Sunday, December 29, 2013

I've Been Mugged!

Quilty Fun Sew Along~I'm Back At It...traveling in reverse!
This is the Cocoa Cups block for Week 7.  I decided to make the most current block and will sew backward to get blocks 4 (Sewing Baskets), 5 (Flying Geese) & 6 (Chubby Chevrons) done as we progress.  Below are the other blocks that I have completed so far.
Before long it will all be coming together into this fun quilt!
This is a fun project!
~Nancie Anne

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Is Still In Motion Here!

Hi!  I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Ours is on intermission at the moment.  Christmas with the 3 youngest kids is a done deal and was very nice.  Our oldest daughter celebrated her first Christmas as an old married woman in California with her in-laws. 
Our eldest, is on the road currently and should be in early next week to celebrate Christmas Part Deux with us, his little guy, his wife and stepdaughter.  He called our Grandson Christmas Eve and was met with a little boys concerns, "Daddy?  How will Santa bring you Christmas presents in your truck?  You don't have a fireplace!"  He did his best to reassure a 4 year olds concerns and remind him that Santa is about Magic and Believing.  Hopefully Daddy will be off the road one day soon and able to spend more time with his boy, in the meantime, Papa, Gramma & Auntie do their best to keep him in touch with this side of his family.
Papa thought it would be okay to hang breakable ornaments lower on the tree this year, especially since this shortest tree ever would be elevated...surely no small hands would disturb them...
Maecee has loved bouncing around in the snow...

while Shooter has preferred cuddling on the electric throw...
typically dachshund...he usually is burrowed under the blanket

Apparently Santa decided that we've been very naughty this year...
he (very unexpectedly) paid us an early visit Sunday night and left us two little lumps of coal...
We refer to them collectively as Tn'T
or as "The Little Black Otters!"
Tank & Tess
Almost 4 month old littermates who needed a quick re-homing.
(Doxie puppies aren't a sturdy choice for 4 busy little boys ages 2 to 8)
This is them pretending to be sweet and innocent...Shooter and Maecee will inform you otherwise!
I've had my hands and arms and slightly busy betwixt caring for a 4 year old some days and two 4 month olds each day immediately leading up to Christmas, but my heart is full too. 
And Yes it's December 26th and No, I still haven't wrapped all the gifts!
I did spend Christmas Eve sitting at the table helping my daughter wrap gifts for her friends boys though.  Her friend is a single Mom, with 3 year old twins, so she needed a helping hand and it was fun digging out the Santa paper and labels & metallic pens to make sure that the gifts from Santa were dressed appropriately!  My daughter now has a new appreciation for the lengths I went to make Christmas packages special for the five of them.  Not everything that appeared under our tree from Santa was always wrapped or labeled though.  Certain magical things like stuffed Reindeer, Moose, Holstein Cows & a variety of cuddly Pigs, or glittery snowglobes were thoughtfully arranged atop wrapped gifts or in the limbs of the tree and always found their way into the arms of the child Santa intended them for.

 Well, I'd probably better get back after this belated Santa thing I've got going on and see if I can keep the folks at the Post Office from being too bored in their after Christmas slump! 

On Dasher! On Dancer! On Maecee & Shooter! 
                                 On shiny black-as-coal puppies who couldn't be cuter!

~Nancie Anne

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just dinkin' around a little with some bloggy Christmas Decorating and doing the happy dance because today was my Friday at work...going to try to do some stitchin' cuz that hasn't happened in my world at all in almost two weeks!
My kitchen however, has a fresh coat of paint and a new handles applied to a couple of cupboard doors.  Washer repairman comes tomorrow and then maybe we'll have my 4 year old assistant for an overnighter and some Christmas-y fun.  Special event and quilt giveaway at one of the LQS's Saturday afternoon that I plan to attend...can't win if I'm not there!  Christmas Party at the home of one of my husbands co-workers Sunday night...missed it last year due to illness and having to be at work early the next morning...don't want to miss it this year even though I do work Monday.  Nice people and I'm completely in-love with the home this couple designed and built...I'm always tempted to scratch under the chin of the full body Cougar mount they have in their family room to see if she purrs and I've been known to stand and grin up at the moose head way up near the ceiling.  I know...girls aren't supposed to like dead animals hanging on the wall...but it's really hard not to love a moose wearing a Santa Hat!
AND then there's the little matter of the wrap up of the Christmas Quilt Along and Challenge is THIS WEEKEND!  I need more time!!!!!

