Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And another bites the dust ...

Okay, I'm back in the groove!  Thanks so much for the nice comments about yesterday's quilts.  It is really great to hear what everyone is thinking ... and doing!  I got Judy's quilt done today ... it's a Kansas Troubles fabric and just a simple quilt, and I decided just needed a simple stipple ...
I wish my camera did justice to these quilts ... it is so much prettier in person!  When Judy had pieced the back of this quilt she realized it wasn't going to have the extra all around that it needs when it has to be put on a frame.  The extra on the sides is so the clamps have something to hold onto.  If there isn't enough room on each side, the machine will run into the clamp, and screw the quilting up.  This side does not have enough space
All you can see is the batting here, but what you don't see is that the backing is only one inch beyond the top.  The way I handled this was I quilted that outer border without the clamp on, and then after I moved toward the inside border, I put the clamp on.  I knew that there wasn't enough space on either side before I measured the quilt, because she had told me so.  I told her that I could add a strip of muslin to either side of the back, and it would get trimmed off and so wouldn't show when it was all quilted.  But when I was doing this last night at 10:00 p.m., I forgot to add it to both sides, and just added a 9" strip to one side of the quilt ... duh!  I knew her piecing was good and that her border was straight because I always measure the quilts before they go on the frame, and take a look to see if there are any problem areas I need to know about.  I decided rather than have a small strip on the back that was a different fabric, I could work around that left side and hope that by the time I got to the bottom everything was still straight and I still had that inch to work with.  It worked out great and I had no problems!  Here's what the right side looked like
See all that space?  I like to have a minimum of 4" on either side.

I usually pin my quilt top to the bar, but this time I decided to float my quilt top.  I used to float them all the time, but then when I went to my training on the machine, they told us we should be pinning the bottom of the top to the leader.  When I say "float" it means the bottom of the quilt top hangs freely and you have to smooth it as you go ...

If you look at this picture, you can see the border is just hanging ... that bar at the bottom of the outside border is what the quilt top is usually pinned to.  I admit that I love floating the top because it's one less step as far as pinning goes, and it is easy to smooth the top and eyeball it as you go to see whether it's lining up straight.  If you're a frame quilter, what do you do?  Float or pin?

I'm winding down on the quilts in my closet that need to be done before Christmas ... hurray ... a couple of days ago, I was three quilts behind ... now I'm only one behind.  That's the quilt that I'm waiting on the thread for.  It's a huge quilt, and will probably take me two days to finish, but I can work on it next week if need be.  So I have one on my schedule for Friday, and I hope to get the one I'm waiting on thread for on there on Saturday ... I should be able to get it done this weekend.  She just wants a simple stipple, but it's a queen sized quilt and I don't like to stand and quilt for more than about 5 hours at a time, so I'll probably split it into two days.  Then I'm done!!  Yay!!!!  I do have a quilt that needs to be done for my friend for Christmas, but I knew that one was coming ... I think she'll give it to me tomorrow, and I can start on it next week and take my time.  Glad to be done for the holidays and give myself a little break!

I'm very excited because my darling daughter's play is tonight where she has the starring role!  She didn't want my husband and I to go tonight because she said opening night is always terrible and like a dress rehearsal.  I told her that I didn't care; it's her first big role and I want to be there for opening night!  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday already?

I'm having problems tonight with my computer checking the blogs ... maybe blogspot is running slow?  We'll see if I can get this to print ... maybe blogspot is trying to recover from Thanksgiving like the rest of us! 

I didn't post yesterday ... I didn't get any quilting done.  Ran a bunch of errands for myself, then took my mom to the grocery store, and then was just on overload by the time I got home and had lunch.  I think it was the start of the week, and the after effects of such a busy few days.  I just couldn't seem to get much done; I did load a quilt, and then spent about 4 hours playing with designs on my whiteboard trying to figure out what to do to the quilt.  Some quilts are just like that ... I think more it was that I was burned out, rather than the quilt couldn't "speak" to me.  Normally with an embroidered quilt like this I would not stitch over the embroidery, but the customer specifically asked for it to be quilted over.  She didn't want the huge pieces of embroidery to be puffed up where they weren't quilted.  I understand that ... so finally this morning I just decided to plunge ahead and see what happened when I put myself at the quilting machine.

I decided to just do an all over leaf meander throughout the quilt.  The embroidery was done with little "x's" like cross stitching, so I did some wavy cross-hatching in the big blocks.  I also echoed the "x" in each of the border blocks.  I think it came out really well.

The cross hatching in the blocks does the job of holding the block down, but isn't so overpowering that it masks her beautiful stitching.  I did have to be careful with the quilting because it would be very easy to get the foot caught on the stitching and pull it out.

