Friday, October 29, 2010

Can We Have a Little Healing Over Here!?!?!

It's such a romantical notion! That a quilt can have healing properties.  Sylvia Compson's mother made an Ocean Waves quilt that was said to have healing properties in Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series of books.  Lauraine Snelling wrote a whole book about it (The Healing Quilt)I, for one, am hoping it's true.

You see, I am well and truly sick.
Oh -- it's nothing so bad...Started with a little sore throat day before yesterday.  Figured I would slough it off and go on about my merry business of running boys here and yon (while the little balloon man whistles far and WHEEEEE!!! -- sorry, e.e.cummings) and making quilts for little girls. Ah! the life of a homeschooling quilting maniac whale of a mom.

I should have understood I was in the full throes of denial when I purchased (and devoured) some large extra salty fries (with the Applewood Bacon cheeseburger) from Wendy's thinking they would probably feel every bit as good on my pitiful throat as that briny glass of warm water "they" always tell you to gargle. ("Feed a cold..."  Right!?)

So last night I retreated to my Sanctuary (translation: bedroom -- not quite as pristine as it was here :-('re seeing the eye roll, right!?!) and rolled up in my very own "healing" quilt.

This pinwheely, whirlygigy beauty of a body warmer is made of homespuns (with all the same background fabric because that's what I do. I know...I'm trying to break free!  :-D), and it has the yummiest, softest brushed cotton flannel backing in rich olive green plaid you ever had the pleasure of laying on your skin.

This is the quilt that Jeff and I snuggle under on a Sunday afternoon -- after church, when Sunday dinner is over and the kids have retreated to the family room (downstairs! Yippeeee!!) to play video games -- and we breathe deeply of each other and then roll over, each to our own side! and take a two- to three-hour nap!!!


So, yeah, I'm thinking this quilt definitely might have healing properties.  As I delve a little more deeply into "memory time" while Jeff is overseas, I'm smiling to myself and enjoying the view....and

The coughing spasm hits, and I know the wet stuff in my lungs has to go somewhere! and my fantasy takes a dramatic turn....

"NOOOO! Baby! Stay in the desert!!
I would not have you die of this horrible plague!!
Save yourself!!! Give my best to the Afghans.....
Tell the children I love them...
I love you tooooo much to inflict this on you!!!!!"

Healing quilt, my...Well. Nevermind.
So, I'm thinking there are some clear clues that I'll be seeing a doctor today.
  1. When my very real deployed husband tells me in my fake insipid daydream to get my rear end to the doctor.
  2. When every coughing spasm reveals there are other uses for certain drug store products besides consistent incontinence.  (Yeah, and all my relatives wanted to throw away the Poise pads when gramma died!!! Hummmmph!!!)
  3. When my children back away from me saying things like, "Is that one gonna make you hurl, Mom!?!"
It's bronchitis.  I get it every year.  I'll probably live. AFTER I see the doctor. :-)

And I could pray! I had a pastor who, when someone would suggest prayer for a sicko like me, would respond, tongue in cheek --"Has it come to that!?!"  He's a keeper! Gotta love it!! LOL

They don't call Jesus the Great Physician for nothin'!  God tells His people Israel, "I am the LORD, who heals you." (Exodus 15:26).  Psalm 103, recounting all the benefits of the Lord, tells us He "heals all your diseases."

Malachi 4:2 offers this promise:  "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.  And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall." 

Yeah...I'm not too excited about the calf bit (I already called myself a whale -- "heifer" is just a little further than I wanna go today!), but I'll take the healing! Thank you, Jesus! and pass the antibiotics!!

And Daydream Jeff!! Quit hogging all the covers!! I'm trying to nap over here!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Five in a Row

Five in a row is the number of quilt tops I hope to complete in the next couple of weeks!!

One quilt is a Sunbonnet Sue for a lady whose grandmother made the blocks. I've sashed it with '30's orange and bleached muslin and added a '30's orange print border. The rows are assembled; I have only to sew the rows together and add the borders and it will be a finish! (Photo at the bottom)

Five in a Row (FIAR) is also a curriculum that I used to homeschool my children when they were younger. FIAR uses picture books to teach children all kinds of things....From the classic children's book, The Story About Ping, for example, you can launch discussion and exploration about the Yangtse River and Japan and ducks and cormorants and boats, and do experiments to figure out why ducks don't get wet when they swim....It's just the coolest way to learn EVER :-) -- and my children loved it.

