Thursday, December 07, 2006

'Tis the Season!

First of all, I want to say Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings... But MERRY CHRISTMAS.

As usual this season zooms by so fast that I hardly know which end is up. We just got back from Atlanta over Thanksgiving where practically everyone from my side of the family showed up at my daughters home. We had people sleeping in just about every room (nobody was sleeping in the bathrooms or kitchen!)

Learned something new about cooking turkeys. My sister in law Laurie suggested that we cook that 20 lb. turkey at 500 degrees, that it would cook in about a third of the time. After looking on the internet a little we compromised on the 450 degree method, and I do believe this was one of the most juicy and tender turkeys ever!

Having smaller number of family coming at Christmas. I don't have much left in the way of vacation, so will be sticking pretty close to the house except for a short trip up to Tulsa to visit Jon's family. We're not planning much in the way of decorations this year. Jon has turned a bit bah-humbug and no longer feels the need to do outside lights since we moved to Houston. Oh well.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Print Your Own Quilt Labels

OK, making your own quilt labels is pretty simple, but there are a few important steps to acheive the Permanent for these labels.

Start with some regular muslin (bleached or unbleached), (and I would leave the Downey or other fabric softeners out for these)

Get a 13"x9" glass cake pan (or a kitty litter pan) I have to emphasize that you should not use these pans for eating (or the kitty) after this process.

Put one or more layers of the muslin in the bottom of the pan.

Pour Bubble Jet Set over fabric, making sure the fabric is totally wet.
Squeeze out excess Bubble Jet Set and let the fabric dry.

Find a container, mark contents with permenant marker, pour the excess Bubble Jet Set in it. (don't use anything you might store food in).

After fabric is dry, iron onto freezer paper.

Using your 'Paper' Rotary Cutter, slice your fabric and paper into 8.5" x 11" sheets (use a sheet of printer paper as template).

Following your printer instruction (i.e. face up or face down), print your original label design in color or black and white. With some advanced preparation, you might fit more than one label on the 8.5 x 11 sheet.

After giving the the ink a few minutes to dry (you can use a hair dryer), iron with a hot iron - no steam, but do not scorch.

Here is the important part that is need to make it permanent.

After peeling off the freezer paper, pour some 'HOT' water into pan. Add a teaspoon of Retayne. Swoosh it around in the solution. I would just put one sheet of labels in the water at a time - don't stack or let the fabric fold back on itself.

Soak for about 10 minutes (don't get excited if you see a bit of the ink/color leach out). Remove the fabric and rinse it in cool water. Dry it, cut to the desired size (don't forget to leave seam allowance if folding under) and attach to your quilt. If you have more than one sheet of labels, you might need to add a little more of the RETAYNE to the pan.

The secret ingredient is the RETAYNE solution, but is much easier to use than the ash and other chemicals that dyers use. (I usually have it available in in EBay store).

Monday, May 08, 2006

Goin' to IMQA - Machine Quilters Showcase

Just one more day then we hop the plane to Kansas City. The annual show in KC for LongArm Quilters. Going with 3 of my best buddies for several days of classes, lectures, shopping and quilts! What could be better?

This is a great chance to just get away, overdose on quilts, and getting totally inspired to take on new projects and improve the skills. Since our move, I haven't had a chance to get the machine going again. Finally decided that nothing was going to happen til I got back from this trip.

My daughter just finished up the artwork for our local quilt guild quilt show that is coming up next March. Ta - Da .. Here it is:

Friday, April 28, 2006

Random Stripe Generator

Found this cool website today. It is a Random stripe generator. Think it is supposed to be for designing knit projects, but how cool is this to play with???

These are also the colors that I'm making a baby quilt for a gal at work that is due in July. These are FUN colors! Can't help but smile when I look at them.

Finally getting the new studio in order. It was a bit traumatic because my computer and office things are a complete different floor than the studio. That is really going to take some getting used to. I guess I'm having separation issues :(

Monday, April 03, 2006

New Quilting Studio !

Everything is physically moved to the new house. Now the hard work begins! Trying to figure out where to put everything. Here is a hint when packing up. Label the box where you want the box to GO, NOT where it came FROM... Why you ask? Well, if you had packed a box and put it into storage, the movers think those boxes go to the garage because they must not be important. Now, I have to lug all those 'de-cluttering' boxes to the upstairs studio.

