Thursday, February 28, 2013

NewFO February Update!

Well, it's that time again. The end of the month has already caught up with me and it's time to share the new starts for this month. Amazingly, there are three and they are all finishes as well! I'm linking up through the 2013 NewFO Challenge and Linky Party hosted by Barbara at Cat Patches.


I got to take part in two blog hops this month which each resulted in new starts and finishes! First was the Hugs & Kisses Blog Hop. It was such fun making something totally creative and scrappy! Here's the journey to creation of my Heartfelt Love table topper.

Next up was the It's All About ME Blog Hop with the wonderful Amy Bradley applique pattern to work from. I revealed Moondance Gal on Feb 26 if you'd like to learn a little more about me. 

If that wasn't enough to keep me busy, I had yet another start when my sister-in-law found out her cancer is back. She wanted a cuddle quilt to take with her to treatments and so I got busy once again. And Comforting Words went from an idea to a completed quilt in just over a week and has already been sent to California, completely done and ready to use! Cindy was overjoyed with it when it arrived and I'm so happy I could do this for her.

There are other projects out on the table, several already underway from previous months and several yet to be started. Maybe those will make the list for March's NewFO Challenge! It's been fun, frantic, and fabulous to get three new starts AND finishes all in one month! And what a sense of accomplishment!

It's been a busy month with a long weekend of grandkids visiting, the first paper due in my master's class last week, got my taxes done and my FAFSA filed, and now I am ready for a fresh start tomorrow! Here's hoping there's no more snow and that my plans to buy a home come together before my lease runs out June 1. More busy times ahead, but it's all good. Life's synchronicities are all working together and things are falling into place very nicely. 

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Monday, February 25, 2013

IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!!!!!! The Big Reveal!

The big day is here and now it's all about ME!!!!!!! What an incredibly fun and creative blog hop this is and has been! I'm sending out a big THANK YOU to Mdm. Samm at Sew We Quilt and Marlene at Stitchin By The Lake (Marlene has the full schedule posted at her link) for their organizing and cheerleading skills, and to Amy Bradley for the adorable lady she so generously offered to the participants to play with!

I'll be honest, I've been looking at my pattern sitting on my desk for several weeks and got nothing. The hop started and I knew my reveal day was still a week away, so no sweat, right? Then, there was that heart-attack causing KU-OSU basketball game last week (2 overtimes and KU won by one point!!!) and when it was all over at 11pm I was all wound up and excited! So, off to the sewing room I went. It was also the night of the (first) huge midwest snowstorm, so I knew Jacob wouldn't be coming in the morning, so why go to bed early? Geez... So, at 2:30am, I finally stopped and was all of a sudden to the point of sandwiching my creation! She's wonderful, she's marvelous, and she's all ME!

 Despite being a die-hard KU Jayhawks fan (crimson & blue), my favorite color happens to be purple and has been for years. That's all good and fine until my kids come around and see me wearing KSU's color! Hey, I have a right to wear KSU purple! It's where I'm getting my Master's degree! No, we don't have a "house divided" between the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. The kids are ALL KU! But I am a "person divided" loving the KU Jayhawks AND the KSU Wildcats. Such is life in Kansas. As my daughter says, "Oh, Momma, it's okay, I'll cheer for KSU, as long as they're NOT playing KU!" LOL!
So, purple was the first color out of the box for this project. While I didn't find any particular stripe to use (I'm not biased, am I?!?), I did find this lovely psychedelic plaid for my dress that has moves in all the right places! You might notice, she's not quite as buxom as she used to be. I may have curves, but not THAT kind of curves! LOL! Being a child of the 60s, I had to have my little peace sign on my pincushion pin. And then there's the Beatles--I remember being in front of the TV the first time they were on the Ed Sullivan Show. In tribute to their mod-style, I had to go with the round wire-rim glasses (which I actually wore for years!) with the moon and the stars in her eyes. Not quite Lucy (no diamonds on this girl), but still a pretty far out kinda gal! Don't you think? And that hair! Yes, it's a pretty close match to my spiky, naturally strawberry blonde locks that rarely stay where I tell them to. And of course, her final touch was the pair of amethyst earrings to match her shirt. The orchid Fairy Frost made a perfect backdrop to set off the gold and white Fairy Frost moon shining down on her. Finding a picture of me without my grandkids is pretty hard, so little Jacob gets to join me in my comparison shot. As my girls say, "Thanks, Mom, for that great double chin!" (yes, they got it too! LOL!)

