Monday, November 23, 2009

Of Quilted Throws and Leather Chairs

Two weeks ago I was able to attend a retreat with gals from one of my favorite quilting groups, lovingly called (by me!) DayQuilters.  It's a short couple of days but we have fun and get a lot of sewing done.  I worked on one of my UFOs made from the Habitat pattern by Fourth & Sixth Designs.  It was already pieced and basted so it was exciting to be able to quilt it and put the binding on it.  As I was working on it I kept telling everyone how great it was going to look on the "olive green leather chair in my husband's office."  Oh boy was it ever going to look good on that "olive green leather chair!"  Well........here is a picture of it on said chair.  Uh, huh, I know..........I have already taken some teasing about it.  (It still looks good though.......)
I'm not entirely crazy though.  We really do have an olive green leather chair.  It just isn't in my husband's office.  It's in the great room and it already has a quilt on it! 


I want to introduce you to some of my DayQuilters friends.  Ree is our bag lady.  She makes the cutest purses and bags for friends and relatives.  These are two that she completed at our retreat. 


Then we have Barb who loves to cut strips from her stash and organize them into drawers and have them all ready to go whenever she wants to use them.  This retreat she put together an entire throw sized quilt for a neighbor and got a good start on a king sized quilt as well.  Both were Yellow Brick Road quilts from these gorgeous blues and greens!


Jan, who I am sad to say now only has one UFO to her name, (don't hate her) completed this 4-Patch Stacked Posie.......


........and Joan used up some of her collection of dotted fabrics on this quilt that was really out of her comfort zone.  It sure is cute.













Katy made a really fun quilt from OSU fabric for her grandson for Christmas and machine quilted it.


Darlene, who didn't want her picture taken, put together this gorgeous Topsy Turvey Nine-Patch.
















And Rita, who REALLY didn't want her picture taken (Can you tell??) made this custom baby quilt for her newest grand-daughter.  It's based on a Harley Davidson design, and was a special request from her daughter. It still has the blue quilting marks on it, but I couldn't wait for it to be washed.  I really had to share it with you now.  





We have some really talented ladies in our group. We had a good show and tell this past week at my house (and those silly women forgot that they had already teased me about the olive green leather chair!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sisters

Sorry, quilters, I am not referring to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show which is held annually in Sisters, Oregon, and which I would dearly love to attend one of these years (Ahem, are you listening, Dear Husband of Mine?) but rather to my dearest and darling sisters, referred to in an earlier blog entry, and otherwise known as The Wagener Girls.  My sisters and I have been trying to go on an annual sisters getaway weekend every fall since 2004, and so far we have been to some very interesting and exotic locations.  Like, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri in 2004........













Paducah, Kentucky in 2005........

Memphis, Tennessee in 2006........














......and Eureka Springs, Arkansas in 2008.


But this year topped all of them when we headed to the Fall Festival in Jamesport, MO.  When we got there on Friday afternoon we checked into our cute little "rustic cabin" at the Arbor House Country Inn and set out, on foot, to see the town.  We were very excited to see what this Fall Festival would be all about.  We stopped at a fun little ice cream parlor and, while sipping our malts, got directions to some of the popular locales.  We thought it was curious that directions to everything sounded like "a few blocks east (or west or north or south) of the 4-way-stop", but folks meant exactly what they said!

Everything in town was pretty much closed by 6:00 that evening so we enjoyed some snacks and games in our cabin.  I can happily say that when I am with my sisters we enjoy ourselves so much and end up laughing so hard that we just about wear ourselves out.  But, we were ready on Saturday morning for some fun!

Well.............I'm not sure how to describe the festival, but here are some photos:








                         










On Saturday night we had a blast while the Krazy Kats performed on the main street in town.  This group has been together for 53 years and they really know how to play the Oldies.  I don't think the townsfolk enjoyed it nearly as much as we did, though.  Most of them did clap, and a few of them did dance, but nobody seemed to have as much fun as the Wagener girls.  We even stayed past dark!

The rest of the weekend was uneventful.  We did have a great time, as always, and we did come home with some souvenirs and photos and lots of memories.  And I have to tell you a little secret. I really love my sisters!             
 



