Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Love Endures progress

Today was the deadline to complete Love Endures. I didn't beat the deadline. It's sitting on the longarm frame and I'm almost half way through the quilting. Fair warning--LONG POST. Instead of blogging about this over the last month in several posts, I kept adding to this one. 

David and I plodded along on the project. Scheduling time to work on it was an issue--I was determined at the onset of the project that David should do the majority of the work on the quilt while I would be the shepherd! It's largely worked out that way but I have done quite a bit of the work and all of the quilting. David has made all the design decisions while accepting a few suggestions from Jack and me. Here is the progress as of about a month ago:

Some closeups:
This is a lousy photo of the fabric used for the lake. David picked this one out because he wanted it to somewhat reflect the night sky. This particular fabric has been in my stash for 19 years--I used it as a background in my (unfinished) Lone Cabin quilt that I hope to complete next year. Here's one of the mountain range; think "purple mountains' majesty":
And a closeup of the lake shoreline:
And the tent that needs lots of definition!
David also made the border choices. The border will be 6" wide and we'll applique a quote around the entire border. David made some additional design changes . . . I keep thinking about all of the thread that's going on this quilt!

Next on the quilt will be Alice in Wonderland propped up against a tree reading "To Kill a Mockingbird." I found an image of a first edition opened up and will have it on Alice's lap. 

The following week we finally had Alice propped up against the tree with her book and had the campfire in place. I had the borders and the quote on it by the end of that week.

As stated in my last post, I had fully intended to spend all of the weekend before last quilting it. The hubster helped me load it onto the longarm last Tuesday night. Wednesday I chose not to work on it because I was beat--during the government shutdown, I was excepted personnel and had spent 16 days taking care of several other co-workers' duties in addition to some of my own. And on Thursday when everyone returned to work, I received the news about Aunt Bettye, and put off the quilting to be with our family.

So Thursday and Friday were mental health days and I quilted all day long both days. Here are some closeups of the quilting.

So tonight was the one-year anniversary of David and Emma's first date. David made dinner for Emma, and brought her over to our house for dessert. David took Emma down to the Bottoms Up! Studio and showed her the quilt on the frame. She loved it! I waited about 10 minutes before showing up in the studio. I feel badly about not finishing it on time, but David was very understanding considering all that happened this month and I hope to finish it by next weekend.

The next time you see this quilt it will be completed, and I'll share a little bit about my quilting process. I hope to quilt a little bit each night this week as well as this weekend.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Aunt Bettye

Whenever I utter the words to my husband, "I'm going to spend the entire weekend working on (fill-in-the-blank-project)," the Chaos factor again rears its ugly head. I told the hubster last Wednesday evening that I would spend the weekend working on Love Endures. Thursday morning at 7:30 my sister called me to tell me our Aunt Bettye passed away. It was unexpected--my cousin went to her house as he did every morning to check on her; she apparently made a pot of coffee, went back to her bedroom, sat down on her bed, and died. My cousin said she had a smile on her face. 

Our family is incredibly close and tight-knit, and she was the matriarch. Her passing will leave a huge void. Bettye was 84, just a few weeks away from turning 85. She was the last of what I refer to as my Women of Great Influence--Mom, Meko (my grandmother), Aunt Jean, and Aunt Bettye. Mom, her sisters and my grandmother had more impact on my life than any other force or person I have met. While I have been influenced by others, these women placed their mark on me early on and helped make me the woman I am today.

At her funeral yesterday, my cousin asked my sister and I to share some memories and thoughts. I shared a story about one of her favorite phrases, "Hell's Bells," that she quit saying when her youngest son brought home a picture he drew of the family with those words in a bubble above Aunt Bettye's head--she was mortified! My point was to reflect that while she was human and a sinner, she was always receptive to change if it made her a better person. My sister told about each of the Women of Great Influence by using one word that best described each of them--for Aunt Bettye, it was Grace. Our uncle, Aunt Bettye's baby brother, told one of the best stories--when her future husband, Buddy, began courting her, he would walk across town to see her (he didn't have a car). They would sit together in the living room on the sofa and my uncle, who was a little boy at the time, would hide behind the sofa. Buddy would give our uncle a quarter to hide while he and Bettye were on the sofa. After Buddy left, Bettye would find our uncle and make him give her the quarter!

I closed out our memories by reading Proverbs 31. It was the first thing that came to mind when my cousin asked me to speak, and when I told Bettye's former pastor that officiated what my plan was, he said, "Perfect."

There's so much more to say about Aunt Bettye. She was a gracious Southern lady and was loved by many. 

One day I will tell more stories about my Women of Great Influence, but in the meantime, here are some photos of Bettye:
The Homecoming Queen

High School Senior Portrait

New business school graduate in her new suit, and standing in front of my mother.
Embrace your family, peeps--you never know how long you have them.

So no progress on Love Endures, and it's due Monday. It's on the longarm and that's as far as I got last week. Here's hoping I can get it done this weekend.

Happy quilting,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ch, ch, ch, ch, CHANGES!

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. -- Alan Watts

I know a lot of us do not appreciate change in our lives but I have accepted that it's necessary. I try to take the good with the bad in life and make the best of it. Change has come again to our family and my husband and I are embracing the latest and want to make it positive for all of our family members.

Our family dynamic has changed to include a new member of our household. The marriage of one of my besties suddenly imploded at the end of August which has forced her to make some hard decisions about her life and the continued care of her son. She will move in with her sister in another town, but has asked the hubster and I to take in her teenaged son so he can stay in our school district. We feel it is best for her son to live with us and we're committed to seeing him not only through high school, but do whatever we can to help him succeed in college.

It's been 7 years since our youngest graduated from high school so this will be an adjustment. Our kids have boomeranged back and forth and other family members have drifted in and out, but going back to monitoring homework, shuttling back and forth to extracurricular activities, watching the junk food intake, etc. will take some getting used to again. Finding balance for him while he navigates through new territory after having both parents with him for his first 16 years is going to be a challenge. He's a great kid and we'll do everything we can to make sure he stays on the right path.

So...this may cut into my blogging. Not a bad thing considering what will be taking up my time--but I'm hanging onto my goal of finishing 12 projects, so please stay tuned.

And please say a prayer for all involved as we head into this new uncharted territory. And that I get a quilt completed for him by Christmas.

Happy quilting, and happy life,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Barn Chicks - the reveal!

Barn Chicks is now Cece's Chicks--and has been gifted to the honoree. Cece is my co-worker and her birthday was today. I gave it to her yesterday because we work for a federal government agency, and we didn't know if we were coming to work today. The reason for the quilt? Cece has about 3 dozen chickens--and I am the lucky recipient of a lot her chickens' eggs! 

The progress on this quilt was shown in previous posts, but here's the label:

And here's the label stitched on the back of the quilt:

This is the first quilt where I've attached the label to the backing BEFORE quilting the quilt. I've heard many recommendations for this but had always resisted because I didn't want the stitching to interfere with the label design. I love to make labels--and while I'm happy with how this turned out, it appears the background gets lost (I made it too transparent). Live and learn! And AFTER I made the label and attached it, I realized I forgot to put in the identifying info for Cece. Duh...

Cece had seen my Crazy Cats quilt last year and loved it--she wanted it. I could have made that for her, but the Barn Chicks quilt seemed much more appropriate. I made it at our Girl Gang Retreat in February and it was a last-minute decision--hence the fabric choices being along the same lines as in the published pattern. I wish that I had had more time to make better fabric choices, but I'm still happy with the way it turned out color-wise. 

I believe Cece is happy with her new quilt! 

Cece is a quilter--she is still hand quilting her first quilt and has started a new bed runner. I think I can talk her into making her own Crazy Cats quilt.

Progress is being made on Love Endures, and it's due before the end of the month. I'll show more progress photos in another post.

Happy quilting,