Another good holiday weekend

It was a busy weekend.  I was determined to get as much done as normal, plus the holiday.  On Saturday, I worked in the neighbor's flowerbeds and some other neighbors came by for some free plants.  I think we might have overwhelmed them a little.  But, we gave them some things to think about and some plants to start with. 

And, I started the ditch work on the star quilt.  Almost all the ditchwork is done, except where those pins are, and I need a different color thread there.  I used the leftover brown from last year's silk quilt to do the brown parts of the center.  Now, I need an off-white. 

After dishes were done yesterday I got back to it.  The quilt is really coming together around the quilting.  And, it's getting some heft and density to it.  I used two layers of batting.  I knew some of my lines weren't straight.  Well, lots of those lines in the middle where the pieces are tiny.  And, I knew that with two layers of batting, the batting would help me make those lines quilt in straight.  If I quilted the line straight, the hump of the batting took the extra fabric for me until I could quilt the next section down.  So, now the blank spaces are holding the extra fabric and I'll quilt that down with little background filler quilting. 

I hope it works. 

We had a very nice lunch yesterday.  It started with some pull apart bread for snacking in the morning.  And, then we went all out. 

I spent way too much time on this cake.  I made the cake from scratch, then the swiss meringue buttercream.  But mistakes were made.  Imagine my disappointment when we cut it yesterday afternoon and it was so dry, it was just awful.

Oh, well.  It's because I don't do that kind of baking very often and I'm not in practice.  But, who knows.  Maybe I'll get in practice. 

I could really use another hobby.


This iris bloomed last week for the first time.  I brought it from my Mom's house about 4 years ago.  It makes a beautiful sword like statement in my flowerbed.  But it wouldn't bloom.  I asked my Mom what color it was and she didn't know.  It had never bloomed for her either. 

Well, it's yellow. 

And, beautiful.

It's such a good year in the garden.  The spring flowers are getting ready and I'm putting in summer annuals from seed to fill in later.  I hope. 

Everybody have a wonderful week.  It's still going to be busy for me.  But, I really got a foothold on my big project last week and made huge progress on Friday.  So, I'm looking forward to getting back to it today and moving that thing along.  My newest boss is in Spain and I'd really like to have this thing wrapped up when he gets back. 



A couple weeks ago, I ran out of the building blocks of the DWR quilt; the beige and tan squares that make up the arcs.  I had to cut more.  And, that really was no problem.  I certainly have the fabric.  But, it slowed down the progress.  Once the squares were cut, I ran like the wind through two more rows of blocks...or rounds.  Whatever they are. 

Two more rows to go...at least.  I have been considering whether I would need to add a column and make it 49 blocks instead of 42.  I'm going to need to put one row together and get a final measurement.  I don't think I want to make it wider.  This way it measures about 80" and when I assemble the rows, I'm going to lose about 3" leaving me at 77" and that should still be plenty wide enough for a queen sized bed, which is 60".

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to someone if I showed how it is assembled.  You piece arcs, then sew them to a pointy oval of background and that's called a melon.  You sew the melons to the center part of the block.  Well, mostly I pin.  Then, I sew just a few minutes.  Then, I pin a lot again.  For example, I pinned for two hours the other night watching TV and it took me 30 minutes to sew it together and iron it the next morning. 

The easiest way to show how it goes together is to show how it comes apart.  So, I took out just the full circles.  The rest is just made up of single melons, double melons and triple melons. 

