Finally a finish….and a contest.

JamesQuilt
I have friends who would say this is not finished because it doesn’t have a name and a label.
I created this quilt from the blocks in a beginning quilt class and it’s made for my son, J, who is on an LDS mission in St. Louis, MO. He wanted Red and Blue but not something patriotic which is why I went with a black background.  I need suggestions for names – I’m thinking about giving a prize for the name I select… Leave your name suggestions in the comments.

 

I love how many of the blocks have scriptural references.  The center block is known as Tree of Life, the house block has been nicknamed by my classmates – the wiseman’s house because it’s built upon the rock, the teacher said that a log cabin block with a black center stands for freedom from slavery which is what the gospel truth does to a tortured soul, The bottom center block is an anvil which is appropriate for the summer that J was an apprentice to a blacksmith. IMG_9496You can definitely see the relation of the block to the anvil he worked with.  He looks so young in that picture too.

This is what Elder Bates looks like in Missouri – James

So if you see him on the street with his black and white name tag- Ask to see his quilt.  Especially if you gave me the winning name!

Have you thought about a personal history?

I’ve been feeling like I should write more.  I used to write quite frequently (according to my archives). In an attempt to find more topics, I found a great little books of writing prompts.  Looking through them, not only may they be interesting but they could provide a way to leave a personal history for my children and grandchildren.
I know that many of my ancestors kept journals and I’m not sure what happened to them but sometimes I wish I had access to them just to know what life was like in that day.  What did they think about?  I have a few stories that I asked my grandmother and great grandmother but as I get older, the questions change and they aren’t  around to ask.

I’ve been told that one of my great grandmothers journals was mainly to do lists and grocery lists and budgets.  That still would be an interesting look at her life and a historical record.  So often we think that what the future wants to know about is the exciting things that happen but not all of life is exciting.  So much of life is what happens between adventures.

So how do you live between the adventures and with whom do you share that information?

St Patrick’s Day Puppies

stpatpuppies

I have no clue what they got into but they were most definitely Green!!!

It’s Wednesday!! Here is the WIP for this week.

Back in 1996 I really liked the work of a designer whose work was published by Just Cross Stitch. I started buying everything that I could of Teresa Wentzler and another Just Cross Stitch designer, Cathy Livingston. My Sister in Law saw my collection of patterns and asked me to stitch the Fruit Bellpull for her. She bought all the supplies exactly the way they were listed in the pattern. I started working on it and then got sidetracked.  I had been making hand stitched ornaments for her and one Christmas when I went to deliver it and the presents for my niece and nephew, she couldn’t be bothered to come receive her present. So I stopped stitching for her.

Fast forward and I haven’t seen or spoken to her in over a decade and I have a nephew I’ve seen once from a distance at a funeral. I don’t know his name – I think it’s Bjorn. Anyway, with that history I had no reason to work on the Fruit Bell Pull. However, two summers ago I repainted my TV room and it’s about the same color as the bone Brittney on the bellpull so I now have a place on my wall that I could hang it so it’s time to work on it again. This is what it looked like at the end of 2013.
FBP

And this is what it looks like tonight.

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So I have a bit of back-stitching and the border and I’ll be ready to work on the next block. Back in 1996, I planned on changing the order of the blocks and doing it peaches/grapes/apples/plums/pears/cherries instead of the original pattern pictured below.
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In the intervening years, I’ve begun to understand the importance of weighting a design at the bottom with darker colors.  If I stitched this the way it was originally designed, it would be the first piece in years that I’ve done exactly as charted, with the supplies as recommended.  I’m not sure I can handle that.  Maybe I should add some beads? Or I could swap the pears and plums as I originally planned.  I’m just not sure how I want to do it…

Well it all started when he found an amplifier…

See DH found a great ad for an early 1970’s Technics amplifier and when he went to pick it up, the man practically forced us to take a faux Stickley chair that his dog had chewed up the arm on…Well as DH was repairing the arm, he kept missing our Darwin who passed due to cancer in September. He had said he didn’t want to go puppy shopping until spring since training in the winter is not easy. But fixing the chewed on arm led to visiting the Pets section of the classifieds and looking at beagles. Christmas puppies start showing up the first week of January and there were two beagles in the county south of us. We called on both and decided to check out the one furthest away. We had trouble at the ATM and couldn’t get any cash and I knew that one of the couples wouldn’t take a check but we pressed on south. There we found our Jach. He was 11 weeks old and their baby was horribly allergic to him. While we were deciding, the baby woke up and the father used Go-Jo to clean all the skin showing, changed his shirt and then fixed the baby bottle. I knew we had to take the puppy if only to save that family. This couple was willing to take a check and we took Jach, his crate, his toys and a bag of dog food.

Then we went to look at the 2nd dog. Now I should tell you, my daughter is a zookeeper and we have yet to meet an animal that doesn’t love her (except the Swans but that’s another story) or love her father. This 2nd beagle was supposedly the same age as Jach but looked a good 4-5 weeks older and growled at all of us – even DH and L. Jach took one look at him and bolted for the car. We thanked the people for letting us look at him explained we didn’t have any cash after getting Jach and we would be in touch but we knew we didn’t want it in our house and we wouldn’t be back.

And DH keeps cruising the classifieds because beagles belong in a brace. They are pack animals and want to be together. He keeps showing me pictures of a cute female but I don’t do female dogs. After all, I’m the only b**ch allowed in this pack. He points out how she looks so similar to Jach and Bo would work as a girl’s name. So I tell him if he wants to buy her he has to make the call, I’m not doing this one. He calls and leaves a message for the owner.

A few days pass and the owner calls back. She says that the parents are champions and the little girl was the first of the litter sold but had to be returned since the buyer’s housing fell through. He asked if the price was fixed or if there was room for negotiation. She said it could be negotiated for the right family and would he tell her about us. He told her how we had always had dogs and had lost our beagle in September after 12 years. We had recently picked up a male beagle pup in Spanish Fork and he was 12 weeks that day and we wanted to get him a companion. She surprised us and said, “You got him from a family where the baby is allergic?” DH said, “Yes, how did you know?” She says, “My husband talked to L about the medical records, this is his sister from the litter.” She immediately gave us 15% off the price and made us promise to get one spayed or neutered as soon as possible to prevent issues.

So we have our brace of beagles and they’re siblings like we wanted except we have a boy and a girl instead of a set of brothers but they’re still adorable and we love them and they play well together.

Jach and Bo on her first day home with us.

Jach and Bo on her first day home with us.

It’s so good to have a dog in the house again.

First Wednesday WIP for 2014

So I got off to a great start for my stitching this year.  I’ve done something every day this year which is a new record.  On New Year’s Day, I finished off an ornament which I have promised to make for a neighbor as part of a service auction.

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This is Homespun Elegance’s Majestic Bird from the Just CrossStitch Christmas ornament edition.  After finishing this, I started working on probably the oldest WIP in my stash.

This was in my grandma’s sewing room when my aunt and I cleaned it out.  From the paperwork with it, the kit was first published in 1943 and from the price of $6.95 was probably purchased toward the end of the 40’s or start of the 50’s.  If she started it as soon as she bought it which was her habit, then it would mean, in all likelihood, this WIP is a good 15 years older than I am.

Now the kit should include (according to the paperwork) the brass hardware, the lining, the front, back and side petit point canvases and instructions.  I have everything but the canvas for the back.  I called Plaid which acquired Bucilla in the 1990’s and their suggestion was to buy a 14 count canvas to replace the back piece.  My husband’s suggestion was to buy a piece of black satin and use that for the back.  He’s worried that I will lose interest in it before finishing all three pieces and I can see his concern.  I’m at 6 hours of work now and starting to want it finished.Image

But then, this is what it looks like right now….and I really think I could finish the frontispiece in the 4 hours I have left in this rotation slot which makes it highly unlikely that I’m going to want to mark a piece of canvas and tent stitch the whole thing in black, it’s going to be boring enough doing the center band.  I own black velvet in my stash so all I would need would be some interfacing to stiffen it up so that it would work around the lining pieces.

So this is where I am right now. So just out of curiosity, if you had this piece – how would you do it?  Would you do the whole thing in needlepoint?  Would you just finish the frontispiece and do either a satin or velvet back?  if you did a different back would you do the petit point side piece or just do that in the same material as the back so as to highlight the petit point piece?   We’ll see how I feel after 4 more hours…

No WIP updates this week…

Yep, there is no WIP update this week. Mainly because I was having Mommy Angst with the Last First Day of School. Yes, my baby started his senior year of school and I’m having those – How did he grow up so fast? He was so tiny (my runt at 8′ 3″)? Where did the time go? How did I get this old? And the realization I never made him a baby sampler!
Unlike the other kids though, he got his own baby quilt which is now boxed away since it’s nothing but 2 pieces of worn out fabric. The stuffing is gone and when held up the once heavy cotton is now sheer.
He was about 8 when he agreed to box it up to save for later. We may take it out of the box when he goes away to college next year. At least, he’s asked if we can or could he at least take the box to school?

Snow like I remember….

When I was younger, this is what a snowstorm looked like. And no, schools do not close for snow like this. It’s Utah, we love this stuff, it boosts the economy and keeps the skier’s coming here and it’s what makes us a great candidate for a 2nd Winter Olympics.  The walks had been cleared in the morning but the birdbath hadn’t been touched if you would like to use that as a gauge.

When I was small, we would make snow forts and snow caves and get soaking wet and cold even with the mittens and hats.  Yes, our mothers sent us outside and they didn’t come with us.  Except maybe that one mom who made snowballs for us to throw at each other. That’s right, we considered other children targets and knew that we were targets too.  It was considered healthy to have a little competition.  None of us would have stood for bullying and everyone got their fair share of hunting and being hunted.

I’m just sorry that my kids are too old to build snow forts now that we have a decent snowfall.

Quilt top done – need opinions on the backing fabric

So that quilt top I’ve been trying to finish since September – it’s done.   I thought I had it finished last week but then I tried it on the boy and it didn’t cover his head when tucked around his feet so we had to add an additional border.  Now the decision – this is his bedding in the Philippines so we aren’t putting any batting in but what do we use for the backing?

The choices are

1. Minkee – kind of thick but really soft.  It will make the quilt weigh 5 pounds.

2. Flannel – Still soft and doesn’t weigh as much as the minkee but will have at least 3 seams to make it large enough.

3. A 250 count Egyptian cotton queen sheet – not soft but no seams.

I’m leaning toward the cotton sheet, because it would make it really easy to wash and dry and I wouldn’t have to worry about anything unravelling.

Oh, you probably want to see it – huh?