Friday, December 31, 2010

Myra's PhD Challege

I've just committed to SIX projects with Myra's PhD (Projects Half Done) challenge.  Woot!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas. With my family.

There's one person in my family that I particularly adore, and every year I find it harder and harder to sew for her. This year, after one table runner that just never felt like the right thing, I decided to make her a fabric bowl.

The outside!
I like the colors and I think it turned out really cute. :)

The inside!
 We're all getting together this weekend - hopefully, but it's dependent on weather. Here's hoping she likes it! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just some pics :)

I have been sewing, not as much as I'd like, but some. :) Here are some recent pics.

Stuart's Quilt, hanging in the quilt show.

French Country Chickens, a quilt shop sample

Christmas Presents - A quilt shop sample

TableRunner for a Christmas Present

Another Table Runner Christmas Present

My super good helper who likes to rearrange my fabric closet to suit her comforts. ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting Scrappy

Pleasant Home is doing a series of projects the next few weeks to help quilters clear out some of their scraps. I'm really excited about this because I, well, have a LOT of scraps. A lot of batik scraps, and a lot of other fabrics too.

If you want to follow along, check out Pleasant Home and get ready to get scrappy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

An update of sorts

Been really, really busy lately. We had our biennial quilt show last weekend (I had five quilts in the show, and seven others in vendor booths, two more in charity displays, and four in the silent auction - that's a LOT of sewing!) plus I've been diligently writing every Tuesday and Thursday for at least two hours (the book's currently a bit over 53,000 words). And, along with all this - and my regular wife/mom/cat wrangler duties - I've been relocating my sewing room which, in theory, should be finished tonight.

See, I had all of my fabric and supplies and things upstairs in the smallest bedroom, all kinda mashed wherever they'd fit (please see the closet pics on the previous post) but, well, I didn't go up there much because there just wasn't enough room, only one electrical outlet (have I ever mentioned that simply plugging in my iron would often blow a fuse?) and it was quite a ways from where my family hangs out downstairs. So, what I'd do, was lug whatever supplies I needed downstairs, usually to the kitchen, and there'd be a huge explosion of fabric that, well, was a mess. But then I'd work on another project, lug down more fabric and whatever, and increase said mess.

Totally not a workable plan.

The room needs to be totally rewired, and the floors are craptastic (planks with worn, crappy paint and what appears to be wood-grain contact paper, I kid you not. In our otherwise gorgeous Victorian) so Bill's going to wire the whole room, replace the floors, put up fresh paint, fix the door latch, add a light to the closet, all that good stuff, but, to do that, my fabric and such needs a new home.

Hence the move to the back end of the living room (also known as Living Room B). I have a much bigger closet, plenty of room for my sewing table/desk, cutting table, ironing board and book case, plus the two built in book cases, nice, gorgeous hardwood floor (so pins won't get lost in carpet), bigger, brighter windows, more wall space... It's just going to be awesome!

It's been a process, though, me lugging down a little at a time and finding a place for it before getting the next batch (well, mostly, some stuff is still in bins and boxes). I'll finish emptying my bookcase tonight and, other than a little lingering clutter upstairs, it'll be done. The whole move should have taken a day or two instead of a couple of weeks, but there was that pesky quilt show thing.

Anyway, I'll post some pics of my expanded sewing space once it's set up, and I'll show y'all some of the quilts I had at the show as soon as Deb emails them to me (hint hint).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Stash

When we moved here to the great rural cornbelt, I had to really trim down my fabrics and, well, I've been building them back up again.

Here are some pics of my fabric closet (and I really do need to organize it again)

  Straight into the closet

the right side of the closet
my batik shelf :)
One of many bags of fabric I really should put away

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fly Dirt

A fly. Has pooped. On my duck. And it's ticking me off. And I don't know how to remove said fly-poop. Because I can't toss the duck quilt in the washing machine, or scrub it. It's raw-edge appliqué and I don't want it 'fuzzy' for the show.

