Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"Happy Go Lucky" Hourglasses


 I finished this quilt maybe two months ago now... just trying to catch up on my blogging.  :)  


I paired a few fat-eighth cuts of Bonnie & Camille's "Happy Go Lucky" fabrics with some solids that I had on hand.  Then I dug into my scrap bin for the piano keys border.


I just love how it turned out!  Really: this is one of my top three favorite quilts.


I did the backing with another piece of "Briar Rose" that I had on hand. I'm just not sure I can get enough of those mama bees knitting!


This was a gift for Baby Lucy whom I know from church. Her mother is a dear who appreciates handmade goods and once upon a time called my quilts "Rad."  Yup... that's how you get on the fast track to a handmade quilt in my book.  


"Rad" + new baby = I'll whip you up a quilt in no time.  ;)

Friday, May 1, 2015

May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month

In the past, I have already begun begging people for charitable donations by this time of year.  I decided to take a break from it this year, with the exception of today's one little blitz.

Last weekend, we attended the annual fundraising event for Duke's Brain Tumor Center.  They do a fabulous job at this institution, and it was our fourth year in attendance.  So these sweet pictures are from that event (and were taken by my friend, Kellie).















Charlotte insisted on giving a kiss to her brain tumor buddy, Layla.


This coming weekend, we will be attending for the second time a fundraiser in the form of a motorcycle ride to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Funding the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) is so important to me because while the NCI currently gives a mere 4% of their budget to pediatric research, the PBTF supports research that is both pediatric and brain tumor specific.

Charlotte has been living with brain cancer for four years now - the entirety of her life.  It is difficult to explain her situation when the question, "How is she doing?" arises.  She is doing GREAT in day to day life.  She is full of joy and is as silly as can be.  Charlotte giggles all. day. long.  She has a very high quality of life.  She is greatly loved.  But regarding the long-term issue of her cancer, Charlotte currently has progressive disease; the cancer has metastasized and spread since we had to stop chemo last September.  However, our hands are tied when it comes to treatment options.  Because the primary tumor is on her brainstem, it will never be able to be removed.  She has already completed courses of three chemo drugs and has been rejected from being eligible for another three.  There are very few drugs left to try.  None of them will be a "cure." At best, future therapies might buy her some more time, while hopefully maintaining a reasonably high quality of life.

Won't you please consider giving generously so that we can translate research into better therapies for our kids?  We need more options and fewer toxicities.

Click here to donate today.  And a huge THANK YOU for doing so.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Sherbert Pips Quilt


Marian's birthday was back in November.


This pretty quilt was finished only a few months later.


I took two charm packs of Aneela Hoey's "Sherbert Pips" line and did a little "disappearing nine-patch" pattern.


Then I added some Kona Ash sashing and a border of Sarah Jane's hopscotch print.


So quick and easy!


And then I sent it off to my quilter for a little "meander" goodness.  (Don't you just love that girl on the swing?)


The backing got a little interesting as I tried to use up every charm and not purchase new fabric, all at once!


Marian might be the littlest person in my home, but she's my biggest quilt lover.  This quilt is no exception.


In other news, I celebrated a birthday earlier this week.  I don't really like cake - unless it's made out strips of binding and sitting atop a pretty, little dresden plate! Such a charming little gift, wouldn't you say?


(Linking up to Finish it up Friday.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Charlotte's Birthday Quilt


This is the quilt that I made for Charlotte's birthday.  Only, poor dear, when Charlotte unwrapped the quilt, it still had the clover clips attached and the binding only half done!  Oh, I'm terrible with deadlines...


(And nevermind the outdated pictures.  Spring is in full, glorious swing here in North Carolina. I meant to post these pictures right away when I took them in late February, but life gets in the way, you know?)

Anyhow, this quilt got started back in September when I spotted the Heather Ross "Itsy Bitsy Spider" fabric for the first time.  I'm such a fan of Heather Ross, but am also so new to quilting that some of these older fabric lines are "news to me." And Charlotte is a fan of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (she was singing it just this morning, in fact), so of course I just had to buy a fat quarter or two of this sweet fabric.



