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Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Has Sprung!

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At least for today --

I’m not holding my breath as to what may happen by this weekend, I don’t trust it a BIT!

But today it reached the mid-70s…not that I was out for much of it.  But still.

I enjoyed blue sky and sunshine and wore SHORT SLEEVES to the post office ((TWICE)) and to the dentist ((ONCE…once is enough!)) and am happy to report that the crown that was glued back down about a month ago is still going strong and I don’t need a new one.  Yet.  No cavities either.  Yet!

After post office trip #2 I headed into the gas station running on fumes….seems we forgot to even CHECK the gas gauge when leaving the mountain yesterday –—good thing I caught it.  It was plum empty.

And off to town I went for the most exciting adventure of the day ---

SAM’S CLUB! LOL!

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I think this shirt would look better in a quilt than on a body, don’t you?

I was after more boxes of bubble mailers.  When I stopped by on Friday, they only had 4 cases.  FOUR.  As in…not enough.  But I bought them anyway.

Today when I went back…they had SIX.  And they had filled up the hole on the shelf where these mailers are usually there by the dozens with boxes of OTHER STUFF…I guess so the shelf wouldn't look lonely and empty, but they can’t fool me.  WHERE ARE MY MAILERS?!

When I checked out I asked the checker if they knew when they’d get more in.  He said “Just a second, I’ll check the computer.”  About 5 minutes later he comes back to tell me there are 14 more cases on a pallet somewhere.  “I WANT THEM!” I said, emphatically.  “All of them?” He asked, wide eyed.

YES.  All of them.  Like NOW.

So he found someone with a fork lift to go scouting and I was the one the spotted them way up high and said “These ones!”

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Can’t hide from me, 14 cases of mailers!  You are mine!

Getting mailing envelopes shouldn’t be so difficult.  And I know I could have them mail ordered to me, but what fun is that?

The UPS man doesn’t come with perks like this:

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I was told I needed to up my calcium.  I obeyed!

All 20 cases are now here at home with me and I will resume book signing and order filling come morning.  But the evenings are MINE.

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I got in my 10,000 steps and passed by these trees!

Someone in my neighborhood was even mowing their lawn…..aroma of the gods!

And tonight I start to load the Wonky Wishes quilt into the machine……..or maybe….I’ll stretch out this process a bit longer and PIECE A BATTING!  There is a box that needs emptying and I am not in any kind of hurry to get this done…..

However you spend it, enjoy your Monday evening!


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Leaves of Memory

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Earlier we were discussing memory quilts, and ways to handle them.

Clothing is such a personal item ---fabric that has been worn close to the heart.  Memories are so often attached to these every day items, yet it is not always easy to find a way to use fabrics ---Cutting into them can be hard too, when a lifetime of feelings are attached to that piece of clothing once worn by a loved one.

I remember a sweatshirt I received after my grandmother passed, and how it smelled like her perfume.  I could never bring myself to wash that sweat shirt for a long long time, because I didn’t want to “wash Grannie away.”

She smelled like Dove soap and Jergens lotion and this one perfume that I never did find out what it was ---hugging that shirt and burying my face in it brought Grannie back close to me many times.

If you WANT to make a simple memory quilt, here’s an idea from Ingrid, all the way from Germany!

She writes:

Hi, Bonnie,
Here comes my story für "quilting is therapy"
(Excuse my English, I am from Germany and my English at school is long long ago)
 
ingrid1
 
My father died in 2011 two months after his 90. birthday, suddenly and unexpected. I took home with me the shirt that he wore that day.
I cut it apart and ironed steam-a-seam on the pieces. Then I cut 90 different leave-shapes.(My father liked it when my sister and brother and I knew trees and plants with their names in our childhood).
I ironed these leaves onto the brown fabric, added batting and backing and sewed the shapes and quilted in the same time. I finished three days later and   I was "ready" with  saying goodbye.
 
ingrid2
The quilt is now hanging in our stairway.
Ingrid from Moers/Germany
I love how symbolic this simple quilt is.  One leaf for each precious year of her father’s life.  Such a beautiful tribute.  And it only took ONE FABRIC from ONE SHIRT plus the addition of a complimentary background.  It speaks volumes about a lifetime of love between a father and a daughter.  It is there in her stairwell every day as a reminder.
 
Thank you, Ingrid for sharing your quilt and your story with us!
 
