Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ok, now I know I'm crazy ;)

Let me start by saying I had a very nice Thanksgiving. Lots of food, friends, family and laughs. Let me also say that, by nature, I am not a black Friday shopper...just too busy for me. I'd usually rather unwind at home and take it easy. Did you notice I said "usually"? I happened to get the Jo-Anns add in the mail on Wednesday, and.....well..... They were having a huge sale on flannel, just what I needed to back my string quilt! Now this is another quilt from before my LCE so it is on my list to get done, it's BIG 102 x 108 so I need about 9 yards of flannel, sooooo....I braved the crowds. What a time! I knew it was going to be busy, but I didn't realize just how busy. Here's the story. I got there and had a fairly easy time finding a parking spot, yeah! Then I walked in and saw the check out line...stretching all the way to the back of the store! YIKES!! "OK" I thought "just find your flannel, get your ticket for the cutting table and maybe it won't be that long" So I found some fabric (which I will share in the next post cause I'm a dork and forgot to download the pics to my computer) found the ticket reel and grabbed a ticket. The available cutter called out the next number, "F 92" I looked at my number "G 84" OH BOY!! I spent the better part of my wait time wandering up and down the isles, I changed my mind on the final backing fabric 4 times while I was waiting and found a couple prints for the back of baby quilts and some fleece for a throw as well. 90 minutes later my number was finally called. I was utterly amazed by the friendliness of the ladies cutting the fabric. They were cheery and so polite, very professional. I can only imagine how busy and hectic their day was! Now that I finally had my treasures I headed for the checkout...not as bad as I thought it would be :D 2 hours later I had the fabric I needed, and had spent about $25 for about $100 worth of fabric! Would I do it again? I don't know, but for this year at least, it was worth the trip!
I am, well, "done" with my kitty quilt...sort of. I got it quilted and bound, threw it in the washer, dried it, took a look at it and think I'm going to stitch some free form hearts in the kitty's bellies. They just look too puffy for me. I have also been working on the cathedral windows. I think I'm going to call it Charming Windows because it is my version of a charm quilt, no two windows the same. I promise to have pictures of all of these next post. I'm also getting some serious work done on my scrappy bargello. Its taken a bit longer because I decided to hand quilt it, but I love the way its turning out.
I am going to be on my way here, I think I am going to get that flannel in the washer and get working on that string quilt. Maybe I can get another finish yet this year :) Hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!! Warmest country wishes,
Country Mouse

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Maybe I'm just a little crazy, but....

I can't help but wonder. I was watching a quilting show on t.v. and my mind just started to wander, or maybe that should be wonder, and I just had to ask the question. Now let me start by saying that I love how technology helps us quilters. Being able to have a machine help you do embroidery, or to use one to quilt to help you finish your tops a bit quicker. (I personally machine quilt a lot of my quilts now because of my carpal tunnel, and have learned it takes a LOT of talent to machine quilt well! I'm still not there, but I keep working) Anyhow, the guest was talking about technological advances and how they make quilting quicker and easier, (here's the part that got me) able to get more done without having to do much work. Ok, maybe its just me, but I thought quilting was all about the process. Learning from your mistakes, practicing techniques, exploring the possibilities and finding your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and learning about yourself along the way. I love the journey I've been on since I've stared quilting. I still have lots of my "first tries" at home in a box to remind me just how far I've come. Let me tell you, my first attempt at hand applique was absolutely AWFUL!! lol :) But it was mine. Along with my first attempt at machine quilting, curved piecing and inset seams. I like looking back and seeing how far I've progressed. Now I'm not saying I won't incorporate machines to help me, but I hope I never rely on them to " get more done without having to do much work" Ok, enough from the crazy mouse there ;)
Now on to the category of "I probably shouldn't have, but did any way" here's my story.... Every year there is a quilt shop hop in Amish County, and living near enough by I visit several of the shops. Every year I go and think to myself, I'm just gonna get the free patterns, not buy any kits for blocks....and every year I walk in to the first shop, see the quilt made from that year's blocks and think, "Oooohhhhh, I have GOT to make this one" and cave and start buying kits :P Such was the case this year. Below is a picture of the kits I bought. The quilt is made with beautiful dark country colors. I just couldn't help myself. I am going to try to get at least one more quilt finished before I start making the blocks. Don't know if I'll be able to though, but I'm sure gonna try :)
Finally before I hop off here, I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Make sure to count your blessings. I have learned in the last year, which has probably been one of the toughest I've ever had, that even when things seem bleak, there are still blessings to count. This is something I try to never forget. So with warmest country wishes to all, I am off to celebrate my favorite holiday of the year!
Country Mouse

