Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Cutest Cake Ever!

My little sister is a great mom! Sometimes I think she is a better mom than I ever was, but that's all hindsight and nostalgia talking I think!

But I have to show you this darling castle cake she made for my neice Kelli's 6th birthday! She wrote:

Kelli just had her 6th birthday on Sunday. We had a party with Mark's family right after church. She wanted a unicorn party, complete with castle cake--so guess what I was doing up until the last 30 minutes before we left for church...it wasn't showering!!!--though I did eventually get there. :o) I think the cake turned out pretty well! I'm including a picture so you can see--by the way, that's supposed to be a misty moat of blue cotton candy all around the back of the castle--this is apparently what happens to cotton candy if left out for three hours on a kitchen counter. Who would have thought!!! It was completely melted down by the time we came home. I was so excited by the epiphany I had on Saturday night, trying to figure out how to stabilize the castle towers--it was late & I really didn't want to whip up a batch of royal icing/glue, and decided to melt some of that almond bark (left over from Christmas)--the white candy coating. It worked wonders! I was so excited about it, I decided to keep it in mind when gingerbread houses start popping up & the kids start saying it's time to make one--or at least one of the graham cracker kind! :o)

I'm so proud of Joy...what a wonderful woman she has grown to become, and I am so lucky to be her big sister. And that's my brother in law Mark holding the camera :c)

I can't believe Kelli is 6 already....seems yesterday she was just a baby! I do have to tell you this, looking at this pic makes me realize just how much my niece looks like my sister!! They are the spitting image of each other. My sister Joy and I are 16 years apart. I was in high school when she was born. And here she is a mother of 3 with #4 due in about 6 weeks..I better get working on her baby quilt (it's another girl!!)time is running out to get it done before the baby's arrival! :c)

I'm having a great time in the Atlanta area. The star struck class went great today! We had 20 stitchers, lots of good food and laughter and conversation and the hum of machines and lots of progress!

Tomorrow is the Scrappy Bargello class....I'm working hard to get the binding finished on that tonight! *LOL* They may just have to deal with it 3/4 bound in the morning....but hey, at least it is off the quilting machine!

Would you believe it was SNOWING here in Georgia this morning? And it never got out of the 30s all day? This is SO nuts. And I am so ready for spring. The poor pansies were shivering in their flower beds....nuts!

Okay...off to do some more stitching! If I don't fall asleep first. More updates later!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Maverick Stars!!

I am on my way to the Atlanta Georgia area to teach workshops and give lectures and trunk shows to 3 Atlanta area guilds! As I was writing instructions for a crumb block workshop, I decided to upload these instructions for all! Maverick Stars are made from the meagerest of scraps, but pop with personality! Make yourself some Maverick Stars today!

Fabric Folding, etc..

Since I started posting pics of how I'm organizing my stash, I've had requests for more explanations on how I do this, so I thought this is a good place for me to go deeper into talking about how I organize my yardage!

Paige wrote:
Hey Bonnie,

Looks like you’re getting settled in to your new home. Your studio looks fantastic with lots of room.

I’m still working on organizing my fabric…yours is folded so nice and neat. If I may ask, how are you folding your fabric? It’s all the same size and so organized. Did you say ½ yd or more cuts go in one place and fats or less go in another?


I take the fabric just as it is off the bolt..it already has one fold down the length...so instead of being 44", it is approx 22" wide folded. Take that fold, and bring it to the selvage edges so it now measures about 11". fold it once again...so it measures about 5.5". You've got 8 layers at this point!

Measure the depth of your shelves. Subtract an inch or two to decide where you are going to fold over the length of the fabric roll. My shelves are 15" deep, so I fold over at about 14".

I lay my fabric down on my rotary mat, so I can use the ruler along the edge to measure. At 14" I fold over one end to start the process, and then fold the fabric over and over and over until I reach the end. No matter how many yards are in a piece, they are all going to be the same width, same length. It might be a deeper roll if there are more yards, but it will still fit in the same place.

Folding this way makes it easy to see the fabric you have if you place the raw edges towards the back of the shelf, the thickest part of the folded roll towards the front.

