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Archive for January, 2011

True friends are rare jewels in the fibers of life. There is a lady who I do not see much anymore since she has moved away, but she fits into the category of TRUE FRIEND. I have found myself in some tough situations this past year or two and she has called me to cheer me up, offered to retrieve me and take me home to where she is today so I can just get away, and such. Rare is the friend I can call true, but she is one. Julia is such a kind, warm-hearted, and good-spirited person, and I love her dearly. She does many things, but one of the greatest things she does is write. She has a book out right now that I want to draw attention to. It’s called Stories of Yesterday (and the Day Before). She writes under the name of Julia Arrants. Be sure to check out her new website:  http://juliaarrants.com. The book is sold on the website, at Amazon, and other stores in the Savannah area and such. I hope that she will one day be able to commit all of her writings to audio with her reading them, but for now this will have to do. Julia, I feel honored to be able to call you friend. Best of luck! And, to everyone, Happy Gardening as you create new stories in your fabrics and gardens of life!

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Many girls are taught at a young age how to make fabric yo-yos. Sometimes there is a circle pattern used or a certain glass that is traced around. When I was very little, I had a book about a toy doll made from yo-yos. The book is long gone just as the title has been erased from my memory. I thought it was a Golden Book, you know, those little first readers with the gold spines. Anyway, I thought the tale went something about the doll coming apart or something to that effect – I really have no idea, but I can see the yo-yo doll in my mind. I remember my paternal grandmother reading this book to me. I loved this book. Maybe it’s because she died when I was 3 and this was the one book I remember her reading to me. If there is someone out there who knows the name of the book, please let me know. You know how it is when you cannot remember something – it eats at you! Thanks!

I had no luck in securing more green-striped fabric at the store for the flowers quilts 😦 but found some online. I think I’m obsessing so I probably will not get any more. There was a sale at the store, so I bought material (of course). Some of it will go with the striped fabric. I also picked out some pink and later noticed those two have the same design but different colors. Not much of the pink was left so I got all they had. Then I looked around to see if there was something else I “needed” that fit into my overspent budget. I didn’t find anything, but these 2 items blew my mind:

Number ONE was packaged fabric with printed yo-yos complete with stitching lines on white background! I am not kidding! I don’t remember what the price was, but there was a bit of space between each yo-yo. I thought that was a big waste. Have we really become so cookie cutter mold-like that there is no room for creativity? It’s a shame. I guess if someone does not want excess material lying around the house, maybe, but who doesn’t want extra material? Is there anyone out there who really does not want (not need) extra material? Have you ever met a quilter/crafter who doesn’t want more material? I don’t know anyone except for a few ladies who are giving up sewing because of their ages.

Number TWO boggles my mind! It is called a floss winder. Note, if you own one, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings. It might be perfect for you, but I don’t see that I need it. And, if you haven’t seen one, you first insert a card (used with embroidery floss) into the winder. Then just like adding thread to a bobbin, you secure the thread and then you HAND-crank the thread around the card. I don’t get it. What’s the point? You still have to wind the thread around the card by hand.

This explanation was given at crossstitch.about.com:

“Why to Use a Floss Bobbin Winder:  Wrapping floss around hundreds of bobbins could be rather tedious without this tool. Since I use a bobbin-based storage system for my DMC Embroidery floss, I use the winder to help speed up the organization process.”

Most floss winders are under $2 – some under $1; here’s a link to what one looks like:  floss winder.  

Please tell me how this speeds things up? If I need to wind floss, I get a card out, number the card, open the floss, get it ready so it will not knot, and then wind. If I had a winder, I would have to find the winder, set it up on the box, and go through the same thing except I would crank rather than wind. Then I would have to put up the winder. I don’t see the point, but hey, it’s another plastic thing we have to have, right? 🙂

I have a ton of things to do today, so have a GREAT day and Happy Gardening down the trail of life!

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FOREVER; what does it mean? To a child, forever is a lifetime-all the way to next week or next year. To a teenager, forever can mean being grounded until they reach 16 or maybe even 21. To a couple in love, forever can mean spending an eternity together-for the rest of their lives. To a married couple of 20 years, forever means they are almost half way there. And, for a married couple of 50 years forever means that they have already spent an eternity together.

Today, forever does not mean much. A life sentence for murder without special circumstance means forever is usually 20 years or less. To a couple marrying for the first time, forever is a long time, but too often forever lasts about 6 years; more if they are lucky and so often it is even less. But, does luck have anything to do with forever? Is forever only a state of mind? Forever can be a long time if one is not happy. On the other hand, if one is content with life and his or her situation, forever can fly by without realizing it.

