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

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!

 Bren

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

:: sharing the love. . .


. . . with a 'buy-one-get-one-free' offer!


I just wanted to pop in to let you know that because our customers have let us know how much they love being able to get patterns in a downloadable PDF format. . . I've been keeping my nose buried in the computer screen & keyboard for the past week - so that we could expand our PDF pattern offerings from eleven patterns to thirty patterns!

Here's you chance to add to - (or start) your PDF pattern file - so that you can have your patterns ready to go (& not having to search for them all over your sewing room - or in bins!) when you are ready. . . & no waiting for the pattern to arrive in the mail (. . .& no shipping!)

. . . just sharing the love. . .

Bren


Saturday, February 1, 2014

:: my word for 2014



It's not a 'romantic' word. . .
but as I started thinking of a word for 2014, I kept coming back to 'process'.

. . . & it made complete sense to me.

After choosing the word  'grace' for 2012. . . I actually kept it for 2013 as well.
I needed to.

As I focused on 'grace' in 2012 - I just felt that God was still teaching me much with that incredible word. & I felt like I needed to keep it for some more time, & as I look back onto 2013, I can now see that I did need to keep 'grace' in the forefront of my mind. (…& to be honest - it will be a word, & a reality that will stay there for the rest of my life.)

So. . . onto a new word for this year. . . & for me it's  'process'.

I thought of it, as it has been a word that I used with my students quite often when I taught art & design, & it reflects what I have learned to love & appreciate about the creative process. It reflects on learning to appreciate time. . . & the reality that it takes steps. . . (sometimes very tiny steps). . . to see something come to fruition.

But it also has come to mean to me so much more, as I've seen God working in my life. . . opening some doors, closing some others, & I've come to learn to be aware & to appreciate the steps that I am led to take each & every day. There are also some deeper, more personal ways that this word just felt so right for me for this year, that I hope to be able to share with you as the year goes on.


But for me - I am keeping my word for this year in front of me as much as possible. I've printed out the some graphics I have made with my word, & I taped one to my bathroom mirror (a much needed reminder). I also have one in my office & one as the background for my laptop. . . (for the screens that I use for designing software (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator…).

So. . . onward.
Time to take todays steps…

Bren

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

:: puppy love


I just couldn't resist (again). . .
I'm not one to watch the Superbowl just for the commercials, 
but I must admit that I have a soft spot for the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials & was tickled today to see this commercial (early!) that will air during the game.

(If you saw last year's commercial - you will recognize the same 'rancher' guy!)

Get ready for some big-time *cute*!



(I understand that there will also be another very special Clydesdale commercial during the Superbowl. . . but I'm thinking I'll just wait to see it after the game on YouTube.!)

Bren


Friday, January 24, 2014

:: a little de-stashing



Just wanted to pop in & let you know that I've  just added over 3 pages of items to the 'Tag Sale' section of the website. . . I've been doing some de-stashing & I wanted to be sure to let you know! There are a bunch of bundles, yardage & even some gifts & notions. . . I've put some 'teasers' in the photos above, but trust me. . . there's much more!

You can find the 'Tag Sale' section by clicking 'here'.

(. . . & a reminder, that if you order more than one item - if possible - we always combine them into the smallest package possible for shipping, & then we refund the difference.)

Thanks for letting me post this little website 'commercial'. . . I'll be back soon with what else I've been up to. . .

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Bren

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

:: beautiful girl… beautiful world ::

I just couldn't resist sharing this. . .
 . . . cutest thing I've seen in awhile!


Wishing you a 'beautiful' day!

Bren

Monday, January 6, 2014

:: welcome 2014 ::








Well. .  . here we are in 2014.  I am one of those that felt like 2013 went faster than I sometimes felt I could keep track of. . . but I must admit, I have been looking forward to the arrival 2014. Even though, in reality it is a new day - as in any other, somehow the freshness of the knowledge of a new year makes it a special day somehow. 

I spent the arrival of this new year - with this little face (top photo) looking up at me. 
Bailey was all set in his ThunderShirt & I had been putting some drops of the Bach's Flower Essence drops called 'Rescue Remedy' in his water for the last few days. . . (Rescue Remedy is a natural essence that helps with anxiety & they now make it in a pet formula that is wonderful. . . (a big thank you Holly  for introducing me to it!)). . . but even the smallest loud pop of a firework scares my little guy. So, he stayed on the floor (where I lay a bunch of quilts out for him. . . trying to make a snuggle-y spot for him) & this year he spent his time either peeking out from my closet - or he 'glued' himself to the side of my bed. . . where I was staying up stitching & telling him that everything was going to be alright. Thankfully, there were only a few fireworks set off in our neighborhood, & so Bailey's shaking calmed down & we were in bed by 1 a.m..  I am still getting this look every evening - as he seems to equate the 'pop' noises with it getting dark outside & it's as if he is anticipating the noise. Poor little guy. He's getting better every evening - so I'm hoping that by mid-week he will be able to settle with no fear of the fireworks.

I wanted to share with you some little pin-keeps that I made for some special quilting-stitching friends. I had a tea just before the end of the year for the four of us & had these ready for them. I had so much fun making them. I used one of Kathy Schmitz monogram wreath designs for the front, & then I made some little double nine-patch block for the back. I love how they reflect two of my loves - stitchery & quilting. . . (& rick-rack too!)  Believe it or not - I completely forgot to take any photos of the tea party. I was having so much fun making the tea sandwiches, salads, & a chocolate macadamia nut tart, that I completely forgot to take photos! I plan to do more tea parties - so I will try to do better in the photo department next time. 

I hope that you have had a wonderful start to this new year. . . & that if you are in a part of the US that is having such incredibly cold weather - that are able to stay warm. . .! (please take extra care!).
I have a few special things that I am hoping to get to share with you in the next few posts. . . & I hope that until then you know how much it means to me that you stop by my blog.

Bren

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