Pilot's License

So ... remember this little number that I made as the first project for Patchwork Pilot Club? Well ... yesterday was the second meeting and the first chance for some show and tell from my little flock. Here's a sampling of their work:

Sharon followed Renee's pattern right down to the fun embellishments on the hearts. I love how she used decorative stitches for the applique.

Margot brought her friend Carol to support her as a first time quilter. They picked out their fabrics together, but still infused some individuality into their quilts. You've gotta love how they made use of that beautiful floral.

Yep ... this is Carol's quilt. Her very first quilt. You should have seen them try free-motion quilting for the first time, yesterday. Let's just say I won't be bringing in my first time free-motion sample. Ever.

But as a mother hen, I'm very ... very proud.

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Now WHY do we live in Arizona?

So ... I have an assignment for you.

In July, when it's 115 degrees outside and my hands are blistered from the steering wheel and frying eggs on the sidewalk is out of the question only because I don't want to go anywhere near the sidewalk ...

Would you please remind me that on this splendid day in February it was 83 glorious degrees and felt just a bit like Heaven?

Thanks. I'm gonna need that.

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I Loved, I Honored, I Obeyed

So ... I am smack dab in the middle of a big project with a big ... looming ... deadline. Oh, and by the way ... this isn't it. No sirree, this is the project that I impulsively took on yesterday afternoon and pushed my other project aside. This is the project that brought joy into my heart and ache into my back by the time I finished it last night.

This little number can be downloaded for free over at The Blog That Makes You Drool -- Bunny Hill. She is doing a Block of the Month and giving away the patterns ... oh yes ... for free. Since this is February, she has now offered two of the twelve. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I really, really wanted to do them, which surprised even me. I'm generally not drawn to this sort of activity, because as you well know, I have a hard time sticking to the pattern and the directions, but I thought this would be a good exercise for me. (I picked my own fabrics of course and did machine applique instead of hand, but I still consider that following the pattern.)

I know for a fact that I won't get February's done before the March one comes out because now my deadlines are even loom-ier. But that's okay.

'Cause I followed the rules and I'm proud as punch.

Admit it ... you are thinking about downloading your own, aren't you?

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Ode to Thread

So ... I was teaching a class the other day when one of my students asked me, "Does it actually matter what thread you use?" As I gasped and sputtered to answer her, I came to the stark realization that I had ... indeed ... become a "thread snob".

The truth is ... I am not a hyper-obsessed person when it comes to name brands. Let's be honest, if I was then the words Marshalls and Target would not be such common fodder around here. And until about 5.5 years ago, I was still dipping into my bag o'threads that I inherited from my mother that included some that were from the 60's, I am sure. But in the fall of 2003, I was introduced to designer threads + the chance to purchase such snobbery at a discount. And now ... with a 17 year supply of threads on my wall ... there is no going back, discount or no discount.

Most of my threads come in three varieties. For all of my piecing, hand applique, bindings and most of my quilting I use Aurifil thread, seen here with the orange stems. Aurifil is a 50 wt thread but it is only 2-ply. It "hides" itself in the seams or on the hand stitches. All of my piecing is done with this variegated gray seen below. (#4060. I have that memorized. That's probably not a good sign.)

Since I own an embroidery machine, I have a lot of 60 wt nylon thread on hand ... in every color imaginable. Most of it is Isacord, but I'm not as picky on the brand on that ... just on the colors. I do most of my machine applique with it, if shiny is the look I'm going for. If nubby is what I want, then I turn to King Tut. His Royal Highness is a 40 wt thread (heavier) and comes in both varigated and solids. I do most of my machine quilting with the Aurifil, but have been known to go with shiny or nubby as the style dictates.

So there you have it. Now you have seen my snobby side. I promise to like you no matter what. Please keep that in mind. But do tell ...

What are your threads of preference? And, just to make me feel better ... what makes you all snobby?
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Magic Carpet Ride

So ... you probably think I have eked out way too much mileage from the little quilt that I made for my granddog, Asher. (You can already read about it here and here.) Well, the story continues. When I first made that quilt (kind of as a joke, to be perfectly honest) Asher had not yet met his new little brother, Mr Gee, pictured above. He had no clue that the two of them were to become the bestest of best friends. And when I made that quilt I did not realize that it would become a serious security/sleeping blanket for my Asher.

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Gee (who shares his mother's trait of a ducks-in-a-row mentality) took charge of Asher's special quilt (having been washed no less than 927 times at this point) and turned it into a Magic Carpet that one must sit on when one is reading one's books. Turns out there are no exceptions to that new rule.

The good news is that Mr. Gee just loves to read. The bad news is that Asher is feeling a tad ... put upon ... and ekes out whatever time he can share alone with his old friend ... Mr. Que.

So Nanny has come to the rescue and made Mr. Gee his very own Magic Carpet that may or may not be an upcoming 2nd birthday present for him. It's a tad bigger than Asher's and I hope he can feel the same cozy vibes from this new kid on the block.

I am also hoping that the "magic" in his Magic Carpet will fly him over to see me whenever he wants.
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I {heart} a lot of people ...

So ... tomorrow is the big Day O'Looooove. The day to celebrate how much you love your loved ones. (Redundant I admit, now that I see it in print.) I have a lot ... I repeat a LOT ... of ones to love. And I want them all to

Be Mine.

