Friday, May 28, 2010

My Baby Is A Graduate!

This little guy is headed to college! He won't be attending his dad's alma mater, but will attend mine! I can't believe he is a high school graduate. That was a quick 18 years! We were very proud that he maintained a 4.0 GPA his entire senior year. He's taking the summer off to work his first job at one of our theme parks and will start college in August. It's hard to get a picture of this kid now that he's mobile. I propped him up a lot when he was a baby!

Little sis and I whipped up this decadent peanut butter cup cake to celebrate graduation. Austin didn't want a big deal made over graduating, but I don't think he minded the cake. It was delicious by the way. A sliver will do ya! They were eating it with vanilla ice cream, but my cellulite was saying "no, no, no!" Of course our cake wasn't as classy as these numbers, but we were going for taste! The entire family loves Reese's Cups.

Got a little start on some quilt blocks from this tutorial. I'm not too sure how big this quilt will get. Or how quick I'll get bored making the same block over and over! I'm using leftover strips from a honey bun. I'm hoping to get the top together during the long weekend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Challenge Complete

I finished my portrait quilt for Bumble Beans' Portrait Challenge. The quilting is a little funky, but I had fun with it. Who knows what I'll do with it, but I enjoyed the challenge and it provided much-needed quilting practice.
Look at me writing in thread! I was too chicken to try it in a contrasting thread.

A little mini I made from tiny scraps leftover from my hexagon blocks. I'm all caught up with the quilt-a-long and look forward to see how we put these hex blocks all together.

Here are a few other things that I've got up my sleeve. Nothing like blogs to distract you in a good way! It's a fortunate thing I don't read "clever bank robber" blogs.
That list should keep me out of trouble today! Hope everyone is having fun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Snake-Free Post

It's been a snake-free day so far. Of course, it's not even noon. The weekend was another story! Just one sighting and Fred was on the other side of the pool screen. Yay for Fred. Have fun out there big guy! I did have some sewing time this weekend.

The Blue Birdy mini is done. It's about 9" x 7.25" I'm not sure where he's headed, but I'm sure he'll find a good home.

Another batik coin quilt. I mailed it before I could measure it, but it was about 12" x 10".

New table runner for the kitchen table. Almost made me want to spring clean my kitchen, but I'm over that now. ;) I did polish the table before I put it on.

I tried appliqueing a house versus piecing it. Not quite as wonky as I wanted it, but maybe the quilting makes up for it.

I'm getting some cute quilts in for AAQI. My doll quilt swappers have met my challenge and made quilts to donate. Everyone has mentioned the size restriction being a true challenge, but you would never know that by seeing these little quilts. I'll show them to you once they've all arrived.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Stash...I Lost Count

I caved. I need fabric like I need a hole in the head, but I couldn't resist these two prints. Right up my twisted alley.
This retro cocktail print is so bright and funny. It's called Kitschy Cocktails by Michael Miller.  I don't recognize most of the drink recipes but many involve gin. Ick. I don't think I like gin. I have no idea what I'll do with this fabric, but I'm enjoying looking at it! I've always been a sucker for kitschy advertising illustrations and photographs and have used a lot in my design career.

This is the fabric I really wanted! I kept seeing small bits of it in blogland and was curious to see more of it. It's called Home Sewing is Easy and is part of The Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection from 2008. I can't believe I haven't seen it before. My local quilt shop doesn't carry this sort of stuff, which is probably a good thing!
Here's more of it. Home Sewing is Easy...and helps keep the home fires burning. Keep that in mind, okay?
This is my favorite panel. My husband never says I "look tops!" And there will probably never be extra money in the budget thanks to my new sewing machine know-how! Oh well.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy, the famous Park City Girl is hosting the third Blogger's Quilt Festival. Over 200 talented quilters have posted their beautiful quilts for all to enjoy. Take a minute to feast your eyes and inspire your creativity. The online quilting community has some serious talent, but you probably already knew that.

Here's my little story of my very first quilt. It's not stunning, modern or anything like I make now, but this little quilt still has a place in my heart since it got me started in this crazy hobby.

I have always loved textiles (vintage tablecloths and napkins, feedsacks, fabrics, bandannas, handkerchiefs, quilts, funky clothes, etc.). I've collected my share of these items over the years, but never thought about sewing. My mom sewed when I was younger and my dad made repairs to his sailboat sails and whipped up Barbie doll clothes for me on my mom's ancient green Singer. They were too poor to buy maternity clothes, so mom picked up a used Singer and made all her clothes when she was pregnant with me. My grandmother gave me her Brother sewing machine when I got married, but I never used it. Sure wish I had those old workhorse machines!

