Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buzzing Around

Here is a super-cute wall-hanging made by my customer, Martha. 

The fabrics all coordinate with lots of little oval bees making loop-de-loops across the fabrics.  So that was an easy choice for the overall quilting.

When I got to the four corner bees, I added some fancy wings.

The bold center text and dark accents make this a graphically pleasing piece.

I am excited that it is almost time again for Merlefest, a four-day music festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  It is about a 45-minute drive from our mountain cabin.  This year's musicians will include Allison Krauss, Vince Gill, Bela Fleck, and of course, the venerable Doc Watson.  Doc is getting up there in age, and we are thankful that he is still able to perform.  Hope he wears his woolies if it stays as cold as it has been the past few days!  I think we are on a warming trend, but I plan to bring everything from flip-flops to parka!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Out of my Slump

For the past week I have had either seasonal allergies or a cold.  How does one tell the difference?  I have had all the symptoms of both, except no fever.  Coughing, coughing, coughing.

Anyway, after years of teaching school no matter how bad I felt, (because it's easier than planning for and dealing with the after-effects of a substitute) I went about my normal activities, but nothing creative.  No sewing, quilting, painting, or even a doodle.  I just didn't feel like it.

Today I decided that my projects were not going to magically get done by themselves.  I fired up the longarm and got a couple things marked off the list.

First were the pillow shams to match the white spring quilt I finished for Marge about a month ago.  I mounted them both on the machine at the same time on a piece of muslin.

The only disadvantage to this method is that you can't clamp each side of the pieces.  That's okay.  I went ahead and basted all around each sham as I went and they came out fine.

Next was a charity top that I promised to quilt for my bee member, Irene, at our February meeting when she gave it to me.  It was definitely past time to get it done.  It was a Warm Wishes pattern in soft pastel florals and baby fabrics.  My first thought was to use a dark pink thread, so I rummaged through my drawer and came up with this Victorian Rose shade.

Do you notice anything wrong with this spool?  Yes, it appears to have at least three different thread ends.  What in the world?  I wound off the thread until it appeared to be back to normal.  Then I tried winding a bobbin. 

Nope, not going to work!  Seriously problematic!  That cone is going in the trash.

Fortunately, the quilting went just fine with a nice new blue thread.  I did Fantasy Freehand Flowers all over.

The quilting looks nice on the rainbow-striped backing.

It has rained all day today, but here is a sure sign of spring.  A pair of Canada geese has moved into one of the ponds on my street, and are raising a brood of goslings.  Several times I have seen them outside of the fence and perilously close to the traffic on the street.  

Please, Mother Goose and Father Goose, keep those babies back in the pond and out of harm's way!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Fun Birthday Party

What great weather for a birthday party on a lake!  When we got there, the birthday girl and two of her friends were paddling on the lake.

Yes, that's our Emily in the flamingo hat!

The hats made a fun event even more fun.  Some of them were handmade, and rather incredible.

Young and old participated in the fun.

It was a big group of family and friends.  The big person with the long legs in front is our son Dave.

We were able to surprise Emily with a cameo appearance by The King.

That is actually my brother-in-law Richard.  He and his wife were in town for a wedding reception, and he agreed to do his Elvis impersonation once again.

I gave Emily one of my watercolor paintings that I had matted and framed.

Dave says this looks just like a scene from the town of Eze, France, that they visited last fall.

After the party, the young descended upon downtown Raleigh, and we older McBrayers went to dinner at the Angus Barn.  What a great day!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quilts from the Whacky Ladies

My quilt bee meeting of The Whacky Ladies was fun and inspirational on Thursday night.  I was so proud that most of our show-and-tell quilts are destined to become charity quilts, mostly for the programs of Capital Quilters Guild of Raleigh.

However, the star of the show was this lovely log cabin top pieced by Irene Hardister and several other women for a raffle at St. Catherine's church.  I think they are going to hand-quilt it.  It is just perfection!

Lori has purchased a long-arm, and quilted many tops that she has been storing up for practice.  She and Carolyn worked on the nine-patch quilts at our charity sew-in day in January.

 She also made some of those stack-and-slash nine-patch quilts for charity.

