It’s the little things…

In life, it’s the little things that make you feel good. A kiss from your dog, a single flower from your someone special for no reason at all, a walk by the river holding hands, a co-worker bringing you a latte “just because.” These little things are the things you remember the most.

I love shopping online at eQuilter.com for just those reasons. They do the little things that keep me coming back for more. They always wrap my purchases in pretty, quilty tissue paper before they put them in the shipping bag. They always take the time to write a little note on my order form. They always put a little cute sticker next to their note. “A sticker?” you say? Yes. It’s a little thing, but it always makes me smile, and it tells me that they care enough about me, the customer, to go that extra little step.

eQuilter.com special ordered fabric for me when I needed it. They will personally go looking for something if it isn’t on their HUGE website. They go above and beyond. That’s why they get my business. If you haven’t been to their website, please go there now.

Last summer I bought my Pfaff Grand Quilter and while I was at the quilt shop, bought a few little things (duh!). I saw a sign above the thread I wanted: 3 for $x.00. I thought, what a bargain!!! I grabbed three spools, paid for my order, and left one happy camper. When I got home (it’s an hour away) I looked at my receipt. They had charged me the regular (FULL) price for the thread.

Last night, I went to the same shop for a class on using my Pfaff. Since it’s so far away and I don’t get there frequently, I had planned in advance and had a few things on a very short list to buy. I was excited because they use a punch card reqard system. Each time you purchase something, they mark your card. When your card is filled up, you get $25 in free merchandise. I was $15 away from filling up my card. My purchase was easily going to fill it up! I got to the checkout table, only to have a grumpy lady tell me “We don’t do that anymore. You’re just too late.” The tone of her voice was pretty scolding. I showed her that I had been getting it filled out regularly and that I was reaching FULL with this purchase. She looked at me and said, “I told you, we don’t do that anymore.”

Yes, it’s the little things.

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Sometimes the best plans go awry

My plans yesterday were to finish marking “Paper Lanterns” and put it on the frame. It is now marked, but not on the frame. I thought I had enough batting, but it turns out I am about a foot short in length. So today I will travel to JoAnn’s and get more. HEAVY SIGH. I think I’ll try that new bamboo batting. If you have used it, please comment below. It’s new to me!

So instead of starting to quilt, I did a cleaning of my sewing area. Lots of threads and little bits of fabric and such on the floor, so I grabbed my basement vaccuum. The belt was broken. Another HEAVY SIGH.

I opted to sew this little block (F12 Starburst) and then go upstairs and hand quilt.

Some days are just like that, aren’t they?

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Saturday – Play Day!

I love Saturday.

I can sleep in as long as I want (or until the cat pesters me enough to force me up). I can eat a relaxing breakfast without having to gulp it down. I can (usually) do anything I want. My day can be unstructured.

With that being said, it seems like every Saturday follows the same format: Get up, get coffee, turn on computer, read… get breakfast, do something quilty. But that’s OK… I like it that way! I turn on the radio and listen to John Tesch, and revel in the joy of quilting and sewing. Today I plan on finishing the marking of my Circle QuiltPaper Lanterns quilt.

In the evenings, I have been making progress on my Circles quilt. Not much more to hand quilt on the blocks, then do the border and it’s done! This is how it looks this morning.

Wishing you a fabulous Saturday!

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Church Window – God is Watching!

This is F-8, Church Window, a paper-pieced block for my Dear Sammy Jane quilt. I started it on Saturday and finished it up tonight. I have now sewn 109 little blocks like this and 15 triangles for the border, a total of 2,499 little pieces of fabric.

I am getting ready to machine quilt another top, hopefully starting this weekend. I still have a little marking to do on the lanterns in my “Paper Lanterns” quilt, seen here.

This has been a wonderful week for the United States; with a new president and a renewed hope for the future, there have been many times I’ve been close to tears. I feel compelled to comment on a part of President Obama’s Inaugural speech that really touched me.

“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.”

“Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

I attended a community college part-time while I was still in high school. I was a music major, and participated in a few vocal music groups. One night after a concert, one of the guys in the group was gracious enough to give me a ride home when my car wouldn’t start. We’d developed a friendship, and he was a good friend going out of his way to help me out. Mom and Dad gave me a huge lecture when I got home; I wasn’t supposed to associate with him because of the color of his skin. I was SO angry!

When I went away to college, my parents were also horrified to learn that my roommate was African American. They insisted that I demand a different roommate. I’m happy to say, I refused to do so. Patty and I got along great; she was a year ahead of me, so I learned a lot about being at college from her. I enjoyed her friends, her sense of humor, and the long conversations we had into the wee hours of the night. Everytime I called home or went home for a weekend, I heard the lecture over and over. It angered me. These were my friends… and the beliefs of my parents were NOT held by me. This was the early 1970’s.

