Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feeling Really Old

I am feeling really old right now - the Dude just went on his first date. I don't know if I'm excited and happy or if I want to cry (probably both). His papa drove them to the show and promised to sit in another part of the theater (or see a different show). Sure does bring back the memories though.

Meanwhile, am trying to schedule the first meeting of our neighborhood wine club. This is like herding cats. When I get the folks in the neighborhood on the same path and date, I can't get a tasting vendor lined up. Who thought scheduling a wine tasting could be so hard - you get some bottles, some cheese and crackers and your set - right? No - now you need a theme, a region, snacks that go with the specific theme and a method of scoring the wine. This is getting complicated.

The pot roast in the crock pot is simmering away. If I keep opening the lid, it'll never get done. I added the potatoes, onions, celery and carrots about an hour ago and now I just have to resist the tempation and keep the lid firmly on it. Great smells coming from the kitchen.

I took a class this last Friday on 'free motion quilting' from Linderella's. I am in process of making a 'scribble quilt'. I will probably have a whole library of scribble quilts before I try it out on one of my quilts. The idea is to practice free form on a sandwiched muslin quilt to learn the rhythm of the motion. Right now it is still a battle of who is in control - me or the quilt! (I think the quilt is winning. Certainly is a lesson in humility.)

My puzzle (mind-numbing activity which doesn't require thinking of any kind) is almost complete. I started this one during our first snow storm. So far we haven't had enough snow so that I can finish it. I seem to be missing at least one dark colored piece. Since I only have blue sky and blue water left, I accused Big T of hiding my missing piece. He claims innocence but I'm not sure I believe him. I have had the dining room table occupied for almost a month. I may have to dust the puzzle if I don't get it finished soon.

The Little Miss recieved her baby doll blanket but she uses it for her and tells her mommie 'no-no-no-no' when her mommie wraps up her baby doll. K says she has already had to wash it several times. She loves the lace and the Winnie-the-Pooh.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Snow on the Way

Can you believe we are getting one more round of snow? Even if it's just flurries, for gosh sakes, this is central North Carolina. The Dude is hoping for a snow day again. I think he already has three they have to make up before the end of the year.

I am ready to put the final border to Hollyhock Gardens. I like it better each time I look at it. I already have the next two or three outlined in my mind, but I'm determined not to start another until I finish this one and give it to Big T to hang. Of course, that doesn't include strip squares - those are fast and easy.

My sewing studio stays so much neater with my new shelving units and the quilt wall. It's actually fun to put things away and see how pretty everything is in its place. I'm really surprised but quite pleased. Even my large project basket stays neater and gets emptied more often. I keep a large basket on my work table (or at my feet) and everything I use for a project goes into the basket in case I need it again later in that project. That includes all scraps of fabric, patterns, thread, etc. The theory is - when the project is finished, you clean out the basket and put everything away. It's too dark and gloomy to take pictures today - I'll try and take one or two tomorrow.

I saw a friend working on a wholecloth project last night and thought that might be a good way to practice (and improve) my hand quilting. Any suggestions would be helpful.

My 'Land of the Midnight Sun' wall hanging is getting some notice on my Etsy site. I would be interested in any feedback regarding that particular item. It gets the visitors, but no comments. Let me know what you think (I'm a big girl, I can take it!!)

More tomorrow - Hugs to my favorite audience.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Burst of creativity

A burst of creative energy blew through our house last night like a blast. In less than three hours I had designed, started and finished a quilt top (60” by 58”), designed and cut the strips for a second. I was amazed at how fast the first top went together. I would like to get it quilted and finished soon. Big T has already claimed it as his to hang over the fireplace. (We have this hole over the fireplace where the builder intended to put a television AND we decided that we don’t want a TV there. So for the almost three years we have lived here, there has been many, many discussion of how to cover THE HOLE.)

With the flash - Without flash -

I LOVE MY QUILT WALL!!!! Even I didn’t realize the full value of this important ‘tool’ until I put my quilt strips on the wall last night and could see the difference even the tiniest of changes could make. I was finally able to show Big T the purpose and the value of the wall. We are already planning the second on the opposite wall which will serve more as a showcase.

The doll quilt is on its way to the Little Miss. She should have it by the weekend at the latest. Now I have to make one for my Hummingbird Treasure Etsy inventory since I listed it. Some time I will share my ‘life’s most embarrassing moment’ story regarding my Etsy inventory. It was definitely one of those ‘live and learn’ lessons.

Next Friday, I am scheduled for a ‘free motion quilting’ class at Linderellas. I have read (and memorized) the tutorials on several blogs and have tried this on my own several times, but I need some more hands-on instruction. I know what it says to do, but somehow my hands don’t want to do it. Maybe the class will help.

