Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Another Day...

I admit it. Yesterday was a bit of an overloaded rant!

But sometimes, voicing your frustrations (at least for me) can put things into perspective, and I can move past whatever is FREAKING ME OUT for whatever reason, and put me in a place where I can tackle whatever the obstacle is.

In this case....it brought about THIS!

Has YOUR bin of strings run amok lately? LOL! Have you paid it mind or attention? Have you considered the possibilities?! This is what mine looked like after I'd been sewing from it, pulling from it, fluffing it about to find the right pieces and sewing into the late evening hours!

I have a couple of quilts on the brain that involve string piecing, and this is the kind of variety that is hard to pack away to take for a trip. Can you see me just filling a 50lb body bag with scraps and strings?! Well I could..it would be within the weight limits!

But I don't need it all. I need the neutrals for one quilt idea, and the blues/yellows/creams for the other. I'm going to sit in front of the TV and sort out the ones I need. I'm going to get some BIG ziplocks....and take just what I need to Oregon, instead of being overloaded and overwhelmed with too much too much too much!

I think I can do the remainder of the piecing for these designs with 2.5" strips and some FQs.....and I'll just sew as far as I can go, and if I run out of something, I'll just PLAY, right? Isn't that what a retreat week with girlfriends is for anyway?

I'm off to the gym for a workout with my trainer Charlee. She is in the process of buying a house, and I know there will be a housewarming quilt in there somewhere. I've got a top that can be rather quickly quilted and should foot the bill. You know, I seem to worry LESS when the recipient is not a quilter at all? Just loves quilts? They will be happy no matter what!

And I'll be back in the studio later....dealing with more of this mess!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Toothy Tuesday!

Yep! It was dentist day for me today!

The dentist was great, she took care of the chipped back crown that was rubbing my tongue raw, and other than one small cavity, she sent me right on to the hygienist for my buff and polish.

Squeaky Clean and pearly white....and all I could think about while I was sitting there filling out copious amounts of paperwork (New dentist...auugh. Hate that paperwork!)was that I wanted to be back in my basement studio kitting up MORE stuff to take to Oregon!

I spent time with my friend Randy on IM this morning throwing out ideas....feeling a bit panicky...when you need your whole scrap user's system to create a project, how do you kit it up? What if you don't have enough? She assures me she will have plenty of stash there, so will Lori, Kat, and Claire. And there are the stores...oh yes, trips in to Bend are quite doable....


I'm just not a girl that can grab a bundle of pre-matched-by-fabric-line fat quarters and make a quilt I'm happy with! I want MY STUFF! *hands on hips*

I can't just do the jelly roll thing and be happy with it.

Not only that, I'm really really torn on what I *SHOULD* be working on, vs what I *WANT* to be working on, and those are not one in the same thing....

The first thing that comes to mind is the Mystery for November. It worked so great having last November's mystery be a limited edition, and then included in this next book upcoming, that it only makes sense to do that again, right? To give a sneak preview of the kinds of things that will be in the next book? (Yes, that's book #4! Wahhooooo!)

So I've been hot and heavy into my EQ and trying to design something that has enough units to keep it interesting, enough color to keep me (and everyone else) from getting bored) enough intricacy to make it worthwhile to spend this time piecing it and not having it look like the "same ole, been there done that" And at the same time using various parts of my burgeoning scrap stash....more than ONE area of Scrap User's System, because if we can't USE IT, what's the point of having it? A Mystery, that will also be a quilt for that next book. Two birds with one stone, should be easy right? NOT. SO. MUCH.!

I also think I have reached saturation level on just how much fabric a quilter needs to have. I'll never sew this up in my life time!

SO..this is what I've done this afternoon:

These are blue and yellow strips being cut into 1/2 square triangles, and I need about a quintizillion of them! And this is where I get pinched...because I need enough variety to do some test blocks before I pack all this to Oregon, and at the same time...just cutting for variety for ONE block, I may as well cut for 16...you KNOW?!!!!! And if this doesn't look great, what do I do with the leftovers and the wasted time (This is me on a time crunch, I know I need to relax.)

While this is going on, I'm not getting the writing time in that I need either....I need this stuff kitted up, and then I can use the rest of the time to write. I can write SOME while I am in Oregon...I have time on the plane (but that takes time from the hand quilting..lol)and time while there. I bave a blasted 3 hour layover in San Francisco before hopping that red-eye home...I could write then...right? WRITE!?

So..it's been mostly a frazzled day and I feel like I'm spinning around with my head cut off. Have you ever had one of those where you accomplished little to nothing, and the little you did, might not be what you needed to do......and if these blocks don't look right, it will be back to the drawing board!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wonderful Weekend....

We had a girls sew day at Jen's!

We had been wanting to do this for quite a while, but well, you know my schedule...and if you throw Jen's in there too, and what she's had going on the last little while (It's always busy when you have 4 kids!)Saturday was the first day that worked for both of us. YAY!

I packed up my car....Shotgun, the Bernina belted securely in the front passenger seat. According to my GPS, Jen only lives 8.5 miles from me. This is the closest quilting friend I've found so far, just a hop and a skip really!

She's turned her dining room into her quilting room, and it is just PERFECT..3 large tables/desks are set up, and it is right there central to where she needs to be in her home, right next to the kitchen and the family room where the kids are playing. Who needs a dining room that never gets used and just needs dusted from time to time? Much better to use it as a sewing room instead of upstairs away from family activity.

