Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SWAP A BLOCK QUILT


I joined an awesome online quilt block swap.  So far we have made and are submitting  churn dash blocks and we are working on a holiday block swap.  I will post more on this later.  However, I do want to write about the holiday quilt block.

The rules are we should submit 12 blocks measuring 12 1/2" each.  We can use any block pattern we want.  I decided I was too busy to make a complicated block for holiday block swap so I decided to do a basic nine patch.  I picked out rich holiday fabric to make up for the lack of a fancier block and my laziness!


Rich green and red, both with gold specks, for the surrounding squares and great poinsettia fabric for the center square.


I alternated the blocks - some with red highlighted, some with green highlighted and always the poinsettia fabric in the center.  Making the 12 blocks for the swap went fast.

As I made the blocks I kept thinking of the other fabric in this line.  I liked the idea of a holiday quilt with black as the background.  I am not really a "cutzie, wootzie" person so laughing snowman or dancing penguins is something I wouldn't pick out for myself.  I also want it to stay out long past the holiday season.

Now, I have around nine quilt tops completed waiting to be quilted.  And, I have at least 4-5 quilts tops either started or waiting to be started.  I don't need more projects.  But, there is something about quilting that makes me act stupid!  LOL  So, I went back to my favorite quilt store, The Quilt Shop On Main, and purchased coordinating fabric.


It is beautiful fabric.  Deep, vibrant colors accented with gold.  I love the partridges and the pears.  I just think the fabric is elegant.  So, I needed to make a quick quilt.  I made additional 12 1/2 " 9-patch blocks and cut the coordinating fabric in 12 1/2" pieces and sewed them together.



I loved how it turned out.  Now for the borders.  It is a dark quilt so for the first border I went with a lighter color, picking up the tones from the light colors in the feature fabric.


This fabric has the same gold in it as the others.  So soft and pretty.


The first border really "popped" the quilt.  With the help of the "quilt ladies" at the shop we tried all different fabric ideas for the second border and ultimately decided on the same poinsettia fabric as in the center of the 9-patch blocks.  I think it is a good decision.


This is a simple quilt, but I think the fabric makes it look sophisticated.  And, check out this fabulous fabric I am going to use for the backing.



Not your typical Christmas quilt, but I plan on having this out from December 1 through January 31.

I love the way it turned out.  I have fabric left so I will increase the number of blocks I submit for the swap from 12 to 16 or 18.  And, I hope the ladies in my swap group forgive me for making myself a quilt and don't mind getting a simple 9-patch block!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE PART I


I love the old fashioned farmhouse tables.  Plank wood, plain or spindled legs, stained top and painted bottom.

Good example of what I want,  only I like thinner legs and
not quite so much distressing.  This table can be custom built for 

over $3,000.  Ouch!  No way I could afford this.
Since moving to Georgia four years ago I have wanted one of these tables for the dining room. Periodically I would scan the web looking for good deals.  I've been to many furniture stores looking and looking.  Either the costs were what I considered ridiculous or it was not made well or not exactly what I want.
My little drop leaf table with two of the chairs I 
like and want to use in my dining room. .
Picture is looking out into my screen porch and
Lady having some dinner in the foreground.

One issue is the little drop leaf table and four chairs I purchased for my kitchen when I moved in.  With the leaves up it was the perfect size for my small kitchen.  And, because I have a small kitchen I eventually purchased a portable island for storage and more counter space.  I didn't need the all of the chairs since I dropped both side leaves of the table to accommodate the island.  But, I love this little table and the chairs.  I wanted a farmhouse table to match.  My idea was I could use two of the chairs in the kitchen and two around the farmhouse table in the dining room.  At the head and foot of the table I would have two parson chairs with slip covers.  This was my plan.

Last fall I wandered into a little decorating store - one of those little stores somewhere between a junk/rehab furniture store and a design store - called One Unique.  I met the owner, June and we started talking about a farmhouse table.  One of the gentlemen who happened to be related to June said he could make one for me.  Hmmm - we talked size, dimensions, color and stain.  A few weeks later they called me with a price quote.  An extremely reasonable price quote - less than a one fourth the cost of the table in the picture above.  But, I had bills to pay and time when by.

