Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Peepers are Peeping!

A sure sign of spring! The spring peepers have started peeping!

Tea for Tuesday

I finished 40 tea wallets today as gifts for Girl Scout volunteers.
I used 4 yards of fabric from the stash, including the smiling daisy print that I bought in 2000 when Julia was a Girl Scout Daisy!
Inside, I included a fruity herbal tea bag and a little Thank You note.
Now they are ready to wrap.Finally, we have some blooms in the yard.
And the weeds are growing quite nicely already!
The blog has kept me focused on finishing quilting projects,
I hope it will help keep the garden weeded, too.

Ciao,
Tina

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Son the Rock Star

Pete's new band played in the middle school talent show tonight. We're very proud of our rocker! They didn't have a singer, so we encouraged him to do it. He wasn't convinced he could until yesterday's rehearsal. Unfortunately, the balance wasn't right, so we couldn't hear the guitars very well. If you're feeling brave, here's Obsidian (how cool is that band name?) covering Hendrix's Foxy Lady.

video

Ciao,
Tina

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lots of Scouts

I haven't talked about scouts in a while. I was ecstatic that we had full attendance at two Girl Scout meetings in a row. So I had to take a picture! A couple of years ago, we commissioned my nephew who is in art school to design a logo for our troop. We put it on t-shirts, note cards, swaps and stickers. We might need something new before our next big trip.
At next week's leader meeting, we'll be celebrating Leader Appreciation Month. The tea wallets from this tutorial are my latest assembly-line, stash busting project. If I can make 40 in 8 days, they will be gifts for my leaders. Shhh. I think only a couple of them read my blog.I just went looking for buttons for the tea wallets. My mother's old sewing basket is full of buttons still on their original cards. 31 cents! I love the strip of double knit polyester with the covered buttons sewn on. I'll have to ask mom what the garment was.And a little something for the Boy Scout in my house. A big pile of fabric from Alderwood Quilts. Super service!! We had a nice chat about this line of fabric and Eagle Scouts. Why doesn't GSUSA license some fabric already?! I'm hopeful it will happen before the centennial in 2012. I don't have a plan yet for Pete's Boy Scout quilt, but I wanted to get the fabric before it is no longer available, although it's in its 3rd printing. I told him it will be his Eagle quilt and he's good with that. He's ready for his board of review to advance to the next rank. (I'm a bad mother. I can't remember which one.)Julia is getting her application together for her Girl Scout Silver Award project. You'll be seeing her soon as a guest blogger. Here's a hint: QOV.

Ciao,
Tina

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Easy Peasy

Let me just say one more time that Linda Warren is a genius! Check out my Easy Weave from her pattern Dimensional Designs # 1. I told you yesterday I wanted to hang it over the computer. Here it is! The top is pinned to a different wallhanging. Don't know when I'll get around to quilting it.
This one is even easier than the Overlay. It's just one block, repeated over and over. Brilliant!I was able to finish the top in a day, taking time out to sell Girl Scout cookies. I especially appreciate Linda's clear pressing instructions. It makes assembly a breeze. If you didn't order Easy Overlay yet, buy both!

I bought a new iron at Benny's. It works just fine for $12.99. I don't think I'll ever own a Rowenta.Enjoy a day of rest.
Ciao,
Tina

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy National Quilting Day!

Wow. This week was full of fun Days! Visit the National Quilting Association for a free pattern specially designed for today.

It will be a busy weekend, but I'm going to try to squeeze in something quilty. I hope to start another Dimensional Design by Linda Warren. I'll be making it smaller to fit the wall space above the computer. The bright colors make me happy.Late last night, I finished step 4 of Bears in the Farmhouse in plenty of time to meet the deadline. I need deadlines! Celebrate the day by doing something quilty!

Ciao,
Tina

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Saint Joseph's Day!

