Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My First Christmas Stocking

This is my childhood Christmas stocking. My Mama made it from a material that was called Lantuck. The Lantuck plant was just a few miles from my house. It is what is used for interfacing. I still want to call the stuff Lantuck. My hometown, Valley, Alabama, where I still live, was a mill town. Everything was run by "The Company." This referred to West Point Pepperell. We made towels, sheets, blankets, comforters, everything textile. Thanks to a couple of corporate raiders who, as far as I'm concerned, are damned to the deepest pits of Hell, the company went out of business. Bill Farley came in, bought everything, sold off the assetts, and ran away with the money. The company tried to make a go of it after that but was further raped by another raider, Carl Icahn. All the jobs are gone, although the company still limps along with mills in other countries. This is the kind of thing that has led to the financial crisis we suffer from today. It is sickening to see Carl Icahn in the society pages or magazines where they go on and on, gushing about his extravagant lifestyle. Oh yes, he owns houses all over the world. Goodie for him. Meanwhile, people here struggle to pay their bills and can't afford health insurance. Bill and Carl - two of the devil's henchmen. I think Mick Jagger sang about them in Sympathy for the Devil. Well, I didn't mean to get off on that tangent! LOL. Maybe I am a little bitter.
Anyway, I love this pitiful little stocking. I plan to duplicate it in wool. I just need to buy a good bit of red wool. The lantuck one will still be cared for and loved, because my Mama made it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Quilty Gifts for Family

I made a couple of couch caddy pincushion/pockets from Helen Stubbing's Stitchers Angel Swap free pattern for my mom and my sister-in-law. It seems that they are pleased with them!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone, and Gifts!

Our family has had the most wonderful Christmas this year. We spent so much time with family. I stayed at my mom's house until 1 A.M. Christmas Eve with my brother and s-i-l, sister, niece, daughter, and mom. We put a puzzle together, which has become an annual tradition for us. I went home, put together a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning, and went to bed. Of course, Joy and John Owen were up at 6:30 A.M. to see what Santa brought. They received everything they asked for and were very happy. I received some nice punchneedle supplies!! I have started my very first punchneedle project, because I don't have enough quilting projects going on, I have to bring in something else.

The best part of gift opening for me was that I FINALLY got to open my gifts from my Secret Santa Christmas Swap partner, Jodie!! Jodie you have outdone yourself. I could not believe how many Caramel Koalas I got either. Each item was individually wrapped and contained a Caramel Koala from Cadbury's. Of course, they were immediately devoured and are simply delish!!! You can see that there is a beautiful tea towel, a bag with matching eyeglasses case (although it could be used for a rotary cutter), an Aussie pen to wear, and a Gold Coast calendar. I just love everything - I lucked up and got a really wonderful swap partner. Thank you so much Jodie!!
The next "I can't wait to open it" gift came from Karol-Ann in England. Karol-Ann sent me several different Liberty of London fabrics. I never thought I would own any of this fabric, which costs around $40 a yard here in the States. Karol-Ann has sent me several pieces and it is unbelievably beautiful and has such a soft hand to it. Thank you, thank you, thank you Karol-Ann. My sister was here when I opened it and was coveting the fabric - ha ha. Too bad!
The last, but certainly not least, "I can't wait to open it" gift was from Razzie in Tassie (Roseanne in Tasmania.) Roseanne is such a sweetheart. She sent me a photo album - and I think she made it herself - so cute! She also sent a Tasmanian Devil pen, an Australia magnet, and a tea towel with an appliqued angel. It is so pretty - I now have a beautiful tea towel collection. I have never seen a souvinir tea towel here in the States. If I ever do I will have to send it to my Australian friends for their collections.
I am going to add my photos now. I have been having trouble lately doing that and have yet to get up the nerve to try using Flickr for this. I hope Blogger cooperates, but if the photos are in no particular order and in funny locations, it is Blogger's fault and I hope you will excuse it!
Merry Christmas to everyone and here's to a brand new year of blogging. Oh wait! I just realized, today is my first anniversary - or Blogaversary!!! I started this one year ago on Christmas Day! I should have thought of having a giveaway but didn't. I am going to have one for my 100th post so if you have made it this far to the bottom of this lengthy (for me) post, this is your heads up!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let the Holidays Begin!

