Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Fabric Bowl

I recently ordered a fabric strip set from Connecting Threads, the Rivera Collection (and a couple more!) with the intention of using the precut strips for my next fabric bowl. There were 20 strips, but I culled out two that were very white, they'll make it into a scrap quilt someday. I'm not a big fan of brown, but it worked nicely as the base of this bowl.

Again, I'm working with Rosanne Campisi's technique of fabric covered clothesline. She has a wonderful 2 disk DVD called Mrs. King's Gallery Baskets that she has produced with her business partner Jamie Wallen who was my guest teacher in my studio this summer.

I am so hooked on these bowls! There are several techniques out there that involve fabric and clotheslines, but this technique is unique in the way it gives you a more finished 'gallery' type basket. Rosanne has given me permission to teach her technique to my students with the purchase of the DVD - so I do have a class scheduled in September, and will probably have several others in the future. So far I've only made a couple of round bowls with handles and this oval bowl. I want to make the basket with a lid, but there wasn't enough fabric in this collection to do it's still on the 'to do list'.

I'm looking at fabric in a whole new way now...seeing possibilities of color combinations and wondering just how scrappie I can get a way with! Stay tuned....I'm sure there will be more!!

In the meantime...back to the longarm, next up - feathers!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Working Overtime

I've had a busy few days, so thought I'd take a moment to catch up...

The beautiful fabric is a personal project I finished late last night, but more on that in a little while!

In one of my last posts I shared about the gift of giving, as in so many people giving Quilts of Hope, Blankets of Love this past year for Hurricane Ike survivors....

Well, here's a hurricane story with a different twist!

Last summer, through the wonders of internet, I was able to connect with my long lost best friend from high school, Holly. We discovered that we were only 60-70+ miles from each other, her being north of Houston and me being south....of course each of us have families and busy lives so we corresponded through email as a "catch up" and planned a day to make that journey through Houston to the other side to get together and see each other face to face.

For whatever reason, I kid you not, each date that we were able to set aside from our busy schedules last summer ended up being a hurricane evacuation! We tried at least three times, all three resulted in a hurricane - the final one being Ike. We decided that if we tried again that we needed to alert the news media and weather forecasters to just go ahead and declare a hurricane was in the gulf....

Such is life if you try to plan things. Sometimes the best things are just spontaneous! Just recently I joined the ranks of FaceBook, which has provided yet another way for my dear friend and I to try to 'catch up' or at least be current with each others lives....enter in a quick post from Holly that she and her daughter are on MY side of Houston looking for a car...I post back, 'keep driving south you're almost at my house' and the next thing I know the phone rings and I'm giving her directions!!

Here we are, 30 years post high school, 20+ years since seeing each other. And guess what? No hurricane! Even though we could use some rain (grin).

While she was here I of course shared my studio and one of the quilts I'd just finished. Here's a sneak peak - photos will be posted on webshots this weekend after the customer has picked it up - I never want my customer to see their quilt before they get here, I love the ah-ha moment when they see their quilt top turned in to a quilt.

As I said, I've been working overtime this week....Here's another close up of a quilt that will be picked up later today that I just finished last night...

And a close up of another one that I actually did between the two above. So lots of company coming this weekend to pick up quilts.

I have big plans for my weekend ( actually my customers are having to work around it to pick up their quilts) church, Calvary Chapel Houston, is hosting a women's conference this weekend and I decided that I wanted a cover for my after hours last night, this is what I made!

I do not understand the uploading process of blogger. It has turned the photo and I don't know how to right-side-up-it-again. But for what it's worth, this is the pattern that I used, It's called Wrap it to Go by Terry Albers I purchased the pattern last year at the Houston International Quilt Festival and knew it would be perfect for this project.

I loaded the fabric on my longarm (thankfully at 6 PM yesterday evening I had just finished the mariner's compass customer quilt and was able to slip on something of mine!). Since the fabric is a busy print I could have gotten away with any quilting, meandering, loops, even cross-hatching, but I decided to do little feathers to give it some texture (see the close up at the top of the post). The quilting took longer than the project I think, but it was enjoyable. As my hubby keeps telling me, enjoy the process, so I did.

