Thursday, May 25, 2006

Another quick update

Our reef cruise was WONDERFUL! (Details and photos when I get back...) We met some great people and saw some truely wonderous sights. Most of all it was very relaxing... Something I probably will not be able to say about Sydney & Melbourne... Those days will be jammed packed!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

We made it!

I am currenyl in the Sydney airport awaiting my connection to Cairns. They have a FREE internet connection & PC - since I was so not going to lug mine around!

I was able to check my e-mail in Dallas too $.25 a minute... But our layover in Dallas was short - so nothing beyond reading my e-mail.

We had a super long layover in Los Angeles, but there were not internet connections free or otherwise, nor was there any CNN or the like...

I appliqued two blocks and played a few games of Scrabble to pass the time.

The flight from LA to Sydney was officially L-O-N-G! I woke up from what I thought was a rather long nap to find myself just past Hawaii. (They have a really cool map as an option to watch between movies and music videos.)

Well, I better get back to my gate and husband.

Since I can apparently get into Blogger - I'll blog again when I get a chance...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Good Bye (for now)

Well the time has come at last... (for withdrawls that is...)

I will be in Australia until June 6th - I can barely get into my blog when I am away from my computer, so I am doubtful about any postings while I am away. I will be back & armed with some serious photos.

The kitties are about to go to Kitty City & based on the lovin I been gettin, I know that they know something is up... Don't tell me they aren't smart.

So ya'll come back now! - in a few weeks.

P.S. Sorry I did not reply to my comments today, Yahoo<->Blogger are not connecting very well today.

Project Spectrum post card swap

A side venture for the Project Spectum project is a monthly post card swap. This is my first month to swap & my first post card. Sorry Wendi - somone had to get the first...

Hanne has since told me how to do the zig zag.... (She posted a really pretty post card on May 12, so visit her blog and scoll down a bit to see it.)

Meanwhile Barb just got a really nice post card in the mail all the way from France!

And in the mean time, I just noticed - or re-found it since I am now postcarding a great tutorial on DebR's blog. Mine was created differently - OBVIOUSLY! but I could have used the satin stitch hint.... Live and learn.

Maybe my "middle product" is new - I don't know but it is called "Fast 2 Fuse." Similar to Timtex, but the fusible is on the interfacing on both sides!

Also next time - I would change out the thread.... I NEVER machine applique - o.k. I actually never satin stitch. (I have done something similar to herky jerky with a metallic thread & I have done top stitching with a neutral thread.) & until I was way into the process I did not realize that it was looking un-professional.... (The back is white - so the white thread looks o.k. back there...)

And this time I zig zagged and them trimmed - not a good idea... Some of those stitches look like fringe - so I top stitched it after trimming so that the un-professional white thread would at least stay in place...

Green zipper saga

Well, it is almost embarassing... I easily found the 24 (actually 32) "extra" greens that I wanted/needed to make my zipper quilt longer & still scrappy.

First I told you about the greens that I knew were in my cats on stars travel applique project. I though there would be 4 or 5 in there that I had not already used - make that 8 or 9.

While rummaging to find my batik stash, I remembered a quilt as you go project that will use this beautiful Koi print as its focus fabric.... Notice that Olive green... I had about 8 or 9 of those in the "PIGS" box. (PIGS = Project in Grocery Sack - mine is actually in a box) & from the first 64 greens, I added the "leftovers" to the box to add to this project. Now that I have a machine that can zig zag, I might want to dig this one out again....

My hand dyeds are right near that box as is a pile of Orientals (I am not sure why they are "out" they have their own box too...) So I pulled from both of those stashes too - Uncounted number of hand dyeds. You see I came to my senses before chopping into them... I got a great deal on a big scrappy bundle at a show once & I have a friend who dyes & gives the fabric as gifts - I have a few of her greens... Not to mention my friend who makes her living as a hand dyer... I have a few of hers as well, but not so many in green. Only a few green Orientals - none of which really made the cut for this quilt.

And finally my Jan Mullen stash! (I pulled every green first from every pile/stash/hiding spot & then I counted and then I cut) I have about a dozen of her greens...

