Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:17

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yay! DaGMT! It's happening again!

Remember DaGMT?

Drop and Give me Twenty is the brainchild of the very talented and often funny Beth Helfter at EvaPaige Quilt Designs. I'm not going to say I adore this lady because that's creepy but I really enjoy her humor and quilt-because-you-love-it approach to quilting. More importantly, DaGMT 2012 helped me SO MUCH with my procrastination issues. No, I did not complete everything I wanted to for 2012, but pledging those twenty minutes a day for the month of February helped me establish a pattern to sew something every day possible. I got so much done-- and so many new UFO's started-- I consider 2012 my most successful quilting year ever. Now Beth is hosting a DaGMT for 2013 and this time there are so many awesome prizes on board it's even more exciting! If you have procrastination issues, need a kick in the starter, or just want an excuse to tell your family why you have to have that time to yourself---here's an incentive for you!
And if you read me much, get used to hearing about it. I love DaGMT so much I will talk about it. 
A lot.
Please don't hate me.
Join in.
You'll thank me.
Okay, you won't thank me. It has nothing to do with me.
You'll thank YOU. You will amaze yourself at how much you can get done.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas is a headache.

  Okay, not really. This isn't an "I hate Christmas" post. I'm just going to remember this year as 'the year of the headache'.  Headaches are nothing new; I get stress headaches across my forehead and behind my eyes often enough to know to just take a couple of Tylenol and sleep it off. But, after 'Aida' closed on Dec. 2, that night I started a peculiar headache that was more like shooting, stabbing pains that would come every few minutes or seconds. They were behind my ear, near the base of my skull and no amount of Tylenol would stop them for more than an hour or two. There was even tenderness from the outside of my head. Heat packs helped a little. It was most difficult to deal with because we were finalizing the church Christmas show that week and this time I wasn't just directing, I was a performer too, and the pain was interfering with my speaking and memorizing. After 5 days I finally gave in to the 'contractions in my head' and saw a doctor who gave me stronger Tylenol and told me to come back if it didn't improve. The drugs at least made me functional and the show went on. My first pain-free day was this past Saturday and I finally feel like me again. The real unfortunate part was I was simply unable to sew (or do much of anything) during those almost two weeks and now I am horribly behind on Christmas. Of course, that's really not new either. I'm just disappointed because this year I made good progress in my war against procrastination and it's like I ran into a cement wall just when the progress would have been most helpful. I guess I should just accept that last-minute is my mantra and embrace it as a part of me. But not the headaches. That part of me, I hope, never happens again!

My Doll Quilter's Monthly quilt is on it's way; all my sewing now is devoted to Christmas so pictures after the holiday!

Friday, in addition to being the end of the world as we know it, is Kal-El's third birthday.  THREE. Yes. *smh*

Love you, Tractor-Boy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A few "Aida" costumes~

I have posted before about how busy I am and I never have time to do everything I want to in the sewing room because I never say 'no'.  Well, this fall I learned that it's not going to matter (sometimes) if I do say no. Apparently, I'm not allowed to! So, this year, instead of the usual 'dramady' for the church's Christmas program,  we will present a variety show, which is a lot easier to put together and far less stressful for my co-director and I to pull together. Yikes. Lightboard for  'Ruthless' in September, costuming/production for 'Portrait...' in October, costuming for 'Aida' in November---- Jacie has worked every show with me and we figured out we've had one weekend off since the end of August.
Any way...

I don't normally take pictures during the show runs because:
1. I know someone else always does and they're usually better than any I take and
2. I rarely think to bring a camera.
But I did this weekend and grabbed a few shots backstage of the main characters, except Aida. I'll get her next week. I hope.  But here is Radames:

One of her MANY costumes!

Mereb and Nehebka:

Jacie managed to sneak out front and tried to snap a few non-flash pictures during the show, from the side. Not great, but here's lovely Aida with my sweet Nubians during 'Dance of the Robe':

I must get better pictures-- although it's not everything I designed/wanted due to time constraints and quick changes, I am really pleased with this show and want to 'book' this one!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do You Love a Mystery... Quilt?

