Unclaimed Baggage Center

Monday, June 14, 2010

What is that you ask? Well if you are ever near Scottsboro Alabama you must stop by and see for your self. This little hidden gem is a treasure trove of awesome deals! It has been on our "to do list" for a few years. My husband had a few jobs in Cullman Alabama with his previous employer (when we were still living in TN) and every time I got to tag along we would promise to go check it out "this time." It never happened.

This year on the way back from my triathlon in Tullahoma TN, we took a detour and went to Russel Cave National Monument. After we were done there we hopped back in the car and I looked at the map and realized we would be going through Scottsboro on the way home. Something jogged my memory and I remembered about the UBC.

What exactly is it? Well the Unclaimed Baggage Center is were lots of orphaned baggage ends up. Here it is sorted and items are put up for sale to the public. What kind of items? Everything you could imagine and more? The best part is that most of it is in like new or new condition! They do a really good job of sorting stuff and you won't really run across any "junk." The prices are definitely varied, I think they discount the stuff that has been there longer. There are lots of clothes, books, electronics, shoes, jewelry, sports equipment, etc. You would be surprised at the things people bring or buy on vacation!

Some of the stuff was overpriced in my opinion(that's the bargain hunter in me!) but most of it was moderately priced. A DSLR was going for about $300 but you don't get any guarantees as to how long it will last (most of the more expensive electronics are checked and tested, but still you are buying used.) We made a few purchases the best bargain being a two piece suit for my husband for a mere $30! Actually there were some really nice $500 Ralph Lauren 3 piece suits that still had tags on them for only $100! We also bought a very pretty smocked dress for my daughter that looks brand new for $7. A Cinderella dress up dress (all the glitter is there so I think it's new!) $6. There were one or two more items we bought all at a great bargain!


I have, once again, joined the next round of the Flickr Doll Quilt Swap. I don't do very many swaps but the doll quilt swap is one that I really enjoy doing. This will be the 4th time I join this particular swap. I can only say good things about this very well organized swap full of very impressive quilters, lots of eye candy and a very active community. It is in such high demand that sign ups usually close within 2 days!

I know I already have a long list of projects to finish (see left side bar) but I actually added this swap to the top of list because I knew I would join it as soon as sign ups were open. The good thing is that I don't have to send out the quilt until September 1st. That's plenty of time to work on this little quilt. I think I will need all of that time to come up with a really good plan because I have received my partner and am now feeling "stage fright!"

So what is a swap? Basically someone organizes a swap, takes sign ups of people that want to join, then assigns partners. You basically make a quilt (in this case a doll quilt) for your partner, and your partner (usually a different person) makes a quilt for you. The DQS9 is a secret swap so you can't just go and ask your partner what they would like. Instead you fill out a questionnaire when you sign up and provide links to your blog and to your "likes" so that your partner can get a feel for what you like and "stalk" you in order to get an idea of what to make you.

Here are just a few of my recent favorites:

What's for Dinner: Zuchinni Pie

Friday, June 11, 2010

I made this pie for dinner the other night and surprisingly enough the kids gobbled it right up. The zucchini was perfect and just slightly crispy. I am not a fan of mushy zucchini and neither are the kids. This was a super simple recipe and I will definitely be making it again. Probably a lot this summer since my neighbors, an elderly couple, planted about 10 zucchini plants in their garden!

Basting Tutorial

Thursday, June 10, 2010
It seems like everyone has their own method of basting quilts together. I've tried lots of different ways and finally settled on this method which works for me and might work for you.

First I lay down my backing on a nice clean floor (this method will not work on carpet.) Then I tape down newspaper all along the outer edges. I use plain old blue painters tape. Then I "stretch" out and tape down my backing to the newspaper. I use the word "stretch" for lack of a better word. You want the quilt back nice and taught but you don't want to over stretch it or distort it.
Notice my diagonal pieced backing! I've been using John Flynn's method for a few years and I love it. It may be a little confusing at first but it is definitely worth learning to do it to save money on backings. Read more here and here.

Next I lay down my batting on top of my quilt top in the position I want it. I then roll about 1/2 of the batting back (from either side) and apply spray basting in about 12" rows to the quilt back. Then I slowly unroll the batting over the sprayed area smoothing out as I unroll. I then repeat the process until I reach the edge of the quilt. I then roll up the other 1/2 of the batting until I reach the sticky area that I have already spray basted and repeat the process.
I basically do the same thing for the quilt top. I position it, then roll up half of it and then I spray the batting in 12" rows and slowly unroll the quilt top as I go. Repeat for the other half of the quilt top.

I have been using spray basting by June Tailor and have used up one whole can of it and I have one can left. I was able to do several 45x45 quilts with the can as well as several doll quilt sized mini quilts. It is rather expensive at around $9/can but I got mine on clearance long ago for about $4. I don't know if I will buy more of it or try a different brand. I've heard lots of good things about using Aquanet hairspray at around $2/can I'll definitely give that a try! Maybe I can find some coupons to get it for free!

