Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To market, to market to....

.....be completely overwhelmed by the huge variety of new stuff that will be marketed to sewers and quilters in the coming year. I have just spent the past few days at the Internaional Quilt Market which leads up tot the actual Quilt Festival. What a diferent place the market is when compared to the festival space. For one thing, there is very little purchasing of items to take home. Most of it is ordering stuff for future deliveries. In addition, there really aren't a lot of people at the Market, when compared to the Festival. Many store owners do not come to Market every year as they have reps from the companies visiting them regularly. In addition, there are usually just samples available in the booths rather than the bolts and bolts of fabric you see during the festival. The best part about the reduced number of people is that you can really spend a lot of time with the quilts in the display area without ducking out of the way of people trying to photograph the quilts.

Things I saw at Market that I am lusting after:

  • Fabric from Daiwoo that is infused with Lavendar, Rose or Herb scents. Very subtle and they say it will wash out after several washings but what luxury while it lasts!
  • Batting made from Bamboo or Bamboo/Cotton blends. There is something about the Bamboo that makes the cotton even more drapable than just cotton alone. I must find a good cheap source for this when I make my next big quilt.
  • Rulers - I love rulers and have many but I MUST have the one that makes cutting bias binding easier. Its really neat, folds in half, is florescent green and stretches completely from selvage to selvage for cutting
  • Bamboo and Cotton interlock knits distributed by Siltex of Canada. Silky smooth, very dense, very lightweight and soft as a cloud - I must find someone that carries this line!

Market is now over for this year. If I get a chance to go next year, I will know better about what's available for immeadiate purchase and what needs to be ordered. One thing that I will look forward to next year is the Friday long 'School House'. During 12 - 15 sessions that are between 15 and 30 minutes long, various designers and manufacturers show the attendees what's new in their lines.

This year Jay McCarroll (sic?) of Project Runway fame was there with his first fabric line. Its very cute but if you look too closely at his bunnies and such they look like they are all having a bad LSD trip while looking very innocent. He even showed some small quilts where he enlarged specific motifs from the fabric and recreated them with solid fabrics fused to the quilt. Very clever!

Mark Lipinski was also at the 'School House' and kept everyone in stitches with his tale of purchasing and wearing a girdle. Besides promoting his new fabric line (Krakow) he also did a session on growing a quilt or any business. He made the point ( and I think I have this right) that we need to market to ourselves and our children rather than to our mothers. We grew up in the sixties or later and reproduction prints and traditional quilt patterns are probably not our style.

Another vendor brought up Daddy and me classes rather than Mommy and Me as a business builder. I had a flash of all those divorced Fathers looking for new and different ways to entertain their daughters on their weekends with them. What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon rather than going shopping at the mall or taking in another movie.

The actual Quilt Festival starts tomorrow evening. Today my Northern Friend and I will be doing a little cruising around town... visiting Ikea and a couple of quilt shops. We may also take a trip down to Galveston to see how things are going. If we do, I'll try to take and post some pictures of what we find All in all, a lazy day so we are well rested before the real shopping begins.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Heather Fish Studio

One of my favorite people on the web has just opened her own web based business. You may remember the car carrier I made for her or the Easter Egg bag I sent her for her daughter. Now she has taken her sewing skills and branched out so that her wonderful creations are now available for purchase here. She has mad skills and a great eye for combining fabrics. Instead of making it yourself and not being completely happy with the outcome, buy from Heather Fish Studio. I've got a feeling I may become a regular cutomers. Enjoy!

Star Wars Costumes

I saw this picture in the daily Craft mamagzine update by Natalie and I am SO jealous. Princess Leia, Darth Vardar and an Ewok - almost makes me want to skip Quilt Festival type stuff and sit down and make these for Alex and the Girls. I'm not going to make these... but you could with these great instructions.

