Thursday, October 31, 2013

Groovin'...

I was in the groove.

Until I had no elastic.

In the meantime...
here is a sneak peek for you.




I have a busy afternoon...out and about. 

I hope to be back tomorrow with a finish.




"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 28, 2013

Seeing Double...

I spent a little bit of time yesterday afternoon working on my Double Hourglass quilt.  I have a difficult time with random...I may have mentioned this before.  However, I recently read a post on Amanda Jean's blog about how she does random which gave me some hope.  Read it here.  Thank you, Amanda Jean!

I had 64 blocks to use for this quilt...a lap quilt with 8 rows of 8.  I paired up two blocks that I deliberately chose...blocks I liked together.  Next, I put together two pairs of blocks...again choosing pairs I liked together.  I then had 16 strips of 4 blocks.  I laid them out on my bed...somewhat randomly at first.  I say somewhat, because this fabric collection, 'Fig and Plum', has 3 fabrics with dots...I needed to pay attention to where those blocks were.
 
Here's my first layout:

(Click on the image to see the individual blocks better.)  I must say that I am almost happy with this layout.  There is one place where two blocks of the same color and the same print are diagonal from each other.  However, since they are smack dab in the center of the quilt, I just may leave them where they are.  There are two other places that I may address...we shall see.   Because you know how it goes once you start moving pieces around...move one and then you need to move another...and another...and on and on.  

It will be at least a few days before I get back to this.  In the meantime, I have some knitting and sewing to do.

Have a great day!
  

   
    

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Getting Started...

Last night, I decided that it was time
to give some serious thought
to what I would be making
for Christmas gift-giving.
 
Yeah, about time, hey?

In the past, I have made
pillowcases,
zippered pouches,
tote bags,
plastic bag holders,
floor pillows,
placemats,
napkins,
table toppers,
tree ornaments,
coin purses,
quilts,
kleenex cozies,
pillow covers,
and aprons.

I had a little difficulty
coming up with some new ideas.
But, I think I made some good choices
in what to make for each person on my list.

This morning, I started pulling fabrics.
(An easy job now that my  stash is organized.)

This is not all of the fabrics I'll need...
but certainly enough to get me started.
Fabrics for several different gifts I'll be making.


 Tag was his usual supportive self...

I would love to hear
what you are making this year.
  

 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, October 25, 2013

Temper, Temper!!

I was all set to sew up a storm today.  I cut out a pattern...pajamas for Aubrey (and Aubrey was her name)...as a trial pair.  To see how things went together, to size them, and all that good stuff.  Very cute pajamas, too...pink with green stripes flannel.   

Course, I haven't used Serger Sue much at all since she arrived in June.  I started with a trial run and things looked okay.  Not perfect, but okay.  You know how temperamental sergers can be!  But, I went forward...sewed the pajamas, all the while thinking it was good that they were for Aubrey.  Things were okay with the pattern, but the serging didn't look right.  I became fairly frustrated and quit once I had the pajama top done.  


Tonight, when I should have gone to bed, I decided to see if I could figure out what was going on with Serger Sue.  Nothing looked right...and I know diddly about fixing the tension.  But then, one of the threads broke, so I thought...ah-ha...I'll rethread Serger Sue and perhaps that will fix the problem.  Well.  Apparently Serger Sue did not like being set aside when I had company and had a temper tantrum!  She unthreaded herself from one of the thread guides.  Well, no wonder the tension wasn't right!

I spent a very long time rethreading Serger Sue.  What a pain it can be to thread a serger!  But, now that I have done it, rethreading won't be so bad from here on in.  (Course, changing colors is simple...I tie the new color threads to the current ones and pull them through all the guides...easy peasy!!!)

Once I had her threaded, I tested her out...and YAY!  We're back in business!  whew!

I think Serger Sue and Naomi Janome are happy to be on the sewing table...together again. 

Okay, so I am tired.  And, apparently thinking I am pretty funny.

All's well.  Good night. 




"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Snow...

If it lasts less than 5 minutes,
melts as it hits the ground, 
and ends as quickly as it started...
does it count as the first snow??


 Yesterday afternoon...
a gust of wind,
a bit of snow,
and it was done.


 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blessings...


**Warning:  This post is very wordy and has a lot of photos!

When I started my blog on May 30, 2007, I did so with the idea that it would be a great way to keep my family and friends informed of what was going on in my life.  You know...they could come to my blog to read about what was going on.  I was in the process of moving from the city to the country...into a house on a huge property, so there was a lot that I wanted them to see.  Plus, I could show what I was working on (rug hooking was my passion back then).  You know.  It seemed like it would be a much better...and certainly more fun...way of keeping everyone up to date.

