kingjenia's Blog

This is where I yap about the quilts I'm making, ideas for new quilts and little things about life that gets in the way.

ooooo sounds scary, right?

I call myself that because I actually enjoy staying up all night quilting.  Of course, I'm only a weekend vampire quilter.  Doing it during the week would pose some problems at work I am sure.

 I get into this "artist" zone and don't even think about going to bed.  Before I know it it's 4:00 a.m. and makes no sense to go to bed.  So I continue and just keep on sewing.

I turn on some movie channel or another and let the movies play while I sew the night away.

I can do this one weekend night for many weekends in a row.  So sometimes it's Friday night other times it's Saturday night, but usually I have the opportunity to do this during any weekend.

I really didn't need another project to work on, but I came up with a great idea during one of my vampire episodes.  I call it High 5 Ties or Ties of Tides

I am basically prepping men's old neckties after cutting them to 31 inches and then tiny blanket stitching them together in tact (with the center's still n place).  The result will be a wavy blanket of satin that will qualify as a quilt because it has a top a bottom and batting in the center. 

I will make each row 5 ties high and will be alternating 1/2 length's at the sides every other row of 5 so that the waves come out right.  Also the points will be left in tact on opposite sides so that we have pointy sides.

 So when my back aches from working on the crazy quilt (currently on the red row...only 1.75 rows to go) and I don't want to work on piecing the cowboys and Indians I now have project #3 in the works.  This one is easy to pick up and will be finished with it's pieced.  No additional quilting steps needed here.

 

Posted by Jenia | with no comments

When I begin a collection I tend to obsess about it.  I am constantly searching for the new (old) thing.  I browse ebay and go to estate sales and garage sales.  I become immersed in the new object of desire.  I am always checking out all kinds of places to find my new obssession. 

Hello, my name is Jenia and I am a collector of vintage sewing boxes.  It's time to stand up and admit I have this "problem".

It all started because I wanted a place to keep the lace, velvet and edging that I'm using for my Crazy Rainbow Rows quilt. I found a cool old vinyl sewing box on ebay complete with the tray for threads, pins, needles, etc.  I just had to have it.  I didn't get a photo of the outside of this one.  It's vinyl with early-American eagles and wings printed throughout the box and hinged lid.  It's probably dated to the 1950's.

crazybox

This worked so well I just had to have something similar to house my current WIP, the Cowboys and Indians quilt

yellowbasket  insideyellowbasket

This one is likely from the 1960's made of wicker on stationary legs.  It has a nice silk liner in the top.  It had that old musty smell when I got it, so I put some dryer sheets inside and it slowly dissipated with use.

Next we have the quilted gold box which houses my Christmas quilt project.  It will likely be home to this project for years to come as I will likely only work on it during the holidays. Here's the box of Christmas Futures.

quiltedgoldbox   xmasfuture

I know I have the collector bug now because I have recently purchased 3 new vintage sewing boxes.  I tell myself that this one will be for the necktie quilt.

stool 

This one isn't even here yet and I'm saying it will be for the Cathedral Window

cathedralwindow

Then there's the little ones.  I keep my rulers, rotary cutters and foiling supplies in this cool wooden/copper beauty:

virginia

Finally this one came in the mail yesterday...don't ask me it's too little to use for a quilt, but it fits so well in my purple bedroom...

purplebasket   purplein

So in denial I can say I really needed all these vintage sewing boxes because I need a place to keep all my projects.  But if I really admit it...I am a collector and I need help.  haha...do you have one to sell?  just kidding...

I just wanted to share with you all how I keep my projects because I think these old boxes should be treasured.

Sew until next time...

AAAARRRG...didn't realize until now these all posted upside down, on the ipad they always look fine.  When I come and look from work, it's all messed up.  I will fix this asap, probably tomorrow (2-25-2014).

I am fairly new to Las Cruces, and new to quilting.  I don't have many local friends and I have yet to join any quilting group or guild.  As I have mentioned before I am intimidated by large groups of people, and somewhat insecure of my quilting abilities.  So I was in the dark about  the quit show until I drove past our convention center las weekend.  Oh wow, I was so excited to go!  

Ive been on a diet, I'm on week 2 of a 12 week program....so I'm not allowed food candy, but I can enjoy as much eye candy as I want. 

This first item I purchased.  They didn't have the pattern any more, and kits were long gone.  This was just an example of a kit they used to sell, so I had to purchase the finished piece.  I knew it would look fabulous on our kitchen table.  It's called chili rounder.

Now here's something that was both spectacular and unusual....

And one of my favorite (non) patterns, the one block wonder

Anyone who can create a scenery with fabric has phenomenal talent in my eyes.  It's like painting with fabric.

And my favorite of them all, this beautiful traditional yet fabulous spool quilt.

There we're many many more, but I can't share them all...

Going to the show and seeing all of these awesome quilts just intimidated me even more about joining a group.  However I do think I will face that fear and give it a try.  I'm sure I can learn so much from the people making these gorgeous pieces, if they are willing to share their expertise.

i hope,you all enjoyed the eye candy!

sew, til next time.....

