Monday, December 26, 2011

Was it all you hoped for?

How was your Christmas day? Was it all you hoped for? We can set ourselves up with such high expectations of the perfect day that it is hard to achieve that day especially when you get multiple people involved it pulling that day off. Everyones expectations are different. Everyone has their own agenda of what they want the day to look like and feel like. It can lead to disappointments and feelings of dispair.

This time of year is hard for so many people who have lost loved ones, especially when that loss comes close to Christmas. Grief is felt, lost love is felt more deeply. Changes in location or job status can cause stress and tension. No one wants to think about the sadness associated with the holidays but it is so real for so many people. The hurt, the loneliness, the emptiness. All there waiting to engulf you and usually at the most inopportune times. We must remember that Jesus was born, He came into this world to bring His light. To replace the hurt with joy and peace, to replace the loneliness with fellowship and the emptiness with purpose.

We have a choice to make, to continue on the road we are on and continue to reap the harvest from that path or take a new course, one that leads to new life and renewed strength and purpose. I suggest that as this year wraps up in this last week that you reflect on this year past and dream big for the New Year. We all have regrets but we don't have to continue making those same choices that lead to those same regrets. As we change the calendar page and see the possibilities that a fresh page into a new year can offer we need to reassess our own actions. If they are not leading us to the life that we dreamed of then we need to change directions and get on the road that will lead us there.

Think about your new year ahead of you. What are you wanting to do to change the direction that you are going in? Figure out what you can do and start doing it. If something doesn't work then try something else.

You might think that with all this reflection that my Christmas day was a disappointment, but nothig could be further from the truth. I had a wonderful Christmas with family, very little stress and lots of good food.
Be good to yourself and to someone else today.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Ultimate Gift

I have been thinking about my sign off message about being kind to someone else and about being grateful for something each day and I thought that I should share what I am grateful for and turn it into a thanksgiving. I heard a saying, I don't know now who it was that said it but it is none the less true. Gratitude is not thanksgiving until it is expressed. I realized that I was not expressing my gratitude here even though I was encouraging you to. So I am thankful for my family. This holiday season not all of our children will be able to come home from their respective homes so I am grateful for those who are able to make it home. I am especially thankful for having a baby in the house this Christmas. It seems that celebrating Jesus's birth is all the sweeter when there is a baby around to draw the point home. With out the birth of Jesus we would not have this holiday to celebrate. The ultimate gift was a baby, born to be with us and to die for us. I am most thankful for this gift.

This brings me to share with you a wonderful movie that I watched last evening with my family. It is called "The Ultimate Gift". It is not a Christmas movie even though it occurs over Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is a movie that has become one of my favorites very quickly and I hope will be able to watch every Christmas season. If you have a chance to watch it please do.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas meaning

A trip to the airport is in the works for today. DD and baby come in this morning from Tx. I hope that we get a white Christmas for them. The house is in order. The sheets are drying so I can make up a pretty clean fresh bed for her. She is so excited about coming home and we are equally excited.

My prayer this holiday season is that you find the true gift of Christmas and open it with care. Jesus is that gift. He came to this earth as a baby over 2000 years ago. Imagine Mary wrapping up her beautiful newborn and laying him in that manger trough. It wasn't because they were poor that they had to stay in the stable with the animals. It was simply because there wasn't any room in the inn. Don't let that happen again. Don't keep Him outside in the cold because there isn't any room in your heart and home for Him. He created the entire world and then He came to us as a baby in order to redeem the world that He lovingly created from the effects of sin that was never to be a part of this world ever. The work has been completed, the gift purchased, paid for in blood, and it is waiting to unwrapped, opened and accepted. Don't let another Christmas go by without opening up the most precious gift of all.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.

May your Christmas be filled with the love of a baby born.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas wrap up part 2

Yesterday, I managed to get most of the laundry done, one load still in the dryer. I got the grocery shopping done. I delivered 2 "love baskets" that the church ladies put together for shut-ins or the ill.
I finished a window seat cushion, so all my Christmas presents are done. I went and picked up the Pack and Play that DH bought. So now today I will be cleaning up a storm getting the house in tip top shape for DD and baby.

So much to do today. I made my list and I am checking it twice but not to find out who has been naughty or nice but to make sure that I get everything done that I need to do. My brain is not functioning as well as it once did so these lists are very useful. They help me to stay on track with what I am doing and also helps me not to forget something that is important. New strategies are being employed to help me stay focused and organized. It is not that they are "new" strategies as they have been used by many people for centuries. I am just finding that I am needing to employ them myself now at this stage of my life. So the lesson learned is don't be afraid to change the way you do things and try out some of the tried and true strategies that you have heard of like forever to help you get the job done what ever that job may be.

Christmas day is just a few days away but we need to keep the message of Christmas, the birth of a baby who would save the world from sin, in our hearts all year long. May love, peace, and joy fill your hearts and homes this holiday season and through out the new year to come.

Be grateful for all you have and do one kind deed today to make some one else's day a little merrier.
Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas wrap up

Today I will be wrapping up my Christmas projects, and when I say wrapping up I don't mean putting them in a box or gift bag and getting them ready to present as beautiful presents. See my word plays there. It seems to be too early in the morning for such cleverness to emerge but there it is and perhaps it will be a good day after all. I woke up early in the morning and my body ached in every joint I had it seemed. So I got up and took some good old Advil and went back to bed. I slept right through turning my alarm off and didn't wake up until DH was leaving for work. So since I am getting such a late start to my day, I think I will be kind to myself and just putter around until my body wakes up and ease it into the day slowly. Once I make it downstairs to my studio I will put the finishing touches on some of the quilted items that I plan on giving as gifts. Once that is done I just might get them wrapped up in pretty packages after all.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to cleaning the house in anticipation of DD and baby arriving. That will include doing laundry that I might start in on today also. I do have to run an errand to Meadville today to pick up an item that DH has purchased on the local Facebook For Sale site. That will also give me a chance to run over to my brother's apartment and drop off a love box that the church ladies put together for him for Christmas. So today and tomorrow will be rather busy days in preparation, but it will be well worth it as we get to celebrate Christmas once again with a baby in the house. So much fun.

I don't have any photos to share today but there will be more soon. So remeber to be grateful for this season and the meaning behind Christmas and do something kind for some one else. It will help you take your mind off of yourself and bring joy to you in the process. Have a great day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Small wallhangings finished

At our quilt groups Christmas party, we each received a small box with a pattern and fabrics to make one of the small wallhanging in the pattern. They measure about 12-13". So I got at and made up a few. My friend Tina, had her Stitch and Bitch get together on Saturday and so I took these little beauties to show and tell and to work on some more. Here is what I managed to get done so far.

This is the first one that I got done. These were the fabrics that were in the little kit, except for the letters that spell out Joy, that was from my stash. One thing that I did that I changed in subsequent pieces was that I quiled the background before I stitched down the letters and they started to come loose a little and shift when I did stitch them down. So in the rest of them, I did a loose satin stitch around the letters and then quilted them.

Here is the Noel block.

I love the non traditional color scheme of this little block. It still says Christmas without being strictly red and green.

This little one is so cute. It is a snow globe. You chose a fabric that you can fussy cut for the scene in the circle, fuse it to your background, cover it with vinyl, satin stitch around it and leave an opening at the bottom and fill it will some fine beads or confetti, finish stitching it shut and cut away the excess vinyl. So cute. I will make more of these. These would be so fun to make with a photo of someone inside and put confetti in it and give as birtday prestents.
These little pieces only took about one hour start to finish to make. So fun.
What projects are you finishing up before Christmas? These could be done quickly if you needed some last minute gifts.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing the work I finished over the weekend. Be kind to someone else today and be thankful for what you have. Have a wonderful day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Photos to start the day

This is what I just saw as I opened the door to let our dog, Georgie, outside.

We get some gorgeous sunrises here. One just has to be up early enough to see them. My problem is not being awake and up. It is making the effort to look outside and see the beauty that greets the day. So many times we get so caught up in the busyness of our life that we forget to take the time to enjoy God's majesty. It is displayed in everything around us. We just need to be aware of it.

I have photos of another project that I finished up. It is a vintage cutwork tablecloth that I found at a local antique shop that I layered over top of some beautiful varigated peach fabric and quilted. It measures about 43" square.

Here is a detail photo of the quilting.

And another.

I hope that you have a wonderful day. Let the Son of Righteousness shine in your heart just like the sun rise shines every morning to signal a new day to honor Him.

Be kind and grateful today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Photos of projects

I was cleaning up my email account and found some photos that I never completed downloading of some projects that I finished up so I thought that I would share them today.
The first photo is of an Oriental piece that I converged 2 preprinted Oriental scenes into one piece. One of the panels was a beautiful panel that had cranes and flowers on and the other panel was an outline drawing of a geisha girl with fans. There is a series of 4 of these geisha girls portraying the 4 seasons. This one happens to be doing a dance with fans. I have all 4 panels and plan on doing a series of these.
Here is the photo and then I will explain how I did it.

I cut both panels apart in vertical strips. The strips are of gradating sizes. It is important not to cut through her face so careful planning has to be done to avoid ill placed cuts. The pieces are then sewn together alternating between the 2 panels in order to recreate the scene on the panels. I also wanted to add color the geisha girl panel since she was a black a cream line drawing. I used Shiva paint sticks to add color to her fans and headpiece and I used permanent ink markers to add the color on the band portion of her kimono. The rest of the color is added with the thread work as I quilted the piece. The concept was to have the colors from the floral panel to flow into the geisha girl panel.

Here is a detail of the quilting.

You can see the color that the quilting added to her costume. I used the same color thread in the background area so that you would see the texture but not detract color wise with the girl and her kimono.

Here is a detail photo of some of the background quilting that I did in the background of the floral pieces.

I love how this turned out and I have the other 3 quilt tops ready to start quilting that utilize the same technique. I would like to get them all done and enter them as a set into some of the quilt shows this year. I will have to work hard to get it done but it will be so worth it. I love working with these types of panels and creating something wonderful with them. I hope you have enjoyed how I made these and I also hope that it inspires you to try something similar.

Have a great day, remember to be grateful for something small today and do some kind act of generosity toward your fellow mankind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas decoration photos

Yesterday was quite a busy day but I was able to get the living room presentable for photos of the decorations. Here is the Christmas tree.

I was surprised that I couldn't find any tree lights at Wal-Mart. I ended up getting them at Big Lots.
I also got two sets of sparkly ornaments. I tried to stay with a red, white and gold color theme to the tree but I added pretty much all the ornaments that were glass regardless of color.

Here is the table scape on the entertainment buffet.

I used a gold wreath for a base, set my mom's punch bowl inside the wreath and filled it with red and white ornaments. I also tucked a birds nest into the front of the wreath and placed a bird ornament in front of the nest.

The kitchen buffet got a simpler arrangement of candles and Hallmark animated characters.

I still have to get downstairs and clean out the storage closet and then put all the boxes away. That will be my morning project and then I will work on putting 2 small bookcases together for my brother Bill. He needs extra storage in his apartment.

Today looks like a good day to finish up lots of little ends to projects. I have lots to get done before Christmas arrives. Lots to do indeed.

Have a great day and find one thing to be grateful for and one kindness to do for someone else.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mishmash of stuff

I got the tree decorated yesterday. The wreath is on the door and the decorations are in place except for some minor tweaking. I have not got the boxes put away yet though. I ran out of time and energy yesterday to do that.

