Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Box Out the Door

There's nothing worse than an empty box looking at you, longing to be filled:

It took me a little longer to put the finishing touches on the last quilt to go in the box, but it is finally done.  These quilts will be donated to the Wrap-A-Smile organization to go on medical missions and be given to children undergoing surgery around the world.  The box is labeled to go into the mail and it's a lot happier!
These are in the box this time:

Scrap Quilt Uses Leftover Binding Strips

Easy Quilt (see previous post)
Uses Lottery Blocks I Won
Uses Blocks from a Block Swap

Several of these were UFOs and I'm glad to see them going out into the wide world to be used and useful!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another Box Ready to Go

Yesterday I posted about Margaret's Hope Chest and showed a picture of a finished quilt that I'm sending in to them.  Oddly enough, I don't have any finished tops sitting around at this time waiting to be quilted, but then I remembered that I had some really cute Princess and the Frog fabric (from the Disney movie).  I had an idea I wanted to try based on the Pretty Easy quilts at Sheryl's site:
I had made one using her exact design and loved it (picture to be posted tomorrow), so this time I used her design except that I made the *logs* smaller in the alternating blocks (2 inch strips rather than 3.5 inch).  This is the finished top that I have included in the box to Margaret's Hope Chest along with the finished quilt from yesterday's post.  I hope some little girl loves it!

Colors not true - it's more lavender and brighter

Box of Hope

You can join in and add your quilts or tops *of Hope* to this great cause and celebrate with them the Fourth Anniversary of their ministry.  It's truly amazing the number of quilts they have distributed and a real blessing for children who have a parent in the prison system.  Such a remarkable way to honor a remarkable woman. 

Here's the link again so you can check out the back storyof this project:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Catching Up on UFOs

I had a productive Easter weekend.  I was able to finish up quilting and binding the March UFO for the Patchwork Times 2011 UFO Challenge … and then I moved on to April’s UFO and finished that also!  What a great weekend, quiltwise.

This is the designated March item:

This one will go to Margaret’s Hope Chest.  Their project was born of a great tragedy and has lived on to bring hope to many people, including children of prisoners.

Read the story at:

They currently have an effort on to collect tops (yes, tops) at Margaret’s Hope Chest with the added incentive of a chance to win a prize.  Many of us have tops stacked up (sometimes for years) that aren’t likely to get quilted.  It would be great to move those tops on out to a place where they can be completed and live happy and useful lives in their roles of comforting others.  Who wouldn’t want to give their tops a chance like that??!! 

Send completed tops (and yes, quilts can go, too) by April 29th to:
Margaret’s Hope Chest
630 Griswold SE
Grand Rapids, MI  49507

And you can check out the multiple ways to get chances to win here:

Finally, this is the April finish for the UFO Challenge:
Flower Paths

Flower Path Back

Flower Path Detail

These were swapped blocks and they made into a cute child-size quilt.  I like the pieced back almost as much as the front!  This quilt will be donated to Wrap-a-Smile.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Real Easter Bunny?

Check out the giant rabbit fossils found on Spain’s island of Minorca in the Mediterranean Sea.  They belong to the 26 pound Narulagus rex (King of Bunnies).
Meike Köhler

These rabbits were about six times the size of current-day bunnies, probably due to a lack of predators on the island.  According to paleontologist Josep Quintana at the Catalan Institute of Paleontology in Barcelona, Spain, they lived 3-5 million years ago.  They had shorter ears and did not have the ability to hop due to shorter legs and stiffer spines than modern rabbits.

It must not be the real Easter Bunny as no colored eggs were found in the vicinity of the fossils.

For more information, see this link from LiveScience:

PS  The link does not mention colored Easter Eggs – LOL!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day or Arbor Day?

Do you celebrate either Earth Day or Arbor Day or maybe both?  Arbor Day is usually the last Friday in April – but it is often combined with the popular Earth Day.

Black Maple

Arbor Day began when Julius Sterling Morton (born on April 22nd) began planting trees in Nebraska way back in 1855 when he was editor of the “Nebraska News” newspaper.  He was the first to suggest that a single day be set aside for planting trees and that a prize be offered for the most trees planted by one person on that day.

On a single day (April 10, 1872), thanks to his efforts, a million trees were planted in Nebraska!  Arbor Day was hugely popular before WWII.  Many youth and civic organizations still organize tree-planting events and the President and First Lady still plant a special tree on the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC.
Interest in Arbor Day has slowly been declining in favor of Earth Day and the greater cause of the entire planet’s environmental concerns such as limited resources, global warming, etc., but trees are still immensely important to the planet, especially considering the destruction of rain forests.  They serve as windbreaks, stop erosion and offer much needed shade.  Many times they are placed as living memorials to individuals and after disasters.  So maybe it’s a good idea to combine Arbor Day and Earth Day by selecting a favorite tree that grows well in your area and planting it soon.  The planet will thank you!

