11 October, 2017

Saying Good-bye

Saying good-bye is never easy. On Sunday we did a final cleaning of my in-law's home. The closing was earlier today, it now belongs to a new, young family. It's not hard to clean out an empty house; unencumbered by furnishings it's easy to make those final passes with the vacuum cleaner and dust cloths; that's the easy part, the head part-- but, when it's the home your children grew up in, celebrating family milestones and holidays, it is almost unbearable for the heart to let it go and walk out the door for the last time. I couldn't help but stand still for awhile and recall how many years the Christmas tree had held center stage in that very bow window and how many countless family celebrations had been observed, once upon a time, around the dining room table that stood beneath that chandelier. I am grateful, though, filled with humble gratitude that this home served its purpose for over four decades. Designed by my father-in-law in 1976, it was home-base for my husband's family for all of these many years. Thanks be to God, it remained the home of my precious mother-in law for as long as humanly possible, her final wish.  I rejoice today to think of a new family, one with young children, embracing this home as their own; filling the cavernous rooms once again with joyful voices and happy laughter. I wish them every blessing that this home has been bestowed upon us: happy homecoming!
Life is Good!

09 October, 2017

Bloom Where You're Planted?

A few weeks ago a friend presented me with two bags full of bare-roots Iris plants, the same plants I had admired at her home this past spring, in need of transplanting. I was grateful for the gift; but, since we were traveling that following week, I set the bags aside in a shady location to await setting in the ground upon our return back home. A few days ago, as I walked past the bags, I noticed a flash of color. Amazingly, one of the Iris was blooming! Right there, out of the bag, this bare-roots plant was not to be denied its moment of splendor! I have always embraced a "bloom where you're planted" life philosophy, but this Iris plant was doing me one better.  Rejoice in where you are, take full advantage of the gifts and opportunities that God has given you, give thanks and be grateful.
Bloom where you are, planted or not, simply bloom!
Life is Good!

06 October, 2017

Just In Case

 As a participant in this year's "Let's Get Organized" club at my LQS I have been busy keeping up (or attempting to!) with each month's project featuring patterns By Annie. All of the patterns are inspiring and the instructions straight-forward and simple to follow. 2017 will go down in history as the year that I have conquered my fear of zippers. I made this foldover carry-all for Mason. He can carry all sorts of treasures with him: a tablet and pencil, paper back book, whatever he chooses. There is a hidden magnetic catch that holds the case neatly closed.
This is made using the "Just In Case" pattern in the large size, 8" X 10.5". It opens up to reveal two zippered compartments; one mesh and one see-through heavyweight vinyl. The mesh pocket expands and will conform nicely to accommodate almost anything that Mason chooses to stuff in there. I will definitely be making more of these.
These photos are from the website. Couldn't you think of a thousand uses for one of these?

I will give Mason his tomorrow. We will be traveling to the Capital City to watch him play soccer in the morning and celebrate Lucy Ann's seventh birthday belatedly. Seven?!? How did that happen? As always, time is fleeting-- where did summer go anyway? I don't feel as though I even had a chance to say good-bye. I need to replace the withering annuals in the pots on the front porch with some fall color today. Did I say withering? That's not exactly accurate; decimated is more like it. I caught this guy blatantly devouring what was left of the potted Impatiens on the front steps earlier this week. Seriously; if he had been any closer to the front door he could have rung the doorbell!
I don't believe that he and his friends have a taste for Chrysanthemums.  At least I hope not. 
Life is Good!

04 October, 2017

With A Little Help From My Friends!

I recently celebrated a birthday; in grand style-- with a little help from my friends! My high school friends, to be more accurate. This year the day just happened to fall on the same day as our high school reunion! Mr. Goodneedle and I were in the same class so this event was great fun for both of us; we're still talking about what a terrific time we had visiting and catching up with classmates.
A specially decorated name tag greeted me at the registration table. The name tags, all bearing our high school yearbook photos were helpful for identifying each other but they make me laugh. Akin to one's "permanent record", like it or not, that photo will follow your every step for the rest of your life! I have heard that there were approximately 80 people in attendance, a great turnout. The event was held on the grounds of a classmate, it was the perfect venue on a gloriously clear and sunny fall day!
I was lucky enough to share a dinner table with my two best friends from all those many years ago. There's nothing like a reunion such as this one to take one back. It wasn't difficult to remember all those fun (and often not-so-fun) times when I was an insecure and tentative teenager worried about insignificant and trivial matters (which were anything but at that time!). What a gift it is now to reflect and realize that all these decades later maturity yields a secure and stable outlook freeing us from the fear and anxiety of our youth.  I believe that my parents and grandparents reassured me with similar words and encouragement at the time; but why would I have listened then-- I was a teenager after all. Now, I feel that responsibility, to offer reassurance and encourage. Surviving those teenage years is not for the weak and timid; but oh, the years after are God-given blessings, each and every one!
Life is Good!

20 September, 2017

There's A Hex On Me!

