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Showing posts from October, 2009

Quilter's Tools & My History of Quilting

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These are my new PrismaColor colored pencils. I decided to add to my collection and purchased an array of purples, 2 greens, a light blue, and a yellow ochre. I'm going to continue to work on the flower sampler from earlier this week.


This purchase got me to thinking about the tools quilters use now-a-days as opposed to what my grandmother used. The tools we have access to as quilters today are endless. I think about how my Grandmother quilted with just a needle, thimble, thread and a wooden quilt frame, and using pieces of cardboard for templates and a pencil for tracing them as well as marking quilting lines on the pieced top. Wait! That's how I started out quilting!

My paternal grandmother was the only other quilting family member that I knew of when I started quilting, and she died when I was 2 years old. I learned to quilt from the descriptions in the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My first quilt was made from embroidered blocks - the kind you coul…

Coloring on Fabric

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Last week I bought 2 sets of fabric markers and finally got around to trying them out yesterday. I pulled out a Dover copyright-free coloring book and traced the pages onto a piece of white muslin with the black marker. 

These are "FabricMate" markers and they work well putting down the color without bleeding. They dry fast which is good to prevent smearing.


This flower was done primarily with the FabricMate markers. It gives a different look than what I was looking for, but I still like it. It's a bit more of an animated look. I added a bit of "Pentel Fabric Dye Sticks" for the yellow and some of the green. I bought these a year or so ago but haven't used them much.


I reverted back to Prismacolor colored pencils for the most part. The Morning Glory and the Hibiscus both have marker for the dark blue and dark red, then are blended with colored pencil. I liked that look. The other flowers are all colored pencil - Prismacolor, Crayola, and RoseArt pencils.

I ha…

My First Quilting With the Retro-Fit

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Here is a photo of the first quilting I did with my newly retro-fitted Gammill Classic Plus. I put some muslin on the machine and drew some borders and blocks with a water soluble pen. Once I started quilting I realized that the verticle and horizontal channel locks would do a much better job at quilting straight, parallel lines than what I could do with a ruler and pen. So, away I went!

The feathers quilted up smoothly, too. It is so much easier to backtrack now that I can slow down in those places. I still need practice to get used to the way this machine quilts and moves, though.

Part of the retro-fit package included the Easy Glider wheels and 4 of the new beveled wheels. They are great and quilting is much smoother on the diagonal now. The machine goes where I want it to go and I don't have to get a strangle hold on the handles to keep the machine going on the diagonal. I had the older wheels with the white writing on the sides of them and had been contemplating switching to th…

AAQI Quilts Sold!

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"Autumn Sunset" sold at Houston for AAQI for $94.79! I'm thrilled!


"Vermillion Cliffs" also sold at Houston, but the selling price isn't listed yet. With the number of quilts they sold, it will take time to update their website.

AAQI reports that 969 quilts (more or less) sold at Houston. This is such a great cause to be involved in. Consider making and donating a small art quilt to Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative to help raise funds for Alzheimer's research.

Congratulations to Ami Simms and everyone at AAQI for a job well done!

On the Way Home

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Our last day at the beach was overcast with a few quick sprinkles. We spent as much time at the beach as we could, building sand castles, swimming, and beach combing.


These are my last photos of Dauphin Island - for now. I'm sure we'll be back again some time. We're half way home and trying to adjust to views without the ocean right outside our window.

Tomorrow we'll make a stop in West Plains, Missouri to pick up my newly retro-fitted Gammill Classic Plus! I'm also going to purchase the newer "Easy Glider" wheels and an open toe foot as well as a few spare parts for the machine.

I have ideas for new quilts swirling around in my head and am anxious to get started on designing them. I need to try out a few of my ideas in small quilts before committing to a larger quilt. I want to enter a few quilts in MQS again this year, so I need to get started so I can work on them between customer quilts.

The girls are looking forward to seeing their pets again. We had a …

USS Alabama

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With the end of our vacation coming up quickly, we decided we had better make a trip to Mobile to see the USS Alabama since the weather was cooperating yesterday. The weather has been rainy so much of the time that we never know when we'll get drenched.

DH has been to the USS Alabama a couple of times, but the girls and I have never seen it. It was quite impressive in size as well as how they are able to put an entire city in one of these ships. They have everything from a laundry, to a barber shop, to a butcher shop inside that ship.

Several fighter planes are are the park grounds. I liked the painting on this one.



I was surprised to see the wood deck.


A view of Mobile's skyline from the gang plank.



One last shot of the ocean before we leave.

We'll be heading home in the morning. I think I could get used to living here permanently - if that were ever an option!

At least I'll have my newly retro-fitted Gammill Classic Plus to play with when I get home. I'm really looking…

Walking on the Beach

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Yesterday morning we started out for a walk along the beach, heading towards the west end of the island. This is the end that received the most damage from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. There are still many vacant lots on the Gulf side of the west end of the island as this photo shows. These houses are on the bay side (north side) of the island. I took this photo from the Gulf side across the vacant lots, across the Bieneville Ave., and to the houses on the Bay side of the island.


Here are some of the shells that we picked up yesterday on our beach combing excursions.



Last evening while we were swimming, a lot of seaweed washed up to shore. It was all along the beach. It made us wonder what had torn up the seabed. We haven't been out yet today, but it will be interesting to see if it was washed back to sea with the high tide, or if there is more. We had a thunderstorm after dark last night and today it is cloudy and looks like it will start raining again any minute.


