Friday, February 24, 2017

Memory Quilt for Grandpa Wilbur

In sorting through my digital files (a sisyphean task if ever there was one) I found this folder of pictures I never blogged about, and it seemed like as good a time as any.

You may recollect that last year my Grandpa Wilbur turned 90, and I made him a small wall hanging.  Well for his 80th birthday (and the 80th birthday of my other grandpa) my mom, sister, and I made him a memory quilt.  We were all fairly beginner quilters then, so made some decisions we wouldn't make again, but it was a wonderful project and I think a meaningful one.  It's still hanging in his house.  Unfortunately, one of the beginner mistakes we made was not taking any pictures when the quilt was first made, so all I have are these pictures taken just a couple of years ago while the quilt was hanging in his somewhat dark hallway.  And of course as soon as you look at them you realize that we didn't put enough quilting over the photographs so they're sort of saggy.  You can get the idea anyway though.

In addition to the photos, we made a bunch of paper pieced and appliqued blocks representing things that my grandfather loved and spent time on, and interspersed them throughout the quilt.

These duck condos along the bottom are one of my favorite things.  Many years ago my grandparents owned a lovely place with ponds and grass where you could fish-by-the-inch.  It was the kind of place you took your kids so they could catch a fish or ride pedal boats.  There were hundreds of ducks that lived on the ponds and my grandpa built them a floating island with these small doghouse size buildings on them.  They really were painted pink with polka dots and had duck condos written on them.  The ducks loved them and always built nests and stuff inside.  So crazy.

 He always loved flying and making kites, thus the kite paper pieced block, and here you can see him flying a kite with my little sister when she was small.  He always used an electric drill to wind and unwind the kite string.

Tennis and fishing were his two other big hobbies, and he played until sometime in his early 80s.

Here he is with my Grandma for their engagement picture, unfortunately I can't find this picture or the digital copy anymore.  It's too bad because this year they are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary!!  Happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!!

This one is lots of pictures with the grandkids, that bottom left one is a special picture with my great-grandpa as well!

It was a fun trip down memory lane to look through all these again.  Love you Grandpa!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I like #7

Gosh I'm falling so behind!  First this post is late and then I realize I haven't posted anything else in weeks.  I have projects to share!  And thoughts!  Goodness knows I just need some time to write them down.  Oh My!

But, luckily there were lots of things to like this week.

First, I have to just share my weekly blooming flower.  My spiral begonia, which I at one point despaired of keeping alive, has made a bloom!!!  I'm so excited!  I thought this plant was so cool, I asked my friend to get me one, but it's been a bit touchy.  I was thrilled when it felt healthy enough to make a flower.  Even just a little one.  I've never grown begonias before.  Mike took the macro picture.  Anyone have any tips on growing begonias?  I still don't think it's what you would call healthy.

The next thing I like this week is the feeling of having completed the 10k with my sister!  I went very slowly (definitely slower than many of the power walkers), but I jogged the whole way.  My sister runs much faster than me, so she finished and then jogged back to re-jog the last mile with me.  But it was great to finish!  Another sticker for my calendar.  We're going to do another one in May, hopefully I'll be a little bit faster by then.

But the main thing I liked (loved) this week was having my sister and my niece and nephew up to visit.  They're 3.5 and almost 5, and are such a blast.  Constantly laughing and giggles and silliness make it really hard to stay depressed and cynical.  What a blessing they are to me!  We had a lot of fun hanging out and playing with them.  On Friday morning they woke me up around 5:45 so I went and curled up in their room while they started with their 100%-on-already morning fun.  I caught this cute shot of them playing pillow monster!

I also like doing crafts with the kids!  So fun to do low-pressure things that they enjoy.  Both kids got a kick out of this project my sister found on the internet somewhere.  It's fairy mud! It's made out of microwave-exploded Ivory soap, shredded toilet paper, water, and glitter.  The soap thing was especially cool, if you've never done it, it's pretty nifty.  Apparently it only works with ivory though.  After they made their fairy mud sculptures they covered them with treasures found around my studio and backyard.  All kinds of random things, including an empty shell casing that fell off my reloading area.  I love the sparkle and bright colors.  Unfortunately my sister "forgot" to take them home.  They were fun to make, but I'm not sure how long I'm obligated to keep them.  :) 

All in all a much more likeable week than others.  Linking up as always with LeeAnna!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Like #6

Welcome to another round of I Like!

