Sunday, December 6, 2009

Positive Thinking Pessimist

I learned today that I am a pessimist. I used to deny this fact with all of my worth and power. How could I be? I am a happy person. I look to the future with all the hope of rainbows, bright sunshiny skies, and half priced sales at the local quilt shop. I love seeing my goals, knowing that I CAN reach them.

What made me delve into this bizarre form of self observation? I don't have the foggiest. I just was thinking about a quote that I read the other day about how a textbook case optimist would think after falling the first 50 floors off of the empire state building "well, so far, so good!"

You see, people often (almost always) confuse optimism with the word positive, and pessimism with the word negative. BIG MISTAKE, people. Optimists will many times fail to see obstructions, kinks in plans, and wrenches in gears during their visions of success. They make the worst CEOs on the planet.

A pessimist will say "well, what is the worst that can happen? Can I deal with that?" A pessimist is a person who pulls all of their stock and throws it into bonds in August 2008 (thank you, thank you, thank you my wonderful husband). A pessimist is a person who shoots for the achievable, and then enjoys all of the wonderful gravy should there be any 'extra'. A pessimist keeps their 2003 Honda Civic yet another year because it is paid off instead of buying the 2010 Chevy Equinox that they have had visions of, just in case the economy isn't looking as rosy as all of the optimists are saying.

My life may not be exciting because of my positive pessimism, but I think that it will last a lot longer because of how I see my future. I see myself 98 years old, in a quaint home that is paid off with tons of cast-off scraps of fabric from other ladies projects. Is that something I can deal with? Oh, yes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I really need to finish more quilts...

I just got a call yesterday from a lady who professionally machine quilted a baby quilt for my daughter (to be born January 20th). It reminded me that I have yet to post quilts to my blog that I have finished this last year; not to mention a few quilt tops and other projects that have been getting done in the process of life. The above picture is of a quilt that I made last summer for a friends baby. I am hoping to get more pics up asap.

I Think I See Light at the End of the Tunnel

This is another 'thing' that I have finished. Again, many of you have seen this, too. What can I say, my friends are everywhere on this computer. This is a block from the book 'Artful Applique' by Jane Townswick. Once I get caught up on a few projects that people are waiting on, I will go back to doing more of these. Sometimes just getting a block done when you have 256 different projects going on can be very satisfying. I am close to being back on track with my '4 projects' plan, which helps me get sooooo much done. Like digging yourself out of a hole filled with sand.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another One Out of My Sewing Room

I posted this one on one of my other accounts, so some of you have already seen this one. It was made to go to my sister to give away at the hospital where she works. I get these scrap blocks sometimes that I can't bear to throw away, so I just add a bunch of other 'to get rid of' fabrics to make a little give-away quilt. This particular one has a bunch of cotton-poly (which I don't put into my own quilts) so I was surprised at how soft it was when I was finished with it. It is a bit busy and bright, but I think that some little girl would love this as her play quilt.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finished With That One

While I was A.W.O.L. from my blog a while ago, I did finish that quilt with the churn dash for a friends little boy. It does not have intricate quilting, but I figured that it was going to get drug around, so as long as it holds together, no use putting hand quilted feathers in it or anything. The cute thing that I did, was a while before their baby was born, I asked the dad if he had any old plaid shirts that I could use for 'a project' that I was working on. His shirt ended up being the fussy-cut cornerstones in the quilt. I put an awesome label on the back and named it '...and One of Daddy's Shirts".
I will have to post some of the other things that I have gotten done in the last few months. Talk to you all tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thank You, Kathy

You can learn so much from fellow quilters. But have you ever said 'Thank You' to any of those sweet gals that helped you when it looked like your quilt was heading for the thrift store? I think that every now and then, I will be giving credit where credit is due by posting one of my friends, then telling you what I have learned from them.