We even had the opportunity to influence a "Quilter In Training" aka Ashley, Jen's 8 yr old daughter! She wanted to sew too, and it was just so precious watching her get all excited about the "Baby Janome"...and finding a project for her to work on. We thought if we cut some 6.5" foundations from a white fabric, she could easily learn to sew some string blocks. The machine was very small, and that is why we thought smaller blocks would be easier to work on since the area between the needle and the inside of the machine wouldn't really handle a large block without a whole lot of rolling up and shifting around.

Just look at her go!

She's got it down just like a pro!

Look: Here is her first block all trimmed up!

At one point I overheard conversation something like "Mom, can I use THIS fabric?" "Yes, you can use any of the pieces in that laundry basket" "ANY OF THE PIECES?!? ALL OF THE PIECES!?" I think Ashley has quite the makings of a fabricaholic already!! LOL!

Later that evening, I got an email saying that Ashley's brother had come to the "dark side" too!

The kids ended up sewing together until after 10 p.m. They shared her little machine and while one was ironing the other was stitching....then they would switch. I suggested that they let their blocks work together to make a quilt and they were so excited about that. Andrew wanted to get in on the action too last night. Since he's staying home from church this morning, I told him that I would teach him while the others are at church. I fear that soon I'm going to be kicked off of my own machine! :^)

All in all it was a great day and MUCH greatly needed!

I've finished the blocks for the last quilt for the book...will post more about that later. I've gotta get some book orders out and ready to mail. I've been to the gym, the bank, have showered, scheduled a guild 3 years in advance ((!!!!!)) Do any of YOU know what you will be doing 3 years from now? This is just so brain blowing to me! And I've got a Chiropractor appt at 4pm....

I'm headed to Oregon on SUNDAY! I can hardly wait! I have it in my mind, to finish designing the next mystery quilt and have that be my project while I'm there..then I don't have to CRAM in November....I just need to do all this other stuff first.. :c/

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm going to SEW!!!

I'm headed over to Kernersville to go sew with Jen today! whoowhoo!! It's just the push I need to work on the blocks to finish the LAST QUILT for the book! I've been dragging on this one because it's pretty monotonous, or is that duotonous because it's TWO COLORS? I really have a hard time wanting to stick with quilts that only use two colors, even if they use a gazillion fabrics...I'm much more drawn to scrappy EVERYTHING...But..I like how this is turning out, so I can't wait to get it to the point where I can sew the top together and start thinking on borders..Maybe just plain ones on this one? Not EVERYTHING has to have a complex border, does it?

I wanted to share with you a lovely Spiderweb picture that came my way via Kat! Isn't it great?!

I love the yellow centers, and she used buttons to tie it, using her machine to sew them down. Great use of all those shirt buttons, don't you think?

We had quite an exciting day yesterday. About 8:30am I got a call from DH saying he needed to be taken to the emergency room. ((!!!!)) Turns out that he thought his hernia had ruptured. He was in a cold sweat and about to pass out from a lot of pain when I got to the office to pick him up. I had been on the phone with him and said "Are you sure you don't want an ambulance?" He said..just get me there. So we did.

After he was able to lay down in my car, the pain seemed to subside a bit. After they put him on a gurney and left us to ourselves (for a huge amount of time) in a small cubby hole at the ER....He felt quite a bit better.

After the exam, the doc said...well...seems as if a loop of intestine had poked through the abdominal wall, but since you were able to relax, it's corrected itself and gone back where it should. We are releasing you. ((!!!))

There wasn't anything they could do, luckily it wasn't strangulated and cutting off blood supply, and it HAD seemed to have corrected itself. But it doesn't solve the problem. DH has an appt with a surgeon to make another appt to GET IT FIXED! I was terrified mind you...having to drive him, in so much pain, sweaty, clammy, shocky...down the interstate? What would I have done if he HAD passed out?

I can't tell you how weird it was for me to just drop him back off at work like nothing had happened. And how "UNBELIEVEABLE!!!" I felt when he told me he was going GOLFING after work. :::SHAKING HEAD::: MEN! I just don't get them AT. ALL.

So all this upset pretty much wiped out my day. I couldn't accomplish much of anything, I had to run back into town to go to Sam's to pick up my own prescriptions I dropped off the other day...and I was SO stressed out, I *DID* treat myself to that Sam's club berry sundae! And I ate the whole thing myself. So THERE!

Later in the evening, after the sun had gone down, Sadie and I did our 3 mile trek, so I'm sure I burned it all off again.

So today, I'm putting the home stuff behind me, and going to sew with Jen, and work on blocks! I need a personal sew day!

What are you doing today?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doubly Blessed

If you are of "my age" you might find that phrase "Doubly Blessed" taking you back to about 1980 and a certain song by Meatloaf! "Ain't no doubt about it, they were doubly blessed...for they were barely 17 and they were barely..." Nevermind, that's enough for you to know as far as lyrics go! *LOL*

I feed DOUBLY and even TRIPLY blessed this morning.

You aren't going to believe this...I was out walking my dog Sadie (we do about 3 miles) and guess who I found in some bushes about 1/2 mile or more from my house on the OTHER side of the creek?

I was walking past these bushes and I heard meowing...I took my head phones out and meowed back...it was Emmy Lou, my missing cat!! She was in the bushes and she had heard my voice. But this OTHER dog came and heard her too, and chased her across a yard and into some other bushes...

