Wednesday, January 30, 2013

m. i. a. . . .

One would think, for as broad the gap is between my posts, that I'm getting lots and lots done.  Ha.  Between doctor's appointments and dentist appointments and hair appointments and being sick (ongoing sinus issues--literally and figuratively, migraines and some stinkin' virus), I really haven't gotten a whole lot accomplished.  *sigh*  I feel like I've fallen and I can't get up.  LOL!  I need to re-group, get busy, take the bull by the horns, bite the bullet, take the plunge and buckle down.  I.e., get to WORK. I love euphemisms.     

I *did* receive my January swap quilt from Lynn:
Isn't it just the most darling little thing?!?  The Panter clan came over for a visit yesterday evening and Sawyer noted the snowman right away.  He was as charmed by it as I am!  *Thank you, Lynn!*

I finished the top of June's quilt . . .
I'm very pleased with how this turned out.  Kim is too, which makes me even happier!  I need to decide how to quilt it, now.  I'm thinking a loose meander ... all over the white, the pennants and the words.  In a white or invisible thread. Any thoughts?

A group of family (including myself) is participating in an 8-week weight challenge. You get daily points for logging your food, water intake, fruit and veggie intake, contact with another team member, and exercise.  Then at the end of the week, you total up those points and add 10 points per pound you've lost for cumulative points.  
At the end of eight weeks, there are two winners -- the one with the highest number of points and the one with the biggest weight loss. The competitiveness of the challenge makes it interesting -- especially since there are guys participating!  We've just finished week one, so Todd and I just finished week one of another round of South Beach, phase 1.  I celebrated by throwing up.  This has been my January!  On the bright side, my weigh in was a really good one.  Being sick has its advantages.  LOL!

A huge positive coming from the challenge is that I pulled out my walking DVDs and gave 'em a try.  I can do it!!  I have several of the Leslie Sansone DVDs and I was walking the 2 mile walks!
This is the DVD I'm working from right now -- hoping to work up to the three mile walk.  I can't do all the moves; for example, I learned the hard way that my right foot does NOT do side lunges any more, but now that I know that, I can compensate.  I'm just excited to be able to put points in the 'exercise' column! I'd like to eventually order her four mile power walk!  

Yesterday I went to my very first embroiderer's guild meeting. The Huntsville, Alabama chapter of The Embroiderers' Guild of America, Inc. It wasn't actually the meeting, but an instructional meet, where they work on a 'petite project'.  I went with a friend from quilt guild and luckily there was an extra kit prepared, so I got to play.  
This was the finished project.  Isn't it a darling little hedgehog?  The apple is a floss-wrapped bead.  Too cute!
Mine is still in the early stages, as you can see.  The most fascinating part was learning this new stitch, a bullion knot.  It took a couple of tries but I finally got the hang of it.  Fun stuff!  If you're interested in the stitch, Mary Corbet does a nice job of explaining and demonstrating it, on her site, Needle 'n Thread.

I took this picture yesterday, too.
I'd like to take this opportunity to remind mother nature that it's still January. We had our doors and windows open yesterday (into the late night hours) too. Crazy, isn't it? I understand cold weather is on its way.  Ah, the roller coaster ride of weather in North Alabama.  :)

My stash hasn't changed a bit since I last reported ... which was far too long ago. That is, it hadn't changed.  Todd just brought in the mail and look what it contained:
Darling Kate, from Life In Pieces, sent me this fun yardage (five, to be exact) of Buzz Lightyear fabric!!  Isn't it precious?!  She knew I had a raving Buzz Lightyear fan in my family and thought I could put it to good use.  I'll say -- I see several projects from this!  Immediately I though (1) cape, (2) applique pieces for a quilt, and (3) pillow case.  To infinity and beyond!! 

