Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day Four After Christmas

My Christmas cactus came through once again. I counted 10 open blooms and at least 20 little tight buds.

I love this little reindeer ornament and fat quarter from Carrie. It reminds me of Carrie, so talented and non-pretensious but absolutely charming. Check out her blog to see the high quality of this very talented lady. Thank you - I love it and I can always use a good neutral fat quarter.

D#1 was just here to collect the Dude for a day of cleaning his room. He is supposed to be back tonight. She cut some strips to put a pieced border on a table runner while she was here. After she finishes the top, she'll be back for help with the batting and backing. She does well, she just needs the confidence that she can do it - comes with practice (lots of practice).

I made an envelop pocket for my new e-reader. I read that there were millions of these e-readers sold for Christmas, that sounds like a booming market for these enverlop pockets. Hmmmm! This is the envelop pocket I made for the Dude's e- reader. He has a Kobo and I have a Kindle but they are basically the same size.

Big T is back at the PC. He is bound and determined to beat my high score on Bejeweled. He plays strategically, lining everything up for the most points. I play fast and take all the little ones I can get and they add up. It's the same way we play Chess (or anything else) - he thinks it all out and develops a good long-term strategy and I play lightening fast for one move at a time. Blows his mind at Chess because he is trying to think through why I made the last move. (What he doesn't understand is that I usually don't know either.)
Hugs - Marie

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Big Clean!

Disclaimer: There were no 'before' photos for comparison. (I was too embarassed.)
This is the sewing table after 95% clean-up.

This is my cozy 'new' corner for handwork (and escape).

This part of the visible stash organized once again (hope it lasts this time).

What's on the design wall at the current time.

A close up of the design wall projects

This table runner just needs a binding. The background is a heavy blue denim.

This wall hanging is waiting for trimming and a self-turned binding.

This one is taking on a life of its own. This is a wait and see what it wants to be. I know it needs more color (brighter) but I want the birds to be drab with gold trim.

So that's a peak into my studio at this minute in time.

I think I will hang this sign on my door.

And now it's usable once more.

Hugs - Marie

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Week After Christmas

Unlike most people, my favorite week of the year is the 'week after Christmas'. It is a time of peace and relaxation. Nothing to cook, nothing to wrap, no shopping to do, no cards to write, projects to finish up - no stress and no pressure. It has always been that way and this year is no different.

Yesterday was a day of sitting and watching the snow fall and Big T and The Dude playing in it. They built a massive 6 foot tall 'snow bear' and then wrapped him in 4 strands of Christmas lights. We had about 6" of snow, but my front yard has a large circle (diameter 12') with no snow where they used everything to build the bear.

The Dude got an awesome PC game called 'Bejeweled 3'. Don't buy it - it is truly addicting. It is one of those 'just one more game'. LOL there is no such thing as one more game on it. I see this a.m. it has been installed on Big T's computer as well - at least I'll know where to find him.

Today is earmarked (loosely) as the day to clean the sewing studio. It looks like a disaster and has now for over a month. I don't even want to go in there - it's that bad. I have a choice - clean it or keep the door closed; but if I want to sew, I'll have to clean it. Then I'll reward myself by curling up in front of the fireplace and reading the instructions on how to use my new 'e-reader'.

So, my friends, that is where you'll find me for the rest of the day (or maybe the week if I stop to play 'one more game'). I hope all your holidays were as good as mine and that you got to be with all your loved ones during that time.

Hugs - Marie

Friday, December 10, 2010

The New Look Is Here

Here's the new look. (There was nothing wrong with the 'before' - just time for a change. I find as I get older, I need changes more often. Wonder why?)

This is the 'aerial' view from the stair landing. Everything is new from this view.

Great photo of 'my chair'. Tucked into this delightful corner and reserved for hand stitching, knitting and reading. My Ott light fits perfectly on the table next to it for fine work and then can be folded and put into the drawer on the table. (The floor lamp behind the chair and the little 'tiffany style' lamp are hold-overs also.)

This is all we kept of the 'before'. I like this little chest and lamp right there just as you go into the kitchen.

Hugs - Marie

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Was it worth it?



And now you have to wait until tomorrow to see the 'after'. All I'll say is 'I'm loving it.'

I posted a few things this afternoon on my Etsy store - just thought I would share them with you.

Hugs - Marie

Monday, December 6, 2010

Out with the old -

My new living room furniture is being delivered tomorrow - so today is out with the old so we can bring in the new. As a result, I have not done anything related to decorating for the holidays. Everything in the living room is being replaced with a totally different look and there is no reason to decorate twice. I'm so excited. We have been talking about doing this for at least a year and then we just did it. Walked in the store and said 'that's what we want.'

