Sunday, May 29, 2016

Red, White and Blue

We've been having a red, white and blue quilt show on my Small Quilt Lovers Facebook page this weekend. Take a peek if you're a member of the group. If not, join us here  for the fun and some pretty pictures -

Have a good Memorial Day weekend and take a moment to remember what the holiday is all about. Let freedom ring.

We're preparing for a family barbeque today. Glad the rain finally stopped after a storm last night. Looks like a sunny day for us. Keep your fingers crossed.

Orzo spinach salad with light balsamic dressing is on the menu. Very yummy - you should try it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Everything's Moving Along

Slowly but surely . . .

I decided I'm really not crazy about hand piecing these small Dear Jane blocks. I'll do it if I have to but I'm very clumsy at it and need lots and lots of practice I guess. Larger blocks might not be so bad. This block seemed to take forever and it's not even that difficult. Maybe it will look better once I sew on the triangles, square it up and press it. 

Kudos to all the quilters who have hand pieced and hand quilted the entire quilt. The fact that I stitched many of mine by machine does not bother me at all. I know I would not have gotten this far if I had to do it all by hand and hadn't taken advantage of my machine or paper piecing. Much easier for me. 

That blue one sure has some wonky corner piecing but I still love it and think it's looking good. I swear if someone had told me ten years ago I'd be doing stuff like this (taking all this time to make so many of these small blocks with such teeny tiny [and often difficult] pieces) I would have laughed out loud and told them they were crazy. You just never know . . . .

*   *   *

I've also been busy finishing up the final editing on my page proofs for the new book, which arrived last week. Poring over them and over them to make sure everything is correct (unlike the slightly careless way I go over my blog posts before I hit Publish - Hah!)

It's so much fun to see everything laid out with nice photos. These are the page proofs, which are merely sample pages of the final version of the book. Kind of like a trial run. This is the last chance to catch any mistakes or make corrections before it's all ready to go to the printer this summer. There are still a few things that need to get done by the publisher but everything has been moving along. That top page you see with my name on it? That's just the inside title page, not the cover. There is no cover yet. When my publisher sends me the cover and tells me I can show that I will. Everything in its own time. 

Have a great Memorial day weekend!  Time to pull out my favorite red, white and blue quilts. 

How lucky am I??  My friend Sue Bennett gifted me with this adorable little tumbler flag quilt! I've always wanted one.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring Showers, May Flowers

Yes, it's finally spring. My favorite flowers are always the wild ones. 

Wild geranium

While some gardeners consider them weeds, in my little woodland garden the lowly May violet and its heart-shaped leaves are welcome guests.

"Violets spring in the soft May showers."  -Bryant

"I know where the young May violet grows, in its lone and lowly nook." -Bryant

Bleeding heart

The back of the yard has been flooded for almost 2 weeks from all the rain we've had. 

After a very slow start, the lilacs are blooming again. That's three years in a row now. 

Makes me feel like doing some applique . . . 

Maybe I will.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty, or annoyance without getting angry, anxious or upset.

I've come far in my Dear Jane quilt journey and when I stop to think about it I'm always amazed at how much patience I've gained in regard to my sewing. Life too, perhaps. Nineteen more blocks to go and then I will be finished with the center part of the quilt. Then, 56 triangles and "kites." Plus sashing, scalloped border, quilting.  Oh my goodness, when I think about all I still have left to do I fear I will never finish.  Then it's time to draw on the patience that I've learned throughout this journey.  

Some blocks require more patience than I used to think I had. Others take much longer to complete than I expected. But I'm not in a race to get my quilt finished just yet and reminding myself of this makes it all seem okay.  At times I don't really care if it takes me all day to make one silly (but beautiful) block. The movement is still forward. I've definitely developed patience and I think it's carried over into other areas of life. 

Learning to paper piece has taught me patience. 

Curved piecing has taught me patience.

Patience, patience and more patience with each and every block.

I've learned recently that being patient with myself is a way of treating myself with compassion. Compassion means reaching out to others when they are suffering but how often do we extend this to include ourselves? Sometimes it's hard to remember to treat ourselves with caring and kindness. Whenever I'm sick I find myself becoming impatient with myself because I simply cannot do all the things I want to do or am used to doing. I have to slow down. It's very frustrating for me to see things that need to get done and not being able to do it all or ask for help. I cannot push push push myself  or I become irritable, exhausted and stressed.  Why is it so much easier to be patient with others than it is to be patient with ourselves? I'm learning that practicing patience with myself is a way of taking care of myself and is truly an act of self-compassion. Working on my Dear Jane blocks has helped me with this. 

Looking at Jane's actual blocks always gives me a boost. There's a wealth of patience in this quilt.

(Photos I took of the Jane Stickle Quilt at the Bennington Museum)

Often, I hear people say that they don't have patience for sewing or quilting. I don't believe we are born with the patience gene. It's definitely learned. You learn it by being patient, practicing patience, over and over. Living in the present. And, as far as quilting goes, when you find something that you truly enjoy making, that makes your heart full of joy, then sometimes patience comes right along. Above all, be kind to yourself. 

The Difference Between Pain and Suffering  Centering Down |  #mindfulness: