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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving - An Action Verb

Tomorrow is the day in America set aside to be thankful for family and friends, for food and home.  But Thanksgiving is not just a's also an action verb.  Giving thanks should be as natural as breathing to us but sometimes we take our blessings for granted.

Let's give thanks for our military personnel who leave their homes to serve us.  Let's be thankful for missionaries and their families who leave their homes to serve God.  Let's be thankful for one another...let's put hate out of our hearts for good and replace it with love for each person, no matter their color, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, financial status, no matter.

And let's take it a step further than just giving thanks.  Let's show thanks, in little ways as well as big ones.  Let's write a thank you on a post-it note and stick it to our coworker's desk, the mirror in the bathroom at work for the person who keeps it clean for us, in the mailbox for our postal workers, in our child's lunchbox for being someone so special, anywhere and everywhere.  Let's make love viral.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Little Blog Updating

One of the things I like to do on my blog is keep a list of blog buttons on my sidebar.  It's amazing how many people who visit me then click on one of those buttons to see who I'm reading.  :)  If I don't have your button there and you'd like to be added please just comment below.  I'll come over and grab your button and/or picture and add it.  Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt is such a supporter of other stitchers and their blogs that I'm following her example in my own way.  If you don't have her button (or mine) here's how to do it:

1.  copy the html code underneath the button on my blog
2.  go to your layout, click on add gadget, then on HTML/Java Script.  In the big box there paste the code.
3.  Save it and your good to go!

And while you're at it, how about saving the button for the We Support You blog hop!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Smiles and Confusion

Last week I made an apple pie.  From scratch.  Well, sort of.  I bought the crust - but I had to unroll it so that's nearly homemade.  :)  But the filling really was homemade.  Some of you are saying "what's the big deal?"  The big deal is I've never made one.  Apple pie isn't my favorite, or wasn't.  I think that's because I don't care for other people's apple pie - mine was delicious!  It made me smile, and apparently my pie liked it too.

I cut a few slits and this is how it ended up!  :)  I followed Madame Samm's directions exactly....I put a tablespoon or so of tapioca on the bottom crust, then put my thinly sliced apples in.  I had mixed them with some cinnamon and a little brown sugar and after they were in the crust I sprinkled nutmeg on top and a few thin pats of butter.  Then the top crust went on.  Oh my goodness it was delicious!

My Christmas cactus must be a bit confused.

It bloomed early last year too so I'm renaming it from Christmas cactus to Thanksgiving cactus.  :)

I had a little oral surgery today.  Yuck.  I had a tooth that was abscessed and fractured...they cut it out and did a bone graft.  In about four months I'll have an implant and then four months after that they'll put a crown on it and I'll be back to normal.  Except I'll be minus many dollars.  :(  For the next three weeks I can have no carbonated drinks, can't use a straw (I'm like addicted to drinking with a straw!), and have to eat soft foods.  The doctor smiled and said thank goodness at Thanksgiving you can have dressing and mashed potatoes with gravy!  Which reminds me, have you ever bought Bob Evans brand mashed potatoes in the deli?  I hadn't until today.  My husband picked up some for me and oh my goodness - they taste real.  I have no idea if they are or not but when I woke up enough to eat something late this afternoon they were wonderful!

In between naps I'm doing some stitching and oh I love this!

It's going to be a pillow and is going to be so cute!  I found the pattern in a Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.  The background is cotton and the ornaments are wool.  I appliqued it with a blanket stitch and the pine branch is embroidered.  I used Valdani wool threads on all of it.  This will look so good paired with the Holiday Lane pillow I made for a blog hop a year or so ago.

I liked Jingle so much I prepped two of them so I could send one to a friend.  Since I'm going to be down for a couple of days I might get them both finished!  And speaking of being down I've just taken another pain pill so I'm off to take a nap!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pot Holders....and Twas The Night

I opened a drawer in my kitchen this week and one word came to mind....yuck!  Does anyone else have pot holders that look like this?

There were some my mother crocheted....worn so thin I have to use two instead of one to keep from getting burned. My mother died in 2004 so that tells you how old they are.  A couple of them were a gift from a friend and they are still pretty thick but oh so stained.  What in the world stains blue?  They're clean because I'm careful to wash them pretty often but, oh my they're ugly.  So I just made myself some new ones.

I literally used scraps of fabric left over from other projects, and orphan blocks from somewhere or other.  I always save the pieces of bindings that are left ( I'm notorious for making too much binding) so I dug those out of the bin  and, on a couple of these, I used the old pot holders for the middle stuff.  On the rest I put a layer of InSulBrite between two layers of cotton batting and quilted it all together.  I got the idea from one of our bloggers last week....though the ones I saw were a little more elaborate and a lot cuter.  I do like the girl from Harry Potter there....she makes me smile.  :)

If you need some ideas for quick projects then be sure you check out our bloggers on the Twas The Night hop this week!

Monday, Nov. 17
Cucki Stitching Cove (Cucki was in an accident and is in the hospital - say a prayer for her)

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Wednesday, Nov. 19

Thursday, Nov. 20

Friday, Nov. 21

Monday, November 10, 2014

Twas The Night!

I love, love, love the holidays!  I love seeing all the decorations....trees and twinkle lights, Santa faces, reindeer, candy canes.  And the scents of Christmas at our house - cinnamon and cloves, cookies baking, a turkey roasting - bring a smile to my face.  That's why I wanted to be a part of this blog hop!  Twas The Night says so many things to all of us, not matter what our faith.  The night before a holiday, the night before a birthday, the night before a wedding - the anticipation of that event makes our hearts skip a beat.

Thanks to you Madame Samm for the creation of this hop and for the way you continue to inspire us and coach us and love us!  This hop was a bit different from others because we included a gift giving part to it.  Everyone in the hop sent a gift to someone else in the hop....and I was so blessed to receive a gift from Cori (Creativity Amongst Chaos) She sent me the most amazing pincushions and the sweetest pins to go with them!

Not just one pincushion but three!  And those sweet pins...made by her daughter!  :)

I tried to pick a favorite, really I did, but I just couldn't!  Cori, thank you so very much....pincushions are something I never make for myself and these are going to be everywhere in my house.  One on my sewing table, one on my cutting table, and one on my chair in the sunroom!  My friends are going to be so jealous.  :)

This hop has inspired me.  Really, it kinda made me crazy!  I kept thinking of all the things you could do in a night, or a morning, or just a few appliqued tea towels.

I do machine applique using a blanket stitch for tea towels like this since they will be washed many times.  Find a coloring book or look for coloring pages on the net and you'll find a million shapes!

Or fussy cut some fabric and stitch some ribbon around to frame it.

Or make some Christmas coasters with fussy cut fabrics.

Or maybe you like zippered bags.

One to hold a ruler or two, needles, pins, etc. and a matching smaller one for the little rotary cutter.

Or one to hold a pair of scissors.

Now these...yes, there are eight of them....are for sweet sisters of the heart.  My high school girlfriends - go Zebras! - will be getting one of these.

I bought the pattern for my zipper pouches but there are tons of free tutorials on Pinterest.  Here's one I really like at Sweet Verbena.

This might be my favorite thing I made.  Lavender scented drawer liners and sachets.

That's really a lavender bush they are laying on!

I laid my batting on the fabric, sprayed a little adhesive on it, sprinkled lavender buds all over that, and quilted the whole thing.  Yes, quilted right over those lavender buds.  And the scent - just luscious!

I hope my "make it in a night" gifts will inspire you to get started on your own gifts.  I keep a basket in my sewing room with all kinds of things in it.  When a birthday rolls around, or some other occasion like a baby shower or a friend who is down in the dumps, I pull something out and send it off.  It's so nice to have a little stash of gifts put aside.

What's my next project?  Well, this isn't a quick one but it is a fun one.  After 25 years away from it I'm starting a counted cross stitch project.  I bought a kit of Anne Hathaway's Cottage while we were in England.

I do my hand stitching at night sitting in front of the television.  The chair where I sit is in a dark corner and no matter what I do I can't seem to get enough light there.  So here's a tip from me to you...Beam N Read!  :)  See that light right there next to my project?

Just look at how it lights up the whole area!  Most of the time I wear it around my neck but sometimes I clamp it to the side of my hoop with some clothespin type clamps I found at the hardware store.  It is truly amazing!  It's battery operated or you can use the USB cord they include but the battery seems to last forever.  This is actually my second one....the first one I had I literally wore out.  Oh and there was the little incident of forgetting to take it off and dropping it in the dishwater.  :)  If you are interested you can find it here.  It is so perfect for sewing down bindings, a little hand embroidery or sewing on a button.  I bet you'll be like me and wear it all the time.  Just don't forget and go do the dishes.

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on all the blogs today.  Go see who else is going to make you say, "oh I want to make that!" today.

Tuesday, Nov. 11