Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whoa!! What Do You Mean 'It's the end of December' ??

Has it really been since SEPTEMBER that I posted??

Why yes, I do believe I must have fallen off the planet!



Or it would seem that way here anyway, huh? Oy! The fall flew by and I was too busy to breathe. My DH's work took him out west for 7 out of  8 weeks which put me in severe-single-working-mother mode. I survived, I think. But boy, I'm in no hurry to repeat THAT again anytime soon! Add to that a child who got and stayed sick for almost 4 weeks straight (he's fine now), a big renovation design job, LOTS of quilts to quilt, the holidays, etc. etc...... and.....well no wonder I haven't been here! Thank goodness for Facebook or I would feel completely out of touch. :)

This whole year has flown by. When I look back through the pictures on my phone I marvel at just how much happened. It was the Year of the Flood, AKA The Great Clean Up/Out , the necessary studio renovation. The Year of All Star baseball traveling, from District to State to Regionals! The year of the eldest starting high school...and DRIVING! The year of starting a new business (yay Sew Sisters!) and juggling it with the old (yay design projects!). It was the year of friends getting seriously sick...and finding their way through to places of healing - four still with us and one gone to the place where there is no more hurting. I'm thankful for each of my brave friends.

It was the year of loss and gain, good and bad. A year of LIFE.

Thankfully the Mayans got it wrong...we're still here. And you know what that means...We get to keep at this adventure called life. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what the next year has in store!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Talking About Blogs

Today I'm at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in Yadkinville, NC speaking about blogs!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Almost There and the BIG NEWS!

The renovation is mostly complete! I am hoping that by the end of this weekend the last of the studio contents will be back in place. It's been a long, and at times overwhelming, journey...but it's sew much better than it was! Bright, cheery, and of course with a splash of 'slime' green!

And...

It now has a longarm quilting machine in it!!!
















For a while now, Lisa Alley and I have been tossing about the idea to join forces to start a business. When the flood came and everything fell apart (so to speak) in the studio...well, I just knew it was time! If you have to put things back together why not make them much better than they were before?

We are Sew Sisters, LLC. We're up and running! We provide longarm services, make commissioned quilts and more. Hop over to www.sewsisters.biz and check us out! We are on Facebook and have a blog too. Please come visit us often, and bring your friends :)

And do keep coming to see me here too. I promise there will be studio pictures soon!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WE WON!!!!

The Southwest Forsyth Little League Juniors Blue All Stars won the State tournament!!!! A four game undefeated sweep! Couldn't be prouder of these guys!!

On to Regionals...GO SW!!

( note: I have no idea why the picture posted so large in the original post...I did it via mobile and have never had that issue. I guess it was that big a victory :) Correction  to size via desktop post-publishing.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feeling "Crabby"

These are so dang good I just have to share...

My garden has been producing lots of zucchini so I have been searching out recipes. A girl can only eat so much chocolate cake, you know? Wait, what am I thinking... LOL!

Nevertheless, I found this savory recipe for "Crab" cakes that are so good my whole family devoured them! It gets 8 thumbs up:

2-1/2 cups shredded zucchini, lightly salted
1 egg, beaten
2T melted butter
1-1/8 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1-1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Flour (about 1/2 cup)
Oil

Combine first 6 ingredients, mix well. Form into patties and coat with flour. Fry in a pan lightly coated with oil over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides.

That's right...there's no crabmeat in these! And they are amazingly good!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Little Pieces of Normal

Still pushing hard on the renovation and the light at the end of the tunnel grows bigger each day! I'm almost done with the carpet...





















And I've started putting little odds and ends back in place...


It's far from finished...there's lots still to do to get everything back in and sorted, culled, and organized. But those little pieces of "normal", just seeing small things in place, give me a big boost to keep charging full steam ahead.

Won't be long now! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Time Out for Cake

I'm still marching on with the renovation and all of the rest of life. I don't yet have carpet on the floor, but I'm nearing the end of the painting (the whole perimeter of the basement is getting waterproofing paint), the electrician is coming Monday to upgrade the lighting and add an outlet, and hopefully by the end of this weekend there will be some carpentry completed. We're getting there!

