Saturday, November 30, 2013

The New Month Begins

As I look out the side window I see that we still have the pretty snow of a couple of inches from Thanksgiving, I realize that we have the door of another month of closing oh so quietly.  As the December window opens to let in the cool but crisp air as the sunlight reflect brilliantly bright on the undisturbed snow against the white fence of the neighbors fence. But as I look I can see that the wild rabbit has been to visit. Does he like the wild apples from the neighbor’s tree? Or is that the chipmunk that likes to tease the cats by running across the deck a mere inch off the glass doors?

I see that I haven’t posted since the 10th, but with the holidays and the swaps and the hand quilted baby quilt that is in the hoop; I would once again re-literary that busy is a vastly understated word and of course, without fail I must confess that I bring this on myself. Unfortunately I can show you any pictures of what I’ve been making right now but once the swaps are completed; it will be pictures galore!!

And the really bad thing is every year as the ball, cherry or apple drops, I tell myself that I will change, that I’ll do things differently.  But then the newsletters and e-mails start to roll in full of distracting pictures on BOM’s, new patterns, of a new swap that will be starting. you know the ones I’m talking about… the ones has us ohhing & ahhing and dropping that now new UFO flutters to the floor. The ones that has most quilters rushing to the nearest quilt shop or even worse – the computer.  Where they will lulled by the siren of quilting to look, click and buy more than the one thing they were looking for in the first place.  Now realize that I’m not complaining by in means. I personally believe it the quilters, crafters and such are the true stimulators of the economy. 

But anyhow- where was I going?  Oh yeah, this year as those distracting pictures are coming into my e-mails; I’m actually unsubscribing  from them. I’m looking at my yahoo groups & decided that clearing those out too would be a good move. Next on the chopping block will be the endless listing of blogs that I follow.  Most of those I picked up during a series of blog hops that I did.  Do I visit many of them or was it just a chance to win something?  I can spend days just reading those.  Yes I learn many things that I would like to try and do. Yes I have won a few things and yes I can still find a boat load of free patterns to take up the space on my hard drive where they will just sit without anything being done with them.

Then we have all those computer games that I love so much. It doesn’t matter the type they are albeit hidden objects, marble matching, bubble popping, alien invaders, they are equally represented in my ‘puter. Again another distracting factor for hours on end.  Humm… what it sound like is the possible cure for this problem would be to ask for a good old fashion kitchen timer. Something that I set for an hour and place across the room.  LOL.  Wow - now that is something I could really get behind of. Now I going to have to get me one.  Wonder if there is an acorn one? I would love a really cool one. hint hint ;)LOL.

But this next year is about less time on the computer and more on the “ME” stitching. Several people have brought it to my attention that everything I make is going out the door for some sort of reason.  Which means in truth I get nothing done for this house, my family or me. So now I going to be super choosey on what I take on come the new year.  I have decided that “Scrappy” is the word of the year.

I have two challenges that I offered up to my Wednesday morning quilt groups to help me accomplish my decision.  Starting Jan.1st, I will be implementing a “Start the New Year Scrappy” challenge. What this will be is that I’ll doing for that one is as the name says. So what is involved?

  • On Jan.1st I’ll start making a scrappy queen size quilt for myself and have it COMPLETED by years end. Yes - I know that is a whole year but that is a simple goal.  Just one completed new project to start off with.
  • It can be any pattern that we want to make, so I thought I would do something from the many blogs and free patterns that I have on my hard drive.  I have heard that Bonnie Hunter has some wonderful scrappy patterns to work  with.  So off I go to Bonnie’s website & I picked the Bricks & Stepping Stones pattern. 
  • For the Bricks I’m going to have no repeat prints but the little 4- patches are using 2” squares so repeats are okay there. That is once I get enough black pieces.  I’m going to have to figure how to acquire them rather it be trading, bartering or some other means. 

As for the second one, I’m going to do an “UFO No More” challenge.  I have a list of projects that I’m going to do. It’s a simple challenge you would think; but it’s harder than I thought this current year.  So I’m grabbing the bootstraps and sticking to my guns!!!  Here is what the list looks like currently:

  • Sunflowers and Crows. This is a personal design that I was hand quilting before putting the dragonflies went in.
  • Mystery.  This was my 1st mystery and I want to try to a ribbon border around it just to see if I can. 
  • Next is a nine-patch scrappy swap from group in 2012.  I have 25/30 blocks that I’m going add to and make into 1 of 2 twin size light weight quilts for the guest room. 
  • Stitchin’ Stitches Round Robin.  Now this is a new project that is a new adventure for me.  I am wandering into the world of round robins.  I will be working in a small of group of 6 ladies on this. This should be interesting to do.
  • Tulips from Wisconsin.  This is the tulips that Ms. M from Wisconsin sent me last year.  It’s the one where I’m hand appliquéing the blocks so it takes me a bit longer to do. It slowed considerably that it’s no longer a WIP but an UFO.
  • The Q&N 2012 Challenge top which is in Phase 2, which is the appliquéd portion of the 1st added on sash to enlarge it.  I’m still working on it with Ms. D. of Canada and is a long term project.
  • Hand Quilting Ms. P’s grandbaby’s quilt.  This one I’m doing as a special request so not really an UFO but a commitment.
  • Of course I’m still working on the FWS blocks but once again that is a long term project as a BOW.  I need to catch back up on those blocks too.
  • Then I have a cross-stitch flower project that has been in UFO status that has actually turned a decade older in my neglect.  There are so many errors in it that I can hide it in plain sight now.  LOL

Now I have a few rules that go along with an challenge.  For every 5th UFO project I will be able to pick a New project to start but it must be finished.  NO UFO status allowed before moving on to another new project. From the New I can pick any kit that I have assembled, received as gifts, whatever.  If no sewing has started on it, it’s not an UFO.  I must show the state in which each UFO is beginning with and another once I have finished it to show proof of it’s “UFO No More” status as the last step of completion. Seems simple enough right? We shall see.

I will continue to do my book reviews but I’m going to separate those as I have something like a half dozen to do right now. And they would take up just as much space as this posting is up to this point easily.

Now that I have put pen to paper, (so to speak) stating my goals with the turning of the old to the new, I hope that you might join me in my challenges.  Please feel free to share your goals in the comment area. If you have a blog link you can leave that too as a way of sharing.  Do you have a great way to store neatly stacks of scrappy squares and rectangles as I try to emulate Bonnie’s technique please tell me how you keep them that way.

Well it’s been nice to see y’all but I have some stitching to work on. Without much ado…





Sunday, November 10, 2013

What Can I Say … Other Than … Busy

I would love to be able to tell you about my quilting week but I have been working on Secret Santa gifts. I have gotten myself in deep again like I do every year to compensate the lack of much of celebration here.  But that is something that I won’t go into here.  I can say that I have two of my Secret Santa package items done. They just need to be wrapped in pretty paper before they are boxed to go.  I have two that are in progress to almost the half way point.  I think I got ideas for the other two.  And I have been working on the Dragonfly baby quilt in the evenings.

I do have something quilty that I can show you. I do take part in the Homesteading Today group and it’s time for our 3rd forum block lottery.  So I got my piece of 12” Cloisonné Koi Fish fabric that came from China.   It is s00oo pretty. And I went scrap pulling and came up with a creative design that has a Churn Dash taste to it.  I call it “Koi Pond”.  I love how the block came about.  I have a little bit left that I want to use for an appliqué project that I have in my head.  But that is for another time and after the new year. 

DSCN3770   DSCN3774    DSCN3775

With the chill in the air these past weeks, I considered that this was a good night for the oven to be on.  For one of these supper,  I tried something different. I basically made “a wing it” recipe of deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole. I made two versions of it.  I stripped a small head of cabbage dividing it between a 8 X 8 and 9 X 13 pans equally.  I then mixed some cooked rice & burger, layering them on the 8 x 8 bed of cabbage then poured a small can of Hunt’s tomato sauce.  In the other pan I mixed the last 3 ingredients then added to the pan.  I stuck them in a 350*  for around an hour.  The little pan I left uncovered but put foil on the larger one.  We ate the little one and it wasn’t half bad.  We are sticking the other one in the freezer for later.  I was happy to find a way to do a previously time consuming dish that I use to get from my now deceased MIL once a year when her & her son – E. would spend all day making.  Which is funny since I hated stuffed cabbage rolls as a child.

There have been nights that have me so achy that I use my heated blanket as a big heating pad.  Even with that and 2 Aleve, it can still be hours before I can fall  to sleep. So this is when I do my reading.  Yup I do a lot of reading.  It’s nothing to read a 250/300 page story on my e-reader at this point. Now I do venture out of the fiction side of things and head to the Non-fiction side of the library.  So this time I pulled on from a genre that I do enjoy reading about. Horses!! I’m still like many other girls that went through my “horse” stage.  And like many, I never grew out of.  I begin with “Ivory Pal: Born to Fly Higher” by Cindy McCauley.

ivory pal


Try as they might, the trainers could not get Ivory Pal to comply with the "traditional" Tennessee Walking Horse training techniques. The beautiful palomino colt had completely given up, shut down, relegated to a box stall 24/7, until he met his new partner Rafael Valle. His fate was about to take a U-turn. A heartwarming true story of a "show horse reject", his trials and triumphs, and his relationship with Valle built on trust and mutual respect rather than on fear and intimidation.

