Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Project Underway

I am cruising along on my new project.  I still don't have any teaser photos though.  In your mind, imagine that I need 448 1.5" finished HST (half square triangle units).  I don't mind cutting for those HSTs, or sewing, or pressing, but the "squaring up" isn't my favorite.  It always seems like my rotary cutter is dull or something when I'm trying to trim them.  But, the results will be worth it.

It is going so much better now that I've started a new audio book.  Maybe you are curious about what I'm listening to--remember that I have to listen to something I've already read (I made the mistake of trying to listen to something new, once, and I ended up sitting in my living room doing nothing but listening for a day and a half!)  I decided to listen to Shelters of Stone, the "latest" Jean Auel Earth's Children Book.  Why?  Because as of Tuesday, it will no long be the latest!  YES!!  I've been under a rock or more likely, deployment drama, so I had no idea until the other day that the new book is finally coming out.  It is the 6th book in a series that started nearly 30 years ago, and I can't remember the exact release date of Shelters, but it was when we lived in El Paso, from where we moved 7 years ago.  I've read it once or twice since the first time when it came out, but not in the recent past, so I thought I should refresh myself prior to the new book release.  My prediction is that I'll get quite a lot of sewing done up until Tuesday, and then nothing for a day or so after....   Oh, and on an "audio book" note, I've discovered that despite the fact that I've read this book, when it comes to an er... "steamy" scene, and despite the fact that I'm home alone, I blush and get embarrassed!  I would die if anyone else were around.  Isn't that funny?!

I ventured out last night to bunco and had a great time!  I think our screams echoed around Palm Circle!  The food was a salad bar and I skipped wine to just drink water AND I only ate one Snickers at the tables, but I woke up feeling yucky anyway.   I can't win!  Oh, and I can't win at bunco, either!  Nothing new there.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trying to get into the swing of things

I'm back.  I know I haven't blogged for a few days, mostly because I haven't had too much to say.  I've been struggling in the quilt room.  I started fooling around with a few things, working on the Decoy Schnibbles (but I'm hating my fabric choices, so I think I'm going to start again with that) starting and not finishing some postcards.  I just haven't had any focus and it is driving me nuts.  I finally figured out that one of the problems might be that I wasn't listening to an audio book.  I usually do while I sew and now I think I'm starting to depend on it?  At any rate, I went to itunes and downloaded a few new books, so I'm set.  I've also started a new project--one that I'm excited about--and can hopefully show some photos soon.

While I was at a loss for something to do, the doorbell rang and it was Fedex with a big ole' box from Amazon.  Just what the doctor ordered!  One of the books was this:

It is our book club's latest selection.  We have been wanting to do a hawaiiana book, and someone chose this.  It is a fictional novel set on the backdrop of Hansen's Disease and Kalaupapa.  The subject matter can be a bit grim, but the author did a pretty good job of creating good characters and so it was good.  Don't characters really make the book?  That is true for me.  And even if they are "well drawn," if I don't like them, I don't enjoy the book. 

Another quick comment:  Isn't Skype awesome?  I have never used it before and now I can video talk with Dale while he is still in Tampa.  Very Cool.

I'm off to get my day underway so I can get into the quilt room.  I'm excited again and loving it!  (Drat, why didn't I do housework when I was "blocked?!")


Monday, March 21, 2011

The Weekend in Review

Can I just saw that this weekend is over?  Libya, the supermoon, and a deployment...

We got up on Saturday morning and went snorkeling to Hanauma Bay.  I got a new mask this week and so was anxious to try it out.  I wear eyeglasses, and strong ones at that, and when we first got here, I didn't know how much snorkeling I would do, so I just got a "generic powered" mask that you can get almost anywhere and it has been fine.  I could see good.  Or so I thought...   Last weekend, we went on a snorkeling boat trip and used their equipment.  The snorkel was horrible, but the mask  had optical power equivalent to your prescription.  One of my eyes is -6 and the other is -5, so I asked for the -5 mask.  I couldn't believe what I could see.  Have any of you ever worn glasses?  Do you remember the first time you got them and suddenly, you can't believe how clear and wonderful the world is?  That is the sensation I experienced in the water.  The result is that I went off to the dive shop and got a new mask with -5 in one eye and -6 in the other.  While snorkeling, we didn't see anything really interesting.  The place was full of tourists and/or locals who insisted on swimming right into us.  Also, because of the supermoon the tide was extremely low.  I have never seen it so low.

