Monday, December 31, 2012

An End...and a Beginning

It's hard to believe that 2012 is just over an hour from being done.  Like everyone, I look back at the last twelve months and wonder where the time went.  I can honestly say I have never been bored in my entire life--but now so much of life seems to speed by with little notice.  The good intentions for sending cards and notes, or making a quick call--well, seem to have mostly remained that--good intentions.  That does not mean that I have not thought about you, and I've tried to give hugs, kudos and cheering-on/cheering-up long distance at least through the blog.

One thing I have noticed is that when I think hard enough and frequently enough about someone, I either see them or hear from them!  So maybe my telepathic connections are working part of the time!  I care about each of you.  For 2013 my wishes are for health, happiness, and enough for all of us.  I am going to look for more good around me and be more grateful for the many blessings I know come my way each day.  Will you join me?  I invite you to add comments to my blog posts--something good that happened, a story, an update--anything at all that will help keep us in touch.  Remember you can comment anonymously, but unless you give me a clue in the body of the comment, I won't know who you are.  

Do I sound like Pollyanna?  Good!  Come on, let's get happy in 2013.

Blissfully happy hugs as 2012 ends and 2013 begins!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


 These pictures were taken a few days ago.  My yard and trees look very similar today!  And the snow keeps on coming!

And here's Liljimmydickens relaxing on his fleece blankie.  He's great friends with Lynnie, but still isn't quite sure about the Dyson!  Maybe that's a sign I should vacuum less?

Enjoy the last Sunday of this year!

Blissful hugs,

Friday, December 28, 2012

Signs of the Season

Winter is definitely here!  We have lots of snow, it's cold, and usually pretty windy.  Last night, though, something different happened.

Ice crystals formed on each and every surface.  (Making it a true joy to clean off the Jeep!)  Everything is sparkly and beautiful.  Now we just have to hope we don't get heavy winds that will break branches or, worse yet, topple the trees.

I am in a designing, quilting, appliqueing, hand piecing, machine piecing mood.  I have finished two new applique samples, one new machine piecing sample, have finished another hexagon sample, and am hand quilting Protecting Peewee!  Plus I made a few gifts and hand quilted ornaments along the way.  Some of these new classes could be coming to a shop near you!  Stay tuned!

I hope all your holiday celebrations were absolutely wonderful.  Feel free to share your stories!

Blissful almost-year-end hugs,

P.S.  I finished Victims by Jonathon Kellerman, The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver, and am listening to Courting Trouble by Lisa Scottoline.

P.P.S.  Liljimmydickens is doing just fine; thank you for asking!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Dickens Christmas

This is a Christmas miracle that spanned one year.  Last Christmas Eve, Dickens was rescued from a feral cat colony.  His eyes were swollen shut from entropion (the eyelid grows backward and ulcerates the eye).  He was neutered and his eyes were miraculously cured with surgery.  The kind rescuer fostered Dickens in hopes of finding his forever home.  Fast forward to December 2012:

Through a friend, I heard of Dickens and went to see him several times.  He's big--14.2 pounds!  And so gentle and sweet.  Before he could be adopted, he had to have four teeth extracted.  It looked like he had been kicked in the mouth before being rescued.  So off he went to the veterinary dentist.  He had his final checkup last Tuesday, and Friday, December 21, almost Christmas Eve this year,  he came to his forever home.  Lynnie and I are both thrilled.

Dickens is such a formal name that I have started calling him "liljimmydickens".  Broken down it is Little Jimmy Dickens, but you have to say it fast and run it together.  He's answering to it!  He's an indoor cat so I don't have to worry about shouting throughout the neighborhood for him!

The many moods of Liljimmydickens:  Thoughtful.


You talkin' to me?

So I am feeling especially blessed this Christmas to have wonderful friends and family, of both the two-and four-legged variety.  God bless you all this Christmas morning!

Blissful Christmas Hugs,

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cheryl and Sharon Quilting

 It's so hard to believe that Cheryl only learned to quilt a bit over a year ago.  She started hand piecing this beauty in a class that started last October.  And by December this year she had the top done!  She's going to hand quilt this--after the holidays, I believe!  She is so hard to get a picture of!  Great job, Cheryl!  (She's learning hand applique this year!)

While looking for something else, I found this top in a basket, lacking just the trunk.  Having nothing better to do (!!!!), I decided that after six or more years in this sorry state, it deserved to be finished--NOW!  So I added the trunk, sandwiched and turned it, and tied it with buttons and pearl cotton!  And I used a button and pearl cotton to fashion the hanger.

