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, January 30, 2016

A Mini Post

A mini post - what in the world is that?  I think it means I'm going to write a little, but not a lot.  Of course quite often I think that and when I get started I'm still talking/writing an hour later.

The weather in Arkansas has been completely insane for a couple of weeks.  We had rain and we had snow and we had 70 degree days that fooled the forsythia and japonica into thinking they should open up a few buds.  But the crazy days have produced the most amazing sunsets!

Sometimes I just stare in total amazement.

I'm stitching....only in the evenings when things get quiet.  But at least I'm stitching.  I finished this piece by Scattered Seed Samplers last week.  I think she intended it to be a pinkeep but it's much larger than I picture that way.  However, I have fallen totally in love with it.

In the book of Matthew there are multiple places where Jesus tells us not to worry about anything, not even about what we will eat.  He reminds us how valuable we are to our Father - that He cares for the sparrows and we are worth far more than them.  As I was stitching I was reminded of this lesson and found comfort in that thought.  So this became my Sparrow Pinkeep - a gentle reminder that worry is pointless.  And since I'm the queen of worry I'm going to love having this nearby.

I hope you're having a worry-free weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I don't think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder but I sure can understand when people get extremely depressed during these gray days of winter.  I find it hard to get motivated and have trouble focusing on projects.  I'm making myself continue to work on UFOs, though, and have spent some time in the sewing room this week.

This pattern is called Christmas Gathering and is by Plum Street Samplers.  But it reminds me of Noah and the dove he sent out from the Ark which eventually came back with an olive leaf.  The small green wreath isn't an olive leaf but but it does bring that story to mind for me so I've renamed it "Noah's Dove."  I made it into a small bag which can be hung from a doorknob or on a front door with some sprigs of pine in it.  It could even hold some sewing bits and pieces.

I have several Prairie Schooler Santa patterns but this is the first one I've stitched and will definitely make some changes if I make another.  The colors recommended are muted and certainly pretty but my taste is a more rich, hand dyed color scheme.  Obviously I chose this one to be my first because of the treadle sewing machine - I love it!  I made it into a small hanging and added the gold cord to hang it with and to finish a couple of edges.  I plan to hang it from a knob on my treadle machine next Christmas.

Andrew, our youngest grandson who just turned 7 last month, had his first duck hunting experience last week.  I asked if they killed anything and my son's answer was, "time."  As you can see from all the clothes he has on it was a bit chilly - I doubt Andrew will be anxious to go again soon.  :)

My early morning routine includes sitting in my recliner with a large cup of hot tea, my Bible and this view.  While the morning gave a beautiful promise of sunshine it didn't keep the promise - it was another gray day after the initial pink sunrise.

How are you managing to get through these winter days?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where Does The Time Go?

I've lost time.  It happens to me frequently.  Today is Tuesday but I look up and suddenly it's Saturday.  How does that happen?

When I worked I longed to be retired because I pictured it as such a restful time...full of days where I lounged around reading a good book, eating chocolate.  I don't know about you but it doesn't happen at my house!  I've been busy the last week or so but I'm not sure exactly what I've done.  I finished another pillow - are you getting sick of these yet?

I think this might be my favorite - the antlers and sash are a deep brown narrow wale corduroy.  I confess I saw a similar pillow at a local department store one day and refused to pay the steep price tag for it.  I came home, searched Google Images and found similar antlers, and made my own pattern.  It works beautifully in our "boys bedroom."

Several weeks ago I finished a cross stitch piece from Just CrossStitch magazine - a cup with an herb in it.  There was a series of four and I planned to do all four and hang them in my kitchen.  Until I remembered I have no spare walls in my kitchen.  So I made this one into a cover for my box of essential oils.  I love the way it turned out!

Both of these were UFOs and in my ongoing effort to get some of that empire state building size stack a little smaller I also prepped this kit,

and got this one out to prep next.

I think my favorite thing I've stitched this week wasn't a UFO at all.  I bought this kit last week at The Shepherd's Needle in Little Rock and couldn't wait to make it.  It is a Shepherd's Bush design and is the perfect size for holding a couple of pens, a kleenex or two and even some note cards with my Bible and journal beside my chair.

It would also be a good size for scissors, needles and thimble so I think I'll consider making some for gifts - I love making zipper bags and they stitch up quickly.

I made a big pot of soup this week too - one of the best I've made in a long time.  I love homemade vegetable soup that starts with a beef roast as the base.  I cooked mine in the electric pressure cooker for an hour and a half with a jar of home canned tomatoes and a can of beef broth.  It was falling apart when I added the onions, celery and carrots and let it simmer for a while.

