Saturday, August 29, 2015

steeples

My sister, Diane, takes some beautiful pictures of church steeples she sees. Here is one I borrowed (with her permission)...
 You can see more in her Flickr group, taken by her and others (I even took a couple of them) Her pictures were the inspiration for my latest mini quilt. 

After I made my Imagine quilt for the Riley Blake Challenge, earlier this year, I decided I should work backwards and make a quilt for each of my words of the year. Grace was my word in 2014. 

This quilt is 18 x 20 inches and made with two shades of grunge fabric. And yes, I'm going to make a second one for Diane! It's only fair since she provided the inspiration. 

Two words done, three more to go (going to try to get them done before I choose a word for 2016. Wish me luck!)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dottie Angel Frock

Always one to jump on a good bandwagon, when I saw a copy of the Dottie Angel Frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) just laying around at our local Walmart I decided to give it a go. 
I had been eyeing up all of the cute frocks on Instagram (they look especially adorable on petite little frames, skinny girls looking like they are heading out to tend the chickens & collect the eggs. For the record, I have neither a skinny frame nor a flock of chickens, but I digress.)

I have a couple yards of Liberty floral I've been hoarding that will be perfect for this, but I wisely decided to do a muslin first. I bought some sale fabric at Joann's, something pretty, just in case it actually fit & looked decent, I could actually wear it!
Check out that pretty pocket! I almost did it without the bias binding, but then I found this stripe in my stash and decided to make my own binding. So glad I did!

I also relied heavily on tips from my pal Mahriam, skip the contrast bottom (not suitable for, ahem, fuller figured shorties), lower the front pleats to accommodate a fuller bust. I also chose not to use bias binding on the shoulder seams or the hem, as that seemed pointless to me!

I made the tunic length. Honestly, it looked a bit like a frumpy apron on the hanger. Finished it up in one day and, wonder of wonders, it FITS and actually looks cute on me!
I will indeed be making one out of my Liberty fabric very soon. Meanwhile, I have a wearable muslin! Hooray.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

empty nesters

Ally is happily moved into her college dorm & hubby and I find ourselves with time alone together. Our first stop after dropping her off on Saturday? Buc-cee's....
If you're not a Texan (we're not but we've lived here long enough I guess some people consider us Texans) you may not be familiar with Buc-cee's... an enormous gas station/gift shop/snack bar. If we're being honest here, we mostly stopped because they have large, clean restrooms & after an hour or so in the car and large diet pepsis, we were in need of those! We also took advantage of one of the 40 gazillion gas pumps.

But that wasn't the most exciting stop of the day (nor was it a planned stop! ha!). Halfway home is Waco, TX, home of Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV/Fixer Upper fame. I had been dying to stop at their home store, Magnolia Market.

Truthfully it's a teeny tiny shop, but there was a nice assortment of home dec goodies & the staff was friendly & helpful. Hubby & I wanted to buy one of their well known metal quote signs and spent a few minutes mulling them over. In the end we chose this one, because it defines our marriage to a tee...

I love it propped up on our mantel!

After we visited the shop we set out to find "the Silos" which Chip & Joanna are renovating. Soon it will be the new location for their shop and their business (I'm already plotting a return visit!). It's under construction now, but I got some pretty good pictures (with my phone, from the car!)

 The white building with the four high windows is the renovated building.
I just love the rustic silos!

It was a fun first day for us empty nesters for sure!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

pillowcase dresses for Africa

I'm so delighted that my oldest, Leigh Anne, will be traveling to Swaziland, Africa, in October. She'll be going on a mission trip with Liberty Church NYC and since one piece of their mission is to visit orphanages, I decided to make some pillowcase dresses to send along with her. Yesterday I recruited two of my favorite young sewers to help me out....
 They worked very hard most of the day, excited to sew for such a special mission and asking lots of questions about the orphans in Africa along the way. Many of the questions I didn't have an answer for, so we made a list and sent it off to Leigh Anne, knowing many of the answers won't be given for a couple of months.
 The girls were pretty proud of the first dresses they finished....
Lexi, the quality control dog, never left the room
By the end of the day the girls had made NINE dresses to send to Africa! They do great work.
I have about a month to make some more dresses to add to their stack.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Plano Quilt Show

On Friday I went with my buddies to the Plano Quilt Show. We're so lucky that this fabulous annual show is only a few minutes away from where we live! I love to go every year. It's a smallish show, so it's manageable in a couple of hours. The quilts never disappoint and there are terrific vendors too. I will confess to having spent some money along the way!

Here is the quilt that one Best of Show. It's called Baltimore in Bloom and was made by Sally Magee. Her appliqué work is fantastic! This, my friends, is something I will NEVER tackle! So glad there are wonderful quilters like Sally who do.
One thing I've noticed is that there are more and more modern quilts appearing in the show each year. Yay! Here are a few that I especially liked:
Shannon Page had several quilts in the show, but I especially liked this one. I love the little flecks of color scattered throughout the background. They look like confetti to me!


Geometric Transparency was made by Cheryl Isbell. I've been intrigued by the transparency quilts popping up on the internet and thought her quilt captured the concept especially well.


This quilt is called "Jeff" and was made by Ileana Salzer, a quilter I know from our bring n brag days. I thought it was really fun, but I couldn't help but wonder why she called it Jeff? Hmmm I'll have to ask Ileana next time I see her.

Do you have any good quilt shows near where you live?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

in the kitchen

Confession time. I'm not much of a cook. No, really. I'm pretty terrible at it. I try. I collect cookbooks,  I collect aprons, haha! But I really don't enjoy it much and I rarely put much effort into cooking. 

The other night we were at a restaurant (and yes, we eat out way too much, don't judge me). Hubby and Ally ordered a big sampler platter of bruschetta, several different kinds, all of them loaded with gluten which I can't eat. And no, I'm not bitter. They eat gluten in front of me all the time and I'm fine with it. But this bruschetta? man did it look GOOD! We analyzed it and memorized the ingredients and I decided to recreate 2 of the varieties today on gluten free baguette.

I spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen! I roasted these beautiful red peppers using this recipe.
 And then I made my first ever tomato jam using this recipe. Sort of. Actually I combined several recipes, which seems to be a risky move for someone like me who professes to be less than adequate in the kitchen. But it worked out.

Seven big beautiful tomatoes, light brown sugar, a cinnamon stick and some lemon juice. Resulted in about a cup of very tasty tomato jam.

 And the bruschetta? It was fabulous! I used an Udi's baguette....

On the left, herbed goat cheese, a dollop of tomato jam and a piece of applewood bacon. And on the right, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese and roasted red pepper. Not bad for someone who is basically allergic to the kitchen, huh?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bag swap

Stitched With Love has started a new swap club, so of course I had to get in on it right away! Our first swap was to be a pouch or fabric basket of some sort. Fun! Look at all of these beauties that were swapped.....
We were assigned a recipient for our goodies so I knew that Carmen liked Anna Maria Horner fabrics, drinks hot tea & loves sweet treats. Here's what I made for her...

A dainty tote, with a felt tag and some extra goodies....

a pouch with a view with AMH scraps tucked inside, a tea bag pouch and some edibles (loose tea, a tea ball for that and some fresh macaroons) that didn't make it into the photo shoot! Oops!

Do you want to see the precious bag that came home with me? I thought so! Lynn had my name, and she knows how much I love aqua & red....
I love this little zipper clutch! It's perfect for me. And inside...
A little zip pouch for cards/cash (it even had a sonic gift card inside!) and a kleenex pouch, all matching. How lucky am I?

I can't wait for our next swap.