Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not a Lovely Day

No, it wasn't a lovely day in the neighborhood, Mr. Rogers.  It has poured down rain for two days and nights we've had tornado sightings, lightning and high winds.  Now, we did need the rain, but enough with the Indian Rain Dance already!  Let's spread the rain out a little over the next month, not get it all at once...

Since I had to unplug my sewing machines (surge protectors won't help at all for a direct lightning strike), I'll leave you with a really cool idea that they had in an Iowa town:

These are brick pavers in quilt designs that are popping up around town.  They're not quite finished and sealed yet, but they are grand!  To read about it and see more pictures, go to:

You rock, Kalona, Iowa!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Old Wive's Tales

And I want to make perfectly clear that the title of this post means *old tales that wives tell*, not *tales from old wives*!!

Anyway, this was the sight on my walk today:

All of the leaves in the maple trees were turned over from the wind.  I've always heard that this is a sign that it is going to rain.  And I can attest that when I was about 1/2 mile from home, it poured down rain on my pretty little head.  As for me, I believe the old wive's tale.  How about you?!

Fortunately, I had finished up the binding of this cute little modern Stix 'n Stones quilt before I went for the walk.  The pattern was on Timeless Treasures fabric company's site, but I don't think it is still available there.  It works up pretty fast with fat quarters.

I also quilted another top today, but don't have the borders finished or the binding on that one ... maybe tomorrow, if it rains!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Progress on 2011 UFO Challenge

I'm still working my way through my list of UFOs that I posted for Judy Laquidara's 2011 UFO Challenge.  The number from our list that Judy selected on her blog Patchwork Times was #1 and that was a difficult one for me to finish.  Well, that's why it was a UFO, of course!

What I started with was a jumble of blocks from a 1930s repro fabric block swap.

I ultimately decided to split them into two groups to make two smaller tops.  This is what I have worked on so far.

I might actually get this quilted in March!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour

Do you participate in Earth Hour?

This world-wide event takes place this year at 8:30 pm (your local time) on March 26th.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.

Only a year later, Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating.  Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome's Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

Last year, a record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action.  Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off.  People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common - our planet.  Will you participate?
She's the only planet we have - bless her heart!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Known Fact of the Day

Today is Tolkien Reading Day.  This annual event, launched by The Tolkien Society in 2003,  takes place on 25 March. It has the aim of encouraging the reading of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the use of Tolkien's works in education and library groups.

The date of March 25 was chosen in honour of the fall of Sauron, in Tolkien's The Lord of the RingsThe day was originally suggested by columnist Sean Kirst, of the Syracuse, NY Post-Standard newspaper. He has since organized Tolkien Reading Days every year since 2008.  Here is an artist's rendering of Bilbo Baggin's home in Hobbiton:

And now for "what's on the drawing board":  This quilt will go to the Japan Comfort Quilt effort sponsored by Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and their Japanese magazine counterpart.  My 15 yr old rotary cutter broke today (it had a lovely long and useful life) so I will get another and finish cutting and sewing blocks this weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boxed Quilts Went Off Today

I did get to finish the binding on the last quilt for the box and sent three off to Washington State today, along with my donation, destined for Japan.  These went to WTIL, as explained in yesterday's post.  The last one is called "Busy Batiks" because that's what I think they look like altogether (these were swap blocks). 

Here's what was in the box to WTIL (a photo of each finished quilt and a detail that shows the backing):
I hope the box gets there soon and then on its way to Japan.  I sure hope these quilts bring someone there comfort and lets them know that we care.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comfort Quilts for Japan

Wrap-Them-in-Love Foundation (WTIL) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that was created to help needy children within the US and around the world.  Their year-round mission is to collect donated quilts and distribute them to children so they can be wrapped in love and comfort.

The founder and head of WTIL has a personal connection with Japan.  One of her relatives will be traveling from the US to an area that was safe from the earthquake but is now becoming a relocation area for many quake refugees.  Her relative will be taking quilts to Japan and distributing them to people that need them.  The Foundation is also fundraising to support the cost of the trip.

Please send quilts and/or monetary donations to:
2522-A Old Hwy 99 S
Mt. Vernon, WA  98273

I regularly donate quilts to this organization – recently quilts have been distributed within Washington State, in addition to Mongolia and to the Philippines.  This is a very worthwhile group and I encourage all quilters to participate in this very personal way to bring comfort to some of the displaced people in Japan.  Read more about WTIL and visit their Gallery of Quilts at this link.

I will have pictures tomorrow of the three quilts that I will have ready to box up and send out to WTIL (I’m finishing the binding up on one tonight).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Finally Spring!

What is the First Day of Spring?

Well, at the start of spring—the vernal equinox—day and night are each approximately 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days before the vernal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west.

