Sweet 16 & Never Been Kissed…

WOW!!!  Two postings in one day!  Better mark this day down for posterity sake.  Actually, I just couldn’t let the day pass without reminiscing just a bit about the past 16 years with my lovely daughter, Victoria.  To say the time has passed all too quickly would be an understatement.  How well I remember my own mom telling me not to wish my life away when I couldn’t wait to turn 16.  I just had to get that driver’s liscense ya know.   She said the older I got the quicker my life would go by.  At the time I thought she was nuts because it seemed to take forever for my birthday to roll around, not to mention Christmas, but as I have aged I have found her words to be truer than I would like for them to be.

Our daughter was born a week earlier than expected.  It was fortuitous to say the least since the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her neck.  I remember laying on the hospital bed listening to her heart beat strong and steady.  Then, all of a sudden, her heart began beating slower, and slower, and slower still.  I held my breath, waiting for it to stop all together.  Her dad was standing out in the hall talking to our assistant pastor whose own daughter had been still born.  I was paralyzed it seemed, unable to call out for help.  All I could do was listen to the heartbeats get slower and slower.  Finally, they began to pick up again, I came to my senses, and was able to call to my husband to get the doctor.  When the nurse arrived and I told her what had happened she checked the monitor and then the staff jumped into high gear.  Our baby girl arrived shortly thereafter.  Thankfully, she was still alive and seemingly unharmed by the trauma.  Only time would tell if there was to be any permanent damage to her brain from the loss of oxygen.  Because she had fought for her life, we knew she had to have a strong name to match her willpower.  Our first choice for a name had been Heather.  Somehow, that name no longer seemed suitable for our little fighter. 

My boss at the time was married to a lovely woman named Victoria.  I had contemplated that name as well but had liked Heather for so long that I thought I’d wait for a second daughter to come along and call her Victoria.  One of the young mothers that I had met through our foster parenting group had told me how she had wanted to pick names for her child before it was born only to be told by her husband that you couldn’t do that until you saw the child.  If you picked the name beforehand it might not fit the child at all.  I remember she said she thought that was a silly idea, but when her daughter was born the name she’d picked out didn’t suit her at all.  The father came up with a name and she said it was perfect.  As we pondered whether or not to call our daughter Heather or Victoria I remembered that conversation.  Looking at my daughter and knowing what she’d endured to be born, I couldn’t name her anything but Victoria which means “conqueror; victor; victorious” and fit her to a tee.  Victoria was the Roman goddess of victory.  Her Greek counterpart was Nike.  Can naming her Victoria have anything to do with her competitive streak?  Is it a coincidence that she has been an athlete all her life and that Nike is a brand well known to athletes?  It does make one wonder whether or not a name can effect the outcome of one’s life.

After her first name was decided upon we had to come up with a middle name.  When we were going to name her Heather her middle name was going to be Ruth in memory of her late great-aunt.  Again, this name did not seem quite strong enough for this little girl.  The one name that kept coming to mind was Elisabeth.  This name seemed to be strong enough to go with Victoria.  We used the Biblical spelling, something that she now takes very seriously.  Elisabeth seems to have several meanings that all pertain to God and promises or oaths.  That seemed fitting too as we had been told that we would never be able to have children, but through much prayer and supplication we made our request for children made known to God and He eventually blessed us with two healthy birth children and one adopted child.  That Elisabeth is also said to mean “I am God’s daughter” seemed very fitting indeed for this little one.

Too cute!

Fast forward five years.  Victoria grew to be a healthy little girl and no sign of brain damage was ever evidenced.  In fact, at age four she started K-5, finished her math book in less than three  months and was given a first grade math book which she finished in about five months.  Because of this, she completely skipped first grade and went on into second grade with her brother who is two years older than she.  She’s stayed up with him all these years.  It’s that competitive thing again I think.  The photo here is Victoria just before going on stage for the Little Miss pagent at the local county fair.  She had been asked to represent one of the local businesses whose shop we frequented almost every Saturday.  At that time, she wasn’t exactly the most outgoing child and she didn’t do very well at the smiling part for her walk down the runway.  Even then, there was a very serious side to her.  We have lots of photos where she’s not smiling.  It was just something we came to accept as part of who she was.  She’s better at smiling for the camera now and even hams it up on occasion.  Yes, you could say she’s made considerable progress in that area.

Victoria has had some notable accomplishments in her short lifetime.  In 2005 she won a blue ribbon at the local county fair for her rag quilt “made by someone under the age of 18” entry. 

