Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hot Diggity Dog Diggity

I just wrote the last check to pay off my long arm quilting equipment.
I no longer have to quilt to pay it off.
Time to play!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Sometimes I wonder if it could possibly be wrong to love your kids and family as much as I love mine. I know that sounds like an odd thought, you're supposed to love them, but every once in a while I am blown away by the immensity of the affection that I feel. The world couldn't possibly be large enough to hold it, let alone my heart. This love is palpable, warm, breathing,...and scary as Hell.
My scary faced brother
It is dangerous to allow your heart to reside in another person. Even a very small portion of your heart is susceptible to great damage when it isn't closely guarded. The more you love, the more room there is for your soul to be seared, and left as a soggy pile of ashes on a cold wet morning.

It is tempting to walk away. Run away, as fast and as far as you can run. But where to go? No one can escape them-self. Wherever you go, there you are. The big red arrow follows me around night and day, even in my sleep it hovers over my head and announces, "Here she is!". Having once committed to love another, which pretty much happens the moment you are born and you set your gaze on Mom, you are forever bound to it. Try as you might to run away by intoxication, location, or isolation, you can not get away from yourself, or your ultimate desire to love and be loved.
At times I think I should get a life of my own. It seems that all I talk about is my family. My heart lights up when I think of them. Surly my friends and acquaintances are tired of hearing about my boys, my brothers, my Mom, the dogs, the cats, and quilting. There is so much more in the, science, literature....but my heart resides in my family, it rejoices in the affection showered on it by my pets, and is stymied by the color and light incorporated into quilts.

I've come to a conclusion. I am who I am. There is no escaping it, although I wish that I could be something more for you. (I secretly aspire to extend my familial affections globally...practically, I'm still reeling from the idea.) I keep expecting to enter into adulthood, my head held high and both feet securely planted in a beautiful pair pumps. That is not going to happen. The world and I will have to make do with my perpetually quirky sense of humor and a pair of purple Crocs.
That said, I have a very serious question....this question has nothing to do with my boys, brothers, pets, or quilts...this is going to be hard....yet I will set my compass to something other than North...
I know what that means. You do too. And both of us are thinking that we don't want our mothers to catch us reading, watching, or discussing it. I want to know why... not why don't I want to be caught consuming it. I want to know who decided that once you reach a certain age things that are obviously bad for you suddenly become good. ADULT has become code for obscene, intoxicating, and/or boring. I want to know why.

Why is it that if I enjoy light hearted humor, whimsey, or bright colors I am automatically relegated to the children's section? Why doesn't my dentist have clouds and hot air balloons on his ceiling? Why is decorating with bright colors considered tacky if you are over 18? I don't get it.
Do you know?
Look forward to my next non-familiar discussion - Human Aging and The Bingo Connection.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Finished sewing on the binding today! Now all I need is a girly bedroom to put it in!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fruit...Home...& Moving the World

It seemed like it would last forever. I wasn't ready when the day arrived. I didn't even show up a day late. It took years before I was finally comfortable with the task. Some days it seemed like nothing changed. I was trapped forever, up before I thought I had gone to bed and dragging my feet, the days lingered at an unholy crawl. I wondered what the heck I had been thinking when I signed up. Others danced like twinkling lights filled with joy and wonder. These days I'd hardly noticed I'd showered before I was nestled, happily spent back in my bed. What a joy life could be. Now the task is done, like a humongous quilting project. I've both loved and hated the journey, but I wouldn't trade it now for the world. Time to sit back and enjoy the fruit of my labors.
That is exactly what it is, "fruit of my labors". Like a quiver filled with arrows, or a jar filled with freshly baked cookies, or a humongous quilt, my grown son is the result of many years of labor. I'm not saying that he is "done". Done is a place of mythology that we dream about when we're tired of the journey. We all hope and pray to arrive one day at the end of the road... a place where we can sit in the shade and sip something cool. A place where we can stop and tell stories about the amazing adventure that we have had. Maybe that is what heaven is like, but I don't think so. I believe the adventure keeps going. What I'm saying is that the work of parenting a boy from infancy to manhood is complete. Noah will never again be the little blue eyed boy that held my hand and told me funny stories. (Did you know that the end of your nose forms a lower case m? Or that you can strike out in air ball?).
He is a man. It sounds funny, but it is true. He could join the military and be stationed in a far away place - he'd be handsome in uniform, but he would hate it. He could decide to get married - he'd need a girl first. He could pack his bag and walk out the door, like a hobo from the 30's. He can do anything that he sets his mind to do.
In a way I'm jealous. It has been along time since I felt like the world was my oyster, like any thing was possible - as if I, like Archimedes, could move the world if given the place to stand. I know that is just hormones, or low blood sugar, or fatigue talking. With God all things are possible. When Moses was my age he was a nomadic outlaw watching sheep in the wilderness. You never know where the road may lead you. I pray that it always leads me home. I pray the same for my boys.
Maybe that is what parenting is all about. Home. Loving and protecting and nurturing a tiny squalling infant to the point where he or she could move the world. Home is the place to stand. Family is the crowd, loving and encouraging you to try. It doesn't matter if you succeed or not. The world is a very big place, and although your efforts may not result in a global shift, you will surely make an impact.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wish I was...