It’s Monday morning!  The only thing on my calendar today besides getting the next round of book orders out is a check up and cleaning at the dentist at 1pm.
 
I sewed ONE MORE ROW on the width of the pieced backing last night…it was about 3” too narrow after I measured it against the quilt ---I’ve even prepped the binding!  Tonight – I’m loading it into the long arm!
 
Have a great Monday, everyone ---


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Sunday, March 30, 2014

And She Treadled All Day ---

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It is so cold and so gusty windy you would think my rocking chairs would rock right off the porch ---

It looks like a family of ghosts has taken over on the front porch.

The wind chimes have chimed in all afternoon as well --- isn’t March supposed to come IN like a Lion and go out like a Lamb?

This one is going out like the Big Bad Wolf who is huffing and puffing and blowing my mountain cabin right down!

And here I sat, treadling the columns of the scrappy orphan block backing I’ve been working on in the evenings this week together ---

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The view outside through the screen where I sit ---

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Sadie under the folding table next to me ---

I brought in the folding table from the van just to give myself a bit of space to support the weight of the quilt backing as I stitched away –this girl never left my side.

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It was a cozy little productive corner with the gas fireplace keeping me warm and toasty!

More Doc Martin on the laptop also keeping me company ---gosh I love that show!  I think I must be partly related to Dr Martin Ellingham ---I so love how no-nonsense and direct he is, no time for shenanigans!

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Row by row does the backing grow!

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All of the rows together!

When we get home I need to measure…there may need to be one more row to the far left ---seams kind of shrink things up and this was just a guestimate ---but we are MOSTLY there I think!

We've enjoyed our lazy day up here ---even though I’ve been treadling upstairs and doing my own thing, and The Hubster has been down in the basement watching basketball and tennis. 

Potatoes are baking in the oven.  Chops will be going on the grill soon, salads have yet to be made – and after dinner we will clean up, pack up, and head back on down the mountain toward home.

Yes, finding this wonderful cabin just a 90 minute drive from home was the BEST THING we have ever done.  Ready to run to at a moment’s notice, and we can use it often ----

OH, and a heads up!  I’ve got something special planned for APRIL FOOLS DAY – so be sure to stick that on your calendar and come back and see me on April 1st.  You won’t want to miss it!

Love from Buck Mountain ---


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A Sneaky Little Book Secret!

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About 500 of you should be receiving your book orders in the next few days if you haven’t already--That is the number of books I have sent out "on the secret" so far!

I have spent much of each day since Tuesday printing invoices and mailing labels, signing books and stuffing mailing envelopes and boxes, shipping globally!

I kept this secret under my hat since arriving home on Monday because I wanted just a few quiet productive days, and to surprise as many of you with an early book delivery as I could before the word got out ---

By last evening I was reading on Facebook from excited quilters posting pictures of their new arrivals and I knew it was time – that Cat BOOK was out of the bag!

I am very excited about this beautiful new book…the photography is terrific, the editorial staff did a fabulous job on an exciting layout and, oh I know you are going to love it as much as I do!

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30 cases on my driveway when I arrived home Monday evening!

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30 cases and mailing envelopes lining one wall of my living room!

My goal has been to stuff envelopes until it’s time to run to the post office before they close ---any time after that 4:30pm drop off is MY time for the evening, and that is when I’ve been working on the pieced backing for Wonky Wishes.  I’ve been sleeping like a log, and up and back at the mail order the next morning as soon as the morning blog post is out ----

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Yesterday my post office closed at noon, and I decided that I needed a WEEKEND…so the Hubster and I drove in the rain to the cabin for a day and a half of respite ---To really get AWAY from work and have a weekend, I needed to leave the untouched cases of books where they were until Monday morning! 

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Where are my mountains?

Foggy, rainy, cold, windy and miserable.  Perfect for holing up!

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That roll by the machine?

That is the columns for the backing I’ve been piecing.  Today I lay them out and stitch them together…..we will be heading home after dinner tonight.

Up here in our little mountain community of Buck Mountain, they do a “Last Saturday Buck Mountain Night Out” where residents can head to a designated local eatery and enjoy a meal together and get to know our neighbors.  Last night was the first time we had the opportunity to be here on a Last Saturday of the month – and we went!  What a fun time.  We had such a great time that after dinner, several of us headed to a local sports bar where there was a DJ and continued the party ---

I completely missed doing an evening blog post!  Imagine that!

We do agree that us old folks require a bit of early to bed ((And I was tired from order filling!)) and we were home by 11pm ----and I am so excited.  I’ve made new friends!  That feels good.

SO needless to say, there will not be Quilt-Cam this afternoon.  I was hijacked away.  ((I didn’t fight it)) I am thinking Wednesday Evening at 9pm Eastern will work for this week…..

It will take me at least Monday and Tuesday to get the rest of the pre-orders out the door.  Wednesday should be good for it --

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AND…if you’ve been waiting until books were IN STOCK before placing your order for More Adventures with Leaders & Enders – now is the time!  Click HERE to visit my book order page!  Did you know that orders of 3 books or more ship FREE within the USA?

You can see all of the quilts found in the book by clicking HERE.



Love from Buck Mountain ---


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Row By Row By Row!

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I spent yesterday afternoon and evening assembling the rest of my columns for the back of my Wonky Wishes quilt.

I know that just seaming two large pieces of fabric together would be a lot faster, and a lot easier – but this building a back brings such satisfaction.  And it seems to fit the front of the quilt too. 

Oh the stuff I have cleared out!

Oh the stuff in the pile that has NOT been cleared out – this didn’t use ENOUGH fabric, not by a long shot!

I went through a few of these long bobbins yesterday while building my columns.

I’m sewing on my Singer 27, such a smooth machine!

I took a little video of the bobbin being wound, just so you can see how it works – I’ve probably done it before on a different machine ---but this blue thread is so visible and it really is fun to watch:


I stumbled on my words….I was going to say Twenty Seven then switched to MODEL Twenty Seven….but I DO have a Twin to his machine – it’s just a head without the cabinet that is too good to use for parts, so I swap back and forth between them to keep them lubed and going – I guess you can say I DO have a Twin 27!

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This is where the backing stands now!

I spent time last night trimming all of the columns so they are the same length.  This makes joining them easier, and there is less chance of anything stretching and creating a back that is uneven and guaranteed of quilting mis-haps and pucker problems.

I may need to add one more column to the left side if the backing falls short in measurement after joining all the columns together.

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I love this section!

Lonely orphan blocks that just didn’t reach the size they were supposed to…I trimmed them to an even 9”, thereby guaranteeing that I would definitely chop off points in the joining process, but better in the quilt, than still in a box!  The flying geese were leftovers from my quilt Talkin’ Turkey from String Fling!  Fun to see them being used up in this project.

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Left over border parts from Florabunda as well….

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And even some left over Cheddar Bow-ties are finding a place to land --

It’s nice to have a weekend to be at home with my family.  It’s also nice to have a weekend to be in the basement studio sewing away!

How about we shoot for some Quilt-Cam tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, March 30th at 2pm Eastern?  That should be a time where our quilt friends in Europe can join us live if they want.  If not – it will be archived!

**UPDATE!**  The Hubster wants to run to the cabin, returning tomorrow night --- So an afternoon Quilt-Cam won't work at all!  I leave for Williamsburg, VA on Thursday, Apr 3rd...what if we do Quilt-Cam on Wednesday EVE?

Sorry guys, I'm heading to the mountains! :)

Happy Saturday everyone ---


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Friday, March 28, 2014

iPhone-o-Gram! Fat Quarter Windfall!

The post man just made a drop on my doorstep – a box addressed to me!

I haven't ordered anything from Amazon lately, so I was curious as to what was in the box – I tore it open right away!

Oh goodness – it's a whole collection of very fun fat quarters for me to play with!

The note inside is from Marti –

She was in my mystery quilt class at fabric fanatics last New Year's and just finished that quilt as a wall hanging –and sent   along a batch of fat quarters – just because :-)

Just because is a very good reason!

Thank you Marti – this really brought a smile to my face today, and I can't wait to play with them :-)

There is more desk work to get done, however – but the weekend is almost upon us, and I am hoping for lots of sewing time!

Love from the basement
Bonnie

Not a Backing Yet ---

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It’s not quite a backing yet – but it is getting there!

These are the panels I’ve built so far….I’ve been digging in the orphan bin, trying to find things of “like size” so I can easily build them in panels…but I’ve rummaged through this stuff enough that there is not a lot in common in there..which means, I’ll start adding strips and pieces parts to the sides of blocks to true them up to some kind of column width.

