Monday, March 28, 2011

Better than Chocolate!!!!

You have to see what Yummy goodness arrived in the mail:

I won the Mystery Monday contest (Wa Hoooo!) over at Annie's!
She asked what color I liked and I told her I was like a Magpie - I like all things bright, shiny, and citrus-y.  Didn't she do a great job picking just the perfect colors for me?  I love them Annie!  Thank you so much!

Now I think I will be off in daydreams to the Bahamas!  Calgon take me away!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Once upon a time, there was a quilter who could spin WalMart yardage into Quilt Shoppe Quality Gold . . .

I warned you there was going to be a lot of blarney on this blog!

Anyhoo, in the beginning, when I married DH nearly 19 years ago, he had upon his bed, a quilt made by a former girlfriend.  Now, you need to understand that I have a great reverence for the time, energy, and love put into anything handcrafted and it seems darned near sacrilegious to throw a handmade article away; besides all the bad Ju Ju you would be inviting your way if you disrespected another crafter's "art!"  Also, it was a perfectly functional quilt and, since I really didn't have anything suitable to replace it with at the time, the quilt became christened "The Machelle Quilt" and it stayed.  And it stayed . . . and it stayed!

Like the Energizer Bunny, that quilt refused to wear out.  Granted, I did repair the binding once or twice where it had come loose.  But, pretty soon, "The Machelle Quilt" became almost a family heirloom and I actually became quite fond of it. 

Nearly 17 years later as it was gasping it's dying, agonal breaths another serendipitous event occurred.  I was approached by a co-worker who had just purchased a "Long-Arm?"  What the heck was that?  I thought, visions of possibilities popping into my head:

I say "co-worker" because that's what she was at the time.  She has since become Cherished Bestie and Partner in Quilt Shop Crimes.  Although, after one particular Quilt Class Calamity, I did drive home musing about the various places I could hide Karen's body where no one would ever find it.  But, I digress, that story will have to wait for a future chapter.

Anyway, Karen enticed me to make a quilt for her to "long-arm."  "All the cool kids are doing it!", "Just one time won't hurt you!" and "I promise - you won't get addicted!"  Yes, she actually said these things.  See, you're starting to see what a wild and crazy cohort Karen is!

Well, I had sewn since a young girl back in the Stone Age, making some of my own clothes, simple curtains for a newly-wed home, and Halloween costumes for my kids.  So, really, how hard could it be???  Hey, it's rude to laugh!  

I took another long, sentimental look at the faded and fraying "Machelle Quilt" and decided to take Karen up on her offer.  Being a Type A personality, I bought the best fabric, the best thread, and the best Queen-sized pattern I could find.  Yes, you heard me right - I decided my very first quilt would be an intermediate-level, queen sized!

WARNING:  The following story contains horrific descriptions and images not for the light-hearted!

I even purchased a 1/4 inch quilting foot for my Viking.  I was not taking on this project with a care-free, devil-may-care attitude!  I was going to be a Professional and I was going to try this at home.  Now, no where on the package did it say anything about making a "needle position adjustment" AFTER installing the foot, nor did the friendly saleslady who sold it to me.  And, whoever thought you would need to read your owner's manual just to install a new foot?

So, I went on my merry way . . . pre-laundering, pressing (not ironing), strip cutting, and piecing while I whistled a happy tune.

After piecing a few blocks together, I discovered that the 1/4 inch foot was not really sewing 1/4 inch seams . . . Helllloooooooooo????  Silly meBut I had gone past the point of no return.  I had already strip pieced and pre-cut several sections and seriously . . . was it really that big of a deal?  So what if the quilt top was slightly smaller than originally designed?  I would just make it up with extra blocks or a wider border.  Right?

The more I sewed and pieced, the faster I stopped whistling that happy tune.  I discovered, to my dismay that there is a reason behind the Quilter's Cardinal Rule of 1/4 inch seams.

This is what happens to a simple 4 square when your seams are not 1/4 inch!

I said it is rude to laugh!  You can get up off the floor now and if you peed your pants a little, we will wait while you go change.  

Hey, I have been trained to save lives and serve the public, for the Love of Corn, and I wasn't going to let some simple woven fibers take me down!  

Needless to say, I have now learned the lesson of 1/4 inch seams and lived to go on and make bigger and better mistakes!  (Feel free to use the above picture in your next episode of America's Funniest Quilting Bloopers!)

Well, it was my first quilt and DH loves it despite all it's glaring flaws.

After all, it is a perfectly functional quilt and, since I really don't have anything suitable to replace it with at the time, it stays.  And it stays and it stays . . .   UNLESS . . .

Machelle, if you're reading this blog, DH could sure use a new quilt!

Thursday, March 17, 2011



What a day to make my blogging debut - St. Patrick's Day - my very own personal holiday!  There will be lots of laughter, lots of cheer, and lots and lots of blarney to be found here! 

So, let's jump right in - as I have heard a lot of you calling out to me with your Siren Song, "Come on in - the water's fine!"

I have procrastinated . . . I have hesitated.  Oooooh, how, I have hesitated - to join in with the rest of you.  You witty, talented bunch that leave me mesmerized with your lovely words, your beautiful art, your kind worldwide web embraces.  But, I will dip my toes in . . . get my feet wet . . . so to say . . .

There are a few of us still out here on the shore, watching the rest of you backstroke, dip, dive, and swirl . . .  afraid to join in . . .

Ha Ha - what a motley crew we are too!  We watch longingly and jealously from shore as the rest of you weave your creative whirlpools of delight.  The water is up to my ankles and  . . . funny thing . . . I am getting used to it . . . I might even like it a little bit!

Out there, close to the horizon, I see the big shots . . . the Superstars . .  could I possibly play in those uncharted depths some day . . .  isn't it dangerous . . . couldn't I get hurt out there so far from my safe shore?   Will they judge me?  Will I measure up?

 Why, isn't that Ricky Tims I just saw break the surface on the back of a killer whale?

And I'm pretty sure I saw Jinny Beyer ski by gracefully balanced upon two racing dolphins!

Oh, my - it looks so fun out there - so exciting . . . so exhilarating!  Do I dare . . . what could happen to me out there?

And way out there  . . .  beyond the horizon . . . is that . . .  could it be?  Caryl Bryer Fallert?  tinting, dappling, spritzing the horizon with glorious color?

The rest of you were wrong!  The water is not just fine!  The water out there is glorious, stupendous, full of promise and treasure.  I take one last look at my earth-bound and fearful friends waiting on the sand behind me . . .

Take a deep breath . . . NO two!  Hold my nose!  One, two, three running leaps . . . Look out here I come!!!!

Awwwwww - the water's great!