Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vintage Quilt Progress

I woke up at 1 am, and listened to the rain falling outside. That’s the difference between spring and winter. You may here the wind howl occasionally, but you never hear snow fall. Rolled over and awoke again as Don got called into work at 3am. At 4:30, Ransom and I got up and had cinnamon toast for breakfast.

Still praying over garden seeds--- Some from Stina and San and some I’ve purchased. Don says I can’t walk by a seed stand without picking a package.
So far, I haven’t gotten a package to grow anything to eat….glad I don’t depend on the harvest for survival. But life is way too short to live without flowers and pumpkin gourds anyway. I still plan on purchasing carrot, beans, cucumber seeds along with pepper, broccoli, and tomato plants.

We hadn’t chatted this week, so I wanted to check in. The Sunday School conference was outstanding. I learned tons of new ideas for working with four year olds. My favorite part was when other teachers had problems on how to handle different situations—I had ideas on dealing with the issues. I guess after fifteen years of teaching experience starts playing a big role in it.

Linda sent me a friendship gift that popped up in my mailbox yesterday.
I plan on using some tonight while I watch television. She’s a great friend for keeping me “grounded” through family trials – her response has always been, “ Go to God…” sounds easy, but it’s something I’m really working on. She’s a keeper. I cannot purchase DMC floss in my hometown. In fact I have to travel a good 60 miles before coming close to finding some, so skeins of floss are pretty special.

What have I been working on? I’m calling it my vintage porch quilt. Here’s a sneak peak at the squares. On one hand I get a little nervous--- what if it turns out ugly???? But then I look at the blocks again, and I’ve been studying other vintage quilts and I think it’s going to be wonderful. We’ll keep you posted.

I was looking for a background to photograph the blocks. It’s raining, so an outside shot wouldn’t work. My house is full of the cabin colors of pine green , khaki, and cornflower blue. So I went to my linen closet and peeking out was my baby quilt my grandmother made me. After three years of journaling I laugh at the thought of there being anything left to talk about. But this is really cool stuff. Think about it--- this quilt is close to 50 years old--- getting closer all the time….. I was suppose to be a boy, hence the blue and yellow. I love the detail and the muslin background. The fabric has gray bunnies on it. And the buttonhole stitching around the appliqué is done by hand.
Looking closer I could tell, she basted the edges down and then went back and buttonhole stitched to attach it to the quilt block. I love the reverse images--- who am I kidding, I love everything about it… because my grandmother made it…..

Cinnamon toast
Raindrops melting snow
Slippers from my Mom

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Weekend

The weekend is here. I made it….. with a horrific cold. First one of the winter, so I can’t complain. Work was quiet, so I suffered peacefully alone. Decided I had to work it out of my system, so Ransom and I hit the woods. The snow is down to inches--- from feet---so I really have to start learning the markings versus just footprint path in the snow--- Fun Stuff.
I am up to date on My Baskets of Life Block of the Month.
Even though the colors are warm, they don’t look like winter to me.
I have a teaching seminar for Sunday School tomorrow. I tried to bow out of it, but they want me--- germs and all. And I will be glad I went, once I get there. Plus I can stitch, on the two hour drive up and back.

Kleenex—the lotion kind
Nyquil –it does every thing the commercials say it does
Ransom who is not scared of catching anything

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Four Leaf Clovers

Plenty of Porch Swinging going on in the U.P. as the temps have been warming up. We have metal gutters so it’s like music hearing the melting snow trickle down the columns. No complaints in our house.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. A friend in my office gave me fat quarters and packaged them even prettier than the fabric.
Also included in the package is chewing gum. It’s for those days that it’s tough working with rooms full of men. You have those moments when, even in anger, tears come and you completely don’t want it to happen--- that’s why at holidays we always give each other chewing gum.

I’ve been catching up on my BOM blocks. Hopefully I’ll have photos in a couple of days.

I wanted to show a frame in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. About eight years ago, we took our kids tubing down the Pine River. It was a lazy river close to home that bends and twines around trees. We’ve seen bear, beaver, birds of all kinds, and deer. On this particular day, Don loses his car keys in the bottom of the river. There were other people At the dock where we pulled in, so they gave Don a ride home to get the spares. That left the kids and I there with four inner tubes and a ton of mosquitoes. After spending 20 minutes reassuring Chelsey that Dad wasn’t talking or messing with “s-t-r-a-n-g-e-r-s”… We set out a way to pass the time. I remembered how my Mom and I used to look for four leaf clovers. She always found them--- I never did. I saw some patches of clover and we set out on a mission. Well, lo and behold--- we cleaned up on 4 leaf clovers! The kids were totally impressed and the time flew by. I saved them in this frame as a memory. OK—maybe they aren’t shamrocks or even clover, I’m not a plant authority… didn’t matter. We thought they were. I felt incredibly lucky that day… and still do.