I've been doing a lot of reading.  A LOT of reading. Expect several book reviews coming up in the next week ... especially Declutter Now! by Lindon and Sherry Gareis.  It's been a fabulous read and I can't wait to share with you about it.  I've had several e-conversations with Sherry and she's such a great person!  Yup -- if decluttering is one of those things you 'resolved' (or, if like me, you made goals instead of resolutions) to do in 2013, you definitely want to check out the review (especially since Sherry offered to send a copy of the book to not one, but TWO of my followers)!

That's it for now.  My hair is cut, my teeth are clean and sparkly, my health is getting back on track and so am I.  Whew.  This is hard work, y'all!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

don't laugh . . .

Yep.  Two posts in the same week.  Hard to believe, isn't it?!  LOL!!  Like I said -- feast or famine.  

It's sleeting rather steadily here today and so consequently there's early dismissal in progress for all the school systems in our area.  And so, consequently, our guild meeting for tonight is cancelled.  Pooh.  I was really looking forward to getting out with the quilty gals tonight.  Luckily our Stitcher's Group has a stitch-in on Saturday ... I'll count on making it there!

Sharon, over at Vrooman's Quilts, has a wealth of quilt blogger buttons on her blog.  I was perusing them this morning and found this one:
You'll notice I now have it on my blog, too.  It's a BOM based on the Scripture from Proverbs 25:11 -- Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. 

The idea of Apples of Gold is very familiar and dear to me.  For a number of years, with a group of like-minded women/mentors, I participated in a ladies' Bible study from called Apples of Gold.  
When I saw that Val Laird had created a quilt for the verse, I knew it was a project I needed to take on!

I've also been playing in EQ, working on my January swap quilt.  I wanted it in blues (because that's what I associate with cold and winter and snow and ice -- I know, right?  why not white and grey and silver??!) and here's what I've come up with . . . 
I think in batiks.  Definitely.  I think.  More than likely.

I've also been playing around in EQ with hexagons.  It's not the easiest ... especially if you want an not-so-standard shape for your quilt.  So I'm just playing.
Sometimes EQ helps me put things into perspective.  In other words, it helps me take an idea that's bumping around in my brain and put it into a format that lets me know I do NOT want to waste any more time (and definitely NO fabric) on the project (which would be *both* of the above)!  Better an hour on the computer than wasting fabric!

I did find a site online that allows you to generate hexagon shapes of any size.  You put in your measurements and the size page you're going to print them on, and voila!  All you have to do is print and cut!  I've used it several times now, and print on heavy cardstock, so I can reuse the templates.  Easy peasy!  Incompetech is the site name -- and they have other shapes you can generate, too!

More hexie resources?  How about this one from CD Designs ... it calculates the number of hexies you'll need based on your input of quilt length, width and hexie size!  Smart, eh?  And Melanie, over a Texas Freckles, has some nifty options for quilting your hexagon project.  Or perhaps you're like me and always struggle with the thought of finishing your hexie quilt?  Amy over at Badskirt has some great ideas about that!

Of course, my favorite hexie person is the hexia-a-holic who got me hooked in the first place.  Sarah, of Sarah Did It! fame.  She's always got the most *beautiful* hexie projects going on ... definitely worth checking out.  And if you hop over there, wish her a big ol' happy birthday, too!!!  (And check out the HeLP linky party, too!)

Ummmm . . . now we've got sleet with lightning and *thunder*!  Yikes!  So I'll leave you with this image:
The girl *loves* her chili!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

feast or famine . . .

That's how my blogging consistency (or rather, lack thereof) strikes me right now . . . feast or famine; all or nothing; hot or cold.  Somewhere in there I'm hoping I'll eventually find a good balance to it all!  Or maybe I won't find balance at all and will just continue to run hither and yon . . . and still have my Christmas tree up this time next month. 
Todd suggested that we have a year-round tree.  The colored lights make me so happy!  I'm considering the idea.  

