Monday, August 30, 2010

Does It Have Heart?

If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.
-Frank Chimero

{Image by Badskirt}
Word-of-mouth is awesome. That is how I happened on a blog post by Frank Chimero that, although is directed specifically towards graphic design students, applies pretty much to every person every where {even those of you who think in ones and zeros}.

It is interesting how different people take different things away from the same piece of work. Badskirt made the graphic to illustrate what struck her the most. My friend Pink {who read the article at the same time I did, but just posted sooner than me so I'm copying her} made a list of what stuck out to her.

I've been thinking about what Frank said a lot since I read that post. A lot of things he talks about are just good philosophies for life.

• Quiet is always an option, even if everyone is yelling.
• Sympathy is medicine.
• Stop trying to be cool: it is stifling.
• It is okay to romanticize things a little bit every now and then: it gives you hope.
• Everything is interesting to someone.
• Everyone is just making it up as they go along.

I think Frank's message is that there is not an exact formula for {creative} success; you have to put a bit of yourself, a bit of your heart, into everything {creative and non-creative alike} that you do.

Blogs {not previously linked to} with heart {this list is by no means all-inclusive}:
Ivory Spring
Nacho Mama's Quilt
The Quilting Buzz
Traceyjay Quilts

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Sermons: Hope You Know, I Had A Hard Time

The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all of the trials and hardship that any of us will encounter in this life. At times when we may feel to say, "I hope you know, I had a hard time," we can be assured that He is there, and we are safe in His loving arms. -Quentin L. Cook

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An AccuQuilt Go! Cutter of My Very Own

The only sure thing about luck is that it will change. -Wilson Mizner

I'm pinching myself just a little to make sure I'm not dreaming. It is, after all, the middle of the night. But I'm pretty sure that I won a Go! Cutter from Heather at A La Mode Fabric and :faint:. Check this out {Heather, I hope you don't mind that I borrowed a page from your blog as proof}:

:partytime: Thank you Heather! :partytime:
{And AccuQuilt, of course.}

I've been following Heather for ages. She is so creative and talented {and I'm not just saying that because I won a Go! from her giveaway}! Her cathedral windows pillow inspired my fabric choices for a cathedral windows quilt. And check out her hexies {these too}. You know the Go! Hexies die is at the top of my wish list now.

I've had a streak of really good luck lately. I've averaged a win a week for the past five weeks. That is pretty amazing. I'm not sure whether I should retire from the blog giveaway circuit for a bit, or keep on entering. Mr. Bug says I should give someone else a chance to win :lol:. In any case, I'm hoping that some of my luck will rub off and one of you will win a Go! Cutter too. There is still time to enter these giveaways.

Canton Village Quilt Works
If you haven't met Jackie, check her out. Giveaway ends on August 28.

Sweet P Quilting
She's done an awesome quilt with the strip cutter. Winners will be posted the morning of August 31.

Sew Many Ways
Karen is so creative. She's posted lots of fun ways to use the Go! Cutter dies. Giveaway ends September 1.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apron № 101: Geology Rocks

There are plenty of ruined buildings in the world, but no ruined stones. -Hugh Macdiarmid {Christopher Murray Grieve}

This apron is for a girl who loves rocks. Click on the picture to take a closer look and you'll see what I mean.

I used Modascapes Pebbles and she wanted some pink to go with it, so Birdie was a cute choice. I did the pocket a little differently again. What do you think? I'm still on the fence about it.

This apron finish takes me from the nice, round, even number of 100 aprons to 101 aprons. But, I'm probably not going for 200. I've only got another six or seven in me, I think. Mr. Monk will just have to live with it :rofl:.

Apron № 100: Honey Bees Giveaway Finish

You can never have too many aprons or too many memories.
-EllynAnne Geisel

Apron № 100 is finished {and it should be half-way to Pago Pago by now}.
I've spent a lot of time blogging about it -– almost more than I spent making it :lol:. First I posted about giving it away and then I posted about who I gave it to. I hope you don't mind hearing about it so much because it was really fun for me to do a giveaway with it.

