Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Where has the time gone?

Here it is, the end of July, and I haven't made a blog post in two months. Where has the time gone? This summer, I decided not to costume a play. But that hasn't kept me out of the sewing room, because I've been making quilts. I didn't end up doing the costumes for the Shakespeare play, but did make a couple of poets shirts for the main costumer. But I squeezed in some quilts before our family went to Disneyworld from June 9-15. Then I made more after I got back home. Here's the summer inventory of quilts finished: 3 queen size patriotic quilts 3 kids quilts for my grandsons' birthdays 2 Magic Square quilts, one for a child and one for a retiring colleague 3 other kids quilts 3 jelly roll race quilts Finished several quilt tops that I started in spring. So you can see, the sewing machines have been busy. During July, I went to visit my sister in OR, we attended a quilt show and worked on a project for her newly built home on the Oregon coast. We didn't finish, so, I'm going back the first weekend in August! Summer vacation isn't over yet!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shakespeare shake up!

I've been asked by my dear friend Dr. J to help costume a Shakespeare show that she is directing. I am working with a very talented costumer who has done plenty of these types of gigs. Tonight we chatted about what will be our next step in costuming the 4 brides in "As You Like It" done by the Riverside Shakespeare Festival, in St. Charles, MO. These dresses are the concepts given to us by the director for 2 of the brides.
The main costumer has many costumes in her collection that may fit the criteria that the director has given us. So building new costumes may not be something I will have to cram into the next week's agenda, because they may already exist! Problem is, tonight and tomorrow were two really big chunks of time that I was going to dedicate to the process of building, but I don't know what to build! Hope once decisions are made that I can actually squeeze them into my schedule, because one week from Saturday, I'M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD! Costumes that I need to do need to be done by then! Well, there's always quilting that I can use my time and fabric for!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day in quilt form

It's Memorial Day weekend. We need to remember those who have served in our military forces and many who have lost their lives while serving. My father and father-in-law were in World War II, and my brother served in the Army during the Vietnam era. I have my father's flag that was draped on his coffin when he died. The patriotic theme of decorating is very close to many peoples hearts. So, finding quilt fabrics with this theme is relatively easy, and there is quite a good selection.
My friend Sharon asked me if I would make a quilt for their church in Steelville to use as a raffle item for their summer fundraiser. I told her, "Sure!" and sought out fabrics for the project. I used this simple quilt pattern called "Jelly Roll Race" where you sew jelly roll strips together to form a long strip, then begin sewing the strip together, matching the ends and sewing the two strips together. Once you have done that, you cut that strip in half, sew those together, making a two strip wide piece grow to a 4 strip wide piece, which is half as long. You keep doing this until you have 32 rows of strips. It is a quick and easy pattern, and turns out very colorful and "scrappy" looking when you are finished.
Here is a picture of the different fabrics that are in the jelly roll race quilt, close up.
I always make pillowcases for my quilts, so here are the finished pillow cases for this quilt. I think I love these! I may look for more fabric so I can make some of these that I can keep.
I found this awesome flag fabric for the backing, and it was really inexpensive. Often the backing ends up costing more than the actual quilt, because you need a lot of fabric to use in it. Hope they all like it and that they make a lot of money on their raffle. Happy Memorial Day!

The Boys and their quilts

My grandsons who live in Iowa all have birthdays from January to May. The littlest one's birthday is 3 weeks after Christmas, so I didn't know what to give him then. The other two had birthdays in April and May. Grandma needed to give them gifts. So, of course, it would have to be quilts!
The older boys love pirates and share a room. So I used a layer cake collection of fabric that had the pirate theme. The collection had two color palettes, and I didn't love them together, so I separated them into black, red and white for the oldest boy.
And the middle child got the blue,green and brown palette.
I started and stopped a couple of times deciding on what to make for the youngest. It was going to be based on a transportation theme somehow. I had several collections of fabrics started when I spotted this "BusyTown" licensed fabric, I fell in love and purchased it.
I also made pillowcases for each boy to go with their quilts. In the pillowcases were the quilts, a book for bedtime reading, and a gift card to Toys R Us, just in case the quilts didn't make an impression.
I think they were a hit. Within a day, they were snuggled in their quilts, reading their books, and making their grandma happy!
My youngest grandchild is a snuggle bug, and slept with me the first night I was there. He is quite a cutie, and loved his quilt, and was carrying it around and hiding under it the whole time I was there. His BusyTown book has some of the same pictures that are on the quilt, which really excited him. There is also a BusyTown cartoon show on cable TV, which we watched on Saturday. This was a good choice on my part, becsuse it really excited them.
It was a really fun weekend, and I was glad to be with my grandsons, who I haven't seen since Christmas. We had a great time together.

