Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little Bit of Fall Around the House

I've never  been into decorating for Halloween much except when the kids were little and I especially wasn't eager to put up ANY Fall decorations this year. No energy.

When I said I was too tired, my daughter decided to get out some of the things and forced me into it, LOL.  She even put those clingy Halloween things on the windows. Hey, I put the wreath on the door, isn't that enough?

 Okay, okay, just a few.

And just to show you (and my daughter) that YES, even though I have no energy to speak of, I can still do some very fine decorating for Fall. First, you take a pumpkin or two . . .

Can you guess which one is really the little pumpkin?

And there you have it - my house decorated for Fall! Martha, look out . . .

My yahoo group Smallquilttalk recently did a Maple Leaf Block Exchange. I cut out some of the pieces and was getting ready to make and swap the blocks when WHAM, I had to have surgery and had to drop out. Oh  well, maybe next year. This is the block they used which you can find here. I made mine last year and put a few together into a little runner. Still haven't quilted it yet but this is the binding I'm thinking of using after I do that. Aren't  you just wild about that setting print??!!

Here are a couple of my little quilts you don't see very often - both  from Prairie Children & Their Quilts. Who knew that they fit in perfectly with my "Fall Around the House" theme?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Civil War Sewing Circle

The new Martingale & Co. catalog came in the mail last week and it was fun to see my book included in the lineup with so many other great books that are being published next year. Here's what it says: "The popular author of Prairie Children & Their Quilts and Remembering Adelia has outdone herself with this combination of lovely projects and fascinating historical tidbits."

Unless you're only looking at the pictures on my blog and not reading any of it - you've likely heard that my next book, The Civil War Sewing Circle, is coming out in January. I know it's still a little early, but, in response to requests, I am taking pre-orders of  signed  books on my website.  I'll buy a few cases right away to make sure they're available for you to purchase and then get them out shortly after they arrive. Sometimes my books arrive early, so keep a good thought.

When you order, there's a link on the shopping cart page under the item description that says "send info to seller."  Click on it to let me know how you would like your copy signed, that is, if you would like me to personalize it. Please don't tell me to write: "To my BFF (your name) - thanks for the inspiration!" or something silly like that, okay? Some people buy them as gifts for friends and I have written Happy Birthday! or Happy Retirement! more than a few times and included a little card on occasion.

I will not be traveling to Fall Quilt Market this year. If any of you are going to be there, I hear that the Martingale & Co. booth will have a "mock up" (sample, spiral-bound version) of the book so you can look through the pages and see it before the books are actually printed up. They'll also have a display of some of the quilts. So stop by the booth if you're in Houston and let me know what you think.

These photos are not that good, and were taken with my camera when I was working on the page proofs last summer, but you still get an idea of how well the staff at Martingale arranged the props and designed the layout of the pages with my quilts. I'm so excited to see it in book form and wish it were here already!

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Pattern # 4 for The American Schoolgirl Club is going to the printer tomorrow and will be mailed out to you by the end of the week.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Nostalgic for Fall

I don't think I could ever live in a place where the seasons didn't change - I get so nostalgic for Fall every year and usually can't wait for the crisp, cool air. It's my favorite season. Being basically homebound this past month has made me feel like I missed it altogether. No trips to the forest preserve or Botanic Garden to see the beautiful leaves, too much walking for me for now. No visits to the park, also too far to walk. No outdoor flea markets or visits to pumpkin patches or apple orchards. Heck, no more "walks" period for a few more weeks at least. Methinks there won't be any signs of Fall left by then, sigh.

When I went to the doctor last week, I showed him my little list with some of the things I wanted to be able to do again (simple things like laundry, grocery shopping and lightly mopping the kitchen floor). He took one look at it and said: "Nope, nope, nope, and nope." He said I need to wait a few more weeks. I asked for a written note exempting me from housework to show my husband, who I can tell is getting tired of carrying the whole load, even though he doesn't mention it.

Every day I do a set of gentle stretches the Physical Therapist showed me, but I'm getting antsy about exercising, just a little, please, but he said all I should do for now is take slow and easy little walks. So I took the little dog for a little walk today - up and down and halfway around the block, YAY! At least I'm able to get out.

As we were walking, I noticed that I must have missed a lot of the trees changing color in my neighborhood in the past few weeks. There are a few leaves in our yard but that's it. What's Fall without a lot of colorful leaves? There weren't many at all and that made me sad because I always loved tromping with the dogs (or kids at one time) through whatever leaves we could find.

How beautiful are fallen leaves?

(Last year's leaves, blown off our lawn.)

Around here, the neighbors' landscapers scoop up the leaves faster than you can sneeze, as if they're somehow unsightly. So there are never any crunchy leaf piles to run through or dive into except in our yard. I love seeing leaves piled on the lawn, and watching them blow and swirl  into the street on a windy day. My husband enjoys raking leaves and even though it is still a chore, he says at least it's a little exercise he might not have gotten otherwise. Whatta great guy with an even greater attitude, huh? Looks like he's got his work cut out for him this weekend . . . Oh yeah, there's laundry and mopping and grocery shopping too, don't forget, Hon.

It was a perfectly beautiful day for a dog walk -

A few pretty trees, but see, no leaves to stomp through. Picture perfect.

There's one . . .
Ooohhh, wait, I think we spotted some more!

One more good sniff and then it's time to head for home. Too soon, I know, puppy. But there's always the backyard to play in - where Mom can sit and relax.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Isn't This the Cutest Little Thing?

I opened my mail yesterday and, oh my! Isn't this the cutest little thing you've ever seen? Karan from Iowa sent it to me to cheer me up. I will be traveling to Iowa in November for a lecture/workshop and will get to meet her in person to thank her properly!

And my wonderful, thoughtful, husband never fails to come through for me too. One of his clients is Kraft Foods, which owns Oscar Mayer.

Yes, people, he brought me home an Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistle! When was the last time you saw one of these? I had one when I was 10 and over the last 40-odd years, it somehow got lost, can't imagine. Thank goodness now I finally have a replacement and I can whistle the song. That will thrill the dogs . . . Thanks a bunch, Honey! I remember seeing the Weinermobile cruising through our neighborhood in the '60s. Reconnect with your childhood and buy one of your own here on eBay  (Chicken not included). You're welcome.

I know it's sort of late notice, but I also wanted to let you know that I am getting back into the swing of things a little by presenting a lecture to the Itasca Quilters Guild in Itasca, Illinois, tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct 20. If I had gotten my act together I would have announced it a little sooner in case any of you wanted to stop by. If you find you are in the area, stop by the Itasca library or e-mail me for more info. Consider stopping by even if you're not really in the area. Listen to this - last year a fan from Minnesota drove the 9 hours to come to the Chicago area to see me and my quilts and when the lecture was over, promptly turned around and drove back. Now that's a FAN, LOL. Hope I didn't disapppoint.

Nervously waiting to be introduced . . .

Hmmm, they don't look so scary . . . Everybody looks alert, nobody's sleeping yet,  so far so good.

Yes, I make BIG quilts too!

Tomorrow's lecture was scheduled over a year ago and the doctor said it was ok to do it if my husband drove and I made a point of sitting for part of the presentation and did not stand the whole time. So if you don't see me at first, look up front for someone sitting on a pillow, waving a microphone around with head to the floor, looking for her notes that likely dropped on the floor. Wringing my hands too, because I get really nervous speaking in public. I'm much more comfortable talking to fans one by one after the "show."

The lecture/workshop in Cedar Falls, Iowa, will be on November 15. Let's hope the Midwest doesn't get an early snow. I'll be looking for some of you!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nice Little Surprises

There's one up side to being sick and that's hearing from thoughtful friends and fans. So many of you have been so generous with your cards, comments, thoughts and prayers. A few of you made your own cards or sent one that you knew was sure to make me smile. I hope you all know I appreciate it so much.

My husband went to the Post Office after work yesterday and brought home a package from Australia. Merilyn made me this gorgeous pincushion as a get well gift! Isn't it the loveliest thing you've ever seen?? I hope I have the heart to use it - it's so pretty I'm afraid of ruining it. Maybe I'll just display it . . .

My daughter bought me a book - 

Julia gave me the mason jar full of snippets of indigo fabric!

My husband bought me these much-desired silver Brighton earrings. Yes, I know, hearts.

I still can't drive, but I've had time to browse the internet and do some shopping online. I bought myself this new book by the Country Threads ladies to go with  all the charm squares I've been collecting lately -

If you like small quilts you HAVE to get this book - so many cute quilts you will want to stop everything and make one or two.

I loved looking at the author photo of Connie and Mary. They probably aren't aware that I am a fan of their patterns and quilts and used to faithfully stop by their booth at The International Quilt Fest in Chicago every year. I'm sure no one else even noticed or paid attention to this, but in the background of the authors' picture, hanging on the wall of their shop, are 7 of MY quilts from American Doll Quilts! What fun for me to spot them as I flipped through the book - another nice little surprise I wasn't even looking for. Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maybe Just a Small Outing

With the Dr's okay, we drove up to Wisconsin on Saturday to attend a special concert at my son's university. It was Parent Weekend and quite a few of his good friends who are Music majors were performing. The Art Department asked my son to display some of his photos at an art show in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center so we were very proud and I didn't want to miss either the concert or the art show. 

I was very sick this past summer and so there was really no time to travel or take a vacation, so it was a pleasure to be able to get to Wisconsin even. Anything to get off the couch and out of the house, LOL. Pretty pathetic, huh? Next year HAS to be better! At least I got to see a few colorful trees on the drive up . . . . 

I intended to take my daughter on a trip to visit some colleges in October, but that plan backfired for me as well and my husband will now take over and I will play it safe and stay home, nursing myself. So disappointing, but I did visit a few of the schools with my son 4 years ago so perhaps I won't miss too much. The original plan was to drive out east and possibly, possibly, make a side trip to Vermont, to the Bennington Museum, where the Dear Jane quilt resides and is publicly displayed for a very short time every year. Darn, darn, darn.  I'm sure there will be another chance to see it some other year, but still . . . . Maybe I can talk her into going to school somewhere near Vermont?? Pretty sure I can't talk her into anything these days . . . much less where she'll spend the next four years, LOL.

There was a little more leaf color in Wisconsin than here in Illinois and I know, I know,  it isn't New England, but hey, I'll take what I can get. Better than just watching the leaves turn in my backyard, right? The campus was lively with color, the overall trip good and while I pretty much took it easy, I was still able to walk around a little without feeling too bad. Maybe I AM getting better, ya think?

I made my husband take a little detour and stop at Primitive Gatherings Quilt Shop on the way up. I wanted to show you how cute the the inside of the shop was but was totally disappointed that they would NOT let me take any photos, not a one, except outside. Oh well, you'll just have to stop in there yourself.

 I couldn't resist this chocolatey brown stars print and it's always hard to find a good muted purple I like, but OMG, look - they had HEXAGON pre-cuts! What the heck am I going to do with these? And did I really need four packs, LOL??

So now I'm back and envious that my family gets to travel even just a little bit. If it sounds like I'm feeling sorry for myself, don't worry, I'm not. I have plenty to do to keep me busy here and I sure won't be lonely, if you know what I mean.