Sunday, July 29, 2012

Congratulations Laura!

Laura Kliethermes Photography via Paragon Casino Resort FB page
Do you remember this photo?  Or rather some similar to it?  I wrote about a swamp tour I took in June with some of my sisters.  Laura, who now lives in Tennessee had come for a visit with her two daughters and we planned a day tour in South Louisiana.  A photographer, Laura had her huge camera and a couple of lens and big plans.  She must have snapped hundreds of photos in the two hours that we were on the water.  I have to admit, however, that she got some great photos.  The one above happens to be one of my favorites.  

Paragon Casino Resor--Facebook page
When Laura found out that Paragon Casino, which is just 20 or so miles away in Marksville, was having a Bon Temps (French for "good times") Photo Contest about any scene in Louisiana, she entered this photo.  Photos from the Top 10 winners are on their Facebook page here.

Congratulations are definitely in order: not only did the photo make the TOP 10, but it is also the GRAND PRIZE WINNER!  

Definitely worth something, right?  Turns out that something is dinner for two and an overnight stay at the resort.  

Laura Kliethermes Photography
As you can tell, I'm really excited for her.  She's a great photographer, so I'm really appreciative that she offers to photograph my quilts, especially considering my sad attempts.  In fact when she comes for a visit, she wanders around the yard and fields snapping away.  

Laura Kliethermes Photography
She snaps photos of the most unphotogenic things--my chickens, for example--and makes them look terrific.  Stuff that I would not even consider for a picture are in the thousands and thousands of pics on her computer. 

Laura Kliethermes Photography

I guess art is seeing something different in the ordinary when the rest of us just see the ordinary.  At least I'm now convinced that is the definition, which means Laura is a true artist.

If you leave her a message in the comments, I'll make sure she sees them.  I'm sure she would love to know what you think of the post, the photos or the kudos.

Happy quilting (and photographing)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cheery Cherry Red

When my bloggy friend, Jan-Maree, of Cherry Red Quilter fame, wrote about her friend Marg sending some sewn goodies for the Irish Charity Bazaar, I decided to help out, too.  I really had no idea what to send but decided early on that I needed to keep it small so that I could swing the postage to Australia.  Small items are easy if you choose things for little children, so I decided to go with as many children's items as I could stuff into a box.

I started with really small fleece mittens.

Added some felt scarves with winter themes for dress-up fun.

And tossed in a pile of microfiber bibs.

I think there were a few other items.....maybe some book covers or coin purses, but I didn't get photos of those.  Sorry.

Since Rich wasn't home to add some tape, I put a few extra strips on for him.  He loves to joke that he's the Fleur de Lis shipping and receiving man and knows his job better than I do.  I tend to be conservative with the office supplies.  But I was generous since this little box has to make it all the way to Australia, and I don't want anything spilling out!

Sending Jan-Maree an email about the box was the best part.  Of course we haven't met in person, but we email often and read each other's blogs, so I feel like I sort of know her and send her short, silly emails about very little--you know, my usual.   The box email was like that but with a tiny bit of seriousness and gratitude for her many charitable works.  She shot back a thank you note in no time at all, which is typical Jan-Maree.  She answers every comment and note right away, yet manages the Aussie Hero Quilts among other good works, including making many of the quilts that go to service men and women.  I can't imagine the energy she has!  I just hope that one little box finds its way to her and helps in little ways.

Who do you know that is an angel in disguise?  How much energy do you think it takes to be such an angel? 
Happy quilting,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I got great news today!  The Quilt Pattern Magazine is an online quilt magazine started by Cindy McCoy as a way to "bring you high-quality, tested, patterns from designers, plus unique quilting articles from writers around the globe."  Carol, TQPM editor, sent me an email with information about an article I wrote for the magazine.  

The first installment of my stained glass workshop will appear in January, and they've extended it from three to four installments!  I was hoping for two, possibly three installments.

Carol also sent a copy of the work in progress so that I could see what it looks like.  I must say, I'm impressed!  Not having the programs that would allow me to create patterns, I scanned and sent my hand-drawn patterns.  Imagine my joy at seeing them turned into professional-looking patterns almost ready for publication.  

