Saturday, September 12, 2015

It Was The Other Guy!

It seems the previous tenant of our little Kentucky home neglected to settle his debts with the various utility companies servicing our address.  As a consequence of HIS misdeeds, we have had to really fight and struggle to get any services!  The electric company was the first that I called and that went smooth as silk... A quick credit check and BOOM! No problems there at all.  But every other service has been a nightmare! The water company insisted on a face-to-face visit with photo ids and social security cards.  Dave's SS card was packed in a box so he offered his passport and his military id along with his driver's license. To the water company, these silly little government issued identification methods were UNACCEPTABLE.  Nope!  They wanted a picture-less social security card.  The cable company insisted on a copy of our lease as well as identification and will get back to us once a supervisor has reviewed our documents and removed the block on our address which means, until then, no cable or internet.

It's bad enough that I'm missing my lovely grand babies and kids and my wonderful sewing loft.  Why must I also be without internet and cable??? I have the sewing area set up in the basement but without the possibility of TV or Netflix, I'm uninspired.

So I sit in our hotel room, working on wool applique and watching TV.  Wool is fun to work with and a lot easier and quicker than needle-turn applique. The project is a pattern called Ruby Red Dots by Sheri Howard and as written is a needle-turn applique.  But, if you reduce the size of the pattern using your copier you get manageable-sized blocks that can be done in wool.  Hurrah!

I started this a while ago.  It's one of those UFOs that got put away and then forgotten.  I have all the blocks done and set in their sashing.  All that is left is the borders!  I don't know why I never finished it, but it's getting finished now.  The corner stones are done and all but one of them is trimmed.  The bottom border was started and last night I got it finished.    One down, three to go.

Today is a cool day in KY; about 74 degrees which to me is practically freezing.  It's a good day to stay inside with a cup of coffee, streaming my favorite movies via hotel internet and working on my wool applique project.  Life is good.

Piece and Joy

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Antiquing in Louisville

Home is where you hang your hat and these days I'm hanging my hat in a hotel room.  We'll be here until our furniture arrives later this month so we are making due in a little one room efficiency.  It's actually not that bad except for the fact that I am here with 3 dogs and a cat.  Mind you, they are little dogs but it's a lot for about 400 square feet.  Of course, just because its a hotel doesn't mean it can't be homey...all you have to do is throw a quilt on the bed and you are all set. My Roll, Roll Cotton Boll quilt does the trick and really helps make the room feel like home.  

We arrived here in Louisville late Saturday evening and so we spent Sunday getting a little familiar with our immediate area.  First stop was the Bristol Bar and Grill where they serve a fabulous buffet breakfast.  I'm not usually a fan of a buffet but the Waffles with Caramel Bourbon Sauce was phenomenal!  We really enjoyed the cheese grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, and pastry but the WAFFLES!  YUM!

After our brunch we headed toward downtown and what should appear before my eyes...?  An ANTIQUE store.  I love wandering through antique stores.  I love looking for vintage sewing machines and quilts and the Louisville Antique Market didn't let me down.

I saw this sweet machine and really considered bringing it home but it had some wiring issues so it stayed behind.  I loved the name on it...Sew Tex... reminiscent of my Texas home. And then I saw this baby: I have been coveting these spool drawers for years and they are always so expensive.  This one was $850!  Yikes.  It stayed behind too.  

And then there were all the quilts. Lots and lots of quilts...



Absolutely Wonderful!  I really love to see all the love and commitment put into each one of these beauties.  Such inspiration! \]And speaking of inspiration, my last post was about all the inspiration I have received from Bonnie Hunter and as part of that post I had a give-away of her book More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.  Well, we have a winner!  Congratulations Barbara B! Please send me an email to with your mailing address and I'll get that right out to you.

I spent most of the day working in the basement of the new house setting up my quilt area. Tomorrow I'll have it about set and I'll be able to start sewing again.  For now, I think I'll spend a little time with my hexie project while I watch a little TV.  Until next time...

Piece and Joy,


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Becoming a Bonniac

I learned to quilt from a woman named Rachel.  Rachel was the owner and operator of the Amish quilt shop, Rose Valley Quilts (now closed) in Dover, Delaware.  My hubby was stationed at Dover AFB and I happened to visit the shop with a friend on a lark.  My friend and I admired the pile of quilts on the bed Rachel had in the middle of her shop and as Rachel and another woman began the traditional "bed-turning" I fell in love with quilting.  I immediately went to the local Jo-Ann fabrics and signed up for the beginner quilt class which was taught by a Mennonite woman whose name escapes me.  It was a good class and I learned some basics but I had so many difficulties and questions. A little two-hour class once a week just didn't cut it.  So, I would take my block and my questions to Rachel.  Rachel was patient and kind and oh so helpful.  She taught me so many things and really nurtured my love of quilting and so it is Rachel who truly taught me how to quilt in a gas-lamp lit room on a treadle machine.  That was 24 years ago.