I did the pocket a little bit different on this one than I have been doing. The adult pattern calls for a flat pocket with rick-rack all the way around it. I did about 17 or 18 aprons that way. When I got the children's pattern, the pocket was a little different, with a cuff across the top and a contrasting gathered pocket bottom, with rick-rack across the bottom of the cuff/top of the gathers. It was totally adorable, so I enlarged it to fit the adult patterns as well. But I saw somewhere in my blog travels {sorry I can't remember where -- I need to start bookmarking these things so I can give credit} that someone had done the pocket in all contrasting fabric, which made sense, because then pocket top didn't disappear into the apron. I thought I'd give it a try. I'm not sure what I think -- I could go either way. What is your opinion.

Barb, you know the rules :wink:. I want a picture of you in your apron when you get it. Hopefully, the issues you've been having with your mail lately have been resolved.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garden Harvest Lasagna

An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh. -Will Rogers

I may have mentioned that I'm kind of a picky eater {I'm picky about a lot of things, but that's another post}. It is my goal in life to disguise vegetables as something that tastes good. Because you're supposed to eat vegetables every day. A lot of them. Zucchini season is in full swing, and so to take advantage of the fresh produce {because even vegetables taste better fresh}, I've been using old favorites and trying out new recipes that feature zucchini.

I've been on strike from making lasagna for about 9 or 10 years now. I used to make an easy lasagna where you put the noodles in uncooked and added a little extra water, but the noodles didn't come out cooked enough for Mr. Bug's taste that way, so we've been eating lasagnas from the freezer section of the grocery store for the last decade or so. I decided that it was time to call an end to the strike and I while I was at it, I decided that I should make a tasty and nutritious lasagna.

I found a recipe for Garden Harvest Lasagna on-line and it seemed the perfect thing. This lasagna recipe is huge. With larger meals, I either cut down the recipe or freeze half because we have a small family of picky eaters. Noodles and dairy products don't freeze well and even though I knew that our little family wouldn't be able to eat this giant lasagna in one or even two meals, I imagined that it would be so fantastic that we'd have no trouble polishing it off in maybe three days because everyone would love it so much. So I went for the whole lasagna. After all, this was my lasagna comeback and it was going to be epic. How could this go wrong? I wondered. Noodles. Pasta sauce. Cheese. Vegetables disguised as something edible. It's the perfect meal! Or so I thought.

I have to give the recipe credit. The concept is fabulous. But on the taste scale, it was a huge disappointment. And after spending an hour placing the noodles and the sauce and the cheese into perfect layers, it was the least spectacular lasagna comeback in the history of ever. It was just bland. I have to wonder where I went wrong. I think I'll blame the zucchini. I bluster on about wanting to disguise vegetables as something with flavor, but you may have noticed I kind of have a crush on zucchini. I like the way it lends a subtle, earthy flavor to foods. It totally didn't do its job in the lasagna. It was absolutely flavorless and I may have to rethink my crush on it.

Since I'm not completely happy with how the lasagna turned out, I'm not going to post the recipe here. You can follow the link above. But here are my notes on the recipe and what I would and wouldn't do again:

• We're omnivores, so I added 1 lb. ground beef to the pasta sauce.
• The recipe said to sauté the zucchini {and mushrooms} in some olive oil. I think if I were to make this recipe again, I would reduce the amount of olive oil to 1 tablespoon and add a little salt {maybe ½ teaspoon}, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, a {minced or pressed} clove of garlic and about ¼ cup finely diced onions.
• I substituted Italian seasoning for the basil the recipe calls for.
• I wonder if the Italian seasoning and the pasta sauce cancelled each other out and that contributed to the non-taste of this dish. I also wonder if I should find a recipe for red sauce and make my own for this.
• The amount of pasta sauce should be increased. By a lot.
• The amount of ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese should be doubled.

I haven't given up on this recipe completely. Unless someone has a tried and true recipe that they absolutely love for lasagna, I think I'll do it again with the above alterations. In about 5 to 7 years.

Other zucchini recipes that are fabulous:
Italian Chicken Pasta Toss
Two-Bean Chicken Chili
Zucchini, Chicken and Rice Casserole

{P.S. Mr. Bug laughs when my dinner gets a photo op. I hesitate to add photos of my food because food doesn't photograph well. I wonder if it makes the recipes look less appetizing. While discussing the photo, I've got a little confession. My meals aren't always 'gourmet,' 'well rounded' or even 'complete.' That big empty space on the plate is where the watermelon I was too lazy to cut should go. Also, you should know that I only used zucchini in this recipe and not zucchini and squash like I sometimes too. There really is such a thing as yellow zucchini. My neighbor grows it because she can hide it in things better than the regular.}

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Giveaway Goodness & Where to Win A Go!

I think overall in the scheme of things winning an Emmy is not important. Let's get our priorities straight. I think we all know what's really important in life - winning an Oscar. -Ellen DeGeneres

I've had a string of luck with giveaways lately and I believe some public thank-you's are due!

First, to P. at The Way I Sew It, who hosted 5 fantastic days of giveaways leading up to her birthday, I want to thank you for these totally cool notecards {which I have had so much fun using} and the awesome black and white fat quarters {which I'm dreaming of using in a hundred different ways}. Check P. out. She is crafty, funny and tall. The perfect combination!

Next, a thank-you to Kaye at Miss Print who also hosted a huge birthday bash, and to John at Quilt Dad who was one of her prize sponsors, for this awesome Moda Marbles Jelly Roll. I totally Moda Marbles and have big plans for this baby.

I also owe a thank-you to Jen, who just had a big birthday party at Renalilly Designs, and her prize sponsor, Karen, of Karen's Quilting Service for 50% off all-over machine quilting. I've been putting off doing a baby quilt with minkee backing because I'm afraid it will be too bulky and heavy for me, a total novice, to do.

And last, but certainly not least, a thanks to Karen at Sew Many Ways, who does a Sharing on Sunday giveaway every week, just because she's awesome. I won during July, when her theme was Christmas in July and got this fantastic peppermint scented stationery with matching envelopes and stickers. I send out about a hundred Christmas cards every year and include a little family newsletter, so this is perfect!

While I'm running such a streak of good luck, I thought I'd see if I can win a Go! Cutter from AccuQuilt. To increase my chances of winning share the love, I'm posting about these awesome giveaways for another entry, {which technically decreases my chances of winning because you all want one too and will go enter these giveaways. But everybody loves lots of entries when they host a giveaway, so I'm playing along. But seriously, please don't go enter, because I really need want a Go! Cutter}.

Quilt Hollow
Winners will be announced on August 26, so hurry for this one.

Sew Cindy
I love this one. It is a one day giveaway which ends on August 26 at 4:00 am MST, so hurry for this one too.

A La Mode Fabric
Heather is giving a pop-quiz {which I am never good at} so think of your favorite cartoon before you go check her out. Giveaway closes on August 27 at 9:00 pm PST.

Freckled Whimsy
There are lots of ways to enter this giveaway, which ends on August 27 at 9:00 pm CST.

Canton Village Quilt Works
If you haven't met Jackie, check her out. Giveaway ends on August 28.

Sweet P Quilting
She's done an awesome quilt with the strip cutter. Winners will be posted the morning of August 31.

Sew Many Ways
Karen is so creative. She's posted lots of fun ways to use the Go! Cutter dies. Giveaway ends September 1.

And with all this giveaway talk, I couldn't help but leave you with a little teaser :wink:. I've got something fun in the works, so be watching for a giveaway from me soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Abbey Bags: A Fix and A Finish

Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. -Unknown

I made my first Abbey Bag as a gift for my cute friend, Iris. The instructions were a little bit hard to follow in a couple of places, so I interpreted them the best I could and the pincushion/bag turned out reasonably well. The only problem with it was that the bag sort of stood at attention instead of being all puffy and open and cute. When I went back to make a couple more, I had a few der :dunce: moments, when I realized where I'd gone wrong. The pattern calls for fusible fleece, which I had difficulty translating in my head to mean fusible batting. I used Pellon Peltex 71F, which worked really well for the flower, but was too stiff for the bag. When I decided to make a few more of these cute little pincushion/bags, I just used some Warm & Natural I had on hand to line the bags, using my walking foot to sew that part. The result was much better.

Iris mentioned in passing that she'd had kind of a hard time getting really good use out of the bag part of this pincushion/bag combo. Later, after I realized my mistake with her bag, I asked her to send it back so that I could fix it for her. I pulled the bag apart and then ran an iron over the fabric that was fused to the Peltex and it easily came apart. I put it back together with some batting and was so glad that I could fix her bag so that it is all puffy and cute. It sits open like it is supposed to, so hopefully she'll have no trouble at all using it.

I'm kind of fixated on these little pincushions. I get that way sometimes. It is really fun to come up with different fabric combinations and make the same thing over and over in different ways. But since I don't really need more than one pincushion {although the jury may just still be out on that one . . . two couldn't really hurt, could it?}, it is fun to make them as little gifts in fabric combinations that I think will suit the recipient.

Around Easter time, I made a new blog friend. Her blog is called Pink Suede Shoe. How could I not investigate? In her post that day, Pink said she loved black jelly beans and I commented that she could have mine. We were fast friends from that moment. Today we met for the first time. We were all set to go to the Quilt Show at the Springville Art Museum. She brought pie {and let me tell you, it was delicious :drooling:. It will be gone before dinner} and I had a little something for her too.

I did a few aprons using this adorable Apple and Pears fabric and have since decided that I'm going to make an ironing board cover for my big ironing board out of this fabric. When I went back to get some more, however, I couldn't find it. I went several times, and mentioned that I wasn't having any luck finding more. Pink told me that she'd been in to JoAnn's recently and they did, in fact, have some {it turns out that they just moved it and I wasn't looking in the right place} or that she had some in her stash {because she has a thing for pears} that I could have. A little light turned on :idea:. I pulled my apples and pears aprons scraps as well as the left-over ruffle fabrics in green and pink and added in the striped fabric {which seems totally made for the apples and pears}, and voilá. An Abbey Bag for Pink. And a finish for August :clap:.

As it turns out, the Museum is closed on Mondays :lol:, so we'll have to schedule another play date. I wonder what I could trade for some more of that pie :confused:?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Sermons: O Remember, Remember

As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. -Henry B. Eyring

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Versatile Blogger

There is a destiny that makes us brothers: none goes his way alone,
All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.

-Edwin Markham

P. at The Way I Sew It gave me this award. This is a huge compliment and I was really touched that she would think of me.

The award came with some rules {which, according to P. are meant to be broken}.

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
See above.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.
Hopefully I don't bore the pants off you.
• I did not like chocolate when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I don't have that problem now.
• I like to sleep on my stomach and I scoot way down so my toes can hang over the bottom edge of the mattress.
• I attribute my 'creative gene' to my dad and the skills with which to use it to my mom. I inherited the best from both of them.
• I'm the oldest of six kids. Mr. Bug is the oldest of eight kids. Together, we have 35¾ nieces and nephews {and counting}. Correspondingly, our children, the Little Bugs, have 35¾ cousins.
• I had braces {for the first time} when I was 33. I've had them off for three years now and I love how beautiful and straight my teeth are.
• I have always loved dolls. I have a small collection now.
• My dream home will include a LEGO room with LEGO tables and LEGO shelves and a LEGO floor and soft comfy slippers at the door so if you accidentally step on a LEGO {because they will never have to be put away} it won't hurt your foot.

3. Pass the award to 15 blogs you enjoy and let them know they've been given the award.
It has been nearly a week since P. let me know she'd given me this award, so I hope that she doesn't think I was ignoring her kindness! I've just been thinking really hard about who to pass it on to. It was difficult to narrow it down to 15 and at the same time, I wondered if 15 was too many :lol: {you know how these things go -- will it be a compliment or will the passing it along part be an annoyance?}. At last, here is my list of new recipients of The Versatile Blogger Award.
• Amber at A Little Bit Biased
BlueBerry Moon
• Coley at Hanson's
• JaiCi at Just JaiCi's Crafts
• Karen at Sew Many Ways
• Lane at That Man Quilts
Lit & Laundry
• Peg at Happy in Quilting
• Pink at Pink Suede Shoes
Quilt Nut
• Rae Ann at Cutie Pinwheel
• Sam at All Things Quilty
• Sara at Sew Sara
• Tori at James Family Blog {check out the leather jacket she repurposed into a beautiful hand bag}
• Vicki at Sew Inspired

Free Motion Quilt-Along

When the student is ready, the master appears. -Buddhist Proverb

I've gone and joined another quilt along. I'm really excited about it. This is a Free-Motion Quilt Along and I am so ready to learn! The ability to finish your piecework is, in my opinion, what really makes you a quilter.

In the past I have taken my quilts to the long-arm quilter. I've been afraid that I would ruin all my hard work with some really craptastic quilting. Interested in broadening my skills, I took a beginning machine quilting class at the LQS in February of this year. It was really fun, and made me brave enough to try out a bit of quilting on my own. I've only really dabbled with it a little bit. I've done mostly straight-line quilting, {Scripture Covers for the Little Bugs and pink sleep masks} or projects that allowed me to use my walking foot {double-wedding ring block}. I did get a little bit brave on a table runner and added in a few free-motion details, but was really tempted to rip them out after I'd finished. If there had been time, I probably would have, but it was a birthday gift and it was late :rolleyes:.

When it came time to do the quilting on the snowball quilt I made for my sister's wedding, I briefly considered doing these pretty loopy flowers, but after practicing a bit, I decided that for a first attempt at doing an entire quilt with FMQ, it would probably be best to stick to a simple stipple {or meander}. It was a really scary thing to contemplate doing the quilting myself. But money is tight right now, so the long-arm quilter was out. I procrastinated for as long as I could, but eventually, I just had to do it, and it was surprisingly . . . well . . . satisfying. I made a few mistakes and sometimes I meandered on top of myself, but it felt really good to do it all myself. I'm looking forward to finishing my other snowball quilt so I can do it all over again.

As of late, I have been contemplating those pretty loopy flowers again. I want to do them on the Frolic tops I pieced together but haven't quilted yet. I'm also dreaming up quilts I want to make for Christmas gifts and wondering how I can branch out a little bit from stippling, so this quilt-along is perfect :clap:.

Christina, who is hosting the Free-Motion Quilt Along over at A Few Scraps, says this will require about 35 minutes of quilting time each week. I'm looking forward to that, and may do a bit of extra-curricular free-motion quilting on the side. This is one skill that I'm looking forward to honing.

I'd also like to give a bloggy shout out to P. at The Way I Sew It, whose post got me into this, as well as Mrs. P at Quilting in My Pyjamas, whose post got P. into it. I follow both their blogs, so it really was a toss up between the two as to who would get me to do this. As we all know, I'm highly susceptible to peer pressure. Christina has just listed the supplies that we will need and if you hurry and join today, you can also be entered in her giveaway for an awesome FMQ prize pack. I hope you'll consider joining in the fun!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Funeral Flowers

People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.
-Marcel Proust

An older man in the ward {LDS-speak for parish or congregation} passed away last weekend. His funeral was Wednesday. The ward always arranges for a luncheon after the funeral for the family of the deceased. This man's wife is the most amazing gardener. She spends 4 or 5 hours every day in her yarden {term for a beautifully landscaped yard}. So the committee chair wanted to put a few fresh flower arrangements on the tables for the luncheon. She called me to see if I could put something together. There isn't too much blooming right now, but I was happy to put together what I could. There were eight tables set up in two long rows. The committee covered the tables with pretty sherbet-colored {vinyl} table cloths in pink, peach and yellow. Someone else provided little vases with Black-Eyed Susans, so we alternated the jars of flowers with the other vases on the tables, so it turned out really pretty.
{Shasta Daisies, Black-Eyed Susans, Coconut Lime Coneflowers, Green Envy Coneflowers (the dark purle ones), Cotton Candy Coneflowers (far right jar), Pincushion Flowers (scabiosa), and Coreopsis}

LadyBug who is my constant shadow {which I absolutely adore}, helped me put the flowers together :flower:. I cut the flowers and she gave them a little shake to hopefully get any bugs off. Then she helped me trim the leaves away and put them in the jars. She was enamored with the little yellow coreopsis. She commented how soft the petals were. She told me that she wanted one of her own, so I sent her out to cut one for herself. When she came in, she said she wanted it in a vase. I suggested a little glass container, but it was too big. She found a little Tupperware cup and put the flower in it with some water. Then we decided it would be fun to make a little arrangement, so she went out and cut some more flowers, until her little 'vase' was all filled. Then she picked some ribbon to tie around it. It would have been fun to include her bouquet in the picture with the big jars, but we were in a hurry to get them over to the church, so I finished up her little arrangement with a bow when we got back and then we took some pictures of it.

