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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Years and years ago, when my children were small, I was enamored with counted cross stitch.  That was before I started quilting.  I loved the quiet rhythm that soothed me after a day of chaos...sitting in a rocking chair quietly stitching, winding down the day.  I could physically feel the worries of work sliding off me, the concerns for my children ebbing, and peace lay around me.

Many of those stitcheries made their way into frames....and gifts from friends I made during that time still grace my home during the holidays.

It seems rather ironic to me that this piece I made in 1979 seems to portend my interest in quilting.  I originally gave this to my husband's mother.  When she passed away it was returned to me.  In 1979 we had 3 children at home and were struggling to make ends meet.  This frame was a cheap one, but all I could afford then.  I thought about replacing it but....I think not.  I love the memories.  It hangs in my kitchen tucked away in a corner beside the coffee pot.

I made this one about that same time and gave it to my sister.  In one of her redecorating projects this was destined for the attic storage so I brought it back home with me.  :)

The navy band is a velvet ribbon and the frame...again one that probably cost $1.

With work and kids and a husband who was away from home a lot I didn't get to see girlfriends a lot at that point in my life.  But I had one dear friend who lived a block away and we grabbed every moment we could get.  After baths and bedtimes we put on our flannel nightgowns and about 10:00 one or the other of us traveled that block to the home of the other....only when husband's were home to babysit of course.  While our households slept we spent an hour or two stitching and visiting.  Noel was a gift from her in the late 70s and it still hangs in my house every Christmas.

Not everything we did was framed.  That same friend made me this little pillow - it lives on a shelf near my stitching chair.

Eventually we left that town but I found another stitching friend who made this adorable broom apron for me for Christmas one year.  She passed away several years ago but every Christmas when I take this out and put it beside my fireplace I am reminded of her and those precious times.

One day a few years ago I was wandering through a junk store when I ran across a little cross stitch piece.  It was love at first sight and the price of $1 cinched it.

In this picture you can see the quilting I did when I put it into this table topper.

You can see the "wrinkle" of my round table top so my apologies for that.  But I hang it on top of a solid color table cloth on a small round table beside my husband's recliner.

I made this in my early days of quilting and since it was my first time trying to make borders I can see lots of mistakes.  I probably saw them then too, but I have a real aversion to ripping.  :)

I seem to have come full circle now and though quilting will likely remain my first love, I've gradually added back a lot of hand stitching.  The easy no-brain redwork pieces are all over my house.  I'm not putting down's just that I've done so much that I don't think about it much any more.  I just do it.  :)  I'm completely taken in by wool applique.  I can't seem to get enough of it.  And now counted cross stitch has made its way back into my life.  Not enough hours, not enough years left to do all I want to do.  Sigh.  But....I'm certainly going to make a stab at it!  :)

If you're searching for ways to incorporate your stitching into your home try a few of these...or look for ways to incorporate them into something you can use.  A kitchen themed cross stitched piece as the front of a toaster cover, an embroidered pillow sham for a bedroom, an appliqued throw pillow or cross stitched guest towel.  I plan to spend the winter doing some quiet stitching....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Like Everyone Else...

Like everyone else I've been a bit overwhelmed by Christmas this year - not that I've had trouble getting ready for it, but more that it got here so much faster than ever before!  Has anyone else noticed that?  When I was younger it seemed like Christmas would never get here and now, well I think it comes every other month.

I've done tons of sewing but since it's mostly been gifts I'm at a loss for something to show you to prove I've been using my time effectively.  Well, not so effectively I guess...but staying busy just the same.  I finally got most of my Christmas cards mailed today but still have a couple to post tomorrow.  And I never got around to writing my usual Christmas letter so I'm just leaving people guessing what we did this year.  I mean, really, if I told them all the good things that have happened they'd think I was bragging anyway...right?  But if I had written one I think I might have used this paper - cute, don't you think?

 I've done all my usual baking -

Trust me - my baking looked nothing like this!  I was making a batch of peanut clusters in the crock pot when the crock pot became possessed and burned one whole side while the other side of chocolate didn't even melt.  It was so bad that I had to throw the whole thing away - crock pot and all.   Can you say $$$ in the garbage can?  Chocolate chips, Ghiradelli chocolate, 2 big jars of peanuts, almond bark...oh my. And then my husband decided to make fruit cake, which came out of the oven as hard as a brick except for the very middle.  He informed me that I needed to throw those pans away because that had to be the problem.  Later he remembered that he forgot to add the eggs to the cake - maybe I shouldn't throw away the pans after all he said.  And that's all I have to say about that.

We planned our family gathering but the day before one of our granddaughters tested positive for the flu.

I'd put her picture on here but she'd probably kill me.  Taking a picture of a 17 year old girl with the flu, well it's not to be even though of, let alone done.  My son told me it wouldn't be Christmas if there wasn't at least one of the kids sick.  Hmmmm.

And me - I've gotten a UTI and will be seeing the doctor in the morning.  Excuse me for repeating myself but...that's all I have to say about that.

I did make something yesterday that has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas but I thought was cute anyway - it's called Jeni's laminate bag and I found it on Youtube.

Isn't that just the cutest thing?  Well, that "tail" turned out a bit long so I'm thinking if I put a face on the front and some tiny little ears on top it will look just like a Christmas mouse.  I should do that and make a pattern and sell it on Craftsy.  Or not.

The best part of this getting-ready-for-Christmas time of the year are all the church activities we've been able to attend.  The cantata in the big sanctuary was amazing - many, many beautiful voices along with members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and our Handbell group topped off by one of the children's choirs.  The beautiful tree full of Chrismons, the bright red of the poinsettias, the music of our Praise Band - all remind us of His birthday.

God bless us every one - Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Was Cleaning Out a Drawer.....

 I was cleaning out a drawer in my sewing room this week when I found a cute applique piece I'd done in 2010....signed and dated but not finished.  I don't even remember doing this piece!  Well, vaguely I remember doing several similar ones but thought I'd used them all in something or other.  I just added a border, quilted the whole thing and made a pillow.  Another Christmas present finished!  :)

Maybe a little closer to see the quilting?

I had already done the blanket stitching and added the buttons so I just did a few loops on the background and a wave type design on the border.  I've had a lot of fun doing free motion quilting since I gave myself permission to be a beginner forever.  :)

While I was in the sewing room I decided to stitch up a scissors holder I'd seen at Vicki's Fabric Creations - click here for the tutorial.

Maybe a side view?

Mine didn't turn out exactly like hers but I like it a lot anyway.  She showed hers with three sizes scissors in it....I found it will hold scissors, seam ripper, a pencil. a seam gauge...whatever you want it to.  I do like that I can slide my scissors down in it and slip the whole thing in my to-go bag when I'm headed to my stitching group.  The points won't poke a hole in anything and they are all easy to find.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a counted cross stitch piece for an upcoming blog hop - it's been years since I've done any cross stitching but thankfully it's all coming back to me!

On a family note.....our grandson and his wife signed the papers yesterday for their very first home!

Isn't it just awesome Christmas present to give each other - buying their first house?  And you want to know the best part of it all?  They are right down the street from me!  Yes, I'm thrilled!  And look at the gift the family of the former owners left for them....

Such a kind and thoughtful gesture.  We've moved several times and sold several houses but I never thought to do something like this.  I love to catch people at their best - too often we see the negative things people do.  I will remember this act of kindness and I know our grandchildren will too.