Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ALYOF: September Finish

I think that I did pretty well for September.  I would have liked to get more done, but it is what it is.

1--The HST Star is all quilted, except for the final outer border. Yay!

2--the Hawaiian-style Plumeria got its final border tonight! Whee! It's now about 54" square. It's been a longer ride than I hoped, with so many ideas floating in my head and indecision fogging up the ideas.

And I received the quilting thread so quickly from my order from SewThankful !

Meanwhile, I've been playing with Sue Pelland's Hearts and More templates. They are very slick, so I will need to get the grippers like she recommends. I wanted to put daisies on the Hawaiian appliqué, but the fun, cute daisies just didn't jive well with the more formal Plumeria. Plus, the daisies seemed to interrupt the flow of the two-color quilt, and interrupt the flow of the medallion on point.

At first, I cut individual petals with the template. (White daisy) That started to get tedious.

Then I read a bit more in the template instructions and the different types of shapes and cuts. Sue shows how to make 4 and 6 petal flowers, and mentioned 8-petal flowers in passing. I cut a square of pre-fused fabric, then folded it into eighths like I did with the Hawaiian appliqué. I stapled the fabric together, then used the template to draw the curves on the folds. I used scissors to cut, then opened the flowers! I also used the template to cut the circles for the flower centers.

So now I need to figure out what to do with the daisies!  How fun....!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I can't decide whether my Hawaiian-style appliqué quilt top is finished. It looks so beautiful!

I fussy-cut the border to show off the long, vertical leaf pattern, and thought I would echo those leaves for the quilting designs.

But right now, the top is only just 40" square. Is that big enough to cuddle with as a hospice quilt?  I really love the 44x60 size.

The whole premise of an Hawaiian-style is balance, peace, nature, symmetrical. I definitely think I captured that!

But I very much wanted to incorporate some daisies into the design, since Vai loves daisies too.
I thought a narrow aqua border on the sides, with an aqua wider border on top and bottom, with appliqué daisies in white and purple.

Would that take away from the balance and harmony and detract from the lovely center plumeria?

So I've been playing with my new set of Hearts and More templates by Sue Pelland. I'm trying to get the hang of them, and the templates + rotary cutter = definitely faster than cutting with scissors!
And I'm trying to figure out sizes, too.

The one in the picture above is roughly 6" across.

It's fun being able to cut lots of different shapes and sizes with just one template!

I'm also just trying to get a feel for what the quilt would look like with my desires, too.

However, I learned today some news that might just force the issue of not adding more, and just finish the quilt!

Vai has been discharged from the hospital to home, with hospice care once again. She is on air all the time, sleeps a lot, and is in terrible pain. My aunt, her adopted grandma, thinks her time on earth is very short now. I very much want to have her cuddle with the quilt before she passes.
Oh dear. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vai's story; September goal check-in

I'm getting closer to finishing my goals for the month!

Oooooh pretty!  But I have trimming and squaring up to do, as well as adding two borders and some more appliqué to the borders.

Every step getting closer to finishing this Hawaiian-style quilt is important to me.

This quilt is for Vai and her family. Vai was admitted to the hospital this past week for fluid swelling around her heart. She's on oxygen full-time now and having a lot of chest pain.

 Vai is Tongan and came to the United States when she was 8 yrs old. She got sick, and the germ attacked her heart. She had a heart transplant at the age of 9 ! In the meantime, Taylor and Jessica adopted her into their family. Taylor is Vai's cousin, and Jessica is my first cousin. Taylor and Jessica have four children of their own, all younger than Vai. 

Now Vai is 20, and has really struggled this past year, with surgeries and a pacemaker for her transplanted heart, in and out of the hospital several times. In June, while being admitted for some very serious pain, the doctor ran lots of tests and diagnosed that her heart is in failure, a type of heart failure specific to transplant patients. They gave her 6 weeks to live....and she has obviously fought much past that already. I intend this quilt to be a cuddle quilt for Vai, and also to be a memorial quilt for her for her family and siblings.

