Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Take THIS TSA!!

It’s inevitable. When traveling with as much luggage as I do…it’s bound to raise curiosity! I mean, wouldn’t ANY TSA agent like to see just what is in these bags?

((And, I think the fact that most airports charge $4.00 to $5.00 to rent these little luggage carts is quite a rip-off, but that’s another post for another time! I think I could have purchased myself a whole string of these out right by now!))

Does this happen to you? How DO they decide what to check anyway?

I get to my location, open my luggage…and SURPRISE! "Hello, You have been inspected by TSA."

And I can just hear them now ---“BLANKETS?! Why is this lady traveling with so many blankets? Where is she going, the North Pole or something?”

Well yes, I was in North Pole, just a week or so ago, but you know what I mean.

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I used to toss these out….but not any more! They’ve found a way to be re-purposed! They are a good enough weight to be sliced down like this:

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And fed through my hexagon punch like this:

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I just love knowing the government is paying for part of my hexagon fetish! Sweet deal, yes? These punches have been discontinued by Creative Memories, but I have seen them occassionally on ebay. I have no information on how/where else you could get one. I just love mine.

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I’m not sure what I’m going to do with ALL of these papers I keep punching since supposedly my hexagon medallion is getting closer to reaching finished top status ---

Maybe I’ll fill this JAR! Just beacause --- I can!

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I’ve got a good start on it already! All these hexies have been cut from greeting cards, business cards, TSA cards, and advertisements that come in the mail – as long as they are the right weight ((About the thickness of an index card)) They will work!

I’m packing up a baggie full for the cruise, just in case I can twist anyone’s arm into a hexie lesson while we are on board…..

Maybe, just maybe, THEY will find a way to repurpose THEIR TSA inspection cards too!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Calling All Quilt Detectives!

I’m putting out an APQB --- That’s an All Points Quilt Bulletin!

I need your assistance in helping me track down the name and source of this block pattern!

Alicia L writes:

Hi,

I am sorry to bother you, but I have a quilt top and do not know what the pattern is called. I thought that you might be familiar with it. It seems so familiar yet I just cannot find any reference to it anywhere. I hope you know it.

I live in Southeast Oklahoma and am a retired school counselor. I quilt----mostly for my family. I grew up in South Texas but did not really get an interest in quilts until about 15 or 20 years ago.

This quilt top I bought recently in Conway, Arkansas. And it is a beauty. I have not decided what to do with it. I look forward to your insight.

Thank you, Alicia L

Do you recognize this block?

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It seems to be related to a kaleidoscope in some way, but I didn’t have the time to really go looking for this specific pattern, and thought you could help me do some detective work!

If you know what this block is called, or where the pattern could be found, can you leave a comment below? I’ll have Alicia come check the comments section for any helps you can give her while I am away!

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Isn’t this just a wonderful scrappy mess of color? Rolling on the floor laughing

If anyone can help her, I know my readers can!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gooey S’mores Pie!

It’s occurred to me that I haven’t posted any recipes in a while!

I also don’t know how long I’ll be without being able to post anything on this cruise. I have NO idea if/where I’ll have wifi or not. I know it can be really expensive on the ship ((Don’t they nail you for EVERYTHING!!?)) so this is another one of those posts I've set to release while I’m gone so you don’t have an abandoned blog to turn to while Lori and I are off with the quilt cruisers having the time of our lives. ((Aren’t I terrible for rubbing that in?!))

If you haven't heard from us yet...it's because we can't get reasonable connection!

You have GOT to try this pie. It is the yummiest thing ever, and just right for Labor Day festivities coming up…what is better for summer than S’mores, and put it in pie? Awesome!

Gooey Chocolate S’more Pie

Ingredients for 8 servings

  • 1 graham cracker crumb crust, baked
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 cups mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Put the chocolate in a bowl.
  3. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, and pour it over the chocolate. Let sit a few minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the egg, sugar and salt. Pour into the crust. SONY DSC
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, until filling is softly set but still trembles slightly in the middle when you gently shake it. If it starts to darken around the edges, loosely cover the edge of the pie with a pie shield or foil.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack. Keep the pie shield or foil in place — it’ll come in handy when it goes under the broiler.
  7. Pile the marshmallows on top of the cooled filling and preheat the broiler.SONY DSC
  8. Broil the pie for a minute (it browns quickly, so check it after 30 seconds) until the marshmallows are golden brown.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife dipped in hot water, then wiped dry (do this before you cut each slice).

