Tuesday, December 28, 2010

SO THIS IS IT !

Well, I guess it's about time I come around and let you know a little about my trip to Greece. Not a lot of photos. We typically don't do a lot of sight-seeing--been there, done that quite some time ago. Although we did do a bit more this year when our daughter and son-in-law were with us for a few days. They have the sight see-er photos.

So I guess I'll just show you how we spent a bit of our time. My husband is quite pleased that he planted a lemon and orange tree. Now for those of you and the west and Gulf coasts, this is no biggie. But for this Midwest implant to East Tennessee, it's a bit of a novelty. He's planted several times before and (since we're not there much of the year to care for them) has lost the trees to frost or draught. This time, though, they are in front of the house instead of in back, so they'll have much more protection. Additionally he says that he is "going to insist" that they make it. Sure hope so!

That's the lemon tree on the left (already a couple little lemons on it) and the orange tree barely visible on the other side of the roses.

Yes, I did do some quilting while I was there. Most days it was done on our front veranda -- with this view. Well, OK, the sheep weren't always there, just occasionally in the afternoons when the shepherd brought them by before taking them to their shed for the night. I must admit that this my favorite part of the day; being beckoned outside by the sound of the bells that the several of the sheep wear around their necks.

And to prove that I did finish the quilt (a block exchange) , here it is:
I used flower stencils on the large squares. First time I had used stencils. The powder I had was white. Now you know why I did most of the quilting OUTSIDE. I needed the light. White pouncing powder on cream fabric is NOT the easiest way to go!

That's our olive grove in the background. The olives were already harvested and oil milled by the time I got there, so no work for me involved there. My only work was to enjoy cooking with the best, freshest olive oil ever.


So fresh, in fact, it smiles back at you when you pour it in the pan!

And now to get back to some January birthday knitting!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

CHECK LIST

Bills paid -- check;
Mail stopped -- check;
Paper stopped -- check;
Suitcase packed -- check;
The above includes, ticket, passport, and cash -- check;
Tomorrow morning's ride arranged -- check;
Key to house sitter -- check.

Bid farewell to my blog friends -- check.

Looking forward to:
the beautiful Greek countryside -- check
freshly milled extra virgin olive oil -- check
brother-in-law's wine -- check
Thanksgiving visit from daughter and son-in-law -- check, check, and double check!

See you soon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

WINTER'S COMING !

At least I think winter is coming. We had subfreezing temps here in East Tennessee last night, but it's predicted to be 72 again tomorrow. Go figure.

Well, at any rate, my college freshman granddaughter will have a little something to keep her ears (and neck and head) warm this winter. And since the cold comes to New York a bit sooner than to Tennessee, I'm not waiting for her January birthday to send this little goodie: a hooded scarf, with pockets--no less. It's going in the mail tomorrow. Along with some biscotti -- what's a Nani to do?

And no I won't get bored with no knitting just because I'm sending hers early. She had two siblings whose birthdays fall the same week. This is the start of her little sister's sweater.


Phooey, though, I've already gift wrapped the 3 baby quilts that are going in the mail too -- so no photos of them completed. I did post photos of the piecing portion a few weeks ago.

So now it's time to get back to the sewing machine and work on the Christmas PJs. At least some of them are completed and all of them are cut out and ready to stitch. Better get busy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

GUESS WHERE I'VE BEEN

To HOUSTON QUILT MARKET !

With fabric designer daughter, Anna Maria .



What a great time! Got to see all the quilts hanging for this week's quilt festival too. Wonderful!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

FYI

In case you are wondering:
He chose the check. So the circles will be for his art school freshman older sister!
Be back another day with some more current projects.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DECISIONS, DECISIONS . . .

Well, now . . . a couple decisions to make. I think it will be pretty easy for me to make the second decision, but the first I'll leave up to my grandson.

Each year for Christmas, I make the grandchildren PJs. I started out making the sets: tops and bottoms. A couple years ago, one of my daughters suggested I just make the pants and get t shirts for them to wear with them. Great idea! So that's what I've been doing.
I have most of this year's already sewn together, just waiting for measurements to finish off the hems and the waist elastic.
I found this "circle print" fabric a few moths ago and REALLY like it. I'm thinking it would be great for my almost 13 yo grandson. Like his mama, he's quite artistic AND he's TOTALLY in to skate boarding. So I'm thinking he'll like it. But to be on the safe side, I've got the small black/beige window pane print (background).
I'll let him make the decision. I sure hope he wants those circles!

,

The easy decision is whether to fix this bit of knitting, or not. It's a hooded scarf. I already took out about 20 rows and redid it as I had skipped one of the cable twists. Last night after redoing several rows, I realized that I did the twist wrong. YIKES. Decision: Back to the drawing (or knitting, as it were) board, I guess.



Oh, I'll let you know what Nicolas decides about his PJs!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

P J TIME

Oh, my, it's PJ time again at my house. I've been selecting and buying fabrics for the past few months -- luckily mostly on sale. Some flannel, some cotton. I also managed to get most of the knit shirts that will go with the PJ pants when I was shopping at an outlet mall this summer with my sister. So I'm good to go -- almost.

Gotta clean up my space first. I will NOT allow myself to make any more scraps before I clean up these scraps:

Gettin' there

Ah, that's better. Small scraps:

And larger pieces


Admittedly, I have more fabric than I need--in terms of amounts, that is.
I have found that it is much easier to buy the shirts first and find fabrics to go with the shirts than to buy fabric and find shirts to go with the fabric. I still have two shirts to buy -- one for a 13 yo boy and a onesie for the 18 mo old. I REALLY like that piece close to the bottom of the pile with the black and red circles. I'd love to see it on one of the boys with a red shirt. But not sure any of the boys would be happy with it. I'll check that out next week when I visit one of my daughters.

In the meantime, a few things from my retreat work need to be put on the side burner.
This still needs to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound. (after piecing the backing fabrics.)

This baby gift needs a binding.

And this (flannel) needs to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.

This baby gift I did get completed while at my retreat. I just love the little snail fabric -- and the bonus was that I had the other fabrics in my stash to make it complete.


Hmmmmmm, now just which PJ fabric shall I cut out first?

Monday, October 4, 2010

R & R . . . & Q

Well now, shouldn't all R & R have some Q (quilting) to go with it?

It was a wonderful few days with my quilting friends (from Maine to Colorado) in the North Carolina foothills forest. Ah, so lovely.

And we did, indeed, get in a lot of R&R . . . and Q !

I had mentioned that I was going to learn to do a "coffee filter" block. Such a great way to get an easy curve on these block centers. (I played around with how I wanted to arrange them once I have enough for a quilt. I was quite happy with this, so I took a photo to remind myself just what I decided.)

I got quite a bit more done, too: a baby gift quilt completed, another baby gift done all except for the binding; a flannel baby charity quilt top pieced, and a "Christmas Angel" quilt top pieced. I'll show you those another day.

I also played around with lots of bits and pieces of fabric that I took along. Remember all those half square triangles. I came up with plans for 6 blocks using those little guys. (I just laid them out, took photographs of them and pinned them together in sets so I can redo my plan when it's time to piece them.)

Oh, and see that cute little mouse pin cushion? It was a little token gift from one of my retreat buddies.

Some of you have been wondering about the "gifties" I was knitting. I was planning to take these prayer plant cuttings (from a plant sent to me 2 years ago by one of our attendees) since I wanted to share the lovely plant with the group.

Four of the ladies flew to our retreat site, though, so I knitted these little soap bags for them.


I'll keep you posted on the finishing up of those quilts!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ALMOST READY !

Ahhh, just a few last minute things to finish up to be ready to take some projects with me to my all day quilting days with some special friends this week.

