Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'm Packing....

But I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head..or leg...or wing...or other part cut off. I start something, go onto another, get way-laid by another something. I should make a list and stick to it.

Isn't this a funny pic? Jeff had to take pics of me for the book wearing a large shirt..actually this is an XXXLG and it's HUGE! What a great load of fabric in this shirt..but this whole "what to do what to do" feeling is what's going on here today!

Speaking of the book, I am OFFICIALLY done writing! I sent in my bibliography and resources pages yesterday. I'm done! Now I don't know what to do with myself, when there is too much to be doing??

So far this morning I've:

Had a phone conference recorded with an interviewer in Australia, it lasted almost an hour and a half! We talked about the book, my quilting life, my home life, etc.

I've invoiced out and boxed up customer quilts that need to be mailed today.

I've started laundry, started packing.....still ongoing...

I've pulled a couple projects to work on at Randy's house. We will be retreating through the week and doing the Sister's Quilt Show Thang on Saturday. I am doubting my projects. I have a great idea to NOT applique the top border of the string star I showed yesterday...what if I were to piece words there instead....around the top two corners..and then just added a few applique flowers and leaves for accent? So now my mind is running on that instead of the original project list. Of course it all depends on what I can fit in my suit case. Yes, I'm checking a bag. A quilter has to bring what a quilter has to bring! At least Randy has a spare machine for me to use.

I got back to cleaning the kitchen....remembered I have a great recipe to share with you, only I don't have a PICTURE because when I lifted the tin foil this morning there was only ONE PIECE LEFT! I guess that means it must be really good.

The other day DH and son were about to toss out TWO frozen loaves of bread because they said they were crystalized and hard. What does a quilter do with non-fresh bread? Bread Pudding! Here is our favorite variation even tho it's summer, not winter:
Pumpkin Bread Pudding

• 8 ounces French bread, torn into small pieces, about 5 cups
• 2 cups half-and-half, or half milk and half cream
• 3 large eggs
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• cinnamon sugar, optional
Butter an 11x7-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.
In a bowl, cover the torn bread with the half-and-half; set aside.
In another bowl, combine eggs, sugars, pumpkin, cranberries, melted butter, spices, and vanilla; blend well. Pour pumpkin mixture over soaked bread and stir to blend.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set.
Serve with a vanilla dessert sauce or brown sugar sauce, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Serves 8.

I used less sugar, substituting 1 cup of the splenda/brown sugar blend for what is listed above. My bread was whole wheat. I used regular 2% milk instead of the cream or half & half. I omited the cranberries because I didn't have any. I would have substituted raisins, but I didn't have those either! It's just as yummy as can be served with ice cream.

I better get back to packing! I promise to take lots of pictures on the road!

Monday, July 07, 2008

And They're Off!

My traveling trunkshow is on it's way to Florissant Colorado! Because I'm going by plane, I have to ship a partial trunk show, bring SOME with me in my luggage, and do the remainder by power point presentation. You can really call me a nervous nelly right now. But the gal at my mailing spot is SO great! I asked her what was the best way to ship these, crates, boxes or what....and she asked what I usually did to get them around. I told her about the extra large military duffel bags, aka...body bags....and she pulled out these sleeves that they usually put over items like golf clubs, etc. PERFECT! I was able to leave the quilts in the duffels, slide them into the sleeve and voila! I don't teach in Colorado until July 24, but if I wait until I get back from Sisters to ship them, I won't have enough time to get them there I don't think.

When I get back from Sisters, I have 3 workshops to give before I head out to Colo, but I kept the workshop samples here with me, and THAT part of the trunkshow will go with me on the plane. It's comfusing trying to keep my ducks in a row!

And Oh Yeah! Something I forgot was on my camera....ahem...When Charlotte was here she broke in my new ironing board cover! *LOL* I guess she was so awed by the gorgeous woodsy view out of my quilting room window that she forgot she had the iron down. What a hoot! I made her sign and date it as a remembrance of our fun weekend. Gotta love friends! :c) Now I'll smile every time I see it. I think it looks much better this way than new anyway.

My guild meeting was tonight. Very fun time Lisa Alley gave a hilarious presentation on "Its not a blanket, it's a QUILT". I think we all needed depends by the time she was done. There were many oohs and ahhs over the show and tell, especially the items the vendors brought to show, and we coined a new phrase.

