The Quilting Diva’s Blog

It’s dark.

What time is it? 9:10. In the morning. On further investigation, I find that it’s just overcast, drizzley and a little breezy outside. Ah, it’s November.

Quilting brings colors into a grey day!

Or, like today, it can be a bit grey. Very grey. The chimes on the porch (my husband HATES them) are clanging, so I know there’s a little wind going on. (My husband has one of the “underground weather stations” and prefers a more scientific approach to weather. I on the other hand, love the Weather stick method. Put a stick on the deck. If it’s wet, it’s raining.

Weather like this encourages me to bake, make soup, and to quilt. Oh, add knitting to that list. But I’m totally content staying home, and doing these things. Oh, my god, look at the mess on the dining room table…..
Add Clean up the Dining Room to my list.

So before long, I’m going to have to search the cabinets and refrigerator to plan Soup/Stoup for dinner tonight, and throw together some homemade bread. That is the plan. By 10, I need to be in the studio finishing a 103×93 quilt on the frame. So you see, even though I don’t work outside the home, I do occasionally work in it.

The cooler/cloudier the weather, the more inclined I am to work on beautiful colors and fabric/fiber. The ability to touch colors long gone from our environment, are found in my studio! The stacks of fabrics, in the multitudes of colors, make me happy. The yarn closet makes me happy. I CAN stay home and not go anywhere for days on end.

I’m writing my blog as I’m waiting for the parade to my door…it’s Halloween, y’all.

We live in a small neighborhood. Just a handful of homes, less than 10 homes have children. We are guessing about 15 little ghoulies will be coming to the door in search of treats, not tricks.

We live in a suburban community, just outside of Atlanta. You’d think that in the year 2010, more people would be up for the challenge of giving kids a fun night out. But so few of us open our doors for Halloween. Are my neighbors so afraid of a few children dressing up like superheros and tigers? We know to expect only 15 or so kids, and some of them, challenged to fill their bags, will come by twice without changing costumes. We tell them that someone else wearing the same costume was here just a few minutes ago….they laugh, we give out more candy.

We don’t have caravans of kids coming ’round our neighborhood. We are pretty much on the outer lines of the county. Our roads have farms. An occasional trailer. In the fastest growing county, we still have poverty. My guess is that even in the more affluent areas, there is more hidden poverty.

If all we can do is invite small children to dress up and be in the spirit of Trick and Treating, why not humor them and leave our religious opinions to ourselves? All Hallows Eve was a religious holiday, that grew when the candy companies started Halloween. I’m sure that even the dentist in our neighborhood hands out SOMETHING.

Don’t be overly concerned of what dark spirits may come with Halloween, but the darkness that meets them everyday in schoolyards and video games.

The BEST dog ever

1995 to 2010... RIP

For your consideration: Holiday Alternatives

Well, I didn’t think Fall would ever get here.
In Georgia, we’ve had temps over 90 since May. REALLY. Heat index? Over 100 more times than I can count. Inspiration to quilt? ZERO

The change of season should give us permission to try new things. Explore strange new worlds, to seek out … you know where this is going, right?

That being said, I will try to stick to the topic of conversation. Today it is raining, and we are being told that along with the rain will be a change in temps. Well, it is October after all. And the rain? Bring it on! I LOVE rain. Rain is finally making my garden look like it has a fighting chance.

I get to pack up the summer clothes and look forward to days when I will need a sweatshirt. In Georgia it hardly ever gets cold enough for a coat, hat and gloves. Don’t go looking for a winter coat here, you won’t find one. I am, however, knitting hats and scarves for gifts. If you live in the North, expect you will get something knit and wooly. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Fall makes us want to Bake cookies, Brew concoctions that turn into SOUP, and consider a holiday quilt. Christmas fabrics….hmmm….NOT. I like contemporary fabrics that can also be Holiday fabrics. RED/Green/White. On first look, they look Christmas, but on closer examination you realize they are not. Do I think I will finish any of these. NO. Look, I’m being realistic. I have been knitting, and working on my Massage re-certifications (required every 2 years in GA), and that is all the ambition I can muster. I’ve been in the frumpy, dumpy, lack of motivation for MONTHS. If anyone else knows what I’m talking about and wants to send me a “Get Well” card, I would encourage you to start writing it now. And include a surprise. I need a surprise!

I have committed to making a raffle quilt for June 2011. I guess, I’m looking forward to THAT. It will be a challenge as I have to work this project long-distance. I’m looking for a lone/blazing star pattern that will support embroidery in the larger squares. We have to choose colors. Maybe this project will be what I need to jump-start the creativity engine.

And Mom is coming to visit soon. That will be happy time for me. I can’t get enough of mom. Two peas in a pod. A vision of my future…it’s all good. Time to sit in our jammies, half the day. Don’t know what else we will do. We have fun scouring antique markets for nothing in particular, and she has a great eye for collectibles. Maybe we’ll make soup and cookies….

My Toby has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. In truth, I think that has been the catalyst for the FUNK. I’ve been anticipating it for 6 months, and the day arrived when I had to make the decision to let him go. As logical as that may seem (based on his physical deterioration) it was a very SAD day. His mind was sharp as a tack but the body was not cooperating. Systems had begun to fail, and all I can say is I hope someone out there will love me enough to make that decision for me when the time comes. We adopted him in 1998, we had two other Pekes at the time, Peaches (she had Personality!), Cookie (who always wanted to be Alpha). Toby was a guy’s dog. Loved anyone who held the remote. He was clay colored until the Groomer bathed him 3 times. Then he was white. Peaches passed later that year, and right after we moved, so did Cookie. Toby began to travel with me, and his favorite things were Belly Rubs, Sleeping with Mom, and trips to McDonalds. He had a great smile, you knew when he was happy, and he loved to play. At night when we said “bedtime” he knew that meant treats on the bed. Three. He could count. After we brought Isaac home we talked about the “new dog” and that he would just have to tell me when he wanted more attention, and he understood. He asked for attention more and more towards the end. Bedtime, however, was our special time, and I know he loved it just as much as I did. I cannot imagine loving any dog more than I loved Toby. I’ve been handling the loss well for the last couple of weeks, but I’m crying my eyes out now, and realizing he’s really gone.

Gracie and Isaac are here with me, distracting me with “give me treats” and let’s play ball. Funny how in their own way, they are doing their best to fill the space. The cat, too, misses Toby. He was her best snuggle buddy, and she attached herself to him from the start. Even she is demanding more attention. What’s a mom to do? We save a space in our hearts for that “one” and make room for the other 3. I guess it’s just something we have to do. Yes, the seasons do bring change, and the rain does bring renewal. It just may take a while longer than I expected.

Where does the time go? Ok, I’ve totally wimped out on housework and piecing. Why…Knitting. I blame it all on the new yarn shop that opened last year. Since last fall, I’ve been knitting. I started out with Scarves for Christmas. Everyone got one. One thing led to another and quicker than you can say “I’ll Take the Pretty one with the sparkles”, I’m hooked. Or needled…

It’s not been bad. I’ve learned quite a bit about knitting. More than your standard knit and purl. I’ve learned Yarn overs (increasing) and knitting 2tog is decreasing. I’ve learned how to fix dropped stitches, but not how to avoid them. I’ve actually finished quite a few things, and I’ve finished a sock. One.

I’ve learned that I love hand-dyed over all others. My favorite is Fingering weight. I’m a fan of wool, especially Alpaca.

I am subscribed to all sorts of knit related websites and blogs. Do I need to tell you how long it takes to read everything. It’s like a job. I have to check all my emails, and my RSS feeds, etc. Plus stay on top of facebook (social networking). I’ve even started The Dutch Monkey Knitters, a stitch in group that meets once a week. At a doughnut shop of course. They serve this great Counter Culture coffee…

So that’s what I’m up to. Next thing to try : Kool Aid Dyeing…

I’ve been Professionally quilting for 6 years? What is the most common color I seen in Quilts? Take a guess. No peeking below…Spoilers!

Ok, it’s RED. Really? Yes. That being said, I did take a long look at my stash, and it’s true. RED.

Red is the most common color I see in Quilts.

I have worked on 10 quilts this month. And with very little exception, RED is the most predominant color in those quilts.

So is it because the color red inspires passion? Think of Valentine’s Day. Lots of red. We’re told that we should include red in the dining room because it stimulates the appetite. And that we shouldn’t use red for dinnerware if we’re trying to lose weight…hahahaha! Ok, I see that comparison: ok for the walls but not for eating…Eating Red: Cherry pie, strawberry shortcake. Red Velvet cake, beets. Can you think of anymore?

Red is a popular color theme in colonial homes. And if you want to really add pop to the standard Black and White, red is a good way to go. I’m wondering…nope. I have a few pieces that have a sliver of red in them, but you’d have to be looking for them. Well, I’m not suggesting that I lack passion, just that you have to know that it’s in my sewing room! I own 2 red bath towels. Red Notebooks (so I can find them). So there’s not a lot of red in my house, but maybe there’s some in yours!

Take a look at your home, and tell me if you have any significant amounts of RED in the room…it could be that you are a more passionate person than I am, but I doubt your red-stash is larger than mine.

I’ve been out of the corporate world for many years..don’t get me started on how or why that happened…but one of the ‘things’ that I hear is we have to have a 30second elevator message. So when someone asks what we do, we have 30seconds to hold their attention and spit it all out.

I am a Longarm Quilter. (I quilt for other people who start but don’t finish). I’m a dog-mom, wife, Massage Therapist, knitter, Georgia Farmgirl…See, more than 30 seconds. I do lots of things, but cleaning house is not one of them. I do manage to cook everyday, bake, do laundry etc. But the clutter is ridiculous as I hate to throw anything away…because someone might need/want it.

When I have time, and am inclined to do so, I Freecycle. When I really hit the wall, I pack boxes and drop them at Goodwill. I have dropped a lot of boxes at Goodwill. Clothing, household items, kitchen stuff. I shop Goodwill about once every 6 weeks, and I NEVER see anything that I’ve donated. That means one of several possibilities. My stuff is really good, and was scooped up by another lucky shopper, or it was crap, and they tossed it out. Or maybe I just don’t recognize the crap once it’s left my house. I really wish a lot more crap would find it’s way out. Just a couple of weeks ago, I Freecycyled a Futon & Frame to another family. I planned on using it in one of the spare bedrooms, but couldn’t make enough space in the room for all the rest of the crap waiting for re-organization.

Several years ago in preparation for our move to this house, I purged. It was amazing. I worked full time, and still had time to get rid of a couple truckloads of crap. I managed to scale back, and de-personalize our old house for home buyers…mostly tire kickers who insisted on bringing their lunchbags and drink cups into my house and leaving it there. They tracked dirt all over the house. I had to clean up after the showings. REDICULOUS. I even found out that the Realtor would sit in her car, and just let people into my house UNSUPERVISED. And when I talked to agents about this, they said “yeah, sure we do that all the time” *A warning to everyone selling their house. DO NOT leave jewelry boxes on your dresser or in your drawers…Thieves are shopping in your house.

My former neighbor was selling her house, and had a fountain by her front door and a lovely lawn ornament in the flower bed…it was stolen…Probably not while the agent sat in her car, but they came back for it…

I think that being said, my next move is to set all the CRAP on the yard with a big sign that says, “GO ON TAKE IT…DON’T BRING IT BACK” I did that about 5 years ago, and moved 2 broken bicycles, a drop leaf table that needed a foot and had split, a box of glassware, some chairs…

I know, you’re saying “Why don’t you just have a garage sale and make some money”. Because shoppers piss me off. Yes. They offer you $5 for a leaf blower, they are always looking for TOYS (I don’t have children), they want to give you $3 for a 5 yard piece of Home Dec Fabric that you paid $60 for (I’m going to wrap it over some hay-bales for Halloween…damn, just buy some spray paint and get the heck out of my yard…”) . I’d rather give it to Goodwill or Freecycle it. I don’t have to move it out, price it, haggle, baby sit it, and waste a whole day to make $47. I’m not asking $100 for a chair, but I don’t think $20 is unreasonable. If I really wanted to make some money, I’d just sit at the curb with an ice chest filled with cans of coke for $1.00. Look, Publix is selling 4 12-packs for $9.50. That’s .25 each. I’d make a lot more money selling soft drinks.

I digress. Look. Just send a moving truck over to my house, and I’ll just load all of the stuff into it. Or better yet, call Clean House. Yes, I watched Messiest House 4, and no, I’m not that bad. I can sell see the floors, and I don’t buy more clothes so I don’t have to wash the old ones… Who Wants a Clean House?? Me!

Niecy Nash, my hero!

Quick Someone Call Niecy!

spinning, yarn

My New Wheel

Last year, I took a trip out with my Girl Posse to the Stitches knitting show in Atlanta. Remember, knitting? Yes? Well it’s not your gramma’s knitting. What did we see? Purses, yarn, yarn, more yarn, needles, books, fiber, accessories, jewelry and thousands of rabid fiber people. Buy lots of stuff and taking a lot of classes. Thus proving that while the economy may be waffling, the creative community is still working hard to keep their industry stimulated!

Well, the wheel in the picture is almost identical to mine. The one in the picture is a double treadle (you use both feet alternatively), mine is a single, and a vintage 1989 model. The running price for a new wheel is upwards of $1000. REALLY. I found mine locally for alot less. Thank goodness because at this show, I won a bag of Fiber from NGFA (North Georgia Fiber) in Blue Ridge. Yarn and FIBER. Fiber is cleaned and carded wool that has to be spun before you use it. Spinning wool into yarn, to knit. (Think of Sleeping Beauty) I like to knit, simple things. 2 dimentional items, like scarves. Do I spin…not yet. But I won all the fiber, and a year later, I think it’s time to do something with it. It’s standing here, but nothing’s been spun…I have the tools to do the job, but I haven’t yet..

What’s holding me back? TIME. I tell people “I haven’t learned how to use it yet”, but in reality it’s slicing out the time. There are only so many hours to the day. We all have the same number. 24. I sleep 8. Now we’re down to 16? 3 dogs, a cat, a huge house, a husband, a quilting business…my list goes on. I volunteered with Homes for Our Troops, and volunteered to make a quilt. I coordinate the Dutch Monkey Knitters weekly meeting and I’m on the Board for the Georgia Farmgirls (www.maryjanesfarm.com). Well, there’s the top of the list and the bottom of the list and at the bottom of the list is the housework and new hobbies. Oh, and exercise. (Did you know it takes hours of exercise to work off the calories from one donut consumed in 4 minutes?)

I used to work full time, and it was amazing to everyone how much I could get done in the same 16 hours. What happened and how did it all change? Well like spinning, there’s momentum. It has to do with physics, which is related to energy input vs energy output. I slowed down. Stopped. And then tried to start up again. Inertia. Trust me, it would have been smarter for me to keep running, than to have slowed to a stop and start up. I have a facebook friend who’s “lika rocket scientist”. Astrophysics, etc. I’m sure he could explain it to me in small words. I just need to get my mojo back. If I could find it…

How do you manage to control your time and Get It All Done?


  • None
  • thequiltingdiva: Schedule some time at least once a week. My most productive quilting was done when I worked outside the home full-time. Be sure it's on your sched
  • Terry: I change the quilt on my living room wall - I never seem to get any bed size quilts done!
  • Deb Karasik: Wow....I don't think I could have paid you for this endorsement! Thank you so very much. This is very sweet. Deb (who's busily whipping up a doze

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