Sunday, August 26, 2012

Attack of the Killer Cleaning Fairies

There's been a serious cleaning bug going around here lately. I think it may have started in my quilting studio, and now it's spread across the yard to my house. A few weekends ago, Mike helped me clean out the linen closet. One Sunday evening, we took EVERYTHING out of the linen closet, sorted, purged, then put the surviving items back in. We discovered that we owned a heating pad. I found some old towels that my Mom gave me from our house growing up. She got them for HER wedding. They just won't wear out. They're still good enough to mop up a spill.We took all the sheet sets and put each of them inside one of the matching pillowcases. I read this tip in a magazine. I can never get the fitted sheets folded nicely anyways. We put two blankets and two sets of sheets in a bag for goodwill and there's a third set of sheets that will be heading there shortly. In celebration, I bought us a nice pair of 300 thread count cotton sheets from LL Bean.

Here's the newly organized linen closet.
This weekend, no sewing was done as the cleaning fairies continued their assault. On Saturday, Marion came over and we spent three hours organizing the business fabric in the Quilt Studio. We were relentless and went through every box of inventory. We found some long lost treasures and also realized we had run out of red flannel. We sorted out a box of fabric for my friend Sue who teaches quilting at a local womens' shelter as well as a bag of scraps that Joannie will donate to her friend who runs a troop of Girl Scouts. We had a scrumptious lunch at the Fifties Diner when we finished.

This morning (Sunday) I woke up and started working in the yard. First, I trimmed everything that was dead. Then I weeded the garden on the corner and planted some black-eyed susans, since all of the day lilies have died back and are now just a bunch of green leaves. This looked so nice that I was inspired to weed the garden alongside the front fence. Three hours later, I had three bags of yard waste to show for my hard labor. After a delicious egg white omelet made by Chef Mike, I took a shower, then headed out to do some errands. I bought some more black-eyed susans and some purple coneflowers for the garden, which I will plant later.

When I got home, Mike was heading out for a bike ride. I went upstairs and did some more cleaning in my office/upstairs sewing room. I'd like to eventually move all of the fabric in the Quilt Studio, but first I had to get this room clean. I hadn't seen the floor in months. I wasn't able to shut the door to the fabric closet. I was afraid to take a "before" photo in case someone sent it along to the casting agent for Hoarders.

While Mom cleans, Larry Pug takes a nap in a newly folded box of fabric.
I'm trying to use all the same size and same type of box so it is easier to stack them. I like the Iris box that has a hinged lid (one less thing to lose). It's interesting to see that my stash of just regular quilting fabric is diminishing, while my stash of batiks and Kaffe Fasset grows. I still have a lot of floral fabric, Asian fabric, and holiday fabric. When I sorted, every piece of fabric had to be a fat quarter or larger to go in the box. All scraps were put into a rattan hamper to be sorted later. I was able to use just one box for all the yellow, orange, green and brown fabric. Pink fabric has its own box. Blue fabric has two boxes. Red fabric and purple fabric share a box--I put a serious dent in my purples when I made Anna a purple quilt a few years ago. I put aside a couple of boxes of fabric that I am going to sell on Etsy (some woven plaids, some tiny florals and some beige tonals).

It looks really good now! I can see the floor! I can see the top of the ironing board. I found my missing camera, that had been missing for so long, I had been forced to buy a replacement. As usual, I found four or five bags from finished projects that have bits and pieces of fabric in them. I need to sort them and put them away. For my next project, I have bought three, three-drawer plastic carts at Target and I'm going to put my scraps in them, sorted by color, ala Bonnie Hunter, my quilting idol.

Here is the newly organized fabric closet. My next "to-do" is to make labels for the boxes.
Watch out, the killer cleaning fairies may be heading to your house next!

Exhausted! I am heading for bed. Going to work should seem easy after this cleaning-fest!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, August 24, 2012

A House Full of Quilts

Last weekend, Mike and I went to the Cape (Cape Cod for any non-locals) to spend the weekend with Marion and Merwyn. Marion's daughter has a lovely home right on the ocean and Marion gets to use it when Susan and her family are away. Thanks Susan!

We would have like to have gone with them for the whole week, but Mike and I are both running out of vacation time since we took two and a half weeks of vacation for our wedding.

It was a rainy Saturday. Marion and I decided that we would wait until Sunday to visit the craft fair. We set up our machines in the kitchen/dining area.
We could watch the sailboats while we were sewing.

Best of all, we had an iron WITHOUT an automatic shutoff--a quilter's dream!

Merwyn kept busy on his laptop while Mike played his guitar.
Marion, like most quilters, gives away most of her quilts as gifts. Her daughter is one of the fortunate recipients. Almost every bed in the Cape house had a quilt on it. I decided to give you all a little show! Like most summer homes, the bedrooms are small (to encourage you to spend more time on the beach), so I did the best I could when taking the photos. Sometimes I just couldn't back up far enough to get the whole quilt in the picture.

This cheery flip flop quilt greets you in the hallway.

We call this quilt Texas Triangles because when my friend Beth visited from Texas, we hosted a scrap swap. This was a long time ago, at least 13 years ago, because I hosted it in my old apartment before I bought my house. I believe that Kim also has a finished Texas Triangles. I gave up! Too many pieces!

This was a Trudy Hughes Mystery pattern that we did in our Brown Baggers group several years ago. I made mine in pinks and purples. I am proud to report that mine is also completed!

You may notice a theme here, Marion is quite fond of star quilts!

This quilt is gorgeous and intricate. There was a great deal of work put into this one. Marion bought the kit at the Button Box several years ago.

This quilt is one of Marion's first quilts! It is a sampler quilt, all hand-pieced and hand-quilted. A real treasure!

