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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

She's learning

A quick post to let you know I've been at the hospital with my mother.  She had a pretty bad cut over her eye from her fall.  She couldn't remember who she was or where she was.  Her memory is coming back a little although she thinks she is at the airport waiting for a flight.  I don't know where she thinks she's going on a plane.  Just that each time they take her in a wheel chair to get tests done (they walk really fast) she thinks the window on the plane is open so she feels the wind on her face.  My father was a pilot in the air force.  Maybe she thinks she's riding with him.

Last night Ladybug saw the paper clip rug I was working on.  After a few of minutes watching me, she wanted to work on it too.  I wanted to show her how to work the paperclip rounds and she told me in no uncertain terms..... "I do it NaNa!"  Evidently she believes in being a fast learner.  Oh well, she has the right idea.  Now if I can get her to watch where the rounds are worked she might be the next rug maker in the family.

Now for something to eat and some rest.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Did I retire

Gudrun asked (in a comment) about my retirement.  Hmm... how to describe what I'm doing these days.  Yes, I did quit quilting - for a living.  I still have a few customers but only enough to give me spending money.  I have to support my quilting habit somehow.  I officially retired in January?  This year or last year?  I can't remember exactly.  I believe I first started working toward retirement in 2008.  I just finished the last of the quilt commitments a couple of weeks ago.  In other words, it took me all this time to finish up the quilts on my schedule. 

What happened for me to reitre?  Well hmm.... I was working 12 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Even on that busy schedule I had customers requesting their quilt be finished several weeks ahead of schedule.... and I did them.  I considered all the customers as friends and I didn't want to disappoint a friend.  I would work even longer hours to "work in" those quilts. 

I was constantly telling family and friends that I couldn't spend time with them because I had quilts to finish and then feeling guilty about it.  I dropped out of the art group and the quilt guild because I didn't have time to go to meetings. I couldn't go enjoy a simple lunch with friends because of the scheduled quilts.  I wasn't eating regularly.  I wasn't sleeping more than 3 or 4 hours a night.  I never got out of the house except to get groceries or to do something for my mother.  Then the illnesses started.  I was constantly sick.  If I wasn't sick at home with a flu like illness, I would be in the hospital with something or other.  Even a simple toothache turned into a hospital stay from infection raging through me.  For about a year (or maybe a little longer) I had back to back illnesses of one kind or another.

My grandkids were growing up without knowing who I really am.  I didn't realize it until one day my grandson told me he had a girlfriend.  "Girlfirend?  You don't need a girlfriend in middle school!  But Granny, I'm in high school."  Oh my!  Think how I felt that day.  I knew then that I was spending way, way too much time chained to the quilting machine.

Then there was my online friends.  I couldn't find time to just sit and type talk with friends.  I'm a member of three or four online email quilting groups but I put them all on vacation so I wouldn't get any emails.  I stayed an active member of only one.  Pretty soon that one group got set aside as I kept up with the heavy quilting schedule.  I read the messages but I didn't participate much.  You might see me talk about Kathi being my "lil sis" every so often.  That's because she and I have been online quilting friends for many years.  When Kathi and I  first started as members of what was then called the "shortcuts" list;  the people with longarm machines were the big sisters and those with shortarm machines were the little sisters.  Kathi's life and my life seem to mirror each other constantly.  Sometime we have things happen so similar that it gets spooky.  We became really good friends and I still call her lil' sis as an affectionate nick name. 

A person might think that with all the quilts I was getting done that I would have plenty of money.  That's not what happened to me.  I was spending my earnings just to keep working.  I spent money for convenience and quilting supplies.  I was paying high dollars for others to do things I should be doing myself but didn't have time to do.

What money that was left over, after paying for convenience and supplies, became the family emergency funds.  Not by choice but because I care about my family.  If someone was having a hard time, I gave them money to help out.  A nephew that was out of a job right before xmas got money to buy his kids toys.  My daughter constantly needed college tuition and book money.  My mother went into a nursing home so I paid the money to get her out of her rental lease.  My son committed suicide so I paid for his funeral and burial.  Whatever family member needed financial help.... I gave it to them.  Things like that seemed to happen over an over again.  Which left me working just to financially help others.

