Friday, May 22, 2015

Never Waste the Cast Offs!

My recent project has been hand-pieced... Rectangles with half-square triangles - using the stitch and flip method...




The finished blocks are snowflakes for a "Frozen" quilt...  Aren't they cute?!?


But, no fear, those little cast-offs did not go to waste...
  

I used all of the cast-offs to make the May Bitty-block for Quiltmakers Row Quilt!  All I had to do was trim them to size and add a 2-1/2" block for the pad and the 1-1/2 block for the corner... Easy-peasy!  Didn't the tiny Bear Paws blocks turn out cute???

You can find the pattern for these bitty-blocks here... Quiltmaker Bitty Block-Bear Paw

I think I will be spending some time piecing the remaining snowflake pieces this weekend... and catching up on my rest before Mom gets to come home...  What will you be doing?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hand Piecing is So Much More Than Just Piecing...

In the past week I have spent a great deal of time sitting and waiting... I waited as my Mom was prepped for surgery - a double total knee replacement.  I waited for the updates during surgery telling me that the first knee was being closed and eventually the second. I waited to be able to see her in recovery.  I waited for her to be moved to her room.

And that was just the first day!


While waiting I did some hand piecing.


I had 76 of these rectangles with a half-square triangle to piece.  Seventy-six... and only one was stitched incorrectly (with the wrong side of fabric up).  I think that was pretty good, given the various distractions and interruptions that occurred.

I had numerous comments on my choice of activity... One lady seemed envious that she hadn't been able to do any quilt for about 6 weeks because of complications with her husband's knee replacement.  She spoke longingly of the quilting group that had a project that was to be donated for a benefit dinner. She hoped that she would be able to be part of the project and contribute her two blocks.  

There is just something soothing and calming about piecing and quilting.  It helped me to pass the time, sure.  But I have always spent my time making quilts in prayer... so what better activity to do as I waited?

I am happy to report that, so far, my Mom is doing well.  There were some issues with nausea, but that is under control, as well as the pain, and she will soon be making a transfer to the rehabilitation hospital.

If you feel so inclined, I would welcome your prayers as she continues on her journey.

God Bless!

Melva

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Creating Heirlooms with a Passion

In addition to having a passion for quilting, I have a passion for heirlooms and history. So when the two come together I get really excited!

The latest project features a 25 year collection of patches/badges from fire departments.




This is a large collection... 121 patches - from all over the US... some commemorative patches (for the Oklahoma bombing, the 9/11 attacks), training patches and a few from other countries such as Germany and Australia.  When completed it will be for a full-sized bed with plenty of drop on three sides.

The biggest challenge with this project is actually sewing the patches on... It involves lots of pins.  Which means that with every movement or shift of the quilt while stitching on it there is an opportunity to poked or scratched.  On a finger, on the arm, on the waist or the lap...




A few things you will hear coming from my sewing room... "Ouch",  "Dang it", "Well"... and "Don't bleed on the quilt, Melva!"  I mean some of those sticks are bad!  Nothing that will leave scars but they still hurt.  And so far, I haven't bled on the quilt.  Though I did need to walk away for awhile as one of the sticks slowed down and eventually stopped.

What a wonderful way to display the patches.  I am so glad that the customer came up with the idea!  It would be a fascinating time to sit with him and hear the stories attached to each patch.  I am told this will be a gift to one of their children.  I hope that they have had or will have the opportunity to hear the legacy of this quilt/collection.

Happy quilting!


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Friday, May 8, 2015

Can You Ever Have Enough?

The other day I was reading Amy Ellis' blog that had been "taken over" by her daughter, Ella... amyscreativeside.com

In it she stated...


I guess the quilts are pretty, but I’m starting to wonder how many quilts we really need around here. All stacked up they are taller than I am!

It brought to mind my Grandma... 




and all of her china painting... Just how many _____ (plates, cups, bowls, dolls - insert any of these {actually, ALL of them})?

Some of our friends have seen or received some of her hand painted pieces and they greatly appreciate them.  I (and my children) probably do not have the proper sense of appreciation for the china since we have so much of it. I mean, seriously, when we packed up her house in Tucson we were marking the majority of the boxes "Fragile".  

So... do my children (will my grandchildren) feel the same as Ella?  Just how many quilts do we really need?!? I hope so!  'Cause I'm just gonna keep making them! And I hope that they USE them!  Just like I use my Grandma's china... don't save it for a special occasion... Enjoy them and show your appreciation by using the heart-felt, hand-made items.





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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finally!

Finally... Have you ever felt this way?  You've waited for so long for a situation to change... Or you have been counting down for a special day to arrive...

