March 31, 2012

Sunday Scripture - And A Winner...

Quilt created by Eric of Sulky. Photographed by me.
 "And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper 
and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow 
that had the appearance of an emerald."
                                                                    - Revelations 4:3

The Winner of my Three Year Blog Anniversary is:

Congratulations, Terri Sue!!
Please contact me to let me know which prize you'd like. Thank you to everyone for entering. We're so close to 700 followers. I'll have another drawing very soon!

March 30, 2012

A Little Mystery Is Good...

I haven't been sharing any current wedding quilt updates for a really good reason. Seems a certain bride-to-be (for whose wedding the quilt is being created) took a little stroll around these parts the day I posted the fabric I'll be using! How's that for not-so perfect timing?

Because I never know exactly when that sweet thing might visit again, anything else I share about the project will be obscure until right before, or after the big day.

I do want you to see that I've received the template set and book that I was waiting for from Marti Mitchell's website. Now that these treasures have arrived, I'll begin the cutting and creating. I'm so looking forward to making this one. I have high hopes that it will be gorgeous and that our friends, the groom and his bride, will be happy with the finished quilt.

I'll share more photos next week. Vague and mysterious, of course.

Tonight's the big night. I'll be closing the giveaway at 11 pm ET. I've noticed that we're so close to 700 followers/friends. If we hit 701 by this evening, I'll give away two of the gifts (two winners!).

Good luck to all. Have a great weekend! I'm off for Saturday morning coffee with my girlfriends!

March 29, 2012

I'm Not Nuts - Really...

Handsome had a fabulous band concert last night. We had planned an after-concert party at our house for a number of the musicians and their spouses, so I got a late start on my post for today. We had a ball, and as soon as I process the concert videos I'll be adding a few numbers to the list on my sidebar.

I want to show you three new residents at Brynwood today, though, so let me begin the introductions.

When I got ready to leave Wisconsin early this month, Deb surprised me.  I walked out of Grace's house to find these three critters on the hood of my Explorer to take home with me!
This one is my favorite. He's heavy, and I like that he's so lifelike. He is keeping me company in the studio for now. Perhaps he'll eventually end up on the covered lanai, but for now I like having him close.
This one is ceramic, so he's more fragile. I haven't decided where I'll put him, but I know he'll be in a safe place where certain corgis can't knock him over and break him. (We won't mention any names.)

The third one is more "cute-sy", but Grace liked him so that's good enough for me. He's not breakable, but I'll have to keep him out of direct sun and weather. Perhaps the table in the entry would be a good place for him?

I think they should have names. Don't you? Let me know if you have any ideas.

Tag has a vet appointment today. We're going to meet and go through a number of precautionary bloodwork and exams before we schedule his "nootering" appointment next week. I'm not telling him about it at all. What he doesn't know...

Tomorrow night is the drawing for my Blog Birthday giveaway! Be sure to get your name in the drawing if you haven't done so yet! (I'm just might add a few surprises!)

See you tomorrow.

March 28, 2012

A Little Bit Biased...

Amber's Blog Header
I discovered a wonderful blog and I've had it in the blogroll in my sidebar for a while now. In case you haven't found it yet, I'd like to introduce you to "A Little Bit Biased".

Amber is the creative mind behind the blog. She designs beautiful quilts (just look at the quilts on her blog header!), tutorials and shares her huge talent with her readers. Her patterns are available for purchase, and she has a regular feature called "Sew Inspiring Rooms".
Image Courtesy of A Little Bit Biased blog
Her most recent installation featured her friend, Kim's studio at "Bitty Bits & Pieces". Each photo was better than the last, and by the time I finished reading, I was green with envy! (I want some of those thimble pots!) You'll have to go to the link (her blog name) to read the post to see what I'm talking about. Warning: You'll want some, too!

Photo courtesy of A Little Bit Biased blog
Another studio she featured was that of Vintage Trailer Lady. Oh, my! I want a chair like this for my studio. (Not my current studio. No room for it in here. My next one...the BIG one! A girl can dream, can't she?) The chair was created by the girls at Fiber & Fire. Check them out.  If only I lived closer to where they show and sell!

Photo courtesy of A Little Bit Biased blog
Now, more about A Little Bit Biased...Amber also shares some great tutorials on her blog. I think I might have to make one of those beautiful Holly Berry Table Toppers for next Christmas. I love it!