I've never tried a 'mystery quilt'-- one where you gather your fabrics and follow direction to piece the blocks or top with no idea of what it is supposed to look like. Oh heck, I have enough trouble creating stuff when I know what it's supposed to look like. But the ever-clever Beth over at Quilting Hottie Haven has twisted my arm into trying my first mystery project. Oh heck-- she didn't twist anything. I'm just attempting to justify why I jumped on this when I am already working on two shows, UFO's, Christmas gifts, Doll Quilter's Monthly and the usual house and schoolwork. Want to play along? Details here !

On the show front, "Portrait of a Nude" opens today (Break a Leg, Jacie!) so at least the bulk work on that one is done. Now it's just maintenance for the run of the show. This is a good show-- sometimes I'm sick of them by the time they open but I am enjoying this one. Makes you think about art, what is art and what role censorship should play.  The big fall project, "Aida" is coming along. I'm not where I hoped to be but that's why you shouldn't schedule two shows together! Expect me to be loopy in the spring when "Avenue Q", Summer Shakespeare and "Rent" all come back-to-back!

My August Doll Quilter's Monthly quilt to Leonie, pictured here , has apparently been lost on it's way to her in Germany. I think I messed up when I wrote her address and is sitting in some dark corner of a German post office because of this dumb American. So I'll be sending her something new this week-- I just can't re-make that particular one. :(   I also sent off these lil' fall quilts~~

To Loretta for September (theme 'fall') :
(I actually made two of these and sent the other one in to a Sewing Mamas doll quilt exchange.)

To Judee for October (theme 'spooky'):
I called that one "I Want My Mummy"~ can you find the strip I put on backwards? ;) I also did a  quilt-as-you-go technique and added a spider web when it was done for more quilting. I'm slowly tiptoeing into free motion quilting on my machine. Still don't trust myself with big areas, though.

I received these beauties this week too! From Judee, for October. She very thoughtfully remembered my family doesn't "do" the spooky side of Halloween (but we sure do the candy!) I love the colors and 16 y/o Philip, who only has eyes for comic books, remarked "Hey! It looks like a wonky pinwheel!" Gives a mother hope. *wipes tear*
And this one arrived from Loretta for September--just beautiful! It is now residing proudly on the homeschool/dining room table.
Thank you, Ladies! I am so loving this group!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Riddle me this~

Blogging time has been nil since it's the fall theater season. "Portrait of a Nude" opens Wednesday with Jacie in her first 'real'; role. She's doing a great job and mama is (obviously) proud of her little thespian. "Aida" is huge but coming along. I spent some time this sleepless AM catching up on some of my favorite blogs~~ so much great stuff out there!
Here is my 'riddle'--- I tried to leave comments on a few blogs that have the 'prove you're not a robot' code on them. Despite careful typing, making sure I was copying exactly, it would say it was wrong and give me a new code. I'd try several times but eventually gave up. What am I doing wrong? Is it something I have to enable or turn on/off? I really wanted to take time to compliment some wonderful quilts!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One year~

 Seems not too long ago I was writing about Kal-El's first birthday...

Today it's Leia Elise's turn~

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. Can't remember what life was like without you!

Nannie loves you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's a quilted first for me~

 Back in March I was a pattern tester for Cindy (Quilt Doodle Doodles) and I made two versions of her sweet "Bear Tracks" pattern, one in flannel and one in Civil War cottons. They were my largest tops to that date and I really didn't want to deal with the quilting so I saved my pennies to pay a longarm quilter. There are so many wonderful quilters out there! I chose Mary at Quilt Hollow to quilt the flannel . Something about her work just pulled me in and I'm so happy it did! Her communication is awesome and turnaround and price were just great! Because of the straight lines and 'blockiness' of Bear Tracks, I asked for an allover swirl to soften the look a bit. I am just so pleased with how it came out!
Now I'm looking forward to some pleasant fall evenings on the porch to sew on the binding.
I've already started saving for the next one!

These pictures were taken by Mary before she sent it back to me:

Now I know what I want to do when I grow up...

