Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

In a little less than 5 hours, 2010 will be in the history books!  From a quilting perspective, I didn't accomplish much.  So my word for 2011 will be "complete"...I will finish the Amazon Star, If the Shoe Fits, Bali Wedding Star, Celtic Wave and Dragon Star quilts in 2010.  And do the Fabric is Better Than Food challenge for O.V.s Christmas party, which involves a piece of green fabric that looks like Fairy Frost. Oh - and the TNT quilt from Hoopsisters, which I am starting to hate.  Looking at this thing, I could have pieced, quilted and embroidered it in the amount of time months 1-6 have taken. Months 7-8 are not yet completed because the 830 is not loving the water soluble thread required.  I'll finish it because I'm so far into it, and it's name will be, "Most Expensive Wall Hanging Ever!"  At $30 a lesson, we're $240 in to it just for the monthly designs/classes. 
"Most Expensive Wall Hanging Ever!"

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better person. ~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, December 27, 2010

Playing Catch Up

It seems like such a short time ago I was bragging about being on time with the TNT block of the month I am desperately behind.  We are on month eight...I finished month four tonight...I was going to try to tackle month five before I go to bed, but sleep is calling my name.

I have to tell you, I don't love this quilt.  I'm not feeling it.  Each block takes about an hour to complete, so you are looking at 16 hours out of my life, which I guess isn't bad.  18 more to go, plus putting it together time.   

And I did get Al to drive me to Intown yesterday. And they did not have ANY of the fabrics for the Amazon Star. But they did have a 40% off everything in the store sale!  Called out to Tiny Stitches and they don't have the pattern either.  So I ordered the pattern online today, and I'll just keep working on this one this week.  I am committed to catching up on this and the Ribbon Bargello while I'm off this week.  Given that the temp will be in the teens tomorrow, it won't be hard to stay home and sew! 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Art ISN'T Easy...White Christmas!

All the joys of the holiday season to you and yours!  We had a white Christmas yesterday!

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...just like the ones I used to know..."
Irving Berlin

LOL - I have never known a white Christmas in all my years.  It snowed all day yesterday, and some of it stuck. We stayed in all day...I worked on putting the Amazon Star together, and I messed up...big time.  I did a terrible job on the the center Mariner's's so pretty, but I didn't press it correctly, and it doesn't fit.  Don't ask me why I didn't notice until I started putting it together.  Worse - I don't have enough fabric. I am going to try to talk Al into taking me to Intown Quilters to see if they still have any of this.  I don't want to drive, although I've heard that the roads are in good shape and aren't icy at all.  I've already looked online to no avail. Intown has the best selection of batiks in Atlanta, and it's where I got most of these batiks.  But I bought them in March, and I'm not holding out a lot of hope that nine months later they might still have them.  I also need another pattern, which they probably won't have. 

Since I didn't feel like sewing after my discovery, I cleaned up my sewing room. Al came in and said he couldn't see any difference from before, then he said, "What's important is that you can see a difference."  And I can!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Piece by piece...

Art isn’t easy.
Every minor detail is a major decision,
Have to keep things in scale
Have to hold to your vision....

I started sewing at 7 AM this morning and I am just finishing now.  There's no place I can lay out 104 x 104.  Big Momma is panting hard. I've really completed two quilts...there isn't a single seam on here that I haven't had to sew twice!  All the sections are completed, now I will start "putting it together."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Every little detail plays a part...

Having just a vision's no solution,
Everything depends on execution:
Putting it together...
That's what counts!  

(Still hearing Sondheim.)


Friday, December 10, 2010

The Art of Making Art.... putting it together.

What can I say?  It's Sondheim week in my sewing room.  As I sewed my final seam and started thinking about "putting it together," that song from "Into the Woods" kept playing in my mind.  The Barbara Streisand version. 

OK, so now all I have to do is put it together.
...Piece by piece...
...Bit by bit....

Friday, December 03, 2010

Getting Closer...

It's been a tough week at work...last night I was on the phone until midnight...but every other night I worked on the corner points for an hour or so.  Today I signed off at 7 and finished up the corner points to the Amazon Star.  The final part is the long spikes on the corner, which hopefully I can finish next week.  Tomorrow I head up to NYC to see Jeffrey, my youngest nephew, in a play.  Here are the corner points...I don't love the gold fabric here, but I'm hoping when it is quilted, it will tone down a bit.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation...

