July 31, 2013

Perfect For The Studio...

 ...and anywhere else I want to use it.

I've always had a Bose Sound Dock to play my first and second generation 
iPods in the studio. It was actually the only way I could still play music on 
my iPods, which wouldn't be controlled or charged without dropping them 
into the dock. My two iPods are ancient by anyone's standards, so I
depended on the Dock to keep them going. Then it happened. My Dock died.
 Bose has a great program if your Dock dies. You can send it back to them
and they'll give you a deep discount on purchasing another of their products.

Handsome surprised me when he chose a Bluetooth Speaker from their
product line for me to use in the studio - or anywhere else. It's so dang small
that I can pick it up and move it anywhere in the house, Flying Cloud or...
anywhere! I paired the Bluetooth with my iPhone and iPad, so I can play all 
my music through it without cords and cables that need to be plugged into the 
precious few outlets in my work area. It only connects to recharge the battery!
 And look at how small it is! It's about the size of a useful clutch handbag.
I think I'll have to use my sewing machines standing up, so that when I'm
in the studio, this girl can get her groove on! (giggle) I don't know about you,
but when the Doobies, Eagles, Al Green, Roy Orbison, the Bee Gees (just to 
name a few) are playing within earshot, I can't help it. I have to dance!

You know what I'm going to say next, right? Yup. I've got the greatest 
husband in the whole world. Don't argue with me now. Handsome is the best!
Who would have thought that a bluetooth speaker could make your feel young?
If you're looking for me, I'll be in the studio dancing while I play!

Oh, yeah. Happy August! (already)

July 30, 2013

My New Toy...

 Who knew I could get so tickled about an iron. Really? An IRON! You
may have seen this gem on episodes of Fons and Porters Quilting show.
It's the OlisoPro Smart Iron.

It has one specific feature that I never thought I would enjoy so much. It
has "scorch-proof" feet that lift the iron's sole plate off the ironing board.
It does this by sensing when your hand is on the iron. If you take your 
hand away from the iron, the feet automatically lift it up. It's so great!
 The first time I used the iron in front of Handsome, he was so surprised.
I wish you could have been here to see his reaction yourselves. It's not
often that something catches him. When he came into the studio to ask 
me a question, I took my hand away from the iron and the iron popped
 right up. He said, "Whoa! What the...?" I couldn't help but laugh. We had
fun after that, showing him how the iron works and telling him about it.
 This is an 1800 watt iron, giving it plenty of "gun" to heat quickly and sufficiently 
to overcome the toughest wrinkles. It has multiple settings for temperature and 
steam capabilities, and then it's got those fabulous feet! It's a little heavy, but 
when I used it, I didn't find that to be an issue. After all, you're not really lifting 
it to use it! Just put your hand over the sensors, the feet retract, and you iron away.

As I finish writing this review for you, I find myself a bit surprised to be so
enamored of a simple household appliance - and one usually held in contempt, at 
that. It's true, though. I love my new toy and wonder why it took so long for
someone to come up with this fabulous idea. Whether you're ironing fabrics for
your next quilt, or (as I do) ironing your husband's favorite cotton shirts, I think
you'll find the OlisoPro is up to the task. It's fun to give this one a BIG thumbs up.

July 29, 2013

Tuesdays With Tag - An Afternoon At The Opera...

 Hi, Everybody!
I had a really great weekend.
Ceri and I went swimmin' with Mom and Dad (surprise!),
but the highlight of my weekend was watchin' the opera,
"Parcifal" with Dad and Ceri. Well, with Dad mostly.
 Dad explained that Wagner's operas are being performed at the
Bayreuth Festival right now, and "Parcifal" is one of them.

 I invited Ceri to join Dad and me, and you can see how enthused 
she was about the whole "opera" thing. Pffffttt! Not much at all!
 I was actually lyin' in the other room just mindin' my own 
business, when I heard somethin' that got my attention. I wasn't sure 
what to make of all the singin', but I was intrigued by the voice of one 
of the singers. Every time he opened his mouth, magic happened. 
He was great - and I was spellbound!
 This opera was a little violent (see the guy who got stabbed?),
but I think the music made up for the storyline. I can't read the
subtitles anyway, so I couldn't really tell you what it was about.
 I'm not sure why I kept hearin' gigglin'. Haven't they ever seen a
discriminatin' dog before? You'd think I was an anomaly or sumpthin'.
  Mom did a video of me watchin' these guys. It's only about 3 minutes long
in case you wanna watch. I'm gonna see if I can catch up on more of this 
stuff durin' the week, but you know I just can't spend all my time in front 
of the television. I've got loose ends to tie up and a suitcase to pack.