It is icy cold here this week. Our snow of Saturday melted overnight, but now it is even colder.

My book club gifts are all complete (except for hand stitching the binding on the final three). Now just to wrap and they are ready for the luncheon on Wednesday. I need to write a poem to go with my 'mug rugs'. I'm thinking they remind me of 'magic carpets' - that kind of goes along with reading.

I also need to put the prairie points and binding on my kitchen table runner. I pinned the prairie points in place and realized some were cut from 4" squares and some from 3 1/2" squares. I had to go back and trim all my squares to 3 1/2".

I also finished the shawl from the purple self-striping yarn. It made up very nicely. I had exactly 29" of yarn left over when I finished it. I was just a tad worried the last few rows. I am ready to start a long cowl scarf from the green/blue of the same yarn.

The question of the day is - how many napkins do I make? Big T has decided he does not want to use paper napkins anymore. Fine, but at one napkin per person per meal - realistically, how many napkins do I need to make. Say we have an average of three people for each meal and I do laundry once a week - that's 63 napkins. Hmmmmmm! I am thinking about picking a color and then lots of coordinating prints in a 12" by 12" square. I've decided, it's easier to make a quilt than this project.

(No pictures today - forgot to charge the battery on the camera).

Hugs - Marie

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This and That

Last spring I did some extensive machine embroidery on a friend's hand made bedspread. It turned out beautifully. She decorates beautiful cakes and we agreed upon an exchange: the work on her bedspread for one of her cakes.

Last night was our monthly card group. She brought my birthday cake to the monthly gathering to celebrate my birthday.

Unfortuately, the photo does not do it justice. It was a lovely patchwork quilt hand-painted complete with fabric design in marzipan. The cake was a lemon poppyseed with a raspberry, white chocolate, whip cream filling. Needless to say it was delicious. I have never eaten such a large piece of cake in my entire life. Thank you, PearlAnn.

I love the way this yarn is self-striping. I have never worked with yarn that had such a definite stripe. This one is in shades of purples, blues and tans. Absolutely gorgeous.

I also got some in shades of teals and greens - it is stunning on the skein. I'm trying to decide how to use it.

I have 4 more mug rug gifts to make. Our luncheon is on the 8th. I should be able to be finished and get them wrapped.

One of our LQS is going out of business. I think it may be time for a trip over there to see is anything is left.

Hugs to all - Marie

Monday, November 22, 2010

Non-traditional Thanksgiving

Two days before Thanksgiving and 30 days until Christmas. I probably should be panicking(?) right now, but for some reason that hasn't hit yet. (Maybe it's the medication??) We have once again decided to have a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year (we do this almost every year). Instead of the turkey, etc with all the work and mess, we have 'heavy snacks and hors d'oevres' and play games, work puzzles, sew and watch movies all day. This is what works well for my family and we look forward to it every year. I think it started many years back when the girls decided they wanted 'steamed clams' for the big meal that year. That was when we found out that no one in our house enjoyed the big, traditional dinners.

Big T told me last night he wants 'stuffed cabbage' for thanksgiving, so he and D#1 are going to make them Wednesday afternoon.

Christmas gifts for the Little Miss are already in CA and waiting on her mother to wrap and put under the tree. Now I can concentrate on The Dude and get him under way. He is getting harder to buy for each year and is growing like a weed. Last Christmas I bought 'smalls' this year it will have to be 'large' and maybe 'extra large' for sleeve length.

The gifts are almost done for the book club friends. I had to get on the ball once I realized that I didn't have until the 25th - they had to be ready by the luncheon date of 12/08. I think I have 5 mug rugs left to make. They have been such fun to put together.

My wonderful husband decided that he doesn't like paper napkins at dinner time - so he is getting some hand made napkins as part of his christmas presents. (Big T - act surprised if you read this.) I can't decide whether to make them all one pattern or to mix and match.

The vertigo is still hanging on by a thread. It only kicks in when I lay on my left side or bend over to pick something up. Better but still bothersome. I did lots of sleeping on the ship because Big T was afraid that I'd have an attack and be really sick. I did get lots of rest.