PS - I wonder if Alex would mind be Princess Leia?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bohdi Boy

While I was in Canada last week I had a wonderful visit with my niece. I got to meet her big puppy that I have heard many tales about. Bohdi is a Heinz 57 dog that she picked up from a pet shop over a year ago. He is eighteen months old now and still acts like a brand new puppy. He was so happy to get a visitor that he did all his tricks for me including jumping up on me, trying to be a lap dog and continuing the destruction of his toy box. The latter was pretty funny. His toy box is actually a plastic milk crate and he kept trying to break off more pieces of it by chewing on it and shaking it around. Bits kept falling off but he ignored them for more destruction. Apparently he has been doing this for a while and still has not brought it to its knees in submission. Although he has many soft toys, the old milk crate seems to be his favorite.

Here is a picture of this good boy -
and here is a picture of his toy pile.
I was glad to see that Alex is not the only one who enjoys disemboweling his toys!

It was a good visit as it was nice to spend time with my niece. Its tough to reconcile the tiny tot I remember spending time with many years ago with the blond Amazon Warrior babe she has become. I always wanted to be tall, blond, thin and rich - nice to see that one of the family has achieved at least three of my four goals!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the Mail

The Bag Ladies Swap project for October is a Christmas Stocking. This is a complete departure from the usual swaps and I was truly looking forward to getting it done. Today I received my package from my partner. Along with a bunch of candy and freebies from an odd assortment of companies, I also got this little gem:

Side One
Side Two

I think this stocking highlights the good and the bad of working with old ties. The good part is all the wonderful fabrics and patterns in them.. Toni highlghted this by quilting the opened ties onto muslin before constructing the stocking. The bad part about working with ties is that it is hard to get the folds pressed out so that they stay out.

All in all , a very successful swap. My cotribution will be going out tomorrow. I wonder which little muchkin around here will be getting this filled with treats this Christmas?

Off the needles

I have been trying to improve my knitting skills by working on a simple sweater. I just fnished what was called the Ballet Camisole on Ravelry here. There are a couple of weird spots... like 15 purls when there should have been knits on one row and seed stitch rather than ribbing for the bottom... but, overall I am pleased with it.
I made the 42" bust size and it actually fits. I used Hempathy yarn so all the stretchiness is from the knitting rather than the yarn itself. I ended up with about 2 1/2 balls left over so I am now working on a scarf with a lot of fringe. I don't think I will wear it as a stand alone garment, but more as a vest which should work well with the cooler weather coming. I will not be doing the little gathering detail between the boobs bacause I don' think I want it that fitted as a vest.

I must admit that I very pleased with this project and I hope that young children will not run screaming from me in horror when I finally wear it in public. Of course, I will need to get all those ends tied off before then!

Operation Care Package - Final Report

Well, our contribution to Operation Care Package, for the holiday packages they will be sending out, are on their way to Joliet, Illonois. The final tally was 125 stockings... a number I never thought we would reach. Here's how it all came together - Ms. M and I made the first 50 at our post-Ike sew-in, members of the KAQG at their retreat made 11 more, a friend of Ms. M. made 8, I made 6 out of some donated decorator fabric, 25 came from that ball of fire Ms. MJ., another 10 came from the serging maniac Ms. J and Ms. M. finished it all off with another 15. In addition, we added holiday cards with a little note in them to most of the stockings. Who knew we had so many leftover cards from previous seasons?

This all started as an idea to contribute to the effort and we ended up with contributing 1.25% of the needed 10,000. I hope there will be no need for this effort next year, but, if there is, I hope all that contributed this year will be able to help again. Two crazy ladies and their friends on a mission - together they moved a lot of fabric to bring some holiday cheer to our soldiers overseas.

If you would like to contribute to the effort without sewing anything visit their website for additional ideas.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crochet Joy

I found the neatest little gadget when I was in Toronto. It's a wooden darning egg with inter-changeable crochet hooks coming out of the narrow end. It is the most clever thingy I have seen in a long time and is really comfortable to use. If you crochet, this is a must have tool/toy. Here's the web site - http://bourbj.tripod.com/.

