Legal at Last!

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but time got away from me. Quite appropriate that, since 18 years seem to have vanished into thin air. Yes, Victoria turned 18 yesterday. For those who have grown up with her through the shop from age 10 ’till now I bet it’s hard for you to believe it as well.

What’s Victoria been up to in the past year since her last birthday? A lot actually. Thankfully, this year already looks better than last year when she turned 17. You might recall that Belle had to be taken to the vet’s office that day because she’d gotten caught in a steel trap. The vet told Victoria that Belle would definitely lose her leg and maybe even her life. Fortunately, they were able to save Belle, but she did indeed lose her left front leg. It doesn’t seem to bother her much though. She gets around just fine but can be gotten off balance without much trouble if you rub on her the wrong way or push down too hard when rubbing her head. She now resides in Victoria’s bedroom most days and will help keep her warm again this winter.

Fall semester at UAH is coming to a close in about four weeks. Victoria’s still not convinced that she needs to be going to college but has made some great friends over the three semesters that she’s been there so realizes that there are compensations for being where you don’t want to be and having to do what you don’t want to do. She’s doing well academically, is in the honors program, and was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society for first year students this past spring semester. To become a member she had to have at least a 3.5 GPA. I think she ended up with a 3.75 for the year. Not bad for a girl who went into college two years early.

In addition to college, Victoria has continued coaching at Huntsville Gymnastics Center and this fall added classes at Madison Gymnastics Center. She has replaced classical ballet with ballroom dancing on Friday evenings. She also earned a spot on the UAH Chargerettes dance team. It’s a totally different style of dancing for her and she’s having to really step out of her box so to speak to keep up. By that I mean, in ballet when a dancer is en pointe she has to be over the box of her pointe shoe, that’s the toe portion of the shoe. Victoria is no longer en pointe, but she has to be on her toes in order to master moves that she’s never done before but many of the other team members have. Thankfully, they seem to be very patient and willing to work with her on the new moves and new dance vocabulary. Overall she’s having fun and getting some much needed exercise.

As for her music, she spent four weeks at the Sewanee Music Festival held on the campus of The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. She enjoyed being immersed in music for hours on end as well as all the opportunities to perform during the week. She wasn’t quite as thrilled with being put in the dorm with the high school kids rather than the college dorm and having to adhere to some pretty rigid rules about coming and going. She doesn’t plan on returning next summer but will probably look into a different music experience, maybe even one overseas.

She still enjoys playing harp which is good given all that has been sunk into getting her where she is now. I know many of our visitors miss having her here in the shop to play for them, I miss having her here as well. We don’t get to hear her play as often now that she has to take her harp to school and leave it there during the week.

Victoria invited a bunch of her friends from school to shoot skeet this past Saturday but only a couple of the guys could come. Her lifelong friend Bonner was able to come as well and spent the night. The four of them shot skeet, ate hot dogs and birthday cake, and then built a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. We were surprised that they stayed at the fire as long as they did because it was both cold and windy Saturday night, but I guess when you’re solving all the world’s problems time and weather are irrelevant. All in all they seemed to have a good time and future skeet shoots are inevitable. Yes, Victoria is a good shot, but she was bested by one of the young men, Wes, who would shoot any of the clays that she missed. Being she’s of a competitive nature she’ll practice until she gets to be as good, preferably better, than he is.

Yesterday was a great day for her as well. Three of her friends at UAH bought her a birthday cake (chocolate), another friend gave her a John Wayne movie (always a hit with her), two others gave her a Tennessee watch attached to a carabiner (another big hit), and she’s been told that another of her friends from school has something for her as well. Rick’s parents sent her a card and I’m betting there was a check inside, and we gave her a skeet thrower and a Jim Shore figurine.

This year is definitely starting out much better than last year did for her. It was a very hard year in more ways than academically. She’s learned a lot about life, and about the people in her life, that she’d rather not have had to learn over the past twelve months. On her birthday last year she wanted to go back to being sixteen again. I’m pretty sure she’s glad to get seventeen behind her and move on. She still has an outing planned with her two best girlfriends for this weekend and is really looking forward to that. It looks like she’s beginning to take after Miss Martha. Before long she too will be spending the whole month of October celebrating her birthday rather than just on her one special day, October 29.