I had to shoo the dog away - - I actually whipped it on the behind with Sadie's leash and then had to follow Emmy back into these people's yard where she jumped up on a picnic table and meowed to me the whole time until I picked her up.

She was purring to beat the band...and oh so skinny :c( She's been gone for 2 months. I guess the other pissy cat Chloe DID scare her away enough to keep her from coming home.

I carried her the whole 1/2 mile home, and she didn't even fight me. She came in, went right to her food, and then up to her favorite perch on top of the bedroom TV armoir...silly cat!

While this was all going on, Fed Ex pulled into my driveway and delivered a box...I guess I wasn't paying it too much mind, excited as I was about getting Emmy back, but this morning (After my doc appt) I saw that it is from my quilting bud Mickey in IL! What's in it?

Look see!!

Definition of True Friend: One who sends you 22 lbs of fabulous fabric in the MAIL! I'm really excited about some of these pieces. Lots of fun novelties which I don't have very many of, I've never been drawn to novelties, but I know I can do some fun things with them.

There are also lots of florals..these are going to be so great for so many things! I can hardly wait to really sort through and see what there is here.

Thanks Mickey!

The other good thing...I went to the doc this morning. My A1c for my blood sugar was 5.6. Diabetic range is 6 and above. Normal range is 4 up to 6. So...yes, I'm kind of in the high range of normal, but I'm still good. However, because of my age, and heredity, I need to watch my sugar and carb intake. I'm revamping my diet with the help from the doc's office, and we are going to keep this from getting to where it does reach diabetic levels. It's still important to get it checked over time. Without the exercise I've been doing the past 2 years, and without watching what I eat and losing 25 lbs in the past 2 years, I could have been well above that 6 level.

So all in all it's a good day! A great day! And I've cleaned my two drawers.....the undies/bras drawer is slimmed WAY DOWN, and the sock drawer....well..not so much to get rid of there, but did some, and I feel good about it. Tshirt drawer is next....and it seems like several of you are committing to one drawer a day too!

On the way back from the Docs I stopped at Target and bought a new book shelf...the old one...someone (his name shall remain unnamed, but his initials are DH!) stepped on the bottom shelf to reach something at the top, and of course the shelf gave way. It was one of those pressboard kind of units, so not that expensive to replace, but it is for my quilt books. This time around, I'm taking the shelves from the first unit (the broken one) and using them to double the strength of the shelves of the new one...hopefully to keep the shelves from bending. Books are HEAVY!! Warped shelves don't like to stay in the brackets either. So that's on tap for today as well.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hello Wednesday!

I kept thinking all day yesterday that YESTERDAY was Wednesday...so it looks like I've got an EXTRA day this week! WONDERFUL!

Things on board for today:

Gym. Bank. Tan. Massage. Return/Exchange Shoes.

In that order.

Gym, Bank, and Tan are done…Massage is at 3…Shoes can either come before or after. I bought a size 8.5 yesterday, and when I got home and put my arch support thingies in them (Yes, fallen arches, that dreadful sign of middle age, along with the fact that my glasses now sport bifocals?) I realized I should have gotten 9s. So..back they go.

I loved spending time working out with my trainer this morning even though she kicked my butt to Mars and back. (Love you Charlee girl, you know I do….)and doing all those “normal” errands around town things that most people take for granted. Isn't that silly? What to do what to do....what can I take time for that I haven't had time for lately!?

My friend Jen from the next town over emailed and said...WANNA SEW?! Oh yes..oh YES I DO! And I've got time to do it! I told her any time between now and 4th of July works for me. Doesn't that sound blissful?

I wanna rent some DVDs I've been wanting to see (Anyone else besides me still fall into the habit of calling them VIDEOS?! as in TAPES? Sign of my age I guess..I am so not with it.)I've got a couple bindings to finish and I can do those leisurely in the evenings...that is....if I can get DH to stop watching all night long marathons of "America's Got Talent". It was on for HOURS last night, and about 1 hour is all I can handle of that. I'm just such a softie, I don't like to see anyone get the XXX, even if they are horrbile..hehehe

I am also feeling the need to do some more dejunking and organizing around here...no, not in the studio..but things like the drawers in my bedroom. Get rid of old tshirts I'm really not into wearing anymore. Find all the socks with no mates, and either match them or ditch them...get rid of all the old undies that the elastic is worn out of (You guys don't actually save those too, do you? It's a sickness, like...someone in :::name the country::: might not even have underwear, and would be glad to HAVE these, so you have to keep them out of guilt?!)and just toss.

Mostly...it's about over abundance. How many do I have...why do I have 46 pairs of socks, and how many can I really wear, and why am I keeping the ones that are past their time?

This inevitably will move on to things like getting rid of bras that have lost their shape, panty hose with a run or two (But works with slacks or long skirts??)And into the hanging stuff in my closet.

I want to skinny down EVERYTHING. I want my drawers to shut. I think....if I start with just one....I can work through quite a few in the next 10 days before I head to Oregon.

And there with I issue you this challenge....A Drawer A Day..are you IN!? What drawer do you want to tackle first? Leave me a comment. I'm throwing down the gauntlet!

OH, and before I forget! Here are some pics from the Virginia Bound class in Arlington Heights!

Virginia Bound, Arlington Hts IL 2010

We really had a great time, no storms happened on Saturday!

PS....I've got an appt tomorrow morning early for a physical and bloodwork, to start the baseline for my blood sugar testing. Nothing to eat past midnight tonight. Good thing it's an early appt, I have to leave the house at 7:30am! I'm hoping this is the start to really finding out what's what and how to deal with it. Thanks for all the support I've received via email. IT HELPS to know I'm not alone facing diabetes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seems Like LIFE to me...

Day two of being HOME for 2 weeks! I get up in the morning, think of what I need to do today, and then eeeeeaaaaassssseee into it....this is GREAT!

Yesterday, I have to admit....I didn't even get out of my jammies until after 4pm! I just..just...didn't even want to leave the house, didn't want to talk on the phone, didn't want to do ANYTHING. I even took a nap in the afternoon.

But lest you think of what a slug I am....I am 25% done with the writing of the pattern instructions for the next book. That's right! 3 patterns down out of 12, 9 more to go, and I'm pacing myself nicely thankyouverymuch! It's not easy for me to pace anything, seriously. I tend to go heck bent for leather, and that means if one is done I go right into the next, but I'm trying it a bit differently this time.

Nap came after the last pattern instructions were written. Then I got up and puttered around in the house a bit (oh so nice to ramble in a quiet house!) and later in the evening, after the sun had gone down...Sadie and I went and power walked the hills in my neighborhood for about an hour. I try to do SOMETHING physical every day, even if it is only walking. I chose evening, because I slept through the coolest part of the day (early morning) and it was the next best thing.

Yep. It is now too hot and muggy to want to be outside doing ANYTHING strenuous in the NC heat and humidity right now. I'm emptying the container for the dehumidifier in the basement DAILY!

I have central air that keeps the main level and the basement nice and cool (Love having this basement studio in the summer!) But there are 2 bedrooms and a bath on the upstairs floor and the one A/C unit we have just can't seem to kick the coolness up there where heat rises, so each bedroom has it's own window a/c unit. I've taken to turning that on full blast about 2 hours before bed time to cool things down. It uses too much energy to have it running 24/7.

Lookie what arrived!! My new EQ7 upgrade! I've heard so much about this.....and here I am still just getting to know EQ6 after being an EQ5 user...and it's time to upgrade AGAIN. Do I do it now? Or do I wait until I finish graphing out the projects for the book so they are all in the same format (EQ6) and THEN upgrade to this? I don't even fully know EQ6 yet! Sometimes I am just so far behind where I'd like to be when it comes to being tech-savvy....but, this is me, as I am.

I tell you what...if they keep upgrading this thing EVERY YEAR, I'm NEVER going to get competent at any version of it they put out!

So here I am with 2 weeks off. Know what is pressing on my mind besides book stuff? What projects to take to OREGON to work on for my week long retreat before the Sisters Show! I go every year to my friend Randy's house in Sun River.....I usually have projects lined up and raring to go for a productive week...and this year? UUUUuhhhhh :::FAIL::::: I've been working on getting the book quilts done. There is one left that the blocks are almost done for, and the top needs set together and borders decided on..but THAT IS IT!

So..I dig into the UFOs...one project that comes to mind is my Nearly Insane that has not been touched really for...*GASP* Years. YEARS!! Should it come with me?

There is the applique that was not touched on a project that went all the way to Oregon and back with me last year. Or...was that 2 years ago?? Ackk! It's the string star with the words in the border. *shaking head*

There are ideas for quilts for the next up and coming book after this one, but do I really want it to be all about work and no play? It doesn't have to feel that way, but there will be an awful lot of kitting up needing to be done in the next two weeks to get NEW projects to the point I want to take them. When you are a scrap quilter, you can't just grab a stack of FQs and go. It's all about variety. TONS of variety.

I might ship my string bin ahead....and work on some string quilts I've wanted to do for the longest time. That would be fun. There is A LOT of variety in that bin. I add to it with every project I make...and there is the "bed in a bag" type zipper container that has all the strings from the recycled shirts too. So that would be cinchy...I just need to figure out the "Go WITH" fabrics that the strings could play against and I'd be raring to go. I might go with that idea.

So Today....went like this:

1. Go to Gym.
2. Proceed to lock key to open NEW padlock on locker...IN the locker...
3. Find someone to break open NEW lock with bolt cutters.. :c/
4. Pat self on the back for buying a 4 pack of locks that all use the same key...((One down, Three to go!))
5. Take car to Best Buy to FINALLY put new speakers in the car since the right front one has been blown out for about 2 years now. Can't take it anymore!
6. While car is at Best Buy, walk to the Sports Authority and buy new running shoes...old ones don't have any support in them anymore. (Sounds like my bra...but that's another day!)
7. Waste more time by having Two fer Tuesday Tacos at Moe's grill.....still waiting for car to be done.
8. Stop at thrift shops on way back looking for a desk for Jeff's computer...no luck there, but found some shirts 1/2 price for ME TO WEAR! (Not for cutting up..I'm banned from buying more of those..lol)

It's not a total waste of the day, even if I haven't done anything quilty...YET. There are still hours to go, it's only 3:30pm.

Yep, it's good to be HOME!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mountains of Scraps!

So here it is Sunday morning, and my time in Arlington Heights is drawing to a close!

I can't believe how fast the time has flown, and I haven't had a chance to sit and type a blog post until now!

Thursday's lecture was amazing. I had a couple special guests come to see me, my mom's first cousin Verlon, and his lovely wife Pearl. I've never seen a cuter couple in my life! I knew I liked Verlon when I met him for the first time the week of Grandpa's funeral, and this time it was wonderful to extend the extended family even farther, and get to spend time with his wife!

