Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Toddlerless Tuesday #13! Rainy Days and Tuesdays (the three-quel)....

Hi, all!

Well, I didn't realize until I got ready to title this post that this is the third Tuesday in a row that it has rained! When I picked up my granddaughter today, she got in the car singing, "Rain, rain, go away, come again at a different time..."  She hasn't quite got the words, but she got the sentiment right!   Just a slow cold drizzle today, but enough to make you want to stay inside and sew!

So here's what I did today.......

These colors are as true as I could get them with indoor lighting -
all jewel tones and deep browns.  The sun sets way too early these days!

Isn't it gorgeous?  I used Karrie Lyne's Autumn Stripes tutorial - an awesome pattern that is so easy but looks like you slaved over it!  (Remember the commercial where the mom threw flour on her face after making a batch of Rice Krispy Treats? Like that!)  If you haven't tried this you really ought to - it's a sort of mock string quilt, without all the messy saving up of strings and foundation blocks, etc.  Once I got the strip sets made up, it went together really quickly - I cut the blocks and pieced the entire flimsy in about an hour and a half!  Minimal matching, and it's a little stretchy on the sides of the blocks, so making those seams match up was a breeze!!

So that's what I did with my Toddlerless Tuesday!  And with this blogpost, I have made it through National Blog Posting Month with a post every day - woohoo!!!  I don't know that I'll ever do it again, but I'm glad I did it at least once!!

It's December tomorrow - no more denial is possible!  Christmas is nearly upon us!!  How is your gift-crafting going?  Or if you still want to remain in denial, what's on your Christmas wish list?



PS I've linked up to QuiltStory's Fabric Tuesday - be sure to check out all the neat stuff there!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

100 Quilts For Christmas - Here's One!

Hi, all!

In case you haven't seen it anywhere else in blogland, there is a great charity event going on out there called 100 Quilts For Christmas.  Here is the low-down on how to participate:

1. Make a blanket
2. Take a picture
3. Donate the blanket to someone or an organization of your choice
4. Post a picture of the quilt on any of three link-up days, and of course there will be prizes, including a grand prize drawing on Wednesday, December 15!
5. Here are the link-up days and locations:
Monday November 29 -- Amy Lou Who's blog
Monday, December 6 -- Swim, Bike, Quilt's blog
Monday, December 13 -- Aunt Spicy's blog
6. Also posting pictures on Flickr 

And here's the first quilt I've made for this great charity push!

The front of the quilt....

Some detail of the quilting -don't you just love organic lines?

And a picture of the back!

This fun Dr. Seuss quilt, made with fabrics donated by Cathy from Wondrous Woven Fabrics, has been given to a 2-year old little girl recently diagnosed with leukemia here in Nashville.  You can read more about the story in my blogpost here if you want.

Be sure to link up your children's charity quilts too!  The more the merrier, for sure!!  And check out all the neat quilts linked up today at Amy Lou Who's blog!



PS If you're looking for Make-A-List Monday, try here!

Make-A-List Monday #23! And the 29th post for NaBloPoMo....

Hi, all!

Well, I am very happy to report that I managed to finish everything on my list from last week!  Here's the run-down....

1.  Finish the reversible Christmas dress.
Done - here are pictures of both sides of the dress!

2.  Finalize the design and cut pieces for a big pile of mug rugs.
(We'll be working on these on Saturday when we meet to sew.)
Also done!  I ended up making several and showing them to the ladies, 
along with the bag of scraps. They came up with some great ideas
 and designs on their own!  Just a few more to make...

3.  Cut out #1 Christmas gift quilt.
Done, and I've sewn part of it together already!

4.  Cut out #2 Christmas gift quilt.
All cut out and ready to go!

So - what's on the list for this week?

1.  Complete the flimsy for #1 Christmas gift quilt.

2.  Cut out and complete a pinafore for Lilli's birthday.

3.  Start the flimsy for #2 Christmas gift quilt.

4.  Make four more mug rugs for gifts.

5.  Put away newly donated fabric in my sewing studio.

6.  Restring an antique doll for Lilli for Christmas.

I think that's enough to keep me busy for a while, don't you?

