September 30, 2010

What Makes Me Happy...

I'll tell you what makes me smile - what makes me happy. Fabrics...Moda Fabrics. Here are all the fabrics I need to create a new quilt. Two charm packs and six yards of coordinating fabric for sashes, binding and backing. Moda's "Happy" line will be perfect to make a beautiful lap quilt for myself or as a gift for someone else. (Don't look at the bottom of my blog, but there are only 86 days left until Christmas Day!) Honestly. Isn't this a cheerful fabric line?
Another option...Moda "Pure" charm packs and the entire line in fat quarters. I also have two charm packs of Moda basic white 5" squares that can be used in any design if I need more squares. I know this collection is going to become a quilt large enough to double as a tablecloth!

One of my sweet friends from Faith, Hope and Cherrytea blog left a comment on yesterday's post:

i do have a question ~ Donna did you really actually have a jelly roll of fabric that you had not unrolled to see what was in it? that is too unimagineable to me! WoW ~ you must have been WAY busy to let that sit undiscovered :) ... glad you liked what you found !

I'm so glad you asked, girlfriend! Actually, I have multiple jelly rolls, honey buns and dessert rolls that I've never opened. Now, if you're wondering why, I can explain.
Don't they look gorgeous all lined up in my studio cabinet drawers? Once I unroll them, I can never roll them back up so they look as nice, so this way they can sit snuggled in the drawer, teasing me, until I chose one to use. (I usually purchase a little coordinating yardage for future use, too.)

I love the flash of colors that greets me when I open the drawer. In this one, I have jelly rolls tucked in with honey buns along the leading edge of the drawer. Full.
In this one, a mix...jelly rolls and a honey bun that matches one of the rolls. Most of my polka dot fabrics live in this drawer until I pull them to use, too!
As long as I'm on a roll (Sorry. I couldn't resist), this is another drawer full of fat quarters and sweet treat boxes, each holding two different mini honey bun rolls.

Please don't contact medical professionals. I already know I have an addiction...a serious, incurable attraction...to fabrics and
sweet, little, rabbit-like puppy feet that grow into...
sweet, well-worn, good, old dog feet. Feet that tell you where they've been. Feet that have run or walked miles and miles more than I ever have. Feet that smell of freshly-cut grass, good earth, and...tacos. Really! Smell a dog's foot for yourself sometime. Kes' warm feet often remind me of the smell of tacos. Kessie's "taco feet".I had to take a sewing break yesterday, as I'm the official creator of concert posters and programs for the North Port Concert Band (and the North Port Orchestra). I needed to set up the template and create the program for the Band's first concert of the season. I finished the job, so I'll be able to get back to sewing today.
Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to sign up for my 500th Post Giveaway. If you haven't signed up yet, you only have until 9 pm (Eastern time zone) to enter. Click here to read about it if you want to participate.
I want to thank everyone who has been leaving comments for me, both for my daily posts and my giveaway post. I promise you that I have read each and every sweet thought you have shared with me. I really try to respond to everyone, but I hate to admit that time - and the recent volume of comments - have gotten away from me this month. I, regrettably, haven't been able to get back to all of you. I hope you won't hold it against me, and beg you to bear with me as I regroup and get back on track.

I am so grateful for all the new friends that have been visiting Brynwood, and I'm looking forward to getting to know each of you better - through your own blogs (which I do actually visit) and through our correspondences (especially if you don't have a blog). If you don't share your email address in your signature preferences, it's a little harder or impossible, to get back to you.
You can always leave your email address if you'd like a personal response.

I'll be back tomorrow. I'm sewing those giveaway quilts. I need to be able to ship them out soon! Don't worry. You'll all see photos of the quilts as soon as I can finish them!

September 29, 2010

An Award, A Giveaway Win, and A Breakthrough...

I recently received a blog award from my friend, Ramona of Create With Joy. I can't tell you how honored I am to have been given this award. Ramona has been a friend, following Brynwood, for quite some time. Thank you, sweetie. I really appreciate the thought and recognition!

