Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s Eve, Farewell, 2010!

I’m so happy so many of you are thrilled with the mystery revealing! I’m always so nervous with that…what if people don’t like it! I know it has been a stretch --- And I am aware that it is a huge leap of faith as well for you! ALL those weird neutrals into string blocks! But don’t you feel GREAT about cleaning out so much STUFF?! I know I do. I started out with a whole big comforter bag (You know, the zippered bags you buy bedding in? Aren’t they great?) full of unwanted neutral stuff, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE how my quilt turned out!

I’ve had a fun couple of days --- Yesterday morning Lisa and Shelby came to play Chez Quiltville and we started quilting on these little memory quilts for a lady that Lisa knows ---made out of her father in law’s ties. While we were at the beach, Lisa sat and took all the ties apart and fused them to some very light weight interfacing….stripped them down into random widths and started string piecing them onto paper foundations on her featherweight. There is SO MUCH FABRIC in a tie! I had no idea! But when you take it apart and unfold it all…wow…ideas ideas ideas!

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No, I am restraining myself from accumulating more recycled fabric in tie form. I have boxes and boxes of fabric from shirts and other articles of clothing that need to find their way into quilts. If I start up with ties --- I have to start a whole ‘nuther stash! Not going there. Well, not yet anyway! Rolling on the floor laughing

Can you see the texture of the quilting? We used a black thread, so it’s hard to see, but I tried to get the light right. They are only about 36” square, one for each of the children who’s father wore the ties. I think they are a great tribute, and a neat way to preserve those memories. There were some WILD ties, let me tell you!

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Can you see the texture and quiting now? Some of these prints are so beautiful I kept wishing they were available in COTTON!

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Yummy Yummy! I just love string anything…but this was so neat, I couldn’t resist petting it---OFTEN!

After the second quilt was quilted, and the third one bordered, we decided we had had enough for the day, and jumped in the car and drove to the Ikea in Charlotte! Was this a good idea? on an almost holiday weekend? NO!! Let me tell you, if you go --- do it on a week day when kids are in school! It took us 2 hours to wander the aisles and pick up goodies we wanted NEEDED! I came home with a soap pumper for my kitchen dish soap that I HOPE will not spew soap from any where other than where it is supposed to come – every other pumper I’ve tried leaks around the cap.

We topped the shopping trip off with a stop to the snack bar for the best $1.00 Cinnamon Roll that I’ve had. It could be that I was just ravenous from all that quilting, driving and shopping? But no --- they are really good!

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Here’s a pic of Chloe for those who asked how she is doing --- She is here to wish you Happy New Year, too! She contentedly lives outside, soaking up the sun on the front porch. She’ll come when I put food out for her. She will begrudgingly let me pet her while she stuffs her face in the bowl, but she does not purr, and she is not lovey, and you can not pick her up. She really is quite the pain in the rear, and it’s a shame because she is so beautiful! I hope she is doing her job keeping rodents at bay, etc. I feel bad for her because I know how tormented she was before she came to us, and maybe this is the best we can give her, a sunny spot by the front door, food in her belly, a safe place to call home even if it is outside!

Happy New Year Everybody! I’ve got a cozy spot on the couch waiting for me, and a quilt just waiting for more stitches as the ball drops!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quilter's Insomnia?

Okay. This is getting ridiculous! I feel like this kitty!

I always heard that as we age that we sleep less. Or have trouble sleeping. It hasn't often been my problem, but this past couple of weeks.....

My body says "Go to bed" and I do. My mind says "Think Think Think" and won't shut up. I toss and I turn and I will myself to do things like remember each and every place I've lived, wander through the houses of my memory, hoping that will bore me enough to drift off, but nada!

Something's gotta give! I'm afraid of sleeping pills. I don't want to get dependent on them, and I don't want to feel like a zombie the next morning.

IS THIS HORMONAL!? Have you been through this? What do I do?

Lisa is on her way over this morning to work on the silk tie quilts! I can't wait to see them. We are going to quilt them up simple, and just play for the day. I will force myself to NOT NAP in hopes that I can get a decent night's sleep tonight ---

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On-Point Sashing Chart!

I love On-Point quilts! The one I’m working on now has 72 blocks set 6 X 7. How many sashings , corner-stones or setting triangles does this Quilter need for these kind of layouts? The chart I usually use is missing the sizes for quilts set 5 X 6 and 6 X 7! This meant I actually had to do some MATH!

I thought having such a chart could be a handy thing, and this kind of math should only need to be done once, so I’m uploading it here!

