Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quilt-a-Fair and a S.T.U.D. Anniversary

I received my S.T.U.D. Sept quilt from Debbie.  “Anniversary” was the theme for the month.  Here it is sitting on my dining room table with a candle that goes just perfectly with it.  Very pretty!  You can’t really see it in the photo but the floral fabric peeking out from under the lace is just so sweet and delicate.

Yesterday my sister and I went to Quilt-a-Fair – a lovely excuse to go spend money on fabric as lots and lots of vendors all cram into one building at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.  When I was checking out at one of the booths, a woman standing next to me commented on my purse (the July project on my website).  I mentioned that the pattern was on my website and when I handed her my card (I have cards!), she said, “Oh, I have your book!”  That was just fun.

And, of course, I had to engage in a little self-indulgence.  Like the pretty batik fabrics here:

The pretty fabrics here:

Cotton cording and pretty trim for some of those It’s a Wrap baskets I’ve been meaning to try:

Just doing my bit as a patriotic American trying to keep the quilt industry afloat.  

I had to, by the way, take these photos on my new dining room table.  This is a rite of passage for me.  Believe it or not, here I am a fifty something year old woman and I have never before bought a dining room set.  Really.  It’s always been either a hand me down from a parent or something we inherited after a parent died. (Last year we replaced the inherited couch and rockers and that was pretty darn exciting, I can tell you). 

I hope you won’t think my husband and I too macabre if I tell you we have spent several years referring to our eclectic (this is being very kind) collection of furniture as “dead parent decorating.”  But let’s hear it for clearance sales: last week we bought the dining room set I have lusted over for the last year.

Which explains why the other night Jeff and I were sitting in the living room  and he suddenly looked around with this intense confused expression.  “You know what I don’t see?” he asked. 

“What?”   I sat up straighter, ready to shift into my ever ready default mode of  Something’s wrong: is it a crisis?

“Not a single piece of dead parent furniture.” 

“Ha, ha.”  Umm, I actually think that was pretty funny. 

Anyway, love my dearly beloved.  Love that he was right.  It’s all ours, including our very own dining room set.  One that is actually to our taste.  Wow.  I’ve probably spent way too much time this last week sitting in the living room looking over into the dining room in a state of awe.  It’s just so pretty.  Hell’s bells, sometimes we even eat at it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap 7

Look at this absolutely stunning quilt that came all the way from Australia to stay with me!

Isn’t it incredible?  I love everything about this: the colors that are just so pure and bright, the circles, the fabulous quilting, that bit of drama the black and white binding adds. 

It’s already up on my sewing room wall!  There was a spot that it fit just perfectly.  If Helen had designed a quilt specifically to fit that space, it couldn’t have worked better.  Really, I was just speechless when I opened the package.  Helen, I just have to thank you so much for this.  Just looking at this quilt makes me smile.

These swaps are just about the most fun I’ve had quilting.  And really, given the little quilt addict I am, that’s saying something.  And for someone as (embarrassingly) under traveled as myself, there’s a particular thrill in the international exchange: I’ve gotten quilts from Belgium, Hong Kong, and now Australia.  Seriously, how cool is that?

I realize I never posted the finished picture of the quilt I sent out.  I do love my pinks and browns, though I didn’t do a very good job of capturing the color with this one.

Meanwhile, as I sit here and type, I am trying to re-establish peaceful relations with my thighs.  I had one of those moments of truth this summer.  I was walking in downtown Denver and caught the profile reflection of myself in a store window.  Whoa!!  When did that happen?  Time to admit it was long past due to diet and, yes, exercise.

Now, the diet’s fine.  I’m mourning my Dr. Pepper (really truly) but have learned that I really like strawberry and spinach salad.  Who knew?  I’m taking this diet business pretty slow so I can’t say the pounds are exactly flying off; nevertheless, the scale tells me there is some slo-o-o-o-w progress being made.

But about that exercise . . . . Who knew my thighs were such whiners?  It’s all because I let them go into early retirement about a decade ago.  They’ve happily spent the last ten years lying on a Caribbean beach somewhere having pretty drinks with umbrellas brought to them by handsome (but economically exploited) male inhabitants of the island.  It’s a lifestyle they have been perfectly content with.  They are so not on board with my new “Let’s get healthy!” program.  First, they whimpered.  When that didn’t work, they cried (real tears).  Seeing as how even that failed to move me, they have now resorted to a full scale temper tantrum.  (Jeez, I say, I’m just biking to campus.)

I’d put them in a corner for a time out but I’m afraid they’d take the opportunity to organize a boycott.  Wish me luck.  Tell me to stand firm (ooh, bad pun!) against these ungrateful insurrectionists.  Even better, tell me that any day now they’ll give up this unseemly behavior and we can be good friends again.  Here’s hoping.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Almost There

The mailing deadline for Doll Quilt Swap 7 is just a few days away but I am almost there.  Whew!  Just need to add the borders and then I’m ready to quilt. 

