Archives for category: Quilts

Harmony’s Baby

We are taking some time off from foster parenting and I have had time to do some sewing recently.  I made quilts for three new babys whose Moms I have gotten to knew at the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.  It is such fun to make a quilt for a baby!  And these are real cuties.


Karleigh Rose


Anika and her baby boy.

I also finished quilts for our daughters, Holly and Heather, which I delivered when we visited them in Arizona a couple of weeks ago.

Heather with Dad

Heather with Dad


Holly with her quilt

I made a Halloween quilt, just for fun and finally finished the quilt for our bed at the house in Ocean Shores.


Halloween quilt


New quilt for our bed at Ocean Shores

Now I am working on  some new projects, the tulips are made from completed blocks I was given.


Tulip quilt in process

In other projects, the little 4-H sewing club we started three years ago has grown to 11 members.  Here Marilyn, my helper, is helping the kids make “burp pads” for moms in the First Step program.  This is the kid’s community service project.

4-H sewing 2015

4-H Club

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Cedar Baskets

This weekend I took a basket weaving class.  I have always admired cedar baskets made in the Native style.  With lots of help and support I completed these four projects.  My favorite, the one in the center, is made with cherry bark and cat tail as well as cedar.

I miss the foster kids but have to admit I am enjoying having time to be creative!!


stack of fabric

I was driving home from Port Townsend where I had delivered Nyima, the friend who lives in the Himalayan mountains in simple a hut and practices the Buddhist lifestyle there. We had discussed her philology and her words for me were:

Learn what is essential

Learn what is enough.

On the way home my phone rang, Ted telling me that there was an estate sale of a quilter going on and he had checked it out, there was lots of fabric and they were selling it cheap.

Hoping to add to my collection of scrap fabrics, we met and drove there when I returned to town and I gathered an arm full of lovely fabric, large pieces, being sold for a very good price.


Enjoying the smooth, colorful fabric

Bringing it home I soon realized that it had a strong smoky small, the owner had been a smoker. No matter, I began washing, drying and ironing the fabric, enjoying the feel and the colors of the lovely fabric, sorting and stacking it, and thinking about the quilts I would soon be making. Feeling that surely I would put the fabric to good use and  I could consider it “essential.” After all, I make a new quilt for each foster child who stays with us and recently that had been a lot of children!

On Sunday Ted reminded me that everything left at the sale would be sold for half price so we went back, and saw that there was still heaps of fabric to be sold. I picked out another armful.

And then I heard Ted, he was negotiating to buy ALL of the remaining fabric.  And in a flash it was ours.

We filled boxes and bins and fortunately he also bought a nice rack suitable for storing fabric.

Piles of fabric

Our bedroom was covered.

Our bedroom, which is also my sewing room, was covered with stacks of fabric. I began washing and ironing the piles, a project that was to take me over a month to complete.

Three hundred twenty four yards! Now all folded and clean on my new shelf. A friend told me I had reached the point of FABLE, Fabric Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy.

And Nyima’s quote from Lau Tzu “Do the difficult while it is easy.” Now I have the easy, part, creating beautiful quilts with this beautiful fabric.


Andrea with Merrily

Merrily with Nyima on her recent visit to Lake Dawn.

See my blog “My Advisor, my Mentor, my Friend” for my information about Nyima


These “scraps” remain to be washed and sorted. They will make great accent pieces for my quilts.



Rough housing


The blog I had planned for today isn’t ready. So instead I am going to fill you in on a little of what is happening here.

s and R on the Elwha

Seneca and Raven at Olympic Hot Springs with friends


For some reason I don’t completely understand, we now have 8 kids here. Seneca and Raven of course, and the 17 year old who has her baby. The baby is now a year old and walking and the girl will turn 18 this week and is moving to independence.   She is packing her things and will be saying good bye very soon.

The four year old who has been with us for 6 months or so remains in our home. She is a sweetie most of the time and if finally speaking some words. Yea!!

A gentle 11 year old girl has been with us for a couple of weeks. She had an aunt that she will probably be going to live with soon.

Then, last week we got a call about a sister and brother 10 and 13 in need of a place for “just one night.” We knew the children, we had cared for their older sister a year or so ago. They were a welcome addition, very nice children and when we were asked to keep them until after school is out, we agreed.

All this means taking two cars for deliver everyone to school in the morning.  We sit shoulder to shoulder at our little dining room table, and kids are all enjoying each other.

