Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Week End

Well we survived another Thanksgiving in the desert. It was a lot of fun and no one got hurt.  We took all the dirt bikes and both quads. At one point, had three of the four kids with us.  Oldest son and his wife and Mr. M came up there, so did Mr. College (youngest son) and of course, Miss Zebra (youngest daughter).  We did some riding, did some eating, even did a little shooting.  That was fun, first time in many years that I had fired my dad's pistol.  Thanks to my daughter in law's uncle, we had targets that looked like a masked intruder to aim at.  Once I remembered how to hold the pistol, I have a tenancy to let the barrel angle high instead of straight, I was all about hitting that dude.  I got him straight in the chest, the middle of the throat, and right between the eyes.  Would have aimed between his legs for the fun of it, but that part wasn't on the target.

I did some work on my cross stitch project.  I only took one project this trip to work on. I normally take several with all the best intentions, but only really work on one, so only one went with me.  I stitched like crazy though, when we weren't out shooting or riding.
It drives me crazy how slow this goes, as compared to a quilt I can start, make, complete in a couple of days time.  But, at least it is starting to show at least one shape.  The wise man is looking pretty solids now as is the manager.  I find that I am not really agreeing with the names of the colors, and they are a little bit confusing as I have a really hard time telling the slight changes in shades.  Such as the difference between dark taupe, medium taupe, light taupe and pale taupe.  Now the difference between the dark taupe and pale taupe I get.  The difference between the light taupe and pale taupe...not so much.  In fact, some of the colors seem to be the same even next to each other, but then when I do a larger portion of the design that is all the same color, I tend to see in my mind that there are two different colors.  I know it is just a trick of the eye, and lighting, but it still BUGS the crap out of me.

If you look close at the photo, the right side of the project has a straight line except for one lone stitch by itself.  That is not a mistake.  The straight line happens to be where that page of the chart ends.  The little stitch by itself is where I will line up the next page of the chart.  This is the project that I thought I would never be able to finish because I had lost the chart.  I had all the thread, but no directions.  On eBay I found a few kits, but they were wanting on average $30 to $35 for the kit.  Now, that really isn't that bad for this type of kit, but I just needed the chart.  A very kind internet friend of mine wrote me that she had that exact kit, but had not started on it yet.  She scanned the chart and mailed it to me.  It scanned a little weird, in several letter size sheets, but that made the chart larger and easier to read.  I picked the middle sheet of the design, since that is where I had already worked a good part of the project.  It worked out so well that from now on, all my counted cross stitch projects I am going to scan this way to work on them.

I have also learned that I am going to identify my threads a bit better from the start.  I saw this really cool thread organizer, came with symbol cards to place in it with the thread.  I am however wondering if the same symbols would be used all the time. I guess there is a common set of symbols, just change the color.  The cards are black and white so any color could be delegated to any symbol.
My only problem is that I would want an organizer for each project and they are a bit pricey to get more than one.  However, if you were only taking one on a trip with you, or only working on one at a time, it would be great.

I do have a major complaint with Herrschners though. Two weeks ago, I placed a few orders with them.  They were having free shipping for orders over $35.  And by a few I mean four.  The first order I placed was for an embroidery stand.  I have really been looking forward to having it arrive since I am sure it will be very helpful with handling a project while I work on it.  I ordered it, thinking it would be processed the following day.  This was my first time to order with them.  It was not even processed until 5 days later, and then it took another 5 days for it to be shipped.  The crazy thing is, the fourth order I placed was processed and shipped the following day.  I was emailed confirmation and tracking number for that order.  So I called and was told that I had hit during inventory on the first orders. I told her that this was my first time to order with the company and asked if this was common for the processing to be delayed and the shipping.  She was rather rude to me, just saying that it was not.  The other three orders were for some kits that were on sale.  Like I really need more projects.  But I am sure that when I am ready to work on them they will either have been discontinued or out of stock.  So, I jumped on the chance to get them at a sale price.  The kits will be hitting the first part of the week, according to tracking the frame is still in IL.  I just don't understand why the first order was the last to be processed and sent.  Makes me think twice about doing much more business with them.

To end on a bright note, I played a little more with my PC Stitch 10.  I want to convert a photo into a counted cross stitch chart, but am still trying to figure out how to do that.  I learned some new things this morning, but need to work through the tutorials a little more before I try a chart of my own.  Oh well, just takes time I guess.