To my defense, the past weekend was super busy ... Todd and I held our ministry's fifth annual board meeting on Friday.  I have a lot of prep and setup work beforehand, and then I take the minutes and run the power point and set out lunch ... so it was a busy, albeit productive, day!  The meeting went well and we had a lot of great input from our board members.  With Todd looking at retirement (the Chief came down to his station to give him his pin for 25 years of service last week) from the fire department and going full time into ministry, there are lots of things to consider and decisions to make.

Saturday was Ellie's big tea party!  Oh what fun it was -- and Jocelyn did a magnificent job with the food and decorations.  A very *sweet* celebration!
She loves her dolly!
So precious!
The expression on her face here is simply *priceless*!!  
My favorite picture of the whole day!
Sawyer (and his buddy, Luke) watching the present-opening from a better vantage point!
Pretty Baby June, all dressed up for her first tea party!
And we had family in town for the festivities ... so that's kept me busy, too. Happily busy having dinner with the group on Sunday and Monday and all that marvelous time with all three grandbabies (and their mommies and daddies, of course)!  Wonderful, busy and exhausting ... but mainly wonderful!  

My darling friend Ronda, from church, brought me this awesome book . . . 
She's not just a fellow quilter, she also blogs at Ronda Quilts, and we're Pinterest buddies as well.  She'd seen my "Who's Got the Button" board and knew my affinity for buttons, so when she saw this book on Paper Back Swap, she thought of me!  Isn't that sweet?  It's filled with incredible buttons and button crafts! Whoohoo!

So I'm a little late on my stash report.  I didn't purchase or add any fabric in the past week, though I did use a little.  Once again, positive baby steps!

Used/donated this week: 0.55 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 0.75 yards
Purchased/added this week: 0.0 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 16.75 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -16.0 yards

I've got June's quilt on the ironing board this week ... and I hope to work up my 6" crazy quilt block before the week is over.  
I've checked one thing off my 'Get 'er Done' list so far -- and working on the second.  So progress is being made!  And I'll go ahead and link up to both the Weekly Stash Report and the Design Wall Monday posts over at Patchwork Times.

Thursday night is our guild meeting night.  It's also the deadline for guild members to submit quilts for consideration in an exhibit our Huntsville Museum of Art is holding from April through August.  They are jurying in 40 quilts to display for five months.  This will be fabulous publicity for the guild and for our bi-annual quilt show, which is in October.  I've submitted seven pieces for consideration -- I hope one of them gets selected!

It's rained here for seven days straight now.  Our temperatures have gone from one extreme to the other (rather like my blogging).  On Saturday it got up to 73 ... now we have lows below freezing.  Aye yi yi ... our weather radio intermittently goes off with flash flood warnings and winter weather advisories.  What's a girl to do?  Quilt, of course!

And finally . . . before I forget (again!!) . . . I have a WINNER from my 1000 post/Happy New Year giveaway!!  Congratulations go to . . . 
Yay, Missy!!  

I feel like there are a gazillion other things I should share ... but for the life of me, I can't think of a single other thing.  Except that I'm going for my first bone density scan tomorrow morning.  Ah the joys of life over fifty! 


Thursday, January 10, 2013

what's in a word . . .

Or in my case, a set of words.  I knew, as soon as I saw the call out for this particular hop, that I wanted to participate.   I love words!  Words are incredibly important to me.  But then I struggled for weeks trying to figure out what word/words I should use.


It finally struck me.  The name of my blog.  Hello!  Count it *all* JOY!!!
For me, this became an exercise not in coming up with a quilty project, but an explanation of why those words are so important to me.  And they're important not just because of those four words ... but because of the thirty-two words that follow, too . . .
Count it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.
 --James 1:2-4
This passage of scripture out of James has been my life verse ... but I selected it long before I understood the full implications of it.  At first I got all hung up on the joy part . . . 
Without paying attention to the "count it all" part.  
That's tough.  And it took me a while to realize that I didn't have to count the hard stuff as joyful stuff -- I didn't have to laugh and be merry in times of sorrow -- it meant that I was to count it a joy when that hard stuff caused me to lean on the Lord.  When it caused me to seek His strength, peace and comfort.  Because that's how He perfects me ... that's how He strengthens my faith.  And that's why I can Count it *all* JOY!!!

