Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's been a productive holiday season. I finished piecing three UFO's ("UnFinished Objects" to the non-quilters), and I was feeling pretty good about that until today when I decided I needed to catalog my UFO's...I have 15 UFO's! And all of them are projects I want to finish...nothing that I can declare dead and move on. So, my next step will be to look at them and see what I can complete this year. When I first started quilting, I took every class that came my way...I finished stuff, but I didn't worry about finishing everything I started since I was skill building (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!). As a result, I have 15 UFO's dating back to 2003!

So, during my little holiday break I finished a Christmas log cabin that was from a swap two years ago and a zig zag quilt that was my first sign-up class (after completing my beginner quilt classes). This was my oldest UFO, and now I only have one other from 2003. The Strips and Curves quilt is from a class with Louisa Smith in July, 2004. Here's the photo of the Strips and Curves...I'm about halfway through quilting it. I really like it! I'm not counting the Circle Bargello in those UFO's. I started quilting it, but decided to wait until January when I get my new Bernina!
I mentioned last time I posted that I had put my passport renewal in the it back by the next FRIDAY! It was definitely worth the $60 to not have to worry about it and to have it back so fast! And everybody LOVED the Obama postcard! I've had a few requests for a card, and requests for the digitized logo. I also played with the software over the holiday, and learned a lot about that, too! Oh - and I did finish my Carrie Steel Pitts quilt.
So I've got my quilting groove back! Getting stuff done again! 2009 is going to be a great creative year! Happy New Year to you, and wishing you a creative New Year!
Stitches and Hugs!
December 29th - 15 UFO's

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't blame me, I voted for, uh, the other guy

December 11, 2008 WASHINGTON -- There was a time, though admittedly it's hard to remember now, when George W. Bush was remarkably popular. So popular, in fact, that he easily won reelection four years ago, racking up what was the largest popular vote total for any presidential candidate until Barack Obama shattered it this year.
So it's a particularly amusing sign of how far the political climate has shifted that in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 33 percent of respondents admit to having voted for the guy twice, while 52 percent said they'd never voted for him at all. If that were actually true, of course, Bush would never have had the chance to run the country so firmly into the ground that people are now pretending they never liked him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I voted for "That One"

My last postcard for a while...the deadline for the "Sistah to Sistah, Try Something New" swap, hosted by my friend Rosie Chapman, was in SEPTEMBER, for goodness sakes! I just could not get motivated to work on cards...totally burned out! The theme of this swap was to experiment and try a new technique that you had not used before. I tried several new techniques, but none of them were worthy. Might have had something to do with my frame of mind. So the "try something new" for me was to digitize the Obama logo (which I downloaded from his website, and which is available for personal copyright violation!) in my Artista software, and designed this postcard in the software. I FINALLY put them in the mail Saturday, along with my passport renewal (with additional expedite fees for my procrastination!). When I came up with the idea it was very current, but I think the recipients will still appreciate the sentiment. I couldn't resist the Sarah Palin "you betcha" dig! Visit Rosie's website to see her work at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Let your haters be your motivators!

This is O. V.'s Christmas Ribbon quilt! Completed in about two weeks. Bound and quilted. It's beautiful! And all the other ladies are drinking hater-aid!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Back to quilting!

I'm trying so hard not to be worried...I know I need to let it go! Worrying doesn't accomplish anything...what will be, will be. Obama is as cool as a cucumber, while my blood pressure is off the charts! OK - letting it go. See...gone! Poof!

This photo is of me teaching a quilt class at my home...Hmmmm? Oh, OK - This actually is a photo of me sipping a Chocolate Martini...but we really did sew and we surpassed all our stated objectives for that day, AND I had a blast! Five of my sister Brown Sugar Stitchers came to learn how to make the Twisted Ribbon quilt...O.V. featured this quilt in her September newsletter and asked me to teach a class on how to make it. I can fairly comfortably fit five people into my sewing room when it's clean ("when it's clean"). We were joined by Cathy, Roz, Bessie and Marva. I made my world famous Apple Martinis, but no one wanted to try my Chocolate Martini...until they tasted it! I can't sew straight and drink, but my sisters can! And, no, I am not toasted...that's just the way I look with no makeup! You can see in the background that Roz and Cathy are actually working. Come to think of it, they were the two not drinking! O.V. took the photo on her cell phone. I can't wait to see the finished results of everyone's quilts! We're going to have show and tell in 2009.

