Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clamshell Report

Well, I have been clamming aplenty, however, because of the plan for my clamshells, you won't be seeing them stitched together for awhile yet.  I have prepped 132 clamshells:

On the left, the pre-cut paper template. I ordered these from the UK over a year ago, because it was the only place I could find them at the time. Now, particularly for those of us in the US, I have found a site with precut papers at . In the middle is the paper pinned to a cut out fabric clamshell. Finally on the left, and I hope you can see the thread, I have stitched through fabric, and paper, on both the concave sides of the clamshell, and then run a gathering stitch through only the fabric of the top, pulling it up, and gathering in the fullness. I anchor the thread with a double stitch, starch, and press like crazy with a steam iron. Eh voila..............c'est finis!!!!!

In this manner, I have prepared the 132, and traced, and cut out another 120. I must say, it is many years since I've done a lot of scissor cutting out, and along with sewing through paper, it is taking a toll on my hands and wrists. Plus, it's a bit like potato chips. I thought four a day, would be a painless way to go about amassing the 520 (or so) I anticipate needed for my project. Well, sisters, I find myself unable to stop after four. The last few days I've done 12 a day, plus the pulling of repro fabrics, and the whole tracing/cutting deal. Have any of the rest of you found it difficult to stop, once you've begun?

Many thanks to Robyn, Jossie, Sue-Anne and Valentina, who have all responded to my frantic questions with helpful indepth answers. I could not appreciate you more! I only hope I can be of help to you one day.

No doubt the saga of sewing these little babies together will present a whole other set of challenges, but "no pain, no gain".................ain't that right, fellow clams, clammers, and clamees? Cheers, and Ta for now, it's back to the salt mines for me.  Michele

Monday, June 28, 2010

A walk to my mailbox...............a virtual visit

Good morning blogfriends. It's 10:21 AM, and on my covered porch, in the shade, the thermometer reads 92 degrees. This in no way prepares you for the reality of the heat because you really must factor in the humidity, which is FIERCE. In other words, it is hot. Real hot. However, the mail still comes, thank goodness, and somebody has to make the trek to pick it up. Valentina reccommended that I take some outside shots, so this occasion seemed a good way to kill two birds. Barb, please avert your eyes, we've all seen your magnificent garden, and this is just embarrassing.

This is the Crepe Myrtle in the old farmhouse's front yard, as we walk towards the road.

At the end of our "driveway", looking to the right you can just see where the dirt road runs into the paved two lane highway.
Standing at the mailbox, looking left, towards all the other properties up the road that can't be seen, or heard, for that matter.

Here, I've turned and started back to our home. The old farmhouse is on the left, and that is where my husband offices when he's not traveling. It was built by his stepgrandfather for his grandmother back in the '50s.

Looking to our right. They used this for cattle, but we don't have cows. We do lease the back 95 acres to a neighbor for his, though, we just didn't want 'em up next to the house.

Some Cannas, the only spot of bright color we have at the moment.

Our beautiful, old Black Walnut tree.

Inside the fenced portion of our yard. On the right Phil's Dad's old woodworking shop. It currently houses our hugely overflowing pile of books. And, on the left, home of the riding lawnmower, and a half ton of "stuff" we wish someone would come and haul away! Volunteer, anyone???? Come on, Elaine, there's gotta be something you could use...............maybe to build a goat condo, whadayathink?

My favorite tree, in back, and a poor dead Redbud, on the right. We need to cut it down before it falls on our house.

Mabel Jane Barnes

Poppy, AKA "The Timekeeper", who always lets me know when it is Pupperoni time........4:00 PM if you're wondering.

Lastly, progress to date on the yellow quilt:

I reckon that'll be all I bore you with this trip. If you ever feel like dropping in, I would purely love it. Just plan your visit for the Spring, or Fall,  to avoid the awful heat.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My first blog exchange.........