Just so you are all aware, great quilters are not born, they are taught. (Well, some are born. But they are not allowed to be mentioned in my blog...standards, you know) So when you meet one of those ladies that has perfect binding; she learned that from another genius quilter. Most of the quilting knowledge that I have was obtained by trial and error (lots of it), well written quilt books and magazines, or by friends. My favorite lessons by far are from friends. I think it is so funny that they really don't realize how much they are impacting your life as a quilter with these little tidbits of information.

Let me tell you about Kathy. She taught me the 'flipper' border. It is a border that is attached to the quilt, but is 3-dimensional. These are great when you realize too late that a quilt needs a punch of red between the quilts main body and the border and you don't want to do all of that mathematical readjusting of the outer border dimensions. (If you are nice to her, she just may teach you how to do it on her blog.) I also learned to use glue to baste when doing applique. I knew to do it, I just needed to watch it in action first. Another thing she taught me was doing a binding with Elmer's school glue, which she learned on an Internet video. Come to think of it, it just may be the fact that she is around glue fumes so much that makes me love her fabulous personality. Thank you, Kathy. I hope to return the favor someday soon...If I can only come up with a technique involving margaritas.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fabric From Heaven

Rhonda, a friend of mine, posts her favorite fabrics on 'Favorite Fabric Monday' on her blog (go check it out by clicking on her name) I thought it was such a great idea that I would steal it this one(?) time so that you could see for once what kind of fabric makes my toes curl. I really, really, love yellow. Especially if it is combined with black and red; and even that splash of green makes it just right. I absolutely love the kitchy look, too. anything from the 40's and 50's is always welcome in my fabric stash. (although, what kind of quilter would turn down fabric of any nature, as long as it is not double-knit polyester?)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown

I get really excited about taking care of 'to do' stuff on my list of, well, stuff. For example, I need to buy batteries to go into all of Connor's toys that have died or sound like Elmo on a week-long drinking spree. I need to sweet talk my husband into putting a ceiling fan in Connor's bedroom. (and the way you do that is you go to Lowe's, you pick out and purchase the fan you want, stop by the liquor store and buy Bombay Saphire gin, some tonic and limes. Then you bring it all home and say..."Honey, I made you a drink. Oh by the way...") I really need to fix the seal on the door to our shower too, but that is on another day and more of the beer caliber. My most recent accomplishment is replacing the toilet seat on our throne. But that was all me. I got one of those 'fancy' ones that has a silent lid that slowly closes. (which is really nice except I forget about it when I am using someone else's bathroom and throw down that lid like I'm closing the door on a 1973 Ford LTD) It also has pop-off hinges so that you can take the entire toilet seat off for cleaning. I am pretty grossed out about this in some ways because you know that some senile person out there is probably cleaning theirs by throwing it into the dishwasher.

Anyway, I did that one by myself. It is amazing how much pride you can take in the most menial of jobs. That is when you realize that you have arrived at stay-at-home-motherhood, which is a lot like Hotel California, without the pink champagne on ice.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time to 'Fess Up

Some of you know, and some of you don't. I decided to go ahead and get myself pregnant again. Really, we had been trying for a few years, so we were not so shocked, and at the same time shocked all at once. I am almost through my 4th month and will hit the half-way mark in a few weeks. I decided to wait to tell a lot of people for a few months, not because of my age, but because it is really frowned upon when 'crazy' folks have children. K. I am kidding. I am 35 now and will be 36 by the time the crying starts (for both the baby and me), so I had to keep my trap shut for a while.

I am due January 20. There. Now you know. I won't be talking too much about it on the blog, only because I still have one or two things I hold sacred for quilting. One is my quilting room, the other is my quilting friends. When I blog or quilt (which hasn't been too often, right gals?) I like to forget for a moment that I can almost balance a Pepsi can on my tank. It is my happy place, you know. The only frequent urination on my blog shall be reserved for laughing only.

