Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Sale and Orchid Update

I TOLD you not to let me know when the Friends of the Library book sale was going to be held!!  You know perfectly well that I am incapable of passing up a quilt book …
Yes, you could say I bought this:
Or you could say that I bought two works of fiction and this third book was free!   Well, it’s true - and free always works for me … who could pass it up?

I have had these partially sewn blocks sitting around for way too long and one of the designs in this book might just jumpstart some creativity.  One can only hope!
And now I’d like to show you how well my orchid is doing:
From this in Feb (just budding out)
To this in March

Aren’t they gorgeous?!  I’m so happy that my orchid appears to be happy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quilts of Valor

I have been making squares from leftover triangles for the Quilts of Valor group I participate in, and that reminded me that I neglected to report on our meeting on March 2nd.  We made lots and lots of kits during that meeting.  These kits include either sixteen squares to make (4) 4-patch units, or (4) large squares and enough small squares to make 4 half-snowball blocks.  You can easily see each of these units in the finished quilts shown below.  That way, kits are available to be picked up at the quilt shop that sponsors our meeting room so that members of the group and the public can sign them out and return them at their convenience and the group always has some to work with to make more tops.  Pretty cool system, huh?

The half-snowball blocks result in extra triangles after the corners are cut off and we have collected many of them.  Those are what I have been sewing together – either to make pinwheels or zig-zag borders or some other use.  Here are some of them:

This is one member cutting squares for the kits:
And these are lots of pillowcases that were finished at the meeting or finished and brought to the meeting.  Each of the Quilts of Valor are presented to the recipient in a nice pillowcase presentation case like one of these:
 And two more quilts were finished and bound:
A Bonnie Hunter Design - Fourth of July

 Nice job on both, ladies!

And speaking of patriotic, did you see this on the internet?  The town of Craig, Colorado had to cut down many of the cottonwoods in a park due to age and disease.  Some very creative person thought to have a chainsaw contest and the City Council approved it and offered a prize.  These are some of the amazing results.  See the caption under the second photo for the patriotic part – there were other eagle sculptures that were just as remarkable but this one was particularly moving when you see all sides of it.

This is the backside of the
eagle sculpture shown in the first photo.
 Note the rifle, helmet and boots of a fallen soldier.

And on a more light hearted side

This was one of my favorites - I love bears!
To see many more of the sculptures, use this link:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quilts in the Mail & Tolkien Reading Day

Today, I am much gratified to report that I now have a box packed up to send off to Wrap-a-Smile to be donated to children having cleft lip/palate surgery around the world.  I have been talking about finishing the last quilts to fill this box for several weeks and it’s finally done!  These are the five quilts in the box:
4 to 16 Patch (don't know why I called it 4 to 9 Patch before!)

Cats in the Tulips

Scrappy Dora Mystery Quilt

Tam's Patch in Novelties

Totally Scrappy (from blocks won in a block swap)
And, today is once again Tolkien Reading Day  I am especially fond of the Hobbits that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote about in his various books, including in “The Hobbit” and the trilogy series “The Lord of the Rings”.  Tolkien depicted Hobbits as fond of a bucolic life of farming, eating and socializing – now doesn’t that sound wonderful?!
Although they much preferred their unadventurous lifestyle,  you can read about how the Hobbits rose to the occasion with feats of incredible courage when needed to defend their homes and way of life.  Hobbits were said to be between 2 and 4 feet tall, dressing in bright colors, favoring yellow and green, and usually shy.   Tolkien himself said, “I am in fact a hobbit in all but size.  I like gardens, trees, and unmechanized farmlands;…”.  I think that pretty much sums up me and my quilting hobby, too!

You can read more about this author at:

Or maybe check out this site to see this REAL hobbit house in Wales and the story behind why it was built by Simon Dale.
It is very interesting … I would love to visit it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quilt Books and Magazines

Let’s face it.  I am a Book and Magazine addict.  I am incapable of pulling myself away from the racks when I have an unused 50%-off coupon.  Why do I capitalize "Books and Magazines"?  Why, because they are my friends, of course!

I have no need of more books.  I have no need of more magazines.

Well, maybe I do.  I pour over them when I get them.  I go back and reread every ad for a quilt tool that I might “need” and I picture the designs in other colorways.  I invest in scads of post-it flags to mark the quilts I want to make first.  I pull the Books and Magazines out occasionally after I have made something from them and I make something else from them and sometimes I find something new that I can tackle now that my skills are better.  Sometimes I pass them on to people that will love them like I do or when they cannot find an out-of-print issue for a special pattern.  In other words, I derive a huge amount of pleasure from my Books and Magazines!

Now having justified my addiction, this is the Book that I recently bought:
The “…Times Two…”  in the title means that each quilt pattern has two sizes presented – a large and a small version.  The small are often perfect for the children’s quilts that I make and donate.  The stars that I have been working on are from this book, but I have adapted the pattern so that I am making big blocks (16 inches) from the “big” pattern but making a smaller sized quilt.  This is the work in process so far:
All except the background is from one layer cake.  I’m still playing with the placement of lights and darks.  I’ll settle on something soon!
And I did get the above two quilts quilted and off the frame … one is the Cats in the Tulips and the other is the Totally Scrappy from previous posts.  Now to get them bound and into a box – then I’ll feel like I'm really making progress!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Today is the first day of Spring and Spring always makes me think of flowers!
Photo Credit:  Dan Culbert, UF/IFAS
A very popular tropical plant here in Florida is the beautiful Bougainvillea.   Gorgeous long-lasting flower bracts appear all winter—according to one description “looking like tissue paper fantasies”.  In spring and summer there are fewer bracts but it continues to bloom.
The first Bougainvillea was noticed in Rio de Janeiro in 1760 by a European botanist traveling with Admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the first Frenchman to cross the Pacific.  This plant was the botanical highlight of the voyage and the explorers brought back no other plants to Europe on that trip.