And then I threw in a bunch of coordinating fabrics.  See "Posy" below.  I cannot get enough of this sweetness!  (I'm making another Posy quilt now using Fielke's "Made in Cherry" pattern; it's divine, if I do say so myself.)


Back to the quilt at hand, though: more Heather Ross fabric in the form of Briar Rose strawberries.  A favorite of mine... sigh.


Anne gave me these trees as a little scrap probably two years ago now! I am proud to have made a place for it here.


Here's the backing: two different DS quilts fabrics from JoAnn's.


I love the backing.


I also love the quilting.  Logan did this for me yet again.  I love how it crinkles after it's been washed.


One thing I don't love is the gray (Kona Shale) that I used.  I should have gone with Kona Ash.  Oh well: that's one reason I love quilting - I'm always learning.


See the snowflakes on the quilt?  Oh, it was not lost on me that the morning I wake up to a six-inch snowfall, instead of wrapping my kids up in quilts to keep them warm, I toss the quilts out on top of the snow to take frivolous pictures!  The quilts came back inside wet and useless.  Ridiculous.


Here's my youngest.  At age 2, this is the most snow Marian has ever seen.  She loved it.


And I love this last picture.  Clearly, Marian has been studying and practicing her impressions of Marion Cotillard.  While my Marian might want to step up her fashion game, the glance and smile over her shoulder aren't bad, eh?


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Quilt Auction Housekeeping


Gee, I wish I could say that I made this stunning, little beauty.  But it was a gift from my sweet friend, Anne.  Isn't it fantastic, and aren't I just the luckiest gal alive to be the recipient?  And if you can believe it, the husband even approved it to be hung on the wall.  A first!  Even he must love it.  Anyhow, just wanted to put that picture up as a teaser to more boring matters at hand...

Quilt Auction.  It's usually this time of year that I am receiving quilts from all over the country, photographing them, and writing up posts to advertise. Unfortunately, while I do love to raise funds toward pediatric brain cancer research, I am unable to do the auction this year.  My day-to-day life finds me super-busy with four little kiddos at home and the homeschooling that they require.  So I have decided to take this year off.

I have been given two quilts, however, that were unsolicited by me but donated by sweet ladies who want to help.  I plan to do a "mini-auction" for these two quilts this spring.  Please contact me ASAP if you have a quilt that you had been planning to donate but haven't yet let me know.  I would be happy to auction a few more quilts in addition to the two that I currently have, but I just cannot swing an auction of 20+ quilts this year.

I hope to be able to do a larger auction again in 2016.  (Oh, it really is so much fun, isn't it?!)  Thank you for your understanding and support of our cause.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Celebrating Charlotte's Birthday


It happened a month ago now, but Charlotte turned four years old!  I can hardly believe it; it's almost too good to be true. Our family and friends alike marvel at Charlotte's life. I know that many pray for a "healing miracle" for Charlotte; truly, I marvel at the miracle that she is already.  Yes, she has a terrible cancer.  But for now, she also has breath in her lungs and joy in heart.  Darn it all if I don't love this kid to bits and pieces!

Alright, let me show you the pictures from her party.  First, I should explain that our family doesn't really "do" birthday parties.  Invite the grandparents, order a pizza and bake a little cake, and that's about all the hubbub our kids usually get. Three months ago, things got a little c-c-crazy when I bought some streamers for Elyse and Marian's joint birthday.  ;)

So you'll believe me when I say that we truly felt like a celebration was in order this year when we hosted 25 people in our home!  I suppose that six of those twenty five already occupy the home day in, day out, but still... that many people felt like a big deal to me.  We had both sets of grandparents come from Virginia, my sister, Shannon, flew in from New York City, and then local friends, too (including nurse-friends from Duke and Charlotte's oncologist with his wife).

Enough rambling. Here are some pictures.  First up, we did "Charlotte games."  Charlotte's arms have been paralyzed by her tumor, but no worries: she is quite adept with her feet.  It was important to my husband and me that the kids play games in the same manner as Charlotte.  So the first game we played was coloring with toes.






