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, November 30, 2010

Polka Dots Anyone?

I went to the local quilt shop at my sister's.  On purpose.  To buy fabric.  Cotton prices are going up - I've heard anywhere from 30-40% in the new year.  The owner of this shop says she's boycotting any going over $9.99 a yard but I suspect she won't be able to for long.  If she does she might not be able to buy any new inventory!  I've got a lot of fabric in my stash, but like many of you there's a good bit that's so old I don't even like it any more.  I won't get rid of it but it will be mixed in with newer pieces as "blenders" or some of it made into just plain scrap quilts.  I find that my tastes haven't change a whole lot in the last five years...I still love Kansas Troubles fabrics...but I also am attracted now (I didn't used to ever be!) to brighter colors.  I love teal and raspberry, for instance, when five years ago I wouldn't have looked twice at those colors.  And polka dots seem to call my name.  :)
A couple, well maybe three, layer cakes, a jelly roll, 3 fat quarters, a quilt kit, some yardage, a couple of patterns and a big spool of thread.  I'm looking and looking at it thinking, "is this really enough to keep me from buying any more fabric for the next six months?...or more...or less?"  Do you get panicky thinking about not buying fabric?  It kind of makes my stomach hurt.  :(

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day 17

561.  Time with my sister
562.  Local quilt shops
563.  Wearing boots with jeans
564.  Bible verses that appear just when you're looking for them
565.  New blog friends
566.  Quilt kits
567.  Junk/antique shops
568.  Thanksgiving dinners
569.  Family
570.  Natural springs that make beautiful lakes
571.  Safe travel for people I love
572.  Good books that teach me more about God
573.  Quiet prayer time
574.  Salvation Army bell ringers
575.  Hallmark movies
576.  Walking trails
577.  Ear muffs
578.  Friends who miss me when I'm away
579.  The wonderful people who pick up my trash every week
580.  Neighborhood watch groups
581.  Country roads with trees on both sides
582.  Christian book stores
583.  Cute coffee mugs
584.  Fresh country eggs
585.  Toast made with real butter
586.  Dark chocolate
587.  Milk chocolate
588.  White chocolate - anyone see a trend here?
589.  Dogs with big brown eyes who lay on my bed
590.  Wool socks

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My New Roommate

When I opened my bedroom door the first morning I was at my sister's house this young lady came running in, jumped up on the bed, and snuggled right next to me as I did my morning devotions.  When I got up and turned on my computer she opened one eye, looked at me, closed it back and didn't move.  I went to shower and dress, came back, and she was in the same place.  She actually is my nephew's dog but she is visiting Nanny for a while so that her master and family can look for a new house.  But I think she was pretty at home, don't you?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pit Stops

I traveled last week to my sister's house - 400 miles from my door to hers.  I've made that trip about a hundred times I think and I know exactly where to stop, meaning where I think it's safe for a woman traveling alone to make bathroom stops, or food stops, or even a stop for a short nap in the car.  One of my favorite stops is a state park in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas.  There's a natural spring which forms a lake and the water goes over a dam, where they make electricity.  There's a path around the lake and since this park is about halfway for me I usually stop to walk the mile around.  If I don't stop to walk I'm really, really stiff by the time I get to my destination.
Of course there are about a million geese here so you have to walk carefully to avoid the goose droppings.  And there's another small problem here as well.  When you go into the visitor center to use the bathroom the attendant stops you to ask where you're traveling from and to and how many are in your party.  I've told them before that I am not comfortable saying I'm traveling alone with a half dozen people that I don't know standing around listening - I think that's dangerous.  They looked at me like I was insane.  They still ask - my protest had no impact.  I'm not a rude person but I try hard to totally ignore them.  They're quite persistent.

Another favorite stop is, of course, this one:
This particular McDonald's has a big parking lot for eighteen wheelers so I can park right there and there are people in and out all the time.  I've always hated their hand soap because it smells bad so if I could wait to go to the bathroom I would but this week they had a new soap that actually smelled good.  Yea!

But this trip this was my favorite pit stop:
This is Marshall's Dry Goods in Batesville, Arkansas.  It's a warehouse type place with row after row after row of fabric.  This isn't what I call quilt shop brand name's the fabric you find at WalMart or Alco's or maybe even Hancock's or JoAnn's.  I don't know enough about those chain places and their fabric to know but I think I recognized some.  They had Christmas fabrics for $1.99  a yard, regular fabric $ 3.99 a yard, 108" wide quilt backing $5.99 a yard.  I bought a few pieces that I will use for scrappy quilts.  Mixed in with other fabrics they will be perfect.  And the people were so nice and very very friendly - it might be a regular pit stop from now on!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Thought

How do Thanksgiving cacti know it's Thanksgiving?  I mean some of them are Christmas cacti...some are Thanksgiving.  How do they know when to bloom?

