RSS

Category Archives: Quilting

No Assembly Required

No Assembly Required

As Christmas Eve approaches I can’t help but think of past Christmas Eves.  As I young child I can remember laying in my bed upstairs on Christmas Eve and hearing my parents busy downstairs.  I never knew what they were up to until Christmas morning but I could hear them until late into the evening.  My Mom and Dad were usually busy assembling something for under the tree or putting on the finishing touches on something they had made.

My Mom and Dad have always made a gift for one of us six kids and worked very late into the night to put on the finishing touches.  After I was grown and had children,  I got a glimpse of what their Christmas Eves were like. 

We spent Christmas eve with my husband’s family in our town and then loaded up our kids usually around 10 pm and drove 2 hours to my Mom and Dad’s home in the Twin Cities.  We would carry our sleeping children into Mom and Dad’s house and put them to bed.

One year when we arrived my Dad was putting the finishing touches on this toy that he made for our son Curt.

The few years later when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve Dad was putting the final coat of varnish on this forklift that he made for our second son Matt.

Five years later Dad was painting this on a doll cradle that he made for my daughter Anna.  He checked out books from the library to teach himself how to paint the elaborate design on the cradle.

The most elaborate project that Mom and Dad worked on together was a Barbie doll house for our daughter Christy.  It was a replica of a house that we moved into when I was twelve.  It was a Dutch Colonial and beautiful.  Dad and my brother built the doll house and did all the exterior finishing.  Mom made all the furniture and the interior decorating.  I don’t have a picture tonight because that would require me to go into the attic with help and bring it in to photograph.  I plan on doing an individual post on the doll house at a later date.  I went to bed that evening at 3 am and the three of them were still working on it at that point.

Over the years my husband and I have spent time working various Christmas Eve projects.   One year my husband decided to make a go-cart out of plumbing pipes and fittings.

One year I sewed sweatshirts for all the nieces and nephews made of Disney character fabric.  Another year I made wooden nativity blocks for all the nieces, nephews and our kids.  Eleven sets in all.

For many years my Christmas Eves involved finishing quilts.  I made a baby quilt and presented the parents with a quilt at Christmas if they had a baby born that year.  One year I made a quilt for my brother for Christmas.  Another year I made a quilt for my mother-in-law that year I was still hemming it minutes before we went to their home for Christmas Eve dinner.

The latest Christmas Eve project was about eight years ago when we gave our oldest daughter a drum set for Christmas.  She was in the percussion section in band.  The drum set came in boxes and had to be assembled.  It wasn’t that difficult but there were many pieces.  I couldn’t start bringing in boxes until all of our kids went to bed.  At that time they were night owls.  The boys were in college and the girls were 15 and 13 and had Christmas wrapping to do so it was after 1 am before I could start assembling.  It was almost 3:30 am before I was finished. 

This is the first year I think I will make it to bed at a decent hour.  No homemade gifts this year except a scarf that is almost finished.  Something seems out-of-place, not having a last-minute project.  There is still time to start one to carry on the family tradition….

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Pioneer Spirit of Creativity

 Jodee Luna asked me to be a feature writer at her blog http://refrainfromtheidentical.com on creativity.  This is the post I wrote for her blog.  I decided to post it here as well.

 
 

Private Pilot April 17, 2010

There are days when I feel that I was born in the wrong time period.  A true pioneer spirit imagines the possibilities that are attainable by using what you have in new and different ways.  It doesn’t need the latest gadget or craft kit to get the desired effect. 

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Little House on the Prairie.  I realize that the show glamorized what life was like back then but the adventurous nature of those settlers that ventured out into unknown territory and used what they had to create what they needed inspires me.

My husband and I are modern day pioneers.  We like to take what we have and imagine what it could be.  In 1992 we bought a lake property near our existing home and business.  This is what it looked like when we bought it. 

People thought we were crazy when we decided to dig a foundation and have a crane lift a portion of the existing home onto the new foundation and add on to it.  We spent hours drawing our own plans and figuring out the cost of the project. The old part of the house that we were saving had no historical value but to us it was the work of a friend who built it.  Somehow we wanted to save it in our project.  The crane enabled it to happen.  This is what it looks like now. 

 

We attended an auction at a local lumberyard and bought up many supplies for our home.  We decided on color schemes, window trim, exterior finishes and windows based on what we could find and use from the auction.  We designed and built the entrance to our home.  The carpenters that helped install it just shook their heads wondering why we didn’t just make our entrance like everyone else.  We wanted something unique.