Friday, October 17, 2008

DROH Stuff

Dachshund Rescue of Houston (DROH) is havng their Halloweiner party next Sunday. I will be unable to go and will truly miss the sight of 50 or so costumed Dachshunds amusing their humans. For pictures of last year's pretties see here. (Alex is the third one down in the second column.) The problem with the timing is that I will be enjoying the quilt market that day with friends and just can't see myself giving that up.

Anyway, part of the Halloweiner festivities is a silent auction. I scored big at the spring one and wanted to give back this time. I decided to make a little package of items for a day out with your best doggie. First off there is a teal nylon leash, then a large tote bag and a small accessories bag. There will also be a gift certificate to PetSmart so the winner can choose appropriate treats. All the fabric and webbing came from jcaroline creatives including the great Dachshund ribbon trim. Cute, right?

The downside of all this is that I now own many. many yards of teal webbing for many more leashes. I got a 50 yard spool for $0.50 a yard and just couldn't pass it up. I think Alex and the girls will have teal leashes for the rest of their lives!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Tale of The Pink Leather Gloves

As many of you know, Alex, loves chasing his rubber balls. My son got him a red rubber kong ball and it was love at first sight. He cannot stay still while the red ball is anywhere on the property. He is either chasing it, licking it, chewing it or chasing it as long as its around. He is especially adept at rolling the ball under the couch. He then whines and crys and struggles to flatten himslef out to retrieve the ball. I, also known as the Lady of the Long Arms, will eventually stop what I am doing and retireve it for him. Sometimes it takes all of three minutes for him to push it back under the couch.

Sometimes I get very weary of it all and I will hide the ball from him. Cruel, but my boney knees really hate the ceramic tile floor. Even when hidden in a drawer with red pepper sauce wiped on the handle, the red ball calls to Alex and he wil cry and whine until I distract him with food or a walk.

So much for background... here are the details of the Pink Leather Gloves.

One day last week I had hidden the red ball in the drawer with the red pepper sauce on the handle. The sauce was to hide the smell in hope that he would not smell out the ball. It was time for bed and although I had already put the Girls to bed he was still cryng by the drawer. The poor guy had bags under his eyes he was so tired. I went to pick him up and he tried to bite my hand. I tried again and he tried agan.

This was getting serious, he was so obsessed that he was getting this crazed, ferral look in hs eye. I thought I could calm him down and get him to bed if I could pick him up, tickle his belly and carry him to bed. I was afraid he might try another nip at my hand so I went for the first gloves I could find. I put them on and as I approached him he went total passive, crawling on his belly to me in abject sorrow. I picked him up, tickled his belly, told him I loved him and put him to bed.

Since then, the gloves have been sitting on an end table and every time he sees them he becomes completely passive crawling on his belly asking forgiveness . . . . from the gloves!.

So that is the tale of the Pink Leather Gloves. I don't know why they make him so passive because I can't believe the his previous owner would have hurt him with pink gloves but you never know. Anyway, here is a picture of them with the object of his affection.
I hope your week has been going well and the cool down around the country has reached your neck of the woods. I know I am ready for jeans and sweater weather!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lesson Learned

When I am out of the house for an extended period of time Alex and the Girls stay in my palatial bathroom. Usually they sleep in the tub with their quilts and dog beds or sit in the window watching the ginger plants sway n the wind. The other day I came back to four shoes, from separate pairs, scatterd around the bathroom floor each with strategic bits chewed off. They haven't done this in a long time so I am unsure who was the instigator or who were the followers but four pairs of shoes have now bit the dust. Not really a bad thing as I really hated two of them but why are there three left shoes and only one right shoe?

Oh right - this was supposed to be about lessons learned. The lesson learned is... bo matter how many times you leave the puppies in the bathroom without incident, never, never leave the closet doors unlocked.

