Saturday, January 26, 2013

What a week.......

Lots going on this week.  I can hardly keep up, honestly!  Robert, Dillon and Sara Ashley had a total of four basketball games, I had weaving, a quilting class and my Sew Crazy quilting group met, we celebrated Christi's birthday, visited my sister in Alabama, had lunch with a friend, Good News Club........and more.  Whew!!! I am ready for a few days at home.

Christi celebrated her 42nd birthday.......I can't believe it!!!!  Sometime last year she had seen the unfinished blocks for Tisket a Tasket and expressed a desire to own this quilt.  It was started several years ago when it was a free design from Bunnyhill, brought back out last year, and finally, finished just in time for her birthday this week!!! For birthday dinner it was chicken enchiladas and strawberry cake.

Also got the Spring Runner that was started last year quilted and bound.  And I am almost done with Sweet Pickins'.............just stitching down the binding.

And, although it is still winter here in Georgia, the daffodils are tempting us to think that it just isn't so.
This was the first one from our yard this week.

The doggies did get their haircuts last week and look so nice.  They do not, however, desire to pose for photos.  Why is it that other folks get such cute dog photos?????  Here are Roxie and Poppy in their usual positions.  Rascal went running at the sound of the camera snapping.  The chickens are more cooperative.

All for tonight.

Stubborn, sweet old dogs.
Fragrant, yellow daffodils.
Time spent with friends.
The tradition of family birthday celebrations.

Take care,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Made in the USA

What a nice surprise to hear that , according to ABC nightly news, WalMart is participating in the "Made in the USA" campaign.  I hope that they follow through.......and that many other retailers will follow.

I was pleased when shopping at Target this week, to find a whole isle in the cosmetic section that was devoted to organic, cruelty free, natural and mostly Made in the USA products.  I purchased these items, that qualified as being natural, cruelty free and Made in the USA........and were also On Sale!!!
And the Burt's Bees GUD hand cream is in my favorite Orange Petalooza fragrance.

My daughter wanted a Dust Buster for her birthday.  Dust Busters are not Made in the USA.  I tried.......

This beautiful camellia was planted this summer and this is the first bloom, with lots of buds on such a young, small bush.  What will it be like when it is full grown!  I love the way it is darker around the outer petals.  How nice, in the dark days of winter, to find this in the garden.

Working at finishing several UFOs this week.  Will post those later in the week.

Beautiful winter blooms in my favorite soft pinks and reds.
Finally understanding knitting instructions.  Maybe I am not too old to learn.
Made in the USA.
Folks who truly care about cruelty free, environmentally friendly and take the risks to do something about it.  Thank you brave entrepreneurs.

Take care,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sally Post

Another project started????  Well, yes, but honest........I can explain.

The Sally Post Sampler Quilt (click on the link to read about this circa 1854 quilt) has been on my "To Do" last for awhile........ever since Gay offered it as a free pattern on her site several years ago.  At that time I printed off the patterns and carefully stored them away.  End of story.  Until this year; Gay has now offered the patterns once again as freebies.  And by way of motivation, my Yahoo Prim Folk Art group has decided to do them as their group BOM this year.  Perfect, I am in.  If we complete three blocks a month, the blocks will be done by the end of the year.

 In my defense (not that any defense is really needed, but somehow I have a little tug of guilt at starting a new project with all of the others that are underway), all of my fabric except the background and maybe the sashing will come from stash and scraps.  I am digging deep into the scrap bin and will try to stay pretty much true to the colors of the original quilt.

I am loving the background......... just couldn't resist it when I saw it at the quilt shop.  The blocks are set on point, and I think that it will add interest to the simplicity of the appliqué.  I have chosen to fuse and machine stitch with matching threads using a tiny zig zag stitch, knowing that it is more likely to get finished this way.

Sourdough buns, warm from the oven.
When a fabric works out as perfectly as you hoped.
When the Bible verse you are studying is dead on to your question or situation (God works like that, you know!).

Take care,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken News

A little update on the chicken front.  I think the flock number is finally stable now with one rooster and seven hens.  Sadly, we lost a few girls for various reasons.  And we ended up giving four roosters away......... those girls just kept coming out and crowing.  I really wanted a rooster to crow and take care of the girls, but the first four to declare themselves were terribly aggressive and not suitable (Captain Cluck, Zulu, Stella and Chloe).  Alas, handsome Ronnie (fortunately with a unisex name) is quite a gentleman.  He is not aggressive and takes very good care of his girls, so he is a keeper.  Finally!

