Sunday, December 9, 2012

Honoring My Dad's Life

Rev. Richard Leonard Brown (November 16, 2012)
Reverend Richard Leonard Brown, 90, of Kansas City, MO, went to meet his Lord and Savior on November 16th, 2012. 
He was born on December 24, 1921 to Clyde and Gertrude (Graham) Brown in Waltham, Massachusetts, he spent his childhood in the West Newberry area where he graduated from Melrose High School. He attended a year of business classes from the University of MA before joining the U.S. Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served his country as a 1st Lieutenant and Infantry Unit Commander, Company A, 307 Infantry, 77th Division. He fought in the Pacific, Guam, Philippines, Okinawa, and Occupation of Japan. He was recognized with the following military honors: Asiatic Pacific Medal with the Bronze Arrowhead, the WWII Victory Medal, The American Service Medal, 2 Purple Hearts, Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Philippine Liberation Medal.
He was honorably discharged after V-J Day 1945. On December 27 1942, taking a leave of absence, following Officer Training, he was united in marriage to Adalene (“Ann”) Ruscilla Cook of Stoneham, MA.
On release from active duty he settled with wife and first three children in Newton, Massachusetts where in 1950, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He worked for the Salvation Army, taught Accounting classes while attending Providence Bible College, earning his BA degree. He responded to God’s call to become a Baptist Minister. He became Pastor and was ordained at Curtis Corner Baptist Church, Peace Dale, RI. He later served as Pastor of West Roxbury Baptist Church in Roxbury, MA, Rushford Baptist Church in Rushford, NY, Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in Amherst, NY, and Dennison Corners Community Church, in Mohawk, NY.  Following these years, he became Chaplain to the Syracuse Rescue Mission, Syracuse, NY and also served as Associate Pastor to DeWitt Community Church in Dewitt, NY.  Upon retirement in 1992, he moved to Smithville, Missouri, where he and his wife continued in ministry to local churches, to the Independent Baptist Association, and as volunteers with Source of Light Mission. His wife Ann passed away on February 6, 2006.
Those that knew him best also knew that he was proud to have served his country, humbled and changed by the Grace of God, honored to be called into Christian Ministry, blessed with a loving wife and family, excited and enthused any time he could be together in fellowship with his loving family of Christian Saints, and a dedicated disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, anxious to witness that “Jesus Paid It All – All To Him I Owe”!"Dick” is survived by his eight children, twenty-seven grandchildren, and 3great-grandchildren. 
Private family services, Hixson-Klein Funeral Home, Gower
In lieu of flowers, donations to Gideon’s International PO BOX 140800 Nashville, TN 37212-0800

Saturday, October 27, 2012

FNSI Accomplishment

The evening was full of "Dad activity" because he seems to need more and more attention as the sun descends the horizon, but I was able to simply pick up my needle between calls from his bed and accomplish more than I expected.
I am so glad I chose a relaxing project for my FNSI.
10 in square completed!

I completed my 10" square REDWORK of wild daisies and began the 5"square of four-petaled flowers.
Not bad for an evening, I think!

I absolutely love the contrast of garnet embroidery thread against white cotton in REDWORK! I am anxious to assemble my Notions Keeper and tuck it away for a gift!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Drawn pattern for REDWORK
Encouraged by a fellow-blogger, the last Friday night of each month is dedicated to a SEW-IN. I have hopes tonight to accomplish the REDWORD for a Quilted Notions Keeper I am making. Although the photo is light, I think you can see my pattern is daisies and will all be sewn with the embroidery back-stitch. (check back later for a finished look)

My evening hopefully will find me relaxing in my living room recliner, while my weary body rests from my ambitious Fall cleaning. Yup, I've already begun to prepare for the Holidays. A smile is pasted on my face because my oven is cleaned, the cabinets dusted, the cans organized, and even the main walls are dusted down from cobwebs and summer dust.

Fabric Choices
Book Photo of Inner Keeper
It's also been a wearily stressful week in my efforts to care for my elderly Dad. He collapsed over the weekend, and by Monday morning, he was so weak he was taken to Hospice House for symptom management. Although, nurses and technicians took over the heavy work, I stayed at the House with him and emotionally worked through all that would be required now for his care. I happily announce that he is resting in his own bed now, and we've had a couple of more peaceful days. Thank you for all your prayers on his behalf and for my concerns.

So, my friends, please join me tonight in FNSI (!
Have fun...and let me know what you accomplished on this wonderful nippy Autumn evening!

Credit for my inspiration of a Notion Keeper was found in the book REDWORK with a TWIST by Pat Sloan. My camera captured a photo in my purchased book for your pleasure. 
Pat's blog site is:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wow! I did it!

