Well this is a big hellloooooo! from many months of absence!  Yes, life gets in the way and in my case, well, it got in the way big time!  My little granddaughter has turned two, my Kaleb has turned 4 and he has twin sisters on the way and should make their appearance in June!  You can well imagine how running after the two of them at 2 and 4 can get in the way <G>  but then that is only two days a week atm. 

Catching you up with other news, I now am doing all my sewing from home instead of my quilting studio 😦  Alas that is a sad story, indeed, and one that I will share in my journals later.  Suffice to say, I am really much happier working from home and I do get loads more accomplished! 

My quilting journey has come full circle.  I have returned to my first love in needle art, that of hand embroidery, after many years of depending on the machine to do all my work.  I have even started designing BOM’s in embroidery which brings me to the point of re-establishing my presence on this blog.  My cyberfriend from Cut-n-Shoot Texas and I are designing a Scripture quilt based on the beattitudes from Matthew 5:3-13.  All in all there are 25 blocks, 11 scripture, 11 companion, and 3 floral.  We have been working on them for about a month now and design elements are mostly finished.  The actual working of the blocks has just begun but I must say that having nearly completed the first of them, I am loving it to pieces!  Got you a little curious?  Hmmm…perhaps by tomorrow I will have a finish for you to view 🙂 

Anywho, my point is, I will be sharing our journey on this blog as we work the blocks and perhaps, share with you all 🙂  I have taken a rather antique appearance to mine by using sepia type threads and companion fabrics in rich creams, apricots, and deep russets whereas Bobbie is using more contemporary colors such as blues, yellows, pinks etc. to go with her chosen companion fabrics.  Pics will follow tomorrow also of her choices and mine. 

Right now I want to share with my inspiration for doing a scripture quilt BOM.  Val Laird, on her blog, recently completed her Love is series which is what I used for my DDIL birthday quilt. 

Danielle's Birthday Quilt 

I worked the blocks in less than two weeks  and that included the lace heart appliques that were edged in embroidery floss in the blanket stitch.  After framing out the blocks, I added a Scripture border that included the love is verses from Corinthians.  The overall look of the quilt was of quiet femininity but the message was and is powerful!  Danielle had wanted a scripture quilt for many years and it was a true labor of love that I made for her.  Here are some of the details of the blocks:

Love is and lace hearts

 

Part of the scripture border

 Well needless to say, many people have fallen in love with this quilt, most importantly ME!  and DDIL the elder who is pregnant with twins 🙂  So Mine is coming first and she will get hers later!  I am doing “Fruits of the Spirit” for her 🙂 

Now to let you all know, I will share these patterns with you all once I figure out how to upload to the blog that is–anyone feel free to help me out on this now LOL and I do mean it HELP!!! 

I have recruited my son to help out, but well he has a full time job plus extra hours and a pregnant, nesting wife, so….you can read the writing on the wall with that, right?? 

So if you all have any helps, please feel free to chime in!  All comments and helps much appreciated!  So until later today,

See ya, I promise,

Carmen

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All grown and quilted 🙂

Well, at last!  After working on the Lydia’s Forever Stars quilt, it is now its long journey to meet its owner!  I made it just under the wire too.  The finishing touches were completed early this morning at 1:00 am AKT.  She received her final bath and press at 10:00 am then enjoyed her photo shoot for the big reveal at noon 🙂 

I started this quilt on the first of October or there abouts, maybe the last week of September, in design.  Then went shopping for just the right fabrics for her.  Lydia’s favorite colors are black, red, WHITE, and monochromatic color schemes.  I tried to pick fabrics that reflected her taste as I wanted to make sure she would use it!  Warm and natural batting was used and all cottons.  The backing is a high quality cotton.  Now here I did something that most quilters scream and quilt police scream about.  I did not prewash any of the fabrics.  I wanted the old time pouffy, soft comfy feel that says and invites the owner to “use me, curl up and snuggle”.  I do not preshink cotton batting–never have and never will.  So, total shrinkage was less 4% and the look and feel was accomplished!

