Monday, May 28, 2012

Fun books and a fun little bag

Photo from
I spent most of today's Memorial Day just lying around reading.  I'm in the middle of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, about Mary and Anne Boleyn, both of whom loved Henry VIII.    

Since I love reading historical fiction, a colleague recommended that I give Gregory's books a go.  I'm am grateful to Patty, since I'm fascinated by Gregory's writing, 
her sense of time and place, and her great research.  
Photo from

This is the second book that Patty has loaned me: the first was The White Queen, which is about the Lancaster and York women of The War of the Roses. 

Yes, I do enjoy reading about the royals of England.  Actually, I enjoy the intrigue of their survival, and Gregory does a fabulous job of describing the countryside, the workday, the whole of England.

I also spent a bit of my day sewing a small bag for Jolie, our nine year old granddaughter.  She loves carrying around little treasures--dolls, stuffed animals, her DS, money, and so on.  She never comes without at least a bagful of extras.  They will soon go on vacation and she will want to carry God only knows what, so I thought I'd make it easy for her.  

The bag is made from a pink Timeless Treasures fabric that is covered in delicious-looking ice cream cones and sundaes.  I added a brown/pink polka dot to make a large outside pocket and straps.  She hasn't seen it, but I'm very sure she'll love it.  It's perfect for a little Jolie.  

And it took only a few minutes of time--no pattern necessary.  I just thought of Jolie's small back to determine the size, cut out the back and front and the pocket, then started sewing.  I made a casing around the top to thread the straps through and stitched the ends down in the outside corners.  To finish the straps, I just tied the ends after sewing them down so that they look a bit like tassels.  She can wear it with the pocket against her back if there's something important in it that she doesn't want to lose, but I did put a small piece of Velcro to hold the pocket closed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer has arrived!

 The temps are getting into the mid-90's here and the sun is wilting everything it touches.  I'm definitely not immune to it's effects as I've been fighting allergies and headaches for the past several days.  But somehow I managed to deliver Lindsey's quilt and once that happened, a couple of other seniors approached me to have quilts made.  Since Maggie brought her tee shirts in already, she will be the next one to receive a quilt.  

I managed to snap a few photos of Lindsey's quilt at school before she picked it up.  Star White, one of the teachers at school, offered to hold it up for me when she saw me struggling to get the quilt to hang on a decorative fence just outside the library.    There's a small memory garden with a few rose bushes that are definitely enjoying the heat and sunshine more than I am.

I'm hopeful that in a few weeks I'll be able to get back to my own sewing and quilting.  This fleur de lis quilt has been hanging on the design wall for several weeks.  I'd love to add to it and get it finished up.  My thought is that it will be a sampler quilt.  I'd discovered that sampler quilts are way more time-consuming than I'd expected.  I will make a few more blocks but then I'll probably wrap it up with a wide border of the focus fabrics.  I'm not feeling it the way I did when I was actually working on it.  I don't want it to become a UFO, so I'll try to get through with it as soon as I can.

Here's hoping that you're getting some sunshine in your little corner of the world.  If not, leave me a note and I'll send some of this brightness to you.....we definitely have enough to share!  And maybe you can send a little rain to us.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Memory quilts, flowers and photos

I think I'll start with the photos.  I am a pretty bad photographer, I'll readily admit, but this is ridiculous!  I have no idea what I'm doing to create the lines in these pics, so I really don't have much chance of figuring out how to fix it.  Again, I'll take any suggestions.
 So, how about flowers to begin?  I walked around the yard and snapped away.  These are the best of the pics I got.   Sorry.

The one on top is an agapanthus, which is a type of amaryllis.  I have white, lavender and deep purple bulbs in the same bed.

The smaller white flower in the middle is a gardenia.  The shrub is in a bed in the back of the studio.  The plan was that I'd open a window so the wonderful smell could come in.  That was a bad plan, it's way too hot to open a window!  However, the scent is strong enough to smell the flowers from the swing under the arbor, so it's not a total oops.

 These reds are in the bed in the front of the house but they aren't doing so well.  They are beginning to fill out but it will be a few more weeks before they are touching each other and completely fill in the bed.

And on to the memory quilt I've been working on.  This is for a senior who will graduate on Monday.  She brought the tee shirts last week, but I had to really push myself to finish this week since we were away all weekend.  

I managed to cut the squares easily enough, then zipped on the sashing and loaded the quilt, in only about three days of working after school.  Today I finished up the quilting.  

