Sunday, March 22, 2015

The End

Last week there were piles of snow everywhere!  This week they are gone!

The End.  Those words bring such different reactions at different times.  Satisfaction.  Sadness.  Relief. Joy. Anticipation.  Hope.  This week was full of "The End" for me.  And this time those words brought satisfaction, relief, and anticipation.  Satisfaction with the completion of several projects.  Relief that winter was over (calendar says so, and our snow melted this week!).  Anticipation of new projects, warmer days, and wondering what life will bring this spring and summer.

This week was the last challenge for persimondreams Project Quilting Season 6 - Isn't it Charming.  The challenge was to use 5" charm squares for our project.   I had this cute animal fabric and a pack of Moda dot charm pack.  I chose to make this 26"x 31" carseat blanket for our local baby pantry.  First I fussy cut the animal fabric into 5" squares and then used the dot charm pack to make squares in a square.  "The End" of this season brings the anticipation of what Kim is going to come up with for off season challenges!

As I was working on this baby blanket, I began to notice the buds emerging on the tree outside the window!  So excited for the end of winter and the beginning of spring!

I got a call from my long armer, and was excited to hear that this quilt was finished.  On Wednesday I sat all cozy under it and finished the binding while watching Survivor.  Counting my Project Quilting challenge quilt, I actually bound 3 quilts this week!  That brought great satisfaction!

Last, but not least, I finished the March challenge for the 2015 Free Motion Quilting challenge hosted by quiltshopgal .  This month's challenge was inspired by the teaching of Patsy Thompson.  I chose to use Option #1 and practiced, practiced, practiced Patsy's boarder method.  I love how my pillow turned out! This ending brought great satisfaction, but also anticipation of what April's challenge will bring.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Project Quilting, Challenge 5 - My Favorite Fabric

This week Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams challenged us to actually use one of our favorite fabrics.  How many times have I bought a fabric and then thought it was to beautiful to actually cut up and use!  Such a waste, really.

Blank Quilting "Audrey - tan"
Tomorrow one of my best friends will be celebrating her birthday.  I thought this was the perfect challenge to create something for her.  By making a messenger bag, I used the fabric without cutting it into tiny pieces.  I am happy with the way it turned out, and hope she will enjoy it as much as I do.

After looking at many different patterns and tutorials on Pinterest, I settled on the bag from crazylittleprojects.  Her tutorial was well done and easy to follow, along with a short YouTube video.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"The People of the Cross" Project Quilting Challenge 4

Ever since I saw the first news clip about the 21 Egyptian Christian men who were beheaded by members of ISIS, to send a message to "The People of the Cross", I have not been able to get it out of my mind.  Those men were someone's brother, husband, father, fiance, son, grandson.  They were executed for their beliefs. Beliefs like mine.   Rather than become morose, I decided I needed to create something to remember. Something to remind me, especially during this season of Lent, to pray for other Christians who do not have the freedoms we do here in America.  To pray for those who choose to follow Jesus despite the persecution or even death that may come because of their belief.  And so this wall-hanging, "The People of the Cross" was created.

I have always wanted to try matchstick quilting and decided that this was the project to try it on.  It lent itself to making a "quilt as you go" project.  I marked my white fabric every 1 inch to keep things fairly straight.  I also drew an outline of a heart with the cross in the middle, to serve as a guideline for adding fabric strips.

I used my walking foot for this entire project, and learned a great deal about how that fabulous foot works.  At first I found it difficult to keep my little fabric string from getting caught in the walking foot when I would start sewing on the strip.  I found that slowly taking one stitch at a time, while using a straight pin to hold the fabric in place (a stiletto is too big to get in the opening of the walking foot next to the needle) worked.

Originally I was going to stitch the word "love" in white and let it be a surprise when you really looked at the quilt.

I changed my mind when I realized that love is the most important key to life.  Why shouldn't it also take a prominent place in this wall hanging which was meant to remind me of something so important. I am pleased with the simplicity of this wall hanging. To see details for this particular challenge head over to Persimon Dreams  and consider joining in the fun!

