Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quilt Rescue

Some people have an affinity for animal rescue. That's wonderful for them. There are many poor pets that need a loving home and someone to be their advocate. I appreciate the work and the services they provide.

I, however, have a heart for unloved, abused quilts. At every yard sale I visit I keep a keen eye out for poor unloved fragments of fabric. Every once in a while I find a treasure worthy of rescue.

Today was that sort of a day. I stopped just down the road, not thinking I would find anything, browsed a few tables, walked around a corner and saw this beauty. It was marked $22, which was a steal of a deal for the vintage fabric and hand sewing involved. I quickly and discreetly scanned the bills in my purse and was about to walk away, but the "yard sale manager" said she would consider all offers. I quickly said that I only had $13, would that be OK. She hemmed and hawed, then caved! YES!!

This vintage Double Wedding Ring was poor, unloved and abused. It was once a lovely item. Perhaps it was a wedding gift for a newly returned soldier and his bride. Maybe his mother made it while praying for his safe return.

Then again, maybe his sweetheart made it as she hoped for the best--that he would one day come home and return her love with a proposal.

I can always dream.

Back to the facts: it is 1930's vintage fabrics, it was hand pieced. At one time it had been quilted with lovely little stitches in a yellow cotton thread. It looks as if it had only been quilted to a flannel sheet. It has since been cut away from that flannel except around the fine yellow stitches.

I'd really like to restore it to its original beauty and luster. I really have no idea where to start, except to resew the edges and get the arcs back together. Then maybe to sandwich it and quilt around the yellow stitches.

Any other ideas?

Binding on the Wonky Cabins

I finished sewing the binding on last night while I watched "Blind Side." I thought this would be an appropriate movie since I was doing the "Bind Side" of the quilt, haha!

Great movie. Great actors. But no one to watch it with. I hate watching good movies without my Bear....but I digress.

Back to Beary Wonky Cabins by the Lake.

In keeping with the scrappy look of the quilt, I did a scrappy binding too and pulled all my reds and blues out of the binding drawer and pieced them all together.

I love hand sewing a binding on a bed size quilt. I'll do a machine stitched one on wall hangings and table toppers, but I prefer the old fashioned way on a full-size quilt for some reason. A quilting friend of mine said that I was backwards in my opinion on this, that I should do it faster on a bigger quilt, and take my time on a quilt that didn't take so long to finish. I don't know. I guess I'm just weird like that.

I'll be sending a picture of the finished top to Bonnie Hunter to post on her website. She shares pictures of your quilts if you have made one of her patterns. I originally found her crumb tutorial and I knew I had to make one of these, since my boys have bunk beds, I need to make another one; maybe even two, since I have three boys in that room; although Boo is still in a toddler bed.

I've also been playing with these blocks for Christy. They are pretty addicting too. I'm ready to sew the "X" together today. I'm so excited for her to see them. You can read about the quilt she is making for her hubby here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beary Wonky Cabins by the Lake

I've had this top unquilted for a while now. It's a crumb chaos block which you can find tutorials for here and here.
Beware, if you try these, they are addicting. You just whip along mindlessly sewing, and streaming out the backside of your machine come these lovely wonky things. I love wonky these days, ever since I did my wonky houses for Jennifer.

So, yesterday, I really wanted to stipple. Just to meander around the quilt and not really think about what I was doing. So, I sandwiched this top with batting and backing, and went to town, or rather went to the Lake.

(I really did label the quilt with my name, but I don't post that sort of stuff on the web.)
My boys have bunk beds, so this will be for one bunk and the other bunk may get its covering soon, I'm such a fan of wonky blocks, I have to do more.

I still have to bind it, but couldn't wait to show you. So, what have you finished lately?

Monday, March 22, 2010

They're here!!

My new Elna Quilting Queen and my Elna 8200 Experience Embroidery machines are here!! I'm unpacking them now. Later I'll be sewing, and after that, more sewing, and after the sewing, I think I'll be...yep, sewing. I may come out from under in a few days!!

Don't expect to see me until the newness wears off, maybe in say about 10 years!!

(I will post pictures in a little while as soon as they are all unpacked and pretty.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Entering a Honey Bun Giveaway!

Alright, it's not what you think! A honey bun is a sweet rolled up bundle of fabric strips! They are 1 & 1/2 inches wide and come in the most luscious colors!
I'm entering the giveaway here. I'm also in an online quilting bee with this talented crafter! Seriously, she is a crafting maniac! Christy makes the coolest things out of "stuff" the sort of stuff that other people would throw away! She's my kind of frugal gal that way!

