Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hope Academy

My son has recently joined a group in town sponsored by a local church.  Hope Academy is a supervised social gathering for young adults with disabilites that meets every Wednesday.    The leader is a retired 3rd grade teacher who is assissted by a volunteer RN to help deal with individual's medical issues.  There is a visiting music teacher once each month and parents take turns volunteering time and talent to help entertain these special kids.  One of the church's other ministries provides lunches.  
Sharing a tasty lunch!

Field trip to Marble Slab Creamery!

Activities include arts and crafts, bowling, Wii games, music, and field trips.Today's field trip was to Marble Slab Creamery where we indulged in our choice of ice cream flavors and many tasty toppings!

Happily our field trip was not cancelled because of the horrible weather... dark clouds and rain started blowing in as we were heading out. A tornado watch was issued. Shortly after we got home... the sirens start blaring... just in time for me to go pick up my grandson from daycare! I carefully watched the skies as I drove through torrential rains to pick him up. By the time I was almost home the skies began to clear!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Visiting a Friend

Today I took a nice drive and visited my friend Becky.
She gave me some tips on freemotion feather quilting ... in my mind, she is the queen of feathers!...and she has pictures to prove it!  I am going to do some in the very near future.

I helped her start her blog!  Check it out at  She'll have more pictures posted soon.

It was a beautiful day for a drive and I was able to figure out how to use our new Garmin so I  don't get lost any future drives!  A very successful day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Morning After the Storm

Yesterday afternoon was gray and dreary as the snow came down in gobs... several times I had to step out onto the deck to clear the satellite dish because the snow was blocking reception.

This morning... bright sun and blue skies! I enjoyed my walk with Toby around the neighborhood.  When I started it was in the low 20's but it was warming up quickly.  The wet roads were a bit slick with black ice and I had to be very careful how I walked.  But the bright sun on the blacktop quickly had the ice melting.  The birds were out singing like crazy!  I wish there was a way to share that beautiful sound with you.  It just makes my day. 

Luckily, I remembered to grab my camera when I left the house this morning and took some nature pictures.
I love how the frost forms on the edges of these leaves and grass spikes

Snow covered red berry bushes look awesome!
 Neighbor Dan was out pruning these berry bushes as I walked by on Saturday.  He left a pile of branches for the truck to come by and pick up.  I grabbed a couple branches to take home and arrange in a vase for a bit of color in the house.  I almost picked some snow covered daffodils from another neighbors yard, but I resisted the temptation.

 And while the neighborhood children had fun in the snow yesterday, I was working down in my quilting room making this using up some of the Improv Swap Blocks made last year by my friends at Pat Sloan's Quilt MashUp.


I've tried a variety of metal and plastic thimbles over the years, but they never felt comfortable so I didn't do very much hand sewing.. or if I did it  involved only very short working sessions because I would end up with raw fingers... the finger underneath the project would get pricked  and the finger on top trying to push the needle through the project would get poked! I'm sure I have a few old thimbles here and there that I have tried, but I can't find them right now.

About 5 years ago I started an applique quilt... the calendar quilt with various barns by Piecemakers... It was, unfortunately, my first needleturn applique quilt and I struggled along both with the small piece sizes, technique and sore fingers. But I really liked the idea of quilting a picture, so I plugged along... on and off... for most of the year before life got busy and I fell so far behind that all I did was collect the kits and I box them up for another day. I actually completed only one of those blocks with the pieceing and embroidery. I have another seven or eight blocks with all but the tiniest pieces appliqued and none of the embroidery. (sigh)
I've done other applique and handstitched projects since then with much bigger pieces and discovered this leather thimble at one of the quilt shows. I like the elastic-y part that was tight at first but stretched to a more comfortable fit in short order. I would sometimes lay my work down and walk away forgetting I had the thimble on until someone would ask what I had done to my finger!... it became a part of me.

Here's a picture of the working side of it. It is hard to tell in the picture, but this one is about ready to be replaced. It has been getting a lot of use lately as I'm handsewing those Cheddar Bowties.  That gray area where I push the needle through is getting worn thin and the needle is starting to poke through to and into my finger. I am hoping it will last me until the next quilt show comes along and I can purchase another one.

Bonnie Hunter is doing a linky thing on her blog today where everyone can show their thimbles and extol their praises... or not. You can read about it here:  I am heading there now to link up and read your post!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Eighteen months ago when my new Nolting quilter arrived I cleaned out my portion of the basement, moving everything into the family room. I now had a clean quilting area in which to work, but a disaster in the family room.  So began one of my ongoing attempt to get organized.

Within a couple of months of setting up the quilter, I was going to need to get at the gas fireplace hiding in the brickface wall behind all those boxes in the family room.  I began going through the boxes and organizing some items.  All my unstarted kits got boxed up and stored in the bottom of the coat closet. My cutting table and two folding tables and my folding ironing board got put back in my quilting workroom.  My bins with completed for-sale work is stacked under the cutting table.  Some of my UFO projects were placed into trays and stacked on one table with my sewing machine in hopes that being able to see them daily would incite me to work on them and clear some working space. (Yes.. I have completed several of those projects this past year.)   I color-sorted and boxed my scraps and miscellaneous projects and piled them on top of and under the second table or hid them in closets and corners around the house, wherever there was a space. So I was back to a crowded quilting/sewing space again... and I had to go searching in boxes all over the house to locate any one specific item or project.(sigh)

A few months ago my daughter moved out and I decided to set up her room as a sewing studio and keep my current space as a quilting studio. I had to keep her large dresser and the spare bed but the almost empty room had possibilities.

