Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Start


This quilt is on my "to-do" list. (Beauty) It was made by Alma of Blackbird Designs and was featured in their book "When The Cold Wind Blows." I think it is one of their most beautiful quilts, and that is saying something. I have started a stash of fabric. It's still a very small stash and that is as far as I've gotten. My goal is to at least get one block ready to applique so I will have a travel project this year. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Unfortunately, I am not getting much quilting done that isn't directly related to our own published designs. (Function) That's my conundrum. Balancing beauty and function - need versus want. Work and play. This is my goal for the new year. Balance. Best wishes for your balancing act too.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post Holiday Referrals

Did you spend your down time doing something marvelous? That is assuming you aren't chief cook and bottle washer at your place. That work never gets done, does it? I wish I stitched something as marvelous as thisIf you are not familiar with Janet's blog - be prepared to be inspired (and a bit humbled). Did you cook something exotic and comforting for your loved ones like thisVisit my friends over at IPB Living and soak up their 21st century home/shelter/cooking/quilting/gardening blog.

Maybe you would like to peruse my newest blog stop . A 13 year old style genius and overall cool person who gets invited to Fashion Week in NYC to critique the masters. I'm trying to remember what I was doing at 13.

My last few days have been spent messing around with thisand this.
Yes, that's a portable dvd player behind the featherweight. Multi-tasking, don't you know. I am waiting for this to be delivered today from Amazon.which was recommended to me by Barbara. I cannot wait!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to All!

We hope you have a White ChristmasBut that your travels are safe. Even if you don't go somewhere as exotic as here.
We hope you and yours have a peaceful and happy New Year. All of our best to you.I tried and tried to get a pic as sweet as this one. I had bows. I had reindeer antlers that blink. Gibby would not play along. After 30 some pictures - this is the only one in focus.No one said it better than Alma over at Blackbird Designs blog. Remember those who need our help this season. Peace On Earth.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Making a List and Checking it Twice

I have been able to do most of the things on my list. Of course, you know, I deliberately had a very short list this year. I recommend it. Not much decorating. Just the tree and this glittery Empire State Building in front of my Brrrrr Park quilt. Done. This let me cut out 2 quilts this week and piece one and start piecing the other.The colors are right for the season. Notice my impeccable neatness. Hey, they started out in neat stacks. I swear. This is a scrap test run of a pattern that still needs some tweaking. All this fabric (and the fabric from the previous top I pieced this week) came from my scrap bin. This is it.
I. Am. Not. Kidding. It is still full. It's a Holiday miracle. Hey, there is another story told this time of year about a tiny bit of oil lasting 8 days. Just sayin.

I am in the holiday mood, so I will share a very quick and lovely treat for last minute gifts. Notice the bowl in front of the Brrrr Park quilt.White Chocolate Peppermint Bark. Soooooo easy. Get 2 lbs. of Callebaut white chocolate and melt in the top of a double boiler. Add one dozen crushed candy canes and 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Pour onto a parchment paper lined jelly roll pan and chill. Break into pieces. Done.

And.... one final photo of our Christmas Joy. Gibby. Laurie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lights, Camera, Tree

We put up the Christmas tree this weekend. We had to go in a new direction for the decorating this year. New puppy, you know. Real trees were the way to go in the first 10 years of our marriage. I love real trees and had a bad aesthetic experience as a kid with artificial trees. (artificial tree's in the 60's and 70's were NOT good) Lorelei had grown up with artificial trees and a real tree was a great luxury. When she was in college, we would wait to decorate the tree until she could be home with us to do it. Which brings me to this. Our Martha Stewart cast iron Christmas tree stand - for a real tree.
I bought this stand online when we first got a computer. It was my first online purchase. Oh, the novelty of that. "Who would buy things online", on a regular basis, I thought. Hah! Anyways.....I bought this on Martha Stewarts's online store, before she was associated with Macy's and before she was associated with K-Mart. It was on sale for $19.95 (down from around $100.00) and had free shipping. A week later it arrived with a huffing and puffing UPS man carrying it. It was HEAVY. Obscenely heavy. Imagine what you think a solid cast iron Christmas tree stand would weigh and triple it. What metal is heavier than cast iron? Plutonium, maybe? I'm sure whoever had the idea at Martha Stewart Living to offer free shipping on sale items was quickly on the unemployment line. I love this stand, but it hasn't been used in a few years. I would offer it for sale on Ebay - but then the shipping costs would bankrupt the purchaser. So, it stays on.Next was the vintage Christmas tree stand and the vintage white artificial tree. I love this one too. It came about when I found the stand at an antique store and had to find the perfect tree and perfect ornaments to go with it. It started my Shiny-Brite collecting. We have had this one up for the last 5 years or so. Last year, you may remember I blogged about the lights. Some of our white lights had died during storage and I asked Bill to pick up 2 strings of white lights on his way home from Hockey. He did. He bought "Industrial" white lights - whatever they are. What they were was BRIGHT. It took awhile to get used to, but we liked it. The lights were so bright I could sew by them. Both a real tree and this large white tree seemed to much of a temptation for a new puppy. I have a nifty aluminum tree that we used as a prop in our booth at Quilt Market a couple years ago. It is sparse and shorter than the white tree and could be placed on the window sill in the bay window. Aluminum means that we couldn't string lights. I covered it with icicles and all my silver and gold Shiny-Brites and then flipped on the overhead spotlights. It worked. It really looks better from the street than it does from inside. Here it is in front of the window.Let me back up a few steps and you can see the whole tree. Yes, I loaded all the ornaments where they could be seen from the street. I planned on getting a ladder and decorating the top of the tree later, but this tree amuses me and I think it will stay this way. It is badly in need of a tree skirt. I will put that on my list.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Is Coming!


I promised some of my fellow rug hookers I would post, and show something new I was working on. So, I decided to show a couple new holiday designs. Gibby will be back - don't worry. Right now it is freezing in MI and he is not a fan of being outside. But soon you will be able to see how he is adjusting to his first snow and what Santa Paws will bring him for Christmas.

In the meantime, I will show that we do have a little holiday spirit, and it is a good thing, as Christmas is fast approaching.

It continues to be a challenge to get in the spirit here in Naples - after spending most of my life in MI where we alwalys wanted a White Christmas and we usually received a White Christmas! I went out yesterday to shop at a shopping area on the water, and it is decorated beautifully, but people are shopping in shorts - the weather here is glorious.

It is beautiful to go down to the shore in evening and see the wonderful decorations on the boats - now that is something we never got to see in Michigan.

Have a wonderful time with your family and friends, we wish you the best.

Promise - Gibby will be back to tell you about his First Christmas.


PS - Pardon the "not so great" photos, I taped the rugs on the wall for a quick photo, they look a tad out of whack, but trust me - they are not.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wintry Day

I hope to decorate the house and trim the tree this weekend. It was in my plans to do it last weekend, but something else came up.Right now the house is decorated with things like this.I am the eternal optimist though, and it will be done soon. The scrap box is being depleted again. (Hah!) and I am tinkering around with this.
Which may, or may not, look something like this.We'll see. It could be a Minick and Simpson quilt pattern in the near future. I wanted to work on it last night, but a little thing like a Winter Storm happened and the power went out at 6 pm. You know, my quilting options were diminished with no electricity and total darkness. Bedtime came at 8 pm. Good thing there was a large stack of quilts on hand. Everyone is up early. Especially one particular one. Maybe I can get some work done today.

Speaking of winter..... I found something wonderful for chapped, cracked winter hands. I know, you have heard it all before. This week was especially testing since having a new puppy in the house meant lots of hand washing. I found this online. Honey Guy Cream. I found it at Fat Quarter Quilters. This stuff is Gibby tested and Laurie approved. Honey Guy Cream by Honey Guy

Hope you are keeping warm today. Happy Quilting.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Special Delivery

Here are your first set of pictures of our new family member, Gibby. I was lucky to get these as the only time he is still is when he is asleep - and the only time we have seen him asleep has been for the 30 minute car ride home. He is 11 weeks old and was in a litter of 11 pups. Notice the tail in a blur. He is mostly all in a blur.
His father was a Boxer and his mommy was a Labrador - Shar Pei mix. We are not sure how we will eventually look, but he is kind of adorable right now. We found him online at
Home Fur-Ever Rescue site. They are a wonderful bunch of folks who rescue pups from dire situations and kill shelters. It takes a special person to do that work and we are forever grateful that they do it.
We exchanged emails all week and met the foster Mom and Gibby yesterday. Today we attended their Rescue Adoption event and filled out lots of paperwork and brought our boy home. Roscoe and Lizzie; the cats, have yet to meet him. They are hanging out under the bed for awhile. They will come around. They don't like to admit it, but they kind of like dogs.
Hmmmm, that paw looks kind of big doesn't it. I think we will be busy here for the next couple of months.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanks everyone for the great stories! We read them as we cooked our Thanksgiving meal and we laughed a lot. I think the overwhelming theme was cooked innards and de-constructed pies. Our meal this year was great and without trauma. That is always good. We hope yours was the same.