Cultivated Bougainvillea first appeared in Paris in 1830. Another ten years passed before they were flowering in England and, possibly at about the same time, they began spreading to the Eastern tropics.
The colorful bracts surround the small flowers.  They may be purple or pink but can be white, red, yellow or orange.  Two cultivars of this plant have both pink and white flower bracts – look for them by names, Surprise and Vickie.  Foliage may be green or green and white.  Bougainvillea’s pretty arching habit with blooms at the end of the stem can be both traditional looking and architectural.
Many people in my area train it to be tall and to hang over fences and trellises.  You can also easily grow it  in containers.  And luckily, it is drought tolerant and relatively pest free.  I’ve seen really golden and purple varieties and will have to try to capture photos of them.
Spring is a most wonderful season!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day - March 17th

Lucky is the jellyfish that carries his
Own bioluminescent four-leaf clover.

(Not An Old Irish Saying)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Pi Day Rolls Around

So today, 03-14 (March 14th), is the ever-popular Pi Day because those digits are the beginning of that never-ending, irrational number known as pi.  Oh, and it’s also Einstein’s birthday …  Happy Birthday, Albert!

Pi (3.14159…) is the calculation of the area of a circle.  Mathematicians have only been using the Greek letter Π (pi) since the 1700s AD, but ancient Babylonians were attempting the calculation possibly as early as 1900 BC.  They took 3 times the square of the radius of a circle to derive an approximation of pi at about 3.  Also, the ancient Egyptians were using a formula that resulted in 3.1605 in about 1650 BC.  That’s a long time ago and pretty darn close!

Sand Raking created American artist Andres Amador -
learn about this and see more of his work at:
The Prince of Pi (also known as physicist Larry Shaw) founded and has promoted an international celebration, both live and on-line, at the Exploratorium.  Watch their webcast on  Lots of fascinating science stuff there!

Mona Wilkerson made her quilt she called Traditional as Apple Pi for a quilt challenge in 1998.  It is 24” x 24” because as she wrote, ”I just know that pi had to be square”.  Quilters are too funny!
As for me, I’m going to celebrate Pi day in a very predictable fashion … with a piece of pi – oops, I mean Pie.  Larry will be serving pie at his celebration and I’ll join him for a virtual slice.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy 100th Anniversary!

Juliette Gordon Low (nicknamed Daisy) was a visionary.

It all began with the first 18 girls that met with Juliette on March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, and has grown into today’s organization of 2.6 million girl members and over 3.7 total members.  It is the largest educational organization for girls in the world.  Did you know that there was Global Girl Scouting and USA Girl Scouts Overseas? 

The Girl Scout Mission is: “…to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”  And did I mention that Girl Scouting also includes fun and friendship?  Check out these current merit badges – the first photo from a GS stamp issued in 1987 and the other two were published in a recent Parade Magazine:

Computer Expert, Good Credit, Website Designer, Product Designer, and Digital Movie Maker ...  Pretty cool topics, huh?  Sure didn’t exist when I was in Scouting!!

Juliette expected to model her youth movement on the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides groups that were founded by her friend Sir Robert Baden-Powell in  England, but she went so much further.

This incredible woman thought that girls in the USA would benefit from preparation not only in traditional homemaking skills, but also in skills that would result in futures for them as professional women.  Her Scouts included girls with disabilities at a time when there were not many activities that included them.  Juliette herself suffered through deafness, severe back pain and cancer, but kept on ticking.  What a Woman!

Juliette’s childhood home in Savannah, now known as the Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center It is both a program center and historic house museum where visitors can catch glimpses of the life of a Victorian family.
So, Happy 100th Anniversary, Girl Scouts of the USA.   I wish you many more years of success.

And as an aside, these are how the stars are growing on the quilty front:
This won’t be the final layout, but more on that later …

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Semi-Annual Rant on DST

Don’t forget to reset your clocks tonight …
Daylight Savings Time is once again upon us.
  Clocks are to “spring forward” and we lose an hour’s sleep.
The “battle to fight tomorrow” is that lack
of an hour’s sleep.
Did I mention that I hate DST?!!
‘Nuff said.

If I can stay awake, I’ll be working on more of these:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Walking on Wednesdays

I enjoy walking in and around my neighborhood.  The weather has been pleasant recently (although a little windy at times), but it seems like we might just get an early summer.  That is not good news since our summers tend to be very hot and humid.  These are some of the things I see on my walks:
Water feature at a housing development entrance
Bridge across another housing development's pond
What's blooming?  Don't know, but I'd name them Cat's Paws!
"Cat's Paws" Closeup
And I have done a little sewing.  I made my first ever string block following along with the free Craftsy BOM.  I don’t think I’m cut out for string blocks (pun intended).  I’m too much of a matchy-matchy person and I think (1) I made too many of the strings at exactly the same width even though I was making an effort not to and (2) I had first sorted the strings into more closely matching colors.  What I mean is that although these were meant to be made from green strings, I first put them into brighter, clearer colors vs olives and more subdued colors.  This block was the result of the olives:
Brights in the back, olives in the front

Blocks in Process
Finished Block
So then I went on to make a pair of matching blocks called “Rolling Along” just for fun and that felt better!
Nicely matchy-matchy!
I never got back to making that second Craftsy string block (although it did have an interesting star design).  But I’m glad I tried the string technique, so now I know I can donate those strings I’ve been saving to someone with a clear conscience knowing I’ll never use them!!