Friday, June 29, 2012

this just makes me laugh

A quilt shop sent this in their newsletter today:

Advice from a 1949 Singer Sewing Manual

"Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do. . . never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. . .When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on . . .[If] you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should."
Say WHAT? So little did those writers know. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quilts of Valor

66,246 quilts awarded.
The average age of a soldier is 19.Made of 100% cotton, these quilts are given to soldiers injured in combat,  to small children who have lost a parent in combat, and to injured veterans.

One of the five quilt exhibits at the expo was from Quilts of Valor. There is a QOV guild in Wake Forrest that also had a booth set up. Below is one of my favorites from their exhibit, along with a copy of the information sheet that went with it.

For more info on Quilts of Valor, check out one of their promotional videos below:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

cool things I learned

At a sewing or quilting expo, there are usually 3 parts: the exhibits, the vendor booths, and the classrooms. This was the first time I had ever shelled out money for the classes, and I was VERY pleased with the results. Every class was very practical and informative, and only one did I feel like I was in the wrong place (the teacher was a clothes designer who has tailored garments for many many years and she was a tad over my head) but even there I did learn quite a few practical things. So here's a few of my favorite classroom (both formal and from the free expo stage lectures) lessons:

 The longarm quilting teacher showed us how she took the feather pattern she was teaching us and used it in different directions to create the above chicken. How cool is that? Of course, she used different colored threads and fabric painting to create the accents, but it was still neat to see how one basic pattern turned in different directions and different sizes could create something so detailed.

 Above on the right is one of the employees for McCalls. (The lady in blue helping hold the quilt is a McCalls editor.) Here she's demonstrating one of her quilts she made totally from scraps. She saves EVERY piece of fabric that's at least 1" wide when she sews. Periodically she takes her scrap bin and sews them in horizontal lines. When that pile reaches a fairly large amount she cuts the strips in various shapes and makes a quilt top. I was expecting to see a modern style quilt (like the one below) and was a little surprised to see something this creative. Most of her quilts were browns,beiges and greens (what she said her daughter calls "icky green") so the colors weren't always my favorite, but I loved seeing her many patterns. It made me realize how much planning goes into great quilts as opposed to my "jump in, feet first" approach.

 Wish Upon A Quilt store in north Raleigh present a free lecture on modern quilts. The one above is one of the few they showed that I really liked. They were laughing about how elderly women inform them there's nothing modern about these quilts. Evidently in small towns throughout the US, especially in African-American towns, quilts in this style and other similar veins were quite common.

And back to the McCall's lecture...Of all her MANY quilts, this was my favorite. The 9 patch squares were part of a quilt project at the McCalls' company (9 patch squares are the chuckwagon squares). Instead of buying fabric, she decided she was going to use up her green fabric stash. It doesn't show very well here, but the right side of the quilt is light green with slightly darker squares. The left side is a shade darker. (She kept running out of her stash and had to keep moving to a darker shade of green.) The bottom halves are both varying degrees of green. It gave it a color wheel effect and looked totally planned. Her point was that we can use what we have and play around with it long enough to make it work instead of always having to buy more fabric to complete a project. She was one of my favorite free lecturers.

I didn't take pictures of the lace shapping class or altering pant size patterns. I hope to try the lace shopping project very soon. The teacher sent us all home with a DVD of her lecture notes, plus she's one of the co-owners of Elegant Stitches in Cary (where I rent the Bernina to quilt). It's nice to know if I get stuck I can go in for advice at the store. And that was one of the nice things about this show - almost half of the vendors were within driving distance. So many quilt shops don't have up-to-date websites, so if you see something at a show and don't get it you're often unable to purchase it later. It's nice when you know they are close by and can always find an item when funds aren't quite so tight.

