Wednesday, February 27, 2013

more reminiscing . . .

Before I'd headed off to retreat, I spent time with both Sawyer (at the camp) and Ellie (in her home).  Sawyer and James came out late in the afternoon for a spontaneous golf cart ride . . .
It was a *cold* day, but a couple of extra blankets made the ride fun!  That and the berry-red drink Sawyer had before we took off!

For all that Sawyer is "all boy" (as evidenced here by the bigger-than-Sawyer stick he's trying to fish with) 
(no dads were harmed in the making of this picture), he's also truly one of the sweetest, most sensitive little guys.  Last night I watched him and June while their folks went out on a date night.  June had gone to bed and Sawyer and I were watching Toy Story 3 and I was working on some hand quilting.  Sawyer was *very* curious about what I was doing and told me how pretty it was.  He also offered to help and then asked if it was for him.  I told him no, this one wasn't for him -- that I'd made the Dinosaur Quilt for him.  The following conversation ensued:

Sawyer:  My Dinosaur Quilt?
Me:  Yes.
Sawyer:  You made my Dinosaur Quilt for me?
Me:  Yes, just for you!
Sawyer:  Neesey, that was so sweet of you!

LOL!!  He just melts my heart, he's such a dear little darling!

Speaking of which, Ellie is just as adorable.  I had such fun playing blocks and dolls with her, not to mention going through her closet and dressing her and playing with her hair (which is growing so quickly)!
Recognize the bow, per chance?  LOL!  Ellie got tired of it very quickly.  Which is how it ended up here . . .
Someone had to wear a bow, right?  (Looking ridiculous -- but cute and fluffy nonetheless.)
And yes, you'll notice the bow didn't make it back to the head of its rightful owner.  And she doesn't appear too upset about it, either.  Of course not!  And she's totally pleased with herself here because she's made it around the barrier I put up to keep her from going up the step.  Because even with a little broken leg she moves faster than I do!

On to retreat ... thought I'd share a few of my fun moments.  We each got to take home a sweet little pin cushion chick.  
Plus we got to make one, too! I couldn't believe how EASY these were! We used the tutorial over on Riley Blake Designs by Deonn from Quiltscapes. I already have plans to make more. 

We also made these darling little draw strings bags . . .
It was super easy and quick to put together and totally darling!  I see these for granddaughters--they could be matchy-matchy on the outside, with different prints on the inside!  This isn't the greatest photo of it ... sorry about that!  The quilter who shared this project didn't have a sheet of instructions and I searched high and low for a similar bag online, but couldn't find one.  It's so easy, I may try to do a up a little tute for it in the next week or so . . . or if someone knows where there's already something posted, let me know!

I also picked up two tee-shirts to commemorate my stay ... one in lilac and this one in blue:
And of course, a Grand Oak Retreat cookbook!  
The food is always SO good -- and Cindy cooks all her menus from the current cookbook, which is fun because it means I can come home and recreate our meals for Todd. My sweet friend and fellow Stitcher, Jackie, found the Afternoon Tea quilt pattern in one of her magazines, and thought of me! Wasn't that sweet of her??

And I won this darling thread catcher/pin cushion, too . . .
I always wanted one of these!

Here's our Stitchers' Crew - Grand Oak Retreat 2013:
I'm missing three ... two had already left and one (my darling pal, Sarah) got cut out of this pic.  Whoops!  This is the fifth year the group has gone!  My third year -- I hadn't joined the group their first year and I missed one of the years.  But I'm already on the list for next year!

And today I'm off to Ellie's.  (And Jocelyn's).  Have a GREAT Wednesday!


Monday, February 25, 2013

reminisces from retreat . . .

So where does one begin, when they're talking about the quilting retreat they've just come home from?
I guess they start with the fabulous view they had from their "station"!
We lovingly refer to this spot as the "greeter station" because you've got to go by it to get in or out from the parking lot.  That didn't bother me in the least ... how could it when I had such a view?  And in case you're wondering, I *did* have a sewing machine with me ... it was just over to the right a bit!