Ahhh, the new studio... right now, I'm scared to go up there. I need to get everything organized and what if it doesn't all fit? I plan to be very organized! IKEA is having a sale, and I might have to find some cabinets to store some things if I can't get Jon to build them for me.

As soon as I can FIND the camera, I will take some pictures!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Selling Your House . . . What Clutter???

Any quilter that has ever put their house up for sale, has heard those words, 'but you must reduce the clutter' then they look at you - then at your sewing studio. Hubby looks at me as well indicating the 'clutter' of my studio is what is going to take the most work! It's not clutter, it's creativity strewn about. Then came the next pronouncement about finishing up customer quilts, because we need to get the longarm quilt machine OUT of the dining room (auxillary studio room 2).

Then you start boxing up ALL that fabric (so that's where that piece of brown went). You start to realize that you've got fabric you haven't seen for 10 years. What's nice about this move is that I was able to do some sorting and probably the biggest thing is having my studio be in 1 room instead of across 3.

Last time we moved the movers just threw everything in together, I found quilts at bottom of a box with bathroom stuff on top in box labeled bathroom). I was able to put all my feedsacks and vintage fabrics together, purse/totebag 'makings', UFO's, 30's fabric, civil war fabric, quilt tops, ready to quilt and so on.

I was also able to get rid of lots of things (so there will be room for more). Thread. I got a lot of thread from when my mom died. Most of it I gave to Laurie, but some I kept for the serger. Well, I don't use the serger much, and had about 30 spools of polyester serger thread that I put on eBay and sold in lots. That auction ends later today. Looks like there are lots of watchers, so expect lots of activity on that just before it closes. I've also got a bunch of older quilting thread that I got when I bought the old machine. They are types of threads that I just don't use, and haven't used the past couple of years. I think I will sell those in lots on ebay as well.

I cut a couple of boxes of fabric into strips and blocks and are ready to make some scrappy quilts. Some of it will make good backings for charity quilts.

Monday, March 27, 2006

If I Only Had Grandkids!

Since I don't have any grandkids, the girls at work benefit from my need to make baby quilts. Several ladies from my Friday Bee did the Shop Hop on a bus this past Saturday. Had a blast, found more batiks and my special project of a baby quilt for Marna. Now, she is not due until July, but you never know. Her only request is that I use Lime Green, Bright Lemony Yellow and Bright Orange! Since she doesn't know if it's going to be a boy or girl, didn't really want pinks or blues.

Take a look at these! I just can't help but smile when I look at them. I hope she will like them as well. Of course, I bought more fabric than I need for a baby quilt, but since I was hitting quilt shops that I don't normally get to visit, I had to get while the getting was good. Most of these came from Quakertown Quilts in Friendswood, Texas.

Now, I just have to figure out what pattern to use? Any suggestions?

Enthralled by Batiks

For years I have pointedly avoided buying any batiks. It's not like I don't have enough (who has enough??) fabric. Oranges, Reds, Purples. . . those aren't ANY colors that I'm used to using. I'm so traditional, playing safe with the 30's reproduction quits, and some of those beautiful muted colors of the 1800s.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, some of my longarm quilting buddies and I went to a semi-local quilt shop (Plain and Fancy just North of Houston). Those batiks just reached out and bit me. Obsessed over choices and picked out 25 fat quarters and some yardage.

This picture shows the inspiration piece and the fat quarters I picked to go with them.

I sat playing with them, trying figure out what I could make with them. I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH!!!

So then, I started googleing batik quilts. Discovered Judy Niemeyer. OMG! Have you seen some of her quilts? Now, anyone that knows me knows I don't do paper piecing, but... I've got a couple of her patterns on order. I thought about starting with 4th of July, but think I'll start with Indian Summer before attempting the 4th of July quilt!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Happy Anniversary !

Jon and I are celebrating 29 years of marriage today. At the time we got married, 29 or 30 years into the future did not even compute! Heck, at that time, we thought that life would be over by the time we reached age 30. We would have done it all, and what would be the point after that! All I have to say is that 'life' the past few years have been so much better than my wildest imagination from the 70's. Yes, things are different than what I thought they would be, I thought my parents would always be around... Who would of thought I'd be living in Texas and looking forward to becoming a grandmother of all things!!!

