Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Quilt Room is Back!

After the long cold winter with my quilting room closed off to save energy costs, I am dee-LIGHTED to have it back again! And I have a quilt in progress, too! I made most of the blocks a year or two ago, and I get to do the exciting creative part now, arranging and sewing them together. Here is a picture of a few of them with my lovely little quilting apprentice: I have some rules for this quilt, what good is a quilt without rules?

Rule 1: Every block must include a solid fabric. However, they must NOT contain two solids, I tried it here and every time I look at this block I get this sick bored feeling in the pit of my stomach... I may have to applique some circles on it.
And on this one I used four solids! I am definitely going to sew this circle on top. I love the way the colors work together! And I am not sewing the circle on top because my points don't match, they match very well thank you. It is just to relieve my boredom. For our purposes here, the polka dot fabrics also count as solids. After all, they are just solids with dots printed on top. So it is really FIVE solids!

Rule 2: Every block must contain a polka dot fabric. Polka dots make me happy. And hey, you've got to have some sort of continuity, right? I love the green polka dot in this one!

Rule 3: Every block must contain a floral fabric. This block appears to contain two florals (three if you count the appliqued dot). However, if you walk down the road a mile and a half I will hold it up and you will see it is a polka dot and a solid. I swear.
When I realized this block was a plain and boring 9-patch I had to pep it up with a circle!

Rule 4: Add some blocks that don't meet any of the rules, but make me smile. For example:
Or this one:

Rule 5: Be spontaneous. Be brave. Be daring. Don't overthink things.

Rule 6: Sew circles on top whenever I want to. Circles make me happy, just like polka dots do. See the nine patch and the card trick blocks above.

Rule 7: Use lots of stripes. I love the way they lead your eye around the quilt!
Also, if the stripes are thin enough they can count as a solid, too! Again, walk down the road to check...

Rule 8: Don't worry if other people think my blocks are too "busy". I like busy. Busy is better than boring!

This block is busy but I find it visually stimulating. It is not too busy for me. Neither is this one:

Rule 9: Make this quilt mostly green. It will be my green quilt. So where did all that pink and purple come from??

This block is a rule-breaker and a winner!

Rule 10: Have fun. Most of all, have fun making this quilt.
So those are my quilt rules for making these blocks and a free preview of my next quilt. I welcome any comments!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We have a new addition to the family!

Introducing Delaney Anne! She was born April 8, 2009, at 8:26am. She came close to being born in the car!! She weighed 6 lb. 15 oz. at her official weigh in, and measured 20 3/4 inches tall.
Here is Delaney with proud mommy Josie, my lovely daughter.

Here is a picture of Delaney with her Daddy Richard, meeting big sister Savannah for the first time!

And here is the proud big sister holding the baby. Doesn't she look happy?

We are all very happy that Delaney is here and healthy. I can't wait to hold and snuggle my new granddaughter again!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Vacation, Part 1

My husband and I took a much needed break from the cold weather to travel south for a couple of weeks. We left on January 26, with the temperature at -19 degrees that morning! We were very anxious to warm up. Traveling south we spent a little time in Pennsylvania's Amish country, where I was lucky enough to visit the People's Place Quilt Museum. I wish I was a better photographer so you could see the beauty of these quilts. There was no flash photography allowed, and apparently I have shaky arms since most of the pictures were a blur. These are some of the better ones.

First was a gorgeous Cathedral Window quilt made by a woman in her 80's, I believe. She used over 30 yards of muslin in it! The stitching was exquisite.

This is a typical Amish-style diamond on point quilt with beautiful traditional quilting. There was a bright light pointing to it which made it difficult to get a picture of, but at least it highlighted the stitching.

I was stunned by the beauty of this flower basket quilt, just lovely...

And this one is an award-winning star quilt made by Fons and Porter, who had a special exhibit at the museum. The workmanship was out of this world.

Once we were in Florida we spent a day recovering from the journey, then went to visit Silver Springs in Ocala. The live oaks drip with Spanish moss and the cypress trees raise their knobby knees in every puddle...