You won’t believe how yummy and easy this is!

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

30 years ago today….


As I’m sitting here writing this post, I’m completely in awe of how time really DOES fly. Everything changes, yet everything is the same in so many ways.

30 years ago today, August 28, 1981 I didn’t have a cell phone. AMAZING. How much a part of our lives are these contraptions now?

30 years ago today, I didn’t own a color TV.

30 years ago today, I didn’t have a mortgage.

30 years ago today, I didn’t have a car payment. ((Oh I wish that would apply now!))

30 years ago today, I didn’t own a microwave.

30 years ago today, I didn’t have a personal computer.

30 years ago today, I did have a stereo with 8 track cassette. ((Boy, was that dumb!))

30 years ago today, I didn’t have a vcr. ((Not even a stupid beta max one either, glad I didn’t!))

30 years ago today I didn’t have a GPS or even imagine that would be possible.

30 years ago today I didn’t have pets.

30 years ago today I didn’t have children.

But 30 years ago today Dave and I were married…..and I had everything.

This post is for you, Honey. I wish you could be on this cruise with me. I’m sorry that I’m away on our special milestone anniversary, but I am so glad we got to share Alaska together!

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This was us in front of that crazy carved moose inside of Gwennie’s diner in Anchorage where we had that first awesome breakfast. My shirt really is NOT neon green, it’s light blue denim. Gotta love flourescent lighting ---

30 years ago today I didn't have these crow's feet either! And you had hair! :c)

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This is where we first stopped to look at the mountain goats on the other side of the road with your binoculars. We were so full of awe and wonder at the beauty of the nature around us…just as we were in the beginning of our life together.

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On the shores of the lake at Moose Pass. Remember trying to nap in the car, and how I was so hungry I left you there while I went for that reindeer sausage dog? It was cool to watch the float planes take off and land here. Next time, let’s go up in one, okay?

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This is you with Jetta, Nikki’s dog…on our hike up Moose Pass. I’ll always remember the stories you’ve told me of the dogs you’ve had in your life. How one dog ((Was it Sam??)) saved you from drowning in the canal when you were a small boy. I love your love of animals, and what a place they have been in our lives. I love to watch you with Sadie, she is so attached to you, with good reason. You spoil her rotten!

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We had such a great time in Delta Junction! Was this picture after Buffalo Burger #1, or #2?

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Our hike with the Rogers family was terrific! I’m so glad we got to get to know them better and to spend what little non-rainy weather there was in the beautiful outdoors.

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If you EVER con encourage me into staying in a rustic cabin like this…just KNOW that my handcrank sewing machine is coming along for the ride. I’ll sew…you fish, hunt, whatever..but remember, if you catch it, you clean it!

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So whaddya say? Are you up for another 30 years?

Happy Anniversary!

Love,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quilt Kids on the Move!

I recently received an email from Jan, telling me how she got a handful of kids busy and productive, all having a great time while learning the joys of giving!

Here is her story:

Hi Bonnie,

I wanted to tell you about a quilting experience my friend and I shared with our children using one of your tutorials.

One beautiful summer day we got together with my 4 children and her 5 children and we set up 4 sewing machines on the table with a big pile of scraps in the middle. Then we set the kids to piecing onto squares of muslin.

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While the younger ones played outside, the older ones sewed and sewed. We encouraged them not to stress out about matching, but to just plunge in their hands and draw out a scrap. It was so fun to hear the kids exclaim, "Oh, this is from my quilt!" or "This is from the one you made for the baby!" or "Hey, my purse has this fabric!"

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What surprised us most was the boys, aged 6 and 8. We didn't expect them to be interested in something like sewing, but they were into it in a big, big way. One of the boys put it this way, "Mom, I love pushing the gas pedal SO much!"

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As the children were sewing, and the quit was coming together, my friend and I joked that when the quilt was finished we would have to take turns having it at our homes, work out a custody schedule. But the kids had a better idea - they wanted to give it away, and they thought of a widow in our church and decided to give it to her.

