Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Day - Don't Look, Ethel!

Tomorrow's the day for the long anticipated total solar eclipse. Although I am soooo tired of hearing about it, I did stitch up a fun little quilt in honor of the event. I used both sewing machines on this one. Applique and sewing were completed with my Janome Memory Craft. My Singer Quantum was kind of surprised to be turned on, but she rose to the occasion with customized embroidery.

This is a special event, once in a lifetime for most of us, and I'm hoping the clouds stay away. But, good grief, the incessant, frenzied news coverage has been annoying but strangely funny.  It's a combination of Y2K, a 12" snow prediction in Nashville, and a hurricane warning.  Go to the grocery, fill up your car, stay inside.  But be sure to practice Southern hospitality and be nice to the half a million visitors.  And if you aren't sure about those glasses, don't look, Ethel! 

The mute button and off switch have been used a lot lately at our house to filter out the noise.

🌞 🌞 🌞

“...a wealth of information creates 
a poverty of attention...” 
- Herbert A. Simon

Monday, August 14, 2017

44 Years And Counting

When I went on my first date with my future husband, to a high school football game, I was fifteen years old. I had no idea that a mere four years later, we would be at the church house getting married. I figured out pretty quickly that he was the one and he apparently agreed.

I'm so glad we made those choices. We've had some fine adventures.  

Forty-four years, just the two of us. 
I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Happy Anniversary week, sweetheart!

If you really know what you want,
and how to get there,
then everything else falls into place.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bright And Sassy

Bright and Sassy
I needed sunglasses to work on this one! Bright orange and hot pink prints paired with black and white small and mini dots make a striking quilt. The 8” shoo fly blocks went together quickly. 

Larger white and pink dots on black for the backing and long rows of narrow serpentine stitching are a sassy modern take on this vintage block. Bright and Sassy finished out at 32” x 40” size.

Although it may seem like I haven't left the sewing room, I did go on a quick bargain hunt last week. These cute pottery plates were only a quarter each at a local thrift store. They remind me of a diner. 

A bit of research found that they were made during the 1930's and 40's in Brazil. I bought four small plates and four shallow salad bowls. The $1 glassware came from Dollar Tree.  These are perfect for a quick meal in our bay window breakfast nook.  

A bargain is something
you don't need
at a price
you can't resist.

Monday, July 31, 2017


Some quilt designs express a feeling of motion, and these two fit that description. You can almost feel the breezes blowing.

Little windmill blocks in red, turquoise, black, and blue contrast nicely with crisp white. They are set with light blue dotted sashing to complete Whirly, a 35” square quilt bound with black & white dots. It's quilted with a decorative cross stitch pattern along the sashing and through the centers of the windmills. It sure brightens up my dining room table. 

Summer Pinwheels
Cheery pinwheel blocks are placed in diagonal rows with white sashing and a row of white blocks, creating lots of open space. Bright yellow and orange prints contrast well with the cooler greens and blues.  

Summer Pinwheels is 44” x 54” and quilted with white thread, creating swirls on the pinwheels and square maze outlines on the blanks. It is framed with a bright blue random mini-dot that I also used for backing and binding. 

Over the weekend, I took advantage of cooler temperatures to tackle weeds in my flower beds. All this time I've spent sewing has given the weeds a chance to take over. I may have to use a flame thrower or a 50 gallon drum of Roundup.

Fake people are like weeds.
They stunt your growth.
Remove them from your life,
and you'll have space to flourish.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Three Quick Projects

To say that I love to sew is an understatement. Even when I'm stuck choosing a pattern or selecting colors, I truly enjoy the process of creating beautiful items. I'm definitely on a roll this year, with 26 projects completed by the end of June. 
Slashed Nines
A scrap quilt using bits of my recently acquired fabric collection, Slashed Nines started as four nine-patch blocks that were slashed diagonally and rearranged. White sashing and the bright colors make this 28” square quilt very perky. Quilting was straight stitch, outlining the diagonal seams and adding center squares. It was finished in two days, a quick and easy little project!
Sewing Basket
Sewing Basket is a wall quilt made of coordinating sewing themed fabrics in turquoise, lime, red, gray and white. The 2/12” strips are set in a basket weave pattern. The back is several wide lime and white pieces bordering a center section of leftover strips. I pieced this 37” square back in February, but quilted it last month.

