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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Teh Mediaebal City of Perouges (Ain) France

 Happiest of Easter's to those of you who celebrate Easter.

We visited a Medieval Walled town yesterday.  People live in this village and it was amazingly beautiful.
The IHAN Clan
The Jackson's with our hosts, The Paret and Lepetit Family.

I hope you enjoy some of these photos.  Our host brought along his wonderful camera.  Unfortunately, I was so busy packing for 3 other people that I did not pack our traveling camera.

I understand there may be a Silk Museum and I am hoping to visit there....or at least a fabric shop.  

Last evening I wanted the earth to open and for me to fall deep inside.  The boys were actually arguing over a baguette!  Two children who have never gone a day with out enough food were fighting over bread.  I think because the bread here is soooooo gooooood.

Sourires (French for Smiles)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sharing A Friends Work

My birthday was a ball....all weekend long.  Since then all I have really done is get ready for our trip to France.  I did visit a quilting friend yesterday and she said it was OK to post pictures of some of her projects. 

This was the lovely quilt that adorns Sharon's front door.  Talk about being greeted with a smile....I was definitely smiling.
A close up so you can get a better appreciation of the ruching.

This is Sharon's latest about a mind blower.  I'm not quite sure if I believe her when she told me that is wasn't that difficult....not to say she was lying....but not hard for her and not hard for me may be two different conversations.

This is another of Sharon's pieces.  I love, love, love these dandelions!

On the way home I saw this:
On your mark, get set, go....hunt Easter Eggs I'm assuming.

If I'm able to post from France....I'll certainly do that.  If not....see ya right back here in the beginning of April.

Spring Smiles,

Friday, March 18, 2016

International Quilting Weekend on The Quilt Show and Birthday Wishes

Not that I inspired Ricky and Alex to host a weekend of viewing episodes of The Quilt Show...FREE.   I'm just saying today is my birthday and also the first day of free episodes!  Coincidence?  I could take it personally and tell myself they love and adore me so much....but for this once...I'll act normal.

It is true....both events...separately....
 Click HERE or go on over to The Quilt Show dot com and check out the fun weekend they have put together.  Prizes....oh yes...they have amazing connections and have lots of great prizes including a Bernina sewing machine.  God knows I don't need a 4th Bernina so I'll pray one of you win it :)

I have had the great fortune of meeting both Alex and Ricky and they are as delightful in person as they seem to be on TV and in their head on over and take a look at the wonderful weekend they have planned for everyone in the quilting world and best of luck in winning some truly excellent gifts.

Did someone say birthday?  Yep....I turned 52 today.  The day started out perfectly....Rick let me sleep in and he drove the boys to school.  Then I got up and got a cup of coffee and had to sort through the loaf of bread to find 2 slices that hopefully didn't have mold (why does bread mold so quickly these days?) and I made some peanut butter toast and had a cup of joe.....ahhhhhh.

Oh but it gets better....much better!!!  I'm letting you in... way behind the curtain here....getting very vulnerable....a bit scary and emotionally naked  .... here goes:

I watched last nights episode of Grey's Anatomy.  To most people this is just a television program.  To me....this is an altered reality in which I live and these are my friends.  I will not ever hear otherwise....sorry if they are real people in real life....I choose to live in a conversation bubble that includes all of them during the episodes. 

Sitting on my sofa with my laptop, having a great cup of coffee and eating toast with lots of my great "in my own bubble friends" screaming and fighting kids in the back one to ask if I'm going to get dressed for the day or help them find their phone cord....the freedom to enjoy my bubble that is fun in my 52 year old book!!!

 A cheerfull gift.

Typically I have little ability to delay gratification....when I get a card in the mail...I open it.  Not this year.  I saved every card I received on the kitchen counter and during my show I began opening cards and a gift too :)  I am very touched by the number of people who remembered it was my birthday and took the time to either make or send a card.  For some reason I must forget that there are folks who love me because I'm very surprised when I get cards in the mail.  Am I alone here or do you sometimes forget that you are loved and important to people outside your immediate family?  If ya tell me I'm alone here I'm checking into the closest nut ward.