This was an interesting book to read. This Love Story will have you remembering why you loved the those horse stories when you was a little girl.   I actually know a little bit of the "traditional" training for TWH's from a farm that I lived on as a teen that my parents managed. I remember, even back then; the pity I felt for those wonderful horses every time I saw the owner & trainers would show up to the barns. I was elated to read an account from a person who turned the TWH world on it's head.

This was a beautifully written book from everyone associated with the book. It moved me to tears and it also shows what can happen when a right person and right horse comes together. It's like the planets were in alignment when Rafael Valle and Ivory Pal meet by chance on a weekend. And the story can only get better for the both. Some times it not conforming to others plans but finding your own way by yourself. Or even with a partner that the cosmos has lined up and dropped into your lap. 

I highly recommend this wonderful, heartwarming story to anyone likes horses, have horses, dreams of horses of any kind. This touching story shows love can move mountains. I will give this book a solid 5 stars. The only thing I felt a loss over was the fact that on my e-reader I couldn’t see the pictures that are clearly throughout the book.  But  I will be asking my rural library to bring this in as it will appeal to many on several levels.

This book came to me by Hooves and Tales/Bookmasters Inc. via net Gallery for my honest opinion. The opinion stated above is my own without influence from those involved in the making of this book. This book was released on Sept. 1, 2012

I confess that having my e-reader does make things convenient but I love the feel of real pages in my fingers.  The weight of a book reminds me that books have been my constants in my life.  Through the good and the bad, the bindings hold together the means of escaping into my world.  Anyhow, right now on my bedside is an actual book that I recently finished.

I just finished reading  Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane.  This is the 1st book in the Quilts of Love Series. From what I understand, these books are able to stand alone by lots of authors.  This 268 page book was made available by Abingdon Press. There are several words that come to mind.  Heart-wrenching, Teary, Hopeful, Surviving and Survival .

beyond the storm


After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?” As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with
Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?

This bases for this book has me looking at the Super Tornados of the past year as in Joplin, Tuscaloosa and many other villages, towns and cities that were effected .  I had found the book while perusing the NetGallery books available when I walked into the library to find the book on the New Books Shelf. yeah!!Yeah!! I was excited to see this book that I actually started to read it before I even checked it out.

The book had me in tears at some points and I’ve been thinking how it would change me if I went through this myself.   Even though I personally haven’t gone through one of these monsters, I felt that I could connect the characters in the book.  Yes - I do believe that there are monsters out there and that they are real.  In my own life I have been in situations that has me questioning my own faith. But what these people real or fictional are dealing with seems to put on a whole different level.  I was moved as I read on.  I connected beyond just reading a story.  To me that makes for a good read and again reminds me that healing can come about in many forms, even that of a quilt.  I even like the the discussion questions that was included in the back of book. 

I not only recommend this book, I would buy copies and put them in packages for my friends.  It doesn’t just reach out to quilters but I feel that it reach out to all kinds of readers.  This book makes me excited to see what the rest of the books in this series pans out.  Out of 5 stars I would have to give them 10.  This is a series worth keeping an eye out for in the future. 

This week I have several books coming to the end. Including a exciting new series by Nora Roberts's “Dark Witch”.  Keri Arthur’s “Kiss the Night Goodbye” which is book 4 in the Nikki & Michael series as a start of the 4 books that should be on review next time. 

I have to say that things are in a constant hairy - scary state of mayhem as I work on those 6 different Secret Santa's and that wonderful dragonfly baby quilt for Mrs. D..  I do tend to get myself into these situations and even as I start freaking out, bouncing around from one ideal or project like a headless chicken; I know that somehow I will get things done.  I know that at the end of it all, I will breathing a sigh of relief as I sit in awe over all the great goodies that I have received in return.  Even as I frantically speed towards the end, I am already thinking that I need to start earlier next year… and will most likely end up right back in the flying pan come the year’s end. 

I tell myself that the next year will be different, that I will work on knocking down that UFO list, those WIP’s that I have inherited from friends and work on those that I have started myself and then there is the one or three projects that I want to make.  You know … the typical quilter’s disease… there is a;ways something new to grab our attention.  That new pattern, gadget, fabric -- whatever it may be.  We all suffer from in it with a variety symptoms and there are no cures to found. Which begs the question: would you take the cure if one is found?  Granted we would save a fortune, for this is not a cheap endeavor by far.   And the reason we do it can surprise those who would take the time to ask.  But where would we be if there was no quilts sent out in the world . Some interesting questions to leave you with as I sign off and send this across airwaves.  So goodnight my lovelies.