November 30, 2010

Let The Celebrating Begin...

Just look at all these beautiful faces! These are my pals at Books a Million. (Krisann was absent, and sorry for cutting you off the image, Linda!) When I arrived last night (Dolphin Island quilt in hand), they had a card and box of chocolates waiting for me.

Let the Birthday celebration
officially begin!!!

My friend, Ellen, also gifted me with her well-used, hand crafted collection of doilies and dresser scarves. She made each one of them, and they'll be treasured by me for a long, long time. Sorry I can't say the same for the chocolates!

Thank you, girls, for my gifts and your sweet card. You really surprised me! They thought they were pretty clever, remembering that I like to stretch out my partying for at least a week each year! ((My pal, Tammy, reads my blog, so she was actually the ring leader!) You're just the best, Tammy!

I finished binding Dolphin Island last night, so I can move another project from the To Do List to the Completed List. My chenille project is next. I'll share photos tomorrow.

November 29, 2010

I Filled My Drawer...

My Birthday is Friday. I tell you this for two reasons. One: I'm a BIG baby about Birthdays...especially my own! (Notice the capital "B". It's there for a reason.) and Two: I treated myself to a special purchase in honor of my Birthday this year and just had to share it with you.

I was doing my usual Etsy grazing recently and came across this beauty. It's an antique sewing machine cabinet drawer. By now - even if you're a new reader - you've discovered that I'm a sucker for anything with acorns on it. When I saw this piece, the lovely raised motif and drawer front trim called out to me and I knew I had to have it adorning my sewing table. What surprised me was that it arrived so quickly! I only purchased it on Saturday!
The acorn/oak leaf motif appears on one side of the drawer. The opposite side is plain. The patina on the wood just suits me perfectly. I won't be painting this little gem white or adding a thing to it. The only thing left to do was decide how I would utilize the drawer. What would I have it hold?
...My seam binding rolls. I filled my drawer with seam binding rolls. I'll be able to look at them when they're not called to action. I think it's always inspiring to have something beautiful in your line of vision in the studio.

Last night was the weekly rehearsal for the Chorale. We'll have a tech rehearsal on Friday (I may just bring my own cupcake and candle!), and then we'll perform on Saturday evening. My sister is flying in from Minnesota to celebrate with me. It's going to be a great Birthday this year! (Heck...they're really all great, aren't they?)

November 28, 2010

Dogs And Dolphins...

Sunday was a beautiful, 80º+ day in south Florida, so my sewing was interspersed with breaks to play outside with the dogs. Handsome was doing a little yard maintenance, and we were happy to visit with him and say "hello" from time to time.

I did finish the quilt top and back for Dolphin Island and shut everything down in the studio by 5 pm. Not a full day of labor, but it was Sunday, after all.
I fussy cut four of the compass motifs from the same fabric used in the center, and I placed them at each corner of the finished top. I'll be doing the quilt top/batting/backing assembly today. I'll do my own machine quilting for this one.

Handsome came into the studio as I was hanging up the assembled back for the quilt and asked if I'd like to go for a sunset ride on the Harleys. Of course! We decided to ride over to Englewood Beach on Manasota Key and have burgers at one of the local restaurants. (Remember, Englewood Beach is where my mum and Burt were married.)

As we traveled over the bridge to Manasota Key, I looked across the right side of the bay and guess what I saw? If you said dolphins, you'd be right! Two dolphins hunting for dinner just before sunset. The water sparkled and in an instant, I saw their dorsal fins roll out of the water and then disappear. I'm sure that if we'd pulled over, we would have seen them again. I had no camera, no picture phone...only a mental image. The memory of it made me smile, and it was so appropriate considering that I've been thinking about them a lot over the past couple of days.

We sat down to eat just as the sun was setting, and later rode home together - our appetites sated and my heart grateful for a perfect day.

November 27, 2010

Dolphin Island Quilt...

In the mid-1960's I saw the movie "Island of Blue Dolphins". I was ten years old then, and the movie became one of my favorites. I've always remembered the movie, and later read the book (click here if you'd like to read the Wikipedia information). I'd dream of being self-sufficient and living off the land. Even being a kid, I was sure I could do it.

