Tuesday, March 30, 2010

GHQG Quilting Retreat-3 days!

I just got back from a quilting retreat, from Friday 2pm until Sunday 5pm... and let me tell you, other than eating and sleeping (and there wasn't much of that going on) all we did (43 of us) was SEW~!!!!! It was done through our guild (GHQG), and although I went solo (didn't know who else was going), I had a great roommate and met some great fun ladies! Oh, and did I SEW!!! 
This quilt is one that a woman named Janet made with crumbs and 9-patches...with a wild print sashing. Looked great!

While others took time off occasionally to head to Walmart for fabric, supplies, etc (Not what I wanted to be wasting my time with), I kept my nose to my machine. The theme was a MHS (Material High School) reunion, where we even had a chance to dress up for the Sat prom (dinner). We all got MHS Homecoming 2007 t-shirts (Manchestger High is near where I live), a Financial totebag with lots of goodies in it, including scissors, unbrella, setting ruler, leather thimbles, and so much more. For the prom, some had some pretty crazy outfits!! It was the only time I didn't mind being away from the machine (I considered it an extension from dinner). The only thing I wished I had done, is send money with someone to get me lithium batteries for my camera, since it died early Sat morning. Drat!! I took these pictures after the event. I'm posting the link to GHQG so you can see photos when someone posts them there. As of this posting there weren't there yet, but check back.

Although no one needed a 'hall pass' for the bathroom, we were asked to 'ring the teacher's bell on the desk" when we'd finished a project ( sometimes only to whatever stage you could get it done to at the retreat) and then show everyone what you got finished. There were some great quilts done there!! It got to the point where 'my friends' wouldn't let me ring the bell on Sunday, since I 'finished' 7 projects by Sat afternoon!! I brought various UFOs and a few projects from my PbPQ crew, so some really didn't have much to do, but I moved them a few steps further than they would have had just sitting in the drawer at home. I offered to teach a class (pillowcases) on Sat. and learned (in someone else's class) a really interesting trick with bindings that actually helps me iron those little suckers really fast (works the same for my trim on the cases). I'll post a photo tutorial regarding it in another post soon.
Finished: (kinda)... 1. Smokey Mountain Stars (this link is for Bonnie Hunter's version, I still need to take a picture of mine, but I will. I only just had a third of the blocks put together ahead of time, so I finished the blocks there and made it into a top-- My version is not as 'smokey', but still plaids. I'm sure there is a great green plaid backing material at church, and I'll probably make a dark binding or roll the green backing around to the front.
2. I prepared a binding for a quilt "Diamonds in the Mud", that I've had in my UFO drawer for at least 3 yrs. Now I'll go find material for the backing.

3. I fixed a backing for a quilt that I knew the backing fabric was too narrow for, by cutting it diagonally and shifting it to widen. It goes with a quilt that was my first bargello (a test size)-- I liked it so I kept adding borders until it told me to stop. I think I'll make it into a tablecloth. ANYONE KNOW WHAT/WHETHER I NEED TO PUT BATTING IN OR NOT? I thought maybe I'll use a flannel sheet (good idea?).
4. Learned how to make a 'snap bag' from a placemat and a metal tape measure (that's what makes it go snap!), so I finished one! Cute.

5. I also brought a quilt that I loved how it got created, but I was so afraid how to quilt it by machine (I still have to figure how to quilt the border-- 'cuz I think it needs it). I bit the bullet and DID IT! Whew! Now just to figure if I have the soft green materials to bind it.
6. I brought the 'Liberated Log Cabin" (it was just to the block stage) and got it to a top. I realized afterwards that one block (bottom row) got turned... oops! Not sure if I'll turn it yet, but isn't this "Furrowed Rows"? Maybe I'll call this "Don't Drink with a Plow Horse" or "Furrowed Rows on the Rocks".
7. I finished the last border of Alexa's quilt ("Swimming Star"- 9yr old with leg cancer who just had surgery), and used the leftover fabrics to make Chinese coins to piece her backing. Then I cut up some of the Hanna Montana fabric from the back and made the binding, so it's ready to sandwich and quilt/tie/bind.
8. Decided to cut up some Oriental 5" charms for a quilt I saw at a quilting event (jotted the design on notepaper) and have that ready to make at some point.
9. and last but not least, I made four last RWB HS blocks (I had 20) for a quilt we are making for a returning soldier, put it together, then added the first of two borders. I plan to make a red scrappy binding.

