20 April, 2017

Piping To The Tunes

We had a chance to attend another Home Free concert on Tuesday evening, this time they were performing in Greensboro and it was a short drive over there to grab a quick dinner and then sit back and enjoy the extraordinary vocal talents of this group. If you've been a reader for a while you already know how much I love this a cappela group. Mr. Goodneedle and I have been following them since they won NBC's The Sing Off in 2013. Have a listen using the link here.  The group has changed, slightly, since the last time we heard them live. There is a new band member, Adam Chance (far left), who replaced one of the founding members, Chris Rupp. There was, absolutely, no change in the sound however. Their rendition of How Great Thou Art (click) to close out the show was so incredibly beautiful I felt a tiny tear escape before I could choke it back.
We had awesome seats this time. See me? You don't? I am waving both arms!!😉
This morning I cranked up the music good and loud in the kitchen and sang along to some of the same songs performed on Tuesday evening. I piped while I sang, icing up a bouquet of spring tulips. I am eager to improve my cookie decorating skills and, naturally, there's only one way to do that. Practice, practice, practice. I have been adjusting the cookie recipe too, this one has a lemon essence, it's yummy. How many other hobbies allow one to eat their mistakes? 😋  So, practice I shall!
Life is Good!

19 April, 2017

With Apologies to Jack and Diane

This post is about Ditty Bags, beginning with a little ditty; but, sorry, this one isn't about Jack and Diane*! The Ditty Bags were last month's project from the Let's Get Organized club at my LQS. Featuring patterns by Annie every month this year I have already managed to make a Stash and Dash and a set of Nesting Boxes, I am quite pleased with the results. For the Ditty Bags I chose to make the smallest one first, to keep for myself. My idea was that I could work out any "kinks" in the construction before I turned my attention to the two larger ones which I planned to make as a gift set. As it turns out, the instructions were so well written, and clearly illustrated, that there were no kinks to be found!

The small Ditty Bag is perfect for a few essentials, just the right size to fit inside my purse. 

I love this pattern, all the seams are finished inside, making for a very neat and tidy interior. I chose to bind the inside seams with contrasting fabric in the bag's accent color, just for fun.

This is the set, the large and the medium bags, a gift for my daughter. She is an Auburn grad and will love these fabric choices. War Eagle!

I have an extra Ditty Bag pattern for these bags in all three sizes, as shown; I would love to give it away. If you would like a chance to win the pattern simply leave a comment below with your best organizational tip and I will draw a random winner one week from today. Make sure that you have an email address attached to your account so that I can reach you, should you win. We'll all be winners with a list of organizational tips; thank YOU, in advance. Good luck!

This post has it all today: a project show and tell, a giveaway and music (click below)!
Life is Good!

17 April, 2017

"What's That?"

Anyone speaking to me has received fair warning!
"Wait, what was that you just said?"  My daughter-in-law has been printing up some new T-shirts for quilters and I have added two to my daily-wear wardrobe for spring. The first, pictured on the left, clearly expresses the reason you might just need to repeat yourself if the shirt's wearer has that distant, far-away look in their eyes. If you're a quilter you understand! 😉 This second one, below, clearly answers that oft-heard question: "what time is it?"  C'mon, you already know what time it is, that time never changes!
If you're interested in either one of these cute shirts, simply leave me a comment to that effect or email me. I will get you directly connected to the source for your very own, seriously super-soft, quilter's Ts. You'll love them.
Easter here was a glorious one! We spent the afternoon with these four precious children. Mason and Lucy Ann (above) traveled from the Capital City, here they are before church in their Sunday finery.
Lynnleigh (and all of her babies) and Gregory in their coordinated Easter outfits. Smiles all around on a very happy day. 
He is risen! He is risen indeed! 
May the joy of that empty tomb remain in your hearts today and always.

Life is Good!

15 April, 2017

Easter Remembrances

I spent the morning decorating for Easter; decorating cookies that is, there are personalized ones this time too, my first attempt at writing with the piping bag. It's been a long time since I worked on cookies like this, at least three months, I could tell that my skills were a bit rusty; it felt good nonetheless. These cookies will be especially sweet, they were rolled out with my mother-in-law's wooden rolling pin. My husband has memories of sweet-treats-to-come when she would bring her rolling pin out of the cupboard; she always kept it wrapped in the same cotton towel for storage, that's just the way I carried it home a few weeks ago and the way I will keep it here. There's no way of calculating how many perfect pie crusts she rolled out with this pin over the years, she tried to teach me her secret but I never quite measured up. I will keep at it though, Mom would be proud; and in the meantime, we'll eat cookies.
Happy Easter! 