Here's the recipe for the Chocolatini:

1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Godiva liquer
Whipped Cream and chocolate curl garnish.


Then last weekend I went to San Francisco for the O You are some photos from the Conference...

Regina, Me, Harriet

Harriet, Sandi, me, Ann, Barbara, Regina

The Queen...Oprah wasn't supposed to be there, but Gail talked her in to coming. She spoke at the end of the conference for about 30 minutes.

Me at the book store when I was supposed to be in a workshop!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final Debate Drinking Game

Drink once if McCain says "fundamental."

Drink once if McCain says, "My friends"

Drink once if McCain says, "I know how to do it." (Why didn't he tell his friend George Bush and why hasn't he done it?)

Drink once if Obama says "Wall street - Main street"

Drink once if McCain says "Reformer"

Drink once if McCain says "Maverick"

If McCain brings up Ayers, Wright, terrorists, drink the whole bottle!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hearts and Flowers

So - since last we met, I completed this hearts and flowers block for Linda, whose grandchild Baby Bear Pohler passed shortly after birth. Linda is on the CQ for Newbies list, and this is terribly over due. I hope in this case, it is the thought that counts. Linda's blog is The center bear is from the Embroidery Designs Online website.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sarah, Sarah...

OK, so I know it's supposed to be a blog about quilting...but, gosh darn it, I'm just going to bust if I don't say something about that doggone "debate" last night. I'm just going to talk straight to the American people. Did you watch last night? Let me give a "shout-out" to Palin - she wasn't terrible...she was able to put together a noun, a verb, and "maverick." After those Katy Couric interviews, I half expected her to not even be able to do that! But I betcha you are just as disappointed as I am that there wasn't a complete meltdown, darn it. On several occasions, she looked liked she was reciting from a cue card...but Oh! props to her for being able to say Ahmadinejad three times fast! Can't you just see the practice sessions for that? But, c'mon - is that the bar for VP of the United States? She didn't suck??? She managed to survive for 90 minutes by sticking to her cue cards? She "held her own" by mugging, winking, not answering the questions? Don't we already have one of those in office? This isn't "Dancing with the Stars." I was so happy to see Gwen Ifill as the moderator, but I wish Gwen had put her hand on her hip and said, "Girlfriend, will you please just answer the question? Don't make me come up there!" We all know that politicians have their spin, but I've never heard one flat out say in a debate, "I'm not going to answer the question." Isn't that what a debate is?

I can already see the Saturday Night Live skit! To be particularly effective, show it split screen with Tina Fey saying Palin's exact words, God bless 'er.

"Nuclear (Nuk-lar) weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet, so those dangerous regimes, again, cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear (nuk-lar) weapons, period."

When Gwen asked about the role of the Vice President, Biden was comfortable to say: "I would be the point person for the legislative initiatives in the United States Congress for our administration." Palin's answer was more abstract and obscure: "We have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation." What? Really?

And one of her caribou in the headlights moments: “That is not so, but because that's just a quick answer, I want to talk about, again, my record on energy — your ticket's energy ticket also. I think that this is important to come back to, with that energy policy plan, again, that was voted for in '05.”

Am I the only one who can't understand a word this woman is saying?

Please. Steve Harvey made a funny comment..."Your entire foreign policy experience can not be 'cause you can see Russia from your backyard. Hell, I can see the moon from my backyard, and that don't make me an astronaut!"

And how telling is it that she read in the paper (the good news is that apparently she does read them!) this morning that McCain is pulling out of Michigan? As Rachel Maddow says, "Somebody talk me down."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What happens when you give up wine...

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner. I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?"

"No, I had to stop drinking years ago," the homeless woman told me.

"Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?" I asked.

"No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked.

"Are you NUTS ?!" replied the homeless woman. "I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!"

"Well," I said, "I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight."

The homeless woman was shocked. "Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting."

