Saturday, January 26, 2013

I'm Trying Keep From Screaming!

I've got my teeth clenched and my lips clamped....

Just so you don't feel like you came to a different blog...

I'm trying to re-design parts of my blog.
I'm trying to change the font and color of my posts. The font changed; it's just not the one I wanted.

Oh, and the blog title is wrong.

So is the About Me, which I need shorter with a link to the whole thing.

Grrrrr. It's time to call the TGS.

The sun will come out tomorrow....

Marie's Marvelous Makings #1 Gallatin Quilt

Boy howdy, are you in for a treat today!!!!!

Saturday is going to be a special day to share my Aunt Marie's quilts with you. You are one lucky person! Aunt Marie is my Quilting Muse.

This is a picture of my Aunt Marie when she was in her 30s.
Leona Marie Noah was born in Gallatin, Missouri on July 25, 1905.

Her father, Lee Noah, and mother, Ella Donaldson were married on December 4, 1898. Marie had a younger brother born in 1914. She attended Madison School. What was life like in 1905? Laundry was washed in a tub. Water was drawn from a well with a pump. Papa Lee Noah had cows, pigs, geese, sheep, and chickens. Butter was churned by hand. Light was provided by kerosene lamp, food was cooked on a wood stove. Land was plowed by a horse-drawn tiller. In the fall, pumpkins, radishes, and other vegetables were harvested. Fruit, like watermelons, pears, apples, cherries and strawberries, were part of the garden. Both fruit and vegetables were preserved in canning jars. Young boys still went fishing in rivers. In the winter there was snow for snowmen and sleds. In the summer, besides all the work, there was square dancing, Express Wagons for kids, and kites to fly. The state bird of Gallatin? The bluebird. The state tree? Flowering Dogwood.

Now you might wonder if I also lived in Gallatin? Did I read a book about Gallatin or Google Missouri in the early 1900's. My aunt talked a lot, but she never talked about her early life.

The answer to my knowledge of things Gallatin-ish and Missouri is a quilt my Aunt Marie made when she was 81.

I'm starting with the quilt that is the hallmark of her quilts: Gallatin, My Hometown. I named it. Aunt Marie never named or dated her quilts. NEVER make that mistake! Here I was in 2004 trying to figure out when and why she made her quilts. It's a shame that I only came up with questions after she died. NEVER make that mistake!

On this fantastic quilt, Marie embroidered her name and the year she made the quilt. I would never have guessed she made it when she was 81.

If you look closely, you can see sampler quilt blocks. There are 30 of them. I have used these blocks as guidelines on how to quilt blocks on my quilts.

Isn't that amazing? I had the quilt appraised a few years ago. When I laid it out, Jeananne Wright, the appraiser, was speechless. I started crying. I said to myself, "See, Aunt Marie, your quilts are treasures. You did truly amazing work."

The quilt has images of her early life. All the appliques were her designs. She used feed sacks and diverse cotton prints.

These are close-ups of two portions of the quilt.

Aunt Marie began quilting when she was eight. In the early 1900's quilting was done by hand, templates made on cardboard or linoleum, blocks cut by hand, stitched together by hand and hand-quilted. If you can believe it, Marie made three or more quilts a year. Granted she didn't have children and didn't work outside the house. I have nine weeks in the summer where I can quilt to my hearts content, and I can't produce even one quilt during that time.

The appraiser wrote, the quilt is "very detailed--Outstanding artwork and design."

Marie's mother died when she was nine, after the birth of her brother. Marie became the "woman of the house." She raised her brother, kept the house, cooked and continued quilting. Her family information is written on the block shown in this close-up.

My Aunt Marie predeceased my Uncle by five years. Upon his death, all twelve of her remaining quilts were bequeathed to me.

I grew up getting a quilt from Aunt Marie on Christmases, when I was sixteen, when I was wed, and various other times. I am truly blessed for the legacy she gave me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hello Life

I'm feeling a little less pitiful about my cat Newt. For the past few days I've been crying whenever I thought of her and when I talked of her. Today was better. I haven't cried, but just feel lifeless.

I officially want to thank Murphy, or is it Mr. Murphy?, for the cold I woke up with this morning. Now I feel lightheaded, sniffy, headachy and tired on top of lifelessness.

This is a list of conclusions from the basic Murphy statement: "If anything can go wrong, it will."
  1. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the first one to go wrong.
    Corollary - If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
  2. If several things that could have gone wrong have not gone wrong, it would have been ultimately beneficial for them to have gone wrong.
  3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
  4. If anything can't go wrong, it will anyway.
  5. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop
Here's a song I just love from Michael Buble. I just wish it was a video of him singing, not just a single picture. Oh well....I was having my iPod shuffle songs today and this came up. It's very peppy. If you are experiencing low fog, like here in Northern California, or it's snow or rain, this should get your toes tapping. You might even get up and start dancing around doing the swing by yourself.

Talking about swing reminded me of a couple of things. I learned to swing with my boyfriend in high school. I've always loved it. I taught my kids how to do the basic swing I knew. I can't find the photo of me with Talented Geek Son, which he is probably thankful for. I was teaching him to waltz in the living room when he was about 13.

Then Nancy Drew, my second daughter, learned how to swing. Really swing. Talk about a love affair. That girl had to drive to Sacramento every week for the big dance. It wasn't too bad when Sacramento was a half-hour from where we lived, but when we moved to Santa Rosa... It takes 90-120 minutes one way to get to Sacramento. In Germany she went to several "master" type classes with the legends of swing. She also started teaching swing in Germany and then back home in Massachusetts. She entered a ballroom competition doing the swing. It was great...and that's not just a mom's opinion. I wish I had the video to post. She and her partner took first in their division.

She walked out onto the ballroom floor and my jaw just about hit the floor. She was dressed forty's style, had red lipstick on and when she danced she was sexy. Talk about revelation of seeing your daughter growing up all in one moment.

Here are some documentary pictures to show her progression in dance! (Hi sweetie! I love you!)

Nancy Drew Swings!
Top Left 2005: In her living room swinging with friend the night before she was 
deployed to Germany.
Top Right 2001: Dancing as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in a skit while on a mission in Japan.
Bottom Left 1997:  In high school play, Guys & Dolls, dancing as Chick, Chick, Chicky
She is last in line, right before the cows.
Bottom Right 2005: In Germany ready to go out and swing, baby!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Goodbye Newt

My good friend and sweet little kitty, Newt, is gone. I took her to the vet this morning because she was losing weight, lethargic, not eating or drinking. The blood tests showed she had a urinary tract infection. They also revealed extremely elevated calcium, high white cell count and a liver that had some things wrong with it. Newt had lymphoma of the liver.

Newt is my cat. I never had a cat all my own. Once I married my hubby, cats started appearing around the house. Hubby is a cat person; I, up to the point, was a dog person. First Gypsy (her newest blog name) daughter #1 got a kitty Clyde. Hubby adopted two cats: Rizzo and Smudge. Along the way we've had Alex and Wulf and even had our grandcat Clyde for a while. When #1 daughter was ready to have a baby, she got a kitten, Daytona. We warned her about nesting instincts and getting kitties. We were right. About a month after #1 grandson, Firstest, was born, we received a call from  asking if we wanted Daytona because he had scratched Firstest.

Newt came into my life through a friend of Hubby's. She was from a litter of a feral cat that was in the warehouse the friend worked in. Newt joined us when she was around five months old, spitting and clawing. She wanted nothing to do with us and dove under the bed. Any attempt to engage her, talk to her, touch her or even look at her ended with spitting, hissing and claws scratching our hands.

My hubby is a Cat-Whisperer. Honestly. He has this little half whistle/half smoochy sound that he makes and cats alert and run to him. Every cat loves him. Cats on the street, cats nobody can touch, cats anywhere. He knew what to do with Newt. Every day, decked out with welding gloves, he would grab Newt out from under the bed and haul her out. He would take some time, very short in the beginning, to pet her and try to settle her down. He did this twice a day.

After months of hiding Newt started to emerge. Whenever either of us sat down at the computer, she would come and sit on our laps. She would trill this lovely purr and stay there until we got up. Then away she'd dash to some hidey hole.

Over months and months Newt began to come out more often and sit on our laps. When someone would come into the house, off she would sprint to a secret safe place.

It was years before she started entering the room when people were around. If they noticed her she would zoom off. Now she is happy around anyone.

Lots of happy stories are going through my head. Maybe I'll share later down the road.

Newt was 14 years old. We had the vet put her to sleep today. 

Farewell old friend.

Newt playing with Christmas ribbons

Catching a few zzzzz's

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shhh! It's secret!

I guess I should say "Shhh! Oh darn. It's no longer a secret!"

My Talented Geek Son (TGS) and his Oh-So-Lovely Wife (OSLW) have already found out that I making them a Double Wedding Ring. It's OSLW's favorite quilt. How could I not make it for her? I love her dearly. Of course, DWR is a difficult quilt and sometimes I shudder thinking of it. OSLW wanted the colors to be like a fire: red, yellow, orange and blue. Lots of blue. She's seen audition of fabric colors. She probably didn't recognize the fabrics as batik. I thought it was the best bet for fire. And, as of yesterday, they saw the background fabric. Here's a sneak peek. I still need more blue:

Most of the Fabrics for DWR

The darkest blue will be the cornerstones. One of the blues there got discarded because it had some purple in it. I still think it's going to be beautiful. I'm going to make a couple of rings and let her see to make sure she likes it in quilt form.

My first daughter may know there's a quilt coming for her. I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was going to make her quilt as a leader/ender with the DWR. Of course, she has no idea what that means. It can stay that way for awhile.

