Monday, March 30, 2009

Book Giveaway for Easy Applique Blocks

My pal Kay Mackenzie asked if I would like to be included in her internet Book Tour and I jumped at the chance!

What is so cool about going to Quilt Market and meeting other designers and authors is learning that they are just nice quilters, like every other quilter :)

Kay sent me a peek inside and an autographed book to give away! All you have to do to enter is [Contest ended April 4th - check back soon for the next one] I'll announce the winner here on April 4th and I will email the winner too :) {you won't be getting spam from me, I promise!}

Her book has the wonderful applique designs that you see here and also has a CD! As I flipped through her book the first thing that came to my mind was "homey". Her designs and her quilts have that comforting feel that just says "home". You'll love this book :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You. Can. Do. It.

You. You know who you are!

Can. Able, capable, willing, knowledgeable.

Do. Accomplish, achieve, attain, succeed.

It. Everything, anything, exactly what you want.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring in Seward, Alaska

Yes, this is spring in Alaska. See the pretty flowers; the sunshine? Me neither! LOL Someone please remind me why I live here?

If you look closely you can see Tan Bunny just to the right of the feeder that Tom built. It sits across the alley from his house, on Barb's property. She loves rabbits too, so she said it was okay to put the feeder there. Bunnies love her big trees :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Machine Quilting - How to Stitch in the Ditch

Here they are! I went with the two-part format because I felt that there was just too much information that I had to cut in order to meet the 10 minute limit for YouTube (not criticizing, just explaining) so:

Part One - - -

Part Two - - -

I would love to know what you think!! So far I have only remembered one thing that I should have said - and that is "don't buy cheap pins". I did this once and totally regret it, it was a waste of time and money because I had to go BACK to the store and buy the good (expensive) ones just to get them to go through 2 layers of fabric and a needled batting. Better to just buy the good ones up front and avoid the frustration and waste of having a bag full of useless pins.

Please let me know what you think of the videos and of quilting a large quilt at home on your sewing machine. Do you stitch-in-the-ditch? Do you do things differently than me?

If you found this useful, please share it with your friends :)

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Funky Fuzzy Shortcut Quilt is DONE !

I just love that word - DONE! Whoooo Hoooo! This will be another donation quilt, even though I love it with all my heart, the thought that it might make a person happy and benefit a child is also one of the reasons I love it.

BUT, until the CASA auction it is going to hang in Seams Like Home Quilt Shoppe in Anchorage! Yay!!

I can't wait to make another one! LOL :)

BTW, I had a really cool webcam chat with Linda last night. She was working on her binding and we chatted a bit about technique. Tonight, as I was working on one of the corners of this quilt's binding, I took a short video on how I like to make the corners. It is uploading to YouTube now. It says it's for Linda but you can peek too if you want :)

Great Stash Quilt and Tutorial

I want to make this quilt! Made by Liz Harvatine, she calls it "Confetti" and I *love* it! Here's her tutorial, which I found very understandable and I have TONS of scraps. This is right up my alley! Thank you Liz for my next project :)

Today I am putting the sashing on my funky, fuzzy quilt. I hope to have it finished by tonight.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stitch in the Ditch Video Dilema

I started quilting a 90" x 90"quilt on my home sewing machine, and doing a "tutorial documentary" on it. Now I am stuck!

I am a long winded teacher (and writer - you have probably noticed) and YouTube, my host of choice for now, allows 10 minute video length. You would think I could get the basics down into 10 minutes.... but no .......... I yap on too long and personally, I don't like to watch videos (or TV shows) where the speaker talks too fast - -it frustrates me - and I am a naturally slow talker.

So, do I break the video into two parts? Or cut out stuff that I think needs to be said? Meh!! I don't really know what to do. I think that people don't really like watching videos in two parts - -but then again, on my "build a cheap sewing or quilting table" I was playing around and made it in two parts and each one has about 7,000 views now. So maybe it's okay?

I was really hoping to get this all on one 10 minute video! I edited it hard (more than I wanted to) and still have 14 minutes. What do you think? Take more out or make it "part 1" and "part 2"? Oh, here's the quilt - isn't it wild? I just love it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My little writing secret

I wrote a quilt book (with my daughter as co-author). That's not the secret :) I have also written a novel, and after letting it sit for several months and re-reading, I realize it's crappy. BUT! I can do better! This summer, if all goes well (knock on a fat quarter) I will write a second novel (and try to write better). I already have the outline. But that's not the secret either.