Monday, September 24, 2012

A different kind o'Pinterest post~

 I have never tried pinning anything to Pinterest that hasn't already been pinned but I quickly learned how in order to try to win a great fat quarter pack from Randi at (Etsy Shop) Fresh Squeezed Fabrics. I read about her giveaway and when I realized Randi's shop was already one of my favorites I jumped in. Help a gal (me!) win by re-pinning my pin here:

And maybe you'd like to play too! Details here:


Monday, September 17, 2012

Scrap... vomit?

Yeah. It caught my eye, too.

One blogger I follow, Cindy over at Quilt Doodle Doodles, posted about a new swap she found at GnomeAngel. Inspired by I'm a Ginger Monkey, the scrap vomit quilt is what we old folks call a charm quilt made with 2.5" squares in all different fabrics. Gnome Angel used SwapBot to set up a swap for said 2.5" squares. I have a plethora of 2.5" squares, or the fabric to make some, so I signed up. Can't say for sure it's a DUFUS--  after all, I'm getting back as much as I send out. But I'm more likely to do something with all those scraps so that'll lead to the eventual DUFUS---yes?

 Besides, how fun is it to say "scrap vomit" several times?

Click on GnomeAngel^ to get sign-up information if you'd like to play too.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


 I'd bet most of you are familiar with Pinterest, that website of inspiration that can make you feel eternally crafty or woefully inadequate at all things...life. What started as a place to gather ideas and useful information has evoleved into a mecca of food, craft, style and humor that ranges from innocent photos of sleeping babies to obscene references to Justin Beiber. (Which may be totally justified. We're not here to debate that, though.) Like any popular site on the web, however, it has gone from great idea links (still some) to 'how can I lure people away from the good stuff and shove my crap into their cookies so I can rake up big hits and maybe plant a virus' links. Photography wizards post beautiful pictures of yummy food or cool crafts and you are intrigued. Awesome captions and frequent use of the words 'simple', 'easy', or 'quick' lure us into a false sense of "I can do this!" And so you pin and plan to have the most incredibly decorated house with the yummiest dishes at the fantastic themed party and won't that just put Martha Stewart in her place!
 But do you ever try any of the stuff you pinned? Lately, I've been reading a couple of blogs that are devoted to 'testing' popular pins and seeing how well they turn out. I enjoy the humor, although often the language is a bit off-putting and I especially enjoy it when a pin proves disastrous. I guess that's the cynic in me that wants to say--"See? I'm not lazy-- I just never tried it 'cause I knew that wouldn't work...".  Actually, the more pins I read, the easier it gets to pick out the phonies and I don't even bother with them. Like this one for baked apples:

                         Even a culinary catastrophe like me can tell those apples are not baked.
But then there are projects that are appealing enough to think--"Hey, that's cool and I don't think I need to even look at the original directions to make it!" Like this:
 I was immediately drawn to it because:
1. It's a rainbow;
2. Even Jacie wanted to make one right away and
3.-- It's. A. RAINBOW. I am a sucker for most things rainbow.
 So we bought a two-pack of 16 X 20 canvasses on sale at A.C. Moore, a bunch of crayons at the back-to-school sales, tacky glue and commenced our projects. We played with different layouts, glued the crayons in place and let them dry. Jacie asked to put a caption on hers. I thought it a great idea so I stole it. So, after a lovely warm evening on our front steps with our only hair dryer going for about an hour, we were left with these works of art:
                                                 Jacie's caption reads " live life in color".

   Mine. The caption is from the Harry Chapin song "Flowers are Red". This song is why I love rainbows.
Jacie and her art. Don't tell her I 'showed her off'.
It's a Pin-Win! Go for it. But look for a real baked apple recipe for your baked apples and ice cream.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What not to do when you're busy~

  I've heard it said 'When life gives you lemons; make lemonade'. While I get the sentiment, I always thought that unless you get sugar, too, it's going to be lousy lemonade. But that's neither here nor there and has nothing to do with this post. I just thought of it because it kinda goes along with today's other thought: When you're already busy, don't take on more stuff! For goodness sake, I need to put my "no" button in a more reachable place.