This star quilt, which is also hand-quilted, is used by Marion's granddaughter Jessie. Guaranteed to produce sweet dreams!
Here is Marion, the talented quilt maker!
 Applause! Applause!

Have a great weekend!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August Quilt Weekend Part 2

One of the best things about being in a quilt group is sharing and learning from your peers. You are constantly inspired by seeing new fabrics and patterns. At our most recent quilt weekend, this technique was spreading like wildfire across the room. Debbie had made it before and two of her tablemates, Lexine and Valerie, had caught the Twisty Bug!

The book is called Let's Twist. You start with a pack of charm squares.

Sew them into rows and add a border (not shown).

I didn't take a photo of the interim step where you use the twist template tool and recut the squares into pinwheels, but that's where the magic happens!

These two little table toppers belong to Lexine.

Lexine (also a fellow pug lover)

Valerie can't stop making these pinwheel table toppers!

And the funniest thing is that when I went to my other quilt group on Thursday night, my friend Beth was making it too! Pat liked it so much that she stopped at Ann's Fabrics on the way home and bought the template!

Here is a similar technique that Terry was using.

Start with a 9-patch. Extra beautiful in Batik!

Mark your lines.

Recut, sew, and voila! This technique is from the book Square Dance. Little teeny pinwheels!

Here are some more of the girls and their projects.




Pat and her finished duffel bag

JoAnn quilting and singing


Joannie's finished Trailer Quilt

It takes a village to hold up the Trailer Quilt! From left to right, Joannie, Debby, Valerie, JoAnne and Marion.

Joannie's Baby Monkey Quilt #3 (or is it #17, I forget)

Kim and Karen in the layering room.

Marion's Asian Quilt is half-way done!

Terry and Paula made matching fleece doggie blankets.
Debby's Patriotic Quilt and the adorable Miss Juliana!

Jen couldn't join us for the weekend, but stopped by to pick up her Amy Butler quilt. She brought the adorable Miss J, who worked the room like a pro, hugging and kissing all of us and checking in on our projects.

Anna's wedding quilt is SLOWLY taking shape.
Debbie's Star Quilt

The Fabulous Miss J!

Where the magic happens...

Friday, August 17, 2012

August Quilt Weekend Part 1

I'm fortunate to belong to two quilt groups. Both are "home-grown", non-guild groups that have evolved from groups at now defunct quilt stores. I meet weekly with my Thursday friends at the Hampton Inn and monthly with my Sunday Brown Bagger friends at the Courtyard Marriott.

Brown Baggers was originally at The Quilter's Nook in West Roxbury, MA. We met on Friday nights after work. There was also a daytime group. They brought their lunch in "brown bags", hence the group name. We used to go eat dinner at Friendly's afterwards...maybe we should have been the Friendly Quilters. Anyway, the Brown Baggers have been together almost 18 years. I used to write a monthly newsletter...Kim brought in Volume 1, Issue 1 along with a couple years worth of others.
Volume 1, Issue 1, a real collectible!
We had a good time reading through them and remembering old times and old friends. We started off with 10 members. We still have seven of the original ten, and we're currently at around 20. Our room at the Courtyard only holds 16, but luckily we never seem to be in the same place all at once.

Last weekend, we held our annual August weekend (the Brown Baggers have 6 each year--3 locally and 3 away). We had 14 attendees.

Here is our weekend in pictures, which will tell the story better...

Kim and Karen roll in for the weekend. Yes, this is typical of how much stuff we bring!

Everyone hard at work

The view from the other side
 Kim and Karen brought a box of quilts that Kate and Justin Mitchell had quilted for some of the girls. The first three quilts below belong to Nancy D.

This quilt belongs to Nancy D. It was a birthday block quilt. Everyone in the group who participates gives you a block on your birthday. This is Christmas colored pinwheels!

A blue basket quilt

Nancy bought this as a kit in Houston one year. It has rose fabric in it and Justin quilted it with roses. The colors are soft and feminine. Nancy--you should keep this one for yourself!

This is Joann's scrappy trip around the world quilt, also quilted by Justin Mitchell. It is a free pattern on Bonnie Hunter's website It is also the class that Joannie, Sue and I took with Bonnie in Vermont, which I blogged about previously. I have two blocks made. Joann's quilt is considerably bigger.

More of the quilt above. We're handicapped in that the room is too small to back up and take a picture, plus we're all short!

Another beautiful quilt by Joann. This is a 4-patch posy that our friend Terri taught to us at our old Natick quilt group. As usual, Marion has finished her 4-patch posy quilt, and my 65 blocks are in a box.
This was a birthday block exchange that we did a few years ago. Joann made a LOT of extra blocks to make it bed size! (You guessed it, Marion's is finished, and my blocks are still in a box, although I did make two smaller versions of this same pattern that ARE finished.)
Valerie clocked in with the first finished project. I didn't get a photo of the front, but here she is finishing the binding.
On Friday afternoon, we surprised Jim with a quilt. Nancy D. was the organizer.

Jim works at the front desk of the hotel where we meet and he's been there for a long time. So have we! We've been meeting there since 2004. Jim LOVED his quilt. Isn't it gorgeous?

We had cake too! It was a great afternoon!
Here are some photos of the girls and their projects...
Kim's seven sisters quilt.

JoAnne E has her quilt on the design wall

Debbie is working a lovely Patriotic quilt which will be donated to Quilts of Valor. Quilts of Valor gives quilts to veterans.

Remember seeing the Apple Quilt in my Berkshire Trip blog? Joannie decided it needed a scalloped border.

Here is the finished quilt.
I will write more on Sunday. Mike and I are supposed to be packing to go away for the weekend. Hopefully this photo-filled post won't blow up your computer.

Pugs and kisses,