Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where has this month gone?

Is it just me, or has July really flown by at warp speed? I feel my precious sunny days just slipping away from me. I love summertime.
I spent the weekend with one of my best friends, Jamie, and our husbands. We went to Grand Haven on Saturday. The hubbies went out fishing on the boat, while we shopped around downtown. It was a gorgeous day-the perfect weather for the beginning of the annual Coast Guard Festival. And as luck would have it, the local quilt guild was running a quilt show that weekend, so I got to seek out some inspiration for future projects. And as with any good trip to Grand Haven, we went to dinner at Fricano's where they serve delicious pizza, and only pizza. And when it got dark we watched the famous Musical Fountain, which is a water and light show synchronized to music.
Sunday we went to Jamie's family cottage with the kids. It was a beautiful summer day for boating on Rainbow Lake. The kids had a great time being towed around the lake on innertubes. I chose to pass on my chance to tube- far too much of me to be jiggling behind a boat for my own comfort. And I wanted to be able to get out of bed the next day. I wish I had brought my camera along so I could share some pictures with you.
I am going to spend today catching up on my July blocks for my block of the month quilts I am working on, since the month is over in a few hours. And I think I will enjoy a nice float in the pool too. It is another gorgeous day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And now for something completely unrelated to quilting

For the first time in two years, my hubby invited me to go out fishing on his boat. Mind you, I am not really all that interested in fishing. But I do enjoy being out in the boat on Lake Michigan. And I love to watch Dean when he is out fishing. He gets so much enjoyment from fishing and can relax for a while. We have a Starcraft Islander boat. It is not too fancy, but it makes a great fishing boat. We keep it in a marina near Grand Haven. This is a view of the channel as we headed out to Lake Michigan. It was a bit foggy on the lake, and there were times when we could not see the shore even though we were not very far out in the lake. That was a bit disconcerting.

Dean packed a cooler before we left home with some bottled water and a couple beers for me. He is not a beer drinker, but he knows I enjoy it on occasion. Plus he was driving the boat and being responsible. I thought the beers he chose were particularly appropriate for the occasion. He brought Michigan Brewing Compay's High Seas Pale Ale. I love the sailing ship on the label.

One thing I noticed is that my husband has an interesting assortment of fishing tackle. I think he may even have more tackle than I have of quilting tools. These are some of his favorite lures (spoons?) he keeps in easy reach. They are quite spectackular looking when the sun catches them.We spent a good couple hours trolling the big lake without even a bite. Most of the fishing boats were huddled near the channel head, but we headed out into deeper waters. It was just before sunset when the fish finally started hitting. We ended up with two fish from four hits. I lost a big one that was a good fighter. And we lost another when Dean decided to hand a pole over to me to let me real it in. Dean hauled in the biggest fish for the night- somewhere around 14lbs.

When we got back to the marina, he cleaned and filleted the fish. I am impressed with how quickly he did it. He looked like a real pro. It was a good time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Big brother was watching me

No, it is not what you think, lol. On Sunday I posted about a pillow I made for my youngest son. So yesterday I spent a little time making a pillow for his big brother, since after all, he should have gotten his first being that he is older. ( Or so goes his logic.) Sorry son, but the squeaky wheel is the one that gets greased.

Anyways, I finished aonther pillow last night. This one is made from leftover pieces from the quilt I made last summer for big brother to take to college. You can see the quilt here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mailbox love!

Today was a busy day. I went to my LQS for the second class of the Thyme to Water quilt. I was really feeling the Monday vibe, as I made many tiny mistakes all morning. What a drag it is to waste time unsewing. This is a picture of shop sample, still in progress.

After class I stopped to visit my mom. She is alone for the week, and I thought I should check up on her. She wanted help picking out some fat quarters for a project she will be making next June. Yes, you read right- next June! Almost a year away. As it turned out, she needed twelve to coordinate with a focus fabric, and she had only ten that complimented it. So we took a little trip to her nearest quilt store and picked out a few more fat quarters. After all, we wouldn't want to wait until the last minute. ;) And I'm not complaining, since any day that has a visit to two quilt stores can't be all bad, can it?

When I got home, I found a package waiting for me in my mailbox. Oh goody, I love getting packages. :) I opened it to find it packed full of quilty fabric love. I swaped an orphan block with my friend Laura, with the intention that we each take the block we receive and make something special for the other person with it. Today I got the finished item Laura made with my block, plus several other goodies.

I should probably explain that I sent Laura more than just my orphaned block. I sent her several old blocks made of vintage fabrics. I also included a double wedding ring quilt top made of feedsack fabrics. These items were given to me by my mother-in-law. She picked them up at a yard sale for a buck for the whole lot. I kept a few things, but I know that Laura loves these types of quilts and fabrics. And I have plenty to keep me busy already. So I decided to share the love.

Anyways, back to my package and the wonderful items inside. Laura took my orphan block, plus a few of the other blocks I sent and turned them into a sewing machine cover. I just love it! What a great idea she had. But, that is not all. She also made me a few hotpads with some more of the blocks I sent her. And as if that weren't enough already, she also sent me a bundle of feedsack charms in an old salt bag along with a pattern to make a mini quilt! It is a vintage fabric quilt kit, so to speak. How cool is that!? I am feeling like I won the mailbox jackpot today.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A charming pillow

When my boys were in elementary school, I taught them to sew. They each made a quilted pillow using the sewing machine. The pillows had rail fence blocks and were bright and colorful. And the boys did a rather impressive job too.

