Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope the reason for the season is in all of your hearts. I wish love, health and happiness to all of you as my Christmas gift. I will not be posting for a couple of days. I am taking time off to spend with my children. As you know, I do not get to see them often, so I soak up all of their goodness when I can. I will be having much family time. I will not be sewing until after Christmas---all of my gifts are made and on their way to their new owners.  Smile, be happy and enjoy each other!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy!

   Oh time is going by so fast---and yet, I find that my sewing is going so slow! I am not sure if other people feel this way, but right now, I feel like I take one step forward and two steps back. I wish I could wiggle my nose and make all of my projects complete. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I make such demands on myself? I always say----"Nadine, you did it again!" And then I find myself adding this to the comment: " You should have started these during the summer!"  You would think that after all of these years, I would finally take my own advice, do myself a huge favor---and just start in the summer months.

  OK, deep breath--in and out. Better. I know I have a few more days to work on these projects. It will work out. I will probably have to pull a few late nights here though. Can you relate? Please tell me I am not the only one doing this " sew like mad" thing right before Christmas.

  On another note here, I do feel pretty satisfied in my accomplishments yesterday. I had made myself a check list and I have to say---I had them all checked off by the time I went to bed. That is a good thing. At one point, I had to chuckle at myself. I was working on the longarm and having my embroidery machine stitch out more ornaments at the same time. That was something I never did before. I usually just sit there and gawk at my machine while it is stitching out a design. But.....time waits for no one, and there is no rest for the weary.

  Here are some more of the ornaments that I have been making. Someone on an earlier post said that they look Victorian. I have to admit----they do! I can not believe that I did not notice this before, since I love the Victorian era. I do not think I mentioned what collection  these ornaments are from.They are: Christmas Lace II by Betty Svensson. I bought it from the Husqvarna dealer a few years back.

  I have something to show that I made, but I want to finish stitching it out first. Hopefully I can show it off tomorrow. Till then, enjoy your day. Keep working at checking off all that you can on your to do lists!
Sorry--I can not figure out how to rotate this silly picture. I just love these ornaments. The ribbons for hanging will be added today.  Couldn't you see crystals hot glued on them--wouldn't that look nice?!

Love all of the possibilities n this collection.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Ornaments

'Tis the season for sewing!!! I uncovered my embroidery machine yesterday and decided it was high time to load up a design and get stitchen"! I have not used my embroidery machine in a long time. I can't even remember the last time I embroidered something. What a shame! Shame on me! I have committed machine abuse...... something that I can not tolerate. Well, I changed that all yesterday when I uncovered it, put in the thread and bobbin, picked out a design and pressed start. What a lovely thing to watch.
I actually own a couple sewing embroidery machines. They are Vikings. I own a Diamond and a Designer Ruby. They are able to do amazing things. Let me rephrase that: they do amazing things when you use them. My machines came with pre loaded designs. I have also purchased Cd's with pretty designs and downloaded them from varies sites on the Internet. It is so exciting to buy a pattern, load it into my machine, put in choice of colored thread and press start----the machine starts moving. The needle goes up and down all around the hoop-before you know it, you have a beautiful design. I always sit there in amazement watching it. Hours can go by without me moving. I use to do all kinds of hand embroidery. Now that I am older and I own these wonderful machines, I don't do it anymore.
I wanted to do some fun sewing yesterday--I wanted to reward myself for all the hard work I have been doing with the customer quilt that is on the long arm. With Christmas coming fast- I decided to sew a few Christmas Ornaments. I choose the color red. I could use other colors, but red is one of my favorite colors. My CD offers many ornaments to choose from. That was the difficult part. It took me a long time to choose which ones I wanted.  Finally the choice was made. I put the stabilizer on the hoop that dissolves in water: Aqua Magic, connected it to the machine and away it went. I sat there with a cup of coffee in my hand with my eyes glued to the stitch out. I don't think I will ever get over watching it sew. It really is amazing. I really do love it.
Before too long, it was done. I took it from the machine. Cut the pieces out and placed them in a bowl of warm water. The Aqua Magic dissolved immediately. Fascinating! Took them out of the bowl and placed them on a towel to dry. I left them to dry in the studio during the night. I couldn't wait to see them this morning. They are dry and beautiful. I am going to put ribbon on them so that they can hang. I am so inspired by this----I think I will pick out some more ornaments and stitch them out. Oh happy happy!
The weather here is currently freezing and snowing---it looks a lot like Christmas. Fitting weather to stay in doors and love my machines and create some more goodness. Hope you all have a great day. I hope you all make something lovely today!
Here are the ornaments up on my computer. I have the 6D  Embroidery program on my computer. I love it. It helps to do many wonderful things with my embroidery designs.

