Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

With Daughter 1's wedding less than three weeks away, I wanted to veer away from the usual red and green Christmas decorations. Her wedding colors will be silver and ivory, so I wanted to stick to that theme. So I took all the red stuff of our door wreath, including the big red bow. I wired silver ornaments around and about. I was planning to try to buy some big white bows at a craft store, but then I had a light bulb moment. Roc Lon Multipurpose Cloth!!!

It was easy peasy. I pulled out my scissors and a stapler and voila! I had a wonderful big white bow!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

House is Done!

All our remodeling is complete (yay!), both the inside and outside are decorated for Christmas (yay yay!!), and Daughter 2 is coming coming home from Italy this week (yay yay yay!!!) It was a wonderful and busy weekend. Thursday was for stuffing ourselves. Friday was for football. Saturday was for shopping and tree trimming. And today we finished up with the outside decorations. Whew!

Above is the house block I made for Love Laugh Quilt's challenge. I couldn't resist. All I had to do was make a 12 inch house block and mail it to her by January 1. It only took 15 minutes to make, and it was quite fun. I'd love to make more funky houses. She's going to draw names after the first of the year and a few lucky quilters will receive a nice pile of house blocks. It's not to late to join in - just leave her a comment and she'll e-mail her mailing address. Just make sure to put your name or blog name on the block.
Here's a partial shot of the latest t-shirt quilt project. Fun and done! I also got the binding on my flutterby quilt last week.
And a quick shop of Oliver and Prince: Ollie is getting older and more awkward. Friday he attempted to lie down on his bed in front of the fireplace. Somehow he misjudged, planting his rear on said fireplace.
He actually stayed like this for several minutes. Funny dog!

Tomorrow I'll show a pic of some of our outside decorations. I got creative with Roc Lon Multi-purpose Cloth!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wedding Shower and Another Block of the Month

Here's a pic from Emily and Tommy's wedding shower Sunday - it was a Christmas ornament shower. What a great idea! They got some really nice ornaments to hang on their tree. That's me on the left, with Tommy and Emily, and my 86 year old father. It's a miracle that Dad is smiling - he never smiles!

Ever since our girls were born, I've been getting them each an ornament every Christmas. Emily was born on Mickey Mouse's birthday (Nov. 18) so she has always received a Mickey ornament. When Elizabeth was little, she wanted to know whose birthday she shared, since Emily had such a fun b-day partner. I thought a bit and told her she was born on an angel's birthday; so she gets an angel ornament every year.

Okay, so you want to see my second block-of-the-month project for 2011. This is it! This will certainly be an adventure! I'm getting all the fabrics, threads, etc., delivered to me each month. I noticed that it's now sold out, but they are taking a waiting list, just in case someone backs out. According to the delivery schedule, I will not get my kit until the fourth week of every month. So I"ll try to do the Xmas BOM during the first part of the month. Sounds like a plan!

Monday, November 22, 2010

How to Brine a Turkey

My camera is MIA; I know it's around here somewhere, but I couldn't put my hands on it this morning. And I have quilty things I wanted to show! Hopefully, Mr. Camera will turn up later today and I can get some photos posted.

I haven't shared a recipe in some time, and felt this was the perfect time to share my Turkey Brine recipe. Last year was the first time I'd ever tried this. And I must say, it was the most delicious, moist, and flavorful turkey I have ever roasted! Who knew that this could make such a difference! I've always preferred the side dishes over the turkey at Thanksgiving because every roasted turkey I'd ever tasted was dry and bland. But now I know the secret!

Here's the recipe I use.

I put the brine and turkey in the biggest bowl I have, and I usually brine it for a couple of days instead of the 12 hours they suggest. Make sure the turkey is already thawed, if you bought it frozen. I also flip the turkey over in the brine half way through the brining time.

