Friday, February 28, 2014

Friendship x and + Swap: February

Green, aqua and orange were the colors that Suz and I used for our swap blocks this month. Here are my twinsies before I mailed off the four look-a-likes to Austrailia.
My favorite of the four this time is the one in the upper left corner. I'm so in love with that shade of blue!
Susan's blocks for me arrived just in time for our post today...yay, Mr. Mailman! She tried something different and switched out the light triangles for dark on two of the blocks. That will add a little interest in our quilt, I think. You might also notice the same fabric for all four of of the "X" sections as well. I like that they will add more white to our quilt. 
As usual, the cousins played well together again this month!
The package from Susan was extra heavy and when I opened it I'm sure I made a little yelp! Here's a glimpse of all the goodies after I tore into it. She really outdid herself in surprising me! (You might recognize those churn dash blocks....I'll be doing a post about them soon!)
The other goodies are an early birthday gift it turns out! Have you ever seen a cuter seam ripper or hot pad? ( A tiny frog is hiding behind the ripper lady.) Each one of the little cards is as adorable as this one about friendship and they come with a small wooden display stand. I'll probably prop those right next to my sink where I can enjoy them every day.
These Friendship x and + blocks really are doing a great job of cementing the long distance friendship that Susan and I share. I hope that everyone that's participating in the swap is sharing the same experience!
Thanks Susan. Your the cat's meow!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spinning our Webs

 Like Charlotte, Vicki and I are slowly, but surely, spinning our webs almost every Tuesday. We find that we usually each get 4 triangle sections finished in our time of sewing together. We both absolutely love the red dots combined with the more traditional and neutral strips in Vicki's blocks.
 My blocks, on the other hand, look like an explosion in a paint factory! But, we are loving that too. 
I'd say we still have quite a few Tuesdays to go before the blocks are all sewn up. They are so addictive to make that it's hard to stop at the end of the day!

Monday, February 24, 2014


 Coal, licorice, picture frame, darkness, soil, panther,
granite, soot, labrador, stallion, angus, oil,
iron, cat, witch, train engine, skillet, television,
paint, asphalt, charcoal, skunk, crow, tire, suitcase,
lamp, crayon, ink, mold, suit, fence, sweater,
bike, bear, car, hat, swan, night

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Color Photo Challenge: Black, Part One

It's been a crazy month for weather just about everywhere. Finding photo worthy subjects for the color "black" was an extra challenge as I found my motivation waning as fast as you can say "freezing"! Here goes nothing spectacular...

BEAUTY: A fresh covering of snow can illuminate the pretty lines of everyday things that we might otherwise not notice. 
FAVORITE: Blackie, the tire-horse, is as anxious as my grandchildren to get back into the "swing" of things!
HOME: I have a weakness for pretty plates and anything with a bird on it!
DINE: This winter, my coffee maker has become my best friend.  She gets me "up and at 'em" every cold morning!
WORDS: You probably recognize The Serenity Prayer, even when seeing only a few of the words. 
OLD: This simple black ledger, kept by my husband's grandmother in the 1950's,  gives a fascinating look into her life decades ago.
CLOSE UP: The wheels and pulley system on my grandmother's treadle sewing machine is worth a closer look.
WHIMSY: While out shopping this week, I ran across this unusual little chest.  Isn't it fun and creative!
TWO: Believe me; I kept both hands on the handlebar while riding a segway a few weeks ago in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina! What a fun way to tour the city!
I'll be posting the remaining photo prompts for the color black next week.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Black to Brown

