Wanda Gene's Musings on Life, Love and Loving the Quilting Life!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Sophisticated Beauty in Black, White and Red

Hi Everybody--

This beautiful quilt was pieced by my neighbor and quilting customer, Sharon Davis. I quilted it for her on my longarm machine, using the quilt pattern Pizazz that I showed in my last post. I tried it out on my own quilt first because I was so nervous about using the IQ (Intelliquilter) on a customer quilt.

Well, it came out great on both quilts!

I wasn't nervous about the IQ's abilities so much as the possibility of "user error". But the IQ is turning
out to be very intuitive and easy to learn .

We are getting ready for another road trip with the 5th wheel. Departure is next Tuesday and we'll be gone for a month. Three weeks in California with our kids and their kids, then a week in .....Quartzsite? But why, you ask? Why would anyone go to Quartzsite? Well, it's not for the scenery. But it is for the fellowship of our fellow ham radio enthusiasts and their families. We have potlucks and visit with one another. Oh, I almost forgot! I do a lot of piecing! Yay!!


Monday, December 7, 2009

My First Quilt with Electra

Hi Y'all--

What is with all this underlining? Oh, well, Blogger always has a mind of its own...

Anyway, this is my first quilt on my IQ. She now has a name--Electra--and she quilts beautifully in partnership with Emma and I. I started this panto called Pizazz on Saturday and finished the last pass today.

This is near the start of the quilting.

This is right after doing the last pass. The quilt top is a Chinese Coins (also called Roman Coins) using scrap strips. The top was fun to make but I was tired of all the strips by the end. But I don't think I will ever get tired of watching Electra doing her thing!

Here is a close-up of the quilting.


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Friday, December 4, 2009

IQ is Amazing!!!!

Hi to All--

My IQ is here---Helen and Tony came out from Las Vegas on Wednesday to do the install and get me started with some lessons. This is so exciting because the IQ has the capability to do so many things with designs.

Here it is installed atop of my APQS Millenium.

I have already learned how to do edge-to-edge designs and blocks and borders. In theory, at least,
I have, and have just a smidge of practical experience on a practice piece.

Below are some designs that I have stitched out on my practice piece.

The first one is a pantograph (also called edge-to-edge or E2E) named Oh My Feathers which came with the IQ. I love this pattern!

The next picture is a block design that I downloaded from a digital design website.

Well, I guess I'm done playing for today, but tomorrow is sure lookin' good.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Getting IQed!!!


No it's not a test, but it is sort of like a brain implant. It will make me seem a lot smarter and more talented than I really am.

You see, I am getting a computer, called an IntelliQuilter, for my Emma, my quilting machine.

The IQ does so many things. If I can even think of a few of them, I'll be doing well. It stores quilting patterns (for actual quilting the quilt, not piecing patterns). Then you can resize, rotate, flip, combine patterns and add as many repeats as needed to fill the space. Then you tell IQ where to quilt and when to start and when to stop. You can also use it to create and store your own patterns. Wow!

Now all I have to do is wait for the next seven days.

Here is a picture of my latest project, Catlettsburg Town Square, a Bonnie Hunter design that she calls Carolina Crossroads. I just took it off the machine after quilting it in spirals; now I need to finish the binding.


The Great Kitchen Counter Make-Over!

Hi to All--

First, here is an "Aw, he's so cute," picture of Miles:

And here is DH Jerry after breaking up and removing the old ceramic tile from Jeff and Sherry's kitchen.

They have been working for some time improving their kitchen, mostly by their own hands.
Now it was time for new kitchen counters and the old had to come out. We were out there and Jeff was at the hospital everyday for a while so Jerry went to work.

After tile removal, what was left underneath had to be perfectly level. Yes, a very big job, but Jerry is always ready to tackle those kind!

Jeff called to tell me that their counters would be installed (yesterday). They chose a dark gray Corian. Can't wait to see the kitchen finished.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Miles Makes Dramatic Entrance into World!!!

Hi Everybody!

Here is our new grandson, Miles, with big brother Jonah and Mom. Miles was born on October 29, about three weeks early.

It's really hard to see his face with him all bundled up, but that is to keep him warm as he has a hard time regulating his own temperature. These pictures were taken Tuesday when he was allowed to come home just for a few hours. Yes, unbelievable, but an hour after he arrived home there was a call from the UCLA NICU asking Jeff and Sherry to bring him back because a lab test indicated that he might have an infection. We were all in shock at this upsetting news.