I had been in the mood for some good homemade Tomato-Basil Soup, so I made that yesterday afternoon and had that along with a smoked gouda and havarti toasted cheese sandwich. It was so good.

Today is Prime Timers Christmas party/meal at the church. We are having a white elephant gift exchange. I haven't even gotten my gift ready. Mentally I am just not making the needed connections. I have got to get my act together.

After Prime Timers I have to run over to Domestic Sewing Center and pick up my sewing machine. It was sent back to the company for repairs since it was still under warranty. It will be interesting to see what they said was wrong with it, it wouldn't zigzag. I will also take my spare machine over and have them check it out. I think the foot pedal is going bad on it but it also needs a good cleaning so I might as well leave it when I pick up the other one. It is a long trip but since they don't charge a service fee on machines bought there it makes it worth it and they are so friendly. If I have enough energy I might check out Target while I am over there. So I will be running around a lot today.

Well, today's post is rather short but I have a lot to do before going out for the day so I need to get going. I will post photos tomorrow of the Christmas decorations.

Have a great day and remember to be thankful for something today and do something kind for someone else too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting on board with Christmas

Last week was a very low energy week and I feel that I didn't get a whole lot done so I now feel the pressure to get a lot done this week in preparation for Christmas. I started to decorate yesterday but got derailed because I need to get some new Christmas lights for the tree. I have 3 strings but 2 of them only half of the lights work. I am sure that I have more lights somewhere probably in the attic which I am not going to try to navigate. So this morning I am going to run into town and pick up some lights. I will also go get a pattern from a friend on making star ornaments. So there might be a post on these cute ornaments in the future.

So my projects for today are,
1. get lights for the tree
2. get the pattern
3. decorate the tree
4. get rest of the decorations placed
5. clean out the storage room where the decorations reside
6. put all the boxes back in storage room once done with them
7. vacuum and clean up the living room once everything is decorated.

In the meantime I will give you a sneak peak of what chaos the living room is in during the decorating process.

There is the tree that I can't go any further with until I get the lights on it.
Getting through that maze is a challenge. Soon it will be passable again. (I hope.)

I need to come up with a really nice display/centerpiece for the buffet.

That should be enough for today and tomorrow I should have photos of the tree and decorations for you.

Have a great day. Hope everything is beautiful for you today but remember that it might get ugly and disfunctional for a while before it falls into place and becomes beautiful and functional. Be grateful for life today and do something nice for someone else.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Office tour finished

Today I will finish up the tour of my office makeover. I finally got my window treatment up. The curtains had been out on the back porch for the summer but now with winter coming (woke up to snow on the ground this morning) I washed them up and hung them in the office.

I had been reluctant to hang them earlier because one of our dogs ate my last curtains I had up but our dear Abby passed away several weeks ago so they are safe now.

Here are a couple shots of the tight corner of the room. The closet and the bookcase I mentioned yesterday.

I took the doors off of the closet to make the area more accessible. Since I had lots of quilts to display there the doors were not needed.

Here is the bookcase at the end of the bed.

With the bookcases split apart I get balance and function in the room and I love all the dark wood against the blue/green of the walls and the white accents.

The finishing touch was to replace the generic 30 year old light fixture cover. I had a white wire basket that I added blue/green glass discs to along with Mardi Gras beads and glass necklace crystals. I attached the basket to the ceiling with cup hooks. It was so easy to create, it just took time and patience.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed the tour of my office space. It is tiny but really functional.

Have a great day and remember to be grateful today for something unexpected. Try to see the good in adversity and the good in others around you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More office makeover

Well, I left off yesterday after showing you the wall treatment I did in my office and what the room looked like as you look in from the hallway. Today I will share with you some of the details of the room.

Let's start off with a look at my desk area. Here is a photo of the desk. Of course you realise it doesn't look that neat right now as I am sitting here creating this post.

My desk is made up of an old treadle sewing machine base that I topped off with a mahogany top that my DH made for me. This top has been used for so many purposes. I have used it on 2 short wrought iron bases for a coffee table, on this same sewing machine base as a sofa table, and against the wall as a console table. Now it is serving duty as my desk top in my office. I love the rich wood tones and it is 5 feet long so it makes an ample surface to spread out and do lots of paperwork. I have room for my laptop, the phone, a wire basket (not in the photo) that I can keep all my frequently used books and folders in. As I look at my desk right now I need to do some editing of items so that I can get back to just the important things. Prime real estate here, I have stuff that can go else where in the room and declutter my work surface a bit.

I used the short wrought iron stands underneath my desk on the ends to place my printer, printer paper on the bottom shelf of one and books and other frequently used items on the other one. I have a ton of Longaberger baskets and so I took the set of hexagon shaped baskets and hung them on the wall and placed pictures of the grandbabies in them. As the pictures are just sitting in the baskets they can easily be replaced with newer photos as they grow and change. I could also put small items in the baskets in front of the photos if I had some, such as a rattle, a baby bootie, or a little hair clip.

On either side of the desk I placed small bookcases that I got at an auction this past summer to store more booksoffice supplies etc. The bookcase is in 3 sections, the end pieces are on either side of the desk and the main section is at the foot of the bed creating a day bed effect. It is hard to get a photo of it as it is a tight fit between the bed and the closet but I will try to get a good photo and post that tomorrow.

As you can see the room has shaped up ralther well and I will finish the tour of it tomorrow. Hopefully you will get some ideas of things that would work for you in your home. My personal favorite that I have shared with your so far are the baskets masquerading as picture frames.

I hope you have enjoyed my office tour, remember to do something unexpected for someone else today and find one thing to be grateful for.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More office photos

I promised some more photos and explaination of my office makeover. I don't have a before photo to share. I always seem to jump into a project and forget to take the before photos. I will have to work on getting before photos of projects in the new year. So here is a photo of the wall treatment. It is not wallpaper, it is hand painted treatment to resemble wallpaper.

