Friday, April 30, 2010

C&T Book Review - Landscapes & Illusions


Landscapes & Illusions was my most recent download from C & T Publishers. I've always wanted to do a landscape quilt, but it looked so difficult, I was hesitant to even consider the possibility. The book was interesting and made it look possible -- I'll have to definitely give a landscape quilt a try, some time soon (or at least, some time in the future).

Yes, that means I've added something else to the "impossible" list!

double winner!

What a lucky girl I am!! Well, I'm certainly a blessed girl, all the time. But this week, I've been *lucky* too!!!

On Thursday of last week, Sinta from Pink Pincushion, e-mailed me to say I'd won her blogiversary giveaway! I was so excited! And she was fast, too . . . I had that package on TUESDAY! (She did a lot better getting her stuff out, than I did mine! LOL!) I really *wish* I could show you pictures of what she sent, but, alas . . . no camera. But you can click HERE and see what she offered/sent! It was some really fun, fun, fun stuff!!! The tea towels are so cute and already hanging in my kitchen. What a great idea for a hostess gift! The Artful Blogging magazine is fascinating. I'd never heard of it before and I don't know why. It's full of beautiful images! And I love the darling little thread spools . . . I'll find a way to incorporate them into my decor!

Lucky, non? Oiu!! But wait, there's MORE!

On Tuesday, Mel from Mel's Own Place, e-mailed me to say I'd won *her* giveaway, too!! She had a shop hop giveaway (see HERE), and I was the lucky recipient of a darling charm pack of Tweet Tweet by Keiki! You can see it in her post HERE! While you're there, you really should read about her adventures in shop-hopping! She's a lot of fun to read.

So. I'm a lucky girl! Add to all that, it's FRIDAY!!! Yeay! I'm thankful, too!

:)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

*sigh*

I really miss my camera!

As I pulled into the camp ground tonight, Todd warned me that if I didn't want to hear the raccoons squabbling tonight, I'd better get some corn/seed out before dark! They have been incorrigible the past few nights, chatting *so* loudly they woke us up! They are incredibly obnoxious when they find there's no filled birdfeeders for them to ransack. So I dropped off my stuff (and opened up windows to 'unstuff' the RV) and headed out to spread corn, birdseed, and peanut butter!! The peanut butter is my favorite. We mix cheap, creamy peanut butter with corn meal, pecan meal, and oat flour. Then we spread it on the tree bark. The woodpeckers, nut hatches and (my favorites) the wrens, love it! But the raccoons do, too . . . they lick it completely off the bark! I wish we had an infrared camera so I could watch them!

I noted that the doves moved in as soon as I'd finished setting out feed. I think they were watching me from the tree limbs.

The raccoons tend to move in just after dark, but the deer have already made it up ... at least a group of three have. We saw a group of three this morning, too. It may be the same three. We've been hearing whip-poor-wills the past couple of evenings, too. They definitely tell on themselves (in that there's no mistaking what kind of bird they are). I've heard them, but never seen them, so I looked them up in the bird book. Very nondescript! And nocturnal, to boot.

The (gray) squirrels are just a chattering away up in the trees. Fussing at something or another. I did see the big fox squirrel as I pulled up. He flew away when he caught sight of me!

Todd & I have both, finally, seen chipmunks up here! We'd seen them in the lower part of the camp, but never up here at the RV site. Yay, they made it!!

We've got a work day up here this weekend, but I think the weather is going to do us in. One of the things we've got to do is prepare the permanent site for the RV. The new site isn't far, but it is out of the designated camping area, which is nice. I enjoy the campers, but our big, white monstrosity out in the middle of their tents (and at best, a pop-up camper) kind of takes away from the primitive feel for them!

The utilities came today and dropped off line to hook up the new site. Also some early work day volunteers came up and mowed and trimmed around the pond. It looked very nice as I came home!

This is my 397th post. Wow.

Bon nuit!

:)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

it's been . . .

. . . way too long!

But gosh, I've been so, so busy!