Posted by Jenia | 1 comment(s)

I went to a local quilt show over the weekend.  I didn't even know there would be one here in my home town until I drove past our convention center Saturday.  Well, they were there Sunday as well, so I got the opportunity to go to my first quilt show!

The show was put on by the local quilting guild another surprise to me. I didn't know we had one here.  I always thought this would be a great way to meet friends, I am really very shy.  I can write to you folks all day, but put me in front of a group of people and I clam up.  Once I get to know folks I'm a forever-type friend and love to keep in touch.  I really need some local girlfriends and I would really like to start here, but I don't know how to begin.

After looking at all the beautiful quilts, I feel that I would be ashamed to join the group.  Most of the quilts were spectacularly machine quilted and extremely detailed.  Because I do all my quilts by hand, my stuff is pretty basic.  I enjoy doing my quilts my way and I'm afraid I will be ridiculed or laughed at for being "old fashioned" or so slow a snail can quilt faster than me.

I looked at the guild information online and so many of these ladies make 100's of quilts a year.  I will be extremely lucky to do two. 

I have heard other ladies complain that some guilds are full of quilt police, and I don't want to be arrested by the quilt police and have my hobby taken away from me!  I have also heard the great stories of all the friendships made through the guilds - lifelong friendships.  I cherish my friendships and I would love to meet new people, but I am so torn by my novice ability and my old fashioned ways. 

Do any of you feel this way?  Are you in a local quilting guild?  Would they accept anyone, or do you have to be an expert quilter to be part of the group?

Posted by Jenia | 9 comment(s)

A few months ago I mentioned here that I was accepted as a finalist (1 of 30) for the Grand Central Terminal Quilting Challenge.  This was my very first contest, only my 4th quilting project, and a very big long shot to be even chosen.  I am still in shock and almost disbelief.  But there I was, my little quilt shown next to the masterpieces, it's all very exciting to me.

The final judging results were published in the current issue of American Patchwork magazine.  WOW, the competition was fierce.  WOW, I can't even believe my little piece was compared to all the fabulous items shown.  In the magazine they only showed the winners, runners up and honorable mentions.  I still feel as if I'm a winner because my quilt will be hung alongside these wonders.  They will all be physically on display at the Grand Central Terminal.  I hope someone somewhere will actually go and take some real photos of the display.

Here's my photo and a the link to my piece as written up by the magazine's website I'm on page 36 of 44.  If they are shown in order I'm 8th from last, and I still feel really happy about it.  It's really encouraging especially when I look at the details on the competition.

http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/american-patchwork-quilting/grand-central-winners/page/35/0

 

Here's a link to all the winners which includes grand prize, first place, runners up and others like me who didn't get honorable mention but did get accepted to be put on display:

http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/american-patchwork-quilting/grand-central-winners/page/35/0

They are all so spectacular, I feel that my little piece will look puny next to the other beautiful pieces of art.  I suppose mine was more "traditional" in the quilt sense...all of the others are simply lovely scenery quilts.  Here's my personal favorite which was actually first place

If you look at the details on this it is remarkable!  There is a little clock inserted in the center! 

Also, I did receive a prize of sorts.  The City Quilter sent me a fat quarter of the New York City line by line fabric, probably all of us finalists received this.  You can never have too much fabric, as we all know.  But this is special, I will likely save it and frame it next to my quilt hanging when I get it back along with the letter acknowledging my participation.  I frame and mat art as a hobby and this will be a great piece framed next to the original fabric, and the letter, another little project for my  to-do list.  I will likely never come this close to winning again, so I will hang it all with pride, for sure!

It was such a great experience to have done this.  I have to thank my partner, Jim, for the encouragement to enter.  I would NEVER have done so without his insistence, pushing, nudging  and the confidence he instills in me in everything I do.

Posted by Jenia | with no comments
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I am finally 1/2 way done with the quilting on my Crazy Rainbow Rows quilt.

I am still wondering who invented this monster - the answer being the only crazy lady talking here - me.

It is a labor of love and what a bunch of labor it is.

I started piecing this last January and here we are 1 year later and I'm about 1/2 way done with the "quilting" portion of my project. 

3 of the 6 rows are done with the stain glass edging being sewed on.  I thought putting the black lace and edging on would be what constitutes the quilting of this, but I think I will probably go back and do some quilting and embroidering in the larger areas that will need some "texture" work.  I started this in this last row I worked on, the yellow and I will continue onto the orange road now.  However, I will likely have to go back and add some needlework to the blue and purple sections because I didn't think of this until now.  Oh well...add another log on the fire, right?

Jim and I had to take a little trip to Scottsdale, Arizona this weekend to pick him up a new truck, so I didn't work on this as much as I wanted to this weekend. However, I have started the orange section and hope to inch along as always one little stitch at a time.

The trip to Arizona was beneficial.  We got Jim a new 2013 (last year's model) GMC Yukon for $10,000 less than we would have had to spend here at home AND they pretty much threw in the extended 6-year warranty package.  We needed to get a 2013 in order to afford the payments.  It's a nice truck and I hope we get many many years out of it.  Here's the new doggie wagon, vacation vehicle, and trailer puller:

I can fit a lot of material in that baby!  Anyone up for a road trip, quilt shop hop? Just kidding, I probably won't be allowed to drive the new thing until he gets tired of it in like a year or so from now...then we will once again have the who's driving conversation.

