Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Let There Be Light!


We got electricity about 7:00 tonight - just shy of a full four days!  I'm so thankful to the men and women who worked untold hours in the cold and sleet and rain to restore power for us.  

I need to take a little blog break for a few days to get things back in order at my house but when I return after the New Year I'll be posting all the "Neighbors" we're going to be visiting.  I was thrilled at everyone who wants to participate and get to know each other.  It will be like an old fashioned block party.  :)  See you in a few days!

Blog Buttons

I'm revamping my blog a bit for the new year.  Just cleaning out the old and bringing in the new - new blog hop buttons, new BOMs I'm going to participate in, etc.  If you're a follower of mine and would like for me to add your blog button to my sidebar just add a comment here and I'd love to do that - after all, you're one of my neighbors.  :)  If you don't understand that statement see this post.

And if you want to add my button - then please do.  It's on the right sidebar too!

Friday, December 28, 2012

No Electricity!

Arkansas gets one or two inches of snow every other year or snow.  Rarely does it stick.  Christmas afternoon it was 32 degrees and rained for about 3 hours.  Every drop of that froze on the trees and bushes!  Then it started snowing and here at my house we got about 8 inches.  Other parts of this area got up to 15 inches.  Our electricity went out at 10:00 Christmas night and has been out ever since.

We are toasty warm at my house because we have two fireplaces.  I have a gas stove in my kitchen and a gas hot water heater so we're able to cook and to shower, unlike many who have all electric homes.  We also have a generator that will run our refrigerator and freezer.  I've been able to charge my phone so I can read your comments and your e-mails on it and today we decided to boot up the computers for a few  minutes.  Only a few since I have to turn off the freezer when we do this!

There were about 200,000 without power Wednesday.  I'm not sure how many still are but the call I got from the energy company said we would get ours back NEXT TUESDAY.  Because we live "out in the county" and not in town we will get service last because there are so few people out here.

I'm not complaining, truly I'm not.  We are blessed to be warm and to have plenty of hot water and to be able to cook.  Once before in another house we had no power for 9 days and it was a total electric house.  That was brutal.  My daughter, who grew up in the age of technology, jokingly said "we reheated Christmas dinner on top of the stove last night - who knew you could reheat food without a microwave!"

I loved all the comments to my "Welcome To The Neighborhood" post (if you didn't read it, just click on the link and join us!) and as soon as the power is back I'll start posting blog names and addresses.  See you then!

(The view off my deck toward the lake.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Want To Get To Know You!


(Google Images)

Oh my goodness ya'll, I'm up to 592 followers!  It's going to be 600 before I know it and when that happens I'm going to have a giveaway.  I'll explore my sewing room and see what I can come up with that's wonderful.  :)  Meanwhile, many of you are following but either you don't comment or you don't comment very often.  It's like having friends in your neighborhood that you haven't really gotten acquainted with yet.  Don't worry, I'm not telling you that you have to comment - sometimes I don't comment on blogs I read either.  There's really not enough time for that!  But I would like to get to know you and I bet some of my other followers would too.  So let's do this.  Let's have a Welcome To The Neighborhood Party!  If you would like for me to visit, and for others who follow me to visit, then please comment on this post leaving me your first name (if you want to use it) or a nickname or whatever, along with your blog address.  Depending on how many we get I'll post those names and addresses for several days so you won't have to comb through my comments - maybe I'll post a half dozen a day or so.  Let's visit each other over these next few weeks as the holiday festivities wind down and life gets back to normal.  Whatever normal is.  :)  I want to get to know you!

And if you happen to be reading this but aren't a follower and want to join in, then please do so - just click on my follow button, add a comment on this post with your name and blog address, and I'll add you to the guest list!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hallelujah!


Uploaded from Inspiration Laboratories

Friday, December 21, 2012

Betsy's Closet

I had hoped to get this one quilted before Christmas but it didn't happen so I can't wait any longer to show it off!
 The blocks are paper doll clothes!




Each of these blocks is hand embroidered - mostly done in the truck as we were traveling back and forth to Colorado in September.
 Oops...left a stray thread on this picture.  :(



I did this Stitch Along with some other bloggers - many of whom have completed theirs, quilting and all. This is next on my list though.  :)  Found that border fabric lurking in my stash and it was perfect I thought.  I even mitered it!  One of my granddaughters will get this one for her birthday but I bet her mother puts it up for her - otherwise it might get a bit of fingernail polish, glitter, chocolate, crayola marker, cookie crumbs, or mud on it.  Don't you just love little girls!  :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recently I saw this darling pillow over at Sweet P Quilting (made by Paulette):
P1210250

Is he not the cutest thing?  I thought I'd try my hand at making one so this is what I came up with:


I used flannel for the snowman and the borders, and pom pom trim to resemble snowballs.  I'm in love all over again!  I'm going to make a few more for gifts - they're really easy and fast too.  Don't you love the ideas you get from blogging friends?  I do!