LadyBug put her little arrangement on the windowsill in her room.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weather Widget

Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while. -Kin Hubbard

I recently found the coolest weather widget. It tells the time, temperature and location, and there is even a cute little picture that reflects the weather and time of day.
Forecast by NWS

I started out with just a small widget in my sidebar. It was 150 x 150, included the current time and temperature and you could just make out that there was a little landscape going on. If you clicked on it, it expanded to full-screen and lots more details about the weather were available. I showed it to LadyBug yesterday during a thunderstorm {we had more fun watching the rain on the widget than we did watching it out the window} and she thought it was so cool that she wanted to add one to her blog too. Her sidebar is wider {220 pixels} and I was just a little bit jealous because you could see the farmhouse in her widget. When I made the widget to include in this post at 430, I loved it so much that I decided I wanted a big one for my header {my motto is, after all, Go Big or Go Home!}. I love it because you can see the little farmhouse down the lane and there's room for all the features this little widget offers.

The best part about it is that it can be customized. You can make it just about any size you want. It automatically adjusts the picture so you can make it narrow and tall, or wide and short, or a nice, neat square. You can select the temperature in Fahrenheit, Celsius or Autodetect {I'm assuming that it somehow knows what scale you use and automatically displays it in the units of measurement you understand}. You can choose which city it displays, or if you're living in a super-secret location you can leave that part off. And you can display it in different languages. There was quite a list -- French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Polish, just to name a few.

So, why am I so excited about the weather :raincloud: ? The conditions around us, the time and temperature, are things that we habitually and often unconsciously keep track of to keep our bearings throughout the day. At a glance, my little weather widget lets you see what time it is and what the weather is like where I am. It gives you a little window into my world and I guess it makes my little piece of virtual reality a little more real.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Missão Brasil Fortaleza: Cinco por día, mais um

True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories. -Florence King

Yes. I'm going to talk about MORE mission stuff :lol:. I hope you'll indulge me just a little. I promise not to bend your ear for too long. I have a few odd memories that really didn't have a place in my other posts about my mission. This post is rather disjointed and these are things of little consequence, but stick in my mind nonetheless. It is an interesting thing to be thrust in a world that is so completely different than your own.

In my first post about my mission, I showed pictures of all of my companions. I only had one picture of my first companion, Sister {Rose} Soares, with her hiding way in the back. However, I found some old rolls of film that I had developed and I found a picture of us together on my first day in Brasil. The quality of the picture isn't super, but considering it sat in my suitcase in a tropical climate for several months, and then in a drawer for 16 years, I'm really glad to have it. She was so patient and kind.

The little monkey sitting on my shoulder here was someone's pet. His name is Chico. I thought he was cute, so I asked to hold him. He climbed on me a bit and then that cheeky monkey bit me on the neck. I was a bit worried about it for a while, but it's been 15 years and I'm doing pretty OK, so no harm done, I think.

Chickens were frequently kept as pets. Here and in many other countries, hens are allowed to be kept in residential areas, but roosters are not. And I totally understand why that is a law. In Brasil, there wasn't a law about where roosters can be kept and so when the sun came up {at 6:00 every morning} the roosters would begin to crow. And they wouldn't shut up. Look at this gorgeous rooster someone had living in their yard. The colors on him were amazing, which is why I took a picture of him. Unfortunately, the film didn't quite capture his beauty.

One rule for missionaries is that you are to write your family a letter every week. I have this 'thing' for packages and letters. I love to put them together and I love to make them pretty. On my second day in Brasil, I got a letter together for my family to let them know I'd arrived and was on my way. My companion and I went to the post office branch near our home so I could mail it. They only offered one choice of international stamp, and it was pretty boring. So the next time we went into the city center my companion took me to the main post office to get some pretty stamps. They didn't sell them at the main windows. We had to go into this little side office to get them. After that, I would make my companions go to the main post office to get stamps. I would buy enough to mail my letters for that week and the next because we would only make a trip into the city every other week. I asked my mom to save all of my letters and when I got home, I made a collage of all of the pretty stamps I'd procured during my time in Brasil. A few weeks ago, I scanned the collage in and was looking at the digital images. The quality is incredible and I can see details that were almost too small to see on the original stamps. I put together a little slide show of them, with that first boring international stamp at the beginning. One interesting thing about stamps in Brasil is that the cost of international postage fluctuates so frequently that they seldom print the value on the international stamps. You pay the going rate and if the rate goes up the next day, the stamp is still worth the international rate. It works like the USPS's Forever stamps.

