Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving One and All!!!!

I love Thanksgiving, don't you?  

It's the one day of the year that my entire family drops everything 
and gathers together in one place -
one big, loud, raucous, ravenous, hugging group of people, 
who love each other and accept each other as we are - 

Yes, it is good to look into my mom's eyes 
and see the love that has been there since the day I was born, 
to feel her hug and eat her mashed potatoes!  
Every year I am reminded of just how blessed I am 
to still have my mom with me here on this earth.

It is such a joy to behold sons and daughters and grandchildren, 
to see them growing up strong and true, 
going out into the world to make their own place, 
to become who they were created to be.  

Is there anything in this world quite as lovely as the sound of a grandbaby's laugh?  

..... the first steps of an almost-one-year-old?  

..... the excited, magical joy of a three-year-old's birthday?

.... the happy chatter of cousins at the "kids" table, 
as though they haven't been separated for months?

.... the softness of a mother's cheek? 

..... the joyous shared hopes for newlyweds and new babies to come?

..... the satisfied faces of everyone as the table is cleared, 
the last bite of apple pie is devoured, 
and football becomes the topic of conversation in the living room?

I like the fact that our country has a day set aside each year 
with the intention of encouraging all of us to "Be Thankful" - 
I don't think we do that nearly often enough 
in this crazy, roller-coaster world we live in today.

And I love that I have a Loving Father
Who is the Creator of all that I hold most dear!
And I am content knowing that
His LOVE is Undying & Eternal........

So today as I gather with my loved ones and remember how grateful I am for each and every one of these many blessings and more, my heart is also full with the blessing of wonderful friends and the gift of creativity - and I am thankful for each of you and the joy you bring to my life through your comments and inspiration and encouragement every day!

May you and your loved ones be blessed in every way!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Block #2 - and a GIVEAWAY!

Have you signed up for the Sew Sweet Simplicty Block-of-the-Month yet?  

If not, what are you waiting for????  
Jacquelynne says there's still time, so go HERE to get your FREE blocks!

I just couldn't wait to share my Block #2 with you!  

I'm having so much fun playing with this Laurel Burch panel of cat prints!!!  

I think this month's cat is very enigmatic, don't you?
Perhaps he was a Pharoah's cat?
I think he knows things mere mortals like you and I just couldn't possibly know.....
Like whether the chicken or the egg came first....
I think he'd say "Neither - the CAT always comes first!!!"

Can I just say that using all these bold and vibrant prints makes me a very happy girl?  (But you all knew that, didn't you?  LOL!!!)  My favorite fabric in the block is this awesome offbeat orange/black dot, with splashes of light here and there .... oh my!!!

I think it plays well with the orange background in the panel block, and somehow it just says BIG CAT to me.  It certainly dominates the block, doesn't it?  I couldn't resist adding in that luscious, sparkly blue again, with just a touch of purples for the star points ... YUM!!!  

Once again, Jacquelynne's instructions for this block were spot on!  I breezed right though it :)  
However, I did choose to make a change in the color values suggested in Jacquelynne's block, keeping the color running diagonally out to each corner instead of having the neutral in the corner block.  

I wanted the eye to be drawn to the awesome cat in the center, and I think it worked :)  So don't be afraid to play around with color values and how you want your block to be viewed.  There are so many opportunities to make this fun, versatile block your own!

SEW - once again, here are both of the blocks I've done so far - Block #2.....

And Block #1...... (you can read more about this block HERE)

Aren't these designs fun?  Jacquelynne has done a beautiful job in designing them!  If you haven't visited her blog, Jacquelynne Steves - The Art of Home, I suggest you visit her today!  She always has yummy stuff on her blog - quilts, crafts, decorating ideas, recipes - she's sure to get your creative juices jumping!


Now, don't go away too quickly!

As promised in the title to this post, we've got another awesome chance at a great GIVEAWAY prize for you!!!!  Jacquelynne is graciously offering another PDF Pattern Package containing TWO of her lovely patterns to one lucky winner here!

How can you win?  Chance #1 - Simply leave a comment ON THIS POST and tell me if you would make the cherries or the pears in your version of the Grandma's Pantry quilt - or maybe something else altogether?  

 But wait - there's more!!!  .... Chance #2 - if you are a follower of my blog, you may leave a second comment telling me how you follow, and I'll put your name in the hat for a second chance to win!  How easy is that?

Remember - PLEASE be sure to leave me a valid email address!!!  If I cannot contact you, I will have to choose another name, and that would be a shame!  I was really surprised at how many No-Reply Bloggers left comments on the last giveaway.  PLEASE make sure you are not a No-Reply Blogger, or leave your email in your comments if you're not sure.

The giveaway is for all readers, domestic and international, 
and will end at midnight EST on December 1, 2014.
Due to the Holidays....
EXTENDED to midnight Wednesday, December 3!!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hootie Races to the Finish Line!

My poor little Hootie quilt has been quite neglected lately -

Hootie?  Are you a little stressed there, sweetheart?????

As most of you know, Hootie is one of my 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, sponsored by Angela at SoScrappy blog.

