Monday, November 30, 2009

Power of Prayer

My mom's church has a Prayer Shawl Ministry where knitters come together and make prayer shawls, which are then blessed and given away to someone who needs a little extra comfort in times of illness, loss or anxiety.  You can learn more about the Ministry and how it got started by going here, which is the website of Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo who are founders of the Prayer Shawl Ministry.
As a strong believer in the power of prayer, I was truly touched, as well as suprised, when my Mom gave me one of the shawls.

There are times when that little extra bit of comfort, wrapped around my shoulders like a hug from Mom can make  a big difference in bringing a sense of peace to my life.

If you visit the website, you will see that the shawls are made not only for times of trouble, but also for times of celebration.   Included with the shawl, was the following prayer:

May God's grace be upon this shawl,
warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing.
May this mantle be a safe haven... a sacred place of security and well-being...
sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones.
May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace,
and wrapped in love.
Blessed Be!

Thanks, Mom!  I truly do feel blessed!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

By hook or by crook

Like so many quilter/crafters, I like to have something to do while watching TV with the family.  In the past that has been either a hand quilting project, or a crochet project. 

Imagine the following scene:   the family gathered together, dishes done, the aroma of a sweetly scented candle, a handwork project to do while settled into a cozy recliner chair and ...
(*screech of brakes*) Toby?!  No way!  It just hasn't worked out  for me to be able to  do any handwork with him around.

   Last night,  I realized that he has finally gotten to the point where he settles down in one spot, mostly on somebody's lap, but sometimes on the floor. Last night was one of the "floor" nights, so  I stealthily got out the crochet thread and hook and started working on making a snowflake.   I had about an hour to get something done before he woke up from his dozing state and decided Mom's lap would be so much more comfy than the floor, and I gave in to his puppy eyes and let him up.   Yeah, he's spoiled, but at least I had a little something to show in the way of progress by the end of the night, and those velvety soft ears are hard to resist, even if they do come attached to a 30 pound dog.

Shown in the photo are snowflakes I made last year.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All Hanky No Panky

I finished the last few hankie blocks:

Now I have to figure out how to set them together.  I'm thinking that attic window frames would be a nice way to set them off.  A trip to the fabric store is in order, but don't know when that will happen.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Toby vs. the ball

Toby is just crazy about tennis balls.  He loves retrieving them so much, that he purposely pushes them under the chairs just so he can have the challenge of getting them back out again.  I don't know what he's thinking about, but I imagine it goes something like this:

I'm sure I saw a tennis ball disappear under this chair.

Yup.  There it is!

I can see it!

I can smell it!

But I can't quite reach it!  Darn these little short legs!

Please come out little ball!  Don't make me get on my knees and beg.

Well, okay.

Mom won't like this move, but I'm getting desperate! *

Okay, one last attempt.  Legs. Almost. There.

Toby wins!  Until next time.....

* No chairs were harmed during the taking of these pictures.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Progress report.

Thank you so much for the nice comments that were left on my last post about the quilt I'm making with handkerchief fabrics.  I've really been enjoying pairing up the fabrics for each block to bring out the colors in the hankies.  I've got 6 blocks finished, and the fabrics cut and chosen for the last 3.  Here's a peek at what I've got so far:

The only hard part about using the handkerchief print fabric, is that not all the hankies were printed symmetrically, which means that not all the corners are exactly the same, so I'm fudging it a bit.  The real test will come when I put the blocks all together.

I'm not at all sure how I want to put these together in terms of sashing color, and what the border fabric should be.  I'm still sorting that out, but it's a fun "problem" to have.  ;-)

I wanted to add a few comments about my grandfather, since he is also in the picture in yesterday's post.  He was very reserved and a man of few words.  He was content to sit back and let my grandmother be the lively one. He was never late for anything.  He would rather arrive early and wait in the car than be late.

He had a lots of thick hair on his head that never thinned as he aged, although eventually it became pure white.  He worked for years in a paper cutting factory, which is where he met my grandmother.  We were never at a loss for scrap paper in my house because Grandpa had always been able to bring home bundles of it that were leftover from paper cutting projects.   He never cooked a day in his life, until my grandmother became ill in her later years and then he learned to cook while she sat in the kitchen chair and coached him along. 

When I was old enough to learn to ride a two wheeled bike, Grandpa took the best parts from  3 bikes that had belonged to my mother and aunts and turned them into a "new" bike for me.   I wish I could say I knew him very well, but he wasn't much of a talker.  He was just always there, providing a solid base for the rest of the family to branch out from.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Grandmother's Hankies

My mother's mother was born in 1898. That's her in the picture,  sitting on the hay bale looking rather cross.   It's seems unusual to see her looking cranky.  I remember her as always having a smile on her face.  Perhaps the big hat that her sister was wearing was poking her in the face, or her button-hook shoes were too tight.

Grandma married rather late for a woman of her era, and she also broke with traditon by marrying a younger man.  She gave birth to  my mother,  and then 6 years later, had twin girls, not knowing she was carrying twins until the day they were born.

