Friday, July 31, 2009

Day Thirty-One--The Last Day of July

Thirty-one (actually 32, but who's counting) straight days of blogging--and I'm not quite sure what to think. Even when I wasn't blogging every day, I always checked my blog list to see if anyone had posted that day. And some did every day, some not every day and some not very often. But now I notice that virtually no one whose blog I follow is posting every day! I never seem to be in synch on anything!

One thing I noticed about blogging every day is that I took time to really look at things to see if anything was blogworthy (blogworthiness is in the eye of the beholder, obviously) and that the month of July was probably the slowest month so far this year! All the other months seemed to go by in a blur--making me stare openmouthed at the last date I posted and wondering where all the time went. So maybe blogging every day (or at least more often) is a good way to slow life down. The most amazing thing of all is that so many people seem to enjoy these random thoughts and pictures. My thanks to you all for hanging in (or is that hanging ON?).

At the hand-pieced Drunkard's Path class today, that prolific Judy E. from Auburn brought in both of her hand pieced bliss tops as well as her son's wedding quilt. Okay, can you believe this? The wedding isn't for two more weeks and she has the quilt done and bound! Lacks just the label! She makes so many of us (me included) look like a slacker!

But, I digress! First up is her bliss quilt done in Christmas fabrics. It is so rich and warm looking. (Please remember that, as always, the pictures are my fault, not the quilter's!)

On her non-Christmas bliss, Judy had used a stripe--remember I showed you a portion in another post? Well, she wanted the corners to maintain the pattern (they would normally be cut as half-square triangles), so she worked to get them just right by piecing them! They are wonderful!

Here's a pic of the whole quilt. Not a good representation of the colors--the detail shot is pretty true. She did both these quilts in the time most students did one! And did the wedding quilt as well! Fabulous job, Judy!
Well, I'd better not keep Richard waiting any longer--he's sitting at the computer hitting the refresh button hoping that this post will be extra special--we'll have to stay tuned to the comments to see if it met his expectations!
I know I've said this many times, but you each need to remember how special and unique you are. No one can be a better you than you are. It may look like someone has so much more than you do, but you don't necessarily know what burdens come with those perceived riches. I am trying every day to be thankful for the many blessings I receive--and there are many. I count each of you among those blessings.
Hugs to you all,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day Thirty

I give you the many faces of Callie:

This morning, as I was at the computer, she decided to inspect my hand blanket stitching. That's the piece I've been working on from Quiltmaker. Eventually I will show you more of it! For now, enjoy Callie--she's usually not very cooperative!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day Twenty-Nine

Two of the winners from the 100th post have claimed their prizes.

Sheila (aka Annoying) chose the Winter pattern. Lots of practice with sharp outer and inner points!
And WLDFLR (who was the first to correctly identify the clematis seed head) chose the Spring pattern. A very full block with lots of "shoreline" to perfect those applique stitches!

I have not forgotten Richard--still trying to decide what will be best!
I've spent part of the day basting quilt sandwiches for the retreat. Also made a couple potholders as a gift and assembled small gifts for our library's reading reward program. And I'm still salting slugs several times a day--they just will not give up.
More on the flip side!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day Twenty-Eight

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I have two applique classes today in the Syracuse area, so will be out and about most of the day. I did finish the sixth applique block last night--I will post pics in the next few days.

There is so much beauty in the small stuff--take time to really look at something up close today.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day Twenty-Seven

In my heart I knew that blogging every day would have an adverse effect. I suspect (from the comments) that you have grown accustomed to my posting every day. And that you will suffer varying degrees of withdrawal when the end of the month comes. Some offered a compromise--every other day--or twice a week. It almost seems like weaning oneself off drugs or tobacco!

I must also admit that it has been kind of fun to post every day. But some out there must think my blog is the biggest waste of cyberspace ever! Blah, blah, infinitum.

So here's the deal of the moment (subject to change at the whim of the blogger (that's me) not the bloggees (that's you all): I will try to post every day. The key word is TRY. There will probably be days that I miss--remember I am trying to get a life. But rest assured that, as Arnie says: I'LL BE BAAACK!