Amber's a prolific quilter, and always has great photos to show off her finished pieces. I just know you'll enjoy visiting her as much as I do!

Well. Wasn't that more fun than me complaining about an ailing motorcycle? I thought so!  I also want to remind you about my giveaway before you head off about your business for the day...
Just click here to go to the post to enter if you haven't already. Only a couple more days before I pick a winner!

Have a great day, friends. I'll be back with some more fun tomorrow.

March 27, 2012

It Was Just One Of Those Days...

Last night was our regular Paneras night, and I had decided to put on these boots, my bike gear and roll out the Harley for the night. I had one errand to run before joining the girls. It was a beautiful night for a ride!

I made my stop, went to light up the bike to get to the restaurant was dead. Not just a little dead. It was all dead. I called the number on my H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) membership card and requested they come to haul my bike home. While I waited, I called Tammy at the restaurant and told her I wouldn't be making it. She was so sweet. She brought over my usual breve latte' with two Splenda™ while I waited for the hauler and that was the beginning, middle and end of my night out with the girls.

The hauler arrived within twenty minutes (driven by a really personable young man). The bike was loaded onto the roll-on flatbed and I was delivered back home by 9 pm.

Realizing that this doesn't make for either 1) and interesting post, or 2) anything crafty or inspirational, I'm going to share another cute corgi photo and promise you a fun post tomorrow when I'll be featuring a really cool blog I've discovered!
Leave it to Tag to save the day! (I just know this is going to cost me a fortune in homemade doggie treats!)

March 26, 2012

Tuesdays With Tag - Guard Dog...

It's Tuesday again, and you know what that means?
Tag, here!

I want to tell you that it's been tough around here these days.
I've taken to patrolling the yard to be sure that it's safe for all 
of us to be outside. 

Why, just last night there were two young foxes hanging around here! 
What's the neighborhood coming to? 
We can't have foxes snuffling about on my yard!

 Ahhh. The weather has been beautiful, too. I love the wind in my ears.

 Oh, sorry. Where was I?
Yeah. I remember. Intruders. Keeping the neighborhood safe.

Saturday, Mom and Dad got a brand new refrigerator. 
Can you believe they locked me up in my kennel when the delivery dudes
arrived? Well, they did, and I didn't get out again until they left.
I ran all around the house to make sure they hadn't left anything behind...
like themselves! I didn't stop checking for about ten minutes.
They might have come back in while Mom was drooling over her new appliance!

 You're still there, right?

Well, I do the best I can. No strays, solicitors or delivery guys hang around here for very long, except I do like our mailman (He has a corgi named, Milo and he "gets me"), and I'm fond of our UPS man, too (can you say "treats"?). Everybody else better make an appointment! I may be cute, but I take my work seriously! So, just be sure you call ahead if you're coming to visit. I'll be glad to see you if I have a little notice.

It's time to get back to patrolling again. I'll see you next week! 'til then,
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'"

March 25, 2012

Memory Lane Monday - My Mother's Garden...

Nanny and Mum with Billy. 1953
My beautiful mother is British and for many years I believed she was actually royalty! In fact, she came from humble, but honest beginnings, the daughter of my grandmother (who I called Nanny), Irene and her husband, Douglas. My grandfather deserted Nanny shortly before my mother's birth, so Nanny raised my Mum on her own until she met my Granddad Young and had two more sons.

I wrote last month about my Uncle Johnny, who still lives in England with his family. Their brother, Richard moved to the U.S. with his wife and two children when I was in junior high school and they've been here since.

My nan was a loving and hard-working woman, who I only remember through treasured photographs, stories from Mum, and the precious letters she wrote to Mum and me after my parents came to the United States.  (My father was an American in the Air Force, who returned with a pregnant wife and a year-old daughter - me - when his tour ended in 1956.)

Nanny and Mum with me in the middle. 1955
What few photographs I have of us together are worth gold to me. I can see from those images of Nanny that she was a proud and refined woman, but you can see in her eyes that she never had an easy life. I do know that she loved her children, and her letters to me are filled with deep affection.

Nan died when I was seven years old. Mum was only twenty four. She was taken from us far too soon by cancer. I remember the pain in Mum's eyes when the telegraph arrived to tell us that she was gone. I still have the message with her letter.

