Sunday, September 23, 2007

No Time to Quilt But Having Fun!

I sure haven't been able to find the time to do much quilting lately, it seems. But I have been having fun. This weekend it was my granddaughter Kayla's 4th birthday and she was in town staying with her other grandma. She brought her and her little brother, McKay over for the afternoon so we could celebrate with her. I gave her, her birthday gift which was this little doll and this doll quilt and doll burp cloth I had made and crocheted around the edge. She was so adorable playing mommy, I just had to share this picture with all of you. She made my day when she said, "Grandma this is the bestest gift ever!" (I knew she loved dolls so I couldn't go wrong.)
We also went to Jamba Juice where her aunt Mallory works and had a drink, and then went to the new library that just opened recently and just sat and read books for quite awhile. She loved it.
1. Granddaughters that bring me smiles and joy!
2. My first paycheck from my new job!
3. A husband who loves to be a grandpa, too!
4. My favorite Jamba Juice drink -- Berry Fulfilling!
5. Relaxing Sundays!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One of My Very First Quilts

I have always loved to quilt, but raising 6 children gave me very limited time to quilt for many years. It hasn't been until the last 6-8 years that I've really gotten back into it. What got me back into quilting initially was wanting to carry on my mother's tradition of making each of her children a quilt when they got married. So, the first major quilt I made was for my oldest son when he got married. (I'll have to scan that picture in, sometime....that was before digital cameras.) A year later, my daughter got married and this picture is the quilt I made her for her wedding. She loves blues and wanted a blue quilt.

I started keeping a journal of my quilts a year or two after I made these quilts, so I hadn't taken pictures of these first two quilts to begin with, but when I visited my daughter a few weeks ago, she got this quilt out and let us sleep with it on the guest bed so I finally got a picture of it. It brought back fond memories seeing it again. It's a special time, when your daughter is getting married and you're deep into wedding plans with her. All of those feelings and memories came rushing back when I saw it again. I just thought I'd share it with all of you since I just got a picture of it.

1. Fond memories of a special time that comes flooding back.
2. A heart to heart talk with a daughter.
3. The feeling of seasons changing and the crisp air of fall.
4. Taking a quilt to "show & tell" and getting nice compliments on it.
5. Hugs from a child that come unbidden.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My "Quilt Block of the Month" Class Project

I have been absent from blogging for a couple of weeks and I've really missed it. Thanks to several of you who contacted me and let me know I was missed. I was totally touched by your friendship. I've had company, (my newly married daughter and husband surprised me as a belated birthday present and showed up on my doorstep for the Labor Day weekend. This brought all of my other children and spouses and grand children to visit since they were home), I went on a trip, (my husband and I drove up to Seattle to tend our two adorable grandchildren together for a long weekend - see pictures below) andI just started a brand new job that came out of the blue and I started the day it was offered to me, so I've been trying to adjust to a whole new schedule (and less time for blogging and quilting). I'm hoping to find a balance that I can live with and enjoy. Things have been extremely busy and crazy but everything has been such a blessing and great things to have happen.

The top picture is of soon-to-be 4-year old Kayla on her new bike and 2-year old McKay on his new tricycle. Grandkids are soooo much fun!! They light up my life.

I've had the very fun opportunity to teach a "Quilt Block of the Month" class at my church. It's been a totally volunteer situation, and I've loved it. It was a group of mostly new quilters just starting out. I started with 15 enrolled and after a few months it narrowed down to 9 very enthusiastic, dedicated new quilters. It was so much fun watching them catch the quilting "bug" and get so excited about their quilts. (One of my new blogging friends that I had mentioned teaching this class at church said, "Don't you feel a little guilty teaching addictive behavior to church friends."--or something close to that. I laughed so hard. It's true.) All 9 finished up the class and are now doing the quilting on their quilts so that we can display them in October at a church function.

Above is a picture of my finished product. (Well, I'm still quilting it.) As you can see, because it was a beginning class, we did very basic block patterns and we did them 12". I had accumulated a lot of blues and yellows in my stash that I wanted to use up so mine is blue and yellow scrappy. All of my "students" chose 3 main fabrics and used just those 3 fabrics. They all turned out lovely and it was so gratifying to see, as their teacher, their finished projects and how pleased they were with them. I'm going to take pictures when we display them and I'll share them on my blog.

