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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Packing and Using the RIGHT Tool

 Guest Post by Karin

Hello there peeps!  Karin here....Didja notice I didn't start off with my usual "Hey there y'all....?" That's because I'm not in Texas at the moment.   I'm in Florida, in the camper... hence, this blog post about having just the right tools...WITH YOU.  Ha - that was around the block a little, you still with me?

Kelly is kinda swamped right now, busy doing that chore that all good American citizens do - figuring her taxes.  And if she's anything like us, that's gonna take a while, so she asked if I could pop in and chat with y'all a bit.  She knew I was in the camper, but she's never seen it in person, and she has no idea just how much stuff I can actually cram in here.  Let me just say, it's a whole lotta stuff. Trouble is, it's scattered throughout all the cabinets, all the cubbies, and even in the underbelly.  Not to mention, taking up valuable (and limited!) floorspace:
Here is  a small glimpse for you - note the 6 x 24 ruler and bag of fabric in the chair, the ironing/notions station, the green tote filled with batting and other products, the toolbox of sewing tools next to the box of Kleenex under the TV (beside the all-mighty popcorn popper), the other box of notions on TOP of the green tote box, and finally, the yellow cutting mat, standing upright in front of the cabinet under the TV.  Yes, the cabinet holds mailing supplies, so, really, that's more sewing stuff too.  This is ONLY the back end of the camper!  What's that silver box?  Oh, that's the portable ice maker.  Which I have yet to even turn on, 2 weeks into our little excursion.  That's weight and space I could have used, darn it!
Oops, there I go digressing again.  Back to the importance of having the right tool at the right time. See those colorful strips I've got laid across the ironing station?  My neighbor, long ago, asked me to make her a table topper just like the one I'd already made her, but in different colors.  She wanted lighter, more summery colors.  (yes, she asked me to do it last summer, but life happens, ya know?)  I figured this would be a great time to get it done for her, so I packed up all the fabrics and batting.  Of course, I just grabbed extra batting, 'cuz I might need more for something else, right? I knew we'd be on the road a few days, and when we reached our destination, there were no stores close, so I had to take everything I thought I might need.  Apparently, I didn't think it through, because I didn't bring the pattern.  Arrrgh.  But, hey, I brought the ice maker, and if it ever warms up enough, I just might want ice in my's really not likely.

Generally, when I buy fabric for an intended purpose (as was this fabric purchase), I stash the pattern in the bag with the fabric, along with any necessary notions or trims.  Then, when I'm ready to start the project, everything is right there at my fingertips and I don't have to waste time hunting things down.  Generally.  Apparently, NOT this time.  No pattern in sight, and I couldn't remember stashing it anywhere inside the camper by itself.  No sweat, I have a friend in Canada, who originally taught me how to do this, and she'll have access to HER pattern and she can remind me what I need to do.   Oh yeah baby, it pays to have friends!  She got right back to me that night, with some pictures and sketchy instructions.

I could figure that out, knowing my strips needed to be 1.5" wide, and width of fabric.  And I'd brought the can of starch - I did remember how important starching the fabric was (should you try to do this on your own, let me just say you want that fabric to be as stiff as cardboard, if at all possible.).

But I needed to know the size of those triangles, or it would come out all wonky.  Wonky's just not my cup of tea, and math is just beyond me, so once again, my friend came through for me:
Cool beans.  I got my strips cut and I got my strips sewn together.  
They don't look too bad - that little wrinkle is simply from being folded, it's not a distortion in my sewing or anything.  So it's time to grab my rulers and cut those puppies up!  Wait...where's my ruler? You know, my special Creative Grids 12.5 Square ruler that I bought just for this project and has the tape markings on it already and I've never used for any other project.  (That's a big deal because, living in a camper for so long, I got used to items serving multiple purposes, and that ruler has only been used ONE TIME, for ONE PROJECT, and it's kind of a sore subject with my tightwad frugal self.)

I started looking high and low, in and out.  One whole wardrobe drawer is crammed full of sewing stuff - stabilizer rolls, stabilizer and topping BOLTS (yes, bolts of it!), more thread (not counting the THREE cases of thread stashed under the sofa - oh, wait, there's another place my ruler might be!'s not), 2 quilt tops in differing stages of "put together," a plastic bulk-salad greens box full of cut-up squares for one of those quilts, 2 bolts of FABRIC for said quilts, and my other 6 x 24 inch ruler (2, because just 1 wouldn't be enough).  Now, if you're getting the idea that maybe I packed more sewing stuff than I did clothing, don't get me wrong...I did not.  My closet is crammed full of just about every stitch of clothing I own - we were going to be gone about a month, maybe two, and I didn't want to waste valuable time doing laundry. 

