Monday, December 31, 2012

A FREE Log Cabin eBook

What quilter doesn't need another quilt pattern? Quilters can always use another quilt pattern. I know I can. It's always good to have several patterns to choose from when starting a new quilt, especially when using some new favorite fabric that completely convinced you that you had to buy it! And, if there's a free pattern, that's all the better. I don't know a quilter who doesn't love free quilt patterns!

Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting  has a new Log Cabin eBook. It's called Build Your Best Log Cabin, and it's available online free.

I was contacted by Eric  Woolf, Online Media Coordinator for Fons & Porter, to review this free eBook and share the pattern eBook with you. I think it's a great quilt book and would make a nice addition to any quilter's collection of quilt patterns and books, especially if you love log cabin quilts! 

It features 3 types of Log Cabin quilts: Traditional, Courthouse Steps and the Chevron, with several block setting options for each. It includes many colorful pictures of new quilts as well as pictures of old antique quilts along with some interesting "history" about each style of Log Cabin quilt. Did you know that "folklore says that the red at the center of log cabin quilting patterns represents the cabin's heart while the yellow square typical in log cabin quilt patterns represents a lighted window." I love learning the history behind quilt blocks.

The eBook has 4 new quilt patterns, and the patterns have cutting charts with easy to follow instructions for making different quilt sizes. Patterns are also clearly identified as easy, intermediate or challenging, to satisfy any quilter's skill level. Helpful "Tips" appear throughout the book.

This ebook has some extra bonus features for machine quilting, including motifs and using suggested decorative threads, and unique binding ideas.  

Happy Quilting!
and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

                  Now that it’s December it’s time to recall the fun we shared in 2012!  It’s been a great year spent with family and friends, traveling and camping (RVing), and enjoying our retirement! We’ve really loved spending lots of time with our 4 grandkiddos.  Gigi turned 5 in May and the whole family joined her for her first visit to Disneyland. There is nothing sweeter than seeing Disneyland through the eyes of a child! Brody and Micah are 2 ½ and talking up a storm, while little Hallee is 18 months, climbing on everything and displaying some not so cute “terrible two” behaviors early!
                  We ventured to a new location and enjoyed a fantastic week, truly relaxing by the pool which was right next to the amazing teal-blue ocean waters of the Caribbean, at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun with great friends. We traveled back to Washington DC, in the early fall, and meandering through several Smithsonian Museums. We visited with friends at their “beach” house in beautiful Currituck, (near Outer Banks), North Carolina, and in Virginia. We took a day trip to the picturesque colonial settlement of Williamsburg. It amazes us how much there is to see back east and all the history there is to absorb. So we know we will be going back several more times in the future.
                  During 2012, we used our RV even more. We went to Spring Training in Arizona for a month and attended our first Good Sam Rally held at the Phoenix Raceway (never seen so many RV’s in one location-literally 1000’s)!!  We spent several weekends at Newport Dunes RV Resort, to visit with Alex, Angelina and Micah who live nearby. We ventured to northern California for our now annual week of camping in Fort Bragg for Abalone Diving with our longtime camping buddies, Lynn & Rick. This year Nicole and David and kids joined us; it was a great week of camping reminiscent of all the years our families have camped together (although a few of our kids couldn’t make it)! Summer vacation took us back to Bend Oregon (such a beautiful area) where we attended the Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Great show, although we didn’t get the chance to see all the quilts because it was rained out for the first time in its 37 year history! We spent time in Redding with Lynn & Rick, (Lynn and I got to do some quilting while the boys went fishing) before a week of camping at Lake Almanor, meeting up with more camping friends. We spent a quiet weekend in our RV at KQ Ranch in Julian late fall before our Annual Thanksgiving week of camping at San Elijo State Beach....And did I mention we got a new diesel pusher in the Spring! It’s got 4 slides, a roomier layout, more power and better storage!
                  Nick has traveled quite a bit to Sacramento this past year and stays very busy now that he is working with the State Fire Marshal’s office on fire training curriculum. He’s also traveled to Northern California and Tucson with several other retired fire professionals for fire teaching and advising. It’s his way of giving back to the fire profession to which he dedicated his life’s work.
                  I attended several quilt retreats this year with my friend Lynn (for a couple of retreats our hubbies joined us for the weekend and we RVed at Flying Flags RV Resort).  I made many quilts for gifts and charity this year -my way of giving back!
                  Nicole, David and 3 kids moved in with us in September because the owners wanted their house back.  3 weeks turned into 3 months, but they moved this past weekend into their “new” condo. They are very excited to be first time“homeowners” and to have freshly painted the walls!
                  Alex started a new t-shirt design business and has his own online store ( Check it out--he's got some "awesome" designs. But the best news of all is that Micah’s “only child” status “expires” next June when we will welcome a new Pavone into the family!!
                  Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  
                                    May you richly be blessed by God in the coming new year.
                                                      Love & Joy,
                                                      Karen & Nick

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankfulness, My Personal Challenge

This November I joined with others doing the Personal Challenge of posting a Thankful Thought each day! 

