Monday, February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras: the real story (Pt 3 Going Home)

Packing up. Getting out of the city, any city, every city, is difficult. That is until you attempt to get out of a Mardi Gras city. Mardi Gras cities are a whole other conundrum. One best left to the minds of those who know the streets. You just want to get out. It won't happen until you cry in distress. Crying when you sit in the car is cheating and will only make your head pound harder. You can easily get in, find a parking space, go along on your merry way. 

"... I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans." - Mark Twain:

Try to get out when you've had enough. Not going to happen. Streets along the parade route are monitored by former KGB personnel. Know that every parade uses the same route. Along those streets are miles and miles and miles of barricade. No vehicle crosses the barricade once the go-time is signaled to the KGB officers. No vehicles will cross the barricade until the end times signal reaches the KGB officer. Sit in the car with the AC running so the kids will not whine and you are certain to run out of gas or overheat the car.

Going home. The moment that the KGB guy signals you to leave, every person in the car will pass out except the tiniest of criers. You will listen to her heart-piercing cry until you drop the child off. Miraculously, you will arrive at home. All that's left is to cart the children and trinkets inside.

Part 3 of 3   Go back to Part 1 here.  Go back to Part 2 here.

Mardi Gras: the real story (Pt 2 The Parade)

Part 2 of 3   Read Part 1 here.

The parade is getting near! When you can hear the police sirens, the teens will miraculously appear. They just do. Expect a few extra teens to show up and expect to feed them. About this time the younger kids get antsy. They will begin to jump around, insist on fixing their perches--the wagon, the ice chest, the barricade, your chair, your shoulders--whatever will raise them 8" off the ground. They will then whine because they can't see anything. 

Mardi Gras Bead Tree!                                                                                                                                                      More:

Parades move slowly (there is nothing to see until after the police escort). That means every kid will jump on and off his/her perch several times. You'll have to help them up and help them down, occasionally separate them from each other, and watch kids in all 360 degrees around you at the same time. Other adults cannot be expected to watch their children. They may have "walked a bit" which is code for beer drinking. 

Image result for mardi gras children

The parade arrives! You'll now spend the next hour standing behind children so they don't fall off the unsteady perches and get crushed. If you're good, you'll have a kid sitting on your shoulders during all this. The real job, however, is to catch beads, candy, small toys, etc. to give to those many kids. Be fair--give more to the smallest ones whose bigger siblings snatch stuff out of their hands. It helps to raise your hands up high and shout, "Throw me something, mista!," at the top of your lungs. 

Image result for mardi gras children

Between parades. About the time that the first parade ends, everyone will need to go to the restroom. You should escort them to the nearest bank of porta-potties, approximately 1½ miles away. There will be two kinds of lines: one line of potties, many lines of people. When you arrive, put the bigger kids in lines near you so that you can steal the advantage when one of them finally gets in. 

Pink porta potty, now that is something that even people with phobias would use!: Regardless of what others say, when one person gets a pot, pull the troops back and stick everyone in the same potty. It's the only way to pee and keep tabs on kids. No one is allowed to touch anything, so the big kids should hold the little kids. As soon as one person is finished, "wipe and roll" as in roll out as quickly as possible, keeping a butt on the pot at all times which prevents the smell from wafting up into the room. 

You will do all this again, perhaps three or four times. Pace yourself. Try to keep tabs on your people.

Mardi Gras: the real story (Pt 1 On the Road)

Part 1 of 3  

Bourbon Street In New Orleans for Mardi Gras:
NOLA Mardi Gras
Even though Richard and I rarely go to Mardi Gras any more, I have been many, many times. In fact, there were years of tears when I could not go because a child was sick or I had to work. Then there were the years of going for momma, who loved a party! Her Alzheimers had gotten to that middlin stage of knowing she had the disease but was still fighting it. One way she fought was to do everything she loved.

All that said, I thought I'd share my version of the experience with you. It's a long convoluted "story" of one day. Not one particular day, mind you, just any ordinary, Fat Tuesday parade day. We generally go to Lafayette as we know the city well, and it feels safer than the crowds of New Orleans (NOLA).

Gear up--clothing. You'll get up and prepare your gear for the day. That, of course, depends greatly on the weather. On cold days with a slight wind, you will not have enough clothes and warm socks. Plus, you'll feel compelled to share half of your clothing with a half-dressed child.  On hot days when there's a slight wind, you will swelter in February and get a serious sun/wind burn. It's Louisiana.

Supplies. You'll also need to drag a lawn chair, umbrella (for sun or rain), bottled water, all the kids in your family and a minimum of two extra kids whose parents are laughing it up at work. Bring any drugs that may possibly cure the following: headache; upset stomach; sprains, bruises, and cuts; nausea; migraines. Also bring hand sanitizer. It helps to put a few drops of bleach in the bottle and stir. Some cooties are tough customers.

Additionally, bring the following: snacks for all the kids; money for food because kids don't like to picnic so much; and money for trinkets because although people will throw free trinkets from the floats, you will pay for other trinkets; and totes or trash bags to put a ton of worthless trinkets in, so you can haul it home to throw away when the kids finally go back to school. 