So, although I do not mind questions and comments on the pregnancy thing, I just love my 15 minute breaks from it all where I can sit and read what other bloggers are making, write what I had going on that day, and forget that my son is still not potty trained.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Green Thumb? Ha!

Calling all botanical geniuses...I really would like to know what kind of flowers these are. I figure anything that can grow with virtually no water and tons of sun, needs to be in my yard; plus they are a heck of a lot purtier than cacti. click on the picture to get a close-up.
Then I think I should get a landscaper to rethink our front yard design. any volunteers?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Imperfection in Perfection

I am putting the binding on a baby quilt for donation. Some of my quilts; I have to admit, are just thrown together without using pins to piece, no walking foot to quilt, no 100 percent cotton requirements. It can be very liberating to make a quilt top that has chopped off points, and intersections that, well, don't quite intersect. The problem is that when I make these quilts, they come out looking like some of the utilitarian quilts that I grew up knowing. I start falling in love with this imperfect thing and want really badly to keep it for myself. I have decided to still give this quilt away to charity, like I had intended to begin with. But the next one that turns out like this I will keep...but I will put one of my friends names on the label as the maker so that no one knows that I made the crappy thing!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

When ever Connor wears this Nike shirt, People inevitably ask him what letter is on his t-shirt. (maybe because of his age?) His response never changes. He looks down and says "it's a 'u'".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wow, I Feel Better Now

I have a real problem. A problem that no one can help me with. I have an 'acquaintance' that thinks that she is smarter than all authority. She has a G.E.D. (not that people with G.E.D.'s are stupid people...but let's just say that this particular person is definitely not advanced diploma-type material). She gets angry about a subject, then spouts off about it, saying how unfair it is that she is being treated this way. She pays to get advice from doctors, then she totally ignores everything they have to say. (what do they know?...) Then, she asks every one's opinion about it. Let me be the first to tell anyone reading this...if you ask for an opinion or advice, you better damn well be prepared to hear the answer. Well this is also the kind of person who only wants to hear your opinion if it is exactly the same as hers. If she would only take peoples advice (not even counting mine here) her quality of life would improve well beyond her means. But alas, she is so stubborn and has no chance in the near future to enjoy a happy life.

Now, I could be the kind of person who only tells people what they want to hear; but that would only make me a hypocrite. I take comfort in the fact that if a friend or relative or acquaintance wants or needs advice from me, I will give my honest feedback to them. I would want that in return. It may not always be the sweetest smell, but constructive criticism never is.

Friday, April 10, 2009

well, there you go.

I was just telling one of my commenters that I need to find my camera cord for downloading pictures so that I can post again. Then I realized that this one was a pretty lame excuse and I was getting to the bottom of the barrel any good ones. Pretty soon I will write that my dog ate my computer and now every time I rub his belly, he logs off...but I don't have a dog; not even a bird or fish. I have a soon to be 3-year old (yay) that wouldn't think twice about eating my computer if he could just get his hands on it. I have a few great posts in mind for the near future, but I really need to show in order to tell. So, instead I just affixed one that I already had on my computer. This is my son, Connor climbing on the alter, not a wedding...a funeral. My grandmother is probably chuckling from heaven on that one. As you can see from the picture, he is a yoga instructor; and I must be a ballerina because he keeps me on my toes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

3 more blocks

I want you all to know that these are going together slowly. I didn't get these three done since my last entry, they have been in the works for a while. (4 1/2 inch)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big Top

This is Big Top (F-1...I wonder what the 'F' stands for?) from my Dear Jane quilt that I started. This block was pretty easy once I took the bull by the horns. But that bull chased me for a few miles before I decided enough is enough. The edges look like they are ruffled, but that is because I squashed it down on the scanner. it measures 4 1/2 inch finished.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

But Seriously, Folks

Gosh, so much has happened. I didn't write for a while because everything was touch and go for a few months because of my husband's job. He works for a tech industry company that (like everyone else) is restructuring, downsizing, and simply trying to keep afloat. His hours had been cut way back, which really put a crimp in the old budget. We counted our blessings, however, that he stayed employed through the hardest part. My heart and prayers go out to those individuals and families who are struggling in the worst economy that we have seen in a long, long, while.

