A date with a Featherweight 

My day off dawned much the same as any other: too early and with a sweaty dachshund snuggled against my backside.  At least today I had no plans: no appointments, no errands, and no sick people mucking about.  I’d abandoned responsible adult chores in favor of spending quality time in my sewing corner.  Who needed clean tighty whities anyway?!

The weather outside had been typical for May in central Texas.  Humid, hazy, and windy.  The thermostat settled somewhere in the upper 80s with humidity at approximately melt-the-fat-from-your-thighs range.  Not that I’d mind thinner thighs.  It’s the boob sweat that’s a killer.  Sorry, TMI.  And now there are tornadoes threatening.  Good times.

I’d left my retreat boxes and bags on the floor where Himself and The Codefendants had plopped them Sunday afternoon and today was the day they’d have their contents disgorged and put away.  Retreat unpacking isn’t near as much fun as packing to go.  Anyway, I managed to get that done in record time, despite the efforts of aforementioned dachshund.


Please, no one pity this dog.  She’s spoiled beyond belief and lucky to be alive after biting me in the face on Tuesday.  

Lenny the Featherweight and I made a quick project I’d seen demonstrated at retreat, a pot holder.  Smaller versions were made into coasters.  And, yes, I was stalling.


Once the cleanup was done, I started another project because who doesn’t love seven thousand UFOs lounging about, amiright?

My favorite aunt had gifted me a bag of scraps and I freely admit they sat on a shelf for ages and, in full disclosure, I tried giving them away without success.  😳. What to do with them?  In the words of my Granmommie, there were gobs and scads of them.  Like rabbits without the droppings or potential for tularemia.


There were several orphan blocks in the mix, too.  See…👀.  I still haven’t figured out the lone light blue unit.


I love this swirly fabric.


I tried several blocks using her fabrics and some from my stash.  I won’t show you pictures as it’d be like pouring over photos of a really ugly baby and being compelled to lie that it was the cutest baby EVER.  Not that I’d know about such things.  Just know the blocks weren’t a good idea at all.  Kind of like being a woman of a certain age and not crossing your legs before sneezing.  

At least no one wet themselves.

So there I sat with really pretty swirly fabric that kinda reminded my of tooled leather and nary a clue of what to do.🤔

And then it dawned on me.  Or I guess I should say it sat there staring me in the face.  (Personally, I think a lightbulb moment makes me seem smarter than one of the face-smacking variety.  I digress.)


My fabric winnings from retreat.  Forty-two Western fat quarters. Yippy-ki-yay!

In the end, I chucked my ugly baby blocks and churned out these.  Yee-haw, y’all!



Two thumbs up 👍🏻 and another thirty-eight fabrics from which to choose.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a shower and clean underpants in case we’re visited by a twister.  Heaven forbid I meet my Maker in ratty granny panties.

Happy quilting!

Anyone seen my brain?

So, I’ve been at retreat since Thursday and accomplished tons.  But that’s for a later post.   And before you ask why, it’s because I’m the mom and I said so.


Today, I’m working on yet another Bonnie Hunter pattern.  For someone who doesn’t like scrappy, I’ve seemingly leapt from the precipice of sanity with a rebel yell of ‘screw it, let’s do it!’ and ne’er a fair-thee-well.  Or maybe that’s frat boy.  🤔.  Whatevs.

Idiot.

So, back in January when I had my lady bits yanked and was confined to home for six solid weeks (sounds fun in theory, but the reality is like being promised a night with Tom Selleck and getting PeeWee Herman.  I want to shower in bleach just thinking about it 😱).  

Where was I?

Oh, yes.  Post-surgical recovery.

So, here I was: a nifty abdominal incision, unable to lift anything more than my own substantial badonkadonk into and out of the recliner (because we’re idiots and bought a really tall bed I had no hope of clambering into for the foreseeable future); and a dachshund with questionable mental faculties, the temperament of a band of pillaging Vikings, and a penchant for nesting in my lap atop aforementioned incision and not moving.  Ever.  

Geez, I’m tired just writing all that.

Anyway, what I was, was bored.  My days and nights were flip-flopped and I’d be awake all night with Jessica Fletcher and an endless loop of infomercials.  I was *this* close to caving in and buying a Square Dance Pan, but that woman was annoying.  Like a lifetime of wearing granny panties and suddenly switching to butt floss aka thongs.  Annoying.  But I’m still not convinced I don’t NEED a Miracle Bamboo Cushion.  And my bodily neighbors to the north might really be on board with a Miracle Bamboo Bra.

Yet again, I digress.

Once I got myself straightened out timewise, I thought it’d be brilliant to cut out some quilts.  Never mind the fact I had pre-surgical time to do this.  Nope, pre-planning is for funerals.  Just saying.  Never mind that I was the lone passenger on the Narcotics Express and made a valiant attempt at wielding a rotary cutter whilst under the influence and scared the bejeebers out of myself.  But what I did have going for me, was my Accuquilt Studio.