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The rest of the day, they would say things like, "Mrs. M. will love this!" and "Won't she be surprised!"

Well the kids sewed without pause for hours! We had to drag them away from the machines because it was time for dinner, but by then we had enough blocks for a nice sized lap quilt. They were so excited and proud, and my friend and I were amazed at what they accomplished and how well the day went.

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My friend and I finished off the quilt with some borders and then I quilted it, and a few weeks later we invited Mrs. M over for lunch one Sunday afternoon so the children could give her the quilt. She was so surprised and moved and delighted. She shared with us how much it meant to know that people in our church family love and care for each other, and what a blessing it was for her.

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Then she said, "You don't know how much this means to me - tomorrow is the anniversary of my husband's death, and I was wondering how I would get through it. Your quilt is a reminder of God's love for me."

What a blessing for the children to hear how their gift made such a difference to this lady and to hear her share her faith. They realized that they were meant to make that quilt and share it, and that God had a plan for their efforts.


Thanks for sharing your patterns with us!

Jan

Dear Jan, Friend, and Kids:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful inspirational story with me, and with all of us! I am so touched by the lessons these children have learned. It really is planting a seed with in each of them that will affect their whole lives.

“Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others…By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.”

Isn’t this true?!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Autumn Fun with the Patchwork Posse!

Have you ever visited PatchworkPosse.com? No! Well you just might want to check it out!

Patchwork Posse offers a wide variety of Online Workshops, E Patterns, and Sew Alongs ((Sew Alongs are free!)). Go ahead and take a look around....find an online sewing workshop that fits you and get sewing! All patterns and workshops are exclusive to Patchwork Posse and they are designed by totally talented sewers SEAMSTERS!!

Where do I come into this mess? I’m going to be the featured designer for a 3 month long workshop that will feature 1 NEW Pattern each month for September, October and November. The patterns are exclusive to the group, and not available anywhere else!

And don’t worry, the November one will wrap up before we start our online Mystery here on my blog ;c) You CAN do it all!

I have pulled together and patterned up 3 small quilts just for Patchwork Posse! Here is your chance to grab a few new quick & easy small quilt patterns, ask me some questions in the forum, and “talk” to me online. Right in your own home. No traveling necessary. ((There has to be something you’ve always wanted to know, isn’t there? Well --- Within reason of course!)) I’ll be trying to check into to the forum as often as I can with my schedule!

Each pdf pattern has easy to read instructions and full color photos to make your piecing time fun!

Along with my 3 month Mini Quilt Marathon, Print & Stitch patterns from other designers are available too! Check out the variety of designers and patterns .....purchase them, print it and stitch it! Super quick and easy to get going on your next sewing project.

Along with the online workshops there is also a Forum, Sew and Tell Photo Gallery and a Community-- so you can freely share, interact and get to know others with a sewing/quilting obsession just like you.

So what will we be working on?

One design will be released on the First Friday of each month for September, October and November, so our starting date is only one week from today! Mark the Date! That’s FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd!! Don’t worry, if you sign up late, you will still have access to the previous releases as long as you are a Patchwork Posse Workshop Member. The patterns stay in the files. They will always be accessible to you.

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Nines Surrounded!

(Approximate Size: 25” X 31”)

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Piney Flats!

((Approximate Size: 29” X 29”))

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Auntie’s Anvil!

In honor of my Great Auntie Irene!

((Approximate Size: 27” X 27”))

And just for my Readers---Patchwork Posse is giving us a special deal--- When signing up use the discount code marathon to receive a 15% discount off of the workshop! This discount is only good until the 29th of August, so that means you need to sign up before Monday!

This looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun! I hope you’ll join me!

PS – since I’m out of town as this is posting, if you have ANY questions, please contact Becky at Patchwork Posse! I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And The Winner Is!!

Drum Roll Please!!

We have a Winner!

It was an exciting moment – we had over 300 comments from people who wanted this book!

And the winner is:

MELINDA!!

