30 March 2012

I Volunteer and the Price of Gas Goes UP

I went into the "village" today to volunteer at the library. I stopped and got a coffee. The price of gas shook me into taking a photo.
Mind you, we have three gas stations in our village and they always maintain the same price. No one competes with anyone else.
So just four hours later, I headed home and found the gas had inched up another 4 cents a gallon.
Honestly, our little edge on a healthy economy is being consumed by the greediness of the oil companies and their stockholders. To Hell with playing the mega-lottery, just invest in oil and you are guaranteed to make a killing!

The cost of trucking just got more expensive. That means groceries will go up accordingly. Dang it... time to grow a garden! And I do NOT have a green thumb. It is just pink and wrinkled!

27 March 2012

The Making of a Quilt

I am a quilter.
I love making quilts.
There is just something about buying fabric, bringing it home, cutting it up into tiny pieces and sewing it back together again.

It reminds me of my grandmothers. Both were quilters. Grandma Fortune made her quilts 100% by hand. She would sit next to her radio in her rocking chair and stitch away. She had all these little pieces that she would carefully hand sew together. Then she sewed the pieces into blocks and then into quilts. I remember her quilting the huge quilts. I received one of these precious quilts as a high school graduation gift. I have since given it to one of my girls. Pinwheels, tiny toys in the fabrics, stripes, and the color blue all make me think of Grandma Fortune.

Grandma Orme made her quilts on her treadle sewing machine. She would piece them by machine and hand quilt them on a frame. I remember watching her sewing in her kitchen and asking her if she would give me her sewing machine when she died. (Pretty brazen even as a kid, I was.) She never said "yes" and she never said "no". She used more daring colors in her quilts. I remember that I used to think that her quilts didn't jive. But years later, I see that she had quite the eye for color. I also received a precious quilt from her as a high school graduation gift. One of my girls got that one. Wool quilts remind me of Grandma Orme. Heavy, heavy quilts that offered the only heat in a very, very cold bedroom in her house. I was so thankful for the weight and warmth of those quilts.

Now I'm a quilter. I don't save all my scraps any more like I used to. I had so many tiny scraps saved and organized, I had a friend come and exorcise them from me! I was never going to use them, but both grandmothers taught me not to waste fabric. They used to piece even a 1" block if they didn't have one square inch! OMG!

Recently, I gathered all of my green fabrics that looked as if they would compliment each other. I cut them into smaller pieces and sewed them back together again. Once I had my quilt top together, I taped the backing down to the floor. I stretched the fabric every so slightly.

 Next I lay batting on top of the backing fabric and finally, the quilt top. I spread them out evenly with my hands and smooth out all the wrinkles.

Then I baste the quilt. This is a cool technique that both my grandmothers would get a kick out of... I don't sew the layers together with basting stitches, instead, I pin with safety pins. (Some of my quilting friends spray glue the layers together and don't require any pins. I don't like the use of stinky sprays and don't think it's good for my machine to get gunked up with the glue so I still use pins.) 

And then I start sewing. I just "draw" with my needle. This quilt didn't require any thinking, just the basic stippling.

And YES.... this is my new quilting machine. It's my time-share machine! It's my time to have it before I share it again! It sewed like a dream and it has such a nice large area to accept the quilt that I didn't have to struggle at all.

And Ta Dah! A very sweet green quilt ready to be mailed tomorrow! 

I love the process. I enjoy thinking of the person who will receive my quilts and pouring my love into every stitch.

P.S. I did get the treadle sewing machine after Grandma died. She didn't leave it to me but my uncle inherited everything and I managed to beg it off of him. I'm so glad I did. I love that machine and all of the memories oozing from it.

26 March 2012

Faked Me Out

I've been burned. Remember last month when I bought myself a gift of tulips? Well, I've been watering them ever since. 6 weeks or more.
I decided today would be a good day to plant them in the rock garden so I got out and dug a nice fresh hole.
Much to my surprise, inside the container, (which turned out to NOT be a container but green foam), .... was nothing. Nada. Zilch. No bulbs.

All I can say is it was well watered and healthy foam.

23 March 2012

Quilt Parts

I have these bias strips made for a quilt I am in the process of making for grandson, Jacob. He's headed to high school in September so it's time for him to retire his dinosaur quilt.
I am not feeling well enough to tackle these parts just yet. I have to weave them and they have to come out straight. Straight?! I can't walk a straight line let alone sew one right now.
I hope the colors don't fade before I feel well enough to start the weaving!
We shall see....

