturday night -- it was GREAT, but tiring -- and I finished up the CUTTING for Step 4 of Bonnie's mystery. You see the stacks of pieces which will each make ten HSTs.

Today I sewed my first batch of 10 "butterfly" units. There will be 104 when I complete the job. Fairly mindless work, but I need to pay enough attention that I don't sew the units together in the wrong orientation. I have already had to "unsew" two units.

Charlie is in flight to Haiti for an orientation with Food for the Poor. Since he is gone until Friday night, I'm planning on getting a lot of sewing done, and very little cooking.


Friends who came to the concert
Advent 2 liturgy at the Dominican Center
An afternoon nap

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Carolina Xmas, Part 3

Last night I finished the 48 sets of 4 slanting matching-red-fabric patches. And below them you can see some of the waste or bonus Half-square triangles that were cut off during the making, I think the total is 384 of those. [There may be a feathered star pattern in my future which would use a number of those.]

Tonight is the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus winter concert. Maybe I can get Charlie to take a photo. I'm still shaky on my Macedonian and French words for two of the songs. That's what I need to work on this afternoon instead of Part 4 of this mystery. But between practices I am cutting more 2.5" strips.



Lovely "lake effect" snow floating down
Warm house
New computer working well

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Carolina Xmas, Part 3

The final look of Step #2, with the large triangle sewn on. Ten piles of ten with a few extra. Black and neutral.

Photo #2 is where I got to today on Step 3. LOTS of cutting! Those are stacks of 2.5" background squares and stacks of red 2.5" x 4.5' bricks.

One stack of about 72 red bricks with ONE corner sewn, cut, pressed. Only TWO pieces finished with both corners sewn, cut pressed.

Oh, yes, there is also a developing pile of 2" HSTs that have been cut off the back of the sewn corner, "waste" triangles. These await some OTHER, later project. [Quilting seeds.]



Birthday lunch for Iris at The Electric Cheetah
Progress on mystery quilt
Progress on learning some GRWC foreign language words

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Carolina Xmas, Part 2A

Lots of small pieces.
Lots of triangles.
Lots of fun really!

Next a black triangle as big as this whole piece will be added to make them into squares.

Hope to have a photo of those before the day is over.

Bonnie has already posted Part 3. Now that the grocery shopping is done, and the food put away, I need to finish Part 2!