Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's a Mystery to me!

These are some of the blocks that are completed for the MQX Mystery Quilt. The goal for tonight is to finish assembling the pinwheel blocks. The individual blocks are 5 inches each, and 4 together form a pinwheel. The fabric selection called for a light, a medium and a dark. When I went to Quilted Treasures, Lynn and Janet helped me pick out the fabric. Originally I was thinking of blue and yellow, but that changed when we started stacking up the bolts.

We had an interesting morning. Ralph went out to go to work, and had no brakes. The brake fluid is all under the truck. So he woke me up at 0545 to drive him to work. So I arrived at my work at 0655- I don't have to be there til 0820! I had my breakfast, my newspaper, a couple of magazines and a book. It made for a long day! Luckily one of his friends is driving him home. And of course he's working tomorrow, and Monday. He only works 2 shifts a week, and they're always inconvenient.

Steph has a final tonight, so Toast is staying here, and Steph will be here tomorrow. Toast likes us, but adores Steph.

And now to go work on the quilt! I still haven't figured out how the Aussie lady in the class managed to finish making all her blocks so fast- she had them done within the class time.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The weather is nuts- we went from in the 90's Sunday thru Tuesday, to 60 today! Open the windows, close the windows. Take the electric blanket off, put it on. Long pants to shorts to long pants- enough to make you crazy!

Good news from Amanda- cruise tickets are going down in price! We may be able to get a room with a balcony for what we thought was the price of an interior room! I read an article in the Sunday paper that said you should never buy cruise tickets early, because the prices go down. And it looks like plane tickets will be reasonable also.

We got a surprise midweek visit from Steph and Toast! They're having noise issues at the apartment, so they came home and will stay over. Toast will most likely stay til the weekend. It's always nice to see them.

I've been working on the MQX Mystery Quilt a little every night. Tonight I worked for over 3 hours, and the individual blocks are all finished! I put together the first pinwheel block, and it looks pretty cool. I'll have to take pix and get them up.

Julianna had another allergic reaction requiring benadryl. The doc is ordering allergy testing for her, poor baby. Allergic reactions can be so scary, especially in little kids.

Tomorrow starts the book sale at the library. I donated 10 or so paperbacks to it, and will probably buy as many.

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

All of a sudden, summer is here. Too hot, too fast- typical south jersey weather. But the sky is blue, and Steph and Toast are out sunning themselves.

I've been working on the MQX Mystery Quilt a little every night. (I'd get things done a lot faster if I didn't have to go to work every day, but then again I wouldn't have the funny money to play with.) I was having trouble with the one block, and emailed Mark Lipinski. He emailed me back the same night! In the meantime, I looked at the pix I'd taken at the class, and figured out the problem.

Yesterday I went to Joann's Fabrics and got some of a fabric line called Tutti Fruiti to make Julianna some shorts and tops. I didn't count that in my weekly numbers, because it's not quilting fabric. It was a great sale- usually $6.99 a yard, on sale for $1.99! Can't beat that!

I did some damage at MQX's vendors. Lots of thread for the HQ16 at the Superior booth. It was $10 cheaper per spool than I can get it locally, so I got enough to last all year. I also got some glow in the dark thread- Eddie will love that. And a bunch of stabilizer, some patterns, and a bunch of novelty FQ's. And I discovered Fairy Frost- how gorgeous- so I bought some FQ's and some half yard cuts of that. And 3 pantos to try, and a template for the HQ16.

I found a new to me author- Mariah Stewart. Steph and I went thru her "Dead" series, and I'll drop them off to Mom today. The main characters are all either related or friends, and are FBI or local law enforcement. Really good, and highly recommended.

In two weeks Manda and Steph meet in NC to visit Heather, Ed and the kiddies for a long weekend. Heather's got all kinds of trips planned for them. I can't believe Eddie is almost done school for the year!

Two weeks after they get back, Steph and Toast move to their new apartment in Mt. Laurel- I'll be glad to have her back in Jersey. And she'll be 12 miles from us instead of 29. And, best of all, she'll have a dishwasher, washer and dryer!

I got the nicest Thank You card from Mike and Donna for the quilt. I'm so glad they like it- I knew Donna would love it, but was afraid Mike would think it was a little girly. But Mike likes anything that makes Donna happy, so we're all good. Now almost all the adult members of the family have gotten quilts- just two couples left to make for. (You know who you are, LOL)

Sunday things that make me happy:
McD's sweet iced tea with extra lemon!
Two months left of the school year!
Our yard is coming along.


Week 17 numbers

Yes, I skipped week 16- I had just gotten back from NH and hadn't counted up the yards bought.

Fabric bought this week and last week- 12.5 yards
(mostly in FQ's)
Fabric bought this year- 45.5 yards

Fabric used this week- 0 yards
(I'm working on the mystery quilt, but won't count the fabric til it's done)
Fabric used this year- 37 yards

Books bought these 2 weeks- 4
Books bought this year- 21

My books read these 2 weeks- 1
My books read this year- 15

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

I'm really behind in putting pictures on the blog! Above is Ben, Manda, me and Polly when we went to brunch in Houston. Below is "Hearts Afire" which I gave to Mike and Donna for their 25th anniversary. It's shown on their bed.

