Friday, May 31, 2013

Triplets Born!

The most important email I got today was one revealing that the triplets have been born healthy and Mom is doing fine. Details are sketchy but I'm delighted to know that my friend, Sharon's, daughter, Beth has such beautiful babies! Now I really must get labels on these quilts for them!!! At last, Sharon is a grandma! Congratulations to all the family!
Today was dreadfully hot and I needed to be out in it to run an errand and it was miserable as I do not have any AC in my car. I sure was glad to get home, where my two little window units were keeping the house so pleasant.
Felix was so proud to show me how he had nicely mowed the backyard. I was horrified that he had mistakenly gone over the mulch line of my flower bed and mowed down all the perennial plants there. Sigh. He meant well and he was crushed that he had goofed up.
 Maybe the coreopsis will survive? I hope so!
My neighbor, Ilse, is eighty years old and brought me a very small printed panel of American birds that had been badly cut unevenly around the sides. She wants to send it to her brother and very dear sister-in-law. I would think that the piece was probably made in the forty's or fifty's but the colors are still very vibrant. I added borders to fill out the unevenness and hope to machine quilt it tomorrow.
Happy sewing!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

43 Years!

We didn't do traditional "night out" anniversary celebrations tonight on our 43rd wedding anniversary, but had lots of fun teasing each other as we spent our day. If I had it to do all over again, I'd still marry the same guy.
Happy sewing!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One Very Special Veteran

Monday was a glorious day for the Alton, New Hampshire Memorial Day parade down Main Street to the cemetery for the presentations of a wreath.
My next door neighbor, Al Constant, is a very special veteran who spent much of his life in the army. Now retired, he has lovingly restored this army Jeep from the Vietnam era to working condition just to be able to drive it in this parade. The morning was quite chilly early on and he had trouble getting it started. But he made it go!
Matthew and I cheered Al on with so much pleasure at seeing Al so happy and proud.
After the parade, we drove back to Al's house to present him with my gift of the quilt that most of you regular followers know as "Mr. Bojangles" which is the song that I couldn't get out of my head as I sewed the Civil War reproduction snowball/9-patches together.
What is different about this quilt is that the "snowballs" are carrying the darker colors rather than the traditional lights. But it still gives the illusion of the "Twisted Ribbons", as it is also known, from a distance.

Al was so very surprised to receive this quilt and he must've said "thank you" a hundred times.
I wanted to open the quilt all the way up so that he could see it, but he was horrified that it might touch the ground.
I'm sort of laughing that I presented Al with his warm quilt just before the big heat wave is scheduled to hit, but he couldn't have cared about that!
He even is so generous that he is going to let me put it into the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild quilt show in the fall. Thank you, Al, for your service!

Happy sewing everybody!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank You, Veterans!

Although we are not a military family, I am very grateful to all of the armed services for their sacrifices.
Memorial Day Observance

Our freedom isn't free, they have paid dearly for it. Thank you!
This picture was taken last year of my next door neighbor, Al Constant, and our mutual friend, Jack Wigandt, as they posed with Al's Vietnam-era army Jeep that he has lovingly restored for the hometown parades. Nice work, Al!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday's Excursion

Scrap saving and grooming is a fun little activity for when I am unsure of what I want to do next. Last winter, my very dear internet friend, Nann, whose delightful blog link is here, sent me a huge mess of Civil War scraps. I use that word "mess" in the highest sense of the word, like when my Grampa Park Parkhill had caught "a fine mess of fish!"
I have fun pressing the more wrinkled ones and then figuring out just how to cut each into whatever shapes that I know I'll use. I like 2 1/2" strips, 2" strips, 2 1/2" squares, and 2" squares, (my postage stamps). When I have a generous trimming off a strip, that goes into the "Wanda box" for my dear friend Wanda. Smaller-than-2" pieces go into my crumb box for the Girl Scouts to make art collages. Threads and wisps go into the cotton fiber for a friend who makes animal beds by mixing the waste cotton fibers 50% with polyfil, so that it is fluffy and won't clump when washed by the shelter. Here is the shelf where the two inch postage stamps are temporarily stacked.
On a lower shelf, closer to my machine, are the stacks of 2 1/2" squares, always at the ready to be grabbed as a leader/ender.
I worked a few of these into four-patches yesterday and then pressed them.
My basket of two-ish inch strips has been in recent use making more log cabins. There are a nice variety of lights showing on top.
And no, I have not stopped making the Civil War scrappy log cabins just because the triplets baby quilts are done. I am thoroughly addicted to making these!

What makes them a ball to do is never knowing just what strip I'll get to use next! I drop the block face down over the face up strip as it goes through the machine and then finger-press and trim with scissors. Yes, they are a little wonky, but so am I, LOL!

Today when the sun broke through the week's worth of rain and clouds, I wanted to celebrate! I took myself on an adventure with no planning, just spur-of-the-moment and GO! An hour and 35 miles later, I was at Kathie's Quilt Shoppe in Sanford, Maine.
"Deborah" of Kathie's, helped me to pick out some neat stuff!
She found a burgundy floral that would play nicely with my burgundy floral. Then there was that fabulously intricate floral creamy neutral that had come from the 35% off-if-you-finish-the-bolt bin.
I couldn't possibly go to Kathie's, without stopping a Marden's, too, now could I?

I picked out a few remnants and two single one-yard pieces in the same burgundy for 4.49 a yard.
The brown remnant with the cream I just couldn't resist! I think that they all play very nicely, don't you?
Happy sewing!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Friendship Quilt

Two weeks ago, my Felix hit a rock with his mower and bent a blade. He went to install a set of new ones, only to discover that they were the wrong size. The next day he was off to Sears to return the wrong blades and was able to get the right blades, but it started raining so he could not install them on the mower. By the time he was able to get them installed, it was raining for a week with damp nights in between such that the grass was always wet. Now our grass is so high that I fully expect someone to pull over and inquire about buying our crop of hay, LOL!
The constant rain and dampness has caused great growth of my huge backyard wisteria vine.

The damned thing is almost twenty years old and last year it finally had one single bloom. Now, this year, it has, again, ONE bloom. The foliage is eating the house, crawling up everywhere like kudzoo.
It is so far up that I cannot reach the bloom to smell it, but I recall from last year that it was delightfully scented.
I made a quilt this month for my very dear friend Wanda, whose Mother passed away on the fourth of May. It wasn't the type of quilt that will ever win any awards, but it was sent straight from my heart!
This "Sunshine & Shadows" quilt was made from two inch strip log cabins to symbolize both the happy and the sad times of life. I shipped it out a week ago and Wanda already received it and called me to thank me, crying most of the time.
The backing is a large Monet inspired floral and the batting was a thin white cotton hospital sheet that I thought would be perfect for the very hot weather that the Florida panhandlers must endure.
I quilted this myself in an edge-to-edge scribble of overlapping ovals in multicolored threads, but mostly a light pink. It's not showy but it will hold the quilt together.
What struck me about this quilt was that I embraced the use of blues in it. For some reason, I seem to avoid using blue, I don't know quite why. I'm just so glad that I completed it and sent it off to my dear friend.
For those of you who do not know it, Wanda has sustained 3 major strokes at age 58 and has lost the use of the left side of her body. She was a quilter and has trained herself to still sew at the machine almost every day. But it is very hard for her to cut strips. When I found this out, I began sending her packages of randomly cut strips for her string quilts. I can't afford to be a big philanthropist funding huge college scholarships, but I can send Wanda some strips now and then. She has sent me two small quilts that I treasure. Her husband Dave helps her by tying them.

The label is a bit hard to read in this blurry picture on the red mini hearts calico, but it says, "Friendship Quilt for Wanda Nordby by Victoria Carroll-Parkhill Gilmanton Iron Works, NH 2013".

Happy sewing!

Friday, May 17, 2013


There is a very special project that I have been working on since about January. It is a set of matching quilts for three very unusual babies. They are triplets to be born, (I think in July) and will be my friend Sharon's first grandchildren. The triplet's Mom, Sharon's daughter, is Beth, who happens to love American antiques. So my quilts for them are scrappy log cabins, all done in Civil War reproduction fabrics with different flannel backings.
I wanted to create a set that had good continuity of sameness, with enough subtle differences to also be individualized quilts, too.
There are two little girls and one little boy, so I made two Barnraising (or Wreaths) in reversed lights/darks for the two little girls, and one Fields & Furrows (or Streak of Lightening) for the little boy child.
All the bindings are the same; they were done in a solid paperbag brown broadcloth. I just finished the last binding this morning. You may click on a picture to enlarge it to see the fabrics better. If you love seeing lots of creative baby quilts, I've linked up over at the Michelle's Romantic Tangle blog, too. The link is here.
The quilting was done at Ellen Peters' studio by me with the same Baptist Fans pattern on each one. I thought that would reinforce the concept that they are a set. Warm and Natural was the batting choice.
The red chimney centers are very traditional and they are all the same fabric throughout each quilt to give them unity.
Because the blocks are scrappy, they have a little bit of a playful wonkiness to them that I find charming. I just kept adding strips until the blocks were large enough to trim down to 10" square, and that finished at 9 1/2" in the quilts.
One of the girl's wreaths has roses on cream flannel backing,
And the second girl's wreath has country apples on a teal flannel background.
The boy's backing is a plain chocolate brown flannel.
Each quilt is 16 blocks set 4 by 4 and they measure out at about 38" square, although They have not been washed yet and still need labels.
I know that they don't look like "Baby" quilts with duckies and bunnies, but they were made with all my love and prayers for these very special dear babies. I was never a Mom, so there are no grandchildren for me, so I am very happy for my dear friend and sewing buddy, Sharon.

Happy sewing!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Small Adjustments

Today was Friday and it was way back on Tuesday that I was quilting at Ellen Peters' studio. But YIKES!!!! my muscles in my right side of my back were screaming today. For some reason with my body, it's the day after the day after that all Hell breaks loose whenever I have over-exerted myself.
So I took a couple of asprins and got my wonderful Felix to rub me down with Ben Gay Extra Strength liniment.
Here are the promised pictures of the new loot from the clothesline after I prewashed them:
I'm definitely getting into some lovely reds lately!
But there were some greens and indigos that I liked, too.
And who can pass by a well designed floral?
I love the lights, too
Poor Felix went to mow and hit a big rock that bent this closer mower blade!
It seems that there is always something to be repaired.
Meanwhile, the lawn is filled with Quaker Ladies (Bluets), dandelions, white and purple varieties of violets, so I really don't mind if the mowing is delayed!

Lastly, we said a fond farewell to "Buddy" who was reunited with the mother of his owner, who will care for him very nicely until her son is back out on parole. He was very happy to see her and she cried to see him!
Buddy was a fine guest and we are delighted that the story has a happy ending!

Happy sewing!

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