I loaded another quilt this evening, and will start on that tomorrow morning.  It's pretty simple ... I did get a call today from one of my customers thanking me for the flowery quilt with the turquoise stitching that I just did last week.  She just picked it up today (I leave the quilts at the store for people to pick up.  It just makes it more convenient for them); she said she loved the turquoise thread, and the design ... remember this one

It was so nice to get that phone call ... she is just a sweet lady and I was very happy that she loved the quilt as much as I did!  Well it's late and past time for bed.  Hope you're getting back into the swing of things after the long break.  What are you working on ... quilting?, shopping?, Christmas?, work?, napping???????? 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday driving

We drove up to Los Angeles last night to see an L.A. Kings hockey game.  Everyone in my family is a huge fan, except me ... it's not that I'm not a fan, its just that I don't understand hockey.  It's fast, it's exciting, but I don't watch it a lot.  It is really fun to go to the games though because the fans and crowd are just rowdy!  We had excellent seats and I sat next to an older gentleman that was really nice.  He kept commenting on the game and looking to me for validation ... I just acted like I knew what I was talking about and agreed with whatever he said!  It was pretty funny ... if only he knew I had no clue!  We spent the night near the airport since our darling son had to be at the airport at about 7:30 a.m. to fly back to Hawaii.  We got him there, and he got back to Hawaii, safe and sound.  Hurray ...
Their logo!
It was a pretty quick trip, but we travel a lot, and are used to just going away for a night or two.  Both the dogs came ... they love traveling.  Charlie has been with us for about 6 years, and he's used to these trips.  When the suitcases start going in the car, he jumps in too ... wants to make sure he is not left behind.  Sophie we've only had for a year, so she's only made a couple of trips.  She loves them though, and is proving to be a pretty good traveler.  When we got home today, she went right back into the car and laid up across the back seat ... ready to go again!

On the way home we stopped at the University of California Irvine campus as darling daughter is in the middle of submitting UC applications for next fall.  They are due the end of the month, and she is just finalizing everything.  All the campuses she is interested in are in southern California and they are all lovely.  I think no matter where she goes she will have an awesome experience.  She had fun looking around and imagining her life in a year!

The bad news on the quilting front is I am now two quilts behind on my calendar ... I was supposed to get one done on Friday, and one done on Saturday.  Neither have been started ... I did order the thread for the one I was going to do on Friday, and talked to the customer to okay that it would be another week before it was done.  I told her that I didn't have the perfect color thread, and rather than just go with second best, I would rather wait on this different color ... she said it sounded great.  The other quilt is laying on the frame, and I'll start that one tomorrow.  It should be pretty quick, so I think I can make up the time this week.  I am not bummed about this though because that's life ... I'm doing the best I can.  I was the one that made up the calendar and projected how long it would take to do all these quilts.  I just gave myself a goal of 3 to 4 a week, being done by the 3rd, so I wasn't quilting into December.  I think if I just put my head down and push ahead, that I can still make the goal ... maybe pushing it to the 4th or 5th.  Of course I'll let you know my progress.  Goals are great, but life is to be enjoyed and I can't get the time back with my family ... so the family always comes first!  Plus if I hadn't been having such a good time on Black Friday, I could have gotten one of the quilts out of the way!!  Ha, ha ...
On a totally random note ... isn't this a cute picture?  I found it today while I was reading up on all the blogs I've missed the last couple of days.  It reminded me of when I was a kid ... my mom always used to call me chatty Cathy, and this is what I envision chatty Cathy looking like!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy weekend

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful and yummy Thanksgivng and is continuing to enjoy a weekend full of maybe quilting mixed with some eating and shopping!  We had a great dinner and had a friend of my son's come over as well and have dessert with us.  It was really fun and everything came out deliciously.  I sat down Thursday night and went over my lists for black Friday shopping ... I also doublechecked the ads in the paper that day and matched them with my coupons.  My plan of attack was to leave the house at 6:30 a.m., go to CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, Old Navy, Rue 21 (a clothing store) and Macy's.  My son said "why did you go to the drug stores for black Friday shopping?"  Well they were having specials like everyone else ... a lot of the stuff was going to be free, and since they were all open on Thanksgiving, I was worried that all the free deals would be done.  I left here at about 7 in the morning and my first stop was CVS.  There was no one in there ... it was great ... went around with my list and got all my goodies ... out of all the bargains I was trying for there, only two were sold out, and they were small sized bottles of pain relievers that were free, so that wasn't a big deal ... here's what that haul looked like:
Before sales, this stuff would have been $97.54 ... sale price was $70.95, coupons brought the total down to $61.54 out of pocket, but CVS extra bucks back were .................... $58.35, so I only paid $3.19!!!  Is that incredible?  Never have done that well ... the lady at the cash register said she has never seen a receipt print with all those rewards and asked me if she could take a second and look at them all ... I said sure!

Here's what my total receipt from CVS looked like ... ha, ha!  Here's a close up of the extra bucks so you can see what they look like ... each certificate is just like cash:

Then I went to Walgreen's ... again, no one was in the store, it was wonderful!  Got to the cash register and ran everything through, in the middle of printing out the rewards at the end, the paper ran out of the machine, which totally put a glitch in their system and it wouldn't print out any more.  Well thank goodness I have a list of everything I'm buying and the rewards I should get back ... I just checked off the ones that had already printed, and let the cashier know the ones that still needed to print.  We had to go to another register and rering those items so we could get those rewards to print ... they were so apologetic, but I didn't care ... free is free, and savings are savings, and I wasn't in any hurry.  Before sales that total would have been $126.53, but with sales, and coupons, my total there was $70.41.  After the rewards printed, they gave me back $47.99, so my total out of pocket was $22.42.

