PUBLISHED and a Give Away

15 08 2010

I was honored to have one of my quilts published in Renae Haddadin’s book Amazing Ways to use Circles and Rays this spring.  I greatly admire her work, so was thrilled when she asked if she could use my quilt.  I ordered copies of the book as soon as they showed  as “coming soon” from my supplier.  Unfortunately, they put the book on backorder and didn’t get around to shipping it to me until late in July.  (Renae did send me an autographed copy when they came out, but I’m not parting with that one!)  I had ordered one to give away here.  So now that I have the book in hand, I am finally posting about it.

The quilt she included in the gallery of the book is actually one I talked about in my very first post on this blog.  It was completed in under a month for a color class I was taking from Heather Thomas in 2007.  My quilt is the one at the top of this page.

So now to the fun stuff.  I am giving away a copy of this book.  To have a chance at winning, all you need to do is add a comment to this post.  For those of you that read this on Facebook, you will need to come to the blog to enter.  Also those of you that like to send emails rather than commenting here, you must comment, not email to enter.  I will hold a random drawing next Sunday, August 22 to select the winner.  So to be safe you should enter by midnight on Saturday.


Looong Week-end of Imperfections

4 12 2008

Guy and I had agreed we would tile the upstairs bathroom over Thanksgiving Vacation.  We had “all” the supplies purchased and I wasn’t planning on cooking much of anything for Thanksgiving. 

On Tuesday last week we had a Thanksgiving potluck at school.  While I am sitting there eating with Jesse, he informed me he didn’t really want me to cook much for Thanksgiving — just Special K Loaf (we are vegetarians and this is a favorite with Jesse) and I didn’t have to do both mashed potatoes and potato boats.  I could do just potato boats (aka twice baked potatoes).  OK, well I needed some food on hand anyway for vacation so we stopped at the grocery store.  While we are collecting ingredients, Nolan informed me he really likes stuffing as well.  Add that to the list.  Meanwhile, I’m miserably sick.  I slept all of three hours Tuesday night because I couldn’t stop coughing my lungs out.

Wednesday we had a half day of school and I had planned to rip the carpet out before Guy came home from work.  The best laid plans…  Due to lack of sleep Tuesday night, I collapsed into bed as soon as we walked in the door Wednesday afternoon.  By the time I woke up Guy was home and had removed the carpet.  I had intended to have a before picture, however I was a little late.  Guy had already painted the walls a couple weeks earlier.  While this picture is not the bathroom, it is what was on the floor and walls before we started.


White carpet is not my idea of the ideal floor covering for a bathroom.  (It is impossible to get Sonic Blue Coconut Slush stains out of the carpet when it has been vomited up there.) The whole house (excluding the kitchen) was carpeted with this when we bought it.  It was nice carpet, but not meant for children and animals.  My brother-in-law helped us redo the floor in the downstairs bathroom two Thanksgivings ago and that was my first experience with tiling.  Guy was convinced I was now an expert.

I was not quite as convinced, I had the basic idea, but wasn’t overly confident.    When we purchased the supplies, I found a book called Tiling Complete  published by The Taunton Press.  It was an extremely helpful book and I highly recommend it.

Also on Wednesday night Guy cut all the backer board to fit the floor.  If you choose to tile do not skip this step.  The people that built our house did skip the step in our kitchen.  The grout cracks out and the tiles break easily because there is too much flex in the plywood.  (The kitchen will be a job for another vacation.)  So part way through Wednesday night the bathroom looked like this.


That was enough for the evening and we had grandiose plans for Thanksgiving Day.  Bright and early I mixed the Thinset to adhere the backer board to the plywood.  That was pretty straight forward.  Unfortunately, while buying supplies I hadn’t noticed we used most of a 50 pound bag of Thinset on the last bathroom which was much smaller.  We only bought a 25 pound bag this time.  That was enough to get the backer board down, but not enough to start laying tile.  Which meant we got a half day off in the middle of the job.

This meant I had plenty of time to cook for Nolan and Jesse and I managed to mark a small whole cloth quilt.