(I always wonder – did I start finding them because I’m a Mom now, Or Did I just get “Lucky” now because I’m a Mom?????)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday - My Birthday

The view of my front porch on Sunday—my birthday. The wreath was a birthday gift to remind me Spring is on it’s way. The temperature made it to 54 degrees. We ran Ransom in the woods without snow shoes. Pounding through the melting snow was an incredible work out.

Stina sent me this apron, monogrammed for me. I still keep saying it’s too pretty to use.
When my father-in-law was alive, he use to build furniture. I made the comment one day with my husband that he did a wonderful job—it looked “store bought”. I was quickly corrected that that was an insult and it was so much better. Stina—This apron is beautiful, even better than “store bought”. I may just have to hang it on a hook for display.

Saturday we took Eric shopping for Suits in Appleton and I stopped at a shop and picked up two signs with birthday money from my sister-in-law.

OK—I’m 46, and feel pretty good about it…I just feel like things are looking up.

Gratitudes –
A nightgown from my Mom with pleats and tucks.
A key with the word Grace engraved on it
My daughter cooking supper Saturday night—in spite of the smoke-filled kitchen… I thought it was wonderful.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Every Bunny Needs Love

After playing with Libby about her Bunny, it got me thinking about mine. So I decided to share. She was created in 1992. Remember I live in a small place that considers itself lucky to have a Wal-mart. This bunny was created before the Wal-mart days.
I had seen a pattern similar to it in a Shopko store and totally disregarded it as ugly. I went to visit my sister-in-law and she had just purchased a wreath with the same bunny for an ungodly amount of money. I loved it. Sometimes, pattern photos don’t things justice. I studied it and came home and made my own.

It’s made from Muslin stripping and a Styrofoam ball. The ears were created from muslin on the sewing machine. I don’t know what it is---but the bunny just charms me… I’m in need of some signs of spring so the bunny is coming out of the chest…

I’ve had Eric home for the week for Spring break. He has come down with a cold. Totally angry about the entire thing, he says it’s just not fair. I keep telling him he’s looking at it the wrong way and at least he’s sick at home and isn’t juggling classes and being sick at the same time. And I am getting an entire pharmacy course in over the counter medications from my pharmacy student son---totally educational. We had vicious Scrabble games last night and laughed until our stomachs ached. It’s good having him home.

I guess I’m chatty this week --- it’s my 3rd post. We're back to sub-zero weather early in the morning. But it warms up to the 20's by afternoon. Tomorrow's friday -- maybe that fabric will get cut into this weekend. Thursday night--- Chinese take out night....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Binding the Four Seasons

Last night I worked on the handwork portion of the binding of my Four Seasons quilt. I always say it gives me a permission slip for television watching. I was focused on the having the batting and the backing for the BOM quilt when it was completed, but gave no thought to the binding. When it came time to create and attach the binding I had to pause for a second.
I had left-over backing, but it was a homespun yellow and I knew I didn’t want a yellow binding. After “auditioning” a couple of colors, I chose this homespun check from my stash. As quilters, we talk of getting rid of our stash of fabrics, lowering the yardage. There are articles and even books written on busting through the yard goods we stack on our shelves. While I don’t have a closet full of fabric I do have a cabinet full and have photographed it in prior postings. I was really thankful for those shelves of fabric because I went to the shelf and chose fabric that worked--- without traveling through an ice storm, without added postage. It felt pretty good, that after working all day, I just open a cabinet door and had fabric waiting for me. Bindings aren’t my favorite part of quilting, and after committing to the project I was lucky enough not to be slowed down.

Here is a photo of a quilt my Grandmother made roughly forty-two years ago. The binding on this quilt is the backing folded over twice.
All of her quilts were made this way. How did I know how old this quilt was? There is no label – but this block is made of fabric from the dress my Mom made me from my first day of Kindergarten. So, by my estimation--- I’m in the ballpark. Muslin was always a staple in her quilts.

