Saturday, June 30, 2012

Quilting and Tiger

What a fun combination!  

Well, it is for me at least, since I’m a huge golf fan and I love watching Tiger Woods do his thing.  No puns intended LOL – I’m referring to his GOLF thing of course!  What were you thinking I meant?  ;-D

I’m cutting out my NewFO Challenge project for June today (yeah, nothing like the last minute, right?), but I also wanted to watch Tiger play in the AT&T National tournament.  So I brought all my supplies downstairs and I’m cutting in the living room while watching Tiger.  Yep, I’m in heaven!!!

This is a Mystery Quilt we are doing in my Piecemakers Guild and I think it is going to be really nice.   We are all having a ball choosing fabrics and trying to decide how they might look in the final design, without having any idea what the final design might be!  These are the fabrics I’m using….  What do you think?

Gotta love those sweets batiks :*)

I also started a new paper-pieced project this past week as a sample for a class I’ll be teaching at The Quilters Path in July.  The pattern is called Northern Lights.

This is one block....

When you put the blocks together, they form a nice bonus star in the center!  

If you are local and would like to learn how to paper-piece or just to hone your skills, give Marita a call and get signed up!  We're also trying to work out a way to hold the One Block Wonder class sometime in September, so keep that in mind :*)

And just a head's up....You’ll really want to check back tomorrow for the Stash Report!  I went to Whittles with the Divas Guild Wednesday, and all I can say is the Stash Report is OUT OF CONTROL!!!! 

See you tomorrow!

Hugs & Blessings,

Linking up with Cat Patches for the 2012 NewFO Challenge… you can click on the button on my sidebar to find out more about this fun challenge!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stash Report – Week #26

I apologize for not getting this post up yesterday as promised!  With all the fun going on with grandchildren, I have had to find little snatches of time here and there to take care of the normal routine like blogging and quilting.  Definitely not complaining mind you!  I so love seeing the girls and spending time with them. :*) 

Busy times mean the opportunity for lots of handwork, and I really needed to do some catching up on my current stitchery projects.  I finished my latest Promises and Borders block with the exception of the flower centers. 

I sort of got tired of doing all those little French knots and just went ahead and started the next one. =^..^=  She has released another one that I have not started yet, so I’m really pretty behind on these blocks.  There will be 9 of these blocks in total, and these are the ones I have done so far.  (These backgrounds look blue, but they are really a nice creamy white.)

 Then I finally finished up one of my blue-work Winter Wonderland blocks!!  

Because this is just a “fill-in” project that I pick up when I don’t have anything else prepped and need a handwork project, it is going very slowly.  But I am enjoying watching these quirky little snowmen come to life and it is always fun to start on a fresh, new block! :*)

I'm linking up today with Kathy's Quilts for a new Linky Party she's starting to celebrate "Slow Quilting" - the process of slowing down and enjoying the journey by adding hand stitching of some sort to our quilting activities.  Go check it out HERE to see what others are hand stitching.  Kathy wrote a post about Slow Quilting HERE that really spoke to me about the need to slow down and enjoy life.... and she gives some great tips for ways to start slowing down.  I hope you'll go over to read it when you get a chance.  It is well worth your time :*)

The girls left this morning for a few days, so I packed up and headed out to a sit-n-sew at one of my guilds, Lebanon Piecemakers.  These ladies know how to do a sit-n-sew!  They were there when I got there about 10am, and looked like they’d been there for hours already.  When I left at 4pm, most of them were still there sewing!!!  Yep, my kind of sewing buddies :*)

At the sit-n-sew, I managed to get all of the center 9-patches done for the alternate blocks on Girls Just Want to Have Fun.  

And then I got all these pieces ready for making the 4-patch corners on the outside layer of the blocks.  

These will all go together to make 24 blocks that look like this for the alternate block...

Once they are assembled, all the blocks will be done and the center will be ready to assemble.  I will also need to make the pieced border blocks, but I think I’ll wait on those until I get the center done.  A little “finish-reward” therapy, you know what I mean?  This quilt has a lot of pieces and takes quite a while to complete, so I am just taking it in stages and trying to practice that "Slow Quilting" I referred to earlier in the post, enjoying the journey rather than rushing to the finale.

Also, just a reminder that I am working on my block for the Red White & Blue Blog Hop! 

Don’t forget now to come back here on July 3rd to see what I’ve made.  And for added incentive, I’ve decided to have a little GIVEAWAY too!  Here are a few sneak peeks at my project …  

You can go to Jane’s Fabrics and Quilts HERE to see what the Blog Hop is all about.

I had no real finishes this week, and wonder of all wonders, I purchased no fabric!  So my Stash Report remains the same as last week:

          Used this week:           0 yards
          Used YTD 2012:           82.75 yards
          Added this week:         0 yards
          Added YTD 2012:        112.50 yards
         Net Used for 2012:      -29.75 yards

I'm sure next week will be a different story as the Divas Guild is planning a trip to Whittles Fabrics and I will undoubtedly fall under the siren call of a few choice fabrics! :*)

How is your stash coming along?  See how others are doing HERE at PatchworkTimes!
Also linking up with:
          What a Hoot for BOM's Away!
          Manic Monday at Sew Happy Geek!