It's so hard to find one song that really says it all to you, you know? Aside from a long list of Beatles songs (who can choose?!?), one of my top 5 is Moondance by Van Morrison--both the song and the album. Some of you may have wondered about my blog name--Gypsy Dreamer Quilts. Well, since this blog hop is all about ME, I'll tell you that it's tied in with this song, a dear friend, a moon-lit night on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and dancing! For about ten years I was totally addicted to contra dancing. I danced every Saturday night somewhere in Kansas and went to at least six dance weekends (think 18-20 hours of dancing, plus pot-lucks and music jams from Friday at 8pm to Sunday at 4pm) in a five-state area per year, plus several vacations expanded my dancing to nine states. My closet held nothing but broomstick and circle skirts that would flow as I twirled through the moves, not to mention my two pair of suede-soled shoes that slip and slide nicely over the wood dance floors! I even became a caller and started calling 2 or 3 of these Saturday night dances per month. My life revolved around working all week just so I could get away to dance somewhere on the weekend! I had dreams of becoming a dance gypsy!

Well, all that changed when I returned to California in 2004 to care for my folks--Mom had dementia and Dad was just darned old! Being a full time, live-in caregiver is a huge commitment that has to be made in love and compassion if you're to maintain who you are on the journey. I gave up dancing  and took up quilting, and embraced a mostly sedentary lifestyle, being in the house (usually in the sewing room) where they could easily find me if needed, while working half time in the mornings when they were good and I could get away for a few hours. After 7-1/2 years, needless to say my knees aren't the same. In fact, not much of me is the same! I've returned to Kansas with a new dream and a new passion for quilting, but still hold tight to my memories of that special night, in the moonlight, on a magic night...

Now, don't forget to visit the rest of the lovely ladies being revealed today on the It's All About ME blog hop! There's two more days, not to mention all the lovely reveals we've already had--click here for a full schedule! I hope you'll leave me a comment and visit again soon!

Tuesday, February 26
Pat Sloan's Blog
To Love Handmade
Feathered Nest Studio
Selina Quilts
Gypsy Dreamer Quilts ** That's ME!!!**
Sheila's Quilt World
13 Woodhouse Road
Stitches of Love
Janice at That Other Blog
In The Sewing Basket

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's All About ME blog hop is underway!!!

After spending several days under the weather with the winter sinus crud going around, I'm finally getting back to my normal tricks. Sewing room is strewn with scraps and piles of fabric (gee, do I have to stop and clean? I might get lost in the shuffle!). I'm procrastinating (as usual--I so LOVE deadlines!) on the paper due Friday night (EEKS! That's tomorrow!) for my class. And IT SNOWED!!! A LOT!!! Well, for a California girl it feels like a lot. Hehehehe! Where I grew up, if we got a "heavy frost" it was a big deal! I'd be out there in my saddle shoes (remember those hideous things and the shoe-white to go with?!?) sliding around making trails in the frost on the front lawn. That was it! We had to drive, for HOURS, to the mountains if we wanted to see real snow! But last night we had real snow right here in Kansas and there's more coming down! Offices are closed, schools are closed, roads are closed, airports are closed, everyone is enjoying their snow day while it lasts. Me? I'm sitting here in my pjs and fuzzy slippers enjoying the view out the window. Perfect!
My car is nice and dry inside the garage. But the neighbors who park outside might have a little difficulty getting out. One neighbor got out of their garage with a 4WD. Good for them! I'm staying home! LOL!

