Friday, December 30, 2005

Nearly New Year's Eve..

I'm not sure where today went.....but I am happy to report that the 'no fabric buying' is still in force! Not because I willed it to be so, but because even with a 40% off coupon and sales going on at Joann's and a GIFT CARD...I couldn't find a single piece of fabric that interested me!

I went to Joann's with the intent to use up this gift card that I had in my wallet that was close to expiring. I looked at the books, but there was nothing there to interest me either. I bought a new soapstone pencil marker thing (used the 40% off coupon on that) some quilting needles, and some quilting thread. I also bought a leather thimble by clover that has the coiny thing on both sides. I thought I'd give that a shot as well!

There is still $1.03 left on the gift card! It will probably expire that way, because it costs more than $1.03 to drive all the way across town to Joann's anyway. (This is a good thing)

I need thimble therapy. I admit to losing my silver TJ Lane thimble :c( I don't know WHERE it went. I had a suspicion that it got swallowed up in the depths of the couch cushions, but when I looked I couldn't find it. I swear I will never pay $50 for a thimble again. It was too pretty to lose and I feel so bad about it. I think I'm better sticking with the cheapies...and then I can have extras all over the house and in my pocket, and in my purse, and in my car and not feel the least bit bad if I lose one!

I'm about to go crawl into my jammies even though it's only 6:30pm as I write this. I want to curl up with a fire in the fireplace and quilt some more fans...I'm still pushing to get this quilt finished being quilted by sunday night..that's my goal! (Heck, I only started this one clear back in march right before Lucy came to visit...i need to finish it, I don't want to drag it into another year! And if that isn't bad enough, the top was pieced shortly after 9-11!)

Then I can move on to quilting some of the littles that I basted this week.

I'm raring to head into 2006 and quilt it with a vengeance! :cD


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Website Update!

If you've been peeking in here over the past couple days, you can see I've been messing around with changing the look of things. I finally got the bug and decided to do the same thing to my Website!

Let me know how you like the new look :c) I'm still working on it....(but heading off to do some hand quilting in a few minutes!)


Basting Party!

Last night I got out several small wallhanging size stuff that I want to hand quilt. Yes, these are the ones I was thinking of yesterday, wondering if it is okay to hand quilt fans on EVERYTHING! I'm nearly done with quilting on my ohio stars and rails, so I needed to line up the next one so I could just move on to it... I had a basting party all by myself. Loaded those puppies on the machine, found pieces of left over batting to use in them, and did a huge big stitch (toe catcher size!) basting meander all over them....I basted 6 small quilts! Probably more than enough to keep me busy hand quilting in the evenings for the next year, but at least they are off the shelves.

I think I'm going to quilt the "Flies in the Buttermilk" Next..and yes, it will be more fans. I've got to check if I have enough brown quilting thread, or if I need to get more over the next couple days. I used brown to quilt the 6 point string star, and it really had a great primitive look to it.

I found backings out of stash..it's great when you can use yardage without having to piece it because the quilt is small! I used up some funky stuff too.....One of the amish littles has a black with neon turquoise print! And one of the other amish ones has a black with a kind of mod red/grey ropey thing in it. Definately makes these more of a Bon-ish instead of Amish look!

I'm coloring my hair today. It just looked so drab and the highlights I had gotten in October were pretty far grown out. Time for a perk-me-up.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is there such a thing as....

Too many baptist fans??

I'm pulling out small quilt tops, wall hanging size, that I would like to work on when I finish quilting the ohio stars and rails quilt. I am trying to think of fun ways to quilt these, but all I want to do is quilt fans! I just love the texture, and the quilting goes so easily...

Is it boring if I just keep quilting fans on EVERYTHING?


Emmy Lou Be My Valentine?

I just went downstairs and found my little scaredy-cat Emmy Lou on the table..on top of the little valentine topper I put out yesterday (yes the christmas stuff is GONE, and I have moved on to the next red holiday, folks!)

Emmy is such a timid little thing. She was a rescue kitty....saved from the top of a tree when she was a kitten by a friend who's dogs had chased her up there, and continuted to terrorize her, probably waiting for her to fall and become dinner.

I adopted her on the spot. She is one of those kitties who has an automatic-touch-activated-purr-starter! All you have to do is lay a finger on her and she roars up her purr motor to beat the band. But the trick is....getting her to let you touch her in the first place. I think because she was an abused orphan kitty that she has programed herself to live a solitary protection based life! She will come in to eat, she will find a dark corner to nap for a while out of sight, and then outside she goes again. She has the most timid meow you've ever heard, almost whiney! (And very feminine) Occassionally she will feel safe enough to jump up on my bed if I am laying there, and allow herself to be petted. But that is usually short lived and out she goes again.

What makes it worse is that Oscar, our white kitty, loves to terrorize her and chase her whenever he sees her. Of course, because she won't stand up for herself...she runs as soon as she sees him, and the chasing and hissing is on. Bad Oscar. Poor Emmy. I wish she'd just ONCE stand up for herself, quit running, and fight back!

The 4 bags of clothing, shoes, purses all got dropped off at Good Will on my way to the guild get-together last night. GOOD RIDDANCE! I purposely dropped them off that soon after cleaning the closet so that I wouldn't get second thoughts and be tempted to pull stuff out of there again. GONE! Feels so good... :cD


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cleaning Virus on the Loose!

It's a good thing that no one is home today but me. I'm not sure if it is because this is the first day in a week and a half that I have been home alone, or if it is because Christmas is OVER and we are facing a new year, or if it is hormones and mood swings, but I've been bit by the cleaning virus! So far it's made me tackle the upstairs...all three bedrooms including reaming out my 15 yr old son Jeff's room. Toxic to say the least! (someone tell me why he had three 1/2 eatten packs of ritz crackers in his drawer?)

I've done 5 loads of laundry (two of them were Jeff's!) to get everything taken care of from the week away, and as I was putting things away in my closet this lead to cleaning OUT my closet....arranging things in there. I got rid of FOUR tall kitchen sized drawstring trash bags full of dresses, blouses, sweaters, tshirts,sweats, shorts, shoes and purses. Someone want to tell me WHY again that women have to have so many pairs of shoes that we never (or rarely) wear, and what is this thing with the "purse graveyard" shelf at the top of the closet. Am I really ever going to use any of those ever again, or will I find myself more apt to just buy a new one when I come across it?

I also discovered something...my clothes are in the colors I also like in fabrics. I guess I wear what I like to sew with! Lots of blue, all shades, some black, grey, splash of red, green and maybe a bit of purple. Very little yellow or pastels. I'd say over 60% of my closet is in one shade of denim or another....that goes for shirts,both long and short sleeved... pants, skirts, jumpers, dresses. DENIM. Or khaki!

I dress for comfort and I can usually be found in jeans in the winter with a long or short sleeved tee. Most everything (except for some workout clothes) are 'lady' type tees...I don't wear the unisex man's type tee because I don't like the neck that tight around me. I tend to go for v neck or slightly scoop neck.

