Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lion and Tiger, and...

Lion and...

tiger and...

elephant! Oh my!
 

I'm making this 32" X 49" appliqued "Jungle Friends" quilt, a pattern by Willow Bay Designs. After finding the pattern at Quilter's Haven in Olathe, Kansas, during a visit home I pulled together the materials to start working on it. I hand-embroidered the animals' eyes, whiskers, nostrils, and the elephant's trunk lines.

Believe it or not, I'm making two of these quilts, and the most efficient way is simultaneously.

Through my church - Lutheran Church of Hope - one of the quilts will travel in early March to Nigeria and be given to baby Joseph at Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage. The second quilt is for my nephew's baby, a boy due in mid-March. (Yes, another boy will join our family! The fourth boy in 18 months!)

It's been a long time since I've machine-appliqued, and gosh, there are more pieces to these quilts than I realized when I first decided to make two of them. But I really like how they're turning out.

I've been able to work on this at Jill's house because she has a sewing machine I can use. The machine was mine, a Bernina QE153 that I gifted to Jill on her birthday.

When I can spend more than a few days at home, I'll be sandwiching, and machine quilting these on my Pfaff Grand Quilter.

Since I haven't offered a funny for a while (jokes I collected in comments during a June giveaway) here's one that comes from Abigail in Texas.
Question: What happens when a bomb blows up in a kitchen in France? 
Answer: You get Linoleum Blown-apart.

Monday, November 29, 2010

There and Here

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am grateful for many things. Dan and I spent Thanksgiving day and the weekend in Kansas with Jill and her family. Dan made our delicious turkey, grilling it outdoors on a Weber charcoal grill. The smoky flavor was wonderful. After our family dinner, we went to my sister's house to share desserts - pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake pie, apple pie, and French silk pie - with her family and our dad. Entertainment was provided by 14 month-old Tay, three week-old Aesa, and several Wii games.
Celina, Tay and Aesa
Once again I'm staying in Kansas to help Jill with these three. You might be able to tell from the photo that Tay wasn't feeling well. After he had a couple restless nights, at 11:30 last night his parents took him to the emergency room screaming in pain. It turns out he has an ear infection. I never cease to marvel at how much a little person can disrupt one's life - and sleep! I prayed my thanks for doctors and antibiotics.


Jill continues to regain vigor since her c-section three weeks ago. The doc's still telling her she still can't lift more than ten pounds though, so between Dan and me, one of us is here to help - mostly lifting and carrying Tay - while her husband travels for work. By January, we're anticipating that Jill will be able to manage on her own.


Naturally, time for sewing and stitching is at a premium, but I'm working on a couple things. I'm embroidering the letter "D" of the Snowman A to Zzzz stitchery project, and I'm making a purse for myself.


More than a week ago, when my friend, Michelle, came over for a sewing day, she scrounged through my batik bin to choose 12 fabrics for my purse. I've managed a little time at Jill's sewing machine to work on it. It will be something fun and colorful to carry next spring.


Christmas gift-making? Gift-shopping? Heaven only knows when any of that will happen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Goodies

Back at home for a few days, I arrived to find a surprisingly large FedEx box waiting for me. I recently won a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine from Gerri Robinson of Planted Seed Designs in Ohio, but I had no idea I would receive lots of other goodies too! The parcel inside was prettily wrapped.

Inside: Three patterns...

...the magazine, a kit, and two books. Designs in the patterns and books look easy, and seem just the ticket for mission quilts.

The kit is "Blue Flag Day Stars." It appears to be pre-printed and marked for cutting and assembly. Gotta like trying something new, right?

The parcel also included two beribbon bundles of six fat quarters. The first bundle was Moda prints.

The second bundle was a collection of Gerri Robinson's own fabric line "Garden Party." Pretty.

I giggled when I read the selvages. You see, I'm collecting selvages for a someday quilt, so I'm always hoping I get fat quarters with the printed selvage. I was delight to find that I not only got a printed selvage, but I got a printing "oops!" Lucky me!
As a proofreader, I love this one. See it?

That selvage will definitely find a prominent and special place in a selvage quilt. Thank you Gerri, for your generous giveaway. I've never won this much loot. It's fun! Let's do it again sometime!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life in Kansas


Our daughter is recovering well from her c-section, but still isn't permitted to drive or lift more than ten pounds. Here are a few snapshots of life at her house.

My dad, who's 80 years young, visited last Saturday. He met Aesa for the first time. We all wish our mother was still with us. She would have loved meeting her fifth great-grandchild.

A few days ago, Jill and I ran an errand together (I needed to drive her), so her husband watched the baby for about 20 minutes. Since he was working in his home office, he kept a close eye on Aesa who he briefly laid in the desk drawer! 
These photos remind me of one I've seen of myself as an infant. My parents didn't have a lot of money for baby furnishings, so for the first couple months of my life, they slept me in a dresser drawer! The drawer was removed from the dresser, and well-padded, but it makes for a good story about economic times in the 50s.
Jill and I have been imagining what her life will be like when I return home. While Celina's in school, her days will likely be spent like this.