 I absolutely love every card....and wanted to share a close up of this one:

This touched my heart came from my oldest daughter.  We are a blended family...the girls came by Northwest Airlines (via Rick's first marriage) and the boys came from the stork....but we are all one big family.  I guess I have not felt very important lately and these cards really really really reminded me that indeed I do matter to others...THANK YOU!  And to all who regurarly read my blog and have sent Happy Birthday comments and e-mails....THANK YOU too!!!
 Another fun gift....feeling the love :)

It has been all the stress of the past few years that has worn me down and my thinking can get is nice to have come through all of that and get back to what is the most important things in my life.   I want all the rest of my years to be connected to this type of love and appreciation....just like it was before the do-do hit the fan a few years back.

AND....guess what the last words of Grey's Anatomy were....

"Affection, acceptance and unconditional love...that is what people want."

Another coincidence....or perhaps just serendipity!

Feeling Loved Smiles,

Thursday, March 17, 2016

An Irish Term

After doing only a little bit of research I found a fun Irish word....I copied it from HERE.
Another particularly cute term, this time used to affectionately describe non-essential activities. So if you’re pulling yourself together on a Sunday morning, after a big night out, just sort of gathering your wits and making a mess of getting your breakfast, you’re foostering. If you’re waiting for someone to get ready to go out, and they’re taking ages, you’d be within your rights to accuse them of foostering. As a word in encompasses everything between procrastination and indolence, and does so with great charm.

So today....I will fooster and I hope you do as well!  I'm taking Waldo out for her birthday lunch (hers was yesterday and mine is tomorrow).  I hope we don't get arrested for indecent behavior after drinking lots of green beer today....yikes!

 After much foostering, I put together the quilt I have been working on.  If you see anything you don't like...keep it to pointing out the fact that on the far right I put two red pieces didn't see that and neither do I :)

Now to decide on the only one nut case can are some ideas I had:
The purple block border looks much darker than it really is in this photo...oh well.  I do like the little bit of green separating it from the rest of the quilt.  About a 1/4 inch on either side of the purple looks good to me (for promises on tomorrow).

What do you think of these two options?  The outer border will more than likely be one of the  larger floral prints.  Any ideas?  Seems like I always have my own opinions to share until it comes to my own work...why is that?

Top Of The Day To Ya!!!

Green Smiles (not teeth....just smiles),

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Some background info....

The Kaffe quilt I'm making....I must say I have re-arranged those blocks to make an entire quilt no less than 8 to 10 times...really!  The blocks are now finished shuffling around and the top is almost put together!   If the elves didn't have an appointment today, it would have been together.

Now for the background info.

Waldo and I agreed to start our quilts in January and this is her quilt in progress:
The minute I saw hers I was itching to get to mine and naturally I wanted to make one just like Rosemary's.  She discouraged me from making one like hers because my design wall is not very large and she didn't want me to be frustrated.  Welllllll....hells bells....I could have had 12 quilts done with all the time I've spent tweaking the blocks in my quilt. I really love how her quilt starts with light in the center and expands out gradually getting darker.

Some of the other options I tried after struggling with my blocks:

This would have a pieced block in every other space just like the center one.  I like this pattern as well because it looks great with any fabrics as long as the centers are light.

This was another option I could do and not have to re-cut any of my blocks.  It is a Lady Eleanor Burns pattern.

Believe it or not, I went back to my original pattern, Big Ten by Swirley Girls...LOL.   Why?  Mainly because I had the purple borders on 8 blocks and I have already re-sewn them once....I have a tearing out limit...and I've reached it.

Today while I was sewing a few things came to mind that I want to share.  The first is something I learned in my first quilting class...baggy bottoms down.  Have you ever heard of that? I was told that after piecing fabrics that sometimes they may stretch a bit and are no longer the same size.  You pin the fabrics together and then place the larger one down on the bed of your machine.  When sewing them together the feed dogs will pull the fabric through and take up a bit of the overage. It works!  

