Monday, January 31, 2011

Flu Bug Bites and A Winner....

It was a cold, dark night when THE bug hit, Saturday night to be exact. It's first attack was to my DH but he put up a good fight and won. Other than a few battle wounds, a headache and earache, he survived the massive frontal attack.

I didn't. I was attacked by THE bug head-on. It came fast, like a swarm on locusts on a hot summer night attacking me from all sides. Those nasty bugs hit me hard leaving their germs of mass destruction in their path... cold, fever, headache and assorted body aches. It's here for a while, I believe, but with plenty or rest and fluids I will fight off this army of germs. I will be a good patient and not whine - well not too much ... I AM sick you know!

Now on to a brighter subject...that being the WINNER of my "Civil War Sewing Circle" book give-a-way. The winner is...drum roll inserted here...

#62 JoR in KS

Congratulations Jo!

Please send me your mailing address and I'll get your book posted sometime this week when I'm feeling better.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this give-a-way by leaving such wonderful comments. I enjoyed reading all of them!

Please stay healthy, don't let THE bug get YOU!

Hugs,

Elaine


Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things - TJ Thimbles

I LOVE TJ Thimbles...I was "introduced" to them at a work shop with Jo Morton down at "Road to California in 2010 when she used her finger pincushion. I saw it and knew that I "needed" to have one of my own. That was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with TJ Thimbles.
My finger pincushion ... wonderful to use when I am hand piecing blocks and perfect when doing applique!
I use a TJ "open" thimble for quilting, the design is "Lacy Heart".  It is the one in the middle. The one on the right is her traditional "Hearts Band" closed thimble. I trade back and forth with these when hand quilting. The thimble on the left is part of Jim's Christmas gift to me. It's a "Yubinuki" thimble and I use it on my left middle finger, under the quilt that I am working on.
Also from Jim this past Christmas was TJ's Pedestal Basket Cage to hold my "Lacy Heart" thimble. It comes with a guard chain to protect my thimble should it accidentally open. Loosing my thimble would be terrible!
This picture shows the cage with my thimble enclosed and the beautiful chain that was also part of his gift. It was the best present he could have given me...it's beautiful and functional, absolute perfection!
TJ Thimbles are perfect for me...light on my finger and very easy for me to use while working on my hand quilting project. 
Is there a special thimble that you use when doing your hand quilting? Do you wear a thimble when hand stitching? I'm curious to hear what you use...

Next up for favorite quilting tools ... scissors! Stay tuned!

Hugs,

Elaine

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What To Do...

There are sew many things that I want to do on my day off from work... what should I do?

I would love to sit and quilt my stamp basket quilt. It's ready but then there are my spool blocks I would also like to work on. And how about my signature quilt and those LeMoyne stars? And that "Peppermint Twist" quilt from a year ago that was started at "Road to California" with Jo Morton.
Do you ever have sew much that you want to work on that you spend all your time just wondering "what" to work on?
I should also get a few errands done in preparation for my upcoming trip to Florida but that takes up sew much time. 
And then there is the laundry that needs to be done ... well, I "could" do that while I sew!
Sometimes the day is gone before I decide what project I want to work on. I've spent my time just twiddling around in my sewing room! I do have a good time and that 's important but nothing gets done.  Has this happened to you? Do you feel that you go around in circles getting absolutely no where?
How do you decide what to work on? Do you stick with one project until completion or are you like me that have several going at once?  What about that enticing "new" project that quietly keeps calling your name? Do you start yet another?

Again, thank you in advance for your comments ... they really helped me with my dilemma about blogging and as you can see the result gave me the freedom to blog more often.

Thanks for being here...and listening reading!

Hugs,

Elaine

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Civil War Sewing Circle...and Lucky 13 Give-A Way!

Kathleen Tracy's new book, the "Civil War Sewing Circle", is FABULOUS! I just received my personally autographed copy...
Sew many cute ideas for small quilts and accessories. Like this wool appliqué sewing box...
or this needle case and letter packet...
And then there are the quilt projects...WOW!
This one is My personal favorite...
I LOVE the quilting on it ...
Kathy also included excerpts from "The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries"
I highly recommend this book if you love "quilts and sewing accessories inspired by the Civil War era". High quality pictures and clear instructions make this book "A MUST" for your quilting pleasure. Sew many quilts and ideas! Like I said, it is fabulous and well worth purchasing.
In fact, I thought that I "would" love it sew much that I purchased two. Well, the truth is that forgot that I had pre-ordered a copy from Amazon.com. So I would like to offer a give-a-way of my "extra" copy...this is my 13th post for January and lets call it "Lucky 13"!
Please leave a comment on this post and I will draw the winner on Monday, January 31st at 12pm PDT.

Good Luck!

