Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Photos from Friends

Well hi ya! How's your first few days of Summer going? Ours has been rather interesting. First, we have been dealing with a water issue here in Wilmington. It seems there is a chemical in the water called GenX, which causes cancer. It's been in the water for a long time and now there is an uproar from residents as it has been made public. I'm sure there is probably a cover up by the chemical plant and the water company. Having a Flint, MI and Erin Brockovich flashback. Where we live isn't affected, "as they say," but I don't trust them. It's all about greed and squandering money regardless of how it affects the well being of others. Disgusting. We'll see how it all unfolds over the next few weeks.

Second, even though we had the house sprayed for the massive ant infestation, They're Back! Uggggh! I hate killing stuff, but the clean freak in me wins this one. I can't handle insects of any kind crawling around my food or Hannah and Sabrina's food. NOPE! Not sure if they are coming up through the kitchen sink drain line. Anywho, the bug man is coming again tomorrow. May the force be with him. hee,hee,hee. giggle, snort. ;)

Alrighty then, on to some fun eye candy shall we? This first piece is from my guild friend, Lynn Flaherty. She used "O'Ryan the Stargazer" from my book to create this adorable baby quilt. I love all the happy colors and this is now "Olivia the Owl" don't you think? :)


This next piece was found at a quilt show that a couple of my guild members attended. They took this photo to share with me. (Thanks Mary and Donna!). This is my Peter's Pumpkin design made by my student Susan Foster. I simply adore how she quilted the background! I think it truly added so much to the overall design.


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My sweet friend, Kathy (Kat) Tongue is using my "Wild Hare" design from my book and flowers from several of my other designs to create her own unique piece. I can't wait to see what she does. It looks wonderful so far!

Kat is also playing around with colors from one of my other designs from a while back called "Love Grows."

This is my new friend, Brenda Call. I met her in January when I taught for her guild. She purchased my "Seamore the Seahorse" design and this is how he turned out. I'm soooooooooo proud of her as she suffers from severe carpel tunnel in her wrists. She was in pain doing all the hand stitching, but had so much fun and wasn't about to let it stop her! You go girlfriend! Woooooo hoooooo!


The last piece I'm sharing is from my friend, Marji Carano. Marji took my "Beekeeper Class" and this is how her pincushion turned out. I love how she used purple wool felt and the yellow rick rack on the bee to tie it into the flower. Too cute!


One last reminder that Saturday, July 1st, will be the grand finale of Briarside Lane. I will show you how to put all the blocks together and what the finished quilt looks like.

See you then!
Michelle

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"In a Fix" - the Front Yard Transformation

Hi there!

Thanks for joining me this week as I share the next installment of "In a Fix," which is the journey through living and working on our cottage.

Today it's all about the transformation of our front yard. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is how our cottage looked in the real estate listing, which had been Photo-shopped and altered (just like they do to supermodels in magazines LOL!).


When in all actuality, this is what the yard looked like.


The grass had been ate up with Army Worms.




The bushes were overgrown, but thin on the inside.




The pine straw was harboring all sorts of multi-legged critters and slithering things (I'm not scared of black snakes, but I really don't want them napping on my porch swing. hee,hee,hee).



There was also the leaning palm tree which was dying at the base. We were worried about the high winds we get from hurricanes. We live less than a mile from the ocean. This tree could be a danger as in fall on the cars or the neighbors house.


So, David and I decided we wanted the front yard and the front of our house to be the first project on our long list of things to fix up.

In came our wonderful landscaper and new friend, Juan Diaz, of Real Landscaping.



We can't brag on Juan and his crew enough. They worked sooooooooooooo hard and did the most incredible job for us. Even more, Juan is a man of his word. He listened to what we wanted and understood our vision for the yard. He told us when he would show up and how long it would take pending no weather issues and he did just what he said. We all know that is a rare thing nowadays! Plus, Juan has a great sense of humor. They uncovered a buried stone planter in the yard. He showed it to me and said, "We found this pot of gold buried over here. We kept the gold." LOL!!!!

I told Juan that I wasn't a "palm tree" person. I wanted the beach taken out of the forest as I like things more planned and orderly instead of stuff just plunked down everywhere. He laughed and said I wasn't the only person who had requested that lately. I then told him that there was one stipulation. I didn't want him to kill anything that was salvageable and wanted those things sent to a new home. He said he could do that.



So first thing to come out was the palm trees. There were six trees in all and only the leaning one couldn't be salvaged. He loaded them on the trailer and took them to his property to be transplanted in an area he had prepared for them.




Next it was time to dig up the shrubs all the diseased grass and prep the yard for new centipede sod and shrubbery. There was one little issue though...the nest of baby birds in the Dr. Seuss tree (as I called it). So, he had to leave the tree until the babies left the nest.  Now I know you are wondering why we would take out that tree, but it is actually a shrub that they cut into a tree. Inside it is hollow. All the leaves are in a dome shape. Honestly, I don't know how the birds even made a nest in it. The reason we wanted it to go is that it has to be trimmed on the top. David would have to get up on a ladder with trimmers or even on the roof to keep it under control. Neither one of us wanted that so away it went.



This is how it looked when everything but the pinestraw was removed. I know all our neighbors were wondering what on earth we were doing.





Next, David and I purchased new shrubs. We got some azaleas that stay small and round with white flowers, some medium boxwood, some taller boxwood, some arborvitae, juniper and a curly leaf plant that I can't remember the name of. We like low maintenance evergreens and a more formal looking yard.

I used the garden hose to layout the curvy bed design and then used the measuring tape to layout the plants in a manner that would allow them to grow to their full potential.
People always make the mistake of packing in too many plants without taking into consideration that they will grow. Two years from now, you will be amazed by how much they have grown.



Then it was time for the sod to go in.



The fellas worked for 12 hours straight laying the sod!! They had some sod left over, so Juan fixed an area in our backyard that was having some major erosion. Here's what it looked like before he fixed it.



Here's the after. Much better don't you agree?


Next, Juan brought in his "Triple Chocolate Mulch" to replace the pinestraw. I mean who doesn't want triple chocolate? hee,hee,hee. I also wanted a tree for the front yard and decided on a Crabapple tree. I had them in two other houses and just love them. They grow easily here, don't get too big, have beautiful fall leaves and spring blossoms and the birds always build nests in them.


Mommy Syl and Captain gave us a beautiful bird house for our housewarming gift. The blue birds have already been checking it out. I'm going to love watching them and their babies from the kitchen window or from the rockers on the porch. I planted ivy around the pole and strung some wire to train the ivy around it.


Since we have lots of mosquitoes around here, I didn't want to use my bird bath as such, so I put it on the front porch with a fern. The birds prefer to splash in the puddles from the sprinkler anyway. They crack me up in the morning.


We removed the old, warped storm door and replaced it with a sturdy full view door. Then I hung this basket on it. Still trying to find the perfect house numbers to finish it off.



Mr. McGregor said he is quite pleased with his new view of the yard and is ready to welcome visitors to Bayfield Cottage.


Finally a friend of Juan's came to clean off the sidewalk and driveway. Juan said, "It has to be cleaned up so it is a good reflection of my business." The pride he takes in his work, his crew and his business made me smile sooooooooo big! He is my kinda person for sure!



Here's the finished project. We've had lots of neighbors stop by and tell us how nice it looks. It's now time to sit on the porch swing with some tea and enjoy this summer season and all the seasons to come here at Bayfield Cottage.









See you back here next week!
Light, love and hugs,
Michelle

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Play Date with the Croatan Quilters and a Quilt Novel

Hi ya! So sorry I was MIA last week. It has been a series of crazy appliance mishaps here at the cottage. We woke up at 2:00 in the morning gasping for air. Toxic fumes filled the entire house! The culprit was our brand new Whirlpool dishwasher. The spinny thing at the bottom of the dishwasher broke off and landed on the heating element. It basically caught fire and melted all the way through the plastic and the metal braking it in half! The fumes were all the toxic plastic. Needless to say we opened all the windows and turned on the fans. I'm truly grateful that Hannah's door was shut and Sabrina was upstairs in Bunnyville. I was so scared that they might be dead as we couldn't breathe and they are just little animals.

I marched up to Lowes the next morning and told them to get it out of my house right away and give me my money back. They did. Then I ordered a Bosch dishwasher from Best Buy and so far so good. However...we also had the refrigerator repaired a few weeks ago. Well, that broke again. So back to Best Buy to get a new refrigerator. We had a broken microwave too and replaced that. Bunny ears crossed that the stove doesn't decide to quit. Good grief!

Anyway, I will post about our new yard adventures next week. Today I want to share a super fun day I had with my dear friends at the Croatan Quilters Guild here in NC. These gals will always be near and dear to my heart as I was a member of this guild for 20 years before I moved to Wilmington.

Here is everyone with their "bunny ears."



Everyone made my "Beekeeper Pincushion." This pattern is exclusive to my "Play Date" participants and we always have so much fun! This class is meant to inspire individual creativity. Everyone gets to pick their wool colors, Valdani thread and embellishments to make a pincushion that reflects their individual style.


Everyone really loves playing with the options. Of course, I'm always on hand to help with colors and make suggestions if needed.


Here's Holly's flower. Holly is retired from the Marine Corps. She totally rocks and I love her positive and happy personality.

Here is Lori with her flower.

This is a close up. I really love the color combo and the yarn she chose for couching.



I was sooooooo happy that my buddy Renee got to take the class. You see, she is allergic to wool! So, I purchased some Bamboo/Rayon felt just for her. I love the colors she selected and the stitching she was doing. Jennifer to the left gave her a fabulous idea to use some seed beads. I can't wait to see it finished. Hint, hint, hint Renee. ;)



This is Lillian. She is new to the guild and I loved her color combo. Felt very Caribbean to me. I just realized that I didn't get a photo of Rene's flower. Reen is the lady in the white shirt the back of the photo. Dag! You'll have to send me a photo Rene! Rene was a quilting student of mine many, many years ago when I taught at a quilt shop. Love her to bits!



