Saturday, November 26, 2011

My first quilt

What constitutes a first quilt? Is it the first project pieced or completed?  Does it have to be a full sized one?

Here is my first little wall hanging.  I started it the year after I graduated from college.  I had my little studio apartment and wanted to fill it with Christmas decorations that were hand made.  So I ordered a huge box of projects from a catalogue.  (That was before internet and computers were part of our lives).  In that box of projects were a pillow and wall hanging kit. The pillow was finished in a timely manner.  The wall hanging was a different story.  I was not pleased that the tops of the trees were flattened out when I actually put the pieces together.  So in a box it went and moved from Gainesville to Tampa to another house in Tampa to a temporary condo to Lutz, FL to Frisco, TX.  So about 20 years after I started it I found it in the attic and decided to finish it.  That's a long time for a small about 8 x 12 inch project, but it is no longer a UFO (unfinished object).

Sunny Days unfinished quilt
Sunburst quilting done by hand

In between that time, somewhere around 2002, I gathered a quilt block of the month set from one of the big fabric and craft stores.  It is called Sunny Days. These consist of precut pieces that just need to be sewn together. You can collect 12 blocks and the finishing kit, add batting, and backing and you have an entire quilt.  At the time I didn't really know anything about making a quilt and this seemed like a place to start.  I managed to get the entire thing pieced and sandwiched and even started to quilt it.  Again, not knowing anything about quilting, I bought a walking foot for my meager machine.  But I wasn't trying to sew straight lines, I was doing star bursts.  Needless to say, I broke several needles trying to turn the quilt in the machine to create these designs.  I got so frustrated I just balled it all up and threw it in the attic.  Did I mention that I didn't know anything about anything and did not prewash my backing or anything else.  The backing is a deep blue that turned my machine blue too.

So that brings us to around 2009, I have just completed the little Christmas tree quilt by hand and have decided to hand quilt the Sunny Days quilt.  If I just do one block every week or two it will be done in no time, right?  And that brings us to today... I am still plugging along on the Sunny Days and am determined to finish it, some day.  It is my "in bewteen" project, when I don't have anything else going and want to grab a hand project to work on.

CG's quilt made to coordinate with an existing quilt, Turning Twenty
I HAVE completed a quilt using Turning Twenty pattern that I sent out to be quilted.  My youngest son is the owner of that.  So is Turning Twenty my first quilt or the little Christmas tree,or the Sunny Days?

This post was inspired by Bonnie K. Hunter of Quiltville.  Go visit her First Quilt post here:

She is also the author of the Mystery Quilt I am doing. That project is up to date, much to the dismay of my other UFO's waiting for me.

(By the way, one of those projects from the big box is still unfinished. It is a latch hook rug tree skirt that is about to make another move to yet another house.  When should I give up on it?  I'm pretty sure latch hook will come back in style, won't it?)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving: a new tradition?

Psalm 107:1  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.

Do you ever wonder how family traditions get started? I love to look back into my 18 year marriage and see how well we have accommodated one another's family traditions and made them our own.  Most of them revolve around Christmas.  My family always had turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I am not sure what Kevin grew up eating on Christmas, probably turkey or ham.  For some reason, when I entered the picture in the Labella family that first year they had a standing rib roast.  I can still see my dad-in-law in the kitchen of the Old Saybrook house (with all the baskets on the walls) cooking the roast on the Farberware.  He may even have had a cigar hanging out of his mouth and certainly had a bloody mary in his left hand.  Ever since then we have always had a roast for Christmas, whether with the whole family or just our immediate selves.  Then there is the angel versus star on the tree.  I grew up with an angel and he had a star.  Early in our marriage I found a gorgeous angel holding a star scepter.  She doesn't always light up and her beautiful wings don't change colors any more, but I love the symbolism of compromise there.
Where is the rest of the pie?