One day I woke up to reality.  I realized I was working but not having fun anymore.  My life had become nothing more than a to-do list of quilts waiting.  The quilting work was no longer because I liked it.... now it was a JOB.  The income simply was not worth the stress and illness!  What good was the income if I wasn't happy?  I think I was type-talking to Kathi one day when I said "I was happier when I had no quilting customers and no money."  When my kids were small, my hobbies were fun as well as functional.  Before I had customers lined up for months, I made quilts for charity and I was happy doing it.  It was after talking to Kathi that I decided to simplify my life again.  I would much rather have happiness in my life than all the quilting income.  So I decided to retire.  I should say semi-retire.  I have 4 customers and that's it.  Occasionally I may take another person's top to quilt but only because I think it might be fun to quilt it.  I will still do clothing memory quilts because these are special to my heart. 

I plan to work more with my blogs as instructional tools and possibly write a book or two.  I plan to create just for the fun of creating.  I plan to do more art.  I'm not sure if I want to create art quilts or cardboard art or rug art or "green" art.  None of my art will give me an income... no matter how much I would like it to.  That's ok though.  I can be very happy even when I'm completely broke.  I have a ton of fabric and art stuff which should keep me busy for a very long time.  Possibly the rest of  my life.  Hmm.... now that I think about it.... I wouldn't need any of my quilting supplies to be creative.  Cardboard is found everywhere and it's free.  There are bunches and bunches of free stuff getting put into a landfill everyday.  I can create with anything.  Everything from grocery bags to egg shells and fish scales to restaurant butter containers can become my art supplies.  

There will always be demands on my time.... but my time will no longer be held captive by a list of quilts to do and tons of deadlines.  I plan for my life to be simpler, slower, and more meaningful.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What did I get at Paducah

Hmm.... not a lot.... even though it cost a lot of money.  Nine items.  5 packs of fat quarters, 2 books, 1 chalk pen, and 1 chalk refill. 

Fabric is the last thing I needed.  I just couldn't resist those.  The books are for my inspiration and encouragement.  I love Laura's books.  I'm not sure if I will get into fusible applique quilts or not.  What's important to me (from the books) is her art style.  It's cartoony.  It's helpful for me to see other textile artists who do cartoon type work.  I tend to watch the work of other people who do cartoon type work so I don't feel alone.  My friend Marilyn (Metaphor in fabric) is another person I draw encouragement from when I do cartoon quilts.  Her work is always fun and whimsical. 

Yesterday I couldn't decide what to do.  I just grabbed the first thing my eyes caught and put it on the machine.  Remember the wild roses I did a few months ago?  I called them Andrew's roses.  The ones where the fabrics didn't appear to go together at all?  If you don't remember them.... click to see the before pictures and come back here to see this picture again.  The rose is about 24" X 24". 

Does it look better now?  More like the fabrics go together?  I covered it with sheer fabric.  I used an upholstery fabric scrap for the background. I'm doing some freehand embroidery on it.  There is no batting or backing yet.  I've been trying to decide whether to actually quilt it or simply do freehand embroidery and stretch it on a frame.  Or both.  If I decide to frame it, I would have to buy a frame that's about 30" X 30".  I'm not sure how much that would cost.  One frame might not cost much but 5 frames could get expensive.  I'll have to check on how much they would be.  This one is going to be a gift for the man who drew the rose when he was young.  Which way do you think the roses should be finished? 

I'm not sure what's going on with blogger today.  Some of the comments I could get posted and some won't post no matter what I do.  My mother has been moved from the hospital in Indiana to Baptist East here in Louisville.  I'll be with her the rest of the day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paducah trip

Good morning.  We made it to Paducah and back safely.  We got there on Tuesday afternoon.  Got checked into the hotel in plenty of time to rest.  My SIL is afraid of heights.  We were on the 4th floor.  She had a small panic attack on seeing how high we were.  I had her face the wall and grabbed her arm as we slowly made our way down the walkway to our room at the end.   I worked her through the panic attacks a little at a time, and by the time we left on Friday, she was walking it alone like a pro.  

After resting for awhile, we headed to Metropolis, IL to see Superman.  It was only 7 miles from our hotel.   

We went to the gambling boat.  I spent 3 hours playing the penny slots while my SIL went her own way.  I'm not much of a gambler but she loves it.  Of course I came out a winner.

That wasn't too bad since I only spent twenty to play for that long.  On our way out, just for the heck of it, I put two dollars in a dollar machine.  I said that whatever I won would be for Ladybug.  It would go into her college fund.  I won fifty dollars on the second pull.  I cashed out and left.  So Ladybug has fifty more dollars in her college fund.

On Wednesday morning we got to the show in plenty of time.

I walked around the first floor show area, taking a few photos of quilts, and visiting the vendors.  I could see the quilts when the crowds thinned out where I could get better pictures.  I took all my sissors to the booth to have them sharpened.  They remember me.  Each time I go to Paducah I visit their booth.  This guy has a very good memory for names and faces. 

