Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Week 2014

All of the plans I had conjured up in my mind for decorating this Christmas have gone by the wayside.  I have a few things out that, frankly, I had left out after last Christmas when I headed back to CA.  I didn't get back to Louisiana this year, so the house just sat waiting for me.

Remember, I landed in the emergency room within half an hour after the moving van arrived.   They pretty much put stuff wherever.  It'll all get sorted out eventually, but for now things stay as they lay.  Right next to the front door is where my grandmother's treadle machine landed.  I want to get the cabinet stripped and restored to its original cherry finish.  Until then .....

Of course, having a pair of crutches in the foyer is a decorative must!  I just know everyone will be copying this vignette!  Go ahead.  You have my permission!!

Sally and I ventured out to a small antique store in this little town one day.  I found that Mikasa sleigh.  I thought I'd put some holly in it from the yard.

The red berries aren't real visible in this picture, but I didn't want to venture out on the grass to get a closer picture.  This is taken from my carport.  The back yard is on the other side of that fence.  There's a forest next to my property with all sorts of critters who set off the motion lights at night.  The crew that's been hacking away at the overgrown bushes started cutting back the holly trees and I stopped them.  "Let's do that after the new year."  I don't know how many times I told them that!

I also stopped them from cutting the overgrown azaleas in the front.  I figured a little color in the yard for the holidays is better than nothing.  I wish I could go out back to get a snapshot of the camillias.  Some are blooming and some are full of buds.

Yep, this isn't at all what I envisioned for Christmas this year, but as the over-used saying goes, it is what it is.  I'm getting better and that's all that's important for right now.

I hope everyone has a glorious holiday season.  Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas from my little corner of the world!

Saturday, December 13, 2014


The other LA has been a place of whirlwind activity for the past week.  Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, jungle whackers -- but the most important of all, my friend Sally.  She flew into town on Monday and has not stopped flying since she's been here!

The boxes in the last post are gone but for a few that I need to decide what to do with.  The quilting cottage was attacked yesterday.  At first we could go no further than opening the front door and looking at boxes stacked almost to the ceiling.  There are still a ton of boxes, but the stash closet is shaping up.

It's about 60% full at this point.  The shelves on the right are holding bolts and flat-fold backings.  I'm sure things will be shifted around as I work in there, but it's nice to have 13' shelves to put the stash on.  Except for the top shelf, the other shelves are 12" deep.  Maybe I could have gone a little deeper with those but I didn't want fabric right up against the doorjamb.  By the end of today we hope to have the books put away on shelves on either side of the fireplace.  The "extra" fabric will go upstairs but that part will have to wait until we have brawn onsite!

The kitchen took us (I say that tongue-in-cheek because Sally did all the work!) almost two days.  There are tons of cabinets and drawers.  It was a lot of deciding what went where.  It really looks nice now.  Here's an in-progress picture of the pantry.

Since I'm still gimping around, it will most likely take me a few months to get everything where it's supposed to go.  I'll just have to take baby steps now, both literally and figuratively.  The knee is some better, the brace keep falling down my leg, and I need to get PT scheduled.  I'm getting real tired of pushing the walker around but it's a necessary evil at this point.  Looking at the bright side, the seat does work for toting around a small grocery basket at the market!

The jungle-whackers I referred to above came in and really have worked magic in the back yard.  I had huge azaleas encroaching on one side of the pool.  While I hate to remove healthy plants, there's now an unencumbered view of the bayou from the house.  They've done about 80% of the back.  The front of the house needs some attention, too, but it's mostly clipping of low-hanging oak branches over the driveway and trimming crepe myrtles.  Again, I hate to cut those but I think the trees will look better and will not be brushing up against the house.

Tall toilets and new shower heads and fixtures will be going in next week.  The computer closet has been wired.  Most of the TV stuff has been located so I can now schedule service here.  A new fence around the garbage can area will be built.  A lot of other things but I can't remember it all right now.  I have a new driver's license and car tags, a local bank account opened .... yep, progress is being made on the bayou!

I couldn't have done any of this without Sally.  Her husband told me to watch out if she puts her hair in a ponytail, to take myself and anyone I love and just get out of the way!  I replied that he should have warned me of that beforehand!  I want to help so badly, but I've gotten real used to her telling me to get out of her way!  I love you, Sal!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Moved In

The moving van came at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and worked until 11:00.  They came back the next morning at 10:00 and worked until 3:30.  There are boxes everywhere.

Of course, I can only see the ones in the den because ....

.... as soon as they got here Monday, I took them back to the back house, the Cottage, where all the sewing stuff goes, and promptly fell down the stairs.  A trip to the emergency room and I was told nothing in my knee is broken but I need to see an orthopedist. (Earliest appointment I could get was 12/9.)  They didn't x-ray my leg which is swollen and hurts like all get-out. I can't stand on it.  My brother loaned me a small wheelchair (that he also needs), so I can get around a bit between the living room and the kitchen and a small half bath tucked under the staircase downstairs.  I haven't showered since 5:00 Monday morning.

I have no idea what the upstairs in the house looks like.  I'm sure the furniture and boxes are all piled around up there.  I have no idea what the Cottage looks like but I was told that they ran out of room to put all the boxes.  I have no idea about anything.

Cheese with my whine?

Vicky, welcome to the other LA.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Home in the Other LA

Penny and I left CA on Wednesday morning and are now in the other LA!  We stopped for the night in Phoenix AZ, Los Cruses NM, Kerrville TX, and then finally home about 4:00 yesterday (Saturday).  To say the trip was interesting is an understatement!

I wanted to get here in the daylight so she could explore the yard a bit. 

She had a ball rolling in the grass.  She'd walk a few feet and roll again.  This went on for half an hour.  We only explored one small area.  She has an acre and a half to roll in.  This will take a while!

