Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm still here

Tis the season to be very busy at work! Sending cards and gifts to associates of my full time employer, decorating the office, trimming the tree, and getting ready for the new year keep me pretty busy from Thanksgiving into January, but I have not been idle in the quilting and sewing departments when I have time.

My daughter's best friend moved to snowy Tennessee, and I made her a quilt to snuggle up in. I used some leftovers from my daughter's black and white quilt, so they can be extra connected! Here is what I mailed off to Samantha on Saturday. She should have it Wednesday. Will she wait til Christmas to open it? I can't say. It is quilted with a swirly design in a silvery gray. I like it a lot. The pattern in Plan C from the Schnibbles Times Two book by Carrie Nelson. 88 inches square. I think I will make some pillow cases from the leftover fabrics and send them too. Or pillow shams. I did win a book from Heather Mulder Peterson's blog Trend and Traditions this year and haven't tried any of the patterns yet!


This weekend I whipped up a little tote for my grandson to take lunch in when he goes to daycare. Poor baby still doesn't like going to a sitter, but this should cheer him up a little. He seems to really like it.

The pattern is a free tote download on All People Quilt's site. It was in one of my American Patchwork and Quilting magazines, but I don't remember which one, so finding the free download was great. The animal print is a Michael Miller zoology print that I bought from Hawthorne Threads. The link is to this print in brown. I guess they sold out of the black. If you want great quality fabric and super fast shipping, buy from Hawthorne Threads. They have good sales and giveaways all the time.

I hope you are enjoying the final days leading up to Christmas. I am so not ready! Not done shopping. Hardly decorated at all. Didn't send one card. Oh well. It's the thought that counts, right?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hokey Pokey

So, here it is almost Thanksgiving and I am sooooo not in the holiday spirit! I don't want it to be Christmas for at least 3 more months. Not that I am Scrooge or anything. Just not excited about it at all.


I am excited about finally having the Hokey Pokey figured out. I have about a third of the blocks made. The batiks are beautiful and I am glad I pre-washed them after getting advice from some fellow bloggers because these deep dark greens and browns would have made a big mess later in the wash.  This pic is just a small portion of the blocks for the California King size quilt it will become!

That palest green really is reading too light, I think. Almost white. I may have to look into painting those blocks with a fabric dye. Any advice? I have never done that before, but it seems like fun. Definitely better than taking those blocks apart.

Anyone else making this? Anyone else out there not in the holiday spirit yet?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Plan C from Schnibbles Times Two



Here's what I have been working on. This has gone together really quickly. Big blocks are such fun to make because of that. And instead of becoming paralyzed by agonizing over fabric choices, I just dove in with my scraps, made a few purchases to add to the mix, and VOILA! this is almost done! It is the large version of Plan C which is 77 1/2 inches square and will be a Christmas gift. The recipient said she likes black, white and red, so that was the starting point.

The first border is supposed to be the same as the background fabric, but my daughter, who swears she has no interest in sewing or making quilts, said "why don't you put gray there instead?" and I just happened to have a yard of gray. I have had it since she was little, so it is approximately 20 years old. I think it is perfect. I doesn't look different or odd. There will be two strip sets, which you see at the top of the picture. They will be cut in half lengthwise when I get to 34 strips and that will make up the second border.

If you don't have the book Schnibbles Times Two, you should get one. Such beautiful quilts, and you don't have to have layer cakes to make them. Just use your yardage or your scraps and have fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Musings before Halloween

Well, no pics today, just thoughts.

I am supposed to be making the Hokey Pokey quilt in the 2 color variation, but the directions are confusing or incomplete in my eyes. The website is "under construction" and no one answers the phone. Still waiting for a call back on the voicemail I left. Anyone out there have this pattern figured out? I don't mind if you tell me I'm a moron. With my hormones lately, I may become angry and cry, but I'll know you are probably right.

Halloween weekend is the annual local craft fair, which I will not be a part of because they now require you to have a sales tax license. No thanks. That is all I need is more paperwork and more government. I wouldn't know what to do if someone tried to pay with a personal check anyway. Who is going to come in there with $600 cash for a quilt I made? Nobody.

Thanksgiving. Could it be any more complicated with divorced parents and people who aren't speaking to each other? Add to that my ex, who is moving all the way across the continent to look for a job and LIVE here, so that means more holiday juggling from now on. Please send me a winning lotto ticket so my hubby and I can go on a cruise ship (or other vacation) for the holidays from now on.

Holiday fattening treats. They are everywhere and they all look so good, don't they? I really want a candy coated apple from the Rocky Mountain Candy Company, but the closest one is 60 miles away. Making one at home would be equally costly and time-consuming. And messier. Maybe I'll run off on Saturday? Hey, there is a PF Chang's in Destin too. Hmmmm....

I have been working on teaching myself applique. Not too bad, if I do say so myself. There is a whole other realm of quiltmaking opening for me.  I did fall leaves on one set and pumpkins with vines on another. Neither has become anything more than practice squares, but could be wall hangings or table runners if I put my mind to it.

