Welcome to my blog, we're talking about quilting and other good stuff. I'm glad you stopped by ... look around, add a comment, become a follower if you feel inclined, tell your friends about me, and come back soon!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gearing up

The weather has been so roller-coaster lately, with the temperature swinging from cold, warm, cold again all in a one week span.  Now it's back to cold, so that means it's time to bring out a bold new plan - grits!!

When I was growing up our main breakfast food was grits - you either got grits and sausage or grits and fatback, but it was always "grits-and".  I was so tired of grits, I promised myself that when I "got big" (which was another way of saying "when I grew up and moved out of mama and daddy's house and got a job and my own house and be able to do whatever I wanted to do and they could kiss my foot and nobody could tell me nuthin'") I would not eat another spoonful of grits!  But one day about 35-odd years ago I got to wanting me some grits - hello!!

So now I'm not only a reconverted grits eater, but I'm also a grits lover.  One morning when I reached for my box of grits (I had a taste for grits and salmon cakes) there was barely a spoonful left in the box, I had forgotten to buy some.  I was going to Costco that day so I acted on impulse and got the three-package deal... I think I might have gone a bit overboard that time!  Anyway, I have enough grits to last me awhile, don't you think?  You only need a quarter cup to make enough for a generous serving, and they're so creamy!

In between other things I'm playing around with the little houses I made from scraps.  When I was doing these I wasn't thinking in terms of setting or sash colors... I was just doodling.  I didn't want to set them smack together, I was afraid they would lose their individuality somehow.  So then it came down to sashing decisions...

I tried black; my first impression was "oooh, I don't think so!"  On most of the blocks the bottom of the house was made from a dark fabric and the black sort of melted into it.  I tried a few with a white sashing but that completely killed the blocks!  I didn't think I liked the black but I left them on my wall a couple days and you know what?  They didn't look half bad! 

For the bottom row I sashed the top and bottom of the blocks and added a side sash with the corner stones attached to top and bottom.  This is how I'm making rows 2 and 3 -
The sashing goes on the top only, with a sash/top cornerstone combination for the side.

Here's a layout of two rows combined - I think this will be a cute little quilt!
I might have made the sashing a little narrower - they were cut at 2" and finish at 1-1/2" - but I here I have to play my "it's just a quilt" card!

That's all for now, have a great Thursday - sew forth and sew on!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

4, 4, 3-2-1

Three things to be happy about:
(1) shoes with wiggle room
(2) opening a new container of coffee
(3) being alert to changes

In my last post I described the kewl new printer I bought, I don't think I mentioned I got it at Costco.  Well, the day after I bought it I got my new Costco sales book and guess what goes on sale January 31 with an additional $75 off!???  You guessed it - the very printer I bought!  I didn't get around to installing it - thank goodness for procrastination - so guess what I'll be doing in a few days...

I didn't get a chance to really get into any sewing yesterday but I did make a couple more of those four inch blocks - remember them?  Here's the completed group.  I like the way this one turned out (sorry about the fuzziness):
I wanted to make the top outer border narrower than the other three, and the left inner border a bit wider. 

And this one was made using a leftover piece from the one above:

hmmm... I should have put the light piece at the wide end of the triangle, but it'll fly.

Two four inch blocks to add to my group, that makes a total of 37!  You can see all my four inch blocks on my flickr page, the link is at the right.

And now for the 3-2-1 part of the post - I saw this recipe for a 3-2-1 cake on someone's blog, I'm sorry I can't give credit but I don't remember who it was.  I googled it and found the recipe, and believe me it's super easy to make! 

If you want just a little bit of sweetness and don't want to buy (or bake) a whole cake, this can do the trick.  You mix together two boxes of cake mix (one of which has to be angel food) and place it in a baggie - I chose lemon for my second flavor.  Be sure to mix them really well.  When you want a quick fix, measure out 3 tablespoons of cake mix, stir in 2 tablespoons of water, microwave it for 1 minute.  They suggest putting it in a mug, but I used a one-cup sized glass bowl that worked perfectly.

I placed a piece of dark chocolate on the batter before I baked it - you really need a little something, maybe a spoon of icing or marshmallow creme to ice it with.

The cake comes out very spongy and it's a quick, tasty treat!  Now I'm stuck with a big ole bagful of cake mix, LOL.

That's it for now, have a great Wednesday... sew forth and sew on til later!

Monday, January 28, 2013

I took the plunge

Has anyone besides me had trouble uploading pictures to your posts?  When I would click the "insert image" icon, the next window wouldn't have a "browse" button to upload your photos.  Well, it works okay now but meanwhile I found a workaround that I like even better... just go to the picasa web page and upload all your pictures at once.  I like it better because you can control which album they go into, and when you're ready for another picture the album is right there opened up for you!