It rained here last night.  The moving van arrives tomorrow.  I hope it's not wet but I think it will be.  They're going to have to off-load somewhere else and tote my stuff in a smaller truck to the house.  The big van won't fit under the oak trees.  It's always something!

I have my work cut out here.  The flower beds in the back are overgrown.  The house needs a good "spring" cleaning.  Painters, carpenters, plumbers - the joys of home ownership, especially a 1927 home.

But we're here.  That's all that's important right now!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

14 More Days

My back hurts, broken fingernails, a broken toenail (don't ask), boxes piled in every room.

Tomorrow will be kinder .........

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

I'm Still Alive

Although if I don't quit running the shredder, my common wall neighbor will call the cops!  I shredded from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and I'm about two-thirds done.  I'm getting rid of two file cabinets, and these are really old records from back in my court reporting days.  That career ended over 20 years ago.  Time to get rid of them, but I had to shred because there were employee W-2s, etc. 

So far I have 11 huge garbage bags of shredded paper sitting in the garage.  Both cans are full.  The garbage truck comes at around 8:00 Thursday, so I'll just be standing at the garage door waiting for them.  I have to tell you, this feels so good!

No pictures today.  Sorry.  I don't think piles of tubs and boxes or bags of trash would be very interesting.

Funny thing - I keep finding projects that are about 99.9% complete, so I designated one tub to put those in.  My thought was those would be the first ones to get worked on in the other LA.  Well, one tub has turned into two.  What in the world was I thinking?  I'm a gal on a mission, though, so I will do my best to do those first.  Most of them anyway.  My only excuse is that I got bored with them and wanted to start something new.  I guess that's a widely accepted excuse among quilters, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it!

My back is screaming at me right now, so time to stretch out.  I did that on the floor yesterday, and Penny didn't quite know what to make of it.  She tried to lay next to me but then saw this humongous mound called Mommy, so it was more fun to get up on top!  It wasn't fun trying to get up off the floor, though.  I'm just glad no one was around with a video camera!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Progress Stopped

I've gotten this far on the Moda Building Blocks quilt.  I realized that while I'd like to continue sewing on this right now until it's done, there are a few other things that I must do -- like packing!  This quilt has a large amount of fabric involved, and it's kind of in the way of other things I need to do.  So it's going in its own little container and will be brought out again at the other LA.

The wind was blowing.  Every time I'd get it all flat and move back to take a picture, the quilt would billow up.  Oh, well, this will give an idea of the progress made.

I went to a quilting retreat last weekend and had the best time with Darlene and Nancy and others.  The retreat was put on by Stars & Scraps, and they always do such wonderful retreats.  I got there late on Friday, so I was behind from the start.  I also want to work on that one, but packing takes precedent now!  It was a mystery retreat, and our cutting instructions called for 10" squares.  So I grabbed a layer cake of three older Minick & Simpson lines, Wiscasset, Bar Harbor and American Banner, and mixed and matched those.  I think the quilt will be pretty when it's done.  When it's done -- sigh!  Another quilt for the other LA.

However, I think there's still hope for this LA.  I was able to snag a kit that Carrie Nelson was offering a couple of weeks ago.  Thelma made the quilt and I love it!  This one doesn't take up much room, so I might get it out tomorrow and start cutting and stitching.  Well, maybe not tomorrow, but soon! 

The harder I try, the behinder I get!

I do have a sewing plan for the other LA, and that is to finish what I start!  No more excuses for putting something away. 

Remind me I said that!!

There's a lot of stuff going on right now and I feel overwhelmed and stressed, but I hope it will all work out soon.  I haven't been feeling so well, but that's the hand I've been dealt.  I'm just looking forward to the day when I can wake up and walk around the other LA house without dodging boxes and tubs and stuff.  Penny does, too!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Moda Modern Building Blocks

I fell in love with this quilt when I saw a picture of it hanging at Market.  I ordered the kit from Fat Quarter Shop because my fabric is mostly packed up and I didn't feel like rooting around in tubs.  I see they've sold out the first round and have ordered more. 

The kit came in this week and I started with the #1 block, a gigantic 36" block.  Then I decided to go ahead and make the other two blocks in that section.  Those are each 18".  The quilt is 84 x 96, but it sure seems like it's going to be a lot bigger if this section is any indication!

One of the reasons I am so enjoying making these blocks is the piecing.  When I first started quilting (13 years ago this month!) I don't think all of the quick piece techniques were out there for QSTs, HSTs and flying geese.  You cut triangles and stitched them together.  This feels like I'm back to basics!  So much fun!

I know, I know, I should be cleaning out my closet, but it's Labor Day and I'd rather be at the Bernina! 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two Weeks of Nothing

Well, not exactly nothing.  I've been sorting, purging, tubbing ... and generally making a huge mess in the place.  Did I already say I hate this moving thing?  I did obtain estimates from moving companies.  They were about where I had estimated they would be - really really really expensive.  Of course, my brother said I should just hire a truck and do it myself.  "A truck"?  That one had me gasping for air after ROFLOL'g.  He hasn't a clue.  The sad part is that what seems like so much here (minus the quilting stuff) is going to be totally lost in the new house.  It seems furniture shopping will be on the agenda after I get there.  That's another thing that I hate doing - right behind car shopping and getting a root canal.

Of course, to add insult to injury during the past two weeks, I turned another year older.  That day was spent in an almost all-day meeting, an early dinner with my late boss' wife, and then home to return phone calls.  I was teased that dinner at 5:30 was for old people.  Hello.  I qualify.  'Nuf said on that!

I received a birthday package in the mail from Sally, my dear friend over in the middle of the country.  She had been posting about this project and I was following her progress for a couple of months.  Imagine my surprise when I opened that package and saw that she had sent it to me! 

It's a gorgeous table topper made from batiks.  I have studied this thing and I can't figure out how she did all of those edges.  There is no binding.  Sally is a true artist - not only with her beautiful piecing and creativity, but for the extra touches she adds to her quilts.