Monday, December 17, 2012

December Book Reviews

Don't forget about the book reviews going on over at Sew We Quilt this month.  There are some great books that you're going to want to put on your must-read list, and there are lots of prizes!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weeping

I've wanted to write something about last week but couldn't put it into words.  Every time my hand went to the computer keys my heart went into lockdown.  I cry at the craziest things and at nothing.  My brain won't focus.  Today I read the following, written by one of my daughters and thought she had said it the way I wanted to so I'm passing it on to you.  My husband and I were/are both teachers, as are all three of our children.  We are in the trenches following our hearts and using the gifts God gave us for working with children, doing what He calls us to do.  Tomorrow we will return to our schools.  Sadder, certainly.  Determined, more than ever.  Tomorrow we will hug another child, wipe the tears of those who weep, and watch all around us for danger.  But make no mistake, this will not keep us away.  Tomorrow we will return to school and we will  teach your children and love on them and show them that no matter what happens in their world there are people out there who will stand in the line of fire and protect them the very best that we can.  My heart weeps with those who lost loved ones in Connecticut and my prayers are that all over the world we put away our anger and come together in peace.


Show the children.

I really wasn't sure what would help me return to my past "efforts" at blogging, I even thought it likely I would never find the time so I would eventually give up. Today though, I feel a terrible desire to put my feelings down somewhere, anywhere about the massacre at Sandy Hook.

Friday began as a normal day for myself and my high school students. As the reports began to come through of the tragedy in Connecticut we shared information, shock and sorrow at the incomprehensible events that had taken place in another school - where life should have been as normal as ours. Some of my pupils immediately began to wonder aloud at "motive" while others verbalized their opinions that only mental illness would produce this type of behavior.. all though, were very, very heartbroken.

High school students - particularly those in an urban setting, often get a "bad rap" for being unrefined, indifferent and even violent. These are not the children I see. I see teenagers who weep at the news of slain elementary students. I see young adults who quickly want to find a "fix" for mental illness that would bring about such tragedy. I see human beings who will write letters, raise money and volunteer to help others in need - whether they know them personally or not.

I am so terribly, terribly sad today as I'm sure I will be for many days ahead - but want desperately to share with people that all the debate about gun control and school safety can and will have a time and place.. regardless of your stand on the issues. For now, remember there is an entire generation of amazing young people waiting to take over the running of our country... world even; and they need our leadership and modeling. Show them compassion for the mentally ill, show them how to make policy to help those in need, show them we can come together to mourn and support regardless of political party/opinion, religion or race.   And pray for us all.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Right On Time






Thanksgiving Cactus?
Christmas Cactus?
Somewhere Inbetween Cactus!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Thoughts While Quilting

In a couple of evenings after work this week I put together a jelly roll quilt top.  It's the third one I've made this way and I love the mindless stitching and the quick results.  You know the pattern, which is really no pattern at all - you sew the strips together end to end and then you take the two ends and start sewing again, and and then you do it again until you get to the final size.

Another evening I sandwiched it and today I quilted it.  I love this quilt for a myriad of reasons  - It's a great size for covering yourself while you read a book or watch a movie, it's very quick to put together, and you could go the easy route and buy a jelly roll or you could use your scraps and just cut 2 1/2" strips of your own choosing.  What's not to love about that, right?

I quilted this one with different size loops.  I've been doing my own machine quilting for a year or so now; maybe it's been two years...I really don't know...but mostly I do stippling because for some reason that seems easy to me.  I'm trying to branch out so today it was loops.  I have this problem with loops though.  I love them.  I love the graceful motion of swooping around and making a circle.  It reminds me of an ice skater making a figure eight.  Except there's one problem.  I drive too fast.  Yes, in my car too, but especially as I "swoop."  When you do that your stitches get longer and loonger and looonger.  And then you slow down and they get smaller and, well you probably get the picture.  I was sitting there lamenting the various sizes of my stitches when I remembered something my beautician told me recently.


I get my hair cut every four weeks and while I'm there she waxes my eyebrows.  One day I complained because one eyebrow was longer than the other.  She fixed it but then said, "you know, Marlene, your eyebrows are sisters but they're not twins."  Hello.  God made us all different.  Apparently He even made our eyebrows different.  Despite the unevenness of our eyebrows we are all beautiful.  What in the world makes me think all my stitches should be identical?  If they were all the same they might was well have been done solely by a machine without my guiding hand.  And it's my hands on that quilt that make it so special to the ones I gift them to.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Book Reviews

Today is the first day of the December book reviews on Sew We Quilt.
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All of these reviews were written by women, about books written for women by women.  Try saying that fast three times!  It's a great way to check out some new books you might be interested in reading.  And there are lots of prizes!  Lots of great giveaways... from Reliable, Aurifil, Pellon, Bag Lady, Andover Fabrics and Purdy's Chocolates.  You won't want to miss even one day!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Switched

My closet was getting a bit out of hand....meaning it was overflowing.  Both closets.  The problem with gaining and losing weight is that you must have two sizes of clothes at all times.  It's not that I have all that many clothes, just that I have two wardrobes.  One for 10 pounds lost, one for 10 pounds gained.  I have friends who have weighed the same since high school...what's up with that?  I haven't weighed the same that I did in high school since high school.  The first pregnancy killed that.  Back to my story.  I've been using those plastic hangers like department stores use on their racks.  After all every time I buy something they ask me - do you want the hanger - and I can get them home nice and unwrinkled so I say yes.  I have no idea why that's important since I launder them when I get them home anyway.  (The one time I didn't wash a blouse I was so allergic to the dye in it that I was sick as a dog the whole time I had it on!)  Those hangers multiplied.  And they're quite thick.  Maybe they've gained 10 pounds too.

My sister told me about these "skinny" hangers that take up less space in your closet.


I ordered mine from Amazon but I see them everywhere now.  They're skinny for sure and nothing slides off them so that's a good thing.  You can't yank your shirt off the hanger if you're in a hurry because they'll break pretty easily so that's the down side.  But they actually do take up less space and now my clothes aren't getting wrinkled from being stuffed in there.  (I didn't hang jeans/pants on them because I like the wire hangers the cleaners give you for that.  Can you see a pattern here...liking things people give me?)



Now if someone out there can just tell me how to make my fabric be skinnier for storage I'll be ever so grateful.  Because no matter what I do, how I fold it, or hang it, or yell at it....it still takes up lots of space!  And don't tell me to get rid of some of it.  That would be cruel.  Even if it's fat, I love it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

We Have A Winner!

Here's the schedule for the last day of the Holiday Lane Blog Hop - be sure you visit them all because there are some gorgeous pillows there!



And I'm pleased to announce the winner of the giveaway on my Holiday Lane Day is Catherine from Cate's Linens.  I've e-mailed Catherine to let her know and I'll be mailing her a charm pack of Blitzen as soon as I hear from her.  Be sure and watch for the next Blog Hop announcement coming up - In Your Words.  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Lane - Wish I Lived There!

Who wouldn't want to make the Holiday Lane pillow so generously provided by Jill at Jillily Studio?  So of course I had to sign up for this blog hop.  :)  Just in case you've forgotten here's a picture of Jill's Holiday Lane.



As much as I loved hers I knew I wanted to use fabrics I already had - I'm trying hard to do that (and if my friends tell you different don't you listen!) - so I started pulling boxes out of the stash closet.  Then I saw it....a huge bin of wools.  Maybe two bins.  Maybe two bins and half another.  Can we say addicted?  So I dumped the whole thing, or two, or two and a half.  Whatever.  And reorganized the whole thing, because I'm a bit OCD that way.  And after sorting and fusing and cutting and stitching, this is what I came up with:


I looked at the pattern.  I looked at Jill's pillow.  I looked at my pillow.  I loved that flange.  I really loved that flange.  But since most everything I make is more on the simple side and I was really stretching myself to add buttons to this...yes, I know but I'm  not exactly a sequin and glitter kind of gal...I decided just to bind mine.  A plain old-fashioned binding.

The next task was to stuff it.  I might have gotten a bit too much stuffing in it and even though I sat on it (don't you say a word!) it didn't flatten much.


When you have a fat pillow it's hard to get a picture of the top and bottom at the same time.

My topiarys wanted to lean, and I could hear my mother's voice saying, "Stand up straight girls!"  And my snowman was a bit shy and tried to hide down on the bottom.  But after taking pictures by the fireplace, in the loveseat, in my sewing chair, outside on the glider and the lounge and the cushion box, with and without reflectors I got a few of the details that you might want to see.


