Monday, January 30, 2012

February block of month for Guild breast cancer quilts

The flower quilts are going to look wonderful when they are done.  We are in month 7, but my month 1 is lost(:.  This is my February one.

 In keeping with hoarding, the pale pink scottie background fabric is from Japan about 25 years ago..gotta use it sometime..
 And you notice that I am still functioning without my scraps.
ps Emily....I rode the exercise bike 15 minutes today and drank 2 glasses of water...yo ma is NO slouch!

Vintage Grandmother's Flower Garden top

I taught myself to quilt in 1971 from the Foxfire book.  At the time I was living in LA and thought I was cool and awesome making a quilt.  I took 12 and a half inch squares and tied them with yellow basting needed.  My son has that quilt on his bed now.  It is big and puffy.  I thought that puffy was the in thing in quilting until I met Lillian Barkley of Glendale, Arizona.  Lillian was my Great Aunt Billie's best friend.  When Aunt Billie heard that I was crazy over quilts, she arranged a meeting with Ms. Lillian to see her quilts.  I was taken back.  Ms. Lillian's quilts were flat and crinkly and cotton, not polyester.  There were small pieces and she had done it all by hand.  I was amazed.  Ms. Lillian took a liking to me and gave me this top only partially pieced and made me promise to finish it.  Oh, sure said problem.  I was delighted.  Well....hmm.....According to my calendar, 1972 is 40 years ago.  Hello Lillian, long gone...I am still here.  I thought that I was a purist.  But, I guess I am not.  I have loved this and looked at it for all these years wanting to finish it in the same style as she  would have wanted.  Now, I think she might be ok know?  So as I looked at it yesterday for the millionth time, I noticed climate stains and frail seams.  I took my rotary and wacked off the borders and added some Kona green.  I have a pale yellow backing and I am hoping against hope to have it longarmed.  I think Done is better than rotting.  And, since I am the only one left alive to know the history, I think that I had better be able to enjoy it now.  So Ms Lillian and Diane present:

Great Aunt Billie was born in Oklahoma and married my great Uncle Bert.  He was my grandfather's of 11 siblings...the only two to have immigrated from Goteborg, Sweden.  Uncle Bert was a business man and my grandfather Carl Franzen was a gardener and a dreamer.  He was 17 years older than Grandma having taught himself to read the classics in Latin and Greek as he rode the rails as a hobo.  My mother, an only child got the literature and the dreamer part from him.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day once again

My husband was in the garage while I was doing the Sunday nap thing.  He just came in and asked...Is it Valentine's day soon?  I said..February...Close enough he said..."Happy Valentine's Day".  Then he gave me this.  He had been working on it in the garage instead of doing the Sunday nap. Did I tell you that I have myself one great man!!!!!  Now, I have myself one great seam ripper!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sew much fun!

For my whimsical friends:).... I even named the mug rugs/ potholders.....Thank you IKEA for the fun and funky fabric.  These have been lined with Insule-brite and ready to be put to work.
 Irish Girl..I gifted this one tonight .  I told him that it was because he has an eye for the women.ha ha..I love to stir the pot!! It is perfect for his new kitchens.
 Little Boy Blue

The O'Quilt family cat, Milito, the boss

My husband does not like cats.  But, he likes me.  So for 31 years we have had cats.  He comes from the country in Ireland so he thinks animals should live outside.  I grew up in Arizona where animals were inside as part of the family.  Here is my Milito.  My husband does not like my Milito (although I notice that he feeds him every morning before work:)  Milito has a very high IQ for an old cat of 14 years.

Yesterday my husband made homemade bread...two kinds...sooo yummy.

 Last night my Milito got some nighttime cravings....
Let me tell you that this did NOT bode well for family relations.

Friday, January 27, 2012

O'Quilt updates

I spent all day long today in a continuing education workshop for my business..The morning speaker was fine, but the afternoon was so draggy....My husband had met me for lunch at Pio Pio...he is a gooooood man!!  I now have 6 more CEU's and I both started and finished an entire scarf sitting there.   Sitting is not my thing.

Yesterday I decided that the lamp I had made years ago from a whatever bought at an antique store in the country for $2...needed a new lampshade.  The old one was clip on and only took old fashioned light bulbs..scarce lately.  So World Market to the rescue.  I love the lamp even more so now.

