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!

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.

Road Trip Miscellany 

As with any road trip, well, ours at least, there’re things, places and sights that don’t fit anywhere else.  Hence the post of Random Awesome Stuff. 

The Diva and me on the ferry ride to Dauphin Island, AL.

When The Co-Defendants were little we tried (read: Mom tried) the license plate game on all our road trips.  This game went over about as well as a turd in a punch bowl.  Not so with this trip!  Forty states and two Canadian provinces.  Not too shabby, y’all. 

His Awesomeness: the boy who’s given me plenty of pointers on how to maximize annoyingness.

There was Pig ‘n Whistle just outside Millington, TN that served the best BBQ ever to cross my lips.  Easy on the sauce with just the right amount of smokiness.  Potato salad with a little something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Yes, even the brisket was better than Texas’.  Sorry, home state.
 
There was this bad-assed lady in Mobile Bay.  Hello, USS Alabama!  

There were ‘Quick, take the picture before they realize they’re touching!’ moments.

 
  

   

There was Himself talking me down from a panic attack.
 

Crab cakes over fried green tomatoes with corn and Lima bean succotash at Felix’s.   Somebody hold me; I miss it so.  Sniffle.  
And a shrimp po’ boy sammich that almost made me want to move to Alabama.   


The Memphis Zoo is now #1 on our family zoo list.  Seriously, everyone else can just pack it in and go on home now.  Outstanding!

   

     

 
We made it.  Six days of road tripping. 

 

Not once did the truck pull over for family counseling sessions.  

 

The Diva at Memphis Zoo
 
No one died.  

I only took one Xanax.   

It’s a library. Yes, I’m a geek.
 

And I tried scotch.  Did I mention that?  Nasty shit.  Skip it and go for the fruity drink with an umbrella.

  

Gorgeous architecture.   

   
Things that made me go ‘hmm’. 

That’s my girl.
 

And my 4 lb 1 oz baby who managed to turn 16 on the way home.  Waaaaah!  

What a ride!  

‘Scuse My FART

My husband, Himself, not only plans, maps out the route and makes reservations for all our family trips, he also makes sure there’ll be plenty of stops at quilt shops along the way.  

No, he doesn’t have any brothers and I’m not giving him up.  Sorry, girls.  

It’s fun to see what’s popular in other parts of the country and with one glaring exception, I enjoyed every single one of these shops.  I won’t be naming my less than favorite, but His Awesomeness described it as something from a horror movie involving serial killer quilting grandmas.  It was THAT bad.

First up was Quilts Bayou in Lake Charles.   

These are fabric panels, roughly 5×7, that I’ll be putting into a quilt to commemorate our trip.  I chose the Mardi Gras fabric as the border for the Louisiana panel.  The other border fabrics I’ll pull from my obnoxiously large stash.

This was also the shop I walked out of carrying only a small bag which prompted The Diva to ask if I was mentally ill.  Smart aleck.  

On a quilting friend’s suggestion, thank you, Cy, I scoped out Susan’s in Theodore, Alabama.    

I fell in love with this pattern.  

They offer a kit in whites and blues if you’re so inclined, but I found the gorgeous metallic Christmas fabrics and was hooked.

Tennessee offered up the jackpot of shops and I hit ’em all, much to The Diva’s dismay.

There’s Quilting Barn in Arlington.  

They’re one of several shops statewide participating in the Row by Row 2015.  As theirs lacked the dreaded a-word (appliqué), I jumped in.  I’m planning to put these in with the panels I bought in Lake Charles. 

I especially like the license plates that go with each kit.  The batik was just a bonus.  

And check out the cool mirror in the ladies room.  Hey, what else is there to do? 

There’s The Discerning Quilter in Brighton.  

Her row is Tennessee Tornadoes (paper-pieced, can I get a ‘hallelujah’?!?). And there’s that gentle reminder to quilt what you’ve pieced on her license plate.  Not that I know ANYONE who needs to be told that.  Ahem.

After spending the morning at Memphis Zoo, I dragged The Diva to two more shops.  Poor girl.  