 I added the Star because the birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate this holiday at all!  And I had to have Santa and a couple of reindeer because my grandchildren would ask where they were.  :)  And look at that smoke...doesn't it look real?  It's a bit of cotton out of a medicine bottle glued lightly.  The star was bought in the craft section of my local fabric store and hand stitched on....I added the rays with a metallic gold thread.

I added the bird because, after hearing my mother's voice scolding the topiarys, I just had to add a reminder of her - she loved birds, any kind, but she loved redbirds most of all.  I know you think those bits of thread were overlooked....but I'm pretty sure that redbird needs them for her nest.  :)

 I stitched red glass beads onto the trees for decorations.  Did you know that glass beads roll off your lap if you try to put them there?  And they also roll off the ottoman, the arm of my sewing chair, and the pillow top.  I'm sure you can picture me crawling around on my hands and knees trying to recover them.  :)   The "lights" on the eaves of the houses are also glass beads, a sort of cylindrical shape.  They roll too.

This little door need a bit of color so I added a holly button.  The doorknobs are a satin stitch using a gold thread.

There's that shy snowman!

Here's a little better view of the gold "lights" on the eaves and of the candy cane widow decoration.

And in a variety of settings the final product!






                                          But my favorite place is in my sewing chair...

Thanks so much to Madame Samm for the dream of these blog hops and Jill for the wonderful pattern, but most of all thanks to Pauline who, even while she was sick with the flu, put it all together and managed it for us.

And for those of you who are still reading this looooong post, I have a giveaway for you.  How about a charm pack of Blitzen...that's fitting, isn't it?  :)
Blitzen 5 inch charm pack Moda Fabric- basicgrey

Just leave a comment for a chance at the drawing, and if you're a follower leave a second comment telling me so.  Sorry, no international shipping on this one.  I think that would probably cost more than I paid for the charm pack!

And now, or after you comment, go visit the rest of the hoppers!  Here's the schedule:

Tuesday November 27

Saturday, November 24, 2012

We Had A Few Friends....

drop in to share our Thanksgiving dinner!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Lane!





Monday, November 19, 2012

Do You "Seal A Meal"?

I put a lot of stuff in the freezer - I love to buy meat during sale times and stick it in the freezer for later.  I buy butter when it's on sale.... and Cool Whip and vegetables and even flour.


I seal everything in plastic bags that are supposed to be air tight.  Far too often I was going to the freezer to find that something had somehow gotten air in it and had some freezer burn.  Sometimes I'm able to salvage the product and sometimes not.  Then I found some thicker-than-average bags and I'm thrilled to say they work much better!  The regular bags I was buying at the grocery or WalMart are very thin and when frozen got quite sharp edges; they were poking each other and poking holes.

DC Sales Enterprises, Inc. sells 4 sizes of bags, and I have all 4!  I have so much better luck with these than the thinner ones.  I have no affiliation with this company other than I love their product and their service.  I have gotten personal (well sort of personal as they know my name and I'm sure they just cut and paste!) letters thanking me for buying and telling me the story of how they started.  And according to Dehydrate2Store (I also dehydrate tons of stuff and love this site) if you wrap your packages in plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer they are much more unlikely to get holes in them.

Just thought you'd want to know!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Morning On The Lake

I am awed by His glory and by His great gift to us....the beauty of the earth.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Hate Goodbyes

Today was the last day of the U R Priceless Blog Hop...I hate goodbyes! I was a bit skeptical when Madame Samm said coin purses. I'd certainly never made one and hadn't even considered it. But I'm game to try most anything that's stitching so I signed up. I ended up dropping out before it even started though because of some family and work obligations. I read all the blogs though and fell in love with so many that I couldn't resist making a couple. And I'm going to make more! They'll make great Christmas presents.

The first one I made was expressly for change...coins...and maybe a bill or two for my next journey.



I love all the wonderful shadows in this picture and it was a total accident that it turned out that way - I just forgot to pay attention to the lighting. :)

Then I decided I needed to take a little snack with me so this guy was born.



But wait...I needed one more purse for the trip. This one is so I can tuck away an extra bit of jewelry safely in my purse.



I made it a bit differently from the others since it needed to be a little larger.



Now I know why everyone said they're addictive! Madame Samm's pattern was so easy to follow and they take hardly any time at all. And the possibilities are endless!



Posted using BlogPress from my iPad