Monday, January 31, 2011

design wall . . . dream?

I don't have anything up on my literal design wall (ironing board, sewing table, or anywhere else) this morning. But does that stop me? Absolutely NOT! I had committed that I would start nothing else until the nursery project was completely finished, and since it's close but not quite there, I refused to put anything new on the ol' design wall.

But my mind has no such limitations, and when I went to sleep the other night, it went right to work!

I shared about our guild's mystery quilt project last week, knowing that as much as I want to play -- I've never done a mystery quilt before -- the nursery project comes first! The only thing with the mystery quilt is, I had no idea what fabrics to use as my six colors and my zinger. It's really bothered me. Enough so that I not only dreamed about it, but I got it all figured out in my dream!

In my dream I went to one of our local quilt shops and was delighted to find they'd expanded and added more space, more fabric, and (here's how you can tell it was *my* dream) shelves of CHOCOLATE! Fabric and chocolate??! Yep, that's my kind of store! It was packed, too. I'm thinking this should start a new trend.

The fabric I have decided to use, I picked out in my dream. Weird, huh? I woke up so excited, because my dilemma was solved! I think I may have some in my stash -- I'll have to check later. Now that I know what my six color fabrics will be, it'll be a simple task to find a 'zinger' fabric. I'm so relieved that's over. Talk about process!!

Check out what quilters all over the world have on their real design walls over at Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times!

Here's what I finished on Saturday. The curtains are fully lined and I must say, they look great! The crib skirt was a little different. We'll velcro it onto the mattress support -- just the front, because the rest of it is enclosed. The skirt is fully lined too, and I had fun doing the ruffle! Notice that my demo here is set up on a broom handle and the ironing board. Necessity is the mother of invention!

Here's a close up of the ribbons on the curtains. Isn't it darling? The bumper pads are just a couple of stitches away from being finished. We're putting it all together on Saturday morning, and I'll be sure to share finished nursery photos! I can hardly believe that Everett's due to be here in just over two weeks!

Today I'll spend with my darling Sawyer. We had glorious weather here this weekend -- in the 70's on Saturday! My son caught this one of my darling boy enjoying the glorious outdoors . . .

He fills my heart with smiles - I'm such a blessed woman!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

all that . . .

I worked with all sorts of dangerous, sharp things this weekend.

Pins and seam rippers . . .

All manner of scissors . . .

Rotary cutters in all shapes and sizes . . .

All kinds of accidents waiting to happen . . .

And yet, it was on a piece of cardboard that I sliced open my finger.

And it HURT!


confession time . . .

This is my safe place, right? No judging? Or at least, I can delete comments I perceive as judgmental. Just kidding!!

I still have Christmas decorations out.

There. I said it. And I don't care! I want the whole world to know!

Well, not really. But I do have my reasons. It's not because I haven't had time or that I'm too lazy. I've had plenty of time, and I'm *not* lazy. I just carry the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year long. And . . .


Here's my Top Ten list of reasons why Christmas remains . . .

10. Removing the wreath from the front door would displace the wren (again).

9. Snowmen, and cardinals are all really winter decorations.

8. Holly, pine cones, and evergreen are also really winter decorations.

7. The colored lights on my front porch make it easier to find at night in the big woods.

6. Like the song says, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

5. My picture of the Last Supper stays hung year-round. Why not the Nativity scene?

4. I'm celebrating Christmas for the entire time it took the wise men to actually get to Bethlehem. And my wise men figurines 'travel' every time the washer/dryer runs. It's funny-- they always end up facing the same direction, next to each other, no matter where they've started from.

3. Deer outside, reindeer inside.

2. Because I can and it makes me smile (and my darling husband tolerates it).

And the number one reason why Christmas is still up here?

1. The Stocking Elves are still visiting!!

You'd still have Christmas up, too!


[And ps -- it's not like my Christmas decorating was over-the-top, I promise!]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

it's a mystery . . .

No, really, it IS a mystery. A quilt mystery! My guild, Heritage Quilters of Huntsville, is holding a mystery quilt-a-long and it's open to anyone who would like to participate! It's just started -- they posted the first clue just this month.

The foundation for the quilt is a range of black-to-white fabrics -- six to be exact.