November 1 - I'm thankful for God's Grace.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Ephesians 2:8

November 2 - I'm thankful for my loving family. They are so dear to my heart!

November 3 -  I'm thankful for my loving husband who has always provided for me and our family.

November 4 - I am thankful for each new day and the hope I have because of my God!

November 5 - I'm thankful for my friends, near and far. They are so dear to me.

November 6 - I am so thankful for the freedoms I have as an American. I am especially thankful to all those who serve in the military, have served or even gave their lives to protect our freedom! No matter who wins today's election I know God is in control.

November 7 - I'm thankful for our home and the food in our fridge

November 8 -  I am thankful to be "retired" and to have the means and ability to travel, especially with family and friends! We love to go camping in our RV, fly to new cities/countries, and cruise!!!

November 9 - I am so blessed and thankful for my cute, beautiful, adorable grand babies. Each day with them is more special than the last. They bring so much joy to my life, more than words can say. I love you Gigi, Brody, Micah and Hallee, and #5 due next June!!!!!

November 10 - I am thankful that I have the time and resources to attend retreats where I can do what I love: sew and quilt!! I thank God for this talent and enjoy making quilts for others, family and friends.

November 11 - I am thankful for the warmth inside my cozy motorhome, wrapped in a warm quilt when it's 45 degrees outside, and spending time with friends!!

November 12 - Veteran's Day - Today especially, I am thankful for and I honor those who have served, are serving, and those who will choose to serve to protect America! Hats off to you all! Thank you for your selfless service!

November 13 - I am thankful for the joy I have in the Lord, no matter the circumstances or situations of life. He can calm my heart and spirit if I turn to Him.

"Joy is in the Lord … in His nearness, His perfect love that casts out fear." 1 John 4:18

November 14 - I am thankful for a spontaneous night at the movies with my hubby!! We spent the evening with "Bond, James Bond!"

November 15 - I am thankful for hugs from the little peeps in my life! This morning Gigi knocked on my bedroom door to kiss and hug me goodbye before she left for school. Hallee came walking down the hall and gave me the biggest full body hug around my legs! Words just can't describe how those hugs warm my heart and make it sing!!

November 16 - I'm thankful for quiet moments in the morning, which seem to be rare these days with 3 lil ones living in our house with us!

November 17 - I'm thankful for the beautiful clouds and blue skies above us today!

November 18 - I'm thankful for wonderful family traditions like a week of camping (aka RVing) at the beach for Thanksgiving week. I'm especially thankful for an awesome beach front campsite, the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore, and the views of the Pacific Ocean that are so soothing and relaxing. Thank you Lord for this special family time!

November 19 - 34 years ago today I married my best friend Nick! I'm so thankful for the best husband with whom I've shared my life. He is more special to me and our family than words can express! Here's to many more years together as we walk in this life! I love you, Nick! I'm ever so thankful for all the memories we've shared and will share! Happy Anniversary to us!

November 20 - I'm thankful for another beautiful day at the beach, just sitting, relaxing, doing a little knitting while listening to the ocean waves rolling in and rolling out! Doesn't get much better than this!

November 21 - I'm thankful for beautiful sunsets at the beach!

November 22 - Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Today I am so thankful for all our blessings from God: for family and friends, near and far, for our health, for a beautiful sunny day at the beach, for the feast we will have this afternoon, for all our grand kiddos with us today! We truly have so much for which to be thankful! Praying God will fill your Thanksgiving this year with the warmth of His love... the blessing of His care.
"Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him." Psalm 95:2 

November 23 -  I'm thankful for the "energy" and smiles of 4 little people in my life! I love watching them all interact! They add fun to the day! 

November 24 - I'm thankful for another beautiful sunny day at the beach, listening to the sounds of the ocean! So peaceful and relaxing !

November 25 - "Lord, whether I am in the limelight or shadows, whether I am active or quiet, 
                            whether I am being enlarged or reduced, whether I have much or little, I am content 
                            and thankful because I have You."  by Roy Lessin

November 26 - I'm thankful for a husband who enjoys to cook, especially since it's not my favorite thing to do!! He's a great cook and likes to try new recipes! Thanks Nick!

November 27 - I'm thankful for little "hi's" from the littlest Bennett, when she escapes the blockade and surprises Papa and I in our bedroom, while we were selecting clothes for him to take on his trip to Tucson!!!

