Friday, May 29, 2009

Finish #5 for May

I'm really proud of the progress I've made this month finishing some of my old UFOs/ WISPs.

Wednesday and Thursday I got to work quilting this 2006 BOM from The Golden Thimble that I finished piecing Dec 31 of that year. It was called "There's No Place Like Home". I still need to measure, but it's sofa size more or less. I just finished putting the last stitch in the binding and have thrown it in the washing machine. But I snapped a couple of quick pictures first.

I can't say I'm a big fan of blocks this big. These are 14". But I do like samplers and I do like 30's repros. In fact 3 of the last 4 quilts I've finished have been 30's fabrics.

You can see close up pics of the blocks as I made them here.

Now it's time to shape a couple of sourdough loaves and get them baked after rising. My two cousins from Iowa should be pulling into the drive in the next hour or two. So I'll probably be scarce for a few days while we enjoy each other's company.

Happy weekend everyone.

A Walk On the Red Carpet

I was surprised last night to receive an email from my son Mike last night telling me about part of his Memorial Day activities. The following is excerpted from an article in the post newsletter.

Fort Soldiers walk red carpet on Memorial Day in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Forty Military Intelligence and Signal Soldiers from Fort Huachuca had the unique opportunity to enjoy Hollywood-style glitz Monday during the Arizona premiere of the documentary “Brothers at War.”Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Senator John Mc-Cain, hosted and organized the event to bring the movie here and honor service men and women and their family members. The reception featured lights, cameras and, of course, a red carpet. Senator McCain and Gary Sinise were swarmed by uniformed service members seeking autographs and photos."
“Brothers at War” is subtitled, “Two brothers went to war. One went to find out why.” The documentary is essentially the story of three brothers: Army Capt. Isaac Rademacher, Army Sgt. Joe Rademacher and Jake Rademacher, an actor. Jake embeds with Isaac’s long-range reconnaissance battalion in Iraq in order to understand why Isaac and Joe leave their loved ones behind and risk their lives to serve. The film also highlights the impact their deployments have on the family. Jake comes back and then feels compelled to return to Iraq. He experiences combat firsthand on his second trip."

"Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Roberts, 111th MI Brigade enjoyed the film and felt it realistically portrayed what Soldiers experience. He served with Cpt. Isaac Rademacher in Iraq, and Roberts was also deployed to Iraq the same time his son, a military policeman, was deployed there. “This is a great film for Soldiers,but probably even more so for family members,” he said. Several Soldiers echoed his thoughts and commented the film shows an experience they can’t always explain. "

Gary Sinese is the executive producer of the documentary. Mike is standing to his immediate right in the picture above. He (Mike) was the CSM of the Brigade in Iraq and Cpt. Rademacher was a Co. Commander of one of the Battalions in that Brigade.

Now how cool is that?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two Reasons to Celebrate

We have two special occasions today.

Second son, Mark Allan, was born 45 years ago today. Boy does that make me feel old!

He was such a cute baby and unfortunately, as I've mentioned before, we took VERY few pictures in those years. Now I regret that so much.

And he continued to be a cutie... this is age 11. Guess I not only didn't spend much money on pictures, but haircuts didn't happen all that often either. On the other hand it was 1975.

His 11th birthday cake. Mark is an artist and Charles Schultz was an idol for him. He loved the Peanuts comic strip and spent hours drawing Snoopy and the rest of the characters.

As I mentioned in my Memorial Day post, Mark enlisted in the Army and went to Basic and AIT training the summer between his Junior and Senior years of high school. Then he came home, graduated early (December) and started active duty in January 1982. Here he is with his grandmother, mom (me) and great-grandmother at his H.S. graduation reception at our home. He was on leave and attended the ceremony in his Army uniform rather than cap and gown. Goodness he looks so young to me now. He turned 18 that same week.

Mark and Stephanie were married in 1989 and on their 10th wedding anniversary they held a renewal ceremony with Tom presiding. Their two daughters, Ashley and Caitlin were attendants.

Stephanie and Mark about five years ago?

The years keep flying by. In 2003 Mark became a grandfather when Jeramiah was born.

As you can see he loves it!

