A Weekend Plan

Hidy Ho! How’s it going out there? We’re having a good week, so far, here in ThimbleannaLand.

For starters, when I was answering comments from my last post, it occurred to me that there was one last place I hadn’t looked for the missing towels in the kids bathroom. The clothes hamper! Could it be that obvious? Well, Yes! I was thinking that the kids either threw their towels on the floor or brought them down to the laundry room when they left. But nooooo, they actually use the clothes hamper! Someone has them trained — it’s probably SweetiePie LOL. Mystery solved.

And then, today, I received a little surprise in the mail. I won a giveaway a few weeks ago from Amy. Amy had a very exciting summer and was able to spend a month in the UK with her family. She brought back some goodies and I was the lucky winner.   I’m hoping I’ll be able to use some of that cute fabric in one of my Union Jack blocks.  Thank You Amy — I share your love of the UK!!!

Thimbleanna: From Amy

If you’re in the U.S., are you ready for a long weekend? I AM! I’m hoping to get some sewing time in. I need to make a little birthday present, so I went shopping in my own store (haha) and picked some fabrics. Here’s a picture with a big hint as to what I’ll be making. (From left to right that’s Surprise Birthday in Pink (because it’s for a birthday!), Essex Linen in Flax, and Up Parasol Stella Sky.)

Thimbleanna: Purse

I’m also hoping to keep plugging away on my Trip Around the World.  Our assignment for this month is rows 25 – 30.  I’m currently in the middle of row 26 and I’ve been auditioning fabrics for the next group of rows.  I had the fabrics hanging over the edge of my temporary design wall, and I realized that I could use these little numbered pins that I recently found to help me keep the fabrics straight.  I’m really excited about these pins — when I’m machine sewing quilt tops, I’m a chain-piecer when it works, and I’ve always ripped up scraps of paper and pinned them to my fabric to keep the rows straight.  These numbered pins will be SO much easier.

Thimbleanna: Numbered Pins

One last thing before I go — after my last post I had some questions about The Aunt’s Quilt.  Remember the Aunt’s Quilt?

Thimbleanna: Aunt's Quilt

After I saw it at quilt market I mentioned that it would be fun to have an Aunt’s Quilt quilt-along this fall.  Happily, there were a few of you who said you’d like to play along.  The pattern isn’t available yet, but if all goes well, I should have some toward the end of September.  I’m taking my summer vacation at the end of September, so the plan will be to start in October, after I get back.  (When I spoke with Jen at market, she said they had a quilt along in Melbourne for this quilt and they did one pieced block and one applique block each month, so that’s what we’ll plan on doing (with a holiday break or two!))   I’m planning on using mostly stash fabrics, but there were some fabrics that I really loved in the quilt so I’ve tried to pick up a few of them that I could find, and put them in my little shop.   ;-D

Thimbleanna: Garden Fabrics

Also, I have no idea how many patterns to get, so if you really want one, let me know.

Have a great weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Five on Friday

1. Happy Birthday to TheFirstChild! I’m so excited because the boys and SweetiePie will all be home this weekend — the first time since Christmas. It’s fun that TheFirstChild is coming home on his actual birthday — it means the inagural run of the Happy Birthday pillowcases!

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday

2. I was cleaning the bathroom that the kids use and discovered a severe shortage of bath towels. They even had bathtowels with their names on them and not a one was to be found. How do towels with names on them just disappear? Does the dryer eat them along with socks??? So, now we have new towels — and we’ll try names on them again in hopes that they’ll stay where they belong. ;-8

Thimbleanna: Towels

3. I’ve been noticing a few recipes on food blogs for overnight oatmeal. After receiving high praise from The Brigitte, I decided to give this recipe a try. It was wonderful! I think it would be perfect with a little sprinkling of walnuts or almonds too.

Thimbleanna: Breakfast

4. I ordered some stained glass stars from Piggy and Dirt for gifts. I can’t show you what’s in the center of the stars because they’re for gifts, but I Love them. I even ordered one of them with a picture in the middle of it and I’m really happy with it.

Thimbleanna: Stained Glass

5. I’ve been busy stocking up my little shop with some of the fabrics that were used in the Aunt’s Quilt which I’m planning on starting this fall. In the process, I’ve restocked the famous Red Pepper Quilt binding stripe, the Better Buddy Case, and those perfect Little House pins.