Since I just redid my fabric, I just altered it a bit. I pulled out all the 1/2 yards and kept them separately to go in their own stacks. Anything smaller than a 1/2 goes in with the FQ's. My thinking is this..sometimes you NEED just 1/2 yard for an inner border or binding, or an accent or something, and 1/2 yards kind of do get lost amongst the bigger cuts.

I fold the 1/2 yards the same way....but when it comes to folding lengthwise I just fold them in half. It makes for a shorter "roll" but I know they are 1/2 yards because they are in their own short stack. I placed them in between where one color ends and the next color begins. Here in this pic you can see my 1/2 yards of shirtings/neutrals in the same stack as my 1/2 yards of pinks..I didn't have enough shelf space to give each their own spot, but it is still easy to see what is what there :c)

I finished quilting the plaid bargello yesterday! YEAH! And once I got it off the machine, the stitches I"thought" looked too big, really aren't THAT bad unless someone gets really close. In which case...I'll tell the story...but I think once it is bound and washed, everything is going to "sink in" just fine.

I hope to get the machine part of the binding done today, and will work on the hand part during my time in Georgia this week!

Handouts for classes need to be finished today, and I also have to go register our cars in NC...and get my new NC drivers license! They only give you 3 weeks to get that done after moving in, and by the time I get back from GA, that time will be UP..man. Time flies. So it will be a run around day for me today. Best get a move on!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


SO...put new brushes in the motor, and the motor still has the slows...Guess I need a new motor! Didn't really want to go through this. Don't have time to go through this...whhaaaa.

Here I am editing this...because the wahhhhh has turned into WEEEEE!!

Something told me to just keep running the machine. I cleaned it, I oiled it, and even tho the new brushes weren't kicking up the speed...I just kept running it. Little by little, I heard the speed increasing!

My blonde conclusion is this...the motor brushes form the end of themselves to the motor shaft or whatever it is they brush up against. They get "concave" to make good contact.

The new brushes were squared off at the end, and maybe not getting enough contact to get good power...but as I ran the machine and ran the machine, they started to form themselves to what they needed to. Miraculously...blonde reasoning or not...I am back up and running!

I was going to pick out the "too big" stitches, but decided to leave them. it represents something significant in my life right now...that sometimes, even if we are slower than we we feel should be, we gotta keep plugging away at it, until we can fly :c)

Squishie Blessings!

I think the best part of my day over the past two weeks has been mailbox time! You guys are awesome! So many squishie blessings and house warmings showing up from all of you!

I had to take some time to play with the blocks on the floor yesterday, and I am tickled with what I see! I can hardly wait to start putting these together into memory quilts!

The houses are all fabulous! SO FUN! And I love the red...This is going to be a fun quilt, filled in with crumb blocks and strings....

And look at this huge pile of cornerstone 9 patches! All of the Carolina Crossroads gals have been sending me 9 patches using their own fabrics from their CC quilts...and I am toying with block designs in my mind for this..and all the siggie squares! Oh, you guys are going to keep me busy!

Mail also brought the MOTOR BRUSHES that I am needing for the quilting machine motor. I am hoping to be up and running at regular speed today...vrooom vrooom....

And the quilting life goes on and on and on...

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Life In the Basement!

I'm still digging out of boxes. Life is endless with boxes! I'm getting there though.

Would you believe that I haven't really SEWN yet? It's been weeks! And I can't seem to allow myself to sit and sew while there is still so much to be done to get this house together. I guess I'm one of those who can't let big stuff slide...little things...like whether the laundry is folded or not...doesn't bother me (at least it's clean?) But all these boxes and stuff not where it belongs is driving me batty.

And I'm tired! And I don't know what to do with myself! I took a nap yesterday in the middle of the afternoon, and then felt guilty. I think everything is a bit of an adjustment, and I know I need to give it time.

The contents of the fridge are back to normal. I'm cooking meals. That is progress, right?

The fabric folding is finally done. I have ONE BIG BOX of culled FQ's and smaller hunks and chunks to be cut up as time allows..maybe not. Maybe I'll sew them into funky backings. The fabric you see here in the wire cubes is the "charity" or "use it up for backings" fabric.

