Saturday, April 21, 2007

Crazy Week...

It's been one of those weeks, that I'm glad to see coming to a close. On Monday, my 17 year old daughter was on her way to work in the remnants of the Nor'easter. An SUV in front of her stopped, she braked, the brakes locked and she slid into the SUV. Thankfully, no one was injured, the SUV was barely scratched, but her car is totalled. In a way, I'm glad because it was old, had a lot of miles on it and although we kept it very well maintained, I've never liked the car. So, it looks like we'll be car shopping of my least favorite things to do! I do realize how blessed we are though. Our son and daughter, between them, have been involved in 3 accidents. No one was hurt in any of them and they were all weather related, so no tickets were issued. Cars can be easily replaced, although maybe not as fast as my daughter would hope! :o) Another set of parents here were not so fortunate. Their daughter was buried a few weeks ago after her car went off the road and into a tree. I can't fathom the pain they feel, so I'm very grateful that my children have been safe.
And as you can see, she's fine. Last night was her high school's Junior Dinner Dance. The sun came out for the first time all week and they had a beautiful night for it. She looked so pretty, her date was a very nice boy and they had a good time.

Nothing quilty this week, it's been a little hectic around here. I did shorten the straps on my daughter's dress, so I did have a needle in my hand the other day...I'm in serious need of some quilting time! Maybe this afternoon, although I should be out weeding the garden. But, the weeds will be there all summer...they can wait!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Machine Quilters Exposition - Manchester, NH

We returned this afternoon from a very nice weekend in New Hampshire. We left Friday morning and it took us about 7 hours to get to Manchester, NH. It was a pretty ride, we could see lots of areas that still had snow on the ground, especially deeper in the woods along the highway. Friday evening we took our daughter to see "Blades of Glory". It was a funny film if you like raunchy, stupid humor. It did have its moments, but in the end I felt stupider for having watched it! :o) After that we went to T-Bones restaurant for dinner. The food was reasonably priced and daughter liked it so much that we went back on Saturday night!

On Saturday morning we headed to the show. There were so many beautiful quilts made by talented quilters. I'm so envious of their abilities! As we were walking through the show, we finally made it to the Breast Cancer Challenge quilts. I knew going in that I was not a winner, so I was fine with it. The winning quilt was just beautiful, such creative use of the fabrics we were sent, I absolutely loved it.Now, if you look at the top picture which shows my quilt, there might be a little something you notice that is different. Each quilt in the show had a card attached that gave the name of the quilt, the piecer, the quilter and a little story about the quilt. However...mine only had a little green card with the quilt number on it. Nothing to identify me as the quilter, creator...anything. Unless you happened to look in the program just to see who it was by. As I walked through the show I saw all sorts of quilts made by people whose names I recognized or by people I knew. Unfortunately, no one would have known I made this quilt. I was so incredibly disappointed that after all the work I had put into it, no one would know I made it, unless they took the time to look it up. Who actually does that??? Going through the show there was only one other quilt that didn't have a name tag on it. I stopped in the office, mainly to make sure the quilt was going to be returned to me since it didn't have a tag on it, but the show organizers were off doing other things, so I was asked to write a note in a notebook with my information. I did that, but it didn't change disappointment or the fact that no one knows I had a quilt in the show. We stayed at the show for about 2 hours, then headed out.

From the show we drove to Portsmouth, NH. It's a wonderful little coastal town with lots of shops and restaurants. We stopped for lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery, where the food was good and the beer even better! I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area! After wandering around the shops for awhile, we decided to cross the bridge and go into Maine where there were all sorts of outlets. My daughter had fun in the Pac Sun outlet and my DH and I looked through the shoe outlets....but he and I came home empty handed. My daughter had no problems spending our money though!

We headed back to the hotel and had dinner, then turned in early so we could leave early this morning. The rain was just starting in NH as we hit the road. We went from a light rain in NH to heavier rain in Massachusetts. When we got to Connecticut there was heavy snow, sleet and rain...all at the same time! New York and New Jersey were just torrential rains. The traffic was much lighter on our trip home than on our trip there, so the trip took about 7 hours each way. It was good to get home this afternoon...nor'easters aren't for the faint of heart! I'm very glad that I wasn't driving.