I met several quilt "celebraties".  Including Laura Wasilowski of Chicago School of Fusing fame.  I bought two of her books.  I really wanted to bring home lots of her hand dyed fabrics but the cost was more than I could afford.  I really enjoyed talking with her and her husband.  He was fascinated with my shoes which were flip flops with lots of fuzzy yarn wrapped around the straps.  He also liked my paper clip rug weaving that I happened to have in my bag.  I'm hoping Laura will stop by my blog now and then to see how my art venture is going.  She's such a nice, friendly person.  I'm fascinated with her art because it's cartoony like mine.  Now if only I could figure out how to sell my art, like she does, I'd be a very happy person.

My SIL and I met up for lunch then decided to walk to Lower town.   We sat down at a bench across the street from the "hurt" books store to rest.  I sat my camera on the bench.  When we got up, I left the camera behind.  I didn't notice it gone until late that afternoon.  I thought it was in my bag all that time.  Imagine my disappointment when I looked in my bag and it wasn't there.  I gave it up for lost and no way to get it back. 

The next day I checked in the AQS lost and found.  Not there.  My SIL decided just for the heck of it we would go see if anyone turned it into the book store.  It couldn't hurt to ask.  While walking to the book store, we saw Marilyn Badger and said hello.  I asked about her wins this year and we spoke for a few minutes.  I happened to mention that I had lost my camera on the bench and that I was hoping to find it in the bookstore.  Well, guess what, her friend said she had seen a note stuck to the bench about a camera.  What!?  You're kidding, right? 

We said goodbye to Marilyn and her friends and headed to the bench.  Sure enough, there was the note on the bench in front of a real estate and insurance company.  I got the note and planned to go into the office.  Locked and closed for the day.  Well, at least I know where the camera is.  I write a note on the back and included my cell phone number then put it into their mailbox.  We go back to the show and walk around until afternoon.  My SIL gets tired and wants to go back to the boat.  No call about the camera.

Friday morning I go back to see if the office is open so I can get my camera.  Still locked and closed.  Bummer!  I find a phone number on the window and call it.  The lady who found my camera will meet me there in a few minutes.  Yippie!!  Wow, she looked like a model.  Tall, thin, blonde, and beautiful.  I couldn't thank her enough for returning the camera.  When I first discovered it missing I had given up hope of finding it again.  Now that I'm not quilting professionallly, I knew I wouldn't have the money to replace it for a long time.  So much of my life revolves around that camera.  My blogs - just think how dull my two blogs would be without photos.  My books - I can't write an instruction book to make cardboard furniture or backward pieced quilts without pictures of the steps.  My portrait quilts - yes, I'm still learning about photoshop so I can do the portraits.  I can't make portrait quilts without a camera to take the photo.

You see why I love Paducah so much?  If I had lost my camera in Louisville it would have been gone forever.  It would have been sold on the street or in a pawn shop before I got two blocks away.  Can you guess what that lovely lady will be getting as soon as I can make it?

At some point during the trip, I nearly scared the crap out of Judy Laquidara.  I swear she must have jumped a foot with a look of complete surprise.  Almost like she wondered if she should break out in a run. 
Now that I sit here telling about it.... I chuckle.  Not because I scared Judy, but at my own stupidity.  I wouldn't scare anyone on purpose.  I can do some really "duh" (stupid) things sometimes.  When I think about them later I laugh at myself and how dumb I must have appeared. 

What happened?  Well, my SIL is loosing her hearing.  She denies it so everyone has learned to talk louder to her.  I'm sitting on the shuttle bus next to my SIL and my mind is wandering.  Judy and her friends get on the bus.  I glance at her as she starts to walk by and realize it's Judy.  I'm still in "talk to my SIL" mode so I blurt out real loud.... Judy!  She jumps with a start and replies "WHAT!!?  She has a look on her face of complete surprise.  Well duh!  Anyone would be scared if a strange looking woman suddenly shouted their name.  Of course Judy doesn't know me.  I know her from talking on the internet occasionally and following her blog.  I started watching her career back when she lived in Kentucky. 

To make matters worse, I start talking to Judy as if she's someone else.  I don't know why but I had the conversation I had with someone else confused as a conversation with Judy.  I start talking about what I talked about with the other person.  Judy looks at me like.... who the heck is this person and what in the world is she talking about?  I'm sure she was wondering if she should get away from this crazy person.  She must have been glad her friends were with her as protection against a mad woman.  I can tell the story of what happened because it's highly unlikely that Judy will ever visit my blog.  Especially if someone tells her they know the crazy, confused, mad woman who shouts on shuttle busses really is.  Maybe if I keep real quiet about it, Judy will forget it ever happened.