And yes, it’s missing sizes for quilts set 8, 9, 10 wide, but I want to get back to sewing, so I’ll add those sizes as needed! Rolling on the floor laughing

Block Setting

# of Blocks

# Sashings

# Corner-

# Side

# Corner

2 X 2






2 X 3






3 X 3






3 X 4






3 X 5






4 X 4






4 X 5






4 X 6






5 X 5






5 X 6






5 X 7






6 X 6






6 X 7






6 X 8






6 X 9






7 X 7






7 X 8






7 X 9






Dog Days of December ---

I feel pretty much like this! Our wood stove has been roaring toasty warm, and I can’t even twist my own arm to want to leave the house for any reason at all. More hand quilting on the couch, more watching episodes of Bones on netflix, more SADIE stretched out in front of the wood stove in a bliss of heat. She hasn't left her spot in front of the fireplace all week! ((I haven't much, either for that matter!))

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It’s nasty out there. It’s cold and icy and the snow has not decided to leave the ground yet. I’m typing with fingerless gloves on in the basement to get this written! It’s cold outside, and it’s cold down here! ((Which is why I’ve enjoyed my evenings up on the couch so much!!))

Yes, I can put a fire in the wood stove down here too, and I will – I will – When I decide I want to stay down here long enough to enjoy the whole fire, not just part of it.  Like TOMORROW – When Lisa is coming to work on some silk tie quilts! Poor Karen, she is being drug to the beach house with her family, no sew day for her! Next time Karen!

This time of the year is great for reflection. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! And I am absorbed in thoughts of gratitude.

I’m also realizing that I have learned so much this year. I’ve grown a thicker skin!

This is a good thing, especially when I become more and more aware that I can’t please all the people all the time, and I am focusing my life on being more genuinely ME than I am trying to be what people want so they will like me. Does that make sense?

I have learned that I can’t control another person’s behavior or to make them feel what they are incapable of.

I want to live in the NOW instead of pushing it all to SOME DAY I MIGHT.

As far as resolutions go? Those might help some people, but the one thing I really want to work on is just being more AWARE of what is going on around me. Every day counts. Every moment counts. Don’t just go through the motions.

Since losing my Grandpa in June, since my online friend took her life in October, since another friend’s cousin lost one of their 13 yr old twins in a senseless car crash the weekend after Thanksgiving, I am just more aware of how short this life is.


This year, 2011, I will be practicing the ABC’s of Genuine Happiness! I hope you will join me.

So we count down to 2011!

  • Friday! Part #7 of the MYSTERY! Yeah!
  • Saturday! Pre-orders for Scraps & Shirttails II and Word Play Quilts go live!

And we set our hopes on 2011 to be the BEST YEAR YET!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You just might be an NC Redneck if ---

You drive a HUGE MONSTER DUALLY PICK-UP and decide that you can take up TWO parking spots at Best Buy 2 days after Christmas when the place is jam packed! Yeah, Dude, you did a great job backing yourself IN to that spot, and centering yourself over the line! ((What is it with guys that HAVE to back into a spot anyway??)) Annoyed See the “normal” sized pickup behind the MONSTER one? I just don’t get it ---

Yes, we braved the weather and wandered ourselves over to Greensboro into that jungle they call Best Buy. Take my word for it. DON’T. DO. IT!! Wait a week or so…or two or three! It was a complete zoo!

HOWEVER! We did get this nifty all-in-one remote that is going to make MY life so much easier!

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On the LEFT --- This is what I was dealing with before! One for the cable, one for the TV, one for the Audio, one for the playstation we use for netflix streaming..AUUGHHH!!  Finding the right remote, or finding ANY of them in the same place has been a nightmare! That little guy on the right?  It’s a HARMONY 650! ((Aptly named I must admit!)) And it is programmed via usb and the computer website to replace SO MUCH STUFF! I’m not convinced it was worth a foray into Best Buy, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Now all the other remotes have gone into remote-waste-land in the bottom drawer of the chair side table!

While I was at Best Buy, I should have opted for a new keyboard! I don’t have to look at my keyboard all that often, but any time anyone else sits at my computer they stare down, mouths gaping open, not sure where to peck! Does your keyboard look like this:

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Half the letters are missing! I guess I am a nail clacker when I type! I haven’t met a keyboard yet that doesn’t lose its letters to my fingers. On second thought….if I leave this keyboard where it is, it might deter the others from thinking they can occupy my spot Flirt male

Yesterday I mailed 4 cases of books off to Germany –MEDIA MAIL! I need your quilty prayers and well wishes and thoughts that they arrive safely for my visit to the Black Forest Quilters in Stuttgart by the time I visit at the end of February! I was told it would take about 6 weeks for them to reach their destination. My fingers are crossed. That’s precious cargo!

