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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Photo Transfer Stuff

I've been so busy working, getting produce out of the garden and just trying to keep my head above water that I haven't allowed myself time to sit down and write anything lately.  This time of year just gets crazy!  Last weekend it was canning apple pie filling -- so that's done.  I've still got hot peppers and the last of the tomatoes waiting for me.  The pepper jelly will be wonderful this winter and I think I'm just going to toss the tomatoes into jars and can them rather than doing more salsa or pizza sauce.  They'll taste good in chili, soup or over roasts this winter.  At this point -- simple is good!

I did manage to sit down at the computer to transfer a series of photos to fabric for a client.  She's making a graduation quilt for her grandaughter.  I had the best time with this project!  We ended up with 15 sheets of photos.  It was fun for me to see the progression from baby to beautiful young woman.  Besides that -- I love doing the photo transfer onto fabric.  It's magic!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Good Weekend!

We woke up on Saturday to miserable weather -- rainy, gray, misty, damp, dreary -- the kind of day that most people hate.  I, on the other hand, really love them because they make me feel like staying home and being domestic!  After a couple of cups of tea I mixed up some pork stew and threw it in the crockpot and then decided I needed homemade bread to go with the stew so I made a big loaf of New York Rye.  The recipe is from my friend, Mary LeClerc, and it's SUCH good bread!  So -- with the stew cooking and the bread raising I headed off to my sewing room.  (Yippee!!)  I'd started working on the pieced border for Queenie and I really wanted to get that done.  What a pleasant way to spend a rainy day!  I got the border pieced and added to the quilt, the stew was great and the bread was even better!  All in all -- a very successful rainy day!  (BTW:  The big blob on the quilt is a shadow.  I didn't have the patience to wait!)

We bought a new cardboard scratching pad for the cats.  It comes with a packet of catnip to pour into the little holes in the cardboard -- which we did.  Now we have an addicted cat.  Missy has decided that catnip is the next best thing to tuna!  In fact, she may think it's even BETTER than tuna!

Greg picked some tomatoes for me on Sunday afternoon so I got busy and made up a big batch of salsa. It's going to taste good this winter!

All in all -- a very successful weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Editing, Canning & Queenie

I spent last weekend mostly tied to my computer editing my table runner book for the publisher.  NOT what I really wanted to be doing!  After all -- I wrote the damned thing couldn't somebody ELSE be responsible for correcting the things I screwed up?  (I know I'm being unreasonable but HEY!  I'm an ARTISTE!)  Actually, it didn't go that badly -- I simply didn't want to do it but I promised I'd have it back by Monday sooooooo..........  Got it done and sent back on Sunday afternoon.  I still need to write a couple of paragraphs to be added in -- but that shouldn't take too long.  (Famous last words!) 

I did manage to take a couple of breaks and do some fun things -- or at least things that I actually WANTED to do!  Once of them was to make some Dilled Green Beans.  Since we've got a healthy crop of green beans in our garden I thought it would be fun to try them.  I made four pints and then cold-packed them.  The recipe says to let them sit for at least two weeks before you taste.  Sure hope they're as good as people say!

Earlier in the week I made four pints of pickled green grape tomatoes.  I'm REALLY anxious to give them a try!  The recipe said they'd keep in the fridge if I didn't want to cold pack them so -- in the fridge they went.  These guys only have to sit for a week -- so next weekend I'm going to give them a try and I'll let you know.  I've got HUNDREDS of little green tomatoes and if these are good they may all get pickled and canned!  I'm thinking they might make nice Christmas gifts for those daring enough to give them a try!

After I ceremoniously sent off the corrected edits I celebrated by heading to my sewing room.    I had all the pieces and parts ready to sew together for my Queen's Court (Queenie) quilt so I at least got that done.  I even managed to get parts of the pieced bordered sewn so maybe I can get that added next weekend.  I'd love to sneak some time in my room before the weekend but I've got something every night this week and I know it's not likely to happen.  Anyway -- here's where I am on Queenie.  It looks okay now -- but wait until you see it with the border! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I made a promise to myself several weeks ago that I wasn't going to spend the entire three-day Labor Day weekend working and doing chores.  There needed to be some fun involved!  I managed to accomplish that!  On Saturday evening Greg and I attended a Farm Party at our friends' home out in the country.  We had SUCH a good time!  If you've never been to a Farm Party -- then you've really missed out.  This one was in honor of our wonderful friend Gladys Nekola and it was an absolute blast!  The party was held in their large machine shed (Rex had to move all his equipment and tools!), there were tables set up for eating, a dance floor because there was a karaoke DJ, and so much food it was absolutely impossible to "try a little of everything!"  The family provided pulled pork, potato salad and pasta salad.  Gladys made her famous kolaches and with two pastry chefs in the family you can about imagine the desserts!  Everyone else brought food to share and they actually had to set up more tables to hold it all.  People ate, sang, danced, laughed and then ate some more!  Greg and I had a wonderful time and it was a wonderful way to spend Saturday night.  THANK YOU!

Sunday we attended church, did chores and some gardening and then I snuck into my sewing room.  I'd picked out some fabrics a couple of weeks ago and I'd been cutting away on them whenever I got a few minutes.  Actually, I'd started updating one of my first published patterns (Queen's Court) and it's been so long since I've made the quilt that I got myself thoroughly confused when I was figuring yardage so I decided to make the lap size version to reacquaint myself with how everything went together.  I'd forgotten how much I actually enjoyed making this pattern because the blocks go together so quickly!  I declared Labor Day to be a Sewing Day and got all the blocks finished up.  Now I need to piece the setting triangles and the border and put it all together.  Maybe this weekend?  Here's a photo of some of the blocks.  I think it's going to look just fine.  Now I can't wait to get the rest of it done!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sarah's Quilt

I got something finished again last night!  It's not really a big deal -- but it still feels good to be able to say that something is actually DONE!  My friend, Sarah, has had carpal tunnel surgery and it's hard for her to do binding.  Since I LOVE doing binding I try to grab her quilts when they're ready to be bound.  That's what I did with this one.  I just didn't think it would take me so darned long to get it finished!  This quilt has been hanging around my living room so long that I was actually starting to think it belonged there! 

I think Sarah told me this was a Buggy Barn pattern for a crazy quilt.  I like it and once I finally got going the binding didn't really take very long!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well, I was hoping to have something to show for my weekend -- but it just didn't happen. We spent all day Friday at the State Fair and had a wonderful time. Saturday was spent doing chores and revising a pattern that I want to send to my publisher and Sunday was mostly spent with Greg's family. It was a very nice weekend but I always end up feeling frustrated because there aren't enough hours to get everything done that I've got planned. (I know -- we all have that same problem!)

My friend, Mary, on the other hand, seems to get things done! I don't know how she manages to cram 48 hours into 24 -- but she does! She just sent me a photo of Dinah's Delight and it's all quilted and bound! She does the quilting herself on her Juki and she does an amazing job! This is a quilt I designed a while back and since Mary's my Pattern Tester Extraordinaire she actually got hers pieced before I did.  (I just finished my top a couple of weeks ago and it sure isn't quilted yet!)  I know I'm prejudiced -- but I really think this is a good looking quilt!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blue Ribbon Winners

Several of you have asked me about the Blue Ribbon Winners and Best of Show quilts at the Iowa State Fair.  I wasn't able to photograph any of them when we were judging because they're the very last quilts to get hung.  Well, now you can see them!  They're in this You-Tube video.  Iowa Public Television showed up late in the day to interview us and to photograph some of the quilts so you'll see me in the video.  Please remember, when you view the video, that it was the end of a VERY LONG day and, quite frankly I'm surprised I'm not drooling because by the time they talked to me I was barely conscious!  Also remember -- the camera adds weight.  In my case it added about 80 pounds!!!

Here's the You-Tube link:

If that doesn't work then please go to the IPT page below and find the Blue Ribbon Winners 2010 video.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

O'Dark Thirty

I got up at O'Dark Thirty this morning to make a pie. We're attending a potluck dinner tonight with friends and since I bought a lug of fresh peaches a few days ago I thought a peach pie would taste good. (Plus, if I make one for just the two of us, Greg will eat one piece and I'll eat the rest!) So, I got up very early in order to get the pie made and baked before I left for work. Quite frankly, I'm very proud of myself! (Not about making the pie -- I make great pies!) I'm proud that I managed to do it so early in the morning! If you know me at all -- then you understand what an accomplishment this is. I'm not a "morning person" -- never have been and, at this point in my life, don't expect that I ever will be. So, the fact that I'm even verticle at 5 a.m. is something of a miracle. My husband, Greg, who naturally wakes up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. is Mr. Happy Pants in the morning (which I think is just WRONG!).  He at least had the sense to sit down with his coffee and stay out of my way as I stumbled around the kitchen.  I'm sure, however, that he'll have plenty to say tonight at dinner about my early morning baking adventure.  (Know that he WILL pay dearly for that at a later time!)  The good part is that my pie is beautiful and I'm sure we'll all enjoy it tonight with a some ice cream.  (Hope I can stay AWAKE that long!)