Ok, now that I've confessed about my "duh" for the week, and had a chuckle at my own stupidity, it's time for me to go play with what followed me home from Paducah.  I'll show you those tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Active or passive frugality

When some people think of living frugal they think of hanging laundry, making their own soap, cooking from scratch, scrounging building materials to re-use, canning a year's worth of foods from a garden, repairing their own plumbing, or using plastic grocery bags for crafts, and stuff like that.  For busy folks this sounds like way too much work and far too much time.  Doing stuff like that is called active frugality.  It's not for everyone.

Actually, living frugally is more about what you don't do.  It's about giving up extravagance in favor of acquiring more.  Huh?  Ok, it's more like giving up the daily trip to McDonalds so you can buy a new computer.  It's about giving up a weekly trip to have your nails done so you have the money to go on a vacation.  Passive frugality is about giving up something because there is a greater goal. 

Living frugally should be a combination of both passive and active frugal things.  If you enjoy cooking then cooking from scratch will be easy to do.  But, if you cringe at the thought of picking something from the trash then why would you even consider dumpster diving?  If you love to garden but hate to sew clothes from scratch then stay with the gardening.  Leave the sewing to someone who enjoys it much more. 

Frugal living doesn't have to mean giving up your home to move into an old school bus and wear patched pants.  Frugal living is more about living the life WE want to live without the stress of keeping up with the Jones' live style.  Frugal living is a philosophy of less waste in a throw-stuff-away society. 

I do many types of crafts because I enjoy doing them.  At the same time my crafts are intended to help my budget.  If I create a rug from some scrap fabrics it's because; 1) I need a rug, 2) I don't want to pay for one, and 3) I enjoy making rugs.   True, when my kids were small, I crafted things because I had a major financial difficulty..... no money beyond rent and utilities.  No money meant I either begged for what I needed or made it myself.   I hated begging so I started crafting.  Cratfing gave me bartering power.  For example;  when I needed a refrigerator, I made a quilt and went bartering. 

As you decide on what frugality means to you... think about the stuff you already do and add to it a little at a time.  Add only what you are comfortable doing.  Get rid of the excess stuff that doesn't truly make you happy.  If carrying a high interest rate balance on a credit card causes you great stress; then why keep it?  If you are not worried about money but are concerned with the future of our planet then maybe consider giving up just one throw away item?  Later you could try something else that saves money.   

Frugal living is a life style we choose to live.  Not one that society forces on us.  Even Oprah, with all her wealth, will tell you she saves the little artificial sweetner packets from restaurants.  It's true!  I saw her tell about it on her show a long time ago. 

You see what I'm getting at?  Frugal living is..... living within your means and ignoring those who tell you to spend, spend, spend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thrift stores and dumpsters

I am haunted by the tv show "Hoarding, burried alive".  When I look around my home these days I wonder if I should sign up for a hoarder intervention.  What can I say?  I save stuff.  This is in my bedroom. 

When my daughter moved in here, my stuff got moved from other areas of my house to make room for her and Ladybug's stuff.  I put three rooms of stuff into only one room.  This area is also in my bedroom.  I feel claustrophobic when I go to bed at night.

Only two more weeks and I'll have my house back to myself again and all this stuff will go back where it belongs.  Much better organized I hope.

Someone asked me recently..... where do you put it all?  Can you be thrifty and neat at the same time? Hmm.... space, just like time and money are precious commodities.  It really is hard to be neat when my home is filled with too much stuff in too small a space.  Keeping stuff organized is a key to saving time.  Saving time is the key to saving money.  The trick is to balance everything to get the best quality of life I can. 

The next time I feel I really should purge out some of my stuff, I'm going to be sure it goes where it will be used and not just put into a landfill.  Donating to a thrift store is not much of an option anymore.  Far too many people are donating and most of it is now being sent to the landfill.  A few weeks ago I donated some sewing items to a thrift store.  I went back a couple of days later looking for something I accidently put into one of the boxes.  I figured I would just buy it back.  Guess what?  Not one single thing I donated was out in the store.  It wasn't in the back room either because the employees let me look.  I asked why?  Where could the box have gone?  I was told that 85% of the donations go straight into a dumpster.   It doesn't matter if its good stuff either. 