When I first started quilting, I read anything and everything I could find on the subject. That’s when I learned that it was better to make separate bindings because that is one place that a quilt gets most of the wear and tear. Think about it--- it’s where we reach to tuck loved ones in, cover ourselves up when we’re cold. Bindings made separately can always be replaced. I have a couple of my Grandmother’s quilts. I’ve studied the hand-quilting in detail. I’ve investigated the way she created her appliqué, and I’ve look at the worn bindings carefully…realizing she must have tucked many loved ones in with those quilts.

Good memories.

Warm socks
My lunch box
My rocking chair

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's Monday---

It’s a Monday. When you have a good weekend, it makes the day almost tolerable. My mailbox was filled with goodies on Saturday, Fabric and Flower seeds from a friend.
My favorite is a patriotic print with words. I love holidays and birthdays. But there is just something special about receiving a gift just ---- Because.

I made this journal cover a while back.
I’m not real crazy about how it turned out, but it’s kind of growing on me. Trust me, I’m not fishing for compliments—I guess I’m just trying to say that sometimes you sew things and they just don’t turn out the way you want them to. But you don’t give up. Nobody died. Just try something else.

Kind of like life sometimes… maybe……

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Holly Hobbie

I had received a letter from a close friend. We have been friends since the fourth grade. She moved away from my hometown in the 9th grade.Her name is Tenza. She was made of honor in wedding. We had kids around the same time. And even though I can count the number of times I’ve seen her in the last 35 years on one hand, we have tons of memories along with phone calls and letters that have kept us friends.

When we were in the 6th grade, Tenza started an embroidery brigade at recess. It centered around this 1973 Simplicity Pattern – Holly Hobbie.
It was an iron transfer. A group of us bought boys’ chambray work shirts and began stitching. We added doodles to the cuffs and pockets. But it was Holly Hobbie on the back holding flowers that I remember most.

Until a week ago--- I had never purchased anything on Ebay. No particular reason, Maybe the fear of losing, I don’t know, I just never had. On a whim --- I put in a bid…. And won the pattern. I received it, wrote a letter, and forwarded the pattern on to her--- not an email, but a letter that I hope she reads over and over again with the pattern and gets at least a week’s worth of smiles.

I don’t know what ever happen to my shirt. Wish I did. I guess I didn’t appreciate it enough. That’s one thing I’ve pressed upon with my kids is the appreciation of a handmade item. No—the stitches may not be as even or as tight as if a machine had done it—but wow --- think of the time and effort that poured over the needle and thread.

I’ve tried bidding on another Pattern 6005, one for myself, but didn’t win…. But I know without a doubt the pattern I did win was meant for her….

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cottage Fabrics

OK—The photo does not in anyway do the fabrics justice. They’re just wonderful.
I justified the purchase as needed therapy, my contribution to economy stimulus, and cabin fever rebellion. Saturday Don was feeling “antsy”. It was gorgeous outside but with a scheduled high temperature of 13 degrees we opted for a lunch date in Green Bay. The Quilters Connection was having their end of the month deals. Just looking at the displays will inspire anyone. The quilt I’ll make with these fabrics will definitely have scallops I’ve decided, and probably lay on the porch swing through the summer. The colors are quite a contrast from the browns, reds, and greens the keep me warm through the winter.

Walking to the register, I look at the checkout girl, “ That’s my husband on the cell phone by the door, please just ring this up and do not say the total out loud…It doesn’t hurt if he doesn’t know….” She grinned I paid for my fabric and Don lived happily ever after.

“So, how much does a trip to the quilt store cost?’’

“Don, you really just don’t want to know…”

We’ve been trying different wines from Door County Wisconsin. We went and picked out a couple of new ones. We stopped at the meat market on the way home and picked up pork chops for grilling. It was a great day.

Yesterday I finished quilting my Four Seasons Quilt by JoAnn Mullaly. It just took a week. I started to attempt a fancier pattern, but I had studied hers in the photos and she had just done a meandering pattern and it was something that I didn’t have to think too hard on. The quilt speaks for itself. It didn’t need dressing up. Several have contemplated decisions on whether to quilt over the embroidery. I quilted right over mine. Here is a snapshot. I really like the look and don’t think the quilting took away from it at all.

I’ve got bulletin boards to set up for my Sunday school class this week as a new quarter begins. I’ve opted for a cabin theme this quarter…”You’re never out of the woods…until you Know God…” Maybe I can share pictures later in the week.

I’ve got a little girl with Chicken Pox in class. So I think that definitely merits a new box on crayons for her. I’m off to Wal-mart today.

Fresh pot of Soup for Supper tonight
A 20-year-old embroidery hoop