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A neglected blog….but here is an update!

December 17, 2017

I’m sitting here looking at another quilter’s blog and wanted to compliment her on a table runner but had to use an identity to leave a comment so I put in this WordPress site that I seem to forget about on a daily basis!  I haven’t posted since February!  I read a post from last December and I have to laugh at my dreams and goals because I’m not quite there so here again I will post a picture of my Christmas Tree!

Tree 2011

And because the news man kept repeating yesterday that we may have snow here this coming Friday and Saturday here’s a picture my son took of a car down the street when we lived in town.

Car

It’s been a rough year but I’m blessed to have such great support from family and friends.  I resigned from the high stress, 70+ hour a week, job I had, had two minor surgeries and a major surgery, took six months off work to recuperate and took a new job in a new field of work that only requires 40 hours a week.  While off work my sister flew out and spent two weeks to help me through the surgery and then I flew back with her and spent a month in the Lake Tahoe area with my three younger sisters.  I would have to write a small book to tell of the adventures we had and the sights we saw, it was so much fun to spend time with my sisters and the only down side was that our older sister couldn’t join us.   This year I have made several quilts with a few more in the works.  That doesn’t seem like much but I was also working on the land and the house which still isn’t complete but it’s getting there.  So here are a few pictures:

026This is an ongoing project, a paper pieced pineapple quilt – each strip is cut 1″ wide.  I love this pattern by Edita Sitar.  I purchased the pattern at Quilter’s Station in Lee’s Summit, Mo (my most favorite quilt shop)! I’m about half way done with the piecing on this quilt.

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IMG_1258This is an English paper pieced quilt I’m making.  I designed the pattern on EQ7.   You can see the glue stick which is my least favorite way of holding the paper in place, it’s harder to remove the paper but when traveling with my hand project it’s more convenient.  The neutral centers (pale, pale green) and the borders are (gasp) a sheet from my linen closet.  I searched high and low for the perfect fabric and ended up recycling this sheet!  Yes, I break all the ‘new rules’ in quilting, I will use a good quality poly/cotton blend fabric and thread, I will use sheets (have for decades and they have held up through 30 years of washing), I piece on old sewing machines, including my hand crank Singer, and my high end Bernina, and I will use fabric from Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Joann’s and on-line vendors, I recycle fabric from clothes and I turn old worn out jeans into jean quilts; although I LOVE high end quality fabric and use the best fabric most of the time and try to buy from local quilt shops sometimes it’s just not feasible and I like to think that quilter’s didn’t always have the perfect cotton fabric and supplies yet we cherish the old, antique quilts!

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Hexagon quiltI’m also making an EPP hexagon quilt that has 1″ sides.  I’ve been working on this one for a couple of years and made more progress on it this year.  My favorite method of pressing the fabric over the paper is using spray starch I make from Sta-Flo starch and use in a good fine mist sprayer and I press with an old small antique iron (without steam).  It holds the paper and fabric in shape while I hand stitch the pieces together and the paper is very easy to remove.  Also, all my EPP projects are printed using regular copy paper printed on my home printer.

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Preston's quilt

This is a tumbler quilt I made for my younger son for his birthday.  Bottom picture is the completed quilt.  I made this completely from scraps I had and it’s hard to tell from the picture but we are University of Oklahoma fans and this OU fabric is throughout the quilt, including the borders.

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tumbler quilt

And when my older son saw the quilt I’d made for his younger brother I made this one for him that is almost identical but has a solid black border.  The boys loved their quilts.

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And this is a miniature that I finished but for some reason I don’t have the completed picture after it was finished!  This is a good reminder to TAKE PICTURES!  I still have the mini quilt tucked away somewhere and will try to snap a picture.  It was a fun little kit I bought at the Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Bixby, Oklahoma.  The flower buds are actually tiny buttons.

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four square quilt3 (2)

And, this is NOT my picture put a picture of the quilt I’m making that is only about 1/3 done.  This was a quilt kit from Craftsy.com.  Can you tell I get bored and put projects aside, usually to make a gift but sometimes because I get excited about a new technique or project, but eventually they all get finished!  This quilt I’m keeping myself.  For all of my years of quilting I’m embarrassed to say that the only quilt I have for my self is a lap quilt!

