Tuesday, October 29, 2013


As a Navy family, we never had the choice of where we were headed.  We loved some of our duty stations more than others.

Without a doubt, I absolutely loved living along the coast of central Florida when my children were babies and toddlers.  

We had the beach just a short distance from the house and Orlando with all of it's many attractions, was about an hour away.  We had an airport and destination city that made it easily affordable for family and friends to visit.  We had sunshine, orange groves, space shuttles, alligators, and palm trees!  

Others were short-term, but the friendships that began there, are some of the most enduring my children have known.

One duty station, Bill did on his own.  

He traveled every couple of weeks back to Pensacola to see us.  During long weekends without kid activities, we'd make the drive to see him.  Or, we'd spend a week or ten days with him at the beginning and end of summer break.  

We knew retirement was within reach.  We didn't know when, exactly, until it was suggested his next duty station might be the Pentagon.

Um, thanks but, no thanks.  Traffic.  Congestion.  Long hours.  Not what our family needed.

Our decision was made, it was time to retire.  But where?

There were many places we hadn't been to.  Many parts of the country where we could pick up and start over, as military families often do.  

We could return to what we had known as children.  Back to the area where much of our families live.  

Or, we could stay right where we were. 

Where our children had at this time, spent the majority of their lives.

Where our neighbors have become not only good friends, but family.

You see, that's what happens when you join the military. 

A duty station, over time, becomes home.  Because of the people.  Because of the experiences.  Because of what it offers.  Because it becomes familiar.    

Pensacola is home. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Modern Trees QAL

My friend Kira put me up to this.  A lovely little QAL from Christa Quilts! 

Not like I don't have enough to finish up, without starting something new.  

But, improv trees are something I've wanted to do.  I love improv anyway, and Christmas trees like these could be fun.

So (or sew, really)....

I'm already a little behind schedule, but hey, that's the way it always is for me.  If I do nothing else the week we head to the east coast for a little change of scenery, I will bring my scraps and my trusty mint green Hello Kitty Janome and piece this little quilt.

Christa's Quilt Along

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Make Them Go Away

What started out as a discarded pile of unwanted strips and squares given to me by my best friend, I made into a pillow cover and small flag for her.  

September a year ago, she planned to make a surprise birthday gift for her husband.  A pillow for his gigantic, newly built and furnished man cave.  He and their boys love dragons, magic, and all things Harry Potter, so she sorted through her fabric bins and chose wizards, dragons, frogs, cats and stars.  Everything that reminded her of him.

She cut and sewed.  She arranged squares and rectangles.  She planned fabric placement.  She became frustrated.  So frustrated in fact, she scrapped (no pun intended) her plans for the surprise gift.  She bagged up all of the offending scraps and sent them on their way to Florida with the missive "make them go away".

I think I heard her say more than once "I'm done.  I'm done with sewing.  I can't do this."  

Her unwanted scraps arrived, along with a box of many more, where they were very much appreciated. These particular scraps, however, were set aside for just the right project.

We make what seems like an annual sojourn east and north out of our little corner of Florida up the coast to Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware where much of our family lives.  I knew I wanted to make (and take) my friend something that used her special scraps.  Even though she'd said "make them go away".  

This unfinished ROYGBIV circle of geese block is as far as I got.  Of course, I didn't start piecing and sewing until three days before we were supposed to leave.  Not a whole lot of time to complete a project, let alone pack and organize four people for a 3 week, 3000+ mile trip.  It's that old procrastinator gene that's encoded in my DNA.  

So now I have a half-finished gift.  What else could I do, because, a half-finished gift is still only half-finished, right?  

Oh! I know.  Make a smaller version!!!  A version so tiny it would require borders to reach the dimensions of a 6 x 8 inch mini flag.  And bonus, use even smaller scraps so that you get the wizard's hand and wand, or the dragon's snout, or the kittie's feet, or even a little itty-bitty mouse!!  This I could give her to tide her over until the bigger pillow cover was completed. 

