Sunday, November 30, 2014

weekend wrap-up . . .

I had a beautiful post all dreamed up (key word, *dreamed*) and ready to put to . . . type . . . and had connection issues with my laptop.  Ugh.  Woke up this morning and continued to have *issues* so I gave up and went about my merry Sunday business!  And now, lo and behold, the issues are resolved (how or why I know not) -- and here it is . . .

My stash had a little 'enhancing' this week, compliments of Kate over at Life in Pieces.  She'd had a little giveaway a bit ago and pulled my name for this beautiful set of polka dots!!!!
Really a rainbow array, right??  The peacock notepad she included was a sweet happy--I thought the fan of colorful fabrics behind him was quite appropriate!! That was a generous three yards I added . . . with a very modest output . . .
So that's that.  One more month of reporting and I can turn over a new leaf!  I wish I'd broken down my intake between gifted and purchased.  I feel like I've been very fabric frugal this past year, but you'd never know it looking at my numbers!

We had a GREAT Thanksgiving holiday!! We missed James, Kim and the crew because they made like the Pilgrims . . .
Haha!  No, they didn't take a cruise . . . more like they traveled afar and headed up to Virginia and got to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and my parents!

It was Joc's year to head to her in-laws for Thanksgiving which left Todd and I in a position we'd never been in for this particular holiday . . . alone!  But Joc's mother-in-law was very gracious and invited us to join their family.  We happily went!  I got to be in charge of pies, which was right up my alley . . . 
We had a lovely dinner together and it was nice to be a guest! Although I think it rather threw me for a loop. I realized I didn't take a *single* photo of our gathering.  What was I thinking??!!

Saturday I spent taking down all my fall things, including all my quilted or wool pieces . . .
It was quite a stack!!  I then cleaned and organized and got Christmas put out!! 
This is our first Christmas in the new space, so it was fun to places for things and decorate!

Saturday night, I took turkey soup (because yes, I did still cook a turkey because I also brought the stuffing and I like to cook it in the bird and I also like leftovers, which I shared with Joc and then also made our traditional turkey soup) and rolls and eggnog to Joc's house and we watched the Iron Bowl.
The girls were both ready in their festive Alabama dresses.  Aren't they precious?!  Roll Tide!!

Today is the first Sunday of Advent . . . I love this season of anticipation!  My Advent wreath is all set up and ready.  Today -- and for the week -- the focus is on hope. The hope we have because of Christ.
I plan on sharing more in the coming week. My blogger friend Melissa is also walking through this season of Advent through her blog!

My Slow Sunday Stitching was focused on a little hand embroidery for a sweet little piece . . .
Ellie's dress for the Nutcracker ballet (we've got tickets for the 14th)!  Isn't is darling?  It just needed a little "E" in the white space! And please note -- those were Ellie's words -- she's got an eye for fashion!
I gave Jocelyn and Ellie a couple of choices.  I'll get stitching on that soon!

This afternoon we got to spend some time Christmas tree shopping with the newly returned Panter crew . . . 
Sawyer was so excited to share all of his stories! And even more excited to pick out a tree. We found the *perfect* tree and hauled it back to their house.  Just in time for hot chocolate! 

What's the best way to wrap up Thanksgiving weekend?
The last slice of pumpkin pie and a hot cup of pumpkin spice tea!  Then it's time to put away all things pumpkin and focus on all things CHRISTMAS!!

Linking up to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Blessings!

Thanksgiving Proclamation
November 29, 1623


Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.  
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.  

William Bradford
Ye Governor of Ye Colony

From my home to yours, may your Thanksgiving be filled with laughter, love, family and friends . . . and may your blessings overflow!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

fabric, prizes, books and bling . . .

I had a little action both in and out on my stash report this week . . .
Yeah, a little bit out and then a pretty little selection that offset it . . .
I picked up these beautiful prints from my sweet friend, Kris, over at Lavender Quilts.  Check her blog out on Mondays -- she's got a weekly Moving Sale Monday post going on that, as you can see, includes some very prettiful fabrics! Won't these make gorgeous pieces for POTC blocks??! 