Yikes!  Evidently everything I donated was thrown away immediately.  What's wrong with this picture?  What does it say about us as Americans when even the thrift stores are over burdened by too much stuff?  We are too much a throw away society.  I'm doing all I can to get away from throw away stuff.  I look for quality rather than simply a low price.  Quality costs more but lasts so much longer. 

When I start putting my stuff back in it's own space I hope to get a better idea of where everything is again.  It's hard to be frugal when I can't find what I need when I need it. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time is money

What does one do when one believes they don't have time to do all the thrifty things to save money.  What if you don't have time for making clothes or rugs or

flash freezing foods to be eaten later?  Suppose you don't have time to do thrifty D-I-Y things?  Well, yes, there is time required when you do things yourself.  Yes, reupholstering a chair, quilting or rug braiding, scouring stores for discount items, and other tightwad things do take time.   

BUT.... there's always a but..... being busy does not have to mean spend more money.   Focus on the time you DO have to accomplish what will give you the greatest return for the time spent. 

Be sure you are not working more only to buy more convenience.  In other words, don't work overtime hours just to buy more take out foods so you can work the overtime hours.    Many people don't really calculate how much more money they spend as a result of working extra hours.  Are you really getting anything from all the extra hours if you spend it all just to work?

Being organized is THE most important thing to do if you want to be thrifty.  Being organized will save you both time and money.  For example:  You know that Christmas comes every year.  You know there are birthdays every year.  You know kids go to school in the fall.  You know you will need to change the oil in your car.  You will be replacing your glasses eventually.    Many things are predictable.  

Did you know that changing the oil when you see a coupon in the sale flyer this week takes no more time out of your schedule than getting it changed without a coupon a month from now?   Buying a marked-down toy in January for a July birthday requires the same amount of time as paying full price at the last minute.  It takes about the same amount of time to look through clothes on a thrift store rack that it does to look through clothes on a department store rack. Actually, thrift stores have a larger variety which may mean not shopping at several stores searching for the right clothes.

Some organizing requires a very small amount of time but will save a great deal of money in the long run.  Lists are a form of organizing.  List take only a small amount of time to create yet help save you a lot of money and time.  For example:  If you set up a grocery shopping system and list, it saves you time and money because you won't be wandering through isles thinking to yourself  "Do I need some of this or do I have plenty already?"   If you write out a list of needed back to school clothes and carry it with you, you can casually watch for those items at yard sales through out the whole summer. 

I repeat.... Focus on using the time you do have to accomplish what will give you the greatest return for the time spent.   For me that means keeping lists.  Five minutes making a list can save me hundreds of dollars over a year.  So let me say also that "no organizing system (or list) will work if you don't use it".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's this?

What the heck?  I wan't expecting a package.  Please don't be a quilt top that I wasn't expecting!  I can't do any quilting this week.  I have plans.

Nope, just a very nice gift from a happy customer.

It was delicious!  Thank you Ann.

This week I'm not doing any quilting or writing any posts.  I'm headed to Paducah!  I'll be there all week just soaking up lots of creative ideas and drooling over the town.  I would move there if I could.  I love Paducah!!  I've wanted to move there for several years but it's never been possible for me.  The best I can do is visit there during the quilt shows.  I don't stay at the show though.  I wander off the popular trails and see the rest of the area as it would be when there isn't a show going on.  That's the part of Paducah I fell in love with.  The normal living part of the town.  It's gonna be fun. 

See you in a week!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another one done

I got another one quilted.  I couldn't get to the computer to post about it before now. 

I did line dancing on the nine patch blocks.

I did a flower design on the plain blocks.

I have to watch the number of photos I'm putting into my blog posts.  I don't want to run out of space then have to pay extra for more space. 

I have good news.  My daughter will be closing on her house this week and moving into it the next week.  That means I'll have more time for me once again.  I'll miss having Ladybug under foot all the time but it will be good to be able to work at 4 in the morning without waking anyone up.  Gosh, I miss them already.

I've added some new things to my hints blog.  I put some helpful links (on the side bar) of sites I like to visit when I'm surfing around.  My mother is back in the hospital.  She fell again and she's having dillusions too.  She now thinks I'm her mother and I've locked her away in prison.  It's so sad to see her like that. 

Gotta go now, I'm expecting my sons to be here for thunder over Louisville.  I want to clean the house a bit before they arrive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Busting the stash

I didn't get the quilt on the machine finished.  I only got about half way through it when I decided it was time to do something else.   The thought of all the fabrics I have.... just waiting to be used.... was intruding on my mind.  Who says a fabric stash has to be used for quilts?  Not me.  So, I've decided to use some of it for other clothes too.  I've already used some of it for making my undies so why not other clothes? 