Now, about that blog hop... Oh yeah, IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!!!! Well, today is actually day three already! Yep, I've been off the radar. I'd be posting pictures of my WIP, but it's for this blog hop, so NO PEEKING!!! Be sure to check out all the great creations that have already been revealed and are yet to offer up their awesomeness! Even though my reveal day isn't until next Tuesday, I'm sending out a big THANK YOU to Mdm. Samm at Sew We Quilt and Marlene at Stitchin By The Lake for their organizing and cheerleading skills, and to Amy Bradley for the adorable lady she so generously offered to the participants to play with! And now on with the schedule so you can happily hop your way around to see all the fun! Have a GREAT week and see you in blog land!

Tuesday, February 19
Just Let Me Quilt
Sunshine Quilting
Spoilt Dog Quilts
Karen at That Other Blog
Grammie Q
Gracie Oliver Arts
Marjorie's Busy Corner
Sowing Stitches
Pigtales and Quilts

Wednesday, February 20
Buzzing and Bumbling
Cherries Prairie Primitives
Kwilty Pleasures
Sew On And So Forth
Sew. Darn. Quilt.
A Stitch In Time
Doodling In My Mind
Moosestash Quilting
A Patchwork Life
Vickie at That Other Blog
Susie's World

Thursday, February 21
Kris Loves Fabric
The Quilting Alleycat
Cat Patches
Bumbleberry Stitches
Chickadees Country Cottage Crafts
In Stitches and Seams
Quilting Unleashed
Rosemary at That Other Blog
Thimblemouse & Spouse
Sew Many Yarns

Friday, February 22
A Little Bit of Lorene
Life In The Scrapatch
Boston Bits
I Love Wool
Patchouli Moon Studio
As Sweet As Peaches
Just Quilt It
Grandmama's Stories
The Slow Quilter
Robin at That Other Blog

Monday, February 25
Quilting Lines
Mountain Delights
Jane's Fabrics and Quilts
The Fuzzy Hat Quilter
Ramblings of an Empty Nester
Quilt Doodle Designs
Living Life
Freemotion By The River
The German Mom
Stitchin'ByThe Lake

Tuesday, February 26
Pat Sloan's Blog
To Love Handmade
Feathered Nest Studio
Selina Quilts
Gypsy Dreamer Quilts ** That's ME!!!**
Sheila's Quilt World
13 Woodhouse Road
Stitches of Love
Janice at That Other Blog
In The Sewing Basket

Wednesday, February 27
The Passions of Cliodana
Marathon Quilter
Marla's Crafts
Fiber Babble
Simple Sew
Sewn Seabees
Charlotte at That Other Blog
Nini's Patchwork
Charlotte's Creations
My Spoolish Art

Thursday, February 28
Cherry Blossoms
Hill Valley Quilter
Dachsies With Moxie
I Like To QuiltBlog
Quilt Smiles
More Stars In Comanche
Tea Time Creations
Shedding the Wolf
Life, Quilts, and a Cat Too
Judy at That Other Blog
Madame Samm

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My very first quilt... Robert's panel in the Names Project Quilt

February is filled with family birthdays and two very important anniversaries of losses. Earlier this month I wrote about Mom and the vest I made. Today, February 19, is the 17th anniversary of the death of my brother Robert. He was only 5 years older than me, and we were the Baby Boomer children of our family. Our older two brothers were both pre-WWII babies who left home after junior college and high school in 1959, when Robert and I were just 10 and 5 years old. Robert was brilliant! He was one of those kids who could do everything well. He was so creative, and even designed and made his own guitar case out of canvas on my mom's old Singer when he was in high school. He was a gourmet cook, incredible gardener, loved the opera, spoke nine languages, and so much more. Everyone loved him and growing up, my girlfriends were all in love with him, his strawberry blonde hair and charismatic smile.
Robert at 20 years

