Our day in the big D

The Co-Defendants were on Spring Break this past week.  His Awesomeness spent it job hunting. The Diva spent it in bed with the flu.  Are my kids party animals or what?!

She awoke Saturday morning fever-free and chomping at the bit to get out of the house…anywhere.  It didn’t matter one whit where we went or what we did.

As luck would have it, this past weekend was the Dallas Quilt Show.  I offered it up as an option and she jumped on it.  You know your kid is desperate for a change of scenery when they typically equate the fun of attending a quilt show with animals chewing off a limb to get out of a steel trap.  But she agreed and our plan was set in motion.

Now, I’ve expressed my displeasure plenty of times about the sanity (or apparent lack thereof) of Dallas drivers.  There’s the incessant lane changing, like squirrels running amok amongst tree branches, the complete disregard for any posted speed limit, and the fact that all cars in the metroplex lack turn signals.  I will say, however, that they seem a rather tolerant lot, letting me exercise my own inner squirrel and lane change at will without honking and waving of the middle finger.

This is where The Diva wants to live when she grows up.  Sigh. 

After a fairly uneventful drive up i.e. no one died, we arrived at Dallas Market Hall.


We quickly ran into several friends and I even managed a picture with Miss Boston.  Thanks for the hug, Lori!


For The Diva, it’s all about the quilts and she quickly shuffled me up and down the rows of vendors so we could get to the meat of the matter.  But, but there’s shopping to be had!  She was on a mission.  Alas, no pictures because I didn’t get the accompanying info so I can’t give credit.  Sigh.

We made it about halfway through and she decided she was famished.  In a week, she’d dropped three pounds she didn’t need to lose to begin with.  We sat down to a 1/4lb Nathan’s hot dog.  Divine.  And how about the death ray glare (see pic below).

Throughout our day, The Diva kept the conversation running and no topic was off limits.  This is a change from the norm, because like me, she tends to be quiet and private.  I’ll wait while you finish snickering over that one.  The only thing I’m allowed to share is that she loves ‘old people’ (her term, not mine and yes, I fit into this category) and that they smell nice.  I’m not sure if this is weird or endearing…or both.  But, two thumbs up old folks, y’all smell great.  πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ 


After lunch we were back to the quilts and wound up having our picture taken in front of the selfie sign.


And yes, at twelve years old she’s taller than me.  πŸ˜­.  At least I’m taller than the dog, never you mind that she’s a dachshund.

We came to the end of the show and, as promised, I took her to the two-story Barnes and Noble I’d stumbled upon last fall.  Three cheers for books! πŸ“š 


After a quick snack, we were on the road and headed for the hacienda.  But not so fast!  Dallas weather had other ideas and it took for-ev-er to get out of town.  And no, I didn’t take this while driving.


Interestingly enough, the usually pedal to the metal drivers slowed down to a snail’s pace, sometimes coming to a complete stop.  I kept waiting to become someone’s hood ornament.   Yikes!  Three hours later, we made it home.

For being rushed through the shopping portion of the show, I’d say I made a pretty good haul.


I got a non-skid pad for Lenny the Featherweight’s foot pedal from Woodturnings by Tim.  The Diva and I scored some yummy smelling soaps and an Everything Balm (good for anything that ails ya) from Goodies Unlimited in Guthrie, Oklahoma.  Some Laurel Burch socks and sewing themed bandages rounded out the early purchases.

I snatched up a quilt kit because of all the low volume neutrals it had that my stash is currently lacking.  I bought several patterns, all different in style and some completely outside of my box.  Can you say ‘appliquΓ©’?  Gulp.

I also picked up two mini wool kits to work on at an upcoming beach retreat in September.  Hey, I’m thinking ahead here!

The Diva proclaimed she had the best time being with old Mom and I have to say time alone with her was fantastic.

Until next time.

Back at it

To work, that is.  I started back to my regular 4am schedule on Thursday after being off for six weeks and can honestly say that I thought two days of work was going to kill me.  It may yet.