I also sent off my teacher display quilt for the Road to California Quilt Show! WHooooo! That is right around the corner and I am so excited to be teaching there in January! Southern California in JANUARY!? Bring it ON! I’m already done with this snow stuff. It’s been pretty for a few days, but just like the Christmas Decorations, it’s time to pack it up and put it away for next year!

And that’s all I have to report. I have a week and a half before heading to Nebraska for my first trip of the new year, and I’m going to get in as much quilting as I can between now and then!

Stay Warm!Rolling on the floor laughing


PS. If you *ARE* a redneck with a huge monster dually pick-up, please note that I don’t promise to always be politically correct on my blog. I do believe in freedom of speech, just as you believe in freedom to drive stupid vehicles (or wear Bump-its in your hair, or wear Snuggies in public to Costco.) No one is FORCING you to read my blog, and any long emails ranting about how disappointed you are in my opinions will be promptly sent to the spam filter!Nyah-Nyah

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best Potato Soup Recipe!

I’ve been making this for years, it is the boys favorite, and it’s SO easy….just a bit messy in the makings, but worth it! AND. It gets better the next day and the day after as all the flavors blend and it thickens up!

There are lots of recipes for low-fat-no-fat-this-and-that, and this is NOT one of them! However, when you divide the fat by the 8-10 large servings this recipe makes, I find it to have less fat than what most people load on their baked potatoes. I know there is a recipe for a lower fat roux using chicken stock and flour, but it just doesn’t TASTE the same!

This recipe is great for a quick meal because I can make the white sauce while the potatoes boil.

In a pinch, I’ve even grabbed a 2lb bag of diced frozen hash-browns and used them instead of peeling, slicing, dicing 2 lbs of potatoes.


Once upon a time, I used to have one of those french fry press things called a Veg-O-Matic! It was a wedding gift and I used it for years. You peel the potato, push it through the thing and you’d have fries! And I would boil them down as fries and mash them in the water with a potato masher to break them into bite size pieces, but the french fry press gave up the ghost a long time ago and I never replaced it. After doing a search for a pic on these, I found they are still available..what a hoot! I don’t think I will replace it ---but seeing the pic sure takes me back!

I also have this MOULI thing – got it from a yard sale about 20 years ago or more for something like $3.00.


and mine is probably about as OLD as this one! I used this to slice the cheese for sandwiches when Lisa was over the other day and she said “What IS that thing?!?” Rolling on the floor laughing

Love that 70’s Cheddar Orange color! I’m not that lucky, mine is TAN! It’s very easy and I use it all the time. You slide the blade in, put the handle through the hole in the blade…put the cheese, the potato, the onion, whatever it is you want to slice or grate in the space, push the cover arm down on it and rotate the handle. No electricity, easy clean up, in the dishwasher it goes, and voila. And this is what I’m using to make my Potato Soup with – I’m going to grate the potatoes with the LARGEST grater, and boil them that way.

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So on to the recipe:

  • Approximately 2 lbs potatoes, washed, peeled, diced (or largely grated) (About 4-5 potatoes depending on the size)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Place in large soup pot with water to a bit more than cover. Boil until potatoes are done, adding more water if needed. I use a potato masher to break the grated pieces into smaller bits as they boil. Do not drain water!

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First pic: Roux Second pic: Soup in the Pot!

While potatoes are boiling:

  • Fry up 6-8 slices of bacon in a large fry pan. Allow to drain on paper towels, and when cool crumble.
  • Stir 1/3 cup flour into the warm bacon drippings and stir into a smooth roux. (There should be approx 3 Tbl drippings)
  • Add 2 cups of milk (We use 1%) and bring to a boil to thicken. It will get VERY thick.

When potatoes are done, and sauce is thick, stir the sauce into the potato soup ((if your soup is very watery, you might want to drain some before adding the sauce)) Soup will thicken as it cools. Stir in bacon crumbles.

If you like more vegetables in your soup ((I do, family doesn’t! Nyah-Nyah )) You can add celery, sweet corn, and sliced or diced carrots to the boiling potatoes! Frozen peas & carrots also work in a pinch and add nice color.

Add salt and pepper as desired. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes to cool and thicken before serving. Serve with crackers and top with grated cheese. Choppped green onions or chives are also yummy and pretty!

This is great and hearty served with a nice green salad!


And Since We’ve No Place To Go ---

Let it SNOW!! Let it SNOW!! Let it SNOW!!

It started coming down yesterday morning around 11am…..

We went to the movies to go see True Grit at 2:25pm – It’s a Christmas Matinee Tradition! ((This started somewhere around the release of the first Harry Potter, and the Lord of the Rings series and has continued on..))