My Aunt Dot is visiting her daughter, Sebra, in Dacula, GA for the holiday, and yesterday Al and I drove out to visit.  As we walked up to the front door, Al said, "I don't think this is the right house."  I was thinking the same thing, because I remembered steps and this house did not have any.  I said, "Why's that?" and he pointed to the "McCain/Palin" bumper sticker on one of the cars in the driveway!  What was really funny is that he had his "Obama 08" cap on!

I've gotten a lot of quilting done over the last four days. I have pieced all but the outer ring on the Amazon Star.  I'm pretty certain I can finish piecing this over Christmas vacation, which would be a good thing to have at least one project finished this year!  Here is what one of the completed star points looks like:

Much prettier in person, and I'm getting excited about this piece!  I would love to enter it in the East Cobb show in September, but I can't remember their max size.  This might be too big.

I'm very pleased with the way the points are sharp as a tack and all line up and so far, it's lying pretty flat.  Once I start putting all those Y-seams together, it will be a different story, but so far, so good!

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. ~Johnny Carson

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things have been a little bit crazy at work...we're in the midst of a merger, and there are so many deadlines and not enough time. One of the best things about the merger, though, is that for the first time in my professional career, I have the day after Thanksgiving off without having to take a personal vacation day.  I worked at Bank of America for 28 years, and banks are not allowed to be closed four days in a row (rule instituted after The Depression to prevent runs on banks.  The idea was to give people access to their money), we barely had Thanksgiving Day off at Scient, and it wasn't a holiday at Watson Wyatt.  I will do some work, because I haven't done expenses in about four months, and my office looks like a disaster, but it will be good to get up when I feel like getting up in the morning!

So today, I did quilting in between cooking dinner.  I am not going to work on anything else until I finish this project.  This is the Amazon Star that I started at Asilomar last March in Judy Niemeyer's class...I worked on the center Mariner's Compass when I went to the retreat at Toccoa last month, and I've just finished the outer star points today.

Which one of these is not like the other one?
One of the reasons I'm so slow is that on repetitive pieces like this, I sew them one at a time.  I've found that I have a short attention span, and when I'm chain piecing, I don't focus (today I was watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) and I end up making mistakes and having to unsew.  Even with unsewing, I didn't do tooo badly with these star points, and only had to redo the one.

Here's what I've finished so far:
This is laid out on the floor of the pool room, since it is already too big for my design wall.  Finished size is 104 x 104, which is where the name "Amazon Star" comes from.  When I find my camera, I'll get a better picture posted.  The colors are really pretty on this, and they're not coming through on my iPhone photo.

Sorry I haven't posted in ages.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to post to my blog at least once a week. 

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious,
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner,
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

Monday, October 04, 2010

Lots of Quilt Activity, Not Much Quilting Going On

On Saturday, September 18th, I went to the show quilt show put on by the Chattahoochee Evening Star Quilt Guild.  They put on a great show!  I was invited by Julie, who was in my Bali Wedding Star class last year.  That little stinker has finished her quilt, quilted it herself, AND won first place in the show!  That is just wrong, especially when you consider the stage mine is in.  Here's her gorgeous quilt:

Then on the 19th, Brown Sugar Stitchers did quilting demonstrations at the Atlanta History Center. We arranged the quilts from hand piecing to machine quilting, and the demonstration the same way.  I was exhausted by the time we left. 


Thursday, September 16, 2010


I dialed a number and got the following recording: "I am not available to come to the phone right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. Please leave a message after the beep. I am making some changes in my life.  If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

But who's counting?

Who's keeping track of UFO's (Unfinished Objects) for me? You know, projects you've seen started on this blog, then next week, look! Another great project! Started but not finished!

And now, this week - look! Another great project started! Earlier this year I promised Tracy that I would teach a class for her - little did I know how utterly bored I would be with this quilt. So when I was in the store last week, she asked me when I could do the class, and I couldn't put it off any longer. AND she sent an email out, so I really couldn't put it off any longer. But look how much I've gotten done just this week! Halfway there!

The color is not coming through correctly, but it's red and black. Here is the one I did in like 2005:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Best. Project. EVER!