This is the exterior of my Bible wrap. I decided to do a button closure instead of Velcro and was blessed to find just the right button in my small little baggie of button stash. (I'm not telling a fib, I really don't have a big button thread or fabric, that's another story!)

The pattern called for a pen holder, which is very important to me. I do take a lot of notes at church and am always searching for a pen. I added the tissue holder, which is just under the large flap that wraps the Bible. I did this because, again, I'm always searching for one. We have the most awesome praise and worship team at our church, they just lift us up to the throne in worship and more times than not there's cause for tears of joy, so a hankie is appreciated (grin) and then of course there's those convicting sermons .... anyway, I thought it would be nice to keep tissues in my Bible and used this "Almost Free" Tissue Holder Pattern from Ami Simms.
I only put in a few tissues instead of an entire travel size package because it was too bulky.

So that's my workin' overtime story. I have several other quilts to do today and in the morning before heading out to Women's Conference on Friday night. I'm hoping I can steal away a couple of hours this evening and make a tote bag or something...we'll see. So many ideas, so few hours!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Creative Bug Bit

Friday I went wild. Shopping spree at Hobby Lobby and Texas Art Supply. Why? Well, I've been inspired by so many fabulous quilt teachers that I decided it was time to try my hand at some of their techniques.

You may remember when Jamie Wallen was here this summer, we did a little painting on fabric with fabric dyes...I loved I bought every color marker made by Tsukineko (far right in my photo). He also said that Gel pens will work so I found a nice set of 52 colors to play with.

Naturally I had to get other supplies too, brushes, brush cleaner, Dover design books, a box of sidewalk chalk (much cheaper than school chalk for some reason - that yellow box under the books on the right has 100 pieces of chalk!)

Several years ago I hosted Sherry Rogers- Harrison
She could work wonders with a Sharpie! She developed a technique she calls Ink-lique and now uses different mediums to color her whole clothes after quilting. Classes with Sherry, Karen McTavish as well as Renae Haddadin helped me to learn how to mark a quilt with blue water soluble markers. I love using Renae's Amazing Rays to create raidating lines....more on this later...

Then there's Irena Bluhm who "quilts of a different color" are colored with simple colored pencils. I love her bright color choices. So I picked up some colored pencils and plan on giving her technique a try.

So with all this fabulous influence I figured it was about time that I try something new. Oh, and the acrylics? Those are to experiment a little on my own. Years ago I used to tole paint with acrylics as well as fabric paint on sweatshirts (remember those days?) Since Jake does a lot with acrylics (and I'm hoping to involve him) I thought I'd work with a medium he was familiar with and introduce him to Textile Medium.

On the right is an original work of art by Jake, it was my birthday present. My thoughts were to transfer this to fabric, quilt, and later paint. Here you can see where I've marked my fabric with blue water soluble marking pen. I actually did two, one for him to play with and one for me. I'm hoping we can work on this together next time he has a day off (and me too!) I have wild dreams of us combining our art, this may just be our fusion - time will tell!

Not one to waste fabric or a day off -- figured I'd best do several at one time, after all, if I'm going to try out different mediums I need different samples right?

This is one of Irena's designs. I laid the original under my fabric -- which by the way is PFD - prepared for dye-ing - only because I had it leftover from my workshops with Jamie, and because it's the only white fabric in the house (figured I'd best use white, not lime green or purple!)

Notice the ruler, this is a little square, only six inches. I decided that I could probably freehand the feathers if I had a few reference points, so that's what I did.

Here it is on the frame once I've finished the quilting. I'm not used to working this small, and I switched to non-regulated speed, which is also new to me. I kept telling myself not to have a death-grip on the handlebars that it's only practice!

This is after I put a wet wash cloth to the design, the blue pen is temporally removed. More on this later! I didn't make a few things as smooth as I'd like, but I went straight from tracing the outline to quilting. Something to be said for practicing on paper -- but there just wasn't enough hours in my day!