Robert fell in love with the Spanish language in junior high and even spent Sunday afternoons with a family from our church who were from Mexico. He would spend hours immersed in the culture and language with Mr. and Mrs. Baca. After high school, Robert went off to the University of California at Davis and completed his BA in Spanish. His junior year at UCD he went to Spain for a semester abroad. He went on to get a Master's in Spanish at San Francisco State and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Linguistics from UCLA. After he completed his dissertation, he interviewed for several teaching positions. One was in the upper midwest, one out in California nearer our folks, and one was at the University of Kansas in Lawrence where I had moved with my family several years prior. He fell in love with the people and the position at KU and bought a house only a few blocks away from me. My kids grew up walking by Uncle Robert's house on the way to and from school every day.
Professor Granberg, 1992

Only a couple of years into his teaching career at KU he found out he was HIV+. Before long, Robert started having more symptoms and soon progressed to full blown AIDS. In less than four years after his initial diagnosis, he was gone. Robert was only 47 years old. 

Following his death, I wanted to do something to memorialize his life. He was cremated and scattered, so there was no grave site to visit. I'd been working with the local AIDS Project and learned about the Names Project quilt that was rapidly growing. I got the information and started asking family members if they wanted to contribute something to Robert's panel. In the end I had six blocks to assemble into some sort of quilt.

I learned from the Names Project website that the panels were to be 3 feet by 6 feet, leaving a few inches extra all around for binding. These panels, roughly the dimensions of a standard grave, include the name of the person being remembered, as well as other details such as where they were from, special talents they had, as well as pictures and other mementos. In my brother's belongings we found a whole bag of his neckties. He always wore a buttondown shirt with a tie, often with a vest or wool shirt over them. His ties were traditional to antique to wild and crazy.

My daughter Ali, then 11 years old, suggested we use the ties to make the petals of a sunflower on the panel and that's just what we did. I made a cross-stitch panel of a red rose beside his name and dates. My nieces and sister-in-law commissioned two painted and pieced blocks commemorating his Phi Beta Kappa award in 1971 when he graduated from UCD and his Ph.D. in 1988 from UCLA. One of his hospice nurses wrote a poem which my mother cross-stitched with roses onto a block, as well as the block with the Kansas Jayhawk showing the dates Robert taught at KU. Our oldest brother Ken knitted a square with llamas on it as a reminder of the sweater he had made for Robert out of alpaca wool he had brought back from a trip to Peru. Finally, my aunt embroidered a map of Spain and Portugal with outlines of the tour Robert took her and my uncle on when they visited him while he was living in Spain. Together, I sewed these random blocks together with grosgrain ribbon and attached them onto the backing fabric along with the sunflower of ties.
Robert's panel in Block 5301
When sent in to the NAMES Project, the individual panels are grouped together into larger 12' x 12' blocks of eight panels which are bound together for display. Robert's panel is included in block 5301. My children and I submitted Robert's panel to the NAMES Project during the World AIDS Day ceremony, December 1, 1999, at the University of Kansas where he had taught, and his panel has returned to KU for display on World AIDS Day several times since then. According to the, there are more than 48,000 individual panels memorializing more than 94,000 people who have died of AIDS

It was a simple project and certainly not "quilting" as I think of it today, but a project that will always be dear to my heart. I had no idea then that I would ever be a quilter, but somehow I think Robert knew. When I moved last year I found a book, The Mountain Artisans Quilting Book, with an inscription to me from Robert dated 1976. I even found notes to myself in there with a diagram of another NAMES Project panel I had planned to make in memory of Robert and two other friends who had died of AIDS. With my notes is a template I had cut out for a Dresden block. That panel never came to be, but it still might someday. Although that book had long been buried on the bookshelf, it now has a new place of honor as a voice from beyond says to me, "I always knew you would be a quilter. I love you, Robert." I love you too, Robert, and think of you every day as I work on my many quilting projects.
Liz & Robert, SFO upon his return from his first trip to Spain

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unexpected hitch in my plans

Nothing like an old fashioned head cold to throw a big hitch in your plans. All three of my grandkids were here noon Saturday to noon Sunday, and the older two stayed through today when my son, "Uncle Bug" took them back to meet their mom half way for their trip home. Thank goodness the Joe & Jordyn are pretty independent, plus Jordyn is old enough she got to help with Jacob while he was here. We had a fun weekend, but certainly not the weekend of sewing with Jordyn that I had hoped for. Such is life. Maybe over spring break... Oh, and I learned today that getting a nearly-13-year-old boy to smile is actually harder than getting the 8-month-old to smile! And to get them both smile at the same time? Impossible.

In the meantime, I have the buffalo baby quilt to finish before I leave Friday for Lizzie's baby shower, and other projects to get back to. Hopefully I'll have some new progress to show on my Express Your Love FMQ project soon! I'd sure like to get back to work on it and see the design grow and evolve.

Taking part in the Hugs & Kisses blog hop was great fun! A huge thank you to Madame Samm and Jane for their work in organizing and cheerleading! And to all of those who took part, what inspiring projects were posted the entire week! To all who commented on my projects, thank you! I'm looking forward to being part of the It's All About Me blog hop that starts tomorrow/Tuesday and runs through next week. My revel date is Tuesday, Feb 26, so I hope you'll check back for more fun.

And now, it's time to put my head that feels like it's in a fishbowl down for a well-deserved nap in my amazingly quiet house. Don't you just love having your kids and/or grandkids visit, but then appreciate your quiet house even more when they leave? Gotta love 'em!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop--Day 5: Heartfelt Love

What an exciting journey it has been getting ready for my very first blog hop! I'm so excited to have been chosen by Madame Samm, who has organized the Hugs & Kisses Blog Hop, and thanks to our cheerleader for the week, Jane from Jane's Fabrics & Quilts. Thank you both for widening the world of quilting blogs for me with this opportunity! Here's today's schedule. I hope you'll visit these blogs and cheer on the other Friday participants.

Friday February 15th

Why Knot Kwilt

It's been an week of lovely new projects being revealed each day. For those who wish to go back and see what has been revealed all week, the full schedule can be found by following this Hugs & Kisses button...

And now on to my heartfelt journey... It all started when I received the email informing me that I would be included in the Hugs & Kisses blog hop. EXCITED!!!! My first thought was to find all of my pinks and reds that have been bagged up and traveled across the country with me from California to Kansas last year when I moved. This would, indeed, be a scrappy project made entirely out of my stash. I knew they were lurking, I just wasn't sure where. After some hunting and sorting through boxes and bags, I found four baggies of reds and pinks left over from various projects.

As I started sorting them out, I found there were strips of various widths in several fabrics I wanted to include. I also had a lovely red on white fat quarter that I thought would be a perfect backing if I could keep the project to that size. I started pulling strips out of the pile, cutting the wider ones down and cutting a few more out of various scraps so they were all 2" wide, and began piecing a heart together. I also found a small baggie full of wings that had been cut off of red and white flying geese from a project I made four years ago. I was sure I'd use them someday. And someday finally came! Woohoo! These were little triangles, so I worked hard at getting them sewn together with just an 1/8" seam--much more and there wouldn't have been anything left of the blocks to use!
And then came the tedious task of pressing all of those miniature seams open! That took a whole evening by itself, just pressing all those little half-square triangles. I finished up with 32 1-1/4" red and white blocks to incorporate somewhere into my project.

Next I went back to sewing the 2" strips together to finish the central pieced heart. I got a little crazy adding strips and actually had three more rows than I wanted, making it an elongated heart that just didn't look right. So, I took out my ripper and started removing rows, which was more complicated than I had planned since they were added by units of two. Another night spent playing with the design. And three rows of pieced blocks for another someday project were added to the scrap bag that doesn't seem to be getting emptier. Hmmm... How does that happen?

Finally, I had the central heart done, had added the framing strips and mini-border, and then started playing with all those little red and white blocks. Amazingly there was an even number of them, so I sewed them together to make mock-flying geese by seaming the red sides together, again with 1/8" seams, and then made two strips of mock-flying geese to put on the sides. 

