Saturday, August 31, 2019

Isn’t He Cute

Isn’t he cute! He also has a story. 

He comes from the Fish Museum and Circus on-line shop owned by Deborah Fisher. She hand makes all the little ceramic curiosities in her shop. She puts out an email newsletter in which she lets the subscribers know when her on-line sales will become active. If you are interested in getting one of her pieces, you have to know this because her pieces sell out in minutes. (Of course, I didn’t know this when I was first trying to get one of her pieces.)

Anyway, she posted pictures of the next pieces that would come up for sale on Instagram. I really liked this little guy with the red sweater (who was behind another piece in the Instagram picture) and sent her a note that read, “I’m loving the little red-orange sweatered guy behind him. He makes me smile. That isn’t easy these days. I’m at the hospital with my husband who is in hospice. Thank you.” She wrote back, “Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear that. Sounds like you need a little extra love. When that guy comes out of the kiln, he is yours. Send me your address.” Well, I didn’t see her reply until after Nate died. When I saw it, I immediately answered her and sent her my address. I was thrilled that I’d get one of her pieces, thanked her SO much for putting one back for me, and asked her how much I owed her. She told me he was mine—for free—and just asked that I “pay it forward.” THANK YOU DEBORAH!

Needless to say, that made me cry (happy tears). He makes me smile whenever I see him. He traveled with me to my last quilt retreat and will be making appearances at ALL my retreats. (I have made him a special travel box.) I’m working on some more kennel quilts and more charity quilts for my “pay-it-forward” portion of the deal.

I can’t tell you how much these special “acts of kindness” mean to someone going through “life changes.” Think about someone in your life who might need a little “pick me up,” think about what might make them smile, and make someone’s day.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Retreat—Nashville, Indiana

I just got back from another quilt retreat. This one was in Nashville, Indiana, at the Cornerstone Inn. The participants of this retreat come from a lot of different places—Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Florida. I only get to see (most of the participants) twice a year, so I would hate to miss this one. 

This is the first time I’ve seen these girls since Nate died. I’m was a little concerned about how hard it would be for me and how I’d react during this first contact, but the support and love I felt from everyone was truly heartwarming. I managed not to get too “weepy” and had a really good time. (This is a hard week for me. Our anniversary was on the 16th, and my birthday is on the 19th.)

I worked on my butterfly migration (as usual). I got over 250 pieces for it drawn, fused, and cutout. I added several of those to the background fabric. (In the picture, it is fused to my “Goddess Sheet” and will be fused to the background next.)

I DID begin the hand blanket stitching around the outside of one of my other pieces. I also cut along the edge to be sure I could cut the piece away from the background. Once that is finished and it is cut out, the problem will be how to hang it without it “flopping” forward. 

Here are some pictures from the retreat. This is one productive bunch of girls (and I didn’t get pictures of everything).

It is SO nice to have good friends. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The “Girls”—Nashville Retreat (August 2019)

I just completed a retreat in Nashville, Indiana. This particular group of women meet twice a year at the Cornerstone Inn for five days and four nights of fun. We manage to talk a lot, eat a lot, laugh a lot, and make some progress on projects we want to get done.

I can’t say enough about how supportive this group of women are to one another. I am a relative “newbie” compared to many of them; but even during the time I have been there, we have been through many “life events” together. Since Nate has been gone, I haven’t been “out” for too many things; it isn’t always easy. I am trying to say “yes” when someone asks me to do something or go somewhere. These ladies showed great love, compassion, and understanding. I’m thankful. 

Here are pics of the girls. (If you look closely, you can see some of their projects.)

I’m looking forward to our time together next January.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Retreat Finale

At this latest retreat, I really tried to stay focused and work on my “butterfly” quilt. I managed to get a little more done. (It takes a LONG time.) I have found that it isn’t as much fun to work on the dark, neutral colors as it is to work on the parts that contains those beautiful Caribbean colors. 

Here are pictures of what others were working on.
 Lora worked on a jelly roll rug.
 Janet worked on blocks for a new quilt. She got lots done.
 Jane worked on several projects. She made lots of blocks for this scrap quilt. 
Debbie finished this quilt top (from Bluprint).

The retreat must have worn me out—I slept almost eleven hours last night! Evidently, retreats are REALLY hard work. (Insert a BIG smile here.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Quilt Retreat—Days 1 and 2

I am currently at a quilting retreat with friends. I haven’t done much creating for many months, and I was a bit concerned about whether I could concentrate long enough to get ANYTHING done. I HAVE managed to do a bit (and write this blog post).

For the first two days, I worked on my “butterfly migration” art quilt. This is a VERY time consuming endeavor. Each piece is hand drawn, hand fused, cut out with scissors, and hand applied to the foundation.