Here's a closer view- the quilting doesn't show well. I did a lot of loops, and quilted their names, the names of the kids, and even the dogs, right into the quilt. The picture below is at the Mystery Quilt class at MQX, and that's me with Mark Lipinski. Everyone in the class who had a camera had their pic taken with him.

This is Mark on the floor with the blocks of the only person who finished all her blocks in class.
Below is the picture I made in the fusibles class.
I did the wallhanging below in the "Circles and Dots" class with Nancy, the Janome educator. It uses the circle foot, and was just so much fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Live from NJ- It's Saturday Night!

We're home! We left NH at 8 a.m. and got home at 3.30- 342 miles. We were doing fine til we hit New Haven, then it was slow til past NYC. We probably lost an hour total, sitting.

Friday I had my final class, called Bodacious Borders. It got out a little early, so I went thru part of the vendors again. Then the banquet was Friday night. The food was so-so, as most big banquets are. But the speaker more than made up for it. It was Mark Lipinski, and he was the funniest person I've ever heard. He went from one thing to the other- how he got into quilting, how he started his magazine, how an issue got banned by Joann's Fabrics and made national news, stories about his days as a producer-and all the stories were so funny! He also had a lot of his quilts with him, and they are absolutely gorgeous. And Superior Threads had a big cone of thread on the table for each person!

We packed last night, got up early this morning, had breakfast and left for home. It's so good to be home! Steph and Sharon took good care of the cats, and Steph and Toast were here when we got home.


Friday, April 17, 2009


I'm having such a wonderful time! And staying in the host hotel is so great! Ralph is enjoying himself- it's an enforced rest for him. He's taking a couple of naps a day, using the exercise room, and working on the laptop.

I've had fantastic classes. Tuesday night was the ice cream social, and fabric craps. I took enough fabric strips for us both to play, and Ralph won the first round at our table- everyone's strips!

Wednesday morning I had a Circles class with the Janome educator. We learned how to use the circle attachment, which was so much fun that I bought one when the vendors opened. We made a little wallhanging, which I finished except for the binding. We were working on $7000 machines!

Wednesday afternoon I went from "ABC's of Perfect Pantos" to "Taming Your Templates", both of which were very informative.

Thursday from 9-4 was the Mystery Quilt class with Mark Lipinski. It was a blast! He is so nice, and so funny- he teases and hugs everyone. We learned to make Drunkard's Path blocks without pinning- it was very traumatic at first, but everyone quickly got the hang of it. Then we worked on 3D pinwheel blocks, which are different and cool. One lady actually got all her blocks completed, and Mark helped her lay out the quilt in the mezzazine. I'm nowhere near done, but that's OK. And we got to preview and critique his new fabric lines! All of us with cameras got our pix taken with Mark. I'll download all my pix when I get home. Mark is the speaker at the banquet tonight.

I had another class from 6-10 pm, on fusing. I was tired going in, from all the sewing at the mystery class. It was another fun class, and we each did a little picture and got some goodies from the teachers. I knew very little about fusing, and Barbara and Yolanda (more Jersey girls) were very knowledgeable and good teachers. I'm so glad I took the class.

Today we had a class on thread given by Bob of Superior Threads. Ralph took this one with me, and he and I both found it interesting, informative, and helpful. It was from 8-10 a.m., so we went to breakfast afterwards, then I went and drooled over quilts and shopped the vendors in the Expo Center, and Ralph took his morning nap.

I have one more class this afternoon, on designing borders, then the banquet tonight. Tomorrow morning we head for home. I'm so glad we came!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Machine Quilter's Exposition

Ralph and I are here in Manchester, NH. We drove up yesterday- it was 6 hours. The GPS had us come up Rt 95, over the George Washington Bridge ($8 toll!) and thru NYC. We did fine, the traffic wasn't bad. We got here a little after 4 p.m.

We're staying at the Radisson, the host hotel. Our room is on the 12th floor, and the bed is one of those that you adjust the numbers!

This morning we slept til 9, then had a nice breakfast. At noon registration opened, so we were able to get our tote bags. I had a class in embellishments from 1-5, and as part of it, pizza was ordered. There was so much pizza left that I came and got Ralph.

Tonight is an ice cream social, and tomorrow more classes.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

It looks like a nice day out- the sky is blue. We're going to Mike and Donna's for Easter dinner. I'm taking a cranberry apple ring, roasted potatoes, and strawberry jello/cool whip thing. I'm also taking them a special 25th anniversary gift, which I'll put pix up later of.

I've got all the fabric cut for the mystery quilt class with Mark Lipinski at MQX. Ralph and I leave tomorrow for Manchester, NH. I'm taking several classes, and we have an ice cream social and a banquet. I even signed Ralph up for a lecture class with me, about different types of threads.

