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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Second Worst Quilt I Ever Made

I remember well the first quilt I ever made and, at the time, I thought it was great.  I'd seen my mother and grandmothers make quilts and it seemed easy.  After all, I'd taken home ec and I'd made my own clothes for years so a quilt should be a breeze.  I bought some polyester fabrics, cut out some squares, and tried to make some sort of pattern.  I think it might have been a four patch alternated with solid colored squares but it's been years since I've seen it so I'm not sure.  That was 1995.  I bought a high loft batting and a sheet for the back and I hand quilted it.  Yes.  I.  Did.  I'd made it for a friend and since we don't live in the same town I've not seen it since.  She probably uses it for a dog bed.  I hope she does.  I think I probably used a 5/8" seam, isn't that what you were supposed to do?

Even though the quilt was double awful, as I learned later, I loved the process so I continued to teach myself by reading a few books and experimenting.  I'm still not a great piecer though I enjoy doing it.  Quarter inch straight seams elude me.  I'm very good at embroidery, and fair-to-middlin' on applique so I'm happy with that.  I rarely enter a quilt in a show though because I see every single flaw.  Every stray stitch.  Every bobble of the seam.  Every point that doesn't match.  I got better over time and I'm much more comfortable with my stitching now, primarily because I learned to ignore the quilt police who have absolutely no authority, only loud voices.

My latest quilt, though, is one of those where everything that could go wrong, did.  I fell in love with Moda's 12 Days of Christmas while I was on a mission trip last summer and bought a couple charm packs.  At the same time I saw a new-to-me way to make Pinwheels.  So I gave it a shot.  You put two squares together, sew all around the four outside edges, cut and end up with half square triangles, which you put together to make Pinwheels.  That's all well and good but here's my question.  Why do they pink the edges of the charm pack?  I couldn't decide if I should measure from the inside or the outside of the pinked edge.  Apparently I did one thing on some and another thing on others.  Or  maybe I changed midstream on one pinwheel.  Every single one of them ended up being a different size.  And then there's the ironing issue.  When I was a little girl growing up and learning to iron my mother used lots of steam and lots of pressure to get every wrinkle out.  I know better than do that when quilting but if I am in a hurry or if I'm watching television or if I'm listening to a book on tape.....well, I sort of forget.  And I iron the darn things to death, resulting in slightly crooked pinwheels, or majorly crooked ones.  Points didn't meet, points got cut off, points float, blocks weren't the same size, and the borders waved.  I gave up and quilted the darn thing.  I can't seem to make myself slow down so stitches are different lengths and there are points where there should be curves.  But when I washed and dried it I have to say it's the most beautiful quilt, even if it IS the second worst one I ever made.
It's a perfect quilt to cover up a napping child, or one that's throwing up.  It's a perfect quilt to throw over the coffee table to make a tent and a perfect one for a  long summer afternoon reading session.  Don't you just love it when you make a perfect quilt?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Carol at Mama CJTs is one of the most talented ladies I've ever seen!  Several days ago she wrote this post showing the absolute cutest wall hanging ever!.  You really have to see it to believe it.  She has the most amazing color sense...and I don't.  She is incredibly creative and ideas just seem to pour out of her.  She is also generous and loves it that I tried to copy her.   Mine isn't nearly as cute as hers (and it's not finished either) but it does have it's own cuteness that makes me smile every time I look at it!  Here's my latest work in progress:
I have some more buttons to add...and I'm like a button freak now looking for them everywhere I go....and some more decorative stitching but I just love it!

And for those of you who are craving a little spring time look who came back to visit me for the summer!
The bluebirds have returned!  I feel like my college aged kids have come home.  Not that I have college aged kids.  Or would want them to come home.  But you know what I mean, right?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Thousand Blessings - Day 21

716.  The resilience of children
717.  The bluebirds are back in their little house in my backyard
718.  I saw my first Robin of the spring this week
719.  The Finches have found the new feeder outside my bedroom window
720.  The daffodils have begun to bloom again
721.  Seeing an old friend at church
722.  Restaurant gift cards
723.  A four year old bowling
724.  A four year old who answers a scolding with "I didn't know any better"
725.  Sunday School classes for special needs children
726.  Parents who take turns teaching Sunday School
727.  Horses running through a field just for the fun of running
728.  Dogs who attend funerals
729.  The relief I feel after a good cry
730.  New closet shelves
731.  A full pantry
732.  Apples
733.  Remembering a Bible verse at the exact time I need it
734.  Woven oak baskets
735.  White caps on the lake
736.  Hearing a bird sing and sing and sing outside my window
737.  Children singing at church
738.  Pictures of my grandchildren
739.  The scent of cinnamon
740.  Banana Nut Bread
741.  Bright colored fabrics that look like the colors of spring
742.  Charm packs and jelly rolls and layer cakes
743.  The far off sound of a lawn mower
744.  Hearing a train whistle and remembering Big Pappaw
745.  Fresh caught fish fried in hot oil
746.  Discovering an author I love but have never read before
747.  Books I can download on my computer without even going to the library
748.  Recipe cards
749.  White cheese dip
750.  Knowing it's time to put away the coats and scarves and bring out the light jackets

Friday, February 18, 2011

The First....

Daffodil this spring!
Or Jonquil if you're from the south and that's what your Grandmother called them.  :)

My violets are blooming again too...

