Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quilts & Homecoming

Somebody best tell Old Man Winter to stay away a little longer! I hear-tell that on Thursday we here in Lancaster, PA will dip down to a high of 49 with a low of 33F!! Excuse me?? No I'd like a little more Autumn please. 

In preparation, I will be digging out the electric blanket as our bedroom isn't attached to our heating ducts (gotta love a 221 year old home!) Then again, it IS becoming the perfect weather to burrow under a quilt!

A little boy's Tool Top; QUILTED Straight-Line Meander Freehand

I don't know what the pattern of this top is, but I thought the colors were so vibrant & I love how it melds together. QUILTED with Paisley Meander Freehand.

Scrappy Paths has the most magnificent amount of fabrics. I was tickled as I kept noticing fabric I, too, own, and so I had to wonder which shop(s) we both are frequenting!
QUILTED Puzzle Piece Meander Freehand.

The back of Scrappy Paths is also scrappy!! 

A self-indulgent picture of my younger daughter looking absolutely beautiful, standing next to her dashing date, ready to head out to their Homecoming Dance!

Until next time... keep warm under a quilt :-)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Autumn Update & Ornies

We're still having a fairly proper fall season here in Lancaster, PA, for which I'm exceedingly thankful for. We had a hot spell for a couple days which produced a new population of fleas (we're constantly combatting this one here along the Susquehanna River) & a scrambling for those comfy shorts again.

I love October the most. There are no big holidays to prep & stress over; colorful combinations fly past windows on autumn air; soft sweatshirts; SWEATPANTS; pumpkin anything; cold toes close to warm fires; and snuggling up with my manly BFF under the covers after a long day (and yes I'm talking about Marshall & not one of the "manly" dogs!!)

OMGosh I'll have to post pics of our HUGE pumpkins! I'm not kidding when I tell you at least one had to be rolled out from the backyard! Next post...

Onto the quilts...

A Yellow & Green Batik Top; QUILTED with a Freehand Leafy Swirl

And this Bear Claw Top; QUILTED with an Oak Leaf Panto

I'm thrilled to have this Halloween ornament set finished. It's difficult to get the full effect, but I sprayed them with Instant Antique by Primitive Gatherings. I love working with felt! Not having to turn edges or use a fusible interface takes out extra steps, so you can just start stitching already!

Does it feel unreal that it's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving plans? Or that I'm READY TO START CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?? Or that some have already started shopping??? 

Bring. It. On.

I'm feeling "ready" this year.

Holidays are rough from a stress perspective to begin with ~ trying to get everything "just so", finding those perfect gifts, and trying to fit in all the fun stuff. 

Our family has struggled much with holidays these four years since losing Montie. Every year I feel we've made small steps toward a more joyful season as we become more accustomed to being without him.  Last year I could listen to some Christmas music. And last year I enjoyed wrapping presents again.  But there's still some of "Montie's" wrapping paper in the bin I'll see but won't use & I haven't been able to unpack his ornaments yet much less hang them. In fact, the first Christmas after Montie passed, we bought an artificial tree (which we'd never had) & Maegan braved the stores with a friend and bought for us several sets of coordinated balls, so that we've not unpacked what we used to use. Do you all attach such meaning & remembrances with ornaments? We have so many that we and/or the kids have had since little. I don't know what little baby step(s) we'll take this year, but I feel READY & not just "bracing for it". 

Until then, I'm going to enjoy some more calm of Autumn in October :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumn Arrives

I'm exceedingly happy Fall seems to be happening this year, with a proper cooling down period & not this hot-to-cold stuff we've done the past couple years. The sweatshirts have been needed for most of the early morning dog walks, and I'm thrilled to be wearing Pink sweats today! I love my bummy clothes!!

In other news, we seem to have found our homeschool rhythm, which has me a bit calmer about how to combine working from home while also effectively homeschooling. It's still quite the juggle with many days leaving me wanting more hours in the day & more energy in this middle-aged body! I've been utilizing my crock pot a bunch... so helpful when we're all starving but left with depleted energy to deal with cooking.