Next up was Rite Aid ... again, no one in the store.  I had my husband come in at the very end to help, but I really didn't need him.  I did two separate transactions (which I normally won't do because I don't want to hold the line up, but no one was there).  That way I can use the bucks I get back in the first transaction on the second transaction ... my totals at Rite Aid were $95.16 before sale and coupons .. I turned the first set of bucks in on the second transaction, so my total haul only cost $32.83, and with $13.00 back in bucks, all of this was only $17.83!

I had a problem at Rite Aid too ... after my second transaction I thought "this cost too much money."  So I went out to the car and as we were unloading I checked over my second tape ... the Old Spice deodorants were supposed to be $2.50 a piece and I had bought 8.  They were also supposed to kick out a $3.00 buck on each set of 2 ... they had rung out at $4 each and did not print any savings.  I hauled them all back in the store and very nicely explained to the lady what had happened.  We found that I picked up the wrong deodorant; the ones I was supposed to buy someone had taken the sign off of, so they didn't look like they were on sale.  We went back to the register with the right ones, had them all rung up, gave me the credit from the return on the first ones that I bought, and then it still didn't print the bucks up.  They had to call a manager at another store to find out how to solve the problem; instead of having the $12.00 in bucks print out, they just gave me a gift card for that amount to be used at my next visit.  No problem!  Wahoo ....

Here is my summary ... the totals of my shopping for the three stores were $319.23; after sales, coupons and bucks returned, I only paid $43.44 ... that is a savings of $275.79!!!!!!!  That's a savings of 86% ... was it all free, no .... can I eat for the next month from it, no!  But ... I don't expect it all to be free, and because I save so much on all the non-food stuff, it helps me on the rest of my budget ... I still shop sales and coupons on my groceries.  I'm going to try and track this for a few months and see how it all plays out.

Later I went to Target with my friend, Tracy ... we haven't seen each other in a week because she has a job; she is my real Black Friday shopping friend, but this year is working retail ... we went to Target and Macy's, and then out to lunch ... I love to get my son those trial size packs of Tide laundry soap.  They cost .97 cents at Target and  you can use a coupon on them ... most manufacturer coupons will say "not good on trial sizes", but Tide coupons do not say that ... it makes me so happy ... I had several $2.00 coupons and some $1.00 coupons too ... I bought 8 packages of Tide and the retail price for that was $7.76, but I had coupons totalling $13.50 ... most times they will just adjust the coupon so the price of the Tide is free, but this time they took the entire amount of coupons off, so they paid me $5.74 to buy Tide!  Awesome ... that amount just got credited towards the rest of Christmas shopping order ... life is so good!
Just for fun here is what it all looks like

Here's what all my receipts look like ...
Here's what all the bucks look like after they're cut ...

These are really cash ... so I decided it would not be a good idea to carry them around in my wallet.  I organized them into stores, and wrote the amount in each one.  That way next time I shop and make my lists, I can just take that envelope to the store with me.

Just for fun I thought you might like to see what my list looks like ... it is printed off the computer and it has the item, what the sale price is, any coupon amounts that I have, what the store's reward is back, and then what the final price is.  It helps me stay really organized.

And in the middle of this, I even had time to squeeze a quilt in ... started it Wednesday night and finished it Thursday morning before the rest of the house was up ...
The lighting on this is really bad, but it's so cute ... free download pattern from Moda.

It's out of the new Kansas Troubles fabric; a store sample, but my friend is also giving it as a Christmas present.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend ... we are driving to L.A. to watch the Kings hockey game tonight and then spending the night up there.  My son leaves out of L.A. tomorrow super early to go back to Hawaii.  =:((  Very sad, but we have enjoyed him so much and will see him soon for the Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving

Oh my, oh my ... the day before Thanksgiving and I had a really great, relaxing day!  Kind of wondering when the bomb will fall ... ha, ha!  I started out my day with coffee with a couple of girlfriends, and was going to run to a couple of drugstores for sales, but decided after I doublechecked my lists, it wasn't anything I couldn't live without.  Decided to skip the gym, go home and finish the quilt I was quilting ... I know, I should have gone to the gym!  I wanted to get the quilt finished so I could spend some time just hanging out with my son.  The quilt was fairly small, so I finished it in about 1 1/2 hours, remember I had started it yesterday, so it was a breeze to finish.  When I started quilting yesterday, I wasn't really sure I liked the quilting pattern, and contemplated ripping it out, but I'm glad I didn't.  It looks so cute ...

don't you think!  This is a baby quilt, and she embroidered a little saying on two sides of the quilt ... so sweet!  I just love the pink and black combination.

A friend had asked me a couple weeks ago to quilt a quilt for her, one we are using as a sample at the store.  She just brought it to me on Monday ... so I knew it had to get squeezed in somewhere.  I loaded it this afternoon and quilted just a bit of it ... it's super simple, just a stipple.  I'll either finish it up tomorrow before everyone gets moving tomorrow, or I'll finish it Friday morning after my Black Friday shopping.  I don't leave the house before 6 or 7, and it's just for fun.  I usually go to Old Navy, a couple of clothing stores for my daughter, might pop in to Target, but that's usually a madhouse, and this year will hit the three drugstores ... they are having lots of goodies for free with coupons, but I'm not going to stress about what I get or don't get.  The sad part is my friends that I usually go with are both working now and working retail, so hubby volunteered to go with me.  He's really not a morning person, but he'll either sit in the car and sleep while I'm shopping, or maybe I'll drag him into the stores!  I will definitely drag him to breakfast at some point.

