Sunday, February 27, 2011

A few of my Etsy items have been featured in Treasuries. Enjoy!

My LOVE pillow is in this treasury (third row).  Thanks to MYhandicrafts.

A little blue purse in the fourth row.  Thanks to mellowstuff.

And a pink quilt in the second row.  Thanks to moninesfaeries.

And this will do for now.  Thanks to everyone who has featured one of my items in their treasury.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Babies and Baptisms

Close up of lacy gown
Satin and lace gown
Matching satin and lace bonnet
 Because we're Catholic, our family tends to baptize our babies not long after birth.  Sunday is the big day to two of our little ones.  Our youngest son and his wife have a one year old who was a preemie at birth and a new-born, both of whom we'll baptize.

 The one-year was baptized when she was just a few days old, but because she was in the NICU, we didn't have the traditional family celebration.  Mom and daddy decided to wait and have one big day for the two girls.  So, we'll pack up and drive down to Rayne for the weekend and have a grand time playing with the children.  There will be lots of little ones since the Marcotte clan now has seven grandchildren and the Peltier clan has three--but of course, two overlap as grandchildren on both sides.  The christening gowns, I'm proud to say, come from my studio.  Although I knew that we'd eventually get to this day, I dislike the idea of pushing my work on my daughters-in-law.

Simple cotton batiste

Matching bonnet for cotton batiste gown 
Occasionally our tastes diverge and to pressure them into using my sewing for any occasion just doesn't seem fair.  Afterall, I was allowed to make my own choices and I want them to have the same options.  So, I make the things I like to make, sew for them when they ask, and offer sometimes.

Close up of cotton batiste
This time, however, I got a phone call requesting a couple of little white dresses.  Easy enough since they were already sewn and were waiting for the occasion to present itself.  Tomorrow I'll wash the three dresses that might work and take them with us.  The two that fit will likely be the ones.  And our two little beauties will be all set for the big day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

What a lovely birthday!  Richard and I spent the day at work but we made up for it by going to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner--The Steamboat Warehouse Restaurant in Washington, LA.  Photos of the restaurant and other beautiful places in and around this historic little town can be found at  If you ever find yourself in Cajun Country Louisiana, this is definitely a place to visit.  The quaint little town has lots to do and see.  Just a walking tour is worth the visit, toss in a meal at The Steamboat, and perhaps a night at one of the many B&B's, and you've got a weekend filled with memories.

Louisiana: Acadian Village, Lafayette

Of course, I'm a proud Louisianan and wish that everyone had the chance to know my Louisiana the way I do.  The culture, local color, and languages are some of the parts of my Louisiana that are indescribable.  The people, well, what can I say? Louisianans are different!  You have to know us to appreciate us and knowing us takes a while.  We're storytellers and laughing fools.  We love fun and family and friends are friends for life.

Louisiana: This is one of many gators we saw !!!  Awesome !!!

We share a heritage that we are rightfully proud of.  And we aren't afraid to be ourselves.
And that's just a start!

Louisiana: A beautiful bird in flight

There's the natural beauty of our swamps, bayous, rivers, prairies and woods.  The fawn and fauna kept John James Audubon busy for years and after an adult life of visiting my home state--its parks, historic places, antebellum homes, and amusement places--I still have many, many places to see and visit and doubt that I'll ever be able to see or visit them all.

But I recommend you begin with just a weekend or two: too much of our rich food, culture and history could be a bit too much for anyone.

Thanks for visiting my blog and here's hoping that one day you'll visit my Louisiana!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My design process explained

Finished the small quilt I've been working on for (QC).  It's the second one in a series of three that I have plans for.  I want the final quilt to be a triptych of three panels, all near the same size but not necessarily exactly the same.  Side by side, they should match without being too matchy (if that makes sense).  I'll be teaching a class on stained glass quilts and will use this design since it's my original pattern.

Originally I tried a couple of ideas, but they just didn't work.  Eventually I spent a Sunday mass in a different church not far from our home.  The stained glass windows are simple.....squares of different colors and an occasional circle within a square.  I started playing with this idea and finally found what I was looking for.  After I made the first quilt (shown at right) I sent a photo to QC and they approved the design.  I then wrote most of the lessons since I had taken photos as I worked on the first quilt.  Once the lessons were written, I put everything aside for a few weeks to give my brain a rest and to forget the details of what I'd written.

