Category Archives: Gratitude

Reno Show Recap & Summer Break

Last weekend was the Truckee Meadows Quilt Guild annual show in Reno, Nevada. Needle & Foot was a vendor there – this was the second show I have done.  The first one was our local guild’s show in May. As with most things, I did a few things different this time and learned a bit more with the Reno experience.

Before we  go into all of that, I want to talk a bit about my ‘silent’ partner.  It was about February of last year when I got the idea to vend at the Grass Valley quilt show in May.  But I was really hesitant to commit and to pay the $200 booth fee.  I have mentioned now and then that I have difficulties with migraines. But if I were to be honest, I would describe my migraine issue with stronger language – I have a chronic illness and it really wreaks havoc with my daily life. I get about two or three migraines each week. This has been on-going since 2009. For whatever reason my body shifted (probably something to do with peri-menopause and then menopause) and the migraines kicked in with force.  (I am not explaining all of this to gather your sympathies, more to show why I make some of the decisions I do.)

People with chronic migraine have a really difficult time committing to anything with a defined date or time. I rarely know how my week will go,wait –  not rarely, scratch that.  I never know how it will go.  So it makes it hard for me to join committees, or volunteer groups, promise to take Julia somewhere, etc.  I cancel out of many, many commitments. All. The. Time.  When I wanted to try a quilt show, I knew I had to have back-up. I couldn’t take the chance on doing this without someone else there to run the booth if I got sick.

My five sisters – at a surprise party for Cathy (the one in the red t-shirt

Knowing this, I called Patti and asked her if she would work the show with me (or without me, as the case may be.) She immediately agreed. I mean without hesitation, without knowing exactly where it was, how long it lasted, or what it entailed. That is how she is. That is how all of my sisters are. Having her work it with me gave me the confidence to go ahead with it. We did the Grass Valley show and it was great fun.

Because of the success of the first show, we signed up for a few more. Now we were planning as a team. Patti is an incredible seamstress.  She has made two quilts – her first one was queen size as a gift and the other was for her daughter, Laura. But for the most part, she sews garments. She decided to make a few things and bring them to the show in Reno to gauge reactions to her work and the pricing.  In the space of about six weeks, Patti planned fabric and color, pattern and detail work, to make a selection of girl’s dresses and little coordinating messenger bags.

I was thrilled with her plan because it added a whole new dimension to the booth. As you know, many quilters do not enjoy garment sewing. However almost all quilters do recognize highly skilled workmanship. I knew these dresses would be appreciated and valued by the quilters shopping at the show.  More importantly, it meant Patti and I had something to work on together. Patti lives about 150 miles from me but we called and texted constantly as she developed her plan and made these gorgeous dresses.

OK – let’s talk about the show. It was a great experience. The show was smaller than the first show we did and was a non-juried show. This made for lower attendance. However, the people that were there were so friendly. They shopped our booth and made purchases – enough so I would say it was worth our time. The venue wasn’t without issues though. You can probably tell from the photos, the lighting was just awful. (These photos have been edited, lightened and brightened.) It felt like the power was out in our corner. Everything was so dark! That was quite a problem. We were carrying bolts into the light to see true colors whenever a customer was trying to make a decision. It added a layer of frustration for each of the vendors. Also, there wasn’t any wifi available. In this day of using technology for everything, lack of wifi is pretty ridiculous. We had to use cell service for our phones, had to use our phones as hot-spots for the iPads, and we were constantly charging devices to keep things going. (Because of these two issues, I will probably pass on this show next year, unless changes are made.)

We tried a few new things with this show. We arranged the bolts in more of a thematic groupings and tried to make the colors flow better (hard to illustrate with the lousy light) . I think this made the booth flow much better. I ordered black tablecloths which added uniformity to the look too.  I folded the fat quarters in a different way so the pattern of the fabric was displayed better and I grouped them by colorways in the basket.  It was interesting to see the difference in our sales. We sold a lot of fat quarters and lots of the little kits and notions we brought; at the last show we hardly sold any of those items. The yardage we sold was also interesting. For one thing,many of the guild members were collecting floral prints for a class that was scheduled for October. They wanted large scale prints for fussy cutting. Luckily I had a selection of Art Gallery fabrics (Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland’s prints) that worked for this and those sold well.

