Saturday, April 24, 2010

What I'm working on...

I have had several very fun days filled with quilting. Some sewing, too. Here's a shared project.
Shared because I designed the pattern (Chill Pill), Debbie and I picked out the fabric (designed by Linda Hohag), she put all the blocks together, I added the borders, am halfway through the quilting and will teach it on the summer class schedule at Bear Patch. Debbie had intended to do the borders and binding, but ran into a time crunch since it needs to be done by Tuesday for display at the store along with a whole bunch of other class samples. So sharing is a good thing!
OK, all you quilters out there, I am trying out something that I heard about here to help stabilize the rulers that I use when quilting. These are not the same as the rulers used for cutting, but the same thing might work. It is called Grip Tape, and you will find it at your friendly neighborhood skateboard shop. In my neighborhood, that's Pinewski's in Anoka. I got just a little bit nostalgic when I walked in there, since it was the destination of choice for Dan many times when he was younger, and needed a ride. They are very nice people there, and that hasn't changed over the years. The young man gave me a large sheet of Grip Tape, normally used on the bed of a skateboard. It's kind of like black sandpaper with an adhesive back. I put a couple little squares of it on the ruler I was using and it made a noticeable difference in stay-put-edness. I think you know what I mean. Just a little bit about these rulers--they come in many shapes and sizes and are helpful to guide the machine foot as I am sewing along, so one hand has to hold the ruler with some degree of pressure to be stable on the fabric surface but not too much pressure to interfere with the movement of the machine. Kind of touchy, and something I am still learning. They are thicker than the other acrylic rulers that I use for cutting so there is not danger that the machine foot will go on top of the ruler, thus leading to something bad happening between needle and ruler. I have only a few in my collection.
Compared to my regular ruler collection--
Some girls collect shoes. I collect fabric, thread and rulers.
I've finished quilting another project for a new pattern designed by Stacy West for Buttermilk Basin and it is soooo great! If you like Halloween, you will be wanting this pattern! I would like to show you a picture, but will hold off until Stacy gets it published in time for Spring International Quilt Market in May. Lucky us, it is here in Minneapolis this year, so we can have the luxury of staying close to home while still enjoying all the fun that is Market. This is a trade show for the quilting industry, all the fabric manufacturers, pattern designers and notions distributors gather to show their latest and greatest to shop owners and take orders. You will be hearing more about this from me, to be sure.
I'm running into more than one deadline in the next few days, so this will be it for now, gotta focus on completing some tasks!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

my ticket to paradise

Here's an example of a very good idea. Finnegan's Beer, which is brewed by Summit (local brewery) exists solely to support good works. All profits from the beer-making go back into the community. They focus on charities and projects that make a difference for homeless and working poor populations. Luckily, I do not fit into those groups, but bad stuff happens to good people who need a little help. I love Finnegan's philosophy, and the beer tastes really good, too! Just the idea of getting a box full of credits in heaven is making me think that life is good!
My lovely beer glass, above, is from Mammoth Mountain in California. Beautiful place, fabulous snow sports, nice people and my favorite son all combined in one special spot. Which was the scene on Sunday for their annual Pond Skim, a good excuse for a party! This is not the first time Dan has attempted to slide across the water, but it was the first time dressed as Uncle Sam! Helping promote the fact that they are open for skiing and snowboarding through the 4th of July--it's a tough job, I know. The pictures look like it was a great day. Sadly, Uncle Sam didn't make it all the way over the pond, needed water skis, I guess. I hope the suit and hat survived!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Haunting quilting

Been working on a couple Halloween quilts just recently--
fun colors to work with, the thread shows up a lot better on the backing--
Close-up of some of the stitching detail--
These will be available as patterns from Buttermilk Basin at Quilt Market next month. I have a couple more to do that are awesome embroidery blocks!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring has sprung

