Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What Is It?

Here's the deal: Below are two pictures of the same subject. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to identify it. It is not enough to say "animal, vegetable, mineral". You have to be specific. In the event that several people are correct, there will be a random drawing to determine a winner. You may enter as many times as you wish, but you cannot use the same answer each time!

Remember: To be eligible for the prize, you must leave a comment as to what you think the object is. Within the body of the message leave your first name and city in case you do not have a Google account. It will be very difficult to draw a winner from several Anonymous senders! The contest will officially end at midnight on Saturday, August 2. This should give everyone time to play!

I am eagerly anticipating your participation! I think you will be surprised at the answer to this riddle...but you'll have to wait til Sunday to find out. Tee Hee, this is just toooooo much fun!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Almost Monday--Again

For those of you who worry that I don't get enough quilting done--take heart. Today I finished the center to two quilts. One is in fall colors, and the other is a black oriental floral with alternate squares of pink mottled that was started many years ago. I decided to change the inner border on the oriental one from green to a pink batik, so I didn't get to add borders today. I also need to find the appropriate border for the fall one. But it felt good to be in the sewing room, working with my featherweight and listening to Randy Travis's new CD, Around the Bend. For those of you who don't know--are there any of you?--I LOVE Randy Travis! He is my all-time favorite singer. I even have a picture of him--with his autograph! And...I got it when my BBFF Cindy and I went to see him live about a year and a half ago. We had seats so close to the stage that we could easily have thrown ourselves at him and not been stopped--but we behaved ourselves--that's our story--and we are sticking with it! LOL

Since I posted last, I have taught precision machine piecing, pressing and rotary cutting on two different projects, helped lay out blocks and cut borders for the year-long machine pieced block of the month class that is just finishing in a nearby city; taught my method of hand quilting to 9 students AND was the entertainment for a baby shower where we sewed blocks for the mom-to-be.

Then, lest you think I am a lady of leisure, I mowed the two acre lawn--but that was fraught with difficulty--I got about 3/4s done with the big mower when one of the blades bent, causing it to make strange crop-circle-like divots in the grass. So I ended up mowing the rest of the lawn--at least 1/2 an acre--with the hand mower. But I got it done! "I am woman, hear me roar", well, maybe not, I'm too tired right now.

Here are some pictures I took this afternoon--I love catching the bees in the pollen!

The next time I post (in the next day or two, I promise), there will be a "test". I'm going to post a picture and see if anyone can tell me what it is! The answer will be revealed by week's end--who knows, there may even be a prize involved. But you won't be able to win if you don't leave a comment.

Til then--remember to take care of yourself--thread your needle and have a bit of stitching fun. It'll help keep you sane--OK, at least it won't hurt you!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Update

How was your weekend? I spent half of mine teaching and the other half getting ready to teach this week! With 3 full-day classes and one half-day, I need to stay organized and try to pick up the right combination of bags for each day! I probably have the largest supply of the extra-large LL Bean totes of anyone I know--and I load them down for each class. I also have one bag that goes to all classes--it contains extra rulers, markers, my picture book, rotary cutter, scissors, sandpaper boards, a first aid kit and lots more. I am enamored of the Coast Guard motto: Semper Peratus--Always Prepared.

How's this for rude? I had a student in my hand quilting class last week who said that she had taken hand quilting from a different teacher, who told her, before the class was over: "You might as well give up, you will never learn this"! Talk about demoralizing! Luckily she didn't listen and came to my class--where she did an excellent job and picked up the technique like nobody's business! So if a teacher is rude to you, don't give up--find someone else who can make your quilting dreams come true. There's nothing like the smile on students' faces when the AHA moment comes and they realize that they can indeed do it.

A Reminder: PLEASE remember to close the guard on your rotary cutter before setting it down, or between cuts. It is so easy so think nothing bad will happen to you if you don't, but in the blink of an eye you can do serious damage to yourself or a loved one. Better safe than sorry. Some of you already see me standing over you (even when I'm not physically there!) telling you this--do not make me come over there!

Have a wonderful start to the week. Let's expect great things to happen every day! And let me know what you are up to--I love getting mail (comments).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Wonder of Everyday Miracles

Whenever I fly I am once again in awe of the things we take for granted. How can millions of parts work together to lift passengers and their luggage into the air and take us to a different place in a matter of hours instead of the days or weeks it would take to go by car? Or the car--or the radio--or the tv. It amazes me that these things work so well consistently--we grumble loudly when they don't--but what a miracle each of these things is. I cannot imagine the changes that some of our older folks have seen in their lifetime--what did they think when they saw the first airplane overhead? Or the first car? Radio must have been "far-out" and then along came the tv! Maybe our generation will see space travel become commonplace--who knows!

