Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Sewing Retreat

As promised, here are some pictures from our sewing retreat over the weekend ...

This is the view from the back porch of the cabin ... isn't it glorious? The waterfall is actually just a little water trickle right now, because of the drought, but it is still just beautiful to look at! And the weather was incredible! So much cooler than on the coast, and no humidity! What a nice change ...

We all brought our sewing machines and various projects with us and took over the entire cabin. It was fantastic. I mean ... we literally had 5 sewing machines around the dining room table. It was a blast!

The really funny thing was that everyone had the same sewing machine, except me. I felt like the odd-man-out.

Here is Suzanne working on Christopher's quilt. She ended up finishing two quilt tops and one doll quilt top!

I don't think Stephanie was happy with me for taking this picture, do you? This might be my favorite picture from the entire weekend ... cracks me up every time I look at it!

My dad's wife was the star of the weekend ... she's a beginner at sewing, and she tackled her first big project ... making a seat cushion for a window nook. I was so impressed with how it turned out ... this is her showing off her hard work!

This is a shot of the whole kitchen / dining room area as we were working. The kitchen island served as a fantastic cutting station. Even though Suzanne's mom wouldn't let me take a picture of her, I managed to catch her here ... hard at work ironing one of the two quilt tops she finished while we were there.

And here I am ... with my first attempt at a pencil case for my drawing pencils. Well, actually, if I'm honest, this is my second attempt. My first attempt revealed my severe lack of pattern-making skills. Let's just say that I had to make some major adjustments to the finished size of the case ... but it didn't take me long before I was pleased with this final result. More on this project in a future post ...

Overall, we each got a lot accomplished, and had a lot of fun chatting and laughing and bonding. I think we'll make a habit of it!

oh yeah ... and GO OBAMA!!!!! *

* does not in any way indicate support of Barack Obama for president. I seriously don't know who I'm going to vote for (I might like to try my friend Cheryl's approach), but this was our motto for the weekend, after hearing of a friend's HILARIOUS encounter with a staunch Obama supporter.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I FARTed over the weekend.

That's right. I admit it. I FARTed.

This past weekend, my sister in law, her mom, her best friend from college, my dad's wife, and I went on a Fabric Acquisition Road Trip (or FART, as we like to call it).

Wait ... you didn't actually think that I was talking about the kind of farting that schoolboys talk about, did you?? Heavens no ... I would never think of proclaiming that from my blogging rooftop. ;o)

Anyway ... so, as I was saying ... the "girls" went up to my dad's mountain cabin for a fun-filled sewing retreat. We drove up on Thursday afternoon and returned on Sunday afternoon. It was definitely a much-needed break from our daily lives. Especially for my sister-in-law, who left her three young children with my brother and never looked back!

I'll post soon about our whole weekend in the cabin, but for now, let's just talk about the fun fabric that we "acquired" during our road trip. The famous Mary Jo's Cloth Store is about a 90 minute drive from the cabin, so we - of course - drove down there for a little shopping on Friday.

Yes ... this is my sister-in-law and I standing by the Mary Jo's sign. We know we're freaks.

I tried to capture the enormity of the store with these pictures, but I seriously didn't do it justice. Let me tell you ... if you haven't been to Mary Jo's, it's well worth the trip. It's like a huge fabric warehouse ... they have high quality fabrics of all types, and their prices are very very reasonable. And there is SO MUCH to choose from! We try to make the trip there once or twice a year. I wish it were more often ... mostly because of the fantastic selection of reproduction fabrics from the civil war and the 1930's. Suzanne and I were like giddy little school girls picking out all the different fabrics that we wanted to have cut. At home, we would have to pay over $9 a yard for these prints, but up there, they averaged under $5 a yard. WELL worth the effort.

Again, I know I'm a freak. And yes ... I was kissing my fabric. That's how much I love love love these 1930's prints. I mean just look at the colors! How can you NOT want to kiss them??!!?? I took some better pictures of all our fabric purchases below ... YUMMY colors!!!! I have some BIG plans for these fabrics!

And, do you want to know what the best part of the whole trip was??!!?? Suzanne and I made a new friend ... We met good 'ole Mary Jo herself. She was VERY gracious to let us take a picture with her ... such a nice woman. I'm sure I saw a thought bubble above her head while we were taking this picture that said "silly girls ..."

That's right ... it's our new BFF Mary Jo. Love it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A New Creation ...