I am just that selfish.

First and foremost ... the PDaddy, always the PDaddy. Secondly ... the four childrens. Next ... the adopted-by-marraige childrens. And of course ... of course ... the grandest of all grandchildrens.

If any of you would like to apply to be my Valentine, just give me a good reason. I'm not above the inclusion of anyone, including total strangers.

Love is a Grand Thing indeed. I wish you Joy and Love on the big day.

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Just Breathe ...

So ... is there anything lovelier than Baby's Breath? Oh sure ... a real baby's breath ... but I mean in the world of floral bliss. I had a luncheon at my home today and felt compelled to purchase some as part of the centerpiece. I still have dried Baby's Breath from some of my children's wedding receptions. The bliss just goes on forever, I tell you.

Speaking of Bliss. The above Mushroom Lasagna was the main course this afternoon, and let's just say I am blogging right now for the sheer purpose of passing enough time until I can eat the leftovers for dinner.

Yes ... that good.

It's an Ina recipe. As in Ina Garten. As in The Barefoot Contessa. It's from her next-to-the-latest book called Barefoot Contessa at Home. I highly encourage you to buy the book, and now I'll give you the recipe. Here goes:

3/4 lb dried lasagna noodles
4 cups milk
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 C flour
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 lbs portobello mushrooms
1 C grated parmesan cheese (I mixed in some mozerella)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil with 1 T of salt and put in lasagna noodles. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

For the white sauce, bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large suace pan. Add flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1T salt (or less), pepper and nutmeg and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside off the heat.

Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4" thick. Heat 2 T olive oil and 2T butter in a large saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set them all aside. (You'll need to drain them after they cool.)

Assemble the lasagna by spreading some of the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Arrange a layer of (3) noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 C grated parmesan/mozerella cheese. Repeat two more times layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms and cheese. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Trust me. It tastes like Baby's Breath looks.
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Happy Feet? Eh ... not so much.

So ... I'll just go ahead and say it. I have issues with my feet. Always. Have. And what I really ... really ... need to know is ... do you have any similar issues and if so, what the heck do you do about them? Here goes: I cannot ... repeat cannot, wear a new pair of shoes without "breaking them in." When the PDaddy and I were first married, he found this to be a curious and yet disturbing fact about me because in his entire life, he had always just ... worn ... his new shoes without any angst at all. I have memories of every single new pair of shoes in my life involving Blood, Blisters and always ... always ... Bandaids.

So I wore these tres chic silver flats on some errands on Saturday. They fit, they are comfortable ... and now they have blood on them. I actually started out to take pictures of my heels with bandaids on them, but decided to spare you. I will admit that I was wearing them without socks, but seriously people ... have you read In Style lately? ... celebrities (and all 4 of my daughters) are managing to wear shoes with bare feet with nary a bandaid in sight. Why can't I? Is it too much to ask?

And that's not my only problem. I have problems keeping certain shoes ... on. Like, I slip out of them when I walk in them which makes me look like a four year old wearing her mother's shoes. Take these chic little espadrilles, pictured above. I bought them two years ago and have only worn them once because of the aforementioned problem. It was suggested to me to get Heel Liners, which I did and they didn't work. So recently I bought another pack because ... well, is it possible I didn't attach them at the right place? Help me here, people. I want to wear these shoes this spring.

Speak up I tell you, because if you don't ... I just might post those pictures of my feet and you will regret that, I promise.

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Hope, Part Deux

Please make sure you skip to the post below where these pictures belong, (thank you very much Mr. Blogger).

You'll be happy you did.

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Land O'Hope

So ... we've been gone for a few days. Back to the land of hospitals and doctors for a check-up. Back to the land where one could easily freeze one's patootie off if one is not careful. Back to the Land O'Beauty.

We came home with a few souveniers. First: These incredible pictures/memories taken by the Pdaddy. Second: Bellies chock-full of some of the finest seafood ... ever.

And last, but certainly not least: A Clean Bill of Health ... the go-ahead to Go Ahead.

Gratitude beyond words.


Cereal Thriller

So ... I thought it was high time for another facinating True Confession. Another tidbit to further cement in your mind that my mind is not all it could be. Another reason for you to snicker and for my children to mutter "oh, please" under their breath. But here goes anyway:

I have an unnatural obsession with Cold Cereal. I cannot ... repeat ... cannot live without it in my life each and every day. There are currently 9 separate kinds of cereal in my pantry, with multiple boxes of some of those. I realize that's not too weird, but when you add to that the fact that I must ... repeat ... must have at least two cereals mixed in my bowl each day plus the added bonus that my favorite snack is a bowl of dry cold cereal mixed with chocolate chips and ...

... yes ... I do believe I can hear my children muttering from coast to coast.

But just so you know, I still have friends, despite my propensity for all things oatey. In fact just this week my friend Kelley gave me this darling cake stand set. To add to the fun, she let me know what an absolute steal it was because she knew I would love it even more with the added bargain factor. (And ... no ... she didn't actually steal it ... as far as I know.)

So do me a favor and help out a girl's self esteem by admitting to me and the blogging world:

Do you have any food oddities/obsessions and ... What's your favorite cold cereal?*

*mine would have to be Life mixed with Heart to Heart.
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