"I wish I was the person that my dog thinks I am."
I don't remember where I saw that. It was probably scrawled across a t-shirt. I thought it was true when I read it. A dog tends to be fiercely devoted, loving us at our worst. It seems that my dogs are always by my side. I don't think it is because they attribute greatness to my character. Dogs are not dumb. They, as a species, have done amazing things: can sniff out cancers, find people hurried under tons of snow, comfort the broken hearted, guard, herd, shepherd, catch Frisbees in mid flight, love man. Maybe the shirt should have said, "I wish I loved as well as my dog." My dog know exactly who I am, at my worst. It isn't very pretty. If that is all I aspire to, then the world is in trouble.

I think it might be better to be the person that I get credit for being. In general, people are much easier to impress than a dog. We leap to conclusions about another's character based on the clothes they are wearing, or the company that they keep. I have loved in response to an act of kindness delivered in my moment of need. Whose to say that that act was typical, or genuine? I don't mean to suggest that my friends actions were less than they seemed, rather, my dogs judgement of character might be better founded than my own. People are easily manipulated by the way things appear. I would like to be a person who is who they are, 100%, all of the time, what you see is what you get. That, I think, is something to aspire to.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Statler Sisters Update

The meeting lasted from about 11:00 am until 3:00 pm, give or take.
We had a lovely lunch together. Our hostess's granddaughter did a terrific job of serving everyone. She was adorable; the meal was delicious; and the conversation was lively. It was very interesting to hear about their quilting journeys. I will never cease to be amazed at how similar we can be and still be totally different.
After lunch we retired to the studio and viewed a video which extolled the updates to Creative Studio. (The software that runs the Statler system.). I knew that it had been released, didn't think much of it. As soon as I got a free minute I hunted down my passwords and installed it.

The group also talked about different ways to use the machine. Where I commonly use it to hang clothes fresh from the dryer, or to hold my laundry baskets, these people actually suggested creative ways to sew with it. One of them had created a gadget that holds three spools of thread at the same time. Using this gave her quilting a corded tweed look. Very interesting.
I could tell that their quilting and my quilting are worlds apart just by our conversations. That is to say, I only tap a fraction of the creative possibilities available to me. One day I will have to attempt something more, but for the moment I am happy quilting for people instead of for shows. People smile and get excited when you give them a gift. The gift of a quilt is even better, it keeps them warm when you can not. Quilt show judges, and museums are not nearly as appreciative. They may pay better, they do pay better, a lot better, IF (and that is the key word) they like your work. That's not for me.
A quilt without people to comfort is just a bunch of fabric.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A meeting with the Sisters

In a few minutes I will be going to meet with a new group of ladies, and one guy. They are a local group of Statler Stitcher owners.

Not to be confused with one of the hecklers from the muppets, Statler, is a computerized automation system for long arm quilting. It is amazing.

This is picture of my friend Sue using the Statler to do her own custom quilting.
After using it in my business for the past 4 years I am finally going to meet others who do the same...and the host lives about 5 minutes from my house. How cool is that?
I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Take a Hike!

This is what I spent the day doing. It doesn't look like much here, but it got better. I think the photo was effected by my morning fog.

It looked much better after I sewed the blocks together, and better still once I quilted it.

The fabrics reminded me of summer time and the plaid shirts that my Dad used to wear.

I know, we're getting read to celebrate Mother's Day. My Mom is one of my very best friends. I'm a zillion percent grateful for all that she has done for me over the years. We have a lot of fun together going on shop hops and retreats, generally just hanging out. So this isn't a comment about her. Today I just missed my Daddy. I couldn't help thinking about him.

Daddy was trained as a landscape architect. He spent his career designing camps for both the Boy Scouts of America, and The Girl Scouts. He visited all of the great vacation spots across the country. Consequently, he had an uncanny ability to know just the spot that mattered most to someone. He'd been there. When I introduced him to my friends from college, he described their home towns, or the lakes where they spent summers with their families. When I introduced him to Gilbert, he described the house his parents lived in. Dad had driven past it a hundred times on his way into the Sierra National Forests in California. Unfortunately, Dad was not home much, but he loved his job, and he loved to share it with us.

