Friday, June 30, 2006

Thank You!

I was overwhelmed by all of your support and kindness this week as we went through this very difficult time. The house is a much quieter place without Barclay. Sam, our cocker spaniel is walking around looking lost. He can't figure out why his buddy isn't here. He also hasn't barked once...I'm thinking he was only a barker because Barclay got him going! We are settling into a slightly different routine and I am so glad I made the decision...he isn't suffering anymore.

This morning I got up early and made some blueberry muffins...comfort food therapy? I've frozen a dozen and we are eating the others. There is nothing like a muffin made from fresh, Jersey blueberries!

Thanks also to those who have mentioned your concern about the flooding here. We were spared any flooding (other than a lot of water in the yard!) but there are several areas around us which are very bad. Trenton, Phillipsburg and other areas north of us and areas of Philadelphia to the west are flooded. Hopefully, with the beautiful day we are having, the waters will be receding and the clean up can begin. We had a major flood in our town almost 3 years ago and the cleanup was a nightmare. I certainly feel for those people!

I've been thinking a lot about Judy L.'s post yesterday, the things we do out of habit. The blueberry muffins are a result of that...I was going to go pick up bagels and decided to make muffins instead! I had never thought about it but there are many things I don't do out of laziness...I used to do them and got out of the habit...things like cooking! Thanks, Judy, for a very thought provoking post.

My daughter is off having her first ever driving lesson...I'm saying prayers that it goes well. I'm more nervous than she is!

Again...thanks for your are the best!



1. Sunshine after the rain.

2. The kindness of friends...even those you don't know!

3. Fresh blueberry muffins.

4. Lower humidity!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sad Day

I just returned from the shelter. Last night Barclay was coughing up blood, so I knew we couldn't wait any longer. He is at peace now...I miss him.

Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and words, you have no idea how much you have helped make this a bit easier.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Difficult Decision

We moved into our house in early October, 1999. We'd spent almost a year in an apartment, without a dog. I desperately missed having a dog, so shortly after we moved in, we went to the shelter to see what we could find. We didn't find anything. About 2 weeks later, some feeling came over me that I couldn't explain. My husband was on the roof, cleaning gutters and I told him to come down, there was a dog at the shelter who needed us. I was certain that we would find one. And we did! Barclay came to live with us the next day. He was an adult dog, about 5-7 years old and had the sweetest disposition.

Barclay has been a wonderful friend and companion for the last 7 years. But now we're in a difficult spot. In the past few years he has had several cancerous and precancerous tumors removed. A few weeks ago, he started losing a lot of weight. We gave him canned food (they'd always had dry) and he put a few pounds back on. In the last week he has started coughing, has horrible breath and has bled from his mouth a few times. On Sunday, I opened his mouth to see if he had something caught in his throat and found a large tumor in his mouth. It obstructs his breathing when he lays down and he's exhausted from trying to breathe. He's making horrible noises as well. At his age, which is now 12-14 years old, I just don't want to put him through another surgery as our vet will encourage us to, then chemo or radiation. I don't want him to suffer. So, when do you make the decision to put him down? It's so hard to watch him like he is, although he doesn't seem to be in pain. I've been in contact with the shelter and they will take him any time to put him to sleep.

In my head I know that the right decision for him is to let him die gracefully...but my heart says it's not ready to let go. I'm sure the decision will be made by the end of the week, DH is away until Friday and I'm not sure I can bring him to the shelter by myself.


1. Seven wonderful years with Barclay
2. The love of a good pet
3. Support of friends at the shelter
4. Technology that allows us to give our pets peace...even if it's hard to make the decision.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Birthday Bounty

All washed, folded and ready to use! The first picture has the sunflower fabric that told me to take it home, as well as the others that wanted to come play. The second is the browns and rusts...I just love fall colors! The cherry fabric on the bottom of the stack was just too cute to pass up and will make a great background or backing for something! So, that's the result of my birthday fun! Now to imagine what to make. I know the sunflowers will be borders and sashing for a quilt for my family room. I'm thinking some old fashioned sort of block in the other colors with a cream background...maybe a double T block? I'll have to play with EQ5 and see what I come up with.

