Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break!

and thank goodness, because I was getting tired.  We've been busy with state testing, and field testing, which is pretty serious.  Add to that the fact that I'm also getting ready for a principals' pow wow in the library.  It's to be held there for the purpose of showing off the work we've done this year, so I feel compelled to make the place shine!  But for now, some time off, yay!  

I started my day late (I did need the rest) but then got right to the 28 pints of strawberry preserves that were waiting for my attention.  I told you in an earlier post that the strawberries are driving us crazy.  Well, they continue to produce, more in fact.  Cooking and stirring, washing jars, filling and sealing all take about two hours. See the boxes in the background?  Yes, they are full.  I counted over 70 pints of strawberry preserves....all from our garden!

That done, the puppies and I took a walk in the yard.  Mostly I chased Candy.  She loves to run away from the cat and from me.  She goes farther and farther playing with the cat, and when I call or go after her, she runs even farther.  By the time I managed to get around her, we were at the lake.  

I was a bit put out, but on the way back, I noticed the catabla trees are in bloom.  That put me in a better mood!   I love the look of the flowers on the ground, like popcorn tossed out for the birds.  The flowers are snow white except for a touch of purple in their throats.  Imagine clusters of  white orchids, and you can envision them in the trees.

It helped to get over my aggravation by coming in and fixing a plate of very light pancakes, smothered in fresh strawberry sauce!

Then to the studio for an afternoon of play!  But my sewing endeavors will have to wait for another day......the grandkids have a movie started up and are vying for my attention.
Happy quilting,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Amarillo this Morning

 Okay, I admit, it's a corny title, but I couldn't resist.  Check out my amarillo flower (Hippeastrum species). I planted it several years ago.  It doesn't bloom every year, so a bloom is a wonderful treat.  Now to figure out how to keep the grandchildren from breaking the flowers this weekend.  That seems to be their favorite pastime when there's a pretty flower in bloom.

On Sunday I finished up the window seat cushion.  I can't show it quite yet because my darling is now asleep on the cushion.  To post a photo of him in any form would not be a pleasant thing for me, so I'll pass for tonight.  

I do have a photo of a quilt I started after finishing the seat cushion.  I cut the tumbler blocks for this little quilt using my  Accuquilt Studio cutter some time ago.  The solids are scraps that my sister Laura gave me about two years ago, and the print was a large piece of fabric that a friend gave me about one year ago.              I decided to cut all the scraps up because the fabrics are quite thin, and I didn't want to mix them with my quilting cottons, but I also didn't want to toss them!  Sunday I just wanted to throw together a fast easy baby quilt, and this definitely fit that description.
Today I came home to a complete top and loaded it on the long arm.  I've almost finished quilting it, so by this time tomorrow, I'll be done.  I've decided to leave the angles on the sides even though that will mean it will be a little more difficult to bind.                                                                        What do you think?  Will it add to the quilt design?  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Congratulations Winners!

For those of you who have been participating in the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party I am happy to announce that  #23 Linda V. won the Fleur de Lis Quilts giveaway.  Linda answered my email this morning, and I've promised to send her prizes which are posted here  on Monday.  
What she doesn't know is that because her comment noted how much she loves vintage patterns, I've decided to add another vintage pattern to her winnings!  This one is already packed up with her other items.  I hope she likes it.
Most of my weekend has been spent working on a special project for our living area.  We have a large window seat that has not been used very much for various reasons, but now that there are so many of us, someone generally ends up sitting on that uncomfortable seat.  I decided that it's time to make a cushion for it.  
little did I think it would involve so much work.  I've made small cushions before, but this baby is 108 inches long and has a funny shape because the bow window has five separate window units, meaning there are five different angles.  Oh, making the pattern was easy.  It's cutting into that expensive fabric that's difficult!  But it's cut and some stitches are in, so there's no going back now.  Hopefully I'll have photos of the completed project on my next post.
Besides working on this sewing project, I've been working a bit in the yard and garden.  The strawberries are driving us crazy. 

I've made about 20 pints of strawberry preserves or strawberry syrup (for pancakes) but as you can see, there are more strawberries waiting for the pot.  They'll have to wait till tomorrow, but if I'm late getting to the computer, it's the strawberry jam that's delayed me.  
Welcome to the new followers from the blog hop party.  I hope you find something of interest here.  And to everyone, please leave a comment and let us know what is keeping you busy this weekend.  You might also congratulate Linda on her win. (hint, hint)
Happy quilting,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What a Week!

We spent  a part of last weekend at the Louisiana Nursery Festival in Forest Hill, which is less than an hour's drive.  The festival was fun, but the best part was coming home with these pretty little darlings.

I can't seem to resist the dark leaves.....the burgundies, greens, and purples are my favorite, so these bronze leaf begonias were the first to get loaded.  I decided to add the impatiens because their leaves are green and I really need something lighter in the back of the bed.  Impatiens get taller than begonias and they share the same needs (shade, watering, soil) so they are a great match.  Besides, check out how closely the flowers match.  Just what I needed.