We finally have a closing date for the new house. March 31. Yesterday, I started having a bit of 'buyers remorse' wondering what the heck we were doing, buying a new house, a new mortgage and all that goes with it. I love the house we're in, but we are both tired of having the quilting machine in the dining room. This new place will give both of us 'workshop' or studio type areas that we can quilt our quilts or build airplanes. Only problem is that now we have to work a few more years so that we can afford this new place. So much for retirement!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Christmas is Finally over!

Well, Christmas 2005 is finally done! My poor brother graciously agreed to 'wait' for his Christmas present - I finally got it quilted and the binding is on it! I took it to quilt guild this evening, and everyone seemed to like it. I was really pleased with the way the quilting turned out on it. Of course, I used Mother Goose quilt thread - a great color of brown that just blends with everything.

I'll post pictures next time!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Jon Tries Quilting !

As a surprise Christmas gift for Jon's parents, I took a quilt that I already had peiced and since the whole family was here, talked everyone into taking turn at quilting! I've had quilting machine for several years, but have not been able to get Jon to try his hand at it! Well, with all the pressure from me and the kids - here he is! From that little grin - I think he is enjoying himself!

Grandma was very touched by the sentiment that having everyone took a turn with the quilting.

Getting Caught Up.

I'm little slow finishing up Christmas presents for 2005 (or maybe just early for 2006?) My brother and his wife are very forgiving, and seemed thrilled to be getting one of my quilts. When I talked to Laurie a few days ago, she mentioned that she only had one of my grandmother's quilts. A yo-yo quilt. I'm pretty sure it would have been done in elongated flower format(grandmother flower garden layout but add another yo-yo to make diamonds). I vaguely remember seeing several of those over the years at my grandma's house or at my mom's.

Anyway, the quilt top is complete, I'm working on the backing, and hope to have the quilt loaded on the Gammill tomorrow. Still trying to decide how to quilt it. Laurie is an expert seamstress, and I'm a bit intimidated by the thought of her inspecting my work!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

I've had a website for years, and decided that it was time to take that next step and here I am! Way too easy, and hopefully very easy to maintain!

By way of introduction, I'm a quilt addict! There! I've admitted it, and now we can move on! I've been quilting since about 1978 when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. We lived in upstate New York, and was pretty much snowed in from December until March. We had one television station (ABC). I had to do something or go nuts. I found a McCalls magazine that was all quilts (I still have it) and found Aunt Sukies Quilt. Since I didn't have any fabric stash, I went down to Zayre's (kind of like TG&Y) and found a bunch of fabric (of unknown content) for 77 cents a yard. Thought that was kind of expensive - but thought - what the hay! Bought a wide variety of colors and prints, a package of big needles, a yellow sheet (for the backing of course!) and the thickest batting I could find. I was ready to make a quilt!

I had been sewing clothes my whole life, so had no problem following the minimal instructions, and soon had a quilt top completed. I was able to get the layers together pretty well and basted them together. ( I had learned that much from listening to my grandmother). Bought a quilt hoop, and sat down to quilt. had the hardest time tryign to make those stitches, so I ended up doing a " stab and poke" method. The top of the quilt looked great - but the bottom - think\\\\\\\\\\ Each stick was a pretty good sized slash mark. Oh well, I learned a lot on that quilt. Still remember my grandmothers' laughter as I described my progress over the phone.

I'm sure it was a joke, but about a week later a box full of Double Wedding Ring pieces that were left over from my great grandmother arrived in the mail. There was a note in there that choosing a more challenging quilt would expose me to every pitfall and by the time I finished I would be an expert. ( I still have those pieces in that same box!!!)

I put in at least 40 hours a week at my 'day job' as a web developer, specializing in classic ASP and database (SQL) programming. Besides quilting and my family I also like to do family history, and am the offical keeper of the info for our family. I have another website with over 500 pages that is strictly family history for several family names, but primarily the SCARLETT, TALLMAN, MARSH, KILLEN, SEAY and MOORMANN names. More on that at another time.