Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Angels Among Us" Race Day Event

It has been over a week now since we were in Durham for the Angels Among Us event, celebrating Charlotte, other brain tumor survivors, and pooling our funds for research at Duke.  All of our quilting efforts were in support of this wonderful event and cause.

Here is Charlotte, her Auntie Theresa, and Genqo the handsome rescue dog.  Theresa was our team's biggest fundraiser, raising over $2,600!  This contributed to our team's total of $12,540.  Wow!  Auntie Shannon receives an "honorable mention" for raising $1,775 and for being the first 5K finisher for our team. Go team!

Do you want to hear even better news than this?  The event as a whole surpassed its goal by $200,000.  We raised

$2,015,618.00 for brain tumor research at Duke!

Wait, let's pause.  Yes, that read "Two Million"!  This is really an amazing feat: that amount of money for one cancer focus at one institution.  Read this: we really believe in Duke.

The day started bright and early with the race beginning at 8 a.m.  Marcus ran the race, pushing Charlotte in a jogging stroller, and our good friend, Asher, ran alongside them.

Here are Marcus and Charlotte crossing the finish line.  Marcus did not even break a sweat - what a stud!

Charlotte is such a cutie.

And she must know that she is such a cutie because Charlotte is also the biggest flirt I've ever met.  This was a funny moment: she did not know whom she should be flirting with, so she kept smiling back and forth between Marcus and Asher, then Asher and Marcus.

Many of you probably do not know that one of the wonderful perks of being at Duke is our dear, Nurse Chelse.  Chelse and I were friends in college, and now she has been a nurse on Duke's outpatient pediatric hem/onc floor for about eight years.  So we see her almost every time we are at Duke.  Our good friend, Sarah, was able to come down from Charlottesville and support us, too.  It's so sweet to have the support of long-time friends!

Chelse, Me (with my little koala bear, Marian) and Sarah

Here's Charlotte's oncologist, Dr. G, with his favorite patient, and Charlotte with her favorite doctor!

All the brain tumor survivors were to wear stickers, identifying them as a "survivor."  Strawberry sunglasses optional.

One of the very meaningful events during the day is being videotaped for "3-words." Each survivor is asked to describe "My life as a survivor" in three words.  For Charlotte, I wrote, "Full of JOY."  Because she is.

Above is Tracy and her three, sweet kids, then our family, too, all celebrating our joyful, little lady.

And here's the only decent family picture of all six of us since Marian was born nearly six months ago!

I think it was Chelse who commented that every time she saw my kids, they were eating some form of candy...

Candy necklaces - so much fun!

They also spent a good amount of time sampling each and every bounce house at the event.  I think this next picture is so funny.  Tracy's kids are all smiling so nicely, then my kids act as a pair of suspicious parentheses.

Left to right: Henry, Betsy, Elijah, Asher, and Elyse.

Tracy not only does a good deal of our fundraising quilting, but she also is so kind as to keep Elyse and Henry every Wednesday while I take Charlotte (and Marian) to Duke for chemotherapy.  Tracy made all these t-shirts for our kids to match.  The girls are Princess Charlotte's ladies-in-waiting, and the little men are their knights. So sweet!

The whole day was so wonderful.  We are so grateful to everyone who spent the day supporting Charlotte and our family, and equally grateful to everyone who supported us from afar with their checkbooks!

When we returned home in the evening, completely exhausted, we pulled into our driveway and immediately noticed that a little elf (or garden gnome?) had fully planted our garden, complete with bright pink geraniums in hanging baskets!  My friend, Melissa, was not able to join us for the race this year, so she planted my garden, instead.  What a dear!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Quilt for Brother

I'd love to fill you in on the wonderful time that we had at the Angels Among Us event this past Saturday, but for now, you'll just have to make do with more pictures of quilts.  That post will come soon - promise!

This quilt was specially commissioned from Anne's twin brother, Mark.  Isn't it great?!

Those two pops of red are really wonderful.

Back of the quilt

Anne's brother bid on the quilt that I auctioned here on the blog, but they agreed that she could put together this one for him, instead.  I just love how it turned out - so manly!

