"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Back Blogging

Long time no post but I plan to get back to it.  In the past few years, my mind just hasn't been on updating my blog, in large part due to stepping back from quilting in favor of little crafts for my grandbabies as well as being preoccupied with Pearly's serious illness and the loss of a puppy, Fancy, who you never got to know.

What actually prompted today's post is that a quilting girlfriend who has long had a blog, changed its name and is having a fat quarter giveaway to help get the word out.  I'm about to head over to her blog and sign up for my own chance to win.  You go, too!

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn, Pearly and Maybelle.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I just posted a tutorial for the above quilt on my longarm quilting blog if you are interested!  I hope to start quilting the top, tomorrow, and will post photos of how it turned out.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quilts, Cones and Babies on the Way

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

It hasn't been a spectacular fall in terms of color, compliments of the two year drought, but I was quite pleased with how our baby Caddo Sugar Maples behaved.

I wouldn't be surprised if we had birds nesting in one or more of them, next year.

I've got plenty to be thankful for, this year, not the least is my health.  At this point in my life, I have the typical garden variety aches and pains but nothing particularly worrisome or surprising.  Feeling darn happy about that.

Also thankful about the spectacular news that I have two granddaughters on the way and expected to arrive in March of next year!  No,  not twins - Grandson Charlie is expecting a little sister and my younger girl, Katie, is expecting her first baby about a week later.   I am absolutely delighted, as you might imagine.

So Katie asked for a Dr. Seuss quilt that I whipped up to surprise her husband when they were in town for Thanksgiving.

Here's Katie:
She's just glowing.  So is her husband:
It is a joy to see them so excited about our little Ladybug.

Here's the Dr. Seuss quilt (not the greatest photos):

The fabric design was inspired by Seuss' book (and recent movie), The Lorax.  Robert Kaufman put out a line of organic fabric I picked up at the Fat Quarter Shop.

 I used a fat quarter bundle that contained a panel to make the top.

The colors were BRIGHT.  It was almost frightening but I was happy with how it turned out.

I was trying to quilt something that looked like the Truffala trees but it ended up looking a lot like a hurricane symbol.  Which is appropriate, I suppose, since I was working on it about the time Hurricane Sandy slammed into NYC.
 The backing is white and includes all the titles of Dr. Seuss' books.
I have quite a few other quilt ideas floating through my head for the little ones and need to get started if I have any hope of finishing them prior to their birthdays.

When last I blogged in September, Pearly was still struggling with the auto-immune problem that impacted her eyes.  At the beginning of August, both eyes started watering and she developed significant stains under her eyes.
The good news is that for nearly three months, her actual eyes have been rock steady - no sign of inflammation or anything of the kind.  She is seeing, if not perfectly, then close enough that you wouldn't know otherwise.  Her monthly labwork continues to look great and the plan is to either take her completely off the prednisone in December or, alternatively, cut the dosage in half to a minuscule 2.5mg every other day.  She'll still be on the azathioprine (immune suppressant).  As you can see from the photo, she still has significant stains from watery eyes but we think that is probably a result of the cyclosporine drops she takes.  With any luck, when she goes back to the eye doctor in January, he'll reduce the number of drops per day and the staining will improve, also.

Poor Evelyn.  She developed a problem with her, ahem, lady parts.  It was like a hot spot but no UTI.  Because Pearly is on immune suppressants, we don't like to expose her to other dogs if we can avoid it.  Accordingly, Mr. Wonderful took Evelyn to the vet and I stayed home with Pearly.  Evelyn had to take some antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for a week but she is all better, now.  They gave her the biggest cone of shame I've ever seen.
When they walked back through the door with that ridiculous cone, I didn't know whether to cuss or laugh.  I mean, seriously.  They told us to put that on whenever she wasn't being directly supervised.  Who would leave that on a dog when they were alone?  Poor thing kept tripping over it.  If she were outside and a gust of Oklahoma wind caught it, it would be bye, bye Evelyn.  Needless to say, it didn't get much use.

I finally got around to quilting a Christmas wall hanging top I made back in Virginia, three years ago.  The top has been hanging on my design wall out in the studio all this time and I finally threw it up on the longarm to finish it.  I still need to put a binding on it but am happy it's done.
I can't say I am all that wild about it but it is okay to put some holiday color on the wall.  The important thing about this wall hanging is that it was my first attempt at applique.
I also finished an orange and black pineapple quilt as a surprise for my friend (and avid Oklahoma State University fan), Kim:
Those kind folks who have followed my blog for a long time may remember that Kim lost her boy to brain cancer.  September is brain cancer research awareness month and the symbol is a gold ribbon.  This is what I put on the back to remind Kim that we haven't forgotten her beloved Caleb:
And while we're talking quilts, although it is a little tardy, I was delighted that I did so well at the State Fair Quilt competition this year.  I entered four entries, one in each of the following categories:  wall hanging, machine quilted quilt, pieced quilt, and art quilt.  I got a third place for the wall hanging and blue ribbons in all three other categories.  I was so pleased!
This is the photo used as a basis for the art quilt:
This is the art quilt:
 It was fun.
You'll note I used my embroidery machine, a little bit.

Hmmm.  Machine embroidery.  You know, the biggest new trend I've been seeing in quilting has been the explosion of using embroidery, often in place of piecing or applique.  That isn't how I make quilts but I hadn't thought about it much, one way or the other until a woman recently brought a lovely embroidered quilt top into the shop.  I oohed and aahed over it.  Usually, a quilter getting this sort of reaction will just melt into the floor like a delighted puppy.  If we could wag our tails, we would.  But in this case, the woman actually looked sheepish.  She insisted on telling me that it wasn't anything "she" did, rather, she just turned on the embroidery machine and walked away.  She didn't seem to have much pride or even ownership of the quilt.  She actually seemed embarrassed to get credit for it.  It wasn't a false modesty - it was that she just didn't feel like it was "her" work, apparently.  So like I said, Hmmm.  I have to think about that.  If that is how it "feels" to make a machine embroidered quilt, it is a completely different experience from what I have when I make a pieced or appliqued one.  I have to say, this woman's confession was kind of disturbing.  Perhaps that is just her individual experience?

And on a final note - Hurricane Sandy.  All three of my kids live in NYC and of course were affected by the storm.  Two of them lost power in their apartments for nearly a week.  Bill stayed with good friends on the upper east side, and Windy stayed with her sister, Katie, in Brooklyn.  Happily, they're fine.

I can't really describe my dread as I monitored the storm as it approached the city.  I had images of them drowning, or getting electrocuted, or attacked by looters, or freezing, or getting hit by a flying piece of glass or a tree (less likely in Manhattan than in Oklahoma, admittedly), or being trapped in apartments with no power, no elevators or bathrooms (or food).  The fact that two of my three girls are pregnant, and Charlie is just a toddler made me all the more concerned since they are especially vulnerable.   I even worried about their dog, Martin.  Would they take her down twelve flights of stairs to go to the bathroom?  And then back up twelve flights?  Would pregnant Amy be hauling Toddler Charlie AND Martin up twelve flights?  Would she collapse on the 8th floor, all alone with no way to summon help????  OMG!!  WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO CHARLIE????  He could wander around and BE KIDNAPPED!!!  I worried that Windy would get caught out in the storm and hurt.  Or ATTACKED!!!  What if Kate and Chris (who don't live in a flood area but are on the storm side of NYC) were flooded and drowned!! (They live on the second floor).  What if Bill or Chris went out to get fresh batteries and THEY were attacked!!???  What if Windy ate food from her refrigerator and it was spoiled and she died of food poisoning?  Or got sick and there was no one there to help her?   If there was something to worry about, I worried.

It is what I do.

I was wondering if I needed to just drive up there and get them.  Seriously.  It crossed my mind.

I am so thankful that they were spared the worst of it but my heart goes out to the ones who suffered the most - and their families who prayed the same way I did but whose prayers for their loved ones' safety weren't granted.

I have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearly