Friday, February 29, 2008

Love That Handwork

Today I started working on my reindeer table runner. It is an embroidered piece, by hand, not machine. Sometimes I forget just how relaxing handwork can be. Most of this embroidery will be done with the backstitch. Mindless work.

Since it is the last day of the month (everybody leap), I guess I should recap what I mostly didn't get done (hanging my head in shame).

1. finish Ashley's quilt...not so much
2. finish Hawaiian log cabin quilt top...not even close
3. finish my Valentine here is where I got sidetracked...not only did I finish them, but I added a few for good measure...can you say "easily distracted"?
4. applique Easter tea
5. make a
6. make handmade cards...YES
7. finish those
8. make Matthew some new bibs...finally something completed, but he still needs more

Granted, there were only 29 days this month, but honestly, this is sad. I really need to put my nose to the grindstone (needle). I won't be posting a list for March, except to say that there will be the card of the month and more bibs. Promise. Honest. I better start NOW.....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Tonight we attended a fundraiser for Gilda's Club. It was held at the Pfister Hotel. Twenty different restaurants were represented. Each restaurant station offered a different dish from soups to entrees to desserts. It was wonderful. It gave me a chance to try different foods that I would not normally order if I were in a restaurant. My favorite was ahi tuna with a slice of guacamole on a fried wonton strip. OMG! I only found one drawback to this entire event. There was no place to sit. Did you ever try to balance a drink and a plate of food while trying to eat? The guest speaker was a nutritionist from Cancer Treatment Centers of America. She was very informative. As a thank you-parting gift we received a copy of her cookbook. I was a wonderful evening out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pictogram Quilt

One of my neighbors stopped over today. She has just gotten into quilting lately, but is already advanced if you ask me. She brought a quilt to show me. It was a quilt made up of blocks that are done following a pictogram pattern. A pictogram is formed by using your sewing machine's decorative stitches. You use the stitches in a configuration to form a larger picture. Unfortunately my friend's pattern is for a Viking Sewing Machine. We did check my Pfaff, and I do have some of the same stitches, but not all. Tonight I e-mailed Pfaff to see if they might know if a similar pattern would be available with my sewing machine's stitches. Even if they don't, I am sure I could "free lance" this project to a certain extent. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Do You Yahoo?

Over the weekend I decided to recheck my Yahoo Groups. I used to belong to a couple of ATC (artist trading card) groups. I haven't made an ATC in quite some time. I think the thrill is over. Besides, I have quite a collection. I decided to discontinue those groups. I also removed myself from a creative card group that is disbanding. I did, however, join two new groups. One is called "Artful Quilter". The other group is "Artsnthemail". This is a group that makes fabric postcards that are then sent through the USPS. I do enjoy making small projects. It's that quick satisfaction thing again. So, now I need to look through the swaps and pick out a project. They have one called "Alice in Wonderland". The swapper gets to interpret that however she wishes. Oh my, the wheels are turning already.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Opportunity Is Knocking

Today I pulled fabrics to start appliques for some tea towels. The towels are Easter related and are going to have rabbits on them. Unfortunately, I think I am going to have to line the white fabric, otherwise you will see the plaid of the towel showing through. Of course since I haven't cut anything out yet, I just may change that rabbit to be ecru or beige (less work).

Tomorrow I am heading to the quilt shop. I plan on purchasing some fabric that is neither on my list of things to be completed, nor an upcoming project. The fact of the matter is, sometimes you buy fabric because you know in 6 months or a year when you go back, you will not have the same selection because the "craze" will have passed. Right now the local quilt shop has bolts, and I am talking LOTS (20-30) of black and whites. And, most of the B/W prints are complimentary. I joined a swap many years ago. It was a black/white swap. You made/got a B/W four patch unit. You also received a square of each of the black and white used in the unit. I probably have 10 of the 4 patch units. Someday I will assemble this quilt, and you know when I do, that same overabundance of B/W fabrics will not be there. I am planning ahead. Opportunity is knocking and I am answering!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Information Overload

Oh my gosh, what a day! This morning I got to attend my girlfriend's quilt guild. They had a speaker who works a lot with overlays, specifically tulles and organzas. Her quilts were gorgeous. It was amazing to watch her overlay contrasting fabrics with organzas and get such different results. However, as gorgeous as organzas can be, they are very tricky to work with. I don't think it would be something for a beginning quilter.

Then this evening I went to a lecture at a local thread shop. There was a representative from Bernina demonstrating techniques that can be done with sewing machine feet. Wow, she was amazing. You can tell she spends 8 hours a day sewing. It shows. She had pieces with everything from pintucking to beading, all done by machine. Of course, the whole point of these demonstrations is to introduce the public to their new products. I needed to get out of there quickly, as the ideas were beginning to form in my head, as well as the $$$$$ signs.