I think they were amazed at how INVOLVED we quilters are! I'm sure they thought, when I invited them to the guild meeting, that we were all going to be a bunch of little blue haired old ladies just sitting around a sun bonnet sue quilt in the frame! SURPRISE!!! :cD

There were close to 250 people at the meeting, and the quilters ranged in ALL ages. Some traveled as far as 6 hours away or more to get here. Show and tell was phenomenal, and I think that Verlon and Pearl got a good eyeful of what we quilters are about! I had to explain to them how quilting is every bit as much about community and giving as it is about bedcovers :c) It really IS a life choice, a life style, a commitment.

It was also fun to tell him during my lecture something that I thought of that I bet he didn't even know. He and my mother share the same grandmother. *I* have inherited that grandmother, my great-grandma Manuel's black singer sewing machine. So I told the audience how this special machine came to be in my possession, and he was fascinated that such an object as a sewing machine can be a definite family tie through generations. Isn't that great?

On to Friday's workshop.....

Arlington Hts IL Scrappy Mt Majesties 2010

Little slide show of the blast we had making Scrappy Mountain Majesties blocks from 8.5" squares! I dearly love seeing what people bring in, their color schemes, the stories behind their old fabrics and who/where they came from. I love that fabric has memory...especially if the piece you are using is the left overs from some long ago project for someone you love. It just holds all those feelings and sentiments. Our old fabrics are a link to our past, of where we were when, of what we were doing, of what things were like. It's a trigger for sights and sounds and smells and memories.

As you flip through the slide show, pay special attention to the one pic with the TINY PINK BLOCK!! One of the students had to try it in 1/2 size, and ended up with a mountain block that was only 4" tall, and would finish at 3.5" tall. ADORABLE! (Now I've got all kinds of ideas for doing something like this as a border....someone stop me before it gets too insane!)

If you have paid attention to the weather channel or news over the past couple of days you might have come across details of this huge storm that even blew out windows in the sears tower. It was quite the storm!

We were ending class close to 3:30pm and I got a phone call from one of the guild ladies saying that everyone who lived close might want to head home a bit early because this storm was approaching. Those who lived west were advised to stay until it passed. We were in the Arlington Heights library, and figured that we were in as safe a place as any. You could hear the rain and the wind hit the building, but there were no windows where we were, so we had no idea how bad it was out there.

When we finally left...the power was out in all the surrounding areas. There were trees and lines down, traffic lights were out..it was a complete mess! I'm just so grateful that we were all okay.

It also turns out that a shop that was 2 blocks up from my hotel was struck by lightning and burned down!! More storms later that night...it was a real mess.

My hostesses who have been taking care of me are still without power at their homes and may be for a couple more days...I'm just grateful that we are all okay physically (and that we unplugged all our machines so none of THEM blew up either! Priorities, you know?!)

Okay kiddos...time for me to pack this up and get the rest of my bags organized and head HOME! This girl is on the go again, and I'll post more about the rest of the trip when I get back to NC!

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello from The Hotel Indigo!

I've found HEAVEN....in Palatine, IL!! This is the oasis I've needed for just a bit of "me alone" time after all the running I've been doing.

My flight left Greensboro an hour late this morning...didn't bother ME a bit, I just sat there in the gate area quilting away, but the poor lady next to me...she was going to miss her brother's wedding! Oh well. What can you do? Some things are out of our hands, and I'm really working at decreasing my stress by just letting go of things I have no control over. It doesn't do any good...so I'm keeping that "Serenity Prayer" close at heart these days and "accept the things I can not change."

I was met at the airport by Marsha and her hubby, and they delivered me to my new digs in style. Welcome to The Hotel Indigo!

What a refreshing place! Who would not want to stay in this room and cozy up in this bed? All the colors of the hotel are so refreshing...a light celery/lime green and blue and periwinkle!!

This is the view from the bed side....I love the hardwood floors as well as the furnishings. I'm typing from this desk right now :c)

The "Welcome" area by the door..complete with lime green coffee maker!! COOL! I do feel very welcome here...

I don't know about you, but I always have to check out the bathroom in a new hotel room...GREEN WALLS!!! So restful and peaceful..and it hits me why I like these colors so much together...the blue, the green, the periwinkle...

I'M WEARING THE SAME THING! Oh yes, this place has got my number definitely!

I ran out to get a salad at subway, and look what I noticed on my way back into the lobby! CRUISER BIKES!! It was only 2pm, and I wasn't being picked up until 4:30 (still have 30 minutes to finish this blog post and get downstairs for pick up time!)so I stopped at the desk and asked how much to rent the bikes. $5.00 for 2 hours! What a bargain! How could I not want to ride a cruiser bike around twin lakes park and unwind for the afternoon before activities get going tonight?

I rode for about 90 minutes....it felt good to get those thigh muscles working, to feel the sun on my back and shoulders and the wind in my hair. I enjoyed watching people picnicing, children playing at the play grounds and feeding the ducks. Golfers doing their thing as their golf carts zoomed by on the paths. Lovers young and old holding hands and walking.

I also got dive bombed by a black bird, felt his claws in my hair, and it totally freaked me out!!! He must have thought my braid was something he wanted to build a nest with, but I kept it all to myself, luckily. Freaky Bird.

So I'm ready. Ready to head to dinner with the guild ladies and get everything set up. Ready to have my cousin ((once removed!)) and his lovely wife Pearl come join us for the guild meeting and teach them all the ins and outs of addicted quilters!