13 April, 2017

Move Over, Make Room

For the first time in a very long time I sat down yesterday-- and stitched; on my brand-new, inherited, vintage Singer 301.  After lovingly oiling her this past weekend, and adding some motor lubricant to the teeth of the gears, she purrs like a kitten and makes a most impeccable stitch. It took me all of, hmmm... let's see, ten seconds to get used to the sewing posture for this one. There is a knee-lever which controls the (mounted inside the cabinet) foot pedal; for the last twenty-plus years I have been sewing on Berninas where the knee lever controls the presser foot up/down. I adjusted quickly to the change. There is a handy little cross piece along the inside bottom of the cabinet on which to comfortably rest my foot. I adore this machine, I have named her Ruth.  When it was time for me to bring her home to live here my husband innocently asked: "where will this machine go?" I answered, immediately, "in the sewing room, of course." "Is there room?" he continued. "I will make room" was my reply.  And I did. I have two other cabinet machines situated in the center of the room.
This picture is from ten years ago, when Mr. Goodneedle built this tree-part table for the machines and storage. It is well used and much loved.
Ruth and her first real project since arriving at Chez Goodneedle, a pillow case for Ryan's Case for Smiles.
Ruth entered this space quietly and graciously, she fits nicely right in front of the window and gives me a wonderful view of the bird feeders just beyond the side porch. My other machines haven't been one bit jealous of Ruth's arrival, they have deferred to her senior status; there's been no pushing or shoving for top-dog status. This relationship is one of harmony and cooperation.
The comings and goings just outside the window, at the finch feeder on the other hand, are the exact opposite. These pretty little birds are quite aggressive with one another vying for a place of their own at the table. They could learn a lesson from Ruth if only they just peeked inside, there's room for everyone to coexist peacefully, if they would only wait their turn.

...and we just keep buying seed...
Life is Good!

12 April, 2017


Quiltdivajulie and me
It took some doing; but, at long last, I can now say (with photo proof) that Quiltdivajulie and I are in-person friends! We've shared a LOT over the past ten years or so, all online, as blogging buddies. Over the years we discovered many similarities that we have in common: our birthdays are within days of each other (day and year!), our wedding anniversaries are too. We share likes and dislikes in an uncanny way and have kindred personality quirks characteristics.😉 When the opportunity presented itself (Julie was teaching her amazing Build-A-Barn quilt class last week at the John C. Campbell Folk School in the far-western part of North Carolina) Mr. Goodneedle and I discussed taking off for the day; there is still ongoing work cleaning out my in-law's home, but he knew how much fun this would be for all of us (he has long admired Julie's husband's incredible wood-turning abilities and he was going to be there too), as well the value of a much-needed break in our own work schedule.  Last Friday we hit the road early and drove west. It was a gorgeous day.

We arrived at Keith House, on campus, around 11 AM and easily found the JCCFS office, and our lunch tickets, before settling in to experience the class "show and tell" and end of week wrap up. I fell in love with this quilt, by Mary Lou Weidman, on permanent display at the folk school. Read the story behind the quilt linked here, you'll be in love with the quilt, and the Folk School too! This is an amazing place. Soon the assembly hall was filled with talented craftsmen-students and instructors all eager to show what they had done all week. Julie and I quickly found each other and the conversation flowed easily and non-stop,  it was much more like a much-anticipated reunion than an initial meeting! Our husbands, too, had plenty in common to discuss. We had barely all gotten our seats when the dulcimer class serenaded the crowd to start things off, they were followed by a steady stream of blacksmiths, wood carvers, jewelry makers, wood turners, print makers, quilters, wood workers, painters, enamelers and story tellers. I am sure I am forgetting other folk crafts that were learned and displayed. After the wrap-up show we adjourned to the dining hall for a delicious family-style lunch in the dining hall. From there it was a quick walk to the Pittman Fiber Arts building and the quilt studio!
Julie still had a few things to pack up and get ready for the car and her drive back home. Take a look at this space, and the LIGHT; who wouldn't want to take a week-long quilting class here?
Another view. These classrooms are well-stocked with all the needed supplies, it really is a dream come true. (Notice the power cords suspended from the ceiling over each work space-- no cords on the floor to worry about tripping over!) I also peeked into the adjacent weaving studio; I am not a weaver, but after seeing that space I could become one! Mr. Goodneedle had the same feeling about the woodturning studio; the facilities are quite enticing and hard to resist. We are both destined to be JCCFS students sooner rather than later! We came home with an armload of catalogs listing all of the class offerings to pore over.
Julie's husband and Mr. Goodneedle
We had a few moments for photos in front of, what else, but a barn; before hitting the road, each of us heading our own direction back home. We will definitely meet up again, hopefully for a longer visit, next time! In my memory book of "day trips" this one may just go down as the best ever!

Life is Good!

08 April, 2017

Bless This House

Welcome to our home. This is what you see when you enter in through the front door: stairs leading up to our converted attic space/now theater room, a chair holding a pillow proclaiming that "a spoiled rotten dachshund lives here" and a Singer treadle base with a glass top serving as an entrance hall table. Oh, yes, and on the wall directly in front of you is a wool applique wallhanging  beside a framed, embroidered sampler. The sampler was added today, I stitched it in 1975 and presented it to my then brand-new mother and father-in-law that year for Christmas.  They were building their home at that time and this sampler was proudly placed in their foyer a few months later when they moved in; there it hung, proudly, until a few weeks ago. With a heavy heart I took it down from the nail that supported it, dusted it off and carried it here. Yesterday their house went on the market for sale. I pray that special home will find a family soon, it needs one. This hand embroidered house blessing will hang in our home from now on. Every day when I walk past it I will remember, and my heart will smile. I pray that our own front door will "prove ever open to joy and love" as theirs did, for four-plus decades.
This cross stitch sampler was ordered, if memory serves, from an advertisement in the back of Good Housekeeping magazine. It was a kit, the linen was stamped and the floss was included. This blessing was inspired by a plaque that hung in the White House during the Eisenhower administration; the sentiment, however, is timeless.
Life is Good!