There is this little unfinished room/closet/storage thing in the basement that is very handy space, even if it is an eye sore. Good thing it has a door on it! It will be great for storing battings, bins of stuff I don't use all the time like denim, extra sewing machines, etc. I plan on putting a rug on the concrete floor at least to make things a bit more cozy under foot. Dontcha just love the aesthetics of gray cinderblock walls complete with water pipe? Worked really hard to get this effect..*LOL*

The other pics you see are just various sites around my studio down here. I've installed book cases on either side of the wood stove. I love yummy candles, and I have one burning there right now on top of the stove:c)

The computer armoir also holds my TV which I am using as a super-duper puter monitor! It's 26"!! *LOL* Believe me,it is pushed as far back into the armoir as it can go and I'm typing at arms length because it is so big...but no sense having a tv AND a computer when I can use just one monitor for both. Messy desktop shows you that I'm still sorting through stuff and finding places for things.

I finally have room to display my treadle machine unfolded! It's a rough room, but great space, and little by little I'm making it mine.

Bad Sadie has been at it again. She ate out the center of Jeff's CrissCross quilt...whhhaaa.. BAD SADIE! I told Jeff no more quilts on his bed. I went to Walmart and bought him a "bed in a bag" which is much easier for me to replace than my quilts! Even tho this one has been worn and used and washed and loved until it is faded, it makes me sick that she ate it. Not just tore at it, but ate it. Dumb dog :c(

I did load my Bargello on to the quilting machine, only to find that my motor brushes decided to be a factor and the machine was running SO SLOW...at first I thought it was something we did in transport..but closer inspection upon removal of the brushes shows that they are worn down, and that might be why they are slow mode. You can't quilt nice smooth curves and feathers when in slow mode. They get squarish and hurky-jerky..so...it sits. I did find a place to order the parts, and they should be here in the next couple of days.

I'm getting stuff ready for leaving on Tuesday. I've got a dentist appt in Columbia SC Tuesday afternoon. It's the final crown on my implant, no sense in changing docs this late in the game. After that I head straight to Cumming GA for a Star Struck class. Then on to Marrietta where I am doing two workshops and a trunkshow/lecture for the Cobb Quilter's Guild...and after that on to Alpharetta GA for a lecture/trunkshow. I'll be gone from Tuesday to Tuesday! The guys here will just have to fend for themselves ;c) (After getting used to having me around!)

I'll have my laptop with me,but if you don't hear from me next week..you'll know why! :cD

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Phone #

I went and changed my cell phone # from a SC one to an NC one. We have decided with this move that we are going to try life WITHOUT a land line, since all three of us have cell phones. Has anyone else out there done this?

I figured ONE of us should have a local prefix and phone number, I guess it's going to be me! So my phone will be the designated "home" phone number for anything that requires a home number with a local prefix/areacode.

We were on vonage, so it was only $25 a month on top of the internet connection, but every little bit seems to add up and we are trying to cut back in places of unnecessary spending.

If you have my old number written down or saved in your cell phones somewhere, you might want to change it! The new number is (336)749-3202.

House Warming!

Look at these too wonderful house blocks that have showed up! TOO CUTE! These were made by Janet Wermel and Paula Wychopen! They must have been on the ball with Tonya's housewarming party post because they showed up already! Paula also sent along some crumbs and ugly fabrics..just for me! *LOL* JUST what I need! :cD

Thanks Ladies! I've got to put up a design wall so I have something to pin them too..they are SO cute! :cD

Today's to do list:
Target for shoe cubbies for my closet
ENCOURAGE Jeff to pick up job applications
contact all the credit card companies etc, and change addresses
call the window people to come fix the bedroom windows

I've already taken the dogs for a long walk this morning...not as much to exercise THEM as to exercise ME! This is my goal..power walking with them each morning around 7am to get the day going.

Of course our snow is long gone, and we have SUNSHINE today! AHHHHHH!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Color My World...

How many of you remember that song by Chicago?! It was "THE" slow dance song all through my junior high and high school years....

I'm in love with color in every shade and hue! I spent the afternoon finishing the yardage stash, fondling, culling or keeping, refolding, and putting it away in the cabinets.

How much do our colors and fabrics reveal about us? About you? about Me? about who we like to make quilts for? Are our fabrics reflecting personalities of loved ones as we collect fabric especially for quilts intended for them?

I really can't say I have a favorite color, but as I look through what I've got...it seems the reds and blues are in the lead with green a close third...

