Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buttons Scattered Everywhere!

 As I told you in my post yesterday, our Katie's junior recital was Sunday afternoon.  She gave an amazing performance, and her joy in the music was contagious.  Katie will graduate next year from the same college as her grandmother and I.  She has been studying piano since she was six years old, and in spite of all our moves here and there, her first piano teacher was a piano major at this same college, now Shorter University---and last year, he taught Katie's course on composing.  How cool is that!  Here are a few pictures, including one with her boyfriend Ryan, who will be performing his senior recital (vocal performance) at Shorter in two weeks.  You can probably imagine how proud Katie's dad, brother and I are of her--so much so that we just busted the buttons off our shirts with pride. 

Katie and I sat in this chapel almost three years years ago for the first part of freshman orientation--I remember sitting in one of the pews after she left, praying that God would bless her during her time at Shorter.  He has!

Now that Katie's recital is over, it's her turn to take care of Ryan as it gets closer to his recital and graduation.  Just one more year, and it will be her turn!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quite a Week

It has been quite a week--such a busy, exciting week that finishing a quilt pales by comparison.  How often does that happen?  Yesterday was our Katie's junior recital--she is a piano performance/piano pedagogy major, and one of the requirements for her degree is a thirty minute recital during her junior year.  Her program included two movements of Ravel's Sonatine, two Chopin Mazurkas, and a Beethoven Sonata.  She gave an amazing performance--and she did it with so much joy!  I think there will be a video posted to Youtube at some point--if so, I'll let you know and post a link so that you can watch and listen. 

The other nice thing about yesterday was how many people in Katie's life were there to share the occasion--both her grandmothers, two of her aunts, a cousin, lots of her friends, her boyfriend and his whole family, her brother, lots of people from the church where she is pianist.   As it turned out, one of her dad's cousins was in Georgia on a visit, and she was there, never having met Katie until yesterday!  I wish Gary could have made the trip--he's counting on it for next year.

That finished quilt?  Here's a picture of the whole quilt--wish I had pictures of yesterday to post---will do when I get them.  But here's the Double Irish Chain, all done.  (And I'm hard at work on the whole cloth quilt and the Tetris quilt.) 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Double Irish Chain, Bias Binding, and Bread--Oh, My!

Here's what I've been working on---I finished the hand quilting on my Double Irish Chain quilt Friday afternoon--then decided on a binding fabric, made hundreds of feet of continuous binding, and attached it that evening.  If you quilt, you know that feeling of almost unbearable excitement and expectation--soon you're going to have that finished quilt, the product of weeks or months--sometimes even years--of work and creativity.  Sounds almost like childbirth, doesn't it?  Babies are better than quilts, but quilts don't leave stretchmarks....

I don't know if you can tell or not, but there on the ironing board you can see hundreds and hundreds of feet of continuous bias binding.  My friend Laura and I worked on the "tube" process of making it last summer until we both had it--now it's fun to do, and I can make a lot of binding in a short amount of time.  I usually make a lot extra, which I keep in a plastic zipper bag to use on small projects.  I've been stitching the binding down, but haven't quite finished it because I got caught up in another project.

The other distraction has been bread making.  I used to make all our bread, grinding the wheat and baking at least a couple of times a week.  With the kids grown and gone most of the time, and since neither Gary nor I need all that bread (!), I've gotten away from it.  My wheat bread recipe made four loaves--waaaay too much, and it takes a lot of time.  But somewhere (and I wish I could remember where) I saw something about making artisan bread in five minutes a day---Impossible! was my first reaction.  But I found the site, got Gary to order a Danish dough whisk for me ($7 on Amazon), and tried it this weekend.  I spent five minutes mixing the ingredients yesterday, five minutes today forming the loaf--that's it!  And the bread is fabulous--and about 40 cents a loaf!  Seriously, you have to try this--look:  The website is http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/02/09/back-to-basics-tips-and-techniques-to-create-a-great-loaf-in-5-minutes-a-day  This takes you right to the recipe and tutorial--even if you've never made bread, you can do this!  And Jeff and Zoe generously share lots of recipes on their website.  I just can't wait to get a copy of one---no, make that all three of their books!  Oh, and if you are really brave--or not on a diet---check out ZoeBakes....


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birds and Quilt Blocks

I have been having fun this week making the blocks for a new quilt.  Over Christmas, Katie's boyfriend asked if I could make him a Tetris quilt, sending me on a hunt for a pattern.  I found one by QuilterGeek, a very clever young woman who has simplified her first design for the quilt and has shared it on her blog.  Each block uses three graduated shades in a quarter square block.  The surprise for me has been how beautifully the colors pulled together, even though I thought some were not going to work.  I'm excited because Gary helped me put up my Fons & Porter design wall today--it only took a few minutes, using a level to get it straight and push pins to hang it.  Sure beats laying out all those blocks on the floor!

At the same time--literally--I've been chasing away grackles that found my bird feeders.  They not only devour all the bird feed like a hoard of locusts, but they scare away the finches, chickadees, titmouse, and cardinals.  I searched a bunch of sites for suggestions, and finally decided to try switching out the bird feed for something they don't like.  Now the feeders hold black-oil sunflower seeds and nyger.  The grackles came back for a little while this afternoon and pecked at the feeders a bit, then gave up and started scarfing up what had fallen to the ground earlier.  I'm hoping they'll move on to greener pastures--or other feeding places!

One last thing--the Double Irish Chain is almost done!  Just 3 1/2 more blocks and then the binding.....can't wait for that moment when I get to cut off the extra batting and backing and get that first glimpse of what the quilt is really going to look like!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Tempted Quilter

This weekend, I fell headlong into temptation. 

That got your attention, didn't it?  One thing I've learned is that the road to JoAnn's is paved with good intentions---along with the road to Fabric.com, A Scarlet Thread, Connecting Threads, Marti's Fabric Studio . . . well, you get the picture.  I had this really great resolution---I would finish quilting the Double Irish Chain and at least get the queen size whole cloth quilt well under way, and then I would baste and start quilting the (queen size) Double Wedding Ring before I bought any more fabric or started another quilt. 

I am safer around chocolate and cheesecake--or even chocolate cheesecake--than I am around fabric.

So this is my true confession--I had been looking at fabric for several days, trying to decide on the best way to approach making a Tetris quilt when it came time to start it.  Then I would look at batting (for the DWR) that I'm not going to start quilting for a while.  Then I would pull out That Perfect Stitch and read the reviews of battings, then get my little packet of Quilter's Dream samples.....then I would look at fabric some more. 

To make a long story....well, still kind of long.....in order to avoid buying fabric, I ordered a Quilter's Dream wool batting for my DWR (that I'm not going to start yet).  Thus, I could save myself from giving into temptation and buying fabric.....after all, my quilting budget for the month was pretty well blown, and I had satisfied the urge. 

Until I walked into JoAnn's.....it was just a few 1/4 yards....so I would have all the shades for the Tetris quilt....which I would not start.....

Until today.... . . .