Merry Christmas


ASCII wishes you all a very merry Christmas!
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Making Christmas...

Remember that song from The Nightmare Before Christmas? Well, I've made a little Christmas this year. This year I made purses and a wallet for my mom and my mother in law. Neither of them read my blog, so I have no fear of spoiling the surprise for them.

I was in a rush to get stuff shipped out, because I never get anything done early. So I forgot to take pictures of the first purse and the wallet I made. I'm hoping I can get Sam's mom to take a picture for me.

I did remember to take a picture of my mom's gift. Mom likes blue, but I thought that brown with blue might be a bit more versatile than all blue.

The bag is a Claire Bag from Lazy Girl Designs. This was the first Lazy Girl pattern I've used, but I've been wanting to make this bag since the first time I saw one. The pattern was well written and it was pretty easy.

The wallet, glasses case and check book cover to go with the hand bag are from Vera Bradley. I intended to make a wallet to go with this one like I did for my mother in law, but I just ran out of time. I think this pattern goes really well with the fabric I chose.

The wallet I made was based on a tutorial from that*darn*kat. It was really fast and I actually think I like it better than the Vera Bradley wallet. I used a button and ribbon loopto keep it closed. I'm a little worried the button will come off with use. The next time I make one of these, and there will be a next time, I will use snaps.


What I'm currently working on...

I have posted pictures of the Underground Railroad blocks I worked on over the past year.

The quilt blocks are now all sewn together with the sashing. I wanted to put a border around the outside and had planned on doing 2 plain borders. When I started planning out the border, I decided that this quilt deserved some more exciting borders. So I decided to try a pieced border (insert ominous music and thunder claps here). I know how important good borders are but I have a tendency to just slap on plain old borders and call it done, so this is a challenge for me. I'd seen a ribbon border in one of the quilts from Elm Creek Quilts that I thought would look good. Judy has a similar border (except more colorful than mine) in the quilt in her post about deciding whether you need odd or even blocks in borders. This is the first time I've added my own pieced borders to a quilt.

I laid the quilt out in EQ with blank blocks and used a Y block to make the border. The problem was that EQ wouldn't let me have more than 24 blocks on one side of my border. I don't know why but the little drop down only went to 24 and it wouldn't let me type in the field. You might be able to see in the image below that the blocks on the long sides are not square. This meant that I couldn't print out correct measurements and cutting instructions for the borders. I finally just adjusted the size of the block when I printed out the cutting instructions for the block.

I added some "floaters" around the outside the quilt to make it the right size to use 3 inch blocks in the border and to make the ribbon look like it was kind of floating in the border. I've got all the blocks made and just need to finish squaring them up and sew them together. Hopefully all my math was correct and the borders will fit!

I'm working on a few Christmas gifts right now, but hopefully I'll get back to this before the end of the year...End of the year! What happened to August?!?!


Catching up...

During my long absence from my blog I have been doing some sewing. Our guild had both a quilt challenge and a quilt show in October.

We had a Log Cabin challenge. Basically we had to have at least 3 log cabin blocks (12 inches or less in size) and the quilt could be from table runner size to lap quilt size. I decided that I wanted to do a quilt with different shaped log cabin blocks. I used EQ and tried using different blocks as quilt layouts and setting log cabin blocks in each section of the quilt layout. Here are a couple of designs I came up with:

I think this is a Lone Star block layout:

Storm at Sea Layout - This is the one I chose. Mostly because I was worried about having enough time to complete the Lone Star quilt above.

Here is the final quilt. I paper pieced it, although it wasn't really necessary since those are pretty large blocks. I was a little worried about getting the angles and corners right if I pieced it traditionally.

I also ended up switching out the corner blocks from log cabin blocks to plain square in square blocks. I just ran out of time trying to get the quilt finished.

This is the first quilt I've designed in EQ and actually completed the entire quilt. I've got a few others that I've designed and haven't made yet. But I do enjoy using the software and have a couple other quilts in the works.


I'm am a horrible blogger

I have been away way too long and will try to be better. This summer and fall have been really busy. I realized I didn't even give an update on Valerie. So here is a quick update, then I'll try to get back to blogging more frequently and get back to quilting.

The Belgian Shepherd Rescue Group was able to raise enough money to pay for Valerie's surgery. Valerie's leg was amputated just above the knee. Everyone at the vet's office fell in love with her while she was there. Valerie also had to be spayed.

Val had to keep calm and quiet for several weeks following the surgery while the sutures healed. She had a hard time with our hard wood floors..they are a little slippery. So Valerie would try to jump or run from one rug to the other to minimize the time spent on the slippery floor. Of course that just made her slip more. So we ended up making paths of rugs everywhere we wanted her to be able to go.