November 28 - I am thankful that there is always something good in every day, even though the day may not seem to be good!!

November 29 - I'm so thankful the Lord has healed Dan (our daughter's F-I-L). In Oct of this year, he had stem cells transplant (from one of his 4 sisters, Jo). He was diagnosed with Chronic myelogenous leukemia CML in Oct.2011. This week he found out that his recent test of his bone marrow shows it is completely negative for the Philadelphia Chromosome (that bad one, which is CML)! Thank you GOD!!

This November I have thought (a lot) about what I am thankful for each day, and I have come to realize it is something I should do everyday. I'm praying for a more grateful heart, especially as the celebration of Jesus's birth quickly approaches. So today, the last day of November, I am thankful God loves me even when my heart isn't as grateful as it should be. I have so many blessings in my life, and I am truly thankful for each and every one of them. I will praise God from whom all blessings flow!

At a time when all the things we're grateful for turn our hearts to God, may the harvest of His peace and love abide in your home and bless your life. May the Lord bless you, and keep you. Numbers 6:24

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

See How Big They are Getting

Our adorable grandkiddos are growing up so fast!! It seems like they were all just little babies!

April, 2012 L to R Brody, Hallee, Gigi and Micah

Top L:Gigi, 5, 1st Day of Kindergarten, R: her 1st lost tooth

Micah, 2 1/2, always on the RUN!

Two happy boys, Brody and Micah, always have fun together

Brody 2 1/2 (his new favorite-horses) always smiles

Hallee loves her cousin Micah and she was so excited (!!!) at Micah's Birthday Party

Hallee, 16 months; R: Big brother, Brody helping Hallee ride the trike!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quilt Retreats in 2012

Nancy, Lynn and I have been quilting together now for years.  All 3 of us have been sewing all our lives.  You might say we are "passionate" about sewing/quilting, and so it was a natural progression to become quilters.

To further our love of sewing/quilting, Lynn and I attend 3-4 Brown Bag Quilt Retreats every year, put on by The Creation Station; and Nancy is the Hostess with the Mostest at these retreats. It's two and a half days of uninterrupted sewing, starting at 8 am on Friday morning.  We sew till all hours of the night, and return bright and early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to sew some more.  The only drawback is we have to quit sewing by 2 pm on Sunday, because the retreat ends at 3 pm.

Those who don't quilt cannot understand how we can sew so long. In fact, we've been asked the foolish question, "How many quilts do you need?" It's not about "need." It's about the creative process, the feel of the fabrics, the beautiful prints, and doing a hobby we love!! But those who don't have our passion, do not get it at all.

This year we attended quilt retreats in February, April, June, September, and we have one more (YEA!) in November. We are doing a Round Robin with 3 other quilting friends and we exchange projects at these retreats.  It's been fun deciding what to make for each quilter, what colors and fabrics to use from their individual box of fabrics. Since there are 6 quilters we decided to go round a second time, so we are in year two of this Round Robin.

While all the projects are becoming beautiful eventual quilts, Nancy's project has taken on a life of its own!! It started out as an applique project, each of us to make her an applique block. She provided us with a book of ideas (flowers, cat, fruits), and her only request was that we didn't do any of the fruit appliques!  Now, Nancy loves cats and owns two black cats, Max and Emma. I made her a cat applique block and started a simple story to go along with the block. The rest, as they say, "is history!" (More on this project later, but for now you can see the pictures from our Round Robin at my flickr page.)

The April Retreat was Extra Special! It was our 1st (soon-to-be annual) Private Retreat at Nancy's Condo!!  We spent 5 wonderful days sewing together in Nancy's living room. We each had our own
sewing tables and sewing machines set up, 

a cutting table station, (in the background, some of the blocks Lynn and I made at this retreat for our block swaps.)

Nancy and Lynn putting up our Design Wall, and an ironing station. 

It was truly the BEST retreat ever, 3 BFF's, 3 Amigos spending quality time together in the comfort of our friend's home. We didn't have to get dressed and drive anywhere.  We pretty much sewed all day in our pj's, while we watched movies, or episodes of "Gilmore Girls," or listened to music, something we can't do at a Brown Bag Retreat!

We spent one afternoon doing a little fabric browsing (and maybe a little buying) at the cute Old Town Quilt Shop in Orcutt. We also did a bit of wine tasting at a local vineyard.

 From left, Lynn, Nancy and Nancy's daughter, Elizabeth. (sorry this pic is so fuzzy)

You can see more pictures from my 2012 quilt retreats this flickr page link.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Hallee Hope is 1 !!

Our youngest granddaughter, Hallee Hope is now 1!
She is also walking and always on the go!
She was a cruiser for quite a while, and a bit unsure when she first started walking:

She did the ole' walk a bit than crawl to get somewhere faster.  Now she is stronger and crawls no more! Now she is on the run most of the time, except when she's tired; then, Hallee is a true cuddler.