So why are we celebrating the First Day of Spring?  Well, for one thing, the weather is beautiful here in Florida and we thought winter was just too, too long.  We can get back to enjoying gardening, tennis, boating, March Madness (men AND women - there are TWO tournaments, you know), baseball's spring training ... oh, the list is endless and fun.  What's not to like?!!

The birds have started to become reacquainted:

Ever wonder why you can’t remember when the first day of Spring is and why you grew up thinking it was March 21st and not the 20th?
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the designation of the first day of Spring HAS actually changed.  One reason for the change is that a year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons.  Another reason is that the earth’s elliptical orbit is changing its orientation, which causes the earth’s axis to constantly point in a different direction.  The pull of gravity also affects the date.  To learn more, see:

So Happy Spring !!  Here’s some of what’s blooming here in Florida:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

National Quilting Day

Today would be a great day to visit the National Quilting Association since today has been designated as National Quilting Day.  This site has an interesting story of one quilt guild's outreach efforts and a free log cabin quilt pattern in honor of the day.

This is the top that I finished up last night as part of the Friday Night Sew-In.  As soon as I get the batik top quilted up and off of the frame, I'll put this one on.
Finished Stix n Stones Top

Stix n Stones Detail

Batik on the Frame

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

Handmade by Heidi sponsors a Friday Night Sew-In and I'm in this week.  I want to see this little top that I am working on finished tonight!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Celebrate Pi Day!

Yep – you guessed it!  Today is 03-14 and Pi Day has an Official Website.

Pie, you say?
 No, not THAT kind of Pi!  THIS kind:

 Pi, a Greek letter, is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535…

There is a very interesting article on “Quilting Pi” by Ivars Peterson at:

To quote Peterson from his article,
“When John Sims contemplates a number, he sees color and shape. And an intriguing, enigmatic number such as pi, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, conjures up vivid patterns that belong on quilts.

Starting with 3.14159265, the decimal digits of pi run on forever, and there's no discernible pattern to ease the task of compiling (or memorizing) these digits. Computer scientists have so far succeeded in computing 1,241,100,000,000 decimal digits of pi.

Both a mathematician and an artist, Sims taught for many years at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. He's passionately interested in the collision of mathematical
ideas and visual culture...”

Here is an example of a quilt designed by Sims using Pi as his basis – this is his  work titled “Pi sans Salt and Pepper”:

Looks like mathematicians know how to make scrap quilts, doesn't it??!!

For more math oriented science, check out Ivars Peterson's MathTrek blog at

I'm on my way upstairs to make a quilt, but it won't be a Pi quilt - who knows, there might be Pi (er, Pie) for dinner though!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Second Sunday Sewing

My on-line quilt group, the Sunshine Quilt Guild, has a tradition of reporting on their sewing for Sunshine on the second Sunday of every month.  Our group supports two children's programs:  Wrap-Them-in Love and Wrap-a-Smile.  See the info on my sidebar or the links indicated in this text.  Sunshine is a great group and I love to see the pictures that the members post of their quilts.

Today I finished binding a quilt that turned out larger than I expected, so it will go to WTIL.  The larger size probably happened when I put that last row on backwards - oopsy!  Anyway, I had intended it for WAS, so I started a smaller quilt for that group's box.

Detail with Backing

For the smaller WAS quilt, I will be using this fabric in an easy four-square design with sashing.  Should be cute - I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ready to Spring Forward??

Daylight Savings Time:  A novel idea originally attributed to Benjamin Franklin in an essay while in Paris called “An Economical Project" way back in 1784.  Learn all you ever wanted to know about this worldwide (well partially and on different days) event at:

This concept of changing clocks forward an hour in the spring supposedly gives us the opportunity to enjoy an extra hour of evening daylight.  Fooey.

Personally, I join with the ranks of the many people who hate Daylight Savings Time.  I don’t dislike it for the petty inconvenience of changing the innumerable digital time devices, but more for the sleep disruption, the seemingly contrived energy savings, the very real statistics of increased accidents and the frustration of farmers and their animals that cannot adapt to the change.  

But since my humble opinion hasn’t swayed our Congress to repeal Daylight Savings Time, today I remind you in the USA to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed and don’t forget to change your smoke alarm batteries.

I think I’ll just finish binding a quilt and go to bed early … LOL. 

Not Just a Postscript:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people after their devastating earthquake - international aid efforts are rushing to your beautiful islands. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Green Blocks

I made up my green blocks for the Mailblocks lottery this month from a Quilter's Cache pattern called *Twist*.  This design works up into a 12 inch block very quickly and looks great as a donation quilt with 3 x 4 blocks and a 2 inch border (see Marcia Hohn's examples).  If I win the lottery blocks, that's exactly what I would do with them.

Since it turned out that I had lots of green when I pulled them out for the 2011 Rainbow Challenge, I just might make up some more and do that anyway!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Quilt is Done

I finished quilting and binding my #7 of 11 for Wrap-Them-in-Love.  This was the last of the blue/white monkey wrench tops that I called the fraternal triplets since I made three that were similar (but each had a little different twist) from a big bunch of  blocks that I had won.  I posted about them here and here.

