06 October, 2022

Chasing Squirrels

I returned to counted cross stitch within the last two years; something I never anticipated happening, something that I certainly didn't think that I had the time for, but nonetheless  it occurred! It came about as the result of a Christmas gift from Quiltkeemosabe. I blogged about this unexpected return to handwork here, a year ago. I continue to enjoy the slow pace and the rhythm of the stitching. But, isn't it funny how we endeavor to make time for the things we desire to do, those very things that we never imagined being able to squeeze into our already packed-full days?  I want to quilt, read, study the Bible, cook gourmet meals, decorate beautiful cookies, keep up with this blog, visit with my friends and family, entertain, make Chrismons, keep an immaculate house and garden, exercise regularly and create beautiful cross stitch samplers in my free time. I want to do it all! I know that this isn't realistic, I don't choose to set myself up for failure by rushing around aimlessly; doing a little of this, a little of that, and not completing anything well.  I needed to come out and admit that I'm a squirrel chaser. I can easily be distracted by that next great thing that I want to do and rush off in pursuit of it, leaving myself lost and drifting without direction. Knowing that, and admitting it, is the first (and maybe the most important) step in taking control back and focusing on what needs to be done and what's the most important task at hand. Prioritizing is one of my greatest challenges; there's always going to be a "squirrel" dashing across my path! Being cognizant of that fact has freed me up to be kinder to myself. I'm granting grace; realizing that if I to stick with one thing at a time, and see that through, those other projects will still be there awaiting their turn, when that time is right. And so, I have returned to stitching in the evenings, when there's time. Slowly, I am finishing projects and am proud of the result, taking one's time has its own rewards; I'm not ever going to be the fastest or the most prolific and that's perfectly okay. 
Quiltkeemosabe made this beautiful project bag for me. Yes, those pesky, ridiculous rodents (the bane of my existence) are peeking out through the clear front to mock me~ I love it!
This zipper pull is an added embellishment. My friend knows me well! As the next weeks and months go by, you know where I'll be. Right here, doing my level best to ignore the scampering squirrels that surround me, both the actual and the metaphorical ones. 

Life is Good!

* Colonial Blooms by The Scarlett House. Stitched on 32 count Belfast linen, called-for WDW colors.  

04 October, 2022

That Perfect Border

I'm sure you've had that same feeling that I experienced recently; it's that victorious sense of accomplishing something great when you stumble upon that one, perfect, solution to a problem. I'd finished piecing the center of this quilt completely from my stash. I kept thinking, the whole time, "I'll find something to border this with when I need it." But, truth be told, I wasn't fully convinced that what I had in my mind, and what was truly available, would necessarily ever come together.  
And then I found this!! I was trolling an online fabric shop, looking for something else and this popped up. "I wonder", I thought, "could this be that perfect border piece?".  I still hadn't seen this in person but, somehow I knew, I just knew! I quickly placed the order and crossed my fingers. When it arrived I held my breath and ripped open the padded envelope. All the various shades of red were contained in this piece, it was even better than I had hoped! I couldn't wait to border this one up and stand back to take it all in. And, as if all of this wasn't simply too good to believe, there are STRAWBERRIES too! Oh. My. 😍

Life is Good!

03 October, 2022

Cheers To Another Year

Another birthday has come and gone! Near the end of last month I celebrated the occasion and am embracing, fully, this final year of another decade. Mr. G and I spent a picture perfect day, in every respect, visiting a few local wineries that day. 
We continued the celebration over the weekend with precious family gatherings. I might be getting older but I'm not getting any taller (not everyone can say that!) I'm excited to remain taller than two of these cuties, at least for this year!
'Tis the season~ birthdays abound! We had the privilege of spending time with a brand-new twelve year old yesterday! TWELVE! Yes, it's true. Her smile says it all, it's all good.

Cheers to another year!
Life is Good!

