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!

05 September, 2017

Those New, Young Designers

You've encountered them every time you visit your local quilt shop, surf the quilting websites or open a quilt magazine: those new, young designers are everywhere. Their designs are prolific; in books, patterns, and by the yard. Is it just me or do they seem to get younger and younger? I had two in the house a few weeks ago. Working out of a box of precut scraps they pondered, placed and replaced. They stepped back and took stock, they gave each other advice; and then, finally, they were pleased with their layouts. They were each designing doll quilts and, at 4 and 6 years old, were quite serious about getting them "just right".
Lynnleigh with her design.
Lucy Ann with an extra-long quilt layout for her "taller" dolls. 

The girls "helped" Nana, after they completed their work by taking each and every square off the wall and piling them on small tables so that I could assemble them later. It's a good thing I took those photos above! 😀

Somewhere along the line Lucy Ann's layout changed from 8 squares across to 9; Nana adjusted the sizes to fit.
After they were sewn together I loaded them both, end to end, on a single piece of batting and backing and did a quick meander quilting pattern. Each was later bound with each girl's favorite color binding. Their babies will now be safe, warm and cozy under these new, designer, quilts; in fact, one can even be used as a table runner! 😉 I wanted these to be finished as soon as possible, demonstrating to them that their work has value and significance. My hope is that they will remember laying these out and be proud of their creative efforts; that they will be continue to be inspired and express themselves in original and artistic ways. 
When you next encounter those new, young designers, think of this: they likely started just this way!
Life is Good!

29 August, 2017

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I continue to pore through boxes of books that belonged to my mother-in-law, she and Dad collected books with a passion. I go through them slowly, carefully deciding which to keep and which to donate. Earlier this month I ran across this devotional book  entitled "This Is God's Day" by Dr. Reuben K. Youngdahl. It was a Christmas gift given to my in-laws in 1956. I have done some research on the book as well as the author. Dr. Youngdahl was a Lutheran pastor in Minneapolis, MN. He turned a relatively small Lutheran church there, Mt. Olivet, into what would be considered, by today's standards, to be a mega-church; he served that congregation from 1938 until his death in 1968. The book that we have is a first edition devotional volume, published by Augustana Press, Rock Island, IL in 1956. It is a gem. I cherish this book, altogether unbeknownst to me until now. Somehow it connects me, in a very tangible way, to my husband's precious family. We have added "This Is God's Day" to our daily devotional time each and every day, it helps me to miss my astounding mother-in-law just a teeny bit less; she was a faith model for me, and finding this book is almost like a secret gift she had saved for me to find now.
Beginning with a scripture verse, enforced by a compelling human interest story and, finally, punctuated with "Today's Thought" each day's entry is clear, concise and inspirational. What was timely decades ago stands today as well; just as God's word is wholly relevant--yesterday, today and tomorrow. Amen. Thanks, Mom!
"You need not ask a man if he is at peace-- his life will tell you."
Life is Good!

28 August, 2017

Back To School...

...back to blog*. Where I live today is the first day of school again for public school. For all intents and purposes this day signals the end of summer. I have written about this before, but this day, that of school beginning once again, has always made me incredibly sad. I don't know where this emotion comes from-- does it have its roots in my own end of summer/ school starting memories? Does it emanate from sending my own little ones off to school again at the conclusion of happy summer vacations all those years ago? Is it a combination of both? Is it one more tangible marker of the passing of time?  It probably seems silly to most; this melancholy will pass, it does every year, but today's the day and my heart is heavy. As a way of mediating this "funk" I am choosing to focus on a positive outcome of today's first school day: once again my great group of sewing buddies, the "Miss Bee Haven" gals, have come through and piled up the nap blankets for PreK students at a local school. We have adopted a school and provide forty five blankets, three classrooms full, for the youngest students to claim and keep, not only at school, but forever when summer comes rolling around once again in 2018. I can only imagine their apprehension today-- embarking on new experience in a place where they've never been before, filled with faces of friends they've yet to meet. Then, a grace moment: they are given the opportunity to claim a blanket; something they can hold on to, wrap up in and feel safe, something that is theirs and theirs alone. I hope they can feel the love stitched in each and every one. 💗
Our "Bee" group gathered on Saturday at the barn studio of one of our members to have a Sew Day and pot luck lunch together, it was a gorgeous day. This has become an annual event and is yet one more end-of-summer signal for yours truly. As always, a good time was had by all and we'll all be marking our calendars for next year!
Life is Good!

* I have been woefully neglectful of this blog. I know-- you probably think that I have been consumed with cleaning after that last post over three weeks ago. No, I honestly can't say what has taken up my time or can even effectively explain my absence. I have been busy with many fun things and am making a concerted effort, starting today, to catch up and post again on a much more regular basis.

04 August, 2017

Cleaner House, Less Time

My life has changed since I discovered Norwex, my house cleaning life that is. This is not a commercial. I receive no compensation from Norwex to endorse these products but I have to tell you that I am in love with them, this information is too good not to share. Using nothing but water and their Enviro Cloth and Glass Polishing Cloth on my windows, mirrors and glass surfaces, as well as my countertops, they are clean, sanitary, sparkling and 100% streak free. Seriously. No harmful chemicals anymore, no wasteful paper towels. The Enviro Cloth is spun with silver, bacteria won't grow because of the antimicrobial properties of silver. How did I not know about these until recently? Over the last few months I have switched, too, to their additive free, natural soap-only laundry detergent (1/2 tsp. per load, y'all; that's it!) and have changed from expensive, chemical-laden dryer sheets to wool dryer balls. Using the dryer balls has easily shaved a third off of every dryer load, timewise. I did discover that my lint screen was so deeply impregnated with the residue from dryer sheets that it actually held water when I ran it under the faucet! 😲 It took me some time and elbow grease to thoroughly scrub that screen clean, no surprise though, I have used dryer sheets for decades; now it looks (and performs) like brand new, the small amount of lint that accumulates sweeps off effortlessly. Not only is our house cleaner but it requires less maintenance now to stay that way. I could go on and on but I won't. I will let you discover the merits of these products for yourself. Look at the link attached here, find a Norwex consultant in your area and ask all the questions you need to ask. If you can't find one send me an email and I could possibly help you. Yep, my life has changed, my cleaning life is free of harmful chemicals and better because I am not wasting product, time, energy and paper; it's all good. If you have no Norwex you need to know Norwex!
Life is Good!