Thursday, June 28, 2012

~ Preparedness ~

I am not a spontaneous person. AT ALL!!! My friends and family know not to call me up at the last minute to do anything. I must have time to stew about it obsess over it talk for hours about it prepare. So I have been preparing, well, thinking about, my upcoming quilt retreat for months now. But I haven't had time to really prepare for it.

When preparing for such an important occasion, one must ensure they have the right tools.

Last year, I took my trusty sewing machine that must weigh at least 500 pounds. Imagine my difficulty lifting that sucker to place in the over head compartment. This year, I decided I would take my Brother, which is so much lighter. Having made that decision, I realized I had a couple of problems...would it fit into my bag, and can I learn how to use it...quickly! fits (whew)!

Even the extension table...

No, Devlin, you will not fit ;-)

Now, that leaves me less than a week to learn how to use it. I've only used this machine for FMQing...without the foot pedal. I'm not even sure if the machine comes with a 1/4 inch foot. Assuming I am able to find the manual and all the attachments needed for my Brother, this beautiful charm pack, A Little Romance, is going to be my practice quilt.

 I'll be spending the next few days piecing lots and lots of squares.

Thanks, as always, for visiting my  blog!
~ Michelle ~

Monday, June 25, 2012

~ Happies From Home ~

Last week, I mentioned that I had an opportunity to visit a couple of shops while at home. I finally unpacked some of my goodies and just had to share. I thoroughly fell in love with Janet at Janet's Quilting Bee. She truly demonstrates Southern Hospitality!!! I wanted to take her and her shop back to Georgia with me. We spoke briefly about hand quilting, which I have been wanting to learn. Well, that brief conversation led to my mother scheming with consulting with Janet on tools needed for one to try out hand quilting. I left the store with everything needed to make a throw pillow. Included in the goodies was a hoop, lots of needles (some for my machine as well), thread, a really cool coin thimble, some templates for future projects, and, well, you get the point ;-) My mother is such a supporter of my quilting. I'm thinking she is very fortunate that my hobby is not restoring antique cars or some other ridiculously expensive hobby!! I am looking forward to having a project to work on during my upcoming travels.

Preprinted (yet to be ironed) pillow top

While there, I saw this cute little fat quarter which may be the beginnings of a quilt for my frustration.

I picked up a couple of "happies" while visiting Block Therapy, another shop that I fell in love with and wanted to take back to Georgia. They had a wonderful collection of fabric. They had a section of fabric precut into one and two yards at a super price. I have no idea what I'll be doing with the fabric, but I just couldn't walk away empty handed!!

This weekend I celebrated my birthday and 23rd wedding anniversary (YAY me)! I entered several giveaways, thinking the RNG would, for once, be kind. No luck so far...still waiting to say, "Look at what I won!" But, needless to say, my cup runneth over with all the blessings in my life!!

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog!

~ Michelle ~

Friday, June 22, 2012

~ Where's Your Happy Place? ~

We all have our happy place, right? A place we go to let go of the worries and stresses of life, even for a short time. Clearly, one of my happy places, is quilting.

Recommended by Toni, gifted by Rene' ;-)

Today, I'd like to share one of my husband's happy places. Most people would say that his happy place is fishing, and they would be correct.

 But I'd like to show you another of his happy places.

My husband spends many, many hours in our yard.

It is not unusual for him to head straight to the yard after a long day at work.

His roses sometimes get out of control, but he hates to cut them.

I love the care he gives to my Granny's flowers that now have a home with us.
I think she would feel proud!

So, where is your happy place?

~ Michelle ~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

~ Why Blog? ~

I was "talking" yesterday to one of my blogger friends, and I made the comment that I blog because my sister makes me tells me it's a way keep a journal of my quilts and make great friends. And, as usual, Rene' was right!

Last year, she invited me to retreat with some of the friends she had met online. During the retreat, I was so in awe of the company I was in, I mostly stayed silent, and just observed all the wonderful quilts everyone was working on. I didn't even participate in their show and tell session. How silly, right?

