Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ginger Jar Madness

There is a madness sweeping the land. It started (this round anyway) in American Samoa. The person known as "Quilter Zero" (as we would say in epidemiological terms "the index case") is none other than Barb at BEJEWELED QUILTS BY BARB. One case was spread directly to Pat at A Little of This and a Little of Pat when she (and I ) won Barb's giveaway. However, there are other cases that possibly spread by visual exposure like Barbara at Pinelands Patches

As you can see this is becoming epidemic! It is possible that it is a pandemic! My case is starting to develop. The first signs were today. Somehow, I became compelled to make a template and cut pieces with scissors (shock! not a rotary cutter!) This required possibly infecting my friend Serena (thanks Serena!) as she gave me info on templates. ---

---now you all probably have done templates for years and maybe even learned that way. This was a FIRST for me. I nearly freaked over it - honest truth. ----

As you can see I am definitely showing the symptoms of Ginger Jar Madness.

Now a word to Barb and Pat - because they may be wondering. I chose a background fabric that is a pale yellow. One of the pre-cut pieces blended in and would not make a jar that shows well. So I used this blue paisley to replace it. All my other jars will be from the pieces in the kit.

Special thanks to Barb, Pat and Serena. Ladies you are fantastic!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Catching up

The holidays kept me busy, a little bit too busy to post everything. So I am catching up with this post.
These are NOT in any particular order. I am going with the way Blogger put the photos, just so I don't have to edit a lot of html (internet web browser code)

One of the things that came in during the holiday rush was a prize package from Wanda at Exuberant Color
She had a giveaway of some older style squares that she didn't plan to use.  Now, I happen to love a bunch of precut squares so I entered for this one. I won!  Yaay!  I will have so much fun with these squares.  AND Wanda added some larger pieces of fabric that will go nicely with the squares. PLUS she sent me some strips of batik "scraps" that will be great for my "wild" style.   Thank you, Wanda!

Next up are my blocks from Linda's birthday block swap.  You can find Linda over at Fiber Fabrications

I love these blocks and will be making a lap quilt for my recliner with them. Ahhhh!  I am thinking I will sash with colors in a scrappy manner to break up the muslin centers. That could change, we will see.
In the envelope with the blocks was a delightful pincushion with yummy alpaca yarn at the top.  This is a big pincushion that won't get "lost" on my table. It is shown on the blocks sitting between Linda B's and Pat McN's blocks.
Thanks to Linda and everyone who participated.  (PS I got the package on CHRISTMAS Eve so it was a wonderful Christmas treat for me. )

Last up is a kit that I won from Barb over at BEJEWELED QUILTS BY BARB
These are pre-cut pieces for a ginger jar quilt. Along with the pieces is a cute little bag that my mother made oooh and ahhhhh sounds over. So mom will be getting that part of the prize.  The fabrics in this have an Asian inspired theme in keeping with the "Ginger Jar" idea.   

I love Asian inspired so this will be another one for me to keep, I think.  

I want to say that I have been extremely blessed this year.  I have won a number of giveaways, but what I have really won is far more important.   I have won the friendship of some beautiful people here in the blogging world.  So I am going to close with a couple of  quotes from an artist whose work I admire.  If  I don' t post again prior to the new year,  Happy New Year to you all.  (but I may don't stop looking!)

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God's help I shall succeed. -Vincent van Gogh
I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. -Vincent van Gogh

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the Bleak Midwinter

This song is lovely and I am sharing it with you.  I have put an annotation at the beginning of each verse.

This sets the tone

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.
The Coming of the greatest gift
Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.
The birth (nativity)
Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
which adore.
The beauty of a mother's love - contrasted with the glory of angels.
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
On Giving the best gift
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.
Here is the song as done by Sissel a Norwegian soprano with a lovely clear voice. (not all the lyrics are in her version)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Memory

One of my friends posted about a gift she received in school. As I read it memories flooded back.

I remember Christmas gift exchange in elementary school. My gift came from a girl whose family didn't seem to have as much as we had - which wasn't much either. Sadly, I didn't appreciate my gift until AFTER my little brother claimed it. Then I realized that it wasn't expensive but it was a fun gift. That little girl gave me the gift and looked so HAPPY to be giving it. Her eyes were big and her smile was broad. I know she thought it was an amazing gift. I am glad that I was able to smile back and thank her for the gift. I hope my initial disappointment didn't show.  

