Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Place Like Home!

I had a wonderful week in Mississippi and points south of KY, including a daytrip to New Orleans.  Thanksgiving dinner with the Carter clan -- my friend Jennifer's extended family -- was a blessing of hospitality and fantastic food, including my personal favorite, chicken 'n' dumplin's made like my momma's!! I couldn't help but miss her -- she would have loved such a gathering of family and friends and food!

We stayed in a sweet little cabin just outside Hattiesburg, MS.  Jennifer and I managed to hit a sewing shop, a quilt shop (Kelly's Pins and Needles -- I remember the name because on the web, the listing included gunsmith service!! I didn't see any guns in the shop, though!! :-D), a Hancocks and a JoAnn's with only minor whines from the teenagers.  (It helped that the JoAnn's was close to a Guitar Center, and lunch was next on the agenda!! :-D)

Not that the teenagers needed shopping therapy....
They kept each other and us entertained.

I was very disciplined (for me!! LOL) in my fabric buying.  Kelly's shop had a nice red Thimbleberries that I got yardage of and the Simpler Time line from Holly Taylor that I got a charm pack and enough extra to make a lovely Schnibbles.  Not sure which one, yet...but something will speak to me, I'm sure! :-D

I also managed to get three Circuit Rider blocks done during quiet mornings at the cabin.  Looking out the large windows at the lake beyond provided the perfect peaceful setting for hand work.

Since getting home on Saturday, I've not managed to sew a stitch, although Step 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Roll, Roll Cotton Boll, was calling my name! :-)  I'll get to it sometime this week... perhaps later today.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the simple pleasure of being home -- of walking through my house and rummaging through my cabinets to find something to eat, and using the Reading Room at my leisure. :-D Of ACT prep for Sam and school work for both the boys.  Of walking in my sewing room and planning a shift in the furniture, organizing projects and getting back into the joy of accomplishing something!

The Psalmist writes, "How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts.  We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple." (Psalm 65:8 NASB)

It is good to be home!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Thankful for Family!

I'm traveling this week with friends to the Deep South -- Mississippi! crashing the family reunion of some very dear friends of ours.  We'll be away from it all in a cabin -- no internet :-( -- but Jennifer is a quilter (YES!! :-D) and we have a bunch of boys that are very nearly the same age to entertain each other (and probably us! LOL) along with my college-age daughter and pre-teen son.  It's gonna be a hoot!  Especially after ten hours in a van with this wild crew.... I'm either crazy or very, very patient.  Can you guess which!?!

So I thought I'd share a little of what I'm thankful for this week.

I'm thankful for family! 
My Jeff is alive and well on foreign soil; that he is alive and well is a major blessing!! That he loves his family and his country enough to participate in her defense, is an honor and blessing beyond words.  And I have three fantastic, beautiful, healthy children, who continually amaze me.

I'm thankful for family!
My sister, Marlene, came over on Saturday -- knowing I was under a deadline she deep-cleaned my kitchen, dining room and living room 'til they absolutely glow! Don't you just love the smell of Pine-Sol and Pledge and Windex!?!  I have a great sister!! And I'll come home from Mississippi to a clean, fresh house.

I'm thankful for family!
I have such a great group of friends who are like family to me -- supportive, encouraging, loving, direct, fun...I've heard it said that friends are the family you get to pick for yourself.  

And that family has extended this year through blogging!  I have met a so many wonderful, loving, generous people who are enriching my life and stretching me as a quilter.

I'm thankful for family -- a local faith family whose mission is to love God and love people and lead them to become disciples of Jesus Christ through relationship with Him -- not religion. 

And on-line people of faith who love God and love people and share the Good News in word and in deed.  And still others who have not decided what they believe, yet, but are seeking.  What a pleasure to be a part of their journey!

I'm blessed beyond measure!

I'm thankful for family.  I have a heavenly Father whose love is everlasting, whose mercies are new every morning.

I so much want the blessings I have been given to spill out to others! I pray God's richest blessings on you during this Thanksgiving Season!!

"Praise the LORD.  Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever!"  Psalm 106:1

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."  Psalm 107:8-9

Friday, November 19, 2010

Past, Present and Future!

Tonight is another Friday Night Sew In, hosted by the lovely Heidi at Handmade by Heidi!! I'm in the midst of packing for Thanksgiving travel, and cleaning house and picking up my eldest from college today, but I'm still going to make time to sew tonight! I've been in this sewing "frenzy" all week -- so tonight is the culminating event!! Accomplish something!!

