Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm inspired!

I've been pouring over all of the Market pictures, and I'm totally inspired to sew up a storm! Of course, I'm still thinking on one project I saw there that will probably last so long that I'll have to take it to The Home with me!

But in the meantime, this little beauty caught my eye. I really wish Kimberly would quit coming up with these BOM gems! And a mystery to boot! Anything named Heartland Heritage Sampler is right up my alley!

This Aviary quilt made my flutter and stop for a few seconds! Seriously!

Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs has done it again! I'm gah-gah over pumpkins, so I'm already signed up for the Autumn Houses BOM! Didn't even wait to get all the details ... details didn't matter when I saw it!

Blackbird Designs - say no more! I'm in!

Totally my favorite colors here! Of course, Minick & Simpson already knew that from the amount of Prairie Paisley that now resides in my stash room!

Fig Tree, of course! This one is tugging at my heartstrings!

And one can never have too much Robyn Pandolph! Jane reminded me tonight that my RP closet is full! Heck, I'll just take over my bedroom closet, too! I don't really need a place for my clothes and shoes!

Something tells me 2009 will be a tough stashbusting year..........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quilting Condo is NEVER clean!

I had a rough day today, and had to stop on the way home and do an errand for work. I pulled into the circle at about 7:30, and found a folded piece of paper clipped to the garage door. What now?!!

The condo management is advising that they will enter my condo between 8:00 and 5:00 tomorrow to change out the shower heads. While I really appreciate all they do here, I hate seeing those notices on my garage door. Hate them! In the last year, they've entered to change the thermostat, install a new central air conditioner, a new hot water heater, measure for new wooden blinds, enter again to install them, change the filters, change the batteries in the smoke detectors, check all the sinks for leaks, which means everything had to be removed from the cabinets below. And the note is always on the door when I get home the night before they're to enter the place.

So do I clean house tonight? I looked around and there is quilting stuff everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere! Even the sofa has its usual applique project strewn across it.

At least my bedroom is clean! I can't say that about the other bedroom, the stash room! And my sewing area downstairs is a disaster. I'd post a picture of it, but there are some secret things laying about. The dining room table is opened up and another secret project is laying on that.

So what did I run about doing before a cooler head prevailed? Unloaded the dishwasher! Yeah, like that's going to really help things look neater!

You know what? I don't care tonight. If they don't like the way my quilting condo looks, they can leave a note on the garage that they're going to have a maid come in clean it. And arrange for a quilting assistant to finish up one or two of these UFOs. Now THAT would be a note I'd enjoy seeing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stash Report Week 43

Nothing purchased. :) Nothing busted. :(

I am working on two quilts right now lest you think I'm napping my weekends away, taking bubble baths and eating bonbons. I can't show either one of them. One is not a bust. One is ALL from my stash! I just love saying that!

I'm pondering my secret Santa/elf exchange. Totally stuck. So what's new?! I'd ask for help here, but I think my person reads my blog. Shucks! Guess I'll have to forge through on my own.

Be sure to check out The Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber blog. They're posting great pictures from Market, and there's also a fat quarter tower give-away! Wait, don't enter the give-away. I want to win that one! LOL

It's really beautiful here this weekend. A little cooler and the mountain views are clear. I spent two hours yesterday at the car dealership waiting for my oil change, and I just couldn't sit inside the building. I walked around outside enjoying the day. The only problem with walking around outside at a car dealership is all the salesmen were trying to sell me a new car. Sorry, Charlie. Mine is only a year old! I did notice that there weren't a lot of lookers on the lot, even with the advertised low/no interest rates available now. Folks seem to be making-do with what they have for a while longer. Too bad I can't do that with fabric! And speaking of that ...

A group of us were talking about the "romantic" lines of fabric when a friend declared Robyn Pandolph's Secret Garden for Moda was her absolute favorite. It is mine, too. So much so that I stockpiled a bunch of it. I've already made a couple of quilts from this line and there's still a lot of fabric left in the stash!