I will always remember her joy in giving - To me that IS Christmas. I wish I knew what happened to that little girl. I would love to tell her that the real gift I got that Christmas was a vision of the JOY OF GIVING. I can still she her young face and bright smile. I hope she still has that type of joy. Forgive me for cutting this short...the tears are falling.......

Monday, December 21, 2009

Colorful giveaway

You know how I love those bright colors don't you?  When I wandered over to Alderwood Quilts.  I found another giveaway.  Please don't go enter, because I want to win. (ha ha) BUT you should go read her blog and start following her.   Tell her "Gene sent me!"

Did I mention why I went over there?  It seems Sue has her Strips and Curves templates on SPECIAL over at her website Alderwood Quilts .com

Project - in the ditch.

I am working on a project (present) but that person sometimes looks at my blog so I can't show it. Suffice it to say that I sewed last night and discovered that I can stitch in the ditch much better if I do it free motion.  That was a revelation.

 I think it is the open toe foot that makes that happen. That is NOT my stitching in the picture.  I st----errr borrowed that picture from  I am wondering if I can find a regular foot for my Babylock that is an open toe.  I suppose I should take the time to look thru the feet I have in the case first. LOL.  I keep finding that I already have what I need, I just don't realize it.

BTW the reason I tried free motion "in the ditch" quilting is that I was just too lazy to change the foot again. And I knew I had to do a bit more free motion anyway. That would be changing TWICE.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Luck of the Irish to you

My blogger friend Micki is having an Irish Christmas Giveaway !!! Truthfully, I want to win this BUT I also want to share it with you. The prizes are amazing. A Belleek China Santa, Shamrock socks, a Sweet Colleen doll, a yummy looking Irish Creme bar, an Irish Christmas edition quilting magazine, and a postcard showing the thatched cottages in Ireland. These prizes would certainly make my heart full of Irish happiness for the new year. 
Go on over and enter, and of course Follow Micki's blog.
and if I don't win, I hope YOU do. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Treat Day.

The treat day pictures are below.  These are what was left when I realized I needed to make pictures.  The first is the chocolate cookies I made. That plate was full of cookies except for the three stacks of Ghirardelli squares I added to it.  The cookies are so easy.
Cake mix, 1/2 cup butter (one stick) and two eggs.  Blend with a pastry blender till mixed. Roll into quarter sized balls and bake at 350 or ten minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper under mine!) They were the HIT of the day.

More sweets

"nuts and bolts" Chex mix

Chocolate cheese ball with mini nilla wafers.  (the chocolate cheese stuff was great on my cookies!)

Meat balls.

There was also some cheese/rotel dip.  and some spinach dip and corn chips and crackers....
I ate too much! (and my blood sugar was pretty bad at one point...but it is normal again now. ) Sometimes you just gotta eat "bad stuff" cause it is so good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And now for something Totally Other

I got this list in my email today I found a couple of interesting ideas in here.  ONE is even sewing related.

Coffee filters.

You can buy a big package at the Dollar Store for almost nothing even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the  microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome.  Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3.  Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4.  Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine  bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5.  Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the  skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6.  Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7.  Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve  lined with a coffee filter.

8.  Weigh chopped foods.  Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a  kitchen scale.

9.  Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10.  Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.  Line a plant  pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through  the drainage holes.

11.  Prevent a Popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as  needed in a coffee filter.

12.  Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows?  Use  strips of coffee filters..

13..  Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken  fingers, etc on them.  It soaks out all the grease.

14.  Keep in the bathroom..  They make great "razor nick  fixers."

****15.   As a sewing backing.  Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics. *****

16.  Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17.  Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18.  Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19.  Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20.  Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.  Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21.  Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22.  Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23.  Use them to sprout seeds.  Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.  Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in  phone book..

 25.  Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.

You can even use them in your coffee maker.

My Dearest Darlingest Santa Claus

Santa, you wonderful guy, I was over at the blog for the Fat Quarter Shop and saw that you are going to send an elf to grant some quilters wishes.

I looked around and found this glorious Fat Quarter collection called "Dancing Horses" by Laurel Burch. 
I have tried to be a very good boy this year. (Except when I did that naughty thing to my little brother, but he was picking at me AND he said you didn't exist.)
I know I wasn't perfect, but in my heart I tried.
These bright colors make me so happy. And the horses add a power and joy to the imagining. PLUS, I won't shoot my eye out with this present!

If I am so lucky to get a special elf gift - this would be perfect for me.

I hope my readers all write to you to.  They can find out all about it at The Fat Quarter Shop.

Monday, December 14, 2009

History Lesson (now ain't that exciting!)

One of my blogging buddies was asking about my first sewing machine ever.  (I still have it and it still works, thank you!)
It is an old Kenmore 5186 Zigzag machine.  I bought it either my senior year of high school or the first year I was out of school. I got it second hand.  The dark spots on the lower case were there when I got it.
I used this machine to make clothing for myself.  In the late 70's the "dashiki shirt" was in style and I had a pattern. I made several of them. The dashiki is a pullover shirt with an open neck.  The sleeves are not set-in so it is easy to make.
I also made some other shirts with it.

Later on I made curtains for apartments with it (yes out of cheap bedsheets- I am a guy you know)

I hope you enjoyed the history lesson.

I confess that I FAR prefer to sew on my nice new Babylock Espire machine.  However the old Kenmore will work in a pinch. And it is a good idea to have an old mechanical machine around for things you don't want to sew on your nice machine.

I decided to add something to this post:

If you enlarge the picture you can see the controls better (and you can see the junk behind that machine - but don't look at that part, okay?)  This machine has a little silver knob on the right side marked with a letter "U"  That is the control to lower the feed dogs. Yeah, really it is.  I have done some free motion on this machine, although it is not great for that. Still it can do it.  The zigzag works well too.  The stitch length is an interesting  thing though.  I call it guess and go!  Ha ha.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

FabricArtist21 is doing a 12 days of Christmas giveaway.  Go enter.

Bucket List for Quilters

I was reading comments on another blog and someone mentioned that a ginger jar quilt is on her "list."  That got me to thinking.  I know that I have a mental list of quilts or types of quilts I want to make.
I have designed several quilts that I want to make.  I also want to write up the patterns for them and put them in my Etsy and/or ArtFire shops.

 Then, maybe, just maybe, I can get to attend Quilt Market and become known.  That could help me in my quest to become a PAID fabric designer.  I would love to see the "Gene Black - Visions of Color" fabric line ( hey, a guy can dream can't he!)

Oh, I have digressed.  Now about that quilt bucket list, what quilts do you have on your list?

Mine?  You say I should 'fess up?   okay here goes...
An art quilt taking my painting "Transcend" and re-creating it.


 A yo-yo quilt --in progress but a long time till finished. Here are a few pieces of it.

What else?  Gee, I am not going to post all the those pictures I exported of designs in Electric Quilt.  Just know that there are plenty of them.

So what quilt tops your "bucket list" of quilting?

Friday, December 11, 2009

I hate to tell y'all this -but....

There is a wonderful giveaway  over at Green Fairy Quilts.
Judi is giving away a layer cake AND a jelly roll AND her Flower Patch pattern.  Now you can go buy everything in her store.  Then just leave this lovely prize for me.  I like that idea best! Ha ha.  My guess is that you want to go and ENTER so you have a chance at winning too.  Fine, go ahead.  But if you win, remember that I sent you there and send me your scraps from this. Okay?  Just so you know, I have bought  precut fabric from Judi at The Green Fairy Quilts and the service was excellent.  Judi and Clint know how to deliver.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just a little block

I am starting a new purse for the Nana.  She said that she wants one just like the last one..but the strap should be longer.

