22 April, 2019

Spring Happenings

Spring happenings: It's been a busy, but joy-filled Easter weekend! The bluebirds have decided to start a substantially-sized family right here. Spring has taken hold.  Even though Easter Sunday was much later this year, it still was a bit chilly, surprisingly. We've had gloriously sunny days and then rain on Friday which washed the pollen from the air, albeit temporarily, and ushered in some cooler nights. Easter won't be this late again until 2030; I did learn that the latest that Easter can be possibly be celebrated is April 25, that will occur in 2038-- I'll be 85. 😲

I am including, below, a photo journal of the weekend's activities including some holiday breakfast baking, some house-cleaning and organizing, a scene from a Holy Week play, Easter Sunday church service and post-dinner posing from the youngest two grandchildren. No sewing, unless I count placing the final stitches in the binding of the Fuse, Fold and Stitch rug. Guess what's on the agenda for this week?

I cleaned out decades' worth of accumulated young-children's books and repurposed this guest room bookcase. 
Selected age-appropriate titles now reside in a basket for choosing by our youngest overnight guests. 


Happy Easter!

Life is Good!

19 April, 2019

How Do You Quilt A Rabbit?

There's a rabbit in the studio this morning; a great big, white rabbit.  The pattern is an old one from Country Threads. I have wanted to make "Harvey" for years, well-- 2019 became THE year! You know how sometimes you just decide to drop everything, or push it to the back of the cutting table to make room for that ONE THING that you decide has to happen here and now? Well, Harvey became that one thing. It was now or never, Harvey pushed himself to the front of the line for Easter, you know how pushy rabbits can be.  This is the pattern, dated 1997. I collected all of the Country Threads patterns back in the day. If you go to the link above, reprints are still available, for a limited time only. He went to together quickly and easily, the pieces are big! He measures, as shown,  21" X 53".

Somewhere along the line I checked out the notions requirements for buttons, etc. I found these, at the same time, when cleaning out a drawer. They belonged to my MIL, they had been stashed in the old 301 cabinet that I inherited a few years back. They're the perfect size and were destined to become his eyes and shirt buttons. The cards were marked at 15 cents. That might give a clue to their age. I set them aside.

Then it was time to load "Harvey" onto Snowbird for quilting. But, I ask, how do you  quilt a rabbit? The pattern included those dreaded three words: "quilt as desired". Okay, no help there. 
I chose straight-line quilting with a ruler. It seemed to work well for this door banner. 
After quilting he received his features: eyes, whiskers and button embellishments. I just so happened to find one more thing while cleaning out yet another drawer(!); the perfect finishing touch!
Bunny buttons for his fancy French cuffs, ooooh, la-la! They're pewter and were found in my own mother's button box! His name has now changed. He is no longer "Harvey" but now his name is "Buttons"; Buttons the Bunny, it was a natural choice, with assistance from both of my Moms. 💗
Buttons is keeping guard of the studio door now as I come and go, he makes me smile. The following has been declared by both of our granddaughters: "he is my favorite quilt ever!"
And so, the answer to the riddle: "how do you quilt a rabbit?"
"Very gently!"

Life is Good!

18 April, 2019

Four for Four

For the past three days we've had a little helper here, things are sadly quiet this morning. Over the last few months Mr. Goodneedle and I have tried to have each of the grandchildren for a weekend, by themselves, as schedules allowed. We didn't get Lucy Ann for a weekend but did manage the first three days of her spring break from school this week. We've now four for four, she was the final one to come and stay in the rotation.

When we got to the house on Monday after a lunch stop she picked right up where her cousin left off last weekend and finished sorting Nana's strips and strings into color groups. We cleared the table and started all over again. She was done in no time. I honestly cannot remember how long it's been since I saw the bottom of that bin!
She helped Paw Paw to crank up a batch of homemade chocolate ice cream in the workshop. 
On Tuesday we baked. Macarons. Ever since she was very young and read "Fancy Nancy" books, Lucy Ann has been intruiged by all things French. Yes, she wants to go to Paris, but claims that will have to wait until she perfects her table manners (I can't imagine where she's ever heard bargaining like that!😉) We have been planning to make these ever since her visit was scheduled, but this week we had Paris on our mind following the devastating fire at Notre Dame.  The cookies were a huge hit and turned out really well! If anyone is interested in the recipe you can find it here


In the afternoon she helped Paw Paw plant some fruit trees in our orchard space.

She made a prayer booklet for herself; copying scripture, quotes and even writing her own prayers to add. She decorated the pages and joined the stack together with a ring at the top so that she can flip through it and add more pages as she goes. 
We took a little trip to a precious local bakery and she chose a cupcake for dessert and one to take home for her brother. 
Yesterday it was sewing day. She made skirts for her American Girl dolls, we fused designs onto t-shirts for the dolls to coordinate. She takes direction well and ended up with two cute little outfits.


She was really excited about sewing; we need to do more of this while her interest is high. Having a short lesson and keeping the project simple and the goal attainable, will, hopefully, bring her back for more! 
Before we knew it, the time had come to get back in the car and head home. I hope Lucy Ann will remember our time together fondly; I know that we will! We miss this girl today; so does Hannes. 
He's very lonely today without his constant companion. I told my daughter this morning, 
that I don't think Hannes' feet touched the floor the entire time that Lucy Ann was here. 
Now it's time to start all over again-- one grandchild at a time!
Life is Good!