In each of the neutral blocks, she "painted" the leaves using Derwent Inktense Pencils.  I don't know exactly how they work, but you draw your design with the colored pencils and then wet them using some gel agent (not water) and feather out the color.  The result is gorgeous!  Then she beautifully quilted it to highlight the painted area.  True artistry!  I had an insane urge to get some of those pencils (check them out on Amazon) but cooler heads prevailed since I can't even draw stick figures that actually look like stick figures!  Sally, thank you so much!  You inspire me!
I said a couple of weeks ago that I had finished the binding on two quilts.  The binding color for this one threw me for a loop.  I tried every color in the rainbow but ended up going with red.

The red is too -- well, it's too "red."  I had three or four different reds and they were all too red, but no other color worked.  So red it was.  This was truly an instance of repeating over and over "not building a piano here."  It's done.  It'll be cute on the breakfast table or somewhere.  Maybe in the doll bed I rescued from Mom's attic thirty odd years ago.

Isn't it sad that I have nothing to report on the quilting/sewing front?  I have blocks that need to be assembled but no "design floor" that's not filled with boxes and tubs.  All of the blocks will be packaged up for assembly in the other LA.  I did keep out some of Carrie Nelson's Little Bites patterns.  The one that is on my cutting table is Sample.  A few weeks back Carrie offered kits and I snatched one up.  It'll be interesting making the sample blocks from mini charm squares.  I'm up to the challenge!  And speaking of Carrie, I know I can speak for everyone when I say how sad we are at the loss of her beloved Miss Rosie.  I am thinking of Carrie every day.

Maybe the next post will be more interesting.  I don't know.  I've kind of given up on "interesting" for the next three to four months .... but am still looking (perhaps hopelessly) for a glimmer of humor in every day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Week of Sewing

I spent a lot of time in my sewing room last week.  I accomplished a lot, but only one picture to share this morning.  My home internet service is completely out - a change of service providers here and they only will sign me up for a two-year contract.  Since I'm only here for a couple of more months, I certainly can't do that as they do not service the little town I'm moving to.  So I'll just have to work off my iPhone tether until I get moved and get service there.  I feel so out of touch.

All of the Weeds blocks are made.  This is the cute Me and My Sister pattern.  I just need to press these and assemble the top.

I also picked up two of the many quilts I dropped off to be quilted, and I got the binding all done on those two.  One is the purple and green batik for my hairdresser, and the other is a small quilt.  I'll try to get pictures posted of those this week.  If I cross my fingers and hold my mouth just right I can get a picture downloaded!

I opened a box and found three or four mini quilt tops I made over the past couple of years. I'm just going to grid quilt those myself and get them done.  The backings were with them.  I'll try to get those sandwiched and pinned this week - after I get the two tops for Brenda Riddle's Quilted Comfort project off to the quilter.  I've put off doing those because I have a tough time piecing those backings with a limited range of motion in one arm and a bum neck and back.  (Dang, I'm falling apart in my old age!)  No more procrastinating, though!  Time to get them where they need to go!

You know how I always say I have to do everything twice?  Well, the hospital called me late Friday.  Apparently all the blood I gave them last Wednesday wasn't enough, so I have to go back this morning and do it all over again.  Naturally I asked if they would just do one more vial to get the amount they need.  Nope.  They need to just start the process over and get four vials this time instead of three.  At least I don't have to go back through outpatient registration; I can go straight to the vampire's den lab and ask for this guy.  And hopefully my new prescription glasses are in and I can pick those up while I'm out.  I found hand stitching those bindings down a bit challenging, even sitting under a light. 

My next projects are going to be whatever I can get my hands on here without unpacking tubs of fabric.  I should have planned better and kept some things out.  This past month has been so surreal.  Planning to move was absolutely NOT on my to-do list for this year!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Red Letter Day

I have been so sick with either the flu or a very bad cold for the past week.  I slept a lot, tried to drink a lot of water, and slept more.  The only good thing about not working and being sick is that I have been on the same tank of gas for almost three weeks!  :)

Since I wasn't quite so shaky this morning when I got up, I decided to get Red Letter Day off my sewing table.  I just had to sew the last three blocks together and then sew the last row on the top.  I almost gave up about halfway through, but a bowl of Corn Flakes and a glass of orange juice fortified me and I kept going.

I really like Thimble Blossom patterns.  They're well written and easy to follow.  That said, I didn't like so much these 22.5" blocks.  Maybe I'm just used to working on smaller blocks, but I found them cumbersome to handle.  It's probably just me.  I have a couple of other quilts in the works with big blocks and I found the same thing on those.  But the quilt is amazing, especially in all of the wonderful fabrics I've seen on blogs and on Instagram.  I'd say Camille struck a home run with this one!

My house is in such a state of upheaval.  I've started packing up some stuff, and realized it's maybe a little too early to start doing that.  I have paths through the downstairs between boxes and tubs.  There are things I wanted to pack and then leave the rest to the packers/moving company.  My very quiet life is upset right now and being sick didn't help at all.  Hopefully, though, I'm on the road to recovery and things will settle down here.

Penny is sitting over there staring at me.  I've neglected her so badly this past week or so.  Poor baby!  I need to spend some quality time with her today because she's just as upset as I am with all of the changes going on around here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Metro Scope Blocks Done

Excuse the "design wall."  I took down the pictures on a wall in my breakfast room to be able to hang them as they were being made.  Caught the edge of the countertop.  I'm looking forward to the Cottage where there will be a real design wall.

Since I lost one of the dark blues due to my cutting error, I'll have to rethink the layout.  It's okay.  The blocks are done.  I can figure out the rest of it.

But not today.

