Monday, May 30, 2016

Gettin' My Betsy Ross On!

This little pile of Grunge was waiting for me this morning! 
 So, I made a couple of stacks...alternating colors of course...

Fresh blades cut like buttuh!

Pressing & Keeping segments stacked in order is key!

As is cutting off the correct dog ears!

And sometimes you get bonding time with your seam ripper by adding the wrong piece to the right segment...

but then, you get it right.

and everything begins to come together.

Pressing, Admiring...dang I'm good!
The real squaring up happened on my rotating mat...I'm not good at being a contortionist!
No two are exactly the same, but this time it's OKAY!'s okay...
The stripes came marching in Two By Two,
 Then all of a sudden
it was complete!
Dancing Stars Pillow Top
 Sorry, the colors are reading brighter in these last 2 photos than they should.
But what of the other stars that didn't get into this?
Once I add two borders, I'll have a second Pillow Top!
I decided to spin my stars rather than making them march shoulder to shoulder as they do in the pattern.  It's Okay to March To Your Own Drummer!
 Now it's time to go make that Memorial Day Tater Salad!  Hubby is Home from work at Last!
And Maecee is completely exhausted from all that dedicated assisting!
~Nancie Anne


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hello...It's Meeeee...

Wow.  Two months and a couple of days since I posted anything...
Shame, Shame, Shame!!!
I wouldn't blame you if you'd completely given up hope on me!

Excuses?  Yeah, I've got 'em.  You think I'd show up without a ready supply?!?!?! 
I spent several weeks full time at work, including training a new girl to job share.  Training was successful, albeit, interesting.  You know it's getting bad when you decide the only way to survive another Monday is to take some Quilty Show and Tell to work with you...and I did!

In March my husband and I started doing work around our middle daughters house so she could get it on the market and move on.  The girl needs change!  Originally it was yard work and paint and gutting a bathroom that were our assignment.  We just wrapped up all of our assignments last week.  It all began with weeding and feeding, trimming trees, planting 2 new trees and 3 lilacs, shoring up the cedar fence and putting shingle oil on it.  The original bathroom contractor went MIA right after we had gutted the master bath.  We took it down to the studs on two walls.  She found a new contractor and she and my husband prepped the shower for new tile.  We shopped for new fixtures, tile & carpet, with me frequently reminding her that she's not going to be the one living there anymore.  We painted every wall in the house.  We pulled out and reset paving stones on the side of the garage.  Dug out the front flower beds and put in new weed barrier and bark.  Enjoyed watching her roses bloom while Daddy Mourning Dove flew back and forth all day, bringing in building supplies to shore up nest that Mama Mourning Dove was already ensconced in. 
The Rose we gave our Daughter for her College Graduation has been putting on quite the show for us while we've slaved away!
The Quail, on neighborhood watch, were sometimes on the roof, atop the back fence critiquing our job, or announcing our arrival from atop the neighbors mailbox while other covey members were directing traffic in the middle of the cul-de-sac.  The tile guys got in and did a lovely job on the shower tile. The installation of new carpet went smoothly.  Meanwhile the company who was supposed to put in new baseboards, that sis and friend has already painted, throughout the house to compliment all the new doors that we also "got to" paint, got their wires crossed, several times, and were subsequently dismissed.  There was a little freak out at that point, and Mama Bear, doing what Mama Bear does, stepped in and said, "Let's just do it..." adding another "little" job onto our list.  Papa Bear is now the proud owner of the new Miter Saw he's wanted for years, which does a much cleaner job than his old saw and Mama Bear knows how to run it, cuz she got tired of standing around with measurements in her head and wanted to get on with it and get the job done!  I refer to it as "My Other Rotary Cutter" now and I'm eyeing the places around our house that are in need of new moulding.  Our Worker-Bee Daughter stayed up late many nights.  She finished painting second coats, laid the bathroom floor tile herself...and installed new light fixtures, inside and out, including some massive ceiling fans, smoke alarms and a new doorbell all on her own.  The tile & carpet guys watched incredulously and she flitted from one project to the next while they were there.  She was even offered a job by the tile company boss!  The new fixtures were a committee effort, and then the tile guy was back with the new clear glass floating shower door.  For a small bathroom, it's become a bit spalike now,  rather than the nasty, dark little postage stamp that nobody wanted to enter!  Yes, that inset wall cubby and shower floor tile are Bubbles!  We couldn't resist!  That shiny blue blob up high is a speckled whale!  Too cute! And best of all he was on clearance!
Those and a gazillion other little things are now done, the house is staged very simply and on the market.  There is an open house going on as I sit here typing away and the hope is the thing will sell quickly as to avoid any further meltdowns of the stress induced nature.