I love the even numbered rows.  They go really fast.  They are one double melon and 5 singles.  Odd numbered rows take a lot longer. 
Work is crazy.  I got involved in a project and did a really good job of it.  Not a great job.  But, I met the expectation.  Maybe even exceeded the expectation a little bit.  That just feels weird because I'm used to exceeding the expectation by leaps and bounds.  But, I can critique it and tell where I went wrong and learn from that.  But, it's led to a thousand questions from my peers who are following my instructions.  And, at the same time, I'm trying to execute the project at my desk too.  It's CRAZY!!  But, the days pass so fast.  I just sit down and it's time for lunch.  Then, before I know it, everyone is telling me they'll see me tomorrow. 
And, at the same time, I'm trying to clean up a document that needs to be sent to the government.  And, before approval, it gets reviewed by the grammar police...at the government...I picture a wrinkled lady with a bun and sensible shoes and chalkdust on her bodice, leaning against a yardstick like a cane and telling me that a run-on sentence gets an automatic F.  Several attempted updates to the document have failed and been abandoned because of grammar.  Freaking grammar, y'all.  We learned that in grade school.  Why is something so simple holding us up.  Why hasn't anyone thought to call a proofreader?  Now, it's become a crisis, of course.  The person before me was way out of her league and what she handed off to me is a huge mess.  I'm trying not to blame her.  It really isn't her fault.  The only thing she did wrong was not ask for help.  But, that's okay...Cuz I can do dang near anything, given enough time. 
And, solving the impossible is what I'm known for.  And, come to think of it, probably how I ended up with these two projects. 
Yay, me. 
When will I learn to keep my mouth shut?
And, do I really want to?
This is kind of fun.
Sydney has a job.  You guys don't know how exciting that is.  She made great tips on Monday night and she's working the same shift tonight.  And, she's working tomorrow and presumably would be on Sunday, except they're closed for the holiday.  I think she's enjoying it.  And, she's learning responsibility and negotiating because she's got to balance our expectations and her boss's expectations and her school expectations, all at the same time.  She gets so frustrated.  But, I just keep encouraging her and doing my best to understand.  And, doing my BEST to understand!
We've had thunderstorms.  The rain is great.  We've had hail, but no real damage.  A few limbs down.  The greenhouse roof was the greatest danger, but it's worked fine.  The only real damage was the oakleaf hydrangea.  I've been growing that for several years from some roots that came from my sister's yard.  I've babied and coddled it.  They don't naturally grow here.  This year, it had two bloom heads.  And, in the rain, both broke off.  Grrrrrr.  Gardening can be very frustrating.  But, I'm looking at it this way; now, I know it will bloom here, and I know how to get it to.  I've been trying to figure that out for a few years because there's just not much written about growing them.  Anyway, there's always next year.  I hope.  And, I put the limbs in a large vase of water, thinking maaaaaayybe it will still bloom?  Probly not but what else have I got to do than try to force a limb?
Everybody have a great weekend!  I have a little gardening to do, and some work in the neighbor's flowerbeds and I'm hoping to maybe make another row for the DWR quilt.  And start quilting the star quilt.  And, decide what I'm going to do about the thread.  It's always something.  Thank goodness.


New beginnings

Beginnings are wonderful. 

Yesterday, Sydney started a new job.  She walked up to the restaurant last week while she was on spring break and submitted her application.  Friday, they called for an interview.  Saturday, we took her for an interview while we went shopping.  We picked her up.  And, she said "I have a job and I start tomorrow.  And, I need black pants and a dark polo."

So, we had lunch and went shopping again.  Found them.  Pretty quick.  But dark work pants are hard to find in spring. 

We let her pick dinner because we don't know how long it will be before she has a Saturday nite off again.  And, we watched a movie.  Yesterday, we dropped her off and she worked a full 8 hours.  Somebody quit yesterday, so she's also working tonight.  But, the manager was very clear that normally her hours would be on weekends because he values education so highly. 

This was the very first place we suggested she apply.  First, it's close enough to walk if she needs to.  And, the food is good.  And, the place is clean and decent.  And, we really think that man and his wife will teach her about work.  We prepared her.  We sent her out into the world.  Now, let the village teach her a few things. 

She must have done pretty well because he bought her lunch and he normally doesn't give tips to new employees, but he gave her a share of the tips they brought in.  I was surprised last night, but I intend to talk about the importance of those two things. 

She was a tired puppy after being on her feet all day. 

Rob and I did spring cleaning in our bedroom.  We did everything but dust the ceiling.  And, we would have done that except I forgot until he was putting the room back together and that wasn't the right time. 

I worked in the yard a little, but only a little.  We had rain last week, so I had to be careful walking around.  I love gardening!  And, I can see the bloom starting to form.

It was chilly and windy yesterday, so I stayed inside and made a batch of jelly. 

I showed that picture to a friend and he said I must have been Martha Stewart in a past life. 

And, I got the star quilt pin basted.  I'm going to need more thread.  I'm going to need a tan/beige/gold-ish colored thread.  Wish me luck.  I'm thinking about mailing a piece of fabric to a quilter that sells silk thread and ask her to match it for me to her supply and I'll buy whatever matches closest.  She's a small business and I don't think she will mind doing that for me. 