We are finally out of school for Christmas holidays. I feel like it is REALLY Christmas now. Here is a photo of our tree. We put it up right after Thanksgiving (at my children's insistence) and have been enjoying it since then.
Here is Cabalito, the trusted assistant. He makes sure we do everything right. He is such a good boy! Oh, I forgot, he was a bad boy last night. He found a giant Hershey's kiss (the really huge novelty size), that my daughter didn't know was in her room, last night. He ate some of it and was running around with it in his mouth. It was almost as big as his head. Since chocolate is poisonous to dogs we were a little concerned and had to catch him to take it away. But he is fine.
I made this small quilt several years ago. I could not resist because it says "Joy" and my daughter's name is Joy. I love that the letters are made from Christmas objects.
Isn't my Christmas cactus beautiful? I bought it this year and it has bloomed constantlIy for about two weeks now. I have four different colors now. Red, fuchsia, lavendar, and white.
I found out last night that my SSCS benefactor is Jodie B. from Australia. I cannot wait to open my gift but I am holding out until Christmas Day. Jodie, if you are reading this, I cannot tell you how excited I am!! I will post photos of the gift as soon as I open it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung by the, well, ummm, Wall with Care

I made the first stocking for Cabalito. Even chihuahuas need stockings!! The Nancy Halverson stockings I made last year for us. I thought the panel was so cute, and, again, I am a sucker for a panel. There were two more - and elf and an angel. I made those up for Joy and John Owen's cousins.
We have no fireplace so the wall just has to do. I hope you are enjoying the holidays. I am counting down the days. Only three more school days until Christmas holidays!! Woo hoo. This weekend I hope to get you up to date on my mystery quilt progress. - Julie

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent Calendar

This quilt is an advent calendar from a Nancy Halverson panel. (I am a sucker for a cute panel.) It had cut out ornaments that you fused to black felt with a cord hanger to put on each button as the days go by. My two kids take turns picking out ornaments to put on the calendar. I just love this one and had so much fun machine quilting it.
We went to see a local production of A Christmas Carol tonight. It was such a good performance. One of my students was in it, as well as two friends. They did not disappoint and we are still smiling from the good mood and Christmas cheer that was contagious at that event. Hooray for the New Horizon Theater players!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And I thought Hawaii was part of the USA!!

Didn't you think Hawaii was the 50th state? I know that it used to be. What happened to it? Was there a revolution and Hawaii won its Independence? The reason I ask is because of a message left on my cell phone today. I tried to order some candy to send to a friend that lives in Hawaii. I went online last night to Heaton Pecan Farms (Clanton, Alabama) and placed an online order. Today they called. Their message said, "Hello, Mrs. Stewart, this is Heaton Pecan Farm. We only ship to the United States so we won't be shipping your package to 'Hiwarya'. Please call 1-800 etc.. if you have any questions." Of course, I would love to call them back and tell them that "Hiwarya" is in the United States but they are on Central Time and I can only make calls during my planning period which is between 7 AM and 8 AM Central Time. I had an appointment immediately after work today and didn't get home until after they closed. I am amazed at the ignorance of some people. Today I contacted another company and they have no problem shipping to Hawaii. Good!!
At the top is a Santa Quilt I made in a class at Quilts and Fixins in Jonesboro, Georgia. It is one of those fusible grid quilts where you place all the squares of fabric on the grid, iron it down, then sew across all the grids. It was fun to do but not fun enough to do again!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Present and Nativity Scene

I came home from work one day to find my old bed replaced with this new one. There is also a nightstand and dresser. I have been wanting this sleigh bed for several years and was so surprised to find it here! Cabalito seems to approve. He insists on being in all photos if at all possible.
The quilt on the bed is from a class I took when I first started quilting. It is called Thrifty Stars and I think it makes a nice Christmas quilt. It was machine quilted by my friend Cindy Wall.
I don't know what blogger is doing. All the above text was blue and underlined. I got rid of the blue, but can't make it not underlined. Weird. I also cannot drag the photos around like I normally do. Why? I guess I will never know.
Anyway, my mom pulled this old nativity scene out a couple of years ago and gave it to me. It is one that she and I made in ceramics back in 1979. It is in pretty good shape except that an ear is broken off the donkey and a sheep. I have them cleverly turned so that you can't see the missing ears. I love it because it reminds me of Christmas past. In 1979 I was 14 years old. Now my kids love it and they enjoy setting it out for me. I am glad that it is becoming a tradition for them too.

I plan to show some more photos of Christmas items that I have made soon. Don't touch that dial!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ten More School Days Until Christmas Break!

Yes, I am counting them down! Our last school day is December 18th and then we are off until January 5th. I am so looking forward to the time at home. I hope to get my sewing room organized. Wish me luck there - I have been meaning to do it for several years now. My problem is that when I get down there I don't want to spend that precious time organizing, I want to sew!!
I just returned from my guild Christmas party at Flavin Glover's house. As usual it was a lot of fun. I didn't bring my camera and so have no pictures. Everything was beautiful and there was plenty of good sweet and salty snacks. Perfect. I took some roasted pecans and I have some leftover which I will share with my coworkers tomorrow.
Well, have a good Friday. I am so glad tomorrow is Friday. Hooray!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mystery Quilt Advent Calendar

Hi. I am doing a mystery Advent quilt with Marion at Villa Kunterbunt. I thought you might like to check it out and join in. I LOVE mysteries and this one looks as if it will be quick and fun. The finished product wil be only about 27" by 27". You will need red, green, and white fabrics. Visit Marion's blog and read about it and let me know if you decide to join in.


