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Staying Close to Home

Don't you just love it when spring flowers start showing up in the stores?
Yesterday I ventured out of the house for a much needed haircut, which in some circles would hardly qualify as news, but for me it is noteworthy. If I was lazy before on this front, Lord knows I'm doing something that will facilitate that even more so in the future, as I've decided to grow out my bangs. Bangs, which according to my late Mother, I never should have had in the first place.

It was a daring thing to do, given how mean my parents were, to have a friend cut them for the first time back when I was in elementary school with a pair of nail scissors. Who knew I was such a rebel, aged 9?Actually, I can't really remember if I got a spanking with the paddle for that crime or not, but I do remember my Mom saying my forehead was too small for bangs. Funny how you remember that sort of thing so clearly. Anyway, perhaps she was right; I do know they grow so fast, and annoy me so much when they get too long, causing me to cut them myself. Poorly, I might add. More than once Monica has cringed at my efforts. Well, it is finally time to solve that. Just a heads up for the next time you see me in person.

Come to think of it, it is pretty newsworthy after about 45 years of bangs....

Speaking of Mothers, today would have been Bruce's Mom's birthday had she not passed away in 2010. I will never forget how happy I was when the Sentinel called to write a story about her!  Because Bruce and I have been together since aged 13, she was indeed like a second Mother to me. Just last week I made some potholders for a friend using some of her rickrack; she was quite the seamstress, way more accomplished than I am. I really like to spread her love around by using her notions, not to mention Angela has some of her Swedish Ivy in her back yard now after taking cuttings from one she gave me. Come to think of it, I'm a lot more like Bruce's Mom than I am my own. This quilt from Mom Peck has given me lots of inspiration.
Made from what appears to be old shirts, it is most definitely hand quilted and perhaps hand pieced! What a lot of work that must have been. Not to mention that there were no quilting blogs to consult, fabric choices in the thousands, along with handy ways to purchase said fabric. I, for one, have immersed myself recently in the quilting blog world and have learned quite a lot. Being mostly self taught, it turns out there is quite a wide range of ideas on how best to do things. I learned from one blog a new way to pin which works beautifully.
Rather than having the pins face inward, where your chance of running over them with a needle is great, she suggested the above placement which worked beautifully. As well, I'd always ironed the seams toward the darker side, however, others insist you iron the seams open which I did on this quilt. All of my seams, or at least 98% of them, fit together beautifully, so whether it is because I am improving or the ironing helped remains to be seen. I already knew about chain piecing, but again that amazing thread cutter is a wonderful tool to make it all easier. I was working on a design using some fabric I bought on sale at Hobby Lobby. Making it up as I went along was both fun and interesting in a good way. About six blocks are chained in the image below.
Laying them out on our bed I knew that I needed a little more contrast for the sashing (fabric between the blocks), deciding gray would be perfect.
Plus, putting more of the two inch red squares might be nice. I ran up to HL to pick up some gray, and lo and behold, turning around, what should I see but this:
One of the many images SunDance has written on. It is a really weird feeling to be surprised like that. As it was when I did a Google search for my name to find the article I linked to above. What should I discover but this! If anyone had told me eight years ago that I would be on the Getty images website, I would have called them crazy!

Well, the top was all done and it was time to use that table method again.
It worked so, so this time. Anyway, I spent about three hours on the quilting, completing about half of it. That seems like a lot of time, only to give something away, but if you consider all of the time I put into the Polasek, it pales. Plus, this seems way, way more useful, and I am all about useful.

Back to the photographer side of me, I can still remember the first time I photographed this gorgeous winter blooming plant. The color just thrilled me, and it still did when I saw it in Pam's back garden.
Isn't it something?

Some of my local friends might be interested in this blog post. Come to think of it, anyone who grows strawberries might find it useful.

Would you like to hear some good health news for a change? Do you remember when my market friend, Alan, came down with bacterial meningitis and nearly died? I am happy to report that I received a very hope filled Christmas card from him. In spite of losing both legs below the knee, his letter was joyful. Taking months, and months, and months, to get rid of the infection, he soon will be fitted with prosthetics, hoping to be up and about before you know it. I was, understandably, thrilled with his news.

The mornings have been chilly, thus I've wussed out on my bike riding but this morning, I'm putting on some warm clothes right now. Time to stray a little further from home...

Bundling up,

Gail
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