Victoria as Clara

In 2006 she danced the coveted role of Clara in the Nutcracker.  I had to make her dress and nightgown for the performance.  Talk about nail biting…the lace was from a sheer that I had bought to go over our bedroom windows.  It’s a match to what you see in the novelty room which was once our dining room.  Oh, the sacrifices you make for your children.  I find it kind of interesting now that one of her favorite books is “Gone With the Wind” where Scarlet too wore curtains.  The DVD was one of her birthday gifts this year from her brother and dad. 

Anyhow, in 2006 she won another blue ribbon for her cross-stitched pincushion at the fair.  Her competition was with the older ladies, not the 4-H division.  

In 2007 she won first all-around (gold medalist) to become the Alabama State Champion in gymnastics for her age and level.   At the fair she won a red ribbon for her snowman ornament.  Again she was competing with the adults. 

In 2008 she tied for second in the Alabama State meet which made her eligible to go to regionals in Tupelo, MS.  After the 2009 season ended she gave up gymnastics because she was unable to train the required twelve hours or more a week AND be a company member in Ballet Huntsville (about eight hours a week), AND persue her music at the same time.  Instead, she decided to try out for the Huntsville Youth Orchestra because they only meet on Monday evening.  She auditioned and was accepted as a member.  She played harp in the top two orchestras for that season and is playing as well for the current season.  She is a senior this year and will graduate in May at the age of 16.  

Victoria has been active in the quilt shop to varying degrees over the last six years.  She’s fairly accomplished with a needle and thread and has made many of the sample quilts and stitchery projects you see on display.  She’s taught several of our ladies both redwork and needle punch.  When she has a redwork sample to stitch you will often find her sitting beside Miss Martha who will be blanket stitching another project.  The two of them chat away like there wasn’t the almost 60 years difference in their ages. 

My favorite photo - Age 12

As you can probably guess by now we are very proud of Victoria.  She has grown into a lovely young lady who, more often that not, is still a child at heart.  She loves to pick on her brother and defends her friends with a fierce loyalty not often seen in one so young.  I include this photo because it’s my favorite and it’s a rare sight to see her with her hair down.

Coach Victoria

This is her most recent photo.  It will soon hang on the upstairs wall with all the other staff members in the gym that she grew up in and where she is now coaching.  Yes, she missed gymanstics so much that she couldn’t stay away, but because she is so busy with music, dance, school, and the shop she cannot fit competition level training time into her schedule.  She loves her little students and is enjoying her new role on the gym floor.
Happy 16th birthday Little Girl!  May God bless you with good health and many many more birthdays.

More Goodies!

One of the great things about owning a quilt shop is that you don’t have to wait until Christmas for it to feel like Christmas!  We see the gentlemen from UPS or FedEx almost daily and they never fail to bring us some wonderful goodies to enjoy and then pass along to you.  The last couple of weeks have been no exception!  Here’s what we’ve received lately…

12 Different Designs!

The first thing I want to show you is note cards that match the Rose of Sharon Block Book from Martingale.  In this day of e-mail and texting I still love to look at and purchase lovely note cards.  I actually prefer getting a card in the mail to electronic communication any day.  I can keep cards, and yes, I do keep almost every card that I get in the mail, but e-mails, etc. are so transient and less likely to endure for the long haul.

The lovely gift box contains 12 different designs, one on each 5″x5″ card, as well as envelopes.  These are the top 12 designs from the 2010 EQ Rose of Sharon block design contest in support of the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative.  You’re going to want two boxes of these cards, one for sending and one to frame and hang throughout your home or sewing room.  Those who visit and don’t look too closely will think you did a wonderful job on your tiny quilt blocks.  I wouldn’t tell them any different, unless they ask of course.  After you’ve framed the cards you’ll be left with a lovely little box that you can put 5″ squares in and give as a gift, or turn into a pincushion or sewing kit.  Yes, I admit to being a pack rat and would definitely find it difficult to part with the box once empty. 

If you look at the August 18th post you’ll see a review on the Rose of Sharon book with these and many more designs.  Or, you can visit www.martingale-pub.com for more information as well.  Once there you will also want to check out their FREE desktop wallpaper and patterns if you haven’t already. 

Super Value!

We also received more of the 2011 That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar.  These calendars are like giving three (or more) gifts in one.  Not only can they be used to keep track of important dates each month, but they have a pattern for the quilt shown each month, and once the month is over the photo of the quilt can be framed as art, because that’s exactly what it is.  In fact, you could share the photos with others and end up giving several gifts without spending any more money, especially if you do your own framing.  I’ve shown you the back of the calendar, but you can see each month when you visit their website and view the gallery.