It is all loaded onto my machine.  The hoop is in place and it is currently starting to stitch the first ornament.

It is so cool watching it stitch out and start to take shape. It is captivating to watch.

Here is the finished product! Aren't they lovely??!!! They are addicting to make---I see some more being made in my immediate future!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Past

Today is a day of going down memory lane. The weather is cold and snowy. I am not feeling ambitious to go out and about in it. Warm and fuzzy clothes with a good cup of coffee in my hand is a great way to be. With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season on us, it is making me want to just slow down for a minute and savor the moment. My list is a mile long of all the things that need to be finished, the fun events that are scheduled, the wrapping and sending off of gifts, etc...... You know the deal. No one is free from this craziness. Days are going by very fast---truly, in just a blink of an eye a week has past! What is happening? The answer is - life. Life is happening. We are so busy with our lists, responsibilities, getting ready for the next day-that we whiz right through the day without thinking about it. I find myself thinking about the people in my life.

I remember a few years ago, that I heard from my daughter that her good friend,Rachel, was coming home from college for Christmas, but would be leaving soon to move to Florida. I was like: wow, how can this be? Is she old enough to do this? Is she ready to do this?? With these thoughts going through my head, I thought about what I could do to wish her well and send her on her way with love. So...... even though it was a week before Christmas day- I got busy on making her a quilt. I wanted to make something special for her. I wanted her to know that she is loved. I wanted her to know that I care and that I wish her the best on her new adventure. 

I decided on a pattern called " 3 Sisters". I choose this pattern not only because I liked it and it looked fun to make, but because it made me think of Rachel, her mom and her sister----three ladies, three sisters in spirit. I had already had the material in my stash. I even remember were I bought it from--Creekside Quilting in Arcade. I worked as fast as I could on cutting, piecing and then quilting it on the longarm. I had a fast approaching deadline. Rachel was coming over to say goodbye before she left. I cut it so close, that she was actually walking up to my door when I was sewing the last of the binding stitches!!!

I was so happy to see her! Many hugs and good wishes were given. She was so shocked when I presented the quilt to her. I could see the emotion of happiness and surprise all over her cute face. The time---that blasted thing called time-----it went by so fast. She no sooner came, then she was gone. Gone to travel her own road of life.
Beautiful smile on a beautiful girl

I love this picture
Flash forward to the present. I would like to say that I have seen Rachel many time since she left. The truth is, is that I have not seen her since that day a couple of Christmases ago. Time goes by, and here we are. I would love to say that she took her quilt with her and cuddled with it many nights when she was alone. I would love to say that the quilt has comforted her while she was away from her mom. That she felt all the love that was put into the making of it for her. No I can not. Sadly it has been folded up and stored at her mom's home in her old room.

I feel sad thinking about this quilt. Quilts are made to be used. Made to comfort and heal. Made from love and given in love. At least, that is how I view it. I miss Rachel. She is doing well. She is traveling the States and loving life. Good for her!!!! My only wish is that the quilt that is lonely and waiting for her - was with her and traveling around and gathering miles on it as well.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Northern Lights

As I am flipping through my pictures, I came across a few lovely shots of a customer quilt that I had done earlier this year. I love this quilt- it was so much fun to play with. Did I say play with??? I sure did! I love to free motion quilt with my long arm. I receive a variety of types of quilts from my customers. They are all beautiful. What I have not had the joy of working a lot on, are the "Modern" style quilts. You know the ones----they are made of mostly solid colors. The designs on them may vary, but there is always wide open spaces on them. Some people call this "negative space". I like the term wide open better. It just seems so much more positive. Sewing is positive, quilting is positive-so why shouldn't the words to describe it be positive???

