Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dress and more

My Queen contestant, Destinie. The picture you have all been waiting for. These pics were taking before the festivities, when all the girls were in high spirits. They were told to be there 2 hours before the show and then the show was a grueling 2 1/2 hours.
Destinie made her own cute little purse, which coordinated wonderfully. All the girls did their hair special, in the styles of the day.
After a long night, which I'm sure was worse for all those girls (14) sitting on the stage, they finally got around to the judging.
They are judged by this system
Authenticity of dress 45 %
Personality 15%
Appearance and poise 25 %
Portfolio 15 %
After all that Destinie didn't even place. But I'm really glad I wasn't a judge! 14 girls in beautiful gowns, what a hard decision!
Back stage all the girls were still in high spirits and probably mostly relieved to not be in the spotlight.
For the most part, these 16 year old girls were all very poised and collected. I would have been proud to know any of them.

So how about some more dresses? I got these before the show and before they kicked me out. Unfortunately, I didn't get all the dresses and I didn't even take a pic of the winner.

This girl in blue, Amanda, was the only girl in these pictures to place. She was obviously the local favorite. Whenever they announced her name, the crowd would cheer. She place 2nd runner up.
So there you have it. A Paradise tradition and a brief look at some of the dresses.

I have to admit, I'm glad it's over. But I would probably do it again. I enjoyed the challenge of doing something new and I really did enjoy my time with Destinie. I'm so glad she wasn't a pre-madonna!

Saturday is the parade and the donkey derby. More town traditions. Today all the girls will dress up again and take tours of all the schools. The little kids enjoy this so much! You can just see some of the little girls dreaming of one day being in this contest and having a pretty dress.

Today I'm going to finish up my neighborhood, now that I can breathe. This weekend I probably won't get much more done, but I'll be back on Monday, just like a rash.

Take care, Brandie

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Naked French

Antoinette is as naked as a J-bird. What does this means? I've never seen a naked J-bird. Is a J-bird a blue jay? Why do we say this?
No, that's not what I meant. I meant, do you know why Antoinette is naked?
She has no skirt or even a shirt. Because, last night her dress went to live in a new home. Tonight is the contest and this is when I hope to take several pictures. I've been a little nervous, but feel OK about it now.
I was doubting myself again. I was sewing for a family who doesn't sew. Now that dress will be compared to other dresses and they may be sew by professionals. Also my fear is that the dress will look drab and boring if one of the other girls comes in wear a beautiful salon girl dress. Than my dress will look like a jacket potato.

See my doubts? See my fear? Hey, at least I was paid first and it wasn't set on the dress winning. Rude but true...

After spending all day yesterday making myself sick with anxiety, I'm just going to give up and just be! I've analyzed my emotions and came to the conclusion that 1. I had fun 2. I learn some new things. So now I will just be.

A wiser woman than I told me this dress would consume my life till it was done. She was right, but again, I had fun. If I have the chance, I think I will do this again. Next year I'll be even wiser that I am now.
I also learned, it's much easier to make a vest from scratch than it is to try to add on to an old one. I'm really glad that is done! Again!
The vest was perfect, till the escort tried it on an we found out how long waisted he was. I stewed and steamed and finally got that finished, a couple of hours before the garments left my house. Yeah you heard me, I procrastinated.
So now I'm free to do my own thing (maybe) and get back to my red neighborhood, baskets, bags, baby quilts...

Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chocolate Hangover

Suffering from chocolate overload. I'll be back later this week.

Take care, Brandie

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hoppy Easter

I wish you all a chocolaty weekend and hope your jelly bean dreams are fulfilled. Happy Easter!
As you can see, I'm planning on enjoying a chocolate or two.
Aren't these little guys gorgeous!? They are a Paradise tradition in our house. Hand made in this cute little cottage in the middle of Paradise.
Too bad I was late this year and missed all the beautiful bulbs that are planted by the front door.
There is no way you can enter this cottage without leaving with something sweet!
You can even observe the chocolate making and watch the magic happen. Do you see the tray of chocolate eggs? I know it's distracting with that chocolate pouring out of this machine. You can also see a bunny helper, in the back, dusting more eggs with coconut. YUM!
So if you are ever in Paradise and you have a sweet tooth, make sure you stop by and indulge yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Have a very merry holiday and enjoy the season!
Take care, Brandie

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Lavender Day

For awhile now I've been exchanging blocks with my Fabric Pen Pal. We started with Half-Square triangles and look what what we are exchanging now. Hexie flowers.
Diamant has sure made an extra special hexie. I feel bad as I just sewed up some scraps, in pink no less, and sent them off. Then I receive this absolutely fabulous flowers! I'm going to have to up my game.
This deserve a quilt just for them selves. Thank you Diamant!