And then you'll need six more fabrics in color, and a 'zinger' fabric. They've got fabric requirements listed for four different sized quilts, which I thought was really nice!

If you're interested in joining, or just want to follow along with the clues (which I'm dying to share, but I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's fun), all you've got to do is click HERE! All the material requirements are listed, and about mid-way down the page is the FIRST CLUE!!

The organizers announced at our last meeting that instead of a magnifying glass, we'd find this particular tool much handier as we worked on the case . . .

Gosh, another gadget? Do I have to? LOL! They know how to reel me in, don't they?!

Of course, I absolutely cannot, in good conscience, put on my detective hat until I've finished with the nursery project. So you *may* get a head start on me . . . but don't you worry, I'm a smart sleuther! I'll catch up quickly!!

Come, Quilters, come! The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

it's here . . .

Finally, after much anxious waiting, I got the call that my brace was ready to pick up. It looked pretty much like I thought it was going to look, except the brown was prettier than anything I'd seen in pictures, and it smelled like Todd's new coat (which is leather) or a new car (with leather interior). In other words, it smelled like leather. Which it is.

I have to admit that I've been a little skeptical about how much the brace would help. I mean, how could it make the bone-on-bone-on-bone pain quit? I really wasn't sure, even as the orthotist put it on and laced me up.

Then I took my first step.

And I cried.

Yesterday I took the first pain-free steps with my right foot since May 21, 2010. It deserved my tears of joy! I don't think my orthotist realized how significant an event this was for me. Or perhaps, since he's got a wife and daughter, he understood all too well. :)

So, here it is . . .

It's not really much to look at, though there's nothing a little bedazzling and some pink, sparkly laces wouldn't fix.

And I need to get new shoes to wear with it. My tennis shoes (which I've been wearing because my orthotics fit best in them), are a tad snug.

And you definitely need to be in a shoe when you're wearing this thing! Shoelessness is not an option.

Pretty funky, right? I don't care. It felt *good* to walk to today! I still walk funny, because I'm getting used to the brace. It doesn't allow me ankle/flex movement, so I look a little stiff. But who cares? It doesn't hurt! And driving was a little . . . interesting. Because I can't flex me foot to press the gas or brake, and have to move my leg from the hip to exert pressure, especially to accelerate. But who CARES??? It *still* doesn't hurt!!!

I've quilted five of the owls . . . only seven more to go! Easy-peasy. And nice to do while Todd's playing football on the xbox!

I wish the quilting showed up a little better in these photos, but the owls are so cute, I decided to show 'em anyways.

And besides, whooooooo cares?

It doesn't hurt to walk!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

back on track . . .

I was so anxious to get to spend the day with Sawyer yesterday! It had been so since we'd had a whole day together. And my time with him is precious, precious.

He's such a funny little fellow. Even with the pacifier in place, he scrunches his face when I'm taking a flash photo. The photos look great, but the funky face ...

He tickles me so!

After lunch, I handed over his spoon and let him play with it.

As you can see, we're still working on hand-eye coordination. Or maybe his coordination is fine and his nose itched. If that's the case, I need to teach him about tissues, soon!

Here we go! Happy baby, happy smile.

And a regular mouthful of teeth, too!

I also caught a little video of a new trick he's playing. I've seen him do this for a while, and had been concerned off and on that perhaps his ears were bothering him. But since he never displayed any other symptoms, I let it go. Then Friday night, James and I were chatting waiting for Kim to get home so they could go to dinner, and Sawyer started doing this a lot. I commented on it, and James said he thought Sawyer was 'talking on his cell phone' -- just like daddy!

Sure enough -- he's just jabbering away into his phone, just like he sees daddy do. And what's really funny is when he pulls his hand away from his ear, shakes it, and then looks at it to see how many bars of signal he has!

Can you hear me now??


Monday, January 24, 2011

by design . . .

When it comes to tying off a quilt with yarn, my motto is:
Walk softly and carry a big needle.

I mean a *really* big needle.

big, Big, BIG. And sharp, too. Ouch!

Down through the front, and then back up . . .

A solid knot and a quick snip . . .

Do that about twenty-five times and VOILA!

The tying is finished!

