Monday, May 03, 2010

Colors of Austin!

Things have been hopping since I've gotten here, and I'm going to need some "DOWN" time to really have the time to write all I want to blog about!

I'm staying at a La Quinta (I almost wrote La Quilta, fingers on auto pilot! *LOL*) in North Austin, walking distance from a shopping area known as The Domain. It's one of those monstrosities anchored by high end stores like Dillards and Neiman Marcuss, has lots of smaller boutique type shops, restuarants, and even a Tiffany. Nope. Won't find me buying anything here, but it's all built like a small city, complete with apartments and condos amongst everything so it's very trendy.

It's been a great place to walk, and I've found that my way to where the sidewalk ends and back is close to 3 miles. Nice trek.

I am LOVING the wildflowers that bloom, even in construction areas, and I wanted to post to you a few glimpses of what I've passed by on my walks...taking time to notice their colors, their texture, even behind chain link. This is Austin:

This is BLUE!

This is PINK!

This is GOLD!

What colors growing in your yards, or along your walks could influence you in a color plan for a quilt growing in your head?

I love nature's colors!

I'm in between a morning lecture and an evening one as I write this....I'll be back with you as soon as I can..in the mean time, keep on stitching on!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hello From Austin!

Hey Y'all!

Austin is AWESOME!

I arrived yesterday morning around 11am and was picked up by Diane who met me at the baggage claim. The quilt bags arrived in good shape, we loaded up a rental cart and off we went to the parking garage and out into the wilds of Texas traffic!

I used to live not too far north of here, just up the interstate, in Waxahachie but that was about 7-8 years ago. And of all the times I drove south to San Antonio,or further down to Houston or Galveston, I always passed through Austin, close enough to see the state capital from the freeway, but never actually stopped unless it was just to get gas right at an exit with an easy off/on.

Diane drove me down Congress and we had lunch at Guero's Taco Bar! What a fun place. They make the torillas right there, and the salsas are all fresh....really really good Tex-Mex! I loved it. There was so much on the menu that I wanted to try, but I opted for a combo that had black bean soup (to die for) a fresh tamale, spanish rice, and a quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla. I tell you what, fresh tortillas just can't be beat!

From there we drove toward down town. this picture was taken as we were leaving the restaurant of a side of one of the buildings....I just love the arty flavor of everything..look at these colors!

As we got closer to downtown I took pics through the car windshield...so please excuse any bugs/dirt/debris that you see....it's there to add artistic texture, right? :cD

Isn't this building just beautiful? I love visiting capital buildings. As expected, there was a whole lot of "school field trip" activity going on.

Fun to watch the kids trying so hard to pay attention when they really wanted to run screaming through the rotunda, hearing their voices echo..and sliding down THESE corridors!

And this is my view from the inside of the Rotunda look up into the dome....love the 5 pointed Texas stars everywhere...this one even had the letters in between each star point..

Even the door knobs and plates were awesome to look at...just look at this detail!

The grounds outside were also just lovely. I have always loved winding twisted live oaks, and it was great to see them all over the capital grounds along with rose gardens, statues, memorials, it was a lovely place to spend some time.

Today was the crumbs workshop..I'll have to upload pics for those another time as this has gotten quite long! Tomorrow is the Star Struck workhop, and then there is two lecture/trunkshows on Monday, one to the morning group, and one to the evening...so it's going to be a fun couple of days.

I got a mail from Lucy..she and Rene have made it to Texas fine, and they will be coming to get me after my workshop tomorrow and we can go have dinner, find a fun place to listen to some music and visit for the evening. Can't Wait!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Featuring Kathy McCrae!

There are just some smiles I am so happy to see wherever I see them, and Kathy is right at the top of my list!

Not only did she drag herself out to see me TWICE when I was in the DC area, but she came to take my class at VCQ too!

And she gets special merit, because she loaned me the #37 foot to her Bernina when I showed up at VCQ with nothing but my walking foot on!!

You know, driving someone elses machine is like driving someone elses car....it just feels weird, but if you can put someone elses foot on your machine that the same as the foot that you left at home, you can almost forget you are sewing with a borrowed foot and just sew pedal to the metal like you always do :cD

Along with taking the classes, Kathy gets the "extra mile" quilter award for making "Jared Takes A Wife" in KING SIZE!! It's just gorgeous, her colors are wonderful, she put music fabric in it, and believe me..it just sings!

I just really wanted to share her beautiful smile and beautiful quilt with you, because I'm off to Austin!!

Thanks Kathy, hope to see you again next time I'm in the DC area!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pineapples A Plenty!

The second day of VCQ was Pineapple Blossom Day!

I was blessed to have some students BOTH DAYS, and it amazes me when someone is so willing not only to start two UFOs in the same weekend, but to take them with the same teacher. I'm honored....you guys were so great!

Pineapple Blossom Class VCQ 2010
I uploaded a little slideshow on webshots..I tried not to do this two days in a row, but yesterday's pics took forever to post, and since Pineapple Blossom class had MORE pics...it's another slide show. If you can't view it in your reader, you might need to click to webshots to view them!

And I love how webshots decides HOW the pics are going to look in the slide show....they cut off Susan Smith's head! *LOL* And since Susan has the most adorable "frozen smile for the public when posing" (We laugh about this every time I see her) I am posting her again so you can see just how great she is! She actually FINISHED her pineapple blossom top IN CLASS..sashings and all. Power girl! uhhuh! Proud to call you friend! (Keep my room ready, kay? ;c) )

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boxy Stars!

In this case, I'd say the students were the stars!

And for once, this was an EASY venue for me to get to! Smith Mountain Lake is just South East of Roanoke...a 2 hour drive for me! PIECE OF CAKE! North Carolina and Virgina are not the smallest states, especially if you are talking about state WIDTH. Even tho there were other teachers from NC at VCQ....Annette had to drive from Fayetteville (4 to 5 hours maybe?) And Pepper from the coast, so that was 6 hours or about the distance that I am from DC. I've said before how much I love driving up through Virginia, but this is all back highways, straight up 220..and boy was it green and lush and lovely!

The Boxy Stars class had 25 students! We were plum full up with a waiting list. That always excites me. And it is always so fun just to see the wide variety of fabrics, the stories behind them (Like, you have had this for HOW LONG!??)and who the quilts are maybe being made for.

By lunch time we were pinning blocks to the design wall (aka...display quilt for the next day's class with a piece of flannel hung over it!)and it was just amazing how many blocks were being turned out in nothing flat!

I tell you what, quilters will also come to your rescue when you need them most..because...*cough*...guess WHO showed up with her walking foot on her machine and NO 1/4" FOOT AGAIN!?? (*&@#($*&(*&! (Yes, that would be ME...) The last thing I did was put on a binding, and when it came to put the machine in the car the night before leaving I just up and packed it, strapped ole shotgun the bernina into the frontseat with the seatbelt and didn't even LOOK to see that I had my trusty #37 foot with me.

One sweet quilter loaned me her whole MACHINE! I was working on piecing a project for the next book in my room in between classes, early mornings, late nights, and I needed that machine. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Another student (who is a glutton for punishment because she just took 2 of my other classes when I was up in DC the week before!! :cD)had a #37 foot that she wasn't using and since that fit MY machine (You know how we are about sewing on our own machines?)I switched gears and turned out chains after chains of 1/2 square triangles all ready for pressing! THANK YOU THANK YOU!

I have it on my list, the next time I'm near a Bernina shop, I'm buying an extra #37 foot and just keeping it in my STUFF for travel!

This student had big plans and brought her whole sewing room!! :cD We NEEDED her too! If anyone was out of anything, she had it! (It always amuses me how much we can bring to an 8 hour class...we might need it!)

Pedal to the Metal Baby!! This is no time for lolly gagging, we run a sweat shop in here! Loved these pinks/greens. YUMMY!

Pieces, parts and blocks everywhere!

Don't you love it when big long chains of block parts are streaming out the back of your machine....production, production, that's my function!

This is Bonnie Timm's sweet baby quilt in pinks and blues...hurry Bonnie, the baby has already arrived! :cD

Cool blues....The theme for VCQ this year was Quilt's Ahoy, a lake type nautical theme...perfect!

Blocks on the floor...looking good, with or without sashings!

Some quilters are SO organized! (this is NOT me...lol!)

We really did have the BEST TIME! Thanks for inviting me to be a part of VCQ!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When Quilters Gather...

You can find THESE in parking lots!!

VCQ Plates 2010

Aren't these great!!?

If you pulled up behind a car with a recognizeable license plate, would you beep? Wave? Quilting is about community as much as anything else, and I just love it when I come upon cars with personalized plates or bumper stickers like these!

