Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Top Of Old Smoky…..

…..all covered with vapor…. We have returned from a short trip to Tennessee. Even though the weather was not very cooperative, we still had a wonderful relaxing time. We saw the “choo choo” in Chattanooga,


we toured the largest national military park in America—Chickamauga (hubby is a huge Civil War buff) on the Georgia side,


we stayed in a wonderful mountain log home in Gatlinburg,

OurCobblyNobLogHomeGatlinburg we spent lots of time in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park,

SmokyMtsRan AnotherLogCabinCadesCove


we saw the artists and craftspeople both at Arrowmont and along the Glades Road loop,

PotterOnGladesRoadArtsCraftLoop WoodcarverGladesRoadLoop WeaverAtArrowmont

and ate lots of delicious country food. Talk about flaky biscuits!

Of course, I have lots more touristy photos but I know you aren’t really interested in that!!! You want to know about the quilt shops, right? Well, here’s the loot:

QuiltyPurchases QuiltyPurchases2

Details of books and fabric will follow in a later post. It’s good stuff so check back.

I do have to share a piece of handthrown pottery that I just had to have. Wish I knew how to do that. Perfect for scrambling up two eggs for breakfast!


And, of course, I can’t travel without a handwork project! Inspired by this beauty and also a desire to whittle at the yarn leftovers, I crocheted a few rows on an afghan.


Now to whittle away at that pile of laundry….

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Channeling Gwen Marston

The anti-dote to template piecing (see previous post) is a heaping cupful of Gwen Marston’s liberated process.


I LOVE this book. Even though I have had it for simply ages, I always notice something new each time I sit down with it. This time it was her analogy (page nine) to conventional quiltmaking being like traveling on an expressway. “Nothing new to see and traveling on the same wide straight road with multiple lanes with everyone else becomes wearisome. The only choice for lunch is fast food…” Then she talked about taking road trips as a kid on the two-lanes—no end of things to see, going slow enough to see them. Fun and adventure along the way…that is what liberated quiltmaking is all about! And Process—making your own creative decisions, reflecting your joy. Wise woman, that Gwen!

ROYGBIVfreepiecedhouses I am caught up on all three BOMs and not ready to work on my other projects, so I spent a little time in the sewing room yesterday just playing. Just enjoying the Process. Gwen’s house blocks Process is just plain ole’ fun. I hadn’t made any for a long time so these first six were just to get back in the groove. After sewing six, I am ready to be a bit more creative. I want to construct a whole neighborhood—and I won’t even have to deal with City Hall to obtain permits!

Speaking of road trips DH and I will be leaving bright and early Monday morning for a little much-needed excursion of our own. We are heading for Tennessee. First we’ll hit Chattanooga, then on to Great Smoky Mountain National Park and sites thereabouts.



Hopefully we’ll get to travel a few of those two-lane slow and easy paths. See you soon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Quilting Fairy…

but she doesn’t live at YOUR house!!! KCStarBlock3

I completed Block 3 of the current KC Star Block of the Month this morning. Whew! I just don’t like working with templates any more. I have gotten so used to quicky techniques for HSTs and Flying Geese that I find it hard to work with templates and usually find that I am less accurate—even though I frequently check my 1/4” seam allowance and check sections for size after stitching, for some odd reason, I am mostly OFF a tad. AAARRRGGGHHH! This block is not exactly 12 1/2”.


The good news is—apparently the first and second ones were off the same amount of tad!!! Guess this will be a “liberated quilt” LOL.

In other “news” DearSister and I had a Sisters Day Out yesterday—so much fun. She is not a quilter but she IS a shopper. Man, can she wear me out!! We went to one of our favorites—Cockrell’s Mercantile out in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. (I may have blogged about this place before. If so, mea culpa.) Such an incredible place. Five little cottages of wonderfulness. One is Fiestaware only, one is baking equipment, one is cooking supplies, one is a gifty shop, and one is a garden goodies spot. Let’s just say, we did our part to help the economy. Here is just a sampling of my “contribution”:

garliczoom This little doodad is a Garlic Zoom. You fill it with garlic, roll to chop, and empty it out! Can’t wait to try it.

RetroTimer And a retro timer—so cute. I have a bad habit of sticking something in the oven or on the stovetop to cook, then heading off to my upstairs sewing room and forgetting all about it! I like to carry a timer with me to—hopefully—avoid starting a fire.

WineStoppers Much needed winestoppers! One for red and one for white, of course!

We also each added to our Fiesta collections and shopped at Dillards and a pottery store and, best of all, lunched at a darling Italian restaurant, Ciao Bella, in Lee’s Summit. Oh, and mustn’t forget, our late afternoon tradition on these little excursions—a McDonald’s ice cream cone. It’s a rule! Sisters are just the best.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just Playin…

 You know how it is when you get a new toy..ya just gotta play with it.  Using Live Writer to blog with is really fun.   I love how it places photos where you actually want them to be and in the order you want them—something I always struggled with using Blogger.  Even though I would load them in reverse order, if I wanted more than 5 photos, it just didn’t cooperate!   I have also been interested in watermarking my photos.  Piece of cake with Live Writer.  