Hmmm..closet, maybe the ruler's in the closet?'s not there, either.  Under the sofa, in the cubby under the TV, where I stashed the mailing supplies, in the wardrobe, in the closet, in the ironing station, in the green tote, I looked everywhere.  Even in the under carriage, where I knew for a fact it wasn't.  Arrgh...did I mention that we were out on a little peninsula and everything is at least a 5 mile trek back to a main road?  In a diesel truck, at 10 miles to a gallon, at $4 a gallon.  So, just to get to a shopping center (that contains only a small grocery, a dollar store, a beauty salon and 2 restaurants), and back to camp, it would cost $4.  Needless to say, my cheapskate self was not about to just hop in the truck and go searching out a bigger store (such as a quilt shop or Walmart), so my strata got put on hold.  Surely, in all that other stuff, I could find something else to make.  Or maybe, just maybe, I could come up with something else I could use instead of a square ruler.  I considered using my 6 x 24 ruler, but, well, there's math involved, and I just couldn't figure out where my marks were going to be.  And, since I was planning to use a rotary cutter, paper templates were out, as was cardboard.  I'd considered cutting up a cereal box, but then there was that math again, and I had bought (and brought) only just enough fabric to do this topper, so I couldn't afford any cutting mistakes.  I considered getting a couple of pieces of plexiglass cut to measure, but then I figured if I was going to search out someone to cut plexiglass, I might as well just go on to the big-box store and see if they had a ruler like I needed.  I mulled it over for the rest of the day.  The next day, when one of the campers asked me to make a bib for a new baby boy, out of fabric I didn't have on hand, I decided to go ahead and venture out after all.  I found a quilt shop about 13 miles away, and luckily enough, they had both fabric and a Creative Grids 12.5 inch square ruler.   And here is how the table topper turned out:

It's not yet quilted, but I'll wait till we get home to do that, so I can drop my machine into its cabinet.  In the camper, I have the machine sitting on the dining table, so the bed is pretty high and the fabric is not supported or anything, so it pulls and is really hard to keep a straight-line stitch going straight.

So now I've got the table topper done, I've moved on to other sewing projects.  Yesterday, I made an Easter outfit for my youngest granddaughter...I still have the same outfit to make for the older, bigger one.  And two bow-tie/suspender sets, because we can't leave out the grandsons, can we?  Of course not.  And if there's any fabric left over, what little girl wouldn't like a place to keep her hankies or stash a couple of chocolate eggs?  So a purse or two is definitely in order.  Then there's the matter of those 2 quilt tops.  Oh, Lordy, I'm getting tired just thinking about it all.  Maybe I'll just walk the dog then take a nap.  After all, searching for rulers can be exhausting work.  You'd think I'd have just remembered to bring it along in the first place.  Well, ta-ta for now!  Thanks for paying your taxes, Kelly, and doing your part to keep this country afloat!

Kelly it me or did everyone else notice Karin has a lot of words and energy?  LOL...I just adore her and wouldn't mind having some of her energy :)

Taxing Smiles,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pure of Heart

A child here in Toledo with a pure heart....proof it only takes one person and one deed to turn something into everything.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wouldn't It Be Wonderful.....

and it can be WONDERFUL with your help.... if AFS Lightware Solutions....AKA one of my FAVORITE notions the Beam N Read Light were to

receive $5,000.00 worth of marketing from Intuit Quick Books to help their small family business grow.  Small businesses thrive on those who know their products and who believe in them as people.  I believe in Bob Friedman, the son of the inventor of the Beam N Read Light.  Why do I believe in him?  I believe in Bob because he has remained loyal, very loyal to those who use and purchase his family's Beam N Read LightsAFS Lightware Solutions is really Bob's parents and Bob....yep...just like IHAN®.   Not only is Bob loyal, he is assessable and available to receive feedback.  There is no recording that says "press this if you want that"......I just get a, hello.  That's what is the beauty of small family businesses.  It's Bob's mother who calls me to verify my order.  Just like old times...wonderful times when business was about people serving people. 