My husband and I will celebrate Thanksgiving this year with both laughter and tears.  The laughter of children and the company of family makes all the cleaning and cooking and planning and shopping for groceries well worth the effort.  But we will miss those who aren't able to be with us and shed tears for those who have gone before us.  However, we will gave thanks for the sure knowledge that we will day join them at the banquet table of the Lord.  We will praise the one who makes this bounty possible, who comforts us when we cry, and takes joy in our laughter.  We will pray for those who are hungry and cold, for the leaders of our churches and our nation, and for each other.  And then we will feast on the following:

Roast Turkey with Maple/Orange Glaze
Southern Cornbread Dressing
Giblet Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans with bacon and brown sugar
White Shoepeg Corn with cream cheese
Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Cranberry/Cherry/Pineapple Congealed Salad
Rusty's Pink Salad
Orange/Pineapple Cake
Coca Cola Cake
Pumpkin Pie
Mincemeat Pie

I'm wishing you all a joy filled Thanksgiving with people you love.  blessings, marlene

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have You Tried These?

Seriously good.  And that's all I'm gonna' say about that.  Except for just this one tiny thing.  Is there anything that wouldn't be good if covered with fudge?  I'm just sayin'.

If you haven't read Grandmama Jane's post about Thanksgiving you really should.  I think she's right on target and I loved this post.  She talks about not letting Christmas rush us through Thanksgiving...savoring not just the food, but the moment.  Wise woman is Grandmama Jane.

I'm still quilting on the stocking quilt.  And I learned something else about free motion quilting.  I have a really nice handwriting when I try, but writing on a quilt...not the same thing.  :(    Oh and I learned another thing.  Some creatures who live in the forest must have deformed feet based on the stockings quilted down there in the blocks on the bottom.  Good thing I used green thread on the green blocks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Many Mugs Can You Make A Rug For In One Day?

Say that three times really fast...I dare you.  :)
I love this blue cup!  I got Blue Willow dishes when I got married 46 years ago...the old cheap kind from Japan that aren't cheap any more....and I've collected more over the years.  This isn't Blue Willow but I love any blue and white dishes because they remind me of the sweet family that gave me mine.  And I have a couple of friends who love blue too.  :)

I can't be thinking spring when Christmas is coming so I went back to that season and those colors and made another one similar to one I made last week.  This time I embroidered some Christmasy words on one on the picture to enlarge it so you can read them.  They didn't show up very good in red...should probably have done it in white...but that's ok, I'm learning.  ;)

Rug #3....Scrappy trees out of my scrap bin, leftover squares from a string quilt that I cut into triangles.  They're kind of wonky but I know a child who will love these.  :)

I've now made 6 of these and I must stop for a while!  Somebody out there make me!  I have other things to do, a block exchange to get going on, a quilt to finish quilting, a quilt top to put a border on, and Thanksgiving dinner to prepare.  But at least the madness of the iron search has stopped...the 5th one did the trick.  It's a Sunbeam, it gets good and hot, it holds a lot of water and makes a lot of steam, and doesn't cut off for 15 minutes.  Go Sunbeam!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day 16

526.  Thanksgiving
527.  Help in the kitchen
528.  Husbands who cook...sometimes
529.  Blog friends who post recipes
530.  Children decorating a Christmas tree
531.  Children dancing and singing "My God Is A Big Old God!"
532.  Audio books whose covers have descriptions in large type
533.  Prescription bottles that are easy to open
534.  Dishwashers
535.  Old fashioned tea towels
536.  Grandchildren old enough to give you advice on computer issues
537.  College students
538.  Kids who know exactly what they want for breakfast...every day
539.  Sister Schubert Frozen Rolls
540.  Cool Whip
541.  Fog
542.  My new car...and yes I've said that before but really!
543.  New calendars
544.  Those who care for Alzheimer's patients
545.  Cameras
546.  Golden leaves on brown grass
547.  First time grandparents
548.  Praise bands
549.  Clocks with loud ticks
550.  Horses running through a pasture.
551.  Beautiful quilt books
552.  Gray thread
553.  New scissors
554.  Christmas/Thanksgiving cactus
555.  Handel's Messiah
556.  Friends at church who see you carrying a new women's Bible study and say "I'm in!" without even asking when you're starting
557.  Missionaries
558.  Texts from your child proudly announcing a big thing in their lives
559.  Homemade laundry detergent
560.  Checkbooks when they balance

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Was A Very Good Day

It's been a busy day here on the lake.  I had lots to do...I made a pumpkin pie with the pumpkin I baked yesterday.  That's the first time I've baked a whole pumpkin but the pie was totally worth it.  That's what I had for lunch...pie.  I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure that pumpkin pie, when eaten alone in a house that holds no one but you, has no calories.  Any nutritionist would agree.  Madame Samm...not a word!  :)

I made a couple of mug rugs....
I love black and white...and the touch of silver made it even better.