Meanwhile, my garden is producing...well... produce! like crazy, not the least of which is the zucchini. And you know what THAT means.... (you don't?)

It's CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE TIME!! :D

Yummy with blueberries or raspberries. Pottery mug by NC artist Frumpy.
(And don't  you love my chicken pitcher? I have a funky chicken in every room. )

I stumbled across this recipe in Southern Living several years ago when my boys were little and didn't like many vegetables. Nothing like a little stealth cooking! This cake is so delicious and moist...you would never know it's packed full of zucchini. It remains a favorite at our house! Here's the recipe:

Prepare a tubed cake pan (Bundt or straight sides) by greasing with shortening and dusting with cocoa (works like flour but doesn't leave your cake all white-powdery afterwards. And, it's more chocolate. What's better?)

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine these and set aside:
3 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Next:
4 large eggs
3 C sugar
3 (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking squares, melted (pop them in the micro for about 20 seconds)
1 1/2 C vegetable oil
3 C grated zucchini (I do mine in the food processor)

Beat the eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar and beating until well combined. Add oil and melted chocolate, continue beating until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture beating at low speed until blended. Fold in zucchini. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes, turn out onto cake plate and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Back to painting now...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Renovation Continues...

The nasty old carpet from the stairs came out today. I've been painting and there is a hint of what's to come in the right corner (of course I'm working that green into the redo! You know I am!)

Slow and steady progress. Between juggling work and kids and waterproofing contractors that had to make a return visit to fix a few things they didn't get right the first time...I won't go there. Suffice it to say, it put me two weeks behind schedule and I had to put my #itch pants on and stand my ground to get them back. I hate it when that happens.

But things are back in forward motion and I'm hoping that by this time next week there will be carpet on the floor.

I'm anxious to get things put back in place! And, I'll have some exciting news to share when I do.... !!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Demolition Continues


The last of the studs were torn out today thanks to the hard work of my eldest...and I went behind him with concrete patch filling holes. I'm SEW ready to get to the rebuilding part!! I have at least picked paint colors (still need to purchase the paint) and I found the PERFECT carpet tile. Just need to get the last bits of demolition done and prep work before the paint and carpet can begin. I also want to get an electrician in to look at moving an outlet and advising me on the possibility of changing the lighting (which has never been good).

Hubs spent the last 2 weeks in Phoenix...he missed all the jackhammering fun. Nice to have him back...he reconnected the washer and dryer today!! Thanks to 2 generous neighbors I was able to keep on top of the always big pile of stuff to be washed. But boy am I happy to be able to have the laundry room here back in business!!

The rest will start to fall back into place soon. No doubt it's going to take some time. I'm swamped with design work (a blessing to pay for this adventure since insurance didn't cover anything) which limits the time I have for my own project. But it will get done. It will get done.

I keep telling myself that...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gettin' Jiggly With It

The jackhammer has arrived...things are going to be a bit jjjjiiiigggglllyyyyyy around here for a while!

video

I can't wait to see what's under there where a French drain system was supposed to be...

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Nakey!

The flooring is torn out and the walls are stripped....

My studio is nakey!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Great Clean Up/Out



So... I'm on day 5 of The Great Clean Up/Out. The first three days were Absolutely Overwhelming... Discouraging... Exhausting.

Yukky.

No matter how many times I sang that familiar jingle - you know the one on TV ads where the insurance agent pops up to save the day - my "Good Neighbor" did not come through with anything helpful except the name of a reputable waterproofing company. Nothing covered on our homeowners, nothing covered on my business policy. Zip. Zilch. Nadda.

Oy.   :/  Say it with me... "That's just wrong!"

Needless to say the first things immediately out of the studio were my finished pieces. Then all of my fabrics. And then steadily everything else. The dehumidifiers have been running and we've had fresh air coming in. Tonight I have my computer set up in my "temporary office" (aka the living room) and come Monday I will be able to get back to work. Well, at least the interior design part. I jokingly told my husband that I might get used to looking up from my work and actually seeing out a window! :)  It may be a while before I get to sew anything except my hexis, unless I take over the dining room too. See, here's another good reason to always have a hand sewing project!

In the great scheme of things we were lucky. We were there when the water started coming in and we were able to keep it from becoming really, really bad. Even after we gave up out of sheer exhaustion, not much more came in. The laundry room took the worst hit and where it came in my studio, where it's carpeted, it was never deeper than a squish. I've seen basements with ankle deep water before. Nothing significant was damaged...well, the carpet and walls have to be ripped out, but I've never much liked that carpet anyway (it was here when we bought the house). Most all of my "stuff" survived unscathed. We were lucky. It could have been worse. At least it wasn't fire.

There's a long way to go to get everything back in order. All of my quilt related stuff is stacked in the spare bedroom. More stuff is stacked in the living room. Lots of stuff is taking a long-overdue one way trip to the landfill. Anything that doesn't need to be climate controlled is in the garage. And all of the stuff in the garage is being rearranged too, 'cause come Tuesday a week from now...

the jackhammers arrive.

We have to have the faulty French drain system ripped out and replaced. Oooh la la.

I just keep setting my sights on the way it will be when everything is put back. The great thing of a lifetime career in interior design is the ability to see things the way they can be, to look past the way the are.

Ah, potential...it's a beautiful thing.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rainy Days and Monday...


There are benefits to having a basement studio...it's cool and  generally quiet. I have a lot of room and even a fireplace. And I've never had any issues being "underground"...until Monday night.

It rained.

And it POURED.

And POURED. And POURED.

And the waterproofing decided it was tired of holding it all back. So in it came. A spontaneous indoor water feature.

Some forecasters said we had as much as 6"+ on already saturated ground. Fortunately we were home. I grabbed the shop vac and started sucking it up as fast as it was coming in. Then we realized that water was actually shooting out of the laundry room wall like a fountain! So we moved the washer and dryer and I grabbed a trash can and then we started grabbing my (thankfully) empty dye buckets. And the shop vac ran and ran. And the carpet shampoo machine ran and ran. By some unknown stroke of luck we had a roll of heavy plastic which my brave husband took out into the storm and rolled along the backside of the house to try to stem the tide. After four hours of bailing I frantically grabbed and piled everything near or on the floor up onto my work tables. Thanks goodness I have lots of table space and shelves!

So now I'm in the aftermath. I'm swamped with interior design projects. I was supposed to start measuring a 65,000 sf office building today. But I've cancelled the rest of my work week and have begun hauling everything upstairs to higher ground.

Y'all...this isn't just my interior design office. It's also my quilt studio. You know what that means...

I have to move my fabric stash!!!    <:O

And my dyes, and beads, and threads, and books, and....and....!!!

Oy. It smells worse than a wet dog down here. And I'm allergic to mold. I'm having flashbacks to this project.

Everything is going to have to clear out of the room and the carpet is going to have to be pulled out. I have a company coming tomorrow to assess the "waterproofing" and I'm expecting that the paneling is going to have to be ripped off the walls to get to the block. I'm just hoping that the yard won't have to be dug up.

On the upside...when it's all over I'll have a fresh, clean studio! I've been needing to do some major cleanup around here anyway. This is forcing me to evaluate what I have (too much) and what will come back in.

But I'd rather have done it with self-motivation instead of this. *sigh*

So... I'll add myself to my list of interiors clients. And hope that Mother Nature sticks to EXTERIOR design from here on out.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Designing...

I know I rarely post about my interiors projects, but I really do do design! Quite often it's more architectural stuff...as-built drawings, space planning, etc. Things that are fun and challenging but don't necessarily produce the "pretty picture" at the end of the job. A great set of drawings, yes. Awesome use of space, yes. But who goes "oooh! Great blueprints!" or "Wow! Great space plan!" so I don't find those jobs to be post-worthy.

Then there are also projects where I get to do more finish work and at the moment I have two like that. One is a fast-tracker, so I am working on it this weekend. Preliminary colors have been chosen and are awaiting approval from the CEO...meanwhile, I'm playing with tile patterns for their break room!



Next I'm jumping to the other project which is still in the space planning stage and is awaiting some revisions and square foot calculations. My goal is to get caught up so tomorrow - Mother's Day - I can SEW!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Dance


I made my first sale on ETSY this morning!! Squeeee!!!!














Thanks Darlene in KS...my pattern is on its way to you!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Playoffs Time!