To use a family phrase, “I’m so t-a-r-d tired, that I could f-a-r-t faint”. πŸ’¨

Don’t ask.  Just go with it.

While I was out, I did eventually sit down and accomplish a few things on the sewing front.  A word of caution: do not wield a rotary cutter while under the influence of narcotics.  It’s a miracle I still have all my digits. πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Thankfully I have a handy dandy Accuquilt Studio to do a lot of the cutting now.  Of course, there are still blades to contend with, but there’s at least a modicum of foam covering them up.

I cut out four rag quilts, two of which are finished.  Do I have pictures?  Nope.  πŸ™„

I also cut out two Bonnie Hunter quilts, Garden Party and Crabapples.

The picture below constitutes the beginnings of Garden Party.  I already had a ton of Kaffe Fassett fabrics cut into the correct sizes and it would’ve been tons quicker to use them, but did I?  Obviously not.  Why make things easier, amiright?!

Lordy, but I do so love polka dots!  And I have a ton of them.  Logic said if I used up a bunch of them, I’d clear some shelf space.  I started with two and a half stacks of polka dots.  Post cutting, guess what, I still have two and a half stacks of polka dots…and another box of 1 1/2″ strips.  Yikes!  Fabric’s a lot like bunnies…quite proliferative.


Little units coming together…


And help from the dachshund.


Funny how all these little pieces didn’t take long to put together.


Until I eventually had blocks.  Boom πŸ’₯   Audiobooks πŸ“š make sewing go so much faster than watching πŸ“Ί.  Love me some Sue Grafton and Earlene Fowler! 


I’m still working on the nine patch units blocks, but I’m getting there.  The orange 🍊 makes my heart ❀️ go pitty pat.


And more help from Ziva.  Downward dog, anyone?


Then there’s the Crabapples fabric.  Look at all those 1 1/2″ squares!  πŸ‘€.  This one’s all cut out and ready to go.  


I’ve also made progress on En Provence.  With a bit of aggravation thrown in.  What is quilting, after all, but equal parts pleasure and pain?


I laid each block out on my design wall to make sure I got everything oriented correctly and discovered to my dismay that I hadn’t, despite counting and recounting, pieced enough units to make sixteen of these blocks.  There may have been some salty language bandied to and fro.  

Mostly fro, but some to as well.  

Do I go back, cut more fabric and piece the needed units?  No!, my inner toddler whined and no it shall stay.  I made a make-do block from the leftover units and a couple of solid squares.  Life sallies forth and so shall I.  I’ll post a picture when the flimsy is complete.

I also still have quite a bit of work left on Double Delight, but I took one look at it all and decided nope, not today.  For six solid weeks.  Sue me.  One day it will be done!

Toward the end of my leave, my quilting friend Deb of the blog, My Quilty World, came down my way for a retreat.  As I was feeling a bit down, I asked if I could pop in and get a dose of red-headed sunshine.  She said yes and I got a much-needed Deb hug and smile.  Thanks, Deb!  Love you bunches πŸ’

I also got this…

Photo credit: Deb Singer-Hayter of My Quilty World 

Ignore the fact that I look like a nincompoop, but holy smokes, it’s Bonnie in the flesh!!!

πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„πŸ˜πŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„πŸ˜πŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„πŸ˜πŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒ

Earlier that same week, my mom and I got to watch The Diva participate in her first track meet.


Why, yes, I will be one of those obnoxious sports parents, yelling and carrying on. Too much fun!


Her events are the 1600 and the 2400.  The bottom photo was the 1600 where they combined boys and girls.  So proud of her.

Well, I think I’ve packed enough into the post.  

Until next time, its nap time 😴 .

What a (post-surgical) girl wants

So, I’m twelve days post-hysterectomy and having all kinds of fun. πŸ™„πŸ€’β˜ΉοΈ

My doctor told me I’d be hospitalized 48 hours.  I said 24.  Working in a hospital means I want to spend as little time there as a patient as humanly possible.  As luck would have it, my doc was easy to please and all it took to get me sprung was a little crop dusting of the hallways and *boom* I got to go home.  Yay me.

I prepared for surgery by cutting out a few small projects I could work on during my recovery. I certainly wasn’t going to waste any time by cleaning the house!  Haha, the joke’s on me because there’s been just enough energy to get from the bed to the recliner and back again.  Sigh.  I so miss Lenny the Featherweight.  

My mom, bless her, sprung me one day and we and our friend, Marilyn, made a trip to Simply Fabrics.  Hallelujah for a change of scenery!

I did get the yellow squares cut out for En Provence.  Isn’t this the most gorgeous fabric?!  And yes, I know it isn’t all yellow, but it just went so well with my other fabrics.  As a side note, I don’t recommend wielding a rotary cutter while on pain killers.  Not my smartest move and, yes, I still have all my digits.


Prior to surgery, I had horrible thoughts of dying and leaving my family behind.  Who’d be around to nag them?  And I made Himself promise and swear to find a woman who was good as gold to the kids.  Not to mention my fabric stash. Can you believe I made arrangements for its dispersal in the event? Yep, I did. Now I’m worried I’ll die of boredom and wind up on an episode of Hoarders.  Welcome to how my mind works.

I’ve done a little handwork.  It’s been ages since I’ve cross stitched.  When did manufacturers start making those charts so stinking small?!

The dachshund and I have become a dynamic duo of sorts.  She’s my mammalian hot water bottle and my midnight TV watching buddy.  


We have a routine, we two.  Daytime viewing is Matlock, Columbo, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  Nighttime is Murder, She Wrote and whatever happens to be on the Hallmark movie channel.  All of which are punctuated by those ‘as seen on TV’ commercials.  Not to mention the weight loss ads.  I’ve never been so sick of seeing Marie Osmond and Oprah in my life.  By all means, just eat a damn chip already!!  And then there’s the ‘miracle water’ some TV preacher is hawking.  He looks like a constipated car salesman.  This isn’t your calling, darling; go find something else to do.  I am, however, on the verge of buying the red copper square dance pan and miracle bamboo cushion.  I could sit on my bum while dinner burns to a crisp in my new non-stick pan.  Woohoo!  And don’t get me started on commercials narrated by folks with accents.  I’m all set to buy a lifetime supply of Tena pads just because of the British accent.  Yeah, I’m that easy.  Or drugged.  Sad.

All in all, it’s not been too bad.  Except for the exhaustion and the stomach virus I’ve been hosting for two days.  Yay. 🀒.  Fingers crossed I can actually sit at my machine again sometime soon.  

Happy quilting!

A Word of Thanks…I Think

Dear Similac,

Hahahahahaha, you delightfully quirky folks!  What is there to say other than ‘thank you’ for enrolling me in your Smart Moms program and gifting me with my very own membership card?  Does it come with a coupon for at least one child-free pee for me per week?  Yeah, I thought not.  

Someone in that program has an epically awesome sense of humor, especially at a time like this.  I love people with a sense of humor.  Beats trying to make jovial with folks who believe tree branches are for carting about in their nether regions

I digress.

But seriously, last week’s mailbox offering of aforementioned card and breathless recitation of everything I have to look forward to was plenty for moi.  You see, I’ve been there, done that twice.  Well, I’ve done it more than that, but you know, two kids.  Anyway, the youngest is twelve and I’ve no intention of birthing any more mini-mes.  I have the stretch marks, sagging rack and bladder that cannot/will not make it on a round of errands without visiting at least one public toilet.  I’m good.  Really.

Cue today’s mailbox offering.  Someone, somewhere is laughing.  Hard.  I hope they pee themselves or at least blow soda out their nostrils, because really?!