One time (maybe I've told this story)...I was out running errands with DS Jeff (who will only ride shotgun with me if food is promised somewhere in our excursion!)and he pointed out to the van in front of us..."MOM! She's a QUILTER!!.....Mom.....she is pulling into DUNKIN DONUTS!!" LOL Yep. We definitely are our own subculture!!

I would have beeped and waved, but she wouldn't have heard me and I was in the wrong lane to turn into Dunkin Donuts myself ;c) But doesn't just KNOWING that a stranger is also a quilter make them approachable somehow? I love this sense of community among quilters!

I had an absolute blast teaching at the Virginia Consortium of Quilters Celebration this year. I don't think I can ever hear "CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES COME ON!!" And not break out into song and dance, because it was the theme song for the whole weekend!

I had the best time in the evenings just sitting with Pepper Cory, Cathy Miller and her hubby, Mickey Depre, Kevin Womack, Annette Ornellas and the other teachers just UNWINDING and telling stories until the late hours. Friendships were formed, strengthened, much laughter shared, it was SO GOOD. Usually teachers can leave exhausted, but I left inspired by everyone that I taught with!

I've got some class pics to share, but I'll have to plan that for tomorrows post. I'm hitting the ground running today, there is so much to do to get ready for my trip to AUSTIN on FRIDAY!

And you know how the universe sometimes swings in your favor? Get this one....you know my friend LUCY from the Netherlands? What kind of Karma/Kismet thing is this....The same time that I am teaching in Austin, she and her hubby are 2nd honeymooning in TEXAS!!! So we are planning an evening to get together and share hugs and stories and cram what we can in a small window of time because they are traveling the state, and I've got guild activities planned. Still. I'll see her and hug her in a place that is very far from both of our homes.

Yep, Quilting is a lifestyle choice...and look how it is blessed all of our lives through the people we've met!

I'd definitely beep behind you if you were in front of me ;c)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Over-heard Locally.....

At my post office (which I have told you I love love love)

Postmaster Cheryl to customer: Do you have any 5's or 10's?

Customer: Why? Do you need me to make a change-run for you? I'm happy to do it if you need me to?

This might not sounds like A LOT to any of you...but in a BIG CITY you just don't find the Postmaster running short on change for one thing. And you definitely don't find the Postmaster handing over 20 dollar bills to someone who is NOT a postal employee to drive down the street and go through the drive up bank and GET CHANGE (and expect them to come back!)

This here, y'all, is one of the reasons I love living where I do! Little glimpses into every day rural life in NC.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More on the 2" strip over-abundance..

Several have emailed on the availability of the pattern I was posting for my 2" strip reduction. It's a current block pattern running in Quiltmaker Magazine. You should be able to find it on your news stands.....

You can also find out more about it HERE!

It's a great issue with lots of neat stuff in it. I still believe dollar for dollar that magazines are the best pattern resource going!

Besides, if you can find it at your grocery store it becomes part of the grocery budget and there is no paper trail..LOL!!

I'm not doing this as a special project like a Quiltville Mystery...it's just an idea for blocks that we can build as leaders & enders on the side of other things..there is no time frame, there is no set number of blocks, this is a work at your own pace and make a dent into something you've already got cut to size :c)

More Gifted Squishies!

You guys are awesome! I can't begin to tell you how excited I get when I go to my mailbox and find things like this!

Suzette emailed me asking if I wanted some scraps from her dresden plate quilt after I posted THESE blocks a while back (yes, another "IN PROGRESS" quilt...how did this get by the wayside? Honestly, I need to clone myself about 3 times to do all I want to do!)

When she said scraps, I thought SCRAPS...you know? But look at these pieces! They are the left over pieces from having her Dresden Plate pieces DIE CUT...way to go!

And look how nicely these are going to add to my little collection of vintage 30's & 40's pieces? I love these!

Thanks so much for sending them....it's making me all excited about this project all over again. I love combining these prints with plain muslin and solids, and mixing them with domestic household fabrics like the stripes and plaids from recycled clothing...what a mix!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Quiltville Service Announcement....

Hey everyone!

You all know I've been dealing back and forth with website issues between my webhost and the domain name provider. Each has said it is NOT their issue, it's been a HUGE pain in the (*&@#($*&(*&!

I'm teaching in VA this weekend...arrived at the retreat center, and have spent the last hour or so on the phone getting things straightened.

