Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....

Slowly, but surely, I'm getting into the holiday mood. The very first item that I take out on Thanksgiving Night is our Christmas Toile quilt. It's one of my very favorite quilts. On Black Friday, while others shopped, I used some of the extra fabric from this quilt to make pillowcases for our bed. The quilt and pillows make me smile each morning. I'm so happy that I finally finished this quilt. Sadly, this is the only Christmas quilt that is finished. I can think of at least two other projects that are aging in plastic containers. There might be more than the ones I remember :) One of my goals for 2010 will be to complete those other Christmas quilts.

Melisa at Sweet Home collected pillowcases for the ConKer Cancer organization. It was fun sewing these holiday pillowcases. Hopefully, it will bring smiles to a child this holiday season.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Late Birthday Treat

For my birthday in June, I received a gift card to Amazon.com. I've been waiting for just the right item to use my valued gift card. I even lost the gift card for a day or two so I decided that it was time to buy something. I searched through the new fictions titles and the quilting books. When I discovered that the Jelly Roll Book folks had a new book, I knew that was what I would order. I don't like to purchase a quilting book sight unseen, but I took a chance on this one. I'm pleased with the book. There are at least two or three quilts that I would like to make. The best thing is that I didn't feel that I had to use special Moda pre-cuts for these projects. I felt like I could use some of my existing fabric and add to it with yardage from my favorite quilt shop, Sweet Home. I'm thinking that Melisa has this book on order. She stocks the other two books by these same designers. Make a trip to her shop or visit her online. You will be happy that you did.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Decorating Contest

It has become a tradition at our elementary school for each classroom to decorate a pumpkin as a character from a book. The students bring coins from home and vote for their favorite pumpkin. The money raised from this event is given to the American Cancer Society. Each year I'm amazed and marvel at the creativity of the students, teachers, and parents as they transform ordinary pumpkins into works of art. I just had to share these creations with you. It's a celebration of creativity! Hope you recognize some of the books and characters from those books. Some of the books are classics like Charlotte's Web and others are new hits with our students, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Franklin's Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois

Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Melinda Long

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Gracias, the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley

Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Friday Favorite

Melisa at Sweet Home Quilt Shop has a special give-away on her blog on Fridays. Visit her blog to enter her give-away this week - Shangri-La charm packs and yardage. Visit and enter, but I have my fingers crossed wishing for this one!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tricks and Treats

All it took was a "tempting" e-mail from Melisa, aka The Evil Temprest, to lure me to Sweet Home yesterday. I e-mailed Brenda, aka The Quilting Cowgirl and we made plans to meet at SH. Melisa had Halloween decorations, homemade baked goods, coffee, "treats" with coupons, and new fabric lines. This is my idea of a perfect Halloween celebration. See Melisa's blog entry entitled "The Witch is In" for great phots of the shop.

I wasn't the only "Thimble" to be lured into Melisa's den of temptation. Sarah, Brenda, me and Ann display some of our "treats" or treasures from the day.

All the blogland talk about the new line of fabric from Moda's French General, Rouenneries, had me lusting for my own stash. I found a layer cake and purchased yardage for borders and backing for a project in the second book from Pam and Nicky Lintott (new book due out November 14th according to Amazon.com) Earlier in the day there were other bolts of Rouenneries, but we learned that Kristie had already purchased the rest of one bolt!

This is the quilt I hope to begin soon with the Rouennerries fabric. Yippee!

Thanks, Melisa. Kris and Mike for a wonderful time!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Secret Blogger

Rusty, here, reporting on a strange event. It began on Saturday morning. I like Saturday mornings. My people sleep until I remind Mom that it is time for her to let me out into the backyard and serve me breakfast. On Saturday mornings, the weird beeping sound at "dark thirty" is not heard. Well, most Saturdays that is. This morning, my Mom did strange things. She got up at "dark thirty" when the beeping sound went off. Michael and Mom loaded me in that blue noisy box in the garage and we left our house. We arrived at a place and they put this puffy thing around my body. It would have been intolerable except that my "BFF", Coco, who lives across the street joined us. She had a strange hat and cape on her, too.

I heard someone say she was a cute little witch, but they must have confused the words and meant b....

Lots of other people were in this place, too. Some of the other people especially the little people were in funny clothes, too. After a while, we began walking down this wonderful trail with lots of people and doggie smells. I was just hitting my stride when the wet stuff began falling on us. My bottom side got really wet. Even my "buns" got wet and were dragging.

I wonder if Mom has been getting some of these strange ideas for all those books she reads. I got a good look at one of her books. I didn't like it at all.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy, who blogs as Park City Girl is again hosting an online virtual quilt show. The first quilt show was last Spring. It was an awesome event with many different quilts and stories about the creation of the quilts. This past week when I read that another quilt festival was planned, I knew I wanted to participate. Not only was I able to visit many wonderful blogs, but I met some wonderful bloggers.

The quilt that I chose for this festival was originally made for our older son's wife. It's from a pattern by Buggy Barn called Blaze's Heart. I collected the pink and neutral fabrics on my first Atlanta Shop Hop. It was the first quilt that I choose fabrics for instead of replicating the fabrics from another quilt or kit. It was so rewarding to have the fabrics work together. I wasn't sure that our son's wife appreciated quilts and quilting, but went ahead with plans for this quilt. Much to our regret, their marriage didn't endure through tough times. I reassured our son that I had made this quilt as a gift and that it was her quilt to keep. I only hoped that it wouldn't end up as a charity donation. When he brought his final possessions home, he returned the quilt to me. I don't know if she values quilts, but I do know that our son values, and treasures the time and love put into a quilt. This quilt has come home to rest. It is put away for now. My prayer is that he discovers a new woman who will love him in good times and bad. One day this special quilt will have a new home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dad's Bag

Today, I'm on the road driving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit my Dad. Dad will be 87 next month. Dad is no longer able to care for himself. We moved him from our hometown last month to Baton Rouge where one of my brothers lives. My brother and his family are visiting Dad daily and helping tend to his needs. He is in an assisted-living facility, but there are still areas that he needs additional support.

This Friday is one of our teacher furlough days in my county school system. Monday is a holday so I took this opportunity to drive to Baton Rouge to give my brother and his family a break. I'm bringing one of my portable sewing machines to make some adjustments to Dad's clothing. I'll have my "knitting" and a novel. I'm hoping to visit a quilt shop or two in the mornings. My cousin's wife Niki gave me a wonderful fact sheet about quilt shops in south Louisiana. Dad is no longer an early riser so I should be able to shop and run errands in the mornings.

I've packed my LSU T-shirt to wear while watching the LSU/Florida game with him on Saturday. This is the wheelchair tote I made Dad to hang on the back of his wheelchair to carry his mail and other goodies.

I'm guaranteed great meals. You can eat most anywhere in Louisiana and get awesome meals.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Not Quite Socks

I love socks! I want to knit socks. It makes no sense. I can purchase perfectly great socks, but I want to knit a pair or two or three. The main problem is that I don't really know how to knit. Well, that never stopped me before. I normally fall in love with a project and jump right in without the necessary skills. I did that with counted cross-stich and quilting. Soooo, I decided to start small with knitting. Even I can see that I'm not ready for socks. I can't figure out the pictures in "how to knit socks" books. I made a couple of scarves, but don't wear scarves so washcloths seem to be the best project. It had been so long since I had knitted that I couldn't remember how to do the Purl stitch. A consultation with a teacher at school and studying my "how to book" solved this problem. Online videos were helpful, too.

This is what I've been working on in the evenings and during Saturday football games. It's College football season. Football is one of DH's passions. We see lots of football games this time of year. Geaux, Tigers!

I'm getting better at this knitting thing. I'm beginning to make some sense of the dishcloth pattern. I think I can even recognize which stitch is which. Atlanta quilting friends, does anyone know how to knit socks? I'm thinking I need a private tutor. My knitting guru at work took a class, but didn't finish the project. Kristie.... Brenda.... Anyone to the rescue?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What's Your Current Project?

What's your latest quilting project? What project or projects are you spending time with? The past couple of weeks (whenI've had sewing time), I've been working on a project that I've wanted to work on for several years. The pattern is from my friend/mentor Pat Wys of Silver Thimble Quilt Company. It's a log-cabin quilt made entirely from neutral fabrics. A couple of my "dark" neutrals will either make or break this project. I like the fabrics. I'm just not sure how they will work with the other fabrics. A couple of weeks ago I choose the fabrics I wanted in this quilt, cut the strips and then it sat in a plastic bag. At our last Silver Thimbles Sewing Saturday, I spent the entire time cutting the "logs". I labeled them and then laid them on my sewing table in the order they will be sewed.

Slowly, I'm working my way around the block. I'm using Magic Sizing spray after each round as I press to help keep the blocks square. I am squaring the block up after each round as the pattern suggests.

I have the blocks pinned with the next row of logs ready for sewing.
I had hope to have some time this weekend to continue building "my log cabin." but I took a nap instead :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sneak Peak

One of the blogs that I enjoy reading is written by several of the editors of Quiltmaker Magazine. The blog is Quilty Pleasures. Recently one of the posts was about the Nov/Dec 2009 issue which will soon be in mailboxes and magazine racks. Several of my quilting friends myself included are waiting for this issue for the last directions to complete Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Christmas Lights. I was delighted to find that by going to the Quiltmaker website a preview of the final Christmas Lights layout can be seen. I didn't copy the photo here on my blog just in case you'd rather wait for your magazine to arrive. If you are insatiably curious like me, head to the Quiltmaker website or click here to see the design for Christmas Lights. Here's hoping that the magazine arrives soon! I'm ready to put the blocks on the design wall and see what my quilt top will look like.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Christmas Lights Part Two

Slow and steady wins the race. That's what it felt like with this step of Christmas Lights. This step was really rather easy, but I managed to complicate it, but losing some of the pieces from Step 1. I think I made all the parts in Step 1. I just didn't have 8 sections to finish the blocks. Of course, I had plenty of the needed fabric so I stopped and made the blocks that I needed. They'll probably show up the next time I'm searching for something in my sewing room. Oh well, I'm liking my blocks for this mystery quilt. In about a month, the next issue of Quiltmaker magazine should be available to see the final quilt. It feels wonderful to have something completed!!!! I also hemmed a pair of pants for DH and hemmed some fabric for our school counselor. All three of these items have been on my list for too long. Now, I can think about the next project I'd like to work on. It's a Thimbles sewing weekend in just a couple of days!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Party on the Porch

Last Friday evening was "Party on the Porch." I know Melisa, owner of Sweet Home Quilt Shop has another name for her shop anniversary event, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. It was a much anticipated event. Quilters in our area had been a buzz about the event for the past couple of weeks. I was just excited to attend this year. This was my first time attending the Friday evening from 9 to Midnight event. Last year, I was recovering from hip replacement surgery. I enjoyed the stories that were shared from last year's event.

High school football season began here in Georgia last Friday. My husband is passionate about high school football especially our local high school team. He left at 5:00 pm for a 7:30 pm game at our home field. Karin and Sarah met me at 7:15 to drive to Conyers for a 9:00 event. We planned to be on the porch for 8:00 pm. We were not the first to arrive. Melisa and her staff provided cookies and lemonade plus some mentally stimulating quilt games to help us pass the time. There was lots and lots of laughter.

I'm definitely on a quilting budget. With college expenses for Michael, my shopping has been limited. I'm thrilled with my purchases from the event. I have a project waiting for me to begin using Moda's Portabello Market jelly rolls. I've been looking online for a backing fabric, but couldn't commit to a purchase. I'm glad I didn't. There was just enough of this bolt from the PM line for my future project. And of course, on sale!

I've been thinking of making a change to a kit I purchased earlier in the year. I haven't even completed a block of that quilt. This print from Moda's Libertyville line will change the look of my quilt, but give it the feel I want.

My last purchase was a yard of Aviary fabric from Moda, of course. I'm planning on making this tablerunner from the charm pack that I won from Brenda's give-away. This will be for that project.