Of course the only way I got so much accomplished is because I got up at 6:30am each morning, ate, then sewed....ate lunch, sewed... ate dinner, then sewed until 12:30am-1am both nights....then stayed until 4:45 pm on Sunday. Nothing like staying until the last shot's fired, huh? I also got 2nd place with a quilt challenge….Great weekend!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sewing Plaids this time

I have to go to church this morning to help a lady check out the sewing machines we store there for an upcoming Quilt-a-thon in March (23rd). Then I get to come home and continue sewing on my heartstring blocks, plaids with a white center strip.
I even have the Izod label showing on one.

I really need to work on my taxes, so I may work a couple of hours on taxes, THEN play with plaids! I really like the way the plaids are looking. I wasn't sure since I wasn't gonna do them the way I'd seen them on someone's blog. Our version was much simpler (the other had cornerstones-4-patches- and white sashing).

Renovations Interupted

I wish I could say I could do more sewing this week, but I can't yet. (Next week is the plan).
Hubby and I went to the "Home Show" in Hartford this past weekend looking for flooring (kithen, hall, bath) and came home wit hlots of ideas and plans for measurements to be taken by a few new companies, but it was unusually cold come Sunday night, .... and Monday....so I called the gas co. since the heat didn't seem to be on.
Well, the good news is... we have the heat on!
The bad news is.... they recommended (can you say... INSISTED) we get some furnace /boiler quotes to replace our present one. So I spent the week getting quotes. Can we say anywhere from $6500-9,000? And we really had about $5,000-6,000 left to spend on the ktichen. I guess that may have to wait. Crap!!
This is the old cast iron one. Probably as old as the house (circa 1947).

This is the water heater.... another old bear! But it works well, so far. (Though REALLY inefficient!)

Daughter Engaged FINALLY!!

My youngest daughter sprung it on me before Thanksgiving that she was (oh, btw) engaged to her beau (long-distance) who lives in FL. I was rather sceptical, since her 'history' of dating didn't seem to last too long with ANY guy, let alone someone in another state! He came up at Christmas.... still no ring ("It's being resized, Mom...). Yeah, okay.
Well, I got a phone call from a local jeweler with a message for my daughter... "Her ring is in".
Damn! Don't you know, she really FINALLY is!! Congratulations, Julie. It's a blue diamond with white diamonds down the sides and a very small blue diamond sits under the big on (in the space below) on each side. Very pretty.
They aren't getting married until summer of 2012, which is fine. They want to pay for it themselves, ... that's fine. They will get married back up in CT,.... that's really fine.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Door Renovations

Well, (Jan 13, 2010) we gave our choices of back door/storm door to the contractor! It will be so nice to get a new back door (our old one is soooo bad), AND a new screen door (that works!). I can't believe I'm getting mini-blinds inside the glass panes (they don't get dusty and I can wash one pane of glass!) and a screen on the storm door that I don't have to take out and put away!! WHoooo Hoooo!!
I actually think I'll post photos next to each other... before and after shots....
This is the interior door from the inside kitchen. pretty shabby....I'll show details of the really bad spots, since the devil is in the details, as they say.

And this is the new door... Mini blinds are pulled down now, but I'll show you them when you can see the outside (tomorrow when the sun is shining).
Here we go. Figures, my grandson needed to 'help' show off the doors. You can tilt the blinds using the top 'bar' or raise and lower them using the bar that runs down the right side of the door. You can't imagine how much fun I had the first few days playing with that door.
Some of the bad 'details' are such.... a storm door that is pulling the wall out everytime the wind catches the storm door......
a door knob that has a section of it in the middle that has chipped off (the key still goes in, I don't know how)
Great door latches that barely work (great security, huh?)