In the summer it's drawstring lightweight cotton capris or walking shorts...feet are usually bare or in sandals. Winter time it's sneakers or a pair of comfortable leather clogs.

When we were in the Smokies I went shopping one night while the guys were skiing...(bought 3 new bras, I think that is what started this, because I came home and tossed three old ones that were replaced with the new ones)at a shop called "Goodies". Nice mid range price department store...I looked through everything including the sale racks. NOTHING appealed to me. NOTHING! (Other than the bras, which are all basic white and were 25% off!) There was all kinds of women's "working at the office" type fashionable clothes...but you know what? the blazers and jackets were the most hideous fabric I'd ever seen! I'm talking big bulky plaids that reminded me of bad upholstery from the 1970s. Orange and avacado green. I kid you not! Slinky fabrics, lots of 'dry clean only'.....I don't think I'd survive having to dress for work like that.

I also don't like how the pants are cut and I'm anxiously awaiting the day when they put the waistline on pants back up where it belongs...ON MY WAIST. I've bought some new pants recently that sit lower, now they aren't really "hip huggers" but they are a couple inches lower than my natural waist, so now my tee shirts aren't long enough and i get belly hang out...egad! If they are going to make the pants lower, don't you think they need to make the shirts LONGER?

I'm just a natural fiber lover I guess....in clothing as well as quilting. I'm glad I don't have a clothes fetish, I'd rather BE quilting.

I'm going to drop these 4 bags off at the Goodwill on my way to a stitch group get together tonight. It's a 'white elephant' swap, and a left over dessert sharing for the goodies. I have neither, but I can probably wrap up a stack of FQ's I'll never use that someone else might want, and I could bring some beverages instead of a dessert. It will be fun to go just for the company of WOMEN after being stranded with too much testosterone around me for so long!


Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day :c)

As it's called in all countries with ties to the crown....The day after Christmas. I was dreadfully low on groceries after being gone for a week so I had to brave the crowds this morning, which were not too bad considering. Sam's Club is not one of those places with huge return/exchange lines, and I do avoid the mall (otherwise known as the MAUL by myself and those who know me who share the same revulsion for the place) at all costs. I came home with some groceries, and two long sleeve V-neck tees that I really did need..and voila! I'm staying home the rest of the day.

Last night we went to a friend's home for desserts and company. A fun time was had, it was a great visit and cozy in their home. I came home with their leftover ham-bone because they were going to toss it...and knowing I am the official "after the holiday" soup officianado, they gave it to me! So I have simmering in the crock pot...one ham bone and bean soup fixings. Yummy.

I've quilted to a couple more old classic movies today, both black and whites that were on the TCM channel. Nice since that channel is commercial free! I've probably got 3 rows of fans left to quilt across the ohio stars and rails quilt..and the callouses are back into protecting my fingers after a couple days off duty.

I'm posting some pics of the finished "The Best Things" Quilt. It turned out way more maverick than I would have expected...It does NOT hang straight, even after washing and blocking it and trying to force it into square..*LOL* It was square WHEN I started...all I can figure is that quilting with a hoop and moving that hoop from place to place, and having LOTS of quilting can pull it right into distortion. *sigh*

Oh well....I am thinking of all the antique quilts I love seeing in books and how their corners are pulled off square, and border edges are anything but straight, and how much MORE I love them because of that human element. And though I used synthropol in the wash water..there was one place where the red did bleed a bit pink into the shirting print border. And YES, I prewashed those reds! I suppose this is much the same kind of thing our fore-quilters would have had to deal with too, and I probably would have loved their quilts just as much or more in spite of it, so phooey. And I am still a lover of that solid red...so I'll keep using it. I just might wash it twice before I piece with it in the future though!

However, I still feel like quite the maverick soul thumbing my nose at the quilt police saying that borders must all be the same width, they must hang straight with square corners and binding miters must be sewn down. HA! I happen to like my origami folded pleated binding corners. I won't stitch them shut for anyone. I think Gwen would be proud, don't you? ;c)

On the school front...I found out that somehow the transcripts that the school sent to the national certification board got LOST. Which means I still don't have a date for taking my exams to get my license. BAH HUMBUG on that. My goal was to have it done before the holidays, and then to have it done before my birthday in Jan...now who knows when they'll have all the stuff together to be able to give me a date to sit for those exams? I guess I'll be getting ALOT of quilting done!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

We returned from the cabin in the Smoky Mts yesterday afternoon........Good grief, so much packing and unpacking!

The weather was cold and icy, there was snow on the ground on the drive up there, but luckily (HA!) none fell while we were there. The cabin was up a steep grade, and then the driveway was really steep too, it would have been hard to get the cars up it if it were icy!

The guys skiied and snowboarded to their hearts content. We watched all the old movies and musicals that I had brought, as well as finding our way to the video store to rent some that we hadn't seen before (newer ones...I think my son had his fill of the old classics!)

We grocery shopped and mostly cooked meals and goodies in the cabin, took long walks (HIKES UP HILL!) with the dog, napped, read, and best of all quilted until my fingers were too sore to quilt anymore!

I finished "The best things" quilt...will get a pic of it as soon as I can get things settled here. The binding and hanging sleeve went on last night. I'm also about 3/4 the way handquilting on my ohio stars and rails quilt...weeehhhaa! my push is to see if I can get it done by new years day.

When the fingers were too sore to quilt any farther, I started a little crocheted afghan. I haven't really crocheted in years and years...I think it was working with that scarf last month that put me in the mood. Feeling that soft yarn slide through your fingers is quite nice! I never did learn to knit, and I don't feel the need to, but this afghan thing is just an alternative to needle work at night. Sometimes my eyes are too bleary to hand quilt or applique at night, but I don't have to have so much concentration to add a row to an afghan.

Christmas services at church don't start until 11, so I don't have to be there to start the organ prelude for about an hour. I'm headed to the shower to get ready but I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and let you know that we are all home here safe and sound.

Pumpkin pies are in the oven!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Off To The Smokeys!

I wanted to wish everyone a great week before we head out. I had to come back and put my email lists on 'no-mail' so that my inbox doesn't explode after a week of being gone. I have this one friend who forwards me every forward there ever was..she must send everything to her entire address book, so I took her address so she will get sent to spam filter first. I can fish what I need out of there when I get back! *LOL*

I feel like there should be more to do to get ready..like we are forgetting something, or neglecting something, but truth be told, I think we are as ready as we are going to get! It is supposed to snow up there tomorrow so I am glad we are going today.

Everyone stay warm and quilty and post lots of pics so I can see them when I get back! :c)

Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Packing The Projects..

I was emailing Tonya about how much I love the little fun quilting details she adds to her quilts, and how fun it is to draw things freehand as quilting designs. This is what I did for the feathers in the two corners of my wonky "The Best Things In Life Are Quilted" Quilt...this is the first quilt I did using Tonya letters, and I used lots of bits of UFOs and crumb blocks for the center, even some rejected Dear Jane blocks are in there.

