Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope this message finds you and your family safe and warm while enjoying this holiday season. Dan and I are spending our first Christmas in Key West. We are dry camping right now which means absolutely no hook-ups for water, electricity, or sewage. This is pretty new for us. So far, it has not been that bad. We use our generator when we need to recharge batteries and for extra juice for heat or TV. Washing dishes is a problem so we are using paper plates some of the time.  Showers are taken in a public shower house that is kept very clean. One less thing for me to clean this holiday season – the shower! More time to quilt – right? But - the days have been warm so we have been spending quite a bit of time outside taking the cats for walks.
We also visited the Key West Botanical Garden. I thought I would share this most unusual flower. The trumpet flower is larger than my hand.  Isn't it beautiful?  St. Francis had his own visitors.

Today, we will join the other winter residents on base for a potluck dinner. I am taking our favorite holiday dish – Herbed Brown Rice stuffing with roasted almonds. YUM!

Despite all the distractions of dry camping and great weather, I did finish another block and I am half way through the next one already. I still have a lot to do. I got to looking at the quilt and I realized I have some very big borders that will need quilting as well. I won’t mention the binding I have not started yet. All I can do is to keep on quilting until it is done.

“In your heart, In your soul, Did you find peace there?” ~ Full Circle by Loreena McKennitt

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One More Block Done and Another Quilting Murder Solved!

Well, this block took a lot longer to finish considering I did not do much stitching on this block.  Can I blame it on the holidays?  Oh, and my brother came down for a visit and the weather was just perfect for being outdoors.  The cats wanted to go for walks and kayaking to do.  So, yea, lots of excuses for me not to be working on the quilt.  I guess I better stop with the excuses now the weather has turned a little colder and windier.  Time to do some serious quilting!


Quilt As You Go by Arlene SachitanoI just finish reading another Quilt-Murder-Mystery book called “Quilt As You Go” by Arlene Sachitano.  Yea, call me obsessive.  

Anyway, Arlene gave the best tip that I have ever heard.  I have often heard and read about threading a bunch of needles before you start your project to save you time. I have never tried it because I always thought I would cut a strand of thread, thread the needle, tie a knot and then……..well, where do I put the threaded needles? I would need to hide them so my cats would not tangle the thread or run off with the thread or worse – getting the needle with the thread. They have taken straight pins and needles in the past, but I have learned to hide all sharp objects while I am quilting. So I thought I would have to put the pre-threaded needles back into the pack and hide the pack. That sounds like more trouble than threading a needle as I needed it.

Here’s Arlene Sachitano: Load a whole package of needles onto the spool. Tie a knot in the end of the thread and then each time you want a new needle, you grab it and pull some thread out, then clip the thread and needle from the spool. Retie the end of the spool piece. Perfect! I can keep my needles and thread in a baggie and none of my smarty cats will be able to get to either one! HA!

Needles ready to go!

Oh, and how’s the book?  I would recommend it to anyone interested in murder mysteries and quilting.  The main character is a long-arm quilter so I have learned about the other side of the quilting business.  I’m more of a traditional quilter so I don’t know very much about the long-arm or the quilting business.  The story can be a little slow at times, but I like the characters.  I also like the story’s location which is near Sequim and Port Townsend, WA.  I spent a lot of my childhood growing up in the Puget Sound area on Whidbey Island.  This is the third one in a series of Harriet Truman/Loose Threads Mystery and I have read all three.  I hope she writes more Harriet Truman books.

Happy Holidays to All!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finished Another Block!

Well, I can’t believe it.  I have actually finished another block and I still have over a week before the end of November!

I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to keep this pace up and finish the quilt on time.  Oh, I do uncross my fingers while quilting.  Yea, it would be hard to hold a needle with crossed-fingers. 
I need to finish the two sashings before going on to the next block.  Even though they are more detailed, they are small and don't take more than a couple of evenings to finish.
I finally broke down and bought my first Kindle Book from Amazon. It finally came in the mail from being on backorder.  I swore I would never get an electronic book because I like the way books feel while reading them. I guess I am a Traditionalist in more than one way, but I'm going to give this a try because this Kindle has a different screen that looks like paper and I can enlarge the fonts so I don’t have to wear my reading glasses all the time.  I just won't have pages to turn.  Hmm.  Well, I'll give it a try.

The best part is that I don’t have to wait to find a bookstore. This Kindle has 3G so it is independently connected to WiFi and I don't use up our limited BandWidth.  Now I can download my new books as soon as I get the urge to buy another book.  This is going to be great!
The main reason for buying the Kindle is for storage. I have a lot of books. Books I have not read  yet and books I plan to read again. I have been trying to get rid of each book after finishing it but then I buy two more!  I finally admitted that we do not have the space for a large collection of books, not to mention the weight they add to our motorhome. So what have I been doing with the extra space?   Yea, you guessed right! Fabric and projects are filling up those empty spaces. At least they are lighter. ;0)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

THE ALOHA QUILT by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer ChiaveriniI just finished listening to Jennifer Chiaverini’s audio-book “The Aloha Quilt”.  If you love to quilt and you love to read then this is the perfect book for you. This story follows one of the Elm Creek quilters – Bonnie to Hawaii. During her stay, she learns the about Queen Lili’uokalani, the history behind Hawaii and the U.S. and about Hawaiian quilts. The history of Hawaii was quite an eye-opener for me.
I can’t wait for the next one “The Union Quilters” to come out in February. Did I mention that I can’t wait!

Of course, if you really want to start reading Jennifer’s books, you should start at the beginning with the very first one “The Quilter’s Apprentice”.

IF You Plan to READ “The Aloha Quilt” – DO NOT CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK: it is a spoiler. Here’s a link to Mr XStitch’s blog with some quilts and rarely heard about history.
I finished this appliqué while listening to "The Aloha Quilt"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1 Block Done! 5 Month to Go!

ONE BLOCK Done! Only 7 more to go……and 23 more sashings. But I am quilting. Thanks to my BFF – Bec’s encouraging words of “Get ‘er done!” I needed that! Only 5 months left. Rut-Ro!

I did a simple quilt design on this block by echoing triangles. Speaking of triangles…..Have you heard of Pie-on-a-Stick? Well, here in Key West, they serve Chocolate covered Key Lime Pie-on-a-stick. Ooooh! So Good! Soooooo Rich! I drank a lot of water afterwards, but it was worth every bite. YUM!

I can't think of a better way to keep my strength up.  :0)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My List of UFOs (UnFinished Objects)

I have made a list of all my unfinished projects and it is sad to so many unfinished projects. I saw a few quilters make a list on their blog and I think it is a great way to keep tabs on my projects. I definitely need it as a constant reminder and a great incentive to finish my granddaughter’s quilt.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to quilt and I really love working on this quilt. BUT, I am having the hardest time sitting down to work on my projects. Part of the problem is all the other activities I have going on and part of the problem is time – “Oh, it’s too late to pull the quilt out tonight. I’ll do it tomorrow night”. So, I thought if I put this on my blog and make it a constant reminder then I will have to finish Vi’s quilt for her birthday.

I only have 5 ½ months to quilt 8 blocks and 24 sashings, not to mention the large border! It has already been over a year since I made the top and another 6 months of sitting in the hoop.

Well, I better get moving or should that be quilting.

Picture taken a few months ago....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm a Slow Poke Quilter!

Boy, is that an understatement!  LOL!! Well, it is for me with the many years it takes me to finish one project.

I have joined a blogging group called "Slow Poke Quilters".  I have been slowly going through the group visiting each blog and enjoying their stories.  Click on the button below and enjoy visiting other Slow Poke Quilters!

