Tuesday, March 26, 2013

tons of tidbits . . .

I have so *much* to share ... but so little to show. Hmmm . . . that's a conundrum, isn't it? I'll try to keep it kind of brief -- but that may be tough -- especially since I totally missed my Monday post!

Things are getting busy. We are seriously considering/praying about an April 28th retirement date, so Todd can apply himself full-time to the ministry. Wow. I mean, WOW! It would mean a huge leap of faith, but we both truly believe this is the direction that the Lord is leading us. 'Nuff said, right? Whew!
We've also signed up for some specialty training for Mission Service Corps (MSC) missionaries. The training is about a week long and will take place in the Baltimore/Washington DC area in the coming months. More on that later ... but it's a course on self-funding. The preparatory work for the course is pretty thick, so that will occupy a good bit of time in the coming months!

We celebrated Sawyer's birthday this past Saturday ... no surprise that the theme was Buzz Lightyear!
Sawyer had a blast and was totally enchanted by the life-size Buzz balloon!

I finally F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D June's pennant quilt . . .
I'm so pleased with it!! My friend Melissa (I Am Beautiful Bee) did the quilting on it and I love it! I delivered it to Baby June yesterday and she was totally thrilled with it! Yay!

Kim exchanged me some fabric for the quilt . . .
Haha! Happy me -- it's not mine! It's for June clothes! So I get to play with it and don't have to add it to my stash report! LOL! Speaking of which, I do have a little to report for last week:

Used/donated this week: 0.0 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 12.0 yards
Purchased/added this week: 1.75 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 38.75 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -26.75 yards

This was from the fabric I picked up at the guild meeting last week. I'd already reported the use of the pennant quilt, so no 'used' yardage this week! I was kind of curious as to how I was doing compared to last year, so I pulled up Stash Report #11 from 2012:

Used/donated this week: 0.0 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 4.75 yards
Purchased/added this week: 0.0 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 31.75 yards
Net used/donated for 2012: -27.25 yards

Yeah. So not a lot has changed, huh? This totally made me laugh!!! I guess old habits really DO die hard! However, I can say that if retirement and full-time ministry is truly ahead, we'll be really living like missionaries in more ways than one -- I'll take that "purchased" right off the added line!

I've accomplished three out of five of my "get 'er done" for this month . . . and one is almost finished. I still need to get that pineapple quilt center finished up. Mostly what I've been working on is the Wedding Quilt . . .
I've put a nice dent in it. It's so funny ... we've had the perfect weather to snuggle under a quilt to do some hand stitching -- it's been cold and grey and snowy. Our high today *may* hit 45.  Average temps are in the 70's.  Who cares that we're a week into spring??!!  I think we're experiencing an April Fool's joke a little early. Hahaha!

I received my DQS in the mail on Saturday, too . . .
Isn't this darling? Check out the hand-stitching:
Aren't they sweet? She did a marvelous job - I'm thrilled with it! I'll get hers off by the end of the month and then I'll be taking a little hiatus from the doll quilt swaps for a bit.

Okay, enough for now, I've got to run! I'm having lunch with a friend and then I'm spending the evening with June and Sawyer. So much to do and not nearly enough hours in the day to accomplish it all, right? Linking up today's post with the Stash Report #11 and Design Wall Monday posts at Patchwork Times and the Slow Sunday Stitching post at Kathy's Quilts.

Ciao, baby!


Friday, March 22, 2013

what i dragged in last night . . .

I never seem to come home from our guild meetings empty-handed.  That was *especially* true last night!  I came home with stuff.  Lots of stuff.  Piles and piles of stuff.  Okay, well maybe that last bit is an exaggeration, but I had a lot.  I had this little piece delivered . . . 
I was so excited that I came home and got the binding all ready to be hand-stitched (which I love, love to do).  YAY!  Can you guess what I'll be doing this afternoon and evening? June will have her quilt very soon!

