Category Archives: Devoted to Quilting

A to Z Blog Challenge

http://

Thanks to Nancy Doyle, I realized the other day that the A to Z challenge was almost here. For some silly reason I thought it came later in the year, don’t know why.

Sew, I got busy and started thinking what I could do for a theme. Had one too, almost had enough ideas for the month even. For a pantzer like me (a pantzer is someone who does things by the seat of her pants rather than planning) that was amazing. True, the posts weren’t written, but the ideas were there for most of the letters.

Then, the idea changed. No problem, still plenty of time. Next I realized it was time to reveal the theme. Goodness, I hadn’t even signed up yet, and here it is time to post the theme. Good thing the ladies on the quilting page over on Facebook are such troopers.

Thanks to them I now have a theme, Quilty Destinations, and a quilty place for almost every letter. Goodness, I may become a planner yet. Naw, not going to happen.

Stay tuned though. Coming April 1,  there will be a blog post here. Every.Single.Day. Well, except Sundays, we take Sundays off. Which is fair, I don’t sew on Sunday, so I guess no traveling on Sunday either. At least  on the blog.

Come along in April and Travel with me to different Quilty destinations.

Reading Break for Quilters

Song of the Storm book cover Calling all quilters. The sun is shinning, the birds are singing, it’s too hot for sewing. If you’re ready to take a sewing break and read I have the perfect book for you. SONG OF THE STORM is book three in the Stone Trilogy by Mariam Kobras.

With another captivating episode in the Jon and Naomi Stone saga, author Mariam Kobras has quilted her magic. SONG OF THE STORM,  the last (maybe) book in the Stone Trilogy continues with the real-life characters, conflict,  love and tragedy.

Life with a rock star isn’t easy, but hotel empire heiress, Naomi is determined to build a life together with her soul mate, rock star Jon Stone. Jon is just as determined. However, just as in our lives, their road to happiness is often rocky and the baggage both carry from the past, too many times,  gets in their way. Good news, that another child is on the way leads to more insecurities for both of them.

The book isn’t just about Naomi and Jon though. Their lives are intertwined with family and friends who also have issues. A subplot of the book revolves around one of those close friends, Jon’s manager Stan.

Stan has long-held a one-sided love for Naomi. When he meets Maya, he believes he’s found Naomi’s replacement. Except, happiness isn’t always easily achieved. Maya has a maturity well beyond her young age. She realizes long before Sal does that their love is not made to last. Will Stan find a lasting love? Only readers of SONG OF THE STORM, and the author of course, will know.

The reappearance of Naomi’s parents adds more tension to the story. They have little belief in their son-in-law, and often display concern for their only daughter’s safety, both physical and emotional. Given their background, and knowledge of the past, it’s easy to understand. Yet, this reader, wanted them to just love their daughter and accept her marriage. However, since that rarely happens in real life, it felt right that they continue to suspect their son-in-law and the marriage.

In the middle of all of the tension, and emotional confusion we are reminded that family, friends, and love are what is truly important when the characters are forced to deal with the real-life tragedy and drama of the September 11 attack.

Wherever you were, the emotions you felt that day will return as you are taken back to that unforgettable experience. However, Jon, Naomi, their family and friends remind us that hope and love are eternal.

SONG OF THE STORM  is a perfect read while you take a break from sewing and quilting. You can curl up on the couch under the air conditioning and continue the journey with Naomi and Jon. If you haven’t read book 1, THE DISTANT SHORE, and  book 2,  UNDER THE SAME SUN, no worries, this book stands alone. Although you WILL want to get book one and two, because you won’t be ready to let them go and you’ll want more time with them.

WARNING!! Do not read this by the pool if you are also watching young children. You will be pulled into the story and forget where you are. Leaving children unsupervised around water is not recommended. However, if  there are no children present, read and allow yourself to be whisked away.

For more reviews, or to meet Mariam herself, check out her blog at  where all the links for the blog hop can be found.

Mariam

Stars and Quilts

She slipped out of the house, closing the door with a soft click. No need to wake the rest of the family. She skirted around the toys of her younger siblings and headed for a clearing in the front yard.

She tossed the quilt on the sandy desert ground and sat down. For several minutes she just sat and stared at the stars above and soaked in the cool night air. Finally, she said aloud the words that were in her heart.

“Please send me somebody to love me for me. Someone who will accept me the way I am and not want me to be someone else.”

She began to trace her fingers around the well-known outline of the hexagon shaped pieces of the quilt. So many different contrasting, and competing fabrics sewn together to create a beautiful quilt.

As she traced the shapes the words filled her heart. “I love you the way you are. I don’t want you to be someone else. I love you for you, I created you that way.”

She smiled softly, “I know. But, could you also send someone real? Someone who will allow me to feel safe and love in his embrace.”

There was no immediate answer. Still, the girl felt better being she was okay just the way she was, she didn’t need to be a genius, or a fabulous typist, or a social butterfly, she was okay as her.

Six months later. Attending the college of their choice, in a state far from her friends, she met a man whose arms sheltered her when she hurt. A man who loved her not for who she was, but because she was her. They were together thirty four years before he went Home.

Joining up is Lisa Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday. Check out the other bloggers playing along and why not come join us? The rules are simple:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back at Lisa Jo’s site, here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
– See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-belong/#sthash.45Mgtorx.dpuf
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
– See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-belong/#sthash.45Mgtorx.dpuf

Best Present, Worst Present

The worst present I ever received was also the best present.

the house shortly after moving day.

the house shortly after moving day.

In 2006 he signed the paperwork for our very first house. The first house we (along with the bank) would own. The first house we couldn’t lose because someone else decided they wanted to sell it, or some family member needed a house. The first house where he could build his pig barn just the way it wanted, and it would add value.

It was an anniversary gift of sorts. Since he was a teacher, and in the early years we moved during July, our anniversary month, our private joke was he got me a house for our anniversary. Of course, we’d lived in Stuart for 28 years, so there hadn’t been any “house presents” in recent years.

It was a fabulous present to ourselves, our own home.

Except, we never lived in it. WE never lived in it, I do. Oh, we both moved. Just to different “homes.” He actually moved home, to live with God. I on the other hand, moved to our new house, the place that was to be a home.

Now, after seven years, it almost feels like a home. Every day I’m thankful for his worst, and best present to me.

The side yard of our house, a view to love.

What was the best present you ever received?

What was the worst present you ever received?

What is the best present you ever gave?

Hooking up ( a couple of days late) with Lisa Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday.

Three Considerations when Looking for Quilt Show Venues

Location is the first consideration when planning a quilt show. You can read all five important ingredients for a quilt show here.

Your location will depend on where you live, and what is available to you. You can make almost any location work. Some may take a little more creativity, ingenuity, and even elbow grease.  However, before you can begin scouting for the appropriate location there are three factors  consider.

1.Indoors or out? Is your show going to be a one day outdoor event, or do you prefer an indoor venue?  This will affect where you locate.  An outdoor quilt show can be fun and successful, although you do need to have a contingency plan in the event of inclement weather.

There are several successful outdoor quilt shows held each year including: Eureka Montana Quilt Show, August 3, in Eureka Montana. Winters California Quilt Show, June 22, in Winters California, and of course,The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, held the second Saturday in July in Sisters Oregon.

2. Finances. How much can you afford to pay for the use of the facilities?  For small groups a free location is best,  as they don’t usually have a lot of money in their treasury. Some locations to consider for a free, or low-cost use are: school auditoriums if  the students are on a break. Churches, often have a dining hall or activity center they are willing to have used for a quilt show. Town halls, or community centers often have a large open space perfect for a quilt show. Some farmers and ranchers have large barns or shop buildings that are empty, or can easily be emptied, during certain parts of the year, they may consider allowing a quilt show in their barn. The Clarita Amish Auction held the second Saturday in September includes a quilt display (before the auction) in one of the barns. Once your finances are established, it’s easier to narrow the location search.

Sometimes quilt shows are held in huge convention centers.

Sometimes quilt shows are held in huge convention centers.

3. Accessibility. You want people to be able to get to your quilts to view them. Adequate parking is one consideration, if you use a farmer’s shop building, your customers need to be able to drive and park on his pasture, unless of course, the shop is located right next to the road. You want to avoid the need for people to park in the road, it’s not safe, and will deter some possible attendees from stopping.  A nearby parking lot is your best option, if available. You also want your venue to be accessible to those in wheelchairs, with walker or pushing strollers. If stairs must be climbed, you’ll need to install a ramp, a temporary one if necessary, for those needing one. Most public venues will be wheelchair accessible, it’s just something to keep in mind. You want your beautiful quilts accessible to everyone who wishes to see them.

Questions:

1. What is the most unusual location you’ve visited for a quilt show?

2. What is the most difficult obstacle your group has had to overcome to have a quilt show?

3. How far will you drive to attend a quilt show?

Beauty Surrounds Us

According to the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ” But it is so much more. As I drank my tea on the porch this morning, soaking in the beauty pf God’s handiwork, I thought about what was beautiful to me.

The birds chirping and singing, add a beautiful sound to my world. The flowers blooming are beautiful to look at. The Honeysuckle growing on the pasture fence add a beautiful scent. The smell of fresh cut grass is almost intoxicating.

All of that is beautiful, but the most beautiful gift is time.

Time to help someone, time spent with another. Today, I watched my son sitting on the tractor as he cut the grass in the pasture surrounding my house. The little pastures aren’t big enough to bother trying to get a baler in them, and I don’t have any cattle to eat the grass down, so the tractor it is.

The gift of his time using the brush hog on my pasture was made more beautiful by the time spend driving to my house. My son lives over an hour away, yet he gave his time, on a holiday weekend to come and help me out.

Time. A beautiful gift.

Today I’m linking up with Lisa Jo Baker and Five Minute Fridays. Rules are simple:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

– See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-beautiful/#sthash.shEOgHzf.dpuf

Should Quilts Look Like the US Flag?

I used to believe about quilts the way Will Rogers believed about men. He never met a man he didn’t like and I thought I’d never seen a quilt I didn’t like, at least to some degree. I was wrong.

“We should make a quilt that looks like a flag.” A member of our guild mentioned one afternoon as several of us were visiting.

“Um, I’d rather we didn’t.” I tried to be diplomatic, after all if that’s what everyone else wanted to do, they’d do it, majority rules and all that. Of course, that didn’t mean I’d have to participate. Someone always sat out a group project for one reason or another.

“Why, not for goodness sake?” She asked.

“It feels disrespectful to me.” I gave her the short answer. ”

“Well, I think it’s showing respect.” She crossed her arms and sat back as though I should immediately agree with her.

I didn’t.

If the subject comes up again, and it will. After all that was just a few of us tossing ideas around, I’m sure the subject will come up at a meeting. I’ll still opt out. But this time, when they ask me why, I’ll send them to this blog.

Today,  the United States of America celebrates not only our independence from King George, but our establishment as a country..

We celebrate as a country united, a country of mixed ethnic groups, cultures, ideas and ideals. We are one country and we defend each other, even as we disagree.

Today, as we celebrate our unitedness (yes, spell check, that is a word, it’s my word) is a good time to explain why I don’t like quilts that look like flags. Why I feel it’s disrespectful.

First, you need to understand what our flag represents to me. The flag represents every US citizen, from the native-born to the immigrants, recent and past, the flag represents all of us. The flag belongs to everyone, high-ranking executives, to minimum wage hamburger slingers, and every economic, and intellectual group in-between.

The flag represents our rights.

It represents mine and my friend’s right to disagree with each other, and have a discussion about it, in public.

It represents my right to own, have ammunition for, and shoot a gun. Your right to not have a gun in your possession. It does NOT represent my right to shoot you because I disagree with you.

It represents the right of the Jews to worship in their synagogue, the Christians in their church of choice (and we have several), the atheists to not worship at all. It even represents the westboro group the right to believe the way they believe. It does NOT represent anyone’s right to disrupt another person’s life because they believe differently.

It represents my (and your) right to visit relatives and friends, or just sight-see in another state without getting anyone’s permission.

It represents my (and your) right to vote for those who will serve us in our state and federal legislature, it even represents our right to vote them out of office when their personal agenda takes precedence over our wishes.

The flag represents our Heroes. Those who serve us at home, and abroad, our police, firefighters, and military. Sometimes at the cost of their lives. The flag represents their choice to serve us, even knowing the possible cost.

The flag represents all of our rights, not just the few I listed, and those who fought, and sometimes died to protect our rights. I do not want it disrespected.

To disrespect the flag disrespects our rights and more importantly all of those who serve and served to protect those rights.

A quilt  placed on a bed, gets tangled with other covers and kicked on the floor. It is not respected and does not show respect for the original flag or those it represents.

A quilt, folded and placed on the floor for a baby to crawl on, spit-up on, and even have diaper accidents on, is not showing respect to the flag.

A quilt,  thrown over a picnic table, used as a tablecloth, and has food spilled on it, is not being showing respect.

A wall quilt made to look like a flag could be considered showing respect, except I seldom make wall quilts, and if I want to hang a flag on my wall, I’ll put the real thing.

No, I do not like flag quilts. I do not find them a sign of respect.

You, of course, are free to disagree. That’s one of the rights the flag represents. How do you feel about flag quilts? Do you enjoy making them? Share your thoughts.

Introduction to Quilting 001

Yes, I know, classes usually have a one in front of them, as in Quilting 101, not Quilting 001. But, we’re talking basic basics here. The simplest of simple.

Quilting 001 will walk the fearful quilter into the quilt world maize one step at a time. Before long you’ll be walking around, not getting lost, but trying new things. So come along. Let’s make a quilt.

First, the rules.  Rules? What rules? We don’t need rules tangling us up. Right, we’re going to ignore most of the quilt rules. Shhh, don’t let the quilt police hear about this. However there are a few pointers that will make your foray into the quilt world more enjoyable.

Ready? Here we go:

1. Relax, this is your first quilt. Most likely it isn’t destined to become a heirloom quilt for your grandchild. No, this will be a simple wall hanging, lap quilt, or warm cover on your bed.

Basically you’re making a blanket, relax and enjoy the process.

2. Remember that acronym KISS, keep it super simple? That’s a good plan for a first quilt. Keep the pattern and quilt simple.

If you have to fight to get the curves right on a Drunkard’s Path, struggle to keep the points sharp on a star block, or spend more time unsewing than sewing, you’ll be tempted to throw the whole thing down in disgust and walk away from the joy of quilting. It’s your quilt, if you want to go with an intricate pattern, I’m certainly not going to stop you. For the rest of you, a quilt made with simple squares will work just fine.

3. No fancy equipment needed.

  • Scissors to cut the fabric, or a rotary cutter and mat if you have one. Either works well.
  • Pattern or instructions. You wouldn’t try driving in a strange town without a gps or map would  you? Ok, I would and you might too. But, really, the gps, or quilt instructions make life much easier.
  • Fabric, you’ll need something for the backing, batting for the middle, and of course, fabric to make your top. We’ll discuss fabric choices and where to find your fabric in a later “class.”
  • Iron, and ironing board (or a folded towel on a cabinet works well too.) Nothing special, the iron you already own is perfect.
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine and thread, your choice. Whichever works for you, again, it’s your quilt.
  • Pins. Straight pins to hold your fabric together before you sew it and safety pins to hold all three layers together when you’re ready to quilt it.

4. Decide on your level of perfection. Some people (most) strive to have their quilt seams match up perfectly. They may have one “fault” in the quilt, one they purposely put in, but other than that their quilts look like works of perfection. I, on the other hand, am the Imperfect Improv quilter, I don’t care if my seams don’t match. Sometimes I go out of my way to make sure they don’t match by making a quilt with off-set seams. You may fall at either end of the spectrum, or somewhere in the middle. Decide what you can live with, and don’t worry about little mistakes that fall within your acceptability level.

5. Use  fabric of similar weight and quality. This will help your quilt wears more evenly.

Five Components of a Quilt Show

A few of the 103 quilt items on display

A few of the 103 quilt items on displ

“There’s nothing to having a quilt show. We just hang some quilts and people come look at them. ” Ever heard those words, or similar words when considering sponsoring a quilt, or craft show, or a book fair?

If you have, you can gently inform the speaker there are at least 5 items you must consider to help ensure you have have a good event.

1.  Location, there must be some place to display all your beautiful work. A location that can be secured if the show is more than one day, and one that will protect the quilts from the whims of mother nature. Finding a location for the quilt show is paramount.

2. Date and Time. When will you have the show? A date and time that works best can take a lot of discussion and consideration. In Oklahoma, we don’t schedule a quilt show on the same weekend as the OU/Texas or OU/OSU football games. Attendance will be low. Figure out the dates that will work best for your group. After you have a date, you’ll need to have the open and closing times for your show. How early will you open and how late will you stay? These vary from show to show and area.

3. Display Method – How will you display your different sized, and types of quilt and quilty items? Poll your members, someone will have the perfect idea of a display method that works best for your group.

4. Workers – Ah yes, the backbone of any group endeavor, people to actually do the work. Luckily most groups have enough members that the workload can be shared with no one having to hang the quilts, work the guest book, monitor the guests (no touching the quilts), do the advertising, design the programs, and any other jobs necessary. More people participating makes for a better show for everyone, guests and hosts.

5. Advertising – No one will see all your hard work and beautiful projects if they don’t know about them. Advertising will draw new people to your show, and introduce them to your group. It is vital for even the smallest show.

Our quilt group, The Material Girlz, had our first annual show in June. We had 103 items on display. Too many for our small space, but we were so excited to have a full show and not a half-empty room with too-few quilts. We learned much about putting on a show, and over the next five Mondays, I’ll explore a little more in-depth each of the five major components of having a successful show.

Has your quilt group ever sponsored a show? Share your favorite tips in the comments.

Birthday Comfort

Photoshop version of the birthday cake. Photo courtesy Joe Marquez

Today is Hotshot’s birthday.

Hotshot is my first, from scratch, grandchild. He arrived at a dark time in my life, when storm clouds were gathering preparing to dump a torrent of pain in my life.

But Hotshot came.

He was early, almost a month before his due date. He was small. But, he was healthy. It gave me comfort to know he was here and safe. He was comforting to hold.

His mom and he came to our house. His presence comforted his grandpa.

All our grandchildren give comfort in different ways and different times.

Hotshot gave comfort in the dark time. He continues to comfort me, because every year when  I remember that dark time my heart breaks a little. But, also every year, he turns a year older. It is such fun to watch him grow.

Many people thought his birthdays would be a bittersweet time for me. They are not.

Sure, the pain of the dark time returns. Did it ever really leave?

But his birthday doesn’t bring the pain or the memories of the darkness. His birthday brings happiness and joy and memories of fun times. He and his birthday shine the light on my life, banishing the dark times to the far corners.

God has graced our family with six grandchildren. Each with their own abilities and skills. Each bring joy from a different perspective.

 

Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the great group that participates in Five Minute Friday. The main rule is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking – on the topic that Lisa-Jo posts about each week.