I sold my current dining room table for enough to put a down payment on a farmhouse table.  But, should I settle for something I saw at a local furniture store or keep saving until I could get exactly what I wanted?

I went into the funky store again.  Both the store owner, June, and the gentleman were there and we talked about building a farmhouse table to my specifications.   They also showed me several pictures of furniture recently built, including a farmhouse table close to what I wanted.  We decided I would return the next day with one of my kitchen chairs so we could match the wood stain and the paint color, which I did, and the order was placed.
On of the two chairs for the head and foot of the
new table.  Fabric will be used on the cushions on
both chairs.
The owner, June, asked about chairs and I told her my plan for using parson chairs.  As I was poking around the store (you need about three trips around the old house they use as the store in order to see everything) I noticed June was painting two wood chairs a pretty blue and had matching fabric nearby. They would be awesome when finished.  Well, before I knew it we picked out two chairs to use at the head and foot of the table.

Now, the two chairs do not match, but have the same basic curvy design.  June will paint them to match the table and I brought in fabric which will be used on the cushions.  Cost?  Fifty bucks per chair.  I could have never purchased even one parson chair for the cost of both chairs.  And, the fact that they don't match?  I don't care!  It will just add to the charm of the table and the over all look.  The fabric for the cushions is from the same fabric line of the valences I have in my dining room.  So, the fabric will tie everything together as well as the paint color.
Chairs will be painted to match the table and my current
chairs.  June will stain the chair carved details before painting and
lightly brush over them, which will make them pop.
Now I have to wait.  It will be about five weeks before the table is completed.  June promised me the chairs in about two weeks.  I will be able to watch the progress of the table and take pictures!  It is exciting.  The best thing is that I waited  and I saved up and I am getting exactly what I want.  Let's hope that in this incident the phrase, "good things happen to those who wait" is true!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

FOSTER FAILURE

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

After fostering for Mostly Mutts for 7-8 months and lots of foster dogs, along came Lady and stole my heart.


Lady was an owner surrender.  Apparently, her elderly owner had to go into an assisted living facility and there was no one to take her.  He took her to the local shelter and cried when he left her.  Luckily for Lady, she was only there one night before volunteers went and picked her up.


Lady was at the Mostly Mutts facility for a few nights and then I volunteered to foster her over the long 4th of July weekend! Ha!  Within a few hours I knew she was here to stay.

And, I have tried to find her original owner.  I would be more than happy to bring Lady to where he is for a visit and to let him know she is adopted and loved very much.  But, I have ran into dead end.  I will keep trying, though.

Nice to have another female in the house.  I got her a
"girly" girl tag!
Lady is an older girl - somewhere around nine or ten (probably not the 14 as we originally were told by her previous vet clinic).  But, she is full of spirit and loves to be loved.  She is also a perfect lap dog.  She can definitely keep up with Sam and Oliver!
Oliver, Sam and Lady
Lady loves Sam and Oliver and after a few days they were all playing well together.  Our daily walks can get a little crazy, but it's fun, too.  

So, no more fostering for me.  Three dogs in the house is plenty.  But, I can help the rescue group in many other ways and plan to.

Here is my "official" adoption picture.  Not the best of either of us!  But, now my doggie family is complete.  Life continues to be good!  Being a failure at fostering dogs is great!  A new little pup to love!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

A YEAR OF QUILTS

I've been a quiltin' the past year.  Some of my own design and some as part of the Saturday Sampler group that meets at The Quilt Shop on Main in Jasper, GA once a month.  Here is a sample of what I've been up to:

I worked every month on the Block of Month, Women of  Courage quilt and it was well worth the work. 