This is what I have finished so far.

I also basted this “little person” to the background (although all the black will be cut away). This piece is almost five feet tall. I have some of the hand quilting done, but there is more hand quilting and machine quilting to come. My plan is to do a tight hand blanket stitch all around the outside of the piece (in black) and cut the excess batting and backing away. I’m thinking I’ll be putting some light wire onto the back so when the piece is hung it won’t “flop” forward.
Here are some of the things my friends are working on.
Left—Robin with her table runner. Top right—Mary Lou with her quilt (Patience Corners—Connecting Threads), and Vicky with her baby quilt—check out the big ric-rac.
Left—Debbie with her blue and white quilt. Top right—Vicky’s neutral quilt. Bottom right—Neva’s baby quilt.
Mary Lou is working on her row-by-row quilt.

Some REALLY interesting things happen at retreats—this guy showed up in someone’s bed!
Lora (who owns the retreat center) is working on a quilt by Lori Holt from her book, Vintage Christmas.

Being with friends is good therapy, and that’s a good thing; because I have ANOTHER retreat next week!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Meet Macy

Warning—this is NOT quilt or art related. 

Most of you that kept up with my life for the last nine months know the story of my new kitten, but for those of you that don’t here goes...

When Nate was in hospice, I told him I didn’t know what I’d do about picking out a new kitten/cat without him. (The cat I have is 15 years old; I love that cat. It would be really hard on me to be without her.) That was because he picked Libby (the best cat I’ve ever had). I have had two cats before Libby (that I picked). I loved both of them, but they were REALLY ornery cats. I definitely would not have picked Libby; she really seemed “ordinary” to me. As a matter of fact, I had another kitten picked out. Nate said, “You can have that kitten, but we are taking this one home.” Well, I acquiesced to his choice—one of the best decisions I’ve EVER made. Libby is smart, pretty, loving, doesn’t eat thread or needles, doesn’t bother my sewing supplies, doesn’t jump on tables or bars, etc. She’s a good one.

Nate and I had a lot of time to talk before he died. I knew it was going to be hard for me without him, so I asked him to please be around me if he could. Of course, he said (if he had any control over things) he would. Now comes the story of my new kitten, Macy.

One evening (about a week after Nate had passed), my sister and I were enjoying the nice weather by sitting out on my front porch. My neighbors were taking a walk up the street in front of my house. Suddenly, there was a little kitten at their feet. My sister and I had been sitting on the porch for awhile and had seen no kitten. My neighbors said they saw no kitten until it appeared at their feet. I haven’t seen any cats in our neighborhood for years. This tiny kitten walked up my driveway and made itself right at home on my porch. (This kitten is a “dead ringer” for my Libby.) We gave her some food and water; she ate every bite and lapped up the water quickly. She was REALLY thirsty and hungry. As soon as she ate, she jumped on my lap and fell asleep.

The kitten was so young that we couldn’t tell if it was a male or female. I told my sister that if Nate had anything to do with sending this kitten he would definitely not have sent a male. (I had told him I would never have another male cat.) Well, I took her to the vet the next day and found out the kitten is a female. 

I have “told” Nate his timing could have been better, but I do think he had a hand in sending Macy to me. He “killed two birds with one stone,”—he is close to me, and I’ll have Macy after Libby goes to the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you Nate.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Cleaning the Studio

I haven’t been very good about working on anything creative lately, but I HAVE been working on straightening up my studio. When Nate died, I needed to change the looks of things upstairs. It made things easier for me. When that was done, everything that didn’t have a place was put in my studio. When I went down there to “work,” it was a HUGE mess. Check it out.

I have been working on putting things away, organizing things, giving things away, and throwing things away. This is the progress I have made so far.

I’m hoping that having a clean and more organized studio will help me feel more like “working” in it. We’ll see.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Catching Up

I have been absent from my blog for almost a year now. My life has changed in unmeasurable ways in that time. It started off in a good way. In September of last year, my husband and I went on the trip that had been on our bucket list for a long time. We went on a Viking River Cruise; it was a wonderful trip.

When we got home from the trip, Nate wasn’t feeling well. We soon found out (in October) that Nate had a tumor in his chest the size of a small football—5” X 7”. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma and quickly started in-hospital chemo. We have been dealing with his cancer since that time. If you have been through something like this, you know that it consumes your life. In the spring, we found out his cancer had spread to his central nervous system, and he entered hospice in June. Nate died on June 15. I’m, now, trying to adjust to life without him. It is hard.

I haven’t done much in the creative arena since the diagnosis. I have tried, but I have a lot of trouble concentrating on ANYTHING for any length of time. I’m hoping to get back to the creative side of my life and hope that I’ll soon have some things to share with you all.