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, January 28, 2012

On The Road Again

I'm off on another mission trip for a little while leaving hubby to keep the home fires burning.  I reminded him to water the plants, bought him some Healthy Choice frozen dinners, and told my neighbor/best friend to keep an eye on him.  I forgot to tell him not to get on the roof to blow out the gutters while I'm gone so honey if you're reading this...don't!!!  We've been married over 47 years now and I'm pretty sure he can take care of himself (he's a better cook than me) but still, leaving him for the month I'll be gone does produce a bit of anxiety.

And yes, I said I'll be gone a month.  I'm going to be working for a friend who has a medical procedure to get taken care of.  I brought plenty of stitching to do - more than I could do in several months probably.  I have enough nine patches that my mother hand pieced to put together two quilt tops.  I cut out the sashing for them so they're ready to begin.  And I have about a million 6" squares and strips that go with them from an exchange in our guild to make a really big scrap quilt.  I brought four embroidery projects and one wool one.  I think I can keep busy in the evenings!

I took a picture on the way down here to share with you....looks a bit like I envision Tara (Gone With The Wind) with the big pillars, the live oaks and the Spanish moss.
Can you tell where I am?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

BOM Disease

I'm not very good at keeping up with BOMs.  Not good at all.  I started Barbara Brackman's Civil War, love, love them....but only did four.  Life got in the way.  But I printed all the patterns and someday I'm going to make that quilt.

This year I decided I wasn't going to do any BOMs.  I'm pretty sure BOM is a disease and my immune system is a bit down right now so I decided I just better not read any blogs that have a BOM so I won't catch it.  Know what I mean?

But then I accidentally saw Promises and Borders by Jenny of Elephantz.  I didn't mean to, really I didn't.  She does the most beautiful things and this was no exception...I was hooked.  Okay, I decided, I could do one.  No more than that though.

Then, I'm not sure how it happened, I saw Harrington and Hannah by Michelle at The Raspberry Rabbits.  I fought a hard battle with myself, but I lost.  I mean this is the cutest thing ever!

So far, so good.  I know it's only the first month but the month isn't over yet and I've done them both!

If you're as susceptible as me to BOM Disease, don't go visit these two blogs.  I'm pretty sure this disease is catching.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sometimes You Need A Friend...

Sometimes you need a friend to help you learn commands.  Sit, for instance, works best with a buddy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whimsical Garden #2

I haven't been in the sewing room much at all this week.  It's funny how some weeks just seem to race past me as I plod along in my busy mode.  I've had a meeting at church and a Bible study class and physical therapy and yesterday something I love more than I can explain, the friends in my small stitching group came for lunch and an afternoon of sewing.  I've done some hand sewing; I stitched down the binding for the Hooty Owl baby quilt and for the Valentine table topper and embroidered the verse from Jenny of Elephantz's Promises and Borders first block.  I'll work on the flowers on that block tonight I think.  But as busy as I am, and even though I'm doing hand sewing, I can hardly wait on the days I know I can get to the sewing room.  Today was one of those days.  I put together the second block for My Whimsical Garden and did some free motion quilting on a patriotic panel that will eventually become a wall hanging.  I love how the Whimsey blocks make me smile.

You can't see the stitching on this because I'm using a straight stitch with invisible thread.  I'm not sure I like it as much as using a blanket stitch.  What do you think?  When you do machine applique what's your preferred method?  Do you like to use black thread on the whole thing, giving it a sort of primitive look and feel?  Or do you color match the thread to the piece?  I'm not too far along that I couldn't go back and redo...but I hate the thought of redoing anything just as much as I hate unsewing.  Decisions, decisions.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hearts And A Flower

I wanted to make a Valentine table topper and when I saw this one designed by Barb at Bejeweledquilts by Barb I thought it would be perfect.
Isn't it the cutest thing?  I love her choice of fabrics and the way the hearts are interwoven.  She very kindly sent me the pattern so I promptly started on the hunt for fabrics similar to hers.

I couldn't make anything go together.  I must have auditioned 20 fabrics but nothing struck a chord.  Finally, I dug to the bottom of the pile and found several I thought would work.  I started tracing the pattern on my fusible only to realize that I didn't have enough fusible to make this and another project I'm working on both, so I had to make a decision.  When I was in education we used to chant..."monitor and adjust"... over and over.  So that's what I did and this is what I came up with.

