Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Quilt and More Thoughts...

Another quilt finished. Of all the quilts I've made, this had to be the most challenging. The young man likes dogs, horses and baseball. Good Heavens....how does one combine all these into one quilt... Now that I look back, I know an easiest was to back the quilt with baseball fabric. Ha - too obvious to overlook!

The horse panel - no problem. Simply frame it. A little on the skimpy side. Then I added the dogs - having to fussy cut each dog, using a modified Amish block. A little on the difficult side - lost a few noses a couple of times. Completed those..and that left baseball. Hmmmm...okay, only thing left was to add strips of the fabric...and thus born....
Caleb's Quilt....

Definitely a sew-as -I go quilt. Amazing how everything just fit together.

And of course - the pocket prayer quilt to go with

When making this quilt, I thought of God's plan for each of us. Putting this quilt together made me realize how everyday we do the little things that keep adding to the "plan".... the plan that takes time, heart ache, love, happiness, joy and finally, peace when everything comes together and you just know - this is it. This is what God has intended for me - to live this life, right now, right here and this way.
And I think - thank you, Lord, for giving me this gift of quilting. What a marvelous thing to say ....
I quilt.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Reflections On a Finished Quilt.....

"Project Unicorn" wasn't completed quite yet... Label on the back had to sewn on...and now it is
done & waiting for name & address to mail the quilt.

While sewing the label to the back of the quilt, I thought about what it takes to make a marriage. I suppose there's a connection there somewhere - but I don't question any more what the Holy Spirit lays on my heart. It's easy to go with the flow than to argue. And who can argue successfully with the Holy Spirit!

On the 27th of July, Riley & I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. We eloped on the 27th of July to Marshall, Texas - just over the Louisiana border - and told my parents that evening. Twenty-five years later, we renewed our vows in church. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, dad walking me down the aisle - the whole nine yards. And now on our 37th anniversary, we hope to renew our vows in our church. Riley emailed me the question I was not anticipating ... "what will you say?". I had assumed the pastor would do the talking - hopefully very briefly - and our response would be "uh huh" or words to that effect. Ah, not so. For days I have thought about what I would say...hopefully very briefly. And so I wrote from my heart.....

When I first joined hands with you 37 years ago, little did I know what our lives would be like. You promised then to love, honor and cherish me though life. While we had difficult times, God always was there for us – early on we just didn’t know His presence. We realized together God had to be first in our marriage and our life was so much better. You have made my life complete and full. Not only have you kept your promise to love, honor and cherish me, you’ve made our lives together an adventure. You’ve been there for me when I needed comfort, you’ve listened to my fears and you’ve held my hand throughout it all. We made a commitment to each other. Some days it wasn’t easy for we both let pride get in the way of love. God’s greatest commandment is LOVE. And I do so love you and pray we can renew our vows every year. You are my husband, my soul mate and my best friend.

What was in my heart was simply one word: commitment. No matter how difficult life was, our difference in opinions, our different viewpoints .... God kept us together despite every trial, every tribulation. There were times when I felt life was so unfair - my life was unfair - my world was unfair. As to what constitutes "unfair", I haven't a clue now -but I know I felt it. We as women do not have it easy. We bear the children, we keep house, we cook, and if conditions warrant, we do all this plus work outside the home. I came to the realization years ago, men have a much harder job. No matter how difficult the job, no matter how painful it is to go into that job day after day, they go. Imagine being in a position where there seems to be no way out, day after day. We have it easy? I believe not. Are we appreciated for efforts? In some instances, maybe not heard .... but demonstrated? Oh yes, day after day. And it took years for me to say "thank you".... and it took awhile for Riley to learn the art of "listening" without attempting to fix whatever was bothering me. He will never be my "bestest girlfriend" - but he is my best friend.

It's amazing how all this can come about by sewing a quilt label to the back of a quilt.

In the meantime, quilt ideas are floating around in my head once again. Time to start a new quilt.

And, oh yes, I quilt.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Project Unicorn Quilt Finished.....

It is now 1:50am on the 5th of July - and "Project Unicorn Quilt" is finished. When one loses track of time when working on something really enjoyable, it satisfies deep within.

The lighting in the sewing room/den/2nd bedroom is marvelous! Small wonder I spent the last 3 hours happily sewing away. I would love to write that the next quilt is already in the planning stages, but at 1:50 in the morning - ha!

I love the bright colors...and what cannot be seen is a unicorn block on each corner..

And the pocket prayer quilt.... In the left hand corner is a tiny frog charm.... "Fully Rely on God": FROG.

I think now it's time to make a sandwich, reflect on today - and tomorrow, I know I'll be thinking of the next quilt. Yes!
I quilt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Another Quilt....

I'm quietly pleased - only a couple of days have passed since I mailed off the dinosaur quilt and I've started another.

