Saturday, December 22, 2007

Local Quilts of Valor

We are making steady progress on finding a location for our local group. We have a couple of possibilities for a meeting place. Everyone is so busy this time of the year that we will just wait for a week of so to contact these people again. I would love to have our first meeting in January but it may wait until February.

I found a group on the internet that knits sock for soldiers. I love knitting almost as much as quilting and am good at socks. This will give me a sit down project for the evenings when my husband and I watch TV.

I have Monday and Tuesday off so that means 4 days. I will try to get a couple of my tops finished as they are not really big. I am going to take a little break on the QOV tops to finish some UFO's.

The picture on this post was sent to me by a co worker. I think it is quite amazing. We have lots of these Ospreys around here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Letter that motivitated me

Here is a copy of the letter I received after making my first Quilt Of Valor. This has pushed me into getting a local group started here in St. Marys County, Maryland. I am also trying to get on Oprah, Dr Phil or something like that. It matters not whether you support the War, the President or is about supporting our men and women in the military.

Dear Eileen,

I am writing to express my gratitude to you and your friend, Betty ------, for the beautiful, patriotic quilt you sent to the 332 EMDG (Expeditionary Medical Group) in Iraq. I want you to know how much those quilts mean to us. Yesterday evening six of our Nation's very finest soldiers were flown in by chopper after a suicide bomber attacked their foot patrol. I cared for one of those young men last night. (I'll call him Sgt C.). Sgt C is a young American soldier from Utah with a wife and two small children at home. He is one of the lucky ones. His burns and bruises will heal. His ruptured eardrum will heal. Yesterday he earned his second Purple Heart.

As is customary, the Chaplain or his assistant bring the injured troops a quilt and we cover them with it, either in the ER or on the ward. If they are alert we read them the cards from wonderful Americans like you and tell them that someone from home made that quilt for them. We save them for very special days, like yesterday; for an occasion when a touch of kindness and love from home is exactly what is needed. As I write these words my eyes fill with tears. I have watched many young soldiers receive their quilts of valor and I want you to know that it touches them deeply. It touches all of us deeply. I couldn't read your card out loud to Sgt C because I was crying as I read it. Trying to hold back tears, I held it for him and he read it himself. I can tell you that a strong soldier fought valiantly to hold back his own tears. I don't know if he will ever write to thank you, though he says he plans to, but I wanted you to know how much your kindness means to these young troops, and to those of us who care for them. This is no exaggeration…everyone who passed by Sgt C's litter last night commented on how beautiful your quilt was. It was truly one of the most beautiful quilts we've seen.

I firmly believe that the Lord puts us where he needs us. Right now I am needed in Iraq, caring for those in harms way. I was placed with Sgt C last night to tend his wounds and was blessed to read your message and admire your quilt with him. Of all the quilts that were given last night I was especially touched by yours. You see, I have left behind a husband and four beautiful children in Damascus, MD. As I read the inscription on your quilt I was even more moved by the fact that it was from one of my Maryland neighbors. I told Sgt C that I was planning to write to you and when I return I hope that we can meet for tea and chat. I will share my pictures of Sgt C and his quilt, adorned with his Purple Heart.

Thank you, again, for your kindness and patriotism. I guarantee you truly touched the lives of many last night….through one beautiful quilt of valor. I know that Sgt C is anxious to return home and show that quilt to his family. It will always serve as a reminder to him of his victory last night and of the love we share as Americans. God bless you and God bless America!




Here is another top I just finished and will be mailing off to my wonderful long arm quilter. That will be 2 more to send. I am keeping the one I quilted so I have one to show when I can finally get some speaking opportunities. They will surely come.

So a journey starts with the first steps. I have a former quilting student helping me start our local group. Our first order of business is to find a location and a consistent monthly meeting time. I hope to be up and running for January. I started a Knitting Guild when I first moved here and it is not that hard. It may start small but then grows. Then we will become official and can get a checking account and link to the National organization.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Perfect Pattern

I think I have found a really good pattern to use with the QOV quilts. I want something that retains the WOW factor but can be done in an efficient manner. Most of the pieces are made from a 4 1/2 inch strip and then cut with my Tri Recs ruler combo. Here is the quilt I just finished using this pattern. The corner blocks are easily made using 2 squares.

