Sunday, May 15, 2011

18 years in the making!

In 1993, the Spring before I got married, I went to Shepherd's Bush to buy a new project to stitch.  I decided upon a large project called "The Village Alphabet" by Cross My Heart, Inc.  The pattern was only $5.50.  The pattern was designed to stitch the entire alphabet, or you could stitch "Welcome to the ....(fill in your last name)."  Well, even though I was engaged, I was not married yet, and I didn't want to commit myself to a last name, so I decided to stitch the whole alphabet.  Little did I know that it would take me 18 years to finish!  Here I am at the ripe age of 22, sitting on a bean bag starting this journey.  I preferred to sit like this when my back and legs could stand it.  I wouldn't be able to last for 10 minutes now!

I started with the "M" block, and I stitched K through Q over a 4 year period.  Then my son was born.  Being a new mom, I didn't stitch very much for the next 3 years, as I was too busy running after him.  We moved to Oklahoma for 3 months while my husband was doing some training with the Air Force.  I felt certain I would finish this, because we were living in a hotel room and there was nothing to do, and this was the only project I took with me.  However I became very ill, and often didn't feel good enough to stitch.  Later I learned I was pregnant with my daughter.  When I retired this to the closet, blocks K through W were complete. 

About 5 years ago, I was cleaning out my closet, and discovered this sampler tucked in the back.  It was still on the scroll rods, and I thought about getting rid of it.  I asked my husband if he thought it was worth finishing, or if I should cut my loses and give it to someone else.  He encouraged me to finish it.  He said it was one of his favorite pieces.  That motivated me and I began working on it with excitement, but I still had over half of it to finish, and progress was slow.

Two months ago at stitch group, my mom said, "What can we give her if she finishes that sampler by next stitch group?"   I still had blocks A through E to finish, but somehow when I am given a "goal" then I can stick to things much easier.  I took the challenge to heart and pushed ahead.  I finished the top row in record time.  I will have to let you know what my "prize" is on Tuesday!

I had to unpick the finished date and change it from 2010 to 2011.  Some of you may remember that I thought by stitching the date, I would stay on task...I don't know what happened, I should know better!  :)  I have worked on this sampler for almost half of my life, and the memories are sweet in remembering where I have been, and what circumstances I was in as I stitched the blocks.  Thanks for celebrating this finish with me! 

Also, last but not least, I have to share my birthday present from Jolene!  She spoils me way too much, but her gifts are amazing.  I don't know where she finds such fabulous treasures, but I am truly blessed!  Thanks Jolene for your sweetness. I can't get over it all!  Hope all is well blog friends!  Thank you in advance for all your sweet comments.  They make my day!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This poor blog! A much needed update!

What Have I been up to the past 2 months? I can't wait to show you.  I went to a quilting retreat in March and put together 3 quilt tops in a day and a half.  I attend this particular retreat every year, and I usually take easy, fun projects that don't involve a lot of thought.  You know how it is when you start talking...It's easy to mess up!  This is "Argyle with Style" by Bate and Taylor.  I bought this pattern at quilt market a few years ago.  My SIL and I were standing around looking at all the quilts.  I read the label..."Angry with Style...hmmm, cute".  After a long pause my SIL said, "It's called, ARGYLE with Style, not ANGRY with style".  We both started laughing.  I had to explain to the designer that I was very tired from staying up and talking half the night,  and that apparently it had affected my ability to read!  Then I bought the pattern so there would be no hard feelings.  :)

Next up is a tumbler quilt that  my SIL, Melanie, gave me for my birthday a few years ago.  She cut this out using a tumbler die from an Accu-cut machine.  Boy do I wish I had one of those handy machines sometimes!   I think the fabric line is called Rebel Roses by Henry Glass.  This will have a bias striped binding that will be added after quilting.  I intend to keep the hourglass shape on the sides.  I like the way it looks.

Finally from my retreat, I put together this fun quilt.  This is a quilt from the Book "I can't believe I'm quilting, beyond the basics", by Pat Sloan.  The fabric line is called City Girl.  I think it's probably long gone by now, but I loved this fabric so much that I made a dress and a bag out of it.  I have 3 more quilts that I worked on, and are very close to being done.  I will share those when the tops are finished.  I am going to keep a quilter very busy because I have 10 quilts ready to take to the quilters at the moment!  My poor pocketbook!

As Easter approached, I decided to make some doll clothes for the "girls".  It's hard sewing for 4 dolls!  This is one of the dresses I made.   The other 2 looked like this.  A very easy dress, and really cute!  I didn't have time to dress up the dolls to take a picture, but I will next time they are wearing them. 

A few months ago I bought a bag of buttons on Ebay and made this cute basket.  My generous friend Jolene, gave me a bunch of buttons, but when I realized how many it would take, I decided I better buy my own so as not to use up all her stash!  :)  I thought this would be a daunting project, but I sewed all the buttons on in about 4 hours.  It was really relaxing, and a fun project to do.  It's still waiting for me to make it into a pillow for my couch.  I don't think anyone will be tempted to sleep on it, do you?  The pattern is by Joined at the Hip.

I celebrated my 40th birthday last week.  My Mom surprised me with the wonderful quilt!  I just can't believe she made it for me.  As you may remember I just bought the pattern when we  were in California in February.  It was on the top of my "want to do" list.  Well, she beat me to it, and it's a good thing, because at the rate I'm accomplishing things, it would have been years before I got to it.  My mom is such a fabulous quilter.  And, not only did she make me this quilt which would have been enough indeed...

She also made this for me!  I must be the luckiest daughter in the world.  Two fabulous quilts, and new red Born sandals too.  Love my mom!  She is so good to me.  I guess it helps being the only girl out of 5 brothers!  I do get spoiled sometimes!  :)

My wonderful SIL, Melanie also didn't disappoint for my b-day!  She always give me wonderful things.  I do love her so.  This is the new fabric line from Lila Tueller, who is now designing for Riley Blake.  I can't wait to do something wonderful with this stack of goodness!

This is my progress on Dear Jane.  I haven't done a lot as you can see.  I was doing a SAL, with my mom and Melanie, but I am lagging behind in a serious way.  Melanie is finished with her blocks (130 I think), and my mom has over 90 blocks done.  I have a stack of patterns and fabric that loom in the closet!  I'm hoping that summer will make it a little easier to get things done!  I don't love that black and white block that sticks out like a sore thumb, but my mom assured me that there are many more black and white blocks for me to still sew, so I won't get out the tea dye just yet.

For our family vacation, and my birthday, we went to California again.  This time we went to  Disneyland. We did 3 day passes for Disneyland, which was a little too much for all of us, (just look at my poor son sitting in the chair.  I think his face says it all).  However,  DD had some wonderful experiences with the characters.  Here she is with her favorite girl Jessie.  They sat and colored together for over 20 minutes.  I don't know how we got so lucky, but It's something DD will never forget!   

We enjoyed the fabulous weather and the beach.   This is at Balboa pier in Newport California.   I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw 9 dolphins in the water not far from the shore!  I've never seen dolphins in the wild, and it was a thrill!  Apparently they live there and are always around at feeding time.  It was so neat! 

We also fed some Sea Lions that were hanging around.

I added to my stash.  Love me some Fig Tree Fabrics!

We ate my birthday dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant called Ciao on Balboa Island.  The island is lined with cute little houses with flowers and flags.  It got me excited  to work on this...

My long lost Shores project.  I've been stalled on it for a year of more.  I am working on the sails right now.  For some reason when I got to this block I lost my zeal for it, but hopefully I can get the excitement going again.  I have many other wonderful projects just waiting to show you. I even have things I haven't shared, but when you wait too long between posts, it's too hard to share it all!  I have something really special I'm doing that is hush hush right now, and it will be taking up most of my time this month.  I can show it to you after July!  Hope all is well with you my friends.  Until next time...Happy sewing!