This was my favorite of Lori's quilts.

Mary delighted Irene by making a tote bag for her.  Irene had chosen a tote bag from Mary as her gift in our "Dirty Santa" Christmas exchange.  Some mean person had stolen it away from her when it was her turn.  Not mentioning any names, but it made a great beach bag a couple of weekends ago!  Irene loved her new bag.  And I could not take it away from her this time!

Not sure why my pics are turning sideways today.  So sorry!

Mary also finished the charity quilt that I quilted for her, and it looks great with that striped binding.

Mary made this gorgeous quilt from a large piece of botanical fabric.  Wow!

Carolyn has found that a good way to keep her motivated is to participate in block-of-the-month projects from LQS Wish Upon a Quilt in Raleigh.  The red and white big blocks are looking very impressive.

She is also doing a batik block-of-the-month from them in a smaller block.

Marilyn was knitting a prayer shawl.  These are given to church members at Good Hope Lutheran church when there is a need.

I had a show-and-tell, but can't show it until after today.  We are going to a party to celebrate my daughter-in-law's thirtieth birthday this afternoon.  Should be a fun time!  It is also my oldest son's birthday, #35.    Happy Birthday Bryson, and Happy Birthday Emily! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From the Beach to the Mountains and Back

The day after my grandkids left last week, Charlie and I headed up to Laurel Springs, North Carolina to our little mountain cabin.  It was a beautiful weekend with lots of my sister's family there.  So, there was lots of baby hugging and cute little kids to play with.

This is my sweet little great-niece, Holly.  So precious!

I was surprised that some of my pansies in the window boxes had survived the winter.

I have planted tons of daffodils on the hill and along the driveway, and some of them were still blooming.

Charlie and I took a ride up the mountain on our Gator just as the last light of the afternoon was making the hillside golden.

Even our golden dog looked more golden as she calmly surveyed the mountain side.

We had a beautiful ride home on Sunday.  The redbuds and dogwoods were spectacular.

There were a few "happy little clouds" in the blue sky above.

Best of all, we brought my dad home with us for a few days.  He lives with my sister, but we are enjoying having him with us this week.  He even set up a temporary painting studio in my kitchen and is working on a mountain painting.

I hope to have some quilty news after my quilt bee meets at my house on Thursday night.  But we are having more company for the weekend and have another birthday event, so I'm not sure when I will post again.  I have two new customer projects coming in next week, so please visit ATQ again soon!  By the way, I just realized that my last post was number 1,000...quite a milestone!  I will have to have a give-away soon to celebrate!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Week of Family Time

Last Thursday, we went to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, for a family birthday weekend.  What a great time, with good weather and lots of good food!  Charlie and I were the first to arrive, and this is how the beach appeared.  Just the way I like it!

The water was cold, but that did not keep the grandkids out.

Although they were tired puppies after braving the chill.

The beach lived up to its name each night.

On Saturday, it started out rainy, but it let up enough for us to go back out on the beach.  There were some storm clouds inland, but they stayed offshore.

On Sunday, Charlie and I loaded up the three kids and brought them home with us, since it was their spring break.  On Monday, I took the kids to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.  They loved all the exhibits.  I had not been since they renovated the museum, and really liked the improvements.

I tried to take them to Pullen Park in Raleigh, which just re-opened after extensive renovations.  We could not find a parking place, so we went to Shelley Lake in north Raleigh and enjoyed a picnic at the park.

We vowed to get up early the next day and try Pullen Park again.  We got there eight minutes after it opened, and there were only a few parking places left.  We took advantage of the great weather and stayed all day.  The newly painted carousel looks amazing.  It is shiny and all the paint has been freshened up.

The horses and other animals look beautiful.

We even went on the paddle boats, and the two oldest kids did the paddling around the lake.  Lily had to practically lie down to reach the pedals.  Avery was the chief crew member.  Caden's job was to sit still and not fall out.

What a great day at this beautiful jewel of a park in Raleigh.  Even with long lines for almost everything, these three had a wonderful day.

Today I met the parents halfway, and transferred the kids to them.  My house is quiet and I am tired, but I loved this special family time.