Sew til then I will be the happy passenger!

Our vacation wasn't exactly the most exciting trip, nor was it the best adventure we have ever been on, and I can say we probably should have stayed home. However, we did get in some much needed rest and relaxation (as Elmer Fudd would say).  

The trip to see my (quilting mentor) Granny was overshadowed on Christmas Day with some very bad news.  Granny lost her brother that morning, my Great Uncle TJ passed away Christmas morning.  The word is he grieved to death because he had lost his daughter and wife all during 2013 and he also had some heart trouble that was too troublesome at his age to be fixed.  My mom says its a good thing we were with Granny when she got the news because she is now the only one left of all of her 5 siblings and she being almost the oldest.  

We then went to Treasure Island, Florida for our R&R time.  When I made the reservations it was 80 degrees in Tampa, and 50 at home, well when we arrived it was 50 in Florida and 60 at home.  Well 60 (and always sunny) at home is much more tolerable than 50 (and damp to us) in Florida.  We live in the sunny southwest, anything under 80 is cold to me.  So cloudy, rainy 70 put both Jim and I in jeans, coats, and boots as we walked the beach and boardwalk while the normal snowbirds were in shorts, bathing suits and tank tops.  We must have looked ridiculous walking the beach all bundled up while the people from the northern states romped and played in the frigid 65 degree gulf water

.

The highlight of our trip was the New Years Eve when we took a dinner cruise into Tampa Bay for dancing, drinks,  and fireworks.  My very romantic partner, unbeknownst to me, set up a "renewing of our vows" after the cruise was over.  Silly me thought he was arranging a tour of the steerage and engine room and stuff like guys think is interesting.  I was totally caught off guard and was so surprised at the spur of the moment when the captain and first mate renewed our "vows" on the ships deck.  It was so romantic and totally unexpected, is it any wonder why I love Jim so whole heartedly as I do?

Our drive home was nasty cold (for us any way).  There was lots of traffic and many traffic jams.  Neither of us slept very well during the 3-day journey home even though we stayed in good hotels along the way.  It could have been the excitement of our new baby that made the anticipation so great.  We would be picking up our new kitten, Paisley, Monday when we returned.  She is only 4 months old, so she is about 6 months younger than Tuxedo when we adopted him.  She is also very very different than Tux.  Mr. tux was raised by his mother cat almost in the wild, while Ms. Paisley has pretty much been raised in a cage at our vets office.   They held her for us especially because of the horrible circumstances on the  loss of Tuxedo.  

So, Paisley is very skittish,  extremely shy, and she only trusts me at the moment.  My boss told me he found out that most calico's are neurotic and crazy by nature, and here we have a calico kitten coming into our lives.  Well, I'm proud to say she is coming into her own and moving right in to her place as our little kitten, my quilting buddy, and yeah so a little craziness too but that's what makes her so much fun.  She has a great crazy kitty personality and I find myself laughing and smiling at her continually.

I slept with her the first two nights in my workout room which is also (the cat) her room.  This is where she is fed and where her litter box and toys are.  I spent two (pretty much) sleepless nights allowing her to warm up to just me.  We have 4 dogs and you can imagine it wasn't the easiest transition for Ms Paisley.  First night was pounce and run night.  She would pounce on my hand then run,  pounce on my belly then run...wait until I was just about back to sleep and then again pounce on my shoulder and run...etc.  all night long.   It took much coaxing and tons of patience to get her to come out from her room and into the rest of the house.  Once that was established I spent 3 more nights on the living room futon to allow her to acclimate to the her new expanded HUGE cage and her escape route back to her safe haven of (her) my workout room.  

Am I the only one who would give up a weeks worth of sleep just to make a kitten feel better about her new home?

Anyway, it's now Friday and I want to quilt, I need to get back to my sewing and my life.  I want my little Paisley there with me and I hope she enjoys the weekend with me as much as we can learning new things and exploring this great big house that she must now think of as her expanded cage.

So Jim carries her in and gets her used to my WIP as the dogs gather round and peak their interest.  I'm so proud of my brave little tiger as she confronts the other 4-legs of our house one by one; not least of which is the new puppy Opal (only 7 months  old) who has no idea about kittens.  But here's our tiny little Paisley coming out I the open one of the first times to greet the dogs.

 

 

And how cute is this?  Peaking down on the dogs from her safe perch - my quilt in progress.  She must smell me all over it and all over my quilting chair.  

 

  And now the biggest battle of the night.  Our new puppy Opal doesn't know what to think about a cat living in her new house.  WTH is this other thing that has 4 legs, do I point at it, do I play with it, do I hunt it, do I love it?

??  So they stare each other down for a bit...50 pound dog vs. 4 pound kitten.    

I'm sure  you all know who claims victory in this battle, right?  Paisley struts away as Opal wonders what just happened?  