I used Barb's heart pattern and made the 28" circle she suggested and this is what happened.  Pretty cute I think!  I stippled the center, did 2 outline stitches inside the hearts, and free motion quilted hearts and vines in the white outside.

My speed is getting better...I've slowed down a lot...but I'm still not consistent.  And I often forget to leave my hands in place until I actually stop stitching so I end up with some jump stitches.  Progress though, I'm making progress.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I'm SUPPOSED to be working on UFOs.  But I so wanted something bright and cheerful to put my coupons in.

I had no idea what I was doing, which is quite obvious, and it's a good thing perfect isn't part of my vocabulary or expectations, but this works for me.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tool Time

Are you looking for me?  I'm over at Sew We Quilt with a post on  my favorite tool (or two!).  Come see me there!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Little Whimsey

Some of you may remember last summer when I posted that I had fallen in love with this quilt:
I took this picture with my phone in a quilt shop in Lafayette, Louisiana.  I  moaned and groaned because I didn't have any bright fabrics.  Seriously.  I'm mostly a Civil War reproductions colors kind of girl.  I love cream and navy and turkey red and deep get the picture.  At that point I hadn't branched out much from that general colorway except for the occasional special project.  You'll be proud to know that I have expanded by view of the world by buying other things when I'm fabric shopping these days.  Back to My Whimsical Garden.  Several of you, my blogging friends, promptly sent me sacks of bright scraps.  Honestly, scraps is all you need to make this quilt so I was in business.  Except I got sidetracked once I got home from that mission trip with, well, with life I guess.  But this week I made a start so I present block #1!
I'm using plain old white Kona for the background but other than that this block was made entirely with scraps you sent me!  And believe you me I have enough scraps to make the rest of the blocks too.  :)  I'm using fusible applique, straight stitching the edges with invisible thread.  Is that not the cutest  little bird you ever saw?

And I am really on a roll with my UFOs.  I listed several (and was too embarrassed to list them all) on my sidebar and this is  my third finish since Christmas!
This Hooty Owl panel just needed borders added to it so I did that last summer...first a narrow striped border, then a wider border with cornerstones, one of them a label, and another narrow border.  It languised in my UFO basket since then and this week I quilted it.
I did free motion stippling around the figures in each block, a few half circles around the whole blocks, and heart shapes in the outside border.
The binding is finished and it's been laundered.  I'm ready to pack it up and send it to a sweet little one who was born after Thanksgiving.

I love winter when I stay in more and get those UFOs finished up and out my door!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Do you ever get a song in your head?  A song that just plays over and over and over and drives you crazy because it won't quit?  You know that Julie Andrews song favorite things...kittens and rainbows, etc.?  That's the one.  I can't even remember the words but parts of it just keep playing in my head.  Trying to ignore it made me think of my favorite things so I thought I'd share.  Maybe I'll share the song too - you'll start hearing it in your head and it will leave mine!

I have a morning ritual.  I guess everyone does.  Part of it I won't share - you wouldn't want that much information.  :)  But this one I will.  I love this little devotional book!  Sarah Young is the author...she has written others I know because I have two more but this one is my favorite.  And the bookmark?  That's a gift from a fellow blogger (Thanks Lori!)

And after I've read the short devotion I turn to this calendar.  I use it as a prayer journal.  Sometimes I just write a list of people I want to pray for.  Sometimes I write a prayer.  It's a type of journaling I suppose.  It's not so big a page that I'm overwhelmed by the space - I tend to think if there's a blank page I should fill it up.  :)  I love the verse that's on the front of this year's version.

Here's something I can't do without!  It stays on my bedside table and it travels with me.  My eyes get really dry in the middle of the night.  Why is that?  I have no idea but every time I wake up I grab this and put a few drops in.  It feels wonderful!

This is a new favorite.  I don't use it on my lips.  Nope, nothing ordinary for me.  It stays on my bedside table too and just before I turn off the light I spread it on my cuticles  I have this dry thing going on all over my body and my cuticles can get really bad.  This not only softens, but also heals!  

 This is my favorite Sunday-go-to-meeting purse.  It was made for me by another blog friend (thanks, Dawn!) a couple of years ago and I still carry it almost every Sunday.  The yarn has gotten all soft and fuzzy and I just love it.

This is my favorite every day purse.  Every. Day.  I've  made myself several other purses and I've bought several other purses.  I have two big tubbies of purses in my closet.  And I try to change purses occasionally.  It never works.  I always come back to this one that I bought at Wal Mart three years ago.  I remember the day because I was babysitting for my newborn grandson and it was our first outing together.  I'm pretty sure if it ever wears out I'll cry like a baby.  But it just might last longer than me.  After all, it's denim so I could just patch it, right?  Tell me I'm right.  Please.