Friday morning Guy went and bought 50 more pounds of Thinset and the tiling commenced.  It was a full day job.  Talk about sore knees and shoulders.  I laid all the tile, but Guy did all the cutting.  We managed to use the boys as runners part of the time.  I’d mark what I needed cut and the boys would run down to the garage with the tile and come back with a cut piece.  I did manage to get all 198 tiles down on Friday.  The Thinset now needed to sit for at least 24 hours.  This is a shot of the tile at that point.


At this point Guy was definitely seeing the imperfections.  Hard as I tried, the rows of tile did not stay perfectly straight.  I also ended up with the decorative tiles one row closer together than I had planned.  You need to understand Guy is a perfectionist when it comes to jobs around the house.  It really bugs him when things aren’t  just right.  It is a good thing he wants to continue to live with me, because I didn’t hear as much about it as I would have if someone else had done the job.

What a relief Sabbath was, I didn’t need to worry about the tile again until after sundown.  About 5:50 I went to mix the grout and decided the buckets we owned were to grungy.  I raced over to Ace and grabbed a new bucket with 3 minutes to spare until closing time.  Grouting goes much faster.  Here is a picture of a portion of that process.


Yes, that is me in the corner with my really grungy clothes, blistered dried out hands.  I was working as fast as I could because you have to go back and wipe off the excess before the grout gets too dry.  I think I waited a little longer than I should have so it was harder than it needed to be.  Once a fair amount of the excess was cleaned up, I gave up for the night.  By now, I was pretty stiff.

Guy finished the clean up on Sunday.  He did an outstanding job.  There are dips in the tiles and he worked at cleaning any grout out of all those plus the excess on the grout lines.  That grout hid a multitude of imperfections.  The tile job looked much better once it was in place


While he was cleaning the tile, I disappeared to the basement and the longarm to quilt my whole cloth.  It is a gift for Lynn in my Quilter’s Annonymous group.  Lynn is in Arizona so I could have taken a little extra time, but I wanted it done.  Our group met this Wednesday to exchange gifts and I put the last stitch in that morning.  I still need to block the quilt.  Merry Christmas Lynn.  To go along with the title of this post, I admit this quilt is also imperfect, however when looked at as a whole it isn’t too bad.


Once Guy had cleaned the grout, the tile job for all intents and purposes was finished.  However there was still some finish work.  The trim needed to go on the back wall before the toilet could go in.  (This is also a replacement toilet.  The original was 3/4 size and my children aren’t that small anymore.  Guy had already put the new toilet in when he got tired of waiting for me to get around to the tiling.  This meant he had to pull it for this job.)  By Tuesday night that part of the trim was finished and the toilet was back in place.  Guy finished putting the trim in last night on his birthday.  There are still some nail holes to fill, but most of the work is finished and here are a couple shots.



I need to figure out what I want for a shower curtain and pick up a few accessories.  The hard part is done.  Guy says it was more work than he expected, that maybe because he didn’t hang around the whole time we worked on the other bathroom.  It was a lot of work (no more than I expected), but I think it was worth it!  Is it perfect?  No, but Guy and I need to remember nothing is perfect, but God.  We just need to do the best we can with what we have here on earth.

Another UFO (Unfinished Object)

27 06 2008

I managed to work several hours this week on a customer quilt and finished it at midnight on Wednesday.  I expected to still have a lump in my leg, but to be able to do pretty much what I wanted.  Not so, those hours at the quilting machine resulted in swelling from my knee down to my ankle.  So I’ve tried to be a little better about staying off the leg more for the last two days. 

Which means I had time to read a book.  I had placed a hold at the library on “Stolen Innocence” and read it almost straight through.  I put it aside at around midnight last night and finished it this morning.  It was a very informative book and well written.  It made me stop and think about how much influence one’s upbringing has upon how they are able to react in various situations.  I applaud the author and many of her brothers and sisters for having the courage to walk away from everything they had ever known.

On the sewing front, I finished another UFO top.  I mentioned my play date with friends a few weeks ago.  I had pulled out all my Stack N’ Whack blocks to take along for show and tell.  I haven’t put them away yet and one of the projects was calling to me.  So rather than putting it away I finished the top this week.

