Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again!

 Well, the wedding is officially over and my nest is empty!  I am missing my daughter terribly, but I have been filling the hours with rearranging furniture, cleaning, and quilting.  It seemed like a really good time to make a fresh start, so I invited my friend Jo over to help me, and we rearranged my entire family room, moved stuff, and deep cleaned!  The next day, I rearranged and cleaned my bedroom all by myself.  Not so great on my back, but boy was my hubby surprised when he got home that day.  Finally, I have thrown myself into my quilting.  The quilts were kind of piling up during the last two weeks of December with the wedding and Christmas back to back.  I enjoyed six glorious days with my two grandchildren and their delightful mother:)  All my son did was watch football, but my daughter in law and I hung out and drank gallons of coffee.  After they were gone, the cleaning frenzy began.  Right now, I am working on quilts for my dad's cousin.  She brought me four at once that all need done by mid-January.  I am nearly done with the third of four.  I have added pictures of the ones that I have finished, as well as the one currently in progress.  I am using a variety of designs, and it has been fun to get back to work:)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wedding this Week!

  Needless to say, I have not been quilting for the past couple of weeks!  My daughter is getting married this Friday, and we have been doing quality mother-daughter time, while trying to get all our ducks in a row for the actual wedding day.  At this point, just four days away, we seem to have most things ready to go.  It will be a very hectic day with decorating in the morning, getting everybody all ready to go, and then pictures, ceremony, reception, and dance.  I figure by midnight on Friday I will be about ready to collapse into a heap!  Once the wedding is behind us, it will just be a week until Christmas when my son, his wife, and two grandchildren will be with us for a few days.  That will be wonderful, but I will probably spend much of next week baking and getting ready for Christmas.  The good thing is that I was completely honest with all of my customers about time frames for their quilts, and they were all really great about waiting until January.  I will be one busy beaver come January!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Luck o' the Irish Chain

I have been desperately trying to finish the "must get dones" before my daughter's wedding a week from Friday.  As "luck" would have it, I finished my last big quilt this week.  It was a large queen-sized Irish Chain, which just happens to be my favorite pattern.  It was a relief to get it done, and my customer loved it.  She is giving it to her grandson for Christmas.  I sure hope he appreciates it!  I won't tell how many quilts I have waiting to be done by mid-January, but let's just say that as soon as the wedding is over, I better get hopping on my Nolting!  In the meantime, I have one little table square to quilt tomorrow, and I can shift my focus to working on my Lover's Knot for my daughter.  She already knows that it won't be done in time for the wedding, but I am going to focus on getting it done in time for Christmas.  She is set to arrive back from her honeymoon on Christmas eve, so hopefully, by then I will have it done.  If not, there's always next year!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Big Day Ahead!

  Today I will be really busy getting ready for a family Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with my husband's family.  I am looking forward to it, but also dreading the work that lies ahead.  In the middle of the cooking and cleaning, I need to be working on a quilt today as well.  I have two customer quilts that have to be done in the next week to week and a half, and then I am done with the "pressure" of Christmas quilts.  Everyone else that called got told "no" because of my daughter's wedding on the 16th.  I probably could have finished at least one more, but I just knew that the stress would prove too great.  I already have several to finish before the end of January, though.  For now, I am trying to take one day at a time and will be so glad when the wedding is over and we can relax.  My helpful husband will hopefully spend much of the day being my "minion" as I do have to work on quilting today.  Right now I am trying to decide whether or not to make him a list of all that I need him to do.  I am leaning away from that because I am afraid the list will scare him into a football watching coma!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Gift From the Sea"

 This morning I awoke at 5:30 a.m. (tends to happen when you go to bed the night before at 8:00!), made myself a cranberry, white mocha latte, and settled in to finish reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea.  Although it was written over 50 years ago, the wisdom contained within those 100ish pages is timeless.  I haven't read anything recently that I have found more thought-provoking and truth-filled.  I plan to buy copies for several people for Christmas.  For those of you that haven't read it, I highly recommend it.  One life-lesson that she presents is the art of simplifying.  In my own life, since the death of my mother-in-law on Christmas Eve two years ago, I have given a lot of thought to striving for the future while never really taking the time to enjoy the present.  Giving up my teaching career and gradually decreasing my workload outside of the home so that I can spend more time in creative pursuits have been a big part of that "simplify" philosophy.  Do I have as much money as I once had?  No.  Can I go to the grocery store and buy whatever I want without thinking about the bill when I get to the checkout?  No.  Do I spend as much time at the mall or shopping for clothing that I really don't need?  No.  Am I less stressed and more content with my life?  YES!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Fall Challenge Quilt Wins!