Ann always does such a great job with the retreat...she does her best to make it special and fun -
she always makes a gift for each participant, plans at least one mystery quilt, gives us each a pattern, and let's not forget the games! So our gift exchange is that you are given a number and you choose your gift based on your number...then the fun begins! We have done the gift exchange where you can keep your gift or choose one of someone else's, but we have a variation on that theme. Ann has made up Quilter's Dice, and if you roll a double you get to choose a gift, and if you roll the guild's symbol, the gift is yours and no one can take it. Sally chose my gift, and the oohs and aahs when she opened it were very rewarding! Well worth the time and effort. But it kept getting taken away from her! And she kept winning it back by rolling doubles! In the end she lost it on a double that was rolled by Teri, so I am going to surprise Sally with a wallhanging. She worked hard for it and we all had lots of fun!

But the best project? This key hanger thing!

My keys can't get lost! Well, they can, but not as

easily. My mother used to say I would lose my head if it wasn't attached, and that is as true today as it was 50 years ago! Case in point...I just spent most of the weekend looking for my iPhone. I knew it was here, because I had it on Friday. And I knew it was here because Mobile Me (the Best App ever! Well worth the $100 a year) said it was. But where? Not in my office where I had it last, not in my sewing room, not in my closet, not in the laundry room under a stack of clothes. Mobile Me has perfected the science of finding lost that you know it's in the house, but where, you can send out a little signal! But I still couldn't find the dang thing! Finally this afternoon after eliminating all the places I thought it was, I gave the beeping signal one last try and looked in the garage. Voila! A very faint signal! From my car? Move the car outside...nope...from the garbage can! Either I scooped my iPhone up with some stuff I threw away on my desk, or I had it in my hand when I was throwing something else away. Anyway...I'm a happy camper. Until they make a little GPS signal with beeper for keys and glasses, which will make someone very, very rich, this key chain thingie is fabulous! And it only took about half an hour to make!

Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'll bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

For the Retreat

I've mentioned in the past the retreat that I go to in the Bay Area - at San Damiano in Danville. I don't think I've mentioned that we do a gift exchange...Friday night, after dinner, Saturday night after dinner, and then on Sunday, but I'm never around for that one. So, I've got one gift done.
It's a panel that I've quilted and added borders to. It took all day, much longer than I had planned, but there it is on the left. I see that my quilting needs to be redone. It looks kinda bad, huh? My straight lines aren't. I think I'll redo it with a filler that doesn't require a lot of accuracy. Why is there never enough time to do something right the first time, but always time to do it over?
Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we are here we might as well dance!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

TNT - Hoopsisters

Months 1 through 3 - this is a block of the month from Hoopsisters. It's an embroidery technique where the blocks are quilted in the hoop and embroidered. I cannot believe that I am actually on time with a project! Months 1-3 - done!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

BSS 10th Anniversary Celebration

The Brown Sugar Stitchers held their 10th Anniversary Celebration yesterday. Under the leadership of Elisa Woods, the celebration was more than just a coming together of quilters to mark the passage of time. The guild honored several community leaders in Atlanta for their service. The honorees were (l-r) Author Pearl Cleage (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day), Carrie Steele Pitts Home Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Lavizzo, Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis, Channel 2 Anchorperson Monica Pearson, and Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale. They are each holding the quilts they received, and you could tell they were all pleased and honored to be acknowledged in such a special way. The program was held at The Pecan in College Park. It was awesome!

Photos of me with John Lewis and my new BFF Monica Pearson (she doesn't know this yet!)

I am adding to my UFO list ( just kidding - it's a Block of the Month, and each block is taking about 4 I can stay on top of that monthly!) I am taking a class at Atlanta Sewing Center using a new embroidery-applique technique from HoopSisters. Here are the completed blocks from Month 2. Month 1 is in my camera, which I cannot locate at the moment. I know it's around somewhere, because I downloaded the photos from yesterday!

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
Albert Einstein

Monday, July 12, 2010

You Know You Are a Quilter If...

There's more fabric in the house than food...
"Fat Quarters" are not the heaviest part of your body...
Your ironing board is always set up but you never iron clothes...
You think of your job as an interruption of your quilting time...
You pet (or fondle!) fabric...
People are always picking threads off you...
You can measure a scant 1/4 by eye...
"Featherweight" is not a category of boxer...
Your "UFO's" are not from outer space...
You clean up your sewing room & they think you are leaving...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Aurora Borealis

The colors are feeling so much like "Aurora Borealis" to me. Six down, 18 more to go!

Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray

Monday, July 05, 2010

19 is less than 20

Just saying that I had 20 blocks to go was discouraging, so I had to get down to a number with a one in front of it, not a two! This block was soooooo hard. When you look at all those places that have to line up, you can see why. I still see one place where I am going to have to unsew.

As a weekend quilter, days off mean a lot! So I intended to spend today getting the number down to 18, but it wasn't to be. Spent all day working on computer issues.

I know I said that I was going to call this "Not Fast Food," but this is feeling like Aurora Borealis. What do you think?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Now Back to Me

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted. Worse, that's how long it's been since I have done any serious sewing. My day job has been very demanding and I have been trying to have a life in between there,, I went to Cali for Jayme's wedding (GORGEOUS bride and wedding!), but I did sign up for a class (not another UFO - SKILL BUILDING!) using a new technique from Hoopsisters. My 200/730 was acting up in class (I think she is jealous!), so I didn't finish the block in class, but I will work on it next weekend.

So I put all my UFO's in a bag and pulled out - Not Fast Food. This block only took 8 hours! Woo-hoo! And only 20 more to go! (I shouldn't count remaining blocks, should I?)

On June 14th, Jimmy Dean passed away. I've been trying to figure out how to post this complaint call, but I can't. It is hysterical! The language at the end is salty, so don't listen if anything beyond the normal four letter words is offensive!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What looks like neat on an ordinary day

I'm here to tell you why I am not neater...because I just finished cleaning up for an hour and a half. And not everything's put away. And I could have completely cut the strips for the bargello quilt and probably sewn a bunch of strips togther in that time. But it's as put away as it's gonna get, and I think I better get pictures up before I revert to my messy ways!

The top thrown over the back of the chair is my just finished project. It's a BQ pattern...goes together very quickly. I am about to return to the Wedding Star and I wanted to get the BQ Quilt out of the plastic bin.

And here's Al's pool room, back to normal, with all my junk out. I donated a bunch of magazines, and books, and kits, and rules, and fabric, and irons, and, and, and....I still have too much stuff, but, it's a start.

It's Oldies but Goodies day on the iPod...I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Thursday night with my neighbor and a group of her friends. They get together every month and do an activity, and they are a very welcoming group of women, and have invited me to join them. Afterwards we went to the OK Cafe for dinner - I had the Salmon Croquettes, Collard Greens and Cabbage with delicious cornbread muffins...while we were sitting there, "Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things," by Martha and the Vandellas came on. If I had been with a different group of women, we would have fallen out right there and probably all started singing. LOL! You know what I'm talking about! Anyway, I created a Genius playlist that is taking me back to the 60's. Right now listening to "You Better Stop Dogging Me Around," by Jackie Wilson. Brings back memories of Mom and her friends, drinking Bourbon and milk, and smoking.
"Therapy is extremely expensive...popping bubble wrap is radically cheap." Jimmy Buffett

Monday, May 10, 2010

Remembering Lena Horne 1917-2010

I always thought that my mother was named after Lena Horne, but Mom actually was named after another Lena in our family. When we were growing up, Ms. Horne was the standard of beauty, and I'll never forget seeing her 1981 Broadway show - "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music." My favorite line from that play, which I remember to this day, was when she does a slow, sultry dip to the floor and says, "Yeah, I know what you're thinking, can you get back up?" Which she proceeded to do! I'm at least 20 years younger than she was at the time, and I can't do it now and would have had trouble doing it back then. RIP, Lena. You left a legacy!
"You wouldn't be allowed to get on a particular bus, but you'd be asked to sign your autograph." Lena Horne

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I woke up this morning inspired by the SATC2 trailer to make a shoe with all Swarovski crystals! I have gotten so cocky with the metallic thread...scared of me! LOL! I did the outline in silver metallic thread, but I don't like the 5mm crystals - so I ordered some 3mm crystals to use instead. Putting those on should keep me out of trouble for a while!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Raise Your Hand...

...if you believed me when I said that I had moved to acceptance on the fact that I couldn't use metallic thread in my machine and that there was no way I would try metallic thread ever again. OF COURSE I tried it again! Don't be silly! I tried Yenmet thread and Wonderfil and they both sewed out beautifully! So I banged out several more shoes...and here they are:

I have 3 more blocks to do, and I think I might do an all boot quilt, and a year of special occasions...