Instead of calling it eye candy.....it's QUILT P-ORN! *LOL* I think we were all drooling madly, and having hot flashes. I guess this is when you know the show and tell is really good ;c) (who needs a man???) *giggle* What a fun evening. I'm really enjoying getting to know the ladies here.

I've been faithfully hand quilting on my Charlotte's Baskets quilt...I've got 1 1/2 blocks left to quilt,and then it's just the borders folks! I know it's like a snail trying to show you progress when it's hand quilting that I'm about,but I've tried to keep going on the hand quilting progress. I'm switching gears at dinner time, and everything after dinner is HAND WORK. I'm even going to take out my long time unfinished applique bordered quilt and work on the applique and get it done. Silly me...I should have put the applique in the two opposite corners of the borders, but no.....I did two consecutive corners so now I've got to do ALL FOUR!!This quilt is one of the first 'shirt fabric' quilts I made, and it is about 10 years old now. Will it EVER get done???

Sunday, July 06, 2008

July 4th At Home Retreat!

I've had company the past few days and it has been WONDERFUL!

Charlotte and Jerry came up to visit. While I worked on projects here, Charlotte took up residence right next to me and was able to complete a few of her long time UFOs into completed tops. There is just something about sewing with a friend that can help you push through those "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS" or "I DON'T LOVE YOU AS MUCH" projects. She finished a couple long timers while working on a gorgeous yellow/blue jacob's ladder variation as a leader/ender. I even caught her sneaking yellow and blue 2" squares out of my box there to include in her quilt ;c) Okay...actually I was begging her to please use some of mine in her quilt! My last few projects have been string pieced, (or wonky log pieced) and I sew several blocks at one time always using the last block as the leader ender for the next set, so those squares have been untouched for a while.

4th of July evening we went out to Prissy Polly's BBQ in Kernersville. What yummy BBQ and a fun time...they had a bluegrass band playing and the music was wonderful! I just wanted to dance and clap my hands. I checked their page online and they have live music weekly it seems, so I'll be going back. I love how Bluegrass music makes me feel like a kid inside. It's just happy :c)

After dinner we came back here to the house, watched some TV with the guys and we girls did some hand quilting just to give the "impression" we were socializing with everyone instead of holing ourselves down in the basement studio ;c) TNT had a Law & Order marathon going... [insert sound of gavel clanking]

Saturday we ran a few errands, sewed a lot, set up a sandwich bar for everyone for lunch (trying to keep things as easy as possible...just say no to cooking!) and sewed a lot more! A plan to hit an afternoon matinee at the movies turned sour, when we got there it seemed as if everyone and their extended relatives thought the same thing...the line was longer than long, and we bagged that idea and went to Captain Tom's fish restaurant for dinner. They have the best seafood for reasonable prices!

Back home again, we sewed a bit, and then had a fun evening of playing "hand and foot" card games while a storm raged through. We thought the power would go out, so I even lit an oil lamp. It felt like "old days" with the TV off, no electronic games or cable tv or anything. Just sitting around the table, playing cards and talking and laughing.

Charlotte and Jerry headed back to Columbia this afternoon. I crashed for a nap, and here I am! It was a wonderful visit. I'm really glad they came to spend some time with us.

Wednesday I head off for Sisters Oregon! I'm really looking forward to this trip. I'll be retreating at my friend Randy's house.....I've got a few projects I'm bringing. She's got an extra sewing machine for me. There will be 4 of us at her house,oh fun! We will retreat through the week and finish off with the Sister's Quilt Show on saturday!

Oh....no more bats, no more snakes...all is good on the wildlife department here in Wallburg NC...just in case you wanted to know!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bats in the Attic!

It was a TWO bat night. Yep TWO. I guess bats are like mice? they run in...ummm....HERDS? Colonies? Gaggles? Yes. I like that one. Gaggles of bats. Okay. So Jeff comes knocking on the bedroom door this morning saying "Mom!You are NOT going to believe this! There is another bat in my room!" All I can think of is :::OH GROSS:::

The LARGE pic is from Ann's Blog. Seems she had a bat in her house the other day too! We have the Orkin Man come out quarterly and do his usual pest control thing. Last time came he asked if he could put "sticky traps" in tight places to catch spiders and the like. They are little cardboard tube things with sticky inside. Think of it as bug decoupage. Gross I know, but highly effective near doors and windows where creepy crawlers like to come in at night.