You're probably getting tired of quilts, but I think you'll find tomorrow's post very heartwarming.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kid Friendly Quilts at Expo

Raleigh Sew & Quilt Expo Post #2:

One of the four quilt exhibits was an international competition. All the quilts were to be shaped like a house and had to do with the theme of home. They quilts were going to be auctioned off at some point as some fundraiser (sorry, I didn't read all the details). Besides being impressed with the wide variety of interpretations of the theme, I kept wishing all my kid friends were with me to see some of the entries. So I took pictures for them instead:

Based on the movie Up

This one was definitely 3D!
My favorite of the three mice houses.

And I included this one just because I like the old lady, and it's about quilting. :)

The black outline doesn't show up on the black showcurtain too well,  but it' s earth and the sun.This one reminded me of my artist friend Sara Mincy because she makes those little circle things (can't remember what they're called at the moment) as well as folds fabric/paper. Very creative!
Even though I lived in an apartment building for 4 years and a dorm for 4 years, I seldom think of a cityscape when I think of a place to live.
And last from my favorites of the housing exhibit: a barn!

And while this last quilt was part of the McCall's favorite patterns Exhibit, it made me laugh, and I thought all my young (and young at heart) blog readers would like it. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Raleigh Sew & Quilt Expo

From the Raleigh Convention Center, last week, Post One:

Overlooking Exhibit Hall A where the expo was held:
 The Gammill classroom where I took 2 classes.
Maybe one day I'll actually own one of these machines!

 Part of the Fons & Porter Quilt Exhibit:

and a close-up of the quilt above. :) Even the best quilters don't always get their pieces totally lined up correctly!

 I've seen a similar version of this quilt (but with diamonds, not stars) and one day hope to try it.
The coolest thing was the quilting below, which is one of the patterns covered in a class I took.

And another quilt that I thought was absolutely stunning:
 The coolest thing? It's simply sqaures, lines and triangles. Even the quilting is simple with straight and diagonal lines. :)

Tomorrow: Kid Friendly Quilts ;)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

moving forward

Has it only been a week since the robbery? It seems like much, much longer than that.
But yesterday, as we contemplated the day, I made the comment to Bobby that while I didn't want to head back to the gym, I knew every day I didn't was another day I voluntarily surrendered to those guys. I decided I would attend the 2nd class (which was a wise move as the pool is still not working) and do some yard work outside. At one point I headed back inside for string to tie up a tomato plant, and realized I had locked myelf out. Yes, locking ALL the doors and windows clearly has a disadvantage. I figured I would finish up what yard work I could, then walk to my mother-in-law's for her spare key. As I was heading toward the shed, this car with two young men cames down the road, STOPS when it sees me, and slowly starts backing up. At this point my heart is absolutely racing. I have no keys, no cell phone, no camera, nothing to write with, no mace....nothing. They pull in the 2nd driveway, and I fear they're going to turn around and I hesitantly started toward them. I WAS getting a tag # this time! Then this tall fellow gets out, and my heart goes to my toes and I start laughing! It was Zach Younge and Brett Hanks, two teens from church, who were filling in for the Burns (two teen brothers who normally cut our grass). Brett gave me a ride to my mother-in-law's house for the spare key. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I was to see a face I KNEW by name and not as a blurry memory!

We've begun the process of making some modifcations to the house, and I hope to visit several pawn shops today. I've talked with a few gold buyers on the phone, and I've truly come to appreciate owners of shops like Arrow Pawn in Garner who keep an inventory of gold they buy and go an extra step of asking for descriptions of your class ring as well as all related contact info (I typed criminal case #, but that reads too weird). It's nice to meet honest and caring people after encountering lying thieves.