  A couple of times a year, our local quilt guild has a challenge.  The fall challenge was to make a project using pre cuts of some sort, whether charm squares, layer cakes, or jelly rolls.  I chose a new pack of Kansas Troubles charm squares.  My pattern of choice was from the book, Remembering Adelia.  The quilt was on the front cover of the book, and I thought it would be a creative way to use charm squares.  My applique method was raw edge fusible applique, which I applied and then blanket stitched around each with my new Baby Lock Melody sewing machine using Madeira rayon thread.  It looked fabulous!  My guild members must have agreed, since they voted my little wall quilt as the winner.  ( See pics below for a close up view)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The BUSY SEASON has arrived!

  Most years, the time between mid-November and January 1 is pretty crazy.  This year, it is going to be the usual multiplied by 10!  My daughter is getting married in mid-December and with showers, planning, Thanksgiving, last minute details, and Christmas...it seems there will not be enough hours in the days.  Added to that the fact that I am still working two days a week at my regular job, and new customers are still bringing me quilts with requests like, "I have 3 lap size quilts that need done in the next two weeks.  Oh, yah, the backs are too small so they need leaders sewn onto them, and none of them have been pressed.  Is there any way you could do that?"  My answer....Not a chance!  Sometimes, I wonder what people think it takes to quilt a quilt and do a good job.  Mostly, though, I love my customers.  They tend to say things like, "Do whatever you think will make it look good.  I trust you." or my personal favorite, "No hurry." (LOL)  I have to admit that I am looking forward to the day that I can just quilt full time.  That is my goal for 2012--if only I didn't have a wedding to pay off:)

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Granddaughter Has Arrived!

  On October 27th, my new granddaughter was born!  We are so excited about having a little girl in the family to spoil.  Of course, I had to run out and purchase a very sweet little outfit and her first dolly before I went to the hospital.  Needless to say, I am sitting next to my daughter in law on her couch right now rather than being at home quilting!  My schedule for the week is up in the air, but I will be here for a couple of days for sure.  Then, I may just help my mom in her shop for a couple of days before I head home.  My daughter has bridal showers for the next two weekends, and her fiance is moving into their apartment this week, so the word for the next couple of months is....CHANGE!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eleanor Burns' Lover's Knot is well under way!

I am making a Lover's Knot quilt for my daughter's wedding.  I chose the pattern because of the name, and because a Lover's Knot was the first big quilt I ever made with my mom when I was first married.  My daughter chose the fabrics because she wants to decorate her future bedroom in black, white, and red.  She is already so far ahead of me when it comes to decorating her future apartment/home.  I am pretty sure when I got married 25 years ago, we did not register for anything (was there even such a thing as registering?) and, therefore, we got all kinds of hodge podge stuff for gifts.  My daughter, on the other hand, has chosen color schemes for each room, registered for towels, kitchenwares, bedroom and living room stuff, all with color schemes in mind.  Crazy cool!!!  I am very interested in decorating and keeping a nice home, and it is gratifying to see that those ideas have rubbed off on her.  Anyway, she chose the fabrics for said quilt, and it is my pleasure to create a beautiful addition to her future home.  My deadline is December 16th, and I am confident that I am well underway to getting it done on time:)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"The Help," the Cricut, and other Tidbits

So, first of all, I went to The Help with a couple of friends the other night...LOVED IT!  It was one of the best movies I have seen in quite awhile: a terrific history lesson, as well as, life lessons about courage and truth when it isn't the "easy" way.  I highly recommend it!
Second, I now own a Cricut and 5 cartridges!  You heard me--5 in a week.  In my defense, one came with the machine, 2 were from Amazon or Ebay for 1/2 price, and 2 were from Menards because they were clearancing out for only $14.99 each.  Still, I feel somewhat guilty for the outlay of so much money in a week on a "toy" for myself, that I have determined that my fall bonus from work absolutely MUST go to the credit card bill to pay for said "toy."
Third, I have been gone 9 out of the last 14 days, and I am sick of being gone!  I spent the past couple of days quilting, and the pictures of my work are added here.  Daughter and I have a scrapping date tomorrow to play with the new Cricut.  I will try to photograph some pages and add them soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scrapping weekend introduced me to my new love...the Cricut!

