Sunday, April 29, 2007

Slowly Spring

Spring seem to be coming sooooo slooooooooowly to our house! Houses in town have daffodils and tulips blooming already. Today was gorgeous out, shorts weather! I spent the morning cleaning out flower beds and trimming. Checked on my tulips, they were thinking about popping up. Checked on my Lily of the Valley, too shy. Checked on my daffodils, starting to bud out. Finally! I spotted our FIRST flower! woo hoo! See that teeny tiny little grape hyacinth? Note the Maple seed next to it for size comparison! Oh well, a little bit of spring is better than more snow!
However, on the other side of the house, this dandelion was doing really well. No, I didn't pull it up, I think they are kind of pretty. What is the first flower most little ones bring mom? Dandelions. What can pop up through sidewalks? Dandelions! What has the neatest seed head that you can blow away? Dandelions! And did anyone else grow up playing the "do you like butter?" game with them? Or is that a Wisconsin thing?
Aside from all these wonderful attributes, our yard is made up entirely of old pasture land, so we really LIKE dandelions! They are so nice and soft under bare feet! Thank goodness we don't live in town, the neighbors would probably picket us!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Favorite Quilt Books

There has been so much talk on the Stashbusters digest about quilt books that I thought I would share my two all time favorite quilt books. The first is called Quilted Memories and it is sooooo inspirational. I love that there are no patterns to duplicate the quilts in this one. It's more of an idea book. I've never been good at making something exactly like a pattern. I like to go through books and pictures to get inspiration.

This Particular book inspired me to make this wallhanging for the granddaughter of some friends The dad is a fisherman through and through. I'd probably do a lot more stuff on it now that I've done a few things like this. Maybe use more embellishments. I don't know if they liked it, but I had fun making it so that to me, means it was a success!

My next favorite book is Liberated Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston. Another book that does not have patterns. Instead she has inspiration and ideas and tips to make the blocks your own. It's soooooo cool, you just cut without measuring. I made a log cabin lap quilt using these ideas. I gave it away and don't have a picture to show you, but the logs are at funny angles, and I thought about calling it "Don't drink and Quilt"

This book is no longer in print and sadly I do not have my own copy. The one in the picture is the from the local library. I check it out constantly! I have tried buying it on ebay and amazon, but the prices go up higher than my meager salary can justify. I did for one glorious fleeting moment think about checking it out and "losing" it because the replacement fee would be less than getting it second hand, but I just can't do that. Raised Catholic you know, the guilt would get to me and I would likely break out in purple spots and yellow stripes and have to redeem myself by scrubbing the library floors or scraping gum from under the tables or something equally dreary.

And these are my bookshelves. Not as many as a lot of quilters have, but every one is enjoyed! At one time I felt a wee bit guilty for having all these quilt books and not making something from each one of them. Then my very wise, favorite aunt mentioned that quilt books are like cook books, you don't have to make everything that is in them to enjoy looking at them. And yes, she is the same aunt that taught her grandchildren to say they need to use the bathroom when she spots a quilt shop. Brilliant woman! Hopefully it runs in the family!??? ;-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My quilting buddy

I have two favorite quilting buddies, my favorite cousin and my daughter. This is my favorite 'in house' quilting buddy. My 13 year old named Vanessa. This picture shows her in her corner of my sewing room. I taught her to sew when she was 3, I would put squares together and draw "stitches" on them for her to follow with a needle and thread. It would take her a good 15 minutes to get them pieced which gave me more time for my sewing. It took her about 2 years to get the whole thing together as there were a lot of "pauses" in her sewing attention span. But the picture of her at age 5 with her first quilt is one of my favorites! Since then she has made a couple more simple 4 patch quilts, and a pretty rail fence turned in on itself so it looks like pinwheels. That one she gave to her favorite music teacher when she had a baby. This past winter she wanted to get going on a Halloween quilt that she has been collecting fabric for. I picked out a pattern called crazy 8's and we used that. The neatest thing for me was when she told me she had figured out it was easier to make two blocks at the same time. She had discovered string piecing without me even showing her! I had wondered if it would confuse, obviously not! After the blocks were done she was so excited she thanked me for teaching her to sew. My pleasure!