We had a birthday celebration in our backyard, so the little ones could swim. The kids and a few adults enjoyed the warm summer day and the refreshing pool, as well as the yummy treats.

Soon it was time to sing Happy Birthday to Hallee! Everyone enjoyed fresh Strawberries and whipped cream, while Hallee had a special donut topped with whipped cream! You have to understand that when it comes to food, Hallee is NOT picky.  In fact she can't eat her food fast enough for her liking. If there's no more food on her tray and she wants more food, she lets everyone know she wants more.  Not by signing for more, like her siblings did. Nope, Hallee just "screams" for more! Loudly! Seriously! No quiet meals at the Bennett house!!  So it was a surprise when it came time for her to eat her pretty birthday donut, and Hallee just wasn't sure about what to do with it. She didn't even touch it.  She just looked it and then looked at everyone staring at her. It wasn't until yaya (yours truly) gave her a taste of the whipped cream that she "dove" in!

More fun birthday photos here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Camping with our BFFs

We spent a wonderful week camping in Fort Bragg, a small town nestled on the beautiful rugged coastline of northern California, spending time with family and great friends! Nances and Pavones always have the best times together and this trip was no exception.

This year our daughters (Nicole and Emily) and their families joined us, as well as 5 adorable grandbabies (3 of ours and 2 of the Nances, as well as one to be born in August)! It was heartwarming to see the newest generation becoming great camping friends, as their moms before them! 

The oldest girls, Gigi, 5, and Isabelle, almost 4, even liked doing the dishes on the table benches (reminiscent of their moms, many years ago)!

We had the best campsites ever at Pomo Campground! They were so private, we hardly knew anyone else was there. We had gorgeous views of the large redwoods, pines and blooming rhododendrons surrounding us.

We relaxed, played games, visited the quiet town, and talked, a lot!  
Guys went abalone diving and were successful both days.
A delicious abalone feast was consumed by everyone, even the little ones loved it! 
Eric shows David,Brody, Gigi, Isabelle (Nicole)and Olivia (Emily and baby) an abalone in its shell.
We explored nearby "Glass Beach" at the north end of town, on a foggy morning,
David, Nicole, Brody, Auntie Grandma Lynn, Papa and Emily 
Rick, Lynn, Karen and Nick

 enjoyed campfires each night, roasted marshmallows and made s'mores

Beautiful weather, sunny days, crisp nights, camping, and friendship, mixed with only one afternoon/eve of some rain, a rarity for Nor Cal, made for a great week of fun!

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Boys are 2 !!

Brody and Micah are 2 now!  
Brody turned "2" on April 6th and Micah turned "2" on May 12th.

So hard to believe these two little babies
 are now running, jumping and climbing pretty much anywhere they want to go.  And GO they do! They are always on the go!
Both boys are happy all the time with the cutest smiles!! They love to eat! Love to play and Love to Laugh and they always make us smile and laugh too!

Brody loves his "Dodger Blue" hat and to play ball!!
Micah loves his steering wheel to "drive" his truck!

Getting all 4 cousins to sit and smile at the same time is no easy feat! 

Brody, Hallee, Gigi and Micah 

We are such proud grandparents!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gigi Goes to Disneyland!

We spent a wonderful day at the "Happiest Place on Earth" on Gigi's 5th Birthday! It's a whole new place when seen through the eyes of a child, especially on her first visit to this magical land!

Papa and Gigi just before entering the park.
Mommy made Gigi a Minnie Mouse shirt to wear with her Minnie ears 
which she also wore on Halloween!

David, Hallee, Gigi, Nicole and Brody
Unc A and Micah joined us.
First ride for us was the all new Star Tours.
  Dumbo and the Carousel were both hits for all the little ones.  We all enjoyed the Tea Cups, Jungle Cruise and Autopia, too!  The grown-ups loved Pirates and Big Thunder as well!

Midday, Gigi changed into her princess Belle dress and had her face painted.

We explored ToonTown and took a tour of Mickey's house and the rest of the ToonTown.
Gigi and a reluctant Brody had their picture taken with Minnie Mouse.

In the afternoon we visited the Disney Princess Fantasy Faire.
Gigi was getting a bit tired,
But, despite the almost hour wait to Meet the Princesses, when asked what her favorite thing about Disneyland was, Gigi still replies:  "Meeting the princesses, Cinderella and Tiana!"
Gigi and Cinderella, her favorite princess, shared a chat, a hug and an autograph;
Gigi getting Tiana's autograph!
 It was truly a fantastic day!! 

You can see more pictures on my flickr page.