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 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I don't usually make it until midnight and it's looking as if I won't tonight either.  It's not yet 8:00 here and already I'm yawning!  Oh well, it will still be 2012 at 6:00 a.m. when I normally wake up so I'll celebrate then with a glass of orange juice.  :)  

I've made no resolutions for the new year.  I haven't chosen a word to focus on either.  But I've lifted up a prayer to my Heavenly Father asking for His blessing in whatever way He thinks is best for me, for increased faith and a greater openness to His path.  When I count the blessings of 2011 they almost overwhelm me.  We are healthy, we have wonderful children and grandchildren and a warm home with plenty to eat and clean water to drink.  We have close family members and friends we love.  We live in a country that allows us to worship in any way we choose and a church home where other members have become our second family.  I can see and hear and walk. We live in a beautiful area where we see God's handiwork every day.  I have a sewing room and I could make quilts for all of 2012 without every buying fabric!  I've always told my husband I will be happy as long as I'm not hot, cold, broke or stranded.  I'm happy!  I can't think of one thing that I need that God has not provided.  I'm not rich, I don't live in a big house and I don't have a job with power or prestige.  Heavens, I don't even have a job...and I'm very happy about that!  :)  Those things aren't important...and I am thankful for that as well.   My prayer for you, my blog friends, is that you will have the most joy filled year ever and that you will be given the strength you need in hard times by the grace of our Lord, and that you will love others and will be loved in return.  Happy New Year! 

 Blessings, Marlene

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This and That and A Small Giveaway

We went to church, we welcomed family, we opened presents, we ate too much food, we laughed and we cried.  I love Christmas.  :)

I'm not sure why but when all the celebrating is over and all the family members have returned to their respective homes I always get the urge to clean and organize.  I want to clean out drawers and closets, weed out the old and the outgrown and the why-in-the-world-did-I-ever-think-I-wanted-that stuff.  I really, really need to go through every single thing in my sewing room and I might just do that in the next month when the weather will keep me indoors.  But for today I have a few patterns that I've either made already, or never will make, that need  new homes.  If you're a follower and you think you might want one or more of these leave me a comment with the numbers of the one(s) you want.  If more than one person is interested in one of them I'll draw names on Sunday.  If only one person is interested you'll automatically get it.  And if no one wants it (poor rejected thing!) I'll put it on the giveaway table at guild.

Won by Mrs. Pickles!
#1  Santa's Midnight Runner (this is a long, skinny wall hanging that I've made and which hangs in my sunroom)  It's about 17 x 52 and has both piecing and applique.

Won by Sheila!
#2  Lilly Mae's Basket Quilt...I haven't made this one.  It's a little quilt about 18 x 23 and is pieced.

Won by Carrie!
#3  Peace, Love, Joy...Pincushion     I've made this one - it's a small wool pincushion, is fast and easy, and has both applique and embroidery.

Won by Lea!
#4  Abbey Lane "The Bungalow Bag"     I made this last summer - it's roomy without being bulky and I love it!  It shows bought handles but I made fabric handles and used a bright spring fabric that's really cute.

Won by Gill!
#5  Old Crimson Clove...a Sue Spargo pattern...36 x 31...I haven't made this one.  The background is pieced but it's mostly applique.

Won by Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts!
#6   Sage Country Christmas Tree...I haven't made this one's 48 x 63 and appears to be intricate piecing.  I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner (which is why I didn't  make it!)

If you're a follower and you want one or more please leave me the numbers of the ones you want - it will help when I draw names.  And stay posted - I plan to have more in the next couple of weeks!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Cute Stuff

One of my daughters pointed out this cute idea on Pinterest recently:
It's a travel pillowcase with a handle and a pocket for keeping books, IPods, etc.  How cute is that!  The original post came from Amazing Mae.  I have 5 "young" grandchildren and 3 "old" grandchildren.  I made pillowcases for the 5 young ones and got each a new pillow.  I think they'll love this!

And then I spied some of my Ghastlies fabric that I hadn't used and made this for another of the "old" ones:

It's a roll-up carrying case for knitting needles and other necessaries for that craft.  Don't you love the knitting aunts?  :)

I don't want to say it too loud but I think I've finished my Christmas sewing.  Knock on wood.  Cross my fingers.  And it's not even Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Pretty Sure...