I'm working on three quilt tops for a FIAR family that lost their mom to breast cancer. The gals on the FIAR message board wanted to do something special for the family, so they sent quilt blocks to a friend who lives near me. As Providence would have it, I met Christy through a yard sale (selling books that my children had outgrown!), and she asked me if I knew anyone who quilted. LOL "Come into my house," said the spider to the fly! :-D

Christy brought me the blocks and I've started auditioning fabrics for sashing and borders. I'm going to keep the assembly simple -- because the blocks are what is phenomenal about these quilts. For both the little girls who lost their mom, the blocks represent the different picture books they studied with their mom doing FIAR.
So there's Ping (his block background has little Japanese characters in it!), and Madeline, and The Very Last First Time -- a story about an Inuit child who goes under the ice in the arctic for the first time! -- and The Salamander Room, and so many other classic and beautiful children's books.

There are also blocks for the dear lady's husband a quilt. Within it are expressions of love and commitment and encouragement.

One of the two little girls is adopted -- a beautiful picture of the love of this family.

Adoption is one of God's best illustrations of His love for us. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus about God choosing us! Choosing us!!!

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:4-6)

1 Peter 2: 9 goes into even more detail: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."

The center of one of the quilts says, "Emma, Momma's Little Princess." We are "royal," Peter tells us! We are God's princes and princesses!! The center of the other quilt says, "Eden, Momma's Chosen Girl." We, too, are chosen by God. The dad's quilt calls him "Beloved." We are the beloved of Father God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Glorious grace, indeed!

The fifth quilt is a t-shirt quilt for a local girl who graduated high school last spring. And I'm still working on the Circuit Rider, enjoying making progress on it so I can freely move on to other projects. So much to do.

So much easier to do it knowing I am chosen, royal, beloved.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Colors For People Who Don't Do Anything

Jeff asked me to send him photos of the house and what not.  He's got alot of rocks and sand around him in Afghanistan, and I'm thinking he asked for photos because the colors of fall might be particularly pleasing to see.  So I sent him the spectacular tree color from our yard.  No...not the trees in the background that are a quarter mile away....our yard:

Yeah, buddy.  It's a virtual kaleidoscope of brilliant color from the side of our home.  We are the envy of every house around us.  We are the epitome of stunning autumnal resplendence.  (It's a Thanksgiving miracle!)   LOL
Wait 'til you see the front yard:

We planted a lovely hemlock there before Jeff was deployed.  After the fourth time the wind blew it over last March, we staked it down.  I can't imagine why it didn't last through the summer.  It's as if it were never there....

We have some lovely mums.  It's a good thing they are perennial...Lord knows my not-so-green thumb would have done them in weeks ago if not!

They need a little...weeding? perhaps.  Pruning? Cleaning up? (Do you deadhead mums?)  Of course, I'd have to leave the sewing room to do that.  There just SOOO many hours in the day!! If I were going to leave my sewing room, don't you think I would sweep and dust!?!?

And, like any good homeschooling mom would do, I assigned the children to do animal husbandry -- meaning, it's Sam's and Will's jobs to keep the chickens and bees alive until Jeff returns from overseas. (They are his hobby; quilting is mine, thank you very much.  Do I ask him to watch my fabric when I'm gone!?! Nooooooooooooooooo.)

So far, so good!

Bucky, the rooster, is some of the best fall color we have! And, the bees are still buzzing, so I'm optimistic.

Lest you think I never DO anything...there is some lovely fall color INSIDE the house. :-D

After Mary at Quilt Hollow posted about her beautiful little quilt by Lori Smith using Jo Morton fabrics, it reminded me of the little quilts I have (long had!) in my "to be quilted" pile. They are "Little Jo's" -- designed by Jo Morton and using her fabrics (I tweaked a couple of them because I got carried away and cannot leave --hehe, get it, leave ...!?-- well enough alone).

Now there's some fall color to love! They may actually be quilted some day....assuming I can find the time in the lazy days of fall.  ( this point, I'm thinking the bees have a better prognosis!)
Good thing the Lord is a little  more reliable than I! :-)  The Psalmist writes:

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.  (Psalm 36:5-9)
He preserves "both man and beast" -- bees and chickens, and my Jeff in a foreign land.  I don't have to do anything!
Except maybe send a photo or two to show everything's OK at home (right after I deadhead the mums!).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fabric In, Fabric Out

Fabric buying moratorium is not going so well.  Sigh.
I justify myself by saying that for every piece coming in, some more is going out!! :-)
Our quilt show was this weekend, and I had to support our vendors, otherwise they won't come back -- and they are really nice people!!!

