Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is It Time To Quilt Yet?

Typical Saturday:
Many loads of laundry. Washed. Dried. Folded. (done)
Ironing (done)
Meals prepared. Dishes washed. Kitchen cleaned. (done)
Ran errands. (done)
Hosted teenage son's band practice at our house for last 6 hours (still going).
Fixed snacks. Cleaned up kitchen. Fixed more food. Cleaned up kitchen again. (done)

My son Paul loves to play the drums. He's mainly self taught, but with 5 years of piano background he has natural rhythm. Paul's dream is to be part of a band and since the drum set resides in his bedroom, practice ends up at our house. I don't mind too much. As loud as it is, at least I know where he is. (just follow the noise...ooops... music).
Paul is a good kid. With teenagers you never know what tomorrow may bring, but for now he's respectful, works a part time job, and is an honor student at school.
Besides that he will clean his room before band practice starts. "Have band practice every day!" I say!

Paul's friend Harrison plays the electric guitar. Another really nice boy. Mercy does vocals, but she had to work today.

They are writing their own music and lyrics, and actually sound pretty good!
Yes, that's an amplifier on the floor. I have them close the door. I'm just grateful we have empty lots to the side of our house next to Paul's bedroom. Most of our neighbors no longer have children at home and yet they are so kind to our family. They share with us their memories of when their kids had garage bands.
It's 6:00 pm, and I'm sitting down for the first time today.
Is it time to quilt yet?
My goal is to get the binding on the Bridget Millar quilt I got back yesterday.

Friday, January 30, 2009

2 More Quilts

A few months ago I finished the quilt below. It's called "4th of July In St. George". I've been trying to make some quilts for my home that match Southern Utah and our desert style house.
I like this quilt so much I use it in my header. After completion I realized I still had a lot of left over batiks colored in earth tones. What should I do with all the remaining pieces?

I decided to use my scraps to make the quilt below. Today I got my quilt back from the long arm quilter, and I'm so happy with the way it turned out! Don't you love it when you get a quilt back and see how much the stitching contributes to the overall effect?

My quilter's name is Linda Brown and she really went the extra mile in her work on this quilt. She said she needed to program the design three different ways on her computer to get everything to match up from block to block. I am so impressed!
These pictures just don't do it justice. It's like looking at the Grand Canyon in a photograph. The canyon looks deep, but until you see it for yourself you just don't comprehend the entire view.

I selected a variegated King Tut thread called "Sahara Shadows" by Superior Threads. It blends well with the muslin and the batiks.

The 2nd quilt I got back today was one I made last November at the mystery retreat with Daniel's Summit. This quilt makes me think of something a teenage girl would love on her bed.

The theme of the retreat was "X Marks the Spot".

I selected an overall floral design for the machine quilting.

Look how cheerful the fabric is on the back. It makes me feel like spring should be right around the corner.

Now I just need to get busy and get the bindings done for these 2 quilts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Collector Thimbles

Quilters are collectors. We seem to collect fabric most of all. And patterns...and quilt tools.... and thread.....I could go on and on.
I have my own collections of quilty things. I love pincushions. I've previously done a post about some of the pincushions I have either made, purchased or been given as a gift.
I also love thimbles.
In my sewing room I have an antique printing frame that serves as a display for the various thimbles I've gathered over the years. The frame is distressed with ink from days long gone, and was once used to hold pieces of metal type. Now it has just the right size sections to display small objects.

I love to travel. And I love to collect memories from my trips.
These thimbles were purchased when I went on a quilt tour to Sisters Oregon.

The thimbles I collect are purely decorative and not intended for use.
I got these as we toured through the Islands of Alaska while on a cruise one summer.

In 2002 the Winter Olympics came to Salt Lake City. We loved being part of all the festivities. Our city was completely transformed for the events. The news predicted we would have total chaos trying to travel from event to event. Instead we found complete order and efficient traffic control. One day as we were heading to an event up Parley's Canyon we were surprised to see Governor Mitt Romney in the road directing traffic. He had been brought in last minute as Chairman to clean up an internal mess . We were impressed that he was willing to be part of the work to be done, and to mingle with the thousands of volunteers.

The cable cars of San Francisco remind me of my home town, located just south of the City. I spent my childhood years in the Bay Area, and I bought this thimble on a trip home.