Patternista Story

This is the story of Patternista. She is my most complicated quilt that I've made so far in my quilting journey that started as a frenzy last fall. Each day, I get an email from a little quilt business in Hamilton, MO, advertising their "Daily Deal". They give a great discount on one item in their inventory, with the hope that you'll buy something else fill out your purchase to get enough fabric to complete a project. I must admit, I almost needed an intervention to keep me from daily purchase of the daily deals! But when I saw this pattern of fabric, there was no helping me, I HAD TO HAVE IT! It is called Patternista, and the designs in the fabrics just spoke to my soul. The patterns were retro inspired, and "Spirograph" comes to mind for many of them. The colors were batik quality, purples, roses, soft and bright greens and blues, with a pop of yellow and orange. What's not to love? My creative juices started to flow big time! My little quilt business, Missouri Star Quilt Company, also does online free tutorials on how to use their precut fabrics. This precut is called a jelly roll, which has 40 strips of fabric from the entire line cut in 2-1/2" strips across the width of fabric. There are endless patterns available for using jelly roll, but the one pattern I found that I liked was making an 8 pointed star, using the jelly roll strips and a background fabric.
So I set to work making my blocks out of the strips and fabric. Here is what I created my first session of fooling around with the pattern. The actual quilt that Jenny Doan showed in her tutorial was based on making intertwining stars that look like this. I made blocks, but then couldn't for the life of me figure out how to make the stars intertwine. The name of the pattern is "Stars Aligned". Now, I can usually figure out how to put blocks together, but I couldn't figure this one out. I had to purchase the pattern to find out how to do it.
It turns out that you need to build the intertwining stars as you add sashing. Figuring out where to put the colors and which colors to use was somewhat complicated, so I laid them out in color patterns to keep my thinking straight. The quilt ended up very beautiful. I took a picture of the completed top, and sent it to Missouri Star. They actually posted my picture on their Facebook page advertising the fabric pattern. I decided to bite the bullet and have it professionally quilted by Missour Star, and when I got it back, Jenny had written me a personal note saying how pretty she thought it was. I was so flattered! I bound it and put it on the bed with its collection of pillows. I felt like a princess laying on a bed so gloriously decorated.
I finished it and put it on the bed, and of course, Al the cat went on it immediately! He had to make it his own. This is what was in my future to keep it looking nice.
I needed to use this at least twice a day to keep the quilt looking pretty. Al deposited a great deal of blonde fur on the quilt as he lolled around taking his 11 2-hour naps a day. I was gone over the weekend, and you should have seen it after 4 days of no lint rolling! It was a mess! While I was gone last weekend, I got to actually visit Missouri Star Quilt Company twice, once on Friday and once on Monday, on my way to and from Des Moines Iowa to visit my son and his family. My visit on Friday was so fun, because they showed me the entire place, including the back room with the shelves piled to the ceiling with all the beautiful fabrics they stock. The only thing that I missed was seeing Jenny, because she was at the quilt market that weekend. The girls invited me back on Monday to see Jenny.
When I came back Monday, Jenny and Ron, her husband, were right outside their new building. You see, this little business is growing so much, they had to get a new place to expand their business. Meghan took me on a tour of the new store, which has been completely refurbished from the studs out for their new retail space. The old smaller building will hold all of the fabrics they sell in their online business. More "Daily Deals" for us customers! I got to spend about an hour chatting with Jenny. She was like my long-lost best friend, she is the "real deal", and I love and respect her so much for what she has done for quilters around the world. So many have learned from her, and now support her business because it is based on "family-friendly service", and great products. Jenny mentioned in our chat how much she loved my quilt and wished I could make one for her shop.
Since the black quilt is no longer on my bed, and is looking for a home, Jenny said she would adopt it! It is now on its way to Hamilton, MO, to take its place among the other beautiful samples displayed at the Missouri Star company store, soon to be opened in their new digs. I am so honored to have it there, and Patternista has had quite a journey! To my readers--I don't write like this. Blogger updated its format about a month ago, and it will not paragraph! Sorry for such a globby mess of writing. I'm ready to go to a new format for my blogs, unless they change this!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Junior Sewists

I was watching my grandkids all day Saturday, and we were looking for something to do to pass the time. I decided to break out the sewing machine and fabrics and start to teach my granddaughter to sew. I have been planning a day like this for over a year. She has always taken an interest in my sewing since she was about 4. (Now going on 7) We had tried several toy sewing machines, but they only led to frustration because they would stop working very quickly after we would start. So I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an inexpensive adult sewing machine (Janome, my favorite brand) and teach her to use it safely. We had never gotten a chance to work with it. I tried the machine out a couple of weeks ago for the first go round with it, taking it to a costuming gig to use to modify costumes. It worked fine for that. But before that test run, I found out that Janome makes several models of machines geared for young girls, with the "Hello Kitty" logo on them. I decided this was the thing that would be the motivator for her, and I purchased the machine. Well, when I got it, I found out it was exactly the same machine as the one I had purchased a year ago, except it was painted blue and cost $30 more! Same features and functions. So I broke out the "Hello Kitty" machine Saturday and we were off! She loved it, she learned quickly, and was competently sewing short seams without any problems. I found a cheap $2 charm pack, I decided I could give this up for some practice, and we started to put together a quilt for her teddy bear. That went together quickly and she wanted more to do. Her brother suggested a pillow for bear, so we found fabric for that, plus some left over batting for the stuffing. (He had the right idea, when he told us we could put cotton balls into it to stuff it.) Meantime, he was playing video games. We took a couple of breaks for lunch, a park session, and a terrible hail storm, after which we collected large 2" hailstones like Easter Eggs after the storm passed. Then, her brother decided that he wanted to take a crack at sewing something. Well, wasn't I prepared for that! I had a perfect companion for her sewing machine, my plain Jane model that I had purchased that was exactly the same as Hello Kitty. He caught on quickly also, although his sister kept proclaiming that she was better at it than he. They were both hard at work making seams, sewing together squares, sewing layers upon layers of fabric together. Hello Kitty is a trooper, because at one time, I think she sewed 12 layers of fabric together and the machine managed to take on the task. I am proud of them for their interest, and how quickly they picked up the skills needed to sew simple things. He wanted to make his little 6 patch quilt bigger and make it into a 9 patch. There is a special design for quilts called disappearing 9 patch, we'll try that if he wants to do it, and it will make an interesting patchwork quilt.
After making the quilt for bear and the pillow, she sewed this little shirred top dress. It has one seam at the back. I sewed the ties, but she sewed them on. She looks so cute in it!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bye, bye, April!

Well, where did this month go? I'm not sure, but it has been a busy month. Here's what has been going on in my world: Sewed costumes for two small plays, one started April 13, one started April 20th. Got my Featherweight sewing machine serviced Bought a longarm quilting machine, still in the box, looking for a place in my house to set it up Attended an all day seminar featuring quilt making and long arm quilting Went to Paducah, KY,for a whirlwind one day blitzkreig style tour of the American Quilter's Society quilt show Made 5 baby quilts for Cardinal Glennon Hospital for Children's PICU, joining up with another quilter from Missouri o do this Sent off my Patternista Star quilt to be professionally quilted, still don't have it back yet, anxiously awaiting its arrival this week Bought way too much fabric Celebrated with family Easter, 2 baptisms, one First Communion, one birthday. Missed two other birthdays, bad me! I'll make it up later! This is the last week of school, lots of grading, meetings, to get it done. Can't wait to be done with it! Well, goodbye April. You are one of my favorite months, now you are gone! You are always a busy month in my life!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's here, my baby is here!

In its little box from the mailman, left on my porch this afternoon!
Oh no! Packing peanuts! My least favorite thing to deal with!
Here it is in its little case, ready for me to unwrap and see what is inside
Oh my gosh, it actually works! The light lights, and the motor runs, and the needle goes up and down! Hopefully when I figure out how to thread it, it will actually sew! Can't wait to play!

It is a small dream come true (that lottery thing didn't exactly work out for me, although I did win $2!) But for a long time, I've wanted a Featherweight, made by Singer in the '20-'50s. They must have been prolific because they aren't rare, but are sought after because they are small, light and sew great. My aunt had one and swore by it, over and over, and over, and over! We tuned her out once she got on that roll, because she wasn't about to give it up to any of us, so it was a moot point, she loved it and we had to be jealous of it!

