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Thursday, November 30, 2006


You are The Empress
Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.
The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents, beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.
The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I like the write up but the picture is pretty scary. I haven't looked in the mirror lately and now I am afraid to!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Butterflies Finished!

Today I finished putting the sashing on the Butterfly quilt. It turned out about 60x80 inches so I am glad I didn't put any plain blocks between them. They are quite large blocks, about 13 inches square so it would have been a huge quilt if I had added any more blocks. I debated on the outside border and it came down to the polka dots or a purple but I felt the polka dots were a bit softer.

Now the big question. How to quilt it? Always my biggest problem on any quilt. There are some constraints. It has to be machine quilted. One hand quilting at a time is plenty and there is still lots to do on the Irish Chain. It can't be too difficult because I don't have a longarm and I am far from expert. I am thinking of a meander or wave on the blue but should it go over everything or should I do the butterflies differently? And if so, how? Any input will be welcome.

Monday, November 27, 2006


We woke up today to beautiful, soft, fluffy snow with more wafting down. We went for a walk but the camera batteries died after only a few pictures. I include the one of me in spite of the wierd white thing on my face, hopefully a snowflake. The parka, which I love, I found at a thrift store for $4 in new condition. My favorite kind of shopping.

I didn't get any quilting done today. I opted for organizing and cleaning the studio. Since I have finished piecing the butterflies, it was time to clean up all the scraps and make room for cutting the borders. I have decided to go with plain blue sashing just to make it a bit bigger. If I do any blocks between the butterflies it will get too big. It is going to end up about 60x80 inches if I use 3 inch sashing and that is as big as I want to quilt.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fun Weekend

Ariana had a very productive weekend. First she recovered the seat of a cute little dressing table that we found in a thrift shop. She saw it first and claimed it. Lucky girl. She used a piece of fabric she batiked one other time when she was here. In the photo she is using the glue gun with sparkly glue sticks to make a decorative border around the star that she ironed on.

Then she recovered an old cigar box I found and made a fantastic job of it. Thank goodness for glue guns. She asked me to use the picture without her in it so I am respecting her wishes but I really think she is too cute to hide.

Summer is ready to sew the binding on her quilt but unfortunately the camera batteries died yesterday just as I was taking a picture of her at the sewing machine. Then this morning she woke up with the flu so she is sleeping. Maybe there will be a picture of her later if she starts feeling better.

Meanwhile the twins helped Grampa gesso some pannels for painting. Unfortunately, I snapped the picture while they were just watching and then when they were using the roller, the camera had already run out of batteries.

I think the kids had a good time and I KNOW the Grandparents did.

Friday, November 24, 2006

One More Butterfly to Go

One more butterfly and I will call it a day! I have to admit that I am getting a tiny bit tired of piecing them. It will end up single bed size for sure. I will put on some blue sashing to give the butterflies a bit more room to flutter and then some kind of border. I was thinking white to suggest the sky being lighter as you look up or else a green to suggest leaves and grass. I will have to audition some once all the butterflies are done.
We are having four teenage grandchildren for the weekend so I will probably do more cooking than quilting. The girls love sewing though, so I am sure we will spend some time in the sewing room. It should be fun.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Three More Butterflies

Now I have to decide whether this will be a wall hanging or a bed quilt. If it's a wall hanging I have enough butterflies. If it is to be for a bed I need at least three more to make it a rectangle. I am leaning toward a wall hanging but I may still get the urge to make a few more butterflies. I have decided to cut the blocks at angles so the butterflies will flutter and if I use sashing at all it will be the same blue, just to give them a bit more space. Then I will either put on a green border to suggest leaves or else leave it with no border and just bind it. This might even be a good one to try just backing it with no border as I have seen on some blogs. Or I could bind it with a brown to make it look like a window frame. Or white. The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More Butterflies

These butterflies are addictive. I keep wondering how different color combinations will look. I will probably end up with six. I was going to make a green one but then decided to stick with the colors I have been using so far. I need a bit more blue, though, to go with the blue on the first one I made on the right top row. The sashing is supposed to be cut on an angle to make the butterflies dance. I only have a 14 inch square and they are 12 1/2 inch squares. I might make a paper square so I can tell how they are going to look before I cut them. I'd hate to mess them up by trimming them wrong after all that work of piecing.
The one in the book has wide dark sashing with cornerstones but I am not sure I really like that look. The other sample in the book has no sashing at all and I'm not sure about that one either. Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Blocks

I was going to try a Lonestar. I was going to try a landscape quilt.