Close up of quilting motif after wash

Close up of quilting motif after wash

 

I chose to do my own quilting motif by creating templates of the eight-pointed star in two sizes.  These were quilted in the monochromatic areas of the quilt with a coppery brown thread that complimented the darker fall fabric I chose for the accents of the outer and inner stars.  I think the process worked well with this pattern and was expedient for hand quilting 🙂

Here is a picture of the backside/backing after quilting process 🙂
Back quilted 8 pointed star design

Back quilted 8 pointed star design

This is the way the back appears.  I wasn’t real imaginative with the backing for this quilt in the way of a fancy print.  I had it in mind for the quilt to be used for the white and contrast quilting.  With her liking white, it seemed appropriate 🙂
So this has been my labor of love for my dear MIL, Lydia.  My family contributed by sacrificing their time to allow me to work on it in order to get it finished in time LOL  They have promised to email me pics of the generations gathered around the quilt after it has been given to her.  I will most definitely share them with my friends 🙂
My next big project is quilting my Rick’s birthday/Christmas present!  The TATW mystery quilt we just finished up with on One Stitch at a Time!  Sheesh, why don’t I ever do anything small?  Pictures of the topper are coming tomorrow 🙂 before it goes on to the quilting frame 🙂  This one is KING size!  Oi Vey!

This November brings another Thanksgiving Day and our little Missy Lydia’s first birthday!  Gosh, I just cannot fathom that little bundle of energy being one year old already!  Grandpa, Mommy Danielle and Daddy Adam are taking our little Missy to meet her Great Grandmother Lydia!  Have you ever just welled up with tears at the thought of bringing the generations together and celebrating life as God has meant for us to do?  I sadly cannot accompany them, but I know how much love will be shared by the generations of my family and the joy it will bring to my dear 2nd mom, Lydia!  They have been planning this trip since Lydia was born last year and now the time has come for them to travel. 

With only a week left before they leave, I am on a countdown to finish Mom Lydia’s quilt!  I don’t know if I told you all the problems I was having with the border, but it was being a stinker!!  I still am not satisfied with it, but it is as God intended it to be for sure, cause there is no changing it now!  I know I promised pictures, and I will post them but want to do so with the finished quilt.  I used warm and natural batting (she is allergic to polyester?) so the quilt is a little heavier than I had imagined, but the “Forever Stars” pattern is magnificent in Lydia’s favorite colors 🙂 I chose to do the outline of the largest star in large handstitches to enhance the monochromatic scheme of that part of it.  I myself am anxious to see it finished.  Little Missy already gave it her approval LOL! 

My next Big, Big project is quilting my All in the Color Family Mystery quilt for Rick’s birthday coming up on December 3rd.  He really has no idea that I made the quilt for him!  And he thinks he knows me so well.  He has convinced himself that quilt will remain a UFO!  Lord forgive me for my deceit! cause I let him think that.  Knowing that I would need something to work on,  I kept it packed away until they leave so I can get it finished while they are gone 🙂  I won’t abe able to post a picture of the quilt topper until the mystery finishes its’ run on OST.  There are 3 more clues to be given out and they will be completed by the end of the month.  So you all have two weeks left for my reveal 🙂

I have some upcoming projects that will be coming to the blog 🙂  I am working on a quilted sweatshirt jacket tutorial and a denim bag and apron tutorial from cast off jeans!  I am not sure when they will be ready, but they are in the works and coming along nicely.  I am thinking sometime in December 🙂  In regards to the quilted sweatshirt jacket tutorial–I am flying by the seat of my pants on this one!  I literally scanned the internet for patterns, ideas, pictures and I asked members on OST if they knew of any links or had helpful suggestions.  So I collected all the information and looked over several real life examples and came up with what I am doing.  I can promise you it will definitely be original!  You know, there used to skads of information out there and patterns, how-to’s etc., and then they were gone, except for a few (and most of them pretty dull and unimaginative)!  Well, if any of you readers know me, I am anything but dull and unimaginative when it comes to designs LOL

Hope you all have a terrific weekend and week!  Be writing again soon!

Carmen

This week has been super busy for me as a list owner and fledgling designer!  Our first full quilt mystery, All in the Color Family Mystery is now under way 🙂  Pictures are starting to come in as list members progress through the clues, of which only 3 have been released thus far.  All I can say is WOW ladies and gentlemen!!  You all are doing such a super job!  The hard part for all of them is waiting the week for the next clue LOL, but then they all voted to get them weekly not daily!  Just goes to show, be careful what you vote for, cause once you do, and the results are tallied, you live with the majority rule.   Now any of you who are reading my blog and don’t belong to One Stitch at a Time, you still have time to jump in on the mystery, just send me and email at:  1foxiegrannie@gmail.com  with a little about yourself and your desire to join such a great list with so many activities.  We are a closed list so membership is by invitation only. 

October 1, 2008 was the beginning of our Octoberfest Sew-in, our second in the year we have been a Yahoo.com group!  Present activities include the AITCF Mystery that I mentioned above, Pop Block Christmas project, free pattern releases(Me <g>), R-a-M (Round a month–Val Johnson) start up, Fall-a-bration Wallhanging Mystery (Gracie Lambie), Bingo (Marge Campbell), Teasers (Regina Allen), recipe sharing group wide, and lots of fun and chatter!  Now you see why I have been so busy?  *giggle*  We are a moderated group that believes that no matter what your skill level in quilting, you will find a home group with us!

All that aside for the moment, I have been busy working on the MIL quilt.  I cannot believe that Rick told his mother I was making it for her!  Drat the Man!!!  And they say women can’t keep a secret!  Sheesh!  But all in all, it is coming along and quite nicely, hope to have a picture for you all later this week!  Oh, and you gotta luv what Rick bought me a few weeks ago–a new pentax digital camera that shoots video with sound and takes the most awesome pictures.  The following picture will you give you an idea of how good this little baby is!!

30 am AKT 10/07/08

View at 5:30 am AKT 10/07/08

30 am AKT view

Another 5:30 am AKT view

I was amazed that this camera captured the falling flakes this distinctly with just my camera flash–no external lights whatsoever!  Yes, I am impressed!  By the way, my coffee tasted pretty good at this early hour with this view 🙂  Below are pictures of why I was up that early.

Lydia helping out in the sewing room

Lydia helping out in the sewing room

And of course she is already a willing and adorable model!

Gramma's Natural little model

Gramma

 So, this has been my life of late except for one minor fact I have left out.  I have had a godawful cold now for going on 3 days!  I do so hope I feel better tomorrow!  I need to catch up with some Pop Blocks and Val’s R-a-Month so you all can see pictures of them next blog post!!

I have always enjoyed being a grandmother since the day I found out I was going to be a grandmother for the first time.  Autumn and Micah (my oldest son) had been trying for 4 years of their marriage to get pregnant and finally the day had arrived.  Autumn had a flawless pregnancy, a touch and go delivery, and delivered with my assist along with hubby, Dr., and her twin sister, a beautiful baby boy, whom they named Kaleb Lee.  I cried tears of joy to see my first grandchild enter the world so noisy and healthy, yet so peaceful looking.  One of the days of one’s life that we never forget.  And two years later, our middle son Adam and his wife Danielle told me they were pregnant.  Oh, boundless joy from Rick and myself.  And then we found out the new baby would be a girl!  Our first girl grandchild on both sides of the family.  Danielle had to deliver cesarian because Lydia never turned.  She went into labor Thanksgiving Day and was born the Friday after Thanksgiving at 5:01 in the morning.  I stood at the nursery window and cried with joy as my son held his daughter and let his tears of happiness flow freely down his face.  I have never been prouder of either of my sons.  To me, I truly saw them as men for the first time instead of the little boys I worked so hard to raise.

Why am I relating this today on my journal?  Today was a day of remembering all that was good and right with the world.  Today was a day to take stock of all the blessings that God has given me.  He has given me a loving family, a stable relationship with my husband of 16 years, a second profession for the later years of my life, loving and giving friends, and most of all–confidence in myself as a person who is worthy of His love.  In my humble opinion we must do this from time to time amidst the backdrop of desparity, unstable politics, out of control economy.  We can get so wrapped in all the ills of the world and forget to stop and thank God for what we do have.

 My good friend Bobbie just went through hurricane Ike.  I cannot begin to imagine the horror of that experience, but I see the changes in my friend.  I see that her walk with the Lord has become even closer.  I see that amidst it all, her love for her husband, mother and father permeated her every thought.  I know that she sent me word about their travails knowing I would relate to others and thus the prayer chain of warriors would be on their knees.  This was indeed a good day!  A day for remembering those important people in my life and praying for them and thanking God for blessing me with them.

