Friday, April 30, 2010

Yesturday was sunny and bright. Two men got up in the morning and went to as usual, until the trench they were working in collapsed. One lived and the other did not.

My heart is heavy today; these same men had done the concrete for our house when we were building. The man who died, my husband's age, has a spouse expecting a baby. I cannot fathom the depths of sorrow.

"Why?" is an unanswerable question. All I know is God's promise(s): "I will turn your sadness to gladness. I will give you comfort and joy." (Jer 31:13)
Someday will come, and our questions will be answered. Until then...

It surely doesn't hurt to "love on" our family a bit more. In various ways.

Meanwhile, my sweetie just drifted through here and said hopefully, "Honey, maybe you could come out to the garage and sort through your horse care stuff...I'll even help you, we'll do it together."

(He is organized; I, on the other hand, know what I'm looking for is here somewhere...and if I spread everything out a little bit more, I might be able to find it..) I replied something to the effect, "I don't really think the horse stuff needs organized..." At which point I thought to myself: "Such a little thing to do, something so little that pleases him, for heaven's sake, go help clean your own mess."

And so onward we go, I go to the garage to join my dear husband, as soon as I'm done with the blog..:)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Quilt

My sister-in-law recently made this happy fusion of patchwork. I love the design she chose, perfect for the fabrics. I spend most of my quilt-decision-making time fretting as to how best to showcase the fabrics without, or in spite of, chopping them up into tiny bits. I have to say she accomplished this perfectly. :)

I have many of Kaffe Fassett's quilt books (check out some of his work here), and he has alluded that he prefers low contrast in tone with the patchwork in his quilts. My favorite pieces of his work have this quality. As does my sister-in-law's quilt...Perhaps low contrast is not the description I'm looking for, and I think that "fusion" is what I mean..a merry fusion of colors.

I think my favorite fabric in the quilt is the bright yellow. I once read in a blog a long time ago and it just stayed in my brain (I'd reference the blog, but I can't remember who or what), that sometimes the "sour" fabric in your "starting line-up" of fabrics is the one that pulls the whole quilt together and prevents it from being too monochromatic, or without pizzazz. Anyway, I'm not saying that the yellow is "sour", quite the opposite..(in my humble opinion)'s really the ticket. Plus it matches the diaper bag. lol.

Anyway, "handmade" is a treasure. And I know that a quilt has quite a bit of it's maker in it, as well as, a bit of the person it was made for.
And this one will be used and washed and worn and softened with time and passed down in our family.... and it will be repeated in the voice of an old-timer "well, your great great aunt made this for your crazy great great grandmother when she was expecting her 2nd little one..." :))

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snappy Interview Apparel

Having a husband with zero interest in apparel is like being given free reign to dress your own doll. ;) Actually, it doesn't work quite like that, because any purchases for his wardrobe that strays from jeans and casual wear is met with a certain amount of suspicion and grudging acceptance, at best.

Now, due in part to a recent unfortunate loss of luggage, thanks to US Airways, I had to go shopping for one (JUST ONE) go-to interview outfit for Hubby. Boscov's (one of my favorite stores..when they have a really great sale, their prices are comparable to Walmart) has a great men's section at our mall and that is where I headed, along with my Mom.

I was happily wallowing through the edgy, modern ties to go with this great shirt already in Hubby's closet, weighing how I wanted to layer the stripes with houndstooth, plaid, many options! And my dear mother tentatively suggested something more.."classic." She gently said, "Now remember, he (Hubby) isn't a quilt!" At which point, after twenty more minutes of lengthy deliberation, my little brain shorted out.

Meanwhile, the impeccably dressed man, working in this suit department, came over to offer us assistance. He was warmly recieved by us, and he made his selection for a "classic" interview look, pictured here. The man used words such as "classic" and "timeless" to describe the selection. I stifled a snort as I thought to myself, but what if my husband isn't "classic"...I stared at it, a little miffed and not loving it..I then looked at Mom who tactfully commented that "It's very appropriate."

And for once, I decided perhaps it is time to set aside my preferences (after all, what do I know about ideal clothes for a professional interview), and I reluctantly bought the man's selection of shirt and tie along with a nice pair of Dockers (don't worry, he has a nice suit coat in his closet).

And, it turns out, the outfit fits great and looks very pulled together, and Hubby likes it, in spite of himself. So here's some gratitude to the clothier in the menswear department at Boscov's. (And to my Mother, frankly.) :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Missing Link (so to speak)

Well, "it" has arrived; the awaited fabric to complete the rag quilt is here. My camera made it look a bit more mustardy and 70's era than it actually is, but here it is.
...So I just have to finish quilting the tin can quilt that is presently hogging our small kitchen table, and get to work on the "rags" for this one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baby Crib Set

So we're "expecting" a little girl relatively soon...

In the meantime, I made a few crib sheets, a crib skirt, and a little crib quilt to match. As she'll be sharing a room with our son for a time, I stuck with the colors all his quilts have (blue, green, and some grey), but of course, hers is far more "girly".

I used a great tutorial you can see here for the crib sheet...and another tutorial you can see here for the crib skirt.

Here's some other pix of the matching quilt .
I'm particularly fond of the fairy toile (Michael Miller fabrics) in apple green for the backing.

I was going for "whimsical" and think I got it.

And every child ought to have a soft (preferably flannel), fray-edged rag quilt, so here's a sample of one I started for our little girl, all cut out (actually waiting for the last fabric addition to come in the mail..You know how sometimes a quilt is lacking in some way and requires the addition of one more fabulous fabric to pull it all together? Yes..fabric stores love me. Check out I'd go broke without them and their great discounted prices.)

So that is the progress on baby preparation for now. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tin Can Quilt Project

It still amazes me that our little boy, no longer the baby, is now picking me choice "weeds". This is the first year I've been gifted with such graciousness...Here's a picture of the latest loveliness.
We presently have a trend of displaying weeds as table centerpieces at our house; it's really about the giver, you see. :)

...Little delights for mom, carefully mauled over, selected, and delivered with pride and a beaming countenance. If you have a little one, you know what I'm talking about, lol.

So I keep marching onward with the projects. I've been putting off quilting a quilt that I pieced to be a porch n' picnic quilt for our family after a nightmare round with my sewing machine and tension problems and numerous trips to the repair shop (which, by the way, ended in the repairman concluding that he has done what he can for the machine and it no longer sews a decent free-motion quilting stitch. So I now have a different machine). Does anyone else occasionally have a tension-causing- (in your own head) round with sewing machine tension problems?

At any rate, a tin that I found at a second-hand store has been charming me for years, and I decided this winter to make a quilt based on the colors. Here's the little tin:

And here is a picture of the quilt, waiting to be quilted (some free motion pattern, yet to be decided):

The triangle of a flap at the top of the picture is just the back flipped for a peek at the backing.

I have a very similiar,smaller quilt listed in my Etsy shop for sale here

There are many other irons in the fire, but I've decided to get a move on finishing the quilt because it would be nice to use this spring and summer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mosaic Picture Quilt

The definition of merry according to is:

1 archaic : giving pleasure : delightful
2 : full of gaiety or high spirits : mirthful
3 : marked by festivity or gaiety

Merry suggests cheerful, joyous, uninhibited enjoyment of frolic or festivity."

Which leads me to my question, "Is there such a thing as 'forced merriment'?"
Yes...and no...

In the case of my beloved (husband)...yes, I believe merriment can be forced.

The memory that comes to mind particularly, is the time that I convinced my husband to delay returning to work... to ride along on a 2,000 mile round trip (part business) with me and our then-2-year-old in a single cab pickup (with the dog). I said," Oh come on, it will be a ball; you might as well come too!."

And he did. The reward for the best behaved: our toddler son. Reward for worst behaved: tie between the dog (who was bitter about having to ride on the floor of the pickup instead of "shotgun") and my husband. fairness, this being the one of the first trips he'd gone on with me in my style of traveling (fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and don't overplan b/c it never goes the way you think it ought to anyway), Hubby was a little shocked as we fell out of the truck clown-car-style at our destination and surveyed where my colleagues had decided to "set us up"...right in the middle of a freshly vacated feedlot area where many horses had just been stalled. The ground was still wet from freshly scraped manure..nowhere for our little pumpkin to play (essentially we had to set up some remnant of "camp" in the middle of poo). No facilities whatsoever (there were tall weeds fortunately), and the water supply had tiny white feather blobs floating in it...not acceptable for drinking and we opted out of washing with it, as well.

Meanwhile, I frolicked in the balmy weather with our child and horse, enjoying some eccentricities of our location; for example, we woke up every morning to the roaring of the big cats, as we were staying in a big cat sanctuary. And my husband glowered. Ha ha.

We left a day or so early, as I, too was disappointed that we did not have the opportunity to do some of the work I had planned on with my contacts in the area. We arrived home, marriage intact..with a better understanding of our different worse for the wear.

And one of the favorite sayings that flies around our household is (generally affectionately said, with a grin in place): "Well I think you deserve a medal; or, at the very least, some kind of a wall hanging..."

So in honor of my longsuffering and goodwilled husband, who when he signed up to marry me, signed up for a whole basket of imposed merriment..I have, in fact, taken it upon myself to creat a wall hanging. Just for him. (Maybe in due time, he'll get a medal, but for now, the wall hanging almost pushed me over the edge.).

The wall hanging is constructed with fabric in the quilt mosiac style for picture quilts and is a replica of a special family photo of my husband with his old dog, Buddy, the dog of his teenage years and 20's. Buddy was/is my husband's dog-of-a-lifetime.

The photo was taken shortly before Buddy had to be put to sleep...the hardest decision of all concerning our old friends. The first time I saw this particular picture, it made my throat tighten and I was immediately moved to try to replicate it in fabric.

This is my first (and probably last) picture quilt. I briefly researched different methods for making a picture quilt and chose the mosaic method with the book "Mosaic Picture Quilts" by Pat Durbin, which uses 5 million (not quite that many, but it feels like it) tiny squares of fabric.

So at any rate, Hubby deserves more than a wall hanging, but at least now he has one memorializing his good ole Bud-face (Buddy). I'll keep you posted on any upcoming medals...