Chasing the Sun

After much preparation (read as: angst over choosing a photo and fabric) and anticipation (equal parts dread, excitement, and nervousness…I never said I was normal), the day finally arrived for the start of my friend, Deb Singer-Hayter’s, mystery quilt along.  Find her blog here.  And you can find the Facebook group at Chasing the Sun Quilt Mystery.  Why keep the fun to myself, eh?

I did all the responsible adult crapola Friday afternoon so there’d be no distractions come Saturday morning.  Clean floors, clean toilet, clean underpants.  Check, check, and check.  

No distractions, with the glaring exception of the dachshund, of course.  I’m pretty sure she’s plotting a revenge poo for being ignored this weekend.  Don’t let the face fool you.

I started out with ten yards of luscious fabrics, colors I pulled from an equally fabulous photo by Andy at @andymapp on Instagram.  I hope I take pictures half as good as his when I grow up.

Over the next hour or so, I stripped like a pro.  No bills in my g-string, though.  Just one tired fanny.  And the fabric yardage became this…

Then became subcut pieces…

That eventually, twelve hours later, became ‘units’.

There are three units in Clue #1.  Am I done?  Nope.  Although, I do have units A and B finished; unit C is almost there.  I’m seriously considering skipping meet the teacher night tomorrow just to get them done. 😬

Here’s a look at Unit A.

Unit As here under the watchful gaze of one very spoiled dachshund.

And Unit Bs on their way to completion.

This morning, the mojo had fled and I am one pooped mutha.  I figure I have until next Saturday when the next clue arrives, to get this one done.

Then again, with all the canine ‘help’ I’m getting, I never know when I’ll get finished.

Yes, that’s a dachshund on my dining table.  Don’t judge.

Until next time…

Calling All Quilters: an SOS

Just as I called for help for the victims of the West, TX explosion, I’m now calling for help for a fellow quilter who is gathering quilts for those affected by recent flooding in Louisiana.

You guys overwhelmed me with donations of blocks and completed quilt tops.  Will you help her?

Today, I met Wendy in the central Texas town of Meridian, with a couple quilts and some completed tops.  This is a sweet lady who is singlehandedly putting together quilts, as well as gathering needed household supplies for her fellow Cajuns.

You can find her on Facebook at Wendy Imdatwhodat Hendriex.

She’d appreciate any help you could offer.

Thanks, y’all!

Chasing the sun to England 

I’ve quite convinced myself that most of life’s enjoyable pursuits are like eating potato chips.  Why stop with one when a multitude will do?  Reading, ogling kilted men on Facebook, quilting.  All thoroughly enjoyable in mass quantity.

Where am I going with this?  Keep your shorts on. I’m getting there.

So, if you’ve kept up with me at all you’ll remember I’ve been hand quilting an antique top made by my great-grandmother and started another pieced top for a friend with cancer.  I really do try my best to start and finish a project, but as with a New Year’s resolution, those good intentions are soon swirling the bowl like that last goldfish you forgot to feed for three weeks as a kid.  Buh-bye.

Enter in my next project.  Sigh.  I tried to resist the siren’s call, but when it involves colors of sunsets and sunrises, how could I resist?  That’s right, I couldn’t.  And so, I chugged the koolaid like a coed at a kegger.  And it’s all Deb’s fault.

Want the link?  Here ’tis.  

So, starting August 27th, I, along with other koolaid drinkers, will be Chasing the Sun on a mystery quilt along.  

First up was to find inspiration.  I’d combed the interwebs for a suitable photo to pull quilt colors from and found lots of lovely stuff, but nothing to make my heart go pitty-pat.  I eventually made my way to Instagram and a favorite account I follow.  I tagged an obscene amount of his pics and then had to narrow it down to just one.  Check it out.

Shazam!  I’ve been following Andy, @andymapp, for a while now and love, love, love every photo he posts.  And I’ll admit to getting a bit grumpy when several days pass without a new picture.  Selfish beastie.

Anyway, my Mama always says you never know until you ask and so, I asked pretty please may I use your gorgeous photo?  And then I waited. And, obviously, because I posted his picture, he gave me permission.  Either that or it’s completely pirated.  Just kidding, I got the thumbs up.  Thank you, Andy. ☺️.  

Do yourself a favor and go check out his site.  It’s gorgeous, I promise.

Next up, was to choose fabrics.  I hit up my local quilt shop, Tomorrow’s Quilts, and got color help from fellow quilter, Tina.  Thanks again, Tina!