We had planned a camping trip for the weekend and decided we could do it, and the kids had a great time playing in the silt deposited along the banks of the Elwha River. As we sat around the camp fire and talked and laughed I marveled again how new kids could seem like family so quickly.

So, I’ll write my planned blog for next time, meanwhile I am enjoying the children as they come and go.


Anna with Joy

Holding one of my precious dolls.


quilt finds a new ho,e

Each foster child gets a quilt and she loves hers as you can see.


This and that, I have a few different things I’d like to say.

I am taking a class on blogging this week and expect to be able to do new and wonderful things with blogging very soon. So stay with me.

I have finished some quilts recently, and am sharing the photos. In the class next week I hope to learn about lining up photos, but meanwhile, just keep  scrolling down.

asia close

Asian Circles up close, I hand quilted this one.

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strip stripe (2)

Strippy Stripes


strpes close

tiffany's quilt

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Apples to Apples



My younger brother Jack is visiting from Thailand this week. He has lived on Phuket Island for 12 years and considers Thailand his home. He comes to visit once a year and it is always fun to visit with him and my sister who lives South of Seattle. Jack especially enjoys bring up obscure memories about things that happened in our neighborhood when we were growing up.   I am beginning to think he makes  some of them up. In two years he will turn 70 and he is planning a party and we are invited. We are planning to go, Ted Seneca Raven and me. I have been there three or four times and it is a wonderful place to visit.

My brother Jack

My brother Jack

We have been promised our renewed foster home license. We completed the 36 hours of required training, plus an all-day first aid class. We got the currently required immunizations for us and the kids AND the pets. We put a fence across the lake in front of the house to meet current safety standards.


Gate to our new foster kid fence


Ted and rolls of fencing

However we were told that the bedroom Raven uses was not suitable for foster children.

This room is on the second floor, is large with a vaulted ceiling and has lots of windows and is a great room for kids. However we were told it couldn’t be used because it contained a washer and dryer. A check of the Washington Administrative Code revealed nothing that would prohibit the use of a bedroom with a washer and dryer in it, and so the battle began.   For seven months we went back and forth, until Ted finally contacted our State Legislator, Steve Tharinger and his office made some calls. This week Ted got a call saying that we have been approved to have children in that room, since doing laundry there does not pose a health or safety hazard and we have been using it for the past six years. Dealing with challenging children is nothing compared to dealing with the government.

The thing that is so puzzling is that they are crying for foster homes.   This weekend we are caring for an extra teen age girl on an emergency basis and since Friday I have gotten three calls asking us to take another child, (yesterday a two year old girl) yet they make it so difficult to become foster home licensed—doesn’t make sense.

We have recently lost two good friends. Husband and wife, both deaths unexpected and sudden. It makes us appreciate all we have.

“Go for it” said Ted, and I knew he was right, the family could get along without me very nicely for five days.   Right?

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St. Andrews on Hood Canal


A chance to sew all day, get to know some new people and relax in a beautiful setting was too much to pass up.

Set at the foot of Hood Canal, the setting is magical. The log “mansion” called St. Andrew’s was built by a wealthy Seattle family who came here for the summer in the 1920’s and it was fun to think about that family with kids running up and down the stairs to the balcony and sitting in front of the fireplace. It was tempting to walk on the beach, but I was focused on sewing.

I decided to start in something new, fresh fabric from my stash and a new but simple pattern, something I could finish in a couple of days. Ted helped me cut the fabric before I left so when I got there I was ready to sew.

apples full

Apple quilt


apples up close

Apple quilt up close


I drew the lucky seat, the best view for sewing. There were beautiful views in every direction, however.

view from my seat

View from my sewing table


quilting room

The quilting room, this had been added to the original house.


The cook was amazing. He is a priest whose mission is to feed folks local, healthy and nutritious food, and that he did. Vegetables, herbs, cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, meat, and seafood were all grown or produced locally. He created his own salsa, granola, and special herb tea which he served cold. We feasted at every meal.

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Lining up for a wonderful meal


Our room was tucked under the rafters, set up with bunk beds, though there were only two of us so no one had to climb. Each bed was made with a homemade quilt, made by a previous quilter.

