Monday, October 31, 2011

A True Friend and a Finish!


"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints in our hearts and we are never, ever the same." Flavia Weedn

I want to show you my latest finished quilt, but before I do,  I first need to tell you about the very special person that it was made for.

 So let me tell you about my friend, Patti.

In the late 80’s, when my husband, children and I packed up and moved from city life to live in the rural foothills, we left all our dearest friends behind.  I considered the fact that I might never have those kinds of friendships ever again.  It made me sad.   These kind of friendships take years to develop.  I was leaving friendships that I had had since my early teens.  We had been together through the thick and thin.  Friends that I knew would be there for me at the drop of a hat, in a matter of minutes.  And I would do the same for them in return.  These were girlfriends that meant the world to me.  My girlfriends have always been very precious to me, and now I was leaving them all behind.  I remember one evening right after we had moved, the realization hit me that I might never have those kind of friendships ever again.  I cried out to God and prayed that God would send me a special friend.  God knew I needed that womanly closeness.  I thought it might be impossible to find that kind of relationship again, but it was a need I had and I prayed that God would bless me with a new friend.

Several weeks later, I met Patti.  She was like no one else I had ever known.  She was very  sure of herself and her faith, very confident, so giving, loving and caring.   She offered her friendship right from the start.  Did she see something in me that made her so open to me, or was she like that with everyone?  I had no idea, but I was drawn to her immediately.  And it wasn’t as if she needed me.  I soon discovered that she had dozens of woman friends, a terrific husband and two beautiful daughters and they all loved her deeply.   She was a woman of God, who was not afraid to share her weaknesses, and through her weaknesses, I saw her strengths.  We immediately had the bond of loving Jesus and desiring to grow in our faith, day by day.  Our children took classes together at a dance studio, so this gave us the opportunity to spend many hours together during their classes.  We would talk about our lives, our husbands, our loves, our desires, our children and our dreams.  As the years went on,  the kids grew older and Patti, our husbands and I, would attend sporting, school and church events and we watched and cheered on our kids as they participated.  We had so much in common it was unreal.  But of course God knew this all along as Patti had been the answer to my prayer that I had prayed many years before.

Patti was always there for me.  She was there  when I just needed some girl-talk or womanly insight as well as during the most difficult times.  She was there when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable. Even though it must have been painful to be around me during my most difficult and darkest trials, she was there, willing to offer herself in whatever way I needed, and lifting my family up in her prayers.  She was there for me when I was so helpless and weak with life’s pains.  And most importantly, she always encouraged me by pointing me back to the One that always offers direction, comfort and love: our Jesus. 
A true friend!  That is what Patti is!

Fast forward to 2011. 

We have moved once again, this time many hundreds of miles away from my dear friend. But I am comforted to know, we will always be close friends, no matter how many miles separate us. Last January I decided I wanted to do something super special for Patti’s birthday, to show Patti how much she means to me and thank her in some small way for all the love and support she has given to me and our family. Our children are grown up and have their own lives now, but we still have that bond of friendship that I am confident will always be there.  What a precious gift God gave me, when He sent Patti as an answer to my prayer.  But, what could I do for my friend?  So a special gift for her birthday?   What gift could I give that would give her a small idea of how much she means to me?  The closest thing I could think of, would be a gift of a quilt:  a hand-quilted quilt!   So last January, I determined that I would start and finish a quilt, just for her.  Patti collects birdhouses and I just happened to have a whole stack of birdhouse blocks that were part of an online swap back in the year 2000.  Never knew what I would make with them at the time, but a quilt, made with love for my friend, seemed like the perfect surprise birthday gift.  There is no way to repay such a gift of friendship, but something as near and dear to me as a hand-quilted quilt, was the closest I could come.

So Eleven months later….

It took  almost 11 months and several hundred hours of designing, cutting, sewing and quilting, but it is finally finished!  It is and was my “top secret quilt” that I have shared bits and pieces about before on this blog. 

I am finally able to share it with you.  I hope Patti likes it.  My prayer is that every time Patti looks at her quilt, she realizes just how much she means to me and when she uses her quilt, she will remember how much she is loved!

Well, here it is…..all wrapped up and ready to give!

The quilt in all her glory...

Close-up.  Click to see hand-quilting.  For the first time I used King Tut variegated thread!  The variegated thread sure shows off the stitches! This is both a good and bad thing!

excerpt from "True Friend" by Twila Paris

You are a true friend

Pointing me to Him

Lifting my downcast eyes

Turning my wandering gaze to the sky

Proving your love again....

You are a true friend

You are a true friend!

Hope you like it, Patti.  
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY my precious friend!! 

