Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday’s Trivialities

I was able to get everything unpacked in time to spend a few hours in the sewing room on Sunday … got the rows put together on T#1’s spiral log cabin.  Putting these rows together was a little more challenging than usual  … I laid out the rows on my design floor and would take one at a time to add to the growing top.  A couple of times, I had to take the row back out to the design floor (in the living room, the only room in the house with enough floor space to serve as my design floor – ha!) to make sure which side of the row was to be sewn to the growing top.  Thankfully no frog stitching was required.  Whew! 

Monday I spent most of the day measuring and sewing on borders.  It’s a tedious process, but it’ll be worth it to make sure that I don’t end up with wavy borders.  Winking smile  The borders are on, and I’m just about done with the tidying up of the back.  I expect to be able to get the quilt sandwiched today … and maybe even take a few quilting stitches, too?  I didn’t get a picture taken after I put on the borders … I wanted to wait until I’ve cleaned up the back and the top … so I should have a picture to share next time.

I got my cutter out yesterday to cut strips for the borders and thought I’d cut strips for my Primitive Picnic quilt (my leaders and enders project using the Midwinter Reds in my stash).  I searched through my sewing room closet, through all my reds and neutrals … no Midwinter Reds!  Surely I didn’t use it all up cutting the squares?  I’d already gone through my stash and organized it after the shelves were installed, so I knew that if I had any left, they’d be in the closet!  Thankfully I found a couple of online shops that still have a few pieces left … wondering if I’d find my missing Midwinter Reds after I placed my order.  And sure enough!  That’s exactly what happened.  As soon as I placed the order, I went to my sewing room to start working on the borders … the storage bins I ordered to hold my stash were taking up a lot of space in the sewing room … I decided to put them away first so I’d have room to work.  And sure enough, underneath the pile of WIPs were my Midwinter Reds!  Surprised smile  Good thing I’ve been wanting to use more reds in my quilts.  

Leaves are just starting to turn here in SW Illinois … peak autumn color won’t be for another couple of weeks, but some of the “early birds” are starting to turn … a sneak peek at what’s in store.  And autumn weather is in our forecast … highs in the upper 60s/lower 70s and lows in the 40s. 

The MLB post-season begins this week, and  my Cardinals will be making an appearance … I imagine I’ll be spending my evenings in my recliner, quilting and watching the games – hopefully through the end of October.  Winking smile

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

Ok, we didn't go to market, but we ARE home again. And talk about your mixed feelings. What I wouldn't give to be out on the beach this morning. But if we hadn't come home, I would have missed a spectacular day yesterday. So when it's all said and done, I'm so glad to be home.

We planned this trip with the Ts' swim meets in mind ... their first YMCA meet has always been in mid-October, so we thought we were clear to be gone for two weeks.  As it turns out, they registered for a USA Swimming event to be held on Saturday, September 27.  I was so awfully disappointed at the prospect of missing an event, but I knew that our 2 weeks away was already a compromise with DH who wanted to rent the condo for a whole month, so I consoled myself that this was not a YMCA meet, that it was a small meet with about one third of the number of swimmers, that their team wasn't sending any swimmers to this meet (the Ts would be swimming independently), and that they had entered only to try to make some A and BB times for the 2014-2015 swim season.  If any of you are really interested in learning about the USA Swimming times, click HERE.

Thursday evening, DD and I chatted on the phone ... and she shared the T#1 was seeded first to win the meet.  :-o  I was heartbroken at the prospect of his winning the meet without his Nana and Papa there to cheer him on!  When I shared the news with DH, it didn't take long for him to suggest that if we packed up that evening, we could hit the road Friday morning and be home that evening ... in time to be at the meet Saturday morning.  I just love that man of mine!

We left Hilton Head at 6:30 AM (EDT) and made it home by 7:30 PM (CDT).  We were beyond exhausted, but it was worth it ... although we both vowed that we would never, ever make that drive back home in one day again!  ha!

We got everything out of the car and into the house ... where now a full day and a half later, everything is still packed up and waiting ... because we had to be on the road again at 6:30 Saturday morning to be at the swim meet venue (over in west St. Louis County) ... where the Ts did extremely well!  T#2 dropped some significant time on all her events and made BB times on a couple of events.  And T#1 made A times on a couple of events AND finished first!