Eight fabrics.  And no clue what we’ll be doing with them.  Eek!

First clue comes out August 27th.  I’m so excited I’m hopping around like a toddler that really has to tinkle.  There’s a visual.  You’re welcome.

Time for something new

For now, I’ve shoved the quilting frame in the corner and taken up a new project.  I love hand quilting, but only in small doses and this is a honker of an endeavor.  

Nothing like going from lighter, solid colors to ‘hey, look, the quilt shop threw up!’ 

I love color.  Any.  All.  Make it so vibrant my corneas can’t take anymore.  👀.  The plan is a modified Jelly Roll Race top.  I’ve pieced all the strips end to end.  Now it’s on to piecing the top and using a quilt-as-you-go method.

I’ve even got the back pieced and ready to go.

As weird as it sounds and as much as I love each fabric in my stash, it makes me slightly nauseous to cut into a gorgeous fabric.  What if I don’t like the way it turns out?  Then I’ve wasted fabric! 😫.  Anyone else feel this way?

I hope to get it finished this weekend (fingers crossed).  In the meantime, I have a fistful of scraps to admire.  Golly, I love batiks!

Happy weekend, y’all!

Still at it *sob*

The hand quilting of Mary Ellen’s sunflowers continues.  

That sentence could pretty much be the blog post in its entirety, but I have this love affair with the English language so I’ll carry on for a bit.

Since the February retreat, I’ve accomplished very little on the quilting front.  It seems the quilt just doesn’t want to be quilted at home.  It needs my retreat buds as much as I do.  For an introvert, that’s a little weird, but there you go.

There are nineteen blocks, plus an abundance of sashing and nine patches.  I have finished the quilting on exactly one block.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s a picture of my start.  

This isn’t a process I can rush because my stitches wind up looking like a drunken sailor made them.  Not pretty.  Watching TV while quilting is out because I get distracted.  In a moment of weakness I thought I’d watch some Outlander and manage to keep on task.  *Graham McTavish, slobber, stitch, slobber.* What a truly stupid idea. 🙄
Pandora and some earbuds seem to be my best bet.  Classical for smooth stitches; ZZ Top for when I want to look back and wonder where I went wrong.  In the words of my grandmother: they’ll never notice it on a galloping horse.  Alrighty then.

Anyway, some progress has been made.  

From the first outlines of the petals, flower center, and three concentric rings…

To the beginnings of a crosshatch design…

To a completely crosshatched block.

Tomorrow I’m having a quilt-in with my Mama and a friend so maybe I’ll get more done.  My needles are loaded and ready to go and I’ve even made the first stitch.

Here I go.  Again.

Busy hands, happy heart?

It’s summertime.  I’m hot, hormonal, and cranky. Which is not unlike my wintertime self, only sweatier and with fewer layers.  

I digress.  It’s time for a rant.


Dear Males of the Species,

I’m pretty sure that isn’t how you greet one another.  How about dear sirs, fellows, homies (do they even say that anymore?), gents, lads?

I suppose if I were of the youngish male persuasion, I’d say something along the lines of How they hangin’?  Perhaps How’s the package? would jazz things up a smidge for those grammar nerds.  Who-wee, I’m already feeling apologetic and there’s so much that needs to be said here. 

The point is, we need to discuss how you manage your, ahem, man bidness. 

Listen, I completely get that it’s summertime.  It’s hotter than a two bit hooker on a payday weekend and we’re all sweating like pigs before a big luau.  Clothing sticks to our sweltering flesh, booties cleave to vinyl seats (leather if you’re uptown).  But…how to put this delicately? 

Eh, screw it.

Please stop handling yourselves like there aren’t women and children running amok.  

Because, we are, you know.  And I’d like to think I speak for most women when I say, dammit, lay off that crap!

I watched a fellow stroll through the parking lot the other day, his hands never still, the action almost unconscious.  It was like watching the aftermath of a car wreck.  Grotesque, yet riveting.  Like a Tom Cruise movie.  Same difference.

I ask you, whats with all the rummaging about?  Did you lose ’em?

I don’t see how as the good Lord saw fit, in His infinite wisdom, to physically attach them to your bodies.  Unless you find yourself in a nursery rhyme, the dish is unlikely to run away with the spoon, my friends.  They are, in fact, still there.  Surprise!

I live with two males whom I love dearly, but one of whom is guilty of excessive baggage handling.  It’s the frontal equivalent of patting the backside to make sure the wallet is still there.  

