Archives for category: Quilts

I love bright colors and large prints. I have many in my collection of fabric scraps and was searching for a pattern that would use a variety of them and result in a quilt that was visually “orderly.” I stumbled on this idea in a quilt magazine and got right to work. That was three summers ago.

dresden plates resized

Now some quilters will start a project and move onto the next before finishing, but not me, I am usually a “finisher.” However, just as I was getting the last of the plates appliquéd onto the backgrounds I broke my arm. It was the upper bone in my arm, actually shattered into many pieces and impossible to cast. I wore a brace and could not quilt. We kept waiting for the bones to knit and though the little breaks did heal the large break refused and finally a year and a half later there was surgery to implant a plate and finally the bone was able to knit. As soon as I was able I finished the quilt top, and I liked it so much I decided to hand quilt it.
My hand quilting time is limited these days. Evenings are short as we usually follow the kids to bed. I do find it very relaxing though and though I am not a skilled quilter, I enjoy doing it. Finally this week I finished, put the binding on the quilt and added the label. It is now ready to be entered in the quilt show this summer.
I made some small projects during the three years, wedding, baby and graduation gifts, Christmas gifts, and quilts for foster children, but none required hand quilting. It is so good to have full use of my arm again.





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Quilt show

Destination: Quilt Show in Forks

Quilt Show

Ted has the flu.  I have a new appreciation for single parents.  I had planned to go to the Quilt Show in Forks on Friday but had to stay home to pick up the kids after school.  By Sunday I needed a break and the kids were playing well, so I set out knowing it would take about an hour to drive each way and planning to spend an hour there, total of three hours–

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Parkk

Lake Crescent

It was a nice day for a drive, there aren’t any traffic signals between our house and the one in Forks, no merge lanes.  Much of the trip is through Olympic National Park and the road is bordered by tall trees.   Further along there are clear-cut areas and land that was logged at some point, has been replanted and  is now in various stages of growth.

I stopped along Lake Crescent to enjoy the beauty.  The lake is surrounded by mountains and is very deep. The water is cold and clear.  This area is part of Olympic National Park.

Lake Crescent 2Lake Crescent 3

I arrived in Forks on the schedule I had established.  Forks, population 3500, has been a remote logging town for the past 100 years but it recently rose to fame as the setting for the TWILIGHT novel series.  Merchants have capitalized on it with signs like “Bella Ate Here” and “Dazzled by Twilight”  There are often several cars of tourists parked at the sign announcing entry into Forks, snapping photos of each other.  But it is a pretty quiet town, one stop light.


Downtown Forks

It does have an active quilting group however, the Piecemakers Quilt Club.  I have noticed in the past that great quilters often come from quiet places where there is not much else to do.  The group sponsored the FABRIC OF THE FOREST QUILT SHOW which was held during the Fork’s annual “Rainfest.”  This event includes an art exhibits,  and a parade with marchers carrying umbrellas and the quilt show.  The average rainfall is 120 inches a year, which is why it was selected as the “home” of the TWILIGHT series.

The quilt show was held in Forks High School, which I understand is an important location in the TWILIGHT series.  I was warmly welcomed and enjoyed viewing each quilt, snapping pictures of some of my favorites.  I tend to like the “liberated” style quilts using scraps, and not worrying too much about having things look neat and tidy.

Alzheimer Art Quilt

This quilt will be given by the creator to the Alzheimer Art Quilt Initiative to raise money for research. It is small, about 8 by 10 inches.

baskets circles sweet Wonky barns Wonky pineapple

I got some new ideas and now need to time to try some new things.

The drive back was uneventful, kids were still playing nicely when I got home, and Ted was still asleep on the couch. I hope he is feeling better soon.

Lake Crescent 4

No words to describe this, we are so lucky to be surrounded by this beauty.


Family Chickens

Salt Lake City

The longest stop on our trip was in Salt Lake City, where our daughter Robin lives with her husband Ryan and two teenagers Tanner and Thea and 11 year old Maya.  We did so many things during our visit that it is hard to know where to start.

They live in an older neighborhood with lots of trees and they have a large lot, with a chicken house and several different colored laying hens.  Seneca and Raven wanted to check for eggs several times a day.

Their house is small for a family of five and it is seems even smaller as they have two very large dogs,  100 to 125 pounds each, named Alta and Bella.  They are Leonberger dogs and well trained and calm, but they take up a lot of space in the house.


Alta and Bella

The day after we arrived was a skiing day for the their kids, and skiing is one of the reasons they like Salt Lake City.  Seneca and Raven had never been on skis, but Ryan is a patient teacher and by the end of the first day they could both ride the rope tow and made a couple of runs off of the lower chair as well at Alta. Ted went along and skied too.  Robin and I went shopping!