Mardi Gras ladders set up for a parade: Options. Some people bring ladders to sit on so they can be above the crowd. This gives them the advantage of being seen and catching throws. We don't do the ladder thing. We do generally have a wagon to pull the ice chest and anything else that can be piled on: chairs, blankets, etc. After everything comes out of the wagon, the kids can stand in it to give them a step up in the crowd. Decorate it like this? No. We're happy if all the wheels make it through the day.

Miniature Model Mardigras Float:

Set up. Arrive early to get "a good spot," meaning find a place big enough for your entourage and your stuff. Set up by opening all the chairs and forming a semi-circle behind the police barricade. Someone must volunteer to watch the spot and smaller kids so others can walk around. Be that person. Those walking around generally have an hour or so before the parade begins to spend money, listen to music, enjoy the scene, and spend money. 

Mardi Gras Tablescapes and Decor with Free Printables and DIY Tutorials:

Be Safe! Have everyone find a partner even if they stay in groups so no one gets lost. Every child must be partnered with an adult. Insist everyone stay on the parade route. Share phone numbers with the extra kids. (Don't be the guy who loses someone else's kid. That's difficult to explain.)

Image result for mardi gras
NOLA addendum. None of this is possible in New Orleans. Your group should hang out together behind the police barricade. Even so, people will push your group into a small circle that consists of half the space that your feet need. This means the odd-looking drunk guy with the size 15 steel-toe boots will be next to you. Keep the children in front of you, near the barricade to protect them from the weirdos and steel-toe boots. If you're the nervous type who can't handle crowds, prepare to count your people every 23 seconds. Occasionally look at faces and make sure you're counting the right people. Seriously.

Image result for mardi gras children

Part 1 of 3     Part 2 is here  and Part 3 is here

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: M A R D I G R A S

Mardi Gras! 

family and friends


king cake




easy king cake                                                                                                                                                                                 More:

Louisiana Zydeco...  Rosie Ledet...awesome performer and musician:
Zydeco musician

Mardi Gras Parade:

Cajun Musician/International Recording Artist Jo-El Sonnier----Native of Rayne, Louisiana:
Cajun Musician/International Recording Artist
Jo-El Sonnier
Native of Rayne, La.

Mardi Gras Tree, considered exterior decor. Love to drive down Johnson street & see the beads in the trees!:
outdoor decor--beads hanging from a tree

Costumes for Mardi Gras

Second Line..Upper 9th Ward:
NOLA second line
Happy Mardi Gras...and beads...laissez les bon temps roulez!:

Mardi Gras quilts? Mais oui!

Mardi Gras Revelry:

Mardi Gras Mask Runner Quilt Top 21x44Tufted Tweets in Diamonds (Reminds me of Mardi Gras).  This is beautiful!:

Hunters Square Quilt Pattern | myQuiltGenie Blog: Scrappy Hunters Star Quilt:

Mardi Gras Parade:

Fleur de France Quilt Pattern The Carnival (Mardi Gras) Alter Ego Quilt:

I find this quilt fascinating.  It's one of the few that has taken the concept of how it's going to look when in use into consideration during the design process.:

Mardi Gras quilt I saw at a quilt show.: Paris Friday of Pelham, alabam Mardi Gras Quilt:

Want to continue the Mardi Gras festivities into Lent? Make a purple, green and gold quilt to donate to a charity. It's not the same as a party or parade, but it's fun never-the-less. 

If you're still curious about the Mardi Gras fun, come back later Monday. I'll have a three-part post with an unexpected twist about going to the parades

Friday, February 24, 2017

Roseate ~~ Finish!

On Tuesday I finished up a pretty little pink baby quilt, which I'm calling "Roseate." It's a modern mash-up of all that I've been reading and enjoying for the last couple of months. 

Most of that has been modern quilting books and several blogs that also toy in modern quilting. Of course, I also read a few blogs that are serious about modern quilting. Together, all this reading and playing has sucked me into a spiral of scrap quilting. It's unbelievable how many pounds of scrap fabric I have. And I honestly don't think I'll ever get it down to, say, half the amount that I have now.  

 But I plan to keep trying. And I'm happy with a little hope that it will be better each time I dip into a bin and pull out a handful of scraps. That's basically what I did for this little quilt. I pulled larger pieces of scraps and began sewing matching pieces together. Then I matched those to either another sewn piece or to a larger single piece. Just keep at it for hours with an occasional move from the machine to the iron, to the cutting table to straighten the edges. (More on that later.)

Eventually I had big, wide slabs of fabric that could be oriented in any way I wanted. I began cutting them into 6" strips that finish at 5½ using my biggest, longest ruler. Then I sewed those together to make long strips 6 X 30. The 30" being an approximation. I considered each strip a Chinese coin stack and determined that four would make a quilt. I added enough solid Kona Light Pink to the tops and bottoms of the stacks so they would measure about 42 inches.  And then added 4" (3½" finished) strips of the Light Pink between the stacks so that all together the quilt is 38" X 42". 