Thanks for stopping by to visit, come again soon.  I have to get off the computer and put some work clothes on and go unload the food from the trailer.  I am hoping that hubby will get the RV put back in storage soon. I am tired of it sitting on our curb.  High hoe, high hoe, it's off to work I go so I can spend the evening stitching til I drop.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Showing Progress...A Little Anyway

Thought I would just post an update on my progress for the crafting home front.  The room is almost finished.  I brought in the new rocker, only to find it was busted.  The wood frame was broken completely apart in one section.  I took it back to the store and was refunded the money.  Since that store didn't have any more, was going to go to a different store location to get the same chair, but ended up going to the storage unit and brought home mom's little rocker.  It fits the space perfectly, but doesn't quite fit me.  Not sure exactly what it is, but my legs just don't quite fit, not long after sitting in the rocker, they feel like they are going to sleep from the knee down.  Reminds me of sitting too long on a tail gate or the top rail of a fence.  At any rate, I moved it closer to the wall, not so much room to rock, but seems to let my body sit better.  Will give a few weeks to see how it works out.  Maybe I just need to get used to it a bit.

I was having a heck of a time with the lighting as well, so bought one of those clamp on lamps and moved things around on the shelves so I could clamp it on with out it getting anything warm. You know, books or fabric or machines.  That part is working really great.  I still have to remove one chest of drawers to make room for a smaller chest and mirror set in mom's stored things.  Then, it will be pretty much a matter of boxes to go through and will be done with all of mom's things. That will be a good day when all of that is behind me.  

On to other news.

Both of these UFO projects are now trash.  The mailboxes was a crewel embroidery kit that I bought and started in the late 70's.  I had changed the address on the mailbox twice.  Thought about trying to finish it up, still had all the thread for it and the directions, but on closer inspection found that a significant amount of the stitches had worn apart and broken at the edges where it came in and out of the fabric.  The thread for the project was not in any better shape so...I dumped it all.  It had some sentimental memories attached that I didn't want to carry around either.

The second project, the hose, after doing a considerable amount of work on I found that I had stitches several rows off from where they should be, rows missing completely and sets of stitches where they shouldn't be.  The whole thing was going to end up looking like a photo torn apart and put back together...but not quite matching. So...I scrapped it as well.  I still have the chart and most of the thread, so went and bought some new cloth and will start over from the beginning, but not until I get a few things finished up.  I didn't toss it though, there is quite a bit of empty cloth at the bottom that I can use for some smaller designs.

Besides, I went a little nuts and bought several kits that were on sale so now have enough to keep me busy for about three years.  Longer, considering how long it takes me to stitch.  Also, since I have the PC Stitch 10 software, am thinking about using some family photographs to make some charts.  Since they are my photos, am thinking about making them in to charts and with the addition of cloth and thread, sell as a kit.

On a more positive note.  Thankfully a very kind person was able to provide me with a chart to finish my Nativity project.

My camera has quit, bought a new one, but it is not raking a very clear image for some reason. However, you can see that there is not a lot of progress, considering how long I have been working on it, but there is some positive progress.  At least this project has had no major mistakes on it.  Everything has been where it is supposed to be.  With the exception of one little set of stitches, about four all together, so I just stitched the correct  color thread on top of them.  It will be my humility patch so to speak.  Yes, I know that one is not supposed to do that, suppose it can be stated that it would break down the threads, warp the weave or such, but I just don't mind.  The finished project is for me, for my own personal use after all.

I wonder, when I am dead and gone, what my kids will think about all the stuff their mom has attached to and whether or not they will just end up trashing it all, or some of it, as I have been doing with my mom's things?  That thought would have bothered me at one time, just as it has bothered me to discard some of my mom's things.  But in the long run, the grand scheme of things, it just doesn't seem to matter any more.  Maybe that is what I am telling myself to get through the holidays.  I think that Christmas is going to be very tough.

Well, off to get a little something done while the grand baby sleeps.  Thank you for stopping in and come again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Busy Bee I Am

Busy as a bee I have been.  I have gotten all the fabric from storage shed and storage unit all refolded to match the shelf size and organized by color, cottons and flannels.  I found so many lost projects that I will not have to start any thing new for a year or more.  Of course I will, but just saying. It sure feels good to have it all where I can get to it and use it.