Can you see where I am going with this story? I first cut the tone on tone commercial prints & a few hand-dyeds - when I got to the "bundle deal" I stopped to count first. I had already cut about 27 fabrics! I thought I only wanted 24 more.... So to make the numbers work, I cut three of the Jan Mullen prints...

No batiks (only had 5 greens any way) or Orientals, no novelties, & only a few hand-dyeds made it into round two.

So I will be able to add the 4 new rows of 8 without having the project look off balance - if that makes any sense....

Hey I even cut some, so that I can hopefully sew on this project before I leave for Australia on Friday in the early hours of the morning. (I am taking tomorrow off to hopefully take care of any last minute needs and to drop of the kitties at Kitty City.)

Thanks for the help with the books... I have decided that "IF" I bring a book it will be by Kathy Reichs. I actually own a couple of her books that I have not read yet. (I won them from a radio station) The big "IF" - I really should be appliqueing instead of reading... & the weight issue. We are only allowed 1 carry-on and 1 under bag that has to weigh less than 44 lbs. each. As it is we are both over 3o lbs. & we haven't even purchased any trip trinkets! I even removed a sweater & some other stuff - worst case scenario, I can buy a new one... And - "1 final And" we have a couple travel books to bring - just in case! (We already have 99% of our trip planned & all of the lodging was done for us, so we don't need that part of those books...)

Did anyone play my MEME?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I read mysteries (almost exclusively).
In general, I like the style of Sue Grafton "A is for Alibi" & Nevada Barr "Track of the Cat". I also like some of James Patterson's books. I can tolerate Lillian Jackson Braun. I don't care for the Midnight Louis series.

Do you know of any authors that are similar to these that I might like?

I was Specifically wondering if anyone has read: Edie Claire "Never Tease a Siamese", Carolyn Hart of the Death on Demand Mysteries, or Marian Babson "Please don't Feed the Cat." I checked these out from the library & would be willing to go exchange them if you know that they are not my cuppa tea!

Do you think I would like them? Can you tell me a bit about any books that you have read by these authors?

(I am trying to get a few book to take on the plane & don't want to lug anything that is not my type...)

A MeMe

I stole this MeME from DebR. No directions needed....

I Do and I Don't It's a meme.

I do love to meet new people.
I don't often come across as very friendly.

I do have strong political convictions.
I don't feel the need to tell everyone about them.

I do respond to email.
I don't make phone calls if I can possibly avoid it.

I do love the water.
I don't like the beach (but I am looking forward to the Great Barrier Reef!)

I do love my cats.
I don't hate dogs.

I do need to diet.
I don't care enought to seriously do anything about it!

I do love to travel.
I don't like all of the details that it takes to travel.

I do love spending time with my extended family.
I don't like all of the craziness that surrounds it.

I do participate in organized religion.
I don't think everyone else has to & those that do, don't have to do it like me.

I do appreciate my husband.
I don't often show it. (sorry...)

I do like to be tagged for MeMe's.
I don't like tagging people who would rather not bother (& I don't really know who they are, so I won't tag anyone specifically - If you care to share - take it a run with it!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

My weekend

Well for my weekend adventures, I planned to make and mail my May Project Spectrum Green postcard... I got it made, but not in time to mail it! So I'll stop by the post office today on my lunch break.

Perhaps that is because I wanted to get my zipper quilt done first... (I can admit it!) This photo of my zipper quilt is the "sideways" view... it is wide enough, but not long enough....

Should I just turn it so that it will still be wide enough and longer? So that my border does not look too funky to compensate for the growth spurt that my quilt went through while on the sewing machine...

In my mind it should have worked out perfectly, but in my mind the zippers had 7 teeth not 5, so the block would have been rectangular in the up and down way instead of slightly rectangular on the across way... technical jargon for ya early on Monday morning!

I could add a few more rows... I know I have more greens in my batiks, orientals, hand-dyeds, Jan Mullens and novelties - off the top of my head, not to mention those that did not make the original quilt because of the numbers... (Hard to believe, but it is true.) so I could keep it scrappy. And for the majority of these I have enough from the strips that I cut for these blocks to make more... Should I make it bigger? If I do should I keep it scrappy? Would it look "weird" if there was a row of batiks? Considering that everything else is mixed up...

