Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

ARGH MATEY!!  Hand over yer candy or I'll make you walk the plank!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Walk In The Park

Hubby took advantage of a beautiful autumn day, packed us into the car and delivered us to Cameron Park Zoo.  Nice call, Hon!! 

Hubby and the Co-Defendants in the Asian Garden...

Co-Def #2 and the only thing on planet Earth meaner than her, a Komodo dragon...

I swear this little guy knew we all had, love, love meerkats!

Co-Defs monkeying around in the Asian Garden...a moment of sibling tranquility

Ten seconds before I snapped this, I groused, 'Fake it and act like you like one another!'...they look like they're waiting for a root canal.

The MPMOE and his SASW...that's the Most Patient Man on Earth and his Sweet (and Sour) Wife.

We begged the zookeepers to find a suitable cage in which to house the Co-Defs, but the animals were too afraid.  Oh, can't win 'em all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

How did women back in the day do it...quilting away, by hand no less, hunched over for hours on end?  Did they ever experience carpal tunnel syndrome?  Is there such a thing as quilter's elbow? 

I've started the handquilting on the sunflower quilt.  Sixty minutes later, I don't even have three complete circles finished and my hands feel like lead.  This crap's for the birds!  Twenty blocks?  Plus sashing?  Oh, damn!

Here's what I've got...

There's not much to see.  I purposely chose not to draw the quilting lines.  Don't ask me why, it just looks more authentic to me.  I'll wind up making about seven concentric circles, then filling in the remainder of the tan background with 'arcs'.

However, I'm beginning to think this is a bit too ambitious and may just wind up doing the concentric circles.  Maybe I'll stop at  five circles...maybe three.

Anybody have an opinion on this?  I'd like to hear it if you do...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quilting Mary Ellen's Sunflowers

Remember this one?  I blogged about it way back and it has sat, untouched, ever since.  Never mind the fact it's sat since the days of my great grandmother, possibly my great great grandmother, unquilted, waiting for some crazy broad antique quilt lover crazy broad to give it the finish it deserves.

Anyway, I pulled it out again a couple of days ago and began to seriously consider my quilting options.  I'm not joking when I say it made me nauseous and gave me a pounding headache just thinking about it.  What if I get it quilted and it just makes me say 'GAG!'...what then?  Will I have utterly ruined it?  Still, it seems grossly unfair to the maker to leave it as it is, so this weekend I'm putting it on the frame, taking a deep cleansing breath and going for it.  I may also pour a glass of red and pop a Xanax...hey, whatever works! 

I'm going for fairly tight echo quilting around the circular sunflower shape (see photo below).  I'll do two, maybe three straight rows of quilting in each of the sashing strips and outline quilting in each of the nine patches.  I'm nixing doing anything inside the circles because the flowers themselves are dimensional.

I've never quilted an antique top, but I am determined to get this done.  It may take me 'til the kids leave home or I drop dead of old age, but I will quilt it.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gee Double Oh Dee, Good

Let me start by saying, I am not a baker.  In fact, I'm not much of a cook, although my kids say I make the best macaroni and cheese EVER (thank you, Kraft Foods for your neon orange simulated cheese powder).  I do, however, love to watch cooking and travel shows and at least act like I know what the heck those people are doing.

Yesterday, I caught some show on Travel Channel that was everything bacon.  Now, some folks don't like pigs.  Sure, they may be slovenly little suckers, but they taste divine.  PIG.  IS.  GOOD.  One restaurant, Slater's 50/50 in Anaheim, California, featured all sorts of bacony goodness: burgers, cocktails still my heart...a bacon brownie.  Spare me the retching and gagging routine, please.  To channel my Mom: Have you tried them yet?  Well, then, how can you know whether you like 'em or not? 

They looked phenomenal and I thought 'Self, even YOU can make those'.  So, I did.

Crumble up the cooked piggy into the batter and bake.

At this point, my camera literally died (not even new batteries could help) so I don't have a picture of the pan.  But let me just say...I love chocolate.  I love bacon.  And damn if these brownies don't ROCK!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mr. Postman, Stop My Nightmare

I am beginning to dread the daily trek to the mailbox.  Granted, the postman will occasionally grace its dark confines with a quilt magazine or Connecting Threads catalog (pitty-pat goes my heart).  Even the bills, junk mail or random critter have nothing on the one piece of post guaranteed to pee on my parade. 

It's an American Girl catalog.

For a girl who eschews all things pink, frilly or feminine, you'd think Co-Def 2's lip would curl in derision at the very thought of anything doll related.  We are, after all, talking about the kid who gave that silicone infused beeotch who has everything, Barbie, green striped zebra hair 'to make her pretty'.

But these aren't your average dolls.  No, no, no.  We're talking 'spensive' dolls here now with outfits ranging from vintage to couture with accessories and price tags to match.  Plus, these little beauties must have a stand to keep them upright 'cause two feet aren't enough, a carrying case because only commoners are carried in a child's arms and bedding because who the heck wants to share a twin-sized bed with a living, breathing child.  Let the kid sleep on the floor...and let them eat cake!  Oh, wait, that was Marie Antoinette.  Sorry.

For what one of them would wind up costing me, I could just pop out Co-Def #3 and call it a day.  Oh, hell-to-the-no y'all!

So, you can kinda understand my snatching the offensive catalog from her hand and lobbing it into the nearest trash receptacle while muttering hysterically 'Who put this crappy Fisher-Price junk in here-don't they know that's for babies?!  Nothing to see here!  Move along!!'  She eyed me rather suspiciously kinda like she did the day I told her the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy owned a time-share property in Florida with Santa Claus that they shared during the off-season.  Hey, she wanted to know if they all lived together.  I can't remember names, much less who lives where, okay??

Now every afternoon, it's a race to see who gets to the mailbox first.  One of these days she's gonna win.  It still takes her a while to get outta the car considering I'm the one with the keyless remote, but she's getting faster at extricating herself.

Yep, I'm a Bad Mommy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blood, Sweat and Beards

Clint and I skipped town yesterday afternoon and headed north to Dallas for a night out by ourselves...and okay, I admit it, a night away from the Co-Defendants.  He cancelled car show plans to do this because I've been in an awful funk and he wanted to cheer me up.  What a guy!

Yes, I took a picture of the Dallas skyline.  Call me odd, but I think it's really pretty, especially at night. 

I absolutely love hockey and am a devoted Detroit Red Wings fan, but Hubby wasn't willing to spring for  game tickets and airfare.  Not to mention the fact I'd have to tranquilize him to get him on a plane.

We sat waaay up in the high up in the stands that the players looked like ants.  Frankly, this doesn't bother me as you're pretty much assured you're not going to wind up with a puck in the  face or have a guy come crashing through the glass to land in your lap.  Although, some of them were pretty cute so I wouldn't have been entirely opposed to the latter.  Smile.

Faceoff at center ice to start the game...see, told you they looked like ants!  This was only Game 5 of the season so there was very little fisticuffs...only two instances of glove dropping and face punching.  I was, I'm ashamed to admit, vastly disappointed.  That's all part of the experience, otherwise it wouldn't be hockey, it would  Although, Tiger Woods may disagree.

I look like I've been caught doing something illegal; he looks like he's been on a bender.  We were also freezing our butts off!

They wound up winning 4-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets which is a miracle because they played most of the game like they'd left their man-cards at home.  The peewee group that played during one of the intermissions showed a little more spunk.  Dear Hubby sat silently through the whole thing...mostly I think just to hear and watch me make a fool of myself, screaming at the top of my lungs and jumping up and down.  Hockey season is one of the only times Hubby doesn't reached over, pat my knee and whisper vehemently SHHHH!  

Saturday, October 15, 2011


How many of you quilters put a label on your quilts?

I can count on one hand how many times I've done this.  I occasionally will sign my name and date on the back with a Sharpie and then heat set it, but even this is not my habit.

Do you label them all, even the ones for charity organizations, raffles, etcetera?  I think my name and date are sufficient, but I frequently get The Lecture about about being remembered by future generations.  I don't think my own children even realize I have a name other than 'Mom'. 

Does it really matter?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mom's Day Off

I generally don't get much done on my day off and today was no exception.  Yes, I take great pride in keeping things as boring as possible and if the phone doesn't ring, all the better. 

On the way to school, Co-Defendant #2 informed me she wants to be a pirate for Halloween.  Mind you, I've been after the child for weeks now Whaddya wanna be for Halloween?  hoping to beat the mad rush and grab a costume at a decent price.  Not my kid, ya'll; there is no rushing her.  So, being the cheapskate frugal gal I am, I decided to make the costume out of stuff she can use later for dress-up (yes, I'm still hoping to convince her she really is a girl) or wear later on this winter.  The pants, shirt and bandana are handled; I made the waist-thingy, cumberbund...whaddya call it?  I don't know, but it's done..made from gold satin and gold-coin trim.  Snazzy, if I do say so myself.  All that's left is the eyepatch, and yes, I'm making that, too.  Co-Def #1 has decided he's too old for such childish pursuits.  I don't know whether to be giddy or slightly crestfallen, but remembering last year's homemade werewolf costume I think I'll go with giddy.

I had lunch with the Hubby who gleefully informed me to clear my calendar for the weekend 'cause we had plans!  Am I awful and shallow if my first thought was that we were going to a car show/air show/swap meet and that I'd rather shove my head into a fire ant mound instead?  Imagine my surprise when he said we were...hold your breath ya'll...GOING TO A HOCKEY GAME!!!!  WHOHOO!  Big, burly, bearded fellows with missing front teeth zooming from one end of an ice encrusted rink to the other, wielding sticks at a tiny bit of vulcanized rubber whilst balanced precariously on thin metal blades (gasp!).  BE STILL MY HEART!!!

I'm all right now.

Where was I?

Oh,'s the quilty thing I accomplished today.

I've got one side border of polka dots left and the outer border of yellow with white polka dots to go.  The paper-pieced pattern is from Quiltmaker Magazine...I believe it's called Pops-a-Lot, but don't quote me on that.  I do so love paper-piecing...almost as much as I love hockey.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Disappearing 9 Patch, Part Two

So, after the debacle that resulted from slinging all nine blocks together in one ginormous Ode to Grossness...

...I decided I better 'quick, do something...anything' which meant either 1) burn it or 2) rehab it.  It went to rehab.  The end result wasn't what I intended either because when it came time to sash it, Block #9 was nowhere to be found.  Eight blocks does not a 9 patch make.  Take that, Mrs. Emmitt!  See, I did too finally get math!!  I searched all over my sewing 'room' aka a corner of the dining room.  Do you think I  found it?  Nuh-uh.  I have a better chance of waking up tomorrow a size 2 with Tom Selleck rubbing my feet.

Time for Plan B...

I don't think it turned out too bad and am still toying with possibly adding a red outer border.  I'm thinking of quilting clusters of cherries in the green squares, too.  Then again, I'm about done with this puppy and am ready for something new, which translates to easy and idiot-proof.  You know, there really is a book out there called Quilting for Dummies.  And yes, I own it.

Once I was finished up for the night, I half-heartedly began to clean up and, guess what, Block #9 came home, the jerk!  AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Disappearing 9 Patch

Marilyn, a lady from our quilting bee The Happy Stitchers, made some of these blocks one evening.  What she came up with was really pretty so, I thought I'd give it a try.  What an amatuer, I am!

I chose the Cherries Jubilee charm pack from American Jane for Moda.  I actually wound up having to use two of them because I could get only four 9 patch blocks from each charm pack.  Luckily, I'm practically drowning in charm packs.

The concept is really simple.  Start by sewing a 9 patch block: 3 rows of 3 blocks each.  I used charm packs because they're precut and I'm impatient, but you could use any size block you wanted.

Once the 9 patch is assembled, cut it down the middle vertically...

...and across the middle horizontally.

What you wind up with are four wonky 4 patches that you simply turn any direction until you're satisfied with the look.  Alas, this is where I encountered some trouble as I am never satisfied.  You can really drive yourself bonkers if you're too finicky with this pattern.  I'm already bonkers, so it was a short trip.

Mom and I got together last night to sew and chat...and eat cheesecake and I still managed to get all the blocks pieced.  When I put laid them out...hmmm (this is me, sounding not very pleased).

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear my daughter's crayon box threw up on my design wall.  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  No!!  It's technicolor fiber vomit!  So for now I'm stuck, but I'm contemplating adding some sashing to break up all that gawd-awful nauseousness.  Or I may just close my eyes, pull a Michael Andretti to speed sew them all together and get this thing outta my way.  I'll think on it awhile...and you know how long that takes me.

Happy quilting, ya'll!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall Quilt Retreat

I love fall.  Even though living in Texas means the leaves don't really change color, unless you count varying shades of brown, at the very least we can count on cooler temperatures.  Hey now, don't knock those high temps of 86 degrees!  In Texas, that is cooler.  Fall also means Nancy's annual quilt retreat at Compass Centre in Mt. Calm.  I missed last year, opting to go elsewhere for retreat and wound up getting really sick.  Who says there's no such thing as karma?

Mom and I spent Friday through Sunday with 22 ladies and 1 courageous man (bless you, Mr. Bill) and managed to get more done than we would've had we just stayed home.  Nothing beats having someone else cook and clean up after you for an entire weekend!  Being able to pee without interruption is just a bonus...if you don't have kids, you simply cannot appreciate this.

Generally, I get a lot done at these shindigs, however, because I'm on a mission to reproduce my son's airplane quilt to replace his tattered, beloved one made by Gramma,  this retreat proved to be an exception.

I managed to get the quilting and binding completed on my batiks miniature (sorry, no picture but I did post the completed top awhile back) and finished the top for my crazymomquilts 36 patch quilt along.  Go, me!

And, because my daughter said a quilt looks better when she's in the picture, I give you....

Such a modest child, I have...the little darling.  And, yes, she's wearing shorts.

The remainder of my weekend was spent making these...

...a big-assed stack of 56 paper-pieced airplanes.  For one weekend, I was Tippie Hedren in The Birds only my birds were aircraft.  By Sunday afternoon, I wanted to jump from a plane but, by golly, they are done ya'll!  I think Seth's rather pleased...

I am exhausted, but it was so much fun...and did I mention I got to pee by myself.  Yep, it was worth it.

Happy quilting, ya'll!

Anonymous and Not Loving It...

Just a quick post since I don't have my schmidt together yet about the weekend quilt retreat...

If you comment on a post and are unable, for whatever reason, to post with an ID, please leave your name in the comment section.  Ya'll know I can't even remember my own kids' names!  I like to reply to comments, but when I know you only as 'Anonymous' it makes me feel like I should leave a few bills on the nightstand, if you get my drift.  And no, I don't have any experience in that area, but thanks for asking.

As an update to my last post, What a Concept, things seem to have blown over and now I think The Mom is stalking me as she seems to be most everywhere I go.  Smile.

Happy Sunday, ya'll!