Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Other than...

Although most of my time is being taken up by sick kitties and packing, I have managed a few moments here and there to do some sewing.  I've been working on quilting my Cheerio quilt for the last several months and I'm now at the half way point.  I borrowed the quilting design from Judi Madsen's book Quilting Wide Open Spaces.

I also finished some more Gravity blocks.  Although they look complicated (to me), they're actually pretty quick to cut out and piece.  I'm always surprised at how quickly I can make one.

I'm really looking forward to finishing this quilt.  Only 3 months left to go!

Most of my spare sewing time however, has been spent working on more Swoon blocks.  I decided to make my Swoon quilt large enough to fit a full bed.  I already had 9 blocks and needed 3 more.  I went ahead and made 4 because I wasn't sure which arrangement I would like best.  The blocks are so large (24" square), I figured I could use the extra one as a wall hanging or table topper.

It was hard finding a place large enough to arrange/rearrange them.  I also had help from a cat that tried to lay on them every time I turned my back.

I added an extra border made from the scraps to either side to get the length I needed.  I used every 6.5" scrap piece of Miss Kate fabric I had and was only 1" short!  I was shocked to be so close.  I ended up using a leftover piece of my Scrumptious fabric and it blends right in.

Since I am going to be custom quilting the Swoon raffle quilt my mom and I made recently, I'm not going to do anything fancy on this one.  I would really just love to get it finished in time to use it in the new house.

Looking at this post, I realize I've mentioned 4 quilts I'm working on right now.  I feel like I've got quilter's ADD!  I'd like to start one and keep working on it until it's finished, but it usually feels like I have to set it aside to work on something else.  Right now, I've really got to get started quilting the raffle quilt.  My niece actually started school yesterday and I haven't put the first stitch in it yet.  On one hand, I know how I'm going to quilt it.  On the other hand, it's a lot of quilting and will take a while.  However, the packing is almost done and I believe I'll have a lot more free time after that.

I've mentioned before that my parents care for a bunch of feral cats on their property.  I think the count is somewhere around 30 right now.  Fortunately most of them are fixed, but about 6 weeks ago one of them had a litter of 3 black kittens - all adorable.  She kept them pretty well hidden for the first month and no one realized that one of them is a special needs kitty.  Although he acts almost perfectly normal, he was born without back feet.  My parents have since taken him to the vet to make sure he's otherwise OK and have weaned him from his mom.  His name is Moses and he will be a very spoiled house cat for the rest of his life.  He is battling an infection right now in his paws from being outside, so prayers for quick healing would be appreciated. Otherwise, he is an extremely affectionate, happy kitty.

LORD my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
Psalm 30:2 NIV

Monday, August 3, 2015

KittyFest 2015...

I thought about titling this post something more descriptive but held back because 1) I didn't want to gross you out, and 2) I didn't think anyone would read it.

Why is it that every time a cat gets sick, they always pick carpet instead of something easy to clean up?  The past few days have seemed like one never ending festival of kitty vomit.  The entire apartment I'm living in right now has laminate floors with the occasional scattered rug and yet I've done no less than 10 loads of laundry washing those rugs.  Our cat Jack was in last week getting radiation treatment for her hyperthyroidism.  Moses, our Siamese, went through the exact same treatment 2 months ago and had absolutely no side effects.  Jack came home on Thursday and by Friday was extremely sick.  The poor thing wouldn't eat or drink, all she did was sleep and throw up.  I had to give her fluids under her skin just to keep her hydrated.  And of course, she's radioactive for the next two weeks so I had to be extra careful cleaning up after her as well.

And just to join in on the fun, two of our other cats got sick as well.  I think David may have eaten a bug or something that didn't agree with him.  I can count on one hand the number of times in 6 years that he's gotten sick, but he had to choose this weekend to add to that number.

Sam has been grooming herself incessantly lately, so I wasn't overly surprised when she presented me with a hairball.

I'm very pleased to report though that they've all gone 24 hours without an incident.  Jack has finally turned the corner and is on the mend.  She's regained her appetite and is drinking water on her own.  Now that she can handle it, I've been offering her food and treats at every opportunity.  She needs to put on a good bit of weight to get back to normal.  She's nothing but skin and bones right now.

