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 😴 .

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!

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

While the Cat’s AwayΒ 

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. πŸ™„ 

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.  πŸΈ


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 SunflowersΒ 

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.

The Beach Towel Sleeping Bag

Next month, The Diva and her horde of classmates will set off for a two night extravaganza to south Texas, staying aboard the USS Lexington and visiting various sites all in the name of education.  Because why else do young people flock to the Texas Gulf coast?

Let us now pause and have a moment of silent prayer for the bus driver and chaperones accompanying them.

Hahahahahahahaha, suckers!!!!

I mean, Father watch over them.  And their sanity.  May their patience and Xanax supply be plentiful.  Amen.

Anyhoo, I’m told the accommodations onboard are a bit austere.  It is, after all, a ship so the little darlings are to bring a sleeping bag with them.  Now, my daughter’s idea of roughing it falls into one simple category: keep the packing light.  Mine involves staying anywhere with indoor plumbing, electricity, and plush bedding.  Roughing it, in any shape or form, isn’t for me.  Back to The Diva.

She nicely informed me that carrying a full-sized sleeping bag wasn’t in the cards.  Who wants to climb up all those stairs, toting a bunch of crap only to schlep it back down again?  Ah, a girl after my own heart!

Now, I consider myself to be fairly frugal.  (Cheap sounds too miserly, but it might be a bit closer to the truth). I’m not so far gone that I’ll compost my own poop to nourish the family garden, but there’s that whole  money doesn’t grow on trees thing, amiright?  Besides, money is best spent on fabric and reading material.  But I digress.

With my frugality in mind, I settled on the idea of fashioning a sleeping bag from beach towels.  Here’s the lowdown.

Buy two beach towels of equal size.  I know those last two words seem a bit silly, however, not all beach towels are created equal.  Trust me on this one.  

You’ll also need coordinating ribbon, about a yard should do just in case there’s a pooch screw and you have to redo the ties.  Don’t ask.  I chose grosgrain, but any type will do.

The Diva’s is black because pink is gah-rosssss!  What evs. πŸ™„ 

After 45 minutes spent clipping all those stupid plastic ties off and removing them without pulling any threads, lay one towel right side up on a flat surface.  You can choose a bumpy surface if you’d like.  It’s your headache.

I folded two separate lengths of the ribbon in half and pinned them to the top right hand side half of the towel.  Or the left.  You get the picture.  How far apart?  About that far.  

Place the other towel right side down on top of the first, doing your best to match them up for evenness.  

Next, sew up the three sides.  I used the existing seams on the towels as my sewing guide.  

The Diva’s still short enough that the beach towel sleeping bag is long enough to be useful.  Any taller and it’s a no go.  

Fold it in half lengthwise, roll it up, and tie it and, presto!, you have a sleeping bag that’s roughly a third the bulk of a standard sleeping bag.    

Cheap and easy.  What’re you waiting for, a hooker comment?  You people know me so well.

Now get out there and sew something! 

Of Quilts, Kids, and Questionable Odors

Mine is a world filled with the wondrous wonderfulness that is beautiful fabric: its softness, its supple textures, its exorbitant price tag.  Pretty fabric, lovely fabric, jump into my stash.  

I always say this weekend I will sew, which roughly translates to after tending to everything else.  

This weekend, ‘everything else’ has amounted to a plethora of experiences, some of which I’d just as soon avoid.

First up, letting His Awesomeness get behind the wheel. 😱  

This child, like his father before him, is a curb hugger.  I cannot tell you the times I’ve shrunk toward the driver’s side in an effort to, please, sweet baby Jesus!, don’t let us hit that mailbox!!  He doesn’t seem to appreciate that there’s plenty of asphalt for all to enjoy.  Never mind the fact that there is no oncoming traffic.  Meanwhile, my posterior is doing something my Mama nicely refers to as ‘working buttonholes in the seat’.  As much clenching as my butt cheeks have done, you should be able to bounce a quarter off ’em. Not that you’d want to since we’ve never formally met, but, you know.  Frankly, driving lessons should fall to the father, I mean biological here, not God, but boy have God and I had some pretty intense conversations during those drives.

In an effort to relax, I turn to Lennie the Featherweight.  Sewing for me is like a wonderful night on the town with a good looking man without all those pesky expectations of what happens when you get dropped at the door.  Lennie doesn’t care if I drink or swear, wear undergarments reminiscent of grannies and he certainly doesn’t expect to be invited in for a nightcap.  

On that note, I finished one flimsy and have moved on to another.  Clearly, quilting it isn’t high on my list of priorities, like shaving my legs in the dead of winter.

I don’t name my quilts, but this one reminds me of water flowing over rocks.  I love it.   

 
I’ve started another one that’s all flannel, because obviously, when the temperatures start to climb, you want to work with fabric that’ll  make you sweat like a hooker at a Saturday night tent revival.  Idiot. 

   

This past Friday, I said goodbye to my favorite volunteer who is moving to be closer to family.  I’ll miss you, Mr. Todd.  

And to round out my week, our newest furbaby decided it would be epically delightful to roll in something that smells of a wonderful dichotomy of sewage and death.  My Lulu never did this.  I can only guess that it’s a hound thing.  Bad Ziva!  

I’m hoping this next week leaves out the surprises and just leaves me with a tighter tush.

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, voilΓ !  

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.