In other news, I found out one of my younger cousins is having a baby girl. And of course I was super excited! I started thinking up a quilt, bought some beautiful faded shabby-chic like florals in a pinky-peachy color. I thought they were fabulous, we all know how I am afraid of color, so anything that looks like it has been washed a hundred times is right up my alley.
Then I contacted them parents to be. You'll never guess... Daddy (my cousin) doesn't want to use pink! So they are going with lavender and sage green.
Well there goes that pinky-peach purchase! That should teach me to buy fabric!
Then I happen to see a finished quilt-top in the UFO basket.
Yup, I have the perfect quilt for my cousin's new baby girl! Is this not exactly the colors they are going to use!? Perfect!
So I added the two borders and found the perfect backing (sorry, will have to show you after I quilt it) and after I quilt it up, it'll be more than perfect.
If it wasn't for Lori having a sew-along, I would be back a square one trying to figure out a lavender quilt. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Thank You Lori!

Off to do some sewing! I've got streets and streets of red houses and a lavender quilt to occupy my day.

Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Something for myself

Mostly finished with the "dress", I decided to do something for myself.
I found this beautiful black linen fabric with embroidered white dots. I just knew that is would make a great skirt. And it did.
Poka-dots are one of my favorite things. From dishes, shoes, quilts, undies to socks, you can't go wrong with dots!
I also found this great sweater at Target.
Sorry the picture makes it look gray, but it's black. It is the perfect mate to my new skirt. I love it! Even though I can hear cousin Linda complaining about my lack of color. Well guess what Linda, I can pair this with any color shirt not just my favorite white.

I did manage to true-up all the schoolhouses, before I got into a new book. My arm was a little sore after 36 blocks were all trimmed to 11 1/2 inches. I actually took time to clean house between. Trim 6 blocks, do the dishes. Trim another 6, start some laundry. Six more, vacuum the floor. You get the idea, it makes the time go by faster. Read a few chapters, clean the bathroom, maybe a few more chapters then I'll do it...

Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Block Houses

Apparently I don't know how to count. I said I had 8 more schoolhouses to complete, well I meant 10. So here are the last 9 complete. Number 10 is still on the machine, but I won't bore you with it.
On with the next step. Trimming up and making every one of these blocks the same size. That will probably take me all day! I hate this part. It's almost as bad as folding clothes!
After collecting reds for years at every place I found new ones, I still had to go buy about 4 more reds. I did repeat about half the fabrics, because I really am trying to use up my stash and be more conservative. I will need to buy more of the plain red for borders and a backing, but I still think I'm ahead.
I had a lot of fun with these house, but I'm glad I'm done with all these blocks.

Take care, Brandie

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wonder-full Weekend

Saturday was a gorgeous day. There was the sun in the sky and the air was warm. It was nice enough to even do some weeding and pruning of overgrown ivy. Gorgeous! I planted a new Japanese maple, some apple mint and a mouse plant. What's a mouse plant? A leafy plant with a strange flower that is brown and white that looks like a mouse tail. Strange but it was a shady plant and I always need new varieties of those. All these plants came from Farmer's Market. I just love going there, you never know what you'll find!
Another one of my obsessions is Wonder Woman. You all knew that right? Looky what Hubby found me! He loves to go into Ross while I don't, and he always finds great things. This time he found some Wonder-full things, and just for me!
Who knew that there were Wonder Woman glasses? Am I going to use them? Only if he finds me another set and if those boys keep their mitts off!
The DVDs came from Costco. Can you see the price? $14.99 a season! A couple of years ago I had bought the first season for at least twice that. Now I own the entire set and can relive my childhood. I loved that show! I would make myself dizzy spinning around. Of course nothing happened but an 8 year old could sure wish that it would!
Today, I'm still obsessed. I now drive Wonder Woman's invisible car (it better be invisible, cause it's illegal to not have a front plate in California. But it's so cool!)

