September 30, 2011

I Won A Giveaway!...

Perhaps you already know that one of my favorite online artists is Michelle Palmer. She draws the most beautiful images - and frequently draws acorns, which I purchase as soon as they're listed.

So when Michelle recently hosted a giveaway on her blog to celebrate 700+ followers and 1500 Etsy sales, I threw my name into the hat and crossed my fingers.
I was over the moon when I saw that I was one of the two lucky names she drew! Both of the Santas were beautiful, but I had my heart set on the one that looked more like a Woodland Santa to me.

When my envelope arrived, I couldn't wait to get back to the house to open it. I did a happy dance all the way up the driveway when I saw that Michelle had sent exactly the Santa I'd hoped for!
She also included a tag that she'd created...I suspect from one of her own hand-carved stamps. Need I mention that the woman is multi-talented?
I also love the little bag of buttons that Michelle included. I mean, who doesn't love buttons? (Be honest, now. I know you love 'em, too!)

Thank you, Michelle! I'm proud to be the owner of yet another Palmer masterpiece! I can't wait to make something beautiful with it!
Don't forget that I'm hosting a giveaway, too! Just click on the giveaway button in my left sidebar to go to the giveaway post to enter.
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September 29, 2011

800th Plus Post Giveaway...

This is officially my 873rd post and it's past time to celebrate with a giveaway! Because Autumn is my favorite time of year, I've chosen that (and Halloween) as my theme.

There are going to be EIGHT winners this time, and here are some of the things I've chosen to give to my faithful friends whose names are chosen. Each person will receive a main gift, and then I'll add a few other smaller surprises to their package when I mail them out.

The first item is a Pumpkin Pie Recipe tea towel from Mary Lake-Thompson, Ltd.
• I have two of these to give away •
The second item is a tote bag that I'm going to make using this embroidery. 
This will be the perfect size for a little trick or treating 
or adding to your holiday decor. The base fabric is canvas.
• There will be two of these to give away •
 I will be making pillows pillow covers using this ivory on canvas embroidery motif.
Nothing like a little Halloween "shabby" to add to your decor.
• There will be three of these to give away •
Finally, I have these two little Mill Hill bead kits to give away.
• They will both go to one lucky winner •
It's easy to enter your name in the drawing.
• You must be a follower to enter. 
• Simply leave a comment on this post only
telling me which gift you'd want if your name is drawn.
I'll close the giveaway at 11 pm on Friday, October 7th.
Winners will be announced Saturday, October 8th.
Good Luck! 
UPDATE (11:30 ET 10/07/11): DRAWING IS CLOSED  
Thanks to everyone who entered.

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September 28, 2011

Gifts From Near and Far...


In August, I wrote a post about biscornus (see here). My friend, Marrianne in New Zealand said that she couldn't believe her eyes, but didn't tell me why. She sent me an email to let me know she'd be sending a package (without divulging the contents), so I told her we were traveling and would be back home in September.

Marrianne and I became long-distance friends on Ravelry, and we were partners in a swap through one of the groups. Our Ravelry swap was to include something from our area and information about where we live, so I sent her a postcard explaining shrimp boils and added a canister of Old Bay Seasoning with her other gifts. Turns out she and her husband love the Old Bay, so that's what I usually add to her packages.

She included a bag of special treats from Down Under along with her other surprises and ever since, she always adds those lovely Pineapple Lumps (dehydrated pineapple covered with chocolate!) in my packages. I'm so glad because I really love them!
Imagine my surprise when I opened her latest package to find a stunning acorn biscornu tucked in with the other items. I now know that this is what she had just finished as I wrote my post about them. Gosh, Marrianne! Yours is so gorgeous. I love how you stitched beads into the seam. I'm going to have to keep stitching these until my joins are as perfect as yours!