The marshes are rich with greenery, cypress and flowers.

The trees were in blossom with small red flowers:

We took a ride in a glass-bottomed boat just like this one.
In the bottom of the deep crystal clear water we saw many catfish, turtles, caves, and long nosed fish like this one.
We even saw a giant alligator covered with mud! The boat was moving right along, so it was hard to get a good picture of him. Can you see him?

Oh! And who is that looking into the river? Gary, me (holding camera) and Mom!

There was a wildlife area with a lot of animals, including giant Kodiak bears, llamas, ostriches, self-shearing sheep (I had never heard of such a thing!), and giraffes, both topiary,

and real! We nicknamed this guy "Stinky" for a very good reason. He looked very old and wrinkled.

These white birds were everywhere, especially outside any restaurant, looking for handouts. We always save them a little something.

And there were birds in captivity too. This crazy looking one fascinated me,

these two had a sign saying "We bite".
And there were lots of Florida's favorite pink long-legged birds, the flamingos. We got to see a flamingo fight, too! I think that was the highlight of our day. I attempted to take a video of the fight, be sure to press play if you have never heard the sound of a flamingo's voice. Just unforgettable!

Here is a nice picture from later, when they had kissed and made up.

Lastly, of course there were loads of alligators, the most tourist pleasing animals in the park!

Including Silver Spring's famous white alligators. They are so very strange looking!

We enjoyed our day at Silver Springs very much. We were entertained all day by a country singer performing in the stage area, but we never did find out who he was! I think it was Colin Raye though. Good music.

Our Vacation, Part 2

We went to Disney World Hollywood Studios on our second week of vacation. I love Disney World, but this park was not one of my favorites. The day we went was overcast in the morning and rained all afternoon. Here is a welcoming topiary of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
This shop is one of the first ones you see after entering the park. I loved the truck!

We went on the Star Wars ride, which felt like you were being hurtled through space at light speed, narrowly missing asteroids and planets, visible through the big windshield.
Here is Gary inside the building, in line for the ride. R2D2 is behind him.

I didn't go on the "thrill rides" at the park, mostly because I don't like to go on them alone. I almost had Gary talked into going on the Aerosmith Rock 'N Roller Coaster, but we had to run to make it across the park in time for a show!
The other great ride is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, I am still kicking myself for not going on. I get worried about aggravating an old whiplash injury I had from a roller coaster in the 80's. I have to be very careful of my neck. But darn it all if one of my kids had been with me I would have gone on with them! We saw the Muppet Show in 3D. You had to wear 3D glasses and got to see the little flying guy flit right into your face! He said "Everyone here thinks I am looking at them, but I am only looking at YOU!" and pointed his finger in my face and made me jump. I enjoyed that a lot. It was a very funny show. Here is the water fountain in front of the building. I love it.

We also saw a stunt show featuring scenes from Indiana Jones movies. They pulled some people out of the audience to feature in the show, Gary and I did not volunteer! Here is a pic of Indy outrunning the famous giant rock: (oops, looks like he ran right out of the picture...)

When the rain started really coming down, we ducked into the covered arena to catch a show. I was soaked to the skin and shaking all over. I was as cold as I was back home! Why couldn't we have had a sunny day? I guess if we had, there would have been longer lines everywhere. Anyway, we saw the wonderful show "Beauty and the Beast". Really, no one can put on a show quite like Disney. The costumes, the lights, the colors, the singers, the dancers, all were fanastic. I enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the Finding Nemo show last year at Animal Kingdom. Here is a picture of the dance finale.

The car stunt show was supposed to be great, but we only got to see half of it because the rain got too heavy for the drivers. We did see Herbie the Love Bug and a lot of backward driving tricks.

The American Idol TV show was holding auditions that day, and I saw a girl with a "contestant" sign around her neck in the ladies room. Gary said I should try out, and I said "What would I do, knit for them?" And we had a long laugh... This is the building.