When we arrived home after the movie…this was the view from the top of our driveway!

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And it kept coming, and coming! And it is still snowing!

This morning I looked out the back door that leads to the back deck and was greeted with this sight:

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Guess we won’t be “cooking out!” today! Sadie was having a ball running around and burying her nose in the snow..she loves it!  The cats? Not so much!

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I love it when the limbs are laden and frosted with snow! This is the view off the back deck by the grill! What a gorgeous sight for the morning after Christmas!

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Here I was on the front porch….The whole world out there is a Winter Wonderland!  At this point though, we are worried about Jason and Kim making it back to Columbia SC today. Kim has to work her shift at the hospital tomorrow, and the snow and Ice has also hit Columbia, so their going may be slow and nerve wracking. Kim tried to switch shifts, but so far no avail. We are telling them to wait for the warmest time of the day, when the interstate may be more clear due to home-bound traffic --- But still! Wish they could stay one more day!

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This is the back of the house from down by the creek looking up…aren’t those branches just lovely!? Yes, I did put my boots on….I had to photoshop this next pic…can you see how deep the snow is? It’s a good 4” at least, and like I said, it is still coming down!

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That’s my boot print!! I’m prepared to not go anywhere. Leftover ham is going to be the startings for a big pot of potato soup today. We’ve got plenty of fire wood, the power has stayed on ((Thank heavens for that, that’s always my worry.)) And I have family around me and lots of projects to work on. I do wish I could escape the video games playing at full blast on the 65” living room TV…that is a bit much for me to handle, but all in all..I’ve got it dang good!

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And yes, I did get the binding on the pink/brown quilt yesterday! I’ve got about 1/3 of the last side left to bind, and stitch the hanging sleeve down. And then, since my under-finger has had a day of rest, I can get back to quilting the center!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning and all is Still…..

We’ve been having a wonderful Christmas, and I wanted to peek in just to wish you all the Merriest!

The best part by far is having Jason, Kim & Jeff here, and watching them interact with each other! How did my little boys grow into such wonderful young men? And Kim? She is the daughter I always longed for, and I’m so glad and grateful for the life that she and Jason are sharing together. My heart just about swells to bursting when I think of it. At this moment “All is Calm, All is Bright”…in my world.

I’ve spent MUCH time with my feet up the past couple of days doing lots of THIS:

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I’ve started the 3rd row of fans, working my way toward the center. Dealing with these tiny pieces and their seam allowance is kind of slow going….can’t load as many stitches on to my needle when going through them, but when I hit the open areas on the white…AHHHH! If you look close, you can see that I’m using my little wheel marker ((I think it’s a Fons& Porter one)) with the yellow chalk to mark my lines. Yes….this one I AM using a stencil because it’s a very formal quilt, and I wanted large even fans, something I can’t do when free-handing them.

Kim is so sweet, she said she loves this quilt the best and can she have it? You know, that is the way straight to my heart, when someone wants a quilt that badly to ask for it! BUT --- I told her it would probably be on my deathbed as it will most likely take me that long to finish it! Never the less, she WILL get it --- some day. :c)

I’ve gone far enough now toward the center and away from the outside edge that I’m planning on giving my poked up underfinger a break today…I’m going to trim the excess batting and backing and put the binding on. That is going to help protect the raw edges of the border fabric, and it won’t interfere with my hoop as I continue to quilt inward. And it will look A LOT better. Those edges are raggedy!

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We went out for Christmas Eve dinner at our fave Japanese place last night --- we called ahead to find out how long they were staying open! ((Learned this lesson last year when we had no kitchen, and all we could find open on the holiday was the Chinese Buffet! Rolling on the floor laughing )) We made it in time, and really enjoyed the evening. Pardon the grainy iphone pic, but it was a spur of the moment capture.

Jason and Dave were nuts enough to go golfing yesterday when it was only 35 degrees out! Kim and I occupied ourselves inside, and then went to the store to grab the last of what we need food-wise, and we ended up making the yummiest fruit salad for dinner tonight! SO EASY!

Yogurt Ambrosia

2 c. sm curd low fat cottage cheese

1 sm package sugar free lemon jello (dry)

17 oz can mandarin oranges

1 c halved, seedless red grapes

1 c light lemon yogurt

2 c mini marshmallows

8 oz can pineapple tidbits (I think my can was bigger than this, I put the whole thing in anyway!)

1 c flaked coconut

Mix and cover. Chill for 2-24 hours. Makes A LOT! (but we ate some for a snack last night just to test it out and it was so good!)

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Merry Christmas Whiskers & Wishes from Oscar and the Hunter Clan to you, wherever you are!