Friday, May 27, 2011

Sigh ---- what a wonderful experience!!!

Yesterday, we attended a six hour 'thread play' class with Libby Lehman. She was absolutely fantastic. I learned a lot about drawing and playing with thread (and other helpful hints). I was so 'up' all day and then came home and literally crashed. Oh yeah and guess what - I forgot to take the camera. Can you believe I could go to that class and not have the camera with me.

There were 31 one of us in there and she managed to give each of us all the unlimited attention we needed. She is an absolutely lovely, marvelous person and is exactly what I want to be when I grow up. She also had a wonderful trunk show with her - oh wait - I didn't have the camera so I can't share that part with you.

The kitchen fan is still up and I'm beginning to feel a little easier about walking underneath it. I mean, if it were going to fall down it would have done so be now - wouldn't it? It sure makes a huge differences in the temperature (and atmosphere) of our kitchen. This is one we should have done last year when we had the others installed.

The current storm is finally on the way out (4 - 6 inches in 3 hours) so I may go to the studio and play for a few hours. I want to practice while things are still fresh in my mind.

Hugs - Marie

Thursday, May 19, 2011

OK - so I'm hiding in the office at the computer to stay as far away from the kitchen as I can get. Big T and a neighbor are replacing the kitchen chandelier and installing a fan with a light over my kitchen table. The sounds coming from in there are not always favorable - so here I am with the door closed. Last I could hear, they had decided to 'read the directions' - that doesn't sound too bad, does it? There will be no photos with this posting because I would have to go through the kitchen to get the camera.

After my last posting, I had such positive comments from my friends - thank you all! You made me feel that 'blogging life' is so worthwhile. You are all wonderful and I never would have met you if not for 'blogging'. I feel like my world is expanding when I have friends from all over the world.

I am working on a new wall hanging to go over the fireplace (to cover the 'ugly hole' where I refuse to have a tv). I had just enough of the contrasting fabric to do just what I had planned. Sewed the first four strips together and was so proud of myself. It looked exactly like what I had in mind; went back to the cutting table to cut the next strip when it happened. I picked up the fabric, folded it, picked up the rotary cutter and cut my strip (the wrong direction). Now instead of a 42" strip I had an 18" strip. AND to make matters worse, I no longer had any fabric left to cut the 42" strips (it was all now the shorter pieces). After a few (a lot of) 'bad words' and tears, I did a lot of 'unsewing' and went back to the drawing board.

How many times do you have to learn the same lessons over and over? I can hear my mother saying 'measure twice, cut once'. But this time, I was so sure I had it right that I didn't take the time to check and recheck.

Oh no!! - "what do you think this wire goes to? I don't think we need it." I wish the office were soundproof. This is killing me. A few minutes ago I heard a sound like 'broken glass' . . . I should have gone grocery shopping or something. I think I will pull up one of those addicting computer games and 'zone out' for a few hours. If you need me, you know where to find me.

Hugs - Marie

Saturday, May 7, 2011

OK -

Have you missed me? Well, let it be known that I am back and raring to go. My two month hiatus (is that really a word) is at an end.

Did you notice the new 'do'? I thought it was time for a change - I was getting to be pretty boring and regular. I needed a complete make-over to go with my new approach to blogging, quilting and life itself.

So what happened to me?

Blogging had ceased to be fun and had become a chore but even more than that, I am tired of ready about all the perfectionism and 'snobbishness' that become more and more prevalent in blogland. It seems that quilting is more about who is using which designer fabric and who is going to market than quilting. And quilts weren't finished until they have all been perfectly finished by the long-arm quilters trying to sell their business by telling the world how good they are.

This was not the blogland and quilting that I love. But I was getting trapped into feeling guilty that I chose my fabric by what I like rather than who designed it. My wonderful art quilts (wonderful to me anyway) will never compare to the pro's who produce a major piece every day. It was becoming a chore to go into my studio because it wasn't a 'designer studio' where everything is perfect and 'cute'. The final straw was all the 'perfect photos' coming from the $1,000 dollar cameras.

Am I the only one who was bothered by all this? (Or maybe it was because I also didn't fell well for a couple of months.) But regardless, I have decided several things that I want to share with my loyal friends (I don't care about followers - you are all my friends.

1. I am going to weed through my blog reading list and eliminate all but those blogs that I really enjoy.

2. I am going to write about things that interest me and my friends (old word was 'followers').

3. I am not going to waste my time on those blogs that seem to be ads to attract business.

4. I am going to continue my exploration into the world of art quilting (per my definition - not anyone else's).

5. I will continue to select fabric that I like regardless of the designer or origin.

6. Friends will come first (and always).

7. Blogging is about sharing and friendship not competition or rules.

And so my dear friends, I am back after spending a long time thinking about what was bothering me. And I look forward to further enriching our friendship in this wonderful world of blogging. I have found some wonderful friends in blogland and they are as dear to me as if we lived in close proximity. I cherish each of you.