The quilting (see the squiggly lines, below) is quite unique, too.  I love it!

The all-solid fabrics give it such a wonderfully modern look.  Thanks so much for commissioning this quilt, Mark, and thanks for making it, Anne!

Friday, April 19, 2013

And... We're Off!

The 20th Annual Angels Among Us 5K and Family Fun Walk is tomorrow!  We are so excited to have raised over $11,000 so far, with over $2,000 from this quilt auction!

We had three quilts auction this week!

The Angels Among Us quilt will start bids at $500 tomorrow at the race, with Christina having the opening bid.  Good luck with the bidding tomorrow, Christina!

Jamie's Mini Whole Cloth will go to Megan.  Thanks, Megan!  You're going to love this! (Please send me an email at so that I can give you donation instructions and get your mailing address.)

Lastly, my Sail Away with Me quilt has found a happy home with my former college roommate and dear friend, Jess.  Congrats and thanks, Jess!

Charlotte and Asher are so excited to race the 5K tomorrow!  Charlotte's daddy will be pushing her in a stroller, while Asher (only 8 years old!) races alongside them.  Go team!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sail Away with Me

Charlotte's MRI last week was bad news.  I'll spare you the details, only to say that sometimes, I'd just like to climb aboard a little sailboat and sail away from it all.  Away from the cancer, the chemotherapy, the disability, the sadness.

I made this quilt top a couple of months ago when it seemed that all we had to auction were little girl quilts.  I had been reading the Project Linus book (which has a sailboat quilt in it), and I had seen another version of a sailboat quilt here.  The wheels of inspiration started turning, I remembered that Tracy had donated this fabric to me, and all of a sudden I knew what to do with my newly-acquired cloud fabric.  Don't you just love when that happens?!

I raw-edge appliqued the sailboat onto the background fabrics.  I wish I had taken a close-up shot of the sail, because the patchwork is actually kinda cute.  It's a little Noah's Ark-ish, with some of the blocks showing a koala bear, a lion, and a toucan peeking out.  

Check out this quilting.  How cool are these waves?  I mentioned to Anne that I wanted waves in the water, and clouds in the sky and ...

... less than a week later it was done and done.  Can you believe she had never quilted those designs before? 

Earlier this week, I added my own, straight-line quilting in the white border, then gave it a yellow, satin blanket binding.  Oh, how babies love the satin edges!

And the back is this cute, multi-colored stripe.  I didn't have time to take many pictures and to do a "proper write-up," so unless one of you is crazy about this little quilt and just has to have it because it goes perfectly with the baby's nursery, then I'm taking it to the event this Saturday.  *Edit: this quilt has been claimed!

All the quilts we've done have raised money for the Brain Tumor Center at Duke.  But friends, we could always use more money.  There just aren't enough cures.  Charlotte's oncologist has admitted that he has maybe five chemotherapy drugs to give her.  Today she will start her third, because the first two have not worked.  That means that we are running out of options.  If we were keeping score, it'd be the best out of five, and so far it's looking like this: Brain tumor: 2; Chemotherapy: 0.

Quilts or no quilts, can you spare some cash for cures?  Donate here.

Here's to bluer skies, my friends.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jamie's Mini Whole Cloth

Yesterday I posted our largest and most expensive quilt yet; so on the heels of that, today I'm posting our smallest and least expensive quilt. 

This quilt is a mini whole cloth.  It is completely hand-stitched and entirely lovely.  

Consider this your opportunity to win 15 square inches of handmade, hand-stitched, simple beauty. 

This quilt was donated us to by my friend, Jamie.  Jamie and I have been friends since we met in old Stone Hall in the fall of 1999.  We were at Penn State for our freshman year of college, became fast friends, and though I transferred universities the following year, our friendship has remained.

Look at all these perfect, little stitches!

At Penn State, Jamie majored in civil engineering.  Nowadays, her husband does most of that, while Jamie is usefully employed as "head domestic engineer."  Hearkening back to a slower life (not to mention a life when postage stamps were cheaper), Jamie and I mostly write snail mail letters to each other.  I am constantly amazed at all of her new ventures in homemaking.  She lives in an old farmhouse that she and her family have been renovating slowly but surely.  She gardens and cans her own vegetables.  And now she's into all sorts of textile arts, quilting being only one of them.  And all of this with three, little ones underfoot.

