Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Finished Quilt

Finally, a new post! I've been trying hard to quilt every day, and I've managed to succeed almost every day. Today I finished this quilt that I've been working on. I wanted to get it finished before I leave for the State Retreat on Friday, because I want to show it there. One of the classes I'm taking at retreat is being taught by the woman I bought this pattern from at a previous retreat (she taught the class at that retreat, and I didn't take the class - but when I saw the quilts that were done in the class, I bought the pattern from her). All I have left to do is hand sew down the sleeve and the label. But even if I don't get that done, I can still show the quilt at retreat.

I've been having some trouble with my laptop's power button - sometimes it doesn't turn on when I press the button. So I took it in to have it looked at (while it's still under warranty). And as kind of an afterthought, I also asked them to look at the USB port where I plug in my mouse, because it's loose. Well, they didn't find anything wrong with the power button (I must not be pressing it in the center of the button), but they have to send it in to have the USB port replaced. I need the computer over the weekend and the first part of next week (I really MUST finish our taxes!), so I'll have to take it back to them to send in next week. I'm going to HATE being without it!! But we'll be traveling during part of the time, so that's really a good time to send it in (although I usually take it with me when we travel). I guess I'll just sketch and photograph while on vacation.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

EDM Challenge #15

Challenge #15 is to draw a tree. Our Bradford Pear is blooming so wonderfully right now that I decided to draw it.

Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote

I finished this book today. It was pretty good. Not quite as good as I was expecting, but I mostly enjoyed it. Merle is a stray dog who is taken in by the author. There are stories about their life together and a lot of information about animal behavior research. Sometimes the research info got a little tedious, but a lot of it was interesting. And of course, since dogs live so much shorter lives than people do, it had a very sad ending. Merle was an exceptional dog, who reminded me of our previous lab (Ralph) in some ways. I would rate this book 3 out of 5.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quilt Studio

I've just joined the Quilt Studio Web Ring - you can see the button for it over in the right hand column. It is a group of bloggers who are interested in sharing ideas about quilts with other quilters. Lots of good blogs in the ring - I haven't even seen them all yet because there are quite a few. But it's cool to be a part of it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mexican Stars Quilt

I've been working on a quilt pattern called Mexican Stars. You can see the pattern here (this isn't my quilt - it's a picture of the pattern). I've got the top finished, and I've been quilting it this week. I really enjoyed making the top. It has a very innovative way of making the curves; they are three dimensional and are not pieced (which is good, since I don't like piecing curves).

I've had a bit of trouble with my machine's stitch regulator, which has been an ongoing battle for me. Every time I take it in for service, the tech can't find anything wrong with it. I finally realized why today. There are two different ways to use the stitch regulator; the tech always tests it one way, and I stitch with it the other way. I guess I need to take it back in for her to look at again. It wouldn't be so bad, but the shop is about 60 miles from my house (sigh).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Our Quest for the Perfect Margarita

I did this page a couple of weeks ago and forgot to post it. I bought the glasses and the shaker for my DH for valentine's day. The writing says, "We both like the Perfect Margarita at Applebee's. I did a Google search for the recipe. I found several, but they weren't the same. Brian, the bartender, suggested this. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good."

Recipe is:
1 1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. Grand Marnier
3/4 - 1 oz. lime juice (fresh squeezed is best)
2 1/2 - 3 oz. Margarita Mix

Thursday, March 13, 2008

EDM Challenge #162

I finished the current challenge today, which is "Draw Your Breakfast." This was harder than I thought it would be, and there are some things I'm not really happy with, but I'm still learning, so that's ok.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I haven't read very many classics. After seeing two different movie versions of this, I decided I really should read it. I'm glad I did. It was very entertaining (even knowing the story in advance). The story is of Elizabeth Bennet and her four unmarried sisters. Because women can't own property and their father isn't well off financially, the daughters must "marry well." Whenever Mr. Bennet dies, his estate will transfer to the girls' cousin Mr. Collins.

Mr. Darcy is a very rich and very proud man who falls in love with Elizabeth. However, Elizabeth dislikes Mr. Darcy at first, and pretty much tells him so when he proposes to her. Eventually Elizabeth has a change of heart (and Mr. Darcy changes as well - he becomes less proud) and all ends well.