And I'll be ready to come back to my little perfect hideaway at The Hotel Indigo tonight when it is all done and dream dream dream, of lime green, navy blue, and periwinkle...

Oh and before I forget:

Lookie what I got yesterday....AT the thrift shop...for $4.99??? And it works wonderfully! I've never had a Rowenta before, so this one is for me. I shall NOT put water in it, I know about irons spitting over time. This one is going to be for dry ironing only! :cD

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And off she goes again....

Packing my bags for Arlington Heights, Illinois!

Yes, I know...I KNOW..I know more than anyone that I just got home, but you see, the family trip was stuck in there in an emergency situation, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. This trip tomorrow? Well, it's been on my calendar for about TWO YEARS. And I'm so happy to be going there! I've had emails from ladies (and gents)from the Chicago area who have traveled as far as Indiana to take my classes previously, and they can't wait for me to be local either, and it will be a reunion of sorts! ((Waving at Kathy and Teri and Ila and Dave and...))

As much as I love my family....it's also great to visit with like minded quilters! I'm just going to have to watch it when it comes to my magnetism toward Culver's Custard! I'm doing what I can to really work on this blood sugar thing. I don't think I can go up to their counter and ask for lo-carb sugar free diabetic custard :cÞ Celery Sticks? AUUGH!

This morning I pulled out the Dreamsicles quilt to check my progress on it. Boy! Things do go faster the closer you get to the center! This is a pic of the back, taken on my front porch swing...it's raining, (AGAIN!) so a pic on the deck wouldn't work to show detail. Too much light in my studio for detail..so...on the swing it goes! Can you see where I've quilted, leaving just an unquilted section in the center? My goal this trip is to FILL THAT IN and start on the border! Whooooo!

You know, if I didn't make the best of making the use of otherwise wasted time, this quilt would still be a P I G....(Project in Grocery Sack) languishing in the cupboard here in my studio. If this doesn't show you that you CAN make progress 15 minutes at a time....NOTHING WILL! This has all been found moments of time while I've been traveling, not a lick of hand stitching has been done while I've been here at home because there are too many other items on the hot plate when I am home.

I found a stencil that I want to use for the yellow border when I get to that point...I'm hoping I'll be to that point by the time I get home on Sunday! But we'll see.

And as for my "lay low" day yesterday? There was still some stuff that HAD to get done...like a run to the bank. I did work on writing some pattern instructions (just a bit) I took care of my mail, I got a pedicure (definitely goes into the THERAPY category!) and I took a NAP!

In the evening, when things had cooled down a bit...I was persuaded by DH to go walk the golf course with him while he played 9 holes. (Well really, it was 11 holes, but that's a story for another time!) After being mostly comatose all day, it felt good to get back out and stretch my legs. The golf course is close, and I love that it used to be an old farm...the silo and barn are still right there near the club house!

I played with my camera! I have friends who blog on a different format and they do what they call GPOYW (Gratuitous Picture Of Yourself Wednesday) I don't know how it got started...but this is me...on the golf course, hot and sweaty with DH, goofing around with the cam on my phone.

Silly Silly...and did I mention how HOT it was?! That pink thing you see in the corner is my ear buds..lol! I look like I've been lasso'd by them! Yes, I have pink ear buds...after buying countless pairs of white or black ones only to have them disappear (AHEM!) I have found that no one else in my house will TOUCH my pink ear buds...and I've had this pair over a year now..amazing! Pink is like kryptonite to the men folk in my family! (Pink rocks!) Pardon the hair..did I mention how hot it was and the wind was blowing? I do not usually sport a "Comb Over" :cD

Hot, Sweaty, and Silly...what a way to end a day!

Today? More pattern writing. Gym. Last of the Laundry. Repack Trunkshow. Fill Book Orders And Mail. Make chicken soup from the remains of last night's rotisserie chicken dinner. Get a good night's sleep....and off to Illinois I go! ((More silliness to follow!))

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From cold and rainy to mid 90s and humid!

My flight arrived home in Greensboro, NC around 11pm last night. I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open on the drive home! (Yes, good that I wasn't driving..lol)

Why was I so tired? Because we were going heck bent for leather in typical Mach fashion! (Mach is my mom's maiden name, and we typically run at Mach 5 speed!) I think the whole week caught up with me!

Now, you have to understand Mach family humor. We are avid as in AVID RABID yard salers. This meant comments such as ....."OH! Yard sale sign! do you think the funeral procession could just detour for just a few minutes?!?"

"Yard sale sign!" "yeah, but it's pouring..." "Doesn't matter! it's a GARAGE sale, and the weather is likely keeping people away so we can still get the GOOD STUFF!"

So yes, we did hit some yard sales Fri, Sat....and when we aren't yard saling, we are hitting the thrift stores! It's in the blood, what can I say?

So yesterday, my aunt dropped us off at a BIG one while she went and ran some errands. I found a few summer blouses for myself, and wound up at the fabric..YES! FABRIC! Loookie what I got!

That nile green calico is of some vintage age...it's only 35" wide (and has been prewashed at some date) and I got over 4 yards of it for $2.50! There was almost 5 yards of the brown with the aqua colored polka dots, and it was $5.00....uhhuh! It's destined to become a back or something. I REALLY like the vintage piece...it's definitely a 10 on the "fungly" scale...50% fun and 50% ugly! Gotta love it!

