Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What a Thrilling Evening!

Do you have a favorite author?  I do!  

Well, several actually :*D  But my Top 5 would definitely include Barbara Kingsolver... 

Author of The Bean Trees, The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer - and many more books.  I have a collection of all of her books, most of them first editions.  Her latest is Flight Behavior, and she came to Nashville tonight on her book tour for a reading/book signing at the Nashville Public Library!  *Swooning like a young girl at a Beatles concert*  The Library worked with Parnassus Books - owned by another renowned author, Ann Patchett - to bring Kingsolver to Nashville.

THIS is Barbara Kingsolver SIGNING MY BOOK!!!!  Tonight!!!  Right in front of me!!!  In person!!!  (okay, I think you get the picture :*)

When our book club found out she was coming we determined to get tickets!  The tickets were free, but there were only a limited number of advance tickets available.  After those were gone, hopeful attendees had to stand in line the night of the event to get the remaining tickets.  So I sat at the ready at my computer on the morning they were to be made available at 7:45am.  There I sat with my cup of tea and my finger on the mouse, ready to swoop in and get those tickets!

I kept clicking the Refresh button and seeing the same message, "Tickets will be available November 12 at 7:45am." Until finally I clicked and it said, "Click here for advance tickets..."  Hallelujah!!!  In no time at all I had 5 of the tickets, but they would not let me order more than that.  Since it was still pretty early in the morning, I waited an hour and then called my friend to get her to order the additional 5 - they were already sold out!!!!  In the end, only Joanne and I went, so it turned out okay - for us anyway :*)

When we got to the Library, we passed by a huge line of people who didn't get the advance tickets and were waiting, hoping to get in.  With our magic advance tickets, we zoomed right by and then we were quickly allowed into the smallish auditorium where Barbara would speak.  We found out later that those without advance tickets had to sit in another room  and watch her on a big screen TV!  Boy was I glad I got those tickets!!! 

I talked Joanne into taking a picture of me sitting in the front row, waiting for Barbara to come on stage.  
Can you tell I'm excited???  Like a little girl excited for the first day of school excited???

The picture is a little blurry because of the lighting, and also because I had to zoom in and then crop it so you couldn't see my huge butt in that chair LOL!!!

First thing, Ann Patchett came on stage and told us a funny story about Barbara and "her friend Liz Gilbert," the author of Eat, Pray Love.  Then a representative of the Library spoke for a few minutes before giving the floor to the Mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean, who then introduced Barbara.

Barbara is very personable and amusing, she definitely kept us interested and engaged.  She began by telling us a little about herself, then she read from her book for about 15 minutes.  It is beautifully written - of course!  After that, she opened the floor up for questions.

We learned that she began her adult life as a biology major, studying science and writing scientific articles.  When she became pregnant with her first child, she says she suffered insomnia so badly that she decided to put those nighttime hours to work by starting the novel she had always wanted to write.  So she pushed her desk into a closet so the light wouldn't keep her husband awake and wrote The Bean Trees in the closet!

Unfortunately, I took notes on my phone and forgot to hit the button to save them so they're gone!  But I do remember that she said she believes stories are necessary to us, like nutrients we need as much as food.  She talked about her rules for writing fiction....

1st Rule - The beginning must make a promise that the rest of the book must keep.

Other rules....

The beginning should have the end inside of it, like the germ of a seed waiting to reveal a plant. 

The themes of a book should thread all the way through the book from the beginning to the end and back to the beginning, like threads in a fabric, tying it all together.  

You should be sure the reader clearly knows what you are talking about - 
and be sure that YOU know what you are talking about! (She laughed at herself there!)


So, my dear friends  I am off now to dream of my fun night, and I'm taking my book with me to Gatlinburg where I'll spend the next few days goofing off with my mom and a couple of our besties.  I'm sure a couple of quilt shops will call my name - look out Stash Enhancement Report!!!

I know - it's a tough life, but someone's got to live it, and it might as well be me! =^..^=

Hugs & Blessings,

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's SO GOOD To Be Home!!!