We've been having miserable weather here for the past week or so.  It's been raining nearly every day and the temps have been in the 90's with 90+% humidity.  As my mom used to say, "Not fit weather for man nor beast."   I just had to laugh when I saw where Milo had found himself a cool place to sleep.  He's on a pile of quilt tops and quilts which I'd thrown over the back of a chair.  He's also in the direct line of a fan and apparently only semi-conscious.   Leave it to him to find the coolest spot in the house!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Well, we had a very quiet weekend at our house.  On Friday evening we headed over to Clutier (a small, neighboring town) to their Veteran's Appreciation Event which they held in conjunction with their Annual Fun Days.  They put on a very nice program and followed it up with a polka band street dance.  (It IS a Czech community!)  Unfortunately, it was so miserably hot and humid that not many folks wanted to dance but there were a number of people sitting in the shade listening to the music.  They also had food for sale -- which included kolaches, of course!  For those who don't know -- kolaches are kind of the Czech equivalent of a Danish -- only much better when that's what you grew up eating!

It was still miserable outside on Saturday so I opted to stay indoors and work on unfinished projects.  One of those projects is a quilt that started out as a block demo project for the top method of paper piecing.  I did a couple of blocks and fell in love with sthe pattern so I  just kept going.  The name of the block is Dusty Miller.  So far I've got 30 blocks but I think I've decided to make it queen size -- so I'll be making more blocks and adding them in.

If this miserable weather continues I just might get a few projects finished! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

State Fair Again

I've got one last post about my trip to the State Fairgrounds and this particular one makes me happy for several reasons.

Several years ago they decided to build a new arena at the Fairgrounds.  The old one was small, outdated and has seen better days.  They started construction on the new arena last year and it's going to be ready to host it's first events this year for State Fair.  That's really nice for me (and a lot of others too!) because I'll get to see the equestrian events in the new venue.  YEAH!!  Plus, the arena is directly attached to the stables so it will be a whole lot easier to move the horses from the stables to the arena.  In the past the horses had to be led through the crowds to get to the arena for their events.  Really not the best idea for horses OR humans!  Okay.  So that's all really nice BUT...................  For whatever reason (and I haven't a clue!) they've chosen to decorate the outside of the new arera with QUILT BLOCKS!  415 of them to be precise!  I LOVE IT!  Greg was told by the guy putting up the blocks that the colors were chosen by children.  I think that's pretty neat too!  I not only think the blocks look wonderful -- but I've been having fantasies of all 800 of those quilts we judged hung up in the arena for all the world to see!  Now THAT would be a QUILT SHOW!!!

Doesn't the arena look great too?  It's the big glassed in area behind the brick facade.

The quilt blocks don't look too big here but I'd guess they're about 18"-24".

You can just barely see the guy on the scaffold who's putting them up.  He was having a wonderful time deciding what designs should go next to each other!  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One of the chores that I had on my list for last Saturday was to finish the scrap version of Spinout! (one of my patterns).  I started this lap quilt a very long time ago, got the blocks all pieced and then got sidetracked onto something else.  After quite a long time I got the blocks out and put them together.  For some reason there was one side border block that simply wouldn't line up.  I ripped and sewed, ripped and sewed.  Then I ripped, MEASURED and sewed several more times.  I simply COULD NOT get the edge triangle in that one block to line up with the corresponding triangle in the next block sooooo.........  I got fed up, wadded it up (as punishment!) and buried it in my sewing room.  Well, after re-doing the pattern for my publisher I decided that I probably needed to have a scrap version to show -- so on Saturday I reluctantly unearthed the top and tried again.  I finally got the triangles lined up -- but that's only because I'm bigger and more determined than that darned block!  I probably should have re-cut the pieces and made a different block but I got stubborn and.........      I still have no idea why that block didn't want to work.  Everything else fit just fine and when I measured the block it was the right size.  I've decided that I'm not going to make myself crazy trying to figure it out so I've opted to blame it on the Quilting Pixies (pixies are notorious pransters) and just let it go.       