 Wednesday night at my Irish quilting group, I gave away all my scraps.  When they were bundled in give-away packages, I was fine.  I need the motivation to get to my "good stuff" before I die.  But as the scraps were on the table being  heart stopped.  I had all I could do not to change my mind!
Now I am OK...having shared the booty...because a new scrap bag has been started already...

My mother:  Wednesday she went to her poetry group in house.  She had fun but was tired.  Thursday she went on the bus to lunch bunch.  When she got home, she said that she was more tired than she had ever been in her life and she was not doing that again because she now knows it is too much for her.  This morning she had her hair done.  This afternoon when my husband stopped by to visit after tennis, he couldn't find her.  Then the activity bus pulled up.  Out came my mother exhausted.  She had gone to a ceramics studio outing and made two bowls.......She said that they had wanted her to rest instead, but she decided that she could either stay in the bed and wait for the end, or push herself.  Mother!!!  U wear me out..but I am grateful

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vintage Broken Dishes top finished

I think that the necessity of the past gives a great freedom for the present.  There were  no quilt police back then for these kinds of quilts.  These blocks were so odd sized, cut on the biased with points not matching, several blocks having a "poverty patch" or two or three and yet together it is just fine.  It makes a pleasant visual statement and my guess will make a comforting quilt.  I do not know the name of the odd block.  Do you?  This quilt top reminds me of that saying, "Value does the work but color gets the credit".
 There were 15 blocks in the set.  These last three were so out there in size that I decided to leave them out of the main quilt.  Since doing what with three blocks??  I took them apart and now have 12.  I had to really starch them to be able to use them.  It is so freeing to be able to quilt in whatever way that is pleasing.  I do think that the old timey way has come back.  In my earlier years of quilting, things had to be more exact.  Even two years ago, I put a quilt in the show where I did wonky channel stitching on purpose for the design.  The judges remarks were to watch my stitching.
These are another example of generational quilting.  The fabrics and the piecing..different.  I love it.

Vintage blocks and Gratitude

I do not relax well, like to keep on going.   When I get annoyed with daily pain that interferes, I try to remember my gratitude.  Today, I just accepted life as it is.  I relaxed.  I forgot the "shoulds". I made two quilt tops for the hospital and then I pulled out these vintage blocks that I bought at Guild a few months back.
I love all quilting, modern and traditional.  I can cut up an old orphan block of my own with modern fabric and make something new.  One thing I cannot do.  I cannot take old quilt blocks and cut them it up with modern fabric.  The lady making the old quilt still talks to me. I want to preserve as much as I can of her work. Not that I do not take liberties..I do.  In the quilt to be above, all the blocks are different sizes.  Some are hand pieced and some are machine pieced.  They are at times as much as 1 and a half inches off.  Since I cannot make it fit, I can make it work.  Which is what I plan to do.  .  Speaking of gratitude........this man and a warm fire.  I am the luckiest.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My mother's Kindle

My husband bought my mother this Kindle for her 90th birthday.  She had wanted it soooo badly.  He put her own poetry on it and books of poetry that she loved.  She delighted in it.  In July, when she was hospitalized the first time, she took the Kindle with her to the hospital.  Recuperating from her double pneumonia and infected gallbladder, she read her Kindle.   After her other episodes she forgot how to use it.  Now she has remembered, but is too tired to use it.

Guess who is enjoying it now???  Thanks to Bonnie Hunter, I now have three free novels on the Kindle.  It is just wonderful.  I told my mother that when she wants it back, I will give it willingly, but I lied!

The generational quilt....done

My husband stood in the rain today to get this finished photo.  From bad came good as it often does.  If my mother had not been sick, I would not have finished this quilt...I know it.  I was avoiding the free motion quilting because I am not very good at it.  But because I had decided to just do the hard stuff, the more I quilted, the easier it became.  In no time, what had sat for years was finished.  I am delighted.

