Monday, June 24, 2019

It's been awhile


I never meant to stay away so long.

one of the many blurry photos I snap and send to Tyler of a new bird at the feeder
(this one is a house finch)

The thing about being away
for a long time
is
it's hard to come back.
There's all this pressure....

Well,
I'm just going to ignore the pressure,
forget about trying to play any sort of catch up
(as if I could even remember...)
and leave it with:
It's been a long (rather rough) year,
but we are here,
and we are well.

And,
I'm sorry if you pop in here regularly
only to find,
yet again,
nothing new.

I'll try to do better;
but no promises.

As always,
you can find me here
on the Instagram.

💙


Thursday, March 21, 2019

everyone, meet Lucy.


I'm not a big wanter,
but when I want things,
they're big.


It's no secret that I've hoped for a longarm
for years.
And Tyler has wanted one for me
for even longer.

But - longarms cost lots of money
(and take up lots of space)
so I was fine with the knowledge
that it was going to be quite some time
before I got one.

Even so,
for well over a year now,
I've regularly popped in on sites that sell used longarms
and occasionally do a 'quilting' search
in Facebook sales groups
and Craigslist.

Which is how,
2 weeks ago tomorrow,
I came to be the owner 
of a 28-year-old
no frills
Gammill 24" longarm quilting machine
on a 14-foot steel frame.


Everyone,
meet Lucy:



I can still hardly believe she's mine.
Thanks, Love!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

all of February


Wow.
That went by in a whoosh, didn't it?!

I ordered this from Charlie and Ella, and it arrived on Valentines Day. I love it so much!!

Let's see.

There was Groundhog Day.


Brandon joined us for the festivities :-)

~

And the Super Bowl.

(Which for us really just means 
snacks.)


~
Some friends gave us tickets
- enough for all of us! - 
to go to a Razorback basketball game.


That was fun,
but I realized I should explained 
some of the rules of the game to them beforehand.

~

I worked my fingers to the bone
trying to finish
so I could enter it in the upcoming NWA quilt show.


When I still had about 50 hrs of work left
and only 2 weeks to do it in,
I knew I had to give up.

It's kinda bummy,
because
if Instagram is any indication,
it would have been really well received,
and I feel like my chance at a ribbon was pretty good.


Ah well.

Speaking of Instagram,
I hit 500 followers a few weeks ago.


It's humbling that that many people 
feel like I have something to offer in this crafty community.

It sure isn't my glamorous, well-styled photography 😆

~

Tyler has continued work on the porch railings
as he's had time
and the weather's been cooperative.

It looks so nice when I drive up!
(It'll really look nice when we paint / stain them!)

~

The girls went to SuperStart


and we babysat kidsat for some friends.



~

The biggest news of the month
is
I went to Quilt Con!!


Long story short,
about a week and half before the trip,
one of my good blogging friends
messaged me to say that
God told her husband 
that he was supposed to send us to Quilt Con.

It was rather humbling to be on the receiving end 
of  such an extravagant gift,
but who am I to get in the way of someone obeying God??

We met in Nashville -
her coming from Arizona, and me from Arkansas.

She was exactly what I expected 
and we pretty much talked non-stop the whole weekend.

We saw hundreds of quilts,

this was my favorite -  made by Wendy Hill

and met a few other quilters.


I tried out some longarms.

We had icecream for dinner.
(yum)

I wish I'd have been more 'myself'
because I feel like I wasn't really much fun.
All in all though, it was a very nice trip
and I'm so grateful for her and her husband's generosity,
and that my man was willing to let me go off 
for a weekend with a 'stranger'.

And I'm grateful that God uses technology
to bring people together.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

and then there were two



When Tony and Andrina came down 
to help out when my dad was in the hospital
(and they were a huge help!!)
they gave me an Ember.

An Ember is no ordinary cup.
It's ceramic,
so it feels rather ordinary,
though a bit heavier than normal,
but it keeps your beverage as hot as you like it
from 130 - 145 degrees!

No more microwaving coffee every 8 minutes!!!

I have loved 
and enjoyed
and appreciated
mine so much
that they gave one to Tyler
when they were down just a few weeks ago.

And he has enjoyed it 
far more than he imagined he would.


Thanks, Guys!!
We love you
even more than our cups 
💖

Sunday, January 27, 2019

well - that sucks!


I consider myself to be fairly low-maintenance
as women go.

I'm not terribly needy...

Or even wanty,
as a general rule.

And as we've made house building decisions
I've tried to make mostly modest choices
in keeping with the 
'Simply Gracious. Graciously Simple'
theme that we chose.

But.
I reeally wanted a central vac.

I didn't push and beg;
I just made my wishes known
and left it up to Tyler to decide.

He decided he really didn't want to
bother with one. more. thing.

But then,
he decided that
I really don't ask for much,
and it wouldn't be terribly expensive,
or too much work...
So one day,
waay back before the drywall went in,
he asked me to come out to the house and help him with something.

He unwound the hundred foot tape measure
to 30 feet
and had me hold it in the coat closet,
then he took the other end
and went all through the house
making vacuuming motions
(testing what size hose we'd need
 and where all we'd need outlets)
until I finally realized I was getting my vacuum after all!!

He and (I think) Josiah ran most of the pipe,
and that was that for awhile.

A few weeks ago,
he ordered the vacuum,
and installed it over the course of a weekend.
(He's been soo busy,
I honestly expected it to sit in the box for a few months
before he'd get to it)

And now,
I have a simply gracious central vac.
And I love it so much!


As added bonus,
it's Canadian made,
so I get a nice little reminder of my dear friend
(also Canadian 😊)
every time I use it.

Friday, January 25, 2019

in January


It's cold!!
But at least the sun is shining.

~

Tony and Andrina came to visit for a week!
😃

We celebrated Andrina's birthday,


and Lexi's, too.
 No more single digit kiddos!!



Tony and Tyler braved the frigid temperatures
and worked on the back porch railing.


I didn't pull out the camera,
but TJ and one of his boys came down on Sunday afternoon,
and brought Matt, Marin, and Milo with them.
💙

~

I didn't work on it while people were here, 
of course,
but here's a picture
(taken on one of the many not sunny days...)
of where I currently am


It's going to be pretty dang amazing
if I say so myself.
I'm considering entering it in a quilt show in NWA,
but I'll need to discuss it with my client
before I make any decisions.

~

Brandon started a new internship on Monday.
It's pretty cool
and pretty top secret,
so I'm not sure if I can tell you where...

We're excited for the opportunity for him!

And thankful he got to spend a good bit of time here, too,
while Ton' was visiting.
It was so nice to have all of my boys in the house
at the same time!

~

Work continues to be absolutely crazy and rough
for Tyler
and we are sooo ready for this season to be over.
(Basically, he's been working 2 jobs
(for the price of 1)
for almost a year now)

~

I started a new crochet project.


This one will be much faster than the last one for sure!

I'd rather be English paper piecing,
but I just don't have the gumption
(or the space)
to collect fabrics for a new project just yet...

~

The males in the household
all have wild hair.

That
will be remedied
today.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Star Bright, a finished quilt



When I started this one
I thought I could maybe piece the top
in a day.


It's only about 50 x 60 or so,
so it seemed doable.


It wasn't.
(at least for me....)

ah well.


I basically copied a quilt that 
Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting posted about a year ago,
except I added in feathers and onion peels and ribbon candy,
because I could.
(It wasn't all that long ago 
that I couldn't quilt any of those!)


The colored fabrics are all Kaleidoscope
by Allison Glass -
woven fabric
with different colored threads for the weft and weave.

To be honest,
I wasn't all that impressed.

I was expecting a much more shimmery and iridescent look,
but the two colors are only evident 
in a couple of them.

They'd probably be nice for bags,
but not worth the price for quilting.


Even though I'm not thrilled with the Kaleidoscope fabrics,
I'm quite thrilled with the quilt.


I think the quilting turned out pretty amazing,
if I do say so myself,


and it washed up quite nicely.
(I was pretty amazed when I pulled it out of the dryer.
I was like - I did this?!)


The wool batting 
with minky backing
(a throw size blanket that I bought on clearance 
for $5 a couple of years ago
for just this purpose)
make it extra scrumptious.


plus - the minky shows the quilting really well 
😊


My friend Karen
always says that thread matters,
and I repeated that to myself many times as I was quilting;
I really prefer a thread with a bit of shine to it.

I used a spool of Coats and Cotton quilting cotton thread
that I bought back when I started quilting,
and it's just dull.

 When I got to the border,
I switched to Aurifil 
 - still 100% cotton, 
but it has a tiny bit of sheen -
and I liked it much better.

Really, 
I think I like a 40 wt poly best.
But if I had a 50 wt poly,
that might be the very best.
It'd be thick enough to see,
but thin enough for travelling.
(do they make a 50 wt poly?)


Even with
dull thread 
and my displeasure with  kaleidoscope fabrics,
this one's a favorite.




Tuesday, January 8, 2019

calling all the messengers



We got this fun message board for Christmas.

It
(and the little felt box of letters and words)
 sits on the bar
and every day
(or even more often)
the 'message' changes.


We are a big awesome family.
💗

I get so weary I forget
sometimes.

Friday, January 4, 2019

the sun will come out tomorrow


It finally stopped raining this afternoon.

And the sun came out!

And I feel ever so much better.


I've toyed around with the idea of buying one of those lights
that are supposed to help with SAD
but I hate the thought of wasting money, you know?

I probably don't have actual
Seasonal Affective Disorder,
but man do I crave the light.

The instant,
and I mean
instant,
I walked through the kitchen 
and caught sight of the sunlight in my flowers on the table,
I could fully breathe again.
Or maybe I could let my breath out all of the way.
I don't know which;
all I know is
 I could feel the benefit of the sunshine in my chest....

~
In other light news - the tree is still up
and so far, 
I am in no hurry to take it down.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

and --- that's a wrap


Well.

That's that.

Another year down.

Can't say I'm sad to see 2018 end,
though.

~

It's been gloomy and rainy for days,
so it's sort of hard to even think straight.

I have made no plans for the new year.
No 'word', or 'intention', either.

I can tell you though,
I'd really like to do more than just survive.

I've already had plenty of years of that.

~

 Looking back over December:

I sold the Razorback Quilt,

I'm so tickled with where it went, who bought it, and how the purchase came about.
And I am continually humbled that it isn't the wealthy
who partner with me, but ordinary people - with hearts bigger than their wallets 💝

made excellent progress on my current commissioned project


and


I'm pretty proud of myself - learning something new,
and having it turn out so beautifully.

But then I remember that I am 50
(Fifty!?!)
and I feel a bit silly about being proud 
that I learned a little bit of crochet.

~

House-wise:

We finally hung a mirror in the upstairs bathroom
(which sounds way easier than it was...)


but the island/bar received most of the attention.


It was a multi-phase project, and still not complete,
but it's completely usable already :-)

Some day, we'll put black walnut on the bar top,
but this pine should serve us well for many years.

One of the benefits of the bar
that came as a complete surprise,
is that it invites people
(my man, guests....)
to sit and visit with me as I work.

That makes me so happy!!

And, of course, 
I love working in the kitchen


while people I love
play games at the table
across the bar.

~

We also spent a bit of time
adding just a few things to the mudroom 
to help it function properly.

We did okay without a bench and coat hooks
spring thru fall,
but they became more important as the temperature dropped.

I know.
Y'all are so envious of both my 'styling'
and my photography skills.
When I tell you the picture of the other coat rack was too bad to post,
you know it's really bad.

We hosted (most of) Tyler's family 
a few days before Christmas
and it thrilled my heart to look in there
and see the coat racks loaded down
and 25+ pairs of shoes in a jumbled heap.

~

Interestingly,
there was exactly the same number of people
at my sister's house the next day,
when she hosted our side of the family.


I"m not going to do an end of the year round up post; 
there's just not enough energy for that.
But in scrolling through my blog and Instagram feed
I am reminded of just how much we accomplished this year,
in spite of what a long, and challenging year it's been.

I would've liked for the end of 2018
 to have felt more celebratory,
as there really was a lot to celebrate.

I mean -
we hadn't even moved into the house a year ago!
And when we did (all) get moved in
in February,
it was another couple of  months
 before we had a kitchen...

Instead,
I just feel worn out and weary.
The loss of my dad has just sort of made everything 
flat.

Don't misunderstand - I *do* feel blessed,
I just also feel very flat 
(it's really the only way I can describe it)

I find that, 
after almost 11 years
(can you even believe I've had the blog this long?!!)
I am still
pursuing joy.

Monday, November 26, 2018

the end of November


I haven't checked my e-mail in over a week.
And now I'm scared to.
I get about a hundred e-mails a day;
most of them are junk,
but there are some that I'll need to tend to,
and weeding through it all takes forever.

~

Remember my china cabinet??
The one that I had to drive the trailer
to go get!?!

We finally painted it
and moved it 
to the spot that it's been waiting for its whole life
💛


It's a tiny tad more 'French's' mustard than I'd have preferred,
but I love it anyway.
As soon as I find the china 
that we bought in East Berlin
while it was still a communist country
I'll fill it up!

~

As you can see,
we also put up the Christmas tree
(and plugged in the frasier fir fragrance...)
though we have yet to put any ornaments on it.

~

no - that's not true.
There is the Operation Christmas Child ornament 
that Lexi picked up when we worked our shoebox shift.


~



For several weekends,
Tyler has been working on our stair rail
and we finally got that finished and up this weekend, too.


I love it so much!!


~
I may have gone a bit overboard,
but I've finalized the fabric pull 
for my new commissioned project.


I'm hoping to get my first block made today,
and after that,
I'll aim for a pair of blocks every work day
(double that when the blocks are small and simple)
I estimate it'll take 4-6 months to complete.

~
Along with other leftovers,
Mom and Bill gave us 
both the ham bone
and the turkey carcass
 after Thanksgiving,
so we had a delicious ham and bean soup yesterday
and our (almost) annual day-after-Thanksgiving
 turkey noodle soup.


They were both scrumptious,
but now I am ready to get back to not eating carbs!

~

I only have four more granny circles
to turn into squares and join!

(obviously, this was taken a few days ago...)
I use an empty candle jar to keep a row of circles contained and in order :-)

I discovered there is a thing called continuous join as you go
which is ever so much better than join as you go
which is better
by far
than joining afterward,
so that has sped the process up considerably.

I couldn't find an exact tutorial,
so I sorta cobbled together bits and pieces
from various blogs and videos
and muddled through
until I figured out a good method.
I should probably write it up 
so I can use it if I ever make another one...