Now, to update things.  I have received some of my quilt book purchases.  One book in particular I am extremely well pleased with.  It has 101 patterns to use with rotary cutting, I have put sticky tabs on about half of them to make in the future.  I also received my calendars form Piecemakers.  I can tell I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew with them, but I just love them and of course it is not so overwhelming when you look at it being a block each month.

My PC Stitch arrived and is loaded on the computer.  Will have to work a bit to figure that one out, but I will.  For the moment, I have a half dozen counted cross stitch projects in various stages of completion, none of which are really very far along actually.  Also have about five or so cross stitch kits as well.  I have quickly come to the conclusion that I need a lap frame, or hands free I think it is called.  I would get the floor model, but feel it would be make me have to lean up or such and make my back hurt.  I also need to head to Jo-Ann's or Michael's and buy a couple of more hoop frames.  Yesterday, I was actually able to sit and stitch once again and choose my Victorian house kit to work on.
I worked a few hours, over a hundred stitches.  Yes I know I am slow.  At any rate, after finishing a good little section I realized I used the wrong color thread.  Thought about leaving it, just changing from that point on to the correct color, but in the end decided to do it right and play frog and stitching in the correct color, so went to bed at 2 am thinking I just wasted the whole evening. Today, while Mister M was sleeping, I was able to get back to the point I was at before ripping out, and added a good amount more. I must in all honesty admit, it makes a dramatic difference in the look of the project.  It doesn't seem like much more has been added since this photo was taken, but I know it has.  I even found a small section that I had done back when I started and that was about 2 rows off in one direction that I decided to rip and do over to get those stitches where they belonged.  Something like that could throw off the whole design, and I just couldn't figure out a way to correct it other wise.  I am well pleased with what I did do.  I would have kept going a little longer tonight, but I am rubbing my stitching arm raw moving it from front to back of the frame and my free hand is holding the frame, my wrist is going out with it.  That is why I am getting the hands free frame.  I do have a project on a scroll frame that I have not started a single stitch on as yet, and am thinking I will put it up for a while and then transfer the house project over to it.

I received my AccuQuilt Go and finally able to play with it a bit.  Took it to the quilt meeting last week and used it to cut 6-1/2 inch squares.  There is a bit of learning curb with that thing, but I do like it so far.  In fact, will be placing an order soon for some more dies, shapes actually.  I will be using it a lot though, I can already see. Just need to figure out how to place my fabric so the print or design of the fabric is cut straighter.  My stripes are running a bit wonky on some.

I have also bought a new table and rocker for the sewing room.  I was using a card table, which worked fine, just a little too big for the space.  I went cheap and bought a plastic folding table, it is a rectangle and working so much better.  I will be moving the recliner out to the garage tomorrow and bringing in my new one before I go get Mister M.  I am also working on storage options as I want to get rid of a set of dresser drawers that I have full in this sewing room.  A lot of the stuff can go to storage, some can go to Goodwill.  I have a little chest and mirror that was mom's that I want to bring in to replace it.  Much smaller, more compact.  Speaking of the craft room, I will go looking for some fabric some time this week to make the long curtains that will close off the closet instead of doors.  Plan on getting a little extra to make a little window treatment for in here as well.

I will post photos of the sewing room when I get it all finished. Now, I am going to take a bath and get some sleep.  I hurt my foot, twice, same foot, in two days time and I am going to soak it before I hit the bed.  Thanks for stopping in and come back soon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday - Time Change

Well, did everyone change their clocks?  We did, but I do believe that for the first time in...ever...I took advantage of the extra hour of sleep, and then some.  Totally missed church.  Hubby needed hair cut, so I tagged along to pick up a few groceries.  We were there too early for the hair cut, so he said he would go back, he just needed to go to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for his building project.  After we got checked out and headed to the truck, he informs me that he isn't go to Home Depot, he is taking a day off.  As worn out as gets with anything lately, I am worried about his health, worried about how on earth he is going to manage to get through the rest of the house remodel jobs we have planned.

I on the other hand did a lot of work yesterday and this morning so am taking the afternoon and evening off.  Well, have to cook something for supper at some point, but other than that, I am just catching up on the computer, doing a little online shopping, and about to settle in with some project to work on.

