18 May, 2018

Many Hands

As I prepare quilts for tying this coming Sunday afternoon, for the monthly meeting of our women's service group from church, I am reminded of how we spent our April meeting. We are Lutheran, we are a liturgical church, and following along with the service in the hymnal can take many "markers" to keep one on the correct page. Some people tear little scraps of paper from their bulletins to mark the order of service, hymns and Psalm before worship begins; some fumble to quickly catch up, and some work ahead holding the upcoming page with their finger so that they will be ready. So, last month, as a service project for our own church, we made hymnal markers that would slip down into the binding of the hymnal between the pages and the hymnal's cover. We used grosgrain ribbon in five liturgical colors and went to town. I figured out a way to save money and use up cardstock that I already owned. Cutting the cardstock into strips twice as wide as we needed, we stitched the ribbons, side by side, onto one half of the short end of the bookmark. Then, these bookmarks, were folded, lengthwise, to cover the stitching and ribbon ends and glued together with glue sticks. As you can see, we set up assembly-line style and each person had their own step to perform as the bookmarks moved on down the line. We enjoyed chatting and each others' company as we worked, the time slipped by pleasantly and all too quickly! Many hands, and cheerful hearts, make light work! We are blessed, also, by a local quilt shop, to be allowed workspace to meet when their shop is closed, one of our members is an employee there. Being a tiny mission church, we still do not have space of our own and are exceedingly grateful for the generosity displayed by this small business!
The ends that were to be slipped into the hymnals were cut on a gentle curve to ease in the insertion.
No, we're not cheerleaders; we're showing off the 70 bookmarks that were completed in less than two hours! We had a wonderfully productive afternoon, made all the more fun by our youngest helper!
The next Sunday morning the bookmarks were placed in the hymnals and are being enjoyed by all! This was a simple project that has long-lasting benefits; perhaps the greatest is the joy of working together to accomplish a common goal, developing friendships and involving our youth so that they have ownership in the project too! 
I didn't lose my place even once last week! 
And, I couldn't help but notice that those afore-mentioned bulletins are remaining intact too!😉
Life is Good!

14 May, 2018

How About Lunch?

We made plans to get together for lunch. She and her husband travel the country full-time in their RV, now that they're retired. They found themselves in our little corner of the world and she reached out for Quilt Shop information. We made plans to get together for lunch, with our husbands. Not such an unusual thing to do at all, not when a friend comes to town. But, this friend and I had never met-- not for real, in-person, before! No, we have known each other for a long time though, through our blogs. We "knew" each other  before we became grandmothers, each for the first time in 2008; ten years ago! Yes, that's how long I have been following Janet (Click her name to link to her blog). Last week Mr. Goodneedle and I met my long-time friend, and her husband, for the first time! We had an absolutely marvelous time visiting, it was such a treat to learn more about this lovely lady and all that they experience in their new, nomadic lifestyle. Our lunch date could have easily extended to dinner; there was never a lapse in the conversation. We parted, finally, hoping to be able to arrange another visit; somewhere, sometime, hopefully in the not too distant future. Have you had the opportunity to meet up with another blogger, for real and in person? I believe this visit with Janet is the fifth time that I have met an online blogging friend, I hope it won't be the last. I had met Bonnie Hunter some years ago, back when she was first relocating close to here, Nancy who Blogs Near Philadelphia and Mama Spark herself. Mr. Goodneedle and I met Quiltdivajulie and her husband last spring; again, that was another memorable couples get-together with hopes to do it again!  If you ever have the opportunity to meet up with a fellow blogger, whether it's a quilting blogger or someone who shares a different common interest with you, I would suggest that you make the effort. You already have a great foundation, all the small talk is elimated; it really is a fun experience to meet up with an old friend for the very first time!
Life is Good!

10 May, 2018

Time For A Face Lift

Not our actual chairs, this was a borrowed Internet find.
I have no idea why I didn't think to take "before" photos!

It was time to give these chairs a face lift; actually, it was way past time. These were beautiful chairs, in their day; they are extremely well made, we found out how well when we started disassembling them! We had chosen the fabrics for recovering these a few years ago; (three to be exact, but who's counting? I had posted about this project here) we had the best of intentions going in to the project. So, all this time later (after completing chair number one and growing weary of looking at the "old" chair stuck in a corner piled high with all of the components for its face lift), we got to the task last week of moving on and getting this project pushed over the finish line.

There were SO. Many. Steps. There were, also, thousands of copper staples!
We worked together on this one chair for four days! Finally... they are done. 
They're not perfect, but-- they are done. We are happy and moving on. Never, ever will we ask the question "how hard could upholstery be?"; no, because now we know. Next time we'll hire a pro.

Life is Good!
 

01 May, 2018

May, You Say?

It's May Day today! I don't have a May Pole to dance around but I feel as though I am running in circles. The obvious question would be: "where did April go?", it honestly slipped past in a blur. I am going to be better about keeping up with blog posts. Earlier last month we traveled to New England to celebrate my Dad's 90th birthday. It was a fun time together with family.
He celebrated the occasion with a giant jelly doughnut. The weather was dreary while we were there, snow sleet and freezing rain during the concluding days of our visit. I attended the MQX show in Manchester, NH while up north; took a hands-on class; "Hardcore Heirloom Feathers" from Deborah Poole, it was a terrific experience. I hope to get some practice time in soon, while I still retain some of what I learned. When we arrived back home it seemed as though spring had EXPLODED during our absence. (Photos top left and below)


We kept our two youngest grandchildren for a few days last week. They enjoyed working for their after school snack! The results were oh, so sweet. They are growing up too quickly-- that time passing theme again. Sigh.

We had fireplace doors custom made by a blacksmith in Vermont. Luckily we were able to save on shipping and pick them up while we visited. They fit like a glove. We have removed the gas log and will burn wood going forward. Mr. Goodneedle decided that it was silly not to use the resources that are abundant on our own lot for energy savings inside when the weather grows cooler. We are forever cleaning up dead, fallen trees on our lot; there's a never ending supply right outside our door.
The neighbor's pasture that is adjacent to our side lawn has been planted in red clover, it began blooming last week and is resplendent in its crimson glory right now, the morning sun brings it to life!
Because I am woefully behind on my "to do" list and I must be held accountable, I have the April "Be Attitudes" block fused and ready for edge stitching and details. I did get this under the presser foot while it was still April; so, technically, this counts as a check in the April column.
This was the early morning view out the front window this morning. You can see why we have decided to burn wood! 😉 There are three deer in this photo, can you find them all? I need to spray Liquid Fence (non-chemical deer deterrent) around my emerging Hosta and Day Lilies; used once a week for three weeks and monthly after that, it trains encourages the deer to stay away through the repulsive scent. Yuck. But, it works-- for the most part. (Clue: the third deer is behind the one on the right, you can see its bent neck just behind the head of the deer in the foreground.)

Really-- why aren't they rolling in Red Clover? 
Wishing you a lovely May Day today, 
what beauty lies just outside your door?
Life is Good!

23 April, 2018

First Night

I dropped off her finished quilt while she was at preschool on Friday, her Mommy helped me to smooth it onto her bed; Lynnleigh knew that Nana was going to deliver it and that it would be waiting. My daughter-in-law related this conversation that happened that morning, Lynnleigh was planning an overnight stay with one of her friends for Friday night: 
Lynnleigh: "Oh, NO! I just remembered, I can't sleep at --------'s house tonight!" 
Mommy & Daddy: "Why not?"
Lynnleigh: "Because it's the first night with my new quilt!"

Yes, it's why we quilt. 💗

Life is Good!

05 April, 2018

Bubbly

It all started, as every quilt does, with a stack of fabric. This quilt was to be a special one for our five year old granddaughter's bed. She knows what she wants. The walls of her room are decorated with painted circles: red, turquoise, two shades of green, yellow and, of course, Lynnleigh's favorite color: orange. My daughter-in-law and I selected the fabrics and the background from swatches while standing in the room where the quilt will live. A flax linen was chosen for the background. I knew what Lynnleigh wanted: lots and lots of circles. Circles of every size. I wasn't certain how to execute this one but I spent much time thinking about it and then, suddenly one morning, I awakened with a plan! I had ordered the background fabric wide enough so that there were no seams. I backed the colored pieces with Misty Fuse and went to my trusty AccuQuilt cutter and began cranking the layers of prepared fabrics through.
I gridded off the background fabric with a thermal-ink pen and placed the circles in what appears to be a random-ish (I can't do true random placement, it's not in me!) design within an outline. 
I fused them in place, one at a time with a dry iron. The ironing fixed the circles to the background and eliminated the placement lines at the same time. I left a little additional length as I wasn't 100% sure how long this needed to be. I would take it to the actual bed for a trial before I trimmed anything!
The quilt lay-out before trimming. The quilt top got two-thumbs up from Lynnleigh after the try-out. (Actually, she wanted to keep it, immediately, right there on her bed. I had to convince her to let me bring it back home for finishing!)
The next step was the applique. I used a straight stitch around each raw-edge. The constant turning and manipulation of the quilt under the presser foot caused some of the circles to begin to lift and work themselves loose, I secured them with safety pins. (My pile of safety pins, removed as I went along, revealed that there are 74 circles on this quilt top!
The quilting began! I decided to use "Curls" a pantograph from Beany Girl Quilts. I loved the movement that this added.
Here it is, with the quilting all finished. I am excited to think about Lynnleigh's reaction to it being on her bed for real. It is backed with fabric from a sheet, white background with tiny gray elephants: her favorite animal! 😉 It is twin sized, measuring 56" X 80". 
Yesterday I prepared a pieced multi-color binding from the scraps; it is basted in position and ready for hand finishing. I showed this photo to a friend and she remarked that it will match my granddaughter's bubbly personality! The quilt was named, right then and there! Bubbly? 

Oh yes, the quilt and the girl!

Life is Good!

23 March, 2018

Are You Positive?

This is the fifth block that I have completed from Nancy Halvorsen's "Be Attitudes" book; each one is more precious than the one before. Positive thinking has done a lot to benefit this lowly ant.What can you accomplish today with the right attitude?
Life is Good!

"Your attitude determines your altitude" - Zig Ziglar