Monday, September 28, 2009

Silence

The cicadas are finally silent.  They must have finished what they were born to do.  For the past few weeks I have listening to their loud and constant chirping outside every window in my house.  I was just reading that their chirps can reach 120 decibels.  That's loud. 

Most of the time you can't see them up in the tree but the other day I managed to get a few photos of the ugly little bugs.  They were about 2 to 2 1/2" long and fat looking.  I was surpised by their rusty orange color.  I guess I expected them to just be brown and camoflauged into the tree.




There's some really cool information about them on Wikipedia which I won't go into but here are a few interesting facts.  The life cycle of a southern cicada is 13 years.  They begin as an egg laid in the barch of a tree twig.  From there, they hatch and drop to the ground, burrowing into the earth up to 8 1/2 feet.  In 13 years they come up out of the ground, mate, and die a short time later.

Wow!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Sewing Challenge

For the past couple of months I have following the blogs of several EXTREMELY talented Australian quilt designers.  Jenny of Elefantz posted a sewing challenge on her blog to make a sewing mat for under your sewing machine.  From the people that make one and post a photo in their blog will have a chance to win a secret prize.

Well here is mine.  It was incredibly easy to make...and come on how useful a little tool is this!  No more searching around your work area for your scissors and other notions!  The front pockets of mine are paper pieced.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Silent Auction

Last night I finished quilting and binding the little wallhanging below for the upcoming quilt show.  It measures 14" x 14".  The embroidery pattern is from Shadow Redwork by Alex Anderson.  On it says "Love binds everything together". 



I like it so much I may have to bid on it just to keep it for myself.

I have some other projects that'll be put into the auction but they're not quite finished yet...but I'm getting there.  Too much to do and not enough time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Goings on...

For the past two years I've been planning (with many others) our guild's 2009 quilt show.  The past few weeks things have really been picking up and I've been busier than ever. 

Through all this I've been trying to fit in a few things for myself.  A week or so ago I finished this little quilt.  The pieced blocks were made from a charm pack of Civil War prints that I was given.  The blocks had been sitting around for months and months and I could never figure out what to do with them.  Shopping for another project I came across the border fabric and inspiration to set the blocks came.  I am pretty happy with the results.  Sometimes simple is best.



For the past couple of months I've been heavy into embroidery.  The fairy will be a Christmas gift for my mother.  The flowers will be for a journal cover.  I don't know yet what I am going to do with the pumpkin girl, mermaid, and the good luck saying.  They'll probably become pillows or wallhangings at some point.  The snowman is one block from Crabapple Hill Studio's pattern "Snowmen A to Zzzz."  I'm taking my time on the snowman quilt.  I have all the blocks traced out and just need to do the embroidery now.  I know I'll never have it done by Christmas but am pretty confident that I'll have it done by February or March.  *fingers crossed*



This past Saturday I went to a quilt show and came home with some great patterns!  Yeah yeah yeah...I know I need another pattern like I need another hole in my head but I really couldn't help myself.  I can't wait for the chance to start on them.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cookies...anyone?!

Yesterday I spent the morning baking. I came across a white chocolate macadamia nut recipe months ago and I have been slowly tweaking it to my own tastes. While my husband loves macadamia nuts, we DO live in Texas. And in the south its all about the pecan. So I replaced the macadamias with pecans and added a few other ingredients. I think they are probably the second best thing I make that my husband loves (after my Dulce de Leche Gelatto).

So here is my recipe for what I call White Chocolate Pecan Delights.

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups softened butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (I like using Double Strength Vanilla for a really strong flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
1 - 10 oz package white chocolate chips
1 - 10 oz package toffee bits
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut

1. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat butter, sugars, and egg until fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients.
3. Stir in chips, toffee bits, nuts, and coconut.
4. Chill dough for an hour or two till the dough firms up.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
6. Drop dough onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper using a small scooper (2 Tbsp size).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. (I find it takes 10 minutes but ovens will vary)

Recipe is a double batch and makes several dozen cookies.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WIPs, UFOs, and Time

Do you ever feel bogged down and overwhelmed by your projects?

Last weekend I went to a quilters retreat which was absolutely wonderful! There were about 35 of us who attended. We ate and laughed and even managed to do a bit of quilting.

Anyways...the week before retreat I spent my time trying to figure out what I wanted to work on while I was there. Within a few days I had pulled out more than a dozen projects I wanted to work on...at least half of them were brand new projects while the other half were pulled from my ever growing WIP (work in progress) and UFO (unfinished objects) piles.

I have come to the conclusion that I must have a quilter's version of ADD. I see something I like and then decide to do it. I start the project and then I see something else I like and decide I want to start that. Do you see a pattern? This is not to say that I don't complete things. Because I complete a lot. When I teach a class, I have to make a sample quilt for it and I schedule maybe a dozen classes a year so those ones get done. But somehow when its just for ME, I lack the focus to stick with a project from start to finish.

Another I have come to realize is if I did one quilt from every book I own and a quilt from every pattern I own, it would take me several lifetimes to complete them.

I want to be a FINISHER, not a starter! So as of today I vow that for every new project I start, I must complete two WIPs or UFOs first. If I cannot motivate myself to complete a particular UFO, I will pass it on to someone who will. ( Watch out Donna!)

Wish me luck!