Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's All in the Details

It's fun to inspect flowers up-close-and-personal.  Enjoy!

Blissful hugs,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What a Surprise!

Last night on my way home, I came over a hill and found:

Not at all alarmed.  I kept several feet back and pulled out my camera (after closing my mouth from the surprise!)

Amble, amble, amble.  Sometimes looking left, sometimes looking right.  Apparently enjoying the attention.

A right turn into an opening in the hedgerow.  Disregarding the Posted sign ;-)

A blurry picture of the wing spread.  He spread them, but did not fly off!

These are close-ups of this Great Blue Heron.  They are so cool to see, and this is the closest I've ever been!

I'm a lucky girl!  And I count every blessing.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to The Collector by Nora Roberts.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mug Rugs

 I'm really late to this party!  (Does that make me fashionable?  It would be the first time ever!)  Recently I did a search for mug rugs, just to see what was out there.  Well, apparently, they were really popular several years ago!  One of the sites I found is:  I also found links to several other sites, where there were tutorials on different styles of mug rugs.  (If you are interested, do a search and see what comes up--it's pretty cool!)

Some sites gave patterns with precise directions, others did not.  For this one, from Mary's site, there was no pattern.  But I knew the overall size and started cutting.

Simple piecing, simple machine quilting, binding--Bob's your uncle, and you're done!

I did hand sew the binding down.  Someone who saw this on a counter said I couldn't have done it because it was all by machine!  In the infamous words of Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"  They are so quick and fun--and what a great place to be creative.  Sizes run around 6.5 x 7.5.  No set number--just big enough for a mug and a treat--chocolate, cookie, whatever you want!  They also make great places to lay down scissors and other tools near your sewing machine.  Or how about for setting candles on (in glass, properly protected, of course; in other words, do not make this into a fire hazard!).

How about you?  Bet you can't make just one!  My alleged brain is just spinning with ideas!  Be sure to let me know what you come up with!

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to The Collector by Nora Roberts.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Retreat 2014 - Part 2

And now for the blocks....

The first pic is of Emily's blocks.  She decided to use two different backgrounds which gave this piece a warm feeling.  Don't you love the black with dots?

These are two of Gale's finished blocks.  Love the checkered circle, and she used a black with dots in straight lines for the stems.  

 Judi feels that the turquoise fabrics give this an aquatic feel.  I think the blocks are just spectacular!

Marie had all three blocks finished before the end of the retreat, but I only got a pic of two.  The background is a perfect foil for the lovely applique fabrics.

Traci doesn't fool around!  She finished all the applique blocks and had the top set before the end of the retreat.  Isn't it spectacular?

And here they are:  Displaying their favorite blocks.  Our (my) goal for the retreat was to increase the applique skill level of each student.  It makes me smile to see how each improved and became for comfortable with these techniques.

And here is my version of the project.  My favorite block is the top one--I just find it very interesting (and challenging).  

So there you have it, dear readers.  Retreat 2014 was a success--applique, friends, fun...and, of course, chocolate!  Thank you to the quilters who attended--you did a great job; I'm very proud.

Blissful hugs,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Retreat 2014 - Part 1

A funny story and some scenes from retreat 2014 in Lake George, New York.

Each summer, we have made it a tradition to run to the porch of my classroom (pic below) and wave as the Minne-ha-ha goes by.  Our goal is to get the passengers to wave--we have mixed results at best.  This year, five of my students decided to ride the Minne-ha-ha to see the lake from the lake instead of from shore.  We knew approximately what time the boat would be going by the dock at retreat, and those of us left on shore eagerly awaited the arrival of the Minne-ha-ha.  Our most shy and retiring quilter, TL, decided that they should all sit on the upper deck.  She also asked the captain to get as close to camp as possible.  When he asked why, she said that her teacher was on shore.  He asked what her name was.  TL told him--and...he announced over the PA system "Hello, Sharon Stroud"!  Can you just imagine!  Needless to say, all five of the quilters were waving wildly and they inspired the other tourists to do likewise!  The most waves we've every gotten!

Here's a pic of the top deck.  Counting from the right, the first five people are quilters!  The other side of the picture, top row, the enthusiastic tourists!  Too funny!

A close-up of the happy quilting castaways!  You ladies make me laugh!

Now, some random pictures I took that I wanted to share.  First, a piece of branch being used as a handrail on a path.  Isn't the texture interesting?  The white is a bit of fungus, I think.

We were lucky enough to get a private boat ride on Sunday morning.  Joe told us about rogue waves and we saw one.  No one can explain them, they just occur and are quite large.

The shore line coming into the boat house.  Just lovely.

Remember my classroom?  Here it is!  The lake runs under it!  And the water is so clear.  And that's the deck/porch we wave from!

And, to end this post, lake, rolling mountains, lofty clouds.  What a treat!

Next post I will show you the project we did at retreat and how the students interpreted it.

Blissful hugs,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Still Alive

I have some interesting things to show you, but it won't be tonight.  So I am posting a couple pics to get you back into the swing of things.

This is the year of the cone for my blue spruce trees.  They are absolutely loaded!  

And this was a very weird sky.  There were a lot of things going on and the colors continued to change for over an hour.  

I have listed to Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods, Invisible by James Patterson, Accused by Lisa Scottolini, and Deception by Jonathan Kellerman.  I've been on the road a bit and I have things to share.  So I'll see you again really soon!

Blissful hugs,

Monday, August 4, 2014

What's in Your Featherweight?

Who cares what's in your wallet?  I want to know just what's been accumulating in your Featherweight!

It's been a while since I stood on my "clean your machine" soapbox, so here goes:

I recently brought a machine home to clean for someone.  (In her defense, she had just recently purchased it, so this was definitely NOT her fault!)

Here is the bottom plate with lots of "schmutz".

Holy felting, Batman!  Perhaps a wee felted blanket?

Another view in case you were not already horrified enough.

The moral of this story?  Clean your machine!  Even if it's not a Featherweight, each machine needs a little TLC to survive in this linty world.  Oh, and have you changed your needle in the last eight hours of sewing?  Just checking while I'm here.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly.

P.P.S.  Diane:  Dickens cannot have any indoor playmates of the kitty persuasion by order of his adoption papers.  He's to remain an "only" child.