I finally tackled my bedroom yesterday, took most of the day, but all the clothes are put up and the boxes are mostly gone.  Still have a box of glassware in there, but I am not about to put them in the storage building. Am hoping that after the first of the year when we redo the kitchen that I will have some storage space for them.  They were mom's and I just can't let go of them yet.  At least not until I can find some one that can tell me a little something about them, and if they are worth anything.  Mom called them her "Fostoria" glasses, but just not sure.  I did meet a lady that knows a lot about such things and am hoping to get her to the house one day soon to look them over.  At any rate, it is AMAZING how big my bedroom looks, and is, when all the stuff is gone.  I rearranged a few pieces of furniture and made room to put my mom's sewing machine cabinet in there.  I know have a card table set up to put my laptop on and to write on.  Was looking at buying a small desk, but am thinking I will just use the table a while and see what works and what doesn't before investing any more in furniture.  I have a recliner that is entirely too big for the space, but have to leave it as is until I get my living room arranged the way I want, the recliner may be going in there.  Our old PC is in the bed room, moving things around I am actually able to use it once again.  I hate typing on my laptop, keeping hitting something that moves the cursor all around.  Anyway, I bought a new mouse for my laptop and put the old one back on the PC.  Now have the printer right next to it and can sit down and still reach everything to do scanning.  The PC monitor is much larger as well, easier to see. I also went and uninstalled a whole bunch of stuff that never use to free up some space, loaded my new Quilt Design Wizard on it as well.  I created the drawing and directions of my first quilt yesterday morning.  It was fun and much easier than I had thought.  I know that EQ 7 would be really fun to work with, as you can scan your fabric in to it and see how it would look in a quilt. this point, I can keep playing with the Wizard which was so much cheaper.  Like is cost less than $15 and EQ 7 runs about $180.  I did find a place on line that had it about $30 cheaper, but over a hundred dollars more I am content with what I have, which is much more than I had before.   An internet buddy told me that I would know when it was time to upgrade when I started wanting to do more with the design than I could do with the Wizard.  That I understand.

I also bit the dust and purchased PC Stitch 10.  It was less than $40, and have not bought from that site before so am praying that the transaction goes well.  I had a few bugs happen when trying to order, so am really praying that I didn't order three of them and didn't pay three times.  I also found a much cheaper brand of software, it was only $10, but it's capabilities were not really clear.  The PC Stitch describes being able to scan in a photo or image and turn it in to a chart.  Also has built in colors of all the major floss brands as well.  We will see what happens, I went with the more expensive one because I know people that have it and are using it and it stated that it could be used for beading, crocheting and quilting.

Eventually I am sure I will end up getting some type of software to do my own machine embroidery designs as well, but those programs are very expensive and I am just not ready for that yet.  After all, I did just purchase a new embroidery machine.  Granted it is not one of the top of the line fancy named machines, but for the type of work I do it will work perfectly and I am SOOO totally fine with the cost difference. I will see just how much I can do with what I have, how much I can't do that I wish I could, and then go from there.  I loose my head sometimes and start over supplying my needs for my various crafts.  Most people just do one type of craft, but not me.  Oh no, that would be too easy.  My problem is, so many of my crafts just overlap and run in to each other.

Can you tell I am a cheapskate.  Not an extreme one mind you, but if I can get the same item, same quality, some where for cheaper, than so much the better.  Especially since most of my projects are charity offerings.  How did I get started down this path you ask?  Let me tell you.  I first found that I have a passion for quilting.  A true God given talent and passion for it.  As I grew up, I learned the basics of sewing and crocheting.  I used those abilities from time to time as I became a wife and mom.  My oldest daughter as a toddler had a closet full of clothes, then for the boys too.  Hubby used to laugh at me when he would come home to find that I had been dumpster diving for sewing patterns.  Then, hubby's granny would take pity on me and help me advance my crochet abilities.  I also did a little embroidery from time to time as well.  Except for sewing, it just took me way to long to finish an item to suit me so I didn't stay with it long.  Every time I would get a craft area set up in the house, we either added to the family or moved.  I did ceramics for a while, miss it terribly, but the equipment alone takes up much too much space.  All those molds and a kiln.  When we moved to California, I found a church that had a quilt ministry.  I already knew how to sew, had always wanted to learn, and they had child care while we met. So joined in and found that I loved it.

Oh I jumped in that pond with both feet.  Got online and found some groups to join with, did swaps, round robins, even joined the local quilt guild.  They started me making small quilts, 32 x 32 inches called isolets.  They are used in the neonatal units to buffer the sounds and light for the premature and sick babies.  I met a friend, Cara.  In fact, we met online, noticed we were posting about the same speaker, she lived in the next town over but had joined the quilt guild as well.  Her two children were age wise on either side of my youngest.  We made a personal challenge of it, to see how many isolets we could get finished by the next meeting.  Then, she moved.  I really miss her.  In fact, she got me started in machine embroidery, then when I was kind of stale mated, she showed me the things to go with our machines to take it up a level.  Thanks to Cara I learned about free standing lace.