I am linking this post to the Quilt festival, if you click on the link above the button it will take you over there where you can visit heaps and heaps of talented quilters and their lovely quilts!  Enjoy your own personal quilt show!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Devil's Puzzle by Clare O'Donohue

 Clare O'Donohue  has a new book out, "The Devil's Puzzle".  She is a quilter who writes a murder mystery series featuring a group of quilters!  Doesn't that sound great??!!  Well over at Bumblebeansinc they had a giveaway for Clare's new book and I WON it!  Yippee!  I just received it today and can hardly wait to get reading it!  Thanks so much Claire and  If you are interested in purchasing your own copy, go to CLARE'S PAGE
Happy Quilting,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Baby Shower!

Well, the long awaited and anticipated baby shower for baby Luke, due to be born in December, was this last Saturday!  I had been working on Luke's quilt for a couple of months, which would be considered a "RUSH job" for me.  No time for hand-quilting on this one.  When I asked my precious daughter-in-law what her color preferences would be and what she might like for a quilt, her request stopped me in my tracks.  It was totally out of my comfort zone!  Her idea came from a quilt I had made for her husband, our son, when  he was around 4 years old or so.  I had used a medium brown sheet and appliqued a little boy with a fishing pole over his shoulder.  It turned out, "ok".  Nothing I was really proud of, but my son loved it and still has it in his possession.  I  was just a beginning quilter in those days, and decided it would be better to just 'tie' the quilt with yarn rather than hand-quilt it.  So, overall it was pretty plain.

See what I mean?  A bit plain, and now tattered, faded and old.  It is one of my earliest quilts (circa 1980) but most importantly, it was well used and loved.

So, being in my DDIL's possession, she thought how wonderful it would be to have something similar for their son to have on his bed.  It would be like carrying on a "tradition" of sorts.  Since the theme of the baby's room would be cowboys, she suggested a little cowboy holding a guitar (our son is an avid guitar player).

Well, I love my DDIL like crazy (!) and would do anything for her.  A large applique on a quilt?  Yikes!   Much later she told me that in her mind she was thinking this would be much easier for me, since instead of small pieces like in a regular quilt, I would be using much larger pieces, and therefore it would go together quickly and would be much easier for me.  (not so much.... LOL!)  I spent many, many nights (and days) thinking about how I was going to accomplish this request.  I am NOT an artist at all!  I seriously have trouble drawing stick figures.  Seriously!  How in the world would I draw this up, make pattern pieces, and then applique it?  What colors and kinds of fabrics for each part?  How should I applique it?  Should I put Luke's name on it too?  Could I do all of this in TWO months??  I had no idea, but........ "Thank God for the internet for ideas!"  

Over a couple of days, I found several pictures that were cartoon-like that were little cowboys.   My husband offered to draw it up for me.  He  'copied' the cowboy idea using several sources and pictures for inspiration, and drew it up on a large piece of poster board.

Then, I took tracing paper and traced each and every piece/part.  I then used those as pattern pieces to cut out both the fabrics and iron-on fusible web.  DDIL's colors were mostly baby blue and dark brown, so I tried to incorporate those colors in the quilt.  This involved lots of new fabric purchases and even a bit of shopping in my fabric stash for some other pieces.  ....... I was enjoying the process but and I kept remembering that my time to finish was ticking, ticking, ticking away!  Only two months, only two months.....

I vowed to work on it at least 2 hours everyday AT LEAST!  And I did, and I FINISHED it!!

Yesterday was the BIG day, and I since all the applique was sewn on by machine and the quilting was all done by machine - my new sewing machine - I finished with time to spare!  And with all the tossing and turning at night, trying to figure out how it was going to all get done,  I think it turned out pretty darn good!  And when you compare the OLD appliqued quilt to the new one..... well, I just don't think there is much to compare.  I guess I have learned a thing or two over the last 30 years of sewing!  LOL!  What do you think?

I am so happy it turned out.  You have no idea how I struggled trying to figure out how to sew the face: the eyes?  the lips?  the nose?  But it all turned out just fine and I think Luke will approve!

In my spare time,  :) - I also made a large portable changing pad that matches.  It folds in 4 sections and ties shut.

AND two very large, flannel receiving blankets....

And of course DDIL received many, many, many darling little boy outfits, onesies, toys, overalls, booties, etc.  Little Luke is blessed with lots of love even before he is born.

The shower was lovely!  Our daughter and my mother got to attend also!  Hubby stayed home to look after dad, so Mom could go to the shower, so it was a very special time for all us girls!

Look at the cake!  Isn't it amazing!?!  Everything on it was edible, too.

Now...... we all we have left to do, is wait for Luke's arrival.....

Happy Quilting,