I am still trying to hold out on buying that "perfect" fabric for the border until after my trip to Australia in 5 days (we leave on Friday, but I will be off line as of Wednesday afternoon. Until when? I'm not 100% sure... I doubt that I will get online while in Australia, but wilder things have been known to happen...) Oh, how long did you think it was going to take me to mention the trip?

Back to the zipper... It was just suggested that maybe a pink inner border would be nice... Some of those kitties are pink... I have pinks in my stash (one in particular might be "just right.") So that idea may evolve yet...

In the meantime, after I pieced together my zipper and my postcard, I finally changed the thread in my machine and top stitched my April Orange bulls-eye flowers from last month!

BTW in case you want to practice "free-motion" quilting, try to do a few of these flowers.... My first 10 or so flowers, I stopped and started lifting the presser foot and rotating around the flowers, but by the time I got to the end of my 40 blocks, I was pretty much stitching them as if I were quilting... (At least that is what I think I was doing... I don't really quilt... But now that I have a brand new machine, I might tackle a wall-hanging or two...)

As you can tell from the photo, I even sliced and diced them and sorten them into blocks! Although I may "stagger" the blocks - you know where you have a 1/2 block on the top of one row instead of all full blocks - just to do something different!

Another tidbit on these blocks, the author did her slice and dice on the diagonal... (I did not feel like dealing with the bias edges, so I stuck with the traditional method.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

To border or not to border...

This is the border fabric. Aren't those MOD kitties GREAT! Here it is being auditioned with my zipper quilt - also a MOD design.... Coincidence? I think not...

However, I am going to try really hard to not go and buy the border print until after I return from Australia.... (If it is still available then it was meant to be if not...)

No, I did not sew anymore on my zipper quilt... But I did start my Project Spectrum green post card... (I hope to mail it tomorrow so that it will hopefully arrive at it's final destination before Wednesday - my last posting day before we leave...I don't want to post it before it arrives & spoil the suprise!)

I have decided that if I use those kitties, that I will probably use an orange narrow inner border - there is no purple on that print.... I will also probably use orange for the binding - I kind of like the look of the inner border and binding being the same or similar - even though I originally thought that I was going to use a green & white stripe... (I will use the green & white stripe for the binding if the border print sells out before I can get any - because I will then be back to plan A - no border....)

We got our Australian Dollars yesterday - guess what? They are plastic! I kid you not....

Now it really is setting in that we are 7 days away from a FULL day in airports or on planes - can you say "Applique." FULL - wondering about the emphasis? Our first flight leaves at about 11:30, you need to get to the airport 2 hours earlier we are taking public transportation, so we need to get on the 7 a.m. bus to the subway to the train to the 9:15 shuttle bus to the airport. (We could have taken another bus inlieu of the train, but doing that would be tempting the traffic fairies.... The trains do not get stuck in rush hour traffic....) We fly to Dallas (rather short layover) and onto LA where we have a 6.5 hour layover. We finally get on Quantas to Sydney at 10:30 p.m. I am calling that a FULL day in airports or on planes. And I am bringing my kitty blocks to applique (I only need to thread baste two or three more then I can pack them!), maybe even a book - in addition to our travel Scrabble game.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The "E's" have it! (Project Spectrum update)

Back in January (on the 8th) Barb at Woofnanny told about her "adventures in doggy sitting" (not her title - my blogger embellishment - play on an 80's movie title.) Specifically, an overdose on "freshies" which are a version of "greenies" a doggy treat. Based on my current project, can you guess why I am mentioning that here, now? My zippers look like "E's!" Yes they do!

Do you see the "colorful" green? The only "planning" that I am doing is trying to keep the "colorful" ones apart & in different spots on their rows. Everything else is pretty much the next one in line. However, I have a choice between two sides on which to place the next green, so I am trying not to have lime next to lime, etc. My rows are not sewn together, that will be my last chance to order them around nicely.

