Friday, May 25, 2012

The Marvelous Month of May

That's all I can stands and I can't stands no more. - Popeye

That's how I'm feeling as this marvelous month of May begins to wrap up. From the selling and closing of our Iowa home on May 3, to winning awards at the MQS show May 17, quilt market on May 18, arriving in The Villages, Florida, to begin house hunting, and yesterday, May 24, signing a house sales agreement with a 20 percent deposit...  All I can say is that's it's almost more than a body can stand. I'm deliriously happy!

June 14 is when this will become our new home. It's gorgeous, isn't it? I am still in disbelief that I'm going to live in my dream home.

It has all the amenities and features in a 1,998 square foot home that I have ever wanted, including a single, large open living area - all tiled, as we preferred - a screened lanai across the back...
... a spacious kitchen, and three bedrooms.

The master bathroom with a built-in dressing table, double sinks, and a tiled walk-in shower, along with a large walk-in closet, are all behind a pocket door off the master bedroom.

This bedroom on the front of the house, with the pretty bay window and a high tray ceiling will be my 15' 9" X 11' 8" (4.8 meters X 3.5 meters) sewing room.

It's the room that I plan to blog about as I turn a plain space into a workable sewing room, on a $2,000 budget. I've been reading Lois Hallock's book Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space, and will use it to guide me through, hopefully...  making it perfect!

In the meantime, many other more pressing things need to be decided,  like choosing a washer and dryer, and getting some furniture. We're settling on our choices only after consulting with our Kansas City daughter who has an excellent eye for such things. Thank goodness for on-line viewing and shopping. Last night we spent an hour discussing such things as we both surfed through the Internet.

Today, from the local furniture store, I'll be ordering our master bedroom set - these pieces, except the dresser with the mirror. Yes, it's white! We're going with this because we can!  Won't it look sunny and fresh in a Florida home with a brightly-colored quilt on top?

Can you tell I'm excited? Even shopping for a washer and dryer will be fun. If you see me with black and blue marks on my arms, they're from pinching myself! We're here, and finally doing the things we've saved for and dreamed about for so many years.

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. - James 5:13 (NIV)
Do you hear me singing? Linda

Monday, May 21, 2012

From There to Here

The past five days have been a whirlwind of activities and emotions. I've been alternately crying, grinning, moping, laughing, and crying again.

Your comments on my last post have been so generously kind! Thank you doesn't begin to express how I am feeling about everyone's congratulations. But still I say, thank you, every one of you, for them! Your long-distance hugs and pats on the back mean the world to me.

As a courtesy, I like to reply to every comment, but the sheer quantity of your kind remarks, coupled with recent activities, make answering downright impossible. Responses to a few of your comments and questions are:
  • I didn't know the Machine Quilter's Showcase (MQS) had an awards ceremony. According to MQS staffers, I would have known about it if I'd read my show catalog.
  • I didn't know there was a show catalog! Apparently when you register online, you don't get one.
  • No, MQS does not notify winners that they should attend the awards ceremony. If I had known, I would definitely have been there.
  • After I attempt to get these two quilts juried into one more quilt show, they'll come back to me for good. I'm pretty sure Snowflake will be on the guest bed.
  • The new Bernina 440 is safely stored at our daughter's house, until it can be moved to Florida. Same goes for the thread.
  • Since I have a new Bernina, my friend Doris (see her picture below) is buying my 1976 Bernina 830 Record, the machine I've been sewing on. Yay!
  • When MQS ended and I picked up my quilts, I was pleasantly surprised to not only receive paper copies of the judges scores but also a small jump drive with audio comments! These are the most comprehensive critiques I've ever received.
jump drive
Last Friday, on the heels of the MQS show, I had the thrill of attending quilt market. I've been to market a couple times before, but this time was different. I hung out with friends Carla and Cindy who met each other for the first time last week.
Carla (Lollyquiltz); Cindy (LiveAColorfulLife); me; Doris (MadebyaBrunnette)
I have to say that the timing for the MQS wins couldn't have been better. When I then went to market, I was able to give my personal thanks to the Australian designers of both quilts!

Beautiful Emma Jansen owns Ballarat Patchwork, and was helping her friend in the Melly & Me booth. Emma designed my Best of Show "Snowflake Medallion" among other fabulous designs. She was happy for my win and promptly gave me a copy of her latest pattern "Harlequin Stars." She said, "Win again!" Ha!

Adorable Kellie Wulfsohn of Don't Look Now, designed my second place winner, "Life is a Celebration: Nature." We'd never met previously, but on one of my trips to Australia I took along four yards of a tone-on-tone white fabric she wanted and mailed it to her on my arrival. In return, she sent me a bag pattern and its accessory kit.

Kellie's gorgeous raw-edged applique work is stunning! This is her new design, "Jessie." Kellie quilts on a Sweet Sixteen... and she has four young children. 