And since we all  need to be getting ready for Christmas:
I love the speed of these and the way you can try different quilting techniques on something small enough to complete before you're tired of working on it.  :)

I sandwiched the stocking quilt today.  I used a fusible batting on this one that is part bamboo.  I liked the feel of it and it ironed well onto the top.  I smoothed and pressed and smoothed and pressed.  I turned around to get the back to iron it on back.  I thought I had made one but apparently not so I started searching through my stash and found a couple of fabrics I could use.  One was an old Debbie Mumm fabric that I had gotten in, and yes my face is red, in 1997!  It was so old that it had faded along the fold line!  That's another reason to get rid of your stash ya'll!

And then I cut 130 strips for the piano key border for the Santa quilt - I think that's enough, I hope that's enough!

I got the nicest gift yesterday from Debbie at Strawberry Patch.  I won it when she had a giveaway for her 900th post.
  I love the sweet little coin purse (I already have it in my purse today but I put my tissues in it - I always have tissues with me.  Isn't that what grandmothers do?    And I couldn't believe it...I had just looked in the Hancock's ad to see if their machine needles were on sale and Debbie sent a package, and I was on my last spool of gray thread!  Her timing was impeccable.  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Official - Thanksgiving Is Next Week!

I bought a turkey today.  That means Thanksgiving is next week because I only buy a turkey the week before Thanksgiving, ever.  It wasn't a turkey like that one in the picture.  I'm good, but I'm not that good.  I mean, I can eat a turkey, but kill it - not so much.  Pluck it - nope, not me.  Do whatever you have to do with the inside parts - never.  Frozen, that's my kind of turkey.  And despite what they say on the package about how long it takes to thaw one in the refrigerator it takes at least a day or two longer.  Found that out the hard way a couple of years ago.

What else did I do today?  Did I get myself into the sewing room to sandwich the stocking quilt top?  Did I  make the border for Santa?  Did I make another potholder or a mug rug or a table runner?  Did I sort through the Mount Vesuvius pile of fabric in my closet floor?  None of that.  I bought another iron.  I  know, if you're counting, that this is number 3.  But here's the story.  I'm taking the Shark back.  You know how I said it's supposed to shut itself off in 7 or 8 minutes and that's really too soon for me?  Mine shuts off in  less than 6 minutes.  The Procter/Silex I thought I paid $20 for...I checked the receipt and it was only $10! It doesn't shut itself off for one hour so I'll keep it as a backup.  Today I went to Big Lots looking for something else (for those of you who don't have one it's a large deep discount store that has seconds or returns or stuff like that) and as I was leaving there it was... a Black and Decker iron for $14 that, miracles, I don't think has an automatic shut off at all!  I read everything on the box and on the instruction sheet and it doesn't mention that.  I'll test it later tonight to be sure.  If it gets hot enough it's a keeper.  I've also explored every single iron any of you mentioned to me...some are a little too pricey for me.  However, there is this one Panasonic on Amazon that's $93 and change that's cordless and that the 6 reviews say gets really, really hot.  If the B&D doesn't work out I might try that one despite the price.  I'm convinced that if I try hard enough I'll find one that I like and that won't quit in 6 months.  Wish me luck.

I also instantly morphed into Wonder Woman today.  I have no idea how that  happened.  When I was cleaning out my pumpkin to bake it, yes I said bake it as in the whole pumpkin, I thought the strainer was in the sink but, alas, it was not.  I stopped up the sink.  Big time stopped up.  I, at first, couldn't get the plunger to force a vacuum at all...darn these hands.  My hands are weak from arthritis and they just don't have the strength to get that plunger to work.  But finally, after an hour or so, I did it!  I plunged.  The stopped up part went on it's merry way, and my sink is back to normal.  I think God must have put an angel's hands on mine to help, seriously.  No other way that could have happened.

And, in addition, my icemaker stopped up.  I shook, I jiggled, I said a few harsh words.  No ice would come out.  So I took the bin out - and you have no idea how hard that is when your hands don't cooperate with you - got the ice pick to it, and magic happened.  All the stopped up part came out (there was tons of "snow" in there!) and it worked again.  I know the ice pick isn't a good idea but really, how good an idea is a hair dryer either when you've got ice and water there?