And I've got a lovely array of projects to work on.  Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue!! :-D  LOL! No wedding quilts, thank goodness!   But a bit from the past, present and future, I think.

The something "old" and "borrowed" and "blue" is a LeMoyne Star quilt that a friend passed along to me to put together.  The blocks are made from original '30's fabrics, set in soft old unbleached muslin, a classic!  The blocks for the quilt top came to me nearly complete -- I'm in the process of assembling the last of the block pieces, making some 17 additional blocks to go with the 32 complete LeMoyne Stars and the 9 "criss-cross" blocks all with the vintage fabrics!
Knowing that I'm helping preserve the handwork of some dear lady from that earlier time is inspiring! Even the set-in pieces of the LeMoyne aren't nearly as aggravating as they usually would be! :-D

If I finish with this project (and I might, since I've been working on it the last couple of days), I'll move on to the present and work on my Circuit Rider quilt blocks.

I'm prepping a couple of fleur-de-lis blocks and I'll use a paper-cutting technique to make freezer paper templates for them, and  I'll wag out my little Bernina Deco for the Bible Block since I don't particularly enjoy hand embroidery.  (Weird, huh!?) :-)

The future project I want to work on  (if by some miracle I were to actually make it that far!! LOL) is Bonnie Hunter's (Quiltville!) latest mystery, "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll!"   My fabric is picked out, and I'm excited about using up some stash.  The first mystery installment comes out today.
I read Bonnie's blog last night, and she shared that she'd learned of a fellow blogger who had taken her own life.  Nothing that was shared online indicated something like that was likely.  It was sad, shocking news for Bonnie.  I was thinking about that today as I chose my projects for the Friday Night Sew In....

So much of what we share on-line is authentic, real, nitty-gritty stuff.  Other times, we share what is on the surface because the hurts are too desperate for words or the situation too poignant to articulate in such a public forum.  In such circumstances, there is One who knows the real us, the one we cannot always share with the world -- or even with quilters who are among the most compassionate and giving people on earth.

It is to Him that the angels and the living creatures of Heaven sing in Revelation 4:8:
"Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."

Past, Present, and Future.  There's an old gospel song by Ira Stamphill that says,

I don’t know about tomorrow,
It may bring me poverty;
But the One Who feeds the sparrow,
Is the One Who stands by me.
And the path that be my portion,
May be through the flame or flood,
But His presence goes before me,
And I’m covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow,
I don’t seem to understand;
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand.
I need to learn to trust the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come with all of me -- my past, my present and my future, my quilts and hurts and all that I can and do share online -- and all that I cannot.

As you read posts today, say a prayer for those who write and those who read.  Lift them up to the One Who holds tomorrow and the One Who holds our hands. Remember them as you sew tonight with quilters all over the world during the Friday Night Sew In!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another one bites the dust...

The fifth one done!!
I'd planned to get "five in a row" quilt tops completed by the end of the first week of November.  I'm only a little behind that goal.  The three tops for a family who lost a mom to breast cancer will be delivered for quilting on Saturday.  The Sun Bonnett Sue is awaiting its owner's pick-up.

And late Sunday night (well, actually, early Monday morning! :-D)  I finished the t-shirt quilt!! YAAAAYYY! LOL

Finishing feels so good, doesn't it!?

I've got more in the works to be completed.  I'm super busy, so many things to do this week as I get ready to travel to Hattiesburg, MS for Thanksgiving (how cool is that! I and my 3 children are crashing my friend Jennifer's family reunion with about 150 people and some of the best southern cooks in the world!!).  I've got house cleaning, and homeschooling, and bookkeeping work to do. Yet, I'm also in some kind of sewing frenzy.  (I promise I'm not on any kind of stimulant except Pepsi and truvia-sweetened tea!!!!!)

Rack 'em, stack em' and pack 'em!  Head 'em in, and move 'em out!!
Another one bites the dust!!

Isn't that an interesting phrase?  I "googled" it ("Google is the source of all wisdom," I say with tongue in cheek.).  Here's what I found at UCLA's Daily Bruin:
Strangely enough, “bite the dust” has been around since the King James Bible was published in 1611. According to the Bible, “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; and His enemies shall lick the dust” (Psalms 72.9). While “lick the dust” is a variation of the phrase we know today, it still contains the similar meaning of falling to the ground in defeat.
One of the first uses of the phrase as we know it today was in Tobias Smollett’s translated version of “The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane,” published in 1748, as it appeared in a quote: “We made the two of them bite the dust, and the others prepare themselves to fight.”
But one of the more familiar associations is with Samuel Butler’s translation of Homer’s “The Iliad,” as Butler uses “bite the dust” to describe the death of Roman soldiers in battle. Probably the most recent uses of the phrase (not counting the Queen song) occur in old Western films to describe fallen cowboys.

