Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today I finished a baby quilt for a customer. She had sent me the fabric and pattern before Christmas and I made the top for her, then returned it to her so she could hand quilt it. She got too busy to do it herself, so mailed it back to me to quilt on my longarm. I chose a pantograph pattern called Popcorn by Willow Leaf Studio, I love their designs. They are very organic, lots of leaves and vines, with the repeat clearly marked, so it is so easy to advance the quilt and not lose your place. Despite the fact that this quilt has quite a bit of pink in it, it is a quilt for a baby boy, so I tried to chose something that was gender neutral (not too flowery!)for the quilting pattern. I wanted to bind it with the blue that you can see in the sashing, but all I had was scraps from assembling the top. I'm not sure the Beatrix Potter fabric line is still available in stores, it came out a few years ago. I was happy to be able to eek out the binding by using a 2 inch, instead of 2.5 inch binding, from the scraps, which helps to frame it. There are really sweet illustrations of Benjamin Bunny, Squirrel Nutkin, Jeramiah Puddleduck, and her other characters. My Mom used to read them to us when we were little. Now, I read Benjamin Bunny to my grandchildren.

The Big Top

This week, my husband made me a Big Top for my ironing board. We went to the home supply store and got a piece of plywood and some molding. I traced the outline of the existing ironing board and he screwed the molding along those lines. Then I put the big board over the top of the existing ironing board surface. I covered it with some flannel and some ironing board cover fabric that I bought from JA's. I taped the whole thing down with blue painter's tape, just temporarily until I can get him to staple it all down.
I LOVE this big surface! No more angling large pieces around to accomodate the small end of the ironing board. I probably won't ever take the big top off, but if I ever needed to, it just lifts right off.
I think my husband likes to make things that make my life easier, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Everyone is on the mend, at our house! Spooky is back outside, and her fur is growing back too.

Michael had his prostate removed a week ago yesterday. He is home and working in the garden a little bit every day. Has his follow up with the doctor tomorrow. We expect a full recovery. He had the robotic Da Vinci surgery. Amazing what our bodies can go through and heal from! My Dad is also home from rehab, and doing well. So, we are all thinking good thoughts of Spring and new beginnings. The garden is producing mass quantities of vegetables. We have been supplying the neighborhood with tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, bok choy, green beans, peppers and peas. We're eating good in the neighborhood.

I recently quilted this quilt for a lady who collected blocks and pieced them together to form beautiful primitive quilts that she is auctioning off for breast cancer. My photo of the entire quilt did not turn out well, it was kind of blurry, but I quilted an all over pattern of stars and loops that complemented the design. Her website is The quilts are under the back porch tab.

I've also been really LOVING my weekly surface design class at the Vero Beach Art Museum. I made some ATC's, and this neat little folder to display them in.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It Was a Good Weekend

This is my little Spooky, our Garden Girl, taken before her close encounter with some animal's large teeth. She is now my little Quilt studio kitty. She normally prefers being outside, but I wanted her to stay safe while she was healing from her misadventure. She has adapted surprisingly well to life inside. I picked her up from the animal hospital on Friday, and she slept a lot the first couple of days. It was pretty noisy in the hospital, animals barking and crying, lots of people banging around. If she will let me, I may just keep her inside indefinitely.

I spoke with my Dad again tonight. When he answered the phone he sounded just like he did before the stroke! As he got more tired as the conversation went on, he sounded a little robotic, but he was still speaking in full sentences and I could understand most of what he said. Whew, Big sigh of relief. We will find out tomorrow how long he will remain in rehab. He is committed to staying as long as he needs to, but I know he will be very glad to get back home.

This weekend, Brandon and Kristen came up for the weekend. We all went to the Port Salerno Seafood Festival and had a great time. It was a beautiful sunny day. We ate all kinds of great seafood ~ clam chowder, fried clams, shark bites (!), conch fritters, frozen lemonade, red flannel cupcakes with mouse stuffing and cream cheese frosting! Um yea, I am still full. After that, we went to a beautiful place on the water and had a beer and watched the sun set through the palm trees.

I put the borders on a quilt I am making for Kristen. The pattern is called Salt Water Taffy. It is all batiks. For the back, I pieced a silk screened mermaid on a backing with flip flop fabric. I loaded it on the frame, picked a thread color, and hope to get started quilting on it this week.