Over the past couple of weeks we have started to let our little flock free range, under our supervision, in the fenced garden area.  Their run has a gate that opens into the garden, and they are waiting anxiously for us to allow them to roam when we go up to care for them each day.  We don't leave them out without being there to supervise them, as we have resident hawks and owls.  They really love running around the garden, scratching, hunting and eating.  And we love watching them.  They are so funny.  The other day Ginger uncovered a worm and Puff chased her all around the garden trying to take it from her.  They were like a couple of kids.  And they are rewarding us with a bounty of delicious eggs........enough for us and to share.......anywhere from two to six eggs daily.

Chicken keeping has been challenging, hard work and immensely rewarding.  I love my little flock!

Garden goodies to share with chickens and to eat.
Fresh eggs.
Funny chickens.

Take care,

The process.......

I am trying to enjoy the process of machine quilting.  I am not adept at it; not at all.  I would like to be, but it takes lots of practice and I am always in a big hurry to get things done, and I get all wound up because it is not perfect, the tension is off, the line wobbles...... Be still.  So, I have a project with a deadline, and it is ready to be machine quilted.  Finally, I sat down and watched the Sue Nickels DVD that I bought months ago....... sat still and watched and learned a few things along the way.  And then pulled out two UFOs (more about that later), spread them out smooth and sandwiched them and did a little practice piece, too.  And I practiced, using the thread and needle recommended, and did a pretty good job doing the really simple stuff.  The runner is now quilted and ready for binding, and the cute fall wallhanging (Sweet Pickins) is a work in progress.  Not perfect, but okay, and I am working calmly and actually enjoying it.  Next is the project with the deadline.........the deadline that may not get made, but it is close and it will be okay.  And I will keep practicing and someday may even be proficient at machine quilting, who knows.  But I won't be so terribly uptight about it again.

This is the little wallhanging, ready for quilting

and a funny story about the backing.  I started trying to quilt back in the 1970s when the quilting resurgence occurred.  I had small children and not much time and life got in the way, so it was many years later when I finally became serious about it.  That being said, I took a couple of classes at a shop in the Atlanta area and had a friend here in Newnan with a cross stitch shop that also carried some quilting fabrics.  I learned to appliqué and do some very simple hand piecing.  When my friend closed her shop, she gave me the remaining quilting fabrics.  I washed them up, put them in a big tub and have used them for backings on charity quilts and a few other things over the years.  I went to this tub when I chose the backing for Sweet Pickins, and as I ironed, I saw the  selvedge.  Note the year............and also note that the fabric was made in the USA.......Atlanta no less!!!

Hopefully in a few days there will be another finished project to show you.  And the runner and Sweet Pickins will be quilted and bound.  Then there will be three UFOs finished for January!!!

Speaking of counting projects, I have decided this year that I will only count a project that is complete.  Now, complete can mean a flimsy if it is donated or if I am totally done with my part on it.  Otherwise, it means FINISHED...........quilting, binding, framing, whatever.

UFOs.......geez, I have a lot.  Sometimes there is a long forgotten, unexpected surprise.  That happened as I pilfered through the drawer of the sewing machine cabinet searching for machine quilting supplies.  There it was, the significant start of "Nines and Vines", started way back in 2004.....languishing there, totally forgotten.  About half the blocks are finished, with the remainder of the nine patches pieced and the setting blocks cut.  I still really like the project.  Wonder why it was never finished?  The fabrics are mostly reproduction fabrics, some of the earlier ones.  Think I will give this one another chance!

 Just in case you are interested, this is October, 2004, McCall's Quilting.

On the reading front it is another doggie book.  Content and photography are wonderful.

My old dogs are looking pretty grungy and smell like wet dog (that is Roxie beneath those eyebrows).  The groomer is coming tomorrow, thank goodness.

Dog lovers.
Mobile dog groomers.
Small kids who make big differences in this world.

Take care,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If at first.....

You don't succeed, try, try again.  That was my story at the rughooking workshop with Eric this week.
I had bought a pattern that Eric had originally drawn for the late Nancy Thompson.  It was a copy of an antique thirties type rug that belonged to Nancy's sister, and I had a photo of the rug that Nancy hooked.  I could envision this "old timey" stylized thirties rug in my guest bedroom alongside the thirties repro and antique quilts.  I loved it as Nancy had hooked it, but with a few minor color changes.... the style was perfect.  This is Nancy's rug:

This is my first attempt.  Cute, primitive, but NOT in the thirties style I wanted.

And, finally, today.........success!!  I love it when what you want finally comes together.  Now it will be packed away until I finish the scroll rug.  But it will be fun to know it is awaiting my attention (along with a gazillion other projects).  No more new starts anytime soon.

It was a really congenial group.  Lots of fun, laughter, instruction and wool.  And three days spent with my very best friends.......catching up on life during our rides to and from Atlanta.  I am so blessed to have such good friends; friends who also enjoy doing the things that I enjoy.

On Monday we celebrated Kathie's birthday with cake........and then again on Tuesday at Carraba's.

Have you ever had a friend who could do anything........I mean really, so talented........and who is incredibly humble and kind on top of it all.  Well, that is Diane, who gifted me with these lovely, warm hand knit, fingerless gloves (with yarn from her time in Germany no less).  She says they are to wear on cold mornings when I go to the chicken yard.  I just don't think I could do that to them.  They are far too wonderful.  The photo doesn't do them justice.

I have been knitting on the "Dummy Clap Shawl" for far too long.  And it is really easy, though, alas, Diane has had to bail me out once already. Hopefully it will be finished in the next few days.

Tonight I am weary and can't concentrate enough to work on my projects, so I am just taking it easy.
Hope you have an opportunity to do the same.

Not having to worry about going to work
A husband who understands and facilitates my need for hobbies and friends.
Warm winter slippers.

Take care,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

This and that........

Still playing catch up here, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

My favorite vase dressed up for winter.......

I don't know about you all, but I really don't make "New Year's Resolutions".  That being said, there are things that I would like to integrate into my lifestyle for the New Year.

First and foremost, I would like to continue to deepen my spiritual journey.  Part of this will be a continuation of counting my blessings and working through Ann Voskamp's Devotional book along with consistent studying of The Word.  

Because we have been so blessed, we felt the desire to pass some of those blessings along by adopting a young girl from El Salvador through Compassion International.  I look forward to being a part of her life and her a part of mine.

As mentioned in my previous post, I have also chosen a word(s) that will be my theme for living this year.  It is "Be Still", coming, of course,  from Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God".  I pondered long and hard about the word(s) to choose that would impact the way I live my life this year, and, as is frequently the case, God supplied it to me in a quiet moment.  Be still............2013.

A couple of years ago I posted concerning my desire to make a difference for our environment.  We have made progress in this area.  In the past 1 1/2 years we have reduced our trash by two thirds by composting and recycling.  I have to tell you, I was amazed, I mean, we are not fanatics.  I thought that we might reduce it by one third, but never this much!  Let me share with you one of my favorite compost/recycle tips.  I looked around the internet for a "cool" (meaning attractive) compost bin and was taken aback at the prices!!  After determining that the bin would be kept under the kitchen counter, the question became "why spend that kind of money on something you don't see?".  After more surfing the web, this idea appeared and it has worked out beautifully:

Yep, a recycled coffee container lined with recycled bread bag........double whammy!  Works great, no odors escape and it washes of all, free and recycled.....and stores neatly under the kitchen sink.  The chickens have also helped us with our composting journey :-)) and are providing plenty of lovely, delicious eggs for us, our family and friends.

We continue to garden and freeze our own veggies.  We are, in fact, still enjoying our garden's bounty with mixed greens, collards, spinnich and salad greens.  The chickens are enjoying them, too.  This is some of the crisp, fresh lettuce.
And, consequently, I am cooking more fresh food.  Even doing some bread baking and more "from scratch" cooking.

This year I plan to seek out more earth friendly products that are MADE IN THE USA.  Our first purchase was a recyclable, Made in the USA shower curtain liner.  On a trip to Office Depot this week there was a nice package of Burt's Bees products on sale for 1/2 price.......nice goodies like hand salve, lotion, body wash, lip balm.......perfect!!  I am on the way.

Christi added to my Santa collection with this wonderful Nativity Santa.  These guys remain on the buffet year round.  They are far too wonderful to pack away.  And they are Made in the USA (Indiana to be exact) by artisan  Patti Beck, Herbs and Clay Pottery.