Here's a closer look.  The top was all hand pieced.  I had a chunk of the polar bear fabric that I used to fussy cut triangles.  Notice the larger triangle?  I decided to tie this piece with buttons, but only on the non-bear triangles.  I did add one star to the bigger triangle--just because I could.

Here's the back--a pretty piece with doves.  I like to put my ties to the back to keep the front looking crisper and more tidy, plus it gives the back a bit of interest.  (As I've been thinking about this, I think the top may be over 10 years old....)  But finished in an evening!  My first new Christmas piece in quite some time.

Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating that special event.  And for those getting ready for Christmas, how's that going?

Holiday hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Finish...for Me!

Yesterday, while looking for something else, I found this almost finished piece.  All it lacked was three lines of quilting in the border.  So I sat down and finished the quilting.  This morning I added a sleeve and binding and hand sewed both of those to result in this:

Here's a detail.  This was appliqued in August, so it's another miracle--something else started and finished in the same year.  All batiks with a cotton batt.

In response to some recent comments:  Chefpa, you made a good case for the Jack Reacher movie, but I'm still voting no.  Can we say "wimpy, wimpy, wimpy"? Of those who have commented, it's a big thumbs down for this casting.  If you do go, Chefpa, please let us know what you think.

Thanks, Janet, for the kind words on the quilting!

Sandy R, I have your applique block from class tonight.  I'll keep it with me until next class unless you need it back before then.

Okay, enough for tonight.  

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


The Jack Reacher books by Lee Child are some of the best I've ever listened to.  When I heard there would be a movie based on one of the books, I was thrilled.  Then I heard that Tom Cruise would be the lead and I was puzzled.  Something felt not quite right.

This morning when I started Running Blind, the newest installment, I realized why.  Jack Reacher in the books is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds.  Big, intimidating--does not easily blend into a crowd.  Can we just say so definitely NOT Tom Cruise?

Will I go see the movie?  No.  Will I continue to listen to every Jack Reacher book written?  Absolutely.

And in case you forgot, my masthead is truly truth in advertising--opinionated, indeed.

Blissful Sunday hugs,

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Quilting Miracle

This happens so rarely that I really do consider it at least a minor miracle.  In mid-October (this year) I hand pieced a Halloween Hexagon quilt top.  It went off to a guild for display and I got it back on November 10.  And the miracle part, you ask?  It is completely hand quilted and bound--finished in November (this year!).

Here's a pic of part of the quilting and a bit of the marking.

A bit more of the center.  I did almost all of the quilting in one day.

I used this marker and a ruler for the center.

And the same marker and my hexagon template to mark the border.

Ta Da!  It really is rectangularly-shaped--it was the angle of the shot that warped it ;-(  I just love it!

And here's a close-up of the border quilting from the back.  Love the spiders and webs on the backing.  And the spiders are all wearing hats and boots!  The quilting in the border doesn't show much on the front, but I don't care.  It's an unexpected surprise on the back.

So there you have the quilting miracle.  Totally done from concept to binding in two months!    I have done this feat before, but not for a long time.  Good to know I've not totally lost my touch.  

Did you recognize the pattern as the same one as Protecting Peewee?  Different fabrics, a bit different layout of the hexies and an in-your-face border turn this around big time.

Strange but true--I tried four times last night to post this and finally gave up.  I guess it wanted to be the first post in December--go figure!

Blissful hugs,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Di's 1000th

Please help Diane and Miss Gracie celebrate Di's 1000th blog post.  Visit her blog at  She has an unusual and exciting idea for the celebration.  Let's all join in!

Congratulations, Di!

Blissful hugs,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Squirreling Away Nuts

Taken today, in the tree outside my sewing room.

Our first really measurable snow, but not too much.  I spent the day hand quilting--pics probably tomorrow.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to XO by Jeffery Deaver.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Many Words...No Pictures

The decision was made to forego the pictures tonight or there still would not be a post.  It's not that I'm not working on things (I am) but just no progress worth pictures.  Outside things look drab and brown, sometimes with a touch or two of white.  Not being overly fond of browns (no offense to you brown lovers out there), I am still surprised at how much I love Peewee.  I need to find the perfect backing fabric and get it basted and quilted.  Right after I finish quilting and binding the skull hexagon quilt, and make a wedding quilt for a couple who just celebrated their first anniversary, and finish...finish...finish.  Oh, my.

On an unrelated note, have you heard "That's Why I Pray" by Big & Rich, from their Hillbilly Jedi album?  I love the video that goes with it and just downloaded the song to my Kindle.  What?  I didn't tell you I have a Kindle?  Yes, a Kindle Fire HD.  And a gift, no less!  If it's even possible, I am reading more.  I carry it with me everywhere and read even for a minute or two when I am waiting somewhere.  It is so majorly cool!  Tons of free books to download, plus you can download samples of books to see if you like them before purchasing (obviously not for the free ones!).  I don't mind not turning real pages and I can read even in a power outage.  I can recharge the battery in the car!

