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.

Monday, June 30, 2014


Hi Everyone,

I was absent most of last week as I was busy, busy working around the house.  I finished up most of the on-going quilt projects in my sewing room and so it was time to start dismantling things in there.  My fun wall of minis around my sewing machine came down.



It's quite a difference, isn't it?  See the hardhat on the table in the "after" picture?  Maybe you remember a year ago last Christmas when I nearly knocked myself out on the low rafter in the attic.  This week, my husband met with the same rafter and attempted to scalp himself.  I thought it might need stitches, but once we put ice on it, it was okay and it is healing nicely now. Now he is wearing the hard hat when he goes into the attic.  He hit his head while removing all of the empty boxes from the attic.  Every military family knows to keep the original boxes for electronics, collectibles, small appliances, etc.  They now reside in my sewing room, too.

But even though my room is becoming chaotic, it is still functional!  I'm working on Pam Buda's Market Day sew along and the final step is Friday, so I want to be able to get it together.  Meanwhile, I am finding a few minutes here and there to still "play" and have some quilting fun.  A couple weeks ago, I mailed off a box of quilts to be long-armed, and I realized that I should prepare the binding and set it aside, so I've been working on that.  Already I lost one of the fabrics but was finally able to find it (I'm ashamed to say it is in the basket of bindings...  go figure!)  Also, when I was packing up the layered quilts that I am supposed to be quilting (there seems to be quite a lot more than I remembered,) I came across a smallish one and decided I could quilt that pretty quickly, so I did.

This was the fun sew-along that the Temecula Quilt Shop had around Valentine's Day.  Since I was in the 'binding zone" I went ahead and cut some for it and got it all finished!  It's even washed and crinkly.

Also on Wednesday, our refrigerator went out.  (Remember that we are renting, so it isn't really "ours.")  I discovered it around 10 AM.  By that time, it was so warm in there and the freezer, that I lost lots of food.  Since we are moving, we had enough salad dressing, etc. to get by, but now I have to replace it all again just to pass it on or toss it out when we move at the end of July.  Grrr!  I am so not happy.  Meanwhile, the landlord doesn't seem too excited about replacing it/fixing it, either.  A repairman came on Saturday and determined the problem and no course of action has been taken so far.  We do have our own fridge in the garage, but it is small and inconvenient.

The good new is that my husband is flying away to a job interview this week!  It would be really nice if he gets the job.  We have a back-up plan if he doesn't find a job, though.  More than likely we will be moving to Indiana.  We are excited about that as our daughter lives there and it would be really nice to be so near to her.

I'll be back tomorrow!  It is time for the big reveal of the Blogger Girls BOM so be sure to stop back.  I'm so excited to show mine--it turned out so pretty, and I'm really excited to see the other Blogger Girls' quilts, too.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Just a Sample

Hi Everyone,

I spent the weekend in several different ways.  Since the weather wasn't too hot, we made a few visits into the attic to remove all of our rubbermaid tubs of storage.  We have about 28 of the 18 gallon size.  We stacked them all in the larger guest room.  I noticed in the process that many of them felt sticky/gross--like the sticky grease residue that accumulates on decorative items in the kitchen.  It was so yucky that I kept wanting to wash my hands.  Finally, I decided there was no choice but to wash the lids, and maybe a few of the worse tubs.  This was not as easy as one would think!  Imagine trying to scrub large lids that don't really fit in the sink.  I tried the laundry sink and even it was a bit too small.  I tried the big whirlpool tub and that worked marginally better, but I had to bend over too much and it hurt my back.  It took three batches, but I did get them all scrubbed.  They are slightly less sticky feeling now.  I did Google the problem and I think it is an issue with the plastic "recipe" as I found other complaints about them, but it was usually confined to certain colors (and also while sitting in a hot attic.)

I went through all of the bins, too, and managed to empty 6-8 of them!  That's good news, but I've already started refilling two of them with all the curtains I've been taking down and cleaning.  The denial is pretty much over and I'm starting to focus on moving.

I also spent much more pleasurable time in my sewing room, finishing up a few things.  I'm trying to find a "stopping point" so that I can begin preparing to pack up the space.  One of the projects I wanted to finish was this:

Sorry about the wonky picture!  The quilt pattern is "Sample" by Miss Rosie--It's one of her new Little Bites patterns that uses the 2.5" candy squares.  I wanted to make it out of my French General scraps, so I cut my own 2.5" squares.  As you can see, it is a sampler made of different blocks.  They were so much fun to make!  Each one meant new fabric choices and I also tried to "fussy-cut" as much as possible.

The pattern came out a few weeks ago during the big quilt market, and I bought it and pieced this quilt all in a few days.   I even started to quilt it!

But then other things cropped up that I needed to do.  And then I had company.  And now I'm moving.  At the same time, the thread I chose to quilt it with looked like it may run out before I finished.  As I've been out to quilt shops, I searched for more but couldn't find any.  I can order some, but was trying to avoid that.  This weekend, I decided to finish the quilting to see if I would run out of thread or not.  I really don't need any more things (even small things) to be worrying about.  So I finished it.  It went fast, too.  I think I was racing the thread!  Do you ever do that?  Even with hand-sewing, the shorter the thread, the faster I stitch--as if I can "beat" it to the end.  In this case I did "win" and had enough thread to finish!  Whew!  I'm so glad I didn't have to get another spool.

I should back up a bit and discuss the border.  I had the blocks up on my design wall and auditioned every French General fabric that I had and nothing was working!  Initially I was wanting a light, creamy border for a "low volume" look, but none of them worked.  None of the rose/reds was really working, either.  Finally, I remembered that I had this yardage with the "doilies" left from making my Dresden Doilies quilt and so I tried them.  They looked great!  The only issue was spacing.  I did NOT want any partial doilies in the border.  It took careful cutting and measuring, but I got the borders to fit perfectly. I did make one alteration to the pattern.  I continued the lattice and corner stones out surrounding the blocks.  In Carrie's version, the sashing and cornerstones are just between the blocks.

When it came to binding, I again pulled all of my FG fabrics out and began trying everything.  If I thought something would work, I put it in a pile.  At the end, I had maybe 7 different possibilities.  I went through them again and came up with the obvious winner.  It was cream, though, and I mostly use darker fabrics in borders and bindings, so it was a bit "uncomfortable" to use it, but it was the obvious choice.  I always notice gorgeous quilts that have light borders and/or bindings, so I was glad to be able to use one!

The really sad thing is that I think I'm done now with having fun in my sewing room and now it is time to pack it up!  I may have to do a "tribute" post about it.  I LOVE that sewing room and am going to really miss it.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Virginia Quilt Museum

Hi Everyone,

I just heard that yesterday was only our second day in the 90s this year, and boy, it was hot.  Even worse, it is going to be hotter today. How is the weather where you are?

In case you missed my post from a few months ago, I was thrilled to have two of my quilts selected to hang this summer at the Virginia Quilt Museum as part of an exhibit featuring quilts from the Tidewater area of Virginia.  The Tidewater area is also called "Hampton Roads" although I have no idea if the parameters of both of those areas are identical.  I've included a map so you can get an idea of the area included.  This is the South Eastern corner of Virginia.

The area is home to bases for every branch of the military and has other resources which gather people not just from all over our country, but also from all over the world.  Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the US is right here, so we also have a big historical flavor.  These factors, and others, contribute to a wonderful diversity reflected in gorgeous quilts of all types.

The exhibit has been hanging for about a month and I was excited to see it.  Saturday, June 7 was a reception for the artists.  I'm not sure just how many quilters are featured, but many of them were able to be there.  I wasn't sure if photography would be allowed, but it turned out that you could take a photo of a quilt that you made--so I have pictures of my quilts, but not of any other.  That is so sad--there were some wonderful quilts ranging from antiques to modern and everything in between.

Omigosh, the quilt I made from Sue Garman's pattern, is hanging on the main floor.

We looked over the main floor and then went upstairs but didn't see my second quilt.  Finally my Mom said she saw it in the basement.  I didn't know that there was a basement, but not only was my quilt (and a lot more) there, but so was the party!

In fact, my quilt was directly behind the refreshment table, which made it difficult to get a good (or any) picture.  Once everyone gathered down stairs, remarks were made:  Wilma Gerald, the exhibit curator spoke as well as several artists.  Once the formal part was over, we took a photograph of all the artists in attendance.  Wilma is standing on the left in the red and black.  I'm in the middle back.

It is such an honor to be included in this exhibit.  The quilts are all spectacular.  If you are going to be in the Shenandoah Valley this summer, make sure to stop by.  Actually, if you are ever in the area, you should stop in as the museum always has wonderful exhibits.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Travels

Hi Everyone,

In my last post, I was sharing about my parent's visit and all that we were doing and seeing.  Well, there is plenty more to write about!

One day while my husband was working, the three of us went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden.  I was really impressed--it was huge.  It was so large, that there is a tram that takes you on a tour of the property.  We did that to get a layout of the land and when it was over, we walked a short ways to see what we wished.  The weather threatened to rain a bit that day, so we didn't want to get too far from the car.  Since I'm mentioning the weather, I do have to say that for nearly all of the visit, it was as close to perfect as one could imagine.  The temps were in the 70s, and it wasn't humid--and except for this outing, the skies were blue and clear.  We were really lucky.

One of the areas that we walked through was the rose garden.  It was so lovely!

This rose bush above dates from 1790!  I wished it had been in bloom, but we just missed it.  The gardens were begun back in the depression and the WPA or CCC (I can't remember which) helped do the work of digging the canal, etc.

I wished I had visited before as it would be great to see it change with the seasons.  A big portion of the property originally was an azalea garden, so it must be stunning earlier in Spring.

The garden is right next to the airport--in fact, a grassy bluff separates the two properties.  It is possible (and even encouraged) to climb up to the top and watch the airport traffic, so we did.  When I was a child, we would often go to our small regional airport to watch planes take off and land.  I've always enjoyed that.  It seems like modern airports have done away with good places to view, and especially with all of the security we need now.

We drove back home and had supper and then loaded chair into the car to go to the first of the weekly summer concerts by the TRADOC Army Band on Fort Eustis.  I wrote about some of them last year, too.

It is a little back-lit and so difficult to see, but the band is under that lovely band shell.  You can see the James River is right next to the park.  Everyone attending got a ticket for door prizes.  They gave out three prizes and I actually won one!!  I'm never very lucky, so it was fun to win.  The prize was a bag full of products advertising the Army!  I don't see myself using much of it, but perhaps my husband will, since he is the army guy in the family.

Our last trip was a weekend trip.  We left on Friday afternoon heading towards the mountains.  On the way, we stopped outside Richmond at the Cold Harbor Civil War battlefield.  Richmond was the Confederate Capital City and so was featured in more than one military campaign.  The first was early in the war as part of the Peninsula Campaign.  It was early enough in the war that if I remember correctly, Lee took command of the Confederate forces around that time.  The second was later in the war and was part of Grant's Overland Campaign--Cold Harbor was part of that.  This summer is the 150th anniversary of the Overland Campaign and in fact, we we were there just 2-3 days after the anniversary of the battle.  Not much of this battlefield is owned by the parks system, but there was enough of it with the earthworks from both sides still visible.

This is the only monument on the battlefield.  After visiting Gettysburg, Antietam, Manasses, etc. this battlefield seems almost insignificant, but in fact it was a bloody, bloody day.  One of the famous quotes of the battle:  "It wasn't war, it was murder."   Once we did the tour and stamped our passports, we were on our way again.  

We were off to visit Shenandoah National Park the next day and had a cabin to call home for a few days in Gordonsville, VA.  It is northeast of Charlottesville.  We arrived in late afternoon, got unloaded and settled, and explored the resort property.  We saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers again.