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

finding happiness

Sometimes I think one of the most elusive things to find on the planet when you are facing difficult time is happiness. In the face of adversity there are so many things that can steal your joy. I know, trust me. These are the time I really try to step back and look at things. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a tough spot all you can see is more rough patches heading your way. Its kind of like in the book The Hobbit where they sent Bilbo up a tree when they were lost in the middle of the forest. When he got to the top all he could see was nothing but trees all around. They all thought all was hopeless and they would be lost forever. But had Bilbo been able to take a bird's eye view he would have seen that he had climbed a tree in the very center of a bowl shaped valley and that they were nearing the edge of the forest. Sometimes I try to remember I may just be climbing that tree at the middle of the bowl shaped valley and need to try to get that bird's eye view. I try to take joy in the simple things...a beautiful day, fresh air, knowing that I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and people who care about me. To remember that better things ARE on the way and I just need to persevere :)

Of course on of the things that I do to make me feel happy is sew ;) and I'm happy to report that I did reach my goal of getting a backing done and basting one quilt. It's not a big one, but it is one that is on my list of "get it done so you can move on" quilts. Here is a picture of the front and back. (I apologize for the picture quality. These are taken with my phone as I don't have a camera just yet. I know it can take better pictures, I just haven't played with the settings enough to quite figure them out yet.)

I've also been playing around with making jewelery too. These are two of the bracelets I've recently made. One is a bead work bangle and the other is made with semi-precious stone chips.

Although the last few days have been a bit tough, I know I am nearing the edge of that forest. I continue on, and make sure I make time for the people and the activities that bring me joy. I hope that all of you find that joy in your life that helps you on your journey as well. Warmest country wishes,

Country Mouse

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A belated thank you and a finish

Hi everyone. I want to start off by saying Happy Veterans Day. Yes, I know I'm a day behind, but I wasn't able to get to the computer yesterday. But there is no way I wasn't going to make sure I made time to say thank you to all those who have served and are currently serving in our country's military. I have known many who have served. My grandfather is a Korean War veteran, I have several uncles who have served, some during war time. I have had several friends who have served. I have known one Navy SEAL, one who is a Green Beret, and one friend is a reservist with two young children who's unit was activated about a year ago. One of my managers at work is a former Marine. That's just a few. So many people are willing to give so much to defend my freedom and I can never thank them enough for what they do.

On to quilty things...I am happy to say I do have at least one finish to show for the year :) This is a fall themed quilt from a swap I did with a group I used to be a member of. I thought I would have some fun and play around with free motion quilting. I quilted a different motif in many of the blocks. I am particularly proud of the leaf and wave design I came up with :D (Not sure if its an original design, but I've not seen it before.) Kind of reminds me of a beaded curtain, just so fun. I also think it might make a good pantograph type quilting for a future quilt. I used it in 2 blocks as well as on the borders. It is especially noticeable in the bottom picture since I used plain muslin for the back and quilted with a dark thread. After I had thought about it it was rather bold on my part (boy does the quilting show!!) but I was pretty pleased with it. (Actually I think I was lucky I was "in the zone" while quilting cause if I know if I wouldn't have been any little flaw would have shown on this backing!)

