Monday, December 30, 2013

A year in review...

With Christmas over and the new year around the corner I sigh a big sigh of relief and look to the next year with excitement and anticipation.  I look back over 2013, photos and blog entries and realize that we were hit with life hard and fast and survived. 

My survival tactics involved lots and lots of prayer and lots and lots of quilting... and lamenting over the hardships in life. Through all of it some realty cool projects came about. 

I had the opportunity to improve my free-motion quilting skills...

I was commissioned to make some very special quilts as gifts from others...

 A photo quilt that included the handprints, names and birth dates of grandchildren <3

  A T-shirt quilt for a Bronco fan

  A Queen-sized quilt as a wedding gift

  A memory quilt using t-shirts from a young ladies HS days. :)
...  And I had a block pattern published!


These are just a few blessings that we have encountered throughout the year.  Dave's shop was completed and his business has been steady and successful.  

I have spent enough time this year on what went wrong and want to approach 2014 with a new attitude of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"  or in my life as a quilter, "when life gives you scraps, make quilts!"  Make the most of what is handed you and sing praises (even in the storm)! 

So what will 2014 look like?  Stay tuned and see what it brings.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Branded for life

This morning I was feeling unmotivated and not very much in the Christmas spirit.  As I visited with a dear friend I felt better as we "solved all the problems of the world", we discussed some of our favorite Christmas traditions.

As I ran a few errands in town, I figured out what was really at the root of my feelings.  Ever since compiling our family Christmas letter I have felt somewhat sad and realized that I am missing my dad.  So after lunch, rather than go to the kitchen as I had planned, I headed to my sewing room. 

You know, the place that has offered salve to a broken and hurting spirit and heart this year.  As I cut and sewed this small table runner (or wall hanging) for my brother I felt better.  I had the opportunity to recall some special memories.  Most of the really special ones included our girls, Heather & Rebecca and how he cherished the time spent with them.  He had the time and opportunity.  And for that I am grateful... you see when I was young, he was busy working and trying to provide for his family.  Now I don't want to give the impression that dad never spent time with me, but I do recall a LOT of good times - family vacations, long holiday weekends and even a fishing trip.

After Dad passed away and we had returned to the nursing home to clean out his belongings we left behind all of his shirts and jeans.  (What was I thinking?!?  They would have made an amazing memory quilt)  But since with didn't get them, I improvised.

Now to the person that didn't know my Dad at all, they wouldn't get it.  You see  He wore denim jeans nearly every day of his life (even after battling with the nursing home about how much easier it was to dress him in sweat pants).  And he always had a red handkerchief in his back pocket.  But beyond that, the red "kerchief" fabric marks out his brand. 

When he was just a young man and had dreams of being a rancher he designed and created his brand the "T-Z-T".  I grew up with just about everything marked with this brand.  Our camping equipment, shovels, tools, our dog's collar, and of course, our "pet cow".  If something were loaned out to family or friend or if there was a chance that our property would get mixed up with my cousins', there was a brand on it.

Dave and I have marked a few things along the way...  You see, if you turn the brand on its side...

It's a "Bar-N-Bar"

Branded for life!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sew Much More!

It is the time of year when our family composes the annual Christmas letter.  Each one of us tells the highlights of the year from their perspective... Below is my portion.  Because of the limitations on space in the letter, I have included a few extra pictures that mean so much to me.

Merry Christmas!

      This year started out as many of the recent years started.  Quiet, and peaceful with plenty of time in my sewing room.  I submitted two original blocks to the Quiltmaker Magazine for one of their publications. While waiting to hear whether or not they had been chosen to be included, a sudden whirlwind blew up and stirred our lives and our spirits.

     My dad was diagnosed with kidney failure and given only a few weeks to live. He passed away peacefully 81 years to day of when he began  life on this earth. I can only imagine the welcoming he got from his parents, brothers and sister.  I am sure there was quite a celebration while we were mourning the loss.

