Skagit Valley Sprint

Skagit Valley Sprint

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jumping on the Bandwagon

To bring you my entry for the Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side. First of all, thank you Amy for organizing this twice a year event and thank you to all the sponsors that donated prizes! It's always fun and inspiring to gaze at all the quilts that are entered and read their corresponding stories...when I checked my blog today after work, there were already over 200 entries!
Not one to be left out, I sat down at the machine this evening after dinner and finished quilting my entry around 8pm..Fast forward a few hours and it's now almost 1:30 in the am on the West Coast and this bit of quilty loveliness is all bound and hanging on the design wall. So, here I am, almost 2am on an early Saturday morning, full of creative energy and well, doesn't it just make sense to take the time to blog about it now, rather than wait until (later this) morning? My DH would totally disagree with this rationale, telling me that we creative peeps are lunatics to stay up so late to finish a project...all while toddling his way off to the bedroom to go to bed! What can I say? I'm a nightowl and one must take advantage of creative energy while it's flowing, right?!
Okay! Now, onto the story behind the quilt...Once upon a time (hey! I'm getting punchy here...give me a break!) I started and finished the top to this quilt for a coworker's (Jackie) baby shower back in early August (another late-night adventure) using the tutorial by Oh Fransson! A week or so later, a beautiful baby girl was born on August 8th, while my family and I were celebrating in Montana my Mother-in-Law's 60th birthday AND mine and my DH's 20th wedding anniversary. Sometime in September I got around to piecing the back, sandwiching and pin-basting it, started the quilting and... lost my momentum. It had a little (well a lot really) to do with an emergency trip to Montana for less celebratory reasons and more recently yet another trip to Montana for my Mother-in-Law's funeral.  So here we are almost a month later...let me add here that I didn't finish the quilt just so that I would have an entry, but more so, because Jackie is coming back to work on Tuesday and well, between the two, it was just the push I needed to get it done! She brought her beautiful girls into the office on Wednesday and I got some snuggle-time with her newest addition, who was smiling and cooing and smelling all baby-like....ahhhhh, life renewed!
 What have I learned in making this quilt? That puckers in the backing continue to be a nemesis for me! I'm hoping that they will blend in after it's washed an machine dried, but if not... Jackie's Mom is a fellow quilter, Jackie understands the quirks come with all things handmade...I know that this quilt will be well-loved and well-used. Furthermore, I love the bright colors, it was fun, quick and easy to make and I would definitely make another one (in fact, I have the fat quarters set aside on the ironing board!)
So here it is...take into consideration, the hour at which the photo was taken...I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to get this posted...well, ahem, so I guess it is tomorow, being 2-something now in the am...uh, that would be my cue to put my weary self to bed...good night all!  Good morning...again! I couldn't leave y'all with that awful photo from last night on the design are a couple more artistically pleasing shots taken outside...thought you might like to see the back as well!!  Enjoy your perusing of all the lovely quilts...I am off now to do that myself

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It was another hard, sorrowful week.  My Mother-in-Law Linda passed away on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.  Her funeral was this last Monday, the 10th at the Belgrade Baptist Church.  My family and I hopped in the car and made the long, 9 hour, 545 mile journey to Belgrade, Montana, traveling with my husband's cousins and aunt.  Though the journey's purpose was mournful, we had a good time texting, making facebook posts and drag-racing along the way.  We arrived and helped assemble poster-boards full of photos taken throughout the many years of Linda's life, we had a campfire in the back yard and visited with not-often-seen relatives and as a tribute to her, I made a floral arrangement full of the flowers that she loved, sunflowers, roses, carnations, gladiolas and her favorite of all...butterflies.  We attended the memorial service and listened for an hour as many in the congregation shared stories of Linda and how she touched their lives. Pastor Curtis's eulogy was more of a reflection on Linda's Bible study notes and how, despite the disappointment of the certain death she faced, Linda still read scripture and studied God's word in search of of the last things she told me is that everything would be alright and to read my Bible...and I mean to do just that (I have been lax in that department)

