UP TO SOMETHING!

Even though I haven’t blogged much this summer, I have been working on several new projects.

In June, a friend and I gathered our collective resources and made this baby quilt.  She had been asked to make the quilt as a commissioned piece, and she doesn’t like to applique.  I, on the other hand, LOVE to applique!  So we decided to join forces to make it happen.  I did the applique, she did the piecing, and we had one very happy client.

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Also in June the two oldest grand-monkeys came to visit.  We had 4 fun filled days playing in the river and starting our fairy garden.  Our fairy garden started out as a very weed-filled old flower bed.  We were able to get it weeded and get a river rock path in place before they had to go back home.  I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, and it will likely be Christmas before I see them again (which is definitely not soon enough.)

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Collecting Rocks

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Our fairy garden has a rock path

Last but not least, our nephew married the love of his life in the month of June.  It was such a beautiful and fun wedding.  I am so very happy for them, and knowing that their marriage is built on the love of our Lord Jesus Christ makes it that much more special.

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July we celebrated our youngest son’s birthday.  He turned 16 and he is also growing up much too fast.  He’s my baby so I want to keep him small as long as possible.  But he grew taller than me this past year.  I wouldn’t say that he is spoiled, although his sister and brothers would probably not agree.  I just like to think that since his older siblings have moved out, we, the parents, are less stressed and are therefore usually nicer. HAHA!  Isn’t he the lucky one!

16-years old

16-years old

Then I went blackberry picking beside the road.  Within 5 minutes I had fallen and hurt my hand very badly.  That put me out of commission for about 3 weeks before I got good movement back, and another 2-3 weeks before I got any strength back in it.  So, I wasn’t able to do any quilting for about 3 weeks.  It was a very sad time.  😦

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August has kept me busy with taxes and a secret project.  Even though I left my full-time tax position over a year ago and am now working in real estate, I still do some taxes on the side. So, several months each year (Feb-April and Aug-Oct) I might have to spend several weekends working on business and individual tax returns.

Wait, did I just mention something about a secret project?  Well, it’s true.  I do have a secret project in progress.  It will be a few months before I can share the whole quilt with you, but here’s a few sneak peak photos.  This has been my quilting project for the month of August.  I plan to have the top finished this weekend, then it will be sent on to my long-arm magician.  No way am I going to try to quilt this one myself!  IMG_4503

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So, you see, I have been UP TO SOMETHING!

Till we meet again…

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

We Moved

Moving is a bear and something I hope I never have to do again.  In April we sold our house in central NC, bought a house in Western NC, and moved to the mountains.

There is a lot less traffic, less people, less stress.  The scenery is gorgeous.  Mountain views from every road.

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mountain overlook

The sunsets are beautiful.

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We bought a home with just over 4-acres.  Only 1 to 1-1/2 acres is cleared though.  It’s an old farmhouse with a barn and workshop.  I just love old homes because they have so much character.  Also, we have a garden space, grapevines, and fruit trees.

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House

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Barn

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Grapes

There is a creek across the road that we have fished several times.

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Another reason I love old homes is because they usually have mature landscaping.  We have many, many different flowering plants in the yard and I love enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor.  This is just a sampling of the flowers we’ve seen since mid-April.

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And one day we’ll have chickens and goats.  Moving in has taken longer than we hoped but we are finally getting close to being done.  But there is one big drawback to living in the country though  – the internet is horrible!  I guess I can live with that.

WE LOVE IT HERE!!

 

Outhouse Racing

IMG_3576Yesterday we traveled several mountains over to view some local entertainment.  Yes, you read that right. We went to the Outhouse Races – an annual event put on by a local ski resort.  For an hour we were entertained by outhouses on skis.  Only in the mountains would you find entertainment like this!

The outhouses were required to be at least 5′ tall, have a roll of toilet paper, and a hole in the seat.  Otherwise they could be decorated in any way.

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Then the race started.  Some races were clearly dominated.

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Others were too close to call.

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After the hour, White Lightening was the winner of the day.  Even with a broken ski.

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It was a great way to spend the afternoon, even with the frozen temperatures.  And when we left, my husband mentioned it gave him some ideas for next year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up as a participant next year and not just part of the crowd.

Flying Kites

The best memories are made when you are able to unplug from technology and enjoy more simple things.  This is exactly what we did this past weekend when we took the little monkeys out to fly kites.

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The wind was sporadic, so although we would be able to get the kite up, it wouldn’t stay up for long.  Finally, they figured out that if they would run when the wind started to die down, they could keep the kite up longer.

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But then they got tired of running, and little man decided the tails of the kite worked pretty well as a blindfold.

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Isn’t that just like life?  We’re trying to stay the course and focus on the goal, and then we get tired of all the obstacles in our way and get sidetracked and our kite falls to the ground.  When, if we would have just kept running, we might have experienced our breakthrough and been able to keep our kite flying until the wind picked up again.

Life has certainly been like that for me lately.  I’m heading in a new direction… although I’m not yet sure where.  I think I know where I want it to lead to, but I also want to make sure it’s God’s will.  It would be easy to give up on the dream and go back to what I know, to what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, because at least I know where I fit there.  But, I also know I wouldn’t be happy there.  It’s not where I’m supposed to be anymore.  So, instead, I pray I have the stamina to stay the course until the direction becomes clear, even if the wind isn’t blowing my direction for a little while.  And then, I pray I have the courage to jump and take the risk laid before me.

headed for sunshine

Waterfalls and new WIPs

North Carolina is home to approximately 200 beautiful natural waterfalls.  Two of the little monkeys are visiting this week, so yesterday we hiked to one of them.  In fact, the waterfall we hiked to, Mooney Falls, isn’t even on the website I linked to above, so there could be many more that are not even listed.

We started our hike to Big Laurel Falls in Nantahala National Forest.  The path through the woods ran along a river and was just beautiful.  We saw many kinds of mushrooms, moss, fern, and a huge tree that was growing somewhat sideways.  But the path was terribly muddy due to the daily rain the area has been having.  So we turned around before ever reaching the falls.Collages18 Collages19

We climbed back in the car and drove less than a mile up the mountain to the trail head for Mooney Falls.  This trail was shorter, less muddy, and easier walking.  We found this waterfall in short order.  Not very tall, but still beautiful.  And the cool air coming off the water was a nice relief to the humid day.

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I hope to visit more waterfalls in the area before winter sets in.

On to quilting… I am working on the WIPs I brought with me (I really am, I promise), but I’ve started more new ones than I finished.  Oh why do I do this to myself?  I have too many ideas running around in my head that need to get out, or someone presents me with a challenge and I have to jump on it.

I started a challenge related to hexies for the brand new Smokey Mountain MQG.

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I bought fabric for a challenge sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics for Bonnie Christine’s new line, Cultivate.  I have just 2 weeks to complete this one, so I really need to jump on it.

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And I’m working on designing new quilts.

A rainbow quilt…

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And this design started off simple…

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and ended up much more complicated.

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This is the same design, just laid out differently.

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They are all still in progress.  Just churning ideas around in my head and seeing what they look like in EQ7.  I could give you about 30 more examples, but I don’t want to overload you. So, what do you think?  Do you love them, hate them?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Nowhere Fast

I posted a blog.  Don’t freak out!

It seems as if everything I do these days takes longer than expected.  We’ve been working on the two bathrooms in our house for months on end.  Both were deconstructed in April last year. (Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been that long).  Imagine 1960’s pea green tile, a 4′ x 6′ frameless mirror, and beige linoleum.  Overall, nothing to write home about.  We don’t live in a high-end neighborhood so we haven’t planned a million dollar restyle, but we thought something more current would be nice.  We plan to redo the tile around the bath surround, reglaze the tub, put in new sinks, counter tops, faucets, and floors.