So from the Bible to Queen, “bite the dust” has been making a reputation for itself for more than 300 years. With phrases that have histories like “bite the dust,” it is a wonder that they are still in use today.
Cool, huh?
But I prefer that first prophecy of the coming of Jesus in Genesis 3:14-15:
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Rosalinda Celentano as Satan in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.
Mel did a great job of portraying how Jesus crushed the head of Satan!
The Lord bascially told the serpent (the devil, himself!), "Eat my dust!"  And with every enemy He defeats in our lives, He says, "Another one bites the dust!"

Freddy Mercury and Queen got nothing on Jesus! LOL

Now, back to my sewing frenzy!! (Oh! and I'll sweep and dust while the iron heats.)  I've got 9-patches, and sashing, and LeMoyne stars to work on!! And Circuit Rider blocks to prep to take with me on the ten-hour drive.  Maybe I'll have another finish to share before leaving for M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I ....


Crooked letter-crooked letter-I humpback-humpback-I. (Does it ever end!?!)

Friday, November 12, 2010


You'd think it would be a simple thing to keep a promise!  You say you are going to do something and you do it.  Simple, right?

And quilty promises ought to be the easiest things in the world to keep because they are such fun.  But I find I'm coming up short in the keeping promises department. 

I finally finished four of the "five in a row" quilt tops I'd planned to get done a couple of weeks ago.  They are stacked up neatly waiting for their owners to come get them.  The fifth, a t-shirt quilt, is on the design wall, coming off in sections so that I can send it off to a mom who wants to get it quilted and present it to her daughter before said daughter finishes her first year of college!

I have another quilt that was promised to the daughter of my dearest friends.  I made both her sisters, Teah and Kendra, quilts; Whitney's Trip Around the World has languished on my "list" since she got married, then in the closet -- first the top, and when that was finished, the quilting of it (and I actually finished her baby's quilt instead of the big quilt I'd said was coming! Sheesh!) while her baby just turned 4! -- now it's been quilted for six or seven months, her house-warming has come and gone, and I've yet to put the binding on her quilt. 

I've promised to share patterns with blog friends.  They lay in a stack, waiting for printing or packaging...

Sometimes there are good reasons for not keeping promises...
A bout with bronchitis or running with the boys, the faulty memory of a nearly half-century old bat, or whatever.

Sometimes I'm just not "in the mood." 

Sometimes I'm captivated by stupid things like putting my thread in order by color number, or making lists of "wanna do's" or playing Spider Solitaire for the imaginary world championship (major eye roll!!!),  and I waste the precious time I've been given to do many good things, most especially keep my promises.

Jesus spent some time in the Sermon on the Mount talking about the keeping of vows.  Don't swear, he says, but "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No' be 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37 NIV)  I'm thinking that "anything beyond" is probably the excuses I make when my "yes" becomes "later" perhaps to eventually become "never."  When what I wanna do in the moment is more important than the word I've given, the promise I've made.

So today I'm a Promise Keeper.  Jesus said to have "fruit in keeping with repentance" -- which means if I don't get my butkus in gear, I didn't really mean it! :-)  Patterns are going in the mail.  Bindings are being cut and sewn. Quilt tops are being finished and my "yes" is really and truly, finally, a "yes."


My husband tells me I should work on the "no's" as well! :-)  I think I'll start with him! LOL


P.S.  If I've made you a promise, remind me of it so that I can keep my word!! :-D

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reading Room

If you didn't happen to catch Teresa's guest posts on Stash Manicure (one each on fabric and books/patterns), you missed a couple of organizational masterpieces!! Not since stumbling upon Quiltville several years ago (and printing everything on the site -- Thank the Lord Bonnie publishes now so I don't have to support the ink cartridge industry all by myself!!! :-D) have I been so impressed!!

But alas, Teresa, you missed a vitally important place for your quilting reading materials.  May I present my Reading Room:

The room has had many names over the last few hundred years.  In the regency era novels I favor (like The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and others of that ilk! :-D), it's called the Ladies' Retiring Room.

Interesting.  I don't mind a visit from time to time, but I don't think I want to spend all my twilight years there, you know?

Or the Necessary Room.  Practical, on point, speaks for itself.
How 'bout the "privy."
Heheheh.  Right.  Privy! Is there anything private about a bathroom with a mom in it!?! Can you even count the times you sat down to take a load off and hear the inevitable squawk..."Mooooooooommm!!!????"