Well, the sandwich was ready, the feed dog down, the darning foot attached, the lines drawn on each 4.5" square, and the machine's tension checked.

Now it was time to make the first LOOP!
Practice showed me that I could do it, but this was the real thing...a quilt I wanted my sister to have!

With bated breath, I stepped on my foot control and moved my hands in a steady rate, like I had practiced over and over! One figure 8, turn the quilt and finish the loop with another figure 8!
It was done...and it really looked like it was supposed to look! Wow!

I did it! I really can free motion quilt...and it looks cute!
Oh, thank you, Eva Larkin, for your wonderful book and your encouragement to newbies like me!  

Dreams Become a Gift of Love

Since my last post, I've been wearing out the pages of Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy! I read, re-read the techniques Eva Larkin suggests. Then, I draw them in a journal or practice on 12" squares, which I've divided into 4.5" sewing areas! These activities have convinced me that practice does indeed make machine quilting easier. I won't hesitate to put many 12" squares under my needle before I feel comfortable with most of the book's free motion quilting designs. It has really helped me to think and quilt one small space at a time. My hands are beginning to move in a habitual sway now, which is so encouraging.
I have many more white practice squares, but my projects are need some attention, too!

As I care for my elderly Dad with my Hospice team, my heavy heart waits for updates on a very sick older sister. Knowing how hard it must be to only look at hospital colors and feel their stiffness, I fill my head with dreams which someday, hopefully, surrounds this queen of a lady with beauty and softness. Earlier this summer, I heard of a simple need she had, so I made several moisture proof mats for her hospital bed and couch. Just as I finished and had them ready to package, I was asked to hold on to them. She had fallen several times, alerting medical, and causing a period of observation in the hospital.

It seems she is struggling again with the symptoms of her 27 year old battle with brain cancer.

So, while I wait for the mats to be summoned, I've filled more spare time to add another dream to the package. With the leftover stash of pastel colored flannel fabrics, I cut 5 inch squares and assembled them. My hope is to use the techniques I've learned from the Free Motion Quilting book to quilt a soft feminine throw for the times she sits in her wheelchair or recliner.
Today, I finished the top of this little throw. I used 505 to baste  and sandwich it. This morning, I drew the horizontal and vertical lines in each block as Eva did. This quilting will remain quite simple, but hopefully, I've practiced some easy curves of the LOOP well enough to apply them to these squares.

Dear readers, please pray for my sweet older sister who now needs wisdom and endurance for the very basic necessities of life. Pray that she conquers the spirit of fear and allows her heart to rest in her Heavenly Father's Everlasting Arms as He upholds her and gives her the strength for the days ahead.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

She thinks...."I can do it!"

I recently found a real treasure while browsing the shelves in a Used Book Store. With real desires to learn the perfection of quilting by machine, I was excited to find this simply written book of instructions. Showing simple steps for understanding, practice and guidance, I saw possibilities for improving my quilting abilities!
Focusing on the sewing machine, Eva starts with the very basics of tension and stitch appearance. She also instructed me to check my machine for cleanliness, needle condition and size, and thread weight. The date of the last really good cleaning and tune-up assured me that a little check for dust would make my machine ready for practice! With a little brush, lint and dust disappeared from the little pockets of the bobbin case just under the cover plate.

Without much effort, I am learning little tidbits that improve the whole experience of machine quilting.

 Besides the instructions, there are little boxes to highlight suggestions and exercises to encourage practice on each instruction. There is a list of supplies for readiness, plus Eva's favorite products are suggested with tips for what she has found works for her. She encourages a readiness for practice sessions, with 4.5" squares drawn on 12" square sandwiches. I've made a special drawer for these close to my sewing machine hoping that if these squares are at my finger tips, I will be encouraged in many hours of practice before I attempt a large quilt.

Eva encourages drawing the intended designs several times before attempting to quilt them. I bought a graft-papered notebook and carry it around for my leisure moments of drawing and practicing all the designs she inserted in her wonderful book!

The most vital message I carry away each time I read or practice the exercises in this book is: "I can do it!" 
Eva takes every effort to show how easy beautiful quilting can be when the large project is measured in small increments of beautiful stitching within the control of 2 hands being very close to the needle.

My first attempts show a real need for practice. My goal is to give a practice hour each day of sewing with the goal toward the improvement my quilting and stitching by machine.

And I'm seeing ongoing progress and improvement, convincing me over and over again that...
         "I can do it!"
             maybe you can, too!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My favorite movie

                                            There's nothing better than a positive outlook on life! 

To teach a child to find gladness in every situation should be the goal of each parent, teacher, and friend. How different our world would be if raising "POLLYANNA" children was an adult concerted effort in our culture! 
I believe we would see improvement in schools and neighborhoods. Child play areas would be safer and there would be a drop in crime, drugs, and a huge decline in gangs! 