I'm pretty sure that I just made the best Potato Soup I've ever made.  Have I told ya'll lately that I'm a terrible cook?  Truth.  But this stuff is good.  Really.

First I put some butter (the real stuff) and some bacon grease in a pot.  No bacon - I don't like bacon in my potato soup.  I just like grease.  I can't believe I said that - don't anybody e-mail about that because I know those two things are terrible and awful and probably were the true cause of WW II or will lead to an invasion of aliens or something.  I don't care.  Well, maybe I care because I don't want to be eaten by an alien but I'm still gonna' use butter and bacon grease because I'm from the south and it's genetic.  Then I sauteed some onions and celery and carrots for a few minutes in that brease.  That's my new word for butter and grease.

I added some potatoes that were beginning to get crinkled I'd had them so long and two cans of chicken broth.  One of them was fat free if that makes you feel any better.  I have  no idea how that got in my pantry. Then I added a little leftover Almond Milk that I had.  A friend told me it was good to drink and good for you but I bought the wrong brand I guess because it wasn't.  I've been sneaking it in things I cook so my husband won't know it.  And I mixed up some dry milk because I'm trying to save a little money and added some of that.  When the vegetables were done I added about 4 oz of cream cheese because I had it leftover and it needed to be used and about 8 oz of Velveeta.

Potato soup is comfort food.  Potato soup is good.  My potato soup today is the best ever.  I win.  :)

Edit:  Oops.  Forgot to tell you I added some potato flakes to thicken it before I put in the cheeses.  That's all.  Unless I forgot something else.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Thousand Blessings - Day 29

1001.  Christmas music
1002.  Having the sun come out after several rainy days, especially in winter
1003.  Pictures of children with Santa
1004.  Children dancing
1005.  Freshly laundered sheets
1006.  Pinterest
1007.  The smell of cookies baking
1008.  Christmas cards from old friends
1009.  Daydreams
1010.  Pinto beans, turnip greens, cornbread and the memories of Mama cooking
1011.  Spray starch
1012.  Hands when they're folded in prayer
1013.  Hot Chocolate
1014.  Bookstores
1015.  Birds on my window sill
1016.  Magnolia trees
1017.  Fog on the lake outside my window
1018.  Physical therapists
1019.  Sand and sea and sunshine
1020.  The ability to remember good times and loved ones no longer here...I don't want to forget them

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can You Say Addicted?

I think I'm as addicted to making these as I am to Pinterest!
Well, maybe not quite as addicted.  But close.  Really close.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Just Love This!

Is this not the cutest thing?

Made in a couple of hours using a white canvas bag I bought at Hobby Lobby - a ruffle around the bottom, a little polka dot ribbon, a monogram on the front and a sweet little tie to match the ruffle.  I also covered some foam core to make a bottom that matches the ruffle and tie and added some pink stitching on the handles.  I know a little girl that's going to love this at Christmas!  One down and two to do.  :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Lost Is Found

The Christmas Tree Skirt that I mentioned in my last post is now found and under my tree.  My mother made this at my request probably 30 years ago.  She made beautiful things, often without a pattern, and always by the tried and true old methods.  I bought her a rotary cutter and mat several years before her death but to my knowledge she never used them.  She pretended to so she wouldn't hurt my feelings but I found her newspaper templates all over her house and her tiny bits of fabric cut sort of close to the size of the template.  She rarely measured and mostly just "eyeballed" her pieces.  She had absolutely no color sense most of the time, maybe because she was so determined to use true scraps.  When I asked for this tree skirt I envisioned red and green and maybe gold, Santa or reindeer or  peppermint sticks.  This is what I got.

Yep, those are calicos in red, yellow, navy and brown.  Every time I look at it I smile.  It was so typically her.  And it's a very high loft batting that puffs up between the quilting lines.  The quilting, by the way, is by hand using what I'm sure is polyester thread and the stitches are about a quarter inch in size and distance.