Now that we're back home (I've been up for almost 4 hours now ... that's more awake time than we had Friday evening and all day Saturday combined!), with nothing on today's schedule, it's time to unpack and get settled back in.

I'm hoping to be able to even get a little time in the sewing room ... I'm anxious to get back to work on T#1's spiral log cabin.

And speaking of grandson quilts, yesterday afternoon I asked T#3 what colors he wanted me to use when I made his quilt.  He wants it black, white and gray.  He doesn't care how "I decorate it" (IOW, what pattern I use), and long I use black, white and gray ... and only black, white and gray!  ;-)  If his mama is on board with those color choices, it's time for me to start shopping for some fabrics!  And to be thinking how I want to "decorate it".  <vbg>

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm actually going to be able to participate in this week's Hodgepodge! Usually when we're on vacation, there's barely enough time to get in a post or two ... but with rain forecast all day Tuesday and with my legs feeling the effect of walking two hours out on the beach Sunday and Monday, I decided to use that extra indoor time Tuesday to post/schedule a Wednesday Hodgepodge post! ;-)

1. It's fall. Y'all. My favorite season of the year! What's something you love to do this time of year that makes you feel it's officially fall? And unrelated to that, do you ever say-'y'all'?

When the calendar says that it's fall, it's time to do a little fall decorating. I don't go overboard with my seasonal decorating (less is more for so many things in my little world), but one of the things I always do is go to the nearby nursery and pick up some potted mums ... nothing says fall like some gorgeous mums.

And yes, I like to say "y'all" ... I am from the south, you know ... southern Illinois, that is!

2. When did you last have a falling out with someone? Has it been resolved?

My best friend and I had a falling out several years back. To this day, I'm not sure why ... I'm not one to force myself on someone else - to a fault.  :-(

It's hard for me to develop very close friends ... like I said, I'm not one to force myself on someone else, so I know that and a heavy dosage of introversion impede the development of very close friendships.

3. A song you love with the word 'fall' in it's title?

I expect you meant "fall" as in "autumn", but I'm going to go with the first song that came to mind with the word "fall" (regardless of meaning) ... "I Fall to Pieces" by Patsy Cline.

4. What's something you've recently let 'fall by the wayside?'

I guess that would be my Storm at Sea quilt. I let it "fall by the wayside" when I started to work on DD's chevron quilt (http://nanato4ts.blogspot.com/2014/03/finally-some-slow-sunday-stitching.html), and that's where it remains. I do plan to finish it some day, but some unhappiness with how the blocks came together (there were so many seams in the blocks ... all that bulk played havoc with the points when sewing the blocks together), some unhappiness with the quilting thread I was using (knotting and tangling - big time!) and an unexplained inability to get my stitches small enough to suit me has robbed my joy in making that quilt. So I've let it sit while I'm working on projects I'm enjoying much more ... T#1's spiral log cabin and DH's log cabin.

5. When did you last attend an event, read a book, watch a movie, try a new recipe, or visit a shop-town-tourist attraction that fell short of your expectations? In what way?

There's a steakhouse here in Hilton Head that serves a fish dish that DH and I absolutely loved! So much so that that's where we had our first dinner on the island ... but alas, the meal fell waaaay short of our expectations. The chef tweaked the recipe, and while the dish was good, it wasn't great like it was before the changes. We were so disappointed.

6. Describe a time you said or thought, 'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

I think that every time I see T#4's mannerisms, "OCD-ness", facial expressions ... she's her Mama's "mini-me". Which means that she's also her Nana's "mini-me". ;-)

7. Was today better than yesterday? Why or why not?

Since I'm writing this on Tuesday, I'd have to say that today probably isn't going to be better than yesterday. Monday was an absolutely gorgeous day here on the island ... sunny and warm and perfect for time out on the beach (hence the two-plus hour walk). Today is going to be cool and cloudy with an 80% chance for rain all day. But DH and I always say that a rainy day at the beach is a better day than a sunny day at home (that may be a bit of a stretch ... we used to say that a rainy day at the beach is better than a nice day in the office ... when we were still working ... this was the best revision we could come up with - ha!).

