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... http://www.connectingthreads.com/Patterns/Quilt_Care_Information_Sheet__D991211.HTML

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 - http://www.nolanqualitycustoms.com/nolanqualiycustomsoct13_005.htm  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!