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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

See You In September and Orphan Blocks

What does one of these have to do with the other?  Nothing.  Or I guess it could be something.  There's a new blog hop happening over at Sew We Quilt called See You In September.

Shari from Refreshed Intent and Living with Purpose will be coordinating this hop so be sure you join in - it's going to be great fun!  I'm all ready - one of the requirements is to use some Riley Blake gingham for one of the three projects so here's what I'm going to use:

Hmmm, wonder what holiday I might be thinking about?  :)

Meanwhile I'm going to be taking a little trip, no a big trip, in the future and I wanted some bags to put my unmentionables in.  I know those airport folks see a million pairs of panties every day but these are MY panties and telling me they don't even think twice about underwear is like telling me not to be nervous about going to the gynecologist because they see lots of those private places every day.  Is it my age that makes me think private things should be private?  :)

I made a couple of unmentionable bags out of two fat quarters and some ribbon I had left from another project - these are even lined.  But then I thought to myself, "Self, you have tons of orphan blocks....what could you do with those?"  So I made these two, one lined and one unlined.

Before I'm through I'll have enough bags to hold every single thing in my suitcase.  But, really how many of these do I need?  I don't need a hundred so I'm on a quest ya'll.  What else can I do with orphan blocks?  Pot holders would be good but what else?  Got ideas?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Morning Visitors and A Few More Finishes

I think the flock has grown!  I don't know why they keep coming back because we don't feed them but there must be something in the grass there by the lake that they like.  Worms...grasshoppers....some other kind of bug....I don't want to think about it!  :)

I'm finishing up the last few days of work for this year and, hopefully, for this lifetime.  But I did get to the sewing room a few afternoons and one day this weekend.

I need a few more pillows for our Independence Day celebration.  This was an easy one and I love the bright colors.  I didn't realize how faded some of my older pillows were until I put this one out.  I'm not sure if I will use it on the chair or the lounge - it will depend on what other ones I make.

This wall hanging is going on my front door - the pattern came from Summer 2014 Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.  The pattern uses strips of red and strips of white for the bottom portion but I had this striped fabric that seemed perfect to me and since it made it even faster made it even better.  The hearts and stars are wool appliqued using a blanket stitch.  I did some echo stitching around the hearts and then wavy lines down the stripes.

This last piece has quickly become a favorite.  I can't tell you the name of the pattern because I loaned it to a friend but I'll have it back in a month or so if you are interested....just let me know and I'll e-mail you the particulars.

This quilt has wool applique, hand embroidery and piecing so it has something for everyone!  I did some echo stitching around the flowers, then stippled the background.  The borders have what I call spirals in one but I didn't do anything but straight stitching on the rest.  I will probably come back and add something to the last border but just can't decide what right now.

Six UFOs done, a million to go.  Well, not a million but a lot.  :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I'm A Completer!

In education, at least here in Arkansas, when a high school student successfully finishes certain courses in a field of vocational education they are called "Completers."  I'm not sure exactly why that's important, or why other people think it's important, but as a school counselor and administrator I see several good reasons for this process.  First of all kids have to set a goal, and that's always a good thing.  Second, when they complete the courses they are ready to go forward in their chosen field of education to either a technical school or a college/university.  For kids who either don't want to go to college or who don't want to go right out of high school, or who want to go into a field that doesn't require college this is a step up that will sometimes put them ahead in the job market.

This summer I'm trying to be a Completer.  Of course my chosen field is quilting/stitching and my courses are my UFOs.  :)  To that end here are my first three completed masterpieces!

 I signed up for a class last year for this messenger bag at my local quilt shop not because I didn't know how to make a messenger bag but because a friend was going to teach it and I wanted to spend some time with her.  Life interfered and I didn't get to attend the class but she was gracious enough to give me the pattern anyway.  I cut a few corners and made it in an afternoon.  I used some pre-quilted fabric I had and though you probably can't see it in this photo I rounded the corners of the flap.
 Do you like my button?  I love it!  I'll show you in a minute what it really is - but not a button.  :)
 For the lining I used a treasured bit of fabric brought back to me from Africa by a friend who picked it up while on a mission trip.
Can you see now what my "button" is?  A clip earring!  I simply stitched it down going over and through the clip to hold it on.  I didn't want the flap to actually button so this simple trick made a decorative addition.  I pick up earrings like this at yard sales when I find them because they can be repurposed into so many other things.

Second up is this sweet little table topper.  Last year a friend from one of my stitching groups passed away.  Her daughter gifted her friends with some of her fabric, books and UFOs.  This piece was a UFO and had a few scraps with it where she was going to add to it.  When I looked at it I could tell it was probably made late in her illness because the piecing was not her usual perfection.  I could have taken it apart and made it a little straighter and with a few less wrinkles but I didn't - I wanted to savor it and her and every minute of her life.  I remember so well the last few weeks of my mother's life where she sometimes sat with a needle and a block in her hand looking at it as if she couldn't figure out what to do next.  Then it would come to her and she would take another stitch.
 The colors in this piece are perfect for my deck - the furniture out there is certainly livened up with it on the table.
But it also goes well in my bedroom either on the blanket chest or on my footstool.
My third and final selection this week is the last of my Kathy Schmitz BOM pieces for my Ackfeld Stand.
 I think this one is called May Flowers - or maybe that's just what I call it.  I loved the fabric I used on this one and really, really wanted to do HSTs for the border.  I think, though, that I made it just a wee bit too wide to hang on the stand.  Like maybe 2" too wide.  Hmmm, guess I might be shopping for a bigger stand.  That would mean I need to make several more this size, right?  :)
I'm really sad that these are all finished - I've loved these stitcheries.