"The People of the Cross"  21"x 23"
The last part of this blog post is going to be a more in depth journaling of my thoughts.  I understand if your beliefs are different, and you choose to stop reading at this point.

I commented to my son the other night, that I sometimes worry about what my children and grandchildren will have to face to continue to be Jesus followers.  His response was, "I'm sure every parent before you has thought the same thing."  He is not worried.  He is only 17.   Never had to stand up for his faith, never had it questioned.  In reality, neither have I.  I have just had 22 more years to become aware of what could be.  Here in America we are blessed with one or more churches in every town.  We don't have to worry about people storming through our doors to harass us.  If that happened, could I stand?  Or would I denounce the very thing I claim to believe?  I pray that should a time like this ever come in America, I would be able to back up what I say I believe.  That I would not turn tail and run, just to save this earthly hide of mine.  I am placing this wall-hanging in my kitchen doorway as a constant reminder to never forget those who have died for their faith and the ones who are left behind to mourn.  As a constant reminder to never forget how blessed I am to be able to worship any way I want here in America.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Quilt Shop Gal February Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

This month Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal hosted Leah Day as this month's expert. There were three choices for February's pillow.  Since I have been looking for more background fillers, I chose Option 1.  Leah has a great video showing how to free-motion quilt her design, "Railroad Tracks".  I found this background rather relaxing to quilt.

I love the orphan block I choose to use.  Being in the midst of winter, this block gives me a taste of spring.

I used the railroad tracks in the background, but due to the print, the quilting blends in.  This picture shows the quilting from the back side.  I chose not to put another fabric on the back of this square, since I was making it into a pillow.

I auditioned different thread, but any color other than white would have distorted the dragonfly print.

I am especially pleased with the flowers.  It is fun to add shape and depth with free motion quilting.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bloom Where You're Planted; Project Quilting Challenge 3, Season 6

Bloom Where You're Planted

This week Kim Lapacek, at Persimon Dreams, challenged us to take an orphan block or UFO and finish it.

It was actually fun to pull out my box of orphan blocks and reminisce about past quilts.  My daughter found this block which was a reject from a former project. The yellow fabric outlining the star caused this block to stand out to much compared to the other blocks in the quilt.  She fell in love with it and wanted me to make a wall hanging of some sort for her room.

She and I both love quotes, and I was in the mood for some hand work. We found this quote on Pinterest and I used a chalk pencil to freehand the lettering, then embroidered it while my boys watched the Pistons play on TV.   The wallhanging finished out at 18".

Monday, February 2, 2015

Outside Frozy, Inside Cozy

This morning we awoke to new snow and temps below zero.  A cow decided to have her calf in the pasture, and so the boys and I quickly bundled up to help my husband bring the cow and calf home to a warmer bed.

Frosted Mini Wheat for the cows!

I decided that since I was already bundled up and outside, I would experiment with my camera.  After I couldn't feel my nose any longer, I headed inside.

20 of these snowflakes will make a border around
the Elsa and Ana panel.

I spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon working on machine appliqueing snowflakes for a friend.  She had 20 snowflake blocks to do, so I agreed to help her out and brought nine of them home with me.  Some little girl is going to love the "Frozen" blanket she is making.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quilt Shop Gal Free Motion Quilting Challenge

A friend of mine told me about the FMQ Challenge going on over at Quilt Shop Gal.  Since part of my New Year's goal to "Breathe" included relaxing and breathing while free motion quilting, I decided this challenge would be good for me.  There were three options in this challenge.  I love feathers, and have wanted to learn how.   I appreciate the tips and encouragement Darlene gives on her website.

I have found that I do a better job on the right side of a feather than I do the left side.  I need to keep practicing.  I did better about breathing while quilting.  However, I still found myself tensing as I sewed.  I had to keep reminding myself to relax!  There are no quilting police!