I picked it up again last weekend.  This time I read my directions as I made a new quilt (shown on left).  I tried to find glitches and errors as I worked so that I could correct those.  I discovered a few errors that I now know will need a little more time, but still I think that by next weekend I'll be ready to send the lessons to QC for their perusal.  Then, hopefully, we'll be ready to set a class date and begin working on the web pages.  I am shooting for a summer class and am planning to make the third quilt while the class is going on.  I've found from teaching writing that to work on the same project as one's students builds camaraderie and also lets me see the issues as they come up.

I'm hopeful that a third panel will work as well as the first two did.  It's a fairly easy design that looks complicated--perfect!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All Hands on Deck

I read Anna Maria Horner's blog a few days ago at .  Although I read several posts--she's incredibly funny and I found myself recalling many of the same stories from when my own boys were about the same age--I especially enjoyed the one in which she describes the Amigurumi toys her daughter made.   The post is mostly about how parents inspire creativity in their children by giving them handmade, which she notes tends to inspire them to make.

Will and daughter Dusti in the tree house he built for the children.
I definitely relate to her post.  I'm creative in an artistic way, and my husband is creative in a practical way.  Talk about a marriage of the minds.....I make things pretty, he makes things work!  All that creativity in one family is bound to rub off on some of the children.  In our case, it rubbed off on all three.  Since we have only boys, I've had to settle for lots of working things, or things needing work, or things that won't work.  The boys were pretty destructive.  They never had a toy that didn't require some doctoring at some point--stuffed animals were sewn and patched up, plastics were glued (Gorilla glue) and taped together (we called the combination bondo since most were toy vehicles) and metal and wooden toys were fixed in a variety of ways.  Now, the boys themselves did much of the fixing.   That meant glue, tape, string, wire, and any manner of "fixing things" were never in their appointed place.  

Will, our oldest, seemed most interested in taking apart anything with wheels and then fixing the vehicles with wheels from other vehicles.  Our toy cars and trucks were the strangest looking things: two huge wheels on the back and two small ones on front, or vice versa, or perhaps four wheels of the same size but about 10 times the size of the original or half the size of the original, and so on.  Since I didn't care to fix the fixed up cars, we simply watched were we were walking.
Adam, Jenny and daughter, Marley

Adam had a thing for string.  He would patch up anything by tying half a million knots into a piece of kite string the length of his arm.  Those tiny knots came out without cutting if I used a straight pin to steadily pick at the knot until something gave.  Most often, my patience gave first.  Cutting was never an option because he needed the whole string to fix the next broken thing.  G. I. Joe once scaled the bathroom mirror for a good three weeks, sometimes steadily going up but occasionally headed to the bottom.  Apparently kite string is exactly the size rope that Joe needed for mountain climbing.  

Rory and wife, Meggan
The youngest, Rory, liked to rig up stuff, to invent stuff.  He would come up with a crazy idea for making something or making it better.  Then he'd build it using whatever materials he could manage to gather--old nails, pieces of wood, pipe, bricks, everything was up for grabs--and he managed to use these things in the most unorthodox ways.  Bricks might served as legs, but so would pipe or pieces of wood.  It was easy to trip on a work in progress since he liked working on the floor, generally near a doorway.  Imagine walking through the hallway in the middle of the night, stubbing your toe on a project and a brick tumbles onto the foot not in pain.  

I didn't have the foresight to take photographs of their projects or fixed up ideas.  I wish I had.  They spent one summer building a fort out of sticks, rocks, green plastic army men, and dinosaurs.  Actually, most of their toys eventually made it to the fort.  We had a fairly cool area of our yard that was shaded enough the boys could play for hours without feeling the Louisiana heat.  The fort covered every inch of dirt (grass could not grow) shaded at any point during the day.  They enlisted cousins and other family members to join in the fun and the fort grew a little each day.  By summer's end, the fort was more like a city littered with people, vehicles, dinosaurs, and various other toys.  

I agree with Anna Maria that creative parents do inspire and encourage creativity in their children.  I have to admit, however, that my encouragement was more a result of needing time for my own creative spirit.  I allowed crazy projects to develop simply because it meant the boys were busy entertaining themselves and who cared if the yard was destroyed and messy? Or if the house acquired bricks, sticks, lumber and other junk the way I acquired fabric pieces?  Isn't that what creative people do-build a stash?  The boys were quite good at building their stash of other people's castoffs.  They could visit any grandparent, uncle, or cousin and return home with a piece of junk that was wanted no where else.  

Electrical wire tied on to the  foot of the bed?  It makes a rail, mom, so I don't fall out the bed.  More string tied on this door handle?  It was holding the tent corner, but it's too tight to get down.  Why is there a broken board in the middle of the floor?  Oh, I need that to make a chair at the fort tomorrow.  I don't want to lose it.  Could someone please get these dirty bricks out the bathroom.  Sure, I'll put them in the swimming pool so they will get clean and we can make a book shelf with them.

What argument do I have or want to use?  I was grateful for the peace of having them busily working on a project.  I needed the time for my own creative side.  They learned, they played, they grew into engineers all--one in diesel engineering (he is now a manager at a company that builds huge offshore equipment), another is a civil engineer who, along with his dad, can fix or replace any part of a building, and the third is a mechanical engineer who enjoys woodworking, building furniture, and repairing old homes.  I'll leave you to figure out which is which.  Thanks for visiting.  I would love it if you shared your experiences in inspiring your creative children.  And I'm sure others would love to read about it as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One About Me! Yea!

A special thank you to for their lovely article about ME!   It's nice to get a nod from others every once in a while, even if we don't do it for the kudos.   If interested, you can read the article here:

Some of the article is copied below, but to read the whole thing and see photos, you need to visit at QuiltingGallery.   

How did YOU get interested in quilting?
I've been a seamstress all my life.  I remember sticking my finger with the needle on my grandmother's treadle machine when I was a little girl about 6 years old and my mom laughing because, though I cried heavily, the needle didn't even break the skin.  I also remember threading needles for my grandmother because she struggled to see the needle eye.    Both my mother, Ellen, and  grandmother, Volcie, were quilters.  I was close to both before their deaths, and they influenced all aspects of my life but especially my sewing and quilting.  I think about them often when I am quilting and feel the connection to their lives.

Where do you get inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everything--stained glass windows in church, tile patterns on a bathroom floor, flowers, shapes, vintage quilts, photos, magazines--anything can inspire and everything is up for grabs.

Why do you blog? What is your process?  
I enjoy writing and took some writing classes in college, long before blogging came along.  I like the immediacy of blogging.  As I finish an article, I publish it.  Simple.

What charity efforts, teaching events, retreats, cruises, you participate in?
I am in the Cotton Quilter's Guild and participate in the charity efforts.  As a teacher I given presentations at our guild meeting and have recently agreed to write a course for QuiltCampus, an online quilt source.

What other personal information would you like to share?
I have a wonderful family, enjoy quilting and sewing, and am blessed with many, many positives in my life--God, my family, friends and the most wonderful husband any wife could ask for. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The old home place

"I cannot count my day complete 'til needle, thread and fabric meet." -Anonymous 

I found this quote on the Mountain Home Quilts blog, which, I must say is very interesting.   Apparently the way to live is pretty much the way my family has been raised.  Of course, 20+ years ago, it was backward and old-school and the only way I knew.  Afterall, my seven sisters and I were raised on a small family farm by parents who stayed married for 51 years.  They had lived the "dream" of working for a large company.   It just didn't work for two adults who wanted to live a simple life.  While we all worked hard to raise the vegetables that we 

 sold at farmers markets and a few grocery stores, it was the simple life that my mom and dad dreamed about.  I was only seven when we moved to Plaucheville but I can remember the excitement in their faces from owning their own home, with 25 acres for farming and kids.  There was no place on the farm where I didn't feel safe and when I needed space from all those sisters, it was easy to get lost.

Today the farm is grown up in weeds and small trees.  Mom and dad retired several years ago and traveled all over the country in their small RV.  In the  meantime the weeds and grass and trees took over.  I haven't ventured out beyond the barn in many years and probably wouldn't recognize some of my favorite childhood places.   Now momma is dead and daddy is 81 years old.  I have to wonder what will happen to the place of so many childhood memories.  I can only hope that eventually it will go to someone whose life is spent raising children and living the quiet, simple life.  Thanks to a growing trend to return to old-school ways, living a simple life does not mean living a backward life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cottontop Cutie Pie

My darling husband took me seriously about eight years ago when I showed him a picture of a little white dog and said I wanted on like that.  
Turns out that what I thought was a Maltese really was a Westie.  He had no clue either way and bought a Maltese for my birthday.  At the time he and our son were talking about getting a Black Lab.  

So when I came home one day about a week before my birthday and heard a whine coming from a basket with a big red bow, I just knew he had gotten Rory a Lab.  He just laughed when I threatened him if he'd really gotten a big black dog.  Finally, I could not take the whining any longer and opened the basket fully expecting that I would be even angrier.  The most darling, cutest puppy peered from inside the basket, and it was love at first sight. 

There was no doubt that he was my puppy from the moment I gently lifted him from the basket.  He has been a constant companion for the last eight years.  Cotton comes on vacation with us, sits in our laps when we are in the house, follows in my footsteps, and is happiest when I walk in the house after work.  In fact, when Richard and I come home at the same time, Richard usually opens the door.  Cotton races out past Rich straight to the car to greet me.  And he becomes my shadow until I leave again. 

He's even named after me.  My grandfather called me Cottontop when I was a child because my hair was so blond.  I am a brunette now with a touch of grey and silver peeking through the brown.  Cot, however, is just as white as ever.  His footpads, lips and eyes are strikingly black and his skin is pink under all that hair.  It's really funny though how soft and fine his hair is.  In fact, I keep it cut fairly short because he has static issues.  Since I do also, thanks to my fine, thin hair and dry skin, I often get a "charge" from him.  

 The charge is not much of a zap, but it is a surprise for the two of us.  Besides, baths are not a lot of fun and long hair only adds to the process of combing out the tangles and mats.  Bath time is the only time he avoids me.  He looks away and sometimes tries to hide when I say "bath."  As though if he doesn't hear the word, he won't be subjected to the routine.  Otherwise, he's happy to sit or lie in my comfy as it is possible for a puppy to get.  Check out that position of lying on his back, paws up, lolling around lazy as a sleeping sloth.

Even the grandchildren can't lure him away.  Oh, he may go get the toy, but he brings it to me.  And he may go eat a few bites of food but only if I am in the kitchen also.  To keep him comfortable around the house, and to give me a chance to get anything done, I've got beds in several places.  That way he can lie down to wait for me while I'm cleaning, cooking, sewing, etc.  

Of course, he has toys, blankies, beds, and treats all over the house.  But really, all he wants is to climb in my lap and get comfy.  That's little lap puppy.

A Day in the Life

Have I ever mentioned that I have a day job?  I am a library lady....that's what the 7th graders call me, anyway.  Mrs. Library Lady.  My real title: Library Media Specialist.  Love that "specialist" on the end there.  Makes me sound special.  Well, at least I sound like I can do something special.

On the serious side, I really like my job.  Actually, that should be plural, because I also happen to teach.  Yeah, I can multi-task with the best of  them.  Here's how it works, I go in early and deal with middle schoolers who want to check out books.  A bell rings, seniors saunter in slowly (they have senioritis, afterall) and I try to teach English 1002 Dual Enrollment for the local university.  But, I am a multitasker, remember, so I teach DE to two classes at the same time via video-conferencing on a TV hookup deal.  All of which makes for an interesting hour.

Seniors saunter out, and another instructor holds class via the TV VC deal, but it's biology, so I get to sit back and do my own thing.  It's usually my time to catch up with messages, phone calls, emails, snail mail, etc.  I also generally trot down to the office area just to see how much they miss me now that I'm too busy to visit for a while.

Finally, we move into third hour, and my darlings come in....they are my office workers.  We shelve books, move things around and do library stuff.  The rest of the day is spent doing other library stuff....processing books, working on Accelerated Reader/STAR Reading, cleaning, vacuuming, dealing with classes and students and teachers.  Eventually a final bell rings and everyone goes home.  I generally hang out for a good 20 minutes to an hour finishing up whatever chore I'd decided to accomplish for the day.  Students drop in after school or perhaps I'll get tutoring started.  Most importantly thought, at some point I get to come home to my darling husband and my quilt studio and Cotton, our little Maltese.

Doesn't it make sense now that I have this background design on my blog?  So, what's a day in your life like? Leave a comment.

newspaper image from mixedink blog          

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OttLite Giveaway from Quiltingranny

Everything in blue is directly quoted from Quiltingranny.  Everything in green is from me (so you'll know who's talking):
Have you ever wanted an OttLite for your work area, desk area, reading area? If you have and have been like me unable to afford one, sign up for your chance to win the OttLite 508.
This is a Creative High Definition Natural Lighting light to help you see clearly and comfortably and I can't wait to plug mine in and talk to all of you about how great it is.

A special giveaway
from QuiltinGranny will run from tomorrow February 1st thru Valentines day February 14th 9:00 PM PST. Winner will be announced on February 16th as I will be busy on the 15th taking family back to the airport in Seattle.  To register go to her blog at

Good luck (but I hope I win)