Anyway, Vai loves purple and green, plumeria and daisies. My nurse friend, who also quilts, who married a Tongan, said that Hawaiian-style appliqué is great for a memorial quilt, as well as a plumeria pattern.

While following the American Made Brand blog tour this summer, the last stop was Hawaii--the last state becoming a state of the United States. Barbara Bieraugel blogged about Hawaii. In my comment, I mentioned a bit about Vai's story and how I wanted to learn Hawaiian-style appliqué to honor her. Barbara was so sweet---she emailed me her new Plumeria pattern!!!!!! And she has been so helpful and supportive in helping me learn this style of quilting.

Now on to part two of my goal:
Quilting the HST star !

Whee! I think I'm almost finished quilting! I think I have some touch-ups on the blocks, and then quilt the border. 

I'm still trying to decide on a border motif.
More continuous swirls like the sashing?
Echo the puzzle pieces?
Quilt a starburst border like in Angela Walter's Dot-to-Dot quilting class ? (See below)

Ok I'm done thinking for the night. Goodnight!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Two Years! Summary

Since my two-year Blogiversary happened the first week in July, and I didn't do anything to celebrate, I thought I should make a list of what I've accomplished in the past two years with my blog and the online quilt community.

--I now have 23 followers. I have no idea how many I have through Bloglovin or other blog readers. Please give me a shout-out comment if you follow through a reader !

--I've had almost 23,000 pageviews! Last month, I had over 1500 pageviews!

--I've posted almost 200 posts!

--I've listed my blog and become a member of Quilting Gallery.com

--I've participated in Craft Bud's 2012 Craft Book Month.

--I started my blog while entering the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild's "EZ Dresden Challenge", creating my own quilt block design: "Firefighter Maltese Cross Dresden" using a unique new cutting template called Leaves Galore by Sue Pelland.

--When I contacted Sue Pelland to show her what I created with her template, she invited me to guest post on her blog!

--Since this time last year, several bloggers have contacted me about my Maltese Dresden, so I created my first tutorial !

--I've participated in Happy Quilting Melissa's "Starburst QAL".

--I entered 2 quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival with Amy's Creative Side.

--I've entered 2 quilts in my town's local small quilt show, the Peteetneet Quilt Show, (Starburst and To The Rescue) and received my first ribbon of Honorable Mention in Viewer's Choice. (To the Rescue)

--I've participated in several swaps and a Round Robin with Michele from Quilts from My Crayon Box.  Including: two rounds of Kate Spain Charm Swap, "It's a Sister Thing" 2013 swap, and a Valentine's-themed Round Robin.

--I posted a picture of my first "Snowflakes" block from Quiltmaker Magazine on their Facebook page, and Quiltmaker published my picture in the feedback section of the magazine. I've also posted "Diamond Daze" quilt, Diamonds Crossing, and "To the Rescue" quilts, which they have re-posted!

--I participate in Linky parties with GoGoKim.BlogSpot.com (My Go-Go life), Kristy's Paper-Piecing Party on Quiet Play, and with Melissa's A Lovely Year of Finishes (ALYOF) monthly goal parties on blog.SewBittersweetDesigns.com

--Started taking classes on Craftsy.com and I am becoming braver and a more skilled at Free Motion Quilting.

Not to mention following and entering in countless blog hops and giveaways !

All this while working part-time at the hospital and raising two boys, and being pregnant and birthing a third baby at the first of this year!  Whew!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Performing surgery

Today I'm performing surgery....putting the stuffing back in and stitching up the poor alligator.

I feel like Doc McStuffins!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fire station birthday

Today is my husband's birthday. However, he is on shift at the fire station. Today is day 2 of his 48-hour shift. I knew this was coming, so I planned a surprise. My 5-yr-old wasn't very good about keeping a secret all week, but luckily, hubby didn't figure it out.

Yesterday, I had time to make cake and frosting, and decorated the cake after they went to bed.