When my children were younger, I decided I wanted to learn to sew. My dad (and my husband!) both bought me inexpensive Singers for Christmas. I made bathrobes for both kids and a fleece jacket for my daughter. My daughter's kindergarten friends all begged me to make them each a jacket just like hers. I could have gone into business! Garment sewing was just not for me. The patterns made my brain hurt. I packed up the machine and it sat for years.

In 2007, I decided I might want to learn to quilt. I dusted off the Singer and started with a postage stamp quilt using 1.5" squares of my vintage fabric scraps. Yeah, what was I thinking? 252 finished 1" squares!  I was so proud of my first effort, I hired a machine quilter to quilt it (I'm still afraid of the actual quilting part). I bet that longarmer burst out laughing when she received my little 19" x 23" flimsy! I didn't know enough back then to ask how or if she ever loaded it on a frame. She supplied the batting and backing and made my first quilt look good!

Fast forward to today, and I am still totally hooked on all things quilting. I have enjoyed the online quilting community, which has been a constant source of inspiration and education for me. I've made hundreds of quilts, tried numerous tutorials, bought thousands of yards of fabrics, have a virtual library of quilting books, given quilts to charity, cut my teeth on Blocks of the Month, hosted doll quilt swaps for a year, written a quilting e-book, joined a guild and basically learned everything I know about quilting from books, tutorials and my online quilting buddies. My guest/fabric room may never be the same and my graphic design studio has to share space with my quilting studio, but what a rewarding three years it has been. I'm never turning back. Thanks to all of you!


Thanks to all of you who entered my Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the 203 comments as my blog usually gets few comments! It was so nice to meet you all and check out your blogs. You guys are a creative bunch for sure. I know I will continue to find inspiration in blogland and thanks for giving me more opportunity.

So without further ado, the winner of the Prismacolor Colored Pencils is number 128:
Jamie said...
Love the colored pencils-- I have a budding artist who would be thrilled to have them. My second choice would be the patterns-- my mom is a new quilter, and I'd love to be able to give them to her. Last I would choose the miniquilt to keep for myself. Thanks so much for the giveaway.
The quilt patterns winner is number 172:
Kelly said... Love, love, love! All your prizes are great! Thanks for the giveaway!
The winner of the mini quilt is number 175:
sewfunky said... Please enter me in the draw and don't forget to enter mine:

Thank you again for entering!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting Nothing Done!

To enter my Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway, click here or scroll down. The giveaways have been wonderful. I've spent more than enough time entering giveaways and finding inspiration in new blogs. And old blogs! I'm so easily distracted. It doesn't take much to get me to avoid work!

Thanks to everyone who came by my blog and joined in the giveaway. It's been a blast reading all the comments! I hope each and every one of you win something during the giveaway.

I finished the little string quilt mini. I did simple quilting during our OMQG Sew Day. Sew Day was a blast and I always walk away with inspiration from all the talent in the room. We sewed in a huge meeting room of the public library. It was very nice and everyone brought food and projects to work on. Sewing all day is a real treat! I didn't get anything finished, but I made a little progress on some UFO's.

I needed a quick little mini, and this cute quilt provided the needed inspiration Monday morning. I still haven't finished my Say Cheese! portrait quilt. All that is left is the scary quilting. Speaking of scary quilting...
I made this practice sandwich to try some free motion quilting for the orange section of the little birdy quilt. Yep, I still stink at it. Aus came in while I was quilting to harass tease me and dared me to quilt is name. Then he wanted a steaming pile of poop (bottom left). Teen humor. It never gets old. Needless to say, I stuck to straight line quilting for the mini. It turned out cute. I just need to tack the binding down. I'll show you when I'm done.
Another mini batik coin quilt. This one is a bit bigger than the last one. I found some cool purple polka dot batik fabric for the binding. I was in a purple binding mood today. Mostly because I hate to change thread! I'm a lazy designer!

I found an easy tutorial on making jeans into capris. I have a pair of lightweight jeans that the dryer made too short, so this worked perfectly. And the simple tutorial even worked for garment-sewing impaired me. I also cut out the pattern pieces to make Lauren's shirt and read the pattern instructions. I think I can handle it, but I need some tricot lining. More procrastination on that front!

Then I found this pretty quilt in blogland. I decided to test out the block with my jeans scraps and some red  checks. Look at me being green! ;) I'm not sure if I'll pursue this with real fabrics, but it sure is a neat quilt. I adore the fabrics she is using. Check them out here. This is a new blog to me. I may have to retire from quilting and work just to read blogs. Maybe I'll just give up laundry. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Bones wanted to go out a few minutes ago. This is the view from my front door. Notice anything?
Howza bout now? We went out through another door thank you very much. Obviously, the moth balls are not working. Maybe I should have strung them and made anklets for myself. Tell me I'm not a snake magnet.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How About a Giveaway?

