Tuesday, March 25, 2014

:: spring (cleaning)

(This is an optional embroidery version that I did using my 'Spring Tulips' PDF pattern)

Spring has definitely sprung around here. . . & the scents in the air are wonderful around the house.

I've replaced some of the quilts & needlework that I've had out for winter with some spring quilts & needlework & it has brought the feeling of the spring outdoors to the inside. I just love it when I get to do this. . . as well as opening up the windows to let fresh air in all day long!

For those of you who have followed my blog for any amount of time,
you know that I'm a big spring cleaner.  I do it every year. And, to be honest - I've done a pretty good job of it for the past couple of years. But this year I've decided to tackle a biggie. . .

. . . the garage.

It's been on my list for quite awhile . . . & while it's not 'out-of-control' or anything. . . it does need a good cleaning out. I've actually started (a little bit) - & after I finish with two big projects that are on the 'front burner' - finishing cleaning out the garage jumps up to #1 on the  list.

As I've been putzing around in the garage - I've discovered some more inventory of patterns & books that I'm ready to 'retire' & so I've decided to start the annual 'Spring Cleaning' sale (on the website) a little early as well. This means that all patterns & books (& even some sample quilts!) are 20% - 50% off!. . . (& yes this includes PDF patterns!)

Wish me luck. . . & if you don't hear from me in a long while. . . send someone out the the garage okay?  ;-)


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

:: daffodils. . . & adventures with Dad. . .

Around the beginning of February, I get a little antsy for the time when I can find daffodils at the market. There’s just something about them I love, that seems to ‘trumpet’ that spring is arriving! (... or in our case - has been here for awhile!) I love that they are very affordable - & so I can get bunches & bunches & have them all around the house. I buy them when the buds are still completely closed - because they open up so quickly (within 24 hours) once they are put in water! 

This year I’m especially loving them in the new green Ball jars that I found. The green jars seen to be perfect for holding flowers - they compliment all kinds & colors. I got mine on Amazon, because I also wanted the quart size - as well as the pint size & it was the only place I could find both. They were a little treat I gave myself for spring.

This week has already proven to be a busy one - filled with expected & some unexpected happenings. Yesterday, Dad fell in the front yard while working on a ground light fixture (up-lights one of the trees). It gave me a fright, as our front yard is covered in the typical Arizona front yard cover - small rocks (We're very water conscious here. . .)  Also, the front yard has a little slope down to the sidewalk, & so when Dad took his tumble - at the top of the yard - he ended up rolling all the way down as well. Thankfully he didn’t hit his head (& trust me - I checked & checked!) - but his left hand, right arm, & knees took the brunt of the fall & he lost quite a bit of skin. So, I doctored his “boo-boos” (as he called them) & I confess I did boss him around for the rest of the day - not letting him do much of anything. I needed to run the the market to pick up some more bandages - as we used up all the large ones we had - & Dad promised he would stay inside while I was gone. I also told Bailey that he was ‘in-charge’ & to be sure that ‘Grandpa’ behaved. When I got back home - Bailey came running up to me with a look in his eyes like, “I tried. . . I really tried!”. Sure enough - Dad had gone back outside to survey where he had been working - to be sure I covered it up well. (Stinker!)  I was concerned that he would wake up really sore this morning - but he seemed to be doing okay. (Or he’s putting on a good show - just to prove to me that he’s tough!) I”m trying really hard to not nag him & give him his space - but I fear my blood pressure will be tested this week!

Tomorrow, I’m going with him to a doctor’s appointment for a surgical consult on some upcoming surgery he must have. Dad has often had issues with skin cancer & has had several face peels & surgeries - to either help keep things in check or to remove areas that tested positive. The last surgery - two years ago - removed a basel cell cancer that was positioned about 1-inch from his left eye. They ended up needing to take more area than they first thought - & they also had to take about a quarter-inch of his upper eyelid as well. This was a bit traumatic for him & required having to have a plastic surgeon do the closing & a little more work several months later after all had healed. Well, this latest find is located on his right side the same area - about 1-inch from his right eye. Thankfully, it is also a basel cell type - but they already know that it is covering more area than the first one did. He’s a little worried about it - I can tell. But, we are so thankful that is is not melanoma - which is what he thought when the doctor first called with the test results. He came into the studio to tell me that he had heard back about the tests & when I asked him what kind it was - he couldn’t remember. I asked him if it was the basal cell kind & he said, “no. . . the doctor said something else.’ When I asked him if they said melanoma - he said yes. . . & I have to admit - my heart dropped a little. It was an anxious 24 hours waiting to hear from the surgeon’s office. When we didn’t - we called the dermatologist’s office & discovered that it was indeed a basal cell type of cancer. Whew! I can only figure that the doctor was tying to assure Dad that the cancer was not melanoma - but all he heard was cancer. . . next to his eye (again). . . & he remembered the word melanoma. So, even though we are praying (hard!) about how far this basel cell cancer might extend - hopefully not into his eye) - we are so extremely thankful that it is not melanoma!

Okay. . . back to spring-y things!. . .  Several years back, I was blessed to be featured in Australian Homespun magazine (a magazine I love!) - & for it I designed a special project - a penny rug - just for spring. Because the magazine was a little bit difficult to find for a lot of folks here in the upper hemisphere, every time I posted a photo of it - I would get requests for the pattern. Then when I taught a wool club last year - all the ladies wanted the pattern. So, . . . finally. . . I have re-made the pattern! I decided that it will be an exclusive - only available on the website, & so that it’s as easily available for everyone, & as cost effective as possible - it will be available as a PDF download only. So, because of that - I’ve priced it at only $4.50 (USD)! I know that put mine out every spring (& even into summer!) & I hope that for all of you who have asked - this will make your day a little brighter! (. . . & that you will forgive me for taking soooo long!)

Well, I think I’ve made this post long enough. . . so I will end wishing you sunshine ⛅ & warmth filling your day!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

:: marching on. . .

One month. . . oops. 

Sorry, I must say that my goal for posting more often this year has already pretty much gone down the drain. Sorry. Especially to those of you who ‘follow’ me. . . who actually have signed up to get notice when I post something - either on a blog reader or with the Google Friend Connect (on the side column). That still humbles me. . . that folks would actually sign up to see what I post. So, thank you. You’re all sweetie-pies in my book! So, this morning, I’ve sat myself down at Starbucks - with the main purpose to get this post written

The one format I’m not comfortable with is Facebook. Sorry. . . the inconsistencies of how it operates is too frustrating for me. I have been encouraged told that I “need” to have a “presence” on Facebook for my business - but then I read about all the hoops that a business page needs to jump through . . . & I just don’t get it. . . it’s seems to be a lot of time spent - for no guarantee that the folks who ‘Like’ you on Facebook will ever see what you post. . . Sigh. So, I’m sticking with my little blog, Twitter (for now), & Instagram. (... & I must admit. I really like Instagram, & honestly - it’s the ‘social media’ I use the most.   I guess it’s the visual aspect of it, & I love how you can post to it so fast with a little caption (or not!) So, if you want more visual peeks at what I’m up to - you can click on the Instagram button on the right to ‘follow’ me there! (You can set up a private account if you wish & you don’t have to post photos if you don’t wish to.)  But, I will warn you. . . it can get a little addictive! I must admit - that I was checking Instagram several times a day - just because it was so fun & easy to catch up with the folks I follow (from all over the world!) - but now I limit myself to a morning & evening check-in to my Instagram account. Speaking of addicting. . . no, I don’t ‘do’  Pinterest. I admit - it looks lovely. . . but again, I’m a visual person & I know I would get lost in it & I just don’t have the time to spare these days. (... ergo the not posting for a month!) 

I've also been thinking about how I want to manage posting things about my business. Although much of my time is spent on things involved in my needlework, quilting & designing. . . as well as the website, I don't want my blog seen to be all about promoting it. When you think about it - a blog does have the role as a kind-of a diary, and is a nice way to document what's happening in you life.  At the same, I know that some folks visit my blog so that they can see what's new with the designs - so I am going to try to keep the posts that are exclusively about website features to a minimum, (so that folks don't feel like all they get is a sales pitch), &/or if there is something about a website offering that I want to mention to you - I will place it at the end of a post. This way, if they wish, folks can skip to the part they care about most!

So now. . . to catch up. . .
Mr. Bailey has been such a good boy & has not had to wear the cone for a little while now. He actually did get a little tired of wearing it, bless him.

We have have an incredibly mild winter. So much so - that I have felt a little guilty reading about all the storms most of the rest of the country has had to endure this winter. I spoke with my brother the other day - who lives in the Minneapolis, MN area, & he actually sounded pained as we were talking about the winter they’ve had. (... & they got more snow today! Ouch!) I do realize how I do like living here in Arizona!. Things are beginning to bloom all over all around us! (. . . & a little funny background on the photo of the blooming little cactus. . . Dad is not fan of having cactus in the yard. . . & so for this Arizona yard.garden - It is the only  cacti!. . . & in a pot - to be sure it doesn't spread! lol!)

I'm reading 'The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society'. . . again. It's such a perfect read! I just finished a pretty challenging book (very good - but a tough subject matter.), & so reading the letters between Juliet, Dawsey, Sidney, & all the folks on the isle of Guernsey - is such a happy & sweet way to end the day. This is actually the fourth time I've read it. I've read books again - but never have I been able to read a book this many times & actually enjoy it more - each time I read it. The interesting news is that there is a great interest in making the book into a movie. It will be interesting to see if that ever happens.

I’ve been working on some new quilt patterns & have a couple new ones made & will hopefully have them out by early April. One of them is a re-making of one of my most popular patterns, ‘For My Grandmas’. I received so many requests for it in a queen size, that I’ve (finally) taken it on to make it larger. (... & I must admit, I’m loving the process & the results!. . . This one will be for my bed!)

A big thank you to all of you letting me know how much you love the PDF versions of the patterns. I will continue to be sure that they keep coming!

Thanks for hanging in there with me and my little blog. I'm so glad you came for a visit!