Deal or no deal? (Okay, you really have no choice--but thanks for playing!) I'm outta here for tonight. Two classes tomorrow.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day Twenty-Six

To make your knowledge of clematis seed heads complete, here is a picture of what they look like as they dry. WLDFLR brought these to me when she claimed her prize and explained that they can be stuck to florist wire and painted for use in bouquets. They certainly look much different that the picture on the 100th post.
Here's a close-up--so soft and furry. So unlike the spiky, harsh-looking first stage.

Di was right--Callie was quite miffed about being excluded from the blog. You can see the hairy eyeball she's giving me!

She is, of course, sitting right in the middle of my cutting mat and island. When she decided she might be a "blog girl", she sat up so pretty--just like a cover girl should. Then, bored with the whole process, she jumped down and tore off into the nether regions of the house.
Class this afternoon was excellent. I believe all the students got both blocks done and we picked out sashing and borders for one quilt and started the process on another.
Gotta run for now. Happy start to your work week!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day Twenty-Five

Richard's comments from yesterday's post prompted me to take pictures of my hops vines to share with you. First is the picture of my shed (yes, the one I fell off the ramps). It is actually the box from a truck that used to haul caskets! It has a hardwood floor and the shelves for the caskets are still in it. It's waterproof, has swinging doors on one end and holds all my gardening equipment and snowblower. For my birthday this year, my youngest brother installed vinyl lattice with the idea that I could run vines up the side of the shed.

My mom bought me the two hops vines. One is the standard green while the other is a new variety in yellow. The yellow attracted more slugs and thus got a slower start. I left room in the middle for the Joseph's Coat rose, which is also a climber. I have two small hostas (also slug-damaged) between the rose and each hops vine. Then I added a bleeding heart on the east end.

An up-to-the-minute photo of the rose bush.

A view up through the hops vines.

A close-up of the leaves and the blossoms.

The yellow variety.

The green vine has found its way over to the yellow and has started to intertwine. The hops vine is non-invasive--meaning it does not rip out your siding or do other damage. (I know this because my silver lace on the west side of the house tore down the arbor and went under the siding and came out under a second story window!)
If you have a chance, please read "Dear Blog" on the Yarn Harlot's site (see My Blog List for the link). My heart goes out to her. I love her blog and have found her to be entertaining, self-effacing and kind. She's right--it's so easy to be unkind when you think you are anonymous. But someone is always on the other end of the tirade--words can hurt more than any weapon man has designed. Please remember to be kind--everyone is stuggling with some burden. I am always thankful that mine seem so small when compared with someone else's.
I'll be off to class tomorrow. It's a machine piecing class, so I'm confident that my hand will be fine. I'm a bit worried about rotary cutting--something I definitely need to do in the next couple days. The good news? I can cut accurately with either hand. The bad news? You still need one hand to hold the ruler steady. Not sure how to handle this yet, but I'm thinking...always thinking!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day Twenty-Four

You can all rest easy--it looks like I will live! Had a follow-up visit to my regular doctor who just shook her head and tested my hand/wrist range of motion, looked at the puncture wound and winced and said to come back in if things changed over the next week. Other than the awful black/purple color of several parts of my body, I'm doing okay. I'm still splinting and will ice later, but I am moving forward. I still consider myself lucky that I didn't do more damage.

Take a look at this Joseph's Coat rose today! Isn't it beautiful? It will eventually climb the trellis where it will meet my two Hops vines. This is just one rose with so many different colored buds/blossoms.

Here is the newest picture (and probably last) of the rose I posted several days ago. It's truly amazing to watch the color change by the day.

While out walking the lower part of the lawn this morning, I took another view of the hollyhock bed.