Little Mike was up briefly from Florida to pick up a truck, and he's taking the big roll top desk to John. Ralph and Big Mike had to take the bottom half of the desk apart to get it into the truck, but it's on the way!

Sunday things to be happy about:
Ralph, who is amiable enough to go to MQX with me
My Janome is all cleaned and purring like a kitten
Easter dinner with some of the family
A whole week off from work!


Week 15 numbers

Fabric bought this week- 1 yard
Fabric bought this year- 33 yards

Fabric used this week- 1 yard
Fabric used this year- 37 yards

Books bought this week- 0
Books bought this year- 17

My books read this week-0
My books read this year-14

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday

It's the beginning of spring break! I'm off work now until April 20- Yay!

Tomorrow I get to go pick up my Janome from her spa treatment at Quilting Possibilities. I've had her for 5 years now, and this is the first time I've had her professionally cleaned. Sunday we're having our family Easter dinner at Mike and Donna's house.

Monday morning Ralph and I leave for Manchester, NH for Machine Quilter's Exposition! We're driving, and it'll take 6-7 hours. We staying in the Radisson, where the Expo is being held. I have several classes scheduled, and we're going to the Ice Cream Social and the Banquet. The whole hotel has wireless internet, and there's an exercise room. There's an indoor pool, which he won't use. It should be a nice break for us.

And I'm taking a Mystery Quilt class. I have the fabric, but haven't started cutting yet. That's tonight and tomorrow's task.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 7

Today would have been my Dad's 85th birthday. Julianna was born 3 weeks early, and Dad got to see and hold her several times. If she'd have gone til her due date, he might have only seen her once.

Dad did it right when he died. In the afternoon he was chasing squirrels around the yard, and that evening he died, shockingly fast. It's the death we all want for ourselves- we're fine, and then we're dead- no lingering, no pain, no loss of function or faculties, just dead.

It's so hard to believe he's really gone, that he won't show up to see what we're doing with the yard, or to see what the babies are up to, or to ask if that dog can walk, since I'm always carrying her.

I'm happy that he got to dance at Heather's wedding, and sad that he won't see the other grandchildren married. I'm happy that he got to meet Julianna, and sad that he won't see her walk and talk. I'm happy that he got to spend time with Eddie and Jacob, and sad that Eddie won't remember him.

I'm happy that Mike, John and I had him as long as we did.

Rest in Peace, Joe! We love you and miss you so much it hurts.

Week 14 Stats

Fabric bought this week- 4 yards
Fabric bought this year- 32 yards

Fabric used this week 2.5 yards
Fabric used this year 36 yards

Books bought this week- 5
Books bought this year 17

My books read this week- 1
My books read/discarded- 14

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday in Houston

Today is my last day in Houston! It's been a lot of fun visiting with Manda and Ben and meeting Polly (Ben's mom) and Judy (his aunt). Today we're going to brunch, and then it'll be time to go to the airport and go home.

The weather has been gorgeous- low 70's, low humidity- the perfect time to visit Texas.

The flight out from Philly was delayed, and didn't leave til 7 p.m. We must not have had good winds, because it was a full 3.5 hour flight and seemed to go on forever. It was nice and smooth, which was good. Manda picked me up at the airport, and we came back to her apartment and visited.

Friday morning we went to Quakertown Quilts, then to a cute teashop for lunch, then to another fabric/quilt shop called Sew Contempo, which is really close to Manda's. Then back to her apartment for a nap. Polly and Judy got in about 4.30. They were having a barbecue at NASA to celebrate a sucessful mission, and Ben had permission from his team leader to bring us. Afterward, we came back here for dessert and to get acquainted- we talked til midnight.

Saturday we went to a little farmer's market, and we all bought homemade soap. Then off to lunch at La Madeline's, which is Steph's favorite place. Then we split up- Polly wanted to sit by the pool, and the rest of us wanted to relax for a while. We got together again for dinner, then back to Manda's so she could show the pix of her trips. More chatting til midnight.

It's been a fun trip, and a good distraction. Today is two years since Dad died, and I don't want to dwell on it, so keeping busy is good.

And so it goes!

Holly, in Houston

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Naureen!

Naureen's birthday is Friday, April 3. Since I'll be away in Houston, and I hear she's traveling, I decided to post it early. Naureen became my niece when she married my nephew Kevin, and she's a wonderful addition to the family.

I leave tomorrow right after work for Houston. Ralph is driving me to work, and Rapid Rover is taking me from work to the airport. I'll be back late Sunday night. I'm looking forward to spending time with Manda, and Ben, and meeting Ben's Mom and Aunt.

In addition to packing I had to empty out my big old oak rolltop desk, because some fool ran a stop sign and hit Mikey, totalling his car. He's flying up either this weekend or next, to drive a pickup back to Florida, and he's going to take the desk to John and Morgan. Oh, the junk we collect in desk drawers!

And so it goes.