We also spent part of our weekend cutting limbs in our many trees.  Some were a bit bigger than I should have tackled with the saw I had, but they fell anyway.  The yard is absolutely beautiful.  In fact, check out the pyracantha that grows along the drive....

And these bridal wreath flowers are almost finished but aren't they lovely?  Of course, this is only one branch.  Imagine a shrub filled with the little bunches of white puffs.

Another part of our weekend and week, when we weren't working, meant enjoying a few moments in the studio.  I'm almost finished with the NICU gowns (get the tut here) I've been working on for lent.  We are out of school during Holy Week, so I'll drop the gowns off at the hospital before Easter.  Yea!  
And finally, I don't know about you all, but I'm having a real blast on the Quilting Gallery blog hop party!  I decided to hop alphabetically (well, I am a librarian, after all) and am now in the P's.  I may even make it to the end of the list!  That would be great, since I'm finding all manner of great blogs.  I decided that it's not necessary for me to follow every blog.  Instead, I'm following the ones that are of real interest to me.  I couldn't possibly read every blog anyway.  I can barely get to each one in a week's time!  If you have been hopping and taking chances on the giveaways, you'd better get going......wait!  finish reading first!

Don't forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win my prize.   Okay, you are done.  Here's hoping you have fun!
Happy Quilting,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thank You to YOU

Hi all,
Just a quick note to say thank you for visiting, and a special thank you to those who have chosen to follow my blog!  Leave a comment on Friday's post if you'd like a chance to win the giveaway prizes: two vintage patterns, hand-sewn purse accessories, handmade flower hair accessory and a sewing kit.  Photos are on Friday's post.  Every comment is another chance to win!
Happy Quilting,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Giveaway Party

I've been thinking that it's about time for another giveaway.  It's been a while since my last, and there are so many reasons to celebrate: I have lots of wonderful followers, my blog has reached over 150 votes on Picket Fence, and I have well over 250 posts.  
And, on a personal note, I have been keeping up with my lenten plans....the NICU gowns are coming along beautifully and I may even exceed my own expectations!  Yes, it's time for a party!  That said, let's plan one.  

Quilting Gallery blog hop party
Just as I was having these giving thoughts, I discovered that the Quilting Gallery is planning a blog hop party with giveaways!  Now, you know, I had to get on that wagon and hop a ride.  We will follow the rules, just cause I do that when possible.  So here they are

  • blog hop and giveaways begin on March 17
  • everything ends on March 23
  • easy-peasy entry (just leave a comment on this page)
  • international entries welcome
  • hop back to Quilting Gallery to enter other giveaways (that's the party part) 
So what shall we give?  I dove into the studio and found a few goodies that I think you may like: 
  • two vintage patterns
  • a hand-made satin flower (for your hair)

  • a trio of purse accessories (book cover, kleenex holder and card holder)

  • one of my sewing kits filled with all the basic sewing needs, except scissors.

    If you like these items, you could win.  All you have to do is leave a comment.  I'll determine the winner on March 23rd and post it once I've contacted the winner.  And don't forget to go to Quilting Gallery to visit other blogs who are having a party!  I can barely wait till Saturday to begin!

    Giveaway is closed.....and we have a winner!
    #23 Linda V.  I've sent her an email and will let everyone know when she replies!  Thanks to all who participated.....

    Happy Quilting, 

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    From 1 to 3

    Along with the other photos that my sister Laura took are some of my small quilts.  One of my favorite pieces is this triptych that I made about ten years ago.  

    I saw a Simply Quilts episode on making the monogram block and wanted to make one to put over the bar in our dining room.  That section of cabinet has since been removed, so the 12 X 12 inch quilts are now hanging vertically in the studio.  

    After making the monogram block, I decided that I wanted two more blocks--one with fruit and one with flowers.  

    Much of our living area had deep burgundy as the secondary color, so I decided to use burgundy, greens, and bits of other colors that would work together

    The flower piece was actually quite easy, although there were a few techniques that I had not attempted before.    Reverse applique turned out to be easier than I anticipated but I was pretty nervous about cutting out the sections.  More difficult was appliqueing the berries so that they would be perfectly round.  The tight circles gave me fits.

    Crazily enough, I included berries in the monogram piece, also.  I should have put more of the berries in this piece but they were just too much for me at the time.  Now, of course, I don't have any of the fabric, or I'd add a few.  Oh well, that's how it goes.

    Of the three pieces, the fruit block is my favorite.  I really like the look of glass that I managed to achieve.  It, too, was difficult, but it was so much fun to watch the glass take shape and to place the fruit in the composition.  

