Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas this year is a little unusual for us this year.  As with many families, our kids alternate holidays with their extended families.  This was the year both the boys and their wives would be with us for Christmas.  With Joel and Cara expecting their first baby in mid-January, traveling for Christmas was cancelled for them.  While we were disappointed at the thought of the six of us not being together, we knew we would be traveling sometime in January following the birth of their son.  Shortly after midnight on Monday December 19th, we received a call from Joel saying they had arrived at the hospital and the birth was not going to be far off.  We were extremely surprised of course.  Our January baby was suddenly going to be an early Christmas baby!  Simon Ross Welch was born not much more than an hour after they arrived at the hospital. 

This is Simon and his daddy Joel. 

Needless to say, Greg and I are extremely excited and anxious to see Simon in person.  What a wonderful Christmas present for all of us.

Simon weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was 19 and one half inches long.  He and his momma are both very happy and healthy.

Thank you for letting me share our Christmas surprise with you.  We will get back to quilts soon.  Here's hoping your Christmas was peaceful and spent with those you love.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Michigan, Omaha, and Quilts (of course)

I thought maybe you would enjoy seeing beautiful Michigan in the winter!  The past two weeks have brought two trips to the suburbs of Detroit to share my story with fellow MS patients.  Both times we had rain and snow.  It was actually colder in Kansas at the time.  With all the things on the list to do before Christmas, it has been a very busy time.  I find I am choosing to cut back on all the decorating I do for Christmas.  I must admit I tend to overdo it.  Yes, there were a few years that I put up two trees.  I love the greenery, the tree, the lights, the wrapping get the idea.  At the moment, however, I am loving the time more.

This is a picture of my daughter-in-law Cara, myself and my mom, Minnie.  We traveled to Omaha, Nebraska for Cara's baby shower on Thanksgiving weekend.  Baby Boy Welch is due in mid-January and we can't wait!  I keep hearing that grandchildren are wonderful and I want to find out for myself!

Now we can look at the latest quilts!

This quilt is a good one because it can work for a boy or girl.  You may not be able to tell unless you scroll in on the picture but the alternating squares are actually white with flags on it.  Very patriotic!

The backing is a great stripe that adds to the "Americana" look.

This quilt started out as leftover blocks from a quilt that my sister and I made.  I gave her the leftovers and this is what she came up with.  It's a great example of making do with what you have.  Not all quilts have to be symmetrical.

The backing was a coordinating stripe that I just happened to have!

Continuing the theme of using what you have, Sandy found 3 orphan blocks in my stash.  The dog, the star and the nine patch were some blocks donated to us.  Sandy took them, added some fun touches and we ended up with an awesome quilt.  I love the black dot blocks with the red X's.  For some reason they remind me of Pixie Sticks.

Not only did Sandy come up with a fun quilt top, she pieced the backing with leftovers and quilted this for us.  It ended up being one of my favorites.

Judith pieced this "Little Engine That Could" quilt.  The layout is very striking with the center star.

Karen took the top, added some railroad themed backing and quilted it.

Karen spends most of her time quilting tops for us, but every once in awhile she will surprise us with a quilt that she has pieced and quilted.  This is a fun surprise from her.  I love the color combinations.

The backing showcases all kinds of animals.

This is a very bright quilt!!  The lime green print was bright but then we added purple sashing and an orange border.  I haven't checked but it is so bright it may glow in the dark!

Shannon used one of my favorite fabrics for the backing and added her special quilting.

This quilt started as a panel.  I gave it to Deb, she cut it apart and added sashing.  The crazy ladies with their cats will appeal to a teenager I think.

Sandy added a soft blue backing and quilted hearts on the quilt.

It won't be long until December is over and we are ready to begin a new year.  We still have a couple of weeks left.  We'll have more great quilts to see and we'll take a look at our numbers for 2011.  I think everyone will be surprised at what a few women--some obsessed, some crazy, and some just plain fun can do when they decide to.  I want to add that they are also very generous and kind hearted.  I think you can tell that.  We all have very busy lives but they find the extra time to give just a little more to help make this possible.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Favorite Holiday

Everyone has a favorite holiday.  Mine is Thanksgiving.  Because I like turkey?  No.  Because it's the only time we have cranberries?  No.  Because I was born on Thanksgiving Day.  My dad always made a big deal out of it and I was the center of attention.   All of my dad's very large family was there.  I suppose they came for Thanksgiving, but secretly I thought they must have come for my birthday.  I still love Thanksgiving to this day and really wish they would not have Christmas lights and Christmas music until my birthday is over!

I wanted to share this gorgeous picture.  It is taken from the window of my hotel when I was recently in Tulsa.  I had time to take it quickly before catching the taxi to the quilt store!!

Is this too cute??  Shelly donated some sock monkey fabric.  Normally, I have to admit I am not a sock monkey fan but this quilt has won me over.

Shannon's red pin dot backing really shows off her quilting skills.

You may think you've seen this quilt before.  No, no.  It is similar, but not the same.  Judith took a panel and added side blocks.

Karen added a blue and yellow backing with a splash of pink.  Notice the quilting.  I love the swirls.

This little charmer was donated by someone in the local guild.

