Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spring in December?

Just a quick post.... I was putting the newspaper in the recycle bin this morning and noticed these crocuses (croci ?) coming up next to the house.  Needless to say, it's a wee bit early here in Indiana for the flowers to be surfacing.  The weather has been extreme.... extra cold and extra warm.... so even nature is a bit puzzled.  The crocuses always seem to be OK when Spring actually arrives, even with these premature sightings. 

So .... for today, anyway .... I'm going to
enjoy this little taste of Spring!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Post Christmas

I love the post-Christmas glow!  This  is the time when we can relax, knowing that the actual holiday is over and we can sit back and enjoy what is left of our Christmas decorations without the stress of gift giving.
I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and were able to take a few moments to reflect and bask in the  true meaning of Christmas.... not the gift giving.... and enjoy the special memories.
I have a few pictures of the sewing/quilting related gifts that I received. 
First up... two new books.  Judi Madsen's Wide Open Spaces and Laurie Hird's The Farmer's Wife Pony Club.  Judi's book has several quilt patterns along with suggestions for machine quilting the open spaces of your quilt.  It has an enclosed CD for more instructions.  Laurie's book is a companion book to her first book, The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt.  Both books are based on letters from the Farmer's Wife magazine.  The Pony Club has letters written by children that received Shetland ponies as a reward for magazine subscriptions sold.  There was some controversy as to whether this was a legitimate contest or not... were there actually winners and did they really receive ponies??....so the magazine asked the kids to send in pictures of their ponies and accompanying letters.  It's a charming book with an insight to the life of a child in the early 1900's.  This book also comes with a CD with the patterns and instructions for the quilt blocks that go along with the kid's stories. 
I'd certainly recommend both of these books. 
At the bottom is a page-a-day quilting calendar by our friend Debby Kratovil and Jean Ann Wright.
This is the fabric that I received.  Some coordinating fat quarters, some coordinating fat eighths, and some miscellaneous fabric.  I love them all!

And here are the patterns that I received.  The two on the left are patterns only and the pumpkin on the right is a complete kit with laser cut fabric.... all ready to put in place, fuse and sew.  Can you see the cute little mice faces on the top left pattern?  Delightful!

I think this is all of my sewing loot.... if I come across more as I'm putting things away, I'll slip in a picture. 

And soon.... I'll be posting some of the things that I made for Christmas gifts.  I really didn't make many things this year so it will be fairly quick to blog about the gift making. 

Happy Post-Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Blessings

 "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people."
Luke 2:10

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! 
I hope you have a delightful Christmas, full
of memories to cherish for years to come! 
May God Bless you today and every day!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Praying for peace during the Christmas season
and every day thereafter!

Have a Blessed Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I had to stop at Jo-Ann's yesterday to pick up some batting and found that all of the Christmas items were on sale.... 70% off, in fact.  Although I didn't pick up any true Christmas items, the goodies below were included in the Christmas sale.  Don't know why they were included, but I got the cute ceramic sign for about $2 and the tin of sherbet colored buttons for $2 too.  Finding these treats made it worth the trouble of heading out into the crazy crowds!

The Stitch sign is now happily hanging in my sewing room!

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Christmas wrapping is done! 
Even with Oliver's help, the work is under control. 
If you can't find a cardboard box to hide in,
a gift bag is almost as good. 

 Have a cozy evening!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I haven't been posting much lately.... too many Christmas things to finish and to do.  I did stop by my local quilt shop today and they were having a "Stuff a Bag" for $5.  This first picture shows the fabric that I managed to stuff into two small bags..... I'm guessing I have around 5+ yards of fabric for $10.  And..... this was with a gift certificate from a friend....so....it was free!  Score!
This is a yard of yummy batik fabric that caught my eye today.  (Yeah, all of the batiks catch my eye.)  This wasn't a part of the Stuff a Bag but with my gift certificate it was .... free!  Score!

And here's a pair of applique scissors that I have been wanting for awhile.  They arrived in the mail today and with another gift certificate from a friend they were....... free!  Score! 
Hope you all "scored" today in one way or another! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I was the lucky winner of these great fat quarters from Melissa at Happy Quilting and Fort Worth Fabrics!  Aren't they super!  Thanks so very much for your generosity!

Not much to post as I work on Christmas projects.  I'm not even making that many things but it's just taking me forever to get moving on them.  I'll be able to show photos after Christmas and they have reached their homes.

Hope you have a creative day!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Decorating


It's that time of the year..... time to drag bring the Christmas decorations down from the attic and make the house a little more festive.  Oliver was ready to help, wearing his new silver bell neckwear.  (Look at those tree needles on the floor... I'll be picking them up until next Christmas!)
Again this year, I didn't do much decorating.  My house is very tiny and a little bit goes a long way.  It only took me about 2 hours to decorate and it will only take 2 hours to take it down.....that's plenty, as far as I'm concerned.   My new Christmas quilt (on the rocker) is ready for snuggling! 

And Sewphie is also dressed in her Christmas wear.  She knows that I have a whole bunch of Christmas projects to get finished and she's ready to get at it!  Time's a tickin'!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

I always hate to say "Happy" Veteran's Day.  For many, happy is not a word that would come to mind.  I do want to honor the Veterans today.... and of course.... every day, for keeping me safe from harms way.
This is a picture of my Dad, somewhere in Germany in 1944 or 1945.  This particular photo does not have a caption on the back, but it looks like he's taking a break and relaxing a bit.  In the midst of the horror of war, these breaks must have been few and far between.
Many of the photos that I have are bleak and quite disturbing.  His unit, The Timberwolves, took over some concentration camps and the pictures are horrendous.  It's so hard to fathom the evil capabilities of some people but the photos are here to remind us to never repeat these atrocities.      
So I send my sincere appreciation to all of our Veterans, in all wars, for their service to our country.  If you see a Vet today....thank him or her.....give him or her a hug.... and just let them know that they are not forgotten or taken for granted, but remembered with grateful respect.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Wicked Blog Hop Winner

It's time to pick a winner of my Wicked Blog Hop giveaway!  My trusty assistant Oliver was a bit too tired to pick the winner ....too many Halloween tricks last night, I suppose...... so I had to go to Random.org to make the pick. 

So.....ta da......here's the winner of the giveaway.... Michele T, who said:

Michele T has left a new comment on your post "Wicked Blog Hop":

Love your table runner!!! Oliver looks great in costume... I can remember trying to dress my cat in doll clothes when I was little... She never liked it... I guess cats these days have evolved!! Lol

Michele--I've sent you an email requesting your snail mail address.  Once I get this, I'll get your goodies off in the mail.

Thanks to everyone that visited my blog and left such sweet comments!  It's always such a joy to hear from other bloggers and visitors and know that they have enjoyed whatever was posted. 

Hope you all had a safe and Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wicked Blog Hop

Welcome to my haunted house! 
Please enter if you dare!
Don't you just love Halloween and all of the wacky characters that surface on October 31st?!  I'm such a fan of rats, bats, cats, spiders and other creatures that go bump in the night.
I wasn't sure what I was going to make until I saw a magazine that had pictured a cake decorated with a Ouija board design on the top.  Perfect theme for the Wicked blog hop!  I searched for some free Ouija board clip art and printed it on fabric.  I knew that it was going to be a runner and started with the Ouija board fabric and built my runner around the three boards, designing as I went along.
Here's the finished runner.  It's pretty big.... 55" x 17" and covers the full length of my table with a little hangover on each end.  I had to stand on a lawn chair to get the full width in the shot.
My table is ready for visitors.  The candles are lit and the goblins are welcome!
And with the lights off, it's even kind of cozy.....
Here's a close up of the Ouija board fabric.  This is the same Ouija board that you can still buy in the game departments today and it's the one I had growing up.... I loved using them at sleep overs, even though we didn't believe that the cursor was moving by any other method than our own giggly guidance.
I used the  Magic binding technique again on this runner.  I cannot tell you how much I love this technique and how quickly I can finish binding a quilt or project. I love the look of the flanged edge and the fact that there is NO hand sewing.  Here's the top side of the finished runner.....
Here's the backside of the runner showing the extra line of stitching that this binding technique makes.  I have no objection to having that extra line next to the binding. 
I also like to decorate Sewphie for different holidays.  I use cling on's that are removable and don't leave a mark or residue. 

You know I had to put a picture of Oliver in this post somewhere.  ;)  Here he is modeling his new costume..... a hamburger.  He's not thrilled because it isn't a scary costume.... I mean, who's afraid of a hamburger!? 

I put him on the table to explore the new runner and the little cemetery.  Not being used to having an extra 4" of girth, he quickly annihilated the cemetery, knocking most of it over as he made his way through the skulls and goodies, sniffing and checking things out.  I think he liked this because he was now kind of scary as a GODZILLA Hamburger, destroying order and causing mayhem!

Still with me?...... Here's another giveaway for you.  I picked up  a few Halloween items at Target ...two can cozy's and some coasters..... and also have three pieces of fabric.... the fabric that I used in my table runner.  The pieces are a little bigger than FQ's.  Just leave a comment and you will be entered for a random draw on November 1st.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit and will return soon.  Now it's time for you to visit the other wicked blogs and see what they have conjured  up for you! Here's the gruesome lineup for today;

Gracie Oliver Arts (you are here...BOO!)
I Piece 2-Mary
            The Distracted Domestic

And where would my manners be if I didn't extend my thank you to Madame Samm, head blogger organizer extraordinaire, and Wendy, our wicked hostess for this hop!   Thank you both for the time and effort that goes into making a successful blog hop!! May your lives be overflowing with treats!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I let myself get behind on my Designer Mystery BOM series.  Not too far behind.....only two blocks.  I'm now back on target and waiting for November's block to arrive in a few weeks.  I thought this was going to be a basket quilt, since the first three blocks were baskets...... but..... obviously..... these are not baskets. 

I really love this next star block!

I found a little treasure on Ebay last week..... a vintage sewing kit nestled inside a large, plastic spool of thread. 

It separates into three parts......

The lid.....

The top section..... which has a scissor (this goes through to the bottom layer) , a needle packet--only one needle remains, a button holder with 4 buttons, and a rolled up paper tape measure.  There are two empty slots and I don't know what they would have held.

And the bottom layer...... this holds one small spool of thread and a plastic thimble.  Two other pegs would hold more tiny spools of thread.

 What a cute little treasure!
Now on to the Sew Lux BOM series.....I'm 4 blocks behind!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just wanted to show off the great batik fabric rolls that I won in the Twist to the 60's Blog Hop from Debby.  She cut these from her own collection and I'm telling you that each one is just beautiful!  Thank you so much, Debby...they're gorgeous!
And I have an update on the Mennonite Hunger Relief Quilt Auction.  It was held on September 28 and this was my donation.  I've already blogged about it, but if you are a new visitor, it's just 16" x 16" and has 200 pieces in the top.  I called it "200 Pieces".....OK....not very original.  I don't know if the title had any influence on the bidding, but it brought $200!  I hope that $200 will bless a lot of people with nutritious food!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Winner of Twist to the 60's Blog Hop


First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for leaving such sweet comments on my post.  I was a little hesitant to approach the dark side of the 60's, but knew that it needed to be done.  I was pleased at the wonderful response and I even received several private emails where others shared very similar, heartfelt experiences.  It was a very moving experience for me.....thank you for letting me share some of my memories with you.

And to all of the participants in the hop, thanks so much for your wonderful creations.  I think I have enjoyed this hop more than any other.  It was wonderful to see the projects and to join many of you along your 60's journey. 

I've just drawn the winner for my little fat quarter giveaway........and the winner is;

Kathleen... who said;

"you did such amazing work for this blog hop.....you are very creative and just love your art piece..... "
Kathleen.... I've sent you an email for your snail mail address.  I'll get these FQ's into the mail next week.

Thanks again to everyone!  Keep those 60's memories alive!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Twisting to the 60's!  What a great blog hop topic for those of us who have so many memories of the 1960's......  I'll be sharing  only a few of my memories, as this was quite a decade with many highs and lows..... way too many to write about.  I do remember twisting to Chubby Checker and Joey Dee with my Brother as we listened to the hi-fi in the living room! 
My usual thank you goes out to Madame Samm for always bringing great hop topics that inspire us to get out the fabrics and begin creating.  And for this particular hop, my thanks also go to Mary for organizing all of the participants and cheering us on each day.  Thanks Madame Samm and Mary!
After you have visited my blog, I hope you will pay a visit to the other bloggers that are joining me today on our trip through the 60's!
                   Gracie Oliver Arts (You are here)
I'll start off with a few items that I have hoarded stashed away for many decades. 
The peace medallion in the center is vintage and I bought it in a head shop in the 60's.  I wasn't a druggie, but I loved to frequent the head shops for great jewelry, clothes, and art work.  I could always find a great treasure.  Trippin', man.....
Of course, Kennedy was the "Man for the 60's".  That particular pin changes pictures as it rotates and has a portrait of Kennedy for the other view. 
I made the macramé choker, along with tons of other macramé items, in the sixties and seventies.  I still have a large macramé wall hanging out in my garage and can't bare to part with it.  I made lots of jewelry, purses, and even a vest or two.   
Lastly, I have my POW/MIA bracelets to show you.  I wore-through the first one after wearing it for more than 12 years, never taking it off.  Many years after that, I found a place that still made them and I ordered a duplicate of the same soldier that was on my first bracelet.  To this day, he has not been accounted for. 
Here's a newspaper article from 1965 when I headed off to Chicago to see the Beatles!  I went with two girlfriends and their parents and had the time of my life.  I remember that the tickets cost $5.50, which my parents thought was outrageous considering that amount of money would also get you into an Elvis or Frank Sinatra concert.  The Beatles were expected to be only a short lived "fad". ;) Even so, Mom bought me a new dress (yes, a dress..... that's what everyone was wearing to concerts in those days) and gave me spending money for the day.  Our seats weren't that close to the stage, but we kept thinking that we were actually breathing the same air as the Beatles!  What a rush!  I still have my ticket stub, the program, and a few souvenirs from the concert.  It's a great memory to this day!    Here's a link if you'd like to join me at the concert, 48 years ago..... (when I found this link... I shed a few happy memory tears)

Well, after that picture above, my hair grew out and never saw a perm again!  I believe this picture was taken in the early 70's, but I wanted to show you my VW bug.  It was brand new and a bright, sunshine yellow.  My boyfriend drove a beater pea green bug, my parents had a pea green bug, and my Brother had a drab, army green VW bus.  They weren't fancy, but they were hardy and dependable. 

I hope you are still with me.  On to my project for the hop.
As I said earlier, the 60's were full of ups and downs.  Turbulent, tumultuous and full of riots, demonstrations, and war .... a decade of contradictions.  I'm heading to that dark side now.  Toward the latter part of the 60's, my Brother joined the army and was deployed to Vietnam.  In those days, there was no email, no Skype, no cell phones, and no way of communicating except snail mail, which could take weeks to get to the US.  We never knew where my Brother was located and if he was OK.  As a Green Beret medic, he was always in the middle of the most dangerous action and it was a terrible time for my entire family.  I'm happy to tell you that he did make it home in one piece, even after being shot and living through more trauma than I can begin to imagine.  
This wall hanging is dedicated to all of the service men and women, in all wars, past and present, who have put their lives on the line for our freedom.   

I chose the typical hand peace sign, but added the POW/MIA bracelet to remind us that thousands of military personnel are still unaccounted for.  The blood drips are to remind us that wars are never really over.  Someone is always hurting, remembering, feeling the loss of loved ones, and knowing the pain of war.  The wounds of war never really heal.... thus, the constant open wound and the constant search for some form of peace. 

I chose a crazy patch design for my borders, as the 60's were crazy times ten!  I also chose some of the darker batiks.  I did batiking in high school and I often ended up with very dark fabrics as I would paint the wax resist, dip in dye..... and do it over again however many times it took.  Often, my fabrics were very muddy.  I couldn't find any fabrics from those days in my stash.  Most of them were made into purses and skirts and they are long gone.  You know how it goes..... just about every style comes back someday.... should have hoarded kept those too!

On a lighter side, here's Oliver in his peace vest.  I couldn't get a cute picture because the emblem was on his back and I couldn't get him to look over his shoulder toward the camera.  I bought this for when the power goes out in the winter and it gets chilly in the house.  He's only had to wear it a few times for a few hours, but it gives him some extra warmth.  He's one groovy (and toasty warm) cat!

I hope you have enjoyed my trip down the sixties memory lane.  As I've said, it was a great decade, full of so many momentous events and occasions.  It was a decade full of life lessons that took me from a young girl into a young woman.  Good and bad.... I cherish those memories.

Here's a little giveaway for you.  I've got three bright fat quarters for one of you.  They aren't from the sixties, but they kind of have that feel.  Just leave a comment and you are eligible for a random draw.  I'll make the draw on Saturday, October 5th, and will email the winner.  If you are a no-reply commenter, I will draw again...sorry.

Thanks so much for visiting today and please visit the other bloggers as they share their Twist to the 60's blog hop projects!