I painted the wall first with Martha Stewart Living paint color Hummingbird blue in eggshell. I next made a cardboard stencil shape that I could trace around. It needs to be symmetrical if you want the motifs to snug up against each other. I traced around the template shape with a regular pencil, moved the stencil and continued tracing. It is important to have a vertical and horizontal line to start out with but after you get the first row of stencil drawn out if you stay consistent with how far apart you place your stencil it will stay straight. It is also easy to fudge a little if need be. After marking the stencil design on the wall, you need to take a 1/2" artists brush, I used an angled one, and paint on the inside of each motif. This gives you the double nestled up lines. If you painted in between the 2 penciled lines you would have a single motif and it would be less busy. I won't lie to you the rest of the marking and painting step takes some time. It took me one day to do one wall. As I only did 3 walls it took me 3 days to do the decorative part of the painting.
The color of paint I used to paint the stencil design was also from Martha Stewarts paint line in Sea Glass and I used a semi-gloss for that so that the light would reflect off it and show up a little more. I love the effect that I got but if you didn't want quite so much pattern you could use lower contrast colors and stay with the eggshell finish for the paint. I painted the ceiling and trim Glass of Milk, so it is a creamy white.

Here is a photo of the room pulled together from the doorway.

Notice the sepia photos of my girls on either side of the windows. It is a beautiful way to add symmetry to that wall and I get to see those beatiful faces everytime I enter my office.

I will add more photos and explanations tomorrow on the rest of the room. The functional part of the space.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a wonderful day. Don't forget to be thankful for something today and find some way to do something nice for someone else.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Comfy spot to read or meditate

I made some pillows with some rather large vintage linen napkins that I found. I had a set of 5 that matched and 3 more of another style but the same size. I hand dyed the 5 a nice golden yellow, which is the accent color of my home office. I made 2 completely yellow and 1 that is yellow and natural linen and 1 completely natural. I made them to create a day bed look in my office. I bought Euro sham pillow inserts that were 27" square, zippers and some vintage crotched tims, which also got a dip in the dye bath. I also picked up a battenberg lace Eurosham cover on one of my trips to the antique mall. Here is what my day bed looks like with the pillows.
Here is a little closer detail of some of the pillows.
I took them to the craft sale to see if they would sell even though I was hoping that they wouldn't. People didn't even really look at them. Well it is my gain. I love them and am very happy that I get to keep them for my room.

I am looking for some sort of storage containers, whether they be wicker baskets or something else for under the bed and then I need to find a skirt or something to cover the bed base. It is not all that attractive. I love my day bed though and now I am going to keep it a "dog free zone". NO dirty paws are going to get up there and ruin it.

My office is coming together nicely and it is a pleasure to spend time here on my computer or reading. It is a peaceful sanctuary.

I hope you have enjoyed a peak at my office. I will post more pictures of the rest and tell you how I did it in another post.

Have a great day and remember to be thankful for what you have and do something kind for someone else.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Craft sale update and plans for the day

Monday morning. What is today going to hold? I am going to run an errand for Jeff, seems he bought some Christmas decorations from a lady in Mercer so I am going to pick them up. How strange. He buys a lot of stuff online but Christmas decorations would not have been something that I would have expected. While I am out I will run into town and pick up some groceries. Need to make a big batch of soup for Prime Timers for tomorrow. Will also bake up a big batch of cookies to take for the cookie exchange.

The craft sale at the church on Saturday was a big success. Most of the people I talked to did well selling their crafts and the UMW group did very well at their table and the kitche sold out of just about everything. I heard many of the shoppers coming in saying they had a hard time finding a parking place. I was a very good day indeed. I have Chrismas presents to make replace since I sold some at the craft sale, but that was my intention.

I heard from Kate last night. She is getting moved into her place rather nicely. She got all her electronics hooked up all by herself. That is a great accomplishment that I wouldn't try to tackle on my own. It seems that there are more wires and connections to make than there are pieces of equipment. Good job Kate.

Yesterday, Jeff went and got our rugs out of storage so that we could get them back down (since Abby isn't with us anymore, the rugs are safe again) before I put up the Christmas decorations. I wanted to get them started yesterday but it didn't happen with all the furniture moving that was done to get the rugs down. It will get done this week.

This week I also want to start quilting on ceiling panels for my studio. Since we had to remove the dry wall ceiling due to an electrical problem I have had bed sheets tacked up to cover the dark light absorbing ceiling beams. I have had this in mind for years now and I am finally going to get started. It will give me lots of practice and be a great way to show customers quilting motifs and ideas to use on their quilts when they drop them off.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tie up loose ends

Today is a day of errands and tying up loose ends. I have to get everything ready to take down to the church to set up for the craft sale tomorrow. I need to put everything out so I can see it all and remember to take everything. It all needs priced. I want to put a tablecloth out to put on the table and perhaps some sort of signage or decorations to catch people's eye.

I need to run into town also and pick up some groceries and Christmas cards. I wanted to do that Wednesday when I had my mammogram but that took so much time that I didn't get that done.

I still want to make a couple of small zippered make up cases and snap leather baskets. Hopefully I will have enough time to get those done.

Once the craft sale is over I plan on getting the Christmas decorations out and getting ready for Lindsey and Brianne to come and join us for Christmas. Dan will also be home with us. He starts at Penn State Beaver campus in January. So once again we will have an empty house.

Hopefully I will have pictures to share from tomorrows sale and some wonderful stories to share.

Have a great day and remember to be thankful for something today that you usually take for granted.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This week has been very busy so far and not just for me. Kate was to get her household shipment yesterday and move into her new townhome in Hawaii. Big kudoos to my baby girl for being self sufficient and stepping out into a new adventure all on her own. I am so proud of you Kate. Photos of her place will have to be gotten and shared as soon as they are available.