The farm scene with coordinating colors make a great quilt for our little ones.

Along with sock monkeys, churn dash blocks have not been at the top of my list.  They are now!!  Someone mailed us this top.  I had no idea churn dash blocks could be so fun.

One thing I really like about this quilt is the back.  Sandy took the top, added a neutral backing but threw in an "orphan block" to spice it up.  It totally gives it a different look.  What a fun way to use up those blocks!

I love these colors!  Janean pieced this for us.

Shannon added the vibrant turquoise backing.  This is a great girl or boy quilt!

Continuing the lime green theme....

Thanks to Teresa for piecing the top.  Shannon added basketball and her signature quilting.

Deb took stacks of blue fabric from our donated fabric and came up with this disappearing 9 patch.

Sandy used a bright cowboy fabric and quilted the circle swirls.  I am sure that is not the technical name for it!!

This gorgeous quilt is exciting.  First of all look at all the different fabrics the piecer used.  I do not know the name of the person who donated this, but she is a member of the local guild.  Look at the small inner border.  It makes the quilt pop!

The back of the quilt would please any dog lover.

Here's a closer look at the dogs and the quilting.

Today is a day to remember all we are thankful for.  I am thankful for all those who have chosen to help me in this mission I am on.  I hope each of you have had a good day. Be grateful for all the good things in your life but also be grateful for all the not so good things too.  It makes us who we are.  It gives us a chance to take a path we would not have chosen but may be the best path of all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Ants Go Marching.....

This past week has found me in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Austin, Texas.  Two very different places but both nice to visit.  Austin brought a chance for Greg to visit the campus of the University of Texas much to his delight and also an evening with our friends Michael, Lisa and Baby Oliver.  We enjoyed eating, laughing and a lot of fun.  Of course, I enjoyed Oliver and became all the more anxious for our grandson's arrival in January.  As a result of the visit, I have the Ant song marching through my head.  Thanks Lisa.

This was the most interesting thing I think I saw in Austin.  I have no idea what it is but I thought it was interesting.

And now to Block Two of Civil War Love Letters.

Susan's Batik version

My Fig Tree Version


Nothing but fun in this one.  It started as a panel and Judith added blocks on the side.  Who wouldn't want this bright quilt with bugs and flowers?

Karen added the backing and quilting.  Great!

This is one of the Guild Member's quilts.  I love the contrast between the red and the focus fabric. It really brings out the star design.

A closer look at the focus fabric.

The striped backing is a perfect choice.

We are finishing some bindings on some awesome quilts.  Check back for those.

And finally, a big congratulations to Shannon, one of our longarm quilters.  She became Grandma to Boy #2 yesterday.  Liam Robert is a beautiful bundle to bring home.  I am so happy for Shannon and her family.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Days of Giving

I recently read a book called "29 Gifts".  It is a true story of a woman who was diagnosed with MS one month after her wedding.  She understandably had  difficulty adjusting to her new life and the struggles she has with MS.  A spiritual mentor recommended she give 29 gifts in 29 days.  It could be something simple such a giving a kleenex to a stranger, giving a homeless person some change, or calling a friend who was having a bad day.  She has since doing that started a worldwide effort to do the same thing.  It is a great concept and an interesting book.  After giving it some thought, I realized we have been doing the same thing, only in a different fashion.  Our "gifts" go to the hospital and although some people after 29 days start the project all over again, we have without fail continued our project for 525 days now.

My sister and I have started a new project for ourselves.  We always try to throw in some personal sewing between sewing the quilts for the hospital and sewing shop models for a quilt store.  I had been looking at some block of the month programs when I had the thought, "Why not do our own?"  I have the book "Civil War Love Letter Quilt."  It is a collection of traditional quilt blocks with each one having am authentic letter from a soldier to his family during the Civil War.  Our original intent was to sew two blocks a month.  Well, after getting started, that idea went out the window!  The blocks are quick and so much fun to make that we are now just sandwiching them in whenever we have time.  The first decision was to choose fabrics.  Susan chose to do hers in batiks.  I chose Fig Tree fabrics.  I thought it might be fun to share these with you as we go along.
This first block we did is called "Enthusiasm"

Here is Susan's version in the batiks.

Here is mine in the Fig Tree fabrics.

Aren't those fun?  I'll post future blocks.  It is going to be a lot of fun to see the blocks and what we come up with.  Each block takes little fabric and it may be a chance for us to use our scraps!  And as an added bonus, you get to see the corners of our dining room tables!!

Here's a quick look at some of our new quilts.

Deb pieced this blue and white Disappearing 9-patch.  Simple, basic, and great for a boy.

Sandy used a colorful cowboy print for the backing when she quilted it.

Janean pieced this beauty from leftovers from another quilt she had made. I think it is so pretty--the simplicity adds to it.

Sandy added the backing that matched and quilted beautiful yellow flowers and vines.  Hopefully, you can enlarge the pictures to see this quilting.

Judith took some cute cat fabric, fussy cut it to single out those cool cats and came up with this fun quilt.

Here's a closer look at those cats.

Karen used Olivia for the backing when she quilted this for us.

I hope you've enjoyed looking at the quilts, the blocks and finding out about our amazing 525 days of giving.