The next morning we set off for Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.  It was beautiful!  Our original plan was to drive the entire thing--there are 4 access points--the southern and northern end and two in the middle.  We entered from the second to the south end and only made it to the next "intersection."  We stopped along the way at scenic overlooks, at one of the visitor centers (got the passport stamped) and then we decided to hike down to a waterfall.  It was 3/4 of a mile down the trail to the falls and then 3/4 mile back.  It sounds easy enough, but it was 3/4 of a mile DOWN and then 3/4 of a mile UP.  UPHILL.  STRAIGHT UP!!!  No, it really wasn't that bad, it just seemed like it at the time!  Luckily it was a cool day and the trail was mostly shady.  

On the way down, we spied this cute little chipmunk.

Mom and Dad.  Again, this is the way down.  I wasn't thinking about taking pictures on the way up!  I was too worried about breathing and climbing, ha ha.  

This was the top of the falls.  You could continue hiking another 1000 feet further down to the bottom to be able to see the entire falls, but I took a pass.  This is one of the times that it wasn't about the destination--it was about the journey.

An example of the scenic views from Skyline Drive

After our hike, we stopped at the next picnic area to enjoy our picnic lunch.  Have any of you picnicked lately?  Remember how fun it is to find a table in the perfect spot, spread out all of the food, and then start shooing away gnats and flies?  Actually, I think picnicking is charming and becoming a lost activity.  These days we grab a bag of food at the drive thru and eat in the car.  What is it about the outdoors that makes any food, including a bologna sandwich, taste so much better?

After lunch, we continued the drive until we hit the next interchange where we sadly had to leave Skyline Drive behind.  The clock was ticking and we had a destination:  The Virginia Quilt Museum.  The real reason for the trip was the artists' reception for the Hampton Road's exhibit.  I have two quilts hanging there!  That is a subject worthy of its own post, so I'll be back next time with that story.

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hi Everyone,

I guess a better question could be, "Where have I NOT been?"  Or at least it seems that way to me.  My parents came for a visit at the beginning of June, and we did a bit of sight-seeing.  We drove up to Arlington, VA one day to visit Mount Vernon.  I had been there before, but neither my parents nor my husband had visited.

The mansion was very interesting to visit--I barely remember the first time I was there, it was the summer before high school.  I did remember seeing the key to the Bastille, though, and we saw it again.  Such a fascinating historical object.  My favorite area, though, was in one of the outbuildings.

I loved the spinning room.  There was a loom set up, as well.  I have been wanting one of these large "walking" type spinning wheels for ages.  Not to spin, mind you, just for looks.  I have done a tiny bit of spinning.  Back quite a few years ago, I volunteered as a costumed docent at Old Fort Bliss, Texas.  Once a week, large groups of the area's fifth graders would come through and learn about life in the 1850s on the "frontier."  It was great fun.

Back to our outing, though.  We finished seeing Mount Vernon and had a late lunch.  Since we had lots of day left, we drove a short ways to Arlington National Cemetery.  We all had been there before, but it is still such a moving place.

These are the Kennedy graves

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The views of the "District" were awesome and though we were tempted to go over there, it was getting too late.

The next day we stayed local and got up early to meet up with a group of birders.  None of us keeps a life list or are by any means big into birding, but we all do feed them, enjoy seeing them, and in my parents' case--photograph them.  My mom has actually had several photos published in Birds and Blooms magazine.  This group was really nice and friendly and had a huge desire to help us see birds we had never seen before.  I saw a brown-headed nuthatch, a pileated woodpecker, a horned owl, and most exciting of all:  a summer tanager. (They were all new to me.)

We took another day trip down to the Outer Banks.  I had no idea it was so close!  We went on a Monday so there was no traffic.  It was great.  We drove down the entire way.  My parents are big lighthouse people and Hatteras was on their bucket list.  I love lighthouses, too.  We saw three of them, but only climbed Hatteras.

Also on the Outer Banks is Kitty Hawk--site of the Wright Brothers first flights.

Do any of you have the National Parks passport?  We have had one for years, and in fact, it is so old that it is full, so several years ago, we got the new larger one.  The idea is that you take it with you whenever you go to a National Park and while there, you stamp the passport with their stamp which has the date on it.  Or, alternatively, you stamp a piece of paper because you left the darn passport at home/in the car/etc. We did a lot of stamping when my parents were here!

I have much more to share, but will end for now.  I promise I will be back soon!

Have a great day!