I know that when things get like this, I do something really stupid like, well, like starting a Dear Jane quilt. I need a new intricately pieced, horrendously huge, completely irrational project to take up all of my worry time. O.K., but you guys don't understand...they have a support group. I was all for it until I realized that the support group was not there to help you quit, they are what I call "enablers". Just when you think that you can put those little blocks away in a box and bury them in the back of the closet, some lady who has already made ten Dear Jane quilts says "well sweetie, you just paper piece that one and applique the diamonds. You can handle this one, as smart as you are." Well, what am I supposed to do? The poor thing thinks I'm smart, and let's face it, I don't hear that too much anymore. Plus, if I only ate OREOs when I was worried or stressed, I would be sitting on two chairs instead of one right now. Seriously.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Sleep with a Quilt and a Gun

While at retreat, I finished a quilt top for a friends baby. I still need to sandwich it together, quilt it, and bind it; so it really isn't done yet. I wanted to make sure that it would be O.K. to give to a girl or a boy. I hope that I made that happen. I have always wanted to do a plaid churn dash, so here was my chance. I ran to my nearest friendly neighborhood thrift store and bought up an arm full of men's button down cotton plaid shirts. Then I started cutting away. I liked it so much when I got the top done, that I decided that I am going to make a replica for myself; except with appliqued plaid flowers around in the brown area. Working with men's dress shirts is kind of like working with batiks. They have a tighter weave and a crisp feel to them. The thing that I love the most about them is that you cannot find these in a quilt store. I don't have anything against quilt stores (of course!), but it is sometimes a little bit of a downer when you see that the lady that sits up front at all of the guild meetings is now showing off an award winning quilt starring the same exact Moda currently in your quilt that has not even seen the quilting frame yet. All right, this never happened to me...but I wake in cold sweats all of the time worrying that someone out there is stealing my Hoffman idea right out of my sleep. Really, what am I worried about anyway? It isn't like the sweet ol' quilter down the way is now parked in my driveway with binoculars trying to get a glimpse of my quilt. I think that I would have to win a ribbon or two before I get all hoity-toity with my 'rare' churn dash design. Maybe a double-knit polyester Baltimore album quilt would be the way the gotta admit it...who the hell else would take on such a moronic, foolish, and pointless endeavor?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Staring at a Not-So-Blank Wall

This is one of the corners of my sewing room. I finally got one of my flannel walls up this week. I will eventually have 3 in all. Two of these smaller ones and one big one. It really helps to have one, even if it a small one. I still rely heavily on my EQ6 for auditioning ideas, but I really like this small area for throwing a block or two up. The diamonds that you see on my wall are from the 1940's. They used to be in a Texas Lone Star quilt by an unknown maker. When I acquired it, I laid it flat, or at least tried to. It had more ruffles than a square dancer's skirt. I took every piece apart, picked, ironed, cut and sewed the diamonds back together by hand. I am about half done now with these. Since I am not working on these as a deadline project, they have been getting done in spare time over the last few years. I am planning on applying the diamonds to a muslin background in the pattern that is shown here so that I can do some hand quilting in the star-shaped pieces.

I love the Picasso picture in my room too. It has a quote by him on it that says "My mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you will be a general. If you become a monk, you'll end up as the Pope.' Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso." What a wonderful way of saying that you can be great just doing what you do best.

I also tried to edit out my big screen T.V. so that I would not make any of you jealous, but I would have ended up cutting out part of the picture. Someday I may even upgrade to something frighteningly a 19 inch.