And shopping we did go ....

My shopping trip at Stein Mart resulted in the following loot -
Pretty good for about $100.00 even if I do say so myself.

Keeping with the theme of tough shopping I ended up at Chico's on Sunday looking for jeans. They have/had a sale going on with 50% off the lowest price marked on ticket. I ended up with jeans (perfect fit), two t-shirts, one jacket and a pair of chino's. All for under $90.00. The jacket looks way better on than in the picture and who can resist rust with fall coming on. Although they were all things that I could use and, in the case of jeans, needed, I must stop looking for deals out there. It doesn't take long for those $100.00 shopping trips to begin to add up.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

When the going gets tough....

The tough go shopping!

Like most of the world I am very worried about the changes in our financial infrastructure, however I will not bore you with my analysis of how we got here. Instead of agonizing over it I went shopping. Yep, stupid me decided that I needed a new suitcase. I have large ones, extra large ones and small ones but nothing in between. I stopped at Stein Mart to see if they had any, well prepared to spend $100.00 on one because a friend had just purchased a similar sized case for that the price earlier in the week at another store. I found the perfect size in a tapestry covered bag by Liz Claiborne and right on the money pricewise.

Because I was there I decided to stop in and look at the clearance shoes. I immeadiately fell in love with a couple of pair and, as they were 50% off the clearance price I felt only a little guilty buying more shoes. I also stopped and picked up a wallet as a present for a friend at 30% off the lowest price marked on ticket.

I got to the cash register expecting to hand over about $150.00 for my purchases. When the clerk asked for only $88.00 (pre-tax) I was sure she had miscalculated. Nope, my $100.00 suitcase came out to only $50.00, the shoes at $15.00 for each pair and the wallet a paltry $8.00. Talk about bargain shopping!

(pictures will come later, Alex has stolen the camera (again!))

The best part was, when I got home I discovered that the puppies had been shopping in my closet and destroyed one shoe from each of four different pairs. Now my conscience is clear. Not only did I give the economy a little boost but I really did need shoes...I just didn't know it at the time.

Even in hard times there is always a sale out there calling to you so indulge a little and let the pundits moan the economy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Good One

I just got this in the mail from Ms. Judy. After the past couple of days of fighting with Alex about his FIVE balls (not those kind of balls but the ones that go boucing under the furniture to be rescued by the lady with the long arms) I really needed this one. Enjoy!

How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

1. Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?

2. Border Collie: Just one. And then I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

3. Dachshund: You know I can't reach that stupid lamp!

4. Rottweiler: Make me.

5. Boxer: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.

6. Lab: Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze, please, please, please!

7. German Shepherd: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

8. Jack Russell Terrier: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.

9. Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb!

10. Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

11. Chihuahua : Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or "We don't need no stinking light bulb."

12. Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares?

13. Australian Shepherd: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...

14. Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

How many cats does it take to change a light bulb?

Cats do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So, the real question is:

"How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a massage?"
Sorry dog lovers but I just couldn't resist passing this along.
Next week - The Tale of the Pink Leather Gloves.

Time Waster

I just tried this color hue test after a write-up in How About Orange. This is a great test for piecers as it really brings home the differences between color hue and color vlaue. It takes a little time and it helps not to be distracted by a ball fetching puppy while doing it! My score was a 37 which I think is pretty good for an old girl... how about you?

Thanks to Julie for sending this test to Jessica!

Ovarian Cancer Quilts

Several local quilt shops have gathered together to produce quilts to be auctioned off in support of Ovarian Cancer research. This is the second year they are doing it. Last year they raised over $11,000.00 for M. D. Anderson' Ovarian Cancer reseach. It's really simple to participate - grab some of the teal fabric specially made for this effort (from Blank Textiles) , mix and match it with fabric from your stash and produce any number of 12 1/2" unfinished quilt blocks. Locally, the shops are planning to have all the blocks in by the end of the year with a big party in January to piece the tops. Once pieced, we will bring them home to quilt and bind so that they can be ready for the April, 2009 (or is it May?) on-line auction. Look at what was produced for the 2008 auction.

