Thursday, November 29, 2012

Birthday Month is Over…..:-(

First I need to say “thank you” to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday.  Every one of those comments made me smile.
My official birthday was Wednesday and my first gift was that my husband took the day off from work to spend it with me.  He took me out to breakfast and then we headed to Mobile, AL.
Lunch was at Red Lobster where I had this:
This is a seafood bowl containing crab legs, garlic shrimp, scallops, corn and potatoes.  Oh, my, this was good.  And because there was so much of it, I have half at home and I get to eat tomorrow.

From there we headed to Bellingrath Gardens, just southeast of Mobile.   Bellingrath is the former mansion and grounds of a one time Coca-Cola executive. 

Look at these Christmas Cactus’.  There were several of them, each over 2’ wide and in many different colors.

Here I am in the poinsettia garden.  This was just as we were starting what turned out to be a 3 1/2 mile walk through the gardens.


There were mums everywhere and the Christmas lights started coming on as we walked.

The lights were beautiful nestled among the plants,


And became more beautiful as it grew darker.

Christmas lights at the Chinese gardens in Bellingrath.

These pictures don’t do these displays justice and remember we walked  and walked through miles of lights.  It was beautiful and wonderful.

But don’t think I haven’t been sewing.
I have made 100 of these little 4 patches: only 92 more to go.  And, unfortunately, a second step in this Easy Street mystery comes out tomorrow.  Oh, my, I’m behind already.

Better get to bed so I will be ready to get back to the quilting salt mines tomorrow.
Good night!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The last week of Birthday Month

And I am expecting great things.  First there is the laundry, the dishes, cleaning the bird cages, and, well, that doesn’t sound much like a celebration, does it? 
Ok, then, here’s what I am celebrating?  Well, during this month I completed two Christmas quilts and both have been gifted as housewarming gifts to two of my grandchildren.  I also completed two quilts for friends for Christmas, so I can’t show them yet.  But that’s 4 quilts in one month!!
And now?
Easy Street Fabrics
I have decided to try Bonnie Hunter’s annual New Year’s Mystery, Easy Street.  And these are my chosen fabrics.  Normally I don’t like mysteries but Bonnie has promised that there are not as many small parts as in years past and I have all my Christmas gifts either bought or made so, what the heck, I might as well play along.

Easy Street started
So the first step is to make hundreds of 4 patches.  Well, I cut bunches 2” strips out of the gray and black on white fabrics and began sewing them together.  Before Friday I hope to have almost 200 4 patches ready to go on to Step 2.  I don’t know if I will be able to keep up but at least I am up with everyone right now.  If you are interested, a new step will be revealed every Friday through Dec.  I think the idea is that, if we have kept up, we should be able to sew the top together on New Year’s Day……..fat chance!

village started
DH has started getting our Christmas Village pieces out.  I think he is having a great time creating the village this year.  After he hung my quilt, Flight School, he decided I should make another to fill the whole wall (I don’t think so).  But we will have to come up with something for that big blue space.

12 days almost ready
He also hung up my Twelve Days of Christmas quilt.  Of course I had told him not to put it up until I got the ornaments attached but, what the hay, I can climb on a ladder and stick them up there.  I love this quilt.  It is the first big applique quilt I did and it was really a challenge but I got it done and this is the second year we have been able to enjoy it.
Now, as for celebrations, on Wednesday I will be celebrating my 70th birthday.  It is really funny because I don’t feel like I think 70 should feel like.  But thinking about it I began to also think about what I am most thankful for in my life.  I think that it would be that for all of my childhood I was raised in a Christian home and, even as an only child, was privileged to be surrounded by a loving, laughing, and fun Christian family.  This gave me the background to find a Christian husband and raise our 4 children as I had been raised.  Everything else that I am grateful for stems from the above.  And with that I go marching into my 8th decade.  Coming along?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fun, Busy, Productive: What a Weekend

Friday:  I spent the day in Pensacola with DD on her birthday.  We shopped, ate, shopped, ate, and shopped some more.  Mostly we were looking for Christmas gifts: we have had husband shopping days for the last several years.  We always find “stuff” for the guys but mostly we have fun together and this year was no exception.  We didn’t buy anything big or expensive, just little things that each of them will either enjoy or get a laugh over.

Saturday:  I spent the morning in the studio and started the quilting on the frog quilt. 
Frog quilting
I have used this panto before.  It is quite subtle but a fun addition.  As of Sunday evening I am halfway done, which is really good since I have other things I need to be working on.

In the mid-afternoon I gave up quilting to go to the community college for two basketball games.  I haven’t attended for several years and really enjoyed yelling at the refs as well as cheering for the players.

Sunday:  Back in the studio for more quilting and then some time cutting fabric and doing a little stitching on a secret quilt for a friend that reads my blog.  I have parts on the design wall (which I can’t show) but I did want to share that the wall contains something new. 

Nurse FabricI can show one of the fabrics I am using.  Isn’t it beautiful?  I bought this piece (6 yards) for $3 a yard on sale several months ago, just waiting for the perfect chance to use it.  Today I did some cutting on it but I can see that I will have enough left to do something else with it later.

Since I can’t show the main wall, I thought I would show my 4 teapot blocks that are on a smaller wall in the quilting room.

teapots 1-4As soon as I get the next quilt top finished I will be able to begin the applique stitching on these pots.  Today, as I was looking at them I began to wonder if they would like to have teacups and saucers to go with them.  What do you think?  Just in case I decide to follow though with this idea, I am going to put matching fabric aside so that each pot has an appropriate cup.

New Christmas CactusThis past week I bought a Christmas cactus.  I got it because Wanda at Exuberant Color is always showing her cactus and I got jealous.  Now I have a beautiful, flowering cactus with lots of buds sitting next to my chair and heralding that Christmas is coming, soon.

004But before that I want to wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And to share the Thanksgiving mug rug I won from Rhonda at Ravelly 1.  Rhonda is the artist behind my teapots and several other designs and BOMs.  This turkey is sitting beside my chair, with the cactus, and has been well used in the couple of weeks it has been here.  Once again, “thanks, Rhonda.”

Be sure to visit Patchwork Times for other ongoing projects that frequently can be seen on design walls.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That

This week I took two days off from any creative work.  Each morning I would go to the studio, turn the heat on, and then in the evening I would return to the studio to turn the heat off.  I really thought I was going over to work but for many reasons that just didn’t happen.

During that time I got a lot done in the house so it wasn’t time wasted.

The other interesting thing that happened during my time off was that we lost power in all the outlets in our kitchen and dining room.  I noticed it when I went to make coffee and the pot didn’t work.  Now I don’t start the day without coffee so I spent some time trying every outlet and finally took the coffee pot into the living room where it performed wonderfully.

This morning the electrician came and found that the house wiring had come “unplugged” from the outside wiring.  It took only less than an hour to get us up and going again.

Right after that I returned to the studio.

Ready to start

The first thing I did was load the frogs on the frame.  I am going to use a frog panto. 

I plan to start quilting on Saturday since I will be out of town tomorrow. 

CD November BOM

The last thing I got done today is the November block for Carol Doak’s BOM.  It is done is four sections and for the first time I worked on all 4 sections at the same time.  I was amazed at how easy it was and how much faster it went together. 

Tomorrow I will be finishing up my Christmas shopping while doing some birthday celebrating with our daughter. Of course this is still Birthday Month and tomorrow is Lisa’s birthday (along with her twin brother, Todd). My sister’s birthday is the 20th and then the grand finale comes with my birthday. What a great month is this!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nothing on the Wall

That’s because I have been finishing.  Here is my Christmas Quilt 2 all quilted, bound and labeled. 

I have to say that quilting this panel was a big challenge, one that I feared and looked forward to at the same time.

The rest of the quilting was pretty traditional.  I really like this quilt and am glad I finally got to make it.

In my last post I shared pictures of the two applique BOMs that I have fused and are ready for stitching down.  Here is this month’s block for Carol Doak’s Mystery 2012.  I have cut all of the pieces and am ready to, hopefully, stitch today.  If I get that done I will have all of my BOMs up to date for another month....Yea, me!