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Teaching an 8 Year Old To Sew

My grandson, Gavin, has been asking me for a while now to teach him to sew.  He loves my quilts, he's always enjoyed playing with scraps on my design wall, and he has decided that it is time for him to make a quilt himself.  Since he is going to be 9 in a few weeks, and since I learned about that age, and especially since he was at Gramma's last week, I decided it was time, too!  So, today I am sharing a step by step "tutorial" of sorts on teaching children to sew.....my way!

First gather all your scraps in one place....
                                     
I have to confess. This basket doesn't contain all my scraps.      
I also have scraps here....

                                   









                                   
here..........
     
                                      
and even here!

(And don't tell anyone, but I might even be able to find a few more if I try.)

                        Now, for the next step.
Well, this is what happened next at my house.  It wasn't  exactly planned, but someone (two little rascals named Gavin and Aidan) really had some fun! (You can skip this step if you want!
I had Gavin practice on lined paper for a while with no thread in the needle just to get the basic idea. Then he started putting some scraps together.  He did great!!! (And I am being totally unbiased.)
                                                                               

 

We only had time for him to finish a single block, which he was so happy with that he wanted me to quilt it right then and make a tiny little quilt from it.  Instead it is hanging on Gramma's design wall waiting for our next sewing day.  And Gramma is really looking forward to that!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hey! We Survived a Road Trip!

Since the last time I blogged, I haven't been home a lot.  I've been travelling.  I certainly haven't had time to quilt, so there will definitely be no Show-and-Tell today.
From September 12th through the 20th Phil and I went on a little Vacation/Road Trip.  Now, I have to say I have been pretty spoiled and have really learned to like flying "wherever" for vacation.  We haven't done a driving vacation in a long time.  So, I wasn't sure how this whole Road Trip thing would work out, but considering we logged 2600 miles, we really had a great time!  

The first attraction was the BMW Performance Driving School in Greenville, S.C. Phil really loves his BMW, but he would never drive it as hard as he got to drive the cars in the Driving School. He had the biggest smile on his face when they finished! And not just because he placed 3rd in the timed course and 1st in the five-lap race on a wet skid pad!









Next, we spent a day in Washington D.C.  Since we had only planned to be there one day we focused on just a few special things that we wanted to see.   First, we visited the WWII Memorial and were both moved by the beauty of the structure and the special meaning in every aspect of its design. It was really awe-inspiring. If you ever have an opportunity to see this striking monument, it is well worth the time.










Then we saw the Lincoln Memorial. That is a very somber and beautiful monument, as well. It surprised me how respectful and quiet visitors were, but that is a good thing!












We rounded out the day seeing the Smithsonian's "Castle" and the National Gallery of Art and timed it just right to be able to experience DC's rush hour traffic as we headed out to West Chester, PA.

And just what is in West Chester, PA you may ask??  Why, that would be my BFF!

We have been best friends since we were 10 years old (except for that one year, 6th grade, when we didn't speak for almost the whole school year, but we don't talk about that.)  Phil has known Vicki's hubby, Bruce since they were in the 3rd grade, so we have a lot of history and plenty of memories!  While there we had the privilege of touring the House and Studio of American artist N.C.Wyeth and spending some time in the Brandywine River Museum, where quite a lot of artwork by his children and grandchildren is on display.   We also enjoyed an evening with Bruce and Vicki's kids and grandkids, and that was a real special and fun treat!  (And noisy!)
It was really hard to leave there, especially for me.  (I love my BFF!)  But we had reservations at a Bed & Breakfast in Marblehead, OH and plans to see a young friend of ours in Put In Bay.  (Yes, I did say Put In Bay!)  Jennifer works at Stone Laboratories there and gave us a great tour of the island.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner with her at Axel and Harry's and got caught up on what she has been doing and what her plans are.









Next stop, French Lick, IN where we spent a night at the French Lick Springs Resort and Spa. Ahhh, what a great way to finish off our Road Trip! This place is very cool. It's on the National Register of Historic Places, having been built in 1845 around the "miracle waters" of their sulfur springs, and famous guests include the likes of FDR, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby and many more. Not only that, but in 1917 their famous chef created and served tomato juice! How's that for a mini history lesson!?










