Catching the spirit!

With the weather in New York so warm and sunny this time  of year, its hard to get into the Christmas spirit. So Mike and I decided to take our daughter and her friends to the local mall’s tree lighting ceremony. Music, dancing and Santa on a fire truck! Now that’s the way to get in the holiday mood!

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Thursday Throwback andWhat’s New!

Last year I was feverishly working on this quilt to finish it for a Christmas gift. My friend’s Mother in law had cross stitched it and she asked if I would quilt it to surprise her. So thoughtful! It turned out beautiful and her Mother in law loved it!

Next up is this unusual quilt. It’s made of clothing from my friend’s family and she embroidered names and places that are significant to her. The different textures should be a challenge! But first, I’ve got to get a 3 mile run in! Gotta keep the body in shape as well as the mind!

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Pieces in the Night Sky!

Besides resuming my blogging, I have resurrected a few old projects I had abandoned. One that I am finishing is a Night Sky quilt designed by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. This is the first pattern I’ve tried by Julie. It uses her Sidekick Ruler. The directions are well written and the ruler is a breeze to read and use. Sewing diamonds and triangles have never been so easy! I have two rows to sew on and then its ready to be quilted! I can’t wait! Hoping to finish in time to give it for a Christmas gift! Here’s a full view!

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Here are a few finished blocks…looks intricate but it a breeze!

 

The 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge!

I began this blog earlier in the year to document my quilting and my fitness journeys. Unfortunately life got in the way and I fell off my goal. Cheryl Sleboda, a fellow quilter, has inspired me with her 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge. So I am planning to blog every day this month and hopefully develop a new habit!

Although I have not been blogging, I have been keeping busy! I completed my first triathlon in September and have been doing a lot of quilting! I look forward to resuming this blogging journey! I hope you will join me!

Life Interrupts Us

I started this blog about a month ago with the intention of writing a few times a week the trials and triumphs of quilting with a few of my other interests like running and fitness and some family interjected in between. But as the saying goes, “Life happens as we are busy making plans.”

Toward the end of May, we received a call from my sister-in-law that my Mother-in-law was in the hospital. When Anne arrived to get her bring her home, my Mother -in -law had taken a turn for the worse over night and was unresponsive. So Mike and I jumped in the car and headed to Newport, RI. After a few days, Gma rebounded from a severe case of cellulitis. Anne and I decided to take her home since she was out of the woods. Gma has expressed an interest of passing at home and we felt if that is to come we should take her there. Well, thankfully she has done fairly well. She is weak, but happy to be home and enjoying the flow of her various children and grandchildren that come and go to visit her.

Michael and Gma
Michael and Gma

While I was in Rhode Island caring for Gma, I received word that our dear friends, the Karassik family, had been involved in a horrible tragedy. Bruce Karassik and his beautiful daughter, Larisa and Larisa’s friend had been struck by a drunk driver as the drunk driver ran a stop sign. Our beautiful Larisa was killed and Bruce and her friend were seriously injured. To say the world stopped turning for a few minutes is an understatement. My heart was broken in two. This beautiful girl, Larisa, had been a constant in our lives for the past 7 years – since our families met when my daughter, Grace and Larisa’s sister, Alina met in kindergarden and became best friends. Our families have been linked since that time and have enjoyed many happy moments together. Michael and I have had the privilege of watching the 3 Karassik girls grow. Larisa had really begun to blossom into a beautiful, compassionate, smart young woman – she had a bright and exciting future ahead of her. It was unfathomable to think she was gone. The past few weeks have been heavy. My little girl is trying to cope with her first loss in life while witnessing unimaginable grief of a family that considers her their “4th” daughter. My heavy heart is lightened by the outpouring of love and caring by my community for my friends. Food trains, special care for the sisters, remembrances by the school, sports teams and local churches have shown what we already knew – Larisa was a gem, a beauty on the inside as well as the outside.

