Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peppermint Twist update - on the final stretch....

I'm starting my last section of Peppermint Twist now - hoorah! I'm debating as to whether push ahead and finish it this month or lay it aside and work on Beatrix Potter. This month has gone fast - I was gone for one weekend and we have out of town visitors the next 2 weekends so time is limited. I'll probably stick to my plan of finishing this in May. I still am very happy with it - I had to rechart my initials as it wouldn't fit with the font given in the pattern. When you have 2 M's in your initials, it takes up a lot of room. :)

Here's a little pic of a hibiscus blooming in my yard for those of you still waiting on spring. It won't be long now!

I saw a great video the other day - "Religulous" by Bill Maher. I'm not always a fan of Bill Maher's politics but I really enjoyed this movie. Bill talks to people all over the world about different religions, questioning beliefs, holy books, traditions, etc. Parts of it are really funny. If you are truly a religious person it might offend you so see it at your own risk. On the other hand, if you have questions in your mind or can view things with an objective eye, it makes for some interesting conversation!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Quilt Camp!

My world has been mostly quilt-related the past 3 weeks. Whew! I've been busy.
My quilting buddies and I held a craft-related yard sale a few weeks ago -lots of fabric we've collected over the years and no longer want, unfinished projects, patterns, books, etc. It was great cleaning out a lot of old things and making room for new - and the best part - we made $852!! Wahoo! We're saving this for some kind of road trip this year. We sent out flyers to some quilting groups and were really surprised at the turnout but there were great deals to be had.

Last week I spent several nights getting projects ready to go on a quilting retreat last weekend. I look forward to going all year it seems. I cut and cut and cut some more until my shoulder ached.

I had 3 quilts I wanted to work on so there was a lot of prep work because you don't want to spend your precious retreat time standing and cutting fabrics. So I worked a half day on Thursday and then drove up to our retreat that afternoon. My shoulders didn't start unwinding from work tension until I was about 90 minutes from home. I was getting calls from work the first half hour on the road about a crisis, then my boss calls me to inform me we are getting a 10% pay cut for 6 months. During the course of that call I reached a mountainous area in the drive and lost cell service luckily. It took a while to get work out of my brain and relax for the weekend but I really enjoyed the 4 hour drive - weather was gorgeous and lots of desert in bloom until you reach the higher elevations. I saw a few patches of snow there under the pine trees but it's just about gone. I had to call in to for a meeting on Friday morning - so here I was with my friends all sewing and me on a conference call about something at work. Sometimes I really curse the invention of cell phones and Blackberries! You can't ever really get away from work with the kind of job I have. Vacation time seems to mean "I won't be in the office but feel free to call me". Grrrrr....

So I get to the retreat lodge about 4:00 pm - drag all my kit and caboodle from the car trunk inside and promptly set up my sewing machine - no time to waste! Well within 5 minutes my mood took a decided downturn when I realized I had forgotten the cord for my sewing machine! ACK!!!!! I was just sick at heart. I was in a small town so no way I could just go out and buy one at a sewing machine dealership. So I quick made some calls - luckily 2 of my friends were just leaving home and I was able to set up a rendezvous for my husband to pass off the cord to them so they could bring it with them. Hubby had to drive about 35 minutes to meet them at a McDonald's near the highway but the exchange was made and that evening I had my precious cord so I could sew. Poor DH is used to my calamities and forgetfulness. His first thought when I asked him to drive over to meet up with my friends was "I haven't taken a shower yet today". Like showers were of any importance at a time like this! I told him to put a hat on and make tracks! I now plan to buy an extra cord and keep it in my sewing machine case at ALL times.

At any rate, I did have a fabulous time. I've added a couple pictures of the big lodge we sew in. You can see from the photo above we had a great view from the balcony - lots of windows and great light. There were 11 of us just having a ball sewing and talking, doing some Kareoke and enjoying great food cooked by our hostess. The owners have recently added another smaller building (little cabin below) on the premises to house their applique business and longarm quilting machine. We were all terribly envious! This is a great retirement business this couple has created - doing quilting retreats at $175 a person (and they're always booked), plus selling precision applique cutouts and machine quilting.

I finished the top of a quilt for my sewing room although it's cut off at the bottom in this picture. It's called "Jane Street" and was a fun and easy quilt to make but I haven't decided how to quilt it yet.

I also got a good start on making half-square triangles for my Moda Heritage quilt - it's going to be king-size and I need over 700 half-square trianges! That's a lot of sewing, cutting, and pressing. Good thing I'm in no hurry to get this quilt done. I also worked on some applique blocks for a winter-themed quilt. It feels good to do a little applique again although I'm a bit rusty at it. While I was gone I visited 2 quilt stores in small towns and managed to contribute a little to the local economies. :) I picked up a magazine called Quilts & More because I want to make this slice-of-cake pincushion that's in it. It's just the cutest thing - I'd share a pic but Blogger is sputtering trying to upload any more pictures, so here's a link to her blog:
I saw them in person as the designer (Cindy Taylor Oates) lives in Phoenix and I must make some! Won't it be fun to have one sitting on a little antique plate in my sewing room?

They had some great old metal irons at our quilting retreat - wow they get HOT, and they're great for patchwork. Amazing that they're likely 30 or 40 years old and they still work great. How many products can you say that about? I love my Rowenta iron but let's face it - everything is mostly plastic these days and there's nothing like the weight of an all-metal iron to give you a nice firm crease. I had an eye appt yesterday and fortuitously there is an antique mall right near the eye doctor heh heh. So I popped in to browse a bit and found an old General Electric iron for $15. I tested it out before I bought it and in just 15 seconds it was already getting mighty hot. I will see what I can find around the house this weekend to clean it up a little better but I think it'll be handy to have around. Maybe it'll help get those darn creases out of linen as well (hey I can always use it as a doorstop if it quits working!)

So my stitching has taken a back seat lately. I did pick up Peppermint Twist for about 20 minutes at lunch today. I'm hoping to finish this by the end of May. I'm not a one-at-a-time person so I always have lots of different projects going. I plan to also put in some time on Miss Beatrix this weekend. I have Good Friday off so other than washing my very dirty car I will pop in some good movies and settle in for some good stitching time. We are going out to a nice restaurant on Easter with my FIL so no fancy cooking for me this year - yeah!!