Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


My friend Lisa does this on her blog every week.  It's something that another blogger, From This Side of the Pond started I guess a while back.  Every time I read Lisa's hodgepodge I think, I ought to do that one day.  Today's questions were so cute I thought I'd jump in. 

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

 Oh yes it is air conditioned!  South Texas can be brutal.  The funny thing about this summer is that we have not hit the 100 degree mark yet, which is highly abnormal for late July.  We've come pretty close, though.  Growing up we didn't have "central air" in our house until I was about 10.  We had one window unit (for a pretty big house).  It was in the dining room, which we didn't use as a dining room.  We actually used our dining room as sort of a casual eating spot, like a breakfast nook and ate big fancy meals at the big table in the kitchen for some crazy reason.  There was a lot more room there, now that I think about it.  Anyway, even after we had central air installed my mom would set the thermostat at 80 always.  It used to come on around 10 in the mornings.  It would cut off for the last time around 8 or 9 p.m. and then the windows would be opened all over the house until it came back on the next day.  I remember many many nights of continuously flipping the pillow over to the cool side.  I actually thought I had discovered that trick all by myself!  I didn't know other people knew about it!

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

There's always something "up in the air" in my life!  The most immediate is, "What am I going to give my husband for his birthday?"  Whatever he wants, he buys.  (Within reason, of course).  His hobby is reading, but he buys books online to read on his tablet - one right after another.  I can't hint, either.  That puts ideas in his head and off he goes to go shopping and buy whatever I can get him to say.  So, I gave him a kidney and I won him a trip to the Super Bowl a few years ago.  Do I really need to give him ANYTHING else?

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?  

A number of years ago I found a recipe in Southern Living called "Orange Dessert."  Not a very exciting name, but so tasty and very light and fluffy.

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

Well, it didn't exactly make me float on air, but I did get a really nice compliment from my boss today about an article I wrote for our donor newsletter.  I actually write all the articles for the donor newsletters.  He walked in my office at the end of the day today and said, "You are such a great writer.  This issue of the newsletter is wonderful.  I almost cried when I read it!"  He was talking about an article about a memorial garden we recently had a dedication service for.  In fact, I teared up when I was writing it!

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Airport last Friday and airport tomorrow.  My husband is out of town for a professional development event.
6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

I've never been to the Alps, but I may have flown over them from London to Rome and back.  They're not on my bucket list, but if  someone said, "Here's a ticket; have fun," I wouldn't turn it down.  I don't ski and only ever learned how to fall off bikes, so any kind of walk or boat ride would be fun.

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

That was a long time ago.  I remember saying "Oh, that's attractive" very sarcastically a lot in college.  We said a lot of sarcastic things in college.  I remember that "right on" was very popular in high school.  Oh!  I just remembered.  I had one of those posters of the cat with his claws in the rope that said, "Hang in there, Baby."  I guess that was a popular phrase.  Remember those cigarette ads that said, "You've come a long way, Baby."  I saw a t-shirt that said, "I haven't come a long way and I'm not a baby."  So there.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I came upstairs an hour ago to sew and turned on the computer to tune in to some Billy Joel music.  Only it's an hour later and no sewing or Billy Joel has occurred.  Also, I just previewed this post and I can't figure out why the spacing is weird on 2. and 4.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

My new favorite quilt book

There's been quite the sewing frenzy in my quilted nest the past few days.

Our church has a huge Fourth of July extravaganza each year.  It started 10 years ago with just a Patriotic Pops Concert (organized and directed by my hubby) and now it's a pie baking contest, quilt show, vintage car show, ice cream social and Patriotic Pops Concert.  There were nearly 1,000 people at the concert last night, which was outstanding.

Anyway, Dave told me last weekend that they were short on prizes for the winners of the two categories in the apple pie baking contest so I volunteered to make two table runners using blocks from the Vintage Farm Girl book by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet fame.

Let me say I love this book!  When I was purchasing it, the lady in line next to me at the quilt shop said, "What are you going to make out of that book?"  I said, "I have no idea."  I guess she was one of those organized, determined, disciplined people who only buy with a specific purpose in mind.  Silly!  I also bought fabric that day just because it reminded me of 1972!

Anyway, like I said, I decided that I'd make two table runners.  I made the first block Monday night.  I wouldn't have been so ambitious, except that I knew I had Thursday and Friday off of work and I knew I could sew all day both days, and I did just finish yesterday about two hours before the winners were announced.  I hope they like their runners.  They also each got a cookbook which was donated by one of the judges.

(You won't find a pattern for the apple in Lori's book.  I tweaked the pumpkin block and turned it into an apple!  I added the little white triangles at the bottom to give it that little "divot" that apples have on the bloom end.)

I love all the patterns in this book and can't wait to make some more.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The super seminar was super

Last week I went to a three-day Ricky Tims Super Seminar.  It was a Christmas gift from my family.  Although it was held in a venue only about 10 miles (or less) from home, they also treated me to staying in the seminar hotel - I love staying in hotels!  It felt a little funny at first, but believe me, I got used to it quite quickly and really felt like I was away on a quilt adventure.

Here's a slideshow Ricky and Alex Anderson posted to give you an idea of the weekend's event.

The most challenging thing about the weekend was the weather!  South Texas experienced extremely cold weather last weekend - unheard of coldness!  And the event venue was a big barny ballroom that never seemed to get warm - and yet, no one complained!  We were all so excited to see the quilts and watch the experts demonstrate how to make them we just pulled our jackets around us a little closer. 

If you haven't been to a Super Seminar, I recommend it.  Ricky Tims and a guest expert or two (typically Alex Anderson) lecture and demonstrate all their signature techniques over the three days.  There are also numerous shopportunities to purchase their books and Ricky's hand-dyes, and Bernina is a big player in the retail therapy portion of the event.  A couple of the lectures were basically Bernina commercials.  Being an Elna girl, this was a little dull for me - could have been off-putting if I'd let it be.

One of my favorite parts was getting to see Ricky's and Alex's actual quilts up close.  I've seen these in all kinds of publications and online for years so it was great to see them in person.  I've always wanted to compare my hand-quilting to Alex's.  I spent a long time studying her quilt Mud.

What I  discovered is that I "can" and do quilt like she does - but not as consistently, especially on my own personal quiltsYou can find high quality quilting like this on my quilts, but not all over the quilt.  I'm happy to let some sloppy quilting (bigger, uneven stitches) find its way into my quilt - sort of lazy, I know.  So as a result, for the past week as I've been quilting Kites and Diamonds, I've been much more mindful as I quilt so that my stitch is more consistent.  It's really paying off.

I had a great time - paid for it at work this week with all of the catching up I had to do, but it was worth it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Here is another new year starting.  To tell you the truth, I'm a little startled by it!  2014 flew by so quickly and had so many ups and downs.  Work was crazy, with my boss's retirement, getting a new boss (not new to the college because he had been one of our vice presidents), the grand opening of a new building and program on campus which I've spent most of the last two years writing about, talking about, making presentations about, planning, raising funds for, etc. etc. etc.  It has truly occupied my life.  And then in the middle of it all, I developed an annoying health issue that I really don't want to talk about - at least not yet.  I'm getting treatment, in fact I graduated from physical therapy yesterday, and I'm feeling tons better than I did in September and October - I was really in sad shape for a while there.  I'm much, much better now.  So let's talk about quilts and stuff!

We've had a good day, today.  Mostly quiet - DD was out with a friend all day.  I made lunch for Dave and me - pecan crusted chicken, hoppin' john, pasta salad left over from yesterday and sugar free brownies with sugar-free vanilla ice cream.  Delish.

Are you making resolutions this year?  I'm not, really, except that I've made a list of UFOs to complete in 2015 and they are (in the order I want to get them done): 
  1.  Kites and Diamonds - this is the quilt I'm hand quilting right now.  I'm pretty sure my mother pieced it sometime in the '50s or '60s.  I haven't taken a picture of it yet.
  2. Bow Tie - I saw a vintage bow tie quilt on Flickr one day when I was eating lunch at my desk and decided I had to make one like it.  I went home and made one block just as a sample so I wouldn't forget and the next thing I knew it was covering my design wall.  No pic of it yet, either.
  3. Not-Your-Grandmother's-Flower-Garden - I just ordered a hexagon die for my brand-new Christmas present GO Cutter, so I'm excited to get it and get busy.
  4. Mighty Oaks - I was in such a hurry to start this, and then I needed to get some notion or other and it just sort of got stuck on the design wall. It's a little further along than the picture below shows.
  5. Embroidered Baskets - I might get this done in time to enter it in the local quilt show.  That's a big maybe.  It only needs quilting, unless I decide to add a border.

I know it doesn't seem like a big list, but I will hand quilt these, and I only have so much time for hand quilting.  I've also chosen two tops to send out to be machine quilted: my Sister's Choice and Black and White and Red All Over. 

Wishing you all you dream of in 2015!