Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer = Shop Hop, Cookout, Beach, & Quilts!

Every Monday I tend to post on Facebook something to the effect that it's a new week, new beginnings, etc. Kinda a reminder to myself to have a good attitude as I begin a new week. I've always enjoyed turning over the calendar page to a new month too - my reminder that the past is history and I have a whole new month whose history is yet to be written. A clean slate, opportunities, the first day of the rest of my life!

Well, July has certainly snuck up on me! This is THE month, THE year that I celebrate living half a century so I've been celebrating all month and still have a few days left to continue! I've been calling my adventures my little snatches of vacation - sometimes its just an hour (wishing it were more), sometimes its a day out with the girls, sometimes its an afternoon at the beach, more than most it's a few stolen hours at the sewing machine working on a personal project. I'm learning to truly appreciate these mini refreshments!

Earlier in the month I invited a few friends to join me on a shop hop to three of our local quilt shops and then lunch afterwards. I can tell ya, the only thing more fun than fabric shopping is fabric shopping with girlfriends! Well, then topping that off with decorating your own cupcakes for dessert (grin).

Last post I gave you a sneak preview of my Hen Party quit - the one that has shared fabric from two of my friends. Well, mine grew! and grew until it was no longer a queen size comforter but a queen size bedspread or king size comforter however you want to classify it. I like to think of it as my turn of the half century quilt (grin). There are 98 blocks, none of the fabric repeating, and goodness only knows how many fabrics in the scrappy border, I really think if someone wanted to verify the number of total different fabrics I'd be up to about 150. When I say "scrap quilt" I truly mean scrap quilt!

For the record, Pixxie is still gainfully employed as my Professional Quilt Model. I really enjoyed quilting this one - as I mentioned it was HUGE! I was able to quilt on it off and on throughout the 4th of July holiday weekend. All over freehand fiddle faddle style of quilt designs, just whatever came to mind. There's some hidden hearts, 50's (to document the big upcoming event), feather puffs, curly feathers, swirls, and what-have-yous in this quilt.

Oh and did I mention that the thread is a beautiful turquoise? Matched the backing fabric really nicely.
Do you see the 50 in the middle of the cornerstone? There's lots of little hidden surprises in this year's Birthday Quilt!

Of course my favorite view of my quilt is the stamp of approval that it's indeed a cuddle quilt.

Part of my little snippets of vacationing at home has included enjoying meals outside under our new tiki hut. It's an even greater joy to share with friends and family. Despite having above average rainfall this month we've managed to enjoy being outside (minus the mosquitoes which it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they became an endangered species!)

And yes, I'm a little spoiled - a new addition to the deck dining has been my hanging chair. Believe it or not, I have been known to share (grin). One evening we invited over our sons, their girlfriends, and another young couple we know for a luau - I've discovered one way to feel young is to hang out with younger people (double grin). Actually I am truly blessed to have friends both younger and older than myself, a true treasure!

This was one of those rare photo opportunities when all four of us are together...so thought I'd share the family photo.

To many it may not seem like a summer vacation to be inside at the ironing board (and believe you-me I've got enough fans in the studio to counteract the heat of the iron), but to me that's just part of a quilters life. The biggest joy is when I'm working on something for myself. Okay, I know that sounds extremely selfish, and it is! But this is MY month and I'm taking all the opportunities I can between other obligations to grab little snatches of time to indulge. One such evening yielded two more almost stars for a quilt that I've been working on since spring. Little by little with perseverance this will one day grow up to be a real quilt.

I haven't been totally selfish with my off-hours sewing...in the background is a t-shirt quilt for my nephew who graduated from high school last month (okay, so I'm a little late, but all that's left is the binding!) Displayed in front is a purse I made for my mother-in-law literally hours before joining the family to celebrate her birthday. Another example of putting out the biggest fires first - if it's on my list it will be done by the deadline, but it might be right at that deadline!

Another evening I took a little time to play around with a set of charm squares...these have been patiently waiting to be joined into something, anything, since Market last fall in Houston...They were from the collection Beach House by Robyn Pandolph and I was honored to be able to quilt one of her market samples with the same fabrics. Early this month on my shop hop with the girls I found yardage of this line, and purchased enough to do the sashing around the charm squares and add a little border. This now goes in the "quilts in waiting" pile (which is getting very tall) along with Beach House print fabric for the backing and binding. One day...

Several months ago at one of the guild meetings a member shared a quilt she had made out of pinwheel blocks from an exchange ... I wasn't a part of the group that exchanged, and I love pinwheels, so came home and went through my stash to cut out fabrics for my own pinwheel quilt. Little by little I've made a block or two... In fact, I cut out so many different fabrics that I have enough pinwheel blocks for two, maybe three quilts... here's the one that I put together the other evening..it too will go into the quilts in waiting pile, patiently awaiting it's turn to be quilted...(I still have my 2005 birthday quilt in that pile!)

One of the things I love about working from my stash and my scraps is the memories particular fabrics hold. I know I've talked about this before, but there's something comforting about memories, that and the way we can choose to revisit things of the past looking through "rose colored glasses". In everyone's life there is pain in the past, we can either chose to hang on to that pain and let it cripple our future, or we can forgive (others as well as ourselves) and chose not to dwell on the negative. Even in the tough times there is good sprinkled in. I chose to remember the joy, the happiness - all the while learning from the mistakes of the past and doing my best not to repeat them (grin).

My favorite time under the tiki hut is early morning and early evening when the sun is just right. I keep adding little things to the deck to make my 'snatches of vacation' more enjoyable. How do you like the new pillows I made tonight? Found the panel among my other treasures from this months shop hop with the girls!

And yes, I'm sorta into parrots this summer...that and pink flamingos for some reason...how do you like this new addition? picked him up on the island and plan on teaching him to say "TGIF" (grin). Just in case you are wondering, it's not real, just a very well done figurine that will probably get a lot of second glances when folks enter the Tiki Hut..

It wouldn't be summer without a day at the beach...naturally the day we had available was really only a half day, but that fits in with the idea of mini-breaks dubbed vacations, and naturally it was a day that threatened rain (and actually did rain) - but nothing was going to dampen my spirits! Had that 'bloom where you are planted' attitude and I chose joy! First time I've had my feet wet all summer (besides a shower of course) so I decided it needed to be well documented! I think the closer I approach 50 the more goofier I've become...girls just wanta' have fun!

I love being outside. Whether it's a short time to eat lunch outside, or a half a day on the island...there not much better than enjoying God's creation - it's a reminder of how magnificent He is, the awesomeness of His splendor, and I remain in awe that He cares about me.

His mercy is new every morning! Don't have to wait for a new week, new month or even a new year for new beginnings - it happens every 24 hours! The joy of the Lord lives in me and I'm lovin the life He's given me!


Anne-Lise at Rag, Tag, Bobtail said...

Well, congratulations! Your birthday quilt is marvellous! I really thought the parrot was real :) - love the cushions! Beautiful photos - thanks for sharing.

Denise in PA said...

Karen - you look fantastic! The birthday quilt is so colorful - I love it. Happy, Happy Birthday! o:)

Karen E. Overton said...

Anne-Lise, the parrot looks real in person too - I love the way it makes me feel so tropical in my own backyard (grin)

Denise, thank you for the birthday wishes, technically today 7/21 I'm still "49 and holding" (grin) my actual birthday is Fri 7/23 and as I said I've been celebrating all month (my husband would say all year! but after all, it's the big one)

Muddling Through said...

wow! You have been BUSY! Your birthday quilt is just beautiful, and all those memories sewn up into it will just make it all the more precious over the years. The pillows are gorgeous, and I'm loving your tropical back yard!

Karen E. Overton said...

Thanks Elaine, we are really enjoying the Tiki Hut, built it over an existing deck. Next year we hope to be able to add some landscaping...but for now I'm more than content to have a cool covering to chase away the heat!

fancystitching said...

Happy Birthday, Karen! You have REALLY been busy, Gal! What a neat idea... Tiki hut on your back deck!! Love it!


Laurie said...

3 quilts of your own! Wow! even if they aren't all quilted that's great.