     I am certain, also, that Dad would have been proud of me as I worked side by side with Dave.  After leaving his career as Gunsmithing Professor  all of the hard work of starting a business began.  There was construction work that needed to happen so that the shop was only a shop.  We built a storage shed for all of the lawn stuff, his motorcycle and the stock blanks that he has acquired.  The shop got insulated, dry-walled, painted and a new garage door. 

     There was plenty of “desk” work to be done as well… acquiring all of the proper licensing, permits, registrations, etc.  Not to mention the creation of the logo (Thanks to Chris Nolan!), letterhead, business cards, invoices, repair tags, envelopes, income & expense spreadsheets, web-page, marketing… And the list goes on and on!

     About the time that the business was “officially” operating I heard back from Quiltmaker that one of my blocks, Pieces of My Heart, was going to be included in Volume 8.   It hit the stands in November.

     While  Dave is at work in the shop I continue to make our house a home and, of course, spend time sewing.  I was commissioned to make several quilts this year which made up for the loss of any babysitting income.  I have missed caring for some “babies” but in our new season of life I really didn’t have the time.

       Through the “storm” we were blessed with prayers and support of many of you.  We have seen and received God’s blessings. 

     My quilting has been good therapy for me.  I think it is somewhat appropriate that the heart block made the publication - as our hearts were broken from the losses that we endured. God has used my quilting to help heal the hurt and piece our lives back together making it complete, but different.

     May you have a peaceful (“piece-full”) 2014.


Monday, November 25, 2013

For the Little Brown Dog...

We have had our first significant snow and the Little Brown Dog, Shelby, was fascinated with it!

At first she was unsure of what it was, and then cautiously ventured into it.  By the end of the day she was jumping and romping around in it having a great time.  While she does like to play in it for a short time, the poor thing gets a little chilly.

Dave asked if I would make her a quilt to snuggle up on while we watch tv in the evening.  She loves her blankets in the kennel so it would stand to reason that she will love this one...

Dave wanted something much fancier than this, but it will have to do.  I selected a variety of fabrics... (mostly brown to hide her hair that she loses).  He had asked for dog bones to be quilted into it.  I put a few, but then I took advantage of an opportunity to work on my free motion quilting.  Her name is stitched in a few times along with some commands (like sit, lay, down and No! No!) 
I attempted to do the dog bones free motion, but they looked a bit odd... that was when I went to the script lettering.  It looks good, well, most of it anyway... But, really a girl needs to practice to get better, right?
I hope that Shelby likes it and it would be even better if she used it!
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Something Special

I rarely get more pleasure out of quilting than when making a quilt for someone specific - either for them or for them to give as a gift.  Don't get me wrong, I love quilting even if it is only in hopes that someone will fall in love with it and actually buy it.  But my favorite projects are when the quilt has known "destination."

This week I have had the opportunity to finish a custom T-shirt quilt using their collection of Bronco t-shirts and jerseys. 

Just think of how cozy they will be while watching the Bronco games! 

I have also had some fun with the latest quilt on my design wall. 
This is to be a Christmas gift from 4 daughters and 5 grand-daughters. The quilt will have the grandkids' hand prints, names and birthday dates as well as their photos (the empty spaces are just waiting for photos) and the daughters' pictures. If only I could be a fly on the wall when it is opened! 
What a blessing it is to be able to use my skills to help others with gifts of love, blessed from above.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What now?

The blog tour for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 8 is done, the winners have been picked and contacted.

I was thrilled that there were more than 200 comments left. I haven't been able to read every one of them yet, with getting ready for the show and being away from the computer for a few days, but I will and many of them I will respond to.

The show was a fun time... It was great having some time to catch up with my bestie from high school.  We hadn't see each other for more than 23 years, but we talked and laughed like it had only been last week.

Then                           and                              Now
We haven't changed a bit in 30 years. Have we?!?
So, what now?  Well, since I spent the 10 days before the show ignoring the house and laundry... first things first - I will be cleaning and catching up with various house chores.
Beyond that?  I need to get a few Christmas gifts done and then see what fun I can have with some creative ideas that were suggested in the comments.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pieces of My Heart

What an honor to have a block included in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 8! that will hit the stands on November 19th.

