Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I like dogs as much as anyone.  Probably more.  Well, there's this one exception:  Kathy.  Kathy gives her dogs Evian.  I don't spoil mine THAT much.

But I do get them excellent veterinary care.  This is Razzy.  Her formal, calling card  name is Razz Ma Tazz.  But we call her Razzy, Razzi-do, Razzle Dazzle,  or just Girlie.  We rescued her as a puppy from a kill shelter in western Virginia 8 years ago.  She's a mix of Australian shepherd and what appears to be Husky, and she has the disposition of an angel.

When we moved down here four years ago, Razzy started losing weight. She wouldn't eat.  She laid around the house.  We thought she was traumatized by the move, or by the loss of all her doggie friends in Maryland.  Yes, she had doggie friends.  In our old neighborhood, if the humans got together, so did their dogs.  It was a given.

So, after several months of this, and her fur turning dull and her gums getting red, I took her to the vet, thinking that she was suffering emotionally.  She wasn't.  She had lost 21 pounds and was nearly dead!  We had her tested for lyme disease.  Negative. We tried an antibiotic.  No help.  We gave her shots to increase her appetite.  No go.  We switched to another antibiotic.  She began to  respond.  I hand fed and hand watered her for the next three months.  She started gaining weight and then began eating on her own.  Finally she regained her weight and added a few pounds.  Poor thing!  We're pretty sure she had some tick-borne illness, but we never did find out exactly what it was.  But she weighs in at a solid 73.8 pounds these days and is frisky when it's not too hot outside.  She's definitely a cold weather dog.  And the spot that you see her lying in above is her favorite place in the house -- right between two air conditioning floor vents.

This is Jet.  His formal name is Jet Blue, named after the airlines that brought him home with us from California, where we were visiting.  I found him in the parking lot of a Walmart.  A lady was trying to give him away.  He was just a black ball of fur with a pink tongue darting out now and then, and about 5 to 6 weeks old.  She was going to leave him at the pound, so I just HAD to save him, right?

During the time we were in California, we tried several names on him:  Wally, Gizmo, Tazz (for Tasmanian devil), but he didn't particularly care for any of them. 

We knew we'd have to have a carrier for him to go on the plane, so while I was at Walmart, on the very day I got him , I tried to carry him into the store so I could figure out what size carrier to use.  A kindly but firmly disapproving Walmart greeter stopped me by the door and said that no dogs were allowed except for seeing eye dogs.  Even though I tried to tell her that this one was "in training" for that position, she wouldn't buy it. 

My MIL went inside and bought a cat carrier.  After all, Jet was about the size of a guinea pig at the time.   When we got to the airport and were buying his $50 ticket, the lady asked what his name was.  I said we were taking all suggestions and asked what she thought we should name him.  "Why, Jet Blue, of course!"  she replied.

Well,  have you seen the musical "Cats"?  In it there's a delightful song about a cat's REAL name, one that only he knows.  It's his Jellicle name.  Well, "Jet " must have been this puppy's Jellicle name, because he perked up, wagged his tail, and tried to lick the lady's fingers through the grate.  So he became Jet from then on.  His jet black fur went through several moltings until he settled into the present black saddle and silver-tan hair that he has now.  It turns out that he's part Chow and part German Shepherd.  And he believes he's a sled dog.

All of this in preface to their last vet visit yesterday.  All the shots, medications, medicated shampoos, chewable glucosamine, arthritis (Jet has a little) injections (for me to give to him) -- came to something over $852.00!

Yep.  I must love them a lot.

Either that or I didn't want to pay any bills this month anyway.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have Old Timer's Disease, bigtime.

I had forgotten to take a picture of the last quilt I had done for Myrt S, so I made arrangements to go to her house to photograph it yesterday after lunch.  Trouble was, I fell asleep on the couch after lunch and woke up around 4 PM  -- ah!  the life of the indolent!

Now, as if that weren't bad enough, when I woke up, I went to get my camera but had completely forgotten that I was supposed to go to Myrt's house.  But I knew I was supposed to do something with my camera.  So I thought it was that I was supposed to take pictures of the things I'm making to show on this blog. 