And in the midst of a week of paperwork...we lost the hard-drive on our computer. So once we finally get it back and I'm not hopping to a family member's house to surf the net, I'll hopefully update on straw bale gardening and chickens, as well as the Raleigh Quilter's Expo. Life doesn't slow down, not even when you throw an extra amount of work on it. And sometimes that's probably a good thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Irony (besides the opposite of wrinkly)
  • asking 2 young men "Can I help you?" only to find out a few minutes later they were robbing your house
  • being told by a deputy "don't touch anything" while you have to sit and wait for 2 hrs and all you can see is housework that needs doing. (Do you know how many cobwebs are on my front porch?)
  • police asking a colorblind person what color truck the men were driving
  • a man having to reach across the book "Choosing Gratitude" to steal my jewelry box
  • being asked to describe one of the expensive rings I had, and the first word that came to my mind was "heinous"
  • having your house photographed for criminal files when you left it for the gym with dirty laundry sorted into piles on the floor, an unmade bed, and breakfast dishes still on the table
  • our "mean" rooster (everyone asks us if he's mean) taking all the grown hens into hiding in the field when the robbers came
  • laughter - Bobby and I giggling at the reaction those young men probably had upon coming in our huge house and seeing 2 televisions both over 20 years old and a 5 year old worn computer with cords running everywhere.  We're still dumbfounded they didn't steal any of the hundreds of books we have. (We said that to some relatives, and I think they thought we were serious. But seriously, you want to hit us where it hurts, take our books.) They didn't take any of the teddy bears, Granny's quilts, none of our bluegrass, Country, or Christian CDs, his 25 year old stereo, my 13 yr old sewing machine nor my huge fabric stash. Those boys obviously had no idea of what it takes to make life pleasing.
We did lose some things that hurt. His grandmother had some cheap bead necklaces. After her death a relative made them into beaded bracelets for all the grandchildren. There's no monetary value on it at all, but it meant the world to me. It's one of the few bracelets I actually wore. A cheap athlete's foot track pin means nothing to anyone else, but my now paralyzed husband won that one year in track and field. The pretty cuff links that weren't real gold or real stone? Those belonged to my father-in-law, who is now in heaven. A child's metal bracelet with the initials BB? That won't mean anything to anyone other than us. And who on earth wants a Cordova High School Class of 1991 class ring?

After the shock of what happened wore off, and the reality sunk in that they were holding my husband's loaded rifle when I pulled up (which they left in the garage... so thankful I didn't know that at the time!), all I could think was "Wood, hay, stubble" and how God is our protector and provider. I know that even if I had not come home from the gym early and they had trashed the place and taken every single item, God would still provide our needs. Even if they had hurt me instead of just fleeing, God would still be the protector of my soul and spirit. There are some things money can't buy and thieves can't steal. I've had to constantly remind myself of that fact since Monday as I hesitate to leave the house for fear they'll come back (the investigator says not likely since I can somewhat ID them and their vehicle) or resist the urge to check out every pickup that passes on the road. I have to focus on today and tomorrow, and not replay Monday morning at 10am in my head. I can't change anything; can't do anything any differently.

But I'm thankful more than ever for my husband/best friend. He truly makes an awesome teammate.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Well, I don't know if it died of natural causes or the mother smothered it, but our little biddy is just about as flat as Flat Stanley. I was hoping Bobby would get to see it hop around last night (she's had it hidden every time he's looked), but that wasn't to be the case.
We're giving the other hen another week or two, and then she's coming off the nest whether she wants to or not. Enough is enough.

And if two crazy Momma-wanna-be-hens aren't enough, I've discovered why all these little scratches keep appearing on our vehicles:

And last but not least, the turtle population is really getting out of control at the pond. I'm not crazy about the idea of shooting them as people have suggested, but I have no other ideas on how to narrow them, either. Turtle soup anyone?
and the scary thing is that he's only a medium size turtle!  My first guess was a snapping turtle (because his head was so mobile) but looking at the picture it looks like his head is capable of going back inside the shell (which means he's not a snapper). Who knows?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

no pics

I think I've shared the problems of our broody hen. (A hen that wants to be a Mom and hogs the nest, taking ALL eggs that are laid in hopes of hatching them.) We actually had a second hen go broody, and we moved her to the little hen house and pen in hopes she would hatch her two eggs and get it out of her system. Evidently, one of the eggs she had under didn't actually belong to her but to the original broody hen, for it hatched this past week (after 2 weeks on the requires at least 3).
I tried to get a picture, but by the time I discovered the fluffball hopping around and on its Mama and came back inside for the camera, Mama hen forced her brood of one back underneath. I took the one remaining egg and put it back in the big hen house with the other hen. But this is our first ever naturally hatched egg!
In the midst of all this craziness, one of our reds has found a box in the garage where she has started laying. I'm thankful, as it eliminates the possibility of bad eggs. I will be very happy when everything is back to normal in the chicken world.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