I'm heading to the Pacific Ocean in a little bit.  I have a bucket list of things I want to see or do before I leave SoCal.  This was one of them.  I have a friend who has a place in Dana Point, and I think a day or two of reflection while sitting on the beach is just what the doctor ordered.  Saw him yesterday.  He said I needed to relax and get rid of the stress in my life.  This will do it!

Speaking of the Cottage, I'm trying to figure out a time I can zip home for a week or so to plan the move from that end.  Between doctor appointments and meetings, it'll be tough to work out.  I think I need to get perspective from the other LA to make this LA work itself out.  LA2LA -- that would make a good license plate!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cotton + Steel

Cotton + Steel has landed at the LA Quilter joint.  I'm anxious to break apart these packages to see what all the fuss is about!

All of the pictures posted of projects really peaked my interest, especially the one that Carrie of Miss Rosie's did.  I've always wanted to do a kaleidoscope quilt and I think this will be the one.  Think there's enough fabric here?

Thursday was my last day at my company.  I am still working one day a week for my late boss' wife until I leave town.  But I will have a lot of time to pack, get some sewing in, and generally relax after 43 plus years of working at two really stressful jobs.  One habit I need to break is automatically waking up at 5:00 a.m.!

Another thing I must do soon is move all the tubs of fabric from the offsite storage to my garage.  That will take many trips in my QuiltMobile, or one or two trips in a pickup truck.  Why-oh-why have I collected that much fabric?  I always joked that I was buying for my "retirement," that nebulous thing off on the horizon.  Reality has slapped me in the face and the time is now.

So what do I do?  Buy more fabric!

Seriously, I was considering getting rid of a bunch of it, but I decided to move it all with me to Louisiana.  I know myself well enough to know that I would be searching for the one piece that I no longer had and would be scouring the internet to find it.  Once I get there and fill up the stash closet, then I will make a decision on whether to get rid of the rest of it. 

On a nostalgic note, I wandered back in the plant earlier this week to watch them forge one more time.  It's such a fascinating process.  As I told a friend, I can't believe I got teary-eyed over titanium and steel -- or in quilting parlance, Titanium + Steel! 

I had to cancel lunch with a friend today.  My garage door decided to quit working, and the repairman is coming this morning to hopefully fix it.  I can manually open it, but it's hard for me to do that with a bum back.  Certainly don't want to undo any of the good works by the surgeons.  Yesterday morning I had to unlock it, open the door, pull my car out, go back in the garage to close and lock it, go through the house, out the front door and around to my car.  (sigh)  Penny was confused by it all.  Heck, I was confused by it all.

I am going to clear out my sewing room of some boxes of fabric, and then sit down and work on the Metro Scope quilt.  I love making those blocks, and have decided not to be discouraged by the miscut of one piece of fabric.  I'll just substitute another blue and forge on!  ("We're not building a piano here!")  I took nine or ten quilts to the quilter last weekend, and I'd like to get a few more to her before the move.  It's easier to move finished quilts than bits and parts, so UFOs, watch out; here I come!! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Don't Like Today

I had an up-and-down night, but decided to make headway this morning on something, anything.  I am feeling all discombobulated these days.  After this coming week, things ought to settle down for me some.  However, the logistics of packing is overwhelming me right now.  I will just have to try to take it a day at a time.  It's not like I have to move tomorrow, but I'm looking at the forest - and I should be looking at the trees right now.

I decided to cut out the rest of Metro Scope.  The first block I ended up with having to piece a 1.75 x 5" piece.  I got it fussy cut to where you won't be able to see the seam.

The next block I don't know what I did, but I can't get the arcs out of what I cut and there's not enough left over from the fat quarter to cut again.

This fabric line won't be out until September.  You all decide what I should do:
1- Substitute another piece for this block that I don't like as much.
2 - Try cutting out the rest of the blocks, make those, and then wait until this piece is available.
3 - Put the whole project aside until I get moved and might be in a better state of mind.
To paraphrase a line from "Steel Magnolias," I'm so confused I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Metro Scope Progress

Progress is being made on my Metro Scope blocks.

I decided to make the first few one at a time to see if I couldn't get some consistency.  I think I've worked out the kinks and can proceed to chain piecing component parts for the remainder of the blocks.

A friend suggested not using the Horizon fabric by Kate Spain because I needed more contrast.  Since I've started packing up some of my fabric, and since I had already ironed about half of the fat quarters, I thought I would go ahead and use it.  When I learn a new technique I always call the first quilt made my "learning quilt."  I think she was right about the contrast issue, but to quote my wonderful Dad, "We're not building a piano here"!!

I'm using only two colors in each block.  The outer rings will be dark blue, turquoise and green.  I'll use the purple only as the second accent color.  When I put these up on the wall, I thought they looked real summery with sort of a tropical feel.

I've made some adjustments along the way while making these.  Sewing the curves is easy.  The squaring is the most tricky part.  I need to get an 8" square ruler for consistency in squaring up those center blocks.  I found I needed to use a stiletto -- in my case, the seam ripper -- to hold the bottom end of the curve together as it goes under the needle.  I also found that setting the seams with the iron before pressing the curve helps to make it smooth.  You can tell the parts where I set the seams and those that I didn't.  The puckers came during the ironing process, not while sewing.  I'll repress those seams before I assemble the quilt.  And, finally, spray starching the fabric before cutting was a gigantic help.

Don't know if I'll get much done this week on them except for cutting the rest of the colored fabric, but I'm real pleased with these three blocks.  Making that test block first was a good decision.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Murder and Mayhem -- Update!

I got up this morning determined to work with the Quick Curve Ruler.  I was the lucky winner of a give-away that Thelma had a month or so ago.  I know myself well enough to know that I'd best do a learning block first.  So I grabbed some fabric out of the scrap bin.

Cutting wasn't bad once I read the instructions 6,743 times and watched the video 2,917 times. 

I pressed my fabric and headed to the cutting table.  No matter how I laid down that ruler, I could not figure out how to make the cut.  Heck, I couldn't even see the fabric.  Okay, time for a break.  Walked Penny, took a deep breath, and cautiously approached my cutting table only to find this:

Nowhere -- and I mean nowhere -- in the instructions was I told to take the paper off the ruler.  Honest to Pete, I'm as dumb as a fence post sometimes! 

Okay, I had to laugh at myself on that one!  You have my permission to laugh, too!!

I managed to get the two colored fabrics cut okay.  The background, not so much.

This was my first attempt.  Public service announcement here ... only ONE fat quarter was murdered in the commission of this crime!  Grabbed another fat quarter and cut that one with no further problems.

I wanted to make one component part just to see if I could manage the curves.  I can see chain piecing these further down the line but not now for this newbie.

Then to square up that puppy took me the longest time, another couple of readings of the instructions, another look at the video.

Ta dah ... my first part that I've affectionately named the "4-Hour Part."

Oh, and if you see anything wrong with it, DO NOT TELL ME!  Sometimes I'm happy just to wallow in my own ignorance!
And just so I don't scare anyone off who was thinking about getting this ruler, sewing the curves wasn't difficult at all.  The squaring wasn't hard.  It's just different.  The rest of them will go much faster and better.  Thank you again, Thelma, for the ruler and insisting that I learn how to use it!!  :)

My brain cells feel like they're about to explode.  Seriously, I don't think I've thought about and studied anything so much in years.  But I am determined to make one complete block if it takes me the whole holiday weekend.

Speaking of that -- HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

Back to the torture chamber my sewing room!


Another three hours and I completed the block.  Wow, it went so quickly after that first component.  I had to piece together scraps for the center gold, but, hey, it worked!  I'm hooked on this ruler now.  I'm going to quilt up this block and use it in the fall on my little black round table in the kitchen in Louisiana!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Times They Are A-Changing

I've been talking about my future quilting studio for some time now.  I spent a long time thinking about it and planning for it.  I had certain criteria.  It didn't have to be fancy, but had to have enough space to work comfortably, have ample closets, perhaps room for a design wall.  I needed enough space to have a friend or two over to sew, and a bathroom, fridge, and a place to plug in a coffee pot.  Priorities, you know!

Two years ago I decided where I wanted to retire and found a lovely place there.  It has a separate structure that will be a studio for me - or the Cottage as I call it.  It perfectly met my criteria, although there will have to be some minor modifications, very minor.

Do you want to see it?

Gasp, you already have!!!

I purchased the old homestead back in August of 2012.  The next month I posted this picture asking if this wouldn't make a nice studio.  I was bursting to talk about it but decided that I should wait until the right time.

That time is now.  I will more than likely be in the new place by the end of the year. I will be traveling back there one more time before the move to work out the logistics, do some more measuring, and make the decision on how much of the stash I should pay to move.

The main house was built in 1927 and has ton of charm.  I've actually posted a few pictures here and there.  The Cottage was originally built as a pool house.  It burned down in the '80s, I think, and was rebuilt as a mother-in-law's house.  Two bedroom, three baths, full kitchen, screened in porch on the side with washer/drier hookups ..... the perfect studio.

Here are a few more pictures of the inside.  It's not much to look at now but I think I can turn it into a nice place to spend my quilting time. 

The sellers and I agreed that they would leave any furniture they didn't want to move with them.  You will see odd pieces here and there in the Cottage.  Probably most of them will go, but at least I had a place to sit in there while visiting!

The stash closet.  It's really long.  Not much perspective in this picture.  I'll need to get more shelves in there - lots of them!

Part of the open sewing space.  The fireplace is working but the sellers put this temporary board across it.  I may leave it closed up, but will rig up something nicer looking than that.  Decisions!


The stairs to the bedrooms upstairs.

What I like most about this space -- the possibilities.  Kind of like laying out a yard of fabric and deciding what to do with it!  I have tons of pictures but there's not much more to see until I get there and get my quilting stuff moved in.

So there you have it.  Yep, the times are a-changing!

A friend recently said that I would have to change the name of my blog.  Then she thought a minute and said, "No, you won't!"  That's right.  LA Quilter will still be LA Quilter.  Los Angeles to Louisiana .... and, yes, the name was chosen intentionally!

One last picture ... I'll be sewing away on Bayou Teche!  And eating oranges, satsumas, grapefruit, and maybe drowning some worms off my pier.

Laissez les bon temps rouller!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Catching Up

It's been a couple of weeks since I've blogged anything.  Sharon emailed me this morning wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth!  I had the best intentions of posting today but she spurred me on.  Thanks, Sharon!

I've been feeling kind of puny and recently had a bunch of tests done.  I'll get results next week.  While I don't expect anything too dire, there will be some things I'll need to deal with.  He did tell me a couple of months ago that my cholesterol was too high and wanted to give me a prescription.  Nope.  I said I would do it by myself.  He rolled his eyes!  That guy doesn't know me at all.  In four weeks I dropped it from around 250 to about 165 just through what I was putting in my mouth.  He was pleasantly surprised because a lot of his patients aren't dedicated enough to do it without the miracles of medication.  I need to get blood work tomorrow and hopefully it has dropped more.  A pleasant side effect of that is I've also dropped some weight.  I think the weigh-in next week will say it's about 20 pounds.  I noticed my work slacks were all too big, so I went to Nordstrom's and got a size smaller.  I just bought one pair for now.  I'm a realist!  :)

Enough of that.  On to quilting ...

I have two quilts that I just need to piece the backings for Brenda Riddle's Quilted Comfort project that I mentioned a couple of posts back. 

