Friday, January 30, 2015

Return to the Airport, Day One!

Yesterday was bittersweet.

We had to get Randy to the airport by 1:30pm.  Our retreat time has gone so quickly!

There was a bit of an upside.

We got to take Mona on her FIRST EVER Fabric Acquisition Road Trip to Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, NC.

Can you imagine being a brand-new quilter and being ushered into the Mecca of Quilty Fabric Selection by the likes of Lori, Randy and Bonnie?

Her head was reeling!

“You need neutrals!” 

“Buy what you like, but also be thinking of a way to use it!” 

“This is what GOOD fabric feels like, let your hands do the discerning!” 

“Oh, what the heck, just buy it all!”

We had a lot of fun and she did go home with a few pieces!

It made me remember what it was like to be a brand new quilter just starting out with no fabric stash to speak of.

When I was just really getting going in my very early 20s, I would go to the fabric store and scrounge the remnant bins.  When we were first married, we lived up in Eastern Washington, out near Prosser and the Tri Cities area.  There were NOT a lot of fabric choices available in 1981-1983.  I was mostly making home-dec items at first, curtains, slip covers, pillows to brighten a drab second hand sofa, and clothing for myself.  But that remnant bin held so many possibilities.

Fat Quarters had yet to be invented!

When we moved from Eastern Washington down to the Ontario, Oregon/Fruitland, Idaho area that meager stash came with me, filling part of one closet in my tiny little single wide mobile home.

Jason was born while we lived in that little mobile home park in Fruitland, Idaho while Dave was going to school-- first part time, and then full time.  At this time of my life I sewed at the little kitchen table on a $99.00 Kenmore machine.  The machine would come up in the morning after breakfast, and be put away before dinner time.

As I look back now, those were some mighty good times in that small little space.  Happiness doesn’t require a huge house, a fancy studio, or even a designated sewing area.

When I was pregnant with Jason, a neighbor lady gifted me boxes of her scraps.  That was the variety I needed for my first very scrappy quilt, a log cabin I made by drawing lines on the back of the fabric the width of a yard stick with a pencil.  I cut on the lines with scissors.  I still have that quilt, still love the fabrics in it after 30 years.

And now Mona starts her fabric journey with gifts of scraps and pieces from the 3 of us!  Every time she has come over to sew, the pile at her borrowed featherweight grows.  It is so fun and so rewarding to see the grin on her face as she dreams of how she is going to incorporate it and sew it into this project – or the NEXT project? 

Because yes, Mona, there will ALWAYS be a next project!

I also had a finish this week:


Box Kites – the Finale!


Binding and Sleeve are DONE!

This has sat here since Christmas – or was it Thanksgiving?  Just waiting for some hand stitching time to get the job done.  On Wednesday night we watched the CNN Special, Voices of Auschwitz—in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp.  So moving!  So inspiring!  So heartbreaking ---and I put in the last stitches on the binding and sleeve during that show.

If I can find a pen around here I’ll sign the label!

The pattern for the Box Kite block is found in my Addicted to Scraps column in Quiltmaker Magazine.  Full Quilt Pattern is slated for my next book ---so stay tuned!


Today it is just Lori and I.  Mona may come sew a bit later.  I’ll be driving Lori down to Charlotte this evening for her flight home.  The mountains are cold, windy and beautifully somber this morning.  I love this changing view so much.

And it is a great day to stay in and sew just a bit more.

My heart will be full of memories after the week we've spent, but my cabin will feel so empty!

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Craftsy Blogger Awards Voting Time!

I need your help and it will only take a couple of minutes!

I just found out that I have been nominated and am a finalist in Craftsy’s 2015 Blogger Awards!

I am up for Best Tutorials!

Could you please go HERE and vote for your favorite finalist from the 4 mentioned?

I would so appreciate it!  The category for Best Tutorials is the top segment, and feel free to vote for your other categories as well!

I’ll let you know how the voting goes!

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Charlotte Antique Run, Part 2!

The H quilt hanging over my railing!

I picked this quilt up in Belmont, NC on Saturday while waiting for Randy and Lori to arrive.

