Saturday, July 5, 2014

:: carrying on





Here in Arizona, there are some years when it feels like summer starts somewhere mid-spring. 
(The temperatures can hit in the 90's as early as March some years!)
But, this year we had a wonderfully mild spring, & now that it's July... summer has definitely arrived. 
In the 23 years I've lived here, I now feel like summer is officially here when we get the start of the summer rains... or what is called the 'monsoon' season. When I first moved here, I didn't care for it too much ("but I thought it was supposed to be a 'dry' heat!"), but now I love it when they arrive. 

And just the other day... they arrived!

In the top photo, I had opened the front door to check to see if any storms might be building (they often come up from the south during the summer), & although it was still very sunny (& hot!) over us, you can see what was coming! Bailey was just finishing 'watering' one of the bushes...(he's such a helper in with the gardening!)... when a big low rumble came from the direction of the mountains (& the big dark clouds), & within a split-second he was making a bee-line for the front door! So we went inside & put on his storm gear... his Thundershirt. He actually likes having it on & it does really help with the thunder-boomers. He was a happy camper throughout the 1.5 inches of rain we got that afternoon.  

The photo at the bottom was actually taken only about 15 minutes after the top photo! Within a few minutes we had a nice little lake build up on the side of the house... which my Dad loves (& actually created a dam so that  the rainwater wouldn't run out the side yard to fast) as it then soaks down & deep waters the trees we have on the side yard. You can see by the patchy grass, that we were in such need of rain. Hopefully with one or two more good rains, the grass will become more lush & green & less patchy. (... & all the bunnies that visit our backyard will be so happy!)

I hope you all (in the States) had a great Independance Day celebration. I watched some fireworks on TV (with the sound turned down as my little pupper doesn't like the booms at all...) & thankfully none of our neighbors set off any fireworks in the neighborhood. I love fireworks... ever since I was little... but having a pup that gets really traumatized by the noise has tempered my appreciation of them being allowed to be set off  within a neighborhood. I know I must sound like a firework 'Scrooge' , but honestly I do love them... in their proper place. 

I've had my nose to the grindstone with some new projects, & I'll try to snap some photos for you for another post. I'm putting this post together on my iPad, to see if this makes it easier for me to 'find' the time to post a little easier... So we will see if it looks the same. As I'm looking at this post as I'm putting it together, the photos look huge... so we'll see!
 Until then, I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

xo, Bren


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

:: doing a little happy dance here. . .!



Yep. . . it's true. (!!!!)
… but feel free to pinch me, 'cause there are times I can hardly believe it.

I am so happy to announce that my next fabric line will be making it's appearance at Fall Market with Moda.
(… insert girl doing happy dance for the umpteenth time…)

It's called Ambleside.

…& I couldn't be more pleased.

(… & it's been so very hard to keep it secret until now! Whew.)

Here's a little peek of one of the colorways.

:-)  ! ! ! 
(a trillion times squared)

… um… If you need me… I'll be in the studio.

Bren

Saturday, June 21, 2014

:: officially summer











A month. . . really? 
It's been that long since I posted here on the blog?
Oh my. 
Sorry blog. . . I didn't mean to neglect you. . . & I'm so sorry to my sweet blog visitors. 
I really didn't mean for so much time to pass between postings. Honest.

Life has (obviously) been keeping me hopping, & although I have gotten much better about setting more of a schedule for myself (one of the downsides to working completely from home) - there have been quite a few days this past month that have complete taken me to places that were not on my 'to-do' list! But that's okay. . . it's called 'life'.

I have been quite busy finishing up several quilts (two of which sold for 'Quilted Comfort' - thank you!), some miniature sized just-for-fun blocks, & finishing several patterns. I'm holding onto some of the patterns because they are either in need of being quilted &/or I know that quilt shops are a bit inundated with 'new' patterns - so soon after Spring Market - so my plan is to release the patterns around mid to late July.

(… & for all of you who sent me emails letting me know you wanted to be a part of 'Quilted Comfort', I thank you sooo much, & didn't forget about you! I sent the letter I will send to you to the organization we will be working through - as I wanted their 'OK" & I got approval & some additional good news(!). So, I will get the update made to the letter & send it out this week.) If you aren't aware of what 'Quilted Comfort' is all about, you can click on the 'Quilted Comfort Project' page link at the top of the page.

We've (w/Bailey assisting) also been spending some fun time outside. We now having to time it as to when we go outside to work in the yard - as the temps are hitting 100° (F) or close to it on a regular basis now. Even though today is the first day of summer - it always feels like summer arrives here several weeks before the official start. . . & we feel like, 'yah - been there - done that' way before the calendar start for summer.

For Father's Day - I wanted to do something special for Dad. . . but he wasn't a big help whenever I would ask him what he wanted to do. . . (stinker!) - so I made him his favorite cookies - molasses cookies, & I made him one of his favorite things (& they are few in number). . . Hot Dogs (we're so fancy!). I got some really good all beef, bun length franks & then all the fixens he likes. I also went to our favorite cafe - where they make their own potato chips & got some 'to-go' & we had those as well. (He must have liked that because two days later - he came home from the cafe with another 'to-go' order of them!


While having some fun in the studio, I was making some assembly samples for a club that I've been teaching locally. . . (called 'little acorns club'), & after the class - I came home & finished making the little star blocks (they are addicting to make!!)  & thought how fun it would be to kit the little quilt - called 'little shining stars'. So. . . I did! I only have a limited number of kits (I'm actually on my second batch of kits already) - & they are already on the website. . . (here!)  I love the golden-y colorway & how it can work year-round. . . for summer (like sunflowers(!), & it would be great with a blue table-runner underneath for a July 4th table setting), autumn, winter holidays, & spring too!

Speaking of kits. . . I did make up another batch of Betsy's Closet - In Stitches kits - using the last Durham Anew Collection fabrics I designed. These too are limited as I'm getting to the end of my fabrics. You can find them (here).

I've got some other news that I'll do my best to post this week... (including one piece of news that I'm practically bursting to tell you. . . but that I must get permission to do so (!!!)).

Until then, I wish for you a wonderful start to your summer days (or winter for my southern hemisphere  friends!) & hope that you get time to create & stitch!

Bren


Thursday, May 15, 2014

:: small beginnings
















While many quilt designers have been putting the finishing touches on quilts for Spring Quilt Market, which is happening this weekend in Pittsburgh, PA, I've been working on finishing some quilts too… but for a little different reason.

. . . & I've been having such fun!

I've been making two of my 'Meadow' quilts for a very special reason. . . a little project I'm calling 'Quilted Comfort'. It has been something on my heart for quite a little while now, & if you would like to read more about it. . . & maybe how you can become involved (!). . . you can read how this has all come to be by clicking on the 'Quilted Comfort' project tab - at the top of the page (right under the header). I've made a separate page for it - as I want to keep it always available & easy for folks to find
(…Also, it would make for a very long blog post!)

But - to get things started, I've made a couple of the 'Meadow' quilts & they are for sale on the website. The quilt will go to the purchaser & the proceeds of the sale of these quilts will go for funding the purchasing of materials & shipping costs, etc. - so that we can make as many quilts as possible & touch as many hearts as possible. (A win - win!)

While working on these quilts. . . from the cutting out of the appliqué pieces, to piecing the patchwork center, to quilting, & then to the hand sewing down the binding. . . I couldn't help but think of the person that will end up with the quilt & how it will eventually lead to making quilts for some folks we don't even know yet. . . but whom I know that God is already planning to receive a quilt of their own. I found myself praying for all involved & - through this amazing opportunity we have & the joy that quilting brings. . . in so many ways - that God would bless the process (there's that word!) & the people involved.

I hope you can take a little time to check in on the 'Quilted Comfort' project. I would appreciate your prayers as we take these first little steps. . . & begin our small beginnings. . .

Bren


Thursday, May 1, 2014

:: happy May Day!








From my childhood, (just a fews years ago… *cough-cough*!!)… I remember at school learning to do the dance around the Maypole. . . I think my very favorite part was all the pretty ribbons & how they would weave themselves into a beautiful design as the dance progressed. I remember looking up (because I wanted to watch the ribbons) & bumping into my friend over & over, & we got a case of the giggles that refused to leave!
 . . . Sweet memories.
. . . I wonder if kids are still taught that dance. . . I haven't seen a Maypole in years. . .

I love May. It's that sweet spot between summer & spring (here in the northern hemisphere) where it isn't too hot yet & for us - it means windows open in the mornings & evenings - & the fresh air allows the house to 'breathe' again. The back yard is exploding with color. . . & although we only have two small bougainvillea plants now (we had to cut back the 'wall' of them that we used to have as they can be very aggressive & its a challenge to be sure they don't take over everything.) - I took a photo of the blooms on one. . . & it was so bright I had to tone down the color before posting it!

I've had my nose into my laptop for days (& nights!) to finish-up a project that I'll tell you about in a couple of days. . . & as I went to bed last evening, all I could think of is that I wanted needed to sew! So today, I'm spending some quality time with a bundle of 30's repro fabrics, & plant myself into my stitching chair. I can hardly wait! but, before I shut down the laptop for the day, I wanted to let you know that loaded a bunch of those wonderful little Moda mini-charm packs onto the website. . . I just love them & I've put them on a fun little promo - with 'buy-three-get-the-fourth-free'! You can mix & match the mini charm packs & just let us know which collection you would like as your free one!

I also added this sweet quilt - that I made for display of the first Durham Anew line that I designed - to the 'sample quilts for sale' page. There is no pattern for it - but it would be ideal in a little girls room or as an accent in any 'shabby-chic' space!

Happy May Day!

Bren

Sunday, April 20, 2014

:: That's my King!


I've posted this before. . .
the words (& recording) of Dr. S.M. Lockridge. He was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, California (where I grew up). When I was in high school. I attended a city-wide youth retreat & I had the privilege of hearing him speak & hearing this for the first time. I remember so well how this aging man had hundreds of teen-agers attention like no one had all weekend. :-)

It struck & chord then… & beauty of the message of this video is that it strikes the deepest chord in me still.

… & given the celebration of this Resurrection Day (!), I just wanted to post it again.

He is Risen! ✞

 Bren

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

:: a little get-away




(my handsome brother, Scott & his beautiful wife, Jodi.)

(Dad & Scott - the two handsome men in my life. . .)

(… & the other handsome little man in my life!)




Last week, Dad & I were able to go on a little get-away. My brother (Scott) & his wife (Jodi) came to Arizona for a little vacation & we all met up in Sedona. Scott & Jodi live just outside Minneapolis & they had been looking so forward to coming out to Arizona. As I had talked & texted with them over the past few months - you could just hear the weariness of the winter & the extreme cold temperatures (I’ve been informed the term ‘polar-vortex’ is now considered a bad word/term. . !). So wouldn’t you know that the week they came . . . Sedona’s weather took a turn for the colder side. One evening - as we had been waiting for a little rain to start, we were watching television & Scott stepped out to go over to their unit for something, & immediately after he stepped outside, i heard a knock on the door & I could hear him outside saying that we didn’t have to worry about it raining. . . As I opened the door - bless his heart - there he stood & there were snowflakes falling all around! I will never forget the pitiful look on his face! Thankfully, it didn’t stick & they were good sports about it all - stating they must be to blame & had brought the cold with them!

We had a wonderful time though, getting to visit & catch up. One day we took a little trip to Jerome, AZ - an old mining town that was built - literally on the side if a small mountain. (There are lots of steps to get from one street to the next!) We had lunch at a restaurant that my Dad remembered from many years ago & that pleased him so.) Plus, the views were beautiful!

The overall scenery in & around Sedona are incredibly stunning. . . Scott & Jodi had found a favorite trail to see the sunset & they took us there. Even driving into town about a few miles after getting off the highway - you take a turn around a bend in the road & the red rocks suddenly appear & it literally takes your breath away! I will certainly be taking more trips up to Sedona.

Right after arriving back home, we celebrated Bailey’s birthday. He is eight years old! He’s now officially my ‘big boy’. . . & I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. (sigh)

Although I haven’t made my way out to the garage to begin my spring cleaning out there, I did dip into my wool & I made up some wonderfully spring-y wool bundles. So for those of you who have asked me about the wool colors I used for the wool pennies on my ‘Spring Tulips’ design. . . these are a perfect set of hand-dyed wool colors for this design & any design that you want to use fresh, spring colors in 100% wool.

So, that catches me up with the blog-o-sphere. Here’s hoping I make it out to actually start my work re-arranging in the garage before my next post. (!)


Bren

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?  ;-)

Bren


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!

  Bren

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