Last year, for Christmas, my boss gave me a super-fun belt that his mom-in-law made. It's made from two coordinating ribbons, and it's reversible. It's super-cute. I should have taken pictures to go along with this post, but I forgot. So ... just imagine a cute teal & green polka-dotted belt (teal, green & brown swirlies on the reverse side) with a brown tortoise shell buckle. I love it.

Anyway ... I kept looking at it and thinking that I could make one similar, with a few modifications. I struggled to come up with the perfect fabrics ... I didn't want to do the predictable red or brown or black. I tend to gravitate to those colors, and I just *hate* being a foregone conclusion. SO ... I looked through my stash and found some fun fabrics that I picked up at Mary Jo's last year. I cut some strips, applied some interfacing, sewed some seams, attached a buckle, and voila ... a fun reversible belt! What do you think?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors in these fabrics! They are so bright and vivid! And, they go perfectly with my new green shirt. (We wore green uniforms in high school and when I graduated, I swore off green forever, but I'm starting to get back into it, and am LOVING that it's in style this Fall!) Yes, I used to model as a child. Can you tell? ha!

And do you know the BEST part about this belt? I can change the buckle on it any time I want to (well, that is ... I could change it if I had another buckle!). I plan to look for buckles on my next shopping excursion. I love versatility.

Here's a closer view of the belt ... I took a whole bunch 'o photos, but many came out blurry. Apparently, I still have not mastered the new camera. I'm thinking I needed to use the automatic depth of field option to get the whole belt in focus??? Anyone know?

Anyway, I think I'll tweak a couple of things with this belt pattern, but I can definitely see lots of new belts in my future!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hard at Work ...

I've been hard at work in my studio recently getting a whole bunch of projects completed. Here's the evidence :

This is my stack of quilts that are ready to be quilted. Can you tell that my favorite color is RED?? ha! My "Spice is Nice" quilt is on the bottom, along with the back for it which is pieced in stripes of red and beige (you can't see it from this picture ... I'm hoping it will turn out well once it is quilted). My "Bless Us All" wall hanging is on top. (I finished my mom's wall hanging in this same design last year and it ended up winning a blue ribbon at the Quilt Show!) Finally, there are the backs to a couple of wall hangings that I have completed. I can't show the tops to them, because it would give away a major Christmas gift, and I don't want to spoil the surprise!

I have all of these quilts set aside in a pile because we're going for a sewing trip the cabin next weekend ... I'm going to drop two of these to be quilted professionally on our way through Columbia, and I'll finish the other two (hopefully) while I'm in the mountains. yay! I love crossing things off my list. More pictures once they're all quilted and done!

And, this is the stack of baby gifts ready to send out to friends of mine who have had babies recently. There must be something in the water, because my baby gift list never seems to get any smaller, no matter how much progress I feel like I'm making!

I do feel like I'm getting some things accomplished ... trying to reduce my "to do" list so that I can focus on some new stuff ...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Spider Chronicles

This past Saturday morning, having not yet truly recovered from the whole brown widow appearance at my office, I awoke to find this ginormous banana spider on my bedroom window. Now, I know you can't tell how huge this spider is from the picture, but it is seriously the size of the palm of my hand. YIPES!

Anyway, from reading about banana spiders, I know that they are really not harmful to humans ... unlike good 'ole Charlotte at my office. However, in taking some photos of my new "friend," I did notice that he has some pretty big fangs on him??!!?? Do you see them from this attempt at a profile shot? good heavens.

And ... what's up with the huge caccoon-y thing stuck to the window screen directly above Mr. Spider's web?? Please tell me this is not the leftovers from today's lunch.

What is it with me and spiders these days??!!?? I think I've had enough.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The not-so-itsy-bitsy spider

So, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a spider spinning its web outside my office window. I really don't like spiders at all, but I figured that as long as it was on the other side of the glass, it wouldn't bother me. I didn't worry about it, because I'm not in the habit of opening my windows at work. Plus, it was kind of fun to be able to watch it do whatever spiders do from the comfort of my office chair. I made a habit of looking for it every morning and checking on its activities during each day. I watched it as it grew into quite a sizable spider. I even named it ... Charlotte, of course. We bonded.

But then, our on-staff horticulturist (i know, right?) observed a suspicious red marking on this spider's belly, and notified me that my sweet little innocent Charlotte was actually a poisonous brown widow. YIPES!!!

So, I had to say goodbye to my little big spider friend ... she didn't last long after the area was sprayed with spider spray, but I did manage to snap a couple of pictures to remember her by.