For lots of reasons, I would call the show a success. It wasn’t hugely profitable but Patti and I gained exposure, learned another thing or two about booth set-up and tear down, sold fabric and dresses, and most of all, had a great time together. The next show isn’t until mid-September. It is about 50 miles from home so a bit more convenient than the Reno show. (Even though we did stay overnight in Reno for two nights, we had the luxury of staying in my in-law’s second home. They generously gave us access to the house which was sooo much nicer than staying in a hotel – and, of course, more economical too.)

Patti has decided to go for it and she will be opening an Etsy shop with her handmade items. As this progresses, I will keep you posted – I think her work is nothing short of amazing and these dresses will be fun gifts at holiday time or for birthday gifts.

It is August now and that means school starts in two weeks for Julia. With the end of summer approaching, I want to take a bit of time off and focus on family.  Today I am taking Julia and her BFF to the mall and out for lunch. Fair is next week which means we will be super busy with Julia and her 4-H project, Ella. I will turn in my quilts for exhibit later today too. There is lots going on!

Grammy’s sweet girl is coming soon!!!t

As if that isn’t enough, my son and his wife and this little chunk are coming for five days at the end of the month. As I thought about all I have going on and how busy things have been, I decided to take a vacation from blogging and social media.  I really want the break and look forward to shifting my focus to home and family for a few weeks.  While I am away from the blog and my social media platforms, I will still be shipping orders. If you need anything in particular, you can always email me via the Etsy shop or at my email address. I am happy to help you. But I won’t be looking at Facebook or Instagram for a couple of weeks. It is important (to me anyway) to get away from all of the chatter that is social media. As much as I love the on-line community, it can be quite a distraction from daily life and eats away at my time in the sewing room too. Hopefully this makes sense to you. Enjoy this last bit of summer — I look forward to catching up with everyone the first week of September!!  When I return I will share the book selection for the Autumn round of Fabric & Fiction. I also have a few other fun things planned. I’ll be back soon!!  🙂

!

Feeling Lucky

In case you didn’t already get the message, I LOVE our community. So creative and so generous, I am continually amazed with the giveaways that are ongoing. About a month ago, Quilter’s Candy Box had a giveaway. Guess who won? Yep, me. Lucky, lucky, lucky me!

Just in case you aren’t familiar with them, Quilter’s Candy Box is a brand, spanking new business run by Tracy and Elizabeth. It is a subscription service where you receive a box of quilty goodness in the mail each month. The first month of business for Tracy and Elizabeth was this month of June! On Instagram they have been actively marketing their fledgling business.  (You would be very wise to give them a follow on IG.)  They ran a giveaway for one free box in June and yours truly got very, very lucky that day.

IMG_6277

I received the box yesterday and had been waiting anxiously because there were some subscribers that had already received theirs and were flaunting all that goodness over various social media outlets. The box did not disappoint! The contents were generous and included lots of fun things like a charm pack, pattern, crafty items, sweets and more. Take a look at the adorable coffee mug up there! That will be happily used by this quilter for her morning coffee.

IMG_6259

This pattern is a special edition, created just for Quilter’s Candy Box, by Bonnie Olaveson. I have never tried Cathedral Windows so I look forward to making this. Take a closer look at this Serenity Charm pack. The colors are soothing and just so pretty.

IMG_6262

I’ll tell you right up front, when I make this project, it is staying with me. I love the fabric and I’m keeping this one!  Ok, let’s look a little further.

IMG_6261

I love these little labels. The colors remind me of Maureen Cracknell but as far as I know, she didn’t have any input here. They just look like her, don’t they?  Thread Wax.  Here I have to admit my lack of knowledge. I have never used it and don’t know what to do with it. Anyone want to give me a hint? Thank you!

IMG_6257

Here is this month’s treat. A lemon cookie. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks yummy. See the paperclip bookmark? I love it’s simplicity with one sweet button. It is currently holding my page on a new Anne Tyler book I started yesterday. (Are any of you Anne Tyler fans? I love her books and have read most of them.)

Here is the month’s crafty element.

IMG_6260

This little embroidery kit looks like fun. I have been thinking of giving embroidery a try after looking at the 25th anniversary piece I made for my parents all of 37 years ago. (You can read about that here.) Maybe this is the place I am meant to start.