For fun, I made a cloth paper doll for each of the 13 other women attending and we had fun choosing outfits for each of them. Then they got creative and began making quilts for their dollies.

paper doll 4

Playing with paperdolls, this one was doing a dance


pd on sewing machine

This paper doll now decorates a sewing machine


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Brenda with her paper doll

I am an early riser and I enjoyed sitting by the fireplace and doing some hand sewing as folks assembled each morning.

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Early morning quilter


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A view of the fireplace


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An experiment

Many beautiful quilts were sewed during the week.

Each of us also made a “Joy Quilt” a small quilt to be wrapped around a stuffed animal and given to a child in a time of crisis. Some of our foster children have arrived with animals wrapped in “joy quilts” so this was a project I was committed to doing!

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Some of the cheerful joy quilts.


anna with joy quilt

A foster child received a stuffed elephant wrapped in a joy quilt.


The joy of sharing with other women, creating beautiful things while being fed tasty and healthy food, in a beautiful setting, it can hardly get better than that!


a bin

A bin of scraps

a basket

A basket of scraps

I am a scrap collector. I have several bins like this one, full of sewing scraps.   And I love to go through them and pull out the scraps to sew together to create a new quilt.  One of the simplest ways to do this is to sew the scraps into “strings.”

a dryer

Dryer sheets

A long

A long strip

I start by collecting strips from the bins, and cutting strips from small pieces if necessary. These strips are sewn onto dryer sheets to hold them firmly together. They seem to go together in what order I place them and I love the effect when I  stand back view them as a whole.  I have a way to go to finish up this project.  It is a very satisfying process to be able to create something from scraps.

a part of string

Strips going together

a more strings

Up close

a string

A finished quilt


Lots of little shoes

“…a few days” was what I heard the caseworker say when she asked if we could take two little ones into our foster home for a short time.  They were from a neighboring county, there were no foster homes available there, and the kids had relatives who could possibly take them but they had to be “checked out” first.    I was already thinking that we could help out when she told me their ages, one had just turned two and the other was seven months.  Two babies in diapers sounded like a lot, but for “a few days”  we should be able to manage.   That was in November.  Three months later, last Friday they rejoined their Mother, which we hope will work out for all of them.

no fear of santa

No fear of Santa at the Klallam Christmas party

These two were some of the nicest kids ever.   The older one was a girl.  She would get up smiling each morning and would greet each family member with joy every time she saw them.    She didn’t talk much, especially at first, but gradually she learned to say “please” and “thank you” in her sweet piping voice.  She loved Seneca and called her “Yaya.”  Seneca spent many hours playing with her with her dolls.  The little guy was also a cheerful baby who rarely fussed.  He liked to get up early with Ted and would sit beside him in the big chair watching as Ted checked the internet on his lap top.  He mostly laid on his back at first but gradually learned to roll over, move around and was crawling and scooting around the house when he left.  Raven especially enjoyed him, loving to make him giggle.

craft project home depot

Ted helping construct a project at Home Depot

The house feels a little empty without them, I keep thinking it is time to feed or change and listening to be sure they are OK.  We miss the little guys, are glad they shared the past three months with us, and are praying for the best for them.

three with quilt

I made them each a quilt, here the little guy is admiring his.


Copy cat with the binoculars

Raven binoculars

Raven shows her where to look for the eagle

black and brights

“Black and Bright” is what I named this quilt

Today is Robin’s birthday.  Our daughter is 49, I can’t be old enough to have given birth to her!  Robin and husband Ryan live with their three teenagers in Salt Lake City.  They also share their rather small home with three large dogs, two Leonbergers and a growing puppy being given pre-training to potentially become a seeing eye dog, but that is a different story.

robin and seneca

Robin and Seneca during a visit last fall

Thea, Tanner and Maya with dogs!

Thea, Tanner and Maya with dogs!

Robin is a creative person, very giving and always on the lookout for something nice she can do for others.    I remember the day she packed up a supper and drove to the airport in San Francisco with her little kids so we could eat together when I was there between flights.

We have many grown children and I usually don’t do much to acknowledge their birthdays, a card, maybe a phone call or email message.  But Robin has had a rough few months and is actually in the hospital at the moment recovering from surgery which took place earlier this week.  Something special was called for.  A week ago I was finishing a quilt top which I had intended to give to a foster child, when I thought about how its bright colors would appeal to Robin.  It needed to be quilted and Ted helped me load it onto the quilting machine.  But I am still in the early stages of mastering the machine.  No luck, something was causing it to stitch very slowly.

