Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trying Not to Whine

Pollen. Springtime in Atlanta is magically beautiful. It is my favorite time of year. Pollen in Atlanta is brutal. I've completed the entire allergy/allergist routine for years and years. I'm faithful with medications and indoor environmental controls. This year the pollen just seems to be taking it's toll. Add to the mix that we have four weeks of school left. State testing has been the last two weeks. It's all been draining. Ok. That's out of my system. I have faithfully read blogs this week, but haven't felt up to posting a comment or creating a new post.

This week has been the week of birthdays. Last Saturday, we had our crawfish boil with our dear friends and neighbors, Kathy and George. Kathy is from New Orleans. George is from Meridian. Monday, was my husband's actual birthday. We ordered Chinese and had a semi-party.  Wednesday was our oldest son's birthday. We all went out to eat at a  Mexican restaurant. Thursday was the Spring Band Concert for our youngest son. Saturday was the Spring carnival for my school. My son and I volunteered for a time to help our PTA group. These are the ladies that help me at book fair time. 

Michael, my youngest son, is back from New York City. The high school band takes a trip every two years. They don't bring instruments. It is just a tour/fun trip. He had a blast. The highlight of the trip for him was a visit to the Nintendo World shop. Video games especially all things Nintendo are his passion. He purchased a T-shirt that he proudly wore to school on Monday.  We all have our obsessions. Michael's is videogames. My husband's is cooking/grilling. He owns six bar-b-que pits. Jason, our oldest son, loves music especially gus guitar and music by The Beatles. Of course, my obsession is quilting/fabric/sewing machines. 

The end of the month is closing in on me. I set a goal to finish one quilt a month. I have been working on two projects. Step 2 of Orange Crush and my Christmas Toile quilt. I'm pushing ahead to finish the top for Christmas Toile. I'm sewing the rows together. I've been working on it off and on since November. This will be a big finish. It used quite a bit of fabric. I pinned all the rows last night. I'm hoping to get the top assembled today. It's another busy week with lots of end-of-year activities. Here's hoping I meet my goal.

Have a wonderful, relaxing Sunday!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rusty, the Dachshund Meets Clovis

Yesterday, we celebrated my husband's birthday which is actually on Monday with a crawfish boil. Both Marion and I grew up in South Louisiana (Cajun country). Springtime especially 
Easter or Mother's Day  was crawfish (pronounced craw fish not crayfish) time. We'd buy crawfish by the sack. I can remember Dad buying 75 pounds and boiling them for our family. Here in the Atlanta area we are fortunate to have a seafood market that makes weekly runs to Louisiana for fresh seafood. Marion called "Boudreaux" earlier in the week and reserved a forty pounnd sack of live crawfish. 
Crawfish are boiled outdoors.  We  have a special pot and burner to boil them. Red peper, salt, onions, corn, potatoes are all boiled at the same time.

 Rusty, our minature dachshund loved the smell. We had to keep him indoors so that he didn't get too close to the gas burner. We served the crawfish in aluminum pans. Here they are cooling a bit so that we could eat them.

Rusty actually took one out of the pan and tried to eat it hard shell and all. 

Who may you ask is Clovis? Clovis was the star and main character in a series of books written by Mary Alice Fonenot. The first book was printed in 1961. Here is the Wikopedia entry on Clovis the Crawfish:

Clovis Crawfish is the lead character in a series of nineteen children's books written by Mary Alice Fontenot published between 1961 and 2004.

"Clovis Crawfish and His Friends" by Mary Alice Fontenot, illustrated by Keith Graves, Pelican Press, 1961
"Clovis Crawfish and His Friends" by Mary Alice Fontenot, illustrated by Keith Graves, Pelican Press, 1961

Clovis is a crawfish who lives in the bayous of Louisiana who speaks in English with occasional Cajun words or phrases. Several volumes have also been published in French editions, usually translated by Fontenot's daughter, Julie Fontenot Landry.

The Clovis Crawfish books are beloved by generations of Louisiana children and have a following throughout the world as well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In the Wrong Direction?

Judy L. has a place on her blog for weekly stash busting updates (using stash versus adding to stash). This past week she asked readers what their goal was in stashbusting. My goal is to complete  the quilt tops that I have already started. I have fabric in plastic bins or bags with the pattern and everything needed to complete the quilt. I even have backings for some of them. Most are  abandoned U.F.O's. My goal is to complete at least one a month. That would give me 12 completed quilts in a year. This year I have already completed  five quilt tops. I don't have any problems once the top is pieced. I have it quilted and add binding without it sitting for too long. At some point, I'd love to do my own quilting, but I would need lots more time to practice machine quilting. Something to look forward to when I retire. My goal then is to complete more of the actual quilt tops.

Last week while on Spring Break, I visited two different quilt shops. I purchased the fabric that I needed for a graduation rag quilt. I needed more flannel in bugundy and kaiki. Here are the pieces that I found at Tiny Stitches in Marietta.   That's 5 yards added. That was fabric needed to complete a project.

I also made a road trip to Sweet Home in Conyers. I found a neutral piece on sale. I added to my red, white and blue stash for a future patriotic quilt. I have a pattern selected, but have not cut this quilt out - at least not yet :)

That's another 5 yards. 

Added: 10 yards
Used:  1 yard

As I said, headed in the wrong direction, but gosh side trips can be fun too :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What's On Your Design Wall?

Here is what's on my design wall:

I've begun putting the blocks for my Christmas Toile quilt on the design wall. I am so glad that I have a place to put quilt tops up to examine. This top has two directional fabrics. On the border pieces, I'll need to "reverse stitch" some of the sections to make the trees go in the right direction. It's not a big deal. I'll take my time getting the blocks right. It's not like I need my Christmas quilt in the next week. This quilt is for our bed. I lusted after it for months. By the time I decided to purchase a kit,I missedd buying fabric because the shop sold out of the line. Finally, located yardage on I've been lucky locating fabric two different times on

The following quilts were on my design wall at some time recently. 

They are taking a trip/vacation to P.J.'s to be machine quilted. I've had to stash some cash so that I will be able to bring them home from their excursion. That's Sunshine/Crossed Paths with backing, Floragraphix with dragonfly backing, and Spinning Stars out of Wuthering Heights by Moda. 

My Sewing Space

It took most of the week, but I finally did get my sewing room cleaned. It's been an
 embarassing mess for months. I purchased two additional plastic containers with drawers at Walmart. I sorted through books,
tore projects out of magazines,put the magazine articles in plastic sleves into binders by topic, then recycled the old magazines. I reorganized the projects under my cutting table. I took pictures so I can remember how much I liked an organized room. Here's hoping that I can continue to keep it organized and decluttered. Here is a link to what it looked like several posts ago.            

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Change in Opinion

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting with several quilting friends. Our dear quilting teacher and mentor, Pat Wys, had knee replacement surgery two weeks ago. Debbie, another treasured friend, agreed to get together to sew during my Spring Break. We decided to bring handwork and visit Pat. Pat looks wonderful, but is still in a bit of pain. She showed us a new design for her Silver Thimble Quilt Company. I'm psyched to sew that pattern, but it's still in the design stage. Susan, also a dear quilting friend, dropped by to bring Pat lunch. Both Debbie and Susan gave me lessons in different embroidery stitches so I can begin my Ring in the New Year stitchery Block of the Month. I need practice, but I can do this:)  Melisa, owner of Sweet Home Quilt Shop (one fabulous quilt shop) dropped by to visit Pat while we were visiting. She shared the news about one of her customers. While using a rotary cutter for normal fabric cutting, her customer cut off one of her fingers. Just like that, part of her finger was gone. Well, I was of the opinion that Fons & Porter on their TV program on PBS were over-doing it with their Klutz glove. I was willing to risk needing stitches or bleeding a bit from a rotary cutting accident, but I'm a bit fond of my fingers. This morning while running errands. I made a quick stop at the "J" store as my friend Gretchen has dubbed JoAnne's.  The Klutz glove was on sale. I didn't even have to use my coupon. For $12.00 and a bit of getting used to putting the glove on my hand before I get my rotary cutters out, I too will proudly wear the Klutz glove. 

Melisa, also brought some of Moda's new line, Prairie Paisely. We are all now lusting for this line of fabric. So this afternoon, Debbie and I made a road trip to Sweet Home. It took a great deal of restraint, but I only purchased two yards of Prairie Paisely plus a luscious neutral print and a red tone-on-tone. I just love going from room to room (the shop is an old home) looking at the fabulous fabrics. We should have to pay just to look at the great fabric Melisa is selling. (Just kidding, Melisa:) 

Two great afternoons! This has truly been a great week!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Four Patches - Step One

The four patches for Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush Mystery Quilt are done! I actually put all the fabric and four patches in a container and put them away until Step 2 is given. I have a terrible habit of leaving piles all over my sewing area. This week I am sorting magazines and books. I'm really trying to get my room in better order. I had about 10 sewing/quilting books that I didn't really want anymore. I knew that I wouldn't use them again. I posted the books on  I love this website!  I already had 8 of the books requested by other members. I had to pay to mail the books to them (about $1.50 to $2.50 each), but I earned a book credit for each one that I shipped. I can use the credits for books that I will use or read. I sometimes am able to get an out-of-print book here too. My most recent request has been the two humorous books by LIsa Boyer (Stash Envy; That Dorky Homemade Look)  and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. There are not many quilting books, but I have received a couple through this site. I was just real pleased to make room on my shelves. I'm giving lots of my old magazines to my friend Susan to donate to her guild. I haven't even made it to the other side of the room with my projects. I still have a bit of time left before going back to work. 

Monday, April 7, 2008

Stash Busting Report

Judy challenged her readers at the beginning to the year to report weekly how much fabric they had used from stash and how much fabric they had purchased. My real challenge is to complete projects that I have already begun.  Finish It Up!!! I'm not purchasing lots of fabric. My biggest purchases have been for backing fabric. I like my backs to match the front.  I realized that I was not reporting things accurately. When I complete a top, I could add the fabric from that project as fabric used from stash. I've refigured my totals for the year with this in mind. When the quilt top and backing are pieced, I can add the yardage from that project even though I didn't pull yardage from fabric on a shelf.

Fabric used:  Year to date:   44 yards
                           This week:  9 1/2  (Sunshine/Crossed Path completed)

Fabric purchased:  Year to date:  34 yards
                                      This week:  1 1/2

I'm ahead by 10 yards, but more importantly I have 5 quilt tops completed. One top (Peace in the Valley) is quilted, but the binding is not sewn. I have an appointment with the machine quilter to bring three tops for quilting this week.  Thanks, Judy for the challenge.

A Mess and a Finish

Our internet service comes and goes. I'm thinking the problem is the modem. My husband, bless him, has been the one talking with our internet provider this past week. I'll let him decide when to give them another call. For this minute it is working. It may not connect when I go to post this one.

My sewing room is getting to me. I can't stand the piles and clutter any longer. Yesterday, I spent several hours in one corner of the room. I have stacks of quilting magazines and articles from discarded magazines. I spent time making binders and organizing some of those articles. If I never buy another pattern, I still have more patterns than I can possibly make. I'll continue working on my piles of things a little each day. I cleaned off the table near my sewing machine. It was so freezing to have a clean workspace. I've got to do a better job in organizing things. I probably need another plastic storage rack for fabric scraps. I'll look for one when I'm out shopping later this week.

I am making good progress on the four patches for the Orange Crush mystery quilt. I need to pin and sew about 30 more and I'll be finished this step. It's a good task to do later in front of the TV.  I did finish another top!!!! I added the borders to my Crossed Path project. I even pieced the back and pressed both the top and backing for the machine quilter.  I took the list of projects near my sewing machine and crossed this one off!!!!! I'm really pleased with the feeling that this quilt evokes. Can't wait to see it quilted.  

I'm headed back upstairs to my sewing room. I'm loving having the week off for Spring Break!!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stitchery vs Embroidery

Teresa asked about the difference between stitchery and embroidery. I wasn't sure that I really did know the difference so I googled stitchery. The following information is from the website

"Redwork, Bluework and Blackwork
A long time ago, you could purchase muslin 'penny squares' at the local dry goods shop.  These squares were stamped with designs for your stitching pleasure.  Little girls would practice their stitches on these muslin squares.  Monochromatic was the color scheme, so the square would be stitched with all red, or all blue or all black thread. " 

The Ring in the Year stitchery block of the month is done on a piece of natural colored muslin. I have chosen dark navy thread for my sampler. The original blocks are done in black thread. I still haven't started this project. I have to trace the design onto the muslin before I can begin stitching. I never liked embroidery. I did do lots of counted cross stich. I think I'll like stitchery. I like needlework that is a bit boring, not alot of color or stitch changes.

A Fix of Sorts

Our home computer has a temporary fix. We've disabled the router. Only one computer is connecting to the net. Since my internet time was restricted, I've gotten a bit of sewing done :) I have the dark and light strips cut for the Orange Crush Mystery Quilt. I'm almost finished sewing the rows to the Sunshine/Crossed Path project.  The best news of all is that Spring Break has officially begun. We are staying home. I can play on the computer, sew and read for an entire week. YES!

I was planning on sewing this evening, but we are having thunderstorms in the Atlanta area. My dog Rusty is terribly afraid of the weather so I have him in my arms trying to keep him calm. 

Tomorrow is my sewing day at the quilt shop. Our group meets the first Saturday of every month. Can't wait to see my sewing Sisters! My portable machine is in the car. I'm deciding on which projects to bring. Happy Day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I had a list of topics and was ready to compose a new post when a measley little piece of our modem quit working. We were told it would arrive yesterday, but that doesn't seem to be correct. I'm definitely addicted to my "online" life. Hopefully, we will be blessed with a delivery in today's mail.