 The finished block was the result of a process of trying different fabrics and piece sizes.  I started with a simple kind of "log" layout...

It was okay, but not really the look I was going for - I wanted something "scrappier".  I also discovered that color placement was REALLY important... one block I showed a friend and she couldn't really tell what it was!  See what I mean?!?  Fail!


Once I figured out the right balance of color play I moved on to trying to figure out a layout for a table topper.  Still, not a total success, but it put a smile on my daughter's face. :)

It was at this time that I discovered that they resembled a shamrock... Thus "Pieces of My Irish Heart"...

 Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily through November 15th at The Quiltmaker Blog Quilty Pleasures for inspiration, ideas and giveaways!

Be sure to leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite holiday/season is to decorate for and I will enter you into a drawing to win a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 8. I will have two copies available - one with a special  item available from my personal inventory.
The winners will be posted here on Saturday!
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I have been waiting for over a week to receive some t-shirts in the mail that will eventually become a T-shirt quilt.  I had wanted to have the quilt done before the show this weekend.  There was a delay in getting them shipped... no big deal.  When I had received a message on Friday that they went out, I looked forward to receiving them on Monday.

In the meantime I continued working on projects to add to my inventory... some fall/Thanksgiving placemats. 

I remembered on Monday morning that it was Veteran's day... how could I not? It was all over facebook!  So I spent the morning working on the placemats for as long as I could, ran off to Bible study and looked forward to the mail delivery right after lunch. 

And then I remembered that it's Veteran's day... no mail delivery. So the delivery of the Bronco shirts was delayed yet again. :( 

So, I took advantage of the opportunity to actually enjoy sewing the placemats (instead of rushing through them) and using the many decorative embroidery stitches that my machine has. The end result?

I am thankful for the delay and the enjoyed my afternoon.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm Published!

The wait is over...  it was all on a whim and a dream that the whole thing started.  I had an idea or two for blocks that I thought would be a natural fit into one of the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks issues. 

I submitted two blocks, but only one was accepted.  I must say that the day the second one was returned several weeks ago, I was a bit sad and disappointed. 

But then I got home after spending a relaxing weekend away, the package was waiting for me!

I quickly opened it in search of my block and name... Dave was quickly searching, as well.   I probably shouldn't be making such a big deal about it, but this is a huge first!  We celebrated and laughed some and then moved on.  I had my moment and then I remembered that they had asked me to submit any projects that I had used the block in for consideration to be included in the publication. 

Hours later, I grabbed the magazine again and started flipping through looking for the "Designer's Gallery".  And there it was...

"Pieces of my Irish Heart"...

I received 5 issues of the publication and I will be giving some away during the blog hop November 11-15, and maybe some other goodies I may have.

Y'all come back now, ya hear!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It Called to Me...

The other day, for the first time since, oh, I think, January, I took a leisurely stroll through the fabric department at our local quilt shop (Wal-Mart, really) to see what fabric might be "pretty" or "fun" to quilt. 

I had been avoiding the fabric department except on a "NEED to have" basis.  I mean a truly NEED to have (in order to complete a project) and even then I bought only the bare minimum because I had challenged myself to making quilts (and other projects) with what I had on hand.  You would think that 9 months of using up all the various pieces and scraps of fabric that my "stash" would be getting low.  Not so much! 

The real reason I stopped by the fabric department was to pick up some black fabric to make more Bride & Groom wine bottle covers for the upcoming show in November.

While waiting for someone to come cut the fabric I strolled... And then I found it!  It was a lovely light green with lightly printed brown leaves on it.  AND, the best part of all... It was on sale for only $1.50 a yard!  Score!

When I picked it up and placed it with the black fabric I had I discovered that it wasn't black.  It was really more of a dark brown fabric.  It looked so pretty together.  it was like they belonged together.  I couldn't separate them.

It was right then that I knew what I was going to make!  I've wanted to try another whole-cloth quilt since I gave the first one away so quickly after finishing it.  Not that I plan to keep this one for myself, but at least I will have time to "enjoy" it before I try to sell it at the show.

So, I layered the fabrics and batting, marked the center and then I started drawing.  Here is the finished product. 