 
 
The colors are vibrant and rich.  It was easy to put all of the blocks together.  I also received a history of each woman the each block represents. While it was fun to learn about all of these women, but the blocks to not represent them in the literal sense, so it was a little disappointing in that respect.  Still needs to be quilted.  I think it will grace my bed when finally done - which may be in 20 years or so!  LOL
 
*****
 
When Karen at The Quilt Shop on Main offers a projects for the Saturday Sampler, you always have two choices as to the fabric.  Cotton, batik, solids, etc.  Below are two exact quilts that I made.  The project was called "Tea and Cookies."  While I like the batik quilt, I love, love, love the cotton quilt!
 




I guess I should have made sure they were both held up in the same direction so that it is more obvious that they are the same "quilt" as far as each block is concerns, but you get the idea.  Both need to be quilted.

*****


The above "Jiffy Nine Patch" was another Saturday Sampler.  Jiffy?  Glad the picture of this little quilt isn't a close up!  I had issues with every block and had trouble putting the blocks together.  Whoosh!  Just happy it is done.  Still needs to be quilted.

*****
 

This little winter themed quilt will be given to my friend, Martha, when completed.  I just used a couple of charm packs, added borders to each individual 5" square and a border.  Click on the picture to get a better view.  Making it went really fast.  I'm not happy with the border.  I might cut it down to 2" and add another 5" border.   But what fabric?  Hmmmm.  Still needs to be quilted!

*****


Here is a little doll quilt I made for my great-niece, Shannon.  I used 1930 fabrics and the pin wheel pattern.  Except for the border and backing, all of the fabric used was scrap fabric from other projects.  It is modeled by my sweet, little neighbor, Meredith.  Her mom, Lisa is the other "arm" in the quilt pictures and her daddy, David, was the photographer.  Big brother Keeton decided to stay out of the pictures.  I have great neighbors!

I currently have three quilts ready at the shop waiting to be quilted.  I have two more Saturday Samplers just about completed.  I think I need to win the lottery in order to have enough money to have all of the quilted! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

BEAUREGARD

Here's the trouble I have with fostering dogs:  I tend to fall in love with all of them!

Mostly Mutts (MM) posted on their private Facebook page that transport was needed from the Cherokee County Animal Shelter to MM's main office.  All I knew was it was a little boy dog, Yorkie mix.  I had the day off, so I volunteered since I live relatively close to the shelter. 


Well, when they brought out this little guy it was love at first sight. 

His name was Peanut, although at MM we changed it to Beauregard.  I strongly feel that if a dog is to be in your life for a long time, it is one of the family and should be named as one of the family.  Hopefully, Peanut is not given as a human name very often!  I suggested a "good Southern" male name.  After tossing around several names, Beauregard seemed just right.  Beau for short.  I think it fits him perfectly.

He is a hot mess, though.  Hernia, growth on right eye lid, questionable moles on his body, rotting teeth and a slight heart murmur (probably due to the teeth issue).  At seven years old, he was an owner surrender.  Now, don't get me started on why an owner would surrender a wonderful, little guy like Beau and let him get into such bad shape - but, I am not them and try not to judge.  I try, it's hard.  But, he is heartworm negative, which is one thing in his favor.

He goes in for surgery on all of issues this Wednesday.  I am sure he will come out just fine.  Then he will be ready for adoptions. 

Will I?  Hmmm.  . . .

2014 GARDEN

I'm not big on growing veggies or herbs.  I prefer my flowers, trees and shrubs. 

Since I moved Georgia, I have started growing herbs. It is fun to be cooking, walk out the back door, snip some fresh herbs and add them to the pot.  Mint in tea is great, too.


Since I have boy dogs, I need to keep my herbs, ahhh - elevated - if you get my drift!  While I don't go to Walmart very often, I was in there around the holidays.  They were offering herbs growing in these cute little pots.  I purchased four of them.  The herbs died rather quickly, but I knew I could use the pots for my summer herbs.  The bench was purchased for $15.  It was in rough shape.  I sanded it down, put two coats of oil based primer on it and spray painted the heck out of it.  It is really more of a purple color.  I think it all looks rather cool.