Next Thursday, I’m finally getting what I’ve always wanted.  No, not Tom Selleck, dammit.

Yes, it’s a hysterectomy!  Score!  I win!  

So you see, I do not need your infant formula.  I don’t want to know about fussy eaters, gas (newsflash: I need help with the husband and the dog on this one), or colic.  I don’t want tips on finding me time, getting plenty of rest, or a cure for cracked nipples.  Seriously, I’m good.

In lieu of formula, please send any and all manner of liquor and chocolates from which I may partake while I’m laid up.  Thank you in advance for this splendiforous act of corporate generosity.

Yours truly,

The Mrs.

Fabric RabbitsΒ 

I am this close to having all the units ready to piece into blocks for my En Provence quilt.  This.  Close.  So close I can almost see the completed top in my mind and yet I’m waging a battle against all these stinkin’ quarter square triangles.  They’re like rabbits, really, multiplying overnight while I sleep.  πŸ° 🐰 🐰 So many QSTs.  Over and over and over again.  

And the points didn’t match up, either.  Color me peeved.

I’m using Thangles that I’ve had around the sewing corner since the pilgrims floated over on the Mayflower and have used up almost the entire package.  Never mind the ten other packs in various sizes that’re hanging around like fabric groupies.


Pin paper to fabric; sew; pull the paper off.  Repeat.  Is this what plucking a chicken is like?  Pick, pick, pick…and the trash can fills with bits of paper.  At least there aren’t any necks to wring, amiright?


Naturally, I’d thought I’d cut plenty of strips to complete the necessary numbers of QSTs, but then I asked myself where’s the fun in getting it right the first time?  Because I’ve gone back to the cutting mat more times than I care to count.  It’s like swimsuit season for fabric.  Try, weep, repeat.
HSTs in search of a mate.  Cue the rotary cutter!



I’ve had help: coffee β˜•οΈ and canine.  At least one of these doesn’t steal my seat.  



My comfy sewing chair. *sniffle*

I suppose I’m getting all discombobulated because next week I’m having surgery and I want stuff done?  Organized?  Clean?  I mean the house is clean; it’s not as if this is Plum Island or anything, but to heck with all that dusting and mopping crap, I just want the sewing corner tidied.  

Why do we women do this to ourselves?  It’s not as though someone will drop by, ask after my recovery and then say I can’t use your john because it doesn’t meet my standards.  

Ugh, where was I?

I’m just a girl trying to get stuff done, sooner rather than later.  Someday.


Days Like These

There are friends and then there are friends, amiright?!  You know I am.  

Being an introvert, I tend to be choosy: think Jif peanut butter moms.  Then there’s the sarcasm no one seems to get.  You know you’ve achieved black belt when they can’t tell if you’re serious or not.  If you can handle my silence and not be freaked out by me staring about with the countenance of a serial killer, you’re a keeper.  Hence, I have few real friends.  Lucky b*tches.  

Just kidding; I’m the lucky one. πŸ€

So when I freaked out several weeks ago and dropped the mother of all expletive laden blog bombs, I got a brief message from my friend, Deb.  

‘Okay, when are you off?’

Off?  Off what?  Day, meds, rocker?  I’m already there, perched on the precipice!   

Obviously she meant day because no one in their right mind shares their happy pills.  Get your own damn prescription!  πŸ’Š

So Tuesday I drove the I-35 corridor to Dallas to spend the day quilting and relaxing with a group of ladies, all because of Deb’s and Mister’s efforts.  Thank you, Mister, for finding us such a nice sewing spot! πŸ†.  I don’t see these women unless it’s at a retreat, so to spend time together with Deb, Allison, Leanne and Stephannie (yes, there were two of us!) was epic.