I have been unsuccessful with getting any media coverage for this wonderful group. But I will continue trying. I am going to start a local group in January. I need to start fund raising to help cover the expenses of making a quilt. I also want to involve other quilt makers in the area.

Tomorrow I will post the letter that I received after making my first quilt. It is just wonderful

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Finished is better than perfect

Yesterday and today I decided to quilt my next Quilt Of Valor myself. I have done some about this size.....about the size of a twin. I had fusible batting and wanted to use that. UGH! I got it to stick to the top but not the backing. Then I flipped it over to iron on the backing. I have used this for smaller projects quite successfully.

I ended up with a couple of small tucks on the back. They were not bad enough to rip out and a non quilter would probably not even notice them. The whole quilt looks quite nice after I washed and dried it. I will stick with sending these to a long arm quilter from now on. They do a lovely job and I really love the piecing more than the quilting.

I will take a picture of it quilted another day.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Back in the saddle

Wow..I cannot believe how long it has been since I posted. My husband was hospitalized with a bad pneumonia which turned into Empyema and required surgery. He will be out of work for quite some time. But he made it through and for that I am very grateful.

I have become very involved with Quilts For Valor. This is making quilts for our wounded soldiers. I got a wonderful letter back which I will post another day. I just wanted to share some photos of the tops I have made so far.

I set this quilt off to a long arm quilter and she did a lovely job. I did not take a picture when I got it back. But this is the top that generated the letter I received.

I will write more tomorrow as I have lots of things to get done today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New life for scraps

I received some squares sewed together in sets of 3. I decided to try making a bear from a pattern by Elenore Burns. It was not too hard to do and quite a bit of fun. If he sells at the craft fair, I may male more for next year.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Friendship Star

Over a year ago Annie, who is on our Weight Watcher thread, suggested an exchange of the quilt block called Friendship Star. She sent all of us a piece of fabric so some part of this would be the same. Stars flew all over the country. It made picking up mail a treat for sure.

Instead of agonizing over what to do with them, I decided to sew them together just as they were for an empty space on the wall in our home office. I am not even sure if I got all of them sent to me, but it is fine. I had 20 which was a perfect number. I had bought some fabric for the borders in Paudcah when a group of us went there. I knew it was just what I wanted. It is a wonderful reminder of a group of us from all our this country.

Many times simple is best.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New projects

I have been doing lots of new things. I LOVE having the summer off but it is not so good for the pocketbook.

I finished a wall hanging that I made to practice the buttonhole stitch on my machine. I love doing this and am getting much better. I free motioned around the flowers and pots. This is another area I need practice doing.

I used fabric from my ever growing stash. This was from the pile of 1930's type fabric.....cheerful and fun.

My sewing room is hot in the AM. I have a few tops all done and waiting for cooler weather to quilt. I can do small ones when it is warm but cannot stand hot ones all over me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Scrap Fabric Fun

I have been having a great deal of fun going through the big box of scrap fabric a quilting friend sent to me. I found a whole bunch of small pre-made blocks and put them together into a darling little doll quilt. I will take this with me to sell at the base fair in December. It should be just perfect for an American Girl Doll.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mid August Already!!!!!!

I was reading a book out back the other day. I happened to glance over at the bird bath and was amazed to see a butterfly drinking. We are having a very bad drought so I figured it was desperate. I quietly went inside to get my camera. What an amazing picture.

I decided that I wanted to make a purse for Fall. I had a lovely half yard piece of a big print. I was able to find a coordinating piece of a smaller print for the trim. This is called the Gracie Bag and I have made several already. This goes pretty quickly and is fun to make. It has inside pockets and is a perfect size.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Color My World Pink

I decided to make this Confetti In The Corner quilt in a totally different colorway. A quilt buddy...Hi Debbie...sent me a big box of fabric. In it were squares of a beautiful Rose. I chose this to be the center of the squares. I was able to pull the other fabric from my ever growing stash. I am happy to say there are still quite a few of the rose squares left for another project.

