Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

No trains for me! Go Postal gave me this saphire pendant hoping it would go with my Mom's saphire ring that I wear often. They look great together!
The second attempt at Flan worked fine, we had a huge meal. And even though his neices and nephews are older than mine...we still had fun opening gifts and watching them play "guitar hero" on the PS2. Banjo got a whole can of wet food since after was Christmas.

Hope everyone was able to share this wonderful day with family and friends. I got to celebrate three Georgia with Dad, Teen and Kim's family, then with Mary and her boys in Winston-Salem Christmas Eve...and with Mike's family Christmas day.

The Best Christmas Ever...According to Buddy!

Dinosaurs, Trains, Legos, remote control vehicles...just what these two guys were wishing for! And the reindeer even ate all the food that was left outside for them!

Flopped Flan

Sharing recipes is fun, but something told me that my friend Lila's Flan would not be as easy to make as she promised. Ingredients are easy to get right, but the secret to a great recipe is often in the techniques. Just like a quilt or any other form of creativity...getting the pattern sewn or the notes right doesn't mean you will like the end result. Thankfully this was the warm up before I took it to Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quilters Christmas Dinner

Here are all of my quilting buddies our for our annual Christmas dinner and dirty Santa gift exchange. Everyone was pretty pleased with the gift they opened. I thought I was home free until Mrs Goodneedle decided to steal my fabric. But alas....I got to open another and just look:

How Cool is this...A chicken pin-cushion. I really can use this more than fabric...he can go with me on my next retreat. I have several of the grab it magnetic pin cushions but they don't always stay in tack in the bottom of a tote bag.

The gift that got away.....

Can't wait to see these in next year's quilt show!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Brie...How did you eat all that?

The Polar Express Pound Cake is gone....Brie ate her weight by devouring it when Mary ran an errand last week. Glad we took pictures!!

Altanta Weekend

I had my Ann Taylor Loft Shopping Buddy back in action this weekend. I came away with 5 pairs of pants, three tops and a skirt for $200. Now thats power shopping. Sofia did great, she hung with us girls through IKEA and finished up at Lennox Square Mall at 8pm. She is a delightful baby!

Sofia got some new socks...look how cute. They have Mary Janes knitted right into the sock (because 6 month olds just won't keep shoes on)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Polar Express Pound Cake

We started clean.....

Little Man was more interested in eating the coal (chocolate chips) than helping us decorate.

But Buddy and I finished our Christmas Train!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Finished for Christmas

I took this "Loose Ends" class about 10 years ago, got the borders on about three years ago, quilted and bound three sides about 18 months ago.....and FINALLY its up. Go Postal helped hang the quilt hangers within the footprint of the framed picture that hangs on this wall the rest of the year. This was my first attempt at stippling by machines and I used it as a warm up for completing my neice's quilt. My original thought was to have a quilt for every season on this wall....but at the pace I am going......

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Good Boy Banjo!

Just in time for Santa, Banjo has made his dad very happy. This week two field mice presented on the side walk of the cabin (and not allowed to get into the crawl space where this time last year they decided the heating ductwork material made good nests) We weren't sure at first if it was Banjo's doings or another cat that has been "visiting" Banjo. But as we left his Dad's house last night about 9pm....we saw him in action with a third mouse he had just caught from the field.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Thanks Dad

My new chimney cabinet is in place and the shelves are in. Dad made it from Maple, but we both had a time getting it to stain even. I tried first, but it was like bad quilting on a well constructed quilt top. He sanded it down and tried again using several different types of stain before we settled on paint. Its all ready for linens and extra toliet paper for the half bath!

Zorro inspected it already and said it would be fine where it is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hello from DR

I have had a nice stay in the Dominican Republic....its about 80 here today and sunny! Too bad I have spent most of my time in a conference room! We are staying in Santiago (near the airport) and our textile plant is in Bonao (center of island) Yesterday we did travel to Santo Domingo to see a few sew plants and I know just enough Spanish to ask the driver about a good place to buy coffee. We stopped at a latin version of Wal Mart and I bought 8lbs of Santo Domingo coffee (about $3.50 per pound) First one to post that they want to try it can have a package! I think they must use about a cup of ground coffee to brew a pot, so I have had to restrict my intake. I have brought 33 children's quilts to the plant, and the manager is going to distribute them to flood victims and the girl's orphanage down the street. I thought I might get to go with him, but they announced a big management re-org here today so he will be tied up. He promised to send some pictures, and its probably better I not see the orphans or I would next be trying to figure out how to take one back with me. He didn't know a spanish word for quilt but he knew blanket.

This country has made a lot of progress since I was here as an intern in 1989. Our textile plant will be intstalling a bio-fuel plant here next year to burn cocunut shells and other agricultural by products instead of bunker oil. We have eaten at the plant the last two days but may venture out for dinner s0 maybe I will get some tostones tonight!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Visit

Getting 4 Monkey to pose for Christmas card pictures is about impossible...the only thing that helped was that I told the boys we could jump in the leaves if they did a good job standing still. We were at Kim's home for Thanksgiving...had ham, fried turkey and all the trimmings. The three sisters were at Target for the 6am doorbusters on Friday. The SuperTargets in Atlanta have Starbucks built right inside so after the first thirty minutes of dash (I had some pre-assigned items to get for Mary) we all enjoyed Lattes. Perfect!
Dad and Teen are here with Kim's two...we all hope to be together again the weekend before Christmas, this time dinner will by Ray's Mill Pond cafe in Ray City Georgia. (Catfish and Cheese Grits...Yum)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Z Kittty

Pets have always been a part of my life, my Mom had a Siamese (Thai) before she met my Dad...and he didn't pass away until I was in Jr High. I had to say goodbye to Z Kitty (my Lilac Point Siamese) this weekend...his kidneys were failing him and there was no need to watch him continue to decline. All who knew him would agree he had the most beautiful blue eyes and loved nothing more to sit on your lap or behind your head on the couch. He was 13. I was made to think about all that has happened in my life in 13 years...I have said goodbye to all four grandparents and my mother. But I have also gotten three wonderful nephews and a niece. The circle of life thing is sometimes hard to take. Go Postal put Z Kitty to rest beside Mocha...and I am not sure I could have done that without his help. Z Kitty loved to squeeze between us on the couch when watching TV. Pets are one of God's little blessings that often help remind me of what unconditional love really means. Zorro and I will miss him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What a Weekend!

I took a few days off work, and quilted at my semi-annual Quilt retreat, went to a Laidies Holiday dinner with Go Postal's sister....and finished off with a hike up Hawksbill to celebrate Dairy Queen's birthday!
The color in our NC mountains was late this year, and even though we were a few weeks past the peak, the view was great and sure beat sitting at the computer in the office!

I was able to complete the quilt tops for Sofia and my Not Fretting Forty signature quilt, they will be off to the long arm quilters ASAP.

In addition let me say what a charitable group my quilting friends are. I shared with them my desire to take some children's quilts to D.R. (see earlier post) and Salem Stitcher provided over 20 alone. I know these will brighten the faces of many kids and give them something to treasure of their very own.

The Ladies Dinner was a great way to kick off the Holiday season and remind me not to get caught up in every little detail preparing for the gift giving, meal planning, etc...but to remember the real meaning of this special time of year.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lake Norman State Park

This is the best mountain bike I have ever owned! The wide tires, great suspension and women's fit....helps me ride better than ever. We checked out the 12 miles of singletrack trails at Lake Norman State park on Sunday and had a great fall afternoon. The trails there have several banked turns, lots of undulating sections and very few obstacles. On the last six miles, Dairy Queen and I kept the same pace as the guys...thanks in part to my Trek Fuel 9 wsd.

To check out Lake Norman State Park visit their website:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maybe I'll make a quilt!

Several families that work at our plant in the Dominican Republic have lost their homes due to the flooding from Noel. Most of us in the United States are blessed to be able to replace most material things without too much effort. When you make $2/hour and have no insurance this loss must seem overwhelming.

I will be travelling to this plant the week after Thanksgiving, and rather than making a monetary contribution (like many of my fellow employees will) I hope to take a few small quilts. Maybe the bright fabric will bring a smile to the face of a child in what must be such a scary time.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or Treat

Sorry Brie, No Chocolate for Dogs!