Later my son and I gave the dogs a bath because it has been way too long since they were bathed!  It's easy to bathe Sophie because she fits in the sink, but Charlie is a 70 lb. dog, and he doesn't particularly like baths, but you can buy him off so easily with cookies!  Now they are both ready for Thanksgiving!  And they love the smell of turkey cooking all day!

So then I decided I needed some turkey sugar cookies to finish off the day ... haven't done that in a long time ... the cookies needed a little icing, and I just couldn't get the right color ... the first set of dyed frosting came out baby poop green color, which my daughter made me throw away.  The second color isn't a lot better, but it will have to do!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you ... may you be filled with abundant blessings, lots of yummy food, and wonderful family and friends.  I am thankful for each of you!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I learned

In keeping with following my quilting calendar, today there wasn't a quilt to be done, but I decided to pin my next one on so that I can be ready to quilt tomorrow.  I got so excited that I started quilting it as well ... did a row, and then decided to stop and finish it tomorrow as planned.  This isn't supposed to be an every day job! 

Do you think every day is an opportunity to learn something?  I do ... I always try to look on the bright side of things and I believe that in everything there is opportunity for growth ... a failure is not really a failure, but a chance to learn something.  I love watching babies and seeing how fast they learn and what they pick up on ... I was thinking as I was jetting around the web today what I learn in one day ... so here's a little recap on what I learned today with a fair amount of time, and a little bit of effort:

==how to make peppermint hot chocolate in a crock pot
==how to turn a toilet roll holder into a cute advent goodie
==that one of the people that I work with just took her halloween decorations down (mine are coming down tomorrow!)
==one of my favorite bloggers, her favorite way to mark her quilts are the air erase purple pens; she only marks stencils and straight lines (don't know why you mark straight lines), but she uses 3 to 4 pens per quilt ... wow!
==a tutorial on how to attach a binding by machine (I HAVE been doing it right!!)
==that I am three months behind on the Bloggers Block of the Month
==that there are super busy people out there with no time to blog because they're preparing for Thanksgiving
==that there are loads of coupons out there on the internet that I would never know about printing except for all the wonderful bloggers that take their time to post the links (do you know how many protein bar coupons there are ... wow!)
==that Henry's and Trader Joe's both take manufacturer coupons ... I never knew that
==I can get my favorite hairspray on sale at RiteAid this week for $1.24 a can
==I can get free vitamins at Target

The best part of my day was driving to pick my son up at the Orange County airport bright and early this morning.  So wonderful to see him and have him home!  What did you learn today?

Monday, November 21, 2011

On schedule

Well today is the first day of my scheduling my quilting.  I got a bit of a late start on the quilt, but I got it done!  I'm so glad I took the time yesterday to load it because by the time I went to coffee with my friends this morning for a short bit, went to the drugstore, and then did my Thanksgiving dinner shopping and finally ate lunch, it was almost 2 p.m.  It feels good to have a schedule and keep to it.  I suspect that people that work from home have a real difficult time keeping themselves to a schedule, and not letting it overtake their lives.  I know if you ask my husband, he would tell you it was overtaking our lives!

This quilt was really fun to quilt ... it was just a simple block, but the white, turquoise, green and pink colors in it screamed for me to do something a little funky and fun.  I thought about doing a pantograph, but started paging through some books and found a design called a feather medley.  I've really wanted to use some kind of feathering in quilting ... not really the fancy feathers, but something a little more funky, so I decided I needed to start somewhere.  It's a little scary to do a new design on someone else's quilt, but it is also easy to get stuck in a rut where you're doing the same patterns over and over again!  This was really fun to quilt, and the turquoise thread I went back and forth on a couple times, but I'm really glad I used it because I think it came out so cute!

There's a little feather pattern in there towards the top of the pic in the middle
It's kind of hard to see the full pattern, but it's really pretty.  Has some scallops, some flowers, some spiky flowers, spirals ... a lot of movement.
I hope Judy loves it as much as I do!

I'm so excited because my sweet son is coming home for Thanksgiving tomorrow!  I sure miss him and he is a senior, so he'll be done in the spring.  I'm picking him up from the airport super early tomororw morning, and then he'll be here through Sunday ... love the holidays for more than one reason ... I get to see my son!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Accomplishing so much from my sofa!