We brought in the New Year very quietly here, along with Robert and Sara Ashley, who were mostly glued to electronics for the night.  Except when they were eating or Robert was showing off his Gangnam dance moves :-))

And so, I think I have finally caught up.  Perhaps I can keep up now.  I do enjoy visiting with you.

A clean sewing room.
Enjoying the antics of chickens free ranging the garden.
Sweet memories of my mother who would have been 101 years old on January 4th.

Take care,

Project Update

Seems that everyone has lots of resolutions for the New Year when it comes to their projects.  I, of course, would like to finish every UFO, make a dent in the number of kits I have piled away and deplete my stash in general.  That, however, is not my goal for the New Year.  This year, in keeping with my word of the year, BE STILL (yes, I know it is two words, but it is still "my word"), I want to simply enjoy the process.  To touch my fibers, relish each stitch and loop, to sit quietly with my work and not feel frenzied about what I accomplish and what I don't.  It will take a different mind set, but I think that it will be worth it.  After all, my needlecrafts are hobbies, not jobs.........meant to be relaxing and pleasurable.  To Be goal for 2013.

2012 was an extremely productive year, and I am pleased with the 41 projects that I completed.  Not all were large, but finished is good, and each one counts.

Now, for a little project update........

Thanks to buddying with my online friend, I finished Sap Bucket, my third block in the Primitive Garden Quilt.  I do love the look of wool on homespun and the block was a pleasure to work on.

I fell behind on the Kisses from Your Beloved BOM due to missing a few classes.  I still lack two blocks, but it won't be hard to get them done this month.  Next month will be the final BOM, then these nice blocks will be ready to set!

The scroll runner is coming along.........only four more scrolls and some background before the hooking is done.  It has been a long haul, but the result is really exciting.  Eric will be teaching a class in Atlanta next week and I can hardly wait for him to see the progress.

This Turned Twill woven tablerunner was my first project on the sweet Ashford tableloom.  It is not perfect, but it was good enough to become a Christmas gift for daughter, Christi, who wove a bit back in college.

Five of these little Nativity candle mats (pattern by Bareroots) were gifted for Christmas.  I wish I had made one for myself......maybe next year.

First finishes for 2013 are these two pillowcases that I whipped up last night.  They were supposed to be for the granddaughters for Christmas (grandsons had already received team pillowcases), but it just didn't happen.  At any rate, they are done, cute and I think the girls will like them.....particularly since they have their favorite colors........turquoise blue and purple.

As I mentioned, next week we have a three day rughooking workshop in Atlanta with Eric Sandberg.  I already have my pattern and hopefully most of my wool.......everything is all packed and ready to go.  Part of the "enjoy the process" idea.........don't wait till the last minute to prepare and it will be lots more fun.  I am really looking forward to being with friends, seeing Eric and hooking!!

On the quilting front, I plan to get the two blocks that I am behind on in my BOM done and work on a little UFO for a special someone.  It is so cute that I can't imagine why I have never finished it!!  Will hopefully be able to show you soon.  And I will enjoy the process.

Lazy days.
The luxury of a pedicure.
Rose scented lotion, soft and smooth on dry winter skin.

Take care,


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jayne Hester Class

Right in the midst of the Christmas season........with shopping and decorating left to do.......I paused for four days of hooking.  Just how self indulgent was that????  Merry Christmas, Jennie!!

Jayne was a grand teacher and I can't begin to say how very much I enjoyed her class.  Learned so much about primitives and chosing neutrals and primitive colors and what makes a primitive versus a folk art rug.  Besides that, this woman is FUN!!!!  I look forward to another class from her in the future.

Deste and Jayne

Jane B. with her lovely little sailing ship.

Yours truly.

Kathie, still in shock because she can't use her spot dyes :-))

Jayne and Mary


Here are a few of Jayne's rugs:

Love this background.

And, this is my rug.  The pattern is by Maggie Bonanomi and was intended for wool applique, but with a bit of enlarging, adapted perfectly to hooking.  It is primarily hooked with 9.5 strips.  That is pretty incredible in my estimation!  I can't believe I got that detail with such large strips.  And they were easy to pull up.

On Thursday following the workshop, we had our Dogwood ATHA Christmas Luncheon at the Atlanta Country Club.  As always, the food and ambience was wonderful and the club was decorated beautifully.  Vicki, Jan, Laura, Kathie and I went together from our small hooking group.

Being able to relax and spend time with my grandchildren.
A caring nation.

Take care,