His parents were allowed to wait until rush hour traffic was over to make the return trip. They returned home without Miles, about 11 pm.

Now it looks like the test might have been wrong. He might get to go home again on Saturday if all goes well.

Since the nurses who care for these preemies are so great and so skilled, he is in really good hands. A few more days of their TLC will just make him stronger for when he does get to be home.

Here is the first quilt I have made for little Miles. It is a print with fire, police and paramedics on it. My son, Miles' father, is a dispatcher for the police department, so his son's have gotten quilts with a law enforcement theme.

Here is the quilt that I brought to work on. I cut the patches at home before leaving for San Diego last month. I did a lot of the sewing while we were there. I was only home for one week before getting the call that Miles had been born during the night. It was back to California that day for us.

I don't get much time to quilt (or to blog!) except during Jonah's naptime, but he is wonderful fun. I am so lucky to have four wonderful grandkids!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Wine Tasting in San Diego....

Hello to All of You Out There!

Here we are in beautiful San Diego, enjoying the most stunningly perfect weather possible, and we ran into a bargain.

You know, neither my DH Jerry nor I can resist a great bargain. So we were in Von's supermarket and Jerry cast his eyes on some wine that was marked down to $4.99. There were four bottles, all French Bordeaux, in very unusually shaped and attractive bottles. But did the wine taste good?

I suggested that we buy one bottle and see if we like it. But ****NO**** my bargain hunting hubby figured someone else would snatch up the rest of the bottles before we could come back.

I forgot to tell you that these bottles had a screw-on top. I bet you can guess what happened next.

Jerry opened one of the bottles, takes a taste, then offers it to me! I am cringing, shaking my head, no, no, no, and wondering how many local liquor laws he was breaking.

But it is too late to pretend I'm not with him. A girl walks up, and says, "Did you guys just taste that wine? How was it?"

Jerry indicates that the wine is quite good, as he scoops up all four bottles (including the opened one) and heads for the check-out line. By the time that we actually paid for the wine, the one bottle was down a good eight ounces. Our checker thought it was quite funny.

This one will go down as one of many San Diego memories!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Back...Did You Miss Me, Kids?

Hi All---

Had to take a break from blogging and picture-taking but I have gotten some quilting done. But mostly I was doing my taxes and filling out endless paperwork for the house we are trying to buy.

Yes, we are moving, at least we will if this escrow ever gets off the ground. You see, our sellers made it a part of the contract that they would find another house for themselves and have both houses close escrow at the same time. We thought that would be OK, but they are having trouble finding the house of their dreams.

I have also been filling out a claim for VA assistance for my elderly mother so that she can afford to move into a group home. This is a little known benefit for war veterans and their spouses and widows who need help with tasks of daily living. It is said to take 4 to 6 months for approval, and I just filed the paperwork a few weeks ago. I am saying prayers that both these endeavors will be swift and successful.

I also completed this quilt top.

It is **BIG** even though it has no borders....about 102" square. I did "float" it a bit with the setting triangles because I don't like points of blocks up against the binding. These are "bullseye" blocks made with raw-edge applique.

I had made these blocks about a year or so age but I was stumped for a setting for them. I would find some setting that I liked, but then changed my mind. Have you ever done that?

I think deciding on a setting is sometimes the hardest part of putting together a quilt top.

Here is a close-up of a few of the bullseye blocks.

I have also been working on Old Tobacco Roads, and have come up with the name for mine---it's officially "Lemaster's Old Tobacco Roads" to honor one of my ancestors who was born on a colonial-era tobacco farm in Maryland along the Potomac River near modern day Washington DC.

This wonderful design has taken just about forever to make.....the pinwheels have such small pieces and everything is on the bias.

But I love how it is coming out! I have the center finished and am now putting on the borders. Here it is.

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville, who designed this quilt, used flying geese in her border. However for my version, I chose the zig zag border in Gwen and Freddy's first Collaboration book. And
is it ever fun! This quilt, with all its busyness, needed something really strong to keep it corralled. This does just that. Oh, and I modified the border a little to "float" those jags so they don't run into the narrow border or the binding.

I'm going to do some quilting. I hope you are doing something that's fun!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Three Cowboys Herding Cattle!!

Hi Everybody!

I have been real busy lately and haven't even been finding time to post on my blog. So I'm going to start with what's happened just now and work backwards.