Quilting it was the most fun. I started out by quilting in the ditch around the perimeter of the stacks and then adding three more straight lines about ½" apart on the inside. I played on the light pink background: circles, leaves, shells, scrolls and a new motif that I created on the fly. Basically, I just had fun, but I like the outcome.

I finished it all up with a pretty Kona Fuscia binding and remembered to add a label. (Go me!) 

Please share you thoughts. I am open to opinions and suggestions. I want to improve my work, and your expert opinions are like getting gold for free! Thanks for that.

Quilt Stats
Roseate (Scrap Quilt)
38" X 42"
Scrap fabrics; Kona Light Pink from stash
Kona Fushia from stash
Chinese coins (scrap coins variation) 
Custom Free Motion Quilting
February 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pin It Weekly #193

Here's the catchphrase: What are you pinning this week?

Natures Doorways ~ Purple Allium:

Noelle Wingate has a lovely Pinterest page full of ideas and fun. One of her boards is called "Dollar Store Crafts" and I love, love, love it!

If you want to redecorate your home with new bits and pieces but you're on a budget, the dollar store can be your best friend. Most dollar store decorative items are going to be tacky on their own, but with a little bit of imagination, you can take something basic and turn it into something beautiful! Check out these ideas!

Another follower, Lucinete Silva, has only four boards, but you need to check out her collectible China board. If I ever go missing, that's where I'll be!

Razão de viver....: Cherrie:

Cantinho da Cristybel:

I want to hold this cup in my hand. I want to feel the texture and the weight of it, and run my fingertip along that top ridge. I want to see the colors and figure out the little flower dots. Yes! I want this cup!


Belgin Goztepe Kouuncu has thirty boards. I can't read the titles, but I can tell you that they have hundreds of pins and those pins are interesting. From the pictures I'd say "tavuskusu" means peacock.

Proud Peacock.:
Peacock by Leanne Phillips, via Flickr:
Add caption


Naples Purple Chandelier by Elements:

Click here to visit my Pinterest page! Here's hoping you're having a great week! Richard and I just celebrated our 57th birthdays, so we're feeling a little older. lol But we're also gearing up for Mardi Gras, which cancels out age. See how that works in Louisiana? We stay young by celebrating life! How do you stay young?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Scraps, more scraps, and even more scraps!

When I got really serious about using my scraps, one of the first things I did was to make bins to put them in. I sort by color, but I've found that many quilters use size and shape as their primary sorting system. No matter how you store them, you do eventually have to use them. I decided to share a few of my ideas for using the scraps that muliply like rabbits. 

Of course, I've made scrap quilts using a variety of colors, and I've made a few using only one or two colors.  I've found that a limited palette is a great way to use up the scraps that have gotten out of hand. 

In fact, I've made quite a few quilts using just scraps or mostly scraps with a solid background. The blue quilt above and the red one below are made from HSTs set in different patterns. Though the quilts look the same size, the blue is a baby quilt and the red chevron is a queen.

This brown/beige/gold quilt was a good way to use up all the scraps I had in those colors. The trick is to limit the palette to colors in the same family and include a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. My only other trick is my design wall and camera. Though I take bad pictures, looking at the arrangement on the design wall through the camera lens really helps me to see what stands out or recedes. 

Quilts that are going to have a solid background work best if they are wildly asymetrical or give the sense of symmetry. In the khaki coins quilt above, the coins are not symetrical, but they are evenly spaced and have clean edges, which gives a sense of balance and proportion. 

Obviously, I wasn't even trying for any kind of balance or sense of symmetry in these last two quilts. In the one above I was playing with techniques that I wanted to practice or try out. In the one below, I was simply trying to use up some blue scraps. Heavens, those blues just keep mulitplying!

Another way of using up scraps includes making a rag rug for the camper out of fabrics that I don't want to put into quilts. It's not the prettiest of rugs, but it will do the trick and used up a huge amount of fabric scraps cut into one inch strips. 

Additionally, I use my Accuquilt cutter to make kits that sew up extra fast. Those I take with me when we go on vacation so that I have some sewing to do. While I've read blogs suggesting that fabrics be cut into uniform-sized pieces, I do this only when I am cutting the pieces for a particular quilt. Since I tend to sew scraps in an improvisational manner, I like to have all shapes and sizes available. However, whatever works for your needs is what I recommend you do.

I love making small pincushions using my scraps, too. I have a plan for some of them when I go on a retreat in March, so I'll be hitting the scraps again soon to make a few more. In the meantime, I'm working on a scrap project that may prove just how insane I am. Unfortunately, I'll have to keep it on the DL for a little while longer. 

Lastly, I use scraps for many small projects. I've used them for baby items, such as bibs, diaper covers, and changing pads. As a matter of fact, I have a few of those on my To Do List...just need to get to them before the end of April. When this newest baby gets a little older, I'll make a doll quilt or two.

How do you use scraps? Do you have any favorite scrap projects? I'm almost out of ideas for using them, so any suggestion that adds to this list will be greatly appreciated. They are still multiplying!