Luckily (not really -- by design) the batting I'm using has an 8" spread for quilting, so I could be finished with it if I desired. But I'm thinking that to add a little eye interest and dimension, I'm going to pick some of the single owls and outline quilt around them. Different ones on each row for character.

And then, I'll do a matchie-matchie pillow, just like this!

So, that's what I've got going on right now (or at least, that's what I'm concentrating on this week)! I hope to be able to show off the whole kit & caboodle next Monday. Curtains, bumper pads, crib skirt, quilt, and pillow. Whew!

For sure, you should head on over to Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times, and check out the inspired workings and goings-on of other quilters!

Today, me and Everett's Owls are headed over to spend a Monday (finally!!) with Sawyer!

Hasta la vista, bebe!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

friday, saturday, sawyer . . .

After missing the last two Mondays with Sawyer (one to snow, one to a holiday his mommy got to take), you can imagine how excited I was to get an invite to babysit on Friday night! I jumped on it! I headed over there right after work on Friday, and Sawyer and I had a big time. I'd share more pictures, but I think my son has taught Sawyer to scrunch his face all up when grandma is taking a picture. LOL!

I was amazed at how much my little grandguy has grown and matured in just TWO weeks! He's cruising furniture, he has FIVE teeth, his hair is growing, and he's very chatty. Just precious.

After an afternoon of playing and then a dinner of cereal, squash and corn, we headed to the tub.

This little guy loves playing in the water! His favorite (other than sucking on the washcloth or the rubber ducky) is to try and grab at the stream of water as I pour it from overhead. Too cute!

By the time we'd finished up in the tub, he was looking a little worn out. Baths are good for that.

Definitely another mirror shot -- funny thing is, he's looking at my reflection and I'm looking at his!

We got him dried off and into his big boy pajamas, and he demonstrated his new skills. Holding onto the crib rail and walking from one end to the other.

I almost hated to give him his bottle and put him to bed, but I held out as long as I could, without letting him get overtired. We had a fun night together!

Saturday afternoon, Todd & I were watching the deer in the back . . .

This is the big group -- a big doe (definitely the alpha doe), with a couple of smaller does, and then five fawns -- nine in total. They'd come through earlier, but Todd hadn't gotten out there with the corn yet, so they didn't stay long the first time. The second time, the five fawns came running up, but the does hung back, waiting. As soon as they saw that the fawns were eating and eating well, they hurried on in, too!

Todd had thrown bird seed on the long log for the birds, especially the doves. We had to laugh to see the deer out there licking up the seed from the log! Silly things.

Not long after this, we noticed the whole group of deer standing at alert, facing the RV. I thought they were sensing us, which is unusual, but it wasn't us, or the RV. A little feral cat had come walking out from the RV and the deer were fascinated! And a little anxious, too. They didn't take their eyes of this little cat, and they stood there, stomping their feet. The cat didn't pay the least bit of attention to them. It was eating cookies we'd left for the raccoons. But the deer couldn't go back to eating for that little cat. Finally, the alpha doe came up behind it (mind you, she was the closest to the RV we've ever seen her) stamping her feet all the way. It looked like she was going to charge the cat. The cat never looked up from it's cookies. The doe got closer and closer and just as I thought she was going to rear up, she got spooked and took off, spooking the rest of the deer in turn. They all went charging out of the area down the hill, all due to a tiny little pussycat. It was so hilarious to watch!

Our suet/seed feed that's situated right off our main window has been seeing a lot of activity. One of its regular visitors is this handsome fellow . . .

Not the greatest picture because the feed spins, but even so, you can miss the splash of red on the back of our downy woodpecker's head!

Then Saturday afternoon, a happy surprise!! Guess who came for a visit?

Yay! This is the first time he's been here in a while. Certainly the first time since he's been standing. James, Kim, Jocelyn, and Jason were out taking photos for Joc's maternity session. So Todd and I stayed and Sawyer kept us company! He and Todd talked back and for a long time. I have no idea what they were saying, but Sawyer seemed really excited that someone was speaking in his tongue!

He loved the back window! He kept climbing up to look out into the world.

I'm such a grandma. I'm in love with his little head!

I wish there had been some deer out there for him to watch!

I can't believe how big he's getting. I think he had fun with us here. Gracious, what a fine afternoon it was!

And tomorrow, nothing is keeping this Grandma from appointed rounds!!!


