16 January, 2019

Six Short Years

Six short years ago this little bundle of energy burst onto the scene.She has been charming all of us ever since. She is funny and imaginative, sweet, loving and she absolutely loves art work! Now, apparently, she is now making balloon animals (and numbers!); she keeps us on our toes. She mentioned to her Mommy the other day that she was hoping for Nana to make special cookies for her birthday party. My daughter in law told me that whatever I chose to make would be just fine. I decided on a winter theme and made a blizzard's worth of snowflakes. They went together fast; I got them baked, decorated and wrapped tout suite and then they were out of here; like a snow squall with no warning.

I delivered them yesterday, but Mommy held on to them to surprise the birthday girl this morning.
I believe they were a hit! 
Happy birthday, Lynnleigh! You're growing up fast.
In the quick blink of eye to these grandparents.

Life is Good!

08 January, 2019

Keeping Christmas

The view has changed from my seat; every evening I sit in this very spot to read or plan tomorrow's activities. I sit quietly and count my blessings. In one day the view has changed dramatically. This reminds me of a children's puzzle page where one is asked to spot and circle the differences in the two pictures. Despite the visual differences I pray that my heart and mind will keep Christmas in full view, each and every day of this new year! I am reminded of the following mini-sermon by Henry Van Dyke. I am willing, with God's help and guidance may it be so.

ROMANS 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord.

Keeping Christmas

There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.
Are you willing...
  • to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you;
  • to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world;
  • to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground;
  • to see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;
  • to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life;
  • to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness.
Are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing...
  • to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children;
  • to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old;
  • to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough;
  • to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts;
  • to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you;
  • to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;
  • to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open—
Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing...
  • to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—
  • stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—
  • and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?
Then you can keep Christmas.
And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?
But you can never keep it alone. 

Life is Good!

04 January, 2019

A Link In The Chain

This quilt top came to me through a circuitous route, along with other tops and tote bags full of fabric. They came from a dear friend and fellow church member for our group to tie and donate to North American Lutheran Church Disaster Response; should the need arise, quilts will be ready. This particular top languished in the closet. It is a spectacular work of scrap usage and meticulous workmanship. Since it was foundation pieced onto muslin I realized it might be a bit thick to tie by hand and decided to load it onto Sundance for a quick panto. As soon as Christmas and all the festivities were winding down, the last few days, it was time. I loaded up his scrappy beauty and set to work.
As is always the case, when working on a quilt with a back story, this quilter began to wonder about the woman who pieced this and hoped that she would smile on its intended new purpose. I asked my friend to tell me what she knew about the top's piecer. She answered: "the quilt maker is the mother of one of my Mom's classmates. The mother was a wonderful seamstress and quilter. As she developed dementia they allowed her to cut and piece as long as she was able. Eventually, they (her family) had to move her from her home and clean out her quilt room. When they did, they kept or donated the fabric, tops and pieces that they found." She went on to say, "they (she and her daughter) both did excellent work; they always washed their fabric and ironed it neatly before cutting and sewing. Their scraps were more nicely stored than most fabric in stores!" That was obvious to me as the quilter; this top was as straight and even as any quilt I had ever seen, nothing shoddy or haphazard about this one. I found a lovely purple backing and quilted it with a soft lilac-colored thread. I hope and pray that it will bring comfort and love to the recipient.
As my friend stated: "many scraps and many hands will get this where it needs to be". 

Let's suffice it to say that I don't keep my scraps stored more nicely than in fabric stores!
But, keep them I do (albeit crammed into plastic bins)! Here's a heap of 2.5" strips. Just the thing to build some houses. I want to thank CityMouseQuilter for leading me, through her blog post, to Lori of Humble Quilts' (click for link) blog and the request for house blocks to be donated to the survivors of the California Wildfires last month. Grabbing my scraps and following the pattern on her website I quickly stitched up a few houses for donation. I mailed them yesterday. Seriously, these three houses only took me a few hours (it took me as long to decide on the colors and fabric placement as it did to stitch them up). If you have the time, and a handful of scraps, there's nothing to lose; join me as another link in the chain!
When disaster strikes, quilters rev up their machines! It's like I told my friend who donated the quilt top above: "I feel like a link in a chain of love here. The experience of bonding through needle and thread to an eventual , and unknown, quilt recipient is a reverent one for me". I pray for peace and comfort through each and every stitch. 
Life is Good! 

03 January, 2019

"Soft" Quilt, Soft Spot

Four years ago Gregory requested a "soft" quilt for his birthday. I posted about it here (if you would like to read  the back story of just how this quilt came to be). This quilt has certainly been used and loved since his fourth birthday. 💗 After he received his new bed quilt on Christmas Day he asked me if I could fix his soft quilt, he explained that it was coming apart. Actually, there were a few seams that needed repair; but, for the most part, the binding needed reattaching. As you know, it's always the binding that gets the most wear and this little boy can certainly apply some wear and tear to a quilt; that's where the soft part comes in, it applies to me. I have a soft spot in my heart for quilts that are literally loved to death. Isn't that why we're quilters in the first place? What quilt maker reading this wouldn't want a quilt gift to be used and loved until it is threadbare? When he left this with me for repair on Sunday, after spending the weekend here, there was some hesitancy on his part, he doesn't like to be without it. I promised him that I would do it quickly. In the mornings he appears at the breakfast table with his soft quilt draped around his shoulders like it is a piece of clothing or a giant flannel hug. (I know that this is a habit his parents do not like but I didn't have it in me to tell him to take it back to his room!) Gregory, your quilt repair is complete. I hope it will hold up for another four years, or for as long as he loves it. Yes, this soft quilt has certainly created one huge soft spot in this quilt maker's heart; after all, it's why I make quilts.

