And, that holiday is over, bring on the next one.

What a week.  I am just recovering from all the activity. 

First, Sydney and I went to Louisiana for my Dad’s birthday.  Other than 17 hours in the car with a teenager, the trip went great.  Actually, the hours in the car weren’t bad.  She mostly slept or played her game.  I gave her plenty of latitude and she did me proud, which earned her more latitude and freedom.  She liked that and was proud of it. 

When we got back, I spent a whole day baking a cake.  This is the Decemober cake from Southern Living


Five layers high, three layers of Red Velvet cake and two layers of cheesecake.  There is 2# of powdered sugar, 3.5# of cream cheese, two red velvet cake mixes, 2# white chocolate, a pound of butter and 8 eggs.  It is a heart attack on a dessert plate.  But, it’s soooooo good.

The holiday, we spent unwrapping gifts and making the Christmas feast.  I baked a ham that was too big and we’ve been eating ham ever since. 


And, we had a ton of sides.  We did have a big salad and more green vegetables than we had at T-giving.  I hope I learned that lesson.


Sydney’s napkin art.


On Thursday, we went to the day after sales and picked up a few things that we needed and a few things that were on sale.  Friday, Rob and I both worked.  Saturday, I took my bathrobe apart and today, I put it back together.  And, I finished those three quilts I wanted to get done by the end of the year.  More about those later.

It’s been busy and wonderful and full of family, and that’s just like it’s supposed to be.  No arguing, no fussing.  Joy, Love and Peace. 

Be well and have a great week.  Lane and Rob and Sydney.

Oh, and please take a couple slices of ham and a piece of cake with you.  Thanks.


Go for it!

I made the decision on the binding.  I went with my first instinct and I am glad.  I think it looks very nice and you can barely tell that the border fabric is black and the binding is blue.



I don’t think it matters because the quilt is so much fun and has so much color.


Binding this  will be my hotel project over the weekend.  Sydney and I are leaving in the morning to go to my parent’s house for a couple days.  Our plan is to start early enough that we can stop at a couple of antique shops on the way there and back.  I’m an early riser and she’s a teenager,so there will be hours for me to listen to a book and work on this binding.  In fact, I’ll likely take a little something else portable…hexies maybe? in case she sleeps longer than I have project for. 

I upgraded our hotel this week.  I booked the first hotel on cost.  I’ve stayed there.  It’s a fine hotel and I didn’t have any trouble.  But, this time, I’m traveling with my teenage daughter and I’d like to stay someplace just a wee bit nicer, with a wee bit higher nightly rate because I’ve stayed in enough hotels to know what that wee bit actually buys.  And, we deserve it. 

Everybody have a great Friday.  Yesterday’s team lunch went off great.  We had a later lunch and didn’t do anything after.  We were the last ones in the restaurant.  The staff took turns eating their lunches and waiting on us.  I meant to shoot some video and didn’t think of it. 

Be well.  Lane


Not sure about this idea

This morning, I’m wondering how close is close.

Is dark navy blue close enough to black that I can use the 10 yards of binding I just made?

This is the backing.


I wanted to take the rest of the fabric and cut it on the bias and use it for a binding.


It’s kind of jarring for me.  I didn’t realize that the backing was navy until it was pin basted and decided I didn’t care.  It was close enough for a back.  But, I’m thinking I need a more solid black to join the black print on the front and the navy stripe backing. 

Or maybe not.  I decided, after sewing on just a foot of the binding, to wait and think about it for the day.  I’m in no rush.  If I have to make more binding, then I will.  It’s not like it’s a big deal.  And, I’ll have all this binding for another project.

Today is my work end of year celebration.  Not dreading it this year.  When they asked what I wanted to do, I said lunch and then go do something after, where we can sit and visit.  This surprised the event organizer and I could tell she was pleased.  Last year, we had lunch and then a very relaxing beer in a pub after.  That would be good.  After we end, I’m off work for the rest of the day.  Yay!  gotta love that.

Rob is getting better.  He was well enough to go to the office and take care of some things that really couldn’t wait.  But, he’s coming home in a couple hours.  Poor thing.  This is the fourth day. 