Hugs & Blessings,

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summertime Fun!

I just LOVE summer, don’t you?  It is so full of LIFE and JOY and FUN!!!  Maybe it’s a leftover feeling from when we were kids and school let out for the summer.  What a feeling!!!  Right?

Nowadays, I look forward to the sun streaming in my windows, and not having to wear a coat, and capri pants, and flip flops.  And nature in the summer is just fascinating!  Watching the birds at their nests, and the nestlings just before they fledge.  I got this picture at my daugther’s house, a bluebird feeding her babies.  

Then these 3 little nestlings under the eaves on our front porch disappeared the day after I took this shot.....

..... and yesterday we saw them all flying around in the front yard together, having a ball and enjoying their new power!  I don't know what kind of bird they are, so if you recognize them, let me know! [Edited - Yay!  Thanks to several readers, the little birds have been identified!  They are barn swallows :*)  You all are the best!!!]

Summer for us also means we get to visit with our grandchildren!  
Sara, Christy & Emma
My two oldest grandchildren are visiting with us this week with their mom, and we are having fun just being together :*)  They live in North Carolina, just south of Charlotte, which is a 9-hour drive from our house, so visits are not as often as we’d like obviously.  When they are here, normal life takes a back seat to whatever they want to do.

Tonight we are going to the newly restored Opry Mills Mall to eat at the Rainforest Café and then to see the fish in the huge aquariums at the Aquarium restaurant. 

Emma and Sara were heartbroken when the Mall flooded several years ago and all the fish died, so it is good for them to see this favorite sight-seeing spot restored and ready for them to come back =^..^=

Last night, Emma cooked Shepherd’s Pie for us – one of her favorites!  She loves to cook and is a fast learner. 

She stragetically placed one mushroom to indicate which side contained mushrooms.  She loves them, but no one else does :*)

Looks yummy right?  I’d love to show you an “after” picture, but it was devoured so fast, none was left!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as we are!

Tomorrow I'll post a few pictures of what I've been up to in the Ivory Tower =^..^=

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

FATHERS – True Treasures!

Father’s Day!   Today I would like to say Thank You to all of the many wonderful fathers in the world who are doing the amazing work of fathering!  And especially to those wonderful fathers in my own family.

Father’s Day has always been a bittersweet holiday for me because I grew up without a father.  You may not realize just how vital it is to a child to have a good father unless you grew up without one.  I had several step-fathers, but unfortunately they were not willing to be my “father.”  As a little girl, there was always a hole in my being that mourned the loss of a daddy in my life.   Today, I have a long-distance relationship with my real dad, which brings a small measure of healing, but nothing can replace having a dad when you're a child.  

Probably because I didn’t have a good example to go by, I also made a poor choice in my first husband, and consequently he was not a good father to our children.  So I had very few examples in my early life of what a good father was supposed to look like.  

But today it is the presence of other men fulfilling their roles as "Father" who bless my life so richly today.  

First, God gave me the gift of my husband, Don.

This is my sweet husband.  He is absolutely, without any doubt, the best father I have ever seen!!!  He has a true gift of fathering, and he loves being a father.  Fathering comes as naturally to him as breathing.  He even fathers our kitties :*)

Don and I both brought two children to our marriage 17 years ago.  It has been such a joy to me to witness him as he has fathered his children through the years.  They are beautiful, confident adults, and he gets a lot of the credit for that.

Don with his son Todd and daughter Renee
And my children have been so blessed to have his father influence in their lives!  Don has always been there to step in and help out when they need a father’s help and advice and support.  His huge father’s heart just steps up and engulfs them when they need it!

Two years ago, my adult daughter had to leave her marriage of 15 years and came to live with us.  Don has been there for her through all the time of healing and nurturing and restoring her sense of self and femininity.  Pouring into her a sense of hope and future and possibility.  She needed a father and he was there for her.  Today, she has a new relationship and is happy.  That would never have happened without his willingness to father her!

This is my son, Joshua, and his family.  What a joy it is to see him father his little ones!!!  He had so many choices he could have made in life, but he made two momentous choices that were the best possible ones for him!  He chose to give his life to Jesus. And he married his high-school sweetheart, Anna, right out of college.  He is such a good father!!!  Josh was a teen when Don came into our lives, but he was a quick learner and he began to watch as Don fathered his daughter who also lived with us.  He told me once that he wanted to be a father like Don.  And he is!!!

I can’t tell you what joy it is to me to see my grandchildren growing up with a wonderful Christian father who loves them and chooses every day to be the best father possible to them.  

There is no greater joy for me than to see my little granddaughter snuggled up contentedly on her daddy’s lap.  

Or to see my little grandson playing and wrestling on the floor with his daddy, his eyes alight with happiness and joy as he learns what it is to be a man by watching his daddy.


Josh loves being a father, and there is nothing I love better than watching him enjoy his children!!!

This is my brother Dave, who has chosen to fill the role of father in his grandson Ethan's life.  Tough job at his age and stage in life, but he is doing an amazing job and raising a fine young man!  Not every man would take on what he has chosen to do, but I am so very proud of him for doing what needed to be done and raising Ethan in a Christian home full of love and security!

Dave has also been instrumental in providing a father influence in my niece Raney's life.  It is so important to remember these "fathers" who step in when no one else is there to do the job.  Not because they have to, but because it is in their hearts to love on these children and provide a needed father influence.  Without them, so many would grow up without that necessary part of their lives being filled and tended.

And this is my father-in-law, Don’s father, George.  We spent the day with him and Don’s siblings yesterday in Kentucky, celebrating Father’s Day and his birthday.  George is also a wonderful example of what a good father should be.  I am very happy to call him my father-in-law!

I see all of these men that have come into my life and the lives of my children as my Father God's way of restoring the gift of fathering to me and my family.  Each new generation will be blessed because of these fathers, and I celebrate them today!!!

Most of all, I want to celebrate my own Father God, who took me up and fathered me when my own father chose not to do so.  Father, you have brought so many good fathers into my life to show me a picture of Your own Father Heart …. And I am delighted to celebrate You today as my true Daddy =^..^=

Hugs & Blessings,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vintage Valentines

I’ve finally been able to get back to the journey of my Vintage Valentines!  This makes me a happy girl =^..^=

I first saw this quilt displayed in a booth at my first ever AQS Show in Nashville – maybe 2006? – and I remember just standing there staring at it, just stunned.  I still tend to do that whenever I see one of these amazing quilts :*)  Several of the ladies in my Guild have completed one, and I am always SO jealous when they bring them to Show-n-Tell.  I want mine finished too!!!

There was no question when I signed up for the Patchwork Times’ UFO Challenge this year that Vintage Valentines would go on the list!  As I shared in THIS POST a few weeks back, when I opened my UFO project box to begin, it contained four blocks, two of them complete and two still needing to have the applique stitched down.  

I had also completed tracing off all the pieces for all twelve blocks and the center medallion – lots of work already done – YAY!!!  But lots of work still to go too :*)

So I got down to business and began the process of choosing fabrics for Blocks 5 and 6, then fusing and cutting out the shapes.  Since there are a million little flower petals in these blocks, I always lay them out in order in rows of 10’s on the side of my ironing surface so I can pick them up quickly and put in place.   Notice that I also "window" out the center of the fusible on any pieces large enough so the pieces are not too stiff on the quilt.

Before I do any fusing of the pieces, I always run a sticky Lint Roller thingy over the surface of the background to clear it of any fuzz or strings etc.  

Then I find the center of the background and the center of the design, marking both so I can be sure I fuse the design correctly in the center of the background.  I usually place a pin in the center spot through both to keep the design paper in place as I move underneath placing the pieces.  I’ve used both tracing paper and vinyl for this design sheet, and both seem to work really well. 

I only place a few pieces at a time, in numerical order, under the design sheet onto the background (needle-nose tweezers come in real handy here!), check through the design sheet to be sure they are in perfect place, and then lift the design sheet and press down on the pieces lightly, just enough to hold them in place and not moving the iron ....

..... but not too long, because if you iron it too much the fusible will burn off and the piece will not stick anymore.  Ask me how I know :*)  Always follow the instructions on your particular brand of fusible!!!  Then I lay the design sheet back down, making sure it is in perfect position once again before placing a few more pieces, and continuing the process until all the pieces are fused!

For Block #5, I had a hard time deciding on the fabrics I wanted for the little bird and his wing.....

...... so I waited until I had everything else fused down and then auditioned the fabrics until I had the ones I liked best.  I was very happy with the result!

Block #6 went together like a charm!  

It was a happy block from the word Go!  Have you ever had a baby like that?  Happy from the moment it is born and never cries or fusses and just smiles all the time?  Me neither, but I’ve heard tell they do exist.   Of course, that’s what they said about unicorns for a time too! =^..^=

So here they are…. 

My two newest “babies” in the Vintage Valentine nursery :*)  They also need to have the applique stitched down, but I have decided to go ahead and get all the blocks prepared and fused down before I do the stitching, sort of like chain piecing, but chain appliqueing instead … is that a word?  LOL!!!  I hope you enjoyed seeing them come together.  I’ll be working on the next blocks and updating you regularly!

I’m also putting my brain to work on a block for the Red, White and Blue Blog Hop starting in July.  My date is July 3rd, so be sure to come back to see if I've survived and what I've managed to come up with :*)  Yesterday, I purchased these….

.... which should tell you that I’m probably in Big Time trouble!!!  Anyone who knows me, knows how horrible I am at any kind of math.  But I've got a new book with an awesome new technique I want to try, so you just need to come back and see if I survive this block design! =^..^=

Hugs & Blessings,

Linking up with:
2012 UFO Challenge at Patchwork Times
Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Tuesday Linky Party at Quilting by the River
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 
WOW at Esther's Blog
Applique Thursday at A Quilting Reader's Garden
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