Little Quilts

Today I am quilting the last border on the church quilt. It is a really pretty day and I hope to spend time on the porch. I am planning to stitch tiny little quilts next. I have started a autumn flying geese and I hope to complete it. Next I would like to used traditional Lancaster County, PA. colors and try to create some of their beautiful patterns in miniature. Long ago I made a sunshine and shadow wall quilt and incorporated their Amish star quilting pattern. On the border I used a hearts and a vine pattern. I will take a photo for you. In 1976 when I first started quilting I attended a quilt show in Wayne, PA. I had the fortune to meet the creator of ARDCO templates. I truly enjoy hand work, these templates are made to accurately mark the cutting and the sewing line. Joy! Even if I only have a small scrap, I can be sure it will be usable by testing with the template. If you google these templates are still available. Most folks today and most books also use rotary cutting techniques in place of templates. So you have a choice. There are several things about creating with fabric that really bring me enjoyment. First is the creativity. Many of the patterns for quilt blocks are historical. The name of the quilt block can even tell a story like king David’s crown or Road to Oklahoma, but the quilt you create will be unlike anyone else has ever made. The fabric you choose, the setting of the blocks, sashing, and borders all make it unique. Please do not be imitated by all the photos of prize wining quilts. Go ahead and express yourself. Remember, only God is perfect. Some of my quilts, well, they kinda of run uphill or downhill, truly. But I had hours of pleasure and prayers creating what I hoped would bless another. It does not have to be hand sewing, but I encourage you to express yourself creatively. It is good for your mind, your heart and your spirit. God wants us to love each other. Sewing has given me a way to touch another. What creative activity do you enjoy that you could use to bless another? God bless, Trudy

Welcome Home

My most recent posts have been about change. We have discussed physical change, dreaming and making a home. I have encouraged you to day dream and this is wear we come together to share. I have asked you to think about and to make notes about your favorite flower, color and places you have loving memories of. Now it is up to you to add these life touches to your surroundings. If you choose a neutral background for a wall color, you can add touches of the colors you love in places live pillows. Your favorite flowers can be replicated in silk at a reasonable cost. The places you have fond memories of can also be added. If it is the beach, gather some shells in a pretty bowl or basket. If you love the woods, have fun with pine cones, acorns, or a few feathers you may have found. There are laws that forbid us keeping feathers from owls, raptors etc. But we are allowed others. Black and white photos can be stunning. The thought hear is to create a grouping. You might decide to make this your focal point. A focal point is like a movie screen. It shows what is most important to you. In our home, the focal point is the shelf Patrick made. It holds heirlooms and is a place to display a quilt. If you love the city, have fun looking for items like a little statue of the the empire state building. Black and white photos of city scapes can be added. Just like ingredients come together to make a delicious dish these express your taste. Have fun looking in a thrift shop, flea market and dollar store. All living things evolve. A home is also a life story telling of memories, interests and what is important to you. In our home, music is important so instruments are a part of our home. Patrick has a framed copy of sheet music. It is a song his grandfather sang often. If you have decluttered then you will have a place for expressing yourself. Joy! You do not have to physically change your address. What I am encouraging you is to express yourself and the person you are. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this time together. God bless the special place you make for yourself and others called home. Trudy