Luckily, I measured the last purse so I know what size to aim for.
Sadly, like most of my work, I made it up as I went. OOPS, how will I make it the same? Fact is, I probably won't.
She loved the brown/tan mottled fabric as the main part of the bag, so I am repeating it. The previous had  a paper pieced tulip block on point on the front of it. I may set this on point but I am not sure yet.  I love the hand dyed fabrics in this block. hmmm. Compared to the other one, this may be a little "loud."   She did mention that she liked the muted colors on the first one.
Just so you can see it, here is the older one.
Tulip Purse

Monday, December 07, 2009

A picture for Monday

Today I don't have a lot to post about BUT this is a painting I did that hangs in front of my desk at work.
The short name is Bridge.

The longer name is Bridge Across the Void into Tomorrow.

But, What do YOU see?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

What do you get when...

What do you get when a Jelly Roll and a Honey Bun get together?

If you have been following closely, you know that I got my first Honey Bun this week.  I took some strips from the Moda Neptune Honey Bun (4) and added some strips from the Moda Love is in the Air Jelly Roll (4) and got this!

Strip set and sewn blocks (no they aren't square!)

Neptune is by Tula Pink and Love is in the Air is by Deb Strain.  I wonder if they have ever met and if they are friends.  Let me tell you, I think they play nicely together. Don't you?

After sewing the strip set, I cut some four inch strips and some 2 inch strips.  I alternated them and of course turned the 2 inchers end for end.  Sewed them back together for a fun but easy design. I will have to cut something to make the "squares" square. But I am visiting and only have my 4x18 ruler with me so I will do that when I am at home.

Snow in Alabama and another Surprise

We had heard it forecast, but in Alabama we never believe in snow till we see it. This morning I  immediately went to look out and see.  It was still dark then, but I turned on the deck light to see. SNOW!  Okay so I am not really that excited. I spent two years in Ohio, I have had my share of snow. Now that it is nice and light, although still overcast, I took a picture to show you. We have about an inch according to "Mr. Weatherman" See the snow.

In other news, I got a faithful follower prize from   Pat   for commenting on every post she posted for a period of time. I didn't even know she was counting. I wasn't!  She sent fabric (to feed my fabric-a-holic  disease!)  A fun little trivia book on Country music. i confess that I have looked at it a bit and know way too many of those answers. You see my mother's family play country music and I grew up listening to it. AND a darling little quilt related magnet. It  says " Any day spent quilting is a good day"
I absolutely love all the fabrics. I mean, just look a BIG print butterfly fabric, striped fabrics in vivid colors, a nice abstract in blue tones with green and black, and lovely HOT peppers on black.
THANKS PAT.  I can see me using every bit of this prize pack.   Color me Vividly happy.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Confessions of a Fabric-a-holic

I have a confession to make.   Even though I am trying SO MUCH to avoid buying fabric, once in a while I fail.

Yes, I fail.  I FAIL badly.  You see it was one of those "after Thanksgiving sales" with prices that were too good to pass up.  Judi at Green Fairy Quilts posted about Moda honey buns for CHEAP!  I love jelly rolls, which are 2.5 inch strips.  A honey bun is a 1.5 strip.  Now if I had both....... Hmmmmm.  I could alternate strips from each (wide strip, thin strip,wide strip, thin strip, etc) and THEN cut across the strip set twice. Next put them in opposite directions so the seams DON'T match and make a cool design.  Yeah, the idea caused trouble.  You see that picture?  I bought a honey bun(Neptune by Tula Pink) from Green Fairy Quilts.   And since the Kashmir charm pack was on sale too, I added it to my  addiction.   Just so you know -and to fuel your addiction, Green Fairy Quilts is still having the sale.

Good thing I already have some jelly roll strips to go with that huh?  Eventually I will get a chance to get back to the sewing machine and then I can show you what I described. I hope it looks as cool as it did in my head. will I add the charm pack into this mix? Or will I?  We will see.

In other "I was bad and bought something" news,  I also ordered a Fun and Done Batting Buddy from Chris' Shop over at We Love Quilting .  This looks really cool. It is a quilt as you go technique that ends with a totally finished quilt that is bound and finished. (without sewing on extra binding!!!) The backing makes both the sashing and the binding.   I can hardly wait to get it and try this.  Hmmmm..could I use the jelly roll/honey bun combo with it? I think so.  There are also "Fun and Done" Patterns but you KNOW I don't follow patterns. LOL