The colors I have the smallest amount of? Purple and teal/aqua! I don't know why as I love these colors. I guess they don't scream out to me the way that blue and red do.

I have the remainder of this one cupboard to fill...Solids are also going in this one...

This is the box that holds all the culls....It isn't that I don't like them, I just don't want to STORE them forever anymore. Many of them are less than a yard, and some "ehhhh" print or something that just doesn't feel like me anymore. But I'll use them! They will go into strips, or into backings, or SOMETHING. I'd love to do a challenge where I pair up a "blecchh" fabric with something that I DO like and see if the good fabric makes the bad look better, or visa versa! *LOL*

Of course..yes...fabric DOES tend to look better when it is cut up into small pieces and you can't tell how yuck it is...but this is a BIG box! We'll have to see what happens to it! I'll sort it into color groups, that usually helps..and then go from there!

Tomorrow is 1 week since the moving van dropped everything off. I have found "MOST" things...some things are still a mystery as to where they are. Lots of stuff is still being chucked or free-cycled...and soon this will feel more like home!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fondling Fabric :c)

I'm feeling kind of punky today! Woke up with an elephant on my chest, a stuffy head and a bit achy all over. I think I'm coming down with something :c( So...today is a take it easy day. I went back to bed around 10am and slept until 1:30pm! I guess I needed it.

I am puttering down in the studio today! The whole basement is mine, and it is divided into two halves...one half has my sewing/quilting space...but it is kind of long and narrow, so the other half has my fabric cupboards against one wall. There is good light there, so I am also planning on putting a cutting table out there. Right now I have one of those folding tables with adjustable legs set at the highest height, just right for measuring and refolding fabric to put in the cabinets!

Just like everything else being unpacked here, I am being ruthless with my fabrics in some ways. If it is less than 1/2 yard, it either goes into the FQ's....or is going into the "use it up" pile for cutting into strips/squares/bricks, to be used as scrappy backings, or in charity quilts. It isn't that I don't like these fabrics, it's just that they need to be pieced up so I can move on to newer fabrics!

There is nothing else to tell you just how much you have like MOVING HOUSE! Is it possible to feel so blessed and a bit embarrassed at the same time with all this over abundance?

I also feel extremely blessed by the Carolina Crossroads mystery group! They have been spoiling me with welcome-home squishies!~I am awe4d and flabbergasted. Each envelope has a siggie block, and/or a corner 9 patch block from the quilt. I'll have to put them in a project in commemoration! My mind is working on it already. Thank you ladies so much for your kindness! It has made relocating just a bit more fun having squishies show up daily in my snail mail box!

Tonya over at Lazy Gal Quilting also informed me that she is hosting a "house warming" party for my new house! I am so tickled! Thank you Ton!! What fun!

I will use these blocks in charity quilts, but would love your permission to keep a few of them for class samples in my teaching! Of course this is all optional. I don't want to feel like I'm tooting my own horn here, it was Tonya's idea and she asked me if I would like to invite you all to the house warming party too, just in case you don't make it to her blog to find the invitation :c)

So back to the fabrics! I have unpacked one box of shirtings so far....I've petted and refolded each one! This is where I was feeling that sense of overwhelming over abundance! And dreaming of the quilts these fabrics will go in to.

I've moved on to the blues...this is going to be a long process! But feeling punky, it's the perfect job for today.

Go pet your fabric! Appreciate all you have and all it will become!


Friday, February 15, 2008

Wontcha Come Sit A Spell??

Here we are on friday! I've been here officially a week now. It was last friday that the moving van pulled out from Irmo, SC....and we headed up to Winston Salem, NC with dogs and cats in tow!

Today was the day I *HAD* to get out. I hit 2pm and just had to get OUT of the house...away from packing, away from unpacking, away from sorting and tossing and trying to find places for things. I've tried to be RUTHLESS with myself on things that we haven't used in a long time...moving house does that to you. You come across pictures, and letters, and remembrances. Some wonderful when you rediscover them, some painful and heart breaking. Unpacking in a new house is a time to put old ghosts to rest.