Then a lady asked me if I knew how to crochet. I told her just the very bare basics.  She wanted me to help make some hats to send to some soldiers.  She gave me a pattern, I bought some black yarn, and made a hat. Helmet liners they called them.  Okay...I bought a lot of black yarn...made 250 of those black buggers. Got tire of black so made a pair of slippers.  The soldier that I made them for said he had a bunk buddy that had really big feet, wondered if I could make him a pair.  So...I did, the guy wore like a size 15 boot.  That lead to some more request, they wanted colorful ones. You guessed it, I made like 200 pairs. Then my soldier (I had adopted this small unit, sent them all kinds of food, fun stuff, personal items) asked if I could maybe make a baby blanket and send it to his wife.  I made the crib size quilt, then decided to add a crocheted hat, sweater and booties along with it.  While waiting on my daughter at school one day, one of the teachers saw the baby set I was working on.  She hired me to make sets for her from time to time for shower gifts. That led to some charity sets that went to the army hospital for babies whose dad's were deployed.  A side track to that venture was rubber stamped announcements to be sent with them.  Then, I still don't quite know how it happened, I got lost in my second passion, crazy quilting.  I just fell in love with the embroidery embellishments that went along with it.
 That led me to do a lot of swapping of hearts.  This is one that I did and kept, but is nothing to compare with the ones that the other ladies were doing.  It was a true learning curve as I learned what embellishment were acceptable for cloth. What typed of products used in other crafts worked in this one.  I even bought a special rolling tote case so that I could pack up all my beads, threads, other decorations and take it all with me on a trip to Las Vegas with my hubby.  He went for work, so I had the whole day to myself in the room to work on this stuff.

You guessed it, I found a way to blend my machine embroidery with the crazy quilt blocks, the little car was done with my machine.
On any given block, you can have beads, sequins, ribbon, buttons, even jewelry pieces.

Then...I got stupid and decided I needed to take a full time job outside the home.  Thinking that I would be able to keep doing my crafts, I would cart the plunder back and forth.  It was about this time that I felt sorry for hubby having to listen to the whir of the sewing and embroidery machines all hours of the night and thought that scrapbooking would be the way to go, much quieter, didn't need as much room.  I was wrong, it is way more spread out.  Then there are all different types.  Scrapbook pages, card making, art journal, and so many techniques.  Stamping, ink embossing, texture embossing, ink, pen, markers, embellishments, on and on. Even went so far as try my hand at being a demonstrator for a home based rubber stamp company.  Yes...I was my biggest customer.

Oh, I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  So, I have been down sizing the supplies so to speak in order to put all my efforts in to only a few crafts.  That being quilting and crocheting.  I have a box of my mom's more special clothes, that have embroidery or cut work on them. Also a sack of my dad's ties. Have been saving odd fabrics for over twenty years and will use them with the clothes to make some crazy quilts.  Small one, lap size, for my brother, and then will maybe divide what is left in to four small throws so that each of my children will get one.  A memory thing, but I intend to work in some old photos of family members as well.  Will probably do this with the computer, photo print on fabric, but there may be some other ways as well.  I just ordered some software that will turn any photo or image into a cross stitch design. Much cheaper than the digitize version for machine embroidery and no learning curve either.

Of course, after doing so much hard work yesterday, and since I am still waiting on my AccuQuilt Go cutter to get here, I did do a bit of shopping.  Oh alright, a lot of shopping.  I am going broke getting updated supplies and new ideas.  Still have a couple of "carts" waiting on me to finish checking out. that I have had a really long break, I need to get back to work so I can spend the evening working on something...anything...just some of the many UFO's I have.  I have a huge stack of paper work and magazines to go through and purge down and then find a home for.

Will post photos of my progress so check back often.  Thanks for stopping in.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What a Find!

Okay, so a few days ago I posted about some counted cross stitch projects that I came across and put in to my UFO pile.