Take that somewhere private, tend to affairs and then rejoin polite society.  If it’s an absolute must, be advised there is a time limit for a must-do public rearrangement of your personage.  Anything beyond 2-3 seconds constitutes fondling.  Again, they are physically attached.  If you’re having to hunt them down like wild game, your britches are too big.

I’ve been told by confidential informants that sometimes The Business gets in a ‘bind’.  Unless you are having to reel it in like a garden hose (brief pause for hysterical laughter) the best I’ve got is…well, I’ve got nothing actually.  I’m too busy retrieving the eye orbs that rolled out of my head.  

Want to talk about binding?  Try wearing a bra.  You’re in a bind?!  My fat fanny.  Harness your beloveds like ladies truss up their girls and get back to me, m’kay?  You won’t catch me juggling my bodacious rack like a circus clown juggles bowling pins.  Know why?  ‘Cause I take that hot mess to the ladies room.

And last, but not least, is the sweat excuse.  You, sirs, aren’t elephants and, as such, your sweat production shouldn’t rival that of such a large creature.  Do elephants even sweat?  Never mind.  Let me refer, yet again, to women and two words you yourselves will never use.  

Boob sweat.  

Breasts are heavy, pendulous pains in the tucchus.  And the shoulders.  And the back.  You wanna talk sweat?  Die and be reincarnated as boobs.

Bottom line: I’m happy as a clam you’re a dude.  We need y’all for stuff like opening that stuck on lid or driving around for hours because you’re too stubborn to ask for directions.  We don’t need you rooting around like hogs after truffles.  Knock that mess off.



The Diva Turns Twelve

I started a tradition of writing a letter to each of the kids on their birthday, starting with their first.  And then life happened and I got off track.  This is the first I’ve put on the blog. She’ll either love it or it’ll give her something to talk about in therapy.


I knew it was coming; it was just a matter of when.  

At Hey Sugar in downtown Waco

Years of planning those friggin’ themed birthday parties.  Gag.  Little hats, matchy-matchy napkins and plates, glitter, pink, princesses and one year, that damn purple dinosaur.  How I loathed Barney.  And don’t even talk to me about Dora and her annoying backpack.  Trust me, if all life’s answers could be found in a backpack, I’d be toting one of those puppies.

The Diva and my mother, the kicker of cancer’s ass

And now those days are past me because ‘parties are for babies’.  I’m torn between a fist pump accompanied by an unladylike whoop and a bit of misty eyed nostalgia.  *sniff*

That first taste of a Health Camp shake

She’s been working on the whole tween thing, perfecting the eyeball roll, the derisive sneer for anything harboring a whiff of uncool and ‘Mom’ delivered in that tone that all girls eventually master that effectively conveys all your idiocy and unhipness in a flowing rhythm of syllables.  How the hell do they do that?  It’s a gift I suppose.

She decided on a birthday meal at a local burger joint that’s been around since 1948.  For this child, anything from the 80s is retro.  I, a product of 1974, thankyouverymuch, am practically an antique to her.  She once asked me when we got color television.  The snark is strong with this one.

But as I sat across the table from her and watched her take that first bite of a Health Camp shake, it occurred to me I haven’t said goodbye to my baby, I’m just saying hello to the awesome young woman she’s becoming.

And so I sit here in the middle of Barnes and Noble, tears streaming down my face as I write this post.  For the longest I’ve viewed motherhood as a series of goodbyes.  What an idiot.  

The Diva and His Awesomeness

There are so many more hellos to be had.  You’ll rock some of them.  Some of them will rock you.  But I watch you and I see you.  All you are, all you’ll be.  

I love you, P.

Love, Mama

Tea Towels

I’ve been on a kick lately to breathe a little spunkiness into my kitchen; something more in keeping with my real personality as opposed to the June Cleaver I’d envisioned when Himself and I got married.  Like painting my laundry room aqua and bright yellow was theoretically supposed to make the whole laundry cycle somehow more palatable, I’m operating under the assumption that funky plates and bright pretty Pyrex will turn me into Betty Freakin’ Crocker.  Haha.

Anyhoo, I’ve jettisoned the fruit/veggie medley Pyrex (casseroles, dishes, coffee cups…the whole nine yards, much to the dismay of Himself) in favor of primary colors and retro dinner dishes.  My heart is still doing its happy chacha.  I’ve been hot on the trail of vintage linens, but no dice, and so decided to make my own version of what I think of as kitsch.