I thought I would try a fun post today to change the mood of my usual Sunday posts (or what they are in my head at least!) ... I was on the computer surfing around my normal sites today, and it's only 3:23 p.m. and here is all I've done today --

--Ordered myself a color Nook from Target (on sale and with a $30 gift card on a future purchase)
--Ordered three Christmas presents from another site with a 88% savings (can't say what they are in case the recipients are reading!)
--Printed my drugstore hit lists for the week complete with awesome deals and assembled my coupons
--Loaded my Starbuck's card

I feel so virtuous!  My husband always makes fun of me for spending so much time on the computer and playing with all my coupon sites, etc (even though he spends a lot of time on the computer himself just looking at things he enjoys looking at!), but I have found some awesome deals through my sites, and so I will continue to do so!  I have been debating a Kindle or a Nook for quite some time now ... I love reading, and love feeling a book in my hand, but there are certain times when a reading device would be lots better than a book ... when I'm at a doctor's appointment and don't want to read a book, when I'm Black Friday shopping in line and don't want to carry a book to weigh me down, when I'm on vacation and don't want to lug a lot of books ... I always take extra books because there is nothing worse than running out of something to read on vacation (I also don't like to buy books and since I usually use the library, the obvious choice when you run out of something to read on vacation is buying a book!).  I opened the Target ad this morning and saw they have the color Nook on sale for $199 plus $30 gift card on a future purchase.  The ad said no rain checks and subject to availability ... I decided to check online and even though it cost $4.98 for shipping and handling, that was worth the small price to not have to deal with driving over to Target and possibly having them be out of stock, and having to drive to another Target.  I am really excited!  I wasn't going to spend the money on myself because I'm prohibiting what I'm allowed to spend since I'm still paying off my quilting machine, but I decided since I have been quilting a lot of quilts, I could afford a small present.  Also, my mom always gives me money for Christmas for a gift for myself, so I'll put it towards this.  Have I justified the expense yet?  Ha, ha ...

I am having a little chat with myself today ... while going through all the sales and making my lists, I am panicking a little about being able to get in on all these sales that I can.  This is what I think ... I hate that beautiful, simple days that are meant to be spent with family and in relaxation, have been turned into shopping events.  I get day after Thanksgiving 6 a.m. shopping, but a year or so ago it became 3 a.m. shopping and now this year 12 a.m. shopping, and many places are going to be open Thanksgiving day so we can all shop!  I hate it ... what about all the people that have to work on these days and don't get to spend the time with their families?  Okay, so maybe an argument can be made that not everyone wants the day off, or wants the overtime ... but I know several people who are hard workers and work retail and do not appreciate having to interrupt their Thanksgiving festivities to go to work ... enough is enough!  I actually caught myself today thinking "hey, I'm always up late, hubby and I could always go after Thanksgiving shopping at 12 a.m., better than getting up early!"  Oh wait, did I just think that ... NO, NO, NO!!  Now I realize not everyone thinks like me, but I just feel like all of this hoopla over Christmas is not about Christmas, it's about what people can get ... enough selfishness ... I'm tired of reading stories about people being trampled, shot, pushed, etc. all to get the best deal.  I continue to vow and pledge that I WILL NOT go after Thanksgiving shopping until Friday morning ... will you join me?  Will you boycott shopping on Thanksgiving to send a message to retailers that families are more important then sales?  Okay ... now I feel better!

Now on a totally different note ... one of the blogs I read had a post on it today showing quilts from the River City Quilter's Guild (think it's in California) ... and look what I found a picture of in that show ...
... our own Donna Yackey's block of the month Christmas quilt ... isn't it beautiful?  I'll have to send an email to Donna and let her know.  Our store, the Country Loft, where I first learned to quilt ... well, my first quilt teacher was Donna Yackey and this is one of the first blocks of the month she did ... it is just the cutest pattern and mine is almost done ... oh, this makes me want to go dig it out of the UFO's upstairs and finish it ... wouldn't that be fun?  Really, it is almost done ... sounds like something I need to check out!

Okay, off to start my laundry so it can be done before 11 p.m. tonight ... oh, and if you're on the west coast and still have time, don't forget today is the last day of Starbuck's B1G1 free holiday drink from 2 to 5 p.m.  Sending darling daughter over for a skinny peppermint mocha with half the chocolate ... I've been wanting to get in on this deal since it started on the 17th, but darling hubby doesn't drink Starbuck's or coffee, and darling daughter hasn't been around to share the deal with!

Just a small report on my quilting so you can see my quilting calendar that is keeping me on track is really working ... I loaded a quilt this morning and have it all set up and ready to quilt.  I looked at it for a while because it really needs some different kind of quilting on it ... there are big blank spaces in the blocks that would really lend themselves to some pretty quilting.  Time to try a different quilt pattern; I've paged through some of my books on quilting and I'm going to sit and practice some designs on the white board this afternoon while I finish watching the Chargers get their butts kicked in Chicago ... UGH!  My calendar says tomorrow I have a quilt scheduled to be quilted, so by loading it today, I just give myself a break on tomorrow.  I realized some time ago, that if I load a quilt one day, and quilt it the next, it just seems like it goes so much faster.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday ...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shadow day and quilting

The high school has parent shadow day every year the day before the kids leave for Thanksgiving break.  It's a great way for the parents to be able to embarrass their high schoolers!  It is really so we can go to class with them, and just get a feel for what their day is like.  First of all, I would like to say that all those kids that start school at 7:10 in the a.m. deserve our admiration!  Wow, I have never had a job where I had to be to work that early, and let me tell you it is really early to be awake, ready and attentive.  The first class was government and interesting to hear the teens' perspectives on how active government should be in the schools, particularly pertaining to whether they should regulate healthier lunches in schools ... some good thoughts from the kids.  The second class was a.p. psychology and we got to watch the last 15 minutes of The Caine Mutiny ... it was good, and made me want to watch the whole movie ... the rest of the period was left for chatting because the teens had a sub; next class was Film as Literature where we got to watch some of their favorite scenes from different movies, one of them being the Good Morning dance/singing scene from Singing in the Rain ... awesome ... the kids said it drove them crazy, I couldn't help but admire the effortless tap dancing of those three stars.  Then we were off to statistics, where I did my crossword puzzle because math is something I just don't get at that level.  Physics was fun because their teacher did a couple of demonstrations with props, and then proceeded to set a table and show them how they could pull the tablecloth out from under the Thanksgiving table ... complete with dishes and his lunch on the cloth!  He's a great teacher ... the last class of the day was drama and that is always entertaining because the teens do some kind of improv ... you should not be allowed to have that much fun and get a grade!  It was my last year and I will say I am a little sad about that, but not too much so ... there will be more fun to come as the kids get older and it is time to be done with high school.