Whenever I am faced with a challenge I get creative.  A couple of years ago I wanted a headboard for our bed.  My husband didn’t want to buy a new bed because he loves our 1970’s vintage waterbed with the old big wide pine board frame.  It originally came with a bookcase headboard that I hated and the bed was just too big for our room.  By cutting off the frame of the bed that the headboard sat on I gained nearly a foot at the end of our bed to walk around.  I loved more space but wanted a headboard.  I combined my creativity and love of quilting for my own one of a kind headboard.  I painted the quilt pattern directly on my wall.

 

My latest venture in creativity is writing my blog.  Writing is not my forte and it takes work on my part to do it better each time I write.   I love taking the photos to include with each blog.  For now I take my photos with an affordable digital Nikon that was purchased for $120.00.  It allows me to take some good pictures but I want to learn how to do more which will require me to purchase a camera that can do so much more.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Sunday Night Blues

  My pioneer spirit kicked in today thinking about the new and better camera that I would like to purchase.  It was time to get creative and find a way to purchase my new camera without having to buy it on credit.  I boxed up my flight simulator and software that my husband bought for me a couple of years ago during my flight training and put it on EBay.  I took photos of the flight simulator, wrote up the description and listed it for sale.  Five days from now I will be that much closer to my new camera. 

So many people limit their creativity, thinking it can only be achieved if you have enough time and money.  The key to creativity is work.  Trying things in new and different ways until you achieve something you like.  It’s not about whether other people like what you do but how it makes you feel.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Why Blog?…Time vs. Benefits

This morning as I was reading a blog by JoDee Luna http://jodeeluna.wordpress.com ; her words caught my attention and made an emotional connection as well. 

She said, “Have you ever felt like your life ambitions extend beyond your expiration date?   Full days leave little time for working towards those projects you want to finish.”

Blogging: Time vs. Benefit

What is motivating me to continue blogging?   Finding the words and pictures for the blog each day takes time.  When I started blogging in January it was just a challenge for me to see if I could actually set up a site and teach myself how to upload text and pictures to the site.  I’m not that computer savvy.  When I graduated from college we were still using electric typewriters for our papers.  We added carbon paper if we needed a second copy. 

I didn’t have any preconceived ideas of grandeur of a widely read blog. I just wanted to try something new to challenge myself.  I really didn’t understand how blogging worked or an idea of what I would write about, but I started.  This morning I left for work without posting on my blog because I was thinking about the amount of time vs. the benefits of blogging and were the scales tipped in a direction I could live with given my limited amount of discretionary time.

Benefits of Blogging

1.  Learning Something New

As I said earlier, learning something new was my original goal for blogging.  I have always said, “Any day that you learn something new is a good day!”  Sometimes you have to learn it the hard way but you still learn it.  I have been able to apply some of the things I have learned in WordPress in other areas at work. 

2.  Capturing a Moment of Time

When my husband and I were talking about blogging last week he said he would have loved to read what his parents, grandparents or other relatives had to say about living in their place in time.  I hadn’t thought about my descendants reading what I have written some day in the future.  I haven’t even shared with my four children or any other relatives besides my husband that I have a blog. 

3.  Seeing Glimpses of Other People in Their Worlds

Someday I hope to travel more extensively than I am able to now.  Until then, I can learn about other places in the world by reading other blogs.  Each person blogging brings a part of themselves and their worlds to share with those of us who take the time to read.  I especially love reading blogs like Sunshine in London http://sunshineinlondon.wordpress.com/ She is from South Africa and now lives in London.  She blogs about places that she finds interesting while living in London.  I can’t wait to travel to London someday and visit some of the places she has highlighted in her blog.  It’s like having my own personal travel agent telling me about what to see in London.

4.  Writing Styles

One of the most important benefits for me has been the ability to read so many writing styles.  I love reading Herding Cats in Hammond for her unique writing style.  My favorite post in the past year has been her post titled, ” I’ll Take Drooling for $750, Alex…November 9, 2010 by writerwoman61.”  It is a post about having dental surgery done on her daughter but written  in a very unique way in the format of the Jeopardy TV show.

