A Full House

It’s quilting time again and off to retreat I went! The retreat center was packed to the rafters with wonderful women who love to quilt as I do. Thirty-five ladies went on the retreat and thirty-five beds were available at the center. Like I said, packed to the rafters.

It’s not just the retreaters that come to the center, but all the equipment, supplies, projects, notions, clothes, and miscellaneous that comes with them. I mean to tell you, we were packed in there.

IMG_1032Sewing machines were practically touching each other, to say nothing about chairs colliding with one another. A person could hardly walk down an aisle without turning sideways to fit through. It’s a good thing we all love each other!

Day One and the quilts were already going up on the design walls.

IMG_1033This quilt appeared in about three different versions. Turn the blocks around and you have a whole new quilt.

IMG_1034What a sweetie!

IMG_1035A similar pattern but different colors. Very nice!

IMG_1037The first quilt turned in a different way. Amazing!

IMG_1038Love those primary colors!

IMG_1039These blocks were done by several people in the Bee and given to one special person. How lucky is she!

IMG_1040How did this one get done so fast? Most have done some work at home before the retreat.

IMG_1041Love the drama of this one. Contrast makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

IMG_1042This illusion quilt is beyond description. Playing with value and hue makes everything look three-dimensional. The background fabric has printed words. Look carefully and don’t miss a thing!

IMG_1043Done by same quilter as previous. Again there are no words!

IMG_1044This one reminds me of the front of an office building. Again the three dimensional look. Aren’t these quilts spectacular?

Day Two was equally great. More quilts on the design walls. More projects, more humming of machines, more talking and laughter. How could it be any better? But it was!

IMG_1045Simple but dramatic!

IMG_1046Very interesting! Each elk head was cut exactly the same. Amazing!

IMG_1047Some people made astounding progress on their quilt by making many many blocks.

IMG_1048Some people made less progress and made only one block. They were busy doing other things. . .talking, texting, messaging, talking, blogging, talking, visiting, talking, and talking.

P.S. This block was joined by many other blocks and became a full quilt by Day Three and a half.

IMG_1049How about this beauty?

IMG_1050Can’t take my eyes off these colors. Very striking!

IMG_1052Don’t you just love this quilt? So much to see!

IMG_1053Very interesting version of Log Cabin. Love the colors.

IMG_1055Now here is a real scrap user! Every block is different.

IMG_1056Don’t the windows make all the difference?

IMG_1057Who doesn’t love stars? The black background really makes it pop.

IMG_1059This is some wonderful fabric I found at retreat. I love the philosophy! The rules of life as revealed in fabric. Bee-utiful!

IMG_1060Now here is a commitment to making squares! Rock on!

Day Three – more of the same and some different. Quilts were being produced faster than I could keep up with. My camera was smoking! Thirty-five women and three days – I would expect no less.

IMG_1062Squares galore! Can you believe it?! And the Bargello effect is stunning!

IMG_1063More squares and some really interesting fabric.

IMG_1065Love the chains! Very nice effect.

IMG_1066I feel like I’m at the beach, don’t you?

IMG_1067I feel like I’m in Paris, don’t you?

IMG_1072Interesting use of color and tones.

IMG_1070Closeup of an interesting border to one of the quilts. I don’t believe you can have too much color in any one quilt, as evidenced by this one.

By the end of Day Three we were all starting to pack up for the trip home. So much was accomplished by so many. Not just the quilts, but the friendships, the relationships, the bonding we made in such a short time. When that many women eat together, sleep together, and work together, magic can happen. And it did! Wonderful, magical things happened at the full house!

Music, Music, Music!

Another September, another week at Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kansas. What a delightful, wonderful way to get saturated in bluegrass, folk, country, gospel, celtic and every other kind of acoustic music you can imagine. Camping in the 5th wheel at the Fair Grounds and listening to instrumental and vocal tunes all day is my kind of vacation.

images

Gramps and I have been coming for about five years now and love it more each time we are here. The music comes from all parts of the world, yet needs no translation. We understand each rhythm and beat. It’s truly magical, even if we don’t know the words.

Music is like that – it speaks to each heart if its own language. Even children and infants understand the seeming foreign tongue of a lyrical tune they have never heard before. People who can’t understand each other’s spoken language, can read and share music, providing a bridge across every barrier.

dancing images

Instruments are played, songs are sung, toes are tapped and fingers are snapped. It’s the beginnings of dance and we all have it in us – the response to music.

Simple words and notes can make us cry or laugh, pause or become excited. They can make us feel every emotion or stun us as though we have been slapped. They can stir rebellion or quiet the raging soul. Nothing affects us quite like music.

Music can do things like nothing else in the world. It can change a child’s brain who learns to play an instrument. It can enrich a child’s life who sings in a chorus. It can enlarge a child’s world who plays in an orchestra or band. Nothing affects a child the way music does.

Unknown

Gramps and I have done it all – we have sung in choirs, played instruments, taught songs to our children and grandchildren, provided music lessons to younger family members and probably sung “Happy Birthday” at least once to everyone we know.

images

Walnut Valley Festival is one of the places we visit to learn, understand and share that mystical language we call music.

A Too Cute Tutu

How much fun is a pouffy, fluffy tutu! You can spin, twirl, dance, leap and sing in a tutu. It brings out all the make believe fairies and pretend princesses hidden within. Tutus are beautiful and magical and special. Nothing forces oohs and aahs from little girls like a tutu.

IMG_0885So, of course, I made a tutu for granddaughter Mary and great-granddaughter Kay. (They are only two years apart in age!). It was lots of fun and very very easy.

To make one: cut a 2″ wide ribbon the length of the child’s waist plus enough to make a bow (about 30″). Tie a double knot 15″ in from each end.

IMG_0887Decide how long you want the tutu to be (mine is 12″) and cut 6″ wide tulle into lengths twice that long i.e.. 24″ for mine. Then fold the tulle and tie over the ribbon. Do this from knot to knot until the area is full. Voila! You have a tie-on tutu!

IMG_0888Use any color combination you can imagination and it will look spectacular. I used three different pinks plus one glitter tulle. Add a crown and you have an instant costume.

IMG_0889I can hardly wait to get the photos of my two too precious girls in their too cute tutus!

 

 

New Camera, New View

I recently got a new camera and have had more fun playing with it! Aren’t new toys so enjoyable?

Right after receiving the new camera, Gramps and I went on a short camping trip to Lake Tawakoni. There was the most interesting tree right outside our window that I just had to share with all of you.

IMG_0011Yes, that is all one tree! Five trunks from the same spot in the ground. I’ve never seen such – ever!

IMG_0012This is one trunk that went back into the ground and took root to form another trunk.

IMG_0013

IMG_0015 IMG_0014And here is the best part of all – a gnome house. How cute is that? You don’t find one of these in the trunk of every tree. Just special ones, like this one.

The Joy Of A True Wish

875-0-WishHave you ever thrown a coin in a fountain or a well and made a wish? Sure, everyone has. But did it ever come true? No, never!
Have you ever bought a lottery ticket or bet on a horse? Again, most everyone has. But did you ever win? No, hardly ever.
How about wishing on a star? Did that ever work? Really?
imagesSo, why do we keep making so many empty wishes? Why do we keep thinking magic will make everything better? And why do we keep hoping our lives will change with no effort on our part?

It’s the pull of the fairytale life. The life where all is well and happy with the wave of a wand or a twitch of a nose or the intervention of another person.
We make wishes all the time – I wish I could . . . . .I wish I was . . . . . I wish I had . . . . . I

wisheswish I might . . . . . But what if, instead of just empty wishes, we combined them with planning, effort, commitment, endurance, strength, willpower and fortitude? What could be accomplished if our wants were not just empty pleas but were true desires for change and improvement? True wishes would look more like: I know I can . . . . . I’m sure I will . . . . . I promise to . . . . . They would produce change. Lives would improve. Work would get done.

And a role model might just appear.role model 2

 

The Magic Capes

I made capes for my 2 soon-to-be GS for Christmas. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it actually was fairly simple. Let me tell you how.

First, I used a pattern — Simplicity 5927. I wanted a full cape that could be pulled around the body completely. I used the plain view without a stand-up collar. The pattern comes in several sizes, so the cape for the 6yo is 4-5″ longer than the cape for the 3yo.

The pattern calls for the cape to be made from felt but I chose sturdy fabric for better “flow” and wearability. That required altering the width of the cape a bit but not more than an inch or so at the bottom. (Because felt is wider than most fabrics.)

I chose bright blue and purple because they seemed very “royal” to me and because I had the fabric in my stash. No purchase required!

After cutting out the capes, I applied large initials to each one. I just used fusible web and then zigzagged the edges. Pretty simple!

Because the pattern called for felt, there was no allowance for seams. So I applied bias tape along all the raw edges. Around the neck edge, I just extended the bias edging out for ties on each side and put a knot at each end.

These capes were so easy, I made then both in one day. But here is where the real fun started.

Capes, I have found, are magic! They may look simple, may be easy to make, and may be a cinch to use, but trust me, they are magic! Something truly mystical happened when those 2 little boys put those capes on for the first time Christmas morning. To begin with, the 3yo could fly! Then the 6yo became invisible! Then we had visits from Superman, Batman, Count Dracula and Captain Hook. In the following weeks, those capes have covered Knights of the Roundtable, emerging butterflies, magicians, kings, super-heroes of every sort and sometimes just sleepy little boys.

Putting on a cape transports a child to another world — one of imagination, play, and creativity. Nothing is impossible and all thoughts can become real with this magical piece of fabric wrapped around a small body.

With a cape on, a small person is big, a weak person is strong, and a frightened person is safe. It’s empowering, comforting and stimulating all at the same time. I’m not sure what happened to the capes between the sewing machine and the shoulders of those boys, but they somehow became saturated with fairy dust. They became the most wondrous things and had the most profound effect I have ever seen.

Those 2 capes cost me nothing but a few hours of my time to make but have given me more joy than I can say. How great is it to be able to wrap up true magic and give it to your grandchildren? And then be given the utter privilege of watching magic work its wonders? There’s nothing better, my Sweeties. Nothing better.