Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Blessings

Today my blog had the most views ever--200+ page views--and I've seen an uptick in my Etsy views as well.  That's certainly a good sign considering that I've been contemplating the idea of closing the Etsy shop.

There haven't been many sales all summer, and though I keep telling myself that people are busy, on vacation, not shopping much because of the economy, to just hang in there, it's getting more and more ridiculous to continue.  That whole "throwing good money after bad" theory certainly has found it's way into my mind lately.

Then I have a day such as today--lots of views, hearts and comments--and I just can't think of closing the shop or ending the blogging.  First of all, I really enjoy keeping up with the friends I've made since this little foray began, and secondly, I'm not sure I've kept at it long enough.  

The Etsy folks keep saying to hang in and wait, it gets better.  The thing is though I've discovered something about myself as far as the blogging goes--I just really enjoy it.  I knew before that I enjoyed writing, it is the better part of my college experience, but I didn't know what a difference the instantaneous results would make. I've posted on the blog and within minutes someone has read my work and responded.
 Who could ask for more than that?  So, I guess in the end I'll just be happy that I'm not dependent on the Etsy sales.  I have a regular job, afterall.  And we aren't going to go hungry as a result of the economy.

I'll count my blessings, one of which is this neat little opportunity to express my thoughts and show my work, another is the Etsy shop.  Sure it barely breaks even, but that's okay because it's just another outlet for showing my work.  If I sell items, so be it.  Until it gets too expensive, I'll just keep working at it and hope that all will work out in the end.

What are some of your blessings?  Do you have any blessings that also worry you?

Don't forget to go to the original post and enter to win the giveaway.  Up to $25 of your choice of items from Fleur de Lis Quilts Etsy Shop.  The deadline is Friday, so don't delay!

Saturday Joys

Tonight two of the grandchildren are visiting.  Dusti and Lane are a couple of the older kids, so they really aren't any trouble.  In fact, they are a help for the most part.  Dusti will do anything that means being with the animals, and Lane will do just about anything his Poppa asks.  They will come to mass with us in the morning, then after lunch we'll drive them back home and visit some of the other grandbabies.  Ah, the joys of being grandparents!

Today I unpacked the suitcases and put away clothes and stuff.  It's one of those jobs that I really don't care for, but this time I had a good reason to unpack....I have new fabric and a few other items. 

On our way out of Ruston we stopped at The Fabric Shop.  Take a look at these goodies:

My sister Angie will be thrilled with this pink piece.  It's the focus fabric for her grand-daughter's ballet quilt.

The ones with the green are actually only two pieces of fabric.  The pink plaid is one.  The rest is the other.  It's a fabric with four different designs.  Well, maybe I should count the tape measure as a separate design.  

I'm not really sure.  I just decided that it would be a good green to add to the stash.  And Richard was in a good mood.  That always means extra fabric is okay!

And speaking of extra about this Amy Butler fabric.  Isn't it just wild.  No, that's WILD and fun.  I couldn't decide between the two pieces.  I asked Rich's opinion, but he'd rather get both than be forced to choose.  Guess what I did--both!  Of course!

So here I am--the clothes put away, the puppies cleaned up and the house presentable.  I played in the studio for a while looking for the worktable.  I found it under a huge pile of stuff left from previous projects.  Somehow I found a place for all that stuff, but wait, I had more stuff....

I just couldn't resist these beads and metals all tossed into a ziptop baggie.  Little did I realize that they match quite well and I could put the pieces back together.  There's a necklace and two bracelets, plus assorted other items.  Then, as I was wondering around, I found the ribbons and embellishments.  

I had to have a few yards of the micro-rickrack in little girl colors.  My favorite find though is this bias tape with the tiny white lace attached.  I hope to make a little dress for Sophie using this around the Peter Pan collar.   Actually, I bought enough that the three little ones could each get a dress.

So, back we are to my now afternoon and what I accomplished in the studio.  After putting stuff away for a couple of hours, it was easy to decide on a small project.  I picked up a couple of little wallets not long ago and wanted to make a few for the girls.  

Since they are very small and have only one continuous stitch, I settled on making a few of those.  They are quite easy to make, so I zipped up two or three.  They are meant to hold credit cards, business cards or folded paper money.  They also don't take much space in a wallet, which is especially nice.

Once I sewed up these, I started thinking that the design is one that I could adapt to something else.  Finally, I realized what that something is.....a book cover.  I've made a couple but this is much easier and faster than my older design.  

I still have a little work to do on the design, but we're pretty close to what I'd like.  The problem is that books aren't all the same size.  I easily thought of three different paperback sizes and I'm pretty sure I am not aware of every size that is available.  I think I'll try to come up with one or two standard sizes and just go with that.  

Don't forget about the giveaway.  You should go to the original post for the rules and information you'll need to be eligible.  I will add some of the items I created today to my Etsy store so those will be items you can choose from.  Good luck.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Goodbye Ruston

Since today was our last day in Ruston, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into how Richard spent his days while I was in my professional development workshop.  He had a good six or seven hours with nothing more than a hotel room and the car.  (Little cash since we'd agreed not to spend much.)  

The town is really very pretty.  Since it's a college town there are a few places for entertainment and learning.  It was first founded in 1883, so there are some beautiful old homes in the area.  We really enjoyed riding around and looking at those homes.  Richard spent part of one day doing just that and snapping photos to share with you.  Isn't he the best?  

I saw all of these houses, but I wasn't there for the photo session, so you get to see what he finds interesting and noteworthy.  I have to say, he did a fine job of photographing.  

In fact, I may have to relinquish the camera to him because these pictures are much, much better than the ones I generally take.

He hasn't told me why he chose these homes, so I assume that it's simply because he likes them or, as I would say, they speak to him.  
If you want to see and read more about Ruston, click here for the official website.  To know more about Louisiana Tech, the university in Ruston, click here.

As we were leaving town today, we had to stop at the one fabric shop I found, but this is just a teaser....I'll show you what I picked up tomorrow!

Before closing, I want to remind you to go here to enter my giveaway!  You'll find the rules and information you need to enter.  Good luck!

Now tell me what do you think about these homes. Wouldn't you love to visit this town in the Deep South?  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Giveaway!!!

Handmade Scarf, Beaded Sheer Organza, Blue
beaded scarf
My blog hit 70 followers this week....yeah!  A good way to celebrate might be to have a giveaway.  The winners (yes, plural, as in two winners) of the giveaway will receive their choice of items from my Etsy shop up to $25 per winner.  I'll try to keep the rules simple.  

To be eligible you must
1) be a follower of this blog
2) go here to visit my shop and heart an item 
3) leave a comment telling which item you hearted

Custom Monogrammed Kinder Mat Cover
kindermat cover
Here's how it will work:
You have until August 5, 2011 to enter.  I will use to choose a number.  I'll match that number to the follower list on my blog and then check that the potential winner has completed 2 and 3 above.  

Purse, blue, navy, gray
Navy and blue purse
Every follower will be assigned a number; however, only those followers who have hearted an item in the shop and left a comment will be eligible to win.  If the first number results in a follower who has not completed 2 and 3 above, I will simply get another number from, and continue to do so until a winner is chosen.  

Hairbow, giraffe print, brown and beige
giraffe print hair bow
Thanks again to those who have clicked on the Picket Fence button on the left.....loving those votes!!!!

When you leave a comment telling which item is your favorite, please, please, PLEASE leave your email address.....that will help so very much!!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shrimp Bread

Our evenings in Ruston have consisted of tooling around in the car and taking short walking excursions to see the architecture and experience the sense of place.  One of the things we have to do during our excursions is eat.  We've managed to find some great places.  Not that they're hiding!  

One of the places was a wonderful Italian restaurant, which I wrote a little about here.  Monjuni's Restaurant is definitely a place to visit.  I highly recommend the Shrimp Bread, which I can't duplicate exactly, but it's so delicious that I'm willing to give it a go.  This is what I have so far, and though it's not Monjuni's, it's a decent appetizer.  

Shrimp Bread
4 thick slices of French Bread
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
medium tomato thinly sliced
mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound salad shrimp
salt/pepper to taste

Saute shrimp in small amount of olive oil until pink, remove.  Soak bread in olive oil for a few minutes to allow for absorption.  Place on baking dish and add one slice of tomato on top.  Add thick layer of mozzarella cheese and warm to begin melting cheese.  Add shrimp and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in warm oven until cheese is completely melted and shrimp are cooked through.  Serve immediately.
Bertolli Lucca Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 68 oz/Imported from Italy

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how you enjoy it.  I find it quite easy but simply delicious and can't wait till we get home to give it a try.  I'll let you know if I tweak it a little.  I'll also snap a photo and add it to this page.  And I'll add this recipe to the recipe page so it's easy to find. The photos here already all came from google photos.   I know, I'm sorry.  Give them credit for the pics already.  