"That's okay," I said. "It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up wine, shopping, and hair appointments!"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Latte Quilt

I bought the book for the Latte Quilt, a beautiful embroidered pattern by Kerrie Hay, about 3 or 4 years ago, but it was way too complex for my basic skills. Then last year, I scheduled a class at the Atlanta Sewing Center, but the instructor had to reschedule due to a death in her family, and my travel schedule got crazy, so I wasn't able to attend. How happy was I to see it on the class schedule this year! I rescheduled my trip to Arlington last week and took the first class, which was excellent! I learned so much! So this is the first block, and I can't get it to line up correctly. See how the bottom two pieces in the middle don't meet? The second one I did was off even more...I'm sure this has to do with how I'm placing the template.
Almost there! It's definitely an "Oh, wow!" piece, don't you think? I'm home for the next two weeks, so I should be able to get the top half sewn together. Right now it's just laid out on my design wall. Then I REALLY have to work on my Carrie Steele Pitts quilt! No, really!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh my! How pretty is this? I am loving this piece. Altho it does look like a giant Pac-Man. If I could be home for two seconds, I could finish it! I worked on this over the weekend, but work, the Post Office, and life interrupted any concerted effort. The missing four pieces are because I wasn't paying attention, and cut those wedges upside down. So I have to sew another set of strips. But, tomorrow night I have the "Latte Quilt" class, and I have to get my stuff assembled for it tonight, and I leave for DC on Wednesday, back on Friday. Hopefully I can get this finished this weekend, because I need to work on my Carrie Steele Pitts quilt. But I am very happy with the way this is coming along!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Oooooh, pretty! I just l-o-v-e love
bargello quilts.
I love the movement, the colors, and the fact that they are so dang easy but look so hard. "All those little pieces." When I was in Denver in July to see the Sisters of the Cloth exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Jessica took me to a quilt store where this quilt was hanging as a sample for a class. I bought the ruler and the book on the spot. Turns out, the book has been around since 2001! I don't know how I missed that one. The color is off in this photo, but the top is yellows, oranges, and deep reds, and looks like a sunrise...or a sunset. Maybe 12 of the 18 fabrics were in my stash, and I had to go in search for the others to fill in the gaps. (Awwww---poor baby!) If I weren't going to L.A this weekend to visit my friend Pam, I could easily finish piecing this. I won't be back until THURSDAY, so my little fingers will be itching to get to this when I return.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Whatcha been up to, Girl? Where ya been? Well, Life got a little crazy. One of the things I did since last we blogged, was to go to a retreat in California with my guild in Oakland. I was too lazy to take my sewing machine, so I took this quilt, where I finished 3/4 of the binding. I like to blindstitch the binding on by hand, so it does take a minute or two. It took a few hours last night to complete it.

This quilt is called Ramblin' Rose with Guacamole and Extra Salsa on the Side, and it was designed by Marti Michell. The floral fabric with the black background is the Ramblin' Rose fabric, and it was also designed by Marti. It was quilted on a longarm by Melinda Fulkerson, who also taught the class. I didn't love the fabric, but I wanted to learn the kaleidoscope technique, and it was easier to do that with Marti's fabric and directions than trying to start from scratch. Marti is a genius - it is amazing the way everything fit together perfectly. You should try her templates!

There are a few blocks that don't line up as well as I would like, but I'm going with the galloping horse theory on those. The galloping horse theory in quilting is that if the mistake can't be seen from a galloping horse, then don't worry about it. The point being not to obsess over the small stuff. I will rip a seam out in a heartbeat when it's wrong, but I decided to let these go. So what had happened was, I have my Bernina set to sew a scant 1/4 inch seam - the needle is moved one stop over to the right from center. I don't even think about it any more. Halfway through this quilt, I had to take my baby into the shop because she was skipping stiches (funny story that...when I took the machine in, the woman asked if I had changed the needle recently, the implication being that it was skipping because the needle needed to be replaced. I told her I had, and actually it had started skipping right after that. When I got the machine back, the technician said that I hadn't pushed the needle all the way in. Amazing how that works! "It started right after I changed the needle.") I had to use my backup machine while she was in the shop, which wasn't set up to sew a scant 1/4 inch, and which I completely forgot about. So the blocks that are off are the ones that aren't a scant 1/4 inch. Scant being the operative word in that sentence.