In the last 24 years, I have fed my passion for quilting with the cool tools, fabulous patterns and books and marvelous fabrics and, occasionally, I actually finished a quilt or two.  But the truth is that its been just the last few years that I have really made a leap in my quilting, extracting maximum pleasure from not just the completed quilt but from the process of making the quilts.

I just finished Celtic Solstice- Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery from November 2013.  (Well, I still have to do the hand-stitching on the binding but I'm calling it done.)   It's the second quilt finish for the month of August.  I'm not talking wall-hangings or table runners.  I'm talking big quilts and as you can see, Celtic Solstice has a ton of pieces in each block.   My husband was a little surprised that I had a second finish so quickly after May Flowers and commented about it.  He said, "You really seem to have a rhythm going in getting these done." The truth is that it's not so much a change in rhythm as it is in the way I quilt.  

My Celtic Solstice top measured EXACTLY 113" square...yes, exactly.  After quilting it, it ended up at 111" square, exactly. And it went together beautifully.   I didn't struggle to get units to fit, or points to match.  My borders lay flat and every bit of it came from my stash including the backing.  It's not perfect- After all I am human but it is beautiful and, just as important, it's done. So, what changed? This was possible because I am a BONNIAC.

A Bonniac is someone who follows Bonnie Hunter of and is one step away from stalker status.  (It's a small step but a very important one).  I have followed Bonnie for years via her blog and met her in person a few years ago in one of her classes.  Since then I have taken a dozen or so of her classes, cruised with her to the Caribbean (and will again in October) and in the process gained a friend.  I told her at dinner one evening that even with all the classes I've taken and numerous times I have heard her speak I learn something new every time, without fail.  Everything I have learned has made a huge impact on how my quilts go together and how I am finally seeing finished quilts...not just started.   And all of this is because of Bonnie. So, in honor of the joy and pleasure I had putting together Celtic Solstice and seeing it finished and in the hope of passing on the wisdom, I give you: 


(You can find the details of each of these tips and tricks on Bonnie's Blog 
via the tips and techniques tab or through her YouTube videos and blog posts.)

    10.  Scrap USER System.  Make the change from Saver to User.   You won't regret it.

      9.  Leaders and Enders- because thread is expensive and two quilts are better than                one.

      8.  HST production or Sew and Flips: It's not the SEW line, it's the FOLD line.

      7.  Go with a Vintage Sewing Machine instead of new computerized one...                              you won't regret it. Vintage machines for the most part are designed to be serviced            by the owner.  They are cheaper and although not necessarily lightweight, you can            move them place to place without worrying about crashing the computer                          components. 

      6.  Neutral is anything is with a neutral background and lighter than a brown paper                bag.

      5.  Bonus triangles are da bomb!  Make them out of that 'flipped' corner from other                projects as you go and you'll be ready for the next project that requires 347,248                HST's

      4.  You paid $9, $10, $11, or $12 (or more) a yard for the scraps you're thinking                    about throwing away. String blocks and stash user system will put those scraps to              good use. 

      3.  Focus your energies and you'll see progress!  Pick a project and go, go go! Don't                dilute your progress by working on a dozen projects at once.  Better to use 10                  hours on one project, than one hour each on 10 projects.  Finishing one quilt is                  always a great motivator to finish others.

      2.  30% - 60 %:  At 30% you'll be tempted to put away a project, but if you power                through and get to 60% you'll be so excited to see it come together that you'll                  actually finish.  

  And the number 1 thing I've learned from Bonnie Hunter:

      1. Unit Size Matters...Seam Allowance size doesn't.  The truth is is that you can             have a one-inch seam allowance if you want.  The quarter-inch seam allowance is             to eliminate bulk because of all the seams and joints.  But when it comes to putting           the blocks together the UNITS have to be the right size or they won't fit together.             If the units fit together the blocks will be the right size and eliminate the dreaded               sliver trimming, missing points, floating points, and a ton of other common                       problems you have when you put those blocks together.  Take the time to get a                 seam allowance that gives you the right UNIT size and you will make your quilting             life so much easier and really enjoy the process of putting your blocks together.

So, to help you on the path to better quilting, I am having a give-away!  I am giving away Bonnie Hunter's More Adventures with Leaders and Enders autographed by the author.  All you have to do is leave your comment here on the blog with your email address.  I'll pick a lucky winner on Monday, Sept 7th.  Good luck!

Piece and Joy!