Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Great Mail Day

Yesterday, I felt very blessed.

I received two "prize" packages in the mail.

The first was my eagerly anticipated prize in The Pink Artist Drawing.

The package sent by Amber Dawn was wrapped in floral tissue with little sparkles of glitter. It was tied with an organza ribbon and a rosette. I should have snapped a picture, but I was too eager to see the Pink Charms bracelet.

I wonder how many hours of work is represented in this charm bracelet? Thank you to all the Pink Charms artist for donating a charm to add to this prize. Here they are in Amber Dawn's beautiful photographs with the Pink Artists identified.

I think I will keep this intact and show it off at my bees and guild for awhile. Then, I will probably use it as a source of beautiful little additions to other art quilts and gifts.

I feel very humbled!

Not only did my Pink Charms bracelet arrive, but also my prize for participating in the Breaking Traditions Art Quilt Exhibit. This was a nice little collection of artsy things like hand-made inchies and beads, some hand-painted fabric by fabulous fiber artist Virginia Spiegel, and a small package of Misty Fuse. I also won a special drawing prize that includes some gifts from Artgirlz, including charms and a wonderful little blank book with rainbow shades of handmade paper.

My other good news yesterday is the completion of my wooden floors! Yippee!

Now I have several new things to paint: the extension to a baseboard, and the ends of all the quarter-round molding. I am excited to be putting my rooms back together, cleaning off the dust, and enjoying the end result of all this remodeling.

Monday, October 27, 2008

You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry...

Alert readers may remember that I boasted about large garish State Fair prizes being banned from our house. So can you imagine how freaked I was to open the back of MY car and find this?

He had spent the day after the Fair in my husband's manager's office chair. Then it will take up most of the bedroom of grandson Avery. Oh well, anything for the grandkids!

We spent most of the weekend working in the yard, since the party Saturday will be outdoors. We haven't mowed yet, but the flowerbeds are weeded, limbs trimmed, pig-cooker in place. It was really pretty in yesterday's late afternoon sun.

This bush has changed color nicely in time for the party. I call it "Burning Bush." It is a Euonymus shrub that has nearly exceeded its space limitations in my "butterfly garden" out front.

Off to the Fair to pick up my quilt and see if any of the gorgeous potted plants are still available. They sell much of the garden display flowers and shrubs on the day the fair closes.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Working Hard

Charlie and I went out on this rainy morning to get some decorations for next Saturday's pig-picking. They were just unloading these pumpkins and mums off the truck at a produce stand. Our trees are just starting to turn color in the woods, so by next Saturday, it should be very pretty.
Yesterday, good progress was made on the wood floors. He almost finished the living room and foyer. Not Scary Tattoo Guy, but a young man who looks strikingly like my nephew Donnie. I like the new wood even better than the defective first product we tried.
I got to work in the kitchen. I primed and painted the new baseboard, and repaired the paint in some areas where the chair rail was moved. I sealed the new backsplash tile and grout. It brought out some more tones in the tile and looks great. I am glad I had it installed "on point."

Now for the bad part. We are having one hundred people over one week from today, and this is what every room looks like.
We have got to do some major putting away of all this stuff. I will happy for my home to be livable again. The floors should be finished on Monday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wish I Had a Picture

Sorry no pic today, but here is a funny little story to add to my post about my State Fair quilt.

My husband is a State Fair fanatic. He and several of the guys at his office have an annual Boys Night Out at the fair every year. They eat their way from one end of the fair to the other. My husband and our friend Richard always win giant stuffed animals by shooting bulls-eyes with any kind of weapon from rifles to crossbows at those Midway games. Charlie is no longer allowed to bring these garish monstrosities home, so he usually finds a family on their way out to give them to. This time, they both were carrying armfuls of giant Shreks and Batman toys that they won at the machine-gun shooting contest. Faithful DH decided to show Richard my prize-winning quilt.

Just picture in your mind two graying stockbrokers in their late fifties carrying their toys and asking the State Fair quilt lady to turn all the racks of quilts to find mine.

Turns out they were looking at the racks on the right, and mine was in the rack on the left. When the attendant started flipping through the quilts, a small crowd of women gathered to ooh and aah over the quilts. My guys with their stuffed toys finally got embarrassed at being the center of this non-manly interest in the quilts, and went on without seeing my quilt.

I really hate this new display system at the fair, but I love this story!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Dance!

I had a very quick stop at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh on my way to South Carolina on Monday. I guess you can see I was pretty tickled to see a blue ribbon on my little green trapunto quilt! I have gotten two seconds, two fourths, and an honorable mention in the past at the State Fair, but never a first place from that venue. Yippee!

Actually, when I first got there, I did not see my quilt at all. Do you see the new way they are exhibiting the quilts this year? It resembles the rugs hanging at the home improvement store. There were two large racks of stacked quilts. In order to see any quilts, you had to ask the attendant to flip the racks. I was waiting with two other ladies for her to come and show us the quilts, and I saw the scalloped edge of my small quilt just peeping out. As it turns out, the two ladies were waiting for the attendant to turn the display so they could see my quilt! They had gotten a glimpse of it during her last flipping session.

Well, on the way to the Fair I had taken my camera to the shop, and they have sent it off for repair. So, I had no camera to take my picture with the quilt. But, one of the ladies offered to take my picture and e-mail it to me. And today, there it was in my e-mail! Many, many thanks to my new friend Kathy Lassiter for troubling to do this for me.

I wish I could have taken lots more Fair pictures. It was a beautiful day! I ate my hot dog and got a fabulous ice cream cone from my Alma Mater N.C.State's ice cream booth. I would love to have shown you the garden displays. One of the Theme Garden categories was "Patchwork Quilt Garden." The blue ribbon winner was a garden with a twig bed, and the "quilt" was made up of different flowers and plants. I loved it! Very clever!

Anyway, I did get to see my grandchildren the before my son's surgery. When you only see them once a month or so, they sure look "grown" at the next visit! My son did very well and was getting along fine when I left early this morning. I enjoyed a beautiful sunrise which you can see for miles in the flat land of coastal South Carolina. I filled up on gas for $2.62 per gallon, which is 44 cents cheaper than I paid in North Carolina on Monday. We have the honor of much higher gas taxes in NC. Now the floor guy is installing the wood floors downstairs, so I am breathing a sigh of relief that maybe this remodel will be done in time for the party on Nov. 1.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last autumn weekend in mountains

We had one more wonderful mountain weekend before we must stay home, try to put our house back together after remodeling, and get ready for a big client pig-picking at our house on November 1. Oops, that is, if the remodeling is finished. The floors are going to be installed next Thursday and Friday. The tiles are up for the backsplash, but not grouted yet. I asked the installer to put the tiles "on point." He finally figured out that I meant in a diagonal setting. Lots more cutting, as we quilters know, but he was a good sport. It will look great when it is done.

On the way to the mountains, we were about ten minutes away from our cabin when we were stopped by a fireman on a very curvy, rain-slick road. There were rock cliffs on the left and a drop down the mountain on the right. There was a tractor trailer jack-knifed on the curve and a wrecker trying to get it out. After sitting for thirty minutes in the #2 car position, we turned around and headed another way. We passed the activity buses for the West Wilkes football team, trying to make it to their Friday night game. Hope they made it!

Saturday morning, we decided to visit the Ashe County Farmers' Market in West Jefferson. That is Mount Jefferson in the background, where we went to the park on top last weekend. I had been to the market once before with my sister, but Charlie had never been. We purchased two home-made candles in jars. The one we brought home smells like spiced cider, and the one for the cabin is Christmas Memories. It was very crowded...many tourists, what we call the "Leaf Peepers."

Then we went to an antique mall where we have purchased some things for the cabin on previous trips. I was looking for end tables for the living room at home, but ended up getting a nice little pine hutch and china cabinet. Only one part of it would fit in our car, so we drove home with the hutch and went back for the base. Thankfully, it was still sitting out in front of the store.

Then we stopped by the Northwest Trading Post on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love these stores with local foods and crafts. Here are some quilts for sale:A hand-painted bench with mountain scene...
some country aprons in fun prints...are those skeletons jumping rope?Here are some split oak baskets.And I love the sign for the "necessaries"...Here is a nice display of pumpkins and corn sheaves for sale...

And on the way back to Laurel Springs, we screeched to a stop when we saw this sign for home-made apple butter. We bought six jars that were STILL WARM. Best I ever had!

It was much colder and cloudier this weekend...
But still very pretty. The next time we go up, the trees will probably be bare. Some already are.But most were still in full glory.
Tomorrow I hit the road again, going south this time. Time for a quick "fix" to see my grandkids, take my son to hospital for some minor surgery, and head back on Wednesday. Have to be home for the floor guys. Not sure if I will be able to post until later in the week. Have a good one!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Lucky Day

Yesterday was the drawing for the Pink Artist Project. You may remember that I made my Pink Wallhanging (what a creative name) to donate as a prize for a donor to the Susan G. Komen Foundation (Breast Cancer Research) through this project. Well, guess what? I also won a prize for donating! Look at this beautiful bracelet made of pink "charms" donated by many artists!

Such a variety of little pretties! I can't wait to see it up close and examine all the techniques that went into these beads, buttons, jewels, and mini-quilts! There are more pictures of the bracelet at the Think Pink Charm Exchange Blog. My friend Michelle made one of her embellished bottle cap objets d'arte for this exchange. She has already e-mailed me and apparently, not only does she have counter envy, she now has prize envy. Many thanks to everyone who made a charm to donate. They are awesome!

Please read Monica's blog post about the prize drawings. I had tears in my eyes when I read the story of the winner of Love Squared, the beautiful pink-haired doll wearing a skirt of two-inch quilt squares. She will be going to the perfect home!

The winner of my donation is Dian Moore. Dian, I will send your shiny little pink quilt on Monday since I do not have your address yet and we are leaving for the weekend in a little while. Congratulations, and I hope you will enjoy it!

