Wednesday, January 28, 2015

books to be read

While we are waiting on spring, we can catch up on our TBR pile of books.

Books to be read, piling up on my nightstand (well virtually in my Kindle)

Gray Mountain by John Grisham. A novel set in Virginia, small town lawyers fighting big coal companies over mountaintop mining.

Grandma Gatewood by Ben Montgomery - I can't wait to escape into this one, according to local lore, she walked right by our house, well long before there was a house here.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova- A book to movie, this blurb caught my attention: At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People.

Stitches by Alice Lamott -I have not read anything of hers yet, but the description sounds great!

Recently finished:

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson- Every morning she wakes up not knowing who or where she is. Did you see that movie 50 First Dates where Drew Barrymore had that same affliction, that was funny, but this one is definitely not, a thriller from beginning to the end, also a movie yet to be seen.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - A wild ride with this psycho chick. Saw an interview with the author, her father-in-law read the book and called his son to tell him to sleep with one eye open.

How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job by Bob Lotich - Couldn't resist this freebie!

What are You reading?

~photo - one of mine, snow in Royston, Georgia 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


bow tie quilt

those people
wouldn't it be lovely
if one could
in a constant state
of we?
some of the most
can be some of the biggest
what if there was
no they?
what if there
was only
if words could be seen
as they floated out
of our mouths
would we feel no
as they passed beyond
our lips?
if we were to string
our words
on a communal clothesline
would we feel proud
as our thoughts
flapped in the

~Marilyn Maciel, "clothesline"

What is on your clothesline?  homemade Beautiful quilts or sheets flapping in the fresh air or baby diapers being brightened by the sun? Or do you air your dirty laundry for all to see? Are you proud of the words that float out of your mouth?

~"clothesline" used with permission of the poet
~published in Life is a Verb by Patti Digh

Monday, January 26, 2015

Knoxville road trip

The tradition continues, the annual trek to the Lady Vols versus Georgia basketball game. The group grows every year, it started out as a group of 4 eight years ago. Yesterday we took 2 carloads from Georgia to Knoxville and then met up with a whole lot of other folks, making a nice Lady Vols cheering section. 

The veterans talked strategy over dinner and the younger generation did the selfie thing. Good times!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Making a Landscape Quilt

capturing the mountain landscape

Do you ever walk outside and are completely stunned by the view? The beauty of nature is all around us if we just stop to take it in. Especially here in the mountains of north Georgia. Capturing the mountain landscape happens often around here, hurry grab the camera! But what about trying to save that image in a different medium? Like with fabric, in a quilt.

I have seen beautiful landscape quilts and art quilts at shows and of course online, but have never attempted to make one. I do good to use squares and rectangles.

Then I saw this - Linear Landscape quilt class - offered online at Craftsy. I put it in my shopping cart and there it stayed, waiting for a sale or for more time to open up for yet another project. There may be classes offered somewhere not over the internet, but when you live out in the boondocks or the backwoods (or rural Georgia), class opportunities are few and far between.

If you are in the market for learning a new skill, the internet certainly opened up that window, online you can learn anything from how to fix your washing machine to casting on for a knitting project (two things we have actually done!)

I recently started placing ads on my blog, just an experiment to see how it works. I started out with Craftsy, they sell fabric and yarn, but what they started out as offering, and what they are known for, are their online classes and high quality instructors.
"Craftsy has one major advantage over other online educators: demographics. Almost all of its users are women and 80% of their users are over the age of 40. Most users live in the suburbs or rural areas, with over 50% of users spending more than ten hours a week crafting. Craftsy’s most popular class is a quilting course, which has almost 100,000 students. The site is currently on track to become larger than the University of Phoenix, which is considered to be one of the largest online educators." ~Forbes interview with the founders of Craftsy

I have taken two online machine quilting classes so far. The classes are informative, user-friendly, have good quality video, I can start and stop and rewind until I get it through my thick head. And I can come back weeks or months later and see it all over again or just watch the part I need to brush up on. Once you buy the class it is yours forever, well as long as there is the internet... and often their classes go on sale just like everything else.

After signing up with the Craftsy ad program, I got this nice e-mail:
Welcome to the Craftsy Affiliate Program. As a welcome to the program gift, we’re offering you a FREE online Craftsy course up to a $49.99 value.

So even if I don't get any commissions from these ads, I am already ahead, a FREE class! There is that class that is still in my cart, but not for long!

Craftsy Linear Landscape Quilts Class - once I find the time to take this class, you will be the first to know about it.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.~Confucius

~Georgia mountain sunrise photo credit - Carrie Tidwell

Friday, January 23, 2015


In honor of our annual trip to see the Lady Vols this weekend, here's an oldie but a goodie... I mean old blog post :)

SEC March Madness Spring 2010 - Kay was having trouble biting into a Chick-fil-A brownie with her false tooth, so she took it out and wrapped it in a napkin - the fun we were having making up captions for this picture!

If you have to take your tooth out to eat,
you might be a Tennessee fan...


SEC tickets $60
Tennessee shirt $15
Chick-fil-A meal $5
toothless sister photo - priceless!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

in stitches

vintage family heirlooms

You know how you save things, family heirlooms, or just things that are special to you, and every so often you come across one packed away. You pull it out and you are whisked back in time, memories flood over you like a wave at the beach.

Like the first quilt I ever made (1963). The old lumpy pink thing had a place in my heart but not in my house, I wanted to do something with it.

Dutch Doll quilt 1963

I was 9 years old when my mother decided I needed to learn to embroider. I had already learned to knit and crochet, and was making doll clothes like crazy.
In order to learn embroidery, I was to make an appliqued Dutch Doll quilt. My mom cut out the squares and the little pieces for the dolls, I had to turn under all the edges, baste in place, and embroider around each piece with the blanket stitch. 
My mom put these together on the sewing machine with pink strips and cotton batting. Over the years, the cotton batting bunched up and made the quilt heavy, hard, and lumpy.

The memory that comes back, other than all those hand stitches - is this is the quilt that was on my bed the night the cat had kittens on it!

In 2006, I decided to do something with the old Dutch Doll quilt. I liberated the little dolls from their heavy cotton batting. The quilt squares were looking their age (over 40 years), I washed them and dried them outside in the sunshine all day which made them look a little brighter, anyway the vintage look is good. I was thinking of a new home for the girls with some lighter non-clumping batting, I never really liked that pink in the original quilt.

About that same time another family heirloom surfaced, this time at my sister-in-law's house, this blue gingham dress with cross-stitch in the squares, circa 1958.

gingham dress with cross-stitch 1958

gingham with cross-stitch

Lovingly hand embroidered and sewn for Kay, by her grandmother (Two-Mama) and great-aunt (Aunt Gene). Kay wore this in high school and had kept it all these years. She came across it and wouldn't give it away because of the family handiwork. So she brought it to me, saying, "maybe you can find some use for it. . ."

I met Kay when I was in high school, long before I met and married her little brother. She is the sister I never had growing up. We have had a lot of fun over the years, we both got married the same year and both had babies the same year. We have gone on vacations together, hiking, picnics, road trips, ballgames. I tease her about being the eldest, she always has a snappy reply. Always with a smile, she keeps me in stitches...

Dutch Doll quilt

A sampler of stitches - cross stitches, blanket stitches, basting stitches, quilting stitches, heart strings.

It was a perfect match, Kay's gingham dress and my Dutch Dolls. This merging of our past is more than just another sewing project, it cements our friendship and family ties together for generations to come. Out of the dark trunk and onto the quilt rack, it makes me smile every time I see it :)

Wait, {smile fading} you know what this means, this quilt definitely needs a label, maybe a story label... add that to the ToDo List.

family stories are like an old quilt, unfolding and enveloping us in warmth

~compilation of several blog posts in 2006 about this project plus some new thoughts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Lion Brand Amazing yarn

This is amazing. 

First of all the yarn is named Amazing.

Second of all the cowl pattern is free.

Third of all the yarn is on clearance. 

So I just had to make this!

Amazing yarn by Lion Brand, soft with beautiful colors. Regular $8.29/skein, this color, Constellation is on clearance HERE - 3 skeins for $6.22 (regularly $24.87), the pattern took just over one skein, so this project cost about $2.

Thermal Cowl pattern free HERE at Lion Brand yarn.

Teddi the model likes it, sitting on the stool by the kitchen wall quilt :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

power snack

2 ingredient pumpkin muffins

just 2 ingredients

Have you heard of the 2-ingredient muffin recipe?  Can you say simple? And delicious?

1 can of pumpkin
1 cake mix 

mix together, put into muffin pan, bake 20 minutes at 400

that's all

no water
no eggs
no oil

you can add things if you want to, like chocolate chips or nuts :) but the recipe is good just as is

I have tried spice cake mix, and devils food. Today I am making milk chocolate. 

A great pick-me-up about 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. or breakfast or bedtime... don't feel guilty, it is half vegetable! So make up a batch and have enough for the whole week.

Quick, easy, healthy, portable, and chocolate, what more do you need?