Last Friday I had a bad round of anger and depression (which you probably don't want to know) and I swore I was going to sell ALL my quilt stuff. I am frustrated by inability to sell anything, not wanting to sign up for a state sales tax license and the ensuing paperwork that would bring, not being able to join the quilt guild because I am the babysitter every Monday night for the foreseeable future, and they meet on Monday nights. Of course money and no girlfriends was in there too.

Anyway, I got over it. For now. What can you do except shrug your shoulders and carry on? Or plot revenge from beyond the grave.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bryan's Birthday Quilt

So I salvaged the Old Tobacco Road quilt fiasco.  * Get it? Salvaged? Photo of quilt on rustic old truck? Ha ha! *  It is quilted and bound now and was presented on October 6th, my honey's birthday! I first blogged about the fiasco here. At least I learned a lot more about the fragility of bias cuts. I started this quilt in early 2008 or late 2007. Not sure exactly. Got it back out in January 2009 and had my very pregnant daughter helping me with the layout on the design wall. It went together pretty quickly after that, but the baby came in March and it was on hold on the design wall. That's when the drooping, stretched bias occurred and I banished it to a box again until a few months ago.

It is hard to cut up a quilt you really like, but knowing there was no other solution made it a little easier. Now that it is all done, it is just fine.It is a long, narrow quilt - perfect for my tall, narrow husband. And it is flannel backed, just the way he likes them.
One thing I really like about this quilt is how I used up a lot of single piece scraps that I got in a charm square swap. Some of them were REALLY not beautiful, if you know what I mean. But now that they are little bitty squares in a scrappy quilt, I really like them! Go figure.

Its funny that knowing it was the one and only scrap I ever had of a particular fabric makes it like a treasure hidden in the design of the quilt.

If you like this, check it out at http://quiltville.com/oldtobaccoroadintro.shtml  It is challenging and you'll really put a dent in your scraps!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall is Coming!

If you noticed my sidebar picture has changed, then this pic is redundant, isn't it? But I love this quilt. It is king sized and the photo doesn't really do it justice. I put it on the bed this past week and also got out the wreath I made a few years ago.  The biggest compliment I have gotten on this quilt was from my daughter. She wants me to give it to her in my will. That's a long time from now, but so sweet. Normally our tastes are polar opposites.
I love leaves and sunflowers this time of year. This wreath is a very easy project I made for under $50. Michael's craft store sells garlands of silk leaves, wire based sunflowers and butterflies and craft wire. You can make a wreath like this in an afternoon. No glue required. and there is usually a big sale on around this time every year.

This week is the Fall-Oween blog hop. Are you participating? Should be great fun with beautiful fall pictures and a free pattern each day. Today is Day One with Gudrun at GE Designs http://www.gudrun.typepad.com/ with a candy corn table mat to make.  Sandy Gervais' blog entry for today is my favorite out of all of them. She and I must be kindred spirits with our love of new crayons and paint boxes. How cool would it be to design your own fabrics? Take a look at the tour of blogs and comment on each to win a prize. I'd like to know - Which was your favorite?

Also in preparation or celebration of fall, I made Cowboy Cookies this weekend. They are a favorite of ours since I discovered the recipe when I was teaching preschoolers and made these with my class during letter C week. I substitute chopped pecans for the walnuts and refrigerate the dough overnight. They are fabulous with dark chocolate chunks! I am looking forward to teaching Tyler to bake when he is older. Just a few more years! We will be making these for sure.

Although we won't have the glorious display of tree colors changing here in the South, I am hoping for a weekend getaway to see some in person this year. We say it every year and never make it out of the gate. Cross your fingers for us!

Last of all, Fall means I will soon I'll be slow-cooking, making soups, roasts, and the thing that makes my husband's knees weak: Lasagna. Piled high and wide in a turkey roasting pan. He really can't wait!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quilt History in Florida

Hello again! There are lots of quilty things going on in this area. I'd probably know these things a lot sooner if I made it to the local quilt guild meetings, but something always comes up at the last minute.

First off is the Pensacola Museum of Art, which has a new exhibit, "Quilt Art:International Expressions" that I plan to go to this Saturday. Can you believe I have lived here 6 years, and I haven't made it to any one of the local museums? Not once. And I LOVE art! It is supposed to rain all weekend, so a museum trip will be perfectly in order.

Secondly, there is going to be an exhibit starting the end of October in Tallahassee at the Museum of Florida History.  The 29th Annual Capital City Quilt Show: The Garden Party goes through January. There will be over 100 quilts on display. You can see some of the quilts from the book I am reading if you go to that page linked above.

To prepare for that trip (and to keep me busy while my machines are in the shop) I have been re-reading the book Florida Quilts, which covers the history of our state from the 1500s! and the women who lived here as pioneers, through the Civil War hardships, and the quilts they made. Quilts up to the 1980s are included too. The information on the early days of quilt-making here makes me feel like such a slacker. I cannot ever imagine living here in summer without air conditioning, but they did it, and in layers of petticoats and long skirts! They grew gardens year round to feed themselves and made their own quilting supplies. That includes the batting and cloth, people. When you read the stories and see their handiwork, you'll be in awe. This is a 1992 book, so libraries should have it.