I know that Mum wishes that they could have been together to the end, and there are many times when we talked about the fact that we could have both been "brolly-carrying Brits" had we stayed behind.

I often wonder what it might have been like to have spent more time with Nanny - to have been able to have known her well enough to actually remember for myself her smile, her soft voice and her loving eyes.
Nanny and me, her first grandchild (looking for my sock!). 1955
Mum is in her seventies now, but we talk frequently about my British heritage - my birthright - and she tells me that Nan would have been proud of me and the woman I've become.  I've always been comforted and happy in that knowledge.
One of my published designs.
When I was actively designing counted thread samplers in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I created the sampler called "My Mother's Garden". It's actually a loving tribute to my mother and my nanny. The verse is one that I heard often as a child, and Mum told me that her mother used to recite it for her. I love the verse:

"If you've a mother with silvery hair,
love one another and treat her with care.
And as you grow older the least you can do,
Is to do unto Mother as she did for you."

The bottom of this sampler was designed to have a family record stitched into it. I stitched mine with my grandmother's name, place of birth and birthdate, then Mum's and then mine. It's one of my first and favorite honor two women who I love and admire.
I so appreciate you taking this stroll with me down Memory Lane. I think this story shall remain one of my favorites. I hope you enjoyed it, too.

If you have a memory that you'd like to share on your blog, please link back here so that we can all visit and read it, too! (You can link your story below up until March 30th.)

Before we part today, please hop over to The Raspberry Rabbits and wish Shell a
Happy Birthday!

March 24, 2012

Sunday Scripture...

"The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?"
                                        - Psalm 27:1

March 23, 2012

Farmer's Wife QAL Progress...

My Completed Blocks For March
These were the blocks our QAL group had for March:
Block # 2 - Autumn Tints
Block # 6 - Big Dipper
Block #10 - Bowtie
Block #15 - Buzzard's Roost
Block #29 - Economy
Block #31 - Evening Star
Block #34 - Flock
Block #51 - Hovering Birds
Block #52 - Hovering Hawks
Block #103 - Whirlwind

I managed to complete all of mine except the Whirlwind block. That's ok, because I'll do that one first with the April blocks (unless I finish it before we start the ones for April).
Terrie's Completed Blocks (Hearth and Whimsey Blog)
We're all working at our own pace, so there's no pressure to finish a certain number of blocks or work faster than you're comfortable.

Terrie's blocks are really pretty, and precise, too! Terrie's blog is Hearth and Whimsey, and you can click here to read about her blocks. Thanks for sharing our blocks, Terrie!
Carol's March Blocks (Brown Quilts Blog)
Carol also accomplished quite a few of her blocks. You can visit her blog, Brown Quilts (here) to read about her blocks. Your fabrics are great, Carol! I can't wait to see how your quilt progresses!

I think one of the things I really like about our QAL is the wide variety of beautiful fabrics used in all the individual blocks. I haven't seen a combination that I wouldn't love yet!

I'm going to add a link up at the end of this post, so that the rest of the participants in our QAL can link up during the next week to share their blocks with you, too. If you're really curious, you can also click on the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quiltalong button in my left sidebar to head over to our group Flickr album. There are lots of photos there!

At the top of my blog in the menu bar, I have a FW QAL link so that you can see who all the participants are. Take some time to visit their blogs. I think you'll enjoy all of them. (I sure have!)

It's hard to believe the month is nearly over! April's blocks will be listed before we know it, and I've already let the group know that we'll have twenty blocks to do in April. For those of us making queen or king size quilts, that means only sixty blocks to go after that!  Woo hoo!

If you're part of the QAL, don't forget to link up below...and you'll have until March 30th to join in.
OH! I almost forgot!!! Monday is my next Memory Lane Monday! Hope you'll share one of your favorite stories with us! I'll have my post ready around 10 pm on Sunday night, so you can link up early. There! I think that's everything for today.

Happy Creating!

March 22, 2012

Marion's Beautiful Beads...

I received a wonderful box of handcrafted beads from my dear friend, Marion yesterday. She told me that she made them in beautiful Spring colors to look like sea glass. She also created fabulous bone-shaped beads and made a new pair of earrings for me! (She knows that coral is one of my favorite colors.)

