Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Survived a 5K Race!

Tampa, FL, has a unique celebration known as “The Gasparilla Pirate Fest”.  The pirate, Jose Gaspar, invades the City of Tampa with his band of marauding buccaneers.  They enter via Hillsborough Bay in the tall-masted Jose Gasparilla pirate ship (she’s a beauty), with cannons a-boomin’ and flags unfurled.

After capturing the city and receiving the keys from the Mayor, the pirates parade through the streets sharing their trinkets ‘n’ treasures – a time honored tradition since 1904.

The celebration continues for a month with children’s parades, night parades and a great juried art festival.  A famous marathon (the Gasparilla Long-Distance Classic) is held one weekend; along with various shorter races like a 5K (separate events for the race and stroller/walk), 5+3K, 15K and a half marathon.

I thought I’d go ahead and take the plunge to run the 5K race this year.  I use the term *run* loosely since I actually alternate jogging and walking – as do many of the participants.  I did my first 5K walk last spring and decided to try this event this year since the weather is great here right now.  I beat my walk-time by 20 minutes by adding the intermittent jogging.  I was thrilled!  Oh, and by the way, I might be on the couch for a few days …LOL.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's in Process Today

We are making some kitchen renovations and we are currently on hold.  When they were cutting electrical holes in the backsplash on Tues, the piece broke.  So they had to go back to the shop and cut a whole new rectangle.  They are expected to return Saturday.  Fortunately, we were able to go ahead and get the plumbing for the sink and electical for my cooktop hooked up yesterday.  I could have lived without the cooktop since we have a microwave and oven, but it was getting really old to wash dishes in the bathroom sink!

So I had a partially free day today to get some sewing done.  I am putting together some batik blocks that I got in a block swap from Mailblocks.  I do a lot of swaps with that group that are easy to do and easy to put together and I end up with a lovely variety of fabrics.  I will put a border around these and make an easy-peasy top for Wrap-a-Smile.  I think a child somewhere in the world will be happy with these bright colors.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Met a Fellow Quilter

I'm in an online group called the Sunshine Quilt Guild that makes donation quilts for children worldwide.  I had the great pleasure today to meet a fellow quilter from that group.  *B*, from Sunshine, spends part of each year in Michigan and part in Florida.  We were able to get together in Dunedin, a cute little Scottish village near Clearwater, FL for lunch and a bit of quilt-shopping!  Since quilt shops can be dangerous places for voracious quilters like *B* and I, I went to the shop with a list.  I bought just enough to fill in where I needed just a little bit to complete several planned quilts or quilts in the works.  *B* bought a similar amount so we did our part to help the economy.  This is what I bought:

The purple batik almost hidden on the left will be sashing for batik squares I have from a block-swap.  The orange print will be a backing for an already-completed top.  The blues are for another block swap due soon.  And the print with the cats hidden in the tulips will be for a new design that I wanted to try.  It was gorgeous weather today and we had a good time.  Now I have to get quilting!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day

The third Monday in February is celebrated as President’s Day.  I hope you got to have the day off and are having a good time.  To make the day festive, you can make an edible pretzel log cabin with your kids like this one from Kaboose as a reminder of our country's history:

Or you can make the traditional log cabin quilt block like this one from TLC:

I will be making a log cabin quilt in the near future!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Progress on Rainbow Challenge

I was working on my red scraps this morning for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, but it was such a nice day that I didn’t finish, but went out to take a walk instead.  This was how far I had gotten on the challenge.  The hearts will be sewn down, then each rectangle will be cut in half from top to bottom to make mirror images that will be sewn to another block.  I expect I’ll finish this up this week:

I forgot to take my camera on my walk so, of course, I saw something to take a picture of for a change.  We have giant Pileated Woodpeckers in our conservation areas that have loud calls that would make Woody the cartoon woodpecker proud.  These very large birds are surely descended from dinosaurs as their wingspans can be about 29 inches.  They are gorgeous.  Their preferred food is carpenter ants and beetles and you can hear them excavating in dead trees for a long distance. Their pecking chops up the wood and helps to decompose it and return the nutrients to the forest.

