Journey (too) by Nadine Ruggles

A Journey to Mom’s Place

Now that the gift has been given, I can share it here! When my mom saw Journey, the plush horse that I made from bits of The Misery Quilt, she asked if I could make her one. That was a complete no-brainer! Of course I could make her one!

My Journey now has a sister! This little girl is also named Journey, since my mom liked the name and the story behind it all so much. So in my head, this is Journey(too)! 🙂 Read More

Patchwork Times–Book Report, Car Dealers and Climate Control

After a pretty productive week last week on The Book, I feel like this week may get away from me entirely until Friday. The minutiae of at least two weeks of life is condensed into this one week, with “something” to do each day. I did manage to finish one of the biggest projects in the book over the weekend, and I’ve made great progress on the next biggest. Once these two are out of the way, I’ll feel a lot better about how quickly the manuscript will get done.

ITMan and I spent the entire day today (and I really do mean the entire day, from 7:45 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) dealing with car maintenance. Both cars needed their winter tires put on and oil changes, as well as a couple of smaller fix-its and warranty repairs, so we just used his day off to get it done. It might not have taken quite so long had the service department not lost the keys to the Mustang. Yes, they LOST the keys and the transmitter to my car somewhere in the service area. Good thing I had a spare key with me. They didn’t find it until we’d been gone a full hour; they sent me home with a brand new key and transmitter, but now I’ll have to go back at some point and have the original key, and my other spare, reprogrammed since I guess they won’t work now that the whole system has been reprogrammed. Sheesh.

Despite being in the Ford dealer’s waiting area all day, I got a surprising amount of work done on The Book. I took the laptop with me, plugged in to their power and did drafts of the instructions for two of the quilts in the book, so it wasn’t a completely wasted day like it could have been. The trip back over there to take care of the key mess will be wasted time, but at least it’s not a “have to do right now” thing…

Backing up a bit: Sunday was the day to head to the Holiday Bazaar in Heidelberg, and shop for foody gifts to mail back to family in the States, but the entire thing was really just a bust. The vinegars and oils that we usually send back won’t be going this year, as the vendor was all out of the good stuff before we got there. I’ve no idea what that means for the family Christmas boxes, and I don’t even really have time to think about it too seriously at the moment. I’m waiting and hoping for inspiration to hit.

Then on Monday I had to be a nice Mommy and take Guitar Girl back to the bazaar, since she worked all weekend and wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. It was a bust the first time around, but maybe I spent more time just perusing the aisles on Monday (since I knew there wasn’t any of the “must buy” stuff there anyway), because I did find a couple of other cool things, including these:

Wonnie slippers

Woohoo! Slippers that you put in the microwave and then put on your feet! Awesome! I used them this evening, and they are perfect. Though I LOVE my quilt studio, it has absolutely no insulation up here and it’s freezing even now (and it’s not even deep into winter here), so my feet are always cold (and don’t get me started on how bad this room up here is when it’s windy outside. brrrr.). The radiators are so weak and wimpy up here that they don’t even deserve the name, so there’s no such thing as climate control here unless you count slippers, socks, sweaters and scarves.

The Wonnie slippers have flax seeds and herbs in them so they smell nice when heated, and are wonderfully soft and soothing. You can’t walk in them, so it’s a sit-and-relax type of thing, but I did figure out how to run the sewing machine at the right speeds for machine quilting with them on. So I now have another climate control option for my feet!

Here’s Shadow’s version of climate control:

Shadow's climate control

He’s always been a chilly little thing, and since there’s not an ounce of fat on him he has no insulation. What he’d really like is my lap 24/7, but failing that, he camps out by this space heater that’s sitting by my computer chair all day long, as long as it’s on. He turns over once in a while, to roast the other side evenly. We’re both a little warmer now, at least!

Quilting with K

Look who’s here:

Kimberly

Kimberly came to visit last week, and we had a blast! We quilted (a little), shopped (a bit), ate (lunch and pastries), and gabbed (a lot)! She brought me a pile of goodies:

The goods

How cool! There’s Kimberly’s Easy Hearts cutting template, a nifty little rotary cutter to go with it, her Easy Star & Geese ruler, and a Simplicity apron pattern. How awesome is it that she has a Simplicity pattern with her name all over it?? And the best part:

More goods

She brought me my very own copy of her book, Quilt a Travel Souvenir, and signed as well! I’m much more of an armchair traveler than most, and I really enjoyed reading about her European travel experiences that inspired the quilts in the book. It’s truly a beautiful book, with such creative, yummy quilts! I’ve already planned a quilt using the Easy Star & Geese Ruler, and the Easy Hearts template may have inspired something as well.