I think I may have solved my problem with my ‘tuck and roll’ project. I am going to make a prototype first this afternoon before diving into the fabric I bought for it. Interesting, I can see it in my mind, I just can’t quite get there. Maybe today will be the break-through.

Later today, we are going to the Home Show. If I’m really good, we will stop back by Joann’s on the way home. The problem with going to the home show with Big T is that he is a friendly, sociable kind of guy and visits with EVERYONE even if it’s not something we are looking for. Well, I guess truthfully – the real problem is, I’m not!! I want to go and look and go home (or to Joann’s). Maybe I’ll find another ‘free’ yardstick. I need a second one. At least I’ll get a lunch out of it.

Welcome back Jeanne – we missed you! I cherish all of my loyal followers and want to say ‘thank you’. Your comments mean a lot to me – HUGS to all of you.


Friday, February 12, 2010

The Date is Really Feb. 15, 2010

Did you know you could buy white thread (and black) at the Dollar General store? When desperate, you take desperate measures. And there on the shelf was a package of two white spools and a black spool for $1.00. I bought two packages for emergency backup. Now tomorrow I can finally finish my mini-wall hanging.

It is snowing again! This is the third time in two weeks and we live in the south. We are supposed to have between 4 and 6 inches overnight. The Dude is on his way here now to be "snowed in with Grandma and Papa". He says he packed for three days - he is counting on Monday being a snow day. It may well be because we do not have the right snow removal equipment in North Carolina and they cannot let the school buses be on the road if there is the slightest snow or ice residue.

We got a valentines day card from the Little Miss. As you can tell she signed it herself - not bad for 16 months. (Do I sound like a proud grandmother - you bet!)

Roses from the Big T - aren't they beautiful - so is he.

Back to the sewing studio tomorrow. I was not able to even go up there today - other priorities get in the way once in awhile. I did think of a way to solve my problem with the black and white so I'm anxious to see if my plan will work. More about this after I try it. However, I am quite happy with the "baby dolly quilt" I made for the Little Miss.

I went to the book store the day of the snow and got three really neat quilting books: Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes; Liberated Quiltmaking II by Gwen Marston; and Masters Art Quilts by Martha Sielman. I had a 50%, 30% and 20% coupon from Borders and saved as much as I spent. So there's my snowy afternoon curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and my new books. Bookstores are like fabric stores - I cannot walk out without buying something. We also picked up books for The Dude and the Little Miss (fantastic sale at $1.00 per book).

Hugs to all you you who put up with my ramblings as I continue to explore my creativity.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

After Book Club

The book club is a fait accompli AND the dessert was a success. The mulled wine went over well because it was a very cold, windy day. So now I can relax for another year before I have to host it again. This is a traumatic event for me. I have to clean AND cook.

The book was South of Broad by Pat Conroy and takes place in Charleston, SC so I wanted to make a southern dessert. I found a recipe on the 'net for "Incredibly Easy Mississippi Mud Cake" and that is an understatement. I wish I could give credit to the originator of the recipe but it is not possible.

1 box brownie mix - made according to directions for cake browniesEXCEPT substitute bourbon or whiskey for the water
2 7-oz jars marshmellow creme
1 can deep dark chocolate frosting.

Bake brownies - immediately on removing from oven spread the marshmellow creme over the hot brownies. Melt the frosting in the microwave until liquid (about 45 seconds) and pour over the marshmellow creme. Allow to cool completely before serving.

It can't get any easier than that. If I can do it, anyone can!!! Needless to say, I have had enough sugar for the day (or week).

Tomorrow is back to the sewing studio. I am playing with black and white with a red showing through every once in awhile. I can see what I want but seem to be worrying one part of it. Maybe if I back into it, I can make it work. That works for me when I get writer's block - go around the block and approach it from a different angle.

I still have not been to civilization for my white thread. Actually, I have not been anywhere. It would probably be faster it I ordered it on-line. Meanwhile my wall hanging is hanging on my quilt wall staring at me. One book club member wanted to know if the sewing machine dust protector could be sized to cover her large counter top mixer. Interesting, I think it would work without much resizing at all. They also liked the 'chick and chic' bag with the bright greens and yellow - called it a happy bag.

I am still working on my strip blocks. I've been working them in color groupings and then will see how they fit together or what jumps out at me.

