Thursday, April 30, 2009

Purely Random

Have you ever experienced a "perfect moment"? You know the ones: you are so completely in the present, no thought about what is to come, what you need to do, where you need to be. Just living in the now? I am always so anxious, needing to do this and that, getting it out of the way so I can, do whatever. I am always trying to get through whatever it is I am doing (that I have to do) to get to what I really want to be doing. I spend most of my time "wishing my life away." Lately, I have been focused on getting the painting, wallpapering, cleaning of the house out of the way so I can get back to sewing. And for some reason, a certain "perfect Moment" has stuck in my brain.

It was last September, while I was in China. I had been in our Ningbo office for 2 days. I was the only non-Chinese for miles around. To get back from the manufacturing district into the city, I road with the people from the office in their little van. Like most companies, our office picks up the workers near their homes, drives them to work and back home in the evening. The van was an older van with basic seats, no luxury, no air conditioning, no radio. It was quite hot and humid, we had it full, I was against the window in the middle seat. Yng and Grace were in the front seat, Raymond and I were in the middle, with Sophie, Sandy and Amanda (their English names) in the rear seat. Everyone was chatting in their native languge. I could not understand a word, but I knew it was the normal conversations people have with their friends. At one point, we were in a line of traffic, other vans and buses of people going home from work. I looked up and saw myself in the rear-view mirror. I was grinning like a possum! There I was, half a world from home. A stranger in a strange land. And it was great!

I had always dreamed of traveling far from home, but really never saw it happening. But in the span of 3 years I went to Europe, Mexico (twice) and China. I have been to New York once a month for a year. Also traveled to Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami, Bangor and Guilford Maine, Grand Rapids and Muscatine, Iowa. I have seen the pyramids in Chichen Itza, the magnificent Grand Canyon, the Empire State Building and snow on the Rocky Mountains in July! I have put my feet in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, all in the same year. And I have been really happy to get back into my bed at the end of a trip.

So what is this all about? Purely random. Just being very grateful for the opportunities I have had. I have met some really nice people and eaten some awesome food. I have been in the moment.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finished another or finally some quality time in my sweatshop!

Man-cub selected the fabrics and guided the design. Just took too long due to the "freshening" of the house in preparation of putting on the market.

The lining is the same as the olive accent. It is backed with fusible Peltex for stability. For the brown dimple cover I used fusible fleece for a plusher look. I set my machine for leather sewing and used a denim needle. Makes getting through all the thick layers much easier.

This has a pocket on each side of the "spine" and a pocket under the flap.

It is approximately 11" x 13"x3" and has enough room for his laptop and cords along with an additional book. I might do another, after I finish some other projects first!

On another note, I have added to my favorite blogs list "Southern Campaign in NC" This blog is by a friend of mine who is an amazing Revolutionary War history as it relates to our area-buff. Visit it, you will learn something!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quilt Shops I have visited

The first thing I do when planning a trip is to "Google" the city/town name + Quilt shop. As long as the quilt shop has either a website or is included in on-line listings, a veritable plethora of quilt shops emerge! I then "Google Map" them and seek them out! Here is my list, along with their link. When you are nearby, seek them out and enjoy!

I am going to start with the one that started my quilting habit: Sewingly Yours. Located in Lewisville, NC (my hometown) this delightful shop, full of delightful ladies is great. They are a Husqvarna Viking® dealer (where I bought mine) and offer an incredible array of fabrics (Moda and lots of batiks), a great selection of Jelly Rolls and charm packs, notions, classes and friendship. My mother also teaches here! There is also an ever-changing display of quilts, handbags and apparel, to motivate and inspire. I have taken several classes and the teachers are engaging, helpful and encouraging. A class here is also full of laughter! The shop is clean and well lit. The associates are knowledgeable, helpful seamstresses, who always have a ready smile.
The only drawbacks (from a purely personal standpoint!): would be nice if they could carry quilting magazines along with the books.
Now to the (more) local shops I visit:

In Hickory, Lee Sewing Center, is right off of I40, near Barnes and Noble. This shop carries Bernina machines, a huge array of threads and notions, along with Moda fabrics and batiks. The ladies that work here all very helpful and know their stuff! I haven't yet been able to attend a class here, but the ladies are always very helpful and encouraging. This shop (they also have shops in Charlotte and Shelby) has worked with other regional quilt shops to host a Quilt Show/Convention in Statesville, NC (was in January, I went and LOVED it!). They are also hosing a similar event this coming November in Hickory. I think this is so smart to band together and offer these events to the quilters in this area. The only drawback (again, from a purely personal standpoint!): later hours one or 2 nights a week, that way I ouldn't have to wait until Saturday!

In the other direction from me, is Sew Original, in Boone. This shop is also a Bernina dealer. The fabrics offered are Moda, Amy Butler and tons of batiks, along with MANY patterns, notions and books. I have take a class here, and hope to take more. The quilts on their walls are gorgeous and inspiring. They have a frequent buyer card, offering a $25 discount after purchases totaling $375 (stamped in $25 increments). They also participate in the group of Quilt Shops along with Lee Sewing Center in the regional quilt show. A huge plus for this shop is the awesome sale section in the back corner of the shop, they offer ssale fabrics on bolts, remnants and fat quarters along with discounted patterns and books. I have bought many yards from this sale area for my quilt backings.

