Saturday, October 31, 2009

And so Blogtoberfest ends

...And I didn't blog everyday, but I did do more entries than usual. And I had a nasty flu for more than a week! So I won't hit myself over the head.

Some people braver than I will be starting National Novel Writing Month - which is November. I love the fact that the NaNo handbook is called: "No Plot? No Problem!". If I can't keep a blog up for 31 days I don't think I could write a novel in 30. However, it just might be the thing to kick start someone. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A-13: Starlight - Starbright

A block I never, ever, thought I would finish!

I paper-pieced the center, and paper-pieced the 4 outside pieces. I made 2 of the outside pieces longer than the others, for long straight seams to the corner.
Looking at picture 1 above, you may note a problem. The sides of the center part are a little short! Guess what, I didn't notice this until I had it all sewn together, and found out it was too small. Ha ha indeed.

On the Dear Jane list, I've heard it repeated, "When in doubt, applique the #^%$#$ piece on." Which I was going to do - press the seam allowances of the 4 outside pieces under, applique....

But I got impatient. I lined up the center piece with that blue triangle, and sewed just that little straight bit! I left the needle down, sewing foot up, adjusted the top and bottom, held them together, foot down, and sewed to the end. Then, pulled the piece out, adjusted the two ends that hadn't been sewn together yet, pinned them, placed so the needle was at the beginning of the first straight bit, and sewed away.

And you know what? I fingered pressed the seam and it lay flat. And I was deliriously happy. I sewed the other 3 outside pieces on. THAT'S when I noticed one direction was too small.

Should I leave it, to remind me of my false pride? Nah, I'll take it apart so that that it looks good - and to see if I can do this Y-seam business again.

And they all lived together happily ever after. the End.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yes We Can block 4

I am part of small group of Dear Jane quilters who are embarked on a long-term project to create a quilt of 4.5" blocks (inspired by the Dear Jane quilt), for President Obama. This is the "Yes we can" quilt project. Let me quote from our yahoo group website:"This group is dedicated to the project of building a quilt to present to Mr. & Mrs. Obama to commemorate the election and inauguration of our country's first African-American president. Our quilt is inspired by the famous "Dear Jane" quilt, but it is not going to be a DJ replica. We are sticking with the 4.5" finished block size, but what each block looks like depends entirely on its creator. We are using a specific background fabric and civil war reproduction fabric. "

Our SECOND deadline has passed while I was away and sick. For round 2, we did 4.5 inch blocks that were not Dear Jane blocks, not Dear Hannah blocks. Above is a bud and leaves from a Carol Doak paper piecing pattern book. Though I could also look like a green crab with a mutant pink head.

Are you interested in joining? Please visit and join and send a message to the moderator. Membership does require approval.
I am not sure what round 3 will be.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I am still here!

Yes I am still alive, but have spent the last 2 in bed with a nasty cold or virus. Before that I was at a convention and managed to infect my roomate, my coauthor, and assorted conventioneers. Let's not think about the plane trips. They say our convention city is a great spot. I wouldn't know, I spent most of the time in my hotel bed, coughing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Check out my postcard blog!

Today is another busy day. And I'll be leaving tomorrow for a conference (therefore so busy). I will be bringing my computer but I may not have time for my Blogtoberfest contributions.
Please check out my Postcard blog for a little geologizing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vintage Thingy Thursday - the button box

I suspect every grandmother has one - the button box. The box or tin may look different but for children it is filled with fun buttons and things to play with. My grandmother's box has a dragon on it. It had shirt buttons to coat buttons in it. Rarely anything fancy, and nothing valuable, of course. But great fun to slide your fingers through and find matching buttons. Ours also had some curtain pins (watch out for those sharp points) and a medal of the Virgin Mary. Some buttons were from her mother. I have it now and share with my children. It's a little low now as buttons have gone for various projects like button bracelets.

At the thrift store I bought a bag of old mixed buttons from, I suspect, someone else's button box. I feel funny about opening the package and adding them to the 'original' collection. Will I lose contact with my grandmother and great-grandmother? Or is it the idea of a button box that is important?

In thinking of this this morning, I smile as I recall I am well into making my own button box stash: these buttons are the extras attached to purchases from Macy's, Coldwater Creek, Talbot's. Plus ones saved from thrift store purchases that are cut up for crafts.