Larisa's butterfly
Larisa’s butterfly
Larisa
Larisa

The Karassiks are Russian Orthodox and had a traditional funeral and burial for Larisa. Although I speak no Russian, the beauty of the chants of the psalms and songs moved me. Larisa had attended a Russian camp each summer with her family and participated in their scouting program. Last summer as she turned 13, she was given her “woodland” name – Monarch Butterfly. At the burial, a friend of the Karassiks gave my friend, Anastasia and her daughters each an envelope with a Monarch Butterfly in it. They opened the envelopes and the butterflies flew to Anastasia and landed on her. One just above her heart. They lingered for what seemed an eternity. It was not lost on anyone that this was a sign from Larisa and she was saying her goodbyes to us all. We were all given Monarch Butterfly pins that day as a remembrance. My butterfly is pinned to my spool quilt in my sewing room. It gives me comfort to think Larisa is watching over me as I sit, sew, create and dream. I look forward to seeing that beautiful girl again some day when we are all reunited in the heavens. Life can change instantly. So hug your kids, your spouse, your friends a little tighter. Be a little kinder. Quilt something. Do something you’ve never done.  Share your love.

Anastasia and the Monarch Butterflies
Anastasia and the Monarch Butterflies

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms and “Other” Mothers!

My "Other" Moms taught me how to sew!
My “Other” Moms taught me how to sew!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mom’s out there! I saw this cute saying today thanking one’s Mom for teaching them to sew. My Mom is extremely creative, actually she is a fabulous artist using oil, watercolors and pencils as her medium. Fabric and thread not so much.  But lucky for me, I had two wonderful neighbors, one who I called Aunt Del and the other Anna who instilled in me the love of sewing. They both were quite accomplished seamstresses, from buttons to zippers to inset sleeves and darts – you name it they could do it! At the time I thought they were crazy with their insistence on cutting the patterns so precisely and that measuring the straight of grain was ridiculous. I was just a kid and wanted it cut out in no time flat! I remember learning to sew at my Aunt Del’s sewing machine that ran with a knee switch in the little sewing closet her husband had made for her. Anna on the other hand, had a designated sewing room with a beautiful Singer sewing machine with Flexstitch cams to create various stitches. I thought it was one of the coolest machines I had ever seen. They both made me rip out stitches and re-sew seams to their liking. They had me baste and then sew sleeves and zippers. No short cuts! I have many fond memories of spending time with them on fabric shopping expeditions. Anna my was quilt groupie and trailed around with me to countless quilt shows and shops! When I first opened my quilt shop, they both helped me make samples to display. They both have been gone for some time now but every time I sit down to prep fabric for a quilt or cut out my pieces and sit at my machine to sew, I hear them in my head guiding my every stitch. Aunt Del and Anna were not my Mother nor were they even a blood relative, but their interest and love in me as a child has helped shape me as an adult. Their love of sewing was instilled in me and I am forever grateful. For all you fellow sewists and quilters out there, mentor a child today, you may never know the impact you may have! Happy Mother’s Day!

Thinking Outside the Box and about Helping the World!

Here is my final post from the Northern Star Quilt Show. It was a special exhibit from the FiberArts NorthEast collaborative. Their exhibit was called Outside the Box. These mini art quilts were displayed on cubes. Each had a varying theme. I thought they were very cool and extremely creative. Here are a few of my favorites…

FiberArt NorthEast presents OUTSIDE the BOX
FiberArt NorthEast presents OUTSIDE the BOX
True Vision
True Vision
True Vision
True Vision
True Vision
True Vision
True Vision
True Vision
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Random Leaves
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
Spring Hope
All Wrapped Up
All Wrapped Up

You believe in helping the world, right? I do…I believe one act of kindness creates a ripple affect. Who knows what affect you might have on someone. Well, last year, with four of our children grown and out on their own and just Grace at home, I felt it was time to do a little more for my community. I saw an advertisement recruiting for volunteers for The Center for Safety and Change in New City, NY.

http://www.rocklandfamilyshelter.org

This is our local family shelter. I contacted them and was amazed at all the services they provide to our community – from a shelter for those escaping domestic violence, a 24 hour Hot Line for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault to providing counseling and  SAFE nurses at local emergency rooms for rape victims. I was shocked by the incidences of violence and sexual assault of local women. We tend to think that happens in far off places, not in our backyard. Did you know that every 107 seconds someone in America is sexually assaulted? That 68% of these assaults will not be reported?