Slow Poke Quilter

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Surreal Serenity

Today was a travel day.  We left Tyndall AFB near Panama City for Old Town, FL.  We could not have asked for a better day.  Weather and traffic was wonderful not to mention a lot of great views of the Gulf along the way..  As we drove through Apalachicola on East Hwy. 98 .  People were out enjoying the weather in the downtown area.  Some were shopping while others were having a yard sale.  Yet it wasn’t crowded.  Two boys holding a sign we could not read gave Dan the “Blow Your Horn” motion and Dan obliged.  We could hear the two cheering over our motorhome’s engine!  Okay, on to quilting.........
My top is finally done! I had to make myself stop adding more appliqué. I started this top over 2 years ago. Not because the quilt was giving me a hard time – no, no, it was because I was enjoying the growth and the process. Working with batik is a real joy. It is easy to manipulate and it easily forgives my mistakes.

For the longest time, I could not come up with a name for my quilt. I tried several but none fit: “My Pond” (too plain), “We Are Not Being Koi” (they are goldfish), “Lanai Memories” (nah!), Serenity Pond” (yep, so calm it will put you to sleep)….nothing fit. I wanted people to know that this quilt was not a lot of work, but the opposite. This quilt relaxed me, challenged my imagination, and brought me many hours of peaceful moments. Then a friend and a great photographer posted on Facebook a photo of some beautiful lilies. I told her they looked surreal. That’s when my quilt’s name came to me! My pond is surreal and serene! Surreal Serenity! I have never had such a hard time naming a quilt.

Everything is hand sewn including the border.  I was using the freezer paper method.  I had talked to a friend once about using the turn-under-as-you-go.  She seemed to like it, so I switched methods when I started working on the small lotus petals.  I find I do like that method a lot better.

I added ginkgo leaves to give the water a little more motion.

The blue batik started my idea for a water design, but it was my pictures of the purple lotus that inspired the Japanese garden pond.  I added bamboo to give the sense that the garden continued beyond the border.

My Yin Yang goldfish.

Mosaic Applique by Lorraine Carthew

This is the book that inspired me to use the mosaic style instead of making the plants and fish more solid.

Here's my old post of the top:
Well, for now, I have to put the top away.  I want to finish my granddaughter's quilt before she outgrows it!  Good incentive, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Key West Murder Mystery

Ghost Shadow (The Bone Island Trilogy) by Heather GrahamI just finished listening to a murder mystery located in Key West.  "Ghost Shadow" is by Heather GrahamIt started out a little strange with the main character being able to see ghosts and she has a ghostly companion named Bartholomew.  I thought I would mention this one because of all the Key West history Heather mentions in the story.  Because of her adding in interesting little facts and history, I can’t wait to get to Key West and start exploring the area.  Oh, and to do some kayaking in the beautiful blue waters.

Here are some websites I have found interesting thanks to Heather's story:
Mallory Square,
Captain Tony's Saloon,
Sloppy Joe's,
Robert the Doll

Of course, I will also have to visit the following places as well:
Margaritaville (and with some luck - maybe Jimmy Buffett)
Hemingway's home and cats

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello From Florida!

Ahhhh.. Sun!

Hey! Hey!  WE were here first!!!

We are at Tyndall AFB on the Florida Panhandle between Panama City and Mexico Beach for the next couple of weeks. We are staying at the base’s FamCamp. We have a nice spot with trees and bushes giving us a little more privacy. Seeing the Gulf beaches again is great! Just the way we remember the beach with sand so white and soft it feels like you are walking on sugar. The ocean water temp is warm, no rain forecast for the next week, and air temp in the low 90s.

This is a great place to start getting back into shape for kayaking on the bays nearby and I need the extra practice. We started kayaking the day after we got here. We kayaked in a nearby back bay and saw a large pod of dolphins (porpoise). They were pretty close at times, well under 20 yards. They hung around where we were for about 5 minutes or so. Mullets were jumping. One tried to jump into Dan's kayak. We also saw a Red Tailed Hawk perched nearby in an old tree, but he would not let us get too close before flying away.  I'm not getting much quilting done...oh well, got to enjoy this beautiful weather while I can.