I know that in many places in this fine land you presently have leafy trees, mowed lawns and colorful flowerbeds. Not so much here in the tundra. But there is progress aplenty here, once again assuring that the cycle of seasons never ends. Yesterday morning I awoke to rain and dreariness, which was not a good omen for Bob's golf league kick-off. But by midday, when I emerged from my quilting in the basement, the sun was blazing and I could open windows, stroll around the house, poke in the dead stuff, and snap these pictures for you. A blossoming tree in the front yard--
Raindrops still puddled on the tiny bleeding hearts---
emerging hostas that are amazingly purple--
Sunny and windy for golf for Bob, and perfect conditions for me to join him on the 19th hole!
Last weekend at my quilt retreat, I shared my homemade granola with the people who wanted something other than the usual camp breakfast. Had some requests for the recipe, and I thought I had posted it here before but couldn't find it, so here it is.
These are my ingredients:
1/2 cup honey, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup veg. oil, 2 Tbsp. water, 1 tsp. apple pie spice, 1/2 tsp. cardamom. Mix these together in a microwaveable bowl or pan, cook in microwave a couple minutes to heat and mix everything but watch out that it doesn't boil over. In a big bowl mix these: 4 cups regular old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick-cooking), 1 cup toasted soybeans, 1/4 cup flaxseeds, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Pour the hot liquid mixture over all these dry ingredients and stir it up. Spread this out on a sheet cake pan/cookie sheet/jelly roll pan, mine is about 12" x 17" with 1" sides that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir it up and add 1 cup craisins, bake 15 minutes more.
This combination can be varied according to your likes and what you have on hand. The apple pie spice is something I purchase at Weaver's Country Store in Fall Creek, WI, an Amish general store. It is a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice, but I don't know proportions. I change the nuts and fruit each time, sometimes pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, cherries, mixed berries, blueberries or any combination of the above. This makes a hearty, crunchy cereal, my serving size is 1/3 cup with a carton of silk yogurt or a little soymilk, and it fills me up!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

woe is me...

Judging by the looks of this latest project, one might think that I have run out of fabric and now have to resort to sewing up my selvage scraps. So sad.
But look what can come out of "fabric formerly known as trash".
I picked up on this block technique from a couple other blogs and websites:
Quiltville website
And there's a bonus on the Selvage Blog--my sis has a project there! Her fabric-covered coiled rope basket was shown just a couple days ago. We sisters do share a lot! Used to share a room, not always successfully, but now we happily share our love of fiber.

Monday, April 12, 2010

busy days

I just spent 3+ days at Lutherpoint Camp in Wisconsin with my Piecemakers friends and we were a productive bunch. Here's a sampling:

And these are some things I worked on:

The camp is a great spot, accommodating our group of 23 quite comfortably. We had beautiful sunny days for walks, a perfect view of Big Wood Lake and lots of laughs. The only thing better would be to have you there, too!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

a weekend away

Greeting from northern Iowa! Spending the night at my parents' house in Lake Park, my little hometown. We are in the northwest section of the state, just a few miles south of Minnesota and about 90 miles east of the South Dakota border. We were in Jackson last night and today, spending time with my sweet mother-in-law and helping with a bridal shower for niece, Ashley. It was a fun event and I am glad I got to be there. It reminds me why it is so nice to come from a small community, where things like a bridal shower are an event open to all who can come. Ashley was beaming, as she should be, and enjoying every minute.
So, I have to share something special with you--another blogger has posted a little bit about me and one of my patterns, it is fun for me! It is on the Selvage Blog, and I feel honored to be included. There are some amazing ideas to be explored there! I have not yet seen her book, but hope to get it soon. Those little selvage pieces are just kind of fun and quirky.
Back to Iowa--I am surprised at the amount of snowbanks still hanging around here! Even with the warmth lately they aren't yet completely melted. Should be good for the fields!
Happy Easter to you all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

here's a laugh...

I get several email newsletters, and one that I usually do read comes from Ami Simms, a quilter, writer, teacher, etc. You could add comedian to the list, too. She does find humor in many places, and this time she posted a link to a very entertaining video. This is about a guy who may have found the best use ever for those annoying singing fish things. Strap a whole bunch to your car and see what happens! Why didn't I ever think of that?