Today I finished quilting a quilt for a customer ... I have had it for over a month, and I feel really good about finally getting it done.  I bought one of those calendars that you hang on the wall with the big grids, and penciled in my quilting schedule for the next two weeks so I can feel organized. 

My goal is to get my quilting done in the next two weeks, and then be off for most of the month of December.  I finished one quilt this week and took in five more!  Despite all the quilts I have waiting to be quilted, I feel much more organized looking at this calendar.  I have seven quilts that need to be done in the next two weeks, and this is totally doable!  You can see that on my calendar!

Here's a picture of the quilt I just finished
Isn't this a cute quilt?  It is a Christmas quilt and I quilted it with my favorite Glide thread in a bright green ... it compliments the green of the quilt superbly!  Instead of just doing an all over in the whole quilt, I did an all over loopy design in the center, and then did a big loop in the inner border and a spiral in the outer border.

She made this quilt out of flannel and I just wanted to curl up with it ... I just love quilt store flannel.  It is so soft and sturdy ... the best thing on the back of a quilt you are going to snuggle with!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Teenagers and quilting

I was going to tell you about my day today, shadowing my darling 17 year old at school ... it's an annual event and this is my 8th and final year.  Did it with my son for four years of high school, and now my daughter.  But that post will have to wait until tomorrow. .. I am too tired to go into it.  I was skipping around some blogs and found this on Sylvia's blog ( ... btw, Sylia has some great pictures of her quilting ... beautiful.  This is a hilarious post, so I'll let it speak for itself today!

There Will Be Pins: How to be a Quilter's Husband
Submitted by Patrick Cook, the husband of Valorie Cook from Grand Rapids, MI

So your wife is a quilter. That doesn't seem so bad, does it? It's a nice quiet hobby, conjuring up images of our sturdy pioneer mothers, keeping their families warm and creating beauty out of old shirts and printed feedbags. You think of plump grannies in rocking chairs, piecing a Log Cabin block by firelight, cat asleep at her feet. An idyllic picture, right?

You're living in a dream world, buddy. They buy their fabric whole now, in yardage and "fat quarters" (whatever they are). They cut this perfectly good cloth into smaller pieces, and then painstakingly, by hand, sew them back together. This process calls into question all the advances of the industrial revolution.

Quilting generates a blizzard of debris. Fabric scraps and batting clog and burn out your vacuum cleaner. (Hint: don't go barefoot. Your feet were never meant to be pincushions). The cat frequently swallows a length of discarded thread. Soon, one of two things will happen; you won't like either of them.

This is not the end of your problems. There are frequent expensive trips to the fabric store, and even more expensive quilt shows in faraway cities. There are bees, which are little groups of quilters who get together occasionally to complain about their husbands and children. These bees may meet in church basements, but occasionally they come to your house and take over the dining room table. Your presence in the next room won't intimidate them.

Quilting also tends to take up more and more of the house. Sure, your wife might decide at some point that she has enough fabric. I've never seen this myself, but it could happen. More likely, your home will become a candidate for that TV show where some poor fellow's dead body is found under a collapsed pile of old newspapers. In your case, it will be a tower of yardage and color-matched prints.

As far as I know, there is no twelve-step program for quilters, but you may avoid codependency by following these tips:

1.. Set up a space outside the living area for the quilting equipment and fabric storage. I have refinished the basement, and we are moving everything down there. Other husbands have constructed pole barns, rented industrial space, or moved to another city under an assumed name.

2.. Have your wife make a small business out of her hobby. Internet sales can be lucrative. They might even partially make up for the enormous sums she spends. Very important: Do not participate in the business yourself. First thing you know, you'll be maintaining complicated machinery, acting as an errand boy, and dealing with the post office. You have better things to do.

3.. Don't be tempted to accompany your wife to quilt shows, thinking that time together will add spark to your relationship. You won't see her all day. You'll wander around aimlessly among the booths, finding nothing remotely interesting. Sure, you could meet other lost husbands, and find camaraderie in the nearest bar. Usually, though, a woman in a quilted vest will mistake you for a fabric vendor. She will try to hustle you for free samples.

4.. Don't try to distract your wife with other activities, such as gardening, cooking or housework. Though she may have done these things in the past, that's all over now. Quilting is her life. Accept your fate. Learn to cook and run the vacuum. Get a hobby of your own. You could join a softball team-slow-pitch, preferably-or learn simple carpentry skills. Then build a pole barn and move into it yourself.