I got this beautiful thing . . .
Not sure what it is?  Truthfully, I'd have had no clue if I wasn't told beforehand--I'd never seen one before.  Todd said he'd have had NO idea what it was if it he hadn't read the label on the metal tag.
My darling friend Sarah (who was my tablemate at our Stitcher's retreat) had it from her mother.  It's at least twenty years old, but looks brand new.  Neither Sarah nor any of her sisters have a desire to do any smocking, so Sarah decided to sell it and buy something for her youngest sister's soon-to-arrive baby.  Then it would be like getting a gift from her mom.  Isn't that sweet?  It rather makes me tear up.  Sarah also gave me the notebook her mom had saved with all the templates for different smocking patterns!  FUN!!!

First thing I did was post a picture on Instagram.  As you can see, Jocelyn was pretty excited about the whole thing . . . 

Hahaha!!!  Sarah also gave me some fabric that her mom had saved.  
The orange check is darling -- a cute little smocked dress, right?  If nothing else I can use it for practice pieces, too.  And the great thing is, since it's not quilt stash, I'm not counting it there.  That's not cheating, is it?!  LOL!

I also won this tidy little pile last night . . .
I love blues and yellows! And yes, I *will* be counting that in my next stash report! And there were some fun patterns in the book ... but I may be turning that around. Anyone interested?

And ... I snagged this off the "freebie" table (there was a LOT on the freebie table last night):
The little quilt in the top right corner, above the fireplace, caught my eye!  I'll probably offer this one up free to a good home, if anyone's interested in it.  So ... quite the haul from a guild meeting, don't ya' think?!?

On the other hand, I did NOT bring home this box:
Box o' cat! Anyone who knows Leia would understand the irony of her paws showing up in that particular statement. Especially at feeding time. If that's not *paws for thought* ... [insert rim shot here].
Joc and her hubby have put their house up on the market ... in fact, they have their first showing this morning.  WOW!  Anyway, Joc had bought a new trash can (with a lid) and Leia got the box.  Silly cat!  Linking her up with the Feline Friday linky party over at Sarah Did It!

And then, strictly for my viewing pleasure . . .
Little Miss has figured out that she can escape.
And she's quite pleased with herself!

And Little Man has figured out that cucumber ... well, I'll let you see for yourself:
He was pretty pleased with himself, too!

Happy Friday and happy weekend!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

kanzashi flowers . . .

There was a lot of interest in my cute little Kanzashi flowers the other day, so I thought I'd take a post and lay out the specifics.
Mine were made using templates--similar to yo-yo templates--that are manufactured by Clover  There are actually quite a few different templates (see Clover's website for details), but I have these three. I currently have these three. I see additional templates in my future. Variety is the spice of life, after all!
Anyway, the process is incredibly simple.  The size of your template will dictate the size squares you will cut from your fabric.  I'm using the large round petal template, so it calls for 4.75" squares.  I'm actually using scraps I already had, so no cutting involved!
Fold your template in half, making sure the fold of your fabric is up against the fold of the template piece.
Next, cut out your fabric around the template.  No seam allowance is necessary.
The points for stitching are numbered, as is your starting point.  Thread your needle with a nice heavy thread or strand of floss (and I used a strand of about 27") and put a good knot in at the tail end, leaving a nice 2"-3" tail past the knot. Put your threaded needle in at the starting point (#1) and down at two, up at three, and so on . . .
You should finish with your threaded needle coming up through point #8 ... on the FINISH side.  If you haven't, you know you've gotten something mixed up! Note how the thread between points 3 and 4 and points 5 and 6 is OUTSIDE the template. That's why it's oh-so-important to cut before starting to stitch! I learned this the hard way when I was going too fast and not paying attention. (Which is typical for me.)

Once you've put your needle through # 8, open up your template . . . 
Now you're going to carefully draw your thread and gather the fabric . . .
You may have to do a little shaping to keep the top of the petal rounded, but I found I had to do very little.  The placement of the thread does a very good job of producing the exact desired shape!