The article will first go to editors, then it goes to testers.  The testers will follow my directions to make a quilt that, hopefully, will look just like my original.  After their changes or corrections, the article will go through it last change.  Copywriters will finalize the format, photos and drawings.  Since this is July and the first article will appear in January, TQPM has six months to get all that done.  

If you have considered getting TQPM, now is a great time to do so, since they are offering a free pattern for anyone who signs up to receive their newsletter.  Click here to go to the sign up page. 

The "About" page of the website says this about the magazine:  
"We are dedicated to showcasing designers' patterns while preserving their styles, their methodologies, and their individual voices. This includes their regional spellings and local color. You won't see patterns shoehorned into a particular format, nor unique techniques superseded by truncated "standard practices". Instead, we faithfully reproduce the designers' techniques and methods as closely as possible. After all, with respect to their designs, they are the experts!"

I can say from my own experience that working with the editors has been great so far.  I look forward to seeing my work in the pages of the magazine.  If you subscribe to TQPM, leave a comment letting the rest of us know how you like it.  Of course, I do subscribe and really enjoy the magazine, but I'd like other opinions as well.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ruston fabrics

I've been working on a gray quilt for the last couple of weeks, so while we were in Ruston, we went to The Fabric Shop, which is right in the center of town.  While there, I picked up three pieces of gray fabric to use in my current quilt.  Of course, I also picked up a few other items.  Aren't we supposed to support the economy?  
Seriously, though, this gray fabric is really beautiful....even without a good pressing.  Sorry about that, I was ready to start cutting and remembered to snap a pic just before the scissors got to work.  In fact, you can't see it, but the pattern is pinned to the fabric!  I so wanted to cut!

How pretty it is happens to be only part of the reason I bought it.  The real reason is that while I bought three pieces of fabric, I actually got six!  6!  This fabric is a marbled gray that has four different shades. The yardage is divided into four sections, each a bit darker than the one next to it.  A bold black line separates the sections.  It is absolutely stunning.  I wish I could take a photo that would do it justice.

Today I cut into the marbled print and tomorrow I'll cut into the other two pieces--one is a marbled polka dot and the other is a solid.  I'm really excited because there are 56 blocks in the quilt and I'm over half way there.  In fact, I have 35 blocks complete and I've started on the next set of five. 

I'd love to show you what the quilt looks like, but it's for a particular project that I'm supposed to keep under wraps for a while.  That's pretty hard for any blogger, but especially for me!  So I'm going to wish you a happy Monday and say thanks for visiting.  Otherwise, I'll start talking about my gray quilt.
Happy quilting,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

There and back again

Richard in his element: back home with kids and grandkids!
Richard and I spent the week in Ruston again.  I needed to be a a workshop for our La GEAR UP program because I am the on-site coordinator.  Last year I served as both coordinator and sponsor but luckily, I'll now have help with the sponsor duties.

My week was mostly spent in meetings, learning how to support the kids who are members of our cohort group, how to correctly complete paperwork, figuring out what our needs are and how we'll meet those needs.  In other words, we worked!  

My finished buzzer....yes! it works!
But we had some fun, too.  Part of what we do is learn about the many summer camps that our kids attend and what they do while there.  I'll post photos of our trip to Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport in another post, but to give you an idea of the fun, here are a couple pics of our electronics assembly. 

We each received a kit with a variety of electrical components that, when put together correctly, make a buzzer.  We had to assemble the components, solder the wires in place, then test our buzzer.  Since we're teachers, assembly was easy, soldering was stressful, and testing was a cheer-fest.  

Of course, Rich and I had barely made it home and the phone started ringing for Friday night get-togethers.  We had Will and Stacey pick up some supper on their way over, so that was fairly easy. 

Isn't Jolie just too cute!
 Jolie discovered the Matryoshka dolls I bought after mass last Sunday when a couple of Russian nuns came for a visit.  They sold a few handmade Russian toys, souvenirs, and religious items as a way of raising money for the orphanage they minister to.  We made a couple of purchases but the dolls have been a hit among the grandkids, especially Jolie.  

