Monday, September 2, 2013

Music City Modern Quilt Guild

Once a month, I get to meet with some new found friends who love all things quilty.  We call ourselves the Music City Modern Quilt Guild.  For the last several months I have acted as the guild's Show & Tell blogger.  So, when nothing is happening on this blog, it doesn't necessarily mean that nothing is happening.  Click on the links below to see some of my posts and mostly to see all the cool things that are happening with some of the members of our little guild.  It's pretty exciting!

March 16, 2013
June 15, 2013
July 20, 2013
August 17, 2013

I've also been the guild's secretary for two years.  But, I'm a very lame secretary!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This Feedjit gadget is so cool.  It gives me an idea of who's stumbling across my blog.  It looks like most of the traffic is legit and it seems to be coming from Pinterest.  The only thing I don't like is that it lists my visits.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Plant a Crape Myrtle...or Not!

For three years I've wanted to plant crape myrtles in the backyard.  Well, two are in and the third is still in its container sitting on the grass making a brown spot.  Here's the hole for the third one.  I dug it a few days ago.  Then it rained...a lot.

Hubby informed me there was water in the hole, but I never imagined I'd find a swimmin' hole big enough for scuba diving toddlers.  And, what kind of plants spontaneously grow over night?

On closer investigation, I discovered that they were the tops of hubby's basil plants - that are planted on the other side of the house.  What!?  I'm trying to imagine what critter(s) bothered to chop basil tops, carry them over to the muddy watering hole, and drop them in.  They didn't even look chewed on.

Anyway, here are my do's and don'ts of hole digging and stuff:

  • Do NOT dig a hole, in clay, right before a big rainstorm.
  • If you DO dig a hole right before a rainstorm, make sure you plant the tree right after digging the hole.
  • Definitely do NOT eat two wheat berry blender pancakes right before bailing the water out of the hole with the smallest bucket in the world.
  • Do NOT toss the unwanted water uphill.
  • Do NOT scoop out and place all of the muddy yuckiness right in the very place that later on you were going to use as a measuring path to get your trees lined up.
So, this morning I was getting ready to tackle the project as hubby was leaving for work.  He said, "I wish I could help you".  After having my own personal rainstorm in what felt like 100% humidity, and after seeing that my tree alignment calculations didn't quite work out - he's getting his wish.

It's supposed to rain again today.  This time I got smart (I think), and covered the hole.  I even thought to put an upside down container in the center of the hole first so that the water would run off the tarp.

Hubby sent me this message after reading this post:
I forgot to tell you that I pruned the basil plants so that they would grow out, not up. And after tasting them and deciding they were not very tasty, I thought I might as well use them as compost for the tree, and put them in the hole.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Twin Sweaters

Over two years ago I blogged about these sweaters.  Has it really been two years already?  Anyway, the twins can finally wear them.  In fact, this is an old picture and they might be close to growing out of them by now.

Aren't they cute?  The sweaters and the dresses are cute too, right?  Ann (their mom) hand-smocked (almost wrote smoked) those dresses.  I still can't figure out how she finds the time to sew with three little mischievous and energetic princesses running about the castle all day long.

These sweaters remind me of a time when I thought my knitting days were over.  My fingers would go tingly and numb while knitting them.  It was pretty scary.  I'm happy to report that after lots of different medical interventions and a long absence from knitting, I picked up my knitting needles a few months ago and was able to do it.  I had to tweak the way I do it, but I could do it.  That was a happy day.  I celebrated by having an online streaming-athon and finishing up a bunch of half-finished projects.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cool or Granny's Parlor?

It seems like there's a fine line between reupholstered furniture that looks 'cool' and furniture that still looks like it belongs in granny's parlor.  I'm not sure if I'm capable of getting it right.  Tell me honestly, what do y'all think about...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kathy's Wonky Paper-pieced House

Wonky.  Hubs says that I love that word and use it all the time.  So, when the Music City Modern Quilt Guild challenged me to create my own 12-inch block, I just had to make a wonky house.

The challenge was to use Moda Flirt fabrics.  It's not my favorite fabric (all pink and cutesy flowery), but I made it work and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

I would call this pattern 'intermediate level' because you have to sew it in sections.

Here's what it looked like before I trimmed it up.

When you do a pattern in sections like this, you have to remember to leave a 1/4" seam allowance on all edges of each section.  It's a good idea to leave a 3/8" or 1/2" seam allowance on the outside four edges to allow you more flexibility for squaring up your block after all the sections are sewn together.

Now it's time to tear off the paper and sew the sections together.  I find that it's easier to tear the paper off of each section in reverse numeric order.  For some reason it always works better.

And here it is again, Kathy's Wonky House.  

Here's a miniature version.  I reduced my 6-inch block pattern to 75%.  I wanted to show my fellow guild members why paper piecing is an awesome way to deal with tiny pieces and sharp angles.

No, you can't have the $20!  I took this picture so you could get some perspective on how small some of the pieces are and so I could use some fabrics that I like from my stash.

Here's the pattern if you want to give it a try. Let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Aunt Kathy Went to Eagle

Last week I sent a package to my nieces and nephews.  I got to visit them in December.  I took a few pictures like I always do, but this time I decided to do something with them.  I had such a great time with them and wanted them to know all the fun memories that I made with them.  So, instead of making myself a few scrapbook pages stuffing the photos in a box, I made them a book.

I know, I should've used a Cheerios cereal box but this one was so fun and colorful.  Don't panic all you acid-free archiving scrappers.  I'm a bit OCD about that too, but it's only the cover.

It always makes me laugh to have a long list of things done by the same person.  I did that in a tortilla making video once upon a time.  I even included 'stunt hands' in the list, which were mine of course!  But, I digress.

Hubs gave me a bookbinding kit for Christmas.  I used the instructions and tools from the kit to create this single sheet Coptic binding on this book.  This binding is useful when you have single sheets and you want them to lay flat when the book is open.

Here's a close up of the exposed braided Coptic binding stitch.  Cool, right?

Here's what the stitching looks like on each page.  I glued a strip of cereal box onto each page for extra durability and for the fun factor.  I was considering making each page out of cereal box, but that would've made it just a tad too busy and would've messed up the acid 'freeness' of the book.  See, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to that!

Whilst in Eagle, we spent way too much time playing around with Photo Booth on my laptop.  It was hilarious!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Olivia's Sweater

My knitting projects are anchors to my memories.  There are some projects that take me right back to a specific time and place.  Some of them bring back emotions and feelings.  This is one of those sweaters.  It's odd, but it brings back feelings of love and hope and healing.

We were waiting for a baby to be born.  We were going to call her Maya.  We had met with the birth mom a couple of times and seemed to hit it off.  We had a few baby essentials ready to go in our one-bedroom apartment, the biggest being a cleaned up crib that had already cradled the three boys of our friends.  We hadn't committed to buying too many things - still not believing that we could finally be parents after such a long and frustrating journey.

About a week before Maya's due date, we received the unthinkable news that the birth mom had backed out.  Of course, we were devastated.  That coming weekend (I think it was the very weekend that Maya was due), my work colleagues would all be off chaperoning the French trip to Quebec.  They found out about our adoption disaster and in a matter of days, maybe hours, quickly arranged for hubs and I to go on the trip with them.  They booked us a room at the amazing hotel where everyone got to stay and they arranged for a sub to cover my classes.

I can never go anywhere without a knitting project, so I ran to the knit shop and quickly purchased this bright green yarn.  Although green is my favorite color, the choice in brightness was a bit out of character.  I remember knitting on the 8-hour bus ride to and from Quebec.  I don't remember if I chatted with hubs or students or colleagues.  I don't remember what I thought about.  I just remember knitting on that bus ride.  It was just what I needed - to get away and to get lost in my knitting.

I held onto that sweater for years, not because I couldn't part with it but because I was waiting to find the perfect recipient for it.  When I've come across the sweater over the years, it has brought a smile to my face.  It brings back feelings of love and hope and healing.  For nine years, almost to the month, it has been known as Maya's sweater - even though I knew Maya was never going to wear it.

And now I want it go on record that this is Olivia's sweater.  Olivia was adopted by Shannon and Ryan less than a year ago.  Shannon is one of those people who comes into your life for a brief moment, but stays in your heart for a lifetime.  I was delighted to hear that she and Ryan had finally become a family of three.  And I was so happy to send that special sweater off to someone special.