• Finished Quilts in 2010

    Click pictures for full details! Julia's Field of Blessings See Mom, I *Can* Make Snowmen in Texas! All Shook Up Pansies & Primroses Vintage Spring Vintage Baby A Bad Copy
  • Finished Quilts in 2009

    Click pictures for full details! Sunshine & Swimming Pools Loving Hands Boy Woogies Carina's Quilt Front Charity Quilt 1 Charity Quilt 2
  • Finished Quilts: Previous Years

    My sister's quilt Elena's Signature Quilt Cosmic Spiral Simona's Flower Garden ...And Everything Nice The Wool Quilt The Original Woogie
  • Finished Craft Projects

    Traveling Car Playmat Brown Bear Matching Cards
  • Finished Girls’ Dresses & Costumes

  • Quilt To Do List

    *Julia's "Baby" Quilt
    *Bethlehem Quilt
    *Kaffe Fassett String Quilt
    *Star Happy Batik Quilt
    *Red & Tan Single Wedding Ring Quilt (blocks made)
    *Batik Charm Square Quilt
    *Lingerie Quilt
    *Purple & Gold Mystery Quilt (just needs quilting!)
    *Eagle paper-pieced Quilt (@ half pieced)
  • Other Craft Project To Do List

    *Alphabet Matching Card Game
    *Apple/Pear Dress for Elena
    *Pillow Case Dress for Julia
    *Knit Dress for Elena (need to do post!)
    *Knit Shorts for Me

And Then Comes the Favorite Part

Just a couple posts ago, I mentioned my least favorite part of quilting.  And I DO hate squaring up quilts.

But, really, I LOVE so much about quilting.  The excitement of choosing fabrics and patterns, the satisfaction in cutting and piecing together the colorful bits of fabric, the  joy in seeing the first block completed and knowing your vision is coming together: all of these things are wonderful things about quilting.

But stepping back after a last stitch and having a completed quilt?

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Bliss.

I just finished Julia’s baptism quilt, named Julia’s Field of Blessings, last week right before the quilt show.  And I LOVE it.  (I always feel a bit…egotistic…writing so often how much I love what I make, but I really do love it!)

What you might not be able to tell from the big overall pictures of this quilt is that each of the flowers has a blessing written on it:
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I gave each of the guests to Julia’s baptism a square of fabric and asked that they write Julia a message befitting the day. And they did so beautifully.

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The squares sat in my sewing room for 2 years before they finally came out again, ready to be made into a quilt. In the intervening time, I spotted a quilt that would serve as my inspiration for the setting, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I detailed that inspiration and some other thoughts on making this quilt in posts here, here and here.
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I wanted to show the fun addition of a butterfly up close here.  I added 4 to the quilt top.  I almost went crazy and added dozens, but I think 4 is just enough.

I deliberated for what seemed like forever over each fabric combination. But it was so worth it!
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I’ll admit Elena didn’t write her square, seen above, 2 years ago at the time of the baptism.  Somehow, I don’t think she could write that well then!  😉  I let her do a square just a couple months ago when I pulled it out again.  She is *very* proud of her flower.

And OH, the joy with finishing the top! But, after staring at this quilt in progress on my design wall for what seemed like months, I was SO ready to be done, but not before having some fun with the back. And I dare say I love the back just as much as I love the front.

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And yes, those flowers are my label, as you can see better here:

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But to really finish this quilt, it needed quilting. I gave my Mom the simple idea of spirals for the quilt, and she ran with it, doing big spirals, small spirals, and also a super-cute loopy line:
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I could have not asked for better quilting — it adds so much to the quilt.  My mom had told me she was planning on using gold thread, and I was incredibly skeptical, but I must admit the expert knew exactly what she was doing!  It goes SO well with ALL the colors in this quilt!  (and yes, she’s available to do the same beautiful work for your quilts!)

This quilt was truly a labor of love.  The best kind of quilt there is.