Happy Halloween

Thomas the Train is ready to go!

Optimus Prime...The Good Transformer

Monday, October 29, 2007

The York

We drove to Cana, Va yesterday afternoon along the Blue Ridge parkway to see some foilage and shop for apples. We tasted a few, then decided on the York. It is really crunchy and not too sweet. Old timers called this a hillside apple due to the way it is shaped.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Love that Thomas

Little Man love Thomas the will see next week when they are decked out in the Halloween costumes. Here he is with a pair of Thomas briefs that I found at a sample sale! And now that he is potty trained he can put them to good use.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What's that sound...

I woke up last night to an unfamiliar was rain gently running down the gutters. Its been so long I forgot how nice that sounded. Glad I put out that grass seed this weekend! Maybe we will start to replenish our rivers and lakes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chicken House

Go Postal has a friend who raises chickens for a living. I was curious (and I admit a little apprehensive) about how this process worked since you drive by so many of these houses in North Carolina. He is under contract and really does nothing but provide the enviornement and care for these little guys for about 20 weeks at a time. The chickens, theirfeed, and all other care is done by the company he contracts for. We walked into the house and I expected to see cages but instead it was a great big open area, with hoses that ran down rows for water and feed pans stationed every few feet. At this point in their lives the lights come on at 6:30 am and lights out at 6:30pm and they get as much food as they want. From his farm they go on to another where they lay the eggs that become the next generation (if I understood that correctly) The little males were separate from the females even at this age and I had a ball just watching the group dynamics. This little guy was curious enough to check me out.
They also have a few cows, burros, and a goat named Elvis. I wonder if I had to feed chickens, our schedule could be lights on about 8 am?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Day Off - To Stay at Home

What a treat, I am taking tomorrow off and have no place to go. If it is nice outside, I am cleaning up flower beds and getting the lawn ready to re-seed (with some faith that it will rain again eventually) If it rains, I will work on little Sofia's quilt.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stone Mountain Sunday

Here are some of my ski club buddies on a beautiful Fall afternoon. We all use radio names when skiing so let me introduce you from left to right: Whole Wheat, Dairy Queen, Sugar Maple, Tree Hugger (they are married....get it?), Bunny Foo Foo and Go Postal. Seated is Shutterbug. As much as we all enjoyed this perfect afternoon we would gradly trade it for a long soaking rain. The usually wide waterfall at the end of the hike was barely a trickle.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Walking with Dinosaurs

Here they are...the closest thing to live Dinosaurs we will ever see. Buddy was grining the entire time. Little Man had his blanket to cover his head when things got too scary (like when the Momma T-Rex came out to defend her baby) The lights and robotic technology really made this a great show for both the young and the young at heart.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gees Bend Quilters

I had a real treat last night when I went to hear from 6 of the Gees Bend Quilters. They all told briefly how they learned to quilt and about their lives. They made quilts to keep warm....not because they considered it art. They used scraps from the local cotton gin to fill their quilts. (That is why they had to quilt so close together). They all now own machines and use commericial batting but still mostly quilt by hand. The discovery of these quilts allowed these women to rise above the extreme poverty they were in and have opened doors for travel and new experiences.

But the most suprising part of the evening was the a cappella gospel concert they gave us. They had the diverse audience on their feet, clapping along with the rythm by the end of the session.

I quilt because I like the art form, not to stay warm. I buy fabric, patterns, and batting without thinking about the cost. But I know my grandmother made utilitarian quilts from scraps because I know have some! Whether from new or old they are made to wrap up loved ones.

If you get a chance to see these Quilts you should...not because of their workmanship but because of their visual impact and the stories behind the quilts.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Meet Banjo

I am Banjo, I know most of you have heard about me by now. I am supposed to be keeping mice away from Dad's cabin. I have a lot of fun around here, there are all kinds of barns to explore. So far I have pulled off three collars so they put one on me this time that will not pull off.

For fun I like to chase bugs and race you to the porch. I will walk ahead of you and flip over on my back be warned its a trap! As soon as you touch my tummy its ON!

Dad gives me a little canned food each night so I know where home is. (I already have him wrapped around by paw)