Valerie healed quickly and before long she was able to go out and run around with our other dogs. She and our Standard Poodle, ASCII, liked to play in the yard. Valerie could almost keep up with ASCII, even with three legs! She likes to play fetch and when she runs you can't even tell she is missing a leg.

While Valerie stayed with us she was one of the easiest, sweetest dogs I've ever known. She even got along with our cat. We did find out that she was scared of thunder. So we had to make sure she was inside and kept calm during thunderstorms. I'm pretty she ended up in the animal shelter with a broken leg because she panicked during a thunderstorm and just started running.

My husband took Valerie to obedience classes and she did very well. Valerie even went to a doggy yoga class with me a couple times. She loved the part where she got massaged.

Valerie stayed with us from around the 4th of July until Labor Day Weekend then went to another foster home. Her new foster mom loved her as much as we do. She had 3 other Mals to play with. Including an older male who she seemed to take a shine too.

Just this week Valerie went to her new forever home in Connecticut. Her new family seems to have fallen in love with her right away. They have been sending us daily updates and it looks like she is getting spoiled rotten already. I'm so happy for both Valerie and her new family.

I can't express enough gratitude to all those people who helped Valerie out. She is a really special little dog who got a second chance at a good life thanks to those people who helped her out.


Update on Valerie

Thanks to everyone's donations Valerie's surgery was paid for. She is doing great. She is starting to get up and moving around a little more now.

She likes toys. She chews on all the tough rubber toys. She's still learning how to act around the other dogs. She doesn't display the best dog manners when sniffing the other dogs, but she'll get better. She loves to be near people and loves to be petted.

From Valerie Day 1 After Surgery

Valerie Day 3 After Surgery


Guild Challenge Quilt

I am dying to post my EQ design that I'm going to do for my challenge quilt for our quilt guild. I'm not going to post it until after the challenge in October just in case any of my guild members actually read my blog.

We are doing a Log Cabin challenge. I've decided on blue and green as the main colors. I'm also not doing all traditional square log cabin blocks. I need to get started on this quilt if I want it finished by October.

Just a little teaser.


Valerie..Dog that needs help to live up to her name

This is the story of how I met a wonderful little Malinois who we are all calling Valerie. Valerie means health and strength... This is a strong little girl that we would like to see get healthy again.

On Saturday morning my husband received an email from Malinois Rescue. A veterinarian doing health checks and vaccines in a kill shelter in North Georgia found a young female Malinois with a broken leg. The bone was poking out of the thigh and the dog was in danger of being put down.

The vet does not have her own office and did not have the equipment to be able to give the dog the medical care she needed so she contacted Malinois Rescue. The coordinator was scrambling to find someone who could help the weekend before a holiday when many people are on vacation. My husband and I said we would help.

Sunday night I drove an hour and a half to Braselton, GA to pick up the dog. When I got there I found a little, dark red girl, who wiggled her butt at me then immediately rolled over to get a belly rub. The leg was bandaged but still flopping all over. When I took her leash she went with me and even looked like she was going to try to jump into the back of my car by herself. She moves really well on her three good legs.

I loaded her into my car and gave her a few treats which she took gently, but you could tell she was hungry. She drank a little water, then made a nice cushy nest from the blankets I'd spread out for her, and went to sleep. I started to drive back home cringing every time I hit a bump. I can just imagine what it feels like to have broken bones getting jostled all over.

When Valerie and I got home we got her some food and slowly introduced her to our pack. She was good with our dogs, did not seem over protective of her food, and paid attention to the cat but did not go after it. She went into her crate when told and turned around to have her leash taken off. She was quiet in her crate all night and every time my husband woke and checked on her she would give him kisses. Obviously she has been trained and I wonder if someone is looking for her.

This morning Hubby took Valerie to our veterinarian. He said that her leg has probably been broken for two to three weeks and there was nerve damage and massive infection. My husband said that Dr. Moore was frustrated because if he had gotten to her earlier he could have saved the leg. Now it would have to be amputated above the knee. He did the surgery this afternoon and Valerie is recovering overnight at the hospital. Tomorrow afternoon she will come home and we will foster her while she is getting medical care.

Valerie's veterinary bills will run at least $1300. Malinois Rescue is raising money to help pay for it. If you feel you can spare anything to help her that would be great. If not please keep her in your thoughts.

I'll keep you up to date on her progress and post some pictures when we get her back home. Sorry about the wordy post.


I'm a bad blogger!

