Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

As 2015 draws to a close, an update of sorts.

Dickens in a box!  I set the box aside after unloading it and the next thing I knew....

Red squirrels are the topic of many a conversation this year.  (The comments are not always complimentary to the squirrels!)  Here, the red and gray squirrels are competing to see who can find/hide the most corn.  The people who harvest the corn behind the house just take the cobs.  There are many full and partial cobs left and the critters bring them nearer the house to hide.  Sometimes in plain sight!  Seeing them carrying cobs bigger than they are never gets old!

On a cloudy day, one ray of sunshine hit the N/S part of the weathervane.  I love details like that!

And here's my main squeeze, Pompera, from a couple days ago.  She is just too cute for words.

2015.  A year of great joy, great sorrow, family, friends, quilting, horses, and Dickens.  A full life.  My life.  And I am thankful for everyone who is a part of that life.

Blissful New Year's Hugs,

Friday, December 4, 2015

Too Soon Gone

Debbie has been my friend for more than 20 years.  Earlier this week, she lost her battle with liver cancer.  She fought hard, with courage and tenacity.  Her husband of 31 years stood by her side every step of the way.

Debbie was a do-er and a finisher.  Every month she changed all the quilts in her home; she must have made hundreds!  And she was generous with her time and talents.

Debbie touched so many people with her kindness.  I'm not sure she realized just what a legacy she has left.  Never one to call attention to herself, Debbie worked quietly in the background to make so many lives better.

Her family and friends will miss having her nearby, but she will live forever in our hearts.  And those of us who quilted with her can see her in Heaven, shaking her head, saying "Now, girls, I hear a lot of chitchat, but I don't see a lot of sewing going on!"

Too soon gone, indeed.


Monday, November 30, 2015


Halloween - Late

Thanksgiving - Late

Believe it or not, I do think a lot about the blog.  I tend to blog at night, and it seems the days lately have been so full that by the time night rolls around, I am headed for bed!  I've almost had to relinquish my night owl status!  It's good to be busy.

My last post about choosing happiness struck a chord with some of you.  I hope you were able to choose the option best suited to your pursuit of happiness.  I recently heard a true story about a local woman who worked as a teacher for over 35 years.  When she retired, she moved to Kentucky and now works on a horse farm--that was her goal through all those years.  It's never too late.  We all have things we have to do, but let's make time for what makes our hearts sing and fills us with hope and renewal.

Part of the reason I probably have not posted more, is that I love seeing the pictures of Pompera and me at the top of the screen each day.  I'm seeing her in person more frequently, so I am letting that go now.

Please remember that you are all special.  You each have a unique gift.  Our world would not be the same without you in it.'s a new day with unlimited possibilities for us all.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am refraining from saying Happy Holidays early; I'm going to try really hard to make that one more timely!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pompera and Me

In September, I leased Pompera, my main squeeze, and we went on an adventure.  (I'd been telling her about it for months!)  Strawberry Fields, where I take lessons, trailered Pompera to a different farm where the two of us participated in a Centered Riding Teacher Certification clinic.  Whoa back, readers...we were student riders, not going for teacher certification!  I was lucky enough to spend four whole days with Pompera and other horse-minded people.  And other horses, too!

These pictures were taken on day three.  I was assigned two teacher candidates.  They alternated days of being lead teacher and assistant.  While we completed paperwork in which we stated what we hoped to accomplish, I also added that I was willing to learn anything they wanted to teach me!  What a blast!

We wove in and out of five cones at walk, slow trot, and very fast trot!  We did a labyrinth twice--where you walk in, halt, turn, halt, turn and walk forward, halt--and keep repeating until you walk out!  (This is only part of what we did!)

Four days of being at the barn over 12 hours a day!  Cleaning stalls, feeding, watering, grooming--ahhh, spa days indeed.  I got home each night dirty, tired, and eager to go back.

The moral of this story?  Grab the gusto while you can.  I don't want to get to the end of my life and say "I wish I had".  What makes your heart sing?  An old saying, but one I've taken to heart the last few years:  If it is to be, it is up to me.  I can make it happen if I want it enough and am willing to work for it.  How about you?

Blissful hugs,

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's Exhausting

Interviews, FBI screenings, Secret Service...manicures, facials, spa days, wardrobe just goes on and on.  Learning to walk in heeled shoes.  Must be I am being taken more seriously in my fourth bid for President!  (wink, wink)  There was a lot of head shaking (not in a good way) when I brought up the subjects of tiaras and (weighted) scepters.

At any rate, since throwing my hat in the ring again, I have been busy, and busier, and am now into the 9th day of a cold/sinus/whatever.  Some will rejoice in knowing that I totally lost my voice one day, but it's back now....

Thanks for your patience.  Here's a brief tour of what others are achieving!

First, Sharon N, Pat S, Gale, Pat A, and Cheri learned to make flying geese units the old-fashioned way--with quarter- and half-square triangles!  They all did a beautiful job and have enough fabric to make a second block with the two main colors reversed!

Karen H. just has to bind her Mariner's Compass Bliss project--what a stunner it is!  Great job, Karen!

Carol R, a frequent flyer here on the blog, had her Green Thumb wall hanging at the Tompkins County Quilters Guild show a few weeks ago.  Just delightful, as always!

And Cindy O sent me this pic of 3 Unlikely Friends that she started last summer at retreat.  The setting fabrics add spark to the blocks!  Yippee!

The three blocks from Three Unlikely Friends were designed at the same time as the ones for Green Thumb.  They definitely did not do well with those nine, so I made a separate hanging out of them.  A very different feel.  I love them both.

Next up:  What I did in September.  Or maybe something else.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I finished X by Sue Grafton, Make Me by Lee Child, Tripwire by Lee Child.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Throwing My Hat in the Ring...Again

The opinions expressed below may be offensive to some; continue reading at your own discretion.

I think this is the fourth time I've tossed my hat into the presidential campaign ring.  As you can plainly see, I have been unsuccessful in my bid three times.  Perhaps the fourth will be the charm.

Here's part of my platform:

ALL gas tanks will be filled from the driver's side--no exceptions.  Why haven't manufacturers come to that conclusion themselves?  No more jockeying for a spot at the pumps.

ALL convicted prisoners will be microchipped.  No exceptions.  We spend millions of dollars tracking escapees; microchips will eliminate the need for manhunts and pay for themselves many times over.

There will be a child-free shopping day each week.  That's right, plan ahead, because no children will be allowed in any shop on the designated day.  And perhaps that day will also be cell phone free, as well.  Remember the good old days of leaving home to get away from screaming kids and the ringing phone?  What was wrong with that?

Remember turn signals--or when people used to use them more often?  It's not like we have to stick our arm out the window in all kinds of weather before the invention of turn signals.  My suspicion is that there was more signaling in those days than now.  And why are turn signal lights so small?  Most cars are bigger but have smaller lights.  Why is that?

This is just the beginning of my campaign.  Let's get the word out.  Stroud for President!  And I am going to be the first tiara-wearing president.  And I may carry a wand scepter.  The Queen shouldn't have all the fun!

Blissful presidential-hopeful hugs,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Too Much Fun!!!!

A sort of not well-kept secret is how much I love tiaras!  Let's face it, there are not many opportunities in real life to wear one.  My favorite episode of The Big Bang Theory?  The one where Sheldon buys Amy a tiara!  Just too funny.

So this year at retreat (about the only place I can wear one for several days in a row), we had a tiara contest.  Several people participated in the actual contest, and I have a bunch few that I bring each year for those who are trying to keep a low profile.  When we play Quilto (yes, it's bingo with quilting terms ) we all wear tiaras!  Here's half of the group.  (You can see one of the retreaters wearing a frown--she was having a terrible time [wink wink].)

And the other half.  That's Penny waving so majestically because she just won Quilto!  It's very serious.

Emily was the winner of the tiara contest.  Her tiara is embellished with threads and all kinds of embellishments.  Such a regal air!

Here they are, all hard at work.

Here's the Stroud Posse with their finished Rose Star blocks.  Hand pieced, of course, using freezer paper templates from Linda Franz at  Linda has designed programs where you can actually print on the wrong side of your fabrics, eliminating the tracing part.  We could not do that at our retreat, but we did use custom designed freezer paper to complete our blocks.  Thanks, Linda!

And a close-up of Terri's almost completed block.  The pansy fabric was perfect for this, and she has already cut two more versions to make a runner.

It was a fun time.  Lots of laughs, lots of chocolate, lots of sewing.  The greatest lesson learned--NEVER let Sharon be in charge of the camera's remote control!  You'll see what I mean in a later post;-)

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to Cane and Abe by James Grippando.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Flimsies and Flimsy-Nots

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time with like-minded quilters.  Here are some pics of what they have been accomplishing.

First, Cindy O. who finished hand-piecing her 32-point Mariner's Compass.  This is a design I taught about three years ago.  The fabric for the eight main star points is just fabulous and brought the entire design to life.

Emily had not one, but two, flimsy-nots!  First is Monthly Bliss Doubled, the perfect mix of hand piecing and hand applique!  Civil War reproduction fabrics are stunning in this design.  Note the border!

And Emily's second "not" is Monthly Bliss 1.  The setting fabrics are perfect for making those hand-pieced stars shine.

Gale's version of Mariner's Compass Bliss.  If you look carefully you will see that all of the background is not the same.   Gale chose to use a few similar backgrounds to give the quilt more depth and to look like "black holes".  Just stunning.

And Gale finished her Monthly Bliss 3 flimsy.  The blocks are hand-pieced, and the setting fabrics are well-chosen to support those beautiful blocks.

And last for tonight, but never least, is Traci with her "not".  This is Mariner's Compass Bliss, with hand-pieced blocks.  Traci longarmed this herself, and I love the multi-colored binding!

Thank you, ladies, for sharing and for giving me even more reason to be proud of my students.  You are the best!

For those of you who are wondering what all the "Bliss" is about....  In my humble opinion, something good should happen to women at least once a month (we all have lots of not so great things that happen every month), so I started teaching long-term block of the month classes and named them all with Bliss in the title.  I have Monthly Bliss 1, Monthly Bliss 2, Monthly Bliss 3, Hexagon Bliss, Monthly Bliss Doubled, and Mariner's Compass Bliss. All hand-pieced, and some are even set by hand!  One of my students said we should be called "Bliss-ters", not to be confused with blisters which are very bad.  Our bliss is excellent!

I'm not exactly sure where the summer went, but it went too quickly.  Stay tuned for more cool stuff!

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Lucky Shot

Sometimes you just get lucky.  For over twelve years I have passed what must be an old mill of some sort.  And every year I told myself that "some day" I want to stop there.  Well, this was the year.  This is right along the road.  You can see where the bridge is missing; even on the beginning part, there are only the rails.

I find buildings like this fascinating.  No signs or markers.

While I was starting back from the far end of the building, I saw this beautiful butterfly.  It was several feet away and I figured I'd never get the shot.  It was still just long enough for me to take the picture, and then it flew right towards me!

And another pretty flower that was along the edge of the dam.

It was 90 degrees that day and sunny.  Today?  Low 60s and overcast.  But I admit it...I prefer it cooler.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty and just finished Naked Greed by Stuart Wood.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's So "Vane"

A friend recently gave me an antique weather vane!  I wanted it somewhere I could see it and scouted out a place.  My brother came up with the idea of moving "the big house" down and mounting the vane to the top.  He's so smart!  I can see both from my sewing room windows!  While I was away last week, he not only moved the big house down, he repainted it!  (The following pictures were taken at about 8:10 pm and the sky was a nasty green!)

A detail of the vane itself.  It was pouring rain; I love the way the water is beading along the bottom of the horse and arrow.  It definitely moves in the wind and I just love this high-stepper!

And here is a shot toward the road.  That was the color of the sky for about half-an-hour.  Really eerie!

I've lots to share in the next few days.  Stay tuned...some of it is actually quilt-related!

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to Smash Cut by Sandra Brown--a real who-done-it!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Baby Update

I've had my nose to the grindstone sewing the last few weeks, but unfortunately, nothing for public consumption yet.  Last night when I went out to take pictures of the sunset, here's what I found.

The twins are frolicking farther and farther from mom.  She still is so thin, and she looks worried all the time.  I gave her the customary wave so she knew it was me and that she was safe.  The family was in the yard quite a while and eventually just meandered away.

I'm in the process of scheduling new classes, and I'll let you know when they are up on the website.  A bit of a change for the fall....

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I just finished listening to Three Jack Reacher Novellas by Lee Child.  Excellent!

P.P.S.  I am loving this cooler weather!  Yippee!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Twins

Pat A. reminded me that I had not posted pictures of the doe and twins.  Here they are; I think deer twins are probably as mischievous as human twins!  And I don't see the dad helping....

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  I am listening to A Fatal Flaw by Dana Stabenow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New and Delicious!

I'm always on the look-out for snacks that are easy to pop in your mouth and keep on doing--whatever.  Without a mess.  As we all know, M&Ms are the perfect quilting snack, but sometimes a bit of variety is in order.

First up, Oreo Thins Mint.  Okay, they also come in regular Oreo flavor, but the die for!

This is how thin they are.  The absolutely perfect ratio of cookie to filling.  And pop-able!

These are the new Keebler Town House Pretzel Thins in parmesan herb.  There are other flavors, but this caught my eye.  They are small, crisp and delish!

I've know about these for a few weeks, and this is a perfect time to share.  OMG!!!!  They are 100% cheese!  Baked!  YUM!

They are also pop-able and oh. so. good.

I have a slight preference for the Parmesan over the Asiago, but I won't turn either down.

So there you have it, my snacking friends.  Be sure to look for them in a timely fashion, because, as many of you know, once I put my seal of approval on something it is discontinued.  In the case of these snacks, that would be a shame.

Blissful hugs,

P.S.  Mommy Robin, please send me your snail mail address so that I can send out your prize.  Yes, it's you that won!

P.P.S.  Jay, the "oxygen mask" post is at  Enjoy!