Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Sewy Sunday

The Spring Sewing Party was such fun.  I got a lot of sewing done, but had to quit for awhile to get some Saturday errands done.  I spent all of my sewing time working on the green No Sew Swap and finally finished them today.  The ladies in this swap did such a good job of choosing fabrics and cutting the blocks.  Special thanks to Pat for coordinating this swap.  It was a lot of fun.  These are the last two blocks from the swap. 

I think I'm going to make another one of each pattern using my green fabrics.  That will give me 24 blocks, and then I'll see where we go from there.  I made the Square in Square with my greens today, and I like the way it turned out. 
I haven't made a DJ block in several days, so I got one more made this afternoon. 

I also had to make a swap block for February!  I couldn't believe it!  I almost forgot about it, so it will go out tomorrow.  A little late, but at least it's done.  I hope my partner likes it.

Then my last project for today was to make 2 small squares for a care quilt. 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Sewing Party 2

Today was Kelly's Spring Sewing Party, and I was able to spend many hours cutting, sewing and trying not to make too many mistakes.  I made a lot of progress on my green and cream blocks from Pat's (A Little of This and a Little of Pat) No Sew Block  Swap.  I have 2 left that I didn't have time to finish, but this is my progress for today. 

Aren't they pretty?  All these yummy fabrics were selected by the swap participants, with the actual block construction left to the recipient.  I don't think I made any real mistakes on them today, so I have 5 beautiful blocks to add to the project, for a total of 9.  They all look so good together, so I'm definitely going to make the time tomorrow to finish up the last two.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Sewing Party

Tomorrow's a Spring Sewing Party hosted by  Kelly at Charming Chatter.  I always have plenty to work on, so finding a project certainly isn't a problem.  I've started making the blocks for Pat's No Sew Block Swap, and hopefully will finish them tomorrow.  Here's a peek at what I've finished so far. 

Now let me tell you about the mistakes I made.  The first one I made was Pat's in the upper right hand corner.  All I had to do was the final cut for the pieces - the strips were already done.  Of course, I cut one of the corners wrong, making it 3 3/4" instead of 3 1/2" leaving me with one piece that was only 3 1/4".  I can fudge a little bit, but not a whole seam width.  So I substituted some green from my stash to make the block.  Then on the Friendship Star, the fabric I had for the light part of the star point was exactly the right length, but included the selvedge in the length, and again I substituted another green to finish the block.  I think they're all really pretty, and I'm anxious to see them all together when they're complete.

And, finally, I have a finish for February!  My Quilts For Kids quilt.  I signed up for OPAM this year, and I really think it might be a mistake for me.  I don't do many small projects - mainly bedsize quilts, and I'm primarily a hand quilter.  Things don't get done very quickly.  We'll see...if nothing else, I can always make more for Quilts for Kids.  They're a small, simple pattern and finish up so fast.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quilt for Kids

I didn't realize it had been so many days since I last posted, but what the heck...
I've been really pushing to get all the blocks done for my Dear Jane quilt.  I have 28 left to do, and I'm almost ready to set a deadline to have them done.  Of course, that just means that I'll have to start on the triangles.  I finally got my ruler for them. Now I just have to screw up my courage to attempt one.

This was the view out over our back yard this afternoon.  I know you can't tell it, but the flakes were big and fluffy, and though I'm sick to death of winter, it really was beautiful.  When is this just going to go away and let us get on to spring?

I finally got the batting and finished putting my 'Quilt for Kids' put together and quilted today.  I'm finishing the binding tonight while we watch still more Olympics, and will get it washed and ready to mail tomorrow.  I've checked my stash, and I don't have anything that would make a colorful kid quilt, so I'm going to buy some to make a girlie quilt to send them.  If you haven't seen this project yet, go here to check it out.  Sorry the picture is fuzzy and the colors so washed out.  It is such a colorful little quilt!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lotsa Sewing Going On

I never did get out to get some batting, so my little Downey quilt isn't finished yet.  Maybe tomorrow...

I spent my sewing room time on my Dear Jane blocks, and I was able to finish 3 Friday, 3 yesterday, and 3 today.  Don't worry, I'm not going to show them all to you - too many pictures.  Some were really difficult, and you can tell from the result that I had a lot of trouble.  One thing I've learned from the Dear Jane listserv is that finished is better than perfect!  Thank goodness - I'd have to give up on this craft if it required perfection!  But these little 4  1/2 inch sweeties are so addictive.  I love making them.  The blocks will be finished soon, and then I have to start on the triangles.  I'm not sure I'm going to love them.

I've really cut back on joining swaps, but I still do one each month, and keep track of what's available on  SwapBot.  I have one that needs to be to its new home by the 26th, so I got it ready today.  I hope she likes it. 