Many, many hugs - Marie

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just Another Day

Ok, after much deliberation (procrastination) I finally had to dig in to do something with 'the bag'. I avoided it as long as I could - but this was a commission work - it had to be finished. Normally, it would have gotten thrown in the 'to be discontinued' stack for a garage sale (or worse). Just to remind you all, here is the bag as first presented.

Now, it's important to remember that she saw it at this point and loved it all except the handle (which I didn't like either but didn't know what else to do with it). So with lots of deliberation and advice from my blogging friends - here is the finished product to be delivered to her tomorrow.

Much better but this will never make my list of favorites. I fought it from day one. I should have stopped and regrouped but wanted to use this fabric (and of course this was the last I had). We'll see what she has to say tomorrow.

Tomorrow the quilting frame comes out of storage to sandwich and stretch the queen sized quilt that will go on our bed. I'm thinking I will hand quilt the borders and tie the inside. I only need about 150 chocolate buttons (cheap). This is only a small portion showing the corner of the borders. (I can just see the quilting police turning up their noses - but I am not a traditional quilter or anything else for that matter.)

I have decided to use my disappearing nine patch table topper as my 'first' free motion quilting project. I'm not sure if I'm quite ready but if I don't jump in the water, I'll never learn to swim. Speaking of which, I'm ready for summer and the pool.

Big T and I went to see Celtic Woman in concert on Sunday. It was our Christmas gift from both daughters and families. What a great Christmas gift. If you haven't had a chance to hear them, make the opportunity if possible. When it was over, I called our two daughters to say thank you and wish them a Merry Christmas (it was our Christmas present, remember). The daughter in California was out and I left a rather lengthy descriptive message of motherly appreciation and ended it with "Merry Christmas" from Mom and Dad. Then turned to Big T and said that wasn't D#2's voice mail message, they must have changed it. Following a strange look from him, I rechecked Caller ID and found it was one number off. So somewhere in San Diego is someone trying to figure out this weird Christmas message from some crazy lady.

Hugs - Marie

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Life's Little Lessons Continue

The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show was Saturday and it was absolutely fantastic. I loved every minute and step of the show. I oohed and aahed all over the convention center. For the first time the mix of traditional and contemporary art quilts was about 50 / 50. It was great because my friend likes traditional and I love the contemporary. Couldn't ask for better than that.

And now for the photos - WRONG! No photos - you can all hate me now. But I did learn a valuable lesson. You cannot take pictures if the little thingy that holds the pictures is full. Duh!! (How old do you have to be before you quit learning the basic lessons in life?)

And the vendors - oh my goodness, the vendors. For every quilt hung, there had to be a vendor booth somewhere. We were there for about 6 hours and only walked once around the entire show. No time to go back for repeat visits. I now have enough projects to last me the rest of the year (or more).

Back to current day - this is a great idea, plan and idea that went wrong. I have a commission to design and create a special tote bag (envelope style) for a beautiful soft leather covered Bible. The fabric, quilting, style - all is fabulous! But the handle destroyed the whole look. A BAD IDEA!

So now it is back to the drawing board to see if I can resurrect the look with a different style handle. She loves the bag - just not the handle (and I can't blame her one bit). More on this in a day or so.

The appointment to find out the results of the sleep study and some other tests is tomorrow morning; book club in the afternoon; and Mahjong on Thursday morning. Lots going on this week.

Hugs - Marie

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quilt Show

Tomorrow is the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show in Virginia. A good friend and I are going with a 'quilt bus' group from Raleigh. Neither of us know anyone else, but we anticipate having a great time both on the bus and at the show. I think it's about a 4 hour bus ride one-way so I better find something to do. (My little bag 'go bag' of hexies comes in handy at times like this.)
I'll try and take photo's but we all know I'm not much good at remembering to do that. It should be a long day - we leave at 6:00 and get home around 11:00 or so. I better charge my cell phone and, oh yeah, the camera too. So much excitement!
Hugs - Marie

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sleep Study and A Winner!

I'm not sure why they call a 'sleep study' a sleep study? Because there is very little sleeping involved in it. A real 'sleepover' would have been a lot more fun. I finally dozed off and this little voice announces from the ceiling - 'good morning, it's 5:00 a.m. and time to get up'.

Needless to say, I arrived home at 6:15 a.m. and went to bed for another 2 hours. ( I had to get some sleep before going to play Mahjong.) I felt like a walking zombie the rest of the day.

We went to D#1's for dinner Friday night - we had homemade pizza that was just plain excellent.