Did I take pictures of this fun-filled extravaganza?  Nope.  Too busy having a good time.  Isn’t that proof you’re having a good time, if you’re too busy to stop for pictures?But if you want proof that it happened, go HERE.  Deb has a delightful blog, My Quilty World, where she shared all the details of our day and a Facebook page, Our Quilt World.  And as a bonus, she doesn’t use nasty words. 😳

In addition to all the planning that went into the day, Deb brought me these gorgeous batiks and a pattern with my name on it!


We used the classroom at Rocking Bobbin quilt shop as our base for the day.  It’s a very nice shop and right now there’s a massive display of fat quarters that are 5/$5!  And there’s a sweet shop doggie, too.


More batiks for the Bonnie Hunter mystery, a few of those 5/$5 fat quarters, some Grunge fat quarters (be still my ❀️) and a pack of Bali strips in green.  And everything in the pretty red bag with Christmas tissue.  I’m happy.

Lenny the Featherweight decided to pull some crap (isn’t that just like a kid when you take ’em out in public?) and spew out some nasty stitches.  It was Allison to the rescue with a change in needle type and a correction to how I had him threaded.


On the sewing front, I got clue 5 finished and it wasn’t even Thursday night.  Score!!


Around 3pm, I decided to pack up and made one last stop at Golden D’or Fabrics on Harry Hines.  


Is there anything better than a batik?  I think not.  More for the Bonnie Hunter mystery.  Hey, there’s no such thing as too many when it comes to batiks!

I arrived home just in time to throw some grub at the ravenous beasts, throw on my pjs and drop off to sleep in my recliner.  

Friends, mint mochas, sewing, Mexican food, and fabric.  What a day!  Thank you, Deb, for everything.  Love ya!

Spinning Seams

In my last post I talked about spinning the seams on the billion and one four patches I’d made as part of Bonnie Hunter’s 2016 En Provence mystery quilt. I’ve watched other quilters do this and it does make for a much flatter intersection. I just don’t do it with the flair that they do. 

 What I’ve seen is a flick of the wrists in opposing directions resulting in a few popped stitches and a spun seam. Easy, right?Except when your ‘flick of the wrist’ results in wrecked seams and distorted fabric. 

Apparently I don’t know my own strength. So I spin seams the way I do lots of things…at a snail’s pace. 🐌 
You can YouTube videos ’til the cows come home, but here’s my pictorial version of spinning seams.
Here’s the back of my four patch. Notice three of those seams spin in a clockwise rotation while the fourth is playing the rebel.

Here, let me point ’em out to you.
Clockwise…

Clockwise…

Clockwise…

And the weisenheimer…obviously not clockwise.


You want the rebel seam to flip the other way. If you have your own four patch, take a moment and feel it up dead center where those seams meet. It’s lumpy. It’s the muffin top of quilting. Muffin tops (unless they’re blueberry) are bad.
Take hold of that knotty seam allowance and pull it over to the opposite side.


You’ll notice that the stitches start to pop loose. That’s okay, this isn’t a facelift. This is what you want. You’ll wind up popping two, maybe three stitches. Nothing’s going to fall apart.

Keep pulling in the opposite direction until the seam allowance is fully pulled to the other side…like this. See the tiny four patch in the center? That’s what you want.


Now it’s time for some heat.


And voila!


Check out Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville site.  She has an awesome tutorial there.  YouTube is another good source if you like videos instead of still shots.

Happy quilting!

En Provence ProgressΒ 

En Provence isn’t my first Bonnie Hunter rodeo (that was Double Delight…ugh and it still isn’t done), but it is the first one I’ve participated in at the time the clues have been coming out.  

I’m so glad Bonnie included paper piecing options for clues 2 and 4 as I’m a little intimidated by that ruler and paper piecing makes my perfectionist heart go potty pat.  Maybe someday I’ll use that ruler.  And add in the fact that these block pieces aren’t tiny like Double Delight and I am one happy quilter.

Surprisingly, I’ve kept up kinda-sorta pretty well.  Clues 1 and 2 are completed and I’ve spent the weekend working on clues 3 and 4.  In fact, Clue 3 is finished except for the pressing.  That’s close enough to finished, isn’t it?!

  

I love batiks.  I pulled all the magenta, purples, pinks and greens from my stash and barely made a dent.  I’ve had to buy neutrals by the bucketload because there’s nary a one to be had at my house.  The LQS doesn’t carry many batiks and definitely no batik neutrals so I opted to use whatever non-batik neutrals I could find.  I reasoned that if I ordered fabrics, I’d have to wait and be behind when everything got rolling.  Also, I’m cheap.  Just ask The Co-Defendants.

This weekend has been perfect for sewing.  A cold front blew in Saturday dropping the temperature to an overnight low in the 20s.  And I didn’t cook…all weekend long (until tonight anyway).


Perfect weather for sewing, chugging coffee by the gallon and letting the dachshund in and out (and in and out) to chase imaginary squirrels.  I never convinced her the squirrels were holed up somewhere toasty.  Crazy dog.


His Awesomeness and I did get out some yesterday (he’s practicing for his upcoming driver’s license test) and I managed to convince him to take me by a quilt shop I spied on the way to his girlfriend’s house.  It’s a lovely shop I never knew existed because they don’t advertise at all.  I guess that’s how you miss something for four years!  Anyway, look what I found.


Neutral batiks and some pretty flannel plaid ($6/yd from Benartex…be still my heart)!  I’ll definitely be back.  Himself just cringed at the mention of my finding a new place to drop some dough.

I’ve started spinning seams on some clue 3 blocks I’ve actually pressed and cranked up some T. Swift while readying my paper piecing templates for Clue 4.


My children didn’t appreciate head-bopping and I suffered through plenty of head shaking and looks of horror before the day concluded.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I’m hoping to be fully caught up by the debut of the next clue.

Happy quilting!

Keep swimmingΒ 

First, a plethora of gratitude for those who offered up words of encouragement following this week’s profanity-laden meltdown.  Y’all are awesome and appreciated.  Thanks for sticking around.


Mama got the rest of her staples out yesterday (double knee replacement) and ‘celebrated’ by doing the laundry and ironing today.  Weirdo.  Oops, I mean…love ya, Ma!  πŸ˜˜   I did a verbal vomit all over her and got some sound advice about things.  Hey, it’s not as if the woman can move very fast yet.  There was no chance of escape.

I even found a bright spot in going to the DMV to renew my license.  In and out in…wait for it.  Guess?  Guess how long it took me?

Fourteen minutes!  Fist πŸ‘ŠπŸ» bumps all around!!

Post-meltdown, I’ve tried to devote a little bit of time every day to getting something creative done.  Yesterday, it was writing Christmas cards.  I’m not a wordy person, blog wordiness notwithstanding.  But I tried for a bit of wit.  If you get a card and it’s something goofy sounding, just know it’s coming with the best of intentions.  Falalalala 🎢 😳

I’ve also been working on Clue 2 for Bonnie Hunter’s En Provence mystery quilt.  I like to think I’m leading from behind because trying to hurry and catch up only serves to freak me out.


I’ve opted for the paper-pieced version for this clue.  My perfectionism is stroked and soothed by the power that is the absolute guarantee of awesome that is achieved by this method.  Does that make sense?  Put another way: anal-retentives rejoice!  Everything matches; all points meet…can I getta hallelujah?!


The flip side is my perfectionism doesn’t at all appreciate ‘scrappy’.  Everything must match and scrappy does not match!!  Pretty soon I’m going to have to breathe into a paper bag.  Onward I trudge.

Today has been especially good weather for sewing…cold, windy, overcast.  Even Ziva the Diva appreciated her sweater today.


Although I have to say, I’m over the overcast already.  Where’d the sun go to anyway?

Inside, there’s a fire and a vintage sewing machine waiting to be fed.


I love my Featherweight.  He asks no questions, he tells no lies and he has zero expectations.

Onward.