Thimbleanna: Store Goodies

Have a great weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Trip Trippy Dip

I’m still working hard on my Trip Around the World.  This is my baby through round 24.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Amazingly, I’m still on schedule.  The assignment for this month was rounds 19 through 24.  The instructions were to a) use our exchange fabric, b) have at least one row be a “make-do” row (i.e., play like our pioneer grandmothers who would have run out of some prints and had to improvise in some of the rounds by using more than one fabric), and c) use the red dot in another round.  I used my red dot in round 24, my exchange fabric in round 22, and rounds 21 and 23 were make-do rounds.  Round 21 was a true make-do round — I was four squares short of that green spotty fabric, so I placed a the green polka dot from round 4 in the corners of round 21.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

I’m thinking I want my quilt to be at least a double and maybe a bit bigger.  I calculated how much more work would be needed if I went to 44 rounds (which would make the quilt 88″ x 88″).  I’ll only need 20 more rounds, but surprisingly, in terms of actual little squares of fabric, I’m not even half-way yet.  The half-way point will occur somewhere around row 29 or 30.  Yikes!   I’ve been at this for 2 1/2 months now, so if I could hold to the current pace, I’m guessing it would take me another 3 – 3 1/2 months to finish.  I don’t see that happening though — fall is always a busy time around here and the big winter event will soon be just around the corner.  So, I’ll keep plodding along (although, I’m thinking a lot more time will be spent in choosing fabrics and colors — it’s getting harder and harder!) and not be disappointed if this project doesn’t wrap up until after Christmas sometime.

I wanted to show you something fun (at least to me LOL) — remember in the Becky Goldsmith post where I mentioned that I’d dipped into the 70′s stash for one of the fabrics?  That fabric is the little blue floral in round 23.  I’ve placed my TAW on top of a quilt that MeMum made in the early 80′s using that same blue fabric.  She uses her quilt every day and I’m amazed at how well the blue in the fabric has held up.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

When TheFirstChild was about 6 months old, I told MeMum that I wanted to learn how to hand quilt.  She sent me this LeMoyne Star quilt that she’d pieced so that I could figure it out.  I quilted one block in the center (there are 12 blocks in the quilt) and realized that TheFirstChild would be an adult before I finished the quilting.  Since we wanted it to be done in a more reasonable amount of time, we sent if off to a quilter.  It was a good decision and it’s fun to look at the quilting and figure out which block is mine — you can definitely tell.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Life is a little slower now without a baby, and I’m really enjoying all of this handwork. If you missed the first Trip Around the World Challenge, Brigitte has started another one. I’d tell you how to find it, but facebook and I hate each other* and I can’t figure it out. You could probably start by going to Brigitte Giblin’s homepage (don’t blame me if that’s not her homepage … see previous comment about me and facebook) and poking around. (Good Luck LOL!)

Have a great week!
XOXO,
Anna

*Case in point: I think it’s ridiculous that every time you “like” something on facebook, it gets splashed all over for everyone to see. Can’t a girl have a little privacy and support her friends? The only way I’ve found to keep that from happening is to block your friends. That’s just Stooooopid. (I’m done with my rant now haha.)

Trees

When I was a little girl, MeMum gave me this antique picture and I’ve had it hanging in my bedroom ever since then.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Trees

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain,
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

So, I’ve always loved trees. MeMum, the English major, saw to it. That’s why it always kills me when we have to have them cut down. We’ve been in this house for 15 years and up until now, we’d lost about 18 big trees due to wind damage from a wall cloud and that nasty ash borer a few years ago. This week we added five more big trees to the list.  (Which means, we’ve lost about half of our trees.  And I know this is probably boring most of you to tears, but this blog is a record of parts of our life and I want to remember my trees.  ;-(  )

We lost three sugar maples to verticillium wilt.  I’d never even heard of that *(&(^*@#% and the loss of these three really make me want to cry  –  they provided our prettiest color in the fall.  The picture below shows the one that was in the best shape of the three — it’s hard to tell with the trees behind it but all the leaves are shriveled up.  The first two completely lost all of their leaves a few weeks after the shriveling started.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

We also lost what they said was a hickory, but I’m not convinced.  The top half of this tree completely died out.  We debated topping it out, because the bottom was still lush and pretty, but there was a lot of bark damage so it was best to let it go.  The tree guy thought this was due to root damage.  Here it is after the guy had cut all the bottom branches away.  I had big plans to get up early and take pictures of the trees before they started cutting, but they beat me to it.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

And the fifth tree.  Remember this ash that we treated and tried to save?  This was my favorite tree because it was so unique — no branches until the very tippy top.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

It took two years, but the treatments didn’t work and this is what it looked like the morning of our sadness.  (That’s what I’m calling it haha.)

