13 September, 2021

September Happenings

We made a quick trip to the campground where our son and his family were staying this week for dinner out on Saturday evening; we wanted to help celebrate our favorite daughter-in-law's birthday (albeit a few days late). They're loving their new camper trailer and finding every excuse that they can to hit the road and explore the sights that our state (and those close by) have to offer. Gregory and Lynnleigh, being virtual learners again this year, have the benefit of classrooms without walls; now in fifth and third grades, they'll look back on these days of being truly remote with fond and happy memories, I feel certain. 
We were treated to a low-country "griddle"; it was delicious, every. last. bite; we had a great time!
When we left the house to drive there we passed beneath this flag flying at a local fire station, honoring the anniversary of September 11; it brought a lump to my throat to see this level of patriotism. No, we'll never forget!
We met these two when we arrived, they escorted us in, leading the way to their campsite on new bikes! They're squeezing every bit of fun out of these waning days of summer-like weather. 
It looks like the warm days will hang around a bit longer around here, this week shows no immediate relief despite the days getting shorter. Giving in, with a nod toward fall (Chrysanthemums and a hot meal at noontime), I made up another big batch of homemade tomato soup for lunch today, thanks to a church friend who's sharing his bumper-crop of remaining summer goodies; those generous tomato plants just keep on giving!

Life is Good!

12 September, 2021

Sacred Stitches

When you're a part of a small, mission congregation, everyone is called upon, at one time or another, to use their own abilities for the good of God's church. It truly does take a village! Only recently has our church decided that, in addition to Sunday morning worship, we'll be adding a Wednesday evening Vespers service, to include Holy Communion. This is a great thing! However, with limited resources the demand is still high to provide everything necessary for Holy Communion; this includes altar linens, which are laundered each week. Since we only have a very limited supply, naturally this will require increased inventory of needed items. I checked the church supply catalog and found the purificators (used as illustrated:)                                        
to be a bit cost prohibitive. I have white linen, and embroidery software, and the ability to stitch. I set to work. The best tutorial that I've found for mitering with inside, turned hems finished by hand was here.
The perfect, turned-under edges were easy and accurate with the use of Clover's Hot Ruler.
I can't rave enough over this tool (or any Clover notion, for that matter!); for me, this is a much used item in my ruler drawer, one that doesn't gather dust. 
Following the tutorial linked above will have you on your way to perfect, pointy, inside miters in no time! I sat and watched some Netflix while finishing the handwork on these. This is the backside ☝
And this is what shows on the front-side (before a trip to the ironing board and a thorough steaming). In some found snatches of time this week I was able to create two new complete sets of communion linens. There's no time like the present time 😌! Hopefully, these will fill a gap for a much-needed item at church. 
You may not need to create purificators, but, this is a great skill to add to your repertoire! How about a hand-crafted set of napkins, tea towels or a tablecloth to give as a gift? You'll love the results if you follow along with the steps outlined here by Celebrate Creativity, it's easier than you may think; I promise! 

I entitled this post "Sacred Stitches", I suppose because of the creation of items used for a sacrament. But, if the truth were known, I almost feel like time spent sewing and creating, for whatever purpose, is sacred time to me; if not sacred, then it is certainly blessed! If I don't get it in some stitching time of some sort, every day, I can feel as though my soul isn't quite fed; do you feel the same way? 
Life is Good!

07 September, 2021

Will We?

