Quilters Sharing

Last night, we had our monthly get-together for our little quilt group in town.  Mind you, we live over 8 miles from town, but it is the closest berg to our home.  The county treasurer started the group as a service project, a couple of years ago.  It’s really not a quilt guild because it’s so informal – it’s really just a chance for women who don’t come together often to sit around and chat, snack and show off their projects (quilted or otherwise). 

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I personally enjoy the lessons we do because I like to learn new things.  Very rarely do we have an outsider come in to give the program, so it’s mostly us ladies who are willing to step up to the plate to give lessons and ideas to the others about quilting topics.  For me, it’s more because I sit at home working all of the time, and rarely get together with other quilters just for the sake of speaking all quilting.  My world is pretty small and it’s a blast to expand my horizons as much as possible.

Some of the others want to get together to just visit with each other and work on whatever project they’re doing at the time.  That’s ok, too, if that’s what they want from a meeting. 

This meeting last night was to plan our calendar of topics for the year.  I was pleased with the cooperative efforts that encircled the room, and I hope the others that attended were, too.  For those who wanted to sit and gab, we’ve planned three months, in the coming year, where we’ll do just that.  It doesn’t mean *all* of us have to do that, as a few of us planned to bring projects (such as the quilted postcards we need to make) to put together as a group.  And then we’ll have most of the rest of the monthly meetings where someone will present something that we can do.  And we’ll do at least part of each of these projects *in class.*  A number of the ladies who were there really wanted to work on things IN our meetings.  They feel that when they leave, they either forget or don’t take the time to mess with whatever it is that they learned.  So, we made plans to do that, too – to offer time and assistance in trying out the monthly meeting topics during our meeting.

My main suggestion was that we have the lessons before we eat and yak.  Most of the time, we get to talking and gabbing that we have little or no time left for the actual lesson.  This is unnerving, especially if you’re the one who’s prepared all of the lesson plans – because by the time we get to it, people are anxious to leave already!

And finally, we agreed that there needs to be more service projects.  Honestly, this is the reason (I thought) we got together – one service project giving to another in need.  I think next month, I’ll bring a couple of quilt projects to the meeting that I’ve started – and hand them off to someone who wants to be involved.  One will be a round robin, where I’ve completed the center and others can complete borders to go around that.  I will also put together a horizontal row quilt and pass that off to another so they can put a row on and send it to the next person.  I think the main thing that the group is lacking is someone to just take the bull by the horns and do it – and I’m willing to be that person! 

We also agreed that we’ll attempt another block of the month quilt, based on the lessons that we’ll do this year.  You already know that I have a soft spot in my quilted heart for BOM quilts, so this ought to be fun to tackle, too.  Additionally, I suggested that if we didn’t want to make a whole BOM quilt (which I probably don’t), we can bring the blocks we make together each month and make a single quilt to gift to someone.  Why not?  I think it’s a great way to show the person giving the lesson that we did enjoy and hear their talk … but, we don’t want (or in my case, need) a whole quilt when we’re done.

All in all, I look forward to another fun year with these ladies — teaching them more quilting techniques, learning more techniques from them and opening up our quilted world to the joys of all things quilted!

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    Roll Out the Barrel

    Saturday, I loaded up all four kids and we drove over to San Antonio to see if we could score some of the dad person’s favorite cigars for his special day.  This would be my first time, since returning to Texas, of me driving alone, downtown in the big city.  I’ve been to the outskirts of SA before alone, but not into the heart of the metropolis.  I tried to push away my anxieties, remembering that I had four young lives in the auto with me – and we could do anything.  After a few prayers and a quick stop for gas, I headed into the lion’s den. 

    My SIL had given me directions, but the exit she told me to take was closed.  Wouldn’t you know it?!  I made a quick executive decision and took a different route, one that I was vaguely familiar with.  Thankfully, it took us where we needed to go!  I can’t say that I made it to our destination the first time … or even the second time … but, with each tour around the Alamo Dome (ahem, across the Interstate from our destination), I learned where I needed to go and attempted to get there.  Finally, on our third try – we found the River Center mall and the parking garage.  Whew.

    As we were driving in, DD#1 mentioned that this seemed like the area where her class went at the end of last year for their final field trip – they visited the Imax theatre in the mall as well as the Rainforest Cafe on the River Walk.  At first I was a bit reluctant to go there (you know, it was a weekend and in a tourist area, so I wasn’t wanting to battle those crowds), but it sure made for a great barter with the kids — i.e. “If ya’ll are good in the mall, then we’ll go there for lunch.”

    We got to the cigar store and I asked the man at the desk if he could tell me what my husband’s purchase history was – because I was clueless!  Unfortunately, the warehouse was closed for lunch – but, he assured me that if we came back in an hour or so, he’d have the info that we needed.  Oh sure, make me feed them *before* they have to be good! 

    But, after a little walk down to the lunch destination and a very short wait, we were seated for our safari adventure!  DD#3 (child #4) was scared and clung to me – she didn’t know what the thunderstorms were going to be like, she didn’t want strange robotic animals dropping down from the sky and she was not happy about the way the leaves that decorated the walls and ceilings were moving.  I tried to be reassuring, but heck, I didn’t know about any of it, either!  We ordered our drinks and after they arrived, the thunderstorm came up.  The hostess had seated us back in a far corner, so we really just got a quick view of the fun – but, that was perfect for the littlest Miss – she decided it wasn’t so bad after all! 

    The kids ate and I enjoyed the lunch, and then we were off again, back to the mall and the cigar place.  Luck was with us this time as he had the cigar history and was able to fill up a box for us.  We also purchased a pipe as JD got a new pipe tool for Christmas and broke his old pipe with it (and as DD#2 said – Mom, if it doesn’t fit, you’re not supposed to force it – right?!).  And the man behind the counter threw in a new lighter for free! 

    I thought we were home free — until we got ready to pass Bass Pro Shop, at the Rim.  ummm, yeah, we had to stop.  The kids were sure there was a gift or two in there, with their dad’s name on it.  And because we were trying to give the dad a little quiet time at home, I turned in.  It was fun, and I was pleased that the kids listened to me when I said we weren’t there to buy THEM anything as it was the dad’s birthday and not theirs.  And the son-man didn’t even throw a fit when I said he couldn’t climb the rock wall.  Or shoot in the gallery.

    We were in the upstairs of the store where all of the hunting and camping equipment is.  Mr. Manly Man was walking around, his mind far away on whatever it is he thinks about.  I walked by him and he was reading the packaging for some pellet handguns. 

    “Mom, you know … me and my dad need to come here to have some man time.”

    I couldn’t help but giggle.  He’s turned into such a “man.”

    We got home after dark and by then, I was pretty much done.  The kids were amazing the whole day, though, and I only had to raise my voice on the drive home.  Because no matter who is in that very back seat of the auto, they get loud.  So loud that I can’t hear the music on the radio.  So loud that I want to get the duct tape and matching socks out and adorn all four kids with it. 

    On Sunday, we all woke to giving the dad birthday wishes.  In church, the Pastor announced to everyone that my dear man was now a dear old man (I kinda got in trouble for this, but it was his eldest daughter who did it and not me).  After church we drove over to the lovely Fredericksburg to meet friends and family for lunch.  We had an hour to kill so we drove around town, looking at everything they had.  When we finally got to the restaurant we’d planned on eating at – it was closed for a remodel.  Oh great.  Three other vehicles full of folks were coming to celebrate with us – and there was no other place close by to dine at.  After trying another place that couldn’t seat all of us together, we found a great alternative.  Although my husband doesn’t come from German heritage, we were in a German town – and he loves German food.  This other restaurant had food for everyone, and that made this mom happy because it’s pretty tricky to find a place that all six of us like – let alone all 13 in our dinner party!  We laughed, we joked and we enjoyed each other’s company.  It was a nice day, for all involved.  When we got home, I could have cared less that it was nearly 6 pm – this mom needed a NAP!  I slept with the youngest for about an hour, and then it was time for dinner and a movie and all that kinda fun.

    He’s 50 now.  It’s gonna take some getting used to, for me at least!

    Amongst all the excitement of the day, let me say that we tried something new with our doggy – and she passed the test with flying colors!  It was absolutely freezing here yesterday and we didn’t want to put her in her outside kennel, since we’d be gone so long.  And her box kennel is just too small of a place to leave her all day.  So, we secured the folding table to the back entry door opening and left her with her blankie and water in the utility room.  I was very concerned as we’d never left her for that long in the house before, and I had visions of doggie doo-doo everywhere.  But, the sweet thing was perfect and so very happy to see us when we returned! 

    How could you not love this face?!

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      Over the Hill?

      My dear husband is fixin’ to turn 50 on Sunday.

      50.

      Wow.

      I had a very hard time when he turned 40.  I was just floored that he was so much older than me (by 6 years), and that he was turning over into an age-range that would put him in the “middle aged” category of life.  Truth be told, he has always been in the middle-aged category in life …. at least as far as his over-active philosolophical brain works. 

      But, now, he’s running over the hill way out in front of me!

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      I have to say that he’s still pretty darned cute, in the Texican type of way that I so love.  And he does get better with age.

      If you know him and/or want to send him an eCard for his birthday, feel free to email me and I’ll give you his email address.  I think he’d get a kick out of hearing from you!

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        A Slip of the Tongue?

        On Sunday, the bulletin at church said it was time for the two-week quilt-off, an event held every year to get folks together to make quilts for Lutheran World Relief to send all over the world.

        I stopped a lady with whom I was acquainted, to ask her if she could point out the two women in charge of this quilt-off – although we have been members of the church and/or attending for over a year, I’ve not immersed my whole life and body into the events there.  I’ll save the whys about this for another time, but suffice it to say we had issues at our other church in Utah and I’m on guard and being guarded with my life and family at this new (to us) church.  I’m also working way more than I did in Utah, as I’m the sole support for our family – so, time is an issue as well.

        When I asked Mrs. B if she could point those ladies out to me, she hesitated for a moment — then S P E L L E D each lady’s last name out to me – as if I was hard of hearing?  Or didn’t read their names in the bulletin (of which I was holding in front of me)?  When she finished, she spelled them again.  I still don’t know why!  But, those ladies go to the early {yawn} service so my best bet was to look them up in the church directory to figure out who they were.

        Anyways, she asked if I quilted and I said that yes, I did, but I was also a designer and had a ton of fabric that I’d love to donate, if the group wanted it for this quilt-off.

        She edged closer to me and said, “Well, you know, they don’t really quilt these, they’re just for charity. They tie them.  That’s not quilting, yaknow.”

        Oh my.  lol  I’m sorry, but I feel that any blanket that’s stitched and made by the hands of love can be labeled a quilt.

        And then, out of my mouth, I heard myself say, “Well, I don’t really quilt for pleasure anymore, I quilt for passion.”

        Yes, I said that.  And I’m still thinking about that statement!  Because, it’s not really true.  I do quilt for passion.  A passion that’s so deep that I wake myself up in the middle of the night with quilt designs running through my wee brain (and it happened again last night – beware!).  But, every single stitch I put into fabric is pleasurable.  Yup, every single one.  And if I have to make a quilt for someone, instead of just finding a pattern and putting it together, I design one – and then write it for visitors to my website or I write it to sell.  I guess that’s what I meant when I made that statement – but, it’s not quite the truth because I do derive pleasure from so many seams.  I think I meant I don’t quilt just to make a quilt anymore — I quilt for my quilted heart to enjoy – and for others to enjoy, too.