We did (of course) have an opportunity to do a little shopping.  We went to Hammer's, which had a marvelous selection of fabrics from $3 to $6 dollars a yard.  I did my part to boost the local economy . . .
Not the greatest picture but it really is a lovely selection of fabrics!  Those are a white linen and a tonal white down there at the bottom.  I got yardage of both of those.  

I also did a little enhancement through the 'sharing' basket we have each year.  I picked up a pretty piece of Michael Miller's Heirloom Lace.  
It was the only piece in the basket that sparkled, so I knew it was destined to go home with me!

I also picked up a couple of fat quarters from "winnings" through the weekend ... and when I went back to guild on Thursday night (a topic for another post), Gail Garber has this *beautiful* selection of hand-dyed fabrics, pre-packaged, that I couldn't resist!
Luckily I semi-balanced it out with a little destashing and some finishes, so *whew*.  My stash report for this week isn't too out of shape . . .

Used/donated this week: 6.00 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 10.5 yards
Purchased/added this week: 10.0 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 30.50 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -20.0 yards

Actually, now that I look at it, I'm rather pleased with those numbers!  I gave away 3 yards and used 3 yards for my 'used/donated' total.  I'll be quite happy to link that up with stash report #8 over at Patchwork Times!

I also had time to do a little more work on my CQ block.  The next segment was pattern embroidery using a tissue paper method (which I'd never used before). You trace the pattern you want to stitch onto tissue or tracing paper . . .
Then pin the paper to your fabric and stitch directly onto the fabric through the tissue.  It was interesting.  I hope to have this block finished up this week! Linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching post for this week!

I'm also very pleased that (while I didn't exactly completely catch up) I was able to put a dent into the blocks I'm behind on in Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice blocks!  I completed six and got the pieces all cut and ready to be hand pieced for a seventh . . . 
I'm inspired to continue working on these, this week!  I fell in love with that fabric all over again.  They'll go right up on the D/W!

I also worked on blocks for the President's Quilt that our guild's board does for the reigning president each year.
This quilt is going to be a real batik beauty.  Five of us were working on these blocks and I think we decided we are going to have a party and each make this quilt for ourselves!

And I found time to put together my February doll quilt swap piece . . .
Can't show too much, now, can I?  I finish that up and get it in the mail tomorrow!  So there's my wall for the weekend/week ahead ... I'll link it on up to Judy Laquidara's Design Wall Monday post over at Patchwork Times!

I have tons more to share, but I spread it out through the week!  And then there's tons more I can't share ... you know the old adage:  What happens at Quilt Retreat STAYS at Quilt Retreat!  Hahaha!  But we did do some darling make 'n takes I'll share and we had some antics that are fit to print, too!

I'm off to restore some semblance of order as I unpack!!  And then catch up on my bloggy reading and respond to a ton of comments ... there was internet up there, but it was SOOO SLOW and spotty, it was hard to do a whole lot online. And between retreat and a three-day stay with Ellie, I feel so behind! LOL!

Happy Monday!!!


Friday, February 22, 2013

fur-gone conclusion . . .

 Leia here, filling in while my person's mom is away at retreat.

I don't have a whole lot to say, but I figured pictures of me looking fluffy and beautiful would suffice.

Here I am looking cute and fluffy.

Here I am looking artistically fluffy.

 Here I am looking ridiculous.  But cute and fluffy.

Nap time. You people wear me out.  If you want more cute and cuddly cat pics, then you'll have to head over to Sarah's Feline Friday linky party.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

it's that time again . . .

Whoohoo!!!  I came in last night, emptied my suitcase from Ellie clothes and repacked it with quilting clothes this morning.  And I've loaded up my sewing room into the back of my car!  Grand Oak Retreat, here I come!!

Be back Sunday afternoon ... and again ... WHOOOHOOO!!!


Monday, February 18, 2013

the missing link . . .

Quite literally, that is. 

(Does watching Downton Abbey make anyone else speak with a British accent in their heads?)

I had all sorts of pictures I wanted to share today . . . but in packing up to head to Joc's -- where I'm spending three days and two nights in the sole company of Ellie and Leia (YAY!!!!) -- I left the cord (aka *link*) that connects my camera to my laptop.


I can give a quick stash report . . . 