Just had to add this picture to our blog since we are headed for Key West....There BE Pirates Here!  Arrrgh!

funny pictures-'Xcuse meh... I wuz told there wuld be wenches an rums?
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Floors and Christmas Stockings

I know I just posted, but I wanted to boast about our new floors.  We had them installed by a friend and an experienced carpet/floor installer, Ernie. It took Ernie and Dan about 9 days to tear out the old flooring and install the new bamboo flooring with carpet. The old tiles turned out to be the toughest part. It took Ernie almost 3 days of hammering and chiseling to get the tiles out.

It has been about three weeks since they were installed and I feel like I have a Cabin-on-Wheels. It has such an open, clean feel to it.  It is so much easier to keep clean. Before, I would not run around barefoot because I could not tell if the floor was clean or not. Nothing hurts worse than stepping on a grain of cat litter with your bare foot. Now I can spot dirt from the other end of the motorhome and I’m walking around with bare feet. So nice!

While Ernie and Dan worked on the floor, I took care of our cats inside Ernie and Brenda’s house. They were gracious enough to let us borrow a large kennel and to set it up in their living room so the cats could stay cool. In the mornings, I would try to take one cat out for a walk.

Hitch enjoyed the walks the most. Dusty went a couple of times, but later decided just to stay at the back of the cage until it was time to head back to the motorhome.

Squirrel was a big pain in more ways than one. He wanted out so I would take him outside, but he would immediately go to the motorhome and HOWL! I tried more than once to convince him he would not want to be inside and to enjoy his walk while it was cool. We ended up in a fight on the front lawn. That must have looked strange to the driver passing by because he slowed way down to watch the crazy lady wrestling a big tasmanian-like cat around on the front lawn. I ended up with scratches on my face and Squirrel was a little squashed when I fell part way on top of him. Um, I did not fall on top of him on purpose and he only had the air knocked out of him. Although, I have to admit that it did feel rather satisfying to hear him squawk since my face was hurting a lot at the time.

I felt the worse for poor Mad Max. As soon as he saw the leash and harness, his eyes would get very big then he would freeze up and turn into an orange ball of fur. He would not move for hours inside the cage. I spent a lot of time talking and trying to comfort him. Towards the end of the 9 days, Max was starting to move around and he even let Ernie pet him. On our last day, Max gave me a wonderful surprise by jumping out of my arms on our way back to the motorhome. Instead of running for the door, he started exploring the area. He has not been outside since we started traveling. It was so nice to see him snooping around and eating grass. He even let Ernie come near for a petting. Now Max wants out when the others go for their walks and he does pretty good as long as it is in a quiet area.

Oh, I did get in a little quilting in the afternoons. Most of my work was getting some embroidery done on pot holders and Christmas stockings. I still need to embellish them with buttons before I sew them together.  Aren’t they cute? I got the patterns from Nancy Halvorsen.

If you are interested in my new bamboo floors, here’s a link to our Webshots Album.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Albuquerque, NM

Boy, am I behind on posting. I need to put up a calendar reminder to post more often. I should have posted my visit to Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago. I’m so sorry for not doing this earlier.

Since the last blog, we have visited quite a few national parks. I found them all to be great, but I would love to go back to the Arches and the Mesa Verde NP again someday. The colors of the earth and the deepest blue sky ever, the rock formations and the old ruins were all so inspiring for quilting ideas that I am at a lost as to where to begin. I’m afraid most of my ideas will never become a quilt.

Darline modeling donated fabric

On to Albuquerque! Well, I can tell you that I felt like I had come home as we came in from the west side on I-40. What a wonderful sight! I could not wait to see all of my friends and to do a little shopping. We only stayed for a week so my week was going to be a busy one and of course, the time went way too fast.

Cher - always has time for a smile

I want to thank my friends for taking time out of their busy schedules to visit with me. I really enjoyed our time together and I hope to do it again in the future.

I made sure that we would be visiting during the second weekend of the month so I could spend the day with all my friends – The Material Girls during Project Linus. What a great day! The quilts during show-n-tell were amazing and there were so many that it took us almost two hours to see them all. Each quilt was unique and very creative. The ladies in this group are extra special with the loving care they put into each donated quilt.