They were both very proud of their accomplishment and they gave those pillows a place on their beds. Their pillows were used every night. They went along with us on family trips. They even went along on boyscout trips (one son took his pillow as he backpacked on the Appalachian Trail, the other took his while hiking in the Rocky Mts). The beloved pillows were used and abused, and are now plum worn out.

So it did not come as a surprise to me when one of my now college aged sons mentioned that he could really use a new little pillow. (They have actual bed pillows, but for some reason, they prefer the small throw pillow size.) But he thought maybe this time I could make it for him, since I am so fond of sewing and quilting.

I had a nifty charm tin of Moda fabrics (Summer in the City) that I picked up earlier this summer. I used them to make a modified version of the quilt that is featured on the tin- the directions came in the tin along with the charms. The quilt made up to a perfect throw pillow size, so now my youngest has a new pillow. The best part is that I still have nearly half the charms leftover! I think I will make another pillow for me. :-) I just love this fabric!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In a funk

This past week has been unproductive for me quilt wise. I have accomplished almost nothing in fact. I have been caught up in a funk that just won't let go. Times are getting tough here in Michigan. The local economy is really suffering.

Home foreclosures are increasing and we are seeing so many small businesses fail. Last week we watched a good friend lose a franchise business that he had been running for 28 years. That is when the funk set in.

I had no idea it would effect me the way it has. Maybe it is because we run a small business. And so do many of our close friends and family members. But at least the weather has been nice.

I did go to my wooly flower class this week. I spent a good deal of the time chatting with the quilt shop owner and also the class teacher, so I didn't make much progress on my latest block. I chose to work on the easiest of the remaining blocks this month because it is summer and I want to spend some time enjoying the outdoors.

And speaking of enjoying the outdoors, the pictures that are shown today are from my yard. I thought I would share a glimpse of my flower beds and the many flowers in bloom right now. The swing is one of my favorite places to relax and read in the summer. It was a gift from my husband on my 30th birthday. It is a little worse for wear, but still holding up well enough.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wooly Flower block for July

As promised earlier this week, I am posting the blocks I worked on while camping. I have already shown you the butterfly blocks, and the Thyme to Water block. Today I will share the last of the blocks I finished on vacation. It is the most recent addition to my Wooly Flower block of the month. I think I may actually be a month ahead on this one. I don't know how that happened.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thyme to Water

While I was at my LQS last month for my applique class, I fell in love with a quilt top they had on display. It was for a class that was to start the following week, so naturally I signed up. The quilt is called Thyme to Water. It features five watering can blocks that are pieced with just a bit of applique added as well. And most of the watering cans have something three dimensional on them.

I am a bit concerned that I may be sufering from some sort of OCD, as this is yet another BOM for me. I really don't need another one to work on, but I just couldn't resist. I think that brings me up to 5 BOMs now. I forsee a somewhat longer UFO list next year. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pay it forward

I just joined in this fun thing on http://piecefulquillting.blogspot.com/. It is a pay it forward exchange.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week... LOL... but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. It is that simple, you just pay it forward to three more people. So if anyone is interested and wants to join in feel free. I will get my thinking cap on as to what to make ! Now doesn't this sound fun?!

I kept busy while I was away

While it is true that I was on a camping vacation, I did not let that keep me from quilting. I brought some things I could do by hand to help fill my down time. And I managed to accomplish quite a bit. :)

I took my June wooly flower block along as well as my first Thyme to water block. They both had applique that needed stitching down as well as some embroidery work. I am happy with the results and will post some pics later this week.

But today I want to focus on some alternate setting blocks I made to add to a quilt from my UFO list. The quilt was not large enough using the blocks I had already made, and I didn't feel like making more of the same. So I drew up a butterfly to applique onto some alternate blocks. I made nine of these blocks and got them all finished while we were camping. Yippee! I think they look quite cheerful all by themselves, but just look at them when they are combined with the other blocks! Lovely!

I still need to cut the side triangles before I can start putting these blocks together into a top. I plan on adding a pieced strippy border too. I think I am going to like this one.

Besides the applique blocks I brought along on vacation, I also got to take a mini shop hop with my sister. We hit three different quilt shops, and I made small purchases at two of them. It was truely a case of self control, as there was so much I would have liked to buy. But I limited myself to a bundle of eight 30's reproduction print fat quarters at one shop and a dozen miscellaneous fat quarters(at $1 each!) at the other. As a bonus, my sister bought me a charm pack that I was almost drooling over. It is all Moda fabrics from the line Holly Jolly Christmas. I can't wait to make something from those!

Back from vacation

In case you were wondering, I haven't been neglecting my blog. I have simply been on a camping trip. We spent a week at Silver Lake enjoying the great outdoors and were without an internet connection. We were roughing it, lol. Here is a picture of the lake. There are sand dunes on the other side of the lake. You are allowed to drive on these dunes for recreational purposes. It is the only place in Michigan where this is allowed. Of course, it is a good idea to use a vehicle that is intended for off-road use. ;) It was pretty fun. My brother brought along a Jeep Wrangler that he uses exclusively for off-roading. He calls it a "real" Jeep, as opposed to my shiny red Jeep Liberty, which is appearantly for girls. I opted not to take mine out on the dunes, as it is my primary source if transportation and I am still making payments on it. (But there were several Libertys out on the dunes and they did just fine.) My brother's Wrangler had to be towed off the dunes. He played a little too rough and broke something. Good times. :)