The young lady whom this quilt is for loves unicorns....Cinderella....Snow White. Unicorns was a little difficult to nail down but Cinderella and Snow White? Elusive beyond belief.... Searching through a couple online quilting stores is fun. Searching through hundreds of online quilting stores is not. It's downright painful, frustrating and the worst - an exercise in sheer will power not to order yards and yards of "oh I just have to have THAT now" fabric. I did find one Cinderella print but she looked downright scary. Whatever happened to that lovely Cinderella of my youth....

Okay - fabric arrives. Now - what do I do with it? I know this young lady also loves aqua .... but alas, no aqua in the fabric stash. So..... I come up with a few colors that might go well with the fabric.....

Great - looks pretty good. Hmmm - 6 1/2" squares might capture the unicorn well.....

6 1/2" squares? Only because I bought this nifty square template and it measures 6 1/2" square. Found out that it's great for 'framing' what I'd like to cut - but to cut around it is painful. But cut, I did - and managed to keep all fingers intact. I think - great, I'll do a 9 patch with the unicorn in the center.

Idea lasts for about an hour....but when I draw it out, it lacks substance. See, I'm beginning to think like a quilter. Who the heck knows what substance is anyway - but I like how that word looks when written and when I say it, it sounds so "quilty.
I've also discovered that my math skills really need some beefing up. I pulled out my fat quarters (to you non-quilters, a fat quarter is one forth of a yard - get it? "Fat" quarters.... gotta love it) which are photographed next to the uncut unicorn fabric above. I cut out 6 1/2 squares out of each fat quarter - and somehow believed I cut EIGHT 6 1/2" squares per fat quarter. How I thought I got EIGHT out of each fat quarter is beyond me. But somehow I had it in my head I cut out 8. Now, framing each unicorn would require EIGHT squares to form a "Nine Patch". Do the math - only SIX squares could be cut out of each fat quarter. No way am I going fabric hunting to find extra fat quarters to match what I already cut....
....so new idea.
Quick - find some more "blenders". Blenders - another quilty word - which simply means solid colors with a little more 'oomph' to it - Moda makes wonderful blenders called "Moda Marbles" - and the best thing is - I won these beauties playing bingo online via the online quilting club I belong to - but that's another story. So out comes more blenders - but alas no photograph before I cut 'em up and started sewing. That's something else I learned - to heck with photographing every detail - let that machine fly! Out comes the rotary cutter - a bunch of 6 1/2" squares are cut....

And thus was born.....

I really need to improve my photographing skills.
Now - border. I think I'll do a multicolored border, piecing together the leftovers from the fat quarters. Yes - that should do nicely.
In the meantime, today I bought THREE lamps. After weeks of sewing on the dining room table, I realized I needed LIGHT in the 2nd bedroom we use as a den/study/sewing/craft room - which is why I hesitated to move the sewing machine back to "the room". Okay - right now it's simply the sewing room until Riley comes home. When moving things around last night, I broke my treasured Ott lamp. If you don't have an Ott lamp, you are missing one of the world's greatest inventions. Gives off a light that's better than natural lighting - or so I believe. Natural light is always interrupted with nasty things like clouds and sunsets. I found a Ott floor lamp at a very good price - and also bought 2 more lamps - touchiere lamps to be precise. Oh the light that is now in that room is a sight to behold. Now I can move the sewing machine off of the dining room table and into the room where it belongs.
Putting the lamps together led to cleaning out a closet. Trust me, there is a connection in there somewhere. One trip to Goodwill and four trips to the dumpster in the back of the apartment building and I feel like I have accomplished much.
In the meantime, Riley's brother called - mom was admitted to the hospital. Her blood pressure had skyrocketed - and her feet were swollen beyond normal swelling. Echogram and cat scan were ordered today but no test results yet. I think somehow news of mom spurned me on to do something that required tossing/cleaning/organizing - why, I have no idea. Someday I'll analyze why and when I do the things I do - but for now, it felt good.
Mom is in good hands with the medical staff at the hospital. Dad is still in the hospital - but alas, they're not in the same hospital. Each is aware of what's going on with the other. I think of them both and think - there is no greater love I have ever witnessed. Those vows "through sickness and in health" have held up well for them. Many of us are never put to the test. Many of us don't wait around until the 'through sickness' part happens. It's too easy to walk away. It's harder to stay in a marriage -no doubt about it. That's not to say that there are very good reasons why a marriage doesn't work and a parting of the ways in inevitable...but I digress. Prayer requests have gone out for both parents...and God's taking care of them.
Tomorrow - I cut the backing & the batting - and then the tying and then the binding....
Life is so very good. Yes, I miss Riley more each day - if that's possible. Yes, he's coming home in twenty-three days for a 2+ week "vacation". Yes, I do spend some time with our kids. Yes, I do like this stage in my life called "retirement". Yes, I quilt.