Monday, August 30

*a dream come true .. lil girl and panda quilt

Holly over at Purpose Driven Family saw a sweet quilted wall hanging which she fell in love with.  So much so that she put out a call on her blog (which can be read by clicking on the link above) to anyone who might be able to complete such a project for her children.

We are in the midst of a move, the midst of packing everything up, traveling to look at potential properties in Florida that made our list of  " must sees " and yet I  felt the call of God to raise my hand to this special opportunity.  When you have been, oh - I am not tooting my own horn here.  Just hear me on this, it is more of an encouraging word to do what you are gifted to do when given opportunity with only a few hurdles that have to be jumped.  Anyway, having been entrusted with the gift of creativity in quilting skills, I was excited to use my gifts for Him who gave them to me!

Initially it was a solicitation for sewing and quilting skills for one precious child that would soon be coming to America from China to her "forever family".   Some time later, with some suggestions of others, it was suggested that Josiah (her forever brother) should have one as well, both having been adopted into their now forever family from China.   I feel completely skilled to do this work, to labor in love over two special quilts is a true honor.  Holly and I met at a local quilt shop to make fabric selections for these special treasures.  I made some suggestions and help to guide Holly along, based on her big picture for the quilt.  She and her three children did a great job picking fabrics!  She paid for the fabric, handed it over to me and now I hand it back to her!

The piecing begins....

The laying out ...
Now onto the applique work.. more details to come...
Applique is all in place now! Next is the fun part... setting it in!

I love the tile floors in our kitchen, wonderful for setting in quilts!

The final steps have been completed! Quilting was done and as well as binding! It is such a sweet quilt! I pray that Elaina gets many years use from it!

Thanks Holly for trusting my hands to fashion a quilt for your's and Tony's little girl! (and soon one for your little boy Josiah as well!)

If you are interested in the applique patterns for this Little Girl with Panda Quilt you can request them for a small fee of $15 which will go towards Tony & Holly's adoption.  The patterns will be sent via snail mail. Check my side bar for the paypal for the patterns or private message me at creativequilter1@gmail. com

Sunday, August 29

*quilting with Kaye

Yes, I did say quilting!  I have been finding more time to return to my beloved Janome throughout the last few days.  A few months ago I registered and paid for a class being taught by Kaye England.  Kaye has a publishing company and publishes her own books, patterns & DVD's.  She is now designing fabric for Wilmington Prints and speaks at lectures as well as teach classes around the world.  You may have even seen her on HGTV's Simply Quilts.  Simply put, she is a busy lady.  Upon signing up for the class I was not really sure if I would be able to take it or not, but I registered anyway.  Thankfully, I did end up being able to take the class.  While I did enjoy taking a class from Kaye England, my most beloved memories of this day will be sitting next to my REAL quilting teacher and sewing along side her as student to student.   She (Wendie) arrived before I did and she saved me a seat next to her!  Honestly, I felt like the most favored one in the room of nearly thirty ladies. 

I have never taken quilting classes from anyone in ten years besides Wendie.  I am a bit biased - so just don't ask how I like Kaye.  OK?   I did learn a few things, was reminded of much that I had already been taught and generally had a great time.  Here are a few pointers that Kaye preaches at her teachings - When piecing DO NOT IRON/PRESS until the block is FINISHED. She is strong on finger pressing each seam and then pressing the completed block when it is all completed. I have to agree with this now having taken her class.  So many times we quilters may iron instead of press.. or even press aggressively (iron) and distort our lovely fabric.  What we end up doing when completing a block is shameless. Now come on, you all know that if you are piecing cuts that were on the bias, you have had to 'size up' your block due to distortion. I have pieced twelve plus blocks since her class without pressing until completing the block and amazingly each block is perfect twelve and a half inches square as it should be! WOOT! Thanks Kaye! 

We worked on one of the Voices of the Past patterns by Kaye, the Betsy Ross Sampler, to be exact.  I love this pattern.  While I was visiting Franziska a few weeks ago, I shared the pattern with her. It was amazing, she flew off of her bed and entered her storage area where her quilting fabric's live. She returned with some awesome fabrics she had purchased for a patriotic table runner to be completed at some future date.  These became a gift to me, in which I accepted!  I then stopped at Mary Jo's on the way home to find a few more coordinating fabrics to complete the quilting needs for my class.  I am so grateful for a friend who gives without reservation! 

I will be adding an entry when I have completed the top for all to see! Thanks for stopping by! 
(because I love my new phone HTC Incredible.. I have to brag a bit ... these pics are taken with my phone - pretty awesome for a phone camera).

Wednesday, August 18

*absence always makes the heart grow fonder...

Our youngest flew out several weeks ago to get some one on one time with his older brother.  It was his second flight and first flight alone.  I feel sure I was more concerned about this than was he.  He was all for a three hour flight as opposed to a twelve hour drive! 

We are missing our boy, tremendously.  I mean really we are very fond of him, but the absence does make you think only of all the good attributes, the healthy habits and all of the sweet words of encouragement that he is so good at giving, which makes your heart grow fonder.

Henry has always been a high maintenance child and I have always enjoyed the time when he would go to Georgia for a weeks visit with the grandparents in the summer. -Just keeping it real.  I used that time to recharge, to refocus, to relax... But the last year or so he has started to show some maturity and I MISS HIM.

 These pictures were taken with the burst setting.  Check out his facial expressions in each picture. 

 Taken while at Outer Banks a few years ago.. typical Henry. 

 These last two are most recent and some of my favorites. We can see him changing right before our eyes.  He is becoming a man. 

 These were taken a few days before he left. I can only imagine what his hair will look like when we see him.  It will have been a month since last seeing him. He has been letting his hair grow, I am sort of dieing to see it... to see him...

Monday, August 16

*Oh! Mary Jo's!

Mary Jo's! That's what! Mary Jo's is on the way of my drive to the mountains and unless it is Sunday (because she is closed on Sunday) I will stop. You should stop too if you are ever on 85 near Gastonia. (Exit 21 to Cox Road, Ranlo)   You will  NOT be sorry, you will only be sorry that you never stopped before. 

Mary Jo's is a haven for quilters, seamstress, home decorators and so much more.  The first time I entered the store I was so overwhelmed that I didn't buy anything. Truly.  As a quilter, with at least one quarter of the store being quilters cottons... um... I couldn't even think straight.  All I could think is this: "Oh, I will take one cut of each and every fabric you have!"  Since that wasn't happening, I left the store and stopped on my way back.  I have gotten much better since that first visit. I either enter the store with a plan of listed needs or I enter with the plan to collect some fat quarters @ $1. 25 each and yard cuts @ $5ish  that catch my eye.  Many quilters cottons you will find as low as $4.59 per yard, but you will also find some designer (Michael Miller, Amy Butler and more) priced around $6.50 per yard.  The selection of batiks are to die for.  You will be delighted to find civil war reproduction, flannels, batiks, aunt gracie's, team themed fabrics, anything from animals to patriotic - she has it all! 

So... if you ever find yourself in or around Charlotte, in or around Gastonia, you have got to make the drive up 85 to Mary Jo's.  Read about her (Mary Jo's) life, it is a sweet story, which will make you fall more in love with the store.

To my delight, my youngest son and I were able to met Mary Jo while in the store on one of our visits.  She is right there on the floor, working, organizing and making sure things are just so for each suspecting customer that comes that way.  Delightful lady, glad to be a patron to her establishment and you will be too!

Friday, August 13

*a show of color

MARY  and I,  after we all swam one night. Um.. yes that is my gown...
This past week I was able to get away for a few days to visit my dearest friend who resides in the mountainous terrain!  I am always thrilled for the trip from start to, well almost thrilled from start to finish.. the finish part is never fun.  The drive to the mountains is quite lovely to me.  Mark, Franziska's dear husband, has a gift for giving directions that takes you on roads that are off the beaten path, but a quicker drive nonetheless.   The roads that I take to her house take me through several undulating hilly areas with cattle, crops and modest farm homes along the way. To me that is peaceful.  It is a time to ponder, to commune as I drive and I enjoy that.  Going to Franziska's is always like a breath of sunshine on a rainy day.