 The path of this quilt started between 25 to 30 years ago when I copied this pattern from a paper and mailed from Miami to Phoenix the blocks with the cats drawn in pencil.  My grandmother, in her 90's, immediately called and said that her eyes were not good enough to do this.  But she was a worker and in 2 weeks time I had them back done.  The blocks then sat for at least 10 years while my mind worked on the next step. ( my mind was slow even then!!)  I needed to get a fabric that complimented the cats without overwhelming them.  I found it in Hobby Lobby.  Without even having these blocks on my mind, I saw this fabric in green and red and it all came to me.  Then to every workshop and boring lecture I attended for CEU's, I appliqued baskets.  The blocks had to ferment again.  I had to decide on the placement.  Two years ago I set it this way.  Last year my group basted it with me and I quilted the lattice, borders and did the binding.  And it sat again...because of the free motion quilting.  Enter my mother and the saga well documented in this blog!!!!  And in two days it was done.  Sigh!  Thank you Mother, thank you Grandma....This is truly a generational quilt!

Road Trip

On Thursday, I decided that the lull in our family crises was really a window of opportunity. So I went with  my small quilting group on a road trip.  Seven of us in my van, laughing and having fun. ...a true respite.  Heath Springs, South Carolina is country. .. country with Southern hospitality.  We were told that if we had called in advance, she would have made us lunch!  As it was, she brought cheese and crackers, coffee and soda and cake to help us shop.  This beautiful old house holds many treasures including fabric for $6 a yard, fat quarters for $1.50 and vintage linens for a very reasonable price.  Although I have decided that this year I am not spending more than $5 a yard, at the White House I broke my pledge.  The hospitality here was so wondeful that I spent the $6 gladly. 

 Civil war fabrics to complement my stash.
 Some Happy Camper to brighten my day.
 Misc pretties..
 Fabric treats for my sister who had to work and needed some cheer.
 Although I have plenty of linens from my grandmother, I could not resist this runner with two kittens for $5.
Quilters know what the good life is!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I am a Gandhi wannabee

Gandhi said something like...I want my windows open to all ideas, but my house not blown down by any of them..something like that.  Staying steady in the storm. my mother is sitting in her wheelchair clear as a bell.  No more C.Diff, urinary tract infection, dementia....for now...everything is for now. She does not remember seeing the man behind the curtain or talking to the zoo animals.  She does not remember falling out of bed on her way back home to the very bed she fell out of.  She does not remember saying naughty words...she is forever the lady.. for now. The assisted living where she lives, is well through its second week of state quarantine due to Norvo virus.  My mother did not get it..yet..knock on wood, stay tuned.  I wish I did not keep going on the same roller coaster ride that she rides on.  It is quite exhausting.

Mother says that when the quarantine is over and the weather is nicer, she is going back out to lunch bunch with her friends and to her poetry group.  


Death whispers in my ear,
"Over here, over here."
His smile beguiles me,
"Over here, over here."
I will run; so will he.
We race against reality.

From Daydreams by Alice Franzen Clemons Burt

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And, so I sew.....

"And so, I sew! Back and forth...little, then big and big, then little. No room for sadness, or loss, just vibrant remembrance when the heart is full and the hands stay busy."  This quote from Michelle got me going tonight. Not so unlike women of the past, we women of the present sew to stay sane, to remember, to spread joy and to create.  My mother has a urinary tract infection which has sent her around the bend.  She picks at the air and talks to the circus animals who are not there. Last night she fell out of bed thinking that she needed to get out and walk home.  I cannot believe what a UTI can do.  I am horrified, terrified and amazed at life and the human spirit.  So helpless, I look to exactly what Michelle is saying.  I just dug out this UFO.  With a need for comfort and connection to the past as it was, I am going to finish this.  The cats were embroidered by my grandmother 25 years ago, in her 90's, probably the age my mother is now.  She worked them when her eyes could no longer see the difference between blue and green.  She didnt give up on life and work, she did it anyway, even though it was hard.  I am trying to be that way too, not to break the circle of strong women in my life.

I must say that this new turn of events with my mother's mind has me shaken.


When you were lucid
Lapses grew longer
Slowly you became a
a feather
in the wind

from Daydreams, by Alice Franzen Clemons Burt

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Marshmellow cookies make the world brighter on a rainy day

  During the holidays, I found this awesome recipe from Kami.  I think I will make it again today for my New Year's resolution delight:).  I cannot tell you how wonderful it is and how easy to make.  Click on the link for the recipe...gotta keep up the holiday spirit!!!  None of those January blues allowed!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Convergence cuddle quilt finished

The goals of today have been met.  I have done nothing but self care all day long.  I slept in, then had a great talk with my daughter in Galway via Skype.  Did some window shopping on, had a nice lunch and sewed...ok, maybe some laundry.  Then I had a nice visit from my son.  Since my husband is playing tennis, I decided to finish this cuddle quilt.  I am very happy that I tried this pattern.  I think it is a bit on the strange side...maybe it would be lovely in solids like shot cottons with fancy quilting....but it is done and done with stash and February cuddle donation is finished.  As I view this post, I see that it looks better posted, or at a distance, than close up...
 I used up some old fashioned fluffy batting purchased at a garage sale. It brought me back to yesterday:)
As always, done is a wonderful word.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Convergence Quilting...and calm the nerves..

 I am so darn irritable.  I decided to google "end stage Parkinson's disease".  I do not know if that was good or not...but in the stage 5 part..I found my new mother that is.  Agitation, anxiety, with worse to come..dear me.  Googling did NOT help my disposition so I decided to start a quilting project for someone else.  A donation baby quilt.  I found a clipping with directions for a baby quilt a la Ricky Tims Convergence quilt.  Donna had given it to me years lets go Diane...stop obsessing about tomorrow.   Here is process for today..or tonight.....

 And here is....vino tinto:)

Happy Monday

  • I just went to see my mother.  I was there for 5 minutes when staff came in to tell me to leave.  The entire Sunrise facility is under state quarantine for at least 48 hours due to a stomach flu.  Good Lord.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kaleidoscope Done!!

I know that all of you thought this was way finished....but really, it was a UFO...but no longer:)  Thanks to my sit and sew yesterday...the impetus to start anew...and here today it is finished...labeled, snipped, photoed and in the wash...eeeekkkk joy!  I named this quilt "Grey", as in not black and white...trying hard to stay in the day and see things that way. The chix broth is cooling ready for the fridge and tomorrow's skimming.

As Taryn says, one foot in front of the other.  Thank you Taryn.  I am please so far with the way today is going.  It is too cold to read outside, so I guess I will just continue cleaning my sewing room and of course move all the bags out of the office for tomorrow will be coming soon.

Grandma, oh Grandma..I need you again today....

This morning I was reading Susan Branch's blogpost and tears filled my eyes.  It hit so close to home.  I knew just what to do...make chicken soup. Doing something about something when you really cannot do anything about what you really want to fix my mother...etc.  Grandma was a professional cook long before I knew her.  Growing up with her in our home, we all benefited from her talents.  Grandma could do anything...and true, she was my dearest of friends.  At times growing up, she was my only friend.  At my age now, I realize that under stress, she I quilt..she cooked and sewed.  So Grandma, you live in my heart and I need you now.

Grandma, did you know that Mom tried to climb out of her bed last night.  She denied it, but the staff said that she did.  My mother said that she woke up in the wrong bed and it was so frightening.  The staff said that if she looked around she would see her cat and the cat food and her window with the birds and squirrels and she would realize that indeed it was her own bed.  Mother was surprised.  Grandma, did you know that I bought online for $25, 3 wheelchair cups for her for the phone and one for her drink and one to save.  And then the other day, she took her hammer and hammered them off because she thought that they were in the way.  Her strength is weaker and she can no longer maneuver her wheelchair she thought it was the cups that were in the way.  Mom thinks that this is  completely normal thought process and that it is me who does not understand.  Now she is in bed again with diarrhea .  And Alexis has been sick for 5 weeks with C Diff too.  I had never heard of that before..but I guarantee that I will never forget it.  Anyway, Grandma, you taught me to carry on and so I will try not to be overwhelmed by this new, surprising turn of events.  I am going to finish a UFO and sit in the yard and read.   And, when the chicken soup is ready, I will take it to my mother.  I am so grateful that she lives 15 minutes away. xxoo

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Christmas basket

Marie gave me this lovely snowman basket for Christmas.  Unfortunately, just before the gift giving, I had told her that I hoped no one gave me any more snowmen presents for Christmas because my snowman collection was overwhelming and I was simplifying it.  Hmmmm,  too late for this present.. But, I loved the basket.  So I decided to decoupage it.  Then Sherry gave me another idea that I finished in an hour...She said, "how about the potluck bowl cover ?"!!!  That way it can be changed out whenever you want...Genius Sherry!
So, I did it!!  I made a bigger circle to fit the top and voila!

At our sit and sew today, it made a wonderful bread basket.