Friday, September 27, 2013

Have Coffee With Me

There's nothing quite like a hot cup of coffee to perk me up. I was enjoying my coffee outside the other morning while the dog romped through the hostas looking for sleeping chipmunks and I had to smile. But it wasn't the dog and it wasn't the freshly ground brew in my still-going-strong percolator that was making me smile. I was thinking, what could be better than this - drinking coffee out of this special mug I designed myself?

You know I would love to actually have coffee with some of you. Imagine - we could talk fabrics, small quilts, favorite tools, etc. Maybe even gossip a little . . .  But face it, that's just not possible. You live there, I live here. So, for a limited time only, I am offering these cute Sentimental Quilter mugs so you can still have your morning coffee (or tea) with me. We'll be thinking of each other!

The mug was designed with the same banner photo that's on my blog, showing some of my favorite quilts. How cool is that?

And, if you're hankering to place your mug on a sweet little mug rug/quilt  - you're in luck. Make one that's similar to mine with a kit you can purchase here. (Colors will vary but all will definitely be scrappy. If you have a preference, e-mail me with your favorite colors and I'll see what I can do.) This would sure make a cute little gift for a friend.
Order your mug now, before I run out . . . . (Sorry, no international orders on the mug.)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Last Day of Summer

Today is the last day of summer. Autumn is my favorite season and it looks like it will be starting off perfectly with mild temps during the day and cool ones at night.
I love looking at all the beautiful fall colors, don't you?

Today I am finishing up my last signature blocks for the second swap in my Yahoo small quilt group. I mailed in the first group of Snowball blocks last week.

I had so much fun making these and all of the other blocks below, picking through my pretty scraps to put the fabrics together. Most of them are different. I think they all turned out splendidly. You can probably tell which ones are my favorites.



Seems to be a theme here. I didn't really plan it but when I laid them all out I realized I used an awful lot of red prints. And blue too, of course. I wanted to send in blocks that everyone would like and I had to remind myself that not everyone likes blue (or red, apparently) as much as I do. So I had to throw in some made with brown and green to balance the whole lot out a little bit.

Pink made a frequent appearance as well.
I wonder - who will be the lucky recipient of this one??
Or this other one? I really hope they find their way to good homes . . . .

It was fun but also grueling at times, finding the time to make so many blocks (over 100) and also make sure they weren't too wonky. I had to rip and resew more than I want to admit but, the best part is  - I'm DONE! What a great feeling. All I have to do today is trim them up and mail them in on Monday. No more unfinished blocks hanging over my head. I can now work on other things for a change without that nagging feeling in my head.
I made a few extra blocks so I can pick out the best ones. I will have a few blocks left over that may not be perfect but I don't quite know what to do with them. So I am putting the word out  - if any one of you would like one of these signed, imperfect blocks to put into your own signature quilt, send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I will mail one out to you.
Mail to:  Kathy Tracy
P.O. Box 1083
Deerfield, IL  60015

* * *
Yesterday was my birthday and tonight we are going out to dinner with both of my kids in the city to celebrate. Last year we ended up stopping for gelato for dessert when we were finished with dinner. Who needs cake? It's not a real celebration without ice cream I always say.

Of course, no one but me remembers that we did that, so this year I picked another restaurant near that same gelato place . . . .

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nature's Gift

I love the rain. We haven't had enough of it this summer. I woke up this morning to the sound of a soft, gentle rain tap tapping against the window and my heart lifted up just a little.
Don't get me wrong, I love the sun. But sunny days often make me feel pressured, unlike rainy days.  When it rains, I feel justified sitting inside reading or sewing or just doing nothing. I believe it stems back from my childhood when, if the day was bright and sunny, my mom would nag me to "go outside and play, get some exercise - it's a beautiful day! Why waste it sitting inside reading?" Hah! Since when is reading ever wasting my time, I thought. But during summer vacation from a long stressful school year  there were so many days where all I wanted to do was read or be quiet, not go out and play in the hot sun even if it was good for me as my mother believed. I'm still like this.

Rain places no such expectations upon us. Rain gives me permission to stay inside and be quiet if I want to and reflect, not necessarily be DOING something. If it's raining, it's okay to curl up with a quilt and a cup of tea and read a good book.


"Anyone who thinks that sunshine is true happiness has never walked in the  rain. . . . " With a dog, I might add.
Life gets busy and hectic for all of us at times. I found a great App for my phone for when I feel like I'm spinning my wheels a little too much and need to slow down a bit and take a breath - Simply Being - a meditation App that you can set for a few minutes or more (up to 20 actually). You can get it for all types of phones or your ipod. One of the options is to relax and listen to nature sounds instead of calming music. I always keep mine set on Rain (of course I do). Just listening to the quiet sounds of rain refreshes my spirit.
It's my birthday month and more often than not, for as long as I can remember, it has rained on my birthday. I like to consider it Nature's special gift to me and have learned to be grateful for it. Slow down, life is good, take a breath, you made it through another year. . . .


Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to School

Little Red Schoolhouse
Quilt of the month for September
(from Prairie Children & Their Quilts)
An antique Schoolhouse Quilt I bought several years ago. It's a little frayed here and there and patched in places but these types of quilts are so rare. I love it very much just the way it is but perhaps will try to restore it someday.
September always means back to school time. Even for those of us who are not school age anymore. Quilters go to school too and I know many of you take quilting classes. The latest thing appears to be video classes on your computer,  taken at your own convenience and leisure.
Today I am offering two of you a chance to enter a giveaway here for a crafting class. Take a look at Daily Craft TV.  They have some wonderful video classes taught by popular, experienced teachers. And there are not just quilting videos either -  there are classes on knitting, crocheting and scrapbooking  as well.
A class on bindings taught by Liz Porter
A class on making Log Cabin quilts taught by Marti Michell
How to make a quilt of valor
There are many classes to choose from. So here's how it works - you can enter a comment here on my blog and then when I pick the 2 winners they will be e-mailed an access pass code to get into the class of their choice for free. Simple. The hard part is going to be following directions carefully. Listen good.
In your comment, tell me one of your memories from when you first started school. What was it that really sticks in your mind that made you either love or hate school? Try to keep it short.
 +  =  +  =  +  =  +
I had a love-hate relationship with school. I loved learning and playing school with my friends was a favorite game. I always did well in class but I was a very shy, anxious little girl and being at school all day, away from my mom, was difficult. Some teachers were mean and did not understand and just told me to grow up when I cried or got a stomach ache while others - like dear Mrs Riccio and later Mr Hollander - understood. They nurtured me and became my friends and because of them I went on to become a successful student. Compassionate teachers hold the key I believe. My son is a teacher now and I know he understands and is one of those nurturers himself. 
Good luck to everyone!  Include some way for me to reach you (e-mail) in your comment. Winners will be posted in a few days. Maybe as soon as Monday.  I know you're all eager to go back to school . . . .