The "RP" closet. The Christmas RP fabrics are stored elsewhere. Sheesh ...

There have been several lines through the years that have tugged at my heartstrings - Prairie Paisley, Peace on Earth and Winter to name three recent ones. Although I look at and buy lines from other manufacturers, Moda seems to keep drawing me back. What is your all-time favorite line?

The pictures that Kimberly and others are posting from Market are so wonderful. I just know there's another all-time favorite line lurking out there! I suspect wonderful things are coming our way. Guess we'll just have to be patient!! Oh, goodness, I'm in trouble. Patience is not a virtue I possess!

Year-to-Date Totals:

Busted: 406.00 yards
Purchased: 689.00 yards
Net YTD: <283.00> yards busted

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Simply Sophisticated Month 1 Winner

There were a lot of you who emailed me, and I didn't get a chance to put everyone's name up on my blog. But your name was in the bowl for the drawing. Next month I'll have one place to post so it won't be so confusing.

Jane drew the name of the winner. And the winner of a $25 gift certificate from The Fat Quarter Shop is: PERRY!!!! You lucky duck!!

I'll be sending Perry an email with her gift certificate. Remember to let me know on the blog post that I'll do for Month 2 when you have completed your blocks, and post a picture of it on your blog or email me a picture. Either way works!

A huge THANK YOU to Kimberly, Kevin and Miss Emma at The Fat Quarter Shop for the wonderful monthly drawing prize. They're at Market now, so there will be lots of new goodies to spend your gift certificate on in the coming months!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stash Report Week 42

I'll be glad when this year is over so I can start afresh! My stash reporting is hilarious! Some things I couldn't live without .... you know how that is! Fall Market is next week. It's hopeless! Judy, you're going to make me sew more next year, right?

Year-to-Date Totals:

Busted: 406.00 yards
Purchased: 689.00 yards
Net YTD: <283.00> yards busted

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Week More - Drawing Sat. 10/25/08

Just one more week to finish up your Simply Sophisticated block to be entered in the drawing for a $25 gift certificate from The Fat Quarter Shop! The drawing will be next Saturday evening, 10/25.

So far those who have completed their blocks - and either notified us that a picture is on their blog or emailed me a picture:

Susan K via email
Lynn D via email
Shelly from Michigan via email
Anna C via email

Read the rules HERE.

I've been a little disorganized on an official posting spot on this drawing. Pneumonia and vacation really threw me for a loop. However, I have gone back through the various posts and found those of you who posted a completion.

If you are still working on your blocks, please post it on your blog and leave a comment on this post so we can go enjoy your blocks and your blog - or email me a picture. I'll add your name to this list.

Click on the Simply Sophisticated link in my sidebar if you want to join us!! Go ahead! We know you want to!!

Next month will be MUCH more organized!! I promise!! Uh oh, that sounds like a commitment from me, doesn't it?!

Again, thank you to Kimberly and The Fat Quarter Shop for donating the monthly prizes! And don't forget to sign up for the drawing on the Jolly Jabber blog! What I wouldn't give to be there at Market with them!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Simply Sophisticated Block 1

Simply Sophisticated Block 1. These were fun, especially because I didn't realize there were two blocks to be made!

Any time before the 25th of the month, please post a comment and link to your blog or email me a picture of your blocks, and you'll be entered in the first drawing!!! Click HERE to read the rules!

And don't fret if this link gets buried in my future blogs. I'll post a link on each one so that you can find it easily!

It's going to be a gorgeous quilt!

Stash Report Week 41

Before the stash report begins, let me take a moment to congratulate Nan on her new online shop, Nannie's Quilt Patch! Nan's a blogger, the mother of adorable doxies, and a really neat lady! Congratulations on your new adventure, Nan!

I can't believe it's already Week 41. Where did this year go? Except for that wonderful week in Louisiana, the rest of it has been the same old stuff. I really need to get out more!