Aesa (12 days old); Jill; and Tay (13-1/2 months old)

Tay and I occasionally spend time looking out the window, and talking about birds, dogs, and squirrels we see. Today this squirrel caught my attention.
I've heard of gray squirrels - though we don't have them near our home in Iowa - but I've never before seen an albino gray squirrel. Are these a fluke of nature? Or do they multiply with this coloring? I'm keeping my eyes peeled to see him again.

Tomorrow I'm heading home for a three-and-a-half day respite, spending a day sewing with my friends at church (Hope Quilters), and then catching up on housework and laundry before returning to Jill's house. It's a blessing to be here and a blessing to spend a few days at home. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quilt Shops - A Trifecta!

I am blessed! No matter what city I find myself in - at home in Iowa; or in Sydney, Australia; or Kansas City, Kansas - God always arranges for me to meet and develop friendships with wonderful quilters. Being here in Kansas for many weeks now, I've been grateful for the chance to get to know Carla of Lollyquiltz. We met through our blogs, and I've come to appreciate that she's a darling Christian woman who lovingly and generously shares herself with her children and grandchildren. Today, while Tay was at daycare, I was fortunate to spend a day with her. 

The original plan was to visit one quilt shop, but when we oopsed and missed an Interstate exit - Could there have been a bit of distracting conversation? - before we knew it, we were in Lawrence. Being reasonable people, we quickly agreed that we shouldn't just turn around. Gosh, we'd miss two quilt shops right there on Massachusetts Street! So, our first stop was Stitch On Needlework Shop. It's a combo gift shop and quilt shop with the quilting part at the back of the store. Nice selections and we both found some necessities.
Linda and Carla at Stitch On Needlework Shop, Lawrence
Right across the street is Sarah's Fabrics & More. After a brief look inside, I was scurrying back across the street to plug the parking meter for another 70 minutes of shopping!

Oh, be still my quilting heart! The wide range of modern quilting prints by designers such as Riley Blake, Jane Sassman, Anna Marie Horner, Tula Pink, Lecien, and Amy Butler, as well as Kaffe Fassett, Phillip Jacobs, Jason Yenter,  and more, found me as close to dumbstruck as I have ever been in a quilt shop. If I were to guess, I'd say Sarah's has about 8,000 bolts of fabric.

C
arla and I were in wholehearted agreement that we'd be in big trouble if we lived in Lawrence!

Sarah's also carries a large collection of Aboriginal prints. I took pictures of these because I thought my Australian quilting friends would enjoy seeing the selection, including a quilt that showcases these prints.
A wide range of prints.

I spied several dreamtime prints that I purchased in Australia for a bit more than the $10.98 a yard Sarah's is charging.

Once again, Carla and I didn't leave empty-handed. My purchase included fabric and a new skirt pattern.
Linda and Carla at Sarah's Fabric & More, Lawrence
Reluctantly we left Lawrence and headed back down the Interstate, this time not missing the exit for the quilt shop we meant to visit in the first place! Quilting Bits and Pieces is in the small town (pop. 6,200) of Eudora. 
It is a shop with lovely quilting fabric - a lot of 30s reproduction prints and batiks- as well as specializing in embroidery and threads. I was pleased to find the entire range of Cosmo embroidery threads (of Japan), but I was dismayed I didn't have my list with me to know what colors I need. Guess I'll just have to make another trip!

Carla and I posed in front of the quilt made from the latest Kansas Star book, Leaving Baltimore. Quilting Bits and Pieces shop-owners Christina, Eula, and Kaye are also the design team who wrote this book.
Linda and Carla at Quilting Bits and Pieces, Eudora
What a nice day - weather-wise and friend-wise. It was just the outing I needed. I'm refreshed to get back to tending grandchildren. Heaps of thanks, Carla!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Hands Full

Since I'm still at my daughter's house, being a Nana-Nanny, I've had my hands full.

This is the little man who's created such a change in the household: Aesa. His personality is unlike his older brother's. Aesa is docile, and only makes a small mewling sound when he's hungry. He contentedly looks around when he's awake and then drops off to sleep. What more could a mother wish for?

Note the black brace on my left wrist. I've developed tendonitis, a painful inflammation that sometimes occurs in new mothers. It's apparently caused by strain - for me, it's very likely from lifting a heavy child. Could that be 24 pound Tay? Well, I'll certainly deny anything about it being age-related!


And speaking of hands full, here's 13 month-old Tay who's really keeping us on our toes. In case you can't catch it, he's saying, "Nana, Nana, Nana." (Not that I want to make a big deal about him saying my name.)
video
He's recently begun trusting himself to walk short distances between pieces of furniture, but this - turning around in mid-walk - is something he just realized he could do without falling down. He entertained us for quite a while, repeatedly practicing between us.

