Monday, December 27, 2010

A Blessed Christmas

Posted by Strlady at 6:24 PM 4 comments
I don't know if I mentioned this but I'm not very big on surprises. Not at all. They make me feel out of the loop as if there has been some plotting and talking behind my back (which there is), but this year, I'll take this surprise ANY day.


You see that young couple between my parents and me. That is my daughter and my future son in law that showed up at my door on Christmas eve. I thought this would be my first Xmas without her and she had plotted with my sisters for months to surprise me. I still feel the sting in the back of my eyes just remembering the first glimpse of them.

Besides my daughter, son in law, and parents... my home was full for the holidays


From left to right.. Brenda (my sister) and her son GenePaul, Jessica (my younger sister), Harvey (my brother), Me, Nyshma and Ryan. In front, the patriarchs of the Family, My Mom and Dad. We had not been this complete in over 8 years so it was quite a blessing. Missing was my niece, Sydle which we hope will join the next reunion in September, for my daughter's wedding.


The house was decorated by my talented sister, Brenda who knows exactly where to put each ornament so that it will shine to it's brightest potential and although she shared the cold she picked up on the plane with me, she did make sure that I had pretty sights and sounds around the house to bring me comfort.


There was some doodling around by my brother, who might not know how to quilt but can hold his own in the artistic arena.


Lots of Goofing around with our unofficial Puertorican white boy, Michael (he insists he is really a Miguelito) who pretends he is part of the clan and we let him, because he knows how to add a great flare to any gathering.

Overall an outstanding Christmas with a crew that knows what love is all about.
On the topic of surprises.. I just want to say, although I loved this one... Give the Gift of Anticipation next time!! LOL!

I hope all your Christmases have been as blessed as mine!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jane Austen and Remakes

Posted by Strlady at 10:51 AM 4 comments
Jane Austen does it for me. No questions, no tip toeing around it. She just does it for me.
This time of year I pull out my Pride and Prejudice DVD and glom it. I tend to prefer the Colin Firth / Jennifer Ehle version, as does the rest of humanity, but I have been watching the Matthew Macfadyen / Kiera Knightly version these last couple of years since it's alot easier to suck someone into watching a 2 hour movie vs a 5 hour series...

Last Christmas I was giving new material. I got this:


I loved the Hugh Grant / Emma Thompson version but after seeing this one on PBS I could not believe I found a superior version. Hattie Morahan owns the role of Elinor Dashwood. there is so much open emotion revealed by all of the characters that I will never watch the Hollywood version again.

Talking about remakes, I'll be watching this one next:


I own the CiarĂ¡n Hinds / Amanda Root version but after watching once I couldn't really figure out what the big deal was. I could not really relate or sympathize with the heroine. BBC remade it at the same time as the Sense and Sensibility one. I loved it. Sally Hawkins made me feel for Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones allowed me to see Capt Wentworth as a man really hurt by Miss Elliot's betrayal. If you feel for the characters the Happy Ever After is so much sweeter.

Now, on to a matter left unattended for too long...


The unfinished Pinwheel project is headed off to Mary at the Quilt Hollow.
Looking forward to seeing what you make of it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A UFO vs a WIP?

Posted by Strlady at 5:30 AM 6 comments
What makes a UFO? Is it the project that has been sitting around for more than 6 months? or is it more the project that you put away knowing that it has stopped inspiring you?

I vote for the later. I wrap up the year with three WIPs but I was determined that I would not end it with any UFOs. But I admit that with just a few weeks for years end, I have one. This is a project that has stopped 'doing it' for me. It's a project I started quite revved up about but just dwindled to nothing.It's a project I know I will never finish.

Earlier this year Rachel Griffin from p.s. i quilt, had a Pinwheel quilt-along and many wonderful quilts were born out of the quilt-along. But, alas, not mine.


I honestly think this project was doomed from the get go since I was not in love with the fabric. I wanted to make it with Sanae's Freebird line but my daughter chose that line to make hers (which never flourished either) and I went ahead and picked up Blackbird Designs Garden Party.


I actually followed along until the very last two blocks. One was not something I liked so I decided to substitute it and then Rachel took a break of her own and I lost my rhythm. When she popped back and said, chose your own pinwheel for the last block... I had moved on. Summer was super busy and I never looked at this project again.

Following in my "No UFOs" in 2010, I am going to do something with it... I'm giving it away. Don't want it, Won't finish it. And it's not hanging around!!

So... let me know if you want it. I have 12 blocks completed. You can see them in this post: Pinwheel sampler. They are all the right size (no wonkiness to them) and the rest of the layer cake with the scraps are all part of the bundle. You take it all. One thing that is missing is the background fabric. Here is what really clued me in that the project was a UFO: I used the background on another project!

It's a solid background and although the original solid was a P&B textile solid, I believe you can find a match in the moda solids or the kona solids by Kaufman. Since there are a few blocks left to make (I believe 4) you could probably scatter the mixed backgrounds among the existing blocks and it could pass. If you want to look for the solid, I have a few swatches in the scraps that might help match it.

Anyway, cleaning out my craft room in preparation for my holiday guests proved to be a treasure trove of interesting finds (old fabric collections, old quilts, etc.) but this one was a thorn in my side and I refuse to put it away!!

Leave me a comment letting me know you want it, and if I get more than one person interested, I'll do the Random number thing on Friday.

Have a great week!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Name has a name

Posted by Strlady at 5:00 PM 7 comments
Little Bits of Love is headed to it's new home this week. I had mentioned that this one didn't have a name and I was waiting for the AHA moment. Well it sure took it's time!

It wasn't until I was making up the label that it smacked me over the head. The quilt has been the bain of my existence for a while and I think it's like that fussy child that nothing is ever right until it finally is.


It seems appropriate that it's going to my Jessi. Among my girls she is strong willed and tough to budge. When she makes up her mind, you better just throw in the towel and roll with it.


Never one to be quiet, she was the one that really sneaked up on me. I don't think I ever shared this with her but the first time she came to my house I thought for sure I would not be able to deal with her. She was a chatterbox and opinionated and had waaaayyy to much energy. She really hasn't changed much but there is so much more to her. Underneath it all she is also a romantic. An artist. A poet. She is loyal and proud and has a love for life that I have seldom seen in a person.

I really was not sure if this was her quilt. I loved the pattern since I saw it but I could not see it going to her. I think it was the white, too stark, too one dimensional. But as I was looking at fabrics in Houston, those batiks where flagging me down and yelling at me to use them for Jessi's quilt, for THIS quilt.

As I worked on this piece it kept reaffirming itself. As I cut the batiks I thought of her. Each piece is so unique, even fabric from the same bolt stands no repetition. Each piece has it's own depth, it's own design. It was just so appropriate. The white gave it the balance it needed and the quilting just brought it to life!


Wondering what is that something in the corner of the quilting...


I asked Margaret to make this one uniquely Jess.
The VW is in homage to Jessi's pride and joy.


Yup. Jess loves her car to near obsession,
so it seemed appropriate that the logo be included in the quilt that is just for her.


Take a peek at the backing. This was the crux of my existence. After two failed attempts in getting a fabric that 'played' well with the darker batiks, I gave up and just went with the jewel batik flannel. I am telling you! This quilt would not fit into a standard formula. It was going to do what it wanted to do and you could either accept it or lose sleep over it. I just went with it.


No Name is now called Little Bits of Love
625 little bits of my heart sent to my Jessi Girl.
Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Charming Girls - Holiday Traditions

Posted by Strlady at 11:57 AM 4 comments
I've been a bad Charming Girl because I have not been playing with the others! I only have the excuse of work and play has really not allowed me to catchup with my girls. Not really an excuse, so I'm working on this.


The Charming Girls have a Theme going on and we are to post abit about our personal Holiday Traditions. I honestly can't say that my family has an enduring holiday tradition but I have endeavored to establish a few myself so the my daughter can share them along with her own children.

Holiday Ornaments is a big one for me.


Each Ornament has a history, each one holds a memory.


And although some are not as pretty as others, they are all special and go on the tree until they fall apart and need to be retired.

As to traditional holiday foods... Nope. If my mom is around we will definitely make a traditional Puertorican Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. Pork Roast, Rice with gandules, pasteles, bread and butter! All very yummy, but it will not replace the Christmas day meal even if we have left overs. Christmas Lasagna got established when my daughter was about 7 or 8. I don't recall how it became a "tradition" but I do recall that I first made it because it was a one dish meal that everyone liked and was not viewed as Christmasy. I think I just wanted something that didn't require slaving over a stove but could easily feed many. Now, I get asked if I'm making lasagna on Xmas. I always say "Of Course". And it has become expected. Sorry, no recipe since everyone makes lasagna to fit your own personal taste and I've made it for so long, I don't follow anything anymore. I think the most 'dificult' part of the process is a) Seasoning the Ricotta and b) putting it together. The 'easiest' part? You can prepare ahead of time and then just pop it in the oven whenever the time to eat gets close. A cheesecake on the side, a loaf of bread and you are done! If you make it in a disposable pan you will have minimal clean up afterwards too!

You can't beat Christmas Lasagna! :)

Although we don't do it any more since my daughter is older and we have moved away from a strong Art district, we did have a Christmas outing every year as my daughter grew up.


Growing up in NY, my parents used to take me every year to Radio City Music Hall to watch The Christmas Spectacular. As an adult, I realize that my Dad must have saved all year to get tickets to take a family of 5 to this show. We used to walk the streets looking at the window decorations and would top it off watching the skaters at Rockefeller Center. It is a cherished childhood memory and I wanted something like that for my own daughter.


So as soon as she could sit still during a performance, I started taking her to Boston to see The Nutcracker. It was a dress up day and we would put on our finest Christmas wear and go to the city for the show. When she was around 4 I actually drove to NY for the Christmas Spectacular but I don't think she remembers. She will remember The Nutcracker though. I hope she will pass that one on.

Okay, I think I might be getting depressed! This will be the first year that I can ever remember that I won't have my daughter with me on Xmas and although ALL my family will be in house (parents, sisters, nephew and even my reclusive brother) my daughter will not be there. Ok. I'm officially depressed!

Funny story though.. I mentioned it last year in my post about Christmas but it's funny as heck so why not!

Our Nativity set gets laid down as soon as the Christmas tree goes up but baby Jesus doesn't show up until Xmas morning. It's my way of keeping focus on what Christmas is all about. I had done this for many years but it wasn't until several years ago that my daughter (then 19) realized that the baby was missing from the manger. She went nuts! Thought Pepper (our small dog) had eaten it and we would now have to run to the vet with her. We had a good laugh out of that one.

I hope everyone not only survives the Holiday, but also enjoys every minute of them, building new memories to recall all year long!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unstoppable..

Posted by Strlady at 8:12 PM 0 comments
I know that next weekend most of us will be in line to catch a glimpse of this...


My daughter and her friends (known as The Marauders) have been making every book and ever movie an event to celebrate. Although the nest is empty, I will be watching when The End begins...

BUT...

If you are are among those that will not be there to watch the beginning of The End, you should go watch this....


I just got back from watching it and I was blown away. Had me at the edge of my seat, tension in my gut, and jacket covering my eyes almost from the first scene. What is so incredible is that Unstoppable is inspired by the "Crazy Eights" unmanned train incident in 2001. Albeit on a smaller scale, many of the events we see actually happen back in 2001 when train #8888, left its rail yard in Walbridge, Ohio, unmanned and began a 66-mile journey through northwest Ohio. With all the holiday movies coming out in the next few weeks, make sure you squeeze in this one. It was Fantastic!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm still celebrating...

Posted by Strlady at 1:28 PM 3 comments
Because I had to work on my birthday I will be extending my personal celebration over the weekend with early dinner and a movie on Sunday but I needed to pop in and share. This year my wish list was very practical. You might think that my gifts are a bit off but I'll tell you that I love them.

First I'll start with the pretty gift.


It's a Camera Bag for my pride and joy.
I own a Nikon and a couple of lens but my current Camera Bag was a bit of a clunker.
I had been eying this one for a while. At first I wanted it in Red but I 'eyed' it for too long and they discontinued it. I was excited that the brown came out and it matched so well with my other bags. My 'baby' now has a beautiful new home. Woot Woot!! Happy Birthday to Me!!

Second.. The whopper of all gifts...


Yes. It's a Rice Cooker.
Do you know any Hispanic families? We are breed on Rice and Beans. Our standard for Rice is unique. It's something we have in common with Asian families. The difference is that we like our rice loose. Well, our household had been struggling with the rice cooker for many months. The rice would either turn out raw, over cooked, or a mixture of both, but it was a rare occasion when the rice would be perfect. Sigh. I might not eat rice every day but I want my rice to be delicious every time. I have not given this baby a test drive but the reviews have been positive AND it's so pretty, I just might put up with bad rice for a bit longer if my test drive flops. Happy Birthday to Me!!

Thanks to my sisters and my baby girl for the wonderfully, thoughtful presents!

What else did I get?


After work I headed over to Vera Bradley - I have a weakness for Vera Bags.
They were having a sale event and I needed to pick up a cosmetic bag to match my Weekender bag. I was telling my sister that I was having problems because I used my new bag over the weekend but my cosmetic bag didn't match. As everyone in last weeks retreat found out... I'm a bit anal. Everything in it's place and all that. LOL! Not only did I pick up the cosmetic bag but a new Gym bag too. Happy Birthday to Me!!

THEN to top things off, when I got home, My Short Story quilt was waiting for me on the doorstep! Mary over at Quilt Hollow had completed the quilting and put it in the mail early this week. I was so excited!! I could not take a picture because it was already dark but I'll be sharing soon enough. Happy Birthday to ME!!

Okay, so now to what you all have been waiting for.
I will tell you that I read each and every one of your comments. I loved reading your stories and I appreciate that you shared them with me. That was a wonderful gift. Thank you.
After pulling out any double postings, I ended up with 82 comments. From Random.org...


Our winner is # 52

April from Artsy Fartsy Designs who wrote:

Hi Sandy! Happy early birthday! we should have celebrated this weekend at the retreat along with Lisa's! and Angie's was last week! so many birthdays!
i hope yours is a great day!!

Birthdays were always a huge ordeal to my Mom. She made our birthdays so special & made us feel so loved, even as adults. She passed away 4 1/2 years ago the day before my 25th birthday. So unfortunately I share my birthday with a not so great anniversary. HOWever, 4 years later & I'm finally able to enjoy my day again. I would have to say this year (my 29th) was the best birthday since her passing away. Just feeling loved from friends and family really makes it great :) We celebrated my *last* birthday celebration- as next year I will not be 30, but it will be the 1st anniversary of my 29th birthday! :-D


This is what I'm talking about when I thank you all for sharing your stories with me. Many were as touching as April's. Funny thing is that April was at the Modern Guild Retreat last weekend with me and we got to know each other better. She understands my anal tendencies because, as Juanita commented on another post, my workstation was definitely the tidiest. LOL!

I just might have to adopt April's idea of having an anniversary of my birthday but I'll wait to hit 50 since so many of you said that was the BEST of all!!

Cheers to many more wonderful birthdays to come, for you and for me!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A quilty weekend if I say so myself!

Posted by Strlady at 7:12 PM 8 comments
This weekend I spent it with my quilty buddies from the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild. You are probably saying, "but... your not a modern quilter.", I would then say, "Hey! I can be modern if I want to!" LOL!


Seriously, I had a great time. What is nice about the group is that there is a great big pool of creativity all in one spot. Not only do these ladies give "Liberated Quilting" a new face, they also can appreciate traditional quilting.

I wanted to make a dent on my Opening Day quilt but I also needed to take something that would be a bit mindless so I took my Fandango layer cake and Thimbleblossom's Piece of Cake 2 as a backup.


I spent alot of time making many of these...


That turned into all of these! 

I made 28 blocks with just 8 more Sawtooth stars to complete that part of the quilt.
There are many, many more flying geese to make but I'm not going to focus on that. I'm taking it one at a time.

I'll admit that I was feeling unproductive because I had been making star after star after star and still not completing my quilt. So, on Saturday night I put away Opening Day and pulled out my backup project.


As soon as Fandango came out I knew I wanted to use it for this project.
The pattern is by Camille Roskelley from Thimbleblossoms.


The quilt is sure easy to make. I'm talking immediate gratification here.
I had all the blocks made by 9am the next morning and was off to get some sashing added. 


Then comes the layout - 
this one was tough because every block was busy and just danced all over the place.


Then... you twist! 
By the time I left on Sunday afternoon, I had the blocks layed out and ready to sew into rows.

You know what is the best part of this quick quilt? Fandango has a flannel line! I just ordered the backing for the quilt in a gorgeous flannel that extends the beauty of this fabric around to the back of the quilt. I'm just all around excited!

So, a productive weekend if I say so myself. Made a good dent on my Opening Day, have a new quilt top almost completed and got to know a group of some really amazing gals! Fabulous!

Don't miss out on my Birthday Giveaway! Leave a comment on my previous post (What a Weekend!) for a chance to win a copy of Carrie Nelson's new book. I'll be back on Thursday with the name of the winner!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What a Weekend!

Posted by Strlady at 6:00 AM 86 comments
Closing the comments 
Thanks to everyone that stopped by to participate!! 
Will be back soon with the winner!


I'm back from Quilt Market and enjoyed every moment. My only regret... I needed more time and should have taken more pictures!
Unfortunately we just had one day to see the booths and meet with the vendors. The other day was spent in classes and lectures. If I would ever go again, I would definitely drop the lectures and show up just for the show itself.

The first day was Sample Spree. not sure how people take pictures during this event.. honestly, it's just crazy. Well now I can say I did it. Picked up lots of goodies and was completely exhausted after just an hour. Funny thing happened the next day.. Pulled up my blog reader and found this picture over at the Jolly Jabber...


I circled what caught my eye. It was my daughter in the middle of they mayhem trying to get past the crowd with her own goodies. I'm happy there was no evidence of my own weak moment at the Moda table. LOL!

The next day we were on the floor nice and early but we still didn't have enough time to see it all. I was able to see many new designers and new upcoming fabrics from old favorites, and I also had a close encounter with my favorite designer....


Yup. I finally met THE Carrie Nelson. What a wonderful lady. I think I babbled... so embarrassing, lol! Told her I had started Opening Day and thanked her for my Fit to be Geese Rulers. I then stalked her, dragging my daughter over to a book signing. We chatted some more about my daughter's unique name and she shared a story of a friend of hers that had a more challenging name than my baby. That meeting was definitely the highlight of my trip. I'm such a fan girl!

The next day I drove home with these...


You might ask how I ended up with three books? Well, one is my signed copy, the other is my daughter's copy (she overindulged a bit and needed me to send her some of her stash through the mail), and the last one was waiting for me when I got home, since I pre-ordered my copy!

Well... since it's my birthday next week, and some say that giving is better than receiving... (I'm really working on that one - lol!) I've decided to give away the copy I ordered.

YEAH!! A GIVEAWAY!!  
To enter, leave a comment sharing a memorable Birthday story. I'll pick a winner at random on Nov 10th (my birthday)!
Since I don't have many followers you have a good chance of winning, so leave a comment and help me celebrate my birthday!!

Update: I have noticed that many comments don't have an email associated with it. Please make sure that you leave me a way to contact you. If I cannot contact the winner I will have to chose someone else. You can either update your profile or leave your email in your comment. Thanks!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guess where I'll be this weekend....

Posted by Strlady at 6:00 AM 4 comments

Yup.. I'm a bit excited! My sister Brenda is a quilt shop owner (PumpkinPatchPrimitives.com) and she decided to go to market this year. I was very excited when she asked me to join her in Houston but now that the day has arrived, I'm super pumped! Not only will I be getting to see my sister, but my daughter was also invited and she will be flying in today as well!!

I'm taking my camera and will take pics as we go. I'm signing off for now since it's a long, long drive and I still have a few things to cross off my To Do list. Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A New Project - Opening Day

Posted by Strlady at 11:20 PM 2 comments
It's time to chose a new project. This one just might be the last project of the year so I had to make sure it was a good one. Many options to chose from but I kept going back to the fact that I don't have a Christmas Quilt. Soon everyone will be pulling out their holiday decorations and I'll be all jealous.

Last year I said I wanted to make a Christmas quilt and went out and bought a FQ bundle of Glace by Three Sisters to make my quilt.
Here we are just a few weeks away from the holidays and I don't have my quilt made. Well, no more. My pending quilts have all gone out to the quilters and I'm ready to start a new quilt.


How appropriate that I chose Opening Day as my pattern!

I assume that you have heard that our Rangers made it to the World Series. I moved to Texas just a few years ago but this state has really taken me in and made me feel like I was a Texan all my life. I have loved my Red Sox and Pats (originally from New England) but credit where it's due. Go Rangers!!!


I started cutting and piecing this past weekend and I'm loving it


Those flying geese are a breeze with my Fit to be Geese ruler. I love that darn thing!
Thanks Carrie!!


I have only 3 stars pictured but I already have 8 made. I think this one will be made in no time at all. I don't think that anyone will be able to quilt it for me by Christmas but to know that it was made and ready will get me through the season without turning so green. LOL!

Have a great week!!

 

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