Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Most Excellent Blog Friend

No buzz here, I'm always this crazy.
Is everyone eating candy waiting on trick or treaters?  I hope so because I don't want to be the only one with a coffee-chocolate buzz all night.  It's finally fall weather here, just in time for November. Or at least it is at the moment.

Well I hardly know how to express my surprise and delight with an unexpected package that arrived in the mail on Friday. A birthday gift from blog friend Dianne of a month of sundays.  This most sweet, thoughtful gift made by eyes well up (but there's no crying on Halloween weekend.)

Stella is the postal inspector general of the house
 Edgar Poe, of course, is inspector of everything in the house.
He is one nosy cat.  I see lots of singing spooky songs in my future.
A super cool candy corn apron

Hunky Halloween guys on the reverse
 Thank you Dianne for such a thoughtful gift!!!!  I am so touched by your generosity, I hardly know what to say. A proper old-fashioned thank you is coming by snail mail. You're the best!  I will sing all these songs in your honor (be happy you can't hear, I can't sing worth beans.)

All Hallows Read: A New Halloween Tradition

A splendid idea from my favorite author, Neil Gaiman.  Last Saturday on his blog, he proposed starting a new tradition involving books.

From his post:  "I propose that, on Hallowe'en or during the week of Hallowe'en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they'll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they'll enjoy."

What scary book would you give?

For people of all ages, I would give Mr. Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a wonderful, fantastic story that I think resonates with everyone who has felt different or alone or both at some time or another.  The magical depth of the characters will stay with you long after the last page is turned. It is a book that I didn't want to end, which may be the hallmark of the best books of all. 

For older readers (teens and adults) you can't go wrong with Stephen King.  In particular, try some of his older books:  Skeleton Crew is one of my favorite for short stories that are sure to give you chills; Salem's Lot and The Shining are top-notch creepy page-turners that make you stay up way past your bedtime and way past the time you won't freak yourself out by hearing strange noises or a fleeting shadow in the hall; and of course there is It, CLOWNS need I say more??? 

For some Halloween reminesces and thought from Mr. Gaiman see this article from a few years back.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2010

My favorite quilt at the moment is, of course, the one I recently finished.  I loved this fabric line "A Morris Workshop" by Barbara Brackman for Moda when it arrived a couple of years ago.  The Arts and Crafts movement in architecture and decorative arts is a favorite of mine. I chose the pattern of large blocks so the piecing wouldn't compete with the busy prints.

It is a queen-size bed quilt so I had to put it up on the fence outside to photograph it. 

detail of fabrics.

Here is a view of the back of the quilt. I pieced together all the remaining pieces from the fat quarter bundle to make this scrappy back.

quilting detail.  Long-arm quilting by Peggy Barkle.
This quilt was a challenge because it was so big and by piecing the back it was like making two huge quilts!
Big thanks for Amy for this wonderful on-line quilt show!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Edgar Poe's One Act Play

Once upon a midnight dreary...

Edgar Poe pondered his Halloween bat

Quoth the Poe, "Ha! take that Bat!"

And promptly decided dinner was more interesting...

With many apologies to the real Mr. Edgar Poe.

Not By Owl Post and Halloween Cat Toys

Don't you just squeal and hug these boxes when you see them on the porch?
I was so excited to receive the "Fall into Fall" giveaway I won courtesy of the Most Fabulous Fat Quarter Shop.

The package did not arrive by Owl Post although I did hear our resident barred owl again the other night.  Spooooooky.
Quilt possibilities wrapped up and ready to be released!
My prize was this simply fabulous bundle of Pure fabric by Sweetwater for Moda. 

Stuffed full!
 Going out (not via owl post) was my b-day giveaway won by Tiffany of This Crafty Fox.  Hope you enjoy the goodies, Tiffany!!!

Counting down the days until Halloween here at Stella Bella-ville.  E. dug through the cat toy basket to unearth purple bat and black cat head toys for the season. 
I hope I'm not the only one with Halloween cat toys....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Quilt 2010

Finally (!!!) the top is finished for my 2010 Halloween quilt.  I ADORE this fabric line called "A Halloween Night" by Minick & Simpson for Moda. Is there anything better than purple and lime green and vintage-y Halloween images with black cats???  Not in my universe that's for sure!!!!!

The pattern is called "Lilypads" from the book Time Out Quilts by Atkinson Designs. A great pattern for fabrics you don't want to cut into bitty pieces.  It's a bed-size quilt and I still need to get the backing pieced and it quilted so I guess I'll be using next year for the month of October. 

A favorite block

Does anyone else need to re-buy Halloween candy already?

Another favorite block

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fun Weekend

Halloween b-day cake!
It's my b-day weekend! And I'm having lots of fun watching movies, hanging out with friends, and of course, fabric, food, and cake are all in there somewheres too.

Sarah (no blog), Karin and Becky

Melisa at Sweet Home Quilt Co. was having a big sale on her porch.  Lots of quilters and Silver Thimble members showed up to stock up on patterns, books, and fabric. I bought some yardage for backings and a kit on sale.

S., E. and I went to Fox Bros. BBQ last night to celebrate my birthday.  I love barbecue and have several favorite BBQ joints around the metro area.  Fox Bros. is Texas-style BBQ and is always packed (you have to get there early or wait and wait and wait). 

A pint of local brew and fried dill pickles with ranch sauce--YUM!

E. had beef short ribs (looks more like something from the Flintstones!!), fried okra and Frito pie (Frito chips, chili, and cheese served in the little bag).

I think I'll eat salad all next week!
 S. had chopped pork and I had chopped beef brisket.  Their mac n' cheese is wonderful, the jalapeno cornbread with honey butter is to die for, and so is their banana pudding (made with real custard instead of box pudding). We left stuffed and with lunch for later. I had my banana pudding for breakfast :)

Last night we watched the movie Zombieland. It's a very funny movie (if you like zombie movies) and was filmed in Georgia so it was fun identifying all the locations.

Hope everyone is having a great October weekend!!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

And the Random Number Generator Goes to....

We have a winner!  Congratulations to Tiffany at This Crafty Fox!!!  Tiffany, please email me your mailing address and I'll send out your package. 

Thanks everyone for entering.  This was so much fun that I'll be holding another giveaway for my blog-iversary coming up in December.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Full Moon Friday

How perfectly Halloween-y a full moon tonight!  Even more Halloween-y was last night's visit to the oak tree outside of my bedroom window. I had just dozed off and S. woke me up saying "listen... an owl."  And sure enough, we heard "hooo hooo hoo hooo" about a dozen times.  Not having an iPhone with a bird app (whoooo wants an iPhone? me!), I looked up owls and figured out we were visited by a barred owl. 
Photo courtesy of
Living in town, it's rare to have owls visit.  One year at dusk, I did see two Eastern screech owls in the oak tree, which was amazingly cool.

I didn't see this owl but am overjoyed that we were honored with his/her vocal visit. I love owls!

Well I am taking a vacation day today and am off to sew. Don't forget to go to this post and enter my b-day giveaway before noon tomorrow (owls not included).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Wednesday in October

Anyone else watching the "Ghost Hunters" marathon on SyFy channel?  I love watching this show and "Haunted History" shows just to see the great historic places and hear ghost stories. I'm not so sure about the evidence though their little meters, etc. All in fun.

I started working on the Le Petite project but haven't gotten very far.  I better get a move on before Nov. 1st.  For my Paganin schnibblei, I am using one charm pack of "Looking Back" and one of "Renewal" both my Brannock & Patek.

Paganini step one
Don't forget to enter my giveaway on this post. I've had so much fun reading the comments and visiting new blogs!!  A few entries were no-reply. Karen at Sew Many Ways is hosting a wonderful tutorial series and tips for using Blogger.  Check her post on how to change your blog from a no-reply to a reply! (note to Karin:  you can do this!!!!! You've already conquered applique!)

Hope everyone is having a great week! Let me know what kind of fun seasonal and/or Halloween activities everyone is doing.  I'm taking Friday off of work and plan on having a mega-fun weekend.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October Silver Thimbles Meeting

Thimbles was tons of fun yesterday and I got in some much needed time with my quilting buddies.
This isn't really us Silver Thimbles, it's from the Vanishing Georgia collection. It's close though....

Kristie brought in some new children's books (she is a elementary school media specialist and has a great personal library of books, cataloged of course).  One book she brought had my name all over it (I have added it to my ever-lengthening Amazon wish list).  It is called Sipping Spiders Through a Straw and  a collection of all your favorite sing-a-long songs rewritten with silly monster lyrics.  Here is Pat, Queen Silver Thimble, reading it to us.


