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Archive for December, 2006

Happy New Year

I had great plans for a New Years Eve post, but we were out all day shopping, and right at the moment I am feeling really horrible.  Like I’m coming down with something nasty horrible.  So, I’m going to go throw on my jammies and crawl into my bed and hope that I feel better in the morning.  I sure hope I’m not getting something nasty, as that seems like a really awful way to start the new year!

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M is for Museum

I started writing a really sappy letter reflecting on the past year, but decided that it was really too silly to publish.  Instead, I’m going to show you a picture of what we did this week.  The main event was a trip to the Field Museum so that we could see the real Sue.  We were able to see the replica and the accompanying exhibit last year when it was in Cedar Falls, IA.  I’m not sure how impressed the boys were by the real thing.  The crowds were a little overwhelming, so that may have factored into their impression of the experience.  So, here is proof that we actually did see Sue (along with a gazillion other people…)

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The part that I think they liked the best was the Underground Adventure exhibit — visitors are "shrunk" to 1/100th of their original size and get to go underground and experience dirt and bugs from that point of view.  They had some really amazing creatures in the exhibit.   I won’t post any here, because they are really kind of gross when viewed at that scale.

To get a sense of it, though, here is a picture of the boys with an acorn that has sprouted — the shoot going up, the root going down.

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Only one thing in particular caught my eye in terms of wanting to a photo to remember it for future art ideas — I wish, though, that I had written down where exactly I was in the museum.  I think it was somewhere in the Evolving Planet exhibit, somewhere back before the time of the dinosaurs.  Something about these leaves really grabbed me.  I think the photo is pretty good, too.  I love my  new camera….

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Well, it has taken me nearly all afternoon to get these last 2 pictures to upload.  Don’t know what’s wrong with the connection.    And now it is time for me to go — my in-laws are coming to play games with the boys while the DH and I go see the new 007 movie!  Can’t wait!  Just got back — it was wonderful — I thought I published this, but apparently I just saved it as a draft.  Oops! 

 

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I have decided to challenge myself to participate in the 12x12x12 Portfolio Challenge that is being sponsored by the Quilt Studio Webring.

My theme is going to be the Alphabet.  Other than the size and the general theme, I don’t think I’m going to give myself any other guidelines or rules or whatever to try to follow.  Well, maybe one, I think I might try to stick to a certain layout, but other than that — I’ll see where the ideas take me as far as technique or goals or whatever.  This also means that I’m going to pick whichever letter of the alphabet I feel like working on, and not worry about any kind of order. 

While in the car and hotel this past week, I did some drawings in my altered book that are explorations for my first page. 

I want to do a stylized tree for my first project.  I started with the idea that I would just do part of the tree, but I’m not sure if that’s how it’ll end up or not.  And yes, I’m showing you pages out of my book that I said I was probably going to keep to myself.  I haven’t told you what the book actually is, and I don’t think you can tell from these pictures, so I’m just not going to worry about it right now. 

The lower branches of the first tree are OK, but then my tree started getting all blobby and misshapen.  I didn’t pencil it in first, and would have been happier if I had done so.  Also, I didn’t count the sections for the red squares around the outside and didn’t realize I couldn’t finish the pattern until I turned the last corner.  Oops! LOL!

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The second tree is better, but still not quite making me happy.  I was playing with the layout idea on this one, and the layout for all of the months will be something similar.

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The third tree — now this is making me happy!  I did pencil this one in.  I like the shape of the overall tree, and way the branches turned out.  I am envisioning using buttons for the  fruit and leaves.   

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I played with CorelDraw for a little to work on the layout.  I think it might be something like this.  My thought is that all of the 12×12 quilts will have the same black borders and sashing (1/2 inch and 1/4 inch respectively) in order to tie them together.  But I’m not writing anything in stone….
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H is for Hero

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One of my favorite Christmas presents was this Willow Tree figurine.  It is called Hero.

It was a gift from my mother.  It was very unexpected and very touching.

We recently lost my grandpa — he served in WWII.  I am honored to have this beautiful piece, in memory of him, and as a reminder of the sacrifices that are still being made by men and women.  Not just the ones that serve in our Armed Forces, but also the ones that are left behind.

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B is For

I’ll try to keep this list shorter than the "A" list from last week.  I’m going to be away from my computer for a few days, so thought I’d get some posts lined up to publish automatically while I’m gone.

So here’s the "B" list:

Blue — My second favorite color (after red).  The color of my car, and the color of the bottom half of my usual "uniform" — I wear blue jeans nearly every day.

Book — I love to read.  My favorite author is Lois McMaster Bujold.  I enjoy mysteries, science ficition, fantasy, and my guilty pleasure is reading really silly romances that are entirely predictable.  But I don’t do that very often.  I am also the author of a self-published machine quilting book, who is working on her second book and probably ought to quit procrastinating since her self-imposed deadline is looming closer and closer.

Ballerina — Don’t most little girls dream of being a ballerina?  I did take ballet lessons for many years.  Tap, and jazz, too.  I enjoyed doing it, but I quit because I wanted to join the marching band (to be near a "boy") — what a silly thing that was.  I would have been better off staying with dance.  Not that I would have been a ballerina, but maybe I’d be in better shape!

Barn — I live in a really cool house with a green steel roof — it looks a lot like a barn.  And someday, when we finish re-siding and paint it red — it really will look like a barn!

Birthday — In case anybody was wondering, my birthday is June 24.  In my opinion, this is pretty much the ideal date for a birthday, as it is 6 months from Christmas.  This is in part based on the fact that my sister’s birthday is exactly a week before Christmas and she wasn’t too keen on that growing up.

Blonde — I am naturally blonde, and am a little disappointed at how much darker my hair has gotten over the years.  I have resorted to highlights in recent years, and really wish my hair was the color of Katie’s fur (the puppy picture up that the top-right…).  And while I find that most blonde jokes are really quite offensive, I have been known to have "blonde moments" and to even admit to having had them….

Boys — I’m pretty lucky that I get to live with the boys that are inhabiting my house.  The big boy is quite nice to me (even when he is teasing me and making fun of me…) and the 2 little boys (who are getting to be not-so-little) are good kids.  They may all drive me crazy some days, but I know that are actually all pretty wonderful.

Broccoli — One of my favorite vegetables.  I was not aware, though, that broccoli is a member of the cabbage family.  (I paged through the dictionary to find "B" words to try to shake loose some ideas).

Brownie — One of my favorite desserts.  I have rarely made them from scratch, though.  Our latest favorite is a mix from Sam’s Club — Triple Chocolate Chunk.  I think it’s Hershey’s brand of brownies.  Well, maybe Betty Crocker with Hershey’s products?  Here’s my secret for a really yummy, fudgy brownie:  keep the pan of brownies in the refrigerator.  Refrigerated brownies are the best.

Well, I think that’s enough for today’s list.  Have a beautiful day!

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WIP Wednesday

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Even though I’ve been busy with Christmas, I have managed to do a few quilty things this past week.  I "let" myself start my new project (Peppermint Swirls) yesterday.  It probably won’t get much further than this for awhile, but it was fun to do something with new fabric and easy piecing!

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This is a quilt that has been pieced for several years.  The color is a little off in this picture.  THe green isn’t quite so light on the actual quilt.  I started quilting it, and didn’t really like what I was doing at the time (using Rail grey thread on the back — even with the grey thread it was nearly impossible to see what I was doing).  I did more of the quilting than I should have — note to self:  if you don’t like it after 5 minutes of quilting, you probably aren’t going to like it after an hour.

Another note to self:  don’t leave projects half quilted for more than a month or two.  Your style changes and you’ll think of a better idea.

Yet another note to self:  just because it is your own quilt, doesn’t mean it deserves custom quilting, especially if the quilting won’t show up….
Off and on over the past few days (watching TV…) I’ve been frogging the existing quilting.  It’ll probably take me until next Christmas to do that (the back is black, and the stitches are hard to see on that side, too….

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And last, but not least — I quilted this wallhanging that I pieced in Fall of 2005.  It might be finished by Christmas 2007.  That is, if I can find the 3rd strip of red binding fabric that wasn’t with the quilt top and the other 2 strips of binding.  Maybe Christmas 2008.

Well, I need to shut down so we can head out the door.

Have a great Wednesday!

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S is for Smiles

I promise to have some quilt-related content really soon.  Promise. (LOL)  And that the "letter a day" series will return to being related to actual letters and words.  But not for a few days. 

In the meantime, here is a picture of the boys right before they were allowed to start opening presents.  They had already dug through their stockings and were just chomping at the bit to start ripping paper.

You can barely see their faces, their smiles are so humongous!

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