        Last night, I felt the need to do some digital scrapbooking.  If you haven’t gotten into this yet, you’re surely missing out!  QuiltScrapbook.com is my site, and I use it a lot for the elements and links to other (free) elements.  It’s SO much FUN to put together pages and print them.  Up until last night, I was never happy with the printing – it just didn’t compare to regular scrapbooking and I was never pleased with the final project because the printing wasn’t perfected.  Then, I read on someone’s blog that they send their finished digital scrapbook pages to a local store to have them printed on photo paper, just like a photograph (only the pages are way bigger, of course).   It had never dawned on this blonde geek to do that!  I have a fabulous HP borderless printer, though, so realized that with some tweaks of my settings, I could do the same!

        Last night, it all came together and I spent HOURS making pages from our DD#2’s birthday photos in December.  Oh yeah, I had entirely too much fun – and I stayed up too late, too!  But, here’s the pages that I did — I think I may be obsessed with yet another computer-based hobby!

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          Moving Forward

          Where did my weekend go?!  I want it back as I didn’t get to quilt!

          Oh well, another is coming in a few days.

          I spent Saturday morning working on a new website and design that I’ve been needing to get done.  Which means, I lost valuable quilt time.  It was necessary but I sure missed my creativity and sewing room!  By the time Saturday evening rolled around, I was *done for* and had no gumption to do anything except play a computer game for a few hours … and then hit the hay.

          Sunday was full with grocery shopping and church.  Then we had a visit from a friend of our six-year-old’s, who came by so we could make a short but fun film of them, spouting off their fun of Boca Beth’s Spanish program.   They really had fun making this movie, but after about 15 minutes, they were ready to quit living by a script and PLAY together.  The movie is really cute, though!  Then I had to take them to town to attend a birthday party of a classmate, while the two other girls and I went shopping to spend their Christmas gift cards to Claire’s.  I think some of the excitement of that store has finally waned (thank goodness) as both girls had a really tough time of deciding what to buy.  I enjoyed, though, a little mom-pride when I saw that both of them were seriously counting their pennies — they knew how much they had to spend and they knew that I wouldn’t pitch in to help them (as I’ve done in the past).  I was happy to see what they purchased and even happier that they understood the value of their money.  Ah yes, some days, I can see that our parenting is working!

          Once we finally got home, it was showers, dinner and bedtime.  And I was bushed!  I rarely go to bed before midnight, but last night was an exception – I was down for the count at 10!

          One thing that added to this early bedtime was the fact that I finally got contacts that work for me!  TWO months after the first exam.  But, they’re gas permeable lenses and not soft contacts, so they take a bit more getting used to.  The first few days, it felt like there was something huge in my eye — and there was, a piece of plastic!  But, yesterday, I put those puppies in before church and I didn’t take them out until about 8 pm.  But, by that time, my eyes were so red and itching that I was ready to dig into my lids with a fork!   But, oh how lovely it is – to be able to see distances without glasses again!  I still had to get a couple of (cheap) pairs of reading glasses — and two different prescriptions, one for working on the computer and another for reading (close) with.  And, knowing myself as I do, I spent the extra money to have one pair of both in the house, one pair of reading glasses in my purse and one pair of computer glasses here in my office shed.  Perhaps I’ll be able to keep track of everything, but perhaps not!  You never know about me!

          Did I mention, in December, that when I asked our daughter what type of birthday cake she wanted, she chose fondue over a cake?  That *really* surprised me, as she is a dessert kid – and we’ve only had fondue once, when I got the pot from my husband for Christmas three years ago.  But, yup, that’s what she wanted and I aim to please – so I made chocolate fondue on the night that her friend spent the night – and all of them LOVED it.  I will say that I made too much – a full recipe is too much for a handful of kids (next time, I’ll cut that in half).  But, we had it with some pound cake, apples and giant marshmallows – and everyone had FUN, too!  A good party pleaser, that’s for sure.

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          I used a recipe from cooking.com, which called for a package of milk chocolate chocolate chips, heavy cream and a few marshmallows.  mmmmmm, made for a fine choco-melted confection!

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