 

14 April, 2019

Sorting Strips and Other Weekend Activities

We had our youngest two grandchildren yesterday, it was a VERY rainy day and we concentrated on inside activities. I asked Lynnleigh for some help in sorting my bin of strips into color groups. I set her up in the sewing room and taped crayons on the table to identify each row. She set right to work and enjoyed the task... for a while. She took a lot of breaks in between and that was just fine. We found lots of fun activities. We decorated the house for Easter, planted some flower seeds and baked up a big batch of caramel corn (recipe below!). I don't have a plan for my strips but they'll be all color coordinated and easier to use now, whenever I'm ready.
She got a LOT accomplished in snatches of time. I am very pleased (as she is) with the result.
The truth is there's probably just as many strings left in the bin as there are on the table. But, we've made a GREAT start! The bin on the left (on the sofa) will be reserved for lights/neutrals only.  
I got this recipe from Quiltkeemosabe last week. It's all that and more. 
Good luck keeping it on hand for up to five days!
Gregory was happy to pose for the recreation of this photo from seven years ago. Sigh. 
Last evening Mr. Goodneedle and I attended the Winston-Salem Symphony for an evening with "Ella and Louis", we had a terrific time listening to vocals and trumpet music saluting the greats Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. We always love attending functions at the beautiful Reynolds Auditorium, for a high school auditorium it is amazingly special and, I dare say, unlike most others. 

One final little story from yesterday. Lynnleigh was sitting at the kitchen table and I mentioned to her that her face is elongating and slimming down and, at six, she's looking much more like a  big girl now than a little girl. She immediately replied: "Oh, that's probably because I'm sitting up on my knees!" 
Yeah, that's it. 😉

Life is Good!

12 April, 2019

Granola Recipe

Here's the well-worn recipe card with the directions to make up the granola mentioned in my previous post. A few of you requested the recipe and not everyone was reach-able via email.  The only substitution that I make is to replace the currants with dried cherries. I can recommend the Inn too, it's been a while since we visited (2004!) but we remember this lovely B&B, and the innkeepers, fondly. 
Enjoy!
Life is Good!

11 April, 2019

Lent and Leftovers*

During the Sundays of Lent we have not displayed fresh flowers on the altar at church during worship; but, rather, twigs, reeds and branches. As we reflect on our need for  God's forgiveness through the sacrifice of his son on the cross, dried arrangements remind us that in our baptism, our sinful self dies and we anticipate the resurrection that we share with Christ as the celebration of his Resurrection approaches. Our congregation is currently being served by an Interim Pastor who has introduced us to this tradition. The concept is new to me, as long as I can remember I have attended or belonged to churches that have used fresh flowers every Sunday, regardless of the season. This has had a powerful effect on me, as a stark visual reminder of the solemnity of this penitent season leading up to Easter. Is this a tradition that you observe or have heard about? Our mid-week Lenten services concluded last night as we prepare for Holy Week. We have been worshiping on Wednesdays with the service of Holden Evening Prayer. I will miss it.

*Leftovers (small little topic posts):

I made up a big batch of my homemade granola, I do this about every six weeks. This is a breakfast staple for me; a third of a cup of this granola topped with plain, homemade yogurt and berries if we have them. I have been making this granola for the last fifteen years, I got the recipe from a bed and breakfast where we stayed in Occidental, CA. If anyone is interested, let me know, I am happy to share the recipe. 

My porch quilts weren't hanging well outside, they would wave and flop and warp. Mr. Goodneedle created a frame and I attached the April edition with velcro to the frame and will continue to add strips in the corners of these subsequent monthly porch-brighteners. A simple fix with a great result!

Spring has a tight grip now, I believe the winter temps. are behind us. Sapphire blue skies and the emerging green leaves yesterday set off the blooms on the Kwanzan Cherry in the background. This is the site of our future screened-in porch. As of yet, we still don't have a start-date with the builder. 

The first of our Iris in bloom. This plant came from my childhood home at least fifteen years ago, I have divided it already many times. It will be time to divide it up for sharing again soon.  
Yesterday I quilted all afternoon with the windows open. You might think that was to enjoy the fresh air and gentle spring breezes; well, there was that, and the fact that opening the windows acted as a deterrent to allowing the male bluebird of our nesting couple from attacking his reflection in the glass! He did it all day until I turned up the music and cranked out the windows. Today he has calmed down. I checked the nesting box this morning, a nest has been built but as of today we're still empty-nesters. 
Quiltkeemosabe gave me this book yesterday, ways to outwit my nemesis. We'll see. I have had plenty visiting our new feeders in our revamped perennial garden space. 😖  The new plants are coming along slowly, but they are growing and establishing themselves. We have discovered a problem with lack of drainage in the back corner of the bed. I have dug up and potted the Russian Sage for now, while we amend the soil and situation there. I am thinking about planting Cardinal Flower back there and moving the Russian Sage; apparently the Cardinal Flower likes wet soil. I am learning that it's easier for me to be flexible with my layout than to fight the conditions. Time will tell. Now, on to the task at hand-- stopping those pesky seed-stealing rodents with long tails. 😉

Enjoy these lovely spring days!
Life is Good!