But, I was browsing through this thrift store magazine (notice the 25 cent price in the corner) and saw this butterfly block and just had to try it. I love blocks that use a lot of pieces of different colors and that are complicated to put together. Don't ask me why. I want to try all sorts of different combinations now that I understand how it works. I may even sacrifice a few of my greens. I'm not sure how big this will get but once I start piecing things like these butterflies I keep waning to try just one more in yellows or oranges or pinks. I'm sure it won't be as large as queen sized though because I don't enjoy quilting anything that large.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tech Troubles

Thanks for all the great comments on my Double Wedding Ring. It was very satisfying to finally finish it.
Meanwhile we have been having all sorts of internet problems. Our connection was constantly off and on and off but more often off. We have a huge aerial on top of our house that points to a tower about ten miles away. We had to get it made taller because the trees were interefring with the signal. Since then it has been constant problems. We called tech support and for three days we have been on the phone while they walked us through the same thing over and over. We asked if it could be some short in a wire outside and they said no chance. When I was talking to the tech guy he insisted it was our home network once he heard that there were two computers connected together.They don't hold themselves resonsible for networking and he insisted that my son had changed something when he networked the computers. Never mind that they worked at first. Then my husband got on the phone with them yesterday. They listen more to a man for some reason. Finally, they said they'd send someone out. Sure enough it was a bad connection outside. One of the wires was too short and they had to splice it and that was where the problem was. The bottom line is that it is now working. Knock on wood that it keeps going.
Now I have to catch up on blog reading and emails. More quilting pictures later.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Double Wedding Ring Done!

I have done it! I finally finished stitching down the binding on the antique Double Wedding Ring quilt that I started way back when. I will have to check back in my blog to know when. I haven't done the label yet but I think I might buy some computer fabric and print out a label so I can put in all the information about who pieced it ( my mother in the 1930's for those who weren't reading my blog when I started it) and who quilted it.
Thanks for all the nice comments on the box that I made. It was actually easier than it looks and the next one, if there is a next one, will be easier. I just got a call from the library that the instruction book I used is overdue. We have a great library. They don't charge for overdue books. They just give you a call and remind you. When they call you can renew it over the phone if you want to. Unfortunately I was away when the call came so I will probably go in tomorrow and either return it or renew it.
I went to a one-woman quilt show in a gallery in Winnipeg today and it was simply amazing. She had done 6 or 7 large quilts depicting the beginning of the world according to the Bible. It was all needle turn applique using her own drawings as patterns. She did both hand and machine quilting. The last one was Old MacDonald's farm with all the animals. Her colours were fabulous. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera along. The quilter's name is Judith Panson. I'm not sure if she has a web page or not. It was worth the trip just to see her work. Now I am inspired to try a landscape quilt but with fusing. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sewing Box

Our internet connection has been playing up again and is off more than it is on. Hence the lack of posting.

I found this book in the library and just had to try some of the boxes.

I am not very good with the glue gun and didn't have the perle cotton to go over the plastic mesh so the lid is a bit of a disaster.

Tomorrow I will try to get the cotton and maybe make a new lid. I also need to make the thimble box for the middle. There are a couple of other boxes in the book that I want to try but my new quilt is calling me too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Marking Quilts

Yesterday I marked the border of my nine patch for quilting. That is the part of quilting that I enjoy the least. I bought a special brush and chalk for marking which works great and doesn't rub off easily. The only problem is that the chalk is white. What to do on white fabric? I finally used blue chalk from a carpenter's chalk plumb line and a piece of rolled felt to tap it on with. I tried it on a scrap and it seemed to wash out all right. I just hope it stays on until I'm done quilting it. I don't want to go over it all with pencil. When the chalk is used up in the brush I may buy another one for white and put some of the blue chalk in this one.

I used a pattern from this book by Keryn Emerson. She has a blog called Quilting Twin. Her patterns are fantastic. I have used several of them. I traced the pattern onto Golden Threads paper and to punch the little holes for the chalk to go through, I used a marking wheel with the paper on a couple of layers of felt. It worked well on the straight lines, not so well on tight curves. I wish I could find a fun way of marking. I don't think one exists. Free motion on a long arm might do it. Lol.

Meanwhile I am debating what to do with my stack of new fabric. I am leaning toward a Lone Star. I have always wanted to do one but never had the right fabric on hand. I think it might look good with my darks and purples and maybe some of the orange. I could always buy more fabric if I don't have enough that look good together. Then the greens would have to wait their turn.

I have also started sewing the binding on the antique Double Wedding Ring that I hand quilted. Binding on curves is a whole new thing. I had been waiting around looking fro the right blue but finally I just dyed some and although it doesn't match perfectly, it goes with the old fashioned "use whatever you have on hand" method that our foremothers had to use. I'll post a picture when it's done. I am about a quarter of the way around so far.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nine Patch One More Time

Here is a picture of the nine patch with the white borders. I have been looking at different border quilting designs. I haven't marked it yet though. The rest of it will probably be quilted along the sewing lines and maybe on some of the diagonals. I also have to find some fabric for the back. I might have enough fabric to make large squares of some of the pieces I used for the nine patches.

Meanwhile, today I washed and ironed all my new fabrics that I bought yesterday and they are sittting there tantalizing me. I have to look through some of my books and decide what to do with them. Maybe it's time to start my green quilt, although those pinks and purples are calling me too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Half Price Fabrics

One of the fabric stores in our area is closing down at the end of December. They don't have a huge selection of quilting fabrics but what they do have is on sale at half price. I bought some today and I'm sure I'll be back before it closes. I am sad to see it go. I bought a lot of fabric there and more than one sewing machine.
After the fabric store I went to the thrift store and got three more pieces of fabric. The first one (orange flowered one) and the last two green ones are from the thrift shop. I have collected a lot of greens in the last few months so, since I have nearly finished my nine patch, I need to start thinking of what to do with them. I put a wide white border on the nine patch and am ready to start marking it. I'm not sure what I will put on the back. Maybe back to the fabric sale for that!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Back to Reality

I am finally back to quilting in earnest. I have done all the nine patches and sashing unless I decide to make it bigger. I must confess to getting a bit bored with all those little nine patches so I may just put a fairly large border on and call it a day. I suppose it will depend on how much it shrinks when I sew it together. I am always amazed how much smaller a quilt looks when it is sewn together. Those little quarter inch seams really add up. I'm not sure if I should spend some time arranging or just let it be. So far all I have done is to try to avoid having two colors the same touching.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pillow Talk

About fifteen years ago I read an article that said feathers are nearly indestructible, can be washed and dried and will last for years. Pretty well the only thing that can damage them is dampness. A few days later I was at an auction and bought a dirty, horrible looking bag of feathers for a dollar. I thought it was a great chance to see if they are indeed washable. Well, I washed them, dried them in the sun (although the dryer on low heat will work too) and was amazed to see that they were indeed clean and looking like new. I bought a piece of ticking and made my perfect pillow. All those feathers were softest down and since I like a small, soft pillow I now had exactly what I like.

Fast forward to our latest trip. I always travel with my precious pillow and am always afraid of leaving it in a hotel. I thought that I should put a bright pillow case on it so that it would be more obvious when we were packing. In the hustle and bustle of leaving I forgot. We stayed one night in Santa Fe at a Days Inn. The next evening as we were leaving Denver, I had a horrible sinking feeling that I had forgotten my pillow in Santa Fe. Sure enough, it was not in the car. We stopped at a Days Inn again that night, and I asked what their policy is on forgotten items. Apparently they keep everything they find for six months. The manager dialed the Santa Fe Days Inn and I talked to someone there. They didn't seem very interested in my pillow and it sounded doubtful that I would ever see it again. The perfect ending to this story would be that it suddenly arrived in the mail. That hasn't happened and I doubt that it will.

So I went to the thrift shop, bought a ratty looking old down coat, and to the fabric store for ticking. Today I ripped each section of the coat and put the feathers (most of them anyway, not counting the ones in my hair, nose and clothes) into a new pillow. Luckily, it was warm and calm enough to do it outside on the deck. Now I have a new pillow that is almost as good as the old one. In the unlikely event that I do make it back to Santa Fe within six months you can be sure that the first thing I will do is go looking for my old faithful pillow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

We're Back!

We had a wonderful, if short, trip and saw a lot of new places that had always been on our to-do list. I will list them to save reading time. Lol. I have been trying to catch up on blog reading and know how long it can take!
1. Yellowstone park and Old Faithful. I especially liked the bubbling mud holes that you never read about but are just as amazing as Old Faithful. It was freezing cold though and if the mud hadn't been actually boiling I would have been tempted to dip my hands in.
2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This was a town full of boutiques and galleries but we were only able to window shop as it was a Sunday evening when we got there. Still, it was very interesting with lots of amazing wildlife art.
3. Utah Salt Flats. So very different from here and a restful nice straight flat road after the mountains of Yellowstone.
3. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. There is an art gallery every three steps which is wonderful if you are into art.
4. Las Vegas. Not my scene at all but something you have to see to believe.
5. Hoover Dam. Amazing but I prefer natural wonders.
6. Grand Canyon. You can see hundreds of pictures and movies but nothing compares to the real thing. I would love to hike to the bottom but I think I better start working out right now and maybe plan to do that in about 3 years. It is deep and steep.
7. Santa Fe and Taos. I really want to go back and spend more time in that area. We were already heading home and had spent too much time in other places so had to shorten our stay there. Next time we would go right there and spend at least a week.
8. Denver. Unfortunately we had to more or less pass through without stopping but would also like to spend more time there. We did have the best Yakisoba outside Japan there so the food stop was well worth it.

Were we sorry to get home to the snow after sunny Calfornia? Not really. Snowy weather is the best for quilting! And it is so clean and fresh and bright outside. So, I will get of the computer and take poor neglected Simba for a walk.
Actually, I think hunting season just started so maybe it's not safe to go for a walk with a deer-colored dog. Our land is posted with no hunting signs but that doesn't mean there are no hunters around who could be shooting in any dirction. Oh well, I guess to the studio instead but how to explain to Simba that there will be no walk until Sunday when hunting is not allowed????