Will we look back on these days and remember them fondly? If you follow this blog you might remember that our small mission congregation purchased a church back in March, we moved in during Holy Week and celebrated triumphantly on Easter Sunday worshipping, at long last, in our own space! With property ownership, naturally, comes new and added responsibilities. Who will maintain the space? Over the last few months teams have been established consisting of dedicated and able-bodied volunteers for building maintenance; one to clean the inside of the church and another to mow, trim, and tidy up the church yard outdoors. By the grace of God our congregation has recently received gifts of a mower, a trimmer, and even a building in which to house the lawn keeping equipment! This past week it was the Goodneedles turn to clean and mow. We drove over there together; Mr. G got to work outside while I donned my rubber gloves and started scrubbing bathrooms (I like to get that out of the way first). Floors were mopped, the kitchen was cleaned until it sparkled, tables were wiped down, the vacuuming was done, windows were washed, the downstairs hallway was swept and, before I knew it, over three hours had passed!
I walked outside to find Mr. G. finishing up the trimming; it was a beautiful day, cooler and drier than it has been. I sat there in the sunshine while he used the leaf blower to do a final clean up and I wondered, as I relaxed from my efforts, will we look back on these days and remember them fondly? Will we recall, in the years to come, how we all pitched in as a community of faith and cared, together, for this physical space? I have never before been this invested in a church building; I suppose I had always just taken for granted that the bathrooms would be cleaned, the floors swept and the carpets vacuumed before I arrived for worship. Naturally, I knew that in former congregations we had sextons whose job it was to keep those church buildings clean, and landscapers who did the mowing; and yet, I can't recall ever thanking them or fully appreciating their diligence or the scope of their tasks. Mr. G and I were both tired when we drove back home last Friday. I asked him the question as we rode together: "will we look back on these days and remember them fondly"? He smiled. "I believe that we will" he responded, "I believe that we will"! 
I believe so too!
Thanks be to God!
Life is Good! 

06 September, 2021

Heading For the Border(s)

My late summer obsession has been pulling out all of those accumulated blocks-of-the-month from years past and setting them together. I got a border on this one (L) just this past week. A sweet off-white marbled fabric was special ordered (with fingers crossed) to border up and surround these six year old blocks and rein them in, success(!); it blended perfectly with the background fabric from 2015! One more to the full-flimsy stage!  The next ones out of the closet and onto the wall, a week or so ago, were these blue and white blocks; from an "I can't remember", long-ago year! I did the same blocks in red and white too, and have finished those up a few years back. I could see that I needed four more blocks here to be able to complete this into a square table topper. I'll turn my attention to that sometime soon; but, in the meantime, I had packing to get done and a retreat to attend!
And we were off, toward another border or two (or three); to a quilt retreat house in Ohio.
The accommodations were warm and welcoming. I've never slept better on a retreat.
Our individual work spaces were spacious and comfortable; the lighting was fabulous! 
We had a great, fully-equipped kitchen right off that same open space for easy meal preparation.
Check out this built in ironing space- with a window! 🙂
This was the view that I had, out the back window, from my sewing table.
And, we were treated to parachuters, compliments of the Sky Diving School behind the retreat house!

A couple of us stepped it up on the last night to complete quilt tops to bring back home. The Snowflake in flannels will bring some warm snuggle time when the snow flies. I stitched this offset coin quilt.
A parting shot before we packed it all up and headed back home again, full of inspiration and happy  memories.
Since returning home I've applied yet one more border! 
This detail shot is more representative of the colors in these low volume coins; it's sashed and bordered in a chambray blue Essex linen, actually much blue-r than gray, as these photos show. This flimsy measures 63" X 74". I have big ideas for custom quilting this one. And sew it goes...
Today's Labor Day, the official end of summer, it's time for the minds to once again return to back-to-school. The above two offerings are the newest Block-of-the Month programs at my LQS. Have I signed up? Of course I have; and not for one, but for both! Yep, it's back to the classroom for me (X 2)!

Don't let it ever be said that 
I ran out of things to work on!

Life is Good!

02 September, 2021

A Dark Day

Yesterday was a very dark day in our community. The breaking news came in shortly after noon of another school shooting, this time it wasn't somewhere else, though, it was here; in a local high school. Fear and panic gripped the afternoon as reports of the gunman being at large surfaced, residents sheltered behind locked doors and frightened families rushed to pick up their students at a secure location. Sadly, late in the afternoon, it was announced that the victim had died after being rushed to the hospital. The suspect was apprehended late in the day after an intense search. Today, everyone who calls this community home is reeling. Please join me in prayer for all who are affected by this senseless act; pray for peace, for calm and for healing. Pray for all parents, grandparents and caregivers who send their children off to school every morning, pray for our students, teachers, administrators, security officers, law enforcement and first responders; lavish them them reassurance and gird them with strength that comes through faith in You.  Lord, have mercy. 

O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You. 
Let your mighty calmness reign in me. 
Rule me, O King of Gentleness, King of Peace.

I am reminded that even in the darkest of days,
Life is Good, 
because God is good, all the time.

