Sunday, March 22, 2015

For the Record...

Because I guess I think---No scratch that--- Because I know that I believe there's a quilt for everything.

A friend lost her mom. I threw five bucks in a card that was being passed around the office.  But I wanted to do something more.   I wanted to tell her that her mom wasn't hurting anymore.  That she was a great daughter-- beside her mom to the end taking care of her (a true luxury I'll never have). I wanted to let her know that in time-- her sadness would give way to a ton of great memories.

For all those things that for some reason I'm having a tough time telling her I made her this:

A Nine patch table topper.

The base fabric is a Thimbleberries piece, part of a plan to make a quilt that I never gathered the remaining pieces.  By far my favorite fabric of all the Lynette Jensen designed. It was time to quit saving it for myself.

A corner patch sewed in to make a label.

You can see the snow is pulling away from the trees.  We will get a spring.  This journal started out as a daily chat about life and quilt stuff.  For some reason it seems to have changed.  But I still want to keep it to log my quilts.  What they are made of, What I'm thinking about as I sew and the fabrics they are made of.

As a family,we were sitting together a few weeks ago and were talking about our jobs.  Don and the kids talked so passionately about each of their own.  I spoke about how I work hard but my job always seems to be about making it to quitting time.  Don tells me-- it's because you are not passionate about it. ''Mel, your passion is in your quilting.  Always has been.''  While I am far from a perfect seamstress and I'm continuing to improve with every project I find myself grateful for every piece of fabric to quilt and time I have to devote to it.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Spring Hopes.....

For all of those growing little weary at this winter's weather.  Our motto in the U.P. is, " If it were easy-- everyone would want to live here..."
But even the faithful grow tired of the frigid temperatures and even colder wind chills.

Our days are getting longer with three minutes of sunlight gain daily.  My sewing room needed cleaning up after Chelsey's quilt before I could get back to another quilting project.  Too tired, I grabbed a piece of Aida cloth and embroidery thread.  So nightly, I made a few x-stitches with a free Pinterest pattern. I really wanted to use linen. Linen projects will have to wait until March when I can get new glasses.  The contacts just don't focus my eyes well enough to see the threads.

I have three or four of these little pieces printed out to complete and sit on a shelf -- just to remind me Spring will come....

Sunday, February 08, 2015


While I did not get to stitch on these this weekend -- here is the project I want to work on....

My Strawberries.  Photographs don't do the fabrics justice.  I even moved the blocks outside trying to get the lighting bright enough to let you see how much I love them.  I read journals of other people who made the quilt who talked about not having the fabrics work together.  Kind of made me weary of trying different fabrics outside a fabric line.  I just didn't want to waste fabric.  But I also realized I didn't want a cookie-cutter quilt this time - It was mine and I wanted it different.  I chose fabrics I loved and decided I had never see a bowl of strawberries all the same color...

The plaid is going to be the binding and backing and the green piece is a half yard print being auditioned for a border.

Heading into the week with the right attitude.   Work sponsors the fun on weekends.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

In Honor of Bertie, Dinah, and Penelope

Chelsey turned 25 and my Eric and Carolyn got a new Puppy -- Awesome, pup,  Don and I have just been so excited to meet her.  Chelsey - still at 25 -- the baby of the family responds --" You never got this thrilled over my cats..."

Truth be told -- we're dog people.  Don and I both have grown up with dogs and never had cats.  I'm even a little afraid of them.  But when you love Chelsey-- it means loving all of her.... including her cats.

When she first moved to a new town, she was incredibly lonely.  Her apartment did not allow dogs. So while selling an ad campaign for the local animal shelter she rescued a cat that has 7 or 8 toes on each paw.  Bertie was an uncommon cat but loved Chelsey implicitly ---so she's ok in my book.  Tempermental --yes --- anti-social -- definitely-- but she and Chelsey made the odd couple look normal.

Chelsey realized with her long work hours that Bertie got lonely, so enter stage left--- Dinah.  A charming little calico that made Chelsey's home a darling threesome.  Life rolled on and Chelsey's Heart murmur started acting up.  Coupled her best friend getting married (a.k.a. her brother) Chelsey was just really struggling.  She took out her trash to the apartment dumpster one day and her a small voice and founded muddy Penelope four weeks old, wet, and cold. Chelsey called the shelter and they had picked up the Mom and six other kittens  found in the dumpster earlier.  They must have missed one.  Chelsey said she would bring her in on Monday.  She nursed on her all weekend and despite our saying, "Chelsey, you don't need three cats.." Chelsey's response was, "We're both in really bad places --- we need each other.""  Truthfully, she's my favorite....