Not that you could tell it from this photo, but my Will is a worrier.  I think it's because his 11-year old brain can't keep up with his puberty-driven little body (why do boys grow six inches in a single year!?!?!)

Here is a typical conversation with him whilst I'm sitting in the Privy:

From the other side of the door, "Mom, can I have some chocolate milk?"

Breaking my concentration, "Um, yeah, baby. Help yourself."
"Are you sure?"
(What am I, a crack mom!?!) "Yeah, Honey! Knock yourself out!"
"No. If you take one sip, I'll beat you within an inch of your miserable life."
"So it's OK, then!?"
"Yes, for the love of God, please go get you some chocolate milk!!!"

I need quilt books in my Reading Room.  If Quilting is my therapy -- and Lord knows it is!! LOL -- then I must have access to it when I need it, and never more than when I'm in the privy.  Some of my best ideas are hatched there.  Some of my ideas should be flushed.  It's that simple.  The Reading Room -- the Necessary Room! -- the privy is a significant part of my mental health.

It's just as well I have no privacy. :-P  In the Bible privacy is most often associated with scandal or wicked plans or other sinister stuff.  Joseph wanted to put Mary away privately when she was with child.  Herod talked privately with the Wise Men so he could figure out where the Christ child was to kill him.  Nicodemus talked with Jesus privately so his little Pharisee friends wouldn't see him talking to Him. 

And then there's that jewel (no pun intended) of an admonition from the Old Testament law: "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD."  (Deuteronomy 23:1 -- KJV)  Hehehe.  If you want your hubby in church with you, better keep the Bobbitt knife in the drawer.  So much for privacy, huh?  Can you imagine explaining that when someone says, "We've missed your husband at church lately!!"  Good thing we are under grace and not under the law!! LOL
So, privacy is probably overrated.  In the little bit of time I have behind that closed door, between Son #1 asking if he can practice driving and Son #2 asking for food ("YES! You may have lunch!!!"), I read. 

I'm reviewing (again) the "Album of Memories" series of patterns from McCall's Quilting 2001.  Thinking about the "Apple Cider" scrap quilt from February 2009.  Deciding I should get all of the Blackbird Designs books. 

And when necessary, I'll use it as a "Necessary Room." :-P


Friday, November 5, 2010


Anticipay-yay-tion! Is making me late!
Is keeping me way-yay-yay-yay-yay-a-tin'!!!

(Thanks, Carly Simon! :-D)

OH! I'm getting excited!! I added another three Circuit Rider blocks to the wall today!! That makes 24 of the 42 blocks completed.  They are moving right along!!

Doing the prep work for several blocks -- cutting templates and fabric out, getting the overlays ready and so on for my needle-turn applique -- has really speeded up the process!!  And you know what that means...?

I'm THAT much closer to being able to start a couple of other projects calling my name -- The Roseville Album by Kim McLean and the Civil War Bride quilt!! (There are others, too, but I don't want to freak you out! LOL)

I can't wait!!!

There's more to anticipate, too!
I've decided to quilt along with Bonnie Hunt's latest mystery quilt at Quiltville -- "Roll Roll Cotton Boll."  Bonnie has done hers in shirtings and neutrals, pinks and poison greens and browns with an interesting red "constant"  fabric. 

I think I'm going to use browns, teals/turquoises and pinks with a "roony" red for my constant.  I've got a ton of old civil war repros in these colors and I'm going to dig in and use them.  I don't think I'll use them ALL, but a dent is a very good thing!!  The mystery is scheduled to begin on November 19th.

I can't wait!!

I'm doing the Moose on the Porch Layer Cake Quilt Along, too.  Actually got two of 'em going, mostly because the second layer cake was drawing dust in my sewing room (you know I'm allergic to dusting! -- not DUST, mind you, but dust-ING. :-D) .  The first two blocks are finished and in a couple of weeks, the pattern for the second block of the series will be posted here.   Fun!
And there's more!!
I feel like Oxyclean's Billy Mays (may he rest in peace)!!

Today in the mail, I got two precious unexpected gifts!

First, a honey bun and 2 1/2" charm pack of Charlevoix from Minnick and Simpson.  They blessed people who bid on items to benefit the Semper Fi Fund for injured marines.  How cool is that?!

And Mary sent me a fabulous gift pack with glow tape (I love that stuff! LOL), a wonderful notepad (my friends laugh about my obsession with containers and notepads! LOL), bobbin minders, and two fabulous charm packs of Kansas Troubles Butterfly Garden.  So I'm flipping through my Snibbles Times Two book to decide which quilt I'll make with those.  Fun, fun, fun!!!  (and thank you so much, Mary!!)

