Sunday, December 4, 2016

Back to reality

Whew...let's talk about some happy stuff.

Last year when we celebrated LeiLani's birthday, we decided that for her big "0" birthday this year we would go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Back in the spring I booked a condo in the Midtown area through AirBnB. Katrina and Cindy were going along, too. Katrina had to bail out, but the rest of us headed to Houston--Cindy and I drove there on Wednesday, and LeiLani flew in Thursday night.

Cindy and I attended the preview and saw most of the quilts Wednesday night. Overall, I thought the quilts were outstanding and better than the ones exhibited at the show in 2010, my last visit. The best of show quilt win by Cynthia England was definitely deserved, and one of my very favorites.

Queueing up for the Preview
Shopping was interesting. This was my 6th visit to the festival and the LIGHTEST load of shoppers and vendors I have witnessed. We started shopping bright and early Thursday morning and it was packed, and I thought that it would be that way for the rest of the show. I was completely surprised that by Friday afternoon the crowds had thinned out and Saturday was incredibly light. I appreciated the fact that I was stumbling over fewer people, but I worried for the vendors. Cindy and I were commenting on the number of booths that had little to no activity. This is an expensive show for a vendor and I'm sure there are several that may not return after this year. I know it will be a few years before I attend again. It's funny--the first time I attended was in 1996, and I wanted to return every year. It's been 6 years since my last visit and while I'm unsure of when I'll go again, I'm thinking 6 years isn't a bad wait.

I've said it before--it is all cyclical. There's an ebb and flow to this business and the strongest survive. I see quilt retailers that have evolved their shops, products, aesthetics and attitudes over the years, and even the people behind the festival have had to do the same. I saw more lectures and demos being featured this year. I also saw more non-quilting products--and was a bit disappointed. I'll return in the future, and it will be interesting to see how the show continues to evolve.

What did I get? My goal was to not buy fabric! I ended up buying 4 pieces--2 needed for a current project, and 2 just-had-to-have-it fabrics (Frond Textiles). My mission was tools. I bought a new straight-edge ruler for my longarm (I broke my old one), some patterns, some more rulers, 2 Modern Quilt Studio books, and...

...this baby. A Bernina 770 QE. I got a real deal on this one. My intent was to research machines and I test drove several, but the 770 QE won my heart! I took the classroom machine deal and had to wait a few weeks before picking it up, but in the meantime I watched a lot of videos about the machine.

Checking out the features
LeiLani also bought the same machine. Right after she made her purchase, we walked across the aisle to It's a Stitch's booth (Houston quilt shop and Bernina dealer). While LeiLani and I were buying feet for our new machine, Cindy purchased each of us a fat quarter of this fabric:

How cute is that??? I'm trying to decide if I'll make a mat for the machine or a sewing machine cover with it.

As soon as I arrived home from the show I joined the Hubster, my sister and Jack in the studio to continue prepping for Jack's booth at Holiday House. The timing of it was the same as the announcement that he was a finalist for Garden & Gun's Made in the South awards. We are so thrilled for him, and he did well at the show this past weekend. It's been a sweat shop atmosphere for a while and I'm ready for some regular sewing, even if it is for Christmas making.

Jack's booth at Holiday House

On display at Jack's booth
And as a runner-up in Garden & Gun's Made in the South Awards, he is now featured in the current issue of Garden & Gun. Go ahead, read the article! I'll wait. 😊

 Go here to get your Alie bag!

And the Christmas making continues and while I've lost a little bit of time due to the quilt show and our son's making, I have two gifts completed, two more about 80% complete and another one started a week ago. The Hubster has yet to start the gifts he's wanting to make, but he's also been busy helping Jack. Here's a teaser photo from the gift making:

And the Beast arrived last Monday!

In an entire week I have only spent about an hour with her. I've been under the weather and that interfered. Then there's work. The Hubster and I discussed the modifications necessary to my sewing cabinet in order to accommodate her ... ahem... HEFT. She weighs 40 pounds. I'll send you a proper photo once that's done.

More to come! Now, go quilt!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This just in!

Jack, our oldest, was a runner-up in the Style category for Garden & Gun's 7th Annual Made in the South Awards!

I haven't heard yet the tally for the number of entries, but last year over 1,000 entries were submitted. When Jack got the word he was a semi-finalist we were thrilled; but when he got the call in September telling him he was a finalist, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!

Jack has been in business for himself creating beautiful leather goods completely by hand for less than a year. We think it's huge that he has been awarded this achievement in such a short order of time. We are over the moon!

Here's the bag he entered, and just like the photo states, it's available now:
 Alie Handbag at
Click here to get your own. He'll have more product uploaded soon. (SHAMELESS PLUG!)

And for the name of that bag: Alie is my middle name. Yes, he's a mama's boy!

More mundane stuff coming your way soon. In the meantime, go quilt!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pets on Quilts 2016

I know, I know--I said earlier this year that there would be no link-ups...but come on, Pets on Quilts? How can anyone resist that?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Birthday fun!