Quilting-wise, pretty much the sum of what I've accomplished in the past 12 days is to make this label and sew it on the back of Aesa's quilt. And....
...stitch this label for the "Under the Sea" embroidery quilt. The quilt isn't sewn together yet, but I'm ready when I have time to do it!
A great big thank you to Cheryl Goss of Willowberry Designs, for her lovely, free block-of-the-month. (See badge link on right menu.) She's very talented, and generous to share her design with us. Thank you, Cheryl!


Have you been following designers' blog posts about this magazine? Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks will be released November 16 and lots of block designers have been giving away free copies. Lucky me, I am one of the fortunate winners! I anticipate finding some neat new blocks that will be used in future quilts. My thanks to Gerri at Planted Seed Designs for this win.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We Have a Baby

Grandson #3 decided not wait for Monday morning and his scheduled c-section. Jill went into labor early this morning and by 6:30 am was on her way to the hospital. He was born at 8:45 am, weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces, and measuring 19 inches long. He'll go by the nickname of Aesa.
Knowing that Jill was a high risk delivery, we're extremely thankful that everything went smoothly. Jill sounds great, and said "it went so fast, compared to last time." 

Later today Celina and Tay, Asa's big sister and brother, will go to the hospital for our first meeting. Until everyone comes home in a few days, I'll be playing mom. But what a blessing it is for me to be so directly involved. Thanks be to God. 

Kidillow

Our daughter Jill is a day away from delivering a baby, so I'm at her house taking care of 13 month-old Tay. If Jill doesn't go into labor this weekend, she'll deliver him by c-section Monday morning.

While we play the waiting game together we've found an hour here and there, mostly during Tay's naptime, to be in her basement sewing area. As I've been tracing applique shapes onto Steam-a-Seam II in preparation for making two appliqued baby quilts, Jill's been making a Kidillow. You may wonder what a Kidillow is. Well, it's Jill's home-based sewn product that's a quilt/pillow for children. She has a Kidillow website, though at the moment no Kidillow pictures are posted. After the baby's born, she anticipates getting photos taken and posted.

Jill's been sewing a Kidillow for her own newborn, anticipating using it as a car seat cover when they bring him home from the hospital.
Up close, folded into its pillow pocket, you can see the cute dinosaur print she selected.

Jill's very professional in her approach to making these, even sewing a custom-made Kidillow label, with care instructions on the back, into each one.
I'm very proud of her inginuity and efforts, and would like to believe she picked up a smidgen of her sewing acumen from me. We're wishing her every success as she moves forward with her small business.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Modern Quilt Guild


The Modern Quilt GuildHave you heard about this new quilt guild? It's a relatively new organization - like a year old? - that is taking off across the nation and the world! If you visit the website (link here), you'll see, on the right-hand side, a long list of cities/states and countries that are organizing. 

Last night I had the privilege of attending a meeting of Kansas City's Modern Quilt Guild, the founding home of the organization. My blog-friend Carla of LollyQuiltz took me with her, and I had such a nice time! About 50 quilters were in attendance. I felt warmly welcomed, easily striking up conversations with a half dozen of them in my seating vicinity. You may wonder why I was impressed with their group. Here are three distinct pluses I see to this quilt guild:
  1. The overall "young-ness" of its members. It was quite refreshing to note the number of 20- and 30-somethings in the group. While I'd estimate that a minority percentage of them are surely over 50, me included, I didn't feel a bit out of place among so many young people. Their enthusiasm for quiltmaking is infectious.
  2. Because many of The Modern Quilt Guild members are relatively new quilters, they don't harbor pre-conceived notions about patterns and colors in quilts. Yes, some of them remember their mothers or grandmothers making traditional quilts, but they aren't so interested in replicating them. Rather, they want to put their own twist on simple and traditional designs. Mostly these new quilters are into modern color combinations and fresh prints combined with lots of light-colored - white - fabrics. You won't find a Thimbleberries or Civil War print among them - they told me so!
  3. Here's one example. I wish I'd taken more photos.
  4. I loved that, for the most part, this guild's members are familiar with and use technology to enhance their quiltmaking. Last night's member-speaker, Lauren, talked about designing her own fabrics and printing them on Spoonflower, giving her perspective on Spoonflower's various fabrics (cotton twill, sateen, silk) and the sale of her "Aunt June" fabrics and quilted items on Etsy. It was most informative, and I hope she's successful at getting a major fabric manufacturer to pick up her line of fabric designs.
If you have the opportunity to participant in the organization of The Modern Quilt Guild or attend a meeting of The Modern Quilt Guild, I recommend you do so. I think you'll find it a very refreshing place to hang out. I'm looking forward to more visits myself. Let me know when you do.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Satisfying Finish


Another Stitchin' Mission quiltmaking series finished Monday night - see great photos here on the Stitchin' Mission blog.
This is me with my completed quilt, a quilt made entirely of fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics, so I could enter the company's Craft for a Cause competition.
 
Not unexpectedly, Stitchin' Mission didn't win. Winners were the American Cancer Society, Operation Write Home, and Project Linus... all worthy charities. I'm still glad my quilt will be donated to a newborn at Broadlawns Family Birthing Center.

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