This was indeed a box of treasures. Quilter’s Candy Box runs a monthly giveaway and if you are following them on either Facebook or Instagram (or both) you are sure to see when to enter to win. The monthly subscription is another way to take advantage.  I also checked in with Elizabeth to see if they was a way to order a box as a gift for someone without subscribing. This would make such a nice holiday gift for a quilter. (Note to my kids:  bookmark their site. Hint, hint.) While it might not be right for a person’s monthly budget, many quilter’s would certainly love to give (and to receive) this as a gift.  Elizabeth was quick to respond to my email:  “As for purchasing single boxes as a gift, we will have them available occasionally.  We will email our newsletter subscribers about it, and post about it on Facebook and Instagram.  We also hope to eventually have a few boxes that are always available (like a birthday box) for a one-time purchase.” I plan to keep an eye out for these opportunities.

Thanks so much Tracy and Elizabeth for this very fun box of pretties!

Linking up to a few fun linkies. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

May is for Makers

 

mayisformakersbutton-1(pp_w225_h225)

The idea of supporting all of the Indie Designers is being (understandably) touted heavily among quilting blogs this week. It started with a post by Lindsey Rhodes which has everyone thinking about the balance of expecting/wanting everything for free via the internet and supporting the amazing people that spend so much time working on patterns and are trying to eek out a bit of finanacial return on their efforts. I am as guilty as the next maker for using the free ideas (which are endlessly abundant) and passing on actually buying patterns. It isn’t a question of fairness or honesty. I am not using ideas that are not published for other’s use. However, I have a huge appreciation for the work that goes into the published patterns. Especially after writing my first tutorials — those take such a long time. But a pattern for a quilt is a much more difficult undertaking.

In celebration of May Makers, and as a show of my gratitude for all of the knowledge I have gained for not a penny,  I will purchase a couple of patterns for my upcoming projects. I have my amazing Dear Stella fabric sitting there waiting for me to decide what to do with it. I plan to shop the patterns and find the perfect one for that gorgeous stack of pretty. I hope this might inspire one or two readers to go out and shop the talented makers that are out there. Craftsy has lovely, well-written patterns for sale and most all of your favorite quilters have a shop linking from their blog. Show them some love.

In other news, my fabric purchasing self-control was severely put to the test yesterday!  I worked at the “Country Store” during our local quilt show. If you are unfamiliar, the Country Store is a place where guild members can offer up items they no long want and sell them with some of the proceeds going to the guild and some to the seller. Oh my goodness, the deals that were available!! It was so tempting to buy fabric. I was working the checkout line and was drooling over the fabric that people were buying. Fat quarters for $1.00, or less! Kits that were purchased and never made, items that were completed and no longer wanted, yardage and notions galore. So much temptataion. I do NOT need fabric right now. You know that as well as I do! I kept my drooling to myself and used all of my willpower to come home having spent only $2.50. 🙂

I bought one purple batik fat quarter for all of 50 cents. My purple stash is depleted after making my scrappy projects for the month of March. One fat quarter doesn’t restore the scrap bin, but I don’t have any purple projects in the making right now so it’s fine.

purple

I bought this stack or 2013/14 American Quilter magazines for $2.00 I LOVE quilting magazines but the budget only goes so far. These will be read cover to cover – numerous times each! I think American Quilter has very good articles on the artistic  side of modern quilting. Plus there are tutorials on FMQ from my favorite, Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt. In keeping with my recycling philosophy, I will pass these along to a quilty friend or two when I am done with them.

magazine

It was hard to pass up all of the bargains yesterday but just because it is ‘only a few dollars’ or ‘nearly free’ doesn’t mean I need to add it to the collections of fabric which overflow from my closet. It becomes almost overwhelming!

Time to go search for the perfect pattern to use when I start my Dear Stella project!

Linking to Main Crush Monday and Sunday Stash. Links to both are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post to wish everyone in the US a very Happy Thanksgiving. For those that don’t celebrate the holiday, I wish you all the best as well.

So, who is cooking and who is not? This year I will be cooking, along with my husband. I have a 20 pound monster of a turkey in the fridge and all of the ingredients for everything else. At least I am fairly sure I do. After seeing the craziness in the market yesterday, I can say for certain that if I don’t have it by now, it won’t make its way to the table.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We have so much to be thankful for and it is wonderful to have a day to enjoy family and just be grateful. For us, the day tends to be centered around food and family which are two of my favorite things!