Isn't this little quilt so lovely?  Jamie and I were both suburban teenagers when we met, so you can imagine how impressed I am with all of her slower, country life ways.  

Jamie's mom is a breast cancer survivor, so she knows that cancer stinks.

I think this little quilt would be lovely under a vase of flowers in the center of the table.  (Marcus got me this bouquet for my birthday recently.  What a sweet husband.)

It would also look nice on a square end table or nightstand.  Or maybe hanging on the wall?  

Okay, okay... first things first: win the quilt, then decide what to do with it.

Quilt Stats
-Measures: 15 x 15 inches
-Made and quilted by: Jamie Bricker
-Fabric: 100% white cotton whole cloth
-Smoke- and Pet Residue-Free

Auction Details
-Please place a bid in the comment section below.  If you are posting as "anonymous," then please leave your name in the comment form, e.g. "Jane Doe bids $30."
-Starting bid: $30, increase by $5 (minimum).  (Proceeds to benefit brain tumor research!)
-Auction closes on Friday, April 19, 8 p.m. EST.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Angels Among Us Quilt

Today's quilt comes to us from some sweet ladies in my husband's hometown, including his mother and his aunt!  Quite a few months ago now, when I first appealed for help with my quilting fundraiser, Marcus's aunt approached the local quilt guild to see if they might want to help with a charity quilt.  They agreed and put together this wonderful quilt, based on the theme of the our fundraiser's name: Angels Among Us.

The ladies each contributed at least one angel block, which were then sewn together into rows with sashing and cornerstones.  There is a total of twenty, 12-inch blocks.  So with those blocks, plus the sashing and borders, this is our biggest quilt this year at 72 by 82 inches!  It has already been fitted with a pocket for a rod, so that it could easily be made into a wall-hanging.

It is also big enough to adorn a little girl's, twin-size bed.

Let's take a look at some of the blocks.  First, is the Angels Among Us logo:

And how pretty is this one?

This little angel is cute, too.  Doesn't she look like my Charlotte?

This angel is machine-embroidered and quite lovely.

There are four of this sweet angel, though they all look different because of the different fabrics used.

The angels are all so neat and quite different because they were done using a variety of techniques.  Some were hand-embroidered, others machine-embroidered, while still others were appliqued or paper-pieced.

Now, let's talk quilting.  The quilt was done entirely with free-motion quilting.  The white fabric that makes up each angel block is quilted with a pretty tight stippling.  (This can easily be seen in the photos above.)  Working our way out, the sashing was done with a scroll technique.  Lastly, the borders were done with a feather stitch.  The quilting is truly exquisite.

This purple fabric backs the quilt.  The quilting from top to bottom: feathering, scroll work, and stippling.

This impressive quilting was done by the same, sweet lady who did my "Once Upon a Time" quilt, Ms. Reva Hill.  She owns the local quilt shop, All to Pieces, in the little town of Haysi, Virginia.

Here's a close-up of the feathers:

And one of the scrollwork:

Oops!  I accidentally left out a few close-ups of angels.  Here are a few more:

Oh, I just really love white eyelet.  Reminds me of my childhood. Sigh.

Now, we're going to do this auction a little bit differently.  Because this quilt has been themed "Angels Among Us," we feel it is only appropriate to take it to the Angels Among Us event this Saturday, April 20.  So we will take bids on the quilt through Thursday evening.  When we close the bidding on Thursday, then the highest bid will be our starting bid at Saturday's event.  Our highest online bidder will be able to communicate (privately through email) a "highest possible bid"  for us to take to the event on Saturday.  (I do hope that this makes sense.  Please email me with any questions, okay?)

Lastly, because of the size of the quilt, the materials used, and the exquisite quilting, the minimum bid for this quilt is $500.  Remember: 100% of the proceeds goes to fund brain tumor research.

Quilt Stats
-Measures: 72 x 82 inches
-Made by: The Crooked Road Quilters' Guild of Haysi, Virginia
-Quilted by: Reva Hill
-Fabric: high-quality quilting fabrics, including Moda and Michael Miller
-Smoke- and Pet Residue-Free

Auction Details
-Please place a bid in the comment section below.  If you are posting as "anonymous," then please leave your name in the comment form, e.g. "Jane Doe bids $500."
-Starting bid: $500, increase by $25 (minimum).  (Proceeds to benefit brain tumor research!)
-Auction closes on Thurday, April 18, 8 p.m. EST. (But will continue at the Angels Among Us event in Durham, NC.)

Many thanks for this lovely quilt to Aunt Phyllis, the Crooked Road Quilters' Guild, and Ms. Reva Hill.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Anne's Quilt has a new home...

...with Charlene Hendricks! Charlene had the highest bid at $275.  Many congrats, Charlene, and thank you so much for your generous support of brain tumor research at Duke.

(Please send me an email at so that I can detail how to donate and you can give me your mailing address.  Thanks!)

Charlotte says, "Woo hoo for more research!  You're going to love this quilt!"

A Walk in the Woods

I have a little story to share about my latest quilt.  A few weeks ago, Charlotte, Marian, and I were being ushered around Duke's pediatric oncology clinic, on our way to get Charlotte's chemo.  We passed by a 3-month old baby and her sweet mom.  After sleuthing Nancy-Drew-style for the day, I determined that this sweet baby was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Knowing all too well what it is to have your world turned upside-down when your three-month old baby is given a brain tumor diagnosis, I desperately wanted to reach out to this family.  And of course, my love-language right now is quilts.  All day long, though, I felt uneasy about using what might have been my obvious choice of fabrics: Sarah Jane's "Children at Play."  I do have quite a bit of this parade print remaining:

I did not feel excited about using this fabric, though, thinking that it might not lend itself to the sober nature of the situation.  You see, before I realized that Charlotte is the one riding the pink elephant and could appreciate that one day she'll be able to raise those paralyzed, little arms up in the air, I have to admit that I might have been a little bit mad at this fabric.  That sounds silly, I know: to be mad at fabric.  It was really more that I was mad that this fabric is so sweet and innocent and pain-free.  And not only is Charlotte's life not like that now as she receives chemo and numerous other interventions, but it has never been nor ever will be like that.

Enter: Aneela Hoey's fabric "a walk in the woods."

Two days after I met Anne, she dropped by my house with a wonderful bag of goodies (fabric and thread), including a stack of fat quarters from this fabric line.  First of all, who doesn't love Red Riding Hood?  But second, I remembered what this sweet line is called even before I read the tag.  And then I knew that I had to use it.

I remember the time of diagnosis well.  It definitely felt like "a walk in the woods."  Most moments were so very dark.  I couldn't see the forest for sake of the trees: could we trust her doctors?  Did we have the right neurosurgeon?  Could she not be cured?  Was she declining before our very eyes?  And on and on and on.

Yet, there were moments of light shining through the trees.  Sweet nurses who were so compassionate and empathetic that they cried with us.  Near strangers reaching out to us to tell us that we were not alone - through gifts to us, gifts to Charlotte, and most of all, through prayer.  And of course, there was the comfort and peace of God himself.

So after a bit of thought (and second and third opinions), I decided to use "a walk in the woods" for this newly diagnosed baby's quilt.  

I used the seven fat quarters that Anne gave me and also pulled in nine of my own fabrics.  There were a few fabrics that I ended up not liking in the quilt, so I arranged them all along two sides and trimmed those sides after stitching together the quilt top.  I used this disappearing nine-patch tutorial and am mostly pleased with how the quilt turned out.  My close-up pictures did not turn out very well, I think due to the weight of the quilt as it hung on the fence: the seams look so wonky, though I assure you that they are straight in "real life."

I backed it in a pink minky and gave it a gray binding.  I love the gray on pink contrast, but I also love the reminder to look for the silver lining in all things.  Even when things are so very dark and we might not be able to do much more than to stumble through the woods, even so, there are many things for which to be grateful.

