Monday, April 30, 2012

Quilt Retreat Part Three

It's the third and final installment in the Milford Quilt Retreat series.  After such a productive weekend, I've managed to accomplish absolutely, positively nothing today.  I think I used all my initiative at retreat.

Sunday morning I slept in late (5 a.m.) but was still the first one up.  I got all the blocks pieced for a Karen Montgomery pattern titled Pops Alot.  It uses 2 1/2 inch strips (I used the Cappucino Bali Pops).  If you use a Jelly Roll or Bali Pop, the pattern will use up every bit of waste, which is nice.  I'm debating whether it needs horizontal strips between the rows.  I'm thinking a charcoal gray.  Opinions were an even split at retreat.  Maybe I'll just go with a nice border instead.  Decisions, decisions...

My co-worker, Linda, who doesn't like her picture taken and displayed for all the world to see was working on this the entire weekend...

As the afternoon was winding down, I got out some charm squares and threw together the beginnings of a baby quilt.  I'm trying to decide on the border color, but it'll be a solid.  I believe this line is Sugar Pop from Moda, but it's best not to quote me on that.

You have to see it in person to truly appreciate the garish colors and it's not at all me but I figure it's baby-steps to breaking out of my mold.  Or maybe that's me busting out of my jeans. time!

Hope you enjoyed seeing what we got done and if you've never retreated, find one and give it a try.  The first time I ever went Hubby wanted to know what it was like.  I told him someone cooked all the meals and did the cleanup, picked up after me and I didn't have to make the bed.  I summed it up by saying It's a lot like being a man.  He wasn't amused.

Happy quilting, y'all!

Random Stuff That Doesn't Fit Anywhere Else

This is the post that's all about the stuff that made me go 'well, that's frightfully interesting' or 'holy crap am I ever a clever gal'.  It'll probably make you go 'big whooo' and twirl your finger or suggest I take my medication, but it is what it is.

Called a 'Moonflower', this plant is right outside the retreat center and it smells wonderful.  At night, the bush is full of blooms that close up by about mid-morning.  The unfortunate name conjures up images of drunken, obnoxious males dropping their pants with subsequent video showing up on YouTube.  I know...I should get out more.  Bite me.

I made a name tag for my Featherweight from fabric flowers my Mom discarded and a couple of buttons.  It says 'I'm not ANTIQUE, I'm RETRO-CHIC'.  I think it spiffs Lennie up a bit, don't you?

A box of clementines all the way from a tiny town in Texas.  I have no idea what Orla, Shvils, Trumot or Maasrot mean...I'll have to go Google it.  Good fruit though.

And a view out the back of the retreat center.  I'd live there if they'd let me, but DH would probably divorce me or at the very least send the children out there so I guess I'll just stick to my once a year visit.

It's back to work tomorrow and the house is a wreck so I'm off to clean. 

Who'm I kidding?  I'm off to peruse my weekend purchases and watch mindless crap on TV.  OH, happy day!


Quilt Retreat Part Two

Somehow I managed to leave the house without being loaded down with projects...maybe it was that double dose of good sense I took before leaving home.  I always, always seem to stuff my little car so full it groans and come home a little let down because I didn't get more done.  I guess I forget at some point a break is necessary to sleep and eat...oh, and bathe. 

Saturday morning I was up at 4 a.m. (my usual wake-up time) and had the sewing room all to my lonesome for about two hours.  A cup of coffee at my elbow, this is what I started on and managed to finish by the end of the day...

I purchased it as a kit about six years ago...yes, I said six.  The pattern is Stix and Stones by Karen Montgomery.  I had everything already cut out and ready to go so it went together quickly.  My daughter's already requested this one.

Mom and I went back to Waxahachie to The Crafty Scrapper.  This retreat was a mix of quilters and scrapbookers and they raved about the shop...which interestingly enough was right around the corner from the quilt shop, Common Threads.  How fortuitous!  And if I were so inclined (which I wasn't this time), the Purple Dragon tattoo shop is right around the corner from both the other shops...double fortuitous!

