Permission to Fly

So ... basically, I've got nothin', so I'm resorting to some thoughts I had a couple of months ago. The fact that I can retrieve those thoughts is nothing short of a miracle. Sometime in April, when my June issue of American Patchwork & Quilting arrived, I was so taken by this first page, I didn't delve into the rest for several minutes. (Another miracle, btw.) This was the very credo that caused me to form the Patchwork Pilot Club, now thriving at this store on the 4th Wednesday of every month.

I have used a combination of my own patterns and those of others as the basis for our projects. During the months of March and April, we worked on Bluebirds of Gratitude, my pattern that grew out of the birds that I hand appliqued in Seattle last summer. You can see that pattern here.

Everyone is still in varying stages of piecing/applique/borders, but I had to show off Sharon's because she was the first to finish her quilt top. I was wowed by her choice of batiks and I am not kidding, I got a little teary when I first saw it. All the others continue to add their own touches such as Michelle's blacks and pinks, Margot's rich florals and Sue's machine-digitized birds in an altered layout. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that their quilts don't look just like mine does on the pattern.

So ... my plan worked.

How about you? How much do you/do you not like to switch things up in a pattern? As you can see ... you now officially have permission to do so.
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The Pokey little Piecer

So ... remember three eons ago when I had the bright idea to do two, two, two quilts in one? Remember how I found it to be energizing and refreshing? Remember how I am the slowest sewer on this planet and a few others in the galaxy?

Yeah ... I was seriously reminded of that this week. Oh, I still had a splendid time picking the fabrics and watching them "grow" on the wall. I fell deeply in love with these Patasserie babies and surprised myself every time I picked yet another neutral out of my stash that I didn't remember owning. But it seemed to take For Ev Er to finish these two. And keep in mind that they are far from finished.

I have a serious question. (Really ... I'm am serious this time ... seriously.) Should it have taken me one kajillion hours to sew these 50 simple blocks? And by "one kajillion hours" I mean 3 or 4 hours a day for more than a week. How long do you think it would have taken you?

I must admit that a bit of time was taken up in the decision to add the "odd block" to my study in neutrals. I actually decided that this is one quilt that will hang in my kitchen and I wanted it to pick up just a hint of the dark blue in my kitchen curtains. I may or may not use that same fabric as the resting strip. That 3-hour decision is yet to be made.

So spill people, I mean it. If you are a speedy-and-still-relatively-accurate sewer, I want to know how and why. If you are pokey like me, tell me how you have learned to live with that.

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Phase - ology

So ... I'm still baking bread. Seriously. It wasn't just a phase. I have made multiple loaves with varying degrees of ground wheat in them, plus one dessert and one batch of hamburger buns. All right ... so the hamburger buns didn't exactly turn out, but that was basically a shaping issue. It was hard to judge the shape of the buns before they rose and so I basically made pita bread. I'm over it.

When I was young ... so many, many years ago ... my mother would often refer to any passing interest of mine as a "phase". For some reason that would hurt my feelings, as if she didn't trust me to stick with something for very long. Like my interest in sewing my own clothes in the seventh grade. And Roger B*.

As an adult, I have had my share of phases. Like macrame. And Shabby Chic. And eating only healthy foods.

I knew that quilting was going to be a major part of my life when I was still at it a year after I first started. Twenty years later I have definitely decided it is not a phase. And I have those same vibes about this bread making thing.

How about you? Dish it up on some of the "phases" in your life. I promise not to laugh ... and (if she were here) neither would my mother.
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I apparently have a short attention span ...

So ... I got to work on the kit I won over at Miss Rosie's. Fun. Fun. Fun. Two Charm Packs of Patisserie from Fig Tree Quilts, some simple instructions and voila ... Hot Cross (Buns?). The only problem is that after doing a few blocks, I decided that I also wanted to do the same blocks with my own scraps. I had been mulling over the idea of doing something in all neutrals and this seemed like the perfect pattern.

So now I do one block of one and one block of the other one. I swear to you that it makes it move faster than if I was doing them independently. I am almost half way through with the (25 + 25 = 50) blocks that I have to do.

Am I weird??

Before you answer that, reconsider how lucky I was to win this kit in the first place. And then go ahead and tell me that I'm weird. You won't be the first.
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shuffling off to buffalo ...

So ... here's a picture of my 3-day-old new walking shoes. "What's the big deal?" you ask with a slightly annoyed edge to your tone. "Because I have walked in them every morning for three days and there is not a drop of blood on them!" This is huge, people. Kind of gross to talk about ... but huge.

I actually had a little photo shoot with my old shoes and judiciously chose not to post the pictures. The heels were shreaded and there were holes in the toes. But I absolutely dread buying new walking shoes because the 'breaking-in process' can be so painful. And bloody.

But there's another reason I have more pep in my step when I go out walking these days. For Mother's Day, the PDaddy gave me an ipod. My very own ipod. (And yes, this is my very first ipod and you can now say in unison [with my children], "Welcome to the 21st Century.") It came loaded with all my favorite friends ... Billy, James, Bruce, Neil, Paul (and Art), Cat, Bing + a plethora of others. (I, like, have so many friends.) Whether I'm walking or sewing, I like to put it on "shuffle" and giddily anticipate the next surprise.

How about you? Who are your friends? Do you like to shuffle them or do you like your friends one at a time?