Anne's Quilt
Quilt Stats:
Measures: 37 x 50 inches
Pieced and Quilted by: Me!
Fabrics: A Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey
              and others from my stash

Please don't forget that the auction for Anne's quilt
closes today.  Click on over to that post to make a
bid - you know you need that quilt!

Linking to "Finish It Up Friday" over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Anne's Quilt

A la kindergarten, "I have a new friend!!"  Remember my Children at Play patchwork quilt?  Well, my friend  Sarah won that quilt, and somehow, she told her friend, Anne, about our little auction.  Sarah and Anne both live here at Fort Bragg, and their daughters are good friends at school.  So Anne got in touch with me, I invited her over, and well, let's just say that we've both got the gift of gab, so we were like two peas in a pod.

Yes, Charlotte, just like that - we can't seem to keep our mouths shut!

She arrived at my door with one of her daughters in one arm, and a bag of gorgeous quilts and works-in-progress in the other.  For my part, it was love at first sight (of quilts).  We rushed the children into a craft and tried to set up her show-and-tell in the family room.  And oh. my. goodness.  Her fabrics and choice of color and the workmanship are all just gorgeous.  Her quilts remind me of the scrappy, colorful goodness that Rita of Red Pepper Quilts cranks out.  Just wonderful.  I'm so in love with one of her quilts that I offered to buy it right then and there.  As it turns out, I don't think it's for sale.  She must be in love with it, too.  Love triangles can be such a bummer.

Okay, okay, so without further ado, here are some pictures of the quilt that Anne has graciously donated for auction.

Anne used a Rail Fence pattern for this quilt - classic!

The quilt measures 60 x 66 inches, but my picture of the full quilt turned out just awful.  So I'm going to give you some close-ups of the lovely fabrics, and you get out the tape measure to imagine what 60 by 66 of all this beautiful, green/aqua (plus pops of pink and yellow) goodness will get you, okay?

When I asked her if there's a particular "story" to this quilt, she shared,"I love those fabrics, and for whatever reason, I knew I wanted to use them for this (coveted fabrics need a special reason to be cut into and Charlotte's story seemed like a pretty special reason!).  I just love being able to share in "Charlotte's gRACE."

Anne confessed that she's been hoarding some of these prints since she started quilting about five years ago.

She also has a "thing" for polka dots.

I can see that.

But polka dots are a staple in the world of quilting, so who can fault you, Anne?

Now the back is this large-scale floral fabric.  It's truly lovely.

And the binding, oh, the binding.  It might be the prettiest, most invisible, blindstitching that I've ever seen!  And such perfect corners, too.

I've never had a quilt roll up so perfectly like this.  What type of batting is this?  I think I'm going to have to convert.

Lastly, the quilting is a great meander covering the whole quilt.  You can see examples of it in many pictures above.

It is so generous of Anne to have committed to donate a quilt before she even met Charlotte or me.  I think that she felt a connection to me, Charlotte, and our cause because of what her own family has been through.  Her daughter, Kate, had a horrific reaction to an immunization as an infant, resulting in encephalitis.  We are so grateful that Kate is well now with few, if any, lasting side effects.  Yet, Anne was active in fundraising for Kate's hospital in New York and is now glad to be able to continue to "give back" by using her hobby to help our fundraiser.  And we are so grateful to have her help!   

I have no doubt that this quilt will easily find a happy home, yet I feel compelled to recommend it to my New York City friends.  Your "concrete jungle" is so gray, dear friends, and Central Park is so far from where you live.  Why not bring the Park to you?  Anne's quilt will do just the trick to inaugurate spring in your little corner of the world.

Quilt Stats:
Measures: 60 x 66 inches
Pieced and Quilted by: Anne Reinhart
Fabrics: various premium quilting fabrics

Auction Details:
-Please place a bid in the "comment" section at the end of this post.  If you are signing in as "anonymous," then please leave your name in the comment form, e.g. "Jane Doe bids $150."
-Starting bid: $150, increasing in $5 (minimum) increments
-Auction ends Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m. EST.

*Edit: Auction has ended; comments are closed.

(100% of proceeds go toward brain tumor research at Duke!)

Charlotte says, "Don't forget to 'donate' your voice by posting to Facebook and Pinterest, and whatever other high-techy stuff you do."