Sunday, November 23, 2014

fabric, prizes, books and bling . . .

I had a little action both in and out on my stash report this week . . .
Yeah, a little bit out and then a pretty little selection that offset it . . .
I picked up these beautiful prints from my sweet friend, Kris, over at Lavender Quilts.  Check her blog out on Mondays -- she's got a weekly Moving Sale Monday post going on that, as you can see, includes some very prettiful fabrics! Won't these make gorgeous pieces for POTC blocks??! 

And Kris, being the darling that she is (we met when she was my Secret Santa, several seasons ago), included the sweet little fat quarter on the end (right) and this darling pin . . .
SOOOO me!  LOL!  My husband laughed equally hard.  He knows me too well.  :)

It also occurs to me I've had some fun wins over the past month that I haven't shared.  Shame on me!  First, I won this wonderful set of Jacqueline Steves patterns from Lily Pad Quilting!
Aren't these darling?! I adore the little flowers, especially!

Next, I won a copy of Carrie Turansky's audiobook, The Governess of Highland Hall.
Carrie is a marvelous writer and her books are such fun to read!  If you're a Downton Abbey fan, you'll definitely enjoy these!

I was also the lucky recipient of some $5 coupons to TeaVivre . . .
This was compliments of my friend Melissa, at High Altitude Beauty.

I'm so blessed!  Some of this will make its way around . . . once I've listened to Carrie's book, for example, I'm sure there is someone who'd love to give it go!

We'll be having our Thanksgiving fellowship after church today . . . and right after that, an extended choir practice (which we desperately need).  All that to say that I'm not sure how much slow stitching I'll get in this afternoon.  If I do, it'll be on these pretties . . .
I've got quite a few cut out, but they need stitching on the petals--or *fancifying* as I like to call it! It's probably going to occupy my week, not just my afternoon!

Linking up today with Patchwork Times (twice) and Kathy's Quilts.  Enjoy a peace-filled Sunday!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

a rousing end . . .

Last night was our regular guild meeting and I was really looking forward to it. We did a round robin of easy holiday crafts and I was one of the teachers!!  I was so excited to share the sweet little felt poinsettia pins that I've made for several years now, from lil fish studios
I just needed to make a quick stop in Michael's before heading to the meeting...
And that was my downfall.  I was going in and out so quickly, I didn't even bother to take my phone.  Or my car keys.  Aye yi yi!! Luckily, we have AAA and so I called for service. That was at 6:08 p.m.  The social hour at our meeting starts at 6:30 and the meeting at 7:00.  
The agent at AAA said the service would be there by 7:08.  What can I do but wait?!?!  Luckily, I really didn't have to wait long . . . happy story, the responder arrived at 6:23!  Less than five minutes later, I'm on the road again.  WHEW! Thank you AAA!

There were some fun surprises waiting for me when I got there. 
Isn't it pretty??  It's the tote from the International Quilt Festival in Houston!  The quilt on the cover?  That was made by my friend and fellow guild member, Barbara Black!  How cool, huh?  She blogs over at My Joyful Journey.  She's a wonderful and talented quilter *and* teacher and a dear friend, too!
She also brought back some of the pretty pins from Houston . . . aren't I lucky?!  

I was also lucky enough to purchase from her an acrylic template for the Antique Rose block (like the one I made here).
I turned up my nose at the acrylic template . . . but that was before the POTC blocks and understanding how the templates can really be a powerful tool to enhance your block design!  I may have to give the Antique Rose block another shot.  *grin*

Ya' know, the magic mirror works with the Antique Rose template, too . . . 
Isn't that awesome?! That reminds me, I need to announce a winner!  I left it in the reliable hands of and my winner was:
Yay, Sandi!  I've notified her and I'll have it to her next week. Sandi blogs at Quilt Cabana Patterns -- you should go check her out -- she posted her block from 100 Blocks today -- it's really cute!

I'm off to play in fabric.  With mirrors and templates, of course!


Monday, November 17, 2014

HeLP! a giveaway . . .

Look at me . . . I *finally* finished stitching together my very first Patchwork of the Crosses block . . .
All that's left is to press it and remove my basting stitches. I love this fabric combination and it was such fun to stitch! I'm now thinking quilt, not just a one block exercise! Yeah, I fell hook, line and sinker.

