Monday, January 25, 2010

Beauty In The Box - Part II

My One Block Over Bee blocks have been rolling in all month. 

Each block is prettier in person, and they are stacked right here at my desk so I can move them around and play with the arrangement. 

My hope is that these will be put together as soon as possible after all blocks arrive, so we can see a finished product. 

Too bad the bee only gets together virtually; I could use the hands-on help to decide what to do. 

Several of us have already moved on to Heather's February wonky log cabin block.  I'm in love with the colors she chose.  I need to switch out the sofa in the family room, so I can make some throw pillows in this combination! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good News Hard News

As I ready myself this Sunday morning to work yet again (thankfully, thankfully!), I am reading some blog posts and listening to Don Moen and Friends streaming on my computer. This radio show touches my heart and encourages me every time I can listen in. Today's topic is Hope. To understand Hope, though, we must understand and face Fear. He has such a great mix of music, words, and interviews that express the Hope of Christ conquering Fear. 

My goal this morning was to write something important about things that are heavy on my heart right now, but, of course, this crafty blog is really not the place. I just scrapped that and am moving on. Honestly though, my heart is heavy as I keep up with just the goings on in Haiti as well as the goings on in my own life. I've been growing up a lot the last couple of years now that I'm sort of an "orphan" with no elder to turn to above me, and it is liberating but painful and frightening as well to be the top of the family heap (along with my husband) - thus my thankfulness to be reminded not to give in to fear while listening to the show noted above and to find my fear diminished as it seems ridiculous in comparison with the devastation in Haiti.

So, to get these things off my mind and get to work, I will list what I want to share with no extra words.  Each of these items are Good News and Hard News combined, but what JOY will be found as each issue is resolved and struggled through and for which inidividual sacrifices are made.

This Isn't Grey's Anatomy. Kathy from Pink Chalk Studio told us about this young physician. Just read her story and follow her links, and then you'll know what I know. Amazing!

The Howertons. I don't know this family. One of the bloggers mentioned their story, and I feel like they've been mine for the last week as I prayed for them and the little one left behind in Haiti.  Can you believe? The boy they have been trying to adopt for three years arrived in America yesterday! Stories like that are going on all around our country!

The Don Moen and Friends Show

Third Day Song of Hope and Restoration.  There is Real Hope and Peace and Relief even in the chaos we see and live everyday. 

And a couple more Third Day Songs: 
It Feels Like I'm Born Again

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beauty In The Box

Goodness!  Look what arrived today.  This beautiful Meadowsweet from Pink Chalk Fabrics.  More is on the way from Jane's Fabrics, hopefully in the box tomorrow.  HOWEVER, I -- MUST -- HAVE -- MORE!  I'm planning a tablecloth for the breakfast table with the green medallion.  The colors are so beautiful and rich and creamy.  Included in my Pink Chalk package was ... 

... some AMH Little Folks.  Lovely!  So soft and silky.  I've been longing for Liberty of London for years but just cannot pay that price per yard of cotton.  This is the answer to that little dream.  This fabric will make beautiful scarves, skirts, summery dresses.  The drape is lovely.  I hope she creates more florals in this fabric weight.   

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Craft Hope for Haiti

If you haven't already heard, Craft Hope has set up the Craft Hope for Haiti etsy shop with all proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders and their work in Haiti.  Crafters from all over are donating items for sale there.  I sent a couple calicodaisy handmade items in to be listed, a Nigella laptop cover and a Ralph Lauren Soft Storage Bucket.  Not sure when they will be listed, as the founders of the shop are working hard to get everything put together.  This is a great opportunity to safely support the important care needed by the Haitian people. 

While you are thinking about this, please stop by The Howertons blog.  The mama was in Haiti visiting the child they've been working on adopting for the past three years when the earthquake hit.  She was trapped in the country for a few days but then had the opportunity to get home, but she had to leave her longed-for adopted son in Haiti - heartwrenching!  They are working hard and praying to get him home to the US.  Nearly all the paperwork had been finalized and now this.  This desperation for the nearly-adopted children is consuming families all over the US.  Please pray for a quick resolution for the children and the waiting parents. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Mailbox Makes Me Happy

.There have been more than the usual bills and junk mail in my box lately! My One Block Over Bee blocks are coming in from all over. I could never have guessed how beautiful they would be. You know how I worry over getting things right. I'm so glad I bought that bundle of fabric for the scrappy scarf-a-long I never made! And now to see the color combinations and style the bee participants are sewing up is so wonderful and inspiring. 

January Block - Shelly

I love this warm color combination at the top of the post sewn by Amy, and the same coziness was created by Shelly.  Then, on the creative side, I was so surprised to see Angie's shooting star design (right below).  All of them with the same pattern!  I'll show more on the next post, but you can check the bee blog link above to see them all. 

January Block - Angie

Yesterday I was at my LQS picking up some home dec fabric I need and was drawn to a specific set of fabrics. Isn't it funny when that happens? One is surrounded by every color and texture and potential sewing ideas, and something special or familiar just draws you in. The bolts had colors that felt so perfect together to me. I slid the bolt forward and saw that it was Riley Blake again. It may have been from the Just Dreamy line.  I was wishing I had one of the blocks with me so I could compare colors and see if I should buy some of that line to add to the additional blocks I'll be making to get this quilt a bit bigger than the pattern calls for. I'm thinking I may not sash this quilt in the spring green Kona cloth that you see in the corner blocks of the frame but use a tone-on-tone calico out of that set. Something new to obsess about now …..