Ready for skiing

Seneca getting dressed for skiing

Raven skiing

Raven gets started.

Robin took me to the most amazing ethnic food store.  They had Asian food of every variety, including items from Central Asia.  I bought some adorable little egg plants and made an egg plant curry for dinner with Thea’s help.  She and Maya made Phad Thai.

Egg plant

Cute little egg plants

Thea cooking

Thea and Maya both cook.

Egg plant and Pad thai

Phad Thai and egg plant.

The kids had fun just hanging out together and Thea and Maya made up a very creative Easter Egg hunt for them using clues that required some head scratching.  But we all went to the IMAX theater, a first for Seneca and Raven and we went to hear the Morman Tabernacle Choir.

Robin took the photo of the chickens at the top of this blog and when a dear friend of mine died earlier this year she sent me the photo saying it made her think of Joan and me talking intently.  So, I made a wall hanging which pictured the chickens and she hung it in the kitchen.   Quilters who see this may think it looks a little familiar, it is similiar to one on the cover of one of Gwen’s books.


The banner I made for Robin using the photo of her chickens

robin discussing

Robin with the chicken on the banner

The night before we left we sat around the table enjoying each other’s company. So nice to be with family.

Three cuties

Thea, Maya, and Gramma Merrily

And on our way to Arizona, Seneca and Raven spotted this sign which was their favorite.

snakes and scorpions

The sign warns of poisonous snakes and insects in the area, would that include scorpions?

close up of boy quilt

The Little Boy Quilt I made recently now belongs to a little boy. He and his two sisters were brought to our foster home this week with nothing. We had about an hour of warning that they were coming. They are a beautiful little group, ages 5 to 8. We are given very little information about kids who come to us, but from their frightened, unsmiling expressions we knew they had been through something unpleasant.

The girls go to the same school as Seneca and Raven and they brightened when they realized that they would be staying with “friends.”

It was nearly supper time and fortunately Ted had purchased a family sized pack of drum sticks the night before. I fixed other things most kids like including rice, carrot sticks, and applesauce. Our table was a little crowded with seven people but two of the kids ate well with one declaring, “I am not hungry.” After dinner they helped clear the table and I worked on homework with the older kids while the little boy played with Legos and little cars.

practicing spelling words

While the girls were bathing I asked the little guy which of the three quilts I had available he would like to have. He chose the one with the cars and trucks that I had pieced.  This was not a surprise, I had already noticed his love of cars and trucks. He wrapped himself in it and was ready for story time.

wrapping up

reading stories

Raven was enjoying being “big brother,” and cheerfully agreed to climb to the top bunk so the little guy  could sleep in the bottom. Amazingly they all went right to sleep, and they woke up with smiles in the morning. I was prepared for bad dreams or restless sleeping but it didn’t happen.

Sound asleep

Raven had a doctor’s appointment so I let him and the little guy sleep in. While I was getting dressed they woke up and when I came down, Raven had fixed breakfast for the two of them.
We got Raven to school, and the little guy busied himself playing with cars and trucks on the quilt, using the yellow border as the road. What a thrill to see the quilt being used and enjoyed, just as I had hoped it would be.

playing cars on the quilt 2

Later in the day I got a call saying the little guy’s father had been located and was available to care for him, so the caseworker came to get him. I asked him if he wanted to take the quilt with him and he nodded, went back to get it and carried in his arms as he went out to the car.
The girls returned and asked if we would all sit at the table again and pass the food around, this was evidently not their usual experience. We had a nice evening of homework and stories.
The next day I got a call saying an aunt had agreed to take the girls and they would be going with her later in the day. In the afternoon we were at school to pick up Seneca and Raven and the counselor happened by. She said the girls had told her what a good time they had had at their foster home, and mentioned the drum sticks we had had for supper. Then the principal popped up and said the school was grateful that we had “stepped up to the plate” for the girls.
It seems like such a little thing, providing for them for two nights, but I know that I won’t forget these three, and I suspect they will have good memories of staying with us. And I hope the little guy will continue to enjoy the quilt, I guess I’ll have to get busy and make another one.

I wish I had had quilts on hand so I could have given one to each of the girls as well. I’d like to encourage others to make small quilts, they are so comforting to children in crisis.

