22 July, 2014

Birds, Butterflies and Flowers... Oh, My!

What a wonderful, whirlwind weekend  I have to report on today. Mr. Goodneedle, Hannes and I left our home before dawn on Friday morning and drove north, to New Hampshire, before the day was done!  Yes, we put another 2000 miles on the car... but you know I like to make the miles count*. My parents,  sister and brother-in-law live in New Hampshire; we were able to squeeze in a quick visit with them as well as a quilt class for Mom and me on Saturday! She and I drove to Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH; about an hour away from my parent's home, to spend the day with Lynne Tyler and learn her free-piecing method for birds, butterflies, asterisk flowers and hearts. I have followed Lynne through her Patchery Menagerie blog for years and always wanted an opportunity to learn how she created some of her masterpieces... she is just as much fun as I had imagined. We had a blast, I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I was really there!  The class sample is on the right, above. I can't say enough good things about the class experience at Quilted Threads, this is one shop that bends over backwards to accommodate their customers! The classroom is on the second floor and my Mom has some mobility issues... no problem whatsoever, they have an electric chair lift! Have you ever been in a quilt class where poor lighting, low chairs, not enough electrical outlets or small tables were a hindrance to your learning experience? You won't have to worry about that at QT. The lighting is superior, the chairs (for every student) are padded, swiveling, office chairs and there are power strips at every large table! I was in heaven with so much space in which to spread out. Students also had access to a kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator and a spotless bathroom too. This is one top-notch shop!
Lynne (standing) and a classmate hard at work!  Lynne did a wonderful job leading us through a technique that really doesn't have a lot of rules... she helped us by guiding our vision and expanding our horizons; not an easy job at all, but she was up to the task! 
Lynne treated us to a inspiring quilt show of her works while we sewed and created.
This is my Mom, busy at work on a wonky, free-pieced heart.

Mom and me with our twin birds, we got a LOT done in class; we each came home with four creations from the class, plus some "wing" fabric to make more birds... as well as happy memories of a great day spent together! We've already asked Lynne what she'll teach us next time; this may just become an annual event for us!

Sunday was spent making up for lost time. A year ago while visiting my parents we went to my favorite little lakeside seafood restaurant specifically for a fried clam roll. Unfortunately we picked the wrong day to do that, his fryolater was out of commission. This year, thankfully, was not a repeat of that calamity; my lunch was well worth the two+ year wait! 

We arrived home very late last night. When I walked back to the bedroom this morning to unpack the laundry this is what I found! Hannes likes his road trips as much as we do... in fact this is his way of saying if we're going on another one he's ready and eager to go!

Life is Good!

* You'll see what I did while riding, and read, in a future post.

17 July, 2014

This and That Thursday

I'm picking up where I left off yesterday on the subject of basting down the binding and including the quilt label as another step in the finishing process. My quilts aren't really done until they're labeled! I design my labels on the computer and print them directly onto Printed Treasures fabric sheets that I run through my printer. I heat-set the label with an iron and cut it to fit before I bind the upper and left sides of the label (to match the quilt's binding) before tucking the label under the existing binding on the quilt, in the lower right corner; finally, I baste that down into postion so that the entire process of whipping down the binding, and the label, can be done at the same time. This "framed up" label is a neat last step; be sure and include the quilt's name, your name, where you live and the date; I use the date when I finish the project!
Speaking of cookies... the grandchildren visited over the weekend and I baked M&M cookies; digging out a recipe that I hadn't used for years.  The little ones loved them, naturally, and so did Mr. Goodneedle! He got his own batch after the weekend was over, he didn't have to share any of these! When was the last time you baked up a batch of FUN?
The Corn Hole boards have been completed for Mason's upcoming birthday. Once again, something beautifully crafted from the workshop; Mr. Goodneedle earned those cookies!
Do you have a button box? I have a button tin (foreground) it is ten inches in diameter and four inches deep... it holds all of these buttons, barely! It is a great resource when I need a button, as I did for the back of my khaki pants the other day. I couldn't find one that matched the one on the other side, so I needed to find a pair that would work. Any search through the button box takes time... there are so many treasures contained and I have a tendancy to become distracted by the contents. Originally I inherited my grandmother's button basket, her mother-of-pearl and antique shell buttons are a part of this collection; when I outgrew that basket all the buttons came to live together in this one place... novelty buttons, pewter buttons, ceramic buttons, hand painted buttons and so on. It's never too late to start a collection of your own if you don't have one; you'll find countless, handy uses for your buttons, but don't say you haven't been warned about how much time you'll spend poring over them.

I loaded Swiss Baskets on Snowbird and started quilting, I am enjoying this one already!
Life is Good!


16 July, 2014

Projects To Go...

"Got Cookies?"  92" X 75" and the "kit".
I posted a while ago about having projects to work on while traveling and doing handwork in the car: Making The Miles Count. I received an e-mail requesting some direction on the subject as far as readying a project to this stage for finishing on-the-go.
Diana wrote: "You have mentioned more than once that you do handwork in your car...I would love for you to tell me how.  I mean how do you organize the things we need?  Maybe even do it on your blog...hopefully I am not the only one who is confused."
The hand basting step, not one to be overlooked!

For me, I plan ahead by putting together a small, project specific, sewing "kit" that carries the essentials for finishing handwork on the go. The contents of the kit will vary depending on what I'm working on; maybe it's hand  appliqué or perhaps it's hand piecing. For today's example I have a quilt top all bound with binding that's been hand-basted into position; that extra step enables me to whip down the binding while elimainating pins!
I use the same procedure for finishing whether I'm in the car or sitting in a chair on the patio. I know I'll need matching thread, needles, a small pair of scissors for snipping thread ends and a double sided tape roll too. I use a small section of tape inside the cover of my kit box to hold those thread ends until I can pull it loose and dispose of it in a trash can; that keeps the work area, wherever it may be, neat and tidy. It's pretty basic, it just requires a little pre-planning and preparation work ahead of time to make any project travel-ready!
Once done, you're on your way... project and all!
Life is Good!


15 July, 2014

Life With A Carpenter

Since my husband retired he has been busy honing his woodworking skills; our home has become the lucky beneficiary of his projects.  Not too long ago he decided the time was right to replace the moulding on the door opening between our dining room and foyer.  His idea was to create custom raised panel sections to match the panels below the chair rail in both rooms; I'd say he succeeded, it looked fine before but it is simply beautiful now! There are more projects such as this one on the horizon; next: a medallion on the dining room ceiling around the chandelier. I am so proud of his mad carpentry skills!
 He is as busy now as he's ever been; maybe even more so.

Life is Good!

14 July, 2014

Where Are The Hummers?

If you haven't seen many Hummingbirds this summer I might know why;
they're all at my house!  I have gone from filling two of these feeders 
once a week... to every three days (the last couple of weeks)... to every day!
All that humming makes a little bird hungry!
Life is Good!

10 July, 2014

This and That Thursday

There's been but a lot going on lately; but it's not a whole lot of any one thing.  I've been chipping away at the Head For The Border piece, working on machine appliqué of the top and bottom borders. We will have the final reveal/reunion of our group at the end of August and if all goes according to plan I hope to have mine done and quilted by then. We all know what happens to even the best laid plans though. Wish me luck; we'll see, I'm hoping for the best.

There's been steady progress on the quilting of "Got Cookies?"; I'm actually out to the borders now and ready to turn it. 
I hope to have the binding in place next week and be ready for handwork.
I fulfilled a burp cloth request recently; something I still love
 to do, but the orders are infrequent and sporadic.

A certain grandson is soon to have his 6th birthday and he has requested
a Corn Hole game. Nana was able to do her part... PawPaw is still working on
painting the boards in the workshop. Shhhhh... it's a secret!

We ate at Applebee's last night and found tablets for ordering installed at every table now.
I think it's ridiciulous; more technology replacing jobs, plus the added distraction of games
available for play too... nothing like adding to the demise of a family dinner together where

 conversation and eye-to-eye contact used to be the highlight of eating out together. 
This was my rant on the subject, my husband tried to explain things to me from a business standpoint...
not that he was in favor of the tablets necessarily, but simply to give me another perspective. 
Personally, I find the tablets sad for all the reasons stated above... 
what do you think, is this progress for the better?

Speaking of family... there's a great family drama series,
Heartland, available for viewing through Netflix all the way 
back to the premier episode from 2007. Filmed in the majestic Canandian 
Rockies the series centers around a horse ranch run by two sisters 
and their grandfather; it's a joy to watch and I am hooked!
I don't know how I ever missed this from the beginning, but have been
catching up on all the episodes this summer; I'm so happy to have found it.
Netflix is really the best way to watch a series like this: no commercials!

Life is Good!

08 July, 2014

A Public Service Announcement

You're all familiar with these machines; let me warn you, however, about what to look for before you stick your cup underneath to dispense your beverage of choice. Make sure that the spout (black tube apparatus pointed out here) is, indeed, present and accounted for before you proceed to fill up!  How do I know? After choosing strawberry lemonade last week I was showered with red food coloring spraying out in all directions covering my arm and white pants (glad I wore those for the occasion!).  I looked like I had been through a massacre for the rest of my errands that evening. The manager, upon being informed of the machine malfunction, indicated that those spouts sometimes blow off, being under pressure, and can end up in an unsuspecting diner's cup! He did canvas those eating there at the time, all cups were clear except for drinks and ice; a "to go" customer likely carried away the prize!  The good news is that my pants did come clean! I soaked them overnight after treating them with Carbona's Stain Devils for coffee, tea and juice; I have a full complement of these specific stain removers and can whole-heartedly vouch for their performance; no laundry area should be without them, especially if you like strawberry lemonade!
Life is Good!