Monday, March 30, 2015

Home Again, Home Again

While I’m missing my fellow quilters and being pampered (and overfed), I’m so glad to be back home … back to my own bed, my sweet hubby, and my normal routine. 

I wish I had a lot of fabulous photos to share with you all.  I took my camera but failed to get it out during show and tell.  The shop will share photos on their Facebook page but probably not for another week or two. 

There was a pretty diverse group of quilters at the retreat.  While most were in their 50s-60s, there were a couple in their 70s and one in her 30s and a few in their 40s.  Most were from the Springfield area, although there were a few from further downstate (not all that far from my neck of the woods) and one who came down from the Chicago area.  Most of the retreaters were repeat attenders (the shop hosts 5 retreats/year in the Springfield area) and all knew each other pretty well, from the local quilt guild and/or previous retreats, but they made sure I felt welcomed.  I shared a corner of the room with Sue, Cindy and Mary.  They were a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to quilt with them again at a future retreat. 

I was able to paper piece 4 more pineapple blocks Friday and Saturday.  When I read that, I think that I must have been slacking to have only pieced together 4 blocks … but when I remind myself that the blocks were 14” and contained 57 pieces, I’m feeling like such a slacker after all.IMG_3307
This is my designated retreat project, so I know that it’s going to be a long-term project.  I now have a total of 7 blocks finished, with 18 more to go.

I also paper pieced 2 more of my pineapple minis Sunday morning.  These blocks are 3”.  IMG_3308Here’s a close up.IMG_3309These minis are made from scraps leftover from making T#1’s and T#3’s first big boy quilts.  Awww, the memories.  When I first started these blocks a full 2 years ago, I intended to make a block a week, but obviously that plan fell by the wayside, I’m sorry to say.  I’d like to recommit to finishing this project, as I have about a dozen more blocks to make.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it or how I’ll quilt it, but I’d like to have the blocks all made sooner rather than later.

The retreat center was right on Lake Springfield and was right next door to the Lincoln Memorial Gardens.  I had been looking forward to getting out for a walk through the Gardens, but it was just too chilly for me to venture outdoors.  It got down into the lower 20s Saturday morning.  This is the view from the dining room window.IMG_3306

The shop will be hosting another retreat at the end of July and another at the end of October … I’m hoping that everything will work out that I can be back up there for at least one of those, if not both.

After a weekend spent with the machine, it’ll be especially nice to be able to get back to doing some hand stitching today … my Kiss quilt is feeling neglected.  Winking smile

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Best Laid Plans


You know what they say about our best laid plans … I’m hoping that the old saying is NOT going to be true in my case.  Winking smile  You see, I’ve got big plans for the next few days. 


I mentioned back in January that I’d signed up for a retreat being hosted by a new (to me) quilt shop.  I love going to quilt retreats.  While it’s true that thanks to my sweet hubby, I could “retreat” here at home and quilt/sew away my day (and frequently do), there’s just something special about spending a day or two stitching with fellow quilters … so I was really looking forward to this retreat. 


And even more so now since earlier this week, it was beginning to look like I wasn’t going to be able to go after all.  DD had an appointment, and she needed me to watch the kiddos Friday.  AND I hadn’t heard anything (like directions to the retreat center, what will be provided, etc. – and how to pay the balance due!) from the quilt shop, even though I had contacted them as recently the 19th.  But yesterday, in the matter of about an hour, DD had told me that the appointment was Thursday not Friday as she’d previously thought … and the quilt shop contacted me, apologizing for their inability to respond sooner (the gal in charge of the retreat’s computer had a virus … no explanation why she didn’t have someone else contact us or call us, but I so wanted to go to retreat, that I let it slide) and offering to cut the cost to make up for her inability to get back to us sooner.  So the retreat is back on.  Woo hoo!  Open-mouthed smile


And if that isn’t exciting enough, there’s a nice quilt show in a town about an hour further up the road.  Since I’ll be about halfway there, I was hoping to be able to get up there to spend a couple of hours at the show before heading to retreat.  Since I will be at DD’s this afternoon and evening, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to get everything caught up, packed and ready for me to hit the road by 8:00 tomorrow to be able to get in a nice chunk of time at the show.  But the rain this morning meant that Lois and I wouldn’t get in our walk, so that gave me the extra time I need in order to accomplish all I want to get done today.  Smile