21 March 2012

Sick and Tired

Yep, I got the crud aka: flu. Big time. I have not left this couch for days, (can you tell?) It looks like a homeless person lives here. One who is very fond of assorted cough drops, herbal tea, assorted blankets, numerous pillows and Kleenex. (I knew years ago that I should buy stock in Kleenex, but did I listen to my inner voice? Nope....) but I'm thankful for those lovely, soft tissues just the same.

I tried going back to work last Thursday but a fever hit. I just can't quite shake it. At least today it isn't 4° but a mere .08° so I know I'm on the mend!
Sweet Jack won't let me do anything. He is even bending over washing dishes in our low kitchen sink! He keeps my humidifier filled so I can sleep to its sweet humming.

I don't feel sorry for myself at all. What I have is not fatal. It just knocked my legs out from underneath me for a bit.

16 March 2012

1/2 Interest in a Quilt ? !!

Did I buy half a quilt?
Did I buy 1/2 stock in a quilt?
Nope. And Nope. ...
I bought 1/2 ownership in a quilt machine. (heh-hemm, Ina)

I was telling my sis that I'd bought 1/2 a quilt machine and her phone cut out as I said the word "machine"! So she went around trying to think about the benefits and logistics on sharing a quilt. She said she was thinking, "Wow, that must be a very special quilt for two women to want to share it."

How funny. Like that "telephone" game where one person whispers something to the next person and they pass it along a circle and it comes out all garbled and twisted and nothing even close to the original statement!  Well, this was sort of close and definitely funny.

I'd show a photo of the machine but it is at the home of the other co-owner at the moment. I'll be picking it up next week as I have a quilt that needs quilting!

12 March 2012

Catching Up

Oh my.... life has just been whizzing past me. No time for e-mail, no time for blogging.... until today. I even wrote 5 notes....real SNAIL MAIL notes. Jack saw my stack of outgoing mail and asked, "Why didn't you just e-mail everyone, it's a lot cheaper!"
Well of course it is cheaper. But who doesn't enjoy going to the mailbox and finding REAL mail?!
It is so worth 45 cents!

For catching up:   Dr. Suess Day was so much fun. The kids just went nutzo when they realized they were allowed to KEEP the hats. Oh my. What fun.

This is the hallway where the kids get to "Hop on Pop", which is in one of the Dr. Seuss stories.
We get a donation of bubble wrap and they hop and pop all the way down.
I have to admit that I was the first to pop any bubbles. Yes, the superintendent and some board members and other staff were all at the end of the hallway waiting for the kids when I decided to reposition myself to take photos.
Uh huh. I stepped on the edge of the bubble wrap. It popped. I screamed and jumped and landed only to pop some more. I was hopping like I was barefooted on a hot fire.
At least everyone got a good laugh from the Senior Citizen hopping on the pop!

We had Thing 1 and Thing 2....

Classrooms were filled with volunteer readers and for one hour, kids were read to by volunteers.
This the theme "Read Across America" ! I believe we had 40 volunteers. What an amazing turnout for a school of 104 kids!
Cutting cakes was just one of my jobs.

These Thing 1's and Thing 2's were my designs. Kids loved making them.

We made sure we thanked our volunteers with signs and cards.

Even our school cook got in the spirit.

Stripes were definitely the order of the day. Hey, I even had the white hair to go with the red and white theme!!!

And what would the day be without GREEN EGGS AND HAM for lunch!?!

Then I took a break. I got a week off to attend a quilting retreat. I actually missed 24 hours because I wanted to be with the kids for the Dr. Seuss Day events. So on to the retreat.

I've never eaten so much food, snacked on so much chocolate, drank so much wine, laughed so much, hiked so many trails, and actually sewn or cut so much in all my life. It was so much fun and very productive. Even though I have to lose 6 pounds, it was so, so worth it!

We had our priorities straight. We started the mornings with champagne and orange juice. I don't even like o.j. but with champagne, it was something to look forward to! I'm not even going to tell you how many of these lined the window ledge by the time we had to pack up and leave!

A side trail took us over a bridge and through the woods.

I am quite proud to say I machine quilted this all except for the border. Another gal laid down some printed border tape and sewed the quilting in. It was pretty slick.

You can see my stitching in this enlargement. Okay for an amateur.

And finally, some of the projects I managed to do. I cut and pieced a quilt top. Then I cut all the pieces for another quilt. (For those of you who do not quilt, cutting is a major part of the time put into quilting.) I learned how to make these cute little pouches and the stuffed bunny. I need to put some features on his face then find a munchkin to give it to.

All in all, it has been a wonderful leave of absence!