Even though these photos are grouped by design I want to clarify that I marked several designs on one piece of fabric, then loaded it on the frame with two layers of batting - Hobbs 80/20 on the bottom and Hobbs 'poofy poly' on the top -- I'm thinking it's the 6 oz poly, I had a roll of it to use for the workshops so it came in handy to be able to use for practice. By the way, this is the combo that Irena recommends, with the exception she likes the 8 oz poly for more loft. I've always used wool when I've done little wholecloths, but Irena says with her pencil technique that wool doesn't work right...since it's practice anyway I hated to use up my precious wool batting!

This next design is one of Sherry's. Notice how tiny the feathers!! And notice how yucky I drew the middle. Decided that I needed the fine line blue marker so switched for the detail work and was happier.

I realized once I got to the machine that the circles just weren't going to work as I drew them, there was no way I could freehand and all the circle rulers I had just didn't match up to the size of the design element. So I used what I had. 'DESIGN CHANGE'

Then that made all the feathers I drew in the wrong places so I used a little water and removed the blue lines figuring I could freehand the feathers anyway.

The circles are still wompy, but I had to remind myself that "it's practice" Oh, by the way. I had to work on another design while this one dried so I could finish quilting. When I came back to it there was this blue halo around the circle. This is why I mentioned that by wetting the area with a blue marker is only a temporary fix. The marker gets down into the batting and will rise back up. If you've ever used one to mark your quilting you know this. It might be days later, but there's these little blue specks...the only solution is to soak the quilt once all the quilting is done. And never NEVER use laundry detergent until it's had a good soak with clean water. Also if you set an iron to it you will have blue lines forever and ever amen. Just so ya know (grin)

Here's a photo after the area has been wet while on the frame (I'm impatient, gotta "see" how it turns out, can't wait for the soaking). There's lots of room for improvement on the quilting besides the wonky circle...but keep in mind it's only practice and it's a six inch design that I drew then quilted. Again something to be said for drawing on paper first.

Now here's a photo about an hour later. See how the blue is rising up again. As I type this the entire piece is in the washer on soak, I can only hope that this fabric will let go of the soluble pen - don't know if PDF has it's own set of rules or not. Guess we'll find out. That's why it's only practice!

I didn't get any photos of Jake's art on the frame...but you'll see them again as I test out the coloring techniques.

This last photo I'm not showing a close up of just's my hardest one and I'm hopeful that it will turn out when I try it again. Lots of little boo-boo's but it's my favorite design element and I really want to figure out the whole process and do it again...You can see I've used Renae's Amazing Rays to make a nice background fill...I messed up a tad with the rays too, partly because I let my tool slip and didn't catch the error and part of the design problem was I didn't have a true oval ruler to go around my design element. Lots of room for improvement but this one is practice and I'm sure I'll goof up the colors or something anyway (grin). That's how I learn best, by making mistakes. Already dreaming up color combos for this one! Just a little hint - it's a paisley design. I'm really getting into paisleys. I have always loved them and now I see so many fabrics in wonderful colors that are paisley prints. I think I'm going to have to start a paisley collection...oh...sorry, off topic!

Well, that's what I did this weekend, in between other stuff (grin). Once the blue lines have finished soaking out I'll lay out the quilt sandwich to dry. Maybe next week I can start the coloring process. Stay tuned!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quilts of Hope...more quilts find a home

I thought the Ike Quilt chapter of "Quilts of Hope, Blankets of Love" was closed back in April with this post but it's not!! I made contact with the lady who had donated the quilt, she was from MI...her quilt had not been included in the webshot album because I had displaced her name and address and didn't photograph the quilts....I'm sooo glad there was a post concerning who received her gift and she was finally able to connect to the 'rest of the story' ...

Well, there are two more. These quilts were brought to me several months ago by a local lady who pieced them from rainbow colored fabric and her friend in CA machine quilted them. Again, I've lost the contact and hope that perhaps they will see them on the post as these beautiful quilts found homes today.

I received this (edited) email and the photos from a fellow guild member ...

We gave quilts to the 2 families who had houses dedicated for them today at Bay Area Habitat for Humanity - Houston, Inc....The quilts went to two families the O____ family and the T_____ family. Both families were impacted by Hurricane Ike and the O______ family house later burned down. They loved the quilts! One of the young ladies is a granddaughter and the other is a daughter....