I know it has been weeks since I have blogged. I got started on "What's on my design wall?" and then never updated anything. I will get that done tomorrow (only 5 days late but who is counting).

The last couple of weeks have been really busy. I think last time I mentioned that a big release was due at work on June 19th. I put in a lot of hours in the last couple of weeks to be ready for that. Last week while trying to finish everything up for the release, I got hit with a really bad sinus infection. I have not been that sick in a long time.

I mentioned that I won a giveaway from Patchalot More. I got the patterns in the mail, along with a nice note from Marcie, and a package of quilting note cards. Thank you, so much Marcie!

The last update I have for now is that I did not get my Facebook block swap blocks done in time. I was a little ambitious with those blocks. I had a little bit of difficulty piecing the flowers, especially the 8 sided star. So I switched out the 8 sided star for another 4 petaled flower. I got two blocks done. The swap coordinator said to hang on to them because they will be great for a Spring swap. I'll probably finish up 6 of them so I'll be ready for that time. I'll post pictures of those later.


ASCII talks about Doga

It is me, ASCII. I'm back again and this is just for you Beth. Today my mom and dad took me and Reboot to Doga which is a doggie yoga class. It was at Playful Paws. There were about 10 other dogs and owners there.

It was nice. Mom and Dad stretched and Reboot and I got petted, massaged and loved on. Mom started out working with Reboot and Dad worked with me. In the middle of the class Reboot and I decided to switch places on them. It was very relaxing. I fell asleep at the end while mom just sat with her hands on me.

The other dogs in the class were nice. We saw Lois and Augie who are always at agility trials. One dog, Pepper..I think he was a labradoodle, really wanted to play with me, but mom and dad said it wasn't the right time. Pepper kept trying to sneak over and play but eventually he calmed down. All the dogs were pretty calm. I think they were just soaking up the loving from their humans.

After class we met another dog that survived cancer like Reboot did. He is a Visla and he lost one of his front legs to cancer. He is a really amazing dog. He still does hunt trials and even got his Master Hunter title, and he is going to be a therapy dog. He even swims with only 3 legs. I don't like swimming at all and I have 4 legs.

We get to go back to Doga every weekend in June.

I won!

Have you noticed the quilt pox immunization patch on my sidebar? This came from Marcie at Patchalot More. She had a drawing for two of her patterns for people who "immunized" their blog by adding her patch. Well guess what! I won.

Thanks, Marcie! Everyone go visit her site and get the Patch. I hear those quilt pox can be nasty.


What's on my design wall?

Last week Judy at Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara started "What's on your design wall". Each week we can post what is on our design wall, then the next week we update on our progress.

Last week I posted my Underground Railroad quilt laying out on my "design bed". I had hoped to have the top finished by this week.

Well, it is still sitting there. I walked in and looked at it a couple times, but that is as far as I got.

The only quilting related activity I did was to cut few patches for my June Facebook block swap. This time we are doing basket blocks. I need to make five blocks for the swap (plus one for me) and mail them to the swap coordinator by June 19. Funny, that is the same day that I've got a meeting with my business users to turn over our latest software release for testing. Something tells me the next two weeks are going to be busy.

Here is the block I intend to make.

I found the block in EQ and tweaked it just a bit so that it would be easier to piece. I'm a little worried about the points on the flowers. Those stars can be hard to get right. The only time I've tried it before I did them by hand. I also have to do set in piecing with this block. I tried to print out a foundation piecing pattern for, but I must be doing something wrong. The piecing order made no sense at all, and I couldn't figure out how to get it to work.

So my goal for this weekend is:
  1. Finish at least 2 of the basket blocks
  2. Put together at least 2 rows of the Underground Railroad quilt
Non-Quilt related side note:
At the risk of sounding like an enormous flake, I want to tell you that my husband and I will be taking two of our dogs to a Doggie Yoga class on Sunday. Should be interesting. I love yoga and need to do it more often, and I love spending time with my dogs. I never really thought about combining those activities before. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


ASCII Takes Over The Blog!

Hi!! I'm ASCII! I'm a two year old Standard Poodle. Usually my mom writes on this blog, but she hasn't been posting enough so I decided to post for her. I'm not the first dog to try blogging, my dad knows a Malinois that blogs all the time. If Leinie can do it then why not me?

I spend most days helping my mom and dad work. Some days mom works from home and other days dad does. Sometimes I have to tell them that it is time to stop working and play with me! The best way to do this is to sit directly behind them, stare at the back of their head, and whine. Sometimes that doesn't work and I have to put my head on their lap and whine some more.