Used/donated this week: 0.00 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 4.5 yards
Purchased/added this week: 0.25 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 20.50 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -16.0 yards

Not terrible ... not great, though, either!  Hopefully that will change this week at retreat (the used part, I mean)!  Linking this up to Judy Laquidara's Stash Report #7.

I wanted to show *good* pics of my little block.  The center is nearly completed and I've been given permission to move on to the next exercise, which will be fun.   
I so wish I had a good picture of the center.  The metallic threads give the appearance of jewel encrusted flowers -- it's so gorgeous!  And I extended another of the flowers out of the center.  I think I need to do that with one more, for balance.  I'd like to get a whole yard of that print and do nothing by outline it with metallic threads.  LOL!! Linking that up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching!

And I also wanted to show you my design wall.  I don't even have phone pics of that.  I'm taking all my Grandmother's Choice blocks and fabrics on retreat -- my number one priority will be getting those blocks all caught up!  Yay!!  Linking up to Design Wall Monday!

I had other sweet things to show you -- but I'll wait and talk about those when I can show *and* tell. In the meantime ... how about *this* sweet little thing . . .
I love that they have the night vision camera installed in her room!  It saved me a lot of grief through the night.

Leia's more than a little intrigued.  It was nice to sleep with a cat at the foot of the bed again.  And to wake up to a cat nose, checking me out.  And to have a cat follow me into the bathroom . . .

I told you that Todd had gotten the golf cart fixed ... well Sawyer's favorite thing is to come over and go for a ride through the camp.  So Saturday, James brought him over and we hit the trails!
This is Sawyer answering the call of the wild with a wild call of his own!  He was very animated -- we'd just come from the top field where we'd flushed out three deer.  They went *leaping* into the woods, tails high!  It was such fun to watch and he was so excited!

Ah . . . here's the other nice thing about that camera in Ellie's room . . .
I know precisely when it's time to go!

Happy Monday!!!


Friday, February 15, 2013

a look behind, a look ahead . . .

I hope everyone enjoyed a Happy Valentine's Day!!  I sure did ... my sweet husband spoils me so!  Wednesday night he surprised me with dinner and a movie.  We ate at the restaurant Scene which is in the Monaco theater.  I had steak nachos and they were *very* good!  
And very artsy.  LOL!  I couldn't eat them all, that's for sure.  For dessert we shared a brownie, topped with  ice cream *and* pink cotton candy ... that they pour hot chocolate over.  I *wish* I'd gotten a picture of that -- it was wild!  But very tasty, too!  After dinner we saw The Hobbit (again).  It was the last showing in the theaters and it was obvious why ... we were two of five people watching! It's a great movie -- I'm glad it's coming out on DVD next month -- I'm already ready to watch it again!!

Todd also surprised me with a lovely potted plant and balloons!  (And conversation hearts, which we ate, thankyouverymuch.)
What a sweet guy!  He really is such a fabulous and thoughtful (and generous) husband!  For my part, my gifts to Todd were totally food-oriented.  I cooked him up a big ol' ribeye (his favorite) for Valentine's dinner and for breakfast?
Heart pancakes with raspberry syrup!  Yay!

One of the best surprises of the day was when Todd announced he'd fixed Easy (our golf cart).  Whoohoo!! It was time for a ride to inspect the grounds!  Of course, we headed down to the ponds, lickety-split.
The view from the bottom of Silty Bottom was particularly pretty.  I love how the late afternoon sun washes the tops out of the trees, but their reflection in the pond is so vivid and bold!

One of my (many) favorite spots in the camp is the little stream that runs of Silty Bottom.  I adore the sound of a running creek and we paused for several moments just to drink it in.
Isn't that delightful?!  I can't wait for spring/summer -- I'll take Sawyer down there for sure and we'll play and splash!  I'll bring a towel or blanket, of course, and sit on the bank and dip my toes, but I can see Sawyer enjoying this with every bit of his being!

I had some lovely squishies in the mail this week, too.  My darling pal Kris sent me some lovely-smelling 'therapy for the crud' (essential oils) wrapped in the most darling fat quarter!!
That was so very kind of her -- and those essential oils worked well, too!