All in all, with the cancelled shows and parades I did not feel that this park was worth the $75 admission fee. I'll go back to the Magic Kingdom again and again from here on in... it is my favorite!
The rest of our vacation and the long ride home was fairly uneventful. I did get to America's largest Yarn Store (yay) in Northhampton Massachusetts, we finally found it open! Of course I bought only sock yarns, sigh.
On Valentines Day I got a dozen roses from Jess, Jed and Jacque. They are just beautiful! Gary gave me an orchid and took me to our favorite Mexican Restaurant.

I had quite a bit of free knitting time while Gary drove us home from Florida. I finished my pair of Vortical Socks and got a lot of knitting done on my pair of Baroque Socks too! Here are the Vorticals:
The yarn is my own hand-dyed, I call it Raspberry Truffle. The pattern worked up pretty quickly, but the Baroque pattern is proving to be more challenging. I shall have it finished soon though! That's all for now!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008 Wrap Up

I haven't written in my blog for some time now, so I thought I would do a final wrap-up of 2008. I had an extraordinarily busy December, working on many Christmas projects and shopping, but unfortunately I couldn't share them with you because my family reads the blog now, and I didn't want to spoil any surprises! Now that Christmas has come and gone, I am happy to share!

We had a wonderful holiday, Santa was too generous, as always! The new mantle did a wonderful job of holding up those heavy stockings! Daughter Jessica and granddaughter Kaylee spent the night with us, so we had four stockings filled to the brim!

The biggest and most ambitious project I finished this year was a wedding quilt for Josie and Richard who were married last March. I worked many 12-hours days at piecing and quilting, determined to have it done by Christmas, and I made it! Here is a picture of Gary holding up the finished quilt (I find it absolutely hilarious that the sun was so bright that day you can see Gary's silhouette through the fabric! However it did not give us much warmth...)

Here is a picture of Josie and Richard after they have opened the present. I am so glad they liked it! It is on their bed now. Richard is wearing an alpaca hat that I knitted for him. I didn't make Josie's crown though, it was the prize inside a Christmas cracker! We all got a crown, a joke, and a tiny present, a fun new tradition for this year.
I made a pair of Malabrigo merino wool mittens but I ended up falling so madly in love with them I couldn't bear to give them away. I like to knit while listening to audio books, so I have decided to start naming my projects after books listened to while knitting. Therefore I dub these my "Edgar Sawtelle" mittens! Sorry I couldn't get a better picture.
I knitted a pair of alpaca "Salto" socks for Josie, from natural cream colored alpaca. The pattern comes from Knitty, the online free knitting pattern site. And here they are on Josie's feet:
I made felted angora blend mittens for Josie and Savannah:
And a scarf for Savannah from my handspun bamboo/merino yarn along with some commercial bamboo yarn:
Isn't she the cutest thing in that Santa's elf dress? Here is another cutie (Kaylee) on Christmas morning with her Grampy:

And here is granddaughter Bryanna with the Peek-a-boo mittens I knitted for her. The tops can fold back and button down to have your fingers free:

Daughter Jessica got that fancy mixer AS SEEN ON TV:

And Harley Rose got a new bed to put next to the fireside. She loves it.

I also made socks for daughter Sara, (I don't know why I didn't get a picture of them) a hat for my son Jed, and fingerless gloves for Jed's girlfriend Jacque and also for Jessica, shown here:

Since Christmas we have had an INSANE amount of snow, and temperatures as cold as -20. Lucky for us, we have been able to hire this amazing shoveler for the cost of a Tootsie Pop!

One morning I opened the back door to put Harley out and found a foot of fresh snow! The flash on my camera refused to work, sorry...
I have finished my Rivendell socks, from the book "The Eclectic Sole" by Janel Laidman. I used wool that I hand dyed a delicious emerald green. I love them!!

And the close up:

We are leaving to go to Florida on Sunday. I cannot wait to be away from the ice and snow! Hopefully my next post will have vacation pictures!