Well, I did that, and I entered the new post on my blog, but I still had this uneasy feeling that I had forgotten something.  I'm letting the doggies out for their lawn duty (doody?) when it suddenly hits me with a flash!!! (No, THOSE kind have been over for a number of years now.)  Myrt!  OMG!!!

Embarrassed and apologetic, I call her, and between giggles she says to come on over.  How can you say I'm sorry for forgetting you?  It just doesn't wash, no matter how you grovel.  But Myrt is unflappable and even makes the whole thing sound hilarious.

Lordy.  I need a keeper.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Having had some marathon days of quilting finally come to an end, I am taking a breather.  But, like alot of ADD's, I am having trouble focusing on just one thing to do.  If I don't have four or five irons in the fire at the same time, I'm uncomfortable.  So I started a few things and ended some.  Here is one of the things I ended -- a hostess gift for a friend -- an IN THE HOOP checkbook cover and keychain with pocket in the back.  I have to put the snap on, and then it's finished.  I got the pattern from http://www.embroiderygarden.com/.  Easy and cute!

This project I started years ago.  It's a Fons & Porter magazine pattern that consists of pieced columns alternating with appliqued columns.  I just finally finished machine appliqueing all three columns.  The pieced blocks were made years ago, so now I have to assemble them and then put the whole thing together.  More about that as it evolves.

My niece, Jenna, saw the keychains I had made for myself and my sisty and asked if I could make one with her name on it.  Well, no.  There really wasn't room in the applique area to put her whole name, but I came across this combination coin purse/key chain that is made IN THE HOOP and has a clear vinyl window behind which she can put her business card.  She sells Pampered Chef on the side.  And this can clip right on her purse if she doesn't want it to be a key chain.  It can hold lots of her cards in the zippered area instead!

I'll finish that cute little project today, and then I'll have QDD (Quilting Deficit Disorder)  and will have to go fire up my IQ and pet some quilts again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Myrt S brought me this cute throw that she made out of fabrics with cats and kittens on it.  Some of the blocks and the backing have paw prints on them, so I decided to quilt it using a pantograph with lots of kitty paw prints throughout.  Pantograms are rows of the same set of interconnected designs, row after row, parallel to each other.

I have many parallels in my life.  This particular day, DH was putting in the tile flooring to the wine cellar, which used to be part of my lurkim and is now built out in preparation for setting up some wine storage bins and "tasting" table in their own little room.  So there we were, both working in the same space, essentially, doing our own thing.  When children do this without interacting, but each playing his or her own thing in the presence of others, we call that parallel play.  Further socialization produces interactive play.  DH and I call that dinner.

DH and I completed our jobs at the same time.  (We've always had good timing...)  So here's a peek at a closeup of the paw print pattern, which I did with blue, tan, and brown variegated thread.  And off to dinner.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Sue B is at it again, churning out yet another sweet charity quilt. (Do you remember the movie by that name, starring Shirley MacLaine?)  This quilt is to be auctioned for a good cause.  No one in Sue's guild would help her out with the quilting, so she contacted me, and I said yes.  Sue and I have been quilting friends from afar for years, ever since we were matched for some quilts through Quilts of Valor.  We have never met, but one of these days, I hope that changes. 

She does beautiful work.  I think you can tell that she puts her heart into it.  So when I received it in the mail and took it out of the box, I fell in love with the border print -- peonies and lilacs, my favorite flowers when it comes to scent, and I decided to quilt it romantically.

The block itself was a four patch stack and whack.  I had seen these before but had forgotten how complex they can make the resulting block look.  Sue and I love feathers, so I did a square feathered wreath on it for her.

The sashings are little feathers in a very regimented path.  I think it makes them look like there are little hearts piled one on top of the other.

While my IQ was stitching out the perfect feathers for Sue's quilt, I made some pillowcases to go with my king size D9P quilt (see earlier posts).  I also finished all the machine applique for my Fons & Porter Love of Quilting magazine quilt, but that's another story.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This is my set of 9 degree rulers, invented many years ago by Marilyn Doheny, who is one of the most creative, outside the box, innovative quilt artists that I have ever met.  You may remember that BFF Mary and I went to her week long retreat last year in September.  This year, Marilyn is coming east to stay at MY house and to teach my guild how to use her sensational invention in a day long class.