I decided to hand quilt mine on my hoop for a couple of reasons. I love to hand quilt and I haven't for awhile now and I miss it. Also, I wanted to use polyester batting because I had some on hand and I wanted it to have a little heavier loft and I like hand quilting with that batting better than machine quilting.

I ended up with several extra blocks because as I would prepare to teach, I would experiment with different fabrics and I wanted to show different options for assembling their block. I picked out 4 of them and stuck them on the back of my quilt.
The class was so well received (I take no credit -- it is the quilting people catch excitement for)and generated even more interest among other ladies in my church, I'm going to offer a 3-month class making a holiday table runner which starts September 27th. I've all ready got about 20 signed up for that. (I'm sure it will also narrow down to the real serious quilters.) But I'm excited about it. Here is a picture of the table runner we'll be doing.

1. Wonderful surprises!!!
2. A granddaughter who says, "Your house is fun, Grandma!"
3. New "Dream Job" opportunities.
4. Grandkids laughter and cute conversations!
5. A piece of Chocolate coconut macaroon cheesecake shared with my husband.
6. My family all around me sounding happy!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What I Was Doing Instead of Cleaning My Garage

So, my garage has really gotten out of hand. I live in a house that has very little storage. I have vaulted ceilings so I don't even have attic space. We've lived here about 20 years and raised 6 kids here, so you can accumulate ALOT of "stuff" over that time. (Especially when 4 of those kids are married but live in tiny apartments and need to store stuff at mom and dad's until they have more room.) And especially when you have a problem throwing things away "that I may need or want....someday!" Suffice it to say, my garage is my main storage area and it has gotten really out of hand. It's been a long overdue project of mine to clean it. Everyday this week, I've been planning to, but quilting projects, etc. have been much more enticing.

Finally, Friday, my very organized son went out and just started throwing things away and cleaning up, but then quit when he had a bit of guilt hit him, worrying he was throwing things away that he shouldn't, so he stopped and told me it was my turn. Well, I was working on these blocks you see above and I really wanted to finish them, so I did and vowed I would start the garage on Saturday.

I did spend several hours cleaning my garage on Saturday, but have lots more to do, so that's my goal, is to get it finished this coming week....if I can stay out of my sewing room! It has felt so liberating, getting rid of "stuff" that's taking up space.
These blocks are the first three of 12 I am doing for the Patchwork Party 2007 I joined through Homespun Fabrics, just for fun.
1. Good feelings of getting rid of "stuff" in the garage!
2. My friend at Craft Warehouse brought me free store copies of Quilt Magazines
3. My married kids came to dinner and spent time together.
4. Good friendships that bless my life!
5. Having a son help me learn more about blogging and the computer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Joined the Clothesline Club at Craft Warehouse

I decided it might be fun to join the "Clothesline Club" at our local Craft Warehouse. It's a club where we do a different project each month using Reproduction Fabric. I've been wanting to do some reproduction projects and thought this may be a fun way. Our most recent project was this reversible apron. We chose which fabrics we wanted to do it in and then we were supposed to add something to it to make it our "own" and they were going to judge them and you get a prize if they pick yours. I've never thought of myself as very creative so it's always a stretch for me to think of what would look good. Here's what I came up with which was the extent of my creativity. This was after going and picking out about 4 different opptions, bringing them home and trying them out to see what caught my eye.

I'm not too good with my photography so you can't see too well. It's a row of polka dotted ribbon and some little flower buttons and a row of narrow pink ric rac underneath. Well, of course, I didn't get picked, because there were some very creative things other women did which was fun to see. But It was still fun to do. The only disappointment I had was that it was called the "Perfect Fit Apron" because you draw owt the pattern by using measurements they tell you to take and it did NOT fit me perfectly. It bags out in the front and the waist was too long. I should have checked better before I finished the whole thing, but I felt confident with measuring like I did that it would work. When I got to the meeting, most of the women were complaining about the same thing. I was glad it just wasn't me.

Next months project is a picnic quilt. I needed 12 fat quarters to make it so I got those picked out. I was drawn to the pastels this time. Now I just need to find my sashing. I'm still trying to decide what color to do. Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Surprises That Are Not A Surprise!