This went together quite quickly as I did not have to glance at the pattern much. I tried to look carefully and find mistakes before the whole thing is done. It is now waiting for the quilting. I think that will wait for cooler weather as my sewing room is the hottest room in the house.

I thought I would have to buy fabric for the border. I am trying not to buy anything unless it is totally necessary. I went through a stack of flower fabric and found the perfect piece. I got this at a big sale at Joannes. I would love to have bought more but this is all they had left. But it is just perfect. I have a quilt motiff stencil I bought in Paducha that will be good for the border.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I finished the sunflower quilt totally and it resides on the back on one of my couches. I love it and am making another in a totally different colorway. When I do a second quilt of the same pattern, I do not have to pay such close attention to the directions. I am working on perfecting my piecing skills and this is great practice.

I kept admiring this and then suddenly noticed a mistake on one of the blocks. There is no way I would fix this as it is very heavily quilted. Such is life.

I planted a seed garden as this is all my part time earnings would allow. It was very slow to grow this year as I think we added too much peat moss. But like most things, it did come along and it is beautiful. Other gardens in my area look tired and wilted but mine is just getting to peak. I planted big marigolds and zinnias. I will be collecting seeds from my favorite colors and plant them next year.

I donated the rest of my cocker memoribilia to a rescue group. They have an auction that raises money for homeless dogs. I kept favorite and one from my daughter. Less is just fine.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Quilting is the Anti-funk

I have been in a little funk for a few days. There is absolutely no reason for this at all. I think some of it is the almost non existent work hours. I do not like working a whole bunch of hours but 15 or so gives a nice balance to my life. It makes me appreciate the hours that I do not work.

So I decided that it is time to start a new quilt. I have a BIG one waiting for machine quilting and it is just too hot to have that all over me. It can wait for cooler weather. I have also been making things for the Craft Fair in December and am a little tired of doing that.

I got a new Quilt Book from the library sale called Confetti In The Corners. It is the same block done in lots of different ways. I am working hard at improving my piecing skills and this looked like a good project for that. I have some very pretty sunflower fabric and decided to just pull colors from my stash to go with that.

I have done 4 blocks and really like this. They are all so incredibly different. I think I will make a 12 block sampler. This looks like a possibility for teaching an intermediate quilt class. I am getting my points to match up well and taking my TIME..something that is need to work on doing more. Slow and steady wins the race.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blue Bird Families

I noticed that our resident blue birds have started a third nest. Last year we got only 2 so she is extra busy I guess. There are 4 lovely blue eggs in it.

I looked out the window and saw this beautiful young bird right on my clothesline. A couple of them stick close to the nest box and the parents do not chase them away. BUT if another blue bird comes out. They are attacked and driven away from the yard.

We have lots of different birds come to the bird bath for a drink. I always think the gold finches look like canaries that have escaped their cage.

I have been busy sewing and just enjoying not working much this summer.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dreams revisited

We got into horses when my daughter was about 14. She continued riding and showing for several years on our beloved Morgan Joe. Circumstances changed and it became necessary to move on and sell Joe. Years of working, school and life took over and the horses receded into the memory bank. They are posing for a beautiful picture.

Years go by and the opportunity to own her own horse again becomes a reality. He is a beautiful boy to ride and a puppy dog personality on the ground.

Sometimes we have to set our dreams aside for awhile. Some never come back but we can have new ones come along.

We live in a wonderful country thanks to the sacrifices people have been willing to make along the way. It is not a perfect country but there is no place else on earth I would rather life today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Designing a little bag

I have been trying out lots of tote bag, pocketbook and other bags. I am beginning to understand how they are made. I decided to try making a little make up bag. I have some vinyl left over from teaching days and figured I would try that. I am shocked I did not get rid of it. I now know that putting in a zipper is simple.

