01 September, 2014

Goodbye, Summer!

Today, as I sit here wearing a pair of white slacks for the last time this season, I am thinking about how quickly the summer has sped by and stare in disbelief at a newly turned calendar page... how on earth can it be September already?  Back in April, when my parents were visiting here, they bought us a small Black-Eyed Susan plantling... I remember the anticipation associated with its potential blooming as I set it into the garden. Well, that little plant took off and grew and bloomed with complete and glorious abandon; it didn't happen overnight but slowly, one day at a time, it got bigger and brighter and better! This plant turned out to be so much more beautiful and vibrant than I had even dared to hope; that's the same way I feel about this summer's passing. Let's face it, all time seems to speed by at breakneck velocity the older we get, but these last few months have been filled with happy days and priceless moments that defined my summer of 2014 as one even better than I had ever dreamed possible! Labor Day has always represented a major shift in my mind; either it was the end of summer for me and a new school year or it was that for our children when they were still at home. New schedules for fall, new classes, and the end of lazy, summer days used to bring a certain and distinct sadness to my heart and mind.

This is a photograph of my own daughter in 1981 on her first day of Kindergarten, looking at it, even today, still brings a lump to my throat.  My own children returning to school was always a bittersweet day for me when they were growing up, I wasn't a Mom who looked forward to summer's end, not one bit. Tomorrow my oldest grandson will sit in a Kindergarten classroom and this little girl, now the mother, will experience those same emotions that I felt back on this day 33 short years ago. Change happens, it's inevitable, but it happens ever so gradually, every single day! There are those markers that signal the transitions in a BIG way... like Labor Day screaming "summer's end" in our faces, or the first day of a new school year, but also happening at the same time, almost invisibly, are those quiet, daily, transitions as each hour and day slide one into the next. All of a sudden I've become acutely aware of time's passing as I stand, looking back at a string of yesterdays and realizing how precious every day, month and season has been... and how, just like that multi-bloomed Black-Eyed Susan demonstrated to me, they slowly combine and evolve to produce memories of days-gone-by that are so much more wonderful than I had ever even hoped that they would turn out to be!
Embrace today, change will occur tomorrow... it might be a big one or you may barely even notice it, but it will happen. This evening I'll hang my white slacks back in the closet one last time, it's my way of telling summer good-bye. I'm not sad anymore, though, today I am grateful. Why? Because today, on this last "official" day of summer, I find myself looking forward eagerly; ahead of me are a string of tomorrows that each hold the promise of something so much better than I can even imagine, or dare to hope.

Happy Labor Day... it's all good!
Life is Good!

30 August, 2014

Crossing The Border... The Final Chapter!

Potluck dinner at the LQS

You'll remember, over the last several months, my agonizing over the border "challenge" (Head For the Border) issued by my LQS.  Every month a design element and a color were each drawn, randomly, from a brown paper lunch bag and the participants set to work on that next border round, satisfying that newest criteria... it wasn't easy, but rather a true "challenge" in every sense of that word!  On Thursday evening we gathered at our LQS; first, to enjoy a delicious potluck dinner, and then for the final reveal! I was impressed, a few of the quilts were already done to point of being quilted and bound... one was even hand quilted! You can click here to view a slideshow of the spectacular finished flimises, quilts and their proud creators.  All in all it was a wonderful evening, yours truly even came home with a doorprize; it doesn't get much better than that... unless you keep in mind that the originators of this challenge have promised a new challenge in January of next year... I, for one, can't wait!

Life is Good!

29 August, 2014

When Did This Happen?

I had a five pound bag of sugar on my grocery list but was unable to find one on the store shelves... anywhere! The bags all weigh FOUR pounds now! When did this happen? Has it been a gradual step-down process that I didn't even notice; from 5 to 4.75 or even 4.5 pounds? I have no idea. But, all the brands have fallen into this four pound compliance. No wonder I've been buying more sugar this summer to make hummingbird nectar... and here I was blaming it on my tiny hummers and their ravenous appetites! Am I alone here in my ignorance to this change? Well, the good news is that the price hasn't changed a bit!
Life is Good!

28 August, 2014

Feathered Friends

How to fill behind these birds? With FEATHERS, of course! I'm in love with this quilt, and with all that I learned from Gina Parris-Perkes last month in a "Fantabulous Feathers" class at the AQS show in Charlotte.The information in that class was invaluable; Gina's instruction method clicked with me, translating what she demonstrated into my own stitches gave me the confidence to conquer my fears, take off and FLY! I am thrilled with the results on this little quilt and have changed its name, for the obvious reason, from "Chubby Chicks" to "Feathered Friends".  I have a new-found confidence and find myself eager to get onto the next quilt in the "to be quilted" queue rather than worrying about how I'm going to quilt it or if the results will be disappointing. I am so happy that I took that class; I needed a gentle nudge out of the nest, and that little push made all the difference! I am grateful.
Life is Good!

27 August, 2014

Take Good Care

Think of this post as a public service announcement.  If you want optimum results from your sewing machine you need to take good care of it... we all know that, but how often do you actually clean and oil your favorite machine? I clean out the bobbin area (don't forget the bobbin case too, lint lurks in there and can wreak havoc with your thread tension) every week if I am not sewing all that much; more often if I am logging in marathon sewing sessions or sewing with flannel. The amount of extracted lint shown is normal for me on a weekly basis. If you can't remember the last time you changed your machine needle do that too; don't wait until you break one or stitches start skipping, your piecing will be more precise when you use a sharp needle. After a good brushing out and a few drops of oil and your weekly maintenance is done! Mark your calendar as a reminder.
Take good care of your machine and it will take good care of you.  Block #5  "Stars and Checkerboard" from The Quilt Block Bible by Rosemary Youngs.

Life is Good!

25 August, 2014

First Day Butterflies

It's the first day of school where I live today... butterflies abound!
Here's hoping that students everywhere, of every age,
will soar through their studies and have a sucessful year!
Life is Good!

22 August, 2014

How Do You Know...

...that you're in a quilter's home? There are even quilts hanging in the guest bathroom! I cannot express how happy it makes me to have this wallhanging done and installed, I planned this Swiss-themed bathroom when we built our home, in 2001, around it! Wow.
Speaking of bathrooms, we bought new rugs for in front of the vanity in our master bath. I was cutting the tags off this morning and read the attached warning: "this item is flammable, do not expose to, or use over, an open flame." I'm relieved to have read the fine print; there go my plans for a big, roaring, bonfire in there.
Life is Good!