For more information, see this link:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Progress on Feb Rainbow Challenge

OK - I know some people actually FINISHED their February 2011 Rainbow Challenge from Super Scrappy, but mine is still in the works.  This is the progress to date:

The hearts are now mirror-imaged but not sewn down yet.  I'm also looking for just the right border fabric to make it into a little girl's quilt.  But it's getting there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's in the Works Today

The number selected for April for the Patchwork Times' UFO Challenge was #4 and on my list that was my pink and green Antique Tile blocks that I got in a block swap with the Mailblocks group.  Since I primarily make child-size quilts for donation, I decided to make a simple top with that Spring feel.  I call this one Strolling Through the Garden Paths.  The small pink border has hexagons to represent lattice and the top and bottom green borders have stripes to represent fence posts.  I have to get some more dark green for the binding, put it on the frame and get 'er done for April.  Wahoo!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

In an earlier post, I wrote that I had wanted to put together a fast and easy quilt top next and I had found just the pattern.  This turned out to be perfect for the Friday Night Sew-In over there on Handmade by Heidi’s blog.  And did you notice her new button on my sidebar?  Too cute!

This worked up very quickly and will make a great kid’s quilt to donate to Wrap-a-Smile.   Thanks again, Sheryl, for the pattern (see

I have something on the frame right now waiting to be quilted but this one will be next in line, for sure.  How nice to have a little instant gratification!

Rainbow Challenge and Surprise

Purple is the April color for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I decided to use a fabric scrap that has purple in the stripes to make myself a nice little mug rug.  These work up so easily that I'm betting that I'll be making lots more .. no wonder everybody but me has already made some!

And now for the surprise:
Why am I happy that this poor little bush that was so full and lush just a little while ago is now almost bare of leaves?  


Because there are a bunch of these little guys munching on it and that's exactly why I planted it!  These are caterpillars that will become monarch butterflies and this is a type of butterfly bush (one of the milkweed types) - it's their favorite food.



Just another harbinger of Spring!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Next Project

I decided I needed a quick and easy project and one of my on-line guild members pointed us to a blog that has just the quilt ... go see the Pretty Easy Quilts at Sheryl's site:

She graciously offers several free Big Block quilt patterns and several freebies that look just plain fun.  I'll post a picture soon of my version of this pattern.  This is Sheryl's:

I might make this up in purples since that is the color of the month for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  We'll see what develops.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Sesquicentennial of the Start of the American Civil War

One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago, The United States of America saw the beginning of its greatest threat to its existence as a unified country … the People vs. the People. 

What name did you call it in your area of the USA?
  • the Civil War
  • the War Against Northern Aggression
  • the War of the Rebellion
  • the War Between the States
  • the Second American Revolution
  • the War Between Brothers
  • the Late Unpleasantness
  • the War of Attempted Secession (Walt Whitman)
  • the War Against the States (Conf Gen’l Joseph Johnston)
  • or something else?
The American Civil War was both bloody and costly – it was fought in 10,000 places, from New Mexico and Tennessee to Vermont and Florida. More than 3 million Americans fought in it, and over 600,000 men, (2 percent of the population) died in it.

The State of South Carolina led the way by seceding from the Union on December 20, 1860 and six more States rapidly followed.  They had been outraged over Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency, the taxation of cotton exports, fugitive slave laws and the issue of slavery in the Territories, plus the government’s failure to withdraw from the Federal fort in Charleston, SC.  Their right to secede was hotly debated and the Congress’ right to declare and make war on any State was legally disputed.

After the bombardment of Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, 1861, and Lincoln's subsequent call for troops to put down the rebellion, more States seceded forming the Confederate States of America - united under the cause of States’ Rights.

South Carolina – 12/20/1860
Mississippi – 01/09/1861
Florida – 01/10/1861
Alabama  – 01/11/1861
Georgia – 01/19/1861
Louisiana – 01/26/1861
Texas – 02/01/1861 – Ratified by the voters of Texas  – 02/23/1861
Virginia – 04/17/1861 – Ratified by the voters of VA  – 05/23/1861
Arkansas – 05/06/1861
North Carolina – 05/20/1861
Tennessee – 05/06/1861 – Ratified by the voters of TN  – 06/08/1861
Missouri – 10/31/1861
Kentucky – 11/20/1861

What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States' Rights was not to end until four long, hard years later in April 1865 as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America.  Finally, slaves were free men and the Union was preserved.

The best quote I found, by far, was this one by Paul on his site:
   “Our wounds have yet to fully heal, and they will not fully heal until we all come to terms with who we are.  Our heritage; where we came from, who we are, and what we seek to become.  We are all Sons of the South.  Where do we go from here?”

What Was the Role of Women in the Civil War?
1862 Harpers Weekly Newsletter

The above photo captures images of some of the important contributions of women during the War, including nursing, writing letters for the wounded, sewing quilts and clothing, and washing clothes and linens.

