Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Wonderful HONOR!

Many who read my blog know I have a close and proud relationship with my offspring.  Since I'll be sending the years 2013 and 2014 off to Blog 2 print, it's now time to mention a huge honor that my then 8 year old grand daughter, McKenna received.

She won a 
Not only does this go on to her school transcript, 
she won a $1000 grant to go to the charity of her choice 
which is the Vermont's Childrens Hospital in Burlington, VT.  

I nominated her when I saw advertisements on TV from Channel 22 and ABC news mentioning the Youth Service America campaign and the possibility of winning of a grant.  So based on McKenna's generosity and doing so much especially at such a young age,  I filled out the appropriate forms and submitted them despite the frustrations of my computer woes and internet service provider problems.  Imagine the heart swell I felt when on the first day of school in September 2014 we were notified by YSA representative from Washington DC that she was awarded this honor!   SQUEE!!!!

I notified the principal of her elementary school about this immediately so they knew a check would be coming and that grant needed to be channeled through them.  We communicated for the next several weeks  and I informed her of how all this happened and the sequence of it which I'll share with you now.

It all started in 2012 with PGD#1 learning to quilt and making quilted place mats with her junior guild quilt group of "the Cupcake kids".  She enjoyed making those place mats so while the other girls progressed making different items for themselves, McKenna happily sewed the quilted place mats wanting to make another and another.  She made around 6 or so for the MEALS on WHEELS programs for this county and a neighboring one.  It does take a then 7 year old awhile to sew.
Then also in 2012, both she and her brother, Brody gathered items to send 2 Shoe Boxes to Africa collected through a nearby church.  Gladly Popi and I assisted in this as any time we had commitments/errands with the children in town, we'd think of what someone in Africa (and I guess the Appalachia area too) would want and pick up items to fill the shoe boxes.  Do you know how much it takes to fill one shoe box?  As it turns out, quite a bit, but both children were happy and thinking of their blessings all the while helping out someone they didn't even know.  We shopped for brush, hair ties, ribbons, Combs, pics, mirror compacts, note books,  boxes of crayons, paint sets, several packages of pencils (charcoal and colored), paper tablets, etc.., zippered bags, tote bags, water bottles, jacks, marbles, rubber super balls, matchbox cars, sewing kits and a couple of  tee shirts were given in the two shoe boxes and they both colored a page to include from themselves with their names on it for the recipients.
Then in third grade she got a rubber band loom.  Learning to create bracelets of different styles besides other items, which she loved doing the loom so she soon was taking custom orders for making bracelets and stuff. Whichever color and style was wanted was made and then she'd charge a dollar or two for the custom orders, some even getting pencil grips made of their desired colors.  If a classmate/friend wanted one, but didn't have the money or couldn't get it from their family, she made them anyway and then gave it to them so no one in her class was left without.    Hauling her loom to her cousin's baseball /football games and making many bracelets for the fans in the attendant's preference, many were of favorite National sport team colors, (like the Yankees, Redsox and even some Dolphin fans).  After making close to one hundred dollars, her younger brother, Brody age 5 (PGS#3) and a friend/classmate/neighbor, Olivia joined in and continued making bracelets for money to help the children which I coined the phrase "Banding for Children".   This continued until July 2014  when they finalized their efforts selling their goods at a town-wide garage sale day along with LEMONADE at their lemonade stand.  Total made with their efforts was $163.50.   They all got public recognition in the "Speak out" and the Letter to the Editor sections of the local paper.

The Principal didn't want to share their story until the Holiday time so it could foster the spirit of giving within the community, so all three children were recognized for their positive choices and behavior at an assembly. During this gathering, the school had written out a HUGE check to Vermont's' Childrens Hospital in the amount of $1,163.00 that McKenna had to sign as the drawer.  Dr. First, Director of VCH had sent a you tube video recognizing the efforts and honor given to and by McKenna which was played during the assembly while also recognizing her brother and friend at the same time.   A representative of VCH was also there  to accept the check whom I also happened to give the 2 baskets/bags full of the stuffed toys (each toy having their own unique quilt as shared on my blog around November)

Brody M., McKenna M., and Olivia B holding the check they earned and gave to the Vermont's Childrens Hospital

Since I had also mentioned in the application process of a quilt she was planning on making for the 10 year old boy in Nicaragua and thankfully it was finished in time for the assembly too, the principal thought it would be great to have all three children hold it up and show it to everyone then.

Brody M (see how dapper he looks while holding the check - he was so awesome containing his 5 year old self while all this hoopla was going on! Makes a Meme proud), Olivia B., McKenna M. and their principal Mrs TM
Now even in that, the principal gave McKenna a choice.  
Since she won this award and not all three of them, would she want the others to stand up on stage with her to be recognized?  
Yes, she wanted them to receive the recognition too, 
what a beautiful, giving and open-hearted child she is.  

McKenna M. acting like a 9 year old.  Perfect!    8^ )

She is a blessing to all who know her and now perhaps even to some that don't.  