What have you done today?  Were you Wonder Woman too?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Cutest Potholder - Don't You Agree?

I found this great tutorial over at Riley Blake Designs, submitted by Jina Barney, for the easiest and cutest potholder I've seen in a while.  If you haven't been to that website there are some really cute (and free!) patterns.  I love Riley Blake fabrics - the quality is outstanding and the colors so rich.  I made the potholder from scraps in my stash - not Riley Blake ones this time because I don't have enough of their fabrics to have scraps yet.  :(
I do have a wonderful stack of fat quarters that I'm petting every time I go in the sewing room though.  As soon as I get another couple of UFOs taken care of I've got a lap quilt in mind for those.

This is the potholder made from their pattern:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I was thinking this kind of Make-over, but I got this one instead!

You know all those makeovers they do on television like on Oprah where someone comes on looking all frumpy and sallow and they take her backstage and put on fabulous makeup and the perfect outfit and she comes out looking like Sandra Bullock or Whitney Houston or Paula Deen?  You know those makeovers that we all wish we could be the recipient of  think are really stupid and know they won't look that way at 6:00 in the morning?  Well I had one.  Or sort of.  My blog had one.  Several of you have commented on my "new look" and isn't it just the most beautiful, serene, peaceful blog you've ever seen?  I think it is and I love it and I click on it and just look at it sometimes.  :)  And smile.  And did you notice I have a button?  I feel like a presidential contender with my own button.  You may have a copy...feel free.

Well the makeover and the button were all done by my friend Madame Samm at Sew I Quilt, which is her personal blog and is a real day brightener to read.  You should go there and follow her because, trust me, it's worth the read every time she posts.  She also manages Stash Manicure,  where she schedules 6 guest post-ers (post people?) every week who give tips and advice on managing and using all that fabric we're addicted to.  You should follow there too because you don't want to miss a day "on a accident" as my grandson would say.  :)  When you visit her tell her I said hi - she'll love that.  Even though she's a computer whiz..and I'm not, and even though she's tiny and petite..and I'm not, and even though she can still multitask..and I can't, (yes I'm jealous!) and even though she's in Canada and I'm in a different place, she's one of the blog friends I've made (and many of you know you are in this category too) that I hold in my heart and who makes me smile when I think of her.  Her enthusiasm is contagious and her sense of humor touches my funny bone.  Thank you Madame Samm...I love the blog and you, not necessarily in that order.

And yes, that picture in my header is really my view on these fall mornings.  I am truly blessed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Working Weekend!

With my husband in the deer woods it was a very quiet weekend at my house.  I didn't cook, unless you count scrambled eggs.  I didn't clean, unless you count making my bed.  Making my bed is done on automatic pilot ever since I was 23 years old and my mother-in-law came over one morning about 10:00 and commented on my unmade bed.  She apologized immediately and was horrified that she'd said anything at all and I wasn't offended since she could see me with two babies crying, spitup on my blouse, cereal on the kitchen floor, and toys in the oven.  Don't ask.  But ever since then I've made a double effort to make my bed when I get out of it.  On to the weekend...I sewed.  And sewed and sewed and sewed.  Love it!
First I put the third border on Rosy Cheeks Santa.  I'm not ready for the 4th border yet but I'm still thinking piano keys.  This started out as a panel - that middle portion.  I put on the red border, the flying geese and the 2nd red border.

Then I put together all those green blocks I cut last week and ironed on the applique and did the blanket stitching for this:

This pattern is from the book 'Tis The Season.  I used mostly darker greens with khaki Kona cotton for the background of the stockings panel and I love that muted look.  I made it a bit larger than the pattern, squares a little larger plus more of them so I had to widen the stockings panel and add an extra tree and another stocking or two.  I have a particular place where I want to hang it so the bigger size works for me.

Today is the day I go to quilt guild.  Well, night really.  We start at 5:30 with a workshop, have a sandwich supper provided by members at 6:30 and our business meeting at 7:00.  I'll be showing these two quilts that I quilted last week.
The official name of this one is Blue Skies Over Planet Earth and the pattern came from a quilt shop in Louisiana (whose name I can't remember right now).  But it should be called A Drunk Monkey because my free  motion quilting looks like that's who did it.  :)  Don't you love the sun and shadow on it - it's laying on the floor in front of my patio door in the mid morning.
Krystal's Krazy Stars will be mailed this week, after I show it at guild, to my niece for her wedding present.  She got married last spring.  I'm not tooooo late.