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Didn’t I promise a picture of a finished quilt?

Well, how about pictures of 2 newly-finished quilts instead?

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🙂

And an oldie but goodie — and what’s that I see??

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YES, an Honorable Mention award!!!  YAY!  SO excited to win a ribbon at the Austin Area Quilt Guild Show & Sale.  I’ll admit that I was also disappointed with Julia’s flower quilt *not* getting a ribbon in its category — I really thought it deserved it — but that’s an admittedly biased opinion.

At any rate, all of these quilts, and 400+ others, are on display now through Sunday at Palmer Events Center in Austin.  Go see them!

I’ll be giving lots of details AND detail pictures of the top two quilts soon!  So much to tell and so excited about them being done!

Reminder: Austin Quilt Show this weekend!

I know I’ve mentioned it a couple times in passing, but just wanted to make sure my local readers COME to the Austin Area Quilt Guild Show & Sale!  It is going on now, and I truly enjoyed going to it today, and I’m sure I’ll be back this weekend before it closes!

“Changing Gears”

Quilt Show and Sale

Austin Area Quilt Guild

September 17-19, 2010

Lester E. Palmer Events Center
(Fabulous New Location!)
900 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX

Lester E. Palmer Events Center
(Fabulous New Location!)
900 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX
Thursday,
September 16
Friday,
September 17
Saturday,
September 18
Sunday,
September 19
Opening Night
AAQG Members Only
7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Noon – 5 p.m.

A Plea for Help

There is a little girl I know of who is Julia’s age.  We hang with the same Mom’s group.   Her name is Reagan:

Isn’t she just adorable?

She was born a happy and healthy little girl and then slowly started missing developmental milestones.  Her parents took her from doctor to doctor searching for answers, and just before her 2nd birthday,  Reagan was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a debilitating neurological disorder diagnosed almost exclusively in females.

Reagan can no longer speak and has lost the purposeful use of her arms and hands.  Fortunately, she is one of the few girls affected that can walk but it is possible that she will eventually lose this ability as well. She does not say any words and rarely babbles but she has the most beautiful smile and a giggle that warms everyone’s heart.

You can read more about Reagan here:  http://reagan-haley.blogspot.com/

Let me say here that I very rarely do fundraisers.  I’m just not into asking people for money.  However, Reagan’s story has really touched my heart since she is Julia’s age.  And, after reading about Rett Syndrome and all the girls affected, you can’t help but want to find a cure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I’ve said all of this to ask for some help.  I have 3 ways to help – some easier than others:

1.  Easy and FUN:  Come to the Austin Strollathon this Saturday from 9 am to noon!  It is at Lake Walter E. Long Recreational Park, 6614 Blue Bluff Rd., here in Austin.  In addition to the mile walk, there will be an inflatable bouncer, face painters, free Schwan’s ice cream, concession stand, silent auction, a DJ, etc.  And Kevin Black (as in Clint’s brother) will also be doing a live performance to close out the event.  This is a free event!  Reagan’s Mom really wants to just raise awareness of this disease.

2.  Easy but will affect your pocketbook: Please consider sponsoring my family at any amount in our walk to find a cure and raise awareness at the Austin Rett Walk/Strollathon.  You can find my fundraising page and donate at: http://www.firstgiving.com/nancyalvarado

3.  EASY – Just a couple clicks of your mouse!:  The International Rett Syndrome Foundation is trying to win $$ from Pepsi to help research.   You can help by voting daily in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.  It just takes a quick sign in and a click to help win $250k for research on Rett Syndrome!

1. Vote with your Pepsi Refresh account. 2. Vote with your Facebook account! 3. Vote via Text: Text 100842 to Pepsi (73774)
Note: Standard text messaging rates apply

http://www.rettsyndrome.org/get-involved/research-to-reality/pepsi-refresh.html

Thanks for listening to this plea for help.  I’ll reward y’all with a post on a long-awaited quilt finish tomorrow!