First of all, I wanted to get this quilt "sandwiched" so I can work on the quilting. I learned this method from my daughter : taping the backing to the floor and layering the batting and quilt top over it; then pinning and basting it in place. Luckily my old joints are still able to do all the up and down movements to do the job. (Although I've yet been able to do it all in one day -- need several rest periods!) I must say it's wonderful to have a tile floor so I can get it "squared up" nicely without to much difficulty.


Once it's all basted, I remove the tape, get out my largest cutting mat and trim it right there on the floor.
Sneaky way to show you the backing fabric, huh?

A few other pre-cut projects (a couple gift baby quilts; a "coffee filter" pattern that one of my friends is going to teach the rest of us; a fussy cut fun girl's quilt; and those half square triangle blocks I was working on last week) are ready to be packed away.

This is a close of up the Chocolate Lollipop fabric that will be the "coffee filter" quilt. A coffee filter is used for a circle pattern that is then cut in to quarters and put in a corner of a square. I will be making the circles with the small prints to be placed on the larger prints.

Oh, and these little items still need to be finished up. Shhhhh, not telling exactly what they are as they are little gifts for some of my quilting buddies.


Hopefully I'll have some nice finished projects to show you soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

OH MY !

Don't know if many of you remember this Block of the Month quilt that I was finishing up about this time last year.


Well, there were seemingly myriads of little triangles left over. And not being one to waste any scrap of fabric larger than 1" square, I saved all those little triangles -- and actually had gone ahead at the time and converted them into little "half square triangle" blocks. I hadn't pressed or trimmed them yet, so guess what I've been doing lately. You guessed it:


I've been sewing little seams, pressing little seams, trimming little blocks; sewing little seams, pressing little seams, trimming little blocks; sewing little seams, pressing little seams, and trimming little blocks. You get the picture, right? By the time I'm finished with all that little seam work, I think I'll have about 50 3"pinwheel" blocks. Then, just gotta figure out what to do with them. I've got some ideas, but not quite certain yet.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MOVING ON

Thought it was about time to show you the progress on my "fussy cut" quilt. Not nearly as fussy cut as some, but I am happy with how it turned out. Now to decide what fabric to use for the backing. Hmmmmm . . .
(Sorry about that pink strip at the bottom of this photo. My camera has been doing funny (Er, maybe that should be "fussy" too!) things.

And on the knitting front:
This is a little scarf that I quickly put together for a child's Christmas gift.

This is what I'm about to start knitting for my college age granddaughter for her birthday.

I've got an olive green yarn for it. Sure hope she likes it. In the "cold north" (Brooklyn), I'm hoping she'll get a lot of good out of it.

So time to move on and get to it. Time's a-wastin'!

Friday, September 10, 2010

SASHES AND FUSSY CUTS

Well, I've finally gotten back with a photo of the sashing on my Irish Chain quilt. It's been sewn on for quite a while, but I just got around to pressing it.

I guess I need to start with the "sandwiching" process.

In the meantime, I've started on another quilt. My new one will use fabric from daughter Anna Maria's first fabric line "Bohemian" (sadly no longer manufactured).

When I saw this quilt at the recent AQS show in Knoxville, I was fascinated by the way the fabric was cut in the center of the stars -- each is 8 pieces placed in a swirling pattern.

While my fussy cuts are not as elaborate as that, I do think they are turning out quite nicely.
And of course with the colorful patterns of those fabrics, my quilt will certainly look different that the sample I saw (on the cover of the 2009 BH&G Patchwork and Quilting magazine).


I'm looking forward to getting it finished and sharing it with you.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

CAN'T RESIST A SALE

Oh, my, this past Tuesday was the last day of the month, so my quilt shop had their end of month/end of bolt sale. Since I will be out of town the next three "end of month days", I just HAD to go this month! And I did "good".

Love these prints for some of my Project Linus quilts that I'll be starting on again soon. I even have a good "frog print" that will go with them.


This top print will go well with the two under it that I already had--most likely usable for a baby boy or girl.

And I could not resist this little snail fabric on top that goes well with the other two that I already had.