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers for my Dad. He is in the hospital, we are awaiting test results with cautious optimism. He will be facing another acute rehab phase. What we don't have the answer to is why this stroke mimicked the exact pathology that he had before. He had MRI of the brain, echo cardiogram, evaluations by physical and occupational therapists today. My brother says he is in good spirits considering the uphill battle he faces to regain use of his hand and speech functions. This is consistent with his general outlook and personality, optimistic, kind and quietly strong. I am so grateful that my brother can be with him and act as a family liaison to keep an eye on things, keep us all posted and get answers to our questions.
This morning, when I opened the door to the porch, I saw my little outside kitty, Spooky, eating her breakfast. She had a patch of exposed skin on her side. I stepped forward and picked her up for closer examination. I could see two deep puncture wounds where someone, probably a raccoon, had taken a bite out of her! She has been an outside kitty (her choice) for the whole 8 years that she has lived with us. She came to us on Christmas Eve in 2000. I called my vet and he said to bring her right in. After examining her, they said she would need surgery to place a drain and clean out the wound. It had apparently not just happened, but had been incubating an infection over a few days time.
I left her at the vet, and headed to a Surface Design class that I had signed up for at the Vero Beach Art Museum. On the way to meet my friend who I was driving to the class with, I listened to the swearing in ceremony on public radio. I unexpectedly started to cry with the emotion of the day. I was surprised, because I do not cry often or easily. I think was his contagious optimism, his openness, and his energy to tackle the daunting tasks awaiting his administration. It all just rings true to me, and makes me feel connected to my country in a way I have not felt in a very long time.
The surface design class was a blast. We jumped right in and played with Procion dyes and Lumiere paints and translucent powders. We played with different techniques of dying fabric and paper, folding, sewing and clipping the fabric and dipping it into the dye baths. We painted, sprayed and generally had a ball. There were 12 women in the class, from varying backgrounds, from fine art to engineering. The teacher was vibrant and excited to share her knowledge.
Came home to freeze warnings for the next few husband has been busy wrapping up all of his orchids and vegetable beds. He asked me for some fabric! Um, yes I do have some fabric! I had a bolt of muslin that I had purchased for longarm practice. He took that and asked me to get two more. Oh, if you insist! I went to JoAnne. Our JA is in the process of closing. They will be opening at a new location nearby and are selling off everything from the current location. I was able to find two more of the sealed bolts for $17.50 each. We are expecting temps in the 40's tonight, 30's for the next two nights. The sky was gorgeous tonight, with the cold front moving in. I like a little cool weather as much as the next person, but would be very sad to see all of Michael's hard work in the garden over these past months claimed by a killing frost.

Monday, January 19, 2009

If You Are a Praying Person

Please say one, tonight, for my Dad. He was taken to the hospital this afternoon after suffering a stroke. He had recovered well from a previous one a few years ago, and was living alone very happily, managing all his activities well. He had been feeling good today, went to his exercise class this morning, and to the dentist this afternoon. While at the dentist, they noticed his speech was slurred and they called an ambulance. One of the responding EMT's happened to be a friend of my brother's, and he called my brother, who was out with my nephew snowmobiling on the lake, since they had the MLK holiday off. So, my brother and nephew raced to the hospital and are with Dad now. They decided in the ER NOT to give him the miracle anti-stroke drug because it carries a 1 in 12 risk of death. They did a CT scan, and did not see any blood, so that is good. His previous stroke, a couple of years ago, came from a blood clot near his heart. Since his speech is slurred, the stroke must be on his brain's left side, which controls the right side of his body. This is the same area that was damaged before, but he did recover from that. I hope that with prompt medical intervention, he will be able to fully recover again, and go back to his wonderful, independent life in a great community of people who all like him and care about him a lot.
I have to say, when they handed out the Dads, I won the lottery. My Dad is the most kind, gentle, and steady man I know. This is us, my Dad, brother and I, in November, at a restaurant in his town in Maine.
I know these things happen to people every day, but I am just not ready for it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rose Marie

This is Rose Marie. When my Mom was about 6, she got a letter in the mail from Rose Marie, who had been her grandmother's doll. It said that Rose Marie was travelling to my Mom's house on her way back from the Doll Hospital, after getting a new hairstyle and some new clothes, including a pink party dress and some new underwear!

When my Mom moved to a smaller home recently, she didn't really have any place for Rose Marie, so I said I would take her. She is in need of some professional repair, and she is headed off to a doll restorer in Virginia. She has a cloth body and a composite head. I think it might be a Shirley Temple head. Her arms, from the elbows down, were white kid gloves, which need to be replaced.

Her clothes and the letter from Rose Marie to my Mom came in this wonderful old wooden trunk. Unfortunately, one of my nieces stepped through the lid of the trunk while playing hide and go seek, but I think it can be repaired.

This is the pink party dress referred to in the note. There are some wonderful old hand made clothes, including this black velvet jacket, that were made by my great grandmother, Bertha. From everything I've heard about her, I think we had a lot in common. She loved to sew also.

I found a book at the library called The Doll's Clothes Collection, which has wonderful patterns for period doll's clothes, even shoes and hats. After Rose Marie returns from Virginia, I hope to have a little blue and white sailor suit waiting for her, and some new shoes. I hope that my grand daughters and my friend Lucia's daughter Lucy might like to play with her. If not, there's always Carmine!