Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just A Little Winter Stitching!

I've gotten just a bit of sewing done lately - nothing much to brag about.  Well, maybe one thing I'll brag about....I've gotten one of my projects for the See You In September Blog Hop done!  And this is July!  And it's a gingham one!  I can't show you now, though.  That's against the rules.  But in September....

I finished a couple of candle/mug mats/rugs.  They're really candle mats but I use them for mug rugs.  The first is for Valentine's Day.

And this one is probably intended for April....showers, you know.  But we've gotten a lot of rain this summer so I can use it any time!

And then there's this Christmas quilt - I know several people who love cats so this one will be well loved I'm sure!

This was a panel I must have bought 15 years ago or so...maybe 10 but I bet closer to 15!  I added borders and did a little quilting.

I did more quilting than you will notice - or at least more than I notice.  I wanted it to be simple to go along with the primitive style of the panel so the quilting is mostly hidden in the trees and cats and presents.

Is anybody else getting any winter stitching done?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Heavenly Days

It's summer time and the livin' is easy....well, not really, but it sure is fun.  I've been AWOL from the blog for a bit but I have good excuses.  First my baby brother and his wife came to see me, with baby being relative, of course.  (I had my hair all cut off for the summer - love it! cause I just wash it and go!)

He's a retired policeman....looks like one too, don't you think?  He was a deputy sheriff in Texas for a while too and he reminds me of some of those old cowboy stories.  :)  He did lots of things when he was working - undercover, drug unit, had a dog for a while, stuff I don't really want to know about.  Once when we were both about 30 years younger he came to see me and I didn't recognize him when he came to the door - he was undercover and had long black hair and a long, bushy black beard and was dressed in dirty old clothes...scared me to death!

I made a quick red, white and blue table runner to send home with my sister-in-law.

And then my sister came to see me for a bit of R&R.

She had just spent 8 weeks with her youngest daughter and family after her daughter had some very serious complications with childbirth.  Mother and son are doing great now but I know she panicked when her mama left!  Or maybe that's just me.  I would have panicked!
She sent me three chicken feed sacks some time ago so before she got here I made market bags out of them - two for her and one for my oldest daughter.  They both love daughter just has a few but my sister has almost 30!

After she left we bought a new umbrella to put behind that couch - it's mostly shaded on the deck but midday to mid-afternoon the sun hits right there.  I love that the outside is the same color as the cushions but the inside is floral!

Then it was time for the Fourth of July and all my kids and most of the grandkids were in and out from Tuesday night to Saturday night.  They had some water time, even though the water is still cold here at my house.

There was a lot of playing inside the house too - my poor living room!

Cushions, blankets, pillows....all went into the making of this tent!  And games were kept nearby for dragging under there with them.  :)

One of the grandchildren was born on the Fourth of July so we had a double celebration.  She got a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake - sinful cake for sure.

We went into town to a big community gathering to see the fireworks.  There were children playing everywhere.

Even the big kids played!

And then there were fireworks!

The weather was a pure blessing - in the 70s in the daytime with a nice breeze.  I even had to cover up at the fireworks!

And before the weekend was over a wonderful sweet friend was passing through and I got to visit with her for a few minutes!

Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives that we forget to count our blessings.  But this holiday always makes me thankful - for freedom, for the men and women who fought and sometimes died to give me that freedom, for family and for friends, for the food we take for granted and the homes that shelter us.  My heart and my cup overfloweth!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

See You In September and Orphan Blocks

What does one of these have to do with the other?  Nothing.  Or I guess it could be something.  There's a new blog hop happening over at Sew We Quilt called See You In September.

Shari from Refreshed Intent and Living with Purpose will be coordinating this hop so be sure you join in - it's going to be great fun!  I'm all ready - one of the requirements is to use some Riley Blake gingham for one of the three projects so here's what I'm going to use:

Hmmm, wonder what holiday I might be thinking about?  :)

Meanwhile I'm going to be taking a little trip, no a big trip, in the future and I wanted some bags to put my unmentionables in.  I know those airport folks see a million pairs of panties every day but these are MY panties and telling me they don't even think twice about underwear is like telling me not to be nervous about going to the gynecologist because they see lots of those private places every day.  Is it my age that makes me think private things should be private?  :)

I made a couple of unmentionable bags out of two fat quarters and some ribbon I had left from another project - these are even lined.  But then I thought to myself, "Self, you have tons of orphan blocks....what could you do with those?"  So I made these two, one lined and one unlined.

Before I'm through I'll have enough bags to hold every single thing in my suitcase.  But, really how many of these do I need?  I don't need a hundred so I'm on a quest ya'll.  What else can I do with orphan blocks?  Pot holders would be good but what else?  Got ideas?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Morning Visitors and A Few More Finishes

I think the flock has grown!  I don't know why they keep coming back because we don't feed them but there must be something in the grass there by the lake that they like.  Worms...grasshoppers....some other kind of bug....I don't want to think about it!  :)

I'm finishing up the last few days of work for this year and, hopefully, for this lifetime.  But I did get to the sewing room a few afternoons and one day this weekend.

I need a few more pillows for our Independence Day celebration.  This was an easy one and I love the bright colors.  I didn't realize how faded some of my older pillows were until I put this one out.  I'm not sure if I will use it on the chair or the lounge - it will depend on what other ones I make.

This wall hanging is going on my front door - the pattern came from Summer 2014 Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.  The pattern uses strips of red and strips of white for the bottom portion but I had this striped fabric that seemed perfect to me and since it made it even faster made it even better.  The hearts and stars are wool appliqued using a blanket stitch.  I did some echo stitching around the hearts and then wavy lines down the stripes.