All my cats are indoor only, but my parents take care of about 30 feral cats.  Due to a generous grant, they've been able to get most of them fixed and hopefully will be able to catch and fix the youngest ones in the near future.  It's quite a sight though to see so many cats come running for breakfast in the morning - all sizes and colors.  About 8 of them have taken to sleeping under my dad's truck during the heat of the day.  They're everywhere you look.

I think this one looks like a rag doll...

They clip their left ear when they fix them so you can tell right away who's been fixed and who hasn't.  This little fellow has obviously already been snipped.

My parents have been feeding these cats for years, but their numbers were growing and it was just getting to be too much.  They've paid to have some of them fixed themselves, but it quickly gets way too expensive.  This local grant has been such a blessing to them and to the cats.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. 
Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Before and After...

There is a time for everything,
 and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 (NIV)

This year has definitely been a season of change for me.  A time of uprooting, tearing down and building up and of healing as well.  So many things are happening one right after another (or on top of one another) that it's been difficult at times to keep up with them.  I've been praying.  A lot.

Last week, I spent a few days packing up my sewing room.  Now that we've sold our house, we have the fun task of clearing it out.  Fortunately, neither my husband or I are pack rats.  We don't have a lot of knick knacks or extra furniture.  However, you'd never guess that was the case while boxing up my quilting stuff!  I took pictures before I started taking everything apart.  I've loved my sewing space and hope to create something similar in the new house.

It is shocking how much those cabinets and bookshelves can hold.  It took 33 boxes to pack everything up!  My sister joked that it wouldn't take 33 boxes to pack her entire house.  I gave away so much fabric and other stuff when I renovated this room, I can't imagine how many boxes it would have taken if I hadn't!  My happy cheerful room doesn't look so happy or cheerful with all those boxes stacked up...

I truly hope the new owners get as much enjoyment out of this space as I have.  I've especially loved sitting in the window seat and looking out the window.

This should be the view out of my new sewing room.  The sun rises on the other side of the lake so I'll get to see the sunrise since I'm usually up before then.

However, they've just poured the foundation on our new home, so it will be quite a while before I see a sunrise over that lake.

My husband found this hummingbird in our garage today.  He exhausted himself trying to find his way out and my husband had to carry him outside. He rested in his hand for a couple of minutes - long enough for him to take pictures - then he flew away.

When you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Jeremiah 29:12 (NLT)

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm Swooning...

After 14 years in the same house, my husband and I recently decided to start over and build a new house.  So the last couple of months have been non-stop busy with packing, trying to get the house ready to show and a temporary move.  We officially listed the house last week and are so grateful that it's already sold.  We had 3 showings and 3 offers over this past weekend.

All of this has left me with little time to sew recently.  My mom and I had been working on a Swoon quilt to use as a raffle for my niece's school.  I'll confess I only sewed one block and helped with a few others.  My mom did the bulk of the work.  Now that the top is done, I'll be quilting it.  FYI - The fabric in this quilt is Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille.

Our 4 cats are not handling the move very well.  Of course, they've lived in the same house since they were all kittens so this is a huge transition for them.  I think the vet down here (whom I'm becoming very familiar with) is going to hate to see us go.  I'm sure I've already paid for his summer vacation and am working on his winter one!  In fact, yet another of our cats has just been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and has to have radiation treatment.  That's 2 cats within 2 months.  You'd think the condition is contagious, but it's not.  Jack goes in for treatment on Monday and she'll continue to be radioactive for another couple of weeks after that.

Sam has developed acne yet again and her kidney values have gone up.  However, I think she's adjusting the best of all them.  While the others hide when people come over, she's always out and ready to interact with them.


Moses is and always has been completely neurotic.  She hides under the covers all day and only comes out at night.  However, she loves to explore my dad's garage and is slowly cleaning out the cobwebs from every nook and cranny.

David was a terrified wreck for the first couple of weeks and hid under the bed most of the time.  He's now growing more comfortable with everyone and his surroundings.

Our new house won't be finished until November, so they've got enough time to really settle in before I move them again.  Hopefully they'll handle this 2nd (and last) move better than the first!

So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Little Gravity...

