Thursday, October 20, 2016

Majestic Mountains

When asked to make a quilt for Jeanne Graber, Lay Director of the Emmaus of the Rockies Walk #168 I envisioned Mountains... She lives in the Greenhorn Valley of Colorado and is a lover of the outdoors - riding her bike, hiking or any other outdoor activity.  

I had considered trying to design my own block or scene or using the Delectable Mountains block.  But when I found the pattern for Majestic Mountains, by Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side, I knew that I could quit looking.  And, considering that the Walk is being held in the mountains of Colorado... in the fall... I chose to have a fall setting in the meadow.

As I worked on this quilt the scripture that kept coming to my mind was 

I lift my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from?  
My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.

~ Psalm 121:1-2 ~

Life is full of ups and downs... times in the valley and mountain top experiences.  It is just a part of life.  And we all know that it is the time in the valley where most of our spiritual growth occurs.  We also understand that we are "easy targets" when on the top of the mountain.  I know that it has been and will continue to be the prayer of many that the ladies that attend Walk 168 walk ever closer with the Lord... whether in the valley times or atop a mountain.

What a blessing it has been to serve our Lord with you, Jeanne!



Monday, October 17, 2016

Restoration? Recovery? Salvage? Repair... Yes, Repair!

How would you define the work that this quilt needs?

A restoration? That would indicate that something old will look brand new again. A recovery?  That, to me, means that something was lost. A salvage job?  That brings to my mind a sense of "re-purposing".  A repair?  Yes, a repair - to fix that which is broken or mangled and return to a usable state.   

I would consider this quilt in DIRE need of repair... 

This quilt was delivered to me in desperate need of help...  Its 12 inch blocks were tied in the center as well as ties in the sashing strips - making the ties 6-7 inches apart, allowing it to easily be pulled apart. The "batting was a blanket... actually two blankets joined to make it long enough... I can truly appreciate the thrifty-ness of the quilt maker... I used an old blanket on the ABC Crayon Quilt that I made with my daughter years ago.

This quilt was well loved for 30+ years and the owner was not willing to put it on a closet shelf, allow it to become a "pet blanket" or toss it.  I believe it was made by his Grandma. And I can understand his desire to have it fixed and I understand it.

As I looked at it I knew immediately that it needed some quilting to stabilize it and prevent further damage.  I started with the sashing strips... One of them had a tear nearly the entire width of the quilt. (You can see this in the first picture, between the 2nd & 3rd rows)  

I simply did a wavy stitch to hold down each side of the tear and then did a straight stitch just outside of the waves to secure the fabric.  I repeated the decorative waves on all of the sashings to make all of the strips match.

I then moved onto the stars.  

I used the waves to outline the stars since some of the seams had pulled apart. This secured the seams, preventing further tears.  I started with the blocks that needed the least "help" and progressed to the others that were in dire need of repair.

The final block to receive help was this one...

The printed fabric was cotton and completely worn through... I placed the quilt on my table and made sure it laid flat.  I then traced the star point and made a template.  I dove into my stash in search of some 1980's calicos and found the perfect mate for the block!

After making sure the template was somewhat symmetrical, I proceeded to cut fabric to the proper size and pressed in the edges 1/4". 

 I pinned the points into place I hand-stitched the points over the worn points...

It all took a little patience, but it was soooooo worth it.  

I finished up with making sure the missing ties were replaced... the owner of this quilt was thrilled with the fix and ready to snuggle into bed wrapped with his Grandmother's love.

Lesson for the day?  Even when you think something is beyond repair, there is always a way to restore it... and most of the time it takes lots of patience.

Something that I noticed as I repaired this quilt was that the cotton fabrics were more worn and in worse shape than the poly-cotton blends. So, this begs the question... why do quilters prefer the cotton fabrics over the blended fabrics if the blended fabrics have a longer life?  

I realize that tradition probably plays a large part in it, as poly-cotton blends did not exist until 50's or 60's (I am far from an expert here, but taking an educated guess, based on clothing styles, etc.).

Do you have a preference for cotton?  
Do you steer clear of poly-cotton blends?  

I would love to hear from you!  Would you have tried to "save" this quilt? What approach would you have taken?  Something similar, or some other plan?  

Happy Quilting!


Watch for details about the upcoming Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume #14 Blog Hop!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Making Dreams Come True...