On weekends and some evenings mom and dad take me to go do agility. I like the teeter, the dog walk, the A-Frame and tunnels. If I get too hot sometimes I go in the tunnels and don't like to come back out. Sun is hard on a black dog. I also like seeing the other dogs at agility, and nibbling on Miss Cyndy's ears.

My favorite things to do are playing with the cat, nibbling on people's ears (it makes them giggle), the teeter, and curling up on the couch next to my dad. I live with 2 other dogs. Kiwi and Reboot are both older and slower than me, but sometimes they run around the yard with me.

Well, mom says I have to go to bed now. I'll be back next time she doesn't have anything to say.


What's on my design wall?

Judy Laquidara from Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara is asking this question every monday. This was the first week.

Well currently I have a design bed. My sewing room is a bonus room over our garage. I have about 4 feet of wall, then the rest is the angled ceiling. I still love my room, but it isn't easy to make a design wall. I have a large piece of foam board that I will eventually make into a free standing design wall.

So what is on my design bed? Our quilt guild did the Underground Railroad sampler by Eleanor Burns as our Block of the Month last year. I have all the blocks completed with the sashing and cornerstones. Hopefully by next Monday I'll have the top completed.


2009 Star Block of the Month

I started the first block for our guild's block of the month yesterday. I have the task of demonstrating the first block. Before I could sew the first block I had to decide what colors I wanted to use for the quilt. The brown fabric with multicolor...uh blobs is the best word I can come up with.. is from Kaffe Fassett. I bought all they had left (a little over 2 yards) when I was at Sew Bee It a couple weeks ago.

I think this is going to be pretty and I love that the brown fabric will tie all the colors together so well. I'm excited about this quilt. I have the first block done, as well as some partially finished blocks that I'll use to demonstrate the construction of the block. I'll show those in a separate post. I so rarely have anything interesting to say I need to drag this one block out as long as possible.


And now back to our regular programming...

I'll get back to quilting talk soon. I did get a set of blocks from my Facebook block exchange group. They are all really pretty. The next block exchange is going to be basket blocks. Those are due in June.

I'm going to start the first block for our quilt guild block of the month this week. I have to present it next Monday. Eeek...where did April go?

CKC Agility Trial at Georgia Dog Gym Part II

The second day at the CKC Trial was fun but our performance was a little disappointing. There were only a couple of us there and we were all running for exhibition only because we had not qualified for Supreme the day before. We ran three Supreme runs and then did 3 games. Cyndy Douan, and the GDG and CKC staff did a great job at keeping things moving, and keeping organized. I wish more people had come on that second day. I think they would have had a good time.

We did get some cool ribbons. Two qualification ribbons for the Novice I and Novice II titles, two second place and a third place ribbon. We also got one of the big Wow trial ribbons, because there were two of us that stuck it out all weekend and ran every run.

I think that ASCII and I would have qualified on one of the Supreme runs and maybe on the Dare to Double game. ASCII did not want to be there though. He used to run ahead of me but this weekend he just kind of drug behind me. I talked to the judge, who happens to be our trainer, and she said to throw a party before and after each run. I'm not very good at being really energetic and enthusiastic. I'm kind of quiet even with the dogs. ASCII needs a cheerleader. He doesn't respond to just treats, and doesn't care about retrieving a toy, so its going to have to be me just being excited and telling him how good he is. I also might try the Kong spray cheese stuff again...we call that Doggie Crack. Sometimes I'd let him go to my husband after a run and let him give the affection and praise. He needs to get it from ME since I'm the one he is working for.

I have been calling him off of obstacles when he is about to go off course and did that a lot on Saturday. He has lost confidence and it isn't fun for him right now. We will work on that. I need to practice more outside of class, and let him take the obstacle even if it is the wrong one. Most likely if he's going the wrong way it is because I was not clear, or quick enough. More practice will help me with that too.

After the run I have to throw a party and be excited even if I'm not happy with the run. Also while I need to be respectful of the time I take to get in and out of the ring, I need to take the extra few seconds required to immediately praise him and make a big deal about it. Too often I am so worried about getting my leash and getting out of everyone's way that I delay in throwing the party. By the time I do it, ASCII has pretty much turned off. Can I get someone to kick me in the butt when I start to do that please? Yo dummy! Pet your dog!!

We are doing agility for fun, not so we can get national titles and stuff like that. If ASCII isn't enjoying himself then it is not worth continuing. A year ago he was so excited to be out there that he would take off ahead of me and run like a wild dog. One of the people running the ASCA trial said he was a great dog and to just just make sure he kept having fun. We started reigning him in because he was not listening and just running around taking what ever obstacle he wanted, I think we went too far. I'm not sure if we can get the galloping, prancing, goofball agility dog back now...I sure miss him though.