Here's what I've had to work on in the Quilting Realm: 

 Green Rail Top; QUILTED with Branchy Spirals (freehand) 

 Garden Twist Top; QUILTED with Leafy Swirl (freehand)

Patriotic Star Top; QUILTED with Stars & Loops (freehand)

I hope you're all enjoying a Slow Sunday! Reading, writing, sewing, sitting, Mountain Men, and football are on the agenda for today...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

School starts & Quilting Continues!

Yep, our 11th grade homeschool year is under way, but the quilting doesn't wait! I'm happy to announce I've added to my clientele the piecers at Carolyn's Quilt Shop in Tamaqua. If you haven't been to Carolyn's yet, you should make a trip to visit her:  lots of beautiful fabrics, a vat-full of kits to choose from, and samples abound. There's definitely something for everyone!

The Orange/Green Retro top is quilted in Bubble Meander:

And this Brown Chevron top is also quilted in Bubble Meander: 

Aside from quilting for Stitch & Craft & Carolyn's Quilt Shop, I've been working on a few of my own projects. This wall hanging is really a multi-generational project. My maternal Great Grandmother (Gamla Mor Mor) who lived in Finland started it, and from what I understand she probably did the majority of the handiwork. My maternal Grandmother who came to the USA as a young woman worked minimally on it but held onto it & then passed it down to my mom. Eventually my mom hinted that perhaps I could finish it for "some birthday". 

All the flowers are made from yarn wrapped around small, plastic rings, and the stems are stitched by hand with yarn as well. These were all done when I got it. I just finished it by hand-quilting in an echo pattern & binding it. 

Thanks for visiting me here :) I'm way behind in blogging & have much more to show you! 

Till next time...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Update

I've been totally remiss in updating here lately! So many quilts, so little time!! School will starting up soon, and although that means more busy-ness, it also means a more regimented schedule. Maybe THEN I'll visit here more often!

Here's a Double Wedding Ring I did for Stitch & Craft with freehand Custom Quilting.  Although the quilt itself is beautiful, I love the back more to see all that quilting :)

The pastel hand-dyed fabrics in this quilt are BEAUTIFUL. The photos don't do them justice. 
It's quilted with a freehand Heart Meander.

This half-square triangle quilt was quilted with freehand S-Curls.

Here in Pennsylvania autumn seems to be falling on us early. As I walked the dog the other morning, I could hear the season changing in the rustling leaves that had already fallen. I needed a sweatshirt! And there's already talk of when to close the pool. 

As always I see the close of summer in a bi-polar manner. Part of me still feels the panic from my much younger years, thinking of summer vacation ending. But part of me is giddy anticipating cooler days, soft sweats, cozy fires, and snuggling under a warm quilt!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Quilt Show Eye Candy

Anybody else out there make it to Hershey, PA for Quilt Odyssey?? It's a little slice of Heaven for those of us obsessed with fabric, notions, and all things quilting related! 

I stayed within my spending budget so long as you don't count my longarm thread purchase, which you know technically I don't, because four cones of longarm thread aren't "fun", they're for my business. No matter that I LOVE quilting for hire :) 
(did I justify myself well??)

So here's what I bought: 

A couple packs of embellishment-type buttons, the Quilt Odyssey 2013 pin, a clay pendant, and a set of clay earrings. If you haven't checked out the products sold by Quilted in Clay, you should. The artistry is amazing & her work is beautiful!
(not affiliated but LOVE her work!!)

I thought the candle wraps might make nice Christmas gifts since so many of my gang love their candles. And the Santa wall-hanging is to be made out of wool/felt & I'm planning on keeping that for me.

Halloween stitchery patterns, a Snowflake Angel stitchery pattern, and a Snowman table runner using a combination of cotton & wool (though I suppose you could do either-or too)

A cooking fabric panel to be made into "something" for "someone" ~ sorry can't say more than that right now.

A Singer sewing machine fabric panel for me. I'm not sure what I'll do with this yet. I saw the cutest wall hanging done with one of these by someone in our guild that included embellishments such as I showed a couple pics up, so that's a possibility...