A few weeks ago I had a dream... I was employed at a quilt shop called "The Quilty Conscience".  I was having an amazingly fun time!  I was helping customers pick fabric for quilts, cutting fabric for kits and helping to organize and teach some classes. 

These are all things I would love, Love, LOVE to do.  I shared my dream with my family and friends on fb and asked "who wanted to open a shop in Trinidad and hire me?" There was pretty much a unanimous suggestion that I open the shop and work for myself. "Make your dreams come true..."

Dave and I tossed around the idea, weighed some pros and cons and discussed the reality of the whole thing. There are a few things that just make sense to us.  Like...

1)  The Wal-mart fabric department (my personal Local Quilt Shop - haha!) would have to be eliminated in order for a privately owned quilt shop to even "stand a chance".

2)  Store front property rental fees in Trinidad are just too expensive and would require an unrealistic amount of yearly sales for it to be profitable.  Which brings us to #3...

3)  Money!  It would take a large amount of cash to start up such a business - considering the amount of and cost of inventory required.  We simply don't have that kind of money to invest and we refuse to tap into our retirement.  And we certainly don't want to take on a HUGE loan... we are debt free and have been for years.

I know that many would argue with us about taking a risk and reaping the rewards.  But...

4)  We are, after three years with a home based business, well adjusted to and accustomed to our life.  We can run errands or take time off as needed.  With a downtown store front you have to have  "regular business hours".  We aren't sure that we want to commit to that.  Weekends away, vacation time, etc. all become a challenge.  And that can quickly lead to burn out... something Dave and I both are too familiar with, and not interested in experiencing again.

When it comes right down to it we are being a bit selfish, (but believe me when I say, we have give it some thought and put it to prayer) but we really do not feel as though a Local Quilt Shop is something God is leading us into, right now.

However, yesterday a sweet friend had let me know that she had fabric (two shelves full) from her mother that she didn't feel she would use... my friend had held onto for over two years.  She passed it on to me.  I had no idea of the amount of fabric that she was talking about!  OH. MY!  I think I could easily open a shop...

There are fabrics of all types... mostly cotton. But there is some fleece as well as some flannel that will be perfect to use as backings for some sweet baby quilts.

Oh, and just to let some of you know that I am not a hoarder... I did bag up some of the fabric that I know I will not absolutely use and am passing along to our local Senior Center for their use in craft items that they make and then sell...  you know... just sharin' the love!

So, do dreams come true??? 

I do believe dreams come true.  Sometimes you have to work to make them come true.  And sometimes you have to wait.  For now, we will wait to see if "The Quilty Conscience" turns up in Trinidad... or if we happen to find one elsewhere.  

If we do happen to stumble upon one in our travels, you can bet that we will recall my dream and and go from there.

Dream on...


Be sure to head over to Quilter Blogs to see what other quilters are talking about :)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five Things Friday ~ #9

It is Friday!  

That means it is time to review the five things that brought the biggest smile to me...  If you look back over my FTF posts, you will see that most are everyday, normal things that occur.  But if you approach each day with anticipation and excitement, you will see that they really are not "normal" things, but each a special, unique event...  Take time to enjoy the moment!

#1)  Time spent with a friend-cousin catching up after nearly two years of not seeing each other...

#2)  Hot Air Balloons.  Everywhere. More than 600 of them!  Every shape. Every size. Every color.  Amazing!  
This is just one of the more than 300 pictures we took.

#3)   A leisurely drive home via the scenic route - and it really didn't take any longer to get home... less traffic and a slower pace.  The colors through Taos and Cimmaron Canyons were stunning... pictures don't really do justice.

#4)  A Flower-girl with her pearls and sun glasses

#5) The completed repair of a well-loved quilt.  This block needed the most help.  All it required was some patience and hand-sewing to have it repaired and looking as good as new.  

Look around at life... is life happening around you? Are you missing out on the many simple, special moments taking place right where you are?  Be present. S.M.I.L.E.!

Have a great weekend!  And don't forget to smile! ;) Oh, and don't forget to visit Amanda over at Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.


See what other quilters are blogging about at Quilter Blogs

Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Things Friday ~ #8

It is Friday and that means that I am here to give you a run down of five things that made me smile this week.

#1)  Fresh veggies - shared with us by a friend... Thanks Jaquie!