And, like I did in the spring, I am entering an on-line quilt festival.  Voting will begin November 1.  I have entered two categories - Throw Quilt and Home Machine Quilted.  Go check them out and vote!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

My cup runs over...

The phrase "My cup runs over" is a wonderful phrase and means that one is feeling abundantly blessed.  I am abundantly blessed!

But the other day I mentioned to Dave that it is somewhat of an unusual saying... Thinking back to when the girls were much younger and just learning to be independent, I remembered my frustration and, yes, even anger, when they wanted to be a "big girl" and pour their own milk or juice.  They hadn't quite figured out the timing of when to stop pouring and their "cup ran over". 

In those situations, it meant not just an abundance of liquid spilling over the edge of the cup, but a big mess for me to clean up.  Eventually, the girls learned the timing and they even learned about cleaning up the mess. 

How many times do our cups in life run over?  Dave had responded in the conversation about how the overflow can make a mess, but we just have to make sure that we surround ourselves with others who can mop up the extra blessings.  What a wonderful picture!

Is your cup overflowing?  Do you have others to absorb the extra blessings? I do. :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Remember me...

The other day I was reading a blog post about "How Will Others Remember Me?"  I began running that thought through my mind and wondered... 

What will others say about me?  "She was a mom... a wife... friend... quilter... singer... secretary...

By my children I'll be remembered as a their mom.  I hope that they remember me as a loving and caring mom who made sacrifices in order to be available to them whenever they needed me... for a scraped knee or a broken heart and to celebrate with them as they achieved goals in their lives, like HS and College graduations, gainful employment and independence.

By my husband, Dave, I will be remembered as his wife, partner, soul-mate, housekeeper, head chef and prayer warrior.

I can only hope and pray that I will be thought of by others as someone who lives life happily.  So, what makes me happy? Not to sound shallow, but quilting makes me happy.  I do so much more while designing and sewing a quilt.  As I plan, select fabric, sew and layout a quilting project I pray... I pray for the recipient of the quilt.  I pray that they will feel the love and prayers stitched into the quilt.  I pray for any personal needs or concerns that I may know of for the person and for their future.

So, in the end, I guess I hope to be remembered as not just a mom, a wife, a friend or a quilter, but as one who lives to glorify God in this patchwork called life.  How do you want to be remembered?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quilt Care... Who knew?

I recently asked some friends for suggestions for topics to cover on my blog.  One friend asked for some help in caring for quilts, like how to wash them, is it bad to wash them too often, and will the colors run onto each other?  All good questions.

I have to admit that I have never been one to give too much thought about "proper quilt care".  I make quilts with the intention that they be used, loved and enjoyed by the recipient and therefore, have never been worried about washing a quilt too much.  It only stands to reason that the more frequently a quilt gets washed, the more the wear and tear on the fabric, seams and quilting.  However, in my research I discovered that laundering the quilt should be a last resort... and to NEVER use a top-load machine.  Ooops, my bad! I will admit that we have only a top-loading machine, but rarely do I launder my larger (bed-sized) quilts in there.  Our lap-sized quilts, baby quilts and table runners do go in the washing machine. 

The article I read suggested that spot cleaning be used on stains that need to be removed, but to "test" a spot with a wet cotton swab for color fastness.  If there are no stains that need to be addressed they recommend vacuuming the quilt with a hand attachment. 

Because I have quilts on just about every couch or chair in our house, our cat, Ty, has the privilege and honor of using them every day.  Because of this, our quilts get laundered far more often than the average bed quilt.  But he uses those too.

I don't want to mislead you and let you think that I launder them on a weekly basis, but certainly, as needed.  And after researching this a little more closely, I will probably vacuum them first, putting off the need to launder as frequently. Maybe they will last a little longer. ;)  But on the other hand... I can always make more!  =D

As for the question about colors running, that is a whole conversation that has two sides and starts with the "quilter's" personal preference...  Do you pre-wash the fabric before cutting, or not?  I do not.  Today's fabrics are usually "color-fast" and the manufacturing of fabric and the use of dyes are much less of a problem now days.  I do not pre-wash fabric... however, the first time I launder (gasp!) a quilt I use one of the wonderful little creations found in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores called "Shout color-catcher". 