She didn’t leave her last name, but her comment was:

Your blog is the only one I return to regularly, and I think that you have kept me going when I have been discouraged in quilting. I'm not a great sew-er, and I have limited time, so I love to just browse through and see your ideas for things that I can do in bits and pieces (I love the Happy Scrappy Houses!!), and dream about things that seem a bit beyond my reach.

Thanks for keeping it up, and for "being there" when I need help on how to do something like make half square triangles or a square within a square. –Melinda

She did leave her email address in her anonymous comment, so Melinda, be watching your inbox for a mail from me! I just need you to send me your snail mail address, and I’ll pass it on to the publisher so they can send you the book direct from them!

Thanks everyone for participating. I had a great time being part of this blog tour…I’m still so pumped that “THE” Nancy Zieman even commented in the post comments! I admit it, she has ME star struck!

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And with that, I’m OFF! The bags are packed. Got my passport, got my sunscreen, got probably way too much stuff….I keep telling myself to keep it light, and I KNOW I broke my own rule and packed too many pairs of shoes!

But what’s a girl to do?

I have NO idea if I will have wifi or not on the ship. I’m not willing to pay $20 a day for it, that’s for sure ---and even if I DID have wifi, I’m thinking this is going to be a week for me to be UNPLUGGED. Completely.

I kept in touch as much as I could from Alaska. Writing takes a lot of thought and a lot of time in editing photos, etc. Do I want to be stuck writing blog posts, or do I want to LIVE this cruise?

I’m choosing to LIVE! I am!

And just so you aren’t too disappointed in me, don’t worry, I’ve stacked the blog with posts that will release every morning while I’m gone. Be looking for those posts, and I’ll be looking for your comments when I’m back online!

Happy Sails!

Ask Bonnie!

**Note** I’m drawing the winner for Nancy Zieman’s “Sewing A to Z” book at Noon Eastern! Be sure to check back to find out who our winner is!

I love your questions! Answering them has given me pause to think and ponder and see things from a different perspective. Instead of just saying “I do it this way” I’m considering just WHY I do it this way….is there an explanation, or is that just the way I learned it, or have always done it? Am I the ONLY one doing it this way? Could there be a better way?

If a question comes in a comment, and I can reply by email directly to that commenter, I will….And then sometimes a question will come in the shape & form of an anonymous comment with no way to reply to it. What to do then?

Sometimes I’ll leave my reply in the comments section--- hoping, just hoping that the poster will come back and re-read the comments to find the answer to their question, but how often does that happen? Often when I am blog hopping I can’t even remember WHERE I’ve been or how I got there ;c) That’s the whole purpose of hopping, isn’t it? No blog left unturned?

So I’m considering adding a new feature. I’m not quite sure how to work it, if I want to do it regularly, or just now and then…but if you have a question for me on ANYTHING, just email me, and perhaps I can answer it here on the blog for you. Chances are, if YOU are asking it, someone else is also wanting to ask the same thing.

And then the comments section beneath each question could become a treasure trove of answers from all of YOU about the same topic…I’m anxious to learn how you do things too!

Just today Nell wrote:

Do you have a lot of works in progress? I mean outside of your book quilts/blocks; Do you start something and then lose interest or time or something and just shelve it?

How did you balance your own quilting with your customer quilts when you were long-arm quilting?

These are just my ponderings, no need for a quick response, I know you are getting ready to leave for your cruise.

OH gosh yes!! I have some big UFOs! I regret the time they are languishing. Some of them are big ones that I thought I wanted to hand quilt. I still want to hand quilt them. When? How? I don't know! And there they sit with the hand quilting partially started, and sitting. The Pink & Brown Dear Jane thing is one, and this random sampler is another..

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I actually went and pulled this out because I couldn’t remember JUST how far I’d gotten on it! Farther than I thought. I’ve gone about 2 rounds of fans from the outside in toward the center…and yes, I can bind the outside edge if I am quilting from the outside in, but you have to be sure to baste really well first! Until then, I hauled this around with all it’s batting hanging out like a slip showing….like this:

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I think this is at least 4 years ago? OY!! Those are Joan’s daughters helping me hold it up!

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Left Side

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Top

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Right Side

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Bottom!