Yesterday, I started out my day by going and having my yearly mammogram done. All good with the girls. Then I stopped by Pat Catans and got some boxes for our cookie exchange we will be doing with the Prime Timers group next week. I didn't have time to finish my shopping while in Hermitage before heading back to Greenville for a visit there. (The mammogram and ultrasound took much longer than expected.) So I got to visit the folks at GMC and then had lunch with Tina at the Stone Arch. Yummy, grilled ham and swiss sandwich with homemade potato chips. I then headed home to change clothes and pick up my cleaning supplies and headed to Bill's apartment to clean. I spent about 2 1/2 hours cleaning up and organizing what I could. I took out 4 bags of garbage to the dumpster, cleared a pathway from the front door straight back to the bathroom, cleaned off the dinnette table, vaccumed the rug, and cleaned the bathroom. He has lots of books and papers that need to find a home so I want to find some bookcases and a small credenza or dresser that those could be stored in. I plan on going back next week especially if I can find some storage pieces to get those boxes emptied into to make more walking space.

I also got the Oriental wallhanging's hanging sleeve stitched down. It needs a lable yet. Today.
Here is a detail shot of the piece. The color in the geisha girl was added with thread work and Shiva paint sticks added the color and texture to the fan and her headpiece.

For today, I am going to finish the vintage tablecloth piece, bind, wash, and block it and get the fan on it so it can dry. That is my last big piece before the craft sale. I would like to make some faux leather baskets to take to the sale, and some small zippered pouches. Hopefully, I can get all of this done by Saturday morning. I also need to call Anita and see when she is going to go to set up her table. We have adjoining tables so that we can cover for each other during the sale. It will be nice to see her this weekend.

So that is what my day looks like. I hope you have a great day and do something unexpected for someone else.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New site to check out

Good morning. I was doing a little checking out of some of my favorite blogs this morning before heading here and I just found another site that looks like will become another favorite. It is an ezine called Go check it out. It has a great mission statement and great articles on being a wife, marriage, home, fashion and faith. I haven't had much time yet to really get in there and check it out too much but it looks like a great place to find answers, help, support and ideas for family life in general.

I am off today to run quite a few errands. First of all, I have my yearly mammogram scheduled so after that I will be going to Pat Catan's to pick up some things for Prime Timers group next week. We will be addressing Christmas cards to friends, neighbors, and shut ins so I have to get the Christmas cards. We will also be sharing cookies and doing a cookie exchange so take out trays or containers of some sort are needed. I will also stop of at clinic and visit with all my friends there on the way home. Next will be to get a bite of lunch and come home and gather up all the cleaning supplies I will need to clean up Bill's apartment. He is to do up his laundry this morning so when I get there I will try to dig him out of the piles of papers and clutter. He has been under the weather of late and not had any energy to clean up. Hopefully we can get the window open a little to air out the apartment.

On the home front, I got a good portion of the tablecloth quilted last night. I have the outer border yet to quilt, apply the binding and wash it and block it. I forgot to go check on the Oriental wallhanging last night to see how it was drying. Hopefully, it will also be dry so that I can finish sewing down the hanging sleeve on the back of it and applying a lable to it. I will post photos soon of these 2 pieces.

Another thing I want to share, I heard this yesterday morning and have been thinking about it a lot. Especially since we just celebrated Thanksgiving. Gratitude is not thanksgiving until it is expressed.

Lots to do today and so I better get going. I have 30 minutes before I need to walking out the door. Have a blessed day and remember to express your gratitude to someone today and make it your offering of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to block a quilt

Good morning, everyone. I have been up this morning for about an hour, I have done my morning devotions. I put meatballs in the crock pot for our Prime Timers lunch. The recipe is so easy.

Crock Pot Meatballs
1 bag of frozen meatballs, any variety you prefer
1 jar of grape jelly
1 jar of chili sauce
Mix the grape jelly and chili sauce together, pour over the meatballs in the crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
It is that simple and really good.

Yesterday, I got good news and bad news about my sewing machine, Lilly. She will be repaired for free because she is still under warranty, but she has to be shipped back to the company for the repairs. So I will be without her for several weeks I am thinking. Linda, at Domestic Sewing Center, Warren, Ohio, called and said that she was going to ask them to put a rush on it but I still think that it will be several weeks. Linda is such a great dealer of Janome brand machines, if you are ever in the market for a new machine and you are in the area of her shop you need to check her out. The service is fantastic.

On to a project report: I have my large oriental piece quilted. I think I will go back and add a little more detail to a couple of places, but for today I need to get it washed, to get out the markings and then spread it out on the carpet in the guest suite and block it. If you don't know what blocking is, it is done after the quilt is completed and the binding is on. You wash the quilt in cold water, spin out as much of the water as possible, and depending on the size of the quilt you can do the blocking part on a bed or table or floor, the area has to be large enough for the quilt to lie completely flat. It helps to have something soft but firm to pin into, such as carpet. You lay the quilt down and stretch it out to square it up and pat it down in areas that want to puff up. Pin all around the edges into the carpet, T pins are good for this, and then you let it dry. I place a fan blowing over it to accelerate the drying time. Depending on how large it is and the weather conditions it can take from several hours to several days to get completely dry. Do not disturb the quilt until it is absolutely dry. My piece is approximately 45" square so it shouldn't take too long with the fan blowing on it. I am going to go do the washing as soon as I am finished here.