I can't wait!!! LOL

There's a wonderful scripture about anticipation in Romans 8.  Romans 8 is an awesome chapter in the Bible that starts out with the assurance that there is no condemnation in Christ -- in a guilt-ridden, blame-placing world, that alone is a great word.  The chapter ends with the assurance of God's love -- that neither height nor depth nor anything!! can separate us from the love of God.

Smack dab in the middle of the chapter is this little gem:

"For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].  (v. 19, Amplified)

The image is almost like childbirth, isn't it?  The whole creation is aching, longing, praying for the blessing to come (as it did for Mrs. Goodneedle!) with all the anticipation and wonder it brings.

When we show who we are -- people who've been transformed (v. 29 of the same chapter! :-D) in the image of Christ demonstrating the love of God (they will know we are Christians by our love, after all!) -- it is the most exhilerating and challenging promise of all that could be in a person's life -- and all creation is waiting for that revelation, in "eager expectation!"

So what are you birthing in your sewing room these days?  In your relationships?
In your life?
Don't stop now! There's so much more to do!!! :-)
I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Err is Human....

Thanks to everyone who wished me well after my bout with bronchitis! I'm much better, these four days (and a z-pack, thank the Lord!) later, but still coughing with Poise, if you catch my drift! LOL

Yesterday was my birthday!  Like my mother before me, I've started calling myself old before my time....I was born the year before Kennedy was shot, if that's any reference for you :-D, so I'm not technically old, but there are some days I sure feel it!  I started worrying about myself for sure earlier today!

I got in the mail (on my birthday, how cool is that!! :-D) fabric for the1st of a block-of-the-month I enrolled in a while back, so I thought I would indulge myself and just do that one little block (it's not really like starting anything new!! It's not like I can finish it because I don't have the rest of the fabric!!).

It's the cutest quilt! I love the designer and her quilts -- so darling, and such cool use of muted colors and primitive touches...just what a dark old bird like me enjoys!  I hadn't gotten very far into the pattern, though, when things were NOT going together like they should.

Did I read the pattern wrong? Did I cut something wonky?  Is it the first stages of Alzheimer's? How old am I?  What year is it!!!!???

No....I started going over the numbers, and there was no way mathematically the block was going together like it said.  So out came the seam ripper and thread started flying and I started fuming!  (All that self examination took its toll on my psyche!!)

I turned to the computer and started looking up contact information and composing a "strongly worded letter" (that's what Leo Decaprio says he's going to do when he's drowning in the North Atlantic in Titanic!  It always cracks me up! so I'm laughing out loud while I'm crying and croaking, "Live, Rose! Live!!!" Sheesh!!!).

I've done that before, you know.  A few years ago I did the Victory Quilt from Quilt in a Day and couldn't get my Nosegay block to go together.  I fired off a scorching missive to QinaD -- only to discover that I'd cut my template out wrong.  Can't you just imagine them....?

"Hey, Ellie!! We got another one here who thinks she's smarter than you!!!"
"Wonder how long she's been quilting?"
"Who's she think she is!?!"

This time, though, the pattern really is wrong.  So I ran the numbers (a simple 4", 8" and 12" progression), and reassembled the block, step by step:

And Voila!! the block becomes all it's meant to be!! Happy birthday to me!! :-)

More often than not, though, the problem is with me and not the designer!

When I (as my mother used to call it) "act ugly" -- when I don't act the way I should, I wanna say, "Oh, God knows I'm like this.  He made me this way.  It's not my fault!"  As if He is to blame for my impulse control, or my quick, sharp tongue or my general sour demeanor that day. My first instinct is to blame the Designer. 

No, better to take a look to see if I -- yes, I! :-D -- have done something wrong.  When it comes to my Designer,'s me, it's me, it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer, as the old children's Sunday School song says.  Thankfully, Jesus doesn't want to hold stupidity or perfidy against me.  John the Beloved tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (I John 1:9)

I like how the Amplified Version expounds...."He is faithful and just (true to his own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]."  Whew!! That covers a whole lotta ground!!  Better to 'fess up and let Him put me back together, conforming me to His perfect image. So I can become all I am meant to be, more's the praise!

So no strongly worded letter, I think. :-)
I sure hope Ellie forgave me for being a moron! :-)
And I will certainly forgive the designer her error.  To err is human; to forgive divine.
Besides, it's too cool a quilt to give up on!!
I can't wait for next month (when I won't be starting another quilt all over again)!