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Monday, May 26, 2008

More Snakes In The Ceiling!!

GROSS!! This is just SO GROSS! IIIICKKKKKKKKKKK!!!

We found one snake skin in the ceiling in February when we first moved in....we were locating the tv cables that run through the space between the floor above, the insulation, and the dropped ceiling tiles here in my studio room.

Well, today's project was to replace some of the broken and worn ceiling tiles now that the studio lights have been installed (The light in here is WONDERFUL now!)and as we moved one aside to slide it out....ewwwwwwwwwww!



This one is bigger than the first! Does it belong to the same snake? Is it still in there somewhere?

Snakes are good for getting rid of MICE right? This whole thing just creeps me out, but I guess this is what I get for moving to the country....I now have nightmares of a snake slithering himself down through the heater vent hanging above my sewing machine..*LOL*

So how are you spending your memorial day? Are you going anywhere? We are NOT. If they double the price of gas, we are going to drive half as much. There is no other way around it. I have no desire to get in my car and go anywhere. I swear, that pink scooter may be closer in my future than I originally thought! (Can you see me....driving up the road to put a gallon of milk in the bucket on the back?!) I just don't want to DRIVE anywhere. Another reason for me to consider that it was great that we moved to NC when we did and I left my massage practice behind. If you figure the gas, I would be taking a huge cut in pay to keep working there, and I'd rather be quilting. I'd rather be home. I really would.

Today I am finishing the borders on Orange Crush! My goal is to finish the quilt (even if it's just the quilt TOP..no time to quilt it now, or so I think) and put up the directions for part 6 as soon as I have everything together. I really like how the borders turned out! :cD (just don't think about the snakes Bonnie, just don't let your mind GO THERE....)

It's a beautiful day, and I am considering chicken on the grill for dinner, eating out on our picnic table in the grove...and just being HOMEBODIES.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Orange Crush And Pecan Cheesecake Pie!



I finished writing the directions for Step 5 of the Orange Crush Mystery!


Today we enjoyed going to the matinee movie and seeing Indiana Jones! Harrison Ford just keeps getting better and better! I loved this movie, as much as I loved those done 20 years ago. If you are a Harrison fan, run, don't walk...you won't be sorry!

And for a special treat, here is the recipe you've been asking for! All credit for this treat goes to Mary who served this at the sewing day at her house yesterday. I have to tell you though...the first time I saw it, it already had a HUGE wedge missing...seems her DH was home for the day as well. Quilters upstairs? Pie left alone in the kitchen? You put two and two together! :cD

Mary's Pecan Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients

1/2 (15-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup
Preparation
1. Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under, and crimp.

2. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into piecrust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.

3. Whisk together corn syrup and remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet.

4. Bake at 350° on lowest oven rack 50 to 55 minutes or until pie is set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 2 days.

Baby Love!




I haven't posted pics of my niece Taylor's baby quilt because my sis reads my blog and I wanted it to be a surprise!

She sent cute pics after the quilt was received so now the cat is out of the bag, I can post about it :c)

There are a lot of fun fabrics in this quilt so it turned out to be an "I SPY" kind of thing for Taylor as well as a way for me to use some blocks that had been gifted to me along with some blocks I had made on my own. I set the blocks so the red strips make a diamond pattern in the center. It's bright and fun! And doesn't Taylor look so cute on it! I can't believe she is a month old already. I love her hair.... :cD

Yesterday I went to a Quilting Bee at my friend Mary's house! Her attic sewing room is perfect for several of us to gather and work on our projects and chatter away the day. Shirley is to the left with her back towards the camera. Mary is straight on in the peach shirt. The quilter to the right who's hands you see is our Mystery Quilter. Her name has been changed to protect her identity so no one will know she was playing hookie and quilting with us yesterday! *LOL* We will call her "Sunbonnet Sue". :cD

Four machines were humming, lots of laughter and chatter, and Shirley provided us ALL a terrific salad lunch. Mary made the most delicious to-die-for pecan cheesecake pie! I am not kidding..I could barely waddle myself back upstairs to sew more.

(Which reminds me...if I get ANY MORE SPAM telling me not to be "embarrased about my size" or that "bigger is better" I'm going to take it as perfectly good permission to go have another piece of that pecan cheesecake pie! HA!)