So accepting her cats... I made her birthday gifts.   A Mug and Mug Rug along with Cross-Stitched picture I adapted to fit her three loved ones.

Chelsey had seen a  quilt similar to this one on Pinterest right after Christmas.  Making it for her was the only way to shut her up--- literally.  Instead of a Jelly Roll, I used 3.5 inch strips. The Pinterest one did not have a border either.  I wanted it big enough to keep someone warm.  Her living room is cream and black.  I googled 'cat silhouette' and printed out pics for the appliques.  

The appliques really intimidated me.  I was afraid they wouldn't look like cats.  I cut the pieces out and ironed on thin interfacing to stabilize them.  I'm not a 'needle-turn' applique fan  so I ironed under the edges and glued them down with a little elmer's glue stick and then machine appliqued them with a button-hole stitch.  I was going to do them by hand, but had procrastinated so with the dread of working with them so it was the logical choice.  Plus, I feel like they are really durable for tons of machine washings.  This is a quilt to be loved on---   Through naps and movies and bowls of popcorn.

Pictures don't show you -- but there are some really great fabrics in this piece.  I pulled from my stash, because of lack of time -- and because it's there to be used.

My favorite cat  and block -- Penelope.  Oops -- I need to cut that thread.

I brought it to her today.  Funny thing about being raised by a quilter.  The first thing she said was, 
"What did you put on the back???"

It reads:  
In Honor of Bertie, Dinah, and Penelope and the lessons they've taught you.
1. No one should ever be lonely.
2.  Everyone needs Friends.
3.  Sooner or later Everyone gets down in the dumps (ster)... but that doesn't mean you have to stay there.

Happy 25th Birthday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chelsey Turn's 25

Strawberries are on the edge of the counter, because Chelsey has a birthday and I want to make her a quilt.

Affectionately known as the "Cat Lady" Chelsey has 3 cats that keep her company in her home town.

I cross-stitched her a picture for her desk -- I found the pattern on Pinterest and adapted it for 3.  The Dresden plate topper was supposed to be a mug rug  but it is a little bigger.   The cat silhouette quilt is also made from a picture off of Pinterest.  My version is going to be black and cream with 6 cats on it.  Hopefully it will be ready for quilting this afternoon.  I might actually finish a quilt on time this year.

Exercise -- something that stays on the 'top burner' for me this year.  I try to tell myself ,'one hour of exercise a day leaves me with 23 hours for other things.  One Christmas gift that has been helping me this year is this:
We got a great black Friday deal and got family members this for Christmas - a FITBIT.  It tracks steps, and miles.  You can log on and track calories, water, and your friends can join and share data.  Don thinks it is a gimmick - but like my Daughter-in-law says, " If it is a gimmick that motivates you -- It's good."  I've been taking the long way to copiers and pushing after work with snowshoes if I haven't gotten my daily 10,000 steps.  It least wearing it keeps me focused on healthy choices. A couple of friends at work even join in.
Last year's exercise record wasn't as great as I wanted, hoping for a great 2015.

 P.S. I'm also documenting the days I pick up a needle and thread.  A gratitude reminder for when I think I never have the time I want to sew... I look and realize I really do....

Sunday, January 04, 2015


The Strawberries are made up of three rows of fabric pieces. The strawberry bottoms are made and the stems also.  It's the middle row that is intimidating to me.  Great instructions -- Quarter triangle squares just don't come easy for me.  I'm taking it a seam it a time while watching football.

Our weather is back to single digits.  Tomorrow we have a high of -4 degrees.  Quilting weather.

Friday, January 02, 2015

My first Project...

For a couple of months I've been digging through fabrics and choosing the right ones for this project.  I purchased the background - to have enough yardage of the same.  I'm ready to cut up strawberries.

I am working on this project with a couple of friends-- each of us taking our own twist to the project.  The cover quilt is awesome.  It's what caught my eye...But I'm using Three Sisters Moda fabrics for own Strawberry Social.  While the pattern calls for 25 strawberries, I'm making mine with 36---I want to make sure it's big enough to cover up any one for a summer's nap.