These above for Project Linus will all be disappearing 9 patch.

And this: Ahhhhh, just fell in love with them and it will be something for moi! I spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon picking out some lights and darks from my stash to go with it.


Oh, and OOPS, I must admit that my shop had still another sale over the weekend that I went to and got even more fabric! Their already reduced ($5) fabric was buy 4 yards and get on free! So I got 28 yards of fabric for $4 a yard. And it's ALL very good quality fabric. About 15 yards of it is flannel plaids for boys' PJ bottoms that I'll be starting soon.

I'll show you that stash addition to my stash next time!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

OOPS !

Golly, gee, it sure is a good thing that I go up the steps to take my photos from the "bridge" that's over our foyer. I get a better bird's eye view of the pieces all put together. This time I realized that I had put my (4 block) strips together differently than I had planned.
The way it is here, the darker background strips are together.

I had intended them to be separated by the lighter strip like this.

Well, I guess photography helps find mistakes too. I didn't realize until just now that one of the blocks (left center block in this lower photo) has extra little dark blocks. Since this was an "exchange" block, though, I think I will leave it as is. Not quite so noticeable since it's on an edge and not in the middle of the quilt.
My plan for finishing this quilt is to put a 6 inch border around it to make it about 72 x 90.

And I have completed the next birthday sweater -- this one for my soon-to-be 11 year old granddaughter in New York.


I think I'm going to be taking a break from knitting for a while and work on some embroidery on a quilt that I started over a year ago! 'Bout time, don't ya' think?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"CHILDREN ARE A GIFT FROM GOD !"

Many of you are readers of my daughter, Anna Maria's blog so you might recognize that quote from her last entry: the words of their cabbie in New York after they left their oldest at Pratt University.

My words are not nearly as eloquent as my daughter's, but I would have to say AMEN to the cabbie's statement.
My husband and I could wish for no better gifts from God than our three children, their spouses, and our 12 grandchildren.


Since we live only about 3 hours away from daughter Anna Maria (unlike the 5 hours from daughter Eleni or 13 hours--or a plane ride to son George's) I was able to drive to Nashville to stay with the other children while they made the momentous trip to Brooklyn. The night before they left, there was a really fun birthday party for granddaughter Isabela's 9th birthday. I just had to get one last photo of the college girl with her parents before they took off the next morning.

And the rest of the crew, too.

And one of the birthday girl on a quilt "trampoline" being thrown in to the air.

That was the fun time BEFORE the younger ones all headed in to big sister's room to say goodbye before they went to bed, knowing that Mom, Dad, and sister would be off for their flight in the wee hours of the morning. A bit tearful, I might add.

As usual, in a large family, there's always laundry that "Nani" can help catch up with.
But look at the great little helper I had!

No, I didn't have time for much knitting or quilting while I was there (just checking out the many blocks still arriving in Anna Maria's mailbox for the Rainbow project), but I'm back at it now and will get you caught up on my crafty activities next time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE END OF THE RAINBOW . . .

. . . well, maybe.

I thought I'd stop making the Rainbow Around the Block items now as I'm headed to Anna Maria's tomorrow for a few days of babysitting while she and son-in-law take their Juliana off to college. (How can THAT be?)
But just as I thought I wouldn't do any more, I found some more fabric that I wouldn't be using for anything in the near future, so I cut out some squares to take with me to work on while I'm there.

The latest to add to her collection:

Well, drats, the one the left turned out too small, so I guess it will stay here.
The one on the right was supposed to be a "pin wheel" center, and I didn't realize until the day after it was all assembled that I goofed. Didn't take it apart, though. It'll just have to stay.

For the blue, green stack:

The two on the left here have baby prints on them, the one on the right nice soft colors (also maybe for a baby?)

And maybe for purple/pink -- or wherever they blend well with all the other donated blocks.


Off to get a bit more knitting done this evening. I'd like to have the sweater ready to assemble when I get home. Hmmmmm, maybe I should take that with me too.