I've mentioned Paula's Quilting Pantry before -- she's my local quilt store, so I didn't buy from her at the show (I buy from her most every week! LOL)

The other fabric vendor we had was Fabrics 'n Quilts from Jamestown, TN.  Shannon is always fun to be around (and she's sooo sweet! [winks to you, Shannon! LOL]).  This is the fourth show I've gotten to visit her, and I always buy! LOL  Great selection, great service! What more can you ask!

Here are some of the goodies I picked up:
A very small haul for me, actually -- and you wouldn't believe all the people calling me to accountability (sheesh!) -- "Aren't you s'posed to NOT be buying fabric!?!" LOL

6 half yards of Cherish Nature by Deb Strain for Moda.  These were "go-withs" for a layer cake I bought from Shannon back in April. :-)  I'm working on a Schnibble with them.  Some Thimbleberries fq's, some charm packs.  So I didn't go wild.  Shannon's place would be a good one for it, though! :-)

Like the Stash Buster girls, though, I'm priding myself on some fabric going OUT as well...

I've got the Fall into Fall Giveaway packages ready to go to the winners!!

An Aunt Grace charm pack to a gal making a quilt for the baby she's carefully saving to adopt.

A Jo Morton fat quarter pack to a great fellow blogger who is more encouragement than she knows -- and who deserves a little blessing in return.

A set of wool pieces -- cut from men's suits bought at Goodwill for $2 each!! -- for a dear one who has a passion (and a talent!) for wool.

I find myself looking around for things to add to each person's pile! :-D  It's sooo much fun to share -- and my experience has been that every time I obey the impulse to give, I get more blessed than I could ever imagine.  It's really not fair!! LOL  I'm don't give for what I get -- but I get so much!!
Listen to what God says about giving: 
  • A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.  Proverbs 11:25
  • A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9
  • Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38
  •  Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  2 Corinthians 9:6
Compared to how richly I am blessed -- Every. Single. Day. -- I am not nearly generous enough.  My little ready-to-go packages look skimpy and small to me compared to how much God gives me.  Thank the Lord that He is not fair :-), but He is good and just. 

Who do you know that you can be a blessing to today?  Obey the impulse (Godly nudge!) to give and see what happens!

A few quilt show photos:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Circuit Ridings and Winner Tidings

OK, it's a little creepy, but I've sworn a blood oath (it is the month of Halloween, after all! LOL) NOT to begin another project (excepting our club's annual Mystery Night, of course!) until I finish the Circuit Rider quilt top.

Well, maybe not a blood oath (because, really, it IS creepy) -- but I need to stay focused and finish the CR.  I was perfectly sanguine about my promise to finish until I counted my complete Circuit Rider blocks today.  I've completed 21 blocks.  Exactly HALF the quilt.  Sigh!  But I'm doing them with a great bunch of gals, and our goal is to complete them by the end of the calendar year.  And I'm making progress!!

All but the last four or five are prepped -- overlays traced, templates made, fabric cut.  All I have to do is stitch them!  So I'm thinking the last 21 will be completed more quickly than the first 21. 

Particularly since I want to begin Roseville and break into those wild Kaffe/etc. fabrics, just as quickly as I can! LOL

I've got a few favorite blocks:

I like the Roses...There are five of these in the quilt.  I have two finished, and the other three have the flowers completed off the block.

The "horse feathers" block isn't all that visually appealing -- but as a part of the whole, I'm satisfied with it.  It was challenging.  I now know why antique princess feather blocks were larger in scale than mine! LOL 

My absolute favorite of them all (so far) is this vine.  It's simple lines and gentle curves appeal to me.  It doesn't hurt that it's in classic red and green!! 

I never dreamed I'd be so in love with applique.  I only started in December of last year! So it's been a great year for learning skills, trial and error, improving stitches and techniques. 

So rather than give up, either because of impatience to get to other projects or because I'm still not all that good at needle-turn, I think I'll press on and finish, just as planned.  It's work, but it will be worth it!

