Saturday, May 31, 2008

Orphan Party!




I finally decided to tackle the orphan block bin, and start organizing it by block size, instead of it being a jumbled up mess. I thought if I put things by SIZE, you know...8" blocks, 9" blocks, 6" blocks, etc...I might find a purpose for them.

Well, you can't sort blocks without playing with them a bit! And you can't lay things out without just "STARTING" to sew them together, can you?

I can't!

So I have two little orphan tops. Not too big, not too small. One is 8" blocks surrounded by 6" blocks. The other is 9" blocks surrounded by a scrappy 9 patch border, all the 9 patches were left from my zigzag 9 patch quilt, and I used other 4.5" blocks in the corners to finish it off.

FUN! I may add a border to the one with the 6" blocks around the outside....but I don't want it to get TOO big! These two tops cleared out a lot of orphans, and I can move stuff around in that box without too much effort now. I think these will be cute as table toppers, or over the back of a chair or something. The one with the 6" blocks on the outside is DEFINITELY going to be needing a tea bath. That muslin is just too stark for my liking!

You can also see that Chloe is taking her new job of studio cat very seriously! She has really turned into a lover. I was worried about her a bit, but learned that her meowing and meowing is her way of talking, not expressing necessarily her discontent. I knew she had accepted me when she would flop over at my feet and roll belly up for me to scratch her tummy. Do you hear that Tonya? I've got a kittie who gives bellies, just like Pokey! :cD

Chloe and the other kitties are now expressing DISINTEREST in each other. No more hissing, just lots of "I can ignore you better than you can ignore me!"

This morning I had to take our grey tabby girl, Emmy, to the vet...she's got some kind of abscess on her back by her hip. Hopefully some antibiotics will clear that up. I like this vet....they allow us "drop off" visits, so we just drop her off, and pick her up later. I don't have to wait in the room the whole time with her, watching them drain that thing.. :c)

Charlotte and her hubby Jerry are on their way over here, I better get the studio ready so we can SEW SEW SEW this weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Better than a Snake!





I am laughing at the comments and emails from people saying they are not wanting to come visit my blog until I put something new on top of the snake skin pictures!

So here you have it! My new Singer hand crank! I just looked up the date and it was born in 1941!

I found her at an antique mall in Winston Salem that I hadn't ever stopped at before. Price? $85.00 I stewed about it for a while, wandered around the mall, came back..yep, still there. Took the cover off again, turned the crank (It turns SO smooth!) put the cover back on, and bought it.

I wanted a functional hand crank machine. I have one that is very old, and just decorative for me, but not working. This one, I think will work! I have yet to thread her up yet and give her a go. Makes me wish I were left handed because I'm not sure how I'm going to do cranking with one hand and guiding the fabric with the other!

I thought the decals were interesting, and she has a beautiful face plate!

I had a wonderful trip up to Lake Gaston, NC where I did a lecture/trunkshow for the guild up there on Wednesday. I stopped at an antique mall on my drive up there as well, and found the wooden antique ironing board that I have been looking for..in a both with a 20% off sign on everything! The board was only marked $7.50! I've seen them marked at $37.50 before, so this was amazing, and of course, I got 20% off of that as well. Not sure where I'm going to put it yet.

My friend Charlotte is coming to spend the weekend. She will be my first house guest since moving here! She will be here about lunch time on Saturday and stay til Sunday afternoon. I wonder what kind of quilty fun we can get up to?

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!)