It's giveaway time in blogland! All the crafty bloggers are getting together to give stuff away. It's a great time to find new blogs and inspiration. And you might just win something! I'm giving away a few items. To enter, please leave a comment on this post indicating which item you would like as your first, second, and third choice. I'll do my best to send the winner(s) what they want. This giveaway is open to everyone. I'm happy to send internationally. 

I will pick three random winners on Friday, May 21. Good luck. I hope all my blog buddies win a little something from these giveaways. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Prize number one is a set of brand new 24 Prismacolor Landscape Colored Pencils. Your set will need to be sharpened, but I showed you the color palette from mine. The pencils come in a handy tin case. These colored pencils have smooth, rich laydown with intense pigment saturation. The brilliant colors are chosen specifically to inspire landscape art. You can use them to draw, scrapbook, draft quilts, etc.

Prize number two are two quilt patterns published by C&T Publishing. The applique pattern on the left is titled Lettuce in the Garden and was designed by Jean Wells. The pattern on the right would make an adorable baby quilt. It is titled  I Love You This Much and was designed by Patrick Lose.

Prize number three is a mini quilt made by yours truly. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I hope you have a fun-filled, happy day!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Only Two More Space Shuttle Lift-offs Left

After today, there will only be two more space shuttle flights before they retire the fleet. I hope space exploration is able to continue even if America has to assume smaller responsibilities. It sure has been an exciting ride. This is the view from my snakey backyard. Not bad for 50 miles away. I should have used the good camera, but someone did not charge the batteries. Still beautiful though. It always takes my breath away.

My dad worked at the space center 40+ years, so space exploration kept me in shoes growing up. He lives over on the space coast, so I hope to see one of the last two lift-offs with him. I'll bring the good camera.

This has been quilted a while, but I decided to wash it for a crinkly look. I always waver back and forth about washing mini quilts. Sometimes I like the crinkly look, and sometimes I hate it. I think I should have quilted in the border. Can I still do that or will it pucker? Quilting is definitely not my forte. I liked this one better as a top.

I played around with some string blocks with black sashing. I'm trying to decide what to bring to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild Sew Day. I like to have lots of different stuff to work on, since I have the attention span of an ant. And goodness knows I have a zillion projects in the works and a zillion more in my head. Someone come clean my house so I can play!

A little mini for another swap. Don't forget Monday is Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day. Carve out some time to enter to win from your fellow bloggers and crafters. I always find so many more cool new blogs to read during these giveaways. I wish I could get paid for reading blogs! So much inspiration out there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Playing Hooky!

My kids were dragging this morning and they've been complaining that the teachers have given up teaching. All that's left is final exams. Since they are such brilliant students, I let them play hooky with me today. That should get me some mom points, huh? Maybe I can get them to clean their rooms if they ever wake up! A girl can hope can't she? I may take them to get sushi for lunch since hubby hates it and he trooped off to work.

Yumi, are you trying to kill me?! My Japanese quilting buddy Yumi sends me all kinds of yummy Japanese snacks. Look at that calm looking spokeswoman on the bag. She kind of looks like me when my hair is cooperating, which is not often. She really should have flames shooting out of her head and bugged-out eyes. These are WASABI peanuts. Really, hot, wasabi peanuts! I ate the whole bag. My mouth was on fire, but it was a good kind of fire. Since I can't read Japanese, it's always fun to see what the snack tastes like. My kids are always excited to see what Yumi sends. The crackers below are my favorite. And I follow American tradition and add brie cheese to brie cheese flavored crackers! And no, Oprah, I don't have some odd relationship with food. I just love it. I'm not making any silly excuses. Remind me not to watch daytime television, okay?

Had time to play a little yesterday. Still making minis. I can't stop! The batik coin quilt is for AAQI. My doll quilt swap group is sending a few in. I tried facing binding for the first time on that little mini. The owl quilt is for a swap. I tried some free motion quilting, but then I ripped it all out. Rene' send me some of your quilting vibes! I love playing in my scrap basket. More of that today I hope! Have a fun day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day

If I recall correctly, Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day was the only reason I started this blog. You had to have a blog for some of the giveaways. Since I've bored you to tears with my ramblings and stupid snake stories, I feel the need to give back. I'll be participating in Giveaway Day on Monday May 17. I haven't decided what the prize(s) will be, but you'll know Monday! Any suggestions would be great.

If you'd like to give something away yourself, you can get more information at the link. Although I love blogs just for being blogs, I especially like when there is a giveaway. And I win. Which I hardly ever do. Actually, I've won two things this year, lucky me! Throw your hat in for some of these great giveaways. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Online Quilt Museum is Up!

Karen Griska, the author of Quilts from the Selvage Edge, has launched an online quilt museum. It's awesome and you can find it here. There are even some workshops to learn a few quilting tips.

