There's No Place Like Home

February 25, 2011

Yes, I have power!  It finally came back on around 3 PM Wednesday.  I was just heading out the door to take the girls to dance when I got the call.  Sorry I didn't post with an update sooner.  We had so much to do after the power finally came back.  I still need to bring our freezer foods home from my dad's house.  I want to thank everyone for all their well wishes and prayers.  I'm just thankful we had a nice place to stay and the power is back!  We have bad weather again.  The girls had a two hour delay for school today.  At one point during the night, our power went out again for a few minutes.  It woke both Scott and I up.  I can't repeat what our words were at that moment! :-)  Luckily, it came back right away!  We have more bad weather in the forecast and possibly icy conditions forming Monday.  Ugh.  As long as we don't lose power, I'm okay with it.

I was so Annie deprived that I spent all day practicing on her yesterday.  I got tired of practicing and loaded on a real quilt.  My first customer quilt...
Yipee!  I forgot to take a pic before I started, so I took this one.  It's a pretty good sized baby quilt.  It's for a boy.  I agonized over how to quilt it for a LONG time.  For some reason, it was much harder for me to think of a design for a boy.  Every design I thought I would want to quilt looked too girlie.
  Completely quilted! 
I love how it turned out and am very happy with it.  AND very relieved!  The customer said she wanted an allover and no preferences.  She gave me the go ahead to do whatever.  I really like the allover design.  Will use it again!  I did it all freehand.  Not one chalk or marker line was used.  My biggest challenge was spacing.  Making sure my spaces were pretty even.  It's freehand, so it's not perfect. 
The back.  Tension was perfect.  I used a light blue thread on the top and a cream thread on the back.  No blue threads poking out the back.  Stitches looked great!  It's nice to have my first customer quilt under my belt!  I was so tired after I finished quilting it!  My arms felt as if I'd worked out...big time.  I would find myself  hanging on to Annie with my fists clenched so tight.  Once I relaxed, it was so much smoother and easier to quilt.  Pretty sure I held my breath the whole time too!  LOL!  I really hope my customer likes it!!  Elaina and Alyssa love it!  The girls said they want the same pattern on their quilts.  Then they asked me if I could add some cat and dog paw prints too!  LOL!  Too sweet.

I tried to make good use of my time at my dad's.  I was able to get a few things done and one of them was to bind Mon Ami.  
Bound and bathed.  It looks perfect on my table!

While our power was out I felt a little like Dorothy, only I was clicking my Ugg boots together.  "There's no place like home.  There's no place like home."  :-)
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  Hopefully, we won't lose power!

There Are Worse Things

February 23, 2011

No power still here. There ARE worse things than being without power. We are so very fortunate to be able to stay with my dad. I feel terrible for the families that have nowhere to go or cannot afford to stay somewhere. The next little town over from us has no power. The entire community is without power! It just breaks my heart. School is cancelled again today for the girls. The school is open to those who need a warm shelter and bathroom facilities. Perspective. A few days ago I was so irritated dealing with the "power outage" situation. Today, I'm counting my blessings that my family is safe, warm and together.

Who Turned the Lights Out?

February 22, 2011

I'm still here! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Remember my nagging little cough? Well, it turned out to be a little more than that. I was steadily feeling worse and decided to go to the doctor Friday afternoon. Turns out I have an acute case of bronchitis on the fast track to pneumonia without medical attention. I guess it's a good thing I went to the doctor! So I have been in bed ALL weekend trying to recover. I'm on some super strong meds that really seem to be helping. I'm not fully recovered, but feeling much better.

I was hoping to get a post written Sunday, but we lost power before I could! Have I ever mentioned how much I hate losing power?? Well I do! Sunday afternoon we had another winter storm roll through leaving snow and tons of ice causing many to lose power, including us. We have been without power since Sunday evening. The power company keeps changing when restoration is going to happen. They are even saying power might not be back until Friday! I can't even think about that! Luckily, my dad lives down the street from us and he still has power! Thank goodness! So we are all staying with him right now, even Sarge. It's such a pain, though. We had to empty our fridge. Ugh, and we just went grocery shopping Sunday morning! The girls have been home from school for the past two days. They've loved every second of this adventure! I'm posting from my iPad, which I've never done before. It's not bad if you're in a pinch. No photos though. :-(

Hopefully, I can post from my computer very soon. I haven't been working on much with being in bed and then NO power. Trust me, I'm ready to get back to some quilting!

Wooly Wednesday

February 21, 2011

I still have that nagging dry cough.  Unfortunately, I think it's getting worse.  It's bordering on irritating at this point.  I managed to stitch up block 11 for "Hop To It."  Yipee!  I'm so close to the end now.
I really like the burnt orange wool.  It makes for a beautiful contrast with the blue.  Love it!  I still need to square it up to the correct size.  I have one more block to go, then I'm putting it all together!  AND then it's on to Annie to be quilted very soon!!  I need to get some practicing in around applique first. 

I've been trying to practice doodling and drawing designs every day.  It definitely makes a difference in my quilting when I do.  Makes sense.  Just like when we first learned to write our names in cursive.  We had to practice and repeat every day until it became natural.  Same thing with quilting.  It's all about training the muscle memory in our brains. 
Doodles, doodles and more doodles.  As you can see, I'm a little feather obsessed. 

Hopefully, I can get rid of this cough soon.  It's really making me feel a bit run down.  Who has time for that??

Practice Makes Perfect??

February 14, 2011

Nothing but quilting going on here.  What have I been quilting??  Practice, practice and practice quilting.  I wish that patience could be one of those "P" words.  My patience is definitely being tried.  I have spent the last several days, except the days I worked, practice quilting on Annie.  I've been practicing backtracking, all over designs and feathers.  I'll be honest with you, it's hard when you want so badly for your quilting to look really good and it doesn't.  It looks better every day, but I want perfection NOW.  I'm trying really hard to stay positive.  I know that much of it is because I am a perfectionist and I am overly critical.  Fortunately, Scott has been my personal cheerleader and counselor.  I'm pretty sure last night he could have been wearing a jersey with the initials "QP" on the front with pom poms in his hands! :-)  We made a pact that he would give me his honest opinion on my quilting.  If it looks bad, then he'll tell me and I promise not to get mad at him.  I need a voice of reason because sometimes I swear I think my quilting is worse than it really is.  If Scott tells me my quilting looks good, then I know he's not just saying that to be nice. 

Remember "Butter Churn?"  It was the Le Petite quilt for November.
I decided last night this would be my next flimsy to quilt.  I'm almost done with the quilting.  I was going to finish it up, but it was getting pretty late.  I can finish it up this morning.

I did an allover over swirly feather design in the body and a feather border.  I am very pleased with my quilting.  AND a bit relieved.  I think I like to see the quilting in pictures.  I have a better appreciation for how it looks.  It's hard to tell while I'm quilting it.  I'm trying to learn to quilt feathers from all directions especially in the borders, so I don't have to turn the quilt.  I just have the last part of the body of the quilt to do and the four patches in the corners.  Not sure how I'll quilt the four patches yet.  I also did a partial float on this quilt because it's so small.  Saved me pinning the quilt top to the leaders. 

I have my next quilt top on deck to be quilted.  I'm doing a much bigger one next.  I'm thinking these small quilts take almost as much time as a big one would!!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  The girls have the day off today.  We are going to have a nice, relaxing day at home today. 

5 Things I Never Leave Home Without

February 10, 2011

Impera_Magna aka Freda from The Adventures of the Empress of the Universe thought I'd like to play a little game of "5 Things I Never Leave the House Without".  I had to really think about it because I'm always leaving the house in a hurry!

Here goes...

1.  Cell Phone - Pesky little thing, but I feel naked without it.  I remember when I didn't have one.  How did I ever manage??  Sad.

2.  Glasses - This is new one for me.  A necessity now.  Can't drive without them!

3.  Wallet - Sometimes I forget to put my wallet back in my purse after some....Internet shopping. :-)  Yes, as sure as I am writing this, I will get pulled over without my driver's license on that day.  I speak from experience.

4.  Ugg Boots - With living in Michigan, I wear them for nearly 8 months out of the year.  They are the best boots for keeping my feet and legs warm during the winter.  No, I do not wear them with skirts or shorts for fashion reasons.  I wear them for warmth!!  I actually have a pair I just wear in the house because I love how warm they keep me.

5.  Sarge - Every morning I drive the girls to school.  Sarge goes too!  He rides in the passenger seat with his nose out the window every morning.  He thinks he's one of the kids too!  Trust me, he would hop out and go with the girls to school too, if he could! :-)
 Those are my 5 things.

Also, I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award - a blog with under 300 followers by Karen of Of Quilts and Other Musings.  Thanks Karen!  Blogging has been such a wonderful new chapter in my life.  I still can't believe I have followers.  :-)

I hope everyone has a nice weekend.  I seem to have caught a bit of a cough.  I'm sure running around with a wet head not so long ago didn't help!

Shipshewana Part III

February 9, 2011

Finally, I can prove that I did actually get some sewing done!  I know some of you may have been thinking that I just shopped and ate the whole time!  I worked on the sashing blocks for "Hop To It."  It took me a bit longer than I originally thought it would.  There are over 120 hourglass blocks that finish to an odd size that make up the sashing of that quilt.
These are a couple of the applique blocks with sashing laid around them with the corner stones.  I'm making a primitive version of this quilt and used a brushed cotton homespun for all the fabric besides the wool in the applique.  With using this type of fabric, you really need to have a very scant 1/4" seam to make sure your blocks come out to the correct size.  Being the perfectionist that I am, I made all my blocks bigger and then trimmed them up.  Yes, it's much more time consuming, but they are ALL the correct size and NOT wonky.  I love how scrappy it looks already!!
Now "Hop To It' is ready for the quilt top to be assembled as soon as I finish stitching around the last two blocks!  Yipee!  I'm almost there!!

Now for some of things that followed me home from Shipshewana!
My sister, Kristin gave me a gift certificate for Lolly's for Christmas.  I spent it on replacing 3 of my rulers.  The corners were just terribly shaved off and rulers can add up quickly!  I thought that was pretty good use for my gift certificate.  I picked up some of the other items at Yoder's.  I love the French General fabric.  I'm using that on a project I plan on starting very soon.  Not the pattern in the photo.  I have other plans for that one coming very soon as well.

Shipshewana has some really neat shops to buy things for your home.  I really love a few of the primitive shops and amazingly there is always some orphans that follow me home! :-)
I picked these up at 50% off from one of my favorite primitive shops called A Thankful Heart.  The wool sheep is just darling!  The prim houses have a place in the back to plug a light in.  I think they were a steal at less then $35 for all three!

I've been collecting vintage or reproduction game boards to decorate the stairwell to our downstairs.  I picked up a few over the weekend.
They are all from different little shops and ALL on sale.  I especially like the checkerboard with the pineapples in the corners.  That was a last minute find right before I was leaving the store.  I just happen to spot it in the corner on the floor.  My lucky day!!  Oh and the quilt sign in the front of the group, I thought it would look nice hanging in Annie's studio.  It was only $5.00.  What a steal!!
This is where Scott will hang the new game boards.  They will join a few that I picked up last year in Shipshewana.

Don't worry I did some shopping for the rest of the family too.

I have just a few more photos from trip.
I  wanted to show a closer look at some of the beautiful quilts hanging in Lolly's At Home.  Just beautiful.  Inspiring!  Yes, the clock reads 6:13... AM!  You can see some ladies off to the left of the photo shopping in their pj's!

This was in the window ledge of one of the bedrooms at the bed and breakfast.  These sweet little bunnies reminded me of Darlene!  I had to take a photo just for her!  :-)

This concludes my trip.  I hope you all enjoyed Shipshewana!

The Best Weekend Ever Part 2

February 8, 2011

I did do some or a lot of shopping while in Shipshewana.  My favorite place to stop first is Lolly's.  Lolly's is a quilt shop located in the Davis Mercantile building.  Lolly's is the main quilt shop, but then  has several smaller specialty shops in the building.
Inside.  It's just beautiful.
Inside Lolly's.  I LOVE this shop!!
This is Lolly's At Home.  It's a shop across the hall from Lolly's where you can purchase quilts that have been hand quilted by the Amish.  Just gorgeous!!