In one of the bags I had found some vintage Valentine fabric that I had received in a class scrap exchange and there was just enough to fussy cut the boy and girl in the hearts with accompanying words to add to the side borders.

I configured them with the boys on the bottom and girls on the top, one side with Cupid's arrows (the geese) pointing up from the boy to the girl and the other side with Cupid's arrows (the geese) pointing down from the girl to the boy. I loved the effect and vintage look! Adding the red hearts on pink border was the finishing touch to piecing the top.

Then it was on to figuring out how I wanted to quilt it. I went through my EQ Quilting Designs and found a beautiful feathered heart and, after several test prints, got the sizing right to fit perfectly within the pieced central heart. I selected a beautiful medium orchid #2479 from the Aurifil 50 Silk Hearts collection that blended well with the patchwork heart, and continued with the white Aurifil 50 that I had used for piecing to quilt the background cross-hatching and to use in the bobbin.

I pinned on my foundation paper pattern and started stitching on the lines.
Once the stitching was complete, then came the fun (not always) process of removing the foundation paper. Luckily my FMQ practice is paying off and I'm getting smaller, more uniform stitches that make it easier for the paper to tear away without deforming the stitches. Once complete, the center of the heart was a little puffy, so I added three free motion ribbon tendrils to the center, coming up from the bottom center of the feathered heart, as well as a little spiral stamen coming out of the tulip bottom into the point of the heart.  

I continued on by cross-hatching the white on white pin dot background around the heart and used the medium orchid again to quilt a lovely heart chain stencil around the 1" finished borders. The final step was binding it with the same pink as the outer border.

And finally, here it is, Heartfelt Love, a new table topper ready for Valentine's Day!
The little cottage tea cup & saucer is one of my favorites, along with the wooden heart candle holders that my dad made years ago. Now if I could only find the candles that I'm pretty sure made it from California to Kansas! I wonder what box they got left in? The little glass heart votive holders are the final touch and my dining room table is ready for company. Oh wait, where's the bowl of Valentine's M&Ms?!? Oops! I ate them all! Guess I need to make another trip to the store before Valentine's Day.

It has been such great fun creating this project for the Hugs & Kisses blog hop! I hope you have enjoyed the week of great projects! I know I have!

As others have mentioned, I, too, enjoy making things with hearts and have a few other projects to share...
This folded point potholder was made from a lovely pinks & reds charm pack as part of my daughter Ali's Christmas gift. Perfect to dress up her kitchen on Valentine's Day or anytime.

This scrappy heart table topper was made to decorate the dining table at my dad's in California and was awarded a 2nd place red ribbon at the Contra Costa County Fair in 2011. Today I would have mixed up the 4-patch hearts and made it much scrappier!

And finally, I have to brag about my 9-year-old granddaughter Jordyn, who did the LOVE cross stitch in the center and then selected fabrics that I helped cut into strips and she sewed together herself to make a pillow cover--her first ever sewing project! Each time she visits, this is the pillow she brings with her. It's so wonderful when children LOVE what they make!

Thank you again to Madame Samm and Jane for sponsoring and cheering us on this week for the wonderful Hugs & Kisses blog hop!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day! I just love my Jim Shore calendar for this month. And it's so fitting with the upcoming blog hop... It looks to me like some great inspiration for yet another quilt!

I'm spending my Valentine's Day with my bestie grandson, Jacob. He's teething again and has a runny nose, so he's pretty fussy, but still the best guy to hang out with.

Since my Hugs & Kisses blog hop reveal isn't until tomorrow, I'm sharing a picture of my granddaughter Jordyn and the pillow she made last summer when she spent a week with me. She did the cross-stitch LOVE in the center herself and wanted help to make it into something. I helped cut the strips and she sewed them together--her very first sewing project! I helped finish it with an envelope back and she sewed on the button.

I get to give her special Valentine's hugs this weekend when she and her brother Joe come to spend the weekend. Mormor's house will be FULL! Jacob will be here for Saturday night too. Hope I'm up to all this child-like hub-ub. :-) I'm sure we'll do just fine.