I think I've just about wrapped up with blogging about my mission memories. I'll have some fun quilty stuff next Way Back When-sday.

Confused About Abbey Bags

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can. -Sydney Smith

I received a question in the comments on one of my posts about the Abbey Bag pincushions. The commenter did not leave a way for me to contact them, so, I'm hoping that they will come back and see the reply here.

I saw your comments on the abbey bags that you made. I'm in the process of making one myself and I'm stuck and was wondering if you could help me! For the Outer Bag the instructions say to sew the two pieces together to form a tube. I'm confused, do I sew the 9" x 9½" to the middle of the 9" x 20" piece and have 5½" left on each end of the 20" piece or do I sew the 9" piece to the end of the 20" piece and have 11" left on one end? And then after the tube is formed do you add the gathering stitch just the top and bottom (9" side) of the 9" x 20" piece or do you stitch all the way around the two ends?

I've followed a lot of patterns over the years and some are better than others :wink:. I found the instructions for the Abbey Bags a bit confusing. Part of the trouble is they have you working with a 9" x 9½" piece, which is just too close to a square for it to clearly be a rectangle :lol:. Hopefully this will help.

• For your outer bag pieces, place them right sides together, lining up the 9" sides on one end and sew a ¼" seam on that edge.

• Bring the free 9" side of the 9" x 9½" piece so that it lines up with the free 9" side of the 9" x 20" piece and sew a ¼" seam on that edge. This forms the tube, but the seams do not divide it equally. The smaller piece will be the back of the bag and the larger piece, which will be the front, will be gathered to fit it.

• Run a basting stitch along the top and bottom edges of the 20" portion of the tube. Mark the bottom center of the 9½" piece and the 20" piece and then match them, pinning them right sides together. Pull the bobbin thread of the basting stitch so that the 20" piece is gathered evenly to match the 9½" piece and sew together along the bottom edge.

• Turn the bag right sides out. The gathers make the front all puffy and cute. The top of the bag will be gathered to fit when the lining is inserted. For now, it is OK to leave it flat.

• The back of the bag is flat.

Hopefully this helps! If you have other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or send them by e-mail.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Snowball Night: Week 12

I keep my end tables full of needlework and quilting so I don't have to dust them. -Unknown

Are you bored of seeing the same partly finished snowball blocks yet? Because I'm running out of clever ways to display them for photographing.

I've got three corners on 48 blocks, which is the equivalent of 36 finished blocks if I had divided the blocks out to finish a fourth of them each week instead of doing one corner every week. I think if I had decided to finish a fourth of them at a time, I may have skipped a week or two here and there and not made as much progress because there would be nothing partially finished and waiting for me to work on it. This way, I have to work on the blocks a bit each week because it bugs me knowing that they are sitting in the cabinet partially finished. I'm working at a slower pace on this quilt than I did the first, but still looking forward to finishing it so I can have my own to snuggle under.

On a different, but not altogether unrelated note, I guest posted over at Stash Manicure today. Rae Ann had this clever idea to populate a blog with ideas from lots of different quilters on how they manage scraps and stash fabrics. Since my snowball quilts are made from my stash {except for the fabric I bought with a 50% off coupon for the sashing, binding and back, which I think is completely reasonable -- most stash pieces are not large enough for those things}, making them somewhat relevant to the theme of her blog, I took Rae Ann up on her offer to post. It was a lot of fun and I have really enjoyed reading through the comments today. I noticed I have a couple of new followers! Welcome :hug:! And for all of you who have been reading my madness for a while now, thanks for sticking with me :hug:.

I'm putting the snowball quilt away until next week {it kind of keeps it interesting to only work on it one day a week} and I'm going to see if I can make some headway with my pinwheel sampler. It is time to spread it out on the living room floor put it up on my design wall and find the perfect arrangement for those fabulous pink and brown pinwheels.