December is Here!

Here is the December block from my Sunbonnet Sue Throughout the year quilt. Isn't she cute? We put our tree up today after school and it is decorated!! I bought a few gifts already. I just love Christmas! And, only 13 more school days until Christmas Break!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I am quite sure that my Secret Santa Christmas Swap partner has no idea who I am, so I am posting photos of what I sent her. I made her a bag and a little quilt using the Flutterby fabric line from Tula Pink. I also sent some eyelash yarn (I don't know much about yarn) and a Santa Claus Pez dispenser for her little girl. She is due to have a baby very soon now and I am hoping that the little quilt will be just perfect. I figured she could use it for the baby or her little girl. It is up to her. I sure hope she likes her gifts!! I can't wait to hear that she has received her package. I am also excited to see on Chookyblue's site that MY SSCS gift is on the sleigh and heading my way! Woo Hoo!!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Good news!! The girls finally went home. I have the house back. Joy is exhausted and already asleep. John Owen is in his room playing. So nice to have a quiet house.

Bad news. The Iron Bowl is a total disaster for Auburn! For those of you who don't know, I graduated from Auburn University. We beat our major rival, the University of Alabama, for the last 6 years in a row in the Iron Bowl. The Iron Bowl is the name of the football game between these two rivals each year. Auburn has had a terrible season this year, and Alabama has been ranked #1 (and still is.) It is the 4th quarter and the score is 29 - 0 with about 11 minutes to go. Oh well.... We'll get 'em next year!!!



The Christmas Season is Upon Us!

I have finally recovered from all the food and fun of Thanksgiving. Wow, it was a lot of work. There is so much preparation work - my sister and I started 2 weeks beforehand getting things organized and ready. It is so nice around here now. However, I am getting stressed seeing all of my hard work undone by 8 twelve year old girls who are here for a sleepover. They are all my students and are friends with Joy. They are currently running up and down the stairs. Fun!! I can handle it - I just barely remember how I used to like to scream and run around and act silly at that age.

I decided to share some photos of my favorite Christmas quilt. This was a paper pieced BOM and was one of my very first quilts!! My kids LOVE it when I pull this thing out and hang it up. It is a sign that Santa soon will be here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Sorry, no time to talk!! Just some photos to share.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I am so honored that Rhonda at Ravelly1 gave me this award. It is for being a cool blog. Woohoo, my blog is cool! I am so excited to know that. :-D Thanks so much, Rhonda, for thinking of me. I love Rhonda's blog too. She is a really cool person and a prolific quilter. She is a Texan and I just love Texas. I have visited there a couple of times and the people are just so nice. A trip to the grocery store is interesting. I never thought there would be so many grocery items shaped like the state of Texas!! There were blocks of Texas-shaped cheese, pasta, well, anything that could be shaped was available in a Texas shape. Those folks are proud of their state and they should be. I love Texas ya'll!!!

Anyway, here are the rules for the award. The rules are that I (1) post about the award, (2) link back to Rhonda, (3) place the award on my sidebar and then choose 10 blogs that I think are really cool, link to them, contact each person and talk about why I think their blogs are cool. I can do this! Here are my ten choices:

1. Jo in Tas. Jo is the first Tassie blogger that I "met" and I count her as one of my friends. Her blog is so interesting. She works down the street from the Cadbury chocolate factory!! Her blog is about quilting and other things.

2. Razzy's Special Place. Roseanne is a lot of fun - you can tell by reading her blog. She is another Tassie blogger and another friend. She makes beautiful quilts and stitchery. She is a fantastic cook, and she has a sweet Patty Melon for a pet! I'll bet you don't know what a Patty Melon is!

3. Villa Kunterbunt. Marion posts frequently about her many projects. I love reading about the festivals that they celebrate in the German town where she lives.

4. Loose Threads. Luann has a lovely blog. I have really enjoyed reading her recent posts about the retreat she attended in Shipshewana, Indiana. She is a great quilter.

5. Patchwork Penguin. Nancy lives in Pennsylvania and makes lots of projects. She has recently started teaching, after receiving her degree in teaching 24 years ago! She seems to be a great teacher and she is certainly a great quilter.