I have been meaning to blog about the Gravity Block of the Month I signed up for ever since I started it back in February.  This is actually one of the very few BOM's that I've managed to keep up with.  I've finished every set of blocks before the next ones have arrived.  However, I've never managed to write about it before getting the next package.  So I tell myself I'll blog as soon as I finish those blocks.  And well...  Here it is 4 months later.

The pattern is by Jaybird Quilts.  It's a great size at 96" x 97".  You need 2 of her specialty rulers to make it: the Super Sidekick ruler and the Hex n More ruler.  I've already used the Super Sidekick ruler for other things so I see that one being very handy.  There are 114 different fabrics in it.  The first month I got the book and rulers along with the fabric, but every month since then I've just gotten the two different packs of kona cotton.  There are 6 different colors in each package and each color is clearly labeled in case you need/want to get more of that color.

Each month you make the same block in 2 different colorways.  These are the most recent blocks.

And here are the other 6 from the first 3 months...

This quilt goes with nothing in my house.  It certainly doesn't coordinate with my bedroom.  I thought about that carefully before I signed up, but then did it anyway.  I love the colors and pattern that much.  I'll figure out how to make it work somehow!

This sweet girl is home after receiving radiation treatment for her hyperthyroidism.  She's doing well and having no side effects other than the fact that she's radioactive for the next couple of weeks.  We're supposed to be careful and try to stay away from her.  Of course, since she's come home, she will not leave me alone.  For a cat that likes to hide in the closet, she is sticking to me like glue.  I wonder if I might start glowing in the dark or perhaps develop quilting superpowers???

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. 
Proverbs 11:2 (NLT)

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Reason to 'Celebrate'...

I couldn't be happier to have finally finished one of my long time UFO's.  I confess I was a little too optimistic about how long this one would take to make.  I put the label on it before I started quilting it.  It says 'Fall 2011'.  Ha! Ha!  I pulled this out for something else to work on at the recent retreat I went to and just kept working on it when I got home.  I'm really in love with this quilt.  It shows me how far I've come since I first started machine quilting.

Because of the light background it's really difficult to see the quilting from the front.  However, I used a black backing and it shows up well there.  I almost wish I'd left the label off because then the quilt would be reversible!  (My husband told me he prefers the back too.)

The most challenging part was definitely the curved cross-hatching in the border.  I was stumped for the longest time about how to do this.  Eventually I pulled out this ruler I have for sewing clothes.

I marked all the lines with a disappearing ink pen one section at a time.  I still had to do a lot of math and calculations to get it to work out evenly though.  In the end, I definitely think it was worth the extra time and effort.

I quilted 4 different fillers around the Dresden flowers in the center of the quilt and duplicated them in the border.  I also added some Diane-shiko to the center of each flower and feathers between them.

I used both the blue washable pen and the disappearing pen to mark the quilt top when needed, but a lot of it was just free motion quilted.  The Dresden's are attached to the background with a machine blanket stitch.

I'll admit that when I first started learning how to free motion quilt, I did it out of necessity.  I had a bunch of quilts that needed quilting and I couldn't afford to send them out.  (I'd rather spend the money on fabric!)  Although I loved making quilt tops, I really didn't enjoy quilting them.  But over the years, as I've practiced and gotten better, I've really come to love it!  And I had so much fun finishing this quilt.  When given a choice between piecing or working on this, I chose to work on this.  I have another one I'm quilting right now and I'm forcing myself to take a break from it to do some piecing.

Funny thing is, I still have a closet full of quilt tops needing to be quilted.  Although I love doing it, I never seem to pick simple designs and each quilt takes me a while.  (But I always think they're worth it!)  Ironically, I have had the perfect place in mind to hang this quilt since I started it.  However, we have now decided to sell our house and I can't put it up.  I guess I'll just have to find that perfect spot in the new house...

So here are the details for this quilt...
  • Size: 49" square
  • Fabric: Nature's Gift by Deb Strain, Bella Solid Natural and Black
  • Batting: 2 layers of Warm & Natural
  • Thread: Aurifil for the piecing and quilting - black and #2310
  • Pattern: I saw the quilt online and made my own version.

Now on to the next one...

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. 
Romans 12:2 (NLT)