Easy Street is on my Design Wall today....  

Well, it will be once I get these strips sewn together and make a ton of 4-patches  :*D

We just got home last night from our 9-day marathon trip to visit with family in North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holidays!  Whew!  We had SUCH a great time, but we are pretty exhausted.  It is always a joy to spend time with our family, and we treasure every minute together!  But afterward it is so nice to come home to our own home, with our own bed and our own things!  Dorothy was right, There's No Place Like Home!!!

I do think this little fella is going to be missing us though....  =^..^=

This trip, we even took our 17-year-old cat, Gypsy, with us because I would have worried about her too much to enjoy myself, even with someone coming in to feed her twice a day.  I just felt that even for a cat, being left alone that long would not be a good thing.

We were pleasantly surprised at how patient and quiet she was during the trip out there and then back and forth to different homes.  She was a real trooper and behaved like the royal princess she is =^..^=  She was not named Little Egypt for nothing!!!  But on the way home, she had had enough I guess.  About 2 hours into the trip, she began letting us know in no uncertain terms that she wanted out of that darn cage!!!

So we decided that as long as she sat still we would try letting her sit on my lap for a while.  This was my view the rest of the trip!

I was surprised at how interested she was in everything out of the window!  She loved the mountains and was just amazed at the semi trucks as we passed them.  She was fun to watch!

But I can tell you, she was one tickled little kitty when she got to her own house!  She kept looking around as if to make sure she wasn't dreaming!  I actually think we all felt that way :*)

As soon as we got in the house and unpacked the car, I happily trotted up to my sewing studio and dove into the first clue for Easy Street!  Remember I told you yesterday that I found this wonderful gray .....

 .... to use instead of this one I had in my stash?

Well, I could hardly believe it, but when I put them with the background black-on-white (BOW) prints, I decided I like the original gray better!
New gray with the BOW prints

Original gray with the BOW prints
I felt the new one blended in too much with the white prints, and the original gray seems to have more contrast with them, so I went with it.  The new one will go in the stash for another project.

I cut my strips very quickly tonight with my Sizzix 2" die cutter - wow does it make fast work out of that job!  This is 6-1/2 layers of fabric, each cut into five 2" strips.  One swipe of the cutter and I had all the gray strips I needed for Clue #1!

And very little waste too.  That was something I was concerned about with using the cutter, but I've found that I don't have enough waste to worry about at all.  This is all I had left over from the cuts!

Then I layered up the cutter with these cute BOW prints to pair up with the gray strips and make 192 four-patches!

I'll get as many 4-patches as I can sewn up today during my Monday sit-n-sew with friends.  Several of us are doing the Mystery, so it will be fun to work on it together.  I'll try to update this post later today to let you know how far I get :*)

And just because I missed you all so much, I want to share a funny picture with you....

Have you ever seen a plane being transported by truck before?  I HADN'T EITHER!!!  It was the most ridiculous looking thing hanging out of the back of that truck!  But I suppose if you've gotta move a plane and it doesn't fly, you don't have too many options :*D

I hope you all have a fantastic week!  I'll be linking up with Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville for her Easy Street linky party and with Judy at Patchwork Times for her Design Wall Monday post.  Be sure to go by and check out what everyone is working on!!!

Fresh Poppy DesignAlso linking up with:

  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 

Hugs & Blessings,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Slow Stitching Sunday ... and Some Major Stash Enhancement!!!

Since I have been traveling for the holiday, I was able to get in some sweet hand stitching!  I finally finished up the 7th block in my Promises & Borders quilt.  I only have 3 more blocks to finish this up.

I also got a lot done on my latest Blue Winter Wonderland block.... just a few snowflakes left to finish this one up.  Lots to go before this quilt will be finished though :*)

I always so enjoy the gentle pace of hand stitching and look forward to my time with needle and thread :*)  I'll be linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching linky party, so be sure to go over and see what others are slowly stitching up!