Then we finally made it into the car, the boys and I (and a tired, cranky baby), drove 60 miles to my husband's station. When we pulled into the parking lot, I called my hubby's cell and said "delivery". He thought I was home and had gotten the mail. I told him to come outside and see, and he understood pretty quickly, but....."we're not at the station, but we are driving back right now."

He was surprised, but tired, as was his crew. They were very quiet, as that was the first chance they had to sit down all day, and their last.

The boys were so excited, and talked a lot, but were well-behaved. They loved seeing daddy, even the baby...he just wanted to be cuddled by dad. So Wayne carried him around while he showed the boys the engine and the station. The boys actually talked to the crew as they met each one, super-excited about the cake and to show it off.

We didn't stay long, but it was good. After a long drive home and splurging on fast food, it was good to hang out with the boys until bedtime. Even though the baby had some teething pains and couldn't nap.

And I made another cake tonight after the boys were in bed. Just a rectangle this time, with red frosting. Wayne's brothers and mom are coming over tomorrow for BBQ and cake. We usually only have his family for birthdays, and we celebrate whenever we can all get together. It's important to us to be together as a family, and we keep the party small so that S. doesn't get overwhelmed. Even though a bunch of New Yorkers aren't that quiet, it's still fun with the NY boys swapping loud work stories and rough-housing with the kids.

Now I'm off to get a bit of FMQ done and get some sleep.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Never Forget 9/11

I'm a day late, I know, but it was just one of those days. I went to work, needy baby, not much sleep.

My brother-in-law, Terry Reilly Jr., gave the keynote address at our city's memorial service. I'm sorry I missed it because I was at work, but my other brother-in-law Jason recorded it on his phone and posted it to Facebook. His address was well done, and it was very appropriate as he admonished us to Never Forget. 

Never Forget the sacrifices of the firefighters, police, Port Authority, and pilots, and all other rescue workers, and all the civilians who lost their lives in the attack of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Never Forget the additional sickness and death that has occurred and continues to occur, since then, as the rescue workers have developed cancer and other sicknesses and died from their service in the rubble. Never Forget the soldiers who have served and are serving now.

If you remember, my husband is from New York, and his first memory was going to the fire station across the street from his home with his dad, the firefighter. His father and brother were friends with, and trained, several of the firefighters that died in the collapse of the towers. It is a very special and sobering Remembrance Day in our family.

My husband Wayne in blue firefighter, his younger brother Jason in his dispatcher uniform, and brother Terry Jr in his police uniform. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

ALYOF - September Goals


How did August just rush by, and the first week of September?

I've made some good progress on machine-quilting the HST quilt. So here is my goal:

Finish machine-quilting this quilt!

Incidentally, have you been following the Moda Love blog tour? This year's pattern is free and it's very similar to the star center of my quilt. It's made out of HST that you can make from three different sizes: a 10" layer cake, 5" charms, and 2 1/2" mini-charms....the pattern includes all three sizes. I love it! You know me and stars!


Also, it's my goal to finish the appliqué and put the top together for Vai's quilt (Hawaiian-style appliqué).

And of course, I'm linking up with Sew Bittersweet Designs.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Feeling discouraged

Trying to FMQ is tough. Keeping my curves steady and keep from jerking the quilt around is tough. Please don't look too closely at the little jags where I had to pause (in the middle of a long curve) while I move my hands, or wrestle the quilt from getting stuffed up under the tiny machine arm.

And I think that's the problem! I have so little space under the arm, that I can't freely move a quilt enough to complete a pass or a motif or keep a curve smooth. When I attended HMQS last year, and played on a Sweet Sixteen and an APQS George, my stitches looked better and more uniform size, I didn't have jerks and jags as much....and I wasn't working with a stitch regulator!

So as much as I dearly love my little Bernina, I desperately want and need, at least, a sit-down longarm. But we just can't afford the payments right now.

I'm just going to go to bed now, I guess.