01 September, 2021

Late August Wrap-Up

I had a friend ask me the other day of I was ever going to post again; that's how long it's been since I've updated here! Sheesh. It's not that I haven't been doing anything, that would be the simplest explanation; actually, the exact opposite is the case. I'm going to bring the blog up to date, but it will take several posts to accomplish that. At last post, I was pulling blocks-of-the-month out of the stash closet (it just keeps giving... ) and setting them together. I'll pick back up there. This one was called The Chain Gang, it's been aging, like a fine wine, since 2010. Out of the bin and into the light: two blocks needed to bring it to a respectable size. I decided on a straight set and sashed it with a gray fabric that I had left over from another, different, (more recent) block-of-the-month. I found some bright grunge fabrics to use as the cornerstones so that the "chains" would remain unbroken. I had to order more Kona black to finish up the borders after the blocks were completed.
"The Chain Gang" ~ 56" X 72"

So, here we are, eleven years later~ finally at the flimsy stage. Another one to add to the ever-growing "to be quilted" queue! After all these years I've decided to not waste anymore time on this one, even to think of a clever name for it. It will simply be called The Chain Gang, as it was titled originally. 
One more late-August update, our baby turned 41 years old; he graciously hosted us at HIS house this year to celebrate! As the month wound down we've been treated to an absolute abundance of fresh tomatoes from the garden of friends. I needed to find a way to use them up quickly. I found this quick and easy recipe for homemade soup.
Fresh and colorful tomatoes before (l) and after (r) oven roasting. 
This tomato soup is smooth, flavorful and delicious. If you're looking for a use for extra tomatoes you might want to give this recipe a try!
I was able to get in some reading time in August; these two books held my attention for a few weeks. I'm already onto a new book for September which I'm loving, I'll report on that in a future post. I can't say that I particularly enjoyed Picoult's novel, it was a little over the top for me. Berg's "The Confession Club" was a fun and diversionary story which I liked very much; a friend had recommended it to me and I'm so glad that she did!
Elmer the elephant made his way down off the shelf and onto my cutting table while I was stitching up the  last blocks of The Chain Gang. He's good company, sewing is always more fun with friends! Stay tuned, I have lots more to show and tell. I can't believe that we're rocketing our way toward Labor Day already! 
Happy September!
Life is Good!

17 August, 2021

Fast-Forward Once Again!

Here's the second sampler quilt top from the bin of old blocks-of-the-month; this one, also, from 2007! As explained in the previous post, I had stashed the blocks along with fabric purchased at the time for finishing; I'm SEW glad that I did that! The extra green and dark red came in handy for those cornerstones in the pieced sashing. I found this setting idea in Sharyn Craig's Setting Solutions book (one of the most often used books on the shelf), I thought it lightened up the whole piece considerably. Luckily, I bought enough of that mottled caramel color for the borders (and I have just enough for binding, too!). This top measures 60" X 75" and will be named "Autumn Stars", it's the fall cousin to "Summer Stars", below. 
The first one is quilted and off the rails, it's hard to believe that these are the exact same block patterns as the one above! 
I need to scour the stash closet for something to use for binding on this one now.
It's that time again: we've had a nap blanket "round up" for the three PreK classes that our small group supplies at a local elementary school. A full complement was delivered yesterday, in time for next week's first day! I've posted about this project many times before, this is the eleventh year that we've provided these to the school that we "adopted". Another fast-forward moment, it hardly seems possible that we've been doing these for that long! You can read more about the nap blanket project here
We were able to have lunch with our daughter and oldest grandson in the Capital City last week, celebrating both of their birthdays. Mason, now 13, was thrilled to see that he's ever-so-slightly taller than me now; it might be just a smidgen, but he'll claim it. This, for certain, was a fast-forward for me!
~Marbles Found~
One more flimsy out of the old blocks-of-the-month bin! This one is not nearly as "vintage"; these were assembled (and then promptly stashed) in 2015, only six years ago! This is small-ish: only 36" X 45" at this point. It was made using a line of Moda fabric called "Marbles". I may have located enough of that creamy background fabric online to border it up, making it finish to a nice, lap quilt size; fingers crossed that it will match. I did have a suggested final layout of this one in the packet but I ignored it and simply improvised by setting it block-to-block which, I think, gives it a modern, spontaneous, look and feel. Regardless, it's been checked off the "to do" list and now will be queued up, along with a few others(!) for quilting. Now, let's drop that remote control that's fast-forwarding through the days, weeks, months and years at break-neck speed! I can scarcely keep up.

Life is Good!