Things are not laid out in their permanent order right now, I just wanted to show you what’s come together so far.

Yes, I did spend a bit of time taking donated leftover chunks of strip sets and sewing them into long piano key lengths.  It was an easy job at the treadle machine  while watching Doc Martin last night.

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To the left…left over string strip set from Talkin Turkey!

There is also a donated length of Jinny Beyer border print, you can see an orphan Celtic Solstice Star and the star from Christmas Lights ---some leftover string units and donated “My Blue Heaven” stars ((in scrappy everything)) More piano keys ((I like how these bright ones liven up the backing!)) and a couple other blocks that found their way to me at some point, unloved and unwanted.  There is a place for them!

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One Gone Awry!

I’m not sure how this block came to live with me, but someone thought it wasn’t worth picking out and fixing – so it is mine!  I like it!  It’s perfect just as it is.

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And THIS?!?  Millennium Y2K Fabric Bonanza!

I’m not sure who these string pieced sets belonged to either, they are ALL Millennium fabrics!  So I sewed them end to end – and yes, it will be used up in this quilt.

50 years from now I hope someone is really stumped as to the age of the quilt.  I hope it drives the OCD folks over the edge.  I hope they shake their heads in wonderment – all the while I’ve had a great time working on this and clearing unwanted stuff out of the “get rid of it” blue cubby and the orphan box.

I’ll be working on this more this afternoon ---More pics to follow!

And while I’m dealing with strips here, I have a reference chart for you, sent to me by Kathryn.  She has made a spread sheet of all of the free patterns, by strip size!  Thank you Kathryn!  Click HERE to view and print.  I’ll be adding this to the Tips and Techniques tab above as well for reference.

It’s FRIDAY!  Woot Woot!  Let the weekend begin!


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heavy Duty Thread Stand Love!

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I’m tired of wimpy thread stands.

Cheap plastic, bendable upright pieces that wave and snap into cheap bits…

What did I even buy these things for?

When I bought one MANY years ago, the base was plastic, but the spindle that holds the spool and the tall arm that lifts the thread were METAL.

I went to buy one of these for the cabin ---and EVERYTHING is plastic.  CHEAP.

So cheap that when I opened the package to get the pieces out, the tall upright piece was already cracked.  I returned it.

I’ve been looking for a solid heavy duty thread stand since.

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Whopper of a Thread Stand! YAY!

I found these on Connecting Threads – These are AWESOME!  Even the base is heavy metal – all metal parts, ZERO plastic.  And the price was good.  About $11.00

I bought TWO --- one for here in the basement studio, and one going up to the cabin.

Did I mention that these are HEAVY!??

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I like how high it lifts the thread…nothing interferes with the wheel of my treadle!

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I’m still piecing columns for the blue backing –

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Leftover blue borders will be thrown into the mix --

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And some odd orphan blocks for fun here and there….

See my one left over Celtic Solstice Star?!

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JUST SAY NO!!

Now this is something I am definitely saying NO to-- This is one fabric I do not think has been cut SMALL ENOUGH – it’s still way to ugly to even look at…..Oh geeeze….can I just cut this whole lot into narrow strings? *Shudders*

I’ll be spending my evening treadling parts together into this back….I might have something to show you tomorrow! 

And Just for fun – I’ve got a hysterical story to share from Shelley B ---

She writes:

My family was skiing at Sugarloaf in Maine this weekend.  I don’t ski, I just go for moral support and to watch the dog.  On our way back home to CT, we stopped for lunch in Farmington.  Trying to find the McDonalds, we passed Pins and Needles Fabric and Yarn store.  Near the McDonalds was Gifford’s Ice Cream.  I thought I remembered that from your blog a while back.  hmmm
After lunch, my husband and daughter left in their car.  My son was with me in the van and I said, “sorry Jake, we have to go back to the quilt store”!
So I choose my fabrics, the store lady cuts them and I’m paying. I give her my Visa card which I have had customized with a photo of my Lazy Sunday quilt.  This is the conversation that ensued...
shop lady (SL from here on out):  “ooohhh, nice card”
me:  “Very few people appreciate that but I knew you would.  That’s actually my quilt top.  It’s called Lazy Sunday and was a Quil...”
SL: “It was in Quiltmaker!  I LOVE Bonnie Hunter quilts!  I saw this but didn’t make it yet”.
She proceeds to show me pictures on her phone of quilts she’s made from your patterns.  My ipad is in the van so I go get that and we have a small digital Show and Share.
SL:  “Do you follow Bonnies blog?  She was here teaching a little while ago”.
me:  “Yes I remember that.  I thought I remembered Gifford’s from her posts about being here”.
SL:  “Did you see the post about Mary who makes stilettos from turkey lacers”?
me:  “Yes, I saw those.  They were so pretty.  I printed the directions to make one but never did”.
SL:  “Well, I’M MARY!  STAY RIGHT HERE!”
She runs down the stairs and comes back up and gives me my very own turkey lacer stiletto.  We are both laughing.
OMG, how funny is that?
Bonnie, you’re bringing us together all over!
Hahahaha!  Thanks for making me laugh today, Shelley!  This was a riot!  ((Wish I had been there!))  And how awesome of Mary -- Love her to pieces, lacers, stilettos and all!

