Family Bethlehem Star quilt

Family Bethlehem Star quilt

Friday, May 25, 2018

Memorial Day and remembering...

After serving in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, General John Logan proposed to Congress that May 30th of each year be designated as Decoration Day to honor all those who had died while serving in the military. Eventually that day became known as Memorial Day and the specific time of 3:00 P.M. is when we should all stop, pause and remember. At cemeteries across the nation, flags are placed at each headstone - it is an act called “Flags in.” This year, 243,000 flags have been placed just at Arlington alone.
Growing up in Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia and with my Dad being in the Navy, Memorial Day was a yearly observance mainly and I cannot really recall ever associating the Day with BBQ’s, celebrations and big get togethers as the focus seems to be now.
With the passing of both Mom and Dad and their internment at Arlington National Cemetery last September, we wanted to mark this solemn Day by placing flowers at their gravesite. How to do that when many 100’s of miles away? I had held onto the card given to me by our assigned Arlington Lady and remembered she had said with much feeling, if there was anything she could ever do, to please contact her. This I did and she immediately volunteered to receive the ordered flowers and take them to the gravesite. We have just received photographs that she emailed to us and my heart is so full of appreciation for her kindness and going the extra mile.


The tradition of the Arlington Ladies goes back to 1948 when the then Air Force Chief of Staff and his wife were attending a funeral and they noticed that nearby, an airman was being laid to rest with just the chaplain and Honor Guard present. There were no family members. This touched Mrs. Vandenberg so much that she decided to organize a group of Air Force officer’s wives and each one would be assigned to a funeral, regardless of whether family members would be present or not. It did not make any difference what rank the individual held that was being honored. From private to general, all would be treated with the same respect. Following the Air Force group, other branches of the military began their own team of Ladies and to this day, every funeral for a veteran has the appropriate branch represented. Their mission is not to grieve but to honor. At the funeral of my parents, I was not even aware of our Navy Arlington Lady until after the ceremony was over and she introduced herself. They stand quietly and respectfully and always ready to be of assistance if needed.
In closing, on May 30th, please take a moment at 3:00 P.M. to remember...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Vintage quilt lovelies...


If you have ever visited Princeton, Illinois, you are familiar with its many unique gift and antique shops. While Mr. Outback prepared for the first skeet shoot of the season, I met my long time friend and former business partner for a day of catching up with each other, quilt talk and enjoying beautiful Spring weather filled with leisurely time to stroll around this historic town.
One of the antique shops we went into had a really nice selection of vintage quilts which were neatly displayed from racks and ladders. No, I did not purchase anything or was even tempted - it was just a pleasure to look...and perhaps store away a future color combination for some yet unknown project...








Just a little eye candy to start off your week...
Happy Stitching everyone!
Pat

Monday, May 7, 2018

Quilt tops...In review...

All of a sudden, completed quilt tops have piled up and it is decision time...none of them are doing any good just folded and staring at me saying...what’s next?
Starting with the oldest...my somewhat dubious effort at creating a “shabby chic” look a while back...should have gone with more contrast (and who knew the light blue polka dot was prone to fading early on.) I have such a fond spot in my heart for this special Canadian themed fabric which came out the year the Olympics were in Vancouver, BC.

Decision #1 - needing a good pressing and will use a medium weight fluffy bat and finish it off by tying with the soft off white yarn. A perfect little quilt for a cool summer night here in Wisconsin.
Then those 3 1/2” scrappy houses...finally, our new deck project will begin and hopefully by June, I can sit outside with a trash can and remove all the papers from the back...I can then layer this top with Warm & Natural and do some simple machine quilting.

Decision #2 - Oh, what to use for backing? Into the quilting cave I went and pulled out yet another little appliqued quilt top from the 1990’s - adding some vintage plaids or whatever I can find to make it the right size backing and call it done...a big house to back up the little ones...

The huge flannel quilt for Dave and Jena - scheduled with a long arm quilter nearby who will do this one and have it ready for Fall...

Decision #3 - saving up my pennies!
Puppies...our house has always had puppies...since 1966. This recently completed quilt top represents the 6 shelties that have ruled the roost and our hearts over the years. Puppies and newspapers and green grass just go together! Off to the long arm quilter it will go.
Pieced backing from leftovers and a colorful batik binding...will finish if off with tiny silver bone charms and button eyes...

Decision #4 - saving up more pennies!
Finally, the Brimfield Block quilt which now has a border (thanks to everyone who provided feedback!)

Decision #5 - have missed handquilting so will layer and baste and go for it.
Think I have covered all the possibilities on finishing a quilt top...feeling more organized and not so guilty knowing that pile was staring at me and saying...what next? That’s my plan...I need a bigger ironing board!
What’s next on your agenda???
Pat

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Memories of Hitty & April Dolly quilt...

What a difference 2 weeks can make at the edge of the northwoods in Wisconsin...from a snow storm of “historical” significance to this week...patches of snow here and there but mostly bare ground and opening the potting shed to gather rakes and work gloves - let the yard work begin! Asparagus roots and onion plants have just arrived in the mail and need to find their place in our garden...
During the snowfall of April 14-15, the sewing room was like a cozy retreat and time was there to work on April’s Dolly Quilt Challenge organized by Wendy at The Constant Quilter. Finding a little 6 1/2” orphan block in pink was easy...the little basket pattern was from a long time friend and has always been one of my favorites. I love the accent of “spikey” embroidery stitching around the edges.

The basket is surrounded by scraps from a Judie Rothermel fat 8th bundle purchased at a long ago quilt show. And there was “just enough” of the vintage look toile fabric left to do a small border and backing for the dolly quilt.
Pinks and browns in a quilt always bring to mind stories such as Little Women or Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.
And any time I recall these beautifully written books, my Mom is never far from my thoughts. One Christmas I made her a Hitty doll (Mom was a doll collector) complete with bonnet and boxes. Are you a follower of Gail Wilson? Oh my, there was a group of us who got together and for months everything was all about Gail’s stunning doll kits. I still have 3 other kits of hers that wait to be done...I am not sure if the hands or eyes could complete the details needed now.


I look at Hitty with her painted face, tiny coral necklace and minute lace edging on her undergarments which I made by crocheting thread on a needle and know it would be a challenge at this time. Everything was done by hand. Now that Mom is gone, Hitty has become even more special to me and memories flood back. I miss her so...I would like to think she would approve of April’s little quilt.
Happy stitching and sweet memories to you this week...
Pat

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brimfield Awakening and more snow...

With what is now being labeled an “historical” snowfall for our area here in Wisconsin, the weekend meant staying put, making an artery clogging loaded potato soup (oh yes...complete with bacon and cheese) and some extra time in the sewing room...
My view out the window as I stitched away...


The winds blew, the snow fell, but the power stayed on...a significant thing in our rural area...
All my Brimfield Awakening blocks are done - and appliqued to the background squares...which are trimmed and now put together to make the top...


The original pattern shows no real definitive border - the blocks just kind of float out there...but I would like to add something...problem is...not enough of the background left and a limited amount of the fabrics I used to paper piece the rings. Thinking I might have to go on a search and hunt internet journey to see what might turn up.


In the meantime, a mix of rain/snow is forecast and most of us here in the Northwoods have forgotten what green grass looks like...
If you have any extra sunshine and warm weather, can you Fed Ex some up here....please??
Happy stitching...
Pat

Monday, April 2, 2018

Giving winter the boot...

....at least we had hoped so...Mr. Outback had enthusiastically started to dismantle our old deck in preparation for a long delayed remake...but this Easter has brought at least 8” of the new white stuff with blustery winds and plunging temperatures. And tonight 8-10” more...Such is the way things are at the edge of the northwoods. Any bunnies are hunkered down in their burrows instead of delivering Easter baskets.

Meanwhile, our holiday kitchen was in full swing with our dear daughter-in-law helping to cook up the traditional Easter dinner.

And I so appreciated the assistance as this annoying boot has to be on my foot for about 3 weeks...


just as the pneumonia was disappearing, the main tendon that attaches to the ankle became inflamed and had made walking near on impossible. If the boot does not help, then a hard cast will be put on - not something I want at all...ugh!
So, under doctor’s orders for ice and resting the foot...it does mean some extra sewing time which I suppose is the silver lining in the clouds. Working on the Brimfield Block project - appliqueing the rings to the backgrounds...

And being able to sit at the sewing machine means some simple piecing can be done and finding more puppies looking for their ears...
While I appreciate the time available to do some fun sewing, I am not a person who normally sits much of the day and it has all ready started to lose its charm...
Spring cleaning will just have to wait and I am trying hard to follow doctor’s orders because, despite the new snow, garden season is not that far off...
Have a good week everyone!
Pat

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Benjamin Biggs Wedding Quilt officially finished....

Yea!! Another huge project can now be checked off as Done! If you are familiar with Gay Bomers over at Sentimental Stitches, you know how she so often tempts us with BOM quilts that either are taken directly from an antique quilt or inspired by one. I have fallen victim a number of times starting back in 2009 with her Beyond The Cherry Tree. And then in 2014, came the c.1848 Benjamin Biggs Wedding quilt. Another approximately 100 x 100 quilt consisting of 25 blocks and scalloped border, I finished the top in 2017 and just recently received it back from the long arm quilter. After handquilting BTCT, my hands could not tackle another round. As much as I would love to hand quilt each applique quilt, reality takes over.
I would like to thank my friend, Kathy P. who not only took photos of my quilts at a recent exhibit, but also stayed until the close of the show to collect them and take them home where they were kept safe and sound. I had fully intended to go with her, but and dealing with pneumonia and at 74, I am finding it slower to “snap back.” I always like to thank each of you who take time to comment on my little corner of the world as I appreciate your visits so much. Right now, I am behind but hope to catch up and see what you are up to also in the days ahead.
So now, the quilts have been collected and Benjamin Biggs is laid out on our bed...I am so pleased with the way it turned out. The caramel background and accents of dusty blue and the red chintz are soft and quiet...nice for a bedroom...
This quilt was worked on over the past few years, which if you have followed my blog, know, the days were filled with much stress as we dealt with the decline of my Mom and Dad’s health and everything that involved. At the end of each day, I would look forward to some quiet time and work on one of the applique blocks.
I wonder if quilts hold the quiltmaker’s thoughts between the layers and stitches?
So...I think a little nap might be in order...or should I follow these puppies and find out where they are headed? Looking for more friends, Spring or wondering why their other ear is floating above their head?
Happy stitching everyone!
Pat