This year, I'm only roasting a turkey breast since we aren't having a crowd: just hubby, me, and Daughter 1. So the meal will be a bit pared down and simple. But we are all looking forward to a nice, quiet Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Baltimore Christmas

Here is one of my 2011 Block of the Month projects. Can you see why I fell in love with it? Click on the picture to see it close up. And, one of the biggest anomalies of doing this? I never, NEVER make Christmas quilts! I've never been able to justify spending time on making a quilt for only one season. BUT, times are a-changing!

I love all the detail in each block. I adore the gingerbread house! And the reindeer dancing in a circle!

I bought the entire pattern set, along with the buttons that are used thoughout the quilt for embellishment, in Houston. I didn't get the fabric (though it was available as a kit) because I thought part of the fun would be picking out fabrics from my stash. So that is my challenge to myself - making the entire quilt from my stash. Okay, so I did buy the background fabric in Houston - some assorted cream batiks. But for everything else - I'll be stash shopping.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Emily!

You deserve fireworks!

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow....
I've been away from my studio far too long. I'm ready to start something new. I'm ready to fondle fabric. I'm ready to create.

I've been designing some patterns, so I'm anxious to start working on them. But next year will also be the year of the Block of the Month. I'm going to be doing two different BOM projects. I know. Really? I've never been a block of the month type person. I'm more of a go-with-the-flow kind of quilter. Not a follow-a-pattern kind of quilter. And certainly not a follow-a-pattern and finish-a-block-every-month kind of quilter.

But I happened to have fallen in love with two different BOM quilts! Totally, head-over-heels-in-love. And I couldn't resist the lure. And they are totally different from each other, though both are going to be done by hand. I know. Crazy, huh!

I think I'm becoming a hand-sewing kind of quilter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Keep Looking Up

I was trying to find the appropriate photo to express my feelings today and this is what I came up with - another Houston picture to remind me to keep looking up. Today was not the best of days. I was disappointed in someone that I don't know very well. And my honesty did not sit well with this person. I know I did the right thing, but I don't like having to confront difficult issues. Sometimes, though, it is necessary.

So I will keep looking up, looking forward, looking ahead. The wedding - can't wait! I know it will be awesome! I was really hoping to lose some weight before the big event, but that hasn't happened. I've decided to enjoy the next month and our special holiday season, loving myself no matter what the scales say.

And Daughter Two will be home from Italy so, so soon! I can't wait to give her a great big hug, and tip toe around the house in the mornings so she can sleep late. I expect her to be exhausted!

And the wonderful Christmas season! I'm especially looking for to this Holy time. How could I not keep looking up?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Snuggled Up

Here's how Prince (on the left) and Mickey like to sleep: snuggled up. If you'll notice, the door to the crate is open, so they could get out if they wanted. They were made to snuggle with each other, I think. In the corner of the crate is their quilt; they must be special because it has some Kaffe Fasset fabric in it. They are worth it!

I spent today quilting at Thimbles, working on a t-shirt quilt. I didn't finish, but hopefully I will complete it tomorrow. I'm ready to finish so I can dig into my Houston purchases!

There are little things that need to be done in our hall bathrrom before the remodeling is finished. Okay, so one is not so little - we need the faucet and showerhead in the tub. But once it comes in, it will only take minutes for the plumber to install. Maybe tomorrow? I hope so.

And our last wedding shower is this weekend - a Christmas ornament brunch in Georgia. Should be fun. We're talking my parents with us, hoping my 86 year old Dad can handle the trip. He really wants to go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Belated Birthday Present

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So here's my b'day present, only a few months late. I succumbed and got a fabric cutter! Accuquilt really pushes the GO! cutter for the average quilter. The reasons I got the Studio version are because it is able to use bigger dies, it has tons of dies available (much more than the GO!), and it cuts through so many layers of fabric at one time. I've tried it out and love it!

Of course the disadvantage with the Studio version is that it is HEAVY! It weighs in at 50 pounds, so it has to have its own dedicated space. You're not going to move it thereafter! So I found a nice little space for it in my studio, and there it will stay.

With the sale they were running, I got a terrific deal. I started out by purchasing 3 dies for it, all circular. I'm working on a series of quilts now that require circles. Oh, how much time it will save me! I figure additional dies will make good Christmas presents for me!