So, Joc and I headed to Atlanta on Friday night. We had a great drive down and got to talk about all sorts of things that moms & daughters talk about. We were late getting to the hotel --it was about 9:30-- and the lobby was filled with women who were obviously also checking in for the Beth Moore conference! There were two staff at the hotel counter, and you could tell they were feeling a little overwhelmed. The hotel was booked full, and those guests waiting to check in were the last of the occupants! I admit I was just a tad anxious as we waited, but I had spoken to Lisa (who happened to still be there) to confirm our reservation earlier in the day, and had called and spoken to her again when I realized we weren't going to make it by 9:00 pm. We finally got our turn, and we were checked in without incident! And we had a *beautiful* room on the ground floor! Joc & I were so excited!

Anyway, we dropped our bags and headed back out to grab some dinner (which we'd skipped in the interests of getting to the hotel as soon as possible). We went to Arby's and as we were leaving, Joc suggested that we get the two hotel employees a dessert turnover. So we did. And when we got back to the hotel, we dropped them off, just thanking them for all their hard work.

We went directly to bed. With books. Joc had one she's reading and she'd brought one for me -- a new one by Francine Rivers, called Her Mother's Hope. I hated putting it down to turn off the light! The next morning, I got up first (and pretty early), took a shower, got some coffee, and proceeded to read the book until Joc got up at 7:00!

When we went to check out, both of the same workers from the night before were still at the desk. (??!!) They were both really appreciative of the turnover gesture; Lisa mentioned she'd skipped dinner and so it was really good! :)

We drove over to First Baptist Woodstock and got parked and settled. It was a super-great conference!!! First we worshiped with Travis Cottrell, and then Beth came up. She alternatively had me laughing and crying and laughing. She so cracks me up! I had read the book coming into the conference, but there's something about hearing Beth live that is just good to me.

We headed home (after sitting for close to two hours in the PARKING LOT) and managed to drive into one of the worst storm systems we've had in a year. But we managed. Joc talked me through it. Luckily (thankfully) she got herself a caffeine-laden drink on the way home, so she didn't sleep through the drive. I needed her awake!! :)

Sunday was church and afterward we invited some friends out to the RV, after picking up some BBQ. It was a lovely and quiet afternoon. Later that evening I got a call from Kim...

And so I got to watch Sawyer on Monday! We had a fun morning, he and I, and then I came home and, um, finished that Francine Rivers book. Which made me *really* angry, because I turned the page expecting to see a new chapter, and it was the END! And the sequel isn't due out until the fall!!!!! Argh!!!!

Weight-wise I'm doing very well. I was very well-behaved over the weekend, even though we were traveling!! Yay!!

And...on a quilting note...I had a surprise in the mail!!!

Well, perhaps I'll blog that in its own sweet little post.

:)

Friday, April 23, 2010

photo-less friday . . .

Or rather, less *my* photos. Pooh on broken cameras. (But Yeay! for extended warranties so they can be in the shop getting fixed!)

But *if* I'd had a camera with me this week, here are some things you might have seen in my blog:

A darling surprise in the form of wood azaleas, which dot the road into the camp and through the gate. I stopped and grabbed some blooms to adorn my table. They smell so good!

These are just another of those things (well, azaleas in general) I thought I'd given up by moving from my house to the camp. God is good!

It wasn't near as pretty as this goat is, but it was far funnier! At the other end of the road leading to the camp, a neighbor's goat had escaped from its pen, had crossed the road, and was trimming the grass around the Camp MACOBA sign!

I guess now I know the answer to, "Why did the goat cross the road?" To do a little yard work! (Or perhaps that grass was just greener!)

And *if* I'd been quick enough, you'd have seen the photo of the cardinal, blue jay, and goldfinch together in the feeder. I couldn't find a picture with just the three. Work with me here!


A few other pictures I might have posted?

--Two fox squirrels cavorting together through the woods and into the meadow. I'm pretty sure they were *twitterpated*.

--The marvelous canopy of trees which cover the entrance and drive into the camp! It's simply glorious!

--The sight of the newly "leafed" trees out our picture window. That beautiful, 'new green' color has just filled the landscape and completely transformed it!

--Comparison photos out of our picture window from fall, winter and spring. It amazes how incredibly different they all are, and how immensely beautiful each is in its own right. I will enjoy seeing how the maturing of summer changes it once again. Ah, the joys of living in a place that has four distinct seasons!

--My darling little wilderness home all cleaned and tidy, ready for my darling man to come home to it.