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And here is another example of pushing aside other projects to try a new technique.  This was a video by Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company, I can’t remember the name of the pattern but it seems like it’s a rhombus star pattern.  It’s been a fun project that I’m making using civil war prints and muslin.  She made her quilt using large templates and I’m making mine with smaller triangles, the length on the side is 3″ unfinished.

Star quilt

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Trails End quilt

And, I made this lap quilt, although this is NOT my picture, I made the quilt and haven’t finished it because I didn’t quite get it finished before my DIL’s birthday so I showed her the basted quilt and she fell in love it and wants it made into a queen size for their bed so it’s at her house while she’s searching for more fabric she likes to make it larger.  This is a Robert Kaufman Trails End quilt kit from Craftsy.com.

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Batik quilt

And this is a batik quilt I’m making from a class I took from Elsie Campbell at the quilt retreat at Lake Murray.  It’s a pattern from her new book.  I have finished all 300 triangle blocks and now I just need to lay it out and sew the blocks together.  Each triangle block has three half hexagons that have Y seams and the triangles are sewn together on the diagonal in strips so I won’t have to make Y seams on the whole construction.  This modern quilt took me out of my comfort zone of working with random scarps using only light, medium and dark values to construct each block.  I’m not crazy about the quilt but with all the money I’ve spent on batiks and the time to piece all of the Y seams, I’ll finish it and gift it to a sister.  I definitely love batiks BUT I’m not a fan of modern, bright quilts.

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And then I began experimenting with hand applique!

Rose of Sharon blocks

I’m making these blocks from Sharon Shaumber’s Rose of Sharon book and her templates.  This is needle turn applique using batik fabrics on Kona black cotton.  I love the way it’s turning out so far.  My only problem is having to go to work every day, it’s getting in the way of my creative time!

I also made oven mitts and hot pads, a baby quilt and clothes that I failed to take pictures of to share!  And, of course, I knit so here are a couple of my knitting projects in progress:

Top left is Turn a Square hat for my son for Christmas, top right are some bright blue and purple socks for me using Jitterbug yarn, bottom right are Rosebud Socks for me that I’ve been working on for a couple of years but made good progress this year (the picture does not do the intricate lace pattern justice), and bottom left if the Leftie Shawl which is a fun project.  I also knit a few scarves and I’m also knitting a sweater that is a bottom up that is only about 1/3 of the way completed that is an easy knit color block stockinette stitch in size 8 needles and a cabled aran sweater that has the back and left side done and I’m almost finished with the right side and then it’s on to the sleeves.

When I added the pictures above it made me feel better because even though I don’t have many complete projects this year it’s been a busy year!  I’m not one to wish away my life but I’m looking forward to retirement so I can spend more time on my artistic interests!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful, happy new year.

Take care,

Vanessa

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Kitchen finished (almost)!

February 1, 2017

This is my country style kitchen.  The back splash was completed using contractor stakes that I stained different colors and finished off with clear polyurethane sealer.  The cabinet doors where my stoneware is displayed will eventually be stained glass as well as the little window by the stove.  My antique glass jars (and some not so antique) came in handy with storing flour, quinoa and other staples.  The bay window will be perfect for growing herbs.  My home is very small and very humble but I love it.  I still need to put in the baseboards and molding around the ceiling and I’ve installed the new light over the kitchen table since the photo was taken but it’s finished and functional!

Merry Christmas to all!

December 23, 2016

tree-2011

Merry Christmas everyone!  I should know by now that the best laid plans are usually a shot in the dark!  I had visions of standing in my own home, baking pies and dinner for family and friends this year.  Well, next year will be the year!  I don’t have my tile down and my stove and fridge cannot be moved into the house until the floor is down.  We are making progress, but progress is slow!  So, This is a picture of my tree from years past and next year I’ll be able to put up my actual tree and decorate my home for the holidays.  I’ll be cooking Christmas breakfast  Christmas morning for my older son and his family and having Christmas deserts with my younger son and his family on Christmas evening.  Life is good, I can’t complain.  I’m looking forward to a new year!  I wish everyone a safe, happy and stress-free 2017!

New Opportunities….

December 12, 2016

road

The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;….