I'm supposed to choose 15 other blogs to give this award to, but frankly, I wouldn't know who to single out. If your blog is in my "Inspiring Blogs" blog roll on my left sidebar, please feel free to take the award as a gift from me. You're all friends I love to visit and you're all beautiful in my eyes. Thanks again, Ramona. I hope you'll all visit her blog and please tell her I sent you to say "Hi".
Imagine my surprise to find out that I won a wonderfully generous giveaway from Patty at Shoofly Quilts & Other Musings blog! Look!!! Two charm packs of French General Rural Jardin fabric (you know how much I love the French General!!!); two fabulous quilting books; and the sweetest, rabbit made from a vintage quilt.

Oh, me...oh, my! What a lucky girl am I. Please be sure to visit Patty, to see what she's doing these days. She's a quilter. Need I say more?
The rabbit immediately got comfy next to my squirrelly wall organizer. I guess she felt right at home at Brynwood! I'm so glad. Fitting in can occasionally be a trial around here.
Take these two, for instance. This is the longest Kes has tolerated this little bug since he moved in! Why, just yesterday, she walked up to me and said, "Mom. Is that little butt head going to be around her much longer?" "Why, yes, Kessie. I thought you'd like the company. He's here to be your companion...your sidekick...your teeny Fountain of Youth, so to speak."
Labradors! Dogs that generally keep their thoughts to themselves, but, oh, one expression can be worth a thousand words! This, too, shall pass.

September 28, 2010

As You Wish...

I hadn't opened up the jelly roll of fabrics for the second giveaway quilt until yesterday. I am drooling just looking at all the feminine colors and patterns in this line. What do you think? Even if you didn't choose this fabric collection in the poll, I hope you won't mind a quilt using them if you win.
You can click on the photos to enlarge them. Really! I want you to take a closer look and let me know what you think. They're going to be really fun to cut and put together. And, if you win the drawing and decide that you don't want this quilt, I'll be happy to make up a quilt for you using the fabric collection you selected. As you wish. I want you to be happy. (You'll have to wait a little while longer to receive it, of course. I can't just snap my fingers and have a finished quilt, you know!)

I can see myself falling for the finished quilt. I might have to make one for myself just like it! We could have matching quilts! When you use it, you could imagine the two of us using this as the tablecloth for a tea party where we'll share a cup of tea and a biscuit as we get to know each other better.
I called this quilt choice "Garden Whimsy" for the poll, but it's actually Moda's "Spring Magic" line. I hope you won't mind if I call the quilt "Spring Magic" from now on. Perfect for a quilt for this Fall. Ahhh, the irony of it makes me giggle.
This is what I see when I look out my studio door into the hall these days. Upside down corgi. I have to stop everything, pick him up and smooch him all over his little face. Is it any wonder that it's taking me a while to get my tasks accomplished? I know...You've got no sympathy whatsoever. I should have known better than to get a puppy when there were giveaway quilts to be sewn.

"Ma'am. Put the puppy down, and slowly back away. That's right, ma'am. Put the puppy down." Nothing like a dose of the Puppy Police to get a girl back on track. "Serve and protect, ma'am. We don't want any spoiled puppies around these parts."

September 27, 2010

Whispering Windmills...

By Saturday, Kes and Fezzik were getting more comfortable with each other, and they finally settled down in the same room so that I could concentrate on my sewing.

Over the weekend, I sewed together the blocks for the whispering windmills pattern for the 500th Post Giveaway quilt. (I actually took the day on Sunday to tidy up the studio a bit so there was no sewing progress.)
I hope the winner isn't a perfectionist, because even though I try really hard, every once in a while one of the squares is just a little bit off.

