Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Nice, wet, flaky, white stuff. A delight at 4 am!
Since Michele has been home, I have been crazily busy with the shop and she has been wonderfully supportive and helpful (she's even been put to work in the studio!). My beautiful wonderful friend, Karen (of Duncan Creative - just THE most wonderful place for hats and other crocheted items!) gifted me a Groupon for afternoon tea at La-Tea-Da Tea Salon, so I took the opportunity to treat Michele to an afternoon of undivided attention. To get that afternoon, I trucked myself off to work before the crack of dawn and found this lovely surprise on my car!

After stuffing eight hours of work in before Noon, I picked Michele up and we headed off to tea delight! It was really wonderful! It's such an eclectic place, just a feast for the eyes! And afternoon tea was amazingly DELICIOUS!! We drank way too much tea, of course, and ate way too many delicious nibblies, including their signature scones with Devonshire creme and jam! Oh wow! It was a really great afternoon and it was really great to take a break and spend some time talking about everything except work!

The have hoards of hats to wear to make you feel elegant
or just downright silly. These fit both categories.

One lump or two? It's fun to have the opportunity to say that.
Pretty little teapot table decor! Our actual tea was served in a
good sturdy workhorse of a teapot complete with cozy. I really
need to make myself some cozies for my workhorses at home!

Can you imagine how delicious? Look up the definition of
YUM in the dictionary and this picture will be right beside it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menorah, Thanksgiving, and Insanity

I'm finally taking some much-needed time out to 1. show you the completed Menorah quilt, 2. tell you about my fabulous Thanksgiving, and 3. explain about the insanely awesome happening that has been keeping me so very busy.

1. I've kept you waiting far too long to see the completed Menorah quilt! It took a bit longer than I'd planned, but that was all my fault. I decided to make the Menorah two layers and it took quite a while to cut each piece . . . twice!
Layer 1

And then layer two

Plus the candles and flames. The menorah, candles, and flames
are made by layering a top fabric, batting, and backing and then
satin stitching the edges before stitching the to pieced quilt top.
So, technically, each piece of the menorah, candles, and flames are quilts!

Finished! Hanging in my hallway for picture taking before
packing and sending to its new home!

Close-up #1

Close-up #2
 I truly loved making this special gift and hope the recipients love it as well!

2. Thanksgiving was a delight - I hope yours was as well. Michele decided that she wanted to make dinner to give me a little extra time to prepare for #3 below. I tried to insist on helping, but she would have none of it! It was just the two of us for the first time in a long time, so that was a nice treat - and it made it so that we could have whatever we want (when we have company we try to introduce folks to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, vegetarian-style). This year we had vegetarian meatloaf topped with barbecue sauce we made and canned over the summer, whipped potatoes, corn, cider glazed carrots, dinner rolls from Michele's grandmother's recipe, and pumpkin pie with real freshly whipped cream. I cannot tell you how delicious it was! WOW! Michele will be cooking a lot more often - this is a skill that she has been hiding under a bushel for the 13 years we've been together!
Dinner was SO yummy! And I enjoyed the leftover "meat"loaf
on dinner rolls for the rest of the week - little meatloaf sliders! YUM!

Pumpkin is Michele's favorite pie, but I am not usually a fan.
Boy howdy, I really loved it this year! I'm now a fan!
3. The insanity that has been keeping me so busy is that I have what Michele is calling my "one woman show" coming up on Friday! I was chosen as the featured artist at a local gallery for First Friday festivities! First Friday here in Rochester is when all the participating galleries open late and have wine and nibbles while folks browse all the gorgeous treasures. My show is called Quilted, Quaint, and Quirky: Stocking Stuffers and Fashionable Finishing Touches. I am over-the-moon excited! It's really an amazing accomplishment and I keep pinching myself that it is actually happening! You can check out my and many other artists' shows here. I'm at the Crocus Clay Works, which is the seventh gallery on the list on the left of that website. So, needless to say, I have been working like crazy to be ready for what I am referring to this amazing opportunity!
This is the bookmark that I made and handed out at the MayDay Underground show.
I think it's adorable!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stained Glass

I love how this background turned out and
would like to make another, but some of
the squares are so tiny (1x1.5) and the
"leading" is so thin (.25") that it takes
a LONG time to piece! The effect is worth
it though, don't you think?
I've been overwhelmingly busy getting ready for the biggest show of my career so far: a solo gallery exhibit and sale! I'm very excited and will tell you more about it in the next few weeks. Suffice it to say that all my energy and concentration has been directed towards that event, but I took a break this week to work on a very special commission from a lovely family who wished to bless their neighbors with a special Hanukkah gift: a quilted menorah. I designed a quilt that I hope my client and the recipients love. I haven't been doing a lot of intricate piecing lately, so working on the background of the quilt over the last two evenings has been really fun and challenging. I felt like I cut pieces for days last night and sewed and sewed and pieced and pieced tonight. I was getting really tired by the time I was cutting the pieces for the last two rows, but surprised myself by only making two cutting mistakes - and both pieces were cut too large, which is easily fixable! I wanted the background to look like a stained glass window. I used batik for the "panes." I love how you can get many different colors and shades out of a single piece of batik - I thought that would add to the stained glass effect. The "leading" is done in a solid bluish grey. I really love the way it turned out - so much so that I plan to use this pattern to make another wall hanging using a brighter, jewel-toned batik, and maybe black "leading." Tomorrow, I start work on the elaborate menorah applique I designed. I'll use that dimensional applique technique I used on the shoe and dolphin quilts over the summer. I'll give you another sneak peek tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Priorities, Vacation, and Juggling

Hello! I just had a big show this past weekend and preparations for it made me neglect telling you about days seven and eight of our vacation. Day seven was particularly important because Michele interviewed for a local job and GOT IT!! We had a dual celebration of Michele's success and Mum's birthday at our favorite place: Red Robin! Fun was had by all!

Day eight was Mum's actual birthday, but it was also Mum's last day with us, so we made her a special breakfast: homemade shortbread with warm peaches, peach syrup, and whipped cream - we used peaches I'd canned over the summer and it was divine!

Michele's now been home for a week and a half and started her new job on Monday and this wonderful event has presented me with the following lovely challenges:
  1. Since the "cat" is no longer away, what do I do about my blog title? Change it? Leave it as it is as a reminder?
  2. I started my business to keep me occupied for the long weeks Michele was on the road and now it's really taking off. I've never been good at prioritizing and finding balance, but I really need to do both to keep it all together.
  3. Michele HATES Star Trek, but the only time I have to sit and watch TV is time that I could be sitting and watching TV with her. How will I ever get through TOS by sneaking episodes here and there when she's out of the house?
OK, so maybe challenge number two is the only REAL challenge I need to deal with, but one and three are pretty fun to contemplate! It will also be fun to see what kind of trouble I get into right under Michele's nose now that she's home and will likely say things like "Don't rip up that floor, hon!" and "Michelle, I don't think you need to take the oven door apart in order to tighten the handle!"


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