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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thanks For Your Comments

I want to take a moment and let you know how much I appreciate your comments. This month has found me in a bit of a tizzy. I've been trying to get several 'special' things taken care of before my Grandkids (and their parents) arrive on Friday. That isn't the only reason I haven't been replying to your comments. To be honest with you, I'm having a bit of a bittersweet moment in my life. It will pass, and things will move on to a new normal. God is in charge. But, sometimes, I have difficulty with how He chooses to work things out. Patience is strengthened through trials, I know. So, mine is getting stronger. I didn't want anyone thinking I wasn't reading the comments. I enjoy them tremendously. I should be back to my chatterbox self shortly. 

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures my DIL. My DIL had experienced an intense storm, and a thick fog rolled in right behind it. If the images display correctly, you'll see some amazing colors. 




They show up well on my monitor, so I do hope you can see the beauty in them, too. 

May God strengthen you for whatever your day brings. 
Let's go Create - Luann

Friday, May 20, 2016

Don't Forget To Breath

How can we forget to breath? Well, it comes about when we start 'holding our breath'. Many times we do this so subconsciously that we can't understand why we have a headache when we've been enjoying what we are doing. This past week has found me investing time in my longarm room. I won't say wasting, or spending, as my intent was to challenge myself to step out of my little comfort zone. Challenge? That would be an understatement! It started when I wanted to do some 'fancy' free motion quilting with shiny threads on my Batik star quilt. The first thing that happened was I panicked and opted for computerized stitching. Then I couldn't get a decent tension with my shiny threads! So, I again opted for my stand by 'pretty' but not shiny thread. I thought all was going well, for the first 30 seconds, and along came the first of numerous thread breaks. Here's what less than 27" of a 9" high design looked like!
As you can see, I was starting over more than I was stitching! I was holding my breath every time the machine went into resume mode. And talk about a headache, in more ways than one. By this time I had tired and sore neck muscles from the stress. So, I did what I hate doing. I turned the machine off. Removed the thread and bobbin. Unpinned a portion of my quilt from the top leader bar, and started to UNSTITCH. Now for those of you who don't quite think that's a pain in the neck, it totally is! When my machine puts in 12 stitches to the inch I can barely see them without using special glasses. Funny, if the machine stitches well and I don't have to unstitch anything, I can see every stitch that wobbles, go figure! That took almost 3 hours to unstitch what took my 1 hour to stitch. 4 hours is usually enough time if I'm letting the computer do the moving of the machine, to quilt an entire queen size quilt!

The next day, by mid afternoon, my confidence had returned enough to get me to try it again. That's when I figured out all of the little issues that added up to my 'forgetting to breath'. This time I still chose to have the computer do the design, but I went for a gentle meander. I also used the same thread as the day before. But, I messed with my tension until I was completely ok with it. A few hours later I had it quilted and trimmed. I cut, pieced, and attached the binding to the front by machine. It now needs to have it hand sewn to the back. But I'm happy with how it looks. 

I realized that with company coming next weekend I needed to get a few things done prior their arrival. Up first was a whole cloth quilt challenge I'd given to the Cobblestone Sandwich Makers. It could be any size. We were to make something from a single piece of cloth on the top and bring it to our June 4th meeting. It was for sharing our decisions as to why we chose that particular piece of fabric, and the size, design(s) used, and thread(s) used. I chose a 40" square of my hand dyed cloth. Did it totally free motion, no computer stitches at all. Lots of learning lessons that I will share with my fellow Sandwich Makers. It is completed. I didn't stress about this. It was to be for fun and learn a few things along the way. I played my music a little too loud, well, actually, a lot too loud for the neighbors! But it was 2pm not 2am! 

This will be going to the beach when my grandkids are here. I'm sure they're going to enjoy seeing their names on it. 


I not only was breathing with this one, I enjoyed it! And I don't have a headache or stressed muscles. 

Saturday is a Palmetto Fiber Arts Quild meeting. I'll be there, I'm challenging each of them with a little project too. I really need to quit coming up with something that sounds like a good idea! 

I hope to post once more before the end of the month, but with family coming, I'm off to the beach with them! We've gotta break in that 'beach quilt'. 

Have a wonderful weekend. And please, remember to breath!  -  Luann



Monday, May 16, 2016

Spring Refresh Underway

One of my intentions for this month is to get the house freshened up, aka Spring Cleaning!
After getting the house power washed I ordered fabric from Fabric.com to recover the cushions on the wicker sofa. Here are both fabrics. I bet you can guess which one is over 10 years old!
We try to have our screen porch be an inviting 'room' for ourselves, as well as guests. I spent quite a bit of agonizing time while these cushions got new covers.
 I'm very pleased with all of them.
So, the Spring Refresh is well underway!

Daily creative time included getting the bindings completed on my two Desert Sky pieces. They each will have different names, but that's the name of the pattern I used to produce the 'spikey' units. 
#1
And #2
My bindings are usually sewn to the back, wrapped over the seam allowance to the front, and machine stitched down. I have a couple of decorative stitches on my machine that I especially like to use. However, this time, for both of these, I machine stitched them to the front and hand stitched the wrapped binding to the back. Thought I'd document this, as my hands are rather sore and I'm not interested in getting carpal tunnel syndrome in them. This will only be done on possible show entries!

I enjoyed Thursday evening's Cobblestone Quilters Guild meeting. Our guest speaker shared her journey as a quilter. If you don't belong to a guild, check one out in your community. They can be a place to connect with others that enjoy similar pursuits. 

Friday evening was spent listening to The Summerville Orchestra. The tickets are so affordable, something like $70 for the two of us, for all four performances! Yep, you heard that right. Season tickets are $50 for you younger folks. That's only $12.50 per performance, 2 hours of great music. 

Yesterday we attended church in Orangeburg.  Went to lunch with a couple we know from OLC. We then dropped in on Mom for a few minutes. She was asleep, as is her usual now. But she did say, "Hello" when I put my hand on her arm, and said we'd come to visit. She then promptly went back to sleeping. It was such a blessing to see her so peaceful. God has been good to all of us. 

We stopped by The Edisto Rose Gardens before leaving Orangeburg. They have suffered some damage from last fall's flooding, but they are still spectacular. 



We walked every day, and have been paying closer attention to our eating habits. 
I viewed two different Craftsy classes this week also!

So for this update, I can say I've made progress on all 5 of my May intentions. 

How are you doing on your projects? 



Monday, May 9, 2016

WHEN A BACK BECOMES A FRONT

A short time ago I was still agonizing over making these two pieces into a single quilt, or two individual quilts. These were the units from Desert Sky, a Judy Niemeyer quilt design. I used my own layout. 
The decision was made. Borders were added. Backing was chosen and loaded onto the longarm machine and away I went. 
This one got a multicolored Batik for it's border, and a dragonfly in flight edge to edge design used for the 'quilting of the sandwich'. 
Here I added borders of fabric used in the central area. I used an all over gentle meander for the quilting. Both of these quilts are trimmed and ready for binding. 

My client asked for meandering, even across the appliqués. It was her first appliqué quilt, finished it 10 years ago. She didn't feel it was some of her best work so didn't want the expense of custom. She gave me the ok to do whatever I wanted to, within her price range. I was a bit concerned with the appliqués. Some where relatively stiff from the type of fusible web. However, I was very pleased with few thread breaks, and how the quilting didn't detract from the appliqués. Neither picture shows the stitching, except on the very top corner in the golden square. 


 Wednesday's trip to the beach produced some interesting shell pieces and this picture. 
This came home with us in picture only. I love how red they are while they are in water. I believe they feed on the oyster beds close by. This little starfish will go back out with the next wave. 

I finally got my Dragonfly Book together! I've had this on my 'to do' list for over a year. These fabric book pages came from people around the world that I swapped with. It was great fun. Each person had chosen a theme. Monthly,  we had an assigned person to make an 8x8 inch page for.
The 8 pages all had interesting backs as well. I included one of them below, with the front, back, and a top view. I may still add pockets to the front and back inside covers. The dragonfly fabric I used was sent along with someone's page.  I received several embellishments also. 
Glad to have this off my list. 
I still have a group of ATCs and Fabric Postcards that I received during that same time period. Not sure what I will do with them, maybe fabric boxes. I could make by using fabric I received thru our Surface Design group on Stitchinfingers.ning 

Stitched a pair of pillowcases up to coordinate with the Tumbler quilt. This fabric was a gift from a client with a stipulation, I had to use it, not stash it. I started cutting it up that same month. And once the pieces were cut, I stayed focused with getting it off the design wall and into quilt form. I wish I was always so focused! 

Yesterday, we went to see my dear Mother-in-law. Here's the two of us from October 2014, a better time in her life. Alzeheimers has taken her away from us. We now wait on God's timing, to take her home. 

Mothers Day is about love. Love from them, and love of them. I have had wonderful "Mothers" in my life, Thank You, God. - Luann











Sunday, May 1, 2016

5 Intentions for May

May is the fifth month of the year, so I'm going to list 5 areas that I intend to invest time on.

1) Spring refreshing of the house. I called this 'cleaning' in the past but it entails so much more than dusting and vacuuming. We have chosen to start with the screen porch and our yard. We have family coming to visit at the end of the month and these are the two areas where we'll spend our time. 

2) Menus and activities adjusted for better health. This comes from desiring to drop a few pounds. More 'planned' activity and reducing the amount of sugars/carbs in our food should get this going. 

3) Daily Creative Time. This is the 'wagon' I fall off of too easily. Without a set time and specific project, I tend to spend (waste) my time thinking about what I want to do, in stead of actually doing something!
Once I'm back on this wagon, my projects will start to get finished. 

4) Intellectual Advancements. That sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? Actually, I have several software programs, workbooks, etc etc that have just gotten piled high. It's time to work my way thru them. Taking them one bite at a time. 

5) Family and Friends. We have family coming for a vacation at the end of the month. We want to make it a pleasant memory for them. There are several other occasions coming up this month that will require some special planning. 

This is pretty much a 'Dear Diary' blog post. It has a lot more meaning in the background than anyone reading it will understand. That's ok, most bloggers are using the platform for a journal of their individual journey. They just let us go along for the ride. So, hook up your seatbelt and enjoy the view as you get to see where I'm going,,,