Hugs to all of you who care to read my ramblings as I discover a completely different side of me.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Prep for Book Club - Major Event at my house

The snow is almost gone and the cool rain today will finish the rest of it. The picture is an igloo/castle that was an icy driveway chopped in sections and then carefully stacked. No, we didn't do it, but the neighbors directly across did and they aren't home to enjoy it, so I thought we would share. The second picture is our backyard on a snowy day through laser enhancing glasses. Kind of a neat but strange view on the world.

The house is clean and ready for book club. The dessert ingredients are assembled waiting for tomorrow morning. The wine is ready for mulling. After book club, I'll share my super easy dessert recipe if it's good. If you don't hear anything about it from me, you can assume Marie was in the kitchen again. (Not always a good thing. After all that's why I have M - she's a great cook AND actually likes it.) I figure if I serve enough mulled wine, they won't remember what we had for dessert. Big T may have to be on stand-by as the designated driver. I almost forgot - I still need to finish the book.

I think I'm ready to dust off my attempt at a young adult novel again. I've probably procrastinated long enough after the last round of edits. I think it needs a major 'start again' effort.

I finished a very simple recycled bluejean pocket 'grab 'n go' bag. Small but cute. I'll post it out on Hummingbird Treasures this afternoon and see what kind of response I'll get.

Oh, I almost forgot - I won $25 in the pool at the Super Bowl Party. I'm still not sure just who won but I'm $25 richer today. Big T keeps telling me the money for the original bet came from his pocket, not mine - he was just being nice putting my name in the little square.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Water - at last!

Water, beautiful, glorious water. A shower never felt so good. The water was restored around 9:00 pm last night and fully functional this morning when we woke up. I haven't enjoyed a shower like that in a long time. Curious what we have come to take for granted. When you turn the faucet, something is supposed to come out of it (and hopefully, that stuff is clear and sparkly).

The quilt wall is finished - here is a rough photo without any props.

I started and finished a sewing machine dust cover yesterday. It felt good to go from beginning to a finished project in one day. I used pieces of lavendars and purples (my favorite color) to add a little brightness and color to my new home studio. Now the big decision is - do I use it or post it on Etsy (or both??)?

And here is the 'out of white thread' project. It is so close to being finished.

Hugs to all of you who care to read my ramblings as I discover a completely different side of me.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

12 Hours Later . . .

Twelve hours later and still no water. The entire neighborhood is out so we are all suffering equally. Big T did bring in a couple of buckets of snow to melt so we do have the luxury of using the facilities - but no shower I'm afraid. Oh well, at least it didn't happen last weekend during the big snowfall.

So it has been a relatively quiet day with not much going on. I have been busy in my studio most of the day (except for a very long luxurious nap). Why is it that I am always out of white thread? I cannot believe how often I have to stop a project because I am out of white thread. I think the thread gremlins play tricks on me. I swear I just bought some a couple of weeks back. Hmmmmm! I cannot finish my latest wall hanging until I go back to the store. And while I love living in a very small rural community, it means a trip of 30 miles or so one way to get a spool of thread. The love of my life doesn't understand why I can't just use one of those other hundred spools or so.

We are going to a super bowl party tomorrow night. I hope I don't embarass Big T when I ask 'who is playing' and 'which color is which team'. Maybe I should study it just a tiny bit before we go. Although no water tomorrow may mean no party. I can just sit and drink wine and look sportsy all night.

The Dude called after his eye appointment to say he needs glasses. He is an avid reader but surprisingly enough, he doesn't need them for reading but for seeing across the room or board work at school. Maybe this well help the headaches although he inherits the tendancy toward migraines I'm afraid.

Book club meets this week and I still have not started the book. I did get a copy but haven't opened it yet. It's a good thing that I'm a fast reader or I might not make it. The name of our local book club is "The You Don't Have to Read The Book, Book Club". We formed the book club as we all moved into our new development to get to know one another and we became fast friends. The meeting next week is at our house - I guess this means I have to clean. Yuck, that's almost worse than cooking. Maybe I'll serve wine and cheese and crackers. That'll be different from our traditional desserts.

The Little Miss walked into a wall the other day and the Nanny (who believes that something sweet makes everything feel better) rubbed pancake syrup on her little forehead. K said when she came home after work, the house (and baby) smelled like pancakes.

From me to you, lots of hugs and thanks for joining me in my new adventures of learning to be creative and artistic.


No Water

We woke to 'no water' this morning. Arghhhhhh! At least we have bottled water for coffee and tea - the life essentials. Interesting how life revolves around that morning shower to clear your head and kick-start your day. I think it also interesting that you tend to focus on that which you cannot have, or is not available. Everything I think of this morning has to do with, or requires a steady consistent flow of water.

More later after a head-clearing, hair-taming shower (I hope. . . )