I don't know about you all but I feel so blessed!  I'm able to stay at home and sew when I want (mostly), I am warm and fed and am surrounded by people I love and who love me, and I have a God who holds me in His heart.  The beauty of this world that I see every day fills me with awe and the friends I've made blogging put a smile on my face.  I am so thankful.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day 15

501.  Friends I made and love through blogging
502.  Quiet times at home alone
503.  Conversations with my sister
504.  Walks in my neighborhood
505.  Recipes from trusted friends
506.  Shrimp gumbo
507.  Homemade apple butter
508.  Really good lamps
509.  Irons that get really hot and don't quit after a year
510.  Ice water
511.  A child with a cookie
512.  The colors of fall
513.  Mist on the lake
514.  The sound of leaves blowing in the wind
515.  A full pantry
516.  Handwritten thank you notes
517.  Good sharp scissors
518.  My quilt guild
519.  Medical people who return telephone calls promptly
520.  Insulin for those with diabetes
521.  Hearing my child's voice saying "Hi Mama"
522.  Veterinarians
523.  People with a sense of humor
524.  Women's Bible study groups
525.  Sager Brown tee shirts

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thoughts While Free Motion Quilting

1.  My hands aren't big enough or strong enough.  :(  I need to work harder than some people do.  That's all.  I have a good work ethic.  I can make this happen.  But this is one time I wish I was bigger.  Well, just my hands.
2.  Without a stitch regulator my stitches will probably never be the same length.  I can't afford to buy another machine.  I  need to practice more.  They're getting better with every quilt I practice on.
3.  I know why some people use bicycle clips.  I don't have any.  I'll be looking for them next time I go out.  Maybe there's something here that would work like that....nope, scrunchies aren't strong enough, rubber bands aren't big enough.  Who knew you could break a scrunchie?
4.  My Magic Slider slid all over the machine so it got stitched to the quilt.  After removing it I tried taping it in place.  My quilt hung on the tape.   There's obviously more to this free motion quilting than anyone has told me.  Yet.  I need to ask more questions.
5.  I tried my machine all the way up on the table, and down level with the table.  Didn't matter.  It still hangs on the edges.  Will bicycle clips solve that?
6.  I don't mind that my spirals are wonky.  This is a child's quilt and they look like the pathway Family Circus shows on that cartoon sometimes, you know when the child gets called in for supper and walks all over the neighborhood before making it home.  It makes me smile.  :)
7.  I try to go too fast - I move the fabric too fast.  Slower is better.  There should be a speed limit.  Not that I'd move the fabric under the limit.  I don't drive under the limit, what makes me think I'd do any better with fabric?
8.  You can't watch tv when you're learning to free motion quilt.  Or eat.  Or talk on the phone.  Maybe later when I'm better at this.
9.  When I put my hands too far apart I lose control.  Losing control makes knobs and spikes.  This could be a  new pattern I've invented.
10.  When I wash it and it shrinks and gets all soft and cuddly I bet I don't notice the wonky spirals.  And if I do, they'll still  make me smile.
11.  I can tell my quilting friends that this pattern is called A Drunk Monkey because it looks like a drunk monkey did it.  :)
12.  Done is good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Am Spittin' Mad!

Spittin' mad - is that a southern expression?  Do you know what it means?  It means I'm so mad that I can hardly speak...I'm just sputtering!  In the summer of 2004 I bought a Maytag cordless iron.  Loved, loved, loved it.  As long as it worked, which was about 3 1/2 years.

Since I paid $150 for it at a LQS I was a bit disappointed that it didn't last longer...well, more than a bit.

So I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a Rowenta.  The best, they said.  I even asked other quilters before I bought...the best, they said.  It was great for about 6 months, then it started spitting sometimes, and after another 6 months it quit.  A fluke, I thought.  I'll buy another.  Which I did, a year ago.  This one never did spit - yea!  But it leaked after about 6 months.  Last night I was sewing up a storm and smelled something burning.  I unplugged everything in the room and did some investigating.  Regular Private Investigator am I..I should get a license.  When I plugged the iron back in it was dead.  A corpse, right there in my sewing room.  Those two Rowentas each cost about $130.

I can add ya'll.  I know that I've spent a lot of money on irons in the last 6 years.    I also bought a travel iron during that time - another Rowenta - which isn't great after a few months either.  So I'm over $400 out and .. have .. no .. iron.  I know I could send the Rowenta back to them, and probably will, but meanwhile I have to have an iron.  Repairs will likely take 3 months or so.  I can't wait that long.  So today I went to WalMart to buy yet another iron.  This time I went much cheaper.  Much cheaper.  I figured that in 6 years I'd spent over $50 a year on irons so I went lower.  I spent $40 on a Shark iron.  I have a Shark floor steamer and I like it.  And if I don't like this iron, or if it quits I will take it back to WalMart, who takes most everything back.  And if they don't I will still  have spent less than I was spending before.

