21 April, 2015

Blog Giveaway Winners

Thanks to one and all who entered last week's Contain It! giveaway. I used a random number generator to choose the winners and they are:

#20 - 45th Parallel Quilter  has won a copy of Linda Chaney and Laura Chaney Gerth's book.
"FRANTICALLY waving my hand to be picked!!! Seriously, this is the coolest thing since sliced bread ... can't wait to see how it is all done and comes together!! Linda"
#8 - Kathryn, the coaster set and custom box are coming to you.
"Both the book and your coasters would be a great addition to my home."

Congratulations to Linda and Kathryn!

This has been great fun, I am grateful to Linda and Laura for the opportunity to participate in their first anniversary celebration as well as becoming a stop on their blog hop... I've met SEW many wonderfully talented new friends along the way! You can order Linda and Laura's book here if you didn't win a copy... you'll never know what creativity this addition to your sewing space will spark until you hold the book in your hands. I doubt that I will ever look at English paper piecing the same way again.

Life is Good!

20 April, 2015

Going Back... For The Future

This is me, I'm almost four years old in this picture. Since returning from New Hampshire I've begun organizing and documenting some of my parent's photos for them. I've got experience now, after doing my own a few years ago, it was a HUGE undertaking; I loved every minute of it! A task like this can be fun as well as time consuming... especially when each "gem" that surfaces, like this one, launches me on yet another trip down Memory Lane. That road, for me, is fraught with pitfalls; leading to many side streets and detours. I've had to become somewhat of an investigator when it comes to adding a date to these snapshots. This one was obviously taken in the summer, there are supporting photos taken in the same place at the same time. My mother is in a few of those and, given the fact that she's not expecting at the time, I can assign 1957 to this one with confident certainty; my sister was born in November of 1958. And so it goes... envelope after envelope, box after box.  I've set up two tables in the family room to sort through the piles. A lot of these pictures I've never seen before.
This one makes me laugh. I was six years old, my sister had just turned one. My mother was trying to capture a snapshot of the two if us for that year's Christmas card. I was instructed to sit still while Mom attempted to capture and postion the moving target dressed in pink organdy. My "job" was to hand my sister the little knick-knack in my hand as soon as her bottom hit the couch, all in an attempt to distract her long enough to snap off a few shots. I can still remember this, don't I look thrilled?
This was my third Christmas. Remember that earlier post about loving all things ironing related? I can now say with documented proof that I got a very early start. I would give anything to have this child's wooden ironing board today. I don't know what ever happened to that. I had a little toy iron too; and can proudly declare that my doll's clothes, blankets, etc. were always impeccably pressed!
There is one category of photos I'll need help documenting; cars.  This picture was taken at my grandparents' home, I am assuming this was their car. My Dad will know the year, model and make. I'm marking these with post-its for now, there are other car and truck photos that will await further identification, this is, by far, my weak area. 

I have just finished reading Nearing Home by Rev. Billy Graham. It's an excellent read for people of any age, it talks about the stages of life; I found it to be a book full of wisdom and hope. One theme that resonated in these pages is how things that we took for granted in our youth begin to take on new importance as we grow older. This is certainly true for me when it comes to photographs... all of a sudden I realized that if I didn't document the ones in my possession, who would know these people and places after I was gone, or could no longer remember; it was a matter of stewardship. In response to a world now drowning in the information flood, powered by devices equipped with more and more memory, the Rev. Graham writes: "Meanwhile the older generation is hanging on for dear life to the memories we have accumulated during our lifetimes, fearful we might forget the anchors that stabilized, the lighthouse that directed, the Word of God that calmed the treacherous waters." 

And so, I'm plugging on. Going back in time through these precious photographs, Sharpie in hand, adding names, places and dates with the lowest form of technology; saving it all... for the future.

Life is Good!

15 April, 2015

MQX - Observations From A Newbie

I was gone last week, my husband and I drove up to New Hampshire for a post-Easter visit with my parents; we literally stepped back in time, weather-wise! As we went farther north the temperature got cooler and the snowbanks began to appear along the sides of the road; dirty, black, compacted snowbanks that have been there for awhile. New England was still within winter's tight grip. Thursday morning I was up bright and early for a drive to Manchester and two classes at the MQX (Machine Quilters Expo) Quilt Festival.