Thankfully, his dog is feeling better, too.

Have a great Thursday.  Lane


Have you seen this?

Honestly, I won’t send you to links very often unless it’s something we made.  But, I saw Apple’s Misunderstood commercial last night, and as I wept, and my child watched me in astonishment, I knew this was my blog post for the day. 


I have to remember.  Just because it looks bad doesn’t always mean it is bad.  Sometimes, it’s just my kid expressing herself. 



Another one down

I finished the quilting on this quilt this morning.


This is for our next door neighbor’s parents.  They are coming down from Canada for the holidays.  He is a chain saw wood carver and does great work.  We have a cardinal he brought for us one year.  Rob asked if I could make a quilt for them.  I think that was three weekends ago.  And, here it is, ready to bind.  The backing is a black and white stripe and I plan to cut the rest of it on the bias and use it for binding. 

The quilting is kind of fun, but also plain enough to be manageable and quick.  There are four maple leaves quilted into each block, each pointing to a corner.    I quilted up and down the sashing, but not through the middle.  I really like that black and white sashing.  I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted to use as sashing because the quilt has so many colors.  B/W was perfect.  I was tired of piecing these blocks in rapid succession and sashing was the way to go for extra size.  I probably spent as much time on it as I would have making another row and column of blocks, but I think it really sets off the quilt.  The border is a b/w flower print I have had for ever and decided I was never going to use it if I didn’t just go ahead and use it in something. 

100_6322 100_6323

I quilted a vine with maple leaves in the border.  Quick, efficient, and in theme.

That’s two down and the third one is over half finished.  So, I might actually knock out three before the end of the year.

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  Rob is sick as a dog.  Rob’s dog is sick, too.  And, crap if I don’t have a cough and the ache-ys.  THERE IS NOT TIME FOR THAT!

Be well. Lane


Too much to do

This was the last weekend before Christmas for us.  We won’t be together next weekend.  We tried to cram in all the stuff we could, including cleaning house and chores and finishing up some Christmas shopping. 

The performing arts classes at Syd’s school had their presentation on Friday.  It was fun.  We enjoyed most of it.  The drama classes acted out carols and the steel band was fantastic as were the guitar classes.  Syd’s choir is kind of weak, but they were there and they were singing.  Somehow, it got to be uncool for guys to sing.  We also enjoyed the dance classes. 

Then Saturday, we did shopping and the choir did caroling at  Sam’s.  That was nice too and gave us a chance to leave her there and go back for some things she’d fondled earlier.

At home, it’s house work and cooking, including a huge pot of chili to freeze for Rob to eat next weekend.  And, between all that, I quilted. 

I’m 95% done with the quilting in this quilt and my machine has started to make a squeak.  I took off the end plate and can’t find it.  Next, I’ll try the bobbin area.  This is the machine I want to take to thread painting, so it is NOT a good time for a sound.


Everybody have a great Monday.  Sydney has a presentation board on Dante’s Inferno and wants a ride to school, so I need to leave extra early. 


First quilt finished

This is the quilt I finished for my Dad.  It’s a huge log cabin block.  The strips are 4” wide and it’s got added sashing for extra size, which gives it a real wonky look up close. 


I did a lot of quilting in it.  There’s a tree that runs through all the sashing, but I can’t get it to photograph.  And, there is a large pointy meander in the blocks.  The sashing has a rope that goes all the way around.  Most of what you’re seeing is chalk marker. I had a plastic template and I used my pounce and it was sooooo fast.  It’s good when it all comes together.  .


Everybody enjoy your Friday the 13th.  Tonight, Syd has a choir concert. Not just choir; all the groups.  And, she said we could come late and leave early, but we really don’t do that.  Never liked when parents left as soon as their kid’s team was through instead of rooting for the next one. 

Anyway, it’s going to be a long day.  Everybody enjoy it.  Lane


Santa Claus came to town

When Rob and I got together, I had a couple of ceramic Santa Clauses.  We both really liked them.  So, the next year, we had more.  And, the next year, we had more.  And, more and more until I don’t know how many there are anymore.  More than will fit on our mantle.  And, we have a big mantle.