Here are a few more lone photos of the weekend in Dallas. It seems about 10% of my pictures are in focus and many great things just didn't get photographed, but here they are:

These are a couple more photos of Moda. You know, a little explanation may be needed. The Moda Warehouse is not open to the public. Heavy sigh : (
It is open to Quilt Shop owners and other retailers. Polly and I have an account to purchase materials for our workshops and to get supplies to make quilts for our published patterns. And yes, we pinch ourselves every day.This is the Notions area of the warehouse - acres of needles and thread and such. This next pic is a picture of the Lab Store that is upstairs. The Lab Store is where Moda U Retreats were held and where other Retailer workshops are held. In essence, a superbly merchandised area to demonstrate to Shop owners in how to display. We kind of like this Red, White, and Blue corner of the store.The next day we went to Grapevine Texas and went to the Gaylord Texan Resort. Wow. You know, everything in Texas is big. There was an ice show (no pictures), Santa and water skiing reindeer (no pictures), The Grinch (no pictures), and much, much, more. I did get a toy soldier - Texas sized.There was a hockey game later that evening, complete with Texas Hockey Cheerleaders and there is no photographic evidence anywhere.

Refreshed, we ventured out on Friday to McKinney Texas where there was a "Dickens Of A Christmas" going on. Fun. Music, caroling, lots of Arts and Crafts and good food. All of the antique shops kept us very busy. I saw this old, fabulous quilt in one. This old applique design might be a good starting point some day for a large 4 block applique quilt. I have made several 4-block applique quilts, but never tire of the style.Another great shop in McKinney was "Happiness Is Quilting". The shop is adorable and will be expanding soon. Make sure to stop by when you are in the area. I picked up a few fat quarters myself. I have a large applique quilt on my schedule in the next couple of months and I am sorely in need of greens and golds. And now on to the important stuff - the winner of the Thanksgiving Story. The random generator picked: Junglewife (Yes, the random generator picked entry #1!)

Congratulations! Oh, and I posted the wrong Christmas Past fabric picture in the previous post. Here is what the winner gets - (it's a lot more fabric!). Email me here, Junglewife and I will get this out to you shortly.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Big D

Greetings from Dallas. The flight was the best kind - uneventful. Lorelei met us at DFW airport and soon we were on our way to United Notions - Moda Fabrics. What can I say? Miles and miles of fabric and the nicest people ever.These bicycles are used in the warehouse by workers who navigate the aisles and pull ordered bolts of fabrics for quilt shops. I am trying to convince Bill that this might be a nice part time occupation once he retires. Who wouldn't love this job? Exercise. Nice people. Lots and lots of fabric. He is thinking about it. All he has to do is move to Dallas and get a good recommendation. That was just about as much excitement as people can have in one day. This was the first time Bill and Lorelei have been there. Now when I go on and on about how wondrous Moda is and how nice the people are, they know exactly what I mean.

Look what I found? They had a bundle of Christmas Past fabric in the sale aisle. This stuff is long gone, people. This must be left over from an old kit or it is bolt ends. I scooped it up. And it could be yours! Just comment and tell us your funniest or most embarrassing Thanksgiving story and post it before midnight Saturday the 28th. Remember, this is a family blog.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend Update

Hey, I actually have been working on a couple of things. These are some applique blocks that will become a quilt at some point. Yes, they are much like the Uncle Sam's Hat block in the recent Quiltmaker publication, but I ad-libbed a bit. This quilt will be finished around the holidays and look for it here in the Spring.
Bill and I are heading to Dallas early Tuesday to have Thanksgiving dinner with Lorelei. Bill does not like to fly. I actually like to fly. It's hanging out in airports for long periods of time that I hate. I plan on taking some applique with me.

Once in Dallas I will head to the Moda warehouse to pick up a few odds and ends. Bill and Lorelei have never been to Moda. Maybe they won't react like I did when I was there for the first time, but it will still prove to be impressive. I will have camera on hand. They probably won't be hyperventilating like Polly and I did when we went for the first time. (or any other time for that matter). You never know, though.

Polly is traveling at the moment, visiting her kids and grand kids for the holidays. She has promised to put some pictures of her rugs up on the blog when she is back home; so, we have that to look forward to. There is another thing to look forward to. Bill and I are thinking about getting a dog. It has been 6 months since Tucker left us and it feels about the right time. I will certainly keep you updated about that. If it comes to pass, I'm sure you will get your fill of puppy pics.

In closing, here is a video of a friend of Polly and I. Margaret Shaw - Folk Artist extraordinaire. If you are interested in these socks - you can find them at Found - a shop here in Ann Arbor. Have a good Turkey Day, everyone.


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