Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rainy Day Memories

It's definitely a stay-at-home, curl-up-with-a-quilt-and-a-good-book kinda day here in Nashville!  Rain is expected all morning, and it's so hard for me to get motivated to do anything when it's so gray and dreary.  I understand a lot of you are also suffering under gray skies, so I thought perhaps I would brighten our spirits by sharing some memories of my recent trip to Myrtle Beach SC .... Be warned!  This is a very photo-heavy post!!!  

My mom and I used to go together for a week every year, but the last couple of years have been tough ones, and we were not able to go.  So you can imagine our excitement when we made our plans for this year!  We both love the beach in October - cool days, no crowds, and lots of quiet time together on the balcony overlooking that glorious ocean!

Most days it was a little too chilly or damp to sit out on the beach, so we spent a lot of time on the balcony, which was just fine with us.  I couldn't stop snapping pictures of the glorious nature on display .... and mother nature came with her "A" Game - she was fully prepared to impress us!

There were stunning sunrises ..... each one more beautiful than the last .... we held our breath, awestruck, in those first hushed moments as the world began to wake and come to life ....

Our amazing Creator, painting each day fresh and new ...

Delighting Himself in our delight ...

Mom and I played like a couple of beach bums - doing exactly whatever we wanted to do and nothing else!  The water was a little chilly, but we managed to get in a few lazy walks and some shelling most days ... the beach was practically deserted!

We found some of the most interesting shells I've ever found on a beach!

Many of them were absolutely perfect tiny little specimens!

We had one pretty good storm a few nights before we left - the water came up to the very edge of the beach ....

...  and it totally changed the shape of the shoreline...



When the tide went out in that particular area, we found this deep crevice in the sand, maybe 3 or 4 feet deep, with a very deceptively wicked current.  There were tons of shells in that bank!

In the evenings, we both enjoyed our favorite activities ....

Mom is an awesome artist!!!!
I got LOTS done on this languishing UFO
I'll post my progress on this soon!!!

We spent the last day shopping at our favorite spots ...

I remembered this quilt shop from previous visits and was delighted to find it still there and doing very well!!!  They had quite a few nice pieces that managed to find their way into my cart =^..^=

I dropped Mom off at an Arts & Crafts store on my way to the quilt shop and noticed this in a little resevoir area as I was leaving the mall ....

I'm thinking - "Is that turtles???"  So of course I had to stop the car, right there in the road! - and get out to get a better look ....

Yep, sure enough, it was turtles!!!  There was a ring of some type out there just below the surface that they were sitting on.  I wonder if it was placed there for them specifically, or if they were just grabbing a spot to sit and enjoy the day?  Several of them jumped as they saw me approach.  I never knew I was such a dangerous looking character - apparently, my presence is enough to seriously terrify turtles!  You can see one swimming nearby at the very bottom right - I think he's hoping I'll go away quickly so he can hop back on safely!

We were happy to find a really wonderful and well-stocked used book store - a dying breed my friends!  Bookends was even more delightful inside than its window promised ...

I found a few Louise Penny novels to add to my growing collection :-)  On our way out of the parking lot, we noticed a really unusual phenomenon .... can you see that the setting sun is on the left, and then there is another light on the right?

It had a rainbow effect, but it wasn't like any rainbow I've ever seen.....  Anyone ever see one of these?  Know what it is?

Maybe that was my first UFO encounter that had nothing to do with quilting LOL!!!

Of course, we always took time to enjoy the sunsets .... and there were some doozies!!!  Mother Nature doesn't believe in getting lazy or sloppy just because it is the end of the day!  She likes to end the day with an exclamation point .... and we were left speechless in wonder once again ....

And what beach trip is complete without ice cream sundaes???

Isn't my mom beautiful?  She makes 77 look pretty darn good! As some of you know, she battled and won against colon cancer this past year.  My gratitude at this time of Thanksgiving is overwhelming.  We are so blessed to be allowed to celebrate the holidays once again with her - healthy and so, so dear to me!

Well, I hope this little trip to the beach has cheered you up as much as it has me!  I think I need to go wash the sand from between my toes now :-)  Enjoy your day!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Folk Art Album - My Way!

My sewing needles have been just as busy as the knitting needles, so I have lots of sharing to catch up on =^..^=  Several hand-stitching projects in progress, which I love because I can just pick one up and carry it anywhere.  It's so nice to be able to enjoy stitching no matter how busy I get!

Today I thought I'd share the progress on my Folk Art Album blocks.  This is a quilt design by the oh-so-talented Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.  I finished this little sweetie last night ...

Block #8 - Folk Art Album

This block took a while to stitch, with all those little leaves and quite a bit more stitching around the flowers than you would think until you get around to actually doing it.....

