Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

A day to remember and honor the brave men and women who served our country.

Similar to last year's post, I finished an incredible book about soldiers at an appropriate time of the year. War by Sebastian Junger is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. And I, for one, will never forget.

Have you forgotten yet?
Look up, and swear by the green of the Spring that you'll never forget.
from "Aftermath" by Siegfried Sassoon, 1920. Thanks CM.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fabric Fix

Yesterday I was in need of a serious fabric fix so I took a road trip to Bad Melisa's AKA Sweet Home Quilt Co.

Melisa's hydrangeas were beautiful! I was so happy to see Melisa and hear all about Spring Quilt Market. Apparently wool is back "in" which will make my mom happy. My mom will also be happy to hear that Moda is making silks and linens for crazy quilting. My mom loves crazy quilts and has one started. Does anyone else out there do crazy quilting?

Melisa had lots of new yummy fabric. Since I wasn't shopping for anything in particular (maybe because I have fifty-eleven projects already), I spent a lot of time wandering around looking at everything. I ended up deciding on 2 charm packs (time for another Schnibble quilt I think) and I broke down and bought a jelly roll of the latest French General line (even though I told myself I really didn't "need" another jelly roll...) because I know I'll regret not having some of this line when it disappears.
I just love the timeworn and timeless look of French General fabrics don't you?

I also wanted to pick up two books I saw in a bunch of quilt market posts. I just couldn't wait to get my copy of the new Blackbird Designs and Primitive Gatherings books. These are just as wonderful as I expected and now I need to add a couple more years to my already overwhelming amount of quilt project-making lifespan.

Which brings me to the award-winning klutz moment of my Saturday. Upon arriving home, I happily settled on the couch with my lunch (cereal) and the Country Inn book when for absolutely no reason at all I dropped my bowl of cereal and milk all over me and the open book.
.......Yes, that's exactly what I said....or maybe worse....
What a mess! I flung the book on the floor to get the milk off as quickly as possible. Milk and book pages do not go together. Not to mention cereal flakes all over the floor. Luckily the couch escaped. So I cleaned up as best I could and I hope the book isn't completely ruined. At least the pages aren't stuck together but it just one of those things that make you disgusted in a completely out of proportional amount.

Anyway--I haven't sewn much this past week and am behind in the jelly roll sampler BOM and really need to get back to those 895 million bitty nine-patches but so you don't think all is lost here at Stella Bella's, I did start working on my Hocuspocusville stitchery. I hope to have this done by oh maybe Halloween 2012....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Washington DC Trip: Georgetown

The conference hotel was right across the Potomac River from Georgetown, a nice walk across the Key Bridge. Georgetown is a wonderful place to walk around with great restaurants, boutique-y shops, the university campus, and fan-ta-bu-lous historic houses. S. and I walked around for most of an afternoon.
Georgetown University.

This stained-glass window was on the Georgetown veterinarian clinic. I thought the dog looked like Princess Shiloh. Princess Shiloh (my parents' malamute).

I love walking around looking at historic houses and picking out which ones I'd like to live in. Does anyone else do this?
I really dig towers and turrets. Perfect for libraries and sewing rooms.
A whole row of great houses. I like the gray with the bright red door.
Stop the sidewalk! Here is a perfect house! I bet Stella would love this house because of all the windows she could perch in. The whole third floor would make a great sewing studio. Hmmm I bet it costs more than a few pennies and a Metro card though so I didn't ask if it was for sale.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Planes, Trains, and No Automobiles

S. and I are back in Atlanta and the kitties are very happy to have us home (even though they have a wonderful cat sitter and they get extra food when we're gone). S. was going to present a paper at a conference in Washington, DC and I went along for a little vacation.
(I wonder how many photos have been taken of the Washington monument?)

We left Tuesday night and took the train to DC. I had never taken a long train trip before and liked our little sleeper compartment. The next morning we arrived at Union Station, a fabulous historic building.

This building was almost demolished like so many other great American train stations during urban renewal. It's almost unimaginable that someone would want to tear it down.
Look at this fabulous interior! I see some great quilt motifs in this room--patchwork and applique.
Wednesday night, there was a state dinner at the White House. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail...

because this is the closest view I saw.
I love Washington because you can either walk or take the Metro just about anywhere you want to go in the city and I became pretty adept at taking the Metro here and there from our hotel near Georgetown and walking all over the Mall area to the museums. It was really nice not using a car for several days.

Walking everywhere also means you can have a treat for doing all that exercise. I recommend Firehook Bakery on Dupont Circle for coffee and cookies the size of salad plates (huge cookies!!!). I had the Presidential Sweet cookie (oatmeal, chocolate chips, pecans, dried cherries, and coconut). Across the circle, take a side trip to Kramerbooks for some great book browsing. I love finding really great independent bookstores and this one is way cool.

Coming up next post--Georgetown, my new favorite places, and the perfect house for Stella.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And now a word from our sponsor....

Taking a little bloggy break.
Be back in a couple of days with more from Stella Bella!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gomez the Observer

This is Gomez perched atop my pantry observing all the goings-on in the kitchen below. He likes to watch me cook dinner. I think he also like feeling superior because he's the only cat that can jump up this high.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Grumpy Morpheus

Not a whole lot going on around here lately. Morpheus has been grumpy this week. Earlier in the week, I took him to the vet for his annual check up and bloodwork. Morpheus will be 17 in August and sometimes he is a grumpy old man, particularly if you wake him up from a nap and haul him off in the car to the vet. He also had to get a little biopsy done on a bump on his shoulder area, which required a shot and two stitches. Not a happy camper at all after that. Luckily, he didn't have to go home with an Elizabethan collar or a cape like last time.
But it was sore nonetheless and he let me know how horrible everything was by looking alternately pitiful and mad. I'm sorry Morph really I am.

Saturday was Silver Thimble Quilt Club day. I decided not to work on the 895 million 3" nine-patches I have left to make for the Scrappy Nines quilt and worked on the finishing kit for the Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Quilt. Didn't get much accomplished because I spent a lot of time visiting with my quilting buddies. So now I'm going to alternate between these two quilts and hopefully have something finished soon.

I finished a good book recently. It's called For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose.
The book recounts how Robert Fortune, a British horticulturalist smuggled tea plants out of China for the East India Company, which led to the establishment of tea growing in India and ended China's monopoly on tea. I enjoyed the book as a good, relatively short, well written and researched, popular history about tea--second only to coffee as my favorite drink.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stella Bella Organics

Recession Garden: Year Two was planted here at the Stella Bella household a couple of weekends ago. I now have two raised beds 4' X 8' filled with tomatoes, yellow squash, okra, green beans, herbs, catnip for Mr. Gomez, and bell peppers. The strawberry plants from last year are going gangbusters now.

See the beautiful plants and our drip irrigation system.
Here is the first harvest of the magnificent berries. Organic and as perfect as Martha Stewart's. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh picked strawberry. I don't know why I named my garden after Stella Bella because you can bet these sweet little paws have never touched the outside since she graced my household.
Peace, love, and berries y'all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scrappy Nines

I had a busy weekend--the usual errands and chores and also 2 dinner invites. I did get some sewing in yesterday. I decided to work on my Scrappy Nines quilt (designed by my good friend Pat of Silver Thimble Quilt co.). I have about 900 million nine-patches to make for this quilt. This is what 900 million nine-patches looks like in pieces. Did I mention that they are little bitty nine-patches? All 900 million of them finish at 3".
Aren't they cute? Now I only have 899,000,000 to go....
Pat is probably telling me to stop exaggerating now. I can hear her all the way across the other side of the county.

I also finished the Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery block 11.
Block 12 will be here soon so it's a good thing I got this one done.
This is my first attempt at taking a photo of the block. I had just ironed it and Stella thought it was a nice warm spot to take a nap.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and the mom's out there had a good mother's day. The cats thought their "cat mom" should get up early this morning. Morpheus especially wanted me up and about (or maybe he was just hungry). How can I refuse such a handsome guy?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back with Just Blocks

Not much sewing done this past weekend. I think I was just enjoying not having to be rushing through everything I needed to get done for the weekend on Saturday and then really enjoying waking up at 5AM on Sunday and realizing I could roll over and go back to bed. And that's exactly what I did, slept in and lazed about in bed reading the NY Times, drinking a pot of coffee, and hanging out with S. and the cats. I miss my coworkers and customers at Starbucks but WOW I am digging the free time.

Here is the latest block from the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along (block 5)

And here is block 3 from the Quilt Room's Classic Jelly Roll Sampler.

I'm also busy catching up on blogs and emails. More soon!