An old-time-Santa wool table topper kit, Instant Antique spray, and my technically-not-fun longarm thread purchase.

Now do you want to hear something slightly pathetic? I never made it to the actual quilt show!! I met my BFF at the convention center before the doors opened & we always make a bee-line for the vendors ~and let me just interrupt for a moment about this... there were ladies standing at the doors, lining up to get into the show. The convention hall is HUGE, and there isn't typically the worry that the vendors will run out of items. But dang it, those ladies would see the products FIRST!! lol 

One of the fabulous thing about going to a trade show is that you can wonder aloud if "this" is as cute as you think, or do these colors match, and other equally important questions, and everyone around you will turn to look & voice their opinion. As a generality, quilters are a chatty, friendly bunch. 

Thus I made three new friends, we talked here & there throughout the show as we kept running into one another, ended up exchanging names, emails, found each other on facebook, and then we blabbed so long toward the end, my BFF & I just skipped seeing the quilts. No worries my new-found friends from VA, DC & Saudi Arabia; I place no blame on your terrific conversational skills, but y'all were fun to talk to & my BFF & I typically run through the quilt show part murmuring under our breaths, "WOW, that's incredible, I can't believe he/she did that, I'm NEVER doing that" kind of commentary. Sometimes the skills we observe & realize we don't have are down-right depressing, until I remember I don't really WANT to spend 365 days straight on the same project... the point being, that my new friends really then, in effect, saved me & my BFF mental anguish & a session of self-loathing. So thank you!

I think I'll go play with some fabric for the rest of the afternoon...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July = Summer! (NQR)

So I have mixed feelings about leaving June behind. Part of me is glad, so very glad, to put the l end of the school year behind, as well as those remembrances that for us mark some sadness.

But leaving June behind does make me calculate that 1/3 of summer is gone! Autumn is my very favorite season, but I hold onto this juvenile ambition of lazy summers spent by the pool & doing "fun things". And, uh, none of that was happening in June, thus my angst at marking 2/3 left to HAVE SUMMER FUN. :)

Today I did just that... finally. I slept in & woke to coffee already brewed thanks to the coffeepot timer! I moseyed into my day catching up online, switched gears taking pictures of things to put through the online yard sale site, and then... YES... I donned my bathing suit (a size smaller than last year's I might add!) & headed out to the pool. 

I spent 2 hours (!) playing with Smokey, hopped in the pool, power-washed the cement & furniture, hopped in the pool, vacuumed the bottom of the pool, and then I just swam around & with the dog. Sat on the edge with my feet dangling in, enjoying the warm sun, but just sitting. I can't remember the last time I just sat when it wasn't out of exhaustion or to give my feet a rest. It was amazing. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jumping into June

Just a few of the recents...

An Autumn Cross-stitch Top; QUILTED with Swirly Curl Freehand:

A Princess Top; QUILTED Custom (Freehand & SID)

Purple & Blue Rails Top; QUILTED Bubble Meander Freehand

Gold & Blue Cross-stitch Top; QUILTED with Swirls & Curls Freehand

During non-quilting hours I've been busy wrapping up the end of our homeschool year. The evaluation & portfolio for this year which just ended are done, and the paperwork is compiled to be notarized for the upcoming school year! I'll hand it all in this week & can begin planning the subjects for the upcoming 11th grade year. Hard to believe we're down to two more years of this homeschooling journey!

And though I've spent many hours already out at the pool, I've only ventured partway in once as the water is still too cold. Smokey the lab has gotten many hours of use though!

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

May Madness

BAM!! May was done in a blink of an eye! 

Our homeschool year has come to it's official close, and now there remains the portfolio compilation, having it evaluated, turning it into the school district, and I'll have our next year's Goals & Objectives ready & notarized to be handed in at the same time. No use making two trips!

I can't believe I have an 11th grader again! Oy vey! I do like a couple of this year's upcoming subjects better than last year's. We're going from Geometry & Biology to Consumer Math & Chemistry. Woot! HATE Geometry & Biology. I like Consumer Math & LOVE Chemistry. 

English is the constant subject I love with a passion & is so easily taught to & accomplished by my daughter. She & I love to read & write, so it's hands-down the most enjoyable subject.