    I added a few leaves to the grape vines and stem on the apples and pears so there would be a little green in the piece.  The grapes were so much easier to applique than the berries simply because they don't have to be perfectly round and it's easy enough to cover mistakes.

    I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do.  Laura did such a great job shooting them.  She managed to catch the colors perfectly.  I'm amazed every time I look at her photos.  

    The triptych was definitely a learning piece for me.  There are some things that I'd do differently today, but every quilt I've made in the past would have a few changes if I were to remake them now.  That's the progression of learning, don't you think?  Would you remake any of your quilts exactly as the first time?  You know how much I love your opinions.
    Happy Quilting,

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Thanks Laura!

    I came home to a small package tonight.  It is round, and flat, and shiny........from my sister Laura, who lives in Tennessee.
    She's a great photographer, and the shiny surprise is a CD of photos she took while visiting after Christmas.  

    There are several photos on the CD but these are some of my favorites.  They were all taken around our house and depict some of our woodland friends.  

    This white egret sitting very stately in the tree decided to go fishing in our pond.  Laura managed to get pictures of him in both places.   The blue heron is a regular feeder at the pond and gets his share of fish. 

    While at our house, she also snapped a few photos of some of my quilts and quite a few of the chickens, the goats and the horses.  Even one of the barn cats was still for her.  I'll share those in another post.

    I hope you enjoy her photos.  Please leave a comment letting her know.  I'm sure she's appreciate hearing from you, and I know I will.

    Happy quilting,

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    NICU Gowns--Update

    Completed gowns in lots of colors, especially pink, beige, and blue
    After I received fabric from a giveaway by Jan-Maree at Cherry Red Quilter, I promised to make more of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) hospital gowns that I've made in the past for Women's and Children's Hospital in Lafayette.  (read the first post here  and the second  here)  The fabric, you see, is so darling and perfect for such tiny infants, that I had to follow my heart.  
    Step 1: use pattern to cut gowns
    Well, as promised, I've begun.  Using a sort of assembly line process 
    Step 2: use same pattern to cut lining
    (sort of because I'm too ADD to stick with a true assembly line)  things are coming along nicely.  
    Step 3: sew one gown and one lining
    To date I have ten gowns complete and ready for the washer.  I will wait to finish sewing, then wash them all in one load.  
    Step 4: turn right side out and press
    If you're interested in my sort of assembly line, check out the photos.  They document the steps from cutting to completion.
    Step 5: close off neckline

    If you're interested in making some gowns, for a NICU near you, get the pattern and directions in my tutorial.  
    Step 6: add velcro closures
    They are actually quite easy to make--only two pieces of fabric, four velcro closures and six steps.
    Now none of those "oh, you're such a good person" or "you are so giving."  

    Jan-Maree's giveaway fabrics
    The truth is that I'm considering this as part of my lenten penance.  Anyway, Jan-Maree and her precious fabrics inspired me.  She should get the credit.  

    Besides, visit her Aussie Hero Quilts and you'll agree that what I do is very little compared to the dynamo that is Jan-Maree.  Please go pay her a visit and see all the good work she does.  Tell her Mary said hello!
    Happy Quilting,

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    Thank You!

    How very nice for me: I try to vote for my blog or someone's blog each day using Picket Fence.  
    Tonight I thought I'd check to see how Fleur de Lis Quilts is doing 

    140 vOteS!  

    What a pleasant surprise.  The last time I checked there were fewer than 100, so I thought I'd say

    ThAnK YOu! 

    to EveRyONe wHo VoTEd

    aNd aNyOne WhO's eVer DroPpEd bY 
    fOr A vIsIt

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Past Due!

    photo from
    I got a letter from the public library today--an overdue notice!  How embarrassing!  Me.  A Librarian.  Someone who sends notices.  Oh, goodness, it's impossible to face.  

    I'm seriously considering sending the books back via Richard.  He laughed when he saw the notice, of course.  What else could he do?  Still, it's one thing to have him laughing at me.  It's another to face the librarian at the public library.
    photo from

    What books did I borrow from the library?  Two darling quilting books.  I enjoyed reading the tips and techniques of The Quilter's Ultimate Visual Guide.  Of the two, however, I especially enjoyed drafting and drawing the wildflowers in Carol Armstrong's book.

    I really liked the patterns and the tidbits of information about the individual flowers.  Since I like to make quilts with piecing in the center surrounded by a wide border of appliqued flowers, this book was great inspiration.  Armstrong includes several projects using the patterns in her book, but my plan is to I redraft the flowers to fit my needs.  I don't necessarily want to create botanically correct flowers, but to come up with creatively close flowers that I will enjoy making.  

    Yes, facing the music of my tardy returns is a small price to pay for the inspiration.  Richard, however, will gladly pay my piper if it means he can continue to enjoy my squirming.  I'll let him have his fun and take the jibbing from the kids and grandkids.  I'll have to face them anyway.