I saw another one awhile back that I tried to take a picture of when I did have the camera with me and the bugger snuck behind the tree when I snapped the pic.  Here’s the swamp-shot where you can’t find the bird and a stock photo from

The area where the woodpecker was spotted

Stock Photo of Pileated Woodpecker

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quilters Crossing Quilt Show

Here are a few of my favorites from the Quilters' Crossing of Palm Harbor quilt show that was held last weekend.  I was particularly looking for ideas for scrap quilts or quilts that would look good if done in the scrappy-look for my donation quilts.  And then I took a few pictures of quilts that were exquisite or just too cute for words.  Enjoy!

I missed a pic of the label, but this cute Dr Seuss quilt is by Sue Walworth

And check out the wonderful quilting on this one (I love Celtic designs):

And the winner of my own category I call "just-too-cute":

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Box of Quilts Going Out

I got a larger size box than I usually get for donation quilts and there was extra room when I packed it up.  So, of course, I had to finish up just one more quilt to stuff in there!  I finished up the top that I thought had safari animals on it - turns out there is every kind of animal including, pigs, cats, ponies, elephants, camels, alligators, etc.  So I changed its name to Two-byTwo for obvious reasons.  Here's a few pictures:

Detail w/ Backing

Detail w/ Animals

There are now six quilts in the box that will go to Wrap Them in Love.  Here are the other five in the box (I've already posted about them).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope your Valentine's Day was happy and that maybe you had the opportunity to give something to somebody you cared about.  One thing I noticed at the last several quilt shows that I attended was how generous quilters usually are.  Each of the guilds sponsoring these shows had a display of their respective groups' philanthropic efforts and the variety of their contributions was amazing and invaluable to the community.

The first guild, Largo Cracker Quilters, had an interesting example of one of their activities.  It was a tactile stimulation (fidget quilt) piece for Altzheimer patients.  It had a string of beads with tassled ends, a fuzzy piece, a zipper, a ruffle, a minky piece, and lots of other very touchable things.  What a great idea!  Here is a picture:

And they also made adult bibs, walker bags, along with child, lap and bed-size quilts for various organizations.  Many thanks to this quilt guild that is in Largo, FL, a community south of me.  Some examples of their donation quilts were on display:

At another show, the Quilter's Crossing Quilt Guild had a display that included cute examples of the backpacks they made and bears that they dressed for children.  Many thanks to this group also for their support of the community in Palm Harbor, FL.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brown Bear and Bonus Flimsy

I finally polished off Brown Bear, Brown Bear today - it's finished and bound and ready to be delivered.  Speaking of delivery, the baby it is intended for is due on the 17th.  Not bad timing!  Here is the final with a detail of the cute backing with bear paws:

And I also finished putting on some borders to complete a flimsy that is intended to go to Wrap a Smile.  I put it together like this:
  1. started with lots of my leftover binding pieces (all 2 1/2 inches wide),
  2. just kept sewing them end to end,
  3. then re-cut them into 6 inch pieces,
  4. sewed three of the pieces together,
  5. cut a single piece of *top* to fit across the pieces to make a *block*,
  6. arranged the blocks to suit me,
  7. sewed them together and added an inner border,
  8. used the leftover smaller pieces to make squares and added the final border.
These were some of the steps:

Leftover Binding Strip Ends

Binding Strips Sewn End-to-End Randomly
Long Strips Sub-Cut Then *Tops* Added to Make Blocks
Finished Flimsy with Borders

Easy-Peasy and used lots of scraps to make a colorful top.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Travel Warning - Funny

As I was getting ready this morning, I found this tidbit to help me prepare to go out - it just might help all of the quilters up North where the bad weather has been for so long also:
They suggest that anyone traveling in the current icy conditions should make sure they have the following items with them:

Blankets or sleeping bag
Extra clothing including hat and gloves
24 hours worth of food
Rock Salt
Flashlight with spare batteries
Road flares or reflective triangles
Empty gas can
First-aid kit
Booster cables

I looked like an idiot on the bus this morning!!

OK - the truth is that I'm still busy quilting my Brown Bear, Brown Bear quilt.   I should finish it up soon and post a picture.