Monday, April 23, 2007

quilt shop

I'm a bit late with the topic of the week. Sort of usual for me lately. I am having a hard time picking a favorite quilt shop. It seem as though any quilt shop I get to is my current favorite!
I love the one closest to me, and I love the one in the next town over, and any time I can convince my husband to stop at one on the road, that is my favorite too.
My aunt very cleverly taught her grandchildren to all insist that they have to go to the bathroom immediately when they spot a quilt shop sign! Is she smart or what?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Locks of Love

Well, today was my hair donation day. My personal photographer
came along and documented the entire process. Even when I wished she would just put the camera down! I think it is kind of hard to tell how long it is in the "before" picture, but the stylist cut off 12 inches, and she thought that at least 10 if not 11 would be usable. That brings the Green girls total donated hair to-- drum

roll please................ 50 inches!
That is a lot of hair to not clog the drain anymore! The stylist also pointed out that I would be using a lot less shampoo. The only thing I've noticed so far is that MY NECK IS COLD! I also won't be wearing a pony tail anytime soon!

The website to learn more about Locks of Love is

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bag Lady!

This is so exciting for me, a local gift shop owner is going to carry some of my bags. I love to make and use tote bags, purses, backpacks, any kind of bag. She spotted mine and asked me to make one for her. She will sell them on commission, but still it might help support my quilting habit. She even gave me my own corner!
Last night I played around with making a sign for it. I have to admit, I had fun!

Today when we got home the dog met us with this interesting necklace! He got into the garden shed and must have been trying to drink some disgusting

water from this planter. As anyone with a country dog knows, disgusting old water is much better than nice fresh stuff from the faucet! I thought he sort of looked like a demented St. Bernard. He just looked at us like, "what?" As we say around here, he is a natural blond!
My next big news for the day is that after a couple months of applications I finally have a job interview tomorrow. whew, hope I didn't just jinx it! And, I stopped at a hair salon and they measured my hair and told me I have more than enough to do my hair donation for locks of love. then they got me in tomorrow!!!! My youngest daughter had donated twice, and daughter number 3 has donated, so it is my turn now! My youngest is going along and plans to take pictures, so I'm sure those will be up tomorrow night~

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Quilty weekend

At our guild meeting last Thursday the quilt ribbons from our show in March were handed out.

My good friend Trudy won one of the children's choice awards. A very cute ribbon made with a crayon box, and ribbons embroidered with the name of the show and the award. Since she wasn't at the meeting I took it to give to her later. Last night my sewing 13 year old saw it, and got excited thinking I had won an award. I explained the whole thing to her. She disappeared for a little bit and came back in with "Vanessa's Choice" award because she thought my quilt should have won something. Sort of makes you go Ahhhhhhh doesn't it? Her award and the quilt I entered are shown here. I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but her ribbons are made from duct tape. She is referred to around here as the Duck Tape Queen.

The quilt I entered was made for daughter #2 for her graduation two years ago. She loves all things oriental and the color green. I don't think you can see it in the picture, but the edges have a double frame under the binding. My sweet favorite cousin, who was with me when I pieced it, had been doing similar edging on a wall hanging. Hers had one strip of fabric, cut at 1 1/2 inches and pressed in half wrong sides together and sewn under the binding similar to piping. It looked really pretty. She got the bright idea that if ONE of these strips at 1 1/2 inches looked that pretty, I should do TWO strips, one at 1 1/2 inches and one at 1 inch, that way folded it comes to 1/2 inch and then there would be 1/4 inch, peeking out alongside the 1 1/2 inch piece which, when folded becomes 3/4 inch. Does anyone with half a brain think this would be a great idea to do all the way around a queen size quilt? Well, the two of us, with two brains between us, thought it was fantastic!
I thought that for about 1/4 of the quilt, then I thought it might be sort of nice for the next 1/4 of the quilt, then for the rest of it I pretty much just thought that sewing those two folded pieces AND the binding was actually just a pain in the______. But by that time I was not going to give up and rip it all out. However, live and learn, I will never do that again! Sometimes I feel that I have a lot more of those live and learn moments than are actually necessary.

This picture shows some of my binding time this weekend. Like my helper? That's my sweet Cassie keeping my lap warm.