While, I may not follow all the rules about caring for my personal quilts I would never-ever treat an antique quilt with such reckless abandonment.  I treat antique quilts with great respect, love and tender care.

If you want a little more information on caring for and storing your quilts, you can read the article that I found...

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas... Already?!?

Christmas is only 78 days away.  How can it already be October?  This year has been super busy and crazy and it seems like it was just April and then I blinked and here it is October.  But when I break it down and think of all the changes that have taken place and all the work that Dave and I have done, I realize that it really is possible.

As we were watching tv last night, a Macy's commercial referred to an elf. 
And, I have heard a number of people comment that stores already have Christmas decorations out in the store and that it is far too early.  I would have to agree with that. 

However, I "prepare" for Christmas all year long.  When I find a perfect gift for a friend or family member, I get it (especially if it is on sale!).  And when it comes to having a homemade Christmas I always start early.  This doesn't mean that you have to "deck the halls" and all that.  Rather, if you give some early thought to what sort of gifts you would like to give or make you can avoid the craziness of putting together last minute gifts.

I can help you out with some of these gifts.  I would be happy to assist and I have a large variety of items available... for all ages... in all price ranges... and not just quilts. 

If you are interested in seeing some of my items, find me on facebook (and take a look at my "2013 Therapy Sessions" photos or take a look at my web-page -  My contact information is on the page.

I will be at a show in the Denver area on November 16th. If you are in the area and interested in knowing details, let me know.  I would love to see you there and help you avoid some of the last-minute "holiday hustle & bustle".

Remember only 78 days!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Practice, practice, practice

For the past few weeks, I have "practiced" in participating in the Proverbs 31 on-line study"blog hop".  You see, I need the practice.  You may, or may not, recall that the whole reason I began this blog was so that I had something to put on the application when I submitted two blocks for the Quiltmaker 100 Block publication.

And, as you may or may not recall, I had one of the blocks be accepted for the publication.  The publication (100 Blocks, vol. 8) will go be available for sale on November 19th.  I will be participating in their blog tour that will take place between November 11-15.

I have been told that they will be sending some post ideas.  I look forward to receiving them and "entertaining" you as I share my love for quilting, my faith and how the two come together.  I recently read Marie Bostwick's book, Threading the Needle, and loved a statement in the story...

I doubt there are any books out there titled "Quilting taught me to Pray",
but maybe there should be. 
Praying and quilting has taught me that there's a little more to me,
and a lot more to life, than I had realized.
While I may not have any earth shattering ideas that will revolutionize or change the world, I do enjoy quilting and making the world a better and happier place with each quilt I complete - one piece at a time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Great Life

As I finish up the Proverbs 31 on-line Bible study of Lysa TerKeurst's "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" and their final blog-hop I reflect on the Psalm 81:10.

I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
It takes great faith to trust God for the provision of our future.  (You can look back on my blog to get a few more details of our current situation. and .)  Dave has been saying for months in our night prayers, "if it is only $1.50 a day that we earn, may it be enough."  I echo that prayer.  I echo it with every trip to the store and with every meal that we prepare and every bill as it comes due. 
We often recall the story from a close friend of his trust in the Lord when he has had need after need met, mostly by total strangers and how he had "just enough" money for the trip that he was about to make.  He had visited a church and when the offering came around he dropped in the remainder of money ($14) that he had in his pocket.  The $14 had been earmarked to assist his friend with the cost of gas when he dropped him off at his next destination.  He was trusting... At the end of the service the woman sitting behind him tapped  him on the shoulder and tucked a $20 in his hand and said, "The Lord told me that you need this."  He responded quickly with a "thank you" and then in his mind with "What's the six bucks for, Lord?" 
As it turned out our friend helped to pay for the gas, as planned, AND had the opportunity enjoy one last short visit over a cup of coffee with his driver.  The cost of the coffee with a small tip?  $6!
So, I open wide my mouth and know that you fill it.  The visual I have with this is me standing in the rain, arms outstretched, face lifted and mouth wide open... Praising Him.
I also recall a memory of our daughters (now grown), at age 4 and 2 standing in the rain in a similar fashion singing "if all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops, oh what a rain that would be!"  Good times, good memories.
I think I will head to my sewing room and make a quilt that reflects the perfect provision and timing of God.  Please consider coming back to see what I come up with.  You know it will be "Blessed from Above and Made with Love".