Finally, remember you are not alone. There are plenty of other quilt-widowers out there.

I love this post ... laughed ... especially the part about the pins.  Everyone in my house has yelled at me about pins ... I can't help it, they just jump to the floor ... believe me, I've stepped on several myself!  Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stash ... not what you think!

Hi and happy Thursday!  I had a rough week this week, but I managed to squeeze in some shopping trips ... definitely need some retail therapy to smooth out the rough spots!  Now I know this is not quilting related, and for those of you only interested in quilting, stop reading here!  But, what I will say now is what I've said before ... the more money I can save on groceries (or whatever), the more I can spend on quilting!  The other great thing I can do with this hobby is give food to a food bank.  I am so happy because I have a huge box of food all ready to give to my friend Tina for the food/toy drive she does with her group, the Soroptimists.

 Here are some of my highlights of the week:
(2) 10 lb. bags of cat litter for .99c each
(2) Almay Eye Removers that they paid me $1.00 to buy
(3) free packages of Orbit gum
(3) Zone power bars for .69 cents each
Hungry Jack pancake mix .89 cents
(5) Weight Watcher frozen dinners $1.49 each
Glade candles .99 each

What it boiled down to was a 49% savings at Albertson's; 54% savings at Walgreen's; 25% savings at Rite Aid; 77% savings at CVS, and a 25% savings at Target ... the savings is better at Target, but I can't get a true read on how much I save there because they don't list their presale prices.  And after the above totals, I have an extra $29.00 in store bucks to spend on future trips! 

I want to say something about couponing ... although I kind of love watching that Extreme Couponing show on TLC, I hate it too ... most of the people they show say they are doing they're biggest shopping trip ever and many of them are doing a huge shopping trip for the month ... then when you view what they've purchased, it's 400 boxes of cat food and 200 Nestle Quik packets, 100 power bars and 500 toothbrushes!  Those are not real groceries ... what I think the angle the show should come from is you can save a lot of money at the grocery store on certain items, and get some items for free, enabling you to spend a lot less on your entire budget.  We all know there are almost no coupons for meat, veggies, milk ... but by saving money on things you can, they allow you to save on your entire grocery budget.  But no one is living on power bars and nestle quik.  The other thing that irritates me is they show people clearing the shelves of 100 items of whatever at a time.  If you really have that many coupons, then preorder your items from the store and leave the stuff on the shelves for the regular folk.  The last thing I will say on that subject is while they say they are getting all these items for free ... I kind of wonder how much people are spending on coupons.  There are services that you can buy coupons from ... when someone has 400 cat food coupons, I don't think they are getting 400 cat food coupons from their friends and family.  I've never heard that part mentioned on the show, and I think it's a little deceiving to think that no money is going out on either buying 20 newspapers a week, or buying coupons.

Now just for fun ... I'm going to show you some pictures of my "stash" ... if you've ever watched that crazy show, they have stockpiles that value from $1,500 all the way up to $10,000 or something crazy like that!  I just thought you would get a kick out of seeing my stash that I have amassed in a month and a half.  This is the shelving unit in my garage where I keep stuff that won't fit in my pantry ...
Vitamin water, soup, cereal, bleach and dishwashing soap
This is my stockpile of peanut butter ... I think I'm good for a year without having to buy it!

Here's my stash under the stairs of toilet paper and paper towels ... let's not talk about the toilet paper that is under each of the bathroom sinks! 

How about my makeup stash ...

That's enough mascara for Kierney and I for at least 6 months!  And my stash of baking products that are also in the closet under my stairs ... I am great for holiday baking ... yahoo!

And the largest stash I have (maybe ... that's not under a bathroom sink!)

I think there are 12 bottles of laundry detergent in there
Now remember those plants I planted a month or so ago ... I wanted you to see how big my tomato plant is ..
I've got little flowers on it, so tomatoes are coming soon ... in southern California we are blessed with warm weather so a longer crop for veggies!  And I planted these green pepper plants several months ago and they have been growing, but no fruit on them ... guess what I just found last week?

There are finally peppers!!!  Yayyyyyyy!!!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read about my other hobby ... my family doesn't get too excited about it, so I have to share with someone ... my friends think I'm crazy.  You'd think they would know me better by now ... I figured quilters with stashes would totally get couponers with stashes!

I've done no quilting this week ... after the crazy busy quilting week I had last week, I needed a little break this week.  Now it's onto quilting some quilts so that I can get all my customer quilts done and back to them so I am not working in December ... I want to have the month to enjoy the wonderful season of Christmas!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tomorrow today ...

... by that I mean here is your traveling Thursday post on Wednesday.  I have a bunch of pictures I took, and a fun blog post all scheduled for today, but I've run out of time.  It's late and I should be in bed already ... so I'm kind of cheating today because the blog you need to read and love is

That's the store I work at and I don't think you will find a more beautiful, original quilt store!  If you're ever in the San Diego area, please make it a point to come visit us and I am usually there on Thursdays, so I would love to meet you!  We also have a sidebar on the blog where it lists designers at the store and their blogs ... check those out too ... sadly, my name and blog haven't been updated there yet!  I'll have to speak to the management!!!!  Have a great day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Have you ever noticed that the days around this time of year just slip away ... they fly.  Today is Tuesday and I got little done ... I took my mom to the doctor this morning and then to the grocery store and drug store.  Then I dashed home for lunch and a little break, and then went to an appointment with my husband.  We didn't get back until about 6:30.  It seems like balance is an issue that comes up often in my life ... or rather, my strife for balance.  If you ask my husband he will tell you I don't have balance ... I throw myself headfirst into whatever I do ... the flip side is that then I get burned out and everything has to shut down to try and get my balance back.

