Monday, January 30, 2012


......finished. Remind me never to volunteer my sub-standard traditional quilting skills again! (the white schmears are snow falling in front of the quilt) My friend Thearica organized this annual raffle quilts for Ronald McDonald House and in a weak moment I thought, I can do this. We had to use black and white and one other color and the mantra "my bowl is full of _______" I said "pennies". Red was the obvious choice for me. I worked diligently on hand stitching a slew of wool pennies. When they quilt was sewn together I realized most people buying a chance on a quilt probably would not "get" the handwork and pass it off to a child. It would not hold up to use. So I started a replacement. I used a pattern I got as a gift at the NC, HGTV quilt -retreat in April called Tiddlywinks. The large circles are my pennies. I cut it down a few blocks. The on-point setting was not easy for me. The machine quilting was not easy for me. The blocks were easy though! I also am not a white lover. There is a couple spots where a few stray black threads show through it. I will be boxing and shipping to Thearica asap. Next time I will send a raffle basket donation!

A "Going Away" party, Saturday, at Jill's parents house was very nice. All family.
A week from right now he will be in  U.S.Army custody. He has to report Monday, stay in a hotel in Niagara Falls for swearing in Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM. I will be running up there after work Monday to stay with his fiance, Jennifer, to be present Tuesday for the big event. More than the overwhelming concern for him, is the pride I feel for having a son that has the balls to do what he feels he must. (or'd have to know him) His demeanor suits a soldier. His mother's demeanor, not so much.

I have learned:

  1. jingoistic is a word.
  2. Bruce. April 17, Cleveland. Road trip. Jim and Pam and me.  
  3. We have not had one snowstorm this winter. Hmm. weird. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Challenge Reveal!

My guild hosts an annual challenge. This year I got to name it! I thought that Carnival/Amusement Park held much possibility. The results are in, and wow, it was an awesome and inspired reveal yesterday!
"Wonder Wheel" is my entry. Beginning with a Google search I found an old image of a Ferris wheel I liked. I stumbled upon a painted resist in a circular orientation and thought it would make the perfect base. I had to actually draft a pattern to the size of the circle. The tracing paper was then used as my thread sketching pattern. I found info online advising to use a short thread length, about 1.0. After many stitches all around, I cut the organza overlay to define the center star. The cars were fused down.

 Added the mitered stripe border and when the binding was sewn down, I spent over 2 hours gluing scrapbook crystals, or "lights" to the wheel.  The final addition was old wooden Bingo #'s.
I loved every step of this project, finishing up Friday night on the challenge we knew about since last February! Why do we do that? Everyone did it, (with a couple exceptions for very organized people).
My friend Karen had the entry with the biggest impact.
I saw this work in progress and the result is magazine worthy! Her original design. It is future award winner.
Elaine used the portrait technique MaryLee taught us last year to make this gorgeous quilt.
Martha's was a celebration of carnival color. The quilting and surface design on it needs to be seen up close.
Lori's love of photography and quilting marry wonderfully!
Beth, Lori's daughter, awed the crowd with her 3 dimensional Zoltar! She used clay to make the face and hands. It was the most exciting reveal for me. Beth is one of our youngest members, in her mid-twenties.
I have always loved the free, uninhibited aesthetic of my mail woman, Cynda. She works most Saturdays but Gloria had her two entries to show us. Art quilt....roller coaster! It is show worthy. I loved this piece.
Cynda made 2 pieces. I love the woven background of purple and green.
Gloria's exemplifies the theme. It is most playful and most amusement park!
Gloria also made 2. This one drew the most ahhhh's! Remember the wooden painted figures that have oval holes for your face? Celebrating the Royal wedding Gloria put oval mirrors where the faces go so you see yourself when you look at her quilt. Imagination indeed!

