Thursday, April 27, 2006

Proof of Sewing...and Some Weird Things About Me

Okay. Here's proof of actual sewing.....

This is the crumb quilt I quilted on Sunday. Bound and everything!

Here's a picture of the back with the crumb block strip inset. Since the top was 44", I had to do something make the backing wider.

This is a the sample for our Strip Club in May. The strips will be black and white prints.

Okay. There's a tagging thing going around the Mavericks where we are supposed to list 6 weird or quirky facts about ourselves. I haven't really thought much about it, but here goes.

1. I can't go to sleep unless is it is completely silent or there is a consistent noise (like a sound machine). Can't sleep with the TV on or if my husband is snoring (which would be EVERY night). The fluctuating sound keeps me awake. I also can't go to sleep if it's daylight - so napping is not my strong suit. If I take a nap, I'm exhausted or sick.

2. Like Sarah, I can't sleep unless my shoulders are covered. I sleep with a sheet, a blanket and a minimum of 2 quilts on me year round. I love the weight of being covered up.

3. I am a born copyeditor. Give me something to read, and I immediately notice grammar, syntax and spelling before I absorb content. Our local newspaper is so bad that I could redline it every day. Makes me crazy!

4. I have difficulty with idle time. I can't just sit and watch TV. I can't just sit, period. I think my mother instilled this in me - "there's always something to be done".

5. I have no sense of personal style. I can put a great quilt together, but I can't dress myself. If I find a pair of pants that fit, I'll buy one in every color and wear them until they wear out. I'd like to be hip, but I have no clue how to go about it.

6. I can't stand dirty dishes in the sink. My entire house might look like a refugee camp, but I can't abide dishes with food still on them. My family just doesn't comprehend this one. Dishes with dried food on them doesn't faze them. I have refused to buy frozen pizza for over a year because I had to scrub one too many plates with dried cheese on it. Because of this quirk, I'm a fairly clean cook. By the time we eat, the only things left to wash are the plates and utensils and the serving dishes.

7. I am addicted to TV. 'nuff said.

8. If it's fried, I will probably eat it. Except for oysters and calf fries. I am truly Southern.

9. I talk to my cats and they talk back.

10. I read something every night in bed before turning out the light. It might just be a page or two, but it's something. I often have several novels going at one by the bed, one in the car, one in my take-along get the picture.

11. I carry my cash in my pocket instead of my purse. All bills are in sequential order.

Whew! And I'm just getting started.... I'd better stop before I completely freak you out!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Best of Both Worlds

Well, I said I'd decide if I was going to garden or quilt once I got up today. After checking e-mail and watching a little TV this morning, I went outside and Russ was tearing out the last of the monkey grass bordering our front flower bed. We started tearing it out last summer, but it eventually got so hot that we quit with about 12 more feet to go. This pretty much made up my mind on what the day would hold for me. So, I jumped in the truck and went and got soil amendments for Russ to till in to prepare the bed.

I then did my best to support the independent garden center economy. You don't have to worry about me losing my mind and buying fabric - it's plants that I go ga-ga over. The household budget really takes a hit in April and May at Chez Allen.

I wheeled around the corner on my way home from my 2-1/2 hour plant shopping spree to find this....we had a red oak that died (probably from the drought) and Lumberjack Russ had cut it down and chopped into little pieces. He left the stump for now - maybe I'll put a platform on it to hold a potted plant and add a little height to the bed. It sure does change the landscape - we've had this tree for over 8 years. Before it died, it dropped enough acorns to feed the entire squirrel population on Tucker Street and many of them rooted. We're going to leave a couple of them in the bed to see if they might grow up to be real trees. Sure would be much cheaper for us if they did!

Had to clean up and run some errands and close down a class at the shop this afternoon. We went out for great Mexican food for dinner and hit Home Depot for flower bed edging (and just a couple of more plants!). Spent some time puttering in the yard, but was too full and lazy for all out planting - we'll do that tomorrow night after work. About 8 I decided to take a picture of my Liberated Piecing (AKA crumb or mile-a-minute blocks) so that I could prove that I have actually been sewing this week. Then I decided to suck it up, piece the back and at least get it loaded on the Gammill. Once it was loaded, I figured I might as well quilt it. By 10, I was all done! I'll take it to work tomorrow to trim and I'll get the binding on it tomorrow or Tuesday. The colors in the photo are not as vivid in real life; the background fabric is black with poison green mini flowers and vines, and the inner border is lime green. I even put blocks down the center of the back to make it wide enough - don't you just hate it when a quilt top is 44" wide? I'm too cheap to run the yardage the other way. It's easier to split it on the fold and put scraps or something down the middle.

So, it was a very successful day with flowers, good food and quilting.

And Merle had a good day too. He discovered the catnip.......