Of course, she added Pineapple Lumps, but also another chocolate delicacy called Feijoa, loose tea (one of her favorite blends), a piece of her favorite Kiwi fabric (fashioned after a plant in NZ  that sports stunning blooms in time for Christmas each year), and one more little treasure...
She included a tiny carved acorn with a removable lid, and when I opened the lid (Marrianne told me the acorn cap came off)...
I found ten knitting stitch markers inside! What a clever idea for stowing those timy markers, and there's enough room inside for me to add more, too!

Thank you, Marrianne. I so appreciate your generosity and thoughtfulness. Having added a few pounds over the summer, I'm on a "no sweets" food plan right now, so I've hidden those chocolate treats away for a little while. I'll have to hurry and reach my goal so that I can pull those treats out and enjoy every delicious bite!

Now that I'm back home, I'm going to have fun putting together another package for you and Russel. I'll let you know when it's on its way!
I'm so blessed to have my blog friends. I was surprised by a second package today, too. My Missouri friend, Shirley of Shirley Stitches sent me a crocheted "loofa" scrubber. The girls at Panera's make these and I've kept my mouth shut about really wanting one of them. I was tickled to see one from Shirley!

There was also a blue tissue-wrapped package that I couldn't wait to open. See, I know that Shirley makes these vintage tea towels and I've always left a comment for her when she writes about them on her blog. (Of course, I never asked for one, though.)
She sent two of them to me! A little embroidered chick wearing a raincoat and little boots, and the lovely embroidered sewing birds. Each stitch placed by her loving hands. My very own vintage-looking tea towels!
Dear Shirley, I can't tell you how much your adorable gifts touched my heart. I'm going to think of you every time I use them. Thank you so much for thinking of me and gifting me with one three of my heart's desires.

If anyone would like to purchase some of Shirley's tea towels (or other stitched creations), you can visit her shop, Shirleystitches at Etsy. Visiting her shop reminds me of visiting my grandma. She always had kitchen towels with the days of the week on them. Shirley's handwork really takes me back to my childhood.

Thank you again, Shirley. Love, love, love your gifts! I'm so grateful that you thought of me. xoxo Now, don't expect any packages from me in the near future, OK? I mean, really. How can it be a surprise if you're expecting it? (giggle)
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September 27, 2011

The Summer of Discovery...

By now, you know that most of my posts over the past four months were written right here...at my laptop on the dining table in our Flying Cloud.

We traveled nearly 11,000 miles between June 9th and September 24th, and slept in our own beds all but three nights (one night in each of our sons' homes, and one night I spent with my mum and stepdad).
The main purpose for our traveling this summer was for Handsome's musical endeavors. We began our trip with three weeks in Meadville, PA, followed by a side-trip to Battle Creek, MI to pick up the puppy; Rock Island, IL, Oskaloosa, IA; Milwaukee-area,WI; Jackson Center, OH; Romeo, MI; and finally Williamsburg, VA before returning home)
Both dogs traveled easily with us, and although we sometimes felt tight for space, we managed quite well.
We stayed in some incredibly pretty campgrounds, during some awfully hot (and sometimes rainy) weeks, and we met some wonderful people along the way.

We reconnected with dear friends, caught up with family, and spent quality time with each other. We sadly said "goodbye" to our sweet, old dog in Wisconsin.
We commemorated September 11th at the TerraPort facility at Airstream's factory in Jackson Center, Ohio...
and I was giddy-happy watching my husband make beautiful music at nearly every stop along our journey.

It was a summer of discovery for me. I learned many things about traveling in our Cloud, and wanted to share my Top 10 with you.
  1. I'm not a "camper". I travel in my home on wheels and enjoy the comforts of private showers, meals on dinner plates, and being cool (or warm) and dry, as we move from one place to another. 
  2. It's hard to write blog posts that don't give away the fact that you're away from home.
  3. You just don't hold a grudge when you live in 250 square feet. 
  4. I only need to take 1/3 of the clothes I packed for this trip.
  5. I won't bother to pack quilt kits and lots of fabric. I never touched them.
  6. I take direction for maneuvering the Cloud into it's camping space better than I give direction for same. Additionally, I'm really good at backing up the truck and hooking it up to our camper. Handsome is really good at driving us safely to our destinations.
  7. There are things I can't do in the camper that I'm able to accomplish in the studio.
  8. I missed my studio, but enjoyed the journey.
  9. Four months is too long to be away from home, but
  10. I can be anywhere, for any period of time and be happy...
 
...as long as I'm with this man.

We really had a grand summer. Music, family, friends and time spent together away from our everyday routines. Even though you didn't realize it at the time, I'm so glad you joined us on our journey. 
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September 26, 2011

Tuesdays With Tag - Growing Up On The Road...

I didn't tell you for obvious reasons, but we've been traveling all summer in our Flying Cloud. We left Florida on June 8th and returned home last Saturday, September 24th.

That means that Tag never saw his "real" home until he was over five and a half months old...and all of the photos I've shared with you of him have been taken "on the road". In fact, Tag lost his puppy teeth and grew in his adult teeth while we were traveling!

Kessie and Tag spent a lot of time together in roughly 250 square feet of living space...and puppies and old dogs need a lot of sleep.
Traveling "covertly" over the last four months made it a little difficult for me to write blog posts, to say nothing of how hard it was to walk up and down a narrow hallway with two dogs sacked out in their favorite napping place.
Kes was never one to sleep upside down, so I've always been amused to see my little corgis so relaxed in such an exposed position.
We're back in Florida now, minus my sweet old dog, Kes, but it's going to be fun to be able to show you how Tag is settling in here at home. He's already been in the pool (on his own!) and he can't believe how much running room he has now.

Rather than just charging up and down the hallway in a 27' camper, he has beds to run under, lots of places to hide, and his own pool! He's in puppy heaven! (Actually, he's lying on the bed next to me as I write this post. He's settling in just fine.)
We'll never forget the first four months of his life with us as he (and Kessie) shared our Big Adventure of the Summer of 2011.

I know all of you understand the reason I had to keep this secret, and I really appreciate all of you who hung in there with me in spite of the serious lack of creative posts. I'll tell you more about our big adventure - and all I learned during our time away - tomorrow.
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September 25, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - My First Day of School...

Welcome to another Memory Lane Monday. Although school has already been in session for nearly a month, I didn't think you'd mind if I wrote a "First Day of School" post. (I found my old photo in my desktop computer once I got back home.)

Many of you know that I was born in Great Britain to a British mother and American (Air Force) father. When I was about two, we moved to Wisconsin (my father was from Stevens Point - the home of the beer!), so we were there for a few years so that he could finish college to become a teacher.

His first teaching job was in Elkhorn, Wisconsin - and he and I started our first day of school together at the same school. Mum told me the "rules" about becoming a kindergartner ('mind your teacher', 'pay attention in class', 'have fun' and 'be a good girl for Mummy'), but I was only given one rule by my father ('Remember, now, don't call me "Daddy" when we're in school. You should call me "Mr. Newby" like the rest of the students.') Yup. My maiden name was "Newby", pronounced just like the popular term for someone new to something these days - a "newbie". Turns my head every time I hear it used. 

So, then. Mum kissed me goodbye and off to school I went. (Mum told me that she cried and cried when I told her that she didn't need to walk me to the door. "It's ok, Mummy. I'm a big girl. I can do it myself. I guess I've been this way all my life!) I was a good girl, paid attention to my teacher, made a few friends, never called my father "Daddy" in school, and sailed through kindergarten with flying colors.

Between my kindergarten year and my first day of first grade, my father took a job in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and my parents purchased their first home. We moved from Elkhorn to a rental until we moved into our new home, but we were all settled in time for first grade. 