Scripture tells us, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).  How often do we let frustration or what we perceive as "slow progress" keep up from (as my mother used to call it) "sticking it out."  No more whining for me! LOL   I'm gonna get-r-done! :-)

And now, winners!!
Each entry was assigned a number, and I went over to to have the winners randomly selected and assigned the prizes in the order they appear in the Giveaway post.
Good tidings to
  • Mary at Gwendie's Quilts for winning the Abundance charm pack!
  • MJ for winning the Kaye England fat quarters from the Bread and Butter line!
  • Brittainy at Indie Mommy for winning approx. 3 yards of Thimbleberries strips! 
I've contacted each of the winners and look forward to receiving their addresses and sending their packages out!

Thanks to EVERYONE who commented and followed and added Cheaper than Therapy Quilting to your blogroll.  Some of you got a response from me -- but it just got overwhelming after a while! LOL  I appreciate sooo much you stopping by and leaving your thoughts and comments. 

Y'all come back, y'hear!? :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beginnings and Ends

I've been a slacker for a while now! With Jeff gone to Afghanistan, it's hard to stay motivated to keep the house nice and clean.  And busy-ness and deadlines and the like have kept me from doing those tasks that, while not earth-shatteringly important, sure make life easier!

Laundry has been piling up in my room for several weeks.  I DO laundry! :-), I just don't get it put away.  But a message at church on Sunday about the privileges of faith (Thanks, Pastor Trevor),  convicted me of my responsibilities!  Further, a service call to a TV repairman finally got my butkus in gear, and my room looks like it should! Ironically, the TV "fixed" itself, and the TV guy didn't have to come, but the room is clean!  :-P

So the end of clutter, the beginning of a season of better behaviour! LOL

I also completed one of the six "commissioned" quilt tops on order for various people/causes.  I'm sorta the "assembly girl" for my quilt club, Mountain Laurel Quilters, when we provide a donation quilt for a community event or charity.  Last week, I put together a Civil War Repro fabric top for the local Optimist Club to raffle for their Youth Programs. It will be displayed at our annual quilt show, A Quilt Gathering with the Mountain Laurel Quilters this weekend (Oct. 15th-16th).

Paula Philpot at Paula's Quilting Pantry did the machine quilting and another club member bound it for us. 

I've already got the next set of blocks, made of 1930's repros and donated by our club for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, on the design wall.  I'll meditate a few days on the setting and put it together before passing it along to the same able quilter.

So the end of one project and the beginning of another!

It's a good week so far for getting things accomplished.  I hope the remainder of the week goes as well.  It should!! I have LISTS!  Here's a list of my lists:
  1. Things to do today. 
  2. Things to do this week. 
  3. Things to do this month.
  4. Things to do by the end of the year.
  5. The weeks remaining in this year so I can map out what I'll do when.
  6. Thing to do in 2011!!!
(You are positively REELING from the details, huh!? LOL)  There's the usual innocuous stuff like house cleaning (I'm behaving better now, remember!?), but the majority of the lists are about quilts I want to do.  Kits and Blocks of the Month to complete.  UFO's and WIP's and such to conclude.  Deadlines for projects.  New projects I want to start.

Beginnings and Ends.

God is all about beginnings and ends.  He starts out His Word with "In the beginning..." (Genesis 1:1).  The Gospel of John tells us "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning" (John 1:1-2).  I love how Jesus concludes the Revelation.  In Chapter 22, He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (v. 13).

Over the years I've heard people say, "It doesn't matter how you begin; it's how you end that counts" and I suppose that is true.  But the nature of God is to begin well (didn't He say of creation, "That's Good!!"?) AND end well.  I wanna be like that.  As His nature is perfected in me, I want my beginnings to be equal to my endings, to do all things well to His glory.

It's probably a good beginning to end some things before I begin those new projects that I want to end in 2011. Oh, man.  Maybe I should make another list.... Help me, Lord!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sweetness and Light

All the talk of the Roseville Album and it's glorious color has got me thinking about why I have long preferred the darker palettes of Civil War reproduction prints and Thimbleberries and Kansas Troubles and the like.

Truth is -- I'm just not that sweet!!

I have a small collection of 1930's reproductions.  All that pink and pastel and what not.  Even bright pastels! Sheesh! Who left the sugar bowl open!! I get the vapors just thinking about all that sweetness.  Next, someone will suggest we do Sunbonnet Sue's...see, now that's where I draw the line!!!  (Well, except for those fall ones I did here.)

