Quilts for Sale

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cape Hatteras

Off to see the lighthouse and then hit the beach. My dh finally has photoshop on his laptop, so hopefully I'll be able to get pix up soon.

Weather is gorgeous! Local seafood the best! Having a fabulous time.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Ellen. xoxox

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ocrakoke

Matthew's 30th BD party was a huge success. We're all headed to Ocracoke via ferry to ride bikes. Hope I remember how - it's been years! Pix later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Glorious Day

Matthew getting ready to paddle the Pamlico yesterday

Our only child came into our lives at 2:15 p.m. thirty years ago today. He is the best thing that ever happened to us. We'll be celebrating tonight with his favorite dishes - Vietnamese Pho and fresh rolls, both made from scratch, followed by lemon pound cake.

This really is the most blessed day!

Photo credit: Bill Guerrant, Photoshop credit: Suzie Guerrant

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OBX

Bottom to top: Matt, Matthew, Linda, Suzie kayak to the Pamlico Sound

We're at the Outer Banks celebrating our son Matthew's 30th birthday. Although it's not until tomorrow, we're turning it into a week-long party.

We're enjoying gorgeous weather. The kids have kayaked, gone to the pier, seen Jockey's Ridge and gone for a midnight bike ride. Matthew prepared a gourmet breakfast of blueberry waffles with REAL Vermont syrup. We're now headed to the beach for sun and kite flying.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cool Graphics

Boxes of Caldo Sabor a Pollo at the Atlantic Farmers Market
are design inspiration!

I'm getting very grumpy. After a long stretch of not being able to grasp anything because of trigger thumbs/fingers as well as carpal tunnel, I'm going a little batty! I can't sew, I can't use a rotary cutter, I can't hold a pen, I can barely lift a glass and definitely cannot hold a needle. All you stitchers out there who've had similar problems know - this is the pits!

Clinging to a semblance of sanity until I can have surgery, I've been doing a lot of creative thinking. Designs are dancing in my head if not on paper. I have an idea for a series of quilts based on a singular theme sparked by something I saw on a tee-shirt. The title came to me instantly, and then another and another and another.

In many cases, the titles for my quilts have come far ahead of the quilts themselves. Many are song titles. Amazing where ideas come from, isn't it?

I tagged along with my dh recently to the Atlantic Farmers Market, an ethnic grocery store located where a Winn Dixie once stood. DH of course was seeking exotic fruits and vegetables; I was fascinated by the colorful designs everywhere. Below are a few:

Bimbo Snacks
For moi? No No!
SunLee Jasmine Rice


Dry Cocoanut

Red Elephant Brand Rice
Asian Best

Love these condensed milk labels!

Inspiration abounds inside this humble looking store.
Great produce too!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Friendship and Memory Gardens

We were treated to two moonplant blossoms late today.

Our latest friendship plant is this moonplant. The beautiful blossoms are at least 6" across.

Many of the flowers in our yard were started from cuttings or seeds from friends. Beautiful red amarylis, pulmonaria, toad lily, wild columbine, angel's trumpet, iris and a jack-in-the-pulpit my father dug for me from a wooded spot on his and Mother's farm next to the Jack's Fork River in MO. Each time these plants bloom, I'm reminded of the friend who shared them. Or remember the person long departed.

Our newest addition came from Kim and David across the street. A tiny little plant with two leaves was delivered this spring and kept inside until the soil warmed. Having been advised "It'll need a place to climb," my dh planted it at the base of an ancient wooden hand truck I'd drug home from the thrift store ages ago. I'd loved the wood and the rust and thought it would be a nice scuptural accent in our garden. My dh - not so much. But it makes a wonderful trellis for the beautiful moonplant.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Floral Inspiration



I haven't been able to post lately because of problems with my hands. All of us who use the computer and/or stitch all day have difficulties from time to time. Mine will require surgery once my cardiologist releases me and I'm no longer taking an anti-coagulant drug. In the meantime, I'm severely limiting computer time and stitching and I'm not a bit happy about it. I'm addicted to both! Besides, I love keeping up with my readers and letting them know what's going on in our lives here.

The yellow coreopsis above is in our yard; the beautiful purple clematis is at my sister's in IL. Don't you think they should be growing together?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bye Bye Bluebirds


Our four baby bluebirds fledged sometime between 6 p.m. yesterday and noon today! Hope they're all in a safe place. I caught my very first brief glimpse of them last evening before mama bird dove right over my head as if to say "shoo!" My dh put up this second bluebird box today. And now we wait.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday





Today would have been my father's 96th birthday. Very hard to imagine, as he died just 18 days after his 70th birthday. So very long ago.

He loved to fish, he loved his horses and he loved to farm. He was the salt of the earth and everything to me. But the thing I loved best about him was how much he loved Mother. Both are in my heart today.

Shown are a few photos from his youth.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Bluebirds

Our second brood of bluebirds should fledge any day now. Last night, all four babies were still on the nest.

I captured a few shots recently. Bluebirds are fast; I am slow to focus and shoot. But you can see the male in the first two shots, followed by the the female and baby which fledged in May, and then the female alone.

We've loved watching these beautiful creatures. It's unusual to have them in the inner city as they prefer open fields.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mosaic Table Tops

I save stuff - a habit shared by anyone whose parents lived through The Great Depression. Much to my dh's chagrin, I'd hoarded old chipped/cracked dishes for years, telling him, "Don't dare throw those away! I'm going to do a mosaic table top someday." When my nephew and his family were here last week, Lisa and I dug into the shards and someday was finally here. We actually did it!

I found this book on mosaic technique today at Marshall's for $2.99. It would have been so helpful to have read this before our projects!

Mosaic Inspiration:

This fabulous mosaic mirror was spotted at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore. We both lusted after it while hunting for a table for Lisa.

Marbles and beads were added to china shards.

Small reddish beads surround the inner border next to the mirror.

We each began with an old table. Mine was a $6.16 find at Value Village years ago.

I'd originally considered refinishing this small Pembroke table.

Lisa's table, which originally had a lip edging, was found at Habitat. I love that it has a very handy lower shelf - and that it was already painted white.

Next came the china. Using a rubber mallet, we wrapped each plate/dish in an old towel before smashing it. (We soon found that the side of a hammer worked just as well.) Lisa divided the shards by color into half a dozen styrofoam plates.

Thrift store plates.
Chipped vintage china from my collection plus a few pieces of tile.

A combination tile adhesive/grout was spread on each table. We then began laying out our mosaics. I soon learned I'd spread my adhesive way too thick, as my old china was quite thin. It ended up sinking into the grout more than I'd planned. Looking back, I should have removed the shards, washed them off and started over. But I ignored my inner voice and continued, fearing everything would soon solidify.

Most of Lisa's china was newer and thicker than mine. She was also more judicious with her grout layer. Beginning by piecing together the large floral center of a plate, Lisa worked towards the edge with colorful yellows, greens, blues and reds. After a few hours, she spread grout over the top, wiping it off with a large damp sponge. Much time was spent getting the tiles cleaned and making sure the grout looked very nice.

I did not spread grout all over my shards, but pressed a board onto the top to help flatten the surface.
Lisa's table with grouted shards.

Lisa's table with excess grout removed. I love it, especially the flower right in the center.

My table turned out looking much more old-fashioned and pastel than I'd planned. But I like it just the same. I still have to paint the table white and add little blue tiles around the edges.

What We Learned:

1. Use care when applying the adhesive. Make sure it is not deeper than your china/tiles are thick. You just want the china/tiles to adhere, not be buried.

2. Because of edges and rims, it is difficult to get a flat surface when using shards of old china. Tile - perfectly flat to begin with - would have been easier to keep even. But IMHO, it would not have been as interesting.

3. Use a sealer over your completed mosaic to protect the surface from stains.

4. Doing mosaic work is a lot harder and more time consuming than it looks. Lisa and I couldn't believe it took hours!

5. Be sure to wear old clothes. This stuff is messy and does not wash out. Ask me how I know.

6. My next project will be a mirror or picture frame - something which does not have to be perfectly flat.

Note added July 12: Once we got all the china/tile broken up, I think we spent 5 or 6 hours making the mosaics. My table was about 16x24", Lisa's was a bit larger. Allow enough time for this project, as the adhesive will be solid as a rock once it sets up. You'll want to finish setting everything in place at one sitting. If I'd used less grout and had flatter pieces, I'm thinking I could have finished in about 3 hours. We did allow an overnight cure.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thinking of Getting a Mac

I'm having to use my dh's laptop. My computer has been acting up for three months and finally went to a blue screen only - no icons, nothing. Everything is backed up on an external hard drive and photos are on CDs. So all is not lost. There is no photoshop on the laptop so it may be a while before I can upload photos the way I'd like to. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.