Marilyn uses fabric strata cut in interesting ways and reassembled in even more unusual ways to create many different fan shapes.  These shapes can then be twisted this way and that, elongated or shortened, or mixed with other fan shapes to bring forth wonderful surprises and a plethora of combinations that are sure to delight.

Only your imagination limits what you can do with these fans.  You can make flowers or critters or just winding paths or balloons or whatever comes to mind.  My focus this year for my guild is to bring new experiences to them that can be used many times after the teacher has returned home, so we're kicking off our year long program with Marilyn.  Won't she be fascinating?!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


The roster for the many officers and committee chairpersons is complete for my guild's election, which is being held next month.  It's hard to get anyone to step up to the bat to be President, but Linda B did so with her customary grace and cheer.  I get to be VP next year, and as such, I will be in charge of finding teachers of interesting, repertoire-stretching techniques.  One of the things that my guild has not done much of is quilting with wool.  The darling little candle mat above by Bareroots Quilting will probably be one of our projects this year.

Our teacher for that project will be Debbie Powell, who runs "Miss Lou's", a quilting store  in Henderson, NC.  Debbie has consented to giving us her time on our schedule in March, 2012.  She doesn't sell fabric, but she does ALOT of teaching of quilting techniques.  And she has a private stash of felted wool that she uses to make up kits for her wool classes.

Just in case you don't know the difference between wool felt and felted wool, felted wool is woven cloth that has been shrunken with hot water and heat in the dryer.  Wool felt is random wool fibers that have been glopped together in a manufacturing process.  You can compare felted wool to wool felt much like you can compare a solid wood plank to a pressed wood item.

This Christmas holly in a pitcher is another project that the guild can vote on.  Debbie has lots of things she teaches, but we need to limit our class to one thing.  I thought this one was beautiful.  The designer is Sharon Stewart of Liberty Rose Patterns.

Lastly, this Tree of Life is from Nancy Johnson-Srebro's book, Big Block Quilts by Magic.  It has NO Y seams!  If the guild doesn't choose this one for a class, I may just buy that book myself and do this project.  I love no Y seams!  I couldn't find Nancy's web site for you to visit, but you can Google her or go to Amazon.com to find her books.

We're going to kick off the new guild year in September with a two day visit by one of my favorite quilt artists, Marilyn Doheny.  I'll show you some of her works tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I think I am addicted to quilting.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that I am.  If I go a day without doing it in some form or another, I go through withdrawal.

Case in point:  Joyce T gave me this large, queen size triple Irish chain quilt to do for her.  I have had a blast figuring out what to do on it and then applying the patterns in threads of gold and red and white.  Every day that didn't have an electric storm hovering nearby was used to "visit" and play with this quilt.

Because of other parts of my life needing attention from time to time, my joyful excursions into my lurkim during this time were limited to about 4 hours a day, which was fine for me since this stretched out my time working with this colorful and well made quilt, but eventually all good things must come to an end, and the quilt was finished.

Here's a closer look at the intersection of the chains and the center blocks.  Straightforward lines, neat and crisp, frame scrolls reminiscent of English garden gates.

There are quite a variety of ways of quilting Irish chains.  I chose patterns that were suggested by the actual architecture of the design.

The three outer borders were a delight to do.  Soft curls in red against a red background -- understated but effective in "ending" the chains.  The blue fabric had white roses in it;  I wanted a geometric zigzag here but opted instead for an undulating white one that borrowed from the rounded forms of the roses.  Click on the picture to see this border more easily.  The outermost border is very stylized tulips.  I liked these because they had petals like feathers, and I love feathers.

So now the quilt is finished, and Joyce will be picking it up tomorrow.  I'm very excited to show it to her, but I'm already feeling the withdrawal from my quilting "habit."

Guess I'd better open the box that came in the mail right before the holidays -- I'll bet there's a sure cure in there just waiting for  me!