So, lately, I've been thinking about somehow acquiring one. I've toyed with the idea off and one lately, more for the sake of saying "I have a Featherweight and it sews so wonderfully!" I hope this lives up to the hype!

About a year and a half ago, I was taking a sewing lesson at my shop where I have bought my Janome machines. An older couple came in, carrying a little sewing machine in a small case. They said something to the effect that they didn't know if this was worth anything, maybe they would like to trade it for something newer, but only if it couldn't be fixed. The sewing teacher and I were like vultures hovering over it, wanting to say--""No, don't waste your money having it fixed, you would like a nice new shiny machine wouldn't you? And then we would try to snag the Featherweight from the dealer! Alas, the couple decided to have it repaired, and didn't trade it. That got my Featherweight juices flowing even more rapidly!

For those who are in the know, this has serial # AE082451. I know you can find out when they were made by the serial number, and one of my forum friends said she would do that for me. So, Bubby, let me know. I'm curious, but it isn't vital for me to know, just know that it works and sews nice, and it is sooooo cute, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vintage Sewing Machine

Here it is. Something I've been wanting for a long time! A Singer Featherweight vintage sewing machine. All the quilting divas have at least one! I found this on eBay. It's on its way to my house. I hope it works. But if not, they are infinitely repairable, so many of them are still around. Why some people even pimp them up by painting them wild colors!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Plenty of time to spare!

Last summer on the parking lot of Hancock Fabrics, I was approached by a friend who directs shows. She asked me to costume "Exit the King". I sort of forgot about that discussion until a couple of months ago, when she approached me in earnest, and pinned me down to costume her show. She had cast the show, and two of my friends were in it. It is a small show, with a cast of 6, so it wouldn't be a huge job. I reluctantly agreed, because I told another friend I would costume her show, and they are at the same time.

So, I was gathering materials, knowing that this show didn't open until April 13. I had a couple of costumes to build, but was taking my sweet time getting rolling on making them.

Then she told me last Wednesday that they needed as many as they could muster up for a publicity photo shoot tonight! That lit a fire under me, but my built in "timing thing" for just how long I'll need to finish it kicked in. I got a black skirt for the maid done, and we had the other maid accouterments, apron, cap, and she had the blouse that would work.

I didn't really get much accomplished this weekend, but started in earnest on the queens outfit on Sunday evening. Finished it and the blouse on Monday morning, then the skirt Monday evening. That left the king's silk pajamas that needed to be done for the photo shoot. We had back-up pajamas, but I did want to get them done if possible. The only time left to work on them was this afternoon.

When I came home from work, I was very tired, as usual. I thought, I'll just take a little cat nap then start on the pajamas. My cat nap lasted until 3, when I bounced up, figured I'd better start on those pajamas if I had any prayer of getting them done by 7 p.m. Lady luck was with me,, because I started at 3 and finished at 6:05.

As I was starting this last project, looked at my measurement book, and all it said for the king was L. So I made some L pajamas, which are really too big for him. But, if I am going to alter things, I'd rather make them smaller than try to make them bigger! I can take them in and make them fit him better.

Here they are:

My one friend in the grey coat did her own costume. She is a costumer extraordinaire, I learn so much from what she does. The maid forgot to bring her black blouse, the young queen forgot her corset, all because the director forgot to tell them that tonight they were going to be in pictures! Grrrrr!

Anyway, with all my procrastination and lack of motivation to do this, I got it done with time to spare! I even got to eat dinner (drive through McDonalds)! I got to the theatre at 6:49, photo shoot didn't start til 7! Plenty of time to spare!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Daddy Dogwood

I've been a stalker during the past week. I've been driving by my old house and stalking the dogwood tree growing in the yard. You see, my late husband Ed, planted this tree in 1968 when we moved into this house. It was a little pencil sized stem when he planted it. Now, 44 years later, it still blooms in glorious white every spring!
This is how it looked earlier this week, not quite as white. The dogwood blossoms are actually bracts, they surround the flower, which is in the center. As the sun bleaches the bracts, they turn from green to white. I was trying to catch the tree in its whitest glory, I think I hit it today.