This past weekend I went to a scrapper's retreat at Maranatha.  It was a lot of fun, and I was so happy with the amount of work that I got done.  I shared a table with my daughter in law, her mother, and a friend of her mom's.  It was a comfortable work environment.  Occasional friendly chatter occurred, but mostly, we just worked on our pages.  Because of my quilting business and helping my mom, I haven't been able to focus on scrapping for the past couple of years.  It felt so great to just put everything else out of my mind and enjoy the process.  I have been an avid scrapper for about 17 years, and it was awesome to get back to it.  I was so inspired that I came home and ordered 150 more prints from Snapfish, and went on Ebay and bought a Cricut.  I had never used one before this weekend, and I must say, that after having used it at the retreat...I HAD to buy one!  My first thought was to ask for one for Christmas from my hubby, but, then I realized that is two long months away!  Having never been good at delayed gratification, I took matters into my own hands, and found an awesome deal.  Yay for Ebay!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scrapbooking convention, here I come!

I spend a lot of time quilting (duh, right).  I attended the statewide quilting convention in July.  But,  I do have other hobbies.  So, this week I am planning to be in the quilt shop for a few days, and then I am heading to a weekend-long scrapbooking convention.  I haven't scrapped in such a long time!  When I was a teacher, I spent every Christmas break and every summer vacation catching up on my scrapbooks.  I had three books going at all times; one for me, one for my son, and one for my daughter.  That way, I reasoned, when they moved out, they would each have all of their own books, and I would still have mine.  Well, the last time I worked in my own book was more than three years ago.  I made an engagement book for my son and his wife as a wedding shower gift three years ago, this fall.  The last scrapping I did was to catch up on my daughter's books for her graduation.  Now, I am so far behind the question is...where do I begin?  I packed way more than I could ever possible do, and plan to spend much of the week this week while I am at my parent's place just organizing so that I am ready to actually work when I get to the scrapping.  I think it will be a lot of fun, and I can't wait to feel like I am on a bit more on top of things with my scrapbooks.  I bought a new book for my grandkids, and I can't wait to start on it! 

Quilt Nebraska Here I Come!

Being on the planning committee for a major statewide event is not what I would call "fun."  I agreed to do it mainly because my mom was on the committee and I wanted to make sure that she didn't get in over her head.  Luckily, I talked several of my good friends from my quilt guild to join in the "fun."  Without them, I would have had many a long, lonely drive to the monthly meetings over the past year, and now, finally, as we bring this event to a close this week, it will be a great time sharing it with friends.  Most women that I know my own age, which I hate to own is 44, do not sew, quilt, or anything else domestic other than the usual keeping house and cooking for their families.  My generation tends to be scrapbookers.  I also love to scrap, but since beginning my longarm business a couple of years ago, my scrapbooking days are few and far between.  But, I digress.  This week, in  Kearney, we are having our yearly state convention.  The planning committee has been hard at work for several years lining up teachers, location, venders, etc. in order to make this event a success.  There are more than 200 ladies signed up to take classes over a three day period.  In spite of many frustrating road blocks put in our way by "the board," we were able to make some much-needed changes.  Rumors abound, but in the end, I believe we will win out, if not in dollar figures, in long lasting influence on future conventions.  I can't wait to see how it all shakes out!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Babysitting my grandson is better than quilting!

Today, tomorrow, and Saturday I am babysitting my 17 month old grandson.  He is a delight to have around.  Busy, busy, busy...but lots of fun!  I have quilts that I should be working on; however, if I have one regret about my parenting days, it is that I wish I would have been less "task-oriented" and really enjoyed the time I had with my son and daughter when they were young.  I didn't realize as a 20-something that those days would quickly pass by and before a blink of an eye, those babies would be grown up, and having babies of their own.  Maybe that is why grandparents are so much more fun than parents!  Grandparents realize a very profound truth which is that taking care of a small child is truly one of the greatest blessings in life.  It's not something to be tolerated or done while accomplishing other things.  It, quite simply, is a joy to be enjoyed during a season of life.  I plan to read books, have tea parties, play outside, go for nature walks, and do all those little things that as a young mom I didn't do enough of.  I vow to never utter the words, "Not now, I am too busy.  Maybe we can do it later." to my grandchildren.  For, with children, I have learned that the time to do things together is "now."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marci Baker 3-D class

Take a class, learn a new skill! Today I took a class with national quilting teacher, Marci Baker from Ft. Collins, CO.  It was a lot of fun!  About 17 of us jammed into the basement at my mom's quilt shop and spent from 10 am to 4:30 pm learning how to make a 3-D quilt.  Mine is made with hot pink and purples which will eventually be placed on a charcoal background.  It will be gorgeous!  Pics to follow...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bad haircut=bad month or so!