P.S. No snake sightings yesterday or today. I'm on a roll.

Random photo below. Blogs without photos aren't much fun! I need to dust this batik bargello off and bind it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pies, Crabs, and Snakes, Oh My!

We're a pie family mostly. My husband likes apple pie for his birthday, our anniversary, Father's Day, or any day. Unfortunately, my son doesn't like apple pie. His favorites are berry pies. Since I made hubby an apple pie a couple of weeks ago, Austin asked if I would make him a blackberry pie. Too bad Lauren doesn't like apple or blackberry pie. She's more of an Oreo frozen pie kind of girl. My favorite is a cross between rhubarb/strawberry or pecan pie. So...if we all want pie for dessert I have to make four pies! Luckily I love to make pies.

I finished the Quilts for Kids quilt and it's in the mail. Nice to have that done!

Our friend Mike and his twin sister Cindy had a birthday party Saturday. Look at Mike trying to suck his gut in! That's after we ate all day! That's hubby in the red swim trunks. We ate for hours and had my absolutely favorite food in the crabs! There was also boiled shrimp, oysters, clams, bleu cheese potato salad, fresh sauteed squash with green chili's, corn and goat cheese, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, and birthday cakes. Chris Ann and Mike always feed us well. I need to get the potato salad and squash recipes from her. They were awesome!
 Hi Princess! The dog likes me!

More snake stories. I'm over it ya'll. Really. I need tranquilizers or I'm moving to Ireland.

Sunday, hubby was scuba diving in our pool (don't ask). I walked out on the screened-in pool deck to check on him and notice this small snake swimming right above him in the pool. It was hovering over him and I was afraid hubby was going to surface. So brave me, the snake wrangler magnet, grabs a pool skimmer and lo and behold there's that big black snake right by it. I scared the hiss out of that snake and screamed my snake scream. By then I've chickened out about getting the little 12" snake out of the pool, so I shoo pool snake away from hubby and poke the skimmer down to make hubby surface.

Hubby doesn't have his glasses on, so once he surfaces and takes his mask off he decides little pool snake looks poisonous. Little pool snake gets his head chopped off and my poor daughter has to remove the carcass, which is still wriggling. She wants to put it out of its misery, so more chopping ensues. I also found out my husband actually has a "snake tool" in the garage. What?! I know he's a tool freak, but is a snake tool necessary? Poor Lauren had to get the snake hook and a shovel to assist dad in snake removal. I'm out there freaking out and being basically useless. Turns out the snake was probably a baby rat snake and not poisonous. Oops. Sorry to kill you. I hope your mama doesn't come looking for me.

Hubby gets out of the pool to get the larger snake off the deck. He didn't even take the scuba tank off. My hero!

I don't have pictures of this because I didn't have my camera, but I was waiting for someone to come to their door the other day and I heard some awfulness behind me. No one was home and I knew when I turned around there would be a snake. Sure enough! One of those big black ones. Luckily, he slithered away from me. Then I went home and took blood pressure medicine.

Okay, so a little poll here, is it just me or do you see lots of snakes in the summer too? I live in a suburban neighborhood with sidewalks! There is water around me (lakes and ponds) so we've seen poisonous water moccasins too. Scary. I've been doing this little snake dance all my life, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to hell or something. I'd like to act up a little bit if my fate is already decided.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. Hardest job in the world, so please do some internet shopping at your earliest convenience.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sies de Mayo!

Happy sixth of May! I missed celebrating Cinco de Mayo because my avocado wasn't ripe. A fitting excuse, eh? Today's not looking good for that avocado either. I should have bought a bunch in various stages of ripening. I love avocado, but I'm the only one who eats it here. Instead of guacamole, I'm making a blackberry pie for Austin. He landed a summer job at Universal Studios. He's very excited! Remember your first job? I worked at Woolco and learned to smoke in the break room. :(

Confession time. I finally quilted this donation quilt for Quilt for Kids. The organization is wonderful and they have sponsors that send kits to quilters to finish, so it's very easy. I finished the top a while ago, but as usual was intimidated by the quilting part. I finally got the nerve to do it today and it didn't turn out so bad! I just need to bind it now.

I also found this cute tutorial to make bandanna bibs. Really easy! I know lots of baby boys being born, so it will be easy to find homes for these two.

We had our Orlando Modern Quilt Guild meeting yesterday and Juanita Yeager came to give us a trunk show. Talk about inspiring! Her quilts are magnificent and we were able to see them up close. Juanita paints graphic images on silk broadcloth and then makes them come further alive with her exquisite quilting. Her pieces are breathtaking. She teaches classes nearby and I'd love to take a few. Hopefully I could keep up.
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