I only bought at one of them, Klassy Katz.  By then, my daughter was certain I’d lost my marbles.  Me, not buy something?  Never! 

This was a nice shop, big and bright with something for everyone.

Their block incorporated everything that makes Memphis, well, Memphis.  

My literal thinking gray matter has a hard time with the abstract, but let’s see if I can remember the gist of this one.  The arches are a bridge, blue’s the water (duh), the orange and black have to do with traveling the road to racial harmony and the musical notes are for Memphis’ rich music heritage.  Whew.  There was a lot of thought put into this one.

Here are my fabrics for it, plus a little something extra.  

A little something from here, there and yonder made for a fun and successful F.A.R.T (that’s a fabric acquisition road trip).

I’m so ready to F.A.R.T. again.

The Magnolia State

As we continued our road trip to Memphis, we passed through Mississippi (twice as luck would have it).

The Magnolia state’s Gulf coast views made for a beautiful drive even with it being overcast and raining. 

  
  
With Himself on a mission to make Alabama by nightfall Wednesday, there was no stopping to take in the sights (or even a quilt shop).  Grrrr!  

The Co-Defendants and I marveled at how green and gorgeous the scenery was as we drove.  Which brings me to the second time we drove through Mississippi.  Don’t ask; Himself planned the route.

Holly Springs was by far my favorite part of the state as it’s where my great-grandfather, Jesse Mooney, was born.

 
   
  

Since 1857!
 
And then there’s the green.     

So much green!  Is it always this green?  I may have to move.


Until next time, Mississippi!

  

The Long Road to Memphis 

Summer 2015 has seen our share of vacation plans come and go.  Mostly go as work conflicts haven’t allowed us to leave town despite all efforts to the contrary.  Tuesday evening we made our escape, setting out on the scenic route to the Volunteer State. 

This man needed a vacation for his mental health.  I needed him to have it for mine.  😬 

  

The Diva and His Awesomeness
 

First stop, Bridge City, Texas.  Hey, it’s a BIG state!  The drive from our house took about 5 1/2 hours.

We pulled in about 11pm and called it a night.  These pictures were taken before we left Wednesday morning.   Looks tranquil, doesn’t it? What you don’t see are the mosquitoes the size of 747s nor do you feel the near 100% humidity. Gotta love Texas! 

 

The reason why it’s called Bridge City
 
  
Over the course of Wednesday ‘s drive we saw three states and one quilt shop.  Quilts Bayou, in Lake Charles, Louisiana is a nice, small shop.  I picked up several of these little panels and some Mardi Gras fabric.   They had every state and several overseas panels as well. The plan is to make a memory quilt of our trip.

Lake Charles, LA

Himself was hankering to see the MOPAR Collectors Guide headquarters.  Yeah, I know, I was excited, too.  Yawn.  

  

His Awesomeness and Himself
 
 
NOLA
  

 

The Diva
 
With Himself in the driver’s seat, we bid adieu to Louisiana and crossed into Mississippi.  

But that’s a story for another day.

Texas State Railroad 

The Co-Defendants and I hopped aboard a diesel train at Palestine, Texas yesterday. 



The weather was dreary, cold and nasty but the car we rode in was pretty toasty.  Or maybe that was because they took turns burrowing up against me.









The area had received a lot of rain, so much of the landscape looked like this.





Did I mention it was cold?  Here we are in the open car freezing our  bippies off.









The ride was an hour and a half in each direction with another hour and a half layover at the Rusk depot.

We had lunch and tried to keep warm.



Rusk depot




The Diva on the ride back.



His Awesomeness….Mom’s being a doofus look.

Maybe next time we’ll get to ride the steam train.







Surf, Sand and Salt

Ever have one of those vacations that’s months in the making?  My husband’s like that and it almost always involves a car show.  Sigh, gag, barf….insert your verb here.  It’s not as though I haven’t contemplated most of them.  At any rate, the Testosterone Twins headed out a few weeks ago to the MOPAR Nationals in Columbus, Ohio…at 3 a.m.  These people are in-sane and I married one of ’em and gave birth to the other!  A whole caravan of testosterone high-tailing it north to take in an endless sea of hopped-up cars, burnouts and scantily clad jailbait.  Oh, the thrill!

