Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Superior Thread Giveaway!

Happy Leap Day, everyone! Anyone have a birthday today? (Happy Birthday, Karen!) Using my mathematical expertise, I figure out today, that if I had been born a mere 13 days earlier, I would be turning 15 today.  (Think about that for awhile.) Since this day only comes around every four years, the good people at Superior Threads thought it would be a great day for giving away some free thread!
 I love Masterpiece Thread by Superior. If you haven't tried it, this is your chance...but I'm warning you, you'll be hooked right away! I'm using it now to quilt my hexagon quilt and can attest that when I have to stop and change the bobbin, there's hardly any lint inside the case. It's a fine thread, so the bobbin can hold a lot more...another reason to love it! I have three big spools of thread to give away, plus three fat quarters of Anna Maria Horner's cotton voile fabric, Good Folks, from my stash.
 I'd also like to share one of my favorite Superior products: pre-wound bobbins. They are great for free-motion quilting as each tightly woven bobbin holds 80 yards of Masterpiece Thread.  
So here's how it will work: There will be three prize winners. Each winner will receive a spool of Masterpiece thread, a fat quarter of Good Folks and a pre-wound bobbin. To enter, leave a comment telling me how old you would be if born on Leap Day or anything else you want to say (if you don't want to give up your age). For a second chance, become a follower of Lollyquiltz or tell me if you already follow. (Be sure that I have access to your e-mail address when you enter. No email equals no entry.) The give-away will close at midnight today, (CST) February 29, 2012.  There are more chances to win shown below, so be sure to visit these other great blogs....

Elizabeth from Occasional Piece-Quilt!--
Cindy from Live A Colorful Life--
 Lee from Freshly Pieced--
 Sherri from A Quilting Life--
Leanne from She Can
Thelma from Cupcakes 'n' Daisies--
Amy from During Quiet Time--
Terri from Sewfantastic--

*This giveaway is now closed. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Odds and Ends

Is spring coming early in your neck of the woods, like it is mine?
 Every day for the last few weeks I've been seeing sweet little periwinkle blooms among the scraggly looking leaves bordering the sidewalk to the front door. And when the calendar flips to March, we will be on the downhill side of winter...yay!
Speaking of Spring, my grand daughter, Maelie's bedroom shouts it
 everyday of the year! 
Those adorable pennants around the ceiling adorn all four walls of her room.  Maelie's mommy made them from scraps, both from her stash and mine.
 Aren't they so cute?
 Finally, my hexies are all together and made into a top! It's pin basted and ready to quilt...stay tuned for a finish. (I've almost worn the thing out from carrying it around on car trips so often over the last two years!)
The mailman dropped off a mysterious package in my box.
 Wonder what it could be?
Inside, I found this fun scarf and necklace from my friend, Cindy who blogs at 
Live a Colorful Life. She made the scarf from Anna Maria Horner voile on one side and flannel on the clever.
 Cindy's husband, Mark, created the glass necklace pennant.
 It is so unusual and creative.
How sweet to get a gift in the mail, for no special reason...just friendship.
 I love blogging!
 Sometimes I run across something that I can't pass this pretty sewing box I found at an antique store down the road from me. And the sweet soft blue vintage sheet was calling my name from the linen closet at an estate sale over the weekend. At 40% off, I couldn't pass it up and plan to use it as a quilt back for that vintage linen quilt I'm going to make someday!
 Then there was this fun little quilting book on the clearance rack of a LQS. I plan to pass it on to my quilt guild library...that is if I can turn loose of it!
Oh! And what's this? You'll have to come back on Leap Day to find out!
Yes, there's a February 29 this year and who wouldn't want to celebrate that!
Who knows, you might even win something.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fourth Sunday in February

"I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness..."
Isaiah 61:10a

Friday, February 24, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday--The Lure of Mother Earth

I"m going to admit right up front at being a bit ho-hum about today's letter written by a farm wife from Massachusetts. Like others, she debunks that thought that country living means "no modern improvements" and "too isolated", putting those thoughts in the same category as "the bogey man and similar imaginary terrors".
She's sure that marriage to a farmer is a good thing. "That bright daughter, who might be a nobody in a large city, can be a real power in a small farm community..."
 Cups and Saucers-Block #25
On the farm "her mind may be kept broad and alert by much reading, much thinking; her heart kept sympathetic and warm by communion with God's out-of-doors; her spirit kept from being tarnished by vamping and jazz; and her feet kept on the ground."
 This wife also doesn't argue that there is not "an abundance of honest toil on the farm".
 Postage Stamp-Block #68
Speaking like one who knows, she finishes her letter, "Who wouldn't be a pilgrim, a pioneer? To fare forth with your good man, to wrestle with primitive things, to thrill throughout your being at the lure of mother earth? The farm today offers you your one chance for such a great adventure."
 Well, here's a picture of MY big adventure of making this quilt of 111 little 6 inch blocks! ...faring forth with my good friend, Cindy, wrestling with tiny pieces and thrilling throughout  my being at having 70 blocks made so far!
Oh, Cindy! What did you think of today's sweet letter? I'm heading your way now...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Purple and Grey