The gene pool could use a little chlorine...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a Guy Thang....

...You wouldn't understand!

Today is Al's birthday. For weeks he has been bugging me about sewing some ...patches on some...military bag. Would you ask Michaelangelo to paint the inside of your house? OK, so Michaelangelo I'm not, so I sucked it up and did his patches. I had no idea how hard it would be. The fabric keep slipping and I couldn't glue the patches down so they would stay in place so they kept slipping...what a pain! It was worth it though when I suprised him with it...I told him I was too busy to work on it, so he didn't know I was putting it together. I think it's the happiest I've seen him in the 20 something years we've been together. Reminds me of how I was knocking myself out making these gourmet meals when we were dating and I made him a turkey sandwich once and he said it was the best meal I had ever made for him. I guess it really is the simple things. For some people!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Yesterday I kept hearing Alicia Keys singing "Superwoman" in my mind. It wasn't that it was a hard day, just too much going on. I fell asleep last night on the sofa in a good, hard, solid sleep, and I can't remember the last time I did that.

The day started with me getting ready for the cleaning people. I know, poor me. But there was a lot to put away and move around before they got here. I don't clean up for the cleaning people, but you need to put things away and get things organized that the cleaning people can't handle. Then our book club was meeting at 9:00 am instead of 10:00 to discuss "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston. Everybody loved the book, and we had a good discussion.

Then, off to teach my first quilt shop class at KiwiQuilts. I taught a post card class, and the students did a fantastic job. It was only supposed to be a 3-hour class but it ended up being 4.5 hours. Check these out:

This postcard was made by a person who is going on a cruise. You can barely see it in the photo, but it has all the ports of call of their trip. We decided that when she makes the card that she needs a lighter fabric, and should make the ports of call bigger.

How cute are these flip-flops?!

Pretty, colorful card!

This was my favorite card! It was created by a woman who is new to quilting. It started out with her just wanting to learn the technique, so she put a plain piece of purple fabric on the fusible. Way too plain, so we painted it and dried it in the sun. Now we had bling! She had the idea of putting the purple fabric on and then we embellished with buttons. While we had no plan, it turned out to be a gorgeous card.

Good job, Ladies! I was so tired after class! I had dinner from Chili's! And I get a gold star - in keeping with my newly organized self, I put ALL my class supplies away.

"Even when I'm a mess, I still put on a vest with an S on my chest, oh yes, I'm a Superwoman." OK, so it wasn't a Superwoman worthy day, but it was busy...maybe a little "s"?

How often we fail to realize our good fortune in living in a country where happiness is more than a lack of tragedy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cooking With Gas!

or Sewing With Electricity might be more appropriate. I got both my machines back yesterday! Woo-hoo! The tech had not called to say my 200/730 needed a new motherboard or some other very expensive, out-of-warranty repair, but just to say "She's ready!"

You know how the definition of insansity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result? WHY would I sit down to the 830 this morning and attempt my shoe with the metallic thread again? Please help me understand why? And when it ate the thread and jammed (again), my first thought was where could I take it to be repaired...because there is no way I could take it in to ASC for a third time with metallic thread stuck in the bobbin! I actually did manage to get all the thread out myself, and really have moved to acceptance that the metallic thread is not, repeat, not going to work. I get it. Really. Seriously. No metallic thread.

This is a funny story from Asilomar about sewing machines...I rented a machine rather than lug one of mine cross country. The machines are all Bernina's - just the basic mechanical model. When I started sewing on the rented machine, I couldn't figure out how to cut the thread. So I mused out loud, "I wonder where the thread cutter is.....?" The woman sitting across from me handed me a pair of scissors and said, "You need to come on back to the real world!" LOL - and Marilyn, who is from Canada and is the funniest person you ever want to meet said, "Honey, the real world sux. You just stay in whatever world you want." It was pretty funny when I realized there was no thread cutter! I thought all machines I had thread cutters!

Worked on restoring order to the sewing room last night and Friday. Leave for NYC tomorrow morning. Judy is coming from California on Friday to help me get organized and said, "Don't get too far ahead!" HA! No danger of that! And you can't even see what's on the other side of the pool table!

But - there's magic happening in the sewing room! Oooooooh - how purty! The challenge will be to keep it this way!

I know I'm in my own little world...but it's okay - they know me here.