A few months back, I received a quilt top from a customer of mine. I knew about this top for awhile and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It is very modern in it's look. It is made up of different colors with a sort of zig zag'ish block style. At first glance, it reminded me of a rainbow. She told me the pattern was called " Northern Lights". It really is a neat pattern. When I brought it home into my studio and hung it up on my design board, I just stood there and stared at it. All sorts of cool ideas and designs were floating in and out of my little head. I also was thinking of various thread choices and colors. So many ideas--it was over whelming trying to narrow it all down and pick a few. I have to admit, it took me awhile to really do just that--narrow it down and finally make a pick. Aaaahhhhh, choices, choices and more choices.

Well, I finally did choose. I decided to use matching threads for each color and to do a different design for each color. I ordered the color of threads that I did not have and started to draw on blank sheets of paper what I wanted to sew. That took a couple of days. Enough time to allow the thread to arrive. It only took a couple of days. I quickly loaded it up on the frame and started the process. Oh how much fun it was. I was having so much fun just stitching away. I was in my own little world, my own little zone. I can't even tell you what the weather was doing outside. I lost all track of time, and just sewed and sewed  and sewed. I really had so much fun quilting this top, that it is sinful.
When I finally finished- I remember feeling like the cat who ate the mouse. I felt stuffed and satiated in a quilty sort of way. I called Rochelle and let her know. I could not wait to give it to her.

Here are some of the pictures. I was so exited to do this top and give it back, that in my excitement-----I forgot to take pictures. I actually took these with my cell phone after I showed her the quilt. I am not a good photographer--so the pictures do not do it justice.
This is the whole quilt top. As you can see, there is still extra batting and backing attached. I never  cut it off. I let the owner do it when they are ready to bind it. Taking scissors to some one's quilt scares me to the bones.

This is a design that I totally created. I love the movement it creates

This is one of my favorite designs on the quilt.

 I love how I was able to sew lines and combine them with other flowing designs to create neat looks. Modern quilts are fun to quilt. They really do allow for your creative side to shine through

Love stitching out feathers. Who doesn't love feathers???

My own version of an Oak leaf
I know that the pattern is called Northern Lights--but for me, I call it Northern Candy.  I felt like a child in a candy store the whole time I worked on this top. Thanks Rochelle!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