What kind of iron do you have?  Do you like it?  Do you love it?  Does it spit?  Does it leak?  Does it steam good?  Would you buy another one?  Would you buy a green one?  I sound like Dr. Seuss.  But I need to know!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stuff and Nonsense

Yesterday I asked my friend Sylvia to come over to show how she makes flying geese with no waste.  I'm all about not wasting stuff.  So when I was gathering some fabrics to use when she came I found, guess what, a Lazy Girl Designs No Waste Flying Geese Ruler still in its cellophane wrapper with the price tag affixed.  Call me embarrassed.  And guilty - wasting money!  Has this ever happened to you?  Tell the truth.  You see something at the quilt show, the demonstration is awesome, you buy one with the best intentions, come home and forget you have it.  That's not the first time I've done that but I hope it's the last.  From now on I'm taking the cellophane and the price tag off at the quilt show and throwing it in the trash.  That way when I find it 2 years later I'll think I used it already.  Automatic no guilt.

We had a really nice conversation about God's sense of humor.  She (Sylvia, not God, though I hope God has too) has visited three different churches this last month and at every church the sermon was about extending grace to people.  Lo and behold, she has had many opportunities to practice what they preached this very week!  With me he's been discussing having a generous heart.  I do, really I do.  I promise I do.  Not enough apparently.  I need to be more spontaneous with my generosity and happier when I practice it and from now on I'm going to be better at it, just as soon as I can get my fingers unclenched in this tight fist I'm trying to uncurl.  :)

So, I have questions for you all.  The reason I wanted those flying geese is to add them to this panel:

I added a red border to it and wanted the flying geese to be next.  I have 3 sides of flying geese on so far.

I know the picture is crazy but I have it hanging loosley on my design wall which also has 5 million other things hanging on it.
Question #1.  I started out thinking this would be a wallhanging but now that I've gotten this far I think if I just another border or two or eighteen I'll have a quilt.  I'm thinking the third border should read solid but what color and how wide? The background of the Santa is green, the first border is red, the second border has a cream background with green geese.  How about navy?  And width, the first border is 3" wide, the second is 6".  If I went with Fibonacci numbers the next border would have to be 9"!  Don't know Fibonacci?  I'm an old math teacher...Fibonacci numbers are very pleasing to the eye and basically mean the numbers are the sum of the former two numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.)  That may make sense to no one.  So be it, everyone knows I don't make sense.  Just answer the question - two questions really - what color and what width?
Question #2.  The fourth border I'm thinking will be piano keys.  I have lots of coordinating fabrics I can do that with, but how wide should they be?  And what exactly do you do in the corners where I have the cornerstone blocks on the panel up there.  On a piano key border do you do the fabric strips all the way up the sides, then all the way across the top and bottom, or do you use a cornerstone block there too?
Last question.  What exactly definies a UFO?  I have several/lots of things the point that some seams have been I know those are UFOs.  But what about kits?  The pattern is there, the fabric is there, in my mind it's unfinished because I bought it and haven't made it and it's technically started because the pattern and fabric are there?  Is a kit a UFO or a NBS (never been started)?  I need to know this.  My brain won't leave me alone about it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

He's Coming! Are You Ready?

In my quilt guild we have a silent auction at our November of 12 1/2" Christmas blocks made by the of our most fun money-making efforts.  We also do patriotic blocks in June.  This will be my contribution this year.  Isn't he a cutie?  The pattern is from an Art To Heart book. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Looks Perfectly Awful...

....but I promise it was scrumdillicious!  I'm normally a terrible cook.  Well, maybe not terrible.  But I don't like it at all.  I so wish I did because I think it would be the most fun ever if I could.  I'd walk around in my kitchen with one of my cute, cute aprons on (I have several of course) and a wooden spoon in my hand (I have several of those too) and pretend to be Paula Deen.  I resemble her I think.  Well, we both have white hair and we're both Raphaelisque.  *(plump)  But yesterday I outdid myself!  I determined to cook out of my pantry and chose a nice vegetable soup.  It was a chilly day and soup would hit the spot, yes it would.  I stood in front of my shelves and pondered something a friend said recently about me..."there's a show about hoarders, you know."  He was referring to my sewing room but only because he hasn't seen my pantry.  I thought to myself, "self, everyone else just throws things into the pot and it comes out delicious and you can do that too!"  And so I did.