Table Scraps
A colorful table mat made up of 4” squares of random scraps is appropriately named Table Scraps. The blue and white binding and backing material reminds me of a vintage tablecloth. Finished size is 32” square, and quilting was simply outlining the  squares with a half inch offset.

And now, back to my happy place...the sewing room.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Water And Sun

Shades of aqua and yellow remind me of water and sun, the beach, and tropical paradise. My two newest quilts feature these colors.

The first, Seaside, is my version of the Speedwell pattern. Light shades of yellow, aqua, gray and white blend beautifully for a cool refreshing twin bedspread. The design reminds me of Mediterranean tile. I love the way the blocks spill over into the border in slightly darker colors. 

The center is quilted in straight channels. Borders have three serpentine rows, intersecting at the corners. I added an extra border to make the final size 78” square.

Almost Square is a brighter quilt using large hot yellow and intense aqua squares and rectangles, split by contrasting white strips. Fabric from my new stash in chevrons, dots, prints and checks give this one a more modern feel. It's quilted with an overall scalloped stitch.  Finished size of 44” x 54” is good for a throw, child's quilt, or wall hanging.

Almost Square

I'm using both in my spare bedroom, along with newly stitched white linen curtain panels. Now I have a beachy retreat for a quiet read or a restful nap. Sounds good, but I have too much sewing lined up to nap. Maybe I'll just sit in there and brainstorm my next design. 

We dream in colors
borrowed from the sea.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Red Snapper

Red Snapper
I love this cute creation. Neutral gray and white print 6” squares arranged diagonally made a fine backdrop for red corner accents. The triangles were remnants from February's Tomato Soup & Crackers quilt. They were just big enough that I couldn't bear to throw them out, and I'm glad I didn't.

The back is a wide panel of gray and white triangle print with two floral red and white strips on each side. A binding of dark gray stripes frames it nicely. Finished size is 35” square. Red Snapper is hanging in my dining room right now.

Follow up: I am nearly finished sorting and cutting the small pieces from last week's amazing fabric find. I tossed a few old magazines to make room for three more plastic shoe boxes of folded small pieces. I'm so inspired by all those colors and prints that one little project is already finished, and I cut and pieced a new quilt top yesterday. I was already sewing up a storm this summer, but stay tuned for more, more, more!

You can't use up 
The more you use,
The more you have. 
Maya Angelou


Monday, July 3, 2017

Fabric Jackpot!

Lawdy mercy, I have hit the fabric jackpot! On Friday, we went to a yard sale and found sewing supplies. I got a grocery sack full of assorted cotton material and a dozen zippers for $13, then headed home. Thought about what I left behind. Saturday afternoon, I went back and paid $50 for all the fabric she had left. Oh my, four huge boxes filled to the brim were loaded into the back of my Escape. Thanks, Mary!

What an awesome find! The majority is cotton, ranging from scrap pieces up to 6 yard lengths. The colors are beautifully varied, with lots of chevrons, dots, stripes, and novelty prints including a few Christmas and Halloween. I spent the rest of the weekend sorting, measuring, folding, and merging it into my inventory. I concentrated on anything over a half yard first. The grand total of quilting fabric from this big find so far is 147 yards

I haven't even counted the basket of small pieces. Those I will press and cut into strips, squares, and fat quarters. Useful Remnants indeed, perfect for scrap quilts.

I also haven't started to check out the last large bin of miscellaneous material. There's burlap, minky, cotton duck, upholstery pieces, flannel, knits and blends for clothing.

I will definitely have to reorganize my shelves. If you're interested in my inventory and storage system, link below for previous blog posts. One change I've made is wrapping the folded fabric around comic book boards (like a mini bolt) to keep it from falling over in the baskets. It has worked great for me, and doesn't take long, although normally I only have a few lengths at a time to document and fold.  The system certainly makes it easy to see if I have enough of a particular material and to find coordinating colors.

A friend told me she was glad I found the sale since I may have been in danger of running out. She knows me well.  I am sure of two things: I am addicted to fabric, and I never want to be cured. It is my happy place, so I am pretty sure I won't run out.  

For inquiring minds, 788 yards is my current inventory total, not counting the small scrap pieces.  That should keep me busy and out of trouble for a while.   


Love is 
not caring 
how much fabric 
your wife buys.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kitchen DIY

How about this for a DIY project?

I'd been looking for a simple pot rack that would mount under the vent hood over my range. I didn't find anything I liked that would fit the space or my budget. Several photos on Pinterest gave me the idea to use black iron pipe. A quick trip to Lowe's and about $25 later, I had pipe, fittings, and spray paint. 

The S hooks were a challenge. I finally found what I needed at Dollar General...plant hanger S hooks in black satin metal...only $2 for four.

That didn't take long at all! It turned out to be a perfect sturdy pot rack to display three of our iron skillets.


Find beauty in the ordinary,
and you'll find joy in unexpected places.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Chocolate Batik Fantasy

I must have been craving chocolate when I made this table mat back in February. Who am I kidding? I crave chocolate EVERY DAY! It's a wonder more of my quilts aren't done in brown and mocha colors.

I've had the turquoise and chocolate floral print for a while and couldn't cut into it. Nothing spoke to me until I was inspired to make it the focal point. The single log cabin square is framed with turquoise and set on point inside the batik border. 

I used 5” slashed squares of mixed dots and purple batiks for the other side, keeping the same border fabric. Final 24” x 26” size is good for a wall hanging, too.

Now, where's the dark chocolate?

A balanced diet is
in both hands.

Chocolate is always the answer!
Who cares about the question?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quick Summer Sewing

While I haven't posted much about sewing lately, I'm at the machine or designing every week. Here are a few small projects I've completed this spring and early summer. 

A quilted tote bag in gray, blue and turquoise is strip pieced from scraps. It has a zipper closure and is large enough to hold my tablet, makeup bag, and more.

The black garden tool print wallet has three zipper compartments to carry anything I need for a quick shopping trip: coupons, phone, lipstick, keys, cash, cards and ID.

A bright and cheery sunflower table mat features decorative stitching. Another little table mat has bright turquoise and black prints on one side and neutral gray and white on the other.

My favorite so far is this smaller purse made in crisp blue chambray with a coordinating stripe. It's perfect for summer. 

Finally, I whipped up a new valance for my laundry room using black ticking and a clothespin print, tied on with homespun strips. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Rainy Monday List

What to do on a rainy Monday? 

✓  Sleep late 
     (thankful to be retired)

✓  Enjoy hot coffee and a good book

✓   SEW!

✓  Shop online

✓  Light housekeeping

✓  Make homemade soup 
     (I REALLY want brownies)

✓  Update blog


Some people feel the rain.
Others just get wet.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bittersweet Victory

Last night I had tears rolling down my cheeks when Austin Dillon took the checkered flag at Charlotte. The last time we saw the 3 car in Cup Series victory lane, Dale Earnhardt was behind the wheel. I still miss that mustached grin and hard driving style. The Intimidator was my driver, and I was rabidly passionate about NASCAR racing. Now I casually watch, and cheer mostly for Dale Jr., but it's not the same.

I guess I am happy for Richard Childress to finally get another win with that car, but I secretly hoped that would never happen. Life goes on, things change, but to me the 3 car will always belong to Dale Earnhardt. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

When It Rains, It Pours

What started out as a normal two week camping escape to Dale Hollow Dam somehow turned into a wild and crazy string of events. We are back home, safe and sound. We handled the stressful stuff well, didn't panic, and actually enjoyed camping. But, I don't think we will forget this trip.

Day one: on the way to Celina, the left rear truck brake got hot, really hot. When you're pulling a big honking 5th wheel on a twisty, hilly two-lane road, this is not good. Got to camp safely.

Day two: Ordered brake parts at NAPA, only parts store in town.

Day three: Guys at NAPA were great, next day service. Jacked up truck and installed new brakes. Not many campers to observe our amazing work. It is quiet and peaceful here during the week.

