Saturday, November 17, 2012

write.here.write.now

So, I have to tell you about my lunch today

Two blocks from my house, the Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO) is having their big grand opening event for their offices in Woodlawn. Here’s more about them and what they do. 

Part of the celebration includes an all-day read-a-thon of The Hobbit. People take 5 minute time slots and read aloud to whoever happens to wander in. When I arrived, a young lady was already in the middle of her reading. Then a grade school lad picked up where she left off. He did a fine job, even pushing through a tough word like “appreciatively.” After him, a gentleman with a wonderfully rich voice took over. He didn’t even need the microphone. I regret now not taking a slot when it was offered.

But I spent my time watching a young man from the local high school drawing the most amazing portraits with a Pigma pen. Such a talent. And he was quick, too!

Then it was outside to spend some time visiting with guild friend Lillis and her group of Inglenook sewing ladies. I bought some tickets for their donation quilt and promised to work up a pattern for my diminutive over-the-shoulder purse that they admired. They are now holding their meetings at the DISCO offices. I think I’ll look into a way to spend a little time with them.

To cap it all off, I ordered an amazing burger from the Shindigs food truck and brought it home to enjoy.

How cool is that!?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweet Boo!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

And yet another baby...

As I said earlier, it's been raining babies around  here. One of our former students came back to us after college and she has taught for us for a couple of years now. It's always such fun when they come home.
This one is Susie and she had baby Quinten back in July. I have wanted to do one of the zigzag quilts and I found this pattern on Pinterest from the Bee Square Blog .


I like the idea that this is made with strips. I chose bright boyish novelty prints and tone on tones to alternate. Since this ends up with bias edges, I recommend staystitching the edge before trying to baste it for quilting. It will keep it from stretching out of whack.

I've had this fun Hawaiian shirt and swim trunk print for a long time with no plan for it. I just thought it complimented all the bright colors. The yellow and white Hawaiian print fabric came from the thrift store. It had been hemmed as a tablecloth. 
 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baby Bunny

It's been a busy baby year every where I turn. One of our teachers at work had her first child back in March - a sweet little girl.

I thought I would try a project that would take less time than a quilt since it was the busy time of year for us. So I chose this cute yo-yo bunny pattern by Indygo Junction thinking it would work up quick. I love their stuff.

I used sweet 30's prints for the yo-yo's and I particularly like the pink plaid for the paws and inner ears. The large and extra large Clover "Quick" Yo-Yo Makers were the perfect sizes for this project and I made a few every night while watching television.

 
I did begin to wonder if this was going to be quicker than a quilt, but I eventually got it finished.

Instead of buttons for eyes, I cut some small pieces of black felt and stitched them in the same way I would have sewn in the buttons.

A final plaid puff made for a fluffy bunny tail.

I hate to say that she didn't receive the gift until July, but it was just in time for sweet baby girl to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dear Mr. Woods -

I just want you to know how much I appreciate your considerable efforts to return my purse to me. It was stolen from me at Wal-Mart two weeks ago and I felt so stupid for having turned my back on it even for just a few seconds. I was mostly upset that night because my dog was in the car and I was afraid someone might drive off with her. But thankfully that did not happen.

The stolen credit cards, driver’s license, phone, and checks have all been replaced. I have changed the locks on my house and had my car ignition reprogrammed. While time consuming and costly, it was not that difficult to do.

Often it is the loss of the little things, the more personal things, that make us feel most violated: the little pocket knife given to me by my mother who is no longer with us, my one-of-a-kind key chain, a favorite wallet that suited my needs perfectly. You have allowed these things to come back to me.

The return of all of my keys reassures me that no one will be taking my car in the middle of the night or be coming to my house when I’m away.

The return of my Social Security card (that I didn’t even know was in the purse and made me both horrified and relieved to see was still there) gives me hope that my identity is intact and safe.

The return of my jump drive that had work files on it relieves any anxiety that I am missing important information.

Having these things in my possession again has restored some peace of mind and for that I am grateful. You are an honorable man, sir. May God abundantly bless you because of your kindness.


Mr. Woods retrieved my purse from the side of the highway today while picking up cans. He found my business card inside and called my work. He then drove my purse to the police station for me to pick up later in the day.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Be a deer...

When I buy a quilting book, it has to have at least two quilts that I would seriously consider making before I can make the purchase. This saves me some money and saves room on my bookshelves.

I don't know what I thought I was going to make out of Dare to be Square Quilting by Boo Davis when I spied it on Amazon.com, but I couldn't resist a book of patterns made with nothing but squares and straight strips. Maybe it was the idea of some relief from angles and pieced stars that was the attraction.

My neighbors had a baby back in May via surrogate. I decided this special baby deserved a quilt, so I took the opportunity to make up something from the book. Dad is a hunter, so I chose "Quilt in the Headlights."

The pattern called for 3" strips/squares, but I reduced mine to 2". After I had started, I realized I really meant to reduce them to 2.5", but there was no going back. I just added a couple of extra rows on three sides.

This was trickier to assemble than one would be led to believe. The subtle color differences in the diagrams in the book finally led me to abandon them and wing it with color placement.

I chose to leave out the bold red and gold accent pieces shown in the book and replace them with quieter, more woodsy bits.

I love the little birds on the perfect blue background.

I salvaged this little chipmunk from some Aunt Donna scraps.

And the slices of wintry landscapes are leftovers from the backing of the Land's End quilt.

I bought this canoe fabric years ago and it worked perfectly. It was about 60" wide, so I didn't have to piece the back.

I used a pink snowflake on red for the binding.
It brought out the little cardinals on the front.

I quilted it with a big, wavy diagonal grid. The sun is gleaming off the bottom left-hand corner of the picture. That's why it looks lighter. It was a big hit and Henry has his first deer!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Art is Magic

Sunday was the last day of the Magic City Art Connection. It's a great three-day art/craft show in Linn Park in downtown Birmingham with lots of great artists, live music, yummy food, and activities for the young folk. I have to get my art fix every now and then to stay creatively grounded.

It was a warm, sunny day and lots of folks were out to see what was there to see. Last time I attended this show I bought at $12 pin made out of a bottle cap, some glitter, and a bit of a vintage Christmas card.

It was even a Dr. Pepper bottle cap. My fav.

I did not go intending to make any real purchase, much less a significant purchase.

But when a piece of art speaks to you, you'd better listen or you could regret it for a long time. I have finally let go of a painting I fell in love with twelve years ago and couldn't really afford. But that didn't keep me from remembering it to this day and wishing for a long time that I had sacrificed a few things to buy it.

And then I encountered this work by Joseph Bradley of Greenville, South Carolina. He had some lovely little birds that were much more within a reasonable person's budget. But I immediately fell for this face.

It's 24" x 24" mixed media on board with silver leaf. I went back to look at it a second time before leaving the park without it. Fortunately I don't live that far, so once I got home I whipped out a tape measure looking for a potential spot to hang it. I even snapped a picture from the artist's website and carried it around the house on my camera holding it up to audition different walls.

I went outside to clear my head by tidying up the yard. Was this another one of those paintings that I dare not pass on lest I regret it? But it was a budget bender and could I really justify it? I spoke to a neighbor walking her dog and even told her about it. She said "I haven't even seen it and I vote yes!" So I went back to get it.

Beauty feeds our souls. It is around us everywhere every day. We just don't see most of it. No wonder our souls are so parched. There is a massive veil of old pink roses cascading over the edge of a railroad support that I see on my way to work these days. I wonder every time I pass it if anyone else sees it.

I'm sure I was not influenced by any expressive
similarity to a certain fuzzy family member.

The artist and his wife were excited to see me return and to know the young fella would have a good home. Apparently he had received a lot of attention throughout the day. I showed them the picture of Maisy and how much her funny face matched his. And I told them about Daddy having been gone since October and how the expression also reminded me of a picture of him from a Christmas years ago. I closed his checking account this week. I was caught off guard at the bank by the finality of that act and by the wave of emotion that swept past me during such a routine business transaction. There were enough funds left to cover this purchase.

Something about the satisfied expression on this little fox tells me that he has taken time to smell the roses (or peonies in this case.) It says that he has found beauty in hidden and unexpected places. And now he lives at my house so he can remind me to look for it, too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

BOM - April

I received a sweet thank you note from across the pond yesterday. Seems the giveaway prize made its way intact to the U.K.

I'm looking forward to hearing from Ms. Daisy in Manchester about how she gets along with her diamonds.

The latest block of the month for guild is a scrappy star. I really, really like this block. Of course, you would never know that I had been into my scraps at all.

I won block of the month back in the fall and got 49 lovely fall pinwheel blocks that I have yet to do anything with.

Can I be a little greedy and wish for these? They are a generous 18" finished. Six blocks, some sashing and a border and you have yourself a great baby gift or cuddle quilt. You could use some I Spy squares in there. I imagine that even if I don't win a set of them, I'll be making more of this block.

Our next guild meeting is Monday. Can't believe it has come around so quickly. We are having a yard sale. I had hoped to gather some things to join a couple of friends at their table. But looks like I ran out of time, so I will likely be bringing more stuff home instead.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Drumroll, please...

We have a winner!

And just who is commenter #23?

It's DaisyChain who said...
"Really like the colours on your Aunt Donna quilt.
Would love a chance to win the giveaway.
I haven't worked with diamonds so far."

Well, Ms. Daisy, congratulations!
You get your chance to work with diamonds!
Be sure to e-mail me your mailing address and
I'll get these out to you next week.

Thanks to everyone who left such lovely comments for the giveaway. If it was your first visit to the Pipkin House, I hope you drop in again some time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A hitch in our get-along...

I don't know what is happening with the Comment section of my posts. Lots of you have been able to get through, but I know of at least two people who have made multiple attempts to enter the Giveaway by posting a comment and have been unable to complete that process.

Don't sink into despair if you don't see your comment right away. I have the comment moderation on, so it may take a little while for me to put yours through. If it does not appear by the end of the day, you can use Option B to enter.

Option A: Comment through the link at the bottom of the Giveaway post.

Option B: Send me an email using the link to the right. You MUST put GIVEAWAY in the subject line to be entered though, otherwise you won't be entered.

Whichever you choose, please enter only once. So sorry for the trouble.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's GIVEAWAY Time!!!!

Our program at guild Monday is "Adventures in Blogging: Enhance your quilting and Make new friends." I have found much encouragement and inspiration from quilters who blog and I've even won a giveaway from Trends and Traditions. I've had lovely comments from visitors and have come to feel as if I know some of you out there just a little through your own blogs.

When I first started this blog, I showed a project I had cut from Aunt Donna scraps using a diamond template. Well, I'm still cutting diamonds from Aunt Donna scraps and can't seem to get enough of them.

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blueberries and Maisy's quilt are cut from the same template. I still have the pie diamonds to sew together and a UFO of florals.

I have made two quilt tops from fall scraps to use on the twin beds in my guest room.

They are not identical as the vast array of prints in Aunt Donna's scraps provided an almost infinite variety from which to choose.

For this giveaway, I decided to cut another set of fall diamonds for some lucky quilter out there in blogger land.

UP FOR GRABS:
* set of pre-cut diamonds in 25 different prints - enough to make a 61.5" x 86" quilt (side pieces not included so you can choose your own fabric)
* plastic templates
* assembly tips

HOW TO WIN:
Leave a comment on this post before midnight Friday, March 16. A winner will be selected randomly on Saturday, March 17.

THE FINE PRINT:
Once a winner is posted, if I am not able to make contact with the winner within 48 hours, then another winner will be chosen.

But I'm not the only one offering giveaways this week. Judy at greenQuilts and Susan at Blackberry Creek Home Arts are also on the program with me and they are giving away things, too. Check out their blogs to get in on the action.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coming soon to a blog near you...

Dear Readers -

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and returning from time to time. Your visits have totaled well over 55,000 since I started this blog in September 2008.

Two guild friends and I will be talking about quilting and blogging at our guild meeting this coming Monday. As incentive to fellow guild members to check out our blogs, I will be offering a big GIVEAWAY. In fact we will all be offering GIVEAWAYS.

But you will have to check back on Sunday for details on how you, too, can get in on the opportunity to win a fantastic GIVEAWAY.

Did I mention it will be a GIVEAWAY?

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quilt for Another Baby

About a month ago I was invited to a baby shower for the daughter of my director/friend at work. I've known her daughter since she was a young girl coming to dance intensives in Jackson, Mississippi, years ago. And now she's all grown up and is a dance teacher/choreographer and lives with her opera singer husband in New York City.

The idea of making a quilt had crossed my mind, but I didn't get her nursery colors until two weeks before the shower and I just didn't think I could make that kind of deadline. But friend Gwen said she thought we could knock out a top in a day, so we went for it.

I have loved the New Wave pattern since I first saw it and thought it might not be that challenging for two experienced quilters. I pulled fabrics on a Friday night and we ran to the store Saturday morning to pick up a couple more to complete the project.

It is difficult to find good ballet fabric. A lot of it is cute, but technique is usually lacking. I had bought just one fat quarter of an Alexander Henry ballet shoe print years ago and had only a small bit of it left. I was so excited when I found there was enough for one row of end pieces.


And then the cutting began. Gwen cut the sashing strips from a piece of dark taupe with dark pink flowers scattered on it that we had found on our shopping trip. I cut all the wedges. We set up my Featherweight table in the living room and she sewed all the strips on while I trimmed and restacked blocks to sew into columns. When we finished, my arm was so sore! I realized that while Gwen was up and down between the machine and the ironing board, I had been standing and cutting all afternoon!

I spent the next week quilting and binding. But the end result was well worth it. I love this birch fabric from my stash. I found the brown plaid on that morning run to the store. Doesn't it make a great looking binding with that touch of teal?

These flowers look a bit orange, but they are definitely pink in the center of the petals and have a touch of brown in the details. It was perfect for the backing.

In the end, it came out to be a baby quilt with a sophisticated, contemporary look. It was quite a hit at the shower. It's not so juvenile that I think it will serve the yet-to-arrive little girl for a long time and will be very suitable for a young New Yorker!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby's Got a New Quilt

Everyone in the family had a quilt but Maisy. That was not acceptable.

So before Christmas I gathered up a bunch of Aunt Donna scraps that just happened to have doggies on them and made a diamond quilt.

The goal was to have it ready to put under the tree, and I got as far as the quilting. But I finished the binding right after New Year's and wrapped it for her to open a couple of weeks late.

The cutey blue and white polka dot fabric
around the edge just ties it all together.

I had to do quite a bit of fussy cutting to get
the wide variety of breeds represented.

I found the big red and white polka dot yardage at the
thrift store for $1.99 and used it on the back.

I think she likes it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bittersweet

Last year carried a fair amount of stress and I guess I’m just now allowing myself to process it all. It’s why I was away from the blog for so long.

A trip to China with work in June was amazing, but required a lot of planning on my part. And I held onto my quilt show responsibilities of laying out the show and securing folks to hang quilts even though I would be out of the country during the show.

In July my ’94 Camry wagon received bad news and it was a matter of time before it blew a gasket – literally. So the search for a new vehicle was on for the first time in twenty years.

Then in September Daddy fell out of bed. And everything else stopped for a month - except the car search, which was insane to think I could handle all at the same time. And a week and a half after going into the hospital, Daddy had a stroke. And a week and a half later he was gone.

But I had to keep the ball rolling on the car thing since I knew those trips back and forth to Memphis had only shortened the time left on the Camry.

Every night I exhausted myself trolling Autotrader, cars.com, craigslist, eBay, and local dealerships online. All in all I test drove eleven cars. And then I found it. And then it was Thanksgiving. And the sister’s Jeep was in need of too much work, so the next week, she was here buying a new vehicle herself.

And then it was Christmas. And the aunt and the sister and the sister’s dog came for about a week and we just made things as easy as we could because we were all so tired.

And then I needed to sell the Camry. I had worn the buyer’s hat for so long, it was hard to look at the car any other way. But after two posts on craigslist, someone who understood the car’s shortcomings bought it and I was relieved to not have the burden of it and to get it off my insurance.

But what I didn’t expect was the hole it left not seeing it at the end of the driveway. It had been Daddy’s car before I got it. And now it was gone. And he was really gone. And the emptiness was a little more real.

We are so thankful that his was a quiet and peaceful passing. He didn’t have to suffer in a debilitated state that he would have hated and that would have been so painful for us to watch. He turned 86 while he was in the hospital. His life had been full.

I miss so many things about him - his smile and his sense of humor and his hugs are just a few.

He would really like my new car.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year!

Photographed at the Forbidden City on my trip to China this past June