So - - - what are you up to this week?



Sunday, November 28, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends!

Hi, all!

It's Sunday night, and the end of the long holiday weekend (at least, here in the States!)  I want to show you a quilt that is definitely a collaborative project........

Remember I told you that Megan of Crooked Seams had cleaned out her UFOs and sent us several sets of blocks to use in our quilt ministry?  Last week, Marsha from our ministry group took a set of the blocks and some fabric from the stash wall and put together this lovely quilt.....

..... added some fabrics from her own stash to piece the back....

....quilted it and brought it to me for binding!

This quilt went to a lady in Boston suffering from cancer.  She is the mother of a friend of one of our youth pastors, and was sent in hopes that she will remember that many people are praying for her even though she is not here with us!

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to read my post yesterday about how our quilt ministry began - I have loved reading all your comments!  Your encouragement is welcome, and very much appreciated!!

Only two more days in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and I've managed to post something every day so far!  It's a lot harder than it seems like it would be to come up with something to say every day, but it's been a good exercise.....  I hope you aren't getting too bored with my ramblings!  I imagine I'll go back to my usual schedule of posting in December!



Saturday, November 27, 2010

How it all started.....

Hi, all!
Several of you have asked about how our quilt ministry began, and after checking with the parties involved to be sure they didn’t mind me posting about it on my blog, I’m ready to tell.  Today is our one-year anniversary, so it seems appropriate!  It’s a good story, but a little long, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in.......
When I was leading a Beth Moore study group at church in the spring of 2009, a couple of the young women in the group were talking before class about how much they wished they had learned how to sew, so that they could sew for their daughters.  Overhearing their conversation, I asked if they would come to a Saturday sewing group if we set one up through church, and they said they would.  So in August, we started a once-a-month sewing group to learn basic sewing.  Another group started on Wednesday nights, also teaching basics.  Between the two classes, we had about 20 people learning how to sew, led by about four of us who were experienced, mostly in making clothing.  We taught them how to make purses, simple children’s dresses, and other easy projects.

Last November, Kelley, the wife of our youth minister, was told she had an abnormal PAP smear, and they wanted to check it again.  On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Kelley was told that she had cervical cancer and needed to have a total hysterectomy.  The results from her tests came back on Wednesday, confirming a rare and agressive form of cancer, and her surgery was scheduled for the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend.  One of the other pastors’ wives and I spoke on Wednesday, wanting to do something for Kelley, but not knowing exactly what to do.  Being involved with the youth, Kelley didn’t spend a lot of time with the other women at church, so we didn’t know her very well.  We both agreed that we ought to do something, and that we would think about it and talk later.
Cut to Thanksgiving morning, 5 a.m.  The house is quiet - dogs and husband still asleep.  I’ve put my turkey in the oven and I settle down at my sewing table to cut out the pieces for a quilt I want to make for my granddaughter for Christmas.  (This would be the first quilt I’d made in about 25 years, and only about the fifth ever!)  
Now it gets a little strange, and is certainly indicative of the sense of humor God endowed me with......   As I’m sitting there working, I hear, “Make Kelley a quilt.”  (I say “hear” but no, I’m not hearing voices, it’s just the easiest way to describe it!  I thought it was just a wild idea that popped in my head...)  And I snorted, thinking yeah, right, there’s no time to make Kelley a quilt!  A few minutes later, I hear again, “Make Kelley a quilt.”  OK, this is getting weird now - obviously this is a little more than just a wild idea that I’m coming up with - but I think again that there’s no way I can get one done before she goes in the hospital in five days.  
You would think that would be the end of it, wouldn’t you?  But no!  The next thing I hear is “Get your friends to help you!”  (And now you see why I told you about starting our sewing classes.   If we hadn’t started those classes, there wouldn’t have been anyone to call on!)  OK, that’s maybe possible - but it’s still a wild idea.  And it’s Thanksgiving weekend - who’s going to give up any of their holiday time on the biggest shopping weekend of the year to come and sew?  And you know what I heard then?  “If you feed them, they will come!”  (I told you God gave me a weird sense of humor!)  
From the movie "Field of Dreams"