We almost needed a vacation to recover from our vacation, but isn't that always the way? I can tell you, though, I was very happy to be reunited with my sewing room! Hopefully, I will have something "quilty" to show you one of these days, soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love those Black and White Fabrics

I hate to think about how many individual fabric collections are tucked away inside my stash. Let's see, there are the batiks (of course) and the oriental prints, the juvenile prints, the brights, the taupes............and the black and white prints. I have been collecting black and white prints for a long time and have been designing all kinds of black and white quilts in my head. I have actually made a few. Two of them were in a previous post (Quilting for the Grands..Part 2)  Those would be Aidan's "Off Kilter" and his "Baby Nines."

They may not be technically Black and White quilts because of the color, but I think at least a splash of color really makes a Black and White Quilt special. 
This is my collection of Black and Whites.  I told you I have been collecting them for a long time! 
I pulled out all the Black and Whites recently so I could make a baby quilt for a little one due in just a few weeks.  We don't know the gender so I thought this would be a fun quilt and work for either a boy or a girl. I finished putting the top together today and have not decided how to quilt it yet.  This is just a little different take on a quilt from the book "New Cuts for New Quilts" by Karla Alexander.
Right now I have a plan in my head for a quilt using a star block and a square-in-a-square block, and adding the splash of color in connector blocks.  The idea is from a great book which I have used in the past, "Thinking Outside the Block" by Sandi Cummings.   I have a friend lined up to quilt this one for me because I really want to have it finished in time to give as a Christmas gift -- this year!   (Also because she, Angela, does gorgeous work.)  So....this is all I have done, so far.  But I am confident it will be done in plenty of time.  For one thing I'm inspired and for another thing.....Christmas is coming in a hurry!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Take-5......and Take My Sisters..........Please!

I'm talking about the "Take-5" pattern from "The Teachers Pet." Last fall this pattern became my new favorite way of making a quick, cute and really fun quilt. It calls for 5/8 yard of five different coordinating fabrics and then fabric for the borders and backing. I just completed this pink and yellow version to donate to CASA for a teenager going through the foster system. I hope it gives some young girl just a little bit of comfort.

Let me tell you how this "Take-5" thing started. See.....I have these sisters........

Last year my sister, Barb, said those words that every quilter dreads, "I found some old material and thought you could use it." Well, this time it actually worked out for good! She had purchased this giant cats fabric a long, long time ago to make a dress and never got that far. When I saw it I thought it was actually pretty cool, so I decided to make her a quilt from it. This is the first quilt I made using the "Take-5" pattern. Barb was surprised with her "Comfy Cats" quilt, and she really liked it.
When you have four sisters you can't make a quilt for one of them and not the rest. I mean, you can't play favorites, right? Carol's quilt was easy because she is a real nut for Betty Boop and an internet search revealed that there are waaaaay too many Betty Boop fabrics out there! Carol was surprised with her quilt, too! I called hers "Peek-a-Boop" because Betty looked like she was looking out a window.
It was a little more difficult to select fabric for Debbie. There are lots of things she likes but she isn't actually crazy for any of them. (Don't take that the wrong way, Carol!) One thing Debbie does like is hot food, so I settled on a hot peppers focus fabric and called her quilt "Too Hot Too Handle." I don't know if, by this time, she was catching on, but she acted surprised, and I got the feeling she liked her quilt, too.
Now, Dee Dee.............What can I say? Dee Dee has a great appreciation for really physically fit good-lookin' guys. I had seen a lot of different "hunks" fabrics at quilt shows and in magazines, so considering that her dear hubby is in construction I did an on-line fabric search for "construction hunks" and wouldn't you know it - I was not disappointed. Either was Dee Dee! I couldn't use the same pattern for her quilt without cutting up the guys too much, so I used the "BQ" pattern from Maple Island Quilts and called it "Hubba Hubba." Need I say, She liked it?! (I don't think she was too surprised, though!)
You can see better photos of the quilts (and a close-up of Dee Dee's quilt) in my Flickr albums -