Would you like the recipe?  Because I excelled...Chef Marlene will now be embroidered on a hat and I will wear it proudly.
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can green beans
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 cans niblet corn
1 can carrots
2 onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 jar beef gravy
2 heaping tablespoons beef bouillion
2 jars of home canned venison burger (yes I most certainly did can this!)

Simmer about 3 hours

Chef Marlene at your service.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Couple of Stitches

Last spring my niece got married and I promised her a quilt.  And true to my word I made the top the month she got married - April.  I had great plans to free motion quilt it while we were on the mission trip so I sandwiched it, rolled it up on a long stick/dowel so it wouldn't wrinkle too badly and hauled it all the way to Louisiana.  Only to discover that the small machine I took with me wouldn't free motion quilt.  No way, no how.  So I hauled it all the way back to Arkansas and this week I quilted it.  It's ok though because someone told me once you should never give a quilt as a wedding present - wait till the first anniversary at least just in case it doesn't last.  Sad statement I suppose but in view of our times not so far off the mark.  I'm pleased to say she's still married and I'm done quilting and binding.  My free motion quilting is in the baby stages of learning and I'm calling my style "primitive."  After all that's my favorite decorating style so my quilts should be the same - right?  Be kind ya'll.  Nice matters!  I did spirals in each block.  Some of my spirals are nice circles.  Some are more oblong.  Whatever.  I'm calling it Krystal's Krazy Stars.  Can you see the stars? Hint...the white triangles are the points.
 Even though I vowed I wasn't going to start anything new (these are small so they don't count, right?) when I saw Madame Samm's Mug Rug all my good intentions went out the door!  I love for a cup or glass of chai latte on one side and my cookies or muffins on the other.  :)  Finished size is about 6 x 9.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Broken Promises

If you make a promise to yourself and you don't keep it, is it really a broken promise?  After all, it was only to yourself.  And besides, it was a silly promise anyway.  One I knew early on I couldn't keep.  Sigh.

I sandwiched a quilt top today.  That just seems to take forever doesn't it?  It's on my UFO list...#3.  It's blue and brown so I'm calling it Blue Skies Over Planet Earth.  UFO numbers 1 & 2 are finished so I'm right on target.  Working on #3 was the right thing to do.  No new things, that was the promise after all.  I don't count the table runners I made day before yesterday because they're for a post I promised Madame Samm.  And my goodness promises made to other people have to come before promises to yourself, right?  And I refuse to count the two mug rugs I made yesterday.  After all, they're teeny tiny.  They shouldn't count at all.  But I think I have no excuse for the 121 green squares I cut today for this quilt.
It only called for 64 squares but I used my Go! to cut the squares and they were smaller than the pattern called for and I wanted the quilt to be bigger anyway so I cut a few extra.  Ok, 57 extras.  It will be a little wider and a little longer.  I might need a few more.  And I positively won't work on the applique part until I quilt Blue Skies.  I promise.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thoughts About Pumpkins

I got to spend several hours in the sewing room today - such a good thing!  I'm still ironing scraps and cutting them with the Go! cutter and I've got a really nice stack of squares and strips for my next scrappy quilt.  Then I spent a little while making a couple of Christmas table runners for a tutorial I'm working on - later I'll post that but today I really want to talk about pumpkins. 

Last week I made several pumpkin coasters.  Some I'll mail to friends, some I'll keep.  Are these not the cutest things?  I found a pumpkin applique picture on the internet, printed it off and made a template of it.  Waaaaay too big.  Started over.  Cut the size down and tried again.  Better!  I used a very light weight fusible for both the front and back and ironed one of them to some batting.  I trimmed that, then ironed the other (not sure which was front and which was back!) to the batting on the other side.  I did a blanket stitch around the outside and a "hand quilting stitch" (which looks nothing like hand quilting to me) for the definitions of the pieces of the pumpkin.  Before I did the blanket stitch at the top I put a wool stem in between layers.  When I did the blanket stitch it held the stem in.  Done!  Quick and easy and uses up some scraps.  I should do some leaves the same way....and maybe acorns.

Now that I look at that picture though it occurs to me, wouldn't it make a cute table topper to make a bunch of these and overlap them like they are in the picture and them sew them somehow to each other?  There are 5 in the picture so with 2 or 3 more it would make a nice size table topper.  I need to think about how to do that.