with nervous trepidation

The ideas are there, always lulling around in the back of my mind. Some of them go away after a time; others continue to lollygag about and taunt me.
Twice I have signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - a hysterically crazy idea that you can write the rough draft for an entire novel in one month), but the designated month of November is always one of our craziest months. One year I actually started and got to about 20,000 words (50,000 is the bare minimum limit), but had to decide that my family, home, and sanity were more important than mere ramblings.
But for the first time ever, there is now a Camp NaNoWriMo. It's being held this month, which my husband wisely advised against, and in the month of August, which I crazily just signed up for.
So sometime in the next two months I need to actually choose one of my crazy ideas and create a baseline. That's exciting and intimidating. Every idea has potential and life. But some roughs are rougher than others. I fear creating a rough draft so rough that I nothing within me wants to ever look at it again, much less edit and rewrite it.
I'm not getting any younger, so if I'm ever going to do this, now is the time.
Camp NaNoWriMo, you are on my calendar!

Monday, June 4, 2012


I do not want to dwell on reality today (like goodbyes to family members, aging parents, hurting nieces, etc), so I am instead contemplating the trivial wonderfulness of life:

First, Chick-fil-A has updated their dessert menu.
I've not tried the new brownies, even though they look good, because I REALLY liked the old brownies. These don't have the cute little chopped nuts on top, though they do have chocolate chunks inside.  BUT, what is absolutely so good it should be sinful is their new chocolate chip cookies. The calorie count is atrocious, but they do have oatmeal and wheat flour, so they can't be totally bad, right?

Second, I have book club tonight. That makes me sound hip, and just typing the words "hip" and "me" in the same sentence makes me laugh. This more accurately describes me:
I'm seriously contemplating getting this shirt (and debating whether or not I have the guts to buy one that says "Mom loves ME best") to wear to our family get-together this Thanksgiving. If I find out my oldest niece is bringing friends with her from college, then I will most definitely consider it. :)

And my ticking clock tells me it's time to get busy again. Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

just a week?

This time last week we had arrived in Alabama and were asleep in the basement at my parent's house. And life has not stopped spinning since then.
Saturday we drove 3 hours northwest to Pisgah, AL (pronounced Piz-gee, with emphasis on the first syllable) for my cousin's wedding. It was great to catch up, albeit briefly, with family. Then we started the 3 hr drive back to my parents' house. While crossing Lake Guntersville on the way back we were able to see 2 eagles perched on their nests (the bridge on the way there is an old bridge with the metal braces overhead, and this is where they built).
Sunday morning was church of course, so we drove the 45 minutes to where Dad is pastoring (we don't stay at the parsonage because the bathroom and bedroom doors aren't wide enough for a wheelchair). Due to the holiday we had the afternoon with family, playing with my niece and catching up with my two younger siblings. At times like this, nothing thrills my heart more than to only have one service on a Sunday.
Monday morning my parents followed us back to Florence, SC where we met my older sister and her family for supper.
Tuesday we crashed, caught up on bills, and washed clothes and repacked.
Wednesday we drove to Ocean Isle Beach where Bobby's youngest sister (from TN) and her family were with Mrs. Bryan.
Thursday Bobby drove the young'ins back while I visited antique stores with my sister-in-law and her husband (and oldest daughter). And then we unpacked again.
This morning I cleaned the fish tank, ran errands, played with my nieces and nephews and spent the evening with family. My oldest niece on my side of the family graduated from high school tonight. Go EM!
Tomorrow morning I drive 2 hours to Washington, NC to help my older sister unpack everything in their rental house (my brother-in-law starts his job as pastor there Sunday week), then my parents come back with me and will be with us until Monday morning when they begin the long trek back to AL.
I should never wonder why time seems to fly by so fast.