The secret is: I have always wanted to write a screenplay. I figured that writing a non-fiction book, like a quilt book, would be a good start to writing (it was) and I read a lot about the process of writing and the discipline it takes but I know almost zip about writing a screenplay, so I don't feel like I am ready for it yet- -I put myself in the "I am still learning how" category.

So, here's one way I am trying to learn. I make videos on YouTube. Now, I used to think that people just stood in front of their cameras, yapped a bit, uploaded and *boom* they are YouTube stars. Not so - at least not the good videos (and I am not talking about vloggers here - - the whole point of vlogging is to be spontaneous).

For a loooooooong time I have wanted to teach a few things and I would like to reach a wide audience, so I chose YouTube. I have a few vids up and have learned quite a bit along the way and gotten some good feedback from great people who take the time to tell me what they think would make my videos better - - and I listen very closely to every one who emails me. I learn as I go.

For weeks I've been planning a video just on doing Stitch in the Ditch quilting. It sounds easy - -but it is quite a challenge!! Writing the script! There is *so much* to remember!! Yikes! If you watch my videos, I hope that you will consider giving me your impression and telling me what I should have done differently. I really, really appreciate every single person who emails me and listen closely to what they have to say. Now I am off to work on that SID script some more :)

Let me know if you want the "behind the scenes details" or if you just want to see the film version when it's released - - LOL :) {I want to know - - are you a writer with a secret dream?}

Friday, March 6, 2009

Robbed by Skype

Stolen: half a month's bandwidth at $65/month!!

Sarah, Audrey and I keep trying to find easier ways to stay in touch. We bought webcams and have tried Yahoo!, Google Talk and then Skype. Then Tom got the monthly cable bill and we were charged for a humungous amount of usage. We went looking and found that the day I downloaded Skype, our bandwidth was maxed out. Not by the download or usage, but because they routed their traffic through our router & computers!!

Theft is what I call it, plain and simple and stupid me for letting it happen. I knew Skype's reputation (bad) but had been reading about all those free calls (free because Tom is paying for our bandwidth - which they steal and give away!)

I had no idea that their business operation was funded on stolen bandwidth! The jerks! I don't support P2P, pirating music, copyright theft and now I don't support bandwidth theft either.
Link to research #1 Link to article #2 Link to article #3

Monday, March 2, 2009

Do you Play Pool or Billiards?

We decided, on the spur of the moment, to go to Anchorage for the weekend so that Tom could play in the Fur Rondy Pool Tournament. First, for anyone not in Alaska, Fur Rondy has its traditions in the old fur trade (furs are still traded today) and as a break in the monotony of the tremendously long arctic winters.

When Sarah and her cousins were growing up, it was the highlight of our winters. I'd bundle up the kids and we would go to the carnivals (outdoors rides like ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl) then go see the snow sculptures, maybe stay late enough for the fireworks. Then we would do the indoor stuff. Craft fairs, face painting for the kids, whatever sounded interesting :)

That kind of stuff waned as they became teenagers, so I haven't really participated in any of the Rondy events in years. In the past I had visited one of the local pool halls, in the basement of a popular bar, just to see what it looked like, but you could cut the cigarrette smoke with a knife and I can't stand the smell of it, so I quickly left (besides it was intimidating with all the guys concentrating on their shots and games).

Anchorage banned smoking in restaurants and bars a few years ago and the pool hall moved to a new location so I was in for quite the surprise.

Anchorage Billiard Palace was an exceptional treat. So much so that I gave up the chance to shop for fabric, poke around for a few antiques and all the other errands that I put on my list when I heard "two whole days in Anchorage".

Tom taught me to play pool and he's very, very good at both playing and teaching. He placed on both Saturday and Sunday, in 8 Ball and 9 Ball, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him and the other players in the tourney. Most of all, the staff at the Billiard Palace was outstanding. Polite, friendly, warmly meeting the needs of all the players and spectators, allowing me to take video of the room, they are the reason I'd go again. I am shy by nature and a hermit in my old age, so it takes a *lot* to get me out of the house, but I'm thinking about putting in the practice hours on the table so that I don't embarrass myself if I ever play at the Billiard Palace. I put up a poll on the right hand side of the blog, at the top, because I am curious - do you play?

Some of the things I loved the best: 12 nine foot tables, good lighting, great staff, dress code for men and women, no children allowed, central location in Anchorage and the nicest, most interesting people I've chatted with since I came back from Quilt Market.

I did get to see Sarah and Audrey for breakfast and some fabric shopping, but afterward I couldn't wait to get back to the games! If you have never been inside, here's what it looked like for most of Saturday and Sunday: