Thursday, February 27, 2014

Operation Homefront-TX Giving Quilts

Last winter, as some of you may recall,
I spearheaded a campaign for baby shower quilts
for Operation Homefront-Texas
Which, by the way, illicited several quilts
for new military moms-to-be,
thank you all very much.
As a matter of fact, a guild in Abilene
made sure that every new mom
at the Abilene shower had a quilt.
If that isn't sweet enough, they have voted to do it every year!
Operation Homefront-Texas contacted me again
and asked if I'd make Giving Quilts this year.

A Giving Quilt is actually a wallhanging
with 16 to 20 pockets in it,
to be distributed to big business, corporate offices, etc.
Employees will be encouraged to fill the pockets with gift cards
for TX military families-in-need.
The businesses will then be encouraged
to match the gift card donations with cash
allowing Operation Homefront to help these families
with their larger more pressing expenses.

My own personal committment is to make ten.
I'm ready to begin #5
and I think I'll have just enough time before I return to the northeast.
Thanks to my Crafty Daughter for making the letters
on her Cricut thing-a-ma-jiggy
and for encouraging me every step of the way.

A huge thank you to the New Braunfels Evening Lions Club
for funding this project!!

If there are any other (TX) quilters out there
who would like to pitch in,
ten isn't near enough
and your help would be greatly appreciated!
I will gladly share the notes I've made during the process!

Have a glorious day,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cat in the Attic

Late last summer, I shared
and many of you asked for the origin of the quilt pattern.
It is called Catnap.
I had purchased the pattern many years ago
from a small quilt store when they were offering it up as a class,
and sadly, they didn't include the designer's information.
(I only purchased the pattern, I didn't take the class.)
I have since learned that it is a Pam Bono design
(I should have known just by looking at it!).
 She is offering the cat pattern for free!
It's in a little different venue,
but it's the same one, and more!!
for the free pattern downloads.
Have a glorious day!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Rare Birds of North America

Have you taken the opportunity to see
the delightfully funny movie, The Big Year, starring
Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin?
It's been out a few years now.
If you haven't, you should.
It's not just for birders only!!
While most birders do not literally race all over the continent
in an attempt to list the most species in one year,
as this movie depicts,
many birders will drop everything to rush off to see rare birds
for the first, and usually, the only time.
If you are one of THOSE birders,
or know of someone who is,
then this book is for you:
Rare Birds of North America
by Steve N.G. Howell, Ian Lewington, and Will Russell
this comprehensive guide to vagrant species in North America
will be on the bookshelves March 5.
Vagrant species are accidental visitors from other continents
that might have "followed misguided migration paths",
were perhaps caught up in a storm,
or, as funny as it may seem,
were stowaways on ships.
I personally do not have the means
to rush off, to and fro, whenever there is a rare bird alert,
but there were a couple of times that I was in
the right place, at the right time.
Once, in northeast Cape Breton,
there was an African Western Reef Heron.
Another time, while passing through Maine
during my own annual migration,
I had the pleasure of seeing a Northern Lapwing
likely from The British Isles.
It would have been such an asset to have had this book available.
For those of you who are non-birders,
species accounts of these birds
are not in our normal every day guide books!
Rare Birds of North America
explains the hows and whys of vagrancy and
the whens and wheres of occurances,
covering 262 rare species.
Included in these species accounts are
patterns of vagrancy, identification,
seasons, regions, and migration.
Written in a straight-forward language we can all understand
it is very nicely illustrated with 275 color plates.
A big thank you to Jessica at Princeton University Press
for giving me the opportunity to preview this book.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines' Day

I don't often use spray starch
for my sewing projects.
It came in pretty handy, though, when making this
Valentines' Day wallhanging
from an old chambray jumper.
The fabric was stretchy and the starch made it
quite a bit easier to work with.

The 'aroma' of starch,
brings back lots of memories for me.
When I was in Jr. HS in the mid-sixties,
my dad was, in essence, a traveling salesman.
He would leave the house on Monday mornings
and not return until suppertime Friday nights.
Because he had to wear a suit every day,
my job was to launder and press his white dress shirts
and hankies.
He liked lots of starch!
I took the obligatory home economics,
a half year of sewing, a half year of cooking.
I didn't care much for the cooking portion of home ec.
We made biscuits one time
and they tasted like a monkey house smells.
It scarred me for life!
I loved working on the sewing machine, however,
so he bought me one.
An old singer cabinet model.
Basically, this is when I learned to sew.
We didn't have a lot of money,
so when the collars on his shirts became worn and tattered,
I'd unpick them,
turn them around,
and restitch them onto the shirt,
something, I think, he saw his mom do during the depression.
He made a deal with me - for every skirt I made,
he'd buy me a coordinating blouse or sweater.
(This was back in the days
when you weren't allowed to wear pants to school.)
I took him for his word,
and a love affair with the sewing machine
was born.

Another olfactory trigger is Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Gum.
My mom always had a pack in her pocketbook.

What scents trigger your memories?

Have a very Happy Valentines' Day!!


Monday, February 10, 2014

NEVER Underestimate the Power of Children

As you know,
I offered some quilt label templates for sale
to save for items on my wish list.
Then I read a story on fellow quilter Nola's blog,
Seems her grandchildren decided it was important
to help a family friend/neighbor
during a time of need.
The main character of this story
is a little preemie named Cru.
Cru stole my heart
and Nola's grandchildren's efforts gave me goosebumps.
I decided my real wish was to help this family,
so my sewing wish list is just going to have to wait.
Please visit Nola's blog
and read her story.
Or go straight to the fundraiser.
There are only 4 days left of this fundraiser,
but they have a ways to go.
And if you feel compelled to help,
as I did,
just come back here and let me know,
and I'll send you the quilt label templates for free.
Please share.

PS.  I forgot to tell you about the sweet little bracelet the kids
made and sent me!  It's the "Band" in
their slogan:
"Let’s “Band” Together and Bless the Miller Family!"

Thursday, February 6, 2014

This and That

During the Be a Hexie Queen Blog Hop,
I had the good fortune to win a beautiful Hoffman fat quarter bundle
Thank you, Beth!
It was waiting for me when I arrived in Texas.
As soon as I handled it, I knew what I wanted to make.
I don't have an e-reader, I just liked the bag.
I don't even carry a bag.  I just like to make them!
It's a cross-shoulder bag and a fat quarter friendly project.
I was lucky to find a button that mirrors the pattern in the lining
which, of course, I didn't photograph.
I do wish I'd paid a little closer attention to the pattern
in the main fabric when I was cutting.
This was my first time following a WpCP pattern
and it was so well written.
I learned how to make hidden pockets,
and if you follow the link,
WpCP has a great tutorial.
It's amazingly simple.
 I predict more of these bags in my future!
I'm linking up to Terry's Treasures today
to show my 2 hastily photographed Goodnight Irene Sew-Along rows.
I find these blocks are a great leader/ender project
or are perfect when I becomed overwhelmed
and need something simple to ground me.
I have a lot of projects on the go
and can't help starting new ones,
and sometimes that makes me wander around in circles.
Of course, there's a bird.
Don't want you to be too disappointed,
although it's photographed from quite a distance.

Female Golden-fronted Woodpecker
(Melanerpes aurifrons)
Length: 8.7–10.2 inches
Wingspan: 16.9 inches
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Range Map

On today's plate are bibs and burp cloths
for a last minute, impromptu baby shower tomorrow
for a set of twins that almost didn't make it!
They are thriving now,
so it's safe to part-eee and celebrate their arrival.
Have a stellar day!
Stay safe and warm.
Thanks for visiting.