Thursday, August 15, 2019

~ The Quilt Stare ~

I know I'm not the only quilter with this issue, the quilt stare.  Some of you may be wondering what the heck is the quilt stare?  Well, I think there's more than one type of quilt stare.  The first type is when you have a beautiful bundle of fabric that you absolutely love, it's laid out on your cutting table with the intentions of using it for just the right quilt pattern.  But it can't be just any pattern, it must be the perfect pattern for these gorgeous fabrics.  So you stare at the bundle for hours, occasionally you'll pull a pattern or surf the net for ideas. Until hours later you are still exactly where you started, staring at them.  I've done  this many times with the bundle below.  The stare didn't produce anything but wasted time.  The bundle still sits in my cabinet waiting for the perfect pattern.

The second type of quilt stare happens once you have chosen the perfect pattern for this perfect bundle.  Now it's time to chose the perfect fabric combinations for each block.  Carefully we audition the color combos. Stepping back away from the fabric is a must, making sure those fabrics look right at 2 ft away, 5 ft. away, and from way across the room.  Once you have made the perfect fabric combinations and cut your fabric then comes the third type of quilt stare.  This is happens while you piece the quilt.  I often find myself sewing along not paying any attention to what's going on with my hands and the needle but looking at the fabrics in the quilt.  This is the most dangerous type of quilt stare.  I've had more than one needle in my finger due to being distracted by beautiful fabrics.

On this day I decided to stop, step away to admire my gorgeous simple quilt.  Sigh...florals and polka dots, they make my little ole heart go pitter-pat.   My mind drifts off, imagining this quilt finished, draped over the back of my white rocking chair on the back porch.  A cup coffee and a good mystery book sit on the side table calling me in for an afternoon of relaxation.  Will this ever happen?  Well I may stage this for a photo shoot but actually sitting down to read a book doesn't happen much these days.  Audible books is how I get through a good book.

The fourth type of quilt stare is when the quilt top is complete.  Now it's time to decide how to quilt the quilt.  This is the most common type of quilt stare.   I have quilts tops that have been waiting for years to be quilted because I STARE at them and never come up with a quilting plan.  Are they that great of quilt that I have to have a fabulous quilting design?  Nope.  I'm just picky I suppose.  

Over the years I've learned to put the quilt on the frame even if I don't have a plan.  When I do this it means I'll go with a simple quilting design.  Elaborate quilting designs that need lots of pre-marking can't be done once the quilt is on the frame.  Maybe I can come up with an quilting plan while preparing the backing fabric.  The backing for this quilt will be the scrap leftover from the background fabric and a green print from my Lakehouse Drygoods yardage stash. 

The backing took about an hour to press, trim and piece.  But still no plan has been made for the quilting.

Maybe if I look at from over here.....

....or over here.  Hmm....I'm stumped!

If you need me I'll be in the sewing room in...STARING.

#disappearing9patchqal #quiltstare

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Monday, August 12, 2019

~ Happy Little Things Month One Winner ~

I want to thank everyone who enter the Happy Little Things Month One Giveaway.  If you still have not joined the Happy Little Things FREE BOM hosted by Jacquelynne Steves there's still time to join in the fun.  All you need to do is sign up on her blog and the new block each month will be delivered right to your email so you never miss a block!  No searching for the blocks or missing the giveaways each month.  You'll be notified anytime something new is going on with the BOM.  You can sign up here.  Or by clicking the image below.

This years featured bloggers had some great ideas and tips for making your blocks.  What an inspiring bunch of quilters.  Again if this is the first you've heard of this new FREE BOM be sure to hop over for a visit and follow each blogger so you don't miss out on all the fun coming over the next few months.  This BOM runs until December and then in January there will be a Grand Prize!  The list of participating bloggers is listed below.

The giveaway for this month is now closed and I have chosen a winner.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond.  If I do not hear from the winner by 9 A.M. EST tomorrow morning a new winner will be chosen.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Sorry for the strict rules.  But we need to get these prizes out the winners as soon as possible.  So with out further ado.....the winner is........
Brenda West
Congratulations Brenda!  You have won the following prize sponsored by Olfa.  I've sent you an email.  If you do not see the email check your spam folder.  You can also contact me directly at my email.

#HappyLittleThingsBOM  #HappyLittleThingsQuilt #quiltinggiveaway #olfa 

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Friday, August 9, 2019

~ Studio Transformation ~

Hello Happy Quilters!  I'm happy to announce the Podunk Studio is back to normal and ready for new quilting adventures.  It feels so good to walk into the Studio and not feel overwhelmed by the chaos and clutter.   The worst part of the cleaning process was the cobwebs.  And what comes with cobwebs?  SPIDERS!  No I'm not afraid of them but they catch you by surprise then they run willy-nilly.  My survival instinct kicks in at this point and I start squealing like a little girl swatting frantically as if I were being attacked by a large bear.  I'm proud to say 6 large bear spiders(about the size of a dime) and about twice as many little cub spiders are no longer with us.  

As you can see there were plenty of hiding spaces.   Believe it or not this picture was taken about 30 minutes after I started cleaning.  It took that long to collect all the files and papers that needed to be in my office.  Once those were cleared out I could focus on how to organize the mess.  There's four projects in progress hiding in all the chaos. 

The first one I tackled was the one that was creating most of the clutter.  I love this quilt and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you but it is a little more complicated than I feel like dealing with right now.  So in the box it goes until my MOJO  is completely restored.

Then there's On Ringo Lake by Bonnie Hunter.  Bonnie's patterns are labor intensive.  Tons of tiny pieces that also are not great for MOJO challenged quilters.  But I would like to finish this before her next mystery quilt starts in November.  So it will left out where I can see it and I'll work on it as the mood strikes.

Next is the Happy Little Things by Jacquelynne Steves.  It's a new BOM that started this week.  I'm a featured blogger so it's at the top of the get it done list.  Getting this completed allows me to write the blog post in advance so there's no stress to meet deadlines.  If you would like to join this BOM you can find all the information on Jacquelynnes blog.  Olfa is sponsoring this months block with an amazing giveaway on several featured blogs.  You can find the giveaway on my blog by clicking here.

 The first thing I'll tackle is this super simple Disappearing Nine Patch.  This is a QAL by Julie at the Crafty Quilter Blog.  The QAL is over but the tutorials are still available on her blog.  I joined the QAL with hopes it would reset my MOJO.  Since it's a quick quilt project I should be able to complete it in just a few days

After cleaning the Studio today a couple more sewn rows were added to the design wall.  Progress at last.  It feels great to be quilting again.  Have you ever been a quilting slump?  Do you have any tip and tricks to share that might help rejuvenate their MOJO? 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

~ Clearing out the dust ~

Have you ever noticed life will give you just what you need?  I'll admit that sometimes life will show me where to go and what to do but I don't listen.  Since life continues on, it will give me a reminder or two before giving up on my stubborn routine of being in a rut.  The powers that be know my weakness is family, I can't tell them no.  So when my dad invited me out for a day of food and antique shopping I couldn't say no, even though I wasn't thrilled at the thought of eating what I consider junk food and possibly being tempted to buy things I really don't need.  The day out reminded me how pessimistic the voice in my head can be and how getting out of a routine can help recharge energy.  A word of warning about today's post.  Most of the pictures taken were blurry but I'm sharing them anyway because life isn't perfect.  The picture below of dad was taken a couple of weeks ago at a small family gathering when my daughter brought the grand children for a stay at grandma's house.  Yesterday I was in a all about me mood and forgot to picture dad, sad but true.