This is the cloth on the frame that I thought was the Indian Angel.  I was wrong and have absolutely no idea what this was.  It seems to me that there is a little something in the way far forgotten reaches of my mind about a mermaid sitting on a piece of driftwood.  I have no idea, although, it seems that this might be the beginnings of a nativity scene.  Yes, I think that is it.  However, I have absolutely no idea where that chart would be.  At any rate, I just can't bring myself to scrap it, may not seem like it but there is quite a bit of work in this piece already.

Just an update, I have since this post figured out that the above photo of fabric on the frame is, the Bucilla Nativity.  Thought I remembered something about that.  I have no idea when I bought it, started it, or from where.

This is what it should look like when I am finished.  If I can find a copy of the chart that is.  I have done quite a few stitches in to this already, hope to loose out on it now.

Now, on to the correction.
I found the native american angel today.  That is the chart beside it, in pieces.  I lady that went to my church started it, her eyesight started getting bad so it was hard for here to do this kind of work anymore.  She gave it to me, along with all the thread, and here it is.  She passed away a few years back, and I have not done a thing with it. Apparently, this was actually a part of a book, which I found a copy on and have already purchased it.  It would seem that when ever she changed thread colors she would leave that color and come back and just re-thread the needle and pick up where she left off.  Makes sense I guess, should make it easier for me to figure out where to go to start back up.  I don't know what the proper way to work a project is, I just usually do all of one color at a time.
This is a closer look of her work.  She did lovely work.  I guess I will take the other project out of the frame and after pressing this a little bit, load it in to the frame and make this a UFO to work on this winter.  That is if it ever actually gets cold around here.  Today was nice, but next week it is supposed to be hot again.  Any way, I may just start taking these counted cross stitch projects along camping.
Here is a photo of the book, and what the angel is supposed to look like when it is finished.  I think she is really lovely, and this designer has some beautiful work available in kits and charts.  I just love native american art though, have decided to put some more pieces up in the house.  Will frame this when I am done.
These are the fabrics I am using for my youngest grandson, Mr. M, a quilt.  Just a "lay around the house" quilt.  The puppies are that fur like fleece, feels like minky. I am not so sure about the middle two fabrics and have found another fabric with little dog bones on it.  Like I posted yesterday, I found some pre-cut black and red scotty dog shapes that I found online at Keepsake Quilting and have ordered a package of them to use on the quilt. Speaking of quilts, I ordered the 2013 calendar from Piecemakers.
Isn't this cool looking?  I figure as much as we go to the beach it was a no brainer.  If you aren't familiar with this vendor, they put out the most amazing calendars each year and the calendar includes the pattern and directions for the quilt.  Kind of a block of the month as each month is one block in the calendar.  I have some more of their calendars, just have been putting them away until I have a lot of time, but this next year that is changing.  The blocks are a bit time consuming as they are applique and ribbon embroidery or embroidery.  But, I plan to start in January and work a block each month.  Check back at the end of the year to see how I did.

Well, Miss Zebra has some company that just showed up, co-ed variety, so guess I best go check on them and then get something to eat for hubby.

Thanks for stopping in.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sticker Shock!

Oh my word! I thought I had sticker shock before, just with a very tiny shopping trip to JoAnn's.  Not even close to what I am still getting over from my day out yesterday.

Let me tell you.  Things have been so crazy and so hard around here lately.  Not really hard, just a little minor irritation really.  Miss Zebra has been sick, lab results came back, seems she has mono.  Nothing to do about it but let her get plenty of rest.  YEAH RIGHT!  This past weekend she had a skating performance on Friday night, band marching competition on Saturday, youth function at church on Sunday.  She is also supposed to be having softball conditioning three evenings a week.  She has been sleeping a lot, which she needs, but then she had another skating performance on Tuesday night, helped work the church alternative to Halloween on Wednesday night, band plays at home football game Friday night, then another marching competition on Saturday.  At least the skating is over, for a few weeks because then the rehearsal for the winter showcase starts up.  After Christmas break we trade band time for softball practice and games.  On top of all that, I am either just worn down and having allergy attacks, or...I have gotten her mono.  I am just worn out and today was really hard to keep up with little Mr. M.  Although, he was in a lovely mood and just wanted to sit in my lap most of the day.

