Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Post Road Trip ... Love Road Trips!

Quilting Retreats are a real Treat!

I just got back from a quilting retreat in Panama City and it was wonderful!  My friend and fellow quilter Patsy Ruth and I made the trip from Marietta to Panama City, FL.  We got there late Thursday evening and had the best seafood dinner at Uncle Ernie's.  And then on Friday morning we shopped the store, Quilting by the Bay, which is a great quilting heaven.  It's amazing how much $$$$ can be spent in just 2 hours!  Oh yeah ...  and then we spent almost 3 days just sewing sewing sewing.   There were about 65 quilters sitting and stitching!  What a great time we had!  The staff at Quilting by the Bay really went out of their way to make this a great experience for all of us.  Thanks, Linda and Hubby!  Thanks, Sue!  Thanks, Kathy!  Thanks to all of you! 

Our teacher/retreat guest was Pat Wys who has a book that she featured at the retreat ... Spotlight on Neutrals.  I'm not a 'neutral' person ... my byline is "I'm not afraid of color ..." but I certainly appreciate the whole neutral movement.  Some beautiful quilts were being made using this book.  I took one of her patterns in the book, Havenstone, and adapted it to my own color scheme.  When it's done I'll post pictures ... it is just sooooo cool!  

Stayed tuned, cowboy!

Current quilt:

Last week I returned a customer quilt.  Dianna's sister made the top for Dianna for Christmas and I got to quilt it for Dianna.  I don't know the name of the pattern ... I called it Window Panes.  It is just so soft and cuddly!  The backing is a red tone-on-tone.  I almost used a green thread but thought it would look too Christmasy, so I used a gold thread and it turned out beautiful.  And of course I don't have a picture of the back.  Duh ...

Thanks to both Dianna and her sister for the lovely notes they sent me after the quilting.  So special.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Misty Mountain Pond and Gold Standards

In life, we have our 'gold standards' ... my gold standard for college instruction was Dr. C, who taught Calculus I, II, and III to a room full of science and engineering majors - tough, no nonsense, and knew his stuff.  My gold standard for work manager is Tom L. who nursed me along when I graduated from college (later in life than most) and started working with Honeywell.  My 'gold standard' in cars is my old 1987 Chevy Suburban that I had for years and years and years.  That old ugly suburban took me and my brats from Florida to Washington, D.C., and all points in between during one hot August holiday.  And my 'gold standard' for piecing and applique is Barb D.  When I first moved to this area, I started shopping the LQS and took classes with Barb teaching.  She is such a perfectionist and it shows in her work.  Barb has mastered the Judy Neimeyer quilts ... she's done more than a couple!  And she recently handed me her Misty Mountain Pond quilt to lightly custom quilt for her.  It was sooooooo nice to quilt!  Talk about a square quilt ... this one was square in all directions ... and the piecing and applique were excellent.  Barb's coworker/friend Mindy did the applique. This isn't quilted til it stands up in the corner ... lightly quilted with some density in the center. 

Remember that you can click on the picture to get a close-up.  The wonkiness at the bottom of the first picture is due to fact it is raining outside and I couldn't take it out and hang it on the photo stand ...  and DH can only reach up sooooo high!  Gotta figure out a suitable in-door photo op.

This was done all free-hand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Emeril's done it again ...

I got to tell you ... that new cookbook that I got for Christmas was money well spent!  Thanks so much, Jess!  The cookbook is Emeril Lagasse:   Sizzling Skillets and other One Pot Wonders

I have fixed at least 5 of the slow-cooker/large pot recipes since Christmas and they are all winners.  Today I put together the Red Bean and Rice Soup - which is a misnomer as far as I'm concerned - this is more like a chili recipe.  The only meat is hot chorizo sausage and it is yummy!  Just a little bit of heat, big ol' red beans, and rice.  Looking forward to the second serving later tonight!

So eating and quilting ... life is good!

Road to California

Oh, this is just too much!  My friend Tina who lives in the San Diego area and my friend Pam who is from New York are BOTH going to Road to California quilt show in Ontario, CA!  And hopefully they will meet up and the circle will be complete!  And I'm the missing link!!  Isn't that just too cool?  It's almost as good as ME being there ... yeah, I wish!  

Pam is in San Diego visiting her family and I called her a couple of days ago and asked her if she was going to take the opportunity to go to Road to CA, and told her about Tina's home quilt store Country Loft, which is in La Mesa.  She has taken time out to visit Country Loft and while there she talked with Tina's friend and co-worker, Colleen ... Hi, Colleen!  One of these days I'll be visiting Country Loft myself.  Sigh ...   And I think Pam is planning a trip to Road to CA.  Have a great time, Pam!  Take lots of pictures!

I'm busy working customer quilts so the blog has been silent for a while.  Plus I got into watching the pregnant bear Jewel who was SUPPOSE to have her cub(s) on Sunday ... well, we're still watching and waiting!  It can be fasinating but also boring ... almost like watching grass grow.  But any day now, we'll hear the squeals of baby bear cubs!  