I can't tell you how wonderful it was to introduce myself to these Aussies and hear, "Oh Linda!" followed by a warm hug. It was like we were long-time friends. 

It was the same when I met the lovely Long ladies in the marie-madeline studio booth. I just happened to be wearing one of their skirt patterns: Route 66. I met Achaia and Apphia in their booth.

The rest of the family found me, no doubt by my telltale skirt - grandmother Sandy; mother Kristie; Abiah and Abigail. Sandy and I had a good chat about Sandy's last name being Kingery, and my maiden name, Kingrey.

But enough pictures of me! Here are a few other views of market booths and quilts.

Anna Marie Horner booth

"Shore Thing" fabric collection by Emily Herrick

Pat Bravo, Art Gallery Fabrics
As if MQS and market weren't enough excitement, a quilt I quilted appears in the latest issue of ScrapQuilts magazine.

I FMQed this for my friend Kris who works at Fons and Porter.

Kris named the quilt "It's Easy Being Green."

Believe it or not, I'm writing this post from The Villages, Florida. 

We left Kansas City early Sunday morning. Along the way I shed copious tears - the real thing. These were tears that had accumulated from leaving Iowa a little more than two weeks ago, and now leaving our daughter and her family. The tears are probably also from so much of our future being unknown.

On Monday afternoon we arrived in The Villages to a very hot 92 degrees (32C). We'll stay in this two-bedroom patio villa while we house-hunt.

 We've stocked the kitchen, and unpacked our belongings to settle in for the next four weeks. 

Too many exciting happenings in a short amount of time. As wonderful as it all is, it's draining. It's also downright surreal. I wonder when life will start feeling normal again. Linda

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Shock of My Life

If you've been reading my posts, I mentioned yesterday that I would be attending the Machine Quilter's Showcase at the Overland Park Convention Center. I entered two quilts in the show. This morning, on the first full day of the three-day event, I went to the show by myself. First thing, I wandered the aisles, admiring gorgeous longarm quilted quilts, one after another.

When I reached the last aisle, I spied my Snowflake Medallion quilt, and was thrilled to see a ribbon attached to it. Hoping for an Honorable Mention, I peered closely and nearly fainted when I saw this.

When I stepped away, emitting garbled squeals, I saw this.

Oh my goodness! That's when the tears began to flow, and I dropped to my knees! Literally. I couldn't stand up for the shock. I didn't have friend or family with me, so the lovely women who happened to be standing nearby during my break-down were there to talk with me, and offered to take my picture.

I still can't believe it.

Snowflake Medallion, 77" X 77"
Domestic machine-quilted on a Pfaff Grand Quilter with wool batting and Sulky thread
After calling my husband and then my friend, Lola, it occurred to me to check my other entry. Another shocker... another ribbon!  

Second place!
"Life is a Celebration: Nature" 22" X 28"
Eventually, about an hour later it occurred to me that I ought to find out if I won anything. After a bit of investigating - and MQS staffers' inquiries as to why I didn't attend the awards ceremony the previous night (I knew nothing about it!) - I learned what I won. More tears!

For the Best of Show "Snowflake Medallion" quilt I won a Bernina Aurora QE 440 sewing machine! That's the one that includes a BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) which I've never used, and a walking foot. Myron Schwery, owner of Bernina Sewing Center of Overland Park was the nice man whose shoulder I cried on, again.

For the second place "Life is a Celebration: Nature" quilt I won $300 worth of YLI thread! Nancy in the YLI Thread booth helped me select a variety of cone-sized threads - cotton solids, cotton variegated, and polyesters, in assorted weights for piecing and quilting. 

I'll humbly say that these honors go a long way toward affirming any doubts I've had about my free motion quilting. The possibilities should serve to remind all of us who domestic machine quilt that we can compete with the "big girls."

After spending the whole day at the show, wearing my "Winner" and "Winner" ribbons on my badge, looking at other quilts, encountering a few quilters I know, phoning and texting friends, and generally walking on air, I returned home with my prizes. What a day! Whew. I hope I can sleep tonight!

And tomorrow is quilt market! Linda

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Spy a Finish

This quilt is a birthday gift for our grandson, Austin, who turned two years old on May 6. Yes, it will be a little late, but his mom and I agreed that it will be more fun to give it to him in person, when we get to Florida. We'll be there next Monday, and begin house-hunting on Tuesday.

Seventy, 5-inch (unfinished) I Spy blocks are in this 47" X 56-1/2" quilt.

It's nice to have it finished while in Kansas City because I can borrow our grandsons' backyard playground for my photo setting.

The double loop quilting design was shared by Emma at SampaguitaQuilts. Her blog is one I enjoy following because she comes up with great designs that she quilts on her home sewing machine. 

In Austin's quilt you'll note pink flamingos,

 a pirate and a tortoise (on the right),

the state of Florida, and an alligator (part of it at the top) - a few of the blocks that make me think of Florida. 