Now tell me what you think about recipes you find online.  Do you give them a try?  What is your criteria for considering a recipe?  Do you search for recipes or do you just happen to stumble on them?  I'm not so sure about this recipe building online.  I sure could use your input.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Here we go again!  My fifth quilt for AAQI (Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative) that helps to raise money for Alzheimer's research.  Since my mom suffered with Alzheimer's for a long time before her death, and since we both love quilts, this seems like the perfect cause for me. I can make these small quilts in a day or two, although sometimes I do take a little more time.  

I wanted to do something I hadn't done in a while and remembered a quilt that I made years ago using a technique that I saw on Simply Quilts.   It's quite simple, actually, cut some flower appliques and arrange the flowers above and around an applique vase.  How easy is that?  Easy enough, I figured.  

This morning I pulled some bright happy solids out of the stash and ran across a bright plaid that matches the brights quite well....almost as though I started with the plaid, but I didn't.  

I took that for a sign and used the plaid for the vase.  I cut flower parts and, as I did so, arranged them on a piece of neutral cotton.  Deciding on the flowers was easy....all I had to do was look at other fabrics or even the original quilt I made, which is on the spare bed.  

Once everything was pressed down and I was ready to begin stippling or stitching, I decided to use some of the many embroidery threads that I rarely use anymore since I sort of wore myself out on embroidery.  

I haven't thread painted on a quilt in a long time, so there we go....thread painting was the answer, but it did get tricky.  Have you used that technique before?  Did you find it difficult?  I could sure use a tip or two, if you're willing to share.

Tell me what you think about this little quilt. I'm curious to know if it's all that or if I'm just a little too proud. While you're at it, why not let me know which is your favorite flower.  Since they don't exactly have names, you can use color to identify the one you like the most.  

Finally, thanks to those of you who have voted for my blog on Picket Fence.  It really doesn't matter whether I get lots of votes, it's just fun!  And how easy can it be?  Just a click and you've voted.  Gives me one more thing to check when I'm bored or Richard is watching tv.   :-) 

Happy quilting, Mary

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ruston afternoon

Really fast, please click on the Picket Fence voting button 
on your left.  I'm trying to get a couple of votes 
for my ya for that!  :-)

Ever visit a town not too far away, for whatever reason, and somehow manage to spend a few minutes touring the place?  That's pretty much how Richard and I spent our afternoon.  After my workshop and a brief rest, we started off with a driving tour of the city, then found a parking space downtown and did a little walking tour.  I managed a few pictures, one of which is......

ta daa! a fabric shop!  No we didn't shop, but that's beside the point....the point is that I found one without even trying.  
It's just too easy, I tell you.  

a pretty little water fountain in the middle 
of a little square on the old railroad track

The gorgeous scroll work on the top of an old bank building.  
In person, this is so beautiful!  Oh the quilt designs!!!

just too cute rubber duckies swimming around in a water fountain.  They were just outside a children's clothing perfect?!

Okay, I'll admit it, this building is not so great from a distance, but I have a baby camera.  Up close and personal it's just quaint, as are so many other buildings in the downtown area.

This brick four story building really has a lot going in the details, which my camera couldn't get.  The sun's glare was unbearable to boot, so I was happy to get a photo at all.

 We ducked into the cutest little Italian restaurant for dinner.  The inside is covered with this white lattice and plastic grapes, old signs and other memorabilia .  Talk about quaint.  I meant to get photos of the food, but it didn't happen.  When Rich and I thought about it, the food had been destroyed.  We had appetizers of shrimp garlic bread and shared a plate of veal parmesan.  The shrimp bread was unbelievable!  We couldn't finish the plate of veal with both of us working on it!
How about the view above our heads?
That was our afternoon....a bit of a surprise since we'd 
agreed on the drive down not to overspend or overdo.
What was your day like?  Any interesting tours or meals?  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ruston and La Tech

Tonight's post will be extra short since I didn't get an opportunity to take photos of Ruston as I had hoped.  Richard and I are spending the week here so that I can attend the Louisiana GEAR UP Professional Development workshop hosted by Tech University.

Louisiana Tech University

I'm sure you want to read all about the workshop :-) but I probably can't give too many details.  Just know that I get to be the Explorer's Club sponsor at my new school, Bunkie High.

In the meantime, why not check out Ruston and Tech U on the web, or just say hello in a comment and move on to another favorite blog.  I won't mind a bit.  I'll be back in a day or so with something a little more.....well, something.  How's that for a promise?