Forever and commitment. We cannot get very far down the road of life without commitment(s). Today, a couple who is just getting married is likely to give up and throw in the towel when things get rough rather than stay together, or it seems that way. I’m not saying divorce is wrong in all situations. I just think we enter into relationships without making commitments. We want to leave the door unlatched so we can make a quick escape. Since there is nothing there to stop us, we let things go too easily.

Maybe it’s because commitment scares people. Even before marriage vows are exchanged, young people today are more interested in “hooking up” or having “one-nighters” – you know what I’m talking about. We have become so enthralled with the moment-searching for what makes us feel good-that we opt out of the long-haul or sometimes even a casual relationship. “One-nighters” really means a person is out for oneself, whereas, commitment is for two people. Couples will not last if they are selfish and are only in it for him or herself (one or the other; or both separately). In other words, forever in love will never happen unless someone allows the other to be first. This is called selfLESS love. Afterall, that’s what commitment is all about, isn’t it?

-Please note the Alzheimer’s Quilt Initiative link to the right –>                                I will explain more next week as it ties in with memory quilts.

Happy Gardening in your relationships of life!

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Flower Appliqué

Ok, here is the appliqué project I’m attempting to work on but am having problems getting to it right now. I haven’t done appliqué in a while, so there is somewhat of a learning curve until I get some practice down. The pattern is nothing intricate, but I love this flower!  I like the simpleness of it though it is not a true crocus. I think it is bright and cheery.

                          

This is the practice one. I didn’t like the purple against the green stripes after I looked at it together, so I may go with pink for the next one. Hey, since it is not really a crocus I think it’s ok. I’ll experiment some more after I get this ready to quilt. I went back to get the rest of the green striped fabric and of course, it was all gone 😦 (sniff, sniff)! I should have known that would happen. I’m going tomorrow to see if I can find more at another store. Keep your fingers crossed.

Happy Gardening and may all of your flowers and fruits be bountiful and beautiful!

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Last week was one crazy week. It began Sunday a week ago when a friend brought me several little batches of material she was getting rid of. Some were projects in progress or UFOs (un-finished objects) – most were just cutouts that had not been sewn. Most of the designs are not produced any more. There are some beautiful pieces in these batches. I’m not sure what I will do with them, but I think I can find (or have) material that will coordinate (cross your fingers that I have it on hand!). I’m not sure how this will fit into my plans for the coming months, but then on Friday another friend gave me some quilt tops she had not finished long ago and some rolls of decorator fabric. Wow! What nice friends! I still need to decide what I will do with everything. Here’s a glance at the material from the first friend.

If I’m going to give the finished projects to the church to sell for restoration, then it needs to be something other than a big quilt – it will take too long to hand quilt. Some thoughts for the fan cuts could be pillows, placemats :(, lap quilt, etc. I’ll tell more about the quilt tops and rolled fabric at a later time. Right now, I need to focus on my appliqué project. I’m really excited about this! I wanted to post photos, but they did not come out that well. I have the first petal sewn but need to go back and recut the white part of the petals. I just do not like the way it looks because I used an old piece of muslin-remember that I was just doing a dry run but then decided to finish the project. I really like it, but I hope others will, too. I’m not sure how I will finish it. It could be a big pillow, but I’m not crazy about that idea – yet. I’m toying with the idea of a lap quilt that can be hung if desired. The second idea will probably win out. Depending on how well this turns out and how it is received (remember the lady who thought my crazy quilts were potholders), I want to make a larger flower quilt, but I need to finish designing the block patterns.

It’s cold today, but no snow 😦 or ice 🙂 is predicted like it could have been. I think most people have had their fill after we had the ice on top of the snow last time. Most people I know are ready for spring. As for gardening and plants, there was a time I could grow anything (got that from my dad), bring it back to life, etc. Now, I’m having trouble keeping things alive since I keep it so cold in the house. My poinsettia from 2009 is looking rather ragged and the rose bush my hubby gave me for our anniversary has dropped all of its leaves. On the up side, there is new growth on the little rose bush, so maybe there is hope… 🙂

Happy gardening in all parts of your lives!

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So many memory quilts are intertwined pieces of long ago. These are probably my favorites. They are true memory quilts. For instance, say granny is about to celebrate her 70th or 80th (or any number actually) birthday. She may have daughters (sons and grandchildren, too) who want to memorialize (honor) her life with items or pieces of items she has sewn (crocheted, knitted, tatted, embroidered, etc). They can be included in the quilt. Another idea is to use photos that can be transferred to fabric and sewn into a quilt to tell a story of granny’s life with written remarks, traditions, and beliefs. What a treasure!