Border? Maybe? As it is, this will end up about a "normal" lap size. In general, I think "lap size" is fairly vague. But I do realize that my lap size is bigger than most. Lap for me is pretty darn close to twin, because I like to roll up into a lap quilt, I also like to tuck my feet in and have enough to still tuck around my shoulders... With a 6 ft. tall husband this make lap size pretty big! - because I want my big enough to be big enough for him according to my standards! Another reason why I am thinking about borders is that I have an extra wide green backing piece... It would be wasteful to use an extra wide back on something small... I got an extra wide green back thinking that it is masculine and would go with my plaid quilt, in the mean time, I found some on sale brushed cotton yardage that went better with the plaid quilt for that back... So I have the green back without a top.... (FYI I have a one yard piece of a really cool "mod" cat fabric that has a lot of green that might be real nice for a border.... & as of Tuesday, almost a full bolt was still living at my LQS... Maybe a narrow inner border of an orange or purple....)

I stayed home feeling pretty yucky yesterday, I only got to feeling o.k. at about 5 p.m., so what you see here (6 rows of 8) I did in about 3 hours from 5 til 8. If I knew I could sew them that quickly, they would not have sat around waiting so darn long... (That is my story & I'm sticking to it.)

Thanks for all of the lovely comments about my cat block. I have been "collecting" cat fur fabric for a long time... In my collection, I have a lot of "marbled" as in marbled paper, not Moda marbles fabrics as well as pieces that might have been intended to be people hair to nice tone on tone browns, grays, oranges, etc. I have an official cat fur stash... I had no idea how extensive it was until I pulled fabrics for this project. This project uses 15 different pieces - I could have easily made 30 without getting into mixing teh fabrics to make "Siamese" or "calico" cats!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kelly Greens

Here are those Kelly Greens that I just mentioned at the bottom of my last post - the one below this one... Hey it is green & it's may so this is project Spectrum-able too! Actually the star points, are in my zipper quilt as are a couple of the ones on the right... (not sure how that happened, maybe I cut a couple 1/2 yard pieces in half to have stash fodder available!)

Anywhoo here is 1 block from my travel project, I have most of them thread basted & I am a bit ansty to work on them, hopefully that feeling holds on intil I am either in airports or on air planes for the better part of 24 hours...

a bit o-green & a bit o' fessing up...

First off, I've finally uploaded the pictures from my recent Aquarium visit... (I'm only posting a few - for my memories more than anything.) Scroll down for something quilty - including a photo. The Aquarium photos include an Australian bird (I forgot to annotate names) and a monitor. The frog is from the new frog exhibit, although they have had frogs in the rainforest part of the Aquarium for years, including thise LOVELY blue variety. He is poisonous, but purty nonetheless!

Greens! Well, I originally was only going to use 30 greens, that has expanded to 64! All from my stash! (You have to realize that most of my stash is comprised of under 1/2 yard pieces. More like fat or long quarters.
Fessing up here.... I did not buy the book! In my defense, I did not find it locally. But I can "wing-it" with this pattern. I think the original has 7 "teeth" in each pairing, mine will have 5 - because the long quarters, only gave me 5 of the size that I decided to use! (actually, I could have squeezed out 6, but I wanted an odd number of teeth.)
Another tidbit on this quilt, A design wall would be helpful, but I am going to wing it on what goes with what & hop that I don't get too many next to each other when I start to join rows.

Do I have a thing for greens? No, not really. But I like scrappy backgrounds, so when I wanted a scrappy lime background (for somethig that never got made - so that fabric moved into my stash), I bought several lime greens! (I have another lime & white stripe for the binding.) Some I bought for other as of yet unmade quilts, but they will be scrappy too, so I figured that I could take a bit for this quilt now - part of the reason I was able to jump from 30 to 64!

I know of one more spot where some "kelly" green live... (The backgrounds for my cats on stars applique project - aka the travel project.) I kept them all together so that I can make a piano key border later....

Not to mention that I have a few cat fabrics with green backgrounds.... Some of which that have tiny cats, so that they read green.... But while I was in my storage locker & I did look in on my cat collection, I did not sort through or look deeply for any "green" kitties!

