23 April, 2014

What's Next?

There's a wide open empty space in the studio...  the area that used to be filled with Sundance is looming large. I might be sad about Sundance moving on to a new location, but I can't be; she is living happily in her new home, much loved and well-cared for. I went by for a visit on Monday and she was already quilting a baby quilt and performing well.  Since her departure I have spread out a number of things on the floor, the latest being "Destination: Unknown" with all four borders attached, now measuring in at 40" square; it will, eventually, hang on the wall between the two windows pictured. What will it hang above? What's next for this floor space? 
Any guesses?
Life is Good!

21 April, 2014

A New Creation...

...comes to life and grows
As Christ's new body takes on flesh and blood.
The universe restored and whole will sing:
Text: John B. Geyer, b. 1932, alt.

May the blessings of Easter remain in your heart today and every day...
...and may the joy of discovery fill your spirit and guide your path!
Life is Good!

19 April, 2014

Bye-bye, Sundance!

Sundance has left the building; not to worry, it's all good! There are changes afoot at The Strawberry Patch, stay tuned for further updates. Sundance has served me faithfully and well for the last six years; I had the unique opportunity to sell her, locally, to a phenomenal sit-down quilter who is ready to take to her feet and expand her own quilting horizons, I am so happy for Laura. I hope Sundance is enjoying the rest today, even though disassambled, she won't be collecting one bit of dust at her new home... she'll be busier than ever!

 I've been busily preparing graduation quilts for tying by the Quilt Ministry. Working in small batches, four were ready this past week. My part of readying them is to cut the fleece backs to size, embroider the church logo onto the backing and then layer them with the batting. I stitch through all three layers (envelope style) before turning them right side out and top-stitching the edges all around. There's a lot of crawling around on the floor during these various stages, I like to think of this as my new daily work-out. Whew! We did some recent calculations and figured that, counting this year, we've sewn up eighty of these quilts to present to our congregation's high school graduates; we began with the class of 2009, what a meaningful tradition this has become!

I'm happy today... as happy as if I had just opened a case full
 of "Christmas Morning"!  Oh wait, that's exactly what I did...
Life is Good!

18 April, 2014

In Case You Were Wondering...

...where I have been I can reasssure you that I haven't been abducted by aliens, I have not been sequestered in a jury room nor have I evaporated into thin air; I've been focused like a laser beam on getting those fourteen highschool graduation quilts ready. Thanks to a concerted effort I'm seeing great results on that front. In between there's been lots of day-to-day activities: grandchildren, errands, cooking and housekeeping... you know how it goes; all those time-devouring tasks that eat up the hours, one after another, and leave us scratching our heads and looking back, wondering where the days have gone.

After a few false starts and missteps I have finally settled on a plan for the next border round on "Destination: Unknown", this time the element challenge is "square in a square" and the color requirement is purple. I have the top border in place and am deliberating on rather I will just do top and bottom this time or surround the entire quilt. I need to confirm my intentions SOON as our next meeting is in one week.
"Destination: Unknown"

Gregory and Lynnleigh were here on this week, Gregory begged to watch the movie "Boat Haven". I honestly didn't know what he was talking about at first. "Yes you do, Nana" he insisted, "it's the one with the big dog, his name is Boat Haven.... you know."  

Oh, yeah... of course I do!
Life is Good!

09 April, 2014

The Price Of Postage... And More!

I bought a card the other day; the envelope had "extra postage required" printed in the upper right corner. Okay, I thought, I will need to stop at the post office on my way home from running errands and have this weighed before I send it on its way. When I did that, the postal clerk felt the envelope for any lumps or bumps and pronounced her verdict: "it can go for just 49 cents!" That's when it hit me, I wasn't even certain how much, exactly, a first class stamp cost anymore! Was her emphasis on the word "just" to imply that it would require only one stamp and no additional postage? I have been affixing Forever stamps on my outgoing mail for so long that I have failed to keep up! Am I alone? While being aware that stamps have been going up in price, the exact amount for one stamp had escaped me somewhere along the line. Yes, that was why she had said "just"... that's the price for one first class stamp. It doesn't seem that long ago, to me, that I was well-acquainted with the price of every, single, stamp! The mailbox was my friend when I was a poor college student and sent love letters to another college student half a country away (yes, that would be Mr. Goodneedle!). I washed dishes in my dormitory cafeteria for spending money back then, most of it went toward books of stamps! I have stacks of these letters tied with a ribbon that remain hidden away in a drawer; this is one of them. I can't decide which is more interesting to me this morning, the price of that stamp or the cancellation that reads: "PRAY FOR PEACE". Can the US Postal Service still promote prayer? I doubt that.  Anyway, you may be wondering when this particular letter was cancelled, it's been awhile: 15, 555 days ago!  This stamp may be obsolete now, but today I am going to PRAY FOR PEACE! Here's a timeless reminder that's as relevant today as it was way back on September 7, 1971; and it's still free to do, that price hasn't changed, not one bit!
Life is Good!

07 April, 2014

Cooking Up Some Fun!

What's cooking? Despite what it looks like, this is NOT a colorful quilter's version of ravioli; no, it's a whole lot more fun than that! After stitching up game boards for classrooms and for gifts, over the years, I decided it was high time to have one to keep here at the house. This Tic-Tac-Toe game is for even the youngest of game players... no X's and O's to draw, just puffed-up little shapes to place on a quilted game board. Originally, I blogged about this when I made up an identical game for Mason, two years ago, you can read that story here.
This simple game board measures twelve inches square (the center portion is nine inches,
sectioned off into three inch squares) and the playing pieces are stuffed with poly-fil.
It's been placed into the toy basket in a designated low kitchen cabinet; where it waits
 to be discovered and will, hopefully, spur on lots of happy competition and hours of family fun.
Life is Good!

06 April, 2014

Twelve, And Counting...

It's that time of year again.  As graduations approach our Quilt Ministry gets busy assembling quilt tops for our high school graduates, fourteen in this graduating class; which means, I have twelve more to go. We've done the same style over the last six years: twelve large, solid color, rectangles pieced together and then recut and sewn back together in a fashion that yields a quilt top measuring 50" X 66", looking like this:

We back each one of the quilts with fleece, in a coordinating color, onto which I embroider our church logo, (see how important it was for me to locate that dongle?!) before they're returned to church for tying and tagging; these will  be presented on Youth Sunday in mid-May. When we know of a student's college of choice, with enough lead time, we make every attempt to match their quilt with that school's colors. The reason for the use of solid colors and this piecing scheme is no accident. Right before we began the graduation quilt project a small truckload of fabric samples was donated to our Quilt Ministry, these samples consisted entirely of heavyweight broadcloth in every color and shade imaginable; they were roughly cut into rectangles approximately 14" X 24" inches. We began using those, trimming them to an even 13" X 23" for consistency, and went from there; our pattern was developed based on what we had available. On this, the sixth year of using up these sample pieces, we are making a dent in that stash but it continues to yield what we need, with leftovers, certainly this has proved to be a "loaves and fishes" donation!  Working on quilt tops of that dimension with only twenty four pieces is the exact opposite of my current WIP*. As I plug away on "Mountain Day" (Twelve pieces in each six inch block) I have discovered this to be the perfect Leader-Ender project as I stitch on other projects, with deadlines, that rank a bit higher on the priority list.
"Mountain Day" (currently measuring 60" X 60", to be 60" X 84" at completion)
Right now, at this stage, there are twelve hundred pieces in the top.

Twelve is the word of the day, which reminds me of a cute story that I heard from a friend: she was buying eggs in the grocery store and had opened the carton to wiggle each one as a way of determining if any were cracked and stuck to the bottom of the carton. She noticed a young boy quietly watching her as she fingered each egg in it's little individual compartment; when she paused and looked up at him in acknowledgement, he said: "there are twelve" she smiled, and he added: "in each box!"
Life is Good!
*WIP- Work In Progress