Tuesday, November 18, 2008

...If I Had A Hammer.....

Remember that song?

"If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the mornin' I'd hammer in the evenin' All over this land..."

Well, that's how I've been feeling. Ever since getting the walls painted, and my efforts to hang everything back UP.

There are at least THREE hammers in this household that I am aware of. But does ANYONE ever put them back where they got them? NO! ARGHGHG!!!!

SO..today...lookee what I bought for ME! It's Pink....and since it's PINK they better keep their paws off!

It has ALL the goodies you see on the label.....pink and purple EVERYTHING! MINE...all MINE. The first person I see who is NOT me with these pink/purple tools in their mitts better watch out.....more better yet, go find their own tools wherever they left them because I know they left them SOMEWHERE!

Cost for cool pink tool case with tools? $20 bucks.
Having my own tools when and where I need them (and PINK!)? PRICELESS!

P.S. So many people have mailed to ask where I got the lovely pink tools....where else? WALMART! :cD

Monday, November 17, 2008

How Blissful is Housework!

Yes, I'm home...so much has CHANGED in my surroundings here in the 2 weeks I've been gone! I couldn't tell last night, got home about 9:30pm, of course in full darkness, but this morning I noticed that ALL the leaves are down now, and it really feels like winter is arriving in NC...

Not as bad as Detroit though! It was snowing pretty good when we took off..we had to stop on the runway for more de-icing...get me outta there! :cD

Really, I love the snow...as long as the sun comes out afterwards and the sky is blue and...have I mentioned this before?

So what have I done all day? Laundry. Vacuuming. Mopping. Dishes. Cleaning off appliances. Grocery shopping. Bank run. Post office run. You get the idea. Tackled the HUGE pile of snail mail that has been waiting for me to come home.

The best part? I've been home ALONE all day!Jeff is at work...Dave is in Hickory...I'm HOME ALONE!! Of course I am dying to SEW, but it will have to wait until my ducks are in a row. That means luggage unpacked, house taken care of,etc.

Domestic chores are soul centering in their own right, though, aren't they? I haven't had to talk to anyone other than the pets, the phone really hasn't rang. I've had MY music on the stereo, and I'm singing along just doing my thing, putting my life back in order so I can enjoy the next month off.

Wherever I go I like to check out different teas. I just love tea. Here is a pic of a couple new ones I bought. Nothing like a cup of tea in a dainty china cup (my great grandmother's!) from a pretty tea pot. BY MYSELF!

And yes, I do love the fruity flavors. And the Vanilla flavors too. I know some don't, but I do....oh yes, and cinnamon spicy chi type teas are top of my list as well!

There may be sewing going on tomorrow....but for today, I'm not pushing it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blogging From Detroit!

So here I sit in Detroit, a 3 hour layover...Actually, it is not too bad because for the first time in 2 weeks I am sitting at a gate all by myself, just typing with my thoughts. Detroit looks pretty gray and chilly, in fact, my flight from Madison was delayed because they had to "de-ice" the wings. Oh...I am so happy to be going back SOUTH!!

I don't mind the cold..but ice is tricky. I don't mind the snow as long as the sun comes out and the sky goes blue and sunny, but that gray stuff that lingers for days, where it feels perpetually 4pm all day long...that drags on me.

I've had a WONDERFUL time. You know, I got to meet people that I've only known through blogging and internet groups, and it is so fun how they appear just how they do in email. I think conversation and communication really is the key to knowing someone. I felt right at home with these ladies because we have worked on this trip for the past year or so...and it went off without a hitch.

I have my camera card in the computer...but I am having a hard time running the program to get them into a folder and able to edit them down. Pictures may still need to wait until I get home to deal with them, but then again..a lot can be done in 3 hours! There maybe be pictures to this post by the time I am done!

The first thing I can tell you is that I was able to finish the hand quilting on 3am hot flash! The binding is in progress. I packed up a couple of boxes to UPS home so I didn't have to deal with excess baggage. They won't beat me home, but should be there by wednesday, so you'll get pics of that then.

I have started the hand quilting on my crumb-y tulips and that is going fast. I'm quilting it from the BACK because I am quilting with black thread and it is easier to see what the heck I'm doing. I just couldn't see the stitches in the miriad of fabric scraps and crumbs in the front.

(AS I'm sitting here, I'm uploading a slide show to webshots..yeah!)

Here is the first slide show, mostly Illinois, a bit of Wisconsin, all before the Madison retreat.

I have to tell you about the most amazing experience....okay, it was ALL amazing..but I was able to travel to Patsy McClusky's Homestead Retreat.

It really IS an authentic old cabin turned into a wonderful retreat center that sleeps 24! I was able to spend one afternoon sewing before we had to go to Spring Green to do a lecture/trunkshow at Spring Green, Wisconsin. I wasn't sure how many people to expect, we were holding it at Arthur's Restaurant, and like Patsy's blog says..it's the "Middle of NOWHERE." Imagine my surprise when BUSLOADS of quilters started arriving!

Guilds had chartered busses and had a grand time talking and luaghing and singing and visiting from outlying areas to come to our trunkshow! One bus almost hit a deer...so that was quite the talk of the town for a bit, but I also understand that deer are like squirrels out there...everywhere..so we shouldn't have been surprised.

The next morning I had to leave Patsy's at 6am to get to Oconomowoc (And yes, after all this time I have learned how to spell it!) for a class there. I did several guilds in the area, spending from Tuesday morning to Sunday afternoon (today) as the Guest of Cathy and Tom who hosted me in their beautiful home on the lake, fed me full, tucked me into a dark quiet guestroom, and converted me to the wonder of heated floors on a cold wintery morning...ohhhhh! My toes have never been so toasty!

The gals in the Oconomowoc area were wonderful. I feel like I've added new friends to my life! We are thinking of a retreat in 2010...will have to book that on my calendar :c)

Wisconsin Nov 2008
This slideshow includes the Janesville gal's reterat in Madison, and the Oconomowoc workshops....I am SO inspired by the fabrics that everyone was using for the various projects. Several ladies were doing theirs in Christmas fabrics and I thought that was a cool idea. I neer feel like sewing for Christmas until After Thanksgiving, and by then it's too late to really do anything but create a new UFO..so...if you take a class, pull out the Christmas fabrics and away you go!

I really LOVED the Virginia Bound quilts done with the Christmas fabrics..way to go!

Okay everyone..that should catch you up just a bit. I've got another hour or so here in Detroit, but I'm going to walk around, find some dinner (Heaven forbid they feed you ANYTHING on the plane anymore, it's just a beverage) and wing my way home. I am now HOME for a full month before I leave for the Netherlands on Nov 15th! OH happy day...I'm going to S E W !!!! (I am in desparate need of more machine time!)

My best to you!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hello from Illinois!

I have been here in Illinois since Sunday evening, and have been having a wonderful time.

I could give a travelogue....but what I would rather do is focus on the relationships between women, and the bond that quilting brings.

In the first guild I visited, I witnessed quilters caring about and surrounding with love, a member who's husband had passed away this past week. I thought about the comfort and compassion that comes from our connection to each other through the stitches that bind our lives.

I can just bet that there are instances like this all across not only America, but the world, and that no matter where it happened, or who it happened to, we would be there for each other. I don't know if anyone has ever studied it, us as a demographic, but quilters come to the rescue of other quilters, no matter what the other differences may be.

Do scrapbookers do the same? Maybe..maybe with all the knitters and other groups too, there is this kind of womanshipping, but when I look at my life and try to imagine it without quilters...it would just not be such a warm and nurturing place...or a funny laugh out loud place...a place where we can talk about everything and anything and there will be someone there who has been through the same things, felt the same way, and understands.

When I think of this...I can now understand WHY quilting bees were such a necessary activity for our foremothers. I'm just feeling in awe of how comfortable it has been for me to travel from guild to guild to guild. Women have opened their homes to me, a complete stranger, and we have parted as friends. I know they would be there for me no matter what I needed, as I would for any of you. I just think this is special.

I was in Dixon up until yesterday afternoon......I left a Pineapple Blossom class at 3pm to drive to Antioch to do a lecture/trunkshow here. I got to town early enough to call up Dawn, ask her where a good place to eat was, and suggest that she come meet me. She dropped everything, just to come share a meal with me and caravan with me to the meeting place so I didn't get lost. This is what quilters do.

Today was a "mostly down" day....I just have a guild meeting in McHenry tonight, so again Dawn came and picked me up, drove me to Rockford to get mailing envelopes at Sam's Club, shared a meal with me, shared conversation and lots of laughter and much talk of projects with me. She waited while we stopped at the AT&T store to find out why my cell phone isnt getting a net connection to work. (Why is it that taking the battery out and putting it back in makes all the difference? hmmmm!)

We went to one quilt shop, and wandered and browsed, and yes, bought SOME fabric because it was half off...I couldn't do much because of weight limits, but yes, I know, I can SHIP IT HOME! :cD

As I type this, another quilter friend, Randy, is flying from California to Madison so she can help me teach at a retreat this weekend, and spend some time with me in the midst of my busy travel life. This is what quilters do. And again, I'm humbled.

I am in Richmond, IL right now..last night and tonight the guest of a Bed and Breakfast owner who is also a member of the guild. I am here by myself because she is in MEXICO..but still..she made the house available for my stay, because this is what quilters do for quilters that they don't even know. It's a lovely victorian home and I feel quite pampered. I won't even get to thank her in person.....

I know I am rambling, and not sharing pictures, but I just wanted to get my thoughts down on how grateful I am to have this connection with all of you. I stand all amazed :c)

In Stitches - - -

Saturday, November 01, 2008

How to pack it all?!

I've got the trunkshow packed...that is.... what I am able to carry, in two duffel bags weighing approx 45 lbs each. I think my jacket is going to go in one, and an extra pair of shoes in the other,and that's all going to be checked.

Still ticks me off....to have to pay to check two bags, coming and going. It just seems like a huge rip off! In the future, I'll think of it as a "Shopping expense" And instead of paying for packed bags, I'll just buy things to wear once I'm there!

But wait..I'd still have to pay to check a bag on the way home...*sigh*

Luckily I've got my clothes in a carry on. Minimal stuff. 3 pairs of pants, about 5 different shirts to go with either this or that, undies, socks. My other "personal" item holds the laptop and a project and a book. And my wallet. The purse is packed in the carry on with the clothes. And the camera. Oh...and the cell phone, the Ipod...sheeesh. At this rate we might as WELL throw in that little poratble washboard from my laundry room wall! *LOL*

The nicest kid dropped off a load of firewood yesterday. I tried burning it today, and it's still a bit green. Lots of smoke, wouldn't catch. *SIGH* It said AGED AND SEASONED in the ad! But then this kid is only about college age, and I bet he feels *HE* is aged and seasoned too, and I would consider HIM a bit green :c)

So now the basement smells a bit like a campfire from all this trying to get it to light. Don't suppose the wood will age and season over the next 2 weeks while I am gone?

Oh, yesterday I *DID* get some sewing done! I sewed triangles for the border of my Fungly Challenge. I basted 3 small projects for hand quilting....and I finished quilting the feather on 3am Hot Flash..so just the black border and outer pieced border to go! Whoopeee!! :cD Maybe I should pack some binding strips for it so I can borrow someone's machine to put it on??? And the sleeve too.."adding those to her list"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Kitchen Detail....

Another box that got unpacked was all the "doodads" from kitchens-past. I love advertising things...tins, signs, crocks with words. And old utensils that I can't imagine HOW they ever used them.

You will find lots of this kind of memorabilia in my kitchen.

The red paint really warmed up the room and I love how it looks! The countertop is next...it's gotta go..it's a 1980s gray formica. Not sure WHAT I'll do, I can't afford granite, but I've seen some LOVELY kitchens with it in my travels.

That's the neat thing about staying with guild members when I travel. I get to see their homes and how they display things. One Holiday Inn to the other...all the same...but staying with quilters is SO FUN!

I love this little Radio/Ipod dock that I just found at Target! It looks vintage of a sort, but it has great sound, and I can just push the ON button to hear my music when I am in the kitchen without having to go to the living room stereo. It sits on top of an old antique ice box, carved in the Eastlake style. Another thing I can't believe women had to deal with...MELTING ICE to keep food fresh? Amazing.

At some point I'd like to redo the floor too, and carry the wood floor in from the laundry hall through the kitchen and through the dining room, which at this point is some kind of outdated parquet.

At some point...these light fixtures need to go, too. The stained glass one gives LOTS of nice light, but it is really dated..it shouts out 1990 at you. And the hanging thing? Just don't go there. It just has to go. I don't want a hanging thing, just a nice ceiling fixture for extra light. I don't know how anyone ever fit a kitchen table in this kitchen, it's just too small, so why have a hanging lamp there? The world may never know.