So, last week, Margaret at the Q4 (I coined that nickname for her -- hope she doesn't mind) invited folks to participate in a Round Robin Quilt Block Exchange. I couldn't help myself and joined it. The leader is looking for one or two more participants, if she hasn't already found them. If you are interested, go here to the 2010 Round Robin Block Exchange and let Alicia of lucyquilts know. You can read all about it there

Okay, laundry, kitchen, general pick-up around the house, clocking in at noon … Uh, I think I have to run back to Bruegger's right now and get a DC refill for strength!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mary Engelbreit and Me

Good night!  A lovely e-mail arrived this evening notifying me that a recipe I submitted was accepted for an upcoming Mary Engelbreit cookbook that will be published in June 2010!  I'll receive an autographed copy later in the summer, though I think I'll have to pass it on to one of my BFFs who developed that recipe with me years ago.  Published in two books in one year?  Who could have guessed? 

ME's Home Companion magazine was one of my favorites for years.  My BFF above and I would get on the phone every month or so and read through it together and point out our favorite articles and projects.  I sure miss that magazine, so this really is a bit extra special to be part of the ME Home Companion world. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Busy With My Bee

The blocks I chose to have made for the One Block Over Bee are beginning to show up on the bee blog as well as in the mail! You'll have to pop over there and see. So I wouldn't be last to create my own choice of block, I got to it last night and finished this morning. I wanted to have it done before bed, but this one block took me a couple of hours and at 12:45 AM, I found that I had sewn the last strip on backwards. My fingers were just too numb to fix it at that point, so all was finished this morning. I'm so glad 11 others are making a block. I'm not sure I would want to make all these myself. The thought of the sashing and putting them all together makes me a little nervous, too. 
joyeux noel embroidered pillow
Did you participate in Jacquie's "Joy In The New Year" WIP Challenge? I did and got four out of five projects done. I finished one and a half of the quilt tops for my guys. I'll be showing those soon when complete. Jacquie was giving out prizes for those who participated in the challenge and completed projects. The pillow above was my contribution to her prize cache. I was hoping to win the #1 prize of her neighborhood quilt, but another lucky gal won that little beauty.

Otherwise, my days have been filled with work and embroidery design files and still sorting out the sewing room. It's soooooo coooollllldddd here! We expect a bit of snow tonight, but I hope it is just a dusting. South Carolina + Snow = Way Too Much Trouble! Plus, our home and neighborhood are older and all the phone and electric lines are above ground. If we lose power, it's such a bother. Okay, I'm off to dry my hair and get dressed to clock in at my desk at noon -- I have to look good for myself! Plus, I need to run up to Bruegger's for a DC refill and over to Zaxby's for a Grilled Chicken Salad for my lunch all before my shift starts.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! 2010!

New Year's Wish
Wow! I am so ready for 2010! I'm looking forward to a year STUFFED with work to make up for 2009 as well as honing my machine embroidery machine and design software skills. In November, I successfully transformed two local businesses' logos into embroidery designs for their uniforms. I'm catching on just a bit more in the design field with each project I take on. 
michele quilt fabrics framed
One new activity for 2010 that has me very excited is participating in my first virtual quilt bee! Doris of Threads of Conversation organized the One Block Over Bee and invited me to be part of the group. I am thrilled! I have longed to be part of a bee for a while but was too timid to ask, as I don't have any real quilting skills. Be sure to stop by the bee blog and scroll through the members. Everyone on the list but me has created a number of quilts. 

I took the January block so I could get my choice over with and not worry about comparing my decision to the other girls. I didn't want to risk getting too many ideas running around in my head. This way, too, I can see what's up with the process and then learn and practice the rest of the year. 

The fabrics for my block are from the Bloom and Grow line from Riley Blake. The set pictured was purchased from Material Gal. The block will be this pinwheel/star combo. Each member of the bee received a baggie containing a combination of prints plus two solids for the little frame around the pinwheel. The frame and the prints will be the only constant in the blocks. Each member can choose to add more fabrics, embellish, or change the configuration of the design. My biggest concern is getting the blocks back and putting them all together promptly! 

Today, I begin my studio clean out! I'm packing everything up but the essentials, cleaning the floor of all the scraps and threads that have gotten everywhere, rearranging the cutting table, setting up new tables so my machines sit in a row (Lowe's has the folding, 6-foot "banquet" tables on sale this week), and working on the task lighting. You know, I say "I am getting started," but, really, my husband has to do most of the above. I'm a total delegator and planner and a very weak laborer. Truly, my hands are built for fine motor skills, and I have no strength for big jobs. It's a burden …. He doesn't mind, though. The basement studio shares space with the laundry and utilities of the house, so it's a good project to do together. I just took panoramic photos to show you, but, other than the peek above, the view is just too horrible to share until the project is at least begun. They say pictures don't lie, but I tell you, it doesn't seem as awful through my rose-colored glasses!