Also in Boone, is The Quilt Shop,
199 New Market Blvd Boone, NC 28607 (828) 263-8691. Located in a shopping center, this little shop is bigger than it looks!
They feature fabrics by Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett, Free Spirit Fabrics and batiks.
But my favorite part? The clever little fat quarter shelf that runs along their walls, between the

2 rows of fabric bolts! Arranged by color, this reminds me a huge box of candies, just waiting to be sampled! They also carry my favorite books (Atkinson Designs) and many patterns, especially hand bags! The quilts featured in this shop are a little more modern, since many are Kaffe Fassett designs and are very bright in color.

Whew, nope, thats not all! But enough for today! More to come, even the Mecca of all sewing MaryJos!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring in the Appalachian Foothills

In a previous post, I featured the blooms in my yard. Today, I am featuring native plants from my area. These were shot today, on a hike in the woods with the dogs:

Added delight: The Big Dog got some air!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Great pic on Flickr! The whole photo stream is interesting. A little eye candy for midweek.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long weekend with friends

The hubby and I left last Thursday evening and traveled to spend the weekend with his college roommate and wife. They are newlyweds, having tied the knot in November. She is perfect for him: funny, cute, smart and full of life. We had a blast! The guys played golf Friday and Saturday. We gals shopped Friday, discovering a great quilt shop in Selma, NC: The Whistle Stop Quilt Shop. It is neat shop, with a huge selection of fabric and patterns, and beautiful example quilts. The owner, Connie, is friendly and helpful. Drop in to see her if you happen through! I bought a pattern and 2 books along with these goodies:

S also bought a kit and we made her very first quilt top on Saturday! Love to sew and chat!

Our friends, S and S, live in a great big house they have been rehabbing. It has a fantastic screen porch, a gorgeous staircase and tons of Southern charm! They also have 2 cute pups,
Sweet Riley

And this killer chihuahua, Peanut:

Don't those red eyes scare you? He really is a sweet little guy, he just didn't like the camera!
We had such a great time, we are so lucky to have such good friends.

Back home and back to the home rehab of our own. The man-cub and I painted half the master bedroom tonight, we will finish tomorrow night. Then a major cleaning is in store! We hope to list it mid-May. I really hope there are the right buyers for this place. I love this house and am very proud of it. But, I miss living with my hubby full-time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I love completion

I finally have the house to myself. The dogs have been walked, I fixed a frozen pizza.
Then, back into my sweatshop!
I started this bag about a month ago, before the house rehab started. I finally got back to it and finished it!
I love the skull and crossbones batik accent fabric. I have had it for about 6 years, waiting for just the right project. It looks great next to the citron tie-dye my mom gave me. I also love having a contrasting lining. It seems like a sweet little secret! This pattern is still evolving.

I am really starting to like it. Not sure if I am keeping it or gifting it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rainy Mondays

New Photoshop Elements project. Just to keep it current. I took this in NYC and did a little "enhancing". Might have it printed for the portfolio.

Painted the hall tonight. Plan on getting back into the sewing room tomorrow night. I have a new handbag to finish. I am also back to working on my king-sized quilt for my bed. Rainy Monday, hard to focus. Guess I'll go watch some "Paranormal State" before bed.

The house re-hab is drawing to a close. Next is a purging of our crap, then a thorough cleaning, then putting it on the market. Hope it sells! I miss living with my hubby.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tulip Love

We are still in the midst of the house renovations, so sewing time is still limited. HOWEVER! I can't resist loving the colors of spring. This tulip is from a bunch I bought for the office. Fresh flowers just make us smile and these beauties have been slowly revealing themselves all week.

The house is looking fabulous! We had the ugly green tub reglazed white today. We are going to change out the ugly green toilet for a fresh, new white one tomorrow. While it has been hard to go into the office and work for 8 hours, then come home and work for 3-4 more, I know it is going to pay off. This house is beautiful and it will be ready for the next family to come in and love it as much as we have. I hope we can find something just as nice in our new town! And I greatly anticipate getting back in the sewing room in about a week or sew, oops, I mean a week or so! Kinda Freudian, huh?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whats blooming in my yard

We had perfect weather this past weekend. Sunny skies, 70 degrees. And my yard is coming to life!
White violet


Pink hyacinth

Grape Hyacinth


Cherry Blossoms

No, I didn't plant any of these! My plantings are later in the season! But I am lucky to have these in my yard. We are expecting freezing temps and possible snow, so I am glad I snapped these for posterity.

Friday, April 3, 2009

WOW Great TED talk

If you have never visited, DO IT!
This is an awesome episode on creativity:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I have a chest cold, a house in the middle of up-dating (to put on the market), I haven't had time to quilt and it has been cloudy and rainy forever. Okay, now breathe.

Seriously, I have coughed way too much. Each hack explodes in my temple.

I did get the hall bathroom papered. It looks great, it will be awesome when complete. But I am not doing any home renovations tonight. I am vegetating in front of the TV. I am binding a quilt and I am going to bed early.

Maybe the sun will be out tomorrow.