It's time to raid the cupboard in search of chocolate...

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mission accomplished: It's in the mail!

This afternoon I wrapped Comforting Words up in a cloth bag, printed out the journey of its making to include in the box, and went to the Post Office. Cindy's cuddle quilt to take to her chemo treatments is on its way from Kansas to California and should be there no later than Saturday. Hurray!!!! I may have been overly optimistic thinking I could get it done in a week, but it only took me a couple days long than that. I'm pretty amazed myself! I called Cindy this evening and told her to look for the box on Friday or Saturday and she was so happy!!! She has many struggles before her, but at least I know she'll be wrapped up in all the love and prayer that I put into the making of that quilt for her. She's promised to send me a picture of herself with the quilt and I'll post it when it arrives.

So now I'm back to my other more urgent projects. First up is the Buffalo Baby Quilt already, which already has the borders quilted--spent the last couple of hours doing a lazy L around the borders and across the sashings. Now to tackle whatever I decide to do in the print strips. Looks to be a busy evening! With any luck it will be mostly complete by the weekend and ready for binding. It would be nice to have that one checked off the list and not dragged out to the last minute.

My older grandkids will be here for the long weekend and I'll have Jacob overnight from mid-day Saturday to mid-day Sunday, so it'll probably be too busy to do anything here. However, you never know. Maybe after they're all asleep I'll sneak in for some late-night blog-therapy. 'Til then, Happy Stitching!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

WIP Wednesday--FMQ progress and a FINISH!!!

It's time to see where I am in the middle of the week. I can hardly believe it's the middle of February already!!! Where does the time go?!? It's WIP Wednesday and I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced to share. I'm also jumping in and visiting those blogs listed on StitchinByTheLake's Let's Go Visiting! I'm fairly new at all this and love followers! Hope you'll come back and visit again.

I'm happy to say that I have a couple of major projects in progress and one FINISH!!! In fact, it goes in the mail today!

Let's start with the FINISH! Comforting Words for my sister-in-law Cindy is now complete, including label and a wash. I think it came out spectacular! Adding the family photos and machine embroidered blocks with inspiring, comforting words, made this Irish chain (her favorite pattern) so special and personal. I know she'll feel the love that went into it when she cuddles up with it as she starts chemo in a couple of weeks. I wrote about its inspiration and development here.

Comforting Words complete!
 Working with this project has been such a labor of LOVE! Even the pieced back came out the same size as the top without planning and gives a fun contrast with the same fabrics in larger format and using up leftover blocks from the front. It took me an entire day to find the picture of me and Cindy that I used on the label. I finally found it in the last closet in the last box in the last 2" of pix. I was so excited when I found it, as well as a whole envelope of pix of one little Sophie, my great-niece and our family's precious little angel in the bottom right pic on the quilt, as I thought those pictures were lost in one of my moves. When I made the label, I printed it with February 10 as the finish date. Well, almost! I fixed it with pens and left Cindy a smiley as the final touch.
Pieced back on Comforting Words
Long lost picture found to be included! Yay!
And now on to the works in progress...

Buffalo Baby Quilt in process of being ditched.
The next deadline looming before me is February 23 when I have to deliver this nontraditional baby quilt that still isn't named to my friend Lizzie at her baby shower. So far I keep calling it the Buffalo Baby Quilt, so maybe that's its name. I have the ditching nearly done and then will begin the simple loopy quilting. I want it all secure, but since it's for a baby I'm not planning anything spectacular. Keep it simple, right?

Finally, the ongoing project that I need to get done soon is the large quilt I'm doing FMQ on for my friend Dianna. I've been trying to do 3-4 of the stenciled blocks a day, but with Jacob teething again, I'm afraid it's turned into 3-4 blocks a week! Maybe this weekend I can make some good headway on it.