Jolie played for a long time
 with the dolls and the camera!
She arranged them in all manner of ways, including stacking them on top of each other.  When she realize the camera was nearby, she really got into her play.  In fact, these are pics she took.  They are so much better than the couple I snapped!

To visit my posts from our 2011 visit to Ruston last year click here.  This post is of the beautiful old homes, but there are several ther posts as well.

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When One Isn't Enough

I make two!  Doesn't that make sense?

I wanted to play a bit on the long arm.  Having looked at lots of amazing whole cloth quilts on various blogs, websites and pinterest, I had a hankering to create.  So, I loaded some white muslin, bits of batting and a white linen that I know I won't be wearing.  I get dirty too easily to wear a sparkling white anything.  Well, I have pulled it off with white tees, but those are fairly cheap and easily replaced.  But to make something beautiful and then wear it for all of an hour till it's ruined just doesn't seem right.  So, whole cloth quilt to the rescue it became.

I started out with the idea of tracing a drawing I'd made several months ago, but that became tedious really quick.  I'd much rather to do my quilting freehand.

Of course, I can't draw as well on fabric with the long-arm as on paper with a pencil in hand.  That said, I had to improvise by using the drawing as a guide for the larger motifs.  I used a fabric pen to mark some of the motifs on the fabric.  After I quilted the flowers and feathers, I filled in the open spaces with circles that remind me of pebbles.

Quilting in the pebbles took a good bit of time, but I love the end result. The large motifs pop up almost like trapunto.  I found though that I still had lots of fabric and couldn't see a way to add more of the motifs without distorting the shape and size that I started with.  

Rather than just stop there and have fabric left, I drew a line to help me see the edge of the first quilt and free hand quilted another whole cloth piece.  

For the second quilt, I repeated some of the flower motifs, but focused mostly on free hand feathers.  I also left the open spaces alone.  The second quilt is also quite a bit smaller, and a great size for a table runner.  I've decided to save it for the next time I need a wedding gift.  The large quilt, will make a beautiful table topper for a special occasion, such as Christmas.  I imagine it on the table with a red tablecloth under it.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

From trash to treasure

Some time ago, while walking in the yard, I can across a vintage sidelight at our son's shed.  It appealed to me so much that I picked it up and carted it home.  Richard told me that Adam had plans for it, but I conned Adam into letting me have it.  I had plans for a bulletin board.  

clean and scrubbed wood
Yesterday I decided to see how it would look cleaned up.  I used a couple of brushes and some old rags to clean the wood.  Then tackled the glass with a Brillo pad and Windex.  Turns out my combination works great on glass.  I was worried that the Brillo would scratch, but I scrubbed very gently and kept the glass wet with the Windex.  After getting wiped down with paper towels, the windows were almost invisible.

 I started out by adding some letters that I made using styrofoam insulation.  It's easy to cut the styrofoam with a hot knife.  First I drew the letters with a Sharpie, then just cut them out.  The hard part was covering the letters with fabric, but I used tiny little applique pins to hold the fabric in place until I was able to get the hot glue to hold.  The fabrics are some of my favorites from Lola Pink.  The "T" blends a bit too much, so I'll have to recover it with a brighter color.  Thank goodness T is fairly easy to cover.  I guess this means a road trip to Lafayette!

What other letters would I use?
Next up, measure and cut pretty paper to fit the glass.  I just taped the paper in place using wide packing tape.  I decided to use two colors--the red will be for holding sticky notes, the light green paper will work as a dry erase board.  
That left one sidelight, but the glass in that hole was badly broken and I'd already removed it.  To make a bulletin board, I cut another piece of styrofoam to fit, covered it with batting and a polka dot fabric that matches the rest of the color scheme.  A few straight pins will do the work of pushpins. 
I propped the sidelight on the wall at the back of my studio desk.  The original paint is off white which matches the painted parts of the desk, but it's worn down so that the wood grain shows in some areas.  I had a cork strip, which I added above the "QUILT" letters to give me a bit more use on that side of the board even though large pieces of paper will cover the letters.  
What do you think?  Although I didn't really need such a board, I think it will be quite useful since it's at my desk.  I'd like to be able to do more paperwork at the desk, which means that I need to arrange things a bit better and quit using it as a catch all for every little thing that finds its way into the studio.  Maybe a pretty basket or two will help me to collect those things in one place until I can get them put away.  The good news is that I had to clear off the desk to be able to put the board there, and I did not put anything back so that I can pick and choose what will go on the desk and arrange those things so that I can reach what I need.  Please share what you do to keep your desk organized and clear.  Obviously, I could use some ideas.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fabric Addiction