And Kris, being the darling that she is (we met when she was my Secret Santa, several seasons ago), included the sweet little fat quarter on the end (right) and this darling pin . . .
SOOOO me!  LOL!  My husband laughed equally hard.  He knows me too well.  :)

It also occurs to me I've had some fun wins over the past month that I haven't shared.  Shame on me!  First, I won this wonderful set of Jacqueline Steves patterns from Lily Pad Quilting!
Aren't these darling?! I adore the little flowers, especially!

Next, I won a copy of Carrie Turansky's audiobook, The Governess of Highland Hall.
Carrie is a marvelous writer and her books are such fun to read!  If you're a Downton Abbey fan, you'll definitely enjoy these!

I was also the lucky recipient of some $5 coupons to TeaVivre . . .
This was compliments of my friend Melissa, at High Altitude Beauty.

I'm so blessed!  Some of this will make its way around . . . once I've listened to Carrie's book, for example, I'm sure there is someone who'd love to give it go!

We'll be having our Thanksgiving fellowship after church today . . . and right after that, an extended choir practice (which we desperately need).  All that to say that I'm not sure how much slow stitching I'll get in this afternoon.  If I do, it'll be on these pretties . . .
I've got quite a few cut out, but they need stitching on the petals--or *fancifying* as I like to call it! It's probably going to occupy my week, not just my afternoon!

Linking up today with Patchwork Times (twice) and Kathy's Quilts.  Enjoy a peace-filled Sunday!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

a rousing end . . .

Last night was our regular guild meeting and I was really looking forward to it. We did a round robin of easy holiday crafts and I was one of the teachers!!  I was so excited to share the sweet little felt poinsettia pins that I've made for several years now, from lil fish studios
I just needed to make a quick stop in Michael's before heading to the meeting...
And that was my downfall.  I was going in and out so quickly, I didn't even bother to take my phone.  Or my car keys.  Aye yi yi!! Luckily, we have AAA and so I called for service. That was at 6:08 p.m.  The social hour at our meeting starts at 6:30 and the meeting at 7:00.  
The agent at AAA said the service would be there by 7:08.  What can I do but wait?!?!  Luckily, I really didn't have to wait long . . . happy story, the responder arrived at 6:23!  Less than five minutes later, I'm on the road again.  WHEW! Thank you AAA!

There were some fun surprises waiting for me when I got there. 
Isn't it pretty??  It's the tote from the International Quilt Festival in Houston!  The quilt on the cover?  That was made by my friend and fellow guild member, Barbara Black!  How cool, huh?  She blogs over at My Joyful Journey.  She's a wonderful and talented quilter *and* teacher and a dear friend, too!
She also brought back some of the pretty pins from Houston . . . aren't I lucky?!  

I was also lucky enough to purchase from her an acrylic template for the Antique Rose block (like the one I made here).
I turned up my nose at the acrylic template . . . but that was before the POTC blocks and understanding how the templates can really be a powerful tool to enhance your block design!  I may have to give the Antique Rose block another shot.  *grin*

Ya' know, the magic mirror works with the Antique Rose template, too . . . 
Isn't that awesome?! That reminds me, I need to announce a winner!  I left it in the reliable hands of and my winner was:
Yay, Sandi!  I've notified her and I'll have it to her next week. Sandi blogs at Quilt Cabana Patterns -- you should go check her out -- she posted her block from 100 Blocks today -- it's really cute!

I'm off to play in fabric.  With mirrors and templates, of course!


Monday, November 17, 2014

HeLP! a giveaway . . .

Look at me . . . I *finally* finished stitching together my very first Patchwork of the Crosses block . . .
All that's left is to press it and remove my basting stitches. I love this fabric combination and it was such fun to stitch! I'm now thinking quilt, not just a one block exercise! Yeah, I fell hook, line and sinker.