20 September, 2022

Removing Bricks

"Zippity Doo Dah" is all quilted, off the rails, trimmed up and ready for binding. This quilt measures 76" X 64" and removed 192 light colored 2.5" X 4.5" "bricks" from my precut scrap bin. That might sound like a big number, but I still couldn't manage to even get the top on the bin; it remained full-to-overflowing. I knew that I could do better. As I posted last week and the week before, the Potato Chip quilt took shape, leader-ender style, as I was piecing a different top. 
As of this morning the Potato Chip quilt (on the wall) is fully pieced and measures in at 64" X 80"; a good, usable size. This little endeavor helped to remove 640 bricks from the bin! I'm on a roll, and now, not to be defeated by my own scraps, I'm moving on to another design while still working out of the same bin! Yay! You can see the blocks on the table and how they combine; again, using light/dark contrast to make the columnar setting stand out. I was inspired here; this scrap quilt design showed up in my Pinterest feed and the time was right. I guess this must mean that I'm working on a series~ a first for me!
So, the brick removal continues and with any luck at all, the bin's contents will begin to dwindle. Another 4, 5, or 6 hundred and I should be in pretty good shape, at least I'll be able to place the lid on this bin and hear it snap shut! Oh, happy day!

Sew, what's next?
Life is Good!

15 September, 2022

The Best Diversions

We've had some diversions from our normal routines this week, the best kind, an overnight visit from these two. Since they're currently being home schooled we were able to take an active part in that and even added some enrichment activities as well! 
At break time we played a rip-roaring game of Sequence and took a field trip to a local park for some exercise, fresh air and sunshine; the weather has been absolutely wonderful this week, cooler temps with lower humidity. Sometimes a brief redirection from the customary is just what the soul needs; I feel confident saying that we all had a good time during their visit!

In other news; our little buddy, Hannes, turned 18 last month! He's grown more feeble lately and his little back legs have been slipping on our hardwood floors as he navigates. It's so sad; and scary. We ordered these "grippy" socks and they really seem to help! As you can see, they work for him to safely walk around, and turn, with no sliding or slipping whatsoever. He leaves them on just fine, and doesn't seem to mind one bit.  Honestly, I think he's grateful. We cherish every day that we have with him. 
The Potato Chip quilt has made its way to the design wall, it will need another row and finish up at 64" X 80" when it's all together. I've been shifting and rotating blocks daily as I size it up. This is a fun and fast project!
The Kousa Dogwood is beginning to put on a show with it's fall "fruit". 
The colors are simply stunning as they ripen. 
Life is Good!

10 September, 2022

How One Good Thing Leads To Another...

Have a look at the fast-accumulating Potato Chip* blocks that are appearing, L-E style, as I continue to set together the Stitching Kindness quilt. That one is currently residing on the design wall as the rows are being stitched which is why these blocks are currently occupying the design floor. I just love the happy, chaotic, scrappiness of this one. The original idea behind this leader-ender diversion was to empty out the 2.5" X 4.5" scrap bin. As you can see, even with this many blocks done, I've barely made a dent. ↓
Which makes me think that perhaps I need to make another one after this. Yep, I can see why this one was called the Potato Chip block; in my case, I can't (or shouldn't) stop at just one!

 Life is Good!

* See here for previous post.

09 September, 2022

A Cautionary Tale

So, I'd heard about a hardwood floor "refresher" product that claimed to restore beauty and gloss to hardwood floors. We have hardwood floors throughout our home which I've never had a problem maintaining through regular mopping and  cleaning; however, there are areas where the finish has become scratched and dull over the years from heavy use and traffic. One such area that needed attention is in my sewing room under where the ironing board normally stands. I keep the board against the cabinet wall when not in use and swing it out into the room farther when I'm standing behind it to iron, this action has caused an "arc" to be etched lightly into the finish. After ordering the hard-to-get new product (it must be that good, I thought), and waiting a very long time, it finally arrived! I read the instructions to the letter and even applied it with the recommended applicator pad, which I also purchased from the company. It went on glossy and beautiful, I hoped it wouldn't shine too much as it dried because I was only spreading it in that one section, in the middle of the room. I shouldn't have worried about that, as it dried it became apparent that it not only took care of the scratches but it took off all of the finish that had been there! I was shocked and incredibly disappointed. What to do now? Honestly, I could have spread acetone on the floor there and gotten the same result. The finish was stripped off and I was feeling ripped off. The manufacturer is covered as the small print states: "buyer assumes all responsibility for proper use, results may vary according to floor condition." So, the bottom line here, the cautionary tale, is this: "always test in a small section first, in an inconspicuous area", that's the rest of the small print at the very bottom of the label! Okey-dokey, I've learned my lesson. Two coats of polish later and another top coat of my customary, tried and true all-in-one cleaner/polish product* and the floor is beginning to look the way it should, it's coming back, thank goodness!  

Always read the fine print, my friends, always
I know that I will, from now on, that's for certain!
Life is Good!

* That tried and true product, one that I've used for years with great results, is Orange Glo.