That's what I'm calling my illness....a fabric addiction.  I can't seem to stop myself, although I must say I did a great job yesterday.   After all, imagine that you have the opportunity to go to a fabric shop and purchase the entire shop for one set price.  
Would you not go take a look? And, after taking a look, you see that you're getting WAY more fabric for the asking price than you'd get if you paid regular price.  The only problem is that you don't have enough for the asking price.  And the other problem is that there's lots of fabric that's, well, not usable for quilts.  What would you do then?
If you sew, you would do your very best to get as much of the "good" fabric as possible, that's exactly what you'd do.  And since I sew more than just quilts, I can use more than just quilting fabric.  I also use home dec fabrics, children's fabrics, good quality linens and silks and, well, I won't name every fabric type.  But I will say I use just about anything except the old double knit that my Ma-ma used to make her pants with.  

Remember that old heavy, hot knit that stretched in any direction and stuck to the skin not matter the season?  If your answer is "no" then you did not live during the 60's and 70's when "double de-knit" was the "in" fabric.  It was popular because it lasted forever, didn't shrink, and didn't wrinkle and came in "mod" colors.  And in the 60's and 70's every old lady who walked the earth also sewed and had a PILE of "double de-knit."  

Some of them smelled like moth balls, some like cedar and some of it just smelled like old people.  That would be the fabric but the old people smelled like their clothes.   Or their clothes smelled like them.  Either way, the smells were, pungent....that's the word, pungent.  Whew!  I can still smell my grandmothers and aunts and every old lady I ever met as a child.  I loved those old ladies, still do in fact. But I'm not fond of "double de-knit" and I'm especially not fond of the double de-knit smells, so when I had an opportunity to buy all the knit I could ever want, I passed it up.  Yes, I did.  Perhaps I do not have a fabric addiction.  Perhaps I just simply have a passion for beautiful, natural fabrics, especially cottons.  Perhaps this story explains that truth in a simple, straightforward manner.  Perhaps not.  

However, I did walk away with three boxes of not knit and managed to pay for it, too.  The next time I have an opportunity to buy the store, I may not need to bother.  I do have lots of fabrics, after all. Yards of linen.  Piles of cottons, a full box of zippers (70+ still in the packages), thread, patterns, and my personal favorite:  this beautiful blue and gold brocade with matching buttons and thread.  Just perfect for a dressy suit!  And some people think I have an illness.....HA!

Of course, I still have fabric to sort through and put away somewhere.  That would be because I spent the rest of my day canning tomatoes--six pints and four quarts.  With onions, peppers, celery and salt in the jars, they're ready for spaghetti sauce, soups, gravy, chili, okra gumbo and anything else that could use just a little flavoring.  Already I have more put up than I had last year, so we should be good if this rain finishes off the tomato plants.  But, if we manage to squeeze a few more tomatoes into jars I'll be happy.  It turns out we like these tomatoes like salsa although it's not as flavorful.

And I almost wrapped up a quilt yesterday, as well.  I have to sew on the label, but I don't have a name for the quilt.  Here's a photo.  I could use some ideas if you have any to share.  It's my version of D9P with a quirky twist, quite modern, and quilted in a square motif.  See why I'm stuck?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Photo from The Modern Quilt Guild
I'm in trouble.  I've discovered modern quilts.  Yep, I'm all there.  In fact, I'm working on my second modern quilt now.  What's bad is that I don't even know how I fell  into this mess.  Really, I woke up a few days ago and there was a modern quilt almost complete on the long arm!  Just like that.  