For these families perhaps the tragedy of Ike has been replaced by the joy of a new home. It was a blessing to have a small part in this just simply by being able to pass on a quilt of sacrifice and love from "a stranger". I'm sure God is smiling down on all involved with today's joyous occasion. Proof still that God is in Control and He loves us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bad Use of a Longarm

Please don't tell the quilt police. I couldn't help it. Had to find a piece of paper today and the piles were just so high and in so many rooms that I all I could do was resort to this treason.

Longarm tables make very good sorting tables.

I truly try to be organized and have a place for everything. I try to handle the mail when it comes in - you know, sort the junk and toss it, but then I make piles of things that I'd like to read later, bills, and things I need to respond to. Thankfully the bills do get paid on time, but it's the stuff that I either need to respond to or need to file that find themselves in the "to be filed" pile. SIGH!

Sometimes all I can do is stop and regroup. Once that's done I'm a happy camper and can carry on (grin). At least this job was close to my laundry room and I managed to do ALL my laundry in one day AND all but one load is folded and put up...not bad for a working-non-quilting day.

I'd rather be quilting...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Time to Ponder

Decided that I'd like to work on a simple project this afternoon. It's one I started on my July retreat. I'm using fruit and veggie fabrics and a pattern from Loose Change called Nickel Bricks. Petty easy mindless mindless that I sewed 23 five inch blocks together before I noticed I was out of bobbin thread!

Then somehow I got a few blocks twisted and turned and now need to frog (rip it rip it) seven blocks. Not too bad. I have 30 blocks complete of the 42 needed to make a lap size quilt, but I'm thinking I'll keep making blocks as long as I have fabric -- I had purchased a 10 inch "market" collection and added a few quarter yard cuts that I collected earlier this year....what else would I do with these novelty prints? Might as well use 'em up. But this is as far as I'm getting today...will have to wait for another day off ...

Hubby is always telling me to slow down and enjoy the process as I tend to think in "production mode" most of the time. I guess I did that a little today. I stopped and checked in with facebook and a few online longarm lists, and I even did a little internet shopping -- wanted to find just the right fabric for the backing and I've found it! Jellybeans on black background! Yep, had decided that I needed something from a different food group (grin) and I'm going to call it "life is short, eat dessert first"!

In away that's a perfect example of today's sermon on "Growing Up" taken from I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. My thinking of hurrying through something is very childish, as is the instant gratification of wanting my dessert first! Pastor Dan did an excellent job of bringing these points home ...(Pastor Ron was filling in for another Calvary Chapel today out of town).

He explained the difference between being childlike and childish. Children are trusting, joyful, optimistic with a zest for life, happy go lucky. These are good physical qualities and a part of spiritual childhood too, after all, Jesus blessed the little children and said we should come to Him in childlike faith (Mark 10:13-16). What is not desirable is childishness - when we are immature and speak like a child - you know, when you are tactless, brutally honest, and don't hold back what you really think without worrying about the consequences. It's sorta excusable in a child, (sorta) but when an adult acts this way it is disturbing. Funny how many of us never grew out of this stage, or worst, have reverted back to it because we think that somehow our age has earned us the right to speak our mind.

Pastor Dan went on to talk about how children think - irrational and all about self. Hum....then the childhood years turn to teenhood (he said he was adding that word to the dictionary so I want you to credit him with this new word HA). Yes, just as we physically grow so we are to spiritually grow. The teen years are when we are in the process of changing from a child to an adult. He shared a funny example of a young man's voice changing. It's during this time that responsibility is learned (reality check) and the change of perspective of who you are and who God is. Its time to learn that the word doesn't revolve around you and that concern for others needs to outweigh the concern for self. Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself, do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interest of others.

We must be willing to grow up. Spiritual adulthood means putting away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13 is the "love chapter" and the verse for today is right in the middle of that chapter. The keyword is love - it's the mark of spiritual maturity, it's the bond of perfection. Ephesians 4:13-14 talks about being tossed to and fro (children, or immature Christian) but if we move on from the child stage as we grow up in Him we will show maturity by love. Christ's love.