I started a Feedsack quilt a few years ago.  It's ice cream sundae blocks are languishing in the UFO pile (yeah, no Work In Progress, here.  It's way back in the closet underneath the pile of upholstery fabric I will need in 2025 when I've worn out the cushions on my couch!).

There's an authentic feedsack or two in the mix (one my mother gave me), but most of the fabrics are repros.  I think I originally had nine blocks...don't have a clue where the other one is (perhaps in the box with the unfinished cross stitch projects of 1988).

I helped the looks of one of the blocks with a little "cherry" on top.

Yeah, buddy.  Sweetness and light.  Please, pretty please, with a cherry on top.

Blaaaaaaaaah!  Blaaaah, blaaah.                             Blaaaah. :-P

I never was much of one for sweetness.  Not much sentimental.  My sister keeps all the family photos.  The dust would eat them at my house.  I don't save all the mementos of my children; don't wax nostalgic about the fabrics of my grandmother's time.  If I didn't love Christmas so much, I would call myself a pre-revelation Scrooge!  

The appeal of the dark palette is different.  It's the tartness, perhaps, that makes it appeal to me! Those darker colors are the crispness of October apples, the colors of fall leaves, the smoke on the water as the cooler air touches the surface of it and whispers of burrowing animals and Thanksgiving feasts and the bite of Jack Frost in the not-too-distant days.

Sounds pretty sweet, after all, doesn't it!? :-D  Kinda like Noah's Ark and the rainbow of God's promise....

Sweetness and Light, indeed!! LOL
The Psalmist writes, "If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you...I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:11-12, 14)

Today, it's more "fearfully" than "wonderfully." :-D
Sundae, anyone!?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I have declared a fabric-buying "moratorium" -- a suspension of activity...

No, really! I have!! I need to slow down and finish some projects and stash shop, complete the kits and blocks of the months and what not that I have piled up in the available closet, floor and shelf space in my 12' x 15' sewing room.

I've noticed a pattern, though, in my fabric buying of late. I'm a sucker for a good background.

I took stock after I got the Kaffe/Phillip fabric and started pulling stash for Roseville by Kim McLean.  What would be a good background?!

In my closet there are bits of Marcus and Moda and Andover and Thimbleberries, Buggy Barn and Maywood and Makower....creams, beiges (I'm partial to those that complement the darker tones! :-D), whites....You just can't have too many good backgrounds.  But nothing that really "spoke" to me for Roseville.

I ended up buying a Moda piece from the Bliss line  (it's second from the left in the photo) -- similar to Kim's recommended "dotty" background fabrics, just a bit subtler with a light creamy white dot on a creamy background.

I didn't even blink when I bought the required 9+ yards -- it seems I buy background fabric in bulk! LOL  Most of the pieces I have in my stash are a minimum of 3 yards, and some are even more, upwards of 6 to 8 yards, with whole bolts of Kona cottons in cream, bone, snow, khaki and white!

In most of my quilts, even the scrappiest, I notice that I often use the same background throughout to "unify" the piece.

I think that's why I like investing in good backgrounds.  The quilts I make "feel" better to me if they are unified with some element throughout -- theme or color or background.  Background gives me more options; I don't have to have a "matchy-matchy" quilt if the background pulls the design together around my other color choices.

And now that I'm applique crazy....well, good backgrounds are the framework for all the intricate design and work of beautiful flowers, stars, vines, folk-art, etc., that make up my current projects.

I'd like to think that my life is like that, too.  That there is a "framework" for all the details of my existence, some unifying element that binds it all, that coheres the varying pieces of Mary Lou.

The apostle Paul wrote about such a framework to the church at Colosse.  It was a time of economic crisis, immorality, and false teaching (does that sound at all familiar... like anything we've been experiencing in our time and in our country?), and Paul told them that there is One who holds it all together:

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17, emphasis, mine :-)

With Christ as my Cohere-er :-), I don't have to worry about holding it all together myself.  With Him as my framework, I can bring all the disjointed pieces -- scraps, many of them, some that others might even throw away! -- and present a beautiful Quilt that glorifies the One who created all things, including me and you, and blesses those who touch it, day in and day out.

So no fabric buying for a while.  I think I'll see what One can do with the pieces that I have!