On the docket this month is:
-new school lessons
-turning 51(this one happens without any real effort on my part)
-beginning work on "Aida"
-beginning work on "Portrait of a Nude"
-the Doll Quilter's Monthly mini quilt
-ongoing (intended for Christmas) projects
-running the lightboard for 'my' theatre; three shows each weekend
-breathing and sleeping. And eating. But I always find time to eat. Not a problem.

So when Sewing Mamas opened up a Fall doll quilt swap I said sure. I mean, I'm already making one--what's one more? Right?

Right. I'm nuts. But at least I'm a sensible nut. I had already planned to make two of the same quilt because I like the pattern I chose and I wanted to keep one for myself.  I've already started them; they're progressing well, so I think it best I just take a picture for my quilt album and pass both minis along in the swap. Photos when they're done.

I received this beauty for the August swap from Leonie in Germany.

 It is gorgeous and the quilting---oh, I wish I could get my stitches so perfect! I hinted at the quilt I was making for her in my "I. Hate. Diamonds."  rant. I hesitated to show the finished quilt because she hasn't received it yet (as far as I know) and also because I'm embarrassed. It was my first attempt at a Lone Star and to say it is wonky is being kind. I had to do all kinds of crazy adjusting to get that sucker to lie flat and it will never will any prizes for symmetry or matching points. It's also bigger than I thought it was going to be. I think the best lessons I took away from the project were that things will always take longer than you think and, for goodness sake, keep it simple when you're on a deadline!

Anyway, I hope it makes to Leonie safely (I may have messed up her address, on top of everything else.). Time for rehearsal...

...did I mention ( I know I didn't yet, I'm 51, I'm not that far gone) that Jacie auditioned for a role in "Portrait" and she got it! She's playing a British schoolboy and is tickeled to death that once again she has thwarted having to wear a dress or look at all feminine. Auditioning was her idea, she went through the whole audition/callback process and earned it. Mama is proud. :)

 Oh--- the top picture? Gratuitous picture of Kal-El and Leia--  I made whipped cream and suddenly I was the most popular Nannie in the house! Can you believe Leia will be one year old next month?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Been away~

 Took a trip to Boston to see family. Took in a kidlet for 1 1/2 weeks while her guardians are away. Needless to say I'm behind on this month's doll quilt. And school planning. And because my in-laws are moving to an apartment, my brother-in-law brought some downsized items to our house while we were away and so I came home to a house that looks like one of the ones on Hoarders.

  I just want to catch up with y'all now so I can see how productive YOU have been and NOT look at what used to be my living room.

Best part of the trip-  a week with the grands. Here's Kal-El~ can you believe he's 2 1/2 already?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I. Hate. Diamonds.

  I hate diamonds. Not the naturally occuring minerals that claim to be a girl's best friend, although I really don't care about them either. I mean the ones that claim to be a quilt block, or piece of a block, that have too many bias edges and make life for this quilter frustrating and hair-pulling. This is my first diamond foray:

 I had a charm pack from Me & My 3 Sisters stashed away and a template that was in my Christmas stocking. Bless my two youngest children, I know they didn't know what they were choosing. I imagine the scene went something like this:

Child 3: What should we get for Mom's stocking?
Child 4: Dad says 'pick out a bunch of quilting stuff and let's go'.
Child 3: But what stuff? I don't know what she wants.
Child 4: I don't either. I think she has most of this. Let's get some
              long pins and one of these shape thingies.
Child 3: Which one? I wish she wanted comic books.
              I know about  comic books.
Child 4: Here--this shape will fit in her stocking and it's orange.
              That could be fun. She doesn't have anything orange.
Child 3: Is there one shaped like Batman?
Child 4: *hits child 3*

 Thus, I have a diamond template.
  I used it to cut the charm pack into diamonds (3 1/2-4") and cut some solid white ones from the stash. I immediately sewed them into 'twosies'--every blessed one-- and then went to press them open. Naturally, I had sewn the wrong edges, so instead of rows I had chevrons. Angry at myself for not checking the first one, I stuffed them into the UFO drawer. Weeks later, I pulled them out, picked them apart, and stuffed them back into the drawer for a few more weeks.  Now ready to face them again, I managed to get them into rows and trimmed all sides to be fairly even. Not quite big enough for a baby quilt so I added the pink stripe where I will embroider the baby's name. Boy, it was frustrating getting points to match and there's a lot of steaming on there to make everything lay flat. I hope to sandwich it this week.
  And I swore off diamonds.
 So what am I working on for this month's doll quilt exchange?