We'll be hittin' the road this weekend, so there are more excitin' 
adventures in my future. I can't wait to tell you all about them! 
'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

July 28, 2013

Classmate Success...

 I played in the studio yesterday. I was anxious to sew up the "Classmate",
so I set aside the entire afternoon to cut, fuse, sew, bind and finish it.
 I chose two fabrics from Blank Quilting Company for the main and 
contrast fabrics. I got this fabric at Crazy Quilters, but I also have the
same fabric in a russet color that I got at Sandy's Quilt Shop last fall.
 For the lining fabric, I used a tiny dot from Moda's "Pure" line.
The color coordinated perfectly and I had plenty in my stash to use.
 I really like the pockets, both zippered and plain. All are lined and inter-
faced, so the entire organizer has a nice, sturdy weight to it. It's roomy,
too, measuring 8" x 12" when closed, and 8" x 21" when open.
There are pen holders, and I even have pockets behind pockets...
 and pockets behind zippers! I have places for needles, threads, scissors,
patterns and fabric. This will be just the ticket for taking on our travels.
 Best of all, this pattern was well-written, easy to understand, simple
to execute - and I know I'll make more of them. I think they'll be 
perfect gifts for my creative friends. It will be fun to personalize them.

I thought I'd share the pattern cover again in case you're interested in
getting a copy for yourself. If you already have it and are wondering if
you should make it up, I'm going to recommend that you give it a try.
I thing you'll be glad you did!
***This is an unsolicited and uncompensated endorsement.

July 26, 2013

Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Exhibit...

There is a new exhibit at Buckingham Palace featuring the garments and gems
worn by Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation in 1953. The exhibit will be open
from July 27 until September 29, 2013. This will be a stunning display!
Embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework expended over 3500 hours
creating the robe which the Queen wore to travel from the Westminster Abbey to
Buckingham Palace. The pictures of the gown take my breath away. I can only
imagine how much more stunning it must be when seen in the same room.
In addition to all the embroidered pieces, the exhibit will include the Diamond Diadem
(the name of the crown), which was previously worn by King George IV for his 1821
coronation. There are other gems on display, including some as large as pigeon's eggs!

If you'd like to read an entire article about the exhibit, you can click here. I'll have
to imagine how beautiful everything will be. I so wish I could be there in person.

July 25, 2013


 I'll be working over at Crazy Quilters today. I'm helping out for a shop hop
event. The more, the merrier! I'll be working with Pam C. and I'm really
looking forward to seeing the demo she has planned and meeting new people.

I haven't sewn much at all this week, but after I tidied up the studio, I pulled
the pattern, fabric and notions to create this "Classmate" from Atkinson Designs.
 One can never have too many organizers (or shoes, or purses, or...oops. Nevermind.)
I'm hoping to make this over the weekend. I'll show it to you when it's finished.
Happy Friday, y'all!

July 24, 2013

Meet Pat Alderman...

All my photos today were taken on my iPhone.
 Yesterday was a beautiful day, filled with beautiful quilts.
I drove to Parrish, FL to take two of my quilts to a long-arm quilter that
I've been hearing quite a bit about. My friend, Loreen was the first to sing
her praises, and then I heard more about her from friends, Lunetta and Andy.
I really couldn't wait to meet her, and I was so glad I made the drive!

She lives in a lovely community within Parrish and I was taken with her
home as soon as I saw it. Inside was a real treat for the senses. Not only
were her quilts stunning, but her home is as warm and inviting as she is.
 We started our visit when she invited me into her studio. Look at her
New York Beauty quilt!!! (Remember one of my goals for 2014 is to
create a quilt with circles, and a New York Beauty is #1 on the list.)
Now I have a color and design in my mind to aim for.
 Pat took me into her long-arm room to show me her award-winning
quilt. This stunning quilt was created by her and her daughter. It uses
multiple techniques and is a sampler of her many quilting techniques. My
jaw actually dropped when I first saw it. It's large and truly impressive.
 When I turned around in her long-arm room, Pat pointed out her Dresden 
plate quilt. Rather than stitch down all the points, Pat machine quilted about 
1/2" away from the points, leaving them free at the edge. It gave the plates
more dimension. It's such a pretty quilt - sweet color choices and layout.
 Pat has a large basket in the living room, filled with the most scrumptious 
quilts. This one is machine appliqued' and then machine quilted. It's Pat's 
own design! She used whole-cloth Minke fabric on the back for the softest 
girly quilt imaginable. I'd make this quilt in a heartbeat, but I'll have to wait
because Pat hasn't done a pattern yet. (She said she's thinking about it.)
 This was a kit from Keepsake Quilting. (I want one!)
Pat backed it with flannel, creating another cuddly masterpiece.
 This is the last quilt I photographed and it hangs in Pat's dining room. 
She said that it was designed for wools, but she appliqued' the design 
in cotton fabrics with embroidery. I don't know the name of the quilt,
but it could be "Smitten", because I surely was when I looked at it. 
I loved everything about it.