 

 

 

Here are some mementos I have put away. My paternal grandmother and great aunt loved to crochet, tat, and embroider. They made lace for hankies, doilies, bookmarks, etc. The crochet needle (shown) belonged to my grandmother, and the pins belonged to my parents.

These same techniques of assembling a memory quilt can be used to tell a story of someone who has passed away, too, even couples or say a family. I think this is a wonderful way to remember ancestors who have passed on, but do not forget to include the stories that they shared. In the process of making a memory quilt, you are contributing to making new memories that can be handed down to the next generation. Gathering family together to make a memory quilt may help in the healing process of grief from a loved one. Anything that involves getting together to remember good things and happy times, but be sure to shut the door on any sibling rivalry. Also remember that we each process grief differently. Grief healing is a process. We really do not overcome grief, but we learn to better deal with the pain of losing loved ones. Remembering the positive of people’s lives helps us do just that. We are better able to put the focus on someone and/or somewhere else for a minute rather than thinking about our lives without them. I just think this is a great way to remember family that has passed away.

Just a note:  If a memory quilt is made in memory of someone and there is more than one descendant (more than one direct child), then more quilts may be needed so that each sibling can pass a quilt down to their children (no squabbling over who gets THE Quilt later on-at least for a generation). And, do not forget about the male siblings. The men in the family may not be interested in quilting, but that’s not to say that his offspring won’t be or even his wife. It may be hard to find enough memorabilia to include for everyone to use, but using older techniques with newer material (if older material cannot be secured) is one way to tackle this. It is up to the person(s) on what they want to do. There are so many possibilities, so be creative. Whatever happens, we need to focus on the celebration of life and lives!

Next memory quilt posting:  Helping to Remember

Happy Gardening in the Quilt of Life!

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Ok, I am paving a new road for my crafting ideas. Yes, I know I gave a list of what is was planned, but I am now starting down a different path – an unexplored road in a way. I admit that the memory quilt project has really changed the way I look at things. I feel that I am at another crossroads in life, but I’m not sure that I moved out of the intersection last year :).  We all need purpose in our lives, and we need to share our purpose and fruits with others. Anyway, I stopped sewing just before Christmas and could not find the motivation to get going again. During the time away, I have been working on some family genealogy things – it is really hard to juggle too many things. Creating things (sewing, quilting, and other arts and craft things) defines me – genealogy or family history helps me to understand who I am or at least from whom I came. I’m not one of those people who has to have a family tree chart that shows I am connected to a million people. I search to know the individual, his/her obstacles, and his/her successes and triumphs. I have been doing this for more than several years, more than a decade or so, actually. I not only want to remember the past but I want to tie it together with the present and the future. Does that make any sense? I think that is why the memory quilting project has endeared me so. 

New ideas for my sewing projects are being hammered out. This is a change from what I was planning even a week ago. I do not need more material – repeat after me, “I do not need more material!” I can recite this all day, but I broke down and had to make a visit to the cloth store – everyone knew that was coming, right? I spent my profits from my mini quilts (that I will not receive until the end of the month). Eeeeek! Why? Why do I feel that I need more material other than there was a sale? I have a new vision. I do not do a lot of appliqué work – in fact I do very little – almost none at all, but I just designed a quilt block using a purple crocus for a model. I love flowers, so I have picked out some material that I REALLY need (?) and am ready to go. I just hope this turns out like I see it in my head. I plan to post pics of the work as I go. Here are some of the colors and materials I will be using: 

I am also sketching blocks for a birdhouse quilt…and a Sunbonnet Sue quilt…, but they are being pushed to the side for awhile. Then there is an Alzheimer’s memory quilt design I have started. I will blog more about this in later postings, but for those of you who know me, you know that I suffer from a disability that has some of the same effects as Alzheimer’s. In some ways, my disability is worse and in some ways it is not as bad, if that makes any sense. I am not comfortable discussing it openly but have been “afflicted” (such an awful sounding word!) since I was young with more manifestations (not a great word either) in recent years. Whatever ailment that can eat away at the mind is detrimental to one’s very being. Other people do not understand what they cannot see especially if they have never experienced a loved one suffering from such diseases and disabilities. This is really hard on the person who is suffering. I could blog just on diseases like this alone, but I want to draw attention to the people – who they are – not names and faces per se, but their importance in life as individuals. Everyone deserves to be honored and remembered; well that’s the way I see it.

Unless you walk in the shoes of others you will never know what they face.

This is true no matter what struggles one faces, and we all have struggles of one kind or another. So, in short, I am on a new journey, one that is not definitive. It is a little scary, but I need this. It’s time. 

Happy Gardening and may we all take time to walk in the shoes of others so that we may understand each other better!