Another blog I enjoy reading for his style and sense of humor is http://TEStazyk.com.  He writes from New Zealand so I get the opportunity to learn about another part of the world while reading his blog.  Thomas, through his blog has introduced me to a new and expanded vocabulary.  I love the creative banter of his regular readers while commenting on his latest post.  It’s a fun place to visit!

5.  Improving My Writing Skills

This would have been the last benefit that I would have written for blogging 11 months ago when I started.  I never thought of and still don’t think of myself as a writer.  The more posts I read and write I find myself wanting to do a better job in my writing.  After reading posts from another of my favorite blogs, Joe Clarks’ Blog, http://joeclarksblog.wordpress.com/, I find myself looking up things like passive voices.  A year ago I would never had looked up that topic.  Joe inspires me to learn new things both in aviation and writing through his passionate writing on many topics.

6.      Renewing Old Passions  

Photography and quilting are two passions that I have had in the past.  I never thought that starting a blog would re-ignite those passions.  The process of writing the blog and incorporating photos have me seeing everything through the lens of a camera.  Back in my early college days  I was interested in photography but I was discouraged because of its cost.  Now with the new digital cameras there are so many more things that you can try and only pay to have the pictures that you truly love.

Quilting is something that I have been passionate about for nearly 25 years and there are so many sites that give hints to make the process easier.  The ideas for quilts, tools, and hints are endless and have me exploring for the next best project.

Blogging has taken a place of priority in my discretionary time but I think the benefits are well worth the time spent.

 

 
11 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Quilting, Wordpress Blogging, Writing skills

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday Night Sew-In

This is a drawing of a log cabin that Jacob's Dad built

Well I got a later start than I had planned on tonight. We had a to go and pick up cars at our transport lot this evening that just came in from out west. We left right after work but its an hour drive each way plus an hour to load and eat supper. By the time we got home it was nearly ten. I gave my grandson a bath, fed him, and put him to bed. I finally got to work on my project for a couple of hours.

As I was looking through my fabric to complete this project at lunchtime today I found yet another UFO. It was a quilt top that have all sewn together, basted and ready to quilt. Its only crib size but I thought that by working on this project I would have one less on my list to finish little did I know that it would be a break even proposition. Subtract this quilt off my list when I finish it soon and add the other to the list. It was my goal to not have to buy fabric to finish this project and that won’t be a problem as I found several fabrics in my stash to complete it even batting. No excuses now to not keep working on it.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2010 in Quilting

 

Tags: , ,

Life, Basketball and Quilting

SCSU vs Augustana @ Mankato, MN

This past week has been busy with the usual life like work, laundry, cleaning and watching my grandson Jack. On Wednesday evening we packed up our grandson, daughter, boyfriend, and headed south to Mankato. The big event was St Cloud State Basketball team was playing Augustana. We got there late so we missed the first half due to getting a late start from work. Oh well, we got there in time to watch the second half and overtime. They were tied up at the end of the second half so into overtime. The overtime was 5 minutes long. At the end of overtime St. Cloud State finished ahead with a score of 84 to 75 over Augustana. It is the first time since the 1986-87 season that St. Cloud State University has advanced to the Elite 8 so off to Springfield, MA for the games beginning Wednesday. This is exciting to me because our daughter Christy has been dating one of the starters for SCSU, Andrew Bernstetter. He is a local talent to St. Cloud growing up just about 10 miles from St. Cloud. It is also exciting because both my husband and I are graduates of SCSU.

What’s quilting got to do with basketball? Absolutely nothing except it is yet another interest of mine. I happened upon a blog this week that talked about a Friday Night Sew-in. Its goal is for everyone to dig out their quilt projects or other unfinished projects to work on Friday Night, March 19, 2010. Its like everything else at my home if its not on the calendar its probably not going to happen.

So today I dug out a UFO(un-finished object) from my sewing closet. I started it when my oldest daughter was in 4th grade and I was her teacher. In the spring I cut out out quilt squares and made a border for each. Then I gave them to each of my students to decorate with permanent markers. Some took a great deal of time to decorate their square and some not so much. My goal is to get the quilt top put together this weekend after 11 years. So far I have cut the pieces of fabric for in between the squares but haven’t decided how to do the border for the quilt yet.

4th Grade Quilt /UFO

Christy's Block

I don’t know how much I’ll actually get done this weekend but someone once said a project started is half done so I guess that I am farther than I’ve been in 11 years on this one. Happy sewing to all and have a great weekend.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2010 in Life Happens, Quilting

 

Tags: ,