My brother-in-law volunteered to drive me down; I was more than happy to take him up on his offer as this was the view through the windshield, four inches of snow had fallen overnight and it was still snowing as we traveled!

My first class began at 8 AM; I was there in plenty time to check in and receive my name badge and "swag bag"... nice! I was informed that as a "newbie" I should wear a pin designating me as such, it was incredible how many people noticed that and warmly welcomed me, they were more than generous with all sorts of valuable information! The venue was smaller than I was accustomed to at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival; there was general atmosphere of congeniality and camraderie, everyone that I met was friendly and more than happy to be there. It reminded me a lot of the Applachian Quilting Parties that I used to attend back in the 1990's in Boone, NC.
The morning class that I took was a hands-on longarm class taught by the uber-talented Judi Madsen. We learned Judi's method for creating fabulous background fill stitches and spent lots of time practicing each one. Judi is a sweetheart; she was gracious about sharing her expertise as well as encouraging and enthusiastic with each student, it was an all-around amazing learning opportunity.
We all left the class happy quilters!
All I can say about this picture is that Judi makes it seem so easy I can do it with my eyes closed! 
This is was my class take-away souvenir, I am eager to put some of these techniques to work!
I can't say enough good things about Judi; if you ever have the chance to study with her, go for it!
After class there was only time for a quick bite of lunch and a run-through of the quilt show and vendors before my afternoon lecture/demo class began. As I expected, the quiting displays on the show-quilts were completely awe-inspiring! I lingered over the "Sew Kind Of Wonderful" row, incredible examples of gorgeous quilts made using the Quick Curve Ruler. I bought one a few months ago and it hasn't been removed yet from the package; okay... now I know, it's time!

Aren't those all drool-worthy? Oh, yes they are! 
I had to skeedaddle to class to get a seat, the room was already packed. My afternoon class choice was... who else... Judi Madsen, again! There were lots of other instructors, just not for me, I chose to have an all Judi day! The afternoon lecture/demo was on ruler work; Judi made it look so effortless!

This quilt of Judi's was on display and representative of what we learned. I can see, now, how using a straight ruler and combining that with the background fills that we learned in the morning can provide some absolutely stunning results. I need to devote myself now to some serious practice time. 
After class I had a little bit of time to run through the vendor's mall and pick up a few items while looking at the remaining quilts on display. I took a photo of this "Be Attitudes" quilt to remind myself to finish the one that I started quite a few years ago! I love the bright colors used in this one. 
The quilting on this wallhanging elevates an already beautiful quilt up to an entirely different level.

And last, but certainly not least... this is the most beautiful Swoon quilt that I've ever laid eyes on. It is made entirely of silk! The quilting is phenomenal and the colors are vibrant against the soft gray background. I'm serious when I tell you that this quilt literally shone from across the display area!

All in all it was a wonderful perfect day; Mr. Goodneedle and my parents picked me up late in the afternoon, we stopped for a delicious dinner on the way back home, meeting my sister and brother-in-law at the restaurant. When I think back on this experience, and I will, nothing but good and happy memories remain; it just doesn't get any better than that... even with the snow.
Life is Good! 

14 April, 2015

Blog Hop And A (Double) Giveaway

As previously advertised; today I am posting for Prairie Sewn Studios as part of a blog hop on the first anniversary of the publication of their book, Contain It!. This is your chance to receive a copy of the book directly from the authors, Linda Chaney and her daughter, Laura Gerth by simply leaving a comment here. Their book expertly leads the reader beyond typical English paper piecing by building off of that technique and taking it to a whole new dimension... literally! By following the logical, well illustrated steps, as outlined, you'll be able to construct structural containers in no time at all. I used their process and quickly went from a one dimensional form forward to create a customized box; just perfect for gift-giving!

The first thing I made from the book was a coaster, it was easy to make and it looked great!
More coasters followed the first, until I had a set of six... all from one charm pack; cute! 

Making a set was a great confidence builder.

I measured the stack of coasters and decided to move on to a 3-D box, made to my own specifications, all the while following the illustrations and how-to directions in the book.

To see what other bloggers have created out of Linda and Laura's book, be sure to follow this blog hop using the schedule below. You'll not only be inspired by all the cute projects but you'll also increase your chances of winning this great book! Just think, you'll be creating your own custom gifts for every occasion in no time! To be eligible for the book giveaway be sure that you're able to be contacted via e-mail and don't have your settings set as "no reply"; if so, be sure and include your e-mail address with your comment. You must also have a US snail mail address. I'll definitely be making more projects from this book, I love the scalloped-top vessels and other functional boxes. Believe me, this is a book you'll be happy to add to your library!

April 13 Daryl of Patchouli Moon Studio 

April 14 Mrs. Goodneedle from The Strawberry Patch

April 15 Christa of Christa Quilts 

April 16 Andrea of Knitty Bitties

April 17 Terri of Hexy Lady

April 18 Ren of The Inspired Wren

I'll be drawing a random number from all the comments received on Tuesday, 21 April to win the book. I will also give away this set of coasters in their own cute, custom-made container to another commenter; there you go, two chances to win... a definite WIN-WIN! But, you really can't lose. If you don't win a book this week you can buy your own copy using the link above, you'll be a winner in the creativity department soon after it arrives in your mailbox. 
Good luck~
Life is Good!

11 April, 2015

Pressing Matters

When I was a little girl I stayed at  my grandmother's house while my parents worked. I remembered my Nannie's "ironing day"; there was a ritual about the whole event.  She would set up the ironing board in the kitchen and would sprinkle all of the the shirts and articles of clothing to be ironed, with water from a re-purposed soda bottle; it was fitted with a perforated top held into the bottle by a corkstopper. The sprinkled clothes were then methodically rolled and placed, one at a time, into a large zippered plastic bag.  I would sit on a stool in the kitchen and watch this weekly occurence as the zippered bag grew smaller and the freshly pressed row of shirts hanging on a hook over the kitchen door grew and grew. To me it was all magic, I loved the order that was created. I've always had an affection for ironing. I love irons, ironing boards and all of the related paraphanalia. Lately, however, I've let the inventory in my own ironing basket grow and grow until it held a mountain of ironing that was threatening to avalanche. Why? I can't tell you. I took the bull by the horns the other day and worked my way through it all... piece by piece. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing. This morning I was greeted by an unfamiliar sight in the laundry room when I entered, an empty ironing basket! All of a sudden I felt connected to those days, long ago, when my grandmother would tirelessly work her way to the bottom of that plastic bag full of damp, sprinkled, rolled-up clothes; I can only imagine how good she must have felt to have her work done... at least for an all too brief bit of time!
Life is Good! 

09 April, 2015

Upcoming Blog Hop!

It's coming... next week!
A review of Contain It and a super-duper project how-to, along with a giveaway, are on tap.
I'll be posting on Tuesday, the 14th.
Come on back, don't miss it... you'll definitely want to join in all the fun.
Life  is Good!

07 April, 2015

For The Birds

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter. Our weekend began on Saturday morning with an eventful sighting... this spectacular Pileated Woodpecker, in the woods just behind our house! I've heard him for a while, but I had never seen one; my "life list" grows longer by one. He hung around for a while, enough time for me to fire off a few shots; albeit through the window, but they're respectable nonetheless. Just when I was beginning to think that... just maybe... there was a construction worker with a jack hammer working out in our woods, "Woody" came into view!

We've owned this Finch feeder for awhile. We have plenty of Goldfinch at the feeders; but, for some reason, they haven't been frequenting the specialized thistle feeder designated just for them. Up until now they have seemed to prefer sharing the sunflower seed feeder with the Cardinals. For the life of me I couldn't figure out a way to lure them to the thistle feeder. Mr. Goodeedle had a great idea, a stroke of genius really, he painted the "roof" John Deere yellow and hung it back in its original position... that's all it took! Now it's standing room only for the Goldfinch, they queue up on the post and in nearby tree branches; suddenly, the yellow roof feeder is the most popular bird restaurant in town, even with only one, solitary item on the menu.
Life is Good!