I couldn't help but share these beauties!  These are hanging patiently awaiting to be set in, to be stitched along the way at their rightful time.  She also has another one that is set in, that I forgot to photograph - it of course is gorgeous as well. Enjoy!

Isn't this beautiful? Franziska used batiks mostly with a celtic themed border fabric.  This quilt was made using the Deb Tucker Hunter's Star Ruler.  Here are a few more pics of quilts made using this ruler.

This particular Turning Twenty quilt along with one other, was a joint sewing frenzy that Franziska and I put together right after her family moved into their house in the mountains.  She recently decided to finish the quilt and gift her sweet neighbor with it! Here are a few more Turning Twenty quilts to look on.


Isn't this just lovely? I do love this color combination, no matter how popular it is right now.  Franziska had made a table topper for the month of February and this was the remaining fabric, so she whipped this up!  It will make a sweet lap quilt.

Franziska chose batiks to make this kaleidoscope quilt but perhaps the shades were not quite dark enough for one to get the full effect of the pattern. To me, it is still a beautiful quilt.  I see all kinds of Christmas gifts, don't you?

*2010 12-N-12 July Beauties!

Most of us, the 12-N-12 participants, were not using our machines this past month, at least not in the completion of a quilt project! Jenny has been ever faithful in monthly progress and her lovely quilts are all so beautiful. I love Jenny's style of quilting and how she uses floss to quilt her pieces of work. The project below is her completed July submission.

You are an encouragement to each of us Jenny! Keep up the good work.
Until next month's update, keep your pedals to going.   We have three to four months left until Christmas so there is still time to finish some projects as presents for those you love.

Sunday, August 8

*getting closer to the next chapter

I am sort of in a state of  "is this real?".  We have been here for so long and I have come to know this as my home.  We (Eric and I) really grew up (matured) here, our kids grew up here but we are set to finish out elsewhere.  We are excited about the days ahead and grateful for the time that we had here in North Carolina.  I really do consider it a blessing to not have ever moved while in the Army up until right at the end of my dear husbands career.   We are thrilled by the hand of God on our move to Florida, since that is where we were hoping to  head after retirement (of the Army). 

I have blogged here a few times about our move, the work that is involved - nothing different from what you may have once experienced when getting a house ready for the market. This is my last post on this topic and boy are we glad , because it means the work is satisfactorily completed with house ready for the market.

We have patched, painted, repaired, scraped, trimmed, scrubbed, replaced, installed, thinned, packed, and given away many things.

These are our well used counter tops of fifteen years before being removed.  

We ordered the counter tops from Lowes and chose a mid range Formica in a mottled color with the bull nose front. LOVE IT!

Eric installed the counter tops himself, he is so very handy. I am grateful.  We have not had two sink stoppers in years, but since we put in a new sink we have two new stoppers! WOOT!  (It's the small things)

We changed several of our light fixtures to make a total change from brass to polished nickel throughout the home.
This is the fixture we chose for our foyer and hallway. Once again, Eric did all the installation work. ;)

We bought our house in 1995 new, so we got to choose light fixtures (on a budget of course) and we chose brass throughout. It is so '90's (do you hear the sarcasm?),  polished nickel is trendy now  and this was a fan that either needed to be replaced or refaced. I didn't think to take the picture until I had already taken the blades off. 
This stuff is amazing! 
So instead of paying the price of a new fan, we spent seven dollars and recycled this perfectly good fan.

Um... over the years, there was fifteen of them, I painted and touched up when needed. I never knew how easy it was to simply take the door knobs off to avoid painting up the door knobs. When my sweet hubby was on the ladder changing out the hallway light, he suggested we replace the "splotched up brass door knobs".  So, with that, we have new door hardware throughout the house as well. It really does look great.

While this really is more of a picture of our sweet Henry and Frayja, there is new carpet down there. We had new carpet laid in the bedrooms, and boy is it nice. 

So we are set, ready for the next chapter!  Our house goes on the market in less than a week, we are super excited and expectant for what God has for us next.