A heart-stopping 1 point win on a hard fought game...way to go Mustangs!!!! Let's take it all the way Monday for the Championship!!!!

Fridy the 13 at bat! Smoked one to the left field fence!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

COURAGE

How do you paint it? (or in my case, fiber art it? :)

"If someone were standing in front of your work, someone needing encouragement and hope, what would you create?" That was the question asked by artist Kathy Brusnighan to 16 selected artists, and the result is the traveling exhibit "COURAGE". It debuted  in October 2011 at Circa Gallery in Asheboro, NC (I wrote about that here) and has since traveled to Randolph Hospital, Moses Cone Hopsital, the Women's Only 5K Run, and the Forsyth Cancer Center. Currently selected works are showing at Baptist Hospital in the Watlington Gallery and on Friday, May 4 the larger body of work, including several new pieces, will open at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in Yadkinville, NC.

Last week Kathy and I had the honor of being interviewed by David Ford for Triad Arts Up Close, a featured show on WFDD 88.5 radio. The morning started with a torrential downpour and let's just say we were unprepared for that little surprise! We arrived at the station drenched and I joked that we had a face for radio. :) We took our places at the microphones in the recording studio and proceeded to have a great time talking to David. He made it all so comfortable and easy...our time with him just flew by.

Kathy and I in the studio
(photos courtesy of Kathy)
Our host, David Ford
The interview is being broadcast in two parts, the first segment aired this morning. You can hear it here...and the second part will air Friday at 1:30. MANY THANKS to David and WFDD radio for helping us get the word out about this moving, meaningful exhibit!!

If you are local to the Triad I hope you will come out to Yadkinville and see the exhibit, and also the many other wonderful things that the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center has to offer! The opening reception is this Friday starting at 5:30 and the exhibit runs through July 7.

For more information about the COURAGE exhibit, please visit Art With Purpose.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teaching the Teachers

On Saturday I had the honor of teaching an Altered Surfaces workshop to some area school teachers. It's always a lot of fun and so rewarding to share techniques that they can take back to their classrooms. It feels good to contribute to keeping art alive in schools!

We played with rust dyeing, several methods for stamp making, and always a favorite...gelatin plate printing!

It was a fun, fun day! Thanks to the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center for hosting this group and asking me to share my love of fiber art!
Hard at work...I mean... Creating!

Stamping with our created stamps!

Some gelatin plate prints

More stamping awesomeness!

Yes, printing with bubble wrap is a blast!

Combined stamping and gel plate print

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Day in Quiltville

My friend Bonnie, who is sooo wonderfully generous, is letting me play with her longarm today to get Will's quilt done. He's going to LOVE it!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

No Time Like Now


I decided to take a walk this morning with Max and Lucy. In fact, I've decided to try and take a walk every morning...something that I've too long been neglecting. I was on a good roll with relatively consistent walking back before winter, and even though our winter was pretty mild, I let the routine slip. My waistline is telling...and I don't like what it has to say.

What I don't get is why I'm so reluctant to get out and do this. My neighborhood is beautiful. I feel great when I'm done. The dogs are happy when we make the rounds. So what's my excuse?

Truth is, there really isn't one.

Oh, I can rationalize the lack of time. No one would argue with that! But, given that I've tried the sedentary  program and it's not given me good results, the time is now to get my behind out of the desk chair and out the door. Regularly. No excuses.

If I start early enough it won't interfere with the rest of the day. In fact, if this (as seen on Facebook this morning)  holds true then I've already won the battle!




Besides, look at all the great stuff I discover along the way...






Beauty...
(albeit a bit blurry...what happens when you try to
juggle 2 dogs and a smart phone...)







Amusement...
(nothing says Easter like a pink flamingo with bunny ears...
except maybe a sock monkey! :D  )









More beauty....










And more beauty....








Yep. The time is now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Prepping for Camp!

Sparky and I are busy today making the sample quilt for my  "I Can Quilt!" Kids Camp...coming this summer at Sew Original, Winston-Salem, June 25-29.