Now, without doing anything other than pushing your finished petal to the end of the thread, repeat the process.
The same strand of thread is used continuously through all the petals.  The instructions call for six, which is what I used for the first flowers I made.  But I felt like they weren't full enough, so for this flower, I'm making seven petals.
Once you have your desired number of petals made, pull them together tightly -- but be careful not to break your thread!  This is why a heavy duty thread or floss is handy!  Once I had mine pulled together the way I liked it, I ran tacking stitches through the back of the flower.  For the center, I used a shanked button -- but you can use whatever delights you!  Beading would be pretty ... or felt ... or piping!
I attached a snippet of felt onto the back for a leaf and voila!  C'est tres jolie!  It took me less than 25 minutes from start to finish -- including the button and leaf. SUPER easy and cute! The instructions are included in the packaging (and are very thorough and easy to understand), but sometimes seeing how simple something really is on the front end is helpful!

I found the templates in three of the five quilt shops we visited on Saturday, and I imagine that JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, and Michael's (etc.) will have them too. Oddly enough, these fun, free project sheets were in one of the shops that didn't have the templates (they'd sold out, I guess).
Yup.  I see lots of uses for these darling flowers!  Like I said, these project sheets were freebies, but if you can't find them in a shop near you and you'd like a copy, just let me know!

Oh ... what's the cute little polka dot fabric laid out in my sample shots, you ask?
Binding fabric.  For a quilt that's ready to be BOUND!


Monday, March 18, 2013

a successful national quilting day celebration . . .

What a fun weekend!!  Our guild's pancake breakfast fundraiser and the scavenger hunt that followed were both huge successes.  I had a BLAST!  Mostly because I was part of a great team . . .
We were "The Bloomers".  We didn't win (though we were close) but we had a lot of fun and collected all our clues! We drove close to two hundred miles. Yikes! One of our tasks was to grab a picture of the shop with the most thread on display . . . 
I was so tickled that I could take a panographic shot!  It really was a LOT of thread!

We also did lots and *lots* of great shopping.  I tried to purchase a little something from every shop:
I tried and succeeded!  LOL!!  Lots of fun things. Several were freebies. I picked up the specialty thread I needed for an upcoming swap. We also got some nice freebies. The SEW embellished! book caught my eye right away and felt like a needful thing. (Haha!) Notice what's not there??  

Not a single bit of fabric.  Not even a fat quarter!!  LOL!!  Consequently, my stash report has a little movement on the outflow and none on the inflow:

Used/donated this week: 1.5 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 12.0 yards
Purchased/added this week: 0.0 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 37.0 yards
Net used/donated for 2013: -25.0 yards

I was actually pretty impressed that I managed to shop for five hours ... in fabric stores ... and not purchase the first yard. I truly just didn't see anything that "called" me. Lots of pretty stuff, though, trust me! 

I did get these fun Kanzashi flower makers ... there are several different templates available and I got three of them.  I tried my hand at a couple of flowers Saturday night . . .
Are they darling?  And they took no time at all.  I see matchy-matchy dresses and flowers for barrettes or headbands.  That's what I see!

Sunday I enjoyed the lovely, lovely weather ... I took some fun shots of the camp, too . . .
Everything's starting to bloom out ... and even the fishes were out, finally!  And they were hungry, too.  Wish I'd had Sawyer with me.  He'll make a good fish-feeder, I have no doubt!!

And since it was quiet, I had the afternoon/evening to finish up my Crazy Quilting course!  Whoohoo!!!
I'm so happy to have successfully completed the class -- and to have such a pretty set of stitching tools, to boot!  Now I'm itching to create my first solo block, which will definitely be tea-themed.

Nothing really on the design wall per se.  I've got Joc's wedding quilt to work on, still, as well as the pineapple center to put together (for this month's "get 'er done") and I've got this month's doll swap quilt to work on.  I've got the overall design/theme . . . 
I am just trying to decide which way I want to go with the Irish chains!  Any thoughts?  I posted the two pics on facebook and have had some great feedback!  I'm really wishy-washy on this one.  I guess because it's not for me?  

Linking up today's post to Stash Report #11 and Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times and to Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts!

I've got a lot of ministry / Camp MACOBA catch-up to do this week.  So that's on my calendar and will keep me from stitching today and tomorrow, probably.  But last week's time with family was *totally* worth it!  And we had a glorious weekend for our campers -- and our D-Now girls came in and did a FABULOUS job in their service project!  So even though it's raining and grey today, the camp looks *super*!  Have a great week, y'all!


Friday, March 15, 2013

wasn't it just monday?

Gracious ... how time flies when you're having fun!  Mom and dad headed back for Maryland this morning -- we had a great visit and I hope you'll indulge me as I share a little lot!

I'll start out with my 'crafty' things.  I found a new blog (that's in Malaysian, but what's a foreign language between crafty people -- especially when there's google translate?!) called Diari Ann.  She had instructions for a darling ribbon flower that I wanted to try and copy . . .
I didn't read all of the instructions until too late (which is typical of me), but I loved how it turned out in spite of myself!  I see lots of uses for these ... little girl barrettes and head band embellishments, for starters!

I also finished up the "C" stitchery for the little mug rug for my mom . . .
She was tickled with it and it made me happy to make her a little happy!

I also gave both my mom and dad their Christmas presents (don't ask), which included these fun Christmas tree napkins I'd made . . .
I'm going to make a bunch of these for the coming Christmas, I think.  They're easy and look so pretty!

And in this week's mail was a happy, too.  I'd won a Connecting Threads gift certificate from Doniene, over at Now It's Just Quilts . . . 
And finally decided to but some crib batting with it, for June's quilt!  It was actually a nice blessing -- I needed batting for her quilt ... I've got some, but I hated to chop up a full-sized batting panel (which I hope to use for a different quilt) to get the crib-sized, but I really need to finish June's quilt up!  (Sheesh, right?!)
It arrived in the mail yesterday -- speedy service.  Thank you, sweet Doniene!

And of course, the week was a family-filled, action-packed, on-the-go adventure! I took Sawyer out on Tuesday (which was his birthday) to pick up some rain boots. We went to Tractor Supply.  
He was so excited to find boots his size!  According to Kim, it's been particularly difficult to get them off of him.  I think on Tuesday, he actually wore them to bed for his nap!  Now that's a gratifying gift to give! 

He also tried on this cowboy hat (which was WAY oversized):  
He put that hat on his heat and let out a very LOUD, "YEEHAW!"  Of course he's such a charmer that everyone in the store thought it was cute ... including his Neesey!

Wednesday night we had a big fish fry up at the camp.  Unfortunately it was quite cold, but that didn't stop us from having fun!
James had my mom and dad pose "American Gothic" style - 2.0 camp version. They're such good sports!
And really quite happier people than you'd surmise from the first picture!

Time to eat!

I love how Kim was "hands-free" wearing June ... who seemed quite warm and snuggly and content to watch the party from her 'papoose'.  She eventually conked out, right where she was!

I asked everyone to lean in and give me the ol' "Cheese!"
If you look closely, you can see that even Ellie -- down there on the left (middle) leaned her little self in.  She was quite taken with the fish and kept a filet in her little fist for most of the night, nibbling on it at will.
Evidently she kept a little in both cheeks, too.

According to Sawyer, when you're the 'cool breeze', you wear your shades regardless of the time of day.
Haha! (Notice his footwear.)

Did you see the fancy place mats we were using?  Here's a close up:
Aren't they darling?  My mom and dad brought them for me!  Such fun -- perfect for up at the camp!!!  

And finally . . . we spend a lot of time as a group, parked in Joc's home.  
As you can imagine, Leia wanted to be in the midst ... but managed to stay out of harm's reach (for the most part)! Linking her up to the Feline Friday party over at Sarah Did It!

We have two big groups coming into the camp this weekend -- in fact, this weekend pretty much kicks off a run of weekend events up at Camp MACOBA for the next couple of months!  Spring has sprung!

Plus ... tomorrow is National Quilting Day!!!  
How are you going to celebrate?  I plan on eating/serving  pancakes at Applebee's tomorrow morning (an event our guild is hosting) and then heading out for another guild event -- a quilting scavenger hunt!  I *might* even get a little quilting in.  Who knows?!