Monday, September 26, 2005

Finn's Challenge

I'm afraid I'm not really up to the challenge of posting star quilts that I've done because I've only done a part of one. It's a batik star quilt which was a block of the month at the quilt shop I once worked in. My top is together, but without a final border...I just can't seem to decide what I want there. Okay, I really haven't looked too hard. :o)

I do have this Christmas quilt which has stars scattered through it...does that count? I received the 9 patch blocks in a swap about 8 years ago, and made the top at that time. The little pictures are all cookie cutter or hand drawn designs, fused on and buttonhole stitched in black thread. The quilt "fermented" for a few or 6 years until the borders were decided upon (this is the second set...the first set looked horrible!) and I finally quilted and bound it in January of this year. I love's one of the few I've kept for myself and it's been living on the back of a rocking chair in my husband's little office all year...I just can't bear to put it away!

I was very disappointed yesterday...I found out that my other Christmas quilt, which was auctioned off on Saturday night, only went for $100. It cost me much more than that to make it! I am glad they made some money, I just wish it had been more.

And that's it from my little corner of the world,


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tropical Storm Rita

I've been sitting here watching coverage of Tropical Storm Rita. A very dear friend of mine in Houston is getting ready to evacuate, just in case Rita becomes a strong hurricane and threatens the coast near her. I pray that she remains safe and dry. We're no strangers to catastrophic floods here in my little town. Last July we had 13" of rain in one day. We watched in amazement as the rain fell from the sky for hour after hour, and watched nervously as the water level in the street in front of my house rose several feet. My neighbor had his kids out in an inflatable boat in the middle of the street! Fortunately the water never came up to our house. Some others weren't so lucky. Late in the evening, a dam upstream gave way. This led to a chain reaction of dam failures, about 20 in all. As the water built at each dam and pushed its way through, it became a torrent that took everything in its path. The devastation was unbelievable. There were docks, lawn furniture, canoes and paddle boats thrown all over the place. There was a layer of mud and sand everywhere. The picture above shows the force of the water...this canoe is wrapped around the tree about 6 to 8 feet above the ground. It remains there as a memorial to the flood. The second picture shows one of the breached was totally destroyed.

The response of the town was amazing. We were all out there, pulling canoes from the trees, picking up debris and loading into dumpsters, helping to clean the homes that were damaged. I'd never seen such an outpouring of generosity in my life. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and local business were there, providing us with food, water and everything we needed to clean up. We're still recovering. The dams haven't been rebuilt yet, although the plans are in the works and they hope to have our main lake restored by next August. (This is the lake we're buying a house on.) There has been a huge thrust in our town to help the Katrina victims, because we know firsthand how devastating flooding can be. There was a car wash that raised over $4,000 for the Red Cross and this weekend is a yard sale run by the Boy Scouts for the Salvation Army. We're all grateful for their help and want to give something back. And I pray that no one has to face this type of devastation again when Rita comes through.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Quilting for Charity

Here in Medford Lakes, we’re quite proud of our school system. Our students usually excel and we have wonderful teachers. However, due to budgetary constraints, like in most districts, we can’t provide everything that we would like to. So, several years ago, some brilliant people in our district organized our Medford Lakes Educational Foundation. Their goal was to provide the extras that didn’t fit into the regular school budget. One thing they did was raise money for a distance learning lab in the school. They also provide annual grants for teachers to provide something special in the classroom. One grant which is applied for by our 3rd grade teachers allows the children to raise butterflies in the classroom.

The MLEF’s major fundraiser each year is a Casino Night, during which they have a silent auction. Last year I donated a flannel yellow brick road quilt to them and it raised $350! I was quite pleased. This year I’m donating a Christmas Quilt. I got the pattern from a mystery quilt website somewhere on yahoo, but I don’t remember where. I love how the quilt turned out, but unfortunately I can’t attend this year and bid on it! I hope it raises a lot of money and goes to a good home. Here is the Christmas quilt….

And here is a picture of one of the blocks…

It’s been so ridiculously hot and humid here that it’s nice to be working on a Christmas project! I’m very ready for fall to arrive, it’s my favorite season of the year. And now it’s time for me to leave Starbucks, where I’ve been sitting, writing this while my house is being shown yet again. Keep your fingers crossed that THESE are the buyers!

happy quilting,

Friday, September 09, 2005

Baby Quilt

Here are some photos of the baby can see the detail better in the picture of the airplane block. This quilt was just adorable!