Jeff has one in his closet, near the attic opening in the wall. In it....a live bat was stuck and couldn't get out. OH EWWWWWWWWW! He said "Don't you want to see it? What should I do?" I said "NO WAY JOSE!!" So he proceeded to go down to his Dad's workroom in the basement for a pair of leather work gloves. He took the sticky trap and the bat outside, but he couldn't get the bat off the sticky. It was hopeless. The whole thing is just so YUCK! So...he had to put it out of it's misery and bury it. I am just so totally grossed out.

SO! To get my mind off of it I'm going to post about my thrifting adventures yesterday! I live in Wallburg, NC, which according to the WIKIPEDIA is located in Davidson County, North Carolina. It is incorporated, but was never recognized as a CDP by the US Census prior to its incorporation in 2004. SO! When I did a search on population for Wallburg NC, it said...ZERO! *LOL* I guess this is why my mailing address is Winston-Salem, but technically I'm in Wallburg. Funny thing...Walburg is SO small that it lists THESE Area Businesses, Schools, Churches:

Wallburg Elementary School, Wallburg Baptist Church, Vernon Forest Baptist Church, Shady Grove Un. Methodist, Tyco Electronics, NewBridge Bank, Wallburg Mulch, Food Lion, CVS, Dollar General, Little Richard's Barbecue, Wallburg Diner, Wendy's, Subway, China One, Domino's Pizza

That's about IT folks! I think there is also a mortuary, a dry cleaners,a gas station, a car wash, and a tanning salon. But really, what more do I need? The NC map shows Davidson County in Red. Wallburg is a speck in the middle of the red somewhere!

The post office, a cute white building attached to the Wallburg Diner, has a sign that reads WALLBURG MAIN POST OFFICE. Like there is any other? It's a one window hole in the wall (Wich I love greatly! Believe me! NO LINES!) But Main Post Office? *giggle*(this is another reason I need to remember to bring my camera with me on my jaunts!)

Where is this all leading? Oh yes..back to yesterday's junking and discovery road trip! I pretty much have to draw a 15 to 20 mile radius around me to get "anywhere". I'm smack-dab between Winston, Greensboro, Kernersville, Highpoint, and Thomasville. The nearest Bank of America is about 10 to 12 miles away in any direction. So instead of going to the same one all the time, I've been doing it Buffet Style and exploring!

You know how an airplane stewardess, uh, excuse me, flight attendant says "Please note that the closest exit may be BEHIND YOU?" That was how I came to discover that there is a little Bank of America about 12 miles from me in Thomasville. Mind you, I'd been going to the big conglomerate B of A in Winston,having to take the interstate,dealing with it's long drive up lines, etc. So....Thomasville it was. I'd never been THERE before.

No interstate...just a straight shot south on highway 109 and I was there in no time. And a bonus! I found the Goodwill, AND an antique mall! Oh joy! And since it was already past 3pm, I figured I could dawdle a bit.

I found a rocking chair for the living room for $35 that Oscar is here checking out. Behind him is a patchwork duck from an 1800's quilt that was a whopping $3.25.

I found a 40 piece SET of 1930's depression glassware...a MATCHED SET! For $50.00. That was my big expense for the day,but I have been wanting a matched set for so long, wondering how I could do it piece-meal! Now I have more dishes than I know what to do with, and they don't exactly go with my burlap insulated tumblers and mugs, but oh well! Its MY life, right? :cD

And this little ditty....How many yards of this ADORABLE CAT FABRIC are in this large jumper? It's 100% cotton and hasn't been washed or worn. $5.00!! But what really caught my eye is the buttons! Hand painted ceramic cat buttons! What kind of fun embellishments will these be? Not even sure what to do with them yet,but the cat fabric is too adorable, and I'm usually not into novelty fabrics.

So...have I distracted you from the thoughts of bats in the attic yet? Hmmmmmm.....

Just a little bit freaked out!

How many of you know what it is like to be just on the edge of drifting off to sleep when the cat starts playing with something, scooting it across the floor, and you have to get up and check out what it is?

I opened the bedroom door, turned on the light...and there on the carpet was a BAT. Not a baseball bat, not a quilt BATT, but...a flying, flapping, bat-man style bat! Only he wasn't flying anymore because I think Oscar broke his wing...