Every time I turn around I find that the hexagons are mulitplying!  It's all good. Using two of my favorite tools: the Hex and More and Sidekick rulers, I find that the possibilities of creating new hexagonal designs are, quite possibly, limitless! These shapes are the subject of the current block-of-the-month at my LQS; our instructor (Quiltkeemosabe, see former post!) encourages us each month to explore many different variations using triangles, split triangles, diamonds and, this month, even larger diamonds! I have absolutely no idea how I will set these together, time will tell. I am leaving my options open until the end.

But, of course, I have chosen my setting fabrics already. I scored these beauties at the Pineapple warehouse sale last month. Why let current indecision stand in the way of some serious shopping? That would just be silly; and, in my own defense, I'm under the influence of that hex after all.😉
Life is Good!

18 September, 2017

Bible Block Day!

Today is the day! Quiltkeemosabe and I have been at this for several years now; working our way through Rosemary Youngs' book: the Quilt Block Bible. Our get-togethers have been few and far between of late, life has gotten in the way. Somehow, even with a litany of other commitments between the two of us, we have managed to prioritize and get a Bible Block Day back onto our calendars! Our days together are much more than sharing our tips, tricks, construction directions and progress with one another; we also catch up, make plans and eat lunch (alternating homes each time). I have prepared a slow cooker beef roast this morning for French Dip sandwiches (the house smells heavenly right now) and a batch of Dr. Pepper cupcakes for dessert. We need to make room in our lives for what is important to us; those obligations and commitments will always be there, clamoring to clutter up our calendars and push other tasks to the bottom of the list. I have to take special care to guard against that. The latest ten blocks, pictured on the left, bring me to 141 completed out of 202, I am almost 70%  finished! These blocks will finish to 6" square. If you are familiar with the book you know that there are no instructions included, it is a book of beautiful quilt block pictures and an accompanying CD with each block diagrammed in black and white for printing out. Quiltkeemosabe and I have written out directions, and proofed each other's, at every step. The bonus, in addition to our our burgeoning quilt block stacks (and holding each other accountable) has been our enriched friendship, new recipes from meals shared together and a whole lot of fun and laughs along the way.
My own Quilt Block Bible blocks as of June last year.

What do you need to make room for in your life today? 
Find a way to make it happen, you won't be sorry!
Life is Good!

07 September, 2017

"It's In The Laundry Room..."

A frequent response at our house, to almost any question that began with "where is...?", was: "in the laundry room". Over the years our laundry room became a repository for all manner of things. Well, as so often happens, the contents of this room reached a tipping point at the same time I reached a breaking point; enough was enough! I pulled everything out  of the room (except the washer and the dryer!) and emptied the drawers and cabinets, nothing was spared. Planters, vases, batteries, plant food, rags-- you name it; if it wasn't in some way related to laundry it wasn't staying anymore! Oh, and then there were the light bulbs. Yes, lightbulbs! Don't even get me started on the subject of light bulbs. Take a look at all of the light bulbs that were hiding in the laundry room, stashed and shoved everywhere in there. There was a time when buying and replacing a light bulb was easy, they were incandescent. You simply went to the store and bought one; whatever wattage you needed, that was the only differentiating feature. Then came the CFLs. Okay, they used less energy and they took a while to come to full illuminating strength, but other than that, (once you learned the wattage conversion) it was okay. The biggest problem I had with the CFLs was the variance in color produced, sometimes it was a white-white and sometimes a yellow-white but I learned. We have an abundance of recessed cans requiring flood lights in our ceilings, in straight lines, and if one flood was replaced it almost had to be the same color or it looked wrong. We spent a lot of time replacing entire rows of flood lights to rectify that situation.
And now, here we are again: gone are the CFLs and in come the LEDs. I don't like the light they throw off, to me it's simply too glaring and harsh. It seems too industrial and not at all home-y.  I understand, once again, the energy savings... but, please. Mr. Goodneedle replaced the flourescent tubes in his workshop with LEDs a few weeks ago. He can do microsurgery down there now. 😲 Yeah, light bulbs. I don't know when this light bulb dilemma will conclude but they won't be residing any longer in the laundry room! See, I said "don't get me started on the subject of light bulbs".
As the cabinets were emptied, bags were filled. Vases and planters to Goodwill. Outdated cleaning products, chemicals and junk went to the trash. See this? Spray starch from when we lived overseas, I had two brand-new cans of this-- the problem with it is that we moved from Europe in June of 1999! I am doubting that eighteen+ year-old spray starch would still be good. Or what it might deposit on fabric. Gone. Why had I kept it?
Before too long the laundry room became not only neat, but well-organized and welcoming; stepping inside was a joy and doing laundry was no longer met with dread. All of that accumulated junk had been weighing on me. I had wanted, for some time, to have a pull-down, wall-mounted, drying rack for items that don't go into the dryer. I had saved a few photos on Pinterest and mentioned this idea to Mr. Goodneedle, presenting him with my visual aids.
He set to work and went one better. This rack is spacious, easy to lower and raise and leaves plenty of clearance below when entering or exiting through the laundry room door when it's in use.
I couldn't be happier with the solutions encountered from simply cleaning out laundry room central. Now, as for those stashed and amassed light bulbs; we might have to go hunting for those next time!
Life is Good!