Barely Coherent

At mom’s funeral I lost my voice. It was raining and unusually cold here in Florida. I didn’t say much, so not sure why it affected me so badly. That and a bad cold kept off work for a week. What a way to spend my birthday weekend, too hoarse to talk, sneezing, and freezing. This year is starting to look like a repeat of the last one.

I did use my time off work to my advantage and work on… wait for it… quilting. I finished the back of the new quilt and got started on the quilting. I changed the quilting from the last one (remember, this one is just a slight modification of the previous one). This one has more curves. I echo-quilted the inner section; and used a clam-shell pattern in the bottom portion of the baskets. I promise to put pictures up of both quilts after February 20th.

Working on these two quilts has inspired me to complete two other memory quilts that I made in 2000! I designed the quilting during a lull at work on Monday (MLK holiday). I’m looking forward to quilting these two as it they are full size (72″ x 90″) and larger than what I have attempted before. The current quilt is only 60″ square and has been tough maneveuring under the needle of my Bernina. Can’t wait to get a longarm machine.

This weekend is the Central Florida Quiltguy meeting in Mt. Dora/Leesburg/Eustis. It will be fun to see the guys again, but I’ll have to leave early as it is also Country Saturday Night; my two-stepping night.

It’s cold, I’m cold, and I’ve got a cold

This second week of the new year and Florida is in a record breaking spell of cold. Our poor “furnace” is working overtime trying to keep us warm, but it takes a break now and then to rest. To make it worse for me, I somehow got a cold which progressed into a sinus infection. All of this on my birthday weekend. I even missed a quilting retreat in Leesburg over the weekend. Thanks Timm and Stuart for the invite, and sorry Kelly I couldn’t be your quilt-slave this time.

Enough with the bad, the good is that I’ve had time to quilt. The new project I’m working on is going quickly. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve finished the top, finished the back (just as detailed as the front), and have started quilting it. This has to be a record for me. The quilt I made for my sister Judy a few years ago (2007) took a couple of weeks to make and quilt, but it was 14″ x 26″; this one is 60″ square. I learned so much on the last quilt that it made quick work on this one. It also helped that I read Diane Gaudynski’s book, Guide to Machine Quilting. It’s full of tips, suggestions, and examples of her fabulous quilting.

Going back to the quilt (and I need a tissue).

Kevin B.

Tear stained quilts

Changed my mind on the family updates. There are so many family members that I don’t really know that much about. I have even found out lately that some of the things I believed about family members aren’t true or different from what I thought. So, I’ll just update this blog with things that are relevant to me that day. Afterall, this is for me so that I have some things to look back on when I start to forget.

This past weekend, the first of the new year, I worked on a quilt. Nothing newsworthy there, but it’s unusual that I got to spend so much time doing the thing that I love so much. I finished the top of the new quilt and got started on the back. The top or front of the quilt is a variation of the quilt top that I made for Lenny, a Feathered Star. I learned a lot making Lenny’s quilt and corrected some errors that I made on his and used more of the limited fabrics that I was afraid that I’d exhaust making the first quilt. The fabrics used for the star and the “feathers” are from shirts worn by Lenny’s dad, Arthur; therefore, the amount was set without hope of adding more. The new quilt is slightly smaller than the first, but not by much.

While finishing up the first quilt Lenny’s mom, Maryellen, passed away, too late to add fabric from her clothing to his quilt, so at some future time, I’ll have to make him another one. On the current quilt that I’m working on, I’ll be using some of those fabrics on the back of the quilt. The two sides are not even similar. Art’s clothing was earth tones and simple patterns, while Maryellen’s clothing was bright and colorful. For the this quilt back I’m making large basket blocks (14 inches) and surrounding them with raspberry colored cloth. I’m contemplating adding a vine applique in the center with leaves from another piece of clothing. I have a deadline on this second quilt of February 20, 2010, Art’s birthday.

Speaking of Maryellen, it’s starting to sink in that she is gone. I know from past experience that for the rest of my life I’ll see something in a store or in a picture and think it would be fun to get that for her, then realize she isn’t around for me to give it to her. I already miss her voice and her laugh and hearing her tell me that she loves me. It’s only been a month, but it seems like the longest time since I’ve seen her. This Friday, we’ll say our farewells at the graveside ceremony, but I know she’ll be here with me forever.


PS The Quiltguy group is extremely active this year. There have four swaps going on at the moment. A miniature quilt swap (a la Flickr’s Doll Quilt Swap), a block exchange, a red/gold fabric swap, and an Oriental themed fabric swap. That’s a lot of economic stimulus going on! Remember the 350 Project is trying to save our local quilt stores from disappearing.

Pigs in the Blanket

Dad always said to have cabbage on New Year’s Day for good luck throughout the year, so after the horrible year we had in 2009, I decided to call up another memory about Dad and make “pigs in the blanket”, or stuffed cabbage rolls for the rest of the world. I skipped putting the dime in the pot, yet another tradition that I grew up with.