I took the week off last week to get some long overdue tasks done around the house, not the least of which was painting the youngest's room (I bought the paint oh, a year or so ago!). It's now a gorgeous deep gold (ala Wake Forest). And yes, that means making a black and gold quilt is in my very near future! :)


Glad to mark some things off the list...but it feels good to be playing with fabric and thread again!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Old Tyme Day

It's that time again! Sharing quilting with the third graders at Lewisville Elementary. Thanks Bonnie for being my sidekick today and bringing your amazing antique quilts! It's a special day for the kids...and it's fun to watch their little minds at work :) Admittedly I miss LES...it's a great school full of wonderful teachers who always find creative ways to engage the kids in learning new things.

During Old Tyme Day they have numerous stations through which the kids rotate and have hands-on activities, such as candle making, tin punching, butter making, quilting...a one room schoolhouse, blacksmithing (demo) and much more. All part of their early American history studies. What fun!

(photo courtesy of Bonnie W. Hunter)


Monday, March 19, 2012

A Look at the Quilt Show

What a whirlwind the last five days have been...but what fun! It was the biennial Forsyth Piecers and Quilters Guild Show, themed this time "The Art of Comfort." There were around 145 gorgeous quilts on display judged by Linda Fiedler and Linda Cantrell. There were lots of great vendors too and the BIGGEST guild boutique I've seen since I've been a member (it was amazing!). The show chairs were my bee-mates Laura Patridge and Lisa Alley and they did the most fabulous job ...the venue was beautiful and well attended. Hats off to them for making it all happen!

I jumped into the vendor arena for the first time with my hand dyed fabrics and handcrafted buttons and was very lucky to have the best booth neighbors. They were so kind and fun to hang around! They were Annie's Keepsakes (wool felt, rovings, patterns, tools etc.), Shakerwood Woolens (hand dyed felted wool, patterns, threads), Empty Pockets Alpaca Farm (yummy yarns and rovings), and Karen Gray Design (fresh modern quilt fabrics, patterns, etc.She has a shop in Reynolda Village, Winston-Salem).  I didn't really have much time to visit the other vendors but my favorite LQS was there - Sew Original of Winston-Salem...they were demo'ing one of the Bernina embroidery machines, making these really cute "Hot Stuff" coffee sleeves (and you know I love coffee!). Next to them were Justi Ard of Witch Hazel Handmades (she makes cool glass pendants encasing all kinds of images), and the newest Bernina dealership, Studio Stitch of Greensboro.

Do visit their websites and see all the wonderful things they offer!

Here is a look at just a few of the quilts and scenes around the show:

The Flower Garden
By Jane Houser, Quilted by Theresa DeWalt
Best Long Arm Quilting, Best Hand Applique, Viewer's Choice, and 1st place in  its category

Southern Comfort
By The Beecassos
Row 1: Linda Worsley, Sara Nutter, Cathy Bogan
Row 2: Wanda Norman, Karen Fridy, Vickie Clontz
Row 3: Joan Lowder, Gail McNeill, Penny Sharp
Row 4: Marlene Land
First Place, Red and White Challenge, Judge's Choice Award

Top: Night With Sunflowers by Anna Reich, 1st place Art Quilts
Bottom: Shimmering Vine by Penny Sharp

The Art Quilts!
I won third place for "How Do You See Me"(winking at you now, bottom left), and Honorables for "Cracks Where the Light Gets In" and "Kay Oss". The portrait piece top left is also mine.

This One's Mine
By Gina Boone
Best of Show!

Butterfly Garden
By Susie Oulette, Quilted by Winnie McCrary

Bali Dancing
By Debra Voigt

Hop To It
By Carmen Cannon, Quilted by Jan Strubble

The Red and White Challenge
(I especially love the upper right with sewing terms made by Ava Lewandowski)

Left: Southern Star by Lisa Alley, quilted by Gina Boone
Right: Tinker Belle's Neighborhood by Rosann Davis, quilted by Rosemary Cushman

(I'm guessing this must be Tinker Belle :)

Christmas Quilt by Anna Reich

Part of my booth - handcrafted buttons

More of my booth - hand dyes and patterns

View from my booth
(Shakerwood Woolens has such a pretty booth!)

In my fortune cookie Saturday night...that pretty much sums it up :)

Now it's time to unpack, clean up, regroup, and get ready for the next adventure!