Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One More in the Box

I finished up the quilting on one more quilt before the box to Wrap-Them-in-Love was sealed, so into the box and off to the Post Office it went!

Again, this one is way cuter than it looks.  My little camera doesn’t take photos of stripes and plaids very well.  They look distorted in the pics, but in real life they are great!
From the book "Take 5"
 And this quilt is another of those that turned out to be so soft … I like ‘em cuddly!  This detail pic shows the backing – I try to make the backs less busy, so the quilts have a fun side and a quiet side.
 I’m glad this one made it into the box!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spotlight on Betty Tisdale

Earlier this year, Ellen over at Wrap-Them-in-Love let us know about Betty Tisdale’s latest activities.
If you haven’t heard about Betty, you’ve missed out on a remarkable story about a most amazing woman.  Betty, who is now 90 years young, has been making a difference in children’s lives around the world through the organization that she founded called H.A.L.O. (Helping and Loving Orphans).  H.A.L.O. has founded schools and orphanages and taken part in many humanitarian efforts on behalf of children everywhere, but especially in developing countries.  In June of 2012, Betty was in Afghanistan to open up a baby orphanage.  She took 20 Wrap-Them-in-Love quilts with her and you can see some of them in the pictures on Betty’s Facebook page:

NBC featured Betty and her work in Kabul during a “Make a Difference” Special in July 2012, parts of which can be viewed at this link:  http://www.bettytisdale.com/dnn/

To learn more about this inspirational woman and read a short biography, go to H.A.L.O.’s website at:  http://www.bettytisdale.com/dnn/Founder/tabid/62/Default.aspx

I am happy to be able to send another box to Wrap-Them-in-Love next week with four of my most recent quilt finishes.  These four will be in the box:
Rogue's Gallery
Boy's Toys
Little Froggies (or was it Frog Pond?!)
Two of the quilts were made with Ellen’s mother’s fabric (Americana and Rogue’s Gallery), and those two are made in her memory.  The other two (Boy’s Toys and Little Froggies), I would like to dedicate to Betty Tisdale, and thank her for her work that brings such joy and light into the lives of children.  Thank you, Betty!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Full Day All to Myself to Quilt!

Finally, I had a full day to myself … what to do?
Ñ        I could garden – the weather is good right now.
Ñ        I could cook – we need cookies (who doesn’t?).
Ñ        I could clean house – not an option in my book.
Ñ        I could do laundry – no way!
Ñ        I could quilt ALL day – now there’s an idea who’s time has come!!!

I finished up quilting and binding the little Rogue’s Gallery quilt:

I quilted the Americana quilt (although it still needs to be bound).  I'll show the finished quilt later.

And I cut out the blocks for my latest – Polka Dots (or should that be Lots of Dots?) and started swing them together:
I’m lovin’ the brights in this one!  And the alternating dots and solids.  Just a fun quilt.

Aren’t days to all to yourself wonderful?!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Importance of Milkweed

I've heard that there are over 100 varieties of milkweed – and many of them are the host plant for the monarch butterfly.  Their common characteristics are the “milk” or white sap released when the plant is injured (or being eaten) and the seed pods that burst and disperse in downy puffs. 

I have several plants of the milkweed type known as “Tropical Milkweed” in my garden.  These are perennials that reseed themselves in my area – they have gorgeous, showy, orange and yellow blossoms and elongated leaves.
old photo of the plant before this year's buffet began
I grow them purely for the dining enjoyment of monarch butterflies (for the nectar) and monarch caterpillars (they devour the leaves until the stems are sticks).  The plants and leaves rebound rapidly after having been the entree on the caterpillar buffet.
But I have never seen so many caterpillars as this year - there were at least 5 within a 1 foot radius and one was less than ½ inch long – the smallest I’ve ever seen.  I had to rush out and locate a few more plants because they were munching so rapidly and I was afraid they would run out of food before they were ready to go into their chrysalis (pupa) stage!
they eat the flowers, too!
These caterpillars are truly eating machines.  They will chow down all day and when they feel stuffed too tightly, they will shed their skin and eat and grow some more!  Lynn Rosenblatt has a wonderful website that explains the entire life cycle of the beautiful monarch butterflies and the importance of the milkweed plant to their existence.  We need to heighten awareness and promote restoration of monarch habitats in our neighborhoods.  Please visit: http://www.monarchbutterflyusa.com/Cycle.htm

One note of caution – milkweed plants are poisonous to livestock.  Do not plant these if you live on a farm or have a pet that likes to chew!  Deer will stay away from them naturally.  And you will want to wash if the milky sap comes in contact with your skin as it can harm your eyes.   Just be careful …

Oh, and this is a boy monarch … the stem is almost in the way, but you can tell by the tiny black dots in the black lines on the butterfly’s lower wings – girls don’t have the dots.  True factoid!