Hugs,

Elaine

Thursday, January 27, 2011

America's Happiest City

And that would be .....

San Luis Obispo, California!

Yes, my city made it to the Oprah show and was citied as being "America's Happiest City". If you click on Oprah you can view the video from the show

Just a little information on San Luis Obispo... we are located 250 miles south of San Francisco and 250 miles north of Los Angeles, 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean.
At the heart of our downtown area is Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth of 21 missions in California founded by Father Junipero Serra
Our downtown is very picturesque. Lots of boutiques, outdoor cafes and restaurants with amazing food! Check out my post on Sunday, January 23rd "Dinner by the Creek" for an example of our outdoor dining. The restaurant is "Novo" and was also seen on the segment from Oprah's show.
Here is a picture of the corner of Chorro and Marsh Street in downtown SLO. We do not have any drive thru businesses and yes that means no drive-thru fast food, banks or pharmacies. Please take note of the mountain peak in the background... that is "Bishop's Peak". It is one of seven peaks referred to as the "Seven Sisters". They are a series of volcanic peaks that stretch from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.
California Polytechnique State University is located in San Luis Obispo with an enrollment of around 20,000 students making up almost half of the population in town. Cal Poly is the second largest land-holding university in California, second only to UC Berkeley, and one of the largest land-holding universities in the nation. 
And we are world famous for our wines produced here...we have amazing vineyards with fabulous tasting rooms open to the public.
Grape arbor walkway from the tasting room.
Welcome to my city... San Luis Obispo aka "America's Happiest City"

And here I thought that THE happiest place on earth was Disneyland!!

Hugs,

Elaine

PS: The video might take a few second to appear and then begins with a 15 second commercial.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WIth Mixed Emotions...

My son leaves today for a new job. His house is sub-leased and all his stuff is packed up. He's ready to "Get outta Dodge" (well in this case San Luis Obispo) I am very proud of him as this is quite an career achievement. He is a computer engineer and will be working with several other top engineers on an inventive programing concept.

While I am excited for him in many ways ... I still will miss him greatly. He will be moving 250 miles away to San Francisco. Gone will be our lunch dates and playing a completive game of cribbage with Jim. I won't hear his laughter as they battle one strategy against each another. And I will miss his approach to life, taking each day as it comes.

Yes, I can visit him up in the city but will it be the same? Will it be as carefree and relaxing as sitting having lunch with him at High Street Deli? He has lived in lots of different places and adjusted very well and I will be fine. I just feel torn between so much happiness for him and a loss from his having lived in the same town for five years.

I know that I am being self-indulgent right now. He IS a grown man, making HIS way through HIS life. It's just that time has gone by so fast and I just want to slow it down...

Thanks for listening...

Hugs,

Elaine

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ready to Hand Quilt

I'm getting my ready to hand quilt my stamp baskets. I still have to decide how I want to quilt it and what color thread to use. Pictured is YLI quilting thread, which I have used in the past. What color thread would you use? Do you have a favorite quilting thread?
Any quilting ideas? I would love to hear what you would do. Kathleen Tracy, the author of several books on doll quilts, mentioned "Think Small" on her blog.  It has over 300 miniature quilting designs! 
I have really enjoyed the whole process involved with making this project and now I'm looking forward to this final stage.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on quilting my stamp basket quilt!

Hugs,

Elaine

Monday, January 24, 2011

21 Days = Takeoff!

I'm leaving on a jet plane in 21 days ....
to FLORIDA!


I will be spending a week with my dear friend Froma at her house near Palm Beach. Joining us will be my dear friend Rosa from Saint Johns, New Brunswick, Canada. Rosa and I met "in person" while we were on our cruise in 2009 to New England and Canada. We spent a wonderful day together with Rosa showing us her city and culminating in a scrumptious lunch of  lobster! We are all quilters who met on-line through the "Dear Jane" Yahoo group.

Speed forward a year and a half and now we are going to be together again and this time with Froma! How cool is that?! We made plans for this trip nearly 8 months ago and finally we are on the home stretch to takeoff!

Rosa is so excited to see ...
Yes, Palm Trees... she has never seen one "up close and personal"! We have them here in San Luis Obispo and especially down in the Los Angeles area so they aren't really "special" to me. I think Rosa might spend a day bonding with those palm trees!

I have my quilting projects all ready to go... my spools, my small stamp basket for hand quilting, JLWC Sister's quilt and some applique. Probably way too much but then again they are small and very portable...I do have long flights and plan to do some stitching on board and while waiting for my connection from Phoenix to Ft. Lauderdale.

We will be spending most of our time just visiting and quilting. There are a few places that we want to see but mainly the trip is to just relax and visit together. Time is so precious that we would rather visit with each other than run around sightseeing all day.

I can hardly wait....

Hugs,

Elaine

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dinner by the Creek

Last night we had dinner at Novo, a trendy restaurant in old town San Luis Obispo. It had been a beautiful day so we decided an early dinner would be lovely and a good time to use the gift certificate that my oldest son had given us for Christmas. The patio dining overlooks the creek that runs through our city and is a wonderful place to have dinner on a warm, summer evening. Even though it's not summer yet, we sat out on the patio as they have large heaters installed to keep us toasty warm.
The patio is absolutely beautiful...
There are several levels set up for dining...
We started off with drinks and appetizers... love lemon drop martinis! Those are Shrimp Spring Rolls in the back of my lemon drop...YUM!
Here is a better picture of the Shrimp Spring Rolls and what's left of the Lettuce Wraps...


Then to the main course... I had Chow Novo which is a stir-fry bowl of fresh vegetables, beef and noodles.
Jim had Butternut Squash Curry. I was so full by this time that most of mine came home with me. It will be a real treat having it again ... that is IF I even get hungry today! 
However, there was room for dessert... a McDonnell Ice Cream Sundae and a latte!
It was a wonderful evening spent chatting over dinner and enjoying amazing food! It was fun for a change of pace but was I ever full!

I think I stuffed again just looking at the pictures!

Hugs,

Elaine

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Abe's Log Cabin

This is my first "Fit to Frame" quilt. It is not sewn yet but just laid out for color placement. It's not a ordinary log cabin where the light values are on one side and the dark on the other. I randomly placed strips, making sure that their was a different color on each log round. I am now second guessing myself as to their placement. Do you think that my "logs" are placed correctly?  I would really appreciate your opinion!
Here is the pattern by Lori Smith. This will be sewn by machine but hand quilted. The quilt finishes at 11 inches by 14 inches.  I saw this made up at the Quilted Moose in Gretna, Nebraska last September when I was there for the Jo Morton "Sewing in the Orchard" retreat and thought it was charming!
I think I will frame this quilt too!

Again, thanks so much for your help on my color placement ... it is greatly appreciated!

Hugs,

Elaine

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spring Already?

The bulbs are blooming so it must be Spring ... I love daffodils!
They brighten up a room and make me happy...
And my granddaughter makes my heart sing!
I feel very blessed...

Life is Good!

Hugs,

Elaine

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Perfect Day

Yesterday was a perfect day!

I had lunch with my younger son who is getting ready to move to San Francisco for a new job. I will miss him dearly but he will love living in the "Big" city and this is a great career move for him. He is a computer engineer and will be working with top engineers on a new inventive program. Should keep him well challenged!

And I spent time sewing...I only have two seams left on my stamp basket quilt and then I can layer and begin the hand quilting. Here is my updated picture, again a little wonky as the two middle row are just pinned.
I've also been working on my spool blocks. I've made seven more since I last posted a picture of them. I don't know how I will set them or if I will just put them side by side but at least you can see my progress. I never though in-set seams could be so fun to sew!
I also purchased a roll-on tote for traveling yesterday, taking the recommendations of Bonnie Hunter over on her blog "Quiltville".  Her post is titled "What's In YOUR Carry On?" I found Rick Steves' "Avanti Rolling Tote" at our local luggage store and think it will be perfect for my travels.
Check out this compartment...it's actually big enough to hold by Featherweight 221. Sorry about the picture but trust me, the machine fits!
And a place for my laptop...
It also has numberous other small compartments and two bottle holders on each side. It will be perfect for my sewing projects in-flight AND it fits underneath the seat. How perfect is that?!!! I think I have found exactly what I needed. No more sore shoulders for me...I'll be rolling now!

Yes, it was a PERFECT day...

Hope you all had one too!

Hugs,

Elaine

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Type "A" Personality?

 Just take a look at my organizational skills!
This is the best take-along that I have found yet. At the Jo Morton retreat in September, JoR had one and I thought it was perfect. I finally found it at Target! It has three snap-on compartments, in each one I have a hand piecing project along with the necessary supplies.
My stamp basket blocks...
My spool blocks...
Storage for finished blocks and a couple of applique blocks that I'm working on...
And then there are my "bagged" projects.
All of these are just my hand piecing projects that I have been working on. I like variety and as you can see I have enough going on here to keep me quite busy!

And then there is "THE" closet where I have my machine quilt projects and fabric. Quilt projects have the fabric and pattern together and are stored in flat storage bins. The fabric in the closet is yardage, my smaller cuts are washed, organized by color and kept in an armoire in my sewing room.  Maybe someday I will post these picture...maybe.

I'm thinking "Type A" personality here...

By the way my "word" for 2011 is FINISH!

I'm having a sewing day today and lunch with my son... otherwise known as a perfect day!

Hugs,

Elaine