Kimberly and I have decided to make this quilt/eat/shop/gab thing a regular happening every couple of weeks or so. I don’t expect we’ll run out of things to talk about, that’s for sure! The problem might be actually getting anything quilting-related done while we’re together! Which isn’t really a problem, after all. 😉 I’m sure Shadow will be pleased:

Kimberly & Shadow

What is it with this cat? He totally charmed Kimberly, by only showing his cute, calm, lovable side while she was here. Everyone who visits thinks he’s just precious and such a good kitty! They obviously don’t know the real Shadow, since he’s always on his best behavior for guests. Sheesh. He did steal Kimberly’s chair the moment she got up, of course, but that only endeared him to her even more it seemed. Hmphf. I’m sure his true nature will out eventually! Patches played least in sight, being the big, fat, chicken cat that he is. Maybe Kimberly will get to see him at some point after she’s come around a few times. He’s the true cute one, after all.

Kimberly treated me much too grandly while she was here, I must say! “Thank you” just doesn’t quite cover it! We had such a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again in a couple of weeks!

Christmas gifts and Pfaff vs. Bernina experiments

No, I didn’t go on vacation, just been super busy here! Just FYI, busy+notmuchquilting=nofun. Well, maybe not “no fun,” just not as much fun! Anyway, things may be winding down to an acceptable level, so I can just coast through Christmas now. The last party is over, thank goodness, and I finished up my last online programming class for this month yesterday. I’ve been working on a gift for my landlords and I finished it up today:

Placemats

I made them a set of eight placemats to go with the table runner and the napkin rings that I’ve made in previous years. I was a bit worried as I was making them, since they seemed to be a bit “floofy” and weren’t laying flat after they were quilted. I think I should have used a thinner batting. 😦 I decided to toss them in the washer and pray to the quilting goddess for a boon. Since fabric placemats need to be washable anyway, I also figured it would be better to get it over with now in case the machine embroidery didn’t survive.

Placemats detail

The embroidery came out fine, and after a bit of judicious steam pressing, the mats are wonderfully flat! I guess the quilting goddess figured it was my turn or something. Whew! I’m probably going to have to think of something else entirely for next year, since I’ve used up most of the green fabric for the embroidery, and I’m not sure what else to make anyway. Napkins?? Hmmmm…

I got a little bored quilting the placemats (okay, really bored!), so I decided to do some Pfaff vs. Bernina experiments with my machines. If I’m going to do machine guided quilting, I usually use the Pfaff because it has the built-in dual feed, so I started quilting the placemats with the Pfaff 2056, my favorite machine until the Bernie came to live here. When the quilting wasn’t turning out so well, I thought I’d see what the Bernina 440 had to offer with the walking foot. Read More

The magic of cookies

I remember when we moved to this house, my girls used to scoot around to the other side of the house to see the landlords. Our landlords are retired and have grown kids and grandkids of their own, but they’ve always treated us almost as their own as well. When my girls would end up in their part of the yard or I’d send them over to relay some message or other, the girls would always come back clutching a few doppelkeks cookies, large round biscuit cookie sandwiches with a chocolaty hazelnut filling:

Doppelkeks

The girls used to love these cookies, and I must admit to eating a few myself! Today I visited the landlords (to tell him I needed help with an electrical issue in the kitchen!), and I came home with my own “handful” of cookies:

Christmas Cookies

Our landlady wouldn’t let me leave without sharing an entire plate of the cookies she’s been baking. And homemade German cookies are soooo good—Yumm! I couldn’t even get these pics posted before half of them disappeared down the kids’ throats! Time for a coffee and cookie break; add in a couple of quilt magazines, and I’m set.

Surprises in the Mail

So, it’s that time again, and this year, it’s the big 4-0 coming up this month. Now, despite the fact that I told DH exactly what I wanted some time ago (it’s a car thing, not a quilt thing, so don’t be surprised when you look at it!), he still looked at me across the dinner table the other night, and asked “What do you want for your birthday??” GRRR. Should be pretty obvious why I usually just buy what I want when I want it. Why wait?

On the other hand, I was really excited when an unexpected package showed up in the mail from my friend Liz! Liz went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show to see her quilt that was in the show! She started this quilt when she lived here in Germany after taking a class with the Black Forest Quilt Guild, I think, and I’m so happy that it’s finished and she took the plunge and entered it into Mid-Atlantic!

Liz's quilt at Mid-Atlantic

I can’t for the life of me remember what she named this quilt (sorry Liz!), but it’s beautiful! edit: She named it City Lights. This was her first entry into a major show, and it’s so cool that she was able to go to the show to see it there. It’s so exciting to see your own quilt hanging in a show with so many other beautiful ones. Oh, and the package? She shopped while she was at the show, of course, and here’s what she found for me:

Birthday Surprises

I love it! Liz always knows just what I’ll like! These batiks are so yummy, and I LOVE variegated threads. These just may find their way right into my next project! And check out the card:

Birthday Card

Now THAT is cool! Definitely one of my favorite things to do: shopping! The card is dimensional, with lots of different textures and gizmos, like the little handles on the shopping bags. Thanks Liz!