Yesterday, I had my annual titty torture.  Yes, mammogram time.  You would think that they could come up with a  more pain free method.  I understand that they are important, don't dispute that.  I don't know about other women, but I am so small busted that they really have to tighten that bugger up to even catch the girls, much less capture their glory.  Ironically, after having my mammogram, visiting with my oldest daughter, I find out that last week she had a biopsy on one of her breast and is waiting for the results. I am praying that it is nothing, but as a mother I am really worried until I hear what they found out.  Back to the main point though. I was going to just make my appointment then get Mr. M from his mom.  When I called her, she thought she was going to have him all day so had planned on keeping him.  I told her to call me if she needed me to come get him and went home, took a shower, then headed out for my own little adventure.

It had been so long since I had actually visited any of the local quilt stores that I decided that is just what I would do.  OH MY WORD, has inflation hit in my absence!  Good grief.  The first shop was pretty much as I remembered it, for sure the place to go for novelty fabric, 30's repro as well.  I walked around the store looking at the sample quilts.  I wasn't supposed to, but when no one was looking I snapped a photo of a couple of the quilts.  It just irks me to no end to pay $12 for a pattern to a quilt that if you give me a few minutes and some paper I could replicate on my own.  I spent enough in the shop to make up for it.  I found the perfect fabric, has little dog bones printed on it, to go in my grand son, Mr. M's,  quilt that I am making. Well, thought I had it planned, until I went to Keepsake Quilting and found the red and black scotty dogs pre-cut. Now am thinking they would be perfect to applique to red or black larger squares and then use the other fabrics I have gathered in a four patch to go with it.  Or...the scotty in the center of a log cabin on white fabric and then the red and black fabrics one either side of the cabin.  That small amount of white would be okay. I am trying to stay away from large areas of white since this will be a quilt to be used by a little boy.  Oh...maybe applique the scotty dogs on a grey tone on tone square.  Now that's the ticket.

At any rate, as I said, I was in total shock at the prices of fabric, patterns, books and especially in shock of how proud they are of their machines.  GOOD GRIEF! One machine was $10,000. dollars and she thought it as a great price.  I mean come on, I just want to play around at home, not go in to business.  I wouldn't even know how to go in to business, nor do I have time.  The store did have two sample quilts that I think it would be worth the price to take because I really love the quilts.  Besides, it seems that if I take the class then I usually complete the quilt.  My only hold back to taking any classes is the timing.  I was planning on holding off until after Christmas to start anything new, actually until after the first of the year, but will see how that works out.
This is called a Swoon Block.  I did not make this block.  But it is very similar to one of the quilt's I just fell in love with.  Imagine the corner checked fabric to be white as well and the other print fabrics were done in 30's fabric, then it will look like the sample quilt. If I can figure out how to get the photos off my phone I will post them.  The other class sample quilt is really quite simple, it is done in batiks, rectangles, with one corner done in a snowball fashion with WOW fabric.  Then, that white corner is placed in such a way to make a pattern.  I love scrappy quilts, but I guess I am more a planned scrappy type, having to have a definite pattern to the end look.  One other quilt sample caught my eye.

The shop is called Strawberry Patch and they will do this as a block of the month, which is already sold out. You can see more about it on their Pinterest site. The quilt is called Sugar Kisses, I linked it to there site.  The photos do not do it justice, the colors are so much brighter in person.  I normally stay away from applique quilts, but this one just hooked me.  I am thinking maybe if I make it, a little girl will show up in the family in the future that I can spoil with it.  Actually, been thinking about making up some little feminine finery to stash away...just in case.  I mean, my youngest daughter, Miss Zebra, will only be 16 next month.  It better be quite a few years yet before I get grand kids from that one.  This shop also makes samples of children's clothes, mostly girl stuff, but they had a little set made up for a toddler boy that I just couldn't quit looking at.  Really simple, camp shirt and shorts, but the fabric they used had all these little camping trailers printed all over it.  I wanted some of the fabric, already had a pattern (okay, a few patterns) for simple little button down shirts.  Naturally, they were out of the fabric.  I asked the owner if she knew what company made the fabric, was going to see if I could find some on the internet, so she went to the sample (where I and a clerk has been looking it over like crazy) and picks up a kit for it.  Good grief, $24, for the kit, but it does come with the pattern.  Yep, I bought it for the fabric.  Of course, $12 of that was the pattern.  But...I am pretty sure that I can actually get two shirts out if using the scraps with a solid, or maybe using the scraps to make a little pocket on the shorts.  My daughter in law saw it and said, "the campers are perfect for the family reunion."  Great, now I have to wait until summer to make it so it will still fit. LOL  Oh well, little does she know that little Mr. M is getting a whole little wardrobe for Christmas, handmade that is, with some Dallas Cowboy fabric.  Guess I might have to make a Packer item too, since his mom (and her family) root for them.