Do you have pumpkins left from Halloween?  I do too.  And it's about time to cook them - I've done that before though not often.  This time I'm going to try canning the pumpkin.  If you've canned pumpkin I'd sure love to hear from you - how you did it, how you liked it, how you used it.  Last year I ran out of pumpkin and I hated that!  I couldn't find it anywhere and every time I asked at the store they said there was a freeze and it was a bad year for pumpkin.  I'm like a little squirrel I guess - I want to store some up. 

Which reminds me of something else.  We have chipmunks.  This is the way my mind works, get used to it ya'll.  I think maybe we have a married couple - a Mrs. and a Mr. Chipmunk.  When I sit in my chair in the den/sunroom I see a chipmunk come running onto the deck, cross it, go down the steps and out into the yard, stuff his/her cheeks with acorns, run back up the steps, across the deck and down to the yard, I guess back to his/her nest to store the acorns.  The deck must be a shortcut.  Over and over and over they do that.  They come and go so fast I think there must be two.  Cute, cute, cute.  I can stand right at the patio door and they are so busy running back and forth they never see me.  If their activity is any sign of the winter to come - well I'm just sayin' those chipmunks are working steady at gettin' ready.  Maybe I better buy another pumpkin.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things I Wish Had Never Been Invented

1.  Leaf Blowers - My neighbors seem to have some sort of agreement.  One blows his leaves on Saturday and it takes him all day.  The other neighbor blows his on Sunday and it takes him all day.  Noise, constant noise, all weekend.

2.  Sagging pants - I know the history behind this style that's been so popular for years now but really, isn't it time for it to be gone? 

3.  Junk food.  All junk food.  Not just fried twinkies - though I admit I've never even had a fried one, just plenty of regular ones.  If I have it, I will eat it - you know like "if you build it they will come."  I wish there were no potato chips or onion dip, no Butterfinger candy bars, no Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper or even diet ones because they're nothing but additives and if those things and the million others like them had never been invented I would never have eaten the first one or sipped the first one and I wouldn't want them!  And I'm convinced I'd be much healthier not to mention thinner.

Anyone care to add to my list?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I sit in my chair in the early morning looking out at this beautiful view outside my door and I feel the peace of God surround me and enfold me.  And I wish that I could share it with each of you.  It fills me with wonder and with renewed strength.  I'd love to see the place that does that for you - can you tell me about it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Girlfriends Are Gifts From God

Yes, we really did all go to the restaurant dressed alike.  Our shirts say "Sisters of the Heart" - and that's what we are.  Friends for nearly 50 years.  Some of us for longer than that - some of us met when we were 5 years old and we're all 64 now.  And we're such Fashionistas we even had a second shirt alike!
We met, we hugged, we laughed, we ate, we told stories that we've heard hundreds of time before.  As we were having our picture taken at the restaurant I heard a young woman say, "Oh that makes me want to cry it's so sweet."  I think that meant she thinks we're old.  She would have loved some of our stories.  Especially the one about the thong panties.  But I'll never tell.  :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ok you girls can quit hounding me for an update on the new floor.  Hundreds of you just keep asking and asking what I did.  Well maybe not hundreds but several.  Well maybe not several but someone asked me.  I'm pretty sure someone asked anyway.  I went with the LVT (which is luxury vinyl tile and I'm fairly certain that luxury is stretching things but that's what it's called).  It comes in either squares and looks like tile, or planks and looks like laminate.  I chose the planks.  Then once you decide you want planks, it comes in different "woods".  I think this one was supposed to be pine but all I know is that it blended with the brick walls, rock fireplace and wood trim - and trust me that was a job finding one that would do that!  In addition, this house is on a little lake and so I wanted something that looked more rustic than polished.  The durability was what really sold me but I must say, now that it's down I'm very pleased.

This is really kind of an odd room.  Originally this house was U shaped with a deck between 2 bedrooms that made up the legs of the U.  Back in 1990, before we bought the house, it flooded.  I mean really flooded... 52" of water in the living room.  They took it down to the studs and rebuilt.  When they did that they enclosed the deck.  It is 12' x 32' and I sort of "divide" it into 2 areas of use.  My husband's office is on one end and my "nest" is on the other.  The fireplace is in between.  It gets lots of traffic because we keep wood on the deck in the winter and have to come in and out to the fireplace with the wood.  And it's the way we go out to the deck and the back yard and the lake so you can imagine everything that's tracked in.  My grandchildren claim the end where I nest and I let them watch television, make tents, have snacks and pretty much whatever else they want in there.  This floor should hold up to all of that!  Cleaning is a breeze - I can mop with pretty much any cleaner but I like vinegar.  I can use my Shark steam cleaner if it gets too bad.  But mostly just a Swiffer will do the trick.  I'm pretty pleased with it and more than pleased that the carpet is gone!