Everything’s falling into place nicely.  Thumbs up



In other news, I got a phone call inviting me to join DD and the Ts for an outing yesterday.  They’re currently studying China, and the Magic House in St. Louis is hosting an exhibit called Children’s China.  DD thought that a stop for Chinese for lunch and the exhibit afterward would be a fun way to reinforce what they’re learning in school.  Recently Updated3The top left picture is of me with T#3 and T#4 in the “Panda Nursery”, and the bottom left is T#3 carrying the dragon during the dragon parade.  The middle picture is the 4 Ts before heading into the exhibit.  The top right is T#4 eating ice cream with her chop sticks, and the bottom right is all four in the “Panda Nursery”.  It was a long and fairly exhausting afternoon/evening, but I loved absolutely every single moment!  These kinds of afternoons are why I didn’t hesitate for a moment when offered the opportunity to retire early … these memories far outweigh whatever little extra pension benefit I might have earned while working longer.


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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hodgepodge … feel free to click on the button above to check out how others answer this week’s questions or to join in yourself! 


1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?

Oh yes, we celebrate Easter here.  We have an Easter meal with family … DD and her crew along with her in-laws.  And of course, we have an Easter Egg hunt … I don’t do baskets for the Ts, but I do have large personalized Easter Eggs that I fill with goodies.


2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope.

I would have to agree.  Hope is something that we have within … it’s ours to keep or to lose. 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. ~Psalm 62:5

3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?

None of the above.  I’m not much of a fan of sweets, and I prefer my chocolate with nuts and/or caramel.  I’d rather have a Baby Ruth, a Snickers, or some peanut M&Ms.

4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'?

The first time I visited Homestead Hearth, a quilt shop in Mexico, MO. Fabric overload!  I didn’t know which way to turn.  And I still feel that way when I visit.   

5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?

Nothing is coming to me.

6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?

Anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog for long will know how I’m going to answer this one:  the Palmetto State.  Because Hilton Head is in South Carolina, the Palmetto State.HHI


7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.

I’d like to make the days longer … maybe then I’d have enough time to do all I want to do, especially quilting.  I’m going to need to live to be 150 or have a lot more hours in the day to be able to make all the quilts I’d like to make.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My thread arrived Monday morning, so I was able to get in a few stitches before heading to DD’s that afternoon.  Since Monday night/Tuesday morning insomnia once again reared its ugly head, I had plenty of time to get even more stitches in.  This photo was taken when I stopped for lunch on Monday.IMG_1371I didn’t get as much stitching in yesterday as I’d hoped because I wasted spent over an hour trying to hook up our new Roku.  It turns out that our lone remaining HDMI port doesn’t work.  ???  So if/when we want to use the Roku, we’ll have to unplug the cable for the DVD player and plug in the cable for the Roku.  A pain, but a lot less expensive than trying to get it repaired (can it even be repaired??) or buying a new TV (especially since DH wants a new-fangled Ultra HD TV, not to mention a bigger TV, which will also mean a new TV table). 



And speaking of Hilton Head and quilting, may I present the back window of my van.IMG_1368-001

The only thing missing is a decal that would somehow portray my Ts … then all my loves would be on display.  Winking smile


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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Morning Miscellany

I’ll bet you were expecting to see my progress in quilting the Kiss quilt, huh?  Yeah, me too.  I worked my tail off to get that quilt basted … only to realize as I was putting in the last half dozen pins that I didn’t have any quilting thread … I’d ordered some on Friday, but alas, it won’t be here until today (hopefully … as of an hour ago it’s been shipped out of the USPS facility in Hazelwood, MO which is a mere 30 minutes away … of course, it’s the USPS we’re talking about here, so for all I know, it won’t be delivered to me until Wednesday! Confused smile).  IMG_1370I was so disappointed that I couldn’t get started on the quilting … but perhaps it’s a blessing that I’ve got another day before I can start, as I’m still not sure just how I’m going to quilt this.  Any ideas, you quilters out there?

