Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Photos of Autumn Splendor

Thanksgiving Eve

What a good day for sewing!  I finished the "Autumn Splendor" quilt that I'd started quilting just before mom passed away.  It turned out much prettier than I expected.  The colors are gorgeous and the leaf fabric in the center of the blocks really pulls everything together.  I sewed the top a couple of years ago and put it aside for when I'd finally get a long-arm.  I had sort of forgotten what it looks like, just remembered that it wasn't one of my favorites.  I guess that's because I got tired of it long before it was finished.  In the end, it's not a bad quilt at all!

This afternoon I stitched up another jumper for Marley.  She's definitely a size 1 and very cute in her little jumper.  Jenny picked up some flannel this afternoon, so tomorrow I will make a jumper for Catherine and, if there's time before we start dinner for everyone, I will stitch up the two dresses with the fabric Jenn bought.  Then this weekend I'll make a couple more dresses for Cakibug.

Finally, I spent a little time on the computer and found a couple of interesting quilting blogs that I now follow.  These are hosted by quilters from the Quilting Board, which I've been reading for some time now.  In fact, today I earned the title "a regular here" on the board.  That means my LAQ information will appear on the QB for others to contact me for long arm quilting services.  Hopefully I pick up a little extra work through the QB.

Nope, not a bad day at all!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Measure twice.....

Yeah, so I decided to make a cute dress for my granddaughter.  Only I had no idea what size she wears, how much she weighs, or how tall she has gotten.  I just know what she looks like.  Apparently that is not enough.  Maybe I'm just a bad judge of how big a pattern will be after it's sewn.  Any-hoo, the dress is too big.  Way too big.  Huge too big.  It will fit a kid three years older than she is.  Oh well, maybe it will fit someone else's granddaughter.

She liked it though.  The corduroy fabric has little teddy bears all over.  It's got a bit of a Christmas feel to it since the bears are wearing green or red striped shirts.  The jumper has a pocket on the front, and I added a little stuffed bear from fabric scraps to a length of ribbon and attached it so it can sleep in the pocket when she's not playing with it, and it won't get lost or dropped when she does play with it.  Lot of good that did.  She didn't even discover the teddy.

It's fine in the end.  I'll make another dress tomorrow three sizes smaller and we'll see how that goes.  If I can figure out what size to use, I may be able to figure out what size to use for the next granddaughter.  My hope is to make each one a matching jumper so they can take pictures together and be even cuter than usual.

Also today I worked on the "Autumn Splendor" quilt that I'd quilted last week.  I've finished the quilting and begun the binding.  Tomorrow I should be able to finish the binding since I've decided to machine it completely.  I read a post on the Quilt Board about machine stitching the binding.  Since I've used this method before, I decided to use it again to save time.  I enjoy hand stitching but there's not likely to be much time for that with the Thanksgiving holidays happening.  And on that happy note: Happy Thanksgiving to my dear readers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Penny for the Sweeper

Okay, so I started out the day very late.  Then decided that before I started another project, I had to clean house.  There were pieces of threads, bits of fabric, chunks of dirt, interfacing, and torn paper all over the place.  I swept, picked up, put away, and cleaned for about two hours.  The studio looks much better, but it wouldn't hurt to put away a few more items.  How does the place get this way?  Then my ADD/OCD kicked in, and I tweezered thread from the wheels of my chair.  I do that about once or twice a year, or the thread gets so thick that the chair won't roll.  I like being able to scoot from the machine to the ironing board to the work table and back.  It wasn't enough to just get the big stuff out....I had to pick every piece of thread and the strands of hair that wind themselves around the inside of the wheels.  I can swish past the ironing board in one little push now!  Of course, it means I didn't get much sewing done.  So tomorrow I'm going in and something's gonna give.  I'm not coming out till something is complete!  Done!

I'll let you know how that resolve goes :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Some of the Quilts I've Made

How to Make Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

My family is cajun through and through.  That pretty much mean we love gumbo.  It's one of my favorite meals to eat and to cook.  When I make gumbo, I invite lots of people over because it's impossible to make a little bit.  Start with water, fill a large soup pot about 1/3 of the way and set it on the stove and turn the burner on high.  Add chicken pieces, salt and pepper and seasoning blends.  I use Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning, but any brand of cajun or creole seasoning will do.  While this is getting hot (it needs to boil for quite some time) you can either add ready-made roux or make your own.  When the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to about medium and let it simmer.
To make the roux: in a heavy skillet mix one cup cooking oil and one cup all purpose flour, cook on high heat.  Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down so you don't burn the flour.  Stir and stir and stir.  Most people find this part tedious, but I enjoy watching the roux change from white to caramel color as it cooks.  Keep stirring, it takes a good 7-10 minutes depending on the temperature.  If a few little flakes turn black, turn the stove down again--the flour is burning and mash up the little clumps while you stir.  When the roux is a beautiful brown caramel color, it's done.  Turn the stove off but keep stirring, it will continue to cook for a few minutes.  When it's cool enough to handle the skillet, pour the roux into the gumbo pot. 