This is the quilt top and only I know which block it is and I'm not telling!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Judging At State Fair

What a weekend!  We spent Saturday working around the house doing all our weekend chores so that we'd have Sunday free to play.  Sunday was my family reunion here in Traer.  It was nice to see all the folks and get a chance to visit.   We always have a potluck dinner and the food is simply incredible!  I know there are people out there who poke fun at potluck or covered dish dinners.  I guarantee they've never been to one in Iowa!  Holy Cow!

After the reunion we threw our overnight bag into the car and headed to Des Moines to spend the night.  I was scheduled to judge quilts for the Iowa State Fair on Monday and it's a whole lot easier to spend the night in a motel near the fairgrounds than it is to get up at 3:30 in the morning and drive to Des Moines -- so that's what we did.  The categories are divided up and we start judging at 8 a.m.. We take short morning and afternoon breaks plus a very brief lunch and then we just keep judging until we're done.  This year we finished up at around 8:30 p.m.!  I believe we had a total of just under 800 pieces!  There were three of us judging and even though we move right along it still takes time to look over every piece and make comments.   We finally finished up around 8:30 p.m.   Even though I was absolutely exhausted it was, as usual, a wonderful day filled with beautiful quilts.

We took a few photos of the quilts as they were being hung.  Unfortunately, due to space limitations they can only show about 18" of each quilt.  The Blue Ribbon winners are exhibited separately and displayed fully in a separate area.  Please bear in mind that they still had a lot of quilts to hang when the photos were being taken. 

These photos may give you an idea of the talent and diversity within the quilting community here in Iowa.  There are so many talented quilters here -- both men and women -- and it never ceases to amaze me.  I'm truly blessed to be allowed to judge these entries and I truly thank every quilter who  entered a quilt in the Fair. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Productive Weekend!

What a productive weekend -- finally!  I spent most of Saturday working on the computer getting two more patterns ready for my publisher.  I've got to make a couple more changes and then they're ready to be sent off.  I'm trying to get ahead of things a little bit because I know the edits on my table runner book are coming back to me shortly and I'd like to have some of these other things done before I have to dive into that.  Spending most of Saturday on the computer is not the way I'd LIKE to spend my time -- but it sure feels good to be able to check two more patterns off my list.  Besides -- it was beastly hot and humid so I told myself that I wouldn't enjoy being out in the garden anyway. 

A friend gave us some sweet corn so after church on Sunday I spent some time getting it ready for the freezer.  I always think it's so pretty when it's cut off the ears!  It wasn't much -- only about 3 dozen ears but it'll taste good this winter. 

When I finished up in the kitchen I headed for my sewing room.  I've been working on my Dinah's Delight for way too long and I just haven't been able to sit down at the sewing machine long enough to get it finished.  There's certainly nothing hard about the quilt -- I just haven't been able to get to it.  I made up my mind on Friday that I was going to finish it over the weekend or else!  I put the corners on at about 9 p.m.. last night.  It still needs to have the corners trimmed and squared and it needs a good pressing -- but it's finished!

It feels good to actually get something done!  I've got about a dozen other projects that I need to get moving on but I wanted to get this one done first so that I could put all those fabrics away.  Maybe it's time to clean my sewing room!............  or maybe not.  (Just the THOUGHT of it scares me  but I KNOW I'm going to have to tackle that job some day!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I helped my friend Linda with her booth at Sturgis Days, which is a yearly music festival in Cedar Falls.  Linda makes and sells purses.  She's designed them all herself and I can attest to the fact that they're wonderfully constructed, wear like iron (because mine sure need to!), they're washable and they're just plain pretty!  Linda's done a couple of things that I really like..... the first is that she doesn't use dark fabrics for the purse linings.  When I look inside -- I can actually see what's there!  I can find my phone!  Another nice feature is that she's incorporated lots of pockets inside.  There are places to put things and they'll stay there!  The fact that they're all washable is really nice too!

I took a couple of photos of her booth and thought you all might like to see. 

Here's a photo of part of the booth.  The day was hot and humid -- but I sure enjoyed myself.  It's always fun to meet new people and get reacquainted with old friends at shows like this.

That's Linda above on the left.  See what I mean about pretty purses?  The quilts aren't bad either!  Linda's website is here. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Well, so far things are working well. Keep your fingers crossed!

When I was in Paducah I met a wonderful group of ladies from Louisiana who were all members of the North Louisiana Quilter's Guild. They stopped by my booth to visit and it was truly a treat! They wanted to tell me that they'd used one of my quilt designs as a mystery quilt for their guild. Ginger promised that when she got home she'd send me photos -- and she did! So here are four versions of my Farm Scraps quilt.

These photos were taken at their quilt show.

Aren't these wonderful quilts??!! Unfortunately, Ginger didn't send me the names of the people who made these quilts -- but THANK YOU to all of them! I truly appreciate them sharing their quilts!
I've been quilting and designing for years and I can never get over how two (or four!) quilts made from the same pattern can become such different quilts and take on such different personalities (and yes! quilts have personalities!!) For me that's one of the most intriquing things about quilting. It always surprises and pleases me when I see my quilts through other people's eyes. It also helps to broaden my perspective and make me think outside the box (or quilt!) because they come up with ideas that I never dreamed of!
Thank you so much to Ginger and her friends from the NLQG for sharing these photos!

Okay. The last couple of times that I tried to update and add photos to this blog I got so frustrated that I threw up my hands and walked away. I suspect my frustration stemmed from using a very old computer, having a lousy internet connection and my own minimally functioning brain cells. (Some days my brains works better than others............!) Anyway -- I'm ready to try again because people have sent me some wonderful photos of their quilts and I think they deserve to be shared!

Sunna, who lives in Iceland, has made several different quilts from the patterns that I've provided on my website. She sent me photos of her version of Fractured Star and before I could do anything with them they were lost in one of my computer crashes. When I contacted her she was gracious enough to send the photos again. It's long past time for me to get those photos posted so people can see them.

At left is Sunna's Fractured Star quit top. She added a border to make it larger and I think it looks great.

Here's a second photo of the quilt after it's been quilted. That's Sunna's husband and her oldest daughter holding the quilt. It was given as a wedding gift shortly after this photo was taken. Sunna, thank you so much! I love to see how my designs "grow up" after they leave home!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

For whatever reason (probably my own ignorance!) I'm having trouble loading the other photos. It just drives me crazy! Why do some work and others not when they're all the same? I don't like to think of myself as technologically challenged -- but I guess I am (damn it!) I'll work on it some more. I had the same problem with the photos from the Mariner's Compass class I taught. Hmmm.
We had a sewing weekend last weekend and had a great time. We held it in the basement of our church which has lots of tables and a wonderful kitchen -- so we had all the comforts of home. I didn't actually take a count (because I was having too much fun!) but I think we had about 8 or 9 people on Friday and another 8 or 9 on Saturday.

I have to laugh because I think our sewing weekend pretty much baffled Pastor Rick. I don't think he quite understood why we would pack up so much stuff, haul it somewhere else, set it all up again and then sit and sew! As he passed through our area every now and again he seemed to smile and just shake his head.

There were all sorts of projects being worked on........ Sarah was sewing on flannel, Terry was working on (what's going to be) a 60" Mariner's compass medallion, Linda worked on several new handbags and then spent some time practicing her machine quilting, Denise worked on a block-of-the-month project, Elaine was working on a black/green/white quilt that's going to be a knockout, Lucille and Marian did hand work, Paula was working on her rag quilt and Darlene worked on a double wedding ring. We sue had enough variety! I was supposed to be finishing up my latest mystery quilt but you can about guess how much I got done!

I did take a few photos but I was having so much fun that I forgot about the camera until almost too late!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Well, I'm finally starting to feel better and I once again have a computer that can actually "compute" so it's time I got back in the swing of things and started catching up with everyone.
Pat (from SC) wrote to me today and included a photo of the Fractured Star quilt that she made from the Mystery Quilt pattern on my website. BRAVO!! .......and look! It's actually quilted an bound! Good job! Pat, I think the quilt looks wonderful and I'm anxious to see your BOM when it's completed.