--My bags packed and ready to hit the ROAD to GEORGIA!

Hmmm, but I *can* share a photo my son took of my precious grandbaby (which would have been my preference anyway) . . .

He smiles!!!

Ciao, baby!

:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

this and that . . .

I haven't referenced my new, healthy lifestyle in several days, and I think it's worth a mention. I'm so excited at how relatively easy it's been! I think, for me, the no sugar, no breads (starches) has really paid off in these first two weeks. The cravings have noticeably gotten less maddening, and the time between them increases. Yes!! The vending machine has not had any pull on me this week, even when I was stressed. That, my friends, is of God! As is the weight loss . . . and it's happening! Whoohoo! That's definitely His; I'm giving Him the glory for it all.

Speaking of which, I shared a couple of weeks ago my desire to be involved with the women's ministry at our church. Sure enough, they brought me on board. And what's first?? I had to laugh, God does have such a sense of humor . . . they asked me to lead or co-lead a Bible study on weight loss! I'm not quite sure what it's called; just that I've been called. :)

My camera broke. Pooh. Luckily, when we bought it, we went ahead and got the extended warranty! So Tuesday evening I ran it over to Best Buy, where they told me it would be 2-3 weeks before I'd get it back. Pooh again. There have been so many things I'd have gotten pictures of in the past couple of days! Yesterday morning, for example, in the platform bird feeder out the picture window, there was a blue jay, a cardinal, and a goldfinch! All *three* primary colors in one feeder!! That is incredibly rare and I would have loved to have shared the moment with you. Alas.

I also *really* wanted to take it with me this weekend!!! Joc and I are going on a ROAD TRIP!! Tomorrow evening we're headed to Woodstock, Georgia (right outside of Atlanta) for a Beth Moore conference, So Long Insecurity! I have *never* been to a live Bible study of hers--although she did make a personal appearance with Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer when we went to see a simulcast of them--but this is *different*! I believe she is filming this one for a new weekend Bible study. Yay!

The event itself is long sold out, according the website, but it's being simulcast all over the place. Joc & I are going down Friday night and staying overnight so that we can be out there bright and early when the doors open, so we can get great seats! I'm so very excited. I got the book when it was released and read a long through it with the LPM's Blog Bible study.

So anyway, big things planned, no camera to post photos, life goes on . . .

:)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

another fun giveway . . .



Check out Mel's blog and see what's a movin' and a shakin' there!

(She is *lots* of fun!)

:)

c&t review . . .



I am a huge fan of the Elm Creek series. I adore reading, and to be able to read about quilting to boot, well, that's a huge plus for me! That was the initial draw for me; it was an Elm Creek quilting book.

As I started paging through it, I realized it's actually a compilation of blocks done by several *real* women, who entered their blocks in a 'spirit of Elm Creek quilting' contest. The finalists' blocks were then put together into an Elm Creek sampler quilt, which is quite beautiful. There's lots of eye interest!

The book is well laid out, with clear instructions for each block. That being said, however, I wouldn't recommend it to the beginner quilter! There were plenty of well-shot photos, and a nice "Quilting 101" section at the back of the book. The templates were all concise and clearly labeled.

What I missed in this particular book was story dialogue. It didn't feel like there was anything, other than the title, that actually connected the book to the series. Even a small blurb about why each woman created the pattern she did would have been nice. This may not be a big deal to some, but because what drew me to this book was my love for the series, the lack of story dialogue disappointed me greatly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

a stroll with Sawyer . . .

Sawyer, my precious grandson,
what do you think about taking a stroll?

OH! Grandma, that sounds wonderful!

Sawyer, what's the matter??

Grandma, I *hate* being strapped down!

There, there, is that better??

Mmmmmm mmmmm.

Sawyer, are you enjoying the ride so far?

Grandma, could you pull the screen down just a little? That sun . . .

Is that better, darling Sawyer?

Much better, Grandma!

What a pretty day it is, don't you think so, Sawyer?!

Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Well, look who's awake again!

*yawn* Grandma, why'd we slow down so much????

Sawyer, we've been strolling for over an hour;
you slept through most of it!
Now it's time to go in for some lunch!

Good. Cuz Grandma, I really wanna get out of this thing again . . .