This is the first week of my dads retirement.  Finally, at the age of 72, dad has decided it's time to stop getting up at 3:30 AM and putting in 10-12 hours a day in a factory.  Did he need to work?  No, he just didn't know how to not work. Working also helped him to heal after mom passed two and half years ago.  Like many people from his generation it is a way of life.  He has worked since he was a kid.  At about 10 yrs. old he started delivering newspapers and groceries on a bike with no basket. Holding the groceries or newspapers in his arms which meant riding the bike with no hands.  This wasn't an urban route.  He grew up in a rural area with hills and lots of curvy roads.  By the time he was 16 he quit school to help support his parents and 4 siblings.  My grandfather had a day job while grandma ran a family owned country grocery.  Grandma became very ill and could not take care of the store.  Dad was the oldest of five, so he had to step up to the plate and do what needed to be done. Today's kids have no idea what their elders have done to make life GREAT for them.  That's a rant I'll pass on for now.   Over the lifetime he has had several jobs, owned a store that some of you may remember called Cutlery World.  After selling his business in the mid 80's he started working in factories.  In the late 90's he was offered free college courses from his employer.  He gladly jumped on the opportunity to expand his knowledge.   Yes, I respect and love my dad very much.  He is an excellent example of what you can accomplish if you really want to succeed.  He sacrificed so much to give us the best he could.  There were many days when we never saw him because he was doing what needed to be done.  So now I do what needs to be done to help him and I know this need will become even greater with each year.  He and mom were best friends that did everything together.  I do my best to fill her shoes, which is hard, I've no living siblings and I'm more of a loner/introvert. .  Mr. Podunk and I are best friends that come together to share our experiences. 

 Well back to my day out with dad.  Our first stop was at Cracker Barrel restaurant.  This is one of dads favorite places to eat.  I'm not a big fan of eating out but I do love the little store and the antiques hanging their restaurants. 

They even have mass produced quilts.

After eating and browsing the country store we did our best Goldilocks impersonations in the rocking chairs on the porch of the restaurant.  I have a feeling dad will be coming back for one of the natural wood rockers.

 These three charming ladies were gracious enough to allow me to snap a picture.  They told us their story of how they've known each other for many years but now lived hours away from one another.  Once a month they meet up at this Cracker Barrel for lunch, do a little gossiping on the front porch before heading out for a little girl time and local shopping.  The positive energy among the trio is contagious.

 I gave them my business card and ask for permission to share their image online.  Have you ever had that feeling that things were meant to be?  I believe fate brought me to these ladies today, let me tell you why.  The sweet lady in the middle said her husband had passed and she given all of his neckties to a friend who was trying to find a way to make them into a quilt.  She asked if I had any suggestions.  Me? have an opinion about quilts? you betcha!  We chatted for a bit about options for her quilt and where she could find help in her home town.  As we started to leave one of the ladies said to me, "This might be more meaningful if you get in a picture".  Did the powers that be give me another hint?  At this point my spooky radar has turned itself up on high.  

Next was the Antique Mall, it's a HUGE place.  So much to see under one roof.  We weren't sure we could see it all in one day, but we did.  It was a shop till you drop day and let me tell you I was one tired puppy last night.  I shop like most men.  Go, get what you need, and leave.  Window shopping or digging for deals is torture.  

The first thing we saw before we even got in the store was this bright display.   Maybe this won't be so bad after all.

In every nook and cranny of this building I found inspiration.

Oohing and awing at the amazing workmanship.

It also brought back memories from my childhood of grannies extra special chenille bedspreads and how we were not allow to sit on them.   

Of all the quilts in this huge building, this one is the one I would love to take home.  Did I?  No.  But I may need to go back for another visit!  Feel free if  you are in the area to purchased this so I don't!...LOL!  Mr. Podunk will thank you personally.

Hand pieced and hand quilted, absolutely lovely. My fondness for Lone Stars and variations of Lone Star quilts runs deep.  I made several over the years but none quite this stunning.  Is it old?  It's hard for me to tell. Even if it's not it's worth the asking price.

Quilts seemed to be tucked in everywhere. 

It was a day of sheer heaven!  I could feel the quilting mojo building.  Was this the powers that be or my dad's intuition and knowing what I needed?  Whatever it is or was, it worked like magic.  For the first time in months I feel a NEED to get in my studio, to create, to sew, and play.  Hallelujah! 

It just goes to show you how important it is to get out of a comfort zone.  I've become comfortable focusing on my health and loss of quilting mojo.  This day started with little or no expectations, really with negative internal thoughts.  The powers that be kept chipping away at them, first at the old country store, then the cheery ladies rocking and laughing and now isle after isle, booth after booth, until the negative thoughts were gone.  The picture below has nothing to do with what I'm talking about or does it?  It too at one time must have been in bad condition and needed a little restoration.  Maybe we all see what we want to see or need to see, when we need to see it?