It was well worth the time though, 'cause I'm absolutely in love with the way the stitching seems to lift up the top layer of the flowers to give them a beautifully textured 3-dimensional look!

This little bunny is so adorable!  We trimmed him down considerably - he is a chubby little fellow in the pattern.  He will get a little black bead eye and a fluffy cottontail after the project is quilted.

 I had a hard time choosing a fabric for him.  I'm not a "primitive" style quilter, although I truly enjoy many designs in that style - Lisa Bongean's in particular!  So although I use black a lot in my quilts, I don't at all care for the primitive style of using solid black for animals.  It totally erases all of their wonderful personality - and it just seems so dreary and gothic to me. (Black crows in particular give me the creeps!!!)  The rabbits in my backyard are a rough gray color, but going with gray wasn't working for me either.  Solid gray was too flat, and prints looked cartoonish.  I did a very impromptu happy dance when I happened upon this smoky gray/brown batik piece buried deep in my stash - I think it's perfect!

So now I have three of the FAA blocks stitched and done!  Yesterday I got Blocks 9 & 10 fused and ready for hand stitching.

Block #9 - Folk Art Album

Block #10 - Folk Art Album

Block #10 is one of my favorites.  Just look at those wonderful colors playing so happily together!  If you are familiar with this pattern, you may notice that I've pretty much used Lisa's color scheme in my blocks; they're just on a brighter scale - doing them My Way!   And the beautiful aqua batik for the dragonfly wings gave me exactly the look I was going for.  Ethereal blue, reflections of water ♥  I love it when a plan comes together ;-)

Although I have 10 blocks fused, only three are completed with the stitching - the Bunny (#8) and these two .....

Block #1 - Folk Art Album
(Previous blog post HERE if you're interested)

Block #7 - Folk Art Album
(Previous blog post HERE)

I'll share the others as I begin to stitch them down.  One of them will be chosen to do some Slow Sunday Stitching today during the Carolina Panthers game.  They've totally shocked us with their 8-0 start this year - we were expecting something more in the line of 0-8!  I'm' sharing at Freshly Pieced - WIP Wednesday!  Are you hand stitching anything today?  Share your lovely work with Kathy's Quilts!

Slow Sunday Stitching

Hugs & Blessings!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Needles Have Been Busy .....

Although blogging has been on the back burner lately, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy quilting and knitting!  With the cooler weather, my fingers have been itching to pick up the needles again, and I just had to take time this morning to share some projects in progress.....

First up are two cute little finishes ....

Aren't these just the most adorable little toboggans???  They are for our two youngest granddaughters, and I can't wait to deliver them :-)

These little kits were irresistible pickups during my stop at The Yarn Patch in Crossville last month.  They are called DMC Top This! - and there are lots of different colors and animals to top them with...

All of the yarn comes in one ball, with smooth seamless joins as each color/texture runs into the next, and a simple K2/P2 and stockinette design.  The little toppers are also part of the kit and super simple to attach!  Each little hat took me only one evening to knit up - don't you just LOVE quick finishes???  Yeh, me too!

I've also been spending some quality time with my latest Ombre Infinity Cowl project ....

The project is almost done, maybe a few more hours of easy stockinette knitting, joining the ends, and blocking.  I'm looking forward to snuggling up in these beautiful colors around my neck this winter!

Next I plan to pick up this languishing UFO  - The Swing Cowl ....

Denise at Justquiltin made one of these and I fell in love with it!  It's not something I can just work on mindlessly though, the pattern requires quite a bit of attention, so it tends to get pushed aside for easier projects.  I figure I'm maybe close to halfway done, and it's time to finish it up!

When that's done - and not before! - I'm planning to reward myself with permission to start a beautiful cowl that I picked up from The Haus of Yarn bus recently ...

This is a very soft yarn with gorgeous colors!  The pattern is actually rather easy and repetitive, so I think it'll work up fairly quickly.

And I am chomping at the bit to start this shawl kit that I picked up at The Yarn Patch  ....

This is the store sample!!!
Hopefully mine will look as nice :-)
But of course it is going to have to wait a while.  It may even be next winter before I get to wear it.  I'm determined to get the old projects out of the way before starting new stuff, but I just couldn't resist adding this one to the project queue!  It will give me plenty of incentive to work hard on clearing out those UFO's, right?

The colors in this yarn are HOT!!! - they sucked me right into the gotta-have-it vortex!  The owner knitted the sample I showed above, and she assured me that it is fun to knit and not nearly as difficult as it looks.
We'll see ..... =^..^=

I'm planning to catch you up on what's been going on in the Quilting Studio in the coming week, so stay tuned!  

Although I'm a day late to the party,
I always enjoy sharing at Patchwork Times!

Hugs & Blessings!

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