My family has fully embraced the Rhode Island customs of wearing red and eating zeppole on March 19. I googled and found out there are other pockets of Italian Americans who celebrate this feast day, especially in New Orleans. In honor of my Italian heritage, I thought I'd share my ancestors with you today. Here are my parents visitng my mother's hometown of Giovinazzo, near Bari. It was my mother's only trip back to Italy.
I knew three grandparents growing up. (My father's father had died before I was born.) We lived in a 2-family house; our family upstairs and my mother's parents downstairs. So this grandmother was called Grandma Downstairs. This was the chair she sat in every day to pray. I reupholstered it recently with a panel left over from my mother's 1950's curtains. Grandma took care of the flower gardens and Grandpa grew tomatoes, peppers, beans, herbs and raspberries (my favorite!).This is the Other Grandma. Yes, that's what we called her. This is the photo on her Citizenship papers. She was a character. She didn't read or write much, but you could not cheat her out of one penny. She ran a boarding house (everyone called it the Big House) and a home business selling cleaning products. The only handwork I remember her doing was broomstick crochet. She was a wild teenager and had a tattoo on her wrist from a visit with the gypsies. A fortune teller predicted she'd lived to be 100, but she only made it to 96. I loved riding my bike to her house in May to pick lilies of the valley and lilacs. Can you imagine the delicious scent as I rode home with those flowers in my basket?Grandma Downstairs was a master with a needle. She could tailor men's suits and made little tuxedos for my brothers when they were dancers. She did incredible embroidery with pulled threads. And when her eyes started to fail, she crochetd afghans. I have some beautiful work I'll show you another day. This quilt was in her trousseau, but we don't think she made it. It's sateen with a wool batt and weighs a ton! I love the daisy quilting. When she came to America, it was too big for her new bed, so she cut it down. That one rounded corner is the only one left. I found pieces of the quilt in the seat of her chair when I took it apart.I wanted to show you my mother's paternal grandmother because she scares my kids.
A bonus photo of my dad wearing red on Christmas. He knew he looked good!Eat some Italian food today!
Ciao,
Tina

P.S. I received a package yesterday from Diane in Canada. Thanks for all the Girl Guide goodies, Diane!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Sun

The sun is shining again today and we're starting to warm up. This time of the morning, the sun shines directly onto my machine. I love the light and warmth, but the glare can be too much. Time for blogging and cleaning. I'm making progress on the log cabin blocks. I am liking them too much to donate to the raffle. Thank you for your comments and suggestions! I think I'll finish Cheaper by the Dozen for the raffle.I took a walk around the house yesterday, looking for signs of spring. No flowers yet. This club moss is a beautiful, bright shade of green.
The hens and chicks in my rock garden exploded last year. I was a geology major, so I have rock samples from New York, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. The biggest ones are in the rock garden at the base of the bird bath.
There was frost on the grass this morning, so I guess I'll wait a little longer before I get out to clean the flower beds.

I hope the sun is shining on you today!
Ciao,
Tina

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What would you do?

My son's 8th grade class is taking a trip to Washington, DC in May. The parent fundraising committee was looking for ideas, so naturally, I volunteered to make a quilt. Wouldn't you? I was thinking about Lincoln's Birthday and decided to make them a log cabin quilt to raffle. It fits with the theme of the trip, they are easy to make and I'd use more stash.
(these are the blocks I just made)

At the committee meeting, it was decided to have a daily raffle for several weeks leading up to the trip. Now that my donation will be one of 10-20 prizes, should I spend as much time on it? (Wow, that's self-centered!) Do I stick with the original log cabin (lap size) or quilt a top that is already made?

I made this disappearing 9-patch as a class sample with the intention of donating it to Quilts of Valor. Now that Julia is planning to make QOVs for her Girl Scout Silver Award project, she could finish it. I love this quilt top.This was another QOV project. Two years ago I helped a Brownie troop make a QOV. This was my sample top to test the pattern and use for show & tell. The pattern is Cheaper by the Dozen, made with 12 fat quarters. I could go either way on this one. QOV or DC raffle.
So what would you do? Log Cabin, disappearing 9-patch or Brownie top? I told them I'd have it done by April 1.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's time to put the corned beef in the crock pot for my children who are about 1/4 Irish. Bill is in DC this week, so he'll have to find his own corned beef and cabbage.

Ciao,
Tina

Monday, March 16, 2009

Etsy Shop is Open!

Yeah! My Etsy shop is finally open. There are only a couple of pins listed, but it's a start. I'd better get busy sewing little quilt blocks. Seaside Stitches wasn't available : ( so I'm using my old Etsy account that I used as a buyer. I'll put a link in the sidebar.A cold virus is traveling around our family. Pete had it last week, and Bill and Julia got it yesterday. Bill was in bed all day. Julia stayed home from school today to sleep.
Look what I found when I was searching Etsy for other quilt block pins. Shady Grove Studios is incredible! Stained glass, hand dyed fabric and quilt blocks. Gorgeous. I'm putting her jewelry and fabric on my Mother's Day wish list.I'll be going to a guild committee meeting today to help plan our charity sewing day. I'll be bringing some quilt ideas from blogland!
Ciao,
Tina

P.S. I almost forgot. It's Weight Loss Monday. I lost 2 pounds last week for a total of 5! I'm making healthier choices and trying to exercise more. The zeppole didn't help, but I only ate half.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Catching Up

It's been a busy week, so I didn't have much time to sew. Quilters Janet and Ellie came over for lunch on Wednesday. We had a great time laughing and eating the delicious blueberry pie that Ellie baked.

After lunch, Janet and I needed to make our Artist Trading Cards for the guild swap that night. I turned on my trusty little blue iron, but he didn't heat up. Oh, the horror! I've had this iron since I started college. He became the designated quilting/crafting iron many years ago and has survived being dropped countless times. I guess it was just too much for him. Bill offered to try to fix him, but I think its' time to let him go. Rest in Peace, my little friend.Here's my ATC for the March swap theme of Movement or Texture. I printed the hula dancer on regular paper, sewed a piece of vinyl on top and poured in some tiny hole-less glass beads.
Thursday night was a Girl Scout leader meeting. Then Friday night we went to a Providence Bruins game. The school pep band that Pete plays in performed during the intermissions between periods, when the pee-wee hockey teams come out to play.
That's Pete on the drum set in the blue cap. I need a new camera if I ever hope to get a good picture of him drumming! As the drummer's family, it was our responsibility to lug the drums. Not fun, but it was worth it. The band was awesome and sounded like a college pep band. Pete rocks on Wipe Out!Oh, yeah. There was a hockey game, too. The P Bruins beat the Portland Pirates, 4-3. We had a fun day yesterday. I took the teenagers to the batting cages to get ready for try-outs next week. Julia and her friend Jess were in the softball cage on the right, and Pete and Julia's boyfriend Josh were in the baseball cage on the left. This session confirmed for Julia that she doesn't like fast pitch, and she'll stick with the slow pitch recreational league. I had some errands to do, and the teenagers had a blast in the dollar store. They had a silly string war when we got home. It's zeppole season in Rhode Island! Zeppole is an Italian pastry associated with the feast of Saint Joseph on March 19. I'm as Italian as an American can get, but I didn't know about this tradition until we moved to RI. The upstate NY Italians aren't into zeppole. I don't remember acknowledging St. Joseph's Day, either. We decided to start celebrating early and bought 3 for the 6 of us. So yummy!Now we're all caught up. I'm off to do some sewing, probably on Bears in the Farmhouse, so I can meet the next deadline.
Ciao,
Tina

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Winner Wednesday

We have a winner in my first ever giveaway! Actually, I chose two winners. Let me explain.
With minutes to spare before the bus arrived this morning, I asked Julia and Pete to help me with the drawing. We printed the comments, cut them apart, and put them in a bowl. We started with a smaller bowl and Pete soon pointed out that we needed a bigger bowl. They were both pleasantly surprised to read your wonderful comments. Pete's favorite was "YOUR PINS ROCK!" Thanks, Beth!
Pete assigned Julia the task of selecting the winning entry. She pulled one out and said:"No way! It's Karen!" You see, Karen is the only blogger that we know personally. We're really glad that she won, but to be fair, I decided to pull another winner. Congratulations to Leona! Karen and Leona will both receive their choice of 3 pins. Thank you to all of you for your kind words. I'll keep you posted on my Etsy shop. It's been such a busy week already, I'm hoping to have the shop open by the weekend.

Have a great day!
Ciao,
Tina

Monday, March 9, 2009

More from the Getaway

Our annual quilting getaway, titled the Great Escape, is held at an environmental education center in the middle of the woods. This tree-lined road leading to the site reminds me of the Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga, NY.
It's mud season in New England. The parking lot is usually messy, but this was the worst mud we can remember.Here is the main room where we sew and eat. We leave enough tables free for dining and use them for cutting and laying things out between meals.One of the best things about a retreat is not needing to cook or clean for 48 hours. The food here is always terrific! You can see 2 of my class samples on the wall and Pat's owls on her machine.Since I was teaching on Saturday, I worked on this basket applique when I could. It was great to have Maria there to answer my many applique questions! This is the January block for A Tisket, A Tasket. Now I'm only a month behind! I decided to make vertical, long wall hangings with 3 blocks. I chose bright fabrics for Jan, Feb and March to brighten up the gray winter months.Here is my work station. I always bring my own chair. (Pete broke the back and fixed it with duct tape.) The rolling drawers are a great way to organize my tools and it's easy to roll in from the car. You can barely see the box of Red Sox tissues that Rose gave me with a little album filled with newspaper clippings about Dustin Pedroia. And she's a Yankees fan. Thanks, Rose! (More on Dustin another day.)In action, working on step 3 of Bears in the Farmhouse.I got all 12 of my bears paw blocks done, so I brought them out to meet Pete, the bear. He was carved with a chainsaw at a woodcarver's retreat several years ago.Don't forget to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on Friday's post.

Ciao,
Tina