This is a older French General kit that was just sitting around.  It went together so quickly.  I could have done it in one day if my back had cooperated.  I might use this pattern again to make more quilts for the project.  The other one is a Fig Tree quilt that I did four years ago.  Here's the blog post that I did about it in 2010.  It's a pretty quilt and the reason it wasn't ever quilted is because I gave the backing to someone who needed it.  I dug around and found another piece big enough and I just have to get it done.  I also have a box ready to mail to Brenda with a kit, some jelly rolls and matching backing, and some other things for her project.  I have a lot of girly stuff but not too much for the male recipients.  I need to go to the storage unit as I think I have some kits there that will work.  So, Brenda, I hope to get that box off to you this week, and the other two quilts off to be quilted the week after.  Someone emailed me and so graciously volunteered their quilting services on two quilts.  I won't post her name here, but hopefully when the finished quilts have been received by Brenda, that she will have given her permission to do so.  Thank you SO MUCH!!!  It's wonderful quilters like you who make these projects so successful!

My friend, Mary Ann, invited me to make a trip with her to M&L Fabrics yesterday.  Since I was clueless where I was going, I met her in Brea and she chauffeured me around.  That place is overwhelming.  I wish I had taken pictures of the thousands and thousands of flat folds.  The fabrics on the bolts went from very cheap to high end quilter fabric.  I didn't buy any of that fabric as the prices were comparable to the Fat Quarter Shop. 

They did have good prices on their Kona solids.  Mary Ann suggested I go with a plan.  So I pulled an older April Cornell tower from the stash room, Nature's Chorus.  I have been wanting to use that for the longest time but I didn't have a clue.  Well, one of Camille's hot new patterns gave me a light bulb moment! 

I thought by using the Kona solids and leaving out the cream FQs, that I could stretch the tower and perhaps get another quilt out of it for Quilted Comforts.  We'll see how that goes.  Anyway, this project is on my to-do list now.  It's about time!!

Mary Ann surprised me with a wonderful gift - a pin cushion.  She informed that I had to use this one and not put it in my glass display case! 

She used wool on the back.  I love it!  I couldn't resist displaying it on the Kona; it matches!!  Thank you so much, Mary Ann! Like Daddy used to say, "You didn't have to do that ... but I'm glad you did!!" 

(Daddy has been gone over 40 years now, and I miss him and think about him every single day.) 

I also picked up some chambray that Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's used as the background on a new pattern about to be released, Harvey.  I think I'm going to like sewing with it.  Thanks, Carrie!  I think .. well, yes, thank you ... I think.  You just keep inspiring me more and more and I don't have enough time to keep up with the inspiration!  (Wow, I can think of worst things in life!)  How much longer until retirement?

So that's it from here.  Too long, I know, but I had to catch up.  You know how that is!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Little Bites - Trace

I had fun working on the Miss Rose Little Bites pattern, Trace.  I get now why everyone likes making the minis.

I had the mini charm packs, and used scraps for the borders.  Just need to steam and square it, but I'll save that for another day.  I must get back to the quilt I'm making for Quilted Comfort!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quilted Comfort Project

I saw on Brenda Riddle's blog, Little Acorns, that she is beginning a new project, Quilted Comfort.  You can read all about it here.

Brenda has this quilt on her site, a much better picture than this, so please go check it out.  She had two, but you can see where one of them landed!

This project is really near and dear to me for a reason I won't go into here.  Brenda is the sweetest person and I am so happy that she has begun this project.  I plan on participating as much as I can.  Imagine the joy a quilt will bring.

Please contact Brenda to see how you can  help.  Every donation or contribution, no matter how small, will be such a blessing. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dottie Progress

I'm still working on the Dottie blocks.

I think I have ten more blocks to go.  The small dots aren't as fun to work with as the large dots, but they are all colorful!  My goal in making these bright and fun quilts is to have a stash of them on  hand for gifts for younger folks.  I think this quilt totally fits that plan!

I had to be at work at 6:00 a.m. yesterday for first aid/CPR/AED training.  It was a very good course, and I'm happy to be certified in that, but I was so tired on the way home that I decided a nap was the first thing on the agenda.  The air quality here is so bad now, and I'm sneezing and hacking.  Okay, so I lost yesterday but I feel better today.  And hot -- Lordy, it's been hot.  It has been over 100 degrees on my way home almost every day.  Penny doesn't even like going outside in that heat.

Tomorrow is my 20 year anniversary with the company.  My late boss' wife invited me to dinner, so that will be fun.  Twenty years -- wow.  It's hard to believe I've been in SoCal that long.  I mean, after all, I was this cute young puppy when I moved here!  (rolls eyes)

Market was such fun to watch all the postings.  There are two or three quilts that definitely are on my to-do list now!  I'm constantly amazed at the brilliant and talented folks in this industry!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all of you who are mothers or who have a mother enjoys your day.

Penny is soaking up the sunshine on the patio.  A growly dog walked by and she came dashing inside.  She's bringing me leaves, one at a time, and must be praised with each one.  I love my dog!

I sewed a bit yesterday but felt so badly that I gave it up.  I'm not even half done with these blocks but will keep plugging away on them.

It's so cool today, just beautiful.  Hot weather is predicted next week, so I have the house open to enjoy a bit of this wonderful weather.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Checking In

It's been a couple of weeks since I've felt like blogging.  Things just seem to pile up on me, and if I can't do it on my phone, then it doesn't get done.

Health issues keep coming up.  I called my doctor and had a long conversation with him last week.  One specialist that he sent me to isn't a good fit.  He said he would step in and take control of these additional tests, etc.  It sucks getting old!

I pulled out a quilt this morning that needed a minor fix.  It didn't take but an hour so I don't know why I've put it aside for so long.  On to the next one that needs a fix.  On this one I managed to screw up an inner border and didn't realize it until I pulled it out to get to a quilter.  It's been just sitting for a few years.  I'm going to work on that one today.  It's a bright and happy Christmas quilt that I know I'll be happy to have done come December.