I sent out the monthly email to my family with January’s birthdays and anniversaries in the morning of the 1st. Shortly thereafter I got an email from my cousin Cindy reminding me that Dad made pigs in the blanket every New Year’s Day. I had forgotten that, but it must have been in the back of my mind, as I had already bought the ingredients to make them. The rolls came out extremely good for my first attempt at making them. They were even better the next day and the day after that (the recipe makes a dozen rolls). I had the last one today and it was still good. Lenny said we should have them again sometime during the year which was his way of saying he liked them.

Then it was back to quilting.

Happy New Year!

We’re starting the new year on a sad note, we lost mom on December 13th. Maryellen treated me like one of her kids, well, maybe better. I loved being around her, so I will miss her silliness, her hugs, and sharing a love of old movies. I wish you all could have met her.

On a brighter note, it’s a new year! A chance to start over yet again. We stayed at home on New Year’s Eve working on projects; Lenny on his Farmville Farm on Facebook, me working on a quilt. I have always heard that what you do on New Year’s Eve is what you’ll do for the rest of the year, so hoping I’ll be quilting this entire year. I have to justify getting that fancy new longarm quilting machine after all.

I started scanning all the photos of the family that I have, but it takes awhile as I get emotional when looking at all the people I miss so much. To get started on my project I decided to write something about everyone on their birthday on my blog. This will give me a base to start from with my project. Yes, I know, you don’t know what I’m talking about, but you will. I learned a long time ago that my personality (Myers-Briggs) is that if I say I’m doing something, it’s done. I stop work on it because by sharing it, I’ve finished it. It’s a horrible trait, but I try to circumvent it by keeping things secret until they are done. Sigh.

I hope all of your wishes come true this year, and if not, I hope you get further down that path to your life goals. My path seems to be uphill, but I’m still trudging along!


Loving WordPress

Spent most of today between calls at work learning WordPress basics. I just figured out how to post via email, so feeling incredibly smart at the moment. It won’t last.

I have been working on Valentine’s quilt for the past week using Moda’s “Candy Kisses” fabric by Sandy Gervais. I liked the center of the included quilt pattern, but have been re-designing the outer borders. Will include a picture later today.

July 2009 – Trying to figure this out

I’ve been following several wonderful quilting-related blogs (see list below left) trying to get the hang of this. I think I’ve determined that I want my blog to be a works-in-progress and life events type blog. I’ll try to post pictures of the said works-in-progress soon and photos of my family whenever we do something fun or creative.

Wednesday Afternoon Update

Well, we survived Fay. So did the seedlings and palm trees. Fay wasn’t too much of threat for us, but we did take precautions like having an extra container of water and checking the batteries in the flashlights and radio. We got plenty of rain, but the winds weren’t too bad this time.

Chinese Olympic Opening Ceremony
Absolutely mind-blowingly amazing! I had been putting off watching the four hour opening ceremony for the Olympics until I had some free time. Well, last night with the fear of losing power and not wanting to damage my Bernina with a surge, I sat down to finally watch it. The pictures that I had seen previously did not do justice to the amazing pageantry in action. From the symbolism (love symbology) of the graphics to the precision of the actors/dancers/acrobats, I was totally enthralled with the spectacle. I also love pattern, and there was plenty of that in the movement of the dancers and especially in the scenes with the drummers. I didn’t see anything that inspired me to make a quilt, but I was moved to learn more about Chinese life. Especially Tai Chi.

Fay’s on the Way

The news outlets are in their element predicting doom and gloom again this year. Tropical Storm Fay is on her way to wreak havoc or at least bitch-slap us with rain and winds. This is coming just as we transplanted our basil seedlings this past weekend. We also planted two tomato plants and red bell pepper plant. For those wondering if it’s too late in the season, nope, not here in Florida. We plant in late summer to avoid the heat and extreme sun of June and July.

Went looking (via Google) for beads here in Orlando and found a ton of shops. As I am a newby to beading, I was looking for classes, but it appears that like plants, classes here in Florida take the summer off. This discovery led me to ask whether there is a site where you can find in-store class schedules. My interests vary wildly, so a one-stop location to find all kinds of classes would be great. I’m heading to Indiana in November, so it would be fun to do a search of local shops there to find out if a class is available in some new or unusual technique there. Has anyone heard of such a site?

I’d like to be able to search class schedules for bead stores, fabric stores, quilt shops, leather shops, big retailers, solo artists, art resources (Sam Flax, Creadle,etc.), or any other type of crafty/arty class available. I’d even like to see classes on cooking, scuba diving, exercise, dance, investment, almost any class you can think of. How can I improve myself if I can’t find a guru to teach me how?

Kevin's thoughts, progress, and sights along the way