Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here is an old spooky tale for your Halloween reading pleasure!

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"
- here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" -
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."

Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never - nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore:
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting -
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!


Read more of Poe's literature here!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

50 States Quilt Block Swap- Can you guess the state?

This will be the last state to guess for a while...

(click to make bigger!)
I love these otters! This state used to have a huge population of sea otters but they were hunted to almost extinction back in the late 1800's. They only have six animals in the state now which are located at the zoo and at the aquarium. So I am using these little otters to represent what was once lost.

The background fabric is nuts. No, it isn't crazy! Silly you! There are nuts on this fabric. Why? This state is the only state to have a state nut, the hazelnut which is also known as a filbert. I was hunting for beaver fabric and salmon, but they were impossible to find. Goldfish or koi are everywhere, but salmon isn't so easy. The beaver is on the state flag.

This was the hardest state for me. I have one state left, for which I only need to make one block for me. :) Good luck!

Answer is now in the comments!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guess the State!

Oh, yes! I have more blocks for you to try to guess what state they represent.

Quote from the horse park:
People and horses live on in the hearts and memories of those who loved and admired them, long after they have moved on to greener pastures. It is with deep respect and fond remembrance that the ___________ Horse Park has welcomed their earthly remains to rest in peace on our beautiful grounds. We honor these legendary heroes of the horse world who made significant marks through the lives that they lived, the lives that they touched, and the record of their accomplishments.

I went here with my parents while in High School and was enamored. It is a beautiful place and when I had this state I knew I had to have horses. I really wanted to find race horses but it is hard in mustang, bronco country!:) So, I had to resort to just horses. The green is to represent the beautiful bluegrass of the state. Guess! (Am I giving too much info. away?)

Those of you who guessed UTAH yesterday were correct! Plus, it really made me happy due to the fact that I somehow represented my state with a somewhat correct representation. I could see how all the states that were mentioned could be that state, though. Great guesses!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



I would love to win these so I am creating a link back!

Guess the State!

I am afraid of making this too easy, so let's just say that it is a state known for its skiing. It is not Colorado, although Colorado is known for its skiing. :) If no one guesses correctly by my lunch, I will throw you a hint. It is in the West. That is all you get!

Edit 1:13pm Mtn. Time: All right, there has been one correct answer so far! I chose the skiing fabric and the ski boot background due to the fact that this state hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

50 States Quilt Block Swap-Received some blocks!

I have been participating in the 50 State Quilt Block swap over on Craftster. There are six people in the swap and we each make six squares for eight different states. I have already made Colorado, Montana, Florida, Washington, North Carolina and Alabama. I have a couple more in progress that I should be sharing with you this week.

The exciting news is that I received my first set of squares! Woohoot! These are from Pertelot.
Here is Massachusetts, Deleware, South Dakota, and Conneticut (top left to right; clockwise)
She included the following descriptions:

Massachusetts-Pirates such as Kidd, Blackbeard, Bellamy and Quelch spent their summers off the coast of Boston, which was known as the Gold Coast. Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard were said to have been good hiding spots for pirate treasure. I couldn't pass up the chance to get some pirate fabric! Massachusetts is also known for cranberries, and cranberry colored fabric happened to match the pirate print rather nicely!

Delaware- Since Delaware was the first state, I used some flag fabric for the center focal fabric. Their state bird is the blue hen chicken, so of course when I found fabric with blue chickens I knew what to use it for.

South Dakota-The famous and the infamous have called Deadwood, South Dakota home over the last several centuries. Lewis and Clark, Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp, George Armstrong Custer, Poker Alice, the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane, Mark Twain and many others have passed through here in search of fortune and adventure. South Dakota is also known for their Corn Palace, a building that is annually covered in murals made of corn.

Conneticut-One thing Connecticut is known for is its maritime. I liked the blue fabric paired with the white not only because the white brought out the colors, but also because it reminded me of the ocean.

Pennsylvania, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Illinois (clockwise from top left)

Pennsylvania-I decided to go a bit different with this block. Inspired by Pennsylvania Amish quilts, I went with solid colors in some of the traditional common colors they use.

Louisiana- After seeing I was assigned Louisiana, I knew I had to go with a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme. Each of the blocks has a different fussy cut center, but all are nice and bright!

New Jersey-My home state! I live about a mile up from the beach, so the first thing I think of about New Jersey is the Jersey shore. The shells, of course, represent the beach and the flowers are for New Jersey's nickname, the Garden State.