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We're down to our last 4-1/2 days here on the island ... talk about bitter sweet ... I do not want to leave our little slice of paradise on earth, but I'm missing DD and the Ts so, so much!

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Still Slow Stitching at the Beach

We're still here at the beach ... and if it weren't for just how very much I'm missing 6 of my most favorite people, I do believe we'd stay here!

I'm making progress on my MWFG blocks. As of this morning,I have finished up 5 blocks and am seeing the end in sight on the 6th. Not too shabby for 7 full days here ... after all, the beach has been vying for a lot of my time and attention!  ;-)  

Normally we've been heading south on our beach walks, but Friday we decided to head north.  We used to see sand dollars all the time here on HHI, but the last 3-4 trips, we haven't seen a single live sand dollar. And we'd never seen a starfish (live or otherwise) here.  I think DH was relieved when I told him that I wouldn't stop to make more pictures of these sea creatures after we turned around and headed back to our condo.  ;-)

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy!  Have a great day!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Time Keeps on Slippin'

We're still here at the beach, and it's hard to believe that we're already more than halfway through the week. Too bad time here doesn't pass as slowly as the time leading up to our trip did. ;-)

Our days here are pretty much the same ... time spent walking along the beach, time spent stitching by the pool or on our balcony overlooking the pool. It might seem monotonous to some, but we're loving it. ❤️

Here are our views from the balcony:

DH and I both love seafood, so when we visit "our island", we always enjoy the fresh local seafood ... including the soft shell crab sandwich I had for dinner last night:

And we finally got a bit of a break from all the heavy cloud covers early in the morning so I finally got to get a picture of the sun rising this morning:

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching at the Beach

My goodness ... what could be better than time spent with needle and thread at the beach? Nothing much except adding in my six favorite people, I suppose. ;-)

We got in yesterday afternoon and have been enjoying life, island style. Some hand stitching, some walks along the beach, some seafood ... pure bliss, my friends.

I'm out on the balcony right now, listening to my favorite radio station (travels with us via our iPads!), stitching hexies, and enjoying the view.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?
I don’t imagine that we will do anything too special tomorrow … on each 9/11 we always remember that awful day and pray for the families impacted.

2. Do you ever/still...listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a phonebook? Refer to a paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?
Yes (I have a real radio in the bathroom to listen to while getting ready in the morning, I have a real radio that I use when I’m working outside, and I listen to the radio in the car).  No.  No.  Used to (before I discovered that I could baste hexies while we were traveling, I used to “entertain” myself by following along on an atlas, checking out towns with interesting sounding names, etc. … we use the GPS for directions).  No.

3.  Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?
It will depend on the circumstances/setting. 

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?
Since it’s September and fall-like weather is here, I’d have to say chili.  Chili just screams “fall” to me, and it’s always on my fall menu.  In fact, I’d probably make some tomorrow when the high is only going to be in the 60s, but we’re leaving Friday morning … I need to clean out the fridge not add to it.  Winking smile  I do plan to make some when we get back, though.

5. What's something you know nothing about?
Let’s be honest, I don’t have time to list everything that I know nothing about.  ha!

6. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?
No, not really.  If I had to pick a piece, I’ll go with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

7. What's the oldest thing you own?
I have an old lighthouse that had been my grandma’s … she used it as a nightlight when my mom and aunts were growing up – the last one home had to unplug it.  This little light has seen better days … it’s been broken and glued back together several times, including once while it has been in my possession (when T#1 was a toddler … he accidentally knocked it off the end table … it got put away until a year or so ago, now that the Ts have all advanced beyond the clumsy toddler stage).photo (1)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I missed July’s and August’s Super Moons, but I did get a chance to see September’s.  It was spectacular, but nothing like seeing it come up out of the ocean when we were in Hilton Head a couple of years ago.photo 1

As I mentioned above, we’re leaving Friday morning for “Paradise” (ok, ok … I know it’s not really Paradise, but for DH and me, it’s as close as we’ll get this side of Heaven).  We’ll be gone for 2+ weeks, and I’m not planning to be online too much during that time … so if I’m scarce for the next couple of weeks or so, you’ll know why.  Winking smile

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

By now, surely most of you have seen posts from bloggers participating in the Around the World Blog Hop.  I’m so fortunate that Katy at http://katyquilts.wordpress.com/ nominated me to participate.  I’ve been following Katy for some time now … I fell in love with this quilt of hers and became a follower right then and there.  Katy is the epitome of an eclectic quilter … while she’s made lots of lovely traditional quilts, she’s made a lot of fabulous modern quilts, too.  When it comes to quilting diversity, Katy is your gal!  Go check out her blog here


Now … on to the questions.