I set up shelving for my boxes of color-sorted scraps, my goodwill shirt collection and boxes of miscellaneous fabrics.  You can't see the closet but it is full of yarn related projects and supplies in one half and fabrics and clothing patterns in the other half.  One roll of batting lays on the bed ready to be cut and the other is standing next to the dresser by the doorway.  I am in the process of gathering and pressing all my fat quarters and sorting them in the dresser drawers for easier access.

My Civil War fabrics and some books are up there on the windowsill in those pink crates, and under my brand new pressing table (Christmas gift from my husband)  are some boxes of batting scraps.  I still have boxes with "kits" in a coat closet and books and other misc fabric in the understairs closet.  Due to my most recent attempt to organize there is a a minefield of assorted boxes of stuff I'm trying to sort and organize on the floor that I have to step around whenever I go in there. Having boxes and labels is good , but  I hate not being able to see my fabrics at a glance.   And... yes, there is my hoop and the top I have been (not) handquilting for me.  If I set it up I might actually be able to work and complete it!

Now that I'm a bit more sorted and organized, I'm thinking about rearranging everything, once again.  I'd like to put my cutting and sewing tables here in the studio with my pressing table.  If I could leave my current projects set out and walk in and just sit and work I might get more done!

I would like to  invest in some nice cubicle shelves to display my fabrics and kits so I can see and use what I have before purchasing more!  The current shelves and an extra folding table could be set up in the the quilting workroom to define my space.  I'd have a nice clear table to consult with customers and maybe organize paperwork somehow to make bookeeping and taxes easier to deal with.  I guess the goal is to look more professional.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Breaking from Routine

I have had a busy couple of weeks since joining the local Y last month in an attempt to reduce my numbers and get healthier. I've been working out almost every day on the eliptical and weight machines or the eliptical and some water exercises after meeting with a trainer in the pool. No big weight loss or muscle gains so far... but I am less sore after each successive workout... so I guess that's a good sign of accomplishment.

Thursday I stopped my work-out routine to go shopping with a couple of friends at the mall in Mt. Juliette. Unfortunately, our favorite clothing store is no longer there, but Joann's is and I could not pass up an opportunity to add to my stash. I picked up this brightly printed floral fabric and some color coordinated fat quarters and plan to make either a small quilt or some tablerunners using some combination of hourglass, four-patch or half-square-triangle blocks. I'll post pictures of what I decide when I get them done.

And, of course, after a couple hours of hard work shopping we just had to get something to eat at Panera Bread! I had a chicken fromage on foccia with a cup of black bean soup YUM! and opted for the healthier apple instead of chips... sorry.. no food pictures... I forgot my camera!

Re-energized by our lunch we hit Books-a-Million, TJMax and Dress Barn. Lots of fun browsing and few small purchases.

After a long day of shopping and driving we came home to the guys cooking dinner for us! Salad, grilled salmon, steamed sweet potatoe slices, corn on the cob and a chocolate glazed cake for desert! They even did all the clean up and washed the dishes!

We had beautiful weather .... and a great day to take a break from our regular routine.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Springtime in Tennessee

There is a saying I've heard here in Tennessee... If you don't like the weather... wait five minutes.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny warm day in the mid 60s. I was in heaven. Sat out in the backyard sunning myself for a while.

This morning I woke up to frost! See it there on the tool shed and on the ground! Had to go running back inside for my coat and gloves to walk the dog.
By noon it is back up to 63 degrees again.

This is sure to wreak havock with the trees, shrubs and flowers that have begun to bud, push through the ground and open everywhere.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ground Hog Day

Yesterday was groundhog day. I don't know about Pennsylvania where Pauxitawny Phil is located, but here in Tennessee it was a beautiful, warm sunny day. Surely he would have enjoyed coming out of his hole and basking in the rays! I know I did!

I hated to stay inside and have to work so after completing my customers quilt I decided to treat myself to lunch at one of my favorite places for take-out. The Gyro Dude offers a variety of Mediterranian dishes... including gyros! My favorite... Falaffel with taziki sauce and a village salad. YUM! I saved half for tomorrow's lunch and the pita bread to dip in some hummus for an afternoon snack!

I took it home and sat on the back porch, soaking in some rays and watching and listening to the birds sing. To top it off, I indulged in a little dessert... Bakalava...layers of philo and honey and nuts... So sweet and really couldn't eat much more than that bite.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quilt of Holes

I found this on the net and just had to share

Quilt of Holes

Submitted by: twoangels
Author: Unknown

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt
before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares
of a quilt in many
piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our
quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the
pile, I noticed how ragged
and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each
square was labeled with a part of my life that had
been difficult, the
challenges and temptations I was faced with in
every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such
squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled
with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own
life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be
displayed, held up to the the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each
in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.
My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't
had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But
there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false
accusations that took from me my
world, as I knew it. I had to start over many
times. I often struggled with
the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and
begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in
prayer, asking for help and
guidance in my life. I had often been held up to
ridicule, which I endured
painfully, each time offering it up to the Father
in hopes that I would not
melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of
those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was
what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of
my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around
at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light
flooded the many holes,
creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our
Lord stood before me, with
warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time
you gave over your life
to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My

Each point of light in your life is when you
stepped aside and let Me shine
through, until there was more of Me than there was
of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing
Christ to shine through!