So, except for my disappointment at the show, it was a fun weekend. Now I wait for the return of my quilt. I've entered it into the NJ State Guild show in June, only because a customer insisted that it needed to be there! I'm curious to see what the judges had to say about it. Maybe they didn't put my name on it because they didn't want me to be embarrassed!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Quilt

I received a letter from the quilt shop I used to work at a few weeks ago. The owner was looking for people to make quilts for the shop. She's been making most of the samples for the 5 years she's owned the shop, or paying others to make them. She said she has so many samples at home that it was time to have others make them! So, the deal is that she will provide the pattern, fabrics for the top, back and binding and batting to the quiltmaker. The quiltmaker will provide the finished quilt, completely quilted and bound. After a period on display at the shop, the quilt will be returned to the quiltmaker to keep.

Well, it seemed like a great opportunity to me! I can make quilts that are out of my usual comfort zone without a huge investment in fabric. If I don't like any of the quilts that she wants made, I can pass on making one. I don't know how often she'll need quilts, but I figured I'd try it.

The first quilt is this pretty little gem called "French Rose Buds" by Heather French. It's soft edged applique, which I've never done. It also required multiple, mitered borders...another first for me. Shockingly, they turned out perfect the first time! I can't wait to get this one quilted so I can see how the flowers fray and curl up. This quilt is so soft and pretty!

I'd like to thank Screen Door for tagging me as a blog that keeps her thinking for the Thinking Blogger Awards. Now it is my duty to tag five more blogs that keep me thinking. I read over 100 blogs, so that's no easy task!

One has got to be IrishLakeQuilter. I've known Judy for a number of years and was delighted when she started blogging. She makes the most beautiful applique quilts and always sets me to thinking that I should make one...although I haven't gotten beyond my Grandma's Country Album quilt that I made so many years ago, but haven't quilted. Judy is quite an inspiration to me.

Another would be Mary at Making Scrap Quilts from Stash. She is very prolific and has embraced wholeheartedly the Heartstrings program which she created. What a wonderful thing to take on and to inspire others to quilt for charity.

My third choice would be PrairieQuilts. Nines makes beautiful quilts, bakes her own bread, has lots of kids and embraces the children of others for long visits and does it all with grace and charm. Her blog is a breath of fresh air!

My fourth choice (please note these aren't in any order, I'm just typing them as I think of them!) is Pages from Me. I love reading about life in Australia and seeing the gorgeous quilts that Mereth makes. I'd love to have the creativity that she has!

And fifth, I think I would choose Quilting Twin, Mereth's sister Keryn. Another inspiring Aussie, Keryn makes beautiful quilts and more beautiful designs for machine quilting. These twins definitely came from the same gene pool and inherited scads of quilting talent!

Now, all this being said, there are so many other blogs I read and admire. I don't want to leave anyone out! I also appreciate all of the comments that everyone leaves on my's so wonderful to have this forum to show my creations and get honest feedback on them. I'm so grateful that I took the leap and started my blog. I really thought no one would care what I wrote and at the time figured I wouldn't keep up with it. I surprised myself and couldn't stop blogging now, thanks to all of you! Okay, I hear the background music playing...must be time to stop my Thinking Blogger acceptance speech! :o)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Fun Day...

Today my husband and I took off on an adventure. After running a few errands, we headed to a small town about 40 minutes south of us, near where our son attends college. Mullica Hill is known for its antique shops and farmland...lots of farmland! The attraction for us was a new quilt shop which I had just heard about, that opened at the end of January. The Mullica Hill Quilt Company is the most charming quilt shop I've ever been in, and I've been in a lot of quilt shops! Except for a few necessities, I haven't been just shopping at a quilt shop since my little jaunt last summer for my birthday. I could have spent a fortune in this shop...and pretty near did! Once I made my purchases they were all wrapped so nicely in the bag above. When I opened the bag, the picture below is what greeted me. All of the fabric was wrapped in acid-free paper so that I didn't have to worry about putting it on my shelves and letting it sit.

I did make the one purchase that I intended to...3 yards of red fabric to use as sashing, borders and binding for a t-shirt quilt for my son. That's one of my summer projects.
Then I found this beautiful fabric line from Maywood, which I just couldn't pass up! It's called "He Loves Me" by Jackie Robinson and was just the softest, prettiest fabric I'd seen. Even my DH liked it...and liked it well enough that he held the bolts and didn't blink when I told him I wanted 4 yards of the blue floral and 2 yards of everything else! I did restrain myself, I didn't buy any of the pink colorway! :o)
I chatted with Annette, the owner, and Debbie ( I hope I got your name right!), the wonderful woman who patiently cut and folded all of this fabric. I was thoroughly impressed with the wonderful service and I think this shop will do very well! I know I'll be doing most of my shopping there.

From the shop we headed to the Heritage Vineyard where we had a wine tasting and left with bottles of their blush and peach wines. We also had to take home some apple cider donuts...they're the best!

After hopping down the road to bring our son his Easter basket, we headed's been a fun day! And now I'm off to wash my fabric and find a pattern for a queen size quilt that I can use it in! Any suggestions? I'm thinking stars of some sort....

I hope everyone has a Blessed Easter...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Chinese Coins

The HeartStrings Quilt project is making Chinese Coins for the months of April and May. Mary has written a nice tutorial on the website. Last week at Caps and Laps I was asked if I'd be interested in making a quilt for the basket of goodies they are making for a parishioner who is having a little girl. It seemed like a great opportunity to make a Chinese Coin quilt! So, this is what I've put together in the past two evenings. It measures about 46 inches square, which will be a great size to lay on the floor for the baby to play on, cover her in her crib, or for her to snuggle with as she grows older. I've got enough of the pink leftover for the backing and binding, and I've used all but a few strips of the white baby print, so that is more fabric out of my stash!

It's been rainy and chilly here today. After a trip to the chocolate store to pick up a few treats for Easter, I've spent most of the afternoon doing paperwork, invoices, balancing checking and savings accounts, paying state sales tax, filing...all those fun jobs that are associated with running a small business. Now that's over, so I plan to relax tonight...either in front of my sewing machine or with my knitting. Hmmm...decisions, decisions! :o)

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments on my challenge quilt and the prayer shawl. It's so nice to have this forum and all of the support that quilters give each other so readily. You are the best!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Caps and Laps and other ministries

For a long time I've been looking for a place to donate my quilts, quilting and other (and I use the term loosely!) talents. For a few years I quilted for Camp Reach for the Sky which is a camp in California for children with cancer. It made me feel good to do this, but as time passed I wanted to find a way to make a difference closer to home.

At the beginning of the year, Mary started the Heartstrings Quilt Project. I signed up, hoping to find the time to make blocks and send them off. So far I've sent a total of 30 blocks to the project. Then I realized that I could donate quilts in the name of Heartstrings locally, so that's what I've decided to do.

Last week I stopped in at the meeting of my church's Caps and Laps program. They make hats and blankets for babies, lap robes for for those in wheelchairs and the elderly and they donate to many different organizations. I brought them two quilts which I had made in the last year and the two baby hats I'd knitted. The women were so sweet! First off, they could not understand why I would be giving away these quilts until I reminded them that they were there, making these beautiful baby layettes and blankets and were giving them away because it was the right thing to do. I couldn't stay because I had a meeting to go to, so they insisted that I come back next month and spend some time with them. I hope to be able to make a Chinese Coins quilt for them in the next month as a response to the challenge on the Heartstrings website.

While there, they told me about a Prayer Shawl Ministry that they hoped to start between them and the Daughters of the King chapter at our church, which I belong to. I decided to start a Prayer Shawl for a lady at church who was instrumental in my becoming a charter member of our chapter. I found the pattern on the internet, although the ladies did give me a book of patterns that I could choose from. I'm enjoying knitting it and praying for this lovely lady as I go. I'm sure it will take me forever to finish it, I'm not a very fast knitter! :o)

I did manage to quilt half a quilt on my machine today, but my back was protesting and I had to stop. Apparently I'm going to have to live with some back pain until it gets bad enough for medical intervention beyond muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories. I also removed sleeves and hemmed the armholes from an old dress that my daughter wanted made into a sundress, and fixed another dress that I had made years ago which my youngest will wear in her school play. I still have a shop sample to make by April 25, several quilts to quilt for customers...the list never ends, does it? We've all been there, done that!!! It's a good thing we love it!