My DFIL passed away a year ago next week.  Rick, by husband had never lost a family member before that he could remember (his father was orphaned at two, and his maternal grandparents died before he was 3).  He took his father’s passing in silent anguish.  It changed him forever, as most of us are forever changed by the passing of our parents.  But I gotta say, with Rick, it went real bad.  Men are not as sharing with their emotions as womenfolk, and Rick was worse than not sharing, he was emotionless and sank into a deep depression of which he has only recently started coming out of.  Our little granddaughter Lydia Rose is responsible the change.  I know that something within him saw the hope she represented and slowly she won her grandfather’s heart.  He is able to laugh freely again, share his thoughts and doubts, but most of all, he has been freed by her unconditional love for him, to love us all again, unconditionally.  So, yes, today was indeed a good day!  “Rejoice and be glad in it, for the Lord your God has made it.”

Why is it the harder I try, the behinder I get?  I will conquer this border I swear, for the MIL quilt.  I have played with it all day long trying to get it to look like ric-a-rac!  And finally about 9 pm this evening, it was accomplished.  I cannot tell you why it went all wonky today, but wonky it did go!  Thank goodness it is only on the top and bottom of the quilt!!

Bobbie had asked me if Aurora’s Star was the same pattern from the Christmas mystery I ran last year.  It is not the same.  That pattern I named Aurora’s Quest for Lydia’s Star.  Here is the picture **Lydia loves snuggling with this quilt, btw!

Lydia's snuggle blankie

Lydia

Aurora’s Star was born from a yard of rainbow batik that my dear friend and co-owner of OST had sent me.  The batik begged for its very own pattern and thus become a ‘test’ of sorts for Rick’s office version with green/yellow batik that kind of shimmers like our Aurora lights do here in Alaska.  The one that will be hanging in the lobby of the main office is Aurora’s Star-Dawn, and the one in his office is Aurora’s Star-Midnight.  Twin quilts and aptly named.  I will be posting a picture of the twins as soon as they are finished.

These quilts are a result of designing for the fabric not finding a fabric to fit the design.  I am doing this more and more and loving every minute of it, as you can probably tell.

The following quilt was a design I had in mind for fabrics I had on hand.  The design idea was bourne from my spiritual belief and wanting to put into my art the feelings Christ’s sacrifice brings out in me.  Thanks to Grace, I figured out how to complete the outer border, and it is in the cutting stages, so what you see is almost finished, awaiting the final border which will be very dramatic and BRIGHT!

A quilt with personal meaning

A quilt with personal meaning

Can you tell I love bright colors?  LOL  And it still has more to come! 

I am certainly hoping to be able to post a picture of my “Forever Stars” quilt that I designed for my MIL.  Lydia Thomas is an admirable woman who escaped the ravages of Stalin with her sister just as WWII was beginning.  After several heroic events in her life, Lydia became a translator for the Americans where she met her husband Peter, Rick’s father.  Sadly, Peter passed away last year in October.  He is missed by his family, but most of all his dear wife, Lydia.  My little beloved granddaughter, Lydia Rose is named after Lydia the elder.  They are going to meet face to face in October this year as DH Rick, my son Adam and wife Danielle, and of course our darling little Missy, make the journey to Wisconsin to visit with her and other family members. 

Oh, guess I better tell you about the oven–it is definitely “fried”!!  So we went shopping for a new stove and found one that we can live with for under 400 but have to wait a week for it to come in on order.  I ended up making Pepper Steak with Rice for dinner as I forgot to start the crock this morning.  Well, not forgot, just didn’t want to make stew!  Stew calls for homemade yeast rolls and of course, can’t make them without the oven!! Whew!!  And now of course, I am thinking of everything to make in an oven because I do not have one at the moment.  So Bobbie, Gracie, and Birdie–NO RHUBARB COBBLER!!  LOL  Have to settle for stewed rhubarb, or rhubarb compote on pancakes for breakfast in the morning!

Good Night Everyone!

Please be patient with me as I am still learning the ropes on this blogging thing *sigh*  Why can’t they can instant knowledge like a can of soda?  But oh, no, gotta string it out with things like time, mistakes, experience, ecrued over hours, weeks, months!  It just ain’t fair!!  Like, who the heck has the time to play with ‘puters when we should be doing things like cutting out fabric for the All in the Color Family Mystery, or finish sewing Gracie’s Fallabration Mystery Block test or Val’s RAM center block, or finish quilting DH’s Aurora’s Star Quilt or making Lydia’s nightie/sock monkey set?  Hmmm….????  Really, like who has the time?   Well, I guess I better find the time!!!!  At almost 1 am here in Soldotna I am finding the time to write this post up, heh heh heh, so who needs sleep?

The days events were not as expected.  Went garage saling with Danielle and Lydia and enjoyed our time out together.  We ended up stopping at the grocery store for sundries, lunch, and something to throw in the oven for dinner (news flash–the oven has to work before that can happen!), then drop them off and home to sew–or so I thought–NOT  I did finish cutting out the border for my “Forever Star” pattern (72 HST), cut out the center block for Val’s Round-a-Month BOM, and re-cut Gracie’s Fallabration test pattern.  Rick went in to teach his class and my energy meter went into the red zone and kept saying sleep, Carmen, sleep……and I guess I did for 5 hours.  I woke up 10 minutes before Rick got home.  This was not a good thing.  Threw the pizza in the oven–oven did not work–damn!  Grilled cheese does not replace pizza…huh uh, no way, no how, not going to happen, won’t do, and it didn’t!  So the crockpot is out for tomorrow dinner!

My day did have a bright side, Bobbie is okay, her power is on, water working, septic working, and she was off to sleep peacefully with Ginger to stand guard and watch over her–or slobber all over LOL  Bet she missed you Bobbie!  I can only imagine what working on ambulance would be like on a 24 hour straight shift after Hurricane Ike decimated the Houston area, wiped out Galveston and put millions out of power, food, gas, light, etc.  What a nightmare.  So I was glad to know she was home safe and sound and in the caring hands of her DH Walt and Ginger!  And the really good news for her was that she didn’t have to do the ambulance thing again–she can go back to her ‘normal’ job position!

So with all this free time I have not found yet, I still have to finish my Anniversary Gala Quilt for Adam for Christmas this year, the Fall Maple Harvest Quilt, and Bobbies Maples Leafs of Friendship.  And……hand quilt the MIL quilt before October 26th–That is when Rick, Adam, Danielle, and Lydia are going to Wisconsin!  Well, folks, I am going to be burning the midnight oil for weeks on end until then!

Oh, my last little goodie for this morning!  I am almost finished with Rick’s Aurora’s Star!  It is a wall hanging for his office that is made with green/yellow batik (shimmers like an aurora) on a black background.  It is in my estimation (of course I designed it) a fabulous work!  I am hand quilting in stints during my free tv time or when the neck and back are aching too bad to use the machine.  I should have it completed this week and ready to bind!  It’s twin “Aurora’s Dawn” is waiting to be layered and finished so it can hang in the lobby where he works.  The twins each measure 52″ inches square when completed.  I will be posting photos of them, especially “Aurora’s Star” real soon!

Till, tomorrow folks!  Time for Carmen to go nite, nite!!

King size and ready to quilt!

King size and ready to quilt!

Welcome to my blog!  The picture above is representative of my passion in life next to my family and grandbabies!  I caught the quilting bug years ago, but never really did much with it until I found myself a victim of Kmart’s Bankruptcy cut outs.  I turned to quilting and made it my passion, my art, my income, and my community of friendship across the world.  I have never once regretted my choice! 

I have many friends who have helped me along the way, and have learned some hard lessons also.  I am forever grateful to the many who saw me through my growing pains, taught me the art when they were not even aware they were teaching by example, and to the many who rightly criticized my work.  To all of them I say “Thank You” with utmost sincerity.

I am the co-owner of One Stitch at a Time, a yahoo quilting group.  We have many activities on OST, like our upcoming Octoberfest Sew-in/Retreat, swaps, free patterns, and mysteries!  We are an invite only group, meaning that I or one of the moderators will have to send you an invitation to join.  It is well worth the effort!  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/One_Stitch_at_a_Time/

If you would like an invitation, contact me at: 1foxiegrannie@gmail.com  We welcome new quilters and are in the process of setting up a Beginner’s Quilt Group that will have beginning basics, beginning patterns, tutorials, on-line assistance from our volunteer teachers, and lots of fun!!  If this is something you would be interested in, please drop me a line at the above email address and I will put you on our waiting list!

Thanks for visiting today!  Feel free to drop a comment!

Sincerely,

Carmen Thomas