Thursday, January 25, 2007

Launch time!

Jan has arrived from Texas, and zero hour for departure to Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage approaches. This means it is time for the final cut. I made my selections, and whittled the stack to these six containers. I will, however, confess to pulling out some excess fabrics, and consolidating two projects in one container in at least one case. The trick is selecting the right mix of applique and piecing projects.

My food contributions are nearly complete. Last night, I sauted ground chuck as well as onions and celery. The will become part of my soup du Miss Mary's, "Cabbage Patch Stew". The recipe came from the 1998 Taste of Home Annual Cookbook. My DH started to complain that I hadn't made any for him yet this year. I whipped up a batch of lemon bars, and finished off the cookfest with sauted breakfast sausage, to be included in a breakfast casserole. It's easy and great because it is assembled, with sausage, cubed bread, eggs, milk, and cheddar cheese, all refrigerated overnight. Just pop it in the oven first thing in the morning, and serve.

Classic story about "breakfast casserole". I have prepared it many times over the years, and my husband loves it. One weekend, we had guests, and it was on the menu. Our guests included 3-year-old Weslie. I brought the casserole dish to the table fresh from the oven. Weslie took one look, and clapped her hands together, exclaiming, "OHHHHH! I just LOVE quiche!" I had never used the term in front of my DH. He turned to look at me so quickly, he nearly twisted his head off his neck!

I've just been told it's my turn in the shower to get beautiful, and we'll start to load the van. I just hope my sides are in condition for the laughing which always accompany one of these events!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Launching the 2007 Retreat "Season"!

Let the madness begin! It's almost here. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will find me with about 10 of my best friends at Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage. I've started a little stack of things to take. From the top down, I have:
1) Paducah Booth Hop Blocks
2) My Santa applique blocks
3) A strips and strings project complete with Kabinet Wax, ready to start sewing
4) Half square triangles, for "leaders and enders"
5) Kissin' Cousins quilt blocks to assemble
6) Millenium blocks, ready to sash and assemble (Way ahead on that one! Whoops . . . different millenium!)
7) Illiana Shop Hop blocks assembled, ready to set together
8) Florida Shop Hop blocks for 2005, assembled, and ready to set
9) Florida Shop Hop blocks for 2006, cut and ready to assemble.
10) A strippy Basket Block quilt top, ready to sew strips together
11) Perfume bottle blocks, ready to sash and set together
12) Pre-cut Contrary Wife blocks, ready to assemble
13) Kansas Troubles blocks in progress. I put some up on my fleece to see how they look. I like the way some of the red and white setting triangles look pink in the picture. I'm past half done with the piecing. Will have to think about borders.
14) Tea Pot blocks from The Quilt Company.
15) A blooming cup of Tea applique project.
16) A top that needs a few pieced blocks to make the border.

Since I will only be gone 4 days, I suspect this list will be subject to a great deal of cutting down. We chatted about renting a PODS unit to have our projects delivered, then putting our cars inside the unit, so we won't have to clean snow and ice off the windows. That was Marguerite's idea. I don't know why everyone says she's so dumb?

My sister-in-law, Jan, will be arriving Wednesday from Texas. She sent a box ahead, with her projects. We keep a featherweight and lamp, and most of the other tools she will need. She has a drawer in my studio where I stash things for her, and a couple drawers in the guest room for things she decides to leave here. We even keep a winter coat for her, so she doesn't have to haul it back and forth. When she comes off the plane, we will be in the terminal with the coat all warmed up for her.

I will try to take some "action" photos while we are in attendance at Miss Mary's. By Sunday, we should all be covered with thread, and happily exhausted.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year . . .

It's New Year's Day, my DH is working at an antique auction, and I've stayed home to continue the "plowing" of my studio. It's going well . . . I've actually struck carpet, and have more than just a path to the sewing machine.

I made a brief visit to the auction to see if there was anything I couldn't possibly live without . . . they didn't have much, but they had a lot of it! So, it's going to be a long day for DH, but as you can imagine, the clock is going double time for me, since I must return to the workaday world tomorrow. On my way home from the auction, it seemed like a good time to stop by the local Hobby Lobby. All the clearance table fabrics were on sale for half the lowest price marked. I only picked up as much as I could carry in one trip . . . must get back to my exercise program to build my arm strength! I found a nice beige neutral, a Hoffman print with sea creatures in bright colors, a cute Halloween print (for $1 per yard!), some brights, and an adorable border print in black and white with poodles for my friend, Kathy. What a great way to spend New Year's Day!

Our group is getting wired up for our annual Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage adventure at the end of January. I've been carefully stacking projects which I might possibly take to work on. If I take them all, I'll have to rent a PODS unit to have them delivered! There is likely to be a whole lot of "whittling" done to the stack. I have good intentions of taking an applique project, and one or two piecing projects in hopes of getting tops assembled. We've been talking about this trip since about Thanksgiving, or immediately after returning from the Florida Shop Hop . . . . whichever came first! We have enough food to stay for a week, but it's only four days . . . which goes entirely too quickly, of course. Last year, I managed to get the center of my Dear Jane quilt assembled, and followed up with hand-piecing of the triangle border. It's all together now . . . I need to put aside my applique and piecing projects, and address some of my "ready-to-quilt" collection.

I did have a mission in mind, when I stopped at Hobby Lobby, and amazingly, I actually accomplished it. I was looking for a white with a small print in brights, or a white with black small scale print. I found white with small black stars scattered at random. I intend to mate it with a shoe box full of bright strips given to me at Miss Mary's last year, and assemble one of Bonnie Hunter's strip quilts using Kab-net Wax deli paper for a foundation. That should be a great mindless kind of task for those sewing days when I don't care to think too much.

I hear my Featherweight calling me . . . along with the box of Contrary Wife blocks all ready for assembly. I'd better launch dinner in the crockpot, and get sewing while I have the chance.

For the New Year, may your needle always be threaded, and the thread be free from knots!