Are you going to be a completer this summer?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Expensive Does Not Always Mean Better

In 2005 we bought a new washer and dryer.  One or the other of my old ones died and we figured the other wasn't far behind so we just replaced both.  My old one looked a lot like this picture I found on Google Images.

Of course I wanted the newest and best thing they had so that they would last me a really, really long time, equating expensive with something I would love.  And silly  me,  I thought these new ones would last me a really, really long time.  We didn't buy the most expensive set they had in the store, but we did buy the second most expensive.  I would have bought the most expensive ones except I didn't want a front loader washer.  And after all, if you pay a lot of money it's going to be something you will love, right?

Wrong.  My new ones looked a lot like these, except white.  Because I'm addicted to white.

The washer had problems from the beginning.  Problems so great that they gave me a brand new one to replace it after the third repair call.  Problems fixed I went happily on my way, washing and drying.  That washer was High Efficiency and needed special detergent but hey, it was the best out there, right?  Because it was HE it wouldn't fill up with water; it just put enough water in to get the clothes clean.  Or so they tell you.  Do you realize that if it won't fill up with water you can't soak anything?  You can't dye anything.  And contrary to what they tell you my clothes just didn't smell clean to me.  And they looked...well, dull.  I fought it and I fought hard.  I tried different detergents, even making my own.  I tried different fabric softeners, again even making my own.  I HATED that washer.  I couldn't wait for the day it would quit.  And lucky me....last week that happened.

Now understand my husband wasn't nearly as happy as me.  :)  But being the good man that he is he understood that a minimum of a $200 repair bill on a 10 year old washer versus the cost of new one and his wife's happiness well, no contest.  So what did I do?  I went to the store and bought the cheapest washer they had.  Yep, the cheapest.  And you know what it looks like?  Just like the washer I had the first few years we were married 50 years ago!

This isn't it, of course, because it's the same image from above but trust me, it's very close to this.  My husband commented last night that it even sounds like our first one - pretty darn loud.  :)  It fills up, the lid locks, it agitates, it drains, it spins.  And my husband came in after the first day and said, "hey, my towels smell better for some reason."   I love it!  I will not be fooled again.  I will not look for the most expensive.  I will look for the tried and true.  Well, unless it's fabric because, really .... well, I don't want to get crazy about this, right?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dear God

One of these days I'm going to say exactly what I want to say in exactly the words I want to say but so far I just can't get that to happen.  Lucky for me one of my favorite bloggers, Gail At The Farm, has said them for me.  I love her post titled "Dear God."  You might enjoy it too.  You can find it here:

Gail At the Farm

P.S.  She has great pictures too.  :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Breakfast Anyone?

It's time for a picnic!  I knew with the heat reaching the low 90s it was going to be just a bit uncomfortable for a midday picnic even if we hung out by the lake in my backyard.  It looked inviting...

but if you look really close you'll see we would have had some uninvited guests!

Can you see the geese hanging out by the lake edge?  Trust me, you don't want geese to join you for breakfast - they don't share!

So I decided we'd move our Breakfast! Picnic to the front courtyard.  Early mornings out there are's shady and cool and you can hear the birds singing.  Plus it's so convenient to run back in to get whatever I might forget.  :)

This is my favorite's the perfect reminder of the best way to start the day.  Prayer and meditation, along with breakfast, just make the day go better.

I won't procrastinate any longer; after all you're here to see my picnic quilt.  :)  I decided to go completely patriotic - one of my grandchildren was born on the fourth of July and every year we have a big family gathering to celebrate both our nation and our family.

I dug through my stash and found a panel I'd forgotten I had.  I'm sure that's never happened to you!

I used Riley Blake red and white polka dot laminate for the back since this table often is moist from the morning dew.

The panel had several small (about 13 x 13) squares and I had the hardest time picking just one.  The background fabrics are navy and khaki Kona cotton.  I had both of those in my stash and also had the navy stars and the red so except for the laminate I shopped in my fabric closet - yea!

I know you're getting hungry so what's on the menu?  Well it's breakfast so fresh fruit, obviously!  Do you see those plaid seersucker napkins?  Love, love, love seersucker napkins!  I made about 5 dozen one day, using five different seersuckers, just by cutting squares and serging them.  And then I made the most awesome discovery....they are the best dishrags ever!  Who knew?  They are light weight, the perfect size and dry quickly.  I'll never use anything else!

The little counted cross stitch Uncle Sam was made for me one Christmas many, many years ago by one of my daughters.

While fruit is wonderful and healthy it's just not enough for about you?  Next up are the most awesome Cranberry Orange Muffins, fat free and the best things you've ever tasted.  I'll be getting them out of the oven in just a moment and bringing them out nice and hot.  You're going to want this recipe, right?  Here it is....

Go right now and buy, seriously.  I'll wait.  Back yet?  These are so wonderful you're not going to believe it!  I'll be having an iced chai tea latte (with fat free milk of course) but I have coffee - cream and sugar?

Oh look!  The muffins are ready - yum!

And when we're through with our meal we'll move over to the bench to read the paper - well you can read the paper.  I'll be reading blogs and Facebook on my IPad.  :)

I bought this old bench from a run down and closed up church.  They had painted it brown and I left it that way for years.  This week my husband power washed the paint off and this is how it turned out.  I think I like it!

I hope you enjoyed your breakfast.  Before you go let's all thank Mary of I Piece 2-Mary for organizing and coordinating this hop - it's been so much fun!  And thanks to Madame Samm for all that she does...too much for me to name!

Please be sure you go to visit the other bloggers today.  There are always the most amazing quilts to see!
Friday June 6
Stitchin' By The Lake (you are here)

Let's take one last look at my picnic quilt - I hope you'll join me soon for a bite to eat and a cup of coffee or tea!