Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Man!

Last Tuesday was Little Man's third birthday. His party was on Saturday, and I'm finally getting around to blogging about it Monday.
None of my pictures of him seem to be in focus. He is always in motion. Such a sense of humor in this little boy.

He is going to be such a handful when he is in his teen years and his sarcasm is in full bloom . Good thing his daddy also has a similar sense of humor, and I will sympathize with his mother when he reaches that age.

Happy Birthday, dear one!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I've finished my Dear Jane homework for September.
I have to tell you, these blocks are so stinkin' cute! I was wrong about their finished size. They finish at 4.5", not 4". 

I wasn't sure when I signed up if I was really going to enjoy hand piecing. I did!

I enjoyed it so much I ordered the Dear Jane software by Electric Quilt. I want to have the patterns for the months when I won't be able to attend the class, because you know over the course of the three years there will be times I will miss a class.

I know that I will miss the February class,
because we have a grandbaby due then. Spicy and Bubba have a baby brother coming!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Curious, suddenly I seem to be quite interested in learning about different handwork techniques. Last month it was a class with David Taylor. This month was a class with Anita Shackleford, and I started taking a Dear Jane class at one of the local shops.

David Taylor does beautiful art quilts that are all hand appliquéd. He was a wonderful teacher, but unfortunately his genius did not seep into my brain. I understand his technique. I just can't come close to duplicating it.

Anita Shackleford taught surface textures, appliqué and ruching. Another delightful class and an excellent teacher.

Different styles of artistic expression, but both done by hand. David only does machine quilting on his works, and Anita does both hand and machine quilting.
The Dear Jane class is taught by Ruth Ann, a lovely lady and great teacher. Yesterday was our first class.

Four to five blocks a month for the next three years. Can you believe it! I signed up for a three year class. A three year class where the entire quilt is done by hand.

I ordered a pack of fabric from The Temecula Quilt Company. It was beautifully wrapped, before I opened it up to fondle the fabrics. I should have taken a picture of it before I opened it up, but I just couldn't wait.

Last night I cut the pieces for all four of this month's blocks. I got two of the blocks pieced.

This is the next one to do.

The last block is still in its baggie.

This is what the finished quilt should look like. Did I mention that the blocks finish at 4" square?
 So, when I finish it will I have to learn how to hand quilt it, or can I load it on the longarm?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 10, 2011

And a Good Time Was Had By All

Arizona is a very quilty state, and our area is a very quilty area. We are lucky enough to have four quilt shops in our area. Two of them are within about five miles of our house. Well, with all of these quilters we also have lots of longarm quilters. Not all of them quilt for hire, but there is a large group that do. We formed an informal group. Not a guild, no presidents, or programs, or dues. Meetings are once a month.

Today we met at my house, and I introduced the group to the Line Dancing technique and books by Diana Phillips. I am arguably her biggest fan. Her books get a lot of wear, because I'm always looking at them for inspiration.

I loaded the longarm, and quilters brought pieces of muslin to try out the Line Dancing. I also had dry erase markers and plastic sleeves so they could try drawing out the designs.

I brought out all of my books by Diana. I wanted my friends to be able to see what great ideas they contain.

We looked, quilted, talked and laughed. I'd say a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coming Up For Air

Boy, oh boy, do I wish I did a better job of estimating time! I way overbooked myself for July and August. I quilted 8-10 hours a day 7 days a week, except for my brief foray into soap making. I was doing pretty good, at first. Then I hit the two quilts that I estimated would take about 10-15 hours each. Wrong! They each took 30-40 hours.

 This is Hyde Park. It was designed by Judy Laquidara for SewBatik. This was one of the ones that threw me a loop.

I also quilted this one, though the picture is from Marti Michell's web site, since I forgot to take a picture of my customer's quilt. This was the second one that threw me a loop.

Then we have Cats. A panel but with custom quilting.

 I'm not sure of the name of this quilt. I called it "All Angles," though I know it is a published pattern.

There were also 4 others that I forgot to take pictures of.  I'm bad about remembering photos.

Then there was the beautiful 50th anniversary quilt.
 This is "Come September."

I had started it. Liked the way it was looking, feathers, metallic threads, detailed background fill, stitch in the ditch around the applique.

Then I advanced the quilt, and saw to my horror, that I had the top turned sideways on the directional backing. This was not OK. My dear Motorcycle Dude came to my rescue. He spent 50 hours ripping out the quilting while I worked on other quilts that had deadlines. In the evenings we would both work at ripping. Each of us tackling one end of the border.

I spent several very late nights making sure that I would have the quilts finished in time for the trip to California to deliver them. I even had to delay my departure by a day to get them all done. They were delivered, and all were pleased with the results.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Somewhere in between quilting, hosting and more quilting, I found time to make soap. I've been making soap for 36 years, off and on. I bought my first soap making book when I was a newlywed.

Ann had me rendering beef fat so that I would have real Castillo soap. The meat market thought I was bonkers, but they sold me the fat. The soap was mild, unscented and lovely.

Fast forward about 20 years, and I found this book. Sandy has recipes that use all plant based oils. No messy rendering. Sandy also gives lots of ideas for using essential oils. Easier and they smell wonderful. Could I make just one batch? No. Two? No, I made 6 batches of soap: Comfrey and Aloe, Flower Fern and Oakmoss, Cedarwood and Sage, Lemongrass and Cornmeal, Cassia and Clove, Sweet Basil and Cedarwood.


This is the Comfrey and Aloe, scented with lavender and pettigrain. The Comfrey root turned the soap this deep purple, brown color. It smells heavenly. Just get over the color.

Lest you think that 6 batches is not too bad, each batch makes about 6 pounds of soap. I now have 36 pounds of soap! I tell myself it will make wonderful gifts.