Anyway...drawing the feathers was easy with a blue washout marker. I wanted it to be funky and have that 'childlike' appeal to it, so each feather plume is quilted individualy as tear drops...just as if it were a continuous line pattern. The nicest thing about drawing designs is....you can make it FIT THE SPACE! It is so hard to find a stencil sometimes that will fit what you want, but if you can draw it, you can make it fit the area you need it to.

I've quilted zig zags in the narrow borders, diagonal lines going through the letters and the shirting print background in the outer border. The borders are also all different widths, which gives the quilt a catty-wompus off centered look which I think is fun. FYI...the evening stars in the border are 3" finished! Tonya thought I was nuts when she was over and saw them, I was INTENDING to do a whole bedsized quilt from them. Insane. I'm glad they made it into the border of this quilt along with a rejected border of flying geese that didn't work for another project. This was fun to put together! I hope to do more 'orphan' quilts like this in the future.

The whole quilt is quilted with PURPLE THREAD! I've got one border side left to finish quilting, and then I just have to finish up the middle with the baptist fans. My goal is to have this one DONE by the time I come home on the 24th.

I tried to get some good detail shots for ya, but alot of them turned out blurry, or you couldn't see the quilting detail...but I hope this gives you an idea. Pardon the machine basting thread snippies everywhere! You can click the pics to get a bigger view. I know the quilt looks like it has so much WHITE on the outside, and I usually do dark borders...this light border is a new thing for me, but I am going to finish it off with red binding I think which should frame it in a bit better!

Today I'm meeting my girlfriend Sandi for lunch. I've known her about 3 years now, and how I met her is so funny. We had just moved here, I was at the post office mailing off a customer quilt, and the line was out the door..she was a few people ahead of me in line, and she had a huge tote full of envelopes she was mailing out. My first thought was "I'm glad there is more than one teller or I am going to be behind her forever!" Then I heard her talking to the gal in front of her explaining that she was mailing fabric, that she sold fabrics on Ebay! Well, I butted right in and introduced myself. I was in a new town in a new state and I didn't know any quilters yet! She does mostly brights and novelties, with rare novelties being her specialty. We hit it off and though we love different things, we have a fun friendship and we meet for lunch when we can to catch up. She made us this card that we pass back and forth, and we take turns buying lunch for eachother so every once in a while we feel like WE are being treated. The card is in my wallet so it's MY turn to buy lunch today. She will decide where we go! Then next time, She will treat ME to lunch. We have the card because we can never remember who bought last time! *LOL*


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Leader-Ender Update...

I thought I might be close to having enough length to this leader/ender strippy I'm working on, so I trimmed it into sections. You should have seen this when it was all one length! Now, it wasn't always one length, I had it in several sections, but it still was angled at both ends. I joined them all together in one long length so I could cut the sections where I needed them cut, and not lose ALL the angled ends when I squared them up.

These segments are about 83" long and about 6" wide. I'm planning on 7 of them...that only gives me about 42" of quilt width, right? I'm planning on setting them with some fabric between them. What I can't decide is if the rows between the pieced panels should be as wide as the panels, or should they be narrower? Maybe cut the 4.5" or so?

Well, if I cut them narrower than I might need to piece more lengths of the leader/ender part. For a bed quilt I was aiming for 70 X 80 or so for the middle, giving me room to add borders and fancy it up a bit. I guess that just answered my question...if I make the alternate strips finish at 5" wide, that gives me a center that is 78X83 It will be an almost square quilt, but alot of antique quilts (that I love to replicate) WERE square.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! So now I just need enough leader/ender segments to finish that 7th strippy panel and I will be able to put this one together! Another "free" top that was nearly completely pieced while working on other projects! And that 2" bin of scrap squares that I keep by the machine doesn't seem to be dimishing by much either.

Not sure when I started this one....it was after I had enough 9 patches for the zig zag 9 patch I did earlier this year.

The other dilemma...do I use a shirting as a setting fabric? Or go for something authentically old looking that will show the quilting detail..like...a tea stain muslin color? If I use a shirting, feather quilting isn't going to show in there very well.

One thing I also like.....after studying antique quilts for years and years, I love what adding a strategic solid fabric does to the quilt. The solid receeds while the prints come forward. The solids don't upstage the prints, they give them a place to perform. Some people think you shouldn't use solids (that they will just read 'flat')...I think they are awesome places to set things off, and quilting detail shows really great in solids where it can be really hard to see in a print. Especially if you are recreating the look of authentic antique quilts. There is a place for solids!


Sleepless Nights

Don't you hate it when for some reason you wake up at 3am and after 5 hours of sleep you just can't lay there any longer? Not sure what woke me, whether it was a bit of discomfort still from the cryo, or the freezing rain that I could hear on the awning over the hottub on the deck outside....or cats that decided to bite my toes at 3am. I tried going back to sleep after reading through the blog rings, but then at 5am DH's alarm went off so he could get up for his workout at the YMCA before heading to work and I just said oh heck, just get up! So here I am. I'm dragging...but I figure if I get moving now, I can take a nap later :c)

Laundry will be tackled shortly. I'm starting to pile stuff in the living room (no one actually ever lives in there...it's just an out of the way room!) for taking to the cabin on saturday. I was going to take my machine, but you know what? I think I'll take all hand work. I've got two quilts that are partially hand quilted. I've got a quilt that needs applique finished in the border. I've got a hexagon medallion in christmas colors that has sat for a couple years..it used to be my 'take along' project to guild meetings before I started school and was too bleary eyed at guild meetings to be able to sit and stitch on little 1.5" hexagons. I think I'll have plenty to take. I could also crochet another scarf with some yarn I have....blue this time, little sparkly things in it. That might work if my fingers get too poked up from hand quilting and applique. So I think I'm set in that department.

Today I'm returning some books on CD to get some new ones. I'll load them up on the MP3 player and this will save my sanity if because of cold icky weather I am locked in a tiny cabin with two guys and FOOTBALL GAMES ON TV. I can drown them out, really I can! I'll just sit and smile and stitch and listen to a book instead of those games...

Oh and this is cool...I LOVE old movies. The classics. Things like old musicals, funny movies like "Don't Eat The Daisies", etc. My mom and stepdad for the past couple of years, being on a very fixed income and having 8 kids and umpteen grandchildren, have started recording old favorites of theirs onto DVD and giving us those for Christmas. It's GREAT! I admit to already peeking in the package that mom sent and in it are the folowing:

An American In Paris
Three Little Words
Hit The Deck
The Harvey Girls
Summer Stock
Night & Day
Look For The Silver Lining
Please Don't Eat The Daisies
Support Your Local Sheriff
Call Me Madam
Merry Andrew
Singing In The Rain
Easter Parade
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (My fave when I was a kid!)
The Mating Game
Father Goose
Meet Me In St Louis
In The Good Old Summertime
The King & I
Interrupted Melody
Come September
Lover Come Back
The Court Jester
The Glass Bottom Boat

A lot of these I've never heard of! So this will be very fun. Lots of old movies to quilt to!

We can't check into the cabin until after 2pm, so we were planning on getting there a bit earlier than that and grocery shopping before we check in. We are taking both vehicles so while the guys are skiing, I can run to town if I want and not be too stranded. The other reason for this is because DH's pickup won't hold us all plus the dog....and my PT won't either. This is one time we needed a mini van and we don't own one. The cabin is only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours away so it won't be bad to drive two cars. (More book on CD time for me!)

I was looking at my calendar, and I've got two retreats coming up! One over Martin Luther King weekend in January, at Hickory Knob SC. It's a guild retreat, fun fun fun for 4 days! We start friday and come home monday. The other one is to Hilton Head, SC...it's the same weekend as the Jinney Beyer Convention there. We go and see her quilts, it's open to the public, and there is a little vendor mall they set up. Some of the gals take classes, but I like to work on my own stuff, so I'm just there to get away from it all.

I sure would love it at some point if we could have a Quilt Mavericks retreat! I know we are scattered far and wide, but if you are ever in my neck of the woods, you are welcome to come by! I'd love to meet y'all!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Don't Cryo For Me, Argentina.....*singing*

Pardon my spoof on songs from Evita! Andrew Lloyd Weber might consider that a very bad rendition of his song....

I had the cryo surgery this morning. It wasn't TOO bad, but still pretty uncomfortable! Though anything that happens around private body parts is not comfortable to me, even after having 3 babies it doesn't get any easier to have things stuck in me down there...

And all the while the doctor (old and bald, thank goodness, not young and handsome!) telling me to relax and let my knees fall out to the side..yeah right! I told him that we ought to freeze his prostate and see if he can "relax"?! :c)

They have to freeze your cervix for 3 to 4 minutes...and nitrus oxide is -50 degrees Celsius! I feel crampy, enough that I don't feel like doing much (I think concentrating on a customer's quilt is out of the question), but not bad enough to keep me in bed where all I do is feel it. Maybe a walk later will get my mind off the cramps. Ibuprophen has been taken, and there is this antibiotic cream that I am supposed to use at nights? Great...more goo....*LOL*

It is OVER. That is all I care about...not pleasant, but at least over! It's been almost 2 hours, and I still feel like an ice cube deep inside..*LOL*


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Baskets For Sew Catherine

Catherine posted a couple of pics on her blog of her mini basket blocks, which are SO darling! This made me excited too because I have a quilt top of these babies all ready to hand quilt, and the drive to do so really hasn't attacked me until I finish some other hand quilting-in-progress. (hoping to make a big dent in the hand quilting department next week while being gone!)

Anyway..the story of the basket quilt is one I thought you would enjoy, because there are actually TWO basket quilts!

When Lucy and I met via email and started writing back and forth and forming a friendship, we got this idea that we would both make this tiny basket quilt....really an insane thing because there are 180 of them in the quilt. That's a BUNCH of basket blocks!

SO! We get this idea that as we are each cutting out our own baskets, that we would cut them in sets of two, save one for ourself, and send the other cut out block as a 'kit' to each other! We sent them in groups of 20 or so baskets at a time. This way we were sharing the fabrics, but each doing our own work on them. By the time Lucy arrived here last March, we both had ALL the basket blocks DONE. I had spent lunch breaks at school appliqueing handles down, and then when I had enough handles done, I'd machine piece the batch, and then move onto the next batch, etc. It took me quite a while to get 180 baskets done.

While she was here we made a pilgrimage to Mary Jo's Fabrics in Gastonia, NC...and we picked out setting and border fabrics together. We even had sewing time here at my house with both machines going on the kitchen table and we had them laid out in two separate rooms! I got mine finished, Lucy's was still in progress when she packed it up to take it back to Haarlem, I still don't know if she finished her top or not...did you Lucy??

The wind was not cooperating with me while I tried to take pics. I really don't know when this will get quilted, but it has very special memories in the making of the tops!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Thoughts On What Drives Me....

Is there a method to my madness? I always hear "Man, you get so much done! How do you do so much so fast?" I gave it some thought and here are my rambling reasons :c)

I tend to choose patterns that work up quickly....they hold my interest because they aren't too tedious and anyone can do them. I also like patterns where I don't have to pin every dang piece to match points. I like it when I can just oppose the seams and sew across them and they match up. (Or not match up, I'm not too stressed out about it being perfect...it is what it is!) I've been known to do whole quilt tops without pinning anything! I do pin the borders in at least 3 places to keep those straight and from waving. It's gotta be scrappy, and it's gotta have more than 3 colors in it. This is why the storm at sea dear jane has been sitting for 2 years. It's pink and brown on one shirting print background....it's torture to work on it!

I've done a few quilts with inset seams, but I really don't enjoy doing them. So I tend to find ways to work around those. I like spikey pokey looking triangles....and things that create alot of movement. I like things busy and scrappy....very seldom will you see calm and serene coming out of my machine!

Some friends about fell over backwards when I showed them a
30's Trip Around The World
that I had done. It was all pastel prints and solids, and mostly LAVENDER! 30's are not my thing...they are too sweet and cute, and everyone knows that I run from them, but this quilt I did was for a shop display and my friend the owner twisted my arm to piece it for her because she knew I'd have it done in no time. When it had finished living at the shop, she sent it back to me to keep and now I have to live with this thing? Ackkkk! (My apologies to all the lovers of 30's prints out there.....I know we each have things we love to hate :c)

I used to make mostly Queen/King quilts to fit beds, but the past year I have discovered how fun it is to make people sized quilts to fit people....a bit bigger than a lap size, but big enough to cover someone while snuggling on the couch. You get that "FINISHED FIX" alot quicker when the quilt is smaller! You can try more designs and not get bored and leave a UFO behind you when you find something else you want to do or try....And a lap/people sized quilt isn't going to have to revolve around someone's decorating scheme or colors. This is the big thing for me. Maybe Suzy has a bedroom that is moss green and pink......but I don't want to make a bed quilt for her that is moss green and pink....I can make a lap/snuggle size in whatever I want and it still won't kill her decorating (which might change to different colors after the 1st of the year, who knows!)

And basically, you can't go wrong with scrappy....whatever color their decorating is...if I go scrappy, that color is IN THERE!


Gotta love the bonuses!

I'm playing with all the bonus triangle squares that were left over from double-sewing the triangle corners on the Smokey Moutain Stars quilt...there were 304 little leftover 1/2 sq triangle squares...they square up to 2", and finish at 1.5".

I had to do an exchange block last night using other fabric, it was the rose bud block in 9" size, and I thought...these little triangle squares are the same sizes as my bonus squares, and my mind was off and running. I've got 9 blocks done....there are enough of those little bonus triangle squares to make 38 blocks! I'm using all plaids (yes, from good will shirts!) with the exception of the background fabric in the 1/2 sq bonus tris....that was the background of the star quilt! And I also have to cut some little 'wing' triangles to fill in one end of the pieced triangle...those are coming from light 2" strips from the 2" scrap bin.