About that time my husband came in looking for coffee, and I asked him what he’d think if I took over the house on Saturday, filling it with women and making a quilt, something we’d never done before.  He said, “I think that’s a great idea!”  Proof positive that this was not just some wild idea I came up with - this was God’s idea!  (Bill really likes his nice quiet Saturdays!)  So my next step was to get on Facebook and e-mail, and check to see who would be interested in helping in a project for Kelley - - - and within a couple of hours I had over a dozen people who were willing to help, without even knowing what we were going to do!  We arrange to meet at my house on Saturday morning to make a quilt.

Friday morning rolls around, and I brave the Black Friday crowds to go to the store to buy fabric for the quilt.  Because of the time constraint I decide to use the same pattern I was looking at for my granddaughter’s quilt, a mystery quilt by M’Liss Hawley that has nine different blocks all made from fat quarters.  I figured this would be easy for a group of women to work on - each could work on one specific block design.  But I had no idea what colors Kelley liked, and I couldn’t get any guidance anywhere.  So I went in blind, and chose an earth tone pack containing 6 fat quarters to which I added more fat quarters, background fabric and borders.  I also picked up solid Kona cream for the backing, which I had a special plan for.  Went home and cut out all the pieces we would need for the quilt.  Got to work making food for the next morning - we are Baptist, and literally, if you feed us, we will show up for almost anything!

Saturday morning dawns, and fifteen women show up at my house to help out!  Two ladies didn’t sew at all, but one is an artist and the other is an editor with beautiful handwriting. They got to work on the back of the quilt, writing Bible verses and song lyrics and drawing beautiful flower bouquets, all designed to encourage Kelley when she read them, and to feel like she was wrapping herself in God’s promises and love every time she used the quilt.  

The rest of us started putting together the quilt top.  Fortune favors the brave - and the uninformed!  I had no idea then how difficult it should be to assemble a quilt sewed by so many different people, none of whom were experienced quilters!  But this was an excellent pattern to use, because it was very forgiving.
The top was finished by mid-afternoon, and the quilt was completed and given to the girl who would be delivering it on Sunday morning.  I named this quilt “Field of Dreams” to reflect the references from the Kevin Costner movie - it just seemed appropriate!

I’m pleased to say that Kelley had an excellent result from her surgery, which ended up not being as radical as they originally thought it would need to be, and they caught her cancer so early that there was no need for chemo or radiation!  

About a month after her surgery, Kelley asked me how I knew that her design notebook was covered with the exact colors in the quilt we made - all her favorites!  I told her it must have been a God thing - because I certainly didn’t know what colors she liked when I picked them out! 

Kelley is involved in the ministry now - she’s not a sewer, but she makes beautiful stamped cards and makes all the note cards that we send with our quilts as her contribution to the ministry.

After Christmas 2009, the ladies started asking me when we would be making another quilt.  Boy, was I surprised!  But I had begun making quilts for Quilts For Kids, so I ordered some kits for us to work on during our January meeting, and cut some more out of my fabric stash.  We made nine quilts that day!  

One of those quilts went to a little girl we found out about through the church prayer list.  

A couple of weeks later, one of the pastors asked for a quilt for a woman in our church with brain cancer, so we made a quilt for her. 

From those humble beginnings, our ministry has expanded.  We still have quilting bees occasionally, but the need is usually greater than we can meet just with quilting bees, so  many of our quilts are made by individuals on their own.  We now have seven women who have made at least one quilt for the ministry from start to finish, and more every day who are learning to make quilts!  In addition to making quilts for people battling health issues, we are now making quilts for newborns in our church and in families that we are ministering to.  As of today, we have made and distributed 56 quilts since a year ago, more than half of those since August of this year!
And our ministry would have been so much more difficult without the help of so many wonderful quilt bloggers - many of you have stepped forward and donated fabric, finished quilts and UFOs by the boxful!  