I love this quilt so much!

Especially that little chrome yellow number…it’s more gold, not quite cheddar – and it sticks out like a wonderful sore thumb just begging to be noticed.

“Here I am!!” it shouts…

I love unexpected elements like this, just a little bit loud, a little bit vibrant, a little bit stand-alone.

It gives the quilt so much life and joy.

Without this “shouting at you” yellow block this quilt would be subdued, predictable, ordinary.

A Life Lesson?  YES!  I don’t want my life to be subdued in any way!  Predictability is boring!  Ordinary?  Who has time for that…make your life Extraordinary!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Travel Day to Boone!

This is the statue of “The Mountaineer” at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC –the destination for our travel day out!

I had a plan to show the girls some gorgeous views, share some southern cooking for lunch, and experience this bit of Western North Carolina High Country I love to call my second home.

As you can tell from the photo there is still ice and a skiff of snow on the ground.

It’s about 35 degrees, but the sky is bright blue and that sun makes all the difference!

We originally wanted our photo with the Daniel Boone statue, but the mountaineer man made a much better photo op:

The Way We Sew!

It’s always fun to  sew with other folks and see how they do things.

No one way is better than another way – we just do things differently, and you can see so much of a person’s personality come through in how they choose to put the pieces together.

From the fabrics chosen, to the quilt design in mind, to how units are assembled, and even pressed ((I press first cut apart second, not so for others..it’s a personal preference)) to how many of each unit to make before moving on to the next step – we are all so DIFFERENT!  And it is such a wonderful way to work.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day Three with Four!

It may have only been 35 degrees out this afternoon, but we bundled up and went for a hike in search of some long range views and photo ops!

We stopped at our friend Steve’s house –He’s about a mile up the road from us, at a place on the mountain where a moderate hike up the road begins to turn really steep.  Early on after moving here I designated Steve’s driveway as “Turn Around” point ---and for months I was walking up to his place and turning around at the end of his driveway before I ever knew who he was!

He’s become a good friend and we are always happy to see him and his dog Zeke also out for their morning walkabout.

This afternoon we noticed Steve home and asked if we could get some photos off of his back deck – he has amazing views!

Down to the Falls!

The rain cleared up yesterday, leaving us with some cold and crisp sunshine!

After you’ve been sewing for hours and hours, it’s a good idea to clear out the bobbin lint that had accumulated in our brains, shake off the remants of dog ears and thread tails and head outside for some fresh air.

Our Buck Mountain waterfall is one of my favorite places on the planet.

I don’t know if you remember – that is if you’ve been reading me for a couple of years –that we had a major flooding happen during a month of continual rain in the summer of 2013, and the waterfall ran rampant, the creek it feeds into flooding and washing out the road.  They had to do a major build up of the area to fix the road, prevent future issues like this, and reclaim our space around the waterfall because it had all washed away.

It’s now BETTER than ever!  There are Adirondack chairs for sitting and enjoying and contemplation.  There are a couple of picnic tables, and walking paths.  On the other side of the falls are more chairs for viewing, and a hiking trail that goes up to the top.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Utterly and Completely Addicted to Scraps!

Hooray for the scraps, the bonus triangles, the pre-cut squares!

They are making the sewing of my Twirl Around blocks from my Addicted to Scraps colum in the March/April 2015 issue of Quiltmaker Magaazine so simple!

I’m working on some quilts made using the blocks from the Addicted to Scraps series, and this one was just released in the latest Quiltmaker issue.

Have you seen it?

If you’ve got it you can sew right along with me!  Each issue also includes an optional layout, or you can go your own way as to what you want to do with these little gems.

Feel free to change the colors, the style of the fabrics, and make it your own!

While Bonnie Waited: Antiquing in Charlotte!

This was the view as I drove into Charlotte on Saturday around 11am.

I had HOURS to kill until it was time for me to meet up with both Randy and Lori, each with separate arrival times.

What is a girl to do when killing several hours in Charlotte?


Well, of course, antiquing – but on a sunny day like this after days of rain and road dirt and grime?  Shamu got a car wash!