Which means I needed all the appropriate tools!  To that end, I ordered the "Magic Mirror".
It's a simple enough gadget and very easy to use, but it makes a *world* of difference when you're fussy cutting fabrics for kaleidoscope-like effects. Take this brown fabric, for example . . .
The mirror allows me to preview how my center will look, once I've cut all my pieces out and stitched them together! This will make my designing so much easier . . . since this project is now officially on my design 'wall'! I use my clear acrylic template to determine where I want my design on my honeycomb template and butt the mirror up against the 90-degree angle of the template.
Remove the template and you've got a great view of your center!  Pretty nifty, eh?  I was so enchanted with the process, I had to try out a couple of different fabrics.
The pink was fun, but then I had this beautiful gold print with a really ornate design. Do you see how by just moving my template around, I was able to get a totally different look??
Even with a simpler design, like the scroll and leaves on the bottom row, a slight re-positioning of the template gave it a whole new look!

Once I've chosen the "look" then it's a simple matter of cutting out my pieces . . .
And I'm ready to start basting to my templates! Isn't it fun?  Aren't you itching to give it a try??!  Well, always the enabler encourager, I just happen to have an extra brand new mirror that I'd love to give to someone who's got to have one!
You can also use the mirror for a variety of angles . . . 90, 60, and 30, just to name a few!  So, is this one going to be yours?!?  Leave me a comment -- just whatever is on your mind -- and that will afford you one chance.  If you're a follower, leave a second comment and let me know how you follow -- I'll give you a second shot!  And . . . if you link an appropriate post to the HeLP for hexi-aholics linky party over to sarah did it!, leave me a third comment saying so for a third chance! 

Make sure if you're a 'noreply' blogger that you leave me a way to get a hold of you.  I'll leave this open until Friday and then randomly choose a winner! In the meantime, head on over to Patchwork Times to check out design walls all over the blogiverse!

Make your Monday matter!!


**Comments closed - I'll post the giveaway winner later today!**

Sunday, November 16, 2014

silly me . . .

I was so hoping I'd have finished piecing up my NICU top by the end of the week, and thereby have some movement in my stash report.  But it wasn't to be . . .
Stash report remains the same for three weeks running.  I can pretty much guarantee that won't be the case with next weeks report!

I didn't get it pieced, but at our stitch-in today, I did get all my pieces cut!
Fifty 4-1/2" squares and one hundred twenty-five 2-1/2" squares.  Whew!  I also grabbed some shots of what the other gals were working on.  My friend Sarah (my affirmation sister) was working on . . . 
Isn't that gorgeous?  It's Moda's Love Layer Cake pattern.  I love her take on it!

And my friend Kari was working on this gorgeous piece:
Wow, right??!!  And here I was cutting squares.  LOL!!

Speaking of cutting, that's pretty much what I'll be doing this afternoon: prepping for some slow stitching time.  I've got two more POTC blocks to prepare . . .
Aren't those fabulous colors??  I went ahead and purchased two more kits from Jan (who blogs at Sew and Sow Farm) at her Etsy shop, Featherweight Quilt Co.  She's got a great eye for putting these blocks together!

Tomorrow is the 17th, which means it's Linky Party time over at sarah did it! with her HeLP for hexi-aholics! In honor of said day, I will finally get my act together and do a related giveaway -- so be sure to check back!

Linking up today's post to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts.  Y'all have a blessed Sunday!!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

red, white and true . . .

Petty Officer of the Quarter picture, 1989
In 1989, I was serving in the Staff Judge Advocate's office at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. NAB Little Creek is the major operating base for the Amphibious Forces in the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet. It's fondly referred to as the home of the "brown water Navy". :)

For some reason I've *never* been able to figure out, I was asked to be the key note speaker for the 5th Annual Federal Women's Week luncheon that year. Sorting through some old files and photos, I came across my hand written notes for that speech the other day and got a little misty-eyed reading it (as well as a few chuckles)!  In honor of Veteran's Day and the women who serve, I thought I'd share that (very brief) speech.

