Taking time to smell the roses...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Well, it is so nice to be back home and in my little space - very comforting :-) I have slowed my pace and comprised my "to do" list, but plan to take time to smell the roses. My last few months have been quite hectic so slowing down a bit is definitely a good plan - my body is thanking me already. Since I am still cleaning and shuffling things around after my recent trip and have not sewn for a few days, I thought I would just show you some of the beautiful things (eye candy) done by new friends I met at my recent Tomball, Texas Retreat. BTW - we are already planning another one in September. You just can't stop a good thing! Oh, and I am going with my local group to a retreat in Wallis, Texas in about a week and half. I know, I know..... my brother teases me that I retreat more than the "France". (just a historical reference, no insult intended)

So, here is some lovely eye candy to inspire you. I hope the ladies will forgive me if their work or picture doesn't appear, but I don't have project pictures for everyone that was at retreat. However, I assure you that each and every talented lady in attendance had wonderful inspiring pieces, each representing their personality and spirit of creativity. We were definitely on sensory overload trying so hard to soak up everything we saw!

First of all is this absolutely stunning crazy quilt by Janet - it appeared in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo earlier this year and rightfully so, won an award. It has really fun black fringe all the way around it.
Below is a beautiful mini-crazy quilt by Karen. I so enjoyed just perusing this piece to find the subtle yet amazing details done in miniature! This quilt is comprised of 2 inch by 2 inch embellished crazy quilt blocks and is truly a work of art. The entire quilt is about 14 inches by 12 inches. I can't wait to get started on my own - I just love the idea of creating in miniature !
Here is Karen, the beautiful lady who created the mini cq quilt and a close-up of one of the small blocks to show the sweet details. See that little swing on the tree branch? Cute, cute, cute!

Here is a portion of a block started by Donna - don't you just love the origami folded kimono! What a lovely accent. And then a pin cushion Donna made with CD's as its base. That is another one of my next projects and I will probably write up an article for our next issue of CQMagOnline on how to do that. Barbara B. and I discussed at length how we could develop and inner core of emery powder for this pin cushion and provide a stop for the pins and needles so they would not get lost. While I was out of town, Barbara developed a proto-type of what we discussed and it worked beautifully so I will now put one together myself. Great job Barbara!
Here above, is an absolutely stunning quilt wall hanging made by Connie as a birthday gift for her friend, Debra. She has hand-painted the background, then silk screened the sea dragons, added SRE, embroidery and embellishments and some beautifully appointed quilting. The quilting gives the sense of movement in the water and even adds the hint of a translucent jellyfish hovering above.
The pictures, of course, don't show the beauty of this piece, but do click on them to see the details in full resolution - it is worth it! Connie is an extremely talented teacher and artist in her community and some of the ladies at our retreat were taking Brazilian Embroidery classes from her. Here is a small example of Suzie's work on her BE piece in said class.

Several of the ladies had visited Attic Heirlooms, Julie Craig's shop in Wichita, Kansas and had works in progress from their visit there. Julie Craig's shop is like a fantasy wonderland come true for the crazy quilter. It is filled with lace, fabrics, buttons, beads, trims; embellishments galore! Women have been known to actually drool outside her shop window...kind of like that Mervyn's commercial they used to play..."open, open, open". Here is a sweatshirt jacket that Pat was working on... aren't the laces scrumptious! Then here is Pat holding one of her finished crazy quilts.

And, one of my favorites, (which is now another project on my list) is Pat's crazy quilted rooster. Isn't he adorable? Don't you just love the ring on his toe and his beaded waddle and crest? I thought he would make a really cute door stop at one of my bedrooms and cheerfully greet all who enter....he has such personality!

Now then, can you see why I love retreats so much? Besides meeting some really inspiring, kind and remarkable people - you get to see their creations up close and personal :-) I have truly been so blessed to be able to go on several retreats and classes each year. I learn so much from every person I meet and hopefully share and inspire others as we pass it on.

Well, as you can see above, God has given each and every one of us talents beyond measure. It is up to us to be willing to exercise those talents and use them to His glory. I try to remember also, that God is not always seeking to find the most qualified or most talented, but a heart ready for spiritual cultivation; those who are willing to follow Him, obey Him, be faithful to Him. It is God who will bring the seed to fruition. So we must not get too overzealous in thinking that it is our responsibility to produce results - God will do that. That is a hard one for me, I have to admit, but as the Bible shows us many times, God often accomplishes great and powerful things through weak or ordinary people. In that way He is glorified and we are humbled. The victories won can only be credited to His power and guidance.
We may think we don't have much to offer, but God can use us if we will yield ourselves to His will and to His Spirit. That in itself requires the strength of the Holy Spirit in us - I know I don't have the strength on my own, but through prayer and supplication, communing with God each day, I am learning, practicing, exercising and maturing my faith and God is showing me His faithfulness. Let's not be discouraged or question our humble position or talents. We must try to remember, mighty things are done by those who depend on God's power and joyfully commit ourselves to His will.


Karen said...

I think I have seen that Karen somewhere before. Maybe in my guest bedroom a few times! She has given me some of her crazy quilt items. She does wonderful work.
I love the pincushion and the chicken (I assume it is a pincushion). Hope Karen sees this!

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