Well, all of that to say I haven't gotten any quilting done since we left for vacation.  I took some piecing with me but never even opened the ziplock.  Now that I am a new mom, I haven't  had the time to work on the big quilt since returning home.  I honestly hope to complete the yellow row of the crazy quilt this weekend, but much is going to depend on what our babies (Opal and Paisley) think about that.

sew (I hope so, anyway) until next time

 

I'm usually a celebratory Christmas person.  I have always been one to cook Christmas dinner, to put up a nice Christmas tree, and decorate the house.  I love buying gifts for folks, especially when I can find that special something BUT this year is going to be different.

A few weeks ago Jim and I decided to take a New Years vacation on the beach in Tampa Florida, we did so because we really need some "us" time.  My mother-in-law and Brother-in-law have been staying with us for about 4 months now, and will likely stay another 2 months.  Mom is recovering from hip replacement surgery and brother is coming up on settling a divorce.  So, while we love them both dearly, it's been a while since we had just a simple night alone, and we really need to just get away and do some relaxing.  Even if it's just to hang out in our pj's vegging in the hotel on black and white movies all day while we munch on pizza delivery.  You know some times you just miss the intimacy that home life can bring.

Our plan was to stay here for Christmas so we could cook the traditional ham dinner and enjoy the holiday with Jim's family. At first I never even considered anything different, it was unfathomable  to think about missing Christmas at home.  I was suppose to put up the tree this weekend.  My tree is not just any tree, I have super special animation character ornaments and really cool Mickey Mouse and bugs bunny type things that my tree holds.  

Well, after some bad news from my family in New York State we realized that this trip needs to include a travel to see my (quilting mentor) Granny in Alabama, because my usual spring trip to see her may be absorbed into a trip to see my other Grandmother who lives in NY state.  I really need to see my family from NY this year, but December is not the ideal time to visit Rochester, NY, is it?  So we are extending out New Years vacation to encompass Christmas as well and the holiday will be especially spent with Granny and my mom and all my Alabama  kinfolk.

Another reason Christmas will be missing from our life is it will be the first time in my adult life that I have not put up my special tree.  Since we have the new pup,  Opal, our house sitters insist that I don't  put it up.  They don't want some unforeseen (or perhaps actually very much foreseen) accident to happen with the puppy vs. the Christmas tree.    

I am actually a little bit relieved because last year my little (deceased) Tuxedo kitten "helped" me put up the tree.  It was going to be sad putting it up without my little kittens help.  His first (and last) Christmas experience was so much fun last year, I really enjoyed his company and if I wasn't already in love with my little boy, he sure did seal the deal for Christmas.  

Actually the tree would have already been put up, but my dread of mourning, allowed me to delay, so when the decision was made that we won't be here AND no one wanted my special tree out up, it was easy to say ok.  

More news on the kitten adventures of our household...we have already adapted a new feline baby.  Our vet who mourned the loss of Tuxedo as much as we did, was just waiting for us to come in for some other reason.  Today we had to take our Daisy dog in for her rattlesnake vaccine booster..the assistant says I understand if your not ready...BUT. I have someone I'd like you to meet.  Here she comes in the room with the most beautiful tortoise shell girl kitten that I have ever seen.  Heather says...she doesn't like to be held yet, but she is playful and we have rescued her from being dumped in the parking lot, and she's a very playful wonderful 15 month old kitten.  The kitten that "didn't like being held" sat in my arms purring, rubbing, and loving on me for Daisy's 30 minute vet exam.  My heart melted, the deal was sealed, and I will not for long be quilting Catless.  

The new baby Paisley will join our family when we return from our holiday travels.  The vet is going to keep her for us until we return.  We will be visiting before we go so I will post her picture in a day or so....Jim got one on his cel phone but I have no idea how to post that here.  Jim actually picked the name Paisley and it couldn't be more perfect, that is the name we decided on and I think it really fits her well, I can't wait to share her beauty and stitching critique with you.  You know how cats love our quilts, hopefully Paisley will fit right in...as I think, am I crazy for wanting her to be my quilting buddy, I remember so many times Tuxedo would bat my thread, steal my scissors, cuddle  on the hoop d at inconvenient times, but I sure do miss it.  No matter how annoying, and how much I try to deny it, I am now a cat person and my Tuxedo is to blame.   I'm sure life with Paisley is going to be wonderful.

Here's Paisley when we visited today.  I couldn't wait to get to see my little kitten again.  We brought her this little box-bed thing and some toys and covered her food until the year end.  She loved the bed and jumped right in.   Arroyo Veterinary is the best vet we have ever dealt with.  Each and every one of their staff are top notch and I am so glad we found this office.  Heather, one of the assistants, knew exactly who to match Paisley with...she knew we would be a purrfect fit and Paisley is going to be a perfect addition to our family.

thank you all for reading, I wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season.  

Here's the obligatory quilting photo, the last legs of the yellow row for my crazy quilt.  I do believe my next post will have a little tortoise shell kitten wrapped up in my sewing just like our Tuxedo did.  But if she chooses to have no interest that will be ok to...only time will tell.

 

This is what I will be sewing till next year....

 

 

Today, my beloved, mother-in-law (aka mom or Lynora) had hip replacement surgery.  She is a vibrant, healthy young 80 year old lady whom I adore.  She has been staying with us for a few months and will be here another few months while she recovers and rehabs. Normally she lives independent and still keeps her own house and garden and I'm sure she is looking forward to getting back to her quiet little home.

