27 August, 2015

Whipped Cream

What's your most embarrassing moment? I might have just had mine this past Friday evening.  I had organized a small dinner party for a friend who was returning to town for a brief visit after moving away a few years back. Two of her friends in attendance I met for the first time when they walked in the door, there were six of us gathered. We had a lovely time and lingered over dinner, all of us finally adjourning to the kitchen as I sliced up the Chocolate Chess Pie that I had baked for dessert. The refrigerator contained a bowl full of freshly whipped and sweetened cream for dolloping. I opened the door and reached for the bowl... it slipped from my grasp and hit the floor. I doubt that any of you reading this could even begin to imagine the distance or trajectory that whipped cream will travel before depositing itself at its final resting spot(s). It wasn't pretty. I was covered, literally... shoes, legs, skirt hem; the floor was bathed in frothy whiteness as was the wool hooked rug in front of the refrigerator door. I cleaned up the mess as well as I could while urging my guests to carry their now unadorned pie back to the dining room while I attended to the task at hand. Of course they waited for me. I cleaned up as much as I could and hurriedly made the kitchen presentable. Over the weekend the rest of the cleanup occurred: little dots of cream were removed from the pendant lights hanging over the kitchen island, from nearby and not-so-nearby cabinets, from underneath the refrigerator, from inside the refrigerator door, door shelves, door gasket, etc. I'd like to try and forget that this mishap ever happened, especially while attempting to be the perfect hostess... unfortunately those tell-tale sticky specks won't let me, they're mocking me. Looking on the bright side: it could have been worse, it could've been spaghetti sauce!
Life is Good!

26 August, 2015


TMX2* ~ 55" X 65" ~ the front, a 4 " charm tumbler, quilted with "Banana Swirls" pantograph by Urban Elementz.
TMX2 ~ the back, displaying the quilting detail... as well as Hannes, my most favorite quilt model.
Hannes makes every quilt look good.
Life is Good! 

*TMX2 = The More, The Merrier (as in fabric)... T M times 2... get it? TMX2#2 is in the works already.

25 August, 2015

Subtle Shifts

Things are changing... albeit slowly, the shifts are subtle ones. The changes take place one. day. at. a. time. Who notices such things as they occur? But then, all of a sudden, it has happened. The mornings grow just a degree or two cooler when I step outside to walk each day. One by one the darkening evenings happen a moment or two sooner. The green leaves of summer surrender their edges to nature's paintbrush for a makeover. The landscape is transformed. Summer releases her grip and slowly, silently, slips into fall. Babies become first graders.
Time marches on and waits for noone.
Hold on as tight as you can, enjoy each and every day; the shifts are subtle but changes will happen... celebrate them.
Life is Good!

21 August, 2015

We've Got Them Covered!

This is what twenty-five nap blankets looks like. They're waiting, along with some more to be picked up this weekend, to be delivered to the Pre-K classes at a local school on opening day. The small quilting group of which I'm a part, our "Bee", adopted a specific school a few years ago, we supply three classrooms there each year when the school year starts. Our Guild describes the program this way:  The Nap Blanket Program provides these simple covers to  Pre-Kindergarten classrooms in our local school system's schools which meet the criteria as an Equity Plus School. For an elementary school that designation is a school where over 75% of the students receive free or reduced lunches. The children who receive the nap blankets claim their own and keep them to take home forever at the end of the school year. It is hard to describe the happiness on a little one's face when they choose their very own blanket!

These blankets are simply constructed with two one yard lengths of child-friendly fabric, a front and a back. They're sewn right sides together, turned and top-stitched around the edges and with a corner to corner "X" through both layers, there is no batting. I bagged these up yesterday, preparing them for delivery and realized how very much this stack weighs; wow, it is heavy, that's when I realized the obvious... this is fifty yards of fabric! I'm grateful to be a member of such a generous group of quilting friends; we are all blessed with so much, this annual project elicits nothing but pure joy.

Life is Good!

19 August, 2015

Under The Needle

TMX2 is under the needle today, this has been a fun quilt to see through to this stage.  I never expected to do this quilt, it wasn't in my plans. It grew as a result of a challenge and was completed as a
bonus while piecing other tops! It came about almost as a gift, appearing before my eyes and then begging to be quilted, pushing itself to the front of the queue. This one was the perfect canvas to try out a new (to me) pantograph:
~Banana Swirls by Urban Elementz~
 I like the overall effect on the scrappy tumbler shapes.

I watched a really cute movie on Netflix while I was prepping and loading the quilt, if you haven't seen "Leap Year" with Amy Adams I can recommend it. The plot was predictable but the story is a sweet one and the scenery in the Irish countryside and along the Irish coast is completely stunning.

Life is Good!

18 August, 2015

Hand-Cranked Sweetness

I'll bet you thought this post was going to be about homemade ice cream, didn't you? Nope. It's about this Singer model #20, hand crank operated, child's sewing machine. I don't exactly how old this one is, they were manufacured from the 1910 through 1975. I've had mine for quite some time and it's quite old. My husband gave it to me years ago, it was an antique at the time. I set it on a shelf and have displayed it over the years, I honestly never gave a thought to actually using it or even that it might stitch at all! It's only been recently, when Gregory's been visiting (he adores all things mechanical!) that he asked if he could really sew (with thread), as opposed to "air" sewing (turning the crank and running scraps under the presser foot that fall into a heap behind the machine). I got serious about researching the machine and investigating the possibility of actually bringing it back into functional mode. I never had an instruction manual for it, I had the original box that it came in and the clamp that attaches it to a table top, that's it. Luckily, I found a free download for the manual online and printed it out. I ordered some needles specifically for it, it takes a rather rare 24 X 1 needle. Mr. Goodneedle took a look at the mechanism underneath and made one simple adjustment and, just like that, we were off and stitching!
The machine has no bobbin; it makes a chain stitch, and a very nice one at that! In this photo you can see the stitch on the top side. I turned this practice piece upside down to show the chain stitch as it looks on the backside (as indicated by the arrow), it's a little thicker stitch underneath but equally pretty.  I am impressed by the engineering that went into this machine as well as the longevity, with NO maintenance whatsoever over the years that I have had it, for it to pick up and stitch so effortlessly this morning is a terrific testimony to a well built machine. It still could use an adjustable seam guide, I'll have to order one; it was an original attachment that screws down into a threaded hole in the bed and will be helpful when the grandchildren use it to keep the edges straight as they crank the fabric though.
I needed the assistance of additional lighting to thread the needle, I'm sure a child's eyes could handle that task easily without one. But, the thought occurred to me when I pulled out this flashlight, if we have a power outage in the future all is not lost... now I can still sew! 
Life is Good!

17 August, 2015

Equal Time

It's been a busy weekend. Last week I posted about our favorite four year old grandson; today is all about equal time for our favorite four year old granddaughter! Lucy Ann spent the weekend with Nana and Paw Paw. While the highlight was a trip to the American Girl store, there were many fun times and precious moments with her. She chose fabric for Nana to make her a new dress for fall, conducted music classes for dolls and animals, had a playdate and dinner with her cousins, entertained us with endless fashion shows starring her doll, Sarah, and her mother's vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls, colored pictures and created elaborate sticker-sheet artwork. Our home is quiet and still this morning; we miss our spirited, spunky and happy girl. Even Hannes is moping... he enjoyed his little buddy (especially when she was seated at the dinner table!).  Now that she's gone back to the Capital City I'd better get busy on that dress, there's nothing like busy hands to cure the lonelies!
Life is Good!