I've enjoyed others gratitudes and will try to post mine, when I remember...

1. Nick's 8th grade graduation...he's becoming a fine, young man.
2. Family that remembered my birthday...their calls made the day special.
3. Kittens that I can cuddle, then leave at their own house when I'm done taking care of them!
4. Gentle rain in the garden...and for the storms that will come later.
5. Ibuprofen for arthritis pain!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Older - definitely! Wiser????

I've had a very relaxing day today. I went shopping! Today is my birthday (that's the older part!) and my wonderful family gave me a very generous gift certificate to my favorite quilt shop. This morning, after dropping my daughter off at church to go on a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure, I set off on the hour and a quarter trek to the shop. Being true to my new inspiration, I managed to find quite a few fabrics that will enhance the palette of fabrics I have. Some beautiful burgundies, tans, golds and greens came home with me. I fell in love with one fabric...a rich burgundy with sunflowers scattered on it. I bought the 5 yards left on the bolt because it told me to! :o) I can see it as borders and sashing with the greens and golds as blocks. I have no idea what it will become, but I knew I had to have it!

I'm working on purging my stash of the colors I don't want to work with anymore. The picture is a simple nine patch quilt that will go to my guild as a donation quilt. These are the leftover centers from the Sister's Choice quilt that I made. I had to make a few more to have enough for a decent size top. The border fabric doesn't look quite as muddy in real life as it does in the picture! I just finished this one a few minutes ago and had to share. Now to straighten up the sewing room so I can get back to work on some other quilts. I've made 99 blue and muslin nine patch blocks for my single irish chain. I need to decide how they will be set...I've been playing with a few different options in EQ5. Tonight DH, older daughter and I will be stopping at Panera for a quick dinner before DD goes to work. My son and I will have lunch next week when I (I don't even want to say it!) have to take my Pfaff in for service. A week without a machine...guess I'll have to quilt some quilts on the longarm instead of making them! Or I could pull out the Featherweight, which I've never used!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Inspiration, Revelation

Last night I went to my guild meeting (The Berry Basket Quilters, Medford, NJ) because I heard that the owners of Bellwether Dry Goods in Maryland were going to be the speakers. I wish I could take credit for the beautiful quilt in this post, but it is one of theirs.

Bellwether is a company which sells antique quilts, new quilts from old fabrics and most importantly, offers the most amazing hand quilting services I've ever seen. Dick, the husband in the venture does all of the quilt marking, then the quilts are sent out to one of their contract quilters (they have over 100) and hand quilted. The majority of these quilters are Amish or Mennonite women and they range in age from 18 to 80!

Dick and Georgina Fries, the owners have the most engaging personalities. They must have shown between 50 and 75 quilts last night, many of which are for sale on their website. But, as I was taking copious amounts of notes, I came to a realization about my quilting journey and the projects I make.

Most of the quilts that called to my heart last night were very traditional, simple patterns, done in traditional colors. These are quilts in my "comfort zone". As I looked at them, I realized that I don't have to work outside my comfort zone. These are the quilts that sing to me, that make me want to do more quilting. Whenever I step too far out, although I often am pleased with the results, the quilts just don't find their way into my heart. As I looked at the beautiful hand applique (which they design from old quilts, then send out to Hmong women to applique) I knew that I needed to more of this, in colors I would be comfortable with.

I often feel pushed to work with bright colors as I read articles in magazines, thinking that if I don't try these new colors, new designs, new methods and techniques, I will be "behind the times" and out of sync with what is happening in the quilt world. I guess I'm easily swayed by advertising! It occurred to me last night that these antique designs are timeless...they are as attractive now as they were 75 or 100 years ago and I CAN make them and be delighted with the process and the result!

It was a revelation for me. I was furiously writing and sketching in my notebook, not thinking about what I was putting on the page. Quilts made with simple blocks were sketched, quilting ideas included. Here are a few of my notes:

Use up brights, get rid of them!

Simple blocks make striking quilts!