From Me to You

Burrrrrr......rub arms up and down each for coffee.....stand by heater. Yep, that is what my first minutes of my day were like. If you haven't guessed by now---let me tell you then,  Babe-it is cold outside!!!! I know, it is December and I do live in upper Western New York---but, for me, it never gets any easier. The sad thing is that we just started our cold weather. Winter is not officially here for 7 days. Not going to complain though-----this past summer was so painfully hot to me. We are now getting the cold weather that I remember begging for. Be careful for what you ask for people.
I am posting a picture of this gentleman. I have never met him, I can't even tell you his name. I do know that he is a nice man---how can he not be, he is the father to one of my friends from the Center. I love this picture for a few reasons. One---he asked her to show it to me. Two----he is loving on this afghan that was made just for him. Three----It touches my heart.
The gift of warmth and love
In the middle of this past summer, my whole house was torn upside down. We had the Amish come and do some major work on roofs, ceilings, walls and doors. It was greatly needed, but much chaos and mess. During this time, my poor little Gia (yorkiepoo), hurt her back and couldn't walk or stand. It was so stressful and terrible. Well, life is life and we never know what will happen from one day to the next. I received a text from a friend of mine-Rochelle. Her mom just passed away suddenly. I remember standing in my kitchen just starring at my phone. So sad. So hard to think about. It took me back to when my mother was suddenly and tragically taken from me. There are those moments in life that you will always know where you were and what you were doing when it strikes. Needless to say---I felt so bad for her and her family.  Immediately placed them into my prayers.  I can't remember the sequence of events or the exact time space of everything because of what was happening on my home front, but I did receive a call from Rochelle some time later. She told me about finding an afghan that her mom was in the middle of making for her dad. She asked me if I could finish it. I was so shocked and moved that she would think of asking me this. What an honor. This afghan clearly meant something to all of them. This clearly needed to be finished and gifted to her dad. Rochelle only had the partially completed afghan and a couple more skeins of the yarn her mom was using. I would have to figure out what hook she used and figure out the stitch pattern.
Rochelle and her husband dropped off the package to me on a very hot sunny day. They were gracious enough to look past all of the crazy chaos happening at my home. When you have people come to your home the first time---there is always an urge and a need for it to be clean and orderly. Well, not in this case. God bless them. I remember peering into the bag and thinking to myself- sure, no problem-easy peasy--but what the heck kind of stitch is this???? I knew it was some sort of a shell stitch. That was it. I tried pulling back the yarn to unravel a few stitches---but it did not make sense. Some of the stitches were done differently then the others. I took it to another friend of mine who crochets a great deal. She too, had a similar problem figuring it out. She even brought out all of her hooks to help figure out what size I needed.  After a few hours, we came up with a stitch that we thought worked well, and I was on my way to the store to buy the hook that I needed.
I worked on the afghan at night when things were calmer and cooler in the house. I would think of Rochelle and her family. I prayed to her mom and asked her to help me finish this in a good way. I prayed to Creator to help bless my stitching, help me re-create what this woman had done. I kept thinking about how important this afghan was and what it meant to the family. I felt so honored and humbled every time I sat and worked on it.
The day finally came when I was finished. I was so happy that it was done and looked good. I honestly could not tell where her mom ended and where I picked up. Mission accomplished. I made the call to Rochelle and happy to tell her the news. She picked it up and away she went. I have thought many times about that afghan and the meaning of it. I have thought many a time of her mom in heaven watching me work on her gift to her husband. I have crocheted many items in the past---but I am a Quilter to the bone. Working on this afghan made me use muscles I have not used in a long time. It made me reflect on the meaning of creating something, of gifting, of our family and loved ones, on extending ourselves to help others, the joys and pains of life.
So----needless to say, I was very happy when her father had this picture taken of him and asked her to forward it to me. He loves it and he said it is so warm. Way awesome!!! Way good!!! Today was so cold to me when I got out of bed----I couldn't help thinking of cuddling under quilts and afghans. This picture is picture perfect for today. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Meet Shea-this smoochy bundle of goodness!

