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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Carnival Reveal!

 This is my finished art quilt based on the theme 'CARNIVAL', 11.5" x 16.5".  I'm part of an online blog challenge from Art Quilts Around the World, which has a different theme every 3 months.  Our first theme was 'self portrait' and you can see 'me' here....nothing great!  I really did enjoy working on this theme.  So much fun!

I just happened to have brought with me some small fabric pieces and I loved the colors in this hand dyed piece I did many years ago!

So, it was my inspiration for colors to use for Carnival.

Of course, the piece needed 'something' so I added circles using one of Mary Beth Shaw's stencils I love!  Yes, I bring all my stencils to Florida each year!  And my oil pastels, which I used with my stencil!

I sandwiched the piece and used variegated thread to free motion quilt the entire background.  I had in my mind to add a beaded mask so......

I found a mask on one of the coloring pages on the web and printed out onto a sheet of Wash-Away Applique paper.  I layered it onto a piece of batting and started to bead, bead, bead!

This was my finished mask, which I then sewed onto the background and added some ribbons/threads I had with me!  Before, I attached to the background, I did scan the mask into my printer and printed onto organza sheets which I then stitched onto the background then carefully cut away the excess organza..of course I had to add some beads on them too!  So this is what has kept me busy for the past 2 months.  I did have my piece finished by March 18th, ahead of our March 31st target date.  I have other projects to get moving on so not sure I'll be able to meet the next challenge which is due June 30th...who knows!! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

THANKS, to another Susan!!!!

I had so much fun for a few hours this a.m.!  I got to finally meet one of my blog buddies, Susan, from Younger Every Day.  We've been reading/commenting/emailing for sometime now, so it was great to finally meet Susan!  Susan lives in the Villages, which is just south of us and besides a nice place to live, it's also a fun place for a day trip.  Sorry to say but I've not even made it to the Villages this year.  We've always taken a day in the winter to head to the Villages either with or without the hubbies.  It doesn't look like we'll make it this year! 
But I digress.... Susan and I met  for coffee and bagel at Panera's and had such a nice time chatting away!  I still have so many questions to ask Susan about her life before Florida and after, but guess I'll have to save them for next year!   I did get to learn a lot about her and her interesting life.  She and her hubby travel quite a bit, which makes for an interesting blog!  As corny as this saying is,  Susan really is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  And also a funny lady to boot! 

We had one of the folks from Panera take our picture...which didn't turn out all that bad...but I think the young man won't focus his career on picture taking.  Like I have room to talk!! 

Anyway,  check out what she brought me!!!!  I feel like it's Christmas!!!

This is a bag full of the small circular, bead containers with lids!  Also some bead tubes, which are always good to have.

And this stash!!!  Keep in mind these are large, plastic zip lock bags loaded with beads!!!  These are beads Susan isn't using anymore!!!  OMG!!!  I am so excited to go through them all!!!  Is this wonderful or what!   There are so many different types of beads and colors!!  I'm in heaven for sure!

I won't be totally greedy with my 'gift' from Susan.   What I don't or can't use, I'll make sure go to  friends back in Michigan.  I have one friend who does crazy quilting and one who teaches school that is always looking for items to use in her classroom!  I will be sure to share my wealth!

I can't thank you enough, Susan!!  I certainly have enjoyed our email conversations in the past and our get together today.  I'm looking forward to next year but I'm going to get my calendar set up in advance!  No waiting until the month we're leaving for home!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another week almost over!

Gosh, it seems as if we just got to Florida and we'll be heading home before we know it!!  My Q bud, Susan, and I were talking about how fast time flies each year...Susan felt the time flies because it takes us longer to do things!  Therefore, our time is used up in two days what we used to be able to do in one day!  Makes sense to me...I also think because we are all retired and on 'vacation' here in Florida that we're so busy each day goes by faster and faster! 

I did make time today to get my roots dyed.  I'm going to miss Lauren from Planet Cosmo!  She's a delightful young lady and a good hair dresser as well!!  On the way home, I made a visit to the library and picked up Linwood Barclay's recent book Trust Your Eyes.  I've read all of his books but must have missed when this one came out in Sept.  And it was in large print!  Works for me!  See most of my day is gone already!

Zachery is slowing getting worked on.  I'm trying to get the base beaded then I'll go back over it when I attach to my background to add more puff to his body!  I think he's so cute in a weird kinda way!  

On an earlier post this week, I mentioned my outing with Susan to the quilt shop in Trenton...well, this was my purchase!
 Is this a hoot or what!  You have to read some of the articles on this fabric...e.g., Chihuahua gives birth to a great dane!  Love Triangle at!  So cute.  I'm going to make a cover for Kalee's pad in her crate!  Maybe a scarf too! I'll be at home all day Friday so I might get to do some sewing! 

On Saturday I'm going to meet up with a blog friend, Susan, from Younger Every Day.  Susan and I have become blog buddies so it will be SO nice to meet up with her to build on our blog friendship.  I enjoy reading her blog about family, travels, seeing her photo's (which are wonderful!) and now she's been   drawing with colored pencils and  venturing off into "watercolor lettering"...who knew!   She really is quite good at drawing!  You know how I am about that 'world'!  NOT!  Anyway, looking forward to actually meeting her on Saturday!  I'm still trying to meet up with Kay!  She's next on my list...we've just not had the same free days. 

Right now Kalee and I are sitting out in the lanai enjoying the birds singing (and Grace screaming!) and sun shining.  It's a beautiful, beautiful March day.  I might even bring Zachery outside for awhile!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yes, more eating!!

So, I'm going to start with Monday!  That was our night to go back to The Freezer in Homosassa!  Bob has been waiting to go back since our last visit...this isn't your high class restaurant by any means but one of the best local hang outs.  And we got to hang out with our friends!  What a fun night (again!).  

We got to the restaurant around 4:30ish and it was packed already.  We were lucky enough to get a large table as we had 8 in our group.  Bob hurried off to order our pretzel (beer and a glass of  $2 wine for me).  As I was drinking my wine, I saw an advertisement on the wall for a Mike's Rita! hubby went and ordered me one.  Now remember I said this isn't a fancy place (you peel and eat shrimp with your fingers from a Styrofoam tray!)....Bob brought me back this cup and bottle of Mike's Rita...notice anything??

It's actually a plastic cup!!!  A plastic cup with salt on the rim!!!  Go figure!!!  We laughed quite hard at that...but it sure was good! 

Of course when I got home, by the time I ate the pretzel with salt and licked all the salt off my paper cup!, I had to drink four glasses or water!!!  But it was worth every 'glass'!

The steamed shrimp is wonderful!!!  And the way it's cooked, the shell does come off easily.  SO GOOD!!!

This was John and Marilyn's first time at The Freezer.  I think and hope they enjoyed it as much as we do. 

After our wonderful meal, our 'host and hostess' (Jan & Larry) said to "follow them"...and we did.  They took us to another restaurant, called Sea Grass, just to look out at the water front then off to Jan's daughter's beautiful home, which sits by the water.  What fun!  We traveled from place to place following Larry on the drive(s).

And of course, our last stop was at DQ!  I know...hard to believe we could eat anymore but we did!!!

Now to top it off, Tuesday night we met up with Jan and Larry again for another dinner!!!  This time we ate at Harry's which is downtown Ocala and another favorite restaurant of ours!
Actually, they had drinks half price instead of our normal 2-4-1...dinner was FANTASTIC!  I think we are staying home tonight...wonder if I'll remember where the kitchen is and how to cook!!!  I'll let you know!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Keeping busy

I received the ear plugs for the smart phones from Monica (you can see my post here) so I added some charms to many of them.  These are going to be for gifts and some have already been sent out in the mail!

If you're trying to envision how these work or fit in your smart phone you can see a picture on my post here.    I love my charms on my phone and I hope the recipients of these feel the same!! 

After adding the charms, I thought I'd make some snap bags!  My daughter wants some specific sizes but I have to  wait until she gives me the measurement(s).   I wanted to give my Q buddy, Susan, a snap bag and thought I'd make some to have on hand!
The colored snap bag on the left was for Susan and I gave it to her today!  Susan and I took off to Trenton this a.m. to one of our favorite quilt shops!  I only picked up a yard of fabric, which is a novelty print for dogs!  I'll take a pic and post later this week.  Susan and I walked to the stain glass shop where she purchased a stained glass book with a pattern that is perfect for her to use in making her next winning quilt!!!   Then back to the quilt shop  for lunch at the cutest cafe!  It was a beautiful day for the drive and time spent with my buddy!! 

So now, Kalee and I are vegging on the chair before we head out for a walk!  It's hard fabric shopping and eating lunch out!  Have to rest first!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

End of another week....

 And yes, we did go out for dinner tonight!  We met up with Kara and Howard at Blanaca's which is the restaurant in our community.  Yum!!  Liver & onions!  It was delicious!!  Not every one's favorite but is for Bob and I.  I don't remember the last time I had this dinner as we don't eat much red meat  but it was a good choice tonight.
I've also been playing with free motion quilting...funny, when I do a practice piece my work isn't near as nice/good as when I'm really doing a 'legimite' piece!  Strange, isn't it!

I had a small piece of black sateen so I sandwiched it and started some FMQ.   Diane Gaudynski's had a blog post show how to FMQ Celtic Bubbles.  Sure looked easy on her blog but just like straight lines I can't do circles either!  Go figure!

So I attempted to do some more circles...and of course I got tired of those and wasn't happy with how my circles were turning out.  Just need to practice more for sure!  Do check out Diane's post on these circles.  She does such a wonderful post on explaining the process. 

My black doesn't look black in this picture but it really is!  I just started playing around with  any designs I could think of.  Again, I'm not very creative...but the piece, which is about 20" x 20" will make a nice background piece for small snap bags! 

Anyway, the first picture above,  i took yesterday when Carol, Peggy and I took off to Micanopy, Florida!  And yes, we had dessert!  Butter pecan ice cream!  Micanopy is a very quaint town 25 miles north east of us.  We went to Micanopy a few years ago and I thought it might make a nice day of it again.  We arrived just around lunch time and after visiting a few of the antique and old book stores, we headed to lunch.  Chicken salad sandwich's for Carol and I and a bowl of chili for Peggy.  Food was good and then off we went walking through the town again. 

As you an see in the pictures, Micanopy is a really small, old, Floridian town!  But I do love it.  The book store looks like something from a Stephen King novel/movie!  And the antiques are SO cool! 
So, next week is going to be as to the Freezer Restaurant on Monday with friends; Tuesday, lunch with a friend from the community; Thursday, off to Trenton with my Q Buddy, Susan, to visit one of our favorite Quilt shops, and lunch!  Of course...lunch!!! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yes, we love our food!

What can I say...Bob and I do love our food!  We had dinner with Jan and Larry at our now favorite Italian restaurant, Carmine's.  Just the best Italian food around!  Starting off with the garlic/oil combo that is filled with fresh minced garlic!!  Yes, we all stink today, but it was well worth it!  This is served with their home made toasted bread!  Worth the trip on it's own!
Next up was a fresh, crisp salad with house dressing.  The salad is always fresh and so good!  I had chicken parm, which was outstanding!  Bob had some dish with Italian sausage and chicken that he thought was now his favorite!   Jan had  lemon grouper fish that melted in your mouth!  I might have to try that even though I'm not a big fan of fish in Italian dishes.  This one was great!  Larry had spaghetti and meat balls and I even tried a piece which was really good! 
And another 'best part' about Carmine's....the glass of wine you get is one of the largest glasses served.  Jan and I were able to even get a half of a glass after our first!  The owner just brought the bottle over and poured us each 1/2 glass!  They are so nice at Carmine's!!  This is by far our favorite place to eat!

 Tonight is 99 cent margarita night!  Yes, two nights in a row!  Today I've done some cleaning in the house and Grace's cage/room and one load of laundry.  Kalee is now sitting beside me resting.  Even though it's overcast (again!) today, I think I'll sit out in the lanai and do some beading or stitching.  I did go for one walk with Kalee this a.m.  but probably need to get at least two or three walks in a day to make up for all the food I'm eating!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm plugged!

I've talked in the past about what a great bead shop there is in Ocala, Fl.  called The Bead Strand.  I love going to this store and often wished we had one like it back in Michigan (close to where I live).  Well, even though it's not that close to where I live (almost 20 miles), I have to say the Beadin' Mon is a really close second to one of the best bead stores around. 

Monica, the owner of Beadin' Mon is the best!!!  This past fall, I did head on over to her store to pick up some Tila beads for bracelets.  And it's also where I picked up, what I call, a plug for my phone (you can read about it on my blog post here).  I thought this little item was so cool!  I got thinking they would make a nice gift for folks so I emailed Monica and asked if I could order a dozen of them!  Monica is such a sweetheart and placed and order and shipped them out to me!  Yes, two are missing...they're in the mail to others!

So now I feel really lucky to have two great bead stores whether I'm up north or down south!!!  And for my friends, north or south, you too can head on down or up to a great bead store!  Thanks again, Monica!  You are the best!!!

This is my plug with charms given to me by friends!
Helps hubby to quickly identify my phone from his!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Start of another week....

I did take some time to bead the rest of the outline for Zachery's body.  I'm now starting to fill in his body.  I'm going to use some of the techniques of Diana from The Lone Beader.  I've been a follower of Diana's for quite sometime and recently I purchased two of her pdf patterns (Westie & Intro Into Extreme Beadery).  You have to check out both her Etsy/web site and her blog.  Her bead work is amazing...just amazing! 

So, this wanna be beader will continue on with Zachery in between my patchwork piece!  I did work on it last night for a few hours.  I'm thinking the patchwork piece might get finished while I'm in Florida!  Didn't think that would happen but....

This is the back of my Carnival piece...can't show the front!  I still have the facing to do and some hand work but I should have that finished sometime this week. 

The next few weeks are SO busy!!  I'm trying to get some dates to meet up with folks (Kay & Susan, I am trying!). 

Yesterday Carol came over to finish up the snap bags for her grand kids.  Didn't they turn out cute!  She has one more at her house she's adding charms to so I'll post a picture of that when it's finished.  Carol has four grand babies!

 Hubby is off from golf today!  Just as well as we're having a drizzle of rain off and on.  Kalee and I got a little rain on us when walking this a.m.  But it doesn't both us girls!!  She's crashed now while I work on the computer and sew.  I get a break from playing or walking her!

It's 63 out so not cold by any means!  Temps to get in the high 70's to 80's this next week.  Love Florida!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Framed (again!)

I thought I had posted pics showing my beaded bird and butterfly I had framed here in Florida this winter....but I can't find them so guess I haven't!   My Q Buddy, Susan, was kind enough to give me a gift certificate for $25 at Ocala Art and Frame shop here.  Fortunately, I brought with me my beaded pieces, thinking I would finish up some hand work on them while here.  Susan's gift certificate got me motivated and I did get two finished and had framed!
I love the frame on both of these.  Back home I did have two other pieces framed in a color that matches the background quilting threads.  You can see those here.   I am very, very pleased with the framing they did.  The owner, Mr. Blower, was so kind and very helpful.  I'd highly recommend them!
I am very happy with how these turned out.  Not sure I'll be able to finish the other two and have framed before we leave.  So, thanks Q buddy!!!!  You 'donation' sure helped.  Being 'framed' isn't cheap! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Who's out of thread?

So, I'm working away yesterday on my background piece for Carnival and clonk!  I thought my machine broke but all  that happened was I ran out of thread!  Geezzzz

You can see this small area left to quilt and in the next picture another small area that I needs to be finished!

Panic time!  I haven't purchased threads in quite a long time, other than my 12 wt. Aurifil & 28 wt Lana.

The thread I was looking for is Signature 30 wt in the Tropical Trilobol Poly.  I'm actually not that big on variegated thread but when I do use it I like the 30 wt and just certain colors. 

So early this a.m. I took off for JoAnn's hoping they would have my thread in stock and the same color!  Well, lucky me!  They did have the thread in the Tropical Brights and on sale for $1.97!!  It normally sells for $6.50-$6.95 on the web.  Not sure what JoAnn's sold it for (like I said, it's been years since I purchased it) but I know it was always close to that price. 

So $15 later look what I bought! 

I do use the Tropical color thread for fiber card edging and FMQ...I also like the Eggplant (combo of purple/green) so I purchased one of those.  I got looking at the Pastel colorway and did buy two of those.  I think it would be a nice background thread if going for a delicate look.  And had to get four of my Tropical Brights!  I won't run out now!

I'm not sure if JoAnn's is discontinuing the line or if these are part of Signature's old colors and they'll be getting a new line in.  Either way, these should do me for several years! So off to finish the background quilting! 
It's another beautiful day in the mid-high 70's...birds are singing so I don't even need the radio on.  I'm going to have to do a video just so you can hear the birds!  They just never stop!  Guess they are as happy as we are here in Florida! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How long???

Yikes...can't believe I haven't posted since Sunday!!  I have been busy but can't show what I've been working on until the reveal on March 31st! 

In the meantime, I have started on my Dr. Seuss for our Inspired by the Masters exhibit.  We are doing an art quilt based on the work of Dr. Seuss/Theodor Seuss Geisel. 

Let me introduce to you 'Zachery'!  He's what I'm going to add to my art quilt piece.   

You'll see in the next picture that I've started to bead 'Zachery'.  I think he's really cute and will be fun to bead.  I've got some ideas for his hair and tail (which you can't see in this picture) so, once again, I sure hope the picture in my mind can be transferred to my fingers! 

I printed out 'Zachery' onto some washable applique paper, attached to two pieces of black batting and started to bead his body.  He'll be in multiple shades of greens. Now as weird as he is, I think he is cute!!! 

Fun to work on in between  other projects.  Just gotta have that hand work to do, right!

It has been a busy week...yesterday (Wed.) after vet appointment, I made some appetizers to take over to our friends home.  They were having an 'open house' to introduce their friends to an exchange student they had about 20 years ago from Mexico.  She is now married (to their nephew!) and have four great children...from a senior in college to a 8th grader.  3 girls and one boy and just the nicest kids.  We've heard stories from Howard and Kara on 'Maga' (I know this isn't the correct spelling...I forgot to verify), so it made it even more special to finally meet her and her family.

This is 'Maga' after she made me a Paloma cocktail! Isn't she beautiful!  I didn't get pictures of her hubby or the children but they were as beautiful and handsome!

The Paloma was really good...Maga made it with lime juice, salt, tequila and Fresca.  I did find another recipe which uses grapefruit juice and lime juice that I might try as well.  You can see that recipe here...and there are others on the web.  I do love my margaritas but I'm open to try some different recipes for this cocktail as well.   After the open house, we ended up going to a local restaurant a mile down the road for dinner...cheese pizza/salad for me and baked spaghetti for hubby...yum!

Tonight, we ate out again!!  Dinner back to Carmine's with Marcia and Gary!  A fun night with nice folks and a great meal, again!  Our last month is always hectic meeting up with folks for one last dinner out!  I don't mind it at all...just have to make sure I use all the meat I have in the freezer!!  I'm usually pretty good at eliminating food but you never know.  This has been one of our busiest years yet!  Just such wonderful friends we've grown to know!   We are so lucky! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lzay life in Florida - NOT!

See, I really am working away on my patchwork piece!  Have no reason to be stitching this piece other than it was fun to use some scrap hand dyed and commercial fabric.  I'm thinking I'll hang this in our master bath but who knows.  I could also cut it up into smaller pieces!  Never know!  It's only 36+" x 36+". 

I starting stitching the bottom right side this afternoon, which will look similar to the stitching on the left side.  I imagination....I even copy myself!  I still have the top right to finish and to add some more small circles (thanks to suggestion from Jill for her method of sewing circles!) to fill in other areas.

Just a few more pics...mainly because I couldn't upload the two pics I took today at the Master Garden show Carol and I went to!  Not sure what's up with that!  Have to have pics on my blog post(s)!

It was a beautiful day again and the color of the plants and flowers were wonderful!  Just pust you in a good mood.   It is a good thing I don't live here though.  Our house and yard would be junked up with 'stuff' and plants!  I don't like a lot of 'things' laying around on our tables and such back in Michigan but there are some really interesting and cool items I see on my adventures out that I'd buy in a heartbeat for the house and yard!  So far I've resisted each year but...I did buy something today!  Know what this is????  It's called 'operalium'.  Doesn't help does it!
Obviously, the one on the left is the back of the piece.  I found this info on the web (no surprise there, right!):
"The body is surrounded by a fold of skin, to which are attached a shell consisting of six or more plates and a fourfold lid, or operailum, consisting of two scuta and two terga. The operculum may be called the door, as the animal opens and shuts it at will and has complete protection when it is closed."

Anyway, one of the vendors had three tables of unusual stones and fossils.  So cool!  I bought two of the operalium and think they might be perfect for stitching on a quiltlet with beads!  A future, future, future project I'm sure!  

Of course, I have to either open or close my post with 'food' talk!  Last night Bob and I had dinner with Gary & Marcia at The Ivy House.    What a unique building and the food was very good!  I had deep fried shrimp that was so sweet and lightly battered and delicious!  Bob had a seafood platter and I still don't know how he ate it all!!  The portions are huge and presentation was as good as the food.  I'm looking forward to another night of eating out!  We just never know where we'll end up next!  Gary and Marcia mentioned several places that Bob and I haven't eaten at (yet!) so guess I might not be cooking as much the next month!  Let's hope, right!  And let's hope I still fit into my clothes when we get back to Michigan!

Well, I'm sitting out on the front porch and getting a little chilly!  The lanai was too hot and it's too cool to sew out here.  Guess I could change from short sleeve shirt and Capri's to long pants and a top but it's Florida!