Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day in the USA

 Monday, May 30th, is Memorial Day in the United States.  This national holiday commemorates U.S. soldiers who have died while in the military service.
 It was first enacted by former slaves to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.
 Many people observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. The flag is traditionally flown at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries.  Here in our region, special thanks goes to the Boy Scouts of America for placing 30,000 American flags on gravesites at the Bay Pines National Cemetery in honor of veterans.

Buddy Poppies for Memorial Day

The red poppy is the traditional flower to honor and commemorate veterans in North America, Europe and Australia.
The red poppy was made famous by a poem - In Flanders Fields - written during World War I by Canadian army surgeon Lt. Col. John McCrae.

In Flanders Fields

            In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Because of the poem's popularity, the red poppy was adopted as the Remembrance Flower for war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.
On Memorial Day, many US veterans wear a red lapel poppy to honor their fallen soldier buddies.
Buddy Poppies are still made today and given away around Memorial Day. The donations received for Buddy Poppies go directly to support disabled veterans and the families of fallen veterans.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rainbow Challenge and Grasshoppers

The color of the month for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge was Pink.  I have made several pink quilts this year for my various donation projects and I was getting pretty tired of pink.  But since I did have pink scraps, I decided to make a little pink pincushion.  I wanted to practice in case I decided to get into a pincushion swap.  I'm glad I did this practice run because this project wasn't any too special!  Next time, I'll pick a pattern designed to be a pincushion (not just pick a block design) and follow instructions ...
Here is my first effort:

And on my walk, I found quite a few of these terribly voracious plant-consuming grasshoppers:

These are called *lubbers* and they can eat you out of your garden and yard.  Fortunately, I saw these on the railings of a dead-end street and they have plenty of conservation and wetlands to eat up before they get to a housing development.  Sorry about the color of this picture, but it is brownish wet grasses in front and then very green scrub forest.  Just a buffet for the lubbers!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Still a WIP and Gardening

I'm still working on the lottery block top that I posted about last time.  One of the downsides of working with blocks that different people have made is that they often aren't the same size.  I decided to add sashing to the Box Kite blocks in order to attempt to trick the eye and minimize the size differences.  I'll be working on this tonight - they still aren't trimmed or sewn together, but I wanted to take a pic to see how the sashing looked:

Sashing is black with white polka dots
And for my garden report:
Today is appreciate the Zinnias day - I didn't know if these plants would survive the hot and humid days we are now having, but apparently they like it!  I do have to make sure they get extra water occasionally, but they continue to thrive.  Gotta love a plant like that!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WW Walk-!t Challenge

Every Spring, Weight Watchers sponsors a Walk-!t Challenge.

This year I had the choice of several 5-K walk locations and a 5-mile walk option.  Since today had been forecast to be very hot and humid, I selected a 5-K that was scheduled to begin in the early morning in a local park that has lots and lots of trees.  I thought about doing the 5-mile instead of the 5-K (which is 3.1 miles), but it would have been near the beach with no shade.  I had been to the very nice dog park part of this particular park, but I had never gone to the far back of the park that backs up to a long lake.  It was gorgeous back there!

Part of Trail
I knew there were tons of squirrels in this park, but I didn’t expect the colony of rabbits that were in the back near our gathering spot.  There was every color you could name … probably began with someone dumping pets, but apparently they are thriving despite the hawks and alligators.

The walk was great and everyone finished before the worst of the heat set in. 

I’m really glad I went, but of course, I came home and took a nap before lunch to make up for getting up so early!  Now that I’ve recovered … this is what I’ll be working on this afternoon:
This block is called the Box Kite and these are blocks I won in a block lottery.  I haven’t decided on a border yet, but will preview a few choices today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Working with Flannel

Ellen, over at Wrap-Them-in-Love (a non-profit foundation) has received a request for 40 little quilts to go to the Philippines .  They asked for light weight quilts, just flannel on front and back, with no batting.

First, let me explain that I do not work with flannel.

Why I don't like flannel

But that having been said, I did once think I could make a baby quilt out of flannel and I bought a kit that was put together by a LQS.  It turned out the kit came with pre-cut small squares so that I couldn’t speed piece long strips then cut them with my rotary cutter and that slowed me down tremendously.   I had to sew together the little squares and make larger pieces so that I could pre-wash and THEN cut off all of the shreds so I was slowed down considerably more … At this point, of course, the solution was to quickly make my usual cotton (not flannel) quilt for the baby and put the kit away somewhere (wouldn’t that be your solution, too?!!).

I never thought I’d ever dig that kit out, but after receiving the note from Ellen, I knew I had to find it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how far along I had gotten, so I just added two more borders, quilted it up and got it bound.
Quilted and Bound

With Polka Dot Back

It didn’t seem very light weight – maybe there are different weights of flannel – so I bought another piece of cute flannel with frogs and (after pre-washing) sewed a piece of whole cloth (regular woven cotton) to the flannel backing.  That seemed lighter to me.

Froggie Flannel

With another polka dot back

I’ll send both on to Ellen and see if either will do for the Philippines request.  I'm sure the one that might be too heavy will be suitable for her to send to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation,  which they also support.  So I’m sure both will be put to good use somewhere in the world.