Illinois-Chicago, Illinois was the site of the first skyscraper, so after much searching I found the cityscape fabric which I love. I looked up someone's suggestion that sock monkeys originated in Illinois, which was true. So sock monkeys on pogo sticks? Awesome.

I love her descriptions, and the blocks are great! I am excited about seeing how this quilt top will come together.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch: Tutorial

There was a request that I share how I made my scrappy quilt, so I gathered up some pictures and here it is! This is my first tutorial, so bear with me please.

Step 1: Cut out many squares. I used 2.5" squares of assorted fabrics. You could definitely use whatever size you want as long as they are consistent. I used approximately 2,016 squares.

Step 2: Assemble into nine patches. I made 224 nine patch units. I wanted there to be some consistency so I used a black background patch for the center of all the units. I started off making nine patches like in the picture above and then I just started piecing them together however they fell in order to save time.

Once you have your nine patch blocks ready it is time to square them up. When you use 2.5" blocks, the finished nine patch should be 6.5" square.

Step 3: Cut the block in half vertically and horizontally. Cut 3 1/4 inches from the top and from the side.

You will end up with small blocks like the ones above which should be 3 1/4" square. I just kept cutting these up until I had piles of them.

Step 4: They are then assembled into a new disappearing nine patch unit. I used this arrangement, but you can play with it to make it how you would like. Just remember to be consistent throughout or you will spend time ripping out seams. I know this from experience!

I enventually had 224 units like the ones above.
Step 5: Piece these together to form strips.

Be very careful that you are piecing these together in the same manner. This picture shows the correct way for my quilt and the bottom strip is incorrect. I made this mistake several times. I found that I had to make sure I had a black square in the top right and bottom left corner of each block before I sewed them together. Do you see where I went wrong in the bottom strip?

You make many of these-112 strips to be exact.

Step 6:
Assemble these into larger units by sewing the two strips together. Here you need to make sure you are consistent. Little black square in the top right and bottom left of each of the strips so that the little black squares in the middle meet up together.

Step 7:
Sew these into rows and then the rows together. Make sure you are keeping those corner squares positioned correctly. I made eight long strips with seven of the patches above. Then sew the strips together!

Here is the finished quilt top. If you make one, I would love to see it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch Top is Finished

The top for my scrappy disappearing nine patch quilt is finally finished. This quilt fits a full bed and it contains 2,052 2.5" squares. The little black squares are 3/4" square to give you a size reference. Now I wish I had used completely different squares so I could call it my millenium quilt, but maybe next time.:) If there is a next time...

I love, love, love how scrappy it all is. It took me forever because I sewed the blocks together incorrectly so when I had long strips together I realized it wasn't fitting together right. So I had to rip, rip, and rip and then resew. I did this several times. There are still a couple of mistakes, but I don't think they are noticeable unless you really look.

I love how it looks from the back with the sun shining through! It reminds me of stained glass.
Someone always tries to get in the picture. Every time I go outside to take a picture of a quilt, she sneaks into the bottom of the frame. The wind was lightly blowing and as I walked over to start taking it down, her little head popped out. I had to grab a picture! I am definitely keeping this one. It is my favorite so far. Now I just need to start quilting all these tops I am collecting.

Thank you to all of you who sent my mom bloggy birthday love yesterday! I know that she appreciated all of your wonderful comments on her quilts. Thanks!!!

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Check out this dress! It is absolutely beautiful and she is giving it away.

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Mom,
Happy Birthday to you!

I wanted to share these wonderful baby quilts my Mom has been making lately. She has been sewing on and off for years, but she just started quilting this past spring. Aren't they beautiful? She made the top one with a charmpack of Strawberry Lemonade by Moda and the lovely matching yellow with straberries fabric is from the same line.

This is her newest creation in progress. She doesn't have a blog of her own or share pictures on Craftster so this is her first sharing of her work with the world. Hello World! Here is what she has been up to lately. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hot Pans!

I seem to have gotten a potholder kick. Each one is little wonky and scrappy, too.
I love the flames on the potholder above-hot, hot, hot! It's on fire! Your hands won't be though because I used insulbrite and batting to keep those fingers safe.;)

I used this tutorial over at sewmamasew for both the inspiration and the how-to. I had the hardest time with the binding loop, so each potholder was assembled in a slightly different manner for that portion. I think I have it down now though.
This one is my autumn potholder. See the apples and fall leaves? Plus, there are peanuts for all the football games. :) I see several more of these in my future.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Four more blocks!