For the last few days I have been putting together a collection of star blocks all sewn in purple....
 The stars, made by a group of ladies, have varied background colors ranging from white to beige. I had just purchased a yard of light grey Heath from Marmalade Fabrics and found that it worked well to tie all the blocks together. I love the subtle effect of the light grey, whites and purple together. The posts are made from fabrics found in my stash.
 At first, I was not going to put a border on this quilt wanting to emphasize the stars. In the end, I went for more of a traditional look which I'm thinking that the recipient will enjoy. (Marble apparently thought this would be a good time to check the bird house for inhabitants!)
 The coal Kona and brocade-looking purple fabric border give the stars a good frame as well as enlarging the quilt to a nice cuddly lap-size.
 It was fun to work with this color that I wouldn't normally choose for myself. It makes a serene quilt...perfect for twinkling stars!
I'm sending the top on to be quilted and it will soon be in the hands of someone who adores the color purple. (That is if I can bear to part with it!)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Third Sunday in February

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us,
to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
Ephesians 3: 20, 21

Friday, February 17, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday--Clear-Eyed and Clear-Hearted

Friday has rolled around again, and I have to smile at the title of today's letter from a farmer's wife in Cheshire County, New Hampshire...
I really think it's a typo, because the quote that the title is taken from reads, "When someone offers my daughter love, marriage and a home, I would much rather it would be a clear-eyed, CLEAN-hearted, penniless farmer than a city man with a white-collar position and large salary."  But you know, CLEAR-hearted wouldn't be a bad thing either. There's room for a lot of love there, I assume. But, lookout, future son-in-law, if you happen to hail from the city-side of the tracks and have a'll have to prove yourself with this lady first!
 The author doesn't mess around, beginning her letter with a detailed report of all the hard work she does to help her farmer husband keep things going. Her main source of recreation is reading, she says. I'm imagining her sitting in front of a big box fan as she is transported somewhere else within the pages of the eighty books she claims to read each year.
 Box--Block # 9
 Prairie Queen--Block # 70
She is positive that the long hours and hard work are worth it but"in spite of these [drawbacks] and because of the purity of thought and depth of understanding gained by the comparative isolation of farm life, I most emphatically would wish my daughters to marry farmers." She speaks highly of caring for the "many forms of farm life from the earliest infancy to full maturity." I'm thinking that includes, like me, a bird feeder outside the window and perhaps some bee-hives at the edge of the field.
 Birds in the Air--Block #7

 Honeycomb--Block #49
I like how this wife is honest, but not defensive, about her life on a farm. She sums it up this way, "It seems to me that a farmer usually has what it pleases me to call 'vision'. Months and years of daily association with nature uplifts him, gives him a vivid idea of God in nature and brings him nearer to what God meant His people to be. What is there in cities that can give a man or woman this ever-widening vision of the meaning of life?"
 I paper-pieced two of the four blocks this week. For some reason, I'm not very excited about the way they turned out. Maybe it's the fabrics I chose. The honeycomb block didn't match up quite right in the center, but I decided that it was 'good enough' and left it. Here they are with their cousins from last week....
 I'm trying hard to keep this as my motto as I work on these fiddly blocks every week! I'm heading over to Cindy's place now to read her comments and see her blocks for this week's Farmer's Wife Sampler. Join me?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Irons in the Fire