Friday, May 05, 2006

"kinda funny" & Zipper update

O.K., so I was off yesterday, actually on Wednesday evening, I met two girlfriends for dinner & stayed over with one of them so that we could get to the National Aquarium in Baltimore when it opened. It was great, we all had a tiring but fun itme. The Australia exhibit was thematically the Northern Territories during the "wet" season. Appropriate for an aquarium, huh. So we saw "freshies", fish, turtles, lizards, monitors, and birds. (Now I am ready for the real Australia, especially the furry animals!)

While at the aquarium, we saw some of the other exhibits too, including the new frogs the rainforest & the feeding of the rays and the sea turtle - now that was FUN!

So now I am back at work & it truely fells like a Monday. (I often come into the office on the weekends, so they always seem short.) So much so that I was thinking, I'll have a lto to read on the ring, because several gals seem to only post on the weekends.... Suprise, not much going on in blogland. Then it hit me that it is only Friday!

Back to something quilty.... Unlike many "zippers" that I have seen where the same fabric is placed in different locations on the quilt, mine will have 30 different greens on a 5 x 6 layout. (I only sorted and counted and culled last night because my kitties missed their mommy & needed a lot of attention.) Tonight I hope to start cutting!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Project Spectrum

This quilt is by: Anita Peluso, it is a "Zipper Quilt" from the book Modern Quilt Workshop by: Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. Our very own Sam of Diary of a Mad Fabri-Holic fame made one in all purple you can see it here in her flicker. Another version is here at Quilts Galore in oranges and pinks. (There was/is a "ring" called "Modern Quilt Along" and several quilters chose to do the zipper quilt. I have wanted to a zipper quilt myself but wasn't properly motivated before!)

Mine will be more like Sam's only in greens! I had a ton of fun pulling greens last night for it!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Learning" Quilt Show

And to think you thought they were only put on for the vendors mall! Free quilt show with "learning." Brought to you by the International Quilt Study Center at the University ofNebraska-Lincoln. (Now I have a reason to visit Lincoln, Nebraska.) Enjoy...


Well, I was going to go to Project Spectrum and list the next few months colors (so many nice comments about my May quilt....) But there is an error of some type or another going on....
I think this list is good:
May = Green
June = Blue (Can I ask for an extra long month - I have a ton of BLUE UFOs!)
July = Purple
August = Neutrals
Is that it? Must be because March was Red & Pink and April was Orange & Yellow.

I hardly ever make mono-chromatic quilts... My stuff is usually scrappy to the hilt! I have been thinking "new Green quilt" & I either cam up with new Jets quilt (not happening until the other one is worn out!) or something like yesterday's October quilt in green (only an o.k. option - I don't like to do the same thing too may times & I just did that!) - Or Maybe a Scrappy Chicklets (free pattern!) quilt with a lime green background. Or a Stargazey Leaves (or something similar) - too bad we are not going to Perth, I'd love to go to Jan Mullen's Studio - she by far hands down my FAVORITE fabric designer!

May Project Spectrum

The Project Spectrum color for May is GREEN! (I even got into the postcard swap for May - I have a couple ides for a green post card... But I won't blater on about them lest I ruin the suprise. But I do need to get it done soon as we are going on vacation in a few weeks.)

Here is a green quilt that I made about 2 years ago: It is a "Bricks" quilt. The green rectangles are bricks that measure 2.5 x 4.5 inches the white parts are "mortar" and measure 1.5 x 4.5 inches. They really are only a glorified rail fence. I swapped quite a few "bricks" in the past. The can be udes for borders, sashing & there are other block formations that use bricks. I have another bricks quilt UFO that is scrappy (charm like with no two alike - was the plan) batiks and hand dyeds with black mortar. It will be set on point.

Here is a close up - quite obnoxious this big huh?

This quilt was made specifically for my husband back when he was just my boyfriend. He is a Rabid New York Jets fan, hence the green and white pallette. You may even be able to make out the officially licensed NFL fabrics. The back is Officially licensed NY Jets fabric as is the wrap over binding. I set it on point - I just prefer that "look" for this type of quilt.