Okay, that's enough for today.  I am suddenly running behind.  How did that happen. I only stopped to look at a pattern for a second.  Good grief!

Time flies when you're having fun.

Have a great Monday!  Lane


Just like it's s'posed to

I love it when something comes out just like it's supposed to.  There's just that thrill of accomplishment.  I'm a firm believer that most UFO's are caused by things not turning out like we envisioned them...so we stop.  Give up.  Let it sit.  I like to take other people's UFO's and finish them, and I can because I don't have the vision of it they started with.  I have the vision I developed based on where they stopped.  Not that I want everyone to stop and send a box of UFO's my way.  I get plenty. 

But, this post is about a project that came out just like I thought it might. 

It's tight, it's firm and it's rounded.  It's quilted to the edge. 

It has a cute, matchy back.

And, the binding stands out from the edge and doesn't lay against the pillow.  To make that happen, I clamped that binding along the edge with my hemostats and pulled the binding toward me, sewing it down along the pillow's seams.  I finished the pillow like a quilt, sewing the binding to the front, then sewing the pillow back to three sides of the quilt.  I made and inserted the pillow form and sewed the fourth side closed.  Then, I sewed the folded edge of the binding to the pillow backing along the seam line. 

It's beautiful!

I'll donate it in a few weeks.  It will either be in the show's silent auction or boutique.

On a side note, I gotta compliment my good man...again.  Y'all ever get tired of me doing that?  I hope not. 

He has another friend passing from pancreatic cancer.  He got to see her not long ago.  She has maybe a week left.  She doesn't want visitors.  He sent her two of the most beautiful texts yesterday, never shying away from what is happening to her.  Wishing her well and peace and promising to remember her.  It made me cry so I can only imagine what it did for her. 

I hugged him and told him he's a very good man.  And, the universe sent me to tell him that.

Everybody have a great Wednesday. 

I'm off to make more melons for our wedding quilt.



On the wall

Well, I got it on the wall.  And, it's time to critique it. 

We've found some things.  Basting threads and some brown stitches I put in to let me know each block was complete. 

The story of this quilt is that I asked for and received, a baggie of Dresden Plate blocks for Christmas a few years ago.  When I opened it on Christmas morning, a cloud of mildew spores came out of it.  I had not selected well.  So, I washed them.  A lot.  And, when they were clean, I realized the fabrics were beautiful, but the combinations they were in were a real mess.  An awful mess.  And, there was some rot.  So, I took them apart to put them together in pretty combinations.  And, found out no two of them were the same size.  So, I re-cut every one of them, put them back together, and hand appliqued them to the background.  And, at some point, I decided to assemble the blocks by hand.  Before I knew it (aka a year later), the whole quilt top was together.  By hand.  So, I decided I needed to quilt it by hand.  Three years later, I didn't have a choice but to bind it by hand.  And, make a sleeve by hand.  And put the sleeve on by hand. 

But Rob's hands hung it.

I washed it in Sydney's bathtub.  She had to actually really clean it.  The quilt was dirtier than I thought.  I don't know if it was 4 years of dragging it around tho.  I think there was still considerable dirt in the blocks.  Anyway, slosh it around, drain, step on the lump of quilt to squeeze out the water, fill and slosh, drain, step, ...repeat til the water is clean. 

Then, we put towels down and rolled the quilt in them and I walked on that to squeeze out water and we put down another layer of towels and did that again.  Then, we put a sheet down and pinned the quilt to it in a square.  Tight.  I got an extra inch and a half out of the quilt stretching it this way.  Then, we put fans on it and left it.  And, in about 18 hours, it was dry. 

It may not be the finest quilt ever made.  But dang if it wouldn't be proud to hang a few feet away from the finest quilt ever made. 

If you see any quilting pins, that's me marking things that need doing.  Have you noticed how straight all those straight lines look? 

On the home front, Sydney needed money for a day out with friends.  And, has agreed to several jobs I don't want to do.  She negotiated a price to wash all the windows.  Rob made me feel guilty.  So I had to double what I was gonna pay.  And, even at that, it's a steal!

Rob and I had dinner with new friends on Saturday night.  It was our 16th anniversary...well, our old anniversary.  But, we still exchanged cards.  We had so much fun at dinner.  The guys were funny and we have a lot in common.  We've been looking for couple friends. 