Pastor Dan went on to speak about encouraging one another (Hebrew 10:24), having fellowship with one another (Hebrew 10:25) and how we should desire the "meat" of the word and not just desire the milk (for babies). Mature Christians show Christ's love through the "fruit of the Spirit" that's discussed in Galatians 5. We are to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16) and be in God's Word (Psalm 1) We can't just hear the Word and expect to grow, but we must get 'into it' for ourselves on a regular basis (James 1:22) and be 'doers of the word'. Otherwise we just deceive ourselves.

Jesus gave up heaven for us, the ultimate example of selflessness - God's love for us while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Wow. Romans 8:29 tells us to be conformed to the image of Christ. Hum...I was left with the challenge of "are you ready to grow up?"

Maybe as I ponder this I should think of naming my quilt "the fruit of the spirit" or at least let it remind me of today's sermon of putting off childish things and growing up to reflect the love given to me by Christ's ultimate sacrifice...If you'd like a copy of today's sermon, or information on how to get a podcast check out

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's a Guy Thing

Minutes before the doorbell rang I had hubby's new pillows finished for his Man Cave.

We worked from before sunup to prepare for tonight's big cookout with his co-workers. Yesterday he smoked 4 chickens, today he smoked a brisket. I made M&M cookies and Toll House cookies, then went to the local BBQ place for the beans and rice (grin). For the past several days we have been getting the house ready for guests.

Hubby says we should entertain more often, it's the only time every room in the house is clean at the same time (double grin). My neighbor saw him washing the windows the other day and told me "he's a keeper!" Of course, I already knew that!

It was nice to finally get to meet hubby's co-workers and their families. We had a pleasant evening outside with lots of food and laughter.

Of course, Pixxie had to supervise all the cooking and was the biggest beggar. She made several new friends tonight that's for sure.

I enjoy the fact that the fellows all get along and enjoy each other's company. In today's world that's saying a lot! To have a crew that you actually want to invite over!

As much as we need rain, I was thankful that the cookout wasn't rained out and had to be moved indoors. I think everyone enjoyed being outside. Even past dark there was still a party going on!

Just a little FYI, the blue cooler there is Son #1's invention - it's his floating boom box -- he has speakers hooked up and a water protection device for his iPod - and this is what he takes when he goes tubing down river. Everyone was impressed and we appreciated him bringing the music.

All in all, it was a fun GUY party and I truly enjoyed working with my husband to do something special for the guys he spends a lot of his time with.

Tomorrow, back to quilt stories ....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Preparing the Man Cave

Time to interrupt this quilting blog to talk about my better half....

We've lived here 4 years this October, the main reason for purchasing the house was for my studio for my longarm business. It's quaint little 2 bedroom 1 bath that we lovingly call home.

Through the years we've seen a lot of transitions (recently the bathroom getting a face lift and of course my studio is always being rearranged). Mainly these upgrades have revolved around me me me. My hubby is sooo self-sacrificing!

Well, now it's his turn!

Bedroom # 2 started out as Son #2's room in 2005. I can't remember how long he was here until he moved into his first apartment and was gone about a year. After he left the room became a 'junk room' as we eliminated our storage shed, with the plans of "one day" going through things and getting organized. Well, that idea didn't last long as Son #1 asked if he could move back home for a few weeks as he was in between leases on his living arrangements. Sure, no problem, move the junk to the attic....

Bedroom #2 became Son #1's room, which was longer than a few weeks....(isn't that the way it goes). In the meantime Son #2's year lease was up and he needed to move back home, so for a few months he was camped out on the couch in the living room until Son #1 moved into his next abode and relinquished Bedroom #2. Pixxie loved having her boys back home. It was a good time even if we were crowded (but much better than all 4 of us living in an RV full time like we used to!)

I fondly call this time period our "Revolving Door". We were pleased to be able to help out our boys, but equally pleased when they returned to live on their own. You have to realize, at the time of this writing they are only 24 and 21 and each has been basically self-supporting since turning 18 so we are very proud of them and seriously didn't mind the revolving door time of our lives.

