Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Accomplishments

Our regularly scheduled post of weekend accomplishments will be back next week at its usual time. We apologize for this postponement. Momcat's inattention to her stated agenda is due to the fact that she GOT A DAWG!!!

Since Maggie came home on Saturday morning very little else on our list has been done. It's Maggie this and Maggie that and "Oh, isn't she adorable" or "Gosh, let's count the number of times she pooped so far today." It's positively beneath me to express how truly disgusted I am.

She has tried to play with me a few times. Usually I ignore her. I did smartly slap her on the nose once and then went on my way.

I'll at least list the few things that we DID get done, not counting all the hours on puppy-duty.

* Quilted a Christmas table runner
* Did some piecing on a charity quilt
* Did 4 loads of laundry
* Cut the front yard and about 1/4 of the back
* Spent quality time with friend Jill, and watched the premiere of "The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency." Loved it!
* Quilted a Kids Comfort quilt on Jill's long-arm
* Watched "Taken" with Philip. REALLY GOOD!
* Got groceries
* Vacuumed the upstairs

I guess she wasn't as much of a slacker as I thought she was. I did like the fact that we spent some time in the sewing room. I took my usual spot on the ironing board and Maggie slept at Momcat's feet. The hum of the sewing machine didn't phase her. Maybe there's hope for this canine after all.

Piecefully yours,
Pi

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Introducing Maggie



I had no idea when Philip and Momcat left to run errands this morning that they actually were hatching a devious plan. Since Saturday morning is frequently the time that they leave to do human bean-type stuff, my siblings and I thought nothing of it. Until they got home at about 10:30 a.m. with a DAWG!!!!



They seem to like her a lot. And I must admit that even though she's been here less than 12 hours, I've already touched noses with her and think she might be okay. IF she's willing to take my instruction.

Maggie is only 10-weeks old, so she can learn a lot from me. Since Butch and Sundance are also still babies (7 months) they're likely to get used to having a dog around pretty quickly. She seems pretty smart for a dog. She's already responding to her name, has peed only twice inside but 5 times outside, and thank goodness has done her Number 2 Business outside as well! (I really don't like doggy stinkies in my house.)

She is a black lab/boxer mix. She's going to be a big girl. You should see the size of her paws! She ate a mammoth-size meal for dinner.


Momcat and Philip are doing a good job of teaching her how to be the kind of dog that even we cats can tolerate. One of the signs that this was the right decision? Our previous dog, Daisy, was a lab/pointer mix. We all loved her. Including me. She lived for almost 12 years and was the best dog in the world. She passed away quickly a few years ago and the family has mourned for her. Momcat, when she hears the word Daisy, feels that her guardian dog is looking out for her.

So today when Momcat and Philip were signing the adoption papers they were discussing what they'd like to call our new forever friend. Joey, the office manager at the shelter, said, "Well, you might want to pick your own name, but we've been calling her Daisy." Momcat and Philip looked at each other. When it's right, it's right.

So I'm going to give this pup a chance. So far, she's been no trouble. In fact, I'm in my crow's nest in the family room, watching her right now as Momcat types for me. Maggie is asleep on a blanket on the floor. Even I must admit that she's pretty cute. (Although she passed gas and that's not a smell I've experienced since our Daisy was around.)

Stash Report Week #3

Stash In: 6.5 yds (3 yds for borders and binding, 3.5 yds for ConKerr Cancer pillowcases)
Stash Out: 0

Here's to love between species,

Piwacket

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Room of Her Own

This is the last in our series of the Sewing Room redo, although there will always be more to accomplish.

This is the view from the door, showing the left side of the room. The daybed bed faces the sewing table and the organizational bins. This room needs to remain a guest bedroom as well as a sewing room. Look closely on the bed. Do you see anyone you know?


Wait a minute. Let's zoom in for a closer look.

Yep, that's me, doing what I like to do best. All those years of looking through Where's Waldo books with the kids helps Momcat spot me every time.

Thank you all for your kind comments regarding my organizational skills. I have to fight an uphill battle with my bean (why do you think I'm so tired all the time?). To illustrate my point....


Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


This door leads into the basement/laundry room/ kitty toilette. And look what's here.




The fabric stash. Totes upon totes, to the point where I'm hoping Momcat doesn't have to flip a circuit breaker or else she'll have to send Butch in for the rescue, and I don't think we'd stand a chance. His favorite show is Short Attention Span Theater.