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Total time we expected this to take — about 4-6 weeks.  We are doing this ourselves and we both work full-time jobs, so this will be just an evening and weekend project.  It was a great plan!

As it turns out, we don’t want to work on it every spare moment, and it seems as if nothing in this house is standard size.  Things have to be fitted and refitted, leveled and re-leveled.  And then sometimes, things just have to be fudged a little bit.

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Good news is we’re getting closer.  We have one shower/tub completely done, and another one close to being done.  I love how the tile work looks.  And it’s so nice to take a shower in something bigger than a broom closet finally.

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On the quilting side, I’m working on a lone star quilt for my middle son.  I sewed the first panel together and it was WRONG.  The blue diamonds are supposed to be going horizontally throughout the panel, not vertically.

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So, I ripped it all out and sewed it back together.  And… it’s wrong AGAIN!

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Can you tell?  The blue triangles are going the right way this time, but there are two green triangles that are opposite where they should be.  Even though it’s only two seams, I still have to rip it out and sew it again.  Ugh!  And matching up the seams properly are a bear.  This is definitely not a slap it together quilting project.

So, yes, we are steadily working on the bathrooms, and I’m working on several quilting projects.  But, it seems as if we get nowhere fast.  Hopefully, one day soon, it will all start coming together and we can mark something complete and off the list.  I’ll be sure to share it with you when we do.  Until  then, we’ll keep plugging along.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Snow Much Fun!

We don’t often get snow in central North Carolina, so when we do most all things stop and we have a Snow Day!  I did have to work today, but I was able to spend a little time outside playing with the kids.  We only had about 1-1/2″ of snow, but that was plenty for the (grand)kids to have fun.  I just love their little red noses and cheeks.

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The big kid is mine

The big kid is mine

Add to that, a little bit of snow cream…

Snow for snow cream

Snow for snow cream

Enjoying the snow cream

Enjoying the snow cream

Now that we have that out of the way, I’m ready for winter to be over.  Tomorrow would be a great day for Spring to arrive.  Wonder if I’ll get my wish?

Oh, and I am still working on the Bento Box quilt.  I have it sandwiched and have lightly quilted it.  I think I probably need to add more quilting.  I would like to get that and the binding done tomorrow night for a Friday finish.  We’ll have to see.  If you have any quilting ideas, please share… I really am stumped here.

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Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Top Posts

I find it interesting to look at the stats to see which posts have been most popular.  Two posts stand at the top with 3 times the views as the third post on the list.

First up is 1 Year Blogiversary.  The top search terms have nothing to do with a blogiversary, so my guess is that all the visits to that post came internally from WordPress.  If I had known it was going to be such a popular post, I would have put some more meat in it.  It was pretty boring as posts go.  Oh well, lost opportunity there.  For my next Blogiversary I’ll be sure to plan something grand!

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Up next is Baked Apple Slices – no added sugar.  This is an excellent recipe and everyone loves it.  Even if you’re not trying to cut down on sugar, the apples themselves have so much sugar you feel like you are eating an apple pie without the crust.  I find it strange that this is the second most visited post though because this isn’t a recipe site.  In fact, I have just three recipes listed.  This one, Choconut Chippers, and Game Day Sausage Dip, which is, ironically, the least visited post ever.   But search terms for the baked apples are coming from all over with things such as:

  • baked apple slices no sugar
  • no sugar baked apple slices
  • stewed apples no sugar
  • baked apple slices without sugar

I sure hope someone has decided to try the recipe and that they loved it!

Baked Apple Slices

And rounding out the top three posts… Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial.  This is a cool sack for kids to carry their toys around.  I first heard about it as a lego sack, but I thought it would work great for cars, especially with road map fabric on the inside, so that is how I made it for my grandson.

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And the top referrer to my blog is Crazy Mom Quilts.  Thank you!   Go check out her blog when you get a chance.  It is full of great quilting projects.

What does all this tell me?  Keep linking up my quilting projects with Crazy Mom Quilts until I can turn this into a full-time blog.  And, I either need to include more no-sugar/low-sugar recipes or I need to create a new no-sugar/low sugar blog.  Hmmm… now, that’s an idea!

Here are some of my favorite posts that I think you might enjoy.

Thanks for reading.  I am truly humbled that you have taken the time to read my posts and follow my blog.  I do appreciate each and every one of you!!

Oh! Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is up, the stockings are hung, and the snowmen are playing in the snow.  And it appears even my blog is in the Christmas spirit.

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The annual job of decorating is mostly done. It is certainly not a job I look forward to, although I really like the end result. My two oldest boys are living on the other side of the country this year, and don’t plan to make it home for Christmas.  I was missing having them here and shed a few tears when no one else was watching.

I also spent this weekend cleaning up and purging some old clothes, toys, books, and stuff. In fact, I have a whole car full of stuff to take to the thrift store tomorrow. Really, where does it all come from? I wish I could do that daily until I get the house and storage areas uncluttered, but earning a living requires that I spend most of my time each week working for someone else instead.

So, due to all the other extra curricular activities this weekend, I haven’t gotten as much sewing done as I would have liked on the quilt top I’m making with the HST’s. Hopefully I’ll make a little bit of progress this week.

Otherwise, I did want to show you the flannel blankets I made. Remember the elephant and robin I spent forever and a day trying to digitize? Well, I did finally finish it and was able to get the blankets embroidered and made. And I won’t share any of the pictures of the baby with the blanket since it is not my family and not my right to share them. But the baby was adorable with her blankets and the mom was very touched. The robin was meant to be a reminder of her grandmother, the baby’s great-grandmother, that has passed and wasn’t able to be there for the birth.

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I also finished crocheting another baby blanket. But of course, I forgot to take pictures outside today so you’ll have to live with an indoor photo.
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I would say December is off to a good start. Now, if I can just get my Christmas shopping done and presents made before the 25th. Haha, that might be pushing it.  I would like to request a few extra weeks…  Do you think we could delay it?

Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention, I added a few things to my etsy store and everything is 18% off thru 12/2 and 15% off the rest of the December.   Check it out.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyNeedle?ref=si_shop

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

A Little Progress

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve posted.  I’ve been quite busy.

I spent a weekend at the beach with the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild.  I enjoyed a full weekend of sewing and getting to know other quilters.  We all had a great time!  And I did make time for a walk on the beach each day and a little bit of butterfly watching.

IMG_3451Then I spent four days in Connecticut for continuing education.  A weekend working in the garden to clean it up from the summer crop.  Then the Duke/Wake Forest football game last weekend.

IMG_3514In the midst of all that and working, I was able to finish up all 1200+ half-square triangle units.  Phew… that was a huge job!

DSC_0209-001And the pile of trimmings was almost as big.

DSC_0206-001And I’ve made a few blocks already.  These are 15″ blocks so things should move faster from here on out.

DSC_0231-001I also added some crocheted hats to my to-do-list for Christmas gifts.  These will be for a few little boys and will have a few things added to them before they are finished.

DSC_0229-001Last but not least, I promise not to turn into Crazy Cat-Lady, but…

Yesterday, honeyman brought home this sweet little kitty for me.  Oh, how will I ever get anything done now?  When he’s awake, I want to play with him, and when he’s asleep he loves to sleep on my lap or just under by chin.  It’s not real easy to sew with a cat sleeping on you. 

IMG_3523And we’re still trying to name him.  I’m thinking Soloman.  Do you guys have any ideas?  

So, I guess that’s my update for now.  Thankfully, we’re not traveling this weekend, so hopefully I’ll get lots of sewing done after lunch tomorrow — IF I can put the kitty down.  What plans do you have for Thanksgiving?

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 106:1

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.