Friday, February 27, 2009

Feathered Friends & Signs of Spring

My husband recently took these photos near our home...

Snow geese on the move....

Male cardinal who frequently visits outside my studio window.... and adds a much welcome splash of color on gray winter days.... A pair of bald eagles surveying their domain... we have seen their nest nearby...
I am looking forward to more "friends" visiting as the weather warms up...
Hold on- spring is on the way....

Lately I have been just a bit envious of a friend who lives in the sunny state of Arizona (you know who you are!). How I miss the sun on my face, and being able to walk out to the car without being bundled up to the very top of my head! I miss green things and colorful flowers and ladybugs and butterflies in the garden...

I suppose if the weather were perfect all of the time, I would soon fail to appreciate it. I would quickly come to take for granted that the sun would shine the next day, and the freedom of walking through the tickly grass in my bare feet.... and those sublime days when I can lie in the hammock under the hazelnut tree sipping iced tea and reading a good book.... or pick a cherry tomato from the garden and pop its sun-warmed sweetness right into my mouth....

The winter makes us long for, and appreciate, the spring. I was talking to my daughter the other day, and she was happy and chipper, and just commenting that everything that week was good. I recommended to her that she write it down, how she was feeling and all of the blessings in her life, so that when the time comes (and, unfortunately, it always does, for all of us) that things weren't so rosy, she could reflect upon those comforting memories and be assured that the sun will certainly shine again. When things get tough, we seem to feel like life is not good, never was good, never again will be good. Somehow, we know this isn't true, and yet we tend to wallow in it, just a little (or am I only speaking for myself here??)

So here's to the coming spring, to warmth and light and signs of life...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meet Millie

My latest project, which I had wanted to finish about 2 weeks ago, but you know how that goes sometimes....

My new "friend" Millie....

and her garden....

I ended up doing a lot more embroidery on it than I had originally planned, so it has taken me a little while to get it done. Hopefully it will be done this week, and the pattern will be available soon. I have a plan for a "friend" for Millie, so as soon as I get her done, I can start working on "Tillie." I can't wait to meet Tillie, I think she is going to be very fun and sweet!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Music Monday- Shadowfeet

This song is by Brooke Fraser, I had not heard of her until my husband bought me the CD for Christmas (he had found out about her through some blogs.) This is the first track on the CD Albertine. I love it. I have put the lyrics below in case you'd like to follow along.

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
Toward home, a land that I've never seen
I am changing: less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began
And I have sensed it all along
Fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in You, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You

There's distraction buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it's easier to stay
But I've heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way

You make all things new, You make all things new...

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in You, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I'll be found in You

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Quilt- Basket of Posies

You may remember way way back when, I was working on this project. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Well, it is finally done. It seems like I have been working on it forever.... It is hand applique, which means that it is not a super quick project, but I think the results are well worth it- it is one of my favorite projects ever.

The pattern is available here on my website.

"God gave us memories that we may have roses in December."--J. M. Barrie

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Birthday Feast

We had dinner for the whole extended family on Saturday night to celebrate my daughter's birthday. Of course, the food is very, very important at these things.....

I made a pork loin which I stuffed and marinated with a mixture of onion, fresh parley, garlic and fresh lemon juice.

My daughter also requested one of her favorites, pastitsio. It is a Greek meat and pasta casserole, and it actually has cinnamon and nutmeg in it, which sounds a little weird, but it is delicious. I got many requests for the recipe, so maybe someday I'll post it here or on my website.

Finally, there was of course the birthday cake that my daughter made. Delicious! It was the "cookbook" birthday for her- she got about 8 altogether! And she also got a pasta maker, so I'm hoping that at sometime in the near future she will announce that I never have to cook again!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Music Monday- Saved

This song was written by Bob Dylan, and redone by Third Day. The first video is Bob and his band doing the song live (and check out the way those girls play tambourine- whoa!) The second video is the Third Day version (the video is just OK, I couldn't find a performance version, but the song still ROCKS!)
I dare you not to tap your foot or move in your seat for this one....)

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm In Love....

Today I cried... just a little...

It has been a fairly stressful day here. A misunderstanding regarding the publication of one of my designs has to be ironed out.... not the end of the world, but one of those pesky things that you'd rather just not deal with. Daughter came home from college for the weekend, so I whisked her out to the local diner for a late lunch (the perfect excuse to just get away, even for just a little while...)

