08 November, 2018

Growing Boy, Small Foot

This one, our next to youngest grandchild, Gregory, turned eight over the weekend. His Mom and Dad surprised him and his sister with a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. But, before they left on their excellent water-park adventure, we celebrated together, on his actual birthday, by attending a movie of his choosing: Small Foot. This is a wonderfully sweet story with incredible animation!

The movie theater had reclining chairs with drink holders, it was pretty cushy! Both the birthday boy and his sister enjoyed their popcorn trays and never once squirmed (or even blinked, I don't believe), testimony to how good the movie was!  Happy birthday, Gregory! You're growing up by leaps and bounds!
Life is Good!

05 November, 2018

This Little Light O' Mine...

This new, portable, light table is one of the most exciting and versatile tools to enter the sewing room in a long time. It is cordless, rechargeable, and super-lightweight. It is called the Cutterpillar Glow. I have had mine for a few months and have already used it a LOT!
For applique placement it is amazing! I used it over and over again to re-position the leaves on the border sections of my current applique project. Actually, I placed one border upside down over the light mat and placed it's opposing border strip on top of it to perfectly align the second border with the first. Score! The more that I use it the more uses I find for it! It has three light settings: low, medium and high.
Not only is its illumination valuable for applique but also for tracing embroidery designs onto linen.
But, maybe the most exciting feature of the Cutterpillar is the translucent cutting mat! Score!! If you have ever done any paper foundation piecing you know how crucial it is that you have a large enough piece underneath your foundation in the area that you're covering. Most of the time it's a guess before the piece is flipped over and you stitch (blindly) on the next line, hoping for the best; now you can see straight through, and cut right on the see-through surface! This tool eliminates that guesswork and allows you to align each piece, sized and placed properly, every time! I don't dread foundation piecing now-- I have always enjoyed the versatility of the method but shied away from its relative fussiness. No more. 

You might want to add a Cutterpillar to your Christmas list. You will love all its uses. Take a minute to watch the video in the hyperlink above. I am not associated with the company, nor do I receive any compensation for this endorsement, I am simply a fan of the product and believe that you will be too. 
This little light o' mine, I'm gonna let it shine... 
Oh, yeah!
Life is Good!


25 October, 2018

Small Group

We had a terrific opportunity to watch a great movie last evening. "Small Group - the movie" stars the son of fellow church members of ours. It is currently playing at select theaters nation-wide; but, we learned, it wasn't going to be playing here! Undaunted, efforts were made to get it here. Through Gathr Films, arrangements were made to schedule a screening at a local theater right here in town; a one-night showing. Many church members and family and friends showed up to enjoy an evening out together and to cheer on this hometown actor. Here is the trailer to entice you: 

Look for this one! If you can't find it, promote it and see if you can get your own Small Group (or better yet, LARGE group) for a screening of your own. It's worth the effort, believe me!

Life is Good!

24 October, 2018

Marking Time

I have a new way of marking time in the Studio these days, the rapid passing of each hour is cuckoo here now; and I love it! (The cuckoo, not the swift passage of time!!) I have been quiet the last two weeks, absent from the blog for good reason; my Mom and Dad have been visiting, we had a wonderful time. They are responsible for this beautiful new addition to the wall. It is a birthday gift, marking a significant birthday (Medicare? Who, me?? That's definitely CUCKOO!) for me near the end of last month. I had seen this clock a few years ago at Keepsake Quilter in Meredith, NH when Mom and I were shopping there. I remarked to her back then about how much I loved it; and, because she's my mother, she remembered! I was very surprised and genuinely thrilled to open this amazing gift!

Our time together passed much too quickly. We did visit an Amish store and neighboring community one day and the Zoo on another. But, mainly, we stayed at home and visited. I did get some sewing done and will share that, as well as a video of the marvelous cuckoo clock in action, in upcoming posts.
The great-grandchildren were all here on several occasions which, naturally,  
is always wonderful for us but was an extra-special treat for my parents. 
I am glad that my mother suggested grabbing my camera for these two shots last Saturday.
My Dad is teaching Gregory how to count and peg a Cribbage hand. This is especially heartwarming to me, as one of my earliest childhood memories is hearing my Grandfather, Dad and Uncle count Cribbage hands on any given Friday night at my grandparents' home. (And, as mentioned above, we all now know how long ago that was!) Mr. Goodneedle and I play Cribbage every day at lunch, and most days at dinner too. In the future may be playing three-handed now, with our grandson!
All too soon it was departure day. We took this picture in the garage right before they headed for home on Monday. They were happy to welcome a back seat passenger, Pfaff, to accompany them on their traveling adventure! (Yes!! My Mom really did come to visit, somehow she didn't appear in any of the photos except for this one!😞)
Life is Good!

04 October, 2018

By Wisdom...

