Monday, August 28, 2006

A Simplified Life

My "Buzz Words" in 2005 were Simplifying and Downsizing.

My DH and I lived in a two story, four bedroom home with two living areas, a yard, a pool, yada, yada, yada. Well, you get the picture! All of our children are grown and have homes and families of their own so why were we in this house? Ugh! I'd been doing a lot of thinking about how to make things easier for us. We sat down and had a heart to heart talk and decided that it was time to sell the house, eliminate the "stuff" and seek a much simpler way of life. My DH was approaching retirement age and staying in that house meant that he might not be able to retire as soon as he wanted.

In 2004 we looked at some homes in a retirement community and decided that it wasn't the right time and would revisit that later. Well, my DH remembered this community and suggested that I take a look again and see what they had available. The model we had fallen in love with had some improved changes and I fell in love with the house all over again. And, they had a Spec House available and we could move in within 45 days. The house we were in was not ready to be put on the market but I was determined. The next day my DD and I were standing in the garage and my neighbor asked if we were planning to sell our house and if so he was very, very interested. He brought his family over and bought the house! I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason. BTW, this was mid-May and we were in our new home July 4th week end. As we were preparing to move I got rid of so much "stuff" - eliminated the clutter. The relief I felt as I was doing that was incredible.

Our life has changed in so many ways - ways I'm not sure I could describe. Some would say that we have no life; to some we're probably boring but if that's the case then we're happy, boring people. LOL My DH retired on April 15 and now has a more relaxed and content look on his face. A decision like this might not be the right decision for some but for us it was!!!!

That's the story of my simplified and downsized life!

A happier and healthier DH
A simpler way of life
Less clutter and "stuff"

Thought for today: Follow your heart!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

It's Done :-)

When I finish piecing a quilt top I usually sing "another one bites the dust, another one's done and another one's done and another one bites the dust (boom boom)" LOL It's a bit busy but I really like the way it turned out. I love quilting week ends - don't you?

Why Do I Quilt?

I've thought and thought about this question that Patti posed to everyone late in the week. There are so many reasons but I think primarily because it's a stressbuster. I'm a worrier - my DH says that I worry when I don't have anything to worry about. I think that he's right! LOL I find that when I spend time sewing (machine and/or hand) my mind is at peace and my heart is very happy. I love to spend time in my sewing room and find that I can lose myself in my thoughts about patterns, fabric, more patterns and more fabric. In other words I don't have time to worry and fret. :-) I really enjoy sewing but have been down the garment road and really didn't enjoy that one bit. I was a quilting wannabe for a long time and honestly felt that I couldn't do it. I was attributing it to my frustration with garment sewing. UGH!!!! And, then in 1999 I had a strong desire to learn how to quilt so I visited every quilt store in the area to see how I would be treated as a "beginner". One of the owners of one of the quilt stores actually took me by the arm and showed me the beginner project and then showed me what I could do once I took my beginner class. I was so impressed with the way that she treated me that I signed up immediately and the rest is history. LOL

It's only been recently that I've started doing more handwork (Oh I've always been a needleworker - cross stitch and embroidery) but now new doors have been opened in the quilting world and a new kind of peace has happened. I truly do enjoy sitting and watching my needle pulling thread through the project of the day.

My mother in law once paid me the ultimate compliment "give Darlene a needle, thread and fabric and she can do anything". I can't tell you what that did for me. :-) A paintbrush and I do not get along so I completely avoid those type of activities. I do enjoy crocheting however it's been more than 25 years since I've done that. I won't bore you with the reasons I avoid other interests.

So, in a nutshell I quilt because it provides the peace and simple bliss I need in my life.

Why do I blog?

I discovered blogging when I accidently found Jeanne's blog in June. I'd read a few other blogs before that but I read Jeanne's entire blog and decided this might be the place for me.

