Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

Penny and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  We have decided that 2017 is going to be way different for us.  We're both going to stay healthy for the whole year!

To once again quote my late mother ....

"Whatever you do on New Year's Day, you do for the rest of the year."

Tomorrow I plan on quilting, giving Penny lots of hugs, and laughing a lot.  Oh, and having black-eyed peas (for health) and cabbage (for wealth).  Just want to make sure I cover all the bases!

I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year's Eve, and that 2017 is a fabulous one for you!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hi There - It's Me!

I don't know what happened as to why I haven't blogged in such a long time.  Well, I know what happened.  It's called "life."

I felt so badly for so long and couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.  A general malaise.  I would get home from work, take Penny out, and then go lay down.  Months of this.  I finally made a doctor's appointment, and after listening to me for a couple of minutes, she sent me next door to the hospital to get a belly ultrasound.  When it was over, the tech said he needed to call the doctor and left the room.  He came back in and asked me to follow him, and he led me to Admitting.  What?  Uh  uh.  No way.  The doctor called me on my cell and said my gall bladder was about to explode and it needed to come out.  Well, I protested all the way through admitting because my dog was at home alone and my car was in the parking lot.  You know what?  They totally ignored me.  Anyway, just an overnight stay, a couple of days home to recuperate, and another few weeks to get adjusted to, once, again, having a body part removed.  I think I've finally turned the corner although I'm still a little scared to eat certain things.  But, as they say, all's well that ends well.

So I haven't been sewing at all.  I've read new quilting books.  I've ordered new patterns and fabric. I've read hundreds of blog and IG posts.  No sewing at all.  That's about to change.

I have two months of Portage Lake BOM to get caught up on.  Thank goodness it's all piecing with only a tiny bit of applique.  I have two months of Sew Sampler bonus blocks to do.  And I have several backings to make.  I'm going to get all of the above done before the end of the year.

I decided that in 2017 I was going to teach myself to English paper piece.  The inspiration was Minick & Simpson's market release quilt, Lake Effect.  Love that quilt!

The pattern is not out yet, but I saw that Laurie had the template and hexie paper pieces on her site, so I ordered them.  Oh, my, I wasn't quite prepared for the package that arrived yesterday.

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but included were two acrylic templates and about a bazillion precut papers.  That is not an exaggeration, a bazillion. The six-sided elongated hexie template and a teeny one that's an irregular triangle.  Teeny.  I had to study the picture carefully to even find them in the quilt.  Yep, they're there.  Oh, my!  Gulp!  Okay, so I kinda got scared.  Maybe I need to try an easier project first.

So Brenda Riddle regrammed an Instagram post from Sweet Girl Studio about a kit she was offering out of Brenda's fabrics.  I'm on it!  Just regular hexies. "I can easily learn EPP on this project," she said with confidence!  She -- that's me.

Well, that package arrived.  I'm feeling all confident when I opened the package - and then I fainted.  Beautiful Brenda fabrics and two packs of ----- 1/2" hexigon papers.  One-half inch.  As in .5".  Really?

But you know what?  I'm up for it.  Up for both of these projects.  I'm just trying to wrap my mind around turning the seam allowances on that tiny triangle in Laurie's quilt and the 1/2" hexie on the other one.  Wish me luck!

In other news, Thanksgiving was quiet here.  I cooked a ham and my favorite smothered green beans and potatoes.  I wasn't so sure how the green beans would work without my missing body part, so I put in lots of potatoes.  I ate a little and my freezer is stocked with quick meals.  I totally forgot until the next day to cook baby yellow squash.  It was a tradition in our house growing up.  My mother would say that we had to have squash because that's what the Pilgrims ate.  My dad would a.l.w.a.y.s reply, "You ought to know.  You were there."  We always groaned, rolled our eyes, and as I got older, I starting saying it along with him.  A happy memory!

We're so busy at work as it's tax season.  I truly believe we have some of the nicest citizens here of any city in the country.  We're a small enough community that I remember a lot of them from last year.  I will have my one-year anniversary on 12/10.  Doesn't seem like a year, does it?  And two years since I moved here!  Anyway, being busy sure does make the days fly by.

That's about it for now.  I have a lot of catching up to do, both in the Cottage and on my blog.  More posts to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

August through Labor Day 2016

It's bad when you wait so long to blog that you just name the post by the month.  Sheesh!

I got a good bit done during this period but not as much as I had hoped.  There are several projects in the planning stages, and I can't wait to get started on those.

First and foremost, the devastating floods in South Louisiana.  There are some communities still under water.  I don't mean to make light of the situation, but this is kind of how we feel now.  Please keep our state in your thoughts and prayers.