1.  I like my family!  Last weekend I went up to the outskirts of Tulsa help my Aunt with a garage sale. She's downsizing and moving back towards home.  My Uncle is on a job site down in Midland, so she's on her own, but she and I and a bunch of her friends had a great (but exhausting!!) time!  I don't get up to see her as much as I'd like, so it was good to see her.  She goes to a fabulous little rural Methodist church and it was so fun to worship with her.  As you know I'm a big fan of choral music, especially all the traditional Anglican hymn tunes (many of which aren't really Anglican and are also in the Methodist hymnal), but we don't sing very many Gospel-style hymns in the Episcopal church.  Her church does though, and it was fun to get to sing a bunch of fun stuff with a little lilt!

2.  Discovering old family treasures! While going through stuff up at my aunt's she pointed out this pot that my mom gave her a long time ago.  This in an of itself isn't particularly strange, my mom is a potter by profession, and has had a studio pottery business since the early 80s, so most of us have pots from her.  But come to find out, this one was extra special!  When we flipped it over, we found the date, 10-11-78, and when I asked my mom she said that was from her very first pottery class, back long before she was making pottery professionally.  She doesn't have any pots from that era, and didn't know any were still around.  So cool to find it!  My aunt has had it almost 40 years, and she says it's always sat on this beautiful carved sideboard.  The sideboard key is taped into the pot lid so it won't get lost!  The sideboard itself has a family history,  my great great grandmother Kennedy was an artist who painted oils and ceramics and also carved furniture and this is one of her pieces.  Fun to hear the stories!

3.  Blooming flowers!  More blooming flowers this week!  Lately I'm on a roll with blooming flowers, keep your fingers crossed and I'll have something blooming most weeks.  That would be awesome.  Just now, my second Christmas cactus is blooming!  My big one is red-orange and usually blooms in the fall, but this one is blooming a bit now with these bright pink blossoms!  Love it!  Mike and I aren't big on valentine's day, but he did take a picture of this flower for me with his fancy camera (not this picture) and framed it for me, which I thought was very sweet!

4. Quilty traditions!  I've always been a crafty valentines person, and actually this year is the first year I didn't make valentines to send out.  Very sad actually.  But a few years ago, my mom decided that instead of making valentines for me and my sister, each year she'd make us a valentine's day quilt block, and one day we can put them all together into a quilt.  It really made my day when this one arrived.  Love you Mom!!

Thanks as always to LeeAnna for keeping us positive!

Monday, February 13, 2017


I mentioned in some of my I like posts that I recently had to attend a black tie even for work. Since I inherited a bunch of fancy fabric from a friend of my mom (thanks Georgia!) I figured it was a great opportunity to make a dress. I picked This pattern because the princess seamed construction and silhouette is one I've made many times before and the asymmetry adds some interest.

It wasn't a hard pattern to sew, but it did take a while.  One thing I didn't think about is that because of the asymmetry, each pattern piece had to be cut out separately (i.e. not on the fold or on a doubled piece of fabric).  And the pattern did a terrible job explaining how to attach the lining to the outer part.  I've made lined dresses before but they always had sleeves, and the sleeveless dresses I've made previously had facings rather than linings.  In any case I finally found a youtube video (which of course I can't find now) that helped me figure it out.

I also wound up having to make a facing for the black skirt.  In small print on the pattern envelope it said "reverse side of overskirt shows" or something to that effect.  I didn't think much of it until after I'd completely finished an hemmed the overskirt.  I realized that because of the angle on the front (and back) of the black skirt, where the fabric falls into folds you could see the reverse of the fabric.  It was ugly, with seams and visible hem, and the off color that the back of velvet is.  It really made the whole thing look unacceptably crafty to my eyes.  There weren't any skirt facing pieces in the pattern, but I just made my own using the bottom of each skirt piece, so now the reverse side just looks like the front.  It was a lot of extra work the night before the event, but I think it was worth it.

I had a good time braiding up my hair (which is still pretty short for braiding, but I made it work), but sadly didn't get a very good picture.  It was pretty dark at the event and at my friends' house where we were getting ready.  We did have a good time at the dinner though; I talked more about that in my I like post a couple weeks back.  I am especially pleased with the invisible-ness of my invisible zipper- I've had trouble with those before, but this one went in very smoothly!

After scurrying around like a crazy person trying to finish the dress, I felt the need for something easy and low stress.  I've been wanting to make a sewing machine cover for my bernina embroidery machine for a while, but never got around to it.  I don't use it very often and it really should be covered up.  It's a really strange shape, but I pieced up some brightly colored quarter square triangles (hourglass blocks?) and then after some loose measurements came up with this.  It fits pretty well all things considered, and I love seeing the bright colors when I walk into my studio.