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Another shot of the tree cutters — the foreground is the best of the three maples and the background is that tall ash.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

While they were here, we also had a few trees trimmed.  At one point, I ran into the house to get something and I heard a bunch of screaming.  It scared me and I thought maybe someone had fallen or been cut by one of the chainsaws.  I went outside and all the guys on the ground were laughing.  The guy up in a big oak tree had a little fright.  On the way up the tree, he poked at a squirrel’s nest and nothing happened so he assumed it was empty.  When he got higher in the tree, up next to the nest, two little squirrels jumped out of the nest and into his lap.  He wasn’t very happy LOL!

The other tree we had trimmed was a paper-bark birch, another favorite.  (I promise, they aren’t all favorites!)  It’s really susceptible to breaking during ice storms and the branches were hanging too far over the house.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Here’s a picture of the afore-mentioned squirrel guy who is part monkey.  This guy was amazing.  I was a little worried that he was going to drop a branch on the house, but they all hit the ground.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Poor little birch tree had a pretty severe haircut.  It still looks pretty from the front though, and I know all too soon it will be grown back out again.  In the meantime, the roof should be safe.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

So, a sad week here — I hope yours has been better! I’m off to contemplate which of our remaining trees will become my new very favorite tree while I work on my trip around the world — it’s almost time for our next set of instructions and I’m just 1/2 row from being all caught up.  A progress shot next time!

XOXO,
Anna

Becky Goldsmith

Our little local quilt guild has had Becky Goldsmith here to lecture and teach this week.  (Thanks again Jenny for keeping me in the loop!)  I’ve been  long-time fan of Becky Goldsmith, who, along with Linda Jenkins are the team of Piece O’ Cake Designs.  IMHO, Becky and Linda were among the pioneers of the fun, quirky side of quilting.  When quilting made it’s big comeback in the 70′s and 80′s, everything was pretty traditional.  Now we have traditional and modern and we got to the modern side of things with the help of quilters like Becky and Linda.

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

I’ve also been a long-time reader of Becky’s blog.  Long-time being relative, since blogs are fairly new compared to the 20 years that Piece O’Cake has been around.  What I really love about Becky’s blog is that she’s very observant and she makes you sit up and take notice of things you might have missed.  She spoke about this a little bit at the beginning of her presentation.  She showed us interesting slides like the one below.  (Sorry the pictures are so dark — it was dark in the room.)  What is the first thing you notice?

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Becky said she posted this photo on her blog and she was surprised at the number of people who noticed the arrow in the negative space between the E and the X.  Did you see it?

Another thing Becky notices a lot are manhole covers.  I LOVE it when she posts manhole covers on her blog.  Here’s one of my favorites that I remember from her blog and she showed it last night.  I want to hang that one on my sewing room wall!

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

The main topic of Becky’s presentation was color and she spoke about different ways to use it.  I thought the following quilts were interesting.

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

They’re made out of the same pattern.  Becky decided to experiment with colors when she made the quilt on the right and she got a big laugh out of the crowd when she said that quilt “sucks”.  The colors don’t work as she arranged them.  (Below you can see an expanded view that shows that the quilts are indeed, the same pattern.)

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Becky said to embrace your mistakes.  The quilt that sucked became a great quilt back.  I loved this next quilt.   Awhile ago, Becky requested that the readers of her blog each send her a piece of fabric that they thought was really ugly.  I remember when she requested the fabrics and she got some REALLY ugly scraps.  (Another big laugh when Becky said that some of the scraps were almost pornographic.)  She said there were probably only 4 pieces of fabric that she actually liked.  But, she arranged them according to color and made the quilt below — Wow!

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

I loved her message.  Look at everything with fresh eyes.  And use your design wall.   She also talked about cleaning out your stash and only keeping the fabrics and colors that you love.  Get rid of the old fabrics that you no longer love, i.e. ugly fabrics.  I have to say, I disagreed with that idea and had to chuckle when I thought about it after just seeing the beautiful quilt that she made from ugly fabrics.  I have a LOT of ugly fabrics from the 70′s and 80′s.  I don’t like the colors anymore.  But, I love scrappy quilts and you just never know when you might need a bit of ugly fabric.  I just dipped into the 70′s stash this week and found a perfect print for my Trip Around the World.  So … you never know.  I know I’ll never in a million years use all the fabric that I’m hoarding (and sometimes I get sick thinking about it) but, at least, I’m going to have some variety to choose from.  (As an aside, can you tell me why it is, with a large stash, that you often can’t find a color or print that you want?  I don’t mean it’s lost in your stash, I mean you don’t have the color that you need for your quilt.  I think it’s one of the mysteries of quilting.)

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Anyway, if you ever get the chance to hear Becky speak, take the opportunity. She’s fun and inspiring. And if you’re not following her blog, you should!

XOXO,
Anna