This did NOT come home with me:

But if you know someone who needs a piano key sequined gown, I know where you can get one! *LOL*

As I unpacked my suitcase this morning (All 46 lbs of it!) I unearthed some other treasures that I am happy to be bringing into my home.

My mom does wonderful painted objects. This is a clock she had painted for my Grandpa's room.....and it just cracks me up! This is what my life is like lately! I don't know what day it is, I don't know what time it is! LOL So THIS is going to hang in my studio (Next to the real clock of course...) On the back is a message of "Merry Christmas" to my Grandpa from my mom, and I cherish the sentiment.

A few of you sent emails telling me to be SURE to snag some of Grandpa's shirts. Don't worry...I was able to put in my request, and no one else besides my mom and myself were interested in his clothing. I found 4 lovely cotton shirts that will work just super. My mom got one sleeve from each and I got the rest! I'm sure it looked strange to whoever went through my bag at the airport! 4 shirts with one sleeve gone on each! (It never fails, I always open my luggage to find little notices from TSA letting me know they've gone through my bag.) She also wanted the buttons, so I gave her the whole strip with the buttons still attached too.

At the service we displayed picture boards of Grandpa's life in the foyer before the service. My Aunt spent hours getting copies of photos made for the display, and I was able to bring a few of the pics I really liked home with me. There is something so timeless about sepia toned photos, isn't there? In this age of digital pictures, it is really NICE to hold something tangible in my hands instead of looking at them all on a computer screen.

I need to be better about printing out my memories in NON DIGITAL format. Poof and they could all be gone if something happened to my computer, my external hard drive, my cd's my memory sticks. You know? I'm thinking about this more and more. Digital is great...but what do you do with it from that point?

So here I sit at 10:35 on a Tuesday morning. I have today and tomorrow to get done what I need to, but I just feel the need for a DAY OFF. Maybe a pedicure. I can deal with the rest later. I need some ME time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mostra a Zoagli!

Guess what I found in my inbox this morning?! A Quilt Show!

I received a lovely email from Luisa who wrote:

I live in Italy (Europe) every year I have a show with two quilter friends. can you see it ?

I made two quilts with your patterns and I thanks you very much.

Luisa Boldori
Genova Italia

You can also check out Luisa's website HERE

I get SO excited when I see how far our love for quilting goes. There may be a language barrier, but our love of color, the texture of the fabric, the feel of the needle, thread and thimble, is a universal language!

Take a look at Luisa's quilt show....there is amazing work coming out of Genova, Italy!

Be sure you have the volume up.....you will FEEL like you are right there in Italy too!

This is my last morning in Minnesota. It has been so wonderful to be here, it also is so hard to realize that we are all going our separate ways again to opposite ends of the country. We have decided that it is important to really try to be together once a year because life goes by faster as it snowballs, and we are just all at the age where we need to cherish every moment.

What is really fun too is my mom's cousin Verlon and his wife Pearl live in Schaumburg, IL! Verlon came to visit this week, and when I told him I was going to be teaching in Arlington Heights and doing a program on Thursday, he said he and his wife would love to come! So I will have FAMILY at my trunkshow on Thursday. Isn't that cool? It's fun to get to know my mom's cousins and hear all the stories of things that went on when THEY were growing up.

So...does anyone know? If Verlon is my mom's first cousin..what does that make him to me? First cousin once removed? I never understood all that "first, second, removed" thing. :cD

I also have a confession.....I thought I was doing so well with my health, but because my mom and my aunt are both diabetic, we've been checking my blood sugar while I've been here. It's still high. It's higher than it was 2 years ago. Even though I have dropped 25 lbs, and have been living healthier, eating healthier...AUUGH. I thought I could manage this with just diet, and not worry about having to go on meds, etc, but now I'm 2nd thinking this.

For instance....I didn't eat anything past 7pm last night. I went and walk jogged 5 miles this morning. My mom checked my blood sugar afterwards,thinking my counts should have gone down after that much burning, but I was up to 134. This is up 8 points since the other morning when I was 126.

My aunt is a nurse, has diabetes also, and said.."Welcome to the family, aren't genetics just GREAT?!"

I'm making an appointment to have a full workup done when I get home. It's time to really take this seriously.

My name is Bonnie, and I am diabetic. I need to make some changes. Starting NOW.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Those Elusive Spiderwebs!

I bet you thought I was never going to get around to posting these spiderweb quilts in progess! Well, it's only been a week...so here you go!

String Spiderweb Class NCQG 2010

The weather here in Maple Grove, MN has been quite rainy today, which didn't bother us a bit. We gathered at my Uncle's house where my mom, her siblings, and what cousins could joined for an indoor BBQ and lots of family reminiscing. When I come to MN, there is only one item that will do for BBQ...BRATWURST! My Aunt says her best way to cook them is to boil them to remove most of the fat and to cook them completely through...and then you put them on the grill until they are golden brown. OH YUM..they were so good!

This morning before the rain started I was able to get up early, put on my running shoes and go hit the greenbelt area that is around here. This is off the little bridge near my aunt's house.....what a peaceful morning!

This is the purple that greeted me on the pathway! I have no idea what it is, but it sure was vibrant and pretty!

The paved pathways wind through wooded areas, through wildflowers and trees, and I always look forward to coming here and spending time with the surrounding nature.

What's not to love about wooded shady paths, the sounds of birds, the smell of early summer in the air? (Even if it only was about 55 degrees when I was out there this morning! I passed several other walkers and runners (or they passed me) and there were bikers out there on the paths too. These paths go for miles!

