Monday, September 8, 2014

Welcome to My World

If it's your first time to my humble little blog, welcome! Sit down with a cup of something and a hunk of cheese and do what I love doing...reading blogs. So much inspiration, crafty goodness, adorable babies, and food galore.

My Sew Day Mess
My guild buddy, Rene' tagged me to join in the Around the World Blog Hop. Rene' is the founder of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am a member. Joining a guild always freaked me out; I had heard "stories," but this guild has been a delight since day one. The guild has grown from the teens in numbers to over 50 members. Although I can't participate 100% any longer because of real job, I always try to make time to attend Sew Days, workshops, and special events.

So on to answer the provocative questions you've always wanted to know about me. Just kidding, these are canned questions and my silly responses.

Wagon Wheel Blocks
1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on?
Funny question, because I work on so many things when I sew. I rarely have just one project in the works. I love finding those elusive quilters who cannot start another projects until they complete the one they are working on. It blows my mind. If I didn't have at least 10, *cough* more like 50 UFOs, I think I would get twitchy. Plus, I have the attention span of a gnat. I get bored doing the same things over and over. So for me, more projects equal more happiness.

Spider Web Blocks
I'm working on Wagon Wheel and Spider Web blocks currently. I am also attempting to free motion quilt some of my smaller quilts. Making smaller projects helps hone my sewing skills. Most of what I quilt or sew is inspired by blog reading, my crafty friends, and quilting sites. I'm a computer taught sewist and highly addicted to Pinterest.

Scrappy Coins
I love house blocks!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm not sure my work differs much from others, as I'm usually using inspiration from others to create my own projects. I love color and much of what I make is a riot of color. I provide sunglasses for all my quilt recipients. Being a graphic designer, I've worked with color on paper and computers for over 25 years, but the fabric equivalent of this process continues to amaze me. Playing quilter probably makes me a better graphic designer as well.

Leaning Tower of Fabric
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
To me, quilting is complete relaxation. Free motion quilting and zippers still make me sweat a little, but I can see progress in those techniques each time I try them. Buying and collecting fabric has to be at the top of why I sew. I collected fabric and textiles long before I sewed, so subconsciously I must have been a quilter at heart.

My great grandmothers were quilters and I'm lucky to have a quilt from each of them. My mom and aunt did a fair amount of sewing and needlework as well as pottery, macrame, and painting. I suppose I have artistic genes or perhaps come from generations that liked to create things. My son and daughter are artistic, so I'd like to hope I had something to do with that.

The random process of piecing with scraps is probably my favorite way to quilt. I spent a lot of time on the Quiltville site when I first started and have made several of Bonnie's mystery quilts. I love the randomness and variety of scrap quilts.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
Usually I see something I love and jump right in. I'm not a huge planner or one of those that struggles to make a decision. Trying new things is one of the perks of sewing. There's always some new project, technique, process to try. It's fascinating. I've tried traditional quilt blocks, mystery quilts, swaps, group projects, modern quilting, bags, pouches, toys, and the list goes on.

I'm also quite good at abandoning a projects if I'm no longer having fun. No regrets. Like I said, I get bored quickly. Miniature quilts are perfect for me. I hosted a Doll Quilt Swap for a couple ofl years and had a blast partnering up quilters to swap little quilts. The participants were beginners to experts and everyone had fun getting squishy mail once a month in the form of a little quilt. Most of the monthly swaps had no theme, as I like to challenge quilters to use their creativity versus stay with a theme. But one month, I jokingly wrote that the theme would be "Purple Poodles Riding Chocolate Glazed Donuts in the Sky." I told them I was joking, but one of the funny girls sent the beauty above to me. You gotta love quilters! Best people in the world.

I'm tagging any and all of you to write a blog post and answer these thought-provoking questions! The rules say you have a week, but I'm not very rulish. Let me know in the comments if you want to play along and I'll be sure to come by to say hi! Thanks for stopping by!

1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on? 
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Monday, September 1, 2014

No Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to all my US friends. I have the day off from real job, so that's fun. Plus, there's potato salad. How better can the day get?

Everything is better with cheese! I won a $50 gift certificate for President cheeses. Yesterday, the Inspector and I had brunch at Hamburger Mary's and stopped by Tar-jay to get my cheese loot. They didn't have a huge selection, but I had fun! Manchego, goat, and brie. Hooray! I'm going to stuff slices of brie in baby bella mushrooms and bake them later today.

My cousin got me hooked on the documentary "Grey Gardens" made in the 1970s. It's about Jacqueline Kennedy's relatives that lived in the Hamptons. I've been meaning to watch the film adaptation with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. I found the DVD at the library when I was there for Sew Day. The film version provided some back story that explained a lot. If you haven't seen these, check them out.

And lookie what else the library had. They call them "Playaways," and it's an all-in-one audio book. You put a battery in it, attach your earbuds and away you go. Beats watching episodes of "Snapped" all day when I'm at the sewing machine. I think I've seen all the sordid episodes anyway.

My guild buddies gifted me with pretty selvages at Sew Day Saturday. I must play with these soon. As usual, everyone is creating with gorgeous fabrics. It's fun to see what they're using.

Today I'm going to play with my spider web blocks and eat potato salad. I might take a boat ride around the lake later when the gang's all here. Have fun!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Fun

It was a fun sewing weekend. I made three wagon wheel blocks to go with the ones I won at the guild lotto. That's seven blocks toward a quilt. These blocks go together easily with chain piecing. Two more and I should be bored with them. Story of my quilt life.

I found gorgeous jalapeno peppers at the market. They were so pretty they looked fake. My grapefruit spoon works like a charm to remove the seeds and ribs, which is where most of the heat is. I've done this by hand and cannot recommend. Spent one evening too many gripping ice cubes. Get a grapefruit spoon. And wear gloves if you don't work with peppers a lot.

Inspector Gadget and I had fun emptying my cheese drawer for the peppers and shrimp and then wrapping everything in bacon. I wanted to grill these, but the cheese would not have cooperated. I made a butter, wine and spice sauce to drizzle on before baking. Because cheese needs butter and wine.

Here you go. Out of the oven. They were yum. The jalapeno peppers get milder when cooked. Our local hangout serves the shrimp with jalapeno, cheese and bacon. I can't get enough of them, but I think our version was better.

More spider webs blocks using my scraps. I always think fabric scraps multiply during the night, but I can actually see a bit of a dent in mine. What?

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Let's eat, grandpa

So many recipes to try. My Pinterest boards are crying uncle. Catching up on magazine reading by the pool last weekend, I tore out five new recipes to try. These refried beans are vegetarian and couldn't be easier. I threw some chili powder in them for zing. They cook all day in the crock pot and then you mush them.

I was trying to make refried beans without the lard and preservatives I see in the canned versions, but look at these refrieds from Trader Joe's. Doh! I should have just opened a can and saved myself the trouble.

Bones was helping Inspector Gadget feed the carp grass clippings. Our new neighbors think the carp are gators. Bones hopes they are not.

I fit in a few more spider web blocks last weekend. Hoping to get a few more sewn this weekend. I love playing in the scraps.
Even the trash is colorful.

I won the block lotto at our monthly guild meeting! Woo hoo! Only four blocks this month, but I will have fun making more. I think these Wagon Wheel blocks are so cute. A big thanks to Rene' for bringing my block to the meeting and sending me my winning loot. I love them!

Happy weekend! I'm rushing through my chores and office work and plan to play my weekend away. There will be cooking involved!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I've Missed You!

A gal at work ordered some of these Nature Box snacks and they were so good, I ordered some too. They have sweet healthy stuff, but I'm hooked on their savory snacks. So good. I highly recommend the Toasted Cheddar Stix. Not shown because we gobbled them down. If you want to try them, send me your e-mail address and they'll give you $10 off your first box.

Looking through my templates for a spider web template. Kind of fun to see what I've made over the years. I probably should toss them, but I've used a few more than once.

My only fabric acquisition over the weeks. It's been busy with summer fun and oh yeah, work. I do love Denise Schmidt's fabrics. Found this one on clearance at Jo-Ann.

Found my spider web template. These blocks are so fun to make. I'm using scrap paper as the foundations. I hope to make a few more after my weekend chores. I'm using this tutorial, but you can find many others out there.

I found a rack of lamb that didn't cost as much as my car. I brushed them with Dijon mustard, rolled them in an herb mixture and threw them on the grill.

Much to College Boy's dismay, I switched out the silverware. He has a certain connection with our old set, as in odd cutlery freaked him out. If a spoon didn't match our set, he refused to use it. I offered to put the old set with his "hope chest" items, but he declined.

I organized my gargantuan gadget drawer too. These oldies are my favorites. I stole the can opener from my mom's house when I moved out. Bad girl. And three biscuit cutters are normal for a Southern girl.

Bring on the fruits and vegetables. Summertime is my favorite. I hope you're eating well too! Happy Saturday!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Across the Finish Line

You know what they say about us crazy quilters. Find some fun fabric, chop it into pieces and then sew it back together. It's not as futile as everyone in my family thinks. I really liked this collection. Very retro and the colors were right up my alley.

I really didn't think I would finish the Michael Miller challenge before the deadline, but I made it! I even quilted it myself. There were hurdles. I didn't photograph them. Did I mention I hate the quilting part of quilting? I do.

Look how close the binding was. Not even enough binding to do a mitered seam. No biggie, straight seam it is! The backing striped fabric matched pretty well and I found it in my stash right away. Bring on a new project. Oh wait, I have seven million works in progress going on. No shortage of projects around these parts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Monday!

I finished all my blocks for the Michael Miller fabric challenge. Using my design table, I threw them together mostly haphazardly. Anything would go with these scrappy blocks. I loved the print that had the big flower motifs, so I left those without chopping them up. We only had fat eighths to work with , but I still had two pretty flowers to feature.

I sewed the blocks together two by two and then in rows of four. For smaller quilts like this I stitch continuously to keep everything straight.

I even press the rows while everything is still attached. It makes it easy to press the block seams opposite ways so they sandwich when you sew the rows together.

I added some solid borders to increase the size a bit. The finished top is 42" x 44". Now to find something for the back and get this baby quilted and bound.

Cool selvage! Love me some orange.

Our guild's BOM for August. This one was fun. It's a traditional wagon wheel block. I love seeing all the blocks of the month that everyone creates.

Oh my gosh, I got caught up in "Botched" while I was sewing Sunday. I usually watch "Snapped" but it appears I've seen too many episodes and I hate repeats. Have you seen this "Botched" show where they're trying to fix botched plastic surgeries? *shudder* Yeah, I watched two entire episodes and tapped the prime time show that aired Sunday night. I'm pretty sure spending all my plastic surgery money on fabric has been an excellent decision.

As usual, we're starving around here. It's downright pitiful.
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