Life is Good!

02 January, 2019

New Year, New Purpose!

I have two traditions for New Year's Day: The first is to gather all the Christmas cards and disassemble them. Fronts are carefully removed from the backs, unless they're photo cards, and neatly stacked. The insides, with the card sender's name(s), are punched and threaded onto a ring where they will reside with our Bible and devotional material at the kitchen table. 
Each morning, after breakfast, we have our devotions and then pray for the person or family on the top of the stack. We rotate through the stack throughout the year, flipping the card on top to the bottom and so forth. For us, this keeps the senders close all year long. This is not an original idea, I have blogged about this before. The idea came from friends years ago, Helen and Marv. They have both gone to their Heavenly home now, but we carry on in their spirit; we don't have cards in the stack from them anymore but they are always on our minds and in our hearts as we keep this tradition alive. So, what becomes of those stacked card fronts?
They are re-purposed into gift tags! I trim them into shapes, punch a hole and tie a ribbon for attaching to next year's gifts. I realized as I was doing this that this is a great activity for children. I should have done it over the weekend when the grands were here. Little ones love cutting, punching and threading the ribbon ties. I will remember that for next year, but I was on a mission to finish up the project up yesterday.
The second New Year's tradition is to transfer all dates and data from last year's calendar/planner into the new one. For the last five years I have given our daughter a planner for Christmas and she gives me mine. We let each other know in the fall which one we would like to receive and how we would like the cover to be personalized. Now, we both realize that we could order our own planners, but where's the fun in that?  It's exciting to unwrap our planners together each year! One year we both chose the same design; this year our daughter suggested three different designs and asked me to choose for her. 
These planners are big and roomy with pockets and folders too. I use mine incessantly, all in an effort to keep my life orderly and organized.  Some days I'm better at that than others. But, hey, it's a new year and I'm ready for it now; I'm always up for doing better than before and I can dream big too! 

Life is Good!

01 January, 2019

Whirlwind Weekend!

We had a wonderful, whirlwind of a weekend with our two youngest grandchildren. We celebrated Pawpaw's birthday in grand style with his favorite dessert: homemade apple pie. There was also some cookie decorating, a nap or two, box stacking/tower building*, creative arts, ice cream and many, many games of Otrio. This game is a new twist on Tic Tac Toe. Mr. Goodneedle and I were amazed at how quickly the children took to the game and marveled at their strategic skills; even at their ages they were quite adept at defensive moves. This is a great family game, check it out if you haven't heard of it.    
On Quiltkeemosabe's recommendation we all watched The Star on Sunday afternoon. This is a sweet movie of the first Christmas told from the animals' point of view. It is just precious, we all loved it. All too soon the weekend was over and our house grew quiet once again. And yet, reminders remain.
Last evening, after dinner, we were moving upstairs to settle down and watch TV in our converted attic space/entertainment area. It was then that I spotted this pinned to a quilt that hangs in the hallway outside the room. Gregory likes to announce what's playing in "the theaters"! Sigh. 

Yes, it's quiet around here today, New Year's Day.
I look forward to more whirlwind weekends and memory making in 2019! 

Wishing you peace, joy and fulfillment on this day and every day in the new year to come.
Life is Good!

* We have amassed an excessive amount of corrugated cardboard shipping boxes this year. I believe that I will invest in cardboard stock. This seems ridiculously wasteful to me. Mr. Goodneedle is looking at these as future fire-starters now that we have switched to a wood burning fireplace. I believe we have enough for a very long time!😉

29 December, 2018

Can Do!

Happy Birthday today to my wonderful husband. He is the most creative, industrious and capable person that I know. Never have I known him to shy away from any challenge. A few years ago he decided that he would finish the space in our basement that exists between the garage and his workshop. It's always been a "pass through" area where things are dumped off and where the second, back up, refrigerator resides at the bottom of the steps that lead up to our foyer and the rest of the house. He began by replacing the pine stair treads with oak. Right around this time his mother took a decided turn for the worse, health-wise, and ultimately passed away. The project was back-burnered for a good while after that. Late this summer and into the fall, with renewed vigor, the wood working  resumed. He created oak paneling down the steps to the landing, paying homage to his equally creative father who had designed and installed similar paneling in his own home many years ago. Mr. Goodneedle designed the handrail as an integral part of the moulding.

Most recently he designed and installed the banister and balustrades on the opposite side.
He has painted wallboard, installed crown moulding and designed and installed matching cabinetry around that afore-mentioned refrigerator. This cabinetry houses the equipment for his latest obsession: ice-cream making! He's considering now how he will finish that concrete wall in the pictures above; and all the while he's planning on constructing a glass door that will lead into the workshop. I never cease to be amazed at what this gifted man can accomplish when he sets his mind to something. He has the most "can do" attitude of anyone that I know. I am so very proud of him, his positive work ethic and what a great role model he is, and always has been, to me; but especially to our children and grandchildren. 💗
Happy Birthday!
Life is Good!