The verdict's in. I am NOT a stashbuster! Try as I might, it's been a losing battle all year. I was a lot more focused this year, but my totals are appalling. I shudder to think what my totals were in prior years when I wasn't paying attention. Well, I guess I really don't have to think about that. All I have to do is walk into my stash room.

I think one of the factors affecting my totals this year is that, frankly, I haven't been sewing as much. I've done a lot of needleturn applique and that's a lot slower. I have always churned out two quilts or more a month, and that hasn't happened in '08. I believe if I finish up some things that are hanging around, I'll feel better about my "hobby"!

The backing set came in for Simply Sophisticated BOM, and that was 5.5 yards. Another box with 17 yards came in containing backings and things to finish up projects. So 22.5 yards purchased.

Nothing busted this week, but I did start a fantastic project. I hope to finish that up possibly next week. Can't wait to post a picture. And the best part? It's ALL from my stash! I was putzing around in my stash room looking for fabric for the project when inspiration struck. I untied a fat quarter tower and cut it up!!! Then I pulled out a bolt of background and whacked what I needed off of that!!! I have a dynamite stash and I need to start using it!

Year-to-Date Totals:

Busted: 406.00 yards
Purchased: 665.00 yards
Net YTD: <259.00> yards busted

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Simply Sophisticated Begins!!

The first block of the new Simply Sophisticated BOM was waiting on my doorstep when I got home tonight! I'm SO excited!!

I hope a lot of you have signed up for this BOM and will be participating in our online club. Here is a link to the rules and the prize giveaways so generously donated by The Fat Quarter Shop!

To make things really easy for those who haven't ordered yet, you can click on the Simply Sophisticated logo on my sidebar to get you right to where you can order it. This quilt is going to be stunning! I practically drooled all over the package tonight when I opened it!

For now the drawing will remain on the 25th. If we see this is not enough time or too much time, we'll adjust the date down the road.

I can't wait to see your pictures of your block! Everyone who shows a picture via their blog or by email to me will be entered in the drawing!

Sophisticates, start your engines!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Last Louisiana Pictures

As I mentioned previously, Mike and Diane are Don and Gail's best friends. Mike and Diane have the most gorgeous home and property. I did not take pictures of their home this trip. It is magnificant. The first time Diane gave me a tour, my jaw was dragging the floor. It's a restored home, and if it's not on an historical register, it should be!

I don't know the whole story, but at some point Mike and Diane came into possession of an old country store and moved it onto their property behind their home. This structure is where everyone congregates. Diane does a lot of cooking for her farming family, and they entertain out here. There's a commercial kitchen, a pool table, a huge TV and lots of comfy sitting areas for guests and grandkids! It's a place that every kid dreams of having so they can run and play and put their feet up and pull out toys and ... well, enough said.

I couldn't capture the whole structure in these two pictures, but these will give a flavor of that entertainment area. The original flooring, walls and ceilings.

Off of this play room is a wonderful veranda with a fabulous view of oak trees and Bayou Teche. Yeah, I could definitely get cozy out there in a rocking chair with some applique, a mimosa or two ...

Off of the play room and veranda is the back lawn. There's a pool overlooking Bayou Teche --

And a fully equipped gym!

Mike is also an artist. He carves the most gorgeous birds and ducks and creatures great and small. My photography leaves much to be desired, but just a taste of his work -- Mr. Owl. This piece is carved from one piece of wood, including the feet. The feathers looked so real! I just wish I could have photographed it better.

This wraps up my photo journal of my trip home. I came away with wonderful memories, and can't wait until the next trip!

Don and Gail, thank you for indulging my every whim, for the fantastic food, including the boudin, and for being the best tour guides in the whole world! I love you!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stash Report Week 40

Well, nothing busted - again. I did get in the finishing kit/backing for the Patchwork Party. That's 13.75 yards. I won't be able to start this until later, but since I had so much fun with the last one, I wanted to go ahead and stockpile it. See? That's where I get into trouble. I think I have a previous Patchwork Party somewhere around here. Note to self: Look in the chest by the sofa; all sorts of treasures are probably lurking in there.