Have a great week,

Saturday, April 22, 2006

All Work - No Photos

Been working really hard on samples this week - finished one and a friend offered to quilt it for me. Took me about a second and a half to say "YES!". Spent last night and tonight putting together a sample for my Liberated Piecing class (hi Bonnie and Finn!). Can't decide if I'm going to try to quilt it tomorrow or work in the garden. The weather has been so glorious and even tho it's not even May yet, I know it's going to get HOT soon and want to get new plants in the ground before things begin to swelter. I guess I'll see what kind of mood I'm in when I wake up tomorrow.

On another note, I received an e-mail from a friend that the orchestra fundraiser next weekend made the front page of the McKinney Neighbors section of the Dallas Morning News. Click here to see the whole article - and the quilt gets a mention as an auction item.

I'll try to be a good girl tomorrow and take some pictures to share...


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just a Quickie....

Yeah, yeah, yeah.....get your mind out of the gutter! It's late and all I have time for is a quickie post.

I got all my Twist and Shout blocks put together and into rows. It's amazing how much smaller it is when all the seam allowances are taken up. I had to get them all put together because I need to vacate my design wall!

Here's a shot of a couple of my Buggy Barn crazy flowers pieced from the Flea Market Fancy line....

....and a closeup of one of the blocks. Both projects must now go on the back burner because I have a couple of shop samples that I MUST get started on. Doncha just hate it when work interferes with play? And I was on such a roll....

I take Sophie to the groomer tomorrow - I've never had a cat groomed, but she has hair mats on her hind end that need to be shaved off. It ought to be interesting - I wonder if she'll be embarrased with a naked hiney? Pictures to follow.....

Have a good night -

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm In Love...

....with a new fabric line we got last week by Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit fabrics. It's called Flea Market Fancy and it is so retro-ugly that it is FABULOUS!

Denyse has a website and here are a few of her quilts - and she gets BIG BUCKs for them.

Are these quilts totally Maverick or what? I may just need to order her book.

I started piecing a Buggy Barn pattern with the new fabrics on Wednesday - the blocks are finished, but I need to finish piecing the red and white Twist and Shout blocks and get them off the design wall before I can set the newest set of blocks (did that make any sense whatsoever?).

Hope you all had a great Easter Sunday - I spent the majority of it working in the flower beds again. I'm proud to announce that all the plants I have purchased in the last couple of weeks have been actually been planted - and I don't think I killed anything in the process. Always a good thing!

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Good Day Gardening

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day here in North Texas. It was about 80 degrees with no wind - just perfect for gardening! I had lots of things on my to-do list and I got most of them done before dark.

Here's a shot of Casa Allen from across the street. Pardon the shadows - it was about 8:00 this morning and the sun was very strong in the east.

I know it's kind of hard to see everything, but we've worked really hard over the last couple of years to put in landscaping.

This is an old iron washpot that we bought off our next-door neighbor last year. It's been sitting in the flower bed waiting to be planted - but Russ needed to drill some drain holes in it first. Got the holes done and then planted with 2 clematis vines (one spring-flowering, the other fall-flowering) and herbs.

This was an idea stolen from my good friend Beckye's yard. There's a piece of rebar with a base and all the buckets (with appropriate holes drilled in them) are slipped onto the bar. And yes, there are 2 minnow buckets included. I've been collecting all this stuff for a couple of years. By the time I got to this project, the rest of the family was sitting in the shade watching. That's okay. I wanted to get it done and now it is. Again, I apologize for the shadow, but it faces early morning sun.

I suppose I should get to work on my store's newletter....yuk. But it's got to be done...


Friday, April 07, 2006

I'm suffering from Daylight Savings-itis. The older I get, the harder it is for my body to adjust to DST. I don't understand it - I go to bed at my regular time and I get up at my regular time, but my butt is just dragging.

I finally remembered to take the orchestra quilt to work so that I could beg someone to hold it up long enough for me to get a photo. I still need to label it and I'm contemplating making a matching pillow case to put it in. I hand it off to the Gala committee next Wednesday night.

I finished piecing my Twist and Shout blocks and took their picture on the design wall. I got one whole row pieced before I pooped out tonight.

I'm even too tired to ramble, and I'm usually never at a loss for words. Perhaps I'll have something intelligent to say this weekend.

Peace out,

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's Done!.......

.....the quilting on the orchestra quilt, that is. It's been a long, hard week, but the binding, sleeve and label should be gravy from this point. I'll post a picture once it's bound. I must say - this quilt has challenged me and my skills on so many different levels. I've been quilting on "autopilot" for a long time and haven't taken the time really stretch. I know I've complained about it a lot here, but I am proud of myself.

So, since there's not a picture of that quilt, how about a picture of this one?

Debbie flopped this quilt top on my desk this week. My first questions was "Is this a present for ME?". After a good laugh and a resounding "NO!", I was invited to look at it a little bit closer.

A client of Debbie's dropped this off for her to baste. It was hand pieced by her grandmother back in th 50's or 60's. The client is (who has NEVER hand-quilted) plans to hand quilt this top.

The kicker? The individual pieces are a 1/2" finished.

Oh vey.