Monthly Archives: August 2020

This Week In My Life

Yay!  We have gotten through the two major political conventions.  It is such a shame that we don’t get to see the conventions for the Libertarians and other political parties who feel they would do the best job in Washington.  I don’t do politics on social media.  Most of my friends and family know where I stand, but I don’t want to get into arguments with anyone.  I don’t want them to call me all the mean nasty names, or say they cannot figure out why on earth I think like I do.  If I recall, this country set up a system of secret ballots so that no one would be intimidated from voting the way they believed.  What happened to the idea that I don’t want to tell how I am voting, and you shouldn’t ask.  Yep.  We need “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to elections.  How much nicer the election year would be!

So . . .  I continue to purchase fabric, and find designs that grab my attention, and dive into piecing quilts for my pure enjoyment.  I just completed a quilt top.  I was so pleased with it. I loved the design and I loved the fabric.  I laid it out across our king size bed.  I am standing on a two-step stool to take its photo to share with my quilting Facebook groups.  Dennis kept pointing at one of the squares.  Why was he putting his finger in my photo?  Then I saw what he saw—I put a square together upside down two rows into my finished top!  I have carefully, with my handy seam-ripper, taken out the square to put in properly so the design will all go the right way.  My new challenge—how to pull a square out that has all ready been surrounded by completed rows to make a change!  I will do the fix this week.  I think it will be easier than it sounds (I hope).

In the meantime, I have put up all my sewing materials because I am using my dining room in Missouri as my sewing room.  This weekend I was hosting a family at our home whom I have never met.  

How does that happen?  I don’t run an Airb&b.  But I do what I can do when I find out someone needs help.  A few weeks ago, I learned that a relative of my sister’s husband was sick.  She was diagnosed with cancer.  She is young, married and has three little children.  He husband is stationed at Fort Leonard Wood here in Missouri.  She is having her surgery in Columbia, Missouri, near our home.  I connected with her on Facebook.  I invited her family to come to our home for the weekend to have a quiet vacation-like weekend before she has major surgery.  

I don’t want a pat on the back for doing this.  We have a large home in Missouri, and are able to offer this.  If the tables were turned, and one of my children were going through something like this away from all their family and friends, I would hope someone would do the same for them.  The two school-aged boys spent their whole time here in the swimming pool.  They came out of the water for meals, and to sleep at night.  I have never seen two little boys have so much fun in a pool.  We ended their weekend with a wiener roast at the fire pit, and S’mores for dessert.  They have gone back home to be in school this week.  We will host her husband and baby while mom is in the hospital, and he will be close by.

I ask that all of you who read this blog will pray for Anita.  This will be the first surgery, and probably not the only one.  Pray for all the doctors and healthcare workers who will be tending to her.  Pray for a successful surgery and healing.  Pray for little boys who don’t understand what a cancer diagnosis means, and pray for a husband who has a lot on his plate, working full time in the military and tending to this family he loves dearly.

She is only expected to be in the hospital for two or three days.  Having her family here was a gift to me.  I loved watching those little boys play and love on their mom and dad.  The only thing I had to do was make sure food was on the table—and I usually do that daily anyway.  

Later this week, I will attempt to fix my “broken” square and complete the quilt top.  I have more fabric and a plan to start the next quilt.  I’m super stoked to keep sewing to keep my mind on things that are not stressful or controversial.  I get to make quilts with love.  I know to whom they are going, so as I stitch them, I think of these people who I love, and hope they will love wrapping themselves in my little bit of my artwork.

Thank you for reading this.  Prayers for my new friend and her family are most appreciated.  

Quarantine quilting

I have been on hold for a while.  I felt a bit like an airplane that was put in a holding pattern because of bad weather and told not to land yet.  So around and around the city I fly wondering when I can touch down.  I think I let social media and the news get to me.  People can be so quick to judge, and they can only judge from where they stand.  I don’t stand where anyone else does, nor does anyone stand in my place.  I was feeling low.  I was feeling like I was not allowed to have the feelings I have.  So, I switched off.

When Covid-19 first hit, I was in a minor panic stage.  I didn’t know what this virus was, how one gets it, and how dangerous it might be to go anywhere, especially since I am considered that “old” person who might die from it.  When we were told we were going to have to shelter in place, I decided I needed a project to keep me busy—to keep my mind off the scary stuff, and to keep me productive.  I chose making a quilt.

I was in Arizona at the time, and I diligently worked on the quilt top.  The week we were ready to leave for Missouri, I shipped the quilt top off to the long arm quilting lady who was from my Missouri town, but had since moved to Florida.  (For those of you who don’t quilt—she doesn’t have one arm that is super long—her quilting machine has a long arm. (Just wanted to clear that up from the image of a “long-armed quilting lady”).  Rather than finding a new person locally, I sent it to her, and told her to return it to my Missouri address.  The quilt will be a gift, and will be delivered to the recipient in just a few weeks.

Now I am in Missouri and things have not changed a lot.  In fact, the first month in Missouri Dennis got terribly sick.  He couldn’t breathe.  No, he didn’t have Covid, but he couldn’t breathe.  He is almost completely better, and we still do not know the exact reason for his respiratory distress, but we are taking the most caution in our lives.  We go the store, masked properly and properly spaced.  We avoid crowds.  We do our hiking in our neighborhood, and we pretty much stay home.  It was time to do another quilt.  I purchased some charm packs I saw online, so I found a pattern that I really loved and decided to make a lap quilt. For non-quilters a charm pack is a pack of fabric cut into five inch squares.  I ordered the fabric for the background color, and lo and behold, the same place that only took three days to deliver my order, took almost two weeks.  My project was on hold.  

While the project was on hold, I decided to visit my sister who lives in West Virginia, near the Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia border.  I was a bit wary of flying, but was assured that all precautions were being taken by the airlines.  The airport in St. Louis was busy but nothing like it was in previous flights I have taken.  The Dulles Washington D.C. airport was like being in Twilight Zone.  It was, for all intents and purposes, empty.  Changing planes in Atlanta found the busiest of all three airports.  I spent my week with my sister, and her granddaughters.  It was a great week to just kick back and relax.

Coming back home I had all my materials ready to start my quilt top, when I realized I was out of thread.  Dennis and I drove in to Columbia to one of their quilting stores to pick up a spool of thread.  This was going to be a quick visit.  When I got out of the car to run into the store, Dennis told me to take a look at their sewing machines because I have been talking about upgrading.  I laugh that I just bought the most expensive spool of thread on the planet—it came with a sewing machine!  I went from a Volkswagen of a sewing machine to a Lamborghini.  Didn’t even go with the mid size car—jumped immediately to the fancy sports car with all the bells and whistles.  Part of the reason was that I found a used machine that had only 80 hours sewing time (yes, it has an internal clock), it has wifi, and it does everything except make my lunch.  This Lamborghini of a sewing machine was one half the price of buying it new.  The store offers four three-hour classes to learn how to do all the things this machine can do.  I haven’t finished the classes yet, so maybe I will find the button where it makes my lunch!

I came home with thread and a new sewing machine.  As I was putting the top together, I realized I didn’t quite cut the pieces properly.  It was going together, but not as well as it should have.  I was thinking of scrapping the whole project when Dennis came in the room to look at the work.  He said he loved it, and would really like me to make it for him.  I asked why he liked it so much, and he said, “because it is really you.”  So my perfectly imperfect quilt is going to my husband when complete.  

The top is completed, I have bought the fabric for the back which I think will be perfect for it.  I am now moving on to my other quilt top.  I still love the pattern I used, and now that I am very familiar with its construction, this is the pattern I will be using.  When I was in St. Louis coming back from my West Virginia trip, I stopped at a quilt store and bought the most fabulous fabric.  It was not in charm pack, but I am perfectly capable of cutting a lot of 5” squares.  I have more control of my fabric choices this way.  When you buy a charm pack, you get what they give you.  This way I purchased 1/2 yards of many different fabrics that I thought would go great together.

Lesson learned–using directional fabric made putting this quilt together like working a crossword puzzle!

I have come to realize that I don’t make quilts just to make quilts.  The pattern has to speak to me, and the fabrics also have to speak to me.  For me a quilt is a work of art.  It’s a step above paint by number.  If I bought a quilt kit with the pattern and the fabric selected for me, I would feel like I was doing a paint by number.  Other people in the world have also made this identical quilt with the identical fabric.  That is not me.  I want some input into my projects that are part of me and no one else.

My fabrics for my next 2 lap quilts. One will have the dark purple background, and the other the light purple.

I’m revving up my Lamborghini, and I’m getting ready for another run around the track.  I’m still cutting 5” squares.  I need a total of 144 squares before I can start sewing.  This will take a little bit of time.  It’s the part I like least about quilting—all the cutting.  I could buy charm packs, but for me it takes aways my creativity.  Maybe sometime later, after I am ready to let go of my choosing everything to the time saver of precut fabric.  I’m just not there yet.

This has kept me in a positive mood.  I think about each project and who potentially I want to gift it to.  I hope they will cherish it knowing I made it especially with them in mind.  I cannot give names, but I have several people who will be receiving them.  

What are you doing during this stressful time to keep yourself going?  How do you fill your time when things feel tough?  Please share your thoughts.  I want to learn from you also.

 I will try to be more consistent with my posting.  I just couldn’t find words I felt worthy to share for a few weeks.  I love and appreciate each one of you who stop for a few minutes to read what I write.  I hope I can encourage you to find something to give you joy.