Thanks for stopping by! It's been another busy week and another WIP will be revealed on Friday when my day comes around in the Hugs & Kisses Blog Hop! There have been so many sweet and inspirational projects revealed already! I hope you'll check them out.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop--Day 1

It's that time of year--Valentine's Day is only a few days away and to celebrate, my thanks go out to Madame Samm who has organized the Hugs & Kisses Blog Hop! Our cheerleader for the week is Jane from Jane's Fabrics & Quilts. It's an exciting week with new projects being revealed each day. This is my first ever blog hop and I'm so excited to have been included in this fun online gathering! My day isn't until Friday, but I hope you will visit everyone and check back at the end of the week to see my heartfelt project.

The full schedule can be found by following this Hugs & Kisses button...

The projects revealed on Day 1 are so sweet and so varied! I can hardly wait to see what comes tomorrow!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Remembering Mom--"Glimpses of Alice" vest

Me and Mom, baking cookies! (Christmas 2003)
Last week, amidst all the flurry of activity making Cindy's Comforting Words quilt, the seventh anniversary of my mother's passing came and went. That emotional bubble that hovers just under the surface on days like that, whether I consciously realize it or not, has not yet burst. For me it hangs on through February 19, what will be the 17th anniversary of my brother Robert's passing.
My mom, Alice, and brother, Robert, Christmas 1995
My mom had Lewy Body Dementia with rigid Parkinsonism. I was graced with the opportunity to be her personal caregiver for the last 16 months of her life before she passed on Feb. 7, 2006. While it was very difficult seeing my mother go that way, we had many very special moments together. Following her death, I returned to school and finished my BA in 2010, writing my senior thesis on "The Differential Diagnosis of Dementias: A Focus on Lewy Body Dementia." The following summer, I submitted a proposal to present my research at the national conference of the American Association of Service Coordinators at their annual gathering to be held in Orlando, Florida. It was accepted and in July 2011 I presented "Demystifying Dementia for the Non-Clinician" to a room filled with about 60 of my peers from across the country.

About six months before the conference, I entered a quilting challenge at my local quilt shop, Queen B's in Antioch, CA, that came with instructions to include the two fabrics in the packet with whatever others we wanted into some creative project. I chose the fabrics to go with the challenge fabrics and decided to make log cabin blocks. Included in the challenge packet were the darkest purple used in the log cabins and the lightest orchid fairy frost used for the collar. I put the blocks up on my design board and there they sat for what felt like months! I'm sure it was only weeks since there was a deadline looming for the shop challenge.

Creating the log cabin blocks
Playing with layout options
One night I was actually dreaming about those blocks and a thought flashed into my mind to make something to wear rather than a quilt or wall-hanging. A vision of the layout began to manifest and the next morning I went to work right away. I had been collecting patterns for jackets and vests to use in creating wearable art, but hadn't used any of them at that point. I dug out the kimono-type vest and started laying out pattern pieces to see if the blocks I had made would fit in any useable configuration. Amazingly, they fit together like I had planned it intentionally. As the design evolved, I worked with my embroidery machine on creating a continuous design around the collar. I also found the Laurel Burch hummingbird and hearts fabric I had added to my stash and started fussy cutting hearts to applique into the layout. Finally, I began picking out favorite pictures of Mom, each from different decades that were photo transferred to the centers of the hearts.
Photos of Mom were photo transferred to the centers of each appliqued heart

Ultimately it became a stunning kimono-type vest that incorporated log cabin blocks, machine embroidery, applique, photo transfer, and free motion quilting, and took second place in the Queen B Quilting Challenge of 2011.
Vest front and back, details of collar and inside label & heart
As I prepared to give my lecture, when I put on that vest, I felt like I was being hugged and encouraged from beyond by my mom. "Glimpses of Alice" was displayed at the Delta Quilters Guild Show in October 2011 in California, and has since been entered in the Lyon County (Kansas) Fair where it took first place and the sweepstakes (best of class) for garment construction, and the Kansas State Fair where it took first place in the Wearable Art Quilted Garment class. I pull it out of the closet to wear on special occasions or when I feel the need of a hug from Mom.
Liz speaking at the AASC National Conference, 2011, Orlando, FL