Crazy Quilts & Holiday Ideas!

Remember that can of worms I mentioned in the last post?  Well, we have three more magazines with which to entice you.  The first is the December issue of “The Quilt Life” from AQS.  I’ve not had a chance to sit down and read all the way through it but just the cover makes me want to take a vacation day, which quilt shop owners don’t get paid for…
I love crazy quilts and that’s one of the first articles that I turned to when I flipped through the magazine.  They say it’s the ultimate Victorian home accessory and since that’s the style of house we live in, or at least I like to think it is, I had to check it out.  And then there are the recipes, Sweet and Spicy Chai Truffles from Ricky and Smoky Nuts and Bolts from Alex.  The Victorian postcard also caught my attention.  Feel free to send me one anytime .  There’s even a story on quilters in Iceland!  Don’t miss this issue because it is stuffed full of great information and inspiration.

20 Great Projects!

The latest issue of “easy Quilts” by Fons & Porter is chocked full of great quilting/sewing projects.  They range from quilts, of course, to table runners, a chenille snowman pillow (really cute!), two scarves, and a vintage apron (great for hostess gifts anytime).  One of my favorites is a quilt with appliqued cardinals.  These quilt patterns are designed so that you can get them finished quickly with a minimal amount of effort.  Some will become go-to patterns for a long time.

Christmas Time's a Comin'!

The latest issue of Mary Jane’s Farm has also arrived.  While this is not a quilting magazine, it often contains articles on quilting.  This issue, for example, talks about how to turn a cutter quilt into heirloom ornaments.  There are great recipes and home decorating ideas as well as ideas on how to do things that are more friendly towards our environment.  This is one of those grab a cup of tea or coffee , prop your feet up, relax, and just savor you time with a great magazine.
OK…it’s taken me more than a week to get this together and posted so I’ll stop here.  I really need to make a date with myself and just make daily postings of the new things that come in rather than put it off.  Of course, changing a life long habit is not always easy, but more often than not it is necessary.
Enjoy the day!

Catchin’ Up!

It’s been a busy week with trying to catch up from being gone to NYC all of last week.  I’ve yet to catch up on my sleep but everything else is pretty much done.  The only thing left to do is to get you up to date on what has come into the shop over the last couple of weeks.  Get a nice cup of tea, or maybe some hot chocolate.  That’s what I have, Godiva hot chocolate to be exact, with marshmallows.  Mmmmm…now get comfortable because this might take a while.

Confederate Generals Panel

The only new fabric of note is our Confederate Generals panel by Windham. For those in your family who are history buffs this panel will make a wonderful wall hanging with a little help from you. We did receive a couple more Civil War era prints, but I won’t bother putting the photos here. You just need to drop in and check them out for yourself.
Last night I opened a box of new books from Martingale. There are four new offerings this month and you’re going to love most, if not all, of them. To view the contents of a particular book go to http://www.martingale-pub.com, find the book you’re interested in, click on the photo and it will take you to another page where you can scroll through a gallery that shows many of the projects inside. I love this new feature on their website! 

20 Quilt Projects!

The first book I looked through was Fast Favorites from McCall’s Quilting.  There are 20 projects in this book.  As I was looking at the photos of the quilts I came to one and thought it looked awfully familiar.  Then I looked to see who the designer was and it turned out to be our very own Elaine McGarry!  I called her up and asked if she knew her Pathway to Nowhere quilt had been published in a book.  The answer to my question was, “No, I didn’t know that!”  I love sharing nice surprises with special people.

A little bit of everything!

The second book I looked through was Simple Graces by Kim Diehl.  The projects in this book run the gamut.  In addition to quilts she has a super pillowcase, pillows, coasters, and a door hanger that I know Miss Martha is going to want to do once she gets her Critter Christmas finished becaue the hanger has Yo-Yos on it.  There’s a framed French Knot miniature, wool pincushion, glasses holder, a tea towel, etc.  You’re definitely going to enjoy this book.  I know I am!

14 Great Quilts!

Now for number three…More Loose Change by Claudia Plett and Le Ann Weaver gives you 14 quilt to make using nickels, dimes, and fat quarters.  While I drooled over the quilts throughout the book, the dedication caught my attention more than anything.  Who would have thought that I, along with my fellow local quilt shop owners, would be classified as an unsung hero.  I’ve always called myself an enabler.  I like their description much better.

Awesome Applique!