It is now 1:20 am and I am sipping a cup of cocoa, trying to un-freak myself out so I can get back to sleep. Where did the bat come from? (And what's worse...Why was the first thought that came to my mind "Where is my camera? This is good blog stuff!") *rolling eyes* No, I didn't get a pic. Instead I got a towel. By this time everyone one was up. We spread the towel over the bat, scooped it up, and gently deposited it in the front yard where nature can take it's course.

Oscar is 2 for 2 today.....earlier it was a bunny he caught in the woods. *Sniffle* He got Thumper. So much for loving the country life! (At least it wasn't a snake??)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More Manic Piecing!

Piece Piece Piece Piece Piece Piece Piece! And the bin is just as full as it ever was.

I had to be a bit ummmmm "inventive???" on these borders. I thought there was going to be plenty of the purple,but doing the letters takes more fabric than you think it does with all the trimming,etc. SO! I stuck in some leftover bits from Tonyas quilt....thinking it was going to just END with that purple border. Nope. The voices in my head said..."it needs MORE!"

So last night, I was doing more.

I have people ask all the time why I use a foundation for string piecing. I suppose if you are sewing from STRAIGHT strips (versus the mess you see in my bin below) you can get by with sewing straight strips together and just sub cutting them. My strips can be tapered end cuts from squaring up a piece of fabric, many are torn strips from getting something on-grain. I feel like this adds more character to the quilt when everything isn't arrow-straight and precision cut. Look at the difference between "antique" quilts, and new quilts. See what I mean? So I use a foundation when string piecing. Usually paper because I like to remove it. I don't want that extra thickness of fabric in there.

So the borders for this quilt were pieced the same way I did the little stringies below. I covered phone book pages with the strings, and then sub cut them into whatever width I wanted. I could get 3 sub cuts from each phone book page, so it was speed piecing in a way. Better than whoever had the idea of covering adding machine tape?! Just cover REGULAR SIZED paper, and slice it up. Works for me!

I'm off this morning with Jeff to a job fair. He's GOT to get a job, but it has to be one that will work around his summer school schedule. Evenings and weekends is what he needs. And if HE weren't so picky about what he will take or won't, he probably WOULD have a job by now..(good thing he doesn't read my blog, huh?) Anyway..wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Brighten Up!!

You know those two stringy-thingies I made recently? (One is winging it's way to Tonya in Paris! I hope she likes it!) Well...I made them in manic moments of trying to deplete an overstuffed bin of solid colored strings and bits.

And no matter how random I tried to be...I did end up pulling out all the "BEST" colors, leaving a lot of BLAH! How can I keep sewing with these unless I add some more bright and snappy colors to it to liven it up a bit? The pic with the blocks is what I have cut to add to the mess, shown below in the boring pile pic. Just a lot of navy, black, red, and not much else bright.

I get this feeling that I'm not depleting, I am INCREASING the mess. See the acrobatics my mind is going through? "Yes, but if you add more strings,you will make more quilts and USE MORE STASH!" "But this bin will never get EMPTY" "Do you want it empty??" "But what if I need these 1/4 yard pieces for something REALLY cool, and I've stripped them all up into this mess?" These are the voices in my head, but it's okay...they know me here! *LOL*

I went through the small cuts...and cut up stuff that was less than 1/4 yard, and some others I thought would help the string bin out. My project? Wonky log cabin blocks, 8" tall. Width? Doesn't matter! As long as they are all 8" tall! Not sure how this is going to work yet, but....what can I say....Be liberated! Quilt bra-less! *LOL*

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Porter!

My Baby Sister Mary and her hubby Kelly have two darling kids. The youngest, Porter, just turned one! And I was the happy recipient of first birthday cake mess in my inbox!! Oh boy! Does this bring back memories?!

It looks like sister Mary is not to be out done by sister Joy when it comes to homemade birthday cakes! They have more artistic ability than I ever did in this area, and I love seeing what they both come up with!

Of course, we know how MUCH food coloring it takes to get icing to be bright blue, and bright red (not pink!)!! And when you put that much food coloring in the icing, you know where ELSE it is going to wind up?? *LOL* I'm sure Porter had a great time with his Superman cake, and was taken RIGHT TO A BATH!!