Begining Anew – Making a Home

You have found a new place and you are ready to make it a home. What do you do first? First you pray. Next, you clean and paint. When we came to Crisfield, a pastor came to call and welcome us. We asked him to bless our new home. It was a great way to begin our life here. If you have been dreaming as I did, you have in your mind lots of ideas for colors. I would encourage you to create a foundation with paint in a soft neutral color. Think of a quilt. Even a scrap quilt needs one constant color like bleached or unbleached muslin to tie it all together. This wall paint color will be the foundation for all the colors you love. It is very important to know that all paint colors are different in different light. I once had a beautiful soft grey that I used on one wall. Depending on the time of day the wall color had hints of lavender. It was really pretty. White paint can have tones of yellow, tan, green etc. My solution was to find an item in the color I loved and bring it with me to the paint store. In our living room the focal point is a shelf with a quilt and pieces of Wedgwood. This blue I wanted to continue in the kitchen so I took a piece of the china with me to the paint store and the color was perfect with white trim. Joy! Blue and white has always been a favorite of mine. I love to decorate my home for each season. When I made my curtains I used white sheets so I could change the tie-backs. Picture the curtains pulled back with burlap for fall, a red check for winter and a blue gingham for spring and summer. I followed up the tie-backs by also changing the pillow tops on my sofa, the quilt I display and my old post-cards. Changing them out using the same frame. As with the paint, the light in the room changes with the time of day. Please wait to hang items on the wall until after all else is in place. I will admit I learned this the hard way. Plaster walls crumble! If you are renting you definitely want to make as few nail holes as possible. Mistakes can be fixed with putty for wall board but you will need to have saved some of the paint. I learned that there is a paint for covering water spots on the ceiling. Joy! There is also a paint made just for bathrooms with high moisture. Yea! While you are in transition, please do not make purchases. Make a pretty wreath to welcome folks, sew items like curtains, table cloths, napkins, pot holders etc. If you are lucky enough to have a handwritten recipe from someone you love google www.blesserhouse.com for ideas. Things like that really say HOME. Once the things you love are in place you might discover that something you now have can be used in a different way. We have a dry sink that has served as a pantry, an entrance piece and now serves in the living room. Live with things and then have fun looking for a need. God bless you, Trudy

Welcome

Beginning Anew – preparing for leave taking

As you begin thinking about where you might be going it is important to clean and organize where you are now. This is the time to close this chapter of your life.  You have a lot of decisions to make.  It is also time to clean where you are living now and to decide what you want to bring with you.  Packing for a move is the perfect time to make room for the new that lies ahead. Begin with the area you sleep in now. That way you will have a clean organized place to rest! There are lots of resources available on line and books to help you with this organization.  This is a great time to create a pretty memory box. You will be going through items and finding treasures. If you have children, you could encourage them to choose a few special items for their memory box.  This is a wonderful way to teach them about taking care of treasures and how to let go of items that they have outgrown.  Make a special box of toys or clothes they have outgrown and take items to a charity shop together. It is in the doing that the lesson is taught.  The words need actions to take them to heart. 

At one time in our married life we had been moved out of state by the company my hubby worked for.  A health issue caused us to have to move back to Pennsylvania.  This situation forced hard choices to be made.  What helped me was to find a home for some things with the friends I had made in the area.  One neighbor was happy to receive a sled and a child’s table and chairs. Another took an old oak dresser and to my delight she removed the legs, added castors and put on a butcher block top.  This she used in her kitchen.  Seeing others happy made my transition much easier.

When doing my spring or fall cleaning, I would always keep a charity bag near where I was working.  This has always helped me to keep control on clutter.  I make my own gifts by baking or sewing.  I have grouped baking items in a specific spot and all my sewing supplies in another.  If someone shares fabric, I wash it immediately and add it to the bookcase I keep fabric in.  If someone shares something I cannot use it goes into the charity box.  If I know of someone who can use it I also share but do so without pressure. It is vital that when something enters the house it be useful and has a place.

Move through out where you are and keep only what you truly love, that you use regularly, is needed for daily life or is a treasured heirloom. Things are meant to be used, keeping something because you feel guilt is not something to move forward with.  Try to find someone who would love it or donate it to charity. It will bring value and joy to another’s life.

I hope you have been following my encouragement for planning for your new home. I will share my dream list with you:

1. Sunlight
2. Porch or somewhere to sit with flowers
3. A Home Church
4. An eat-in kitchen
5. A spot where I could sew and not have to take down my sewing machine

Vital – Affordability — A place where we would be comfortable and be able to live within our means.

I would say that the kitchen was the most important room to me. We love to have folks around our table. This home allowed us to create a country kitchen by using the original dining room. We did this by purchasing only lower cabinets and a free-standing pantry. I had a china cabinet for my dishes. With faith we moved. With the help of Patrick, family and friends we made a home.  God has truly blessed us and we have been here going on 30 years. Your list will be different.  This was my dream.  Know yourself and learn what is important for you to live and find the mission God has planned for you. I will be praying for you.

Blessings, Trudy

Beginning Anew

On my last post I shared the story of being part of married couple for over fifty years.  I have had fun looking at different blogs on the internet about home decor.  I noticed a lot of similarities as I viewed a lot of lovely homes.  Then I read about the interest in organizing your home and even information on minimalism.  We are, all of us, constantly encouraged to see beauty and to create an atmosphere of a safe, ordered haven for ourselves and those that we share our home with.

In the years of my employment I have had an opportunity to visit many young families beginning to make a home.  I decided to share with you my thoughts and ideas to assist you who may be creating a new life in a new place?  This may be a first apartment, or maybe starting over in a new role in your life.  Life is always moving forward.  Change is a part of life. There is a book called “Who moved my cheese?”  by Spencer Johnson that deals with the human resistance to change. Change to our minds can mean uncertainty. We know the situation we are in, the loss we have experienced, and we may be very reluctant to change. Scripture explains to us that “To everything there is a season.” Ecclesiastes 3-1.  Flowers bloom, they nurture our hearts feed other life, then die.  If you are facing a change it is my hope that in some way, I may help you discover more about yourself, encourage you as you move forward and remind you that “we walk forward in faith.”2nd Corinthians 3-7.

To create a place that you call home requires you to discover what you delight in. What brings you joy?  All you need to start is a piece of paper and pencil.  Please do not think about finances at this time. This is the time for dreaming.  What is your favorite color?  What is your favorite flower?  Where are you happiest; beach, woods, mountains, lake side or city-scape?  Take time and ponder times in your life you were really happy. Where were you?  I have lived in many different places but my guide to creating a home always was guided by remembered times of love.  It is very important to my well being that I have some chairs for folks to sit and a small table to serve refreshments. My husband needs a recliner and a lamp. We both need a bed.  This would be our list of basic needs for furniture.  Most manufactured homes and apartments come equipped with a kitchen and bathroom. Many also have blinds or curtains included also.  What about a refrigerator?

Please think about things you need.  OK, now think about your wants. You need shelter. You need to be able to pay to have a place to live, for electricity, food and water.  These are necessities.  A TV, air conditioner, dish washer, fan, are wants.  What is important is that you have what you need to live. You then budget the funds coming in with meeting these needs. Waiting for a want is definitely worth meeting needs.  I am speaking from my heart when I say this is the foundation of a home.  Having expenses is part of life. Living above your means is not compatible with a happy home. 

The true magic of a beautiful home comes from the harmony that greets you at the door. This atmosphere is created not by beautiful things, but by feelings.  I found a chair at a flea market. All I did to it was to purchase some gold skeleton leaf decals and use a staple gun to create a new seat cover.  Almost 20 years later I am still using this chair.  It has given friends a place to sit with me. It has allowed me to share time and company.  A little 10-dollar chair. 

The $10 Chair

Please make a list about things that bless your heart.  With this list I will work with you as we

Please make a list about things that bless your heart.  With this list I will work with you as we brain-storm ideas to create your own little house of blessings.

Believe in the One who believes in you.
Blessings,
Miss Trudy

Fifty-One Years

Thoughts on our wedding anniversary 4/20/1968 to 4/20/2019

The past: 1964
I was an 18-year-old senior in High School. A date for the prom was arranged by the family. Two brothers flipped a coin to see who lost and had to take this poor girl. I was the youngest of six children. My adult experiences were all ahead of me .I had my Christian faith, a strong love for my father and dreams. My Father did not believe in continuing education for me. I was taught great faith and to work hard. God blessed me because the young man who lost the coin toss was a Christian, an honorable young man and a very hard worker. We were chaperoned to the prom. We became friends. With patience and respect he won my heart.  
1968:  
We had quite a life of adventures as a young married couple. Mr. Pat worked two jobs for the first fifteen years of our marriage.  We had a son.  We were faced with heath issues, financial issues and dealt with day to day stuff.  What I want to share is that life happens. Sometimes, it is really important to place the one you love ahead of yourself.  What backing-up allows is the other person gets to see if their dream fits. You don’t know unless you try it on. Sometimes, it seems like the sky is falling, and you just have to find a shelter with the Lord then look at what broke.  Roll up your sleeves and see what or who you can help.  I discovered that a can of tomato soup and a box of pasta can feed six folks and allow us time for friendship. I focused my energies on creating a place for just being together and meeting the physical and emotional needs as best as I could.  Life is not just meeting a challenge but going beyond the challenge to discover the good. I was able to share my interest in and love of nature, music and reading with our son.  Now from where you are looking at this a half century later you may be thinking that’s a lot of giving. True, but you see when you put someone else ahead, you give them your belief in them.  I am not a rug.  I am a living person with beliefs and feelings. What I discovered is that in serving, we grow. At the age of forty, my husband and son supported my dream to work with young children.  I worked in this field for 30 years.  We supported our deaf son in his dream of being a musician and he has touched so many lives.
The present: 2019
We continue our lives together.  We continue to give and to receive from each other; faith, gratitude and love.  Each of us give of ourselves.  We have what money cannot buy.  We have each other, our faith, our church, our mission to share with others and our love for each other and for those who God brings into our lives.
The future:
God is there

Blessings and Hugs,
Trudy Groff Costello

Renewing our vows 4/20/2018


Easter Table

Easter Dinner Table
Second Photo Easter Table

Hello, it has truly been a special week. We had a beautify church service on Holy Thursday. I had my quiet time on Good Friday. It rained heavily last night. This morning we had choir practice and everything we saw on the way to church was the beautiful first green of Spring. Joy!
When we got home, Mr. Pat helped me make potato salad, corn pone and boiled the eggs for deviled eggs. Tomorrow we will cook ham in the crock pot. I hope to make a pie tonight also. I set the table so I could share a photo with you. I want you to know that it is a come together table scape. The cloth and napkins are from the thrift shop. Mr. Pat cut an empty wax paper
cardboard roll into 1-inch pieces. I hot glued a strip of fabric I had to make napkin rings. The centerpiece is my loving tree from Valentine’s day. I added a nest and eggs. My plates were a trade. I traded four blue and white plates for the four white ones. I truly enjoy these as a base for my collection of dishes with roses. I took three of my little tea cups and filled them with treats and a little bird. I tied a little ribbon to the handle. The beautiful antique table runner is an heirloom gift from a church friend. At one end of the table is a lady bunny sewing a quilt. Her little baby rabbit is in his cradle near her. The lady bunny was a gift and the tiny baby bunny was from my childhood. There is a little wagon full of carrots, thrifted ducks and another bunny from my childhood. Another church friend hand painted a little rock with a rabbit and chicks. The only things I purchased were the little birds, nest, eggs and treats. All that you see is a happy little collection gathered over time at very little cost. I truly wish you a joyous Easter Sunday. Mr. Pat, Patrick and I wish you and those you hold
dear God’s blessings. Miss Trudy

Spring Blessings

The completed flowers

I have lots to share with you. As you can tell from the photos, I have been happily stitching. I will start with the wreath on the font door. I bought the twig wreath at a thrift shop. I wrapped it with some lace. Since our anniversary is coming up, I used the strand of pearls and gold ribbon from the crown made for our fiftieth anniversary. Some baby’s breath and forget-me-knots from my wedding flowers. The pretty cross was a gift. The little cross stitch heart I made has two wedding rings and our Initials.

Joy! Next I found some old cushion covers and took them apart and made seat cushions for my porch rockers. I cut my geraniums that had overwintered in the kitchen. Putting the cuttings in some of my bottles with a little plant food and they all rooted. I filled my 3 window boxes with fresh potting soil and the cuttings. I set them on the porch. I found a white rabbit pillow that I made last year. I next took some scraps left over from the church quilt and made a strip pieced heart. I appliqued the heart to a white pillow. I had enough fabric to make a square table topper. The last piece was not big enough so I sewed a border to each side and made a rectangle table topper for the small table by the front door. The cost was to purchase some potting soil for my window boxes. JOY! By the front door is a flower pot of spring bulbs. These were planted last fall and I am so happy to see this touch of spring! For the small entrance table I brought out my apple bird house from the kitchen.

Lastly, the very first pictures show how I made a fabric daffodil. The library offered a class on making flowers from fabric. I took pictures for you as I went along. Patrick picked a flower from the garden for inspiration. I wanted a smaller circle so I traced a little tea cup. I cut out five circles which I folded into triangles. Knot a long piece of thread and sew a running stitch through each triangle base. Use the same thread for all the petals. When you pull on the two threads they will gather. Knot the thread. The next part was my own idea. I cut a rectangle, gathered it then sewed the two ends together to form the center if the flower. If you want a yellow daffodil, use yellow for the petals and make the rectangle a little wider. This will create the trumpet. I made leaves from green scraps. The secret here is to make the base of the leaf wide enough so you can turn the leaf to the right side. Sew the center to the petals then sew the leaves. A circle of felt tidies up the back stitches and lastly sew on a little pin. These make nice thinking of you gifts.

