Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lots to catch up on

Here is what I have done in the last week.  First, on Wednesday I received a remarkable package in the mail...my long-awaited blog give-away prize that I won from Carla Barrett back in January.  It is a fabulous, free-form crochet beaded necklace in the colors that I chose...created just for me!  Carla named it "Waves of Color."

I can't believe it is mine!  All I had to do was follow the instructions for the give-away, which was to publicize Carla's online Quilt Whisperer  workshop.  Wow...I am so lucky!   On Thursday, I proudly wore my new necklace when we went out to eat at Bocci's in Cary with Dave and Emily to celebrate his birthday.

I finished painting my old sewing room upstairs last week.  What a difference!  It is not all put back together yet.  Today I painted the walls in the hallway between the two rooms on the third floor.  It is kind of rare to have a house with a finished attic space, so I want it to look bright and new.

Last weekend we headed for the mountains for another mini-reunion with my family.  My brother Jeff lives in Florida, so we don't get to see him too often.  He and his wife and daughter drove up for a week in the cooler climate of the North Carolina mountains.  We had a nice al fresco dinner at the shelter in what we laughingly call the "City Park."   My brother John came over from Boone to join us.  Here are two of my five brothers together.

The weather was very nice, and we had lots of fun sitting at the creek and riding across the mountain trails.  At the Christmas tree farm on top of the mountain, they are replacing the cut trees with pumpkins.  I wonder if Christmas tree farming is not as profitable as it once was.  It takes at least seven years to grow a six- or seven-foot tree from a seedling.

That's not a big orange pumpkin near the back...that's my dog, Kasey!

We went on a long ride on Sunday afternoon.  We stopped to view the progress of  the reclaimed "sulphur flats" which had been polluted by the former copper mine on top of the mountain.  It had been covered with dusty sulfurous powder that ran off into the creek.  Nothing would grow on the land or in the creek in that area.  Now it has been covered with layers of soil and rocks to filter the polluted water.  It is looking great...your US tax dollars at work!

I caught this picture of Charlie and Kasey standing in a pool of light overlooking the sulfur flats.  A beautiful spot in the woods!

Last week I mentioned some mysterious boxes that had been lurking in an attic space for the past 18 years.  The contents of the second box were a collection of my old formal dresses!

This one (sadly wrinkled) was my Junior prom dress, circa 1967.  I thought it was a rather tasteful linen sheath for the times.

The next one was my bridesmaid dress from my friend Barbara's wedding.  A big fluffy yellow thing!

Here we are way back in 1970.  That dress did not look so bad.  We were pretty cute back then!

Feel like you're in a Katherine Heigl movie yet?  Here's another bridesmaid dress.  I actually liked this one from Donna and Bobby Harley's wedding in 1973.  Less frothy!  It is still in great condition, although a little out of shape from being in the carton so long.

This dress was not a bridesmaid dress, but I wore it in the seventies when the maxi dress was in style.  It is a knit that has held up beautifully...if you dig those bright colored flowers on the gray background!

And the piece de resistance...my own wedding dress!  Back in the Seventies, brides were not wearing those low-necked, sleeveless gowns that are so popular now.  We were modestly decked-out like fairy-tale princesses...or Juliet!  Actually, much more flattering on most figures, especially on today's brides with their tatoos peeking out from their formal gowns!

The Venetian lace has gotten a little yellowed, but the dress is otherwise in great condition considering it was never packed for posterity by the dry cleaners.  Here is my tiara and floor-length tulle veil.

Hope you enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane!  I think these dresses are going to kept for my granddaughters to play dress-up.  Might as well, since I've kept them this long!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We have a winner!

And the winner of the Japanese Lanterns pattern and Oriental fabric squares is ...


#3, otherwise known as Jo!  Congratulations to Jo, and thanks to the other blog readers for playing along. 

Jo, send me your mailing address, and I will send your package to you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Storage Ideas...and a Blast from the Past!

Here are a few more free storage containers, most of them courtesy of products from Sam's Club.  The shorter jars with the blue lids contained cashews, and make great storage jars.  The taller plastic jars contained the sinfully delicious peanut butter pretzels.  We had to quit buying those...very habit-forming!  Since I have no water supply on the third floor, I also use those tall jars to tote water upstairs.  One is full of clean water, and the other is used to pour dirty water into when I am painting.

The colorful box on the right of the top shelf is just cardboard covered with wrapping paper and a computer print-out of an art quilt of mine.  I added some ribbon trim to make a pleasing container.  The hummingbird box is just covered with some paper napkins that I liked.  I added some acrylic varnish so it would not tear.

I have a large supply of free painting palettes that used to be plastic lids, bowls, and containers.  I reach for one of these when mixing paints or pouring small amounts of product from a jar.