#2)  Our house being sealed, once again, from the outside elements and critters and the best news is that the crawl space should no longer get water in it when heavy rains come... YAY!  It has been quite the project.  After years of water weeping in and causing the wood to rot, we had to open it up remove the board on top of the foundation and replace it with a new one.  We still have some work to do, but at least nothing can get in!

#3)  While I am not a fan of Christmas decorations or music in September (that just needs to wait until after Thanksgiving), I am a firm believer in starting Christmas shopping early... And I have done just that!  Two gifts checked off the list =D

#4)  The opportunity to repair someone's very special quilt.  

It has needed lots of help.  This quilt was tied in 6" increments.  I have repaired some tears, I quilted in the sashing strips just to stabilize the quilt and have begun quilting around the stars (I have 10 of the 20 blocks done)  

And I will need to completely replaced four star points in one block.  This ought to be fun!

#5)  A photo of our grand-daughters having some snuggle time...

Is your life filled with happiness and joy? Remember your life is shaped by your thoughts... think good things and good things will come to you!  

Happy Friday!


Jump over to Gypsy Moon Quilt Co and see what other people are smiling about.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gertie Goat

"Gertie Goat" began as a fun little project that had been hanging out on my cutting table for a few months when on a day that I should have been preparing for the upcoming local farmer's market weekends, I chose to play with Gertie. The pattern for her comes from Volume 8 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.  She reminded me of the goat that had a patchwork face and named after me...

The whole idea was to send a fun little table topper or wall hanging to our friends (Jack and Jamie) that own the Lazy J Goat Farm in Seymour, Texas.  As Gertie showed off at the farmer's market weekends I participated in, she got lots of attention.  

And then some pictures of Jack's dad and his twin brother from their childhood showed up on facebook...

It was shortly after the appearance of these pictures that we heard the news of Mr. Miller's passing...

     Jackson Ormand “Jack” Miller, Jr., 77, of Bay City, formerly of Victoria, died Saturday, September 17, 2016, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s. He was born December 7, 1938 in Victoria, to the late Jack O. Miller and Ellen Braman Miller. He was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church. He was a rancher, conscientious property owner and conservationist who was particularly interested with the improvement of the wildlife habitat of the ranches. Jack’s favorite place to be was “on the Miller Ranch west of the River.” 

     He is survived by his wife Zia Crowell Miller. They married January 27, 1962 in Louise, TX. He is also survived by sons Jackson O. Miller, III and his wife Jamie Becker of Seymour, TX and Daniel Carl Miller of Bay City; brother Stephen S. Miller and his husband Norman Miller of Chicago, IL; grandchildren Catherine Elizabeth Newell, Alicia Margaret Miller, Daniel Carl Miller, Jr., Sgt. Kerah Marlene Miller, United States Army and Jackson Ormand Miller, IV and four great-grandchildren. Jack was preceded in death by his twin brother Daniel Braman Miller. He retired after 35 years of employment with his cousin D.H. Braman, Jr. of Refugio.

     For the past four years, Jack has been respectfully care for by a dedicated staff and special loving care givers at the Matagorda Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He passed away peacefully with his wife of 54 years holding his hand.
In lieu of flowers, consider contributions to Christ Episcopal Church, or a charity of your interest. You might consider supporting Matagorda County Cattlemen and the beef producers by enjoying a good rib-eye steak.

It was then that I realized Gertie needed to be a memorial gift to Jack... I hope that you two (Jack & Jamie) enjoy Gertie and recall fond memories of your dad as you make some of your own on the Lazy J Goat Farm.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this time of loss. 

Much love and blessings,


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Majestic Mountains - Fall Setting

** This is a second entry in to Blogger's Quilt Festival (fall 2016).  Be sure you head over to Amy's blog and vote for my quilt!  At the very least, you should really take a look at all the amazing quilts that have been entered... Voting begins September 25th. 

Majestic Mountains... 

I lift my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
~ Psalm 121:1-2

A pattern from Amy Ellis with my own scrappy twist to it.  

Rather than having the meadow reflect a spring time setting, I used the darker greens, yellows and oranges and tans.  

While the pattern did not have a border or "frame", I wanted the final look to be more like a framed piece of art.  

I was able to create some depth in the quilt by doing the different directional free-motion quilting.  (I don't think I have ever done such tight quilting!)  I actually feared that I was over quilting it, but am extremely pleased with the finished quilt... especially the sky portion.

Thanks for stopping by to see my quilt.  I hope that you will take a closer look and will come back often to see what I am doing.