This quilt is for my Aunt Dot, my Mom's sister, who taught me to sew. I remember her teaching me like it was yesterday, and she doesn't remember it at all. Some of my favorite and happiest childhood memories center on my Aunt Dot. At one point in our young lives, my Mom and Aunt Dot lived together. She had three kids, Mom had two, and we all lived in a two (maybe three) bedroom house together. I only think three bedrooms because I can't imagine all those people in two bedrooms, but my memory is two bedrooms. Her birthday is Saturday, and I can't believe I actually have completed something on time for the actual event!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

H is for hamsa. The hamsa (Arabic: خمسة, Khamsa‎, literally "five") is a symbol used in amulets, charms and jewelry to protect against the "evil eye." An alternative Islamic name for this charm is the Hand of Fatima or Eye of Fatima, in reference to Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Muhammad. The hamsa is widespread in Arab countries, and is sold in many different forms especially in the marketplaces of Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. I bought a silver one in Morocco.

This is my H postcard for artsnthemail, so once again I'm all caught up...but I'm stuck on "I." I is cream, igloo, idiot (I could do idiot and use a photo of W, the all-time village idiot.) Hmmm...I'll have to sleep on it...then I think I'll take a break from postcards for a while. I haven't done much all year besides postcards.

Just finished this postcard for the AA Veteran's Swap - I finished all the parts a couple of weeks ago, well within the deadline, but then I started all my travels. I put it all together today. The photo is then Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, a West Point graduate, with some of the Tuskegee Airmen in front of a P-51 named By Request. The name comes from the fact that once the Tuskeegee Airmen earned their wings, they were derided by the white Air Corps. But white bomber crews went from making fun of the Tuskegee fighters to requesting them for escort on hazardous runs. The tenacious cover provided by the 332nd "Red Tail" fighters often discouraged enemy fighter pilots from attacking bombers escorted by the fighters. The Tuskegee Airmen won more than 850 medals, including 150 Distinguised Flying Crosses, eight Purple Hearts, and 14 Bronze Stars, among many others. The bravery of the Tuskegee Airmen paved the way to the future, so that others like my husband, Major Alwyn Walton (U.S. Air Force, Ret) could have the opportunity to live their dreams of flying.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yay! I have finally finished a CQ block! Remember that thing about nicest of the nice? One of the ladies on the CQ list (Lori) has gotten an unexpected kidney transplant, and our first "Hearts and Flowers Showers" goes to her. All those who sign up will send a block to Lori with the theme of "Hearts and Flowers." Hope she likes it!

I made the center heart motif using a pre-programmed heart already in my Bernina. I thought about what I would feel like if I had received a new kidney, and the most profound feeling was gratitude. In addition to hearts and flowers, I wanted to shower her with blessings and joy! Congratulations, Lori! And if you want to know about Lori, check out her blog over at Lori does amazing cross-stitch work!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Brown Sugar Stitchers Quilt Guild has an annual tea. You must wear a hat (What? No Gloves?) and there is a challenge. Last year, the challenge was to make a pincushion, and this year, the challenge was to do something related to tea. Postcard, wallhanging, my original idea was to make a beaded tea pot wallhanging, but I could see I wasn't going to finish in time. Lesa on the CQ list posted a Crazy Quilt teapot a while back, and I decided I could do that quickly, using the clip art pattern I already had and a block I had already started. It turned out smaller than I anticipated, and the teapot lid looks like a beret,'s done! Here's the inspiration teapot:

How do you like that real tea bag? Too clever!

More goodies, just for being the 400th member to join the Crazy Quilting for Newbies group! I think I'm set for life! I still can't get over the generosity from these ladies. And notice all the brights and HONKIN ORANGE! It would take me a lifetime to accumulate the variety of fabrics, trims, and threads they have shared. My heart is touched and I am grateful from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

All caught up now on swaps! I got a little overconfident and started signing up for more than one swap. My thought for the alphabet series was that I would work on the catch up group, as well as join the in-progress group, and meet somewhere in the middle of the alphabet. I guess I'm not organized enough, but that ain't working for me, so I'm going back to just working through the alphabet in order. This is "S is for Swirls", and I just found out I'm not past due on it, but early! It's not due until July 15th! A mind is a terrible thing to waste. And in the words of Dan Quayle, what a waste it is to lose one's mind.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back from Morocco, had a fantabulous time,
pictures to be posted later. First, I have to get caught up. Woke up this morning at 4 am (after going to bed at midnight), so decided to get up and work on my fabric postcards. This is my "G"- for Girlfriends. If there is anything cuter than these two, I don't know what it is! It didn't turn out as cute as I thought it would, so it's not my new favorite, but I'm happy with it.

And also finished my 1 to 1 for Fabricards - "Going in Circles" - love using that circle attachment.

My friend, Susan is here from California on business, but she stayed over an extra day because we haven't seen one another in 3 or 4 years. Going to pick her up, turn her rental car in, tour the CNN Center, have lunch, then take her to the airport. Hopefully I can stay awake tonight - although a lot of good that did me last night!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Most quilters are the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, and I have met the nicest of the nice, at the Crazy Quilters for Newbies group. I love this statement from the coordinator of the heart swap:

"Our group has many dear ladies on it, and I ask that if you are disappointed with your swap heart, then please keep your feelings to yourself. Every stitch in these hearts will have been made with the greatest of intentions, the grandest of planning and labor from the heart. "

Yes! A kindler, gentler Yahoo group!

I was the 400th member to join the group, and as my reward, a bunch of people have sent me goodies to build my CQ stash! But they're not doing it just for me...any new person who joins can post an email and some of the members will be a "starter stash" package in the mail. Getting the mail every day is like Christmas, and they are sooo generous! Here are photos of some of the stuff they have sent, just out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts!

This postcard took waaay too long to doesn't look like it, but it did! This wasn't my original design, but the original design didn't work, so after playing around with it, here's where I ended up. This is for the Black Music Month swap for the AA Quilters. My chosen topic was Nina Simone. Yes, that is Nina Simone! I loved that coquettish pose, very different from the usual photos you see of her. My original design was the usual side shot of her stunningly beautiful profile, and I was going to make a fabric head wrap to give it a 3-D effect, but it so did not work out. I did use that photo on the back, but I can't show it here because the address of the recipient shows. OK - on to the other 4 I have to finish! And have I done anything for Morocco yet?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

This is the "sane" quilt I have most recently finished. The fabrics are all batiks, and I named it "Batik Sun Dance" because the quilting makes each block look like a dancing sun to me. It was quilted by Melinda Fulkerson with a really pretty variegated thread. Verrry happy to have another UFO crossed off the list!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oooh, I forgot about this one...this was my favorite was my "C" - is for Circles. Drawing these circles was too much fun. The green and rust stripes are actually left over from a border for my Batik Sun Dance quilt. Way to use up those scraps, Girlfriend!

This was a frustratingly fun card to do...the theme was Abstract, and this is "In the Style of Mondrian."
Speaking of using leftovers, this card is from an "Orphan blocks" swap. The idea is to recycle blocks which are leftover for whatever reason, and these are leftover from a "Stripes and Curves" quilt I didn't finish. So maybe technically they are not orphans? We were talking about "Honkin' Orange" on the CQ list...aren't these pretty? How could you not love Orange????

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I barely have time to sew, let alone write about sewing. But, I recently got bitten by the Crazy Quilting bug, and all of the members of the Yahoo group I joined have blogs, so I figure if they can do it, I can do it!

I tried to start a blog ages ago, but Ms. Technology couldn't figure it out. And, besides there's the time issue thingie, plus, who wants to read about what someone else is doing? Well, I do - I can get lost for hours reading someone else's blog!

So my first post is about the Heart Swap for Crazy Quilting for Newbies, the Yahoo group I just joined (more about that later). The swap hostess, Sue, posted that the swap was at the deadline, but she would hold the swap open for a day or so if anyone else wanted to join. Well, I don't have enough to do, so I joined the swap, and got busy sewing. Here is my heart:

This is an Ermine stitch and French knots at the top left of the block. Don't ask me how long this took...for-freaking-evah! The Ermine stitch is just a straight stitch with two side cross stitches, but the challenge is in making those cross stitches even.

My very first stitches on a block!


And here she is with a Herringbone stitch and pretty red beads at the top of each stitch. You can barely see it, but I'm very pleased with this so far. This block is begging for some pretty silk ribbon roses, which I just didn't have time to do, but when I get it back, I'll put some on. Off this goes in the post tomorrow to Sue and she will swap it out for someone else's block for me to work on. How fun is this?
And before I go to bed, here's the current postcard for a swap for another Yahoo group, Artsnthemail. We make fabric postcards, little pieces of art that go through the mail like a postcard. We're doing an alphabet series, and this is "F is for Folded Fabric." I got the idea from the book "Folded Fabric Elegance" by Rami Kim. The fabric is pearlized with metallic paint and it is just so pretty - I almost didn't want to use it! This is my favorite card so far, but I have a fabulous idea for G and I 'spect that one is going to be my new favorite.