Here is Jennifer with her gorgeous flower. She loves embroidery and does such a great job.



Here is my good buddy, Kathy. She is a retired silhouette artist. She is AMAZING!! She had the easiest time cutting out the small details of the flowers.


Kathy sent me a photo of the stitching she has been doing on her flower. That is her kitty, Nimbus in the back. He's a big, handsome boy.


Kathy always makes me laugh so hard. She has the best sense of humor. This is her name tag. She said it was "Horse - Fat." LOL!!!!!

This is my other good buddy, Gerri. She makes lots and lots of pretty things and has lots of gorgeous quilts around her home.


She finished her "Beekeeper Pincushion" and sent me some photos. Isn't it gorgeous? Love the pom pom fringe on the edge.


Here is the back. She used some bee "sayings" fabric. It says things like Bee Happy, Bee Kind, Bee Respectful. What a great choice!

Gerri is also special to me because she adopted one of Sabrina's babies. You may remember Shamus de Barrington.

Here he is all grown up. Hard to believe he will be three this year. Isn't he gorgeous? He's such a big boy.

This is Bonnie with her beautiful flower. I simply adore purple, yellow and green together. Great choice Bonnie!


This is Nancy. She is new to the guild too. It was great to meet her and I love her color choices as well.

This is Cathi. She too is new to the guild. I was talking about how quilting is changing and I pointed to her saying that young quilters purchasing things different than us older quilters. I tell ya, I thought she was 25! Well, she just turned 40! LOL!!!! Her flower is so stunning and very modern. Love it!


Behind Cathi is Barbara. Below is Barbara's flower. I love what she did with the pom pom fringe and the orange beads. It has a Hawaii n feel to me like I'm sitting under a palm tree drinking from a coconut! LOL!

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This is Deanna. She is such a doll. She was stitching the rick rack with a gathering type stitch, which was really pretty.

Here is Loletta. She is a total riot. It was good to see her as she too is a quilting student of mine from many years ago.

This is my dear, sweet, wonderfully fun friend, Peggy. The girls brought some show and tell for me to see. Peggy was showing her baby hats she makes for a hospital. This is one of the Preemie hats. Isn't it cute?

Peggy also brought some pillowcases that her mom made (I think it was her mom or was it grandma?) These were made with selvages of fabric.


I think they are so cute!

Peggy didn't have much time to work on her pincushion at class. That's always how it is for the person in charge of the day. However, she went home and worked on it while she was inspired and this is what she came up with!

She says she is boring and plain Jane, but I beg to differ. This is fabulous! The button in the center came from her Mom's button box. Way too cool!

Renee brought the friendship stars quilt that she finished. It is hand quilted!!! I saw the star that I contributed. Of course, it has bunnies on it. ;)

Bonnie recently lost her mom and this was a memory quilt she made years ago for her. It was wonderful and I'm glad it came back to her.


Here is the ever happy and fun, Lori showing off my "Blooming Hearts" that she made from my book, Fabled Fusions. Great job my friend!!!!

Linda too shared my "Peppermint Tea" that she made from my book. Hey...where is the photo of your flower Linda? You need to send me one!

Barbara shared these fun pinwheels made from folding fabrics and

also these really cute stars.

I'm missing flower photos from Linda, Mary, Jackie and Charlene. So my friends, when you finish your pincushions, please send me a photo!

It was such a great day for me. Being in the company of good friends makes for a happy life indeed.
Love ya'll bunches!

Lastly today, for all my friends who enjoy reading quilt relate novels, I wanted to pass on this new novel from Rhonda Cratty. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but it has sparked my interest for sure.



"Our Family Quilt came alive when a friend first took me to a quilting class.
I knew the journey I wanted to take the characters on.  I knew how to sew but not quilt -which was critical in the story. 

One day I asked a friend, who quilted, to give me enough information so I could write my book.
           
Generously, she took me into my first quilting class, and under her wing.  I went to quilting shows learning as I went, joined a quilting guild, listening to all their inspiring speakers and meeting encouraging quilters. As each friend talked to me, I became inspired to add a different dimension to both my quilting and my book.

I not only finished the book but fell in love with the art of quilting.  The needle became my pen and the thread my ink. As I wrote about Grace, a master quilter, -as she shared her creative gifts with her young granddaughter, Audrey. I was thinking about sewing with my mom.
As I wrote about their lives unfolding around their family quilt.  The love between grandmother and granddaughter was a mirror of my love for my mother and grandmother. "

You can hop over HERE to purchase a copy. Enjoy!

See ya next week.
Hugs,
Michelle

PS. If you would like a "Play Date with the crazy bunny lady, contact me for more information.