My quilting style, I guess you would call it, is to have a "bunch of irons in the fire" at once! Sometimes, I drive myself crazy. Anyone else have that problem? 
Here's what I'm working on this week...
First up, I'm close to being ready to finally quilt this hexagon table topper that was started way back in 2010!
 Yesterday, I spent about 7 hours in a car, riding to and from Lincoln, Nebraska with two good friends. We were on our way to visit another close friend, Kathy, who suffered a stroke back in November and is staying at a rehabilitation hospital there. Between coffees, diet cokes and waiting for my turn to talk, I got quite a bit sewn. This cake carrier is a favorite of mine, for storing and transporting projects....$5 at Walmart. Love 'em!
 Back home, I've been busy putting twelve purple star sampler blocks together....
 Determined to use what I have in my stash, the sashing is light grey Heath with purple Tents coupled with an old "mystery" fabric for the posts. (I think it might be a Civil War reproduction.) I may have to break down and shop for something as a border...we will have to wait and see...maybe it won't need one.
 Last week I ordered some fun Kona solids in natural, coal, curry and rich red from Marmalade Fabrics. They arrived so fast and beautifully packaged. You should check out Tammy's shop, if you haven't already. I've been sewing fast and furiously on a secret project with these fun fabrics and it is already at the quilter's. Why can't I always have such great follow through? .....Oh, ya. It's called a Deadline, that's it!
 Today is Make Farmer's Wife Sampler Blocks Day. Sigh. These are the four six inch blocks  that I made last week....and there are another four to complete before I go to bed tonight. Come back tomorrow for that!
 As always, I've been using leaders and enders as I sew on other things. Here's a basket full of them ready to be pressed into blocks for making a colorful charity quilt. You can find the pattern that I'm using here.
 Most of you know that I worked at my local public library for fourteen years. In those days, I always had a big stack of books that I'd carry back and forth from there to home. I've slowed down on that, but recently ran across this premier book by Kaffe Fassett. This one was published in 1997, before he started designing his, now famous, line of fabrics. It is kind of fun to look at the pretty pictures and imagine them made up in his fabrics. The one on the cover is my favorite. I really, really would like to add this to the irons in my fire!
There's another iron heating up in my head, as well. There always is, it seems. I hear Bernie the Bernina calling. Gotta run!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Second Sunday in February

"Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Friday, February 10, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday--I Lost my Heart to a Farmer

Today's Farmer's Wife story is perfect for Valentine's Day. It's a love story for sure and might even make a great Hallmark Special. See what you think. Here's the gist of it: Heroine grew up in the country. She hated it and vowed never to stay there, let alone raise a daughter to do so. After a college education and happy years in the city the unbelievable happened....She fell in love with a farmer! Oh, no!! Loving him so, she moved to the farm but despised everything about it-except Mr. Farmer. 
 To see if she could find a way to relieve her unhappiness, she made a list of pros and cons:
          1.Husband interested and content.
          2. Independence, and so many hours together.
          3. Higher moral tone than city life.
          4. Abundance of room and fresh air.
          5. Fresh eggs, milk and vegetables.
          1. Mud.
          2. Lack of conveniences.
          3. Lack of money.
          4. Lack of water.
          5. Lack of society.
          6. Lack of beauty.
          7. Monotony of diet.
          8. Monotony of thought.
          9. Untidiness of everything.
         10. "Early to bed, early to rise."

Now, anyone can see that there are twice as many cons as pros. Instead of throwing the sugar bowl and breaking it, our heroine and her love decided to see how they could remove  enough cons so that "farming would be THE life".
 Broken Sugar Bowl--#12
Tackling the "cons" together, and one by one, the farmer and his wife began solving the problem of discontentment.
 Farmer's Puzzle--#33
They were realistic in their plans, knowing that it would be years before all the changes would happen: "but a definite plan is a big help and each convenience we complete is a joy realized after much pleasant anticipation."
 Grape Basket-- #45
The farmers added hens, cream. asparagus, and fruit as sideline money ventures and planned to grow a bigger variety of vegetables as additions to their diet.
With our 21st Century conveniences, we can only imagine what a happy day it was when Mrs. Farmer got an oil stove and fireless cooker to make her mornings a bit more comfortable.  There is so much common sense in this letter. I think that it might be my favorite so far. We can all learn to compromise and make something "work" if we really want to. She says, "Side by side, we planned the beautiful and the practical, and some day our home will be truly elegant."
She finishes, "We are the happiest couple I know, have more chance to enjoy each other on a farm than elsewhere and I can wish no greater blessing than for my daughter than the love of a farmer like 'Dad'." (Isn't that the sweetest thing?!)
So, what do you think? Shall we all campaign for the next Hallmark Special to be "I Lost My Heart to a Farmer"?

In conclusion, I'm going to add a couple of pros and cons of my own:
Pros:  1. Paper piecing makes for accurate stitching.
            2. Paper piecing makes it is easy to combine small pieces into one larger piece. The Morning block had 5 small pieces in the middle section originally...Strange.)

Cons:  1. When paper piecing creates 4 inset seams, it cancels out the accuracy thing. (That Morning block, again.)
             2. When paper piecing patterns are not reversed when drawn, the resulting block is backwards. (My Farmer's Puzzle is reversed. Oh, well.)
Be sure to visit Cindy to see what she thought of these Alabama farmers. Her blocks are always gorgeous!