Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A Lovely Win!

While we visited the City Museum in St. Louis recently, I sat myself down on a bench to collect my wit's and take a breather. Have you ever been there?  Oh my.  I am not sure how to even describe the place.  You will have to Google images of it to get an idea, and even that may not come close.

I was on sensory overload, separated from my family who kept ducking into places and disappearing, and generally feeling anxious and alone.  I pulled out my phone to text my husband and daughter to say I would be staying put , there by the whale skeleton, for a while.

That's when I got a lovely e-mail from Mari of the Academic Quilter ,  letting me know I'd won a giveaway she had sponsored on her blog.  Yay!

Her lovely package arrived a few days after we got home.  Here's what I won!

I love these Moda floral prints,  And, thanks for the bonus needles, Mari!

If you've been to City Museum, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!  And if you have an opportunity to visit, do!  It wasn't my cup of tea, but my family loved it.  And it's something you have to see to beleive.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Blogging Challenge Day Four

Today is my 4th consecutive  day posting as part of The 31 Day Blogging Challenge.  Admittedly,  There isn't really anything sewing or quilting related in this post.

Now, this is supposed to be a sewing and quilting blog, so, to keep things in the up and up, I took a picture of the subject of this post with something quilty.  does that count?

This quilt block is one of a handful that I have, hand-pieced by one of my grandmothers.
An heirloom, for sure.

While we were on our road trip to St. Louis last month, I became slightly addicted to biscuits.  You now, the simple baking soda busicuits, like the ones McDonald's uses in their sausage busicuits with egg? That's the ONLY thing I will eat at McDonalds, because I love those busicuits.  Well, I had one for breakfast at Cracker Barrel on our first morning.  Then, each day following, I had one or two from the hotel's breakfast buffet.  They are just so good.  especially when warm and slathered with just enough butter.

I was delighted when I found a set of busicuit cutters in the Arch Gift Shop, along with my other goodies!  My youngest daughter was pretty excited, too, as baking is her thing.

We decided to give them a whirl this past weekend, trying out the buttermilk busicuits recipe that was attached to the set.  She did all the measuring, most of the mixing and all of the cutting.  She aspires to own a bakery someday, and it would not surprise me if she succeeds!

I think we need to tweak our recipe a bit, as the busicuits were a bit dense and flat, a tad too salty.  They were delicious, even so (I had three!!) and paired perfectly with homemade chicken noodle soup for our first-snowfall-of-the-season dinner last night.

I hope you have lots of good things to eat, and lots of time to sew!


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Quilty Goodness Everywhere

My family and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in St. Louis.  We have no relatives there, and had no reason to go, other than needing
some family time, just the four of us.

As much as we love our extended families, it can sometimes be challenging to spend time with them this time of year.  Personalities clash, feeling get hurt, eyes get rolled...it's not all Merry and Bright. And, with my husband's recent work travel and the girls' just general level of busy-ness, I had been feeling that we've not had as much time just enjoying each other as I'd like.

So, I picked a driveable destination, we made our apologies to both families, and booked a hotel room.

We left on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, after the girls' commitments, about 8:00.  We made it as far as Rockford, IL.  It would have been feasible to drive further, but my youngest has to do about an hour's worth of respiratory treatments before bed each night, so we stopped there.  After a good night's sleep and a Cracker Barrel breakfast, we continued on the Springfield.

We spent several hours exploring the Abraham Lincoln museum and house there.  Have you been there? If not, it's worth a visit.  I loved watching my girls connect the dots between this display of Lincoln's life and other Civil War museums and sites we've visited in Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee and North Carolina.  And, being in Lincoln's house, holding the railing he held every night on his way to bed was pretty awesome. We all came away wanting to know more about him and his family.  My youngest has even chosen to write a piece about him for her ELA class this quarter.  I love it when history comes alive!

I enjoyed looking at the textiles used for Mrs. Lincoln's dresses.
We made it to St. Louis in time for dinner and a late night swim, and some general relaxing.  Many, many laughs were had throughout the day and it just felt so good to have no real agenda or time constraints.

While in St. Louis, we took in a rather large Thanksgiving Day parade, ate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in a steakhouse,  wandered the city gardens, visited City Museum, and of course, went to the top of The Arch.

I am sad to say that I did not talk my family into visiting a single quilt shop,  although there would have been several options on our trip.  Time was unscheduled, but not unlimited, and I am trying hard to not buy fabric I don't have a plan for.  at least until my craft room is reorganized and my stash is unpacked, again.        

I don't know about you, but I look at this and see flying geese! 
I did, however, make a couple of quilt related purchases!  The Arch Gift Shop is fantastic!  Not just key chains and t-shirts (though there were plenty of those, too!)  There were SO many books that it felt as though we were in a Barns and Noble rather than a souvenir shop.  I was happy to find The Quilt That Walked To Golden by Sandra Dallas.  I am always up for tales of frontier life, and if quilts factor in, so much the better.  I read through several sections of the book on the ride home.  I loved the accounts of women who traveled West and the quilts they took with them  The photos are fantastic, too.  And, reflecting on the journey those pioneer families took made the drive through Illinois seem not so bad!

The REALLY exciting purchase, though,  was  the Catenary pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.  Just look at those arches!

 My eyes went right to it when I entered the gift shop and I knew instantly it would be going home with me.  What a perfect way to commemorate our trip!  There was a sample quilt hanging above the patterns, and it was just lovely.  I wish I had snapped a photo, because the quilting was unique.  I have some thoughts and plans about how to proceed with this quilt, and my mind keeps returning to them, so I must be on to something!

This has been my third consecutive day posting, as part of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.  Pop over here to visit some others who are taking the challenge too!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Sewing for Others

A couple rectangles of donated upholstery fabric, 44 inches of nylon webbing and about half an hour of sewing time, give or take.  Multiply that by a room full of volunteer sewists age 9 to a lot older, and you have a very productive sewing day!

The stack of finished bags, about halfway through the day.

Today I joined a group of 4-H members, moms and leaders to make simple tote bags for local food pantries and shelters.  A large amount of heavy fabric had been donated to one of our County leaders.  She put out a call for help to get it made into bags.  The food pantries in our area are trying to encourage food recipients to bring reusable bags, to cut down on the cost of providing plastic bags.  This fabric will make a sturdy bag that will last a LONG time!

Unfortunately, neither of my 4-Hers was able to go.  They were both off doing what they love best - karate for one, show choir practice for the other.  Spending a day sewing, chatting and helping kids learn to sew sounded good to me, though, so I went without them!

The bags sewed up quick!  It was so nice to zip through straight seams and a simple boxed off bottom.  Very little pinning and no seams to match!  Finishing four of them  (with time in between spent helping others as needed) felt GREAT, since I'm so accustomed to projects lingering on forever!

I got a little fancy on this one, using a decorative stitch on the top edge.
Putting the handles on was, by far, the most time consuming part.

We finished about 30 bags today and another 20 or so were taken home by volunteers to be completed.  I brought 4 so my girls can sew them up.

I'm so glad I went!  Simple sewing for a good reason and a little pleasant conversation thrown in the mix was just what I needed!

Friday, December 02, 2016

The 31 Day Blogging Writing Challenge

As I was scrolling through my Bloglovin' feed this morning, I noticed a few of my blogging friends have decided to try something called The 31 Day Blogging Writing Challenge.

It is exactly what it says it is - an effort to blog each day for the entire month.  I know myself and my schedule well enough to know that this will never happen.  Plus, this ain't exactly my first December, ya know?  I am well aware how nutso its going to get!

But, when I clicked over to Cheryl's site and read her posts about the challenge, I decided to jump in.  She stresses that it's OK to miss a few posts, and the whole point is to build habits that will take you into a new blogging year.  It's just a fun way to get a jump start.

So, I'm in! I didn't learn about the Challenge until this morning, and it's already December 2, so I won't make all the days this month, but I sure can aim for 4 or 5 posts a week!  In all honestly, I just fell out of the habit, and this seems like a fun way to get back at it.

Plus, the link up at Cheryl's site is full of new-to-me blogs.  It will be fun to meet some new bloggers, and maybe gain a reader or two, too!

If you are up for it, you can link up a post here.  Let me know, so I can be sure to follow your progress, and we can encourage each other!

And for the sewing part of "Sew Much For Free Time," here's the extent of my sewing today!

I finally got around to putting two star patches on my daughter's karate uniform!  These signify that she's gone through two 12 week "rotations" since earning her Black Belt!  Tomorrow, she will perform with the Demo Team at the graduation ceremony for the newest class of black belts.  So, the patches NEEDED to go on.  It took  four minutes.  Seriously, why do I procrastinate these simple little things?

I've got plans for my next three posts, so please check in often!  I just might make a go of it this time!!