Here is what I have been working on this week when I was not watching my kitchen project unfolding. I have finished three quilts in the past two years for my sister-in-law Debbie, whose late grandmother left behind many UFO's (Un-Finished Objects). At my father's birthday party in September, she brought me four more that she had gotten on her last trip to Indiana. Apparently there is a lifetime supply! Most of these are tops that have not been quilted. But this one was tied with bright red yarn. All I was asked to do is finish the binding so it can be used.

Inquiring minds might be wondering, is that polyester double-knit? Yes! Is it very stretchy and hard to work with? Yes! Is it frayed? Yes! Did she really use red yarn on pink? Yes!

So, I stitched all around the edges to stabilize, and then zig-zagged the edges to flatten them down a bit. But look....Is the fabric dry-rotted? Yes! Quite a bit of the red used in the large diamonds is falling apart, as are some of the other fabrics. So, instead of running to Wal-Mart and looking for similar shades in polyester, I did what I hope Grandma would have done. I looked through my scrap bins for anything in a similar shade.

I tried fusing over the previous patch. Nope. Does not stick to poly. And the poly kind of melts.

So, I am making appliques to stitch on top of the bad pieces. And decided to use flannel for softness.

If you can tell, this is not my favorite project. But I love the fact that my sis-in-law values her grandmother's work. This one has a certain charm, and I think it may find a home at their cabin by a mountain lake in Tennessee. I am making a black cotton binding to finish the edges. A very wide binding to cover all the fraying edges.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Work-in-Progress Wednesday-Kitchen Counters

Need a little break today? Pause for a minute by Big Peak Creek in Ashe County, North Carolina.

Yesterday there was a lot of excitement Chez McBrayer. The granite truck rolled right up to the front steps. I was a little concerned about my granite making it from the truck to the kitchen. One of the two installers was holding his pot belly, bending over and moaning just before carrying in the 900 pound section for the island. Male labor pains? The guy blamed it on what he ate for lunch. But the fellows did an amazing job and it was quite fascinating to watch. I had to sit on the front porch when the smell of the glue starting pervading the house.

Now the counters and sink are in place. Mr. Quilty came home late last night. He was the one who had insisted on the fake-wood formica countertops when we bought this house. But he loved the shiny new granite. Said it looked like a new house! Today they are supposed to add beadboard and moulding to the island, install the faucets and hook up the dishwasher, and start the tile backsplash. However, no one has shown up yet.

Project for today: try to bind a 1970's polyester double-knit quilt. This is another one made by my sister-in-law's grandma. Fortunately, the quilt was tied with yarn, so I don't have to quilt it. I had to ask advice from the Longarm List about how to finish it. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Mountains and One More Quilt

Yesterday I shared a lot of pictures of our weekend in the North Carolina mountains. Today, I have a few more from our Sunday adventures. Above you see the little bridge over the creek that is our entrance to the Hall-McBrayer family compound. Hyannisport, move over! The driveway you see goes to my sister's home and one that her son built behind it. Take a right to get to Ricky and Mary's new home. To get to our place, hang a left at the bridge.

Then pass the pond and go up the hill.Look how tall the zinnias have grown behind our cabin! The tallest are my height, about 5'7". That mountain soil will grow anything super-size!
Thankfully, there is no hunting allowed on Sunday, so we were able to enjoy our ride in the Gator to the top of the mountain. Here is one of our favorite stopping places, overlooking many hills of Christmas tree farms. As we sat there, a nice breeze stirred up the leaves. It looked like it was raining golden leaves. I felt like I was in a Disney animated movie like Bambi. You can barely see the leaves tossing around in the air in the photos below.

While we were on the mountain, we retrieved the memory chip from the Stealth Cam near one of the feeders. It has been fun to see the raccoons, turkey, squirrels, and deer at the feeder- sometimes all together! This first picture was actually from last month.

Well, this time, there was finally a picture of Mr. Buck at the feeder. I hereby give him the World's Ugliest Antlers award. Maybe that ugly rack will prevent him from becoming a trophy on some hunter's wall. Charlie calls that antler sticking up a "cow horn." He has another antler laying right over his eye.

I had a wonderful surprise on Sunday afternoon. Our friends Art and Mary from college also have a mountain cabin about twenty miles from ours. Last weekend, Art was on a bicycle camping trip, and Mary brought her college roommate, Dottie, to the cabin for the weekend. Dottie and I were also close friends, bridesmaids in each other's weddings, in fact. She got married about ten years after I did. I'll never forget her wedding rehearsal. I was about two months pregnant with Dave, and during the long-winded preacher's blessing I keeled right over in a faint. After that they stuffed me with food all weekend to steady me up! Anyway, Mary and Dottie came over just before we left on Sunday afternoon. I gave her a quick Gator tour, and then rode home with her as far as Burlington so we could catch up with each other.

Okay, back home again. Here is the second of Teresa's quilts that I finished. It is very similar to the last one I posted, but it is slightly larger and has four-patches in some of the center squares. I used the same yellow thread and curvy swirls, but added a funky spiral design in the center squares.

This quilt looks good with A-Muse-ing Violette looking down from my wall, doesn't it!

That's it for today. I am excited that my granite counters and new sink are being installed this afternoon. I am more than ready after having no counters and no running water in the kitchen for the past week. Pictures tomorrow!