And then, just so it doesn't feel lonely, I made one more block for SBS.  I like the way it turned out.

There's a wonderful giveaway over on Gigi's Thimble.  Just click on the button in the sidebar.  She has such beautiful items.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Downy Quilts for Kids

The mailman brought me another goodie yessterday.  It was my kit for the Downy Quilts for Kids program.  Look at these beautiful colors!  What kid wouldn't love a guitar quilt in these great, bright colors.  I got the top pieced today, but I won't show it to you until I finish it.  The pattern is simple and only took about an hour to put together, so hopefully I can complete it tomorrow. 

A little more of the Egypt trip....
On our last night in Cairo, we went to the laser light and sound show at the Sphinx and Pyramids.  It was a beautiful progrm, but unfortunately, it's not really possible to get decent pictures. 
On to Luxor.  This is the first sight we had as we came into the city.  They are excavating an avenue of sphinxes.  We saw many more sphinxes  at the Temple of Luxor.

According to our guide, Sam, the Temple of Luxor is the largest complex in the country, and he had a lot to say about it.  I wish I could have recorded it.  So since he was such a big part of our trip, here he is telling us about some of the damage that was done to the complex by the soldiers of Napoleon.  Those gouges in the stone are where they sharpened their knives.  He was very knowledgeable and kept it all very interesting.  There were actually names and dates carved into the stone, but they were about 30 feet high.  Sam said that the temple was covered by silt from the Nile, and that was ground level at the time the soldiers where there.

This temple has a few spots that still show some of the color that decorated it.  It's all on the ceiling and tops of the columns since that was the most protected area.

And one last picture for tonight, back in Cairo.  Here I am in a very small pyramid next to the pyramid of Cheops.  According to the guide who showed me through it, it was the tomb of the daughter of Cheops.  Don't I look just like the quintessential little old lady tourist?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

♥ Happy Valentines Day♥ 
I hope everyone had a wonderful day.  We celebrated my birthday today with dinner out, and my hubby gave me chocolates as a valentine.  Yum.

I had time to sew today and thought I'd first make a Sylvia's Bridal Quilt block.  They're usually not too difficult, so I thought half an hour and I'd be done.  Well, I spent more than 2 hours working on this block, spending most of that time ripping out.  It was very frustrating.  So, I got the whole block put together, was admiring my work and realized something wasn't right.  It took a minute, but I finally realized that I had used the wrong color on one of the pieces.  There should be 8 pink inward points around, not just 4.  I had made them with the purple print.  I doubt that I'll redo the block - done is better than perfect.

Then I went on to the blocks I really wanted to do, the DJs.  I finished these 2 today, and doing both of them didn't take me nearly as long as to do the 1 SBQ block!  The blue one really isn't as wonky as this picture looks.  I should have taken a better picture.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Good Laugh

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Cecelia, happy birthday to me!  I can't believe another one has come around.  Just one more year until Medicare, and even the government will consider me old.  So I made myself a birthday cake...

I've been working on my DJ blocks, and have a few to show you.  I'm up to 108 out of 169, so my rows are filling up, and I'm starting to think about how I'm going to sash and join them.  They are so much fun that even when I struggle with one, I can hardly wait to start the next one.

Now a little Egypt story.  No pictures to go with it, as you'll understand.  First of all, the first temple we visited was the Temple of Luxor, the largest temple complex in Egypt.  I'll show you pictures of it later, but it just set the stage for the story.  Our guide, Sam, told us the story of one of the ancient gods, Ming.  To begin with, he wasn't always a god, but just a man - a man who was so trusted that he was left alone with all the women of the town when all the rest went off to war.  They were gone a long time, and when they came home, there were many many babies.  To punish him, they cut off one arm and one leg and banished him to the desert.  There he thrived, and at some point was named him the god of fertility.  I took a picture of his carving from the temple, but it didn't turn out.  If you really want to see it, you can google it and you'll get the picture.  Since he was the god of fertility, you can use your imagination and get a good picture in your mind.  Now, for the rest of the story I want you to use your imagination so that I don't have to actually write what I saw.
So on with the story, when we were in Hurghada, a very modern beach city, I finally found a shop where I could just look without too much interference from the owner.  However, whenever he noticed that I seemed to be spending much time looking at one thing, he was right there to try to talk me into it.  Anyway, after I had chosen what I wanted, I started just looking around while he wrapped and wrote up our purchases, and the first thing that caught my attention was a very large symbol of fertility standing upright on the shelf.  I couldn't believe it, but realized that it had an ashtray at the base.  I started to laugh, which caught the attention of the vendor who jumped up and said, "Oh, does madam like this? I have larger ones and smaller ones, all sizes. I have brown ones in addition to this black one."  Meanwhile, I'm laughing so I can hardly speak, and he's picking it up and putting it with my purchases!  My first thought was where do you display such a thing?  In your display case with all your other souvenirs?  I was finally able to convince him that I didn't want it and he put it back.  And then, I started looking around again, and I was surrounded by them!  Almost every shelf!  More ashtrays in all sizes, and statues of Ming in all sizes, and other little statues that looked like they were some kind of a pipe.  Again I started laughing, and again, he was right there trying to add them to my purchases.  He was not at all embarrassed to try to talk this fat old woman into buying these very odd souvenirs.  It makes me laugh when I think about it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just another Friday