At one point I crossed a bridge that went over the high way, and then down and into more woods on the other side.....there were power poles above, and I got a big kick out of this sign:

SENSATION OF STATIC ELECTRICITY!?? Well, I didn't feel anything, but it sure made me glad that I wasn't on a bike this morning! I did walk about 3.5 miles, and was ready for breakfast when I got back.

Tomorrow is my cousin's high school graduation...so it's been a fun family filled trip with lots of good memories as well as the more heart touching ones. We are all unwinding around here....my mom is popping popcorn (that was always her job, and she makes the best!) and we are settling in to watch the DVD of "HAIRSPRAY" with John Travolta. It's only fitting since we watched (and sang along!) to Mama Mia night before last!

Maybe I'll get some hand quilting done......or.....maybe not!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gathering Thoughts in MN...

I'm writing from my Aunt's house in Maple Grove, MN.

It's wonderful to be with family, even during such a difficult time as saying good bye to a loved one.

I was met at the airport by my 2 crazy Aunts who I love dearly. My mom is the oldest child, and has 3 siblings, and we are a crazy bunch!

My mom's flight didn't arrive from Idaho until a couple hours later, so we could do one of two things...go to Mall of America (been there, done that!!) or go wander around IKEA!! IKEA won out, and we had a great time looking at goo gahs and doo dads and dreaming of completely gutting our homes and starting fresh with all new furniture and things. What is it about places like that that just make me feel like I need to totally reinvent my house?

IKEA also has a nifty cafeteria with good food at decent prices, so we ate a bit of dinner, picked mom up at the airport.....and because she hadn't eaten yet, we drove her straight to Culvers (oh yes, this was my big fat idea! *LOL*) so she could get something to eat while we all topped off our IKEA meal with peanut butter cup custard, the flavor of the day!

It's so fun to see how my mom interacts with her sisters. Funerals are hard, and sad, but they do bring us together and family ties are strengthened and enriched.

In the van on the way to my Aunt's house, I was asked if I would play the piano for Grandpa's memorial service. (!!!!!) Let's just say that I hadn't really played for a few years. When we moved to NC, the piano did NOT come with me because there was no room for it, but after missing it more than I thought I would, I bought a yamaha electric piano last year. However, you know how good intentions go....if you've followed my teaching schedule you'll know that there has been NO TIME for any piano practice of any kind, so it's sat there....(sometimes buried in fabric and projects! OH NO!!!)

Of course, I said yes, I would play. Sheet music was located. A trumpet player was going to accompany me, and arrangements were made for us to practice before the viewing, before the service. It all came together.

I think I mentioned before that my Grandpa loved to play his trumpet. So it was very touching to have someone playing trumpet in honor of Grandpa. I was also involved in helping write up Grandpa's life sketch, and it turned out that I was designated to be the reader at the service, because I was probably the only one who could get through it without bawling. Something about being one generation removed I think...My aunts, my mom, and my uncle all didn't want to be the one to do it. So..tada. In helping to write his life down, I learned so much! I feel so much closer to him now that I know what his youth was like, surviving through polio at age 3. His early years working his way through dental school, starting his practice in Brewster, MN...accepting chickens, eggs, and produce in payment for services rendered...this was my Grandpa.

I learned about what things were like as my mom and her siblings grew up, and what life in Minneapolis was like during the 50's and 60's before I came around.

I met some of my mom's cousins and highs school friends....and it was just wonderful. Our bodies might get old, but the people we are inside them are still the same. It's fun to see my mom giggle with her girlfriends. She has a lunch date planned with this group of high school friends later in her visit here.

(This is getting really disjointed, but this is what is coming off the top of my head)

Grandpa played trumpet in big bands, and just loved jazz and jitterbug and all of those old big band favorites. His nickname was "Hot Lips". And it is so sweet to hear other people he knew reminiscing of things they remember about my Grandpa and his music.

We had the softer big band sounds (Think string of pearls) playing as prelude, and when the service ended and the people were filing out, the music changed to more peppy sounds of songs that Grandpa loved, as in A-Train. I just love big band music and always have because of my Grandpa.

Grandpa would have really gotten a KICK out of this service and the stories that were told. And there were smiles and laughter all the way to the cemetery......there were BALLOONS all along the route!! (Someone had a 5k run for charity or something and their were helium balloons all along the route...rainbows of balloons!) and we thought Grandpa would have even loved to know that it was like a parade going to his resting place.

It was very touching there at the grave side, seeing his name and his dates finally added to the shared headstone with my grandmother who passed away in 1966 when I was only 4. The sentiment Grandpa had chosen himself for the headstone was "Together Forever" and it just felt like finally this piece had been put in it's right place. It was just such an emotional day.

I haven't spent much time quilting, needless to say, but now that the funeral is past, we can get rid of the "eral" and just leave the "FUN" and have some of our own. We plan on relaxing and enjoying each other and since extended family had come in for the services, we are throwing together another family reunion BBQ of sorts for Saturday and make the most of this that we can. My cousin Bethany is also graduating from High School herself on Sunday, so this is a memorable time to be here.

Still have those pics from the spiderweb workshop to upload..but this is already extra long, so I think I'll have time to write another post tomorrow.

I've been thinking of a phrase that was spoken at the service yesterday "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

I think that also can be said about our quilting!

Do quilts happen while life is going on around us? Or does life happen while we are quilting through it?