Which means I needed all the appropriate tools!  To that end, I ordered the "Magic Mirror".
It's a simple enough gadget and very easy to use, but it makes a *world* of difference when you're fussy cutting fabrics for kaleidoscope-like effects. Take this brown fabric, for example . . .
The mirror allows me to preview how my center will look, once I've cut all my pieces out and stitched them together! This will make my designing so much easier . . . since this project is now officially on my design 'wall'! I use my clear acrylic template to determine where I want my design on my honeycomb template and butt the mirror up against the 90-degree angle of the template.
Remove the template and you've got a great view of your center!  Pretty nifty, eh?  I was so enchanted with the process, I had to try out a couple of different fabrics.
The pink was fun, but then I had this beautiful gold print with a really ornate design. Do you see how by just moving my template around, I was able to get a totally different look??
Even with a simpler design, like the scroll and leaves on the bottom row, a slight re-positioning of the template gave it a whole new look!

Once I've chosen the "look" then it's a simple matter of cutting out my pieces . . .
And I'm ready to start basting to my templates! Isn't it fun?  Aren't you itching to give it a try??!  Well, always the enabler encourager, I just happen to have an extra brand new mirror that I'd love to give to someone who's got to have one!
You can also use the mirror for a variety of angles . . . 90, 60, and 30, just to name a few!  So, is this one going to be yours?!?  Leave me a comment -- just whatever is on your mind -- and that will afford you one chance.  If you're a follower, leave a second comment and let me know how you follow -- I'll give you a second shot!  And . . . if you link an appropriate post to the HeLP for hexi-aholics linky party over to sarah did it!, leave me a third comment saying so for a third chance! 

Make sure if you're a 'noreply' blogger that you leave me a way to get a hold of you.  I'll leave this open until Friday and then randomly choose a winner! In the meantime, head on over to Patchwork Times to check out design walls all over the blogiverse!

Make your Monday matter!!


**Comments closed - I'll post the giveaway winner later today!**

Sunday, November 16, 2014

silly me . . .

I was so hoping I'd have finished piecing up my NICU top by the end of the week, and thereby have some movement in my stash report.  But it wasn't to be . . .
Stash report remains the same for three weeks running.  I can pretty much guarantee that won't be the case with next weeks report!

I didn't get it pieced, but at our stitch-in today, I did get all my pieces cut!
Fifty 4-1/2" squares and one hundred twenty-five 2-1/2" squares.  Whew!  I also grabbed some shots of what the other gals were working on.  My friend Sarah (my affirmation sister) was working on . . . 
Isn't that gorgeous?  It's Moda's Love Layer Cake pattern.  I love her take on it!

And my friend Kari was working on this gorgeous piece:
Wow, right??!!  And here I was cutting squares.  LOL!!

Speaking of cutting, that's pretty much what I'll be doing this afternoon: prepping for some slow stitching time.  I've got two more POTC blocks to prepare . . .
Aren't those fabulous colors??  I went ahead and purchased two more kits from Jan (who blogs at Sew and Sow Farm) at her Etsy shop, Featherweight Quilt Co.  She's got a great eye for putting these blocks together!

Tomorrow is the 17th, which means it's Linky Party time over at sarah did it! with her HeLP for hexi-aholics! In honor of said day, I will finally get my act together and do a related giveaway -- so be sure to check back!

Linking up today's post to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts.  Y'all have a blessed Sunday!!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

red, white and true . . .

Petty Officer of the Quarter picture, 1989
In 1989, I was serving in the Staff Judge Advocate's office at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. NAB Little Creek is the major operating base for the Amphibious Forces in the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet. It's fondly referred to as the home of the "brown water Navy". :)

For some reason I've *never* been able to figure out, I was asked to be the key note speaker for the 5th Annual Federal Women's Week luncheon that year. Sorting through some old files and photos, I came across my hand written notes for that speech the other day and got a little misty-eyed reading it (as well as a few chuckles)!  In honor of Veteran's Day and the women who serve, I thought I'd share that (very brief) speech.