And sweet Kathy sent me a passel of crazy quilting charms and embellishments!
Aren't these FUN?!!  Look at all the dragonfly makings and the spider charms!!
This sweet little sewing machine caught my eye, too!
And as if that weren't enough, she included these precious lace motifs, too. Wow!!

And speaking of crazy quilting, I'm slowly making progress on my block . . .
I know it's hard to tell, but I've outlined another flower in the center pentagon:
My plan is to outline all the flowers in the center (with the metallic thread, of course) and then to extend one more of the flowers ... the large green one (in the top, right corner of the block).
And I also finished up my fuschia hyacinths.  Now I'm on to the purple ones. Then I'll go back and add a couple of knots in metallic threads in each one. These take *such* a long time to stitch, but it's totally worth it!  Down below, on the single feather chain, I'm going to do a little button floral arrangement . . . 
Sort of like that, I'm thinking.  It's hard to know until I'm ready to do it, know what I mean?

And finally, what kind of Friday would it be, if there weren't some sort of feline reference?  Today's is a doozie . . .
Evidently when Joc got up out of her seat, Leia quickly made herself at home.  In the Book of Job, no less.  Ah yes, Leia is such the long-suffering, stoic cat.  Heh. Linking her up with Sarah's Feline Friday linky party!

That's it for me today.  I'm off to play with Ellie this afternoon.  Then I've got four days to prepare for RETREAT!  Yay!!  Y'all have a *fabulous* Friday and *wonderful* weekend!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

crazy all the time . . .

I cannot tell you how much I'm enjoying the crazy quilting course!!  Monday night I finished up my sample stitch exercise . . . 
I had to incorporate a total of fourteen different stitches.  Whew!  But once that was finished, I was able to go to work on my block.  Oh how fun!
I'm not nearly finished, but I got a good start with it.
One of my favorite elements is where I took the yellow daisy flower from the center and extended it over the seam, into the next patch, using a satin stitch.  I didn't notice the black pencil dot until I saw the picture!!  I've subsequently taken care of that!
And I love this little row of double-feather stitch, with the fly-stitch leaves and French knot buds.  I'm also going to love that little row of French knot hyacinths!

I spent some great time with June and Sawyer last night!  They are so darling ... June is growing like no one's business and so full of giggle and charm!
What fun they are together!  Sawyer is a terrific big brother ... very loving and protective of his "Baby June" and June adores her big brother--if he's talking or nearby, she's only got eyes for him!

While I was there, Kim presented me a final Christmas present!  (Now that's really making Christmas s-t-r-etch!)  
Yay!!  I'm so excited--I've wanted this little wire quilt stand forever!!  I felt bad for Kim, though.  She ordered it on November 29, 2012 -- and it just arrived on February 11.  I was the one who provided her with the link ... and she kept getting the run around about  it being back-ordered and different shipping dates. They weren't very communicative with her--and I felt badly about it.  It was ordered from Nancy's Notions, so I was very surprised that the customer service (not to mention the overall ordering experience) was far less than satisfactory. But I LOVE the stand and am so happy to have a little quilt all ready to go in it! Yay!!

I had a little visitor in the platform feeder yesterday . . . 
He's such a dapper fellow!  But when he's on the feeder, it spins so -- it's hard to get a decent shot of him! 
I've always wondered why he's called a red-bellied woodpecker, when there's not a speck of red on his belly!  I guess red-headed was already taken?

I'll wrap this up with a plug for an upcoming online event I'm helping with . . . 
This online conference will be held tomorrow, Thursday, February 14, from noon to 4 p.m. (central time).  It will feature a terrific selection of very gifted women speakers, all dealing with marriage topics.  What a perfect day for it, too!  Marnie Swedburg is the hostess, and I've followed Marnie for a long time - she's a tremendous women's ministry mentor.  The event is free ... and you can check out the site (and the line up of speakers) on the S.O.S. Training Extravaganza website!  You may not be able to be a part for the whole thing -- but you may see a speaker/topic that particularly interests you and you can check in just for that!  The Facebook and Twitter hostesses (which I'm doing) generate conversation and answer questions on those venues during the expo.  It's pretty cool and definitely worth checking out ... it could be the best gift you give your spouse!!  Plus, if you register and participate, there are some great prizes!

Happy Valentine's Day in advance!!