See Coloradolady's blog for more vintage thingys! Always some wonderful contributions.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There, I fixed it! Website for good laughs

I came across this site through a link on The More the Messier.
thereifixedit -- epic kludges and jury rigs.
Oh, and one of my followers has unfollowed. What did I do wrong? Why oh why?
Gotta run, lots of real work to do today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Triangle BR 8: Thunderhead

This triangle may look difficult, with inset seams, but, just add a line or two to the published pattern. It's hard to see, but in the center section I have one large and one small red triangle pieced next to the white triangle. All other parts are laid out in place. From here, sew on the two side 'wings', then the white pieces at the bottom.
Now that is looking close to normal. Add top and bottom pieces.

Pardon the dog ears and stray threads - I leave the triangles a little large until I'm ready to put the quilt together.

I think this is my second anniversary! I started in October 2007, with some of the easier blocks.

the numbers game:
first: # of blocks completed. second: # of triangles completed. third: # of corner blocks completed. fourth: total number of pieces. I use MS Excel to keep track of all this!

1800's Christmas Jane 136, 42, 1, 4178
Pretty in Pink Jane 98, 34, 0, 3086
Miniature Madness! 55, 0, 0, 776

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blogtoberfest day 12: Fringed Gentian again

I know I put up a photo of fringed gentians last week for Blue Monday, but, they are just such an amazing color. If you look at the center of the gention group, you'll see a bee in mid-air. And another bee in the flowers. Click on the photo and enlarge.

Viridian (which is actually an intense shade of green)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tic Tac Toe

This is block C-4 of the Jane Stickle quilt. Those green sqares and white strips are pretty darn small. I paperpieced the center section (not easy! my fingers felt so big!) and added the four green triangles. For the outer pieces, I changed the seam lines so each corner can be paperpieced,then each can be added on. I have done this block for my pink and white DJ quilt also.
133 blocks on my main DJ quilt done!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let's see where we are....

With 130 blocks, what does it looks like when we lay them out? And try to organize by color, in a trip around the world way? The green and the four yellow blocks are the center.
Hmm, need more pink and purple. And a few browns.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vintage Thingy Thursday-Oct. 7

Happy Vintage Thingy Thursday! Please visit Coloradolady and see who else is playing along.

Here is something Colorado Lady will love.
Here is a quaint book I purchased in a small vintage bookstore, so crowded with books there was scarcely space to move about. This was Nancy L Dole, Books and Ephemera, 32 Bridge Street, 2 nd floor, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

The Crest of the Continent: a Record of a Summer’s Ramble in the Rocky Mountains and Beyond. By Ernest Ingersoll. Published, by R.R. Donnelley and Sons, Chicago, in 1885. 344 pages, with map.

This is the story of Mr. Ingersoll and his wife, going all over Colorado and exclaiming over the sights.
For example, on the first view of the Rockies, after traveling over the Great Plains:

“There are the Rocky Mountains!” I strained my eyes in the direction of his finger, but for a minute I could see nothing. Out against a bright sky dawned slowly the undefined shimmering trace of something a little bluer. … It is impossible to imagine them built of earth, rock, anything terrestrial; to fancy them cloven by horrible chasms, or shaggy with giant woods. They are made out of the air and the sunshine which show them. Nature has dipped her pencil in the faintest solution of ultramarine, and drawn it once across the Western sky with a hand tender as Love’s.”

Whew! I shall take a rest on my fainting couch. There’s more, on the everlasting snow, etc. but that is enough.
They took a Pullman train to Pueblo, and then north to Denver. At Denver, on the spur of the moment, they decided to take their ramble. But how?

They considered:
1. Walking.
2. Tramping, with burros to carry their things, and maybe a few others to carry themselves. (number of burros not specified).
3. Same, with pack mules. ('Is there a difference?' asks this modern girl)
4. Hire a “ambulance kind of wagon with bedroom and kitchen and all the other attachments.” Boy, this sound just like a mobile home/recreational vehicle! The roads were a lot worse back then though, and there were much less of them.

However, the Ingersolls did what any wealthy Victorian couple would do – they chartered a train! And since they wanted to tour the mountains, they arranged to go on the Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge lines.

The Animas River Canyon - Click on it, enlarge, and note the train engine at the bottom.

Well, I haven’t read any more so we can just imagine the adventures. They appear to have gone down to Santa Fe, and later, on to Salt Lake City, where the book ends.

A few narrow gauge lines are left and you too can go on a trip like this, though not in a private train. Check out the Durango and Silverton Railroad. - it goes down this very canyon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Attic Window triangle

BR3 (triangle Bottom Row 3) Attic Window.