When we got home, I checked the mail, and there was a fat envelope. It was from The Gentle Art, makers of delicious hand dyed threads. It was completely unexpected, as I had totally forgotten about my request......

Inside the envelope, their ENTIRE line of gorgeous fabulous threads.... all 161 of them....

I cried, just a little. I jumped up and down. I danced. I sighed. I cried a little more. Daughter thought I was a little unbalanced, but seemed to be pleased that I was pleased...
Colors like Mistletoe, Willow, Dried Thyme, Sea Spray.....

Buckeye Scarlet, Clover, Poppy, Raspberry Parfait....
In the words of Buddy the Elf,
"I'm in love, I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

Happy Valentine's Day!

Post Script- Lest anyone accuse me of not having my priorities in order, I am also in love, in love, in love with my dear husband of 19 1/2 years.... and my 2 great kids.... and a dog named Daisy.... and a cat named Maddie....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Get the Insulin Ready....

We took my daughter to a chocolate buffet at Winterthur Museum over the weekend to celebrate her birthday. Everything had a chocolate theme, including chocolate ravioli in cream sauce and pork loin with ancho and chocolate gravy. Everything was yummy!

It was a real diet buster!!! Afterwards, a nice long walk through the gardens was in order. Fortunately, the weather was a lovely 57 degrees, quite a nice change from the 20's and 30's here lately.Daughter has also been planning her birthday cake for this coming weekend. She has already been working on the gum paste flowers. She learned how to do it from the internet. Amazing!

I spent last evening doing a presentation and trunk show for the lovely ladies (and gentleman!) at the Love Apple Quilt Guild in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I talked about how I started my quilt design business and also about the pins that I make for charity. I had a great time and met some wonderful people. I had to speak in front of a larger group than I was used to, there were probably close to a hundred people. But it all went well, and I was hardly nervous at all. I guess it is easy to let your worries go when you get caught up talking about something you love.

And finally, a reminder that the Tickled Pink Quilt Pattern and 2 designs of heart notecards from my website are on sale for the month of February. Click on the photos for the direct link to my site.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Music Monday- Gimme Gimme

First, Happy Birthday to my daughter who turns 14 today! So grown up!

This song seems appropriate for Valentine's Day.... The song is Gimme Gimme from one of my favorite musicals, Thoroughly Modern Millie (if you get the chance, take the whole family, they'll love it.) In this video, Sutton Foster appeared on the Rosie O'Donnell show a few years back.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Cat's In the Bag....

I was working on putting the binding on a fairly large quilt the other day. I got up for a few moments and found Maddie had made herself comfortable on my work in progress.
She is so dark, it is really difficult to get a good photo of her. She is about a year old now, we got her from a rescue last summer. In fact, at the time we got her, the rescue group wasn't an official organization, just a few people who found out about approximately 50 cats that needed homes and worked very hard to adopt them out. Now they are an official group and their name is- are you ready- Maddie and Friends! Isn't that sweet! Our Maddie is a "poster child".
When not interrupting my work, pulling down curtains, or napping, Maddie also enjoys playing in the shopping bags, as my daughter found out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quilting and Creativity

Some photos from a class I taught last week. It was Ladybug Garden, the first pattern that I ever published. I love how different all of the quilts are, and how they reflect the personality of each person who made them. One of the ladies decided to add a butterfly in addition to the ladybugs, since she is making it for her grand daughter and she collects butterflies.
I think it is so important to make a quilt (or whatever it is that you are creating) your own, add a little something that truly reflects yourself or the person you are giving it to. And don't be afraid to stray from what you would "normally" do, work with a color that you would not typically be drawn to. Or choose a project that is of a different scale than you are used to- try to make something in miniature, or make something HUGE... it doesn't matter, as long as you step away from your comfort zone a little. It doesn't mean that all of your work has to be like this, but once in a while it is good to stretch, to do something unexpected and fun... you never know what you will discover about yourself. For me, no matter how hard I try to branch out, I tend to gravitate toward the same colors, so sometimes I will buy a kit to work on that is completely different from anything I have in my house. Then when the project is done, if it doesn't match my decor, I give it to someone (or I could just redecorate an entire room around that one piece.... hmmm...)
If you are interested in the Ladybug Garden pattern, you can find it by clicking here.
It is snowing here again, all of the kids are excited at the prospect of an early dismissal from school. To me, it is just the perfect day to stay in and sew, sew, sew! Maybe I'll throw some stew or chili on the stove to simmer away all day... Hope you are having a great day, no matter what the weather wherever you are.


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