I wish I could have been there Sis, it looks like you had a wonderful time! Love ya!

Buddy's Buzz Cut!

Here are some pics of a very happy Buddy Boy! I should have got the "BEFORE" shot....very long dark golden retriever hair everywhere, including bushy tail and feet and feathering on his legs.

The new groomer was so GREAT with him, he loved her! And of course,he loves the attention so much, and is so lazy, that he just lays there for her and takes all the pampering in.

I just told her to buzz him all over. It makes it easier to find the ticks here :c( I keep flea/tick stuff on the dogs,but the ticks here in the woods are so BAD this year. We've even found them in the house. I am wondering if I need flea/tick stuff for the humans in the household too!

Who would have guessed that there was a yellow lab hiding under my golden!? He was so happy and you could tell it felt so good when I brought him home. Sadie came running to check out who this spiffed up version of Buddy was...and they went running and playing in the back yard. Buddy loves to roll around and around on his back, I bet it feels WONDERFUL to him! It's so funny to watch him kick his legs and squirm to itch all the "good parts", like a bear up against a tree.

His foot is doing better. He is using it more and more as the weeks go by. And the best part is, he is HAPPY! Who can resist that big boy smile??

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rosanne's Spaghetti Salad

I've had requests for the spaghetti salad that Rosanne made last monday at our sewing day!

Here you go:


1 lb. spaghetti
1/2 jar Salad Supreme (By McCormick, comes in a shaker jar thing in the spice aisle)
1 sm. bottle Italian dressing
1 bunch radishes
1 tomato, chopped (Or sliced grape or cherry tomatoes)
1 bell pepper
4 celery stalks
5 green onions
1 cucumber, quartered & sliced.
1 package pepperoni slices
sliced olives

I also think that feta cheese would go great in here, or Parmesan or whatever you have on hand. What about mushrooms? Throw those in too. Grated carrot? go for it!

Cook the spaghetti. Dice up radishes, tomato, bell pepper, celery and green onions. Rinse spaghetti well after it is cooked. Mix all the vegetables with the spaghetti. Add pepperoni and cheeses if desired. Pour the Salad Supreme and Italian dressing over the mixture and stir well. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Mix well again before serving.

This is one of those things that also probably tastes better the next day, that is IF there is any left!

P.S. this is the "INDUSTRIAL" size jar of Salad Supreme...you know, Sam's Club? Costco? I'm thinking that 1/2 a jar of the "normal" supermarket version is probably about 2 tablespoons worth?(Or is this where they suggest 'to taste'??)

Old Inspirations

I am a "historical" quilt book junkie. I've got a couple books from the 70's that call to me as much as newer books do. This one is called New Discoveries In American Quilts by Robert Bishop.

It was this book, and the larger photo in the "America's Glorious Quilts" Coffee table book that really got me intrigued with Salinda Rupps Quilt (now referred to as nearly insane..and believe me,it is!)

What's funny about these 1970 books is they were "pre" rotary cutter and modern methods, so they are kind of funny to read in those terms. They also contain a LOT of black and white photos! What GOOD are black and white photos? I know color printing wasn't as "evolved" 30+ years ago as it is now, and I'm guessing it was VERY expensive at that time.

But having black and white photos can be a boon too, because you start to see things in terms of value, not color. You are free to interpret what you want in the gray scale.

However, there is ONE photo I really wish I could see in color in this book! I even blew the picture up so you can see it. Crumb pieced diamonds! I don't even know what size they are, but faced with a basket of odd crumbs, the bare bones of what was left after my students combed through my stash in my crumbs workshop, I decided to just piece a couple. And a couple more....and, okay 20 more... :c)I'm using phone book pages as the foundation. When you trim the blocks,you get fun weird angles along the edges. Many of the blocks in the quilt show recogniseable patchwork parts which I think are fun. 9 patches, 4 patches, square in a square, broken dishes, etc. I hope you can see it by clickingon the pic! So I'm playing. I don't know how I'll set them..maybe in rows like this, or in stars, or alternating with plain diamonds....but I am so intrigued by the little pieces in these diamonds. My 60 degree diamonds are 4" per side.

I took buddy to get a hair cut this morning. I found the card for a local gal who does dog grooming, and she is very close. She was great with Buddy and called me in a n hour and a half saying he was done and ready to pick up! He looks great, and so much cooler!