About two weeks ago I was browsing Pinterest looking for ideas for the table this year. I found this simple wooden box filled with candles and small, decorative pumpkins. I showed the picture to Ray and asked if he might have time to make one for me.

The following weekend he came through with his version and it far surpassed the picture I had shown him.

IMG_20151124_4186

The wood is the most gorgeous walnut. He had a number of scraps left over from a table he was commissioned to make for my sister last year. I am so happy with it. I love it with these autumn colors.

IMG_20151124_4193

Ray really loves looking for pieces of wood with exceptional grain and this was no exception.  He was sorting through his ‘stash’ looking for just the right pieces. (You know how we are in a fabric shop… wandering, thinking of possibilities, feeling fabric to see what the hand is like? That is Ray in a hardwoods shop. He goes a little nuts with all of the wood and all of the inherent possibilities contained within. And I totally get this.)

IMG_20151124_4188

I look forward to using this piece over the years. It is like a blank slate and can be decorated for any holiday. It is pretty awesome having a creative guy and it is fun to have this in common with him.

I hope each of you are able to spend time with your friends or family and celebrate all that we have to be grateful for. Thank you for your virtual friendship – I so enjoy our community.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Linking with Ladybug Blessings, a link up for handmade craft.

Wednesday WIP

You know that feeling when you have been down with a bug for a while and you finally feel better? That happy feeling of being able to have normal days, doing normal things? And it feels so good to just be back to normal?  Well that is kind of how this week feels.

It has been three weeks since Mom’s heart surgery. This week she has made some really big improvements and is feeling so much better. She looks wonderful and is up and doing little things here and there. Consequently, we all feel better! I don’t know if this is how all families are, but when one of us is down, we each have this sympathetic /empathetic thing that causes the rest of us to be down. And we know this about each other. When Mom was in the hospital, moving from bed to chair to walker was intense. It was so hard and it really hurt. The first couple of times the nurse came in to tell her it was time to get up and move from chair to bed, Mom would tell us to leave the room for a minute.  She would say, “If you watch, you’ll hurt too.  No need for that.” She knew how hard it was for us to be watching her.  But now, three weeks later, she is on the road to recovery and looking great.  Such a relief! We are endlessly, completely grateful for her good health.

Today I did normal stuff. Enjoyed cleaning my house and catching up on laundry! (Pretty exciting, right? Honestly, it was.) I also decided I had better do something with the apples that have been sitting in my basement for more than a month now.

IMG_20151020_4019

My in-laws have a small apple orchard and we went and picked apples a long while back. I made a large pot of applesauce with the last of the apples. Yum. Our family loves homemade applesauce, chunky with lots of cinnamon.

IMG_20151020_4020st

Even our hens were happy about this. They get all the scraps. Lucky girls.

IMG_20151020_4021

I have also been back in the sewing room. Finally! This week I have been workng on my blocks for the brown row of my Classic Stitches BOM quilt. The blocks are so cute.  I started out making 3″ blocks. This was two weeks ago. My brain couldn’t deal with the small, fiddly (as Mari says) pieces. I just couldn’t come up with consistent blocks. It took me forever to get two finished. So, I gave up and went back to 6″ blocks and they are great.

IMG_20151103_4067

I will get these finished up in the next day or so and stitch them together. The last color of the year is bright green. This is an easy one for me – I love green and have a big tub of scraps to go through. I need to go check in with Mari and see what sort of block she has planned for us this month. It is really crazy that we are coming to the end of this project already!

Lastly, while making applesauce today I was watching the finches. We have lots of them. This little guy settled in way up at the tiptop of our spruce tree.

IMG_20151103_4064

Hope you are having a wonderfully healthy week filled with the ordinary pleasures of life.

Linking to Let’s Bee Social – the link is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Gratitude – Part 7

It has been a long while since I have written a gratitude post but, this week life is all about gratitude, so it feels like the thing to do!