The Diva and I had other plans, naturally…ones that didn’t involve the smell of burning rubber, the possibility of handcuffs and police sirens and middle-aged men swilling Michelob and egging one another on like fraternity brothers at a kegger.  So, we loaded up the Mom-mobile at a more respectable 7:30 a.m. along with Gramma the Great and headed south for surf, sand and salt (preferably on a cocktail glass rim).

Before we headed out, I prayed for our safety and patience and freedom from road-rage (mostly mine, but other people’s, too just for good measure).  I also took pictures.  You know, in case we had an episode of kidnapping or an elderly person walking off and forgetting where the hell they were.  Yes, I’m weird like that.

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‘Why the picture?’ she wondered. For the cops, Ma, for the cops.

 

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Don’t let the smile fool you. Next mood swing in five minutes!

 

We quilt shop-hopped from Giddings to Rockport.  Are you aware that it takes nine hours to drive from our house in central Texas to Corpus Christi?  Me neither!  The GPS and Sirius XM crapped out somewhere around Port Lavaca which made for a bit of driving entertainment, but we finally made it to the coast and our hotel where Gramma promptly hit the hay and The Diva begged to hit the beach.

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Oh, she got in in her swimsuit, but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures and I dang sure wasn’t up for having mine taken, thank you very much!  Other than complaining about the saltiness of the water (it’s the Gulf, sister!) we had a good time, but she decided chlorine was preferable and that was the last of our swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.  No matter, I like to see the bottom of any body of water I’m in anyway.  At least there were no shark encounters, the need for some random stranger to pee on a jellyfish sting, or flesh-eating Vibrio bacteria.

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We hit the Texas State Aquarium and eye-balled the USS Lexington.

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I finally got my cactus margarita Thursday night…sorry no pictures as I drank it down lickety-split!

We swam, we shop hopped, hit a truly awesome Barnes and Noble and then headed back home Friday morning, hitting shops in Victoria and Shiner along the way.  I see now why I prefer Himself to do all the driving…that crap’s exhausting and trips truly do go faster when you can pop some Dramamine and sleep ’til you hit your destination.

Despite all indications to the contrary, according to The Diva, I am the Most Awesome Mom Ev-er!

Until next time…

 

 

 

Hill Country Haul

A couple of weeks ago, The Diva and I hit the road for Dripping Springs and the quilt shop, Valli and Kim, which I had on good authority was suited to my tastes.  I posted about it here and promised a post on my acquisitions.

Better late than never.

For the gluttonous that like everything all at once, I give you…BAM!

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And for those of you that like to savor every little morsel and have your meal drawn out a bit…

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The cards are from Villa Rosa Designs.  I love them because they’re cheap, quick and easy.  Please, no comments from the peanut gallery, thank you.  Valli and Kim had Limelight made up in Kaffe Fassett fabrics and it was so spectacularly awesome that I wish I’d taken a picture.  I always feel funny about taking pictures of shop samples…somehow it feels like stealing so I don’t do it.  Maybe next time I’ll work up the nerve to just ask already.

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Tie fabric up with ribbon, throw in a pattern for good measure and I’m hooked.  Every piece is funky and full of color.

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After the pajama pants fiasco about seven years ago, I swore I’d never make another piece of clothing.  The Tribeca Tunic from Indygo Junction looks easy, but so did those damn pants.  For my size, it seems one of these will take enough fabric to make a pup tent.  Better start saving my pennies now.  I’ll keep you updated.

I picked up a copy of Kaffe Fassett’s book Quilts in the Sun.

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How the heck do you pronounce that man’s name anyway?

And to round out my purchase, I got the last of this Amy Butler print…

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It’s a lovely, bright, fun shop staffed with very friendly folks.  Load up the car and make it a day trip.  And while you’re there, ask them if I can take a picture next time.