I am so excited to have Pat quilting my latest completed pieces.
"Over The River" and "Princeton Plates" are in good hands.
I know that she will leave her special artistry on them and they'll
be better than they were. I'm so glad that she could take them in.

Thank you for making time for me, Pat.
I already feel like we're friends because of our mutual acquaintances.
I'm looking forward to forging our own friendship, and sharing more
of our love of fabrics, fibers, patterns and all things quilting.

It was a beautiful day, indeed.

July 23, 2013

Chocolate And A Plan...

My favorite candy dish.
Sometimes projects have to go on the back burner, house chores will wait
for another day, and things that were important yesterday aren't quite as
 critical today. When you have a friend (or two) in need, you prioritize.
My BFF has one that matches it.
 Recent developments with a dear friend and his loving wife will be
limiting my studio time and Handsome's free time as we do our best to
support them in the coming days, weeks and months. It's who we are.

I'm going to be creating more Farmer's Wife foundations for those
who are working on them. I intend to have them all uploaded by the 
end of the summer...back to school - back to the Farmer's Wife.

I was also thinking I'd delay any large projects for a little while, but you 
 know me by now. I have a "creative imperative", so I'm going to start one of
my BOM or needlework quilts. One at a time, the blocks are small, portable
and manageable. When they're finished, I'll assemble them into a quilt.
It's good to have a plan.

"Have needlework (and chocolate), will travel!"

July 22, 2013

Tuesdays With Tag - Meet Ceri...

 Hi, Everybody!
Gosh. A lot sure can happen in one short week.

Last week, I was lying around in the heat, hittin' the pool to cool off and just
mindin' my own business. Then Mom got a call that changed everythin'.
 I have a little Corgi foster sister!!! She's gonna live with us for the next couple
of weeks and then she's gonna move to Minnesota to live with Mom's sister, Di.

She was abandoned and full of fleas when she was found, and the caller had
checked everywhere for a couple of weeks to see if anyone was lookin' for her.
Can you believe that she was all alone? We were asked if we could take her 
to live with us. Mom talked to Dad and then called her sister who has wanted a
corgi for quite a while. Her sister said "yes" right away! When Di called back the 
next day, she asked us to start calling this little girl "Ceri" (pronounced Kee-ree). 
It's Welsh for "love".

 We've been gettin' along great - as long as she doesn't get too cozy with my
Mom! I even showed her my awesome swimmin' skills and she loves my pool!
 This is kinda how we got acquainted. I first met her in town and then we came back 
home. Mom let us both into the Holidome and we stood checkin' each other out.
 Then, I jumped into the pool and Ceri jumped right in behind me!
I couldn't even believe it! She loves bein' in the water!!
 I showed her my superior divin' style. (She was impressed!)
 She stood on the swim-out and watched me take a few laps.
She was not too sure about jumpin' in with me, so she just stayed there,
stuck her head under water and then she blew bubbles. Mom laughed!
 She jumped off the deck one time and almost missed the swim out.
That woulda been really funny, but Mom and Dad were lifeguardin'.
She was safe.

Actually, by the end of the day, she was swimmin', too, but she didn't 
jump in like I do. Mom just took her out into the deep water to swim.
She has a pretty mean dog paddle! I thought that was cool.
 Every time I swam back to get out, there she was waitin' for me. You might 
notice that she's kinda tiny. She only weighs seventeen pounds. (I weigh
thirty!) We think she's about two years old, so maybe we're the same age!
 As soon as I jumped outta the water, Ceri jumped out, too, and then
we ran around the pool deck as fast as we could. We stopped, shook off 
the extra water, and then...
 SPLASH! Right back into the pool!
 She was pretty sad when we first saw her, but she's happier already.
When we told her what her new name is, she seemed to understand.
She comes when Mom calls her. She sits so Mom or Dad can put her leash
on before going outside (we don't want her runnin' away again!), and she's
excited to be movin' up to Minnesota. (We didn't tell her about snow yet.)
 So, for the next few weeks, I'll share more adventures with Ceri.
I think you'll like her as much as we do.

Have a great week. See ya next Tuesday! 'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"