Friday, April 13, 2007

First quilt

The picture here is my very first quilt. This is NOT something I am overly proud of. :-) I made this before I knew anything at all about quilting. My mother in law loves patchwork, and since I could sew I thought it would be nice to surprise her with a quilt for their anniversary. I cut squares from everything I had laying around. Crib sheets, sewing projects, curtains. Okay if you are picturing the sheets and curtains with little squares cut out, you are not far off! Once I got the top together, (no chain piecing mind you, I had no idea that was an option), my husband and I went to the local fabric store to get a quilt batt. I picked the puffiest polyester batt they had, then because I thought it should be softer, we got TWO of them and doubled it! (Cringe) Then, since the only quilts I knew about growing up were tied, I sewed it together and did the envelope thing and proceeded to tie it with YARN! Live and learn, that's all I can say! It was sooooooo big and puffy we had to put it in an appliance box to give it to them! Then I went back to regular and garment sewing for years. In a previous blog I describe the lovely ladies who started me on actual piecing and quilting. This quilt is still on my mother in laws spare bed, because for obvious reasons it's waaaaaaay too warm for her to actually sleep under. But she STILL thinks it's great! She points out the fabrics and tells the grandchildren where they are all from. I just hope no one who quilts ever sleeps over!
But, it's good to look back at that one and see how far I have come!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This is spring???

I didn't do it! This blizzard is not my fault! I did NOT put away our winter outer wear, I did NOT rake the leaves off of the flower beds, I did NOT get out the summer clothes. My husband did NOT take the chains off the tractor tires, so why is it snowing and blowing and otherwise yucky out??
Fortunately you cannot hear the wind in the picture nor can you feel the little ice crystals zipping into your skin.
On a brighter and more colorful note, the orange thing is my April abstract challenge. My first one!

It is kind of funny though, my first month in the challenge, because orange has never been my favorite color. But I reminded myself that I like oranges, and orange juice, so that's what I went with.

I'm making cupcakes and vegetable pizza tonight to take to my guild meeting tomorrow. I'm one of the hostesses for this month. It's good to have the oven going and be warm and safe and dry inside! I'm going to go do the machine side of the binding on a couple of quilts, and then I can cuddle up under them and sew. Bliss!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Cathy's quilt

Here is the picture of the quilt I referred to in the post about the registry of those not to give a quilt to. It's a super simple pattern, but I was really pleased with the effect. The picture is a bit dark, but you get the idea. My sweet father in law took the picture for me yesterday when we were all at my sister in laws house for Easter. She has it hanging over the banister at the top of their stairs so everyone can see.

I can't wait to give her the quilt I made for her and her new husband!

Dad also took a picture of the label I made for her.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

No, they are not rotten!

This year I had read several articles on using natural dyes for Easter eggs. Anything natural tends to intrigue me, so I made notes and got "ingredients" to make "Beautifully subtle colored eggs".

So, you may wonder why the picture shows eggs that look like they got left in the hen house for a couple of months.... Well, there is a good reason for that! Those articles were BOSH!

I got yellow Delicious apples for "a springlike, green yellow" color, red onions for a "beautiful purple", Cranberry juice for a "lovely shade of rose", and strong coffee for a "rich dark brown". I even bought 18 white eggs at the store instead of the usual brown ones I get from my local farmer.

As you can see none of them worked like the articles. The yellow apple skins turned the water the color of weak tea, this did nothing to the eggs. The cranberry juice and the red onions did indeed turn the water a bit pinkish, but as for what they did to the eggs, well it's almost best not mentioned. Those are the grayish ones. They also needed to have some slimy sort of film washed off afterwards. The coffee turned the eggs to a kind of brown color, pretty much like the eggs I normally get from that farmer!

We are feeling a bit hesitant about opening up the cracked ones, you know how the white ends up pink or purple or whatever color the eggs were in? I'm pretty sure these babies are not only going to look like last weeks garbage on the outside, but they are not going to be very appetising on the inside either.

Guess who is going to buy Paas egg dye again next year??? You got it!

Oh well, I hope anyone reading this had a lovely COLORful Easter!!

Post Script~~~~~~~~ at the grocery store today I stocked up on egg dye for next year! Good job me!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

What kind of quilter?

Hmm, the topic of the week was, what kind of quilter are you?

I think "what kind of quilter aren't I?" suits me more.

I found out a couple of years ago that I enjoy applique, I love piecing, I like paper piecing, I love machine quilting. I really love almost every part of quilting. I love the designing, and the dreaming, and finding just the right fabric. I even like to do mitered borders and sew the binding on. Is that weird?
I didn't always love to do the bindings, but a dear quilter friend helped me to enjoy that part too. She said that was her favorite part of quilting, the quilt is almost done, as you are sitting there sewing on the binding, you can see it up close and feel it, and that is the best thing, watching it all come together. Ever since then, I have loved sewing on the bindings.
The one quilting form I'm not too in love with is hand quilting.
My first attempt at hand quilting, wasn't what I would call a success. Actually it's sort of surprising I stuck with quilting after that one! It was my first "real" quilt. I had been inspired by a guild that came to the camp where I worked part time as a cook. I loved their show and tell on Sundays! Seeing all those neat projects was better than chocolate cake!