Hearst Castle is not very far from the Bay Area. We took the kids on a tour one time when we went home for a vacation.

One summer my father in law treated all his 9 children with spouses to a Baltic Sea cruise. A trip of a life time. I loved every city along the Baltic coast, and collected thimbles in nearly every one. If I were to select the city I was most impressed with on that trip, St.Petersburg Russia would probably be at the top of the list.
Mr. Cactus and I kept looking at each other and saying "Can you believe we are in Russia!"

My family has been very understanding when we travel, waiting for me to hunt down a thimble to keep as a memory of our visit. Sometimes a thimble with a name of a country or city is not easy to locate. With a little perseverance I can usually locate one.

Most of the thimbles I have purchased myself. Sometimes a friend will bring me back a thimble from an exotic location they have traveled.
The ones below are from a girlfriend who spent some time traveling through the areas near Greece. I felt honored she would remember me in such a wonderful way.

Some locations have a deeper meaning than just a vacation. We went to New York not long after 911 when the World Trade Center was attacked. The stores still carried the thimbles of the towers that once stood. I remember seeing the nearby office walls, blackened and draped with the American flag. I actually get quite emotional when I look at this thimble.

Our National sites often carry very decorative thimbles. A quilt trip through Amish country has a horse and carriage. The Statue of Liberty carries her torch.

We love to visit our National Parks like Bryce and Yellowstone.

This one says "Utah Moose on The Loose". Very clever.
I'm not sure if any of these thimbles will be of any worth to future generations, but they decorate my sewing room and remind me continually of happy times.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Draper Temple Open House

A little over two years ago we moved from Draper, Utah (20 miles south of Salt Lake City) to St. George, Utah located at the very bottom of the state.
One of my biggest struggles in the move was leaving behind two of my five children who were living in Salt Lake. Our oldest son recently moved to New York, but daughter #3 is still in Salt Lake attending the University of Utah. Elizabeth is currently in her senior year double majoring in International Studies (with an emphasis in Japanese) and Linguistics.
As a mom I worry about her being alone in "the big city" while we live far away. Elizabeth is very independent and doing great. But I miss her like crazy, so we make the trip to Salt Lake often so I can hug her, kiss her cheek and make sure she has enough food to survive.
We arrived home this evening after spending two days with Elizabeth. We left sunny St.George and drove into a very cold and snowy Salt Lake City.
The meter box on Elizabeth's apartment building was completely frozen over and covered in a layer of ice.

Not only was it freezing, but the area was covered in a temperature inversion. The valley was socked in with gray, yukky air. The sun did not penetrate through the haze the entire day.
Even the trees looked a little sad.

One bright spot was having the opportunity to attend an open house for a new temple that our church has built in Draper Utah. This beautiful building is just a five minute drive from our old house.
The picture below is what the temple looks like on a sunny day. It's built on South Mountain with a spectacular view of the Salt Lake valley. The Draper temple will be the 129th operating temple we have in the world.

The open house will run for several weeks and they expect over a million people to participate on the tours. In order to accommodate the large crowds, we were asked to meet first at one of 11 local church buildings. After watching a short video on temples, we boarded a bus that drove us up the mountain to the temple site.

The volunteer staff was very helpful and informative, guiding us through every step of the way.

Mr. Cactus and Elizabeth

Once we got off the bus we walked through long covered tunnels that led to the inside of the temple. I appreciated the covered corridors that were heated and free of ice and snow.
We weren't allowed to take pictures on the inside of the temple. I can only tell you that it is one of the most beautifully decorated buildings I have ever seen. Words cannot describe the intricate detail work in construction and furnishings. I didn't want to leave.
Temples for us represent a place where we can worship the Savior and communicate with our Heavenly Father. The feeling and spirit inside calms my soul as no other place can.
At the end of the tour we went into a building where there were refreshments and beautiful artwork depicting the life of Jesus Christ.
Me with my daughter Elizabeth.
I was able to snap a few pictures of the outside of the temple before we were ushered quickly back on the bus for our trip down the mountain.
The angel Moroni is placed at the top of many of our temples.
Here are some great photos including pictures of the interior of the temple:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quilt Signs