I haven't gotten a "Name Alias" for her yet. I've switched it three times already! She has a dozen nicknames. It's quite a record. I'm just nervous about their privacy on the web. It's a big place and I'm not comfortable enough to call them by their given names.

I should ask my TGS. He knows all about Net Security. It's part of his job. In fact, he scares me to death with stories of what people can do to steal your identity and how far they can go to practically make you disappear from cyberspace. Among his credentials is one of his college classes was Ethical Hacking! Basically learning everything about hacking (fight fire with fire) but only for defense.

But I Digress. That's probably the phrase they'll put on my gravestone...

The Happy News is I just finished cutting all the sets for the main blocks, which are churn dashes. Now, you know and I know what that block is, but this will still keep some of the surprise until a few inches down!

I've shown my daughter the fabrics when she was here once. I saw them and thought they were perfect for her. They are Japanese Taupe Daiwabo Fabrics. I love this type of fabric so much and #1 better be careful. This quilt may do a disappearing act also! Not into cyberspace, but into a Secret Hiding Place in my home. Shhh!

A preview of the fantastic fabric in the block sets.

But I Digress. There are 72 sets of blocks. The dark is two 3" squares and four 2.5" squares. The light fabric is two 3" squares and one 2.5" square. Those of us who can do quilt math can tell this is going to be a six inch block. Oh oh. That's the first time I put it through my math brain. Ouch!!! Say it's not so. Six inches--arggghhhh. I'm 90% through making the Farmer's Wife quilt, which is 111 or close to that, Six Inch Blocks. I only made it through by paper-piecing.


Big Breath.

Sit down.

Put your head between your knees.

Okay. You can do it. This block only has 4 HSTs in it. (The pulse is coming down). That's child's play next to some of the FW that had 50-75 pieces in them. (Pulse going up.) I kid you not! I sadistically counted the pieces for the blocks. It's amazing I even went through with it.

Oh dear, you're beginning to get enough information to think I'm foolhardy. I'm using that nice word. Some would just drop the "hardy" part of the word.

But I Disgress. The quilt is going to be absolutely gorgee-oh-sus. Here's a looksie.

I'm going to go lay down now. I'm still feeling a little faint....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stash Count Week 3

A Traditional Double Wedding Ring
I'm following Judy at Patchwork Times to do Stash Counts. Check over at her blog to see other's stash counts.

Well, well, well. I went and did some Serious Fabric Buying this week. I bought eight yards of this absolutely lovely butter colored yellow for the background of the Double Wedding Ring. The quilt is going to be king sized--arghhh! And DWR has a lot of backgouund.

 Serious Fabric Buying tends to happen when you've got to do borders or backgrounds on quilts. The exciting factoid is: everything I'm buying is going to be used in the next few weeks! Oh, mmmm, except for the five yards of cheddar that I bought for my somewhere-in-the-distant-future Cheddar Bow Ties. To my credit, I've already started saving fabric for it...and it was 50% off. And I love cheddar so I had to buy more than I need to keep some on hand. Then there's the 1 yard of orange halloween plaid (for my future Moth in the Window which I'm also collecting for...) and the orange crackle because I hardly have orange in my stash. But those two were 40% off. And it was a Holiday Weekend Sale and you know, you're not supposed to miss Holiday Sales. And I had been in the house quilting for 7 hours and needed to get out and get some fresh air. And I figured if I didn't support JoAnn's that they might go out of business...

AND...I'm blaming Bonnie Hunter for every last piece of fabric I bought. All the patterns mentioned above, except the DWR, are hers! If she didn't write a great blog about using scraps and have this friendly, fun personality, I wouldn't have been drawn in. And further more, how do you get scraps if you don't buy fabric in the first place? 

What's that you say? "Bad excuses are worse than none"? That's what Thomas Fuller said. I think I like that guy. Oh yes, I like him a lot!

Here's my report:

Used this Week:  4.25
Used year to Date: 7 yards
Added this Week: 15 yards
Added Year to Date: 15 yards
Net Used for 2013: -8.25 yards

The Good News and The Bad News

Are you a "let's get the bad news out of the way first" person or "give me the good stuff first" person. Hang in there a sec. I flipped a coin: it's Tails--bad news first. This isn't going to hurt you as much as it hurts me!

Remember all those "piano keys" I was doing for the border of my Spiderweb Quilt? I was selecting the inner and outer border, found the perfect combination and found that those keys make it look Awful. All that work. I spent almost a whole day last Saturday cutting and sewing these babies. I need to look on the bright side: there's a quilt in my future that is just waiting for those borders!

Good News: Speaking of Spiderwebs. I found eight completed blocks while looking for something else yesterday. Hurrah! I thought the quilt was squarish at 6x7 blocks but what can you do when you run out of the middle fabric? Now I will be able add an 8th row and get it more into a rectangle shape.

Bed is calling and when I wake up, it's a Holiday and I get to Quilt!

Psst...don't let anyone know I have an order coming in from Connecting Threads!  
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