Years ago, I participated in the Color Me Beautiful program and learned what colors were most flattering for me to wear as an "autumn" with my red hair and freckles. But, as time passed I began ignoring the advice to coordinate my wardrobe by limiting purchases to a certain color pallet.  Then, a few weeks ago, after watching some free online videos called Dressing Your Truth, I made a decision to eliminate some black from my closet in exchange for the more-flattering-for-me, brown. Black really does nothing for me except make me look older. Who need that!
 Rather than just give away all of that black, I decided to experiment and try to change the black to brown with.........bleach! Guess what. It worked!!
The tee shirt on the left is 60% cotton and 40% polyester. The sweater on the right is 100% cotton. They both were black like the middle turtleneck before I threw them in the washer with about a half cup (I admit to not measuring!) bleach and enough water to cover them. After about 20 minutes (again, just guessing) of soaking I drained the water and added some vinegar to the rinse water to, hopefully, set the new color.
None of this is scientific, as you can see, but I'm happy with the results. I wore the sweater Monday and it didn't fall apart so I guess my experiment worked!
Have you tried bleaching clothing to change the color? Any suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Morning

"Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God,
for I shall again praise Him
for the help of His presence."
Psalm 42:5

Friday, February 14, 2014

Instant Pillow!

This afternoon, I made a cute little pillow. I've been wanting one just this shape and size for the longest time. 
 For some some reason, pillow making is not at the top of my "favorite things to make list" so I have been shopping for one and coming up empty handed. Until yesterday.  When I spied this lovely, grey, appliqued placemat at Target it sparked an idea. I liked the $5 price tag too!
 Folding it in half, I realized that it would look oh, so, cute as a pillow! First, a few pins to keep the sides even and in place.
 Some quick topstitching with grey thread around three sides, leaving an opening for stuffing, took about 1 minute of my time!
 I even had some stuffing on hand, which I'd purchased at Walmart, for another project. I like this product very much as it isn't messy and doesn't bunch up just like the label says.
 Stitching the opening closed after I stuffed the pillow was super easy and quick.
The edge has a sort of "piping" look to it, I think, don't you. I like the way the white flange on the placemat adds some interest to the outside edges of the pillow.
 In a perfect world the bottom of the pillow would have a flange as well. 
 But, once the pillow is propped up against the other larger ones, you hardly even notice the bottom edge.
 Perfect! Just what I had in mind.
Now, tell me, am I the only one that avoids making pillows?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Morning

"I have set the Lord always before me.
Because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken."
Psalm 16:8

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Report: Material Obsession

Have I shared with you what a weakness that I have for quilting books? Good ones? Well, I do and here are two of my favorites: Material Obsession 1 and 2.
 Kathy and Sarah's first book, Material Obsession, published in 2009, was probably my first whiff of what modern quilting would become. I borrowed this copy from the library, but wish I owned it myself. The book is laid out with the 23 projects in order from easy to advanced. There's something for everyone within the pages.
 Here's an intermediate project delightfully called The Burbs. My friend, Vicki, and I are talking about making this one next after we finish our Spider Web quilts. 
The photography and hand drawn diagrams are so lovely that its fun to thumb through the book just for the eye candy that it is!
In the back of the book is a good size section describing everything you might need to  know to make the quilts within the book. The photographs showing how to use a rotary cutter and ruler is particularly well done, I think. 
 These pages with tips on layering the backing, batting and top into a sandwich for quilting is helpful and not something you see in most books.
 For years, I've been thinking about making a Dresden quilt. Sarah's version is so adorable and I keep going back to it over and over. I think this might be the year that I actually dive in and start it!
I've even got a picture in my head of what overall look I'm wanting to try. This Kaffe fabric is a hint as to what fabrics I'll be pulling.
 The wintry weather affords more time to dream up new projects and I'm really good at that! Yesterday, it snowed all day. I managed to get the feeders full before it got too bad out welcoming many feathered friends to the party in my yard. I love watching them! These guys just ate what the other birds pushed out onto the snowy ground.
 Today's agenda involves getting the snow off of the driveway so that we can get our cars out. We used to shovel by hand, but this winter my hubby has a new toy on the front of his garden tractor. (It's only taken us 7 winters of living here to figure out that this might be a good idea!)
 My part is to go out and help him when the tractor gets stuck in a drift. I'm grateful that the sun is out today...that helps when the temperatures are single digit!
I never did hear. Did that groundhog see his shadow or not?