I feel privileged that she has had the opportunity to be mom-sat while Jim and I watch over her.  However, we will also take advantage of having a house sitter and we will be taking a nice beach vacation for New Years this year.  It will be the first in a long time that we will be away for the holiday season.  Jim's brother will stay with his mom at our house while we are away so she will still have company and help watching our 4 dogs and her 1 little dog.  While it's great to have family around and close; it will also be great to get away.

I have been slowly piecing a block-of-the-month for Lynora.  You will recall I'm calling it Cowboys and Indians.  I'm piecing 2 quilts at the same time that are the same pattern:  1 with the fabric sent in the BOM; the other using my fabrics.  I'm really liking how they are both coming along.  This project is also helping me learn to use my rotary cutter far better.  With each set I cut I get better at it, I wonder how I pieced my other quilts without it!

This is a 12-block pattern; they have send me 8 and I am very very far behind.  I have the first 2 blocks completed for both quilts and 1/2 of block 3 (my fabric) completed.  I'm currently working on block 3 using their fabric. 

My plan was to use the cowboy boots and hats pattern to add to the quilt I make with their fabric to make it large enough for a bed.  

I thought about combining the two quilts but after taking this picture I think it needs to be 2 separate quilts.  

I've been doing this piecing now and then while Lynora has been with us but she doesn't really know this quilt will be for her.  She hasn't said anything about it like she does when I'm working on my crazy quilt.  I wonder if she won't like it?  She always comments on how pretty the crazy quilt is, but never mentions anything when I'm piecing the blocks.  I wonder if she doesn't like it?  Or, perhaps she can't really tell what it will look like when it's done? Maybe the blocks don't make sense to her until they are all put together?

She is very much into southwestern decor and cowboy western stuff.  So naturally I thought this would fit really well in her house.  I know she would never complain, but I don't want to give her something that she doesn't really like.  I sure hope someday she says something about it while I'm working on it.  If she doesn't comment I might have to find something else to make for her. 

The crazy quilt is king size and far too big for her beds, and I believe that will be marked for my real mom if it turns out good enough for my Granny's inspection.  My mom lives with Granny and I can't send it if it's not just right.

Sew, til next time I work in doubt....

 

Posted by Jenia | with no comments

It hurts me so to tell you all we lost our beloved kitty, Tuxedo.  His disease was fatal and the vet said it was cruel to continue force feeding him until his pain was unbearable. poor Tuxedo and his deeply hurt grieving parents had to take that horrible last trip to the vet.  It's so very devastating and deeply depressing.  When the blood work came back we then knew a lot more about his disease.  It was actually something he had from birth and the only good thing I can say is that we gave him an extra year of life that he would not have had left in the wild. He was only 2 years old.

I'm telling you all this because he was my quilting companion for the last year and a half.  He also brought out the cat person in me.  I never knew I could love a cat, but Tuxedo was not any ordinary cat.  He was more canine than feline.  Even the vet and her assistants said he was extremely special.  Even while he was devastatingly ill, he would purr for us and them.  They all gave him extra special attention because of his awesome personality.    He is very sorely missed and I cry as I write this.

Wwhile grieving I thought some quilting would keep my mind off our loss.   However I wasn't sure if it would help or hinder my grieving.   I thought perhaps bringing out the big quilt may be depressing because he was always wrapped up in the fabric at my feet.  I thought my loss would be multiplied because he wasn't there to help me make all those stitches.  I reluctantly pulled it out and began stitching while watching cheesy hallmark Christmas movie all alone in the big living room.

i wasn't alone for long

.

Our new pup, Opal, whom Jim rescued from across the country moved right in.  She even blends in to my backing fabric just like Tuxedo, black and white.  Opal has blended into our family  just like she and Tux did into my quilt.  She is a great addition to our family and I don't regret one thing about going to get her.  

Then our Angel, the husky mix, who is always Ms. Buttinsky as we call her, moved in for the photo shoot.

Even Day-z got into the cheer mom up mood.  Here she is getting Jim's camera attention as they all converged on me to make sure i was okay.  Day-z has a perpetual smile and you can't help but smile back.  She's the sweetest little girl and is always cheering me up, and always the ball player.  I'm sure her ball isn't far from this photo the way she's looking at Jim it's probably at his feet.

 

What you don't see here is Lucy our Jack Russell sitting under all that fabric by my feet.

While I didn't get much sewing done, I did get moral support from my family and even some smiles and giggles as they all visited and cheered me up.  We all miss our Tuxedo dearly.  Even Opal who has only known him for a week seems to understand our sadness and loss.  As I write this she has moved right back in to Her spot on my quilt fabric after being distracted for a few minutes before coming back to quietly sit here while I set down the iPad and begin stitching again.  I just had to let ya'll know Catless quilting can be accomplished with a little help from our friends.

sew, till next time...

Wow, it's been quite a week!   I sit here crying, but yet being thankful for the good things I do have.