I started this project in May 2001 when Bethany Reynolds was in town teaching at one of the local guilds.  I had already worked on several Stack ‘n’ Whack projects prior to that date, but took the class anyway.  This quilt is from her “Stack ‘n’ Whackier” book.  When I pulled the project this week I already had most of the small hexagons pieced and two of the large hexagon units and well as almost all the cutting.  I pieced the remaining seven hexagon units and put it all together.

My only regret on this project is the quality of the fabric.  When I took the class I wanted to do a blue and yellow quilt.  Unfortunately, none of the quilt shops had appropriate fabric at the time.  I found this print at JoAnn Fabrics.  I guess I have become a fabric snob.  There is a dramatic quality difference between JoAnn’s fabrics and quilt shop fabrics.  I’ve seen how poorly some of the cheaper fabric wears.  Oh well, the top is done and added to the “to be quilted” pile.

Now We’re Rockin’ with Photoshop Day 1

16 06 2008

My leg is still giving me fits.  I managed to quilt for about 2 hours yesterday and probably an hour today and then it was back to having it propped.  There is still a knot in there about the size of a baseball and now the whole top of my leg down to knee level is black.  Since I spent the majority of the day sitting, I made it through the first assignment of “Now We’re Rockin’ with Photoshop” taught by Jessica Sprague.   The class is a continuation of the one I took with her last month.

Here’s this times layout —

The paper and elements were all class materials and the designers for those materials were Trish Jone, K Pertiet and Jessica Sprague.  The only exception was the brushes which were a free download from

While I am definitely enjoying the scrapbooking, but one of the reasons I’m taking the classes is to become more comfortable with Photoshop.  I’ve been getting books from the library to help me with that goal as well.  The one I’m working through right now is very good.  I may just have to buy it.  It is “Layers:  The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature.”  It is written by Matt Kloskowski.  It is a step by step, here’s how to do this … with layers written in a conversational type format.  It is easy to understand. 

While I was working through the book, I found the author is one of the hosts of Photoshop User TV.  The weekly programs are free for about a month after they are put up on  Another resource if you are trying to familiarize yourself with this software.  Some of it is over my head, but sometimes a tip sinks in.

“Hello, Cupcake”

25 05 2008

We were out for lunch and then making various stops this afternoon.  As we left Best Buy, Nolan spotted Barnes and Noble and requested another stop.  Guy and Jesse waited in the car while Nolan and I browsed.  I was wandering back to Nolan and spotted this book by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson:

I picked it up to leaf through it and I ended up bringing it home.  There are some really creative ideas in the book.  When I brought it to the car, Guy told me I shouldn’t be allowed in a book store without adult supervision.  (I admit I like books and have a lot of them.)  However, the boys each found favorites.  This is Jesse’s:

This is Nolan’s:

I’m having a hard time deciding which I like best.  It is probably a toss up between these two


The book has complete directions for each of the cupcakes and none of them is horribly difficult.   This is a list of the cupcakes in the book:

  • Corn on the Cob
  • Bagels and Lox
  • Buttered Popcorn
  • TV Dinner
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Box of Chocolates
  • Starry Night (Van Gogh painting)
  • March of the Penguins
  • Fat Cats
  • Fishbowl
  • Pandamonium (Pandas)
  • Westies
  • Crazy Horses
  • Pup Cakes
  • Monarchs
  • Shark Attack!
  • Old Swampy (a gator)
  • When I grow up (occupation cupcakes)
  • Party Princess
  • Slumber Party
  • Big Birthday Cake
  • Bowl Me Over (Bowling ball and pins)
  • The Big Top (circus animals and clowns)
  • Sunflowers
  • Black and White Party
  • Play Pool (Billard Balls)
  • Baby Shower
  • Petits Fours
  • Garden Party
  • Easter Eggs
  • Rabbit Holes
  • Candy Stars and Stripes Forever
  • Family Tree
  • Wedding Cake and Monograms
  • Alien Invasion
  • Creepy Crawlers
  • What a Hoot (owls)
  • Pumpkin Patch
  • Howling Werewolves
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Larry the Turkey
  • Edible Ornaments
  • String of D’Lights
  • Snow Globes
  • Gingerbread Boys
  • Partridge in a Pear Tree
  • Nutcrackers Sweet
  • Frosting the Snowmen
  • White Wreath

There are 230 pages total.  All that for just $15.95.

I thought I would use some of the ideas for future birthdays.  Jesse has other ideas, he thinks I should make some immediately.

Road Trip

13 05 2008

I spent today on the road between home and Overland Park, KS.  We listened to a couple of books on CD on the way here.  The one we finished was “Cheaper by the Dozen” which has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  The other that we have made it part way through was “Identical Strangers.”  It is about identical twin girls who were separated at birth and found each other in their 30s.  So far it is pretty interesting.

  My mom and I arrived at the Convention Center at about 5pm, plenty early enough to get our registration packets for MQS.  There are coupons this year for the shopping frenzy and I’ve already made my list.  The only problem the flyer is printed on two sides and some of the ads say they are coupons.  I want things from both sides!  I have a class at 8am tomorrow and since I was up at 5am this morning and we lost an hour driving here, I need to think about heading to bed.

I didn’t have time at home to do my next layout for the “Up and Running with Photoshop” class before I left , so I did it tonight.  I used pictures that I had loaded on PhotoPoint before they went bankrupt.  I hadn’t saved copies — stupid I know, but I’ve learned.  They aren’t as high a resolution as I would have liked, but the boys were cute!  I also had to just guess on the date.  I think I’m accurate on the year, close on the month and have no idea on the day!



 Don’t they look like trouble?

New Fun Stuff

22 02 2008

My in-laws gave me money for my birthday (Thanks again Sandra & Glen).  For me that is usually the best type of gift.  I have pretty much used up their gift.  There were a couple of things I ordered through the mail.

blog-001.jpgI got a 20-1/2″ Omnigrid square.  It is going to be perfect for squaring up my Prairie Flower applique blocks.  I also ordered the Omnigrid Fold Away.  This one is the largest size.  It is both an ironing surface and a cutting mat as shown in the picture below.

blog-002.jpg Next I took advantage of my birthday discount at Ruth’s Stitchery.  If you have made purchases there throughout the year, you receive 1/2 your age as a discount the week of your birthday.  I really didn’t have a long list, but picked up a few things.

I purchased these blue and white batiks thinking I would use them for the pieced blocks in my Walking in A Winter Wonderland quilt.  I’m not sure they will actually work, but I’m happy to have them anyway.  Blue is my favorite color.  I also picked up both sizes of Circleeze templates.  I’ve cut my own circle templates for applique from heat resistant template plastic in the past, but decided it would be nice to have perfect circles ready to go.  I read a great tutorial on these at Blue Moon River.  This is the same way I’ve prepared circles for applique in the past, just no making templates — as long as the correct sized circle is in one of these sets.


This is another batch of batiks I bought.  These are going to be used as the background for a Chicken Buffet quilt.


This picture shows the fabric I picked up for the chicken bodies and for the wings.  I included a picture of the book.  I am a vegetarian (the book includes recipes), but this book tickled my fancy.  I am going to use it for a digitized block of the month in Software club.  For those of you worried about copyright, yes, each student has to buy their own copy of the book.


I originally started digitizing snowmen from Possibilities Snow Buddies Thoughout the Year.  I began that effort just for myself, but my students really liked the blocks.  Unfortunately, the book is out of print.  I contacted Possibilities to see if we could pay them some sort of fee for each student to use the images.  It took forever for them to answer, and when they did it didn’t really address my question.  They said something like you may digitize the images for your personal use, but you may not give them to the students.  That wasn’t what I asked.  They did say they were looking at a way to republish the book that didn’t require storing them.  I’m thinking that might mean CDs, but I haven’t seen anything since I sent my request more than a year ago.  Just for fun here are the three snowmen I have stitched out.  I have three more digitized and just need to find the time to stitch them.  Click on the picture to see all the way to the edge.


The book calls for every little detail , right down to the buttons and shoe laces, to be appliqued.  That is why I decided to digitize them.  I could get the detail without having to deal with all those itty bitty pieces of fabric.  I’m really happy with how these have come out.  All of these are my first stitchout.  I’m hoping we can have as much fun with the chickens.