Like so many of you I too belong to many e-mail groups and find that I primarily "lurk" - never quite feeling comfortable enough to post. And, when I do post I feel a bit self-conscious. (remember I'm a worrier - LOL)

I'm not necessarily a shy and introverted person however I do find that I'm slow to join. Actually I'm not much of a joiner - I do enjoy spending time with me, myself and I. If I don't join something I don't have to worry about being accepted - yes the fear of acceptance truly exists. Blogging means I can share my quilts and quilt tops and I don't have worry about someone rolling their eyes at my fabric choices or how big or small my quilt is or why I chose that pattern. I just post a journal type entry and hope that those that like I what I did will comment and I try not to worry about those that don't.

Blogging is a place to hopefully be accepted and be part of the "inner circle". I've already made several cyberfriends that I enjoy counting as friends. Blogging is a perfect fit for me and I've truly been enjoying it.

Thank you for letting me share!

Now it's time to search for a new project :-)


The freedom of speech

Week end Project - Teaser This is what I'm working with this week end. The center of the quilt is done and now I'm off to do the borders. Will be done later today. WooHoo!!!! I'll be back later to post a picture of the completed quilt top and to answer Patti's question "Why I quilt" Been giving that alot of thought. I've also been pondering May's question "Why I blog". Lots of thoughts to share later!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hexagon/GFG Update

I've been stitching away and as Libby predicted, I'm very addicted to these adorable flowers. I've got to decide on a color for the "path" between the flowers. I'm thinking about using the same black tone on tone that I'm using in the centers. Any suggestions???

Thought for today: Wish it, dream it, live it!

Where in the world is Judy? She's been "lost in cyberspace" but now she's right here:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm in Love!

I've been doing a ton of handwork - applique and grandmother's flower garden blocks and have continued to struggle with threading the needle. (no it's not my eyesight - it's the durn needle - LOL). Anyway, yesterday my DH went to the closest quilt store and picked up one of these needlethreaders for me.

Oh my goodness - it was love at first threading! If you've struggled while threading your needle you simply must run (not walk) to you nearest quilt store and buy one of these. It's a little pricey - $15 - this is why I kept resisting it - but worth every penny. Oh, it's by Clover!

Thought for today: Simplify your life and enjoy every minute!

Gratitudes: Clover Needlethreader; Clover needlethreader; Clover needlethreader and Clover Needlethreader

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Evil Temptress!

An Evil Temptress lives in blogland - really she does!!!! LOL If you don't know her then you simply must meet her - her name is Lisa and she lives here. She posted pictures of "fabric porn" today just to tempt me. You see she really is evil. ;-o

Let me tell you about Lisa, The Evil Temptress. We "met" like I've "met" so many others here in Blogland just leaving comments on each other's blogs. We've found that we have very similar tastes in fabrics and patterns so we've chatted a bit. On August 1 she decided that she would join Vicky's Great Fabric Depression and would not buy any fabric. Then it was time for the quilt show in Seattle. Oh No!!!!! She was agonizing a bit about buying while at the show so I suggested that rather than buying for herself she could just buy for ME. (afterall it's all about ME) LOL Well, needless to say, I was teasing her and lo and behold she sent an e-mail asking for my mailing address cuz she'd found something for ME. I couldn't send her my address - what if she was a stalker and just wanted it to come get my fabric. OK, I finally gave in and sent my address and last week what you see in the picture above arrived. It's a lovely package of neutral fat 1/8ths and that adorable card was also enclosed with a sweet note. Here's the kicker - she wants me to make something for HER with that fabric cuz she thinks and believes in her mind that it's all about HER. NOT!!!!! LOL

So consider yourself warned!!!!! LOL :-)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quick and Easy

I had plans to sew all day on Saturday! I was able to sew most of the day and then this morning I completed my task. (the quilt on the right). It's for a friend for her birthday on Friday. I'll need to quilt and bind it this week. This quilt reminds of the Turning Twenty quilt - looks really "flat and unappealing" until you quilt it. Suddenly it comes to life! :-) I hope this one will spring to life when I quilt it.

Thought for today: Love what you do and do it with all your heart!


