Saturday, February 28, 2009

"The Crud"

Hi Friends,
Please ignore my silence. I have several ideas for my blog, but I've picked up some kind of virus or  "head cold." I've been sneezing even with an antihistamine. My throat is raw. I thought I'd get lots of sewing and blogging in today, but..... I keep returning to the couch to rest.

Here's hoping that I'm over the worst by tomorrow. My current project, Michael's graduation T-shirt quilt is calling from the sewing room. 

The weather guys are predicting snow tomorrow in Georgia. What a shock that will be to our flowering trees and plants. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thimbles.... Where Everyone Knows Your Name

It took years of searching, but I sure do belong to a great sewing group, Silver Thimble Quilt Club in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Yesterday, was our montly meeting day. As each person entered the room, there was clapping and cheers. It made me think of the TV program, Cheers, where everyone knows your name. This was our second offical month to meet. Many of us became friends from other quilt gatherings. I first joined Pinheads which was an early group lead by our teacher/mentor/friend, Pat Wys of Silver Thimble Quilt Company in 2003 (I think)  I sewed with that group only a couple of months. In 2004, Pat began a new quilting club called Stitch 'N Sisters at Stitch 'N Quilt Shop. We spent years laughing, sewing, starting projects, finishing some projects, adding fabric and ideas. Through it all, we improved our quilting skills and became friends. With the closing of Stitch 'N Quilt, we are now meeting at a local church and our club is called Silver Thimble Club. What a great beginning! We missed Pat our leader.  Pat was at home, highly medicated after knee-replacement surgery. Remember, Pat, new body parts are a good thing! Here is our show and tell so that Pat will see that like good students, we did our work when "our teacher"  was out of the room.

 Sarah does inspiring work. Her collection of feedsacks has been enhanced through Gretchen's influence. They both love Ebay. She is using her feedsacks to make a Yo-Yo Quilt. It is breath-taking - an unbelievable project.

 Carol had knee-replacement surgery in January. She was a whiz on her featherweight. Her table quilt from Fons & Porter magazine is almost complete.

 Karin worked on her Double Delight Mystery Quilt from Bonnie Hunter's site. Lots of little pieces, but Karin's quilt is stunning.
Gretchen is preparing for Mardi Gras. Her Orange Crush Mystery Quilt will be so festive. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Sue completed her Georgia quilt. 

Mercedine took Pat's pattern, Pinwheel Parade, which was our project in January, and completed this wonderful patriotic quilt. She actually made two quilts in the past month. Seeing her quilt inspired many of us to get working on our projects.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome to Patchwork Cottage

On my way home from work today, I made a detour. A new quilt shop, Patchwork Cottage, opened on the first of February. What a treat it was to visit this brand new shop!  It is in a portion of a previous shop, Stitch 'N Quilt. Many happy memories were made at S'NQ with our Stitchin' Sisters group, classes, sew-in's and events. Joan and Ladye, the owners of S'NQ, retired in December.

 Mita Chatterjee is the new owner of Patchwork Cottage. Mita is taking her love of quilting and reflecting it in her shop. It will be a pleasure to watch her transform her shop. Mita graciously allowed me to take pictures for my blog. Here is Mita ringing up sales for her customers. One of my favorite quilters, Sandy Stites, is working with Mita in the shop. Sandy has worked at several quilt shops. She is a valuable addition to Mita's staff.

Immediately, when walking into the shop, this fabric was displayed. It's the new line Rebel Roses by Heather Mulder Peterson for Henry Glass. Just last night, I was admiring this fabric on Heather's blog Trends and Traditions

Hanging over the shelves was a completed top from Bonnie Hunter's lastest mystery quilt, Double Delight. According to Sandy, this top was pieced by another local quilter, Peggy McIntyre.

Here are some shop photos. I love the sofa in the back of the shop to sit and look at books, magazines, patterns and fabric.

I couldn't resist signing up for the $5.00 block of the month. It began last Sunday. The blocks will be beige and black with an additional different color each month. The design for the finishing kit was placed next to the block. I love sampler quilts. This will be a fun one.

I did come home with one little purchase in this colorful bag. One of the Moda mini Honey Bun Bake shop boxes convinced me to take it home. The Honey Bun is by Three Sisters in their new line Aviary.

Thank you Mita! It will indeed a pleasure visiting your shop. It will be fun seeing it take shape.

Monday, February 16, 2009

When Eating an Elephant...

When eating an elephant take one bite at a time. Creighton Abrams

I've admired the weekly and sometimes daily goals of Mary, Judy, Lori  and Pat. I don't write weekly goals. I usually have a monthly mental goal of a project that I'd like to complete. Some weeks I get lots of sewing time and others not so much. All projects take longer than I anticipate. 

Saturday, I decided to spend the day sewing. As I was working at the sewing machine, it occured to  me that a plan that might work better for me would be to list the various steps of the project or projects that I needed to complete.  I have 3 quilts that need to be completed before the end of May. Given a choice these are not the projects that I would choose to work on at this time. I listed all three projects in a Mead compotition book from the school supply section of the grocery store.  I then listed all the steps needed to complete each project. If I  only have a couple of minutes to sew, I can look at the list and go right to the next step that I'm ready to tackle. I'm hoping this approach will help motivate me to finish these projects so I can work on other quilts. Breaking down each step is like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

This week is one of after school meetings and two night events. I probably won't get much sewing done, but this will help me squeeze in a couple minutes here, a couple minutes there.

We are having glorious weather here in Atlanta. Both yesterday and today, I had to get outside in the sunshine and just walk. Some of the trees are beginning to bud. I saw some daffodils blooming in a neighbor's yard. I've had enough of grey, dreary days. Hoping we have lots more days like today.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cajun Cooking Contest

In January, Judy L. began a contest on her blog Patchwork Times.  The contest involved Cajun Cooking. Well, that seemed to be an easy one for me. My husband and I both grew up in Louisiana in Cajun Country. We cook Cajun food on a daily basis. Well, the real problem (which is not a problem) is that my husband is the one who does the cooking. He enjoys it. It's his creative outlet. Whenever I attempt to cook, he insists on coming into the kitchen and telling me how to do it. I like to do it "my way." So  I stay out of the kitchen and let him do the cooking. My plan was to photograph him when he was doing the various stages of making a Gumbo. Well, I've had problems  with a sinus infection the past month. The day he made an awesome Gumbo, I was down nursing a headache. I didn't get pictures to share, but I did eat gumbo for almost a week.

One evening he did make a Corn and Shrimp Chowder. Hmmm....  Chowder. That's not something one usually connects with Cajun Cooking. It  reminded me of a friend I used to teach with in Louisiana. He said that he quit trying to cook Chinese because it still tasted like his Cajun cooking. He still insisted on adding onions, bell peper, celery and red pepper. This Corn and Shrimp (shrimp = Louisiana/Cajun) was wonderful. It was peppery. So here it is. Judy, I hope that I've convinced you that any dish is a Cajun dish when Cajuns are cooking it . LOL.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder
1 tablespoon butter
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen corn, thawed
1 onion chopped
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 3/4 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the corn and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8-10 miutes.  Add the clam juice, broth, sugar, cayenne, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary. Return to the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the shrimp and salt and cook until the shrimp are pink about 2 minutes.

Makes 6 servings
173 calories per serving

fromWeight Watchers Make It in Minutes book p. 99

Whirl Into Winter Blog Win

I won!!! This is so exciting. In January, I visited all the sites involved in the Whirl Into Winter Blog Give-away. Each site was the home of a generous quilter participating in the give-away to help celebrate winter. I won this great wool banner kit from Laurie. I have only ever worked on one wool project. It's one of my goals to get better at it.This kit looks perfect to take when I visit my Dad in the assisted living home.  I can work on it while he watches TV. Thanks so much Laurie for your giving spirit! Hope that you are feeling loads better!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gretchen  tagged me with this Honest Scrap post. The idea is to reveal 10 honest things about yourself that you haven't blogged about and list 5 addictions. Then tag 5 friends. I was tagged a couple of months ago with something similar so it's been a brain strain trying to come up with something new that you may not know about me that I'm willing to share :)