AND did I mention....their Beam N Read Lights were a huge surprise to me because when I first saw one I gave it no attention.  I thought, another gizmo light...ok.  I was wrong...and much to my surprise it is one of my very favorite must have notions. 

I am personally asking and encouraging  each and every person who reads this post to VOTE for AFS Lightware Solutions by clicking HERE each and every day.   I have my fingers and toes crossed that you will share this with everyone you know....friends, family, groups....set the social media networks ablaze with requests for people to go and vote each and every day so that one of our small family businesses will has the opportunity to have a better platform from which they share their mission and their amazing Beam N Read Lights.

If I had been invited to the Oscars last evening....Ellen called but I was at my sisters house and couldn't make the last minute flight to be her assistant (it's always something...eyes rolling with laughter) I would have worn my Beam N Read and every last one of those "beautiful people" would have been jealous of my fashion accessory....the twitisphere would have included selfies with bright lights shining from their chests....ahhhhh all in my favorite dreams anyway :)

I'm running late for an appointment so I've got to stop typing...but before I do...I just want to say that Bob forwarded me the link so I could enter IHAN® for this opportunity, not so I would or could vote for them or share about their entering...he was wanting to support me/ IHAN®  Another feather in his/their cap!

I've only had a few minutes to write this post...if there are errors...refer to my disclaimer below.

Bright Beaming Smiles,

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Just Want To Rock It

And I'm not talking about rocking a needle here....

After a night of watching the Voice....I just love that program....I would love for some people out there to put out a great program about middle aged women who can't sing and can dance like they do....but how we get out there and grind it out.  That would be more fun than those folks with natural voice talent.  Don't you think they need to turn people like me into Rock Stars?  Now that, would be AMAZING and something worth watching.

Come for me....and naturally my girlfriends too, we'd be  in a  funky video that is fun and real....

Anyone know people who do programs?  Programs that like taking huge risks?

One slow dance with Blake Shelton....might kill me dead and girls can sing and we have talent....and our friends would watch.

Can you imagine....Black Betty Bamb Ba Lamb A Lamb? or We Got Da Funk...We Got Da Funk?  or Robert Palmer and Addicted To Love....and instead of those girls with sheer tops we'd have our Featherweights out there....yep.....We're Addicted is Love too....but it is the love of the machine....and the machine of OUR choice....oh yeah baby....lets swing those hips...and swing in our swivel chairs ....right up to our machines.  Robert Palmer has noting on US....right?

How about "She's a Maniac"....yes she is....and the SHE is our machines....

Peter Gabriel....oh yeah..Sledgehammer......swing those hips girls....grind it out....cuz we would be flattening out our seams.....with our Sledgehammer....yeah....ay....He wants to be our honey about our bees wax to make our thread glide through our fabric?

Now I hear Survivor....Eye of the Tiger.....more like we are the TIGER and we have the EYES.....Rising up....our needles are up....we went the distance and we have the never happens too fast....don't loose your must fight just to keep them alive....rising up to keep them .....The Eye of The Tiger...Face to you hips don't forget....I can still bop just like I did back in the day....and funny....I still think I'm cool when that song plays...I'm Rising up straight to the top, got the guts, got the glory.....its the eye of the tiger ....rising up .....The Eye of the Tiger....doesn't that sound like a fun quilt pattern to you?   It does to me.....

My Sherona....isn't that a new fabric line by MODA?   Give me some time make my mother run....My, My, My Sherona.... it awwweeee...yaah...heay....I was a funky singer...playing in a band....everything around me to feeling so low...I decided to disco down and listen to the show....Play that funky music white boy....I certain they were talking about a white featherweight....

Pardon me...but I thought Earth Wind and Fire was actually Aurifil Thread Colors....I"m dancing in the night....FMQ with Aurifil .....barh-dium dancing in September...never was a cloudy day.  I'm certain I know of what they speak. (I have no idea what the Bahdi-um was....but I doubt there were speaking of a barium enema so I just typed what I thought I heard back in the day)

I'm Bad, I'm Bad.....Get up off of that thing....James Brown....I know he has stepped on a sewing needle and he needed to Get up off of that thing.....if he shakes he feels better....oh yea baby.   I know I share a blood line some where with James just has to be.....when he says, Good God....I can't even sit still....I start to shake....Funky....oh yea.  Do you think Kaffe and Brandon don't know about DA Funk?  They must...cuz their fabrics are definitely Funky.   I always dance and feel better :) it Stevie....what a perfect name for a fabric line.....writings on the wall....come on you designers....get up on it....jam it out....boogie.....get your looking glass....stop with all the cutesie....get Funky.....get Superstitious....get Stevie Amazing.....wash your face and hands.....bite your bottom lip as you swing....keep me going strong....when you believe in things you don't it.....create it.