This clock hung in my mother's house for so many years I can't remember how long.  It was there so long that after a while I never even noticed it.  Does that make sense?  After she died when I was taking it off the wall I found two things hanging on it.  One was the tassel from my high school graduation that I had no idea she'd kept.  The other was a third place ribbon for a quilt of hers that I'd entered (without her knowledge) in a county fair.  She was such a shy person that she would never have dreamed of entering anything she'd made.  Maybe not shy, but more that she had little self confidence.  She was totally amazed to have won anything at all.  Now it hangs on the wall in my bedroom, where I make sure I notice it often.

Last year when we were in Israel I picked up this rock on the shore of the Dead Sea.  It's a funny little thing and has several small rocks fused to it's side, or maybe it just somehow got carved out that way, but it's not your ordinary rock.  When we got to The River Jordan and I stood in the water to renew my  baptismal vows I carried this rock with me.  Now it lives on my desk so I see it all the time and am reminded of what I promised.

And the last thing I'll show you today is this - the view outside my bedroom window.  When I was very young and we were camping on a river in north Arkansas my mother-in-law kept telling me I should get up for the sunrise over the river.  I was young, with three children, and I just wanted to sleep.  But now that I'm older and I wake up early anyway, the first thing I do is open the blinds so I can see the sun rise.  The mist on the water makes shadows that dance and bob and the light makes it all sparkle like diamonds.  God does mighty good work.

I loved showing you these things....just a few of my favorite things.  I'd love to see your favorites too.  Anybody else want to use this idea for a blog post?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I'm working very hard to get some UFOs finished this year and especially the first three months of the year.  I'm moving right along on that effort...just finished quilting both a table topper and a lap sized quilt and sandwiching a baby quilt and a crib quilt.  Wow - yea me!!  Since the table topper was really just a practice piece for some free motion quilting I can't say too much about it - I threw it on a table to show you but I haven't laundered it yet so it will be better later, but I did an awful job on the two fmq patterns I tried.  That's okay because it's a UFO completed and because it taught me some patterns I don't want to try on anything else!

The frustration came when I started quilting the lap sized jelly roll quilt.  It wasn't the quilt that was the culprit, and it wasn't the pattern I used.  I actually think I did pretty good with the loops for the first time ever doing that, although I'm not sure I'll ever get even stitches.  I think I quilt the same way I drive - way too fast for doing a good job.  :)  It was the thread!  I found this thread somewhere in the last few months on sale and though it would be great.  I love the color but the thread, not so much.

Normally I use a much lighter weight thread but the color drew me in, lured me to try it.  By the time I figured out I shouldn't have used it I had quilted too much for me to be willing to take it out.  There was so much lint that I had to stop and clean out my machine 5 times while I was quilting...and this was just a lap sized quilt!  Because this was a heavier weight thread it didn't take much to fill a bobbin and I used 12 bobbins of thread on it...and this was just a lap sized quilt!  Did I say that already...this was just a lap sized quilt?  :)  It did turn out nicely though for an we're-gonna-love-snuggling-under-this quilt.  I've already laundered it and it's ready to throw over the back of the couch.

If you're a member of the quilt police please turn your head.  :)

The quilting isn't too bad for a first time doing loops...

Now the most important question.  What in the world can I do with the rest of that thread?  There's a lot left on that spool!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Desperately Searching

UPDATE:  I'm so excited!  I e-mailed Arlene per Robin's comment below.  I had e-mailed her months ago and apparently had the wrong address because this time I heard back within the hour.  She has offered to sell retail to anyone who can't find her patterns in their area - I'm doing a happy dance!  By the way, she has a fabulous new blog at which I have put on my reader - she has such beautiful things there.  Give it a try - I bet you'll like it.  Thanks!

I've been looking for a shop in the U.S. that has a copy of Arlene Neely's patterns Summertime and Tea in the Garden.  She designs embroidery patterns like this one
which is on her website The Rabbit's Haven.  Summertime is a current pattern but Tea in the Garden is no longer showing so it must be discontinued.  Her website is wholesale only so I can't order from her, though I sure wish I could.  But I'd gladly order from someone else if I could find these.  I've completed her pattern Precious Memories and am ready to put it into a quilt but I want more!  Any help out there?