All these years later (we won't mention just how many), I still have a deep love for the intelligent and beautiful dolphins. If I see them while we're out on our boat, I always ask Handsome if we can linger for a better look - and one of the things on my Bucket List is to some day swim with the wild dolphins. (I've even asked our friend, Manny, if he would take me to swim with them some time!) I also now know that I can be self-sufficient and live off the land should the need arise.

This year, I decided to make a dolphin quilt for a special young man in our life as a Christmas gift. In spite of the inspiration, I would not wish to completely plagiarize the title of the book and movie, so I'm calling this quilt "Dolphin Island".
The waters surrounding this island are teeming with schools of fish and families of friendly dolphins. Once our young man sets foot on the island, he's sure to search for the buried pirate's treasure. I can tell you now that when the quilt top is finished, there will be a special marker on the island to mark the location of the treasure. I'm quite sure it's going to have the little black dotted lines to help our young adventurer find the booty! I think that we'll play it safe, though, and leave the pirates for another day.

I'm over half finished on the quilt top and plan to finish it today. If things progress without a snag, I'll even do the machine quilting today, too.

I hope your Sunday is also filled with blue skies and happy pursuits.

November 26, 2010

Making A List...

It's time to start working on my Christmas sewing list. It's not as extensive as it was last year, so I should have an easy coast to get my projects done by my self-imposed December 13th deadline.

Chenille bedspreads (cutters), which will become something warm and sweet. One might even appear in my Etsy shop if I have time after all of my own projects have been wrapped.
Gorgeous blues with an ocean theme to become a cozy quilt for a special young person in our lives. It won't be too large, and I'll machine quilt it myself.

Now that the queen size Lavender Dreams quilt has been completed, I'm confident that finishing the rest of my projects on time will be easy peasy. Care to follow this year's journey?

November 25, 2010

Fezzik Friday - 24 Weeks...

It's hard to believe it's Friday again already! Mom, Dad, Kes and I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. It was particularly great here! I went swimming with Mom in the morning, and then I went swimming with Dad in the afternoon after he finished a little yard work.

We had warm weather, so I was happy for the chance to cool off with Dad. I went in the water all on my own! You can see the little shelf in the pool? Mom says it's called a "swim-out". It's just the perfect depth for me to stand on, and the water was just the right temperature.
I'm a real swimmer now. I can jump off the swim-out - this picture shows me right after I leaped into the water - and paddle around with whoever else is in the pool. (Kes can't go swimming until after her staples come out on Saturday. Sorry Kessie!) Mom stayed on the lanai and took pictures because she was just so darn proud of me.
I'm not afraid or anything! I jump in all on my own, and I've got a pretty mean dog paddle!
Dad kept me company as I paddled back to the shallow end. He just wanted to make sure I didn't get too tired, but I think I could do this all day! He also wants to make sure I learn that there is only one area of the pool where I can actually get out on my own. That's where the steps and the swim-out are.
Once I get to the stairs, I'm big enough now so that I can get out of the pool alone. Mom and Dad are really happy, because they said I'm now "waterproof". If I happen to jump or fall in the pool, they know I can get out, so they don't have to worry about me as much.
Here, Dad is congratulating me on my stellar corgi performance. He's says that I take to water almost as well as a retriever! In case you didn't know, Dad has become a pretty big fan of mine. I like him a lot, too.

Fezzik Inconceivable (aka Fezzik Weismuller)

November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving...

      We gather together
to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens
His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing
now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name,
He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us,
our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining
His Kingdom divine;
so from the beginning
the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side,
all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee,
Thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still
our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation
escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised!
O Lord, make us free!

Thanksgiving Blessings
From Our Home To Yours.


Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

November 23, 2010

Let Me Introduce You...

Today, I'd like to introduce you to a new blogger I recently met. Her name is Abbey, and her blog is Abbey Rose Needleworks. She's going to tell you about herself in her own words.