So...here is my work desk in the former sewing room.  When last I showed it, there were so many jars of gesso and gel medium and other stuff, you could not even see any wood.  Now I am ready to paint the walls.

Since this room is actually an attic space, there are numerous little access doors to the eaves.  I opened this one yesterday to see what, if anything, might be stored behind it.  It's like a little Hobbit door, just a few feet tall.

Luckily I found something we had been searching for...the wooden ladder to our bunk beds!  Our boys had a set of those wooden bunk beds made from wooden crates in our last house when they shared a room.  We didn't need them in this house with its extra bedrooms, so I guess it got stashed in here when we moved in.  We think we will set up the bunk beds in the new mountain cabin for the grandkids.   Also, there were two boxes which were like opening a 1960's-70's Time Capsule!  I believe these boxes were in the attic in our very first house!

The first thing I pulled out was a very full cloth bank bag.  Did my husband rob a bank back in the 70's and forget to tell me?  Nope, it was full of cancelled checks and bank statements.  Most of them were to grocery stores that no longer exist.  I had forgotten about the Big Star, Colonial Food Store, and of course the A&P.  There was a check for $14.00 to Southern Bell, one of the baby Bells that no longer exists either.  That included our long-distance charges.  Remember those?

Remember waiting to get your bank statement in the mail each month, accounting for all the checks you wrote, and hoping it matched the amount written down in your check book records?  Sure don't miss that.  Here is a bank draft for our first house payment.  Yup, $331.00.  Sure wish that was what we still paid each month!

My husband has always been fond of purchasing technology devices.  Here is a Panasonic AM-FM radio, and a Kodak Instamatic camera.

Speaking of seventies, doesn't this little wall-hanging that I made just scream 70's colors?  Yikes, look at those legs embroidered with thick orange yarn!

This bowl must have been a 1971 wedding gift.  It was once silver or silver-plate. Forty-one years later, it is a wee bit tarnished!

Guess I better quit typing and start painting.  Next time I will show you what was in the other box!

Don't forget to leave a comment on my previous post if you are interested in a pattern and some fabric squares to make a Japanese Lanterns quilt top.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Little Give-Away

Sorry about the no-posting for the last week.  Ever since we got the Pod, I have spent my days organizing and packing "stuff" to put in it!  Our son Dave came over Wednesday night and helped carry some of the heavier bookshelves and furniture downstairs.   The Pod is only about one-fourth full.

Here is a little give-away:  I discovered a pattern for a "Japanese Lanterns" quilt, along with twelve squares of Oriental fabric, as I was organizing my sewing room.


I think I won this prize back in the nineties, not long after Al Gore invented the Internet!  All you would need to add is some black fabric for the sashings, white for the corner triangles, and a border fabric.

The directions are simple, only one page total. 

Since we will be building a log cabin, this style of fabric just will not work for our rustic environment.  If you would like to have the pattern and fabric squares, just leave a comment after this post.  I will choose a random winner Wednesday night.

I actually removed all the boxes and totes and piles of projects from both closets in my former sewing room.  Then I painted the inside and doors of the closets a gleaming white, so I could start putting some neatly organized containers back in.  I have found that the plastic containers that dishwasher detergent pods come in make good storage units that fit on the narrow shelf at the top of each closet.

The two rooms on the third floor are finished attic rooms, so there is the sloping roofline to deal with.  Most of the things neatly contained on the shelf were formerly spread across my workdesk, cutting table, or on the floor before the clean-up.

I have invested in lots of 15-quart, 34-quart, and 66-quart storage bins for the UFO's and fabric collections.  I like the Hefty brand, with snap-on handles that allow the lid to close tightly.  I think that my fabrics will be safe in the Pod in these containers. 

I am storing the books that go with each project in the container.  That way, if I pull the neatly labeled box, everything I need will be there, ready to get to work.

I finished with the bookcase yesterday.  Man, I have a lot of books.   The former HGTV program Simply Quilts cost me a lot of money!  Every time I saw a guest demonstrate a project I liked from her book, I ordered it.  If I had time, I would try to sell them on e-Bay, but it is easier to box up the ones I don't need and donate them to our local library or the Goodwill Industries.  I have kept all the books on art quilts and embellishment, and a few favorite quiltmaking books like the ones by McClun and Nownes.   I do have a new granddaughter arriving in December who will be needing a baby quilt! 

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win the Japanese fabrics and pattern!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We've Been Invaded by the Pod People!

We have a pod!  Not the kind from Invasions of the Body Snatchers, a horror film from my childhood, but a storage pod.

This system is a rather ingenious solution to the storage of your "stuff" when you are moving.    They deliver the pod right to your home on a well-engineered truck, loaded with a hydraulic frame.  They lower the pod where you want it, then drive the truck away from the frame, then raise the frame up to clear the pod and re-attach it to the truck.

Charlie and I watched in fascination as they delivered our pod right outside our garage, across the driveway.  It is sixteen feet of empty box.

This will soon look very different.  We want to clear out some furniture  to make our rooms look larger, and get some of the stuff we've boxed up out of the way.

When you are ready, they will come back for your pod and either take it to a storage place, or deliver it to your new home.

Since we do not know how long it will take to build our mountain home, or where we will live in Raleigh when we sell the house. or how long it will take to sell our house, it is hard to know what to put in the pod.

Surely not all my neatly boxed-up sewing projects? 

I am using clear containers as much as possible, and labeling everything else in case we have to retrieve something.  But, I have found enough Un-Finished Objects (UFO's) to keep me busy for years, so I doubt I will need all these unfinished quilt projects to be readily available!

Anyway, if they go into the Pod, I will try to take pictures of them first.  Some of them are pretty nice quilt tops, not far from being finished.

Here is one I found that only lacks an outer border.  I won the blocks at Capital Quilters' Guild Block Party many years ago.  Look at all the piecing I did to set them.  I would think that a green print border would be just right.

Maybe I will leave that one out of the Pod!

The big question...what do I do with my twelve-foot longarm table and my Gammill machine?

Do I look for a rental house in Raleigh with a basement or big room?

Do I store it until the mountain house is finished?

Do I sell it, and buy a new one when we move?

Can't decide.  I am hoping for the first option.

Better get to work filling up boxes to put in the pod!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Surprise! I Did Some Quilting!

It was rainy again today...we are in a kind of holding pattern for the weather system that is making it kind of dreary outside.  I decided to do a little quilting.  Although I have turned down most of my customer's quilts since May or June,  I couldn't resist this little baby quilt made by Jessie.

These colorful little boats are rocking and rolling on the sea, so I quilted in some waves and a few fish.  You can see them better on the backing.

This little quilt reminds me of those gingham sun-suits that little boys wear...over their father's objections!

Speaking of little boys, we had two cute little ones at our cabin last weekend.   My sister had three three-year-old girls at her place, as well as darling four-month old Holly.  But the littlest baby of all came up on Saturday...brand new Clay, only six weeks old!  Congratulations, Matt and Stephanie!

The favorite outdoor activity was sitting by the creek and watching the little ones playing in the water.

We had a cookout on Saturday night in honor of Bryson and Melissa's wedding.  My dad was pleased that five of his seven children were able to make it.  Here are my sister-in-law Beth, brothers Tim and Pat, Dad, sister Katy, and me.  My brother John and his wife Patti also were there.

Here are the honorees, Bryson and Melissa.  That's my niece Melinda to the left.

It has been a tradition for the past six July Fourth weekends for Dave and Emily to camp out with several couples that they have been friends with since college.  This year it was Matt and Summer with little John, and Aundrea and Michael with little Samuel.   They are all expecting again, along with our very own Dave and Em!  We are so happy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ready for the Fourth of July

I decided to attend the monthly meeting of my art quilt bee on Monday.  So glad that I did.  We met at Kathy's house.  During show-and-tell, we got to see the beautiful jacket Roberta made for the Hoffman Challenge.  It is silk  patchwork with appliques of the floral fabric.

Roberta is renowned for her original garments, which have been in many national shows and exhibits.  I, on the other hand, am not very good about finishing patchwork jackets.  I unearthed three jacket UFO's while organizing my sewing room/studio last week.  Yes, I finally uncovered the one that was at the bottom of the heap on my cutting table.

It is curvy patchwork that I started in a Capital Quilters' Guild workshop with Karen Eckmeier.  It is supposed to be stitched to a sweatshirt to form the jacket.  I almost have enough pieces made to finish it.

I also have the unfinished mermaid jacket from a Quilt University class with Linda Schmidt.

I have already painted mermaids to applique to the yokes.  This one will get finished some day.

I also found some patchwork from a long-ago CQG workshop with Linda M. Fiedler.  It was so long ago that I do not have a digital photo!  I had forgotten all about this project.

Kathy took us downstairs to her sewing room to see her new longarm, "George,"  which is a sit-down model from APQS. 

 While we were down there, she showed us all of her UFO's.  I left feeling much better about my own!  Kathy has dozens that are ready to be quilted.  George is going to be very busy!

Yesterday we packed the truck to leave for the mountains.  It was 101 degrees in our driveway when we left, and 72 degrees a few hours later when we arrived in Laurel Springs. 

Upper Mountain Research Station, where we turn off on our road to the cabin
We are looking forward to a weekend with family and friends.  All our kids and grandkids and my sister's kids and grandkids will be here.  Can't wait!  Meanwhile, we will celebrate the Fourth by sitting at the creek and cooling off with some icy adult beverages.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!