I learned many things during those 4 days, some of them disappointing as many of you I'm sure can identify with, given the nature of people...I learned that a wife and a mother can't possibly console a husband and 2 young men at once (even worse is that my boys are impossibly tall, which makes hugging difficult) that it's beyond heartbreaking to watch your children experience life-changing loss, knowing that you can't begin to comfort them or take away the pain they are going through.  That Linda was a woman of deep abiding faith despite what had to have been a huge disappointment to learn that she was losing her fight against  leukemia and lymphoma.  Despite that disappointment, she still was eager to let you know that she wasn't afraid to go, that she knew her Lord and Savior AND most important of all, she wanted her friends and family to know Him too...which brings me to the real purpose for this post.

Bible study...

As you can see, I was given a Bible by my church when I should have gone through Confirmation in 7th grade.  In high school, I became a Christian and started reading the Bible, even taking a class my senior year called Bible as Lit.  We read through the entire Bible as if it were common literature, this was back in 1982-3 and you could still recite the pledge of Allegiance but any Bible study had to take place off-campus. I attended those weekly studies and have attended church over the years, but still am left with a burning question of how does one go about studying God's word???...this is where YOU might come there a certain book that you would recommend? I've known enough to read a Proverbs and a Psalm a day.  I've listened and read Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen's tv show and podcast, but still that curiosity remains...WHERE to begin? I am open for suggestion on where to begin this journey...

On a quilty note, I hope to regain the creative spirit soon...there's much to finish; ome small section of machine quilting on a baby quilt for a sweet little miss born in (cringe) August, the camper quilt, one more section of large stitch hand quilting on the bento box swap quilt, some stitches to pick (and re-cutting a couple of rectangles that I just didn't pay attention to the proper size) on the portrait gallery quilt, courage to either lop off the edges of some hexies or hand sew the borders on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt and do some applique on the final large border...yes, I so need to get out of my funk and get motivated!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye

It's been a rough week, and for as rough of a week as my family and I have had, it's been a lot worse for my dear Mother In Law Linda.  She has battled Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for 15 years and Large Cell Diffused Lymphoma for the last year or so and now, her fight is ending. Hospice has been called in to make her last days comfortable, my husband's cousin Amy (who was a bridesmaid in our wedding 20 years ago) has flown in from Boise, Idaho to be her constant caregiver (it's what she does for a living) and we couldn't have left her in more capable and loving hands.  It became evident that chemo wasn't working, so we (my DH and sons) packed our bags and headed to Montana to give my F-I-L Mark and S-I-L Connie a break. It turns out that we were fortunate enough to spend the last lucid days that Linda would have with her and my In-Laws. It was the hardest and most blessed week that I have ever had, sharing last moments and conversations with her. But, saying goodbye and watching my DH and sons say goodbye and struggle with emotions about ripped my heart out! Oh, if I could only take that pain from all of them, I would bear it myself in a heartbeat, just to save them from the agony of it all! After phone calls from family tonight, it seems that the end is very near and I pray that it is, that she would finally be at peace and without pain.  That is my prayer for her... 2 Timothy 4:6-8 comes to mind when I reflect on her iminent passing..."For I am already being poured out as a drink offering and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." I love you Linda Hall, may you rest in heavenly peace until we see you again...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival

My entry for this Spring's Blogger's Quilt Festival is this baby quilt that my friend Patty commissioned me to make for her soon-to-be grandson Eli. I was a bit apprehensive about making a quilt for someone and being paid for it, I had never done that before, so of course I was more than nervous. What if she didn't like it? That is always in the back of my mind whenever I make something for someone, which in every case up until now has always been in the form of a gift for that person. Somehow, being paid just upped the antey...I know that many of you quilt on commission, so my story isn't all that unique, but I haven't had a lot of luck making things for or with the peeps with whom I work. Putting that aside, I decided to give it a go anyway and she absolutely loved it (phew)! It was a fun quilt to make, the tutorial can be found on Moda Bake Shop's website...I ADORE the colors, it went together easily and quilting was a breeze, but best of all, Patty AND her daughter loved it...that is worth more than any money I might have made. Go check out all the other entries, but set aside some me time...there's a bunch of beautiful quilts as always!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Day Late?...Maybe, but I'm a Happy Mom just the same!