There you have it, two days and more ideas than one person ought to be able to conjure up! Focus Karen, FOCUS!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Old Friend

I had guild tonight. The speaker was an old friend of mine. She taught classes at a local quilt shop that I used to frequent. The shop has been closed for quite a few years and I haven't seen her since then. I am glad to say, she not only hasn't given up quilting, but she has found a niche for herself in civil war quilts. She is extremely informed regarding the history of the civil war and the part that quilts played in it. She had wonderful examples of reproduction fabrics from that era. Her quilts were more utilitarian in nature, which is what was made during that time frame. She gave a wonderful presentation and it was great to visit with an old friend.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Indian Food

One of the things I have not yet tried is Indian food. Tonight was my first chance. Gilda's Club's Chef Series featured an Indian Chef. She was wonderful. Very informative. She talked a lot about all the different spices and we got to sample two different dishes. One was garbanzo beans with mango. Although that in itself doesn't sound very good, it is the spices that give it the flavor. It was good, but nothing I would make. The second dish was a tuna scampi. She served it warm on crackers. This one was much better. Very tasty with just a hint of heat. She also told us that Northern Indian cooking is very different from Southern Indian cooking. The Northern apparently uses more fats and meats, where the Southern leans towards light oils and lots of vegetables. If anyone is interested, the gal has a website and a cookbook. You can check it out at

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bib Prototype Finished

The first "Man Bib" is almost done. All it needs is some velcro for closure. Don't you love those monsters?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I have been working on various projects for Valentine's Day. Among them, handmade cards with Jac Paper and glitter. I also sewed together some fabric postcards, and yes, mailed them through USPS, just like a regular postcard. Then I covered Hershey candy bars with pretty paper and ribbon (see above). For my next project, I made hearts out of fabric and Wonder Under and wove them together to form a heart pocket (see above). And lastly, yesterday I made red velvet cupcakes and dipped them in a chocolate ganache. Happy Valentine's Day to one and all! XOXOXO

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kitchen Comedy

Today I spent the majority of my day in the kitchen. I started out the morning by baking red velvet cupcakes. I decided to give them a dark chocolate ganache topping. Then for a little added Valentine glitz, I shook on some red, pink and white nonpariel sprinkles. Of course I had a bit of an accident with the sprinkles. As I was opening the bottle, the top flew off and out bounced the sprinkles...all over my kitchen floor. Well, since I didn't want the chocolate to seize up, I had to finish dipping. So there I am, trying to walk gingerly on the sprinkles while Morgan (our pug) is chasing around the kitchen trying to "catch" the nonpariels so that she can eat them!

We also had a potluck dinner tonight at Gilda's Club. I made something called Polish Delight. It contains pork, creamed soups, dry onion soup, drained sauerkraut, mushrooms and Kluski Noodles. I haven't made this dish in years. I just happened to come across it when I was looking through my recipes. It sure was a hit!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Man Bibs

No, they're not for eating lobster. My son Matthew wears them because he drools. I should preface that by saying that Matthew is profoundly disabled. He is 28, which makes him a man, but truth be known, he is about the size of a 7 year old child. He has worn bibs all of his life. They are part of his wardrobe. However, how many 7 year old kids do you know that wear bibs? Exactly. There are few, if any patterns for larger sized bibs. I received a pattern from a friend a few weeks ago. She made Matthew a bib from this pattern, but the neck turned out waaay too big. I decided to try and tweak the pattern myself. Tomorrow I hope to make his first bib from this pattern. Up to this point, I have always bought his bibs from a woman who lives in Minnesota. She sets up at a local craft fair and makes the cutest bibs and will embroider the person's name on it while you wait. They are made from fingertip towels and have a ribbed opening so that you can slip it over the person's head. Matthew has had a bunch of them for a long time, but now they all seem to be wearing out at the same time. Mom to the rescue...At least I hope so.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Hate When That Happens

I am referring to getting fusible on your iron. Grrrr. It makes your iron's soleplate sticky, not to mention the mess it can leave on your fabric. So, it was off to Joanns for me, packing my 40% off coupon. There were a couple of other things that I needed to get there anyway, so it wasn't a wasted trip.

I have some news on my son's wedding. Ashley and Mike have decided that they would like to have a signature quilt. I am a bit apprehensive, only because they want the quilt totally done for people to sign. I have never seen it done that way. Usually blocks are made for people to sign and then the quilt is assembled after the wedding. That way if Uncle Harry makes a boo boo, the block can be discarded and another one signed. And by the way, in keeping with their Mexican theme, they have decided they want the quilt to be hot pink, orange and turquoise! Wow, loud colors, now that's right up my alley!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Woven Heart

Bitter cold can be wonderful. You don't want to go outside. Therefore, you have plenty of time to spend in the studio. That is exactly what I did today. I am still working on that secret project of mine. Progress is being made. Just to switch things up a bit, I put the S.P. on the side for a while and moved onto something else. I found a pattern in one of my quilt magazines for a woven heart. You take two pieces of fabric and fuse them together with Wonder Under. Then you take another color fabric and do exactly the same. You round the short edges on the oblong strips. After that, you cut a couple of slits and the fun begins. You weave the strips in and out of each other. Voila, you have a woven heart!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Secret Project

Today was the day I started my secret project for guild. I just can't say what it is, considering someone from my guild might be reading this. You know who you are! It isn't due until April, but I have a tendency to procrastinate on these kinds of things. The sooner I get it done, the better.