What is not pictured are women as spies (such as Rose O’Neal Greenhow, a dedicated secessionist and Sarah E. Thompson, provider of Union intelligence) and a depiction of the more than 600 women that disguised themselves as men in order to fight in the war.

More information about the women of the Civil War - biographies and stories about how they lived, what they did to survive and how they fought for women's rights - can be found on this wonderful blog:

For quilters today, we can strongly relate to the needs for quilts and comfort in our own country and around the world.  And isn’t it ironic that we are again (or is that still?) watching the rising costs of cotton.
Harper’s Weekly Sep 6, 1862

I have several suggestions for sources that might be of interest to quilters:

The first is my recommendation for “Best Civil War Blocks On-Line”:

Every week during 2011, Barbara Brackman will present a free 8” block design along with true stories of individuals who lived during the period, drawing on diaries, letters and memoirs.  The block designs began Jan 1, 2011 and will stay up all year once posted.

The Civil War and that era’s quilts and fabrics have long been Barbara’s area of special interest.  She has designed reproduction fabrics for Moda Fabrics at United Notions – the most recent line is named Civil War Reunion.  See a pdf file of this beautiful fabric line at this link or at the Moda site above:

Blocks posted to date have included Catch Me If You Can, North Star, Seven Sisters, Texas Tears and Log Cabin among others.  The stories have been fascinating.

The second recommendation is for the “Best Pattern Books to Purchase”. 

I suggest two books by Kathleen Tracy of Country Lane Quilts.  Her blog is called Sentimental Quilter.

The Civil War Sewing Circle
In this wonderful book, Kathleen  tells of the role that women and quilting played at the time of the Civil War.  It has 16 projects, historical photos and excerpts from letters to and from soldiers.

Remembering Adelia
Another fascinating look back at the Civil War era.  This time as seen through the eyes of a young woman and her diary entries about daily life on a farm in Illinois in 1861.  Both large and doll-size quilt patterns were designed by Kathleen (as inspired by the diary entries).

A beautiful Civil War era quilt is in the American History Collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  It has a fascinating history with its personalization and embedded symbols.  What  a remarkable contribution women have always made through quilting!
1863 Susannah Pullen’s Civil War Quilt
In 1940 Eugene Teter donated to the Museum this patriotic quilt made by his great-grandmother in 1861 for his grandfather, a Union soldier from Indiana. Mary Rockhold Teter based her pieced and appliquéd quilt on a design published in the July 1861 issue of Peterson's Magazine , a popular women's periodical published in Philadelphia. She personalized it by quilting the name of her son, George Teter, and the names of Generals Scott and Taylor under whom he served. Also found in the quilting are "Abe "and "Ab Lyncoln," "Genral Lyon," the word "Cat" and the year "1861." There are thirty-four stars appliquéd in the center diamond and the same number appliquéd in the border. They represent the number of states in the Union from July 4, 1861 until July 4, 1863, the Civil War years.

Additional Sources for more information:

  1. The Civil War Homepage - one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Civil War related material available on the Internet;
  2. The Public Broadcasting Company (PBS) sponsor of Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War”;

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I've Been Distracted

I haven't posted because I've been distracted - and I have nothing to show for it.  But I did finally hurry up and finish this little baby quilt since the baby is now over a week old.  I do like to finish these baby quilts before the child is in kindergarten (LOL!).  This was from Eleanor Burns' Quick Trip Around the World and I only managed to mess up two strips (operator error - she warns you not to do what I did ...).  At least they were fixable (and she tells you how to fix it, too).  And then I put the last two borders on backwards - the last border was supposed to be light colored to hide the binding stitching, but oh, well.  It happens.  This is the quilt and I like how it turned out:

This is the pretty *mommy* side...

And this is the *baby* side!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

No, I Didn't Finish My UFO

I had posted on March 28th that I might just get one of my more time-consuming UFOs quilted and done to meet the Patchwork Times’ 2011 UFO Challenge.  Well, it turns out that I didn’t get that done … I started working instead on a baby quilt for my neighbor.  Sometimes I don’t plan ahead too well!  I’m working this one up using Eleanor Burn’s design called Quick Trip Around the World and it really is pretty quick.  I need some border material and backing and I’ll get this over to the brand new baby boy then finish up that UFO in April.

The next number selected for the UFO Challenge is #4 and for me that will be finishing up some pink/green Antique Tile blocks.  Here’s a link to that block design by Marcia Hohn at Quilter’s Cache.  I should be able to accomplish that (best laid plans, huh?!).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Progress

I finished up the little pink and green quilt that used up some green scraps and also some green orphan blocks - this quilt was to meet the *green theme* for the March 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.    I did purchase the backing material and it is a little bright for my taste, but I couldn't find much pink and green - and I thought that was odd since it is such a pretty combination.  This is the finished, child-sized quilt - it will go to Wrap-a-Smile when I get the box filled.

This color challenge has been fun (and helped me make good use of fabrics I already own).  I can't wait to see what color is picked for April!