What's for Dinner: Shrimp Fajitas

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I love having fajitas for dinner. These are a snap to make if you keep frozen peeled and de-veined shrimp on hand. I don't really have a recipe but here are the basics:

Olive oil
.5-1lb frozen peeled, de-veined shrimp (thawed)
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 med onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
1-2 tomatoes cut into wedges
salt and pepper
Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Flour tortillas
Hot sauce
Sour Cream

In a non stick pan heat a about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute onions for about 3 minutes, add sliced bell peppers and garlic, continue to saute another 2-3 minutes add shrimp and splash of Worcestershire sauce. Right before the shrimp is cooked through add the tomatoes. Saute until the shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I love a colorful dish

Serve on warmed flour tortillas and top with a dollop of sour cream and your favorite hot sauce or salsa. Enjoy!

Mach Tenn 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I had so much fun last Saturday at my third Mach Tenn Triathlon. It was fun to see old friends who I have trained with in the past. It was even better to be back in Tennessee. I miss TN quite a bit. Of all the places that we have lived (CA, UT, AL, GA, and TN) Tennessee is my favorite so far. Well actually I think Kentucky is my favorite but we were only there for 2 months in a hotel while my husband had an out of town assignment. There is something about TN specifically Murfreesboro that just feels like home. It was torture being so close to Murfreesboro and not having enough time to stop by.

Well I ran a good race {or should that say swam, biked, and ran a good race?} I did not break last years time but I still had a good time and was only about 2 1/2 minutes slower than last year. The funny thing is that my bike time is within milliseconds of last years time, what are the odds of that? So here are some pictures of the day which you may look at if you promise not to laugh!

Here's the cheesy "before" pic. I better pay attention instead of hamming it up for the camera, we're almost up next.
yup that's me #209 right between #208 and #210, those 2 guys make me look tiny!

better get that stop watch ready, I'm next!

GO!! the water was perfect, almost too warm by the end of the swim

See that splash on the left? I'm pretty sure that's me

Coming in from the 16 mile bike ride.

I have to learn how to dismount more gracefully! Honestly I should have had that foot out of the clips long before this point.

You have to make sure you dismount and walk across this point tor you get a penalty. I forget what the guy next to me said but he was being funny! I'm working hard, honest!

Coming in from the run! ...almost... there...

I made it!! and the crowd goes wild (ok just my hubby and kids!) I can't believe I actually look good at this point!
I finished 12th in my age group at:

I can't wait for next year!

Modify Tradition Swap

Today is the deadline for shipping out the Modify Tradition Swap quilt. I finished this last night and then I did a dumb thing! I completely forgot to go to the post office today. I will stop by tomorrow morning and this fun little quilt will make it's way into the hands of my swap partner. I hope she likes it!

It's made with a "Birdie" by Moda charm pack. There are quite a few firsts in this little quilt. My first Dresden plate, made super simple by following the great instructions by Elizabeth. My first pieced binding (it looks awesome!) and my first pebble quilting.


black and white detail of back

I think I love the back more than the front! I want my partner to be able to display either side so I'm not attaching a quilt label. I've made a label but it is just pinned on. Now I'll have to make one for myself!

The day before...

Friday, June 4, 2010
Tomorrow is my race! These last few months of training will hopefully pay off in a new Personal Record for me at the Mach Tenn Triathlon in TN. To tell you the truth I'm a bit of a wreck right now. I'm trying to get all my gear ready checking and double checking to make sure I don't forget something important,I like running shoes! 4 miles in flip-flops would not be fun.

I'm hoping to shave off at least 6 minutes from last year's time to come in under 2 hours. Hopefully all those early morning spin classes will pay off. I didn't do as much run training this year but I can keep up a 9:30 pace over four miles which is great for me and my short little legs! I don't even worry about the swimming portion because I'm a pretty good swimmer. Those 1600yd will be over in about 18 minutes. All I can hope for is a good ride on the bike. As long as I don't wreck or have a flat all should be well! I have no aspirations of placing in my age group, I'm not that delusional! Al I want is a new PR.

A big HUGE thank you to all my sponsors that helped me reach my fundraising goal! I actually raised $280 which was $30 over my goal. If you still want to make a donation you can! It doesn't matter that I already reached my goal because it is for a great cause. You can read more about it here.

Thank You:
James E, Rick C, Kristi C, Kobie W, Nathan T, Elisabeth R, Richard V, Cassie M, Amber A, Caroline R, and Laura S

Wish me luck!

Win a GO!

Thursday, June 3, 2010
My friend Gene recently won a GO! from Accuquilt. How cool is that? Well I'm here to tell you that there are a few giveaways going on around bloggy land for GO's. First head on over to the Accuquilt fan page on Facebook and become a "fan." They're giving a GO! away every time they reach a set number of fans (the next drawing is at 5,000 fans.) You can also enter a drawing over on Bejeweled Quilts by Barb but if you do, make sure and tell her Petit Debutant sent ya!

Of course any of my non quilting friends can still enter the giveaway and give me the GO! if you win! :)

And the winner is...

#9! Block number nine is the block that made it into Sharon Pederson's Rose of Sharon book. More exciting {at least to me it was, like jump up and down excitement} is that Sharon herself sent me an email after reading my blog! Yes MY blog!! {eeep!} I don't even know how she found my blog. I asked her if I could post about the contest on my blog and she gave me the go ahead but I don't remember pointing her to my blog {oops.}

I can't believe how unbelievably nice she is! We're going to be like BFF's from now on I just know it! :) She also gave me the inside scoop and let me know that block #9 was the one that made it into the book, but not only did it make it into the book it was also chosen to be on one of the chapter introduction pages. I seriously can't wait to get my hands on the book! I would love to make a quilt like the winning quilt but with some fabrics along the lines of Meadowsweet on Kona Charcoal. mmmm... It is quite lovely in Batiks though. I've never been a huge fan of batiks but Sharon did such a wonderful job on this one and it is absolutely stunning! That project will have to wait though because I promised myself I would not start any other projects until I've checked off a few of those UFO's I've listed over on my sidebar.

I have been working on my Modify Tradition swap quilt (which is #1 on my list.)

I hope my partner likes it!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I recently received some great news that really put a spring in my step and has boosted my confidence as a "real" quilter. I don't know if you had found me way back in October when I posted about this EQ6 design contest.

All entries (over 850) went through two rounds of judging. If your blocks made it through round one then your blocks could possibly be featured in the "Rose of Sharon" book and DVD. Those blocks that made the cut for round one would then be sent to Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims for round two! Alex & Ricky would then select the top 12 designs to be on the cover of the book and made into the Rose of Remembrance quilt to raise awareness of Alzheimer's through the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. The whole idea was the brain child of Sharon Pederson and she put together this beautiful quilt from the top 12 blocks:

The quilt was quilted by Barbara Shapel

So what's my great news? ... well I didn't make it into the top 12 if that's what you were thinking, but I did make it into the book! *WAHOOOO!* {pardon me I can't contain myself!} The email I received was a generic mass e-mail and it did not say which of my designs or how many where picked. So it will be a surprise when the book and DVD comes out. Here are the 9 designs I submitted:

#4 is my favorite. Which one do you like?

So you want to get your hands on some of these materials and make your own? Well all of the files will be available at some point from EQ as a download-able file library. The DVD can be ordered from Nine Patch Media and will ship June 10th. The book will be published by Martingale and should be at quilt shops in August. Accuquilt has also made a die set!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Did you notice I have been missing for a few weeks? Two to be exact, well not including yesterday's post.

Do you ever hit that slump, whether it's in your life, your sewing , or blogging where you just feel unmotivated? Not because you don't have anything to do/share but mainly because the thought of accomplishing the task seems like such a battle. I've come to realize that when I get into this "funk" I can trace the root of my problem to one thing: organization, or rather a lack thereof.

I've been in a sewing funk lately. Mainly it was because of the state of my sewing room:

Well as you can see it was a mess. For some reason the space wasn't working for me. In fact it was working against me! {treason!} I would walk in and just set my new fabrics or projects right near the desk and skedaddle on out of there as fast as I could! I was that unmotivated!

So a few nights ago I was going to do some "light" cleaning in here and it evolved into an epic rearranging of furniture, stashing of fabric, vacuuming, dusting, and more moving of furniture. The result is a more open less crowded feel to the room, even though I added an extra table!
*aah*, much better:

Those small bookcases will be replaced soon with 2 tall bookcases from storage in TN. Hopefully those book cases will give me the extra storage so I can pull out the remainder of my fabric from those boxes you see under the tables and under the frame.

I also made a list of UFO's (unfinished objects) in order of importance. I even posted them over on my left hand side bar {so you guys can keep me on track!} I have 16 UFO's that made the list. 16! That doesn't include at least one more that I found later. I didn't even realize that I had 16 works in progress. Ok well three (#2,8,9) of the 16 have not been started but need to get started.

The other thing that has hit a slump is my blogging. I was having a hard time with how long it took to write a post. Most of the time is spent {or is it wasted?} on the images! I edit 99% of the images before posting them here. I actually love editing images so that's not a big deal, but blogger only lets you upload one image at a time and each one of those images takes forever to load! I finally decided to do some research on the free Picasa account that we get as part of blogger. I'm still learning the ins and outs of Picasa but I think that it will enable me to more efficiently upload my images without taking up so much of my time. i still have much to learn and kinks to work out but I think I'll enjoy using Picasa

So here is to being efficient!
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