So, there you have it!!  Be sure to check out all the 'word' participants today . . . 
Jane's Fabrics (Jane R.)
Jane's Quilting (Jane C.)
Nuts 4 Redwork (Heide W.)
Bits and Pieces (Martha R.)
Life in Every Breath (Jennifer B.)
Quilting Lines (Patricia L.)
Meadowbrook  (Kristen K.)
Count It All Joy!  (Denise P.)**you are here!
Sophie Junction (Sophie W.)

And a big thank you to both Linda, from Buzzing and Bumbling -- our head cheerleader for this hop -- and Mdm Samm.  They've both done a *marvelous* job with this hop and it's been SUCH fun!!


happy birthday . . .

. . . to Eleanor Pearl!

I can hardly believe that Ellie's one . . . where did the year go?
We're celebrating her birthday with a special tea party on Saturday -- I can't wait!  Jocelyn had seen a pattern for a baby doll ... she wanted to make Ellie's first baby doll ... so she bought the pattern and the materials and on Monday she set about making Ellie her dear little dolly . . . 
Isn't she darling?  I helped stitch the face -- we chose a variegated blue/green/brown for the eyes, because Ellie's eye color changes with the hour.  My recent redwork lesson on satin stitches was a great asset -- the eyes and the nose were both stitched that way!  It's a really cute pattern -- I see more of these in our family's future!

This morning I'll be joining with the choir at Flint River Baptist Church to sing tribute to Brother Carl Tate -- he was one of the most wonderful Christian men I've ever met.  He passed away on Monday -- he was ninety-four.
He was a visitor to the camp on multiple occasions (and is pictured here singing at the pavilion for our Jamboree in 2011) - in fact, his wife, Evelyn, was the clerk for the Madison Baptist Association and was commissioned at the camp.  It will be an honor to sing for him -- especially this song -- his song -- I Sing Because.   While he will truly be missed here on earth, I know his voice is a joyful addition to the heavenly choruses!

Speaking of choruses of Hallelujah, Monday night brought lots of happy shouts of joy from this household . . .
Roll Tide!!  It wasn't nearly the game I'd expected it to be, but I can't say I'm disappointed!  

And finally -- please do come back tomorrow ... it'll be my day for the In Your Words hop -- and I'm totally loving my project!!


Sunday, January 06, 2013

the longest post ever . . .

And I'm not even *joking*!  You'll see.  I finally realized that what happens when I go more than a day without posting, all the things I want to share build up bigger and bigger until all of a sudden, it's a post-a-palooza!  [snicker]

It's been a great week.  I didn't completely cut out blog reading, but I did cut back, and I also broke the comments down on my giveaway post and answered them in manageable bites.  That giveaway is still open, by the way ... so feel free to jump over there and get in while the getting's good!

I put into play some of the items on my *list* of goals for 2013.  Back in 2011, I wrote a series of posts on Time Management -- four, actually -- here, here, here, and here.  I decided to put into practice (again) what I'd preached!   To take liberties ... blogger, heal thyself.  To that end,  A Holy Experience had a darling document for planning out your day.  It had all the components on it that were important to me ... domestic stuff, daily chores, have-to-do (or as she notates it, "The Day's Dire"), food/water, etc.  It's very nicely laid out.  You can get you own HERE.
Put that along with my 2013 planner (a very cheap and scaled down version from last year's), and my days are a little more organized and focused, and things are getting done!

I'm also participating in the Siesta 2013 Scripture memorization.  My dear friend Melissa, from The High Altitude Tea Duchess, put out a call to anyone interested in joining her in the challenge.  I've watched it for the past two years (over at the Living Proof Ministries blog) but never participated.  I decided to join Melissa (and from what I've been able to gauge, at least 5,000 others) and memorize some Scripture this year!  Two a month -- nothing huge -- and you choose your own passages.
To that end, I got a cute little spiral book to record my Scriptures.  Sometimes fun little things like this help keep me on track!