I am thinking (hoping) that this year I may not be so out ;-)

Do I now consider this group of wonderful ladies friends? Absolutely!!! Only for a friend would I go "into town" (all of a 15 minute drive) to pick up some fabric on sale.

Did I mention that I got this at HOBBY LOBBY at 40% off!!!
 As anyone who knows me will tell, I HATE going into town...only for you, Doris ;-)

I only have a few followers, which I guess is fine considering I don't blog consistently, but I do love the support and encouragement I receive from them. I was made encouraged to enter a quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival last year (sometimes anonymity is a great thing).

Another friend I have met through blogging is Michele, who is actually a friend of my sister. Between Rene' and Michele, I have seriously considered joining the OMQG!! I can just imagine my husband's reaction to the idea of going to Orlando twice a month to quilt.

And every great once in awhile, one of my pictures will catch the eye of a quilter who just "stumbled onto my blog."

I received the sweetest email from a lady who saw one of my blog posts, and this picture, and immediately recognized this lake with the fallen tree. She shared the story of her family reunions held at this park, which so closely parallels my family reunions!! I will always treasure that she took the time to email me and share her story!

Lastly, blogging gives me the opportunity to share photos of my frustration, Devlin, who apparently likes to blog as much as he likes to quilt!!

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog!!

~ Michelle ~

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

~ Score!! ~

I hosted my first sew day...well, sort of ;-)
 I invited my sister-in-law and mother-in-law over yesterday for a sew in. As far as sewing goes, it was a total bust. By the time I picked them up, ran by Hobby Lobby for a couple of purchases, stopped for lunch...well, we were pooped before arriving at my house. My SIL and I got a little bit done, but by 1:00 we were all stretched out in the living room taking a nap! But, we had a great day and decided that a redo was definitely in order.

I did score big, however, at Hobby Lobby. Although I had no plans to purchase fabric (we were there to pick up supplies for my son's latest obsession), I couldn't resist browsing the fabric section. And I am so glad that I did!!!

A Ghastlie Family Reunion in Gray - at 40% off!!!

A score made even bigger when I went to one of my go-to online stores for coordinating fabric and found that just about all of this line is sold out...YIKES...what am I going to do now????

I first fell in love with the Ghastlies when I saw Stephanie's quilt last year. Hopefully, I can pick her brain for ideas next month because I have NO idea what I'm going to do with it, especially if I can't find any coordinating fabric.
 Any ideas would be greatly appreciated ;-)

I have decided it might be best if I not leave home during the next two weeks. Otherwise, I will have spent all by birthday money set aside for my upcoming retreat. I am already dreaming (seriously) of all the purchases I will be making at Grubers!!

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog!!

~ Michelle ~

Saturday, June 16, 2012

~ A Day at Dad's ~

Day two with the family, and I am continuing to have a great time visiting and eating ;-) My son and I spent the day with my dad, stepmom, and sister. I had actually met my deadline making April's quilt, which fortunately, she loved. I spent most of the morning trying to take the perfect picture of her quilt...I have GOT to improve my photography skills.

While I was busy snapping pictures, my son and baby sister were busy with their own project...making  hemp bracelets and various accessories.

Although my sister had to leave early, Kyle continued working

Kyle had worked so hard, we had to take another quick trip to the beach to collect more shells.

Once back at Dad's, Kyle continued with his project.

While Kyle was working, I was enjoying the rare opportunity to take pictures of him (Kyle HATES to have his picture taken). I assured him that none of his friends were likely to visit my blog ;-)

Dad was busy grilling...

...although he did take a moment to check out Kyle's project.

Our day ended with a fabulous supper of grilled shrimp and veggies

followed by a delicious dessert of fresh blueberries, strawberries, whipped cream, and pound cake.

What a great time spent with family, even though the time always goes by way too fast!!!

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog!

~ Michelle ~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

~ Troopers ~

I'm having a great time visiting family this week; however, it's hard not having everyone with us (husband and oldest son left behind, hard at work). My youngest son has been a trooper, to say the least, as is evident in the fact that not only did he let me take his picture (gasp!) but also gave his permission to post it :-) Actually, my son and parents were all troopers today, as the day was spent doing my two favorite things...eating and quilty shopping.

We hit the road earlyish this morning in order to beat the crowd at my favorite po'boy joint.

Last summer, I spent quality time as a po'boy taste tester in order to determine where to get the best shrimp po'boy from 'goula to New Orleans. I cannot tell you how many places I went, and po'boys I ate, in an effort to find the best one. I think, however, my favorite was found at BB's in Ocean Springs, MS. My mom and stepdad take us there just about every trip home. Their gumbo is out of this world as is their shrimp po'boys. 

After lunch, we visited a local quilt shop, Janet's Quilting Bee. The minute I walked in, I felt right at home. The owner was just as lovely and helpful as could be. 

I love the room she has set aside for classes. She mentioned that she gives private FMQ lessons...I'm thinking that sounds REALLY good to me ;-)

My mother surprised me with lots of happies, and I picked up a few happies myself.

Afterwards, we shopped for some supplies for a project my son and baby sister will be working on tomorrow,

then hit up the local ice cream parlor.

On the way home, we visited another quilt the name, as quilting is definitely my therapy,

as well as the sign in the window. A home and a quilt always have a story behind it!

I hope to share with you tomorrow some of the goodies I got at the quilt shops. I'm having to go back tomorrow, as my son waited until we got back at my mom's to mention he saw some fabric he'd like for his next quilt ;-)

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog!

~ Michelle ~

Saturday, June 9, 2012

~ Lessons Learned ~

I am about finished with my Filmstrip quilt, only having the binding left to sew. I think I will actually meet my deadline. I hope to show it next week after delivering it.

While working on this quilt, I thought alot about how far I have come, and what I have learned over the last (almost) two years. Some of the lessons learned would be quite obvious to many quilters, but I'm kind of on the slow end of the learning curve. Like many quilters, I have attended! So many things I have learned through trial and error and many, many calls to my sister.

Which leads to my first lesson...use your resources!!! My biggest resource, is of course, my sister.

We talk on the phone almost daily, mainly about quilting. She is so patient with my questions and my insecurities about my work. I have learned so much from her...I think that she actually appreciates my input about her quilting awesome is that?

Another lesson...if I'm going to ask for advice, I need to take it, particularly when coming from my youngest son (who is, I must admit, one of my biggest fans). He insisted strongly suggested that I use the Kona Pear for the binding of my quilt. When I received this fabric, I was somewhat taken aback by how, well, bright it was. But Kyle really felt that the color added to the colors in the quilt top, and I think he is right.

As usual, please forgive the quality of my photos...I find myself snapping pictures randomly as I quilt, never having THE perfect shot of anything ;-) And trust me...the photos for this post will only get worse!!

As far as quilting techniques go, I have learned a couple of things about straight line, grid, organic, etc. quilting.  My first few quilts were quilted with straight lines using painters tape. I spent SO much time measuring the distance between each line, making sure they were all equally spaced. Seriously???? Now, I like the lines a little more randomly placed...individualizing a quilt even when using basically the same quilting. Plus, it saves SO much time!

When using the painters tape, I tried, with my first few quilts, to line up the needle to the edge of the tape (again, seriously??). Now, I use the walking foot as my guide against the tape (duh!)!!

And if my lines are not perfectly straight, what? Don't sweat the small stuff, right?

The most important lesson I have learned, especially while working on my current project, is that quilting organic lines takes a long, long time. Especially when the lines are spaced about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. Perhaps not the best choice of quilting when under a deadline. I have GOT to become more comfortable with FMQ! I think I spent more time taking breaks than I did quilting with this one, but had I not, I wouldn't have been able to include this sweet, sweet picture...

He is so sweet when sleeping :)

Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog!
~ Michelle ~