Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop & Giveaway (ended)

Welcome to the final day of the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hope (and my birthday, as it just so happens).     And, for those of you who are new here, welcome to my blog.    This is not normally a crafting or quilting blog, it's a potpourri of angst, hospice stories, failures and celebration.    I can't predict what I will write next week because life is full of surprises, right?

I would be remiss is I didn't mention my thanks to  Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt for this and many other amazing ideas that keep these Blog Hops rolling,  and to Pauline from Quilt n Queen, who is our hostess for the Holiday Lane Pillow Hop.

The adorable Holiday Lane pillow featured today was designed by Jill Finley of Jillily Studio, and the pattern is quick and easy to follow, and fun to make, even for a newbie like me.    EVEN for a newbie like me who isn't always good at following instructions.  Where I live, Christmas flies by, but winter seems to linger forever, so I decided that my pillow should be less Holiday and more Winter.    I mostly used fabrics from my stash.      

I did run into a few problems, having to do with inexperience rather than the pattern.   I tried machine quilting my pillow top but my thread kept getting tangled and rolling back on the spindle, so I decided to outline the houses by hand with sparkly thread.    I guess I didn't pull the fabric as tightly as I thought I had, or maybe didn't use a thick enough batting, because several of my houses ended up with puckers after the pillow was stuffed.   My embroidered attempt at icicles also ended up looking like puckers.    Live and learn.   (I opted against the flange and, in retrospect, that might have helped avoid some of those puckers.   I might make a summer version of the pillow after Christmas, and I'll investigate that theory then!)

I used a shirt button for the door knob.   The little snowman came from a piece of fabric given to me at a memorial service for one of our hospice patients, who was an avid (and very talented) quilter. 
Having to post my results on the last day of the Hop is a lot of pressure, because anyone who has followed along this far has seen some fantabulous pillows in the past few days.      Trust me, this is not false modesty -- some of the creativity in this Hop nearly blew me away, and I have tons of ideas for what to do on my next pillow!    This is my first blog hop, and my first applique pillow, and like so many, many things in the World of Never-Did-This-Before, it didn't turn out exactly the way I expected.      When I compare myself (and yes, sadly, I do compare myself) to the blogs of experienced seamstresses I follow, my results are lackluster.    I finished in plenty of time and I know that many of you would have scrapped the first pillow if you weren't satisfied and started over, but I've never had that kind of discipline with anything.    Like so much of my life, it works or it doesn't and that's that (dusts hands).

So I didn't scrap, or frog, or undo my first project, but since I wasn't thrilled with some of the puckery finish on my pillow, I decided to make a second, mini pillow using only felt applique. 
Felt is so easy to work with that it feels like cheating.    Although I now have many ideas, after seeing the other bloggers, for how to jazz this up, I am a simple person, and I kept the pillow simple.     I finished the edges of the small pillow with Martha Stewart Crafts glitter eyelash in crystal (an idea I stole from Carrie P's Halloween pillow on A Passion for Applique!    Thanks, Carrie!)
So there it all is, pillows big and small.    Thanks a lot for stopping by.    I really enjoyed my first Blog Hop, and I really encourage you other wannabee-lurkers to give it a try -- whatever you (or I) think of my pillows, the important thing is that I tried something new, I finished it,  and even if my results doesn't quite compare to the Best In Show,  I like my pillows a lot and I'm very happy I made the effort.     Because I didn't add any "Holiday" to my pillows, I will plan to leave them out all winter, even after my other decorations are put away.    Perhaps the more important thing is that my grandchildren (after I applied a little pressure) were VERY impressed.  Besides,  I smile every time I see my Holiday pillows perched on my living room couch, and really, what more could I ask of a project than that?!

Be sure to visit the rest of today's Hoppers --
Friday November 30
Linda - that other blog

And, for those of you who are still here, thank you again for stopping by to see my effort (blush), and it seems like I should offer you a snack or something before you go.   Sewing and quilting are all very well, but a homemade cookie, straight from the oven, is nothing to sniff at.    One thing about the internet, though, is that it's hard to hand a cookie across, so I'm afraid you will have to bake it yourself.     To help you do that, my giveaway is this dandy and adorable set of measuring cups --
I got a set of these clever little nesting doll-cups as a gift a year or so ago and thought they were so cute that I bought another set for you!    For a chance at winning my prize, all you have to do is leave a comment.    If you are one of my followers -- and I don't blame you a bit if you are not -- just leave an extra comment saying so for an extra chance.    I'll draw a winner in a day or so.    If you are a quilter/crafter, let me know that, too, and I'll toss in a bit of fabric.