Okay, back to Big & Rich.  LOVE this song, know almost all the words already and the message keeps running through my mind.  It is so much a message for today's world.  Check it out.

Did everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving?  Ours was small but great.  I remember when we had almost twenty people around the table, the kids sat in the kitchen and the men all went hunting before dawn, coming in just in time for lunch.  So many people absent--but not forgotten.  With families spread across the globe, it is harder to get everyone together.  Think what it must have been like in our grandparents' time--when families often were in the same town and getting together wasn't like marshaling the troops.  I wonder what young people in our time will remember when they are older?

Are you all asleep yet?  If so, I will market this post as a cure for insomnia!

Blissful hugs to all,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Protecting Peewee

A couple months ago I bought a fat quarter pack from Quilters Corner in Ithaca, NY (  For some unknown reason I was drawn to this grouping of taupes.  In the end, I used only four of the six fabrics.  As you may have been able to tell from prior quilts, I LOVE high contrast.  So what is wrong with this picture?  (That's a rhetorical question--there is nothing wrong with this picture--it's just very low contrast!)

The entire piece is only 16.5 x 17.5, including borders.  Each hexagon finishes at 1.5 inches per side.  There are half, corner and side hexagons to make the piece "square" again.  And borders.

There's Peewee!  I had the title not long after I started cutting the fabric.  I cut a lot of hexagons of many fabrics until I found just the right combination.

See the birds around the center?  Ever-watchful of Peewee.

Here's the piece from the back.  Carefully pressed and trimmed to reduce bulk and prevent shadowing.

This will be a class for both shops and guilds in 2013.  I will be updating the website soon to include this full day class.  Then you too can claim a finished hexagon this lifetime!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and traveled safely.  

Blissful hugs,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Finally...A Finish for Me!

This runner was cut, pieced and machine quilted in about three hours.  Even the binding was on, except for the hand sewing.  But I just couldn't seem to find time to sit and hand sew that binding!  This is created with the Whirligig ruler/template by Creative Grids.  One template, easy sewing, minimal matching--you could have several done in time for Christmas.  Yes, this year!  And the pattern is included with the ruler/template.

I have a second center done.  Just need borders.  All batiks, as is the one above.

My first Bali Pops purchase.  I have a pattern that requires one pack plus a few more strips.  I'll show more of it as it goes along.  (That's the back of the runner behind the Pops.)

The weather here has been wonderful.  Although I know I can't stop it, I am dreading the first big snowfall.  The snowblower is ready and the shovel is by the door, but I'm grateful for every day without major snow.

You should see Protecting Peewee over the next few days.  The center is hand pieced and just needs trimming and a border.  I love it and it turned out just as I envisioned.

That's it for now.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I finished listening to The Storm by Clive Cussler, and am listening to All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie.  I am reading Fox Tracks, the newest "Sister" Jane novel by Rita Mae Brown.  (I've also been reading a number of horse-related books, but decided not to bore you with all of those!)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Bliss of Hand Piecing

Have you noticed lately that English Paper Piecing is having a resurgence?  Well, I love to baste over the papers, but hate to whip-stitch those pieces together!  I love hand piecing, so I thought why not just mark the pieces and stitch them together that way?  So a do-able hexagon project was devised and the ladies in the Corning area got first crack at it.

Today we spent learning something new, laughing lots and having a ton of fun while doing it!  

Here's a shot of my sweatshop class.  So serious, learning the ropes.  Attentive to every nuance of this blissful endeavor.  Oh, the things they learned--from why a shark does not immediately attack a raft loaded with people to choice of fabrics, threads, etc.

At the end of the day, the results.  Some are doing the traditional setting, some are doing a more random presentation.  I love both.  And the choice of fabrics makes each piece sing.  Several of these ladies were first-time hand stitchers; you couldn't tell it from their stitches--just wonderful.

What a fun day!  Thanks so much for inviting me!  I can't wait to see what these grow up to be!

Blissful hugs,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Flimsy-NOT

Just look at these smiling faces!  You've seen them before with other finishes and this one is just as stunning.

Debbie and her mom, Grace, hand pieced and hand quilted this lovely piece.  The pattern is from Monthly Bliss 1 (designed by yours truly!).  Debbie and Grace work as a team on most of their quilts, and Grace loves to hand piece.  In fact, she's made several quilts' worth of several of these blocks for other projects.  She is also the hand quilter of this gem.