So, around the tail end of March, while I was raking in the "Big Bucks" working extra, I was happily spending them!  One of the local sewing machine shops lost it's lease and closed one of their locations, so I toted home an old Janome Memory Craft that sews likes a dream and purrs like a kitten, and there was a brand spanking new little lightweight Viking that kept calling my name 'til I went back and picked it up.  It has some of the nice features that we quilters like to have, but at a reduced price, which was even more reduced than other places had it available for.  Happy Birthday to Me...a tiny bit early.   Then there was shop hop!  We hadn't shop hopped in about 2 years, so off we went one weekend and thoroughly indulged ourselves!
My birthday came and went with little fanfare, then suddenly there was a rush to celebrate it a few days belatedly, lead by my youngest daughter!  What was just supposed to be brunch a couple of shopping stops and back home to watch and chick flick, turned into more!  "Cuteness", as we will call her, looks at me and says, "Where's that cake place that you said makes really good cakes?"  Stunned, I point in a Northerly fashion and tell her it's right back up the street.  "Okay!  We're going to go get you a birthday cake!"  A little later when the girl helping us asks how may we're serving, she spurts out, "Okay Mom!  You figured it out!  It's a surprise party!  The rest of the kids are bringing dinner!

OH!  Okay! This is making more sense glad I figured it out!  It sounded more like the girl asked you a simple question, and you spilled your guts to me, but if you say I figured it out, we'll go with that!  Whatever it takes to reaffirm that I know what's going on in your little head at all times!

Back in the car with the 5 cute little cakes and Cuteness says..."ooo!  I just remembered!  My iPad is in the back seat!  We can text Vet Girl and get her one FaceTime when everyone arrives for dinner!" 

Yeah, I agree!  That's become a bit of a tradition now with her living in California.  One year we decorated a cake in honor of her birthday and got her up on Skype, passed her around the room and ate her cake while she watched!  Yes...we are evil like that! 

At home, once everyone has arrived and I've just begun eating dinner, Cuteness already has Vet Girl up on the iPad screen and it's stuffed into my hands while I'm chewing!  Knowing the girls had FaceTimed a few days before and the highlight had been watching Vet Girls little white furball, play with his toys during the conversation, I ask to see him and his toys.  Son In Love, is just barely out of camera range and obligingly gets my Grandpuppy so I can see him.  He's adorable, wearing a little blue bandana and I make kissy sounds at the screen and get him to cock his head and perk up his fluffy ears, which I swear are attached to his head by hinges!  He's so darn cute!  Then Vet Girl asks, "Can you read his bandana?"  I stick my face closer and am squinting at the little screen minus my reading glasses, and am thinking that sight on the other end of this conversation is probably really attractive!