Next up: stacking blocks with feet.  We didn't get a very good picture of Charlotte doing this, but really: she is a pro!  I wish I had her abs of steel.  She doesn't even support herself with her arms (as you see Henry doing in the picture below), yet I have seen build a tower at least seven blocks high!  She amazes me.




My husband named the final game "The Rump Race."  When Charlotte is not in her wheelchair, she scoots across the floor on her bottom.  So we lined the kids up at one of the room, and they had to scoot on their bottoms all the way to the other end.  Here's Charlotte leading the pack:





After the games, we ate a little bit.  (But I will spare you pictures of us stuffing our faces.  Phew!)  Then presents.  Charlotte has such thoughtful friends and family members.  :)  My gift to her was a new quilt (imagine that), but I'm still working on taking some good pictures of it.  I'll share that quilt in a later post.  




Candles and cake!   These next two pictures are just absolutely priceless in my mind.



And Charlotte just had to keep Barney for herself...


This next picture of Marian?  I die.  If she isn't just the cutest little thing I ever did see...


I just love this picture.  These are my kids and Tracy's kids.  They are like cousins; they just love each other so much.


And here is Charlotte with "her" Dr. G. (She'll say, "When do we go to Duke and see my Dr. G?"  Isn't that so cute?  Stop being so possessive, Charlotte! He does have other patients, you know...)


One last photo: the birthday girl flying across the floor in the great little scooter her Papa bought for her.  



This was truly one of the happiest days of my life.  It was so special to me to have these particular people in our home: the ones who love Charlotte most and know all that she has been up against and has been through to get this far.  And while Charlotte has quite the spunky personality out of the house, she is even more vivacious in her own home where she is most comfortable and at ease.  So I just loved having our friends and family see that side of her, too.  I truly felt as though my heart might burst for joy all throughout the party.  It was so much fun and so very special to me.

If you're still reading this far... thanks!  :)  And a million thanks, as always, to my sweet friend, Kellie, who acted like my personal photographer and took all these great pictures.    


Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Kate Spain Scrappy Quilt


Happy Saturday to you!  I don't know about you, but I just love a lazy Saturday with not much on the agenda.  And that's what I'm having today!  It's a welcome break.  

The past two weeks have been filled with planning, cleaning, and hosting Charlotte's 4th birthday party.  (That's right: she's FOUR years old!!!)  And then it took me a bit to recover.  Here's to life in my thirties.  Sigh.

Anyhow, here's a finished quilt!  Hooray!



Do you remember my Kate Spain HST Overload quilt?  Well, I had a few scraps remaining, and I just could not part with them.  So I sewed them together, then cut them up, sewed them together again, and came up with some scrappy half-square triangles.


If I remember correctly, I believe I cut the squares to 4-inches, before doing the HSTs.  So they are rather small.  Which means the scraps are even smaller!


Then I added the border, and then I didn't like it.  :(


So I sent it off to Anne, and wouldn't you know... she saved it!  She did this very tight meander only in the negative space, leaving the triangles and border with quilting.  The texture is fantastic.




I think I found the smallest scrap.  In the picture above, see the blue patch on the top?  That's made up of TWO fabrics.  The one on the bottom right is probably not even as big as half my pinky nail.  Teeny tiny!


And I love the texture on the back, too.  I did a strip of that gorgeous peacock fabric.




What I think really rescued this quilt in my mind is the binding.  Anne took it upon herself to do that for me.  Isn't she a dear?  I was going to do a scrappy binding, but boy does she ever have an eye for these things!  The gray stripe on the bias is just fantastic.  Now I simply cannot part with this quilt.  Perhaps it is time I start to keep more of my quilts, anyhow.  Thanks so much, Anne!  :)


What's so great about this "finish" is that I feel like my quilting has been in a slump lately.  When we moved early in the summer, I was able to set up a really lovely quilting space out in our sun room.  The problem with that is that the sun room is not at all insulated.  So it's about 30 degrees out there right now!  And that has put a damper on my productivity.  But I have been getting quilts that I worked on earlier in the year back from quilters, and so I still seem to have a "finish" or two each month.  

How about you?  Are you busier than ever this winter?  Or has quilting taken a backseat to other endeavors?


(Linking up Amanda Jean and with Cynthia for "Oh Scrap!")