Maison came along in 2005 so now he has two grandsons to spoil.

Mark is also a musician, plays guitar and sings. In 2003 Tom and I designed this guitar quilt for Mark's 39th birthday.

And he received this Turning Twenty sofa quilt with a flannel back in 2005 for his 41st.

Happy Birthday, Mark! We love you so very much. We wish you many, many more birthdays to come!

Second celebration................

In 1994 Mike and Lindy chose May 27th for their wedding day.

It's been 15 years

and they are just as much in love as in the beginning.

Happy Anniversary, Mike and Lindy. We love you both!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Progress On the Dahlia

Yesterday at church I couldn't resist peeking in the storage room to see how the ladies are coming quilting my Amish Dahlia. Since they roll from both ends the middle rows are the last to be quilted. You can see they don't have a lot left to do. On the other hand each row has enough quilting in it that a row isn't completed in one session.

I can't wait!

Awkward Families

I found the funniest blog this morning. If you want a good laugh check out the awkward pictures here. Be sure to view some of the older posts. Warning...your sides may hurt the rest of the day from laughing at some of them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Coming Home

Memorial Day can mean many things to people. It was originally set aside as a day to honor the lives of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. When I was young we called it Decoration Day. We always visited the local cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of family and friends. We took peonies, roses, ferns, iris from our yard. We honored not just military lives lost, but all those who had gone before.

My grandmother always took bleeding heart sprays to place on the grave of her predecessor..Grandpa's first wife who died following surgery in the late 1930's. The bleeding heart plant belonged to her (the first wife) and when Grandma and Grandpa left the farm and moved to town she moved the plant and nurtured it in it's new location. When they moved to another house in the same town several years later, she once again transplanted it. She always referred to it as "Irene's plant" and if it wasn't blooming by Decoration Day (in N.E. Iowa that was most often the case), she still took a couple branches of it to lay on Irene's grave. Even as a child I was touched by her devotion to the memory of Grandpa's first wife. She had become mother to Irene's two daughters as well, so I suppose this was also her way of telling them she respected and honored their mother. It was a lesson that has stayed with me all my life..that there is enough love to go around and encompass need for jealousy or resentments. If I hadn't known better I might have assumed Irene had been Grandma's friend..but they never knew each other in life.

So the first people I honor today are my grandparents, Hugo and Esther Drews, who raised me from the age of five and a half months. They've been gone for 30 years and 16 years and I still miss them terribly. I no longer live close enough to visit their graves, so I do so in my mind.

Today I also honor the service and memory of my step-father, Fred Hess. He enlisted in WWII and this young Iowa farm boy left home and didn't return for four long years. During that time he saw action with the Third Marines at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Iwo Jima. I don't know how he lived through that and still remained such a gentle man. He never wanted to talk about what he had seen and I can imagine why. We lost him to cancer in 1999 and I miss his smile and infectious laugh.
I also want to honor my sons and grandson..all of whom have chosen to serve our country and in the case of two, still do.

By now if you are a reader of my blog, you've heard about and seen pictures of my eldest son, Michael. This January marked his 28th year in the U.S. Army. He has served this country with honor and dedication and great love. He has been sent to Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Albania, Korea and places I don't even know about. He's the kind of leader our military needs and I'm so proud of him.

Mike--basic 1981

My second son, Mark, enlisted in the Army 1981, did his basic and AIT the summer between his Junior and Senior year of High School, then served on active duty from 1982-1986, then re-enlisted after a short time in the reserves and served from 1987-1988.

Mark-basic 1981

My youngest son, Jeff, wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps and reported for basic training in the summer of 1984. He was convinced he wanted to make a career of the Army. Unfortunately while he was still at the reception center, he was one of several young recruits standing on a bleacher when it collapsed. The only person injured was Jeff. A knee that had been compromised previously in a motorcycle accident swelled up like a basketball. After several weeks he was given a medical discharge, much to his great regret.
Jeff-basic 1984

Again, frequent readers of my blog have also read about our grandson, Greg (Mike's son). Greg has lived almost his entire life as part of the Army. He was a member of Junior ROTC in high school and he enlisted following graduation. Greg has served one tour of duty in Iraq (2006-7) and is currently serving in Afghanistan. He re-enlisted a few months ago for another six years.