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There are several types of memory quilts and just like crazy quilting there are no set rules one must follow-REALLY-I’m serious! One can look at quilting as being a medium of art, but it is so much more. To many people, a quilt serves as a necessity and not a luxury. To others, it is a palette of color, a geometric display, a landscape, still life, or something else totally. It’s quite different than a drawing or a painting, but the finished product is a canvas (literally) that displays what the artist desires. There are designs and patterns from which to choose, but the artist/quilter does not have to follow these. Remember that we cannot confine ourselves to only a set way of doing things. Creativity is important in all aspects of art.

One type of memory quilt is called a friendship quilt. Perhaps someone is moving away, retiring from a job, or leaving a designated group. Friends may want to make this person a quilt so the individual can remember the group and the times they have shared. There is no limit to what can be done including adding names, photos, and mementos of past times together. This type of quilt can also be assembled as a thank-you gift for a job or service, or it can be used to raise donations. In the book I have, Memory Quilts in the Making (Leisure Arts), there is a lovely fan quilt that was put together to raise money for a church charity.

                                     Leisure Arts Presents Memory Quilts in the Making

For each donation, businesses or individuals could have their name stitched in a block; think – fabric advertisements. The quilt was later auctioned off to raise even more money. What a great idea to make a quilt that can be displayed for a period of time (perhaps 3-6 months or more) so that all will see it, and then auction it off after the allotted time. Today, we are more apt to buy inscribed blocks/bricks or leaves of gold, silver, etc or other things that are more concrete. I like the quilt idea especially with a church because names are not sprawled everywhere on the building, but I’m peculiar like that.

Next memory quilt posting:  Honoring and Remembering.

Happy Gardening!

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Before I get to the memory quilt post, I want to report on my quilting projects that I finished in time for Christmas–there is a story. Photo sampling of some of my projects:

 Christmas Décor

                            

 Mini Crazy Quilts

  

They all had decorative hangers with gold embellishments, etc. I took the finished projects over to a friend who was taking them to the church to sell in the shops they have open on the weekends (for restoration project). She absolutely loved them! Little did I know she was going to buy most of them and give them to some of our friends, 1) as a gift for Christmas; 2) so they could have something I made; and 3) it would benefit the church, too (why mess with two birds when you can get three birds with one stone, right?). Anyway, most ladies were very appreciative of my efforts. They are all older than me and most knew my mother, so that counts for something extra. On the downside, one lady received one of the mini crazy quilt wall hangings. I tried to do my best and smile when she came to thank me for making the “potholders.”  😦   Ok, not the kindest remark in the world, but at least she thanked me for making an effort. I have not heard if all of the items were sold-things have been slow with the holidays and the bad weather and all. 

Another story – my mother-in-law used to make the most beautiful crocheted items. She would work hard all year crocheting so she could sell them to have enough money to buy gifts for Christmas. I just wanted some of the crocheted items-forget buying anything. I don’t think she liked it when I told her, but I wanted to have things she made so the kids would have them years from now. My mom used to make about everything we gave because we could not afford ‘store bought’ items. I even got tired of ‘handmade’ things, but I understood what it meant to make something so that others would have part of you. It is not just the thought that counts but the effort that goes into making something for someone-not 1000 of the same thing-but you know what I mean. I see more of this today than two years ago. Maybe we, or at least some of us, have grown to appreciate things a little more with the downslide in the economy…I hope so! So, whether you make something or receive something, someone made it. Let’s just appreciate those things made and crafted by people, especially those made by people we know. 

Happy Gardening – and I promise the memory quilt post is next!

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No, we don’t get much snow here, but every so often we get a mixed bag of snow and ice that paralyzes everything. Usually all is gone by the middle of the day, but that’s not been the case this time, and it has been a nice change – even the hubby got to stay home one day and that never ever happens. We are finally beginning to thaw a little as the sun is coming up today. It has been gone for a while. The ice has been the real problem and the lack of rising temps has not helped the situation. My biggest worry is if we will lose power in an ice storm, and so far we have lucked out. 

We live on a hill and the only time we get to use the sled is when we get ice AND snow. One of the ‘children’ was interested in ‘playing’ in the stuff and could not find someone to go with her, so I got out and slid down the hill a few times – Dad had to work that day. Wow! It was a lot of fun, but I paid the price later. We don’t get to do that much, so we need to enjoy it while we can, right? I miss being a kid – or being just a little younger and more limber without all of the aches and pains!

I am still putting ideas together for the memory quilts I will be making and will follow up this post with a blog about them, but for now, here is a pic of the snow and ice on our little hill. It may not look like much but when we there is ice we cannot drive up without salt, and who wants to use salt when you can sled?

                       

 Happy Gardening!

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