Here's the site: 


And I also added to the Places I Like to Visit on the right ... over there ... yeah, there it is!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The New Man in my Life

Ok, now that I have your attention ... LOL!

I requested a certain cookbook for Christmas and one of my daughters delivered!  It's Emeril Lagasse's Sizzling Skillets.   Lots of Big Pot meals, Skillet meals, Crock-Pot meals, and Wok meals.

I should explain.  Mr. Dancing Bear does a wonderful job keeping me nourished while I'm slaving away over a sewing machine or a quilting machine.  He does such a good job that for a while I didn't cook at all ... nada ... zilch...zip.  And during the summer I really am not interested in cooking.  So Mr. Dancing Bear does it all.  Now that winter is here, it's a different story!  I love good ol' fashion comfort food ... I love one-pot and crock-pot cooking.  There's nothing better than getting up early in the morning, firing up the crock-pot, and then settling down for about 8 hours of quilting, knowing that a delicious meal will meet me at the end of the day.  So when I saw this cookbook I knew that I wanted it for Christmas ... and let me tell you, it is WONDERFUL!  We had the crock-pot pork loin with fruit last night and tonight we're having the Chicken in a Pot (picture below).  Doesn't it look scrumptious??  And I have finally figured out that the scrumptious-ness is in the seasonings.  I have used Emeril's Essence for several years now and it does make a difference ... can be found in the seasonings dept of your grocery.

So, back I go to quilting ... there's Chicken in a Pot upstairs, simmering away ... and I'm a happy Dancing Bear!  And on Sunday maybe we'll have the Mushroom and Fall Squash Barley Risotto.  Yum!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Celtic Wave is beautiful!

I've been busy this past week.  One of the quilts I've finished is a Judy Neimeyer Celtic Wave.  If you are not familiar with these gorgeous quilts, they are gi-normous paper-pieced works of art.  Nancy did a great job on the paper-piecing.  I had no issues with this at all.  She did put in a tiny flange which I basted down with the long-arm.  Nancy wanted an all-over design for this quilt, so I chose one that carried out the theme of circles and spikes. 

I have really got to take a photography class!  Taking good pictures to post is an art in itself! 

I have another Judy Neimeyer on Max right now, doing some custom work.  Pictures soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mystery Quilts

 I love a mystery quilt!  One of the first big quilts I did was a mystery quilt sponsored by a quilt store.  I still love that old quilt!  Blue, red, yellow, with kitty cats...

So when I picked up the McCall's Quilting magazine (jan/fed 2012 issue) and saw the 3-part mystery quilt, I jumped on it!  

So I was at one of my fav quilt stores and chose that focus fabric that all mystery quilts call for ... and found 2 favorite focus fabrics!  So what's a gal to do?  Do TWO mystery quilts!  So here I am, taking a break from my long-arm quilting and piecing my first installment of these two mystery quilts.

Here's my fabric ... the focus fabric for the first one is the metallic gold/blue/red piece .  The focus fabric for the second one is the black/blue/gold piece.  The blue with black squigglies is one of my favorite fabrics and it goes so spendidly in this grouping.  So I'm finishing up the first cutting and stitching.  I figure it's going to go fast if it's only a 3-month installment!  Ha!  

I've updated the pic to show the first two blocks of each mystery quilt.  

I must learn how to do photographs better ...


Sheryl picked up the beautiful Pink and Blue and Green and Yellow baby quilt that I constructed for her.  She had handed me the 7 colorful blocks which were made by her mom some years ago.  Sheryl has a niece who is expecting a little girl real soon, so this quilt - made with Grandma's blocks - will go to her as a gift.  What a great gift!  It didn't take too long to do this one, and the quilting is Angel Wings which just softens up this little jewel so nicely.  Can't wait to get a picture of the new baby wallowing around on this quilt!

I think if you click on the picture you can enlarge it a bit to see some of the detail.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Who woulda thought...

... that the end of a year could be so busy and the beginning of a New Year even busier??   I didn't realize that I was so busy until I came to post a new blog-post.  It's been a while!

I've been busy with the Kaffe Fassett snowball quilt and that one is almost finished.  Look at all those snowballs!  I'm wishing we had some REAL snowballs around here! 

I picked up some very interesting fabric for a border for this and a bright choice for a back.  I absolutely love most of the Kaffe Fassett bright colors and prints.  Can't wait for this quilt to be done!    

I finished up a baby quilt for a customer.  She handed me 7 baby blocks that had been pieced by someone in the family, and now she wants these made into a baby quilt for a mom-to-be in the family.  Pictures when I have her OK.

And then I finished up Pam's Beautiful Batik Flowers today.  I did a little bit of custom.  I love the wonkiness of the blocks and didn't want to overwhelm them with a lot of quilting ... but at the same time felt that they deserved quilting just for them.  So I put some stitches inside the flowers themselves, then did a swoop-swoop in the small border, and piano keys in the large border.  Fun but pretty simple.  I used Magna-Glide Sea Mist thread on this and it really popped. 

Happy New Year!  Stay safe, happy, and healthy!