There are little ones


and big ones



All all sizes in between.  This year’s additions were from our friend LD and this one that Rob bought off ebay, Santa and two reindeer from when we were kids.


You can see the couple in front of the picture above are mid-size.  I guess we knew we had to scale back when they started to overflow onto the hearth. 


We suffered some damage one year when a cat jumped up there and knocked a couple off.  But, a bit of glue and some acrylic paint and we’re back in business. 

I have had to scale back my holiday quilting plans, too.  I was going for three quilts by the holiday.  Not!  Now, I’m hoping for two and only because one of them is finished and bound. 

I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.  And, then I can finish the third one over the holiday break, maybe???  Hey, I have to walk away with some dignity.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  Lane


Oh, Christmas Trees

You guys know that we do Christmas big around here, right?  Is one tree enough?  No.  Two?  No.  The secret to multiple trees is a teenager that wants to decorate them.  She strings the lights, hangs the ornaments, adds the topper, she does it all but buy the presents.

This is the tree in the living room from two angles.



The ornaments are numerous.  My Mom started an ornament collection for each of us kids when we were young.  So, I have that plus the ornaments I collected over the years and the ones that Rob and I added after that, and we have a tree that is very full.  You name it, it’s there.  And, this year, a friend added a kitchen sink, so now we have everything and the kitchen sink.  Thanks, LD!

This is the tree in Sydney’s bathroom.  We started this tradition her first Christmas with us, with a pink tree.  The lights finally died on that one, and this year she picked a new, silver tree.


She also has a tree in her bedroom. 


That’s her own collection of ornaments.  She specializes in birds.  And, she made her own ribbon topper.


It looks a bit like a Phyllis Diller hat to me, but she loves it.  And, that’s the spirit of Christmas.  It’s the one time of year that it’s encouraged to be gaudy.

Last but not least, the miniature house needed some decorations, too.


Yes, I did buy a string of battery powered lights and made ornaments of beads and the tree topper is a bracelet charm of the Eiffel Tower.  The wreath and the garland on the banister are made from individual limbs from old garland that we don’t use anymore.  I used scissors to cut the green back, near the wire, and that gave it the right perspective.  Best thing about this tree?  I can leave it decorated and just put it in a box for next year.  I do not relish the idea of decorating a miniature tree again.  It is not as easy as a big tree.

Be well.  Have a great Wednesday.  Lane


Welcome to the village

Rob loves dioramas.  I think that’s why he’s so supportive of the miniature house.  Once a year, he also has his miniature fix. 

In the past, he had the Victorian village from JoAnn’s.  He doesn’t put so much of that out anymore.  But, it’s still here.  My Mom started all this with her village.  She also has an extensive village and gave us our first official pieces.  But, before that, we bought this little “village in a box”.  It’s smaller than the other pieces and everything is scale.  Because it was our first, we still put it out every year, and it fits the top of the China cabinet very nicely.


We have pieces from the Victorian village and every year, Rob brings in this book case that he built to hold it.  This is the farm and the quilt shoppe and just the pieces that are the most important to us.




His main village is Retroville, which he collected from JoAnn’s the one year it was offered.  We were really glad that we picked up so much of it that year because it didn’t come back.  We’re missing one piece, I think.  We both really like this because it has memories of our childhoods.  We’re from small towns where businesses and houses like this still stood when we were kids.







Saturday night, we went to a graduation party and since we were all dressed up, decided to take pictures.  It’s sad that we don’t dress up more often.




Everybody have a great Monday.  It is very cold and I had to make a temporary patch  for my coat because I really need to wear it.  We’re not used to the kind of cold for more than a day or two consecutively.



Please tell me this looks like a tree

I’m making my Dad a quilt.  His birthday is coming up and it’s a good time.  My Dad only reads my blog when my Mom tells him there’s something interesting, so I’m counting on you, Mom, to keep my secret. 