I can rationalize time away from the machine when I have to.  (hee hee)  I pulled out some t-shirt scraps and quilting fabrics.

Then started cutting out an outfit for Ladybug. 

I'll put this one together before cutting out more.  I want to know my measurements are correct and it fits her before any more cutting.  The sewing will have to wait for another day though.  Today I'll be shopping with my SIL. She has a doctor appointment on Friday so we are going today.  I also need to go to the fabric store and get some pretty lacey trim or maybe some rick rack to go on it.  Sewing for a little girl again is going to be such fun!  Especially when I have soooo much fabric to choose from.  It's gonna be a great stash buster.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wonky star

This backward pieced block will become a wonky star.  As you piece the block it's important to note that you are not trying to match up any seams.  It's better to match up the outside edge as close as possible without regard to where the star inside seams meet.  I nearly drove myself crazy trying to match up all the inside seams perfectly until I realized the seams were not supposed to match up together.  Please read through the whole blog post before doing any of the steps.

This block finishes at 7 1/2" X 8"  The reason it comes out different than a square is because there is an odd number of seams. 

Ready to get started?  You need some 10 inch blocks.  Half should be light and half should be dark fabrics. How many squares?  It depends on how many finished blocks you want to make.  Try testing the pattern with only 2 pieces for now.  One light and one dark.  Four would give you enough for a craft project, like a pillow or a purse, if you decide it's not a quilt you want to make.  To make a larger quilt, decide how big you want it and divide by the block measurements.  I'll go into more details on this in another post.

Now cut a three inch strip off one side of all the blocks.  Match up a dark with a light and sew them back together.

For this one time only, press the seams toward the dark fabric.  For the rest of the piecing, all seams should be pressed toward the outside of the block before going to the next step.

While you are pressing, fold the block in half, along the strip edge, and iron a tiny spot to indicte center.  Don't press a seam down the whole block.... just press a tiny place like this.  You will use this center mark for the next step.

Your next cut is going to be on the diagonal.  From the center ironed mark on the strip to the corner of the block.  Like this.

After that cut, match a dark with a light and sew them back together, like this.   Press the seams toward the outside of the block.  See how the seam lines do not match?  That's how it's supposed to look.

Now we are ready for the next cut. This time you will go from the center of the first strip to the other corner.  Like this.  I turn the block upside down so it's easier for me to cut right handed.  There is a very important step that you should know before making this cut.

You will move over 1/4 inch from the exact center.  Like this.  The reason is so you will get a nice 1/4 inch  of background fabric beyond the star point.  That 1/4 inch will be in the seam line when you sew the blocks together... without cutting off the star points. 

Through out the piecing of this block you will get these little do dads after cutting.  I just pulled them off with my fingers.  Very easy and keeps them out of the seams.

After making that cut and sewing them back together and pressing toward the outside, your block should look like this. 

Now for the next cut.  This time going from the corner to the seamline of the first strip.  

I used the dog ear from the last cut as my guide in the corner. 

Then a 1/4 inch from the seamline here.

After making that cut, match up backgrounds and sew them back together.  The block should now look like this and you are ready for the last cut.  It's just like the previous cut only on the other side.

Match up the background fabric and sew them back together.  Your block should now look like this.  These are after I squared them up.  I can't tell you how many I ruined trying to get them "square" before I realized that wasn't possible if I want nice crisp points on the stars.

If you try this block, please let me know if the directions are ok.  Getting feed back from my readers will help me learn more about writing good directions.  You can find more backward piecing blocks in the near future.

Is it Monday already?

Geeze, where did the weekend go?  Time passes too quickly these days.  The next quilt is on the machine and stabelized.  I hope to have it finished this week.

Ladybug was with not the mommie yesterday.  I spent almost all day working on my computer.  I didn't realize it; but, I had almost 3,000 photos on this computer. 
Well no wonder it ran so slow.  I deleted out well over half of them because I no longer needed them.  Mostly daily journal type and duplicate photos.  I tried my best to learn about photoshop too.  I managed to get all the remaining photos into a catalog.  That's as far as I got though.  I wanted to learn more about putting captions with the photos.  It got a bit complicated reading the book for help so I quit.  I'll have more time for learning when the house is mine again. 

The computer still runs slow when I'm working on the internet.  I think my modem might be getting too old.  I ran the virus scan software but it didn't help speed things up.  The computer isn't slow when working with any of the other stuff, just the internet. 