My first blog exchange has been completed, and it was really a delight. Kim wanted an applique block, and I wanted a pair (my first) of hand knit socks, so we decided it would be an adventure to swap. Never mind that we became nervous wrecks worrying about whether our item would please the recipient......turns out we are both worry warts.........we went ahead with it.

This is the block I made for Kim. I was going for a watercolor effect, not so much contrast as a very soft look. Praying she would find a place for it in her home, I sent it off. Imagine how thrilled I was when she sent me these two photos of the pillow-to-be in her two favorite knitting chairs:

Now, Kim lives in Indiana, and I've never been to her home, but I am very pleased with the way my block works with her decor. More importantly, she seems to love it, and what more could I hope for?  As to the socks.............feast your peepers on these babies! Are they not gorgeous? They are unbelievably soft, and I would never have known that they are 100% merino wool, if she hadn't included a darling card to let me know how to care for them. They are my official "bed socks" for those nights when I have ice cold tootsies. I love them! Thanks again, Kim. Let's do it again sometime, okay?

I finally got my prizes in the mail. Sorry for the delay, winners, it just seemed crazy around here, and time got away from me. My husband went off to be a camp counselor, which he has done for the last six years. Our grandson, Coleman, was born with Spina Bifida, and every year the same week in June is for children from 8-14 who have Spina Bifida. It is Camp Jean Marc, and it's a marvelous place for these kids. Some of them have never had an opportunity to be around another child with the same disability, and it's a real mind blower for them. For one week  they are not "different" from all the kids around them. Phil always comes home exhausted, and moved beyond measure. Plus, he lost 8 lbs! Hey, I know what you're thinking.........I need to go to camp, too. Being serious, I wish I felt I was physically strong enough to handle it, but I simply can not do the lifting that is needed. If any of you know a child with this disability, please consider letting their parents know about Camp Jean Marc. There are scholarships for children whose families can't afford the fee, and it is certainly worth the effort for them to inquire. Coleman will be 14 next summer, and it will be his last year to attend. I know he will miss it.

If anyone reading this post hasn't been to visit  Sandra's blog, for goodness sake GO NOW. She takes the most amazing photos of her island home, and the wildlife pictures alone are a miracle. She also quilts, and cooks, and I love to read her every post.

I will have updated photos of my current projects next time, but I am a bit stuck on the "yellow" quilt at the moment. Longing to move to the next new project, but needing to finish this one first. I'm guessing you've been there, done that. See you soon, Michele

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.....................

To defeat the internet (I hope) here are the winners:

First:  $40. gift certificate goes to Barb of Fun with Barb and Mary
Second: 5 Fat quarters goes to Sandra of Cumberland Island Quilt Chick
Third: 5 Fat quarters goes to Barb of A Corgi to Quilt By
Fourth: The book, Candy Cane Lane goes to Carolyn of All Sewn Up

Ladies please send me an address for mailing the prizes to you as soon as may be possible, okay. I truly thank each of you who participated, and hope that the winners enjoy their items. I'll be back to post at length, when the blankety blank internet doesn't cut me off every three minutes!!! Michele

Oh, my email address is please send your addresses to this address. Thanks

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hi there readers. Winners of the giveaway will appear here tomorrow. Sorry for the delay, but the computer keeps cutting me off..................grrrrrrrr. Tomorrow, I promise.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let the games begin..........

Hello, my blogging buddies! The lights are on, and the witch is in! I'm going to start this post right off with my giveaway, and the rules for entering. The giveaway begins Monday, June 7th, at 12:01 AM,  and entries will close at midnight on Sunday, June 13th. Leaving a comment on this post will count as one entry. Becoming a follower will earn you a second entry. If you are already a follower, just be sure to mention it in your comment, and you will be credited with two entries. Lastly, if you post about the giveaway on your blog, you will earn yet a third entry. Be sure to let me know, by email, or in your comment, if you do post about this on your blog. I might not realize it, otherwise. I hope this is clear, and if I need to clarify anything, I beg you will let me know asap. Here are the prizes:

First prize will be a $40.00 gift certificate, courtesy of CSN Stores, which is like cash spending money at any of their 200 plus shops. Every sort of home furnishing, lighting, cookware, baby furniture etc. can be found at these varied online stores. This gift certificate is for the continental USA, but if you are willing to pick up the postage, it can go to you anywhere in the world.