I emailed my friend Marilyn who has an amazing knowledge of things that are mechanical and quilty.  She send back a couple of suggestions and concluded her message saying that if I couldn’t get the quilting machine going, I should bring the top to 4-H on Monday and she would quilt it on Tuesday and bring it to me at Quilt Club on Wednesday ready to bind.

So, that is what happened.

putting on the binding

Attaching the binding

I mailed the quilt on Thursday and she should have it today, for her birthday.  It is nice to think of her snuggled in the bright quilt, recovering on the couch, dogs at her feet and kids bringing her tea!  Happy birthday Robin!

Luckily I have enough fabric left to make another quilt like this for a foster child!

ready to wrap

Ready to wrap


We spent the week following Christmas at our Ocean Shores place where I keep most of my quilting supplies and equipment.  My plan was to finish a several projects so I could get started on new projects in the new year.

This bright pink and turquoise quilt was made with pre-cut squares which I used when I was recovering from my broken arm to reduce the amount of cutting required.    It didn’t take long to sew it together but I decided to hand quilt it which takes me a long time.  I finally finished the quilting this week, and sewed on the binding.


Next I needed to make 15 red twirling star blocks for the exchange I have been participating in.    We have done squares of a different color every six weeks for nearly a year, and the red ones are last.  Soon I’ll be able to start thinking about how to put the squares together.

more red

Red blocks for the Rainbow Twirling Star block exchange

red squares in process

Assembling the red twirling star blocks


Sample of finished rainbow variety of blocks

And I got the borders on a blue and white scrap quilt I put together this fall. Each of the blue squares is different, it takes lots time to do the cutting and in some ways it is a waste of time, but it uses up scraps and I have some lovely blue fabric is very small pieces.


Blue and white with borders attached

blue full

This quilt is too large for me to photograph inside


On New Year’s day I participated in an on-line mystery quilt project.  We were given clues throughout the day and it wasn’t until evening that we got an idea of what the quilt would look like, lots of fun as those participating chatted throughout the day on Facebook, and the group email list.  Mine is made of flannel and will be available for a foster child this year.


Pink flannel mystery block

My quilting goal for the new year is to be able to use the quilting machine that is sitting near my computer.    I have been trying to give a quilt to each foster child that comes to us, they do love them, but in 2013 we had 31 different children.  I couldn’t keep up, though some friends have helped!  The quilting machine will help too, once I have it figured out.

So, let 2014 begin!!

For the past couple of years our family has taken foster children on an emergency basis. This generally means children arrive a few minutes to a couple of hours after we receive the call, and they usually aren’t here for long. Last week, however, we were asked take two little ones with a whole week of notice. I decided it would be a good idea to give myself a few days off to finish some sewing projects and to rest before their arrival.

I finished a doll quilt. I belong to an internet doll club and each month we have a contest and it is mine turn to provide a prize next month. This is a simple red and white quilt and is hand quilted.

Doll quilt for lawton

Doll Quilt, green outline is carpet, not part of the quilt!

Our family is involved in a World Wide Swap and we are preparing packages to send to families in New Zealand, Russia, Alberta, and Kansas. The packages contents must relate to our local area. I sewed little bags decorated with Gold Finches, the state bird of Washington. We are including agates from our beach. We grow lots of strawberries in this area and I decided to create some little strawberries to include in the packages.

gift bags

Gold finch trimmed bag for World Wide Swapn


strawberries to include the swap packages

Raven and Seneca will be drumming, dancing and singing in ceremonies for the Canoe Journey later this month, and I added buttons to Seneca’s regalia.

Regalia buttons

Seneca’s regalia gets some new buttons

I have two new little dolls, 4.5 inches tall and I am making some dresses for them. This one isn’t quite finished.

new doll dresses

Ameila and Izzy get new dresses

I am participating in a block swap where each of the 20 people in the swap creates same shaped block in in their own fabric, with a different color assigned each month. The photo shows a few of the blue blocks, and I have selected the colors for the green swap, which is due the end of August. Eventally we will each have a rainbow of blocks.

blocks selection

Blockes from last month’s swap, and fabric I have chosen for the “green” swap

Fortunately I was nearly finished with another foster child quilt and I had one on hand, so each of the kids will have a new quilt.

Peter rabbit quilt

Peter Rabbit quilt I made for our new foster child, I used scraps given byy friends.

It was great to take some time for sewing and my family was very  cooperative, and now I am ready for the new little ones, come what may!!