Well, forget the worry about me squinting to read the bandana being unattractive.
I burst into tears and on the other side of the conversation, my daughter was in tears!
Let's just say that neither one of us are pretty cryers.
 I now know who was really responsible for the sudden surprise party and what the real intent was!
Quilty projects I had been contemplating for an upcoming retreat got blown out of the water in an instant.  My thoughts turned immediately and intensely to baby quilts, after the typical flurry of questions when your get news of this sort!
Then interestingly enough, I received an email a few days later asking me to do a little pattern testing...on a new baby quilt pattern, that the designer wanted to be able to release at Quilt Market! 
Time Crunch!  But it's a BABY Quilt and we are searching for Baby Quilts!
Over the next several days I stole some hours, and several quick moments when I could to fit it in, to do my thing, and to keep me as reasonably sane as one can expect me to be, as we are simultaneously hurled into remodeling mode.
I finished the quilt top, took photos and wrote out my observations just in time, as requested, but, since she hasn't blogged about it yet, I still can't share.  I can tell you, it's cute, it's simple, and if you've ever wanted something that you can make quickly for a baby gift that looks like it was more work than it really was, this is a great pattern to consider!
I'll come back and reveal my version as soon as I see her debut the pattern!
Meanwhile, I pulled a kit out of the cupboard that I purchased during shop hop several years ago and put away purposely for this baby!
Before Vet School, when she was a Tech at a local clinic, her co-workers called her "The Cat Whisperer".  She was the one they relied on to to calm and cajole the cats, and they would wait for her to arrive after classes to deal with the toughest customers, which were often feral cats that a local organization would bring in for spays and neuters.  The joys of being Low Tech on The Totem Pole!In those days it was her responsibility to hurl her body into the oncoming path of any snarling or hissing open mouth or set of claws that would lunge toward the Vet.  
During her tenure, she only sustained one bite, that was duly nasty and treated with a serious course of antibiotics.  One must protect the hands that protect the Vet, afterall!
Isn't it good that, it turned out that her Vet Husband, is also very fond of cats?  Her beautiful kitty, Lyra, whom she adopted via a rescue, during Vet School now spends more time on his lap than hers!  I'm certain that she's in a jealous huff, knowing that her person has spent all day loving on "that Bettie!", the 3 legged clinic cat! 
Interesting too, that Lyra and Bettie share a bit of a resemblance to one another!
So here's the first baby quilt...that should have taken part of an afternoon to throw together that had me measuring, remeasuring, ripping out due to the loosely woven, stretchy nature of the flannel it's constructed from.

It has no idea how close it got to being stomped on and chucked in the trash can!  Those cute little kitties saved it from a certain death!
Shoulda starched the heck out of it from the get-go!
Oh well, it's my hope and intention that this becomes the love it and drag it around everywhere quilt that in a few years is completely used up and worn out!  So purr-fection doesn't really matter this time...right?????
What else is on my plate?
Well, I'm about half way through stitching down the next Buttermilk Basin appliques for the 2016 Free Mystery Block now.
 I also decided I'd better hustle and grab enough of the Strawberry Fields Revisited prints before they were all gone.  I had to order a few, because they've blown out the doors at the local shops!  I loved the 2011 Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery BOM when I saw it being completed in the original Strawberry Fields prints near the end of that year and have continued to love it.  Not long ago they rereleased the patterns for that series, I think when they released Revisited and I grabbed a set!  I have the first 8 blocks cut out and the first 4 pieced, but I'm taking a break from the rotary cutter and sewing machine, as my shoulder decided to go on strike, and it's not been very pleasant about it at all the last few days.
Other than that, I've been living vicariously through all those who have been sharing their pictures from Quilt Market!  Oh how I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall...
well, except for the SPLAT! with the swatter part...!
Have you all been seeing and loving the spectacular stuff coming our way?
Have you all been doing the Happy Dance with me for Lynn Wilder's successful first foray into Quilt Market with her presentation and her quilts, Heritage and Butterscotch Baskets, which I must sheepishly admit, I call Buttermilk Baskets about half the time!
Our second cria, (baby llama) born 20+ years ago, was named Buttermilk after Dale Evans I've got Buttermilk on the brain I suppose!  Hopefully Lynn will forgive me for that and just know that it's one of my many blonde moments!
Well, the day's a'wastin'...I'd better go make it look like I accomplished something today!
Have a Safe and Blessed Memorial Day!
~Nancie Anne