I also worked on patterns for Ladybug some new clothes.  This time instead of making my own patterns I traced out a couple of packaged ones. 

Tracing and making adjustments on heavier paper is much better than working with the pattern tissue paper.  Tissue paper is too flimsy and tears too easily.  With Ladybug back at daycare I hope to get several things accomplished this week starting with the quilt on the machine.  I do things that are too dangerous for her to be around while she's away and save things we can do together for when she gets home.  She's far too curious and her hands much too quick for some activities. 

I guess if I'm going to get things done I best get off the computer to get started. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My front door

This is my front door.  (yes, I see it needs to be painted again)  Anyway, do you realize that everytime you leave your house it's going to cost you?  It doesn't matter where you are going or what you are planning to do... you will be spending some of your hard earned money.  Even if you only drive around for awhile and go back home you will have spent money on gas.  Think about it.

I'm just as guilty as anyone else who has repeatedly slipped back into the spend, spend, spend mode.  I see, I want.  Yup, I see things I want and
wind up getting them even though I really want to save money.  Maybe it's a kitchen gadget I believe will make my life easier.  Maybe it's a thrift store find that I've convince myself is a fantastic bargain.  Maybe a visit to the fabric store has me thinking about quilts to be made so I bring home more fabrics.

We are all taught from the time we are born that spending is what we should do.  Heck, sometimes our first real outing without adults is at the mall.  We're given some money and told to meet the adults back at a certain spot at a certain time.  Then, we are also taught to have more and do more than the neighbors.  A bigger boat, a newer kitchen, a fancier car, or even a movie theater in our house.  Get the idea?  It's called "keeping up with the Jones".

What it all boils down to is accumulating stuff.  The more stuff, the better.  So I got to thinking about it.  Is it really better to have an abundance of stuff than an abundance of money?  Sure, I might tell myself that all this stuff will help if for some reason the economy takes another nose dive.  At least I won't run out for a long time. A good justification for my over spending.  But..... will it really help?

Will a few hundred yards of fabric stash pay an electic bill?  Will a dozen tubes of toothpaste in the cabinet buy me a bag of flour?  Will a dozen pairs of pants hanging in the closet do anything to help me if I must pay for medicine?  I hope I'm making my point here.  The point is that I need to stop accumulating so much stuff and start accumulating a bigger stash of money. 

I don't know why.... but lately I've been thinking about how little we owned when I was a child.  We had "enough" to get us by and that was fine.  We didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing or even inside walls in the house but we ate well and were happy.  I want that feeling again.  The happiness that comes from knowing I have enough.  There is no need to accumulate more.  So in my quest to be even more frugal I'm including accumulating far less stuff while getting rid of the excess.  No, I won't go pitching and tossing things just to get them out of the way.  Rather, I will be using up what I have before seriously considering more purchases.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another quilt finish

Well it seemed like forever but another quilt is finally quilted.  Ladybug went back to daycare so I was able to get some quilty stuff done. 

I did leaves on the outside border along the applique vine.

I did a flower design on top of the applique flower.  Here you see it from the back.

I did a swag design on the inside border.

I did a flower design on the block squares.

I did a flower in the cornerstone and leaves on the rectangle pieces.

Here it is from the back.

One border didn't have any applique so I drew a big flower in the center then did leaves going to the corners.

It felt good to get some quilting stuff done.  All the time as I sat and rocked Ladybug I kept eyeing the fabrics given to me not long ago.  Thoughts of crafty ideas kept racing around in my head.  Sure there were thoughts of quilts but also rugs, placemats, curtains, pot holders, little girl dresses, wallets, and all manor of things I can make from upholstery fabrics.  If only I could get to doing them!  No, I shouldn't feel that way.  The time with Ladybug sitting on my lap will be all too short.  They grow up so quickly that it feels like only a blink of the eye.  There'll be time enough for crafting when Ladybug outgrows the need to be cuddled by NaNa.  I count my blessings.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Back to work today

Ladybug is finally well enough to go back to daycare.  She had bronchitis and an ear infection in both ears.  No wonder she felt so bad and wanted to cuddle.  NaNa has a very cushy lap for cuddling ya know. 

That little Ladybug person never fails to astonish me.  While she was sick I happened to notice her making gestures with her hands.  I couldn't figure out what she was doing but it was definitely a repeated motion when she was talking.  I noticed it most often when Ladybug kept saying please and touching the fingers of both hands together. 