*   *   *   *   *

Thank you Lt. Stallings. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  My standing before you today is a prime example of that 'can do' attitude.  This is the first time I've spoken publicly in front of such a large number of people.  With that in mind, I want you to know that when I was first asked to speak here today for the 5th Annual Federal Women's Week luncheon, I unhesitatingly said, "Yes!"  I am a firm believer in the 'can do' attitude where it applies to women and especially myself.  Thus I agreed to speak, but with so many different approaches to take, I spent the next two weeks scrambling for something coherent -- and meaningful -- to say.  I didn't struggle because I didn't know what to say, but rather because there is so much that can be said of the progress women have made in the work force over the last several decades. How to chose?

Today women are challenging themselves and consequently finding themselves quite at home in careers that twenty years ago belonged traditionally to men.  Interpretation and enforcement of the law, medicine, upper-level management, politics and the military are just of few of the many careers in which women are applying themselves.  And not only are women forging rewarding career paths, but many of us are raising families and managing to combine two separate, full-time jobs into twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  That's a really long week!  And a very rewarding one, as well.

But it's been through all of the positive things that have been spoken about in this last week that our advancement and contributions have been made possible.  The "can do" and the "sky is the limit" attitudes are what have given women the edge in their advancement in our world today.  With hard work, courage, and determination, women have waded past the skepticism and doubt and are emerging victorious.  Not just in their careers, but within themselves.  I know that we, as women, have always had the potential to put ourselves where we are going today, but it has taken patience and spirit to realize that potential and self-confidence and lots of that 'can do' attitude to make others aware of our full potential as well.  In knowing this, I realized what women are doing with their lives in this new work force era goes far beyond the "equal rights movement" or "equal work for equal pay".  It is a matter of "We the people," and "One nation under God indivisible":  for the betterment of all, versus the gain of just one.

In parting, I would like to share with you a verse I wrote to sum up my feelings on this tremendous subject:

At the end of each tunnel, there shines a light,
That with perseverance proves our futures bright.
Awakening minds; awareness sets in,
The belief in a new kind of future begins.
Spirits so high, driven by pride,
A force too strong to override.
Determination, over the years, strong-willed to succeed, conquering fears.
Hearts are opening to a great change, as thoughts and ideas fly in exchange.
Bound together as one, we're doing it all,
No obstacle too great, no step too small.

*   *   *   *   *
I'm an arms-bearer, front row, third from the left.  Honor Guard was serious business. :)
So there you have it.  I'm so blessed to have been able to serve my country by serving in the U.S. Navy and have some marvelous memories.  Hug a veteran today -- tell them you appreciate their service.  Heck, find one *everyday* and tell 'em they're appreciated!!

Happy Veteran's Day!


Sunday, November 09, 2014

nothing ventured . . .

And nothing gained.  That's two weeks in a row . . . 
No changes to the ol' stash report. Of course, working added a dimension -- I really didn't have the time to do much of anything this week. I can tell I'm out of work practice.  I went to bed early every night! But, to be fair, I also had a book I was devouring . . . Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good . . . the latest Jan Karon book.  Those of you who loved the Mitford series would love this one -- I finished it up today.  Oh -- maybe *that's* why I didn't get so much stitching done this week?!  Haha!!

Needless to say, I'll be working on my POTC block for some slow, relaxing stitching.  It's almost all stitched together.
And I've got two more to start cutting! And speaking of POTC blocks, look for a related giveaway in the next week or so, right here from yours truly!

My mom sent me two darling candles she found during her travels, a pumpkin and a squash.
Aren't they darling?  Toss in a couple of pine cones and it's a perfect little harvest vignette!

Linking up to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts today.  Y'all have a lovely Sunday!


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

booking it . . .

Today is the first Tuesday of the month, so guess what??
It's The Bibliophile Files day!!

My three books (because one book covers two of my monthly challenge rolls) are as follows:

Someplace Safe With Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. I have long awaited the release of this book and then had to wait a long, long time for it to be my turn to check out the digital library copy. I'll buy this one, actually, but not until it comes out in paperback . . . to match the rest of the collection!!  ;)

Next up is The Hardest Peace, by Kara Tippets.  Have you heard of the blog, Mundane Faithfulness? She's an amazing person - wife, mom, and daughter of the Most High - and struggling with cancer. She chronicles her struggles in a very real and beautiful and compelling manner. 