While it's not what most quilt lovers would consider to be a beautiful quilt I found myself welcoming it back to it's rightful place much like the father of the prodigal son.  I wasn't home when my husband found it and put it on the dining table to wait for me.  I'm sure my eyes lit up and a smile graced my face because it surely came immediately to my heart when I caught sight of it.  Like that prodigal son, who wasn't the best of sons by any stretch of the imagination, it was welcomed back for itself, a beloved member of the family.  The fabric doesn't matter.  The colors don't matter.  It doesn't even matter that there's nothing Christmasy about it.  It's the love and the memories that count.

And to top it all off, because the skirt brought all of that to mind, this morning I put on the one outfit of Mother's that I kept.  She died in 2003 and I gave her these slacks and this shirt at least 5 years before that so that tells you how old it is.  I wear it once in a great while when I'm missing her the most.  I put my hands in the pockets and what did I find?  A $5 dollar bill!  Oh I've worn this before so I'm sure I left it there myself, and that Mother didn't.  But just the same I feel her smiling at the "found" money and the tree skirt that I adore.  What a wonderful Christmas gift.  :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Christmas Already?

I remember when I was a child and hearing my parents and grandparents talk about how quickly time passed.  I didn't understand that at all because it seemed to me that summer lasted forever and then it took forever and a day for Christmas to arrive.  But these days it has become quite clear to me that they knew what they were talking about.  Christmas was just last month, wasn't it?

I'm slower than I used to be, and not as strong as I once was, but I love Christmas as much as ever I did.  I've narrowed down my decorating choices to things I love, with the emphasis on the memories they involve. Many, if not most, are things I've made, or the children gave me.  I've asked everyone I know for some fresh pine and by the weekend I should have some to put here and there but for now I've brought out a one or two favorites for my own pleasure.

I've made a "few" Christmas quilts, or table runners, or pillows, or candle mats, or...fill in the blank.  This "Santa is a Star" has a fussy cut picture of Santa in the middle and looks wonderful on my burlap table cloth.

Winter Wonderland lives on my bed each year from Thanksgiving until February - after all January means snow, right?
 And there are a couple of wall hangings that are perfect above the two patio doors in my sunroom.  One is Santa flying across the sky and the other...
 is a terrible picture but is an embroidery piece of all the reindeer and their names.

I'm very sad because right now we can't find the Christmas tree skirt my mother made me about 30 years ago.  I'm sure it's there somewhere - in the decorations I didn't use this year - but it's hiding from me at the moment.  :(  And one box of my Christmas tree decorations got wet somehow so I've lost a few.  Memories.... even though the ornaments are gone they're still in my heart.  There was a time when I was broken hearted when something got broken or lost but not so much any more because I've kept them all right here inside where they mean the most.  It was a hard lesson learned but a good one.  It's not the things that matter - it's the love you feel and the memory that thing invokes that you want to hold on to.

This poor "Santa's Wild Goose Chase" has a wrinkle down the middle.  :(  Hmmm, guess he's getting the same wrinkles I am!

 This table runner is one of my favorites - can't remember the pattern at all, but it works like it is now without the leaf in the table, and even when the table is at it's longest.
 A little blurry I suppose (to my wonderful photographer friends I promise I'm going to try to take a class next semester!) but this wool Santa candle mat was a joy to make.
 And because Santa looked a bit lonely I made a few snowmen too.  Oh, and yes my coffee table is made of wooden shipping pallets.  We added wheels underneath and glass on the top and I'm totally in love with the whole thing.  It's 40" x 48" and my grandchildren can clear off the top to play games here - such fun!
 This little pillow is a reminder to me of the reason we celebrate.
Of course there are more I haven't shown you and I admit that these on the chair I've not yet found a place for.  Do you think it's time to share with my children?  The not so funny thing about our quilted creations is that sometimes giving them away it like giving away one of our children!  Or is that just me?
 Old friends are brought to mind when I put out other bits of my Merry Christmas letters
 and this small church/candle holder, as well as my dishes (a gift from my children).
 This, however, is a gift to my husband - a little reminder of the season as he builds me a fire!
 At heart I'm still a child, so this little sign peeking down from the top of the china cabinet says it all for me.  How about you?  Do you still believe?