Slide....on over to Isn't she Lovely.....and you know YES WE ARE....and always WERE.

Commodores....She's a Brick House.....that whistle....oh yeah....She's a Brick House....and that's my Bernina....easily glides over 8 layers of denim.....this is how the story goes...she's got every thing she needs ....she's a brick house....she's mighty mighty.   Ain't holding nothing' back!!!  Built like a Amazon....Built and knows how to please....she's a brick house....she's mighty mighty.  Shicka cow, shicka cow now.....Brick House.....all that Shika is her determination....feeds it like no other.

James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince dance compilation....SEX Machine....Right on Right on ...Get Up Ah...Get on Up'ah....Heah..........I'm so sorry Ricky and Alex....but REALLY....I'd give my eye teeth to have been there that night.....ain't no body who can get down in that style....better than the invention of sticks to my soul.....I"m thinking this is as smoooooth as silk....take em to the bridge....Just between you and Me....I think they were talking about some spanky quilting on silk.....Get On Up...Get Up Ah....Stay on the Scene....Like a Love Machine....Must be a Gammill they were dreamin' about that night.  Right On, Right On, Right On...Get UP Ah....shake your money maker....shake your money maker'ah.  Get up get on up....get up ah.  Now that's what I call a good time :)

James Brown and Papa's got a brand new bag.....I'm think he's talking about a Lazy Girl Bag...don't you?  Ain't no one who can make a bag like she can....Da Best Bag....she's gonna get on up'ah!

 Herbie Handcock's Imagine.....loose yourself in the "imagine"....I drift off to amazing art quilts from the likes of The Three Sisters, Susan Brubaker Knapp and Paula Nadlestern.....I can see those 5 ladies boogie-ing down.....Imagine there are no countries....we are all one...nothing to kill or die for....just create, create, create.....imagine all the people living in peace....I hope someday you will join us and the world will be as one.  I just imagine the day I'll join them in a class and I'll feels as I've joined the one.....

Sly and the Family Stone....You can make it if you try.....yeah, yeah can make it if you try. need to type his last name....Don't Stop Till You Get Enough.....Fever Rising Up....That makes it happen.....don't stop till you get enough.....I"m certain that man was talking about thread.   Touch me....and I feel
Touch Me And I Feel On Fire
Ain't Nothin' Like A Love Desire (Ooh)
I'm Melting (I'm Melting)
Like Hot Candle Wax Sensation (Ah Sensation)
Lovely Where We're At (Ooh)
So Let Love Take Us Through The Hours
I Won't Be Complanin'
'Cause This Is Love Power (Ooh)

I can't help but think that Patsy Thompson does her FMQing to this song....she just goes on and on and on....everything fresh and new....she doesn't stop till she gets it all......

I hope if you have lived on this planet during the times I have, and  that you remember these songs....cuz I can't help but love them and they bring me such joy.   Interweaving them into "my" reality brings  not only humor....but a "he double hockey sticks" of a lot of fun....

Hot down Summer in the City.....sing it Lovin' Spooful.....running up stars gonna meet you on the roof the city, in the summer in the city....sounds like some hot fabric from Hoffman Batiks doesn't it?

Ottis Redding is sitting in the morning sun, sittin'  when the evening comes them roll away  ....I'm think of Parson Gray....sittin' on the dock of the bay.....looks like nothing gonna change....everything remains the same.....resting my bones....Only difference is David is not wasting his time.....he's got all he needs to keep sailing on.... pix....but just a lot of soul....and music I love intertwined with the other things I love....

I could probably do this all night long....but I'll stop to sleep....but before I do....I can not mention the Lady....

Lionel Richie and Kenny Rodgers.....Lady....

This song is for Lady Eleanor.....I waited so long to find a woman to who was strong, kind, genuine.....and real......since they don't have songs about that kind of love...this one will have to do.....You are the love of my life....and I love you.....You are my Lady Eleanor.  One of the most real Lady Quilters of all time!!!

If all those folks read the previous post and liked it....dang....I'll just keep on free flyin'.