Do daughters of doll collectors become fans of dolls as well? There has been a recent discussion on my doll email group, about daughters and dolls and how some daughters of collectors love them and others just aren’t interested. With Seneca I am not sure yet, she loves certain dolls, but I have no influence, she chooses what she likes.

holding dolls

A handful of dolls


Arranging the doll house, lots of choices


Many dolls and lots accessories and clothing too

A friend helped us get this wooden doll house which sits in the family room and gets many hours of play.  It is the first thing visiting children want to play with.  It is peopled by little plastic dolls which Seneca calls “Polly Pockets.”  Their clothing is colorful and made of mostly of flexible plastic.  The dolls, for the most part, have come from garage sales or from the Goodwill and she has a large collection.    The furniture, mostly wooden, is almost to scale and she has some plastic furniture as well.

seneca doll house

The doll house is wooden

Seneca, and sometimes her older brother, who will remain nameless in this blog, spend hours in imaginative play, stopping intermittently for an argument.  Right now they are getting ready for a party where they plan to perform a song for the guests.  And they are hunting for a puppy who seems to have disappeared.  And now they have morphed into home school, which they think would be terrific until I remind them that I would be the teacher.

These two dealt with a lot of unpleasant stuff as little kids and I tend to think they are working through that rather than loving the doll aspect, but time will tell.  I hope we have a budding collector!

I need to share a letter Seneca delivered to me yesterday.   I am saving this for one of the times I feel like throwing in the towel.

letter from Seneca

As for me, I spent part of the weekend creating a doll quilt which will go with items made by other doll collectors, into a raffle to raise money for the United Federation of Doll Clubs. I took this photo in MY doll house, which is upstairs in our doll “museum.”

Wendy admiring the new doll quilt, which will be given away

Wendy admiring the new doll quilt, which will be given away

Mary's quilt

We have lived in this house for nearly 18 years but had never  repainted inside the house.  Recently, after much discussion about color, Ted started in the dining room. It is now a citrus and cream shade of green with a darker green accent, in the areas where we get the most fingerprints. This meant changing things a bit and updating what we had hanging on the walls. My friend Mary, who died last summer, is the person who got me started quilting. She created “art” quilts in her later years and she named one after me. I was thrilled when her daughter offered to send it to me. It is actually a wall hanging, and it takes center stage in the new arrangement.

Merrily by Mary

“MERRILY” by Mary

Ted and I have enjoyed the paintings of Joan Kickbush She is famous for paintings of native children in Alaska. Ted has a two of her paintings in his office and there is one hanging over the couch in our family room.   The painting that we have moved to our dining room was painted in the 1970 with green overtones (remember avocado green refrigerators) and we had it hung very high in our two-story entry way because the green color was a bit overwhelming. However, it is perfect on the new green wall next to Mary’s wall hanging.

Painting by Joan Kickbush, now in our dining room

Painting by Joan Kickbush, now in our dining room

Notice the little doll being pulled on a sled!

This move left space in the entry way for the new snowy owl wall hanging which I just finished yesterday.  It is big and bright and it needed a quiet corner where the owl could look down without being disturbed.  I am very happy with the new arrangements.

Owl hanging

Off we go

We had been at the beach house all weekend and hadn’t gotten to the beach so we decided to go for a beach walk early this morning. A friend had offered to take us to an area where snowy owls have been seen recently. It was raining when we left the house but ten minutes away, when we were ready to start walking, it had stopped. It was chilly though and Seneca carried an umbrella, just in case.

Setting up to look for snowy owls

Setting up to look for snowy owls

The tide was out and we walked for about half an hour until Mike told us we were in the right area and he began to set up the telescope. However, there were no snowy owls in sight. Mike speculated that they were hiding from people who had been there the day before and tried to get too close to them. We were nearly back to the car when it startedraining again, but we had a nice walk in the fresh air.

They found an abandoned culvert on the beach and waited out a rain shower.

They found an abandoned culvert on the beach and waited out a rain shower.

And I was inspired to finish the snowy owl wall hanging I started a long time ago. The owl needed to be stitched to the background, and it needed to be machine quilted. That is what had caused delay, I wasn’t very confident regarding machine quilting. I gave it a try though, and am quite happy with the result. It is now finished except for sewing down the binding.

finished except for handstitching the binding

finished except for handstitching the binding

So, for the Quilting Retreat I have accomplished quite a bit. For the Liberated Rainbow, I have made the backing and sandwiched it and taken it to a friend who will machine quilt it.

I am having Liberated Rainbow quilted by a friend

I am having Liberated Rainbow quilted by a friend

Little Boy Quilt 2, quilted ready to sew down binding

Little Boy Quilt 2, quilted ready to sew down binding

I finished the Boy Quilt number 2, quilted it and it just needs to have the binding hand stitched down.

Raven and I quilted the sides of the drum bag but I need to get a large zipper when I get back to Port Angeles.

Fabric is now quilted and cut, need a zipper

Fabric is now quilted and cut, need a zipper

I finished the Little Boy Quilt with the trucks.