Because we are a new and as-yet unfunded ministry (at least for right now!) we had been working with fabric from our fabric stashes and what we could afford to buy.   The many many yards of fabric and the UFOs that were donated have made it possible for our ministry to grow and expand beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of just a year ago.  And the completed quilts that were donated gave us some breathing space to get ahead of the need right at holiday time, when everyone’s time is stretched thin anyway!  To each of you who have donated to our ministry, please know that you are an important and much-appreciated partner in the ministry.
We call our ministry “Piece*Love*Quilt” - three little verbs that form our mission statement - we piece, we love, we quilt.  And while doing so we have expanded our little world to include so many people.  Women who said, “I can’t quilt!” are now saying, “Do you need me to make another quilt?”  I have seen God at work in ways I would never have imagined before we started this ministry.  I can’t wait to see what happens in the next year as we continue to grow!
This morning's sewing group!!
It's been a long post, as promised, and I appreciate everyone who stuck with me all the way to the end!  Thanks!  See you tomorrow!!


Friday, November 26, 2010

And So It Begins.....

Hi, all!

Thanksgiving is over, and that means that my husband has given me the green light to start decorating for Christmas!  One of the very few things he asks of me is that I don't decorate before Thanksgiving, so it seems the least I can do.....

So I started small today - I brought down the Christmas stockings and hung them on the handrail to our stairs (because the fireplace insert gets hot enough to make them spontaneously combust!), put the wreath on the front door, and put a few other little things out.  We went out to do a little shopping - some groceries and a few Christmas things - but mainly avoided the Black Friday crowds.  We'll probably put the tree up tomorrow afternoon....

Tomorrow all my sewing buddies come over for our monthly meeting.  This one is special - it's the one-year anniversary of the beginning of our quilt ministry.  Tomorrow on this blog I'll share the story of how we started - it's a good one!

I hope you had a good "Black Friday" and enjoyed yourself, whatever you did - shopping, decorating, or just sitting around in a food-induced coma!

See you tomorrow!!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

One More Thing I'm Thankful For!

Hi, all!

Well, Thanksgiving dinner is over at our house and we're all wallowing around in a turkey-induced stupor laughing at The Big Bang Theory!!  I hope your dinner was as delicious as ours - - - my son-in-law fries a mean turkey, and my daughter made the most wonderful salad, among other things - with homemade dressing, no less!  With all of the rest of us bringing side dishes, we had an enormous feast ended off with chocolate pie and homemade carrot cake with the most awesome cream cheese frosting.......  So you see why I'm wallowing???

I was checking my camera memory today and found some pictures I took this week - so I want to share one more thing I'm thankful for with you.  My husband took some time off work this week, and so he got to spend some one-on-one time with Lilli!

Lilli "cooked" some "food" for herself and Bill, 
and they had a picnic on the living room sofa - 
complete with plastic containers from my stash 
I've been saving to use for fabric!  

Lilli loves her Poppa!

What a great day!!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful (with a twist of humor...)

Good morning, all!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and all over blogland I am seeing posts from people setting out what they are thankful for!  I want to do one of these myself, but not wanting to just repeat all the wonderful things that we are all thankful for (God, family, friends, home, etc.), I thought of ten random things that I am thankful for!  So here, in no particular order.......

1.  A sense of humor!  What in the world would we do if we couldn't laugh at ourselves?

2.  Dishwashers!  (Either kind.....)

3.  Ziploc bags!  How in the world did we keep track of stuff before these things came along?

4.  Craisins!  A snack I can overindulge in without feeling too guilty.....

5.  Library cards!  I love that I can learn about something new, try out a new author without spending any money, visit another country or just spend some time with interesting characters, all with my library card!

6.  E-mail!!  I just love opening my e-mail account and seeing lots of lovely messages from friends - and I love that I can communicate with others this way, because I've never been a good letter-writer!!

7.  Polka dot socks.....   (And isn't it amazing that you can Google "polka dot socks" and come up with hundreds of images???)

