August 31, 2013

Sunday Scripture...

Ending our trip with an image from the beginning.
 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and fish,
but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of 
deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and
sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of
God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same
mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a
spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?
                                                                          -  James 3: 7-11

August 30, 2013

Little Acorns...

 While we were away, my latest "Sweet Stitches" BOM arrived.
This is the reason I signed up for this particular set of kits.
Yup. ACORNS!!!
 You know this will be the next kit I work on, right?
I'm soooo looking forward to this one.
 Three little acorns to add when all the stitching is done. Ahhhhh.
I'm looking forward to Coffee Club this morning. I've missed the girls.
Happy Holiday, my friends.
What say we all go on break for the weekend?

August 29, 2013

We're Home...

We rolled up our driveway while it was still light yesterday.

Tag was so excited that he ran into the living room and threw himself on the
 big rug. He rolled around upside-down for a while and then he got up and ran as
 fast as his little legs would carry him through the house. He ran into the bed-
 rooms, into the kitchen, through the dining room and then started all over again. 
 All we could do was laugh. 
We understood completely. 

August 28, 2013

Stitching My Way Home...

 I've been working on "Sunny Days" at random moments in the Flying Cloud. I
don't start until after we've "dropped the hook" for the day and we've eaten dinner.
 I traced the pattern using my Frixion™ pen this time. (It will disappear when
I iron the back of the finished pieces.) The tracing was all finished on Tuesday
evening, and then I started stitching after that. I'm further on the piece now, but
this is to show you my progress from Tuesday evening. It really trips right along!
 I basted the fabric a little crooked onto the scroll frame, but I do put tension
against the fabric when I stitch, so the design isn't stitched "puckered". It
really will lie flat when it's off the frame. (You'll see when I'm all finished.)

You may notice that I roll my fabric onto the scroll frame with the back of 
my fabric facing out on the rollers. The needlework sits inside the frame.
There's a reason for this that I'd like to share with you. If you're a seasoned
needleworker, you probably already know this, but just in case...

When you roll your fabric onto the frame (or into a hoop) with the back of 
the fabric to the outside - you'll always be handling the back of the fabric. 
This will keep your work cleaner on the front. I never eat snacks when I'm 
stitching, but believe me, when I had my shop, I saw more than a few dirty pieces
of needlework come through the doors! This is an easy way to keep things clean.

I also wash my hands first whenever I plan to sit and stitch, and because I hoop
this way, I'm always handling the back of the needlework, rather than the front.
 If you haven't tried it before, perhaps you'll give it a go.
"Here endeth the lesson. "
(hee hee)

We'll be pulling into our yard later today, and we're ready to be back home.
Tag has had enough of riding in the car, Handsome's sick of driving, and I
can't wait to get back into my studio (after we unload the Cloud, of course)!

 I love traveling, but it's always good to be back home again.

August 27, 2013

Sunny Days...

 One more set of family photos to add to our Wisconsin travel album for this
year! I can't forget to share these sweet faces with great-nephews,
Preston and Dean.
l-r: Dan's lady, Amanda, Preston, Dean and Daniel
 They're my nephew, Daniel's, two boys and they're completely adorable!
And, in typical boy fashion, they are two live wires. Just look at those faces.

We visited for a while in the Flying Cloud, and then Daddy and Amanda
took them up to the bounce pillow in our campground for a spot of jumping.
I have lots of photos of them playing to edit, but suffice it to say there was a lot
of giggling, falling down and popping up in the air whenever Daddy bounced!
 I asked Handsome to take one more photo of all of us together so that
I'd be able to add it to our travel album. I create an iBook every year 
after we return home from our travels. This year, it will hold faces of
people more than places, but I think that's the best part of our trips...
to fondly remember all the beautiful hearts we were able to see each year.
 The next project I'll be working on will also serve to remind
me of all the wonderful things about this past month...
"Sunny Days" from the Sweet Stitches collection. I'm smiling already!


August 26, 2013

Tuesdays With Tag - It's A Wrap...

 Hi, Everybody!
Egads! It's been a crazy busy, whirlwind trip to Wisconsin this year!
Mom and I have tried to keep you up-to-date with all we've been doin',
but really, there was so much goin' on that I'm sure we've missed somethin'!
 Before we close out our travelogue this year, I have to share a couple of
pictures of our favorite grandson. He's one cool dude, and we have a 
great time together. We like a lot of the same things, even!
He likes rough-housin', and so do I!
He likes playing ball, and so do I!
He likes eating snacks, and so do I!
He likes givin' Wet Willies, and so do I!
See what I mean?
He's so much fun.
 He stayed overnight with us last weekend and we really had a fun time.
He wanted me to sleep in Dad's bed with him, but I could only stay up
there for a little while. Did you know that boys smell funny? Yup. No lie.
 I'll look back on this trip as a keeper. I got to meet lots of new people
and got to see our grandkids again. Mom, Dad and I spent a lot of quality
time in the Flying Cloud - and in my truck - as we traveled cross-country.
I'm really lookin' forward to our next outin'. I promise to tell you all about it.

As for this trip...It's a Wrap!
'til next time...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

August 25, 2013

Parting Was Such Sweet Sorrow...

Saturday was our last full day in Wisconsin.
We got to see my nephew and his family in the early afternoon, and then we 
were invited to spend the evening with our elder son, his wife and our grandson.

Grandpa Handsome asked me to take a few photographs of him with our 
favorite (and only!) grandson. I took loads and loads of images of the two of 
them, but my favorite, by far, was the very last frame I shot. I walked away
with tears in my eyes and couldn't talk until we were back in the house together.

We had a wonderful, although short, time in our home state this year.
It just didn't seem long enough this time, and we're already looking
forward to being together again. If you ask us, it won't be soon enough.
Parting was such sweet sorrow.

August 24, 2013

Sunday Scripture...

Artwork by Akiane Kramarick

August 23, 2013

It's A Wrap...

No Coffee Club this morning...we're still 1500 miles away.
However, I have this new, electric tea kettle to warm my water for a delicious 
cuppa Saturday morning British tea right here in the Flying Cloud!

I'm hoping to see a niece or two, and a nephew today. Then we'll have a meal 
with our grandson and his folks this evening. A nice finish to a great vacation.

We'll be occupying ourselves with these last minute visits before we stow the last of
our loose odds and ends; return our tables to their upright and locked positions; and
retract our landing gear to pull the Cloud out of her northern campsite to turn for home.

This has been a whirlwind trip, but we've made many happy memories in a short 
time. We've reconnected with dear old friends, shared delightful hours with loved
ones and family members, done our civic and moral duty, and even had a little time to
just kick back and relax. We'll reflect on this trip for months to come, and before we
know it, it will be time to plan our extended travels for next season. I'm going to enjoy
this cuppa tea before we get to work. I'll be back to share our travel updates and to
show you what my "road trip" project will be as we make our way back home.
As always, I'll share a Sunday Scripture tomorrow.

August 22, 2013

They Warm The Cockles Of My Heart....

Yesterday was another one of those wonderful, memorable "family days" for us.
My niece, Keeley came to visit Tag and me at the campground in the afternoon
and we got to share some time together with her grandma, uncle and aunt, too.

I've watched her closely this past year, and I can't believe how much she's changed
in a short twelve months. She's only thirteen, but already is nearly equal to my 5'8"
height! She's gone from a lanky little girl to a poised, pretty, young woman who is
still a tomboy at heart (like her Aunt Donna). It's always fun to interact with her.
Keeley, Tag and Sally
 Her grandma Sally and I have become close, too. You see, last August the former
 sister-in-law I wrote about who passed was Sally's daughter (and Keeley's mom).
The two of them are still working through their loss, but they have each other
and they are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...and it's all good.
l-r: Gary, Nancy, Keeley, Tag and Sally
 When they came to see me (Tag, really!) yesterday, Sally's brother and
sister-in-law also came out to say "hi". We've met before and they're great,
supportive people. We also get along well and it was so nice seeing them again.
 This is a photograph I intend to treasure for a long time.
You see, just as Sally was getting ready to snap it, Keeley leaned over and
tossed her arm over my shoulder. This sweet girl is so full of affection and
I was blessed that she shared some of it with me. Of course, Tag was also
completely taken with her and was happy to be in each and every shot!
My "thank you" for her hug...a heartfelt buss on the cheek.

Before I knew it, it was time for them to leave for home. Next time I see
them, we'll be able to spend much more time together. Perhaps she and
Sally will come down and stay in one of the cabins at the campground,
or we'll invite them to "cozy up" in the Flying Cloud That would be fun!
Front row l-r: Malachi, Ezekiel, Phin, August, Kailana and Malia. Adults l-r: Johanna, Josh, me, Eli, Amanda, Aaron, Nathaniel and Chelsea.  
 After Sally and Keeley left,  Handsome and I traveled to meet my Aunt Eli,
 cousins Amanda, Johanna and Nathaniel - and their spouses and children - for dinner.
 We met at a great Italian restaurant that was an easy drive for all of us, and we got to
 catch up on each other's lives before leaving for our respective homes in different towns.

Before we parted company, Handsome snapped this photograph to commemorate
our time together. I know my uncle was watching over us as we gathered his wife
and family together and he would indeed be proud of the adults his children have 
become.  Eli's grandchildren are delightful to be around and we were glad to be
able to enjoy that time with them. Next summer - and seeing them all again - 
can't come soon enough. It seems our time is over before it's really begun!

A few more days and we'll be packing up our campsite and turning for home.
Until then, we still have time to devote to family and friends. I want to savor it all.

Happy Friday!
I know you're all busy making your own memories. Enjoy every precious minute.

August 21, 2013

Just A Peek...

 In the upcoming days, I'll share some of the purchases I made when Kathy
and I went shopping in Sun Prairie and Spring Green, Wisconsin on Tuesday.

I can't tell you how many times I walked past one of Yoko Saito's books while
shopping in Country Sampler. I finally decided to pick it up (I'll show that one
another time), only to walk past this one and "have" to purchase it, too!
 This scrumptious applique' quilt immediately caught my eye. 
Being an outdoor Wisconsin girl and my affinity for all things "nature",
I was immediately taken with the stitched and appliqued' plants in this quilt.

I know a shop that carries Japanese fabrics, so I may have to do a few online
orders to get the fabrics just right to be able to create this one, but I'm in no
hurry. Doing it right is always more important to me than doing it quickly.
 There are also patterns for the most gorgeous handbags and accessories.
I'm going to have a difficult time deciding just what to tackle first!
Here is another closeup of some of the botanical appliques'.

The price for the two books I purchased was not inconsequential - each one was 
over thirty dollars - however, I can see myself creating multiple projects from them. 
I take excellent care of my books, too, so when I'm finished gleaning all the yummy 
goodness out of each of them, perhaps I'll decide to recoup some of my costs by 
sharing them with someone else. They really are too wonderful to keep all to myself!

I know it won't be anytime soon, though. I think I'll spend a lot of time dreaming on 
them before I ever take a single stitch. When I do, you'll all be the first to know. I can't 
tell you how much I enjoy sharing this creative journey with all of you. I hope that I can 
inspire you to try something new and enjoy your own creative processes along the way.
One more thing before I close today...
I'm really loving my new laptop (using the latest Mac operating system), but I haven't
been able to receive or send any of the emails coming to my Brynwood email address.
I'm reading each of your notes to me every day since we left Florida on my iPhone,
but I'm sure you understand when I tell you what a pain it is to type replies on a phone
 keyboard. I want you to know that I'll answer all your notes to me when I get home,
and ask that you bear with me while I continue to train my new laptop to behave.

August 20, 2013

A Beautiful Day With A Beautiful Friend...

 Rather than head north from our camping location this year, Kathy chose to
introduce me to two fabulous shops in the south-central part of Wisconsin.
She pointed our chariot toward the Madison area and we we off!

First in our two-stop trip was "J.J. Stitches" in Sun Prairie.
(I've made the shop names a link, so you can visit their websites, too!)
My intrepid quilt shopping partner, Kathy.
 When we walked in, we were greeted by high ceilings, mountains of fabric, walls
 covered with delightful fabrics and a warm and friendly face behind the counter.
She was more than happy to answer our questions and help during our shop stop.
 Kathy told me that the shop owner's specialty is to purchase antique
quilts and then create patterns in current fabrics to sell to other quilters.
I think that's a really great idea to keep those old quilts alive. This one is a 
version of her "Martha Washington's Star" quilt. The large quilt was not 
set on point, but all the colors were the same scrumptious blues and whites.

I was especially taken with the "writing on the wall" above it. It reads,
 This is one in a series of woolworked Blocks of the Month. When completed, 
the pieces are just moved in and out of the frame. The calendar page below was 
simply a page from a scrapbook shop. It's mounted into one of two standard
12" (or was it 14"?) square frames that are joined with two hinges. By placing the 
blank calendar behind glass, the dates can be written in with a dry erase marker
and changed as needed month-to-month. Isn't that a clever idea? We both agreed,
and Kathy signed up on the spot for their twelve-month (only $20/mo.) kit program!
 Another clever idea was to take a quilt/applique' piece and frame it.
The piece was not finished and bound. Rather it was mounted on acid-free
stock with reproduced pages from old quilt magazines. I really liked this
idea, and I think it would look especially nice to hang in a studio (like mine!).
 For those of us who do woolwork, this is another way to display postcard-
sized pieces. They were stitched onto a larger wool fabric piece and then 
mounted into an open (and fancy) frame. Its quite a contrast between the
simplicity of the woolwork and the ornateness of the frame. What do you think?
 After visiting JJ Stitches (and leaving a few $$$ with their friendly clerk), we 
walked down the street to the Market Street Diner. The place was hopping and
the food was great. We chatted over our meals and then left to head further west.

 Our second and final stop of the day was at the "Country Sampler" in Spring Green. 
I mentioned how quaint their little downtown area was, and Kathy told me that 
there are only about 1400 regular inhabitants in town, but the tourist trade and 
traveling Wisconsinites, such as herself, help support their commerce.

This shop is a wonderful mix of cross stitch and quilting, all with a prim flair.
 Everywhere I looked, the soft muted colors caught my attention. I found myself 
pondering just how I might purchase the gift of "more time" mentioned in the first
shop, so I'd be assured of completing each and every lovely quilt. Each finished piece 
had nearby piles of bound kits patiently awaiting the quilt shopper's eager hands.
 I also loved how each quilt was thoughtfully displayed in this shop. I could just 
imagine these quilts lying across our own beds and keeping us warm on 
(all-too-infrequent) cool Florida nights. I must find out the name of the light-colored 
quilt pattern. The kits for it are right behind the wool pillow, and although I didn't 
purchase one of the kits, this one continues to call my name. Perhaps "mail order"?
 I adored the antique, wrought iron crib in the front window...and the 
quilts that made up the bed. Again, the kits were part of the display.
 I told Kathy that I have been wanting to make a patriotic quilt of my own,
so when I saw this lap quilt in soft, muted colors - with kits in the basket next
to the bed, I snapped one up to add to my purchases. The flags are pieced and sewn
using a red and white ticking fabric and a blue and white star fabric. Then they're
sashed and bordered with the linen colored cotton to complete the quilt top. This
will make a fabulous quilt that will be finished in no time! You'll see this one soon.

I have to again thank Kathy for being my chauffeur and tour guide to two more
wonderful shops. As always, we had a great time together and we'll do it again
next year. Our most difficult decision will be whether or not to just rotate our trips 
between shops in the south or shops in the north - or to seek out new shops to explore.
We won't worry about that now. We have a years' worth of quilting to accomplish
before then. In the meantime, I'll smile when I remember the day we spent together.
A beautiful day, with a beautiful, creative friend making brand, new memories.