A little more than one week ago I posted that I would be away from my sewing room for a while. My mom was in cardiac ICU. She had experienced some odd symptoms and after navigating the maze that is our country’s current insurance system, was finally scheduled for a stress test. They told her that she had a blockage in one artery and would need to have a stent placed. This didn’t sound great but it was ok, she could deal with this. Two days later, she checked into the cardiac outpatient center at a hospital about an hour away. Once they got started, they said a stent wasn’t enough, she would need a triple bypass. This was crazy because mom has been lucky to enjoy very good health. At 80 years old, she volunteers in so many capacities in our town, plays bridge, goes to the gym twice weekly, is in a book club, and the list goes on. We all had a hard time adjusting to the idea that her heart was in such bad shape. Once they got started on the bypass, they found they also had to replace her mitral valve. The day following surgery, Mom suffered a gastro-intestinal bleed and had to have a procedure to correct that. Two days later, the cardiac surgeon found she would need a pacemaker to regulate the heart beat. So, another procedure to place the pacemaker. It was horrible for mom.  She has always been a trouper though and she came through each of these events quite well.

Yesterday my sisters and father brought mom home after 13 days in the hospital. We are all filled with gratitude that she came through this series of events and is home again. We are also thankful for the amazing technology that made all of this possible. It is so amazing what  they can do! A balloon was inserted and ran up into Mom’s heart assisting it until she could be scheduled for surgery.  When the valve was found to be non-functional, it was replaced with a bovine valve (I didn’t know this was even a “thing” that was done. A valve from a cow?)  Next on the list of things we are grateful for are her ICU nurses. Wow! These people are so highly skilled and they took such good care of mom. She had so many IV’s, tube, monitors, and different drugs to keep in balance; it was a huge process. But for the first couple of days she had one-to-one nursing and throughout, she received excellent care. They took care of our family as well. Answering our endless questions (some of them more than once, I am sure.) Reassuring us that whatever was happening was normal or would pass soon. Truly amazing. While we were at the hospital our family was in constant communication. My sisters and I would text updates and questions. I was texting with my own children, giving them Grammy updates. I had a list of a few of mom’s friends who wanted daily updates as well.  So I suppose I am grateful for the technology that allowed all of us to be in constant communication during a very stressful time. It was such a weird time. If I was at the hospital, I felt better about being able to see mom and observe all that was going on.  The days that I wasn’t there I felt restless and sort of agitated. It was hard to get anything done. The communication with whichever sister was at the hospital at the time was really helpful. I know my sisters felt the same. So, yes, we are grateful to Apple and Verizon both!  😉

So……surprises are the best, aren’t they?  Well, in the midst of all of this misery that our family was dealing with, I received the sweetest, most unexpected, surprise in the mail. It came on a day when I was really tired and just so unhappy. I stopped by to pick up the mail (we have rural mailboxes and they are about 1/2 mile from the house) on my way home from the hospital. Inside was a package from Janine. Janine is an amazing quilter who writes a sweet quilty blog over at Quilts From the Little House.

IMG_20151020_4024

I knew what it was when I saw the package. She had recently posted about making some mug rugs for gifts. I certainly didn’t think one was going to be sent to me though.  I sat in the car and opened it up and cried some more (lots of crying over the past couple of weeks!) Her note was so sweet and the stitching on the tiny quilt so perfect. It really touched me.

IMG_20151020_4022

I have been using it over the past couple of days and I tear up each time. It reminds me how lucky I am to have found this community of kindness. I have enjoyed exchanging emails with Janine ever since we found each other’s blogs over a year ago.

Maybe I will put it up on my wall with my other mini’s. Then I will see it whenever I am sitting at my machine.

IMG_20151020_4023

Thank you Janine! I so appreciate your kindness.

Linking to Let’s Bee Social.

 

The Kindness of Others

This week I had one of those moments that reminds you that there are so many nice people in the world. Here you go.

You might remember that last December I did a custom order for a woman from New York. (Story posted here.) This was my first custom order and it was really fun to work with this particular customer. She was so friendly within the confines of our email conversations about her order.  For the first time, I used a wax print, Ankara fabric to make her Chemex cozy. We chatted a bit and I told her how much I liked this gorgeous fabric. She told me she buys wax prints at an open market in New York.

Time passed. (Lots of time, seven months!) Last month, she emailed me and said she would be going to the marketplace soon and would I like her to pick up some fabric for me. It is really a good price there. I had looked on-line to buy some and wasn’t thrilled with the pricing. I have to be fairly careful with what I spend on fabric for my Etsy shop or my already meager profits become even less.  All about the profit margin, right.  😉  I jumped at her offer.

