Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Gulf Coast Vacation

I start this post with a warning:  LOTS of PICTURES!  I am back from Spring Break vacation and I have a ton of pictures to share.  My family and I traveled to the Gulf Coast with a stop over in Natchez, Mississippi along the way.  I've wanted to visit Natchez ever since I began reading Greg Iles books.  Many of his stories are set in this quaint old river town, including Turning Angel (there really is a Turning Angel) and The Devil's Punch Bowl.

Casino Boat

Turning Angel
Our stay in Natchez was brief, but memorable.  We ate the best BBQ ever at The Pig Out BBQ!  We plan on revisiting this historic town again soon! 

We continued driving south and finally made it Orange Beach, Alabama.  We had a terrific time here and in nearby Navarre, Florida.  The beaches were gorgeous!

Boogie board!

Doug and Charlotte's award winning sandcastle!

Snorkeling for shells

The sand dollar Charlotte found!
The saying about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true!  It had been several years since I rode, but riding through the State Park was one of the most enjoyable parts of our trip!  We were surrounded by nature...some kind of scary.  We saw alligators and snakes!

There isn't a fence here!

I nearly ran over this snake on my bike!

The Karate Kid bird?
Besides seeing alligators in their habitat on the bike trail, we got to go to Alligator Alley where we all held a few "ankle biters!"

I also got the opportunity to do another activity I haven't been able to do for several years (due to my knee)!  We even got Charlotte on the course for her very first lesson!


Note the sunburn!

And of course there was a lot of eating on this trip!  Great shrimp, crab and even nachos!

Super Nachos at Tacky Jack's

Shrimp at Bubba's
I had such a wonderful time on our Spring Break trip.  It was hard leaving the sun and the sand and gorgeous water.  Now, back to reality and back to work!  The brightside to being back home?  I get to work on my batik Blueberry Hill quilt!  Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quilt Thrills On Blueberry Hill

Blueberries and watermelon.  Am I thinking Spring?  Well, yes.  It's 80 degrees in the big city today.  It seems the grass has turned green overnight and the trees are beginning to flower!  Kids are out riding their bikes.  And I am sitting here writing this wearing shorts!  Gentlemen:  Start your BBQ grills!  

I'm also thinking about the quilt I began sewing this week.  Originally I planned to do a log cabin quilt, but I changed my mind when I came across this pattern called, Blueberry Hill.  It's by Villa Rosa Designs.   

I decided this pattern would work well with the yummy Bali Pops I  found at the same shop.  This packet of 2 1/2" strips is called, Watermelon.

The purple fabric under the Pops is what I'm going to use for the border.  The quilt should (fingers crossed) end up to be 56" x 72."  I began the other night by pressing the strips and then cutting them into 3) 8 1/2" x 2 1/2" and 2) 6 1/2" x 2 1/2" strips.

Now the hard part.  Selecting the strips for each block.  Honestly, I thought this would be much easier as these strips came from a coordinating set right?  This was frustrating, but, in the end, I just decided to be completely random and not put too much thought into it.  Each block is made by sewing three longer strips together lengthwise and then adding a shorter strip on each end.  There are 40 blocks in the finished quilt.  I've made 21 so far.  To get a sense of what the colors look like together, I've laid my blocks out according to the pattern.

Not exactly how I thought they'd look, but after the blocks are all there and the border is added, I think it'll look pretty cool!

I've learned a few things from this project.  First, I love batiks!  How cool is it that you can use either side?  Very cool!  Second, chain sewing is awesome!  Also, using that little piece of fabric at the start of the chain makes sewing so much smoother!

My family and I are going away for Spring Break!  We'll be heading for the beautiful (and warm-I hope) Gulf Coast this coming weekend!  I hope to finish sewing my blocks before the trip, but if not, they will be here when I get back!

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Monday, March 5, 2012

A Quilt For Me

Yay!  It's Friday!  Well, it's Friday for me!  One more work week completed!  Also, one more quilt completed!  I finished my Scrappy Half Square Triangle Quilt!  I've learned a few things this week, too.  First, working the vampire shift isn't nearly as bad I anticipated.  Second, my home phone rings a lot during the daytime..while I'm trying to sleep!  Third, I will not quilt my next quilt myself!  I found trying to quilt my throw size quilt really cumbersome.  That said, I am pleased with how my first "traditional" quilt turned out!

I decided to "echo" the angled lines of the squares.  This worked pretty well, but since some of my corners didn't meet exactly, some of the lines look a bit "off."  I did straight lines two lines apart on the borders.  Again, I used transparent thread.  I also used the "fold over" binding method.  The backing is the same white fabric that I used for half of the triangles.  

Close Up

I rarely make things for myself, but this quilt is MINE!  I used it while napping Sunday.  It felt awesome.  It is so warm and soft.  I love it!

So what's next?  I'm thinking Log Cabin...I'm off to find a pattern and fabric!

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