The very good news - Jim made it home with our new baby.  Opal has joined our family and fits in perfectly.  I saw her photo when a friend posted her on facebook.  The photo said, transport available.  So I wrote to the shelter to find out they are in South Carolina - we are in New Mexico.  Well meeting half way ended up with Jim volunteering to drive cross-country to bring her home.  I could tell from her eyes in the photo she was a sweetheart.  My favorite breed is Pointer and she's an English Pointer mix.  She is perfect for us

I was so happy to have them both home and I am grateful for my wonderful man and loving critter kids.

Now the bad news.  Up and down it's been all week.

First my Granny was rushed to the hospital Tuesday morning.  She has bronchitis and ecoli.   Wow that hit me hard.  It hit like a brick wall, immediate tears and emotional frailty.  I love her so and it scares me all the time to think about losing my dear Granny.  She is my quilting mentor and inspiration for the hobby.  We are very much alike and she is so precious to me. The good news came yesterday she was going home!  I have been on tear's edge all week and they just flowed when I heard the news.  Those were happy tears.  Here's me and Granny a few years ago.

Then the worse news.  Our cat, Tuxedo, my quilting companion whom you have seen in many a photo here, has a rare cat enzyme disease.  We are hoping for the best but in many cases it's fatal.  Talk about that brick wall coming down on my head, it's emotionally crushing me to think of losing my dear kitty.  He's only 2.  I wasn't a cat person until I met our Tuxedo.  He's so special to me.  He totally lost his appetite and every time I pet my furry bag of bones I am scared he will not make it.  He is at the vet as I speak hooked up to iv getting nourishment waiting for the blood work to tell them what kind of medicine he should be given.  It takes 2 days for the results.   We are going to visit him tomorrow morning, I don't know if I will be able to see him hooked up to iv, but Jim is strong enough to go in and make sure our Mr. Tuxedo knows that we are still with him and that we are waiting for him to get stronger and come home.  This is him last year playing with Granny's yo-yo Christmas ornaments I use every year.

And to top it off on the up side of that roller coaster, today is Jim's birthday.  Happy 53rd to the love of my life, I have to be happy for him today.  As I'm on the edge of tears for every little (well I guess not so little) thing this week, he understands. 

I look at the new pup in our life and my heart fills with love, I think of Tuxedo at the vets and my heart sinks to the pit of my stomach.  I think of Granny being home and worry about her full recovery; I look at the wonderful man I have and my heart again swells with love.  On the edge of tears both happy and sad; on the emotional roller coaster of life.  It sure is thrilling, isn't it?

I've been trying so hard to sew through all of this turmoil.  I find myself sewing a little and then sitting back in my chair and just slouching for an hour or so.  Then I will sew some more and drift more.  Up and down like the roller coaster.  Soon it will swing back around to normalcy and perhaps not be so bumpy.  But for now I will try to hold back all those tears, grin and get to work.

Sew (at least a little at a time) till next time....

 

Posted by Jenia | 2 comment(s)

Waiting, stitching, waiting stitching.....Tuxedo the cat waits and waits as I stitch and stitch.  Day after day, week after week.  It seems to drag on forever.  Piece by piece, inch by inch....his patience about to the breaking point and mine seems to stretch a little thinner every day.  That is until 2 days ago when I realized the end was in sight.  The end of the row, the end of this road, the end of the blue row on my crazy quilt...it was in sight and there was no stopping until it was done!  

I complete the row, sit back in my chair, breath a sigh of accomplished relief.  I get up to go get the camera, I can't wait to show someone.  I return to lay out the quilt and take my photos and this is what I find!  Tuxedo moved in and looks up at me like all that work was for me, right?  

So I shew him off, spread everything out nice and neat, once again turn to get my camera...presto, poof, there he is again dead center.  Now this cat can do the math, right?  He chose to sit directly in the center, directly over my hard work and completed area.  I promise you I did not put him there, he chose that exact spot on his own!  Amazing!  AND he refused to move.  Well we all love our critters, right?  So please look around over and through the kitty to see where I have completed 2 rows of this monster crazy quilt

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And from behind he still doesn't move!  

So I have 2 of the 6 rows done.  Four more to go....wait a minute...2 of 6...hey that's 1/3rd done!   HEY, I'M 1/3RD DONE WITH THE MONSTER!  Only 2/3rds to go!  I've said it before, whose idea was this anyway?  I guess it's true to my personality, jump in with both feet and do the hardest thing as a beginner!  Just go for it, or just do it as they say!

I also did some fall cleaning of our bedroom - typical for me, fall cleaning, not spring cleaning.  I changed the quilt on my wall from the grandmothers flower garden that I quilted, to the clamshell that my Granny did.  Here's a great example of how pretty granny's work is.  I'm so privileged to have some of her quilts.  She is, after all, my mentor and the entire reason I ever dreamed of doing this hobby....

I don't think I will ever be able to match Granny's teeny stitches, but I do hope I have inherited some of her color coordination and design abilities.  

You can bet that Tuxedo doesn't get a chance to sit on this quilt!

 

So I now have a clean and organized bedroom with the summer clothes put away and the winter clothes along with this beauty on my wall.  So with that task done and long winter nights on the way perhaps my 2/3rds balance on the crazy monster won't take me as long as the 1/3 has.

Me and Tuxedo will spend many of those dark winter weekends stitching the time away by the fire and working and waiting.