Light.  Bulb.  💡 

Generally speaking, I’m fairly bright.  Unless you ask The Codefendants.  To them, all brain function ceased in 1999.  But still, I’m not dragging knuckles through the gravel and I manage to not disgrace myself by wearing pajamas to the Walmart, so, you know, there’s that.  Sigh.

I thought why not use this nifty device, sorry, I’m back to the Studio here (squirrel!) and cut out the roughly six million pieces in this quilt!  Woohoo.  So, I got down to bidness and proceeded to cut out the required 1 1/2″ strips I’d need.  And then it happened.  

The instructions clearly stated to cut 1 1/2″ squares.  And being a good citizen, I did.  

No questions.  

No qualms.  

Instructions say cut, I cut.

And before you say it, yes, I am well aware I could’ve strip pieced these.  The thought has occurred.


Someone hold me.

Chasing the Sun: Revealed

I’d just as easily be able to title this post ‘Holy crap, I’m done; Isn’t it Fabulous; Pass the Liquor!’ because one title can’t possibly cover all the emotions I experienced and am currently experiencing over this finished quilt top.

Today’s Clue #7 was It: the finale, the hoop-de-doo, the tada and I was determined to see it done by the time my head hit the pillow.  Now I’m too wound up to sleep!

If this is your first visit to the blog (um, where ya been?), I’ll give you a rundown of where it all started.

It started with a call for quilters to participate in a mystery quiltalong by a lady I am blessed to call my friend.  You’ll see her in a later picture.  Hold yer horses.  

Where was I?  Oh, yes, my friend, Deb’s, quiltalong.  

Our mission: find an inspiring sunset photo and pull all the luscious reds, oranges, yellows, etc. from said photo to be used in the mystery.

It was That Word that did it: mystery.

Ugh.  Me no likee ‘mystery’.  Know what happens when there’s mystery?

Bad decisions, bitter heartache and exes you’d rather run over with a Mack truck than lay eyes on ever again.

Sounds like my sophomore year of high school.

But then this happened.  And yes, I’m well aware it isn’t a sunset.


Andy and his Instagram account.  Look at those colors.  Sigh.  How could I not want to put that into fabric form?

I couldn’t.  And so, it was off to the LQS for fabrics because, obviously, I had nothing suitable in my stash.


I added my name and, boom, it was on.


Let me say now, the clues were simple and easy to follow and if it weren’t for work and dachshunds needing constant coddling, I could’ve had each one done in a day.  But, you know…dachshunds.


The arrival of the first clue was all about cutting.


And all the extra fabric hung on the coat rack in the entryway.  Isn’t that what it’s for?


As each clue progressed, the excitement built. Except for those flippin’ Unit As.  I still loathe them.


Yes, I labeled everything with a post-it note.  You say anal retentive like it’s a bad thing.

These units were just too weird.  And that purple.  Like a turd in a punch bowl.


On and on it went…block after block, seam after seam…to the point I started to feel like I was part of a Salt ‘n Pepa song.  Here I go, here I go, here I go again!  🎤



What is up with that purple?!


That, my darlings, was a screwup.  Whew, but this next shot looks way better.


Thursday arrived and Mom and I hopped in the mommobile and headed for retreat.  Yay, no dachshunds to coddle and I can pee alone!!



I finished up Clue #6 and waited patiently for the next.  Hahahahaha!  No, not patiently, but I was gifted a sneak peek of Deb’s finished CTS quilt.  Gorgeous!

I was caught up and waiting for Clue #7…but not for long!!

Throughout the day, I worked and toiled, like a fabric industry hooker.


Sew, sew, sew!  Do.  Not.  Slow.  Down!


Until, omg!, one last seam!!


And, boomshakalaka!, it’s done!!


That’s me in the pink tshirt, grinning like a loon, next to quilt designer and friend, Deb.  She’s a heckuva lady!

I have NEVER…never, ever, ever liked a quilt I’ve made.  I’ve come close a time or two (like contemplating committing a homicide).  This one I love.  And it’s mine.  All mine.

Thank you to Deb for the time it took to design this and for sharing it, free of charge, to all of us.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.  And thank you for being such a sweet friend and awesome cheerleader.  One more seam!!

Thank you to Andy for letting the pushy American talk you into letting her use and post your photo.  I want to take pictures half as good as yours when I grow up.

I’ve consumed my celebratory liquor, gotten comfy and am ready to head back to the sewing room for more fabric fun.

Until next time.

The Hand Quilter’s Playlist

There comes a point in any quilting project, machine or hand, where I realize I need something to help push me through.  

Music or meth?

Music it is!