Friday, January 21, 2011

fun, fun evening . . .

Last night was our regular guild meeting and I had such a good time! I first had dinner with some of the gals from our Stitcher's Group - we ate at McAlister's Deli. We hadn't been there for a long time. It was yummy!

The weather was not the best -- when we left the restaurant it was already raining/misting, and we knew the temps were supposed to drop quickly and that sleet and then snow were on the way. It's really a shame, because I think it caused a lot of ladies to stay home last night, and they missed a *wonderful* program!

Before the program started, I met up with one of the members, Anne T. Anne had brought in her crazy quilt for Show & Tell several months ago (the July meeting), and I'd wanted to get a better look at it. We worked together as hostesses at the Lost Heroes Quilt exhibit last month, and had talked a little more about her crazy quilting and the process. She'd agreed to bring in her finished crazy quilt last night. She did better than that!

First she showed me this book on embellishments. Doesn't this look like fun?!? Doesn't it look like something *I* need???? I think so. I mean really. has it listed and you can even look inside! Click on the photo to check it out yourself. There may be one on the way to my house as you read this.

She also brought the crazy quilt project she's currently working on:

Isn't this fun?!? I love the profusion of COLORS!! She's paper piecing this one, and has about 38 different patterns she's following. She said she likes it because it's hand work that she can pull out in small spaces and work on whenever she wants to. I wish I'd caught some of the fun stitching she's got on these blocks. It's wonderful.

And then she pulled out this beauty . . .

Isn't it gorgeous? I just love this wall hanging! My favorite embellishment? Her Girl Scout patches! What FUN!!! I know without a doubt that I simple must do one of these quilts. Someday!

Then, after an abbreviated business meeting (due to the impending weather), our program started. What a terrific national speaker we had!

If you're not familiar with Melinda Bula, you can check out her website HERE and/or her blog HERE.

I found right off the bat that Melinda and I were sanitarium sisters. Yes, that's right, both of us were born in sanitariums! She on the west coast, and me in the Washington Sanitarium, Takoma Park, Maryland. Who knew?

She had with her two *gorgeous* quilts -- the one on the left is a sunset in Monterrey and the one on the right is titled Romance. I love both of them, but especially the flowers. I wanted to run up there and inhale their fragrance -- that's how real and beautiful they were!

My photos from last night do no justice to the objects I was trying to capture. Probably because I was sitting in the very back row.

It also didn't help that most of my captures are off the projector screen!

Both of these wearable arts caught my attention. Beautiful work!

But I especially loved this green. Sweet!

I did get one of her books. I cannot resist Christmas!

And yay! It's an autographed copy. Whoohoo!

My two favorite sound bites from the night?

She told how she had grown up sitting at the feet of her mom, watching her sew, and that she and her sister would take scraps of fabric and sew outfits for their dolls . . . "We thought were sewing, but mostly we were wrapping!"

and . . .

"You're only a quilter if you have a minimum of ten unfinished quilts!"

I think I qualify.

She was as engaging a storyteller as she is a quilter. If ever you have the chance to see her or her work, just DO IT!

I did drive home (very carefully) in the snow and this is we woke up to this morning . . .
Not so much to shut anything down, but enough to leave a beautiful light blanket over everything. And it did delay school openings this morning which was GREAT because it meant I didn't have to deal with the stinking school zone traffic!

Happy FRIDAY!!!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

random . . .

Yesterday, after work, I traveled to Patches & Stitches, where they graciously allowed me to use their back room (which doubles as -- among other things -- a classroom) and lay the owl quilt out so I could pin baste it!

It took me about fifty minutes, but I used a pin on every corner of every square, so that the little bubble area where I tie it off would be perfectly flat! So I'll tie it off with my lovely green yarn, and then I think I've chosen which owls I'll outline quilt, to give the top some dimension. I'm not going to outline all of them -- and I will stagger them from row to row, to sort of create a little eye interest.

See? Isn't that yarn the perfect shade of green?!

I love the little fellow winking -- he will definitely be outlined!

And since the folks at P&S were so kind in letting me use their space, I *had* to return the favor and get some fabric . . .

I wasn't so sure about the BOM when I first signed up for it, but I am so in love with the fabrics I've chosen, I can't help but be excited!