Friday, April 30, 2010


Julia was sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit...

by Bishop Tobin...

with her grandmother as her sponsor.

Pete served as the cross bearer for the Mass and reverently led the procession.

Our pastor, Father Nick was beaming with pride!

We know this is only the beginning of her faith journey.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Last weekend, my mother and I attended a local quilt show of a neighboring guild, Narragansett Bay Quilters' Association. (Julia had other plans and lots of quilters asked about her.)
I thought I'd share with you some String-spiration!

These quilts were started during a guild workshop with Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover called "Stratavarious." Visit their website 4th and 6th Designs.

My favorite! My love for orange started a few years ago when my color consultant suggested orange accents for my pretty green bathroom. Then when Pat Sloan ran an orange challenge last year, I realized I didn't actually have much orange in my stash. I'm happy that shops and designers are providing us with more of this yummy color!

Lets go sew some strings!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweet 16!

Since this is supposed to be a quilting blog, I'll open with a quilt.
I made these tessellating stars from a fat quarter pack of African fabrics for Bill's office 6 years ago and haven't seen it since. I love how it looks on my yellow walls.

It came home for a visit to help decorate for Julia's birthday party.
I was pleased to see that I had done a really nice job on the quilting, and a little disappointed that my work has not really improved or changed much in 6 years. I need to work on that.

The party was a mother daughter open house to support African women. We sold Bead for Life jewelry and Zienzele baskets. Please visit their websites and do whatever you can to help. Women can make a difference in the world!

Speaking of women making a difference, we finally watched this documentary about the civil war in Liberia. Bill was living there in 1980 when the first coup took place and Liberians suffered through more than 20 years of unspeakable horrors. This is a very powerful film.

To quote the Today show, "on a lighter note," cupcakes!
The letters were die cut from Amy Butler paper and stuck on toothpicks with glue dots. So easy and cute!

Julia wanted to go to her favorite place on her birthday- Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, RI. They love climbing on the rocks, and keeping up with Pete was quite a workout! He was testing out his new Merrill hiking boots. They work!

Our Sweet 16!
I can't tell you how I feel about my daughter, or I'd be sitting here in a huge puddle of tears! If you have been reading my blog, you already know how awesome she is.

I love these kids!

We packed a picnic lunch (OK, we picked up some subs!) and discovered this is the best place to play bocce! For the record, Pete and I kicked their butts.

The flowering trees are blooming in quick succession this year. Usually, only the PJM rhodies and magnolia are blooming for Julia's birthday. (Last year, they were almost 2 weeks late.) This year, the lilacs and crab apples are starting already!

We have another busy week ahead with Julia's Confirmation on Wednesday. I'll try to not let the whole week go by without another post. I'd like to show you some quilts from a local show last weekend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

MQX Highlights

MQX was amazing! If you've never been to this show, you should try to make it to MQX West this Fall or come to Providence next Spring. The quality of the machine quilting on display is higher than I could have imagined. And if you're in the market for a long arm quilting machine, this is the place to go. Every manufacturer had a booth so you could try them all out and see which one suits you the best.

I probably won't post much about other people's quilts that were on display. Copyright issues, you know. So I'll show you the highlights of my experience there, starting with Wednesday.

I drove up with Karen bright and early to beat the rush hour traffic. We volunteered in the morning to help set up the show and met some incredible people. That's Karen in the white blouse and our new friend, Diane from Massachusetts in the green sweater. (Hi, Diane!)

Here is the pike of Charity Challenge quilts. Mine is the one with the blue binding.

After lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with our new friends Diane and Linda, we took a terrific class with Pam Clarke. Her technique for marking guidelines for quilting is fascinating and I'll be giving it a try later today.

Karen and I were back for the show with another friend, Sarah.
I was happy to have my quilt hanging among so many amazing pieces. It was the first quilt I've ever had judged, and I was grateful for the constructive comments. The scoring made sense and now I have a "grade" to beat the next time out.

I went back again, but brought Julia and my mother this time.
Julia delivered 2 Quilts of Valor from her Silver Award project. She presented them to Angie, a QOV ambassador from Dover, Deleaware. She works in the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base.
The women in the QOV booth treated Julia like a rock star! They were so happy that a teenage girl would be involved with the project that they gave her a bunch of goodies- tote bag, pin, and lanyard. She'll be using the tote bag at school every day.