I have related the story about Ed and the dogwood trees in an earlier post (Down the Dogwood Trail). As it nears the anniversary of his birth, March 27, we think of him more. There is no better way to remember him than to look at this tree, that still survives after all these years, as a testament to his love for this type of tree, and as a testament of our love for him.

When we designed his headstone, we put dogwood flowers on it, instead of other flowers. I know he would love that.

P.S. in the second picture, you can see a huge bush that covers the entire corner of the house. This was a $.50 half dead Rhodedendron that Ed bought and planted. It will be flowering in glorious purple in a couple of weeks. I'm so glad the current owners haven't chopped these two trees down.

Friday, March 23, 2012


One of the newest YouTube tutorials is done by Jenny Doan and Vanessa of V and Co. Vanessa loves the new look of pleats, or in the fashion world, they are called shutters. So many dresses today are made of fabrics with the "shutter" overlay on the skirts and bodices, they are very slimming and quite popular. I have a dress made this way, and I love it.

Vanessa showed a tutorial about a month ago of a reverse applique pillow which she created by overlaying folded strips of cloth and sewing them to an underlayment, then appliquing a heart shape over the pleats to made a darling heart pillow. If this doesn't make sense, you will have to look for her tutorial, because it is very hard to explain.

For this tutorial, she just did the pleats without the applique to make a very chic pillow. Choice of fabric can make it look sleek and modern (Vanessa did hers in shades of light to dark grey to black--a very contemporary look), and on the Moda Bake Shop website, they show the same type of pillow using prints. The choice of fabic makes the style of the pillow change dramatically.

You know me, I like color, so I had to try this newest tutorial myself. I had pretty many jelly roll strips (2-1/2" wide) left from several of my recent projects. I started out with the Dogwood Trail jelly roll strips, since they were on top of the scrap heap. Then I dug further and made two more pillows! I guess this is why I named this post PILLOW-PALLOOZA! Because now I have three new and very pretty pillows for my home.

This one is using Patternista--I posted my Patternista star quilt top a week or so ago, so when that is finished, this will go on the bed with that quilt.

This one is Dogwood Trails, the quilt I just finished last weekend. Looks oh so pretty on the bed with the other things from the same line.
I happened to find a small collection of precut fabrics at our Tuesday Morning stores here in St. Louis. I hit several different locations, and each had a small amount of the same coordinates. I happened to luck out and get a jelly roll, a charm pack, a fat quarter bundle and 2 packages of 1 yard pieces of different prints in this set of coordinates. They were very inexpensive. I'm being forewarned by forum members that some of these cheap precuts (from Wal-Mart, I think) aren't worth the powder to blow them up with, so I'm not going to spend hundreds of hours making a quilt from this fabric, with the knowledge that it might not be something that will hold up to long and hard wear. So far, I have an hour invested in the combination, because that is how long it took me to make the pillow. I think I'll do an easy large block quilt to go with this. In the meantime, I really do love this coordinate, it reminds me of Easter Egg colors--very springy.

Hope you get a chance to try to make one of these pillows. They are fun and fast and handsome, I think. I just stuffed the first one as the tutorial suggested, but put a zipper in the next two, so I can take out the inner pillow to wash the cover. Hope this will work out, and you might try doing it this way if you make one and think it will get a lot of loving, and need to be washed. I used the trimmings of poly batting from some of my quilts, now I am very glad I didn't throw this away, because I filled three pillows for free! Whooppee! Let's go have a pillow fight!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How many Tutes does it take to make a bed?

For those of us who log in to the Missouri Star Quilt Company forum on a daily (or hourly) basis, we know the value of tutorials that Jenny has presented to teach us quilting skills and simple projects that can turn out really great. I finished my Dogwood Trails bedding set and started counting up the tutorials or "tutes" that I used to complete this project--there are plenty of them.

Can you spot them?

In the quilt pattern and throw pillow--disappearing 9 patch blocks form the border around the large motif in the center of the quilt. The center heart is from a pattern in a book called "Super Simple Jelly Roll Quilts" by Alex Anderson and Liz Aneloski, published by C & T Publishing.

Latest tute--pleated pillow. Found a use for all those batting trimmings from my quilts that I didn't know what to do with, I stuffed the pillow with them. NOW I DO KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM! Also in the pillows, heart block, tube pillowcases with borders, the borders are hard to see in this picture.

Binding by machine only, binding tool tutorial. I guess I did a good job with the binding tool (first time I had good luck!), because I can't even find where I joined the binding ends.

I do hate to hand stitch so in the entire bedding set, there is only 5" of hand stitching, that is to close the opening in the pleated pillow. Now, this is my kind of quilt making!

MSQC saved my project by having a small amount of the fabric line Dogwood Trail left in their stock. The most desired piece was the white background with white and pink dogwood flowers on it. This one was all sold out at the local quilt store where I got the rest of the fabric. MSQC also had a beautiful small multicolor flower fabric that I never saw at the LQS.

All this, plus encouragement from other forum members, FB friends, and some great books, and I think the Dogwood trail bedding is officially finished. Oh, I forgot, that last pillowcase in the back needs one more seam, then it is officially ready for my April bed!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

8 year old wisdom

The photo in this picture was taken in 2003, about 3 years before Ed lost his battle with brain cancer. He was diagnosed in 2004, and passed away in 2006.

In 2010, on our anniversary, which was April 4, I designed this little vignette, with Ed's picture when he was a little boy, and our picture from 2003. I always loved that picture of him as a kid, because he is holding an airplane. When he grew up and chose a career, it was in the military aircraft industry. The picture looks like one of our grandsons (my son's oldest) at the same age!

Fast forward to 2012.

As I was making my Dogwood Trails quilt this week, I decided to do some machine embroidery to make it more personal. I was babysitting my two grandchildren (not the same one as mentioned above), and my big boy MAC, who will turn 8 next Saturday, was very curious as to what I was doing. He was interested to see a sewing machine that could run by itself, and he was watching what the words were spelling out.

When I told him my idea for the four blocks, he had a different idea.

This one says our names.
This is our wedding date.
This is a personal message to my late husband, and to all my family.

And this one is the one the 8 year old thought I should change. He said, "It should say--You are here with us" because he reasoned that if we were thinking of Grandpa Ed, then it was the same as if he were here with us, not gone.

Now, can you beat that wisdom?

So, I need to embroider one more block, probably to put on the back of the quilt, with those wise words on them. Yes, Ed is in all of our hearts. We will think of you when your birthday comes upnext week on March 27. The kids will probably gather over at my house, expecting beef stroganoff for dinner, which was your favorite birthday food. We will think of you again on our anniversary, April 4. And so many other things remind us of you. Your tools in the basement, your personal items stored in special places in our bedroom, remembering your funny sayings, and that precious picture from 2003.

This is a nostalgic time of year for me. The rest of the year, I just kind of float along living my life as a widow, a single person, trying to make the best of it, and trying not to dwell in the past. But for the next few weeks, I'm going to indulge in nostalgic thoughts of the years we had together, and how much I do miss you and the life we shared for 42 years, my darling Ed.

Driven by Love

Have you ever started a project that you were driven to complete? I have, and this one really made me want to finish. It was driven by love--

---Love of quilting
---Love of fabric shopping
---Love of creating something beautiful out of raw materials
---Love of my dear late husband, who left us all and went to heaven about 6 years ago.

This is my Dogwood Trails quilt, created with love in my heart and remembrances of 42 years of married life to a man who loved nature, his job, working with wood, and his family. He also loved dogwood trees. So, as I said in an earlier post, when I saw this fabric, I just knew I needed to make something out of it.

It uses the heart block and Disappearing 9 patch patterns as borders for the main heart. I barely made it with the amount of backing I found, so perfect with rose petals with tiny sayings of love on them. I was short a bit, and had an uh-oh moment, one corner of the backing was too short, but I patched it and it is OK. This quilt isn't for a quilt show, it is for ME! And I don't care about that little mistake!

Mr. Kitty, Al, had to investigate the quilt, he did it within his usual 3 minute period of letting me take some pictures. He sniffed it and then jumped down, but I'll bet I catch him cat-napping on it more than once!

This is the pattern I used for the main heart in the center. I could have done 4 hearts, which was what the pattern suggested for a queen size quilt. But I wanted the heart to be in the center, and I wanted to use my charm packs for the D9P blocks, so I chose to do the single heart, with many borders around it.

I was driven by love to finish this quilt this weekend because this is the last day of my spring break, and I have lots of other things that need work in the sewing room in the next few weeks. I wanted to be able to use this quilt on my bed by April 4, which was our anniversary. I couldn't sleep much this week, I would drop into bed wearly from working on it late at night, then wake up uber early in the morning thinking about the next steps. Rather than fight to get back to sleep, I just went downstairs and worked on it. I started at 4:30 this morning, and finished it at 9, including pillowcses. I need some more fabric for some king size pillowcases for my real bed, this is the guest room bed, where all my quilts are previewed for size and shape.

I still need to clip some threads, but other than that and the big pillowcases, it is a done deal!

I do love this quilt, I love it so much that it might not just be the quilt of the month for April, but the quilt for all times! I am very happy with the results.

Some minor boo-boos, see if you quilters can find them. I'll reveal a major boo boo in another post!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shoud have had Sushi for dinner!

I posted a couple of days ago about my wonderful purchase of "Sushi" batik rolls from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Another story of a day late and a dollar short, only this one is a day too soon!

They have all those sushi rolls on sale at a greatly reduced price as their Quilter's Daily Deal, and not only one day, but three days in a row!

Darn, jumped the gun too soon!

Patience is a virtue, of which I seem to have very little of!

Down the Dogwood Trail

For years, our house was known as the "house with the trees". Dogwood trees were the reason why it was known that way.

It started in 1966, when we moved to St. Louis into a little rental house. My new hubby had just started a job as an engineer with McDonnell-Douglas, (now Boeing), we had a little kid and we had moved into a new part of St. Louis--the north part. Many of our relatives equated visiting us with a trip to the "North Pole", because there were no interstates across town to speak of in those days. We had grown up in south St. Louis, and very seldom traveled to the north part of our metro area. We were in NEW TERRITORY for sure!

Hubby took a shine to growing things, something his mother and father did in their tiny yard, which was always immaculate. Not a leaf or stray blade of grass would stay in that yard, they took meticulous care of it. So, in our rental home yard, hubs decided to start to grow some dogwood trees from seed. I still remember the little coffee cans on the side of the house with the little pencil thin sprouts coming up! When we decided to purchase a home of our own, and the little sticks came with us.

Our new house was across the street from the parish church and school. After the little sticks were planted, they were subject to a lot of traffic threatening their very existence, especially when the parish picnic took place directly across the street from our bedroom! So many neighborhood kids would gather on our lawn to watch as they put up the rides and booths! But somehow those little dogwood sticks survived!

The trees grew and grew. Every spring, about 2 weeks after our anniversary, which was April 4, the trees burst into glorious white and pink. They were amazing, because for a tree that likes to live in shade, these dogwoods lived in full sun, and they thrived! They grew so big that they touched each other's branches, even though they were planted about 25 feet apart.

Life moved on, and so did we, sad to leave our beautiful dogwoods behind. We moved to the country where the dogwoods naturally lived in the forest. We walked and drove down the dogwood trail all those years, because there were plenty of them on our 160 acre plot of paradise! We tried and tried to transplant some woodland trees into our yard, but they never made it.

We moved back to the city, and by this time, hubby was ill with terminal cancer, and after his death, the girls wanted to plant a dogwood tree in his memory. We are on our fourth try to get one to grow, we lost three big ones, and last summer planted a little pencil, hoping it would take root and grow. It is showing minimimal signs of life this spring, maybe about 7 leaf shoots, but I am hopeful.

In the meantime, I'm making a quilt in memory of my dear Edwin, lost to us in 2006 after a 22 month battle with brain cancer. When I saw the "Dogwood Trail" fabric, I fell in love with it. My local quilt shop had most of the fabrics in the line, but not the white with the dogwood blossoms. Luckily, Missouri Star Quilt Company had a small bit of it left, and I got the last of it.

My quilt has hearts as the main motif. It is a combination of three different quilt patterns, so I had to do a lot of improvising. I'm not quite finished with it yet, but I have the basic top done, sans borders. I hope to get further on the project by the end of today. When I'm done, I'll proudly display it on this blog.

Here are the raw materials for the quilt, basic "Dogwood Trail" fabrics and coordinates. I started with 2 charm square packs (the only ones left at the quilt store) about 3 yards of coordinates, then more from MSQC, and some pretty pink backing. I embroidered our names, anniversary date and remembrances on several of the blocks, to make it more personal. I'm going to love it, even if it looks like a patched up hot mess!

P.S. My best friend lives on Dogwood Lane, I would love to live on a street named after our favorite tree!