But then again, we will never know WHY the light switch inside the front hall closet turns on and off the master bathroom lights either! It reminds me of that commercial where the guy is going "on, off, on, off" With the switch,and the old lady next door has the garage door opening and closing on her car..*LOL*

We also found, when we lost power to the garage and the sunroom, that it was because the outlet in the master bathroom (on the opposite side of the house) had tripped. You have to push the red button to reset everything. We tried everything..the fuse box, etc...nothing looked tripped! But then..we found that red button in the outlet. Duh. Who would think that a bathroom reset button would effect the GARAGE on the opposite side of the house?

As Artie Johnson said on "Laugh In": "Inellesting. Velly Velly Intellesting....BUT SCHTOOOPID!!" :cD

Oh, and don't you love this sign? I found it in PA....*hehehe* It's hanging above the door from the kitchen to the dining room ;c)

Down The Laundry Hall...

I bet you didn't know that along with everything else,I collect.....washboards!

I love the advertising on them, and what the labels say. I can't ever imagine having to do laundry on one,but if I ever need to, I figure I've got a good supply :c)

Remember the "Before" pictures? The walls were white, there was terrible wallpaper below the chair rail, and the doors were "BLUE" *shudder*

I really like it now! I was able to hang all my favorite vintage aprons, some tin advertising signs, and all my washboards down the Laundry hall...

It doesn't make doing laundry any more fun,but when I think of how easy it is to throw things in my stacking front loader and dryer, as compared to these washboards or even a wringer washer (which must have felt blissful at the time!)I am grateful!

The top SMALL washboard reads:
Ideal for Silks, Hosiery, and Lingerie
Or Handkercheifs. Just the right size to fit a Bucket, Pail, or Lavatory. Packs easily into a Suit Case or Traveling Bag.

Suitcase or Traveling Bag? I don't THINK SO! Nor do I want to be using it in anyone's lavatory. Doesn't it humble and amaze you to realize how far we have come? Just like that old cigarette commercial from the 70s...."You've come a LONG WAY, BABY!"

I still haven't sat at the sewing machine yet. Too much to do to get ready for Wisconsin on Sunday. The trunkshow quilts are in the livingroom. I'm packing 2 big body-bag duffels, and they both have to be under 50lbs. My clothes will be in a carryon..I figure since I am hitting 8 guilds, it doesn't matter if I wear things twice, and do laundry in between. What I can't carry for trunkshow will be on a power point presentation,but I hate to do that. I keep feeling that in that case, people may as well just stay home and read my blog or check out my website to see the quilts that way,you know? But we do what we can!

Oh, best news of all...JEFF GOT A JOB!!! *happy dancing* Yes...he is to now be the salad chef and Prince-of-Hot-Rolls at Fatz Cafe in Greensboro. HALLELUJIA! You never saw a kid as happy to have a job as much as he is. I am thrilled for him.

Feeling LikeHome....

It was cold enough this morning to light a fire in the woodstove in my studio...AHHHHH!! I love the heat that comes from a REAL fire. This weekend I need to get a couple more cords of wood delivered, no one is home long enough to have time or the ability to trek out and cut it ourselves...but I want wood heat this winter...

Here are some pics of how the house decorating is coming. It is SO HARD to want to hammer nails into newly painted walls! But I am loving how it is coming out.

This is the ladder that I bought in Liberty...it's perfect for hanging the quilts! And can you see how I hung the beat up old green shutters (also found in Liberty)on either side of the dining room window INSIDE the room? My son doesn't understand that it is a "design element"..he thinks they only belong outside..but I saw this in a Country Living type magazine and loved it. It stayed in the back of my mind for "some day" and some day came yesterday :c)

I also found the saw in Liberty, it's been waiting since last spring to have a quilt hung from it's blade :c) (yes the blade is wrapped so it doesn't harm the quilt! I actually thought of hanging it blade side up,but it gave less width to display the quilt...

I was able to unpack ALL the boxes of china..I only broke ONE saucer :c( Not bad as often as this stuff has been moved around. I love seeing my great grandmother's china out in the china hutch ready to be used.