Fortunately, this isn't Florida!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Brown Bear Ready for Quilting

I finished up the Brown Bear, Brown Bear top and now it's ready for quilting.  Do you ever wonder why they design these cute tops so that the width of the top just exceeds the width of the fabric by 1-4 inches?  Of course, you don't wonder - you know it's so you'll have to buy twice the yardage of fabric to get the backing to fit.  Don't these companies know that we can be ingenious about how to piece a back to avoid buying more fabric?  The prices now are outrageous (as are the prices in the economy as a whole), so we have to do just as our fore-mothers did - we make do!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rainy Day Report

I'm still working on a quilt for a friend - don't have a picture yet, but it's based on Eric Carle's book Brown Bear, Brown Bear and should be cute when finished.

I snuck out between rain showers, when there was a little blue sky today, and took a long walk.  One advantage of this winter's colder-than-average spells is that the leaves on some of the trees were more dramatic in color than usual.  This was a picture I took a few weeks ago:

The leaves on this tree are usually a dull, boring color in winter.  This year it has its moment of glory!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Manor House Quilt Top is Done

I finished up the quilt top that I worked on yesterday.  I remembered why this fabric was still sitting around ... it's very annoying to work with fabric that isn't printed straight and no amount of pulling on the diagonal will straighten it out.  I finally got the grey elephants that show up so much to march in a row, but I could never line them up on the sides ... what a nuisance.  Also, I wish I had gone with the original colors I had selected because the rust-red had good contrast.  I thought I had wanted to put the animals in the outer corner blocks to draw the center fabric out, but they sort of fade away (even though it does show up better in person than in the picture).  At least all of the elephants are right-side up ... that's always a plus!  And now it's ready to quilt and package up to donate to WTIL.

I'm on to working on to a SuperBowl Mystery today.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

WTIL Sew-In Today

One of the on-line groups that I sew children's quilts for is having an on-line Quilt Bee today (click on the Sunshine Logo on my sidebar for more info on this group).  The members are posting what they are working on and their progress.  It's fun to know that others are sewing today for a shared purpose.  It's overcast, sometimes rainy, and slightly dreary today here in FL, so it's a great sewing day!

The design I picked to work on and post for the group comes from the Quick Quilts Magazine and is called Manor House.  I marked the design in the magazine to do *someday* and then I saw another person had  finished that pattern and posted about it on this blog:

So now my *someday* has come ... and these are the fabrics that I selected:

These are all fabrics from my stash so I hope I have enough!  If not, I'll improvise ...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

In keeping with tradition, today begins the Year of the Rabbit.

There is an old British superstition of good luck that has many variations, including the following:

(1) It is believed that saying "Rabbit Rabbit" on the first day of the New Year will bring yearlong good luck [must be especially true in the Year of the Rabbit!].

(2) Being the first to say "rabbit rabbit" to a person on the first of the month will bring good luck.

(3) Instead of saying "rabbit, rabbit", saying just "rabbit", or "rabbits". Some also extend it to three rabbits: "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit", which has some of the earliest written references.

For more information, go to

Whichever Rabbit tale floats your boat, Happy Chinese New Year!

Only the quilty front, Judy selected Item #10 for the 2011 UFO Challenge and as luck would have it (bad rabbit pun intended), I had already worked on and finished the H-Blocks quilt in January that was listed as my #10 UFO.  So I moved on to my second list of 12 and put the purple/yellow top on the frame to quilt and finish for this month.  To make it even more child-friendly, the purple/yellow has a purple Dora the Explorer backing - way cute. 

Then I remembered that I needed to have the frame free soon to quilt up something for a friend, so I went ahead and quilted and bound the purple/yellow.  Wahoo!  I'm finished with the UFOs for the February Challenge already .... quite an achievement for me.  Here they are:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

So sorry about the bad weather up in the Northeast United States ... the poor groundhog doesn't have a chance this year!

The 2011 Rainbow Challenge has selected RED for the color of the month, so I pulled a few of my reds out to see what I could come up with to satisfy the challenge this month.  Unfortunately, I don't have any red UFOs so I'm actually going to have to think about what to make ... I expect I'll come up with something.  See the button on my sidebar for more info about this fun challenge that has a different color selection for each month.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More of Largo, FL Quilt Show

Here are some more photos from the Largo quilt show last weekend.  These are some of the fantastic wall hangings that were on display: