Thursday, March 05, 2009

From TN to AL!

Hey everybody!

I'm so excited...when I logged in I see that I have gone from 290 something on "follow this blog" to over 312!!! I am so tickled. Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow along in my crazy life.

I have been in TN since Monday, and had a wonderful time staying with Chris in her beautiful home, and was in complete awe of her management skills as a mother of 9 children! 2 may be grown and gone, but there are still 7 at home. Add two parents, me, and Quilt Diva Julie who came for some visiting fun, and Chris had a very full house for a few days. Not to mention all the neighbors and other visitors that are constantly coming in and out and across her threshold, I'm thinking she should have simply installed a revolving door in her front hall, or maybe one of those "auto open" "auto close" doors like you find in front of Target!! *LOL*

An extra bit of side-fun yesterday....During lunch time for the workshop, Chris and I ran to subway..to split a footlong (turkey on whole wheat with the works! YUMMY!) and there in the parkinglot was GOODWILL!! Oh yes...yellow tags were all 99 cents! We did quite a bit of damage on shirts and pajama pants to be recycled into quilts. Wahooo!

Chris, I am amazed at all you get done almost so effortlessly, and am so blessed to consider you as a friend! Thank you for your hospitality!

And Quilt Diva Julie, it was a real treat to spend two evenings and all the time in between that we could talking quilts (what else?!) and getting to know you in person after having known you for so many years through our online quilting ties :c)

I have a fun fun fun video to share with you of Diane at her treadle at Tuesday's Sister's Choice workshop!


Diane, it was so great to meet YOU after these many years too!

Diane was wearing a "Quilt Green" t-shirt..with a treadle machine on it. She sews by people-power exclusively. She also spent time going over my hand crank machine and tuning him up for me so I can be people-powered too. I really REALLY want to do this, and watching her treadling away has me all fired up to get my treadles in working order too. Thanks Diane!

And if you are treadle-intrigued, Here is a link Diane sent me of her friend ANNIE doing free motion quilting on a treadle machine....WOW!!!

I love to consider that there has been machine quilting as long as there have been machines, but I don't think anyone has made treadle quilting into as much of an art form as Annie has.

I got an email from Lucy saying that our articles are out in the latest Quiltmania Magazine!! Congrats Lucy!! I need to find where I can get my hands on a copy of the issue.

And a little fore-warning for those who have subscribed to Irish Quilting Magazine, there is an article amd more coming up in a future issue!

I'm in Pelham AL now, drove down here last night and was met by Terry, who showed up with the most GORGEOUS gift basket!! I tell you, I am overwhelmed with the open arms and the gifts and comforts that are shown me everywhere I turn. You give me far more than I can ever hope to return and I am so blessed to be on this road with you all!

I don't have to speak until tonight, so today has an errands list for me, which is always fun in a city I've never been in before. I'm off to the gym that the hotel gives access to (gotta work off all the quilter's goodies!) and then find a place for an oil change, and tire rotation. Then off to find ANOTHER place to find out and fix why I don't have a passenger front side door speaker working. I've got one sided music in my car, and that doesn't make for a happy traveling quilter.

I've got a ton of bookwork to do which I can do with my laptop in the hotel, and just use today as a "down day" to get ready for the rest of the week.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Great White South??

It started snowing sometime last evening and was still at it when I went to bed. The power blipped off at least 4 times through the evening/night, and miracle of miracles, we have power this morning still.

Our driveway is STEEP, and poor DH had a hard time getting out. As for ME, I'm waiting until closer to 9am and letting things melt a bit. This will also give all the "morning" traffic a time to subside for those going to work etc.....hopefully helping me avoid any traffic accidents that have occurred due to stupid people who don't know how to drive in the snow :c|

Snow Storm March 2009

It really IS beautiful out there....I wish I didn't have to get in a car and drive in it is all!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Rain, Sleet, Ice & Snow....

If you've seen the weather channel at all, you'll be familiar with this messy chaos coming across the Southeast, and I happen to be in the midst of it! I was all dressed to go out this morning, but when I attempted, I saw the deck and the driveway just slick with ice and decided against it. So I am HOME for the duration.....that duration ending tomorrow morning because I am headed to Franklin TN!

Yes folks, I'll be driving over the Smoky Mountains in this mess...so please keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm meeting with the Cumberland Valley Quilter's Guild in Franklin TN, and then on to Pelham,AL to meet with the Evening Star Quilt Guild. After tomorrow temps should be warming up and there should be no more problems, but tomorrow makes me nervous!

I had a great time visiting the Hampton show. So many friends from so many places! It was like a very fun homecoming, and I got to introduce friends from MY guild, to friends from other guilds, and just have a great ole time.

My friend Susan had a challenge quilt in her guild's display. Their theme was "name that tune" And everyone had a different song to portray in fabric. Susan is So artful, her Marilyn Monroe "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" nearly came off the surface of the quilt, she looked so great!

As for the show itself...there was NOT a whole lot of "traditional" quilts on display. But there were some, and I saw hand quilting as well as gorgeous machine work....

My favorite booths of course, were the ones with antique quilts! I was told I couldn't take pictures in some booths, but I did snap a couple from the aisles so you can see what drew me in.

Thursday at lunch I got to sit with another group of friends and witness their "show and tell" Exchange blocks that they had swapped for a year, and each set in their own way. Aren't the quilts WONDERFUL?! Most of these ladies met each other while in the military stationed all over the world..and they still keep in contact and do swaps and challenges with each other. Isn't that great? It really IS the thread that binds!

Thursday afternoon was also the best day outside....beautiful. About 2:30 I put my purchases in my car, put the ipod buds in my ears, and went for a 1.5 hour power walk, following wherever the sidewalk lead. The sun felt WONDERFUL and I'm sure glad I enjoyed it then, because it started raining on my way home Friday and hasn't stopped since!

So what did I buy? Really...I was very very very good. I bought a bundle of indigoes with cheddar in them. I've been WANTING these, and I feel justified because I have used up a bunch of my other indigoes I've bought from this same vendor over the years. Now I'm trying to figure out who's TOP LOADER washing machine I can borrow to wash them, because my front loader just is not the thing for shrinking and removing excess dye! It might be the laundromat at this point.

I also found another pair of my favorite thread snips. I keep these by my machine at all times.....just super duper.

And I bought a "satin edge" foot for doing machine applique among other things. I watched the gal demoing it..thinking to myself..."that's cool, but will I use it? Does it really do all that she says it does?" And I decided that if it does HALF of what she demo'd I'd be good with it! So...it came with me too.

Maybe I'll get to pop it on the machine this afternoon and play with it a bit! Heck, the car is still packed from the VA trip, I don't have to repack the trunkshow because it just goes back out with me tomorrow..so...surely....can't I get a COUPLE hours to sew this afternoon?? :cD

In between it all, this is the hand project I'm working on! It's just a little ditty I was making out of leader-ender 4 patches and bonus triangles...it's been pieced since last summer,but never started the quilting on it. Nothing fancy so far, but I think you can see where I am doing crosshatching through the 4patches....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Monday....

It's another week! How does that happen?

I wanted to show you a couple of goodies found on my way home from Statesboro GA last week. These were actually unearthed in Charlotte.

TWO of the quilts came home with me....$30.00 each! Mind you, there is wear, there is tearing,there are loose seams, there is fabric shattering...but I love the feel of these,and just for studying the fabrics that are in them, they are AWESOME.

These quilts contain all my favorite things I love about utility quilts. They were made to be used. They use "everyday" fabrics and scraps from household sewing. They are not prefect, but are ordinary well known patterns. They contain "odd ball" fabrics, and many of them show "frugal piecing" where one patch is sewn to another to get a piece that is big enough for the piece needed.

The first one is this Log cabin. It's basically a "summer spread" type...no quilting, but discreetly tied to a striped backing. Look at those fabrics! I think what makes this one interesting is the use of some discreet mediums in the light areas. Lights to this gal meant anything that was lighter than the darks....so there are pastel pinks, blues and yellows in amongst the light shirting prints. I also love that the logs surround a double pink center square instead of a red :c)

This one has no border, but is just simply bound.

The second one is a wonderful Churn Dash. In fact, the quilt was there 6 months ago when I went through that mall, and it didn't have a price on it then, so I passed it by. There are photos of it from the last trip somewhere! Well...it was still there....still no price, so I asked the counter girl if she could call the dealer and find me some info on it. Again...$30.00 SOLD!

I LOVE the row of half blocks.....And that bright bold red plaid amongst the browns. The backgrounds are various, from cream shirtings to a green on light blue...some red on a brown/cream stripe...some simple shirting plaids. And that poison green sashing!

What I also love about this one is the odd borders. Top and bottom are different than the sides....and there are two fabrics used for the binding....a brown for part, a double pink for the rest. Lots of quilts this age have "rounded" corners...not often was binding mitered the way we see it today.

She quilted it really interestingly, putting more into it than just a simple "1/4" around the patch...there are X's and echoed triangles in the corners of the blocks. The top and bottom borders are quilted with a dog tooth zig zag...which is one of my fave things to put in a narrow border, so I really related to this quilt!

The 3rd little ditty...I loved for it's graphic appeal...but it is a ROUGH ROUGH quilt...it felt like the backing was a horse blanket of some sort...the batting was burlap, and the top fabrics were very rough too. The price was more than I could handle,but the over all appeal was great. I bet this was stored in a barn for the past 90 years...it smelled like it! *LOL* Another reason it didn't come home with me because I'd have been afraid to wash it, and really...it was.....well...VINTAGE!

I'd still love to have a peek at the history and the life of this quilt. It just appeals to me, even if it was out of my budget, and offensive to my nose :c)

If you don't hear from me for a few days, don't worry....I'll be back as soon as I am able. I'm road-tripping again!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Long Distance Sewing...

Sounds like an Olympic sport,doesn't it? But actually it was a LOT easier than that, and what fun we've had.

You know I've only been in NC for a year. And roots are hard to develop, mostly because I find it hard to get involved with much due to time commitments. I only make half my guild meetings here, if that, can't volunteer for a church committee because I am not here enough to fulfill that obligation either. Can't sing in the choir anymore, I miss more than half the rehearsals, not to mention several of the Sundays...But to everything there is an "on the other hand"....and I love where I am in my life right now.

Lucy and I have done this long distance sewing thing before, and it is so fun...almost like we are in the same room. She set her laptop on the table near her featherweight, I put my laptop on the desk next to my machine, cameras on, microphones working...and we can talk and chat and sew at the same time! From across the world!

I am just in awe of this technology. I mean....stop...and think about it. I was sitting here in North Carolina, listening to her clock chime, hearing someone knocking on her front door, listening to her pick up the telephone for a conversation, seeing her sew on her featherweight while we visited. I could look out her window and see the houses across the street. People riding by on bicycles, or walking their dogs. And she could see me.

It was just wonderful fun. Didn't last long...she got called away to fix dinner, and I lunch :c) (we are 6 hours apart time zone wise) but having that precious time with a friend across the miles was balm to my soul!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Staying in Stitches, Statesboro GA!

I had a WONDERFUL time with the ladies of the Statesboro guild....Staying in Stitches!

I met up with Grace at her house as that is where I stayed the night. We went out to a fun place for dinner, and then off to the guild's meeting location. Trunkshow on Tuesday night, Workshop on Wednesday!

Somehow it feels like it has been more days than that...I know I got home yesterday afternoon,and today is only Friday, but I could have sworn we packed more days in than that!

Vicki D brought her TREADLE machine to the workshop!

This was so fun to see. I'd really like to get one of my singer treadles functional. You know...sewing out on the back deck over looking the woods? Maybe it sounds better than it actually would be. Southern humidity, Southern bugs taken into consideration :c)

Here are some pics taken at the workshop. The ladies were doing BEAUTIFUL work. One of the things I really love is seeing all the different fabrics and twists people put on things. From brights and novelties to 1930's pastels, and everything scrappy in between! It was just nice all the way around.

Staying in Stitches, Statesboro GA 2009

Here's a little slide show of the quilts in progress!

I left the ladies to drive to Jason's house in columbia, but hadn't even left the parking lot when I got a call telling me I'd left my quilt backdrop stand behind! So I turned around and came back...and left again :c)

I met Jason and Kim at their house in Columbia, Charlotte joined us for dinner at San Jose's Mexican....which is one of our favorites. Don't have that one up here near Winston, so it is a must do when I am in the area. I love the chicken fajita quesadillas!

I did a bit of antique mall hopping on the way home. I've got TWO lovelies to show you....but I need to lay them out to get pics. Maybe tomorrow...

I've been back to working hard at the gym and it is really starting to pay off. My trainer is kicking my butt! And I am loving the classes as well. It's also nice knowing some friendly faces so I can feel like...yes....after a year...I can stop feeling like such a newbie and make some roots here.

Next stop on my schedule? Gloucester VA! I leave Tuesday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Machine, Happy Bonnie!

I finally got a chance to play with my new Janome 6500 yesterday! I put on a binding...and I am SO impressed!

I used the walking foot that came with the machine, and I was able to use the seam guide from my Bernina to screw right up against that walking foot....it gives SUCH a nice fence to run that binding and quilt edge along..gives me a nice straight binding seam which is sometimes hard to manage when fanagling a large quilt through a machine, hefting the weight to and fro. (And yes, I also set up an ironing board at right angle to my left to help support the weight,but you know...)

So putting the binding and sleeve on the strip twist was my first task, and the machine passed with flying colors! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the knee lift, but it is going to take a while to get in the habit of using it. Same thing with the tread cutter....I have to stop and think, because I automatically want to raise the presser foot by hand,and remove the work from the machine and up and over the SIDE thread cutter (which is not where it used to be on the other machine!) Old habits die hard, you know?