~Nancie Anne!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's Been A Roller Coaster Week, so

I must apologize...I've been meaning to write this post for several days...a few things have tripped me at home all week...painting kitchen...hanging garlands...The Sound of Music...dead camera batteries...

Initially my wish was to just jot a note and thank everyone for their sweet comments (even Sue) about my Country Charmers...both the Autumn Birdie one and the SURPRISE! Mission Impossible Christmas one.  I was blown away that so many of you were blown away!  I received words of love and encouragement that mean the world to touched my heart!  Lynn has drawn me back to my sense that less is more and has encouraged me to just let the borders on the Autumn Country Charmer be the canvas for some wonderful swirly feathery quilting.  And really...who's gonna argue with Lynn...the woman has incredible instincts!

Thursday morning I awoke...grabbed my tablet and found I had an email from Herself the Elf (Sue) to start my day with a giggle and a smurk...and shortly thereafter another from Cuddly Lesley that had me doing the happy dance!  She informed me that Mr. Random had selected my number and that I was the winner of the $20 Gift Card from Fat Quarter Shop which arrived promptly, in two installments in my email box!  I perused and decided that rather than spending any of my precious gift on shipping, I would use it to purchase pdf download patterns.  Instant least once the website was thoroughly searched and after I decided to sleep on my wishlist full of possible choices. 

So I decided, as I said, to sleep on my choices...meanwhile, I kept watching for Lesley to do a post, figuring she was resting her elbow after conversing with me by email and ordering my Gift Card.  I didn't realize til later that she had the genius to made it easier on her elbow by just adding an addendum to her previous post about my being the lucky recipient of the drawing...I was just looking for a new post from her in my sidebar and I certainly didn't want to jump the gun and be doing the happy dance publicly before she had the chance to announce it herself!  Finally I woke up and clicked in and saw what she'd done.  So I've been shopping and downloading and here's what I decided on...and yes...I did add some funds to my prize so I could stop playing eeny, meeny, miney, mo!

Sorry about the glare...I like to print the covers on heavier shiny photo paper so I have a really nice printjob!  Ain't they cute designs though?!?!?!  I've  been giggling at the mixer and spatula quilt since it was released by Bee In My Bonnet...I can't tell you how many rubber spatulas Santa has left in my stocking over the many that the kids joke about it.  I thought their were so many possibilities for fun with the Swirled Christmas Tree wallhanging pattern and then those little Spoolie Birds caught my attention...I love spool quilts and what is it with me and pudgy little birds anyhow?
So Thank You Dear Lesley...I wish I could give you a hug in person...not just via emails!  Take care of that elbow so you can be back rotary cutting and sewing and writing soon!

So now...Overnight while we were 

Something was happening...we woke up and ,
and there was
so I scurried around like an
 while Papa Bear got up and went outside and starting doing a lot of this...
I spent a ridiculous amount of time relacing my snow boots and went outside while there was still the opportunity to get some pristine photos...while cars going by still sounded muffled and quiet and before kids across the street started whooping it up...and before the dogs had too many chances to apply their special yellow snowmelt! 
I wanted to get out there while it was still Magic!
It was and is still snowing...
From my kitchen window I saw cotton bolls where sunflowers had once been,
and the tips of our little evergreens held snowballs and snowblossoms!