Little did I know where this blog would take me...the impact it would have...the doors it would open...the changes in my life that I would keep everyone up to date with...what it would lead me to...who I would meet...what I would receive in return.  

I have a much better idea of all of that, now.  This blog has become a creative outlet...to share what I have learned, to show what I have done, and to talk about subjects that mean something to me (though I have been lacking in that area of late).  I have made many blogging friends...women I will probably never meet in person, but who I care about...women who cheer me on, who get me involved in swaps and projects that I otherwise might not have done...women who have become important to me in many ways.  Women who have become my supporters, my cheerleaders...who have offered sympathy when sadness has entered my life, who offer joy when happiness reigns...who inspire and motivate me.  

One of these women...a new friend...sent me a thank you gift.  Actually, gifts.  Yes, gifts in the mail today!  You all know how much I love those, right?  I thought about inserting links to some of the posts I've written about gifts in the mail, but let's just say I did that and you get the point.  That point being that I LOVE getting gifts in the mail.  ~grin~   ANYWAY.  Remember the strawberry pincushion swap?  I wrote all about what I sent to my swap partner, Donna, here.   Well, she was absolutely thrilled (read what she wrote on her blog here). 
  
It really was fun to have Donna for 'my person to send to'...it seems that we have some things in common: 


  We both like Crabapple Hill Studio designs.  She made the
'Over The River' quilt, and I'm working on 'Snow Days'.
  She and I have both had Herding group dogs.  She with Corgis
and me with ColliesWe've both had Labrador Retrievers.
  Her dog's name is Taggart (akaTag) and my
  dog's name is Tag (aka TagEButt).
I live in Madison, Wisconsin.  She lives in Florida, but 
grew up in Wisconsin,  At one point, she commuted to work in Madison.
 
A great basis for a friendship, don't you think?  

Anyway.  It's always good to know that you hit the nail on the head when you try to get to know the person you were assigned to send to...so that what you send is appropriate, appreciated and approved of!  So.  Did you read what she wrote on her blog?  The part she wrote about how she was really overwhelmed by my generosity and how she thought I read her well...and then she went on to say how she wanted to create a few things with me in mind. 

I tried to convince her that nothing was needed...that she should not send me anything.   But, she ignored all of that.  

So.  The package arrived in today's mail.  

Here come the photos...

See the card?  That's her first Corgi, Fezzik.  She wrote a beautiful note inside.

This is so sparkly and fun...see the jewel?  So pretty!!
When you open the flap, you find a tablet.
How fun is that!
A local treat...honey from Sarasota, FL
A fat quarter of the prettiest strawberry fabric I've ever seen!
And, the pièce de résistance!  A wool applique pincushion!  It is simply wonderful!
A closeup of some of the stitching!
Everything together.
A wool pincushion.  Besides cotton, wool is my fabric of choice!  Donna tells me that the pincushion is filled with crushed  walnut shells, which are great for keeping pins and needles sharp!  

I know to truly appreciate a gift, one should use it.  I am loath to do so...just because it's so beautiful.  BUT, I will.  Because I am appreciative.  I will place it on my side table and use it for my handstitching needles and pins.  That way, I will look upon it every day and be reminded of and thankful for the blessings I have received.  (And, too, this way it won't get covered with stray threads and all that my pincushion by my sewing machine is covered with.)  

I am completely overwhelmed by Donna's 'thank-you' gift(s).  Talk about generosity!  I have no words to express what I am feeling.  I'm going to have to find some, though...to write a thank you note without words would be...well, just wrong!  ~grin~ Thank you so very much, Donna.  

This blog has brought me many blessings...thank you, Jesus! 


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 21, 2013

A New Week...

Whew!  I am so happy that this past week...the week of the lazy butt...is over!  I did feel better after reading a few comments and emails about my last post...and decided it was just a recharge going on.  So.  Now I feel rejuvenated and am rarin' to go! 

I got my sewing area set back up again this morning...had it all cleared away when I had company here 2 weekends ago.  And, I got out some fabric that I will use this week.  That's all I'll be doing on sewing-related things for today.  I need to do laundry and run a few errands and get some knitting done.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watching tv the other night...just kinda vegging (norm for last week)...and Tag decided that he needed to curl up next to me in my big easy chair.  He does lay next to me on a regular basis, but he normally stretches out...back end on the chair and front half on the ottoman (that is pulled up close to the chair).  Granted, it is a chair and a half, but he is a big dog...makes me laugh.  The yellow in the bottom corner is my pajama bottom...the pillow corner that is showing is laying on my lap. 
 He is a funny boy.  Definitely knows what he wants.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Remember when I was making strawberries for the pincushion swap?  Well, I had some leftovers.  I gave a few to my company last weekend, and still had some left.  Mostly red ones.   I looked around for a suitable container to keep them in...but had nothing here.  But, oh my gosh, when I was at the grocery store, I saw the perfect jar!  It's the Bonne Maman strawberry preserves jar!  And, I gotta say, the preserves were the best I've ever tasted!  Perhaps even better than homemade.  