There's an awesome quilt shop in Italy (not the country, the town in Texas) called Suzzett's that we like to frequent as well so we couldn't pass her by without a look-see.  Her's is mostly internet sales but she built a fabulous new shop behind her home and Mom wanted me to see it...not because it's stuffed with fabric, mind you.  For fun and entertainment I'll tell you the locals pronounce Italy not as I-ta-lee but as It-lee.  We made that mistake once...never again. 

Saturday evening, Sister Margarita stopped by for a remember the good Sister from last time, right?

Sister makes sewing so much more entertaining plus a visit from her makes a massage much more relaxing.  I started another project post-massage but didn't make it very long...I was in bed by 10:30.  Yep, I'm a party animal!

Stay tuned, there's more...but I've gotta get the kids to school.

Happy quilting, y'all!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mama's Quilt Retreat

My mother is to blame for getting me into this really expensive hobby known as quilting, otherwise she's an awesome mom.  Hey, I've gotta blame her for something!  This is a showcase what she got done this weekend...

Getting a (good quality) picture of my mother is a task on par with getting one of Bigfoot.  I had to snap six pictures to get one decent shot...mouth open, eyes shut, focused anywhere but AT the camera.  You get the picture...pun intended.

Heeeeeeeeere's Mama!

And here's what she got done...

A pajama set and apron for Co-Defendant #2 and a pajama set for #2's baby doll.  She also whipped up about a dozen or so tote bags that she stuffs with items for the local crisis pregnancy center.  She makes, I repeat MAKES, for each tote a fitted sheet, receiving blanket (for summer), fleece blanket (for winter) and bibs.  She buys pacifiers, onesies, burp cloths and socks for the totes as well.  They come with everything but the baby and instructions...really nice!

Happy quilting, y'all!

Quilt Retreat Part One

Mom and I headed north Friday morning to Tracy's Spring Fling quilt retreat at Our House in Milford.  Such fun!  Someone to cook all the meals and clean up...all we had to do was sew.  Throw in a couple of trips to area quilt shops and a massage for good measure.  Boy, am I ever tired!

Here's what I finished up on Friday...happy dance time!

YES!!  It is finally pieced!  I opted not to go with a large outer border like I'd originally planned, thinking it would detract from the airplanes.  Not to mention the fact I'm not getting any younger and I just wanted the darn thing d-o-n-e!  The color's not so good here because I took the picture inside but it's the only place where I could get the whole thing in frame.

Here's a better shot of the actual colors, taken outside...

We went ahead into Waxahachie and stopped at Common Threads, the local quilt shop (it was such a hardship, but we managed all the same).  Mom picked up an apron pattern for herself and Co-Defendant #2.  Here's #2's finished apron...

In case you're wondering just how far out this place is, here's a picture of the view from the front porch...

It looks like the middle of nowhere, but it really isn't.  There are plenty of cows, horses and assorted wild critters...but not a man in sight...or kids, for that matter.

There's plenty more to show you but I'm pacing myself.  All that sewing, eating, sleeping and being able to use the bathroom uninterrupted has just worn me out.  I think it's naptime.

Stay tuned...I linked up to Richard Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict!

And happy quilting, y'all!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

One Hot Babe

At thirty-eight, I accept that I am no longer the hot babe of my youth.  Two kids (c-sections) and a seemingly pathological aversion to sweating...who am I kidding here.  I store fat like a camel stores water and I'm fairly certain that spare tire around my middle could double as a flotation device if my plane ever goes down.

My ass is dragging; my boobs are sagging; I have bat wings for triceps; and a whole flock of freakin' crows have come to roost on my face.  But wait, it just keeps gettin' better and better!  Or so I'm told.  They lie, you know.

Our house is now so cold it could double as a meat packing plant.  DH and the children peer at me pitiously from under quilts where they sit wrapped up like human burritos...or maybe they've frozen with their eyes open.  I pour enough sweat to fill a swimming pool...every. damn. day.  You've heard of flash floods...well, I'm experiencing flash heat waves.  And while I dearly love my family and enjoy the company of friends, more often than not I find I could chew off someone's face and not experience an ounce of remorse.  You think I'm lying. 

Before anyone approaches me, I feel compelled to channel my inner Dirty Harry by saying:
You have to ask yourself one I feel lucky?  Well, do ya punk? 

Trust me, you don't want me to make your day. 

Medical personnel are convinced I'm entirely too young for perimenopause, but what do THEY know?  They're MEN!  I've lived in this body longer than most of them have been  witch doctors so I think I have a better clue than the dudes. 

Which begs the question: if it's MENopause, how come men don't go through it?  Personally speaking, I've paid my dues by having the morning-noon-and-night sickness and morphing into a human road map composed of stretch marks.

Don't tell me to check my thyroid...I already did and it's workin' just fine, thanks.

To top it all off (yes, it gets even better!) I'm soon to be the proud owner of a new pair, not boobs although I wouldn't turn 'em down.  Bifocals!  Oh, the rapture!!  I'm told I'm entering a New Exciting Phase Of Life, but frankly I can think of waaay more exciting root canals or foot fungus.

This shit is for the birds.  Or better yet, the men, 'cause they whine anyway.

I briefly entertained the notion of naming this post This Shit Sucks but figured I at least needed to lure you into the post itself before totally offending you. I harbor hope that my faithful followers are made of sterner stuff and will stick with me :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A WIP Of A Different Type

I haven't done any quilting this week as I spent a great deal of time just cleaning up my sewing area and then packing for a quilt retreat this weekend.  I was going a little stir-crazy so I pulled out this cross-stitch kit that's been in the works for ages and have made a bit of progress.

The design is by Nancy Javier and Barbara Finwall of Banar Designs; the kit was purchased through Better Homes and Gardens.  The entire thing reads Having a place to go is home; having someone to love is family; having both is a blessing.  I'll probably have this completed by the time #2 graduates from high school.  She's seven...and yes, I am that slow.

My Mom's finally on the mend.  She had, in her words, a 'touch' of pneumonia.  Isn't that like being a little bit pregnant?  Anyway, we're both ready for retreat.  I managed to whittle what I'd be taking down to three projects...all of them in various stages of completion.  I'm taking my Featherweight, one small tote with my projects and another stuffed with clothes.  It looks so paltry but I always complain that I take waaaay too much stuff with me and wind up disappointed that it doesn't all get finished.  My mother's harping at me to pace myself.  Wish me luck!

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Go check out what other crafty types are up to this week!

Happy quilting, y'all!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Race To The Finish

Sorry if you were hoping the post title was a reference to NASCAR, but I'm referring to Co-Defendant #1's Davy Crockett get-up for American Hero Friday at school.  DH brought home dinner so I could finish it up last night...thanks, Dear!  Nothing like last-minute pressure to really make you put the pedal to the metal!

This week has been a busy one at our house.  Between nursing a sick kiddo and running 'round like mad to gather supplies for his stinkin' costume, there's been zero time for quilting.  Just one more week and my Mom and I will be at a quilt retreat...hang on, QuiltnMama!

Here's the (albino) coonskin cap and fringed shirt I managed to come up with...

I think they both turned out fairly well, all things considered.

Here's my boy, I mean, Davy...I hope the real Davy didn't look like such a dork.  Bad mother!

The moccasins go pretty well with the whole ensemble, although he kept calling them Grandpa shoes.  Sorry, kid, but you can't beat Walmart clearance prices when you're in a pinch, okay!?  That bandolier looking thing across his middle is a pouch...I'm assuming Davy carried 'essentials' in his.  And because we must be all non-violent, he couldn't carry a toy rifle.  Heaven forbid we be authentic if it involves a firearm!

My mother cautioned me that someone at the school is bound to find out that I sew so I lectured the kids and they now know to say Mom doesn't sew, she quilts.  I'm off to clean up my sewing area and start packing for retreat.  If you don't hear from me again, it's because I'm buried under a pile of fallen fabric.

I'm linking up to these nice folks...hop on over to see what other crafty types are up to this week!

Richard Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Amy Lou Who
Crazy Mom Quilts

Happy quilting, y'all!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Davy's Mother

I love the infinite optimism of children, especially my children.  Apparently, my son, though perched on the cusp of teenage-dom, still thinks on occasion that I am Wonder Woman and can perform any task set before me especially when there's a time crunch involved.  He's known, for several weeks now, about an upcoming history project in which he had to pick and dress up as an American hero.  You see where I'm going with this, right?

Now, if I had been Davy Crockett's mother, Id've told him to go out, trap a raccoon and make his own damn coonskin cap, thank you very much.  Davy was a resourceful chap and he had that gun, after all.  Not so with my boy so he turned to Dear Mother whose only sewing involves quilts, not wearable fashions of any kind.  See my previous post here.  But Seth, ever optimistic, informed me Monday afternoon that he'd be dressing the part on Friday.  Yes, I said Monday and Friday...two days in the same week.  No pressure.  Did I mention I have a fulltime job, also?

After several helpful hints from co-workers about my options (disemboweling a toy stuffed raccoon was my personal favorite, but given the plethora of roadkill around here getting hold of the real deal wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility) I headed to my local JoAnn's for fake fur.  This is what I came up with...

Now, before you go calling me the village idiot, I'd like to point out that I am aware raccoons aren't blond.  I offered to tint it up a bit, but he pronounced it 'perfect'.  Besides, I'm talking pre-teen boy here so we'll just go with the flow, shall we.  Despite the fact he's been sick for two days, his face lit up, he was so excited.  Or maybe that's just 'cause his nose is glowing red from sneezing so much.  At any rate, the hat is done.  I've still got fringe to attach to his shirt.  DH snottily informed me that Davy Crockett DID NOT WEAR CHAMBRAY!  I retorted that it was laundry day and he'd damn well wear what the Missus gave him and he'd LIKE IT!  I found some moccasins (Walmart house slippers...whohoo!) and he's all set for Friday.

What are you up to this fine Wednesday?  Me, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Happy hunting quilting, y'all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Okay, Mary, since you asked... ;)

My blogland friend Mary is hosting a giveaway and wants to know how did you learn to sew/quilt.  My story's not exciting, but here goes.

My mother, bless her sweet lil' pea-pickin' heart, tried mightily to get me interested in the sewing arts when I was younger.  I can still remember sitting at the machine sewing a seam for a doll-baby blanket and thinking what a waste of time it all was.  Mom learned from her mother, my Nana, a woman who made Mom's wedding dress from her own pattern.  Pictures from back in the day, show Mom and her siblings decked out in fashions made by my Nana's hand...and I do mean DECKED OUT.  If I remember correctly, Mom said Nana even sewed that's a Mom, y'all!

Mom sewed all my clothes which embarrassed me to no end, ungrateful wretch that I was and which embarrasses me now because I know how much time and love she put into it without any thanks from me.  She also made oodles of Barbie clothes (which she swore she'd never do again.  Frankly, I think that's when she picked up her penchant for the occasional curse word...all those damn snaps!  Just sayin').  I was having none of it.  A tomboy through and through, I preferred mud, climbing trees and generally just being a grubby little girl...much like my daughter today.

Mom was big into sewing, macrame (hello 1970s!), fabric painting and ceramics when I was growing up.  Later came the cross stitch which she learned from my other grandmother, Ruth and quilting into which she was dragged kicking and screaming by my Aunt Doris.  Trust me, she didn't fight hard. 

Not I.

Fast forward to 2004 and I was pregnant with Co-Defendant #2.  An avid scrapbooker, I'd somehow acquired a tiny collection of fat quarters I was using to (gasp!) cover mini-photo albums.  I asked Mom what they were really for and she gave me that deer in the headlights look (mind you, I was hyped up on pregnancy hormones and really not the nicest chick to be around.  She had reason to be scared).  She claims she took her life into her own hands to teach me how to quilt what with all those sharp cutting implements laying about.  Whatever!  By the time #2 arrived, I'd completed two quilts.

The one above is the original fat-quarter quilt.  I will not show you close-ups!!  I didn't know you were supposed to extend the batting all the way to the edge so the binding is a little...flimsy, shall we say and I had yet to learn the fine art of mitering corners.  I must give a shout-out to my supervisor, The Divine Miss Deborah, for teaching me how to do impossibly small, almost invisible stitches when sewing down the binding.  My stitches freakin' rock!  No 'toenail catchers' for me, no sir!

I fussy cut the blocks for the quilt above (I just didn't know I was 'fussy cutting' at the time).  Each block has a Beatitude printed on it.  I sat at the machine until my feet swelled like Polish sausages.  No one can say I wasn't dedicated to my new craft!

I do not sew clothing.  Let me repeat that: I DO NOT SEW CLOTHING!  I've made exactly one pair of pajama pants and swear I was on the verge of going postal.  Never again, I tell you!!

As time's gone on, I've learned that quilting 'rules' really aren't rules per se...they're more like guidelines.  If my points aren't perfect or the seam's a little wonky, so be it...I'm not pickin' that puppy out.  I've heard the Amish deliberately make a mistake in all their quilts because only God is perfect.  If that's their intention, then mine are all Amish quilts because I make tons of mistakes in mine.  Perhaps my quilting is a reflection of the way I view life...a little wonky, a little crazy, but mine all mine.

Mom made it through those first treacherous weeks to teach me a craft she'd come to love and I'll be forever grateful.  Occasionally, she'll give me 'the eye' when she spies what I'm working on, but she doesn't say anything.  I assume it's because of the rotary cutter I'm wielding and she's not taking any chances.

Happy quilting, y'all!

And happy, happy news for Mary!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I See Them!

No, not dead people, like that creepy little Haley Joel Osment from the movie whose name I cannot know, the one with Bruce Willis.  Yep, you can't remember it, either.  (snicker)  Likewise, I don't see London, I don't see France and the only underpants I've seen lately were the clean ones I pulled from the dryer.  Well, and the ones I'm wearing but who the heck wants to spy those...not I!

I see quilt blocks.  Usually, I don't carry my camera with me but today was an exception and while I'm sure the customers at Bed Bath and Beyond thought I was a few bricks shy of a full load, I still snapped a couple of pictures.

Happy quilt block spying, y'all!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A New Habit

No, I'm not entering a convent.  As Blanche Devereaux from the TV show Golden Girls once famously said about becoming a nun, "There's that word 'none'".  I'm talking about healthy habits that involve things I hate like leafy greens, spandex and sweat.  Blech! 

I've always liked this quote attributed to Joan Rivers:
I don't workout.  If God had intended for me to bend over, He would've put diamonds on the floor.

But, as a co-worker earnestly stated during a discussion of healthy living and exercising, babies need their mama.  Too true.  Mind you, I'm one of those folks that jumps right into any new endeavor, makes a go of it for about a week and then quits because I get burned out, bored or hurt.

I'm forcing myself to go slow (and I don't like it, not one little bit) and have successfully managed to walk a mile a day since the beginning of April.  I know it's only been fourteen days, smart aleck.  If I wanted sarcasm, I'd talk to the kids!!

Where was I?  Oh, yes...

So, fourteen miles in fourteen days with that same voice whispering for me to skip it just this once which leaves me to snark back Doom on you, devil and I walk anyway.  Did you feel the Earth shake this afternoon?  Yep, I RAN...not the country, I mean the exercise.  Yeah, that was me, running a whole 4/10ths of a mile...whoop-dee-do!  I just kept asking Jesus for a little more wind beneath my wings.  Frankly, I think He put His hands on my back and gave a good shove.  Whatever works, right?

I'm trying not to think ahead and plot plan my next healthy habit, which is really tough since I like lists and planning and being organized.  I've got another couple weeks to hustle onward before the month is through.  I've already lost three pounds and I'm trying not to think of all the ones I still have to lose.  Ugh!  I really hate to sweat and look absolutely wretched all red-faced.

If you made a 30 day effort to forge a new habit, what would it be?  Feel free to share in my misery.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Zero to ZZZ In Sixty Seconds

My blogland pal, Mary, of Made With Love By Mary fame posted today about a linky party by Bonnie K. Hunter titled What's On Your Bed? and I thought I'd join in the fun.  Both blogs are awesome so be sure to check them out.

As I was perusing all the links over at Bonnie's, I couldn't help but notice how lovely, tranquil and dignified everyone's choice of bed quilt seemed to be.  Like Mary, I give most of my quilts away and I've yet to make one for our bed.  I'm a little leery of using an inherited quilt for fear of harming it, but I've been known to throw one on from time to time.  Anyway, here's my little contribution...

Although, it's not made for our king-size bed, Dear Hubby still huddles under it every night especially when I crank down the air-conditioning to meat locker temperature.  I made this quilt several Christmases ago for DH who is absolutely, positively car crazy.  I was rather stumped for backing fabric because I didn't want to do more cars so I dragged him kicking and screaming into the LQS and this is what he found...

Come bedtime, this quilt is totally on his side of the bed since I'm fairly certain I'm perched on the precipice of perimenopause and am hot-flashing like nobody's business.  It's just as well, though because pin-up girls just aren't my thing.

Happy quilting, y'all!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bless You Sister Margarita

Whohoo, it's Friday again and time for another finish!

I quilt on Mom's short-arm machine (love it...usually).  None of that rolling and scrunching on my little Featherweight unless it's a fairly small sized piece.  So, last night I was trying my best to get this one quilted but the gods weren't smiling on me and the entire process was as much fun as sticking my tongue in a light socket.  I swear the thread broke more times than I could count...then it started in with this awful rackety-rack-rack noise...sounded like a machine gun.  Take cover!!

Mom was shooting me these looks that said What are you doing to my machine? so I decided to take it apart and give it a good cleaning even though she'd just brought it back from being serviced.

So, here I was eyeball level with this thing, vacuuming the heck out of it and working it over like there was no tomorrow.

Hmm, I think I just made myself sound like a hooker.  Anyhoo...

It was full of lint and excess oil so I cleaned all that up and changed the needle for good measure.  A little less noisy, but still quite a bit of thread breakage.  Ooo-kay.

Mom must have sensed I was on the verge of machine-icide, so she did what any good quilter would do.

She offered me a margarita.  I nearly trampled the poor woman to get to the kitchen.

I don't care what They say about not quilting and drinking, but I swear y'all that frozen cocktail must've mellowed me just enough to muddle through the rest of that quilt because it. is. done!

I'm on the hunt today for different sized needles and will hope that this solves the breakage problems.  Wish me luck!

I'm linking up to the nice ladies of crazy mom quilts, amylouwhosews and confessions of a fabric addict and to Richard at richard quilts.

Happy quilting, y'all!

This is for all you spammers that seem to think the title of this post is a call to solicit a visit from me to your websites hawking everything from booze to cigarettes.  As you post your comments 'Anonymous', I cannot track your country of origin, but know's gonna be a cold day in hell before you get anything from me other than snarky comments and wishes for incurable cases of veneral disease for you.  You are annoying, spineless little shits and your attempts to lure me into checking out your wares is nothing short of tragically boring.  Kindly kiss off.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

One Step Forward Two Steps Back

Progress has been slow, but steady on Co-Defendant #1's airplane quilt.  He's given me a little encouragement along the way as only an almost-teenager can...looks good, Ma uttered in a thoroughly uninterested montone. 


Most of last week's progress was in the paper picking department (141 minutes worth).  There are a total of 76 paper-pieced blocks needing paper backing removed.  Never again, I tell you...never. again.  Co-Defendant #2 had been helping me out, but let's just say I've discovered her efforts were a bit...exuberant and I wound up with some blocks like this...

Apparently #2 is quite strong and ripped the stitches clean through the supporting fabric.  YIKES!

So now, I'm painstakingly going over the entire thing, looking for more blocks to mend...and the dang thing's not even done yet!

This week's 'progress' is miniscule since #2's not been feeling well.  What can I say though?  Motherhood is one of life's best WIPs.

Linking up to WiP Wednesday at freshly pieced.

Happy quilting, y'all!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Preparing For Takeoff

I am thrilled beyond belief that the end is almost in sight for the piecing of Co-Defendant #1's airplane quilt.  I finished the pieced border this evening.  I'm still debating between 1 or 2 more borders, but am leaning heavily in the 1 more border direction just to get this puppy off the runway and outta my airspace.  If I do 2, there'll be a skinny red border like the sashing and a wide navy border with tiny stars.  If it's just 1, I'll only do the navy stars.  Opinions, anyone?

I'm going to quilt a line from my favorite poem, High Flight, into the large corner pieces and probably include the entire thing on the label (yes, I'll put a label on this one!)  He's getting really excited and I'm doing my Snoopy happy's almost DONE!

Happy quilting, y'all!