Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Flower Wednesday First of Advent 2011

Winter has arrived.  Yesterday afternoon, in anticipation practically freezing weather, I picked some of my last roses.  I must admit though, they looked better from a distance than they did up close! 

On a different note, I am delighted to finally have been able to "grab a button."  I learned how from Konda Luckau from her blog Moose on the Porch Quilts.  The link takes you to her blogging tutorial, so be sure to click to get over to her blog too!  She has other tutorials and a stars quilt-along happening too. 

My life has been a bit discombobulated lately, so not as much sewing or knitting getting done, but I do have a new flower for my garden...

Take a look over on Karen's wonderful blog for more hexis... Journey of a Quilter; she also has a wonderful tutorial page with great links too.

For those of us who celebrate Christmas in the western christian tradition, this past Sunday was our entrance into the liturgical season of Advent.  The word comes from the Latin "adventus" meaning "coming."  Advent begins the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas day and ends Christmas Eve.  It is a season in which we renew our focus on our faith in anticipation of a new birth of God in our hearts.  Despite the hustle and bustle and distractions of my preparations for all our celebrations, when I take a moment, that feeling of being grounded in the great mystery brings me great peace.  Regardless of your faith tradition, I hope you accept my wish for you: May you be filled with "...the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding."  Surely our loving Creator desires this for each of us.

Peace, B

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Take a deep breath....

Thanksgiving has come and gone.... which means Christmas is fast approaching.

In years past I would make quite a lot of handmade gifts: knitted hats, scarves, cowls and Christmas stockings; reed baskets; linen and japanese print journal covers; pillows and other sewn gifts; spiced honey, vanilla sugar, decorated Moravian beeswax candles, della robia wreath candle holders out of salt dough, and North Carolina wreaths with mixed greens and natural cones with red ribbons.  Do you know when I REALLY want to start Christmas projects?  Right about NOW... and especially right AFTER Christmas... boy have I got a timing problem.

When I make gifts after Christmas, they are always long gone by the time Christmas comes around... so here I am on November 29, less than four weeks from Christmas wanting a hand made Christmas... but I can see on my calendar what is ahead: working more than full time, traveling week-ends and LONG days of continuing education (truth be told, I do get some knitting done while in class!)  Still, I guess there is still time to complete a few things...

So while looking around for seasonal images, I found this
Oh my, how cute are they?  And they are little (read quick.)  So, I think I may, I think I might have some little stockings to knit.... and just in case YOU too want to knit a sweet little stocking or two... here's the link:  Little Cotton Rabbits website with free super cute patterns...

So off I go to dig out my tee ninetsy double points... can't wait.

Thanks for coming by!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Poignant day...

Such a poignant day... Today has been a glorious fall day in North Carolina with many of the tobacco-gold colored leaves still on our trees, stunning when surrounded by the rich deep green of the pines and brilliant against a classic cloudless Carolina Blue sky... the temperature is cool and refreshing.  (Sorry no photos today.) 

A little over a week ago, a friend, Ann, sent a flyer to me announcing a sale of an individual's sewing goods (Joyce.)  In her day (only a little over a year ago), Joyce was a highly accomplished quilter and appliquer.  She did most everything "except the binding" by hand according to our mutual friend Ann.  Joyce designed many, many lovely applique blocks and was a leader of and very active in both of her Greensboro guilds.  An amazingly talented, vibrant and generous soul... and now, she is quite ill and is in a nursing home...

Her husband (and family) have had to make what I am sure was a difficult and emotional decision to open their home and allow folks to come and buy her fabrics, books, machines, furniture, partially competed projects, patterns and notions.  Before I left this morning to go to her home, I sat down and wrote a little note to the family.  I could not (and still can not) quite get past how very poignant and difficult this must be for them on so, so many levels... so I wrote a little note.  I want them to understand that she was well respected and many of us who take her things home feel privileged and will remember her and them as we use her things.