There are so many new quilts that I want to start, but I think it's smart to first get these off to be quilted.  There are maybe five or six.  I need to take inventory.  There may be more. No time like the present to just do it.

Market is in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to see what is shown there.  Carrie at Miss Rosie has been teasing everyone on Instagram with peeks at her new quilts.  I know there will be lots of fabulous fabric unveiled, but, honestly, I'm more interested in patterns at this point.  I have a feeling there will be some good ones from Me & My Sister, too.  There's a Minick & Simpson pattern I want to make from their new line when that hits the stores.  I'm always interested to see what Jaybird and V and Co. come up with. 

The one project I will dig into is something that will use up those low volumes I've been collecting.  I'm thinking about doing the Burgoyne Surrounded low volume quilt that a lot of you did a few months back.  Of course, something else may pop up that I'd rather make.  I need to stay focused here.  Once this stack is off to the quilter, then I'll make the decision.

I've been having horrible internet issues.   The provider has let me, and the others in this condo group, down for the past couple of years.  Workers are digging outside my front door now, and when I asked, they said they were laying new lines for Vios (?).  Penny doesn't like them out there at all!  I need to check with the management office to see what's going on.  Anything will be an improvement!  I can't wait to retire and move away from being a renter.  It was a wise decision not to buy again after I sold my house, but the wait for retirement is going so slowly.  That beautiful quilting studio is waiting for me!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and blessed Easter.  I have a ham in the oven and fresh green beans on the stove.  I don't know what else will find its way to my table but I'm off to a good start.

Yesterday I decided to deal with the two charm packs that were sitting on my cutting table - 30's Playtime by Chloe's Closet for Moda.  I pulled two charm packs of Kona Snow and made another Cherry Charm Pack quilt.  This is a free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop.  It is a great quilt to make when you just want to sew mindlessly and get it done quickly. 

It took me a tad bit longer than the first one because I was watching Hungar Games while I was sewing.  I loved the books and the movie did not disappoint.

The next couple of weeks will be spent getting backings done.  I have two quilts that I have to make minor "amendments" to before they're quilted.  So I'll get those done also.

I'm contemplating my next project.  Just when I think I've decided, something else catches my eye.  I decided this morning, my Easter resolution, that I'm not going to stress over what should be done but, rather, on what I want to do. 

Penny has been pushing around a plastic Easter egg filled with dog food.  I thought for sure she'd have had it apart by now.  I love playing with her head!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Batik Top Finished

This one was quick and easy, and it's exactly what the recipient wanted - a batik quilt with purple in it.

The pattern is Sequence by Sew Many Creations.  I pulled all the purple and some of the green out of two Bali Pops.  The background is a pale green, and I chose a beautiful purple/green batik floral for the backing and a purple binding.  (And, yes, I still don't like purple!)

Next project -- I don't know.  I'm pondering the quilt with solids, one with polka dots, and another UFO.  I guess backings are next up on the agenda!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Low Volume Collectors

I was so excited to see that the Fat Quarter Shop has some low volume bundles up on the site!! 

I've been trying to collect low volumes lately - in other words, I'd been poking a bunch of buttons for small cuts!  I'm not good at ordering small cuts.  I always figure if I'm going to ruin a manicure poking buttons, I might as well go for the big yardage.  (That's a joke, folks!!)

These are perfect!

Happy Moda Low Volume bundle

Moda Low Volume 2 bundle

Art Gallery Low Volume bundle

The more neutral ones are what I've been gathering, but I really like the Happy Moda bundle.  That pop of color will really make the others sing.  Seeing that bundle made me totally rethink how I've been going about this!

It's a good thing I've been sewing lately because the packages will be pouring in here in a few days.

Oh oh oh -- I just realized that there is free shipping on orders over $40 until tomorrow night! 

Score!!  Win/win!!  High five!!


These are the low volumes I've collected so far.  The three bundles linked above will round it out nicely!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Pattern Play Quilt

I spent last weekend pulling solids from my stash, and ran by the local quilt shop to pick up a few more.  I want to make the Pattern Play quilt in the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting!  I have all the fabrics now and I was so proud of myself for putting it together mostly from stash!

Of course, Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop has made it easy for everyone else!

Just love this quilt.  I don't know if it's the stripes that are attracting me or the fact that I have a bolt of the gray already, but I've been really wanting to work with solids for a while now.  When I saw this quilt in the magazine, I just knew this was the perfect project!

This one will be fun and easy to put together.  Can't wait for the weekend!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

2008 Designer Mystery BOM

This top was so easy to assemble that I can kick myself for letting it sit around since 2009 when I finished the blocks. 

The top is flat, but I can't bend over to straighten it out.  However, since it's a pieced border, I will spray starch the border and put a stay stitch a quarter inch from the edge.  I've found this helpful to keep them from getting wonky during the quilting process.

I went ahead and switched the red and green in the quilt.  I always hesitate to change up something that folks a lot smarter than me selected, but I'm happy with the red on the outer border.  Gives it more of a Christmassy feel which is what I was going for. 

Peace on Earth by 3 Sisters is one of my top five favorite Moda fabrics!  Of all time!  Well, since 2001 when I started quilting....

I am really anxious to start another project that I've selected, but first I am going to make a batik quilt for a friend.  I love batiks but hardly ever used them so I gave away my batik stash.  When this project popped up, I bought a set of 2.5" batik strips, some background, binding and backing, and I'm ready to dive in.  This quilt will have some purple in it .... I know, I know, I don't do purple, but anything for my dear friend!

I lost yesterday because I had fasting blood work in the morning, and then stopped by a local quilt shop.  Too long without eating gave me a horrible headache, so I came home, ate and went back to bed.  Needless to say, I lost the better part of the day.  So today I cut and hopefully can start sewing. 