Here is a close…

Quilting at the Beach

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I woke up early this morning to this sunrise! It is really warm and humid out this morning and I had trouble with humidity collecting on my camera lense so the photo is a bit blurry. The beach house we are staying in is the 2nd one from the beach-front. This shot was taken between 2 beach-front properties.


I also took this shot this morning - at 6am - from the deck. The brown sand is the driveway of the house next to us - the beach-front house. We have just a short walk to the beach from here.


Here is another grainy shot taken yesterday at the beach - one of the shore birds looking for his breakfast.

DD#2 and I spent most of the day at the beach. It was cool yesterday with low humidity. In the morning the water was warmer than the air temperature, and once you got out of the water it felt cold! It was actually in the upper 70's. In the afternoon, the air temps shot up to 87 so it was a lot more comfortable to swim. The air temp this morning is already 82, and it is humid! Looks like …

Sand, Shells, and Sun

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The Gulf waters were a bit calmer yesterday and the air temperatures cooler in the morning. The humidity was down which also helped. DH and DD#2 built on to their sand castle.


I did some beach combing along with DH. These are the shells we found along with some colorful rock.



The pelicans were flying across the water diving into it just beyond the breakers.




My beach umbrella was nice when the sun got intense. During the afternoon, DH and DD#2 rented bicycles and rode down to the west end of the island. There is a bird nesting area there that is roped off so they didn't get as far as they wanted to. I think we're going to take a walk along the beach towards the west end - trying to get a bit further than we did a few days ago. It takes time to walk the distance with DD's who want to stop and look at the clams that are being washed out of their sand beds by the waves.


They are so many different colors they look like little jewels. We put them back at the edge of the waves so the…

Another Day at the Beach

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The weather started out mostly sunny yesterday, but we did have a rain shower later in the evening. The waves became rougher during the day, but not enough that we had to stay out of the water.



This is what was left of the sand castle we built the day before. The high tide got some of it, but we just built another one.



I thought this clam shell was interesting. I didn't do much beach combing yesterday - only picked up 2 shells. I was too busy watching the waves keeping an eye out for rip currents while the kids swam. With that sand bar building up, the waves were going all different directions which had me a bit worried. No rip currents, though :D



This is the sunset we saw from our deck last night. This was about an hour before the rain started.

A Day of Calm Seas

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The sea and surf were calm yesterday and we spent most of our time swimming and beach combing with one quick trip to Ship 'n Shore to pick up a few items. We don't usually collect oyster shells since they are common here and the fact that we have dozens of them at home, but I couldn't resist these pink shells.


This photo shows how much calmer the water was yesterday morning, and the sandbar that is building up. We were able to swim without getting battered about. I injured my knee right when we arrived last week and developed bursitis.The rough waves only aggravate the condition, so I stay out of the water when the waves are rough. The knee is better now but I'm being careful with it.




DD#2 prefers to play in the water, but when we can coax her out she spends her time building sand castles.


Something different we are seeing this year is parasailing. That tiny sickle shape near the center of the photo is the sail. This "sailor" was moving along parallel with the b…

Beach Combing

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DH found a fairly intact Sanddollar yesterday. We had been finding bits and pieces of them all week, but this is the first time we've found one that was this intact. We've found a few larger cockle shells and a few spiral shells as well.

With the sun shining and the blue skies, the water just sparkled yesterday. It looks the same today. The sand is building up on part of the beach creating a sandbar and giving us more beach to play on. DD#2 and I spend several hours each morning swimming and building sand castles while DH walks up and down the beach searching for shells. We have quite a collection sitting on the deck of the beach house. We go back out in the late afternoon for more of the same preferring to stay inside during the hottest part of the day. It feels like July here right now getting up to the 90's.

Yesterday during the hottest part of the day we drove to Skinners Seafood and bought 5 pounds of shrimp! Yum! I cooked half of them last night and put the rest on ice…

Blue Skys!

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We woke up to fog yesterday, but once it cleared the skies were blue, the wind mild, and the sea much calmer than the past 2 days.



 We didn't get into the water at all on Monday. It stormed off and on until late afternoon. I got out the watercolors and the girls and I painted. Once the storms passed, we got out and did some beach combing. We are finding a bit more variety in shells after the storm.




Yesterday morning, we toured Fort Gaines. We visit this fort everytime we vacation here on Dauphin Island. It's one of DH's favorite places to visit being a history buff.





After visiting the Fort, the girls and I sat under a pavillion at the shore and watched the ferry come in from Fort Morgan.




It is sunny again today and the sea is calm. I'm not sure what we'll do today. For the moment, I need to get breakfast fixed.

Dauphin Island Day Four - Part 2 - Sea Lab

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The tank with the Seahorses had several specimens. This one is a pregnant male.

This is a view outside the Sea Lab showing the marsh area of the island.



The Seagulls were abundant on this end of the island. Here is one standing on the rocky shore off by himself. Several yards away were hundreds clustered on the rocks. My photos of them didn't turn out very well, though.



Dauphin Island Day Four - Part 1

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We woke up to heavy surf again today. There is a storm system coming through the Gulf region with several more predicted over the first part of the week. This is a photo I took off the deck of the beach house. It's hard to see how rough the water is, but you usually don't see waves as far out from shore as this photo is showing. You can also see white caps pretty far out.


So we decided it was a good day to visit the Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.


This little American Alligator was one of a pair at the Sea Lab. He's only about 18 inches long.




There was only one Jelly fish in the tank. We stood watching him dance through the water for quite awhile.