This is a great cause, close to every woman's heart and a great way to stretch your piecing skills without the quilt police on your back. The other day I came across the fabric I had purchased from Sunflower Quilts in Houston from back in JUNE of this year. Realizing that my plate is running over with projects to begin or complete I made the decision to go with my standard dimensional bow tie blocks. I had enough fabric for two of them and with the rest I pieced a plain four patch. Simple blocks but even the fanciest quilt needs a place to rest the eye, right?. Here's what I came up with:
If you have a moment and some teal fabric (doesn't have to be the ones from Blank) , please consider creating and donating your favorite block(s) to this effort. Then, like me, you can watch the auction to see how your efforts have contributed to a great cause.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


While my Northern frends are beginning to make their preparations for the coming winter, I am making preparations for the Houston International Quilt Festival. I think this will be my ninth year attending and every year it serves as a reminder that the hot and humid days of summer here are gone until next May. One of the things I do to prepare for the Quilt Festival is sign up for classes. My criteria are simple, classes need to offer up something interesting and do not include a lot of pre-purchasing of materials before hand. This year, so far, I have only signed up for two classes. One is to improve my piecing skills and the other is just for fun... a whole day of making fabric beads. The materials for both can be sourced from my stash and should be very interesting.

The other thing I do is try to figure out what stuff will I carry to hold purchases and stuff that I will need to make my Fstival days a little less bothersomeweary. I generally carry a rolling tote with wheels folded up to carry purchases, but with all the tote bags I have made this past year I may just bring a bunch of them... fill one up, return it to the car, get another one, do more shopping and repeat. Something to carry other essentionals such as cash, credit cards, ID and credentials is another matter. I have tried out several things in the past and just finished a new one to try this year. In no particular order, here are some of my collection of hanging pockets for conferences:

Size - 5" x 6"
Details - one zipper pocket, one Velcroed pocket, one open pocket, two pen holders
This one came from the American Sewing Guild. It is a good size, cost me about $5.00 and holds stuff securely. There are two problems with this pouch - it really doesn't hold more than the bear necessities. Cram in just one lip gloss and it becomes a bulky rock thing around your neck. The other thing I don't like is wearing a logo. Yes, it is probably good for the sewing guild but sometimes I don't like being an advertising billboard.

Size - 6" x 7 1/2"
Details - one zippered pocket, two open pockets, one pen holder
This one is unique and was developed during a pre-Festival event. For $5.00 you were given a plain black pouch, a whole bunch of fabric glue and six long tables of stuff to stick on your pouch. For some reason that day I was into the glitz and glamour of gold and black. It is larger than the ASG one but it too can look like a rock when full. The other disadvantage to this one is that the hanging strap is closed by the itchiest Velcro I have ever come across. I have been stopped many times by people asking for the pattern and I have to confess to them that there was no pattern just a lot of glue drying time.

Sizes - 5" x 4", 5" x 5 1/2"
Details - each have three credit card slots and velcroed change pocket all covered by a velcroed flap
These two little gems are from a commercial pattern that I cannot find anymore. The one on the left uses netting instead of vinyl for the badge holder. Both sizes are in the pattern and both hold the essentials including a nice little change pocket. These were both fiddley projects with little tolerance for errors in seam allowances. Again, you can get the rock around the neck look if it is really loaded up but they are both so small that the temptation is never really there.

Size - 7" x 6 1/2"
Details - outer cover - two penholders and one open pocket. inner purse - two open pockets
This is the one I just finished for this year. It is based on a pattern through Hancock Fabrices called 'Purse with a Secret'. One of our local ASG members modified the pattern for an ID window. The secret is that the outer pouch has another hidden inside of it. I added the two pen holders on the side because I am always wanting to write something down. Mine is a little bulkier than the samples I have seen... it is almost a rock around the neck before I get it filled because I used fusible fleece rather than the suggested thin batting. I think I will try this one out this year because I can probably add a lot too it before it looks like a blouder aornd my neck.

So those are my winter preparations - no leaf raking, no putting up the storm windows or cutting the grass for the last time. For me its signing up for classes and playing with fabric. Its a good life and, after all , someone has to do it!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Tomorrow, my boy, will celebrate his 30th brthday, a little more than 22 years after I first met him through photos and a description from an adoption agency. The agency, Love the Children, described Kim Hyo Yoel (his Korean name which we were told stands for Hot Brother Kim) as an earnest young man with great ability in Mathematics. The agency was considering several children for us, including incredibly precocius twins, and a young girl. Paul was placed with us because I was a banker; bankers use math; therefore, it would be a perfect placement.

From that green-faced skinny boy at JFK to the confident, handsome young man he has become, it has not always been a smooth path but the destination has made it all worth while.

So here's to you Paul, without you:
  • your Friends, at your birthday parties, would never have gotten an early look at all the popular Christmas gifts for that year;
  • your mother, would never have been introduced to the benefits of Rolaids and Tums after eating Kim Chee;
  • your Grandpa S. would naver have had the pleasure of explaining to you that extravagant promises cannot be kept;
  • you Grandpa A. would never have had the joy of teaching a non-English speaker the rules of Chess;
  • you Father would never have swelled with pride when you donated a whiskey bottle full of pennies, that you had found, to a special elementay school charity
  • Innumerable dogs and cats would never have known your healing touch and big heart.

Happy Birthday kiddo! Now go clean your house so your Mom can visit without her dust allergy causing wheezing (just kidding, honest!)!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

UFO # 13

My younger brother's recruiter in South Korea is now the proud father of a bouncing baby girl. I don't know all the details but she is very sweet looking.

Don't know why she is wearing blue but she really is a she. My brother asked me to make a quilt for her which I was glad to do. My thought was to make something all pink and girly with ruffles and bows that would be cherished for generations. Then reality struck. Fancy, heirloom stuff is all good but real babies tend to have lots of stuff squiting out of them meaning that anything they come near needs to be washed frequently. In addition, much of the squirty stuff tends to stain whatever it lands on. Back to the drawing board and the stash. I finally remembered a kit I had bought quite a few years ago all in pastel flannels. It looked pretty stain friendly and should be nice and soft. So, killing two birds with one stone (gift quilt and UFO busting) I created the following:

The colors are a little washed out in the Texas sunshine so I think it should do the trick. If it becomes a drag around blanket it should be pretty sturdy as I quilted the heck out of it. In total it is about 24" x 24" and I embroidered her name on one of the houses. I hope they like it and that little baby Elianna uses it in good health.

Challenges Update

Well I didn't win the blocks from the Christmas fabric. Twenty-one blocks were submitted including one strange Teepee block and one in my favorite easy block,,, a dimentsional bow-tie. I walked into a disaster with the batik blocks.... I made them the wrong size! The blocks I made were 9 1/2" square and, come to find out, they were supposed to be 6 1/2" square. YUCK! The old adage about measuring twice and cut once should be revised , for me at least, to read thrice, construct once. If I had kept the instructions, that would have been possible but I chucked them before I even started, confident that I could remember the dimensions.Oh well, I now have the beginnings of a cool looking nine-patch quilt for sometime this century.

Hope your weekend is going well. I'm off to finish a baby quilt and get it off to the baby before she enters college. Cross your fingers that my experiment in a fold-over binding is successful.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


There are many reasons to join a Craft oriented group. The 10% discount at JoAnn's, for most of them, is a real incentive. The access to classes taught by local and national teachers is definitely a bonus. Just talking with people who know the terms of your craft can be so relaxing. Another benefit of joining is the opportunity to participate in group projects that stretch your creative juices and give your skills a workout. In most cases these opportunities are called challenges and this month the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild has come up with two dandy ones.