Hugs - Marie

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rocks in my Head

Ok - the general agreement from both Big T and the doctor is that I have loose rocks in my head! (Only Big T says I have always had those.) So the diagnosis is: the little tiny crystalline rocks in my inner ears have become loose and it causes vertigo which can range from minor diziness to severe which is my category this week. When the little rocks move it causes an imbalance which results in the vertigo.
The solution is a set of exercises designed to push the diziness to the limits and let the rocks go back into place. And strong motion sickness medication that is supposed to tell my brain not to throw up just because the world is spinning around me and I can't tell up from down. Enough about me and my rocks.
I had a lot of trouble finding size 19 knitting needles and I could only find the straight, short ones. No circular 19's to be found. I have some great thick and bulky yarn I want to work with on the cruise to see how it works up. The pattern calls for working in the round on 19 circular needles; I'll join the rounds when finished for the initial project. I'll keep you posted.
Big T is planning out his shore excursions in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I'm not sure yet whether I'm getting off or staying on the ship. I won't know until it is time to go and then it will be a last minute decision - but that's okay. Although I was a little worried today when he told the nurse that for my birthday he was taking me on a one-way cruise.
Hugs - Marie

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mug Rugs and Placemats

I've been having fun making 'mug rugs' for Hummingbird Treasures. They take about an hour each and do a great job of cutting into the stash AND they're cute. I may keep a few for myself. The bookclub ladies are going to love them. I like the fact that no two are alike.

I also finished the trees on these placemats. I think the white and gold with the blue turned out rather nicely. I think I paid 79 cents each for the four of these and was quite pleased with myself when I got them out into the daylight. They also had a red but it was too 'brown' for me.

I think the latest attack of vertigo is somewhat better but I still have a lot of problem changing the elevation of my head. I see the Dr. on Monday - but he will just tell me it it the old 'rocks in my head' problem.

I think I'll go play in the studio until time for my next nap. (Oh yeah, the medication knocks me out.)

Hugs - Marie

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall and Knitting

Seems that knitting and fall go together for me. I have been knitting off and on lately. I think that Gerry and I have been thinking similar thoughts lately since she made the exact same Pimpliesse (in another color). Needless to say that I was speechless when I read her blog.

I also made a turtleneck cowl in a grey and black chunky knit style. What I like about this one is that it could work for either a man or a woman. This needs to be for someone in cold country because I doubled the knit for extra warmth.

Also, love the mug rug that mysteriously appeared out of my growing pile of hexies. I'm playing with the idea of these as holiday gifts for the bookclub - shhhh - don't tell any of them. (Don't you think these would look cute with candles on top?)

Hugs - Marie

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Isn't that the nicest word to see or hear? I just saw that my Hummingbird Treasures Hummingbird Table Runner sold this morning and I am ecstatic. Thank you!

All kinds of thoughts go through your head:

you weren't crazy with that design - someone else liked it too

that combination of fabrics and colors worked

someone liked the echo quilting that you spent hours on

I just listed these napkins and am trying to decide whether to sell them or keep them. I love the dark rich brown with the slight twill effect. I made the set of 8 with 2 of each fall leaf pattern. I have a second set ready for photos in a delightful khaki green (almost a true moss green) with drifting fall leaves gracing the corner.

The winter kitchen towels were just some cute snow scenarios - I couldn't resist this lovely shade of blue with the black highlights.

I am doing the happy dance!!! (Good thing this isn't video today.)
Hugs - Marie

Friday, October 29, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

The second skein of yarn was not the same as the first - and so here we have a great beginning with no end in sight. Hmmm - now to see what I can make of this without unraveling it all.

I must admit that Halloween is not my favorite holiday - in fact it may be my least favorite of all. I love fall and all that it brings, I just don't care for halloween. It may be my years as a teacher when Halloween was the most disruptive holiday of the entire school year. So there are no cool, really neat and cute halloween decorations and/or quilts around the house or my blog. (I'm beginning to feel like Scrooge here - don't hate me.)

I'm off to see how to salvage my short shawl that I was knitting when I found my skeins didn't match - way off. I may be back later today.

Hugs - Marie

Monday, October 18, 2010

Talent and Creativity

The Dude took first place with his oil painting at both the Chatham County fair and the North Carolina State fair. This was his very first painting EVER - let alone the intricacies of paining in oils. This painting is what he created during his first lesson (not after, but during).

We are very proud of him! His talent and creativity just keep flowing. Just think he is only 14 yrs old.

Hugs - Marie

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Home and Unpacked

We got home at 1:45 AM this morning (it is 12:00 noon now) and I am already unpacked and ready to go. We had an absolutely great visit and got lots and lots of grandparenting done (including a trip with a 2-yr old to Disneyland). I think the combination of heavy antibiotics and the family visit worked wonders.