Another of my goals (I think I mentioned in my New Year's Day post that the list was quite extensive) was to read through the Bible in chronological order.  And in order to really make it mean something, I wanted to not just read, but to jot down any thoughts, questions or revelations I had about the day's reading.
Read the Bible in One Year has an assortment of reading plans in different translations.  I copied it to a pdf and sent it to my Kindle, so I can easily keep up with where I'm supposed to be each day.

I've also had plenty of time for crafty, quilty things.  Joc and I played with her Silhouette -- it cuts fabric!  
She cut out some letters for me and then she cut out the means to make this darling little onesie for Ellie.
This will be her 'smash cake' outfit!  Isn't it darling?!?

She also used her fancy machine to make the paper flowers for this wreath . . .
When it's finished, there will be a little pendant banner that reads, "Time for Tea" in the middle.  She'll hang this on her front door on the day of Ellie's party. Sweet, non??!  Such a crafty girl!

Joc also let me borrow her mod podge.
I had an ugly, plain old clipboard to keep my daily list and I wanted something pretty . . . 
A (really, really, REALLY) pretty piece of fabric and some mod podge later, voila!

Of course, there's been time for grandbabies, too . . .
Oh how I adore my sweet little grandbabies!  Yes, that's my son piled up in there between Sawyer and June.  What a crowd!

And then there's *always* time for fabric, right?  I've made a very bold statement on this, the first stash report of the year, that's for sure.  One of our LQS's had a major sale on New Year's Day.  Who could resist?
This was all BOGO fabric.  So two yards for the price of one ... ten yards, right off the bat.
This was all heavily discounted fabric.  One yard each, coming up!
And I couldn't pass up this darling Christmas panel and coordinating yard from Timeless Treasures!  Two more yards.
And then, for good measure, a handful of purple fat quarters and some new tools!

Used/donated this week: 0.25 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 0.25 yards
Purchased/added this week: 16.75 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 16.75 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -16.5 yards

Oh well.  :)

I really enjoyed the NewFO Challenge in 2012, held by Barbara over at Cat Patches and I'm so glad she's decided to continue the challenge in 2013! December wasn't the busiest of months, but I did have two NewFOs ... first there was my doll swap quilt, the Christmas Shoo Fly . . .
And then there was Ellie's stocking . . .
I shared that stocking in Patricia's Christmas Stocking Hang Out linky party, over at Quilting Lines, and was rewarded with this darling little Daddy Longstockings pattern for participating:
Aren't these cute?  I especially like the one with holly traveling down the front!

And I've had time to start a few new things, too.  One is an all stitching project and the second is a combination of applique and stitching . . . 
And I'm only showing you pieces because I hope to have them *both* finished for the In Your Words blog hop, which starts MONDAY!  As in TOMORROW!
My day is Friday, January 11, so these two pieces are both my Slow Sunday Stitching and my design wall, too!  

Speaking of design walls (and hence Patchwork Times), I was a complete *bust* at the UFO challenge.  But this year, instead of tackling an entire project each month, Judy's tossing out a monthly challenge called "Get it Done," or in good ol' Alabamian terms, Get 'er done.  The idea is to set a goal of four quilting-related things you want to accomplish for each month.  That's so much more manageable for me!  

For January, my Get 'er Done list is:  (1) finish my two "words" projects, (2) complete a 6" crazy quilt block (for the CQJP Challenge), (3) my January doll quilt swap, and (4) get June's quilt top finished.  Whew! This is *so* do-able!

I think I see that letting an entire five days pass between posts isn't the best of ideas.  LOL!  I end up being wordy-wordsmith and taking three hours to write a post and get in everything I want to share, in!  I won't let it go quite so long next time.  In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday (and Monday and Tuesday) and your stitching, whatever it may entail!