Enjoy the other Blog-Hoppers!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm So Sorry

I do a variety of things in my job, but some weeks it seems like mostly I tell people how sorry I am.    I sat with a frightened man who was transferred to our hospice for a long time one week, while we waited for his wife to arrive.  His breath was labored from the stress of the transfer and the progression of his disease, but mostly from fear, and the effort of breathing robbed him of his speech.  He gripped my hand tightly and would not let go. I stayed until he calmed and fell asleep and then, when he opened his eyes again, I told him I would go check to see where she was.    It turned out that she was out in the living room, laughing with friends, and when I said that he was waiting to see her, she told me that he'd be fine, she was in no hurry to join him.     So I returned to his room, sat and comforted him as best I could until he drifted off again. And the next morning, when she came back and learned that he was dead, I comforted her.    I am so very sorry.

End Of Month, End Of Year

The end of the month is looming, and for me the end of the month will also mean the end of my 62nd year.   I am trying to adjust to the idea that I will be 63.    It's hard to wrap my mind around.    I've been working on a new 65 Things To Do Before I'm 64 list, but so far I'm only up to 3.    No ambition, I guess.

I have a TON of knitting, quilting and sewing to do in the next (very) few weeks, but I sidelined myself last weekend by filleting the corner off my thumb.    I hate that feeling when my mind is screaming STOP!  KNIFE!  but my arm is going la-di-da-di-da.

Only two more days before I get to (have to) reveal my Holiday Pillow in my first-ever Blog Hop.    I've been visiting all the other bloggers, and MAN do I wish I had time for a do-over!   Go ahead, check out the stuff people are doing out there -  you'll see exactly what I mean.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taking Off

Looked like I'd be grounded by fog this morning but the sky cleared and the first leg of my trip went smoothly. Sat by a woman who has dated a long list of judges, justices, and politicians through and was very bored with it all. Now to settle in with my bottled water and mentos -- forgot my magazines at home. I hate getting ready to travel, but I love this part!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Where I Blog

My cyber-friend Kim at Snug Harbor Bay recently posted a piece on where she sits and what she sees when she is blogging.    I learned so much about her that I thought I'd return the favor!   Although I sometimes blog by phone, most often I sit with my laptop on the couch in my family room, arguably the shabbiest room in my house.    I sit, often in my jammies and fuzzy slippers,  on my old couch -- I love it but it is not aging any better than I am -- and conduct my trifecta of blog-television-craft.    I watch netflix movies and past season HBO shows, the news, the daily obituaries, and an embarrassing assortment of prime time TV shows.
From where I sit, I can see my back yard and the TV.      It is foggy today, but usually I can see the birdbath and feeder.      Right now the weather is getting colder, and I've been watching the squirrels gather mouths-full of dried leaves to build their winter nests.
To my immediate right is an old table,  a hand-me-down from way back in the late 1980s.   The table holds my land-line telephone, an artifact that is generally useless to me because I use my cell exclusively these days, a shell lamp I filled from early Sanibel trips, and an assortment of threads and notions, including the wonderful pin cushion I won! 
On the floor next to the couch are several boxes of magazines, patterns, yarn, fiberfill, and such.   This is not my even larger and messier fabric collection, just stuff to have nearby so I can grab and knit or read or find a recipe.
Behind me is (one of the) kids' play area(s), the office/dollhouse/castle room, and my front/living room.    Unless the television is on, the house is mostly quiet.   Way too quiet, much of the time.
 Once in awhile I tap into my nostalgic iTunes playlist, but mostly I sit with my own thoughts.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another Beautiful Prize!

Wow, today's mail brought me another gorgeous prize of amazing batik fabrics and purse handles from Kelly at IHaveANotion. She has the best stuff and BEST customer service around. And this prize is so seriously beautiful that I am practically drooling. Lucky me! Again!! I can't wait to start cutting!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

8 Years Gone in the Blink of an Eye

My grandson is 8 years old today.    How is that possible?      It seems like only yesterday.
Going through the past eight years of photo files, I can see that he isn't the only one who's so much older today.      But, unlike some of us, he gets cuter by the minute.    I love him bunches and bunches.   He is the one who taught me that being a Grandma is the best job ever.


Not much time for sewing this week with my daughter here--we've done a LOT of shopping -- but I did get one more purse finished.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All Around Town

Shopping at the Salvation Army store with my daughter. She loves these places. I most definitely do not, but you can't beat the prices.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Visit

I drove down to Detroit after work yesterday to pick up my daughter. She was already tired from her 16+ hour drive from Louisiana, and even more tired after our 2-hour drive to my house. So far, she seems happy to be here, mellow and easy going. She is planning to make Fairy Houses with the Grands this afternoon, after she catches up on some sleep!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Today is the last day of the U R Priceless coin purse blog hop, and I got another purse done. Not my last, I'm sure! I have no idea what I'll do with them, but these are too cute NOT to make.

Off to work at 6 am for an early morning meeting, then hopefully will see my daughter, who arrived in Detroit last night with her dad. The guest room is ready, and I have flannel jammies and sweats waiting for her because it is a LOT colder here than in Louisiana!


Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Purse

Today's weather was so mild that it was surprising, but there was a little bite to the wind.   When I learned that my daughter would arrive tomorrow,  I went out for groceries - in my fleece jacket -- and saw people in the parking lot in tank tops.     Shiver.   To my mind it was not that warm, but maybe I'm just more of a fragile flower.

