Saturday, December 13, 2008


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a cat.
Fuzzy Wuzzy's hair's growing back.

Putty is recovering from his shave. After getting over the initial shock of what happened to him, he liks his haircut. He has a lot more zip in his step. The only problem is that he misses the warmth from his coat. For the first time ever, he is snuggling under covers. Poor guy.
I would say he no longer looks like a squirrel with a silky body and a fluffy tail. Instead, he kind looks like a teddy bear with a scruffy, fuzzy coat. Hopefully he'll be back to his full fluffiness soon.
Notice in this picture how he's "helping" me with my cutting. He's right on top of the ruler and the fabric. Thanks a lot, cat!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Star BOM 9

I'm all caught up on Judy L.'s Star Block of the Month. She'll be giving us another block in 4 days and then we get a break until February. Then there are 3 more blocks and a series of borders. I'm on a roll and don't really want to stop, but I think it is going to be a good thing, because then I can focus on some other projects that have been falling by the wayside and maybe resume this project with gusto in the new year.

I'm having fun with it and really like this stage. I haven't been following the exact color placement for each block and have been using a somewhat scrappy look. So now it's neat to rearrange the blocks into what the final placement will be.

Here are blocks 1 through 9:


Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the UFO Club at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee. We decided to have a potluck brunch to celebrate the season. Also special about our December meeting is that we drew a name from the completed projects jar to award a winner of a Mill House gift certificate. There was a new person attending, so we nominated her as an unbiased person to select the name. Lo and behold-- I won!! =) Hurrah! The project that I completed that won this was Emilie's baby quilt.

I brought my camera and intended to take pictures, but the morning got away from me. Instead, I will post a picture of what I brought to the potluck. Krumkake! :-P

Monday, December 8, 2008

Knitting progress

Slooooooowly I have been making progress on my knitting. The problem is that I make mistakes frequently and don't know how to solve them. Then I stop and wait until I can beg a knitter to help me. Did you know there are knitters everywhere! Amazing!

Something has clicked recently, though. I knit at least 10 rows without making a mistake! Hurrah! Here is a picture. It is the beginnings of a scarf. The yarn is Peruvian and is 60% wool, 30% alpaca, 7% acrylic, 3% viscose.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crafty at work!

This was my weekend to work, so I didn't get anything crafty done at home. On Friday night the weather was lousy, so there weren't many patients at the clinic. After several hours of quiet, I was getting restless. The fluorescent lights were frying my brain and I needed something to do...lo and behold, there was a tiny tree in the lab (right next door to me in x-ray) that was crying out to be decorated! Somebody had started by sticking some plastic pipettes into the tree and I ran from there.

Michelle was working in lab and she was just as excited as I was to decorate. The first step was to take cotton balls and tuck them deep into the branches. They kind of look like snow. Then we both thought the blue, elastic tourniquets would make a great garland. Next I was off on a scavenger hunt around the clinic for items that would work in the tree. Everything seemed to be clear or white and the tree needed color and a topper.

I gathered a children's face mask and covered the base with it (it's got Disney characters and is colorful). The black plastic ear thingies that they stick in your ear are on a few branches. They weren't staying put very well. I found some big swabs and stuck them in near the top. Michelle decided to color them red (now they kind of look bloody!!-- gross!) I stuck some blood draw tube covers in the branches (reddish in color), made a base of bedpan basins. and put a couple of tongue depressors on top of them. At the bottom of the branches, I spelled 2008 with the stickers we used on x-ray file folders to mark the year.

The best part of it all is the topper...wait for it... a urine sample cup! =) All of the nurses have gotten a big kick out of our holiday spirit. It doesn't take much to amuse us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Star BOM 8

I'm progressing along with the Star Blocks of the Month. I spent a lot of time deliberating about the color placement on this block and changed my mind a few times. The pattern calls for the same color that forms the ring in the center to be the inner part of the star points. After cutting the triangles, it didn't look right to me:

So, I decided to use a dark black for the inner star points. I wasn't totally sure about it, but told myself to "just sew it, it looks fine!". I've been telling myself that a lot while working on these blocks, because I can dilly-dally forever while picking colors.

Here is my second color choice for the star points:

Unfortunately after sewing 2 sets of triangles together I decided I didn't like this fabric and didn't want it to be in the final quilt. It's definitely a lesser quality of fabric than what I'm using in the rest of the blocks and I'm worried that as the quilt ages, this one will fade and break down. I bought it at Joann's and feel it was a waste of money. The weave is loose and it took several rinses to remove excess dye. I'm not even sure if I got all the dye out! Grrr. Back to the drawing board. I picked another black and am pleased with the result.

One more block and I will be caught up. Maybe tomorrow? Here are the first 8 blocks, 5 more to go!

MCQG Holiday Party

Today is a lovely winter snow day, with several inches of snow forecast and I'm so happy it's falling today and not yesterday. Because last night was the Mad City Quilt Guild Holiday Party and I was organizing the event. There were 64 people attending and if today's weather happened yesterday, we probably would have had to cancel. =\

It's a huge relief to have the party completed. Everything went well (except a small projector problem that got sorted out). The food was great (lots of compliments), the speaker was entertaining and my worst nightmare didn't come true-- I was worried that someone's reservation form would "fall through the cracks" and they would show up and I wouldn't have them on the list. But it was all good!
I brought my camera last night, but totally forgot to take pictures! Instead I'll post a picture of the door prizes (I won one!!! --big grin!--) and one of the favors.

One person per table got a poinsettia and each person got a handmade paper star ornament (made by our president).

I'm going to get crafty with my remaining snow day. Perhaps I'll post my progress later this afternoon?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Star BOM #7

I've fallen a bit behind on Judy L.'s Star Block of the Month, but will hopefully catch up soon. I have the next one cut out, but I'm questioning one color placement, so I'm taking some time to mull it over.
One good thing is that I've worked ahead and cut out the background pieces for the remaining blocks, so that should save me a bit of time with the future blocks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I call this picture "Crazy Loomy". =) I was trying to figure out how to take a picture of a black cat without overexposing it. I tried many things: no flash, different speeds and finally figured out that I can set exposure levels on the camera and tell the flash what type of light the picture is.

This is the result of my adjustments. Loomy is looking less crazy and a bit more handsome:

Loomy belongs to my friends Kim and Peter. Thank you Loomy for being a guest on Caturday.

Monday, November 24, 2008


As soon as I posted about Ella and Emilie, I remembered that I wanted to show today's snowfall. I didn't realize that it was forecast to snow last night, so it was a big surprise to see snow on the tree outside my window when I woke up this morning.

The news on the radio said that we got between 1 and 2 inches of snow. Most of it on the pavement melted or turned slushy. The grass and trees clung to it, but it will be gone soon. The weather will hover around 40 degrees for the middle of the week.

I should take this as a warning and find all of my ice scrapers and gloves! I'm always unprepared for winter.

Emilie's quilt is complete!

I've been calling this "Pink/Brown Baby Quilt" or "Emilie's Pink/Brown Baby Quilt", but those are really boring names. So I'm open to any suggestions on what to officially call this! I finished hand sewing the binding last week, just in time to take it to UFO club at Millhouse and put my name in the jar for finished projects. The drawing for a gift certificate is in December and I've been able to get my name in it quite a few times, so keep your fingers crossed that I win.

On Saturday I visited Kim and Peter and gave Ella and Emilie their quilts. As promised, here are pictures of the girls with their new quilts:

Cutie Pie Emilie

She even wore jammies that matched the quilt (notice the flower on the jammies looks similar to the quilting??!!)

Sweet Pea Ella

If you need proof that her favorite colors are green and pink, take a look at her bedroom walls!

I had all kinds of great pictures on my camera (more of Ella and Emilie, Jack and Owen at the children's museum last week, my knitting progress), but somehow I accidentally erased the entire memory card in my camera. =( I was goofing around with my camera while trying to figure out how to take a picture of a black cat without washing out/overexposing everything. Kim's cat Loomy is mostly black and I was determined to get a picture of him. The good news is that I figured it out. There is a setting for adjusting the exposure and one for choosing the lighting (daylight/fluorescent/tungsten, etc.). Between those and choosing the speed manually, I got some good pictures. Instead of resetting each option, I thought I could do a "reset all" step. Apparently reset all includes resetting your memory card. Grrrr. That was a life lesson. I re-took some pictures of Loomy and he might guest star on a Caturday in the future.

I've finished up/made progress on lots of my projects lately and will try to post about them separately. Unfortunately my Star BOM has fallen behind. I have 2 of those to catch up on and really, really, really hope to get to them this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Workshop with Bonnie

I met Bonnie this week!

The first time was last Thursday at a talk she did for a guild in Delafield. She spoke about the fabric food chain. I thought I had a solid grasp on this, but I still learned a lot. It was great to see all of her quilts up close and personal. Photos and websites don't ever do justice.

While at the talk, I found out that there were openings in the Saturday workshop!! I had tried to register for this a while ago, but it was full. As it happened, they had room for me and my mom. The pattern being taught was Virginia Bound (seen in the background of the top picture) from her latest book, Scraps & Shirttails. I got my copy that day and this is probably my favorite pattern. The long diamonds really shine.

On Friday I shopped for more shirts at a pay by the pound thrift shop. I bought a bunch of shirts 2 years ago and cut up half of them, but never got around to using them. This is the perfect opportunity! My mom and I spent the rest of the day washing them, drying them and then "de-constructing". We had a great variety of darks/colors, but very few tan/white/neutrals. So instead of shirts, I decided to use tan scraps that were lying around. Perhaps I'll thrift store shop some more and find a few shirts to mix in. There are 79 blocks total and we only have 8 done, so there is plenty of time!

Here is our messy work area on Saturday:

And here is our first star (made from 4 blocks):

The pattern name is Virginia Bound, but because the workshop was held at North Prairie, I'm naming mine North Prairie Bound. =)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Flip Flops are done!

Another finish! Another Hip-Hip-Hurray!

I just finished the binding on the Flip Flops Quilt. (This picture is taken prior to the hand stitching of the binding). This quilt is for my friend Kim's daughter Ella. She's 4 and is a lot of fun. Her favorite colors are green and pink, preferably together! The backing is pink, the binding is green and I quilted it with a variegated green thread.

I'll take a picture of Ella with the quilt when I give it to her. Before that happens, I need to finish the binding on the quilt for her baby sister. Soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Funky Boxes - Top done!!

Today I finished the final seams needed to put the top together and then added a simple brown border. The quilt is uber-busy, so I think I can get away with just an inch of brown all around it. The timing is just right, because I am going to my parent's house this weekend and will hopefully be able to quilt it on the longarm. This might be the first baby quilt that I'll have completed prior to the baby being born. What a novelty!
In non-quilty news: I am taking a knitting class. As if I needed another hobby! I'm justifying this because knitting is very mobile and I can do it in situations where I can't quilt. The class is at a lovely yarn shop in Verona, The Sow's Ear.
This is my practice piece. DON'T LOOK TOO CLOSE!
They are having us start with practicing the knit and purl (pearl? perl?) stitches without a purpose of making anything with it. After we do that for a while (a week), we get to make a scarf. I've already purchased the yarn for it--it's gorgeous! (Mossy green, part alpaca, part wool--picture to follow).
I wish I could just wiggle my nose and have this whole thing figured out, because I have a lot of practing to do in order to be happy with the results.

Saturday, November 8, 2008



It's been a rough week for Putty. In the spring, he started some medication for an overactive thyroid. The good news is that it's worked very well. Unfortunately one side effect of the medication is that he hasn't felt the need to groom himself very much. He has a lot of fluffy fur and it's been getting matted.

This week, I was attempting to trim some of the mats (they appear out of nowhere!) and accidentally cut him. The vet recommended stitches and because Putty wasn't being cooperative, he needed to be sedated. While sedated, they ended up shaving him! He is better off this way, but he wasn't a happy camper when I picked him up from the vet!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another busy week!

Sew much going on! I've been like the tortoise this week-- Slow and steady. Nothing is 100% complete and I've added a few new things to my list of projects.
I'll start by showing off some shopping. I went to Hancock's last Friday and was able to use a Joann's coupon to get this sewing machine tote bag for 40% off. I've had my eye on the bag before, but wasn't sure if the dimensions were quite right for my machine. I still didn't know my machine base size, but figured if it wasn't right, I could return it. Good news-- it works! It's not a perfect match, but for $17 it is quite nice.

While there, they had Halloween fabric 75% off. I thought these skeletons were fabulous and would make a great scrub top that I could get away with year round. I'm an x-ray tech, so it doesn't get any better than this! Now if only my garment sewing skills could improve...

On the quilty front:
I finished piecing the In the Beginning wallhanging (mitered borders and all). Now it's in the queue to be quilted.
Funky Boxes are almost all together (I'll save a pic for when it's done). Bindings are on the quilts for Baby Emily and Big Sis Ella (again saving pics for later). Hopefully I can get the hand sewing done on the bindings in the next 2 weeks and register them as complete when I go to UFO club at Millhouse.
Last, but not least, Amy, Shelly and I got together Monday to sew and make some fun bags. Here are our results:
(left to right: Shelly, me, Amy)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Charcoal is feeling left out, because Putty got two Caturdays in a row. Is it my fault that Putty is more photogenic and a better helper in the sewing room? Honestly, I have such a hard time taking pictures of Charcoal. 1- He's not cooperative. 2- The camera doesn't like his dark, dark fur and always wants to overexpose with the flash.

Charcoal is my 1/2 cat. I always say that I have 1 1/2 cats, because he belongs to my neighbor who works out of town during the week. In order to make things easier, I suggested that Charcoal just stay at my house. Charcoal was once an outdoor stray and is still extremely skittish. When I would try to give him attention at his house, he would run away and hide. Now that he stays at my house, he is much more outgoing. He's still a little crazy, because I can pet him one minute and the next he runs away from me like I'm an axe murderer. Another reason that Charcoal is here, is because Putty likes him. Putty gets bored with me (a hooman) and likes to play in cat ways with Charcoal.

As long as I'm linking to LOLcats, I swear that this is Putty on the right and Charcoal in the middle.

Happy Caturday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life Lesson

Irons are Hot!

Ask me how I know? I touched the metal cylinder part of this one with several fingers today.

Grrrrr. I've owned this iron for quite a while, but rarely have I used it. Normally, I want a lot of steam and don't need precision, so I just use my regular iron. Today, I started putting the blocks together of Funky Box Baby Quilt and realized that this is the perfect opportunity to use the little pen shaped iron. Here are the seams that I was trying to press open.

It's been 30 minutes since the "incident" and my hand is doing better. The ice was hurting just as much as the burn. I think I'm going to have a blister on the pad of my middle finger and the inside part of my thumb. ='( I think I'll make it.

On a brighter note: The funky boxes are looking cool and it's not taking very long to put them together. Right before the "incident", I remarked to myself, "Huh, it's only been about 45 minutes and I've gotten this much done?!?!!!". I have more done than this photo, but this section was feeling the most photogenic.

In other Wisconsin news, we had some prett strong flurries yesterday. I tried to capture them in a picture. The spots you see here are the flakes, not your eyes playing tricks on you.

My Christmas Cactus seems to be ready for winter, because it's already blooming!
One last quilty note: Instead of working on all the other projects I have going on right now, I decided to start the wallhanging Nancy gave me. It's pretty simple, but I still managed to make some boo-boos. Despite those (which will remain un-named) it's going together well. All I have left to do is one seam (top 1/3 to bottom 2/3) and the borders. It calls for mitered borders and I don't like those, so I'm dragging my feet a little bit.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Putty has been very instrumental with the end of the funxy box blocks. Right here he is studying my design wall to make sure that the blocks are laid out in a good arrangement. His opinion? Purr-fect, of course! (sorry, I couldn't resist)

Friday, October 24, 2008


I had a wonderful surpise in the mail this week-- A Squishy from my Aunt Nancy in Seattle.

Rumor has it that it's my birthday this week (but I'm trying not to notice that I'm another year older). Anyway, Nancy is of the quilty persuasion. While visiting Seattle many moons ago, she took me to In The Beginning. I was brand new to quilting and had only shopped at Joann's. This place was totally overwhelming to me. Quilts were hanging everywhere, bolts and bolts of quilting fabric (no apparel fabric to confuse me), bins of fat quarters and a roomful of women taking a class with only Featherweights. Yeah-- I didn't know what fat quarters were., I had never seen a featherweight before and I had never been to a quilt show, so this was the biggest collection of quilts I had seen in one place.
Boy how things have changed! I swear by my featherweight, I have my share of fat quarters and I've visited lots of quilt shows and seen so many amazing quilts. What will the next 10 years bring?
Here is the contents of my squishy:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

100% !!!

All 157 of the blocks for "Funky Boxes" are done! Hurray! Yippee! Woot!

That's the good news--there is bad news. Somehow there is a problem with the C blocks. Yesterday I sewed the 2 largest blocks (F blocks) and was all set to trim them today, when I thought it would be a good idea to check what size they should be trimmed to. Why-oh-why didn't I do that for the C blocks? Hindsight.

I had some problems when I originally scanned the foundation templates from the book. The scan was enlarging the picture some crazy, non-logical amount and I did some calculations to re-size the scan and then print enough blocks out on the foundation papers. Well, the printouts weren't super precise and on occasion I had to trim the block a little (1/8th of an inch) different than the pattern. On the C blocks, I rounded down 1/8th inch on all sides and I really should have rounded up! So now they are off by 1/4 inch! Grrrrrr. There are 18 C blocks in all. The solution that I'm considering is to remove 2 of the outer edges and re-sew new strips and trim them to the correct size. Unfortunately, the seam ripping is going to be a bear, because I used teeny-tiny stitches to perforate the paper (that makes paper removal easier).

This isn't any fun, so I'm just going to focus on the good news right now. ALL BLOCKS ARE DONE!

Here is a picture of all the blocks stacked up next to my iron:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star BOM #6

Well, block 6 is done, but it was a bit of a struggle. I don't know what was going on today, but nothing was working out. My rotary cutter was well past due for a new blade and I swapped it out this morning. The new blade cut like a breeze, but I kept making mistakes with cutting for the BOM. Wrong size, swerved away from the ruler, not square/trim again/still not square/trim again...what's going on??!!?? With all the problems I had cutting my pieces, I was ready to put to old one back in!

It took ages, but I finally I had everything cut out. The sewing went fine and the block turned out ok-- not my best work, but ok. Maybe I'll join the group that is going to remake this block? Actually, I don't think I want to revisit that cutting twilight zone again. To quote the UFO Club, "Done is good."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So Sew Busy!

I've had a million gazillion things going on this week that I didn't manage to find time to post as they were happening, so I'll do a re-cap of the last week (or so).

Last Tuesday was my monthly guild meeting. I'm chairing the community service project this year and I made a presentation about it. I'll post all about it another time.

Last Thursday I took pictures of the quilts that hung in the Mad City Quilt Guild's booth at Quilt Expo last month. The pictures are posted on our website. It was an all day affair, between photographing, cropping/resizing and then uploading them.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: work, work, work.
Monday- recuperate and continue with the blocks for Funky Boxes. I'm almost done with the blocks!!! Hurrah! I have all but 8 done and tonight I ripped all the paper off, so I can get to piecing the blocks together soon.

Tuesday I helped a little with Project Linus' Make a Blanket Day. The focus for the day was to make fleece throws and NICU flannel blankets. The group managed to make nearly 100 blankets that day! Amazing!

Wednesday was the monthly meeting of the UFO Club at Millhouse Quilts in Waunakee. I didn't have anything to register (nothing completed, nothing new), but took some of the funky boxes along and started tearing the paper off of them. Afterwards, I did a little shopping. For the first time ever, their sale room was open while I was there. It had lots of tempting things. My favorite was a shelf full of 'scrap packages'. When a bolt is done and there isn't a usable amount to sell as yardage, they save the scraps and sell them discounted. The top part of the picture is the package and the second is what was inside. Lots of great stuff! And I was able to use some of the bits in my funky boxes. The last picture is some cool fabric that I got at 30% off. It's very yummy.

Thursday: My day to volunteer at the children's hospital. It was a pretty quiet session. That's good for the kids because they aren't in the hospital, but not as much fun for the volunteers.

Non-quilty: Thursday was my final tennis match for the fall season and I'm very happy to report that I ended the season with a win!!! Just like George Costanza says, "End on a high note."

Friday/Saturday: I headed to my parent's house to use my mom's longarm and get some tops quilted. My time was limited. I managed to quilt two small baby/kid sized quilts. First up was my flip-flops quilt that I'm giving to my friend's daughter Ella. She just turned 4 a few months ago. I kept the quilting simple -- loop-de-loo's and the top finished quick.

Next up was the pink and brown baby quilt that I made for Ella's new sister, Emilie. I wanted to quick and simple quilting on this one, too, but it didn't go nearly as smooth as the flip-flops. =/

Normally, I practice and refine my design on muslin before I start the real deal. Because I thought this was a simple pattern, I went straight for the actual quilting. Yeah, I should have taken the time to load the muslin!! After 4 blocks, I realized that I hated my thread choice (dark brown) and design. It took forever to rip that area out. Even after I switched thread, I still wasn't totally happy with my second choice. I ended up using a pink variegated thread, but would rather have used a plain light pink. Overall, the quilt looks nice, but it made me realize how rusty my longarm skills got over the summer. I'll post final pictures of the quilts once I get the binding done.

Last, but not least, today was Jessica's baby shower! My friends Kimberly and Jean hosted and the theme was retro/50's era. Guests were encouraged to wear pearls and twinsets. I had fun with it and wore a scarf over my hair and under my chin when I arrived. I had an old apron for when I was in the kitchen and brought cucumber sandwiches and a dish of mixed nuts. If only I had some cat-eye glasses!! Drat. Of course for a present I'm giving her a baby quilt. For today, I gave her a shoe box full of the Funky Box blocks.

(L-R) Jean, Kimberly displaying a jello mold, Jessica and me