Heather and Colista busy, busy!

I had to do some shopping. I really miss shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I got myself one of Whole Food’s delicious fruit tarts. Yum! Okay, I bought two of them. It’ll be a long time before I can have another one.

Pat and Jeana - new ideas?

I also shopped at two of my favorite quilt shops: Quilt Works and Southwest Decoratives. Quilt Works was only a couple of blocks from my old home. Yep, the location was a little dangerous for me. It took a while to train my car to stop turning into the parking lot every time I drove by the shop on my way home.  Oh, and Quilt Works now has their own blog:  My only regret was not making it to Quilts From the Heart – another favorite quilt shop. Yea, I know I have too many favorite quilt shops.

All too soon my time in Albuquerque was over and we move on to Lawton, OK to visit our daughter, Misty and our two granddaughters. We stayed at Ft. Sill’s Family Campground near a lake. On Saturday, Misty brought out Bry and Vi for a day at the lake. They did a lot of swimming and ate lunch with us. I showed Misty Violet’s quilt in the frame. I am keeping the quilt in the living room to keep it from becoming a UFO. With the quilt being in the living area, I am reminded everyday that I should be working on it instead of being on the computer. Sooner or later, I will get tired of moving the frame from the living area to the back during travels and I will finish Vi’s quilt. Hopefully, before she graduates from college!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Last weekend, I finally got Dan to go with me to a quilt show. Well, sort of. Actually, someone came up with the brilliant idea of holding a quilt show inside the National Automobile Museum. What a genius!! Quilters and their spouses were happy to go together to a quilt show. And that included Dan and I. Dan took lots of pictures of cars and I took lots of pictures of quilts. I wish more quilt shows were teamed up with car or motorcycle shows. It was a lot of fun.

The Truckee Meadows Quilters put on a fabulous display of quilts throughout the museum among the vintage automobiles. I enjoyed both the quilts on display as well as the automobiles.

I have put together some of the quilts in WebShots. Mainly the ones that jumped out at me or spoke to me. I just could not do upload all of them. There were so many and all were wonderful! I added the name of the quilt and the quilter’s name in the album this time. I had someone compliment me once on a quilt I did not make even though the album was clearly marked Quilt Show. I did explain that I could not take the credit for the quilt.

You will probably notice that a lot of the quilts are by Mildred Dort. I will admit I did not look at the program when I started looking around. I was too excited to see the quilts then to read about them. Why read when I can spend the time admiring the beautiful artwork on display, listening to others quilt discussions, and do a little shopping with the vendors. I loved all the quilts, but my favorite quilts are the ones with hand-appliqué work or ones with cats or flowers.

It wasn’t until I got home and started going through the program to match photos with names that I realized I had taken a lot of pictures of Mildred Dort’s quilts. I can see why she was picked as the featured quilter. She does some excellent appliqué handwork. My friends know that I really love my appliqué handwork.

Oh, and I will be uploading photos of the vintage automobiles as well…a little later and in a separate folder. Enjoy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Inspired by Art Deco

While I am writing this blog, Dan is teasing Mad Max, our mixed short-tail Manx. Max is rolling around on the table between us. He keeps grabbing my arm and nipping me (not hard) every time Dan holds his tail or claims he is going to get Max’s tail. Max loves this game. He’s so cute while he waits for Dan to reach for his tail, he will meow at Dan and other times he playfully swats at Dan’s hand. He wags his tail all the time, but his tail really gets going when Dan starts playing this game. I know that cats are usually warning us with a wagging tail, but not Max. He wags his tail when he is happy. By the speed of the circles his tail is doing right now, I’d have to say he is ecstatic.