CKC Trial at Georgia Dog Gym

This blog is called DogsNQuilts so it is time for me to talk about my dog. Today was the Continental Kennel Club Obedience and Agility Trial at the Georgia Dog Gym. It was cloudy and wet from all the rain last night, but it was also a nice 70 degrees.

I like the way the CKC Agility rules are set up. The Novice levels are pretty mellow. It lets you get started trialing on easier lower stress courses. ASCII and I got the Novice level I qualification with no problem and got second place in our class. We also go the level II Q and got third place. I did notice that ASCII did not want to lay down on the wet table, and did not want to sit on the wet grass at the start line. He just got groomed yesterday and apparently did not want to mess up his 'do by getting it wet.

On Novice level III the course has obstacles side by side and it tests obstacle recognition. This should have been easy, but most of us messed it up. The course was a big S shape and on each leg of the S was a pair of obstacles and you were allowed 2 faults. The point of the course was to send the dog through the appropriate obstacle. I started out lining up on the wrong side of ASCII so he thought he should take the tunnel instead of the A-Frame.

Then the second leg of the S had two jumps side by side. I ran a little too close again and he started to go to the left jump instead of the right one. I called him back and he took the correct jump but ended up out of position for the next jump in the course. He ran by it, then when I called him back to try again he back jumped the jump.

Then we went on the last leg of the course and I think I pushed ASCII's course again. I needed to draw him to the left by running to the left myself. He ended up starting to taking the tunnel instead of the chute, I called him before he went to far in, then he wouldn't go through the chute. He's been through that chute a bunch of times, but he wasn't sure about it this time. We finally got through the chute and over the final jump but by that time we already had too many faults. Even though we did not qualify we ended up getting 2nd place in our class.

Unfortunately because we did not qualify for Novice III, that meant we could not qualify on any of the Intermediate runs. This time we were allowed to run For Exhibition Only which meant we just did not get credit for them. When we ran the Intermediate I course and would have qualified. Then it started raining for about 20 minutes.

We started the Intermediate II course and ASCII would not lay down on the wet table. Since I knew I couldn't qualify anyway I went ahead and touched him to get him to lay down. We ran the rest of the course clean.

The final run of the day was the Intermediate III course. I think we had one fault but also would have qualified.

The trial will continue tomorrow. There will be three runs for the Supreme class then there will be three different games, which I will run for exhibition only. It should be fun.

Book Signing at Sew Bee It

I attended a book signing at Sew Bee It this past week. The book was Color Mastery by Maria Peagler. She gave a nice talk about her book including 10 tips to innovative color palettes.

I enjoyed the talk. I bought the book and it looks really good. One of her tips is to start a color journal. This idea intrigues me. It seems like a good way to start getting ideas for new color combinations to use in my quilts.

Maria said that she has a monthly budget for fabric and suggests that you organize your fabric so you can determine what you are missing. Yesterday my husband also suggested I make a monthly fabric budget, instead of buying a larger amount of fabric a couple times per year. I think this is a great idea. I'd spend the same amount as I do now (or slightly more) but it wouldn't hurt as bad.

By the way Sew Bee It is a wonderful quilt shop. I wish that I lived closer...or maybe it is good that I don't. It might be dangerous if I could wander in any time I like.


Wonderful Cajun Meal

My husband and I had our anniversary over the weekend. We decided to go Henry's Louisiana Grill for dinner. Several people have been raving about this place and told us we had to check it out. It was really good food and we are both kicking ourselves for waiting so long to get there.

Nothing we had was healthy and we totally overshot our Points (Weight Watchers) for the day (or week in my case) but it was really worth it. We started off with their Seafood Fondeaux. My husband thought it was "disturbingly good". It was cheesy and the seafood was nice and fresh tasting. Yum!

Then my husband had Louisiana Ooh La La. This was fried oysters, shrimp and crawfish in a tasso cream sauce over french bread. Yes, I do feel my arteries hardening just thinking about it. The fried seafood would have been good on its own but the sauce was wonderful. It comes in a full order and half order. The full order was ginormous (Why is it that my spell checker is complaining about crawfish but ginormous is A-OK?). My husband ate about 1/4 of it and brought the rest home.

I had the Louisiana Crab Meat Au Gratin. It was pretty good. Not as good as the Ooh La La but good. I actually liked the sauteed squash that came with it best of everything on the plate.