My family probably thinks, o, yay, another quilt.  So, I gotta be creative to make them special.  I can see how difficult it must be for actors on the stage to WOW! the audience time after time after time.

I’m trying to quilt a family tree into the sashing strips.  Not going to show too much today, but I keep going back and forth between “this is art” and “I’m wasting thread”, so instead of the planned Christmas Tree post, I’m going off on a real life tangent because this is what’s on my mind.


I have two sisters.  Both are married.  Each couple, including us, has a child.  That’s a lot of threes for my Dad.  Three children, three sons-in-law (except one isn’t in law yet), three offspring. 

So, each of my branches ends in three branches.


I’m not really trying for an exact picture of a tree.  There are times I want to exactly reproduce a picture, but not now.  This is a stylized tree, just to make you think tree when you see it.  So, does it?

It’s hard to keep a stylized tree from looking like one from The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  Those trees were meant to look scary.

Anyway, I just keep sitting at the machine and it keeps flowing out of my hands.  No plan.  Just do whatever comes next.  I’ve been worried that every time I sat down at the machine, it would look different and create a disjointed bunch of quilting…believe me, it happens.  But, not this time, so it must truly be my Muse’s inspiration.

While I’ve been quilting, I’ve been thinking about family.  It’s that time of year, and really, what better to think about while you’re quilting a family quilt.  I always like to think about whoever is going to get the quilt and what they might think and who they might be and what their experiences were.  This time I know all that and I can think about the memories.  I’m reliving some fun ones and some not so fun ones.  But, that’s what makes a family, right?

Okay, so that’s it for me.  Freezing weather coming.  It is as warm right now as it will be all day.  So, the dog and I are going for a walk.

Be well.  Have a great Thursday.  Lane


No picture post

There will be no pictures today; no photographic evidence that can be held against me.  You'll have to use your imagination, based on my words.  I'm doing that instead of a picture because only a few of you will actually be able to envision how bad it was.  The rest will see it based on your idea of bad housekeeping, and that vision won't be nearly as horrifying as it really was.

I'm a quilter.  I like to quilt.  I quilt a lot.

I don't like to clean up after my quilting.  I don't do that a lot.

We use my Grandmother's end tables on either end of our sofa.  One of them is next to my place, under the lamp.  My good sewing spot.  The other is at Sydney's end of the sofa.  Where Sydney stays.  And, she can claim her own messes on my Grandmother's tables.

Now, you have to understand what my memory of these tables is.  My Grandmother kept one next to "her chair".  Her chair was where she held court when she had guests.  Nobody else sat in her chair.  We sat in the draft, in the uncomfortable burlap covered chair across the room.  I have that chair at my house, too.

Okay, it wasn't really like that.  But, it's my story, so I get some poetic license.

I get the whole not liking to clean up after myself from this very same Grandmother.  She was NOT the one that taught my Mom how to keep house.  (At my Mom's house, dust didn't settle on the furniture.  It went straight to the dust rag to save itself some time.)  Subsequently, that table was always covered by a pile of miscellaneous and unrelated items.  Honestly, you never knew what would be there.  We won't even go into the partial list that I can remember; it's not important to the story.  Just let's say that these tables got used to an assemblage of junk, left over from multiple projects.  And, they might be a little bit haunted by my Grandmother, who causes things to migrate there when no one is watching. 

Anyway, I digress because the mess I spent 15 minutes cleaning up this morning was my own.  Made over about 4 months.  And, God love him, permitted by Rob to happen.  Even though I'm sure it ripped at his OCD like a chainsaw.

I threw away a wad of thread that was big as a baby's head.  I kid you not.  There was every kind and color of thread in that wad.  I ran my thumb across it and saw remnants of a dozen projects. 

There were pieces of at least three individual sewing kits.  There were pieces from my hexie sewing kit, and pieces from my hand quilting kit, and pieces from my general sewing kit.  The pile included at least 4 pair of scissors, two hemostats, one thimble...where are the other thimbles?, five seam rippers, at least a dozen spools of thread, 400 paper hexies that had escaped their can, an envelope with a letter that was delivered in September, and for some reason, a green alligator watch band that I just had to have, but is too flashy for me to wear. 