Done.  Trip made.  Time spent with friends and family.  Birthdays celebrated.  Retirement celebrated.  Many good meals shared.  Many tears shed.  Summer science camp for kids completed.  Rental house maintenance projects completed.  Rental house plans formulated.  Many, many miles driven. 

This past week, I decided it was time to complete some of the many WIP sewing projects that have lingered.  

Because the pillow top itself is so busy, I quilted with simple straight lines that intersect on the diagonal.  After four double sets on each diagonal, I quilted the triangles that were formed with 1/4 inch straight lines.  I like the texture it adds, plus, it plays up the shape of the geese.

What I haven't mentioned is I used that thinner-than-a-strand-of-hair nylon thread.  Holy cow!  Not looking forward to using that again any time soon.  

Why nylon thread?  Two reasons really including the aforementioned fact that the top was so busy.  As much as I like seeing how thread adds to the texture and design of the quilt, the person who was receiving this is just the opposite.  She hates seeing the thread lines.  Everything she ever made for my family was stitched with nylon thread.


A trip to my LQS to pick up a spool of Coats & Clark Transparent Nylon thread.  The size says it's .004.  As I said, thinner than a strand of hair!  Yikes!!!

For the back, I used even more scraps (!!) and created a small improv pieced section.  So like me, and so not like the person who owns this pillow.  Do you see that little jack-o-lantern piece?  Not in her original scraps, but it is October after all.  Had to do it.

The back of the quilt sandwich, because I just can't leave it as batting only, is another one of those old pieces from stash that you question why it was ever bought in the first place.  No one ever sees the inside of the pillow, so use the ugly is my way of thinking.  

I do like the the quilting pattern from the bobbin thread.  When sewing with nylon thread, you have to use regular thread in the bobbin.   

For all of the heartache these scraps initially gave her, I think she'll be pleased with the end result.  I don't think she'll be saying "make them go away" now.

Something I've never done before, I'm linking up with Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins and Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Three

What can I say?  I've been busy.  We've been busy.  I haven't uploaded pictures.  

But today I did.  Because I have to start somewhere.  Or re-start as the case may be.  And since today is Wednesday, what better place to start than WIP Wednesday hosted by Lee at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Accountability for all of these projects I start.

In another life, I worked for an accounting firm.  One of the acronyms we used was LIFO - Last In First Out.  Here are SOME of my unfinished, er WIPs, and in true LIFO fashion, they are newest to oldest.

My guild, ECMQG, okay, me really, instigated a small swap of Halloween themed items, or if you preferred, Fall themed items.  Small projects.

This is the just-in-case project because as you know if you've ever participated in an online swap, there always has to be a plan B.   My longtime friend who lives in VA wanted to play, and "just in case" her item didn't make it to Pensacola timely, I wanted a back up for her partner.

Luckily, Dee's item made it, but this was Plan B.  Just in case.  
Improv piecing + a mini modern maples block that wasn't turning out like I wanted + a really cool leaf selvage from a great fox print I found at JoAnn's.  Little bits of this and that.  It's going to be a pillow cover. 

The Barbie, is what I've been calling this baby girl quilt I began in late August (probably the day after the new school year began, ha!) because of this inspiring image.

Lots of little thin strips combined and sewn together and cut and arranged and rearranged again in color and value order.  Tons of little scraps being used. Yay!  It's spray basted and ready for quilting.

My third WIP has been sitting for far too long in the basket of quilt tops.  A good 17 months or so. What can I say?  I didn't have an ideal quilting design in mind, and the person to who was waiting for this said she'd wait "forever".  

While I had it laid out on the pool deck for spray basting, quilting inspiration came in the form of the shadows from the screen supports. 
Now it's quilted.  The binding is cut.  This one will be finished soon.
Three this week.  If only that Gulf of Mexico and perfect sailing weather weren't calling.