Aren't computers the most interesting things? You inadvertently press one little itty bitty button, and days later you find out that your posts have stopped feeding to the blogging world.
I was wondering why I didn't have any responses in the comment box. At first I justified the lack of response thinking everyone must be going through the January dull drums. Then I wondered if I had done something to make everyone lose interest. Lo and behold it was just a technical difficulty. I am so relieved!
I have been honored today to receive many kind words through e-mail and the comment box. You have missed me as much as I have missed you!
I have only been doing posts since June, but I've become quite attached to my blogging friends. I love to view the things you are working on, and I love receiving your comments.
It's so good to be back.
I've been thinking about quilt signs. My sewing room has a few signs that represent my (addiction? passion?) interest in the quilting world. They say "This is me. This is what I love".
This sign hangs over my collection of thimbles.

Friends have given me a few quilt signs as gifts. This one really represents how I feel.
(Duh! Very silly!)

I found this metal sign at a quilt store. It's so heavy that it could double as a bacon press.

Bev, who is in my friendship group gave me this sign for Christmas. We share a lot of personal things while we are sewing in our group, and it's true that we try and keep that information just among ourselves.

I've seen a lot of other signs around quilter's houses. What signs represent you? I'd love to see them on your blogs.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kim's Give Away

Kim of Bitty Bits & Pieces is having a Give Away! In honor of her 100th post she has put together 2 wonderful Valentine themed gifts. Not only are they handmade, but they are filled with lots of "bitty bits and pieces" of lovely quilt stuff. You can find her at

I love the mini Valentine bag Kim has made. She even sends you to a post on how to make the bag. Congratulations Kim on 100 posts! I love reading your blog and seeing all the fun things you are making. You are an inspiration!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Zion Retreat Day 3

We've had another very fun day here at the Zion Retreat. The weather has been rainy, but we don't mind because we have stayed indoors all day sewing furiously away. We've also enjoyed the majestic views of Zion National Park out the conference room windows.

Our retreat has been held at Zion Park Inn, Springdale Utah.

Today is our last day and it's been wonderful to visit with the other women in our guild. I didn't take classes, opting instead to stay in the "Sit and Sew" room to work on my own quilts.
Pat Peters is our Guild President. She and her staff of volunteers did a great job taking care of us. Thanks Pat!

My roomie was Bev. It was fun just to sit together and visit with the other ladies near our table.

Patty, Annie and Heather came together and brought a lot of laughter into the room.
Annie was sewing away and said "My goal this year is to finish a UFO each month".
To which Heather replied: "My goal this year is to start a UFO each month" !!
I'm with Heather. No problem, I think I can do that!
These three ladies came with the coolest little tables. They just purchased them at Road To California. They are made by a company called "Sew Ezi". Because they are so small I wondered if they bounced as you sewed, but Heather said she was pleasantly surprised at how sturdy they feel. The table comes with a very nifty little case to transport them in, and they even roll on wheels.
There have been some fabulous classes offered.
Annie Unrien taught a free demo class on fusible applique, using specialty threads from Superior.
They made a small sewing kit.
Annie is a well known teacher and pattern designer in our area. She always shows great techniques that make our projects easier to do. You can find her at

On yesterday's post I shared with you the Celtic Quilt classes.
Our 2nd teacher that was brought in was Amy McClellan of "Under the Garden Moon". Amy also owns a quilt shop in Orem, Utah.

Amy works a lot with vintage and reproduction fabrics in her designs. This one was named after her Grandmother Clintey.

Amy showed her class a fun applique technique. They cut their shapes out on freezer paper ironed onto cereal box cardboard.

Next the fabric is brushed with starch in the seam allowances, folded over and ironed to the cardboard.

Amy also taught a scrappy civil war quilt where class members shared fabric pieces with each other.

Quite a few of Amy's patterns are made with wool.

In one of Amy's classes the students made a sewing satchel. I loved the beehive and wool embellishments on the front of the satchel.
The red ric rac is actually wool that has been cut with a specialty blade on a rotary cutter. Once the wool is cut in strips it's then stitched down by machine.
I've had a wonderful three days. When I go to retreats I never seem to be ready to head home and say good bye to all the fun and people. And I could always use a few more days to work on all the projects I brought but didn't have time to finish.
Instead I think I should be more like Heather and be happy with the goal of more UFO's.