Beautiful Shea
I have been waiting to write this post for some time now. To me, this is a special one. It is special in many ways. All of them good in my mind. I want you to meet Shea Schaus. Isn't she so darn cute??!!! This little honey was born earlier this year to one of my favorite Doctors- Dr  B Schaus.. As you know, I am a Nurse. I had the pleasure of working with her daddy at my last place of employment. He was new to our Center and full of life. I liked working with him right away. You can't help working along side someone for a couple of years and not get to know them. It was exciting to hear that he met someone. It was exciting to hear they became engaged. It was exciting to hear about the wedding and it was more exciting to hear of their pregnancy. Prayers of happiness and health for the baby was started immediately. I had retired almost a year ago to this date from Nursing---so I did not hear  more of the baby to be for awhile. As a quilter---what do you think was going through my mind?? HHHhhmmmmm....... I wonder. Yes of course- making a quilt. The hardest part was deciding on what pattern and then the color. I decided to wait for the birth to see if the baby was a boy or girl. I had a feeling it was going to be a girl. One day, I was at the Quilt Barn in Boston NY, with a friend of mine. I came across a Precious Moment panel. It struck me hard- and could not stop looking at it. I knew right then---I was going to use this to make the quilt. So, I bought all of the supplies and brought it home. I was so excited to make this quilt. I have not made a baby quilt in a long time. I decided to make a chenille quilt using flannel against the cotton panel. I used three different colored flannels for contrast--all matching the panel. I really wanted the new baby to be warm. Eventually---I got the call that the newest member of the Schaus family was born!!!! A girl!  It made me smile to hear the news---I smiled all day! Next came finding out the correct spelling of her name---I needed to know for the label on the quilt. I was in continuous communication with a couple of my Nurse friends back at the Center to secretly find out for me. Ha- I would have loved to be  fly on the wall, to see his face, every time one of them asked him about his daughter's name. Well-mission accomplished---got the spelling and finished the label and quilt. Again, I made calls to my friends and found out what day he would be there working and the best time with his schedule to come.
Back up a few months: I really could not wait to bring this quilt to him. I wanted  him to know that I was so happy for him and his wife.  Prior to presenting the quilt to him- I had been up to the Center to drop off a customer order. He came over to me and showed me a picture of his baby. He was a proud Daddy. He had a total smitten look to his face. My heart glowed for him and his wife. But------I did notice something as soon as I looked at the picture. Besides thinking, " Oh my god how beautiful she is!", I noticed something else. I did not say anything and I could see it on his face when he showed me her picture. His beautiful daughter was born with Down Syndrome. My heart hurt for him and his wife. I went home that day with a sad heart and one filled with prayers for them.  Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. It is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities in humans. This news was sad, but, to me, it is not the worst in life. Though hard to deal with at first,this is workable, this is just a speed bump in life. As a Nurse---I have many sad stories. As a person----I have family and friends that deal with sadness and disabilities. I thought long and hard about this news. There is a family in Silver Creek- Mr and Mrs Hotelling. Their daughter Laurel was born with Down Syndrome. Through their hard work, love and dedication-they have raised awareness of this genetic disorder and disabilities. They have organized and put on the "Laurel Run" for 20 years. The event is named in honor of their daughter.The run is held in Silver Creek, NY. Laurel is special. Her smile is contagious-her love of life is amazing and humbling. My immediate family, brothers and friends have attended and participated in the Laurel Run for years. It is very important to us. I encourage every one to become aware and involved with your community. I encourage everyone to contact the National Down Syndrome Society to learn, understand and reach out.
When I brought the quilt to Dr. Schaus- he was surprised and filled with smiles. I was thrilled that he liked it. I made him promise to send me pictures of her with it. And he did. I have held on to them and looked at them often. They make me happy when I look at them.
Looking at Shea smiling up at the camera is so awesome! It is so overwhelmingly wonderful to see her on my quilt that I made. She makes my quilt look good. She is a natural model! She is so smoochy precious and so squeezable cute! Making quilts for babies, special occasions, family, children, neighbors, community fund raisers---all good, all needed and the benefits are shared with the giving and the receiving. Be good to each other. Enjoy looking at the smile on this adorable face..... I know I do.
This is the most recent picture of Shea. Isn't her smile contagious??? Do you notice the quilt she is playing on??? This picture made my day when I saw it

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Meet Lovely Emma

Aaahhhhhh..... don't you just love dolls?!  I mean of course- homemade dolls. They are the absolute best. I have such a soft spot for them in my heart. I love these precious creations. My mother use to collect dolls-but they were not handmade. They were all store bought. I have never really cared for those types. I have made a few soft handmade ones for myself and as gifts. I have purchased a few from craft shows. Here is my latest purchase. Meet Emma!
My beautiful Emma
She was made by the loving crafty hands of a customer/friend of mine. Rebecca Davison-March. I have her listed as "Rebecca Quilter" in my phone, because this is how we first became acquainted. She is a fellow Quilter, full time mom of three and works outside of the house full time. It amazes me how women are so strong and talented that we can raise children, work full time and still create beautiful things. A couple of months ago, Rebecca showed me a picture of a group of dolls that she had made her little girls. I was like: OMG- I love them! She sells them on eBay. They are all hand crafted, made with vintage items and unique cashmere hair.They all are a bit different and unique. I had made the request for dark hair and to have a vintage/Victorian look. Looking at dolls like this, takes me back in time to a simpler life. I think of Victorian times, along with the Civil War era, I am as fascinated with the Victorian era, as I am the Civil War era---there is just something about that time that just grabs my attention and I can't get enough.

