Thursday, August 4, 2011

Surprises!

I love surprises. Who doesn't? Okay, my DH doesn't. Here's a man who would wilt if someone jumped out from behind the sofa yelling, "Happy Birthday!"

I like surprises. I had one a few days ago and today.

It is county fair time where I live. This year I decided to enter a few quilts. I've never entered a quilt in an adjudicated show. Knowing my quilts and their "individuality" (read "faults") I didn't expect to win a ribbon.

The first hint that something unexpected had happened. A fellow teacher emailed me that she had seen my quilts at the fair and congratulations on the two ribbons! Quite the surprise---not zero, but two! Then yesterday a friend mentioned having seen my quilts and the two ribbons.

Today my DH and I went to the fair; I was nearly bouncing up and down with excitement to get in the Adult Crafts Hall and see my beribboned quilts. More surprises. Three of my quilts had been given ribbons: a first, second and third.

My First Place Quilt: My Log Cabin Neighborhood
I took a class at Sisters Quilt Show four years ago. This pattern, by the wonderfully talented Vivienne Moore, was a class I took. It is paper-pieced and hand quilted.
















My Second Place Quilt: Blue Christmas

I made three of these wall hangings a few years ago for Christmas. I made a blue one for my son's girlfriend who loves blue; that is where the name came from: Blue Christmas. I also made a green one for my daughter #2. I loved the blue one so much, blue being my favorite color, I made one for myself.

It is 20x20", is paper-pieced, and I machine quilted it.













Third Place Ribbon: Charming Hobos

This was a quilt top that my Aunt Marie made. She was of the old-school quilters; she was born in 1905. The quilt pieces were cut by hand and stitched together by hand. I inherited all her quilts when she died. I loved this quilt from the moment I saw it.

Once I got the hang of hand-quilting, I brought out this beauty and hand-quilted. It was only fitting for a hand-sewn quilt by my Aunt.

This picture was taken after it was quilted, but without the binding...you know how that goes. I'm lucky there was a "before" picture at all.












A few days ago one popped right out of the blue, totally unexpected. My DH and I came back from a few errands and as we approached the front steps, we saw it. A small yellow flower with its stem wrapped carefully in a wet paper towel. It wasn't even a flower from my own flower garden! There was no note, no Hi! or Have a Great Day! No signature, initials or hints. Just the flower.



What a sweet thing. I imagined a little six-year-old picking flowers, wrapping them carefully in a paper towel and delivering them around to different houses.

Do kids do that anymore? Can six-year-olds even go down the street unaccompanied by an adult?

Like the 56-year-old that I am, I feel sorry about some of "progress" that has happened since I was a child. The most heart-wrenching to me is children's loss of innocence and trust at such a young age. There's a lot of you, like me, could get lost in the memories of our childhood of traipsing anywhere in the neighborhood as long as you came in when Mom stood on the doorstep and yelled your name.

Then today there was a flower. As I brought it in the house, I wondered if it were a weed and it would droop by sundown. I did find a pretty little blue vase and put the flower in it. Two days later it is as fresh as ever.

What a small thing we can do to make another happy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday's Miscellaneous Good Stuff

Here it is: Wednesday. Middle of the Week. Over the Hump Day. Half-Way Through the Week. Almost Friday.

For such an auspicious day of the week, only out-shined by Friday and the weekend, it seems that this is going to be the day of Good Stuff. Look here on Wednesday's for your serving of Miscellaneous Good Stuff.

We have a wonderful family living across from the street from us. My DH and I bought and moved into our house in 2007. Very quickly we got to know our "across the street neighbors." S & C are very kind and sharing people. They will help you at the drop of a hat. Their daughter, P, also lives with them. She's chatty, upbeat and great to talk with. She loves my dog, Miko, which makes her A-OK in my book.

About six months ago, P was diagnosed with MS. She is 31 years old. She has taken it with aplomb. She has said that she might as well take it with humor, if the choice is between humor and tears. She already has difficulty walking. She hasn't been able to stand comfortably for about a year. (It was a long while in getting a diagnosis). She falls frequently, had to remodel her bathroom to be able to use the shower. She falls out of bed. And this is just six months.

My Mom developed breast cancer when she was 42, two weeks before my high school graduation. She had a double mastectomy. She had radiation. The cancer just kept showing up in different places for the next 12 years. She never got better from that first attack, just went downhill. Radiation was still in the early years. They were just learning about pinpoint radiation. Ten years into the decline, she lost the use of her legs. It was radiation poisoning. There were times she'd go into remission for 6 months or so. When my second child was born, she was on chemical chemo.Right before my third child was born she came out of her last remission. She never got into remission again. She died two years later. The last two years of her life were horrific as the cancer invaded every part of her body: bones, liver, brain, every single part of her.

She took twelve years to die from breast cancer. She was 54; I was 29.

There were a lot of lessons she taught me. My neighbor, P, and my mom had the same thing in common. They were/are both upbeat. Mom would rather laugh than cry. She was always looking for the good in people. When she'd go into radiation, she'd look around at others there. She'd find the good in them and admire them.

P & my mom had another thing in common. They had to manage their energy, just like people ration out food, or budget. If Mom did something like go out to shop, or dine, or see a movie, she'd be in bed for two days after. For people with debilitating illnesses, like MS, Lupus, fibromyalgia, CFS, , etc. have this dilemma to face every day. What can they accomplish with what energy they have?

