Monday, December 31, 2012

… little things that make us happy. . .

I was going to look for a cute little 'New Years' graphic to post. . .
but then I realized that this was as cute as it gets (for me at least!)

This is Bailey 'in action' with his new toys (from his Christmas stocking).
I was stitching, & Bailey was on the floor gnawing on his toys,
when he took a little break & sat up & just looked at me.
(. . . with his 'fluff beard-y thing going on. . .)
I just laughed & thankfully had my phone right next to me.
He was a very good boy & did his 'stay' command very well. . .
& when I rounded to the other side of him. . .
there was Mr. Moosie. . . or what's left of him. . .
But that's okay. . .
Bailey likes his 'babies' flat.
. . . & actually this was a record-breaker!
 Mr. Moosie lasted 6 days!
(the previous record was 36 hours.)

For me, I've prepped block #2 for Beyond the Cherry Trees.
. . . so you know what I'll be doing as we celebrate the new year!

Bailey & I hope that as you reflect on this past year & look toward the new year,
you are filled with hope for the promise of what is to come!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

... windmills quilt

I thought I'd show you the quilt that I made 
for my niece, Nicole, & her groom. Eric.

It's the medium size of my 'windmills' quilt (from the 'farmhouse collection').
I had such fun making this quilt. 
I've included photos of the different 'windmill' blocks (that are coordinated),
& then also a photo of the center block - that I call 
the 'Amish block' - or the humility block,
where each of the 'blades' of the windmill are from each of the other blocks.
. . . Just to remind the young couple that even though things may not always
be perfect. . . they are still a part of the whole & have their own beauty.
It also is a reminder that no one is perfect - except God.
The pastor that oversaw at their wedding ceremony, 
gave a wonderful talk about this,
& so it had great meaning to them when I explained it to them.
(. . . I just love it when that happens!. . . Thanks God!)

The quilt is what I call 'snuggle size' 
- perfect to snuggle under for a nap -
 or to snuggle together to watch a movie on a snowy day 
(Like what they have been having!)

The last photo is of my block one for the 'Beyond the Cherry Trees' quilt.
The blocks were offered as a free download each month a couple of years ago,
& I was good about downloading them. . .
. . . just never good about starting them.
I'm thankful for that now - as I've been seeing some of the finished versions,
& I've fallen in love with one that uses mostly French General fabrics.
So, it inspired me, & that's what I'm doing (heaven know I have enough of them!).
I'll post them as I get them done. . . (this one is going to take awhile though - as there are 25 blocks & appliqué borders as well!
But I've been loving getting to sit & work on something that is wonderfully vintage 
& it's the perfect mix of being 'Baltimore-y' & 'primitive-y' at the same time.

I hope you are enjoying these wonderful days. . . between Christmas & New Year,
they feel wonderfully quiet & the perfect time to reflect & plan,
& to simply enjoy the days. I know I am!


(p.s. I'm working really hard at getting the PDF patterns ready & uploaded
to the website. . . it will be soon!!!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

… it's the little things. . .

. . . from the availability of peppermint bark
(. . . & I love the little 'Dove' pieces of peppermint bark,
just the right amount!)

. . . to all the wonderful variety of poinsettia colors!
This one is in my bedroom.
It's the most wonderful coral-y pink tinged with red edges.
I love it, & I hope it lasts long into the new year. . .

. . . And then there is this very special ornament.

It has become my favorite.

A neighbor made it for Dad & I, five years ago.

She took the photo (my favorite) we had of Mom 
that was used in her memorial service program,

. . . & she placed it inside a glass ornament that she painted 
with delicate snowflakes.

Secretly. . . I never put it away. . . it hangs in a tree that I have in the house
. . . all year long.
. . . but for now, it is carefully placed beneath our little Christmas tree,
. . . reminding me of what a gift the time I had with her was.

It's the little things. . .
. . . that make the biggest difference to me.

I want to thank you all for visiting today,
& I pray that you have a very special celebration
of the wonderful gift that God has given us.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

… a final one. . .

I've had these photos ready for several days. . .
. . . but after the Friday's news, 
it just didn't fell right to post about new fabrics.
There were other things (way more important things)
that took over my head & my heart.

My prayers are with the families of Sandy Hook.
It feels as though words fail, but I know that there is great power in prayer,
. . . & so I will continue to lift them up in prayer
for the promised "peace that passes understanding".

It is also a reminder to shower those around us with love,
& to celebrate the blessings that we often overlook day-by-day.
I am striving to look around me & to see & celebrate the
blessings that have been laid before me.

One of those blessings, in the past few years
has been to have the opportunity to design fabrics.
It was a dream - when I first started designing quilts,
& it felt like a dream when I saw my first line come to fruition.

The photos above are of my upcoming line,
Durham Collection Anew (2102).
It should be in shops around February/March.

(also, just so you know, the colors in thee photos are more true to the actual colors 
than the scanned promotional images that I've seen on the internet. . . 
just in case it matters to you.)

I've been enjoying folding & refolding my pieces, 
& I've placed my order for bolts of some of my favorites.
(I wanted a bolt of each one - but I've no room!)

For this Durham Collection Anew, I've added a warm vintage tan colorway,
. . . & I'm thinking that I will be making a quilt entirely from this colorway.
I just love it.

I'm thinking of making quilts for my 'farmhouse collection'  series
from this line that would be the kind of quilts that
would be at home on any porch swing.

This line will also be my last fabric line for awhile.
I've decided to not continue in designing fabrics for a bit,
so that I can focus more on creating designs for quilts & needlework, 
as well as some other things that are currently on the back burner.
Lecien is doing some re-organizing & although I have talked with 
a couple of other fabric manufactures, I just feel it's time to take a break.
(I definitely will though - continue to work on new designs for my portfolio. . .
. . . designs that can be used for fabrics & other things.)

I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to design & work with fabrics that 
are a part of who I am. . .
I hope that you have enjoyed it as well.

I have a very limited amount of sample fabrics,
 & I've taken part of them & made a very limited number of bundles.
There are a couple of fat-quarter bundles, & also some fat-eighth bundles 
if you would like a little head start on a project using these fabrics.

I also want to thank so many of you, who have been so supportive of my
fabric designing. To know that some of you have actually 'collected' them is
beyond my comprehension, & it has given me such joy.
Thank you.

So, as I enter this week, I do so with a humble heart,
& one that will continue to look for the blessings that
I have been given.

Please know, that you are one of them.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

… homey little touches of Christmas

This year, I wanted to make the house feel really home-y with the
decorations that I pulled out of the boxes this year.

(I took these photos in the evening - with no lights on, 
except the twinkle lights. . . so you could get the 'feel' of what we see.)

So, I picked the 'natural' themed trimmings for our little tree.
. . . little bird nests, fruits, & acorns. (. . . of course!)

There are lots of white lights - that are left on all day too. . .
. . . just because twinkly white lights make me happy!

Then there is a special little milk glass vase that I have 
that holds it's bouquet of peppermint lollipops.
 It has become a 'must-have' part of the Christmas decor 
in the past few years, as we love these seasonal lollies!
(In fact. . . I've been known to hoard some bags of them 
before they disappear from the shelves at the market. . . 
just to be sure we can still have some after the start of new year!

Now, it's time for me to go & make a mocha & sit with my little guy
& enjoy the white lights & my memories of this blessed season.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

… a little blessing & a lot of love.

On December 1, 2012,
In St.Paul. Minnesota,
my sweet niece Nicole married her sweetheart, Eric.

The wedding was incredibly beautiful.
Every detail thought out.

I only had my iPhone with me - but I did get a couple of photos.
(. . . kinda blurry - like our memory of the day!)

(The lantern (top photo) was one of two that greeted everyone 
at the big wooden doors of the chapel, & was in honor & memory
of the great grandparents & grandparent (my Mom).)
Tears. . . even before the ceremony.

The chapel - is set on a lake & is made of stone 
& was an lovely setting for a wedding.

The second photo is of Nicole & Eric as the vows ceremony started.
She looked like a princess & you could see how much Eric treasures her.

The last photo I have is a rare one.
It is of my handsome brother, Scott,  & his beautiful wife, Jodi.
I say that it is rare - because it was one of the rare moments
 that they were both sitting down at the reception!
They made sure to greet everyone (about 300!) who came!

The bride & groom are coming home this week from their honeymoon 
in the warm, sunny Florida Keys. . .
. . . to a lot of snow that has fallen  while they've been gone!

The weekend was a fast trip for me & blur!
. . . & I'm looking forward to my next visit
. . . hopefully in March!

Hope you have a wonderful start to your week!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

… there always a little time. . .

This last weekend I have been in Minneapolis 
for my niece's wedding.

It was a beautiful wedding.
I will post a couple of photos this weekend.
I planned to take a bunch of photos - but I was too involved with other things 
& I only pulled out my iPhone a couple of times. 
(bad blogger...)

The trip was too fast. 
Usually when I go to visit, I stay for at least a week,
 & there is time to putter around.
Not so - when there is all the wedding dinners, rehearsals, 
& running around that a necessity when you are on the brides side.
(Also, I was traveling with Dad this time - & I was the 'driver'.)

But. . .
There is one place that I must go to when I go to the Twin Cities - 
& this time I made sure to make the time to go to one of my favorite quilt shops,

Eagle Creek Quilt Shop is in a little town southwest of Minneapolis,
& it is worth the trip!
It is in an old train station & has incredible atmosphere. 
In fact, this time my sister-in-law (the mother-of-the-bride) came with me 
(she needed an 'escape' after the wedding weekend!)
& for the first time - a train came through. . .
. . . & it whizzes right next to the station/quilt shop!

I pulled out my iPhone & tried to get a decent photo.

Can you see it?. . . right outside the window!
(Trust me - we could also 'feel' it!)

I picked up some plaid wool (I always do!),
 & some green prints for a project I'm working on.
(I never leave there without something!)

The photos at the top of the post are of a couple of the hydrangea plants that are along the path from the parking area to the front door of the shop.
I just loved the way they have 'dried' & are preserved right on the bush.

It was so fun to get to be where there is already some real winter weather happening.
(. . . which means that, yes, I did need my mittens a couple of mornings, & I even had to scrape the car windshield & windows one morning!)
But - I must admit, it was nice coming home to some milder temps.
(Sometimes, I do feel spoiled living here in Arizona.)

Hope you are enjoying the beginnings of this incredible season 
of celebrations!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

… little treats

Who would think that such simple little things 
could make me so giddy. . .

 But, while at church on Sunday, 
I told a friend about my upcoming trip to Minneapolis
& she told me about these little gloves that she got at Target.

They are 'smart' gloves!
. . .Well, at least the pointer fingers & thumbs are.
You can use those two fingertips while using a cellphone with a touch screen.
A regular  'mittened' or 'gloved' finger won't work - 
but for some reason these two 'special' fingertips will!
(. . . & for 3 dollars - I couldn't refuse!)
(. . . & yes, I did have to pull out my iPhone at Target - 
just to be sure & give them a 'test drive'!)

I'm very excited about my trip to Minneapolis later this week.
(The last time I went this time of year - they had just had a blizzard!)
The weather looks like it will be very nice,
(not too cold - but cold enough - it is winter after all!)
I know they have gotten a little snow 
& I just hope that some of it is still around. (sigh)

I realized that I will be out of the studio/office for a few days after 
the website sale (Counting My Blessings) was scheduled to end - so I will
be extending the sale until December 4th. . . 
(25% or more off all patterns & books!)

. . . & speaking of little treats. . .

. . . my dear friend, Jacquelynne Steves, 
the incredibly talented designer behind The Noble Wife,
is looking for some feedback & your opinion & is doing a giveaway 
as a thank you to those who respond.
If you would like to participate - you find the blog post here!

Before I get out my suitcase - I've got to give Bailey a bath. . .
He is having a very special friend (Nubin!) . . .
. . . well okay. . . his *girlfriend* (see here!)
come & stay with him while I'm gone. . .
. . . & he want's to look (& smell!) his best!

Hope you have a wonderful week!

♥ Bren

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

… Giving Tuesday

Did you know that today is. . .


It's new this year,

. . . but I love this!

. . . this gives me hope!

I'll share in a future post why this means so much to me,
but I do know that for me, I'm going to be spending some time on this website.
(Andrea is my cousin's daughter . . . 
& I just love what she & her husband are doing!
. . . especially check out the Sewing Association projects!)

But I know that there are groups & organizations that tug on your heart. . .

(also did you know that if you are wondering what to 'get' someone - that you can 'give' in their name?. . . Check this out
(it's where I've done quite a bit of my 'shopping'!)

So. . . if you've been waiting (for some reason). . .

. . . Today's the day!!!
(of many more I hope!)

I wish for you a day filled with the blessing 
that only giving from the heart can give.
(there's nothing better!)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

… house projects. . . getting done!

Autumn is coming. . . if oh so subtly here.
The pyracantha bushes that cover much of our backyard walls
 turned a perfect orangy-pumkiny color. . . making up for the lack of autumn leaves.
(Actually, these photos were taken a little over a week ago, 
& the berries are already turning red. . . perfect for Christmas!

I've been doing a lot of subbing (substitute teaching) the past few weeks -
so I apologize for the lack of posting.

So this week . . . I have been working on some projects around the house
 that I've been wanting to do - for some time.

A few weeks ago, we replaced the carpet in the master suite (Dad's bedroom) 
with the same Pergo (cherry plank) that we have in the living-dining rooms, 
kitchen & my studio. It looks wonderful. 

So yesterday, I cleaned the carpets in the remaining 3 rooms (bedrooms) that still have the cut berber carpet that I picked out when the house was brand new. It's a good carpet, but I'm ready for a change. (Plus, it's so light - it now shows everything.)
I've never cleaned them myself - but it wasn't too bad! 
I borrowed the machine (a Bissell) from a friend & I think that if I was installing 
new carpets - I would get my own carpet cleaner. I really like the idea of being able to get them cleaner than just vacuuming.

It was also a good workout!

I also cleaned the small braided area rug & runner that I have, & I thought that I was
so clever to put them outside - on the grass - in the sun so that they would dry quickly (& flat). But I was so tired last evening that I forgot to bring them in & of course, this morning was when the sprinklers were scheduled to come on.
 Yep. . . they got a really good rinse! (. . . & I learned how heavy they are when really wet!)
I draped them over outdoor chairs today.  . .
 & I remembered to pull them onto the back-porch before the sun set.
I'm just hoping they dry out by tomorrow.

Another thing that has been on my 'to-do' list for quite awhile 
is to hang some drapery on the living-dining room picture windows, as well as to replace the vertical blinds that have been on the two sliding doors. 
Those were installed when I moved in. . . & although they are the nice fabric kind 
-  they were meant to be a short-term treatment. . . (that was 12 years ago!)

I got all of the drapery panels at Pottery Barn & have had them for almost a year. . . 
I just couldn't find the rods that I wanted.
. . . Until a few ago. (thank you Target for updating your drapery rod selection!)
So, . . . since Dad is in San Diego (with his Granddaughters & great-grandkids) 
for Thanksgiving. . . I'm taking advantage of the time to clean out the bedrooms (for cleaning the carpets) as well as hanging the rods & drapes. . . without him wanting to get up on the ladder. . . (!)

I'm not putting anything back into the bedrooms (one is my office) 
without sorting through everything. 
It's amazing to see everything out of the room. . . & I've found things I didn't remember I still had! (They can so easily get tucked away in a corner!) 
 I've already taken some things over to the school (paper, supplies that I never used & probably won't ever) & I even found a  Moda BOM (Piece & Plenty) that I had purchased from Fat Quarter Shop. . . that I never even started. I love it. . . but I know that I'll never get it started now. So. . . you guessed it - it's now on the 'tag sale' page on the website! (As well as a 'Dear Jane' book & ruler set.) I had the best on intentions - but I would rather they go to someone who will actually use them!

So, tomorrow is going to be a work day for me. . . but one that I'm so thankful to have!
I got a couple of very sweet invites for Thanksgiving dinner. . . 
but, my ideal Thanksgiving day this year will be getting the vertical blinds down, the draperies hung while the 'Macy's Thanksgiving Parade' is one, 
& then the National Dog Show. . . & whatever Christmas movies 
that I find on the Hallmark channel. 

The evening before all the carpet cleaning started. . .

. . . Bailey 'guarding' my bedroom doorway.
(the carpet cleaner was sitting across the hall, in a bedroom doorway.)

. . . my hero.

(. . . see that little black thing on the floor - by the door?. . . 
that's the 'hoof' of one of Bailey's stuffed animals. . . 
More on that - in another post.)

To my American readers, I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
. . . & to all of us - may we continue to remember to count our blessings!


(. . . don't forget that the 'Counting My Blessings' sale is still happening on the website!)