The funny thing is I am a Libra ... I don't know how much value I put in that, but that symbol is the scales.  Very interesting ... I think if I could have any wish in the world, my first wish would be for the health of my family and the second wish would be for balance.  I think it should be a course in school ... I don't know how to get it ... there must be people that are really good at balance, but I don't know many.  I usually get really excited about whatever I'm doing, and keep myself super busy at it ... but then I wonder, am I doing that to avoid something else?  Here's the definition of balance in the dictionary
(1)  an instrument for weighing
(2)  a means of judging or deciding
How do you know when your balanced?  What do you do when you're out of balance?  I think everyone needs escapes in their life ... I know from a young age I read and I loved reading because it took me out of my own life and transported me to some other place.  I still love reading.  I don't do enough of it because it takes time.  I do love to read in the morning when it's quiet in the house and before I start my day ... that way I don't feel like I'm missing something else I should be doing.  I do believe this issue of balance continues to raise its head in my life because its something that I haven't settled with yet.  Have you ever noticed that things you have trouble grasping or that you just don't handle well, continue to come into your life?  I have ... I do believe they are lessons and that when I get the lesson right, I settle the issue ... but until I get it right it continues to come back to me in a different situation.

I feel like if I could get balance, I could get the answer to life ... does that sound too heavy?  Can you tell things are a little out of whack in my life at the moment ... ha, ha?!  Does anyone have balance this time of year?  Well, this is an issue that I see myself coming back to ...for right now I'm going to sit in front of the fire, watch some t.v. and not think about balance!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday pictures

Happy Monday ... still celebrating that I made it through last week.  Everything got done, and I am just glad the week is through!  I started to write a post yesterday, wrote it all down, and then decided it was just so negative and whiny that it didn't need to be published!  My friends that know me and love me know that even though I am a wonderful person, I am a big whiner!  I do like to complain ... I just get it out of my system.  I was raised to not complain and to just go along with whatever happens.  If you love someone you just accept all that goes with them.  Well, when I grew up a little I realized that is not real life, so I took the opposite approach.  When something bothers me, I complain.  I try to do it nicely, and not be a negative Nelly, at least I don't see myself that way.  But that was just too much yesterday ... probably a biproduct of  a crazy week!

So today I decided to give you a little tour of some of the quilts I have done since I've been longarming ... let's see if I can find something I started with so you can see the progression ...

This is one of the first quilts I did on my frame ... it's called Stars by Night.  You can't see it clearly, but I have a really large all over stipple, and my stitches were so big!  Every time I walk by it at the store, I contemplate taking it home, ripping the stitching out and requilting it!

This is the first quilt I did for a friend.  It was a little rough because all the pieces were cut on the bias.  I did a small all over stipple and I think it came out great!  Sorry, but the picture isn't very good.

 This is one of the first few quilts I did on my frame.  It was a quilt I had had sandwiched for about 5 years ... I had confidence that I could just pin the quilt on the frame as sandwiched and that it would be okay ... well I did, and it was!  I actually did a cute design on this quilt and broke out of my stipple bubble!

You can see the details in this picture.
 This was a charity quilt I did for Sew for the Cure ... do you remember me mentioning that?  Every year at the store we have a wonderful group of women that sew all year long and then we also get donations for quilts, dolls, etc.  We have everything hanging in the front yard of the store, and all the proceeds in the past have gone to the Susan Komen Foundation.  This year they went to the Megan Gianotti fund to help our friend and co worker JoAnn's daughter, Megan, help fund her cancer treatments.  She has been battling melanoma and the treatments are outrageously expensive.
This is a pattern of mine called Honeycomb Stars.  I love the quilting on this quilt ... the pattern is called "dwirling" and it is a design that was created by Dawn Ramirez.  She has a couple of DVD's called Pajama Quilters.  Check out her website ... she is hilarious, and her video is fun and easy.  She shows you how to do free motion quilting and gives you the confidence to try different designs.

 This is perhaps my favorite quilt I've ever designed ... it's called French Chain because I made it with French General fabric ... the first line that came out.
 This is a quilt I did called Independence.  I always wanted a log cabin quilt that was a patriotic quilt.  This quilt I just love.

 This is one of the last quilts I did on my Juki/Grace frame combo ... all the quilts above were done on that frame.  It's called Churn Dash Charlie; I wanted a baptist fan pattern and I knew there was no way I was going to use templates for the pattern, so I freehanded it.  It didn't come out very good because the pattern is so small ... the Juki only has a 9" throat, and the quilting pattern is only about 5" wide.  It probably was one of the things that pushed me into getting a machine with a much larger throat.  I have great memories of my Juki, and I think I created some awesome quilts on it as well.  It was a joy to quilt on, and while I don't miss the small machine, I really miss the Juki machine to piece on!  Hope you enjoyed my tour ... it was so fun to reminisce with you!