My next quilted piece will be a vintage table cloth I bought last weekend. I got some peach fairy frost fabric to go underneath the cutwork cloth and also for the backing. I started the marking process last weekend but some of the marks have faded so much already that I will have to remark some areas before I get to the quilting. This is another piece I would like to have done by Saturday. It shouldn't be a problem as I have several days. I also have to finish up my t-shirts for the craft sale. I have 3 done, and I have about 9 more to go, I might take them with me and make a demo of the technique at the show. I can take special orders and customize the shirts. Well that is where I am today. I still have some other small things I would like to make but if they don't get done it is not a big deal.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend busyness

This weekend has been a busy and challenging weekend. I have been working on finishing up projects for the craft sale at our church this upcoming weekend. It didn't help that my main sewing machine had some problems and I had to take her (her name is Lilly), to the dealer for repairs. So I am using my second machine which I usually have set up to do my regular piecing and sewing on. I don't use it for my free motion quilting usually. So that was my Saturday trip, out into the wild chaos of shoppers. I did stop at the local shopping mall and visited the antique store that is there on my way home. I am always on the look out for great vintage linens to make quilted items out of. Yesterday was Sunday school, church, lunch out, we picked up some take out also and swung by my brothers apartment and dropped that off to him, he has been sick the last week. Home then and a short nap. Up and quilting on an oriental piece that I want to have done for Saturday's sale. DH came in late and I watched the 2nd half of the Steelers game with him and then went to bed. The sad news from the weekend is that our sweet little Abby, a 5 yr. old beagle, died this weekend. She was found in the yard. She was so sweet, I will miss her. Our other beagle, Georgie, is sad too. I think she knows because she doesn't want to go outside by herself.
Today, I plan on working on laundry while I am quilting on these last minute projects. I also have to run out and get a door prize and snacks for tomorrows Prime Timers get together. It is a get together of those 55 and older from the community that meets at our church for fellowship, entertainment and good food. Tomorrows meal is pot luck so I also have to get a dish of some sort together to share. Lots to get done today so I am off to get started. Have a great day and I hope you do something to share the love of Christ today.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday shopping. How did it go for you? I started out this morning shopping with my friend and her daughter. We where at Joann Fabrics at 5:30 AM, we where the 3rd -5th people in line. I spent a whole $1.05 there. I got some picture hangers that I needed to hang my cork/bulletin board. I wanted to get a bolt of their 50% cotton/50%bamboo blend fabric but they didn't have any. So they didn't get too much of my money. Then we headed to Dunhams, I picked up a Christmas present for DH. Spent $9.99 there. At K-Mart I did part with a little more of my money. I got a new mattress pad cover and new sheets for the office/guest bedroom. I also picked up a shirt for DH. Next we went to Big Lots. Saw some really nice electric fireplaces there but didn't buy a thing. We went to breakfast after that and met up with some other friends of Tina's there. They were quite busy. It took quite some time to get to order but most of all the coffee that we all so desperately needed. After we filled our tummies, we headed on up to Wal-Mart. I bought 2 boxes of tea, for me, the check out clerk asked me if I braved all the crazy crowds just to get 2 boxes of tea!?! I said that was all I needed. I got the most of my shopping done at Salvation Army Thrift Store, otherwise known as "The Boutique". I have been looking for a pair of jeans and a white long sleeved button down front shirt for me. I got both, a pair of shoes, 2 outfits for Brianne,and 1 for Avery. I also got a black plaid wool jacket with suede collar all for $14.06. Not too bad. On the way home I stopped at Time and Again Antique Shop and got a cute cutwork tablecloth for $12.00. I spent just $100.00 today. Not bad. I might go out tomorrow and shop small business sales but I don't know for sure. We will see what tomorrow brings. It was a great day. Hope you had a great one too and didn't run into any rude shoppers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I pray that you all have a wonderful day. Don't forgive to thank those people that you take for granted all year long. Think about it for a while and you will know who they are.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Love, thanksgiving, sharing?

Love, thanksgiving, sharing. What do these have in common? Do we exhibit these qualities frequently? Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the day that traditionally we get together and share a meal. How often in the busyness of cleaning the house, preparing the perfect meal, getting everything just right do we forget to be thankful for the opportunity to host or share in this celebration? Are we thankful that we have all these members of the family to feed? Are we thankful that we have a home in which to serve up this feast? Do we prepare everything with love? Do we greet our family and friends with love? I read a great post this morning from Biblical Homemaking about love and sacrifice.
It reminded me of showing love and mercy while serving. While sacrificing time, energy, provisions, our gifts and talents, do we do it to earn others admiration or do we do it out of love? This Thanksgiving, ask yourself am I doing this out of love? Or am I too caught up in proving something to someone that I forget the whole purpose of Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is a celebration based on thanking God for providing food, shelter and friends that helped the first settlers, the Pilgrims, make it through their first winter and year here in America. The new beginnings for them and the great harvest that they had thanks to the new friends that helped them to adjust to their new homeland. We all need friends to help us survive the cold hard realities of life. Are we thankful for them everyday? Do we share what we have everyday along the way, as we have the ability? Do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Do we love ourselves enough to be able to love our neighbors? Do we offer our thanks giving to an awesome God continually? This world needs LOVE, that is acheived by being thankful for what we have, sharing what we have and giving of ourselves, showing mercy and forgiveness when we are done wrong. Love is a seed that when planted in the hearts of man will grow an abundant harvest of love. The seeds that we plant in the ground will grow that fruit, so it only makes sense that if we plant love, love will grow. What does your Thanksgiving look like? May God bless your celebration table with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These are the fruits of love. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It has been a slow morning. My brain hasn't begun to function yet. This post might be a short one. Let's begin with what I got accomplished yesterday. I mailed off a birthday present for a sweet little girl who will be turning 2 on the 27th. This sweet little thing.
When I talked to her on the phone the other day she just shattered away with such expression, you could tell she was telling you something very important but I couldn't understand any of it. She is such a sweetheart. Happy Birthday, sweetie. I also got a lot done from my list I made in an earlier post. I got 7 casserole carriers done. I have an 8th one almost done. I need two more metal rings to add to it to make it functional but the rest is done. I also finished up the last 2 backpack/tote bags. They turned out really cute. So I now have 4 of those. Then I made one of the two chenille scarves. I will do the second one today most likely. I am making all of these things for the annual craft sale that we have at our church. It is Dec. 3 rd. Oh, I forgot I also made 2 pillows that are decorated with colorful zippers. Really cute. I got a lot done yesterday. Now for today, what are my plans. I plan to finish that last chenille scarf. I have 2 pieces that would make a great journal cover. I should go get the notebooks that will go inside so that I get the dimensions just right. I have one wallhanging that I also need to finish quilting so that I can have it to take to the sale. I have a customer that loves oriental pieces and buys something each year from me that is oriental. I need to get that done. Well that is what I have planned but we will see what the day holds as anything can happen to change those plans. (If I get all this done, I might just surprise a little lady by showing up at her birthday party.) Have a great day and remember to be thankful for all your many blessings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week