I had to call her as soon as they arrived to tell her how much I love them and how talented she really is. I got my Troll bracelet because of Marion, and she's given me nearly every bead that sits on it. (I found the great little corgi bead on Etsy!)
This is how I've been wearing my bracelet these days. Won't those earrings be a perfect compliment to the beads?
Of course, I immediately had to pull out the special storage box I have for all my precious beads so that I could switch them out for my new Spring look. Don't you think that Corgi approves? I sure do!

Thank you, again, Marion. I'm so glad you love the gift I sent to you for your recent Birthday, but these beads represent hours of patience and talent, my dear. I love each and every one - and the generous friend they represent.
If you haven't entered my Blog Anniversary giveaway, there's still time! Just click here to leave a comment and be counted in the drawing.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing more Farmer's Wife blocks. I've been busy working on new blocks and will show them to you. I'm really having a lot of fun working on them. More tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

March 21, 2012

Sewing And A Solution...

Prairie Queen Block
In spite of a mandatory shopping trip and a thunder storm with lightning which requires that I shut down my sewing machine to avoid damage, I was able to make a few new blocks for my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt yesterday.

The first new one I made is the Prairie Queen block. Half square triangle blocks and tiny four-patches combine to create this block. I really like it!
Railroad Block
Next, I tackled the Railroad block consisting of more four patches and half square triangles. Love it!

I have special memories of a train trip when I was about eleven years old.  A friend of our family worked for the Soo Line Railroad which regularly ran between Stevens Point, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. I'm not quite sure how it was arranged, but my parents allowed our friend to take my younger sister (he was her godfather) and me to the Brookfield Zoo during our summer vacation.

I remember seeing all the animal exhibits and purchasing coolie hats (like the little Chinese figures that adorned my Grandmother's living room tables wore) as our souvenirs! We spent the entire day at the zoo, and at the end of the day, we boarded the train again for our return trip to Fond du Lac. (The train always made regular stops there on the way back to Stevens Point).

My father was supposed to pick us up at the train station at 10 pm, but he didn't make it in time to take us off the train before it had to leave the station. (hmmm) Our friend said he wasn't going to leave us alone at the station at such a late hour, so we ended up going all the way to Stevens Point with him (where my Grandma lived). Once we arrived, he dropped us off at my grandparent's house, where my sister and I thanked him for a great day and then fell, exhausted, into the beds in the guest room. 

The next day, my father had to drive over two hours to pick us up in Stevens Point! I never did know exactly why he wasn't waiting for us at the station in Fond du Lac, but his punishment was about five hours of driving...and I suspect a tongue-lashing from my mother for not meeting our train.

As kids, we never thought about that part of the trip. Our adventure was our first train ride and a great day spent at the zoo!
Economy Block in Progress
By the end of the day, I'd also previewed and cut the fabrics for this Economy block. I'll sew it together today, and decide which ones are next on my list.  Then, I'll be cutting into the fabrics for my wedding quilt project. (I know. Can you see me juggling from where you're sitting? Whew!)

Photo courtesy of Home Depot
The recently deceased refrigerator has a replacement on its way. We chose this GE Profile side-by-side model in stainless steel. It's the same model that we replaced when we purchased the Amana french door model that just croaked. That fridge was moved into our garage where it's been faithfully chugging away in less than a climate-controlled environment. Never a complaint or problem. Why wouldn't I decide to go back to the same manufacturer after being so disappointed by its replacement?
Photo courtesy of Home Depot
I'd actually have brought that one back into the house, but there would probably be more money involved to "clean it up" than it's worth. So, it will stay where it is, and the new one will be delivered on Saturday. Now that that problem is resolved, I can concentrate on more enjoyable pursuits. Like sewing!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post yesterday. Many of you said that your brains were churning with new ideas. I know exactly what you mean, and I'm so glad that I could pass on the inspiration. After I go back through all my notes, I'll share some more ideas that I learned at the meeting.

Sherry at Createology posted about her Farmer's Wife blocks today, too. You might want to stop by and see her blocks. Her quilt is going to be fabulous! Click here to visit her.   

I'll be posting more blocks in a day or so and will add more links so you can see more of the other women's blocks. In the meantime, you can always click on the Farmer's Wife QAL button in my left sidebar to go to our group Flickr album to see their progress.

One last thing, if you ask me a question and you're a "no comment blogger", please add your email address to your comment so that I can respond to you. Thanks! See you tomorrow.