Or you FINALLY finish a quilt that you seem to have been working on for a long time...

This is what happened yesterday!  I finally finished the quilting on the queen-sized quilt that I have been working on for what seems like forever...



When in reality it has really only been since March.

Once it was done I tossed it on our couch with the intention of working on taking care the "tails" on the back of the quilt.  

I hadn't been feeling well in the morning.  I did a visit with the Dr., peed in a cup and picked up a Rx to remedy the problem... 

It was a rainy, wet afternoon and the couch just seemed to call to me.  All I have to say is that Shelby and I discovered that the quilt sleeps quite well. No, Shelby wasn't ON the couch.  Since the quilt is 108" square there was ample extra to hang over onto the floor.  But yes, she agreed... it slept well.

And now that I have had several doses of antibiotics I feel much better!  So, I am off to my sewing room.

Happy Sewing!

BTW... I can't reveal the whole quilt yet. Watch for it, though!

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Keep it clean~

We ran into a former colleague and her husband a few weeks ago... at a rest-stop.  While we spent a few minutes catching up she asked if Dave could possibly clean and "tune-up" her sewing machine.

She stated that she had the owner's manual that showed where to oil it and then added that she is not very mechanically inclined... We gave her a business card and moved on down the road.

Yesterday her husband dropped off the machine and Dave promptly brought it to me telling me "you know more about sewing machines than I do.  Besides I don't think that you want me to take your special  vacuum attachments out to MY shop.  I'll help you if you need help."

I removed screws... I used my special hose attachments and brushes... and I removed more screws... and then a screw fell down inside the machine... below the bobbin area!  Agh!

I turned the machine over, take out one more screw and find the "lost" screw... and an astronomical amount of dust and lint!



The lint was packed in so badly in the bobbin area! 

And below, this was just a portion of what I found below the bobbin!



Now, granted, the machine was made in 1999... so one could expect to find some lint, but I don't think this machine has EVER been cleaned and oiled!  I also understand that not everyone uses a machine on a daily basis like me... but your machine could last SO much longer and sew smoother seams and stitching by just taking a little time to clean it!

I know that over the years I have learned to properly care for my machine.  I love my Babylock!  I love that it has a larger "throat" area making it ideal for quilting.  I love the built-in "walking foot".  But I do miss the simplicity of the mechanics.  I guess I can't have everything...

No machine deserves to be neglected so badly!  So, if you have a sewing machine, go!  Go right now and show it some love!  Clean an oil the sweet thing.  It deserves to be kept clean.  Trust me.  It will run much quieter and smoother and that in turn makes you less frustrated and a happy person.


Happy Sewing!

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Friday, April 17, 2015

My life... By the Numbers

I have a significant birthday approaching and I was curious... just how long have I been on this spinning ball in the universe called the earth?

As of April 18th...

I have been alive for 50 years... and celebrated 51 Easter Sunday's.  Since I interrupted my Mom & Dad's Easter dinner and Easter has already passed this year, yes, it is 51. :)

Fifty years...                  600 months
                                    18,262 days
                                    438,288 hours
                                    26,297,280 minutes
                                    1,577,836,800 seconds

I lived in La Junta, CO  for 20 years, 3 months and 23 days

I have been married for 29 years, 8 months, 8 days

I lived in IL for 9 years, 4 months, 14 days

I have lived in Trinidad, CO  for 20 years, 3 months, 18 days

I have been a mom for 27 years, 5 months, 3 days

I am reminded that it is not the number of breaths that you take... It is the moments that take away your breath.

A few significant moments that I will never, ever forget...

My high school graduation...

The Freshmen-Sophomore mixer at TSJC where I first met Dave...

The day Dave and I made vows to love each other... in sickness & health, for rich or for poor, 'til death do we part...

The moment we found out we were pregnant!  

The moment we learned that the baby miscarried...

The moment we learned, again, that we were pregnant!

The arrival of our first-born child...

The moment we learned that we would welcome another baby!

Arriving at the hospital to deliver baby #2 and hearing the nurse run down the hall after examining me, yelling "Margaret!  We're going to have a baby!" (The Dr. was across town at the other hospital and they were concerned that I would deliver before she could arrive)... the Dr. did make it, btw...

The day Dave received a job notice for an opening in the Gunsmithing department at Trinidad State Junior College...  His interview day... The day he received a job offer...

The day we closed on a house that we had never actually seen...  Yes, we may be a bit crazy!

The day I moved our oldest daughter into her dorm room for the first time...

The day we became "empty-nesters"...

Seeing our oldest daughter walk up the sidewalk in her wedding dress...

Watching the birth of our first grand-child...

I can't wait to see what the future hold for me!

Be blessed!