do SOMETHING: YES! Quilts

A few months ago I realized again that I can’t fix the world. I know, it shocked me too.

And at the same time I realized again that I can influence my corner of the world. And after a conversation with a quilting teacher/lecturer/designer who held a common secret dream for influencing a specific part of our culture, we plotted and schemed about how to do SOMETHING, even though it would not be everything that needs to be done.

I had held an idea in my heart to make small cuddle sized quilts to encourage women who were experiencing the stress of unplanned pregnancy. Just something soft and beautiful to remind them that they aren’t alone – that there are resources and people to help them. My friend’s face lit up when I mentioned my secret dream and she told me she had thought the same thing — and even had a name for such quilts – YES! Quilts. You’re Each Special.

I’m SO thankful for my graphic artist friend, Gail Wilty, who worked on this logo for us to use on this first batch of quilts!

So, we sought advice and counsel from some folks who work everyday in that area of our culture – and also from Him who knows all things. And we made some preliminary plans. Then I announced this opportunity to the quilters in my guild. I was delighted at the gracious, generous response! The result (so far) is that I delivered ten small quilts this week to Safe Harbor Pregnancy Medical Center to be gifted to a select number of their clients – women who need an extra reminder that there are resources available to them and their babies. 

Let me introduce you to Dion who is the director at Safe Harbor Pregnancy Medical Center.  I also met one of the client advocates who will be distributing these quilts.

The quilts are each uniquely beautiful…

one holds words of grace – literally,

another the calm of deep blue,

the beauty of a whole cloth design with the soft touch of a wool blossom,

the sweetness of hearts and accented quilting designs,

the soft touch of pastels,

 

the happy delight of daisies,

the sparkling whimsy of flower fairies,

the fun of two quilts which started with the same happy floral and ended up very distinctly different

– this one features vintage buttons!

It may be that you, too, want to change the world and realize that you cannot. But, maybe there is SOMETHING you can do to make this world more beautiful, more caring, more safe … Take fabric in hand and make it happen. We are cheering for you!

Learn more about Safe Harbor HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday- August edition

We are over half way there, my friend! Keep it going!

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You will find your free printable for this next month HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – July edition

 

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You’ve come to the right place! Print your free list HERE!

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Fight the Chaos Friday – June edition

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – May edition

Are you still in the fight? This month’s items to conquer the clutter are actually fun to do!

 

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Mountains of rest and Miles of Fun

Every one of us has a special place where we find rest and refreshment. The Colorado mountains – and the high plains next to them – are that place for me. So Husband of the Year and I soaked up some time there recently and I thought I’d share the highlights.

Historic buildings, artesian shops and light snowfall … perfect day in Manitou Springs!

 

Daffodils and snowflakes – that’s Colorado spring!

 

Eating tiramisu with a chocolate spoon – delectable indulgence!

 

Dietz onstage at a old fashioned melodrama?!? only to help someone take a picture!

 

Afternoon coffee by the fire! THAT is vacation!

 

What every good trip must have – a quilt shop! Nana’s Quilt Cottage in Manitou Springs, CO.

 

Some inspiration found in a class sample. Maybe it would work for lilacs, too? Their website is HERE.

 

If you get this far out onto the high plains you have already passed your last chance for a potty break for at least a few dozen more miles – says the voice of experience.

 

Dad reading us a book of cowboy wisdom. “If you find your self in a hole the first thing to do is STOP DIGGING!”

 

Family Sunday dinner out with Dad (and his Iwo Jima hat) is like traveling with a celebrity!

 

It took some talking, but I finally got a picture with my big brother by the perfect sign!

 

Family work day at Dad’s – good times working together!

 

And it always helps to have a brother-in-law who has skills – and a willing heart.

 

Of course there was time in Sister’s quilting studio – pondering the story behind the Perrine quilt – found used as batting inside another quilt that our great grandmother and her sister made.

 

A quilt show with the Colorado sister – what could be better? More on that in a future post.

Hope your Spring is filled with some rest and fun, too.

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Can you choose just one?

Part of the fun of going to a quilt show – like the one in Sterling, CO, that I enjoyed with my sister this spring – is voting for Viewers Choice. You look and examine (without touching) and decide which one (and only one) you would take home if you could.

There are patriotic quilts  …

and seasonal quilts …

There are traditional quilts with a twist  …

There are big quilts with lots of pieces

and little quilts with applique.

There are quilts for special days

 

and quilts for special new family members.

There are quilts with embellishments

and quilts with lots of cross stitched embroidery.

And there are quilts that seem to be dimensional

and quilts that took LOTS of time to make!

But most of all, there are quilts that you love to share with your sister!

 

PS – Just in case you are wondering, the Colorado sister voted for the Maze quilt and my first choice was the embroidered Block of the Month.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – April edition

They say confession is good for the soul and I’m going to believe that is true because I have to confess that I’m behind on our Chaos Challange in order to celebrate an “I did it myself!” moment. And since it’s just between us stitching sisters, I’m sure my secret is safe.

The January list said it was time to clean my sewing machine but [drum roll – confession to follow] I keep avoiding that cleaning business since I had never done it before. I have taken my machine in for professional tune ups but I had never opened one up to clean it myself. If you are horrified, I understand. It is a deep flaw for sure!

So, here I am facing April – the queen of procrastination – and I got just the nudge I needed! I visited the Colorado sister (more details on that in a later post) and her quilt club had a presentation from someone with a long history of fixing and cleaning machines. When I saw her walk through the steps, I thought, “I believe I could do that without doing irreparable harm.”

a picture + patient demonstration = great teacher

To give myself a little reinforcement, I consulted — the manual (genius idea!)

A manual with pictures – what a great invention!

And “TA_DA!” [insert trumpet fanfare]

Just seeing the clean metal parts gives me confidence!

It was so do-able that I did both my Bernina workhorse and my little lightweight Singer. (which I picked up at a garage sale for the price of a nice dinner and I LOVE the blanket stitch it produces!)

I think I heard a little sigh of appreciation and a soft “Thank You!” coming from the machines.

I have to tell you that cleaning the second one was absolutely necessary since my Bernina foot has died. [moment of silence, please] Having survived a house flood and limped along after a couple other disasters, it had given a noble contribution. So while I wait for a new one to arrive, I’m very happy to have my garage sale buddy as a stand in.

Someone downsized and we were happy to help them!

So now I’m caught up on my Challenge lists and I’m ready for a new one for April. Except for the fact that the Colorado Sister shared some treasures with me so I have some more “cut into usable sizes.” [see January list] But that is an ongoing effort in order to maintain victory over the chaos!

And in a coming post I’ll tell you one thing we are doing with those self-made precuts which allowed us to check off the “make a block-or 10” item this past month. Stay tuned.

Make it easy on yourself – Fight the Chaos! Clear the Clutter! Mash the Mess! okay, maybe my alliteration skills are weak today!

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You can print your free April Challange list HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – March edition

SO the February Challenge list included

  • Clear out your hand sewing basket/box; replenish supplies
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So this time when I grabbed my handwork bag, I actually had what I needed when I opened it up!

  • clear out a drawer or shelf into 3 piles: keep, use or donate (see your Priority One list)
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this is BEFORE – who made this mess?

 

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I found everything from a bag of chalk to misc. leather straps and even some boxes of vintage singer attachments.

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And I found my long lost bag containing my thimble collection

 

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… and AFTER!

  • Pick a UFO to keep working on – Just 1!
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The pieces to this UFO are cut and setting right by my machine so that I stich a little every time I sit down!

  • Clean the floor, window, vents, lights in your sewing room

CHECK, CHECK, CHECK and CHECK!

Now, this is progress! Every single little step is helping me be more productive!

Even if you haven’t checked off all of your goals for February, take another shot at it this month. Just one item per week for March:

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HERE is your free printable.

 

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Sister Road Trip – Bitter-sweet

The geographic distance between us makes us thankful that we no longer rely on the Pony Express to trade packages. And the distances give us a growing affection for the Wright brothers and the “flying machines” legacy they left us all – especially as we needed those machines to rendezvous in St. Louis in order to drive into Illinois for a family funeral.

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Uncle Bruce – history lover, story-teller, outdoorsman, bibliophile…

We sisters love every minute we have together but this trip was bitter-sweet in the face of losing our one-of-a-kind Uncle Bruce. We say he was one of our very own Second Hand Lions (if you’ve seen the movie you will understand this even better) because of the grand adventures and extraordinary fun he and our Uncle Bob always concocted for us and our cousins – and later, for our children.

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Some of the cousins from Texas, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona. Others were too far away to come – like in the Middle East. And we missed them.

Uncle Bruce was a gifted cartoonist and held Lincoln in high regard.

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His “Little Bear” Lincoln Bear shirts were prized possessions for us!

It’s a great loss for our family. And for everyone who knew this kind, devoted, fiercely patriotic Marine Corps veteran who loved his family and his Savior.

Huddling together in the winter weather reminds us that family closeness is important in this cold world!

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We were all born Graham girls. These dear aunts have offered many kindnesses to us through our lives.

He loved to hunt – sometimes with his binoculars and camera and sometimes with bow and arrows. So the cousins banded together to honor him with an arrangement that held arrows.

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The other sister and I determined to get one of those arrows to our dad, who at age 94 was unable to attend the funeral for his youngest sibling. The problem with going from concept to reality in this case was due to the fact that the arrow wouldn’t fit into either of our suitcases. After brief consultation we decided it wouldn’t work to convince TSA agents that one single arrow doesn’t really qualify as “dangerous” materials. They are funny about stuff like that.

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The arrows were a personal touch.

Now, I’m including this instructional episode because I’m sure that sometime in the future many of you will need to know how to solve this dilemma.

Should we cut the arrow so that it fits into the suitcase? Neither of us happened to have a saw with us. So we hatched a late night plot to mail the arrow home to the Colorado ranch – if only we could find a mailing container that would fit an arrow. This took us to the wrapping paper aisle at the large chain “general store” and also involved the taping of Styrofoam cups to each end to prevent the arrow from poking through.

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Step #1 – Make sure the wrapping paper roll is longer than the arrow. Use thread to measure if you don’t have the arrow in the store when purchasing the wrapping paper.

 

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Step #2 – use plastic cups to protect ends of wrapping paper and then insert the arrow.

 

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The post office lady didn’t think it strange at all that we would be mailing wrapping paper to ourselves.

 

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The arrow hit the bull’s eye – undented and intact. Success!

It worked! The arrow – an important memento for our dad – is safely in place! What sisters can accomplish we when concoct together!

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Small town often hold big treasures!

And on the way back to the St. Louis airport we took a quick detour to find Quilting on Aisle 3 in the little town (with some great Victorian houses) in Virden, Ill. We got some hot tips from Trudi about the heat activated pens they carry and discovered that the three friends who run this shop are willing to do custom quilts! You can find their web site HERE.

The quick trip made me conscious once again that our time together here is so brief and so fleeting. We do well to soak up the pleasure of every minute.

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Farewells touch us deeply.

And now we are home safe and sound – and so is Uncle Bruce!

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The uncles always “keep the light on” so we knew we were always welcome! Makes me homesick for our real Home!

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