Happy birthday little girl!

More Freebies!

It’s Friday again! Where on earth did the week go!? I had to think real hard this morning to figure out what day it was. If I hadn’t gone to the guild meeting in Huntsville last night, I’m sure it would have been much harder to figure out.

The guild had their bi-annual auction last night, and what an event that was. There was “stuff” very neatly arranged all over the room. I was a good girl and only bid on a couple of things. One of which I won! It was a case of sitting there with it staring me in the face, while I tried to resist temptation, knowing full well that if I didn’t at least try to win it I would regret it forever and ever. So just before the auction for that item was closed I jumped up, added a couple of dollars to the last bid, and won my paint bucket of goodies. “What on earth could it be?” I hear you asking yourself. Well, I will save it for Sunday and try to get a show-n-tell post done on that day. Although, we have in mind to do some rearranging in the shop so I might not get to it. I’ll be sure to show you eventually though. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see why I couldn’t help myself when I show you what it was I won. Alas, I wasn’t equally quick on the other item which was a lot of teapot fabric, a Tea Time magazine, and a tea cozy pattern with fabric. Those were the items I really wanted. There was also a puzzle in the lot that was very nice but not the apple of my eye so to speak. I was most interested in the fabric…like I need more.

Okay…it’s Friday and I’ve found some more freebies for you. Before I mention the new freebies I want to make sure that you’ve gotten all the parts to the free mystery quilt on the AQS blog that I told you about during our shop hop. The sixth and final segment has been given so be sure to snag it while you can. The links will only be active through December 15, 2012. It’s mid-October now so you only have a couple of months in which to save or print out the instructions for this quilt.

Speaking of AQS, I got a note that they now have a new Learning Center that you’re going to want to check out. They will add new offerings as time goes on so be sure to bookmark it and check back often. As of right now they have tips, techniques, patterns, and videos. I’ve not had time yet, but I’m going to have to watch to see how you do a blanket stitch on a longarm machine. I don’t have a longarm, but curiosity is getting the best of me. Oh, look! They’re giving away an APQS longarm FREE of charge! All you have to do is just click on the “Enter Today” button at the top of the page and answer a few simple questions. If I win, then I’ll definitely need to know how to blanket stitch with a longarm. I’m so glad I took the time to read that e-mail and check out this site.

Another site I ran across, thanks again to Ann, was a blog by Charise. I added her button on the right side there for her Vintage Block Quilt Along (VBQA) earlier in the week so you might have already visited her site. If not, the VBQA just started this month and will go for one full year. I love all things vintage so I’m very excited to see what all the blocks are going to be. Of course, me being me, I have to change things up a bit. The first block for example will not be made with curves, at least not by me. I’m going to sew a square to a rectangle to get the top and bottom sections and then cut a rectangle for the middle and appliqué a leaf on the diagonal so the points of that leaf touch the corner of the squares. It’s called simplifying on account of I’m lazy. To me it’s easier to do a little bit of math than to pin and stitch those curves. At a distance I bet no one will ever guess that I didn’t follow the directions. All I have to do is decide which method of appliqué I want to use. That alone will take longer than actually constructing the block.

The reason I ended up at Charise’s blog wasn’t because of the VBQA. No, no, no…it was because she had been involved with an intense paper-piecing blog hop back in February. The link to those paper-piecing blocks was what Ann sent me originally. To find that freebie, better known as Sew Out Loud Quilt Along, go to Shape Moth’s blog. The theme of the blocks was sewing articles and the designers of those blocks did an awesome job. Once again, I looked at several of them and thought that were I ever to actually do the blocks I could convert the designs into appliqué with little or no trouble. Thinking, thinking, thinking…it seems that I’m always thinking.

Last, but not least, today was Fat Quarter Friday. Every Friday you get a FREE pre-cut fat quarter of your choice for every four pre-cut fat quarters you buy. If you missed out today there’s always next week – Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise that is.


Freebie Friday

Rather than have you sit there with nothing whatsoever to do, I thought I’d pass along a few more freebies for your enjoyment. Hopefully, you were able to take advantage of the last set of freebies that I sent your way on September 28. If you haven’t you might want to scroll on down after you get through here and see what all you’ve been missing.

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from the folks at Bernina offering to let me watch a free show on The Quilt Show site. I’m already a member of The Quilt show, but in case you’re not you need to check this out. From now until October 31 you can view Episode 1011, Stupendous Stitching, with Carol Ann Waugh for FREE on The Quilt Show website. I took the time to watch the show last night and have had to restrain myself ever since from dropping everything else so I could go play with all those stitches on my machine that I never use. I even e-mailed the link to Victoria to watch, in her very limited spare time, because it looks like something she could get into as well. If you have a machine that does more than just the basic utility stitches, but you’ve never played with them because you didn’t want to mess anything up or you just haven’t taken the time, this show alone will change all of that. Just click on the “Watch Shows” button at the top, then click on the “Free Shows” tab, and scroll down to the episode (3rd one down at this point in time). Enjoy!

If you don’t have a fancy stitching machine and do your decorative stitching by hand, then find yourself a friend with a fancy stitching machine and trade off. Let your friend stitch the base piece, one for you and one for her, or him as the case may be, and then you apply the fancy hand stitching on each piece for both of you. After all, what are friends for?! Watch the show and you’ll see what I mean.

While you’re on the site, click on the “R U Kidding Me?” tab. There you should find one spectacular quilt! Oh, my word!!! You can view the quilt with their zoom function. Scroll on down and be sure to watch the video detailing how Susan Stewart designed this quilt. This is one awesome, award-winning quilt!

The information on another freebie that I want to share with you was sent to me by Anne, who knows me far too well. You might say that we know each other so well that we tend to feed off each other. You see, we both like a lot of the same things. Because of that fact, when she came across a monthly project called Christmas Town Sampler she knew it would be something I would like. She was right! The sampler was designed by four friends and to get all the parts you have to visit their blogs.

Judy Laquidara has four blocks to collect plus lots of other goodies with which to temp you.

Susan Neveshas four blocks as well as some goodies you don’t want to miss.

Denise Russart designed the outside border. There are three blocks on her blog as well as the general instructions. She will post the finishing instructions in November so don’t forget to bookmark her blog, or better yet sign up as a follower, so you don’t miss the last crucial step.

Sheryl Till has four blocks, two of which come complete with a cat. Too cute!

The project started back in July and is being offered for a limited time so don’t procrastinate. Hop over to each of these blogs and start collecting the parts to what will be a lovely Christmas quilt once finished. They each have a section devoted to the Christmas Town Sampler which makes it easier to find all the parts. However, you do want to do some reading in case extra insight has been given that will make your project come together more easily.

The last freebie I’ll share with you is appropriate given the fact that it is now October. This freebie isn’t quilty, but it is crafty in nature. First, let me ask you a question. What do you think of when you think about October? I’d bet you a dime to a dozen donuts you said Halloween or maybe pumpkins. We don’t celebrate Halloween, but I do love all things pumpkin. Pumpkins are quite plentiful now, and I’d love to buy a few to use in decorating for fall. Maybe this weekend we can make that happen.

In case you want to do some decorating with pumpkins I suggest you visit the Better Homes & Garden website. There’s a great slideshow with lots of ideas on using pumpkins to add some pizzazz to your home, inside and out. I love the one that they decorated with zebra stripe duct tape. At first glance, I thought it had been Zentangled, but when I took a minute to read the little blub to the right I discovered that they had used duct tape. How easy is that!? Of course, those of us who know how to do Zentangle could very easily do just that on a pumpkin. You could paint it white first and then add the designs with black paint using a fine paintbrush.

The other thing you’ll want to check out, especially if you love cats or dogs, is their selection of pet stencils. Just type that into the search bar at the top and you’ll get over 20 dog stencils and almost as many cat stencils. Most of these are breed specific so go have a look see, find your favorite pet’s stencil, and get to carving.

That should keep you busy for a while!

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