So today I bravely looked up in the yellow pages where the nearest Office Depot was. There was a package to mail, and it was in a shopping area I hadn't checked out before. Turns out, I won't need to check it out again! *LOL* Other than Office Depot, there wasn't anything I needed there. But pulling out of the parking lot created a challenge, because I couldn't turn LEFT where I wanted to! I had to turn right and negotiate my way to the next U-turn place, and low and behold...there was an ANTIQUE MALL!! (Oh happy day!)

It was just what I needed to do...browse the aisles in solitude, and enjoy things from a by-gone era.

I found TWO of the most perfect ladder back chairs in a booth that was having a sale! I knew right away that I wanted these for my front porch.

I also found two wonderful baskets (not pictured yet....don't know what I'll do with them) and a beat up porcelain chamber pot that I have the notion of sitting a plant inside..but that is for another time!

I came home and put the chairs right where I pictured them on the front porch! I had an old crockery water container filled with eucalyptus in the house, and I brought that out, and a couple pieces of gray graniteware that I have colected over the years. A plant placed in the big one, and two antique quilty throw pillows completed the vignette! The sign above the the chairs reads "Relax...It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This!" (That was a hobby lobby find with a coupon!) and the nail to hang it was already there!

I grabbed a 1940's crazy quilt that my aunt had given me that had seen better days. It really is a cutter piece, but I could never bear to cut it...so it is perfect for draping over the porch swing. Two more throw pillows and I have a cozy porch!!

Here are some pics of the kitchen. It was the first room to come together. I'm now working on the master bedroom and shuffling other things that show up there around to where they need to be. Every now and again I come check email, either at my desk in the basement, or at the little desk in the kitchen where I have placed my lap top. At first I wasn't crazy about having that desk there...but now I like it!

After all the unpacking is done, I'll think about what color to paint the kitchen...and then on into the dining room and living room.

Right now the kitchen table and stuff is in the sun room because the dining room walls have been stripped of wallpaper too and all that is going to get DONE before I put furniture in there.

Yep. I need a nap. It's 4:30. I think I'll go take one...the sign is right! It doesn't get much better than this!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's A Snow Day!!

DS #1 Jason came up on tuesday night to help out around here! Last night he and I headed out to Applebee's for dinner (Kitchen was still mostly un-user-friendly!) and on the way there, the rain turned to SNOW!!

We sat in Applebee's just looking out the window at the snow coming down and swirling around heavier and heavier and heavier! Before long it started to pile on the cars and the roads..we slowly drove home. He said "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! I am heading back to SOUTH CAROLINA, this is NUTS!"

So this is what we awoke to on Valentine's Day Morning. It is just LOVELY! And I am sure it will melt by mid day because it is supposed to hit the 50's.

The second picture showing the deck railing is my view from my kitchen window! I've never had a kitchen sink that looked out into a back yard...and I love this so much!

If you look close you can see the dogs playing out in the back yard. This picture was taken from my upper back deck. They are so thrilled! And what is better than two fireplaces going on a snowy cold day? One is in the living room, the one with the wood stove is right here in my quilting room!

Tuesday afternoon I had a surprise visit from Mrs Goodneedle and Quilt Keemosabe! They brought lunch and got to be here while the quilting machine, aka Fiona,had her table assembled, and resumed her rightful place upon it! I had thought I was going to put casters on her to make the table moving easier, but we found out that the casters don't run as well on this berber carpet as plain old "super sliders" moving pads do! So the casters came off, and the sliders are in permanent position under the legs. I should have done this LONG ago!

I have new canvas leaders to put on her roller bars, a new panto pattern cover...and I may even venture out to get her a new table top today so she will look brand spanking new and ready for quilting!

One thing about snow day....since schools for the county are closed today, the quilt ministry group I was going to go sew with at Mrs Goodneedle's church is also out of session for snow day today! I'll look forward to that next week!
This last pic is Jason's truck before he left this morning. Yes, he is headed to warmer climates south!!(I love you so much sonshine! Thanks for coming to help your ole mama! *hugs & kisses*)

Hot tub is in!!

As you can imagine, it's been wild here! It's been a few days since I've posted..mostly because I couldn't dig myself out of the boxes to find my way to the computer!

Here are some pics of the moving guys installing the hot tub! We've got an electrician coming to do all the wiring within the next few days. It also needs a new cover, hopefully will be able to shop for one this weekend. I am really looking forward to getting this set up so I can SOAK and enjoy my new surroundings!