Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!

Friday, February 27, 2009

March... coming in like a lion :(

Do you remember the old saying, "If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb"? This was concerning the spring weather, and it looks like weather this weekend will NOT be conducive to painting panties. 25 mph winds and a cold front will most likely postpone this paint party until another day, hopefully one with lots of sunshine and little or no wind.

For those glued to the blog to see the results of our spring fling I will apologize... I just don't feel like chasing underwear all over the hill-side at the camp. I may hang big drawers on a closeline for the world to see, but I DON'T want them to see me running up and down that hill trying to catch free-flying underwear. But we WILL do this sometime soon and I will post pictures as promised.

The good news....SIL RETREAT IS HERE! I plan on working on my Glorified 9-Patch. I have 99 blocks made, and 1 row constructed. I am hopeful that I can get the other 10 rows sewn together and perhaps even join them into the top... we will see.

The other project I have to do is to make some Wonder Wallets, by Lazy Girl Designs. These make wonderful gifts and are very quick to sew up. I have about 10 already cut out, interfaced, folded, and pressed. It will take about 5 minutes each to finish the sewing. I LOVE making these!

Enough blogging.... ON TO THE FUN!! I have to load my car with everything from my office chair to my sewing machine, every acrylic ruler I own, every type of notion (even if I don't think I'll need it, I want to share with my SILs) and of course, the food.

LET THE FUN BEGIN! Check back on Monday for pics and more info.

What puts joy in your heart? Take a few minutes today doing that, and then thank the One who gave you that ability. He is the Source for all good things.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rebel Park Quilt Presentation

What a wonderful gathering of quilters! On Saturday I made the short trip to Rebel State Commemorative Area to do 2 quilt programs. The first program was "Improving Your Quilt-Making Skills: A Quilt Police Report", and the second was "Dealing With UFOs". There were about 20 area quilters present and we had a great time visiting and talking about quilts. I'm hoping they each gained some useful information from the presentation and also made some new quilting friends... that is my favorite part about doing presentations. Aren't quilters just the NICEST, FRIENDLIEST people? (Please ignore the mouth-wide-open pose... I guess I was talking so fast that each picture DD snapped had my mouth open!)

Here is part of the wonderful group... quilting friends were from the West LA area and East TX. DD is sitting on the front, far-right side in the blue jacket. She has only been quilting for about 1 year now (I did not think she was EVER going to be bitten by the quilt bug, but it finally got her!).

And here is the rest of the group.

We all also enjoyed a presentation by Mary Gregory on how to make Cathedral Windows blocks. She did an excellent job (Thanks, Mrs. Mary!) and even I am now convinced that I could (and may actually start one) do this. I must admit, my first one was anything but lovely... the Type A person that I am (about quilting only... wish I could be a little more Type A about housework!) really wanted an iron to press those little squares before stitching them down.

It is a lot of fun to share quilting knowledge, and I ALWAYS learn something new from the people I am supposed to be teaching!

Now here is a bright spot in my day... this lovely azalea was sent by a dear friend to DH and I when his dad passed week-before-last. It sits at a window in the "bread room" with the wood stove. (Please ignore the spider webs between the 2 windows... IMPOSSIBLE to get to without disassembling the window! And also see the TYPE A statement 2 paragraphs above.)

It really does fill my heart with joy each time I pass by and see this wonderful sight! Although it is a reminder of the sadness of a loved one's passing, it also shows me that the beautiful memories of him are there... we just have to look for them. Soon the grieving and pain will diminish, and memories of his laughter, sense of humor, funny happenings on the farm... these will be nearer. I am looking forward to the day that the good memories pop into my mind before the memories of the last several weeks.

Now I will go "quilt till I wilt", as I am about 2 weeks behind on my quilting schedule.

Have a wonderful day, and look for something around you that fills your heart with joy, like this azalea did mine!


Monday, February 23, 2009

New COLORFUL Spring Tradition...

WHAT A HOOT!! Check out Ami Simms' blog . She is offering to dye your panties for you! This is her spring tradition, and now she is willing to spread the joy around.

I must admit that I was tempted, but then I did not want to mail my "much-bigger-than-I-want-to-fess-up-to" size drawers off to Michigan and pay $5 to have them shipped back to me. But then the wheels started turning....

My SIL, and her other SIL, and myself will be having our quarterly SIL Quilt Retreat at the lake camp this weekend. I have fabric paints, brushes... a quick call to them both, and now WE are going to paint our undies as part of our retreat.

I can just see the looks on people's faces as they drive by... "Ethyl, did you see THAT?" Brightly colored undies will decorate the hanging line on the front porch (I'll apologize ahead of time to folks that think this should be in the back yard... there IS NO BACK YARD at that property!!), and OURS will not be single-colored. Since we are painting, anything goes.

I PROMISE to take pictures and post when we are done as long as YOU promise not to make any snide comments about the SIZE of the "unmentionables" (as my Mamaw used to call them).

The other thing you can do.... Pray for good weather. Fabric painting and wet, cold, windy days don't go together well.

And there might even be a few MEN in the family that are making fun of us ,that will get their own custom-painted pair of briefs!!! So guys, WATCH WHAT YOU SAY!!

Ah, Spring... flowers blooming, bees buzzing, and UNDIES GETTING PAINTED! I think WE may just start our own spring tradition!

Please wear your SMILE today! It will spread joy to all those you come in contact with.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Hurrier I Go...

Please pardon my very philosophical ramblings today, but here I go...

Mamaw had this saying, done in cross-stitch, hanging over one of her doorways... it was on age-stained cloth and used grass-green thread...

The hurrier I go...
the behinder I get!

Please excuse my incorrect English, but ain't it the truth! I'm sure she saw this many times each day as she went from her kitchen into the hallway. Now my Mom has the piece hanging over one of HER doorways, and perhaps some day it will be passed down to me.

I think I need to make ME one of these!! Of course it would be quilted instead of cross-stitched. Perhaps it should be a wholecloth, quilted in vibrant, variegated threads. It would need feathers, of course... I can't seem to make a wholecloth without feathers. And of course it would need a sparkle of metallics added, also. And then it would need tiny background fills so the feathers and words would POP.

HMM... why am I always rushing around? Could it be I do this to myself? YEP! I do it, and then wonder why I am so busy. How did I go so quickly from being RETIRED (20 years teaching elementary school) to full-time work (with my quilting business) and then having commitments 3-4 nights each week (Yes, it is mostly fun stuff and things I want to do, but it still stresses me to be on the go so much.). I've found as I go on up in years that I really am a home-body... I love to sit in my chair in the evenings and not go anywhere. Of course, while sitting I am knitting, crochetting, hemming a quilt, planning a quilt... since learning to quilt I can't just SIT anymore. Multi-tasking is my mantra.

Life is an ever-evolving adventure, and today I have decided it is time to slow down a bit. My family has been reminded in the last several weeks that life IS short.

James 4:14 (NKJV) Whereas you do not know not what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

How do I want to be remembered? Certainly not as, "She was SO BUSY!". How about, "She loved God and others greatly!" and "She served the Lord with gladness," and "She always had time to help," and "Her smile brightened my day."

Or perhaps, "Kat always was there for me... she supported, loved, nurtured, and helped her husband. She always had a smile for him, and not cross words to speak. She was patient and kind, gentle... Her life was a picture of 1 Corinthian 13."

And maybe, "Mom always let us know she loved us. She prayed for us, she helped and guided us when she could, she supported us through all of life's situations, she laughed with us, she cried with us. She cared."

And how about, "Granny Kat always had time to play/cook/teach/share/read / go camping or WHATEVER would strengthen the loving bond with her grandchildren."

Time is short, life goes by quickly, and I want my life to amount to more than trivial things. I'm looking for eternal things... making a difference in someone's life... not to count up accolades for myself, but for the One who gave me everything so I could give everything back to others.

I must make my day count! Even as I am cleaning my studio, filling out tax forms, and picking up after having a house full of company, I can pray. I can sing worship songs to the One who gave me a song in my heart.

Enough ramblings... I promise that soon my blog will get back to quilting posts... but today I must get back to work, and loving, and taking the time to enjoy the spring violets my DH picked for me this morning. Simple gestures of love mean so much... he knows and practices that often... I must keep reminding myself of that.

Have a wonderful day, and make it count in some small way!


Friday, February 13, 2009

In loving memory of

Orvis William Ellzey, Sr.

12/23/1919 - 2/12/2009
Photo by Lindsey Ellzey

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Coffin Quilts and Honoring Mr. E.

OK... I know that sounds weird, but there has been a recent discussion on the MQP List about coffin quilts. These are quilts used to drape over the coffin of a loved one(in place of the floral spray, if you wish), and the quilt may become part of the ceremony with folding of the quilt and presentation to a family member at the end of the service, similar to what you would do with a flag. Now WHY am I thinking of this?

My dear FIL (age 89) is quickly going downhill. His recent hospitalization and the decision of the family to follow his wishes and not do a feeding tube means that there will most likely soon be a funeral. The coffin quilt discussion really caught my attention... HOW NEAT! HOW UNUSUAL!! HOW JUST RIGHT FOR HIM!!!

You see, his mom was a quilter (and we still have quilts made by her, mostly utility quilts), and his wife was an avid quilter (we have lots of beautiful and wonderfully-stitched quilts that she made). Mr. E. was always a great supporter of MIL's quilting habit. He took her where she needed to go, sat with her at quilt shows, built things she needed for quilting stands or display purposes, etc. And of course he socialized with her other quilting friends and their hubbies, too.

(DH David, DGD Katelyn, and Mr. E.)

But 15 years ago when she passed away suddenly, it was as if part of him went with her. He never was quite the same. The slow and steady decline of his memory and physical ability to get around began. The quick wit and gentle laugh, the twinkle in his eye when he told a funny story (perhaps for the umpteenth time, but he still laughed just as hard) began to decline. Three years ago he decided to go to a nursing center, and the diagnosis of small strokes and Alzheimer's was made. The steady decline of his awareness and participation in life seemed to quicken in the last 6 months, and so here we are making difficult decisions, but wanting to honor his wishes.

So back to the quilt... about 2005 Mr. E asked me to repair a quilt his Mom had made about 1940 (shortly after he and Mrs. E. married). I had noticed the quilt on his bed when we visited, but never was in his room long enough to look at its condition. It was a 4-patch (mostly feed sack material) with print sashing, tied, with a cotton bedspread used for batting. To say it was in tatters is an understatement! There were many large, gaping seams where stitching had given way. There were rips and tears along the edges... there was no repairing it, but I did offer to "re-make" it, with the understanding that it would not look like the original, but it would be a means of preserving some family history.

After taking the layers apart I realized that EVERY block in the quilt had open seams, holes in some of the fabrics... it was literally falling apart. I took it apart down to the blocks, repaired holes, replaced some pieces with fabric taken from the sashings, purchased a buttery yellow 30's reproduction print for new sashings and binding, quilted it on my longarm, and presented it back to him.

He smiled... I think getting this piece of the past back pleased him. And he used it. That was how I knew he enjoyed having it.

When he moved to the nursing center a few months later I made him another quilt to have for his bed. I knew this one would never hold up to the hot-water-washing they would have to do, so "his" quilt was packed away in the chest. I really had not even thought of it much until I saw the posts about coffin quilts.

After running this suggestion past my hubby's siblings, I think Mr. E. will use this quilt one last time when the occassion arrives. What a fitting way to celebrate his love and support for quilts and quilters! I wish I had a digital "before" picture to show you where we started with this quilt, but I love the finished result. I'm sure quilt historians would cringe at what I have done to this piece of history, but we changed it from a pile of unusable fabric into a trip down memory lane. We were not interested in the fact that I had "devalued" the quilt by making modern repairs.. the value of this quilt is in Mr. E's heart!

We know the days ahead will be difficult, with more hard decisions and preparations to be made. But we also know that he is heading to be with his Lord, and his wife of 52 years, an avid quilt-maker with nimble fingers, a quick step, and a sparkle in her eyes. What better way to honor him when we gather to celebrate his life?

Have a wonderful, quilty day. And tell someone you love them today! We never really get around to saying it enough, and we all need to hear it from time to time.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Opportunity" Quilt

Click on the pictures to get a closer look!

OK.. so that actually means it is a QUILT RAFFLE, but we stress that you are donating to a very worthy cause (my church's bus fund... we DESPERATELY need a bus!) for an "opportunity" to own this beautiful Stack N Whack Quilt. The pattern is by Bethany Reynolds, and the quilting design is from Meandering Magic by Suzanne Early. This quilt was made several years ago, quilted in 2006, and donated to my church a few months ago as a fund raiser. It is 77" x 98".

Would YOU like to have an "opportunity" to own this quilt? Tickets are $1 each or for $5 you get 6 tickets. We are not sure exactly when the drawing will be... sometime this spring (in other words, when we sell enough tickets to reach our goal). If interested in donating just "e" me and I'll fix you up.

Ps. 105:1 - Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.

Have a wonderful day, and give thanks for something in your life... We are SSOOOOO blessed!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Trip Report... GOOD EATS!

As expected, the bowling we did was not exceptional, but not quite on the embarrassing level, either. But BOY DID WE EAT GOOD! (We have decided that our new goal when going out of town for bowling is to EAT WELL, and bowl OK.)

DH is a real keeper! Unknown to me (and at the suggestion on SIL) he planned a field trip for Saturday morning to a quilt shop in the area. He spilled the beans on Friday after we got to MS that we were going Saturday. He had even called ahead to check their business hours! If you are ever in the area of SW Mississippi or SE Louisiana, you MUST go to Mama's Quilt Shop in Independence, LA. I managed to spend a good portion of what I had earned the previous week there! And the ladies working in the shop were super-friendly and helpful. Although small, the shop was packed with a fabulous selection of fabrics and great sale prices on some close-out fabric (which I bought quite a lot of!).

Then we travelled to Hammond, LA to eat lunch at my BIL's restaurant, Jambalaya & Co.. YUM! They have the best jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, gumbo, crawfish and corn soup, and the bread pudding is fabulous. It is "fast food" but it is delicious and not very expensive.

Saturday night after bowling we went to The Caboose restaurant in McComb... WONDERFUL steak! And then Sunday after bowling we went to The Dinner Bell. Oustanding Southern style home cooking, all-you-can-eat, while sitting at a HUGE round table with a lazy Susan in the middle. Just spin the center of the table to get what you want. Every time we go through McComb we stop there for lunch.

Are you hungry yet? ME TOO!!
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