This has been a busy week, since I've finally recovered from the effects of the drastic time change from our trip.  I've had tons of laundry to do, and how does the house get dirty when you're not in it for 2 weeks?  I guess we really did it in those first few days home when we were both a little sick. 
Today, though, has been busy day of sewing.  I got 3 DJ blocks done, and put together a Valentine table runner.  (Little late you think?)  Actually, I need a February completion for OPAM, and the other things I'm working on are all long term projects which may or may not be completed this year , let alone this month.  I may just have to withdraw from the monthly project challenge, because I'm afraid that looking for a project that I can complete in the month will just take time away from the projects I really want to work on.
So anyway, back to Egypt....As I think I already told you, the first day of the tour was absolutely exhausting.  We visited the pyramids, the Sphinx, had lunch at an outdoor restaurant, visited the National Museum, and went to a bazaar.  The bus dropped us at the entrance to the restaurant, and as we went in, this was the scene - all those trussed up chickens on spits over the fire, and they smelled wonderful! 

On the way to the restaurant, our guide, Sam, had told us that pita bread is a regular part of the Egyptian diet, and that they are coated on one side with bran to increase the nutritional value.  Off to one side of the restaurant, this was the scene as the women baked the bread.  They sat on the ground, with these large shallow boxes beside them with the pitas ready for the oven.  The box is filled with bran, and as the pita is shaped, it's put into the box until it's baked.  I tell you, they were the best, softest pitas I've ever had. 

The meal was delicious, and after we'd eaten, we were taken to the museum.  We had to go through metal detectors to be sure we weren't bringing any cameras in, so this is the only picture I got of what could have been beautiful pictures.

Our last stop for the day was a bazaar.  By this time we were really exhausted, and in no mood for shoping.  The vendors don't make it easy to 'just look' as we all like to do.  If you look at the vendor or show any interest in the goods, it's almost impossible to get away from them.  We ended up just sitting at a cafe having a cup of tea with Sam.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Not Much Sewing Going On

I had hoped to have some quilty things to show you today, but even though I sewed for awhile today, I wasn't too thrilled with what I did.  So, no sewing for today...
Instead, I'll show you a couple a pictures from Egypt.  We've all heard of the pyramids and the Sphinx, but at the foot of the largest pyramid is a small museum devoted to a boat!  Out there in the desert!  Our guide, Sam (an Egyptologist) explained that there are differing explanations for them, but that they are considered death boats that carried that pharaoh's spirit from the time of death until he was entombed.  Whatever they were for, it's a really interesting thing to see.  Also, it's something I'd never heard of.

I didn't get any really good pictures of the pyyramids and the Sphinx together, but this will at least show their relationship to one another.  But one thing the picture doesn't show, is that right behind the photographer (me) there are buildings and streets and houses.  I just always thought that these wondrous monuments were out in the desert away from everything else, but they're really not.
And finally, another picture just because....  Here's hubby getting ready for a camel ride!  Even though you can't see it, he had the biggest smile on his face.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Home at Last

We are finally home!!  And what a welcome home after being in the desert to get back and race the storm home!  But it's beautiful outside, and I don't have to go out in it!  We got home on Friday, and I'm finally starting to feel normal.  I've fought a cold for days, and just really crashed yesterday.  Would you believe I haven't even been up to the sewing room yet?  I've just felt too lousy to do anything.  The bags aren't unpacked, and we have only the bare essentials of food in the house. 
The trip was absolutely completely amazing, and I'm going to share a few pictures with you.  I know, nobody really wants to see vacation pictures, so I'll just show you a few.  Would you believe that this is the view from poolside at our hotel?
Our first full day was spent visiting the Pyramids and Sphinx, the national museum, and then wound up at a bazaar.  Totally exhausting!!  The second day we spent a lot of time beside that pool.
This picture was taken from the top of the plateau of Giza where you can get all of the main pyramids into a picture.  What an awesome view it was.
And this last picture was just really cool.  Doesn't need a description.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring me more energy and time to spend with my sewing machine.