The Feather Princesses have got to be some of the most fun people anywhere! We had a great time and they all made good progress on the projects. Two days to work on one project is just bliss for a teacher! It's a much more relaxed pace than a 3-hour class, and more of the project is done before leaving--making less impact on that ever-increasing UFO pile! (Come on, you know you have one! I'll 'fess up--I have more than 120 unfinished projects--of which about 65 are basted, ready to hand quilt!) I even wrote a note to one student's husband telling him that he should not chastise her for having so many unfinished things! I hope she let's me know how that went over!

Here's a picture of our group on the last day of classes. I'm the one whose hands are gesticulating! Seems I really can't talk without my hands! Circle ruching was the topic of this gathering!

Dispensing more Sharon-isms to a rapt audience!

A picture of Janie's project--very subtle colors and extra-fine workmanship!
And here we all are practicing "live long and prosper". Mr. Spock would be so proud!
It was a great trip--thank you to Dorothy for inviting me, to Rose for housing/feeding me, and to all the ladies who attended the lecture and classes. It was like rubbing elbows with royalty! (Get it--Feather PRINCESSES!)

Back on the homefront I've already taught one class, finished a quilt top for a friend, did my travel laundry and have basted more quilt sandwiches for my hand quilting class tomorrow. All the robins have fledged and gone. But my hollyhocks are glorious! Pics coming in the next couple days.

A thought to leave you with: "Almost doing something is the same as doing nothing." Let's all do something unexpectedly nice for someone in the next day or two. It will make them, and us, feel like a million bucks! 'Til next time....

Monday, July 7, 2008

With a Spring in My Step and a Smile on My Face

Very early in the morning, at the time I am usually going to bed, I will be off to teach in Florida. Ahhh, the life of the traveling quilter! I have to say that airline restrictions on baggage are not kind to traveling quilters. You know what I mean--quilters never travel light!

For those of you reading this who may be Feather Princesses, here is a sample of what I am working on for your two-day class. That funny yellow blob will be an eight petal flower when done. I'm looking forward to meeting all these ladies who do applique without making the sign of the cross and saying "EUWWW, the A-word!".

And, just because I could, I knit a wee sock the other night! Yes, it was knitted in the round, using the Magic Loop method, has a real heel flap, heel turn and all the stuff its big sisters/brothers do. I used a size 0 needle and yarn left over from my first pair of socks. My mom claimed her socks before I could get a picture.

There is a nest of robins outside my sewing room window--and the babies are fledging--here's the first one to leave the nest and try its wings!
And here's the porch mascot--a big old toad who stays up on the porch, apparently enjoying the view and dry feet!

I'll try to keep you posted about the trip--pics will have to wait until I return. Until next time, remember to spend a bit of time quilting every day--it may help bring some sanity into your life (or at least it can't hurt!).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!

July 4th. More than half of 2008 has passed. Remember when we were lamenting the horrible winter weather? Doesn't it seem like yesterday?

Let's take a moment today (as we should every day) to thank our soldiers, wherever they are serving, for making our way of life possible. No matter how much people complain about our country, there are lots of other places much worse. What always amazes me is that the people who complain the loudest are not moving to the places they deem better. Each of us can make a difference to those around us. For better...or for worse. Complaining with no action to do better is pretty worthless. Almost doing something is the same as doing nothing.

On a lighter note, I finished my mom's socks. And I managed to do the Kitchner stitch on the second toe. (Thanks, Barb--the new handouts did the trick!) I have cast on a pair of light grey socks in worsted wool--I do have to admit that sock knitting is addicting. If you are afraid to try socks, get "Getting Started Knitting Socks" by Ann Budd. The directions are wonderful and, if you take each step as it comes, totally achievable. I am currently on the lookout for some funky self-striping yarn to make a pair of ruffled socks--and not for a little girl either!

I've been writing new handouts for a two-day class on applique and started a new sample to go with them.

Have you read the new Janet Evanovich book--Fearless Fourteen? It's laugh out loud good! All of her Stephanie Plum series is fantastic--give it a try! I've also been listening to David Baldacci, Iris Johanson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts. You can get lots accomplished when you listen to audio books.

Happy Birthday, America! Let's all celebrate our fabulous country and its rich and varied history. Hurray for the US of A!