Greg-basic 2005

As you can see we take great pride in our family's service to our country, however long and in whatever capacity. And we pray each day for the safety of the two still serving as well as all their comrades.

It seems appropriate that last night I finished a quilt I started five years ago that I'm calling "Coming Home". I believe the original name of the pattern I saw in a magazine was "Going Home". I made the top in 2004. Since this is Memorial Day weekend, I think I like the idea of "Coming Home" better. And I think I may know where this quilt will eventually end up.

I used Superior Thread's King Tut in variegated shades of brown and beige to quilt a free hand feather meander all over the quilt. Not sure how well you can see it. It's a large quilt...86 X 96" finished.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Patriotic Quilts

One of the perks of serving as program chair for my quilt guild this year is getting to choose wonderful programs like the one we experienced Monday night. Judy Howard, of Oklahoma City, gave a trunk show called "Under The Covers With Granny".

First we were fortunate to be able to view one portion of Judy's "God Bless America" patriotic quilt exhibit that is touring the country over the next 3-4 years. Children and adults across the country are invited to submit 22" quilts with patriotic themes to become part of this exhibit. The quilts travel in groups of about 60 quilts each, with proceeds from the very reasonable rental fee going to benefit wounded soldiers and their families. I was pleased to submit one of the Purple Heart quilts that I made for my son to distribute when he was in Iraq (I thought I'd blogged about them, but guess not..I will one day).Each quilt has a fold down label attached that tells the story behind the quilt. They are very inspirational to read and see. The exhibit has even traveled to Iraq.

Please visit Judy's website Heavenly Patchwork to learn more about this amazing exhibit and how you can participate. If you don't want to make a quilt, you can submit a story for inclusion in a planned book too. But hurry..the deadline is approaching.

Seeing all of those little quilts and hearing some of the stories behind them would have been great by itself, but Judy also brought many antique quilts that she has for sale on her other site, Buckboard Antiques & Quilts. Be sure and visit her site and learn more about these beautiful quilts, as well as many, many more she has available.

Judy in front of the awesome display of her antique quilts.

These are some of my favorites. Read more about them on the "Museum Quality" or "Early 1900's tabs

An 1834 Mariner's Compass. Gorgeous!

Ocean Waves ..early 1900's

Loved this Rising Sun on the Museum Quality page

Check out the amazing quilting on this circa 1900 Rose of Sharon

And this 1875 Tulip Basket is so unique! This is about 1/4 of the quilt. See the entire piece on the Museum Quality tab.

The little circular quilt that spoke to Judy about the new directions for her life. Read about the quilt on the Museum Quality tab.

Part of what made Judy's program so interesting was hearing the stories behind the quilts. She has done considerable research on each and every quilt and provided not only stories but pictures of the quilt makers and their families. I highly recommend her program to anyone looking to fill their guild's schedule.

What a wonderful night it was! Judy is one of the most generous people I've had the chance to meet. Her work on behalf of our nation's heroes is a testament to the way God can work in your life and lead you in new directions. Bless her for what she does.

Still More Siggies

The most wonderful siggies continue to arrive in my mail box. Monday's mail brought two..........

This one from Freda in California

And this one from Ute in Germany

Yesterday when we returned from a day of driving to and from Wichita I found this siggy from Sherry in Canada waiting for me

The creativity shown in each and every block is such a treat to see. And the letters that accompany them are even better! It is such a blessing to learn a bit about my fellow quilters in all over the world.

Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine as we are today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Siggies

Friday and Saturday's mail brought more siggies. What fun!

Cristina from if only I could translate her note!
Anita from Belgium

And her mom, Vera

Last, but definitely not least, Carrie from North Carolina.

What a pretty group of siggies, don't you think? They all look like spring.

I managed to get another top pin basted over the weekend. Now to get it quilted. It's a big one (and also my oldest UFO/WISP), so it's going to be challenging pushing it through the machine.
Tomorrow we're off to Wichita for Tom's endocrinologist appointment. Maybe I can get a Dutch Treat block done during the 3 hour drive each way.