When she got to the shop, she texted me pictures of about seven or eight pieces she thought I might like. Jamie explained I would have to buy them in three yard pieces as they are pre-cut to this length. It was a tough choice but I settled on two. It was amazingly easy to be texting with this virtual friend and picking fabrics out based on a few quick iPhone photos.

As I wrote her a check and popped it in the mail it came to me that some might consider this a bit of a risk. I didn’t have any hesitation about sending the money. I knew the fabric would show up. It appeared that she didn’t have any hesitation purchasing the fabric for me and she even mailed it prior to receiving any sort of payment from me.

I received the fabric a few days ago. It is so gorgeous. Made by Vlisco, these wax prints are manufactured both in Holland and in Ghana. The company was founded in 1846 and has served a vast African market over the years. Their process reportedly consists of twenty-seven steps to achieve these prints and is a highly guarded secret. Because many textile companies attempt to create counterfeit Vlisco fabric, they are quite bold with printing their name along the selvedge and putting these (nearly impossible to remove) adhesive labels on the fabric.

IMG_20150816_3672

If you look closely at the label, you might notice that this piece was actually six yards, not three.  Both pieces are huge, six yards each. Jamie was mistaken when she told me she was sending three yards of each. At $20 per piece, this was a steal.

IMG_20150816_3674

This blue and purple piece has more of an African look to the pattern. It is really bold. I chose it because I want to utilize the curve of those spirals when I cut the curve of the Chemex covers. But now that I have six yards of it, I need to think of another project to use some of it!  The fabric is 48″ wide. Lots of fabric here.

IMG_20150816_3675

This red piece is my favorite. I love the birds. Do they look like a peacock? I think so but I’m not sure. It has a green border running the length of the piece. It is just gorgeous. I have several ideas for projects to use this piece for so I need to make some decisions.

IMG_20150816_3676

What most impressed me was that this was just an act of kindness. She had no compelling reason to do this, other than to be a nice person.  Yep, there are so many really kind people out there and she is certainly one of them.

Linking to this week’s Sunday Stash.

 

Love and Good Luck Rolled Up in a Quilt

This is the greatest story and it led to the sweetest quilt I have made yet. Get your tissues ready!

My daughter-in-law, Naomi, has a wonderful family. (Side note, isn’t it cool that when my son married, I gained not just my DIL but also some really nice friends from her family??)  Included in her family are her mom, two brothers and her sister-in-law. Just today I finished an adorable quilt for her sister-in-law, brother and the baby they are expecting in September. The story of this baby is pretty darned amazing.

Margot and TJ (these are their real names – Margot blogs at Find Your Spark and uses their names publically so I have done the same) have been trying to have a baby for years. This has been a really rough time for them. Margot has been pregnant numerous times and has miscarried at various stages of pregnancy. (This post tells part of her story.) It has been really painful for both of them. I can relate somewhat to this sort of pain. I miscarried a child a long while back. It was my third child and I lost the baby at 14 weeks. It was a painful experience that took some time to grieve. But this happened to me only once. And it was after having two healthy babies and before having two more healthy babies. Margot has gone through this repeatedly and has not (yet) had the joy of holding her baby or bringing the baby home. That sort of pain and frustration is truly torturous.

After years of this, they decided last December to take an alternative route to their goal of having a family. Margot and TJ are working with a surrogate. You can read all about their decision and experience on her blog – the story of the surrogacy begins with this post.  The surrogacy agency they are using is located in Mumbai, India. To say that 2015 has been an exciting year for them is a huge understatement. They went to India at Christmas last year and were able to achieve a successful surrogate pregnancy. They have been in constant communication with the agency and the surrogate mother and everything is going along perfectly. Their sweet baby is due to arrive in September. Margot and TJ will be going back to India in several weeks to wait for the birth of their baby. I am so dang happy for them.

When a quilter knows a new baby is coming there is only one way to respond, right? Today I mailed off this quilt to New York and I am hoping that it brings great joy to Margot and TJ.

IMG_20150722_3575

I know that they are incorporating elephants into the baby’s nursery. Elephants are a symbol of good fortune in India and I am pretty sure that Margot and TJ will be forever grateful for this woman who has given of herself to birth their child for them. Good fortune? Oh yeah. In India, elephants  represent Ganesha, one of the most important gods in Hinduism. Ganesha is the god of success and the destroyer of evil and obstacles – perfect! For more details on this, here is a site to read. With elephants being symbolic for their family, I used that as the theme for the quilt.

The pattern is a simple stripe with the two focus fabrics cut in widths ranging from two to six inches. Just like the green and white quilt that I made a few weeks ago, I have the stripes arranged from narrow to wide widths, in alternating order. The pattern is Firefly, by Canoe Ridge Creations. I went with a color scheme of gray and yellow. They don’t know the sex of the baby so these colors are gender-neutral.  Finding this elephant print, “Oh Boy” by Riley Blake was a perfect choice for the backing and binding.

IMG_20150722_3578 Those tiny elephants are sweet in every way. The yellow dot on the front is from the “Mixology” line by Studio for Moda. I can’t honestly remember which gray I used. My favorite part of the quilt is the elephant that I thread sketched at the bottom, on the widest gray stripe.

IMG_20150722_3577To create this little guy I took the backing fabric and made of copy of it on my printer/copier. I kept enlarging it until the size felt right. Then I cut him out and traced a rough shape right on to the quilt. (Actually I made several of them on practice fabric first.) It is hard to tell from the picture but I used three different shades of gray thread so that the elephant would have some definition. I love him. (Why do I keep calling the elephant ‘him’? Is that an omen for Baby Guy? We will know in just two short months!)

IMG_20150722_3578

To quilt this piece, I used organic wavy lines that were sewn with my walking foot. I didn’t space them too close as I wanted it to be really soft when washed. The binding is double fold as usual, and I machine stitched it to the front and back. Going for baby-proof durability here. After I washed it, the quilt measured 36″ x 36″. Hopefully this quilt will be used and washed and then used some more. It will hold up well for outings to the park, rolling around on the floor, tummy time, and then eventually fort making, pretend play, and so many naps.

IMG_20150722_3581

A quilt filled with good fortune and love all rolled up in one for a very special baby.

Linking to Lorna at Let’s Bee Social and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Giveaways are pretty darn fun. Luck has been on my side and I have two wins to brag about. I know it isn’t nice to be boastful but what can you do? Plus I want to show my thanks to the bloggers that sponsored these giveaways.

The first win was actually in late spring which means I am a bit late in writing about this one. I entered a giveaway on Linda Smith’s blog, Scrapmaster. She and several others were writing posts to introduce their guild, the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild. I was lucky enough to win the draw for three lovely fat quarters! Thanks so much to Linda.

IMG_20150720_3566The dark and light grays in these prints are so pretty and they will be fun to incorporate into an as of yet unknown project.


The other prize I won was from the June giveaway for A Lovely Year of Finishes (ALYOF) which I have been faithfully linking to each month since January. (If you aren’t already familiar with it, ALYOF is a fun link up. At the  beginning of each month you link one quilty goal that you have for that month. If you finish the goal, link again at the end of the month.  They have a number of prizes that they draw names for each month.) When I won, Kim Lapacek, of Persimon Dreams, gave me the pattern of my choice. It wasn’t easy. She has a selection of really fun patterns that she has designed. Being a lover of dresdens (here is a post a bout the first, and so far only, dresden project) I chose her pattern titled, Dresden  Neighborhood Block.  This pattern is such a cute riff on a neighborhood. I plan to make a mini with it. If you want a closer look, the pattern is available here on Craftsy.

DresdenNeighborhoodBlockTutorial

Thanks so much to these two blogger/quilters for their generosity! I do love this community of ours.

I have been squeezing in minimal time for sewing over the past few days. Instead of my sewing room, I have been in the kitchen dealing with the amazing number of peaches ripening on our tree. They are so juicy and sweet but really, we have more than we can handle.

IMG_20150717_3559So far, I have frozen five gallon size zip lok bags of sliced, peeled peaches for making pies over the winter.

IMG_20150717_3558

This morning Julia and I made a batch of jam using strawberries and peaches.

IMG_20150720_3561We canned 8 half pint jars and will do at least one more batch. I think peach jam on its own can be a bit bland so I like to add berries to it. Last year I did raspberry peach and it was really good.