The middle of April was my birthday--my golden birthday to be exact--and the Hubster asked me a couple of weeks prior what I wanted to do. At first I said I didn't want to do anything special and ... POOF! ... the light bulb clicked on.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Change is constant

There’s been a lot of buzz over the last few weeks in the quilting universe. Three major organizations announced huge decisions: (1) F + W Media will cease publishing Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine following their next issue; (2) American Quilters Society will cease publishing books in 2017, and (3) International Machine Quilting Association, host of the Machine Quilters’ Showcase, will fold.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I am so excited (can you tell?)--the annual Girl Gang retreat is less than two short weeks away. And I just found out this past week that I could go--we're short-handed on staff at the moment at work and the boss wasn't too happy about both paralegals being away. But he knew how important it was to me and told me, "You have to go."


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

We typically don't do much for Valentine's Day; a few years ago we started a tradition of eating in instead of fighting for reservations at a swanky fine dining establishment. We get to dress in whatever fashion we choose (usually sweat pants and t-shirts), we can eat and drink as much as we want (!), and the food is always fabulous. This is what we had for dinner:
Tuscan Ribeye, baked potatoes (white for Hubster, sweet for me), roasted cauliflower
Recipe for the steak is at We were supposed to have roasted Brussel sprouts, but Hubster forgot to pick them up at the store this morning. We're having roasted cauliflower instead. (I LOVE roasted vegetables.)

What the Hubster did pick up today was this lovely:
Notice the quilt books in the background...
The color is gorgeous. He wants me to take it to the office because it's so blah and needs a shot of color. I am happy to oblige.

And this is what I made for him - a mug rug for work (I guess office was the theme this year?):
My hot red chili pepper heart!
It's not perfect; this is my first attempt at improvisational piecing. I have to tell you that when I was working on it yesterday, the euphoria settled in and it was a wonderful afternoon. I'll be doing that again soon! Everything came out of my fabric cave for this one. Here's a couple of shots from when I remembered to take photos while I was working on it:
Whacking away...
Ready for quilting
Hope you're having a wonderful day, and if you're able to, GO QUILT!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What's up?

I had a wonderful sew day with LeiLani and Cindy on Sunday. We were missing Katrina (she was ill), but we are a true group that falls under the category of "Stitch and Bitch". We stitch, we share, we conspire, we lift each other up. It's all good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Progress and an Occasional Tuesday Tool Tip

I was working on the 96th block of Trick or Treat on Sunday when I hit basket overload. The pattern in Blackbird Designs' "When the Cold Wind Blows" calls for 291 basket blocks.

Photo from Pinterest

Monday, January 18, 2016

Musings and passings...

I had hoped that this post would have been the "Finally Finished" reveal of Pinetree Village, but it's still on the frame.
It's been a weird week. I was in the I-want-to-hibernate-I-don't-want-to-go-to-work phase of the year, but the necessity of a paycheck wins over staying under the covers, every time.
I was off from work last Monday and spent most of the day in the studio, ignoring that ugly pile of year-end paperwork that desperately needs attending to--another day. It was also that morning we learned of David Bowie's passing. My oldest was working in his portion of the studio and streaming Bowie's music all day. I'm sad for his passing, but I'm grateful for his musical talent that will live on. RIP, Ziggy...
Today I was off from work again and after tackling the year-end paperwork yesterday, I rewarded myself with a day in the studio. I'm back in the Girl Gang (YAY!) and our annual retreat is next month. We're making a quilt and I'm doing my part by making 10 blocks for it. I cut the fabrics last Monday and made the blocks today.

My worktable today
First block
It's my first time back to the retreat in three years, and I'm counting the days. Working on those blocks today really was good for me; the euphoria was such that I'd really like to call in sick tomorrow, but that's not happening...

And here's some random musings for you:
  • Read on a blog: "Have you gotten used to writing 2016 on your checks?" No, because I don't write checks anymore! (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
  • Hibernation: I finally figured out that instead of taking off 2 weeks at Christmas, I should take off 2-3 weeks in January so I can do that hibernation thing.
  • Have you heard there was a hurricane in the Atlantic? Hurricane Alex, first recorded hurricane in January since 1938.
  • It's finally hit me that I haven't been keeping up with what's happening in the quilting world so much as far as new products, fabric lines, etc. But what I have read this week is the latest diatribes on men and quilting. This topic rears it's head every once in a while and here it is again...
  • And I need to follow my own advice. I have gone back to spending time in the studio only on the weekends, and I need to go back to weeknight time in the studio; I'll get more done.
And passings...first David Bowie, then Alan Rickman, and just a couple of hours ago, Glenn Frey. Oh, how I loved Glenn Frey. I saw the Eagles back in 1977 when they came to Little Rock; one of the best concerts ever. I couldn't afford the tickets to see them when they reunited, but it's just as well...
That's it for now. Go quilt!