Monday, July 6, 2015

"See you in a little while..."

...because it really isn't "goodbye".
My sweet mom went home on June 12th.
We were blessed with nine and a half years with her after her initial diagnosis of Stage IV Ovarian Cancer.  Last November we were given some very bad news about treatment options after all this time.  There really weren't a lot left.  She fought on with chemo and radiation right up until the end.
Her spirit was stronger than her body though and this last round of double-dose chemo was too much and she started developing complications.
Memorial Day weekend she was admitted to the hospital and we really didn't think she would come home.  My sister and I took turns staying nights at the hospital with her to help her get the immediate help she needed during the day or at night.  Oncology floors are busy, busy places.  Sadly.  She asked to have her family from all over the country come and visit those four days.  Thankfully, they did.  Her hospital room was rarely empty.  I'm so glad family from near and far were able to come and spend that time with her.  Her spirits and her blood counts rose and we were told she was well enough to go home and there would be no more treatments.
She chose to pass her last few weeks at home on Hospice.  My sister and I packed out bags and moved into our parents' home to care for her one last time.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  We took shifts caring for her.  Switched our sleep schedules around so we shared the night shift.  Ate whatever people put in front of us, learned to give baths and change sheets with a person in a hospital bed.  How to give her all the medicines she needed.  We held her hand and talked to her when she was agitated or in pain until she quieted down and rested again.
There were times I was so tired, I just wanted to go home.  See my children.  Sleep in my bed.  Take my walks. 
But, I'm so thankful she asked us to do this for her.  What a blessing to look back and have all the memories with her.  Some nights I slept in her bed with her to make sure her oxygen tube stayed in, get her medicines, help her walk to the bathroom or just make sure she didn't try to get up at night by herself.  Listening to her breathing and making sure she had what she needed to be comfortable.  It was like all those times she watched over us as children were coming around full circle and we were watching over her.  Loving her and wanting her to know we were there when she needed us.   
Many of you have read about her treatment here on my blog.  Many, many of you prayed for her.
Thank you.
What an awesome peace to know I will see her again.  Whole.  Healed.  Joyful.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another WIP Off the Pile

and another one that had to be de-constructed to so I could make it the right way.
Last week, I took a seam ripper to my mini Swoon blocks.
My original plan had been to use this as an element on the back for my full sized Scrappy Swoon quilt.  Alas, it was too long for this and sat in a box until I found it again a couple of weeks ago. 
Love my Scrappy Swoon!
This is how the Scrappy Swoon finished out and it gets a lotta, lotta use!
My mini Swoons ended up as a mini-quilt.  LOL  This lil' sweetie finished out at 21" square.
Here is the scrumptious back!  Found this fabric at Joann's a while ago and fell in love with how happy and cheerful it is.  Plus, it reminds me of a vintage sheet from the 70's I crush on.
Simple, stripey binding again.  I'm having a fling with stripes for bindings.
This time I tried a spiral pattern for quilting instead of just circles.
Ahhhhh!  Just can't get over how much this way of quilting adds to this quilt.
I need to work on the beginnings for the next quilt I use this for, but this is one of my favorite ways to quilt right now.
Now I just need to find a place to hang it.
Another Pinspiration from Anita at the Bloomin' Workshop.  Can you see why it caught my eye?  Sew many happy, cheerful scraps!  Yummy!
 A couple of years ago, I dove into the scrap piles and tried my hand at recreating the beautiful quilt from Anita.
What is working in her quilt as a play on value, gets so screwed up in mine.  One should never try a new quilt in the depths of chemo brain symptoms!
(my mom says cancer is a family disease and we all suffer from chemo brain at one time or another!)
...and since the seam ripper was already warmed up from the Mini Swoon...
I unpicked all the HST units, ironed them and started over.  Let me tell you, that.  was.  not.  fun.
But I'm so glad I didn't just pitch all that cutting and sewing into the trash.
Do you ever just File 13 projects that make you cry and vomit and wish you had never starter them and regret all the time and fabric on them?
Rebeginning (is that even a word?) with three vertical rows of four HST units.
Clear zig zag rows of light and dark.
Pretty happy with how it's going.  More true to Anita's use of fabric to create value.
I think.
Do you think it's working?  Looking better?  Can you see the zigs?  The zags?
Sorting, sewing.
More rows added.
Not sure where this is going.  Maybe a lap quilt?  Baby quilt?  Wall hanging?
It's been another soothing project that engages my puttering, centering, peaceful need.
I also wanted a PMM (proud mom moment) to congratulate our youngest son, Ben, on winning 1st place in an essay contest.  It's a county-wide one involving 26 elementary, jr. high and sr. high schools.
Ben took top essay for the sr. high category.
Ben, in part, wrote about his experiences in the Civil Air Patrol and how integrity is needed to advance in rank.
So proud of him!
Now returning to NMM (nagging mom mode) to make sure he gets his schoolwork and chores done!
Thanks for letting me go off character!
Hope you find time this week to do something you love!



Monday, April 20, 2015

A long time ago...

in a galaxy far, far away I bought a quilt pattern at Joann's.
This was one of the first quilts I pieced in this house.  Almost eleven years ago.
(shaking my head)
I wasn't new to making quilts, but wasn't much for reading and following patterns.  This one looked pretty straight forward.  No curves.  Easy math.  I had a lot of fun finding fabrics and learned a lot making this top!  I loved how soft and cottagey it looked when I finished it.
Well, I got the top made and then moved on to much more interesting blocks and patterns I saw on quilting blogs, flickr and then Pinterest.
It was a classic case of QADD.
(Quilter's ADD) 
Remember me mentioning spring cleaning my sewing stuff?  I found this top and decided it needed to come away from the dark side and get finished.  I had chosen soft, cottage style prints and colors.  Some of my first purchases from "real" quilt stores are in here.  A lot of my favorite cabbage rose prints.
Beautifully vibrant blues.  Soft as rainfall blues.  Sweet lilac colored purples and tickle your toes pinks.  Warm, happy, sunshiney and buttery yellows.  Spring greens.
Can you tell I fell in love with this quilt again?
The original pattern had the blocks made from complimentary fabrics scattered throughout the top, but I remember not liking that look and deciding to keep the them together.  This created a "four square" pattern.  I bought some cotton batting and backed the whimsy with an old, soft sheet I had in my vintage linens collection.
Straight-line, echo quilting around the inner boxes and fmq-ing the rest.  While I was decluttering and cleaning, I found a white fabric with small white leaves to use for the binding.
This quilt is heavy!  I wanted to take another picture in the sunshine this morning, but someone was still snuggled up under it in their bed.  Just didn't have the heart to wake him up.
Good thing this finished out somewhere between a twin and full size quilt!
Next WIP to work with is this strip of scrappy, mini-Swoon blocks I pieced in the fall of 2011.  This was before the pattern for a smaller block had come out and I just improvised on the measurements.
These finished out at around 11" sq.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for us!  My mom reads every comment on this blog.  We really appreciate you.  My dad, sister and I are tag teaming on doctor visits and radiation treatments.  Knowing we are covered in prayer is a comfort and encouragement!
For some encouragement to be creative, persistent and just sew...

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Soul Is Fed...

with needle and thread.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for my mom.
Every day she has radiation, she is fitted with a mask almost exactly like this and bolted to the table under the radiation machine.  The mask was made of moldable plastic and formed to her skull and shoulders.
 I have to tell you how stunned I was when I saw them pull her mask out of the cupboard and then watched them put her on the table and tighten the bolts. 
She is my hero!
Last week for therapy, I gathered up some of my favorite blue scraps.  I'm currently in the process of changing all of our 18 year old, seen two houses d├ęcor for the living room into coastal shades of blue, green and tan with splashes of beach finds here and there.
So many of our happiest memories as a family are at the beach.  I wanted to capture some of those feelings and remembrances and bring them into our daily lives.
I have always liked the look of this Stacked Blocked pattern and decided to make a new coffee table topper to help make the room feel more "beachey".
Pretty straight forward stitching.  Using some white scraps, I just started cutting the blues into different lengths, none larger than about 7" and attached white strips to each side.
On the machine for some FMQing and....
here it is!  Finished and already brightening the room!  Love!  Love!  Love!
I used an oceany blue fabric from Joann's for backing and some of Kaffe Fassett's stripes in luscious blues for the binding.
Here are some other projects I've crocheted and sewn to help redo the room:

Removing border and repainting comes next.  I'm waiting for warmer weather so I can have windows open while I paint since the smell seems to linger a long time in this house.
In the meantime, I'm still making Granny Square blocks and
putting together Churn Dash blocks for a second quilt for the bunk beds in Ben's room.
Sewing is such a peaceful, creative process for me.  I've learned I like the puttering and putzing of making a quilt more than the idea of setting out to make a quilt and finishing it asap.
Choosing fabrics, appreciating the colors and feel.  The tactile pleasure of measuring and cutting.  Contemplating where a block might go in the overall pattern.  Pressing.
It centers me.  Calms my fearful thoughts and worriful murmurings.
Hope you get a chance to sew some this week. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Catching Up

March was a difficult month.  'Nuff said.
So I was really happy when the weather started turning and Resurrection Sunday was just beautiful!
This time two years ago, Jon had proposed to Rebecca.  They will be celebrating their one year anniversary in June.  They are both in grad school with exciting jobs this summer.  Chris is finishing up his freshman year.  It's been a good year for him.  Lots of growth.  Ben has experienced a lot of new adventures this year, including flying an airplane, and we are so thankful for our kids!
This makes me happy too!  Really pleased with the way the circle quilting turned out.
My spring table topper has me smiling every time I see it.  It finished out at 24" x 20".  I used one of my favorite stripey fabrics in rainbow colors for the binding.
So glad to have been able to save these beautifully stitched vintage posies and repurpose them into everyday use!
I also got to work on a "bouquet" of flowers for my mom.  I can't take her real ones because she doesn't do well with strong smells.  Perfumes.  Potpourri.  Flowers.  Lotions.  She just finished taking an oral chemo pill for the last three weeks and will start radiation tomorrow.  She is such a trooper!  I wanted to give her something bright and cheerful.
I used another hand stitched, vintage piece salvaged from the cutter bin at a thrift store, some Heather Bailey charm squares and anonymous scraps.  So much fun working with these bright, sweet colors! 
This will be a door hanging for their living room.
Come check out these incredibly inspiring blogs and get your sewing on!


Monday, March 2, 2015

You can almost hear the flowers growing...not!

(in my best, least sarcastic Disney singing voice) 
"Do you want to build a snowman?"
No!  I don't want to build a stupid snowman!
I want to build a sandcastle, on the beach, in the sun, where there is no snow!
Instead of temps in the 80's and the beach, we woke up yesterday morning to about 7 or 8 more inches of snow.
On a sunnier, happier note, I was able to spend some time working with the salvaged corners of the embroidered feedsack.
Carole saw "Down from London" printed on the "back".  Thanks Carole for the super sleuthing!  Makes me wonder so many things: what was in the sack? where did it really come from? how old was it? who got the idea to use it for a tablecloth? where did she live?  did she have children? how many? how did it end up at an antique mall?
KT gifted me some Erin McMorris Wildwood scraps several years ago.  They make appearances here and there, but are mostly hoarded for special projects.  Don't they look fabulous next to the embroidered corners?  The gifted scraps measured 2 1/2" square, so I just went with easy math to build my table runner.  We have an oblong table and I wanted a spring themed one that was longer on one side than the other.  It measures out at 24" x 20".  My family doesn't like to have big table runners that have to be pushed out of the way, so this is a great size!
There are some blue scraps from a Moda line and Kaffe Fassett thrown in there to make the blue pop.
Once I sewed the scraps, middle and corners together, I used a thin cotton batting and some large hand stitching to outline the embroidered corners.  Took a page from Dolly's book and quilted circles...but not on the embroidery.
I love this technique!  I used my walking foot and it lays so flat and has such an amazing look!  Definitely be doing this again.  The look is so peaceful and soft!  Thanks Dolly!
Also managed to add seven new Granny Square blocks to the pile and chose a sashing using alternating neutral fabrics with pink and blue scraps.  I found this sashing idea in a quilt magazine and the pattern looks better when it's all finished.  I'm loving the way it looks so far. 
Now if I can just keep a naughty Gizmo from using it as a Slip-N-Slide!
Well, even if she won't behave, she will sit on my lap and enjoy linky parties!
Come on.  Let's all go!