Check out this Clover hoop; my new favorite!
With the clamp covered there are no more tangles.
This past summer I finished all the hand embroidery on twelve quilt blocks that I have been working on for a VERY long time. Well, I haven't actually been working on them, which accounts for the number of years that it has taken to get this project moving forward! I believe that I began on these around 2001 and picked them up sporadically. The patterns are by Indygo Junction: "By Wisdom A House Is Built". 

I strayed from the pattern, making mine less primitive. Instead of fraying the edges and using applique I set my blocks into sashed borders. I changed the text font too. After all these many years, and thousands upon thousands of miles in the car (which is where I do my most productive handwork), I had the top set together last month. Each pattern can be finished and bound separately. I liked that look and decided to mimic it with one pieced quilt; inserting 3/4" strips of black (finishing to 1/4") between the blocks. Binding it with black will finish it off nicely and add continuity.
By Wisdom A House Is Built ~ 60" X 64"
It has hung on the design wall ever since; challenging me! How to quilt this? Machine embroidered elements aside, however would I quilt over all that hand embroidery? The patterns suggest very minimal quilting, by hand, in a primitive big-stitch manner. Okay, that wasn't going to happen. Each and every day I studied the quilt and considered options. I considered a panto; maybe I would load it onto Snowbird and thread it up with a monofilament and just go to town. Nah. Then I thought about cross-hatching the entire piece. Nah. A friend suggested channel-quilting it, long parallel lines of quilting over the entire piece. I considered that but rejected that too. I was stumped-- and yet, my mind kept working.
The other night I grabbed a marker and auditioned some quilting lines in the background. I liked what I saw with the whimsical, free flowing shapes. I decided that this might look good with cross-hatched borders. After that, things began to happen! I loaded up the quilt and got to work. Yes, this time I really did begin working in earnest, these blocks have languished long enough! 
Here we go! "By wisdom a house is built", 
by a little determination and some dedicated time-- a quilt is finished!
Life is Good!

02 October, 2018

Hello, October!

Yep, another calendar page has been turned. "Hello, October" really has been replaced in my mind today with "whatever happened to September?" Sigh. Time marches on! I read an excellent article yesterday morning, sent to me by a dear friend, which helps put life into perspective. I am linking to it here for your reading enjoyment. It helped me to savor the day, simply for the pleasure of being in it! Rather than analyze my daily accomplishments; or rather, my lack of them, I sipped my tea and reflected on all that I had to be thankful for. There is profound peace in doing that. Our oldest granddaughter is eight years old today! She is a blessing to all of our family; she is smart, funny, loving and a pure joy to be around! I made a trip to the Capital City earlier last week for a sew-a-thon at our daughter's home in preparation for Lucy Ann's "American Girl" slumber party on Friday night. We stitched pajama shorts for four little girls and matching ones for their dolls. Our daughter-in-law created vinyl iron-on monograms for blank T-shirts too, completing the sleep ensembles!
Lucy Ann and her sleepover friends. 
They were a huge hit! There are no words for how cute this is!! Our daughter did report that not a lot of sleep happened though. 😉

Mr. Goodneedle and I made a return trip to the Capital City on Sunday afternoon to watch Mason play soccer and to celebrate Lucy Ann's birthday a few days early.  Her birthday wish was for the American Girl remote-control car for her dolls to ride in. She was super excited to open it! (It appeared that her brother was equally excited to see what was in the big box!) Sadly, it did not work! 
After many attempts to remedy the situation (the boys gave it their all!) the decision was made, at long last, to send it back and get a replacement. Lucy Ann was extremely gracious and understanding. I do believe that we were much sadder and disappointed about the non-functional car than she was. The new car is already on its way. Hang on, birthday girl, your kiddos will be riding in style very soon!  Yes, October has arrived; we're in the final quarter of the year, days are once again growing shorter. I, for one, am focusing on living each day deliberately, reading life like a book, and sharing excerpts right here! 
Life is Good!


25 September, 2018

Bigger Boy, Big Boy Quilt

The "rebound" Picture Play quilt from my last post has been reinstated on Gregory's bed. He recreated the picture from six years ago, too.  I told my daughter-in-law that he looked sad today, but she explained that he thought he looked like he did in the old picture! 😉 Okay, we'll go with that.

Yesterday I finished piecing the central portion of his new, big boy quilt.  It will get two more, narrow, outer borders before I go shopping for a backing piece. This went together beautifully. I used Deb Tucker's Studio 180 tools to mass-produce 140 Shaded 4-Patch units with the Tucker Trimmer and that same number of Wild Geese units with the Wing Clipper.
The quilt was designed in EQ8. Gregory selected the design from these three possible choices:
Initially, my plan was to make the quilt very scrappy using only tans, greens and blues; but, ultimately, I came up short (who woulda' thunk?) in the scrap department with such a limited palette. Let's hope when this new quilt is finished and on his bed that we'll see a much broader smile!🤞

Life is Good!