However you spend your Thursday night, enjoy it!


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When Quilting Mends Hearts --

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We’ve all experienced those heartbreak moments in life where all we can do to cope, is to put positive effort into something we CAN control, to DO SOMETHING positive when our hearts and minds simply can not process the hard things of life.

This happened to me on Sunday as an email from Theresa informed me that our friend Julie and her son are lost in the mudslide that happened in Washington State on Saturday.

Waiting for news has been excruciating ---I’ve left the TV off because it is simply too hard to face, and I spent last Sunday and Monday sewing a baby quilt up at the cabin through my tears and fears.

I’ve had many restless nights ---still no news, and so I sew.

Last night I finally crashed about 9:30pm and slept 10 hours.

To Julie and her family, friends and loved ones, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

You might remember a fishing trip that Julie and her hubby Jerry took me on in Cordova, Alaska in September of 2011 HERE.

Sewing can’t fix the fact that this mud slide happened and that many families have lost everything – literally ---insurance won’t even cover it because it has been deemed an “act of nature” but that is another topic all together --- ((Sometimes getting angry at things like that give us a place to focus our grief…but that doesn’t fix it either.))

This morning I woke to an inspirational email from Deb in Texas who shares her story:

She writes:

Bonnie

There are times in everyone’s life when you look back on the things that have happened and you just “know” they are for a reason. 
I embraced your scrappy system and patterns a little over a year ago now and it has been such a help to me during an adjustment time in my life.  For that alone, I thank you.  Unfortunately, that is not what put it all in perspective for me though. 
I found out today that a very dear friend has stage 4 cancer and without treatment he has 3-5 months – with treatment 8-10 at best.  This wonderful friend is already in a wheelchair and yet is the most loving person I have ever had the opportunity to be around.
 
Debplaid1

 Deb’s Quilt Front 
Through my tears today, I found the strength to head for the studio.  Once there, it was simple and all because of you.  I grabbed my 2” shirt strips, some 2” solid squares and strips, and headed for the machine. 
I know that he is not my brother, but I felt a closeness to you as I sewed through my tears and created a lap quilt for him for Monday as he starts chemo. 
I finished the top and backing in an afternoon and it will hit my 301 tomorrow for quilting.  I will bind through tears tomorrow night and hopefully be strong enough to take him to treatments on Monday. 
I know that it is a gift for him, but was so therapeutic for me at the same time.
 
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Deb’s Quilt Back
Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Without your influence in my life --- I would never have thought to do this, much less had the resources.
Forever grateful

Deb --- silly redhead in Dallas
(quick pictures – not cleaned up and with a flash – center square on back is for the label)
And so I say it again – Quilting is balm for our own aching souls as much as it is a comfort to those we gift the quilts to.  It is a tangible testiment to our love and caring of those around us.  And the creating of a quilt is a soft spot for us to land and settle and focus when the world rages around us and things are beyond our control.
 
I’ve been keeping the Serenity Prayer forefront in my mind over the past few days, with a few additives, I’d like to presernt to you the Quilter’s Version:
 

God, Grant me the serenity- To accept the things I cannot change,
The fabric stash- To make a quilt to help me cope,
A quilt to give- To comfort those I love in times of hurt, fear and uncertainty.
And the courage- To keep on sewing when life itself seems held together by a single thread of hope.

©Bonnie K. Hunter, 2014

 Stitch on, Quilters – Stitch on ---


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