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!

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Day Worth Living

What will you do today? Make choices so that you can look back and say that this was a day worth living.

Share a smile or a hug.
Be productive.
Express gratitude.
Get some fresh air and sunshine.
Move: walk, run, stretch.
Learn or do something new.
Pamper yourself.
Make time to just be.
Laugh and have fun.
Enjoy eating great food.
Compliment someone.
Seek beauty in the ordinary.
Be in the moment.
Find adventure.

These are a few suggestions for your consideration, however, please choose your own.

We are not here to live out
someone else's idea
of a satisfying life.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tomato Soup & Crackers

Tomato Soup & Crackers
It seems that I may be on a food theme for naming quilts this year. I've used the tomato colored fabric again, this time for a 45" square lap quilt.

I finished this one back in February, using 4” blocks set on point. The neutral tan and beige fabrics were mostly scraps from other projects, with a few new solids tossed in. The back is one red/beige block surrounded by cream strips.  Machine quilting is free motion twists.  This one is currently displayed on the wall in our living room.

Tomato soup sounds good for this week, since it may be chilly. It's comfort food that I remember from childhood. I think we just had red bud winter with dogwood winter not far behind. In Tennessee, these mini-winters usually start in late March or early April, and only last a couple of days.  I believe they're coming earlier this year.

Strawberry Winter: late March
Redbud Winter: early April
Dogwood Winter: late April
Locust Winter: early May
Blackberry Winter: mid May
Britches Winter: late May
(after this one you can wear cotton britches)

If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature,
there's something wrong with you...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hello Springtime

Wild Mulberry Lattice
Even though we had warm temps in February, then frost last week, it's officially spring today.  

This wall hanging is a perfect springtime project. Wild Mulberry Lattice is constructed with 6” squares set in a lattice pattern. The 29” x 34” size is easy to sew. Purple, white, grey and navy prints are gorgeous together, and match my sewing room walls.  I quilted diagonally with an angled blanket stitch alternating with a straight stitch. I finished it in February during one of those warm spells.

Have a great day—go outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Twist of Lime

A Twist of Lime
This week's theme is green, for St. Patrick's Day on Friday.   With a last name like Ireland, I have to celebrate with shamrocks and all things Irish.  And, even though I married into the name, one or two of my ancestors came from Eire. 

This little table mat measures only 17" x 31" and was quick to finish.  I like the twisted rectangles in bright lime and white prints.  It looks great on my kitchen counter with a wee pot o' shamrocks.  I picked the cheery daffodils before the predicted snow but we only got flurries up here on the ridge. 

 ☘️ ☘️ ☘️

 I may be old and gray on the outside, 
but inside I'm young, redheaded and Irish!  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Neatly Stacked

Neatly Stacked
I love the color combination in this quilt, and of course, the cat prints! The fabric is a 10” square sampler collection called Cat Lady, from Connecting Threads. I cut cream squares, sashing and borders, then used a quickie method of sewing and slashing to make the large half square triangle blocks. It went together like a dream: I cut, sewed and quilted this 42” x 52” wall hanging in about 8 hours.

This quilt was finished in 2016, just before Christmas. According to my sewing log, I completed 27 quilt projects last year, eight of them in November and December. My new Janome sewing machine has been getting quite a workout, and I love to sew on her!

▩  ▩  ▩
Never underestimate the power
of a woman with a sewing machine.

▩  ▩  ▩
If anyone ever tells me 
that I have enough fabric 
and don't need any more, 
I will stop talking to them. 
 I don't need that kind 
of negativity in my life!

▩  ▩  ▩


Monday, February 27, 2017

Morning Meditation

Quiet mornings are one of the delightful benefits of retirement. Sitting with a cup of coffee, I usually read, pet Callie cat, talk to my sweetheart and plan my day. Sometimes I just breathe and enjoy the stillness.

Morning Meditation
I designed this lap quilt back in November with those relaxing mornings in mind. Calming blue, cream, brown, and beige squares are set in window pane blocks. Finished size is 42” square, so it could also be a wall hanging or baby quilt.


When you arise in the morning,
think what a precious privilege it is
to be alive -
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
~Marcus Aurelius

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tropical Dash

All this warm weather in winter has given me some tropical inspiration. Back in January, I paired brilliant turquoise and coral fabric prints into churn dash blocks set in rows of three to make a colorful, cheery quilt.

For quilting, it seemed right to use bright coral thread in a scallop pattern that looks like waves. The back is one long row of scrap strips, set off center in dark turquoise.  

Finished size is 43” square, perfect for a wall hanging or table topper.

Tropical Dash

Instead of hot chocolate, this 2017 winter calls for coconut rum on the rocks. Hmmm, maybe that's another quilt idea. 

True living is
finding paradise
wherever you go.

Find things that shine
and move toward them.
~Mia Farrow

Monday, February 6, 2017

Inspired By Chips & Salsa

Chips & Salsa
One of our favorite snacks became the inspiration for my latest quilting project. It started when I ordered some red fabric called tomato. Scraps of yellow batik print and a dash of lime dots gave me the classic colors I needed.

Now for a pattern with triangles. I found Grandmother's Puzzle, a vintage block that takes on a modern look with these fabrics. The multiple sized pieces are time consuming to cut and sew, even with a few short cuts. I'm glad I didn't plan on a bed size quilt for this one! The diagonal overall quilting was the  right finishing touch for this 15” x 27” table mat.

You can find inspiration in everything.
And if you can't, look again.
~Paul Smith

Don't waste time waiting
for inspiration.
Begin, and
inspiration will find you.
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.