I can't wait to get home (driving all day tomorrow!) and get busy on some really fun projects going on!  Bonnie posted the first Easy Street clue Friday and all I could do was LOOK!!!  I am just itching to chop up some 2" strips with my new die cutter and get busy making those cute little 4 patches!!!  And Jenny at Sew Kind of Wonderful posted the newest Curve It Up QAL block - a curved rail fence - sweet!!!!  Look for some fun project posts SOON!   =^..^=

However, my week was not all spent in traveling, visiting family, cooking, and eating lots of this...

Yes indeedy - that's a 24 pounder!!!!  Just before he went in for his last browning :*)
I also managed to enhance the stash quite nicely!!!!

I always try to go by Mary Jo's in Gastonia when I am in North Carolina, and it worked out perfectly for me to drop in last Tuesday.  I even ran into Mary Jo herself!  I'll do a post next week on my visit and share some of the pictures I took at the shop, but for now I'll just share some of my goodies....

Some of these luscious lime/apple greens will be added to my Easy Street stash!

Love these aquas!!!
These will not only be used on Easy Street but also on my aqua Jamestown Landing (someday!)

This yummy aqua batik was only $7 a yard so I had to bring home some of it - wouldn't you????
This is the gray I decided to use for Easy Street - I like it much better than the one I had in my stash.

Two more fat quarters for Easy Street!
I'm hoping this happy orange polka dot will work with  my Curve It Up QAL fabrics
There are always so many batiks to choose from at Mary Jo's, but these had to come home with me!  I love the rich blues and I'm thinking they will work well with my Butterflies quilt.  This picture does not do the multi-colored one on top justice - the picture below is better....
This is a better shot of the multi-colored blue/purple batik - WOW!!!  It is a gorgeous piece of fabric!

So the Stash Report for this week is.......

Stash Enhancement Report - November 25, 2012 

Used/Destashed this week:  0.0 yards
Used/Destashed YTD 2012: 222.75 yards
Stashed this week: 14.25 yards
Stashed YTD 2012: 269.00 yards
Net Used for 2012: -46.25 yards

Be sure to go over to Patchwork Times to see how others are doing at managing their stash!

Hugs & Blessings!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Curve It Up QAL - Block #2

We have so much coming up for us in the next week that I knew I needed to jump on getting the second block done for the Curve it Up QAL.  I really didn't want to fall behind, so I downloaded the PDF and got busy.  Jenny's sister Helen over at HGMR Deco Quilting designed this block which is called the "Curve It Up" Sawtooth Star.

Working with these fabrics is really stretching me.   The line has orange, purple, aqua and green, and not all of them play well together - not for me anyway.  And a lot of them have large patterns that don't work in small pieces, so I had to go raid my stash to add a few more solid-reading fabrics to the line.  The curved orange stars are from a fat quarter I dug out of my stash :*)

I originally wanted to go "matchy-matchy" and use this pretty aqua with the dragonflies fabric in the 16-patch center.....

But as you can see, it just didn't work.  The aqua was a perfect complement to the dragonflies fabric, but it was just blah in the block.  I knew I had to punch it up with some color, but I was concerned about using the purple in there, afraid it would be too garish, but eventually it was really the only choice that allowed that center to pop.  Once I got it put together I was thrilled with the result!  I love the movement of those purple squares in there!

The block went together easily, although at first I had some qualms about the fact that the star points don't go out to the seam allowance and they don't meet in the middle.  Once I realized it was designed to look like that I decided to get used to it :*D

I thought it would be fun to add a decorative element to this block by fussy-cutting the flowers in the corners.  After I figured out where I wanted to cut the first flower to get the look I wanted, I put some Omni-Grip on my small square ruler and traced the flower design on it so I could place the ruler exactly on the same place with each subsequent flower.

              Here are my first two blocks of this QAL together.....

This has been fun and challenging, and I am delighted that I decided to join in.  I'll be linking up to Jenny's Flickr Group HERE.....