Joyful and Happy Smiles,
PS...It's late and I'm just pretend you don't see the type-o's and move to the groovin'

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stages of Life ( is not truncated)

 You may have noticed in the last year or so I've written fewer blog posts and I've not been as exuberant as I once was....perhaps I've been in a reflective phase of my life and I've spent much more time looking around and taking in what I see, thinking, reflecting and marveling.  I've tried to share some ... yet I've really felt the need to turn inward.

I'll be 50 on the 18th of March and that feels really big to me.  So many changes....

Last December my Mother was not able to come for Christmas because she thought she had the flu...January brought the diagnosis of stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer....May brought passing from this place.  October brought the sudden and unexpected break of my ankle....which brought plenty of time on my fanny.

My youngest daughter just finished school and has become a Nurse Practitioner and will leave for Officer Training in the Air Force this coming weekend.  My oldest son is now a Boy longer a Cub Scout.

I recall the passing of my Father, he was just 61 years old and also passed in 4 short months...went from a strong and lively man to a string bean in 4 months....he was almost unrecognizable to me....

"Life on Lifes Terms" is what tumbles through my mind....."Allow each person the diginity to walk the path of their own lifes" ...a quote from a lecture I'll never forget while I was in college, lingers frequently in the front of my mind.

Thoughts, memories, feelings....all tumbling around my awareness as I pass through each day and all the while....I cling to my needle and comforts me, guides me and brings me peace as I marvel at all the beautiful fabrics and think of them as representing each one of us....all beautiful, interesting, yet different.   Those of us who are quilters are very blessed to have such comfort...something we know, something to do and a community to challenge us, recognize us, encourage us and feed us....something I'll always be so very grateful for.

None of this brings for exuberant blog posts....a deeper melody is being exposed in me....I welcome it and I know many of you are with me in this journey.

This morning I spent some time looking for appropriate images to express some of what this stage of life brings....

A bit of humor never's probably darn good for my heart.

 Could not pass up this image....I love frogs....but dang...if this represents anything to me it is there is only the end frog and that would probably be this stage of my it the end? 

Men in their underware....much more pleasing to my eye than me in my underwear!  If this correlates to my life then I honly have two more stages to go.  Oh noooooo

Who ever made this graphic clearly must be very young.  So many figures to illustrate youth and so few for middle and end stages of life...not very fun if you ask me.
The last one is the best of those I saw...the same number of ladies are on each side of the stair case...that is relieving...giggles.

Then I thought....none of these seem to reflect how I feel about my life stages....after all, I'm a quilter.  If I had more skills with photography and graphic software you'd be looking at an awesome graphic to show my version....however neither of those are the case (yet).  Until that time, I'll do my best to show you my version using borrowed pix....

We are cotton seeds that bloom into beautiful cotton buds....
beautiful puffy cotton buds
we are picked by beautiful and loving hands (ok...I know picking cotton makes people's hands bleed...just hang in there with me for a moment longer)
our seeds are separated from our soft fluff and then we are spun into gorgeous strands of many varieties of threads
Now you're talkin'....that is a whole lot of process if I don't say so myself :)
Then we become thread, yarn, or fabric.....all so useful and amazing in their own right

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Ahhhh we can be bathed in a rainbow of colors

and are transformed into a endless variety of things...for example
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 and Aurifil Thread....tons and tons and tons....ecstasy in my mind....
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Did I just type ecstasy....this is ecstasy to infinity in my world.....

Then, join any or all of the varieties of cotton to make quilts and you end up with my version of heaven....and this is what I'm considering to be the life span of a much longer and richer than those depicted above....
I'm levitating now....

Yes...I wrote this blog post for myself....the experience of writing it and putting it together has lifted my spirits and given me great pleasure....if you have enjoyed any part of it...that is a bonus....because sometimes it is all about me....ROFL.  Sorry, I just had to type that.

Hystical laughter fading out into content smiles,

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Things Make Me Smile

Frequently I find myself marveling at the little things in life and my heart begins to  sing.  The little  thing I found recently is a toy sewing machine.
I found it at a resale shop while burning 15 minutes before an appointment.  It was cheap and I thought it would go nicely with this little toy iron I found at a garage sale a few years ago.  I need to find a place to put my "little" toys because I also have...
a little wooden ironing board with a cloth cover and a wooden iron.  Awe...miniatures can be so cute.  Too many little things that catch dust isn't a good thing...guess I better keep this collection small.