I rate it 4 out of 5.

By the way, if you want to see the movie, go for the one with Collin Firth as Mr. Darcy. It's great - and very complete.

Hideaway Pizza

I thought I'd uploaded this page already, but I see that I haven't. I carry a smaller journal in my purse now so that I can sketch wherever I am. This was my first sketch in that small journal. The writing says, "We don't go out to dinner very often. And because of my high cholesterol, we rarely eat pizza. So it was a real treat to go to The Hideaway for dinner tonight, my all time favorite pizza place. We ordered half and half like we always do; mushrooms, black olives, sun dried tomatoes for me; hamburger, mushrooms for Glen." This is from 2/29/08.

Monday, March 10, 2008

EDM Challenge #1

I've joined a drawing and sketching Yahoo group called Everyday Matters. I really like the name - I think it has dual meanings. To me, first it means that every day is important. And second, it's about noticing (and drawing) every day items.

They have weekly challenges, which just gives you ideas of things to draw. The challenges have been going on for over 3 years now, because they're up to number 162 or so. I'm going to do the challenges as I feel inclined. I'm not going to try to "catch up" since that would be very hard to do at this point, and I'm not going to do them in order. But it just so happened that the first one appealed to me. It was to draw a shoe. So on Saturday, when we were at the Big 12 Wrestling Championships, I sketched the shoe I had on. I really wish that I had worn my brown shoes instead of my black shoes that day - it's really hard to get definition in black. But I went with what I was wearing. I finished it up tonight. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

For most of the art I've been doing in my journals, I've been using watercolor pencils. But I decided for the black shoe I needed to use regular colored pencils in order to get shades of black and gray.

I also drew this flag on Saturday.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Quilt Every Day

I am participating in a challenge called Quilt Every Day (you can read about it here). The idea is to spend at least 10 minutes every day quilting. The challenge is for the month of March, but I didn't learn about the challenge until March 5. We spent the entire day at the Big 12 Wrestling Championships yesterday, so I didn't have even 10 minutes to quilt yesterday (but I did do some sketching, so I don't feel quite as bad - I may adapt the challenge to be "spend at least 10 minutes doing something creative every day"). And for some reason that I don't remember, I don't think I quilted on Friday either. But I'm going to try really hard to do this every day - 10 minutes isn't very much time after all. Of course, most days that I quilt, I spend much more than 10 minutes at it.

Today, I've pieced a back for a top that I'm ready to quilt. Now I'm ready to layer and pin baste it. Then on to quilting.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago. I know I've said this a lot lately, but this really is one of the best books I've ever read. I don't even know where to begin to describe this book (in fact, I've had this post in draft form since I finished the book, not sure what else to add; I finally decided I better just post it). So I'll start with what's written on the back cover:

"It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

"By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hnidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, whereever there are books to be found.

"But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down."

I rate this book 5 out of 5.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cyber Fyber Again

I'm doing another trade with Susan Lenz of Cyber Fyber; this time for a postcard. This is the postcard I'm sending. I did something totally new (to me) with this; I started with a white tone-on-tone fabric and used watercolor crayons to paint the rainbow, sky, and grass. Then I free motion stitched over the rainbow and the grass and added the flowers. I'd never used water color crayons on fabric before; I'm sure I'll be doing it again. You can see the postcard I'm trading for here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Baskets of Love

I finished this quilt on Friday and hung it up yesterday before I remembered to take a picture of it. It is hanging in my bathroom, so I couldn't get far enough away from it to get the whole quilt in the picture. The only part that is cut off is the very bottom of the blocks and the bottom border, but since the bottom blocks are the same as the top blocks, and all the borders are the same, I figured I could use the picture anyway. It's much easier than taking it off the wall, getting my DH to hold it, and taking another picture. :) I really enjoyed making this quilt. The pattern is in the book Hearts Aplenty by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith. In the book, the name of the quilt is Circle of Friends, but I named mine Baskets of Love. My good friend Betty Gilliam taught the class at a recent state retreat. My goal was to finish it in time for our Spring Retreat the end of this month so that I could take it for Show and Share.