This mini is made from 16, 4.5" Drunkards Path blocks. There a about a million and two different ways they can be arranged. I auditioned many before I settled on this arrangement. In the end I was reminded of a path cut through the woods. A path needs to be marked, and pebbles are perfect to keep the mud down, so I quilted them in.

This isn't my usual approach, I'm more of a let the computer do it kind of gal. I tried to get my computer to stitch pebbles. In the end it was easier to do it myself. I had to laugh - Dad would have liked the free motion better. Let's just say computers and Daddy were not friends.

While I was quilting I left him a message. It isn't very obvious, but I know it's there.

I picked my backing material because it coordinated with the rest, and it had words on it. Who can resist the printed word! I didn't actually read it until I was ironing. LOL! I didn't realize that it had attitude.

This is my favorite bit.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Laziness and Love at First Sight

How perverse am I?

I've been waiting for a package from my STUD partner in Alaska. I know she sent it earlier this week.

I've been waiting for a new book to come. My favorite author has a new one coming out this month.

I saw the mail man come to my door, saw her walk right up to it with a parcel in her hands, and I didn't budge. I just left it there sitting on my stoop while I edited an article. Poor little package alone on the door step.

Maybe I was enjoying the anticipation, or maybe I was too engrossed in what I was doing. Most likely I was just too lazy to get up off my bum and go to the door. Silly me.

Look what I found inside! Something wonderful, all safely sealed in plastic wrap, came all the way to my door from North Pole, Alaska...and it isn't even Christmas.

Design sketches and post cards. Someday I will have to visit the frozen north. I think I would love it. Unfortunately, my husband has water running through his veins. He hates the cold...that would be anything below 70 degrees. The sketches are amazing. Check out my attempt at the same subject.

And, the part you've all been waiting for...just look at this little quilt! It is amazing, and so much like my kitty. (oomph, he is pacing around my work table right now, trying to find a place to sit in my arms.)

I'm back now. Can you tell that the ribbon, feather, and bell are all 3D? Playing chase is one of my dear little friend's favorite things, but I have to tell you he is never this composed and handsome about it. My kitty is a klutz! That is why his name is Took. He is a "fool of a took" just like J.R.R.Tolken's character from "Lord of the Rings". Think, Gilligan's Island meets James Bond and you will have a good idea of his temperament. He won me over in the first few seconds of our acquaintance.

This quilt touched my heart just as quickly. THANK YOU CRAZYPOODLEGIRL!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Progress on Noah's Quilt

I've got six blocks done...only one hundred fourteen left.
I love my spouse. He told me that he would help cut and pin on the weekends. Maybe this won't become a UFO after all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Project

It is a cold and rainy day here in North Texas. Two days ago it was nearly 80 degrees outside. Today it is in the 40's. My Grandpa used to say, "Don't like the weather? Wait a few minutes and it will change." He was exactly right.

That said, the fabrics in my new project are perfect.

I've got a rainbow of yummy neon batiks and just a smidgeon of black. The colors are sure to brighten up any day.

I found the pattern in Benni Harper's Quilt Album by Earlene Fowler and Margrit Hall. Silly me, I thought it was cool and different and shared it with my boys. The oldest, Noah, said he would like a quilt just like it only in neon and black.

I've never made a big quilt with curves, but I've made a couple minis. How much more difficult could it be?

Gilbert said he would help me cut the pieces out. His first attempt to cut quarter circles was a tad disappointing. Being a huge fan of the rotary cutter, he was not impressed with trying to work that wheel around a curved plastic template.

I thought about it over night and decided that maybe the best route would be paper templates, a.k.a patterns. I copied the template page onto a couple of sheets of freezer paper;

cut the pieces apart from one another; and then ironed them on to the fabric I wanted to use. I then cut each piece individually with a pair of sharp scissors. It takes a little time, okay, maybe it take a lot of time, but the pieces are perfect.

I've been sewing each block as I cut the pieces. Cutting one block at a time, then sewing it, and using the same freezer paper templates to cut the next block, has taken about 45 minutes a block. With 120 blocks to go this quilt will take approximately 90 hours to complete. (Oh my, I shouldn't have done the math.)

My curved piecing is a little puckered, but it seems to be getting better with each block I complete. Noah says that he doesn't care about the puckers. "Like I'm going to sit around with my friends and critique your sewing. I'm going to be under it, not examining it.". You have to love a boy like that.

Maybe he will get it when he graduates from college.