I also want to show you something I won last week from my friend Leslie who shares her gorgeous art quilt works over at MarveLes Art Studios.   This girl is a serious artist and makes some wonderfully quilty, sparkly, delightful pieces - you will want to check her out!  She is also one of the sweetest bloggers I have met here on Blogger :*D

This hand-painted watercolor drawing notecard is what I won!
Don't you just love it?!?!!!!

I'm so happy with this little card and can't wait to frame it and hang it in my sewing studio - huge smiles!!!!  Thank you so much Leslie =^..^=

I may need to take a little break from the blog this week with all the things going on right now.  Today we celebrated our youngest grandson's first birthday....

What a CUTE birthday cupcake :*D
Tomorrow we are going to the stadium to see the Carolina Panthers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  I sure do hope they decide to play well tomorrow :*)  It is supposed to be cold and cloudy, so I will be bundling up very, very warm!!!

After that we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving, as I am sure many of you will be doing as well.  May I send to each and every one of you - whether you live here in the US or not - my sincerest wishes for a wonderful holiday surrounded by all those you love!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Linking up with

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quick Update - Finished the Teapot!

Ta Da!!!!

I finished up the teapot!  Isn't it colorful and bright? 

Anyone ready for some tea and strawberries?


Slow Stitching on My Design Wall

On Sundays I always like to link up with Kathy over at Kathy's Quilts for some Slow Stitching!  And since I posted yesterday about my Rainbow Pineapples, I'll link this up with Judy at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

I'll be working on The Blue Collection applique project while watching the mediocre Carolina Panthers play football today.  At least I'm loyal, right?  Hope springs eternal that they will mount an unbelievable comeback and start winning every game for the rest of the season..... well, okay, that hope has pretty much fizzled out, but I'm still pulling for them :*)

Back to the real world.... 

This is how my strawberry dish turned out using the starch method to prepare the pieces....

Sweet!!!!  I just love that dotted fabric for the strawberry!!!

I still had a little trouble with that leaf, but it was the stitcher, not the method that was at fault.  I think it turned out okay, so it's staying on.  Here is a picture of the designer's block so you can see what it will eventually look like...

The Blue Collection - block by Maggie Walker
I've started on the teapot now ......

I just love this teapot, and I'm absolutely in LOVE with this fabric I'm using for the body of it!!!!

If all goes well, I should have this block finished up today.


I did finish up the teapot block ------

Now I'll start on my peaches bowl.  Do you remember my Great Peach Quest post?  Click HERE and HERE if you want to refresh your memory.  I'll wait..... Okay, you back?  *smiles*   Well, here is what these peaches look like all prepped for stitching down....

I was amazed at how great they are going to look in that bowl!  What really tickles me pink is that the size of the peaches in the fabric is almost exactly the size needed for the pattern =^..^=  I may have to tweak them a little as I stitch them down, but I think it is going to work splendidly, don't you?

This is Maggie's block - No offense to Maggie who is one AMAZING designer, but I think I like my peaches better :*)  And I didn't have to paint anything - yep, that's a winner for me!

The Blue Collection - block by Maggie Walker
For those who enjoyed seeing my granddaughter's first attempts at embroidery (HERE), here is her finished piece!!!

For a first embroidery project, I think she did an amazing job!  She even designed the layout, choosing the designs from her book and placing them in position to make her undersea design.  I think she has some definite potential as a future crafter =^..^=  We will be making a sweet little pillow out of this so she can gift it to a special friend.

And last, but not least - the news you've all been waiting for.....  * Drum-roll please!*

The winner of my Birthday Giveaway is....... Andra Gayle!

Andra Gayle said...
I became a follower. Can't wait to see your progress on Hawaii Sunset ( I am very far behind you) and Easy Street (haven't officially decided to participate yet)!

Congratulations Andra Gayle and thanks for following along.  I hope you enjoy the magazine and pattern!  I've sent you an email, so be sure to get your snail mail address to me quickly :*)

That's it for me today!  What about you?  Are you slow stitching today?  What's on your Design Wall?

Hugs & Blessings!

I'm linking this post up with...

Patchwork Times

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