Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bitten by the quilting bug

I have sewn forever. Well, at least as long I have been tall enough to run the sewing machine. My mother and grandmothers and aunt made almost all of my clothes growing up. And I made almost all of my own clothes starting in middle school (or junior high as we called it back then). In high school I made my own prom "dress." It was actually a tunic and pants, ivory shantung with sequin trim around the bottom of the tunic and pant legs. It was kind of an "in your face" thing to do, since in 1969 women were not permitted to wear pants of any sort to school. I figured they couldn't throw me out of prom, since it was a Saturday night and all. I made my first wedding dress. I made my first husband shirts and pants and even a sport coat. And when my daughter was born I started sewing for her, and continued as long as she would tolerate it. I made her a junior bridesmaid's dress for my sister's wedding out of fabric we ordered to match the bridesmaids' dresses. I made numerous Halloween costumes for her and my stepsons, including Dorothy, Peter Pan, Dracula, Jasmine, a clown and a poodle skirt, as well as the Beast and Belle for Mike and myself. Maybe someday I will scan some photos of many of the garments I have made over the years. But for some reason, I stopped sewing. Maybe it was because I didn't have the time. Maybe it was because I didn't have any one who wanted me to sew for them. Maybe it was because patterns and fabrics got more expensive and ready-made clothing got cheaper as their construction got outsourced to China. I made a few things for my niece, including a requested leopard print bathrobe, but she just turned 13 and is taller than fun sewing for her any more. The last garment I made was the jacket for my mother's birthday last year.

The year Kate went off to college (2000), my nurse manager asked me if I wanted to get my MBA with her, one night a week for a year and a half. I said, "No thanks, I think I'm going to take a quilting class." And so it started. Over the last 9 years I have only made a dozen quilts or so, having dabbled in knitting, cross stitch, beading, scrapbooking, etc. as well. But recently I have really been into it. I have one quilt at the quilter, one that I am sewing the border on, and I just finished machine quilting (stitch in the ditch) this one. I bought the kit at Painted Pony and Quilts when we first moved to Houston. I have worked on it off and on for several years, and am finally almost finished. I just need to find the fabric for the binding. I'm pretty sure I know where it is. It is Mary Engelbreit fabric, and my first foray into applique and prairie points.

I fused the hearts with Wonder Under and used the blanket stitch on my machine.

The kit came with the stems and leaves already embroidered, I just had to sew on the buttons (also done on the machine).

I am pleased to be (almost) done with another work in progress. I am trying to decide what to start on next. These are the first two blocks from Cabbage Rose Quilting's new mystery block of the month.

I have fabric and patterns for several more quilts, just need to decide what to start next. I have been thinking of making another T-shirt quilt. I have numerous Mary Engelbreit T-shirts which I never wear, and a boatload of ME fabric, so I think it would be a fun project.

And on a totally unrelated subject, these are eggs from the farmers' market...aren't they pretty?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Day Late and a Dollar Short: The Water is Cloudy. Very Cloudy Indeed.

Allison has very eloquently put into words what I've been thinking for a long time. It is ironic that we have the safest water supply in the world, yet spend millions on bottled water. That being said, I would rather see people drinking bottled water than soda.

A Day Late and a Dollar Short: The Water is Cloudy. Very Cloudy Indeed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back on track

So, my whole "blog every Monday and Thursday" thing didn't last too long, did it? Well, I missed a week, but I am hoping to get back on track. A friend, who is also from the midwest, sent me this yesterday:

I found this beautiful summer poem and thought it might help make your day.
It did mine, and it's very well written.
' Summer in Texas '
It's Hot !
The End!
It's true. I was driving home the other day and was surprised at the temperature on the bank sign. So I looked down at my climate control and sure enough...106º

Needless to say, I have been spending most of my time inside, in the comfort of air conditioning. I can't imagine how anyone ever lived here before the invention of A/C. I did sneak out one afternoon to take a picture of my quilt top before I sent it off to the quilter. The sun is actually behind it, so you can really see the pattern well here.

Purrkins gave it his seal approval.

My birthday was last week and this is what I asked for.

After 20 years together, Mike still refuses to buy me appliances as a gift, even if I ask for them. I have wanted one of these forever. He said, "Buy it for yourself." So I did (I have learned a thing or two in 20 years).

The mother of all has a 1 liter water tank and a 6 foot steam hose. I particularly enjoyed the instructions which state "Never iron or steam clothes while they are being worn." It doesn't say anything about using it on hair, like we did back in the sixties.

I rarely iron except when I'm sewing, but then I want something that does the job right without having to refill the water reservoir all the time. I was so excited to use it I made all three of these mystery blocks in one day. This month eleven, so I got a bonus block, and hadn't made up last month's yet. One more month to go. I can't wait to see what these all look like together.

At least my mandevilla like the heat.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Almost, but not quite...

I have the first two borders on the quilt, one more to go and it will be ready to go to the quilter. The third border will be 5" of the large pink and yellow floral. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

Here is the fabric for the latest Kaffe Fasset mystery is a flying geese pattern.

And Cabbage Rose has started another mystery block of the month, on the 3rd Saturdays. These are the fabrics for the first block.

Today was another one in the triple digits, with no rain in sight. Guess these are what they call the dog days of summer...but don't tell Purrkins. Nothing he likes better than sleeping out in the screen porch where it's only 95º.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Charlie Trotter's redux

Gosh, here it is Thursday already and it seems like I just finished my Monday post ;-) So here is just one more about Chicago and then maybe I will have a quilt update. The Charlie Trotter experience was so awesome that I have to say more about it. The staff was so friendly and gracious. The hostess even offered to take a picture of Mike and me in the lobby before she seated us.

The menu I posted here is one that I downloaded on my phone. This the menu we actually had along with the wine pairings.

And I did sneak one photo (little camera, no flash) of one of the four different desserts (two each) we were served. Even in the low light you can appreciate the presentation.

Like I said before, definitely a once in a lifetime experience!