The emergency vehicles print is a perfect backing for any little boy quilt. As I was hand-sewing down the binding, Tay and Aesa were way more interested in finding the fire engines, police cars, and ambulances on the quilt back, than looking for anything on the front! I hope Austin likes it that much too.

Before moving, I made a label (Here's how I use Printed Treasures) so it would be ready when the quilt was finished. This will be the last label I'll ever sew to a quilt with "West Des Moines, Iowa" printed on it.

Just because I can share, here are my latest pictures of grandies.
Tay and Aesa
The weather has been as marvelous as it looks in all these pictures. With daytime temps in the mid to upper 70s, clear blue skies, and grandchildren to hang out with, how much better can it get?

Well, it can get a little better! Thursday and Friday will be fun days. Thursday it's the Machine Quilter's Showcase. I've already been texted a photo of one of my quilts that's on display. At that show I'll also be seeing friends from West Des Moines. Yay! How great is that? I moved two weeks ago and I'm getting a Iowa friends-fix!

Then Friday is quilt market. I've checked out the list of vendors here so I can look up friends and acquaintances from across the US and Australia. I'll also hand out business cards to anyone who might have a need for a freelance writer, editor or proofreader. Umm. Those business cards are mine, and I'm the freelancer. Linda

Friday, May 11, 2012

Busy Waiting

We've been in Kansas City for a week now. The first order of business after arriving was unloading the U-Haul truck most of it into our daughter/SIL's garage, and some into their dining room inside the house. The four of us unloaded it much more quickly than it loaded. It's wonderful to have so few things that they can easily be stored, and in a place that's safe and free. Everything will stay this way until we know where we're going to live in The Villages.

Our little grandsons were in awe of the "big moving truck." 

A short ride around the cul de sac was sufficient to impress Tay.

Last Saturday I had the fun of meeting face-to-face with a western Kansas blog friend, Mayleen of QisforQuilts. For some reason, I always like the quilts Mayleen makes. She's made two selvage quilts - Spider Web and Red Zinger - and finished Roll Roll Cotton Boll, one I have yet to complete! Her Picket Fence quilt is the reason I'm making one too!

Mayleen posed for me with her latest creation, a bright clamshell quilt that she's hand quilting with pearl cotton. You'll spy a few Kaffe prints there. It's gorgeous!

I've yet to meet a blogger who isn't a lovely person. What a perfectly wonderful way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning. 

Sunday wasn't quite as beautiful! Dan and I had just finished worship at Methodist Church of the Resurrection when it deluged... with our umbrella safely locked in the car at the far end of the parking lot! But what better place to wait out a thunderstorm than in a church?! However, the rain continued off and on all day. By that evening tornado warnings were sounding across a large area of south Kansas City. This photo finds all of us taking shelter in the basement. Looks like we're having a jolly-good time, doesn't it? That IPad in the foreground was locked in on radar at Thankfully, no funnel clouds touched down in the area, but the overnight rainfall total was five inches.

This week my dad came by for a visit. He had questions about his new android phone, and since we don't have that up-to-date technology, Jill helped get him sorted out. 

But our main source of activity has been taking care of grandchildren. These little men have been running us ragged. They're so full of energy! And so close in age (13 months apart) that they can be a handful.
Tay (2-3/4 years) with Hogan
Overall, they are fairly manageable, but it's clear Jill has her hands full. However, she's doing a super job raising them. At least they're well-mannered in public!
Aesa (18 months)
I'm not getting much done on the sewing front. I brought lots of hand work along that hasn't been touched. During nap time I've been using Jill's Bernina to quilt an I Spy quilt for Austin, our grandson in Tampa who turned two years old last Sunday.
Austin at Disney World
This is a simple enough quilt pattern - just five-inch squares and sashing - with an easy free motion quilting design, but quilting is progressing only in fits and starts.

Still, I must appreciate these days for what they are: a chance to spend quality time with family; catch up with my blog-friend Carla of Lollyquiltz (It's a blessing to have a good friend here when I've left so many dear friends behind in Iowa); and next week, to meet more blog friends at spring quilt market in downtown Kansas City.

Also, I've delivered two of my quilts (Snowflake Medallion and Life is a Celebration: Nature) to be judged and displayed in the Machine Quilter's Showcase in that's next Wednesday through Saturday (May 16-19) at the Overland Park Convention Center. I hope to attend that on Thursday.

It's just nine more days before we head to Florida and whatever the future has in store. Until then, we've been online house-hunting. and are great resources for information about pre-owned homes. As well, we've been looking at new construction through Exciting stuff, but I'm not kidding myself either. Lots of work lies ahead. I'm mentally preparing myself for the possibility of it being two more months until I have my own sewing space again! Yee-gahds! Thanks for hangin' with me until that happens. Linda


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