And, the yard is about to explode.  I walk around in amazement.  I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas.  And, I can hardly wait for it to get here. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  It's going to be the start of a great week. 



It's a big day!

Not just a novel day.  But, a big day. 

The mayor has asked as many people as possible to work from home because there are four huge events in town this weekend in a city that already has serious traffic problems. 

Overbook much?

I don't think we will be out in it much.  But, I can't work from home today.

You remember I was applying for a job the other day.  Didn't work out.  But, it was big news in my department for the way it went down.  But, it left me shining like a new penny.  And, it got me some attention from higher up the chain.  And, that got me a couple very high profile projects that could help me accomplish everything I was trying to accomplish by applying for that job. 

That'd work. 

First project is a presentation to all the people at my job level, countrywide.  Big opportunity to shine.  And, I have so far, taking the project and running with it in ways my boss's boss had not previously considered.  He was impressed. 

After a recent re-org, I'm the only person in my region in my work group in the Austin office.  We've decided to change my title to president of the central region based in the Austin office. 

Hey, there is no competition.

Remember the red and white raffle quilt I worked on for guild?  It won a first place ribbon in the Dallas Quilt Show.

Woo-hoo!!!  "and I helped!"

We've had some serious weather.  NOTHING like Louisiana, but lots of rain and thunder.  But, remember that I fed the other day in anticipation of this rain and things are bursting!

I love spring!

Still making wedding ring blocks.  Plan is to wash the Dresden Plate this weekend.  It needs to air dry.  Oops, just remembered I need a sleeve on that.  Yay, tonight's project. The pillow needs binding.  And the star quilt isn't pin basted.  I guess I will never ever run out of things to do.

Everybody have a great Friday.  We are having dinner with new friends tomorrow night.  Life is full.  And, yes, my introverted side kicks in every so often and I have a small panic attack.  Then I lift my chin up and keep moving.  I am a ship, cutting through the obstacles of life, headed to a destination.



I just couldn't stop!

I know that every quilt has that perfect amount of quilting that sets it off perfectly, hides imperfections, provides usefulness.  And, if you go too far beyond that, it's a bad thing. 

I had big plans for this little quilt.  And, I didn't see any reason to change them just because it's going to be a pillow and not a wallhanging.

One of the presenters at guild not long ago said she "quilted the snot out of it."  And, basically, that's what I did here.  There's a ton of thread packed into this small space. 

I was inspired by things I saw at the La Grange quilt show and incorporated them.

And, I was inspired by the quilting in the guild's raffle quilt. 

I've picked a red binding and I'm going to use a white back because I'm worried that a red back would rub off on everything it touches. 

I've really been thinking of this as practice for the star quilt. 

The thread is here, the needles are here, the batting is here, the backing too.  And, now I'm all warmed up and in good practice, it's time to get this one started.  So, egg me on.  Because I'm feeling just the tiniest bit intimidated by this one.  What if I mess it up?

And, what if I don't?

We spent a lot of time in the yard this weekend.  The flowerbeds are all cleaned up and fed.  Everything is bursting with spring growth.  Nights are still cool and the citrus blossoms are just opening and letting off their fragrance.  It's going to rain for the next few days.  The garden should be beautiful this year. 

And, I made 32 more arcs for the double wedding ring quilt.  That gets me back up to 80.  Now, it's time to cut more diamonds and melons from the olive and start assembling more circles.  Now that I've chosen 42 as the number of blocks, I need to get all the centers cut so I will know if I need to buy more olive fabric.  And hope there's still some on the bolt if I do. 

And, since I wrote last, I've "finished" the Dresden Plate quilt.  Now, I put "finished" in parens because I know I need to make two small fabric repairs, and I'm almost certain I'll have to rework a corner of the binding.  But, yeah, for the most part, it's finished.  I hope.  Oh, and if you ever want to sew a binding on a quilt by hand, both sides, call me.  Let's talk about that.  And, whether you really, really, really want to do that or not.  Do not attempt this without a pair of needle pullers (hemostats).  You will wear out your hands. 

The guild asked for book donations for the boutique at the show.  I'm off to peruse the cabinet and see what I can live without.  And, how much space I can make for more. 

Have a great Monday!  Lane