The other thing I was thinking about is how much I appreciate great pins.
I have three magnetic pin catches and each has a different pin based on what I'm using them for.  I use the long glass head pins for shown above.  They glide into the fabric and don't distort or move the fabric.  I can keep the pins in when I press because they are glass head and won't melt.
I use the flower head pins to mark the tops of blocks so I know their position after I piece them.  They also work nice for piecing I just don't iron because the tips are plastic and will melt.

Then I have a catch with cheap-o pins that I use on my design wall.  They are not as sharp or nice but I don't have to worry about that because I'm only pinning to my design wall.

If you don't have pins that you love, I encourage you to try some of the one's I've suggested above.  I promise you that you'll like them or I'll pay the return shipping.  Also, if my website overcharges for postage (which it can on light items) I will refund the overage.  That also happens with worries....I'm not into postage gouging.

If you have pins you love or a pattern that is your go to pattern....I'd love to hear about them. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Quick Flamingo Update

The are alive and well....outside in warmer weather playing soccer. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Perhaps I was wrong...

There is always the chance I did know what I was doing...LOL.  Remember when I recently said I tend towards the mess makers mind and my mess is typically un-contained?  I looked high and low and could not find my hexagon punch...
I found it...nicely tucked inside this lovely bag, made by my girlfriend Diane,  I had been using as a mini hexagon factory.

Now all I need is an APP called, "WITH IT."  That would be short for "Where The Hell Did I Put It?"  Wouldn't that be excellent?  We could snap a photo of our "stuff" and the app would have categories so we could remind ourselves later where we put our things.  I know I'm not alone you always remember where you put things?  I have a feeling I'm not alone...giggles.

What do I do with my time when I'm not searching for the things I forgot where I put?  According to my oldest son...not much.  He came in from school and was very upset with me recently.  I had "failed" to repair his prized possession, Tiggy. the world!  This is Aaron's life mate and he is 13 years old (looks like he is 100 I know).
Tiggy has had many surgeries over the years.  I remember my mother sewing his neck together at least twice and I've done it no less than 3 or 4 times myself.  A needle and thread wasn't going to fix him this time so I had to come up with a new plan.

I was downstairs  strategizing when Aaron approached and was standing guard over Tiggy....monitoring my every move.  "Mom do you have a nurses coat" Aaron asked.  "No sweetie...why do you ask?"  "I was just thinking you should be wearing a nurses coat and perhaps we should have a wheelchair too.  Tiggy would really like that."  He loves his Tiggy so much.

Perhaps next time we should rush Tiggy to the hospital and let the surgeons do the repairs...where they have real equipment.  Kids...I tell ya...
Wonder how long this patch job will last?  You know I'll be using this for his wedding photos....oh yes....this Momma will have the last laugh.  I'm so bad!

Evil Smiles,

Monday, March 7, 2016


Progress not perfection right? 
I spent 4 1/2 hours today just rearranging fabrics on my portable design wall.  There are parts I don't like and will change out....but I have to run and get the boys from school so that's all I could do for today.
(Aaron's lips are blue...not from lack of oxygen but rather a blue sucker he had eaten.)

On another front....I found a website and it has I am soooo impressed.  If you have kids (husbands  you may really find it helpful too.  I added adventures (chores) to the list and the boys get gold pieces and can fight monsters etc.  Yesterday afternoon Aaron got up from watching TV and went into the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher without being asked.  Why didn't someone tell me about this years ago???

Grins and Smiles,

Friday, March 4, 2016

Finally Found It

Finally....after trying every combination of fabrics I owned to border my Kaffe Fassett fabrics....the LQS, The Quilt Foundry, had just what I needed.  I want your honest opinion, please :)
The batik has both plum and red in it and I think it was just the thing to enhance the blocks without feeling like my eyes were slamming into a brick wall. 
This picture may show the tones the best.  Wish one of you would come here and set up a professional photo booth and pay for it too...then all my pix would be soooo purty....a girl can wish can't she?  LOL

Waldo helped me choose the fabric and afterwards we headed out for lunch.   It was snowing lightly and Waldo said, "my those snowflakes are beautiful...just look at them."  I saw the collectively as they drifted from the sky but then I looked down at the arm of my coat and was shocked by what I saw.