she is in a antique doll cradle
I just received her yesterday. I have a good dear friend-Margaret Logan, who has been graciously acting as a go between for Rebecca and I. Margaret has not only brought us together, but is bridging the miles between us and helping us to connect. Thank you Margaret!!! Well, as I was saying- I just got her and I was so thrilled when I looked in the bag and saw her. I immediately placed her in this antique doll cradle that I found a couple of years ago. She looks at home sitting there-doesn't she? The cradle sits next to one of my vintage Treadle Singer sewing machines. I keep them both in my living room. They great together. Looking at her inspires me to get back to making my own cloth dolls. I think this will be good to do right after the new year. Thank you Rebecca for my Emma!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Keeping Busy- and Smiling

With this Holiday Season upon us-----I am so very aware of how busy everyone is and all of the "To do lists" that are out there. I love and dislike this season. Don't get me wrong---I love the reason for the season---I just hate all of the commercialism that seems to grow and grow each year. It is so funny, when I was a child----I was so unaware of this craziness, I just wanted for Jesus to have his birthday and for Santa to come. Ahhhhhh----the innocence of childhood. As an adult---I still want to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I no longer wait for Santa ( or do I?....... hahahaha). I do though want to enjoy every bit of it. I want to be with all of my children, sit back with my husband and talk about the wonderful things to come in the new year, I want to see my family members that I do not live close to, I want to cook and eat our traditional foods, I want to play music that is up lifting and joyful. I want to be in the moment. Then----if there is a chance for me to slip away and play with my machines and create something beautiful on a wonderful day of rejoicing---then it all adds up to a perfect day.  So, with these thoughts and desires of mine-----I force myself to stay focused. Look at my list-ha ha, and smile at each one listed. It is my personal list of what I realistically want and will do this Holiday Season. I will share a bit of it with you. Maybe it will inspire you on your list:
- wake up and smile at the beginning of each day
-think quickly of 10 things I am thankful for
-think of each of my children and send a loving thought to them
-envision us all together laughing and talking
-make at least 3 phone calls a day to different friends just to say hello
-make it a point to smile at strangers when I am out and about

As you can see, it has nothing to do with buying or meeting high expectations that always feel so self defeating. These are things that truly make me happy, smile, feel wonderful and create a better immediate world for me. Now----let it not be said that I will be thinking of my sewing studio and all of my machines with love..... of course I will, I want to make it a point to go into my room everyday and cut out some personal sewing time for just me. It doesn't have to be a big and extravagant sewing project---just something to allow me to go into my studio. Appreciate my room, machines, notions and fabrics. You know----fondling fabric never hurt anyone!!!! Ha!

Today, I plan to work on a quilt on my longarm. I am doing custom quilting on it for one of my customers. I have looked forward to starting this quilt top for many months. We had issues with batting and backing. So happy we conquered it and I have started it. I am planning my stitching as I go and I am even thinking of using some designs from my robotics on this. That is exciting, because it will be the first real quilt that I will using the robotics on. Way cool-- way exciting. I will post pictures as I move along on it.

Later I have my Christmas Party for my Guild. It is going to be so much fun and I can't wait to see all of  the ladies. We are exchanging Christmas potholders. Doesn't that sound neat?!
I came across this picture and had to post it here. I made these  Christmas stockings as a gift a couple of years ago. They are of my own design. I just loved making them. They were fun to do from the beginning to the end. I have to admit---I do love making stockings. Maybe that is something I will do in a couple of days. Every time I think of these stockings I have to smile.  So---I encourage everyone to make something today that keeps you busy in a good way and that also makes you smile.