Did I say I love Rob for letting me be me?



Guild speaker and my other hobbies

Last night’s speaker at guild was Cynthia Regone.  If you get the chance to see her or take a class from her, do it.  Her presentation style is so fun that it will be worth it. 

I knew that I recognized the name, but I didn’t really study up on it.  Then, she started to pull out her quilts and I recognized the Fons and Porter syle of mixed piecing and applique and wondered who influenced who.  Wonderful quilts.  And, she brought a ton of them.  She is friends with Liz Porter and Liz, who lives near here and is a member of the guild, was in the audience.

Mostly, I was swept away by her version of the Emily’s Wedding  quilt.  I saw it and immediately thought of the small bin of 30’s repros I have.  There’s really nothing like seeing the real quilts, face to face.

There was also another one that blew me away in it’s simplicity.  I can’t find a picture on her website, but it’s the one in the background of her headshot.  It’s cheddar and green and white and red and flying geese and FABULOUS!

In other news, one of my roles over the last couple weeks has been Brewmeister Lane, as in “Brewmeister Lane is in da’ house!”  You gotta say it like I’m a rap star.

Anyway, it’s not as exciting as it sounds.  I had given up on making any more good beer.  Something happened and my last batches all tasted awfully the same.  So, this year, I did a ton of scrubbing and bleaching and scrubbing and rinsing and using a whole lot of winter water and I bought a kit and gave it one more try.  The last batch of beer smelled so bad that we kept looking for dog accidents.  But, this batch didn’t really smell much and when it did, it was like rising bread. 


54 bottles of beer on the floor; 54 bottles of beer.  If one of those six packs should happen to fall…we’re not even going to think about that because the sticky mess would be like cleaning up syrup.

And, you know how I”m always bragging that there’s something in bloom in my yard year round?  Well, in winter, it’s this Camelia Sasanquah.


These are just the first few of hundreds of buds that are set, ready to open from now until the first week of the new year.  My Grandparents had huge, red Camelias in their front yard on either side of the walk and I can remember those beautiful flowers when we would go for Christmas.  We were told to only look because the flower would get a brown spot where our fingers touched.  I still don’t know whether that’s true, because I still don’t touch the flowers.  Some lessons run deep, eh?

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  I’m off to work and to get home so I can quilt out some of this guild meeting inspiration.  I should just start taking the Tuesday after guild as a vacation day.



Let the holidays begin

Well, we’re back, happy campers. 

We had the usual abundance of yummy, bad-for-you food on Thanksgiving,


including Sydney’s napkin art…


which she takes very seriously.

And, as soon as all the dishes were washed and put away, we started prep for the next holiday.  Rob pulled down all the tubs while Syd and I did dishes, but he knows not to bring any of it in until Thanksgiving is finished.

And Friday, it started.  While Rob put up his Christmas village, I did the swag in the living room ceiling.


Normal people would leave it at that, right?  But, not us. We cover it with a collection of red ornaments.

After the first hour on the ladder.


And at the second hour.  At this point, I felt hopeless, like it would never end.  I needed a pie break.


After the third hour, I start to feel hopeful again.


But, I needed different shoes to keep standing on that ladder.  By the last section, I’m relieved, and can start dreading New Year’s when I get to take it all down again.


There are more than 300 red ornaments on that string of garland.  And, every one has to be wired to a branch to make sure it doesn’t fall off, hit the fan, and fly across the room at someone.  It’s happened before.


But, all in all, it’s worth it.  It’s my decorating contribution.  After this, it was back to the sewing room sweatshop.  How many of us are staring down the barrel of a very short deadline to finish more than three quilts?  I somehow bet I am not the only one.

Be well.  Have a great Cyber Monday.  I won’t be participating.  That just doesn’t reflect how we shop.  For example, this year, Sydney has been challenged with a very difficult cake for my Cmas gift.  I saw it on a magazine and asked for it.  I think we’re going to focus on the less material side of the holiday this year.  At least I’m trying to.