Stir the gumbo and add onions, bell pepper, and celery.  Let this simmer for another 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Add your favorite sausage.  The gumbo will be done when the sausage is cooked through.  I always add tasso at the same time as the sausage for the extra flavor, and we have rice and sweet potatoes.  The tasso is optional but the sausage is not.  I truly do not measure anything.  It's just a guess and a taste as to how much of anything to add.  I like my gumbo to have lots of flavor, but not too spicy, so there's Tobasco on the table for the spice lovers and file' for those who enjoy adding it to their bowls.  To fix a bowl put about a half cup of rice in the bottom, add enough gumbo to cover the rice, making sure you get a little bit of chicken and seasoning meats, then peel a sweet potato and drop it in the side.  That's it.  Enjoy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Purse Idea Outcome

A couple of days ago I had the idea to take apart my purse and use it to make a new purse.  I really thought it would be a good idea if for nothing else but to recycle some of the parts and to make a pattern.  I liked the purse for the most part, just not all the pockets.  Well, it worked.  I learned a few things just from taking the old purse apart and decided that the size and shape were the things I liked most about it.  So, I started there, took measurements and made a presentable pattern.  Then I started looking for a fabric of the same weight and hand as the fabric on the original. 

I found a beautiful fall-colored home dec fabric, added some canvas for stability, and picked out a pretty linen for the lining.  Because the home dec fabric was just the size I needed for the outside, I decided to use a beautiful silk dupioni as a trim.  I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow and snap a few photos while the gumbo simmers on the stove.  If all goes well, I'll be able to use it on Saturday when we go to the wedding in Beaumont.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Purse Idea

Sitting in a moment of quiet today I had a great idea.  I noticed how dirty my cloth purse is getting.  It's really not washable, so since I love to recycle/upcycle items when possible, I was looking at what I could reuse.  It occurred to me that I like the purse size and shape.  There are too many pockets, and it is too floppy for me, but everything else is great.  Why not use the purse as a pattern?  Redesign it so there are fewer pockets and figure out a way to give it more body.  Then it will be close to perfect.  Of course, I'll make it in a color I like (it might be hard to choose) and add embellishments that won't add extra weight.  So, that's going to be my afternoon project--take apart the old purse, redesign the pieces, add interfacing to a good quality home dec fabric I love, and see how it goes. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Purses--big or small?

I tend to prefer medium-sized purses.  Something just big enough to hold most of what I think I need, but not so big that it will hold everything I can stuff into it.  Goodness knows, I start with good intentions, clean out the wallet, reduce the weight, dump out the hairclips, slips of paper and envelope lists.  But after only a day or two, I'm at it again.....drop this in, I'll put my hair up later; toss that in too, I'll have time to read while in the waiting room; extra change goes in; a grocery list; a card I want to give to someone; and on and on.  So, to reduce the clutter and weight, I wear smaller purses.  I figure that if it fits, it goes in.  If it can't go in, I'll have to figure out a better way to transport it or leave it behind.  Usually I leave it behind.  Rarely do I miss it.

Now I've run into a problem--every purse I see these days is huge, suitcase-sized.  Should I just give in to the trend and make big purses for my etsy?  Or, should I buck the trend, make medium and small purses and hope for the best?  I have a few very small purses that are going nowhere, so I won't be adding to that virtual rack.  But something that a couple of bricks would fit into is just the size for me, am I the only one?  What's your real purse size?  By that I mean what is the size you REALLY prefer?  Forget what's popular or trendy or passe'.  I want to know what size you'd buy if you found the perfect purse.   (We'll tackle pockets on another post....I am too ADHD to deal with more than one topic.)

Find Me on Facebook!

I've posted photos of my quilts on the Fleur de Lis Quilts FB page.  You can find it at this url address:

I've sewn a couple more purses and hope to add them to my etsy shop tomorrow afternoon.  That's if I can get home early enough.  Today I visited the cemetary where my mother was buried two weeks ago.  I cleaned up around her grave and tossed the dead flowers left from the funeral.  Then, of course, I went to visit daddy.  That took lots of time and I missed the light for taking photos, so maybe tomorrow I'll get to shoot the new purses and  reshoot a few hairbows.  They really are pretty, but I'm such a horrible photographer that I somehow manage to make them look bad.  Not a good way to sell online!  In fact, everything thing I read about online shops begins with "Post good photos!"  My poor shop may be doomed.

Here's a question: how can someone see the details of a quilt and be able to find every little problem but not be able to see that a photo is out of focus or that there's something off in the background?  I'm calling it photo blindness--I'm blind to the uglies in my photos.

First International Sale

This week I had my first international sale!  I was so excited to see the address and to think about one of my items going all the way to Palestine.  The idea that someone who lives across the world and comes from a different culture finds something designed and made by little ole me useful enough to purchase is wonderfully exciting.  A bit heady, in fact.  Not that it's such a big deal to most people, of course.  We do live in a global economy and we can chat with and visit people from around the world in a way that only 10 years ago we barely believed possible.  Still, it's a fabulous experience for this girl from The Sticks to mail one of her items out of the country.