  • Lots of hexies accomplished on the long plane rides
  • Two knitted cowls finished and ready for photos to go on Hummingbird Treasures
  • Two pairs of fingerless gloves crocheted (small/medium and medium/large)
  • A short knit collar shawl finished

Going from east coast to west coast really messes with my biological clock. I am really ready (past ready) to go to bed no later than 8:30 and then lie awake for hours during the night. I am happy to report that those hours were used for staring at the ceiling and quilt planning for multiple quilts - I can hardly wait to dive in and get started again. For some strange reason, I don't have trouble adjusting the other direction but that east to west gets me every time.

I have to take the time today to write down and sketch my 'dream quilting ideas' so I don't lose them. I saw an absolutely gorgeous little clutch bag made from a jean pocket with a scalloped crocheted edging all around it - does anyone know how to make the hole in the denim to stick the crochet needle through. I'm stuck on trying to figure this out.

Hugs - Marie

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes You Have To Give In!

I finally gave in and went to the doctor's on Thursday. Just haven't felt good for over 6 weeks but other than terrific sinus headaches, couldn't put my finger on it. Headache leads to nausea leads to fatigue leads to sleeping round the clock leads to don't care about anything. Hence - the ultimatum from Big T - GO TO THE DR.

So a massive dose of antibiotics for 10 days (maybe more) was ordered to treat a nasty sinus infection. Hence the headaches, nausea, etc., etc. He did say that one round of antibiotics may not clear it all up and, of course, wondered why I hadn't been in sooner. (I think Big T called to prompt him on this one.) I hope it clears up before we fly to CA - Little Miss's 2nd birthday is coming up soon.

Meanwhile, I am still taking 2 to 3 naps a day and sleeping 10 to 12 hours at night. I should be well rested for CA. I hear we are going to the BIG "D" for the birthday. Needless to say, my sewing has been somewhat neglected for the last 6 weeks. Although I am surprised to see that I have about 6 - 8 projects in various stages of completion all over the studio. I usually have at least 2 going but this appears to be a little extreme even for me. Maybe this afternoon (after my nap), I can sort through and see what can be brought under control.

Check out the neat fabric give away at "The Last Piece". The fabric is an advance of 'Little Things' and is absolutely adorable. Maybe we can both win!

Hugs - Marie

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Club Update

1. I made it to book club (didn't miss it like last month when I slept through it with a sinus headache)
2. I actually read the book (completely - some sections twice) - "The Optimist's Daughter" by Eudora Welty(?) Pulitzer Prize winner in the 1960's
3. I really liked the book (appealed to the literary snob in me - lots of symbolism and metaphor-type stuff)
4. No one else in book club liked the book (actually used words like: boring, hated it, couldn't finish it, no story line, flat unlikable characters)
5. I'm batting 1000 this season when it comes to book club (I'm afraid my membership in book club may be in serious jeopardy here)
6. I'm off to order next month's book (I love the 'used book' prices from B&N and Amazon)
7. The book for next month is "The Devil Amongst the Lawyers" by Sarah McCrumb(?)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Make Over Coming - Stay Tuned

OK - enough introspection (procrastinating) . A major make-over is on the way. I should stress this is a blogsite make-over since 'yours truly' is already perfect.

I asked for (and listened to) advice and opinions from my wonderful followers and now after letting it absorb for longer than it should have (procrastinating), I am ready to jump in the water and ready to swim. (Isn't that a cool analogy for this hot end of a very hot summer?)

I received several very good suggestions regarding how to better use and promote my etsy store as well as wonderful offers to promote my blog and store on my reader's blogs. These actually brought tears to my eyes. And one of my wonderful friends even designed a new button for me to use and share to promote my sites. (Thank you, Alyssa.)

I will be working on implementing my changes over the next few days - so stay tuned to see the next chapter.

For those of you who continue to follow this - I have the timer set to remind me that today is bookclub day. I do not dare miss it twice. By the way, I read the book "The Optimist's Daughter" by Eudora Welty and absolutely loved it. Now I know why she earned the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with this book. I'm interested to see how my fellow book club members like the book.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Serious Thinking

Ok so here's the problem. I have a faithful few followers who read and comment on every blog. (And I love each and everyone of you.) But I am not gaining in either 'larger following' or in redirecting potential purchases to my etsy store. Hmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!
So my question of the week is - what do you think of sponsorship of blogs? I've been looking to see who and how popular the sponsored blogs are and I am torn. I need to expand and market my products but I also don't want to lose my friends in doing so.
Please give me your honest opinion (both directions) and let me know what you think. ALSO, if you have any other thoughts, I am very open to them.
Hugs - Marie

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change in Weather???