Second, and third, prize will be fat quarter packs consisting of 5 fat quarters chosen  from the new fabrics I showed you here:

These fat quarter packs are for anyone, anywhere, and I'll pick up the postage on these.

Fourth, I have decided not to make the Candy Cane Lane quilt, and I would be delighted to pass this book along to the person who comes in fourth. All countries are eligible for this prize, as well.

I hope there is something here to tickle your fancy, and I am looking forward to the possibility of making some new friends.  Remember there are three ways to earn a chance for a prize! Good luck, and I'll be seeing you in the week to come.  Michele

Friday, June 4, 2010

Frustration, Inspiration, and Suffocation....................

Well, fellow clammers, and ladies who don't clam, I prepped my first batch of clamshells this week. Woohoo! Right? Wrong. Clamshell information, "good" clamshell how-to is extremely thin on the ground. I have in my possession the three sources shown above. The white page is from here, and is very nice, so that is the one I followed. Too bad for me, because this is what I ended up with:

These look perfectly alright, or did, until I got to thinking about it, and checked the other two books I had on hand. Both of them showed an important difference in their clams. To wit, there should be a 1/4" seam allowance on the two concave sides, as well as the convex one. So, I don't know why Lizard of Oz has you match the paper edge with the edge of the fabric, but I'm bailing out on that method. It makes perfect sense to me (now) that you need that seam allowance for the overlap. So, I thought, just in case any of you girls are using the LOZ sheet for instructions, I would just give you my experience to factor in.

So that is a part of the frustration mentioned above, along with the fact that my computer has been very crotchety this week, making blogging not much fun. Don't you go nuts w/o your computer since you began blogging? Boy, I sure do.

As for inspiration, it's coming at me in waves. There is just so much I want to do, to begin, to finish, to play with. For example, I cut some selvedges for Mayleen, thinking "Why in the world would anyone bother with selvedges?", and next thing I knew I was checking out this blog, and ohhhing and ahhhhing all over the place. So, guess what? Now I have downloaded this adorable bag pattern, for free, and you can too, just go to here, click on her blog, and scroll down for a look. I'm telling you, it's cute! Then, to add to my growing list of things I want to do, I received some gorgeous red and white dots. I have not a clue what I will do with them, but first it was the black and white, now these. What would you make? Have you seen any all polkadot quilts? Aren't they pretty, and fun?

Meanwhile, I am still slogging away, figuring out how in the world to join these blocks together. Once you pitch out the original layout of a quilt, you are pretty much on your own. So I had a rectangular hole just below the red bouquet in the second row to fill. I appliqued a leafy vine, and have the first, of three flowers on there, as you can see below.

Posted by PicasaThen, it's going to be either two large blocks, or three smaller ones, and I'll be ready for borders. Not one of my larger quilts, this one should finish around 80" square, but that's big enough for this one. My head is just swimming with other stuff to tackle, and that's where the suffocation comes in. Do you ever become so overwhelmed with choices that you immobilized? Once in a while that happens to me, and it is a miserable feeling. I hope it passes soon. The only thing worse would be to feel no inspiration at all. That would be devastating, and usually only happens for a week, or so, after a big finish. Teresa seemed to go through it, too, after her big finish on the Civil War Bride quilt. Do you all have these feelings, also?

Would you like a giveaway? I think next week I'll have some sort of giveaway, just to break up the routine around here, and to celebrate the fact that I was released (for good behavior) from attending Physical Therapy three times a week. This liberates approximately 81/2 hours a week, right in prime sewing time. I am very happy not to have to make that trip. It's a relief. So, if I'm happy, I'd like to make you happy too! Check here next week for details.  Happy stitching, Michele