Mary Ellen's carousel horse under a tent, her own design, was magical! I wish the quilting showed on this piece. Excellent. Mary Ellen is also a new member of our art quilt group.
Kate was inspired by the colorful, twisted lollipop! She made a lollipop flower. The fringe she added at the last minute was just right.
Alex used a sentimental memory of her and her husband riding a double Ferris wheel. Her interpretation is just adorable. Making it with Halloween fabrics was especially charming. Alex has young children and this quilt will be great holiday decor.
Chris, a recent new member of our art quilt group, made this carousel horse piece. She used a Laura Wasilowski weaving/fused technique for the umbrella. Cool quilt!
Mary Lee also memorialized the carousel horse using her portrait technique. Her background fabric is her own snow dye. Love this quilt.
Dodie's art quilt perfectly emulates for me, the way I feel on all the round, swirling rides at an amusement park! Great job on this little piece.
Mary Lu used her memory of a trip to New Orleans post Katrina. I really love the 3-D jester hat...a lot. The saxophone is for the music, and in particular, hearing one of the Neville Brother's daughter performing. The key addition to her piece the the tag she sewed to the bottom right corner. It was the symbol they used on the properties during the hurricane to tell rescuers information regarding inhabitants.
Connie tried out some new techniques and made this colorful, festive quilt! I do believe she is one of the only ones who stared hers last summer! I love the rickrack she used.
Melanie is one of our procrastinators! She took Friday off to work on her carnival piece, even working on it on the drive to guild! She always pulls one out of the hat though. Her carnival quilt is great! I especially love her hand stitched fireworks.
Susan, also a new member to our art quilt group, does inspired work. She used her snow and ice dyed fabrics to make this truly gorgeous mask. Note the beading and the background.
Donna used photos from her childhood, printed on fabric, surrounded by beautiful batiks. Recalling the memory of family and fun, "Peachy's" sentimental entry was a treasure.
Diana's little quiltlet struck a chord with me. Using a picture of her granddaughter on a carousel, she recreated it in fabric. Never having taken a class for this, she nailed it! I love her use of lame for the poles. Wonderful piece that proves size does not matter!
Eileen's memory of fairs from her childhood always included fireworks. I absolutely love that she used this vintage symbol of a firework!
There you have it! I was awed by all the creativity. It will make a display to be proud of at our Richmond Library here in Batavia, the entire month of February!
I love a challenge. I love to have an assignment and a deadline. Wonder what Tracy will announce next month as our challenge for this year!

I had a good sew day. Worked on my HGTV UFO challenge today. I managed to sew an entire quilt top today. It won't win accolades, but it is growing on me. I need to quilt it and finish to post by Feb. 15th. I am on target.

My art quilt group started our embellishing RR. I have 3 idea's for Emmy's traditionally pieced, Amish inspired quilt. I love that it's all solid colors. The blocks are baskets. The first thing I thought to do was flowers of course. Then I thought I would like to work with the wide border. I will set the tone for this piece, so I am carefully pondering my options!

Michael leaves in 16 days for boot camp.

I have learned:

  1. -4 lbs this week. It's a good start.
  2. Melissa is a good caretaker for Sophia, Dave's 18 month old daughter. She sent me a pic of Sophia helping her make dinner. 
  3. Feeling like a last man standing with friends retiring.
  4. Project Runway All-Stars is missing something. May be the I-already-know-you factor instead of the anticipation of getting-to-know-you each week. Regardless, I do like to see what they all come up with. I did think Rami's dress was more Miss Piggy than Michael's. 
  5. I just love my cats. Chester the old coot, Clifford the eater of all things cat food, in every dish, and Fiona the sweet round fur ball. Chester's hyper thyroid condition is advancing, in spite of his daily medication. It has been almost 2 years on the meds. 
  6. I want to see the new Sandra Bullock/Tom Hanks movie about 9-11. Waiting to get it on Demand and view at home is probably a good idea. I suspect it will invoke intense emotion. 
  7. Michael is addicted to "Lost". I have been encouraged to start season 1.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Letting Go...

I happened upon this post a few minutes ago. It seems there is a lot of letting go going around. I mentioned in a previous post that I was getting rid of SOMETHING every day. I have been doing that for almost three weeks. The Yellow Box has some of old clothes, the Paper Recycling Box has old books, Arnold's has pounds of old metal from the garage and an avid knitter has a slew of knitting mags and a big trash bag full of yarn! The trash has also been a destination daily for many things that needed to just

My work is cut out for me. I have accumulated so much in the 8 years I have lived in this house. I am trying to be a more careful consumer. I don't want to take two steps back with each step forward!

I have a stack of good arty & quilty books that I want to sell...maybe ebay. Not sure how all that goes. It has been on my list of things to do for years! Maybe I was waiting for NOW.

So every day I will continue to toss, donate and share something, until I feel I am sufficiently uncluttered.
In 1997 I had a liberating letting go when I moved with my son & daughter to a two bedroom apartment from a big farmhouse. All my bedroom furniture was forfeited, since for 6 years I had no bedroom to house it. The living room couch was my bed. I didn't mind.

A few years later all my stored belongings had to be trashed. Very sentimental, childhood memento's were covered in mold. I still remember the day I  threw away boxes of albums. Albums that were important to me for various reasons. Many things that I had dragged along with me for five moves. It pained me. But in the end it is only "things".
So I have had much experience letting go of things.