Thank you, Melisa for a wonderful "Party on the Porch." Hope that you survived all your birthday and anniversary celebrations! It was a wonderful time for us all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Off balance, that's what I am. I can't seem to get back into a blogging or sewing rhythm since I started back at school/work a month ago. Thank you for your patience and understanding! There are lots of adjustments this year even if most of them are minor. DH and I are adjusting to being "us" for the first time ever in our relationship. We've always had one of the boys in our daily life. We're rather liking this "just us" but it's "an adjustment." Michael is liking college. He will be home this weekend for the Labor Day holiday. It's an "adjustment" relating to this "child on his own." At school, there are lots of adjustments with budget cuts, employee reductions, retirement woes. I'd really love to retire and work part-time, but those jobs were the first to go in this budget crunch. I'm really trying to focus on my work, trying to make my students and teachers feel special, attempting to bring joy into my media center, trying to energize my attitude. This is an "adjustment." I'm really enjoying my work with our students, but this getting up two hours earlier and working nonstop for 8 hours takes some "adjustment." My Dad is requiring more care. There have been lots of e-mails and telephone calls discussing what is best for Dad. None of us live near Dad. This next week we are moving him to an assisted living facility in Baton Rouge, near one of my brothers. It's difficult watching him lose ground mentally and physically. It's an "adjustment", but we are grateful to have him still with us. We are grateful to give him the care that he so lovingly gave us many years ago.

So please be patient with me. I'm trying to rediscover my blogging rhythm, trying to "adjust."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Touching Base

Hi friends! Wow! It's been a busy two weeks. My summer break has ended and I'm back at school - back in the media center. Because of budget problems, many public school teachers in Georgia were furloughed (like Gretchen and other state workers) our first two days of work. Preparing for our students to return to school still had to happen so we either worked those two days or have been working non-stop to compensate. It's wonderful to see our students, teachers, and parents. I'm zipping through with my media center orientations. Because it's our third year as a school, my students know our procedures and expectations. Most of it's a reinforcement and review. Tomorrow, I'll finish second grade orientation. That will leave my first grade and kindergarden which should be completed by the end of the week. I also meet with a kindergarten group each day as their Special. This is the first time ever in my career that I've worked with kindergarten on the first day of school. I had a super group on Monday. We read Slippers at School by Andrew Clements. It was a great choice for students to examine the illustrations. Starting back at school is always like "hitting a brick wall." I go from a relaxed, easy life to a day beginning at 5:00 a.m., driving 20 miles to school, tending to duties, teachers, students all day and home by 5:00 (if I'm lucky) The first week back, I'm pretty useless when I get home so I didn't even try to do anything. I had all my clothes ironed and assigned for each day. Lunches were made each evening. I didn't even read many blogs. I was just too tired. This week should be better. My mind and body are beginning to remember the routine. The sad part is that I have 6 or 7 blogs in draft mode ready to write and post. It's good to be back in blog-land.

In addition to returning to school, we have been preparing our youngest son for college. On Thursday, DH and I drove Michael to his college dormitory. We helped him set up his room and met his roomate and parents. His college is 91 miles from our housei. It's in middle Georgia. It took us about an hour and a half to get there Thursday morning. The university did a fabulous job of easing the pain of move-in day. There were about 50 students in green T-shirts when we drove up (streets were blocked off, campus police were friendly and helpful). In minutes, they had the truck unloaded and hauled Michael's things up to the fourth floor. We were especially worried about the television that weighed about a "ton". It was a challenged for DH and son when they moved it downstairs at our home. We weren't sure we could move it by ourselves. These green shirted crew members were indeed a blessing. I even chatted with son's advisor who was helping on move-in day. I recognized her from orientation.

I was worried that the day would be a disaster, but it was a celebration. Our neighbors were also bringing their daughter to the same college. Our kids are even in the same dorm. It was fun to see friends experiencing the same event. We visited their daughter's dorm room. They checked out Michael's digs. Thursday evening, our neighbors came over. We visited on the screen-in porch with a cold beer and shared our experiences - shared the big step of leaving our kids at college.

I thought my quilt friends would enjoy seeing that DS did bring a quilt to college. He decided his T-shirt quilt was too heavy and hot for now. This is a quilt his grandmother (DH's mother) had a friend hand quilt for him. She pieced and hand-quilted quilts for the older grandchildren. She was no longer able to hand-quilt a bed quilt for Michael. It's actually not pieced. It's a printed cloth that has been quilted. It was made especially for Michael. It's an old favorite. He would have liked to taken his blue and white Blueberry Pie, but I asked him not to bring it. It's a very special quilt for me. I learned much in the process of making the top. It's on his bed in his bedroom for whenever he makes a trip home.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Home, Again

Knowing that my Summer break will soon be over, last week we headed to Louisiana to visit with my Dad and Marion's Mom. They both live in assisted-living facilities, but in different areas of Louisiana. We spent a bit of time in both places wishing we had more time to visit. Michael made the trip with us, too. With his college schedule, it may be some time before he is able to visit again. We were blessed with my cousins who helped us during our visit. Many thanks to Bob and Niki (also a quilter) who introduced us to an awesome pizza restaurant very near Dad's facility. It was wonderful visiting with them again. They had never met our son, Michael. He loved connecting with family. Bob's brother and my cousin, Glen, welcomed us into his home. We normally have to sleep at a local motel because Dad no longer lives in his home. Relaxing at Glen and Mary's home was absolutely perfect. It helped us to feel connected to family. We talked, laughed and ate lots.

While in Lafayette, I made a quick detour to Bourne Quilters. It is one super shop! I visited with Renee, the owner. They are in the process of moving to a larger location (wonderful news) in the same strip shopping center. The week previous to my visit, they celebrated their first year anniversary. Many bolts of fabric were on sale for 40% off. Because of their anticipated move, the sale was still in process. I purchased a white with black dot print from Lakehouse and Beatles fabric to make Michael a pillowcase. He is enamored with the music of The Beatles. He's also anxiously awaiting the new Rock Band video game featuring the music of The Beatles.

While visiting Marion's Mom, we were also able to visit his childhood friend. Mike was best man at our wedding. Most trips we're not successful in coordinating a visit so this was a treat for all of us. We normally book rooms at the Casino that is near his Mom's place, but the Casino was completely booked. We tried a local bed and breakfast. This was a first for us, staying at a B & B. Honeysuckle B & B was quite nice. It was very quiet which is not the case at the Casino. It was truly in the Country. I don't think I could find the place on my own.

Our Rusty stayed home with our oldest son, Jason. He was over-joyed to have us return. He's a bit neurotic. I'm hoping that he relaxes. I don't think he ate the entire time we were gone. He's definitely off his schedule. I found it rather amusing that the pastor of the local church near Marion's Mom's assisted living has the same name as our dog, both first and last name :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July

I dug under my cutting table and pulled out another plastic container with an aged project. That's my goal this year - to empty some of those containers. I don't know why, but I felt like working with Christmas fabric. It could be the post that Brenda did on shopping for Christmas all year long. About three years ago, I took a class at Stitch 'N Quilt Shoppe with Pat Wys. The class was her Christmas tree skirt, Slice of Christmas.

I selected Moda's Maison de Noel Christmas fabric, one of my all-time favorite Christmas fabrics. The pattern involves a special ruler. I borrowed Carol's ruler because the shop was out of the rulers when I took the class. It's probably time to return the ruler to Carol. The last time I worked on this project was at a Summer Stitch-In.

I cut one panel completely wrong. That's when it was put back into the plastic container to age. I wasn't sure that I had enough fabric to complete the pattern. About a year ago, I ordered additional fabric from several online shops. This afternoon, I cut the additional strips that I needed. With my Ipod playing a favorite book, I completed sewing the strips together. Sometimes this weekend, I'm hoping to press the strips and cut the wedges with Carol's ruler. This pattern makes two Christmas tree skirts. It would be super to have them ready for Christmas gifts.