So, on to the next quilt store I went.  They have a totally different look to their fabrics, but offer a lot more in the way of patterns.  I love looking at their sample quilts as well, they just don't label them as well so usually have to ask about the ones you like.  Which they may do on purpose.  At any rate, this is the quilt store that has all the AccuQuilt products and where I can rent out their studio AccuQuilt at a nominal fee.  One of my groups is planning a strip exchange, but has to be cut using the AccuQuilt.  I was actually planning on buying that die, but then decided I would just take my fabric and go down there and use their big one.  That particular die really needs the larger cutter anyway.  I will be taking a class there in February.  A lone star quilt.  I love those quilts, just never wanted to tackle cutting all those diamonds.  Then, seeing that the AccuQuilt has a die for that, I got the bug again.  I even bought the Eleanor Burns book, the quilt in a day series, for the lone star.  Just never got brave enough.  This class uses the strip cut method and a special ruler.  I just can't wait to make that one.  Going to use bright red, blue and yellows in it.  While I was there, I found a pattern for a cut quilt that uses 2-1/2 inch strips to make trees. At the check out, I came across the $3 basket and picket up a few patterns from there along with some pre-cut fabric.   Apparently it was a kit that was caught wrong, so she just bagged it up to sell in the clearance basket.  Well, I found out pretty quick, I couldn't even come close to buying the fabrics in that kit for that price.  There is a focus fabric, pretty good size piece, and then two coordinating solids to go with it.  I will be able to use it somewhere.

Needing to eat and take a bathroom break by this point, I headed to the house.  On the way to the house, the thought popped in my head of JoAnn's so headed there, since it is on the way to the house.  The night before, while looking at my last quilt magazines in the bathroom, waiting for the bath to cool off a bit, it struck me that the last time I bought any quilt related magazines was in 2011.  Almost a year old.  You guessed it, I forked out a small fortune.  While looking over the selection, catching my breath at the prices of those magazines, I get a call that youngest daughter, Miss Zebra, is sick and needs to come home.  Paying out I head off to the school, pick up some lunch (to go now, since I couldn't go sit down some where) and finally get home to find a package sitting on my front porch.  I was so excited.  Of course...I knew it was my Quilt Design Wizard software, I had gotten a text while shopping that it had been delivered. Technology, got a love it. Now to find time to play with it and see if I can learn how to work it.  I really want to learn EQ 7, but for the money I feel this a good place to begin.  It is made by the same company. get this house cleaned up, the rest of my fabric out of storage and put away (hopefully finding all my blocks and charms) and I can start playing.  I know that some where I have a ton of charms.  I had gotten to where when ever I had scraps from quilts that I would go ahead and cut them in to the largest pieces I could on down.  I would start with WOF strips, then squares.  I especially collect 5" squares called nickel charms.  Have two books for nickel quilts.  I used to keep every little scrap, but toward the end had taken the attitude of anything smaller than 2-1/2 inches is tossed.  Unless of course it is long enough to use in a strip quilt.  Don't really like them, but is a good way to use up scraps and good to use for lap, isolet and other charity quilts.  Am wondering what my "tightwad, not waste a bit, use it completely mind" is going to do when it encounters the scrapage from using the AccuQuilt cutter.

Oh, and speaking of cutters, I came across a blog of a lady that posted all about using her Sizzix to cut squares and hexagons.  Said that when ever she makes a quilt or such, the scraps hit a basket full of all the left overs.  She would then grab her Sizzix and the basket and would settle in a chair of an evening and just crank them out while watching TV.  I can so TOTALLY relate to that.  Not the Sizzix, although I am going to check and see what they have since I have the Big Shot, but the cutting the scraps in to usable scraps.  That is why I know that I don't want anything smaller than a 2-1/2 inch square.  I tried a postage stamp quilt, which uses one inch finished squares, just can't take it.  Those pieces are just too small to work with.  I do have a list I am working on of more dies to get, if I find I like working with it.  Now, to just have it arrive.

Well, thanks for stopping in.  Over the week end I will see if I can get some more photos posted. For now, I am headed to soak in the tub and head to bed.  Hubby is off tomorrow, am hoping he will be busy with his building project and won't be under foot too much.  Come back and seem me soon. Feel free to leave a comment for me.