I have always LOVED surprises. I've always waited anxiously, anticipating what my husband will get me (knowing he has read my mind, of course, and he will get me exactly what I've been wishing for because he knows me so well....he will just know, right!) We've been married 30 years now and I think I've finally figured out...that's a fantasy. It was my birthday yesterday. Yes, but I'm at that age that I would like to totally ignore birthdays...... except it is quite nice to get something you've been wishing for. Last year I started giving some pretty big big I wrote out a list in detail (exact name of item, cost, website address of where to find it). I gave him about 15 ideas of things I would love (quilting related, of course) and knew what ever he chose, I would love it (off that list, of course). My DH, whom I do dearly love, and to give him total credit....he tries very hard to make me happy....last year got me exactly what HE'D been wanting. I know he really thought it was something I really wanted, too, so he thought he was SURPRISING me which he knows I love....I did not give him the reaction he was looking for. (I hope you're getting the right picture).

This year, to avoid any of that messiness from last year, I just put one thing (well actually, two but they were related) on my list. I wanted a ceiling fan for my sewing room and for the heater to be fixed. I LOVE my sewing room, but we don't have air conditioning and my room gets exposure to the sun and gets very uncomfortable in there. Standing fans tend to blow things around too much, so I've been longing for a ceiling fan in there. The heater in that room is an individual electric wall unit that hasn't worked for years. I've had to "bundle up" to go and sew in the winter time. So, my wonderful DH made all my wishes come true and got me exactly what I wanted (see boring photo below). So he "surprised me" with exactly what I had been wishing for.

Kind of a humorous side note with this wonderful present was a comment my daughter-in-law made who was watching me unwrap all my presents. (She has been married to my son for a year now.) She said, "So are these the kinds of presents I can look forward to getting when we've been married longer?" I didn't even realize how boring these gifts would look to someone else who had not been wishing for them & I hated to disillusion her in any way so....I'm just praying that my son can learn to read her mind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Am Going to Be A Serious Blogger

Well, it's been over a week since I published my first post on by brand new blog and I've been antsy to post more. I have a 24-year old son who is living at home with us right now taking care of some medical problems and he's been so excited about me starting this blog and helping me with it because he's very interested and good at photography and web design and graphic arts and wants to help me customize my site. He's not feeling too well this week and I've been trying to wait for him, but I feel bad for not posting anything for so long, so I'll do my own photography until he gets feeling a little better. Hopefully you'll see some great changes to my format and photography, too, when he's feeling up to it.

Well, I thought I'd start by showing you my baskets of "projects in progress" (which is on the right of this picture) and my "projects to start" (on the left side of the picture). I hope some of you can relate to the massive number of projects I have to work on --- and I keep buying more --- when I see something I've just got to do!!! Is there a name for this condition?

I do want to share with you my favorite organizational goody I discovered this past year and that is the "Hefty - Jumbo (2.5 gallon) Slider Bag". I love them because they are big enough to hold quite a bit of fabric and I just put everything I'm going to need for that project -- patterns, thread, etc., and then it's all just right there in a see-through bag, ready to go when I'm ready. I love the slider because there is no trying to line up grooves to push with your fingers. You just slide the zipper across -- it's so simple. I just get them at the grocery store. Maybe you've all discovered these all ready, but just in case someone out there hasn't, you'll love these. I also just use Gallon-size Ziploc bags for smaller projects.

I thought I'd also share with you a "Labor of Love" project that I have been given, which is a very special project to me. I had a wonderful step-mother who has been part of my life since I was 16 years old. She loved to quilt also and has made literally hundreds of quilts during her life. Many of her quilts are in my home and are some of my kids favorites. She was diagnosed 3 years ago with ALS (or better known as Lou Gerigh's Disease). She just passed away this past Spring. When I went down to her funeral, my sister-in-law, who lives next door to her, showed me this unfinished quilt she had been working on while she was battling this disease and finally had to quit because her body just would not let her any longer. She was trying to make it for her daughter who loves these colors and is going through an especially difficult time in her life. No one else in the family loves to piece quilts as much as I do, and no one wanted to tackle trying to figure out how to finish this without a pattern -- no pattern could be found. I am so excited now to finish it and feel it an honor and a way to give myself some closure to her death to help her finish this. So here is a picture of what she got done and what I was given to finish!

So I'll take more pictures when I get this further along and share how its going with all of you. Thanks for letting me share with you this very special project I'm embarking on.