                                                                  Shoot. Me. Now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Random catch up time~

  Okay, so, I had a doll swap quilt to finish and then off to camp when I last wrote. I hoped to finish and mail the swap quilt before I left for camp, but I didn't, so I figured I'd have enough 'free' time from the kids to do a little hand sewing as I have in past years. This year-- because I have something I really need to finish, of course-- I didn't. I got most of the binding done but had to finish the last few inches when I got home. Here's "July":

Then the package sat in the car for a few days because the in-laws were visiting and we never made it to the PO in all our running around. But at last it is on it's way to its new home.

 I had a stomach bug for a few days that kept me close to, uh, home so I did get some other things finished up.

 Remember the patriotic fabrics (part of the DUFUS pile) that I made up Kate Blakesley's block with? I managed to eek out a few more and put 'em into this lap-sized top that I'm in no hurry to quilt. But B loves it!

                                       (This print reads the Pledge of Allegiance over and over)
I'm not crazy about the eagle in the center. It seemed a good idea at the time, and I have a bunch of 'em and was determined to use this stuff this year, but I really don't like the brightness of the true red hues in the center with the burgundy in the rest of the blocks and sashes. But it is what it is.

And it totally clashes with my summer comforter which finally made it onto the bed.

 Have you seen these guys? These designs are from Jay McCarroll:
I found them a couple of years ago when A.C. Moore started putting fat quarters and jelly rolls into their inventory. I bought two FQs of each design and waited for the 'right' project. They were definitely in the DUFUS pile. Must get used this year. Then I remembered Kickin' Stash. KS usually uses four prints in a similar colorway but why not have a little fun with it? Voila~~ wacky birds and zombie bunnies make a kickin' Kickin Stash!

 I only photographed one corner because (a) I'm alone right now and need someone else to hold it up and (b) it's been folded and is too wrinkly and I don't feel like pressing it for pictures. 'Cause I'm lazy like that. I also just realized that the individual block I chose to focus on is the one I made the biggest mistake in. C'est la vie. I am not a fussy quilter. This WILL be quilted before Christmas because it will likely be someones gift. If I can bear to give it away.

Remember the granny squares?  I made a few more:
I'm up to nine done now. I'm not sure how many I'll do but, thanks to "Hamlet", I added a few more colors to the Kona scraps so I have some new combinations to try. I think I'll stop at twelve for this one. I have some special colors and fabrics set aside to do another one and I'm itching to start it.

 I expect to get a ton of stuff sewn this week. I will be childless, except for the adult child who does his own thing anyway. Philip is winging his way to Mexico today for a mission trip (his first) and Jacie goes to camp for her week tomorrow. B is still job hunting although there is a good prospect in the picture. I volunteered to help the costumer for a local show but he hasn't given me any work yet so I figure it's a sew-whatever-week. They haven't happened much so I'm grabbing it. Expect to see some Christmas in the next update. Oh, and there are two baby blankets waiting. I'd like a new dress. I will go out to pick blueberries and make something with them. Right now, my house smells like Thanksgiving. We pulled a turkey from the freezer to cook for a big in-law meal that never happened. So it's use it or lose it time. A mini-Thanksgiving tonight--- and tomorrow let the marathon begin.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

June Doll Quilts

Two swap doll quilts, both due in June, finally on their way (or arrived, I hope!) to their new homes~

"Summer 'Hoo"' for Dina at Sewing Mamas
(theme: summer)

                                          "...something blue" for Vickie at Doll Quilter's Monthly
                                                  (theme: something old, new, borrowed, blue)

               Old-  fabric. I've had some of those blues for years
               New- the backing fabric; bought just for this and the batting
               Borrowed- the red heart fabric is from a Kona solids quilt I'm currently working on
               Blue- well... it is!