*   *   *   *   *

Thank you Lt. Stallings. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  My standing before you today is a prime example of that 'can do' attitude.  This is the first time I've spoken publicly in front of such a large number of people.  With that in mind, I want you to know that when I was first asked to speak here today for the 5th Annual Federal Women's Week luncheon, I unhesitatingly said, "Yes!"  I am a firm believer in the 'can do' attitude where it applies to women and especially myself.  Thus I agreed to speak, but with so many different approaches to take, I spent the next two weeks scrambling for something coherent -- and meaningful -- to say.  I didn't struggle because I didn't know what to say, but rather because there is so much that can be said of the progress women have made in the work force over the last several decades. How to chose?

Today women are challenging themselves and consequently finding themselves quite at home in careers that twenty years ago belonged traditionally to men.  Interpretation and enforcement of the law, medicine, upper-level management, politics and the military are just of few of the many careers in which women are applying themselves.  And not only are women forging rewarding career paths, but many of us are raising families and managing to combine two separate, full-time jobs into twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  That's a really long week!  And a very rewarding one, as well.

But it's been through all of the positive things that have been spoken about in this last week that our advancement and contributions have been made possible.  The "can do" and the "sky is the limit" attitudes are what have given women the edge in their advancement in our world today.  With hard work, courage, and determination, women have waded past the skepticism and doubt and are emerging victorious.  Not just in their careers, but within themselves.  I know that we, as women, have always had the potential to put ourselves where we are going today, but it has taken patience and spirit to realize that potential and self-confidence and lots of that 'can do' attitude to make others aware of our full potential as well.  In knowing this, I realized what women are doing with their lives in this new work force era goes far beyond the "equal rights movement" or "equal work for equal pay".  It is a matter of "We the people," and "One nation under God indivisible":  for the betterment of all, versus the gain of just one.

In parting, I would like to share with you a verse I wrote to sum up my feelings on this tremendous subject:

At the end of each tunnel, there shines a light,
That with perseverance proves our futures bright.
Awakening minds; awareness sets in,
The belief in a new kind of future begins.
Spirits so high, driven by pride,
A force too strong to override.
Determination, over the years, strong-willed to succeed, conquering fears.
Hearts are opening to a great change, as thoughts and ideas fly in exchange.
Bound together as one, we're doing it all,
No obstacle too great, no step too small.

*   *   *   *   *
I'm an arms-bearer, front row, third from the left.  Honor Guard was serious business. :)
So there you have it.  I'm so blessed to have been able to serve my country by serving in the U.S. Navy and have some marvelous memories.  Hug a veteran today -- tell them you appreciate their service.  Heck, find one *everyday* and tell 'em they're appreciated!!

Happy Veteran's Day!


Sunday, November 09, 2014

nothing ventured . . .

And nothing gained.  That's two weeks in a row . . . 
No changes to the ol' stash report. Of course, working added a dimension -- I really didn't have the time to do much of anything this week. I can tell I'm out of work practice.  I went to bed early every night! But, to be fair, I also had a book I was devouring . . . Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good . . . the latest Jan Karon book.  Those of you who loved the Mitford series would love this one -- I finished it up today.  Oh -- maybe *that's* why I didn't get so much stitching done this week?!  Haha!!

Needless to say, I'll be working on my POTC block for some slow, relaxing stitching.  It's almost all stitched together.
And I've got two more to start cutting! And speaking of POTC blocks, look for a related giveaway in the next week or so, right here from yours truly!

My mom sent me two darling candles she found during her travels, a pumpkin and a squash.
Aren't they darling?  Toss in a couple of pine cones and it's a perfect little harvest vignette!

Linking up to Patchwork Times and Kathy's Quilts today.  Y'all have a lovely Sunday!