Okay, more than a day off...

My quilt guild holds an annual retreat and I've made it for the last two years. It's held at a lovely little spot about 30 miles from home. This year's retreat is going on right now, and for a number of reasons I wasn't able to attend. So I decided to have my own retreat, which accounts for me sewing two days in a row. It's worked well because Paul is in Austin visiting Maggie and Jeff (and Maggie is currently running a half-marathon—woo-hoo! Go, Maggie!).

The two problems with my personal retreat are that Pearl still needs to be taken outside every now and then and I have to make my own meals (our quilt guild retreat was held at a center run by Franciscan nuns, who made lovely, healthful meals that appeared three times a day at the sound of a bell).

Yesterday, when I took Pearl outside, I was struck by the Dr. Seussiness of this snow-covered sedum. (I hope you note my discretion in not whining about winter or the 2 inches of snow that appeared on the ground overnight. Just rest assured that this isn't an "isn't winter lovely?" blog photo. It's me laughing at the sheer silliness of snow...easier to do when it's in the 30s.)

It's likely the sedum struck me as zany, rather than tragic, because I've been in a silly place, working all day on "Liberated Houses." I took a terrific class at Common Threads in North Liberty last fall and started making the houses—pictured are the smallest two of seven. Nancy G. taught the class, which I later learned was based on the work of Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran (I wasn't able to find her web page, but here's a fun interview with her on Quilter's Buzz). In Houston, I learned from Mel and Mary Lou that Gwen and Freddy have a book, Collaborative Quilting, that talks about putting together Liberated Houses and other elements. They have a great concept called The Parts Department, which involves making lots of strips and blocks to use when constructing the actual top. So I'm working on these half-square triangle borders and a variety of trees. I'm still a bit unclear about how it will all go together. It's the first time I really wish I had a design wall, and not just a design floor (which is what I call the technique of laying out the pieces on my bedroom floor and then standing on the bed to get some visual distance).

Does anyone have any advice for putting these pieces into some sort of coherent whole? I'm happy for any and all suggestions.
Linzeeartists, quilt shops, sewing, winter