Yes I did save a little room for dessert. I have to confess that I am a major chocolate lover. I get this craving for gooey warm chocolate and vanilla ice cream. I have tried everything to satisfy this craving..Hot fudge sundaes, brownies a la mode, chocolate pudding cakes. Nothing matches the taste in my head. All this time I have been craving the Death by Chocolate Cobbler and never knew it! It was a cup full of warm, chocolaty goodness, with chocolate sauce oozing over the sides and topped with ice cream and whipped cream. Mmmmmm...what? oh sorry I'm back now...

Anyway we had a really good night. We wandered (or maybe waddled) through some of the cute shops in historic Acworth. After we got home we relaxed on the deck enjoying the warm weather.


Amaryllis Blooming

My Amaryllis plant is blooming. This is the second stalk of flowers that it has put out in the last month. I thought I'd cut it back to late and it would not bloom, but here it is....

Tic Tac Toe Quilt

I finished the Tic Tac Toe quilt. Sorry the picture is not very good. I have got to figure out a better way to take pictures of quilts. The center four blocks came out of the March 2006 Quilter's Newsletter. The border was taken from a quilt I found in Quick Quilts, except I decided to do random size colored blocks.

The quilt is for a baby shower at work on Wednesday. I hope they like it. It isn't a very traditional looking baby quilt. I was using fabric from my stash so I could get started quickly. I looked for primary colors but I just did not have them. So I used brights.

I always get asked how long it takes to make a quilt and usually I have no idea. This time because I did it in a week and a half I have a pretty good idea.
  • 8 hours to piece the top
  • 6 hours to machine quilt
  • 10 minutes of swearing once I found out that I had large tucks in the backing on two corners
  • 1.5 hours to rip out the quilting on those corners
  • 30 minutes to quilt those portions again.
  • 6 hours to do the binding

My husband liked it enough that he said I should keep it and give them something else. I think that means I'll be making a king size Tic Tac Toe quilt soon. I definitely need to add to my stash for that one.

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Finally quilting again...

I've been doing all kinds of other stuff rather than quilting for the last few weeks. I have a friend at work who is having a baby. We are having a baby shower for him and a his wife in a week and a half. I decided I wanted to make a quick baby quilt as a gift. Unfortunately two weeks have passed since I decided to do this. This weekend was the first time I felt like I had some spare time.

I went through a bunch of magazines to find a fairly quick quilt that looked cute. Last night I narrowed it down to four possibilities. One was a rail fence pattern, another was pinwheels and the last was a square on point made using four patches and half square triangles. I pulled out some brights from my stash (they are having a little boy) so I could make my final choice and start this morning.

Then I ran into my latest issue of Quilter's Newsletter and found the Tic Tac Toe pattern. For some reason I was sold on doing that quilt. It has 18 inch blocks and is larger than I really want. So I decided to do a 2 X 2 layout with a cool border from the split rail fence pattern. That will end up with a 42" square. I think that is a pretty good baby quilt size and one that I can hopefully finish quilting in a week and a half.


New Blog Look

Well, I did change the look of my blog. It didn't take a whole lot of work either. I found this cute template from Blogger Templates.
Anyway hopefully this will inspire me to blog more.

Beth Mitchell Photography

I have been helping a friend with her web site. Its been fun and a good way to practice html and javascript. I have spent almost every night this week working on it though. I'm not doing anything amazingly cool or anything, but I think it looks pretty good.

It gives me ideas for ways to change the look of this blog. So stay tuned you may see some changes coming in the near future.

I haven't been doing much quilting lately because I've been either working on Beth's site, working on stuff for my quilt guild, going to agility class with the dog, or working. Hopefully I'll get some time this weekend to quilt.


What is up with Amazon?

Our quilt guild is doing a quilt from Judy Martin's Knockout Blocks and Sampler Quilts for our Block of the Month quilt this year. I bought the book from a quilt shop a couple years ago for $21. It is listed on Amazon through different sellers for $57, $65 and even $131.05!!! I have no idea why it would be so much on Amazon. I found it online at a quilt shop for $20 and I may contact them. We are also contacting some local quilt shops to find out if they can get the book and what their price would be.

If anyone happens to know of a place we can find multiple copies of the book for a reasonable price ($20 or $21 is doable...$57, $65 and $131.05 are not) please let me know.


Human Calendar and Daylight Savings Time

This post is just to let you know how messed up my mind is.
You see the cool calendar at the right of the blog? If you click on it you go to the Human Calendar. It is a calendar made of pictures of people. One person for each day of the month. Every person in the calendar looks at the person holding the current date.

I spent 2 hours awake figuring out the algorithm they might have used to figure out which direction each person should be looking on any given day.

Of course since my brain does not have any real form of persistent memory (printer, memory card, hard drive) I lost the algorithm as soon as I actually got to sleep. Actually I dosed off a couple times and had to start over too.

Because writing code in my head for something that has already been done and I have no intention of tying to do myself is the best use of my time at 2 AM on a Sunday morning when I am already going to lose an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time.

**My apologies to any English teacher I've ever had for that last run on sentence, not to mention my punctuation and grammar.

Great Run Thru

We went to run-thrus at the Georgia Dog Gym. It was a really good day. The weather was in the 70's and sunny. We kept ASCII crated under shade when he wasn't running. ASCII isn't thrilled with heat...that black fur soaks up the sun. There were two courses mapped out. One was an easier "victory lap" kind of course. We did that first and ASCII did great until the last two jumps. It wasn't his fault of course. I was out of breath and couldn't say "Over!". That little pause while I tried to get one breath was all it took for ASCII to decide I didn't know where we were going and decide to go his own way. I should have at least pointed or something.

The second time I tried the long course. It had a few tricky turns. I had ASCII out for a little while before the run and was worried that since it was warm, my big black dog wouldn't want to run. So I tried to pump him up before the run. I ran out to the start line with him and played with him as we went.

It worked! I'm not always good at keeping him pumped up. I get wrapped up in the course and forget to make it fun for him. When I don't do that he'll shut down and go sniff clover or decide to make a bee line for the teeter. This time he was happy when we got out there. He was happier about doing agility than he'd been in months. He did everything I told him to do perfectly. I was so happy about his performance that I forgot where I was going and cut out the whole middle of the course. That was OK though. We still ended the day on a high note.


Agility Run Thru

Tomorrow I'm taking ASCII to the Georgia Dog Gym for agility run thrus. ASCII really wants to go. You can see it in his eyes. Take me to agility pleeaaase!

Underground Railroad Block of the Month

I have finished two more blocks from my quilt guild's block of the month. I have 3 more left. Forgive the bad pictures. I've got to get better at this stuff.


Block Swap Part 2

A few days ago I received my blocks from my Facebook block swap. They are beautiful. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the blocks yet but I have some ideas.

I need to get to work on my next block swap blocks. This time its going to be a 4 patch. The rules are that they are tone on tone, blue, yellow or green with white. I picked out some blues to use. I'm hoping that the blocks I get back in the swap will work with the blocks I got from the first round.

Back home

I am back home from my trip to Denver. Actually I have been back for a week but it took me awhile to catch up after coming back home.

I did go to two quilt ships in Arvada. Both were very nice. I planned on taking pictures of the shops but of course while I remembered to take my camera I did not realized that my husband left the memory card in the card reader when he last used it. So no pictures of the shops. I will show you some of the wonderful fabric I brought back.

The first shop we stopped at was Shared Threads. We were greeted by a very friendly Yorkie. My mom has 3 yorkies and a lhasa mix at home, so she felt right at home with the shop yorkie. The couple that owned the shop was friendly. They had lots of great fabric and books and had a great classroom plus 2 long arm quilting machines.

I was mainly looking for fabric for my Pansy quilt. So I was mostly looking for greens and yellows. I found some great stuff at Shared Threads.

After that we went to The Quilted Moose Quilt Shop in Olde Town Arvada. Olde Town Arvada is fun. It has a bunch of cool shops in the original center of Arvada. The shop was nice with great fabric and lots of great quilts on the walls. I found some nice fabric there also.

After that we wandered around the other shops on Olde Town Arvada. Paws N Play was still there. Its a pet boutique that my husband and I used to go to. We wandered through a spice shop, and a kintting shop. It was interesting to see how much that area has been restored and changed since I moved away.


Trip to Denver

I am back home in Arvada, CO visiting my mother. Why didn't I quilt when I lived here? I found all kinds of quilt shops on line. We are going to so see some tomorrow. I'll let you know what I find. I only moved to Georgia four years ago and its been 2 years since I've been home but its amazing how much stuff has changed. We drove by my high school and its about 4 times as big as it was when I attended. Where there used to be a field there are whole subdivisions and malls. Its strange to see so much new stuff but you turn a corner and still see a little fast food place that is 20 years old but still is in business.


Block Swap Blocks

Finished blocks for the block swap...almost. I have 5 blocks. 3 look good and the points are pretty close to matching. Two blocks didn't turn out so well though. Those are next to the sewing machine waiting for me to reverse sew and put back together.

Schnapps decided to help me take pictures. He was really interested in the wrist chord on the camera but wasn't so impressed with the flash as you can see from the irritated look on his face. Or maybe he just doesn't like the block.