I also noticed that I've been following modern quilt blogs: The Modern Quilt Guild was the first, but that led to The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, which led to places like A Little Gray (don't fall for it--there's lots of gray and every other color, too).  Before I could stop I'd followed Olive and Ollie and several others.

Why am I in trouble?  Well, for one, it seems that I'm spending precious quilting time on the computer oogling over other people's quilts.  (as if I didn't do enough of that already)  And a look at my stash has informed me that I have all the wrong fabrics for modern quilts.  Sad, but true.  So guess what I did.......

Yes, I did.  I went shopping.  I bought lots of gray.  GRAY.  Shades of gray and some of every solid gray I could get my hands on.  And then (as if I could afford more) I picked out TWO shades of the brightest happiest yellow....which just happens to be the perfect shade of happy and looks stunning mixed in with the grays.  

I need an intervention.  I agree.  I'll see someone, maybe even a professional someone, as soon as I finish this stunning gray quilt.  Well, maybe it can wait till this interesting little convention is over:

Anyone know how far it is to Austin?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Biloxi and back

Thirty-four years ago, Richard and I shared vows in front of family and friends, enjoyed a reception that our parents put together for us, then went on a wedding trip to Biloxi Beach.  
Since we are celebrating this weekend, we decided to make a foolish trip to Biloxi.  I say foolish because we've done this before the three hours to the beach only to find that there are no hotel rooms available. The July 4th holiday always seems to extend into the weekend and apparently everyone wants to be on the beach for the big Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks.  

As I said, we've done this before, but Rich just doesn't get it.  He hates to commit to a hotel, for no reason in particular.  He just does.  So off we go, flying under the radar with no accommodations. I don't know why I go along with it, but I do.  Every time.  Oh, I make excuses and I try to convince him, but he's so romantic and there's something about his big spontaneous gestures.  

So off we went, and back we came!  It's rather funny because although we spent hours and hours in the car (the three hour trip became a 10 hour trek) we spent all of 10 minutes walking on the beach and were home by midnight.  However, we really enjoyed the road trip.  We were able to talk and catch up with each other, to make plans and share dreams, and laugh together at our own foolishness.  

Really, we enjoyed our "visit" in Biloxi.  The beach, these beautiful sculptures by Marlin Miller, the lighthouses and marina--all of it brings back sweet memories and helps to renew our love.  After 34 years, it's just so easy to love the guy, even when he insists on making foolish, romantic gestures.  I wouldn't want to spend our day any other way.

Friday, July 6, 2012

300 and counting!
This post is my 300th!  Wow, what a milestone.  It's amazing to think of the life changes that have occurred since I began putting my crazy thoughts in a forum that the world can read.  It is, indeed, a world-wide forum.....I've had the pleasure of meeting people from almost every continent.   

Some have become friends with whom I share surprisingly close-to-my-heart ideas.  Some stop by regularly and leave a note; others visit every now and again.  But the community that we've built serves as wonderful inspiration, sacred blessings and great karma!  I am extremely grateful to every one.
Of the many people I've met, a few ladies deserve, at the very least, a mention and a special thank you from me.  They have been wonderful inspiration and encouragement. Please visit them and say hello.  

You can find them by clicking on the link below the photos, which all come from these extra-special, bloggy friends.
Jan-Maree at Cherry Red Quilter and Aussie Hero Quilts who is unbelievably prolific when it comes to helping others and making beautiful quilts; 

Dana of Lambs and Ivy Designs who is a master at fabulous ribbonwork; 

Jenclair of Bayou Quilts and Dolls writes about her doll-making, reading, quilting, and inspiration;
Diana and LaDonna at A Sisterly Connection who are all about family and quilting.

And I want you, readers, both regular visitors and every-now-and-again folks, to know how much I appreciate your spending some time at Fleur de Lis Quilts, your inspiration, your kind responses, your appreciation of my craft.  You are the reason I'm still here!  
Happy Quilting,