Lovingly written by her Grandmother Jane, aka Meme.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Horse Quilt- CHECK!

It's done.  The finishing touches being stitched by PGD#1 on the quilt she's making for the 10 year old boy in Nicaragua. 
She sewed on most of the binding and finished it by machine stitching a new to her stitch- the buttonhole stitch, Bernina's #45.   The binding was sewn on the back and then flipped over the edge to top stitch and catch it on the front. 

Looks great Honey.

It was finished with 24 hours to spare.  The Cupcake Kids, the group name of our younger members guild of our local guild were to be the night's program for the December's Christmas meeting.  Of course with that snow storm coming through our region, the meeting was cancelled.
Here she is showing her grandfather the completed quilt on Tuesday afternoon after school.

Awesome Job Kiki!

I did the quilting for her since most of the others in her group sent their quilts out to be quilted, so there's no regrets about me doing it for her.   (I really don't know why I put off chores like this like I do, it went along nicely.)

Just a 1/4" echo stitch was quilted on all the yellow bands, then a large meander on the top horse fabric, the green haddock sides (this fabric I had in my stash for decades!), as well as the bandanna print used on the bottom section.  That bandanna print I had recently purchased to bind a community quilt in October.  It seemed more suitable for this so I used something else to bind that other one.  I tried to "stitch in the ditch around the oval brown band surrounding the centered horse but I got a little off on some of the lines, Oops, oh well it's good enough and its done! 
To finish it off with a bit more quilty detail, a tighter meander was done around the horse using the same colored thread as the rest was quilted.    All pictures are click able for a closer look if you want.  Not perfect but DONE!

An American Eagle printed Fleece was used for the backing and it's seems a perfect choice since this was made in America and going to someone in a South America.   No labels are required per the groups' decision which is fine by me.    I hope the recipient enjoys it for years to come.  Initially we had a crayola panel and  thought it too immature for a 10 year old boy, so we just hope he likes horses.  VBG

Other things going on around here were to revamp the Christmas wreath on the front door.  I deemed it outliving it's purpose as the metallic horns were rusted beyond redeemable.  Took over an hour to remove all the decorations to "fix" and update our look.  Some of the older red berry cluster were ravaged by feathers or fur, not sure which, but they are all gone.

Last week Michael had 50% off all their floral pics and holiday fixings besides some additional incentives so DH and I made out rather well.  Purchased a bunch and remade our front door wreath.  All the extra cream/gold poinsettias are going back with the crystal branches that were rejected.  Here's the finished project a totally new look.  DH being an old farmer mentioned he doesn't care for the udder thingy hanging down but I like it so it's staying.

School was closed two, I mean TWO days this week.  Talking with my Mom she mentioned that she hopes I keep my sanity and I didn't know what she was talking about.  LOL  Anytime the youngest two got restless and started any horse play, you could hear me say take it OUTSIDE.  and they did.  Were out a couple of times  in a couple hour stretches. 

Yeah Meme!  Your a smart one, tire em out and enjoy a respite to boot.  Not too long after being outside, the littlest one came to the door and said, do you want to see me climb my tower?  Of course I said yes.  Next thing I knew there he was 25-30 feet in the tree. 

"You get down, you're too high", yep and then I said it, "you're going to fall down". 

Guess what.  Two steps down on 2 tree branches then he crashed through all the boughs to the ground.  Thank goodness he was well padded had a softer landing with all the snow and didn't land straddling a tree branch along the way . 

So it ended well.  I shared the story with our daughter when she stopped to get the children after work, and she was amazed that we let them do that.  What did I tell her, "Well Sometimes you just have to let children be children".
Then giggled. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Daybook December

I'm feeling...content
I'm hearing...quietness,  ah so perfect.
I'm thinking...what next, there is much to get to today
I'm cooking...nothing yet
I'm planning...what to fix for breakfast and getting a potted poinsettia to welcome another new neighbor 2 doors down.
I'm reading...Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards then need to get through The Christmas Train by David Baldacci by the 18th of December.  That's the night of our book club Christmas gathering
I'm wearing...Purple comfy jammies
I'm creating..CXS Winter alphabet by Lizzie Kate
I'm enjoying...the artwork of my youngest grandchildren
I'm sharing...the art work.  I love Netflix and thought I'd have the movie, Oliver Twist in for a classic tale so the youngest ones could enjoyed it,  it's based on the book by Charles Dickens.  Can you say they paid rapt attention to it and then started doing some artwork the next day while they watched it for the 2nd time.  They also want to see it today so Netflix will have to wait for that return.  I do love them dearly and love their earnestness and creativity.
The CXS of Lizzie Kate's WInter Alphabet is enjoyable to stitch.  I had DH get my frame down out of storage from the garage and it makes the stitching so much easier.  While watching Oliver Twist with the grands, the lil guy, PGS#3 asked if he could help.  So of course I said yes.   He cuddled on my lap and would pull the needle up when I got the correct needle placement.  He and I got the brown tree branch near the bird house done.  Thanks Brody!  His sister also wants to stitch on it with me, perhaps we'll tackle the blank space where the reindeer stands near the pine tree since she's so good at drawing them.  ; )

All the turkey has left the building.  It's great having a Thanksgiving bird then  hot sandwiches with all the fixings too for leftovers.  I always make a soup and this year I changed it up a bit.  I made the traditional stock then added the usual trinity? (celery, onions, carrots) (I left out the potatoes this year ).  Then I used a tomato paste for the base and literally  threw in with additional veggies of frozen corn, frozen peas, fresh cauliflower, fresh broccoli and 1 serrano pepper with all the seeds.  WOWZER!  That spiced it up nicely.   Was great served with rice and was served with a cottage cheese salad appetizer finishing the meal with deep chocolate brownies Brody and I cooked up earlier in the afternoon.