8.  Singing out loud (especially a toddler, in a crowded store, at the top of her lungs!)

9.  Google!  Who ever thought we'd have so much right at our fingertips??

And finally....

10.  Friends!  I don't know how any "thankful" list could be without this important item.  I have been blogging for less than a year, and I have made so many good friends through my blog - I truly appreciate each and every one of you.  Below is a clip of a song from Wicked about some unlikely friends that I just love - the message is so true for all of us.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do....

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toddlerless Tuesday #12! Rainy Days and Tuesdays (the sequel)....

Hi, all!

Well, we woke up this morning to the pounding of rain on the tin roof again - a complete downpour that caught us by surprise, and soaked the dogs to the bone in the short half hour they had been outside!  There's nothing quite like a pair of very-happy-to-see-you, soaking wet dogs to wake you up in a hurry!

And while today was toddlerless, it wasn't husband-less, so I didn't get a whole lot done.  But - - - I did finally finish the reversible toddler Christmas dress, and I'll share pictures of it this Friday!  And now I'm free to start on Christmas sewing - woohoo!!!

Oh - I almost forgot to mention - I'm a guest blogger on Stash Manicure today!!  Please go check it out!!

Nov button



PS - Jaybird Quilts and Wondrous Woven Fabrics are having a fabulous giveaway - check it out here!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Make-A-List Monday #22! And the 22nd post for NaBloPoMo....

Hi, all!

It's been a busy week since last Monday - and I've very nearly finished all of the contract work that is keeping me from starting on my Christmas presents!  Hooray!!!  I should be finished with all of it today, and then I really have to get to work......   But first, let's see how I did on last week's list....

1.  Bind the two large memory quilts.
Not only did I finish the two big memory quilts, I finished the third one too!  Hooray!!

2.  Finish a baby quilt for the quilt ministry.
Done and delivered!!  I think it came out really cute...

3.  Make up a couple of mug rugs to test patterns.
I've started, but not finished one of these - the contract work kind of took over my life!

4.  Make a reversible Christmas dress for a friend's daughter.
Almost done - the appliques are finished and the dress is sewn together - it just
needs a hem and the buttons and buttonholes!

5.  Put together Audrey's bee blocks.
Done and mailed!  I really like these blocks and can't wait to see 
her finished quilt!

6.  Cut blocks for man's quilt for the quilt ministry.
I didn't get to this and probably won't until after Christmas - but
at least it's not an urgent need!  

So what's on tap for this week?

1.  Finish the reversible Christmas dress.

2.  Finalize the design and cut pieces for a big pile of mug rugs. 
(We'll be working on these on Saturday when we meet to sew.)

3.  Cut out #1 Christmas gift quilt.

4.  Cut out #2 Christmas gift quilt.

I wish I could put more on my list and actually think I might get it done, but with Thanksgiving on Thursday and my sewing ladies coming on Saturday, something tells me I won't get as much done as I think I will!

So - - - what are you working on this week?



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Folk Sayings, Maxims and Proverbs

"Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth"

Hi, all!

Well, today, while cooking a turkey for my husband (who really misses leftovers when we eat Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter's house), I worked very hard to finish up all the contract work I had to do, so that I can start working on Christmas presents.  I'm close to being done - just a little bit more to do on a reversible dress, then everything is finished (unfortunately, I need to go to Joann's tomorrow to get a few things to finish the dress - gosh, what a hardship!)

But while I was working today, for some reason I started thinking about all the weird things we say in common speech - like "good Lord willing and the creek don't rise" or "six of one, half a dozen of the other".  Where in the world do these come from?  And have you noticed that they tend to be regional?  Sayings that I grew up with in North Carolina are new to people here in Tennessee; when we lived in Indiana they had a whole different set of maxims.  And don't even think about Arkansas - I heard some of the strangest ones ever there!!

So - here's my question:  what's your favorite saying, or the strangest one you ever heard?  And if you remember, where did you hear it?

I can't wait to see what you have to say!!



PS.  Check out the 100 Quilts for Christmas link on the left side of my blog - this is a fabulous way to give back for Christmas, and I hope everyone will participate!!