En Provence Progress 

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!

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!

Revisiting Mary Ellen’s Sunflowers 

You remember this quilt top?


It’s the one my great-grandmother made, the one desperately in need of quilting, the elephant sitting squarely in the middle of the quilting room.  Since that blog post in 2011, I haven’t touched this baby.  I decided this was the time.

Luck and an escape from work allowed me to hit the road to Brazos House in Rainbow, TX again for the second time this year.  Squeal!  The Diva claims the chuckle I emitted and happy dance I performed were just this side of pure evil.  Something told me this wasn’t kid code for cool.  So I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I hopped on my broom and blew that popcorn stand, leaving behind His Awesomeness who may or may not have marked my departure as his good fortune; The Diva who bemoaned being left behind with two testosterone laden beings; Himself, whom I’m fairly certain I kissed as I blew out the door; and the dog, whom I’m sure is planning a retaliatory poop for my return home.  Be sure to flick it onto the carpet like last time, you little schnitzel!

Himself just stood there and looked like he’d been shot out of a cannon.  

There may be carnage when I get home.  At the very least, the house will look like a merry band of marauding Vikings encamped in the living room.  But for a few days of quilting in the country, I’ll take it.

The Diva and Himself (before becoming cannon fodder)

The more I make this trip, the faster it is to get here.  This may or may not have something to do with my willy-nilly adherence to posted speed limits and my general disregard for my own personal safety.  I like to think of it as survival instinct.  Only in reverse.  Because, even though I love ’em, sometimes a little distance makes me love them even more and want to kill them a little less.  Mommy loves you guys!

My mission this go round was to make headway with quilting the sunflowers.  You remember them?  Go back and read the beginning of this post.  I’ll wait.  Yes, I got sidetracked, but I’m back now.  Keep up.

The going is slow and tedious and requires significant snackage.  Yes, that’s a word because I said so.  Don’t argue with Mother.  Here’s a bit of progress.  I’m not showing it all because I’m mean and I want you to come back for more.  Plus, I haven’t had coffee yet so I’m not even human.


These colors aren’t true, but I’m making do.  They are, in fact, lighter and more toward the pastel side of things.  Eww.  Again, I digress.

There are twenty (pause for dramatic sobbing and liberal use of tissues) blocks.  Twenty.  Like what I was twenty-two years ago.  

I am going to die before I finish this thing (more sobbing and perhaps a fit of the vapors.  Where’s my fainting couch?) !!!

I did have a nice walk yesterday morning, with two lovely escorts.  I bet their bathroom business isn’t vindictive.  Take note my dictatorial dachshund!


And there was a trip to Babe’s for chicken fried steak.  Yes, that’s leftovers.  In my purse.  You can never be too prepared.


I’m not so Pollyanna or delusional as to think I’ll actually get this whole thing quilted, but a quilter can dream.

Until next time.

Life Marches On

Recently, I shared with y’all the passing of my original quilting pal and our furry family member, Lulu the boxer.  To say we were and are devastated would be an understatement.  The house was too quiet even though I can count on one hand the number of times she barked and the daily routine of tending to her was so ingrained, we were all at loose ends.

There was talk of a future pet, something smaller, but not right now when everything was still fresh and raw.

Lulu

Fast forward a few weeks and I attended quilt retreat.  I arrived home flush with victory over my many finishes.  As a quilter, is there anything better than a bona fide finish?  I think not.

Anyway, I’d barely made it through the door when Himself confessed to putting in an adoption application at a local animal rescue.  

For a, wait for it….

miniature dachshund.

Hold the presses.

We’d just lost an 83 lb boxer and now were in the running to adopt a 12 1/2 lb dachshund.  Pardon me, but where the heck was the rest of the dog?  Never mind the fact Himself said “No small dogs”.

Three days later, Ziva was ours.

Meet our new furbaby and my mini quilting buddy.  

She’d already been named before we even knew we were going to get her…even before I’d made it home from retreat.  That’s optimism, folks.

And, yes, they named her after Ziva David from NCIS.  She certainly has the personality of the TV character.  

It’s just been a week and we are already in tune with her whims and wants.  Apparently little dogs know how to exert their will better than their larger counterparts.  

When it’s bedtime, it’s bedtime and you better not be getting up for anything.  Need a drink or trip to the potty?  Pay the piper,my friend, and listen to her bark her admonition.

She’s a pistol.

And, yes, I dress her up.  Guilty as charged!  
I miss Lulu so much, but I think this little girl was sent to help us through. 

   

Hug your furbabies tight, y’all.

All Good Things Must Come to an End (and other lies I tell myself about quilt retreat)

Lie #1: What a great opportunity to give up soda.

And sugar, and cursing, and, why the hell not, breathing.  It never happens.  Ever.  I made it two days and caved to the call of that hot stud, Coca-Cola.

I did get some reading done.  Robert B. Parker and Diana Gabaldon.  Hey, I’m a multi-tasker.  

And managed to get so much done on the sewing front that I had to give Lennie, the dirty bird, a cleaning mid-retreat.   
Lie #2: I’ll drink more water.

Refer to the follow up to Lie #1.  I might go down to the riverbank and watch the mighty Brazos, but that’s about it in terms of water.  Oh, and bathing.

I will swill more coffee in four days than in the previous 361 days combined.  Does that count toward water consumption?  Yep, I didn’t think so, either.

We all managed to consume some supremely delicious food.  Who invented shortbread anyway?  The Scots?  I don’t know, but God bless ’em, whom ever they may be.  What you see below is shortbread schmeared with chocolate ganache and sea salt.  Sweet sister Sadie, was it ever divine! 

Check out our group project…a woolie. 

Lie #3:  I’ll go to bed at a decent hour and sleep in the next morning.

At no time do I make it past the nine o’clock hour except at quilt retreat.  Makeup is a must, otherwise I look like something from Night of the Living Dead the next morning.  Sleeping in might be until 6 a.m., 7 at the latest.  I’ll have to ask His Awesomeness how he does it.

I finished another top…Chocolate Covered Cherries. 

  

Lie #4: I’ll take a walk every day.

I took one walk, one, and managed to pick a time where I was guaranteed to get wet.  Stupid Texas weather.  Himself and The Diva expressed shock that I actually ran to try and avoid getting drenched.  It’s possible; it’s just not pretty.  Kind of like a galumping hippopotamus.  

I managed to start another project.  Yes, I know there are many other in-progress niceties to which I need to attend, but…polka dots!!  There are a number of things I’m pretty passionate about: Red Wings hockey, Tom Selleck, Graham McTavish, polka dots. 

Paired with twenty-two embroidered blocks rescued from a scrap bag… Raggedy Ann and Andy, no less… 

And, voilà!  

Am I glad to be home?  Of course.  Do I miss it already?

Before I even left the property.  

Until next time.

Gettin’ Busy at Retreat

Well, here I am again at Brazos House in Rainbow, TX.  Hallelujah!

This week is The Co-Defendants’ Spring Break.  Most parents (at least the ones my kids claim are the parental units of their school chums), take their curtain climbers on awesome ski or beach trips.  For the record, I’m firmly convinced most of these folks exist only in my kids’ dreams.  Anyway…

Smart parents (like quilting mothers), throw some dinners in the freezer, bribe the darlings with some bucks for books (my kids are geeks like that…two thumbs up!) and give a saucy sayanora as they burn rubber peeling out of the driveway.  Yes, that’s me, pumping my fist in the universal sign of ‘Hell, yes!’  Shield your eyes while I do my happy dance.  I got no rhythm.

Do I feel guilty for abandoning Himself to the occasional grunts that pass for communication from the sixteen year old or the mood swings of the tween girl?  Considering he didn’t suffer through hemorrhoids the size of Jupiter, bladder control that left the building with the first kid and stretch marks that could qualify as superhighways, I’d say he’s getting off pretty easy.

And what perfect weather for sewing it has been.  Dreary, overcast, gross.  I love it!  

Before I left, His Awesomeness declared the worst part of retreat was me coming home.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Man, this chick must really suck as a parent.  What he meant was I always come home with more than I departed with.  Well, duh, I have to hit the quilt shops, don’t I?  Or it may just mean I suck as a parent.  Take your pick.

Frankly, I don’t think I brought enough to do.  

The Diva carried on like I was headed for a leper colony.  You’d think I was never coming home. 

And I’ve already finished a project.  Hot snot!  

I’m pretty pleased with it.  I think the star’s my favorite part.  

At this point, I’m pooped and figure it’s a pretty smart move for me to head on to bed.  Tomorrow is another day.  Night all.

Hijacked Accounts, My Email’s Whack and Offers I Can’t Refuse

Mail.  

As a kid, something in the mailbox meant a number of exciting possibilities: an invitation, a birthday, Christmas…a rubber snake.  Ahem.  As an adult, it means bills, credit card offers and the occasional postcard offering me a discounted rate on Playgirl.  Yay, me.

In my mind, email at least means freedom from someone wanting me to pay up…after all, I gave birth to two of those.  Sure, there’s the daily detritus in the form of school grade reports (grab the Xanax), little ‘just checking in’ notes from teachers (almost as bad as principal phone calls), offers for dates with hot Asian ladies and marriage to Russian brides and, my personal favorite, offers of male enhancement products.  Personally speaking, I’m looking for something  to shrink my badonkadonk, m’kay?  I’d like to know what triggers this deluge of horse pucky.  Is it me searching ‘kilted hotties’ on Pinterest?  Gawd!

Lately, I’ve been getting email wanting me to confirm my Friar Lawrence Twitter account.  I’m sorry….whaaaa?  Then there’re the Instagram updates from some redneck I’m not acquainted with who spends quite a bit of his time waxing rhapsodic about his girl and life in general, turning my account into something of an enigma.  Where’re the offers for Dr. Hardy Wood’s Root Stimulator?  Poof, gone.