I need to make a few more strawberries to fill the jar, but here's what it looks like now...
 


I scrubbed the ingredient sticker off the back of the jar so that the strawberries can be seen better.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Tonight is a big television night...DWTS, The Voice, Hostages, The Blacklist and Castle.  I typically watch DWTS and Castle and have the others recording on my dvr. 

What is your fave Monday night tv program?





"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lazy Days...

Since late Sunday afternoon,
I have done nothing of substance.

Not sure why,
but I have absolutely no ambition!  

I think about what I want to do,
yet I don't do it.

The most ambitious I've been this week...
I delivered the 2 baby Halloween bags
to the vet school.  

Other than that?
Nothing.
At.
All.

Before I go to bed at night,
I think about what I want to do on the morrow.
Yet, that just doesn't happen.

OH!  I have been knitting a bit.
Another facecloth.
In Clementine.

AND, I have been reading.
About doll-making.

But, that's all.  

I surely hope that this,
too, shall pass.

ps  it's not that i haven't done anything at all.
The dishes are done, the bed is made,
the vacuuming is done, the dog is walked...
I've done some editing...
just haven't done anything creative.
That's all I meant.
 


 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Strawberry Pincushion Swap!

I received my strawberry pincushion swap package today...from Australia!  It's always so much fun to receive packages from overseas.  Just wait til you see what was in it!

Candy corn strawberry pincushion, anyone?  Or, how about a precious flowered strawberry pincushion?  Check out the Cadbury candy wrapped in paper with pictures of animals indigenous to Australia.  Strawberry Fields Tic Tac, anyone...or, would you prefer to chew some Seriously Strawberry Hubba Bubba gum? 

And, that's not all...a piece of linen with pink dots and strawberries that I need to do something special with very soon!  I seriously love that!  And, those wooden buttons...a koala bear and a kangeroo that are fabulously cute!

This was a great swap.  Short and sweet!  I am very happy that I participated!  A big thank you goes out to Erin of Why Not Sew? blog for organizing this swap.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On another note...we have a 4-legged guest this weekend.  My sister, Julie, and me Mum are here in Madison for a wedding.  So, Ellie (Julie's dog) is staying with us.  Ellie and Tag lived together for a few months last year, so it's nothing new and exciting for either one of them.  Actually, they pretty much ignore each other.  Here they are...very reluctantly posing for a photograph together...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had a great idea the other day.  Why, oh why does that happen when I already have a bazillion things going on?  Since I am not doing anything else today (I'm nursing a bit of a headache - one that whispers it could be a migraine) I thought I would see what I could do with the idea.  All I will say is that it involves stitching, linen and gold floss. 

Hope you are having a great weekend!


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hand-Pieced Quilt...

Back in January of 2012, Erin of whynotsew blog fame, started a quiltalong for a hand-pieced doll quilt.  Well, never having done hand-piecing, I was curious, so signed up for it.  I used all oranges with white as a background and sashing fabric. 


My plan was to hand-quilt this.  But, I didn't.  It sat around forever!  I'd pick it up and try some hand-quilting and decide that I didn't like what I was doing...then let it sit around some more.  I finally decided that I really needed to finish it.  The batting I used was given me by my lqs to try.  It is so soft and a much more lofty batting than what I'm used to (warm and natural).  I machine quilted it...each block its own pattern determined by the lines of sewing.  I made 2 rows down the sashings.  It's a bit poofy, but okay, I think. 

This little quilt measures ~20" square.

Here it is now...



For the backing, I used a piece of vintage fabric given me by a coworker...I had planned to do the quilting in an aqua or teal to match, but went with white thread when I decided to machine quilt it.
  

I am finally able to cross something off my list!  I seem to keep adding, but never subtracting from it.  




"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 7, 2013

Yarn...

I really enjoy making face cloths...washcloths just for the face...so smaller than a normal-sized washcloth.  They are so easy to work on while I watch tv.  My favorite yarn for the face cloths is the cotton/linen blend that I found over at Knit Picks.  This is my go-to online yarn shop.  They have a great selection of yarns and books, etc., their prices & shipping rates are reasonable, they have sales, and the orders come quickly.

I received a package from Knit Picks today!  I've been out of the cotton/linen blend yarn for a bit...finally ordered some.  And, I'm trying out a new (to me) yarn called dishie...a 100% yarn great for (you guessed it) dishcloths, etc.

Here are some of my fave colors...
clementine, linen, sprout, cashew.  up in the left corner is dishie in tranquil.
    