I Drink I Will Have a Think and Iron Some

Now this is not really what I would call 'top shelf' vodka. Actually, it is pretty cheap...and let me tell you why it is on the top shelf in my sewing room, and not empty on the floor under my sewing chair. First of all, when it comes to vodka, I have acquired a taste for more distinguished brands. I am perfectly fine lowering my snobby standards; however, if the lower quality alternative is mixed into a Mexican Martini. Secondly, my 'good' bottles are not the size of Napoleon. What I use the vodka for is to mix into my spray bottles with distilled water (and lavender if you so choose). This is a much cheaper alternative to those expensive brand-name linen sprays that you keep around your iron when pressing all of your lovely blocks. Vodka is usually made with potatoes, wheat, rye or similar grains. It has a light starch to it for this reason. Vodka is also colorless, and odorless for the most part, so it is the perfect thing to use on your laundry, linens, or fabric when you are looking for a nice, light crisp feel to it. As always, I highly recommend testing it in an inconspicuous area before spraying away. (CYA) I have never had a problem with any of my fabrics bleeding when using this spray. Or maybe I just can't see the fabric any more after a few blocks. Two sprays for me, one for the churn dash, Two for me one for the durn chash. For those who want to throw Carrie Nation back into the closet where she is the chemical solution:

Monica's Linen Spray and Quilt Room Refreshment
  • 2 Cups distilled water
  • 1/4 Cup Vodka
  • 10 drops of lavender essences (optional, and whatever scent you like)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Carol is worth every stitch

I have posted before about this quilt top. It was initally supposed to be a round robin quilt top, but the sweet gal who got this top back at the end of the rounds got the short end of the deal. Her top only had the center, the sawtooth border and the applique border, with the 'plaid' border being incomplete. Carol is an excellent piecer. When I look at her work, I just can't believe that it was made by human hands and not a robotic machine. The back of her work could just as well be the front because of how perfect her seams lay. They are trimmed of any flyaway threads and the dang blocks actually measure a square shape. I love knowing people like her because it makes me strive to make my blocks better. With all of this being said, it was sad to see her quilt had been returned to her in the state that it was in; especially after she had put so much work into everyone else's borders. When I saw her at my last retreat, I wanted to just cry when I saw it. I was disgusted with it. I asked Carol if she would let me fix the plaid border and add an extra one. I told her that I was not sure how long it would take me but I would work on it as quickly as possible. She was happy to let me take it. The only way I could fix the plaid border was to take each little piece of fabric apart, pick off all of the little threads, press them, cut them to the correct size, resew them together, then reassemble the blocks. I designed the final border to compliment the prior borders and center, keeping in mind that she may want to add extra borders past mine. I hope that all of her patience with me is worth it in the end, because it was definately worth it for me to do it, knowing that she will finally get the quilt that she very much deserves.


I see that I haven't been blogging since December...I have been knocked into a social coma for a few weeks. It has been so long that when I ventured out to get groceries the other day, my neighbors stopped me and introduced me to the neighborhood, again. I really like disappearing every once in awhile. It gives me a break from the 'rules of etiquette'(not that I ever read that book). Also, when I am able to climb in a hole, I get to work on projects that need to be finished. Playgroups for Connor, ladies night out, and other social gatherings go on hold too. Every now and then one of these groups will drop-in on me to see if I am O.K. and I will just tell them that 'The U.F.O.'s are attacking me!'...and they usually quickly disperse and leave me alone for a long while. It also helps if when you are walking out to your mailbox everyday, you mutter to yourself (out loud) your 'quilts of the undone' list. Shoot, go ahead and wear your bunny slippers, too. Midway through my leave of absence, a dear friend of mine named Delona, called me to ask if I wanted to go on a quilting retreat with her to the Compass Centre this weekend. I really don't know how I was able to pull it off, but here I am, quilting with a bunch of sleep-deprived, coffee-and-chocolate filled, crazy ladies. I will be blogging again in a few hours with pictures of the festivities. It will give me a chance to re-touch the photos to make us look like Stepford Housewives instead of Twisted Sisters.