I have been quilting up a storm lately, which doesn't leave me a lot of time for beautification!  However, when I want to make an effort, I would like my hair to cooperate.  This brings me to my point...I hate a bad haircut!  The last time I went in a couple of weeks ago to the same girl that I always pay to cut my hair, I got what I thought was "my usual."  Sadly, I cannot do a thing with it!  It is so annoying that I have literally taken to just getting up in the morning and going to work without even bothering to comb it!  I am demoralized!  No amount of effort gives me the desired effect, and I know that it will be at least 4 more weeks before it grows out enough to do something else.  GRRRRR!  A bad haircut really does =a bad month (maybe longer!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I met Paula Reid!

I totally forgot that I hadn't written since we had our state convention!  Did we do everything right?  No.  Did it go well?  Yes.  There are always lessons to be learned and a case of the "would of, should of, could of's" when we undertake something major, but all in all, I am satisfied with the results.  People seemed to have a good time, and it was well attended.  The discouraging thing is that there are always those that criticize and complain no matter how well things go, or how well-intentioned you are.  Oh well.  Anyway, the really cool thing was that I got to take a class with Paula Reid, Alex Anderson's personal quilter, and she was so awesome!  We had lunch, I drove her to Starbucks, took her to the shop where she took lots of picture and even bought a couple of kits, and just really enjoyed getting to know her.  She is a fun, ball of fire!  This next summer, she is going to come to the shop to teach for a couple of days, and I can't wait.  One thing is for sure...a fun time will be had by all.  Paula will make sure of that!

New laptop=New life!

So, today I bought a new laptop, and I am so looking forward to being able to blog and do all the stuff I always want to do on computer. I never can because my old computer is 7 years old and freezes up like crazy!  Now, I can actually type and post without the aggravation!  I just got the computer today, so it may take me a few days to transfer all my old photo files, etc. from the old computer.  Then, I am hoping to add pictures of current projects to my blog.  So... stay tuned!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June is OVER!

I can't believe today is the last day of June!  In looking back, it is hard to remember what I have actually been doing.  No lazy days in the sun.  No fun little road trips for just my hubby and I.  I must do better with the next couple of months, or before I know it, the summer will be over, and I will be looking back in dismay over lost opportunities.    My daughter and I have been making wedding plans for her December wedding, which has been a lot of fun.  Most of the puzzle pieces are in place now, and it is a matter of finishing up details.  When the date gets closer, I am sure we will think of all kinds of things that we haven't yet figured out, but for now at least, it is feeling like we are on top of things.  I have been called by three new customers in the last two days to quilt some more quilts.  There is a question in my mind as to how busy I want to let myself become.  However, with a wedding on the way, it doesn't seem wise to turn away business, so my summer may be spent doing a lot of quilting for other people.  I really must strike a balance between doing for others and working on my own projects!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buried in Quilt Tops!

Wow, all of the sudden quilters are coming out of the woodwork with tops for me to quilt!  It is exciting, but a little bit daunting since I am still working two days a week and helping my mom whenever I can, as well as being on the planning committee for Quilt Nebraska 2011 in Kearney at the end of July. It has been a hectic year with meetings and planning for our state convention, but I think it will be a big success and it will be nice to say that my friends and I had a hand in it.  Of course, if it fails, I will pretend I had nothing to do with it :) 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summertime, Oh Yay!

Wow!  It is June 16th already!  My daughter had her 18th birthday this past week, and wedding plans for her December wedding are in full swing!  Grandchild number two (from my son and his wife) is on the way, and we are anxiously awaiting the news of whether it is a boy or a girl.  My little grandson had his first birthday already.  I can't believe how fast time flies.  In the midst of all this excitement, I am quilting for customers, averaging 6-10 projects per month.  It is enough to keep me busy and bring in some extra income, but a small enough amount that I can still work on some of my own projects.  I am planning to take some pics of my latest little projects and post them soon.  This past week I finished a wallhanging, a baby quilt, and a doll quilt of my own while also quilting two small wallhangings for customers.  This weekend I am going to work at my mom's quilt shop while she attends a family reunion.  I guess I am just not old enough yet to truly appreciate the joys of family reunions.  Or, maybe, our family just doesn't do them properly.  All I know is that I traveled four hours to attend one last summer where my husband I were the youngest adults there by about 25 years, and there were a total of about 20 people in attendance.  Needless to say, this summer, I offered to work at the shop! LOL!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Graduation is Over!

Last week, my youngest graduated high school.  She was attending the school where I taught for 16 years, up until about 4 years ago.  In contemplating my 20 year association with said school, it has been a mixed blessing.  Lots of good memories...a few not so great...but all in all, I enjoyed my time there.  Now, since my daughter is done with school, that chapter in our lives is officially over.  The next things to focus on are a new grandchild who should arrive toward the end of October, and my daughter's wedding, which will take place mid-December.  As one chapter in life closes, a new one opens.  Therein is a beautiful thing!  I am looking forward to the new chapter as an empty-nester.  Hubby and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, and before year's end, we will be alone in our big old house.  Should be interesting!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring has Sprung!!!

Ah, Spring!  What a wonderful time of year.  The grass is green. The tulips are blooming, All feels right with the world.  My knee is finally starting to feel somewhat normal after my surgery.  Next week, I can start swimming again, and I am so looking forward to the exercise.  It has been four weeks since I have been able to do any kind of exercise!  I am also back to quilting in earnest trying to catch up on everything that I got behind on while I was out of commission.  I just finished what is definitely one of my best looking quilts ever the other day.  I used Kim Bruner's Twirly Whirly Feathers technique, and it turned out really cool.  I will be using more of that technique in the future, for sure.  Today, I am off to a baby shower for my daughter in law's brother and wife, who also happen to be former students of mine.  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.  After that, hubby and I are headed for a "date" with no particular plan.  I do believe it will include a stop at a greenhouse and the purchase of some flowers for my front porch, though.  Yay!  Spring!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Knee Surgery Stinks!

Wow!  What a crappy week I have had!  Started out with a fun weekend working at my mom's quilt shop for a Shop Hop and ended up with emergency knee surgery and a week laying on my back with my knee above my heart.  I was about to go crazy!  The bad thing was that I have a bunch of quilts that need to be quilted for my long arm business and I just lost over a week of work time.  Right now, I can only work for about and hour and then have to sit with my knee up for awhile.  Slow going.  Luckily, my customers are very understanding ladies and only one of the quilts is a graduation gift that must be finished in the next week or so.  Speaking of which, I better get in there and work on it for awhile!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Shop Hop Begins Today!

This morning, I am just hanging out at work tying up a few loose ends until it is time for me to head to Kearney for the Spring Shop Hop.  It is a once-a-year happening that is really fun.  Women from all over the state travel around and hit as many of the participating quilt shops as they can in a 10 day period.  It is crazy busy at my mom's quilt shop, so I go to help her.  We see some people that we only see once a year during shop hop, and that makes it even more special.  We also get a chance to show off our newest products and samples of new quilts that we have been working on for several months leading up to the Hop.  All in all, it is a long 10 days, but well worth it.  I look forward to it every year.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Exploring other Blogs

So, today I read my first blog post belonging to someone else.  It was actually a letter from one of my former students to his soon to be born baby daughter.  It was so sweet, but so personal.  It's very interesting to me that the "facebook generation" is so open and honest in cyberspace.  My own son has 3 blogs (which I hate to report that I have never read) and his own youtube channel where he posts all kinds of videos.  Privacy, or the concept of privacy that I have always had, really doesn't exist anymore.  For now, I am maintaining my own privacy by not using my full name, or the names of my family.  Maybe, at some point I will be comfortable putting it all out there, but for now, I am simply:  renaissanceSandi

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

renaissanceSandi is born!

This is perhaps one of the strangest things I have done in awhile.  Right now, I feel like I am writing to noone (which, technically I am!) but it is an exciting new venture for me to see what I can learn and become through blogging.  Truth be told, I have never even read a blog, or looked at a blog.  However, since I have quit teaching full-time and have begun all kinds of new ventures in the last four years, I have decided to add blogging to my list.  Once I figure out the ins and outs of this adventure, I hope to find people who will come along with me as I explore a newly empty nest, experience being a first time grandparent, and expand my fledgling long-arm quilting business.