Year-to-Date Totals:

Busted: 406.00 yards
Purchased: 642.50 yards
Net YTD: <236.50> yards busted

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Peace on Earth Designer Mystery BOM #4

I'm caught up on the Designer Mystery BOM now. Just in time for the next block! LOL. I love this Peace on Earth fabric. Probably one of my favorite ones out this year.

Skipping around on projects here. Quilter's ADD!

Star BOM Block #5

Caught up on Judy's Star BOM! Now to tackle the others that I'm quickly falling behind on, too! I think I have my work cut out for me! LOL

Star BOM Block #4

Block #4 of Judy's Star BOM. I am really loving these blocks! I am loving the fact that I chose all the fabric from my stash!

Thank you, Judy, for a wonderful BOM!

Louisiana pictures

Don said he was enjoying the pictures. I asked him how I did on the sugarcane post, and he said I did okay. Or maybe he said it wasn't bad. I decided not to ask what he meant by that! What I really wanted to ask is if I had improved my "C" in college botany, but thought I'd better leave well enough alone! LOL

Soybeans. I've heard of soy sauce, soy milk, etc., and saw soybean fields my whole life but had no clue what they looked like. I do now!

The pictures I took of the actual beans were out of focus, so I snagged this picture from Wikipedia. These little beans are where all the yummy stuff comes from.

Soybeans being harvested. What you can't see in this picture are the hundreds of birds in the field eating the soybeans that fell from the harvester. It was an awesome sight. They were following the harvester around the field. Quite a following he had!

Making the last pass in this field.

Close-ups of the plants before harvesting.

And one truck load ready to go to the soybean place, wherever that is. I was on information overload at this point!

We were really up close and personal. Don just drove the Jeep out in the field! LOL. See the beans falling out of the back of the harvester? That's what the birds were enjoying! The hand belongs to my fabulous brother. He was explaining things to me and talking with his hands. It's the Cajun in us that makes us talk that way!

Judging from what I absorbed during this lesson, I'd say that "C" was probably a VERY good grade for me!

This is a picture of a cemetery in Franklin. The fence around the cemetery was the railing from an old bridge that was removed and replaced. Beautiful ironwork. It would have gone unnoticed by me if I hadn't had the most wonderful tour guides on this trip.

For those who aren't familiar with the story, Don and Gail's house was struck by lightning in August, 2006 and burned down. They have rebuild the home almost the same but a lot differently, if that makes sense. As I've said before, the home is so warm and inviting. A picture of some of the living area - sorry the shot is dark. Should know I can't take pictures at night. Notice the wonky leaf quilt on the back of the sofa? I wonder who made that? :)

The dining room, with the breakfast area in the sunroom beyond. The white bucket in the shot was given to them by a Mormon family in Franklin. The bucket contained disinfectants, gloves, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, things you would need to clean up after a hurricane. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift for the town's residents!

My bedroom upstairs. It was huge. Two gigantic walk-in closets, a nice bathroom, and both windows perfectly framed beautiful oak trees outside. Wouldn't this make a fabulous quilting studio?! I mean, I'm just saying ... Oh, that quilt on the bed was made by Gail's mother and grandmother. There were a few things that survived the fire, thank goodness!

And finally the pool area. The pool still had leaves and gunk in it from the hurricanes, although it's been cleaned up since and the fence repaired. It's a salt water pool. I really like this area. There's a full bath in Don's shop, and they made an entrance to that bath from the pool area. Smart move! Oh, and the shop also has a full kitchen in it. While I was there, Gail stuck a ham in the oven out there so as not to heat up her kitchen in the house. They really built in some nice features.

I have some pictures to post of their friends' home. The property is absolutely breathtaking. I'll do that another time. Since I haven't sewn in two weeks, I'm heading to the sewing room right now!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Louisiana is farming country. Depending on the part of the state you're in, you'll see sugarcane, cotton, rice, soybeans, pecan orchards ... the list is endless. The abundance of water - it IS the Bayou State - and the rich, fertile soil lends itself well to these crops. My hat's off to farmers everywhere. I have a new appreciation for their trials and tribulations after this visit home.

For South Louisiana farmers, the hurricanes obviously can destroy crops. Judy mentioned that when she was teaching in Houma in August, she noticed that the sugarcane was tall and green and beautiful. Hurricane Gustav laid it flat on the ground. I told Don I thought the crop had been lost, but I saw that the cane was upright.

He explained to me that it was curved. Look closely at the base of the cane in these pictures and you can see what he means. Note: I was too afraid of snakes to go out into the fields to get closer shots! LOL

See how the cane is curved at the bottom of the stalk? It was laying on the ground, and then the stalks started curving up towards the sun. The cane is, my guess, about three-quarters as tall as it was before the hurricane. I asked Don if it was still good. Here's where I'll probably mess up the explanation big time, so if there are any cane farmers reading this, my apologies.

The cane will still be harvested. If it's laying really low, there are special machines that can lift and cut it. I forgot what they're called. I asked if the stalks would yield as much sugar now. The short answer - yes, maybe more.

In the life of a sugarcane plant, sugar is produced right before the plant's reproduction process begins. It's a stressful time in the life of the plant. The plant's reaction to that stress is to produce more sugar. When the cane was laid down and then tried to grow upright again, it stressed the plant - thereby producing high contents of sugar. Now, Don didn't say this, but I suspect that there are a lot of broken stalks in the field, so those plants won't produce anything. But the stalks that will be harvested will have high sugar content.

Whew! Here is a person who made a "C" in college botany trying to interpret what a Ph.D. botanist told her. I gave it my best shot! I know my brother is reading my explanation and laughing out loud! :)

There was some harvesting going on and planting at the same time. I think what he told me what I saw being cut was to be used as starter for the next crop. Here is a load of sugarcane pieces that will be planted for next year's crop.

And the field being readied for planting. Furrows are dug and the cane pieces are laid overlapping in those furrows. Then another machine is run across the furrows and it covers the cane pieces. The beginning of a new crop.

Here are workers pulling the cane pieces off of the truck and laying them in the furrows. Really hard, hot, dirty work!

This GIGANTIC machine is a cane harvester. I mean, it's HUGE! I can't remember a thing about how it gets from the ground, through this machine, and onto trucks ... I was gawking at this monster machine! Don and Gail's best friends are Mike and Diane. Most of these pictures were taken on Mike's farming operation.

What I don't suppose I'll ever be clear on -- cane is not planted every year. It's harvested, and then the stubble grows to be next year's crop. Maybe that happens a third year. I don't remember that part of it. I used to see fields being burned off, and I thought this was getting rid of the cane left in the field after harvest. No, it's just to burn off the other stuff growing in the field. That cane will grow again. Then every few years, a second crop is planted, like soybeans, I guess to rest the field. Then back to sugarcane for the three year or so cycle.

I have tons more pictures that might explain it all better, but I've totally confused myself now. So I'll move on to the processing. What this picture shows is a warehouse with a pile of unrefined sugar. The picture is dark, but I think clicking on it will make it easier to see. That pile is probably 30-40 feet high. The sugar is not edible at this point.

There was a barge in a slip being loaded with this unrefined sugar. We were able to drive up right next to it. We could have literally stepped aboard. I tried to capture the sugar being pumped down into the hold of the ship - there was a fine mist of sugar escaping from the pump. It didn't show up in the picture. Darn!

I suspect Don and Gail chose the land where they built their house because of the view of sugarcane on two sides! And the huge oak trees. It's so beautiful there!

I have one more set of pictures, not quite so detailed, on soybeans. I grew up seeing soybean fields but I had never seen a plant up close and had no clue what a soybean actually looked like. Then I PROMISE I'm done with farming pictures.

Don, I love you. Thank you for taking me around and explaining everything to me. The visit was just wonderful. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow! ILY!