Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sneaky Block

Cat's out of the bag. We members of the Sew Blues Bee made sneaky surprise star blocks for our wonderful bee mama Staci!

Each of us chose a color for each block and followed this tutorial. My life has been so full over these holidays, but I could manage one, and Staci is certainly worth that. If you've never been in a bee before, I'd recommend being in one of hers!

Hope y'all had a lovely Christmas, to those that celebrate. I have a few more gifts due in January that are in the works, so the season continues for me! In the meantime, I did correct my flying geese block for my Shire quilt - and saw the Hobbit movie, too! (I've been rereading parts of my Tolkien books to double-check the movie interpretation - and now that that's settled, I'll have to see it again!)

My inner geek is satisfied with the correct number of geese for the rings of men and dwarves. It's the little things, right? ;-)

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Despite current controversy over impending changes to the photo-sharing social network Instagram(R), I have enjoyed capturing and collage-ing "moments" of my days. As I settle in for a much-needed holiday rest, I thought you might like to see a bit of what my eyes see, as captured through the affordances of Instagram(R) and other photo-sharing apps.

May your holidays be warm, merry, and bright! Love to all from my little piece of the planet!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

School Gifts

What an incredible first semester it has been with the School of Supernatural Life. Absolutely life-altering, in the best way possible. As I write, I am awaiting the arrival of 3 or 4 of my classmates who are coming over for a holiday dinner and sleepover! While I wait, I thought I'd show a few of the gifts that have already gone to recipients.

First is a table runner made of charm squares and charm-sized improv blocks for the lovely hostess of our class Christmas party!

At first I'd arranged the blocks in a traditional nine-patch form, but a mutual friend suggested I "do what I do best" and make it splashes of color in the grey field. That in turn influenced the quilting, and the back is a chunk of vintage sheet.

When we had our gift exchange, our hostess had not taken a name, but when I got up to give her the gift, the applause was deafening! She hadn't told me her colors, so I had fun making something I felt reflected her, even if it doesn't go with her house. But she loved it anyway, and she is quite encouraging of my artistic endeavors. It was a pleasure making a gift for her!

After the applause died down, I gave my actual swap partner her gift! Part of it included a cheery cowl I'd knit in class!

I knit it before knowing who my swap partner would be, but I was hopeful whomever it was would like it. Interesting time learning to block acrylic yarn, by the way... Anyhow, I was thrilled to find out who the cowl would go to - and she was thrilled to receive it!

The girls are still on their way so I might as well show you what I made for them:

Sweet little stars from this tutorial (although folding the fabric in 4 is quite excessive, I found). My mother caught me making them and requested one set with a pin back to wear with her scrubs. If I had a minute more, I'd get on that directly. Alas, I'm 15 minutes' shy of arrival time, so I best get back to cooking!

Happy holidays, y'all!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blogging in Shorts from the Front Porch

Mm hmm... it's getting towards mid-December and I am wearing shorts and a tank top as I type! Welcome to winter in the South - if it bites, it will bite in January, but for now, the doors are thrown open and I'm happily barefoot.

Before all the Christmas-making takes over my blog, I have one last School of Supernatural Life homework assignment to share.

This week's topic was systematic theology as taught by Dr. R. T. Kendall (brilliant!) His Oxford-acquired PhD was evident in his teaching, so for homework, we were given a lighter load:  just ask God what His 3 favorite things are about you, then create something to reflect what He says!

I didn't ask that question. Instead, I asked Him to show me what to make, then tell me why I made it, and how that answers the homework question. Here are the results:

Pleated apron based on this tutorial (diverging by omitting hot pads and modifying the ties to look, in my opinion, more "finished".)

Fat Quarter dish towels based on my own tutorial (those are prints from Etchings and Vintage Modern, both by Moda, I believe).

Hot pads using scraps from my Orange You Glad Bee rolling stone blocks. These were a great opportunity to experiment with binding - and I bet you can tell which binding technique I'll be using in the future!

So what do those things say about God's favorite things about me? I'll leave that to you to deduce... some secrets shared between friends are too precious to be shared ;-)

I finished the hot pads just in time to "repurpose" an acorn squash I'd left in the oven and forgotten about!

Yes, Virginia, you CAN substitute acorn squash for pumpkin in baking recipes! (Sunflower seeds and diced dried cherries work for nuts and raisins, while you're at it.)

Looking forward to giving a couple of gifts tonight and showing you what else I've been up to!

Happy Hanukkah, y'all!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blocks and Progress

Below are my blocks for November for Sew Blues Bee!

A mod mosaic block for Jackie:

A ribbon star for Leslie:

And a practice ribbon star for me!

I finished these and had them in the mail before Thanksgiving. Just to brag on beauty that I didn't create, following are a few sunrise photos from my holiday with my parents. First is the Tennessee countryside as seen from the backseat windows, and then is one of the sunrises from Gulf Shores, Alabama.

I could get addicted to sunrises. That's my mother and I wrapped against the cold. Photo credit goes to my dad!

When I got back, it was time to figure out some flying geese! I wanted to add a geese block to my Shire quilt, so this one represents the 5 rings for the Dwarf lords and the 9 rings for the lords of Men... except there were SEVEN dwarf rings! So I'll be getting out the seam ripper. You can guess where the two other geese will go!

Finally, I finished a paper-pieced "homeward bound" block that I'm using to represent the Light of EƤrendil, "our most beloved star":

Here is my Shire quilt so far! And I don't think I'll be adding any more blocks before The Hobbit movie (Part 1) comes out!

(L-R from top)  "Mallorn" leaf for Elrond; Sandyman's Mill Wheel; Fili/Kili/Oin/Gloin; "Mallorn" leaf for Gandalf; Elendil's Star; Balin/Bifur/Bofur/Bombur; Galadriel's "Mallorn" leaf; Four Farthings of the Shire star; Thorin; Dwarf and Man Rings of Power; 4 Hobbits of the Fellowship; Dori/Nori/Ori/Dwalin

I'm also still working on my Fusion Blanket using Urban Cowgirl and a bit of Curio, plus Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool:

Really loving how it's coming together - but it's a slow handwork project, perfect for school lectures! (Some people doodle - I sew and crochet!)

That's all for now. Christmas presents are in the works but those will have to wait to be revealed! Happy December, y'all! (Now where's that seam ripper?)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some Stitches...

I don't see how people with families do it... take the time to go to school, work, and create on top of it all... I am managing happily, but energy has been redistributed, and I have cut out more and more activities from my life to make it balance.

Thankfully, homework assignments for school always include a "creative component", so here are my stitches from the past few weeks.

Last week we were instructed to put on worship music and create - something, anything - so long as it wasn't there before. This assignment was quite a challenge for me! If I were to create anything, it would be a quilt, but I don't have time for one of those. Pondering and searching my fabric stash, my hand landed on a remnant I've been wanting to wear. My mind raced as to how I could use it, and I finally decided on a skirt. Rather than try out my plans and risk the precious fabric, I made a mock-up for Evangeline the rag doll instead.

I am glad I made the doll skirt first! After considering the results, I opted not to make a me-sized skirt after all. Still, I enjoyed stretching myself - even working in a side pocket in a contrasting fabric!

Since I couldn't very well turn in a skirt with no doll, Evangeline came with me to class. Great timing, too, as an old friend of mine was teaching, and she is used to my hands in motion in most circumstances. Thus, I took the opportunity to embroider Evangeline's face (she had been painted before).

Then I stitched together a makeshift case for my new phone!

Lined in soft flannel - so sweet!

This week's homework was based on Life Languages, a paradigm for understanding how we communicate with one another. We were to create something based on our top three languages. I chose to make a gingham kerchief in the colors corresponding to my languages, and also referencing the cognitive / mental tendencies of my primary forms of communication (get it? Kerchief - neck - head - thinking!)

So now I'm all caught up! The only thing left to do is...

... start decorating for Christmas! (OK, I just had to... 'cause how often do you actually DO something you see on Pinterest? Such a rare event is worth a little bragging, I think! ;-D) Happy holiday making, y'all!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

M is for...

M is for...

"mission accomplished" - i.e. update the door decor cheaply and fabulously. The store was all out of paper-mache M's so I flipped a W, painted it in silver acrylic, and took my hot glue gun to a spool of clearance ribbon. Hard to tell from the pics but the ribbon goes all the way 'round.

M is also for mustache (pattern here)...

Many men of my acquaintance are growing mustaches for "Movember" - but instead of raising awareness for men's health, they are remembering to pray for a friend of mine who was recently re-admitted to the hospital with the rarest form of cancer on the planet (that is, he is the only case on record). Apparently he used to have quite a fabulous 'stache in blazing red, but he shaved it off out of respect for the nurses' low tolerance for creepiness. As November 1 came to a close and pictures began popping up of fellas' peach fuzz and caterpillars, I determined to one-up them:  "Took you 3 days to grow that? Well, took ME less than an hour for this puppy! HA!" Mm-hmm. I play to win!

For kicks, M is also for my first meringues (and, unintentionally, messy oven...) Ah, soft fluffy nothings! Just a little sweetness and crispy-melty-airy texture... mmm...

Finally, M is for MERRY CHRISTMAS! OK, this is so completely unlike me, but I am super excited about Christmas this year, and I've already begun to decorate, because M is also for...

"M"-pulse! Move when the moment strikes! That is how all of the above came about... What about you? What have you been moving on?