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boxes and baskets and bargains, oh my

So ... a couple of weeks ago I was at the Teacher's Meeting, rapidly sewing the binding down on this quilt before they got to my part of sew-and-tell. I had brought with me my "carry-around-hand-sewing-tools" container which had previously held some Cottonelle Wipes. Some good friends sitting near me had the audacity (the audacity, I tell you) to make fun of my container. They are still my friends.


But last week while perusing the cheapo-bins at JoAnns, looking for goodies for Mr. Gee and Miss Dub, I came across this enchanting little box, which ... if it were a bolt of fabric ... I would have snatched up in a heartbeat. The green, the blue ... so me. As you can well imagine, the Cottonelle container has been disposed of.

Oh ... and here is the May block for the Bunny Hill BOM. Such fun I had! But, if it concerns you (as it obviously does me) I will be re-doing the "feelers" to be longer, thinner and in a dark blue instead of black. I'm a little ... tightly wound ... as they say, when it comes to these things.

So there you have it. A very cheap box and a very free block. Don't ever say I'm not looking out for you.
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Happy Nanny Day to Me

So ... we had some visitors for our Mother's Day Weekend. The Gees gave up lovely SoCal temps to be with us in the 104 degree heat. We couldn't have been more grateful. We had a lovely time talking to the adult Gees (we did talk to you ... right?) but our focus was on the Li'l One ... who is getting bigger by the hour, by the way.

Friday night we took in a D'Backs game. They lost. Get over it. For some reason that didn't seem to matter.

Saturday morning was spent around the pool. Li'l Gee spent most of his time trying to put more water into the pool via squirt guns and watering cans. Just so you know, we did try to stress the no-running-around-the-pool-rule ... and he eventually caught on.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Hall of Flame which turns out to be a very facinating Firefighter Museum with equipment/uniforms dating back 100 years. Li'l Gee is quite fond of all things "Firetruck" and we had a splendid time.

And of course Sunday was the ultimate in Mother's Days what with PDaddy spoiling me rotten and the children spoiling me silly.

Thanks guys ... if it weren't for you, yesterday would have just been another lovely Sunday.

Do tell. How was your Mother's Day weekend? Did it or did it not involve Firetrucks?
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little bit Country, little bit Rock & Roll

So ... I have been sewing my brains out lately ... which explains so much about the state of my brain. These pictures are of my latest pattern ...

"sum sum summertime".

I had so much fun with the paper-pieced houses and the applique, but my favorite part was the quilting on the border where I managed a fake scallopped edge. I used a larger zig-zag, but the same yellow variegated thread as the suns. It made me shine, for sure.

Then ... let's not forget my other paper-pieced ... more colorful ... friends that would not usually be hanging out in the same neighborhood as my summer houses. I cannot tell a lie, these two took some serious time committment, but it was all worth it. I also have a Helpful Hint where the curved seams are concerned: If you are lucky enough to have a Bernina and have to sew some curved seams, then use the #57 foot (a quarter-inch foot with a bar along the right edge.) They came together like butta, I tell you. That was the easiest part of all.

So after all this sewing and the fact that I spent 8 hours on my feet today helping out at the Seis de Mayo Event ...

Any suggestions for the retreaval of my brain?
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Believe it or NOT!

So ... I am not entirely sure how many of you actually believed that I won yet another GiveAway, but today I offer proof of my extraordinarily good luck/blessings. On Saturday there was a package in my mail from Carrie/Miss Rosie (I am not entirely sure which one of them licked the labels) containing not only my Hot Cross Kit, but also thread, a Miss Rosie Ruler and a cool decal that will continue to remind me what it is we all should be doing.

And let's not forget the fact that it involves some Charm Packs from Moda with some Fig Tree Finery which is also a thrill for me. I already have plans for this sample that may or may not involve Patchwork Pilot Club in the fall. Ooh.

In other news that will certainly make it's way into the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum ... I Made Bread. From Scratch. I even ground my own wheat. I am NOT kidding. You have to know that in the past, yeast and I have not gotten along. You might go so far as to say that we had an acrimonious relationship. A couple of weeks ago, I attended a class at church with a 3 hour demo from the mother-daughter team at Pantry Secrets. This particular bread makes up in one hour. Start to finish. My kind of time frame. I will save for another time some of the accompanying stories like how my wheat grinder pretty much fell into my lap and how you can make a kajillion other things from the same recipe, but for now just digest this:

I Made Bread. And it looks, behaves and tastes like real bread.

Believe it or ... not.

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What's with all the Color??

So ... this sure doesn't look like me. I mean, where are the pastels and the florals and the ... simplehappy? It's just temporary, mind you, but I've gotta admit that it's been more than a barrel of fun. I'm doing two paper-pieced New York Beauty blocks for display at the BC for an upcoming Cinco de Mayo Event.

The strangest (saddest?) part is that all of these fabrics came out of my stash. Back in '03 when I first started working with quality fabric with a store discount, I snatched up everything in sight. Seriously ... it was a tad over the top. It was a few years later that I decided to narrow my focus and my spending. I'm not sorry at all that I did, but I'm also not sorry that I am having this much fun.

In other freakishly good news: I won another GiveAway! I'm. Not. Kidding. I won a whole KIT over at Miss Rosie's ... Carrie Nelson. (She's a fellow AZer and she actually played a part in my decision to focus on the simplehappy, btw.) I started doing the math and I do believe that I have some sort of good-luck vibe going with the give aways. I have got to start entering more of them.

Thank you Miss Rosie. Now ... off to the Kingdom to get all bleary-eyed with the COLOR.

Do you think I should wear sunglasses?
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