I also have a short list of Christmas gifts with some work left to do on them.  Sunday I finally decided on the last gift and hope to get that started this week.  I seem to be right on track to have all my gifts, made and purchased, ready before Thanksgiving.  And that is good because I have several new projects rolling around in my head and wanting to get out and I see December as a quiet month of singing Christmas carols, ditzy Christmas movies on TV and fun stitching.  Doesn’t that sound like a fun way to enjoy the holiday season?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Weeks Half Over

What a fun week I have been having.
This month’s Funky Chicken is bright and cheery.  The only sad part is that there is only one more chicken to come.

And here is November’s teapot.  How classy, huh?  These are pretty easy to do and afford a great canvas to use some really great and different fabrics.

I have been quilting like crazy.
But I must say that quilting a panel is not as easy as doing a panto.


I am trying to make the quilting pretty even on the whole quilt so I am filling in all the open spaces.

036That said, look where I am!  Santa is pretty much done: still have the gifts to do and then it is just blocks and the last borders.  Whoopee!! 

Yesterday I made the executive decision that this quilt does not need another border.  It is 48 x 65 which is just the right size.  So I spent this afternoon putting the backing together  and we are now ready for the frame, when it is vacated.

In between these quilting sessions I got to have lunch with my favorite daughter (I only have one).  We are both celebrating BIRTHDAY MONTH so we had a really good time.  And we made plans to do some Christmas shopping next week, on her birthday: what fun will that be?!?

Like Judy L., I have a chicken picture, real chickens.  These chickens really live next door but it seems we have better bugs than they do.  So every day this little troupe comes through the trees, scratches around, crows a lot, and then goes home.  Of course they return, sometimes several times a day.  The puppies like to chase them but since we keep them on leashes, they can’t catch them.  I don’t think they want to catch them, they just like the chase.

Today I did something I have never done: I ordered Christmas gifts from a catalog.  I usually don’t get any but this year two came and there were a couple of “just right” items in them.  So I jumped on the computer and ordered.  How easy was that?

Well, now it is time for me to start getting ready for bed.  I need all the rest I can get so I can finish up that Christmas quilt and move on.  I am having so much fun!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lots Going On Here

center done
We are still on the wall but we are now sewn together with our insects and some sashing.  After this picture was taken the two border fabrics were chosen and the binding is already cut and ready to go. 

On the “design ironing board” we find chicken parts.  I tried to not hurry in getting this one ready to go (then the wait for the next one is so much longer) but I couldn’t wait to get to play with my batiks again.

And can you tell what this is?  Well, it’s a teapot, of course.  After the chicken was prepared I just had to do this one, too, especially since I ran across this fabric.  I used it as a backing years ago and still had a small piece just waiting for this moment.

Megan quilting
I have begun quilting the second Christmas quilt.  This time I am doing a more custom quilting set because of the panel in the center.  There will be some continuous curves, feathers,

Megan borders quilted
Some straight lines and loops.  All of this will be in the blocks and borders.  The part I am not sure of is the panel but it is coming up on the next pass so we soon shall see. 

In other business, this is still BIRTHDAY MONTH (if you don’t know about that see this post).  So DH had these for me this weekend:  Birthday month books
In m y down time I really like light reading and here is what will be coming up.  I started reading Agatha Christie over 30 years ago but quickly read them all so have moved on to more up to date authors. 

not always quilting
And this is me, sitting on my swing on the deck.  Feet up, coffee by my hand and a fun read in my hands.  It is a great way to take a break from the projects going on in the studio.

pool vacuum
We did take some time out from resting to install our new pool vacuum in the pool.  It was really fun to watch this little bug chugging around on the floor of the pool, sucking up the stuff that doesn’t float to the top.

spoiled pets
We did so some grocery shopping this weekend.  When I was putting things away I saw this shelf.  These are the containers that have dog treats in them.  Isn’t that just a little much?  We have hard ones, soft ones, long skinny ones, long flat ones, round ones, bone shaped ones…….well you can see that we have way too many types of treats for our 3 puppies.  And, oh, by the way, the little blue thing has the cat treats for Ms. Murphy. 

Now it is time for me to close this computer and get back to the studio.  As you can see above, I have projects to complete and can’t do them sitting here.