Popsicles and a quiet Sunday

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Favorite!

I was making up my bed this morning and as I put this quilt at the foot of the bed I realized that it looks a lot like the quilt some are making in the hour a day sewing challenge. I made this one about four years ago and it's definitely a favorite! (of course, it's Robyn Pandolph fabrics LOL)

Thought for today: Everyday should be full of joy!

A full day to sew
Pretty fabric to sew with
Full bobbins
A sharp rotary blade

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Anniversary Stars - DONE!!!!!

I ordered the border fabrics last week and finally sat down tonight to cut and sew. I'm quite pleased and am anxious to quilt it.

Thought for today: Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lots to share!

Pictures of block #1 and #2 from my BOM project (#3 and #4 have arrived) and my first hexagon rosette.

I've only been blogging for a little over two months and have been having more fun than one person should be allowed to have. LOL

Blogging has provided me with a great wealth of new friends but especially with lots of INSPIRATION. Patti, Vicky and Jeanne truly inspired me to try hand applique and as we all know it's been great fun. Chatting with Libby (A Simple Girl) I was inspired to finally attempt English paper piecing and I'm having alot of fun with that too. If you know anything about me you know that I love handwork - yes I love to do bindings - so these new ventures have provided me life beyond bindings. LOL

Thought for today: Enjoy what you're doing with all your heart!

Gratitudes: my hands, my eyesight, thimble-its (I detest using a thimble), darker thread for my hexagons (looks much better)

(someday soon I'll learn how to add links)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What's in your sewing box? (sounds like the commercial "what's in your wallet" - LOL)

I love to go sew with friends a couple of times a month but when I first started doing that I would gather up my sewing tools/toys and throw them in a box or bag. You guessed it, I always forgot something. Ugh! So, I bought duplicates of many things and now my sewing box stays packed and ready to go. I use an oversized pencil box to haul the goodies. I would like to have something classier than the oversized pencil box but I haven't found "the" container. Last night I sewed with my friends and looked around at their "sewing boxes" and wondered what do they carry and why.

So, now I'm here asking you -

* what's in your sewing box/bag and why?

*what type of box or bag do you use and why?

Thought for today: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away".


Cooler morning due to overnight thunderstorms and puddles in the streets and on the sidewalks

She was Overwhelmed!

I did a very simple meander and scrappy binding and delivered the quilt to my friend. She was overwhelmed. In fact, my DH says he felt she was speechless. I didn't label it and told her that soon I would get it back from her so I could add a label so she'd never forget who made this quilt for her and she said "oh I'll never forget this". I was overwhelmed then! :-) She refolded the quilt and draped it on the back of an adorable white rocker that she has in her living room.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Red Cabinet

When I first started blogging I shared a picture of my red cabinet in the entry way of my home. I searched high and low for a cabinet like that one just to display my quilts. So there are 50 quilts in that cabinet. Patti asked me to share pics of those quilts so here are the first two - periodically I'll take pictures of them to share! Both are just simple and fun patterns - the quilts make me smile! :-)

Overnight thunderstorm (flashes of lightening in my skylights)
Finding border fabrics on-line for my Anniversary Stars quilt
The bunny that runs between the house next door and ours

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm Back!!!

I sewed and sewed and sewed and managed to accomplish quite a bit but I usually can accomplish so much more! :-( LOL We didn't start sewing on Friday till 3:00pm so most of the day was GONE- grrrr! There were on six of us on this retreat and it was so incredibly relaxing. We listened to Motown oldies most of the week end so we sang but you should have heard us when "Brick House" came on - oh my goodness we turned it up LOUD and sang LOUD. "She's a Brick HOUSE". LOL

Anyway, I did get my scrappy 30's 4 patch done - I'm going to quilt it soon and it'll have a 30's scrappy binding. It's a thank you gift for a friend who does not quilt and I hope that she'll love it. I put my Anniversary Stars together (I used Cinnamon Stars from Moda) and now I just need to order borders and backing (sure hope I can find them on-line). Everyone was coveting this quilt. LOL And I got all the blocks for my Vintage Patches quilt put together and started laying them out. You'll notice in the picture that the blocks will have gold sashing between them and there will be brown corner stones, too. Very, very vintage and scrappy. I love it! And the fourth picture is my sewing spot at the retreat - lots of great space.

We celebrated my birthday, too while we were there - what a great time we had. They brought party hats, a birthday crown for me and lots of adorable party favors. :-) The owner had a "Better Than Sex" birthday cake for me and all the gifts were incredible. I have very talented and generous friends.

Now, I'm off to visit all your blogs and respond to the wonderful comments you left for me while I was gone. You're all becoming such great friends, too. Thank you!

Safe travel from the mountain retreat
Talented and generous friends
Wonderful new cyber friends
Lots of time to sew

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Retreat Week end!

I'm leaving on a jet plane - OK, not a jet plane just my car but I am leaving! It's time to head to the mountains to sew with friends. I haven't been there since last October so I'm super excited about going. I have to pick up two friends at 10:00am and then we'll meet two other friends at noon on the way up and another friend will join us sometime tomorrow evening. We'll be back Sunday afternoon.

I like to be prepared to start sewing, so I usually precut my projects. As usual I waited till the last minute to decide what projects to take, so I've spent the evening searching and cutting. I've got three precut projects and I have some star blocks that I've had finished for months so I'm going to sew them together. I've shared pictures of my "projects" and I'm hoping that I'll have them ready to show you when I return.

Thought for today: "Busy hands, happy heart" (I'm happiest when my hands are busy)

I've been very remiss but I'm very excited and happy! This week Judy approved me to join the Stashquilts Blogring. I've had so much fun getting to know everyone in the past couple of months as I explored this new world of blogging and making some incredible new friends. So Judy, thank you!!!!!

New Applique Project

Are you sick of reading about my applique projects?? I'm like a little kid with a new toy. LOL I'm sorry, but please bear with me! I promise to post pics of my quilts and other projects in progress, too.

This is my new project - it's a block of the month from "Baltimore's Country Cousins" by Susan McKelvey. Nice big blocks with chunky pieces. I've received the first two blocks (they'll come two at a time) and I really want to keep up with it. I'm hoping that I can keep up with this project and start my Snowman Country project, too. OK, I can dream! :-)

Thought for today: "Individually, we forget what we do matters. Collectively, it always counts for something". MaryJane Butters

Gratitudes: A/C in my car

Ice Cold diet coke at the drive thru

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Had to share!

I had these "ladies" lined up on the counter and my husband walked in and said "who are they, Gladys and the Peeps?" The big ones were made for me by Carrie Nelson, Miss Rosie's Quilt Co (it's her Pollo Loco pattern) and I have a good friend who makes the little ones for different special occasions - Halloween, Christmas and for birthdays! I hope they make you smile like they do me.


This is the "after" picture of my cleaning frenzy today! I was even able to set up a small table in the corner for my applique prepping. That makes me happy! Now, with a clean room I'll be a happy quilter. Yeehaw (that's the Texan in me!)

While I was cleaning I was getting reacquainted with a lot of my projects that I had to have. LOL It's time to get busy sewing. I can't join Vicky's August Fabric Depression challenge because I have a responsibility. What responsibility? It is now my responsibility to add to our economy by continuing to add to my "stash". LOL

Gratitude: My clean sewing room

Who made this mess??????

Oh, I guess I did!!

This is my extremely messy sewing room/studio/playroom, etc. I've been saying for weeks that I need to clean it - well today was the day. Yep, I spent the entire day clearing and sorting. I didn't have much trash but my goodness I had a lot of stuff out and in the way. I don't usually work this way; it fact this kind of mess keeps me from sewing. It's stifling. There were a few times during the day that I almost threw in the towel because I felt that I was just moving the "stuff" from one surface to another but I prevailed and stuck with it.

So, obviously the pictures here are "before" - I'll post the after in my next post :-)

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