Okay, sometime early this year EVERYONE had their own apartment/home and hubby began the clean up job of Bedroom #2, which I've labeled "the Man Cave" -- several years ago when it was in the planning stage (which was interrupted by the revolving door stage) I used to call it the NASCAR Room because that is going to be the majority of the decor, but I've since learned he has plans for NASCAR, hot rods, surfing, etc so now I just call it the Man Cave.

The paint job was finished around the same time period as our bathroom, end of June I think. It was decided that the TV in the living room would occupy this space and a new couch was put in layaway around Memorial Day with hopes of getting it out around Labor Day. (Which translates that I get to rearrange MY living room without a TV! something I've always wanted GRIN)

Today the TV was moved into the Man Cave. Complete with a Craftsman Work Bench that I bought my sweetie last night for this special room of his (which he will share with me on home movie date nights, so it's still all about me, me, me in a way). Kinda fits the theme don't ya'think?

I'm told this is a temporary fix, as the next major purchase will be a flat screen TV....which may take a while, but hubby is a very patient fellow, after all, he's been waiting for his own room for almost 4 years!

Here's hubby and Son #1 checking out the surround sound based on where the couch will be TOMORROW! Yes, praise God, we've been blessed and it's getting out of layaway earlier than expected. By tomorrow night I'm sure we'll be checking out a DVD on the TV complete with loud surround sound. Hope it doesn't rattle the windows too much!

It may take a while to get things decorated, but that's okay. Hubby likes to take his time and have things just like he wants them. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to sew some curtains and I'm already thinking checkered print to resemble the checkered flag at the races! Pillows are on the agenda too. Hum...wonder if he needs a fabric bowl to hold the remote controls? I just love redecorating!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Awesome Day!

This is the view from my car window this morning on the way to church. Just breath-taking -- the photo doesn't do God's handiwork justice!

What an awesome day! From the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, may the Lord be praised!

I just love my church. We have a wonderful fellowship and a gifted pastor. Pastor Ron Hindt is teaching in the book of Revelation and today was in the first part of chapter 2 concerning Ephesus the loveless church who lost their first love. A powerful message that resulted in many lives changed including several coming to know the Savior. What a new beginning! Fresh like after the rain.

I took this photo of a bowl of cherries that I washed for breakfast. Don't know why, just thought they were pretty. Again, a reminder of our Creator and how He provides for us.

This afternoon was "my time" to get to chill out and work on a few projects. I tend to take a long time to get around to something....Son #1 had asked me to make him some pillows out of bandannas for his apartment as well as use a bandanna to patch a hole in his jeans and the jeans of his roommate ...well, just to prove how long it has taken for me to accomplish this feat I found movie tickets (and two dollars) in the pocket that was dated December 2008!

Ah, but finished is good and I know he'll be glad. Pixxie liked the pillows -- I like the design of the bandannas -- wouldn't that make a great whole cloth quilt design? Maybe in a few years!

Once that was complete I figured I had enough time still left in my afternoon to put borders on a quilt that I pieced back in January. For some reason blogger has rotated my photo, but I think you can tell....LOOK MA! TWO BORDERS ON AT ONCE!

And mitered! I love doing borders this way, it's so much faster to do two at once and to cut them the exact size needed -- a technique I learned from Winnie Flemming, a local teacher at Quakertown Quilts -- and my is it accurate! Just take a look.

I tend to have fullness in the middle, not the best piecer on the planet that's for sure. But if I'll measure and take averages before cutting out my border I don't end up with wavy borders. Makes it so much easier to quilt!!

So here's the pieced top, about 68 x 77. It's adapted from a Square in a Square pattern called Peddler's Choice. Maybe next weekend I can piece the back and prepare the binding then it can go into the "quilts in waiting" pile....might be a loooong while before that gets accomplished, but I can change my totals and reduce my UFO pile by one!

Yep, an awesome day and it's not over with yet -- looking forward to a beautiful sunset as I dine on the patio with my favorite fellow....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Catching Up - Friends & Family

The past few weeks has been a wonderful whirlwind! I haven't truly had time to post.

Just needed to share (grin) and thought ya'll like to see a quilt sale, a quilt class and my momma -- so read on!