So, hop on over, follow her instructions and you can have a chance at a honey bun too!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Under construction...

Hi dear readers. I think there may be two of you...
I'm working on a new layout and a post to go with it.
I'll be under construction for a bit, so please bear with me.
It'll be good, I promise.
See you soon...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tax return and debt relief

According to the IRS, our income tax return will be deposited tomorrow. I am so thankful! With it, we are retiring some debt, paying off a personal loan and catching up on a few things that have been pushed to the back burner during Bear's most recent stretch of unemployment.

First and foremost, we are paying off my truck. We currently owe more than it is worth, but we have determined that we will not be buying another vehicle for quite a long time, so we are making this one our primary concern.

My suburban was repossessed last summer and we were literally crippled without it. When there are 7 in your immediate family, you can't really go anywhere in a two passenger pickup. Paying off the truck is first so that it will never get taken away from us again.

While I do not fault the bank or the repo company, as they were just doing their job, it is certainly frustrating, and a bit scary to walk outside and wonder where is your vehicle.

Second on our list, is to pay back a personal loan from a friend that Bear worked with a few years ago. His generous offer helped us to stay in our house and not have that taken away from us. It has been a year of God's perfect timing. I have described this past year as if I were standing on the edge of a great chasm, with darkness all around and not knowing where to take the next step. God's grace held us perfectly still at times and directed our steps when it was time to move. This year, while one of the most difficult we have ever been through, has also strengthened my faith in a way that never would have happened if the road had been easy.

Thirdly, I'm going to do a little truck maintenance, tires, and alignment, and possibly a tuneup. I have to take care of the Big Blue Beast.

After all the "must do's" on my list, I'm thinking of getting this. Then I'm saving up for one of these for Bear when he returns.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random day...

Does grocery shopping just make you exhausted? By the time I get to the checkout, I'd like to tip the bagger extra to have her come home with me and unpack it all.

Then off to Costco to see what good deals I could find there. I found one! This fabulous little camp stove and propane burner unit. It has a griddle or flip it over to have a grill, for pancakes or steak! And on the other side, a burner so that I can do all my pressure cooking outside and not ruin my ceramic stove top.

I can't wait til it warms up so I can use it outside, for outdoor cooking.

I thrifted some lovely vintage sheets the other day. We have a great thrift store in our little town. They sell pillowcases for 35 cents each. Each pillowcase yields two fat quarters and lots of strips for my fabric stash bins.

Not much work on my UFO's lately. I just did a rush job for a customer, two purple dance costumes for an I'd love to go see them, I love Irish dance.

Now I'm relaxing to my piano. I just run the remote, my Weber does all the work. Every time I sit down to play I have an accompanist who sits and plunks along beside me. I can't tell if the sour notes are from him or me. Both, probably.

Off to bed, and maybe catch up on my through the Bible in a year. Sort of fell off the bandwagon on that one.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mowing the yard, Self Worth, and Calf-skin Gloves…

Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, no clouds in the sky finally and warm enough to get outside and do some much needed yard work.

There were leaves left over in the front flowerbed and needed to come out so they wouldn’t smother the emerging plants underneath. The grass in the front had matted leaves too. I pulled out the rake and scraped and scraped until it was all loose and free. Then I went into the garage to dig the mower out from under the piles of Nerf bats, balls, and Tonka trucks that had piled on its top during the winter months. While I was in the garage I grabbed the first pair of gloves I could reach. Blue knit jersey ones with rubber on the palms. They would provide enough coverage for my hands while I mowed.

I checked the gas, added some oil and primed it six times. Pulled the rip cord and to my utter amazement, it started right up!! My front yard isn’t very big, it only takes about six passes with the mower and a quick turn around the flowerbed and it’s done. So then I breezed through the side yard and even did the street section in front of my house and my neighbor’s.

I opened the large side gates and let the sun shine onto the front yard where it gets shaded when the sun is low in the winter months. I could almost hear it breathing in the sunshine and soaking up the nutrients! My yard is looking good, I thought.

But then I turned to the right and saw how overgrown my beautiful rosa rugosa has become. Working on it during the summer months is dangerous. It is completely covered in tiny sharp spines that will ruin your hands. I grabbed my clippers and started whacking out the dead stuff and the suckers that have spouted outside its designated area. Snip, ouch, whack, clip, ouch, ouch! Those knit jersey gloves weren’t enough for the job. They were fine while I was mowing but when it came right down to the tough stuff, I wasn’t prepared.

I went back inside the garage and dug out the good gloves. I have a fabulous pair of calf-skin gloves that even the toughest rosa rugosa won’t get to. That’s what I needed. My hands thanked me, and I got back to my task. Soon the “rough rose” was tamed again and not so rough looking.