It's a bit technical, so I'll put it to you this way:

The website may be DOWN for the next 12 to 48 hours while they get everything pointed to the new IP address. This all takes time to move from one server to another, so I ask your patience....Hopefully by the time the weekend rolls around, things will be up and running and ready for you!

Thanks for your patience!

Total Strip Overload!

This is it.

Something must be done!

We just can't have this!

I mean, when it is impossible to SHUT a drawer of 2" strips....and you are faced with starting another drawer to contain them....shouldn't this be a nudge, a niggle, and push, a shove...


Yep. Even if it is going to be a leader/ender thing. Something has to happen with this drawer. These strips are all 2", just begging to be sewn into something riotously scrappy.

There is a drawer of the same size, though not near as full (but full enough) of neutral/light 2" strips to go with this bin of colored 2" strips. And you know what I want to do? FINISH the quilt I started that is now showing in the May/June issue of Quiltmaker! I started with these blocks, never got very far, and when Quiltmaker asked for ideas for scrap addicts, this is one I submitted for my column.

Yeah, I know...I need to practice what I preach and MAKE A QUILT...not just a pile of blocks! So..I'm doing this. I'm cutting pieces for this..I'm going to work on this as leaders/enders in between everything else.

Anyone wanna join me? This is a GREAT block for a positive/negative feel...you've got light chains going in one direction, darks in the other. I LOVE CHAINS!! They just draw your eye to follow along. The more colors the better, the more variety the better, and it doesn't take much to sew these in between the lines of other things.

Sometimes it's nice to take a break from things that require triangles or curves!

I'm ironing some pieces today and kitting up some blocks. I'm leaving for Virginia to teach at the Virginia Consortium of Quilters this weekend, and when I'm not teaching, I'm going to be sewing!

And..you guys...come on...don't let the excuse that you don't have a lot of 2" strips stop you. You know you can do this with any size strip you've got. Got an overabundance of 2.5" strips? Tada. Resize the block, your block quarters will be 6" finished instead of 4.5" finished. NO. EXCUSES!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thrifting In Winston Salem!

I blogged yesterday about my "getting away from it all" at home and heading out to have lunch with Lisa and Karen.....such good sports at dumping all on THEIR "TO DO" lists just to indulge my desire to have some gf chat time over some good food.

We went to a place we've frequented a couple times before (and will again!) Nawab....the best Indian food in Winston! Really...I always leave there full to the point of pain, so maybe it's not a good idea to go there.. :cÞ

We sat and gabbed and ate and chatted and laughed and ate some more. At which time I asked which was the best way to get to Peter's Creek Parkway from there...and Karen's eyes lit up. "Are you going to the Goodwill Clearance Center???" She hadn't been before..CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Well, she was in for an awakening, Quiltville style.

This is the beautiful new Goodwill in Winston....it has a career training center, a retail store on the right, AND the clearance center on the left!

This was our entrance! Quite the nice building, don't you think?

Upon entering, and grabbing a cart (A buggy, if you are in the South...) THIS is what you are greeted with! Miles of bins on wheels, stuff piled high! An overwhelming sense of "OH MY. WHERE DO I START!?" And you have to be willing to DIG...and DIG...because there is no rhyme or reason to anything. You've got to know that the BEST finds might be at the bottom of one of these bins, so you can't just casually walk by and GLANCE...you've gotta get IN THERE!

Karen found some wool clothing items for Lisa who does rug hooking (Yeah, she's gone to the other side and taken up with the hookers! *LOL*)And we spent time laughing about really WEIRD items, and finding things that we would even take home and wear ourselves..it was really fun!

And what did we pay? Signs hung from the ceiling telling us that clothing was $1.39 a pound, or if you bought 25lbs or more...it was $.99! I suppose you could get friends to go with you and get that much...I have a confession to make, the first time I went to find clothing I could repurpose into quilts, I came home with 35 POUNDS of clothing....so I got the bargain that day!

If English is your second language, there is this sign to help you too!

To check out, you simply wheel your cart up onto the scale, and someone will ring you up!

All in all, I paid about $10.70 for what I came home with. That's 12 articles of clothing....from shirts to skirts to pajama pants. That averages .89 cents a piece. Not bad! My treasures are ready to be put through the wash so I can cut them down into useable pieces for quilting. It was definitely a SCORE day!