But there are random dark dots on the side of his head, and it can't go to the show with dark dots on his head.

Please excuse me while I cuss a while.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Crayon Challenge

Our guild did a crayon challenge where we had to pick 1, 2, or 3 crayons randomly from a box then make a quilt using those color(s). I picked three all at once and ended up with a really dark blue, a dusty medium/light blue, and a slightly orangey yellow. Those crayons sat on my desk for, oh, several months before I realized that the yellow one was 'rubber ducky yellow'. And then, a quilt was born.

It's due to be shown at the guild meeting tomorrow and I think it turned out great!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

4 down, about a gazillion to go

The quilt show's coming up and not only am I entering some quilts for exhibit, I'm making quilts as give-away and auction items. This past week, I've totally finished the duck quilt, two wall hangings and a table runner. Last night, I stretched a doll quilt and I have another, larger, wall hanging ready to quilt. My two bed sized quilts are at the quilters' (I don't like to quilt huge quilts on my personal sewing machine) and I have at least two, maybe three, more medium sized quilts to get borders on, stretch, and quilt, all before enter everything in the show. Plus at least one bag, maybe another couple of table runners, and a set of standing quilted santas.

LOTS to sew, so I'm definitely not getting a lot of writing done. Soon though, definitely soon. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I've always wanted to make on from scratch (I'm a bit of a paper geek) and today I found a video for Teesha Moore's Amazing 16 page Journal. I'm super excited and I see a trip to the Art Store next time I'm in Des Moines! Woot!

Monday, July 12, 2010

This week's quilt

I haven't been posting much, but I've been sewing a LOT. My guild is having a quilt show in October and I've been working at getting things done for it, including two queen-sized quilts that are off to the quilters! Woot!

The past couple of days, tho, I've been working on a combination pieced and applique project for our annual challenge quilt. Here's what I have so far.

Isn't he cute?!? I'm really happy how it's turned out, now I can focus on the pieced background.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

As ye sew, so shall ye rip

I spent a hunk of today ripping all the pieced setting strips (the strips between blocks) out of a queen sized quilt. I just didn't like them and will replace them with plain black strips. There were 42 strips, each with 9 pieces. That's a lot of wasted sewing and fabric, but they just didn't look right between the blocks. Hopefully this will work better, since I have to get the quilt to my machine quilter friend next week.

AACK!! I think about all the time that's lost making then removing these setting strips and and I just cringe. Hope I can get this done on time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Writing, writing...

I wrote about 22 pages this past weekend or so which, for me, was a flood of words. Some of the dialog between the main character and her love interest (no love there yet, tho) strikes me as really funny, which is kinda cool. A few things have surprised me, especially the depth of love she has for her best friend, and, so far I think the book's going exceptionally well.

Part of me wishes I could talk more about it, I've always enjoyed talking about the work, but this book is such a HUGE step away from the Dubric books, and I'm using a pseudonym so that people won't know it's me. I had a horrible, horrible time with the 'public' aspects of being a pro writer, and I REALLY want to avoid that mess this go-around, but - and isn't there always a but? - it's in my nature to blab. Which leads to things that make me uncomfortable, so I shy away from *everything*, then I feel bad, so I make myself do stuff, which leads me to more blabbing, and round the sit-and-spin we go.

So I'm TRYING not to blab. But I'm enjoying the book so far. Which is cool!

In sewing news - ha ha, as if sewing is ever news for me ;) - I tried an english paper piecing sample from that I picked up at a quilt show. It was just a little hexagon flower, all hand pieced, and while it's cute and all I now have zero doubt that I'm a machine piecer. It about drove me crazy! lol Here it is with the basting still in and each piece is a bit over an inch wide. I think I'll make a pincushion or something out of it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

All done! (with sewing, and wheat)

I've sewn a couple of quilts and a super-complicated diaper bag - a LOT more complicated and work intensive than I thought it would be when I designed the dang thing - and now, other than some partially finished projects that I really ought to get my rear in gear over and finish already, I am done sewing! There are no more babies due - that I know of, at least - until July. So I can *finally* spend some quality time with my word processor! Woot!

Also, after our impromptu trip to Oklahoma where we spent two days on the highway eating fast food, I noticed that I was a lot more bloated, grumpy, achy, fatigued than usual. So, encouraged by this new development, I started tracking what foods I ate and how they made me feel. Wheat, apparently, is not compatible with tambos and, after removing it, I've already dropped 8 lbs in just over a week. I am gobsmacked - I believe that's the word - and VERY encouraged. I have not lowered my caloric intake at all - in fact, I've increased it a bit, allowing myself some potato chips! Woot! And still the weight is slipping away, and my belly is no longer firm and puffy, but soft and flat. I am VERY excited about this!

So, a slightly lighter, skinnier me is back on the writing tonight, no more sewing for a while. And all is good here in tamboland!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lots of sewing!

Been working on baby quilts this past week and I've sewn and basted two completely different ones. I should be able to get at least one of them quilted Monday and, with luck, cut the fabric for a diaper bag. I've also added a couple of posts to The Ringer, but that's all the writing I've done lately.

Tanya has a lot of new fabrics in the shop that I'd really love to do something with, but I have a huge pile of projects that I need to finish first, especially Stuart's quilt. It's just so danged BIG - about 108" square - and I'm more of a little quilt kinda gal. But I have to finish the borders soon, so I can get the quilt on Marilyn's schedule to get quilted in time for the show this fall, then get it shipped to Scotland.

But baby quilts are more pressing, and I can finish them in a reasonable amount of time. Once I get these two done, I only have two more - that I know of - that I need to finish by mid-summer.  But it's been a harsh winter, so there may be many more babies on the way that I haven't heard about yet.

And Tanya has all this cool fabric in her shop! ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Writing is hard

I wish I could simply let that statement lie. It's certainly true, at least when you know enough to realize that you're competent enough to be readable, yet will never become a literary icon. But saying 'it's hard' barely scratches the surface of the work involved, the toil, the sweat, the frustration, the fear... the madness.

I know writers whose words on the page never reflect the glory in their minds and they remain paralyzed or bitter or desperate and failing.

I know writers who find the simple act of composing a single word a task of great and terrible magnitude, a burden, a crushing, exhausting toil.

I know writers who push and push and strive and push some more, to have many books or big sales or fame, fortune, and bestsellerdom, often pushing so much toward 'success' that they push the rest of their life aside.

I know writers who write for art's sake, and anything mundane, simple, straightforward never measures up to the purple prose in their hearts.

I know writers who focus on plot, often at the expense of character.

I know writers who focus on character, often at the expense of plot.

I know writers who follow trends others set and are always tagging along behind, hoping to catch someone's shadow and grab it for all it's worth.

I know writers who never write. Anything. They just hang with other writers and try to talk the talk.

I know writers who work, but never play with the words.

I know writers who play but have no concept of writing as a job, nor would they want to.

I know writers who follow sets of pre-established rules for all aspects of their work, even going so far to have books and books of spreadsheets for characters and places in a single novel.

I know writers who make it all up as they go and get lost along the way.

I know writers who write to escape a horrid place within their own lives or memories.

I know writers who write to tell everyone how grand their life is.

I know writers who must inform the masses of their opinions, whether anyone wants to hear or not.

I know writers who are so afraid of offending anyone that they cannot stand within their own narratives.

I know writers who breathe to write, and those who write so they can breathe.

I know writers who must drink or be stoned to create, and those who write so they don't have to drink or be stoned to live.

And, I know writers who realize it's a job, a long, lonely job, but try to make the best of it. Even when it's hard.

It's National Quilting Day!

Are you sewing today? I will be as soon as I get two pages of narrative finished.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Threads of Malice, aka The Book That Sunk My Career (part 1)

I'd like to state from the get-go that, much like the opening of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, writing Threads of Malice was the best of times, and it was the worst of times. Creating it was both an exquisite pleasure, and an exquisite hell. I still dream of it, sometimes, and can quote vast swaths of narrative and dialog from memory. Editorially speaking, it was the easiest book - it had minimal line edits, and only one structural change from the initial draft - removing a scene of Otlee in Atro's cellar. The finished book is nearly a word for word match to my first draft, which still astounds me, especially since Ghosts and Valley had such massive overhauls. There are huge chunks of the narrative I don't remember writing, in fact, there were several times when going through line edits from my editor that I'd run across scenes, usually totally clean and with no edits at all, that I simply could not remember ever seeing before. It was like they magically appeared in my manuscript while it was off in New York, but they were in my original text files, so I must have written them.

(More after the cut)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wrote a scene

About 800 words. Ish. And while the words themselves are fine and tidy and all that, the content is AWFUL. Neglect and abuse of a toddler. Just awful.

And people wonder why I really hate my job most days.


Since I am pissy today - please see the 'brown elixir' post on the other blog - I am simply not in the mood to be perky, cheerful, or shooting creative sparkle curlicues out my butt. At least not today. I wanna sit and stew. But nothing gets done if I sit and stew.  Dammit.

So. In an effort to not simply be a sit and stewing lump, I made myself work on the baby quilt today - the piecing is almost done, just have to put the blocks together to make the main part of the quilt, then the borders, then stretch and quilt. It's looking very, very cute, and STRIKING. I hope the baby likes it. And, as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to work on the book. The secret book that everyone (including my agent) likes but scares me to death.

It's about quarter after seven. At 8:45 or so I have to get off my duff and start supper. Bill requested spaghetti. Tra flipping la.

I have 90 minutes. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Last night's bag

I'd cut the fabric a day or two ago and sewed it last night. Was a freebie pattern from

Abbie really likes it and tried  to claim it as her own, but it's now hanging in Tanya's quilt shop. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baby Quilts!!

There must be something in the water since I know several lovely ladies who are expecting their first babies. Woot!

For me, a baby on the way means that I get to make a quilt! So, here are the fabrics for the next one on my list.

The curlicue fabric on top will be the back of the quilt, the black/blue batik is the background color, and the rest are for pieces, with the 'multi' being the main focus fabric. I think it's gonna be freaking GORGEOUS!!

I cut the pieces today and I'll probably start sewing tomorrow. Woot!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A bit of fiction - Sid's Story

Since this is a creativity blog - well, a place that I dump my creative bits, pieces, plans, and whatnot - and I am supposedly a 'writer' (whatever the heck that means), here's a short story I wrote while incredibly blocked on Valley of the Soul, or thereabouts.

It's not a pleasant tale (and it's really raw and unedited), so you've been forewarned.

Story below the cut

25 common cooking mistakes

From Cooking Light :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Since I was cutting pink strips anyway...

I decided to make a 10-strip wonder bag, all in pink! :)

The Pink (& Green) Monster - Step One

I've been collecting pink fabrics for, oh, a few years now, since long before we moved up here to the northern wilderness. And, I've especially been collecting pink-and-green fabrics, which also encouraged me to pick up some minty greens too, and, anyway, I have a lot. Like a whole shopping bag full :)

(more after the break)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So here's the deal ;)

I have another blog (tambowrites) which I use to talk about life, family, writing, aggravations, depression, and the miscellaneous crap that rattles around my brain - some of which may or may not be 'politically correct', but all of which is, on some level, deeply personal.

Anyway, I thought I'd make a second blog for the happier creative stuff. I quilt, I cook, I sew, and, yes, on occasion, I write. Those are the kinds of things I'll post here: sewing projects - finished and in progress - recipes I've tried and what I think of them, pics I take, snippets of fiction I likely will never sell, and other assorted crafts, attempts, and creative endeavors.

I hope that this blog will be a bit happier, and wonkier. Y'all will probably hear more than you ever wanted to know about my sewing machine and my quest for batiks. lol

Anyway, welcome. :)