Back to school...

I'm amazed at how quickly life moves on. It seems as if summer just began and here it is the beginning of a new school year. My kids seem happy with their new routines and classes this year. Andrew has started college and is enjoying being out of the house without the rules and regulations laid down by mom and dad. Ellen is a high school sophomore and loves school, her friends and life in general. Grace has started in junior high and is adjusting to the changes beautifully. The biggest change for her this year is that I'm working at her school in the afternoons as a teacher's aide. As if I didn't have enough to do! I find that I'm loving being back in the classroom (I was a teacher in my previous life before kids). I'm also glad I don't have the full time responsibility for the classroom as this leaves my mornings free for my longarm quilting, among other things!

Those other things have included painting doors, cleaning carpets and otherwise keeping the house in shape for showings. Is there anything worse than having to keep the house clean all the time so that people can look around and decide if they might want to live there? I love my house now that we've finished it (the last two jobs were gutting and remodeling the kitchen and replacing all the interior doors with six panel colonial doors), but the temptation of a house on the lake with my own studio in the detached garage instead of the living room is just overwhelming. So, we plan to move on and hope to do it quickly.

I have managed to fit in some quilting time also. I just finished quilting a cross stitch quilt for a customer. I had to quilt along all the blue lines that were printed onto the was quite a challenge! I never could color on the lines. :o) It turned out pretty you can see from the above picture.

The next quilt I finished was the cutest baby quilt...all yellow, blue and green with airplanes. I was able to get a little more creative with this one! Unfortunately, I can't seem to post another picture, so I'll have to put it in another post. Next up on the machine is a Christmas quilt which I am donating to our local education foundation to be part of a silent auction on September 24th. I guess I really should get that one done!

I also need to get back to work on my Katrina quilt...I decided to piece the back and it's taking longer than piecing the front did! Time to hit the sewing room...


Thursday, September 01, 2005

I’ve been reading the Quilt Maverick blogs for months now and have wanted to start a quilting blog for myself. Now is the time. Last night I created a quilt using orphan blocks to send to the Hurricane Katrina refugees in Houston. Just the thought that I can be a small part of helping someone recover from this devastation is important to me. Thank goodness I started cutting my strips according to Bonnie’s directions…I’m a true convert now! Having the precut strips available made this quilt construction a pleasure and I’ll be going through the rest of my scraps to make them into useful strips. Here is my quilt so far. I don’t think it’s quite big enough, so I plan to make a piano key border to add to the size. Once again, I’ll tap into my strips. Thank you Bonnie for making me a more productive quilter! Once the border is on, I can put it on my long arm, get it quilted and get it to someone who really needs it.