Tucked in the yarrow are two pots of herbs - my rosemary and mint.  The dogs don't like the yarrow and the pots are big enough that they herbs are safe from "extra watering!"


I also decided to try my hand at tomatoes. 

 I choose heirloom tomatoes.  I have four pots, two large and two smaller  In the large pots I added petunias.  Not sure if they will alter the taste of the tomatoes, but they look pretty.


I also recently had my fence power washed and painted.  I think it turned out great and is a good color to highlight my flowers and flowering shrubs.  It's been either too rainy or too hot to sit at my little bistro table.  Maybe one morning I will be able to enjoy my coffee out there.

Watching the tomatoes grow has been fun.  I am looking forward to when I can harvest them! 


Considering my yard looked like this when I moved in four years ago, I think I am doing pretty good!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FOSTER MOM

I love dogs.  Always have.  I grew up with an awesome Springer Spaniel named Sugar. 

Sugar, the dog I grew up with, waiting for her dinner
I can't tell you how many of my little girl tears were dried on Sugar's soft, floppy ears.  Thus began my love of dogs.
 

Diva Gracie
A few dogs have come in and out of my life over the years, but in 2000 I adopted my Gracie, who was simply the dog love of my life.  In 2005 Lucy Lou joined us.  Both died in 2010 within three weeks of each other.


Sweet Lucy Lou

I then adopted my Sam and a few months later Oliver wandered into my heart.  I love my doggie boys.
My sweet Oliver
 
Sam the Man with the playtime plan

 
Two dogs are enough.  More than enough.  Yet, I still yearn for another dog.  Jeez!  And, dogs seemed to start wandering into my life.  Many dogs were found as strays in my subdivision and somehow ended up at my house.  Fortunately, all have either been returned to their homes or adopted by residents or friends.  Since I enjoyed the short stints with these dogs,  I started to volunteer with animal rescue groups as a "foster mom".

Murphy was my first official foster.  A sweet, little older gentleman.  I had him 2 1/2 months before he found his forever home.  I really considered adoption him myself, but kept holding back.  I regret that decision - he was a sweet boy.
 
Mr. Murphy

Ellie May was another foster.  Still a lot of puppy in her, she and Sam became good play buddies with Oliver sometimes joining in the fun.  After almost two months in my home while her health returned and she was spayed, her first time at adoptions she was adopted by a young couple with another younger dog.  They adore her.

Elly May

Recently I've had Maci.  A border collie and three years old, she is full of energy.  Sam is intimidated by her.  She is a great dog, but I am not sure just how long I will be able to foster her.  Her high energy and need to play so much makes my Sam upset and he cowers under chairs and tables.  She is just a little bigger than he is, too, which doesn't help the matter.  Hopefully, she will find her forever home very soon.


Miss Maci

The rescue groups I work with are amazing  - dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly for homeless dogs and cats.  I am proud to be associated with them.  My only concern is that one day a little dog is going to be given to me as a foster and I will fall in love with her/him and not be able to give her/him up - like what almost happened with Murphy.  Then I would no longer be able to foster.  But, there are a lot of other things I can do to help rescue groups so that option is always open!

www.mostlymutts.org

www.angelsrescue.org



FACEBOOK -VS- BLOGGING

Obviously I have not been blogging.  And, I feel bad about that.  I am not the best writer in the world, but I do enjoy writing.  I miss blogging.

When I moved in Georgia in 2010 I became hooked on Facebook.  It is a quick and easy way to stay in touch with the friends I left behind in Milwaukee and those throughout the States and the world.  One or two sentences, hit post and updates are complete.  I can use Facebook no matter where I am or what time it is.  I don't need my computer or a tablet - my phone can do it all.

But, the thought process, the feelings can be lacking with Facebook.  Similar to the attitude of why pick up the phone to connect to those we care about when we can shoot them a text or a post on Facebook.  Sometimes you just need more, that voice.  Well, that is the way I've been feeling about Facebook.  I need to write more.  I need more of a connection, more of working out my thoughts, more input.