No package from my strawberry pincushion swap partner today.  More waiting...~sigh~

 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gifts in the Mail...

You know I've been in a Strawberry Pincushion Swap, right?  (If not, just scroll down and see the previous post.)   Yesterday was the deadline for mailing out our packages.  So, I am thinking that I could possibly receive a package from my partner in today's mail. 

LO and BEHOLD!  I received a package!  Have I mentioned before that I absolutely LOVE receiving gifts in the mail?  Yeah.  So, anyway, I opened it and this is what I found...
  
It went through my mind that this was not quite what I expected from the swap.  But, who am I to question, right?  So, the first thing I opened was the little gift on the left.  It was a mulled cider votive candle...yummy!  But, I thought...mulled cider...strawberry pincushion swap...what?  Shrugged my shoulders and opened the card.  Well, duh.  It was from Dog Trot Farm's Julie!  I guess I was so excited that I didn't check out the return address.  Had I done that, I would have known. 

Anyway.  Turns out that it's a thank you gift for the tractor bag I made/sent for Julie's grandson, Travis Lloyd.    Here is everything she sent (oops, I must have covered up the feather)...

A bit of Fall decor for my kitchen!  A towel and potholder.  And, see the too cute little sign?  And, there's the mulled cider candle (which now makes total sense...~grin~)

And, the feather.  I feel very ignorant on this subject.  I know that to receive a feather is very special.  That it's a symbol.  That it can mean different things, depending on what kind of bird it's from.  So, I will ask Julie and let you know what she says.    

edited to add:  Julie tells me the feather comes from her Bantam rooster, Don Juan...and that it is a symbol of friendship.  Thank you!

Here's a closer look at the potholder.  Darling, isn't it?  Cutest scarecrow!

Thank you so very much, Julie!  Your gift, though totally unnecessary, is much appreciated.  I love it all!  I feel very honored to know you.

I must say that I have met the nicest women through my blog!  Women I will probably never meet in person, but who feel like close friends.  Women who share my interests, who cheer me on, who share their lives, who care about my life.   Women I care  about...think about...pray for...and whose words I read with love in my heart.     

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tag is feeling better.  Eating rice eagerly...will get back on his regular food tomorrow.  Today is all about ensuring that his stomach is settled.  He is pretty much back to his normal self...looking for food...and not lethargic.  I am relieved.  Thank you for your well-wishes. 


 
 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Eleventh Hour...

You know how sometimes you think you have something all figured out?  Well, I thought I did, for sure...up until 2 days ago.  That's when I started having doubts.  So...a complete change of plans.  At, ya know...almost the Eleventh Hour!

I am talking about the Strawberry Pincushion Swap

We had two weeks from the time we were assigned our partners until the mail out day, which was today.  I started working right away, playing around with some ideas I had been thinking about.  As of Tuesday afternoon, this is what I had put together...        

The redwork piece is a pattern from Bird Brain Designs.  I made this same piece awhile back for Sharon.   It needs to be stuffed, but it's kinda big...about 5 x 7 inches.  The wool pink strawberry with the little one is a gift I received several years back.  I have never used it, but it has always been on my shelf of favorite things.  I thought, what is more perfect than this!  Then, I used a bit of Briar Rose fabric with strawberries to make the round gathered basket.  The tutorial by A Spoonful of Sugar can be found here.  Quick and easy to make!  And, of course, strawberries...lots of strawberries. 

I was thinking that this was a nice package to send my partner.  But, then I began to think that this package was too 'cutsie'.  Nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to do more than cute.  Ya know?

While browsing Sharon's blog, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks.  Seriously!  I was so inspired by it...and this is what came of that inspiration!

The strawberry is stitched with linen floss on linen fabric, bordered top and bottom by a polka dot fabric.  It measures about 2.5 x 3.5 inches.  The bitty strawberry - about 1" - is made with the same polka dot fabric, has linen leaves stitched down with linen floss, topped with an antique button.  It is tied to the pinkeep with linen thread.

I made something else that I think is kind of special.  See the dog stitchery with the bone in the corner?  She has a Corgi named Taggart...she calls him Tag.  Is that fun, or what? 


I am now feeling pretty good about this package I put together for my partner.  And, it did get mailed today...~whew~!

Now, on to other projects that are patiently awaiting my attention.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Speaking of Tag...he isn't feeling well.  Vomited a few times this a.m. and is somewhat lethargic.  He has a high normal temperature.   Didn't even ask to eat supper...this from the boy who starts bothering me and looking for his supper an hour (or so) ahead of his normal feeding time.  ~sigh~  I am sure he will be okay, but still...I worry.

I hope you have a great weekend.


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Jeremiah 29:11

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