I spent the day working on the next installment for Orange Crush! I hope to get the instructions up by Monday. That's my goal anyway. I can tell you this much... The middle is TOGETHER. And Mary's DH Jeff said "OH! I like the ORANGE!" So those of you wondering when the orange comes in to play....get ready ;cÞ

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Green World...

This is the view I see around my house every day. I can't tell you how much PEACE it brings to me...

I have fruit trees! Some apricots (or peaches, not sure) and an apple!)













I love to take the dogs out and let them run. Buddy is doing much better without his cast, but he still doesn't like to bear weight on that leg. He'll use it as a crutch when going up stairs,but generally, he doesn't use it :c( The vet said this was normal.....and that over time he will start to use it again.

At least I know he is happy and healthy even if he'll be lame in that leg the rest of his life.

















I've left the door at the top of the basement stairs open...Chloe has gone exploring..and the other cats have come down here to check things out too. Much hissing and growling and running away from everyone involved. No direct confrontations! I've worked on her a bit to get some of the mats off her chest and belly, but only as much as she will allow me to do. She's come out from her hiding place occasionally and rubbed up against my leg and let me pet her a bit. This is progress!







Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ever Have One Of THOSE Days???

I learned a lesson! Never let a roomba run by itself when you are out of the room!

I've had this little robotic toy for 2 years now, and just like a two year old, it got into things it shouldn't have! Like.....a cone of red rayon thread! (*&@#$(*&!

Take it from me, before you vacuum, make sure ALL threads are tucked into drawers where they can't be caught on roller brushes. What a MESS! Looks like roomba and I are going to have a date with the seam ripper to get her unbound.



I still love this little thing tho...it's great on my hardwood floors upstairs..it gets the dust bunnies out from under the beds where I can't reach them. And it is fun to watch...just don't leave her alone without supervision. She might suck up Chloe if we aren't watching her!

Now where is that seam ripper????!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shep's Wood Tables




I am as in love with these tables as I am with my vintage machines. I love that they are hand crafted one at a time from WOOD, not plastic. I love the smooth finish and the rounded edges.

The hinges are reclaimed from sewing machine cases that are no longer useable, so that is a bit of vintage nostalgia included as well.

Shep does them in several different stain finishes including oak, birch, and cherry. It just feels good to surround my vintage babies with beautiful WOOD.

He will make them to fit any vintage machine. Probably can make them to fit any modern machine as well. I bought one for my Spartan, and also bought one for my singer 15, which is a larger machine. The one for my Spartan also fits my singer 99.

I'm not affiliated in any way with Shep, just that so many have asked where I got the tables, I thought I'd do a little post about them here!

You can contact Shep by email at scotteshepherd@comcast.net and visit his ebay listing HERE

If you contact him, let him know you heard about him from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville! :cD

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Drivers.....







That's me! I was a Sunday Driver today as I came back from the Upcountry Quilter's Retreat at Table Rock Wesleyan Camp outside of Pickens,SC! I just love being in the beautiful blue ridge mountains. I'd choose the mountains over the ocean any day. That could be because I am such a fair skinned gal that I don't find the beach to be a lot of fun at all. But I love being outside in the mountains and smelling the trees, hearing the breeze rustle through and the birds, etc. I am in awe of mountains.

I had a wonderful guild meeting on Thursday Evening in Maggie Valley NC...we all met for dinner at a mexican place before hand, then off to the meeting we went!

The next morning was the Boxy Stars class. I tell you, I learn so much by seeing what other people put together. I think it broadens our own vision of "possibilities" when we see people doing things that are outside of our own "box."

After the workshop, I got in the car and drove 2 more hours down to the guild retreat....what fun! I felt like *I* was the one on retreat too! I didn't have to teach my class until the next day, so I got to enjoy dinner with everyone and set up my machine and sew into the night with everyone too.


And guess what....I FINISHED the 5 year UFO of my pink and brown storm at sea setting of Dear Jane! I DID IT!! It was almost anti climactic....but what was also fun...I finished her up on my vintage singer Spartan. I love this little machine. It was made by singer but sold through sears or something, and it dates into the 50s. It is heavier than my featherweights, but that is great...sometimes the featherweight just is too small when it comes to working on big quilts. And too light weight when working on big quilts....but with this Spartan placed into it's little oak extension table, I had no trouble with a lightweight machine skittering away from me when trying to sew on borders. My featherweights may get jealous...I think I love a bigger machine!


