Wednesday, November 2, 2011

~ Bloggers' Quilt Festival ~


My first Bloggers' Quilt Festival, and I almost missed it!!! I had a difficult time deciding on which quilt to enter, but in the end my son decided for me :) I made this quilt for him earlier this year, and he insists that it is my best one. Of course, he is somewhat biased!!

Coming In From The Cold
 This time last year, I was feverishly trying to make quilts for all of my family. My youngest son stated, in no uncertain terms, that he did NOT want a quilt for Christmas...I'm sure he had more exciting gifts in mind (ie electronics). However, shortly after Christmas passed, he asked for a quilt for his birthday. I selected the pattern Kitchen Window and decided to try my hand at "fussy cutting." The colors were chosen to coordinate with a Bob Marley tapestry hanging in his room (my son is a HUGE fan). I figured if I told him I was making him a "Bob Marley" quilt then he would think it cool. In keeping with the Bob Marley theme, I did a little research into some of his songs. I did not want to go with the obvious (and only) song I knew...Don't Worry, Be Happy. I found the song, Coming In From The Cold. How appropriate for a quilt is that??? Also, a variation of one of my favorite sayings is in the song..."When one door is closed, don't you know another is opened?"

I am glad my son encouraged me to enter his quilt because it really represents the love that goes into making and giving quilts. And it also represents the love and appreciation from the person receiving a quilt. Despite the flaws in my quilting (which I will not point out...haha), my son absolutely loves and treasures it. And, despite my repeated efforts to take the quilt back and redo some of the quilting, my son refuses to let me touch it. As he has told me, it is HIS quilt now and he loves it just the way it is. Not too bad coming from a teenager :)

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog :)

~ Michelle ~

Monday, October 17, 2011

~ Peace, Love, & Family ~

 The past few months weeks I have experienced the stress of work, the heartbreak over the loss of a dear friend/colleague, and, well, all the emotional ups and downs that go with life. Fortunately for me, I was able to spend this past weekend my family in Mississippi at our annual family reunion.

It is hard to explain/express what our annual family reunion means to me, as well as all of my family. Our annual reunions began about 40 years ago, or so, but for the past 35 years we have spent them at a state park in Mississippi. It is a beautiful area deep in the woods of Morton, MS. The first morning, I awoke to this beautiful view behind my cabin...

For some reason, this next shot is one of my favorites...perhaps because it has a fallen tree that has been there for as long as I can remember. Maybe it symbolizes to me the stability of my family, the long tradition of the reunions, or just that some things do remain the same...

Along with family and fellowship is lots and lots of good eating...

My dad's famous shrimp, served (of course) with his infamous Harper Sauce

My sister and I were given our great grandmother's quilting frame, which my dad estimates to be at least 100 years old. I loved hearing the stories my dad shared about how he would sit and watch his grandmother quilt by kerosene lamp when he was a young boy. It barely fit in my car, and made for quite an uncomfortable 9 hour drive, but well worth it. My sister was smart enough to take a picture of it, and I hope to post more as we figure out how to set it up (as we don't have a clue). As we will be sharing joint custody, I anticipate (with much pleasure) lots of quilting time with her!!

Have a great week!

~ Michelle ~

Sunday, October 2, 2011

~ The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...~

That pretty much sums up my feelings about this past week's quilting projects. Fortunately, I started the week with the "good." I made a couple of mini quilts for two of my school peeps who have been feeling the stress of work as I have these past few weeks.

I have really been enjoying making the mini quilts, and I think my friends enjoyed receiving them :)

Now...on to the bad and ugly. First of all, I hesitate to refer to anything hand made (and made with lots of love) as bad or ugly, but...

Over the last few weeks, I have been working on my first disappearing 4-patch. Instead of using contrasting darks and lights, I was hoping that contrasting colors would be okay. After completing my first block, I was feeling pretty happy...

...thinking the colors contrasted pretty well. So, I finished the remaining blocks and threw them up on my design wall (aka my bedroom wall...bless my husband and his patience).

I was really afraid I would have a seizure...way too "busy" as my son put it. I was hoping that adding sashing would calm it (and me) down.

Now, THIS I can live with :)

Hope you all have had a week full of just good!!

~ Michelle ~

Thursday, September 29, 2011

~ Gruber's Revisited ~

Last week, I pulled out my purchases from my retreat at Gruber's this past summer. As I tend to be very cheap frugal, I did not buy too much (big mistake).  I quite honestly didn't think about my purchases very much, just grabbed a Comfort of Psalms panel and some fat quarters I thought would look "nice."  I don't really have that "shopping gene," and I don't really have an eye for fabric.

Well...boy did I ever learn something about myself. I DO have that shopping's just been well hidden. When I pulled out the "nice" fabric I had purchased, I just about died!!! First of all, It.Is.Gorgeous!!!! Secondly, I needed wanted MORE!!! I went online searching desperately for the line...FloraLane by Laura Bellinger for Marcus Fabrics. (I can, and have, repeated this in my sleep, many, many times). Unfortunately, I could not find it anywhere. I even went to Gruber's online luck.  I was almost literally sick!!!  I was telling my friend at the LQS about my tragedy, and she suggested that I call Gruber's, as they cannot possibly put everything in their store on their website. Thank goodness for her wisdom!!! I called, they had it, I ordered it (without a thought as to whether I really needed to be making a purchase right now), and it arrived yesterday...

Oh, my GOODNESS, how I love it!!!!! And, as I told my sister, I CAN be passionate about fabric (another gene I thought was missing, which is NOT good for a quilter)!!!!

I also purchased a Gruber's mug, which I had really wanted, but again, too cheap to buy...

...which was perfect timing as today is National Coffee Day :-)

Have a great day!!

~ Michelle ~

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

~ Three Firsts ~

~ First mini quilt ~
~ First "holiday quilt ~
~ First time quilting without a pattern ~

Not too bad for three firsts; however, I'm not happy at all with the outer squares. But that's okay...I am already looking forward to tomorrow night and trying another one :-)

~ Michelle ~

Sunday, September 18, 2011

~ Oh, The Possibilities... ~

There was no quilting in my house this weekend. I received a package from my sister (yes, I know, further confirmation that she spoils me), and I spent most of my time oohing and ahhing over all the wonderful goodies she sent me and planning for new quilts.

LOVE these charm packs!!

6 inch squares, and...

...lots of 2 inch squares

THIS I have plans for...

Beautiful Christmas prints

What every quilter needs ;-)

I can't wait to get started!!!

Have a great week :)

~ Michelle ~


Thursday, September 15, 2011

~ Autumn 121 ~

I finally finished my husband's birthday quilt. Never mind that his birthday was in July. I guess I have fallen behind in many things :)

I decided to continue developing my skills in FMQ. I have read in most blogs that one should chose a thread color to compliment or match the quilt backing. So, I first selected a dark brown thread. I wasn't too pleased with the results...

 Perhaps it showed too clearly my inexperience in stippling. So, I switched to a lighter thread, which I was much happier with...

During my quilting, Devlin (of course) was right in the middle of things...

Out of desperation, I pulled out a quilt just for him...yes, he is as spoiled as I am :)

I do think, however, that Devlin was quite pleased with my efforts... was my husband :-)

Have a great day!!

~ Michelle ~

Sunday, August 7, 2011

~ Decisions, Decisions ~

After completing my first week back at work, I was finally able to get back to working on my husband’s quilt. I have to admit, I have been totally and completely frustrated with how the quilt is coming along. Midweek, I decided to give up and start another quilt for my husband!! Fortunately, I wasn’t able to do much quilting this past week, but was able to do a lot of stewing thinking. After much reflection (I still hate the word, but find the process very useful), and a pep talk from my sister, I realized that, yes, I CAN do this!!  So, I got back to what I have the most difficulty with…squaring the blocks…all 121 of them. I’m about half way through with this and thinking about how I want to lay out the blocks for the quilt. The pattern gives 4 possible layouts. While my husband was outside grilling, I quickly laid out the blocks in the different patterns and snapped pictures…

I'm going to have so many colors to place just right. Before starting the quilt, I had chosen which layout I was going to use. But now, well I’m just not sure. I love all of them!!! At least I have a little more time to make a decision J

Have a great week!!
~ Michelle ~

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

~ On a different page ~

My "frustration" and I are on a different page this evening.

Devlin's plans ...working on Glen's quilt...

My plans...

~ Michelle ~

Monday, August 1, 2011

~ Manic Monday ~

Today I returned to work after my almost entire summer vacation. I seem to remember summer vacations being much longer as a kid!!! Anyway...being the prepared, slightly OCD SLP that I am, I arrived with my husband's hand truck ready to rearrange my therapy room (a skill that, as mentioned by my sister, runs in the family). 

It took a little longer than I expected, as I had to first remove furniture that was mistakenly placed in my room before I could get to my "stuff." But, no worries!!! The first day back is always exciting, bumps and all.

Having had a successful, if a little back breaking, day at work, I am looking forward to continuing working on my husband's quilt. Sunday I was able to finish making the blocks, save for setting and pressing the seams. As I am working on improving my techniques with quilting, I am trying really, really hard to press seams and not iron the crap out of them!!! But, I was not happy with how the material was laying. So, taking the advice of my sister, I pulled out my Best Press and got busy pressing. The blocks are really looking good!!!

I only got about 1/3 of the way through, but I plan on finishing tonight during the Braves' game.

Have a great week!
~ Michelle ~

Sunday, July 31, 2011

~ Just call me Joe ~

Over the years, I have been called many things, some of which I prefer not to repeat J
Growing up; my dad would call me “Sweet Pea.” My husband lovingly refers to me as “Peety Swie” ~ a variation of “sweetie pie.” My youngest son often calls me “George” ~ as in Curious George ~ whenever I dare to ask him anything about what’s going on in his life. But the name that has seemed to really stick with my family is “Joe” ~ as in, “Go ask Joe,” as in “Go ask ‘jo mamma.”
Well, today, “Joe” is officially off duty!!!!
I am spending Sunday frantically working on my husband’s birthday quilt. Never mind that his birthday was July 26th…haha. I told him that if I did not get busy on it, his birthday quilt would become his Christmas quilt!!! Today is my last day of freedom before returning to school/work. I need to get in some major quilting while I have the time.
I am really excited about this quilt. The pattern is Autumn Stretched Star from the Nickel Quilts book given to me by my sister.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am using the Arnold's Attic collection by Barbara Brackman for Moda. The colors and prints are beautiful…an earthy look that I really love.

And, as always, Devlin is with me every step of the way ;-)

Have a great Sunday!
~ Michelle ~

Friday, July 29, 2011

~ The Summer of Michelle ~

I love the sitcom Seinfeld. Maybe that is why, as I was thinking back over the summer, the episode “The Summer of George” came to mind. For many of us who work in the schools, we do have summers off, as did George in this particular episode. Each summer, I tend to make lofty plans of what I will accomplish during the break. My plans usually revolve around the deep cleaning and organizing of my house. Hmmm…not this summer J
For me, this was the summer of “firsts.” Several of them in fact…
I have the ultimate blended family. My husband blessed with me wonderful step daughters, who in turn, blessed me with wonderful step grandchildren. I actually became a MeMe at the ripe age of 31, two years after my youngest son was born. This summer, we all spent five glorious days at the beach…minus my oldest son (working) and a couple of grandkids (church camp). This was the first vacation we took together since the girls were grown. What a wonderful time we had. Below is the view of our “backyard.”

Despite the near drowning of my husband (God is good, and my son-in-law will forever be a hero in my eyes) and the blistering my son and I received the first day at the beach, our week was perfect. We laughed, played, relaxed, ate, and enjoyed the grandkids. On our last night, we went to my favorite restaurant at PCB…Dirty Dick’s…and celebrated my birthday.