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Fresh Vision... A New Season

With the passing of the holiday weekend, hearing about kids returning to school and seeing lots of "first day of school"pictures from all of my friends on facebook, I am reminded, again, that Dave and I are in a new season of life.

For 18 years, even after becoming empty-nesters, I held to the tradition of beginning a week of deep cleaning the house when everyone was "back to school". This year is different. Sort of...

I always had a period of adjustment and sadness/disappointment when Dave went back to work after having much of the summer off.

With Dave not returning to TSJC and starting up a home based business in the shop, I celebrate that he is close by and await with great anticipation and excitement as our new season unfolds.

But what about my "fall cleaning"?  The other morning Dave happily said, "I'm going out to the shop" and knowing he would be out there for several hours, I kicked the dog out of the house and went to it.  The kitchen got a much needed deep clean.  The next day I moved to the bathrooms.  By the end of the week I will have the whole house (mostly) deep cleaned. Yay!

So ... borrowing a quote from Amy Grant, "Watching the seasons change is always a good reminder to embrace the changing seasons in our lives."

As I approach the end of the Proverbs 31 on-line Bible study "What happens when women say Yes to God", I embrace this new season with excitement and a Fresh Vision. 

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Give It Away! #SayWhat!

I am participating in an On-line Bible Study and it has been quite interesting. We are using a book, What Happens When Women Say Yes! by Lysa TerKeurst. This week's lesson talked about Radical Obedience. Listening to the voice of God and actually doing it! No matter how crazy it might seem.

This morning I was headed to my sewing room with the intention of working a couple different layouts for my Pieces of My Heart block that will be included in the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks issue coming out in November. 

Or, I thought, I could make a couple more items for the upcoming Farmer's Market and using the ideas I came up with that I feel would be good "sellers". 

As I started pulling fabric for the projects my mind immediately switched to a different mode when I saw the large bag of fleece that was in my closet that I got from my cousin when she cleaned out some of her dad's stuff. (Yes, her dad quilts, or used to before his health declined.) 

These were not just scraps of fleece, but 1 yard cuts of fleece... large enough to make some blankets. Not the typical project that I usually do, but I thought they would make some nice baby blankets. That's when I thought "I could make them and give them away!" "Say What?!?" As I argued briefly with my myself, I thought, "I sew/quilt items to sell and to help supplement our income." Okay, well, maybe also to support my "problem" - my love of fabric and sewing. But I do sell enough stuff to actually help us afford some of the "extras" in life.  

So, I posted on fb to my friends what I was doing. I quickly had a few requests. Now I need to see how many blankets I can actually get out of the fleece... As silly as it may seem, I believe that by my listening to and following through with the simple idea of giving the fleece blankets away I am actually being radically obedient. 

Want one? Let me know. If I have any left, you are welcome to one.  

#1,2&4 have been claimed... the other three need love too. No strings attached... free! Just give me an address to send then to.

My motto is Blessed from Above, Made with love. Exactly what these blankets will be - Blessed. Blessed because of a lesson in radical obedience. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

... Every Story Can Have a Quilt!

Every Quilt has a story... and Every Story can have a quilt.

Every quilt does have a story... who made it, who it was made for, the occasion, when it was made, etc.

But every story can have a quilt as well! Take for example, Tori. A young gal that just graduated from HS and is beginning College. Her teen years are being compiled into a quilt. As I look at the blocks from her collection of T-shirts on my design wall I know that she was a dancer, participated in lots of drama and youth activities.

Or... one of my favorite children's stories is The Tale of Three Trees, a traditional folktale.  Three trees have hopes and dreams and plans for their own lives.  The moral of the story is that God has a plan for you... If you trust in Him, He will give you great gifts.  Not to give the story away, but each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. 

