Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!

Friday, December 31, 2010

I’m late! I’m late!!

For a very important date.

No time to say “Hello!”.  “Good-bye!”

I’m late!  I’m late!  I’m late!!



What movie is that line from? 


Now for the answer to WHAT I am late for…

Why the New Year’s Eve SIL Retreat, of course!!  Bags are packed (for the most part), taco soup is ready to take, laundry is washing/drying, so things are well under way.  BUT I wanted to be there EARLY today, and that is not going to happen. 

Now to go throw my grungy self into the shower, then throw a few clothes in a bag and I’ll be ready to roll out of here.

So…. WHAT am I working on??100_2922

Nose to the grindstone, focused on the goal, I-don’t-break-for-anything sewing will occur this evening and tomorrow.  I have 5 of the 25 blocks done.  I would LOVE to come home with most of these blocks pieced.  They are already cut out, so it goes pretty fast.  We will see…

I think lots of coffee will be in store for me this evening.  I didn’t sleep well last night so I know I will want to crash early this evening.  I CAN’T DO IT!  MUST sew!  MUST sew!!

I’ll give you a progress report when I return.  And of course I will show you what the OTHER SILs accomplish, too.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

UFO Challenge Projects

I finally have taken the time to sort through my UFOs to see which projects I want to finish for Judy’s Patchwork Times UFO Challenge.  Truthfully, I was surprised that I did not find more things!  I do have several small UFOs tucked away that I did not even consider.  I am going for the GUSTO!  I want to get these larger projects out of the way, and then I can throw in a small one if I finish my monthly project early (HAHA!  AS IF!!)  So here’s what I am planning…

1.  Jeremy’s Milky Way quilt… piecing (I have 5 of the 25 blocks done.  Then there is a pieced sashing around all the blocks…. lots of work in that, plus pieced borders.    And I also just remembered… I still have not found the fabric I want for the pieced sashing, so I better get to work on that!  This will take a while!)  *This was started about 5 months ago.  It was intended to be his Christmas present but I just could not get it done.  It will now be his birthday gift (end of March) so no matter WHAT number Judy draws I will work on this one first!   I LOVE how the blocks are turning out.  I think I will need to make another one of these after I have completed his.  After all… I must do SOMETHING with all that shirt fabric I have been collecting!


2.  Jeremy’s Milky Way quilt…. quilting and binding

3.  Blue 4-Patch Posey …. quilting and binding  *This is for the bed at the lake camp where we have our SIL retreats.  I would love to have it ready for the next spring retreat.100_2924

4.  Green 4-Patch Posey … setting blocks together and borders  *This is for MY bed.  Blocks are all made, but I have not decided how I would like to set them together.  I want to do something different, but I just don’t know WHAT!100_2926

5.  Green 4-Patch Posey…. quilting and binding

6.  Glorified 9-Patch …  quilting  *The top was finished at quilt retreat about 1 1/2 years ago.  Time to get the quilting done.100_2923      

7.  Glorified 9-Patch …. binding (This is a scalloped binding.  I figure it will take me a whole month to hand-hem this baby!)

8.  Jelly Roll Diamonds quilt…  quilting and binding  *This top was pieced about 2 years ago.  It was my first jelly roll quilt and was loads of fun, but I never did decide how I wanted to quilt it.  Time to make up my mind!  I think this will be a great place to practice on custom quilting with the IQ.


9.  Balloons Stack & Whack… piecing  *I think most of the blocks are cut out, but none have been sewn together.100_2928

10.  Balloons Stack & Whack… quilting and binding

11.  Floral Stack & Whack… piecing  *I think all of this has been cut out and 2 or 3 blocks have been pieced.


12.  Floral Stack & Whack… quilting and binding   *Both Stack & Whack quilts were begun as examples when I taught a class on how to do these.  They have been hanging around for about 8 years now!

Now Judy, here is the thing…

I MUST get Jeremy’s quilt done first, so no matter what you draw, his quilt gets priority in January and February.  And IF you draw a number that is one of my quilting projects but the piecing has to be done first, obviously I am going to have to do some switching around a little.  Please don’t send the quilt police after me!!

SOOOOOO…. If I am able to keep up with this I will complete 7 quilts next year.  It will feel very good to have these UFOs done and given as gifts or used in our home.  I work best under pressure, so hopefully I can keep this going all year.

Are YOU up to the challenge?  If so, hop over to Patchwork Times and sign up!


Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas Card to You


Luke 2:1-21 (KJV)
    And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) [3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) [5] To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. [6] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son,


and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

[8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,


and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. [10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,


which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,



[14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,


good will toward men. [15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. [16] And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.100_2398 [17] And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. [18] And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. [19] But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.100_2397 [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. [21] And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus,


which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

1 John 4:10 (KJV)
    Herein is love,


not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Are You Up To A Challenge?

I have them, you have them, we all have them!  They are UFOs or UnFinished (quilting/sewing) Objects.  Judy L. at Patchwork Times has issued a challenge to get them done in 2011.  Do YOU want to empty out those project boxes so you can use and enjoy those hidden treasures?  If so, go HERE and read what she has planned for the coming year.  It is a simple challenge with very few rules and no UFO POLICE involved.

I’m in!  I don’t have nearly as many UFOs as I once did, but I still have more than I want to think about.  I sometimes reach the point where I feel very guilty about starting something new when I have these TIPS (treasures in plastic sacks) sitting around my sewing room.  I’m sure I won’t have any trouble coming up with 12, one for each month of next year.  I have several that just need quilting (four, I think), so those will for-sure go on the list.  And then there is the quilt I started for Jeremy for CHRISTMAS that only has 6 blocks done (6 of the 25 I need.  SHEESH!) … think this one will be a birthday quilt instead of a Christmas present!!  The end of March deadline sounds a lot better to me right now.

SOOOOOO…. are you ready to join in?  Come on… you KNOW you need to finish up those things. 

Sorry for the picture-less blog again. No time… I’m trying to get things ready for next weekend’s Ellzey Christmas at my house before I head back to the big city to stay with Mom.  I hear it keeps you young to stay busy… I must be getting about a year younger per week right now with all that is happening around here!!

MOM UPDATE:  No surgery for now.  Her lung functions are too low for them to safely do surgery.  All prayers for improvement in her lungs would be greatly appreciated.

Have a blessed week, and please, consider joining Judy’s challenge.  Finishing up those UFOs feels SOOOOO good!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Progress Made

1.  My girls (Katie Bug and her mom, Jenn) got moved in yesterday.

2.  Katie Bug is now at her new school.  We carried her this morning and met her teachers.  I was very impressed with the school.  This appears to be a very good change for her.

3.  Bindings are sewn to 2 quilts so I can work on hand-hemming them while at the hospital with my mom.  Plus, I have turned the heel and picked up gusset stitches on my socks… it will soon be “home stretch” on those.  I don’t think I will be bored.  (Plus, I have the new Jan Karon book in my bag, just in case.)

4.  I’m headed to the “big city” today to stay with her.  Surgery may happen as early as tomorrow afternoon, or sometime early next week.  Please keep her in your prayers.   We are so blessed the doctors have determined what was causing mom’s problems and feel they can fix it. 

5.   I’m completely over my “tizzy” about Christmas preparations and have taken the “oh well” stance.  This year Christmas will be what we can easily do, and we won’t worry about what is not easily done… there will be other times to get totally wrapped up in our traditions, but this will not be the year.

6.  God is good, all the time!  He is the Calm in the storm, the Anchor of my ship, the Light in my darkness.  (Now I will probably be singing the “God Is Good All the Time” song all day… it is stuck in my head!)

Have a blessed weekend, and I will check in when I can.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to My Crazy Life…

How quickly our situations can change!  This week we have discovered…

One child and one grandchild will be coming to live with us in our tiny, overcrowded home.  That is OK… we will know they are safe, warm at night, and have food to eat.  In order to make room we will get back to de-cluttering and tossing junk.  Now we have a  good reason to tackle that job we have been putting off.

We found today that my Mom will soon undergo open heart surgery.  This means many trips back and forth to the “big city” to stay with her while Pop gets to come home and rest regularly.  This is OK…

I am thankful that doctors today have such knowledge and technology that they can diagnose and treat things that were fatal not-so-many-years ago.  I am thankful that I have a job that is flexible enough to allow me to help.  I am thankful for a supportive husband who takes up the slack at home when I have to go out of town.  I am thankful that I only have one more quilt that absolutely MUST be done by Christmas… the rest can wait until I can get to them.

Christmas will be different this year.  That is OK… this all has reminded us about what really IS the most important thing about the Christmas season… remembering THE GIFT that was given by our Heavenly Father. And remembering that all the decorating, shopping, cooking and hectic things really are NOT necessary…  being able to spend Christmas with my Mom and other family members is so much more important that all the other things we have labeled as “Christmas”.

But I am MOST thankful that when life takes us on twists and turns, My Lord is there!  When the unexpected arises, HE reminds me that He holds me in the palm of His hand.  When we are unsure about situations He reminds me that He has given me HIS peace.  When fear tries to come in He reminds me that He has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.  When I wonder if others understand He reminds me that surely, He will never leave nor forsake me.  When life changes quickly, He reminds me that Jesus Christ IS the same yesterday, today, forever.

Now those are some POWERFUL promises to stand on!!  I am so thankful I have them to strengthen me this week.

1 Thes. 5:18 (KJV) 
    In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Be blessed this week!


PS:  Lots of sock knitting in my future!  I finished my socks for Judy L’s sock knit-along, promptly started another pair, and am almost half-way through with them.  Pictures coming later, when I have time to deal with the camera.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Turkeyed Out!

And I bet YOU are too!  After the lunch-time re-presentation of turkey, dressing, and gravy I have decided that is ENOUGH!  No more… the rest of the dressing is going out to the critters.  I don’t know why I felt the need to make a “wash-pot” size container of dressing to take for the family Thanksgiving feast, and I had about half of it left over.  The injected and smoked turkey was yummy, but it is time to move on to something else.  The carcass will be frozen to be used for gumbo flavoring later, the trimmed meat will make sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, and then we are DONE with the leftovers.

The injected turkey was really great.  I found a recipe from Emerill that calls for beer, liquid crab boil, lemon juice, garlic, cajun seasoning, and other assorted things.  I kind of did my own thing, because his recipe was going to be WAAYYYY hotter that what I wanted.  Katie Bug had a great time “shooting” the turkey, we let it sit overnight in the fridge, then DH put it on the electric smoker using hickory and sassafras wood for a little extra flavor. About 6 hours later it was ready (only a 10-lb. bird, so it cooked fast).  That was so good I think we will do it again for Christmas!

OOPS!  I forgot about the 2 partially-eaten sweet potato pies… they may be the next thing tossed!

I’m not looking forward to having to cook again, but I AM looking forward to something NEW being on the plate.

Have a great Sunday afternoon!  I think I am going to go put one of MY quilts in the machine!! 


Friday, November 26, 2010

Yesterday…. and Today

YESTERDAY the temps rose to almost 80 degrees. We had the AC on as we ate Thanksgiving lunch at my sister’s house. It was muggy to the extreme.

TODAY it is 39 degrees outside. The high today will only get into the 50s or so. The wood heater is cranked up. DH built a nice fire in it after returning from hunting this morning.

YESTERDAY began with sunshine, then clouds, then some much-needed rain… only 3/10ths of an inch, but every drop was appreciated.

TODAY it is SLEETING! Yes, you read correctly. They say if you don’t like the weather in Louisiana, just wait 5 minutes… I think they are right!

I’m sure this won’t last long, it won’t accumulate, and shortly the sleet will be a memory of a strange weather event happening on Black Friday while some of my family members brave the crowds in the ‘big city’. Glad it’s them and not me!

Me… I’m about to put another quilt out to play with Gussie and Inetta (the Gammill and IQ), then I will work on bindings on 2 customer quilts. And of course there is the housework. My kitchen is a mess after all the Thanksgiving preparations, so I hope I have time to deal with those messy floors today. If not… there is always tomorrow.

Sock progress… almost done with the foot, and I’ll be working on toe decreases soon!

And a quick glance out my window tells me, the sleet is history. It has stopped, and it has melted. HMMM…. another Louisiana “5-minute” weather event. Back to life as usual.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sugar-Free Cheesecake

It’s DEFINITELY NOT fat-free, but it is sugar-free (and very low-carb, if you count those)!  I make this once in a blue moon, but we really enjoy it.  Since DH has to watch his sugar intake, this is a wonderful treat for us.

Katie-Bug came to visit and cheesecake was on her list of things to do this time, so it is not my fault that we are indulging… it’s HERS!

NOTE:  Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good cheesecake.  I prefer a very dense, cheesy cake… no airy-fluffy cheesecakes for me!  SO, if you like the light, fluffy cheesecake then this recipe is not for you.  See the bottom of the post for exact amount used in the recipe. 


Gather these ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry or refrigerator.


Mix graham cracker crumbs, Splenda, and melted butter.


Press into the bottom of a 9” spring form pan.  Note my lovely assistant using a baggie over her hand to help press things in.


Beat 2 lbs. (Yes, that is NOT a misprint… it really does take that much.) softened cream cheese.  Slowly add Splenda.  Add 1 cup sour cream, and 4 eggs (one at a time, beating well between each one). 


Add lemon juice, vanilla, and orange zest.


Pour into prepared pan, place on a cookie sheet,


and pop into the oven, 350 degrees for 10 minutes;  lower the temperature to 275 and cook about one hour.


While that is cooking, mix the remaining 1 cup sour cream with 1/3 c Splenda, orange zest, and enough orange juice to get a nice “dolloping” consistency.  Return this to the refrigerator.


The cake is done when it is lightly brown around the edges and the center springs back a little when touched.  Turn off oven.

Remove from the oven, use a butter knife to loosen the edges, then place cake back in the oven  to gradually cool.  Leave the cake in the oven for several hours, then place on the counter to finish cooling (about 1 hour). 


Now, my cheesecake ALWAYS cracks… I don’t know why!  I watched the cheesecake program with Alton Brown on “Good Eats”.  I don’t remember all the science behind the fat molecules binding or separating with the blah-blah-blah  molecules but he said to add cornstarch to keep it from cracking.  I tried it… it did not work.

I finally decided that it makes no difference!  It tastes the same with or without cracks so I stopped worrying about it and just enjoy eating.

Cover the pan and refrigerate the cake (at least 3 hours).  Add a dollop of the orange sour cream to the top and enjoy!



3/4 C graham cracker crumbs, 3 T melted butter or margarine,     3 T Splenda

Mix these and press into a 9” spring form pan.

2 lbs. (4 -8 0z. packages) softened cream cheese, 2 C Splenda (divided), 4 eggs (room temperature), 1 orange, 1 pint sour cream (divided), 1 t vanilla, 2 T lemon juice.

Zest the orange to get about 3 T zest.  Cut the orange and juice 1 half of it.  Reserve 1 T zest and the juice for the topping.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix cream cheese until smooth ; slowly add 1 2/3 C Splenda;  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.   Add 1 cup sour cream, 2 T orange zest, lemon juice, and vanilla; mix well.

Pour cheesecake into prepared pan and smooth.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn heat down to 275 degrees and bake for 1 hour, or until edges are lightly brown.  Turn off oven.  Run a knife around edges and return pan to oven to cool slowly (at least 2 hours).  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature for about 1 hour.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.


To the reserved 1 C sour cream add the remaining 1 T orange zest, 1/3 C Splenda, and enough orange juice to get a nice dolloping consistency (about 2 T.)  Refrigerate; drop a couple of spoonfuls on each slice when served.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Gone Fishin’

Our trip to Houma, LA to fish in the marshes was great fun, and I caught my first redfish on a fly rod. 


Nope, he’s not huge (about 3 lbs.) but any size fish on a fly rod means you have to work a bit to land it.


DH, taking a lunch break.  I promise he DID catch fish too, but declined the photo ops.


Our fishing guide and friend, Captain Marty.


After-lunch power nap on the deck of the boat, while DH conducted business via cell phone. 

Marty offered to take us out again the next day.  We rose early and were out in the marshes by 6AM.


We saw the most WONDERFUL sunrise!  It came a short rain shower, and then we saw the most beautiful RAINBOW at 6:30AM!  We could actually see the full arc of the rainbow.  It was too faint to show in a picture, but we enjoyed its beauty for about 10 minutes before it faded.


Another redfish, caught with a spinning rig.  This one is a little larger than the one caught the previous day.


Pelicans roosting on a tiny marsh island.

We did not catch huge numbers of fish due to the windy conditions.  It is hard to spot the fish when the water is so choppy…That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!   We did get enough fish to have a meal of speckled trout for supper tonight, a meal of redfish for tomorrow night, and several bags in the freezer.   We had a wonderful time, ate good seafood, and will look forward to going again next year.

I also got lots of knitting done on the ride down there and back.  I am working on the gusset decrease stitches so things are moving along on the socks.  I am hoping to finish them by the end of the month, but we will see.

Have a blessed weekend!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Time Flies…

When you are having fun, or working hard.  This past week was super-busy, and I managed to quilt 5 customer quilts and sew binding /hem (by machine) 3 huge customer quilts.  Add that to my normal busy-ness, and you get the idea that I am running!

I am making some progress on my socks, working on them until 1AM this morning.  Once I get started on something like this I hate to put them down.  I was determined to get past the heel flaps.  They are not very “poseable” at the moment due to their needle positions, so I had to take shots of each sock separately.  I have completed the heel turn and PU gusset stitches on one,


and am just about to start the heel turn for the other one.  I feel like I am “home free” once I get past these gusset stitches and the decreases.


I finally finished my row-by-row "House Quilt”!   This is a Debbie Mumm pattern and is free on the internet.  (Be forewarned… contains tiny pieces!)  I love the way it turned out and may be making another one when things settle down here.  (Ignore that long-arm in the picture… no time to set up the photography stand, so I made do with the hanger in the quilting room.)


I put Legacy batting in this one.  I LOVE that stuff!  It is soft, very stable with scrim, and has a great drape to it.  The quilting does not show as well because of its thinness, but I think once it is washed and puffs up some it will show just fine.


I let IQ do an over-all design because this is a “using” quilt.  As a matter of fact, it is already in use at a friend’s house.


Do you remember the quilt I am supposed to be repairing for my friend?  Well, progress is slow, so this quilt was loaned to her until I get the flower garden quilt repaired.  She loves to curl up on the couch, covered with a quilt for her Sunday afternoon naps, so now she can do that.


Have I said I L-O-V-E this quilt??


Yep, I think another one will be in the works after Christmas rush is over.  (But I think I will probably enlarge the blocks just a little to make the quilt larger and to make piecing a little easier.)  That really means something because I almost N-E-V-E-R make the same quilt twice!


The leaves here are absolutely GORGEOUS right now!!  We have had a few nights with a very light frost and that has caused the colors to really come out.  For the next several posts I will include shots of our fall color.  I so envy those folks that live in the mountains and get an easy view of the color changes.  LA flat-lands make it more difficult to see them, but our colors are just as impressive with the evergreen pines thrown in for contrast.


So that is my “catch-up” post on a little of what has been happening here.  We will be off fishing for a few days, and I’ll give a full report when we return.

Have a really blessed week!  See you again soon!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Few Quick Points…

1.  We went

2.  Had fun

3. Learned a lot about IQ

4. Saw quilt show; minimal shopping

5.  We’re home

6.  I’m pooped!

7.  Made good progress on the socks

8.  No pictures tonight

9.  Time change as thrown me all off schedule

10.  Early to bed tonight… like RIGHT NOW!

More details coming tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Care Package from “The Big Easy”; sock progress


Our niece lives in New Orleans.  Her “dues” to the hunting club this year were a few items from the area.  It was a box load, and was brought a long way to N. Louisiana to feed our addictions tastes for something a little different.

#1 item:  Blue Runner spicy red beans


We CAN actually get these here at one of the small stores, but only in the small cans.  When I cook, I cook BIGGGGGGG (so I don’t have to do it again any time soon!), so small cans just won’t work.  Since discovering these I NEVER soak dried red beans to make red beans and rice.  Brown some sausage, throw in some onions, bell pepper, garlic and brown a little.  Throw in a couple of cans of beans, then cook some brown rice.   Supper in about 30 minutes!!

Item #2


Olive salad relish.  We CAN get this here, but it is so expensive I can’t buy it… my frugality just won’t let me!  She gets it for about half what it costs up here.   Can you say, “Muffuletta”?  YUMMO!


I haven’t had much time to work on my knit-along socks, but I now have 1 1/2” of ribbed cuff done.  About 1 more inch of ribbing and I will switch to stockinet stitch, and my needles will fly!  Since we will be traveling tomorrow I really think I can get this ribbing finished tomorrow…. hope, hope, hope.  This is my least favorite part of the process.  The changing back and from from knit to purl is slow and clumsy, but I AM getting better, and I am LOVING the Continental style.  Hopefully the next picture you see of these will show me working on gussets!

Have a great weekend.  We are headed to TX for a day at the beach (Galveston), IQ classes, and a quick run by Quilt Festival in Houston, but this will be a very LOW-budget shopping trip due to the IQ purchase.  My friends tell me the venders really mark things down on the last day of the show so they don’t have to haul so much home.  Perhaps I can find some real bargains.


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