My second “first” was a girls only trip with my sister to a quilt retreat at Gruber’s. It’s hard to believe, that at my age, I have never had a girls weekend, not even with my sister. Boy, have I been missing out!!! I cannot begin to describe (although I tried in an earlier posting) what a special time this was for me. Rene’ and I had almost four days of togetherness to visit, quilt, and just enjoy being with each other. One of the most special relationships is that of sisters. Once again, I am so blessed… God is good!!

And my third “first” was meeting a group of special ladies at the retreat, who after only a few days together, I feel such a friendship with. I can’t wait until next year’s retreat, but in the meantime, I enjoy keeping in touch through blogs, email, and Facebook!

So…The Summer of Michelle draws to an end, as I return to school Monday. But I have so many special memories to draw from during this upcoming year to hold me over until May. God bless my wonderful family and friends!!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


While finishing my granddaughter’s birthday quilt, I began a birthday quilt for my husband. With my Christmas gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop, I purchased three charm packs of Arnold’s Attic by Barbara Brackman for Moda.

I had a specific quilt in mind, but at the time, did not know who would be the recipient. As my husband has been dropping some not so subtle hints that he would like a quilt, I figured I'd better whip one out for him. I knew the colors and prints would be perfect for him.
So, I got busy Tuesday sewing my 2 ½ inch squares to the charms. I was so proud of how quickly I pinned and pieced!! That evening as I was looking at the pattern, I realized that (once again) I failed to follow the instructions correctly. UGH!!! I spent the rest of the evening stewing over what to do. I was not about to rip the seams out of about 70 charms!!! As I whined said to my sister, a quarter of an inch shouldn’t matter that much, right?
I stewed about this most of Wednesday, and then realized that I would never evolve as a quilter until I quit taking the easy way out, accepting my errors without correcting them. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to rip out the stitches, re-pin, etc. Well, I stewed about this for several hours. I would do it, but I did not have to be happy about it! Fortunately, during all of this "stewing," I realized that even though I had messed up, it really wasn't that bad after all. I used the incorrect seam lines as my 1/4 inch "guide"and then  sewed another seam on each block. Easy, peasy :) Then, I took my rotary cutter and cut along the first seam. All is as it should be!! 

My Devlin, helpful as always

Perhaps, I am evolving as a quilter. I did not take the easy way out, although correcting my error ended up being quite easy.

 Have a happy day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

~ Busy Week ~

I spent most of last week and the weekend finishing a quilt for my granddaughter’s 13th birthday.  I decided to make another Strip Search using the Margarita Mango Bali Pops. It is such a fun pattern, and I thought the vibrant colors would be perfect for a teenager!

Several weeks ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried FMQ on a table runner for my sister. As it was somewhat successful, I decided to try my hand at stippling a lap size quilt. Well…my trusty sewing machine was going to have nothing to do with that!! I’m not sure what the “malfunction” was, but my thread kept breaking. Being the tenacious quilter that I am, I was determined to make this work!! I changed my needle (several times), checked my tension setting, called my sister…you name it, I tried it. I did a Google search on FMQ with Batiks and found several websites with suggestions on what type of needle should be used. Apparently, others have experienced these problems as well. So, after purchasing a ton of different needles, I tried once more…no luck. I had made my way through 2 of the blocks and finally gave up. I pulled out my frequently used seam ripper and started ripping…

So, once again, I got busy doing some straight line quilting, randomly shadowing the seams throughout the quilt, then adding some diamonds. I figured if one can have wonky blocks, then I can have wonky quilting, right?  

I spent a lazy Sunday hand sewing the binding to the quilt.

The box was a gift from my mother...

...the band-aids a gift from my son ;-)
I even had Devlin (who has been “confined” after surgery) check out my work…

I’ll share a picture of the completed quilt (with my granddaughter) later this week. Hopefully, my readers will be distracted by her beauty and not notice my little “oops.” J

Have a great Monday!