Is this better, my darling boy?

Grandma, this is the life!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

we interrupt this Saturday morning . . .

. . . to tell you to stop on by Burgundy Buttons
and check out the giveaway going on!

Click HERE and be dazzled!

:)

great guild meeting . . .

Thursday night, our guild, Heritage Quilters of Huntsville, had the pleasure of hearing guest speaker & teacher, Betty Ekern Suiter. She did a wonderful job sharing her story and telling us about her quilting journey and her quilting processes. She was as entertaining as she was informative.

After ten years of quilting, she became the ninth person EVER certified as Master Quilter by the National Quilting Association. She noted in her talk, that quite a number of years later, she asked if she could submit another quilt for consideration as Master Quilter, because quilting had changed so much over the years. She said she was told that Master Quilter was a lifelong honorary, and she didn't need to re-submit. LOL!

Her website is HERE. You really ought to check her out. *After* you scroll the rest of my post and see the pictures I took of her quilts!

This quilt, Grace Unfolding, was one of my favorites . . .

Look at the detail in the center . . . can you believe this is ALL hand appliqued? Needle-turned, to boot -- SIXTEEN STITCHES PER INCH! I was flabbergasted to learn that! Oh yeah, and hand quilted!!!

Click on this photo and check out the quilting throughout. Her detail is incredible. She told us that though her pattern was complete and before her as she put this particular quilt together, she did NOT choose the colors until she worked on each individual set of blooms.

This quilt, Floral Symphony, was another she had hanging at the meeting last night. This one was based on a carpet, by Asmara (by permission).

Floral Symphony was selected as one of the 100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century in the Ultimate quilt Search. Wow!! It's even more stunning in person. Again, hand appliqued and hand quilted.

This third quilt, Welcome to My Dreams, has won seven best of show awards including best of show at the 2002 American Quilters Society in Paducah, Kentucky.

Again, like all of her quilts, hand appliqued and hand quilted. It took her two and a half years to complete. Sure, I've got quilts that took me two and a half years to complete, too. Because I worked on them 2-3 hours a month! LOL!

Again, the photo doesn't do this one, Rhythmic Hues, justice. The blues were so rich and pretty! Based on what she said, I gather she hand dyes the majority of the fabric that she uses, so she can control the color palette. Very color oriented. She had a kit for sale for a small (10" square) three flower in these same shapes/colors. The fabrics included in it were ones she dyed. That kit is now part of my {cough} collection!
She did have lots and patterns for sale, including the one below. I *love* the look of this one!!! She told me she used ONE fat quarter for all the appliqued leaves! I can't wait to get my hands on some variegated autumn-colored batik and put it to good use in this one! (Oh yeah, this one came home with me, too!)

This one is in the same pattern, just with the grapes instead of the center leaf piece. Check out her hand quilting in these!! Just gorgeous. And I'm still totally amazed at her leaves, and their detail. Needle turned applique!!!! Yeah -- this will definitely take some PRACTICE before I'm ready for this one! Oh, by the way? This one was done for her bathroom.

I just loved the colors in this one. Again, she hand dyed her fabrics and used 16 shades of the same red. Isn't it gorgeous???? It was for her kitchen!!!

And the last two. All of her patterns and kits can be purchased through her store on her website. The tulips I just loved and later on I really regretted not getting that kit (when I looked back through my pictures).

Aren't they sweet?!?

But then I got the e-mail from Melissa, at Honeybee Fabrics, that this was the first block she would be sending out for the Spring Flowers Block of the Quarter . . .

Yay for me!! And a shameless plug for Honeybee Fabrics, too. Melissa announced in that same newsletter that she has an additional 20 kits available. They start shipping in mid May! I'll even help you out . . . click on the picture to be transported to just the right spot to sign up!

In you wanderings this weekend, stop by the Pink Pincushion. She's celebrating her blogiversary with a *very* nice giveaway!!! Just click HERE!

Here's to quilting!

:)

Friday, April 16, 2010

living in the wilderness . . . day 3

Remember all the gravel, dirt, and leaves I was talking about a couple of days ago? Sometimes I feel like it's all gradually making its way from the forest to my RV floor! And, because I'm a barefoot person (I really prefer to walk around with no shoes or socks), and the main portion of our RV is floored in linoleum, I am *VERY* aware when the dirt, gravel and leaves have invaded.

Ick. I cringe a little just thinking about it. I don't mind walking on dirt OUTSIDE. Where it belongs. I just don't like the feel of it INSIDE. Where it wants to be.

It typically doesn't *look* bad. We have that color linoleum that blends very nicely with, well, dirt! But it feels _awful_ and makes me walk funny. So. These two are my biggest co-fighters of dirt crimes . . .

The broom, with his trusty cohort, the dustpan . . .

and . . .

My handy-dandy central vacuum system, with a toe-kick for sweeping dirt and dust into! I *love* this feature!

Now you may wonder why I need a dust pan, when I've got this nifty 'sweep and suck' system at my disposal. Unfortunately, that sweep and suck system only works on the first floor. And the master bathroom, which also has a linoleum floor, is on the second floor. Hence the dust pan.

I've tried to minimize the creeping dirt & leaves. I've got a throw rug at the door and at the base of the steps, we've got a lovely (pink) mat . . .

But the lovely (pink) mat is no match for leaves and dirt. No matter how frequently I sweep it, Mr. Wind blows the offensive material back in the way. And I think my throw rug repels dirt and leaves instead of clinging to it.

Luckily, there's not too much opportunity for dirt to cling to my shoes, as I don't have too far to walk from car to door . . .

And don't laugh, but when it's raining, I can actually pull up under the awning and stay dry. And if the awnings not out when I get home? It has a remote. It stays in my car!

Okay. You can laugh at that. Seeing as how I *do* live in the wilderness.

And finally, my wilderness is going green!

Tonight we have more campers coming in for an overnighter. These are older boys (10th-12th grade), and their leader is planning on putting them to work! Should be fun stuff.

Have a GREAT weekend! Tomorrow I'm quilting and I'll share some photos from our guild meeting last night--wonderful speaker/teacher!

:)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

stash busting for a good cause aka Fabrics For Fall . . .

I don't think the amount of my *stash* is out of control. But the storage of it certainly *is* out of control, as can be seen . . .
At one point, just before we moved into the RV, I had a bit of a system going. You can sort of make it out in this one . . .
See?? On the bottom there? Everything was folded nicely and at one point, I think I even had some color system working. All my charm packs are {were} even nicely stacked together. All-in-all, it was an okay system, especially since I knew this was for RV living and had to be compact

I'm not sure when it grew out of control . . .
But I know I need to regain some semblance of order, so I can easily find things like all the pretty shades of orange fat quarters I impulsively collected this past fall . . .
Chances are pretty good that there are *some* -- like maybe two, possibly three, or perhaps a dozen (?!?!) fat quarters in the bin o'fabrics I don't really need or even LIKE!

Can you imagine such a thing?
I'm pretty sure most of you can!

I have a solution. One that will help bust my stash, take care of some of the clutter, AND do a really nice thing for a really good cause.

My friend over at Seams Sew Simple posted about it earlier this week. She is an educator and she's been working, along with other teachers, coaching teachers on different Indian reservations. Lately she's been working at the Rosebud Indian Reservation and has met a Lakota woman, Marion, who really has a heart for her students and will be working to teach them fabric crafts in the fall. Funding being what it is, fabric will be very hard to come by. DocSly has come up with "Fabrics For Fall," a different kind of giveaway . . . one where you giveaway some fabric to help others.

Can you spare a couple of fat quarters? Who knows what a difference in might make in the life of a young student (or better yet, students)?!?!?

The address to send your fat quarters to is:

Marion Running Horse
PO Box 379
St Francis, South Dakota 57572-0379

To read the original DocSly post (which has more detail), click HERE.

Piece & goodwill!

:)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

roughing it . . .

No. This is not a 'wilderness' post. This is a dieting post. 'Nuff said? :)

This is day five. I'm pretty excited about that. Five days without sugar and starches? Five days without any real chocolate?!? {Sugar-free fudgsicles do NOT count as real chocolate.} I'm actually quite darn PROUD of myself! It has not been too difficult, although there have been some wishful moments . . .

Todd's been gracious enough, for these first two weeks, to do without pasta/rice/potatoes with his dinners, so that I don't have to cook them but not eat them. In a compromise, I've gone ahead and prepared a bread for him. Saturday night, when he was mopping up his plate with a roll, I was a little envious!