I was thrilled to be accepted into the Rape Crisis Advocate program and went through three months of training on sexual assault and rape, misconceptions, flashbacks and how we can help them. Since last year at this time, I take 3 shifts each month to cover the Hotline at night and if necessary go to the Emergency room to meet a survivor and assist them through this difficult time. Last night, the Center honored its volunteers. Several of my fellow counselors were acknowledged for their years served….several have been giving of their time for over 14 years! I am so proud to be part of this organization. Who might you help today??

Center for Safety and Change Volunteer Appreciation
Center for Safety and Change Volunteer Appreciation

Northern Star Inspiration Part 2

Here are a few more of my favorite quilts from Saturday’s quilt show by the Northern Star Quilt Guild. I thought Diana’s “selfie” was awesome! I met Diana several years ago when she came to my quilt store. She had brought with her a quilt that was a portrait of a cat. It was fabulous and her work always is impeccable. What I loved about this quilt is the quilting. Her quilter, Wilma from Christian Lane Quilters, added a special touch quilting in Diana’s name into the quilt.

Selfie Stash by Diana Sharkey. It received an Honorable Mention!
Selfie Stash by Diana Sharkey. It received an Honorable Mention!
Selfie Stash bu Diana Sharkey
Selfie Stash bu Diana Sharkey

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Diana's quilter, Wilma from Christian Lane Quilters, quilted her name right into the quilt
Diana’s quilter, Wilma from Christian Lane Quilters, quilted her name right into the quilt

I found myself draan to many of the Modern quilts displayed in the show. The quilt, “Going my way”, struck me. I think it was the a combination of the colors and the quilting designs. I think the curves of the quilting designs are a beautiful juxtaposition to the pieced cubes in the quilt. Don’t you agree?

Going My Way by Claire Victor
Going My Way by Claire Victor
Going My Way by Claire Victor
Going My Way by Claire Victor
Going My Way by Claire Victor
Going My Way by Claire Victor

This inspires me to start working on a Modern Quilt design I have rolling around in my head. What inspires you?

Northern Star Inspiration

On Saturday, I attended the Northern Star Quilt show in Somers, New York. Usually, I attend with a few fellow quilters, but this time I decided to go it alone and take my time viewing the quilts in the show. I found it refreshing to wander the floor by myself and study each quilt and was inspired by so many beautiful works of art. I will share with you some of my favorites over the next few days. Hopefully you will find some inspiration too!

I was thrilled to see my quilting BFF, Debby Siccardi, won 1st place in large bed quilts and best machine quilting! It was well deserved and I know how much time and energy she put into sewing and quilting this quilt!

Debbie Siccardi's quilt:: Dreaming of Alaskan Glaciers
Debbie Siccardi’s quilt:: Dreaming of Alaskan Glaciers
Debbie Siccardi's quilt:: Dreaming of Alaskan Glaciers
Debbie Siccardi’s quilt:: Dreaming of Alaskan Glaciers

Best of show, “Marvelous Martha” was a fabulous piece. Donna Chambers really out did herself using mixed media – cotton and silk fabrics and texture magic and an exquisite hand painted face. Donna also received a 1st place ribbon in the Wall quilts category and a N.Q.A. CJ Award of Merit for Outstanding Achievement in Quiltmaking.  The quilting on the piece was just beautiful and I really loved Donna’s use of the striping in the border fabric. My photo does not do it justice.

Best of Show: Donna Chamber's Marvelous Martha
Best of Show: Donna Chamber’s Marvelous Martha
Best of Show: Donna Chamber's Marvelous Martha
Best of Show: Donna Chamber’s Marvelous Martha