Of course, rising waters and lots of rain bring out the neighborhood beasts.  This scary creature greeted me as I opened the door to go to work a couple of Mondays ago.  He didn't want to move and he was between the house door and the car door.  I finally got him to leave by remotely honking the horn.  I know the neighbors appreciated that immensely.  And, yes, that is an extremely poisonous cottonmouth moccasin.  I'm real wary of where Penny and I walk now!

Heading back to the Cottage a couple of weekends ago to sew, I loaded up the little wagon with two bolts of fabric and other goodies that arrived in the mail.  The umbrella was loaded up because I always get caught back there when it starts raining and I never seem to have one.

August was also a month for celebrating -- I think.  I finally hit the magic number and I'm officially an old lady now.  But I have to say that this wonderful Chantilly cake sweetened the day.  My thanks to my co-workers.  It was a double celebration because my boss' birthday was the next day.  Fun!

I'm really enjoying the monthly Sew Sampler boxes from the Fat Quarter Shop.  I made this cute table runner from two charm packs included in the box a couple of months ago.  The fabric and pattern are by Lori Holt.

I'm determined to stay on top of the Portage Lake BOM from Minick & Simpson.  Each month has several blocks in it.  Needless to say, I got off to a rocky start -- I can't watch LSU lose their opening game and applique at the same time.  I took the stitches out the next morning, repositioned it and restitched.  I always say I have to do everything twice!

I spent a week pulling fabric and playing around with some pattern ideas.  The time was well spent because I'm almost ready to start some cutting.

The August Sew Sampler box had the Fat Quarter Shop's newest book, the Jolly Bar Book.  I purchased some Jolly Bars and started sewing this weekend.  The first quilt in the book has no cutting, just a Jolly Bar and a layer cake.  It was going together so easily ...

... and then this happened.  This is a picture of what the screen on my Bernina 750 looks like right now.  I heard a couple of loud metal clunks and it stopped dead in the water.  It was Labor Day, after all, so I guess it needed a day off.  So it's off to the shop for this honey, and I'll get out another Bernina to sew on until it's fixed. 

Another thing I've really enjoyed in the Sew Sampler boxes is the bonus blocks.  The Fat Quarter Shop put together for purchase 12 solid fat quarters to use on these blocks.  I'm right on track with the five months received.

So there you have it.  Five weeks in my quilty world.  I'm having so much fun and that's what it's all about!

Monday, August 01, 2016

A New Month Begins

I have to say that it felt good to get into the Cottage and get some things accomplished in July.  Of course, I wanted to do more but I'll take it!

I pulled out the Metro Scope blocks and finally got them sewn together.  I thought I was finished with the top but it looked funny.  It took me two weeks of pondering it to finally realize it needed a final white border.  (sigh)  So that will go on this weekend, the backing pieced and I'll call it good until I can get it to a quilter.

I finished Lucy by Miss Rosie.  I totally adore this quilt.  Of course, I still need to give it a good pressing and stay stitch those edges if, in fact, they are wavy once the pressing is done.  The backing is out and ready to piece, and then it's off to be quilted.

A funny thing happened on the way to the finish.  The last cream snowball block that I picked up to attach had a hole in it.  What?  It looked like a "factory defect" and I'm surprised I hadn't noticed it when I was doing that block.  I took out the scraps and didn't have a piece big enough to cut another square, so I pieced it.  I figured it wouldn't show at all once it was quilted.  A little later I went into the stash closet to look for something and this bolt caught my eye.  Yes, a whole bolt of that Minick & Simpson dot that I love so much - and the exact same fabric that I had just pieced together to get my snowball square!  I even surprised myself on that one!

A week ago the first month of the Portage Lake BOM from Minick & Simpson arrived.  Saturday I got up bright and early and made the whole month!  I really love this quilt, and I'm anxiously awaiting Month 2.  I'm sure it will have a large appliqued block on it, but I figure if I get it prepped as soon as it arrives, I can needle turn it at night during the month and still stay on track.  That's my plan and I'm sticking to it!

I have started cutting out a table runner pattern that came in the June Sew Sampler box from the Fat Quarter Shop.  I hope to get that done next weekend - but not until I piece backings and get the final border on Metro Scope.

So all in all, not a bad month.  I'm ready to forge onward in August and I hope it will be a productive one, too!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

July Sewing

Not a lot of sewing this month, but I am easing back into it after a year and a half with nothing going on but bindings and applique.

Lucy ...