I added a 6" border of the Fig Tree salmon-colored fabric and am now considering whether or not I'll add a final border before sandwiching the batting and backing to assemble it. I'll look at it again today and decide.I have the results of the poll and am pleased to announce that the winner, with 44% of the vote, is the Garden Whimsy assortment. I'll start working on this quilt later in the week, so I have the pattern established and you'll be able to see what the quilts will look like. Thanks for voting everyone! I really appreciate your help making up my mind.
Fezzik joined us (Handsome, Kes and me) for a swim on Sunday. He ran laps around the pool while we were swimming. Then, we laughed and chirped at him, while he barked poolside. Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer and just jumped in! Of course, Mom was there to make sure he was ok, and the little bug swam right over to the shelf and stood there with Kes. He's a bit too short to hoist his back end out of the pool, so we gave him a boost, but he liked it enough to do it a couple more times. We're confident that he'll be a real swimmer, and once he's a big boy. By then, he'll be able to get himself out of the pool without our help.

September 26, 2010

Like The Flower...

Be like the flower,
turn your faces to the sun.

- Kahlil Gibran

When words escape, flowers speak.
- Bruce W. Currie

September 25, 2010

It's Hip To Be Square...

Yesterday, I worked in the studio on the giveaway quilt - when I wasn't pulling "puppy duty". I sewed the small blocks together and squared them up in preparation for assembling them into the larger blocks.

If you haven't entered the drawing for one of two lap quilts I'm making, you can click here to go to the giveaway post. There's still time to enter.

Also...If you haven't voted on your favorite fabric choice for the second quilt, please click here to see the choices, and then go to the top of my right sidebar to vote.

I really love the fabric combinations for this quilt, and think it's going to make a great finished piece. Of course, it's all taking longer than usual. I forgot what a diversion a "little one" can be!
Fezzik was a really good boy yesterday. Can't you tell? Just look at him sitting there. Could this face do anything naughty?
He loves exploring with Kes, and she loves when he leaves her alone. She especially loves when he leaves her alone - and doesn't bark. Too piercing, man. Too piercing.
He's trying really hard to win her over. Don't you love the look I'm getting? "Really, Mom? Why didn't you just get me a new toy, instead? This guy smells funny, and he's a little annoying."

It's ok, Kessie. Today will be more fun, and tomorrow will be better yet. You're still Mom's best girl!

September 24, 2010

A Present, The Puppy And Lots Of Points...

I was so surprised when my package arrived from my Victorian Cuff Swap partner, Natalie of HungryHippie blog. I have been reading her blog for some time, and she creates the most wonderful things. I can't believe that she sent me TWO cuffs!!!
One cuff is comprised of a handcrafted rose with crystals, chains, pearls and an openwork heart charm. It's soft, creamy, and feminine. It's gorgeous and fits me perfectly!
The second cuff (did I tell you she sent me TWO cuffs?) is going to be perfect for me when I wear my black outfits - and I have more than a few! The center is another handcrafted rose in black fabric, with a "witchy" cameo. (See her nose and chin?) It's so clever. The black lace looks like a spider web...
which is perfect when you see what she created for the closure...a beaded, spider-embellished button! She edged the cuff with yummy, black tulle. Gosh, they're fantastic, don't you think?
These are both of the cuffs in all their glory. Natalie is a talented seamstress, with a wonderful, creative eye. I'm so honored to have been her swap partner and have received TWO cuffs from her hands.

Please click here to visit her beautiful blog and compliment her fabulous work. Thank you so much, Natalie. I love them and they'll both get a lot of use from me. They're gorgeous!
This is the cuff I sent to Natalie. I started by sewing some of the special, beaded lace I have to the base fabric I used for the cuff. Then I sewed the center embellishment from a vintage pin in a beautiful, Gulf coast ocean blue. I hand stitched all the beads in the same color to add more color to the cuff, and then I sewed a vintage pearl button for a closure.
Here you can see my label and acorn peeking out from the back of the cuff. My work wouldn't be complete without an acorn stitched somewhere into the finished piece. I hope Natalie gets lots of use from this piece, and that she enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.

I also tucked a few extras into her package. You can click here if you'd like to see her post about it.
I'll give you a short (hee hee) update on Fezzik today. Here's what the corgi did yesterday...
  1. Went swimming in the pool with me (Right. NO photos). He was very brave and swims like a pro.
  2. Went for a car ride to shop with Mom and Kes for his own collar, leash, a travel crate (a second one) and a bag of his own puppy food. He was very well-behaved and loves shopping with "the girls".
  3. Went for his first walk on a leash. It went something like this: walk, surprise that he had a leash on, mini-freak, walk, repeat. Mostly, walked like a good boy and finished on a high note - which means he didn't freak at the end.
  4. Took a nap...upside down.
  5. Retrieved Kes' stuffed squirrel to Mom, who tossed it three different times after he brought it to her.
  6. Beat up the stuffed squirrel. (He loves it!)
  7. Had only one accident in the house, because Mom wasn't paying attention to him. Of course, she immediately cleaned it up, disinfected and apologized for not listening. It won't happen again because Mom isn't on the ball.
I'm so happy with him. Can you believe he slept quietly in his crate from midnight to 7:15 yesterday morning? I was thrilled!

In case you'd like to see more photos of Fezzik and Kes as they get accustomed to each other, you can click here for the newest Flickr album. Thanks for all the sweet, welcoming comments you've left for him. I'm trying to get around to answering all of you. It may take a little time, so please bear with me.
Here's what I did yesterday...
  1. Woke up and let Kes and Fezzik out. Let them back in.
  2. Walked 1 mile (dogless). It's a new routine I've added to my day. (2 miles day before yesterday, but shorter yesterday because my first walk left my legs a little sore.)
  3. Fed the dogs.
  4. Took the dogs to Pet Supermarket.
  5. Let the dogs out and back in.
  6. Sewed all the pieces to create the blocks for the 500th Post lap quilt.
  7. Cut them into quarter triangles.
  8. Repeat #5
  9. Dinner with Handsome.
  10. Took a little nap. (hmmm. Can you believe I was tired?)
  11. Repeat #5
  12. Played with the dogs.
  13. Repeat #5
  14. Wrote my blog post.
  15. Lights out.
I can see that my concentration for a project will be a little off for a while. No worries. I'll still finish the lap quilts on time for the giveaway. Let's see if I can fine-tune the schedule today.

September 23, 2010

The Heart Of A Giant...

Kes has been an "Only Dog" for the past 5 years, since her dad, Morgan, died. She always had other dogs around her and seemed a little lost without the companionship of another. She's been really spoiled as an only dog, and Handsome has finally started thinking about getting another male Labrador retriever. Morgan was his, and while losing him was hard for both of us, it was especially painful for him.

He's always had large dogs his whole life. Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers and a Gordon Setter were the dogs he grew up with. I had dogs of all sizes in my life - an English cocker spaniel that came with us from England, miniature schnauzers, along with German shepherds, an old English sheepdog and a dalmation. When I moved into my apartments I also had a beagle and later, a little buff-colored cocker spaniel.

I got the idea that a small, working breed might be more fun for Kes (she'll be 13 in November), than to get a dog that would get bigger and be more boisterous than she might like. I did a little research and settled on the Welsh corgi.

Handsome was pretty much flabbergasted. "What do you want with a little dog with no legs?" I could see I was going to have to push this rock uphill, and my arguments in favor of a corgi would have to be fact-based and reasonable. We had multiple conversations about the breed and the fact that they have the personality of a big dog in a little body. We talked some more.

I contacted the manager of our favorite boarding kennel and she told me about a gal who had a litter of four boys that were around 12 weeks old and looking for homes. I contacted the breeder and asked lots of questions (over a number of days), and today we went to look at them.