I'm getting things ready for my retreat in mid-August as well as getting my applique sampler done. I have five blocks done and the sixth one is underway. I had one piece appliqued, had started another and basted a third when I found a flaw in the background fabric. Part of the flaw would have been covered by an appliqued flower, but the other part wasn't. So I removed all three pieces and moved them to a new piece of background. That's one reason it is always wise to buy more fabric than you think you'll need!
Okay, Di, how are the yo-yos coming? I'm keeping my end of the bargain--how about you? Thanks, Sheila for the Brett Cullen info--who knew? But Coke over Pepsi? Could be a deal breaker ;-)
Good night, all! Are you remembering how special you all are?
P.S. Welcome to blogland, Earlene Fowler! Earlene is one of my favorite authors and I have added her to my blog list. If you haven't read any of her books, please do so--you'll love them!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day Twenty-Three

Many thanks for the expressions of concern over my extreme clutziness! I have iced and splinted all day and taken aspirin. Not too bad, but I think I could be in the Guiness Book of World Records for ugliest and biggest bruise on a hand/arm! It's hard to be inactive in the middle of classes and new samples. But I figure I will heal faster if I do what the doctors say--so I am trying. Have been watching "Something to Talk About" with Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid--just love that movie--especially Brett Cullen--hubba hubba! (No, I am not taking codeine or other stronger drugs--have you looked at the man?!?!) Am also reading the new Debbie Macomber book from her Blossom Street series.

Sorry not to have better pics tonight--but you know.... Isn't it fascinating the color range and patterning on even a single moth? And, the rose I have shown you each day is now a dark rose color. I'll try to get pics tomorrow. Almost 10 blossoms are coming out at the same time!

Will close for now. Be safe -- or wear armor!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day Twenty-Two

In an unprecidented move today, I took a major tumble from the ramp on my garden shed and hurt myself--please remember that style and grace are my middle names ;-) I thought that I might have broken my right hand/wrist, so I did go to the ER. The good news: No broken bones. The bad news: Major sprain with contusions from my finger tips to my elbow. I have an ace bandage and a splint to stabilize the hand. So I am typing this post with my left hand and one finger on my right. Definitely not very ergonomic. I guess handwork is not an option for a few days at least. I also have scraped knees and a puncture wound to my right leg just next to the bone half way between the knee and ankle. Definitely not one of my better moments!

My trumpet vine is in full blossom, so I am including pictures here.

Remember the bird at the top of the birdhouse? You can hardly see it now!
I'm going to go ice my hand and peroxide my scrapes and puncture wound. Yes, that's probably me screaming in a few minutes if you hear a loud noise!
P.S. Sheila: Yes, Sunday is the mini star sampler and we are still doing blocks. And Hobbs Thermore is probably still your best bet at the moment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day Twenty-One

Happy Tuesday! It's been a great day here at the Stroud household. Did some applique (I'm two leaves away from having block five done), spent time with my mom, got to see a horse being trained for a driving competition, went to the library and am now blogging. Ordinary stuff, but really, really good. Hope your day was as satisfying.

Jean H. of Cortland made me this beautiful Temari ball. The colors are much more vibrant than the pictures shows--rich pinks and greens against black, with gold accents. I have it on top of my roll-top desk where I see it every day. Thanks again, Jean--I will treasure it always.

Yesterday I showed you two pictures of my Joseph's Coat rose--both pictures were of the same blossom. Here is the same rose today--see the difference in the color? It's just amazing to watch. I have over 30 more blossoms on this rose--it will be so exciting to see it in full bloom.

As a concerned US citizen, I am going to provide you with phone numbers to vote NO to both health care and the Cap and Trade bills. If you haven't heard, health care will only be provided to healthy people. There will be profiling and if you have a pre-existing condition, you will not have health care and you will not be able to continue with private insurance. As for Cap & Trade, our utility bills will double or triple. If you drive an older car, lots of luck trying to sell it, and you will have to pay more taxes if it is not getting X miles per gallon. If you are going to vote yes, please do not use these numbers--I have so decreed that you must vote NO!

202-456-1111 Direct for comments
202-456-1414 White House

It's a short post for tonight. I really want to get that fifth block done. I will post pics when it is a bit further along. I am very pleased so far and hate to quit working on it. But I do need to get some other things done for a couple closer deadlines.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Day Twenty

Apparently winners get up early! I have already heard from WLDFLR and Sheila! This was fun!

The first two pictures today are of my new climbing rose--Joseph's Coat. All the blossoms are slightly different in color and also change as they age. This is my very first blossom, so I will post other pics as the roses unfurl. Delicious scent as well. (Scratch picture lightly and then hold your nose close to your screen. Smell it?)

I'm not sure if I should even guess how many of you did that! But I just couldn't resist. See what happens when I post early in the day?
Here is one bed of hollyhocks complete with birdhouse and birdbath. This is a fresh-from-the-camera pictures taken this morning! Can it be that I am becoming a morning person? I really don't think so!

Today I am off to Watkins Glen to teach two classes of Care and Feeding of Your Featherweight. The machines leave working great and looking like a million bucks. I just love my machine(s)!
Have a spectacular Monday and I'll see you again tomorrow. Same bat channel, but the time is anybody's guess!
P.S. Check out Richard Shackelford's most recent post--great pics of three generations of winners at the quilt show! Posted by the proud husband/father/grandpa--can't beat that!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day Nineteen - and the Winners Are

Thank you to everyone who left a comment and/or a guess on my 100th post! It was great fun reading the comments and I am amazed that so many people were able to guess the mystery photo's identity. I never would have known had I not taken the photo!

Without further ado, here are the winners. I made a list of all respondents (doesn't that sound legal?) in the order of posting. No one was counted twice, so there were 9 comments. The random number generator decreed #2 as the winner--Sheila!!!! (Sorry, no autographed or even unautographed Patrick Swayze undies ;-)) Sheila, you have won your choice of one of my applique patterns. When I see you next, I will bring the assortment and let you choose. Once she has chosen, I will post a picture of her with her pattern.

There were five correct guesses for the mystery photo. Yes, it was a clematis seed head--one from the white clematis I used in a prior post. They certainly look much different! The random number generator has decreed that #4 is the winner--Richard! I'm guessing you probably don't want a pattern, so I will think up something else for you!

Because WLDFLR was the first to correctly identify the seed head (and to give tips on using them), I am awarding her a prize as well. Do you applique? If so, I would like to send you one of my cutwork patterns. If not, I'll think up something else! WLDFLR, please email me at to let me know and to give me your snail mail address.
See, it pays to play! That's it for tonight. I know, I know, what a gip on the pictures tonight! Tomorrow I'll post something breathtaking (hee hee, yeah, okay...). Til then, congratulations to the winners!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day Eighteen

Thanks to all of you who are posting comments! Time is running out to be eligible for the two prizes! And that is by midnight Eastern Standard Time. Today, July 18!
Just a few photos tonight. This rabbit looks so innocent and cute--right up til he eats my plants! But I think the grass has been so lush this year that it hasn't been such a problem.

Two pics of the same male cardinal and then one of the female. They are a pair--I have another photo of them together but it isn't as clear.

I have three blocks done on my applique sampler. Another is almost cut out and I may have that done tonight--or not. This getting up earlier in the morning makes for a short night--so unlike my usual night owl habits. Not sure why the disturbance to my natural rhythms, but I am trying to work earlier in the day so I can get as much done as before. Okay, that's my story...and I'm sticking with it!
See you on the flip side with the winners!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day Seventeen

More pictures from yesterday's Bliss class. First up are Sue R. and Sharon G. It cracks me up to see a "fancy" machine next to a Featherweight! In the picture yesterday with Beth and Judy, you see the same configuration! Both so serious--setting on point takes a bit of thought!

Here is a close-up of Sue's quilt. She used orientals with a purple background. Stunning!

And here is Kathy with her quilt laid out. She played brights against a black background and has a cat print on black border.

Great job, ladies! It is such a privilege to have such talented students! You all do me proud!
I thought I would post a bit earlier today--see if ya'll are paying attention!
Til tomorrow,
P.S. Diane, yes, there are yellow hollyhocks. I used to have some, and I just saw yellow ones in someone's yard this morning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day Sixteen

What a wonderful day! Five students joined me for a setting class for Monthly Bliss 2. Monthly Bliss 2 is the second installation in my hand piecing series. Students made 18 seven-inch finished blocks over a 10 month period. We met today to set the blocks together. I am not a purist--I use the sewing machine to set my blocks. Students have the option to do hand or machine. These are five of the nicest ladies you would ever want to meet. Because I actually remembered to take pictures and lots of them, I am splitting them over two posts.

First up is Beth B. from Auburn, New York. This is her finished Monthly Bliss 1 quilt top. She is planning to hand quilt it and is justifiably proud of her work!

Here is a picture of Beth and Judy E.; they are friends who enjoy doing almost everything together!

Judy actually made two of these quilt tops at the same time! Here is her first one; the second one is made with Christmas fabrics. Beth and Judy ended up buying the same Christmas fabrics for Monthly Bliss 2. Surprisingly, the blocks are very different and the quilts don't look much alike! They did not compare their fabric choices when laying out their blocks, so it was wonderful to see how different each block looked. Judy's choice of a stripe for the setting triangles was especially effective. Another great job!

Sorry, Judy, but I couldn't resist! This picture is just priceless! Thanks for being such a good sport!

Tomorrow I'll share more pictures--stay tuned! Don't forget to leave a comment on the Day Fifteen post or you won't be eligible to win!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day Fifteen--And My 100th Post!!!!

Yes, I know it is hard to believe, but this is my 100th post! I know it comes faster when you post more often, but I have to tell you that posting every day is hard! But I have heard from many of you how much you are enjoying it and you can still look forward to 15 more days of daily blogging--after that????

In honor of my 100th post, I am having not one, but TWO contests! Prizes will be awarded!

Part one: Anyone who leaves a comment on this post by midnight on Saturday, July 18, will be eligible to win. So don't be shy, you can't win if you don't comment. I have many skills, but mind reading is not one of them!

Part two: Anyone who can correctly identify this item will be eligible for a second prize. You can guess in your comments post and I will keep track of who is correct for that second drawing. Can you feel the excitement? Remember, you can't win if you don't play. And you can take multiple guesses! In case you haven't figured it out yet--I love getting comments! It makes me happy! So, come on, make my day!

Okay, enough for tonight. Tomorrow I am hoping to show you some pictures of my stuff--or from the setting class I am having tomorrow for the Monthly Bliss hand piecing class. Block one of my applique sampler is done!



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day Fourteen

Eight women learned how to handle inside and outside points and curves today. Everyone did really well while honing their skills in needleturn applique. This is real needleturn applique, not that finger-press-me-under-stitch-me-down stuff some call needleturn. (I told you right up front that I am opinionated!)

Bought my spool of green thread, plus 10 fat quarters of batiks--like I need more fabric (insert eye roll here). But I did need more of my green for stems and leaves and I found an exact match--what are the odds of that? So I have half of my green stuff done on block one and will probably finish that tomorrow.

A few flower pictures for your nightly amusement. There is so much beauty all around us.

I just love that shade of pink. It's off to dreamland for me.
P.S. I am nearing my 100th blog--that means a contest is in order and I have a special surprise to that end. Stay tuned. And remember you have to play to be eligible to win--I'm warning you ahead.
P.P.S. Dick, I've tried about four times over the past few days to add a comment to your blog--it refuses to accept it. Not sure why, but always the same error message. Anyways--great pictures! I'm enjoying your blog very much!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day Thirteen

A bit nippy overnight, but a cool, windy, glorious day. I did some hand stitching, cut out the pieces for one of my new applique blocks, made the stems and overlay and basted part of the pieces onto the background. Now I can't find the green thread that I need! I have searched high and low to no avail, but luckily I will be in a quilt shop tomorrow that carries what I need! I have lots of other things to do until I get the thread.

Mowing the lawn was a priority today and I had to rake a few places and I did more weeding. Really need to weedeat, but I keep procrastinating about that.

These are pictures of my shrub roses. They form a U shape on the west side of the house and are interspersed with sedum. The sedum has overtaken most of the available space, so I am in the process of pulling it up. These roses are small but smell wonderful and will bloom from now until late fall.

Lynnie enjoyed herself today. She gets to run all over the yard and she knows to stay where I can see her at all times. She is exhausted tonight and is curled up in my sewing room next to me as I type this.
Have a good night, everyone.