"My name is Abigail Callaghan-Schafer. I was born and raised in Cork County, Ireland, and moved to the United States at age 24 when my husband was offered a teaching position within the History Department of a well-known east coast university. We currently reside in Boston, Massachusetts but my husband has been offered a new position which may mean relocating. I'm the mother of four children, three boys and one girl; all of whom are grown and on their own with the exception of my youngest daughter who is still in college and commuting from home. I've been sewing since I was a very young girl and over the years have developed a deep passion for historical samplers. I have also been stitching small keepsakes and folk art ornaments for over 15 years that I've sold at local charity craft events each year. But, now that my children are grown, I hope to devote more time to stitching historical reproduction samplers which I look forward to sharing on my blog."
This is the next sampler that Abbey is going to stitch. It's called the "Anne Grimshaw Sampler". Pretty dramatic in a single, dark color, don't you think? I'm going to be following her progress as she works on this beautiful piece. You do know that I love (and used to design) samplers, right? There will always be a special place in my heart for sampler stitchers/designers.

Please take a moment to visit Abbey at Abbey Rose Needleworks. Give her a warm Blogland welcome that we all do so well. Just click here to visit her brand new corner of our world.

Welcome, Abbey! See you again soon.

November 22, 2010

The GO! Cutter Is Going...

I don't usually mention any of my eBay listings on my blog, but the AccuQuilt GO! Cutters have been so popular, I thought you might want to know about this one.

I am selling my GO! Cutter in this listing. Someone is going to get a great deal! I'm including the original GO! Cutter starter kit, but am adding all the additional dies and mats I purchased, and a bonus of three bobbin towers for keeping your threaded bobbins under control.
So, if you're a quilter and have been thinking about purchasing one of these systems, you can purchase my gently used set at a great price.

You can read more about exactly what's included and have it in your home by Christmas by simply going to my listing. I hope you don't mind me posting about this here, but I wanted to give my blog friends a jump on this baby.

I have been a seller on eBay for over 12 years as Starfire Auctions, and will be adding listings for knitting, crochet and sewing books, yarns and other cool items between now and Christmas.

I'll be back tomorrow with more creative goodness! Hope you have a great day!

November 21, 2010

November Blissfull Swap...

My November swap partner in the Blissfull ATC Swap Group is Laura Q of Fun With This and That blog. We could choose our own theme this month. Laura was really busy creating, not only my ATC, but extra gifts to add to my package!

Her ATC card is a real work of art. She affixed a transfer image of one of her own watercolor paintings to the front of her felted wool card. Then she added hand stitching, beads, a teapot and cup and saucer charms.
The back of her card is equally beautiful. She stitched a bow to secure a paper tag with a sweet image of a child. Could this be her as a babe? I don't know for sure, but I love her personal touch!As if that weren't enough, Laura also included this array of Christmas gift tags. Aren't they wonderful?...and notecards created from her own paintings! Really, Laura. I'm nearly speechless at your generosity. (Alright. If you know me, you know I'm never speechless, but you get the idea.)

I was a little late in getting my card out to her, but I'm hoping it arrives in her mailbox today. You all know how crazy it's been here of late, but I'm sorry to have fallen behind on this obligation. I'll share what I made to send to her, knowing she'll have it in her hands soon.My card is called "By The Sea". I also used a transfer image from a photo I took of a seashell bowl that I keep in our front entry. (You can click here to see the image from my Seashell Sunday post.) Then I added machine stitching, real seashells and a silver sea horse.

I, too, added a few trinkets, which included silver charms, seashells and a tiny vial of sand from Siesta Key Beach to her gift package. I hope this brings a little Florida sunshine to her North Dakota home. Of course, you know I'd share a photo if I'd remembered to take one. (sheesh!) I'm hoping that Laura will post a photo of all the goodies I sent her way once they arrive.

November 20, 2010

Vivid Color...


May your day be carefree and joyful.
May you find delight in the smallest of things.
May you know the love of a special someone,
and live content in the knowledge
that you're never alone.

May you find moments of quiet,
and
listen to the messages hidden within.
May the world still hold wonder for you.
May you chase away your fears,
and
live every day of your life in glorious, vivid color.

- Donna Liljegren 2010

November 19, 2010

Beaded Sugarplums...

If you've been visiting me for a while, you'll know that I adore the work of my friend, Paulette of Beedeebabee blog. I've crowed about her before, but when someone makes beautiful things, you really never can say enough about them.

Her beaded needlework pins are truly exquisite works of art, and as I just acquired two new ones, I pulled out most of my collection to share with you - and sing her praises, yet again.
Just look at her handwork, guys and girls! Tiny flowers, pearls, sequins, crystals and teeny, tiny stitches make her pieces beyond elegant. The white heart caught my eye when I visited her Etsy shop recently, so I knew I had to have it.
This was the pin she created for me when we did a swap. I created one of my ribbon embroidered hearts and an embroidered zipper bag for her. (You can read about it in this post.) She stitched this pin in my favorite colors and it's another wonderful example of her creative eye and expertise.
This is one of Paulette's Sampler Pins. I love the variety of stitches and sparkling beads. Look at how perfect her beaded edgings are!
And this is my other newest acquisition - just in time for the holidays - a Gingerbread House! It comes complete with a snowy roof and candy-colored trim - a tiny vision of sugarplums!

Paulette's Etsy shop, Beedeebabee, is stocked with a wonderful array of incredible pieces. I'm sure you'll find something you'd love to add to your jewelry box!
I also wanted to tell you that I've extended my Etsy shop sale until December 1st. I know my holiday giving centers around handcrafted presents...either my own creations or the work of others. Etsy is a perfect place to find that special something for everyone on your list. Have fun shopping!

November 18, 2010

Fezzik Friday - 23 Weeks...

Kessie, Mom and I headed to the yard Wednesday so that Dad could take our photo with the finished 'Nantucket" and "Lavender Dreams" quilts. You can see in the picture that Kes is starting to feel like her old self again (and I'm getting to be a big boy!).Sometimes Mom really wishes we had one of those wonderful clotheslines outside so she could take artsy pictures of finished quilts swaying in a gentle breeze. Until then, she'll be holding her projects...with us in the photo for added interest. (You are interested, right?)
Mom updated her post from Wednesday, too. Seems there were sixteen challenge pieces, not seventeen, and she finally figured out that "purple wall" piece that had her stumped.

She wondered if you know "Deep Purple", perhaps best remembered as a Donnie and Marie (whoever they are!) hit? In retrospect, she said that little challenge wall quilt was a perfect interpretation...the lady sewed a brick wall at the bottom of the piece with flower buttons and leaves attached to the wall; a section that was all dark purple batik fabric; finishing with a dark fabric with silver stars all over it.
Hum it with me, now: "When the deep purple falls, over sleepy garden walls, and the stars beeegggiinnnn to twinkle in the sky-y-y-y-y-y..." I know. You'll be singing it to yourself all day now, right? It's only fair. Mom's been singing it ever since she figured it out and now, even I'm getting a little bounce in my step just listening to her.

I'll see you again next week! We hope you have a great weekend.

and Fezzik (The Magnificent)

November 17, 2010

Sweetness From A friend...

You may remember that I have a few baby dresses hanging in the studio. I added sweet acorn embellishments to these otherwise precious-but-plain pieces.

Then, there goes Michelle Palmer creating something gorgeous again! She found a number of baby items on one of her antiquing forays, and then took them home to put her creative touch to them. Can you blame me for simply having to own one to go with my other Palmer creations? I didn't think so.
On Saturday, I received a package in the mail. My friend, Sherry from Createology blog sent me a fabulous acorn ornament. It was packed in peanuts and then had this pretty lace pouch to protect it. Opening it revealed my surprise. I don't have this particular acorn, and it will take its place among my other acorn ornaments in the window of the studio where I can see it every day.

Thank you, Sherry! I love my new acorn ornament. I'm so grateful for your sweet gift. Proper gratitude will go in the mail soon. I can't tell you how much I appreciated your thoughtfulness, my friend.

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