What am I working on?
Like most quilters, I’ve got several projects in the works right now. 

Of my WIPs, my highest priority is the spiral log cabin I’m making for my oldest grandson T#1.  Last summer I made new bed quilts for his two sisters, and not long afterwards his younger brother asked if I would make him a quilt.  Time to make new quilts for the boys!  Before I left for retreat, I’d put together 3-1/2 rows … I had hoped to be able to work on it at retreat, but there was no design wall … and no floor space to utilize as a design floor.  Here are the blocks laid out as I was piecing the rows together.photo 1-001

I’m also working on another log cabin … this one for my hubby … he too asked me, a couple of months ago, when I was going to make him a quilt.  I originally chose some muted repro fabrics for a semi-scrappy version of the spiral log cabin quilt for T#1, but when he saw the blocks, he realized that he just wasn’t a fan of the scrappy blocks.  That’s ok … DH and I both loved the fabrics I chose, and I realized that they would make a fabulous quilt for DH (forgive the crease … this photo was taken as I was unpacking from my July retreat where I started the piecing … and since it was the only photo where the colors are even close to accurate, I’m going with it – ha!).  photo 3 (1)Since I couldn’t work on T#1’s quilt at guild retreat, I got quite a lot done on this … I pieced together another 20 complete blocks and have one more light “log” to add to 20 more.  I’m debating between making the top 80x100 or 70x90 … I’d prefer to make it 80x100 so my setting will be symmetrical and so it will be plenty big for wrapping up in on a cold winter’s night … but frankly, I’m ready to be done working on this … maybe I’ll regain some interest after it sits for a while longer (I only need an additional 5-6 blocks to get the 80 blocks needed to make an 80x100 quilt). 

Believe it or not, I do make quilts other than log cabins (although I will admit that they’re my favorite … they can be set in so many different ways, changing the look of the blocks completely!).  I’m using my leaders and enders to make a Primitive Gathering’s Primitive Picnic Quilt … I’m using mostly leftover Midwinter Reds, with a few more neutrals grabbed from my stash.  I got quite a few more 2 patches made while at retreat.photo 3

And I’m working on a portable project, a Martha Washington’s Flower Garden (made from Kansas Troubles fabrics … my favorite fabric line) … it’s a perfect travel project.  We will be leaving this Friday for another trip to the beach … I’ll baste the connector hexies on the road  and piece hexie blocks when we’re poolside or in the condo in the evenings.photoI’ve got 32 blocks finished, laid out on my design floor (with little, if any, regard for block placement) … and imagine, if you will, each block surrounded by a row of red connector hexies, as seen in the single block.  I’ve got enough hexies basted to make another 20 blocks, if my memory is accurate (which is questionable these days ha!) … I’m not sure just how big a quilt (IOW, how many blocks) I’m going to make … if I intend to make it bigger, I’ll have to cut more 2 1/2” squares (and probably buy some more KT fabrics).

And that’s not counting the quilts I’ve kitted fabric for … Nantucket and a large pineapple quilt (25” blocks) … nor is it counting the blocks I’ve pieced to make a king-sized quilt for our bed.

What is interesting (at least to me) is that a year ago, I was strictly a one-quilt-at-a-time kind of gal and I’d buy fabric only for the quilt I was making … the only fabrics I added to my stash were the “leftovers” from my quilts. 

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
While I doubt that anyone could identify *MY* quilts in a large collection of quilts, still there’s something about the combination of the patterns and fabrics in the quilts I make that somehow makes them “me”.  I do know that I’m fairly unique in that I handquilt - exclusively.  While I’m know that there are still others who love to handquilt, there are certainly none in my little corner of the world … it definitely feels like I’m a quilty Lone Ranger. 