Yesterday, I thought the entire process would come to a screeching halt without benefit of music.  I love classical, but classical wasn’t gonna cut it this time.  If I’m machine sewing, I like 80s rock, but hand quilting needs a somethin-somethin all its own.  So, I searched Pandora and came up with a station that seemed promising and cranked up the volume.  Behold my hand quilter’s playlist and the accompanying thought that goes with it.

Greasy, grimy hands approaching your precious project clearly calls for MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This.

Getting into the rhythm and feeling the love of the process requires American Authors Best Day of my Life .

Having a WTH have I started moment needs Nico and Vinz’s Am I Wrong.

Stove up and creaking like an old rocking chair?  Please forgive me, but how ’bout Shake It Off by Taylor Swift?  Hey, at least it’s not Bieber!

Thread not playing nice and knotting up like a cheap garden hose?  CeeLo Green has a song for that…F@ck You!  

Still questioning your sanity about starting any of this calls for Freak by Chic.

Arms feeling like dead weight?  Try Otis Redding’s These Arms of Mine.

Finished?  It’s Celebrate by Kool and the Gang.

Certainly, the list isn’t exhaustive, but every one of these spoke volumes yesterday.

What do you listen to while quilting?

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.

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.

Up All Night?

Not quite, but I haven’t stayed up until the midnight hour in ages (not even for my birthday and that’s New Year’s Day) so the fact that I am indeed still awake and somewhat functional is a testament to my determination to get stuff done…and the fact that I’m a four alarm idiot. Midnight, I haven’t missed you.

But…

I’ve gotten quite a bit done.  This retreat I decided to bring projects that have been in progress since Noah floated his ark.  Two by two?  More like four by four.

So far, I’ve finished two receiving blankets.  These were the only two new projects I brought.  Then again, it’s late and I may be forgetting what else I packed.

Let me just state for the record that Minkee, while soft and cuddly, makes me want to disembowel someone with a grapefruit spoon after I’m done sewing it up.  Wretched, horrid, nasty stuff.  Never again.   

   

I finished two strip quilt tops. 

  

  

  
And two rag quilts.  

  

Did I mention there are two days of retreat left?

For now, the bed is calling me.  ‘Night all!

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.

It’s the Final Countdown 

Nothing like a little 80s hair band reference to spur me on.

Ahem…

Next week, The CoDefendants will gleefully welcome Spring Break while, moi, Quiltnmama, having higher aspirations that involve having someone else cook and clean up (not to mention being able to pee uninterrupted) will be hot-footing it to quilt retreat. Can you hear the chorus of ‘Hallelujahs’ here?

Now, what to pack?  I figure if I’ve got the necessities covered like deodorant, a toothbrush, and clean undies (you know, in case I get in a car wreck 🙄), I’m good as gold.

What projects to bring is another matter.  Take too much, and I’ll be loading and unloading the Mommobile until menopause.  Take too little and I run the risk of finishing everything.

Hahahaha, finishing everything!

I have a better chance of landing a spot with the Rockettes.

So, with today being a beauty, I threw open the windows to, in the words of my Mama, blow the stink off.  This is the same woman who advocates always wearing good underpants “in case you get in a car wreck”.  I know, the logic escapes me, too.  Never mind the fact that I’m married and no one cares about my underpants but Himself (and apparently my mother), but were I ever to get in a car wreck, you can bet dollars to donuts all the hot EMTs and firemen would be on vacation.  Yes, I’m shallow.  But if I have to be in a car wreck, dammit, I want hot men to rescue me!

Where was I?  Oh, yes…a beauty of a day.

img_2916-4

 

I have many projects in various states of completion.  Do I want to piece or do I want to quilt at retreat?  Decisions, decisions.

I decided to start another project.  Three cheers for procrastination!

I was asked to make a Texas flag quilt for a friend’s mother, so I doodled out the design. Yes, I’m a native Texan and yes, I know what our state flag looks like.  And, yes, much to the disgust of The Diva, who can do disgust with the aplomb of an Oscar-winning actress, I drew it out on a paper napkin.

final-2

I shopped my stash for the fabrics.  Yes, I know it’s as much a  surprise to me as it is to you, but really, darlings, those choking noises and looks of utter shock are uncalled for.  Stop it.

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My friend specifically asked for a rag quilt for which I am eternally grateful as they go together quickly with minimal fuss.  Corners don’t match up perfectly?  No problem!  It’ll all be covered up by the clipped edges.  Yahoo!

I managed to uncover some Quilts Across Texas fabric from, gulp, 2012 to use in the backing.

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All that’s left is to cut the batting.  My arm feels like it’s about to fall off and I haven’t decided on retreat projects, but, by golly, I’ve got another project on the table!

  
Come the night before retreat, I’ll be pitching anything and everything into the back of the Mommobile.  It’s a ritual if you will.  Like shaving my Sasquatch legs once warm weather makes its welcomed appearance.  Whattaya gonna do?

Sigh…