09 April, 2014

The Price Of Postage... And More!

I bought a card the other day; the envelope had "extra postage required" printed in the upper right corner. Okay, I thought, I will need to stop at the post office on my way home from running errands and have this weighed before I send it on its way. When I did that, the postal clerk felt the envelope for any lumps or bumps and pronounced her verdict: "it can go for just 49 cents!" That's when it hit me, I wasn't even certain how much, exactly, a first class stamp cost anymore! Was her emphasis on the word "just" to imply that it would require only one stamp and no additional postage? I have been affixing Forever stamps on my outgoing mail for so long that I have failed to keep up! Am I alone? While being aware that stamps have been going up in price, the exact amount for one stamp had escaped me somewhere along the line. Yes, that was why she had said "just"... that's the price for one first class stamp. It doesn't seem that long ago, to me, that I was well-acquainted with the price of every, single, stamp! The mailbox was my friend when I was a poor college student and sent love letters to another college student half a country away (yes, that would be Mr. Goodneedle!). I washed dishes in my dormitory cafeteria for spending money back then, most of it went toward books of stamps! I have stacks of these letters tied with a ribbon that remain hidden away in a drawer; this is one of them. I can't decide which is more interesting to me this morning, the price of that stamp or the cancellation that reads: "PRAY FOR PEACE". Can the US Postal Service still promote prayer? I doubt that.  Anyway, you may be wondering when this particular letter was cancelled, it's been awhile: 15, 555 days ago!  This stamp may be obsolete now, but today I am going to PRAY FOR PEACE! Here's a timeless reminder that's as relevant today as it was way back on September 7, 1971; and it's still free to do, that price hasn't changed, not one bit!
Life is Good!

07 April, 2014

Cooking Up Some Fun!

What's cooking? Despite what it looks like, this is NOT a colorful quilter's version of ravioli; no, it's a whole lot more fun than that! After stitching up game boards for classrooms and for gifts, over the years, I decided it was high time to have one to keep here at the house. This Tic-Tac-Toe game is for even the youngest of game players... no X's and O's to draw, just puffed-up little shapes to place on a quilted game board. Originally, I blogged about this when I made up an identical game for Mason, two years ago, you can read that story here.
This simple game board measures twelve inches square (the center portion is nine inches,
sectioned off into three inch squares) and the playing pieces are stuffed with poly-fil.
It's been placed into the toy basket in a designated low kitchen cabinet; where it waits
 to be discovered and will, hopefully, spur on lots of happy competition and hours of family fun.
Life is Good!

06 April, 2014

Twelve, And Counting...

It's that time of year again.  As graduations approach our Quilt Ministry gets busy assembling quilt tops for our high school graduates, fourteen in this graduating class; which means, I have twelve more to go. We've done the same style over the last six years: twelve large, solid color, rectangles pieced together and then recut and sewn back together in a fashion that yields a quilt top measuring 50" X 66", looking like this:

We back each one of the quilts with fleece, in a coordinating color, onto which I embroider our church logo, (see how important it was for me to locate that dongle?!) before they're returned to church for tying and tagging; these will  be presented on Youth Sunday in mid-May. When we know of a student's college of choice, with enough lead time, we make every attempt to match their quilt with that school's colors. The reason for the use of solid colors and this piecing scheme is no accident. Right before we began the graduation quilt project a small truckload of fabric samples was donated to our Quilt Ministry, these samples consisted entirely of heavyweight broadcloth in every color and shade imaginable; they were roughly cut into rectangles approximately 14" X 24" inches. We began using those, trimming them to an even 13" X 23" for consistency, and went from there; our pattern was developed based on what we had available. On this, the sixth year of using up these sample pieces, we are making a dent in that stash but it continues to yield what we need, with leftovers, certainly this has proved to be a "loaves and fishes" donation!  Working on quilt tops of that dimension with only twenty four pieces is the exact opposite of my current WIP*. As I plug away on "Mountain Day" (Twelve pieces in each six inch block) I have discovered this to be the perfect Leader-Ender project as I stitch on other projects, with deadlines, that rank a bit higher on the priority list.
"Mountain Day" (currently measuring 60" X 60", to be 60" X 84" at completion)
Right now, at this stage, there are twelve hundred pieces in the top.

Twelve is the word of the day, which reminds me of a cute story that I heard from a friend: she was buying eggs in the grocery store and had opened the carton to wiggle each one as a way of determining if any were cracked and stuck to the bottom of the carton. She noticed a young boy quietly watching her as she fingered each egg in it's little individual compartment; when she paused and looked up at him in acknowledgement, he said: "there are twelve" she smiled, and he added: "in each box!"
Life is Good!
*WIP- Work In Progress

04 April, 2014

Keep Looking!

This dongle that is attached to my laptop is, quite literally, the key to my Bernina software program for machine embroidery. Through this software program I create every bit of the lettering, monograms, and numerous other combinations of designs that I choose to stitch out for personalizing or embellishing quilts, T-shirts and other objects and gifts; without the "key" I cannot access the program, period. I had stitched out a sweet little Easter T-shirt for Lucy Ann on Monday night and planned to do the same for Lynnleigh on Wednesday, that's when I discovered that my dongle had gone missing. I was frantic, mainly because the trash had already been picked up for the week, only hours earlier! I literally tore the house apart; searching, and continued to come up empty. I knew a replacement would be costly but little did I know how much that would be until my friends, those who work at my local Bernina store, urged me enthusiatically: "keep looking!." I thought and thought, there were only two places that I normally had it: either plugged into the laptop or in the desk drawer, it wasn't there. I retraced my steps from the clean-up that ocurred after a recent sewing session; nothing. I felt sick and worried... the reality of the situation was beginning to set-in. The resolution to this loss was going to be expensive, I would likely have to buy the software all over again. "Keep looking" continued to ring in my ears, I made one more trip up to the top shelf , on my step-stool, to look underneath the stabilizer that I had folded and put away the day before. There it was, sitting on top of a box. I have no idea why I hadn't seen it the first, or second, time I stood atop that same step, in the same spot, but that didn't matter at all anymore; I had found it! Relief doesn't even begin to explain what washed over me, I was consumed with gratitude for the encouragement spoken by my friends: "keep looking"; even when I thought for sure all hope was lost, or more specifically, was in a trash truck on its way to the landfill!
I've learned my lesson.
The dongle has been put on a leash, and tethered to the inside of my desk drawer!
Peace of mind is a comforting thing.
Life is Good!

02 April, 2014

In Celebration...

...of the return of warm sunshine and an optimistic outlook; have a wonderful day.
Life is Good!

31 March, 2014

What's All The Buzz About?

Today is "back pocket" kind of day here; one you'd like to tuck away to retrieve whenever you need a perfect day with a cloudless blue sky, spring bursting forth and gentle sunshine to warm your body and soul. I walked out to the mailbox and could hear a loud drone coming from deep down in the woods, or so I thought; I walked back down the driveway and realized that now the sound was coming from behind me... that's when I looked UP. Right there, buzzing high over my head, were thousands of bees buzzing about the flowers in the Bradford Pear trees that line the edge of our driveway. These trees, while lovely in leaf, have never bloomed well in the past due to being sheltered, and shaded, by taller tree cover from the woods behind them. That all changed last June when we lost a good number of those tall trees to a fast moving and destuctive storm. These Pears remained, untouched, and treated to much more light and sunshine than ever before; hence, their newly acquired blooming status and thousands of buzzing visitors; have a listen here. For all the sadness that I have carried in my heart over losing those big trees I never imagined this surprise that arrived with the change of seasons; God's unexpected gift of glorious flowering trees, and a choir of buzzing bees to announce their presence!
The Forsythia are blooming too, but in a much quieter fashion.
Wishing you a "back pocket" kind of day, wherever you may be.
Life is Good!

27 March, 2014

What Is It?

Can you guess what this is? It was handed to me last evening at church before the beginning of our mid-week Lenten service, a gift from the gentleman who sits in the pew in front of us every week. He and Mr. Goodneedle are both woodturners and share lots of great project information with one another. Go ahead and take a guess before you scroll down. I'll give you a hint: I couldn't carry this onto an airplane.

Isn't this cool? Did you guess a double-barrel seam ripper?
Or, as I like to think of this: a quilter's version of the Swiss Army Knife!
With special thanks to Jim.
Life is Good!