I started out with plain white flour sack towels, the kind my Nana bought one summer and used to teach me embroidery.  A pack of five cost me less than $5.  Already the wallet was singing.  It quit when I got to the trims section.  Geesh, but trims are expensive!  I’ll sure miss that kidney I hocked to pay for them.

Because the sides were by no means even, I folded them in half and then half again, trying my best to make them as even as possible.  Apparently wherever these things came from, the staff only sewed them after consuming a bathtubful of margaritas.

I whacked off the offending seams with my handy dandy rotary cutter…

and resewed an actual straight seam.

Then I took my pretty trims and sewed a different one to each of the towels.

According to The Diva, my love of these little babies, combined with the Pyrex, is turning me into a total girly girl.  It may also be the squeals of delight I emitted with each finish.  Whatever.  Mama’s happy.  And we know that makes everyone else happy, too.

Not sure if this is happy or delirious.  You be the judge.

While the Cat’s Away 

The bards were right on the money about distance and hearts and fondness.  I for one am an advocate of getting away for a bit from the spouse.  Isn’t that why quilt retreats were invented?  Himself gets to do his thing: cars, beer, scratching without nagging. And I get to do mine: shop, read, quilt.

Such was life at ye olde homestead this past weekend.  The Testosterone Twins hied off to Louisiana for the Power Tour (cars and, most assuredly, questionably clad female folks) while The Diva and I stayed behind.  

All alone.  On a payday weekend.  Heehee.

I’ve had some experience with being left to my own devices while my better half attends one of his car events and, I must say, for a brief time it is divine.

For one thing, I didn’t cook all weekend long.  Can I get a hallelujah?! 

I introduced The Diva to the wonders of Double Dave’s peproni rolls.  Yes, that’s how they spell it.

I’d already told Himself that I wanted new dishes.  It’s been almost twenty years and I’ve tired of them.  He looked a bit nervous until I assured him I’d keep him.  Unless Tom Selleck called and then I’d have to weigh my options.

Yep, that’s turquoise and avocado green.  They’re fun and funky and practically indestructible.  And they play nicely against my Lustro ware circa 1950s kitchen canisters.

We started our weekend with a lively discussion of fashion do-s and don’ts. Apparently, this is okay…

Camel toe, is not.  No pictures.  You’re welcome.

Saturday morning we set out for local antiques shops, on the hunt for vintage Pyrex and linens. Let me say up front: The Diva was a trooper.  Sure, we only made it to three places, but when they aren’t air conditioned, that’s the equivalent of ten.

Our first stop was to downtown Lorena and Just for You, which is in an old bank/post office building.

Check out the ceiling tin!

Funny how peeling paint lends ambiance in someone else’s place.  In mine it just looks redneck.

And look at the view into the courtyard.

Alas, no Pyrex, but The Diva just had to have this miniature.

As if one real live miniature isn’t enough. 🙄 

Then we crossed the street to Center Street Antiques Mall.  If I were one of those folks who takes pictures instead of standing in the aisles slack-jawed, I’d have something to show you.  But, no.  They had everything and then some as my grandmother would’ve said.  And they had these.

My covetous little heart spied a nearly perfect set of four mixing bowls, but my stomach dropped at the asking price.  What would it take to own them?  Could I hawk a body part, sell a child? 

I guess some of my Nana rubbed off because I talked him down and brought these home.  Along with all my parts.  Oh, and the kid.

Don’t they look right purty in my cabinet?

It’s the little things, y’all.

I’d scored the blue bowls a few days before the boys’ departure.

Next up: downtown Waco and Hey Sugar!

It’s the newest candy shop in town and a must stop for The Diva.  Retro music blaring, bright colors, and a hearty “hey, sugar!” as we walked through the door.  Whats not to love?!

It was packed to the gills with children who thought their grubby mitts were perfect devices for plucking unwrapped candies from their bins and harried parents.  I tried not to think of all the cooties.

The Diva was in heaven.

Here she is Saturday night, ripping the head off a gummy frog.  🐸

There are no words.  Ugh.

There was ice cream, too.

And an interesting door.

And this questionable photo angle.  Geesh.

There was the requisite visit (or two) to the bookstore; the pool; a viewing or ten of Zootopia (a kids’ movie that’s actually good); and a stop at the quilt shop.  We had a blast!

The boys have since made it home, complete with sunburns, tshirts and one cracked windshield.  Don’t ask.

We’re pooped, but what a weekend!