After I got the basting done, I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and get outside to do a little pruning … my knock-out roses and butterfly bush always need a little “haircut” before spring … I usually try to get to them in February or early March at the latest, but it seems like I was busy, busy, busy on any of the nice days we’ve had in the last six weeks.  I did a little walkabout the yard after I was done pruning and saw that spring is in fact coming to Chez Nana.  My hostas are coming up.IMG_3232And our cherry tree is going to be blooming in a few more weeks.IMG_3230I noticed on my walkabout that I’ve got a couple more bushes that need a spring “haircut” and that the landscaping mulch desperately needs to be replenished.  It looks like it’s really going to get up to 74 on Wednesday … I think that might be just the day for getting out and working in the yard. 

After I finished up in the yard yesterday, I got in a few stitches on my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden block. 

Today’s plan includes a walk with my neighbor Lois, some more work with my MWFG, watching the Ts and participating in their swim team’s fundraiser at a local pizza joint. 

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring’s First Slow Stitching Sunday

Slow Sunday Stitching


Yesterday was Worldwide Quilting Day and the first full day of spring … and a very productive day here at Chez Nana. 


I finally got around to organizing our coat closet and master bedroom closet.  This house doesn’t have enough closets (the only real downside to this house), so those two closets tend to get anything/everything that doesn’t have anywhere else to go.  I got rid of 3 trash bags full of stuff that hasn’t been used in years (the stuff will go to Goodwill … just loaded it all into trash bags for easy hauling).  It was such a good feeling!  I think I might have been motivated to tackle the basement (our other storage space), but I just didn’t have the energy … I’ve found that I still don’t have as much energy as I did pre-sinus infection.  And more importantly, I wanted to spend some time in my sewing room … it was Quilting Day, after all.  Winking smile 


I finished piecing (and restitching opened seams) on my Kiss quilt.  This is one big quilt (a generous king-sized bed quilt … it’ll be 96”x112”.  It was later in the day by the time I got it done, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I still had enough daylight to get a picture taken outside.  IMG_2954That flimsie about drove me bonkers, what with having to restitch all those opened seams … as you can see, there are a whole lot of seams along the outer edges … times that by all 4 sides of 42 blocks, and there was a whole lot of restitching going on.  Hopefully the handquilting will be a lot less troublesome.


By then, I was done with working with the Kiss quilt so I spent my evening working on the final full block of my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden.  IMG_1365

After I finish this block, I’ll start adding the connectors … and then the setting blocks – half blocks. 

This is my inspiration (source: … I’m making a couple of changes – mine isn’t going to have a border, and my connector blocks will be red. 



Today, I hope to have an equally productive day.  I would like to get the Kiss quilt sandwiched and be able to get in a few quilting stitches.  This is the best part of quiltmaking for me … sitting in my recliner, listening to an audiobook, and stitching away.  Pure bliss.


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

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Has Sprung


Or she will by 5:45 PM CDT.  And not a moment too soon.  And it looks like she’s bringing some nice weather, at least to our neck of the woods … weekend temperatures will be in the 60s. 

I’ve got 5 of the 7 rows of Kiss blocks sewn together.  I need to sew on the last two (they’re already sewn together, so I have just one seam left to stitch) … then I need to check all the outer edge seams to make sure that none of them have worked loose, followed by stay stitching along the outer edge so nothing will work loose while I’m quilting on it.  I’ve got the backing, washed and dried.  I’m just not sure when I’ll get to make my quilt sandwich as I’ll be at DD’s today and perhaps tomorrow … I’m watching the Ts while she attends a homeschooling convention in St. Louis.  I’m hoping to be able to share a picture of at least the top by the end of the weekend. 

DH and I spent yesterday morning doing some overdue shopping for some home improvements.  We’d been talking for some time now about upgrading a few things around the house, and we finally decided to take care of them.  I’ve got a couple more on my “to-do” list but am still searching for them. 