The first and second of the *triplets* have been donated already and this third one is going into a box to wait until it I get a few more done.  I really liked the imitation patchwork fabric with the hearts on it that this one has for a backing.  I think this makes it suitable for a boy or girl (and I was pretty tired of that *boy* fabric with the various sports balls on it!).  Here are the photos (BTW, the purple splotch is my shadow - it's not in the fabric!):

Now I’m off to pull more weeds out of my flower beds!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rainbow Challenge Greens #1

I put together this sweet little pink/green top for Wrap-a-Smile yesterday that meets the *no rules* rules for the 2011 Rainbow Challenge (meaning you don't have to have it all green!).  I especially wanted to use up the pink/green fabric that had apples in it - it was printed crooked and drove me crazy - glad it's almost gone!  I also was glad to find a nice use for the five green blocks in the center that were leftover from a green block swap.  I thought this was a good use for those poor orphaned blocks (they have green fabric backgrounds although the picture makes them look black).

Detail of center fabrics

I found out I had lots and lots of green fabrics so I think this is only #1 for the Rainbow Challenge.  My swap group has a lottery and we are making green and white blocks this month, so I'll post a picture of those soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Finish, WIP Greens and New Challenge

I finally put the borders on the batik squares top and now it is the proper size to quilt up and donate to Wrap-a-Smile.  I’m now working on a green top for that same group that will also complete my green effort for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I don’t have a photo of that one yet, but might finish it this afternoon.
I call this one Busy Batiks!

New Challenge Project:

It was so easy and quick to whip up a single star block for the Challenge project that Moda is sponsoring with the Quilts of Valor organization.  This project is called *Just One Star* and their goal is to piece, quilt and bind 100 quilts in 100 days using the Flag of Valor pattern by Minick and Simpson by June 14, 2011 (Flag Day in the USA).  Participants are encouraged to make just one star and the staff and designers at Moda will trim the blocks and assemble the quilts.  The star blocks are due by May 1st. 

If you’d like to join in, check out this tutorial from United Notions and send in your star block to:

United Notions/Moda Fabrics
Attn: Just One Star Project
13800 Hutton
, TX 75234

My *Just One Star* Block (maybe I should iron it!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring is Coming to FL

Spring is definitely trying to spring loose here in Florida.  I finally had a chance to look around and see what was popping up:
The Azaleas were going wild!

The Indian Hawthorne has buds all over it and is just starting to bloom.

The Daisy Bush is trying to join the club.

The purple Mystic Spire is attracting lots of pollinators (in our case, honeybees) and is surrounded by weeds.
WEEDS??!!  Yikes.  Time to get out in the yard and get rid of those weeds while the weather is still good!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What’s On My Schedule

March is going to be very busy for me!

1)     Judy L’s 2011 UFO Challenge has selected #1 from our lists and for me that is a toughie.  I have a 1930’s sampler listed that includes blocks from a Mailblocks block swap.  The reason it is a UFO is that I have so many blocks that I couldn’t decide whether to split them up and make two smaller childrens’ tops or make a larger top with sashing for my niece.  What a dilemma … and I’ll have to decide soon since it is a UFO *Challenge*.

And maybe you’ll remember that I have two UFO lists, and the companion number, if I can get two quilts done, is one for Kimono blocks from another swap.  These are adorable and I have an idea for alternative blocks that aren’t even made yet.  Maybe putting this as a UFO is stretching too far.  I expect it will have to wait for the next challenge – I’ll be doing good just to get the 1930s sampler done!
One I made for the swap

2)     The 2011 Rainbow Challenge has selected green for this month, as that is the traditional St Patrick’s Day color.  I do have lots of green scraps – and in the alternative, I have some pink and green swap blocks, of course (this is a *no rules* challenge so adding a color is ok).  Another decision … oh well – I had to get it in gear sometime!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March is Special

March is National Women’s History month!

There is an excellent website sponsored by the National Women’s History Museum that has on-line exhibits that are worth a visit.  Among the many subjects are:
  • Women in Early Film
  • Clandestine Women: Spies in American History
  • Chinese American Women: A History of Resilience and Resistance
  • Women Wielding Power, Women Claiming Their Citizenship, and Many More!
The National Women’s History Museum has a mission to build the first ever national museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated exclusively to women’s history. It will be centrally located near the world’s most prestigious museums and monuments in our Nation’s Capital. On March 25, 2009, Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced HR 6548 that identifies a different site at
12th Street
Independence Avenue
in Washington, D.C. as the museum’s home.  That Bill has not yet passed Congress.

Take a minute to celebrate women sometime this month!

[Note: the fancy hat lady in my sidebar comes from the site]