I am further along than this picture and I plan to get her finished up this weekend.  Lucy is a Miss Rosie pattern that she released just before going to work for Moda.  The fact that she also made up a kit was icing on the cake.  Carrie Nelson and Lissa Alexander are about the two most talented folks I know for pulling fabrics from different lines and making gorgeous quilts. Whenever I can I shamelessly snag their kits as I know I could never come close to the awesomeness of theirs!  Yes, I'm a follower ...

The top was just tossed down on the floor by my sewing machine and isn't laying flat.  I can see a wave in the outer border in the picture but I don't think it really is very wavy.  Just to make double sure, though, I'm going to stay stitch around the edge before it goes out to a quilter.  Better to be safe than sorry.

I have purchased very little fabric since I moved to the other LA.  I went through withdrawals, but that was probably a good thing because it was hard to get out to the mailbox in a wheelchair that first year here!  :)  This year I signed up for the Frivols monthly shipments from the Fat Quarter Shop, as well as their Sew Sampler monthly boxes.  I look forward to both of those shipments.  I also belong to the Miss Rosie and the It's Sew Emma pattern clubs through the Fat Quarter Shop, and it's so much fun to get those when they ship.  Lots of inspiration in those patterns.

This week I order a box of goodies from Brenda Riddle. She was offering scrap bags from her recent collections, and the proceeds of those go to her Quilted Comfort project.  I'm here to tell you that there are oodles of wonderful pieces from her Fleurs, Bespoke Blooms, Ambleside and Windermere collections.  I have come up with a plan for those, but first I just wanted to play in them for a few days!  I also ordered an FQ bundle of Fleurs and a gingham bundle.  I'll get two or three tops out of all that beautiful fabric!

The Sew Sampler box arrived, too, and it's a good one!  The It's Sew Emma patterns also came in.  Three packages this week!  I am in heaven!

I have an appointment in a little bit for a pedicure, and then I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend in the Cottage finishing up Lucy and will probably cut out a tablerunner.  I've been working on just UFOs for a while, and the need for a new project is beckoning!

Monday, July 04, 2016

God Bless America

“We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home. . .But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done.”
~Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, July 03, 2016

No More Basket Progress Pictures

I promise I won't show any more progress pictures.  You know why?  Because they're done!  Yep, all 291 of them!

The next time they're posted will be on the design wall!

I have to figure out how I'm going to lay them out, but I need to get a couple of other projects finished up before I do that.  For now I'm just going to bask in this feeling of accomplishment!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Busy Weekend

When the Cold Wind Blows, 291 appliqued baskets, 280 done ...... 11 to go.

The end is VERY near!  I'll try to get them done by next weekend, but we'll see what roadblocks pop up this week.  Those 11 are at the bottom of the picture, prepped and ready to go!

Yesterday this old house was power washed.  I didn't realize how dingy it was looking until it was clean.  Some of the outside trim will have to be painted but, all in all, it isn't too bad.  It was quite a production, though, involving scaffolding and 23 gallons of bleach.  They are coming back next weekend to clean the Cottage and two storage buildings on the property.  Next up, inside painting.  I still have to figure out the game plan on that.  I'm sure it will be ceilings first, then kitchen cabinets (including new hinges), and then the rest of the house.  I'm facing decisions on paint color and that has me stressed.  You'd think color choices would be easy for a quilter!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Slowly working on finishing up the basket blocks.  I have finished 269 out of 291.  If I'd concentrate and push a bit, they'd be finished in short order.  I seem to be piddling now that the end is in site.   Just 22 more to go!

It's been a busy weekend with the help I had in the yard Friday and Saturday.   I figure by the time we get through trimming everything, it'll be time to start over.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 07, 2016


This week I picked up this project again to work on.  The baskets are from When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.  I now have 260 baskets done - only 31 more to go.  I think I'll leave this one out to work on instead of hiding it in the closet.

I've decided not to do the appliqued on-point setting squares.  Enough is enough.  I'll just do a straight setting so I can get this one done in this lifetime.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Losing Track of Time

I always have the best intentions and then things go wonky.  Before I know it weeks or months have gone by and my best intentions have fallen by the wayside.  There always seems to be something going on that swallows up my quilting time.

My flower beds have been ignored during the peak weed-growing season.  I walked around the yard yesterday and was amazed at how much is blooming and how the weeds have flourished.  Purple irises are blooming - a surprise planting that I inherited with the house.  I was tempted several times to pull up those things because I didn't know what they were. Glad I didn't do that!

I saw this "weed" in a crack in the sidewalk by the pool.  On closer inspection I saw that it's a teeny tiny poinsettia that volunteered there.  I immediately thought of the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  Well, the tree part, not the rest of the depressing book.  Anyway, this morning I gently tugged on it and it came out roots intact.  I planted it in a clay pot.  We'll see how it fares.  I may have doomed it but it was going to get a dose of Round-Up if I left it there.

My first project went up on the new design wall.  I shuffled things around a bit and got it all assembled.  Just need to get a backing pieced and it's another one in line to get quilted.

I went through the yardage stash and found a good backing for this one.  It's the one on the left, Chasing Butterflies by RJR Fabrics.  I also found a backing for the Moda Modern Building Blocks, the one on the right, an old Jane Sassaman line called Butterfly Gardens.  I guess it was a butterfly kind of day when I went searching!  I've been wanting to use that Sassaman fabric for a long time.  While it's not a perfect match color-wise to the Modern Building Blocks, I think it will do fine.  Besides, isn't it "free" fabric when you find it in your stash?  ;)

I'm pondering what's up next on the design wall.  I have several quilts that just need an assembling of the blocks.  I'm wanting to start a Village (Carrie Nelson pattern) but I think I'll hold off just a bit until I get at least two more ready for quilting.  That's the plan, anyway, at this point.

Off to hop in the shower and get back to the Cottage.  On the way back there, I'm sure I'll get sidetracked by some weeds that are calling out to me, "Pull me up"!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Exciting Weekend

I finally accomplished the one thing I've been wanting for years and years.  A design wall!

It ended up being 96" wide and 80" tall.

It was interesting to get it up, and for a while yesterday I was about to throw in the towel.  My handyman, Peter, had no clue why I wanted to cover perfectly good insulation boards with "material" and hang it on the wall.  It wasn't until we were done and I grabbed a block out of a UFO tub and stuck it up there that he finally "got it"!

A month ago I ordered a bolt of flannel from Jo-Ann's for about $2.50 a yard.  Although the sku's matched, the color was totally different than it looked online.  Then after buying the insulation board last weekend, I realized that I'd have to piece the flannel to cover it.  Peter was carefully watching me measure, and about passed out when I ripped the length of that fabric instead of cutting it.  (I love to watch the reaction of folks when I do that!)  When I was stretching the fabric over the board and duct taping it to the back, I couldn't get those two seams to keep from wrinkling a bit.  Oh, well, as my Dad used to say often to me, "Bebe, we aren't building a piano here."  Then I decided to Velcro it to the wall after pondering for a month on how to attach it.  Silly me didn't want to screw it in because I wanted to be able to easily take it down and change the flannel when I needed to.  I tell you, screws would have been easier to deal with than trying to pull the board away from the wall with two-inch Velcro holding it firm!  But, you know, it's up - it's done - and I'm a happy camper.

Oh, a couple of other things that totally blew Peter's mind ... and made me laugh out loud.  1)  When he said he wished he had brought his square, I opened a drawer full of rulers.  2)  He handed me the scissors to cut the fabric from the bolt and I whipped out the rotary cutter.  3)  I made that cut directly on the top of the cutting table and he tried to stop me because I was going to cut the surface, which precipitated a lesson on cutting mats.  4)  The Osilio iron that raised itself up when I let go of it.  5)  That me, a girl, truly understood measuring and drawing straight lines and getting things to match.  At the end of the day when he was once again expressing his amazement at all the tools I had in my sewing room, I couldn't help but think of my late boss' favorite phrase ... "Stick with me, kid!"

So it seems I'm all ready to get back into quilting and get those blocks all sewn together that I've been making but not assembling.  No more excuses!

I guess everyone has seen the news about all the bad weather we've had down here.  I think the worst of it passed slightly north of my little town, but there was still plenty of rain and very high winds.  Thursday night about 1:15 I woke up and actually got scared.  The wind was blowing so hard that the shutters were banging and this big old house felt like it was moving and swaying.  I put Penny in her little travel kennel and stuck her in the little downstairs bathroom tucked under the staircase, and I sat holding a flashlight until it was time to get dressed to go to work.  There were several times during that period that I was sure any minute the house would blow down. The fact that it's been sitting here since 1927 and has been through hurricanes and things a lot worse than that storm didn't even enter my mind at that point.  But all's well - and thank you to all of you who were worried and emailed or called me.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Light

You know that light at the end of the tunnel?  I think I can see it.

I haven't been able to work much on the basket blocks lately because of other commitments.  I did finish 250 but had no more prepped.  So this weekend I just did it.

I need to cut the last 41 background squares, and then I'm ready to get these all stitched up.

This is the Trick or Treat quilt from the When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.

I'm pondering the appliqued setting triangles.  I'll see how I feel when it's all up on the design wall, but right now I'm leaning towards just plain background triangles.  I think when the baskets are done that I will want to be done with this quilt.  Another choice:  A friend from California, Yvette, set hers as straight squares (not on point) with no border and it's beautiful.  I might follow her example.  Still pondering.