Have you done any clothes sewing lately?  I have a bunch of fabric, but I think this might be all the clothes sewing I do for a while!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I like #5

Things I like this week!

1.  Meeting up with in-person friends as well as online ones!  Yesterday morning I got to have breakfast with my dear friend Linda, something we try to do as often as we can, and it was so wonderful to visit with her.  She's such a support for me.  We talk about all kinds of things, and our time is always over way sooner than it ought to be!

2.  More choral music!  This past week our church choir (from St. John's Norman) joined up with the choir from St. John's Oklahoma City to be the guest choir at an evensong service at St. Thomas More Catholic church on the OU campus.  We were invited to sing this service last year as well, and it's such fun to learn all the evensong music.  It's also fun to join with another choir, our group only has about 12 voices and St. John's OKC is only a bit bigger, but it works great to sing together.  This year we sang Charles Villiers Stanford's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in C Major, Philip Wilby's If Ye Love Me and an arrangement of Psalm 84 written by one of the choristers from St. John's OKC (in addition to the other minor evensong music/chants).  I used to record choral music often, but haven't in the last four years or so, but this seemed like a good occasion to do so.  Here are a few of the pieces (apologies for the recording quality).  This is the first time I've embedded audio files, so I hope it works.

3. I like Astronomy Picture of the Day  This website has a new astronomy picture every day or sometimes an artist interpretation and it's a fabulous way to get a glimpse of our wider universe.  I keep thinking I'm going to make a quilt inspired by some of these photographs, but I've yet to get around to it.

4. I like "wildlife".  I live in an ordinary suburban neighborhood, but we're close to the edge of town, so just outside our neighborhood is more open farmland and larger properties, so occasionally we get interesting visitors.  This one wasn't particularly out of the ordinary, but it made me laugh.  Mike sent me of our backyard yesterday morning.  He recently hung a birdfeeder in an effort to attract birds to photograph.  Alas, so far all we've attracted are cute interlopers.  Not exactly what he was hoping for!

Hoping you're all keeping your chins up!  Thanks as always to LeeAnna for hosting!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I Like #4

I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed by things just now, as I'm sure many of you are, but chin up and turn away the negativity has to be the mantra.

So things I liked this week:

1. This home depot/Disney mashup video.  It's really charming and funny for anyone who likes Disney.  I'm totally a Disney Princess Superhero, like maybe a combination of Belle, Hermione, and the Scarlet Witch?  But I grew up in the 80s and 90s during the great disney revival so will always have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and the Lion King (in addition to the classics).

2. Dressing up.  Anyone who encountered me during real life for the last couple of weeks heard me freaking out about finishing my dress in time for a work related College of Medicine black-tie event.  It was the first one I'd ever had to go to and because I have inherited boxes and boxes of formal fabric I had to make a dress (that'll be it's own post at some point).  I've never been to formal things really, and my style leans toward the casual and eclectic (the more colors the better).  The event was a fairly ordinary awards dinner, it was fun to get dressed up and go.  It was held at the Cowboy Hall of Fame which has some really beautiful artwork.

It was also surprisingly good to hear about and from the two awardees this year.  I hadn't heard of them before, but I haven't been particularly involved in the College of Medicine until recently, so that's not surprising.  One awardee was Jeanne Hoffman Smith who was apparently a pioneer in mental health and social services in this area, and the other was Dr. Andy Sullivan, a highly regarded pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  He was one of the many dedicated first responders after the tragic Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and actually performed an on-site amputation on a women trapped in the debris of the collapsed building, thus saving her life.

3.  This week I just finished another one of the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher.  I'm really enjoying them; they're urban fantasy novels about a Wizard Detective and his police officer sidekick/partner.  Lots of fun characters and charming writing, if you like light and witty fantasy, check them out.  I think it's better to listen to them in order as there are quite a few recurring characters, but each can stand alone.  I started with #1, but then skipped to #8 and #9 since that's what the library had.  For anyone out there who is a Buffy/Joss Whedon fan, the audiobooks are narrated by Spike.  Alas, the narration is great, but he doesn't sound like Spike, something I was sad about in the beginning.

4. I'm still liking blooming flowers; my Christmas cactus is done, but my poinsettia is still going strong.  I rescued it from church after 12th night, and it was pretty droopy after the whole Christmas season, but I've transplanted it and it perked back up.  I'm determined to keep it alive all year, but who knows how that will go!

5.  I love seeing everyone's posts from the women's marches and protests.  It was wonderful to see (and continue to see) my instagram feed and blogs filled with pink hats and kind, compassionate women standing up for things that are important to them.  

Thanks to LeeAnna for hosting I Like Thursdays!  Keep postive everybody!