We are now counting down from 5 weeks until the wedding! Daughter 1 and I met with the reception venue yesterday to make the final arrangements there. And since the wedding is getting closer, it also means it's not long until Daughter 2 will be home from her studies abroad in Italy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our New Rug

As part of all our remodeling around here, we bought some new furniture. We have hardwood floors in our main family room, but we haven't had a rug in there for years. I've been looking for months for the perfect rug. It had to have a dark enough background to hide spills and spots. I wanted it to go with any colors, in case I decided to change my color scheme in a few years. I wanted something unique and not too formal. I wanted something with a bit of whimsy and maybe with a touch of funkiness.
I found it! I had to order it from a local store, and it came in a couple of weeks ago. We'd left it rolled up in its box until yesterday though. I didn't want it to get ruined prematurely by workmen's feet, sheetrock dust, and dripped grout.
Imagine my surprise over the weekend while in Houston - I was reading blogs one night and discovered this post on Material Obsession in Australia. Scroll down the post until you get to the rugs. I'll wait.....
Twiddling thumbs while you look....

NO WONDER I LOVE THIS RUG!!!! It was designed by Kaffe Fasset!!!!

I must say, it wasn't too expensive either, especially for a wool rug. It was only a bit over $500 for an 8 by 10 foot rug. I'm thrilled with it! Hubby's fine with it (he's not as excited about the Kaffe connection as I am), and the dogs love it. Mickey spent part of the evening last night rolling around on his back to break it in.

I know it seems that all we're doing around here is spending money. But the remodeling, even with some new furniture here and there, has been so much less expensive than moving to a brand new house would have been. And now we do have our dream home.
In quilty news, I got my birthday present from my dear hubby last week. I know, my birthday was way back in July. But don't think he's an awful hubby! He wanted to give me something quilty, but didn't know where to begin. (I wouldn't know where to begin to buy him something golfy.) He suggested a new sewing machine. This year we both turned 50, so he wanted to get me a "milestone" gift. Well, I didn't want or need a new sewing machine.

So I've been doing some thinking for a few months. And a bit of research. I decided what I really wanted, but I've been busy and didn't get around to ordering it. Then I saw where it was on sale for a few days only for $100 off! That got me moving!

Can you guess what it is? Obviously, some assembly was required. The reveal tomorrow...

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Tree Grows in Houston

Meet my friend, the Houston tree. This is where I caught the bus at my hotel to the Convention Center each day. Might I add, it was very windy in Houston. Very, very windy. Poor tree. One day it was bent sideways. I think it has a permanent lean to the right.
Here's another shot of Sharon Schamber's Best of Show quilt. A-MAZE-ING! But I must correct an earlier post where I mentioned that the back of the quilt has mirrors sewn on. Boy, was I wrong. I guess it was the way the light was shining.
What I though was mirrors, was actually open work, connecting areas of the quilts. I cannot even imagine the time and intricacies involved. Wow.
Here I am with friends, Judy C. and Margaret M., who were nice enough to include me in their dinner plans.
And here I am with fellow bloggers, Victoria, Shelly, and Shelly. We arranged to meet for a few minutes Saturday morning. It was so great to meet them in person after reading their blogs for so long.

Guess what? This is the last week of our remodeling project. Yay! Yay Yay! The last bathroom will be complete by the end of week, thank goodness. We'll have our house back!

And the wedding countdown begins - less than six weeks to go! I'm getting very excited - I still need shoes, but Emily found some on-line at Zappo's. I think I'll order them.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Leaving Houston

Alas, my time here is done. I'll be flying home in a few hours. My feet are tired, as well as my credit card. It was well worth the effort to come, though. I thoroughly enjoyed every second! Today I though I take a break from quilt photos to show other sights. Here are a couple of shots from above of the vendor area.
If you've never been, I wanted to try to illustrate the magnitude of the venue. Unbelievable!
Here's the outside of the Convention Center. It goes on and on and on....
I adore the bright red smoke stacks on top.
And here are some buildings across the street. I thought the reflections in the building on the right were way cool.