I want to share with you that it is possible to do a lot if you play with ideas. If you do not have fabric, visit the thrift shop. I have used men’s shirts to create with. Think about lace or buttons you could salvage from other things. Table cloths are another fabric source if they are cotton. Even if there are stains, you can use the good parts. It really is fun. The only caution I share is not to go overboard. Use what you have so there will be room in your scrap basket. Happy Spring!

Blessings and Hugs,

Trudy

Welcome Spring

Happy First Day of Spring! Sunday I took miniature daffodils to church and I came home with a bunch of the taller ones. I enjoy putting flowers from our home on the alter. I then give them to someone after service. This time I received flowers. I have had fun as I continue to freshen our home. Mr. Pat took me to the thrift shop and to Michael’s on Saturday. I got three things at each place and was delighted to spend only the amount I had planned on. At the thrift shop I bought a small plate. You know I love dishes with roses, a little tin and a book on machine quilting. At Michael’s I got a tiny bird’s nest, tiny little eggs and a tiny little birds. I couldn’t wait till I got home. Remember the little branches I used for my Loving Tree? I used them again, this time in a blue bottle. Little silk blossoms had been hot glued on. I added the nest, eggs and two little blue birds. Joy! I had put aside earlier a piece of blue denim fabric. I used this for my table cloth.

A friend from church had given me some had stitched treasures. One was the round table topper you see on the table in this video. Another was a runner with baskets of blue flowers stitched at each end and a edge of blue
crochet. I placed this on top of the denim cloth and covered both with a clear plastic table cloth. I used some blue bottles for flowers. I filled a little wagon with carrots and added a rabbit and two china ducks. A sprinkle of blue silk flower petals completed my table. Joy! I looked among my rose dishes and found three tiny tea cups. I will fill this with jelly beans and set one at each place. I think I will tie a ribbon on the handle. The little tin I purchased is just the right size to hold all my sewing machine accessories. The little plate was a special surprise. I placed it in the center of the kitchen window and wow – it has cut work on the rim and when placed in the light it sparkles, truly! I place the book on machine quilting in my sewing nook. Both my menfolk checked at our local shelter today. We miss our little dog and we hope to find a rescue that we can spoil.

Blessings and Hugs, Miss Trudy

Fabric and Dried Lavender

This week lent begins. I open with some thoughts from the Sermon on the Mount. As we journey together towards Easter I will offer some thoughts to reflect on. I hope you will walk with me in scripture and prayer.

I searched my fabric stash and found a piece of lavender pin dot that was enough to sew my Easter jumper. I am not a seamstress. I have really bad memories of Home Economics. In 1960 a new self healing zipper came out and so did the back of the jumper I was wearing. How about a fashion show modeling a blouse with front facing buttons down the front – yes another cause for blushing, truly! So I avoid zippers and more than one button hole in my sewing. Well I had to come up with a solution because I really like wearing jumpers and folks who know I sew share fabric with me. My answer is “Two Tops”! This is how I do it. I cut out the jumper pattern. Next, I mark with a water erasable pen transferring guides. I cut out the front and back pieces. (This pattern did not have a separate skirt). I unpin the pattern and set aside the fabric. I then lay out the fabric for the lining. I pin the pattern pieces onto the lining fabric. This time I want only a top. I cut out the pieces allowing enough length for a hem. Taking the lining fabric to the sewing machine I hem the front and back pieces. Next the main fabric (the lavender) is sewn wrong up any darts, tucks etc. The front and back pieces are joined at the shoulders. The lining is also joined at the shoulders. Now lay out the front and lining wrong sides together and pin. You will stitch the pieces wrong sides together starting at the under sleeve across the top and down to the under sleeve of opposite side. Leaving the side and back open. Turn wright side out. Now you sew the side seams and the back seams. A hand turned hem completes the jumper. This technique works on one piece and top and bottom jumpers. JOY!

When we last visited I showed you a picture of a nest I found. Well there are so many wonderful ideas for Spring decoration that I got inspired. I decided to add texture to my nest. I had saved some dried lavender and a dried rose. I crushed these, painted the nest with white glue and began to add these to the nest. I even had a few feathers I could add. I am happy with the result. I used what I had and had fun. Joy!

Have fun and think spring! God Bless, Trudy