Yep...perfect little flower snowflake on my sleeve.  I could not believe it.
Here it is again....I took several photos trying to capture their beauty.  A moment to take my breath away....and sharing it with my friend made it extra special.

Sometimes that is life....
and sometimes....this is how we play the game of life!  Mr. Got Bucks won and had over 2 million dollars.

Other times....we have warriors running wild with Nerf Guns....
complete with a snow sled as a shield and a gangster hat....he was only wearing shorts and had his re-loader tucked into his pants....what a wild life I lead.

Giggles and Smiles,

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Artistry or Creativity?

(Technical problem may be the wireless router....not sure yet)

I've heard it said that everyone is an artist. Interestingly enough I don't feel like I have an artistic bone in my body....however....I am very creative.

When it comes to messes, I have noticed that my creativity is very messy and I tend to think that an artist would have a purposeful mess.  Maybe I’m just splitting hairs here….maybe not….I’ll let you decide.

Take for instance Mary Jane, my late girlfriend. She did have some piles, 99% of them were project based and in her sewing room.   The projects typically had a container that could be put someplace so it could be easily found.  I always loved that about her.  She had an engineer’s mind and lots of artistic abilities.  The yardage of fabric in her stash frequently contained hand written on the salvage: the name of the fabric line, yardage she had purchased, store it was purchased from along with the price and sometimes the date as well.

My brand of creativity is free floating and typically uncontained  I have a mess makers mind and it can be a struggle to find the right container to hold my projects or even find my supplies sometimes.  Recently I wanted to punch more you think I could find my hexagon punch?  Nope!!!  I looked high and low and still no punch.  The good news is that Mary Jane and I each had a punch and I knew right where her punch a labeled container!

The engineer in her had put all the fabric she was using along with scissors, needles, thread and the punch to work on her project.  Contained artistry....something I have yet to master.  However....I am making progress :)

This is what you can currently find sitting in front of my sofa.  A re-purposed container from Costco filled with lots of tiny zip lock bags holding my various hexagons.    To be really fancy, I have Aaron's discarded pencil box from elementary school to hold my punched hexagons and fabrics cut to size to be assembled travel kit if you will.  None of this stacks neatly anywhere...but do I spend my time in the isles of a department store looking for the right size container or do I make do with what I have?  My creative mind says... make do and save your money for more important things.  See how I think?  More like a mess maker than an engineer...the struggles we face...ROFL.

I really like the well engineered discarded pencil case because it is so easy to take along with me where ever I go.  Last week it traveled to the snow hill....this week to a few doctors well contained little mess.

A small digression.....At last month's guild meeting , my girlfriend Barb  brought her English paper pieced project and it is absolutely beautiful.

English paper piecing seems to be all the rage and there are many people doing amazing works of art.  After seeing Barb's piece I began thinking about all those little hexagons I have put together over the years...another mess brewing!!!

You see when I learned to do English paper piecing it was with small little hexagons...

yep.....the size of a nickle.  Mary Jane taught me and that was the size she was using at the time.  Naturally I had no idea that hexagons could be different sizes or that I could put 1/2 hexies with diamonds and triangles in with the hexagons...not a clue.   Mary Jane thought I needed a car project to keep my hands busy during those long trips between Ohio and Pennsylvania  so I set about making hundreds if not thousands of little hexagons.  With no planned project I just kept stitching those tiny little fells and over the years I now have a tote bag full.  

I began organically piecing all my hexagons together....letting the "story" unfold.
Some are put together by theme or fabric....I do love the little girl at the bottom of this one....with her legs kicking up to the side...cracks me up.

Another cute piece I like...where will they fit in?  The mystery will continue to unfold as I go along.

A larger piece here....just adding as I go.

This is the current size of my "mess" with several other larger pieces I have yet to stitch on.  I hope when you click on this photo it will enlarge because I gave a monkey a bikini top.

Artists...I tell myself...know the direction they are headed, they have an idea in their mind and they set out to bring that picture or project into being.  My creative mess makers mind sees all these nickle size hexagons and thinks....just start and let each speak to you and add them as you go.

If you have started any of these English paper piecing projects....I'd love to see and hear about them.  Are you an artist or a creative mess maker?  

Giggles and Smiles,


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