Sort stash by style...brights, comfort colors, neutrals

Dear Jane - make my own version with blocks I like. Why duplicate hers? Think outside the box...BE MAVERICK!!!

I came home all fired up and ready to sew. was 10:00, I'd been up since 5:45 and reality set in, so I went to bed. I can't wait to get out of school on Monday and set to work in my sewing room, sorting stash, designing quilts in EQ5 and sewing. I'm so looking forward to summer!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Charity Quilts

These are my last 5 quilts for Rosie's Calico Cupboard this year. I make a commitment each year to quilt 12 quilts for Camp Reach for the Sky, an American Cancer Society camp for children with cancer. I'm so happy to be able to be a part of this!

Last night my 16 year old daughter and I spent an interesting evening. After our chiropractor appointment, we headed to Applebees for a quick dinner. Then we went to the movies to see "An Inconvenient Truth". All I knew about the movie was that it was about global warming and that Al Gore had something to do with it. I didn't realize that it was his entire PowerPoint presentation on the subject, interspersed with how he became involved with global warming and how it has affected his life. I found the movie to be quite fascinating, once I got past Al Gore's voice narrating it...he is rather monotone! The pictures he showed of the glaciers and how they've melted over the years, the increase in CO2 emissions and the increase in the earth's temperature are quite remarkable and the picture of our planet's future that he paints is not a pretty one. I'm sure there are many things in the film that could be debated, but the photos from now compared to those from even 20 or 30 years ago can not be denied. There are some absolutely gorgeous pictures of the glaciers, storms and icebergs that are worth the price of admission. I'd highly recommend it if you were thinking about going to see it. It is quite an eye-opener.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quilt Show Update

I went this evening to pick up my quilts from the show this weekend. At the laundromat. Why, you may ask? Because I am an idiot!

Sunday afternoon my husband and I went to the Eggfest in a neighboring town. Our plan was to go get some pulled pork and whatever else they were cooking on the Big Green Egg grills at the store where we bought ours, walk around the arts festival for awhile, then go to the mill to pick up the quilts between 4 and 5.

In my brilliance, I suggested we could go earlier than we planned, then he could go to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls while I went to pick up the quilts later. Good plan, right? WRONG!!! At 3:00 I made myself a cup of tea, headed to my sewing room and figured as soon as my tea was gone I'd go get the quilts. Then I straightened a little, looked through a magazine, started sewing and when I looked at my clock it was 5:15! Oops! I called the lady in charge of the show and she said if I could get there right away she would wait...but...I had to take my daughter to work here by 6 which is 20 minutes in the opposite direction. I can not tell you how stupid I felt!

I spoke with her again yesterday and we made arrangements to meet at the laundromat by my house because she would be there tonight. So, all's well that ends well, my quilts are safely back at home and they STILL want me to put quilts in next year's show!

Kirby's Mill

There is an old mill in the next town, which has been restored by the historical society. It's a wonderful place, full of history. Every year they have a number of different events shows, an apple festival in the fall and a quilt show in June. This past weekend was the quilt show. I brought my "Almost Amish" round robin quilt to be displayed. It was draped over an old wagon (with a sheet underneath for protection!) and looked lovely hanging there. My daughter also displayed her quilt there. I had put a picture of her quilting the quilt on my longarm and she was quite proud of herself when people looked at her and said, "Aren't you the girl in the picture? Your quilt is beautiful!

The top picture is of a general store they have set up in the mill. Next is my quilt and then there are antique quilts which were on display in the woodshop.

After looking through the new American Patchwork and Quilting magazine I started a new quilt. I love the red nine patch quilts they have in this issue. I have lots of blue 2.5" strips and decided that I would like a 2 color nine patch quilt as well, so now I have 24 blocks made. Lots more to go, but they do go together easily using Bonnie's method from her Sister's Choice quilt! Thanks for coming up with that, Bonnie!

I also picked up a copy of Quilter's Home on Judy's recommendation. Mark Lipinski is from NJ and I'd heard of him through the state quilt guild and the Quilting Professionals Network. The magazine is interesting and fun! Thanks, Judy...I'd known it was coming out but didn't realize it had already hit the newsstand!