IMG_20150720_3564I am a bit worried that this batch isn’t going to set up properly. It doesn’t seem to be getting thick enough as it cools.  True confession time – my husband is really the jam maker in the family. He does a great job and just uses fruit and sugar, cooking it down until the consistency is perfect. Me, not so much… Last year I tried his method and ended up with a product similar to Jolly Rancher hard candy. I tossed the whole batch. I just cannot get a consistently reliable result. Today I used pectin and followed a recipe (which for some reason, Ray never needs to do) and I am just not confident it worked. We shall see. If this batch turns out to be too soft, I will just have to resign as assistant jam maker and leave it to the expert.

Post Update:  Yay!! The jam set up just fine. I will make a second batch now that I have seen success.  🙂

Summer is going so fast. Today Julia received an email from the high school with an assignment to read two books before school starts on August 18th. And so it begins!

Hope you are all enjoying your summers and savoring the days.

Linking to Freemotion by the River.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

I can hardly believe it, but today marks one year since I first published my first post on this lovely little blog of mine. This post is my 97th. Who knew I would think of something to say 97 times!! I have had such a fun time this year writing posts, tracking my projects, and best of all, meeting so many friends in this on-line quilting community.

I read a lot of blogs. From food, vintage collecting and thrifting, finance information and investing, to humor and parenting (which should go hand in hand, in my opinion!) there are blogs about anything and everything. However, the quilting community of bloggers is unique. This community is caring, respectful, and supportive. Honestly, this is a great group of people. There are all levels of quilters in the blog world – some are experts with endless talent, many are beginners and everyone has a common love of cutting fabric into bits and creating something from it. The philanthropic and caring nature of this group impresses me no end. I have seen so many situations where another quilter is experiencing a hardship and is immediately supported by quilters as a group. Conversely, when there is reason to celebrate, this community is right there cheering you on.

I am grateful for all that I learned this year. It was nervewracking to publish my first post. I was not at all sure anyone would want to read what I had written. I remember thinking, well, I would have at least six readers (my five sisters and my parents!)  Here it is one year later and I have nearly 100 followers. Thank you.

Gratitude also goes to my son, Andrew. He set up this self-hosted blog, does the updates and other miscellaneous tasks needed to keep it running. When I come with questions, can I do this, how do I do that, he is so patient with his explanations. Better yet, he often just makes the changes I want. Take a look at those gorgeous social media buttons on the upper right side of the page.  Yep, thank you Andrew!

I am truly grateful for this community. Getting involved with other bloggers has enabled me to improve my quilting skills. The tutorials that are so generously provided and painstakingly written are such a great source of learning material (hah – pun intended!) Just this year, using tutorials, I learned to use a Hera marker for quilting, found cleaner methods for binding my quilts, learned to look at color values when deciding which fabrics to use in a project, and free motion quilting – oh, how thankful I am for the endless posts on FMQ! The many link parties that are hosted each week have provided me with exposure so that readers could find my little blog as well as allowed me to find other blogs that I may never have stumbled across.

It has been a blast and I look forward to my second year! In celebration of this milestone, I wanted to do something special. I considered a giveaway of some sort of fabric but it didn’t seem right. Really, don’t we have enough fabric? Aren’t our shelves bursting with it?  Be honest now.  🙂  Instead, let’s celebrate in the giving way that our community is known for. I would like to make a donation to your favorite non-profit.  Leave me a comment with a link to your favorite charity. Maybe add one or two lines about the charity. (Who knows, maybe others reading the comments will be intrigued by your charity and get involved.) I will pick one lucky winner and donate $25.00 (USD) to your charity. I am looking forward to reading about the organizations that are near and dear to your heart. This type of giveaway also allows me to include international readers. Previously, I have always included only USA readers in my giveaways because the shipping costs are so expensive. But this giveaway is open to anyone! Just give me the link to contact your non-profit. This giveaway is open until Monday, June 8, 2015. I will announce the winner on Tuesday the 9th. I hope everyone will enter so that your charity has a chance for a donation.

UPDATE: The donation to your favorite charity has just been matched by my sister Patti! She is celebrating my one year blogaversary with me and wants to double the donation. Yay!!  This means that $50.00 will be donated to the charity of one lucky winner. Isn’t she the best?  See her comment offering to make this match. Thank you Patti!!!

I hope you all know that I am thankful for your readership and even more thankful for your friendship.

Linking to Thankful Thursday at Quilting Jetgirl and Lorna at Let’s Bee Social.