Here we are. It is Thanksgiving week. How has this year gone by so fast? I remember as a kid it seemed to take forever to get from one Christmas to the next, or through one school year to the summer. The days are flying by so fast that I think we forget to take a moment each day, not just on Thanksgiving day, and give thanks for all we have. This morning I have thinking about all the things I am thankful for. I am not going to list them here since I already did in my journal. The point is not for you to read what I am thankful for but to think about what it is that YOU are thankful for. Especially all those little annoying things, like a messy house because it means that real people live there, that annoying alarm clock that goes off to get you up to go to the job you have, not wanting to get out of bed on a cold morning because you have a nice warm comfortable bed. These are just a few things. Can you think of something to be grateful for when you are gritting your teeth due to some annoyance in your life? Here is a photo of something I am very grateful for.
My family. I hope that you all have a very thankful Thanksgiving and may God bless you abundantly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cleaning up studio to move forward

After I got home from the airport yesterday, I spent the afternoon cleaning up my studio. It turned out to be a very productive day. Here is a photo of how messy it gets when I am in that creative work mode and don't take any time to tidy up as I go along, which never happens when I am deep into a project. Every flat surface gets taken over by all my stuff that I am using or that doesn't have a home.
This is from the doorway of my studio. In this photo, it shows you that every flat surface gets taken over by all my stuff.
Now to prove to you that I did indeed clean up.
As I was cleaning up my studio, I came across this little pillow cover that I made, it is Sashiko dragonflies, while on the quilt trip to Vermont this summer. It has been to the stage of needing stuffed for months and I had picked up a pillow form still in its original wrapper at Goodwill, I decided to get it done so I wouldn't have to keep moving it from one place to another when cleaning up. This is not one of my original projects on my list from yesterday but since it only took about 15 minutes to complete I decided it was worth doing right then and there instead of having it continue to clutter up my work surfaces and my mind. It is really cute.
I also got 3 t-shirts finished for the craft sale. So over all, yesterday was a very productive day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Projects Finished Up

I finished up several big things over the last several days so now I can play with some other fun projects but that will still have to wait a bit. Today I have to take Dan to the airport to fly out to California for a buddy's wedding this weekend. When I get home I have to spend 1 -2 days cleaning up the house before I get back to quilting. I finished up my last customer quilt last night about 7 PM. My legs were really aching by the time I got done. I also finished up the rag rug. It didn't get too much bigger.
My list of projects to work on next.
1. 2 more backpack/tote bags
2. 6 casserole carriers
3. fabric Christmas star ornaments
4. my Tabacco Bay wallhanging.
5. a journal cover
6. set of faux leather baskets
7. 2 chennille style scarves
8. Oriental wallhanging
This is all I can think of at the moment but that is enough to keep me busy for a while. I will post photos of these projects as I get done with them. Now I am off to the airport. Have a safe fun day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What next?

I am on a mission to finish up a lot of projects that are just about done so that I can get to working on my seascape again. This is the piece that I started at the quilt retreat at the Greenville Arms Inn last month. I have not worked on it since getting back home although it has been hanging on my design wall so that I can study it and work out the rest of the quilting ideas. Here is where I am with it so far.
I also have a small piece that I plan on finishing. It was also started at the same retreat. It will become a journal cover perhaps. Here it is.
It will get a tree branch perhaps going across it. It should be a fun quick project to finish. I hope you have fun thinking of projects that you want to get finished up before the holidays. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crotcheted rag rug

I have been working on a rag rug. One of our quilt group members taught us how to do this last week at our work day. This is a great way to repurpose those old worn out sheets. I wish I knew how to do this about 6 months ago when my favorite purple sheet ripped from being so old. I chucked that beauty. It would have made a great rug. Oh well, no need to cry for that one when I have plenty others in my closet or that can be gotten cheaply at the Goodwill Stores. Here is what I have been able to do so far.
How about that. It is about 3 feet in diameter right now and I have several more colors to add to it. It does take quite a bit of fabric to make one of these, obviously depending on the size you want. I think I read that a 4 ft rug takes about 9 yards of fabric. To do this you rip your fabric into strips about 3/4"-1" widths, attach the strips into one long one, roll up into a ball. That is the prep work. Make as many balls of different fabrics as you want to use and then you can begin to crochet the rug. I am not going into how to crochet but it is a single crochet stitch. You can find tutorials online or get some good book on how to do this. You can make the rug round or oval or rectangular or I suppose you could even make it square. It has been fun working on. You can do this while watching TV at night and not have to concentrate on what you are doing too much. BTW, this will be a Christmas present for my BFF. Hope you try to make one sometime.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tote? or Not