About noon on Monday, while attempting to fish at a place not very near here, the phone rang.  It was my OB calling to tell us to stop what we were doing and get our fannies down to John Day.  He, my parents and another fishing buddy, affectionately named "Brucie" couldn't seem to keep a pole in the water for all the fish they were catching. In essence, they had caught 5 adult Chinooks and a Jack and lost or had to release 10 more, which is a beyond-awesome day of fishing! Each person is allowed 2 adults and 4 Jacks (but once you catch your 2 adults, fishing is over for the day for you)
Being an obedient sibling, we loaded up and headed South!
Upon arrival, we disembarked the vehicles, said our hellos and the next thing heard was the clanging of a bell and sweet music to my ears when my OB yelled "fish on"!
There was a lull in the activity for about an hour and a half...some napping occurred (that's my Daddy and OB) more quilting was done on the Modern Bento Swap quilt, the second section is all but finished...a barge went by and DH caught one!

After that excitement, a sucker was caught, a sturgeon was hooked and cut free before it peeled all the line off the reel and Brucie hooked into and fought  about a 35lb wild fish that had to be released, then it was time for dinner and the trip home.  All in all, a VERY good day of fishing!!!  Sadly, the season ends today for Springer season below John Day, but I couldn't be happier with the late Mom's Day fish!!!

Can you guess what's on the menu tonight??? That my friends, is heaven on the bbq!!! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Good News and the Bad News

First let me preface with saying that yes, I know that today is Mother's Day, but if you haven't realized it by now, I'm a pretty non-traditional Mom. This being said, my day did not start with breakfast in bed, surrounded by my boys and DH...(yeah, that would NEVER happen...and I'm fine with that). Nope, my day started when the alarm blasted into my consciousness at the unbelievable hour of 3am (yes I did say 3). DS1 and DS2 bought me roses and chocolate last night when they came home from the rodeo and that was a complete surprise, but I digress...
It's Spring Chinook season on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and there are, according to the fish counts, thousands of fish going over the dams. In layman's terms that means that it is supposed to worth getting up uber early to go "plunking".  We arrived @ 4 and there were already people there! The bad news portion of my story is that out of 15 people along the banks in our area only 1 fish was caught and it was wild and had to be released. This is what they are supposed to look like:
The good news is that due to the lack of any fish biting/ catching/ netting excitement I was able to get some a lot of hand quilting done on my modern bento swap quilt, off and on about 7 hours worth! The other good news is that it wasn't quite warm enough for any rattlesnakes to make an appearance!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What I've been doing instead of quilting

There's been quite alot of this....
Practices on Wednesday evenings and a game
or two every Saturday and me w/o a portable project!
Not that one could concentrate with all that action going on, but it would be nice to occupy the endless between game times.

Besides, this is what my sewing area looks like at the moment...not exactly inspiration for creativity is it?
There have been fundraisers.

Terra, the beautiful redhead to the right of the podium and two of her classmates took upon themselves for their senior projects the goal of purchasing 25 thirty-two inch plasma tv's for the pediatric oncology ward at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. Unbeknownst to me, but chemotherapy affects the eyesight of patients, making images on a small screen a blur.  Since many children who are being treated for cancer are in the hospital for weeks at a time, Terra's goal was to make the passing of time a little more pleasant.