These lovely ladies were the morning shift for one of the largest sales I can remember -- or at least it's been a long time since I worked one!

In the center with the bright turquoise blouse is Patricia Stephenson of Quilt By The Bay, the quilt shop where I had my "beginnings" - as a worker, a teacher, and later one of the longarm quilters for the shop samples. Her shop was damaged by Hurricane Ike last September and she's been operating primarily through the internet....well, Thurs 7/30/09 was THE SALE as she relocated her warehouse to one of the ballrooms at Moody Gardens Hotel and I didn't want to miss out so I went to help!

This was our pre-sale prep talk, discussing prices and assigning work stations.

These photos are the calm before the storm of shoppers invaded - the view was beautiful but wrecked havoc on the lighting for the photo.

Patricia had dubbed this a reunion - many of her customers had not seen her since the storm, so she stood at the door and welcomed each one.

Within moments the ballroom was filled with the frenzy of quiltaholics shopping for the deal of the century!

The lines soon formed at the cutting tables, and folks learned how much fun it was to 'shop the line' -- in other words if the gal in front of you didn't take the full bolt and it was fabric you liked then you asked for the bolt to be passed back... fabulous way to shop if you ask me!

Some of the ladies really had a "plan" for their shopping spree.

Waiting in line can be whatever you make of it, you can be impatient and complain or you can turn it into a reunion - which most folks did. When quilters gather you are always bound to run into friends you haven't seen in a while!

I initially was the official photographer of our gala event, then was asked if I would mind tearing fabric.....the cutting stations were all manned and the lines were long, so off to a little corner I go with just a rotary blade, no cutting mat, no ruler, the only measuring devise were little marks on the table showing zero, half yard, and away we went, doing my best to measure and tear while trying to entertain the folks in line as they waited for their turn.

The sale began at 10 and before noon this was the pile of empty bolts behind my station. I have found that by working I am less tempted to shop -- but I have to confess, I did "shop the line" and brought home a yard of beach umbrella print, 4 yards of flip flop fabric and 4 yards of bright yellow tone on tone tropical print. I was a tired but happy quilter at the end of the afternoon!

That was last Thursday. On Friday I had to get back to quilting and finished up a customer quilt that had been on the frame for a day or so -- my push -- had to teach a Square in a Square class at Cactus Quilts on Sat 8/1/09

I love teaching. Especially with the Square in a Square process, it's so much fun and the results are amazing.

I do a lot of demos and then graze around the room to make sure everyone is understanding the process. Since there is usually a smokin' needle in the room and a slow but steady Betty I find that it's best to demo to the whole class and then work one on one with my students at whatever step they are on. No pressure in my class. And you aren't allowed to 'unsew' -- I consider myself an expert frogger (rip it rip it) and it's my job to operate the seam ripper for the day if anyone finds that need - my students are there to sew, not unsew!

By the end of the day everyone had several blocks done from our Waterwheel pattern, and all had high hopes of going home to make more!

That evening I had a mission of my own....needed to make another fabric bowl using my new found skills from "Mrs. King's Gallery Baskets" DVD. This one was for my grandmother. She's 96 and recently broke her leg. I had plans to head north about 250 miles on Sunday after church to go visit her....

So last Sunday through this Tuesday I was visiting with my mom and my and I decided to be goofy and take photos of ourselves -- kinda like we were in a photo booth -- it's not easy taking photos of yourself holding the camera away from you. Some are really funny, but thought I'd just share one...

The remainder of my week has been trying to play catch up. It's a fun game, but I don't think I win it very often. Catch up on laundry. Catch up on email. Catch up on bills. Catch up on housework. Catch up on customer quilts. Catch up on guild meetings. Catch up on my favorite TV show (Burn Notice) that hubby and I tape to watch at a more convenient time. And now, Catch up on my blog. So that's what I've been up to -- that and I discovered a new addiction called Facebook....oh my....and now that I'm caught up on the blog, have eaten my lunch, it's time to punch back in and finished a darling quilt on my frame.

More later! Afterall, a self-professed rambler has to ramble ya'know!