With some of the sliced meat I found a recipe for warm turkey spinach salad that utilized the leftover cranberry sauce for the dressing.  It was fantastic.  SO I will write what I did here, since I really adapted it to make it with what I had on hand, that way I can share it with you and can duplicate it myself when I want to.  (Yes it was that good!)

Warm turkey spinach salad with a cranberry dressing.
For each Main Salad:
1 cup Spinach leaves
1/2 cup of Romaine lettuce
2 Tablespoons (Tbl) spiced walnuts
1/2 shallot sliced very thin
chunks of warmed turkey (DH thinks it would be better having the turkey cold next time.)
Fruit of choice -  I used 1/2 of a diced red pear, DH had 1/4 fresh raspberries.

The walnuts were sauteed with a pat of butter
and a pinch of all the following:  cayenne pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and sugar.
Don't scorch or burn it, just heat through to add a spicy sweet crunch.

The dressing comprised of:
the left over jellied cranberry sauce melted in microwave or stovetop
add a Tbl  of water to thin it a bit
1 TBL finely diced shallot
1-2 TBL of vinegar, I had a pear cranberry balsamic vineger actually on hand
2 TBL Olive Oil
Hint of garlic salt, a couple of shakes

Mix dressing all together and enjoy!  It was wonderful!
Off to get breakfast then quilt for awhile on that Horse quilt since a trip to the Docotors is going to happen around Noon.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Forty Diamonds, a 2013 Quilt show entry that was never shared.

Because of Val's Tuesday Archive post, I thought I'd share my layer cake quilt previously known as the 10 minute block quilt then by the name of my 40 Diamonds Quilt.

While looking for the 40 diamond quilt I made for my husband last year I realized I never shared it here on a blog post.  It was initially known as the 10 minute block anyways, here it is almost finished.  IMHO it needs more quilting.
40 Diamonds a 4 layer cake quilt
King Size - with a brown minkee dot backing
I love me some Minkee!
This king size quilt (and it's huge!) started with the purchase of a kit containing 4 layer cakes of batiks and the pattern in the book,  10 minute blocks.  (BTW, it took me way longer to make a block than ten minutes, sounds similar to those Quilt in a Day products doesn't it?)
It was started at quilt camp that I attend yearly with my best friend Trudy, in March 2013 .  I did show a picture of it in progress and mentioned it here  but never gave you a glimpse of it all sewn together.  While at our quilt retreat, I did get most of the blocks made except for one which didn't play well with the others IMHO.  No problem I thought, I'll just shop for one more batik that would behave better when I got home.  Did that then assembled the 20th block. The Quilt show in my local guild was approaching in October 2013 so I entered it thinking it would be just the incentive I needed to "get 'er done".

 What a Big mistake on my part but that is a whole other story.  I survived and entered all that I had intended to but they weren't quite done, just done enough to hang.  Inserting a red faced here.  :(   and that I know I'll never do that again.

Anyways, I love details so while assembling this now named  40 Diamond Quilt it was sashed with a complementary batik for the cornerstones made out of that unifier print batik used in the diamond areas.   I had just enough to make the binding with this fabric too and I think just a tad more that I'll use as an accent for two pillowcases which I'll make after this gets it's final quilting done, it needs a bit more quilting and am thinking some soft fat feathers circling those diamonds might be just the ticket.   The  quilt was assembled as a top then layered using a brown minkee dot fabric for the backing without any batting.   Oh I love me the drapiness of a minkee backed quilt. 

Lime piping adds a little POP of color.   :  )
You can see some of my quilting in this pic,
diamonds and straight lines..
After that I quickly and simply quilted with echoing that diamond folded shape on those brown print batik centers and also stitched an echo 1/4" on both sides of the sashings/cornerstones to be able to hang it up  for the quilt show figuring I could do more quilting within those grouped sections of the four batik clumps after the show. 

Label made of same lime as the piping.
Name of the 10 minute block quilt is now officially known as the Forty Diamonds.
A tribute and gift for my DH on our 40th anniversary. 

Usually I love selecting fabrics and relish playing with all the possible choices but I can't tell you how nice it was to sit and sew with having all that worked out for you by using those layer cakes.   It was pure heaven and exactly what I needed at that time in my life.  

Hope you enjoyed hearing about this finish from last year.