And the upside is that a long-forgotten UFO is complete and out the door.  Thanks to the 2011 UFO Challenge over at Patchwork Times, I’m now more likely to think of using some of my UFOs even if it means digging them out from their deepest hiding places!  I had already finished the number selected this month - #9 on my list was just to bind and send off a scrappy quilt that used up leftover binding strips.  I wrote about it in this post, so I was going to have to substitute another UFO and this fit the bill perfectly.   Glad to keep things moving along in the sewing room!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Quilt Borders

One of the members of my on-line quilting group does the most amazing things with borders.  Since I mostly make quilts for children's charities, I am almost always in a rush to get one finished and go on to the next one.  Since viewing so many quilts recently with wonderful borders, I decided to explore my options.

I came across a great site called the Quilting Assistant (dot) com.  That site presented an unusual border using the 9-Patch block that I really want to try.  The finished border looks like this:
Check it out at

Since those blocks are so easy to make, I might actually get one done like this!  The site also had a few other pretty border options from simple blocks - take a peak at them.

Meanwhile, I am still working in my yard to get some old plants out and new ones put in.  I'm still thrilled with my plants called Mystic Spires that just keep thriving and getting taller.  I put them in last October so it remains to be seen how they'll take the summer heat and humidity.  I'll just enjoy them for now!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just Plain Cute!

This photo has nothing to do with quilting - or does it?!!  Maybe quilts are all about comfort and this picture is just too cute not to love.  Thanks to for this cute photo.

And this was the recent finish of the teenage-boy quilt top that I wanted to make.  It has all types of US Air Force aircraft in the print fabric - I'm hoping it will find a teen at Quilts for Kids that is an airplane nut!  I'll finish quilting it soon and get it mailed off.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Won Some Quilt Blocks!

I am a member of an on-line quilt swap group called Mailblocks.  This group has a monthly block lottery and at the end of April I won the blocks – yipee!  The packages with blocks from the various members are starting to come in the mail and finally, it’s worth going to the mailbox … very exciting, as a matter of fact!  I expect to receive 25 - 12″ blocks, so along with the ones I made, I should have enough for 2 child-size quilts.  This is just plain fun.

So the catch is that the winner for the month has to select the next month’s lottery block.  I selected the Easy Bow Ties from this site:

This interesting website (Delaware Quilts) started as a *gathering spot* to display their popular quilt retreat information.  It has grown and now has a block of the month section (for skill building) and it also has a section for quilt patterns for sale.  Almost all of the proceeds from the pattern sales benefit the American Cancer Society.  The patterns can be purchased in downloadable PDF format or via snail mail.  Check out the circular log cabin design – very cool!

These are the blocks I made to send to the May winner of the Mailblocks lottery.  I took two pictures since you can lay out these bowtie blocks in so many ways.  They were fun to make and I’ve already started making some for myself since they work up so fast.  Expect another picture soon of a finished top!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pink is for May

Over at the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, the color selected for May is PINK:

Does this make you think of little girls?  After I finish with the *boy* quilts that I have in the works, I'll have to come up with something pink for the Challenge ... I'll have to think up something grand!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What I'm Working On Today

Well, I went out looking for Indian Hawthorne plants to replace a few in the yard that were hit pretty hard in last winter's freezes.  Lo and behold, there was a Joann's store right around the corner from the big box store with the plants.  OK - so I've been to each a hundred times and knew they were both there, but what's your point?!

Anyway, I jogged on in to Joann's looking for some teenage boy fabric per my last post.  I didn't find any panels, but I did find several suitable fabric prints.  The hard part then was finding coordinating colors.  I really liked some underwater fabric but didn't see anything to go with it, so I got one nautical print that I liked and one with airplanes.  This is the one I'm working on now:

Top in Progress

The design for the quilt is from the book "What a Novel Idea" by Pat Sloan.  It has quite a few patterns that I liked that showed off how to use novelty prints in quilts.  The one I'm making now is a smaller version of the one on the cover so it will fit with the size quidelines requested by Quilts for Kids.

And, by the way, I did get the Indian Hawthorne bushes and I started pulling out the old dead ones today!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

I took a poll recently in my on-line quilt guild for ideas for making quilts for teenagers - especially teen boys.  Quilts for Kids has a call out for these quilts and they would also be great for another group that I donate to called Wrap-Them-in-Love.  Well, the ideas poured in - everything from free patterns on-line, block designs and fabric choices like interesting panels (maybe camping or outdoor scenes), dolphins and underwater prints, safari prints and a friend suggested that peace signs are popular again (who knew?!).

I've had no trouble with finding lots of prints for younger kids, especially florals for girls, but I'm anticipating a new adventure in shopping for some of the above fabrics for teens.  I'll post what I find!

So last night I only had time to play with a few scraps.  I have a piece of fabric I was sent as part of a challenge and the only rules are to make blocks 12 1/2 inches to return for a sampler quilt.  I know that another participant has already made a bear block, so I found this cute native American-style rabbit.  He's a Sindy Rodenmayer design at Fat Cat Patterns under the Ethnic Flavor category on her sidebar.  She has lots of other cute native-flair animals there, too.  The challenge fabric is in the sunburst arch.

Right now Rabbit is just in pieces on my ironing board (and the light is terrible for taking pictures at night), but he'll be appliqued down to his background fabric today.  Now I have to think of some other blocks to go along with him using some more of that challenge fabric!