Another good thing happened this weekend. I received an unexpected package. Awhile back, Lois asked for some scraps. I sent some off without hesitation! Then along came this goody box filled with more Wonderful things. Can you see the thread? Lois has been talking about it on her blog. She had my undivided attention with her purchases. Which made me want some of that thread. Before I could locate any, I received a spool from her! Now I can test this thread and see if I need to buy more, starting a new obsession.
OH, and I did some more construction and built 8 schoolhouses this weekend. That means 8 more to go. Than on to the making them into a quilt.
I am getting excited about the layout and how the quilt will look in the end. I had the blocks on the bed again and Hubby came in to admire them. This quilt appeals to him. After showing him my ideas for the sashing, we came to one conclusion, plain is better. There are a lot of reds and patterns going on, so I need to tone it down a little and make it more cohesive with a plain red.
So the next step is to trim them all up and start cutting some sashing.
Back to the work site...

Take care, Brandie

Friday, April 15, 2011

Petite Baskets

After I had a bunch of little basket handles sewn, I decided to put them together and play with layouts. This is my first attempt and I kind of like it. What about you? I don't know about the background, but this was the first white off the shelf. I have about 60 more baskets to finish before I need to decide on the background.
I had so many that I couldn't repeat the same pattern above. So then I just started shoving them together. I don't like this, too crowded.
I did work on some schoolhouses but I really needed to get this done first. Nanette from Freda's Hive has been waiting patiently for this bag. I was really, really bad and have taken so long to get this done for her. It'll probably be a big surprise when she receives it in the mail.
A very classic look. I was liking it so much, I may have to make another for myself.
I used black thread on the quilted bottom and handle and I think it looks great. After all this time, I wasn't as quick in my bag making. I had to keep going back and reading my notes. But I think this may be on of my best bags yet. The colors compliment each other, the construction is beautiful executed and I only broke one needle! When you get all those layers of duck-cloth, you need to take it slow and I always forget. Sometimes I've broken 3 needles on one bag. That was when I was ready to throw in the towel! So one broken needle at the end was alright.

Have a wonderful weekend! See you back here Monday.
Take care, Brandie

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Stars

I went back and realized that I signed up to do a Christmas star sew-along. Oh well, we will just pretend these are Christmas colors and continue, right? Right!
So these are my first two stars. As you can see, I'm trying to get them to match this paisley fabric. That blue is pretty hard to match up. I had nothing in my stash and I only found these two blues and my local quilt shop. I plan on using some greens also, by I really, really need these blues! If I can use more than half stash fabric, I'll feel great! So far so good.
The true color of the paisley. It is very green, but it has those muddy colors that I like so much. I find them softer than true colors, Husband calls them "muddy".

I may make up some more stars in green later. But first I'm going to erect more schoolhouses. I have several cut out and I tallied up and discovered I need 18 more. So I plan on getting as many done as I can, without buying more reds. But I do have a shopping list, and it does say blues, reds and a purple to finish up Lori's quilt-along.
So wish me luck on finishing up and later on keeping my shopping list to a small hand full of change!

Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumping through Hoops

I have to say, I like pleats better! I spent the entire day making this slip for the "queen" dress. The entire day! Ruffles are not my favorite. I always feel like they aren't perfectly spaced.
I'm sure these aren't, but I'm not going to worry about it. This is a slip and nobody is going to see it. It's soul purpose is to soften the hoop rings. Can you even see the hoop?
Then I must have done a good job.
While I was working on this, the "queen" called and asked if it was ready. Apparently she has a dance class today and she needs the hoop. I guess the "queen" contestants have to learn to waltz and a few other dances from that era.
I had no idea! Good thing I was working on the slip, because the rented hoop is way, way ugly! But imperfectly spaced ruffles are better looking than the dirty hoop.
The whole time I was setting up, I could feel someone staring at me. Guess who? PugsLee thinks this is a fort. When the "queen" is over for fittings, PugsLee likes to hide under the dress. I have to keep the dress up on the window seat to TRY to keep it lint and dog hair free. Silly girl!