I hope I have an even distribution of colors throughout the quilt.  I used all colors of my Civil War fabrics except for blue, red and pink.

Regardless of how I decide to set the quilt, I'm real happy that I stuck with it and did the 291 baskets - or will soon have them done.  I'll have to go back and see when I started this ... or maybe I don't want to know!

The light is shining brightly on this overcast day in my little corner of the universe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Party Time

Today is Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras.  There's a Mardi Gras parade today in my little town, but I think I'm going to stay home and enjoy my day off.  Mardi Gras surely wasn't a paid holiday in the other LA!

Mardi Gras is the last day of feasting and celebration before the clock strikes midnight and Lent begins.  I suspect some of those folks in New Orleans and at other celebrations around the state will need those 40 days to sober up!

Other than a purple, green and gold wreath on the front door, I didn't decorate at all.  I guess next year I should do that. And make a Mardi Gras quilt.  This picture caught my eye this morning. It looks like it would be simple enough to make, or even just squares in the three colors of the day.  We'll see what I can come up with for next year....

Wishing everyone a happy day.  As we say down here ... laissez les bon temps rouller!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Perils of UFOs

I decided this morning to go out to the Cottage and select two UFOs to work on - to get them ready to go to the quilter.

First up was the Moda Modern Building Blocks. I started this quilt in September of 2014.  I thought I just needed to find the backing, get it pieced, and it would be ready to send off.


I pulled it out of its tub and was immediately stuck in the finger by a pin.  Apparently I had pinned the top and bottom halves together and had never sewn the seam.  How dumb is that?  (sigh)  So that's first up on the agenda.

The next one I pulled out was the Metro Scope blocks that I made using the Quick Curve Ruler.  I started this one in July of 2014.  Apparently I started a lot of things in 2014 .......

I needed to fix this block.  Right before I moved, my friend, Mary Ann, and I went to the Quilt Loft in Upland CA, and I brought these blocks with me so I could get the backing.  I told Mary Ann something seemed off and I couldn't figure it out.  She took one look at it and saw that I had flipped a corner.  It's the top right, and you can see that I sewed it backwards.  I will get that one fixed, the blocks sewn together, backing pieced, and find someone to quilt it for me.

This isn't much on the sewing front, but it's a move forward in my little world.  Hooray!

My handy man came over yesterday and we measured where I want to put the design wall.  Next weekend I'll pick up the supplies and hopefully that will be done soon.  I have two or three sets of quilt blocks that I need to get up on a wall so I can get them arranged.  I've given up on doing it on the floor -- I can't get up and down easily, and Penny loves to run through the blocks and scatter them!

I didn't do squat this week as far as quilting.  Not even an appliqued basket.  Before I get back to those, though, I need to finish a binding.

No more starting something and not finishing!

Remind me I said that!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Cold and Dreary

I stitched on New Year's Day and finished up another Ziploc bag of baskets this morning.  There are 20 in each bag.  I have now completed 240 baskets with 51 more to go!  It's always exciting when I can see the end of a long-term project!

This is the Trick or Treat quilt from When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.  Even though I haven't finished the baskets, I might spend a little time today making a plan for appliqueing the 48 setting triangles. 

I just took a stroll around the yard and it's awfully cold out there.  Okay, "cold" is a relative term in the South but I guess it seems colder because it's dreary and damp.

The white camellias are blooming.  The reds will open in a few weeks.  This particular bush has stunning pure white blooms, and another bush has white blooms with yellow centers.  The solid white is my favorite.

Penny spent a lazy day yesterday, New Year's Day.  I felt bad because Santa only gave her recycled toys for Christmas, so I picked up a squeaky toy for her.  She won't let it out of her sight!

I heart my dog!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Welcome 2016

I am so glad 2015 is over!  It was a really stressful year what with being immobile for a large part of the year, knee surgery, unpacking, and there was some housecleaning that occurred, literally and figuratively.  I think I'm all set.

Today is a new year and I have another opportunity to "get it right."  No resolutions.  I just want to quilt more.  That's it.  Simple.

My 2016 word of the year is HAPPINESS.  While I understand that not everything that happens will bring happiness this year, I can control a lot of the things going on in my life.  When faced with a decision on things I can control, I will ask myself, "Will this make me happy?"  If the answer is yes, then I'll go for it!

And I would be remiss here not to remind everyone to take some stitches today.  To, once again, quote my dear late mother .... whatever you do on New Year's Day, you do for the rest of the year!

Happy quilting and Happy New Year from Penny and me!