New Project Spectrum quilt for May? I don't know with our vacation taking up most of May & with the fact that I am still in need of finishing last month's project (that will have green leaves)...

Monday, May 01, 2006

creative juices

These might get your creative juices flowing. HGTV has 4 BOMs and they are all free!

This week in The Calico Cat's planner

Since I am less that 1 month away from my visit to Australia (can you read the excitement) & since the National Aquarium in Baltimore has an exhibit on Australia, my girlfriends and I are going on Thursday to see the exhibit! Am I the only one who does that kind of pre-trip study? I have read through both Fodor's & Frommer's Guide Books & the internet can not hold anymore information that I have found already. BTW as far as the official tourism websites go Queensland is the best IMHO - New South Wales was tricky... Not sure where that tangent came from...

Another tidbit that made me blog this subject yet again.... We got our e-tickets and itinerary this past weekend. 6.5 hour layover at LAX on the way there from 4 til 10:30, it can not take that long to get to the international part of the airport - can it? & a 5 hour layover on the way back. Not to mention that we stop in Dallas both ways.... I need to call the travel agent to see if any of this is changeable. (If I have to stop mid-way, I would prefer Houston - my dad might be able to see us - he works at Hobby Airport. & I prefer to get into LA at say 7 p.m. instead of at 4. the 10:30 p.m. flight to Sydney is o.k.)

Back to the more pleasant part of studying the visit before going!
"The Aquarium's Australian exhibit, Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes, depicts amazing stories of survival in an extreme environment.
The highly adaptive animals in wild Australia have survived over millions of years in a land of drought, fire, and flood.
More Than a Stone's Throw AwayAustralia, roughly the same size as the United States, is the world’s largest island. Separated by ocean from the rest of the world, Australia has a higher percentage of endemic animals than any other continent on earth, meaning that many of its species are not naturally found outside the country.
These animals – living creatures that are as close to prehistoric as can be found on earth – developed over millions of years in solitude.
Most of us will never get within a cooee of these creatures without going to wild extremes."
Sounds cool, huh? Sure has me intrigued. The exhibit appears to mainly be focusing on the Norther Territories which is fine with me becasue that is not part of our actual vacation!

week end update (April Project Spectrum)

My excuse du jour for not quilting... Rhapsody & RB sitting on my lap (love those kitty PJ's - I have another pair of kitty PJ's - with a purple background) BTW I am laying on the bed and that shiny thing in the right hand corner - that is the refrigerator.) aren't they cute. How could I make them move?

I did however get some quilting done. All but cutting the nuetral strips, I did this top all on Sunday. Whould you add more leaves? (The are from a piece of fabric and are leaf skeletons, mostly gold skeletons, some are black on the orange. I know this fabric also came in other autumn colors - I wish I got them too!) The basis of the quilt was a pattern called October & was a fat quarter pattern. I however used my fat quarters to first make 12.5 inch squares, so this was made from the leftovers. The original also ended up with bigger "blocks", mine were small & had a lot of left-overs, hence the outer border. Tonya just shared some quilting on her most recent quilt, I used the same orange on this quilt, but it is not obvious because I used a lot of my left over oranges & yellows to make a 2 inch squares scrappy inner border. The original pattern did not have a border at all...

That orange should be more prominently displayed in my orange bulls-eye flowers quilt. (Which I got glued to the background squares last night.)

Planning - or lack there of.... My plan was to switch over to the orange thread once my white thread/bobbin ran out. When it finally ran out yesterday, I was knee deep into sewing the strips for the above quilt together that I could not stop. So I wound one orange bobbin and one green bobbin and the rest white then proceeded to rethread the white so that I could continue on with this project. :o)

I can now switch thread and bobbins and start to sew down my bulls-eye flowers! Yes, it is an April Project Spectrum quilt, but I want to finish it & in my defense, it will have green leaves!
Green in the May Project Spectrum color!

I will post a Green quilt tomorrow... (I still have to "find" a green project for May - besides my green postcard for swap portion of Project Spectrum!)