My half yard bundle from Fat Quarter Shop arrived yesterday … it’s like Christmas all over again when something quilty is delivered.  IMG_1363

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Share a favorite song, book, or movie title containing the word green?
Green Eggs and Ham. I don’t know that it’s really a favorite, but it always makes me think of St. Patrick’s Day because when DD was in preschool, they added a little green food coloring to some scrambled eggs on St. Patrick’s Day.
2. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, 'Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.' Would you agree? Are you a believer in luck?
No, I do not believe in luck. Luck is defined as:
1. the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities;
2. good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance;
3. a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person.
As a Christian, I believe that God is in control, that what may seem like randomness or chance are all part of His plan.
3. Spring water, Hot Springs, handspring, spring fling, spring break, spring fever, offspring...which 'spring' word best applies to something in your day, week, or life right now?
Offspring … I got a phone call from DD Monday morning … they were going to take a day off and wanted to know if I wanted to go up and spend the day with her and the Ts. Well, duh! Of course, I did! Instead of spending time in the sewing room, I spent time with my favorite people.

4. What's something you do to make yourself look or feel more confident?
Hmmmm, that’s a tough one.  

5.  It's National Celery Month...are you a fan? If so, what's a snack or dish you enjoy that calls for celery?
I’m not much of a fan of celery alone … but I do enjoy it in recipes. For Thanksgiving, we always make Bread and Celery Stuffing.

6. What's one thing you wish you'd learned sooner?
That life is short and that every second counts … don’t spend today longing for/waiting for something in the future.

7. Would you like to own a second home? If so where would you want that home to be?
I don’t want the cost nor aggravation of a second home, but if we were to own a second home, of course I’d want it to be on the beach on Hilton Head Island. In reality, I’d be quite content with a single home … on the beach on HHI, of course.  But our grands are here in Illinois, so we are too.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again … my husband is a keeper.  I was looking at fabric at Fat Quarter Shop, and he happened to look at what was on my laptop screen.  His comment: “if you want it, order it”.  He’s SUCH an enabler when it comes to my obsession addiction passion for quilting.  So guess what will be coming to Chez Nana soon? 
Half yard bundle 
You can never have too many neutrals … as least not in my world.  ha!

I’m working on piecing my Kiss blocks … but alas, these blocks were constructed from strips sewn together and then subcut into the size needed to fit into the block … and now the seams along the outer edges are starting to work loose.  Some are already loose past the 1/4” seam allowance and others are dangerously close.  So I’m having to restitch those seams, which is no small task now that the blocks are sewn together.  I know it’ll be worth it when I’m done, but right now I’m pretty frustrated. 

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Weekend Wrap-up–plus a little more

Actually, there’s not a lot of wrap up this weekend as we spent it at the aquatic center for the Heartland Area Championships (comparable to state championships, with qualifying swimmers from teams from southern Illinois and eastern Missouri competing).  Forgive this Nana for bragging, but I have to say that the Ts did very well … they dropped time on almost all (if not all) of their events, medaled on most (T#1 medaled on all his, finishing 3rd or higher; T#2 medaled on all but 1 and on that event, she finished .01 second away from medaling – that’s one hundredth of a second, y’all!; and T#3 did well and medaled on 1 event – not bad at all for a 7 y.o. in his second season of swim and his first Area appearance). 
Google Drive1
Forgive the less-than-spectacular quality of the two smaller photos, as they were taken by my iPhone from clear across the pool.  That’s T#1 in the blue hoodie and T#2 receiving her medal, and in the group photo, that’s my little guy there in the center … the one in just his jammers, with the 1 medal. 

The swimmers get a much-deserved break for a couple of weeks … then summer warm-ups start on April 6 … Monday through Thursday nights in the pool again.  Those swimmers work hard, but it has paid off in medals.  Winking smile

I can’t forget T#4 … she and I went for a walk outside between the afternoon and evening sessions yesterday.  I wanted to get a picture of the tree buds, and thankfully she was my backdrop.

T#3 got his quilt last night, but I didn’t get a photo.  He was excited … I can’t wait to see it on his bed. 

I *ought* to get caught up on some housecleaning today, but I’m really wanting to get back into the sewing room to get started on piecing together my Kiss blocks.  I ought to compromise, do some cleaning until noon and then sew.  But I’m not so sure that’s what I’ll do.  Winking smile  After a weekend away from my needle and thread, I am anxious to sew.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's Done, It's Done!