Maybe no one reads my blog.  That's OK.  I am going to start up with my blog posts anyway.  It makes me feel better, helps me work things out (there are lots of my "posts" that have never been officially been posted) and I really enjoy it.  Yes, I will continue to use Facebook, but maybe not so much.  Who knows?

It's good to be back in blog land!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

ANNUAL HOLIDAY LETTER



Solstice 2013

Dear Family & Friends
 
As the nights lengthen I find myself watching more TV than usual – not a good thing.  But, I have been scanning the TV listings looking for the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  After years of watching this holiday classic and then avoiding it due to burnout, I am anxious to see it again.  Watching it again will be another affirmation of just how wonderful my life is.  No angels or drama needed to remind me!  Life is just good.
 
 
I’m still working part time at the local library.  I work with great people and the “cast of characters” that come into the library on a regular basis are fun.  I find great satisfaction in helping patrons find things from a popular book to a map of the fault lines across Texas.  Always interesting. 
 

This year my neighbor and friend, Pam, and I went to Palm Coast, FL in April.  We enjoyed the area, especially St. Augustine.  Pam left early due to work commitments . I got rained out the last day or so and returned home early.  In August I drove to Oak Island, NC where I was invited by my friend, Rita, to spend a few days at a beach house with a couple of other ladies.  Beautiful location right on the ocean.  We had a good time, laughed a lot, but I brought the rain with me so I left a day early.  Obviously, we got a lot of rain down here this summer! 
 

All is well with my extended family.  Suzanne and Marlon are always busy, but decided it is time to bow out of a lot of their volunteer activities.  Linda is still in Arizona.  She has had quite a few health problems this year, but is on the mend and looking forward to spending Christmas in Wisconsin with her son.  My nephews and the “greats” are all doing well.  The “greats” are all growing up too fast.  Aaron turned 21 in June.  Coggan is 10, Cadyn 8, Shannon 7 and Zach is 3.   
 

Martha visited me for a week over the New Year in January.  Then, I didn’t have any company for 10 months.  Beth (my friend of 52 years) stopped in for a short visit in October.  Martha returned for a week in early November.  Sally and Amy were here for their annual visit the week of Thanksgiving.  Michelle is coming for the week of Christmas.  Seems like everyone is coming at once, but I am so happy they want to visit. 
 

I have started fostering dogs for Life’s Little Paws, a cocker rescue group based along the east coast states.  I started with Murphy, a cock-a-poo and extremely adorable.  He arrived in mid-October and I expect I will have him through January or longer.  Luckily, Sam and Oliver are pretty laid back, friendly dogs - a little jealous, but they know they are the top dogs around here! It will be difficult to give Murphy up, but I will deal with it when the time comes.  And, unfortunately, there are always other dogs that need love and fostering. 
 

 
As I type this, with the lap top on my lap and dogs snoozing at my feet, I am also watching the birds at the feeder.  I have counted over ten species this morning.  A squirrel tries to get at the suet, driving my Sam, sitting at the window,  crazy.  It is such fun watching them.  There are so many simple pleasures – great cup of coffee, the creek behind my house, children in my neighborhood, my garden, a long walk, the good laugh or a much needed hug of a friend.  One quote from It’s a Wonderful Life that most of us recognize is from Clarence, the angel sent down to help the main character, George.  Clarence said, “Every time you hear a bell ring, it means that some angel's just got his wings.”  I don’t need to hear a bell to realize I have a wonderful life.  That bell would be ringing all of the time!  And, one main reason my life is so awesome is that you are a part of it – the wind lifting my wings, helping me to fly.  As Clarence wrote in the book he gave to George, “No man is a failure who has friends.”  I’ll include the love and support of a great family, too! 
 

May the return of the light this Solstice brighten your path on your life’s journey.  Have a great holiday season and to my friends far way - I hope to see you in 2014!