And I saw my first Robin of the spring yesterday and today I saw Forsythia blooming!  We're supposed to have a short cold snap next week but I think Spring is really here.  :)  I'm doing a happy dance!  Spring makes me want to pull out my bright green fabrics, and pretty pinks and sunny yellows - and tomorrow I'm going to do just that!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lookin' For Suggestions

The last few months my mother was living she was able to do a little stitching by hand.  I cut out squares and she sewed them together into four patches.  Her stitching wasn't good because she often forgot what to do next while she was in the middle of the stitch and would simply sit and look at the needle for a while until it came back to her what she needed to do.  Then she would slowly take another stitch.  After she died I put the last few squares together into this quilt top..
I've shown this quilt before so it may look familiar to some of you.  I call it A Garden Quilt.
I love the fabric but don't have a clue what it is and don't have any more at all.  I cut up every bit of what I had for the squares.
I put a wide white border around it with plans to add something to the border...either some applique or embroidery.  But it's hung in my sewing room for several years now and despite taking it out and looking at it multiple times, nothing is coming to me.  The colors are bright and spring-like.  The flowers are petunias.  I'd love to hear some suggestions for that border.

I'm also wondering if someone knows the name of this pattern.  This is an antique top I found at a flea market last year.
It's hand appliqued and I think the white background is muslin.  Isn't it gorgeous!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Small Things

Sometimes when I'm in the mood to stitch but don't want to tackle anything big I make a few small things instead.  Like this mini purse for my Kindle.
Is that hard to see?  I wanted to "stage" it in the sunshine as it slants across my bed in the mornings but we all know my photography skills are non-existent.  Even if you can't see the purse isn't the sunshine wonderful after these past days of gray and gloom?  :)

I have a small wall hanging like this one and it's one of my favorites so I made another for a friend.
More staging ya'll.  It's not working for me....get thee over thyself Marlene!

I made this bag before Christmas, loved it so much that I gave it away to a dear friend.  Do ya'll ever do that?  It just looked more like her than me.
But I kept thinking about that bag and I had more fabric and we don't live in the same town or country even so I just made another one for myself!

Now this one looks more like me - a bit slouchy and soft, a little oversized, vocal about my faith.

I also made a few new lavender sachets for my dresser drawers but they're already in the drawers and if you think I'm taking a picture of them you are mistaken.  While they aren't completely a mess they aren't as neat and tidy as a magazine and that's what it would take to get me to show them.  :)

I need a few more small things to do - got any ideas for me?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Have You Seen This?

Doesn't mean much to me...does it to you?  Or it didn't until I read this post at Reverent Irreverence.  Go read it.  Please.

I'm doing a study right now that was written by Beth Moore and is called "Seeking A Heart Like His."  I think these men have achieved that goal.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tuxedo Cat

I found this pattern in a magazine several years ago and I'm sorry to say I don't remember which one.  At the time I had a cat named Jackson who has since departed this earth but at the time most of these silhouettes reminded me so much of him that I couldn't wait to make the quilt.  Oddly enough the one silhouette that doesn't look like Jackson (who was a Maine Coon) is Tuxedo Cat in the very middle.  The background is made of several different cream on cream fabrics though it's hard to tell here.  All the cats are in black and there's only the one splash of red in the tie.  I put a little bling on the tie - a couple of clear, sparkly crystals.  I was thinking of Jackson today.  He was such a bother - his hair was long and thick and he shed terribly.  He only wanted to sit in my lap when he wanted to and never when I wanted him to.  He used the litter box like a good cat but he scratched the litter out onto the floor all around the box.  He was left at the city dump where he was found and rescued by a friend of mine.  When she brought him to me he was covered with fleas and ticks and was wild and angry.  I took him to the vet and got him cleaned up and got his shots and when I brought him home he hid under the bed for days and days, only coming out at night.  We didn't lay eyes on him for weeks!  Eventually though, as is the norm with cats, he "owned" the house and us or so he thought and he lived with us for 12 years.  We don't have any pets now but every once in a while I think I catch a glimpse of Jackson out of the corner of my eye.  I don't give much credence to that, knowing that it's just a shadow or a bit of light.  Except today when I found a little tuft of Jackson hair.  He died three years ago.  Hmmmmm.

Friday, February 4, 2011

One Thousand Blessings - Day 21

676.  Medical folks - especially those that work with children
677.  Seeing a sick child start to get better
678.  Snow
679.  People who clear away the snow  :)
680.  Birds sitting at my feeder
681.  Mothers who make courageous, but hard, decisions for their children
682.  Small gas heaters in bathrooms
683.  The internet
684.  Homegrown vegetables
685.  Broccoli Cheese Soup on a cold day
686.  Praying over a child
687.  Being able to buy a size smaller slacks that you used to
688.  Soft, warm pajamas
689.  Crock Pots
690.  Pictures of my parents
691.  Church day care centers
692.  Thank you notes
693.  Books that make you think, and the ones that don't
694.  Those that make sure Bibles are in hotel rooms
695.  Krusteaz fat free muffin mix
696.  Friends who make me laugh
697.  Friends who cry with me
698.  Recipe cards written by my father-in-law
699.  My daughter's dog, Zuri
700.  The first green shoots of the daffodils
701.  Deep purple violets on my windowsill
702.  Really good lemonade
703.  Those that serve the homeless
704.  Those that put  flowers on their loved ones graves
705.  Preachers
706.  The woman at Starbucks who is always cheerful and welcoming
707.  Dry cleaning services
708.  Icicles hanging from the roof  reflecting the sunlight in a million colors
709.  Business cards when I want to save a phone number
710.  Thermometers that tell me the temperature outdoors and indoors at the same time
711.  Voice mail
712.  Senior citizen day at Kroger
713.  "Green" bags that are so much easier to carry than plastic ones
714.  Our knitting ministry at church
715.  People who work in Hospice