Several of the ladies there noticed our aprons, because I always put appliques on the fronts of them for fun. After a bit of talking to me, I joined right up.

I had been wanting to make a quilt for our youngest daughter who was 2 at the time. (she is almost 14 now) So, I got out a cat block pattern, went to the local quilt shop, got fabric, and away I went. The blocks turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Then came the part where you turn the top into a quilt. With no prior experience, I laid the back and the batting and the top out on my bed!
Then I pinned it together with....... ready for it? Diaper pins! Seemed to be holding together pretty good..... so I started HAND QUILTING IT. Having NEVER done this before I started to realize that this was going to take forever! I kind of put it away, well, I stuck it on a shelf.
Next project.....
After a year or so, my husband mentioned that I hadn't finished it yet. (he has no clue any more just how many UFO's I have, since I am not dumb enough to leave them out)
So anyway, I thought, "he's right, I need to just finish this while she still wants kitties". Thinking that hand quilting was taking way too much time, I thought I would combine hand and machine quilting. So parts are hand quilted, parts are machine quilted, and I probably don't even need to mention that there are a LOT of puckers on the back! Okay, maybe pleats and bulges is a better description! I did manage to get all those diaper pin holes closed back up though!
Honestly the strangest part about the whole thing, aside from the fact that I still love to quilt, is that this is still her favorite quilt! In fact when she has friends over or baby sits, it's the one everyone wants to cuddle with. The picture here is not great, it's the kitty one to the left. I used it one year in our quilt show quilt walk promotion. I would NEVER put it up at a show or anywhere that someone could come and actually look close at the workmanship, but it looks okay in the window!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

National registry

This morning as I was surfing some blogs, I read with great interest Kim's blog about the National Registry of those who should not be given quilts.
Goodness did that ring some bells! I swear our mothers may have been separated at birth!
Now history on my mother, I do love her. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about 5 years ago. She is not in the late stages, and can move around and generally take care of herself. Almost 3 years ago, she and my father moved to the veterans home in King, WI. This is truly a lovely place with very caring people. Still she was very resentful to be there, and not in her own home. So a year and a half ago I worked on a quilt for her, she had been a Master Gardener before she retired, so I collected a ton of flower prints and did a lattice type quilt with all of them. I was really pleased with it in the end. My favorite cousin did some beautiful floral quilting on it and I brought it to my mother. She didn't want to open it, then she didn't even touch it. She just said it would be too heavy and to take it away. I can't even begin to describe how that felt.
Fast forward to a month or so later. For some reason I showed it to my youngest sister in law, and she got that "quilt look" in her eyes. You know what I mean! She said, "Oh Mary that reminds me of Laddie Grandma". (the grandma on my husbands side) Needless to say, she got the quilt! And, she showed it to everyone in the family telling them, "isn't this just like Laddie Grandma?" I will try to get a picture of it to post here later. Another needless to say, when that same sister in law got married this winter, I had no problem working on a quilt for her and her new husband! More on that in a future post!

Monday, April 2, 2007

My Shelves are not bare!

I added this picture of my shelf quilt to the stashbusters site. I think this top is the most fun I have had lately! I collected fabric for my jars for years. At first it was just food, then I found some marbles, then some shells, office supplies, even cigars! I plan to sew colored buttons in one of the light blue jars, and white mother of pearl buttons in the other jar. The fabrics had been sitting in my drawer waiting for the time I would finally make this. This winter I decided to just do it! I made sure that I didn't sew the blocks together evenly because I wanted them to be sitting on the shelf just like they would be in real life. I thought about doing a realistic colored cat to sit on the bottom shelf, but then my husband gave me a blue flowered china cat, so I duplicated that instead. I also plan to stitch some silk ribbon flowers into the basket. of course, that means I need to get some silk ribbon, and then really pay attention to how those flowers are made. Well, it's not a UFO, but it's not going to be something I finish this month either.
I didn't crop this picture too much, because I always joke with my husband that someday I'm going to write a book called "All My Quilts have Feet" because every time we take pictures of my quilts there are someones feet sticking out the bottom. That train of thought leads me to a WHIMM that I want to do someday involving shoe blocks for a couple of my daughters who are shoe shoppers. Not something they got from me! I'd rather quilt than shop! Unless it's for fabric...........