Wednesday, April 27, 2011

stormy weather and blustery life . . .

I'm sitting here, glued to the TV, watching incredibly wild weather make its way into and through our area. I heard one weather man say last night that today's weather would be "as rough as it gets." Yay. They've already delayed school openings by two hours. Lots of school systems in the area have actually closed, but the three systems in Madison County are already having to tag on days at the end of the school year to make up for the snow days they had to take over the winter. They're hoping that a delay will keep buses out of severe weather, and they'll still have time to get kids home this afternoon before the main weather event that's still predicted to come in later. Later, as in when I'm trying to get off work, get to my other job, and get home. Ugh!

And yet, while the storms rolls in all around me, I sit here peacefully. I'm so glad I know the Maker of peace!

Todd and I were invited to a free preview screening of a new movie, Courageous, last night. It was filmed and produced by the same church that did Fireproof and Facing the Giants. The new movie was the best one they've done so far -- great storyline, good acting, and good filming. Todd had already seen it at the ABREA conference earlier this year, but he went because he knew I'd enjoy it. And I did! There was a good balance of action, suspense, drama, and HUMOR! It was relatively realistic, and very well done. In addition, it had a good message that can't fail to hit home. I can strongly recommend it when it comes out in theaters in September.

I know I haven't been very prolific here of late; it's that same old conundrum - do I take time to blog, or use that time to live the life I'd blog about? We've been very busy with birthdays, Camp MACOBA, new job[less] situations, ministry (and ministry and more ministry), Easter celebrations, and a walking grandbaby! All happy things, to be sure, but *so* b u s y!

Saturday, very (VERY) early in the morning, I catch a bus to Paducah!! I will share more on that trip, tomorrow.

For now? I bid you adieu. And STAY WEATHER SAFE!


Monday, April 18, 2011

what's in a design . . .

I started this "Block of the Quarter" about 15 months ago. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous applique quilt called Spring Flowers. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about it before, but because the kit only comes once every three-four months, I sometimes forget about it.

The kit is offered by Melissa over at Honeybee Fabrics. The pattern itself comes from New Zealand Quilter, and Melissa picks the fabrics to put each block together with. She's done a marvelous job doing that, too! If you've never checked out this magazine, it's worth a look-see.

This quarter the featured block is, "Polyanthus"

Lots and lots of little pieces and stitching! Very sweet. Did I mention that I'm not actually working on this now? I'm saving these kits for later on down the line, when I'm retired and have time to do more serious quilting, but not the money to devote to it!

Be sure to check out Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times to take in lots of quilt eye candy today!

Lots of changes this week; for one, I switched my off day to Tuesday, to accommodate Kim's new schedule at work. So tomorrow will be my Sawyer day. Yay for me!

I'm officially in my countdown-to-Paducah mode. I can hardly wait! I'm not so interested in shopping, though I am bringing a little spending cash. Mostly I can't wait to wander through the miles of beautiful quilts, and take a trip over to the museum! Yes, only twelve days to go!

On a non-quilting note, did anyone besides me get a kick out of that wedding video that went virul? You know, the one where all of a sudden, the entire wedding party breaks out into dancing? T-Mobile has spoofed it ... and the upcoming royal wedding ... and it's a link really worth checking out - right HERE. It made me laugh!

Have a great week - Happy Monday! :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

something in the air . . .

Tuesday night's Stitcher's Group meeting was . . . interesting . . . to say the least! Oh, it all started out innocently enough. Fifteen or so ladies gathered together in the church conference room, chatting and passing around quilt blocks and working on hand work. All of a sudden, a few of the women in the back of the room started coughing violently! Next thing you know, more women are violently coughing -- near choking-sounding! People are fleeing the room! I was sitting up near the entrance, furthest away from the original coughers, and so I thought I was safe . . . and then I felt a slight tickle in my throat, followed by a bit of a burn . . . BAM! I was overcome, too!

You've never seen a room of quilters drop what they're doing and flee so fast in your life! One of the women (who will remain nameless) was showing another her "pepper spray" and accidentally set it off. That tiny little mist of pepper spray was powerful! It even followed us out of the room into the hallway. A lot of the ladies fled to the outdoors. Needless to say, it meant an early evening for most of the group. But a couple of us hardcore quilters blew our noses (which really helped clear the irritation), and stayed put. Including the perpetrator (although partly because we brow-beat her into staying and partly because her ride wasn't ready to leave)! It was a fun, funny night and I laughed a lot.

I actually even managed to get some things done! For example, I learned how to "pop" the seams of my four-patches, so that the center lays flat.

It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but if you look closely, you can see that at the center, the four seams lay in a square, so there's not a huge bulk of fabric at the center. There's some significance to this method, but I'm not ready to share on that yet -- another post.

I also managed to finish quilting my first block of the BOM!

It's nearly impossible to see the quilting in the small photo, which is a shame, because I really love the design! I used a fairly curvy, lot-of-movement design in the center of the block, and then in the sashing, I quilted a simple 2-1/2" square in each corner. I've decided to switch up the quilting in the centers, but stay consistent on the squares in the sashing.

It may be a bit easier to see the quilting from the back. I didn't condense this picture, so if you click on it, it'll give you a bigger photo, and the quilting is a lot more visible. My thinking is that the squares will form their own pattern and really accentuate the more detailed quilting of the centers.

I'm really very pleased with how this turned out, and now I'm anxious to get the sashing on all my completed blocks, so I have some handwork to do when I have my surgery. Hopefully we'll get that scheduled for the first of June -- and I'll want plenty to keep me occupied!

So, to recap: pepper spray and quilters really do NOT mix, although it does make for a lot of laughter and hilarity. I probably would have finished a lot more stitching Tuesday night without the pepper spray -- but this entry wouldn't have been near as fun to share!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

i *love* mondays . . .

And how could you blame me for loving Mondays, when I get to spend them in such wonderful company?!

I had a fun day with my Sawyer Graham yesterday. Even though he is going through some growing pains . . . specifically, he's teething again. Poor thing! One thing that helped and tasted good, too? Strawberry pops! Kim had frozen strawberries for him, and told me to plop them into the "banana" holder, and he'd have a nice treat that felt good to his poor little mouth

I decided that the best place for him to enjoy this particular treat was definitely in his high chair.

He's trying to give me the scrunchy-face smile around his pop!

After cleaning up from lunch, we were ready for some adventure! I decided we didn't need to have an adventure on my laptop.

Instead, we headed for Sawyer's favorite place . . .


We explored the backyard in our fire truck.

Hey! What's this stuff??

This needs further exploration.

Hmmm. Where's a fire a can put out?

My shoe! Let me put out my shoe!

I'm ready for my closeup, Neesey!!

Bring that camera HERE! (Sawyer, I don't think you're were ready as you thought you were!)

Always a joy, always a joy. Tonight I head out to meet with my Stitcher's Group. I've finished the interior quilting on my first block -- now I'll get the sashing quilted, and move on to the next block. I forget how much I enjoy hand quilting! Should be a fun night. Yay!


Monday, April 11, 2011

design, design, design . . .

Can you believe, after all my procrastination of last month, that I've already got April's blocks finished?!

They are fairly simple; the challenge is keeping points pointy!

Now that they are finished, I can get busy on deciding which fabric I'll sash them in (remembering that only four block will go in the purple).

This one does that neat "disappearing" thing with the corners.

Hmmm....thinking no.

I think I like both of this month's blocks in the orange. I've got the first block nearly quilted. I can't wait to share it!

For more design walls, be sure to check out Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times!

As for me, I'm off to spend a glorious day with my Sawyer!


Saturday, April 09, 2011

not too shabby . . .

Every once in a great while, I stumble into a Saturday that doesn't have me going in a million directions. A Saturday in which I can do pretty much as I please. A Saturday like today!

I hit the post office and the grocery story early (relatively speaking) and had the RV tidy and groceries put away before 11:00. That left me mostly the whole afternoon! I did two of my favorite things. Put in an old movie and got into quilting mode!

Movies: Gone With The Wind and Father's Little Dividend. Definitely chick flicks. :)

And while I was uber-productive in the ol' quilting room today, I'm going to just highlight a few things. The first being a few quilting stencils I picked up yesterday, when I picked up my April BOM. These are perfect for the 8" squares that we're doing.

I really like this one. I like the simplicity and the sweet curves.

This one just made me laugh. But it looks FANTASTIC on one of the blocks that I've already completed, so I really just had to get it. (Among other things, like rulers, gadgets, books, and fabric, I'm a stencil-aholic.)

But this one was my absolute favorite find of the day . . .

Isn't that just FUN?!?

Perfect on this very geometric block! Can you see my blue lines? I'm all ready to start lap quilting! I actually prepared two blocks, just in case I start and finish this one before Tuesday (when our Stitcher's group meets for hand sewing), and need something to work on!

I also played around with some 4-patches . . .

This is practice for a bigger project I'll talk about after Tuesday. This will probably end up being a quilt for a certain American Girl doll, who lives in Virginia. I wish the photo did better justice to the colors -- it's really sweet fabric!

And now it's time for this quilty girl to call it a night!


Friday, April 08, 2011

just in the nick of time . . .

I don't know why I'm such a procrastinator. It's not like I haven't known I'd need to turn in these blocks today for a whole month! I guess my weekends have just been *very* busy. And so, this week, I cut all my pieces Wednesday morning, stitched some pieces Wednesday night, and put the blocks together last night. Whew!

But even with very clear instructions and careful highlighting matching fabrics and instructions, I'm afraid my haste caused an error. Pooh.

This block turned out okay.

But on this block, the orange triangle should have in the mirrored corner, up against the purple, facing the same direction as the batik. Because the light fabric comes in the kit each month, I didn't have any to correct my mistake, so I just had to place it where it looked best, and go with it.

But then I put it on the orange sashing . . .

I love the look of this! The orange in the block just blends into the sashing, and makes the block look funky and irregular. I love it!

I'm not so sure about the first block in the orange sashing.

For the first time, I considered the possibility of using the purple/orange/red fabric as sashing for some of the blocks.

I think I like this better, for this particular block. The question then becomes, how many blocks do I put in the purple, and where do I put them?

I think this one looks good either way. But my preference may be in the purple.

Purple in my four corners? I'm thinking I like where this is going.

Decisions, decisions.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

happy boy . . .

I haven't posted a lot of Sawyer pictures lately, for two reasons. The first is, since I got my phone, I take a lot of pictures of him with it (because it's handy) and they are not as good a quality photo as my camera takes.

I think you can see that in this "I just woke up and I'm the happiest boy in the world" picture that I captured with my phone and texted to his mommy and daddy.

Isn't he a darling, by the way?!? :)

The second reason is, he's just way too active to manage a camera and keep him out of harm's way at the same time! LOL! So most of my photos/videos are taken while he's contained. Like these.

He is such a charmer!

And look at that hand. He's got awesome hands . . . they just look big and capable! And this little fellow can EAT! When I fed him lunch on Monday, after I took a few shots with the camera, I decided to set it down and capture the whole lunch-eating process on video. It was another fifteen minutes, but I cut it down to just under two minutes to share . . .

I love it when he sees the camera and gives his "scrunchy face" smile! What a ham! I also love the technique he uses to get those little peas into his mouth! Really, when it comes right down to it, I just absolutely adore this little fellow. Right down to his eight sharp little teeth.



Tuesday, April 05, 2011

gate update . . .

A week or so ago, I shared HERE about an opportunity I'd had to do one of my most favorite things -- quilting -- on the clock at work.

I also mentioned that after my boss saw my finished drawing, he told me to double the size of the block. So I did. I like it a LOT better; the block is definitely the focus, instead of just an accent!

So, are there any quilters out there in need of a driveway gate, and want one specifically designed around a particular quilt block? Hey, maybe there's a market and I've found my niche!!


tea time . . .

My husband often tells me that I give him information in bits and pieces, and that sometimes it takes a while for him to get a whole picture, without a lot of prodding on his part. It's not uncommon for me to "all of a sudden" remember things I wanted to share with him, just as we're falling asleep -- or rather, just as he's falling asleep -- or sometimes, right before someone else is going to tell him something I've known (and *really* meant to tell him) for several days.

It shouldn't surprise me then, or anyone reading, that I stumbled across a set of pictures taken while my family was here (three weeks ago), that I'd definitely meant to share here!

One of the things I really wanted to do while everyone was here, was take all the girls to my favorite tea room, Emma's, for lunch! We worked it out so everyone -- my mom, my sister, her two daughters, my Jocelyn and Kim -- could make lunch and trekked off to Emma's on Monday.

Wendy, the younger of Laura's daughters, had never been to a tea room before, so she was very excited.

What doesn't excite her is having her picture taken. She did, however, enjoy having her own cup of tea! I think she and her mommy shared a pot of "Almond Rocker" red rooibus tea (which is one of my personal favorites).

Alison, whom I blogged about here, is a beautiful young lady and enjoyed our lunchtime as well. And all you have to do is look around in the background of the photo, to see all the fun things Emma's offers to make tea parties at home a fun and pretty experience!

I believe Alison had a chocolate mint tea. Add a little sugar and cream, and it's like drinking dessert!

The wait staff at Emma's is as wonderful as the food and tea; they made sure that Wendy (and so all of us) had a wonderful dining experience!

And then there was dessert. Laura made the mistake of thinking she and Wendy should share a dessert. Wendy didn't think so.

She was taking her bites off Laura's spoon before Laura could get it to her mouth!

Did I mention dessert was good?

No. I mean it was REALLY good!

Here's our group shot -- what a lovely family of ladies!

And there's Wendy . . . she cracks me UP! Love that face.

I did manage to catch a good one of her by the sign. It's work! I took six pictures of her standing there -- this one was the winner!

But this photo . . .

Caps it off as a great afternoon!


Monday, April 04, 2011

design, smezzign . . .

Yes. The following is an old picture I've already posted. But my motives are good . . . I'm auditioning quilt designs for this BOM, quilt-as-you-go project. I really need to get started on the quilting end of the BOM if I'm going to be able to put it together when the BOM ends.

Which, by the way, was one of the reasons I chose to not put this quilt together like the shop sample. *Sigh* Life happens. Can I use EQ for auditioning quilt patterns? I haven't done that yet. Perhaps I'll try at some point today. Like when my Sawyer naps! (If I'm not napping also.)

[*Note: One thing I'd really like input on: should I quilt all 16 blocks the same, or should I do them differently? On my last BOM sampler, I did each block differently. I don't know on this one if I want to stitch-in-the-ditch or do a single design throughout.]

I'm sure there are just TONS of quilters out there with NEW photos on their blogs (and new work on their walls). Just head over to Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times to check it out!

Tonight, one of the young women in our church is opening up her home for a basketball championship party! I'm pretty sweet & sour meatballs. Yummy!

Oh happy day!