I like the ability to tilt pictures.   There are more options I will explore soon.   I also like the ease with which you can make a list.  Here’s a Things To Do:

  1. Go shopping for one-speed bikes with coaster brakes with DH
  2. Learn how to use our new portable GPS for geocaching before our trip to Tennessee next week 
  3. Start a checklist for the trip
  4. Continue lessons with my next door neighbor on giving shots to my diabetic cat
  5. Gather some handwork to take along on the trip

I like that “crossing out” feature:

Today is a nice gorgeous day in the neighborhoodI should be out playing exercising instead of being on the computer.

Tables can be fun too,


Wacky Webs String Quilt Add borders to the long ends Pull scraps in color scheme
Chocolates & Cherries Big stitch quilt with brown perle cotten Mark fans pattern
Hot Salsa Nights Piece blocks together Arrange on design wall



 I know there is much more to it but that’s enough for today!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Signs of Spring

A short little trek around the backyard revealed some promises: iris, sedum, knockout rose, and lily—all poking through the brown earth. What a welcome sight!!

BabyIris BabySedum

BabyKnockOutRose BabyLily

I am trying out a new blogging program, Windows Live Writer, a free download. Sorry, I didn’t make a link but I’m sure it can be googled.

In response to a request by a commenter, here’s the recipe for Irish Sweet Potato Soup:

3 medium sweet potatoes—peeled & cubed

6 medium carrots—peeled & cubed

1/2 onion—chopped

4 cloves garlic—crushed

2 sticks celery—chopped

6 cups chicken broth

1 t. salt


Put all ingredients in a dutch oven and simmer till soft. Blend with immersion blender till pureed.

Fingers are crossed that this actually publishes and doesn’t wreck my blog!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Warning: Sunglasses May Be Needed To View This Post

Dug out from the depths of the sewing room the other day, this string quilt UFO was my first attempt at string piecing.   It was started several years ago in a bee class at my guild.   It was so much fun but I soon grew tired of the bold color scheme.   I have now decided to finish it as a picnic quilt or just a fun Halloween cuddle quilt.   I have run into a road block, though.   The piecing was done on a very lightweight foundation material--an interfacing type fabric.   This is what the leader of the bee had us use and so I just went ahead and finished it that way.   It is a "leave in" foundation and that appealed to me.  I so dislike having to tear paper foundations out.  Well, here's the snag:   the weight of the quilt body is slightly heavier than the borders which do not have the foundation fabric under them.  How is THAT going to play out???   I am planning to use a low-loft 80-20 batting.  Maybe that will help to camouflage the two different weights?  Also the top measures 60" square.   Maybe an extra border would be good to make it a more useable size?   Hmmmmm...what to do, what to do...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Wonder of "the Internets"

Everytime I gripe about the high cost of internet service, I have to stop and remember all the wonderful perks that come with my internet service!!! Example: free BOMs. Here are my March editions of Christmas Wish from Gail Pan and A Tisket A Tasket from Bunny Hill. See sidebar for links.

Then there's example two: book suggestions from other bloggers. I saw this book on
Happy Things sidebar recently, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. So I immediately requested it from my local library. It came, I read, I LOVED!!! No, I didn't grow up during the Depression (I was a World War II baby) but I heard countless references from my parents about it while growing up. With the current economic times (some would say we're in a depression now) this book captures the truly important "things"--self reliance, family, innovative problem solving, and joyous revelling in all that nature gives us. I laughed, I cried. Now I need to OWN that book.
Example three: help in locating items. You may recall a previous post called
A Tale of Two Quilts in which I was frantically searching for a book that contained the pattern for this beautiful quilt I saw at my guild meeting.

I had combed websites, quilt stores, craft stores, and asked friends to help find it. To no avail! Well, a very kind reader (Betsy who had no email or blog for me to respond and thank her) commented that this book was on eBay. I "Buy It Now--ed" it. It arrived the other day and sure enough--there was the quilt. Different colors and a slight variation in the applique, but still--THE QUILT!!!

Can you believe it??? I am grateful to Betsy. I am going to delay the start of this quilt so that I can select fabrics carefully--it's been a long time since I set out to buy fabric for a quilt. I have been whittling down my stash for projects. So I think I deserve a splurge. My story, sticking to it. In the meantime, I have been working to finish a string quilt that has been languishing in a dark corner for too many years, Spiderweb.
Oh, and one more example of internet perks: friendship

Monday, March 02, 2009

What I Love About March

March 2nd...Dr. Seuss' Birthday. HB, Theodore!

March 13th...44th Wedding Anniversary. Yes, we were mere children when we married.

March 14th...Pi Day. Get it? 3.14. Banana Cream Pie has been requested by the hubster, a retired geometry teacher.

March 17th... St. Pat's Day. Being of German/Irish descent, we'll have Irish Sweet Potato Soup and Kaiser Rolls--that oughta cover it.

March 20th...First Day of Spring. Need I say more?

March 21st...National Quilting Day. Think we'll get a stocking full of presents?

So much to love about March!!!