I tooK this photo as soon as I finished the binding (before tossing it into the washer and dryer). And look - a label! My first labelled quilt! I learned (the hard way) a lesson about adding a label ... I attached it to the corner as I sewed on the binding - so I'd have to only hand stitch down two of the four sides ... but I was able to get the label squared up as well as I'd like. I think next time I'll baste the label in place before I sew on the binding. 😉

I was able to get this photo taken after I washed and dried it ... I wasn't sure if there'd be enough daylight to get a decent shot, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time, there was. I'm not sure why it doesn't look square in this second photo ... it is (as you can see in the first photo) ... I blame the photographer. Ha!

I've taken the quilt with me to give to my favorite 7 y.o. (after today's sessions are over). I can't wait to see his face when I give it to him.

I'm linking up to Julie's Binding Blitz.

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


Friday, March 13, 2015

Winter Reading Challenge–Finale



I didn’t get in at the beginning because back in November, December and January, I thought I didn’t have time to read … I mean, all my free time is spent quilting, dontchaknow.  But then I discovered audiobooks … and my life is changed, y’all!  I used to be an avid reader before I became an avid quilter … and now I can do both!


Since my last report here, I’ve read (ok, listened to) the following:


Top Secret Twenty One by Janet Evanovich

I’ve read all the Stephanie Plum stories … and while they are a little more explicit than I’d like, it’s always fun to see what troubles Stephanie gets into and how she manages to get out of them.  These books are what a former co-worker called “potato chips for the mind”.  Thumbs upThumbs upThumbs up


Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Ok, so I knew about 2/3 of the way through how it was all going to come together – in principle, but not in detail.  Even so, I enjoyed reading this … and of course, as I read (listened), I pictured Matthew McConaughey as Jake Brigance (even though I’m not a big fan of his these days).  Thumbs upThumbs upThumbs upThumbs up


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I’d heard so much about this book (between the recommendations and the local media coverage when the movie was being filmed in Cape Girardeau).  The one thing I hadn’t heard (but wished I had) was the language that was used – extensively (or so it seemed to me).  The saddest part of that was that it was so unnecessary.  The story line was so compelling and not. one. single. thing was added by the language.  But because of the language, I cannot recommend this book or give it even 1 thumbs up … which is a shame, because the story itself (sans the language) would have earned 5 thumbs up.


The Girl on the Train

This book is a thriller that is in a lot of ways very similar to Gone Girl … but thankfully there was no offensive language to deal with.  I had a hard time putting this book down … there were so many twists and turns … I certainly didn’t see it ending how it did.

  Thumbs upThumbs upThumbs upThumbs upThumbs up



I’m still trying to get through At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, but I’ve been pushing it aside to read other books as I just couldn’t get into At Home in Mitford.  I need to get back to it and give it a real go.


I’m also reading Matilda by Roald Dahl … my oldest granddaughter loved it and insisted that I read it!  Winking smile  I am having a little trouble with it … #1 T#2 loaned me her book - a “real” book, and as you remember, I use my spare time to quilt, so it’s been hard to “find” the time to sit down and read it.  And #2 I’m put off by the way the parents treat Matilda.  But T#2 is anxious for me to read it and discuss it with her, so I’m plodding through.  Although I’m sorely tempted to get the audible version so I can actually get this read.  Winking smile


And I’m reading (listening to) Gray Mountain by John Grisham.  Yep, I love John Grisham’s work … I’ve always enjoyed his books, and they’re perfect for “reading” while sewing. 



I managed to start the binding on T#3’s quilt.  I probably should have waited another day as it might have taken a little more effort than I had … wrestling that quilt (it’s 82”x103”) to get the binding sewn on was a lot more work than I remembered.  I can’t imagine trying to machine quilt anything even close to that big!  But I was able to take it easy the rest of the day, as I sat in my recliner hand stitching the binding to the back while watching my Cardinals and my Blues win.  I’ll be taking it easy today, too, as I finish up the binding and then get back to work on my hexies.  I’ll start the Kiss quilt on Monday.




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