Seems like it should be easy to do, huh? Except for inset (AKA Y seams) and possibly appliqued diamonds.

I printed out the pattern from Electric Quilt. I added lines at the top diamond, so that it can be paper pieced. The square on point below it becomes a separate section. Looking carefully at the photographs in The Book, I could see there were two extra appliqued triangles. Hmm, I'll think about it.

Next: force Electric Quilt to group pieces into section for paper piecing. How I do this: I select my block or triangle of choice and put it on the worktable. Click and hold on the printer icon, then slide down and choose "Foundation Pattern".
Now, for this one, EQ will state that "this block has a patch with an inside corner, so it cannot be automatically numbered for paper piecing. To add your own numbers, click on each patch in order."

At the top of this window, click on the tab labeled "Sections".

To change the paper piecing units, click on the "Start Over" button.

Then click on the patches you want to be together, the "Group" button.

When I first started on this project, I did not know enough to do this, nor how to group patches into workable paper-piecing units. But, I have learned a lot over this 2 year journey. You can too. And, look at my printout below, and my pencilled corrections to see my way doing this triangle.

Below: sections individually paper-pieced.

Here: the final triangle, plus the one I did in pink for my second DJ quilt.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blogtoberfest: Bedrock Geology of Illinois

I have the same post on my postcard blog. So sue me.

From the back:
Sedimentary rocks ranging in age from about 510 million (Cambrian) to 290 million (Pennsylvanian) are at the bedrock surface in Illinois and were deposited in and near ancient fluctuating seas. Cretaceous sands and gravels deposited in extreme southern and western Illinois are about 100 to 66 million years old. Tertiary rocks were deposited as coastal plain and deltaic sediments between 66 and 2 million years ago. Coal, oil and gas, building stone, fluorite, clays, groundwater and other resources in the bedrock contribute several billion dollars annually to the Illinois economy.

Illinois Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, Illinois.

In Europe, The time period correlating to the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian periods is known as the Carboniferous. It was a time of great swamps, both in physical extent and how long they lasted. Large amounts of plant material were deposited, which later changed to coal. Half of the USA’s electricity is generated from Coal-fired power plants, so this is still a major commodity. (It sells for $40 - $50 a short ton – don’t ask what a short ton is!) See more information (LOTS more) at the Energy Information Administration

Fluorite is a mineral with the chemical composition CaF2 – calcium fluoride. It is mined for the fluorine for industrial purposes.

We are in the heart of the continent – lots of flat-lying sedimentary rocks here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fringed Gentian

Mid to late September is the time for fringed gentians in New England. The blue with a hint of blue-purple is beyond my description. Click to enlarge and enjoy. However, no monitor can catch the true color you see with your own eyes.

Blogtoberfest: Mellow Yellow Monday


little pansy on the walk of my mom's garden.
Posting on Sunday, will link in after 5 PM for Monday's Meme? Sneaky, huh>
Happy Blogtoberfest.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blogtoberfest: TV shows I'm watching

Gee whiz. We are just getting started and I miss the October 2 post. No excuse either.

I am watching and liking for the most part, in no particular order:

1. Project Runway on Lifetime. Though the challenges are pretty lame this season. Tim Gunn is the best.

2. Top Chef on Bravo. I could never design and sew like the designer on PR (I do quilting - straight seams and applique) but it is possible I could cook some delicious food like TC. Though a year in cooking school would help tremendously.

3. Castle, on Monday nights. Mom got me interested in this. Fluff but fun. Murder mystery writer hangs out with NYC detectives. It even says "WRITER" on the back of his bullet-proof vest.

4. Glee on Fox, Wednesday nights. Now this one is great, my new favorite. Sure it's got problems, but it is funny - and music! and singing! in prime time! And it's not a contest with snarky judges!

See Jen's post at Buried with Children. She has the promotional video embedded in her blog. I don't know how to do this, and laundry is calling so I don't have time to learn. :-)


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blogtober fest 09

I have a new button on my sidebar. Blogtoberfest! I found this event, hosted by Tinniegirl, through Lane's blog (That Man Quilts). He joined, and now I have joined. I am blogger # 162.

What is it?
All it involves is blogging every day in October. However, as Tinnie says, it is a way to spend more time on your blog, to craft your words, write about different subjects, and so on. There will be memes and giveaways and surprises.

But something every day. And there are 31 days in October. Oh boy. Since I don't blog about family or work, I guess that leaves quilting, other crafts, postcards and Postcrossing, getting older, stories.

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