Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Still Here

I know I've been an absentee blogger for the past week, but there just hasn't been a lot to say.  Today is the last full day in our house.  Tomorrow we turn it over and take our car to the port to ship and then check into a resort down on Waikiki and enjoy our last few days.  It seems that it has been coming for so long that it is weird that we are in our last week.  Come Sunday night we will be flying off to the mainland, leaving our "three year Hawaiian Vacation" behind.

Since we are turing in the house tomorrow, that means we are cleaning like crazy the past couple days.  So far I have the dining room, living room,  my old sewing room, and one of the bathrooms done.  That leaves 1.5 baths, the greatroom, our bedroom, the guest room, and ...the kitchen.  I've started on the kitchen already and have the biggie--the stove--done.  Whew!  I just have the inside of the fridge left (yuck).  And then I have to sweep and clean the laminate floors. 

The biggest job will be packing everything up.  I can not believe how two people with very little stuff can have things so spread out!  Just thinking that it all has to fit into 4 suitcases and one carry-on is worrying me a bit.  Yesterday I even mailed 4 flatrate boxes to our new address. 

We have been trying to do some fun things, too.  We snorkeled Tuesday afternoon and had a great time.  We were telling a friend about it and he wanted to go to that spot, too.  So on Sunday afternoon, we picked him and his college-aged son up and headed to the north shore.  Just before we got to the spot, an ambulance passed us with lights and sirens and we saw it turn into the parking lot where we would park.  It was filled with rescue vehicles.  We learned from the crowd that a man had been found by a diver on the bottom.  He was snorkeling and must have run into problems and drowned.  They got him out and managed to revive him.  Last we heard he was in very critical condition.  The strange thing is this:  The last time we went snorkeling with our friend and his son (over Christmas break) someone drowned there, too.  We were in the water, not too far away from that incident.  It didn't look good for that guy, either, but was revived as well.  The lesson here is that while the beach/water looks pretty--Hawaii is really in the middle of the Pacific ocean!  Swim with a buddy and be careful!

I can't wait for a bit of resort life.  Our loaner furniture is very nice, but lacks comfort.  I'm ready for a comfy bed, the chance to lay by the pool and read, and the massage I have booked!  So I guess I need to go grab a toilet brush and get busy!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Do you have a blog?  Or do you just follow your favorites?  Isn't it amazing when you make a connection with someone?  They quickly become a friend, even if you have never officially met.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Linda at the Quilted Pineapple and she is even more lovely and charming than her quilting, and that is saying something!

This past Sunday my husband and I went to airport to meet another blog friend and her family.  He kept questioning me:  You've never met her?  Do you know what they look like?  How are we going to figure out who they are?  Are you making a sign?

My anwers were:  No, I've never met her.  She has a husband and two boys about 3 years apart.  They are coming in on a plane from Kona--it isn't big.  I don't think we will have a problem figuring it out. 

And we didn't.  After waiting a bit, there they were!  And I was "officially" meeting Michelle from Island Life Quilts.  Yes, I "met" a friend at the airport.  We gave them all leis--flowers for Michelle, kukui nuts for her husband, and candy lei for the boys.  Can I just say that they are the neatest, friendliest family ever.  Her boys are very polite and helpful.  Michelle's husband even had some time in the military, too, so he and my husband "speak the same language."  I think we managed to enjoy each other's company.

Monday morning we met to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.  The weather wasn't the best, and the surf was up a bit, and it was crowded, so it wasn't the greatest time snorkeling, but it was nice sitting (or maybe huddling?) on the beach and visiting. 

I should not be surprised that she and her family are so charming.  She is a quilter and aren't we some of the best, most friendly people out there?  I look forward to a chance to sometime "officially" meet you all, as well, but until then, I'm happy to call you friends!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Patriotic Samplers

Back when I still had a home, before the movers took everything away, I worked on some things that I could share now.  One of them involoved some of my traveling projects from the past.  Way back when I used to cross stitch a bit.  I did a few projects and then discovered that quilting was much better!  Several years ago, though, a friend gave me some cross stitch patterns for little "samplers" that were all patriotic.  I fell in love with them, so I got some aida cloth (I never learned to stitch on linen) and floss and worked on them from time to time mostly when I was moving.  The problem with cross stitch is when you complete the project.  Do you get it framed?  Sew it into something?  How much are you going to spend?  It isn't unlike quilting in that once you finish a top you have some of those same decisions to make.  Sometimes I think that "making the decision" is half the battle. 

While going through things in my quilting room, I unearthed a pile of these little samplers that I had more or less finished.
I say "more or less" because while I had completed the stitching, some of them needed a little charm or special buttons, etc.  I guess I was waiting until I found the special things to finish them.  I've also been shopping around for the perfect, primitive style moulding used for the frames.  You know, like the photos on the pattern cover.  Yeah right.  By now I was remarking at how much I liked them and how I just want them finished so I can enjoy them.  I dug out my button box and found some tiny buttons which worked for the embellishments.  I noted the approximate size of each one in my note app for my phone, and then when I did the thrift shop routes I could look for frames.  I thought since they were "squareish" shaped, that I would have trouble finding frames, but surprisingly, if you are just looking for shape and size there were just the right ones out there!

Whatever the frames were painted or filled with, if they fit, I brought them home.  I stripped out the back, whatever "picture" was inside, and the glass.  Then I painted them black.  While the paint was drying, I stretched the stitcheries over foamcore and pinned them into the edges.  When the pieces were all done, I put them into the frames, sealed up the back, and put on hangers if needed.  This is what I ended up with:

These two are in identical frames--I found the pair of them for $4. They were originally a pinkish "whitewash" and inside were several layers of mats with seashells in the middle.  See what I mean about if the size and shape were right?  I wish I had taken "before" pictures.

This frame was originally gold and I love the texture!   It had a small print in it, too.  Most of these were little "framed art" pictures--not empty frames.  I wasn't afraid to strip off the back and repurpose them, though.  Especially if it only cost a few dollars.   The star button was supposed to be a charm.

This is the only frame I bought new.  I loved the wooden "mat."  It was stained and the frame was shiny black.  I crackled right over the stain on the insert and love how it came out.  I mat painted the frame just like the others.  The star button on this one was supposed to be a charm, as well.

What I love most is that they are finished!  I didn't spend but $12 or so to get them done and I love the way they look!  Yes, I could have spent considerably more, but I don't think it was necessary. The decisions are over and they are ready to hang...   whenever we get to Virginia, find a house, get our stuff, and unpack!


Flag Day

Happy Flag Day everyone!  Here at the Patriotic Quilter, I get really excited about the patriotic holidays.  Actually I really missing having a flag to put out today--I won't have one for the Fourth, either, but then I won't have a house, either!

The other big occaison for the day is that it is the Army's Birthday!  Woot!  Happy Birthday to the organization who "pays the bills" and let us live in Alaska, Hawaii, and other wonderful places.

I'm also ecstatic because I have been fighting with numerous computer problems for several weeks.  I came really close to getting a new laptop over Memorial Day but I knew I didn't have the time to install all my software and do everything necessary to a new computer before the movers came, so I was "toughing" it out.  This morning I fixed it!  Everything that was going wrong happened at the same time, so I was hoping it was related--and it was.  I won't bore you with the details, but I'm so overjoyed.  And not just that it is fixed, but because I fixed it!  That little boost to my self confidence is well needed because I've been bluesy about leaving my friends here and also we got the weight of our household goods and I'm pretty sure we will be overweight.  That means we will have to do some paying!  Right now we have a bit over 700 lbs to spare but we have stuff in storage and I'm not sure of that weight, but I think it is more.  I'm getting so ready to retire so I don't have to worry about that any more!

Back to Flag Day--I wanted to share with you that the photo on the top of my blog was taken by myself and is the flag that flies over the Arizona Memorial here at Pearl Harbor.   To me there is nothing prettier than a wind-snapping, flying flag against a robin's egg blue sky.  I wish a little of that to all of you today, no matter what your flag may look like!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Aloha Quilt

Here in Hawaii I joined our local quilt guild and subsequently started attending two of the small bees that are affiliated with the guild.  The first one I began visiting is known as "The Tuesday Bee" which is held every second Tuesday of the month in the morning.  The other bee I went to a little less frequently was the Sassy Bee which is held on the second Saturday of the month for most of the day.  I didn't always attend as much as I would like becasue sometimes my husband and I would do something together, but after he started scuba diving, it worked out that he could spend a day diving while I quilted.

The Sassy Bee has a tradition when someone leaves.  People who want to can make a block and then they are assembled into a finished quilt and presented to the departing friend.  Usually the theme is Hawaii, but sometimes exceptions are made.  In my case, an exception was made and people did something patriotic.  (I know, imagine that!)  Check out how this quilt turned out!

It is so gorgeous and means so much to me.  It is so much more than a quilt.  It is filled with memories.

This block was made by Mary.  She and I sat by each other at the Vicki Pignatelli class.  Mary used the technique we learned to make this star block.

This pineapple block was made by Kim.  She and I made quilts together using this pinepple block.  It is a Buggy Barn pattern.  Kim also put the blocks together and made this quilt!

This block was made by Joan.  She just left the island but finished this before she left.  She had to dig through boxes to find fabric to use!  She and I attended Superior Threads School of Threadology together.

While in the class we met another Army spouse, Janie.  She joined  the bees and she made this:

Beautiful embroidered stars from Ellen add a wonderful embellished touch.  Ellen is local and civilian, however she is the driving force for the group who makes Kid Comfort Quilts here on the island.  Kid Comfort Quilts is a program with Armed Services YMCA where photos are printed on fabric and then made into a small quilt or pillow and given to children with a deployed parent.  Here on Oahu we have Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines so there are way too many quilts to make but the group keeps up and finish the required number each month!

This star was made by Rowena.  She is known for this shade of blue and orange.  I love that she chose an "orangy" shade of red.  The blue also reminds we of water and she and I attend  the same water aerobics and have snorkeled together, too.

This hear and hand was made by Barb.  I taught a class on back-basting applique and she is one of the students who picked it up and began using the technique, too.  This block is back-basted!

A block by another Army spouse!  Kristin

This block was made by Maureen.  She is known for blue and scrappy.  She made a small star because she tried to convince the group to go tiny since I'm sort of know for that, but they weren't biting!

Holly made this block.  She and I went whale watching together before she moved away.  When she left, I included whales in her block, so I was really tickled to see that she did the same.

Mary Ann made this one.  She has lived in Montana and since I am from South Dakota, we are practically family!  (LOL.  Really though, there are 900,000 people on this island, probably more than her state and mine combined!)

Another great star block made by Susan, our guild's president.  (Well president for a week or two more and I bet she knows just how many more hours!!  LOL)  Below is a block by one of her in-laws--I never can remember just how they are related, but she is the "other JoAnne" although she spells the name wrong:  Jo-Ann.  (This is a common JoAnne joke--no one ever seems to be able to spell our name right or even pronounce it--can you believe people see JoAnne and say Joan?  It doesn't help that there are so many variations...)  I do love her appliqued stars!

Finally here is a picture of the magnificent label!  I almost wish it was on the front.  What looks like a yellow blob there on the right is actually a "bee" button.  I should have gotten a better photo, but there is a bee button sewn onto each quilt made for a departing member. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

One, Two,...

It takes over a month to ship houshold goods to and from Hawaii so the Army is willing to help you out.  Once you get housing (or are about to leave it, as we are) they have furniture for you to use.  This is referred to as Aloha furniture.  We got a sofa

 and a matching chair as well as end tables.  Please do notice the heavy vinyl covering the cushions!  Also two beds:

A full-sized and twin sized.  It is just the two of us, but my husband is over 6 foot tall.  When he lays down on a full-sized bed with his head right against the wall, his heels hang over the foot, so he sleeps diagonally, leaving a small triangle for me, so the twin is mine.  We also got the two nightstands and a small dresser.

A table with 4 chairs rounds out the furniture.  Certainly it is far from luxurious, but anyone who has gone any length of time without a chair can appreciate a place to sit.  Also having real beds instead of air mattresses is very nice, even if they are small.  The important thing is that they are up off the floor--in a place where we have centipedes over 6 inches long, this is a huge bonus!

After getting the furniture, you can then go to Army Community Service and visit their lending closet.  There I got an "issue" for two people which includes some pots and pans and dishes, and even a toaster and coffee pot.  More importantly, because of the whole uniform thing, you can also get an iron and ironing board!  I didn't, though.  I came home an unpacked everything and found this:

 Two plates!

 Two spoons!

Two cups! I guess we better not have any company for dinner! Ever since I have been humming a little tune. Do you know your classic Sesame Street?

I loved this one when I was little.  I did find the cats at the end a little disturbing though!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Much Needed on a Trying Day

First of all I have to thank each and everyone of you who left words of encouragement to me througout the moving process.  Each time I would read an emailed comment I felt better!  Thank you so much!  The best news is I SURVIVED.  The packers have come and finished.  They packed and filled 13 crates in two days.  The first they stayed until 9pm and the second until 11 pm.  The third day they stopped by to get the two boxes that were left over and all their materials.  Whew!  They were long days but I'm so glad it wasn't three or four like they thought.

My big exciting news was that I won the big prize from Carrie for my Doc Schnibble!!  I was so excited to win a fat quarter pack!  On Wednesday during the packout my husband brought me the package.  It was so big and when I opened it, this is what I found:

 The Cica 1934 charm pack

 Five yards of the solid coordinate!!!

 And these two brand new, not yet available charm packs!!!

It was pretty exciting, so say the least.  I finally got a chance to email Carrie to thank her.  She really enjoyed the email and said it made her day so I thought I would share it with you:

 Dear Carrie,

 Wednesday morning was not the best morning I have had lately. I was sitting at the kitchen table watching two strangers handling my things. They had already taken away my beloved quilting things the day before. The reek of cardboard filled the air. Samoan country music was playing on an ipod (the music really wasn't too bad). In case you can't tell; we are moving and the part of moving that I really hate is when the packers "invade" my happy home and dismantle it right in front of me. Even though I would much rather have them do it than myself, I find this really difficult to endure.

 So I was sitting there watching the process (okay, maybe I was reading my kindle) when my husband came in the house and put a large package down in front of me--with that air of "we are moving and you are still ordering stuff?" (although he would never say anything like that!) I was surprised and said I wonder what it could be? I knew I won the fat quarter pack but it wouldn't be so big and heavy as that box was. Then I looked at the label and got excited!

 When I opened the box and found the other things you put in there I couldn't believe it! That has to be about 5 yards of coordinating background fabric! And the charm packs--that aren't even available yet--are so cool! I love it all so much!

 I packed up my sewing room over a week ago. I haven't sewn, cut, stitched, measured or otherwise played with fabric for what seems like forever (but has probably been less than three weeks.) Suddenly here in my hands was fabric!! I opened the plastic on the fat quarters and felt them. (I did leave them in the bundle, though.) I flipped through the charm packs admiring each print. I unrolled the background fabric and ran my hands down it. (Shall I confess that I also smelled it?) I spent an indulgent half hour touching and photographing it (for a blog post) and then I reluctantly gathered it together and carried it to the guy who was singing along to a Samoan rendition of "Please Mister Please" and asked him if he had more room for fabric. By now, the quantity of my fabric and quilts has become a running joke with the movers. He laughed and took it and tucked it in a box along with my pottery.

 Thanks most of all for the "fabric moment" in my world of insanity! The timing couldn't have been better.

 Mahalo Nui Loa,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

<<Insert the reek of cardboard here>>

The upstairs is mostly empty.  Five crates were packed, loaded, and taken away.  One or two more days!  I'm sure glad I'm not doing all the work!


Sunday, June 3, 2012


By now I think everyone knows I'm moving.  One of the biggest hassles for me is trying to use up all the food I have in the house.  Yes, the movers will pack and take some, but we are only allowed a certain weight allowance and I would rather move fabric than canned goods!  I was trying to empty out my freezer and came across a lot of nuts.  I had walnuts, pecans, and almonds.  I went online to one of my favorite sites:  allrecipes.com and typed in the nuts I had in the search box.  They have a neat search where you can type in any ingredients you have and it will pop up recipes that use them.  My results included this granola recipe. 

I have never successfully made granola before.  I once tried making my own granola bars and they burned.  However, I read through the recipe and thought I could make it.  I did make some changes, though.  That is actually one of my pet peeves:  people who try a recipe but change it and then don't like the results.  You may have read some reviews (another great feature of allrecipes) like this "I made this and don't understand why it gets such good reviews.  I left out the sugar and used canola oil instead of butter and it just tastes terrible."  Ha ha.  My changes were made based on ingredient availablility.  I was making this to use up stuff, not buy more!

I saw that it called for 8 cups of rolled oats.  A scan of my pantry revealed "quick cooking oats" and there wasn't 8 cups--more like 5.  I put that in the bowl.  Next was the wheat germ.  I had a full jar of that!  It didn't call for a full jar, though.  Next was oat bran.  I didn't have that so I used all my wheat germ.  I needed 3 cups total of the germ and bran but there wasn't that much in the jar, maybe a little over 2 cups?  I also had sunflower nuts, a bit more than one cup but I was short on the other so I put them all in.  The rest of the dry ingredients were nuts so I got mine out and started chopping.  I had more than a cup of the almonds and walnuts but not a full cup of pecans.  I also had macadamia nuts (it is Hawaii after all) so I chopped some of them, too.  I was pretty generous with the nuts because I wanted to use them up and I was still short on volume.  I looked through my pantry again to see if I had anything else and discovered a full bag of shredded, unsweetened coconut.  I thought it would be perfect, so I poured the whole thing in.  By now I thought I had enough dry ingredients.  Onto the wet.

Half a cup of brown sugar was easy, as was the cup of oil.  I ran into another problem with the honey and maple syrup.  The recipe calls for 1/4 cup maple syrup and 3/4 cup honey.  (one cup total)  I ended up using about a third cup of honey and the rest in syrup (oh, I used real maple syrup, not the pancake stuff).  I followed the rest of the directions but I ended up doubling the oven time.  It didn't look "toasty" enough to me when I stirred at the required time.  I just stirred it every 7 minutes or so until it looked the right color to me.

The results were absoluely delicious!  It isn't "hard" like purchased granola, but plenty crunchy and crisp.  It wasn't too oily or sweet, either, and the amount of cinnamon was just right too--I don't care for it to be overwhelming.  I expect it is so good becasue I was very generous with the "good (expensive) stuff--the nuts) and stinted on the oat bran!  Anyway, we will have no problem eating it all and I was very pleased to use up so much stuff!
Mmm--so "ono" (the Hawaiian word for yummy!)