Sometimes things happen that make you go "Well I be die!" (in my father's words); or Andy of Mayberry would say "Well I'll be dog!" which is another way of saying "I swanee!" which is the same as "well, darn!"  My printer had me saying all that and more the past few weeks because I kept getting error codes, especially when I tried to print a picture or a color file or a pdf.  I knew I needed a new printer but I didn't want to get one til I used up all the ink I had ... you can't always swap ink between different printer types and that ink is NOT cheap!  If I had to get a new printer I wanted to upgrade, not get the same thing (if it was even available).

Long story short, ever since Saturday my printer thinks it has a paper jam (which it doesn't) and it won't do anything til I "clear" it.  Nope, I know what you're thinking but shutting it off or disconnecting the power didn't work.  I had to get a new printer.  Period.

I wanted to be able to print/copy/scan - faxing was optional, I haven't had to fax one thing since I retired almost two years ago.  I never used the photo print feature on my old printer, so that wasn't a biggie, but I did need a drive for my camera disc.  I settled on this Officejet Pro - it met those criteria plus  the scan bed is 14" rather than 11"  (sometimes I need to scan bigger images) plus  it can read thumb drives.  It was on sale and I'd like to have paid even less for it, but there you go.

And of course it means a whole new category of ink... these aren't even the same shape as the old cartridges, they're sorta flat and rectangular shaped. 

When I blogged about my printer woes before, someone suggested a laser printer ... I thought about that but I went with ink jet because I print quilt labels on my printer and I'm not sure if lasers would be permanent enough.  If I understand it correctly, ink goes into  the paper whereas lasers print on the surface.  ??  In any case, I went with the ink jet again because I was thinking "Bubble jet... Bubble jet."

So there you have it - for the rest of today I'll be installing my printer and working on a challenge project.  I might also look closely at a project that I want to get done... I've decided this year to finish at least two projects from blocks exchanged at a retreat. 

These strips were exchanged at the 2009 Scrapbag retreat (I think) and it's time to move it along...
I laid these out at the senior center a few months ago; it's really just a matter of placing each strip where I like it, then filling in the holes with either a solid (probably black or gold) or making more strips using the color theme.  I know of two people who attended the retreat and have finished their quilts and they were beautiful!

Well that's it for now, enjoy the rest of your day, sew forth and sew on...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wee Bee fun

Our bee meeting was busy as a beehive yesterday! 

January is always devoted to planning for the entire year and, since we don't meet in December, exchanging Christmas gifts.  If the WiFi had cooperated we would have had a tutorial on blogging to our Bee's blog... maybe next time!

We had great gifts to exchange this year, all hand made...
There were covered appointment books, microwave neck wraps with beans, mini design boards (from me!), mannequin pin cushions...

coin purses, tea/card holders, hand made scarf and hat sets,

pin cushions shaped like a hat, tissue holders, microwave neck wraps with rice.  

Also there was fabric and lots of books on the freebie table; I found Freddy's House by Freddy Moran, and Sensational Sets and Borders.

Here are some pictures from show n tell:

It was a great meeting, I'm glad I went!  Even though it had snowed, the streets weren't an issue at all - just wet  :o)

Have a great Sunday; sew forth and sew on

Saturday, January 26, 2013

So thankful

Three things to be happy about:
(1) birthday wishes
(2) birthday wishes
(3) birthday wishes!

I want to thank you all so much for all the birthday wishes, they made my day even greater!  They all went directly to this little ole lady's heart  *sniff*  It's quilty friends like you who make blogging such a great experience!

I was gifted a lovely piece of Jinny Beyer fabric that she designed for the November 2012 Quilters Quest.  It's almost too pretty to cut up!  I also got a Fons & Porter Klutz glove - NEED IT!!  Did you notice it's in both pictures?  That's because on two occasions when I was rotary cutting the blade jumped the edge of my ruler... it didn't come too-too  close to my hand but it might have!  Both times I said to myself  "I really should get a pair of those Fons & Porter gloves"... but I never did.  Now I have a pair - thanks Renea!

Then yesterday evening while I was sewing there came a tap-tap-tap at my door - it was my neighbors Rachel, Isaiah and Matt from across the street with birthday wishes!  They are such sweet neighbors!  Matt had shoveled the snow from my walk and steps on Thursday morning... while I was still sleeping, LOL. 

You can't see her but of course their dog Mia came; she knows wherever her mom and dad go, she can go too.

They presented me with this delicious tart (torte?) along with a birthday hat and a candle to wish on ... how thoughtful is that??

They could only stay half-a-second because Rachel was packing to catch an evening flight overseas, and that makes it even more thoughtful that they came over in the snow to wish me happy birthday!

Besides family and friends, I also got birthday wishes from: (1) my dentist "...we're thinking of you on this special day" - yeah, right, I'm due back in there in March! (2) my Honda salesman "Dear Linda, All business aside... I just wanted to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" - he wants to sell me another car (3) Total Rewards casinos "May this year be the best ever. Happy Birthday from Total Rewards" - they just want more of my money! (4) the orthodontist who did my root canal "Happy Birthday Mary! We hope you have many reasons to smile today!"  Anybody who calls me "Mary" doesn't know me because everyone who knows me knows I don't like my first name.  So much for that nonsense.

Well, today is Bee day ... will I go?  We got snow yesterday and they're promising it will be clearing up but I'm not a fan of driving on slickery streets if I don't really have to.  Stay tuned to learn my earth-shaking decision - sew forth and sew on...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy birthday to me...

... Happy birthday to me
Today is my birthday,
Happy birthday to meeee! 

Three things to be happy about:
(1) happy tunes
(2) a stash of candy
(3) the difference a day makes

Today I reach the grand ole age of ... one year older!  What a difference a day (or a decade or five) makes; here I am at 7 (I think).  This was my second grade picture:

grade-school photo
My mother made that dress, in fact she made all our clothes.  I can remember her taking my father's old pants and cutting them down to make skirts for us.  Did she do it to recycle or "go green" or "upcycle"?  Nope, the simple truth is she couldn't afford to buy us new clothes so she used what she had!  She would save flour and feed sacks, cut around the words to make our clothes.  If the feedsacks were white, she'd bleach out all the writing, then make the clothes.

I was a senior in high school when this was taken for the year book:
high-school photo

Ahhh, so young and innocent - and thin!  My older sister Faye loaned me her necklace, she was a great sister. 

Shortly before (or after) my 40th birthday, this was taken for my church directory:

for church directory

And this one was taken a couple weeks ago in Sandy's quilt studio:
January 2013

Graying hair, dry skin ... I've hardly changed at all, right??  ;o)

Have a great Friday, make someone's day, sew forth and sew on...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's shaping up!

Three things to be happy about:
(1) friendly doormats
(2) turtlenecks
(3) wet snow for snowballs

The weather here in the District has been cold cold, but we haven't had any snow yet - they keep promising "maybe" though.  When I went out to start my car it took a few seconds longer to turn over, I hope I won't have problems because of the frigid temperatures!

While the electrician was here yesterday he isolated the problems and took care of all the faulty wiring, and I'm back up and running.  There's also an old breaker box that was in the basement when I bought the house that's being used as a junction; he thinks maybe there had been a fire at some point and the wires were re-wrapped or something.  He suggested that I get those wires replaced when I get the chance... no immediate danger but it's something that wouldn't hurt to get done - after 38 years!

I'm still working on the mini design boards that I'll take to my bee meeting on Saturday, I got a few done yesterday while the electrician was here.   Fortunately he only had to zap the power on the main level, I was doing my hot-gluing upstairs.

These boards work up quickly and are easy to make, and the fabric trim around the edges can make them really cute!  There are a few more pieces of trim to stitch, I can do that today or tomorrow and they'll be ready to roll out.

At our guild meeting on last Saturday, Pat gifted me with lots and lots of scraps!  As you know, I like "other people's" scraps because they're more interesting than my own.  Don't you just love digging into bags full of scraps?  It's like Forrest Gump's box o choklits - you never know what you're gonna get!

There was lots of good stuff stuffed in those bags!  A great mish-mash of scrappy goodness - I'm loving it!

Some strips that I already know how I'll use; I wonder what Pat was working on?  I think I recognize that bright striped piece!

Some good-sized trimmings that I can use for scrap yardage - hmmm, I need scrap yardage to make more of those "South of Baltimore" blocks, I really need to finish up that project.  Maybe this year for sure?

I love digging through scraps, and if I could just stay focused and finish up my short-term projects, I could play with my scraps with a clear conscience!  For sure I'll make some more of those tiny little colorful houses that I made with Rosa's scraps, they don't need much fabric.

Well that's it for now, have a great Thursday - sew forth and sew on!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Presidential Inauguration

I guess many of you who live in places other than the District were saying "If I lived in DC I'd be right down there at the ceremony and the parade!"  Well, I live here but I've only gone to one inauguration parade... nowadays I consider the best seat in the house to be in front of my TV!  Here are just a few scenes of the day:

President Obama takes oath of office

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir performs; Malia has her mom's smile!

crowds and more crowds

Twenty-one gun salute; President Obama listens to a speech

Beyonce performs; group shot of the First Family.

Along the parade route

"The Dress" by designer Jason Wu

 Have a great Tuesday; sew forth and sew on!