On Monday we were going to go out to breakfast to Cracker Barrel, which I know is a carb-conscious friendly restaurant. Their power was out (????) so we went to Blue Plate Diner instead. Ummm, this place is NOT dieting friendly AT ALL!! I had an omelet stuffed with veggies, which was very good, but Todd's breakfast came with a biscuit (and pancakes and hash brown casserole), which I just *love*! I was seriously envious that day.

Okay. Just the fact that I'm envious of bread tells me I'm taking the right steps by eliminating them from my diet temporarily, to get my cravings {addiction} under control.

Today, back to day five, is a little tougher. It hasn't been a difficult day work-wise, but I am *really* battling the cravings! It would be SO very easy for me to put two quarters in the snack machine (which sits around the corner, less than ten feet away) and pull out a Dove Bar or Cheetos (or both). And I'm here. At work. Stuck. I can't run from the MACHINE!

But then I pull up pictures of my precious Sawyer, grin to beat the band, feel a little moisture gather at the corners of my eyes, and get it back under control.

Because he's worth it. And so am I.

:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

living in the wilderness . . . day 2

So. Living in the wilderness means there's not a lot of sidewalks, paved surfaces, concrete driveways, patio pads, etc. There's rocks, dirt, and right now, lots of leftover leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. And some more dirt and rocks. And tree roots.

But when it rains?

MUD and PUDDLES!!!

Now we're not totally left without civilization -- we do have a *portion* of the road that leads up from the entrance to the campsite, paved. Maybe a third of it. County maintenance ends about 100 feet before you get to the entrance gate of Camp Macoba, and once inside the gate, you go another 150 feet or so before you hit the pavement. The paved road takes you up the hill to the pavilion, but it does not go into the campground, nor is our RV on a concrete pad. Everything else is loose gravel or just plain dirt.

In our first five months up here, we've had a LOT of snow and (mostly) rain. Ergo, a LOT of MUD and PUDDLES!

This calls for special equipment. No, really it does!! Mainly because there is a gate at the end of the drive that has to be unlocked, opened, driven through, and then closed and locked, every time one goes in or out of the camp. And I think the biggest puddle along the whole route is right there at that gate. Which means my feet get wet every time it rains (and usually for several days later, until the puddle dries). I think at one point there was a consecutive four week time frame where there was a puddle!

I knew what I needed; I just couldn't find exactly the right thing. I wanted my special equipment to be *perfect*! I wanted my special equipment to be . . .

PINK!

Now I'm prepared for the puddles and mud! Bring 'em on!!! I can't *wait* to get out and open the gate and face the muck! I'll be singing in the rain and dancing in the puddles!

Of course, there's no foreseeable rain in our forecast.

*sigh*

I can wear my pink boots to SWEEP! (More on sweeping later this week.)

:)

photo overload (it's Tuesday!) . . .

So, finally, here's whose company I kept on Friday night . . .

My darling Sawyer!!!

He's getting so big!

And he's very animated.

He's just such a darling. My heart nearly bursts! *grandma sigh*

Todd & I headed over to Hunter Road yesterday, to put some more things in order as we get ready to put the house up for sale. My five favorite plants are still alive and living there. They're my favorite plants because they *are* still alive! They've been on their own since November. They get watered about bi-weekly, and most of them thrive that way. I've got a beautiful Shamrock, an African Violet, some green ivy-like thing, a Mother-in-Law's Tongue, and then something my sister gave me cuttings from when I visited her in Virginia in the fall of 2003. Nearly seven years ago!

Imagine my delighted surprise when we got there yesterday and I realized that my no-name plant looked like this . . .

This is the first time EVER that it's flowered! I didn't even know it was *supposed* to flower! And what does it do? It flowers when I abandon it!

Or it *thinks* I've abandoned it. I haven't. I'm just not sure what to do with my five favorite plants in my limited space RV.

Help.

I have very little time left to figure this out. I don't want to be brought up on charges of plant abandonment!

:)

awesome giveaway . . .

Check out an awesome sponsored giveaway going on over at Julie's jaybird quilts . . .

Fun, fun, FUN!

:)