We are camping in Williams in northern Arizona, in the beautiful and
******COOL******* mountains. We are here for the annual Hamfest, a get-together of our Amateur Radio group.

We were startled to hear this bull bellowing mournfully and loudly so.
He seemed to be missing his lady friends. I got this picture of him before he moved on in his search.

About 30 minutes later the cowboys came through with these cattle. We asked them if they were looking for a bull and they said they were. We showed them the direction that "Mournful" took.

I just had one day to get ready for this trip because we had just returned from a week in California.

I needed my grandbaby fix. Here is Jonah, our blue-eyed towheaded two year-old darlin' with his daddy. Jonah calls me "Meemaw."

Isn't he cute?

Here is everybody checking their Blackberry and texting. Actually, the cute little brown eyed, dark haired baby.....my other grandbaby boy, Danny.......is playing with my camera. His sister, Marbeya, at sixteen, is a veteran texter. She keeps in touch with us regularly.

OK, so I am out here with nothing to do except sew.....poor me!! I brought my Bernina and several projects to work on. When I get a little done, I'll post it. Meantime, I'm keepin' COOL:)


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pics Are Back!

Hi Everyone,

Halleluia!!!! I can once again upload pictures. I was not a happy camper for the last few days trying but not succeeding with getting pics up on Blogger.

I thought all along that it was a Blogger problem but began having these nagging thoughts that it might be some little thing that I changed on my computer that was the REAL culprit!

So...the problem resolved itself without any intervention from me!

So you can see how we had to move the dining room table out into the great room so I could lay out Old Tobacco Road. The only other place that I have that is big enough is right in the middle of the great room where Yeager spends a great deal of time walking or running around. That is not an option. But Yeager rarely goes in the dining room so
it's a good choice.

You can see that the center of Old Tobacco Roads is nearing completion.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Overrunning Its Wall

Hi everybody--

Blogger simply won't let me post any pictures today and it's making me grouchy. Why does it work sometimes but not now?

Anyway, Old Tobacco Road has simply outgrown its design wall. I had to do something, so we moved the dining room table sideways and out somewhat so that I can use the floor in there for a few days to compose the quilt.

Scrappy quilts have some great advantages. My favorite one is that they are never boring and you can look at them for a long time without seeing everything. Another great advantage is that you don't have to worry about running out of any one particular print.

But the thing about scrap quilts is that I like for my fabrics to be mixed up well enough in the quilt so that each print is not only not touching one like itself, but that they are well balanced. Hence a lot of time is spent composing. It is one of my favorite parts of making the quilt top. (If only I could show you the picture...grrrr!!!)

Soon my table will be back in its place and I will begin the first border. I still haven't settled on a color.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cuttin' Up Fabric.... Sewin' It Back Together

Hi All---

This is part of what I have been working on this morning--Erie Mae has been such a dear, just making a nice smooth, happy sound as the two of us sew along together.

The pattern is OLD TOBACCO ROADS, a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter of quiltville.com. It is a mystery, but it now all parts have been posted, so I know how it will come out. This is such a great pattern, but not in the fast and easy category that are so popular.

Here is a section of the quilt that I am working on using my design wall. I am trying to arrange the various scrap fabrics evenly throughout the quilt, but this pattern does not have your typical blocks....the pieces are arranged in diagonal rows, and also the quilt is larger than my design wall.

So I am working in sections, diagonal slices really, and this is the first section. This part is a lot of fun, piecing and seeing the quilt start to come together!

I decided to make my quilt a little wider than the original pattern by adding two extra pinwheel columns. This makes my quilt square...I think about 76 inches before borders. And I have a really fun idea for the border that differs from the pattern. I'll show you in a future post!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Very Special Day

Hi Everybody--

Today is Sunday, June 14, 2009. Today is special because exactly 40 years ago, Jerry and I were married before family, friends, and God.

We have been blessed with a good life together, with sons, daughters-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren. We have had fun, laughter and love all along the way.

We celebrated our day by exchanging
cards, going to church, and then having brunch at our favorite place to
go for REALLY BIG occasions, the Westin La Paloma here in Tucson.

The first picture is the special dessert assortment that our waiter brought us with "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate. Below is the ice sculpture in the seafood platter.

This is a picture of the resort grounds with desert trees shading the pool and pathways. The swim-up bar seemed to be very popular!

This picture of us was taken by one of the wait staff. The sun behind us is so bright that our faces are unfortunately a little too shaded. But we were sure having fun!

Here are a few more pictures of the grounds .


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Hello to All--

We're home! Yay!

After all the fun and varied scenery it still feels good to be putting the horse in the barn, unpacking our stuff and looking forward to sleeping in our bed at home tonight.

We made Tucson about 10 AM and went straight to the Post Office for a huge box of mail. I've been sorting it and listening to all the messages on our machine.

I know from experience that it will take about 3 to 4 days to get everything sorted, unpacked, put away and/or washed.

My computer at home has strangely decided to protect me from all of my favorite websites. Jerry thinks that it may just have to work its way through its security protocols after the shock of being turned on again after being off for a month. Wow! My computer has to think about whether its going to work with me again. Did I hurt its feelings by leaving it for so long? It would seem so.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Getting Closer to Home

Hi All--

We are now in Deming, NM after a full day of driving. Thank goodness for Wal Mart!

Last night was at a Texas state park in Fort Davis. That afternoon we toured the old western fort by the same name. During the night, it started raining and then hailing. Now we have had the experience of being in "golf ball hail." It sounded like rocks falling on top of the RV!!

This morning we drove up to the MacDonald Observatory, where they have the largest optical telescope in the world. We did't spent much time there, however, because we wanted to get some miles behind us.

Hoping to be back in Tucson sometime tomorrow.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Study Butte?????

Hello All--

Last night we stopped in for the night in another town, with the unlikely name of Study Butte. And we were at the Study Butte RV Park, also unlikely. It is patrolled by three friendly dogs, who were curious about Yeager. I have now learned that the town's name is pronounced "stoody byoot." OK, I guess if I lived there, I would prefer that too.

I could't post last night but tonight should be a different story here at the Lost Alaskan RV Park in Alpine, TX. We stopped early and walked through some of the shops here for a very pleasant afternoon.

This is a picture of a wild turkey that I snapped in a rest stop earlier today. He really surprised us when we drove in!!

Night before last we stopped in Langtry, TX. This was the home of Judge Roy Bean.

Langtry was once a railroad stop and as a result was a fairly well-populated and thriving town.

We enjoyed walking through the botanical garden and touring the old buildings including the Judge's court/ barroom, his home and the old and crumbling homes of some of his neighbors.

His barroom had a picture of Lily Langtry, the English actress that was the object of his affections, even though he never met her.


Population 500!

Hi Everybody!

This will be a quick post to let you know why I didn't post last night. We stopped last night in Langtry, TX, but there was no WIFI or cell coverage. We did have a very interesting visit there as it was the home of Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos.

I took pictures, which will be posted later. The reason for the rush is that we have made a quick stop in the town of Marathon, TX, pop. 500, but there is Verizon cell coverage here so I can get on the internet. That's all nice, you might say, but it IS about 100 degrees here in the RV. So I'll see if I can get on the net tonight and post pictures. What good is a blog without pictures, anyway?


Friday, June 5, 2009

The Streets of Laredo

Hello All --

Well, evening finds us tucked into a nice campground with 50 amp service (that's good) and water.

We are at Casa Blanca State Park just on the outskirts of Laredo, Texas very close to the Mexican border. The lake is huge. I don't care very much for the need for permanent signs all over the park, saying, WATCH FOR SNAKES! Believe me, I will not be taking one step out here without watching and worrying.

We made about 230 miles or so today. That's about what we are trying for. Nice and easy!


Our Last Night with Bonnie and Family

Hi Everybody!

We sadly left South Padre Island, after saying our good-byes to Bonnie, Buck and Eddie last night after dinner at Pier 19.....where else but on the pier......at our KOA.

Dinner was great--this has been our favorite seafood place on the island.

It was really hard to leave my sister and her family because it has been several years since we have gotten together. And it's the first time we have met and gotten to know Buck, Bonnie's new husband. We feel like old friends now. So Bonnie and Buck, now come and see us, you hear? (She has already promised to visit this fall.)

Wednesday night Buck and Bonnie made dinner for us, ******STARRING****** Buck's special seasoned, marinated and grilled butterfly shrimp.

The picture shows the shrimp before grilling. It was so succulent! Bonnie made a cobbler that was she has been making for years. It was decadent and delicious.

So thank you, Buck and Bonnie, for all your generous hospitality, great cooking, and the fun we had hanging out with you!

And goodbye to the island, until next time.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just Putzing Along with Some Blocks

Hi Everybody!

