Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vote, and Vote Again!

Voting for the Stitchin' Mission Dream Big, Grow Here $1,000 grant ended at midnight, August 31.

Just a reminder... please keep voting here for Stitchin' Mission to win the $1,000 grant. The monies will be used to produce a video of Stitchin' Mission free beginner quiltmaking lessons - all five lessons - so more people can learn to make quilts, and donate them for missions. Thank you for your continued support for this faith-based ministry!

Each week, the Quilting Gallery hosts a themed quilt show and competition. This week the theme is "miniatures," and for the first time, I entered a quilt. The pattern for this album sampler quilt was offered in 2004 issues of Miniature Quilts magazine. It was designed by Debra Feece. My quilt finished at 16-1/2" X 22-1/2"; each finished block is 5" X 5".
This was the first time I worked with 1930s reproduction fabrics. I hand-appliqued using a blanket stitch and embroidery floss to match the fabric, and free-motion machine-quilted it on my Bernina. I love this little quilt - the colors and the feather quilting - but it doesn't go with a single color I have in my house! As is occasionally the case with most quilters, I made it just because I wanted to!

I've been asking for a lot of votes lately, what with Stitchin' Mission and the quest win a $1,000 grant. But if you're inclined, pop over here to vote for my miniature Album Quilt. Thanks!

Leaving you with another funny that comes from Blogless Benita. This is one of my favorites.
How do you scare a man?
Sneak up behind him and start throwing rice.

Please keep voting for Stitchin' Mission, every day! Voting ends at 11:59 a.m. CORRECTION: 11:59 PM (US Central time zone) Tuesday, August 31.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Keep Voting, and a Topper

Keep voting, please! - http://tinyurl.com/vote4SM

The contest is still on to win a $1,000 grant, and Stitchin' Mission can win only by capturing the most votes.

Over the weekend, between a little housework and checking on Stitchin' Mission votes, I managed to complete the sewing on this scrappy quilt top.
Actually, I'm considering adding borders to it, though it already measures 64" X 76". If I do add borders, they will be scrappy. Even after making this quilt top, I still have enough rectangles and square cut to make another!

Also, if you look closely, and if you're a perfectionist as I am, you'll see that my light-colored squares don't line up across the quilt. That's the challenge of sewing strips onto bias-cut edges. The stacked brick strips just didn't align, as much as I pinned and checked before joining them to the skinny vertical strips.

Leaving you today with this funny from Jasmine at The Beauty Boudoir:

What happened when the frog's car broke down?
It got toad away!

Please vote for Stitchin' Mission every day at http://tinyurl.com/vote4SM

Thank you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stitchin' Mission Voting and Sewing

I've gotta begin this post by asking, "Have you voted for Stitchin' Mission today?"

The contest is still on to win a $1,000 grant, and Stitchin' Mission can win only by capturing the most votes. With the grant, my dream is to make a DVD of Stitchin' Mission's five free beginner quiltmaking lessons. Stitchin' Mission will win only if you help by casting your online vote daily, until noon on August 31.

Please vote for Stitchin' Mission every day at http://tinyurl.com/vote4SM

Now that I have made that important request, here's some of what else has been going on.

Our daughter and her family left our house early Monday morning after spending one-day-shy-of four weeks with us. The house seems extraordinarily empty without the baby bed, high chair, jumper, toys, the baby/dog gate to walk through, and no bottles and baby spoons drying across the kitchen counter. So empty. Though I've spent a bit of time vacuuming, mopping the floor and doing laundry, I haven't yet been able to bring myself to wipe the baby hand prints from the front picture window.

I got such a kick out of this picture of Tay playing hide-and-seek with me. Whenever he was hiding under the quilt, he noticed the fabric prints, pointing at one and "talking" to it. It made my quilting heart sing whenever he headed toward any of my quilts and began pointing at the prints.

After the family left, I plunged into my sewing space. In fact, I've been so excited to be amongst my quilt-y things that I've had trouble sticking to one project! Here are several that I've had in my hands this week.

I pulled out these containers of fabric rectangles and squares that I cut at least two years ago. I began piecing them into the scrap quilt pattern "Stacked Bricks" from the 1985 book Scrap Quilts, by Judy Martin.
I thought it looked like a good pattern for using up the seemingly excessive number of ugly prints I managed to acquire. Did I really like them when I purchased them?

The pattern called for cutting triangles to sew onto each rectangle. I opted to cut and sew squares onto each rectangle. Then I cut the squares on the diagonal.
Though I still need to insert fabric strips, or perhaps scrappy four-patch blocks, between each of the eight columns of 27 bricks, I'm happy with this week's progress. Much of this was accomplished while I sewed at home Friday evening, participating in a blogospheric Friday Night Sew-In organized by Heidi. It's fun to sew, knowing others are "out there," doing the same.

I also made these Asterisk blocks. They turned out nice, didn't they? I needed to make up some to show quilters at my church who are meeting for a sewing day on September 18. We might make a whole quilt like this. I love this block! It's a design that comes from the talented Karen Griska who, on her Selvage Blog, has easy-to-follow instructions for making them. I made mine just a wee bit larger. Karen's blocks finish at 5-1/2" X 5-1/2". My blocks will finish at 6" X 6".
Trying to maintain my commitment to my Ten in '10 challenge (see list at right), I've been hand-piecing to join the Periwinkle Star quilt center to the appliqued border. It would be much easier and faster to join these by machine, but since I've come this far, piecing and appliqueing by hand, I decided to keep the quilt "pure."
This stitchery is coming along as I continue to work on Snowmen A to Z. This is the letter "A."
Oh. And another update, I didn't win any ribbons at the Iowa State Fair this year. I entered Celina's Big Sister quilt and denim slippers made from upcycled blue jeans and got nada. But I'm okay about it. Hundreds of talented quilters and sewers entered the fair and the best deserved their wins.

A group of us at church were asked to make 27 school uniforms for kids living in Robin's Nest Orphanage in Jamaica. Since a mission team is heading to Jamaica in another week, we discovered we have very little time to put the uniforms together. Wednesday evening a group met to cut and begin sewing. This afternoon at 12:30, I too began sewing... navy blue shorts, in sizes 4, 6, and 7. At 2:30 two friends came over to join me.
We sewed until 6:30 and managed to make 17 pairs of shorts and two skorts. There's more sewing to do, including 27 shirts, but we were pleased to accomplish so much in our own little production line.
These are my sewing companions, Kim (L) and Linda (R). You girls are wonderful!
I'll close this long post with another joke that came in during my giveaway a few weeks ago.

A blonde walked into the library and said "I'd like a Big Mac, a large fry, and a Coke."

The librarian, surprised, stammered, "Well, ma'am ... this is the library."

"Oh, oh, I'm sorry!" said the blonde.

Then she whispered, "I'd like a Big Mac, a large fry, and a Coke."
Don't you just love a good blonde joke? Thank you Megan, MusicMaiden, for that cute one.

Hey! Don't forget vote for Stitchin' Mission! Please? http://tinyurl.com/vote4SM

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Help Me Help Stitchin' Mission

Some of you may know that I have a quiltmaking ministry called Stitchin' Mission. (Read more about it on my Stitchin' Mission website here.)

I usually keep my personal blogging separate from Stitchin' Mission activities, but this is a time when I am asking for everyone's help. I need your votes to win a $1,000 grant for Stitchin' Mission.

Stitchin' Mission (SM) developed in January 2005, as I offered beginner quiltmaking lessons at my church, Lutheran Church of Hope. After several series of lessons at Hope, I was invited to teach beginning quiltmaking at a nearby Evangelical Free church. I did so, and since then, churches of all denominations have hosted SMs - including one SM at an Anglican church, in Sydney, Australia. Ninety-nine percent of the quilts made by students have been donated to the host church's mission of choice.

To date, 689 people have participated in free Stitchin' Mission beginner quiltmaking lessons, with 895 baby quilts going to missions throughout the world. (See the world map here.)

Where Stitchin' Mission is Going
I often receive inquiries about having SM lessons in other locations (California, Ohio, etc.), but thus far I have been limited by how far I can travel in the Des Moines, Iowa area, to teach the series of five weekly lessons. For several years, it has been my prayer that God will lead and grow SM where He chooses. I believe God's opening a door.

Through an organization called "Dream Big, Grow Here," SM has the chance to win a $1,000 grant. With the grant, my dream would be to put SM lessons on video and, accompanied by a coordinator's guide, made available to churches throughout the US and world.

To win the $1,000 grant, I need your help!
The winner is determined by which dream receives the most votes.

Beginning Monday, August 16 (at noon, US Central time), you can cast an on-line vote for SM. Votes are being collected until noon Tuesday, August 31. You can vote every day!

The July dream/grant-winner won with 2,000 votes. Can you help me help SM surpass that number?

Beginning August 16 cast your vote by clicking on the badge below, or click on the voting badge on the right side bar. Only one vote permitted per day, per computer network.
These badges take you directly to the SM "Dream Big Grow Here" site at http://tinyurl.com/vote4SM

Even better... grab the badge (right side bar) and post it on your own blog to get more people to vote for SM.
Remember to vote daily through August 31!

Thank you so much, friends, for helping me help Stitchin' Mission.

If you're in the Des Moines, Iowa area, tune in to Praise 940 AM radio on Thursday, August 19 at 8 a.m. I'll be talking about Stitchin' Mission as a guest on Maxine Sieleman's half-hour program!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life's Doin's

The fam is still with us, though dad has started work this week in Kansas City, and Celina and Jill have also gone to Kansas City, so Celina doesn't miss her sixth grade orientation.
That means I have this little guy, Tay, to myself. He's a handful to keep track of as he's crawling, and makes a bee-line for electric outlets (covered by plugs), electrical cords (buried behind pillows), and floor-length vertical blinds. He keeps me on the move all the time. (By the way, he just had his second haircut, this week!)
During naptimes - after picking up toys, washing up meal items, and generally setting things to rights - I've been stitching. I resurrected a project not touched since last September. It's Snowmen A to Z by Crabapple Hill. Instead of stitching them in alphabetical order, I began with the blocks I like most. Here's "S" and now the finished "M."
I'm working on "A" now. It's nice to have an easy pick-up project in between life's other demands.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Annual Riverside Auction

Today in Story City, Iowa, was the annual Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp quilt auction. Quilts are made and donated to Riverside by Lutheran churches throughout Iowa, and by individuals. This year 178 quilts were sold during the live auction, as well as dozens of quilts and smaller items sold during a silent auction. This is the camp's largest fundraiser.

Hope Quilters made 15 quilts for Riverside. One of them was my 34" X 37" wall quilt that sold for $300 in the silent auction! It made me tear-up when I learned that the young man who wanted the quilt has attended many Riverside camps and camps in other places. He got it because his mom upped the last bid. Moms are the best.
These are just a few of the live-auction quilts that caught my eye.
This 77" X 90" "Square Dance" quilt sold for $875.
This 96" X 104" batik quilt: $1,050
"Luck of the Irish," 88" X 112": $800
"Step it Up," 90" X 90": $500
It's always difficult to figure out why some quilts sell better than others.
Scrappy brights, 85" X 105": $250
Also sold were plenty of denim quilts, quilts made with cheater cloth or upholstery fabric samples or poly-blends. At least half of them were tied. But all were made with good intentions and a generous heart for Riverside. Hopefully the camp raised $50,000-plus dollars, as it has in previous years.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hot and Housebound

I don't know if it's my age or this heat, but weather-wise, it's felt miserable here in Iowa. The humidity has been consistently high and is good only for growing tomatoes, and making hair curly! By next Tuesday the temp's supposed to hit 94 F (34.4C) with a heat index topping 108 (42). This kind of weather inevitably means it's time for the Iowa State Fair. It starts Thursday.

I've entered only two items. My denim slippers are in a new fair category for "remade" items, and Celina's quilt. Anything else I could have entered I've either given away, or it remains a UFO. I'll attend the Wednesday Fabric and Threads preview to find out how well/poorly my pieces did.

In the past 17 days we've had six people - on and off - and a dog in our house. It's been going pretty well if you don't mind disorganization. Normally, such chaos drives me crazy, but given that it's family, I'm tolerating it fairly well. I appreciate a good day when the kitchen stays clean for more than five minutes.

Tay and his Daddy.
Tay and Celina's parents have been away to Kansas City for two to three days at a time - they've bought a house and are now choosing furnishings. I'm caring for Tay (ten months), who continually reminds me that parenthood is for the young. My back and arms have finally become accustomed to carrying his weight. I am cherishing every meal, every bottle, every pooh-y diaper, every bit of fussiness (he's cutting his two upper front teeth) and every chance to push him in the backyard swing, take him for a stroller walk, play on the floor, and read him a book where I can practice my best animal sounds.

Here he is with his Momma.

Hands down, the most fun has been taking him for an outing... in the car, and into his stroller for stops at retail stores. Amazingly, store employees think I'm Tay's momma! What an ego boost to have a clerk stare incredulously at me, disbelieving that I'm Tay's 57 year-old Nana. Oh, don't I love that?!

Though very baby-focused, I've managed to eek out a few evening and mornings of "me" time. I'm happy to show you my finished "Under the Sea" block for August. Done early! Don't you agree that it's sometimes when we have less time that we accomplish more?
Remember the 12 gore-Route 66 skirt pattern I cut from several of my husband's old "big butt" jeans last week? Well, the skirt's a finish. I really, really like it and envision myself wearing it frequently this fall. I have to say though, it's heavy! I mean when I put it on, I feel like I'm carrying about six pounds! It's my "workout skirt," like the Fit-Flops I've been wearing!
I'll leave you with this week's funny that comes from fourteen year-old Abby:
Did you hear about the kidnapping down the street?

He woke up.



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