While homeschooling in it's active form has winded down, homeschooling planning is about to go full throttle. Each subject takes a good 3-5 days just to plan about the first 6 weeks. Once I get that much done in every subject, I go back & add to the plans & must constantly work on it before & during the school year. 

It's also the time of the year that quilting steps up a notch, while piecers anticipate the holiday rush. I try to plan a week's vacation here & there throughout the year as the schedule allows, but I'm missing the years of having the summers off with the kids! 

So here are the last few quilts in May...

T-shirt Top; QUILTED in a Freehand Meander

This pic is just for my BFF due to it's content :) 
Shout-out to you, Kathryn!

A Scrappy Rectangle Top; QUILTED with Single Reverse Loop Freehand

Pink Floral Cross-Stitch Top; QUILTED with Leafy Swirl Freehand

Any grand vacation plans? None here, but we feel like our backyard pool is like a daily mini vacation, so we feel spoiled in that regard. 

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Goodbye Spring!

How has springtime been treatin' ya? Besides some itchy eyes & sinus headaches, I've enjoyed getting outside a bit more. 

Here in Lancaster, PA, we've said goodbye to spring & have gotten Slammed with Summer this week. Sounds like a bad romance novel! The kids & the lab have enjoyed the early pool weather.

In other news, I'm almost past this stretch of time that nearly sends me over the edge every year. Springtime for me is on par with the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. 

*Three family birthdays in May ~ one of which included my eldest turning 21!! Really, I can't possibly by THAT OLD?!?!?

*Mother's Day ~ while I'd love to tell you I look forward to this day & being pampered, it'd be a lie. I don't. It never feels "right" or completely joyful when my heart aches & it hurts to breath from missing Montie. I did have a terrific day, but maybe that's hard to understand? I still love being a mom. I still found enjoyment when my girls, their boyfriends, my hubby, and I went for a hike, and then they treated me to Sweet Frog & showered me with unexpected gifts. Plastering that smile on my face was hard, though, & took a conscious effort. And it was exhausting & so I was relieved on some level when it was over.

*Wrapping up a homeschool year ~ here in PA we have to have our child's schoolwork evaluated by a professional, then hand in a portfolio proving "appropriate learning" took place, then turn it into the school district. I have this pretty down-pat, but it still takes a great deal of time to attend to all the organization & compiling of materials.

*Planning for the upcoming homeschool year ~ need to have subjects & books picked to go to the CHAP curriculum fair in May and also prepare the affidavit to hand into the school district legally notifying them of my intent to homeschool in the upcoming year. Again, I love perusing curriculum & books, but the time factor can be huge if you don't use the same curriculum year after year (some I do & some we change up).

*This spring brought two added challenges in the midst of the craziness ~ my younger daughter was practicing to take her driver's license test AND she interviewed multiple time & has since been hired for her first job! These are definitely exciting events, but man, so much time involved!! And can I just admit that I HATE practicing parallel parking with a teen!! BLECK. Boring. Rifled & peppered with unhappy outbursts mixed with laughter. It's quite the bi-polar experience.

*And finally the crazed-spring-frenzy wraps up with Montie's birthday. He'd be 15 tomorrow, Monday, June 3rd. How I miss my little man... though I guess he wouldn't be so "little" anymore and more of a lanky teen.

I have managed to get some quilting done in between everything else in "swiss-cheese" fashion. It goes against my nature to do things in this manner but thems-the-breaks!

Red Floral Attic Window top; QUILTED in Bubble Meander freehand:

30's Scrappy Rectangles top; QUILTED with Daisy Meander freehand:

Red Labyrinth Top; QUILTED with Loops & Stars freehand:

Baby Rail Top; QUILTED Bubble Meander freehand:

Just had to show the Minky backing... quilts beautifully & so soft!

Geometric Blue top; QUILTED with Jilly panto:

Brown Batik Labyrinth top; QUILTED with Single Loop Reverse freehand:

Thanks for sticking it out till the end of this lengthy post! Hope you're enjoying a Slow Sunday :)