I've learned so many things while I was here. I learned how to make a sweatshirt jacket without it looking "frumpy." I've learned some important tools for applique. I've learned some neat tricks for fusing fabric. And I've learned that some Canadians call their UFO's "PIGS," Projects in Grocery Sacks! All important stuff!

Oh yeah - I learned I have an accent. I was told that by a wonderful woman from Oregon. Who knew? Me, an accent? Yes, born and bred in Alabama. Comes with the territory!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Even More Houston Photos

More Houston Photos

Houston Photos

Houston, Day 1

What a great time I'm having! I was at the Convention Center yesterday just as they opened. I walked from my hotel with a lovely woman from Germany. Here's the very first photo I took - Sharon Schamber showing the back of her Best of Show quilt - lovely! It may be hard to see here, but those white things are actually little mirrors. Her backsides are always as gorgeous as her fronts!
And here's my friend, Judy R.'s Schizo Rose, hanging in the Celebrate Spring exhibit - LOVELY!
At first this quilt didn't catch my eye, but then I looked closer. The "plain" blocks were each quilted with a face - it's called Multiple Personalities.

See what I mean? Very cool, indeed!
And of course, I'm always a sucker for a dog quilt! This one is a digitally tranferred photo that has been heavily quilted.

Many, many more photos to come - I may post multiple times today.

And the shopping!!! Oh my! I came back to my hotel yesterday afternoon and dropped off a load. Then last night after another round, the strap on my tote bag broke - a sure sign that I've overdone the shopping a bit... I'll show pics of some of loot eventually, too.

Last night I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant with my two Birmingham friends (one lives in Seattle now). It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day. Then at MIDNIGHT(!!!), while sleeping away, the fire alarm in my hotel went off, LOUDLY. I threw on my clothes (no socks, no bra) and went out in the hall, debating on whether to grab my loot from the show. I decided there was too much to carry, and that I'd better just concentrate on saving my life. Luckily, it was a false alarm and we were able to return to our rooms after 15 minutes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Houston, Baby!

I'm here, I'm here, I'm HERE! So excited! I arrived last night. I sat next to a guild friend, Margaret M., on the plane and grilled her about what to expect. She's meeting a mutual friend who now lives outside Seattle.

Two hours until the show opens this morning....I've showered, had a lovely breakfast, and now will twiddle my thumbs until time to go. I have an empty (for a short time!) tote ready to take to carry all my purchases. Not sure yet what they will be, though there is a certain type thread I want to buy, a certain pattern, and a certain fabric, too. Other than that, who knows?

A shuttle bus to the show stops by my hotel off and on all day, so I think I'll catch a ride, though I understand it's not a bad walk. I want to save my feet for the rest of the day though! Nothing much to take a picture of yet, though stay tuned.

I'm missing a bee meeting today to be here; miss you all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Master Bathroom: Befote and After

It's FINALLY DONE! Above is the old, ugly before - cultured marble, broken tiles, rough walls.

And here's the same view now. Still neutral, but much nicer. The new cabinetry has more storage - we got rid of the knee hole. The countertop is marble. The floor tiles and tub surround are also marble.
Here's one little idea I had the contractor implement - I had him cut a hole (sort of a window) into the end of the shower. It's amazing how much bigger it makes the room feel.
I also had him install these boards (stained to match the cabinets) behind the mirrors. I made the Roman shade and the shower curtain on Friday.
But one of our favorite things about the bathroom is the new door. The old door opened in, blocking the bathtub. So we had the contractor install a pocket door instead. I was so glad he was able to install one with glass, too. The room is much more open feeling. It feels much bigger than before, even though it isn't.

I went to Thimbles today and quilted a couple of more rows on the red nine patch quilt. Hopefully, I'll finish it tomorrow. Only two more days until my Houston trip - can't wait! So tell me, what you would buy if you were to go to Houston? Fabric? Patterns? Rulers? Books? Thread?