A few years ago, I came across an amazing essay, written by a woman who has lupus. Her very close friend asked her what it felt like living with lupus. With an extraordinary insight, Christine found a way to explain this to her friend called The Spoon Theory.

I have passed The Spoon Theory on to many people because of its insight and wisdom. I hope you will gain insight from it and pass it on to those you know.

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Quilting Day with A Friend & Tippy Tuesday

It was an extra fun quilting day! I love, love, love to quilt with friends. All the talk, the food, the sharing and new ideas.

I quilted today with a newbie quilter who is a friend and a member of the same church as I. And what a newbie! J has made 3 quilt tops in less than 12 weeks. She's definitely fearsome. Her first quilt was a rail fence and she didn't like the pattern. Her second and third quilt are up in the intermediate realms. The next was all 60% triangles that had fussy cut square and sashing around each triangles. The most current one was similar to a Dresden plate pattern.

TIPPY TUESDAY Using Glue in Quilting & Perfect Binding

I've been trying to giver her hints and helps when she needs it. Which brings me to the TIP.

As in a Dresden Plate, you have to applique a circle over the hole in the center. On J's quilt, it called for putting piping around the circle before placing it over the hole.

J was trying to pin the store-bought piping onto the circle. This is where I taught her a real time and frustration saving tip.

The piping had a half inch strip of material attached to it to make it easy to join to fabric. The neat thing is that you can use glue to put the piping in place while you sew it.

You can use white glue or a glue stick in places where you need to attach one piece to another. Don't worry about going to a quilt store to buy a "quilt glue," because plain white glue works. It will wash out when you wash the glue. Mostly it is used on the wrong side of the fabric, so if you're not going to wash your quilt for a while it isn't a requirement to wash it.

I use glue the most when I am doing applique. A disclaimer here. I've not accomplished turn-needle applique. I either hand applique with a blanket stitch or use a machine.

I saw a wonderful presentation by Susan Schumacher on perfect binding and she uses glue for her bindings. Check it out here:





Monday, August 1, 2011

Something Fun Is Happening

I've spent a few months teetering between two choices: delete my blog or continue my blog. Since hardly anyone except my family reads it, obviously deleting would not cause any cataclysmic upheaval of the earth, or of my home town or state.

I've decided to go on...I find it frustrating to get everything going on my blog. Have patience with me as I keep trying to make things better.

Today I just want to share with you the fun that is happening over at Stashmanicure@blogspot.com. Madame Sam is having a 3 month giveaway of truly cool and awesome things! On Monday, Wednesday and Friday she gives away products to people who want to be quilters. On Tuesday and Thursday, the giveaways are for quilters. How much fun is that?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Under Construction

I've been struggling for a couple of hours to get a slideshow of my quilts on here. Why does everything new with a computer take 4-5 hours to figure out? And I'm pretty savvy about computers! If you look down the left hand side of the blog, you'll see a heading "My Quilts." It says it's loading. It really isn't. That's insulting. Computers should not be able to lie to you.

I wanted this post to be about my BIG project I'm currently in the middle of. And for that, I need a slideshow. I've seen it on other blogger sites, ergo it must work. It's obviously time to call Talented Geeky Genius Son (TGGS) and have him throw me a rope.

This is the third time I've mentioned this project. It's almost like watching TV and seeing the same commercial over and over and over...telling you about an upcoming show. After a while it gets annoying rather than exciting.

We'll just play a little game. I'll give you hints, you try to guess. (Those of you related to me already know...no posting the answer in the comments!

1. There's more than one.
2. They are smaller than a breadbox.
3. It involves electricity.
4. I'm doing it with a group.
5. It also has something to do with a book.
6. It uses a lot of paper.
7. Projected finish date: August of 2013!

I'll call TGGS tomorrow. With any luck at all (because of his brains) I'll share tomorrow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy New Year!

I decided I'd take the week after Christmas off as a vacation from the blog. Hmmmm, I think Rip Van Winkle and I must be related.

Today is Saturday, which I have a love/hate relationship with. All I want to do for the entire day is quilt! One look at my house and I know I have to put some time into cleaning. Then there is the Sunday School Family History Lesson to prepare... I don't want even a minute to be taken from my quilting time. You quilters must know what I mean!

The positive thing I've been doing this year (22 days so far!) is getting up at 5 a.m. on weekdays so I can quilt before work. I can't always guarantee I can get any quilting in afterschool, so I thought I'd try early morning.

I love getting up early because you get so much done before the day even gets going. The problem is that I'm terrible at getting up. The snooze button and I are very well acquainted. Nothing has ever been successful at getting me up earlier than the necessary time to get ready for work.

Now I know how powerful quilting is in my life! I've been getting up every morning and quilting. It's amazing. Sometimes I wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. and think, "Only x number of hours till I get up to quilt!" I love the quiet. I can dedicate myself to quilting because at that time in the morning I don't think I should be (your choice) a. cleaning house, b. wrangling with the budget, c. exercising (it'd be nice if I did!), d. all of the above.

It's getting used to getting ready for bed at 8:30 and lights out at 9:00 that's different. Of course getting up so early does help; I'm awfully tired by 8:00 at night. It also puts me in synch with DH's schedule. He gets up at 4:30 a.m. and goes to work at 5:30.

I'm going to share my big quilting project in the next post. First I have to figure out how to post pictures in a blog!

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