Lucy wanted me to make a little video of how the thread cutter and everything works while I was piecing on a little pineapple block. So...here's the video! Some how my videoagrapher DH was not as impressed with the thread cutter as I was! Men...they just don't GET it sometimes, do they?

I also was sent this little Smile Box from the Mt Vernon VA Quilters! It's pics they took of my last workshop and lecture up there with them. What a great time we had. The colors that some ladies chose for their quilts left me drooling.

I vividly remember the burnt oranges and seafoam greens of one concoction...oh YUMMY! So that is playing in the back of my head for a future stash reduction idea. I have a LOT of greens, and they only appear here and there in my quilts. Nothing makes a dent. Maybe for St Patricks Day? Anyone want to work on something green in March? :cD (And I'm not referring to the science project at the back of your refrigerator!)

It's almost time to hit the road again. On Tuesday I leave for Statesboro Georgia! This will be a fun trip with the Staying in Stitches Quilt Guild. It's a driving trip for me which is always a pleasure. I can listen to my books on MP3...Right now I'm listening to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have read them,but now it's fun to listen because the reader is SO good with the voices.

I'll be home on Thursday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day! It brings back memories of decorating shoe boxes and paper lunch sacks to tape on the back of our chairs in school, just wondering WHO would put WHAT into our decorated containers. Valentines was the holiday for paper lace doilies and glue and glitter. Conversation hearts (that some how tasted like soap!) and cinnamon red hot hearts.

He loves me! He loves me NOT! And will I ever know... :c)

Valentine's Day was for giggly girlfriends sharing secrets in a corner of the playground.

Valentine's Day was for heart shaped sugar cookies with thick pink frosting and red sugar sprinkles.

In my heart I'm licking envelopes stuffed with cut paper valentines,and putting one in each of your boxes, bags, or sewing baskets!

Happy Valentine's Day, from my heart to yours!

Friday, February 13, 2009

An Unlikely Combination!

I always look forward to going North East and seeing the traditional Amish way of life. My heart pounds at sightings of Amish Wash hanging on the line, buggies pulled by horses clopping down the street, kids on push bikes, girls plowing fields in the fall....these are things I think of when I think of the Amish. Big white barns, cattle waiting to be milked or brought in, manicured flower gardens. Fruit and Veggie stands. Shops with Amish made souvenirs...jams, jellies, baked goods, and of course, Quilts!

But as most North-Easterners know...winters can be cold and harsh, and while the farm lays still for the winter,and carpentry comes to a close...what is to stop an Amish family from coming SOUTH to soak up the beauty and the warmth, perhaps finding some carpentry work to do around Florida? Visiting distant relatives who have relocated? Staying with Mennonite families who open up the extra rooms in their homes for room and board?

Shouldn't all children (both young AND old?)experience the pleasure of sand squishing through toes?

Shouldn't everyone who works so hard through life experience the sun on their face,their legs, their arms before the next season of hard work comes with the spring?

Believe me, after a long hard winter, a bit of sun can do WONDERS as Tonya and I found out...look at us dipping our toes in! The water was cold, the sun was warm, the sand felt wonderful, and we let our inner children come out and play too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sarasota, Tonya, Gwen & Me!

The trip to Florida was too fast, too furious....but we got a lot done together, plus the bonus of talking, laughing, eating fun places, visiting quilt shops, getting LOST....all those fun things you can't do by email and phone alone. Sometimes you just have to GO even if you can't take a whole week to fit it all in!

There are more pics I wish I could have taken. The first night we were dying for Indian food, but the place was closed...so we ended up at a tiny Mexican place instead. Little did I know it was "Serenade" night..they had a great guy playing guitar and singing. WONDERFUL! I had to tip him $10 he was so good. Needless to say, he sang for us more than once :c) The whole place broke into song when he played and sang "Guantanamera"

Tuesday was THE DAY. Somehow Tonya had fanagled us the whole day with Gwen Marston & her friend Betty who is hosting Gwen while Gwen is teaching in Florida. We weren't able to schedule classes with her, but the one on one time was so much better!

We showed her our quilts, especially ones with Tonya's lettering technqiues. She loved them! She really went nuts over Tonyas....it was so fun to see!