This poem keeps going through my head. I had a job that was one of the most rewarding, most frustrating and the most stressful jobs ever. The 60 to 80 hours a week at this stressful job was affecting my health and after much soul-searching I made the difficult decision to resign. Within the hour I felt the stress physically leaving my body like a burden too long carried on my shoulders; I realized within two hours that my headache that had been my constant companion for weeks, was gone. I have spent the last week working on my house and planning yet I find myself staring off into space as I contemplate the possibilities for the future. It’s like a wide, open road and the choices are broad. What shall I do? I have opportunities yet I find myself wanting to take the road less traveled. I want to make sure that I choose a new job that does not mirror my last job, one that I will truly enjoy without all the heartache, the stress and the inhumane hours. For right now, just this month, I will take this time for myself and leave the decisions for 2017!

My Most Memorable Christmas

December 11, 2016

My favorite Christmas memory was the year I was eight. My father was an electrical engineer and his company had been on strike for months and months. I remember my mother mixing up powered milk for our cereal and the atmosphere in the house was one with tension and anxiety. It was not a good time for our family of six children. But, in the late fall the union settled with the company and all was well in the household. I remember walking into the living room on Christmas morning to a wondrous sight under and around the Christmas tree! Six beautiful, gleaming bikes and tricycles! I knew mine was the shiny purple Schwinn bike with ‘banana’seat and white streamers and I was beside myself with excitement. Our mother was distraught when we got dressed to go test out our new bikes rather than open our other gifts and wait for her special breakfast she planned to cook! I rode up and down the street in the freezing cold air. I was such a tomboy and all the ‘foofoo’ on the bike was not for me so my brother helped me remove the basket and fenders so I could ramp and pull wheelies easily. My older brother and I took our bikes over to a construction site to jump the small hills that were the mounds of dirt from their work. When we returned my father met me at the door and told me that my mother was upset I had destroyed my bike! What? No! I made it better! How is a girl to jump and ramp her bike, pull wheelies and such with a basket and fenders in the way? What? So, this particular Christmas turned out to be remembered as the best/worst Christmas as I experienced joy and disappointment within a matter of hours as we put the bike back together!bike.jpg

Life is hard…..

October 2, 2016

Life is so hard.  I used to say every project costs twice as much and takes three times as long to create….now I believe that is not true…it costs three times as much and takes four times longer to create.  I am at a very difficult time in my life.  I have a job that requires 60 to 80+ hours a week.  I have a small piece of land with an old, old, old house that my sons are I are gutting and rebuilding.  It’s difficult since we all work too many hours, plus they are building their own homes, with their own hands, themselves.  My goal was to move into my house by June and here is its already October with no soon move in date near.  It’s depressing.  I go to the house but don’t have the confidence and strength to complete the floor myself.  I decided to keep the kitchen cabinets and I redid the back splash this summer with contractor stakes stained different colors.  I like the look.  The kitchen floor and living room floors are completely finished and ready for tile almost; I say almost because the fridge I got is wider than the space so I ripped the front doorway coat closet to make the space wide enough for the fridge and now we need to build a small set of shelves in that area.   The hallway sub-floor is ripped up ready for new insulation and new flooring.  The bedroom floors need to be ripped up and the bathroom needs to be gutted from floor up.  Now the well house needs to be rebuilt.  I can envision it all completed but it just takes time…the precious commodity we don’t seem to have enough of right now in our lives.  So, I find myself exhausted and almost numb and unable to accomplish anything.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m just not pushing myself hard enough.  I worked at the house all day yesterday and felt satisfied with a full day of work but then I look at the house and see everything that needs to be completed it feels overwhelming.  It’s fall and with it brings the strong desire to quilt and knit.  I can envision myself sitting outside in a comfortable chair, cup of hot tea next to me while I knit and listen to the birds singing and watch the squirrels chase each other or gathering their nuts for the winter.  But, between reality and what I can envision is so very much work and so very little free time to make it happen.  I pray for the strength and courage to make it happen because in the end I know it will be worth all the stress and hard work.

Butterfly Quilt

August 14, 2016

Butterfly quilt1

This is a baby quilt I made for a co-worker who had a beautiful baby girl.