This morning I slept late, causing me to miss my dental appointment.  But I woke up refreshed and ready to get BACK to being me.  Thank you so much for those of you that have stuck with me through this blog post and most of all, through the "funky" past few months.   Today it's time to clean out the dust in the studio and do what I was put on this earth to do......QUILT.

Love you all!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

~ Little Visitors ~

These little gals have a way of pulling at grannies heart.  The oldest, Aylin, called me a couple of weeks ago in tears, she misses her grandma and would like to come stay for awhile.   How could I tell her grandma really doesn't feel well and now is not a good time for a visit?  Well, I couldn't.  So a week later my daughter made the 3-4 hour drive up from southern Ky and dropped off not one but both grand daughters.  Scarlet, the youngest grand daughter has never spent the night with me without her mommy. Staying over a week might be asking a bit too much of the little gal.  Boy was I wrong.  I think it was about day 8 when she started to get a little home sick.  The trick to keeping those home sick blues away is keeping things interesting.  Thank goodness Mr. Podunk was here to help with the entertainment.  I couldn't have done it without him.  

What surprised me the most was the instant love they had for fishing. They went everyday but one due to rain. You should have seen the pouty faces when he told them they couldn't fish in the rain.

Grandpa Ross loved every minute of teaching these little gals everything they needed to know about fishing.

One our best ideas to keep the girls entertained was putting these swings right by the pond.  It's much cooler in the woods and grandpa can fish while the girls play.

When the fish stop biting grandpa decided to go for a stroll around the pond in the canoe.  Miss Scarlet had a near drowning experience earlier in the year that has left her with a fear of the water.  Hopefully she can get over it in time.  She did get in the canoe a few days later but as soon as they pulled away from the dock she became terrified.  It was a short ride but at least she tried.

That's okay, she and I took a walk around the pond to pick some wild blackberries.  Young children are so easy to entertain.  Everything is new and exciting.  Picking berries became a daily activity and each time they were just as excited about berries as the day before.

One of the most exciting activities for the girls was the turtle traps.  Ross baited the traps with the fish caught by the girls.

By the next morning we had not one but two turtles!  They had never seen a real turtle.  We released these back into the pond after Grandpa Ross taught them all they needed to know about mean ole snapping turtles.

So many children these days never learn how to play or use their imagination.  I'm so proud of my daughter for her minimalist life style and teaching the grandchildren to play.  Her home has no cable TV and no computer.  She does have a smart phone but the kids time on the phone games or videos is very limited.

The girls are pretending to climb a mountain.

About and hours worth of mountain climbing.

And then it was time to put little sister in jail!

Our biggest concern with the girls staying here was Khaleesi our German Shepherd.  As most of you know, she was abused and neglected before we took her into our home.  She can be aggressive towards men and she plays a little rough.  Our dog trainer said to keep her separated from the girls.  Khaleesi relentlessly whined when separated from the girls.  What we had forgotten is her previous home/family had a 5 year old little girl.  Cautiously we allowed her to mingle with the girls.   Khaleesi behaved very well.  There were only a couple of times during the week when she had to be removed due to jumping on the girls or just being a big ole overly excited puppy.  

 Our self proclaimed Princess Aylin learned to use a magnifying glass to burn any good princess would...LOL!  I had to let mommy know about this science experiment.  She wasn't as concerned as grandma.

Now to put the newly acquired noble knowledge to work.  She tried for about 30 minutes to start a fire for a wiener roast.

It's hot work building a fire.  So she recruited baby sister to fan her as she worked hard.  But she never could get more than a few puffs of smoke.

How many kids do you know that love to play with homemade toys?  Ross made about 20 of these glove buddies during the week.  The girls loved them for some reason.  By the end of the week we no longer had to draw on the faces, the girls decorated them.  This was another grandpa idea.  So creative is that man of mine!

Grandpa has all kinds of cool stuff to share.

He even likes to eat kiddy junk food....yukky hot dogs.  

Everyday was full of adventures right here in Podunk. We wanted to take the girls to a county fair.  But all of them were farther than we wanted to drive.  The closest one was a little over an hour away.  So we made our own fun and memories, that's the best kind anyway.

#familyfun #podunkpretties

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