I am a pioneer of sorts. The first I know of in my family to make quilts, so I don't know what it is like to learn from a grandmother, be part of a quilting bee, or hand piece or applique like they used to. Those are some of the most fascinating things about books like this. The pictures of women gathered around a quilting frame that is typically stored on the living room ceiling. Quilt that are so detailed - all made completely by hand. The stories of freed slaves who used only what was on hand to make and fill their quilts to keep warm in winter...this was not just a hobby to them. Yes, it was a creative outlet, but it was very necessary and they took the time to make beauty in the necessity.

I count myself very lucky to have not only piles of fabrics to chose from, but all the notions and comforts that make modern quilt-making a breeze.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Because both my sewing machines are in the shop...

Hopefully I will have some sewing and quilting updates and pictures next week! I am behind schedule for Christmas already. Since my quiltmaking and other sewing plans are on hold, I will give a Tyler update. 

He is now 18 months old, going on 3. He is definitely outdoorsy and loves waterplay, but when it is too hot, or after dark, his favorite things on tv are, of course, Elmo, and the Madagascar movies. "Emo" and "Aweee" (Alex the lion) are fascinating to him. He laughs at a lot of things in the movies, so that is another confirmation that he has a great sense of humor already.

We have this dvd and his favorite song on it is "On Top of Spaghetti" which he does the sneeze for. Too cute. Now spaghetti with meatballs is what he asks for for dinner every night too. Ha! These sing along songs are great for toddlers, because he wants to sing now. We've been singing to him his whole life, but this is a first - him trying to really sing along too. Before this it was just the hand clapping and shouting "hooray" during "If You're Happy and You Know It" and making the spider with his hands for the "Itsy Bitsy Spider." 

Here is last weekend's crack up. He picked up the vacuum hose and pretended it was a telephone, a hairbrush and a water hose."He-do?" Hysterical! Yes, the vacuum was turned off.

Tyler has a very good grasp of the word NO already. He wants to be outside all the time, so now we've added a Little Tikes basketball stand/hoop thing to the driveway collection. I wish we could set up his stuff out back on the cement slab, but the dogs would eat it. Seriously. They ate the wicker furniture and one jacuzzi cover already. Please don't write me about dog training. We had 3 litters of puppies (31 puppies) our first 2 years here, and Bryan was in a wheelchair part of that time, so we got worn down on dog training. We settled for spaying and neutering and gave up on the backyard being a place to entertain.

Anyway, it is so hard to believe Tyler has grown from this to this in just a year and half. They don't stay small for long, but it sure is fun every single day watching them grow and teaching them!

Nana loves you, Tyler! Be good!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Complicated

I was reading Nicole's blog the other day and she and I seem to be of the same mind. More detail and complexity, less quickie quilts is what we both want to do more of. I know sometimes you can look at a pattern and think, "holy moly, there are like a million pieces in this one," but lately I want to make a quilt that is time consuming and will really look like an heirloom when it is finished. Not modern, but very old fashioned and soft colored, with just a little punch of strong color to capture your attention.

Some people will tell you not to make lists. I'm not one to listen to that though, even if the lists tend to frustrate me because of 1) the occasional lack of quilt productivity in my busy life and 2) I tend to see quilts that shoot to the top of things to do and the other stuff gets pushed back, over and over again. My lists help me remember UFOs that I can work on if I get bored with a current project, or can't afford to buy new fabrics. Lists help me keep track of my must-do projects and ideas I want to not lose track of. Do you make lists?

This quilt has been in the back of my mind for about 2 years. It is called Vintage Stars. I just can't get over how gorgeous and vintage it looks. It is from Piece by Piece by Joe Wood of the Thimble Creek Quilt Shop. You can read a little about it here. My stash never included these soft colors until recently, when I treated myself to some fat quarters and a dessert roll of various Fig Tree Quilts fabrics. I need to build up some cream tone on tones and buy the pattern (or figure it out on my own, which is not that hard...?) and then I will be on my way. Probably won't get started til December, when the "making stuff for the holidays" rush is ending and I have the week between Christmas and New Years off from work. But I am excited. This is such a long time dream of mine. It will be my most cherished quilt. I can already tell.

So what quilts or other items do you dream of making some day? What is on your list? I'd like to know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Long Pause

Another long break between posts. Its been a busy month. Birthdays, anniversary, crazy busy at work. I have commissioned quilts  I am working on, plus I made 9 sets of pillowcases (so far) and a few more to go.

Never mind the cloud fabric under this. That is the backing fabric. This was a free pattern online when Laura Gunn's Poppy line came out. I thought it would be fun to use in this "life on a farm in NW Florida" themed quilt. It is full size. For a 15 month old boy. Tyler will not be happy when it goes away. He says "Wow!" every time he sees this giant I Spy.

And this Christmas quilt is going to a new home soon. There is talk of a coordinating king size to go with it in the near future.  The custom quilting on it is just gorgeous. Pine cones and boughs. I made it for my grandparents but they don't like the weight of it. Too heavy for them to sleep under. Gramma thought I might be able to sell it and have some money. And I will! This was a great way to use up a lot of Christmas stash and it has that old fashioned charm to it. The border is dark pine green with cardinals and pine boughs.