Next I like to visit Yoder's Department Store down the road.  It's one stop shopping!!  Quilt shop, clothing, grocery and hardware.
Yoder's prices are so great!!  The sale on Saturday was 20% off everything.  Fabric is normally $7.95 yd., so that made fabric only $6.36 yd.!!!  I scored some nice French General Fabric!!  The sale only goes from 8-10 AM, so you need to pre-shop the store, so you know exactly what you want Saturday morning.  The cutting line is crazy!! :-)  All good fun, though!!  BTW, the sale at Lolly's starts at 6 AM!  It goes until 9 AM.  The crazy things quilters will do for a great sale.  Shop in the early hours of the morning in our pajamas!  LOL!
We also shopped all the cute little shops too! All this shopping really makes you work up an appetite! :-)

There are so many wonderful things about Shipshewana.  The Amish, the shopping, the food, the scenery and oh, did I mention the food??  My favorite place to eat is actually in the next little town over from Shipshewana called Middlebury.  Das Dutchman Essenhaus is a family, Amish style restaurant and bakery.  Plus there is an Inn and shopping there as well.
Let me get back to the food.  It's served family style.  All Amish and homemade!  The dinner consists of salad, bread, fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, Amish noodles, a vegetable AND your choice of pie!!  I usually don't even bother with the salad! :-) I save room for all the fried chicken I can stand.  Oh, and trust me I can hardly stand myself when I leave!!
I, of course made my way to the bakery to treat myself to an Amish Whoopie Pie.  Like I needed it, but when in Shipshewana...

I highly recommend them!!  Chocolaty goodness!!

Tomorrow I'll share my fabulous buys and the measly sewing I managed to fit in, between all the shopping and food.

Oh and I am SOOOO on a carb detox now!! :-)

The Best Weekend Ever

February 7, 2011

I'm home from my retreat to Shipshewana IN.  I had such a wonderful time eating, shopping and some sewing!  I think I ended up doing more of the first two than the latter.  I took so many pictures, I don't even know where to begin.  I'll start with where we stayed.  We stayed at the most wonderful bed and breakfast, Hidden Creek.  Gretchen was our wonderful hostess.  She made us feel right at home.  Her mother has another BB across the road called Song Bird Ridge.  I highly recommend staying at either place if you are visiting Shipshewana.  Now for a little tour of Hidden Creek...
A nice warm welcome.
This was the warm, cozy living room before we set our sewing stations up. 
After we did some remodeling.  We had more than ample room for sewing.
Wonderful, inviting bedrooms.  Each with their own bathrooms. 
Our very own kitchen.  We ate only one meal out the whole time.  My friend Kathy was in charge of food and brought delicious meals and snacks for us to enjoy!

We really enjoyed our stay.  I only wish I would have gotten a photo from the front of the house.  Gretchen and her family live upstairs of the BB in a very beautiful home.  Every morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared fresh by Gretchen.  We would wake up to this every morning!  The view out the windows was breath taking.

Fresh cinnamon rolls!!  As I said earlier, I think I did more eating than sewing!!  I'm on a "back from Shipshewana" diet!

Thank you, Gretchen for opening your wonderful home to us!  We'll see you next February!

Tomorrow I'll post the places we visited in Shipshewana.  I have way too much for just one post!!  Plus, I need to get caught up with all my blogging I missed out on last weekend!

I'm Off To Amish Country

February 3, 2011

Well, we survived the Blizzard of 2011.  That's how the news kept referring to the winter blizzard that moved through much of the U.S. in the last couple of days.  The girls are home from school again today.  We live in a rural area and I believe the back roads are still quite dangerous.  Plus, it's awful cold out.  We were all home Wednesday too.  Even Scott stayed home.  It gave me a chance to get some things done before I left for my retreat.  I did not finish all my "Hop To It" blocks, but I finished up Block 10.
Again, I love the rich colors of the wool.  I also squared up all my blocks so far to the correct size.
I will work on the sashing and remaining two blocks while I'm on my retreat.  I'm taking Elaina's "Toulouse" to also work on.

I'm going to Shipshewanna IN until Sunday.  I can't wait!  It's a quilter's paradise in the heart of Amish country.  I will be enjoying the Amish food as well!!  I usually diet the week before, so I can make a complete pig of myself while I'm there!! :-)  This is a huge weekend in Shipshewanna.  Saturday morning the whole town is on sale.  Even the the quilt shops!!  It's like the day after Thanksgiving.  It's called the Pajama Sale.  In order to get the discounts, you have to be wearing your pajamas!  Even the Amish participate.  It's so much fun!  The sales start early in the morning.  We always go to Lolly's first.  It's one of my favorite quilt shops...EVER!  The whole store is on sale at 30% off!  It's a crazy madhouse in there!!  I will take lots of pictures to show you when I get back.

I finished up quilting "Mon Ami."  I still need to get the binding on and give it a little bath.  I was going to wait to show pictures, but I just can't wait that long.
I just did a simple swirly design around the border.
I think it will make a beautiful table topper.

I have one last little story.  I went to Jamie's studio Tuesday for a private class with another student.  The other student, Kelly drove over 2 1/2 hours to take the class!  I, of course was running late.  Some of you might want to cover your ears for this part...I took a shower and left the house in the middle of winter with a wet head.  No, I would never let the girls do the same thing.  The other student was already there when I arrived.  As soon as I walked in she said, "You're The Quilted Pineapple!"  I sheepishly smiled and said, "Yes, I am."  She was so sweet.  She explained how that she read my blog, enjoyed it and that was how she found Jamie!  I just thought that was super neat!  Kelly, actually purchased a Handiquilter (Jamie is a dealer for those as well) from a dealer that offered no help to her.  Not even set-up of her machine.  Kelly was super excited to find Jamie because he is going to work with Kelly in his studio for about 3 days!  I'm so happy for Kelly.  I look forward to keeping in touch with her.  I had a photo of the three of us, but for some reason my camera didn't save it.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I'll see you Monday with tales of my retreat!

Mon Ami - Le Petite

February 1, 2011

My first top finished for 2011!! :-) January's Le Petite project...
"Mon Ami" Schnibbles designed by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  I love it!!  Carol of Brown Quilts was kind enough to send me the pattern because she had an extra!  Thanks Carol! The fabric collection I used is Le Petite Ecole by French General.  I so love this fabric!!  I'm actually going to make a big quilt from the same fabric very soon!  I am becoming a huge fan groupie of French General fabric and this particular collection is no exception!  This is Scott's favorite Le Petite so far.  I too love that it's done!  LOL!  The never ending HSTs almost put me over the edge!
Nearly 300 HSTs waiting to be squared up.
Finally, after hours of trimming, ready for piecing.  What a relief!!

AND I have a little surprise....look what's loaded on Annie....almost completely quilted...
I was hoping to get it all quilted today, but just not enough time.  I just have the borders left to quilt!!  Not sure if I'll continue the same motif in a different thread or try something else.  It's definitely not going to win any ribbons, but it's a HUGE victory for me!  I'm so glad I finally took the plunge.  Scott of course wanted me to test my new skills on a different quilt!  LOL! Quilting on a real quilt is completely different than on muslin!!  Completely different.  It even sounds different.  Going over the gazillion seams was a whole new experience too.  I will always treasure this quilt.  I can't believe first real quilt...quilted on Annie!!

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful comments regarding my new specs!  You are all too sweet!!  Blogging buddies are the best!!  A couple of you left really nice comments that I would love to reply to, but your Blogger profile does not have an email.  If you change the settings, I'd love to reply to you!

I'm off today to Jamie's studio for a personal quilt lesson!!  I can't wait!  He says it's going to be an intense day of learning for me.  "GOOD," is what  I say!  I'll take whatever I can learn from him!  I'm supposed to go Wednesday too, but we are bracing for a big winter storm, so Wednesday, I'm sure will need to be rescheduled.  I'm so tired of winter!!!

Make sure you stop by Sinta's or Sherri's blog to see the parade of Le Petite quilts.  They should have them posted soon.