I was so proud of America on this Inauguration Day. Proud that we had moved past the racist ideas of our parents. Proud that we had come together as a country. Proud of our new President, that he ignored the plea of athiest groups and included scriptural references in his speech. God was present at this Inauguration, just as our forefathers had planned. I know that God was smiling down at our country, and saying “Well done, well done.” Our President is a Christian, eager to move our nation forward along the right path. I’m happy – no, I’m proud to be walking that path with him.

And he also said PATCHWORK. What a good man!!! Let the quilting begin! I challenge each quilter who reads this blog to make at least one donation quilt this year. It could be an Alzheimer quilt, a quilt for the Heartstrings Quilt Project, or one of any number of great charity quilt projects listed on Dana’s Quilting For Charity site. As quilters, let’s do our part to help keep America warm. Ready, set, STITCH!

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Michigan Quilt Resources

In an attempt to provide a centralized location of “quilty stuff” in the State of Michigan, I spent the evening putting together a new quilters’ resource:

Michigan Quilt Resources

If you are a quilter, instructor, longarm quilter, quilt guild or show sponsor located in the State of Michigan, please drop by the site at http://miquiltresources.blogspot.com and take a peek around. The more information we can gather, the more useful the site will be.

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Sweetheart Table Runner

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Available at Brookside Creations Etsy Shop

16.5 x 46 inches

Each of the long sides has an embroidered quotation:

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” -Thoreau
At the touch of Love every one becomes a poet. – Plato

runner3 runner2 runner1 Click on photos to enlarge.

Out of Thread…

G8-JustinsComet

I should have machine pieced this baby.  It took much longer than it should have.  G8- Justin’s Comet, one little block out of “Dear Sammy Jane.”

Why is it that when you have a project you are dying to finish… that everything possible goes wrong and prevents you from finishing?

I wanted to finish a table runner tonight and get it on Etsy.  After all, it DOES have a Valentine theme, and that’s just a hint over one month away!  I ran out of thread mid-project tonight while I was meander quilting it.  Meandering soaks up thread like water on a sponge.  GEESH!  So after work tomorrow, it’s hurry to the quilt store before they close, grab the thread, go home and make dinner, eat, and go to choir.  The sewing will have to wait until Wednesday.   Unless we get a snow storm…   Hey, God?   Are you listening?

Love That Ivy!

Blue Lily Quilted Blue Lily quilt pattern

I spent some time today with Millie, my quilting machine.  We’re getting along better, though she has a little squeak to her when she sews.  Not sure what’s up with that, other than attitude.  Anyway, I put my Blue Lily quilt on the frame, and within two hours had it finished.  Now to put the binding on, add a hanging sleeve and it will be finished!  I don’t know why the color isn’t right in these pictures… the green is more of a lime green, and the light areas a batik in a light pale greenish-blue.  So I guess you’ll have to just pretend!  There isn’t an ounce of hand stitching in this quilt; the applique is done by machine, as is the piecing and quilting.  Not my usual mode, I know.  I’m trying something new!

I really enjoyed the quilting process;  I used a meandering ivy pattern, and it was easy and smooth to sew.  I like it when things work out that way, don’t you?

Happy Saturday – as long as I’m inside where it’s warm, not outside in the tons of snow we are being pounded with. 

Back to work!

Where Do Quilting Designs Come From?

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Where do quilting designs come from?  How do you figure out how to quilt designs on your quilts?  Do you create the designs yourself, or do you look for patterns to use or adapt to fit your quilt top?FrenchStarMedallion

 

Sometimes I design my own quilting patterns.  Othertimes, I am inspired by things that I see around me.  It might be a simple shape, repeated over and over.   Or, an intricate design that has taken hours to draw, erase, and draw again and again. 

Visit Carla’s blog and admire the Egyptian quilt she is working on for Barb.  The designs are inspired by ancient motifs.  As long as you’re looking at her blog, you should probably go visit her Flickr site and admire more of her fantastic work.   Look at the detail she puts into her quilting designs!

DSC02194Quilting – the process of holding the three layers of the quilt sandwich together – deserves more than simple stitching in straight lines 1/4 inch around each patch.  Try using designs that enhance and beautiful the already marvelous work you have put into your creation.  The quilting can make – or break your quilt. Take the time to carefully think about what you DSC01683want your quilt to say about you.  And your quilting WILL say a great deal about your character! 

Look for designs in nature.  Look for designs in architecture.   Even a cemetery  can yield some great shapes to enhance your quilt!

Start a collection of images, either in a folder on your computer or a sketch pad you can take with you in your purse or backpack.  Doodle when you have time!  Looking at the lines and shapes in your world will open up many new possibilities for you as a quilter.  The world is your oyster – go quilt it!