Rather than "what's in it for me?", we would again enjoy the innocent gleam in bright expectant eyes reminding us of that adorable "loving and unselfish attitude that sees good in people, circumstances, and even disappointments"! 

May you find at least one person today that gives you this smile of goodness and peace! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My First Charmed Bag

5" tumbler
I spied the bright yellow and black design of Lemon Tree and knew immediately this CHARM was ideal for my dream quilted bag!
I chose the "Natalie Dawn 5"tumbler" for the shape of my blocks.
Assembling the charms gave me enough fabric for the front and back panels, leaving six charms for inside pockets.

Tumblers sewn into one piece
Once I had the tumblers sewn together, I sandwiched with cotton batting and a stiff interfacing. Then, I quilted the front and back, using the "stitch in the ditch" method.

Inside pockets made with charms
The pockets already make me smile. I know it'll be so fun digging into my bag and finding these cute little side pockets! It might even make it easier to find the tiny things!
Solid black quilted for stability

For the bottom, bands, and straps, I chose a solid black fabric, quilting the bottom & side bands in one inch squares to give a stable, but cute look. The zipper is 22" allowing a good view of the contents of my finished bag.

Wrong! Little black bands need to go on top!

Ach! My difficulty began in the middle of assembling the assortment of pieces to make this 3-sectioned bag. The flat instructions convinced me that I needed dimensional visuals to combine the inside sections with the outer pieces! So, I carried all my pieces to a nearby fabric store where 4 of us mulled over the instructions, leaving me even more confused!

Dream Bag!
My dreams of carrying this quilted bag were sacked and stuffed in the project bin to wait for an attitude adjustment! I knew I needed help to calmly read and visualize the instructions again. Hindering my progress was not the well-written instructions, but quite evidently, a mistake in my assembling efforts.

Two weeks later, I brought my mess to a co-worker. She looked at my meager attempt and the assortment of pieces. She read, re-read the instructions, checking all my markings, then re-reading again! She decided to carry my project home and look at it in leisure, but, to my surprise, she returned shortly to excitedly showed me where I had made my terrible mistake! Two pieces were sewn upside down, muddling my attempts at the next step!

Taking shape!
From that moment on, I longed for the workday to end so that I could run home to my sewing machine! It would take a little "reverse sewing" (ripping out) before I could re-piece the order of assembly, but I now I had vision!

The mess is beginning to take the shape of a quilted bag.
One more good FRIDAY NIGHT SEW-IN should give me ample time to complete this beautiful bag and have it ready to accessorize my yellow/black suit for Sunday church! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Color Splash Dresden

I just realized that I never recorded the COLOR SPLASH quilts I made for my daughter and her hubby. Almost as soon as I became a quilt newbie, my girlfriends took me on my first road trip to meet the people at the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
I was so impressed with their friendliness and enthusiasm for quilting and people. Almost as soon as I returned home, I looked up their website and became a member. Before I knew it, I had joined my first Block Swap in their Forum Groups.
My very first challenge was making the Black &White Dresden Block  and decided to take that color scheme to make a quilt of my own. I purchased more black & white fabrics and some white on white for the background. I cut many Dresden blades and assembled them in sets of five in the corners of 10" blocks. I finished each fan off with the same "color splash".
Each block was 1/4 of the Dresden circle.
Instead of circles, I decided to place the fans together in bow tie shapes so that each color splash section touched noses. The centering of the color enhanced each fan, making a very feminine display on the white blocks.
Finally, I bordered the assembled blocks with 3" of color splash fabric, emphasizing even more of the color.
Quilting simply was outlining each Dresden blade with variegated thread, which was simply gorgeous, bringing out more color all around!

With left over blades and fabric, I decided to make a quilt for my tall SIL. I didn't want the exact same fan look, and wished for something a little more masculine. So, I cut out some solid black on black 10" squares. On others, not knowing the real technique, I cut colored fabric the size I liked, and then, kept adding black to their sides until I ended up with nice looking 10" square in a square blocks!
Stretching the blocks on my LR carpet, I admired the black, and began throwing the little "ties" randomly on the black spaces.
I loved the shape it began to take. Once blocks looked balanced, I assembled the blocks. I applied more "ties" across block seams, filling in large connecting "too much" black spaces.
I decided to hand quilt this one with the variegated thread and just put free-hand drawn swirls randomly on the black for my quilting design. Finishing with a black backing and color splashed binder, my SIL's quilt is heavy and I think, looking quite masculine! 

Hopefully, when winter winds blow, my "kids" will warmly cuddle under their splash of color quilts and enjoy the design created by a mom that loves them dearly!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brain Freeze Rescue!