Block Swap

I am participating in a block swap on a Facebook Quilt Guild group. I will make 5 6" nine patch variant blocks in blue and yellow. I'll post pictures of the blocks as I finish them. I have to get them done and delivered by Feb. 22 so I'll have to hurry. I'm so excited! I've never done a block exchange before.


Finished my stars quilt

I finally finished the binding on my stars baby quilt (its the one you see on the header of my blog). I started the quilt about 2 years ago as a gift for a good friend when I found out she was having a baby. The pattern is from Judy Martin's Knockout Blocks and Sampler Quilts. I had just finished the top when I found out my friend lost the baby. I felt so bad for her. After that I lost motivation to work on the quilt anymore.

I put the quilt away for over a year. Last summer I was starting to practice machine quilting and decided it was time to work on the quilt again. I kind of got carried away and its sort of over-stippled. So its a little stiffer than it probably should be which really isn't good for a baby quilt. I also realized it was over quilted part way through so I backed off a bit, which means its not evenly quilted all over. That's what happens when you are learning, right?

Even with all this quilt has going against it, I think it is the best looking quilt I've done so far. I really like the colors and the pattern. It might be good as a wall hanging.

Update: I changed my blog and the quilt is no longer on my header so here is a picture of the quilt.


Breakfast Pizza

One more really good recipe I've tried recently was Cooking Light's Breakfast Pizza. I didn't think to take any pictures of it, but it was really good and easy to make. It uses canned crescent rolls as the crust. I cheated and used regular sausage instead of turkey sausage, but I think it would have been just as good. I highly recommend it.


Pansy Quilt

I have been making Grandma's Pansy blocks from Bloomin' Beauties by Billie Lauder. I started them at a quilt guild work night earlier this summer. I made 21 blocks and started trying to figure out what I wanted the quilt to look like.

I had a picture in my head with the blocks on point and I wanted them to look like they were meandering through the quilt. I couldn't quite figure out how it would work. I started out laying all the blocks out on the floor (someday I'll have a design wall) and moving them around, but I couldn't get a good idea of how it would look.

I started working with Electric Quilt to play with some layouts. I found a pansy block that looks kind of similar to my blocks and played around for a long time. I'm still not sure I'm totally happy with the layout but right now I think the quilt is going to look something like this. I probably will do a several different greens since I already have a few different greens in the pansy blocks.

The best part about putting it into EQ is that now I can print out the rotary cutting instructions for the broken dishes blocks, and I know approximately how much more fabric I need. I'm pretty sure I don't have enough green in my stash, so I'm just going to have to go fabric shopping.

Steak, Spinich Mashed Potatoes, and Stuffed Tomatoes

Some good friends of ours came to visit the weekend after Christmas. I decided to try something new while they were here. I keep trying Rachel Ray recipes but haven't had a lot of success. They tend not to have much flavor. But I thought I'd try another one.

My friend Natalie was my assistant...which meant she did all the hard work and I figured out what we had to do next. Natalie was also nice enough to take pictures of the meal. I never think of taking pictures until after the meal is half gone and it doesn't look good anymore.

The first recipe we tried was Bacon, Spinach, and Cream Potatoes. The recipe was pretty easy. We pealed the potatoes and started them boiling, then sauteed the onion and bacon. Once the potatoes were done cooking Natalie mashed the potatoes with the onions, bacon, spinach, cream salt and pepper. Then we tried them. There was no flavor at all. Nat and I decided it needed cheese. So we shredded some sharp white cheddar and mixed it in. That helped a lot.

The final consensus on this dish was that the proportion of spinach to potatoes was a little too high, but 3 out of 4 of us liked it anyway. My dear hubby said you really couldn't call it mashed potatoes. There are a couple of things I'd do differently in the future. I'd use a little less spinach, and we all thought it would be good if the potatoes were scooped into a casserole dish and baked with a little more cheese on top (of course it would take more than 30 minutes then).

While the men-folk were out grilling the steaks we made Broiled Tomatoes with Cheese and Herbs adapted from another Rachel Ray recipe.

I threw bread, parsley, basil and Romano cheese in the food processor and chopped them up. I added a little olive oil and pulsed it a little more. I then stuffed the mixture into tomatoes that I cleaned out. I then broiled the tomatoes for a few minutes. I left out the olives because my husband is not always an olive fan. They are growing on him though.

I liked the tomatoes. I think I'd add a little more cheese and hopefully find flat leaf parsley instead of curly parsley. I'd also add about twice as much basil. The olives would have helped a lot also. Overall the final presentation of the tomatoes with the steaks looked nice.

The meal did take more than 30 minutes, however that worked out to be good because the grill took forever to heat up.

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