5 Addictions I'm willing to admit. :)
1. Coffee
2. E-mail/internet/blogging
3. Fabric acquisition
4. Ice cream
5. Reading 

10 Things You May Not Know About Me
1. I have great handwriting. My Dad made me practice for 6 weeks after I earned a poor grade in handwriting.
2. I attended 12 years of school in the same school building. It was a Catholic school, grades 1 through12. There were 68 people in my high school graduating class.
3. I love to bake especially cookies and loaf breads.
4. I love to take walks through my neighborhood and parks. Being outdoors and walking helps center me.
5. I don't watch mainstream TV. The boys in my life control the remote. I abdicated with a book and sewing machine. Lots of Food Network shows at my house.
6. At 30, I figured I was never going to get married. Gave up to enjoy the single life. Met my husband two weeks later. Have been happily married for 21 years.
7. I played the violin for 5 years in grade school. 
8. I love stationary, note cards and almost anything at an office supply store.
9. I collected Cabbage Patch Dolls for me and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle things for my son when he was little. We both still have a soft spot for TMNT.
10. I had pen pals when I was growing up. I remember one in Missouri, one in Canada and even one in Russia. I did meet one of them. She came on a Greyhound bus from Illinois while we were in college.

Ok. I tag Melisa, Lori, Pat, , Casey, Amanda

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Places to Visit

Well, blog places to visit that is.  My friend Brenda celebrates her birthday this month. She has an awesome give-away to help celebrate this event. Visit her blog The Quilting Cowgirl and leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

Another neat place to visit is the blog for The Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop.  Melisa, owner of Sweet Home Quilt Shop has a super give-away, a Sweet Treat bag.  The shop hop is March 26 - March 29th and includes nine wonderful quilt shops in the metro Atlanta area. Melisa and the other shop owners are asking for feedback on shop hops - what you like best what you like least and ideas from other shop hops. Hop over to this blog, make a comment and get a chance to win. Please mention that I sent you so I have a chance at a Moda Mini Honey Bun Bake Shop Box (that's a mouthful)

I think I'll hop on up to bed. I'm reading Eldest, the second book in the Eragon series. On a cold night like tonight, curled up in bed with a pile of quilts and a good book is the best place to be.


A Good Read

 I belong to a book club. The club has been meeting every other month for over nine years. Most of the ladies were faculty members at an elementary school I worked at over 10 years ago. Most of the ladies are now retired from teaching  and absolutely loving retirement. Three or four of us are still in the classroom/library. This book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is our book for this month. It was a wonderful read. The setting is  1940's in London and the Channel Islands. The book is a series of letters written from one character to the other. Quaint is a synonm that comes to mind. Humorous. Heart-breaking as they recall the German occupation of the Channel Islands and the plight of prisoners. I finished the book yesterday afternoon. Last night was a let-down. I wanted to read the next installment of happenings on Guernsey Island with Juliet, the main character. There is no more to read, but I'll get the audiobook from the public library. Maybe, listening (rereading) this one will satisfy my reading-soul.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Final Four

Saturday, was our county-wide reading competition or Reader's Rally. This is the third year that a teacher and I  have brought a team to the competition. Each team  can have no more  than 10 students.  Our students have a list of 20 books to read. The competition is like a quiz-bowl. They buzz-in to answer questions and earn points. This year so many elementary schools in our school district were part of the competition that we competed in divisions. At the end of the day, the top two teams in each division were announced. Imagine our surprise and EXCITEMENT to discover that our students were first in our division. This Friday, we will travel to our district television studio to compete against the other top teams.  This competition will be taped and aired on our GCPS channel. It was a glorious day spent with other readers. A fabulous day spent with the parents and siblings of our team members.  We are still so very excited. The absolute best thing is that our students, faculty, and parents are excited because we won a READING Competition!!!! They are fired-up about books and reading.  One of our girls told us that Saturday night she slept with her medal around her neck. Just priceless!!!!