Day four: If you're ever in Celina you HAVE to stop at Los Primos for excellent Mexican food. Their Chicken La Loma is the best I've ever had. Just the right amount of cilantro in the fresh salsa. And who knew that a small town Mexican restaurant has all you can eat fried catfish buffet on Fridays? NAPA guy stopped by and asked us if all was well with the truck.

Mother's Day: Scattered the last of Sam's ashes in the trout stream where she and Allen loved to fish. My mama is rollin' on the river now.

Day six: Jerold is feeding the squirrels roasted peanuts in the shell. Three are lined up outside the camper every morning, and taking nuts out of his hand.

Day eight: Drove back home to mow grass and pick up mail.

Day eleven: Woke up 7 am to flood warnings at home. Checked our cameras and sure enough, basement had water. Drove home and found Hwy. 52 blocked near house, detour to Gallatin and back up ridge. More water than I've ever seen across fields and roads. Driveway washed but passable, ditch a mess. Vacuumed up water and started fans to dry out basement. Around lunchtime, a minivan wrecked into the ditch in front of our house. No one hurt, they left van where it landed. Jerold graded drive so we can bring trailer back in. Back to Celina along Hwy. 52 yard sale, shopped a little along the way, ate more Mexican food.

Day twelve: Decided to shorten trip and come back home to air out basement. Traffic crazy along yard sale route. Got home, unhitched. Minivan gone. An hour later, a thunderstorm slammed through, blowing over a dead pine tree out of the woods across our driveway in front. Good timing that we got in before it fell.

Day thirteen: Pulled dead pine (covered in poison ivy) off driveway with truck and picked up debris. Jerold graded driveway again. Basement dry.

Day fourteen (today): Picked up mail, sprung Callie cat from jail. Now we're all home where we belong. 

There are always a few bumps in the road, but I am hoping for calmer days ahead. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stormy Path

Stormy Path
Finished in early March, this modern quilt is crafted from navy, cream, and blue fabric set in squares and rectangles. The back features one large centered square with blue borders on each end. I used navy thread to quilt on the diagonal with a scalloped fancy stitch. The size is 33” x 44”, perfect for a crib quilt, wall hanging, or table topper.

I took two weeks off from sewing to camp at Defeated Creek back in April. It did storm a couple of days, but most of the time was pleasant and relaxing.  Except for the 24 hours that the dog tied up in a nearby site barked...constantly...with no intervention from his owners. The six adults were too busy loudly screaming at their eight kids, putting up tents, and hollering back and forth at each other to notice the poor dog. Finally the camp attendant told them to hush up the dog or leave. Amazingly, after that the dog didn't bark much, but his people were still inconsiderately loud. 

Still, there's always a bright side:  I'm happy they only stayed one weekend, and I feel extremely fortunate that they don't LIVE next door to us.   

Some people need a shock collar,
and I need the remote. --Unknown
(But I wish I had thought of it myself)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flat Horizontal Surfaces

Why do my tables, benches, and countertops attract stuff? It seems like I'm always clearing off the coffee table, kitchen and bath counters, desks, dressers, and, oh Lord, my sewing tables!

I'm a visual person and I love having pretty things around me. But I really like them neat and organized. I try to put items away after I use them, but, on the other hand, I want frequently used objects at my fingertips. Hmmm. Maybe too many projects at once? Or just too much furniture?

And, is a dust magnet somehow imbedded into all these flat surfaces? Hey, I have an idea...I'll put little dust mitts on Callie cat! She is clearly attracted to tables.

Y'all have a good week. I'll be dusting, tossing clutter, and making the counters shine.

is nothing more than
postponed decisions.
Barbara Hemphill

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another Angle

Another Angle
Here's a quilt of many colors that I worked on back in February.  

Using lots of scraps, I cut triangles and set them in rows alternated with a medium turquoise small print. 

Experimenting with placement on my design wall was fun but it took a while to decide on the final layout. Diagonal quilting in a dark turquoise thread accentuates the triangle pattern. The final 40” x 49” size is good for a wall hanging or picnic blanket.

It's a good thing I have been using up scraps, because I got fabric gift certificates, coupons and discounts for my birthday. Let the shopping and ordering begin!

In life, we all come with baggage.
Mine's just full of fabric!