I going to do it again. I'm going to start another new project! Yep, this will be the third one.
I have joined a sew-along, to make some stars. Unfortunately, I may need to buy some fabrics. I had bought a beautiful paisley awhile back and I think it will make a perfect focus fabric for all the stars.

Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pleats A-Plenty

I hope I haven't received an omen that today is going to be one of those days.
I was in the middle of reading my e-mails this morning, when my cute wireless mouse stopped working. I sat here trying to make the keyboard substitute the mouse, without success.
I then went to the drawer where we kept all the batteries and guess what? Yep, all the double AA were gone. Not just the batteries, the whole box. KIDS! And Husbands!
Of course no one tells Mom and of course Mom is the one in need!
So my next course of action is to find anything, I mean ANYTHING that uses double AA. I have cannibalized 3 old remotes, only the last ones batteries are strong enough to work. Three remotes! This is getting ridiculous! One, why do we have so many unused remotes and Two, where else do we use double AA?!
You aren't going to believe this. My cute little wireless Mac keyboard just gave me a "no connection" warning! arrrggghhhh! I hope I can post this! I'm out of batteries!

Ok, quickly, Yesterday I was a bit ambitious. I wanted to believe my back felt better, but in reality, 30 minutes after posting, I had to take some Advils. Than I could only walk a mile instead of our usual three.
But I did manage one more thing. Sewing on the pleats. It took all day, with many rests in between, but here they are. Aren't they fabulous?
I do need to make about a yard more, which means , 2 yards more. But I'll have to wait to feel like doing that.
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that you want to see the "queen" in her dress. The time is fast approaching for the festivities. The end of the month and she will be sick to death of all this of this dress. She will be required to wear this dress for 4 days straight. If she wins the contest, we can only guess how many times she will have to wear this around. That means visiting schools, nursing homes, interviews, pictures, grand opening and of course, next years festivities.
So before I lose all power, I must go, to buy batteries!
Take care, Brandie

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not the Weekend I planned

This weekend was not the one I had planned. Friday I was pinning on 6 yards of ruffles to the bottom of the "queen" dress and when I got up from the floor, I knew I had done it. I sprained my back muscles!
It ruined my entire weekend! I had planned to go to a class given by Anelie Belden, who wrote "Thoroughly Modern Dresden". I loved this book so much, that I took the Dresdens under my wing and totally turned them into my own. From bags, pillows, patches and more. I really, really wanted to go to this class, but alas, I couldn't even stand!
So I hunkered down into the couch pressing my back into a place I could sit reasonable comfortable and did nothing.

But before I stupidly leaned over for an hour, I did finish putting on a border or two on this set of blocks. I need to buy a backing then I can get this under the machine and quilt it up. Not one of my favorites, but it'll be good for practice.
Later today I'm going to sew on those yards and yards of ruffles. So tomorrow I'll show those to you, they look fabulous!
Today I'm walking tall and I'm doing it without the aid of pain meds, so I'm on the mend. Hurray! Because I really don't like to sit still. It's really hard for me to do. I see all the things the should be done. Like , Oh look, a spider web is hanging from the ceiling and blowing in the breeze. Oh, that bunny has shoveled out all his hay. Hey, PugsLee's water bowl has a bug in it. Someone tracked in a couple of leaves. There's a pill of water glasses by the kitchen sink...
I know you have all been there, just glad you weren't all here! How embarrassing! And you know, most of these things I'll have to deal with today!
Take care, Brandie

Friday, April 8, 2011

Murphy's Law

Yesterday we had a surprise. Here the weather has been spring like and welcome. Then out of the blue (clouds) came a surprise snow storm. Don't believe me? Here is picture evidence.
I was sitting in my car watching the snow and hail pelt the ground. You know what caused it?
I painted my toenails and was wearing sandals!
Isn't that Murphy's Law?