I am working on several things right now. I just made several backpack/tote bags from practice quilt sandwiches. They turned out cute and they used up something that very easily could have ended up in the trash years done the line when I got tired of trying to find a place to store them. This is what I started with
It took 3 of these quilted pieces that are 9x21" to make one bag. This is what the bag looks like.
And another one.
Sorry they are sideways. I will have to work on my computer skills some more. It took about 1 hour to make a bag. They can be worn as a backback or push the straps through the handle on top and you can use it as a shoulder bag. They have a deconstructed look due to the raw edges. They will make great Christmas gifts. Hope you enjoyed and I plan to be back every day M-F to share other things I am working on.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Coming together

Things are moving along rather quickly today. I was beginning to feel like I wouldn't have much of anything done to take home and show off but everything just pulled together today and I am really pleased with how my piece is coming along. I finished fusing the sky diamond tiled sunset background section then moved on to creating the foreground section with painted rock formations, hand dyed fabrics for the water and sand. After fusing everything down where it needed to be then I began to add shadows and reflections in the water. I even got to the point of spray basting the quilt top onto the backing and batting using a technique that one of the women shared. This is the tip of the year. When you are ready to spray baste your quilt together lay out your batting and spray it with the adhesive, take your backing piece of fabric and roll it onto a paper tube slightly longer than your backing right side in. Take that to your batting lie it down and slowly roll it out smoothing gently as you unroll your backing. Now flip your backing/batting piece over, spray the top of the batting, roll your quilt top up on the paper tube with the right side in on the tube. Unroll your top onto your backing. This made the basting process so quick and easy. I will be using this process for just about every quilt that I don't plan on quilting on the longarm. Poor Lola, my longarm, she hasn't been used for nearly 2 weeks now. I then started to machine quilt my piece too. I got a fair amount of my sky quilted. Tina got her piece basted together and started quilting too. She has such a realistic scene. We had a wonderful sweet potato soup for dinner, followed by a Jamacian lamb stew with chocolate ice cream for dessert. After dinner we had a presentation of next years classes here at Greenville Arms Inn, followed by a slide presentation by Gloria. This week has been a lot of hard work but we have learned so much and have enjoyed the company of all the women in the class. This has been a great experience. I certainly will consider doing something like this again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today I am going to blog about the food that we have had here at the Greenville Inn. First of all it has been fantastic. You can tell from the first meal that Mark, the chef, loves what he does. He is also very accommodating if you have any special food allergies or dietary restrictions. Breakfast always has a special that changes everyday but you also have a small menu of choices that you can choose from. I tried the French toast the first morning which was very good, only topped by the special one day of French toast made with raisin bread. Wonderful. Lunch is on our own but you can order a lunch of a salad or sandwich if you don't want to leave the inn and go somewhere. Tina and I brought sandwich fixings, chips, salsa, and grapes so we were set for lunch. We have a small fridge in the room which makes that possible. Supper is always a 3 course meal, soup or salad, main course and dessert. Wonderful. This salad was topped with a wonderful raspberry vinegrette dressing.
Here was the chefs special jamacian chicken. Wonderful. The vegetables every night were prepared to perfection.
Dessert was always the grand finale of the meal. Sometimes homemade ice cream, carrot cake, or bread pudding. Oh and I forgot the cookie break at 2:30 every afternoon of fresh baked, warm out of the oven cookies the size of your face. Melt in your mouth delicious. If you are hungry around here it is your own fault. Many of the women have been here before and attest to the delicousness of the meals from year to year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today started very early, at least for Tina and me. I woke up at 1:45 AM and tossed and turned for 45 minutes beforeTina woke up also and we decided to go to the studio and work on our projects. We had the studio all to ourselves. I decided that I needed to paint another piece of fabric to use for my sky work. While it was drying I started to put together a small piece with diamond tiles. I have the background piece done and waiting to learn how to add a tree to the piece. The pieces that I trimmed away from that I used to start another pieced background. When all is said and done I should have 4 to 5 pieces pretty well completed by the end of the week.
By 6:00 AM I was ready to take a short nap so that I could be ready when class officially started again. Slept till 7:30, got up for breakfast, had a wonderful poached eggs on english muffins with and artichoke cheese sauce. So good. Class, work, lunch, work, afternoon nap, supper and now blogging. Will go back to the studio tonight to work a short while longer before heading to bed. I will also get some pictures of my works in progress. A post without pictures is pretty boring.
Tina is heading to bed now but she worked straight through without any nap so I will cut her some slack. She is working on a beautiful and very realistic piece and is doing quite well also.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quilting at Greenville Arms 1889 Inn

Today started our class with Gloria Loughman at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops held at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn. We are having a wonderful time getting immersed in learning how to create a landscape quilt. So far we have had a lesson in achieving a painted fabric to enhance our designs. We also have had a color theory lesson. Very informative. We have been busy creating our backgrounds today. Here is a shot of the studio with us busily at work.
This is just before dinner so some of us were beginning to get a little weary and took a break. We have a great space to spread out and work in and everyone is so generous with their help and encouragement.
Here is a quick shot of what I have gotten done today. I am cutting out my background diamonds for my sky background. I have approximately 50 cut out or so but have about 500 to go. It will take some time to get them all cut out and placed onto my background but I am hoping that it will be stunning when it is all done. I am working on a sunset over Tobacco Bay in Bermuda from my own idea of what the sunset would look like there so it may not be exactly true to a real sunset there but since I am the artist I can create what I want, right?!? I will try to post something everyday to document all the great fun that we are having here. By the way the food has been absolutely fabulous so far and from the reports that others who have been here before we will not lack for good food. Chef Mark LaPolla has amazed us with his Tilapia Almondine, chocolate creations, wonderful pancakes with cranberries for breakfast, and fresh baked still warm out of the oven chocolate chip cookies for an afternoon snack. Everything is so wonderful.