Guess what? I slept half the day today. I suppose when you are retired, on vacation, and have come down with a very bad cold that you can be excused for being so lazy.

But occasionally I pull my chair up to my dear little Singer featherweight (her name is Elizabeth since she was made by the master craftsmen and craftswomen in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

This is what Elizabeth and I have come up with in the last few days.

The first picture shows some blocks that I have made using my own pattern design! I know, I know that this looks is the old stand-by Delectable Mountains. But I have put my own twist on it. When I have made Delectable Mountains before, I did not like how so many points came together when the rows were sewn together. I have figured out an easy and accurate way to put some extra fabric next to the points some that the rows go together so SMOOTHLY!

(I did all this thinking before I caught cold...I could not design anything right now to save my life. But I am up for a little bit of piecing)

The other little fun things that I'm working on are some Maverick Stars.

They are so much fun because you are trying to make them a little wonky so you always get your wish.

(....as opposed to trying for perfect piecing and not always getting your wish)

We are going over to Bonnie and Buck's tonight for Buck's special shrimp dish. This is going to be good, I'm telling you, because he is a gourmet cook excellante!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kickin' Up My Heels with Barn Dance!!

Well...only figuratively speaking. You see, I caught my nephew's cold and am feeling a bit on the puny side. My grandmother Ferguson always used that phrase for not feeling well, so using it cheers me up even when I'm not feeling physically very cheerful.

So here is Barn Dance. I decided to arrange my little blocks into a Barn Raising setting. The busyness of my "plain fabric" did not have the contrast punch that I wanted, so I needed some strong bands of color around the design. I also plan to use strong borders.

I have added more rows than show in the picture, but the size is starting to become unwieldy in the RV. I think I will put this aside for further work at home, and start on something else. I only have about 4 days here on South Padre Island (where are the days going?). So It doesn't matter much what I work on. I will have all day tomorrow here in the RV with my nephew, while the fishermen and fisherlady go out on a half-day boat.

Here are the blocks that I still have to be sewn into Barn Raising.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feelin' Groovy!!

Hi Everybody,

Yesterday Yeager and his new friend, Midnight, got to play in the surf here on the Island. David, my niece Jennie's DH is shown here with the boys. Yeager is baring his teeth at Midnight, but Midnight is correctly guessing that it is all for show.

Play this video to see the dogs in action...I wish I felt this good!!!

Yeager after his bath back at the campground.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

These Scraps are Starting to Look Interesting!

Hi All--
These are the little half square strippies that I've been working on lately. This is using up some of my 2 inch scrap strips, even making a noticable dent in the box.

Anyone who would like to piece along with me should check out Bonnie K Hunter's website, quiltville.com. She has some super scrap patterns that are FREE!! Her directions are very user friendly and fun. Click on the pattern called Diamond Strings.

These 4" half strippie squares (finished: 3 1/2") can be arranged in many ways. The picture may not represent my final decision!

I had my little nephew, Eddie, here in the RV while everybody else went shopping for fishing tackle. We took a couple of walks and played with Yeager. He was very sweet.

Now Bonnie, Buck, and Jerry are out for an evening of pier fishing. Now, I don't fish. At all. Jerry likes fishing as much as I like quilting. So tonight, everybody is happy.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

On a Tropical Island Called South San Padre!

Hi Everybody!

Where do I start? The last 48 hours have been fun and fast-paced.

First, we had lunch yesterday at JB's Smokehouse where they have some "dinosaur ribs!"
You pick your rib, pay by the pound, plus you get beans and rice for sides. Our rib, that Jerry and I shared, weighted in at about 2 pounds. And it was so smokey and tender! This was in Los Fresnos, a little town on the mainland.

Soon we were about to cross the bridge to South Padre Island. What a view of the water! We checked into our KOA spot where we also have a great view of the water. We got set up and rested up, after a long day of driving. I set up my featherweight and got some sewing done while we watched some TV.

This morning we went to the Post Office to pick up 3 weeks of forwarded mail. Then to Bonnie and Buck's condo. We were meeting Bonnie's husband for the first time. He is a down-to-earth and really nice guy and we immediately liked him. He made this wonderful pico de gallo, in two versions : just a little hot and fiery!

We took Yeager out to the beach where he could run. Before we could even get parked, Yeager was standing up, looking out the window, and huffing with excitement at the sight of the sand!

SPI is so gloriously beautiful!

Below is the pair of Texas university prints that I bought at that little quilt shop a couple of days ago.