Do you have help doing the chores at home? I do...
I left a basket to fold in the living room, went back to start another load of laundry and this is what I found. A helper in my clean clothes.
They aren't even warm. You see, my most hated chore is folding laundry. I will put it off till I HAVE it fold it for lack of room. Yesterday was that day, there was no more room in the laundry room for piles of clean laundry.
PugsLee has never done this before. Sure she'll roll and rub herself on anything that falls out of the basket, but in her 11 years, she has never gotten into a basket.
She didn't leave for over an hour. So lucky me I had to fold all those jeans after I had been done with the rest for quite a while. I'm so lucky to have help!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Till next week, Brandie

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Something New

A month or so back, Pineapple Linda introduced us to a fabric line from Moda called "Faith". So it's all her fault that I started a new project!
I searched stores and peeped on-line and finally made up my mind to give in and buy the fabric. Boy was I shocked by the price of the fat-quarter bundle! I must be cheap because than I charged my mind. Then I came up with an idea and I had to have the fabric. And because I was still cheap, I bought the 5" squares and I was going to use them all up instead of have a fat-quarter bundle only partly used up.
At the same time I also bought muslin squares. I had the perfect plan and the only thing holding me back, is slow delivery.
I received them yesterday and I already got started. Want to see?
I'm making half-square triangle baskets.
I think these are going to be so cute! One of the best things is, I can keep the handles in my bag and always have something to sew on (if I can keep my head out of the Kindle, which also lives in my bag!).
So Linda, Thanks for introduction and the mild loss to my bank account!

BTW, do allergies make you sleepy or am I just getting old? This last week I've been exhausted! I feel as if I can't get enough sleep and my eyes are always itchy (which I do know is allergies). And of course there is also my lack of quilting, that's another side-effect.
Oh woo is me! I am getting old! Next month I'll be 41, that is old! Guess I'm wearing out and breaking down...
Just ignore me, having a pity party, I'll be fine as soon as I find some chocolate.

Take care, Brandie

Monday, April 4, 2011

Natures Bounty

This weekend was beautiful and sunny. We had a little wind but the sun more that made up for it. We started our weekend at the Farmer's Market and made it home with wonderful fruits and veggies. I bought leeks that are so long, they wouldn't fit in my frig. They'll make a great soup.
Cilantro that smells so fresh and green, it makes me hungry even now for mexican food.
And a large bag of a special fruit to make into "Ant Farm Jam". Can you guess what kind of fruit it is?
I also bought lots of apples from a local farm. I'm in love with applesauce and that's just what I did with them. I now have jars and jars of natures bounty.
I like my applesauce spicy! For years I've been trying to duplicate my Grandmother's recipes. My applesauce may be a little spicier, but it's pretty close. I need to remind us all that our recipes are important and that we need to write them down for our children and grandchildren. I still can't fried a chicken like my Grandmother and that makes me miss her all the more. So ladies write down your childrens favorite recipes and keep notes on all you do! If we aren't remembered for our quilts, make them remember our fabulous foods!
Take care, Brandie

Friday, April 1, 2011


I feel like I had a brown day yesterday. All I worked on was brown. the only variation, was the black thread I used on these.
Oh, what are they? These are flying monkey wings. Gosh, I thought it was obvious!
Gail's school is doing "the wizard of oz" and I offered to help and this is what I got. I'd rather make the wings then to have those flying monkeys after me!

I also worked on the escorts vest. Every "queen" needs an escort and they look better if they all match (and maybe to stake their claim. More gold mining humor!).
The rest is all finished but for one small detail, buttonholes! Yeah I'm putting them off. I hate buttonholes. They need to be perfect because they are right out in the open and mine are never perfect. So I procrastinate.
These buttons (above) are made from deer antlers. If they were an different color, I think these would be great. In my opinion, they would be something they would have used in the 1860's.
How about these carved wooden buttons? These are in number 1 position.
These aren't so bad. They look a little more machined than the last set, so number 2 position.
I found a little silver buckle that look a little western and not so feminine.
My plans today are to try to do those buttonholes and make a decision on buttons.
We are to have sunny skies all weekend so I probably won't get any sewing done. I plan on soaking up some sun, starting with the Farmers Market tomorrow and anything else I can find outdoors.
Have an equally exciting weekend!
Take care, Brandie