These went together really fast and will be a BD gift to my stepdaughter. We can just slip them into an envelope with her card and check from her Dad. I am not sure if I will make any to sell.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Irish Chain Quilt Piecing Complete

I feel like I have given birth to a HUGE quilt. This is a pattern by Eleanor Burns who I think is a wonderful teacher. I saw this quilt on the bed of a friend when I stayed at her lovely house. I decided to do it in blue and yellow...sort of scrappy with fabric from my stash.

It went together quite well. I have never done a Seminole broder before but this was not hard at all. Her directions were excellent. I think I found an error on the cornerstones but figured out the right size to cut those squares.

Now I am hoping to quilt this on my new Janome that I bought in Paducah at the big quilt show. I will put it away for a bit so I am sort of tired of working on it. I will have to rearrange my whole sewing room so I can put a table behind the machine to help support the weight of it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bird Families

Our lovely New England like weather seems to be a thing of the past. Yesterday was almost HOT and today already has that humid sticky feeling. 2 of the blue birds left the nest yesterday. I did not see them anywhere but could peek inside and see that 2 were left. When I checked early today the nest was empty.

A Mother Plover (I think that is the type of bird) and Father were screaming Sunday and flying all over the yard. I had to take a look outside and see what the fuss was all about. There were 3 tiny chicks in the driveway scurrying all over. My husband caught one to relocate it away from the street. He had a hard time holding onto it without squeezing too hard.

I am still working on my Irish Chain quilt Seminole borders. This techinique is not hard but time consuming. I took some time yesterday to go through things in the sewing room closet. I gathered all my small pieces of batting into one plastic type tote box. I will work on that again today.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Search For Enough

We live in a wonderful country and a booming economy. Advertising cries out BUY ME. TV shows show an obscene amount of goods on their decorating shows...especially HGTV. This can cause people to get into debt way over their salary. Buy me now and worry about paying it another day. It becomes an endless cycle of debt and the necessity of working so many hours. But does it buy happiness?????

It makes me wonder why are we buying all this stuff? Our houses have gotten much bigger and our families much smaller. I see huge houses that are empty all day long. Everyone is so busy making enough money to pay for them. How do they have time to even enjoy them?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Super Saturday

This weather is truly wonderful. We are usually into HOT and humid but not right now. And right now is all we actually have. So I will enjoy another beautiful day.

I took this picture yesterday in the backyard. This is the residents bluebird's second family. I can see some blue on the wings of the 4 babies. They will soon be leaving the nest. The parents are the very best. Occasionally they will rear a third family according to my book but did not do that last year. Time will tell.

I redid all the mistakes on my Irish Chain blocks yesterday and started sewing the rows together. There is still a lot of work making the borders. This is a pattern by Elenore Burns. She gives very detailed directions and IF YOU FOLLOW them all is good. I sometimes get the pressing direction wrong and have to redo that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Bliss

Today I have a long summer vacation stretched out ahead of me. When I was a student I never even considered that teachers would like having the summer off. I guess I thought they loved being in the classroom.

My last official tour ended yesterday with a group of children attending a camp. They were in no mood to learn history so I had to try to make it just a fun tour for them. They were a bit rowdy but then kids should not be little soldiers either.

I have a picture another guide sent me of a view coming into the dock of the Maryland Dove.

So I must work on controlling my spending so that I can continue with a wonderful part time job. My biggest area of weakness is fabric. I guess it could be much worse.

Today I will work on the big Irish Chain Quilt. I discovered a mistake made twice in 31 blocks so I have a whole bunch of ripping and resewing. I considered just leaving it but decided not to. I am trying to work on slowing down and enjoying the process. Mistakes are part of that. I hope to sit outside in the shade and get that done today.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Perfect Morning

Welcome to all who find themselves in my little corner of the web.

Today is one of those days where it is good to be alive. The day is cool to start, the birds are singing and the sun shining. It is day to maybe turn off the news and turn onto the beauty all around us.

I hope to share a picture with you of one of the hummingbirds that come to our house.