More for my pile of stash! 
Freeze! That's me! Total brain freeze whenever I enter a quilt shop! The FABRIC BUG so overwhelms me with the beauty, touch, smell, and overall decor of fabrics lining the walls and shelves that my brain can't think! Often not only is my list forgotten, but I can't even remember my planned projects! I go completely blank on pattern, size, or even color scheme, and wander from bolt to bolt envisioning entirely new plans and projects! 
Really, I'm not complaining about having a stash - but it's frustrating to get home, only to be reminded of what I needed for an incomplete project while piling my shelves with more stash!
This same BUG overtakes me again in my constant browsing of Quilting magazines. I fall in love with fabric pictured, wanting to try an adored block, or take on the new challenge or trick. Then when ready to sew, I spend wasted hours skimming the same magazines, trying to remember where I saw that specific project, idea, trick, and list of needed fabric items! 
I really am so blessed! 
Age may be the blame of this bug, but I'm afraid it's just needed organization!
My PLAN began with 3 bins and the need of a notebook.
Dream project from magazine
My friend gifted my birthday with a journal NOTEBOOK, knowing my love of journals. It was the perfect gift for my preconceived determination toward recording any browsing and it fit in my purse!
I love this Red/White pattern!
I began by scanning any pages of quilts or blocks that caught my wishful eye. Next to the scanned photo I recorded items and any other supplies needed for that particular project with little boxes to check off as I purchased them. 

For my DREAM BIN, I copied the scanned page I wish to make and place it in a 2 gallon plastic bag. I sorted through my stash to find items that would work for the project, and placed them in the plastic bag with the photo.
Bins organizing project bags
Once all the items are in the bag, it is placed in the CUTTING BIN
On CUTTING DAY, I cut everything needed and return it all to the bag, placing it now in the SEWING BIN. 
         So far, this plan is working well for me! 
Leisurely BROWSING magazines on my patio with the occasional bookmark make it easy to scan pages later.
SHOPPING is not such a scattered brained adventure because I know exactly what I am hunting for, saving both money and time.
CUTTING days and SEWING days fit around my care-giving schedule. Because everything for the project is in the bag, I'm not wasting time gathering thread, pattern, fusible web, binding or borders.
Two more bins would help!
Now, I think I need a couple more bins labeled the SANDWICH BIN, for the finished fronts with their batting and backing, then finally the QUILTING BIN for those projects made for one more special day!

The little joys of organization are actually seeing a day's accomplishments progress to another bin! 

Monday, July 9, 2012


I bought this cutting board TOTE from Hancock Fabrics and absolutely love the convenience and safety of carrying my cutting board to my sewing circle. My only wish was a need for more pockets.
So, I thought I would be clever and make "pages". On one side of each page, I could add the needed pockets, custom sizing them to fit my collection of rulers with the safety of padding on the other side..
I purchased 1 yd chocolate quilted fabric, 1 yd of clear medium weight plastic, and 1/4 yd cotton fabric resembling the cover. With the cotton, I made binding strips and then I measured the depth and width for the pockets I needed and marked them on the plastic.

I had never sewn on plastic before, and found the see-through appearance and the glare very difficult. I needed the largest stitches, so the plastic wouldn't be too tightly perforated and rip. Sewing progressed slowly as I put the binding on each clear strip.
Finally, I was able to sew the plastic strips to the chocolate quilted fabric following the markings to make the needed pockets.
The difficult task came when it was time to attach the pages to the zippered cover. I centered them within the zippered part, connecting the bottom of each page with one straight seam to the base of the carrier.

Now there are custom-made pockets where all my shaped rulers are nicely stored away with my cutting board and a padded ironing space! 
Wherever I tote my zippered carrier, I have all my tools safely tucked away, ready to measure, cut, square, and iron any on-going quilting project.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hand Stitched Beauty

Oh! I love summer days spent on a peaceful patio with quilting in hand!
This patio is right outside my elderly Dad's room, and easily finds peace for me during his lingering days. A soft breeze tantalizes the heat of the morning, as birds sing softly in the nearby trees, and butterflies dance among the blossoms.
Special time for Bible study, journal entries, and novel reading finds me snuggled in the cushion of my recliner. This leaves me so refreshed and peaceful!
Then, as time allows, hand stitching has become my new challenge in my free time spent on my patio.

Digging through my stash, I found some white satin, left from sewing my daughter's wedding gown.
With stencils and wonderful pens, I traced a feathered design. A sandwich of batting and backing gives a 3D impression as I simply use a running stitch along the lines.

Here is my first attempt!

I've only finished the center, and have many more lines to finish the feathers and ribbons of the border.

I think it's beautiful, and had to show it off, but you'll have to check back to see the finished project...