My Least Favorite Part

All quilters have one part of quilting that they really just don’t like.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself!  (I doubt that it is ever the fabric shopping though…)

My least favorite part of the whole process is squaring up the quilt.

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Just look at how scary it is!  There you have an almost nearly practically finished quilt, and you have to get a rotary cutter RIGHT NEXT TO IT!  You have to cut off all the extra, but not too much! and don’t let that rotary cutter get away from you lest you slice up that beautiful so-close-to-being-done quilt!  ACK – it is the thing quilt nightmares are made of!

So close to the end, but such danger lurking!

AND, it is where you can see all your problems if things haven’t squared up properly throughout the quilt, when suddenly your quilt is 42″ at the top and 40″ at the bottom.

No more fear though! This quilt is successfully squared and I’ll be hand-stitching down the binding tonight while watching some football.

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Oh, and here’s one simple you-probably-know-it-already hint:  roll up your binding like you can see to the right of the quilt above.  I used to just throw it all over my shoulder and feed it on to the quilt that way, but MY GOSH, it would pull all the time and was just misery.  By being rolled up and and on the table, it all moves very smoothly!

Kindergarten

2 weeks ago, Elena started Kindergarten.  ON her 5th birthday.

I actually teared up more when I heard she’d be starting Kindergarten on her birthday than I did on the First Day of School.  Dropping her off was so…anticlimatic!

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Little girls in a big world.

Elena chose her outfit for the first school day, just as she does every day.

On the first day of school, we were able to walk her all the way to her classroom.  Now, Julia and I have to stop at the end of the hallway and Elena makes the rest of the (short) trek herself.

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Elena headed in with Daddy for her 1st day of school! Julia, not realizing my Big Important Role as picture-taker, reaching out to find me!

I asked Elena the other day if she wanted me to drop her off at the front doors of the school, and she looked a little panicked.  I told her not to worry, I enjoy seeing her off everyday!

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As for how she likes Kindergarten?  SO hard to tell!  Every day when I pick her up in the carpool lane she climbs in and tells me, with a sigh, “school was L O N G today!”

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You can just feel the excitement and nervousness all combined in this photo!

I then try to give her the 3rd degree on what she spent all day doing, and she in turn gives me the 3rd degree on what Julia and I did all day while she was in school!  HA!

I’m so proud of my Kindergartner.  I know this year will be tough because I have her in a Spanish Immersion/Two-Way Dual Language program, but I think the benefits of being bilingual are important.

OH, and her favorite parts of school?  Recess, followed by art.  🙂
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And down to work! Can’t beat starting school with a fresh box of crayons!

My least favorite parts of school?  I miss her.  She’s been such a good daily companion for the last 5  years.  Oh, and I hate not knowing exactly what she’s doing every day.  Pure torture I tell you!

I’m thinking I’ll go have lunch with her again this week.
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I’m happy to see you again too, baby girl. Oops, I mean my Big 5-year-old girl!

More Teasers

I have a TON of things that I need to blog, but let me just announce here to anyone that hasn’t been within earshot of me in the last two weeks:

Kindergarten is kicking my butt! I am SO tired!  It would seem that I would have *more* time on my hands what with one of my girls being gone so many hours each day, but it in fact feels like less time!

But enough whining – on to some….vague…pictures!

I finished the top and back of my Notre Dame t-shirt quilt, and I am in LOVE.
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I’ll give the full run-down on this quilt when it is completely done, so for now I’m just giving you a couple teaser pictures.

I’ll be taking it to my Mom’s this weekend for her to quilt.  She is ordering a special shamrock pantograph just for me — we both think it will be perfect!  Can’t wait to snuggle under it during football season.
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And yes, I LOVE football!  SO excited for the season to start!

Just wanted to let you know I’m alive, and I’m hopefully now back to posting on my semi-regular basis!

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A little Cinderella peaking out from her woogie-on-ironing-board-tent-home!