If some of the points get chopped off, I'm not caring! I want this to look old and snuggly and like it was found in some backwoods cabin :c) Not sure how I'll set them. I do like them on point, but I'm not crazy about huge alternate plain blocks..even though I could space them that way and get a good sized quilt out of 38 to 42 blocks. Any other ideas out there? Strippy set? Zig zag set?

I have a bunch of these bonus triangle squares from the border of the crazy puss in the corner quilt too...those are all scrappy darks on one side, and a black & white shirting on the other, so they will work into something down the road too..The pain is pressing them open and squaring them..I'm doing those a handful at a time as I need them on the plaid quilt so that I can do them as needed, and it isn't so much torture!


Friday, December 09, 2005

Smokey Mountain Stars

I've uploaded the pattern for the stretched stars quilt to my website. I've called it Smokey Mountain Stars.
because it has that feel of the rustic cabin we will be staying in for a week.......we leave a week from tomorrow! I better get some projects gathered together to take!

Here are some pics of the finished quilt. I finished the binding last night, and waited for daylight to take the quilt outside to get some pics. I love taking pics outside. The light is just so much better and you can really tell the quilting detail...even on a cloudy day like today where it looks like rain (and I could see my breath..it's cold!) the pics just look better when I can take them in natural light.

Today I've got a little gal from my class at school coming...she wants to learn to quilt, so I thought I'd start her piecing on some puss in the corner blocks (the uneven 9 patch kind, not the crazy patch kind like I've been doing!) and work with her on keeping a 1/4" seam, some rotary cutting, how to press to oppose seams, etc. I think it will be a good easy first project for her and will look nice when it is done.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Paralyzed By The Stash!

To buy or not to buy, and if I do, how much?

I've been asked this question A LOT ...."If I'm just stashing, what sizes of cuts are most useable?" And the other reasoning I hear is "It was such a great price, I couldn't let this sale pass me by, but I wasn't sure how much to get......"

After 25+ years of fabric collecting and quilting, I've been pretty much "no buy" for about 20 months now! (With the exception of the plaid shirts fetish I acquired for the thrift shops!) I have SO much fabric still that I only buy when I ABSOLUTELY need something to finish a project.

Shopping the stash is the best idea. I always go there first, but sometimes you need something else. (I haven't been shirt shopping in about 8 months...I've even banned myself from THAT!) I decided that I didn't care how good the deal was, that the fabric could "live" at the store until I absolutely had to go buy it for an "immediately needed now" crisis. This has worked for me.

It helped just knowing that if I needed backing, binding, borders, sashings, background, and even some 'go-withs' that I could go to the store and get it if I absolutely could NOT find anything in my stash that would work. This is an utmost show of FAITH! *LOL* How many of us by 12 pairs of tennis shoes, just because they are on sale, at a great price, and we want enough to stock up? We might not like those outdated shoes in 5 to 10 years...do we still want them hanging around our closets?

It was hard turning down those sale prices. The first few months of NO BUYING was excruciating. I felt like I needed a 12 step program! I had to remove myself from email notifications from online stores that were exclaiming things like "NEW SALE BINS!" "FREE SHIPPING" AUUUGH! I live within 2 hours drive from the infamous Mary Jo's in Gastonia NC. It's a fabric Mecca, but I dare not go! And if I do need to go, I know the fabric, or at least some fabric that will work.....will be there (and most likely be on sale) and it can just LIVE THERE until I need it!

In the mean time, I now spend the time that I would spend shopping, actually quilting and working on my projects. In 20 months I still feel like I've barely made a dent in my stash. That is when I really realized how over whelming this stash really is! It took a long time to get over the jitters I'd get when driving past the quilt shop and not pulling into the parking lot...but it got easier. I don't miss it now.

When I was buying...if there was a fabric I liked but didn't know what I wanted it for, and the price was good, I'd buy a yard easy. 2 yards if I wanted it for a border....5 to 6 yds if I thought I might use it for a back, but really if you don't KNOW what project it is going in, how much do you know to buy? I suppose we could rationalize and think that eventually we might need EVERYTHING for a back and buy 6 to 8 yards of everything because it is a good price and we might need it some day and we don't ever want to run short because we might not find that fabric ever again. *LOL* This is how I got into the situation I'm in!

I didn't ever really become a fat quarter shopper either, because I always thought those were not going to be ENOUGH of any one fabric to do what I needed. That's where the "buy at least a yard" thing came in.

If you want to indulge, look at the projects you have going on and see if there is anything you need to complete them. I don't plan for too many "in the future some day I want to make" projects any more because my mind will change a dozen times (if not more) by then. I only buy for the "here and now" and things I am going to make immediately! That way you get the shopping fix, and the completion fix all in the same dose! And the things you use here and now have scraps that work into the scrap stash bins for later, which is good too. Sometimes running out of something and forcing yourself to make a substitution from your stash, alter your lay out a bit can break you out of the "gotta make it just like the one in the book" syndrome and you'll really be suprized at your own results, and the new interest it gives to the quilt.

If your stash is whittled down to the point where you are lacking in any certain color you can concentrate on that color. Maybe you've used quite a bit of your blues and there isn't as much of a working variety there. One thing I would do is round stuff out in a general way if I needed to. Backgrounds are something that I need to not let diminish too much because then there is nothing to work with to help use up the other fabrics that I've already got.

I guess I have had to let the fear of the world running out of fabric leave me. I felt like I was Chicken Little, but instead of "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" it was more...."if they stop making this I'll never have enough to make the quilts I want, and once it's gone it's gone, so I must hoard hoard hoard" and it got to the point where my stash had paralyzed me. You know what? Quilting is a multi-billion dollar enterprise....the fabric is NOT all of a sudden going to stop being printed and dry up! I have faith in the fabric manufacturers that they will keep printing fabrics...maybe different fabrics...so yes it's important to have what you need to finish projects you've started...but you can't buy ahead for every project you ever want to make in your life.

How many of us feel like we have stocked our quilting rooms and closets like people stocked their bomb shelters in the 50's?? Just in case we have to live in there for the next 40 years, we better have enough fabric to quilt for that long..*giggle*

So, this probably doesn't answer your questions on how much to buy of what! But no matter what you buy, it's either going to be not enough, too much, or it won't match what you need it to! (I'd still go for 1 to 2 yard cuts if the price was really good and it was something I was needing for borders...3 yards if I was going to need it for sashing and binding...)And repeat after me: "It can LIVE at the store until I really need it to finish a project I already know about!"

ps...the opinions stated in this blog are soley those of the author, and do not reflect the ideas of all quilters!

Happy Birthday Lucy!

I want to wish Lucy a very happy 40th birthday! She is leaving today for a weekend getaway with her handsome hubby Rene, and she deserves it!

Lucy, I hope you have a wonderful time, enjoy the pampering your hubby showers on you! It might be your birthday, but I am sure you are his greatest gift! :c)

Wishing you much happiness in the coming year!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quilting Away!