The browns in the photo are a bit darker than the actual fabric so they aren’t really quite this blocky.  So far I’m liking how soft and pretty this is.

Sidenote:  I haven’t forgotten about putting up a tutorial on the iPod case.  I just needed to get these doll quilts made first since I am (sad to say, predictably) running behind.  I’m planning on getting the tutorial done this coming weekend though.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Safe as Houses

I’ve always loved that phrase.  Here’s the September project that is posted on the projects page of my website.  This little quilt got mailed away.  The S.T.U.D. (Swap Till You Drop) theme for August was architecture. 

Okay, this looks like a simple drawing that someone might spend five minutes on.  Max.  Right?  But no.  I drew and drew and drew.  What if I add a porch?  What if the door is on the right?  What if it’s on the left?  What if I add a round window?  For crying out loud.  I’m not admitting how long it took me to settle on this!

Artistic challenges aside, I like the way this one makes me think of the home I grew up in, a wonderful two story farmhouse – even if it was in the middle of town.  It had a dusty basement which was my father’s domain (full of impressively sharp tools and a big old safe I’ll write about another day) and an even more wonderful attic, freezing in winter and stifling in summer.  I loved it up there no matter how cold or hot it got.  It was full of treasures, tables, chairs, vases, and lamps that were out of favor.  A mini kitchen cupboard that had been my mother’s when she was a child.  Boxes of old photos and old books and old “stuff” – like my mother and father’s old ice skates and bowling shoes and try as I could, I simply couldn’t imagine them young and in love and skating on a winter pond.  (My imagination seems to have improved with age.  I can picture it very well now and it makes me smile to think of the two of them before there were any of “us” (a brother, a sister, and me). 

I still miss that old house – though now with the miracle of Google maps I was actually able to visit the street I grew up on and there it is, the old homestead, looking remarkably unchanged.  I can’t say the same for myself – I’ve changed a lot in every direction, interior landscapes as well as hip and bust (ahem).  But I remember how safe home always felt and I had a lucky enough childhood that I didn’t even know how lucky I was that was the case. 

So, here’s to home.  May all of yours be safe as houses.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lucky, lucky me!

Okay, here’s the straight up lucky (see below for the part where I’m being sarcastic):

Two of my doll quilt swaps have recently arrived.  Here’s the S.T.U.D. August 09 I received from Kathy.  The theme was architecture. 

Isn’t it lovely?  I just love those soft batiks.  It makes me think of cabanas in the Caribbean.   Not that I’ve seen said cabanas up close and personal like, but a girl can dream, right?  Such a darling quilt – I just love it!  This goes perfectly in my sewing room! 

And then, right on the heels of my cabanas came this charmer from Henny in Indonesia.

This is coming from the In the Good Ol’ Summertime Mini Quilt Swap.  Isn’t it just stunning?  And the colors go perfectly in my living room.  I have orange walls (believe it or not) and my son made a tile mosaic mirror frame in blue and green.  This little quilt looks fabulous next to it.  As soon as I get it hung, I’ll take a picture to show how they look together.

So, I’m feeling very lucky with these beautiful quilts that come to visit.  I know I’ve said it before but I really do love doing these quilt swaps.  Love the challenge of making a quilt for someone else that I sure hope they will like, and I just love getting these little quilts from others.  They are such treasures!

Some of you may have been noticed it’s been two weeks (!) since I’ve last posted.  How pathetic is that?  All I can say is that I have had my tail end well and truly kicked by beginning of the semester hustle, bustle, and general overload.  I’m regrouping. 

Now we get to the lucky me – NOT!!!  I’ve just discovered that email being sent from my Comcast account is not being delivered.  This has apparently been going on for at least several weeks and possibly quite longer.  I still don’t know whether this is selective misses or a whole scale everything I’ve sent out has not made it where it’s going.  I hadn’t received any undeliverable notices so I was happily presuming my emails were working.  I’m now trying to figure this out and get everything back up and running. (Wish me luck).  Meanwhile, I’m sending out a blanket apology because I just don’t know how many messages (like personal replies to comments) haven’t made it.  I’m presuming a goodly number.  Ack!  Let me repeat.  Ack!

So – I’m so sorry, and please believe me, I do try and reply to comments made here.  The replies I made using gmail are fine but I have used Comcast for most of my email so all my charming and pithy return comments (okay, they aren’t all that charming and pithy) are presumably floating about in the virtual ether.  Perhaps some day they’ll land.  (I actually had an email from a student show up four months after he sent it.  I understand when an actual paper and envelope letter falls behind a counter or something, but where the heck does a virtual email go and why does it suddenly decide to go somewhere else?  It’s a mystery).

Meanwhile, I’ll have a post ready for tomorrow or the day after that has the September web project.