Her grown daughter and son were there and I really enjoyed talking with them; they are both delightful and charming.  They did seem grateful when one acknowledged how sad this occasion is and how difficult this process must be for them.  There were times when I felt that her children might have been a bit baffled by her stash of fabric, books and patterns.  Those of us who do handwork and sew were less amazed by the stash than of how orderly everything was.  She had applique patterns and their templates all organized in 3 ring binders, with little envelopes attached to heavy notebook paper to hold the pieces that were cut.  Her original drafting of the blocks on graph paper was often included. There were notes about when the blocks were made, who was involved (even with email and phone numbers included); often they were guild projects.  She combined like projects in the same binder if room allowed.  She used some cool plastic things which allowed for booklets to be included in the binders (like in her Mola themed notebook.)  I sat in the floor for a very long time marvelling at her organization and attention to detail as well as admiring her exquisite taste.  She even had a binder with plastic sleeves in which there was a collection of oriental fabrics she had obviously used for fussy cutting.  Treasures all.

What was so difficult for me was realizing how so much of one's life can be dismantled in a matter of hours (not taking into account how long folks must have worked to get it all in order).... fat quarters all in boxes sorted by color (had she kept them that way?) small boxes priced with partially completed projects in them... grab bag like.

Now, I had to remind myself that her completed projects are in her childrens' homes, and many, many others have her creations... those will last; those will hold memories of her for family and friends. 

My sympathy for her family and the profound feelings of how transitory life is have slowed me down today...

After leaving about 1pm, I travelled from Jamestown down to Asheboro for the Randolph Quilters' Guild 2011 quilt show.  Really lovely, with some exquisite work... They have some amazing professional and amateur quilters... the tiniest flying geese blocks I have ever seen... one half inch, if that.

I also saw a wonderful Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt... I've been pondering how to finish mine and I liked this setting... double flowers, with connectors, and then 2 rows of outline connectors around the outside of the flowers in this largish throw.  The outer-most row was filled in with hexi's of the same color similar to the look of setting blocks... then the whole top was appliqued onto a border that was about one & a half times as wide as the one inch hexi's.  The corners were not 90 degrees, but rather angled, sort of like they were beveled.  I also realized I probably don't need as many flowers as I thought I would to do a large throw.

I got to see a lot of friends and was very inspired by the Guild's show.  I only bought one thing to bring home: a lovely rag throw rug for my guest room.  After being immersed in Joyce's family's sadness I realized (again) that I have a gracious plenty fabric.  I needn't buy another piece of fabric in my whole life and I still probably would not never use it up.  And, I haven't even mentioned my knitting stash!!!  Geesh.

I did buy a couple more tickets for their raffle quilt.  It is wonderfully HAND QUILTED!  (Please, please, please let me win it!!)   There is a big modern baltimore album style embellished basket with rouched flowers and embroidery... on black background and an appliqued and pieced border.  (I promise I would love and care for it... please?  I can be quite a lucky girl sometimes!)

So, as this day draws to a close, I think I'll head home for a quiet evening... and perhaps I best get on some of my UFOs! 
Thanks for stopping buy...  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Back again!

Well, long time, no see!  Being a CPA, I was swamped for the October 15 final due date for personal tax returns here in the US of A.  We even had some which were filed late!!! Eeeyikes!  This was followed by a complicated corporate real estate transaction... so no blogging, little sewing.

Still, now all's right with the world and I am resuming what I now consider "normal routine;" this includes blogging. 

Now, be warned, I think these photos were taken while I was in a daze, as they are a bit fuzzy...

Oh my gosh.... not only fuzzy, but where o where was my iron?
I also want to share with you all my mostest favoritest paper clips... they are rectangular, with a heart of sorts in the middle.  They are shorter than the normal "trombone" shaped clips, so they stay out of my way.  They are also a bit wider, so they hold my fabric a bit more secure.  One can get them at most office supply stores.  Hope you can give them a try sometime!

You can check out other folks hexi postings at Karen's One Flower Wednesday page on her fab web site Journey of a Quilter  Don't forget to click on her page One Flower Wednesday (different than sign in page) for fantabulous tutorials which ensure elegant and wonderful hexi flowers.  Thanks Karen!
Hope you are all well.  See you next week!