Saturday, July 29, 2006

Going, Going, Gone....

I'm leaving on a well-deserved vacation in about an hour, but I thought I'd share what I did this week.

The Quilt Asylum participates in the North Texas Quilt Shop Hop eash September and we always make a quilt. This year's theme is "Be A Star" and each store will decorate and dress to a particular movie theme (ours is "A League of Their Own"). Each shop will hand out a block kit, and this year we are doing star blocks.

Since there are 10 shops in our grouping, I made 2 extra blocks so that I would have 12 blocks to set - you can't do much with 10 blocks! The setting pattern is "BQ" by Maple Island Quilts and it goes together quickly!

We're headed to the Texas coast - Port Aransas and Galveston and points in between. It'll be nice to get away for a few days before the back-to-school insanity begins - we have to be back by Friday for middle school registration!

Ya'll be good and I'll be back in about a week.


Sunday, July 23, 2006


What a whirlwind week and a half! To begin with, I went from driving this.....

To driving this......

Yup. I got a new car - a Honda Element! I purchased the Ford Excursion right after opening my business as a tax break and also because we thought we might be doing a number of quilt shows. But, at this point, quilt shows are more trouble than they're worth and the price of gas was killing me. I've been thinking about getting a more gas-efficient car for a couple of months now - and once I started test driving there was no turning back. I LOOOOOOOVE this car - it handles so nicely and I can pull directly into any parking space I want! And it's such a cool color (kiwi green). I am no longer driving a bus and it's a good thing! We're going to take it on a trip to the Texas coast next week, so we'll see how it handles on a long-distance adventure.

This is a picture of my finished block from Becky Goldsmith's workshop last week. I took this workshop for a couple of reasons:
1) Becky is a friend of mine and I thought it would be fun.
2) I really wanted to learn how she pieces curves together that have been paper pieced.

The first day of the workshop concentrated on the paper pieceing of the arcs. I have paper pieced before, but Becky's method was easier and made more sense. At the beginning of the day, she stated that we would probably only get a quarter of the block done - not the whole thing. Diane and I looked at each other and thought - "Alrighty then. A gauntlet's been thrown down!". We pieced furiously and I had mine ALMOST finished by 4:00. I came home Wednesday night and put the finishing touches on it. The center circle in the photo was an audition fabric - I have since put a salmon pink circle on the block.

The second day was dedicated to learning applique the "Piece O' Cake way". This was going to be an old dog, new tricks kinds of day. I've been appliqueing fairly successfully for several years and I've seen their DVD on applique and I was skeptical that I could change my ways. But I was determined to have an open mind and at least try their way for the day. And you know what? I learned a thing or two! I will probably incorporate some of their techinques into my applique repetoire. I was really pleased that my outer circle actually looks like a circle without any flat spots or points. If nothing else, I am no longer reluctant to applique circles.

I spent today piecing my Lady of the Lake blocks into a quilt top. I even dug around in the closet for backing fabric, but I ran out of steam before loading the quilt on the machine.

I'll leave you with a garden photo. This is an Angel's Trumpet that I planted as a baby plant this spring. Isn't it wonderful! The white thing hanging in the window is my flannel design sheet....

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Get to Take a Workshop!

I have lots to tell you about, but no time to really blog. I promise more details later.

However, I am fortunate enough to take a little time off to attend a workshop with Becky Goldsmith of Piece O' Cake designs tomorrow and Thursday. Becky is a friend of mine and she and Linda shop in the store regularly.

Becky is teaching "Everyday Best" right here in McKinney, so Diane and I are going to sit in the back row and heckle and have a good time and we just might learn something too! I'm going to use Kaffe Fassett fabrics for my block - it should be interesting!

I haven't taken a workshop in 5 or more years. I'll let you know how it goes....

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's a Southern Thang

Last night was a true Southern dinner. We finally harvested 17 okra....which I supplemented with a couple of purchased yellow squash (until our squash are ready), all fried to a golden brown. Add grilled chicken and you've got a meal!

Is it any wonder I need to drop a couple of pounds?

** I don't cook like this all the time. It's not always the most healthy, but it's not always this bad, either.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Night of Baseball

Last night we went to the Frisco RoughRiders baseball game. The RoughRiders are a double-A team in the Texas League and a farm team for the Texas Rangers. Frisco is the next town to the west of McKinney and about a 30 minute drive.

Russ got tickets from his company and they were fantastic! VIP parking, complimentary food and beverage, and great seats in the second row behind home plate parallel to the third base line. We could call the pitches much better than the umpire....LOL!

Here's a photo of Deuce, the RoughRider's praire dog mascot. One thing that's great about minor league baseball - the stadium is small and intimate and they provide entertainment throughout the game whenever there's downtime during the game. There's dancing, games, and general silliness. It's great for kids. Audrey had a blast. And that says a lot about an 11-year-old girl who doesn't do sports and spends most of her time watching TV. I was prepared to be overwhelmed by the heat (it was 102 here yesterday), but the stadium is build in such a way that the buildings block the evening sun and the breeze was great. I even had a good time.

They also had bunnies! We were walking behind the concessions buildings to avoid the crowd and along the shrubs on the fence line were 5 baby bunnies happily munching grass. I guess they're used to people - we got within 2 feet of them and the never flinched. Of course, I didn't have my camera.....

If you like baseball (even just a little) and have access to a minor league park, go on out for a game. You'll be highly entertained and much closer to the action than at a major league park. Last night was a nice break from our everyday routine.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Collaborative Quilting

I picked up a new book at United Notions yesterday and have spent the day browsing through it - "Collaborative Quilting" by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran.

All I can say is "WOW". If you're a fan of Gwen Marston, maverick quilting, or screaming bright quilts ala Freddy Moran - RUN, don't walk - to your nearest quilt shop and grab a copy. (or, shameless plug, call me and I'll get it for you.....). It's got over 250 pages of design theory by both Gwen and Freddy, loads of photos of their work, ideas for collaboration, block designs for your "parts department", and "recipes" for 31 projects.

Oh my. There's days when I wish I didn't have to work for a living.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

How Was Your 4th?

Mine was RAINED! We are in a serious drought here in North Texas and any rain is welcomed - whatever the day.

I got up early and quilted a sample for the shop made by Diane. It's "All About Me", a new pattern by Terri Atkinson. We used Phillip Jacobs prints and P&B solids. I thinks it's pretty cute. I trimmed it yesterday and today I need to put the binding on. I also did a little laundry, cleaned a little house, made a casserole, and had a fairly productive day!

Last night and today I made 3 nightshirts out of batik. My old jammies were getting pretty ragged so I had to get busy. I figure by making 3 at one time I could be good for a couple of years. Making clothes is not my idea of a good time, but I do it occasionally.

Back to binding,

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My goal today was to clean up my sewing room. Too many projects without picking up after myself had created an unholy mess. But where to begin?

There was the pile of half-square triangles left over from making Gallantly Streaming. I thought I'd just square them up before I put them away. Four hours later I had a finished quilt.

It's only about 15" x 18", but it's quilted and bound and made completely from materials on hand. Now it needs a name. Any suggestions?

Perhaps tomorrow night I'll get to that cleaning up thing.