This last piece has quickly become a favorite.  I can't tell you the name of the pattern because I loaned it to a friend but I'll have it back in a month or so if you are interested....just let me know and I'll e-mail you the particulars.

This quilt has wool applique, hand embroidery and piecing so it has something for everyone!  I did some echo stitching around the flowers, then stippled the background.  The borders have what I call spirals in one but I didn't do anything but straight stitching on the rest.  I will probably come back and add something to the last border but just can't decide what right now.

Six UFOs done, a million to go.  Well, not a million but a lot.  :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I'm A Completer!

In education, at least here in Arkansas, when a high school student successfully finishes certain courses in a field of vocational education they are called "Completers."  I'm not sure exactly why that's important, or why other people think it's important, but as a school counselor and administrator I see several good reasons for this process.  First of all kids have to set a goal, and that's always a good thing.  Second, when they complete the courses they are ready to go forward in their chosen field of education to either a technical school or a college/university.  For kids who either don't want to go to college or who don't want to go right out of high school, or who want to go into a field that doesn't require college this is a step up that will sometimes put them ahead in the job market.

This summer I'm trying to be a Completer.  Of course my chosen field is quilting/stitching and my courses are my UFOs.  :)  To that end here are my first three completed masterpieces!

 I signed up for a class last year for this messenger bag at my local quilt shop not because I didn't know how to make a messenger bag but because a friend was going to teach it and I wanted to spend some time with her.  Life interfered and I didn't get to attend the class but she was gracious enough to give me the pattern anyway.  I cut a few corners and made it in an afternoon.  I used some pre-quilted fabric I had and though you probably can't see it in this photo I rounded the corners of the flap.
 Do you like my button?  I love it!  I'll show you in a minute what it really is - but not a button.  :)
 For the lining I used a treasured bit of fabric brought back to me from Africa by a friend who picked it up while on a mission trip.
Can you see now what my "button" is?  A clip earring!  I simply stitched it down going over and through the clip to hold it on.  I didn't want the flap to actually button so this simple trick made a decorative addition.  I pick up earrings like this at yard sales when I find them because they can be repurposed into so many other things.

Second up is this sweet little table topper.  Last year a friend from one of my stitching groups passed away.  Her daughter gifted her friends with some of her fabric, books and UFOs.  This piece was a UFO and had a few scraps with it where she was going to add to it.  When I looked at it I could tell it was probably made late in her illness because the piecing was not her usual perfection.  I could have taken it apart and made it a little straighter and with a few less wrinkles but I didn't - I wanted to savor it and her and every minute of her life.  I remember so well the last few weeks of my mother's life where she sometimes sat with a needle and a block in her hand looking at it as if she couldn't figure out what to do next.  Then it would come to her and she would take another stitch.
 The colors in this piece are perfect for my deck - the furniture out there is certainly livened up with it on the table.
But it also goes well in my bedroom either on the blanket chest or on my footstool.
My third and final selection this week is the last of my Kathy Schmitz BOM pieces for my Ackfeld Stand.
 I think this one is called May Flowers - or maybe that's just what I call it.  I loved the fabric I used on this one and really, really wanted to do HSTs for the border.  I think, though, that I made it just a wee bit too wide to hang on the stand.  Like maybe 2" too wide.  Hmmm, guess I might be shopping for a bigger stand.  That would mean I need to make several more this size, right?  :)
I'm really sad that these are all finished - I've loved these stitcheries.

Are you going to be a completer this summer?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Expensive Does Not Always Mean Better

In 2005 we bought a new washer and dryer.  One or the other of my old ones died and we figured the other wasn't far behind so we just replaced both.  My old one looked a lot like this picture I found on Google Images.

Of course I wanted the newest and best thing they had so that they would last me a really, really long time, equating expensive with something I would love.  And silly  me,  I thought these new ones would last me a really, really long time.  We didn't buy the most expensive set they had in the store, but we did buy the second most expensive.  I would have bought the most expensive ones except I didn't want a front loader washer.  And after all, if you pay a lot of money it's going to be something you will love, right?

Wrong.  My new ones looked a lot like these, except white.  Because I'm addicted to white.

The washer had problems from the beginning.  Problems so great that they gave me a brand new one to replace it after the third repair call.  Problems fixed I went happily on my way, washing and drying.  That washer was High Efficiency and needed special detergent but hey, it was the best out there, right?  Because it was HE it wouldn't fill up with water; it just put enough water in to get the clothes clean.  Or so they tell you.  Do you realize that if it won't fill up with water you can't soak anything?  You can't dye anything.  And contrary to what they tell you my clothes just didn't smell clean to me.  And they looked...well, dull.  I fought it and I fought hard.  I tried different detergents, even making my own.  I tried different fabric softeners, again even making my own.  I HATED that washer.  I couldn't wait for the day it would quit.  And lucky me....last week that happened.

Now understand my husband wasn't nearly as happy as me.  :)  But being the good man that he is he understood that a minimum of a $200 repair bill on a 10 year old washer versus the cost of new one and his wife's happiness well, no contest.  So what did I do?  I went to the store and bought the cheapest washer they had.  Yep, the cheapest.  And you know what it looks like?  Just like the washer I had the first few years we were married 50 years ago!

This isn't it, of course, because it's the same image from above but trust me, it's very close to this.  My husband commented last night that it even sounds like our first one - pretty darn loud.  :)  It fills up, the lid locks, it agitates, it drains, it spins.  And my husband came in after the first day and said, "hey, my towels smell better for some reason."   I love it!  I will not be fooled again.  I will not look for the most expensive.  I will look for the tried and true.  Well, unless it's fabric because, really .... well, I don't want to get crazy about this, right?