I originally planned to keep it simple, but that quickly changed.  I stippled most of the blocks but in some I repeated motifs within the block.  For example in the red block with the rips from the panther claws, I quilted in additional rips.  In the blue block, I first quilted around the cross then around the blotches, and repeated a few blotches.
And for fun, I cut out some funky letters and ironed them on then stitched them down.  They just happen to be her initials.  I'm thinking if the tee shirts were just school shirts that any student could have, this makes the quilt hers alone.  Of course, a label with her name will support that theory.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet Foster

 Foster is the bird in this photo, a white dove that our son Rory rescued after a storm a few weeks ago.  It was not able to fly very well, we think, because it was still a fledgling and the storm blew it out of the nest or tree.  Whatever the reason for its inability to fly, it's quite safe here.  We normally keep it in a cage, but we do take it out daily to exercise and re-learn how to fly.
                                                                 My hope is that it will gain enough strength to survive in the yard in another week or so.  We've had it for a week or two and it's really beginning to fly quite well.  Of course, if the puppies are antagonizing it, Foster tends to fly better!                 

Lane really enjoy holding and petting Foster last weekend.  Once he understood that it really takes only one finger for Foster to perch, Lane was much more accommodating.  He laughed at the "tickily" feeling of Foster walking from side to side on Lane's hand and arm and was impressed with Foster's ability to balance when Lane walked around the house.

Last weekend we spent some time cleaning flowerbeds and working in the yard.  Richard cut grass, again, and I pulled weeds.  It's amazing how big the weeds are already.  While I was out in the heat, I thought I'd take a few photos of my daylilies.  I have a new one that a good friend gave me that is almost open.  I'm really anxious to see it in bloom since I know it's different than any that I already have.

At one time I knew the names of every daylily in my beds, but the labels have broken or been pulled out, so I just know a few.

This beautiful double was barely open when I took the pic early in the morning.  It's really a deep burgundy and one of my favorite.

 This pink reminds me of my mom.  She loved the soft pastel colors.  I planted a few fans of this pink for her.  Mom was with me when I bought the plant, and the lady gave me a few extra fans so I could share with momma.  I haven't seen it bloom at mom's but it's possible that the weeds took over and choked it out.  The weeds are pretty bad at the old place.

The last picture that I managed to get last weekend is of this yellow.  I don't remember the name of the daylily, but it's quite common.  I have lots of these in one bed and a few in another place.  Richard loves it because it blooms so much.  I've enjoyed it because it is very prolific and I could separate the fans every couple of years.

I also took a couple of pictures of my angel trumpets.  Here's a close up of this sweet smelling flower.

And so you can get an idea of how many flowers are on one plant, here's another picture.  Note that there's a yellow flower right in the middle...that flower is on the same plant as the pink ones.  They start out white, turn yellow just before opening and then turn pink.  I took this picture a few days ago and the yellow has opened, but it's still yellow!  That happens sometimes.  I don't know why, it just does. 

Do you see the line in this picture?  There's a couple of lines in the picture of the pink daylily, also.  Any idea how or why this happens?  I have no clue, but it's occurring in only some of the photos I take.  I'd like to figure out how to stop doing it, but I'd probably have a better chance if I knew what I'm doing in the first place. I'd love to know how to fix this!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lola Pink, baby!

Photo from
Sweet Dreams pattern. 
I will soon have the pleasure of teaching a few sewing classes at 
Lola Pink Fabrics on The Boulevard in Lafayette.  Although Lola Pink is offering many classes, some in the mornings and evenings, my classes will be on Saturdays.  Since I teach all day and will have to drive a little over an hour, I chose to teach on Saturdays only for now.  

I'll be teaching the Make It Perfect Sweet Dreams pajama pants and had fun picking out fabric yesterday.  Today I cut and stitched my own version of the pj's using "Blue Birds" fabrics from Alegria by Cloud9 Geninne D. Zlatkis.  I picked up the pattern and fabrics from Lola Pink, but the elastic and ribbon came from my studio stash.

Didn't this fabric work really well for my project?  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it in the store.  I plan to pick up a plain tee to add a couple of fussy-cut appliques from the left over fabric to make a matching top.  Since I don't have a tee, that will have to wait till later in the week, but I think it will be worth the wait.  I really like these pj's and enjoyed making them.  

The entire project took only about one and a half hours, but that includes tracing out the pattern.  It comes in sections with printed patterns on both sides of the paper, so you can't cut into the paper.  

Instead, you have to trace the pattern onto freezer paper or, as I did, onto large sheets of newsprint.  I purchased an end roll from the local news paper office several years ago.  For $6 I got enough paper for many patterns.  I expect I have enough for at least 4-5 more years.  Definitely a worthwhile investment!  

Now when I'm ready to make another pair, the pattern is ready to go.  I'm thinking grand-daughters here!  You know how teens today love a funky pair of pj's!  What do you think?  Would you consider this project?  Leave a comment.....we haven't heard from you in a while!

Jr. Beta Convention

Photos from a very good friend who actually remembers to use her camera.
Imagine 10,000+ middle school 13-15 year olds........

All trying to scream, stomp, and shout louder than everyone else (but only during campaigning)..........

Competing in all manner of fun, academic, crafty, and creative competitions.......

And you've got the
Louisiana Junior Beta Convention  (

A very special thank you to Leta Fletcher for her photos.  Check her out on Facebook!