I've made one cute little owl block each month, using fabrics in the color Angela announced at the first of each month.  Last month was dark neutrals (blacks/browns/grays), and this month is light blue - none of which worked for this project - so I've been taking a little break from it in order to concentrate on some much needed planning and pattern writing for upcoming classes.

But this past week I was able to clear my schedule a little and got back on track with these fun little guys!  As I shared earlier HERE, I was very unhappy with the mushy look to Red Hootie, and decided to change out his feathers.  Here is the new, improved version....

Yes!  I'm much happier, and I think Red Hootie is too :*)

Then, as I was on a roll, I quickly pulled fabrics and dressed Orange Hootie in his feathers too....

Isn't he just simply adorbs????  
(Is that even a word?  If not, it should be!)
I just LOVE that wings fabric!!!

I've also begun stitching down the applique - FINALLY.....

I have to wait on the bottom layers because the little feet need to be added in under there when I get the limb applied for them to sit on.  And I'll do all the eyes and noses together so I don't have to keep changing threads :)

I gave quite a lot of thought about the color for the ninth Hootie.  Gray was just too boring with all the other colors.  Browns didn't work for me either.  Some suggested emerald green, but I didn't have enough of those fabrics to make one that I liked.

And then finally it hit me!!!  What if I made the last one ............ But no, I'm afraid you're going to have to wait to see the finish!  Oh, I know - I'm SO MEAN!!!!  At least I gave you a hint in the first picture, right?  Believe me, it will be worth the wait :*)

As I've shared before in the early stages of this quilt, the Hootie block is a design by Shayla Wolf of Sassafras Lane Designs - one of my favorite designers!!!  She designed this block for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks #7, and I was lucky enough to win her giveaway copy of the magazine that year!  (See her block for this year HERE)

I'm delighted to share that I won a copy of this year's Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks #10 from Teresa at Fabric Therapy!  You'll want to be sure to go over and see Teresa's block - she does some amazing things with applique and hearts :*)

Thanks so much Teresa!!!  I am absolutely thrilled to win and can't wait to drool over all the wonderful blocks inside!  This is one magazine I never miss - 100 great blocks in each issue and each one is an original, designed by some of the most creative quilters in the business today!  

Quiltmaker is hosting a Blog Party with lots of giveaways RIGHT NOW!  You could win your very own copy of this super magazine, plus a lot of other prizes too :)  Go check it out now at Quiltmaker's Quilty Pleasures Blog!

Hugs & Blessings!

On the Needles - November 21, 2014

I hope your needles have been more productive than mine this week!

I hit a little glitch in the making of the Hedgehog Mittens....

A little large, wouldn't you say?  LOL!!!

Oh well, I guess I'll be starting this one all over!  These little quills are the dickens to stitch though .....

..... so I hate to just rip them out, but it appears I'm going to have to.  I'll be seeing my granddaughter next week, so I'll measure her hand and figure out how many stitches I need to take out in order to make my next effort fit her :)  No way they'll be done for Christmas, but hopefully before the end of winter.

The Haus of Yarn bus came to Lebanon last weekend, and I couldn't wait to wear my Diagonal Cowl to show Meg!

Of course she loved it!  And she told me that the pattern for this cowl is in Ravelry HERE.  It is called the Ombre Infinity, designed by Cynthia Parker.  I guess I'll have to start calling it by this more sophisticated name, huh?

I couldn't resist looking to see if she still had some of the Wonderland Yarns Mad Hatter kits.  To my dismay, I saw that these are almost gone!  So although I had not planned to buy anything, I decided to pick up a couple of the kits before they disappear for good.  I love making this cowl and these kits make it so easy!

The aquas and purples on the left are SO ME!!!  And I just couldn't put down the beachy colors on the right - perfect for spring, right?

I started this one right away -

......these luscious greens will be so pretty on our daughter, Renee :)

This cowl is so easy, it is the perfect "go with" project when you have errands to run.

As you can see, I enjoyed some quality stitching time while waiting for my car to have it's oil changed and tires rotated :)

I've had a few requests for more of the cotton dishcloths, so I've started whipping up a few of those as well......

All in all, I've been knitting, but not accomplishing a whole lot!  What about you?  What's on your needles?  Check out all the "needle-y" fun going on at Judy's Patchwork Times today!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Little Stitching Here and There....

It's amazing the things we learn about ourselves as we "mature" - for lack of a better word!  For instance, I've learned that I have to give myself incentives in order to put down something I'm passionate about (Patchwork of the Crosses) in order to buckle down and finish up something else (Bertie's Year).

I was FIVE behind on these BOM blocks ... clearly, drastic measures were called for!  

My POTC fabrics have been calling my name in vain these past two weeks, because I've committed to finishing up these five Bertie blocks first.  And guess what?  I'm making great progress on getting them done!

Last week, I showed you the October and November blocks as I finished them up....

This week, I finished up July Bertie and added it to the growing pile for sandwiching and quilting.  That Bertie is rather sassy, isn't she?  She just spits out those seeds any where!  I think she may be just a teensy bit tipsy on blueberry wine LOL!!!

And then I got all the basic stitching done on September - this one is ready for it's half-square triangle border and then the final embroidery around the border.

I just couldn't wait to start on that sweet little squirrel!!!  
I'm so glad Bertie has nice friends, aren't you?

All of her forest friends are so friendly and love to share with her!  Maybe that is because she is friendly and likes to share .... we learn so much from the animal world if we just take the time to observe them, don't we?

I started on the August block last night and got all of the green leaves & stems done ....

All that's left is the pear stem, Bertie's eye and feet, and then some white polka dots in her kerchief.  I'm hoping to finish it up today so I can piece these last two borders tomorrow.  This was the LAST Bertie in my box!!!

Ahhhhhhh - it's so nice to have an empty project box!!!!  

It won't be empty long, however.  I got the notice a few days ago that December Bertie has shipped and is on its way to me.  The plan is to be all caught up when it gets here so I can finish it up this month.  I don't know that I have EVER actually finished up a year-long BOM in an actual year - wow!!!

I've also unearthed my poor little neglected Hootie owls and got busy working on finishing them up....

I'm thinking the last two owls will be orange and gray... (or maybe light brown?) ... what do you think?  The brown fabric on the left is my best stash fabric for the tree and limbs.  If I still like it when the Hooties are done, it can stay :)  However, the Red Hootie is going to need major surgery....

As I shared back when I made this one, I'm really unhappy with my fabric choices.  All the fabrics just mush together.  This is my definition of a hot mess, so, it will be getting a much-needed makeover this week !!!!

I've got a lot on the calendar this coming week, but most of it is fun quilty stuff.
I hope you are planning lots of fun time with your favorite quilt projects!

Linking up with Kathy's Quilts.....
Be sure to go over and read her post today about
quilting and the perils of multi-tasking!

Slow Sunday Stitching

Patchwork Times - Design Wall Monday
Patchwork Times
Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Scrapping and Stitching!

Sunday is the day I always enjoy sitting and stitching with my friends over at Kathy's Quilts.....

And today I'm still working on finishing up my Bertie's Year blocks.  Above is the November block - all ready for sandwiching and quilting.  And October is done too.....

I have to say, I'm not as happy with this one.  It just seems dull to me.  I looked at maybe using the orange fabrics for the border, but that was too much.  And with 3 more still waiting for their embroidery and embellishments, this one will just have to stay the way it is!

I'm currently working on the embellishments for July Bertie.....

All the stitching is done except for Bertie's claws in gold.  The seeds and fly stitch on the watermelon were a lot of fun!  If you look closely, you will see that I had already done a decorative fly stitch by machine, not realizing that the pattern would call for that in off-white by hand later.  After the hand work is done, I'll pull out that green machine stitching.  (And then again, maybe I won't *vbg*)

I also did a little touch up work on the berries.  The sample picture shows pretty blueberries in a nice blue-purple color......  you can see the original looks like actual wools, not flannels :)

Original sample quilt by Bonnie Sullivan

But the flannel they sent with the kit is a blah gray.  I really didn't want to have to take them off, find another fabric, trace ..... right - all that nonsense!  Then, last night I spied my colored pencils on my desk - the pencils I paid a fortune for last year because the teacher in one of my classes at Quiltfest required that we bring this exact brand of pencil, and we NEVER TOUCHED THEM! - yes, those pencils :)  And I thought, why not color them a brighter color?

I think it worked just fine!  You can see in the picture on the right where I had begun to color them, first with a bright blue, then a purple over that.  The bottom left berry just has the blue and is waiting for the purple top coat :)

I hope to get the hst borders on this one today, and that will leave only these two for me to embellish.

If I work quickly, I  may even get them done before I receive the last December kit!  Of course, they all still need to be sandwiched and quilted, but that really doesn't take very long.  One day ought to do it :)

I've also done some machine sewing!  I've joined in on the Scraptastic Tuesday fun with Nicky at Mrs. Sew and Sow and Leann at She Can Quilt  - here are the two blocks I made the other day out of my RED crumb jar....

Aren't they cute???

You can read HERE about my determination to empty out my crumb jars.  Since I've discovered that no project ever gets done unless I actually start the process of working on it, I thought it a good idea to pull out one of the jars and get to it .... amazing how that works, isn't it?  LOL!!!  

So I dumped out some crumbs....

..... and began haphazardly sewing a few pieces together - working two blocks at a time so I could chain piece of course :)

And before I knew it, I had sections big enough to trim down to a uniform 6-1/2 inches!

Wow - this was really, really fun!  So freeing!  No worrying about whether the fabrics "matched" or were the "right size" or even about having a perfect 1/4" seam!!!  Just put a couple of pieces together, sew, and repeat.  I loved it!!!

This is my November NewFO Challenge project - getting in there early, right?  For sure, this will be my Rainbow Scrap Challenge project to use up my crumbs next year!  I may even have to cheat and do a few more before then :)  They are like potato chips, you can't make just one... or two .... or .... well, you get the picture!  Be sure to check out the other projects linked up at Scraptastic Tuesday!  And don't forget the RSC at SoScrappy - November projects are going to be in Baby Blues - and you know I love me some BLUE!!!!

Linking up with:

Scraptastic Tuesday


Hugs & Blessings!

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