You do know that you never go to see the litter until you decide you'll get a pup, right? As former breeders, we always knew that if people were coming to actually see, hold and pet the pups, they would most likely leave with one. We knew not to go until we'd made that decision.
I'd like to introduce you to Fezzik. Yup. I'd even chosen his name before I saw him. I thought about Welsh names. Bryn was a Welsh name I'd chosen all those years ago for my first female Lab. Talfryn is a male variant of Bryn, but it didn't feel right. Perhaps because I wasn't getting a Lab and he wasn't going to be a little version of my beloved Bryn. Then I thought about Chip. Too simple, and Handsome said it reminded him of a local sports personality of the same name. Scratch that!

Then it hit me. Our all-time favorite movie is The Princess Bride. If you haven't seen it, you need to rent a copy and watch it. It's great for all ages, with sly humor that adults can enjoy, too. The giant in the story is played by Andre' the Giant, and his character name wass Fezzik. He's adorable.

So, I decided that my little Pembroke Welsh corgi boy would be named Fezzik. I haven't chosen his full registered name yet. I'll take more time to work on that, but his call name will remain Fezzik. A sweet-faced mini dog with the heart of a giant. I can see that it already suits him.
Kes is all waggin' tails and snuffles. She's not quite sure that she wants to share our attention with him yet, but he's already running circles around her and barking as he tries to gain her favor. I love the fact that they share the same color coat, too. Kes, with her little dog, Fessik.
Handsome has admitted that this little guy is full of charm...and he's got a great face. Who could not fall in love with this face! (I mean Fezzik. Handsome is already spoken for!)
It was a long first day for the tiny boy. As I write this, he's sound asleep in his kennel. Freshly bathed, fed, watered and aired. (You know...let the dog out, let the dog back in, repeat.)

I don't think we'll put him to work in the studio for a while. Aside from teaching him to be a good citizen, he'll be allowed to be a puppy. I sure hope you love his face, because I can guarantee you'll be seeing more of him - and Kes - in the future.

PS. Marion, my friend - I wish you lived closer. I know how much you'd love to hold this puppy. (There's still one male left in the litter!) xoxo

September 22, 2010

Leila And The Love Birds...

Imagine my glee when I returned home to find a package from my swap partner, Artsy Creations by Leila, for the Blissfull ATC Swap group! This month's theme was "Leaves". Remember, my card to her which you can see here.

Along with her artist trading card, Leila also sent me one of her black and white art prints. Isn't she talented?
I love the detail that Leila put into my card. I think she really captured the theme, and her card is so beautiful. I'm constantly amazed by the amount of detail that my swap partners put into their cards.
Leila is another artist who finishes the backs of her cards. Sparkles and swirls...my favorites! Thank you, Leila. I love this newest addition to my collection, and your art print will be a cherished addition to my studio. (Please be sure to click on her link above to visit her blog. She's hosting a giveaway, too!)
I finished my "Love Birds" applique' quilt yesterday, too. I had a quilt guild meeting last night and wanted to take it to "Show and Tell". (We always refer to it as "Bring and Brag" in our house.)

I didn't work on it over the weekend. Too much slothing and drooling after driving through the night on Friday. (We don't bounce back from long driving trips like we used to.) Consequently, we rested over the weekend and I worked on my quilt again on Monday.
This was my first quilt for needle-turn applique', so I decided to try something else new, I incorporated a little shadow quilting on the same block to accent the applique' work. (Don't look too closely...it's far from perfect!)
I finished quilting the rest of the top by meandering each individual block. All the quilting was finished by the time I turned out the lights on Monday evening.
This is the detail strip I pieced into the back. I love this sweet floral fabric on the back. This fabric is also used in the front of the quilt, so it was perfect for the back.
I attached the binding by machine to the front of the quilt, and then finished it with hand-sewing. I haven't added the label yet, but will do that soon. No quilt is really finished until the label is attached, you know!

I'm happy with my "firsts" in this piece. I've got more confidence in needle-turn applique' now, and I also like the effect of the shadow quilting. I'll practice that technique to use in a future quilt. Now I can concentrate on the lap quilts for my giveaway!

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