I'm still embarrassed. I hate missing deadlines. Which means I need to go finish my July quilt before I leave for camp!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Another Doofus failure.

This time it's not a Project DUFUS fail. It is a personal--as in 'I'm a doofus'-- fail. Despite knowing I joined a monthly doll quilt swap, agrreed to a second doll quilt swap, had a wedding gown to alter, had a major show to open, and knew I'd be working the box office for my theatre, I am chagrined to realize I missed my June deadlines. Neither doll quilt is complete yet. They're almost there and will be mailed by Tuesday, but I still am embarrassed that I didn't get 'em done in time.
AND the gown came back because the alteration was done incorrectly too. That has never happened to me. *sigh* I hate alterations.

"Hamlet" looks good and will close tonight to very good reviews. It isn't exactly the look I had in mind--- it never is, really~ I dream big--- but that had more to do with lack of money than time. Most of the cast is just wonderful-- I did have some issues with some of the younger actors who do not understand that just because we are not all professionals doesn't mean we don't behave in a professional manner. Some were downright rude and disrespectful to me and I won't miss them when we're done. These four, though, and a couple of others, (like my student-assistants Holly and Ashley and Mr.-Catholic-School Cole), I will miss and I hope we are all together again next summer.

              King Claudius/Ghost John, Queen Gertrude Michelle, Hamlet Logan & Polonius Brian
                                  Picture stolen from Michelle's Facebook-- thanks Michelle!

I'll have more pics soon. Right now I have to repair a couple of costumes for the last time. Then, to some binding...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stripping and a Naked Grape

 If there's one thing a community theater needs it's money. It costs a lot to put on a show and when you figure the average season is five or six shows it adds up pretty quickly. Ticket sales only cover a fraction of the expenses. One way my theater brings in more funds is through raffles. Every show we sell raffle tickets for donated prizes. Cabot Cheese is a standing sponsor of ours and we are so grateful for their support! I've been wanted to donate a quilt to be raffled but I have this little procrastination issue... I think that's been covered before. Anyway, I decided this would be the year and "The Full Monty" would be the show. It's the season closer, it's a musical, and it's about guys who strip to support their families. What else is more quilt worthy?
 So here are the two issues I ran into: what kind of pattern/fabric to represent naked men and, with precious few quilting dollars, can I afford the batting I need because I have little right now. For a pattern I was thinking a "strip" quilt would be perfect. I figured most patrons wouldn't know it was a strip quilt, but I would, and that would be my own little inside joke. What fabric? I looked at some online--and there are some novelty prints that feature scantily clad gentlemen-- but realized I really couldn't afford enough of it and I'm not sure that our older patrons would want a quilt with such a print anyway and thus would not buy tickets. The little old ladies that are watching the show are enjoying the men's performances, but drape 'em over their rockers 24/7? Maybe not. So I had to go with something I already had. I decided I wanted to play up the love stories ingrained in "Monty" (since that is what the show is really about) and I found a "Curio" charm pack from Moda's Basic Grey line. Hey--I'm sure some folks are coming to see the show because their 'curio'us about the strippers, right? And the colors/prints are very romantic. I only had one pack, though, so it had to be a small quilt. I was able to buy a bit of the solids for borders and a neutral print for a backing. I was also able to piece remnants of batting together for this smaller size and I added some vintage lace I had stashed away. It's not a strippy quilt, and it's only lap sized, but "Monty's Curio" is just right for a quick picnic table topper. I paired it with a basket containing crackers, some pretty wine glasses and 2 bottles of Naked Grape wines~ a perfect basket for a romantic getaway. The prize has been well received, ticket sales are good and next week someone will win Monty's Curio. Whether they keep their clothes on while enjoying it... well, I don't really want to know!

 (Naturally, I forgot to take pictures before I brought it to the theatre so I took a couple of quick shots before the show last weekend. Sorry. They're bad.)