Recently, I’ve had some “rough roses” in my life; stuff at work, issues at home, things that make a girl feel like she’s not doing a good job. Situations when a mom feels like anyone could do this job better than her.

I realized while I was cutting my roses that I was having a spiritual “glove problem.” I wasn’t protected from the worldly spines that can pierce my soul. My self-worth does not come from outside factors but from who I am in Christ; who does He say that I am.

When the world says I’m worthless, Christ says I am a new creature. When friends mock my behavior, Christ says I am a reflection of Him. When those I have offended call me names or threaten to tarnish my reputation, He says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I realized today that I don’t have the protection I need from the world just as my hands didn’t have protection from the thorns. I haven’t put on the whole armor of God lately. From Ephesians chapter 6: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Emphasis mine.)

It’s the shield I have been missing lately. Those flaming darts were getting through my armor and hurting me. They burn, they affect my spiritual outlook on life and I don’t like it.

Taking up the shield of faith has always been hard for me. My faith is weak. I have doubts, and fears. I waver and vacillate one way and the other. I’m easily swayed by voices whispering sweet things in my ear. I know that voice. I’ve heard it all my life and it’s the voice of the enemy.

How do I block out the enemy’s voices? And he has many. I hear his voice in the snacks from the cupboard. I hear his voice inside my head telling me I’m not good enough, I’ll never be thinner, and that I just can’t cope with the circumstances around me. I even hear it voiced over other people’s voices. He sometimes uses those closest to me.

When I’m trying to block out noises at home I turn on my iPod and stick my ear-buds in my ears and crank up the praise songs. I close the door to the sound and get in a quiet place.

I once had a teacher in high school that demonstrated that if you stick your fist into a bucket of water it will displace the liquid. But if you pull your fist out, the water rushes back into the cavity left by your hand. If you want to keep the water level the same you have to replace your hand with a similar sized substance.

I have to do the same thing when I want to block out the devil’s voice. I have to replace his voice with scripture. I turn up the Christian music; I read the Bible and meditate on God’s word. I tune out the devil and listen to my Master’s voice instead.

He is my calf-skinned leather gloves to the rosa rugosas of the world.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


On one of my quilting groups, when people receive a package in the mail they call it a squishy. It's squishy because it's full of soft pretty fabrics, or quilt blocks, or fun sewing gifts.

I got one in the mail today! Ooh, I LOVE squishies!!

I'm participating in a vintage sheet swap over here. Jennifer did a great job of hosting it. She said she had 545 fat quarters and 38 participants. WOW, what a job!!

Thank you so much Jennifer for hosting this! It was so much fun. I can't wait to go through and fold and fondle each one!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Finishing a UFO

I've updated my sidebar with all my UFO's. I'm determined to get a big chunk of these completed this year. I can really fritter away my time and after recently quitting my part time job, I've got to get organized if I'm going to really accomplish things. So, although they aren't in any particular order right now, (I may rearrange them by priority,) I'm chipping away at that list.

First of all, let me introduce the Zeller Pinwheel. I've had this quilt too long. It's been on this frame for years. I told a friend of mine I would quilt it for her, it was pieced by a relative of hers and basted already. Then we moved, several times, she moved twice, and we've recently been back in touch. Now I'm determined to finish it this year.

I've moved my quilting frame downstairs where I will see it daily and can spend time sitting and quilting on it. That is the only way I'll get it done. Just do it!

I've counted the rows and columns, it is 9x11, that's 99 of these little pinwheels. So if I shoot for, at the very least, one pinwheel block a day, I'll have it done in a little over three months. I have a big section completed, but I'm not counting those, I'm just using them as a cushion.

So there it is. Officially on a schedule. I will have this done by the end of May. Then I'll finish the binding, and get it out in the mail to my friend.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

Bee Block is finished

I'm participating in an on-line quilting bee. You can see the posts here.

Jennifer asked for cute little wonky house blocks. I made two. The first one was sort of a practice, it turned out ok. Not my favorite. The second one is better, I hope she likes them both. I'm sending both, but no pictures until she gets the package.

Ooo, I love surprizes!!

I'm off to do some more quilt blocks. Well, and laundry, always laundry.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back to being a SAHM

For the past ten months, I juggled. Juggled dinners, homework, laundry and working part time at the local quilt shop in town.

I am so done with working. I enjoyed it. I made some good friends. I learned a lot. Now let's get back to doing what I was meant to do.



Helping with homework.

Changing diapers.

Mowing the lawn.

Quilting, just for me.

And I'm loving every minute of it!

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