Last year I think we started another new tradition.  We, formerly Texas Labellas now Alabama Labellas, have not had company or gone to Thanksgiving anywhere else except maybe once since we moved from Florida to Frisco in 2000.  I love making the dinner and all of the fixings and have gotten it down to a science for a low stress day.  The problem is that I make A TON of food for just 5 of us.  I make everything I like, some of which I am the only one to eat. And we eat later than most I think, trying to time it out to half time of the late game.  So that puts it around 3:30ish CST.

With all of the turkey and side dishes who has room for dessert?  So last year, we ate pie a day before Thanksgiving. Cutting into the pie early, gasp.  Why not, though?  We didn't have to take it anywhere and it smelled sooo good and honestly just a bit naughty.  And oh my gosh, still warm from the oven pecan pie that has had just enough time to set up--mmm--with a dollop of whipped cream..... We did it again yesterday.  The boys didn't know it was going on, which makes it even better :0) So sneaking pecan pie a day early seems to be our new tradition.
CG in charge of peeling potatoes 

Since it is Thanksgiving, I will list just a few of the many things I am thankful for right now...
~The usuals: good(ish) health, good running vehicles, jobs, nice home, etc.
~That God continues to protect us through hard economic times of our world. We have everything we need every single day.

~That I got to see my 98 yo Grandma Dorothy twice this year. 
~I got to see my daddy 3 times this year and Joanie twice. 
~All of the abilities I have been blessed with.  
~Old friends and the technology that makes it so easy to stay in touch with them. 
~New friends and friends I have yet to meet. 
that's just to name a few.  

Let me know one thing you are thankful for!

Happy Turkey Day! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Technology is wonderful, when it works.  Lately I have been having breakdowns with all of my techie stuff.  First my computer's hard drive went to where hard drives go when they die.  And no, I had not backed it up.  I had been looking at external drives literally for years, but always put it off, thinking to myself that I could use that hundred dollars or so on something else that day.  Not worth putting off.  All of my pictures, music, programs, papers, all of it GONE.  I am now the proud owner of an external drive that I need to use.  I bought it before I walked out of the store when dropping off the computer for repair.

As far as my music, I cannot figure out how to get my music from the I-phone to the computer i tunes account.  It will transfer the music I purchased from I tunes but I had imported many, many disks.  The thought of redoing it is exhausting.

Regarding my photography issues, I did print all of my 2010 pictures, so at least I have those and some other important ones are out in cyberworld at ShutterFly. Otherwise, I have been pretty lousy at printing my pics. Also, I am in the process of taking a long distance photography class and would like to have a bunch of pictures to choose from for my assignments.

Oh did I mention that my Nikon D80 camera that is 3 years old stopped taking pictures while I was visiting my folks in W. Virginia in October.  So that is on its way to Nikon to have the problem diagnosed.  Like the saying goes, waiting is the hardest part.  And how can I continue my photography class?  They probably think I have quit the course by now.  The leaves are changing on all of the trees around here and I really want to take pics of them!

My other passion/obsession is sewing and quilting. I do something just about every day. I bought a Brother machine at Costco about 2 years ago for under $200 and thought I was getting a great deal.  Guess what?  Not so much, it also ceased to cooperate.  This also happened last Christmas when I was in the middle of making teacher gifts.  So yesterday was spent taking it to a repair shop where I was told it would cost more to repair than I paid for it.  Ugh.  I commenced the quest for a new machine only to be completely shocked by the cost of a decent machine.  The amount of technology for a sewing machine is astounding.  Do I just want to sew and quilt, or at some future time add embroidery? So many decisions.  So for now I am going to work on some hand quilting practice and hexagons.  The Christmas gift for one of my nieces is on hold for now.

At least I can still have my morning cup of coffee and the computer is fixed, even if all of my programs are gone.  I need to create a resume but don't have the program to do that.  It is still in a box somewhere in this house.  We have officially started house hunting, which is a story for another time! I am super excited about maybe being in our own home relatively soon.  So maybe there is light at the end of this tunnel.