Why do I write/create what I do?
My blog started as a public record of my everyday life … an online journal, if you will.  As I’ve become even more obsessed fallen in even more in love with quilting, my blog reflects that.  I can’t imagine not blogging … in my desire to cut back on the time I spend online, I’ve thought occasionally about giving up blogging, but I just can’t!  I’ve made bloggy friends who I’d truly miss … and I’ve grown to love the blogging process. 

I quilt because I HAVE to.  It’s my therapy.  I’m a member of the “sandwich generation”, and while I truly love being able to be a blessing to my dad and my daughter, I know that I can best bless them if I take care of myself, too.  Time spent with needle and thread allows me to slow down, relax, and refresh.  I quilt because I know that my quilts will be a tangible legacy for my daughter and my grands.  I quilt because I know that my quilts are used and loved … and that my love and my prayers have been stitched into each and every quilt.

How does my creating process work?
To be totally honest, I don’t know … I’ve never really thought about how I do what I do.  I know that I draw inspiration from other quilters (blogs, Facebook groups, retreats and guild meetings), and I know that is somehow factored into my decision making process … but exactly how, I do not know.  And maybe it’s just as well … as a retired accountant, my nature is to analyze and plan.  Maybe quilting satisfies the little piece of me that just needs to do … no thinking, no analyzing, no dissecting the whys and hows … a time to forget the brain and just follow my heart.  All I know is that when it’s time to start planning my next quilt, I go with my heart, choosing a pattern and fabrics that appeal to me. 


Now I’d like to “pass the baton” onto 3 very talented and creative bloggers. 

First is Debbie who blogs at The Way We Are.  I’ve been a faithful reader for several years, back before the quilting obsession bug took hold.  She and I have so much in common … we’re both grandmas who love, love, love our grands, we’re both believers … but now that Debbie has discovered quilting, we have so much more in common. 

Second is Deb A who blogs at VTQuilter.  I’ve been following Deb for a good long while now.  I’m inspired by her productivity … with 2 kiddos and working, she still manages to get more done in a week than I do in a month (or so it seems!) … and I’m in awe of her creativity … she appliques, machine quilts, handquilts, works with miniatures … she’s another diverse quilter.

And third is Kathi who blogs at Design Originals by KC.  I’ve been following Kathi for about a year now.  We “met” on Celebrate Handquilting Facebook group … we share a love of handquilting.  I have to tell you that I’m a little jealous, too … she lives on the east central coast of Florida … (the beach is my “happy place”). 

You can get a sneak preview of what Debbie, Deb and Kathi are up to by checking out their blogs now … but don’t forget to check back next week when they’ll be in the spotlight! 

Thanks again, Katy, for tagging me to participate … this has been fun!

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a marvelous Monday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

September ... Where Did You Come From?

I don't know about you all, but I am having a difficult time wrapping my brain around the fact that it's September already! We're 2/3 of the way through the year!

August certainly flew by ... it was a spectacular month. We got to see the Ts swim at their conference championships, at the regional championships, and bring home some medals and trophies ... we got to see them celebrate a birthday ... and we closed the month with a visit from my sister. We were supposed to have both of my sisters here, but K's pup had some serious health issues that required her to stay home so her pup could get the care she needed. We missed her but had a good time in spite of her absence. DD and her family came over yesterday ... I really enjoyed having 4 generations of my family together.
This is my sister L with T#2 and T#4 (sorry it's blurry ... I didn't think to grab my camera ... just used my iPhone). I wish I would have thought to have gotten a picture of the 3 of them with DD and me ... 3 generations of the women in my family. I didn't take too many pictures ... we were just having too good a time visiting.

We dropped L off at the airport this morning bright and early. There's absolutely nothing else on my schedule today, and I'm really looking forward to a nice, quiet day. I plan to do some sewing ... I'd really like to get T#4's blocks finished this week ... maybe even together so I can start hand quilting next week?

It's going to be a busy week ... DD celebrates her 39th (for real) birthday this week, so we'll be planning some fun, and I need to put together some projects for my guild's retreat this weekend.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy! Have a marvelous Monday!

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