Saturday, December 25, 2010

34 and Counting!

  For the last several years, we try to go somewhere special for our anniversary. Being the beginning of December and the Christmas season, it is sometimes difficult to find the time and somewhere not too far away. This year I chose Nashville. I had been told that the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was amazing, especially during the Christmas season. It is spectacular! Although we did not stay there, we spent many, many hours there. It is like walking through a huge indoor botanical garden wonderland. The Christmas decorations were breathtaking! Lights everywhere and thousands and thousands of poinsettias.

The waterfalls, especially being indoors,
were quite majestic.

This was Nashville -
 of course there was a music theme!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Talk

Thanksgiving has become such a warm and peaceful time for me.  For the past several years, it's been just my husband, myself and our two adult children.  We enjoy a yummy (and simplified from years ago) dinner and then decorate the Christmas Tree together. One of the things I really enjoy doing is decorating the table.  This year I made these really cute Oreo turkeys - one for each of us. Fun!
I also like to do a centerpiece. Not much blooming this time of year, but as my good friend Diane taught me, you just go out there and start cutting - next thing you know you have a pretty good looking arrangement. And don't forget to embrace all the pretty leaves on some shrubs, like the colorful Nandina leaves. I even had some New Guinea Impatiens still in bloom that I was able to use.

Another favorite are the table linens that my mother-in-law crocheted for me years ago.  What that lady could do with thread and a hook was just amazing!  There are matching placemats and glass coasters on the table. It is also a special way of honoring her  memory.
And somehow a pretty table makes everything taste better!
I hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and that you are blessed during the joyous Advent season.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Celebrity Extreme

Quilt market in Houston was a couple of weeks ago.  Ty Pennington's new fabric line was introduced there in partnership with 
Westminster Fibers Lifestyle Fabrics. So Elyse got to meet yet another celebrity! I'm not one to ooh and ahh over celebrities, but it is kind of neat for her.  I haven't seen his line yet, but I'm sure it will be worth waiting for. Of course, I'm  jealous that she gets to be among all that fabric, thread, and all matter quilting related!
(Sorry the pic's not too great.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Modeling Chocolate

A new medium! After watching 2 seasons of "Cake Boss" on Netflix, I had to try this. Much to my delight, you don't have to buy something expensive and premixed. You mix your own (recipe) using chocolate and Karo Syrup! I had the perfect opportunity to use it on a birthday cake for a fellow quilter who was turning 50. Not bad for a first try, althouth I think I made it a bit stiffer than it needed to be.  I scored it into squares using a pointed wheel tool, "painted' the squares using two colors - I used "pearl dust". DO NOT use liquid food coloring - it reacts badly with the chocolate. I then cut out a "5" and "0", placed it on the quilt and placed the whole piece on the cake. I then modeled some buttons and placed those on the side of the cake.  I was pleased with the result. Admittedly amateur - but a whole lot of fun!  See the needle and thread? The needle was a toothpick with a thin covering of the chocolate and a slit in the chocolate to look like the eye of the needle. Writing gel was used for the "thread." 
   The next family birthday cake is going to be such fun!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Retreat Part II

On Saturday Sandy did an awesome "make and take" using the Sissix machine and Stampin' Up stamps.  We made a funny greeting card, a Christmas ornament and a metal candle holder - what a generous treat. Thank you Sandy!
Here's Deanna meticulously putting her project together.

(Right) Sandy is a good teacher and Deanna was her "Vanna" like assistant.

Below Camille proudly shows off her ornament and candle holder. This was yet another great way to channel our creative energy - of which this group has no bounds!

Cindy celebrated the big 50 with us on Friday night. What better than a quilt cake?! It was my first attempt with modeling chocolate (more on that next post!)

Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who attented this retreat - they are a joy to spend time with, I learn so much, and come home chomping at the bit to sew, sew, sew!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Time to Sew Retreat! Part I

This past weekend 12 women joined me at a log cabin house on Lake Norman to sew, sew, sew! Aren't they just the serious bunch? Serious about their sewing that is. Miles and miles of thread were used and many pieces of fabric were cut up and put back together! I was totally amazed at not only how much they accomplished, but how wonderful their quilts, bags, tablerunners, etc. were! To be sure, though, there was much laughing to go along with all the work. I think sleep was the one thing that there was not a whole lot of. That's okay, we can sleep at home ladies, but on retreat we sew!

Michele appears to be singing a great sewing song!

Deanna is "manipulating" one of her creations.

This was Camille's 1st retreat - the girl sewed to 3 AM!

Liz had a hard time leaving that machine - the did sew a mighty bunch!

Cindy and Laurie are very serious about their ironing.

A LOT of cutting was done this weekend - I think we solved a few of the world's problems while we were at it!

Tomorrow I'll post Part II!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crazy Quilt Class

Shabby Chic look - very soft and pretty.
 A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of teaching a Crazy Quilt workshop for my guild. Ten great ladies attended. I was a bit nervous going in even though I had spent quite a bit of time in prep. There really was no need to be nervous. This group was most gracious. That coupled being with quick learners and extremely talented - the day was a total treat for me! What joy in seeing not only squares come together, but to see the embellishments begin to adorn each square.
  My apologies ladies, my photography isn't great.
I just can't wait to see some of the embellished squares!