So, what story would you like to have made into a quilt?  A favorite book? Or you own story of vacation destinations, marathon/running "career", or a past career/job?  Let me know. I am always up to a challenge and/or new ideas.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Every Quilt Has A Story...

Every quilt has a story... 

Since I had posted about the history of quilt blocks and the stories behind them, I thought about many of the quilts that I have made and the stories and inspiration behind them. 

A few I have blogged about, such as Green Pastures and An Oasis in the Desert.  I have lots of others that I haven't told the stories about, like my "Gettysburg trip remembrance quilt,"

and my virtual vacation quilt "Hawaiian Trip"

But I wonder about the story behind some of the old quilts that I have acquired... like the one from my Mother-in-law.  It was nothing fancy, well worn and somewhat tattrered.  I remember when we were cleaning out her place 18 years ago, getting it ready to sell.  One of the sisters said "What about this? It can't be just thrown out out given to some second-hand store."  None of the kids really knew the story of it, but it really did just look like a comfortable blanket that seemed to invite someone needing comfort and warmth.  I took that quilt.  And then one day I found a pattern for the perfect project to repurpose that quilt that still had so much love to give.

Then I found a quilt that my Grandma had.  Her favorite color was yellow and Grandpa's was green. I am sure that is why she had it.  I know that she did not make it herself but I wonder about the story behind it as well.  (Was it a gift from one of her friends?  Who made it?) It too was tattered and worn, but I knew that it still had so much love to give.  The pillows are quite comfortable and look great in our basement sitting room! 

By taking a special keepsake that may have outlived its original purpose, but was just too special to toss I was able to bless several family members with small gifts that serve as a reminder of a loved one.  Blessed from above, made with love... and the story of a loved one gone from this earth can be carried on for another generation.   

Do you have a special keepsake that could be transformed and made new?  I would be more than happy to help!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The acceptance letter...

The day had been a frustrating day... until I opened my e-mail as we waited for friends to arrive for an evening of socializing. There I saw it. A message from the editor of Quiltmaker Magazine. I first thought it might be about an application that I had sent in to be part of a group to make a quilt using one of the block patterns from their recent volume 7 of 100 Blocks. Or a thank you for my recently renewed subscription. Instead I found this...

Dear Melva,

Congratulations! Your block (Pieces of My Heart) has been chosen to be included in 100 Blocks, vol. 8, on sale November 19, 2013.  More information will be coming shortly regarding the blog tour, promotions and more.


I was so excited! I was, actually, quite shocked. You see the original paperwork had stated that I should be notified within two months of the deadline - that was March 1. When May 1 came and went I figured my two blocks that had been submitted had been passed over.

Not that I am complaining, I mean we had plenty going on in our lives (still do), but I am in a much better frame of mind to fully absorb the experience.

Now, I have the opportunity to create a quilt using my block design to possibly be included in the designer's galler in the magazine and/or to be a part of the gallery exhibit in their office in Golden, CO. 

I have spent much of this summer working along side of my husband, Dave helping him do roofing projects, installing an attic fan, and putting in insulation and drywall in his shop.  And since Dave's shop is nearly done I should have the opportunity to spend a little more time in my sewing room.  I believe my construction work is done! 

I am off to my sewing room...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures

Loss has been a large part of our life recently.   I had commented to a friend that I feel like I am living in a bad country song... Dave lost his job, I lost my Dad, I've "lost" some babies that I love dearly because they are moving...  Our daughter, Rebecca, even compared us to Job and all that he lost.  I replied "Well, I certainly hope that I don't lose our children!"  She agreed.  :)

However, we have come through the past several weeks bruised and beaten, but with our faith and our love for God and praising Him for His provision. 

Last week, as we planned my Dad's service to celebrate his life, the Pastor suggested that the 23rd Psalm be read as part of his service.  We followed the suggestion and as the Psalm was read I had a picture of a quilt come to mind - Green strips of fabric - scrappy, of course!  No border - representing God's unending love for us.  And quilted with the words of Psalm 23 written in script lettering.