I made four more blocks for my quilt from the Craftster Lap Quilt Swap. I think I may make a few more to keep making it a little bit bigger. Thanks for all your suggestions on whether I should use sashing or not. My original thought was to not use sashing, but I am now leaning towards using a thin strip-maybe 1/2" finished... I would like to make the blocks pop a little, but I want the majority of the quilt to be the blocks. Still trying to decide...

I have four more blocks that should be coming my way soon. We had one person who has been very absent so I really may only have two more blocks coming. :( It really stinks when there is someone who flakes out on a swap especially when I sent fabric to them (which they still have) and I made two blocks for her. I had to rely on delivery confirmation to even know that she had received. Oh, well the swap was still fun, and I would still do it again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch: Progress

I am still dilegently working away on this scrappy disappearing nine patch. Somehow, I manage to sew a couple blocks the wrong way together so they aren't matching up right. Seam ripper, here I come! I did ponder if anyone would notice, but I would notice, so I should do it right. I have three rows that are completely finished. I need to finish the two half rows that you can see, and I think I will need to add at least one more row to the width. It is slow going, but I really like how colorful it is right now. It will be great as an I-spy quilt because there are so many novelty fabrics from cupcakes and fish to beach sandals.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Broncos Football Sunday!

This past Sunday we attended our first real NFL game at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium to see the Broncos play against the Buccaneers.

It was a gorgeous day and then, typical of Colorado weather, turned cold(ish) and rainy. Seriously, I wore a long sleeve shirt because it was supposed to be in the 60's but I had to role up my sleeves and roll up my pants to cool off! I also got sunburned. (It might snow here this weekend...) The juxtaposition of those two things is strange to me, but typical of weather here.

After half-time, it started to rain but just a little bit. Thank goodness! It really was a beautiful day. I love the mustange sculptures they have leading up the steps into the stadium.

I love going to football games. I don't really like watching most games on t.v., but I really like the whole football experience.

I believe this is due to my dad taking me to football games when I was six-we had season tickets to Auburn football games for years. I think I attended 80-90% of all the home games at Auburn from the time I was 6 until I was 23 years old. That is a lot of football. When I was little, my dad would take a small t.v. that would hook into the cigarette lighter and I would watch cartoons while Dad talked to family that was also at the game. Later, the next year(?), my mom and my little brother started coming with us to all the games and it really turned into little family reunions each weekend at Auburn.
We didn't really tailgate because we rode the lightrail to the stadium. I love public transportation here! We actually drove about a mile-we really could have walked. I love Broncos colors-orange and blue! Plus, I really like their mustang logo. It fulfills two loves of mine-Auburn colors and horses. The Broncos won against the Buccaneers-that always helps when your team wins. :)

I have been able to do some sewing this week too! I should be able to share some of the progress I have made on two in progress quilts tomorrow. (I have almost 20 new 9 patches ready to be sliced up for my scrappy disappearing nine patch quilt!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Craftster Lap Quilt Progress

I received several more squares this past week so I had to share the progress on my lap quilt which may become a much larger quilt! Aren't they so pretty all together! I am still missing 5 squares that hopefully will arrive soon, but I may make some more on my own to try to make this a little bigger. Each square will be 12" finished and I would love for it to fit a full size bed. I am debating if I want sashing between all the squares of just have them lay like above. It will be awhile before I get to finishing this top, I am afraid, so I have plenty of time to make up my mind.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Craft Fair

On Saturday we went to the Craft Fair that was close by our house.
There was lots of crafty goodness going on. We puchased some soap and a little pumpkin hat for my niece-pictures of that to come later. I need to learn how to knit!
We had a little picnic and thankfully it didn't rain. The sky was very overcast for Colorado, though. We then walked home! Isn't it nice when you don't have to use the car?
Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vintage Sheet Swap

I received my lovely set of vintage sheet fat quarters in the mail today! I sent in two different sheet combinations back at the very end of August and look at all the great sheet fabric I got in return! It was part of the Vintage Sheet Swap over at Crafty Beana.

Here is all the sheet goodness laid out.

I swear my parents had this set of sheets above on their bed while I was growing up. I instantly recognized it.

Finally, a close up on some of my favorites from the set. Now, I just need to figure out what I am going to make from these! She also sent the cutest set of pins but I couldn't get a good picture of them at all! I will try again later, and if it turns out, I will add it to the post. They are adorable!