Thursday, July 11, 2013

Random Superheroes

We've all known superheroes. In my youth it was Mighty Mouse.

 When I was heading off to college it was The Six Million Dollar Man. Who was the superhero you loved from your childhood?

Of all the superheroes I've known, my favorite is Superhero Curly!

Each year I go East to visit my kids. When I get to Nancy Drew's house I have the most wonderful two days. Sweetie gets to stay home from daycare and I get her all to myself. This year when I arrived, Sweetie said, "On our day, can we make a cape for Curly? She loves being a superhero." This
 is one reason I call her Sweetie. Later that day while we were looking at cool stuff in her room she said with wonderful intensity: "I love Curly. I would step in front of a car to protect her." Excuse me while I wipe my eyes.

On our second day, off we trotted to Joann's to find the perfect material. Sweetie wasn't feeling well, but she was determined. Of course all the fabric was overwhelming and we went through the aisles twice. Sweetie was looking for something bright and cheery. I pulled out some fabrics here and there but they weren't "it." Finally Sweetie sat down on the floor, feeling worse. I started scanning the fabrics right in front of us. Suddenly I saw this fantastic fabric in front of me and drug it out and showed her. She looked at it and said, "I like it." Pause. "I really like it." We had found it! The cape was to be reversible, one down, one to go. Sweetie remembered that I had shown her dotted fabric that had glitter on it. Perfect!

Back at home, we laid out a "pattern" I had gotten from Craft Buds, a blog I found through Google. Instead of goofing around trying to devise my own cape and get the right design, I used her pattern. Sweetie and I laid it out, she cut it out and we pinned it.

I had given Nancy Drew a 1960's Pfaff that my Aunt Marie had. I do not have good mojo with that sewing machine. Yes it was a wonder to see. I had learned to sew on my mother's same machine. With it I had started my quilting journey. Nancy Drew does not sew, but she had this cheap (in both senses of the word) to do basic mending. Hence, the Pfaff found its new home with my second daughter. It was fun taking that 50 pound machine as carry-on luggage, but that's another story!

Four years ago, Sweetie and I made her first quilt. We used the Pfaff. Nancy Drew had inserted the bobbin case incorrectly. When we made the first stitch, the needle got stuck in the down position and wouldn't budge. Exasperation. Tugging. Bother. Tugging. Vexation. Calling hubby. Botheration. Breaking of bobbin case. My "swear" word: Snergen. I finally conceded victory to the pesky machine. Eventually we borrowed a machine from a friend of my daughters.

Hold on to your forward. Pfaff all fixed and read to go. I couldn't find where the pedal plugged into the machine. Brilliant idea.  In retrospect, idiotic move. I plugged the pedal into the wall outlet. Press pedal. Pop! Smell of electricity dying. Machine gives a sigh and dies.

However, the machine did work. If you turned the wheel by hand. Which is what we did. Sweetie did the turning of the wheel and got remarkably fast with it. Not before I gave it a try. My wedding ring was hitting the metal wheel. I decided to take off my ring. Snug, no budge. Soap to the rescue! Two weeks later I still can't get the ring back on. Aggravating.

It turned out fantastico!

 Since Curly wasn't there, the only models we had were ourselves!

Up, Up and Away!
I Will Save You!

This is definitely saving the best for last: Superhero Curly!

  Off to save the day!

I don't know for sure, but I think Curly's smile was enough for Sweetie!

Hooking up with Really Random Thursday. Grab badge at right and see how random other people can be.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spring Quilts & Spoons

I am re-posting this blog entry from almost a year ago. I have just finished the flimsy that I am going to give to Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo. You can see my post about it here. I thought that for today's Let Be Social I would share this with you. It's mostly about people who have chronic illnesses and an amazing piece, The Spoon Theory, written about how you explain that to others.

In the Spring this year, Quilting Gallery had its weekly "contest" with the theme of Spring Quilts. It's a fun thing to do every week. There is a theme each week and you can post a quilt you've made that meets the theme. During the week, anyone can vote for their top three favorites. At the end of the week, a winner is announced and a nice prize is given.

With the Spring Theme, I looked through my quilts. I don't have many quilts in my "body of quilts," so it was easy to look through all of them. I found the quilt below that is called Purple Hugs.

 With all the lovely flower prints, I think it definitely welcomes in Spring.

I made this quilt in Spring of 2012. We moved to our house eight years ago. The neighbors across the street became good friends. There was the Mom & Dad & P their adult daughter. P lives with them because they need her help in keeping their lives in order.

Close Up of Purple Hugs
Three years ago, P was diagnosed with MS. She was 30 years old. She has a great sense of humor and, more often than not, when she comes over to visit it is to laugh. She makes fun of herself and her decreasing abilities. She would hate me for saying this, but she is a model of grace.

When she got her diagnosis, I wanted to make her a quilt. Her favorite color is purple, could you tell? I started looking at patterns with an eye for ones that would be simple and quick to put together. I wanted her to have it soonest.

I went through my stash and started pulling out purples, greens, and pinks. I love purple and green together! I'm not a purple person, but I was grateful I had enough for the quilt. Some of the fabric dated back to my Aunt Marie's stash.

Since I didn't have the money to send it to a LAQ, I decided to tie it. I am always worried that someone will like a quilt less because it is tied. Silly me. It turned out beautifully.

P loves her quilt and mentions it now and again. I'm glad she does. She's a wonderful person.

Many of you, like me, have known or had friends who have chronic illnesses. There are those of you who live "up close and personal" with someone living with this. The two people I have been close to are my neighbor, P, and my mom.

I've written about my mom before (link above). She got breast cancer when she was 42 and I was just graduating from high school. She never fully recovered. The cancer just kept attacking different parts of her body. Twelve years later she died. P reminds me of my mom. Mom always lived on the sunny side of the street, even when it stormed. Her cancer robbed her of her immune system. It robbed her of her energy and ability to have a vibrant life. Hers is not an unusual story in cancer-dom or in chronic diseases.

Mom had to choose her activities carefully. If she decided to go shopping, or over to friends for dinner, take in a movie, she would be down in bed for at least two days.

A few years back I came across a touching piece written by a woman, Christine, who has Lupus. One day while having lunch with a very dear, long-time friend who asked her what it was like to have Lupus. After the years they had known each other, Christine was amazed that her friend had no idea what her life was like. She cast about for some way to explain what it was like to live with Lupus, then she had a brilliant inspiration. She picked up spoons from the table and used them to teach her friend. From that instance, she had found a way to describe living with a chronic illness.

The Spoon Theory stuck a chord with me because it described my mom. I have passed it on to many people in my life who could use it. Whether it be because they need to understand they're not alone or because people say "you don't look sick," I want them to read it.

I cannot download it, or print it, but I can give you the link where to find it. I hope you will read it. Maybe you:
  • know someone who has a chronic illness
  • had or have a relative who is dealing with chronic illness
  • you've had someone tell you or someone you know that they "don't look sick."
  • you get judged when you get out of your car after you parked in the handicapped zone
  • have friends who are unsupportive because you can't come to the party, or go shopping, etc
  • have a chronic disease
Pass the link on to someone. Read it for comfort. Read it for understanding of someone you know.

But, please, read it.

The Spoon Theory

Photo credit: Silver Spoon, by Believe Creations, taken April 6, 2008. CCC license

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Itsy Bitsy Spider(web) Border Dilemma

It's early morning here--good morning to all! I've been trying to write this blog for about 45 minutes. It's hard to type when something is crawling up your leg with sharp claws. And I have pajamas on that are thin cotton and only come to below the knees!

My little charmer has fallen asleep on my lap and now I can type with both hands!

The Little Charmer

Who can resist this little girl? Her name is Squirt and she is a bundle of love and no bigger than a minute. You may remember that I lost my cat last Spring. Within a few weeks, I was pining away for a kitty. I decided to wait until summer when I'm home and could devote time to her. Once I got home from vacation, I was able to wait 4 whole days before hubby and I were off to the animal shelter.

Squirt stole my heart the minute I picked her up and she snuggled under my chin! She's settled into the house very well. My dog and hubby's cat aren't not so sure about the little interloper...both of them are afraid of her! Bunch of wusses!

Squirt in my inbox
Looks like our house is going to be turned upside down. She's been chewing on paper in my inbox, swatting my houseplants (they make great toys), and generally having all those great kitty adventures.

Squirt perfecting innocent look after playing
with the houseplant.

Squirt's first night home

A couple of months back I was trying to figure out a border for my Spiderweb Quilt. I came up with what I thought of as a winning plan...only to sew it on and see it was definitely Not Working. That's when I turned to my lovely friends that read my blog and got ideas of how to improve my borders, which involved removing the borders I had put on!

Here is my latest version of a border. I chose a chocolate brown with colorful flowers or another with colorful sprinkles. I'm thinking of leaving on the yellow border. What should I do with an outer border. I'm adding wider borders because I need to make the quilt big enough for a queen size bed. The brown would be five inches wide. The next border would be about three inches.

And now, my friends, help me with these questions:
  • Which border do you like? or do you think both of them stink? Personally I like the border with the flowers.
  • Should I leave the yellow, swap places with the brown or use another color than yellow?
  • What color should the third border be? Busy? Tone on tone?
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. You were so helpful last time and I'm relying on you to guide me on my way to finish this quilt. (Hoping the flattery and whining will help you to comment!)

Happy Monday To All!

Check out other great design walls (links on left border) at:

Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Show and Tell Tuesday
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
We Did It Wednesday
WIP Wednesday
It's A Party Wednesday
My Quilt Infatuation

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