When those vegetable were done I added some potatoes, corn, okra and black eyed peas left from New Year's.  Yes, it was a huge pot but I shared some with one of our daughters and her family so we've only a tiny bowl left now.

I also made some cinnamon raising bread that was so wonderful - I use a sourdough starter and it's fast, easy, and delicious.  Isn't this loaf pretty?

The bowl it's in was my grandmother's.  I carried it in my lap on the plane home from California after she died.  Here's the finished product....

It was scrumptious!  I only make bread about every 10 days because I have no will power when hot bread comes out of the oven.  I'm on Weight Watchers and while I can have this it's more points than I want to indulge in very often.  We keep one loaf and I give the other two away.

Anybody else lost time lately?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pillow Frenzy

It started at our Christmas celebration when one of my daughters wanted a quilt for her bed.  She's bought a "fixer upper" and work is progressing nicely but she painted the walls in her bedroom a dark gray and now needs some color.  She didn't ask me to make her a quilt - just share one I already had.  We looked through the stacks of quilts (don't judge) and she chose one I bought several years ago at a junk store for $30.  It was old and a bit ragged on the edges but a beautiful star pattern and made from reds and teals.  Then, of course, she needed some throw pillows to set it off.  We went through my fabric stash (don't judge) and she chose three fabrics we thought might work.  Well, you know pillows take so little time that I ended up making three.

While I was rummaging around in the sewing room I came across a pumpkin I had embroidered this fall so I just made a quick pillow with it while I was there.

I love the border fabric on this one, though it doesn't show up well in this picture.  It's spider webs with little orange spiders on it.  :)

Abut that same time I finished a wool hand applique piece I'd been working on so I just stayed with my pillow theme and this is what I ended up with.

This pattern was in a recent Primitive Projects magazine.  I think it will be put up and given to someone for Christmas next year.  I love the addition of the gingham.

I had another wool piece I'd finished weeks ago and, you guessed it, another daughter who needed a pillow for her new house.  Yes, two daughters, two new/old houses.  And my son is remodeling his.  Good grief.  Since this daughter loves chickens this is the one she's getting.

I keep a basket on my sewing machine filled with things that need to be finished.  So I continued with my chicken theme, but not my pillow theme, and made this rooster market bag.  I think I'll send it to a friend who loves chickens.

I made several market bags for Christmas presents this year - my girls use them for absolutely everything - and so I'm now completely out of the fusible I use for interfacing.  That means I need to make a trip to the fabric shop.  I'm trying to stay out of fabric shops - honestly - but sometimes that's not possible.

My problem is not really not that I have too much fabric.  It's that I have too many UFOs.  My January resolution has to be UFOs.  I'm going to write it on the bathroom mirror, and tape it on a piece of paper to the front of the television.  Maybe I'll make up a song about finishing UFOs.  I was horrified last week when I rearranged and cleaned and sorted in my sewing room at the number of UFOs and unstarted kits I have.

See those four dark baskets?  Kits not yet started and UFOs.  Seriously.  On the floor are 3 tubbies of wool fabric and two sets of drawers of thread and things I don't use often.  There are a couple of shelves of layer cakes and jelly rolls and fat quarter bundles and flannel fabric and on the top are pillow forms.  I just bought most of those because they were on sale this week.  Honest.

I keep fat quarters in the old gym baskets, sorted by colors.  I don't have an ironing board but use this ironing station, which works better for me.

This is fuzzy but on that far shelf I keep jars, and jars, of buttons.  And also patterns I want to use soon.  After I finish the UFOs.  Patterns I've already made or want to make way in the future are in the file cabinet.

One of the problems I have in my sewing room is there is never enough light.  I think I might have to consider having these cataracts removed soon.  :)  To solve that I've added what my dad would call "chicken lights" in a couple of places to help until I figure out something else.  I just moved my fabric to these shelves last week when they got displaced in the closet by the UFO baskets.  See how I subtly reminded myself to finish those UFOs?

This is where I actually sit and sew.  The bins have all sizes of pieces I've cut from scraps of fabric - 5", 2 1/2", 3" squares, different sized triangles, etc.  It's too much.  Really.  That basket on the left...that's the stuff I'm working on right now.  Except for that snowman on top, which is finished.  Yea!  I have no idea this turned into a tour of my sewing room except here we are.

And now I must go.  I need to work on UFOs.  :)