Sew, till next time....

 

 

Well a lot has happened in my life since we last talked!

Jim and I took a wonderful road trip vacation through several national parks with a visit to his family in Montana at the end of that rainbow.  It was a spectacular journey and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together in addition to seeing so many beautiful places.  

I was going to take some quilting to piece as we drove, but I would not have picked it up once.  I was too busy watching the lovely view-master views as we drove through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and back again.  The rainbow never once faltered in its colors.  We had spectacular scenery, many fabulous meals, and we met many people along the way.  I can say that I did not miss my sewing once during the trip, however now that I'm home I feel more dedicated than ever to get back to (I can't call it work) stitching.

The first stop was Great Sand Dunes National Park.  I had never even heard of this one before and it was a surprise to find it so close to our first nights lodging in Alamosa, Colorado

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These photos are just a sampling of our trip.  I have more than 2000 pictures from this trip that I just can't edit out of our album.  It really was that nice.  The next picture was taken in Eagle, Colorado on the way to Sylvan Lake.  These guys were all standing in a field in a neighborhood with houses across the street.  It was as if they were just waiting for us to come along.  

I am so happy we took our vacation when we did.  Look at all we would have missed if these national parks would have been closed as they are now.  The next visit was 2 days exploring Flaming Gorge National recreation area.  I have so many lovely photos from this place but this one should give you a good idea of the beauty here.  

 

  

From here we headed north through the Tetons and Yellowstone.  We had some clouds in the Tetons, but I particularly like this photo.  It was fun taking advantage of making this trip in a convertible car.  Imagine the wind in your hair the fresh mountain air and all of this scenery that surrounds you.  Fun fun fun.  Here's the Tetons as we head out and away onward to Yellowstone.

    

Its so hard to choose just one photo from Yellowstone because there are just so many different views.  There were buffalo and my first time seeing moose.  There were waterfalls and of course old faithful, there were wild horses and ducks, herons and geese.  We went at the right time of year because nothing was too crowded.  I have heard about traffic jams and crowds, but we didn't have any of that.  Just a simply fantastic journey.  Here's some of the geothermal activity that's not old faithful and probably something you don't always see.  When I was standing there at the geyser all I could think of is, wow I'm actually here seeing the things I have read about all these years and yes they do live up to their reputation.  

       

Okay so I couldn't pick just one, just like potato chips, right?  

We entered Montana on what they call the Bear Tooth Highway.  It was so awesomely beautiful with more mountain scenery and left over glacier snow in small pockets.  But I won't bore you with more pretty pictures.  How bout this for an idea of what this part if the trip was like:  

      

We had stops in Billings, and Sidney Montana and a really special tour of Forsythe before reaching the end of this part of the rainbow which was a visit to Jim's family.  We have been together for 6 years and I have been wanting to meet his family all this time.  His immediate family are all spectacular people and I just knew his extended family would be the same.  

Meeting his Aunt Ruth was just as I thought it would be.  We immediately hugged and I could feel the love in her arms.  She smothered me in love and fabric and many great stories of life on a Montana ranch.  They have a working ranch and farm which was the most beautiful place I could imagine.  Life isn't always easy for her but she's one of those rare ladies who sees the bright side always and perseveres just like her sister, my mom-in-law, Jim's mom.

Yes, I did say she smothered me in fabric.  She has given me enough fabric to make quilts until the day I die.  She had already sent some home but we just had to look at her stash again and how can I refuse even more of this really nice, vintage material?  I took what I could fit in our small convertible car.  Someday I hope to make her something very special.  I have so many ideas in my head I just wish I could clone me and have time to get all these projects done.  

I can't resist posting this photo of the Montana sunset before we move on the our return trip and Rocky Mountain national park, and the big quilting news I promised  You can only find a sunset like this in Montana, right?    I have others without the oil rig, but hey it's a sign of progress and they in Montana make a living off of mineral rights.  I'm so glad about this, it helps them make ends meet when life on the ranch or farm isn't the best because of weather or other natural disasters.

  

Now the last national park we caught on the way home, before I give you my big quilting news.  Hmmm, how do I choose just one from Rocky Mountain National Park?  Will this do?  

   

Now that I've bored my audience with my vacation photos, I can spring the big news... My entry into the Grand Central Terminal quilting challenge was chosen as a finalist.  There were 30 entrants selected to be finalists and my little piece was chosen.  I am so fortunate to just be a finalist, I feel that I have already won, even if I'm number 30, I feel so special in having been chosen.  This is my first contest and I would never have even though about entering if it weren't for Jim's encouragement.  Typically I'm not a competitive person but now that I have tried I am so excited to be a part of it.  Here's a link to my gallery so you can see what it's all about

http://www.quiltersclubofamerica.com/media/p/574050.aspx

basically I made this.

     

Out of this as required.  

    

And they liked it!  SURPRISE, SURPRISE!  We will know on November 9th who the winners are.  I feel like I've won already just being a finalist.  

I have continued to work on the crazy rainbow rows and my mother-in-laws block of the month.  I have also expanded my antque sewing box collection, but that's another story. 

Sew, until next time...

 

 

Here in New Mexico we don't have very many rainy weekends.  Typically you will find me swimming in the swimming pool or working in the yard on the weekends.  Well, this weekend was extremely unusual.  Saturday brought clouds, wind, and rain.  A lot more rain came in over night and today, Sunday, looks like much more of the same.  Hmmmm, well what, I wonder, is one to do wit themselves when they can't go outside to enjoy a lovely day?  It didn't take long for me to hit the hoop and quilt to my hearts content!

aaaaacccckkkk!  I write these posts at home on my ipad, then I review them on a normal computer when I get to work.  Almost every time my photos appear upside down on the normal computer, but look just fine on the ipad.  What in the world?  If I make them go right side up to be viewed on a normal computer, will the ipad then show them upside down?  I will fix these and see what happens.

This photo is trying to show how gloomy it is outside.  The window looks bright, but believe me it is usually much much brighter.  Now I know how most of you guys can get so much done, you don't live where it's sunny 362 days of the year!  Usually if we have rain it rolls in at around 6 pm and is gone by miorning with bright sun shiny days to look forward to.  

 

Well I have moved the hoop more this weekend than I did all of last week, that is to say just once, but I believe I will move it down again by the end of today.   I will be working on the blues brothers section for another week or so I am sure. 

 

The gloomy weekend has also given me a chance to take over the new chair.  Last weekend we found a terrific chair and ottoman at a church rummage sale.  Well needless to say instead of becoming my quilting corner, it became a place of interest for the 4-legged family most of all Mr. Tuxedo immediately took over.  

 

I used to take over the futon in the other corner in the opposite side of the living room.

 

But the mattress on the futon isn't very comfy and its really hard on the backside.  It's nice to sleep on in the flat position, but sitting on the edge is a bit hard.   That is my bottom would hurt after a night of quilting.  While I originally thought this was a good thing, like siting on my ass quilting would some how work out my butt, haha, I only wish.  Even leaning back with the hoop in my lap didn't give me relief.    Last weekend my all-nighter created some pretty rough bruises and I realized I needed to take the time and get off that bum and move my stuff to the new chair!  

Well, hah, which would you choose?  Nice comfy padding for you aching butt, or hard slats?  The critters weren't happy, but I don't think my backside could have handled an entire rainy weekend without moving.   The chair is just too comfy, I found myself nodding off more often than not on Sunday, not to mention the sun did shine at around noon.  So I didn't really accomplish as much as I thought I would, but at least I am now officially moved to the sweet soft spot!

Sew, I will try to stay awake from my cozy quilting chair.

Ok, so I don't really need another collection, I don't really need an excuse to visit estate sales and watch ebay.  But I did need a way to keep my quilting projects neat and organized, right?  I already am a collector of animation art, amber glass, copper, little house paintings, silver tea sets and silver vases and figurines, and now we can add vintage sewing storage boxes.  

I have recently just started doing two quilting projects at once.  In the past I have started one project and refused to start another until that one was done.  Well the crazy quilt is just going to be too long in the making, so I wanted to have a diversion so I dont get burnout on that one.

Most of you know that I started my mother-in-law's BOM project recently in addition to the crazy quilt 

Here's a photo of what the first block should look like.  I have decided to simultaneously make the same quilt using up some of my stash fabric just to see what happens.  It will also give me a chance to practice working with patterns.  This is the first time that I am trying to follow a pattern. The other quilts I have done are my own design or finishing Granny's tops.  So I thought I would just whip up two quilts a once, haha.  You can see my fabric on the left and their supplied fabric on the right.  I have also pictured the box of fabric I have chosen for the rest of the quilt blocks seen here.  So for every month I get from the quilt shop with their supplied fabric I will also chose something from this box to make that particular block of the month.  I am already 3 months behind, but I here that's not too bad in the scheme of things.

 here.     

I really think the supplied fabric will turn out prettier, there's a reason we pay for their selection, right?  But I thought it would be fun to see what I can create also.

So I first pieced together block 1 using my fabric and I really like the results.      

Step one of this quilt is done, next will be piecing together block 1 using their fabric.  I have alternated working on this and working on the blue row for,the crazy quilt this past week.  I must say doing both keeps me really motivated.  However, I also find myself drawn to other projects and I don't want to find myself with the problem of having way too many things going on a once.  Besides, I can't begin another one until I find another wagon, see explanation below.

So, what's this about circling the wagons?  I have recently acquired an infatuation for vintage sewing boxes.  Well, not your typical little tin box, these are the large covered foot stool size vintage sewing storage boxes.  Since I have a Cowboys and Indians theme gong on here, I am picturing these as covered wagons full of my sewing provisions for my different projects.  In the yellow round 3-legged box I am keeping the BOM supplies for my Cowboys and Indians quilt.    

And of course, since I need a something else to collect I just had to get this one to keep my lace and black edging for the crazy quilt.      

This larger one came complete with the original paperwork dated 1970.  I was only 6 years old at the time, wow!

I picture these two really cool vintage sewing storage boxes, or "covered wagons" prepared and waiting to supply me with which ever project that suits me for any given evening or rainy day.  

Sew until next time, you will find me sewing and hunting for additions to. New collection which I so desperately need, don't you know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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