The rest of Saturday passed with activity.  Dale didn't want to sit around on the computer or watching tv with his last days here, so he got busy doing whatever he could think of to help me out while he was gone.  He gassed up the van.  He washed and vacumned the van.  We cleaned/orgnanized the garage a bit.  Can I just say here that it is amazing what just 30 minutes of straightening up can do?  We took recycling in.  I got some plants to spruce up my neglected-looking front yard.  He dumped out the old stuff and I replanted.  While he was cleaning the van, I brushed off the gecko droppings from the siding on the front of the house.

I need to comment on the weather.  Saturday was one of those days where we would have brief light or not so light showeres on and off all day but with sun inbetween.  When we went snorkeling, it was pouring here when we got our suits on, and we drove through 3 or more showers on the way, but it was sunny there.  Anyway, I felt like the weather was reflecting my mood--the day was crying off and on.  I know it is kind of cheesy, but when you are going through these sort of events, emotions are really wild.

Then in the evening, we reached the "24 hour milestone" but we were trying not to think of it.  The super moon came in and out from the clouds and I was able to get a decent (or 14) photos of it.  Here is one:

Sunday morning I woke up and realized it would be a "challenging" day emotionally.  We talked it over and decided we would treat it like any other day.  As much as we could.  So, we went snorkeling, of course.  While my mask vision was great, I was having some leakage issues.  Saturday, I googled the problem and had the mask soaking in warm water most of the day and also had scrubbed it with dish soap all to make the skirt more supple and soft.  It worked!  I had very little leakage on Sunday.  When we got there, there weren't very many people there BUT there was a lot less water.  I thought it was as low as it could go the day before, but there was an even more noticeable difference Sunday.  Most of the reef was exposed to air.  We went where there were only 2 other people to try to avoid the problems of the previous day, and that worked.  We saw two turtles.  I tried to get a picture, but another fish got in the way.  If you look carefully here, you can see the second behind and below the black fish.

After snorkeling, we went home and tried to have a normal day!  There were several phone calls, though, and as a pleasant surprise, I found out I had won the Fantasy Iditarod Mushing Contest.  How cool was that?!

We went out to dinner and then to the airport, and I'm going to stop here because I'm not going to rehash all that.  I did manage to get up this morning!  And we can't underestimate that!

Friday, March 18, 2011

At last, an alternative to getting Best Press shipped to Hawaii?

I was browsing at Target last night (no, I don't advise doing this unless you are prepared to spend oodles of money.  Target browsing can be hazardous to your pocketbook) when I came across this.

All ideas of purchasing the cow-shaped creamer, the fabulous blue lamp, and more organizing bins immediately departed.  (See, I told you browsing can be dangerous!)  I bought it, and do you see the white sticker residue?  That was a coupon for $1 off if you also bought a bounce dryer stick.  They seemed much more expensive than they are at the commissary, but then I saw that they had just the refill stick and better yet (!!!) they had "unscented!"  Have you tried the dryer sticks?  They are fabulous.  No more do you have to wonder if you remembered to put in the dryer sheet, or totally forget the dryer sheet so you have a staticky mess, or either throw in another sheet to be safe or dig around in the wet laundry searching.  Oh, and no more throwing out a used dryer sheet, although they were very useful to use to rub off the lint on the lint trap.  But really, since I've been using them, I can't believe how much time I spent worry about the dryer sheet, LOL.  I must be forgetful or something,,,,  I can't remember.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, the best part of the dryer sticks?  Since I started using them a year ago last October I've only used three.  My only critisism was that they didn't have unscented.  But now they do!

Okay, back to the ironing spray.  It is not aerosol!  I tried it out on half of a piece of fabric, and used Best Press on the other half.  I can't tell a difference in the feel--both have that wonderful crispness with no gummy residue.  The only difference is in the scent.  I love the Carribean Tropical scented Best Press and the Bounce smells more like...  well, a dryer sheet.  However, if it means I no longer half to haul bottles home from the mainland, or try to order them, I think I can live with it.  The price was $3.79 if I remember correctly.  I'm going to check the commissary, though, to see if they have it yet.  It must be pretty new because I looked for information about it on the Bounce website, and they don't even have it listed. 

If any of you try it, let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It is a windy, dreary day here in Hawaii--good for staying home and stitching, but I have made plans to go out with a friend and part of our itinerary includes stopping at the most awesome gelato place on the island, so I'm going to make the best of it! 

Yesterday I was very good and applied myself and finished my entries for the quilt show!  I even got them entered!  I also quilted and bound the little patriotic wall hanging for my mom.  Here it is:

Almost as a reward, I got a package in the mail.

Little Quilts just got in their new line of fabric--I was reading blogs while staying up the night of the tsunami and saw it, so the next morning I called to order.  I got a roll of fat quarters, a flag panel, and then a kit to do the free project.  The free pattern can be found here  http://www.henryglassfabrics.com/ and this is what it looks like
I'm really liking the "lightness" of this project and have moved it up the queue of my USOs (Unstarted objects). 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Slow Start to the Day

Ever have one of those days where everything you touch goes to heck?  I'm using the term "heck" here in the same way that the cartoon strip, Dilbert uses it.  In the strip, the devil will damn you to heck for minor infractions like stealing pens form work, etc.  So while I didn't ruin anything severe, or do any real damage, I just wasn't having a good quilting day.

I started out thinking I needed some goals for the week.  Since it isn't going to be a good week, I decided to just work on small finishing things.  Here is what I came up with:

1.  finish Alex's quilt--I just have to rip out the miters, trim the borders and add the corner pinwheels. 
2.  get the labels made for my quilt show entries
3.  actually enter my quilts in the show

I started ripping on Alex's quilt while I had workmen here.  When they left, I went up and worked on labels.  This is where "heck" intervened and I had to throw one away because it looked terrible.  At that point, I decided to leave things alone for a while so I went downstairs and watched a movie. 

Later in the afternoon I went back up to try again.  This time things worked out and now the labels are all pinned on and I just need to watch another movie and handsew them on.  Once that is done, I will enter them.  I'm making myself have them all ready prior to filling out the entry forms, so I don't have to worry about any last minute crisises.

After that, I was feeling more confident again and proceeded to construct a small patriotic wallhanging for my Mom to use in her silent auction.  It was so quick and easy because I had a big pile of flag blocks already done.  I even have some leftover binding that will work perfectly!  I plan to quilt it today and hopefully bind it and then work on Alex's quilt. Here is a teaser photo of some of the elements:

Our week is not good because on Sunday, my husband leaves for some training at McDill AFB in Tampa and from there to Fort Benning where he will prepare for deployment and then depart for Afghanistan.  He will only be gone for 6 months (thankfully) but it is still really difficult.  I'm going to miss him!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Project

This weekend, I began a new project.

This is a little Schnibbles pattern I bought last summer in Shipshewana.  I have been waiting to make it, and now is the time!  I'm a little behind in Miss Rosie patterns, this is my first.  I have now figured out that her Schnibbles patterns are designed to work with charm packs.  I don't have any, but I do have stacks of fabrics and am doing fine so far without. 

She has the neatest trick for making half square triangle units (HSTs).  You use one light and one dark 5" square, layer them together (right sides together, of course) and draw and x on the light.
Sew your 1/4" seam allowance on both sides of the X and take it back to the cutting board.
First cut the block in half both directions to yield 4 2.5" squares.  I "exploded" the block to show you the cuts, but when you are doing it, leave it alone!
Then cut on your diagonal lines--the X you drew.  Suddenly, you have 8 HSTs!  Press them open.
And then trim...

(I LOVE the Bias Square ruler for this)

The HSTs square up to 2", so they will be 1.5" finished.  I've seen this technique before, but I really like it because it seems much more effortless than cutting a bunch of smaller squares.  It also seems like you get a lot of HSTs from just 2 5"squares.

Speaking of HSTs, I was reading an article on them in the current issue of McCalls Quilting magazine.  They featured different tools, techniques, etc.  What is you favorite way to make them?  My "weak spot" in the construction process is the pressing--I manage to distort them very easily, so I always make them a bit bigger and then square them up so they are perfect--but all that squaring up can get really tedious!

This is a rough week for us--I'll write more about that later. 


Friday, March 11, 2011

Surviving the Tsunami

As many of you know, last night at 8 pm our time, a devastating earthquake hit Japan, and the images of their tragedy are horrific.  We are praying for them.  At 9 pm, we were under a tsunami watch and at 10 it switched to a warning.  Sirens blew, we prepared, we stayed up until 12:30.  We napped until 3 am, when the waves were supposed to hit.  It didn't seem too bad on O'ahu, so we went back to sleep around 4.  It turns out that the waves got worse as they progressed through the islands.  The Kona coast of the Big Island got the worse--waves as high as 11 feet, at least one house washed away, other damage, but we are okay.  We are staying home so far today.

I'm sorry to say that when all the drama began last evening, I was cutting out a quilt.  I'm one of the people who suffer with context and association, so now when I look at those pieces, all I "see" is the tsunami.  So, maybe I'll sew it together or maybe I'll pitch the whole works and start again.  I tried sewing this morning, but am too antsy to settle to anything. 

Last night, after the sirens started wailing, we filled the tubs with water, and pitchers and sinks, etc.  Most of that is for washing or flushing in case we lost water--we do have lots of bottled water for drinking.  I have lots of empty tupperware containers and eventually I started filling all of them.  I didn't think it would be that bad here, but then I would think about all those empty containers and then what would happen if it was bad and we needed water and how I would feel if I knew I could have filled them and didn't.  So I would fill a few and then reason would interrupt and I would stop, but the the other thoughts would come back, so I filled more.  Luckily we don't have to pay our water bill here.... 

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Border Corners and Cleaning

I must say that it is a good thing I have such great quilting friends here, because they got me back on track with Alex's quilt.  Joan and Kim reminded me that it looks great and I don't have to replace the yellow and orange.  They give it "pop." And of course, they are right.  Thanks ladies!!!  Joan also suggested a pinwheel block for the corner squares instead of a plain block, and that was the perfect solution, too.  I came home from my Tuesday bee and promptly started auditioning, thinking, and constructing, and then I was a bit stymied again.  I wasn't sure which pinwheel I liked best. 
It took all day, but I finally decided which one I liked best and made three more.  I was all set to finish yesterday, but I got an email from my Mom, whose political party is having a fundraiser and she wanted some patriotic items to donate and for some reason, she thought of me!  So, I spent my quilting time yesterday working on some fabric postcards.  I would post a photo, but then you would see which party it is, and I don't want to publish that.  I have another design in the works, as well, and that can be shown when I finish it.

Yesterday I also got bitten by the cleaning bug.  Yes, it happens every once in a while, usually when I'm not expecting it, but I try to go with it.  It started out innocently enough, I was trying to use the printer.  I have a laptop downstairs, which wirelessly prints upstairs at my husband's computer area.  He has a desktop there, and there are 2 printers, a external harddrive, etc.  Also he has a work laptop, and a new laptop.  All of it was mangled in a mess.  I started tidying up.  I must have found 5-6 ipod or other download cords, some random cords and chargers not in use, even a redundant power strip, and 12 or more "you burn them" cds.  (I have no idea how to burn a cd, so they aren't mine!)  His usual cordless mouse needed new batteries (complete with some orphan batteries) so there was a corded one with the cord stretch over the counter.  There were cords everywhere!!!  When he first set up everything, he was going to get around to dealing with them later.  Well, that was over a year ago!  I tidied, and then dusted, and then asked if he could do something about all the cords.   I smiled sweetly, said "please," and batted my eyes at him, so he couldn't really refuse w/o seeming to be a real jerk, poor guy, so he sighed and got to work.  I wish I had taken a "before" photo, but I didn't realize what remarkable difference it would be.  Here is the "after" picture.

It was his idea, and I am freely complimenting him because it was brilliant, to move the printers to the right side of the counter.  Previously, they were on the left.  This meant that to use the printers, add paper, change cartridges, etc. you had to crawl over the chair.  (What you can't see is that this area is a little nook fronted by the staircase railing, so you can't just walk around the chair.)  You can see a few cords, neatly bundled.  "Before" there were about 85 stretched across the counter so you could hardly see any of the surface.  Okay, maybe I exagerate, but not by much!  Anyway, it may not seem like much, but it is an incredible improvement to me.  He grumbles that it was fine before, but I think he really likes it, too!
Can I just say that I hate a tangled cord mess?  I wish everything could be wireless, but I guess power cords can't work that way.  What also bugs me is having piles of cds, unlabeled!, laying around.  Are they empty?  Are they used?  Are they trash?  Can I throw them away?  Please?  LOL.  I guess my husband collects software and computer cds the way I collect fabric so I just pick them up and stack them in the closet.  Not unlike how I store fabric!

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Alex's Quilt pt. 2 or Fussy-Cutting Borders

Alex's quilt went together so easily.  The cutting and piecing were pretty simple, yet the finished flower block is so cute.   Borders were next.  The blue inner border was easy enough.  The pink outer border was a whole different matter.  The fabric is tricky.  There are clusters of flowers, about the size of a hand, scattered on the fabric, so I didn't want to just haphazardly cut and sew.  I carefully examined the fabric and saw that the clusters were positioned in near rows down the length of the fabric.  (I had bought enough fabric to cut the borders from the length to avoid joining seams.)    Across the 40-42 inch width of fabric were 4 1/2 rows.  (Why is there always a half?  At least it wasn't 3 1/2 though)  The rows were 8-9 inches wide, and my border needed 6 inch wide strips, so I centered the 6 inches over the row as best as I could.  I cut the first row.  Of the 4 rows, there were two identical pairs--all 4 were not the same.  I carefully lined up the first one I had cut on top of it's matching pair to cut an identical 6" border strips.  These would be the top and bottom.  I cut another strip from the third row, and an identical mate from the last row to use for the 2 sides of the quilt.  I determined an identical center point in all four strips--the white center of the orange flower.
I sewed on the borders, mitering the corners, and this is how it came out.  I'm pretty satisfied with the borders, but I'm not liking the way the miters are meeting.  I really have problems with "half flowers."  Now I'm thinking of making corner squares, but what color?  Green would work, but I think I'd like more of the purple fabric better.  The only problem I can see is that I set one of the purple flower blocks in a corner and I'm not sure I'd like a purple border corner there so near. 

While pondering all my options, and carefully studying things, now I'm not sure I like the orange and yellow flowers.  They were fabrics in the same line as the border, and they match perfectly, I just don't like how "strong" they are--they don't look like they belong.  Ugh!  This quilt was supposed to be easy!
Here is how it would look with corner squares.  I'm trying out both the purple and green.  I placed the purple by the purple flower block.  I'm not sure how I'm liking it.  What do you think?

Alex's Quilt

On Friday, I did straighten up my quilting room before deciding which new project to start.  It really wasn't a difficult decision.  At Christmas time, my 5 year old neice, Alexandra, asked me if I would make a quilt for her to hang on the wall in her bedroom.  It wasn't a matter of "if" so much as "what."  I didn't immediately have something in mind, so I filed the request away to ponder.  A few weeks ago, there was a blog tour for this book:
And with all the photos of the projects featured, I settled on one for Alex.  Fabric choices were next, and since she is a 5 year old girl, this means purple and pink.  I looked around and decided on Moda's Happy by Me and My Sisters as well as some other Me and My Sisters designs from Dilly Dally, etc. I got the top done and started on the borders.  I am going to blog about the borders tomorrow.

The weekend was good.  My husband went diving Saturday morning and so I was able to finish (maybe) the top for Alex's quilt and piece the back.  On Sunday we were able to go snorkeling in the afternoon, so that was good.  He will be home on leave all this week, so hopefully we can do some fun things, other than taking care of taxes, other paperwork, and any more prepartions we have to make prior to his abscence.


Friday, March 4, 2011

I finished!

My goal for the day was to finish my version of Roll Roll Cotton Boll, the latest mystery quilt from quiltville.com --and I did!  Since I live in Hawaii, and people like to visit Hawaii in the winter, I had company or was traveling myself for the holidays, from mid November (when the mystery started) until the second week of February, I wasn't able to work on the mystery with everyone else.  That was okay, since I wanted to change the pink/green/brown colorway to my preferred, er, patriotic scheme.  Bonnie warned that if you wanted to make a change, you must have 5 colors, so the typical red, white, blue wouldn't work.  I did red, medium blue, navy blue, neutral, and gold.  I was working away, enjoying myself until I had only 6 of the pieced blocks and most of the string blocks left.  I had laid out a corner of how the quilt would work and for some reason I lost my motivation.  I picked  it up and put the pieces in a bag and worked on postcards for two weeks. 

I don't like to leave things unfinished, though, so I got it back out and started working.  It took two days, and at first, it was a bit tedious again, but pretty soon I got going. Yesterday was the day to finish!   In the morning, I was able to get all the blocks together with no mistakes!  Whoo hoo!  I usually always turn something wonky when I'm setting blocks on point.  After lunch, it was on to borders.  I had already pieced the outer borders, but needed to cut strips for the inner border. 

Well, that should have been easy, and was, until I had sewn one on to the first side and discovered that the second side strip wasn't quite right.  I thought I could cut another one and use that wrong one for the top or bottom, but then realized I didn't have enough strips and I didn't have any more of that fabric!  Stymied!  Would I have to go out to a shop and try to find something?  Order something?  Not be able to finish?  I gave my stash a half-hearted seach, not expecting to find anything but unearthed a Thimbleberries gold I forgot I had!  Yes!  I started over with the strips.  I think I lost an hour, but pushed on. 

I had the inner border on and then needed to fiddle with things.  Bonnie said that the inner border may have to be adjusted in order to get the pieced border to fit--it all depends on seam allowances and accuracy, etc.  Isn't trying to match a quilt to a border much more difficult than fitting a border to a quilt?!  It is for me, plus it was more difficult with a diagonally pieced border.  At any rate, I got it to work, sewed on the first 2 and then it was time for supper.  We went to my favorite Mongolian BBQ--it is on an open lanai next to the channel for Pearl Harbor--just gorgeous.  Afterwards, I got the other 2 strips sewn on, added the corners, and was done!

DH took me out to eat for supper and even my fortune wanted me to finish this quilt today!

Here is the finished, queen-sized quilt top!

A closeup to see my color choices a bit better

What will I do today?  Probably tidy things up again and then, who knows?!  I have a few possible USOs (Un Started Objects) to choose from. 


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Postcards, Organization, and Transportation

Yesterday I spent the day up in my quilt room working away on a project that really needs to get done. I like it, but a few weeks ago, after I got several of the blocks done, I laid it out to see how it would look and then promptly lost all the excitement over it.  It isn't that I don't like it, I do--I just lost all my motivation.  I had put it away to work on postcards the past couple weeks.  Have you made any of these?  They are totally addicting and fun!  Here are a few I completed Tuesday. 

After finishing these on Tuesday, I had to clean up my sewing area!  I can work in a cetain amount of mess, but when it reaches a "that" point, I have to clean up.  I have been frustrated up there with the amount of space--I ran out.  So, after I tidied up, I started looking at how things were arranged, stored, utilitized, etc.  I purged a small amount, rearranged, and then when I came upon some bins containing non-quilting/scrapbooking items, I moved on to our storage area to see if I could fit those items in somewhere else.  I did!  That was just the space I needed to fit things in better.  My main problem was that I recently started hand-dyeing and so had piles of fabric that wasn't in my stash previously AND I got my Christmas present last week--a Janome Jem which also needed a "home." 

Tuesday morning we had dropped off my car to get repaired--multiple things were "going on" and so it had to stay overnight until yesterday afternoon.  Despite the fact that I rarely go anywhere, I felt "marooned" so it was nice to get it back.

My goal today is to finish the major project I was working on yesterday and be able to post a picture tomorrow!  I have about half the blocks put together--so it should be fairly easy.  This quilt has the blocks on point--my least favorite way to constuct a quilt--I seem to always make mistakes!  What I do know:  it is staying all laid out across the floor until all the blocks are put together!

Have a great day, everyone! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love the Blogging World

Last year, I made my first attempt at blogging, with JoAnne's Journal.  I made maybe a half-dozen entries and it kind of died.  Meanwhile, I have started following many blogs, most about quilting, and have come to really enjoy them.  In fact, on the days when they don't have a new post, I feel a little disappointed!  I am hopefully going to use that to channel my own motivation to make frequent posts.