The idea of using words/script as the quilting has long been an idea of mine for several years, but I was afraid to actually try it.  Since Dave and I seem to be in a "new season" I figure I might as well try to learn something new... thus my sudden interest in free motion quilting.  Much like the "Oasis in the Desert" quilt, the stitching isn't perfect, but it has improved.  And I have learned that my stitches remain much more even if I do not drop the feed dogs as the owner's manual suggests.  Below is a close up of part of the script.

Again, much like the "Oasis" quilt, this "Green Pastures" quilt offered healing for me.  I'm not really sure what I am going to do with these very personal quilts... We certainly don't have a NEED for them, but I don't think that I can sell them.  They are too imperfect and too much of a "bandaid" for me.  Perhaps one day they will offer comfort and/or healing to someone who may need one of them as they journey through a rough time in life, much like we have.  

In the meantime, I will snuggle up under them as Dave and I wander off to "Walton's Mountain" each evening.  (We have found it a safe hideout as we unwind and watch the Walton's on INSP each night.)  Good night, Johnboy.

I happened upon a quilt blog festival and decided to enter.  Here is the link where you can vote starting May 24th.  Follow this link... I am entering the scrap category.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Oasis in the Desert

The past month has been one of the most difficult times in our lives... It has seemed as though Dave and I have been wandering in the desert, much of the time by ourselves.... lost and alone. 

We now find ourselves with the potential for a complete change in direction for our future.  We don't know what the future looks like.  We have yet to see that picture.  I cannot reveal the details that brought us to this point of life, but I can say that the past several weeks have involved lots of waiting.  Waiting as other people did their jobs and made decisions regarding our situation.  The next step has been taken and we now wait... again.

If you really know me you KNOW that I LOVE to spend time in my sewing room creating, sewing, and quilting.  I use the time as therapy.  But the last few weeks rocked me so badly that I could not even muster up the energy to make it into my sewing room, let alone create something in there.

In the past there have been times when I would comment on the amount of discarded pieces of fabric or paper in the trash can in my sewing room.  It has been used as a sort of gauge as to whether it was a "good" week or a "sad" week.  This past Tuesday as Dave and I gathered up the garbage to take out my comment was "Oh, this was a REALLY pathetic week."  (There was one discarded tissue.) He looked me in the eyes and said, "It is time.  Get back in there and create.  You need to make a quilt and it needs to represent something about time in the desert." 

I thought about it... I thought about the past weeks and the amount of time we both have spent in prayer, study and in Scripture.  There were several key scripture verses that we have clung to in this desperate time.  I went to my stash.  I pulled out a fat quarter that had Scriptures of hope printed on them.  I then went and pulled out fabric that represented the mono-chromatic colors of the dessert.  This is what came about...

As I cut and placed the pieces for the top on my design wall I felt my spirit begin to lift.  As I sewed the pieces together and read and focused on each scripture square I found myself beginning to smile and sing along with the praise music I was listening to.  By the time I got to the border I was nearly dancing!

Once the top was complete, I asked Dave his opinion before I started the quilting.  I had thought about possibly doing some applique or some embroidery that would have represented growth in the desert.  After a comment from him about the random placement of the scripture squares, he thought it just needed lots of quilting.  My response to the random-ness of the scripture was "There is no pattern to the color placement or the Scripture. There is no symetry or pattern in the desert/nature."  Okay... 

So I started with some leaf/flower petal type quilting pattern.  Again, with no symetry, rhyme or reason to the placement of it.  (Trust me, Dave commented on the lack of it again.)  Then I took advantage of the remaining open space and decided that I would work on improving my skills of free-motion quilting.  The stitch length is uneven and "jerky" in places.  Because of that, this quilt would never win any kind of award for skill in quilting, but it takes practice to improve. 

This quilt represents much to me.  It represents wandering and growth. It represents time with the Lord and the many people that have been praying for us and with us.  It represents hurt and healing.  It represents our current position in life.  It is an Oasis in the Desert.

I have entered this quilt and blog entry into an on-line bloggers quilt festival.  Follow the link below and vote!