6. Fiber Babble. T is so funny and likes to rant every now and then about things that get on her nerves. Oh, how I love to read those rants! LOL. She is usually annoyed by the same things that annoy me. And she is a knitter who used to be a quilter.

7. Highland Quilter. Catherine is another Tassie Blogger. I am amazed with her beautiful quilts and projects. I love reading her blog.

8. I Just Love to Stitch NO2. Isabella is yet another Tassie Blogger! I only recently "met" Isabella and I am enjoying getting to know her. She is a talented quilter and I love reading about her projects.

9. And Sometimes I Quilt. Katie is an Australian blogger who turned out to be my Stitching Angel. She sent me some absolutely beautiful gifts. She is also a teacher and so we have things in common. It has been fun getting to know her through her blog.

10. Itching for Stitching. Dawnie is another Australian blogger. How could I not add someone who recently had a "fish pedicure"? You just have to hop over to her blog to find out what I am talking about.

I have to get busy readying things for Thanksgiving now. I will notify these ladies later of their awards, so if you happen upon my blog and see your name here and wonder why I didn't tell you about it - well, I just haven't gotten around to it yet!

Thank you all who have sent me kind words about my brother and his thumb. He is doing much better now although the thumb looks terrible. It could have been so much worse. I have a coworker whose fiance cut off his hand at about the same time, which makes the thumb injury seem so insignificant. Also, the company did an investigation on the grinder and there was something wrong with the machine, which is why the accident happened. It somehow feels better to know that the injury was not from him doing something that was not safe. After all, we were raised around machines because my dad owned a Tool & Die business. My brother was working in the shop since he was a young teenager. He is 53 now so that is a lot of injury-free years. :-D

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ouchie, OUCH! Ouchie!!

Please say a prayer for my brother who is in the ER right now. He ground the end off his thumb with a grinder at work. Down to the bone! The doctors are going to have to pull the remaining skin up over the bone and sew it up. I can imagine that the nerve damage will be an issue.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cleaning Day

With Thanksgiving only a week away I had to get busy with my house. My sister came over and we worked all day long on decluttering my house. We have a lady coming in to clean Monday and I had to make it so that she could actually get to the surfaces to dust and mop. I dread it every year but it feels so good to get things clean. I am always amazed at how much sewing stuff has migrated upstairs.
The menu is planned and the turkey has been purchased. It is in the freezer right now. Of course, I have lots of other groceries to buy to get ready. I look forward to the cooking part, it is the cleaning part that is not so fun. I hope to update you as I go along. Sorry no pictures for this post, I just wanted to post to make up for my lack of posts last week. :-D

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Obsession

Just a quick post to let you all know that I am still alive. I have been quite obsessed with I am doing the 2 free weeks and trying to do as much as possible in that time. It seems that most of my ancestors are from Somerset, England. Has anyone ever heard of Barwick Manor in Somerset? I don't think it is there anymore.

I even did more research on my great-grandfather who was a prison escapee. It turns out that he was serving a life sentence for murdering his neighbor. He was on a chain gang in Georgia and escaped. He went to Oklahoma where his wife and TEN children joined him. Soon some of his daughters started writing home to friends in Georgia. He became alarmed that he would be found out and so he abandoned that family and fled to Texas. In Texas, he remarried and had six more children. He changed his name and was a "prosperous farmer." He was arrested on a drunkenness charge and confessed to the police who he really was. So, after 26 years of freedom he was sent back to Georgia and put back on the chain gang at 66 years of age. I thought that was incredibly interesting. My sister and I have decided that this is a branch of the family tree that we would like to prune off! LOL
I am very far behind on reading blogs and responding to emails. Things should get back to sort-of normal in a week or so. I have to get Thanksgiving behind me first. Everyone comes here. Ahhhh!!!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sixth Grade Beauty

Here is my good news. My daughter, Joy, won Sixth Grade Beauty in the Vallerata pageant yesterday! I was so happy for her. She enjoyed herself and didn't get nervous at all. She just had fun. I don't believe that is my baby girl. Is it? She seems so grown up!

What is Vallerata, you might ask? It is a pageant held every year by our school, Valley High School. Joy was in the Junior Miss Vallerata Pageant, which is for the middle school girls. The sixth graders are the youngest group. Here she is with a sweet girl who is in one of my classes. Don't they look pretty together?

I just love this shot of John Owen looking at his sister. Some of my fellow teachers are peaking out from behind the column in the background. Here is my sister, Jo Ellen. She had a lot to do with Joy's success. Jo Ellen took Joy to have her hair and makeup done. She also bought Joy's shoes and some other necessities. Thanks, Mama Jo, for all your help!
Here is Joy with one of my friends and fellow teachers. She is such a fun person to be around and makes the job fun!!

Thanks for reading.