Anyhow, in an effort to keep an eye on His Awesomeness and his many varied social media accounts, I decided to reactivate my own account and commence snooping.  I tried Instagram for five minutes several months ago and decided I’d have more fun ripping out my eyelashes, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.  

Eight follow requests awaited me, evenly split between pimply-faced dudes and buxom twits.  ‘What form of madness is this?‘, I asked His Awesomeness. ‘You’re just awesome, Mom‘, came the immediate retort, forcing my b.s. meter to full tilt.  No male on the planet’s that on his toes in the face of female skepticism, amiright?

By now you’ve reached the same conclusion I had.  My own son hacked my deactivated account…linked to my personal email, may I just add.  Criminy!  At least he had the grace to look chagrined.  It’s a wonder they make it through puberty.

Himself offered to patrol His Awesomeness ‘s account, a sacrifice he assured me he was willing to make.  I took him up on the offer.  At least now there’s time to place that Canadian Viagra order.

A Day in Granbury 

After much waffling (think ‘cheerleader deciding on the perfect outfit for date night with the football captain’ waffling) Himself decided we’d take the family for a drive to Granbury to ‘take in the sights’.  Being a smart woman, I knew this was code for ‘car show’ and cheerfully inquired about being dropped off at a quilt shop.  His other option was San Saba…and a car show.  I tell you I cannot win. 

So, while the Testosterone Twins slogged through row upon row of old cars and tank top and short-shorts clad, belly-boobs-and-tanned-to-saddle-leather-skinned chicks, The Diva and I toured the town square.

Granbury’s a pretty town and since we got there a bit early, we grabbed some seats and watched the world go by for a bit.  

   
Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long.  Patience isn’t what you’d call her forte.  

Hitting the downtown quilt shop, Houston Street Mercantile, was my primary objective.  The shop is in an old building down on the square, complete with creaky hardwood floors and a high ceiling.  I love old buildings!

And isn’t it amazing what you can photograph in the john?  

I have several projects I need (ahem) to get started on and, naturally, didn’t have the necessary colors in my stash.  And, yes, right now I’m rolling my eyes so hard at the thought of not having something in my formidable stash that I can check out my own ass.  Moving on!

I started laying out bolts thinking I knew what I was doing, after all I’ve been doing this for over a decade, when The Diva informed me I was mixing purple-blues with gray-blues with teal-blues.  This was quickly confirmed by the sales lady who seemed to take quite a bit of pleasure in throwing me under the quilting bus, much to my kid’s delight.  In my defense, they all looked like plain ol’ blues to me.  Blech, blue.

It’s a wonder I’m allowed out of the house unsupervised.  Sheesh!  Who dresses me in the morning?!?

Here she is, setting me straight.  

‘Too much pattern!  Too purple!  Too icky!  Oh, for the love of Pete, just get out of my way Mom!!!’

We spent a whopping forty-five minutes in there, so long in fact you’d think her eggs were expiring and she hadn’t found her Prince Charming yet!  I’m still not sure where the fire was and all. 

Did I mention about patience not being her forte?  Yep.

After lunch at Grump’s, the best burger joint ev-er, Himself made one final stop for me at Sew Krazee.  Googling an address will get you the wrong address so let me just say you need to Google the Big Lots in Granbury for an address as it’s in the same strip mall.  The fabrics run the gamut from reproductions to modern, kids to batiks to flannels.  I think this shop just may be my favorite.

Himself loves to take the scenic route whenever possible so we stopped by Whitney dam on the way back.  

  
His Awesomeness was completely worn out from all that waiting around on Mom.  He’s still clutching his iPod pacifier though.  

Just another fun-filled day with the family!  

Cooking Up a Little Something

It’s become quite obvious that Himself is in absolutely no hurry to update the room in which I spend a hefty chunk of my time.  No, not the bathroom…soaking in scalding hot water sounds divine, though, doesn’t it?

My kitchen, bless it, is painted avocado green (my choice and I still love it) but is in dire need of something.  Himself’s eyes glaze over at the mere mention of new cabinetry and hints at granite make him turn a nasty shade of green.  Still, this kitchen needs something.  I’m thinking dynamite.  In the interim, I trolled my stash and found something appropriate for the lone window over the sink.  I’m quite sure I made the whole endeavor way harder than it had to be, but it kept me busy (read: not snacking) and it made a small, okay, miniscule, dent in my fabric stash.

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The valance is burgundy with gold stars.  Naturally, you can’t tell that from this picture.  Take my word for it.

The curtain itself spends most of the time shoved off to each side so I didn’t make them as fluffy as the valance.  I really like the curtain fabric.

016

I might, given some initiative, slap a new coat of paint on this room, but for now the new window dressing will have to do.

What’re you working on?