Now do you understand why I've forced Momcat to be on No Buy? I've developed a strategy for her. Things in the sewing room have to be WIPS, UFOs or PIGS. As a project is completed and we can count it as stash out the door, Trouble and I will tell Momcat about the next project in the queue. At that point, fabric specifically selected for the new project is allowed to escape the chains of the dungeon and enter into the light of the sewing room. There will be such fun in going through these containers searching for just the right color, the perfect material, and the coordinating fabrics to work on that special project.

This makes me think about one's purpose in life. Some human beans put themselves into self-imposed basements. In bins where their talents are hidden, they're crumpled and smashed, not discernible from the other inhabitants of the dark container. And then to be released! To find a purpose, a mission, a sense of being needed and loved. For us to be just the right piece for that special project. What a blessing to move into the light!


Still snoozing,
Piwacket

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sewing Room Redo - Part Deux

What about those of us who aren't likely to win a $10,000 Sewing Room Makeover? (Don't forget to click to enter on the sidebar). Momcat and I believe in living simply. She lives in the starter home that she and CatDaddy bought in 1984. Bloom where you are planted is a phrase heard frequently around here.

For many years, in this 1400 square foot house, sewing meant using the kitchen table and then moving everything when it was time for dinner and/or the kids' homework. When older son, Darren, got his own apartment, Momcat took over his room (with his permission) painting it in shades of lavender, buttercream and light sage. Having a room of her own for inspiration and creation is a huge blessing, even if it's 11" x 11" and still used as a guest room.


Here's the sewing space looking from the door. The table and chair belonged to CatDaddy's grandma and has special meaning to Momcat. Every scratch and watermark indicates an action made by people she loves. This table was given to her by Grandma Irma when she had to enter a nursing home. It's been used as a play table in the family room, an extra table when family gatherings have been held and now the beloved sewing table. I know that Grandma Irma is smiling down, knowing how much love has surrounded this simple maple table.

BTW, it has hinged leaves on either side that allow the workspace to expand. Great when trying to cut, iron and quilt all at the same time!

These containers are fairly new. They're Sterlite containers with casters, and sitting on top of them are boxes from IKEA. Momcat has been teaching me how to use the label maker. Some drawers aren't labeled yet. There's still some arranging to be done.


Here's a view from the Pi-Cam. I'm under the sewing table looking at the shelf to the left in the picture. This is what is on the bottom shelf.


And here's the rest of the shelf.


Here's that corner as seen from the daybed (you'll see the other half of the room in a future post).
You'll find many loving and inspirational bits in our sewing room. These are things that have no meaning or value to anyone but us. This container of purple hearts for example....


These five hearts were given to Momcat by her mother, Eileen. Now Eileen is 83 and Linda/Momcat is her only daughter. Things weren't always the best between them when Momcat was younger, and there was a sad time of complete estrangement for a couple of years in adulthood. Then a remarkable thing happened. Mother and daughter each softened their hearts at the same time. Forgiveness, love, understanding and respect won out over obstinacy and ego.

Eileen gave Momcat the hearts as a peace-offering. They are smooth and also represent the five smooth stones that David used. Not only are they a beautiful reminder of God's constant presence and the miracles of the heart, but of the love between a mother and a daughter. They also remind Momcat to never allow a heart made of stone to weigh her down again.

Plus they're nicely practical!


The sewing room is a corner bedroom and we like to work with the windows open, as well as with the ceiling fan on. That means that patterns or bits of fabric, or tracing paper can fly around in the breeze. The hearts make fantastic paperweights.

Here is the bag made by Regina that was part of a raffle Momcat won. Isn't it cute? And the darling socks were a gift from Cathy, fellow coffee and cat-lover.



Next up we're doing a bit more in the sewing room closet. We're using another Sterlite organizer on casters. The top drawer has already been labeled and filled with gift wrapping supplies.

The second drawer has interfacing, yarn, and me.


I'm a curvy kitty who doesn't miss many meals. Thankfully, the organizer survived my endurance test.

What I Learned About Organizing Your Work Area:

1. Be patient with yourself. You didn't accumulate all this stuff in a day, so don't expect to conquer it in an afternoon.

2. Start small. Our first project was to manage the fat quarters. That's all we did for about a week.

3. Make sure you surround yourself with things that will inspire you and remind you of the love you can give and receive. However, you also need to declutter. Be selective in what you keep.

4. Use what you have.

5. Set a budget and don't worry about how things look to others. Each week Momcat allowed herself to spend $25 on some kind of organizational supply. The big closet systems were way out of our league, but we've found something much less expensive that serves us perfectly.

6. Laugh and listen to some music while you go.

7. Throw away perfection. It is not your friend.

8. A label maker IS your friend.

9. Express gratitude for whatever you have and wherever you are. If you own a sewing machine, a computer, and have any kind of space at all, you are more fortunate than most of the people on this earth. Life is good. Give thanks.



Stash Report Week 2

Stash In: 0 yds
Stash Out: 0 yds

Your pieceful partner,
Piwacket

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sewing Room Makeover Contest

Would you like to win a $10,000 Sewing Room Makeover? I know I would.

If you click on the link in the sidebar right above Quilt Blog Ads you'll link to the contest entry form. Be sure to enter the code found on my blog.

The even better news is that even if you don't win the makeover, the quilt shop sponsors have lots of great offers going on to help make the minute it takes to enter worth your while. Free books from one shop, free shipping from another, free charm packs, 20% off the entire order. Who knows what your consolation prize might be!

I'm hopeful that some fortunate reader of
The Quilting Cat will end up winning the grand prize. If so, I'd like to volunteer to help you. I'm especially good at rearranging paper and rolling spools of thread.

Happy Clicking!
Pi

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Focus: Little Quilts

It's been awhile since I've posted an In Focus on my favorite books and/or patterns. My goal is to highlight one or two per month, and now that Momcat's over her retreat phase perhaps I'll be able to get back on schedule.

In Focus

Little Quilts All Through the House


This book is an oldie but a goody. Published in 1993, it's one of my favorite ways to bust stash, and with today's focus on using up what we have, I wouldn't be surprised if the popularity of this little gem finds a new audience.

Here's one of the quilts made from the book, using just various scraps from other projects. It's called Hopscotch.


It's the perfect size to use as a table topper, a doll quilt, to throw onto a basket to hide the contents, and of course, for me to sit and purr on. I particularly enjoy the buttons.

Many of us use Bonnie Hunter's method of cutting and storing our scraps. Little Quilts allows us to make use of even smaller strips. Whenever you're cutting, don't throw away those strips that are less than two inches. Cut them into various widths of 1.25", 1.5" and 1.75". Many of the designs also use squares of various sizes such as 3", 5.5" and 6". If you've been collecting nickels or charm squares it would be quite easy to adjust the patterns to use up those squares.

Remember that the idea is to USE YOUR STASH! Although we have a lot of darker country colors in our stash (think Thimbleberries) I'm curious as to what some of these designs might look like using today's more contemporary colors. A little quilt using one of the patterns, but Amy Butler fabrics, for instance, might give a room the happy kick it needs.


Retreat Report #3

Momcat, who never wins anything, was the lucky winner of two raffles and a round of the most lame Quilt Bingo ever. Here's the winning card.


Momcat said that if she ever hears the word "variegated" again she might have a meltdown. At least she was able to continue sewing while she played. And the prize was terrific!

Here are her various winnings, with one very special item not having come to the surface yet. It was in a raffle and made by fellow Peep Regina the I. It's a bag that was filled with cool tools. It's buried somewhere and I'll post about it when it comes to light.

The Patterns



Books, More Patterns, Retreat Gifts from the Organizers

In the center of the picture above, you'll see a credit card holder and pin cushion. At each meal the retreat organizers had a gift at each place setting. Most of them were handmade by one of the gals at the retreat. What a nice thing to do!

Here's a better look at the credit card holder when opened. I really think Momcat is going to enjoy using it, although I think she needs to keep the credit cards IN it and not have them come out to play.


We have plenty of patterns and books to keep us busy for years to come. Better get busy.

Happily occupied,
Piwacket

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Retreat Report #2

Although the St. Jude's Retreat ended on April 26, Momcat is still reveling in all the fun and companionship. Not to mention the mess that remains around the house. Who would have realized that just a short weekend away could result in so much stuff entering the house! I assure you, it's a joyful chaos.

As is the fact that Philip came home from university last night. This is what moving home from college makes the living room look like. It's a playground!



We have our fingers and furry kitty toes crossed that an upcoming meeting with the Dean allows Philip to graduate now rather than having to wait for one class in Spring of 2010. Next step is job-hunting and figuring out what to do with a degree in Comparative Religion. All I know is that as soon as he sat at the computer I climbed up onto his lap and started purring. It's so good to have him home.

Back to the retreat, however. Cathy and Linda stopped at Valley Quilts in Trenton, Ohio on the way to the retreat center. Momcat (Linda) had never been there before. Here are the cute patterns she bought.

I can hardly wait to help her make the darling confectionery pincushions. Maybe looking at a doughnut pincushion will help her with her diet. The great retreat food sure didn't.

When arriving at the retreat center there were hugs and introductions. Jill pointed out Momcat's sewing spot to her. Look at the neat gift items from the Peeps (the group from Prolific Online Quilters who met at the retreat).

The great sewing caddy is from Jen, the beautiful red rice pack is from Jill, I can't remember who made the coaster, Jill made the cool name tag (yeah, that's right...MY name is on the tag) and Jennifer made the yellow thingy.

The Woman Behind the Cat

Notice how delighted Momcat is by her/my name tag.


Meanwhile, the rest of the Peeps were thinking "You crazy clueless woman...there's a quilt right there. Open it!"


To say that she was overwhelmed would be an understatement.


This picture shows how nicely quilted it is thanks to Jill's long-arm and her hard work, plus some passes by Jen.


Now about that yellow goodie...here it is on the couch at home.



Here it is being modeled by Momcat. It's a finger pincushion! However, Butch and Sundance are convinced it is the very best cat toy they've ever batted around. Now really, is anybody surprised by that?



May you live in a joyful chaos, too.

Piwacket

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stash Report One

As of last week, I decided to start keeping track of my stash a la Judy Laquidara's method. (Click on Patchwork Times in the blog list to see Judy's terrific ideas.) I knew better than to start this when Momcat was on retreat. I still need her to take a picture of some of her winnings and retreat favors.

She's been in a No Buy Challenge since November 1, 2008 and has done really well on it. I was super-worried when she started working at the quilt shop, but amazingly she has shown great restraint.

Anyway, the Stash Report for the week is:

Fabric In: 0 yards
Fabric Out: 0 yards

The goal is to have more fabric going out than coming in. I need to push someone away from the computer and television to make sure that happens. Now that the weather is turning nicer,the lawn, weeds and exterior house work are calling to her as well. Last night she had the disgusting experience of finding out that someone (probably neighborhood juveniles) egged her car. The more she needs to destress through quilting, the more other things seem to get in the way. I must start putting my paw down immediately!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fiddlesticks!

Momcat finally settled into the recliner so that we could have a cuddle and a conversation about the retreat she went on last weekend. Although she didn't accomplish nearly as much as she thought she would (too much time spent giggling and playing Left-Right-Center, perhaps?) she feels great about what she did manage to get done.

Here's the Fiddlesticks top, sans outer border. Not bad considering how many pieces are involved. Proves how much it pays to have things cut ahead of time. Look closely and you'll find the "humble" block. Some people purposefully put in one block that serves to remind them that only God is perfect. Momcat never gets to put one in on purpose. Her imperfections just naturally show up uninvited! mew


You'll be seeing this again when it's completed. At Momcat's given rate of UFOs, that might not be for several years.

She also completed 188 small flying geese blocks for another project.

Here's an equation to remember:

Momcat + Sewing Machine + 3:30 a.m. = Frogging (see sidebar for definition)

There are about 50 of those flying geese blocks that had to be unsewn and redone because they turned into trapezoids rather than flying geese blocks. Thank goodness Momcat didn't cut the waste triangles as she went!

What a blessing friends are! The ride to retreat was delightful. Cathy is a down-to-earth, wise, generous soul. Cathy introduced Momcat to a store called Valley Quilts which is a sweet store with lots of neat things to see. Each store has its own personality. Below is a picture of Cathy's dog, Daisy, seeing us off. I would have preferred to see a picture of Smudge, a fellow feline, but she was wisely in hiding.


When they arrived at the retreat center Momcat had such fun meeting people that she'd only known through their online communication. They took her completely by surprise when she found out that they'd made a comfort quilt for me. (Yes, for me. I comfort Momcat, so her friends know just how important it is for me to feel engulfed in loving support). Naturally, interspersed among the beautiful blocks you'll find some cat fabrics.


Momcat was so overwhelmed that she hardly knew what to say. I, on the other hand, know that I am totally deserving of anything that someone chooses to do for me. In fact, I sometimes think, is that IT? Truthfully, beans need this kind of community and I'm so glad that Momcat has found her niche.

Jill made several of the blocks, along with Jen, Moneik and Cathy. (Please leave a comment if I've left someone out.) Jill and Jen did the quilting (the night before leaving for retreat, no less) and Moneik did the binding. Jen also made a pillowcase for me.

I have more to share from retreat, but right now I want to rest my weary head on my new pillow.

Purrs,
Piwacket