In my "spare time" I play with and help care for my grandson, who is just getting too big, too fast! So many new words and discoveries every day. He has started trying to jump up and down and shouts, "Nump! Nump!" which just sends me into fits of laughter. That and him wanting to watch "buttball" since it is almost time for the Gators to hit the "mawmp." That's the Swamp in toddler lingo.

He loves to be outside and he got a firetruck car last weekend, complete with water tank and hose. Great idea for the little boy who loves water play.

Sorry about the garbage can in the pic. The driveway is a little crowded these days, and we just added a firetruck to the parking arrangements!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stash Bustin' Sewing Machine Cover Tutorial

Hey! I am being productive with my scraps today! I had a bunch of pieces leftover from a Simple Abundance Jelly Roll, and some unbleached muslin, and a package of Oyster colored bias tape, so I decided to whip up a cover for my beloved Janome.

First you will want to measure your sewing machine and add a little extra (about half an inch on the sides) so it isn't too snug. My machine measures 17" across the widest point x 8" deep x 26" from the bottom front to the bottom of the back. We're going to finish it off with wide single fold bias tape, so you don't need to add anything for a hem, unless you want to.


I started by making a checkerboard pattern of 13 x 8   2 1/2" squares, which made the main part of the cover 26 1/2" by 16 1/2". I added and inch of the red stripe from Simple Abundance to each side, which gave me 18 1/2 inches of width. The side pieces I cut from the muslin to 8" wide by 12" tall, then I curved the tops, but you could make it squared off. I didn't want to mess with those inside corners that squaring it would have meant. I found it easier to ease around the curves (and it is good practice if you are making pieces like a Drunkard's Path!)

Look I didn't even iron before I took the picture! Start by pinning the peak of your side pieces to the center side of the cover. Begin sewing at that point, pulling the straight edge of the cover toward the machine and gently pulling the curve away so that they line up easily without pinning. Or pin. Your choice. When you get to the bottom edge, go back and sew from the center to the other end and repeat for the opposite side. It really is that simple!

Press toward the darker print and you are ready to sew on the bias tape. I sewed around the bottom edge, cover right side up, turned under the end of the bias tape, then I turned the tape under (to the wrong side of the cover) and stitched again. I guess a true expert would have ironed the wrong sides of the bias tape together, pinned like crazy and sewed it all in one shot, but that is just not how I roll. Ha! Taking the easy way - that's me. No layered and quilted work of art. Just a quick and easy use of scraps that I can enjoy when I can't stop and sew.

So there you have it. Another use for your leftover jelly roll pieces, and a dust blocking, eye-catching cover for you machine! If you make one, I'd love to hear back from you!

Enjoy your sewing!

Happy 8-9-10!

A Room To Sew In:

I'm a little jealous! Lots of bloggers are sharing their sewing room remodels and improvements lately. I was looking at this one today by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! and felt envy. The drapes on a cable. Clean. No cluttered hardware over the windows. Lots of light coming in. And a gigantic design wall made of foam board. Mine is about 1/3 her size. Next one I make will have the batting and no more flannel on it. Check out her nesting tables too! Ingenious.

I've been wanting to expand my design wall lately, but the one I have now is frequently raided by curious little hands, and I don't dare pin anything to it because that would make it dangerous. But I make big quilts. I plan to have one the size of Elizabeth's someday.

How about that set up for cutting and ironing she created? Pretty neat. Nesting tables. I'm not the only one who finds the ironing board a little limiting when it comes to quilts.

I do like the cutting and sewing table I got for FREE from my boss. It is an old architects desk. Elevating the drawing part of it lets me see what I am cutting without craning my neck and fighting glare off lights onto the rulers. The sewing machine sits on a thick piece of butcher block. I really like the two shallow drawers underneath that hold all my rulers, blades, templates, etc. One drawer is the width of the drawing portion. I have spare cutting mats in there too! And that big sliding ruler that runs on cable all the way across? Very helpful. Even if I only use to hold my rulers while I move fabric around. (This is an older photo. See all that room under the table? It is now packed and stacked with totes full of fabrics and batting. Also, this room is now turquoise and white and belongs to Tyler, my grandson. I sew in the front room of our house.)

What do you have in your sewing room that is unusual and really useful? What do you dream of having?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I got featured on WIP Wednesday!

The Quilte Shoppe's In Stitches blog features Works In Progress every week, and I submitted mine and got featured. Didn't win the fabrics, but oh well. http://the-quilt-shoppe.blogspot.com/2010/08/wip-wednesday-august-4.html

I haven't worked on that particular WIP since last week. I have so many others going on! I am making blocks for the Summer Quilt Along's Star Sampler at A Quilty Kind of Girl's blog using up the last (sniff, sigh!) of my Sandi Henderson Farmers Market pink and aqua pieces plus some other stash pieces. Since it is all pinks and reds, greens and aquas with white, I am thinking that it will become a donation to a breast cancer treatment center.

My very first Block of the Month Club from The Fat Quarter Shop is about to send me block #3, and I just got around to block #1! I need to get a move on! It uses Kate Spain's new Christmas line and so many of my favorite designers made a block pattern for each month, I just had to sign up! The logo pictured here is Block 1. I think you can still sign up for this if you are tempted.

Another project rumbling around in my brain is what kind of backing to make with a bunch of flying geese and either flannel or cotton to make my honey his own Winter sofa quilt. After saving a quilt top from disaster it is now ready to be backed and quilted. I have not made him his very own quilt yet, and I feel a little bad about that. Not that I don't have good intentions! And we do sleep under quilts I made every night. This quilt top was started when it was a new mystery quilt. A major stash buster in the Fall of 2008. Made tons of pinwheels and 4 patches and then put it away. Got it back out when my daughter was 5 or 6 months pregnant. Put away again. Now the baby is almost 17 months old. Some things need to age. Or in my case, be away from me while I freak out and calm down. This can sometimes take months, you know?

A little humility is good for everyone, right? Here is Old Tobacco Roads from quiltville.com. and what I had to deal with. It is supposed to have flying geese as a border all the way around after the brown border you see here. I could put my hand under some of these waves. I tried steaming, starching...nothing fixed it. It was hopeless. I ended up stitching straight up through those pinwheels to stabilize it and cutting off the four patches and bricks and border. ON BOTH SIDES. I added a dark blue on blue Civil War era print 6 inch border after that, and it is still a decent size for a sofa quilt, so I think I am over being mad about this.

My quilting motto is now "No More Bias Quilts." There are plenty of other pretty things to make. I'll leave the bias alone.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Dad and Back to School Decorating

I was reading this post about decorating with maps, as seen in a Marie Claire magazine, and I flashed back to my school days. (Sorry, Dad, this is the most recent photo of you that I have! March 2009 with you holding newborn Tyler.)

My dad is the eternal scholar. He is constantly learning, reading about history and people and wars, etc. Ask him a question and he probably knows the answer. He's very funny too. He is a retired Sgt Major USMC who went to Pepperdine at night while working full time for our country. And he is a purple heart awarded Viet Nam vet.

When I was growing up, our garage had a little 5x6 storage area which my dad built shelves in and he loaded those shelves with his National Geographics, favorite books about history, atlases, dictionary and thesaurus and maps. I really liked how he hung the maps above the shelves and on the backs of the sliding closet doors he closed the space off with.

I was able to do tons of homework research there. It was my own little library. And I don't remember him pushing it on me, it was just there, for my use and enjoyment should I be interested. No waiting on a ride to the library. If I was curious about something, I could usually find it, especially in the Nat Geos. You know, this was before the internet or multiple cable learning channels, people. Before Google.

Do teachers even ask for bibliographies anymore? I dreaded those! But I digress. I just wanted to share this idea. If you have room in your house, even a little closet, you can make learning so much more accessible and interesting to your kids. And it doesn't have to cost much. Let me know what you remember about learning at home! I bet there are some interesting stories.

http://www.frugalfamilyfunblog.com/   I discovered this blog last week. Very resourceful mom who's kids seem to be totally enjoying her creative ideas. I LOVED the elevator to the laundry room story. So cute!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words

Pensacola Beach is beautiful again! We went for several hours Saturday and today. Tyler and his mama came with us for a little while today and did he have a blast looking at the thousands of little minnows, finding sea shells and sand crabs, and trying to get the birds to come to him. He ran in and out of the waves laughing and smiling the whole time. And as usual, I forgot to bring the camera. I took this pic with my phone on Saturday.

What a gorgeous, perfect weekend it has been! This is why we say we have the most gorgeous beaches. You have to experience the sugar white, soft sands and the clear sea glass green waters for yourself to know what I am talking about. We have been celebrating my birthday with family, and being back on our beautiful beach for a whole weekend was totally what I needed! This is what I love most about Pensacola!

We saw lots of fish, a ray, a sea turtle, 2 jellyfish (instead of swarms of them), pelicans and sandpipers, and just miles of crystal clear, calm, warm water. Most of the time it was like a great big swimming pool. No waves. No sound. Thankfully no one anywhere around with a boom box. So peaceful! Just a 30 minute drive from the house and we felt like we were in the Caribbean.

Yes, I am fried. All I can say about that is "SPF 60" my ass. Hawaiian Tropic is going to be making it up to me with their aloe containing lidocaine formula for the next few days! Also, I don't know why there are still mobs of tractors and 4 wheel drive carts and clean up crews going back and forth all day. There is nothing for them to do!

We ate a late lunch at Peg Leg Pete's Sunday with my dad, and that wrapped up a great weekend.

PS I had a wonderful dinner Saturday night at 7:30 with Bryan, my dad and his girlfriend, Sandy. Too late for Tyler and his mama to join us. We ate at Hemingways, then listened to music at Crabs. This has been the best birthday weekend in memory!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dusting off an old WIP and other recent happenings

Well I'm still here! Look how I let weeks go by without a post! So many plans and ideas, so little time. I finished two books, Ahab's Wife and Backseat Saints. Both worth it if you are looking for a new book to dive into. Ahab's Wife is written in the style of the late 1800s. Think Little Women or Anne of Green Gables. I thought it was wonderfully refreshing. And Backseat Saints, the latest from a favorite author of mine (Joshilyn Jackson) is a total page-turner! Be prepared to go without sleep reading her Southern women-based fiction books.

What is going on in Pensacola? The usual stuff: heat, humidity, thunderstorms. My aunt has been visiting from California. We got to shop for fabric together and she and I got a little time in to visit. Never enough though.

My grandson is growing like a weed and adding to his vocabulary every day. He grew an inch in the last month. Now he is working on potty training. Already!

Isn't this the coolest picture of him making a shape with the water from the hose? This is his favorite toy. He calls it the "Ohse" and he will soak himself happily for as long as water will come out of it. Must be a combination of the summer heat and him being a Pisces. That boy LOVES water play!

So, about that WIP. I started this a year or two ago. I saw the pattern in Quilt magazine (October 2006) and I had all these leftover 4 patches from a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, so I started putting colors together and pulled together a scrappy  Country French-colored assortment.
I think I put it all in a box and moved on to other things because I couldn't come up with an arrangement that did not look like a calamity.   

You know what is nice about WIPs (or UFOs) ??? The cutting is all or mostly done already. If you are like me, you have everything, including the pattern and fabrics you haven't cut all together in a box. If only the pieces had arranged themselves into something not so hectic. And still I persist, uh, persevere stubbornly refuse to give up on it.

I am just starting to play around with the arrangement here, but it is definitely scrappy. Because I sew at work a lot, my husband suggested I could call it "Bad Day at the Office." Maybe it could be "Wild Turkey" and people will just think I was drinking when I made it. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ask and You Shall Receive

For my birthday, I asked for this and it arrived yesterday! My birthday is a couple weeks away, but I had to open the package. This is the whole Cherish Nature line by Deb Strain for Moda. Fat quarter bundle! 40% off at Hancocks of Paducah!! I LOVE DEB STRAIN. Her fabric lines are so cheerful and happy!

My honey is so good! And I don't even know yet what I will be doing with these, but it will definitely be a King size quilt for my bed. I don't even care that the blue on my walls won't match these colors! Maybe we'll have to repaint again?

This is my very first whole stack of fat quarters! What do you do with a fat quarter collection? I would love to hear some suggestions. I have so many books and magazines and bookmarked free online patterns, I could spend days going back through them and I would end up side tracked into a long forgotten project I meant to make.

For now, I may just put these under my pillow and dream about them!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I won! Just in time for my birthday too!

http://kakorner.blogspot.com/2010/06/read-it-backseat-saints-giveaway.html  

Just wanted to share that I won the book "Backseat Saints" by Joshilyn Jackson from Katie at Katie's Korner! Please check out Katie's blog. She has great ideas, and I think her blog roll might be even longer than mine!

If you like good Southern fiction (that is to say, Southern women's lit.) you'll love Joshilyn Jackson's books. "Between, Georgia" is my personal favorite so far, but this one is supposed to be a follow up to "Gods in Alabama" and maybe it will become my new favorite?

Thanks, Katie!  So looking forward to curling up with this one. 

Summer Sampler Quilt Along Tutorials


Hello! I am still here. Just totally busy. Going in many directions at once and trying to keep it together. Know what I mean? I hope everyone enjoyed their celebration of America's birthday!

Anyway, I found two quilt alongs in blogland today. One even offers a beginner version in case the center medallion of the main one intimidates you (like it does me!)  http://quiltcetera.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/week-one-summer-star-sampler-quilt-along-2010/   this page is the start of the directions. The first two blocks. You can backtrack to find the layouts for both the main sampler quilt and also the beginner version without the center medallion.


  http://www.amyscreativeside.com/2010/06/simple-sampler-quilt-along-details.html   This is the other sampler quilt along, and it is very scrap friendly.  Since I have never done a sampler, I am going to try to get at least one of these in the works. I have tons of scraps and one block of each is not that intimidating right? Just finding the time is my obstacle.

I am thinking that one of these could be a Christmas sampler. That is far enough out that I could make it a gift. And I recently scored on some older Fig Tree fabrics at ridiculous prices, so those are in mind for one of these also.

If I can manage one of these (or both) it will be a small miracle, but at least I shared it here so others can jump in and make something fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

the weekend

No cute Tyler pics to share. I spent the weekend mostly feeling terrible (sick) and trying to take care of Tyler while Alisia worked. All the while hoping I was keeping my cooties to myself. No easy feat, and I hope I sprayed enough Lysol around to keep everyone safe.

It figures that when I treat myself to the "once a year" pedicure, I get the guy who is coughing into his sleeve. That is the only place I can figure I caught this nasty cold that is trying to morph into bronchitis. If that pedicurist felt as bad as I have since Thursday night, I don't know how he was at work. At all.

Nevertheless, my grandson, Tyler, made the weekend about as great as he possibly could. He was persistent in trying to kiss me. He didn't want me to leave his side. He made me laugh constantly. He is the best supermarket sidekick ever. We raced his Tonka Wheel Pals cars and trucks up and down the hallway and then switched to bowling. (the FAO Schwartz Safari Bowling set is awesome!) The hallway is our alley - no need for bumpers! Both are great options when it is raining, or like this weekend, totally too hot to be outside much. He likes "moomies" (movies) especially ones with animals, like "Babe," "Madagascar," and "Finding Nemo" or meemo, as he calls it. He only watches a few minutes here and there, but you can see his mother's love of animals in him. I saved all my kids' Disney movies, but of course they are VHS and now everything is DVD.

I am so proud of his love of books! He owns about 30 and we go through all of them at least once a week. I'm going to have to join that Books a Million club after all.

And how many 15 month olds love to pick blueberries and hold the bucket still? He doesn't like eating them fresh off the tree, so he tastes them occasionally and then takes them out of his mouth and gives them to the dog. She thinks they are great!

If you have a toddler around, let them light up your life. No matter how crumby you feel, you won't feel bad for long!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quilt backing indecision

I've spent hours - HOURS - looking at fabrics online. Trying to find the perfect backing for this. The borders are Oceanica's stripe in black by Julie Pachkis for In the Beginning. I preordered it a few months ago from Over the Rainbow  not even knowing what I would do with it, but I had to have it. You know what I mean about that, right?

Anyway, I was absolutely ecstatic when I opened the package and saw that it was completely perfect to border my Key West Crush top I recently finished piecing! And I had ordered exactly enough! The corner blocks in the border are from the panel of Oceanica that I ordered with it.

One dilemma solved, one more to go! I will use solid black binding, so I need to find a backing that is more or less white, but not a solid, that will go with black binding. Sounds simple enough, but I also don't want to spend a fortune! I need 6 yards because this is 93" x 93" and I am hoping not to piece the back at all. Why do I want a white backing? For the first time, I have made what is basically a stained glass top! I am thrilled and I don't want a deep-colored back to take away from that.

I never, never think ahead to the borders, backing or binding when I am making a quilt top. I jump in with both feet to make the latest thing that's caught my fancy. You'd think I would learn to plan more, but I guess I am a fly by the seat of my pants gal.

Any suggestions? Please?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the Quilte Shoppe giveaway at Cluck Cluck Sew!

http://cluckclucksewgiveaways.blogspot.com/2010/06/sponsored-giveaway-quilt-shoppe.html 

I'm posting this because I want to win that Fat Quarter bundle of Whimsy, and I get a fourth entry by mentioning it here!

Just being honest. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kate Spain Block of the Month for Christmas

http://www.fatquartershop.com/Designer-Mystery-BOM-3-Sisters-Fabric.asp

I am signed up and awaiting the first of this BOM (block of the month) series to arrive! This is my first Block of the Month endeavor and I am so excited! The list of designers for the blocks is impressive. "Our featured monthly designers include: Anka's Treasures, Bonnie & Camille, Bunny Hill Designs, Fig Tree Quilts, G.E. Designs, Heartspun Quilts, Me & My Sister Designs, Minick & Simpson, Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, Pieces from My Heart, The Pattern Basket and This & That."   These are pretty much all on my blog roll. Never disappointing. Always inspired by this group. You will be too!

Kate Spain's fabrics are adorable. And I will have a lovely Christmas quilt when it is completed.  I chicken out of things like this regularly, but this time I said "go for it!"

So, are you part of the 2010 Designer Mystery Block of the Month? Have I convinced you to join up? I hope so. I would love to know who is creating along with me!

Weekends need to be moved to Monday and Tuesday

So it did rain all Memorial weekend, and this past weekend too. Yes, there were breaks in the downpours.  Enough so I could run to the grocery store and not get soaked loading and unloading the car. Enough so we could grill some fabulous kabobs. Thank you Jack Daniels EZ Steakhouse Marinade in a ziploc bag! You will have to imagine the top sirloin, zucchini, squash, tomato, Vidalia onion and mushroom kabobs for yourself because I just don't have the foresight to grab the camera and take pictures of food on the grill. Or on the table. It doesn't occur to me that I might blog about it. Nevertheless, they were awesome!

Sadly, that is about the high point of the Memorial weekend. No pool. No boat trips on the river. No beach. Every morning we woke up to the rumble of thunder and darkness outside that seemed more like twilight than morning. I think we must have gotten a total of almost 5 inches of rain. Every. Day. Not. Kidding.

I know that pop up thunderstorms are the norm for Florida this time of year, but all day rain that occurs only on the weekends is just not right! It is always nice on Monday and Tuesday, so I therefore make a motion to move weekends to Monday and Tuesday from now on. All in favor, say Aye!

Yes, my honey did take the boat out Friday before Memorial Day, while I was at work. Oil leaked everywhere, so back to the garage they went. He took it out again that Saturday while a storm was brewing and lost fuel pressure. Drifted to the dock and drove home through lots of lightning and rain. And because it rained for the rest of that weekend and most of this one, there have been repairs but no further testing. Needless to say, I did not miss anything and I am glad I wasn't there for the failed test runs. I would have mentally shot a hole through the hull so it sunk, a la Ally McBeal.

Got some time in with the Hunky Dory layer cake quilt I am designing. I really love many of the pieces in that line! Who doesn't like turquoise and pinks and greens this time of year. I even love the taupes. Everything I have worked with from Chez Moi is so feminine and fresh! Some of these prints are very large. If I get yardage, I may have to make some pillows.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Weekend

It is almost Memorial Weekend! Just a few more hours!I haven't gotten as much sewing done this week as I did last. Three more pairs of pajama pants for Tyler, a baby girl quilt top and I laid out a new quilt on my design wall. I shipped 2 quilts off to Quilts 4 Kids, and sent the QOV to the long arm quilter. I guess that is a lot!

I made a great dinner last night. Penne with turkey cutlets and sauteed veggies. I cooked zucchini, crook neck yellow squash, broccoli and red bell pepper in Italian dressing. Marinated the turkey cutlets in lemon pepper marinade for about 20 minutes then cooked them up and mixed it all together. Nice and light and fresh!

Weather permitting, the weekend should be all grilling, right? They say it may rain every day this weekend, but so far this week they have been inaccurate as usual. Keeping fingers crossed. My honey wants to take the newly repaired boat out for a spin on the Blackwater River and soak up the sun on one of the little beaches there. This is the rocket I will be riding in. He promises not to go fast from now on. Parts and gas for this thing are not cheap. If it breaks down again, it is not getting back on the trailer to go home. Not kidding.

Have a wonderful weekend, and don't forget to thank any military members or their families for protecting and serving our country!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quilt Tops Done and Blog Clothing Weeks

Have you heard about Kids Clothes Week? I have been making pajama pants for Tyler, as I stated on an earlier post. I have added Teeny Tiny Zoo pj pants in chocolate and some clown fish fabric pj pants to his wardrobe, but of course they are in the wash and not photographed so I can't show you them, can I? There is the set I made a few weeks back with Heather Ross' seahorse fabric and a plain white tshirt. Hopefully you read that post and visited Hawthorne Threads shop for some great fabrics! I also made a pair from an aliens in outer space print on black, shown here.

I have been a busy girl, but a bit behind for sharing on Spring Top Week, which ended 2 weeks ago. Nevertheless, I was inspired to take one of my skirt fabrics and make a cute top. Cool and colorful and easy. I am glad I read the pattern reviews first because they helped a lot (the back is too wide, so make it narrower by at least 1 size or your bra straps will be showing!) New Look 6891 is the one I used for it, but mine is shorter than their version. I will be looking up pattern reviews from now on when I sew clothing.

Many miles have been put on my 2 machines lately. I finished up several UFOs, made a very cute Whirly Wheels Baby quilt (from Moda Bakeshop) that will be a QOV  and it is made with Moda's Cherish Nature. Jelly roll plus a little yardage and you can make this in one day! I have quite a stack for the long arm quilter.

I don't do the quilting myself. I would need a class, which isn't possible here. It would be great to someday have the confidence and talent to make it from start to finish, but for now I leave my quilts in the hands of practiced and talented long-armers I know.

This is my version of "Orange Crush," the Quiltville.com mystery quilt of about 2 years ago. Bonnie's version has an elaborate border, which I am not going to do. I think I may add a simple solid border to this and call it a day. I used so many bright scraps here that I am naming mine "Key West Crush." I put it in a box when I had all the rows together because I just wasn't sure I liked it at all. Now I love it. It has been properly aged.

Last but not least is my expanded version of "Off the Grid" from Quilt Dad and the Moda Bakeshop. I added a 4th row to his version so it will cover more at Christmas when it adorns the sofa. Also, I omitted the rows of honeybun strips between the blocks. It took 2 packs of Glace charm squares and a Glace honeybun to make it. Really easy.

I should get all of the above quilt tops (plus one more I am not showing yet) back from the quilter by the end of Summer. I want to beat the holiday quilting rush.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's a Beautiful Life

 Crazy, hectic, stressful sometimes, but overall it is a BEAUTIFUL LIFE! These are some of the things I have thought about since Mother's Day:

There are so many people living alone. Grandparents who live thousands of miles from their grandchildren, like mine did most of my life. I get to see my grandson every day.  There are many parents who rarely see their kids. I have both my kids right here in Pensacola, and my daughter and grandson live with us. We get to be a part of raising Tyler to be a good person and a confident, responsible man, steer him towards college and a career he loves. Teach him values and goals and skills.

He's already very much a helper. Just over a year old and he wants to sweep the floor any time he finds the broom or dustpan. Here he is helping wash Mama's car. Okay, he'll do anything with water and bubbles, but he really wanted to help do this too.

The other day I was bending down, reaching below the porch to where some wild blackberries were growing and he came up next to me and pulled on my arm to "save" me from falling off! (I wasn't falling, but he sure thought I was too close the edge.) He had the most concerned look on his face. Chivalrous! And he gave me 2 spontaneous kisses for Mother's Day weekend. Those were the best part of my weekend!

My grandparents and both my parents are here in Pensacola. It is nice to have lots of family close by, even in this technological world we live in. Email can never replace a hug. I am not sure who gives better hugs, my grandmother Elsie, or Tyler.

Having such a supportive husband who has my back at all times is something I do not take for granted either.He is awesome 100% of the time.


I thought I would share a fun song with you.Yes, it is disco-y. Very ABBA sounding, but I love it. Who can listen to it and not want to get up and dance? It is too upbeat to sit still! I hope you enjoy this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pyly3JtXoy4&feature=related