I asked my daughter about it.  It was sign language.  What?  Apparently there is a child in Ladybug's daycare group that wears hearing aids in both ears but also does sign language.  That child has been teaching Ladybug to speak with hands as they play together.  Amazing!

Time to get onto the machine and do some quilty stuff.  I will have some photos to show you tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Here I am

I wish I could show pictures of all the quilts I've been cranking out the last few days.... but the truth is that I've gotten very little quilting work accomplished.  Most of my time has been spent either playing with Ladybug or picking up after my daughter.  No, I'm not complaining but it is getting rather old.  Ladybug is too sick to go to daycare which means the mommie works at home.  This means the computer is tied up and I can't get on it.  Right now they are at the doctor and I've got a brief time to write a post. 

Hopefully, it won't be too much longer till they move into their own place again and I'll have everything to myself.  She expects to have everything done and ready for the closing in about 4 more weeks.  While the house is quiet for a little while, I'm going to get onto the quilting machine.  I just wanted to let everyone know I'm not sick.  

Monday, April 5, 2010

Are you?

Are you the good little consumer doing as you are told?  Buy, buy, buy.  Spend, spend, spend.  You must spend money to keep our economy going ya know.  As "they" tell us; our teeth aren't white enough, our shampoo not specialized enough, our laundry not fresh enough, and our food isn't convenient enough.  We would all be the best, the sexiest, the freshest, the cleanest, the thinnest, the smartest, the healthiest, and our digestive tract the cleanest on the block if we only believe what "they" parade before our eyes. 

Do you carry a box of breath freshners, a full bottle of laxative, and a complete line of femine products in your purse?  You should you know, because "they" tell us that the most important job a woman can have is to make sure she is prepared for any emergency a family member might have.  I hadn't really thought about it much before; but, I alone have been responsible for making sure my families underarms are protected for a full 12 hours, making sure that my family has no clue what's for dinner by washing the air of any hint of cooking smells, and being extra careful that my garbage bags don't break on impact with food waste. 

It's my responsibility to make sure even my dog's breath is fresh, his food fit for a king, and his coat shiny as a new penny.  When my daughter broke up with not the mommie, it was my responsibility to remind her that whiter teeth and a healthy digestive tract might bring him back. 

Hey, I used to believe the tidy bowl man was my best friend when he cleaned the toilet bowl for me and the white knight would magically clean the floors of any yellow wax build up.  Did you know my kids could sing commercials before they learned to say mommie.  "Uh oh spaghetti O's" and "You're in trouble now Birdsong" are two I remember most. 

When my kids were small, buying for Christmas was "the holiday" to plan for.  Their lists were simple.  I grew used to locating presents I couldn't spell, had no idea what they were used for, and had to be put together with an instruction sheet written in Japaneese.  I had a whole year to prepare for that holiday.  Now "they" have invented so many more holidays with presents for us to plan, buy, wrap, and hide until the holiday.  A sticker saying "do not open until National Pancake Day" or "do not open until National Kudzoo Day" somehow just doesn't have the same meaning as "do not open until Christmas". 

Now that the kids are grown, the grand kid's letters have started to read like a foreign language.  No longer do they say "Dear Santa: please leave me a bike or new doll."  Now days the letters show that the kids have been mesmerized by some commercial, right down to the part number, brand, catalogue number or the ebay item number.  Sometimes they feel like helping my budget by giving directions on how to sign up for an Amazon account so I can find it there. 

Commercial companies have spent years and millions of dollars figuring out how to part us from our money.  Now days, even the government is in on it.... telling us that if we don't become hyper consumers our economy may collapse.  Going so far as to give us a tax break or a clunker rebate if we only spend our money.  Everything in a store has been researched, designed, and color coded to make us shell  out our paycheck to buy it.  Several days till payday?  No problem.  Just put it on our credit card and sign away our future paychecks to them for the rest of our life.  Oh, by the way, they also own a company that will help us manage our over used credit card debt too.

I'm tired of being told to exhaust myself shopping so I can take my senior, chewable, plus iron, memory tablets.  I'm tired of listening to comercials for men to "enhance" themselves to the envy of all the neighbors.  I hope and pray none of my grand kids ever get called "Bob" and have stupid grins on their faces.

We're all being manipulated you know.  Stores, internet, tv.... anything media is full of things that have you believing the only tme we experience ecstasy is when we take showers, chew gum, wash laundry,  smell our gym shoes, dance near the garbage can, or have multiple ovens on our team. Just when we finally figure out what new gadget "they" are talking about, that we are told we absolutely must have... a newer version comes out.

An anti-consumer doesn't stand a chance!