Little Boy Quilt, Finished

Little Boy Quilt, Finished

And I made ten blocks (small) for the new quilt I am planning and hand quilted several blocks of an ongoing project. It was nice to be able to focus on sewing and I love the retreat idea.

And Ted, was able to create some lovely bowls, with some uninterrupted time in his workshop.

Ted created three nested bowls from a block of figured maple

Ted created three nested bowls from a block of figured maple

This is the weekend of the “Virtual Retreat” for my on-line quilting group.   I have been planning and preparing for several days so that I can accomplish as much as possible during the retreat.  However it was  afternoon before I was able to begin sewing. Ted and I were registered for an 8 a.m. class on how to operate our new iPhones. This was in Silverdale, an hour and a half from home which meant a very early departure with the kids. From there we drove to our beach house for the retreating to begin.

As Ted had said he would, he promptly went to his workshop for his own retreat. Our church had cut down some ornamental trees and Ted had asked for a few pieces, he was eager to see if they would make nice bowls. The kids entertained themselves pretty well though the did get me involved in one game of Bingo. I was able to make lots of progress.

close up of boy quilt

Little boy quilt for a child going into foster care


Close up of school bus on Little Boy’s Quilt

First I finished the quilt I have been making to be given to a little boy in crisis. It is always harder to get folks to make security blankets for little boys, so that is what I try to do. The binding wasn’t finished when I took this photo late this afternoon, but it is now!!

Boy quilt 2

The second little boy quilt

A few days ago I received a box of blocks and scraps and odds and ends from Ann in Virginia, part of the World Wide Swap the on-line quilt group is doing.  Ann knew I needed kid’s prints for the foster child quilts and she sent a stack of blocks already sewn.  I decided to go ahead and sew them into a second boy quilt and it went together very quickly.  I will probably get the back and binding on it tomorrow.

Next I chose fabric from my stash and made the back for my Liberated Rainbow Quilt.    This project is far from finished choosing the backing was a big step. Ted helped me cut the fabric, and do the arithmetic.

liberated rainbow and backing

The backing will be yellow with a strip of red and purple down the middle. I do like BRIGHT colors


Liberated Rainbow Quilt top

The last project for today was to choose the fabric for the drum bag we need to protect Raven’s new drum.  Raven helped.  Then I cut the fabric and got it ready to be quilted.  I let Raven help with the stitching which he loves to do.

Raven helps with stitching 2

Raven helped with stitching on the quilting

drum bag fabric

Drum with the fabric Raven chose from my stash

Other quilters are posting photos on their blogs and on the group Yahoo site, lots of sewing is happening!

I belong to an online quilting group that is having a “virtural” retreat this weekend.  The idea is to stay home, give yourself lots of sewing time, post pictures of your quilts as you go along, and ignore the house, cooking and other chores.  This, of course, is what you would do if you were on a retreat at some far away exotic place.   I informed Ted that I was planning on participating in the retreat.  He said he too was planning a retreat, in his workshop.  Oh my, what will the kids get into while we are busy?

I have been working on my list of projects for the retreat, and doing a little prep work.

First I want to make the backing and sandwich (that is quilters talk for attaching the back and batting to the quilt top, which is the pretty part).     This is for the quilt I call Liberated Rainbow, which I started many months ago.

Ready to cut the batting

Ready to cut the batting


This style was new to me, challenging and so much fun

The second project is to bind and machine quilt this little-boy-quilt I made to be given to a foster child in crisis. Doing the little trucks and cars was like figuring out a little puzzle for each one, fun.


Little boy’s quilt for a foster child

The third project is to make a quilted carrier for Raven’s new drum. Someone I met recently knew that Raven participated in the dancing and drumming group with the Lower Elwha Klallams, and that he did not have a good drum. She said she had a drum hanging on her wall longing for someone to play it and she wanted Raven to have it. She sold it to us for a fraction of what it is worth. Raven tried it out at practice this week with a huge grin on his face. Now it needs a padded bag to protect it when it is carried from place to place.


Raven’s new drum for ceremonial dancing and drumming

If there is time I have a new project in mind. Meanwhile I am stocking the fridge and expect to be basically unavailable!

This is the year I am starting a blog. With quilting, dolls, recipes, travel, kids, family and friends, there are so many things happening I want to share and remember.

Yesterday Ted helped the kids choose from our collection of antique toy stoves to do some kid baking. The stoves were all a bit dusty and the smell when they were plugged in was not promising. After an hour or so of mixing giggling and timing, the smells improved as the little cakes baked.

Yes, it really works!

Yes, it really works!


An older version

An older version


Checking progress with a flash light

Please try it--

Please try it–