She makes a pizza crust in her bread maker that is just perfect. (Don't tell her especially, but she is a much better cook than I am - but boy can she make a mess in the kitchen! Maybe that's my problem - I am not messy enough in the kitchen.)

I won! I won! I won!

I just won a pattern in Carrie's latest giveaway. She is just one of the most generous people I know. Stop by her blog and tell her that I sent you. She is so talented. We met online through our blogs and then met up at a quilt show last spring. The pattern is called 'Twitterin' by Prim Point and combines quilting, applique, coloring (with crayons) and embroidery. I am so excited.

Thank you Carrie and Prim Point.

Hugs - Marie

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grown Up Sleepover. . .

What does mature, responsible person take to a 'grown-up sleepover'? (I know, you are asking yourself - what kind of mature, responsible person has a 'grown-up sleepover'. Yes, you are - I can read your lips from way over here!)

After much thought (not so much) and hours of preparation (more like 5 minutes) - here is the final result of what is going with me.

I just have time for a final check prior to leaving the house for my destination.

Pillow - check (can't sleep without my own pillow)

Cell phone - I may want to call someone in the middle of the night

Sewing Case - Of course I may feel a need to work on my hexies in the middle of the night

E-reader - I have to find out the ending on my story

Keys - I have to get there, don't I

Jamies - I think I better take these for a change

Sox - Warm and cozy (thank you Gerry)

Glasses - I don't want to miss anything

Monkey - I'll need to think of missing Big T (he threw in the container of Flarp)

Crown Royal - 'Nuff said - some things are self-explanatory

Oh yeah, I have to be home by 9:15 a.m. Friday morning so I can join our weekly Mahjhong (how do you spell that?) group.

Hugs - Marie

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Disappearing Nine Patch

Deep, way down in my AP (Avoidance Pile) I found this 'disappearing nine patch' table topper complete but for the quilting and binding. I had forgotten all about it. It is still not high on my list, but it deserves to be finished. Then I can decide what to do with it.

I do like the colors so I'll reserve final judgement until I finish the quilting. (I know - not exactly traditional colors but it's me.)

I also completed the borders on my 'blueberry, raspberry, and chocolate ice cream' quilt. I am enjoying the play between the bright blues, hot pinks and chocolate browns. I have invited several pieces to join us in auditioning for the backing, but we are still waiting the arrival of just the right piece.

This is a better close up of the fabric colors and patterns in case any of you are thinking of trying out.

I can just hear the quilt police rolling their eyes, moaning and hoping no one is looking over their shoulders at this - but again, I like it - it's me. It does need a good pressing so it looks it's best for the upcoming auditions. I'm not sure I have ever been called traditional - wholesome yes (in 10th grade) but not traditional.

Chicken Mole (there is supposed to be a little accent mark on the 'e') in the oven and rice on the stove top - refried beans ready to go on the table.

Hugs - Marie

Friday, February 11, 2011

Design Wall

This is what is on my design wall. I have been working on this off and on while I was under the weather. The top is finished finally (much larger than shown here) the size of a queen sized bed. It needs to be sandwiched and quilted. This is an original design by me (I hope - I have never seen it anywhere else).

Thanks for everyone's warm wishes and comments while I was 'out ill'. I think I am about ready to hit the ground running again now. To all of you who wrote and asked how I was feeling - THANK YOU!

This was the week of mail goodies at my house. First there was . . .

then a day or so later . . .

(I have read these from cover until I have them memorized.)
and then this 'cute little mini mouse' - look no tail (and it's pink, pink, pink) - she's to go with my new laptop with the oversensitive touch pad . . .

but best of all were these beautiful, hand knit sox in this lovely shade of bright green with the delightfully orange cuffs. I have never worn hand knit sox before and I may never pull them off - well maybe once in awhile to be washed (maybe). They are so warm and comfy. Thank you Gerry - you are the best. Please go see Gerry's work and tell her I said to drop by.

And finally, I dug the 'disappearing nine patch' table topper out of the Avoidance Stack and have that basted and ready to quilt. I'm trying to decide whether to hand quilt or machine quilt. Photos of that another day.
I have decided that I do not have UFO's or Phd's - I hide things in my 'Avoidance Stack'. . I have bored you with enough photos already
Hugs - Marie

Friday, January 28, 2011

January Cold

No photos this posting - I thought I'd warn everyone up front. No energy to find the camera, charge the battery, focus, take out the little thingy, put it in the laptop, resize the photo, etc. I have just enough energy to cough, sneeze and look for the tissue box which keeps getting moved because Big T has the same @#$% stuff as I do. Yuck! (So don't get too close to this posting.)
If you don't catch colds from being in the cold weather, why do you catch more colds in the winter? A long unanswered question.
I ripped out the last border I sewed on just before I got sick. I don't think I will sew anything else until I am focusing more on sewing and less on the other stuff. But that's okay because my eyes aren't focusing anyway. I am still reading blogs daily but it take me almost all day to finally get through them all. Napping seems to be my highest (only) priority this week.
I don't want you all to get sick - so don't get too close.
Another thing about being sick - I had to miss my Majhong lesson yesterday. I made the ultimate sacrifice and stayed home so everyone else could play and have fun. Now they are a lesson ahead of me.
And the book I am reading I have already read - of course, it took me 200 pages to find that out. Nothing slow about me, this week.
You all stay healthy and keep away from this stuff.
Hugs - Marie

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Bad Start to a Good Day!

How many times do you have to do this until you don't do it anymore?

Next to the seam ripper, I think you can see the tear drops from your's truly. No - wait, I can get closer. . .

So then, I use my trusty, sharp seam ripper and redo the 1/2 square triangles - only to discover

The little squirvy (yes, it is a word - I just made it up) lines were going the wrong way. Compare to the laid out blocks of this photo. So, my trusty seam ripper got a lot of practice today. I spent more time ripping than sewing.

It was time to call it a day in the sewing studio. I did not want to tackle assembling the blocks until a 'better day'. Whatever that may mean.

My friend is coming to pick up her 'mug rugs' today. She called earlier and said she wanted a e-reader pocket also for another friend's birthday gift. That compensated for my morning in the studio.

Hugs - Marie

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Boy Toy!

This is a picture of the 'new' boy toy!

This is a picture of the 'new' boy toy and the boy!

See that grin from ear to ear (it may be permanent).

Hugs - Marie

12 Mug Rugs Finished

Finished - 12 mug rugs complete and ready to be delivered. These are to be used as small hostess gifts on her trip to visit family in California next week.

Just what she ordered simple and plain with no frills. These were fun to make and I got lots of practice at machine quilting.

I made these using the '15 minutes of play' method that is popular now in blogland. I just picked up a piece and attached it without any real plan or design in mind. I thought it worked well for me in making these mug rugs. It was a different feeling than having something all designed out and cut to order. I could do this more often. (Only once did D#1 say "Mom, that just doesn't work at all - in fact it's just *****!)
I'm off to look at the 'boy toy' that Big T and the Dude just bought. The Dude is grinning from ear to ear so it must be just great.
Hugs - Marie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Computer Frustrations

Big T and I got each other new laptops for our Christmas gifts to each other. So now we are trying to learn how to use them effectively without giving in and going back to the old laptops. Different keyboard, new operating system, new applications, and I feel like I am learning about computers all over again. It is taking me 10 times longer to do something that should be a piece of cake. Aaarghhh!

Forget pictures with this blog posting. I can't even find the slot where the little thingy goes. I'm doing well to just type a short message. I do not like to use a mouse - I prefer the little click pad thing on the keyboard. But no one told the little thing that it needs to behave like I expect it. It does weird things when I am least expecting it.

We have been 'iced in' for three days now. Only a trace of snow here, but heavy ice and it has not begun to melt. At least the power is still on - that's a blessing. It is so cold outside and the wind is keeping the chill factor near zero.

I have my assembly line of mug rugs down to handstitching the bindings on 11 more of them. (One is finished all the way.) I probably have about 6 hours of hand work left and then wrap and deliver. I want to get them to her this week so I don't have it hanging over me for the weekend.

I am trying to decide which large quilt I want to tackle next. There are several in blogland that sound cool right now - one's a postage stamp quilt and one's a mystery quilt AND several applique and stitchery quilts. I need to make a decision and commit and quit thinking about it. The time is past for thinking - it is time for action.

Hugs - Marie

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mug Rugs and E-reader Pockets

I'm so excited. I just got a commission to create 12 new mug rugs to be used as hostess gifts for a friend's trip. This is a result of giving them as Christmas gifts to the book club. Below is a photo of the book club mug rugs before wrapping.

This will let me practice so I can submit the perfect mug rug photo for Mme. Samm's mug rug contest. Check out her blog to find out more information.

So tomorrow, I get to go pick out fabric (jelly roll, backing and thread). How fun is that? She leaves on her trip on January 20th. My plan is to get them finished and to her well in advance. I don't want to cause either of us any stress.

I finished another e-reader pocket today. I love the simplicity and the fit of these e-reader pockets. Photo coming tomorrow, it's too dark to take photos now.

I love this little mini-quilt. It would be perfect hanging in a nursery. I actually made this in 2009 but came across it this afternoon and remembered how much I like it. I like the combination of quilting with the machine embroidery.

Thanks for stopping by - your visits mean a lot to me.

Hugs - Marie