The monetary goal was $15,000.  With the help of the Tri City Optomist Club, the generosity of many, many local business and the overwhelming support of those who attended the silent auction and dinner, the total donations came in at an unbelievable $30,000!!! The girls and I in our office (Terra's Mom Shelly is one of 5 clerks in the office) helped out collecting bids, counting all that $$$ and checking folks in.
Earlier in the month, my husband and I attended another fundraiser for a good friend, camping cohort and  coworker of DH's, who recently discovered that he had testicular cancer. Grant is a trooper for the Washington State Patrol in the Kennewick Detachment and the vibrant husband and father to Heather and their precocious son Logan. After it was discovered that he had cancer, surgery was quickly scheduled to remove the affected area, it was then that his lab work came back to reveal two more cancers! So in March, he and his family went to the University of Washington hospital for a more complicated surgery that left him with a scar that reaches from chest to groin and down both thighs.  He is currently cancer free, recovering well and due to return to light duty soon.  The local FOP sold wristbands and had a spaghetti feed in his honor and has raised several thousands of dollars to help defray expenses for Grant and his family. I had the honor of snapping this photo of his squad sporting their wristbands!
And last but not least, I had the pleasure of photographing the Every 15 Minutes Program at Riverview High School.  My photos were then converted into a slide presentation set to music for the assembly the next day to bring awareness to the young people in high school of the very real tradedy of drinking and driving. Oh my gosh it was an emotional 2 days! If I can get my hands on some of the pictures or better yet, the slideshow, I will try to share that with you. But in the meantime, my former Lieutenant loaned me is Canon EOS digital SLR to play with!!!  I am completely in love with it and will be plotting the next bank heist in order to purchase one for myself!!! (disclaimer...any mention of bank robbery in this blog is COMPLETELY for humor-sake and is NOT intended in ANY form of premeditation should a local financial instution become the victim of any such heinous crime) Anyways, let me leave you with a few more inspiring photographs and I hope that you enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend Fun

My DH and I were scheduled to take off for Portland Friday after I got home from work at 5. In all his great wisdom, Mr InAwe talked me into taking a vacation day so that we could leave earlier and I'm so glad that I did! It was a gorgeous warm spring day, perfect for a leisurely drive through the Columbia Gorge and we had an agenda...He wanted to stop below John Day Dam to see if anyone was catching salmon and I wanted to snap pictures...after his stop, we went to the Maryhill Museum, wandered around admiring the vast art collection (it wasn't until I snapped my last photo that I was informed that they don't allow flash photography...BIG oops on my part...does that make me uncultured?) Anyhoo...there were displays of gilt furniture built by Queen Marie of Romania who dedicated the museum back in 1926, I have always been fascinated by icons, there is something about the face of the virgin Mary, that is so dreamy, introspective and ethereal that it has always intrigued me.
 There were sculptures by Rodin and a huge collection of Northwestern Native American artifacts, baskets, handmade tools, headdresses, baby bundling boards, beadwork, trade beads and handcarved items...just fascinating stuff.

 There was an occasional dam, a picturesque barn ...just total eye candy along the way! And of course, what trip from Washington to Oregon would be complete without a stop at Multnomah Falls, after braving the congestion of the parking lot, of course?!!
 The weekend was a complete success, I found Trader Joe's, bought cases of wine (okay 2), yummy (you can't find that kind where I'm from) hummus and pita chips, experienced the Hollywood District of Northeast Portland....
 Where at Trader Joe's (a much prized destination only enjoyed in the Western region of Washington State ...ahem, I live in DEEP Eastern Washington)...I saw a bumper sticker that read, "keep Portland weird"...the unvoice question was answered upon the arrival at our next stop, Safeway, where in the parking lot, there was a circa 1980-something black hearse being loaded with groceries by, none-other-than a midget decked out in goth-attire and his/her (I say she was female, DH insists he was male...I suppose it was anybody's I tried to as-politely-as-possible not to stare-but so wanted to take a picture with the phone camera) yes, you can say total culture shock, it's quite appropriate here, but funny nonetheless! I even subjected DH to my maiden voyage of Fabric Depot. He was pleased to find that they had a "man cave" and I was completely in awe/smitten/overwhelmed  by the fabric choices! I was informed upon checkout (by DH, not the staff) that I had spent 90 minutes (is that all?!) browsing...he so, doesn't realize how lucky the budget faired by my only spending $51....really!!! (thinking there should some sort of award here for ultimate restraint) Perhaps now is a good time to mention that DH's choice of preferred retail therapy was to peruse the fine establishment known as Camping World, just so you know that it wasn't all about me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Getting There

Progress is slow, but this was never meant to be a race to get it done kind of project. More so, it's been something that I've savored along the way, enjoying the process of handstitching...of sitting around the campfire chatting and sewing...of sitting in the car, listening to the radio on a roadtrip when the scenery is boring and the conversation has begun to dwindle (or when they are talking boy-stuff) I've developed quite the callus on my middle needle-pushing finger too and my fingers fall asleep more than I would like them to, but I'm enjoying the whole process.  It's getting there, I can just about see the finish, I'm working on the borders now, so my thoughts wander to what kind of flowers I'm going to applique on the final border and should I machine or hand quilt this one? There was a kind lady at the quilt show over the weekend who was handquilting  with a hoop on a vintage GFG, it was fun to pick her brain, asking what kind of batting she used, how slack or taught the quilt should be in the hoop, how she knotted the thread when she reached the end of a length. The kind of questions that (for me anyway) that can only be answered by watching someone do it instead of trying to figure it out for myself with pictures and/or instructions on fact it inspired me to finish up the left-hand border that night and though it's not quite a "ta-da!" moment, I think that you'll agree that I've made quite a bit of fact, I think that I'm in love with this one!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Saturday Inspiration

The area where I live in Washington state has two local quilting guilds that every March co-host a show and vendor's market at the Three Rivers Convention Center.  I've attended the last four or five years where I spend an hour or three happily wandering  the aisles of quilts, contented to snap pictures at my little heart's content. This year was no exception, except that my DH accompanied me (bless his heart) instead of a dear co-worker who is my usual companion...alas, poor Kim went on vacation to Southern California for the Christmas holidays, injured her foot badly while there, is still hobbling around on crutches and hasn't returned to work since!
There were many lovely quilts, wonderfully made and to-die-for quilted (it is on my bucket list to actually enter a quilt in this or any show for that matter) but the quilters here don't seem to embrace the "modern" quilting designs which really excite my eye. Still, I had a wonderful day, gazing at them, snapping pictures for inspiration and dodging everyone else there who was doing exactly the same as I...which is probably at this point in my happy tale that I should apologize...that while dodging said peeps, my photo angles and the composition of those photos suffered along with my patience in getting a nice photo for you to view!

The first two that you see above, are right up my alley colorwise,vibrant and exciting. I'm loving orange at the moment as a new favorite color, but pink,pink and pink will ALWAYS be my go-to color of choice! Last year, Judy Niemeyer was the featured artist, I soooo admire her work, would die and go to heaven to take a class of hers (as intimidating as that might be...) and so, that remains on my to-do list of quilts yet to be made as is the lonestar quilt, like the one above!!  I love the fussy-cut flowers that circle the inner star...yummy!
I have yet to attempt much of anything with black as a focal color, but love the way that the blue green and purple just pop!

I love this one with retro prints, appliqueed and reminds me of Grandma's house. 

Since I have a house full of hunters, myself included (hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em I always say...and if it means that I am out hiking and enjoying the beauty of God's splendor, well then it's a lot more enjoyable than sitting in camp and doing the breakfast dishes!) I (and my DH) admired this one...

Not exactly my color scheme, but the design is wonderfully geometric and I have to admire someone who would cut all those tiny pieces of fabric, on purpose!
Hexagons...need I say more?! I can't seem to get over my love of them  :  )
And polka, love, love them too!!!