My grandmother always dressed up, complete with stockings, heels and jewelry, (and gloves if she was going into the city).  She often came by our house to babysit if  my mom  needed to run an errand, and she would don an apron over her dress and do all the ironing while Mom was out.  She might stay long enough to  have some lunch, but then she would head back home to watch her "stories" on TV. 

 Every Christmas, she gave my sister and I a new pair of patent leather shoes and we loved getting them.  She was kind and generous, and paid for a year of ballet lessons for me when I was little.  She was always so interested in everything her grandchildren did, and would attend any school play or recital and applaud heartily.  She was caring and approachable, but she liked to sign her greeting cards with "Grandmere", even though we called her "Grandma".

One of the things I'll always remember about my grandmother is that she always had a pretty handkerchief in her purse. She would spray a little perfume on it so that it was both pretty to look at and pretty to smell.

Whenever I see a beautiful ladies hankie, I think of my grandmother, and I wish that I had some of those hankies to keep.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giving back

One of the nice things about being part of my quilt guild is to be able to participate in charity projects.  We have an ongoing relationship with the Walter Reed Veteran's Hospital where we send lap quilts in red/white/blue to be given to returning soldiers.  
Today being Veteran's Day, it seemed an appropriate time to post this.  But our guild has also done other charitable projects as workshops during our meetings.  This past month we created heart shaped pillows, made from fat quarters, that will be donated to a local hospital to be given to cardiac patients.  After surgery, it is more comfortable for the patients to hug a pillow to their chest if they need to cough, and these pillows are just the right size for that.

Another workshop we've had was to make stuffed teddy bear pillows that we donate to the local fire department and amubulance services to have on hand to give to any child in need of comfort during an emergency.  The pattern is a simple gingerbread type of bear shape, just traced, sewn and stuffed.  Here's the table full of teddies we had by the end of the night:

I told my brother about my recent post about the pillow I made from his ties, and that I wished I had taken a good picture of it.  He was kind enough to take this picture and send it to me via email.  Here is his pillow made from his ties:

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Monday, November 9, 2009

That 70's Show: the fashion episode

I'm at a crossroads right now with my quilting.  I can't decide what I want to work on next.  There are so many possibilities, I can't seem to get started on anything.  I've been flipping through the books on my shelf and I came across an old pattern book that someone (who shall literally remain nameless)  gave me when she heard that I had taken up crochet.  It's the Woman's Day "Crochet Showcase", from 1979.  

With the word "showcase" in the title, one expects some cutting edge fashions, and this book did not disappoint.

A gladiator inspired vest with capped sleeves that resemble battle attire.

Katrina thought this funky vest was great fun, until she tried to put her coat on over it.

A stylin' bikini with cute matching ruffled bonnet to show that a girl can be sexy and innocent at the same time.

Louise wondered why all of a sudden all the boys wanted to take her swimming.

I've always wondered what you were supposed to wear underneath these lacy camisole tops.

I'm so rich and sophisticated that no one dares to tell me that my top has lots of little holes in it.

A little jumper that only Rainbow Brite would want to wear.

Even at  3 years old,  Bonnie knew that all the kids were going to make fun of her when she wore this to preschool.

The crocheted wedding gown was a lovely idea, and the finished product might have been beautiful in the right surroundings, but who paired it with the alien headdress?

Sweet Sara was so very  touched by her Nana's grand gesture, but when it came time to wear it with the headpiece Nana picked to go with it, she couldn't bring herself to make eye contact with anyone in the wedding party.

Had to include this one, not because the fashion was funny but because I think this is an early example of supermodel Beverly Johnson's work.  Isn't that her?  Shows what talent she has that she can make patchwork pockets look chic.  I actually think this design has merit,(Hello! hand warmers!) but maybe that's just the quilter in me talking.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Family Ties

When I first saw a quilt made with men’s ties featured in a quilt magazine, I loved the idea.  I didn’t have any ties to work with, so I put out the word to the men in my family to never give their ties away, but to pass them on to me instead.  Fortunately, my brother Scott  has to wear a tie to work every day so he has lots of ties, and he passes his older ones on to  me.  I saw him this weekend, and he gave me this new batch:
Ties new
I have made Grandmother’s Fan blocks from some of the silk tie fabrics.  Here are a few that I have currently completed:
Tie blocks so far

Of course, since we quilters can not bring ourselves to throw away anything that might possibly be useful, ever, even if it might not be for years and years, even if it’s the next generation that has to figure out what to use them for, I also have these:
tie tags
I’m open to suggestions as to what to do with these labels if you have any….

As a “Thank You” to my brother for his supply of ties, I made him a pillow from some of them.  The picture is grainy, but you can get the idea:
Tie pillow

Since I can’t end this blog post with such a poor quality photo, I’m going to throw in this picture of Toby at no extra charge.  This is the face that greets me in the morning:
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