Monday, August 22, 2011

Aah! Bisto

I am an immigrant from the British Isles. I have lived in America for 35 years and knew very shortly after I arrived that this was where I would spend the rest of my life, but, there are a few foody things that I wouldn't want to be without.

One of them is a gravy powder called Bisto. This has to be one of their funniest advertisements, ever. FYI the couple are enjoying a traditional supper dish, bangers (sausages which will explode if not pricked while frying) and mash (mashed potatoes) with peas and of course gravy. Enjoy!

If there is no video please refresh the page.

Y'all come back!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting Along

I have never understood why we quilters can't just get along with each other and play nicely. Reading my e-friend Katie's blog she writes about going to her first and second Guild meetings in Wichita. Some years back I went to a Guild Meeting where I live and my experience was very similar to hers.

It made me think about why we want to join a Guild. In my case I hoped there would be people I could learn from, to make new friends, to socialize with other women who shared my interests. For both Katie and I the experiment was a failure. It breaks my heart.

I should mention that not all Guilds are the same. From personal experience the Heartland Quilters Guild in Mitchell SD is both fun and welcoming.

Lori and I got to visit with Katie when we went to Wichita this summer. Katie is a little shy but a wonderful talented young woman who lives in a lovely old home which she and her husband have been lovingly restoring. She has three small children and is a stay at home mother who is much more organized than I ever was at the same period in my life. We had a lovely visit.

I do not believe those women were actively nasty so much as thoughtless and self centered. How much effort does it take to introduce yourself to a newcomer, to welcome them? The Prairie Quilt Guild is huge, was it a Guild Management failure? I think so!

If I were Queen of the Prairie Quilt Guild here is what I would do in five simple and inexpensive steps.

  1. I would schedule a short talk with a motivational Caring and Sharing theme at a meeting before Christmas and at that meeting I would call for volunteers to set up a Welcome Committee.
  2. Ask the Registrar to make special and different brightly colored name tags that identify visitors, which might inspire regular Members to introduce themselves and BE welcoming.
  3. Ask visitors to fill out a short form (name, address, phone, email, areas of interest) and write a very short paragraph about themselves at registration and in the New Business section of the meeting welcome them.
  4. Ask for volunteers to put their names on a rotating list which the registrar would have, to act as Big Sisters to visitors and prospective members, introduce them to people, show them around, talk to them, be nice and welcome them.
  5. After the first meeting send a pretty note in the mail to the prospective member welcoming them.
There, that's not so hard is it?

Y'all come back!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blue Ribbons

One of the great glories of Bonanza as a sale venue is that communication between buyers and sellers is completely unrestricted. Unlike that 'other place' buyers are encouraged to get to know their sellers via a chat room feature in every shop, I have 'met' some wonderful people there in the last three years. The other day I had a question about the Blue Ribbon quilt pattern shown at left. Click on the picture to make it bigger.
"Do you think that the blue and white quilt pattern would be easy enough for a beginner to do? I love that pattern!"
I B-mailed (Bonanza has its own internal email system) back some questions of my own:
"Hi E***
OK you are in love with the blue ribbons quilt, I like that one too, just have not gotten around to making it yet. Soon I think.
How beginning a quilter are you?
Would this be your very first quilt?
Are you an experienced sewer otherwise, make your own clothes etc?"
Hi Henrietta,
Yes, you are right, it is the blue ribbons quilt. I have been sewing for 20+ years so I am very familiar and yes, it would be my first non-nine patch quilt. lol I usually applique with my machine when I am doing quilted articles for sewing and know how to cut and piece but I am just in love with that quilt. I sew home decor, small clothing articles for children, dolls and clothes, etc. Be honest please. I know I want to try but don’t want to get frustrated. Thanks ever so much! E*** hugz

Dear E***
This is a small quilt, 48" x 60" which is a nice size for a wall hanging or lap quilt but a bit small for a couch cuddler except for a very narrow person. On a bed it would just be for pretty!

The finished size of each half triangle square is 1-1/2". The pattern is in South Dakota so I can't take a look at it to see how the designer wrote her instructions for half triangle squares, I know how I would make it and would be happy to work with you if necessary. I don't think it is particularly hard, it just looks complicated. This is one of those quilts that when you make it you wonder at the simplicity of the pattern! Since you have made other quilts and understand about seam allowances you shouldn't have any problems with it.

Here are my thoughts:
  • Using the same pattern, if there are an equal number of pieces, it takes just as long to make a little quilt as a bigger one.
  • The smaller quit will use less fabric.
  • A larger one may be more useful and not quite as fiddly to make. A good analogy would be the degree of difficulty in making a set in sleeve for a doll sized blouse compared to one for a little girl.
  • Another consideration, a quilt with lots of tiny pieces is a lot harder to quilt and will be stiffer, all those seams add bulk and decrease drape.
  • If you are making a wall hanging stiffness will not bother the wall, if you want to use it stiffness may bother you.
If I make this pattern I will size my pieces half an inch larger. This will give me a finished quilt size of 64" x 80". This is a great size for a couch throw, big enough to cover almost anyone and the perfect size to display as a coverlet on even a king sized bed if laid crosswise. Works for a twin bed with a 12-1/2" drop on either side

The extra half inch makes a big difference to drape, but doesn't make the pattern so large it looks clunky.

As I said before, I will be glad to coach you through it, I am only an email away.

Y'all come back!