All through kindergarten, Mum had been trying to help me get rid of a serious lisp, but despite her best efforts, I carried it with me right into first grade. For years, she's repeated the story of me coming home from my first day of first grade only to run up to her and say, "Mummy. I'm in firsssst grade now, and I don't lisssp anymore." She said she wanted to strangle me. (She had been trying to help me get rid of that lisp for more than a year, after all. lol)  Glad we got past that!
Do you have a story you'd like to share for Memory Lane Mondays? Just write your story on your blog and link back here. You'll have until a week from now (October 2nd - Gosh! It's nearly October already?) to add your memory.
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September 24, 2011

Sunday Scripture...

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you."
-Psalm 32:8

We drove back into our driveway late yesterday afternoon. Today, Handsome and I lift our prayers of thanks for God's protection as we traveled each and every mile of our trip this summer...and for guiding us safely back to the home and friends in Florida that we love so well.
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September 23, 2011

Homeward Bound...

We left Williamsburg, Virginia yesterday and are nearly home. 

I've had this ceramic pin for about fifteen years and
it's always been one of my favorite, whimsical pieces to wear.
It reminded me of Kessie with her silly ears, and
she was never one to turn down a little ride in the car.
It just seemed the right image for today's post.

I'm hoping to find an artist some day who could make another one 
for me, but with a corgi that looks like Taggart grinning out the window.
Tag has become quite the little traveler, so it would be perfect for him, too!

I've got so many exciting things to share with you in the next week,
least of which will be a giveaway that I've been planning 
to celebrate over 800 posts (It's actually 867 today!)

I'll do my regular weekend posts, but starting next week I'll share a few
revelations and then launch my 800th Plus Post Giveaway. (Catchy, eh?)
Thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions for locating my
Rhapsody of Grace fabric. I placed an order online yesterday 
and received an online confirmation for my order right away. 
I'm crossing my fingers that they actually have what I need now.
Because we're on the road, and I placed the order online while we
were driving (don't you just love modern technology?) I'll have to
wait until Monday to call and find out if it's on its way to me.

I'll be home late today, and will be back in the studio as soon as I can.
Enjoy your weekend...I have lots of relaxing planned!
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September 22, 2011

I Need A Huge Favor...

Remember when I used this fabric to make the quilts and pillowcases for the Flying Cloud? I want to continue the musical theme in our rolling home and I'm nearly out of it. I'm hoping desperate to find more!

Would all of my sewing/quilting peeps please search your stash for me? If you have it and you're willing to part with it, just contact me with the amount of fabric you have and how much you're asking for it.
This fabric is called "Rhapsody of Grace" (Screen Print #D 6784) by Sandra Benava for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that one or more of you can help me locate more of it.

Added to answer a couple of questions: Ideally, I'd like to find a whole bolt, but I'll be happy with as much as I can find. Also: This is not a current line fabric. It was current last year.

Thanks a million!
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September 21, 2011

Cottages In My Kitchen...

In August of 2009, I shared a story with you about receiving some of my mum's beautiful, English cottage ware. This is the photograph of the pieces in my kitchen that I shared then. (Here's the link to that short post.)
When I saw Mum recently, she surprised me with the rest of her set (except the large coffee mugs which she still loves to use). Cottage ware makes me smile, and these are pieces that Mum has collected over many years. I believe she's had many of these pieces over twenty five years.

Additionally, they're special to me because they are British, a bond that Mum and I also share, having both been born in England. (Mum became a naturalized American citizen many years ago, and I am American by virtue of the fact that my father was in the military at the time of my birth.)
There is a beautiful biscuit "box" with a rattan handle, egg cups, a butter dish, another tea set, cups and saucers, larger cups and luncheon plates. There are actually more pieces than I've shown here, but I'm sharing at least one piece of everything that makes up the whole set.
All this wonderful whimsey to remind me of Mum. Pieces I can use while she can see how much joy they bring to me. Now, to figure out where I'm going to display them once we get back home. I'll have fun finding a new spot for them. Thanks, Mumsy!
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