It is the letting go of  habits, people and high hopes, that are more difficult. They take more emotionally. Harder than the "thing" thing.
This is a year of changes. Some I see right in front of me, some I suspect are on the horizon.

Michael leaves in a few short weeks for boot camp in Oklahoma. When he goes, he is done with life in my care. He will be a soldier and in June, a husband.  His room will become part of the letting go. It is the end of an era for me, the mother. My main roll, my first roll...mother.  My kids are on their own now, no more in the wings! I have to let go of  what has defined me since I was 21 years old.

Work has been getting increasingly more trying both physically and mentally over the last year. I have questioned my stamina to carry on like this for 4 more years. I hope to have options. Of the 33 years with the same company I have been in this position for almost 16 of them, the longest time in one job in all that time.

I have rejoined, again, Weight Watchers. I will be letting go of  pounds this year! I so want to let go of the letting go of WW and stick it out to Lifetime.

Will be letting go of some tree lumber and some acres. High hopes.

So I have my 51st year on earth cut out for me. I suspect there are going to be a few things this year that are not unexpected, but will be the epitome of letting go. I wish to be wrong.

I have learned:

  1. I so enjoy reading Stephen King. 11/22/63 is my current read. He is  so adept at nailing each characters essence. The storyline is secondary for me.
  2. Ricky Gervais is funny. The accent doesn't hurt. 
  3. Shock Wave Therapy done. I should see results within six months with the plantars fascitis.
  4. The Decemberists. Good listen. 
  5. My carnival challenge for guild is 90% finished. I do have 5 more days!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Last Finished Project 2011

She looks good as on a pillow! My oldest, best friend, Pam, claimed this CQ block from Nicki's summer challenge. I used a vintage trim and the backing is a piece of fabric from her MIL's stash. I will have to remember to get it back from her for the quilt show in October!

My charity raffle quilt has been the bane of my existence for a too many hours. I am ditching the replacement quilt. I am going to send my first one, the one I felt I just could not let go of. Karma. I want to tie it though. It suits the old wool penny design. Of course it is not a traditional penny quilt. Not sure if it will even be accepted by our host....I am late.

My Carnival challenge piece is coming along. I have decided to add to it. Can't show it yet! I have til the 21st to complete it for the reveal at quilt guild. Plenty of time.

And since I haven't enough projects to switch to and fro, I cut a large block of wool pieces for the first block in Susan Brubaker Knapp's pattern, Bohemian Bouquet. I bought this from her when she did a trunk show at our HGTV Retreat in North Carolina in April. What a trunk show it was too! She does great work and is very gracious.
I love to hand stitch wool and needed a night time project to pick up and work on, one ready to go with no decisions to be made.

The holiday's are over. Something was missing for me this year. My demeanor is not light and jolly. Maybe next year. 2012 will be a year of changes. Michael leaving in a month being the biggest one. I already cannot think about it. Tears every time. Melissa is in a new relationship that has, as it should, encompassed her fully. Dave has a little girl, Sophia. I get to meet her today! She is a little porcelain doll. I know this is how it goes in motherland. I expect I will embrace and combat the melancholy!

I read on a blog somewhere, about 30 day challenges. One of them was to get rid of something every day. I am doing that. I have way, way, way too much stuff. I have a bag of clothes ready for a yellow box. I have tossed some things from my sewing room that I will not use. I have bagged up some knitting mags and yarns for Dave's mom, an avid knitter. The garage is less consumed after a metal scrapping run that yielded $70. It is all metaphorical. Of course the energy required to complete these tasks are at a premium. Slow and steady has always been my motto. I am seeing a New Years resolution taking shape. Apply pressure.

I have learned:

  1. Michael's graduation from boot camp land's on the day Bruce Springsteen is rumored to be in Buffalo.  
  2. Found iPod. Charged it. Will learn to use it. Thanks to Sarah and Jim for loading it up for me!
  3. I love Fibermania's blog. This is a technique, I will be trying out. Soon
  4. Going to Bride's World bridal show in Buffalo Sunday. June 8th is the final answer! Sean Patricks. 
  5. Radial Shock Wave Therapy on the foot. 1 down, 2 to go. Ouch.
  6. Project Runway marathon! I could watch them all over and over.
  7. Chester, the eldest of the three cats, loves this pet bed. The chair was my granmother's. She sat in it to knit. I covered it in this fabric many years ago. I need to cover it again.