Here is the latest from my studio. I love this embroidery pattern - simple but sophisticated. It looks great on napkins as well. I've used this several times and am always pleased with how it turns out. (Is wheat sheaf one word or two?)

I certainly hope this two day sinus headache means there is a change in the weather coming. I would hate to go through this for nothing. I work an hour or so and sleep an hour or so just to adjust. It will leave when the weather changes. Hopefully cooler weather is on the way.
School starts around here on the 23rd of August. Doesn't that seem early. I liked going back to school after Labor Day. August is still intended for play, vacations, and laziness. When I was in school, we went on family vacation the middle two weeks of August, came home for a week to get things ready for school and started the day after Labor Day. It's too hot to even think of kids going back to school now - not all schools are air conditioned.
Where do you sit to do your hand work? I was thinking of that last night when I naturally gravitated to the same spot and picked up my hand work. More on that the next post.

Hugs - Marie

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feedback Wanted

What do you think? Too far out or ok? I seem to be gravitating more and more toward this for some reason. I'm not sure why - I've always been a very conservative person. Big T just keeps looking at me like "what are you doing?"

This is the most recent to come out of my studio. Although there is another just waiting for the photos when I finish the binding. (I think it is even brighter than this one.)

I think I need some 'honest, unbiased opinions'. So if you have any to share, let me know what you think of some of my recent undertakings. (I mean REALLY THINK - not just bloggy politeness.)

It started with this.

This was the first move into the bold colors and 'out of the box'.

Maybe I'm having nightmares and this is my way to express it. I'm a little old to be undergoing a personality change. Has anyone else experienced this total turn around in what they are creating and designing?

Hugs - Marie

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two Down

These mini-quilt nursery wall hangings were so much fun to make. They are approximately 10" square and are machine pieced and embroidered with hand quilting. I'm quite pleased with how these turned out.

I have a set of chestnut brown napkins to embroider and am trying to decide whether the traditional fall leaves or something a little different. Maybe a 'simple' cornucopia without a lot of fill around it. Or maybe I let them set for the day and see what my creativity says in my sleep tonight.

I have several more strips cut for the nursery wall hangings. I think I'll wait on those to see what response I get from my etsy store. (It's beginning to sound as if I'm procrastinating - if so, not intentionally.)

Back to the studio - Hugs - Marie

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trip and Landscape Quilt Featured

Here are a few photos from our quick road trip - it was wonderful to get away for even a few days. We made a big circle but of course had to go on the Blue Ridge Parkway for as long as we could. I love that road and just think the whole building of it was just phenomenal.

Just a photo of the drive through the windshield and then Big T snapped one of the car where we stopped to take a quick nap under a shade tree. (Didn't nap long, it was over 90 in the shade.)

Quilts and Heirlooms is featuring my little landscape quilt, "The Hills of Summer", today in part 1 series of landscape quilts. Hurry on over and take a look at the quality of the quilts they are featuring. I am so honored to be included. (Remember this was my first venture into this category.)
Hugs - Marie

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quick Get Away

We are off for a quick getaway for a couple of days.

How exciting! I'm taking the camera and we are headed toward Virginia and see what we can get into. All the juicy details when we return.

We haven't done this in awhile - just spontaneous (well, it's spontaneous for us and that's what counts).

Hugs - Marie

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Playing in the Studio

August 1st - I don't know whether to say the heat wave is almost over (joyous) or oh no, summer is almost over (sadness). This has been a long, hot summer but I'm not sure I want it to be over yet - so I will just continue to enjoy the heat (but not the humidity).

OK - so here's the latest out of my studio. What do you think? I'm thinking nursery wall hangings here, small 10" by 10" size. (Did you note the hand quilting - still needs work, but getting much better.) I have another one under way in blues with a train engine on it.

While I was playing, I also made a little larger autumn leaves wall hanging. I think I like this one a lot. The colors feel good to me. (Big T says still too bright - wait till he sees the purple one coming out.) I will probably machine quilt this one for a more polished look.

M and The Dude leave for a whole week in CA tomorrow morning. Sure will be quiet around here - just me and Big T talking to each other and ourselves. M has a consulting engagement and The Dude is going to stay with K&A and the Little Miss in San Diego for a week. They are both excited. The Dude has been practicing how to have a tea party and play Ring-around-the-Rosie this week. I think his aunt K and uncle A have a few surprises in store for him.

Off to play in the studio (after I make a three bean salad to let it marinate).

Hugs - Marie