And I AM promising to use it more often. No sense in having it there if it doesn't make some memories for my kids. When I pass it on to them..I want them to have an attachment to it. (Kind of like we have with our fabric, and quilts, right?)

I used to play "tea party" with the colored tea cups and saucers when I was little. These are special to me. There are also some tiny German demitasse cups, only 1 saucer survives to this day, but oh the tea parties with my dollies under neath the tree limbs!

In my unpacking I came upon my old patchwork quilt pumpkins, and my halloween table topper. It's over 10 years old now, pulled out every year the 1st of October (I'm late this year) and it is fading...might have to make another one at some point. I love Halloween...just fun for kids. It feels weird not to be carving pumpkins with them anymore. I don't want to be the only one carving, it's just not the same.

I do have some "plug in" pumpkins that I bought as an alternative...and those are plugged in and glowing!

The dining room lamp HAS to go. It is just the wrong feel for the room. It came with the house, and all that brass and etched glass is just too.....tooo.....SHINY? Something. I'm going to check at Lowe's or Home Depot to see if I can find something more hammered and beat up looking :c) Distressed bronze or wrought iron? Something to go with the rustic feel of the rest of the room.

I also found a plate hanger thing..holds 3 plates...that I want from Hobby Lobby, but it was not on sale this week ;c) It might have to wait. I don't think I have a current coupon floating around anywhere. I have 3 large redware plates that would be a great accent on the wall to the right of where the quilt ladder is. It's a big blank spot there.

Monday, October 27, 2008

3am Hot Flash Progress....

I love really quirky movies. Nothing is better than finding a movie on pay per view, or on-demand and starting it when *I* want to start it, pausing it when I want a break to get a drink or run for something, and enjoying it full throttle with hand stitching in my lap :c)

Even better than that, my mom and step-dad spend the year making DVDs for us of really OLD movies (1940s-1960s) and I always look forward to seeing what they send. Most them them I barely remember, or haven't seen at all. LOVE the old movies!

The past couple of evenings I've done just this (The guys were watching football upstairs...)in my quilt room and am amazed what a calming effect it has. Just to sit...not to talk...just to stitch...not to listen to crowds on TV cheering and announcers announcing (and family members yelling at the TV or the refs or the players..why DO they DO THAT?!).

I think I am appreciating the "not having to talk" when I am home alone more and more.

I am about 1/2 way I think or a bit more on 3 AM Hot Flash! I thought I'd show you some pics to see...since it seems I haven't really been quilting....I have. Not a lot of piecing...but...hand work works too.

The white stitches are my machine basting, they are coming out as I reach each area.

The center panel is straight lines, the next round has baptist fans. The skinny 3rd round has straight lines, the wide 4th round is the one I am working on now, with a hand drawn waving wonky feather. I'll put a design in the black border, and then I think more straight lines in the last round to finish it off.

This afternoon I'm headed to Smith Mountain Lake, VA! More pretty driving with the leaves the way they are. I take back roads, and it will be a snap, only about 110 miles or so. The lecture/trunkshow is tomorrow morning, with a 1/2 day crumbs class after. I'll be home tomorrow evening. Just a Quickie :cD

Autumn in Quiltville

I woke this morning feeling a chill,but knowing it wouldn't last for long...the sun is out :c) I'm one of those who LIKE Daylight savings time in the fall because then I can crawl out of bed an hour earlier. I don't like getting up in the dark...so today...I didn't!

As I looked out my kitchen window while waiting for water to boil for tea, I saw the play of the morning sun on the turning leaves and just had to grab my camera. What I can capture with a digital image, can't really show you just how fresh and woodsy it smells out there!

Looking up through the leaves from below at the sky....

Our little creek at the back of the property is mostly dry,but it runs after a storm! Buddy loves this creek. He is a water dog for sure,you can't keep him out of it! Of course, it is only deep enough for him to lie in it and get his belly wet :c)

Looking up from our backyard along the powerline path. I love that there are no fences out there...don't fence me in!

The back of the house looking up from the grassy area before you get to the creek. The leaves were blowing as I took this pic..I don't think you can see them falling. That hottub in the gazebo is one of my favorite things about this house....BLISS!

Again, from the house looking down towards the creek....

More limbs and leaves....

Looking up...seeing all the greens and golds in all their glory, every shade in between, each leaf an individual part of the whole. Isn't it wondrous?