The fourth book to come out of the box was Flower Show by Lynn Ann Majidimehr.  When the cover says it contains stunning applique on a patchwork canvas, it’s not kidding.  I get the feeling that the photos of these quilts, wonderful as they are, do not do justice to the real things.  The one word that kept coming to my mind when I was looking at them was, “Awesome!!!”  If you like applique and you’re looking for something different to do with the technique this book is a must have for you.

Now we come to the new magazines.  I seem to have opened a can of worms when I agreed to carry some new magazines in the shop.  Apparently, I wasn’t listening too well to the sales lady when she called.  Imagine that…

If you have someone with which you wish to share your love of quilting Fons & Porter has a Learn to Quilt magazine that comes with an instructional DVD as well.  This would be especially great for those who do not have a quilt shop close by where they can take classes.  It would also work well for someone who has taken a break from quilting and would like to get back into it without much in the way of cost.  There are at least ten quilt designs in the magazine, all of which a beginner would enjoy doing.  Even experienced quilters could use the patterns for making quick and easy quilts when the occasion calls for one.  Use the simple designs as a background and you can jazz them up anyhow you please.

26 Projects!

Another interesting magazine that just came in is the premiere issue of Best Weekend Quilts from Quilters Newsletter.  It contains 26 easy projects that cover just about any reason you’d ever need to make a quilt – from babies to holidays and even includes keepsake or memory quilts.   This one magazine alone will keep you busy for a very long time.
Another interesting magazine that we’ve never carried before is Quiltmaker’s Quilting & Embroidery.  Embroidery is being incorporated with quilting more and more.  One of the projects is a redwork quilt done on the machine.  Can you imagine the time that will save?  There’s a cute purse pattern, a wonderful update on a traditional applique quilt, a crossword puzzle quilt, and more.  It’s hard to pick a favorite out of this magazine, but I’d have to give my vote to the Boo Crew quilt whose embroidery elements are candy corn fellows all dressed up for Halloween.  I’m not big on that holiday myself, but I love candy corn and these guys are some of the cutest I’ve seen in a long time. 

Don't Miss It!

McCall’s America Quilts for Christmas is one magazine you do not want to pass up.  It is loaded with great quilt patterns including a super sampler quilt that is calling my name.  In fact, one of our ladies who bought the magazine this past weekend thinks we need to do this as a BOM.  Hmmm…where do we fit that in I wonder… 

2 for the price of 1!

Someone, somewhere  is always having a baby, and making a quilt for a new baby is probably one of the most fun things we quilters get to do.  If a baby quilt is looming in your future you’ll want to drop in and pick up Fons & Porters baby Quilts magazine.  There are so many cute, and easy, quilts inside that you need extra time just to figure out which one you want to do.  Not only do you get 16 designs for either babies or toddlers, you get to learn how to make gathered borders and deal with directional diagonal seams.  But wait, there’s more!  You also get a disc with all the patterns from the 2009 issue.  Now that’s what I call getting the most bang for your buck!
As you can see we have enough inspiration around here to keep us busy from now ’till the cows come home.  If we were equally blessed with time and energy we could crank out more quilts than the world would know what to do with.  I’ve just about decided that the easiest way to figure out which project to do first is to write each one that I like on a slip of paper, fold it up and put it in a hat, draw one and begin from there.  Of course, you know what will happen don’t you.  There will be a different project that I like just a little better than the one I draw out so I’ll put that one back and draw again in hopes of getting one that I like even better.  Yes, I can see myself doing that…I really, really can.

Farmer’s Wife – Month 5

Month 5 of The Farmer’s Wife Sampler was one of the easier months for me to put together thusfar.  Again there are only eight blocks to construct and only one of those is partially paper pieced.  All in all I wouldn’t be too surprised to find that our ladies get their blocks done in record time this month.

It’s a good thing that the blocks to be done this month were easy to get together as my daughter and I will be heading to New York City tomorrow and the last thing I wanted was to leave town without having everything ready for our ladies.   Now I can go without a care in the world and enjoy the trip.  It should prove interesting as I’ve only ever driven through New York on the way to New Hampshire many years ago.  We’ll play the tourist of course, but the Huntsville Youth Symphony will also be performing on Wednesday.  Yes, we’ll be hauling that harp all the way to New York.  If she didn’t sound so good I’d have her start all over again and play my trumpet instead.  It’s much easier to manage.  Much, much easier…

For a look at the blocks that our ladies will be doing this month just click on the link.  What do you think?  Don’t they make you want to get goin’ and get stitchin’ too?! Month 5 Images

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