I am quilting away on the stretched stars quilt! I am doing this especially to practice some designs that I have coming up on a customer quilt.....she requested pine boughs and berries for her border on her mountains quilt, and I've not done pine boughs before. I figure they couldn't be that different from feathers, but still, it helps to do a practice run before taking off on someone else's quilt! So...the stetched stars is getting pine boughs in the border as practice, and I like it! It sure uses alot of thread though! the inner border is just curling tendrils, and the inside of the quilt is an easier version of mctavishing....I don't like all the backtracking that mctavishing requires, so I just do my own thing with flames and echoed swirls for much the same effect, but no thread build up or inaccuracy that comes from backtracking over previous stitching. I think it looks like a windy swirly snow storm!

It's a frosty morning here in SC! Yesterday I did get to the forest to walk with Buddy. Man, I love those books on the mp3 player! The time flies so fast as I am hiking and listening. DH's Christmas present came a couple days ago....it's a wrist held GPS thing that also comes with a heart rate monitor...all these bells and whistles. He actually told me what he wanted, and that's great because that takes all the work out of it for me. He said we could get it for 'the both of us' but I'm not that big of a die hard in the needing to know how many miles, track my heart rate, etc....but he does this daily. So it can be his toy. I do want to borrow it just to find out how many miles this loop that I am hiking is. But once I've tracked it once...I'll know what it is and I don't see myself using that GPS thingy again unless I find another trail I want to track!

Well, that's it for me! I need to get the stretched stars finished this morning so that I can start on that one for the customer...need to deliver it to a guild mtg next monday night.....the 17th is coming quickly and there are another couple quilts I need to get finished for people before then too...because we will be GONE!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Color Me Mad!

Today was the day I was supposed to have the dreaded cryo thing..the freezing of the irregular cells on my cervix. I've been nervous for weeks. (And quilting madly to keep my mind off it, right?) So I go to the office this morning, they check me in...I go through the blood pressure check, the explaination and signing of "consent forms" (these always leave me feeling a bit wary!) only to find out that they are going to have to RESCHEDULE me because they don't have any 'cryo tips' in the office. They hadn't come back from sterilization yet I guess. AUUUGHH!

They were apologetic, but still.....can't they check the next day's schedule to be sure they have all the equipment they need, get what they need ready, etc?

So....the cryo-thing is put off until next tuesday. I guess I"ll keep quilting! The upside is....it stopped raining, the sun is shining. It's cool and windy, but I think it will be a great day for taking Buddy to hike in the forest this afternoon after it warms up a bit. Sounds better than spending the day crampy after some proceedure, don't you think?

I've got a customer's quilt just past the 1/2 way point, and I'd like to finish it today so I can quilt the stretched stars quickly. It's a gift, I can't spend ALOT of time quilting it, so I might do a meander in the center and something in the borders to frame it. Will post a pic when it is done and bound...I put a narrow taupe/black stripe for the inner border, and a brown/blue/black plaid for the outer border (why does inner have 2 n's but outer only has one t? I keep mis-spelling that!) to finish it off. I used scrappy corner stones for both borders...I really like how it turned out.

I've had requests for this one to be put on my website with the instructions, so I'll get to that later. It is SO easy. Everything is based on that "indian hatchet" block, it's all 4.5" squares and 2.5" squares. Some blocks have dark plaid centers, some have background light centers...some blocks have only one square sewn on the diagonal for the corner instead of 2, and some blocks are just plain light 4.5" squares...but they all come together so FUN! I've really had a good time making this one.

Oh, a funny....I posted about it on the stashbusters email list that I am on, and one lady chewed me out and said basically that by buying shirts at thrift shops to make quilts I was taking warm clothing away from those who need it, or needed to choose between warm clothes and heat! HUH? What's up with that. The shirts were for sale. I bought them. The money from the sale of the shirts gives employees a paycheck and a steady job. The money funds programs. I wasn't "taking the shirt off someone's back" so to speak. I just couldn't see where this comment came from at all and it left me bewildered!

To me I was making something beautiful, warm, and usable, out of other people's unwanted clothing that I PAID FOR. It doesn't really matter how or what I use them for does it?

Back to quilting!

Color Me Mad!

Today was the day I was supposed to have the dreaded cryo thing..the freezing of the irregular cells on my cervix. I've been nervous for weeks. (And quilting madly to keep my mind off it, right?) So I go to the office this morning, they check me in...I go through the blood pressure check, the explaination and signing of "consent forms" (these always leave me feeling a bit wary!) only to find out that they are going to have to RESCHEDULE me because they don't have any 'cryo tips' in the office. They hadn't come back from sterilization yet I guess. AUUUGHH!

They were apologetic, but still.....can't they check the next day's schedule to be sure they have all the equipment they need, get what they need ready, etc?

So....the cryo-thing is put off until next tuesday. I guess I"ll keep quilting! The upside is....it stopped raining, the sun is shining. It's cool and windy, but I think it will be a great day for taking Buddy to hike in the forest this afternoon after it warms up a bit. Sounds better than spending the day crampy after some proceedure, don't you think?

I've got a customer's quilt just past the 1/2 way point, and I'd like to finish it today so I can quilt the stretched stars quickly. It's a gift, I can't spend ALOT of time quilting it, so I might do a meander in the center and something in the borders to frame it. Will post a pic when it is done and bound...I put a narrow taupe/black stripe for the inner border, and a brown/blue/black plaid for the outer border (why does inner have 2 n's but outer only has one t? I keep mis-spelling that!) to finish it off. I used scrappy corner stones for both borders...I really like how it turned out.

I've had requests for this one to be put on my website with the instructions, so I'll get to that later. It is SO easy. Everything is based on that "indian hatchet" block, it's all 4.5" squares and 2.5" squares. Some blocks have dark plaid centers, some have background light centers...some blocks have only one square sewn on the diagonal for the corner instead of 2, and some blocks are just plain light 4.5" squares...but they all come together so FUN! I've really had a good time making this one.

Oh, a funny....I posted about it on the stashbusters email list that I am on, and one lady chewed me out and said basically that by buying shirts at thrift shops to make quilts I was taking warm clothing away from those who need it, or needed to choose between warm clothes and heat! HUH? What's up with that. The shirts were for sale. I bought them. The money from the sale of the shirts gives employees a paycheck and a steady job. The money funds programs. I wasn't "taking the shirt off someone's back" so to speak. I just couldn't see where this comment came from at all and it left me bewildered!

To me I was making something beautiful, warm, and usable, out of other people's unwanted clothing that I PAID FOR. It doesn't really matter how or what I use them for does it?

Back to quilting!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Shirt Fetish!

I have an addiction to second hand stores....not for anything for ME really, not in the sense that alot of people shop thrift shops! I haunt the men's shirts aisles and look for mark downs, bargain of the week, 100% cotton shirts in plaids and stripes!

The Good Will that is near me has a 'sale tag color' of the week sale, so any shirt with the color of the week is 1/2 price. At this price most shirts run me about $1.99. There is quite a bit of fabric for $1.99 if it is a long sleeved size XXX Long men's shirt!