First they came up with an ongoing Lottery Block challenge. A Lottery Block is when you make blocks based on a common set of criteria. When you turn in your blocks you get a chance to get back all the blocks submitted. In this case, the challenge was to precisely make a 9 1/2" nine patch block using batiks and black. The challenge for me was not the fabric selection but making my blocks precise enough for even the most critical members of the quilt police. Of the four blocks I made only one has a bit of visible wackiness where the corners don't meet precisely. I will be submitting all four this evening at our regular meeting. When we get eighty blocks submitted the drawing will be held. Here is what I came up with this month:
The neat part of this challenge is that we will keep this going all year so your chance of getting enough blocks for a nice sized quilt resets every time a new batch is received. I like this idea a lot. Even though the simple nine patch may not be a challenge for some quilters I think we all need to go back to our roots every once in a while to keep our basic skills sharp.

The second Lottery Block Challenge was to make a 12 1/2" block using some red Christmas fabric we had been given. No restrictions were made on what the block should look like or how many other fabrics you could add to the selected fabric. I went very simple and made a wreath block from the book '501 Quilt Blocks' and tacked on a ribbon bow. One person tonight will win all the blocks just in time to create a sampler quilt for the coming holidays with the red fabric as a unifying element. Here's how mine came out:
Future monthly meetings will include the batik nine patches plus a very specific 12 1/2" block. I have seen a preview of a couple of the 12 1/2" blocks and they have yummy colors and challenging construction techniques.

If Lady Luck smiles on me I may be bringing home most of a quilt top tonight. As block construction is not my favorte part of quilt winning would be a real boost to my quilt output.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


After a death in the family there is usually a long, protracted period of distributing family heirlooms as well as the valuables. In my Dad's case, most of the distribution occurred prior to his death as we cleared out his apartments in Florida and Canada. Those things that were most precious to him, and that could be used by him in his new enviroment, were put in storage for him but there was much that just couldn't be accomodated in his new 8' x 10' room.

One of the items I ended up with was a small leather case that held his tuxedo studs and some cuff links. I ended up with these primarily as my son sometimes has need of studs for his job. While sorting through them the other day I realised there were three sets of cufflinks and two collar studs that really didn't belong with the tuxedo studs. I have decided to distribute them among the five men in the immeadiate family. Instead of just tossing them in the mail I made up some experiments in packaging that will hold the items until I can get them mailed/delivered. Here's what I came up with:

The zipper cases hold cufflinks while the little foldovers hold the collar studs. Since I was making three zipper cases, I decided to experiment with inserting zippers. The top one used a zipper with fabric extenders, the second case used a zipper in my traditional way of sew-it-in-and-make-it-work, while the third one was a sample of neatly folding in the zipper as I was sewing. The top one is really the best solution and, if the case had been an inch or so wider would have clearly demonstrated the best way to put a zipper in a pencil case. The little foldover cases were adapted from the baked potato pouch of a month or so ago.

Why use the dog bone fabric? Well, it was on the top of the stash and, aren't all men dogs any way?

Time Waster

I have often been accused of leading friends and family away fom serious work on the internet by providing too many distractions. Here are a couple of sites that I currently find fascinating:

Here is a wondeful site by a woman in India. As a great-grandmother, she has a lot to offer in the way of memories. The link sends you to her memories of a wonderful custom which combines dolls, sweets and visiting. I'd never heard of it before and I wish we had something like this here.

Here is another male adventure blog. This time the guy is heading off to Chili. He's only posted once, so far, as he is not leaving the States until November 13th but I think he's future entries should be interesting. Definitely a spot to watch.

Here is the perfect site for those of us who have yearned to live all over the world but never had the nerve (or the stomach) to do it. No great drama here, just a fascinating slice of life.