Sheila does absolutely amazing quilting, embroidery work, sewing, and she now has her own long-arm machine and she does that amazingly too.  Babette, her poodle, is an official Thimblette.  Babette is a sweetie who is in her elder years and blind and has her own little Babette stroller so she can visit and sleep during the meetings. Babette also has a stylin' Halloween costume.

Karin brought her scrappy Scrappy-Nines all quilted 
 and with a brilliant backing too. 

I think everyone would fight over this quilt should she let it out of her sight.

Sarah (no blog) always has at least two projects for Show n Tell and usually more (maybe because she spends her free time sewing instead of blogging....hmmmm...I may be on to something here)
This vision in red and tan is the same pattern as Stella's quilt (in Stella colors). It's called "Honeyberries" and is from the 40 Fabulous Quick Cut Quilts book.  This is one of those great quilt patterns that just looks spectacular in any color combination and in scrappy.

Another of Sarah's projects was this batik quilt made from the "Twister" ruler. Wow!  See the quilt behind Sarah; that's our project for next month from the book Scrap Basket Surprises. Kits are by Little Quilts in the new Little Quilts fabric line called "Whittier Crossing."  If you want to make one too, I am sure they could rustle up a kit for you.
It was great fun to see some of the Friday Thimbles group including Suzanne with this lovely quilt. Suzanne has a great eye for fabrics and decorating and is one of the nicest people ever.  

I worked on a Scnibble but didn't get much done.  For once, I was visiting more than sewing.  Sometimes that exactly what you need and exactly what makes Thimbles such a great club.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Best Team...

As you can see my best team of assistants is overwhelmed by the response so far to my giveaway. I have met so many new bloggers and discovered so many new inspirational blogs. And there is still a week to go woo hoo! Thanks everyone.

This is a quick post because I am heading out to my monthly sewing group, Silver Thimble Quilt Co. or Thimbles for short. Edgar Poe and Stella will have a afternoon of napping until I get back when I'm sure they will want to help with a report later on.  Happy sewing Saturday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Baking!

On your mark
Get set
Start your baking engines ovens!
With the cooler weather here in the ATL, I start thinking of all my favorite cool weather foods--stews, roasts, breads, roasted root vegetables, and any sort of baked goodies and anything apple.

If you add oatmeal, you can call anything breakfast.
I found some delish organic Bartlett pears at the market last weekend.  After sitting them out for a few days until they were perfectly ripe, I made a crisp with the pears and some local Gala apples.

To make this dessert even more healthy, I added a couple of handfuls of rolled oats to the brown sugar-butter-flour-cinnamon topping. 

This recipe is super fast and super easy--slice up some pears and apples to fit your dish (I used 5 pears and 2 apples but use whatever you want), add 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, couple sprinkles of cinnamon, 1/2 cup cold butter cut into little cubes, couple handfuls of rolled oats.  I pulsed this a couple times in my food processor and poured it on.  You can cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blenders or fork or mush it around with your hands if you feel like it.
Bake at 350F for about 25-30 min. Eat warm with a big spoon.  Vanilla bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream would make this even better I bet.

Recipe based on apple crisp recipe in The Joy of Cooking. Pears and oats are my additions.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Treat...

Hope everyone is not worn out from the Fall Into Fall Giveaway and Fall-O-Ween Blog Hop and all the other fun things going on in blogland this month. Not to mention the upcoming Bloggers Quilt Festival. If you have just a little more energy to leave more comments... can help me celebrate my upcoming b-day!

I'm having a giveaway (with a vaguely fall theme).  There are 10 Moda fat quarters of autumnal colors (mostly Kansas Troubles), Pat Sloan's Crooked Cabins book,  a Little Quilts booklet called My House, Quick Flannel Quilts book, and an assortment of patterns including little bags, charm-square table runner, pillow, scrappy lap quilts, and a jelly roll quilt (and maybe more stuff if I can fit it all into a flat-rate package).

10 fat quarters, 3 books, and bunches o' tricks :)
I'll make it super simple to enter, just leave a comment on this post. 
Comments will close on Saturday, October 23 at high noon EST and winner will be chosen by random number generator.
Please make sure I can reach you through your post (if your blog post says "no-reply" I won't be able to reach you!)
Open to quilters from near and far.
 Thanks for helping me celebrate!.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Monday Off

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada!!! I know Smudge and Lester are enjoying some turkey bits today.
Well my three-day weekend is nearing an end (it's Columbus day and government workers have the day off). I didn't get as much done this weekend as I wanted to (weekends are never long enough...).

Halloween season officially started here at Chez Stella Bella with an annual viewing of one of my favorite movies Tim Burton's Sleepy Hallow.  We also watched Martha Stewart's Halloween special. I wish I had the time and supplies (and staff.....) to do everything on her Halloween Central website. 

Today, Edgar Poe and Stella went to the vet for their annual check up.  They were not happy but did check out all healthy.  For being good kitties, they did get treats and just to make it fair, Morpheus and Gomez got treats too.

I'm a little over halfway through sewing rows together for this year's Halloween quilt.  I had hoped to show a finished top today but here's Stella with a little look-see. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

October Birthdays

October is a great month for birthdays!  Not only is my birthday later this month, but my SO's b-day is this week and my SIL's b-day is in the middle of the month.  At Chez Stella Bella Quilts, we are celebrating S's birthday this week.  My family has a long tradition of celebrating b-days for more than just one day, sometimes it's a week, sometimes it's two weeks, sometimes it's a month. S. is getting into the swing of things and is enjoying a long celebration.  
October is also big time (American) college football month and another long tradition is me teasing S. about his college mascots.  For context:  Becky's house is big time LSU household (Louisiana State University mascot is a tiger (geaux tigers), my mom went to University of Michigan (home of the Wolverines), U of M's big rival is Michigan State (home of the Spartans), lots of my friends went to or have kids that went to University of Georgia (UGA mascot:  bulldog), Georgia Tech's mascot is the Yellow Jacket (buzzzzz).  See how this goes. Tough mascots, right?   Fighting, really tough mascots right? That strike fear into their opponents.  

What is S's mascot for the first college he went to for undergrad?

It's the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Golden) Retrievers! 

Watch out....they'll lick you to death (hee hee).

He didn't have any Golden Retriever gear so guess what he got for his b-day....(that's one stern looking dog there....)
Wonder if Miss Rosie is a big UMBC fan?

Stella thinks UMBC stands for University of Maryland Bella Campus.


Oh BTW, S's other mascots:  Penn State Nittany Lions (now extinct) and University of Delaware Blue Hens (where do I start???)

While everyone else is enjoying college football, Morph and I will be reading new quilt magazines and sewing.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Finish and Celebrating October

I LOVE October!  Let's all do a Snoopy Happy Dance for October!  It is my absolute favorite month of the year.  October is the beginning of Autumn in the ATL; fall festivals; my favorite holiday Halloween; time for pumpkins, apples, squash, apple cider, stews, soups, and yummy comfort food; and oh yeah my birthday month!!!  I've been gathering some goodies for a big b-day giveaway later this month (check back or better yet sign up to be a follower if you are interested). Onto my next finish...

This poor quilt was lingering around without its binding for a couple of years(!!) and I finally finished it.  The pattern is by Gundrun (who is hosting a super fun October blog hop).  I can't remember what the real name of the quilt is but I call it "Sleep Deprivation" because I made the quilt while working insane hours at two jobs and the crazy colors and pattern perfectly fit my zombie life at the time.  Gorgeous colors in this Moda line.  My quilt holder was outside mowing the lawn so I thought I'd get photos in daylight so the colors would be true.

Yesterday was Groovy Girl day at Bad Melisa's.  Tons of fun at 8:30AM. Check out Melisa's new fall display as you walk in the store.

The project for this month is the best set of drawstring bags ever. I'll be working on several this month.
Melisa also has a great display of Dr. Seuss fabric. I love me some Dr. Seuss!  Especially the Grinch and Max.

After a lengthy visit at Sweet Home, I went to Old Navy to finish up a little goodies box to send to Mackenzie.  I bought a great little bib for her at Target this week and rounded out the outfit with a Halloween shirt and socks at Old Navy. How cute is that shirt with the little black cat????!!!???  I bought some other cute fall outfits (no pink!) on clearance so she'll be stylin' this fall. I love being an aunt :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vickie's Giveaway

Vickie is having a great (a seriously great) giveaway for her 600th post.  Here's the link:

Good luck!