We ended up all going out to lunch at this (can you believe it?) AMISH ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET. In Florida. In the land of Margaritaville...we were at an honest to goodness Amish place. I felt like I was in Lancaster County! It's not for the light hearted mind you. We were trying to figure out why the "Lighter Side" part of the menu listed homemade noodles OVER mashed potatoes! *LOL* We all agreed that "lighter side" must refer to the COLOR or VALUE of the dish being served...*hehehe*

Next door to the restaurant was a quilt shop. Now this is the funny part...In walks this lady with a cross stitch kit quilt under one arm. I was talking to Gwen about yardage sizes she usually finds herself buying,and this lady butts in and tells Gwen (not knowing who she is of course) that if she were a TRUE QUILTER...she would buy a yard more than she thinks she needs. I about wet myself..*howling* Gwen of course, just smiled at the lady in an "Is that so?" manner and proceeded to buy one yard cuts of the fabrics she had stacked up. What a riot!

I did some damage too...I bought some 2 yard cuts, thinking I might want something for borders or setting triangles, but I really limited my purchases. I STILL feel like I have way too much and there is so little I need.

Tonya and I BOTH had brought our "out of print" Liberated Quilting books for Gwen to sign, and that was such a treat.

Yesterday was SO full....we went to the beach! It was gorgeous, you just can't believe how nice it was. The sand is the whitest sand I've ever seen. It's quartz so it doesn't get hot on your feet. The water is the most gorgeous aquamarine...

Next to the beach was a little park area, and there happened to be an "art in the park" thing going on, so we wandered booths and I found a couple trinkets to bring home with me as souvenirs.

On our way to the park from the beach, there was an Amish family headed to the beach just like everyone else,blankets and baskets of food, barefoot children in toe. It was so refreshing to see! Also, kind of out of place,but I am so glad they take the time to enjoy the beauty too. I'm sure the ladies are glad to have the black hose off their legs and some sun on their faces,healthy complexions all around! Tonya took some pics of me with them in the background, trying not to get pics of them directly..hopefully she will post the rest in the next few days. My camera screen was so reflective it was hard to see WHAT I was taking pics of in all that sunshine.

One more quilt shop, lunch...and back to the airport. We crammed as much as we could into almost 3 days full!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Florida Bound :cD

I'm off to Florida to meet up with Tonya in Sarasota for some well deserved girlfriend time! We've got some projects we are working on, and there is only so much you can do over the phone and email, you know? Flights were CHEAP...so I'm flying!

And because I'm seeing her in person, I felt ultra inspired (read that as....under the gun!) to finish this little ditty.

Tonya had sent me the L O V E letters many months ago, and I had set them aside because I didn't know how I wanted to set them. Then I started working on them...and they got set aside again. THEN they got LOST!!! Well, a few weeks ago they were found, baggied up inside another project. By this time I had started to re-make some of the letters, and what has resulted is a combination of hers and mine mixed up together.

I have decided to call this one "Love Lost, Love Found".

Jeff wanted to know why there is a purple part in the border. Did you ever have the occasion to give a 19 year old MALE a lesson on "Design Element"?? SO the next time he sees a beat up Honda on the road with one front quarter panel a different color than the rest of the car because they picked it up at a salvage yard...he'll probably tell me "Design Element!!"

The photos in the completed top don't do the colors justice. The pics of the 4 blocks are more accurate. I tried taking pics outside on the deck,but the red looks washed out and the purple isn't that color, and the pumpkin colored sashings look better than they do in the photos. But I think you'll get the idea.

No time to baste it and start quilting on it....it will have to wait for the next go round!

I'm back Wednesday night....be good! :cD

Sunday, February 08, 2009

African American Quilt Circle, Durham, NC

Dear, Dear AAQC ladies! You fill my heart with laughter and gladness and joy for living!

My time with you yesterday was so memorable. I can only hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did. I would love to come again, any time you want me!

African American Quilt Circle 2009
(The slide show doesn't include ALL the photos from yesterday, so please click the link above to view them all..I took more than the slide show could hold!)

My heart can't express in words all I wish I could say to you. Maybe that's because I'm still so full of yesterday's wonderful luncheon!! (Yes, there are pics of that in the slide show too!)

I am impressed with the overwhelming and abundant feeling of Sisterhood and close Community in your group. The welcoming of members from near and far, some who travel great distances for your meetings. And I was strengthened through watching every one in your group welcome in the new comers.

Quilters young and old, experienced and newly beginning, women teaching women. Women not only sharing the knowledge of quilting, but sharing their lives as well.

The shape of a circle itself is so symbolic of what and who you are. With no beginning, and no ending, it is eternal. It has no sharp edges or points, it is loving and kind. It is OPEN. It encompasses. The circle also places no single part of itself above any other. The circle is a symbol of Unity. I felt all of these in your midst.

Thank you so much for including me within the arms of your Circle yesterday!