The class was held at O'Susannah's in Watkins Glen.  That's Sue, the owner, on the left taking a look.

Here you can see a bit of the quilting and a close-up of the blocks.

Can we say "proud"?  Yes, I am!  Well done, Ladies!

I've got a new hexagon piece cut out which I will show as it progresses.  The name?  "Protecting Peewee".  Intrigued?

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I just finished listening to Fool Me Twice by Michael Brandman (for Robert B. Parker) and am starting  Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lynnie's 10th Birthday

Saturday, November 3, was Lynnie's tenth birthday!  That's a big milestone for a boxer!

We celebrated with a special Busy Bone and I let her wear one of my "tiaras".  

She is such a good girl and I love her dearly.  Every day with her is a gift.

Happy Daylight Savings Time to all who change the clocks.  We had snow yesterday and today, but luckily nothing major.

Blissful hugs,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another Grandma Quilt!

Over the summer, another of our quilt group's members found out she was to be a first time grandma. guessed it!  We made another quilt!  Terry's face was priceless when she realized we were having a surprise party for her, and we made most of the blocks that evening.  You may remember the shoo fly pattern (under patterns on the left side bar).  This time we made it with Eric Carle fabrics.  The front is sashed with 10 Little Rubber Ducks fabric.  We chose coordinating prints from a variety of manufacturers to piece the blocks.

The backing is another Eric Carle fabric, from the Grouchy Ladybug line.  It was machine quilted by our friend Debbie.

Perfect for snuggling with that special little one!

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  Is everyone okay after the storm?  I just found out today that a tree came down on a friend's car!  Luckily she wasn't in it!

P.P.S.  I am listening to The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surviving Sandy

Did any of you in the northern part of the United States ever think you would see a hurricane?  I know I never did!  And what a storm Sandy was...and is!  I can't imagine 18 foot waves on Lake Superior.  Our street suffered about a 3-hour power outage and that was about it.  We were very lucky.  I hope everyone else is safe and with family and/or friends.  My thoughts and prayers are with each of you.

Blissful hugs,

Sunday, October 28, 2012


With the forecast so dire, my hope for all of us is rainbows.  Things can be replaced, but life is precious.  May you and your loved ones be safe through the storm.  

Blissful hugs,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Smiling Students

Time to catch up on some student finishes.

First is Gale, who finished the center of this stunning landscape at the August retreat.  The colors are much more vibrant than they look in this pic.  Gale has an eye for color!

Debbie S. completed this hand pieced Hexagon Bliss quilt.  Started in a class in 2009, it is now quilted and bound.  

I begged Debbie to show her face with the quilt, but no.... So, knowing her arms would get tired of holding the quilt before her face, I patiently waited.  And got THE LOOK for my efforts!

These three lovely ladies were in the Goose in the Pond class held today at O'Susannah's in Watkins Glen.  Each learned to safely and accurately rotary cut, machine piece and press these blocks to perfection.  This was Laurie's first quilt class ever (lime sweater), Claire's (in red) third as she's making a big quilt from these blocks, and Linda was fine-tuning her skills.  They did an excellent job!  And we had a great time from beginning to end.

Congratulations, one and all!  Seeing the pictures brings back happy memories of these students and classes.  May the adventure continue!

Blissful hugs,

Friday, October 26, 2012

Last Stop

The last stop on my Shelburne Farms tour was the breeding barn.  Here's the drive to the entrance.

You can't imagine the  number of pictures I had to take to get one good (?) one of myself.  I need much longer arms!  Anyways, here I am standing at one end of the Breeding Barn.  It's a huge structure and until 1932 (or 1939) it was the largest open span building in the world!  Check out those skylights.  The structures on both sides near the floor used to be horse stalls. Way in the back there are three hay wagons set side by side--there is room for at least that many more across the aisle, showing how big this place is.  

A little less than half the length of the building on the outside front.

This was taken on the back side of the barn.  Look at all the detail work and the sheer number of windows!

From the inside looking up...and up!  You can see from the ground floor all the way to the top of the cupola-like structure at the top.  You can see the viewing platform in the center on the second floor.  For scale, the round windows are approximately 18-24 inches across.  For those of you who ride, can you even imagine riding in this place?  All that space and light?  The barn is being restored and is presently used for events.  There is a poster showing it lit up with candles and white lights, with round tables and guests seated for a banquet.  Just stunning!

And last, the view out the arched door looking back down the lane.  Several people had suggested that the mansion was the building to see--but for me nothing beats a great barn!  

That ends the away mission tour, and we will now resume some other nonsense to keep you entertained, or to be used as an insomniac aid!

Blissful hugs,