Next weekend another fasting test .... but I'm going to take a piece of fruit with me to eat immediately after.  I don't deal with those kind of headaches very well.  Besides, I surely don't want to lose another sewing day.  I'm not getting any younger!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Diving into UFOs

I completed the blocks from the last post, and I'll save them for later to sew together.  I can only do so much bending in a day to get them off the "design floor."

I pulled out the 2008 Designer Mystery BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop.  The blocks have been completed since 2009 and have been hanging around in one of those very large Ziploc bags that has totally been in my way for the longest time.  A couple of days ago I moved that bag - again - and thought, "What in the world is in this thing?"  Turns out it was the mystery blocks and the finishing kit.  I'm cutting up the finishing kit now to get it done!

That red, which is a gorgeous red with green polka dots, is probably one of my most favorite fabrics ever.  I'm thinking about switching the red and green -- put the green in the sashings and the red for the outer border.  This is the Peace on Earth line by 3 Sisters for Moda. 

If you have any thoughts on this, I'd appreciate it.  The same yardage was included for both pieces, so that won't be a problem.  Because the blocks are so busy, I was thinking the green might tone them down a bit, and the outer border wouldn't feel lost.

Your opinions, please!!

We've had two sizable earthquakes here this weekend.  The 5.1 Friday night face planted me on the floor.  I had just swung my legs over the side of the bed and had all of my weight on the one foot that was on the floor when it struck.  Because I was off balance, I went tumbling.  I decided just to stay there until the rolling stopped.  It was hard slam following by 10-15 seconds of significant rolling.  Needless to say, I was up for most of the night waiting for the big one! I'm such a weenie with earthquakes.  Penny stayed right next to me all night, practically tripping me up as I moved about.  She was real whiny.  Yep, she's a weenie, too.

With hardly any sleep on Friday night, I decided Saturday night to go to bed earlier. I was laying there reading and all of a sudden Penny started barking.  About three seconds later, "wham," another one.  This one was a hard jolt and then hard shaking as opposed to the rolling motion. It was only a 4.1 but felt as strong as the one Friday night. 

I don't know.  Those occasional hurricanes in Louisiana are starting to look a lot better.  At least you have days of warning before they land.  Earthquakes come out of the blue!  You'd think after 20 years I'd  be use to them!  You'd think!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Weekend So Far

I felt so "displaced" this week.  My desktop computer has been down since Wednesday, and I couldn't connect the laptop via the iPhone until just a few minutes ago.  And speaking of the iPhone -- I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I can't get emails on it .... can't post to Instagram .... can't get voice messages .... I need to head to the Apple store, but who has the time for that?  So I have an expensive phone that I can't do much with.  I want my Blackberry back!

I tried and tried to get in touch with a friend yesterday who I was planning on meeting up with this weekend.  I'm just going to head over there this morning and hope for the best.  Let's hope I don't get lost getting there.  Yep, can't connect to the GPS on the phone ....

Anyway, while I was waiting to see if my message got to her, I decided to dig into the stash for another quickie quilt.  I pulled out a couple of layer cakes and got busy.

The fabric is A Breath of Avignon by American Jane for Moda and Kona Snow.  The Avignon was purchased two or three years ago just because I liked the clear colors, but I never knew what to do with it.  I think this will make a happy quilt for someone.

Since I always seem to be "confessing" things, here's my latest.  I got up this morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and went to the sewing machine.  I picked up a stack of pinned blocks and took them to the ironing board to press open.  I stood there and unpinned 30 blocks. When I tried to flip them open, I realized I had just unpinned 30 blocks that hadn't been sewn yet.  Seriously. 

Maybe I should wait until my second cup before I attempt anything in the sewing room ....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Charm Pack Cherry Quilt

I decided this morning to give the Charm Pack Cherry quilt a whirl.  This is the free pattern offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.  The link is to the video.

I used two charm packs of Wishes by Sweetwater and two charm packs of Bella Solids 9900PP-11 which I think is the Snow.

It took four hours from start to finish.  Well, I guess it's not finished because it's not quilted, but you know what I mean!  :)  It finishes at 52.5 x 54.5.

I did a totally random fabric selection and block layout.  Amazing that only in one spot are two like fabrics touching. 

This was fun.  So two finished tops on National Quilting Day weekend.  Not bad for me!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

National Quilting Day

I hope everyone is getting some quilting done today!  I know we all quilt all year long, but today is the day to forget about everything else and spend glorious time in the sewing rooms!

I got up this morning and finished up Hurrah.  Of course, my pictures are horrible.  It's laying on the grass and looks awfully bumpy, and it hasn't been pressed yet.  I just thought I'd better grab a photo now because once I fold it away, no telling when it'll come out again!

The Hurrah pattern and Grant Park fabric are by Minick & Simpson.  It's 76" x 86" and will have a red binding.

I'm real pleased with how it turned out.

The day isn't over yet, so I'm going to pull out something else to work on!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Quilt Show!!

This is one of those times when I wish I was retired and living down South!  A quilt show!!!

The Gulf States Quilt Association quilt show in Slidell, Louisiana!  (Slidell is such a cute town!)

The show will be held on March 21-22 at the Northshore Harbor Center.  It's a biennial show.  I think it should be annual!!

It's so nice to know that there will be quilt shows within striking distance from where I'm going to retire.  I get so much inspiration from seeing the work of others.

Click on the picture to see the gorgeous "Pineapple Fields Forever."  I think a pineapple quilt is in my future!

If anyone down in that neck of the woods is interested in attending, you can get more information at

Loretta, I expect to see lots of pictures!  Have fun!  Wish I were there!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Slowly Moving Along

First, let me apologize in advance.  There's nothing more boring than posting the same quilt top week after week.

I wasted spent all day yesterday working on the first pieced border.  I didn't like the results at all, so I started over.  It's moving a lot faster now but will still take me possibly two more weekends to get the top finished. 

I promise I'll find something else to blog about next weekend!