And finally, this month (this week?!) is Trim Healthy Mama, by sisters Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. After all the struggle I've been through in dieting and weight loss, this is such a refreshing change! I admit I'm already about a quarter of the way through it, but it's really making eye-opening sense to me!

So, so far this month, this is what's on my reading plate! Hop on over to sarah did it! to see what other bloggers are reading about . . . you might hear about a book that interests YOU!


Monday, November 03, 2014

working design wall . . .

Rather, what my design wall looks like, even though I'm back at work this week! I'll be filling back in at the Madison Baptist Association three days a week through December. That'll leave me plenty of time for creating, which is good, since these fabrics are spread across my work table right now . . .
The multi-colored squares were calling to me, telling me they'd like to be in a NICU quilt. Our guild regularly gives comfy quilts and NICU quilts, and I wanted to give. I've worked out in EQ a simple design of shoo-fly blocks that I like . . . 
Now it's just a matter of deciding whether the setting color will be in black or in white . . .
I think I'm leaning toward black. What do you think??

Linking up to Patchwork Times.  Have a GREAT Monday!


Sunday, November 02, 2014

this little piggy . . .

Went to Lyon Family Farms and had a marvelous time!  Aren't they funny?  They loved those little piggy noses.  They got even more darling on Halloween night:
Photo courtesy of my son-in-law, Jason!
What a trio!! The Ballerina, Camo Man, and Queen Elsa. This year they all knew their minds enough to know what they wanted to be. Gosh I love 'em! 

I don't know about anyone else, but for us, November definitely blustered its way into town.  Whew!  We're sitting chilly at 28 degrees this morning!  Brrrrrr! But the temps started dropping drastically on Friday, making it cold *and* wet for Trunk or Treat, so we moved the whole shebang indoors.
My poor little Halloween Town pumpkin looked great on the back of my car -- it left a little to be desired hanging on a couple of tables, propped up against the wall (you can definitely tell it was 'sprayed to fit')! LOL!

As for the ol' stash report?  Same song, second verse.  Nothing's changed for better or worse!
Yup.  Zero in, zero out. I'll take that.

On the other hand, I did have a finish!
Yay!  And come Monday, it'll be hanging in my mini-quilt stand!

And for today's slow stitching, I'll continue to plug along stitching up my little pieces . . .
It took me a while to get the outside pieces cut and templated up -- I was waiting for the acrylic template to cut them, because the design I wanted to catch needed the precision. It was worth the wait.

Linking up this morning to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts!  Y'all have a glorious Sunday and stay warm!!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

pumpkin pass . . .

So it's Thursday and I've not worked stitch one on any of the projects I shared on Monday.  
Life, right?

Not that I haven't been busy. I played around with the Truvia baking blend and finally settled on a combination of ingredients that Todd and I both liked for No-Bake Cookies . . .
These are such a yummy and easy-to-make treat -- it was nice to be able to make them for my hubby again (who works very diligently to not eat sugar).

I also *finally* got around to putting together the painted canvas pumpkin for Kim.
I love the highlights in this fellow!  Blending the oranges and yellows in the pumpkin body and the olive and brown in the stem is key.  Once I had it painted (and it had dried), it was time to do the single letter monogram. I learned a GREAT technique for transferring fancy letters onto canvas.  First, you pick your letter and print it out in real size (and I outlined mine to give it a definite shape):
Isn't that a fun, scrolly "P"?! Next, you flip it over, and with a piece of drawing charcoal, cover the outline.  I didn't need to do quite so much scribbling--you really just need to cover your letter's outline.
The next step is to center your letter on your canvas piece, charcoal side down. Then with a sharp pencil, trace your letter design. Once you've finished, remove the cheater paper and voila!
Outline your letter, if you can, with a sharpie (because the charcoal is a fickle medium and easily blows away), and paint as desired!
Once I'd finished painting and it had dried, I used a liquid gold sharpie to highlight my "P" and give it a little pizzazz . . .
Then it was a simple matter of hot-gluing the cotton backing, leaving a little opening to stuff it with plastic bags, and then sealing it shut.
Add a bow, and TAH-DAH!

Tomorrow we're doing Trunk or Treat at our church.  It probably won't surprise anyone to learn that I'm decorating my PT Cruiser as The Great Pumpkin!  Pictures definitely to follow!