Then there are those "Big Things" that also make me smile...this time it is my oldest co-worker receiving his Arrow of Light, the highest honor in Cub Scouts.
Aaron is no longer a Cub Scout, he is a Boy Scout...booo baby is growing up way too fast.  Mr. McSteamy looks very proud of our big Boy Scout in this photo and I was smiling big behind the camera. 

Having so much snow and now rain...can you believe it?  It is pouring outside right now all over our snow...and you know what that means...slush and muddy brown stuff where our beautiful snow used to rest.  YUCK!!  I'm forced to find inside things to focus on ....and one of those things  is my new quilt project.

When I was in PA for my retreat I was gifted a big bag of blocks from a block swap that I was not able to participate in.  My girlfriend, Eleanor (not Lady Eleanor...but PA Eleanor) has already made two quilts using her blocks and she didn't want to make another so she gave these to me.  I just love this project and I'm using my Featherweight because its so fun to sew on.
There are about 36 little blocks assembled so far and I know it will look great when I'm finished.  I think I'll even hand quilt this one.

YES, I do look at other things each morning coffee, my breakfast plate, my lunch plate and my dinner plate...oh yeah...and then those late night snack plates too.  Way too many late night snack plates around here this winter I"m telling ya.  Oh yeah...and I also marvel at icicles since we have so many these days...
This was a huge collection that hung outside my guild meeting last Thursday.  If I could have, I would have climbed into the snow bank and took close up pictures because it was so pretty.

Snow sculptures in my front yard also catch my eye....
Last night the boys all went out to sculpt a big alligator head in the show...he looks menacing doesn't he?  I wouldn't mess with anyone living in house with a huge alligator in the front yard would you?

Still smiling,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Guess What?

I just learned that Sandi Blackwell, of Square-agonals fame, is now a Craftsy Instructor.  I'm so excited for her.  Way to go Sandi!!!

This is a photo of Sandi from back in 2010 when I first met her.  Sandi has since published three books and several patterns that teach her method of quilting.  What I really am taken by is that she doesn't sew triangles!  She does however teach people how to sew together squares and later cut them into pieces that turn out to be amazingly placed angles....or to use her term, "Square-agonals."

 I've had the good fortune to host giveaways for Sandi's may recall the most recent two:

For those who don't like piecing triangles or on point can definitely rely on Sandi to teach you how to accomplish amazing and beautiful quilts.  I'm a visual learner so videos and classes are better than books you can check Sandi out at Craftsy dot com.

I've taken a few Craftsy Classes now and I've been very pleased.  I like that once I pay for the class, I own it forever.  I just sign in and I can view or review the video anytime I want.  Since the class is stored on their server, I don't even have to wonder where my DVD's are, if they are scratched, or have to dust them...I just head over to my computer and sign in.

I'm so happy for Sandi and I am grateful to Sandi for letting me share with the quilting world that she is now a Craftsy Instructor.

A note from Sandi:
Kelly, thank you so much for sharing my big news! However my class won't be released until spring, you won't find it yet! But I will keep you posted....thanks again for spreading the word!

Big Happy Smiles,

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love is....

Love is....
photo taken from a forwarded e-mail some time ago 

 anything you want it to be really.  February 14th brings about the celebration of St. Valentines and in my neck of the woods it is celebrated by children at school.  In my world, love is celebrated every day and words and actions of love are carried out as a routine part of our everyday lives. 

I recall several years ago....I was in my early 30's..being taken to the airport by my mother and before I boarded the plane she told me how much she loved me.  Later that night while visiting with my father, he told me how proud he was of me and that he loved me.  That night I went to bed thinking how wonderful it was to have been told by both of my parents how much they loved me...all in the same day.  For many people...that is routine...for was amazing and I'll never forget that day.  My heart was full and I felt special....and I knew then that should I have a family, that was going to be shared every day and my children would find that to be the routine....and so it is.
 (both parents had shared words and actions of love long before this day in my thirties...but I don't recall having heard those words communicated so clearly by both parents on the same day...that day was indeed special)

Happy thoughts of love....I'd love to hear about your special moments of loving memories...either here in a comment...or via e-mail...yes I do read them and love to know from those who care to share...what you hold near and dear today.  I"m always at IHaveANotion dot com.

Smiles of Gratitude today,

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hari-kuyo: Festival of the Broken Needles Honored at IHAN ® Today

When we join needle to thread and begin stitching, in time, our skills improve and we create more masterful pieces.  Our skills are not improving on their own, it is the needle that works along side of us to join the thread to fibers...a co-creating of sorts.  Those fallen counterparts (the needles and pins) are "laid to rest" if you a ceremony or festival honoring their work and it is called Hari-kuyo.  
Hearing about Hari-kuyo several years ago, I had a desire to have a Festival or Ceremony of my own.  Today was "that"  day and I did it the same way I do most everything in my life, I winged it.  If I were Native American I'm sure I would have been named "flies by seat of pants".
With my limited knowledge and understanding, I gathered the pins and needles from my sharps container and all that were collected from the IHAN® Needle Exchange Program.   A candle was lit and I began focusing my attention on gratitude for all those needles and their joining with me in my quest for improved needle art skills. 
 Reflecting on all that I've asked those needles to do and being grateful that not a one of them laughed at me or all my mistakes.   Taking time to think about the gifts that needle work has brought to my life and how being part of the needle arts community has changed me as a those needles seem very sacred and treasured parts of my jouney.  Tossing them into the trash seems difficult if not impossible.  I will lay them to rest in the flower garden in  front of my home where I also have hung bird feeders as a memorial to my mother.  Birds will sing over the top of those broken needles...what a wonderful resting place.
This experience has been powerful for me and I'm so glad I participated in Hari-kuyo this year. 

Smiles of Gratitude,

You can read more about Hari-kuyo from these sources or you can visit the "wise village elder" aka Google:
Stitchtress Stumbles
Audrey Yang at ISSUU

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's Snowing...just like when I was a Kid :)

The beautiful white snow feels like a return to my childhood when school was closed and we could barely open the front door because the snow had drifted to over 2 feet.   The memories of being a child include "real snow" where it would literally be over 24 inches and we dressed in multiple layers and used Wonder Bread plastic bags (the ones with the colorful dots on them) as lining over our 2 or 3 pair of socks to make it easier to slide on our boots.  We headed out to play and shovel show.  Mainly just play until we were somewhere around 11 and then snow brought with it the opportunity to make money by shoveling other people's sidewalks. 
School has been canceled today (we're up to 5 1/2 days of weather related absences this winter) and we have been enjoying it from the windows thus far. 
An ordinary passerby might think nothing of this cave at the end of our driveway....but to this Momma, that is the sign of two very hardworking and happy boys :)  The co-workers have tunneled through the big pile of accumulated snow and ice to make their own tunnel.  I loved the ice sickles that have formed on the roof of their cave.

Between going to Physical Therapy and keeping up with the snow and ice I haven't found much time to sew.  I've been using my embroidery machine to make labels for some quilts that are finished.
 This is one I made yesterday and then cut through the fabric while trimming the stabilizer.  You can guess there will be a duplicate in my near future.

I was given a bird feeder and a bird seed wreath for Christmas and I took them out front earlier this week and hung them in the trees.  Oh the birds that have visited...

The bird house was covered in seed when it was hung...they didn't last long that's for sure!  It is now a naked house...giggles.
Rick filled the bird fountain with seed so they would not have to fight for the seeds.   Snow and birds...a wee bit of stitching...that's what I've been up to this past week.

Three days from now it will be the Festival of  Broken Needles aka Hari-kuyo.  For the past 4 years I have wanted to acknowledge this Festival but my planning and execution skills were not aligned.  This year is different!!!  My understanding of Hari-kuyo is taking the time to show gratitude for old and broken needles.  Sort of a Thanksgiving for our stitching needles.  Very cool indeed and I plan on having a little ceremony here. 

I've saved all of my broken sewing and hand stitching needles in a medicine bottle for several years  and I also saved all the needles I received in the IHAN Needle Exchange Program a  few years back.  This will be the first time I will officially celebrated "Hari-kuyo" and  I was thinking of a funeral of sorts to lay those wonderful needles to rest.  I'll post more on the 8th.

Back to the snow....

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dreary Saturday Outside Today

We've had snow and now rain...and boy is it slushy outside today.  No worries for me however...I'm inside :)

Doing what you ask?

Well...after I've sorted tons of paper on my kitchen table, I've arranged play dates for both co-workers and now I'm headed to the sewing sanctuary to make some quilt labels on my embroidery machine. 

Guess who flew back home this Power Suit Piece (above) arrived back home safe and sound.  That is one well traveled bird I have to say.  So glad I participated because it challenged me to do things I would not have otherwise done.  I'd love to hear about some of your challenges that you've participated in....share away :)


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