Here is the information on sending quilts directly to Houston…

Dear friends,Only today did I discover the ghastly scope of theHurricaneKatrina aftermath, and I immediately started trying todecide whatwe could do to help muster aid for the victims. Hereis what wehave come up with. This will be posted on our website( in the morning. I am terriblyconcerned aboutthe urgency of the short-term needs of these poorsouls--25,000 ofthem are being bussed to Houston for shelter andperhaps long-termliving arrangements. Most of them left New Orleanswith nothingbut the clothes on their backs. I know there areother projectsthat are being started for quilts for long-term needs,but rightnow, folks, these people have NOTHING and most of themhaveNOTHING to go home to. They need help NOW! I hopeyou'll want tohelp us provide some of that help.Karey BresenhanHouston---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICAA Cooperative ProjectTo Comfort Victims of Hurricane KatrinaTo quilters everywhere:The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on theGulf Coast isbeyond belief. Here in Houston our hearts are heavywith sorrowfor all the horrible losses, and we are preparing towelcome thethousands of refugees that are being bussed to usbecause theyhave lost their homes or have no access to whatever isleft oftheir homes. Like so many other people, we want tohelp. Knowingquilters, we think you want to help, too, becausethere are nomore generous, giving, open-hearted people thanquilters.Therefore, we are launching a two-part drive forHurricane Katrinarelief, and we urge you to join us in this project. We're callingit QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA.PART 1: Urgent Donations to the American Red CrossDisasterRelief Fund.We will match EVERY donation made by quilters to theAmerican RedCross, up to a maximum of $10,000, on a dollar fordollar basis.In other words, if you make a $25 donation, we'llmatch that withanother $25 donation. If you make a $100 donation,we'll matchthat with another $100 donation, right up to themaximum. To avoiddelays in your donations reaching the Red Cross, andbecause wehave trusted quilters for more than 30 years now, justemail uswith the amount of your donation that you sent to theAmerican RedCross Disaster Relief Fund. Every penny of everydonation--up to$10,000--will be matched by International QuiltFestival. You havemy word on that. Please use this email address: exec5@quilts.comand use the subject line: RED CROSS DONATION.PART 2: QUILTS FOR COMFORTMany thousands of the Katrina refugees are being sentto HoustonRIGHT NOW, and no one knows how long they will have tobe here.Most of them escaped the hurricane's fury with onlythe clothes ontheir backs--nothing more--and they may haveabsolutely nothing togo home to. They don't even know. The Astrodome isready astemporary housing, but there is a serious shortage ofbedding.Part 2 of QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA is the collectionof quilts ofall kinds to be distributed to the refugees here inHouston sothat they have something soft to sleep on instead ofthe hardconcrete floors of the temporary shelters andsomething warm tocover up with against the chill of otherwise welcomeair-conditioning (we've been in the 90s and 100s forweeks now).Many of us have unfinished projects filling ourclosets andcupboards. Get out one of those projects--twin sizepreferred butno smaller than baby quilt size, please--and finish itup forthis. Use lightweight batting--do whatever binding isthequickest, even a close zigzag stitch. You don't haveto quiltit--tie it! If you have only small projects, addborders. Thinkabout a mother lying on the floor cradling herbaby--that's thesize quilt we need to provide. These quilts are notmeant to beheirlooms, although they will probably be treasuredfor many yearsas a symbol of the caring of strangers. Tie them,machine quiltthem, work in a group with your friends and finishseveral on anassembly line, do whatever it takes to get thesefinished quickly.THE NEED FOR THESE QUILTS IS RIGHT NOW! If you alreadyhave somefinished pieces that you don't have plans for, sendthem too, aslong as they are no smaller than baby quilt size. Ifyou are aprofessional, you may have sample quilts that havebecomeshop-worn or faded but are still clean and very usablein anemergency--send them!--we are IN an emergency! Besure to put alabel on the back of your quilt or sign it with a kindthought andyour name and date. Every piece will go to a refugeefamily drivenfrom their homes by the hurricane.To participate in QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA, send anemail (subject line: COMFORT AMERICA) tolet us knowhow many quilts you are sending. That will help ushelp the RedCross in its planning. Please do not expect aconfirmation thatyour quilt has been received or any kind of nicethank-you.Sometimes we just have to do things because they arethe RIGHTthings to do--this is one of those times. People needhelp...thekind of help WE can give.Use this address to send your quilt/s:COMFORT AMERICA PROJECTc/o International Festival7660 Woodway, Suite 550Houston, TX 77063Please note: for security, do NOT use the word'quilt' ANYWHEREin your address label!Many of us have also amassed linen closets full of oldbutcompletely usable sheets--perhaps a size you no longeruse, orjuvenile prints that your college age kids don't likeanymore.Clean sheets and blankets are also most welcome toQUILTERSCOMFORT AMERICA. Naturally, everything should beclean and fresh.These folks have lived with enough mud and dirt tolast them therest of their lives--let's give them a clean bed torest in.Please note that we cannot use fabric, patterns,scraps, etc.Quilt Festival will serve as the collection point forthesequilts, and we will deliver them DAILY to the AmericanRed Crossstaffing the refugee centers in Houston, where theywill bedistributed by the Red Cross volunteers. Because weare right herein Houston where more than 10,000 of the refugees willbe, we canmake a difference RIGHT NOW...if you'll help.Time is critical--the need is NOW! People arearriving by thehour, children are bedding down on the cold concrete,bedding isneeded by people of all ages who have lost everythingin thishorrible storm. Please help if you can. If you livein or aroundHouston, you are welcome to hand deliver yourdonations to us.Our address is 7660 Woodway, Suite 550, Houston 77063.You canfind it on Mapquest. Please note that this is oneblock of Woodwaythat runs perpendicular to all the rest of Woodway.Thanks to everyone!QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA.Karey Patterson BresenhanDirector, International Quilt Festival--Houston andChicago