Love the Singer my husband bought for me last year!
It quilts like a dream.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Axis of Hope

Axis of Hope
Challenge 2 for  Project QUILTING this week, was "Sunrise/Sunset".  It took me two days to come up with my idea. The obvious ideas popped up immediately, a landscape quilt.  However, I wanted this to be a pieced table topper for our dining room table.  After pondering this challenge, I began thinking about the sun and earth.  No matter where a person is on the earth, they see the same sun rising and setting.  So birthed my idea.

The center of my table topper represents the earth.  The blue/green batiks reminded me of the colors you see in pictures taken from outer space.  The quilting in the background around the center represent the latitude and longitude lines on a globe.

Using the colors of a sunrise and sunset, the flying geese represent the continual rising and setting of the sun.

Now for a name.  My daughter and I were pondering this while looking at my completed top.  Brittney came up with the name we both loved. She said that every morning when the sun rises on a new day, we have hope for something new.  A new day to begin again, if needed.  What a wise daughter I have!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Disappearing Hour Glass

Love the swirls in this batik fabric
 "The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks.  The summer morn I've sighed for, the fair sweet morn awakes."  This little known hymn by Anne R Cousin has been running through my mind as I sew up these beautiful Disappearing Hourglass blocks.  I know spring and summer warmth will arrive eventually.  But I am determined to enjoy these long winter evenings, and not to wish them by in a hurry.  I am thankful my husband keeps us toasty warm by adding pellets to our pellet stove several times a day.
Hour Glass block

The above block made it's start as a layer cake, turned into an hour glass block, which was sliced and diced and stitched back together again.  I have been pleased with how easy it is to make a block which looks so complicated.

If you want to try this easy block, click here to see a well done video by Jenny Doan, Missouri Star Quilt Company.

When I finish this quilt top, I will also have quite a few 16 patch blocks.  Instead of using a scrap of fabric as my leader and ender, I have a pile of 2" squares next to my machine.  When I come to the end of a seam, instead of cutting the thread, I grab any 2 squares and sew them together.  I've found I finish one 16 patch block for each hourglass block I complete.  Not sure what I'll do with them, but it make me happy to look at the jumble of color.  I also have the satisfaction of knowing I am using up scrap fabric, instead of just storing them in boxes.

I am hoping to finish up the hourglass block quilt this week, and will post a picture of my finished top when I've done so.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Every year, like many of you, I reflect on the past year, and ponder the new.  In 2014, I recognized that I was moving at a frantic pace.  Adding anything anyone asked me to do; flitting from quilt project to quilt project, trying to be wonder woman, while failing miserably.  My plate has been too full.  I know I am not alone in this, but I am only responsible for me.  I have decided that in 2015 my word is Breathe.

  • Breathe in the here and now.
  • Breathe while practicing free motion quilting on my Singer.  (I have noticed that I literally hold my breathe while concentrating on the stitching.)
  • Breathe in each morning while I take time to pause, reflect, and renew my spirit.
  • Breathe while watching my children grow up, while watching my daughter walk down the aisle in May to meet her wonderful groom, while watching my husband walk across the barn yard toward our home, while noticing the beautiful world God has given me to live in, thankful that I have been given this minute to breathe.

I have decided to join Project Quilting Season 6 , hosted by Persimon Dreams, .  The first project is inspired by trees.  And as I thought about the challenge this week, I pictured the rings on a tree.  These rings represent the years a tree has grown.

I realized that these rings also happen when something disturbs water, and ripples form on the smooth surface of a pond.

Trees cannot survived without water, the two have to live side-by-side.

And so my project formed.  Using blue batik fabric I had in my stash, I formed the ripples on "my" pond.  I then drew a leaf shape on stabilizer and fused it to tulle.  Using variegated orange thread, I thread painted the leaf and after trimming the tulle, I stitched it to my little pond.

Each morning as I use my mug rug, it will be a reminder to take time to breathe.