Wish you could see the fancy embellishing that went on this
one before the day was done.

Love the center motif - this was from a
piece of clothing!

Lavendar color palette - so pretty.
Clever embellishing will hide the puckers from
the satin.

See the dragon on the printed fabric? I wish the
pic had come out brighter to show just
how good the colors went together.

Love, Love, Love the bright fabrics!
Very unique - especially once the
beads and more go on.

Now, is this a happy quilter, or what? The prints in this
square are just subtle enough that embellishing
will only enhance them.

The colors and fabricsfor this square are
very rich and warm.  Can't wait to
see several put together.

Another happy face!  Probably glad
to have put her stash to such
good use!

I just love the way the printed fabric pulls
the surrounding fabrics in.  Just so very

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ahhh Batiks

This past spring I visited Batiks, Etc. in Virginia.  While there I picked up this wall hanging kit in their sale room.  What a treat - it only took a weekend to make and I have it hung in my office at work to help brighten each day.  Doing the sunflowers was a lot of fun.  They were part of the fabric print - you then cut them and attach to look 3-D.  Of course, I just had to add beads because I love beads! A quick project like this can be so rewarding!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Last week our "baby" turned 25 years old - how did that happen?! We went to the city and took the light rail to uptown. That was different and a lot of fun - so convenient to not bother with parking uptown! The birthday girl chose an Irish Pub for dinner. We really do have a good time socializing with our kids - they're great conversationalists, interesting and humerous.  And they still want to spend time with their parents!  We are so blessed.  Happy birthday daughter - we love you so very much!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Catching Up

I work at a computer all day and somehow, getting to a computer at home turns into a chore. There have not been many posts on this blog lately, but I really did want to share a few completed projects. Last year I bout some pieces of silk at a quilt show but didn't have a clue what I wanted to do with them. Well, one new took later and wanting to do a contemporary pillow for my son's living room and Ta Da! It was a simple design and the colors just pop. I used a new tool - the Easy Circle Cut - a fun tool to cut arcs and circles.

My next finished project is a tote bag for a young woman who is moving out of the area. She will be going back to school in a year or two - so what better gift that a tote bag! I really like to layer buttons for embellishments.

Quite some time ago I purchased a pattern from Grace of Red Barn Studios, in our quilt guild. The "Padfolio" was a little challenging at first, but now I now I will be able to breeze through the next ones I put together. And what a great gift this will make! I embellished the cover with Tyvek leaves and yarn. I have such a new respect for pattern designers - I believe putting the pattern and directions together for others to follow must have been quite a challenge, but I'm so glad she did!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wytheville, VA

Why did we stop in Wytheville, Virginia on the way home from Louisville? Was it for the big pencil that the town is so proud of? (It is the number one attraction posted on their website.) was to go to Sew What Fabrics & Batiks Etc.! This is not a huge shop, but is one of the friendliest I've ever been too. The ladies there were a lot of fun too. I got to spend two hours enjoying the room of batik fabrics and the upstairs sale room. I came away with a bunch of goodies too. I should even be able to show a finished project from one of my purchases in a few days. Obviously, I was inspired!

If you are a Batik lover (and I most definitely am) and you're not too far from this shop, I highly recommend it. I would definitely travel the 2 hours to it in the future. Too far to travel? You can shop with them on line too.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Louisville and Wytheville

We recently had the opportunity to go to Louisville, Kentucky for a training convention I needed to attend. We had a great view of the Ohio River from our hotel room and the river front park provided many hours of entertainment for us. We walked it every morning and Bob got to ride his bike along it while I was in classes. He even crossed the bridge to Indiana!

Bob couldn't resist having one of the "boils" at Joe's Crab shack on the waterfront. And yes, he ate every last bit of it

This limo was quite different - it was covered in the flat red glass marbles. Wonder how much weight that added to the car?

The best part of the city for me was the historic district. This little house looked just like a doll house. It was so tempting to knock on the door and ask for a tour.

The gardens in this section were to die for. They were so lush - amazing ferns, hostas and hydrangias. I wanted to live there for a few months just to enjoy the gardens every morning!

On the way home, we stopped at Wytheville, Virginia. I'll cover that treat in my next post!

Monday, May 3, 2010

April Retreat Part II

Here we ALL are! We really did have a good time. The quilt square competition was especially fun! All were divided into two teams and given squares to be sewn into larger squares for a "disappearing nine patch" pattern. The team with the most squares complete at the end of 30 minutes won. Those machines roared! It sounded like a sweat shop! One of the Bama girls was designated ironer for her team. Alas, the bright colored squares came in second - only one square behind the winners!

The best part - when the squares all get sewn together, they will be baby quilts and given to the Linus Project that our local quild supports.

Cheryl did an outstanding job on her T-shirt quilt - the sashing and border with the stars was amazing.

Cathy put the border on her batik quilt. The picture just doesn't do it justice - it is totally gorgeous - and her own design!
Can't wait for the Fall retreat!