The guest room is ready, and so is my next coin purse!   Made entirely from fabrics I won from sister bloggers -- I love it!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I have been busy in my head lately but not getting as much done as I should in Real Life.    But now I have to get moving -- a couple of days ago I learned that my daughter will be visiting from New Orleans and that she will arrive sometime in the next two or three days.    My guest room has recently been re-purposed as my crafting/sewing/cutting/sorting/wrapping/fabric-storage/packing/laundry-folding room,  with no room for an actual guest, so there is a lot of work to be done before my daughter arrives.   

In the meantime -- and adding even more distraction to my already distracted mind -- I received in the mail yesterday the BEST prize package from Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt.    I love her Blog Hops because they make me believe that I can actually create something.    They are filled with inspiration.   I learn so much from the Hops that it's crazy to think that I also won a prize!    She provides prizes for participants AND for people who just comment, and I was lucky enough to get all this swag as a result, all wrapped up in a shiny, red package that made my mailbox pop.   
Not only did Madame Samm send a whole bundle of winter fabric by Riley Blake Designs, but also a spool of Gutermann quilting thread, some interesting double-pointed needles by John James (which I can't wait to try!), AND my favorite chamomile tea and chocolates!
So, at a time when I definitely should be organizing and doing laundry and getting my house in order, I am instead cutting out more coin purses (from Madame Samm's fabulous pattern) and thinking of more projects to add to my every-growing unfinished project pile.      I did finish another little coin purse yesterday -- I used transparent thread this time to attach the frame.     I know it isn't as strong as quilting thread, and it's no fun to work with, but it worked and -- with many repetitions -- seems sturdy.    Best of all, of course,  my stitches are far less noticeable.  
Using the "carrot and stick" theory, I've promised myself that I can make another coin purse later today, just as soon as I get that guest room in order, so I may have another finished project to post in the next day or so.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Coin Purses!

I didn't join into the UR Priceless Blog Hop because I was too chicken, but I WASN'T too chicken to make a few so I bought the pattern!    This pattern was a lot of fun, and unlike anything I've ever done before.     I made the first one with dachshund fabric, for a hospice volunteer who has done a lot to help us, and who loves her wiener dogs.

I made the second one out of fabric that I found in the basement.    I can't remember - did it come from my mom's stash, or something that I made?    No idea.

The third one is made from animal print corduroy.   I made this one because my granddaughter is suddenly interested in animal print, but it turned out to be my favorite.    Or at least my favorite so far -- I need to buy  more frames, but I already have a couple more purses cut out and ready to frame -- hopefully I'll be able to show them soon[er or later, lol].

Check out the AMAZING purses that the Genuine Hoppers made at the UR Priceless Blog Hop --  Blog Hops are what gave me the confidence to try many of my most recent projects.     There are so many creative people out there, with so many fantastic ideas, I just want to copy them all!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All In A Days Work

 An unusual thing happened today.  I visited a person because he wanted to talk about death, and about his anxiety as he faced his final days.  You might think that such conversations are commonplace in my job at a hospice, but you would be wrong.   His nurse called me this morning, apologizing about phoning me on a non-work day, to ask me to set up a visit.   She laughed nervously, saying that she'd had no idea what to say to him, because she had never had a patient who wanted to talk about their fear of death before.  We are skilled at talking around the subject, with patients who nervously look away, but no more skilled than our patients are at facing the truth.


Are you already thinking about Christmas?   I'm working on my pillow for the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop, and so I've had Holidays on my mind.     I haven't started to shop yet, but I'm feverishly working on holiday lists and plans.    It might seem early to some, but I need a lot of time to work out my budget (an area I'm NOT good at), to shop and clean and craft, and do a lot of planning for work.   When my kids were little, and I was far better organized, I was generally ready for the season by Thanksgiving.    That's not going to happen this year, lol.    For the past dozen years, I've spent part of every holiday season on Sanibel Island, and that's not going to happen this year, either.      I will be lucky enough to have a couple of days in the sun before the holidays begin, but not lucky enough to have any beach time during December or January.    Speaking of making plans, I should have planned a LOT better when I was young to have more retirement money so I could travel whenever the whim hit me!

November is my birthday month, and my grandson's, too.    I believe he is a lot happier about birthdays than I am.   At work I see way too much sickness and old age to dare complain about my life, but it's a matter of plain, unvarnished fact that I am getting older.    The pain from the arthritis in my hands wakes me up in the morning, and makes it hard for me to do the things I enjoy, like hold a sewing or knitting needle, or pull a trigger, or tie a fly.   (My knobby fingers do NOT make it hard for me to clean my house, but I seem not to clean it anyway -- I need to think of some age-related excuse for that, too!)   My birthday looms, the numbers getting bigger and bigger, spinning out of control.     Where does the time go?!    As my sister reminds me frequently:  daylight's burning.    It's time to get busy.