Oh, and I did get some stars appliquéd onto the Americana top and added some borders – now on to quilting it!
the homespun doesn't photograph well as the
 plaid looks distorted, but it looks great in person!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recap of the Past Week

It’s been a busy week – I had to take my dog to an eye specialist for her semi-annual checkup (she’s fine) and then take my mother to an eye specialist (she’ll be fine – one more visit in store for her).

Then I had my monthly meeting for Quilts of Valor.  Those meeting are always great fun and we get so much done.  I was able to take my finished top to show:
Modified from a Fons & Porter magazine design
Everybody liked how I used those leftover triangles from their snowball blocks, so I was relieved.  Several others showed finished tops or quilts:
Debbie's Finished Quilt

Pat's Persimmon Quilts Mystery #20
Pat's Persimmon Quilts Mystery #24
And then we had a Binding Blitz:
All wound up - multiple layers in this box!
We have several scrappy quilts waiting for their bindings, so we used 2.5 inch scraps and made miles and miles of bindings – enough for the next 25 or so quilts!  I tell you, these ladies are the best!

And as a coincidence, I have a small patriotic quilt being assembled in my sewing room.  These were fabrics passed down to me from a lady that passed away that was a great supporter of Wrap-Them-in-Love, so this quilt will go to that organization.  It is a child-sized lap quilt.

 I’ll be adding borders and getting this one quilted soon.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus or Leif Erikson Day?

People in the US have celebrated Columbus’ 1492 voyage since colonial days, but the first official Columbus Day holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor McDonald in 1905, following lobbying by Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian in Denver.  Then in April 1934, President FD Roosevelt made October 12th a Federal Holiday named Columbus Day (after lobbying by the Knights of Columbus) – later the holiday was changed to the second Monday in October.
But now Americans are familiar with the idea that Vikings were the first discoverers of the New World.  It was back in 1874 that Rasmus B. Anderson published his book titled “America Not Discovered by Columbus” that gave credence to the idea of Vikings as the first European discoverers in the New World.  Wisconsin was the first state to officially adopt Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday and a year later Minnesota followed suit.  Seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan) now have October 9th as an official observance date of Leif Erikson Day.

Did you know that Hawaii and South Dakota are the two states that do not recognize Columbus Day at all?  Instead, Hawaii celebrates a Discoverer’s Day that commemorates the contributions of Polynesian voyagers.
And South Dakota celebrates Native American Day.
Nevada does not recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday, but its Governor is “authorized and requested” by statute to proclaim the day each year – what’s up with that, Nevada?!!

Here’s a free patriotic tablerunner from How Stuff Works.com to celebrate the occasion, whatever holiday you choose to celebrate today!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Week’s Progress

It’s time for a little update from this week’s sewing:
"    I finished quilting and binding the easy quilt with the last of the little happy froggy fabric that I loved.  This one will go to Wrap-Them-in-Love.

            PS  Do you see snakes or Loch Ness Monsters on the backing fabric?
I prefer thinking about Nessie – LOL

"    I finished up the little Rogue’s Gallery top that in no way turned out the way I had envisioned it!  Sometimes I wish I had an EQ program or used Paint to design my improvised quilts, but I know that those would just cut into my actual SEWING of quilts, so I get off of the computer…

"    And, I machine appliquéd a few sailboats for my rows of a Round Robin from the Sunshine Quilt Guild.  The center with the little twisters reminded me of winds and sea colors and the next row looked like night stars, so I thought the top needed a few sailboats.  Do you agree?
 Later this week I’ll be attending my local Quilts of Valor meeting, so I’ll have to finish up the top I’ve been working on.  I’m sure I'll get done in plenty of time to take it to the meeting:
 What’s on your sewing tables and design walls?!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

After the Vacation Sewing

You can get a lot done while you have a load of wash in the washing machine!  And I must admit that we had a lot of laundry after our vacation (sigh...).

I have been able to finish the red stars for the Quilt of Valor in process:
I was able to sew together the middle of the Rogue’s Gallery child’s quilt (still have to get to the store to get the orange polka dot fabric for the border):
And I was happy to finish quilting the borders and sew the binding on this quilt – the fabric is called Boy’s Toys.  It will go in the box to Wrap-Them-in-Love.

Detail of vehicles
 Only one more to go from that stack of 8!

And this is the Turtle of the Day in the Yard.  This is one of the biggest Box Turtles that I’ve seen around here.  Its shell was about 11 inches long.  I have no idea why we’re seeing these turtles in our back yard, but they’re fun …