And I haven’t lived in Irmo, SC for 3.5 years…so we know it’s been at least that long since I finished the top! Doesn’t that make you wonder about all those quilts that you see dates pieced in, or appliqued on to? I think the quilting could have taken a lot longer AFTER that date was in place, don’t you?

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The quilting nearly reaches the top of this picture…so I’ve made good progress on it, but it has sat for SO LONG NOW! Can you see the stitches? Click it to Biggie-Size if need be. I am quilting it in blue thread…it’s much more visible in person. Gotta get back to working on this! SERIOUSLY!

So back to the UFOs….

I've cleared out a lot of UFOs "needing to be pieced” in the past several years just BECAUSE I had deadlines! Or someone needed a baby quilt, or there was some “cause”...when making a gift quilt I find myself turning to my untouched and languishing UFOs and seeing if any of them can be completed to fit the bill. Nothing like a deadline and a need to fill to push you into finishing something. So the UFOs worth finishing have really whittled down to not much of anything left in the UFO pile worth mentioning!....

Off the top of my head...In the “Still Needs Piecing” department ---that "Nearly insane" Salinda Rupp Quilt thing is a BIG UFO. It's more than 1/2 pieced, but I have a hard time working on it when I'm more wanting to play with my own designs and ideas. The “Thinking” part of that one has already been thought through by someone else, and that is where I lose interest.

I have a smaller "Rocky Road To Kansas" block with scrappy chrome yellow backgrounds that I would LOVE to finish someday...but it's so similar to "Virginia Bound" (only a much smaller block) that I feel like....Why re-beat THAT horse?

This makes me really want to dig into my stuff and see what is there....I know there is more in the orphan box from things that people have sent me that I am dying to get in and do some funky sampler type quilts with. That would be fun. But no time for it.

There is a “Fungly Challenge” thing that I liked until I sashed it, and I don’t want to have to un-sash it to set it a way that I WILL like. UGH! You know what I mean?

What is the one big UFO that you would like to work on? Or....are you so pulled by more than one you can't decide which one to work on so you start another one? :c)

I honestly think that my time restraint for starting something new that doesn’t have a deadline has helped me from starting too many new things! Could this be good? Hmmmm!

For the burnt out long-arm quilters out there…..got any helpful advice for Nell?

As far as getting my own things quilted when I was quilting for others....that's not easy either. I scheduled 3 quilts a week for customers when I was long-arm quilting for the public. I didn't do a LOT of heavy heavy quilting, and if there was a quilt that needed more time, I'd only schedule 1 quilt that week or 2....but no more than three. I used that as an incentive to get those 3 cranked out because any empty days were MINE to quilt my own.

It's difficult when there are always more quilts waiting to be done...but I had to learn that if I didn't give MYSELF time to quilt for MYSELF...I wasn't going to be a very happy quilter, and my customers would find my creativity lacking in their quilts in the long run....avoid BURNOUT how ever you can. It's important! Even though I am no longer quilting for the public, I completely understand what you are going through!

I've got several tops that are yet to be quilted, but other quilts take the front of the line, so they sit as tops.

More thoughts --

Some of my projects, like Leader/Ender ones seem to stay back burner for a long time until I finally get the push to move on them as a primary project, and not just a between-the-lines thing....but you know, less and less and less am I able to start something just because I want to, and then allow myself to get side tracked by anything else. It seems everything has a deadline. And the hard part is keeping most things private due to an upcoming publication, when I was so used to sharing EVERYTHING in the past. I’m working on a ton of stuff I can’t show. And that is hard.

The thing that makes me feel left behind? When I post a leader/ender challenge, like for the cheddar bow ties...and people take off and run with it and are doing 100 of them a day...and I haven't been able to sit at them for weeks because they didn't work with the kind of piecing I was doing....I get all excited to play, and get left in the dust! LOL!

But it's not a race....set your own happy pace. Reward yourself for a job well done. Be sure to leave you some YOU time to feed your soul and your passion, and find balance!

Aren't we all perpetually in the search of balance? I know I am!

So how do YOU deal with your UFOs?Do you have any advice or comments for Nell? Are you a Long-arm quilter that has some advice for her on how to get some of her own quilts done?

Be sure to leave your comments in the comments section below! And if you have a question for me, perhaps I can answer it for you! Just email me!