I also love my Spartan because of the drop in bobbin! It easily holds TWICE the amount of thread that my featherweights hold. And it has no bobbin case to lose. We all know how expensive THOSE are to replace. The more I sew on this baby, the more I think featherweights are highly over rated....unless you need to travel with it as a carry on or something.

And because I love a bigger machine...I was oohing and ahhing over Barbara's Singer 404....and she told me her dad works on machines and he had one I could buy from him. I held my breath and bought it after trying it out. The motor is encased, so there is no belt to deal with. It's cast aluminum instead of cast iron...it is LIGHT! It's a slant needle, it hums so quietly....I'm in love with this one too...IT might end up with a wood extension table of it's own as well....The stitch quality can not be beat!

I hate to say that while I was humming along on my vintage machines at retreat, there were a couple ladies who had spent way much more money for a "retreat" or class machine...all plastic.....nothing but problems with them. I'm in love with vintage machines and I'm sticking to it!

Poor bernina...she may be relegated to being brought out ONLY when I need to use a zig zag ;c)

Chloe is slowly getting acclimated. She is out from UNDER the chair in my studio, and now laying ON it. She is very vocal! I don't know if she is complaining or just chattering, but she makes lots of talking sounds about everything. Got her to purr a couple times, but I think it's still going to take her a while to feel like this is HOME.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm Such a SUCKER!


Buddy got his cast off yesterday. They just LOVE him at the vets, he is such a push over for anyone who pays him the slightest amount of attention. It takes 3 of us to get him up onto the exam table because when you take him into the room he just goes limp on the floor. He's lazy that way when I get him groomed too...just lays down, won't stand!

So I said to the vet, a great guy...I love how he talks to the animals and explains things to me as the owner..."He's just an overgrown ragdoll kitty in disguise, because he just goes limp!" and the vet said....
"Speaking of Ragdolls, we've got one that we have to find a home for, or we have to put it to sleep, are you interested?!"

The story goes that someone just left the cat outside the vet's door in a carrier with a note that said they couldn't take care of her anymore. She was badly matted. They had been trying to clean her up at the vets, and the fur on her back has big chunks out of it where someone had tried to remove the mats with scissors.

Long story short...one look at this sweet girl and I was a goner. How could I let them put her to sleep? It would be on MY conscience if I didn't take her home! So...I am now owned by Chloe, a tri color ragdoll baby. I don't know much else, but by her exam, she looks to be about 3 years old. All I had to do was pay for a rabies shot. A whopping $17.50 and Chloe and her carrier were loading into the car along with Buddy (who couldn't care less and showed no interest in her whatsoever.) Oh, and she is declawed and spayed...someone had some money invested in her.


I brushed her a bit more last night, but there are still some tough mats on her chest. She did purr a bit...a very soft purr. She is also very chatty with lots of little mew mew sounds like she is talking back at you when you talk to her. Her coloring reminds me a lot of Tonya's Pokey...only longer hair. I can only hope for Pokey's sweet personality.

For now she is residing in my basement away from the other two kitties. I figure she is traumatized enough as it is. So here she is...Chloe! Jeff thinks we should call her SWIFFER.

I'm in love and I hate to leave her for the weekend, but the guys will take good care of her...(I hope!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small Quilt Play Date!

I took yesterday off for a play date with my friend Mary and her friend Shirley! What fun we had! You know it's crazy....I've been working so hard on the book quilts, who would have thought that I would want to SEW all day on my day off? But it's true. It was a switching of gears from what was work....to what was relaxing with no deadline. DH and son don't understand it, but I'm sure you all do :c)

Have you ever had the experience of walking into someone's home, and feeling like you just walked into the midst of Country Sampler or Country Living magazine? That is what it is like when I visit Mary's house. She has such a knack for little vignettes and details that her house takes my breath away. I love going there. She hasn't seen MY house yet, and I'm almost embarrassed to have her over because while her house is Vintage Beautiful, my house is Country Clutter Chaos! *LOL* She has a definate FEEL to her various rooms, mine is just a jumble of everything...kind of like my quilts. Completely scrappy with no thought to fabric genre or whatever.

I am in love with little quilts, yet every quilt I make tends to come out gigantic. WHY? I'm not sure. At first I thought it was because it would help me use up the scrap stash quicker. But that is a false assumption! It just takes more little quilts to use the same amount of fabric, but you get more variety!

SO. Yesterday's challenge was to reel myself back and to make SMALLER things to use in decorating, on top of tables or to hang on walls, to stuff in baskets, to put here and there for a bit of quilted color. I had a blast!

I nearly finished THREE tops by the time it was time to leave! THREE! Weeee..how fun is this?? I had brought my big zipper baggie of 1.5" strips. I wanted to deplete some of them. There were parts of UFOs in that bin too, left over rail fence blocks, left over strip pieced units from something else (Red 3.5" center with two light 1.5" strips sewn on either side? What WAS I making with that? I don't remember!).

The first thing I did was just LAY out these ugly rail fence blocks together. They m ust have been ugly cast-outs from another project. They were very limited in the color selection, not a great variety, very old fabrics, and there is this one HUGE Kaffe-Fassett-Esque turquise print that just did NOT play nicely with the others. Mary said..
"Never fear! Just sew them together and then we are going to TEA DYE the sucker to death."
Okay. I sewed! And in no time I had the center done!

This morning I just could STILL NOT just leave this alone without doing something to tie it together better. I added a narrow gold inner border. I sewed a gazillion triangles together from the bonus triangle bin, and then I added the final black border. You know one great thing about loving primitive quilts? You kind of WANT the seams not to always match perfectly. And it's okay if you piece a bunch of triangles for the border and just cut them off wherever the border ends.

Yeah...it got BIG, Mary! BUT...it looks good on my kitchen table!

It can still be stuffed in a basket or displayed on a wall. And I'll still use your idea for tea dying it to tone down those white on white prints that I don't like. While I'm at it, I think I'll grab ALL the white on whites and cream on creams that are still left in my stash and tea dye THOSE too. I really don't use them anymore....other than to print labels on. I don't like the paint on them.

The next Little Ditty I did was to simply sew panels of 1.5" strips together! I made subcuts at 1.5" and 2.5" and just stitched the units together in rows. How SIMPLE can this be? I love this one. Mary handed me a cast off blue plaid and I slapped in on right then and there for a border. CUTE! Finished size? 24"X29" This is the smallest quilt I've made in a LONG time! But wait...


This one isn't much bigger! 26"X32"! Remember those 3.5" red squares that had 1.5" light strips sewn to either side? I cut those into 1.5" sections and used them to frame scrappy 9-patches! I had it all the way into rows by the time I left Mary's last evening. Today all I had to do was sew the rows together and border it. Since my kitchen is going to have barn red walls...this one is for display in there...and remember that old saw that I bought at the Liberty Antique festival? I think I'm going to hang the saw, blade up...and hang the quilt on it...yep..in the kitchen! Special thanks to Mary for donating the sashing fabric to me from her stash. What are friends for? :cD

I got home by 7pm, and I was SLEEP by 7:30. Total wipe-out! But it was such a fun day.

Today I'm getting all the quilt instructions together for the two workshops I'm teaching this weekend. Today Buddy goes back to the vet..hopefully TODAY the cast comes off. Last week's checkup showed that he just wasn't read yet.

Tomorrow I'm off to Beautiful Maggie Valley NC, on the outskirts of the Smoky Mountains. Thursday night trunkshow/lecture, Friday Boxy Stars workshop!

As soon as the workshop is over, I head out to Pickens, SC where I am attending their guild retreat, teaching the Pineapple Blossom workshop. The best part...I get to retreat with them on my own stuff friday night...saturday after the workshop into saturday night..and most of the day Sunday until it is time to come home. How FUN is this? The retreat is being held at Table Rock Wesleyan Camp in Pickens, SC. Gorgeous!! I can't wait.

I'm toying with the idea of bringing the 1.5" strips..seeing what else I can make out of them, but at the back of my brain is that Storm At Sea brown dear jane thing..that only needs me to put the rows together and finish paper piecing the borders to get it DONE?! What to do..what to do?????