Anyway, about a month ago, I started thinking about a new appliqué project. I bought Garden Nouveau Quilts by Vicky Lawrence. Yea, I know I already have too many ongoing projects, but just looking at the cover of this book….sigh…I really want to do at least one panel. I can hang it in the window. This urge to make at least one panel got stronger after I saw the Yaquina Bay Bridge. I fell in love the Art Deco design. It is such an unusual looking bridge that I had to look up the history and found out the bridge was designed in the 1930’s by Conde B. McCullough. And this is just one of many built to tie Hwy 101 together along the Oregon Coast. That did it! I dug out my Batik fat quarters, but I was missing the right shade of ochre and teal. What a great excuse to go buy fabric! Quilter’s Cove in Newport had a nice selection of Batik. I could not believe my luck when I found the perfect ochre Batik with a motif of an Art Deco Sunburst. Perfect! But I still needed a teal blend.

We spent about 10 days in Florence and I have fallen in love with the draw bridge! This one is my favorite out of all the bridges I have seen along the Oregon Coast. The detailed work in the obelisks is amazing. I think Conde B. McCullough out did himself in designing this bridge. I am even more inspired to make this panel even though I should be working on my pond quilt.
We have been spending most of our time traveling up and down the coast while the sun was out.  I decided to go visit Florence’s two quilt shops.  A great way to pass the time on a rainy day.  Besides, I still needed my teal to make the Art Nouveau panel.

Wenz-Daze Quilter’s Emporium is a smaller shop with quilts hanging from its high ceiling and four rooms filled with fabrics and notions. I had fun looking around the store.

Then I went into the Joy of Quilting shop. Oh MY! I have walked into a quilter’s heaven! First, I was told there were two different areas to the shop. There are several rooms with fabric and then there is Gigi Mo’s Gallery. I decided to start with the gallery and I’m so glad I did! I was offered gloves if I wanted to touch any of the quilts, but I was quite happy spending my time just looking. The gallery displays quilts and fabric art from artists along the Oregon Coastal area. As a quilter I found it very inspiring to be able to admire these fabulous quilts up-close. If you don’t quilt, but would like to purchase one, this is the place to go. The selection is very diverse from traditional to contemporary. I’m sure you can find what you are looking for in this gallery.

Then there’s the rooms packed with bolts of fabrics, books, patterns, and notions. I made the mistake of stopping in front of the juvenile/novelty section. I kept telling myself that I really did not need another yard of fabric – so, I bought 1 ½ yards! That works… I was so energized and inspired that I almost forgot the reason for shopping in the first place…..oh yea! I need to look at their Batiks. I believe I found the perfect shade of teal to use in my panel.

Well, I have managed to put myself into a dilemma. Darn! I want to start this new quilt, but I really should work on the other two quilts. Okay, this project will be my carrot.  So for now, I will put the material and notes aside and get busy on the quilts-in-progress. :0)

A quick note: From the Today Show - Jane Pauley did a segment about "Life On The Road".  She interviewed two full-timers living in their vintage Bluebird since 2004.  There is an article on AARP's site as well as a video.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blogger’s Quilt Festival

This is my first time entering the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Thank you Amy for coming up with this wonderful idea and for taking the time to host it.

I have so many favorite quilts.  It was hard to pick just one!  Many years ago, I joined a charity group from my work place. When I joined the group, I realized I needed to learn to quilt faster. Up to that time, all my quilts were handmade and would take a long time to finish.

With this quilt, I learned paper-piecing. I struggled with the machine quilting on this one, but I think I am getting better with practice. By the end of my second year, I was donating at least one quilt a month if not two quilts!

Since I could not give up all of my hand work, I would add a little hand-worked appliqué to all my quilts. I love whimsy and I often looked for fun juvenile fabric with a design that I could make into an appliqué add-on to enhance the overall quilt. Retro Dog’s design came from the material in this quilt.  I hope my quilts have given comfort as well as a smile to the receiver.

A little over a year ago, my husband and I retired. We are traveling around the country in our motorhome. I really miss all of my quilting friends and I think about them often. I am still making small quilts for children, but my heart belongs to my hand-piecing and quilting. I find this easier to do now that we are full-timing in our motorhome.

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