It got so bad, this shirt collecting, that I've got about 3 bins full of shirts that I've taken apart. I've made a couple of quilts with them...and I love how soft the fabric is, and the look of all the plaids mixed together. I have really had to BAN myself from going to G oodWill, because I know if I go I'll come home with yet another bag of plaid shirts!

This is the latest creation from them. Just a little stretched stars quilt that I drew up in EQ5....it's on the floor, all ready to stitch everything together into the top. When did I start cutting and sewing this thing? LAST NIGHT! *LOL* Gotta love it when the push to sew kicks in and takes over!


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wavy Borders & All!

Today I made myself sit down and stitch the last border together and add it on. It's the top and bottom borders that are more flarey than the side borders I think. I can't figure out why, I measured measured measured, made sure seam allowance was good, etc. It is what it is. Pieced borders just have so much give to them I guess.

Right now the top measures 73X82 so it's a good size already. Do I figure this is one that is just giong to "QUILT OUT?" I could add another border to make it behave, but I don't think it needs it. Yes, the binding may chop off points on the outside diamonds when it comes time to bind it, but do I really mind? Not really, but I do mind more about the flaring because that can be a quilting nightmare.

I've got two other projects in the hand quilting stage both partially quilted already, and that is what I was thinking for this one, so I guess for now it gets relegated to the 'waiting for quilting' pile!


Friday, December 02, 2005

Books on CD, etc

I'm writing this post because of Obertra who leaves comments to my posts but no way to reply back other than leave another comment to the comment! One always wonders if one leaves an answer to a comment in the comments section if it will indeed be found at some point..will the person remember to come back looking for replies?

This comment was about books on CD, and how fun it is to listen to great readers narrate the books that we know and love. I really do think the right narrator can bring that book to life, and that's what's got me hooked on books on CD, whether I listen to them in the car, or upload them onto my MP3 player, it's better than TV, and no commercials!

Obertra mentioned Charles Dickens and Tom Sawyer and it made me think of a couple of my treasured volumes that I have downstairs. I don't remember where I came across these, but these are my two Charles Dickens treasures, both dated 1883. I had hoped to read from them to my boys when they were little, but they seemed to like other things instead. Classic literature? No way! I've also collected novels by Jane Austen and a few others, not so old, but I like having them around.

Now I'm thinking these would be great to get on CD...if the narrator is right...they can bring back those stories that we know and love. Next time around at the library (after I finish the 3 books I checked out yesterday!) I think I'll shoot for some classic Charles Dickens... This way we can get our books in, and still keep our fingers busy with the quilting in the process :c)


Crazy-Puss Border Pre-View!

I am tearing my hair out at this border trying to get it to turn the corners right. I should have just done the Maverick "whack it off wherever it ends" thing, but I really like how it does the 'partial star' thing in the corner, and at the center of the borders where the diamonds change directions :c) SO...I will press on! (and curse on and swear on and cry on and on and on...) Three sides have borders with one more to go.

But you know what? Another reason I think I need one more outside border (have found a black print that I think will work great) is to kind of re-square and ease in any wavy-ness from this pieced border. It ruffles just a bit, even though I've worked really hard with it. Sometimes pieced borders are stretchy and wobbly and have a life and a mind of their own, so adding another border to anchor that free edge can tame the whole thing back into behaving. So that's the plan so far.

I'm planning on quilting spiderwebs in the plain blue squares. Not sure about what is going to go on in the pieced blocks, but it will be a fun one! I have fabric in here from the 1980s! And you can't miss those little heart and paw prints.....those were so popular when I first really was getting into quilting. Amazing that there are still pieces in my scraps from that long ago. I gag when I see alot of them, but still, I like remembering what I made with them originally, where I bought them, who the quilt was for....and the scraps...how MANY scrap quilts have been a method to use up the leftovers from 20 years of quilting? This kind of quilt really does contain "pieces of my life."


More Oscar Antics!

I have this wonderful little old toy sewing machine that Lucy brought me when she came from the Netherlands last spring! Along with the machine, she made this eensy teensy little quilt, handquilted it no less....to go with the machine! This sits on my low wall that is on one side of the staircase that goes down to the laundry room from up here in my quilting room....I keep lots of

nick nacks like old tins and stuff there too, kind of a fun ledge to have "stuff.".

I caught Oscar yesterday......up on the ledge....curling his feet under him and laying on top of the edge of this eensy quilt! With all the regular sized quilts and beds in this house, you think he would choose something MORE comfy than this, but he seemed to have liked his perch mighty fine. Didn't even mind me coming up on him with the camera flashing in his face! *LOL*

Crisp sunny days in SC the past couple of days. It's been brisk, but I've still been going out and trying to hike my 5 miles a day in the forest. Yesterday I went to the library down town and checked out 3 more books on CD for loading up into the MP3 player. I don't find myself having alot of time to just sit and read a book, but it is sure fun to listen!

I'm still trudging away on piecing this border for the crazy puss-in-the-corner blocks. I did end up setting them with the blue, and I've got a double sawtooth border done on the two long sides so far, now for the two short sides. One thing with pieced borders....I don't like the feeling of chopping off the points when it comes time to put the binding on, and I don't like it with all those little seams that can pop open while quilting, especially if it's going to be a long term hand quilting project...so I'm thinking it's going to need one more solid border outside the pieced one to kind of anchor everything so I don't lose points into binding, and I don't have seams popping open. Makes sense? I guess I'll come to that decision when I get there!

I hope everyone has a wonderful warm weekend with some quilting time in there somewhere!


Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Chocolate Indigo!

I pulled these out to take a closer up pic for Finn since she said she never heard of them. They come from South Africa...and even now after washing they still smell faintly of melted crayon (wax) from the dye process! They make them in red and blue too....I love the blues..they are wonderful!


Christmas Getaway Project?

I've been thinking of UFOs that would be easy to bring to the cabin for the Christmas week away....

This is a pic of a Dear Jane variation that I've had set aside for nearly a couple years now. I love it...it's just tedious as all (*&#(*$ and I think it wasn't scrappy enough for me. It's all double pinks and chocolate indigoes. I bought the indigoes at Quilt Market in Houston, fell in love with them even though they are a thicker, coarser weave. They come waxy and stiff as canvas, they soften when you wash them and get all the excess dye out. The background is a tiny pink/white shirting. It looks VERY old...and I love it..I just burned out on it.

The blocks are more than 1/2 done...I could pack all of this in a small tub and have enough sewing to last me the whole week or more...so I'm thinking this is what I'll be bringing. Maybe it will get me eager to work on it again?


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hot Off The Presses!

I just found this news release! It's about time they realise we aren't going to terrorize anyone with our thread snips or stork scissors! :c)


It says:

WASHINGTON - Airline passengers will be allowed to carry small scissors and tools onto planes, reversing a rule that led to confiscation of many thousands of sharp objects at airports since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a Homeland Security Department official said Wednesday.

Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley on Friday will announce changes to the list of items prohibited in carry-on luggage and to the airport screening process, according to the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the plan has yet to be announced.

With federal air marshals on planes, bulletproof cockpit doors, armed pilots and 100 percent screening of checked baggage, the threat of a terrorist taking over an airplane has lessened since the 2001 attacks, the official said. The biggest concern now is explosives.

Though the new list of prohibited items hasn't been finalized, certain sharp objects won't be on it, the official said, including scissors less than 4 inches long and wrenches and screwdrivers less than 7 inches long.

Air Transport Association spokesman David Castelveter said the industry has been briefed on the plan and supports it.

"What we believe, as does the TSA, is that we should be focusing on what poses the greatest risk," Castelveter said.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rustic Smokey Mountains Christmas!

Well we found it..Maggie Valley, NC..and when DH said it was "RUSTIC" he wasn't kidding! *LOL* I asked him if there was indoor plumbing and electricity, or if we had to tramp to an outhouse?? Actually, it looks great inside, and I'm excited about a week long retreat here.

The "blurb" about the rental says:
"Alpine Height's log cabin is dedicated to making your getaway better that any other. Large, beautifully decorated, three-bedroom, two-bath cabin has everything the heart desires.This is the place for pure relaxation and/or fun and games if you should choose. The Hall's have gone out of their way to provide you with everything you need right at your fingertips - from a "places to go/things to do" directory to board games and a 100-plus video library. Not to mention miles of hiking right out the front door and only two (2) miles from the ski slopes and horseback riding. All this and more within two miles of downtown Maggie Valley. Come join the fun. "

It's pet-friendly so we are going to bring Buddy, our Golden Retriever with us. This will be better than boarding him somewhere, and then he can keep me company while I quilt....we can go on walks while the guys go do their guy things like snoboarding and skiing.

We found this on http://www.vrbo.com/ (Vacation rentals by owner) and we've had alot of luck with the previous rentals we've found.

This trip will be in lieu of excessive amounts of presents for each other that no one needs or really wants. What would you really want to have? STUFF? Or a week long trip away to a cabin in the mountains? NO CONTEST!! Jeff's presents will be his ski passes and probably some clothing that he needs (15 yrs old and chooses to dress like a homeless bum..like most teenagers!) And the real gift will be time away.

We are going the week BEFORE Christmas, so we will be going on the 17th, and returning on the 24th. We will have Christmas Day at home.

A whole WEEK there! Now the question is.....since we are bringing the dog, will there be room for a sewing machine and some projects, or do I pack just hand work and work my way through those 100+ videos they say they have? :cD


Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday Monday *singing Mama's & Papa's*

Busy day today! Today I had to go to Aiken to help take down the quilt show at the Aiken Historical Museum. It went really fast because there were so many people helping. Actually it took me longer to drive there than it did to get all the quilts down, and mine back into my car. It was a nice show!

I stopped by the post office on the way home to mail out an order, and ohhhhh boyyy..holiday traffic has invaded the PO already. Yucky. I'll be mailing stuff out from the little po-dunk town in the other direction just because they have less traffic than the big full-service PO...I hate crowds, I hate lines, I hate traffic, I even still hate Christmas music, even though it is past Thanksgiving and I really should just let myself give into it.

I really don't let Christmas take me over until the "Twelve Days of Christmas" Which means I give Christmas season about two weeks to run full course from the 13th to the 25th and then put it all away and be done with it and ready to start the next year.

Does this make me a Bah-Humbug? (if so, please tell me that I'm still a cute one!) I used to love Christmas and followed the tradition of putting up the tree the day after thanksgiving, if not the day of , and loving it for 6 weeks or so, but it just became over-kill and it seems that the years fly by and only build up to two things....Christmas again, or Tax Time again! I like both things to last about as short as possible.

I went this afternoon to the Forest to hike about 5 miles and listen to a book on CD that I have loaded onto the MP3 player I got for graduation. The rain was supposed to have STOPPED.....but I got about 2.5 miles or so out there and the sky opened up and I didn't have an umbrella and there WAS no shelter! Luckily it wasn't that cold, but I was soaked to the bone by the time I got to the car. Do you know how heavy a hooded sweatshirt, and a pair of demin jeans get when fully drenched? Not to mention my running shoes and sopping wet socks....I was a sight I'm sure! I was glad to get home and quickly stripped off everything right there in the laundry room (I was home alone) and dumped everything straight into the washer. I ran upstairs, threw on my swim suit, grabbed my big terry cloth robe and headed to the hottub. I was SO chilled, it felt so good.....

That just zapped me for the whole rest of the day. It's now 7:39pm and I'm too tired to do much of anything. I've been hand quilting in the evenings and that is coming along well. We are hoping to rent a cabin for the week before Christmas like we did last year. It was great. The guys went skiing and snoboarding and I stayed in and watched chick flick movies and quilted. What could be better? So that is what we are looking at for this year. Thinking of a place in Boone, NC.....I love the Blue Ridge Mountains, any time of year, but if there is snow, that would be wonderful!


Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey Soup..the day after!

Turkey Soup is a holiday must for me! So this is a posted request from Nines who wanted to know more about how I do it :c)

It's not that big of a deal! I'm a throw in some of this, some of that cook and this is what I did!

Take turkey leftovers...and pull all the meat from the bones. Save what you want for sandwhiches , etc..this soup just uses the little bits that no one will snack on! Crack the remaining carcass in half and put it in the crock pot with water to cover. I also remove any turkey skin, this just adds fat to the broth. You can add any leftover meat that you want, there will be alot more that will continue to cook off the carcass....I don't add anything else to it at this point, just making the soup stock. I let it simmer until the meat falls off the bones. At this point I unplug the crock pot, pour the contents through a collander so the broth goes into a pot, and the meat/bones stays in the collander.

I put the broth in the fridge to cool so the fat raises to the top and I can remove it. After the meat/bones have cooled enough for handling, I pick through it putting the meat bits back into the crock pot, and tossing the bones, cartilage, yucky stuff....

When the broth has cooled and the fat has been skimmed off, back into the crock pot it goes, this time with the meat, and the other things I want in it...a chopped onion, chopped celery, slices of carrot, sometimes diced raw potatoes, along with some poultry seasoning, a couple bay leaves, some minced garlic, pepper, and if it needs more flavor, I add some chicken soup base. The soup base usually has enough salt, so test if it needs more. Season it to your taste.

I let the veggies cook until they are done. Along the way you might want to add rice, or stir in noodles a bit before serving, just long enough to get them done and not mushy. Be aware that rice and pasta are going to soak up ALOT of juice, so you can even cook those on the stove top and add them cooked to the soup just before serving.

I've also added any leftover gravy that I have to the broth depending if I am going to use it with the leftovers or not...it adds good flavor to the broth.

Serve with corn bread, rolls or crusty french bread and any left over salad you have from the day before. And of course, finish it off with any leftover pie, cake, brownies, whatever that you SURELY have at your house Nines, with all that food you baked up, it can't all be gone yet!