...a door sill, that is chewed away. (This was the part I loved getting replaced!!)
And this was the pile on the driveway that was gonna go, 'bye bye'!! (No, the garage doors are NOT on this year's list, although they will be replaced (or the garage will be rebuilt...someday).
Now for the storm door.....This was the old one. Pretty ratty.
This was what held the storm door on. (not much, wouldn't you say?)
This is the new door before the storm got put on (and no trim). NICE DOOR! It just needs to be painted (primed fiberglass)
This is the storm from the inside. The nice thing is the top glass slides down into the bottom pane, while bringing the screen down with it (from a secret place inside the top of the door). No need to store the screen door somewhere and the screen is high enough that the cats can't dig holes in it (what a concept!).
And this is the view from the outside. YEA!!!!Ain't she a beauty?

Heartstring quilt for a 9-yr old swimmer with Leg Cancer

I finally had a chance to work on a heartstring quilt that our church group, Peace by Piece Quilters, has been asked to make for a little girl with leg/bone cancer. She loves swimming, Hanna Montana, Jonas Brothers and I thought of a pattern we made a while back that had a star in the center. The first photo isn't the correct color, but the 'sectioned' photos show it better. It was a heartstring that we didn't have enough blocks to make even a small one, so I figured it I put a square of fabric over the heartstring block, drew a diagonal line and sewed a quarter-inch seam on either side of the line (use this line as a cutting line), then I ended up with twice the blocks. With a border around it, it worked well.
Since my sewing machine has been in the repair shop for a 'nose job', I yanked my 42 yr old Kenmore out of the cellar and set it up on my grandson's little card table to use... Other than the burning oil smell (dust in the back?? it was covered in the cellar), and the initial ruuh, ruuh, ruuh, ruh, ruh, ruhruhruhruhruhruh... it ended up working okay (I think this is the next one for the service dept.). Little crowded in this area, but it seemed to work.

This little guy was a great 'fill-in' for my Janome. ... Of course, it HAD to be. There was nothing else!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sew-In in NH

Finally!  A whole day of sewing!!! I finally got to go up to a sew-in. AND I brought my mom, who's almost 82, and lots of fun. We made a weekend out of it. Early Sat morning we headed for Lee NH, where Brenda ( in the first picture) had organized a great group of Heartstringers from all over New England to come together to sew heartstring blocks for a local shelter. Some of us had another project or two that needed to be worked on also, but Brenda got to collect a good amount of blocks to put together at a later date.
Here is my mom (far right), Marcella &  ? at one end of the hall...

I, personally, got to put on a "blueberry' border to one of our heartstring quilts (PbPQuilters), finish some of the Strips and Strings Log cabin blocks and trim them up (total of 50 blocks) and also make 10 heartstring blocks with blue centers (mom made 6 blocks). I gave them to Brenda for the 'cause' and gave her some of our blue center material so she could make enough for 8 more blocks (total of 24 with the same center fabric). It felt good to get that much done, although I never noticed a 'dent' in the strips pile...
Here is what I finished and left (with additional center strings) for Brenda to continue with. Thanks Brenda!
It was really nice to meet a lot of the ladies I see posting on the Heartstrings Quilt Project Group boards.... Mavie, Bev, Darlene in ME, Darlene in MA, (Cricket and Ginny from MA, of course-- and NO, Cricket, I didn't get to Marden's this time, but I WILL!).Here are some photos of the ladies....

I can't believe I have a photo of me!
The crew hard at work...
Notice the wood stove in the background.... nice smell.
Ginny & Darlene had way too much fun!

One quilt down for the count.

Darlene & Mavie...
Another one down....

Cricket working on blue centers...

Marcella and her crumbs!!

It was really nice to meet a lot of the ladies I see posting on the Heartstrings Quilt Project Group boards.... Mavie, Bev, Darlene in ME, Darlene in MA, (Cricket and Ginny from MA, of course-- and NO, Cricket, I didn't get to Marden's this time, but I WILL!).

 It was a comfortable place and the fact that it was heated with two wood stoves (the smell was wonderful), made it very nice to spend the day there. It also helped that the weather was wonderful, too!!
Had to post this sign as we were leaving town. Sorry it wassn't in focus. I was outside of my car on a busy route and didn't want people to see me taking a photo of this sign. My mom did a doubletake! LOL