We both sat down to make pillow cases to be used as QOV presentation cases. We both loved sewing on the Featherweights. There may be a FW purchase in our future! We will be seeing our local FW dealer at a show next weekend. This could be trouble.

They were also collecting donations for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.

This is the Lost Heroes Art Quilt.
It is just incredible. Please visit the quilt's website to learn more about it and find out when it will be on exhibit near you. The artist, Julie Feingold, was at MQX with the quilt and was happy to meet people and talk about the process and hidden messages in the quilt.

It was definitely a quilt-filled week! I'm excited to get back to sewing and creating.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Math Geeks Unite

It's finished!
You knew I'd get it done in time. I finished the binding at 1:30AM, rinsed it in the washer and pinned it to the carpet to block it. I went to bed at 2.

After I started stitching down the binding, I realized I hadn't added a sleeve. By that time, everyone else was asleep, so I had to decide by myself which end would be up. This the way I had been looking at it for a while, so it seemed right. This morning, I wish I had turned it 90 degrees, so the big block is on the bottom, weighting it all down. Maybe I'll change it someday.

You can kind of see the spiral. I wish I had couched a fiber or appliqued a tiny "stem" to make it stand out more, but I didn't want to cover my pointy points.

I included the failed test block on the label.

I'm on my way to Providence now to drop it off.
If anyone is planning to attend MQX on Friday, let me know. Karen and I will be there! We'd love to meet you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I've been stuck. Paralyzed by the fear of screwing up. Does that happen to you?

This piece needs to be delivered to MQX on Saturday and I just started quilting it this morning. I'm not working well under pressure.

The MQX charity challenge required that a pack of fabric be purchased (with the proceeds going to the New England Quilt Museum) and a Bear Paw (the MQX logo) had to be incorporated. Simple enough.

I decided to make a Fibonacci sequence of Bear Paw blocks. Figuring out how to distribute the quarter- yards of fabric I was given and what to add from stash was the first hurdle. I'm moderately please with the results. My family and Girl Scouts really like it. The smallest blocks are 3.5" and the biggest one is 28".

Now it's crunch time and I'm quilting. I knew I wanted to incorporate a Fibonacci spiral, so I laid the outline of a chambered nautilus on top. I'm not sure how one of the coolest invertebrates in the ocean relates to a bear, but whatever. Not my best quilting work, but with no time to spare, it stays. I think you can see here how I'm not matching up well when I have to double back. I'm using a thicker thread on the main spiral.

The next problem is filling in the segments. Like the blocks, the "chambers" get bigger as it radiates out from the center. That leaves a lot of unquilted space to fill in. Maybe I'll fill in around the outside edges first and come back to the chambers after some fresh air. I'll use a thinner thread for filling in. I want the main spiral to stand out.

Are you sensing the stress? I want the quilting to be good. It's the Machine Quilters Expo, for Pete's sake! I've never had a quilt judged before, so I'm trying to use this as a learning experience. I feel like the African Olympic skier whose goal was to not be the worst one. How's that for setting high standards?

OK. Enough stalling. Back to the machine!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Flooding is no joke.

Rhode Island is still drying out from record-breaking floods.
Almost 10" of rain was dumped on our town in 48 hours. We stayed put during the storm, not venturing out until the day after. Here's a little tour after the flood waters receded significantly.

This used to be a mill town, and the river still flows around these old mill buildings. Water was flowing in one side of the mill and out through the loading docks.

Here you can see the water is just barely making its way under the bridge.

Downstream, the river flows past another old mill building that houses an Orthopedics group. They had waist deep water in the lower level.

Another river in town is usually just a stream. Bill has canoed here a few times and usually struggles through areas of low water levels. About 1/4 mile upstream from here, this river caused major damage to a bridge on a main route into town from the west, cutting off our school bus depot from the main part of town. No school again today.

We walked down the bike path to this swamp which was so eerie. A man out walking his dogs thought the water should be higher here. He suggested that the water had been released, which would explain the severe flooding downstream.

We were lucky that our basement stayed dry. Some of our neighbors and friends were not so lucky and have been pumping for days. I haven't heard anything from Karen yet. Her town has suffered the most power outages. I'm praying her basement isn't flooded again.

On a positive note:
Happy Birthday Katie!

That's no April Fool's joke, either.