It feels so good to have a finish under my belt. I am working towards another, but have to admit that I am so bad when it comes to buying backing. It is a purchase that I tend to put off, and I don't know why. I know I need to put a back on the tops, but why I don't buy up that fabric, I can't tell you. I am actually thinking of shrinking my stash by cutting up a bunch of 10 1/2 or 12 1/2 in squares and piecing some backs. I love the look of pieced backings. I have seen so many of them in blogs and get so inspired to do it. Actually, now that I'm thinking of it, that sounds like a good way to spend my afternoon ;) I'm off to raid my stash for backing fabric and hopefully will have wrangled with a quilt top and have it basted by my next post. Hope everyone has a great day and finds a little time to find some quilting bliss. Warm country wishes.

Country Mouse

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A post with pictures...yeah!! :)

Hi everyone. First let me say how giddy I am to be able to post whenever I want :) I have so missed blogging and all my friends here in blogland. I had mentioned in my previous post about working on a bunch of UFOs I had before my LCE (life changing event) and wanted to share some pictures of the tops I have done...well a few anyway. First is a blue and yellow star quilt that was put together by a friend during a swap

Next is a picture of a 30s sampler. I don't have the outer borders on it yet. I am thinking of a simple white border with some leaves and yo yo flowers.

Finally here is the finished top I made from fabrics I won from Amandajean AGES ago used in a quilt-along she was doing. Along with my attempt to do some sort of free piecing....sort of. I just loved the fabric so much I didn't want to waste a single piece. ;)

Now I am still deciding what to do with some of the other quilts. It is so hard to decide. I have to admit when I look at all of them I do feel a little sad because I think of where I was when I made them. Sometimes I don't want to keep any of them because I don't want a constant reminder of my past. Other times I look at them and just love the colors and patterns and they make me happy. One thing I do know is that I want to get them done or donated because I feel like it will give me some sense of closure. Then I can move on with the new :) Not that I'm letting that hold me back...I have been working on smaller projects as well. Here is a picture of a purse made for a friend (by the way if anyone has seen this pink and black fabric PLEASE let me know. I so wanted one for myself, but only found 2 fat quarters in the whole store) and a carrier I made for my net book. Love love love the fabric! Reminds me of the colors and patterns popular when I was little. They make me feel all warm and happy.

Life on the home front has been busy and I just keep plugging away day by day. I just trying to keep finding the time to do at least a little something for myself each day. Usually that means sewing time ;) and I'm off to find a little of that now. Take care all!
Warmest country wishes,
Country Mouse

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ok, here we go

Hi everyone, first let me start off by saying this is the last name change, I PROMISE! After thinking about the last change I started thinking that the name just didn't "jive" with me. As I thought about it I realized that I really need to just be me and do what I need to do. So why this final name change you may ask? Well, let me start off and just say first off that I wasn't going to talk about what I've been through and just try to move on, but I realized that I was just trying to move on and hold everything in at the same really can't do that. So without getting into details, I had gone through a divorce around the time of my last post on my country mouse in the city blog. It has been a hard road, and even though I have come a long way, there are still times I feel I've only taken a few baby steps. So I feel the name of this blog much more suits me. I am glad to have my quilting, it has helped me to relax during such a rough time in my life. Its funny how life and quilting can parallel each other. In quilting you start with a large piece of cloth, cut your pieces and sew them back together to make something wonderful. Well right now I just have pieces of my life, they are tattered and jagged in some places, but now I am facing the task of picking up those pieces, trimming the edges, and sewing them back together to try to created that something wonderful. Right now my biggest goal is to finish UFOs I had before the divorce. I have decided that I am going to finish those that really speak to me and probably donate the rest. Its just something I feel I need to do to be able to move on. I am so glad to be truly back. (I lost my computer in the split and finally was able to get another so I WILL be around a whole lot more!!) I look forward to catching up with everyone and sharing lots of stories, quilts and laughs as I continue my journey.
warmest country wishes,
Country Mouse