The stump by the driveway has muffin-top

and this log from our old pine tree now reminds me of a miniature snowed in, Basque Sheepherders Wagon with white smoke billowing from it's chimney in its rounded roof..
This old hollow Poplar is where we've found abandoned kittens and have had shiny little raccoon eyes peek out at us in the dark

Can you believe this is the spot where I photographed my Christmas Country Charmer for it's debut...just a week ago...remember?
Those big trees were nothing more that little twigs when our 4 year old daughters planted them after their respective preschool field trips to the nursery that replenishes our forests.  The tree on the left moved with us, when it was a little sapling, for the then 7 year old owner to nurture in it's new home, five years later the second little twig joined it and has thrived in the company of it's Big Sister Tree.

Have You Ever Met a Not-so-Abominable SnowLlama?
Can't be abominable when you wear a permanent smile...minus fangs...
Penzance woke this morning wearing a white blanket over his usually dark bay back.
Silly llamas...building shelters is practically a waste of time...they just settle into their Tea Cozy positions with legs all tucked beneath their wool and let what may come their way fall on them...goats on the other hand will tell you that if a drop of rain hits their precious heads they will surely melt!
Maecee and Shooter then joined me for a game of "Where's The Kitty?"

Then it was time for a break...
No! Not here!  We have splurged on Indoor Plumbing, although it's a little frigid in there too!
Here...with my mug that says it all! 
Well almost all...
Now it's time to venture out in the snow and try not to skid into anything so that the painting project can be complete...its really time for some new light switch and outlet covers and insulation to insert behind them to block the breeze that is currently flowing freely through those gaping holes...have I mentioned our money pit,  house is 102 years old recently?????
Happy Snowdays, wherever you are!
~Nancie Anne


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Country Charmer Seeks Love, Friendship & Long Winter Naps...'s still early morning here in Idaho. (We're some 7 hours behind the start of that wicked, finger pointing, Quilt Sues day in Great Britain)  The sun hasn't risen yet.  It's just Maecee & Me & My Foo-Foo Coffee up & about at 5:30 this morning!  Well...if you can call this up...
My 4 year old Grandson & Husband are asleep upstairs after a big night of visiting the annual Festival of Trees and tractors & trains...lots of trains...our Grandson LOVES trains.
There were interactive trains to run by remote control...
and trains to scamper back and forth to watch while they rounded the tree

and trains to watch emerge from the behind the tree and out of the tunnel
followed by straightening back up clasping ones little hands to their cheeks and uttering,
"It's soooo cute!"
Much like this!
This would be dear Quilt Sue...giggling as she tried to pass Lovely Lynns app-LEE-kay pumpkin off as her own.  Lynn really shouldn't turn her back on's amazing what can happen...
I have absolutely no clue where she got the idea to try such a thing!  Astonishing!
I won't say that Country Charmer brought us together...but it certainly has brought us closer...
What began in the first quarter of this year like this...
using the pizza box containment system of block organization & storage.
eventually became lots of little these
then this

and eventually this...


I've added borders wider than Lynns Original to add more drop on the sides which meant successively increasing the size of the 9 patches as I worked out.
 All along I planned to add some applique.  And then I decided to live with it for awhile before going ahead with the applique...but the border to me, still seems to be a vast although not begun yet, there will be applique that will compliment the autumn theme of my cute little birdie & pumpkin prints.
   Charming Little Tweets
from the pattern
So for the time being this is where we stand...
The upper picture taken with camera 1 shows the actual color better
while camera 2 in the lower picture shows the whole quilt better...although sunglasses are needed for that orange blocks and brown border that don't really glare like that in person.
that the sun has risen and I have some light to run outside with quilt and cameras...and Papa and Grandson are up making waffles in the kitchen...let me continue with the can of worms that dearest Quilt Sue opened this morning (yeah we agreed we'd do our big reveal today...but that blaming me thing...sweet innocent angelic me...)
Sue who has that 7 hour head start on me has already clued you in on a nice friendly email discussion we had earlier in the year in which she asserts that I challenged her and declares that I am to blame for her making a second Country Charmer...all the while we were telling no one...except Lesley as we began coming down to the last minute.
No one seemed to be particularly curious as we posted things such as these...
or even the squirrelly Mission Impossible video in my November 10th post!
But now Sue has let the proverbial Cat Out of the Bag!
I would rather say that we challenged one another to set a goal...
Okay! So it was a co-dependency of sorts...
and here is the debut of my never seen by any eyes other than those in my household...
(except for a couple of pics that I shared by text with my quilter last week)
Initially I knew I wanted to make a Christmas version of Country Charmer, similar to the original by Lynn...but I had all those other fabrics in my stash tugging at my heartstrings and I went with it, creating my Charming Little Tweets Quilt.
But still I felt guilt...really guilt?!?!  I had promised myself a quilt "Just like Lynn's" & all along I was picking up pieces of red & green here there and everywhere that reminded me of her original.
Her shades of red & green have always made me think of a slice of watermelon...rather incongruent to the theme, I know...but that's how I selected prints along the way with no comparison scraps in my pocket.  You've all figured out that I'm a bit off kilter in the way I look at things sometimes anyhow, right?'s can nod in affirmation...I can't reach you!
So here it is...with Lesleys take on Lynns Christmas Country Charmer...
I hope Lynn approves...I know she's the kind of designer who loves to see where inspiration takes her designs and enjoys seeing them as they evolve into something new.
I've had a little class booklet, A Tree For All Seasons by a local quilt instructor, Julia Ziegler, Room To Learn, for a few years wanting to make this tree but never quite knowing how I wanted to incorporate it...
I stewed for months about whether I was going to make another full on Country Charmer quilt "just like Lynns" or if I wanted to go with something smaller & change it up a little.  Then while rearranging my sewing room a few months ago when the new machine came home, I chanced again upon this book while relocating my bookshelf...
I was struck by inspiration...a bolt of lightning...Sues gauntlet...something hit me!  I referred to the block measurements for both designs and whaddaya know...16 inch blocks and 8 inch blocks with a little plaid border to compensate for sashing and we were on our way!
Now...don't look too closely...Sue will tell you that I have a couple of pointy bits that need attending to...and Lynn will ask about the border...and I will tell you that at this point...I'm considering a strip pieced tree border to polish this, Not Quite Full Grown quilt off.
Now about this Quilt Along business...I got so much more than two quilt tops out of it...I've chatted with people around the world...I have a new friend in Lesley in Nova Scotia, who has never met me, but recently bundled up her leftover Sentiments postcard panels pieces and mailed them all the way to Idaho for me to play yet another of Lynns beautiful designs, Nostalgic Christmas.
Well known by the world now, in September my husband & and I had the time of our lives with Lynn, her husband Joe (who totally deserves the blame that Sue and I will attribute most of our uncontrolled laughter on), Sue who braved the long trip from Great Britain to California & into the arms of the unknown.  And is likely still a bit jumpy over driving on the right side of the road and watching out the windows of the cabin for...
My husband made me do it!  He took one look at said "Look!  A Bear For Sue!"
  And beautiful Zinnie was the perfect hostess to our itty bitty little Maecee...once she realized she wasn't a new squeak toy!
If I hadn't been brave enough to begin to put myself out reach world would not be so rich as to have welcomed these dear friends into my embrace.
How Blessed I Am...
These last three pictures from the Festival of Trees Entry Vignette, The Christmas Tree Lot are just for the much tormented Mr. Joe from Hubby and I...
The first thing we saw when we entered.
That raised back reveals a beautifully appointed bar...for tailgating or cold mountain nights...although I'm not sure the glassware would survive many of our mountain roads.
Seems to be a car show everywhere we go!
~On with the Holidays!
Nancie Anne