I also signed up for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims today. What fun. I bought 26 episodes. So far I have only watched one in its entirety, but I did peek at two others. In case you don't know what I am talking about, they are online videos that features well-known quilters demonstrating their specialties. You can watch them at your leisure, any time of day. It's a treat every quilter should give herself. Quilter's cannot live by fabric alone! :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Check It Out

That is exactly what I did tonight. I checked out a new bead shop. It was small, but they carried a lot of different things that I had never seen before. Since I just started making bracelets, I didn't want to go overboard with buying things that I might never use. They had these wonderful bead mixtures. Different sized beads, different textures, but all in the same color family and all in one package. Jackpot! Now comes the fun part, arranging them in some cohesive manner.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


While surfing the net looking for quilt blogs, I come across one that talked about quilting acronyms. Most of them were the usual ones we are familiar with. You know, hst=half square triangle, pigs=projects in grocery sacks, fq=fat quarter and bom=block of the month. But, I learned a new one that is soooo appropriate for me. SABLE=Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy. Oh brother, that is so true. And, from talking with my friends, I have plenty of company in this arena.

My guild is having a potluck supper in May. Along with the festivities, the program director is asking members to each make a small project. You are then supposed to put the project into a brown paper sack so that no one can see it. During the evening, the object in the paper sack will be revealed and members will try to guess who made it. Now the question remains, what will I make?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What The Heck Is All This?

I was looking through one of my tower cabinets today for some fusible. I keep any and all fusible, interfacing, Pellon products, etc. on one particular shelf. Everything looked the same. White. When I began to take everything out, I noticed everything was mixed together. So, I made a bunch of different piles on my sewing table and sorted the mixture out. Wonder Under here, interfacing there, then there was buckram and peltex. I also found some stitch & tear and do-sew, which looks almost the same and was very hard to tell apart. There was also a package of Sulky water soluble stabilizer. I don't have a clue what I ever bought that for. Two good things came out of this. One, I got my shelf organized and two, I found the fusible that I was looking for (Steam-A-Seam). This translates to a saved trip to Joanns, saved $$$ and using up excess "stuff".

Monday, February 4, 2008

Valentine's Day Cards

This afternoon and evening I worked on some Valentine cards. Of course, I royally screwed up the first one. It never fails, when you are working with some new product, it takes at least one prototype to get it right. The product in question was Jac paper. It is a sticky, double sided paper. You use it with a brass stencil and glitter. Long story short, they came out better than I expected and I learned a lot in the process. They go into the mail tomorrow so watch your mailbox!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday, Yawn

Jack and I started out the day by cleaning out a section of the basement. Oh man, what a catchall. We cleaned out the cubby under the steps so that we could get all of our Christmas stuff back inside. Most of it was sitting in the middle of Jack's workshop, so we needed to get it put back away. Then we cleaned a portion of Jack's workshop, but there is still some work that needs to be done in there.

Then the day got really exciting. Yeah, right. Five loads of wash (my loads are usually pretty small, but some things can't be mixed together). I also made out the bills for the month and went to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions. Then I had to clean off my kitchen counters...and just where does all that junk come from?

While Jack was watching the Super Bowl, I was putting away all that laundry and cleaning up my studio. The only good thing about today is that I got so much done that hopefully tomorrow I can find some time to play.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wisconsin Quilters

First off, let's get the bad news out of the way. Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow this morning. Wow, no kidding, big surprise. We have been dumped on with snow practically every other day lately. Gee Phil, you might be on to something there.

Today was the first meeting of the new year for the Wisconsin Quilters. It was a great program. We heard from Susan Cleveland first. Susan is a "piping hottie", referring to her creation of a tool used to make easy pipings for bindings. However, Susan took this tool a bit further and now uses the piping around curved pieces. Her trunk show was awesome. She is a bubbly, vivacious speaker. Her laugh is infectious and she truly inspires creativity.

Our second speakers were the husband and wife team of Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. Although their quilts were not as intricate as Susan's, they were lovely in their own right. They have a real eye for color and interplay, considering most of their quilts are composed of solids. The best thing about their quilts is the fact that they look like something you might find happily residing on a comfy couch and actually being used.

Of course no "quilty day" would be complete without a couple of stops at some favorite shops. However, I am proud to say I only bought 3 pieces of fabric. Two pieces are for bibs for Matthew and 1 piece of wool for my flower pillow. Not even 1 full yard between the 3 pieces! I'm still working hard to keep that stash under control.

Friday, February 1, 2008

February Frenzy

Today I made a list of the things I want to get done for February. Let's see how well I do this month.

1. I MUST finish Ashley's quilt

2. Finish the Hawaiian log cabin quilt top

3. Finish my Valentine projects

4. Applique Easter tea towels

5. Make a bracelet

6. Make handmade cards

7. Finish those padfolios

8. Make Matthew some new bibs

Aw gees, there's more on my list than last month. Still, something done is better than nothing done, right?

Stay tuned, let's see what Puxatawny Phil has to say. Maybe we will have 6 more weeks of winter...yeah, like that would be a big surprise...NOT!