Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year to all those who comment, or just lurk. I'm spending time with my family today. More about that tomorrow. Here is a picture taken of The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Surgery and Quilts

My sister had surgery on her hand today. It was done at the Orthopaedic Surgical Center in Asheville, NC.

Isn't this a neat sign?

Can you see how the tree trunk on the left side of the sign has an image of a joint?

Did you notice it in the first picture?

Thankfully it went well. She is well plied with pain killers. So far she hasn't said anything really funny that I could blackmail her with later. Guess I should have insisted on general anesthesia (just kidding).

Dr. Bruce Minkin of Carolina Hand Surgery Associates was great. He took time to explain to us how he fixed her finger with a pin, drew on the pictures, personally went over her do/don't list. if you need a caring physician to deal with a hand injury in the Asheville, NC area please consider Dr. Minkin.

Here is a great picture of her finger with the pin complete. I hope this isn't too graphic. I'm a nurse so I find this fascinating. Dr. Minkin was able to straighten the bone. The pin stabilizes the fracture so the bone can fill in at the fracture site.

She has described how weird her arm/hand feels. She had a regional block so she got to be awake and involved in her surgery. Apparently the arm weighs quite a bit, we just don't realize it because we have all our muscles working together to make it all work together.

The quilt aspect of this post tonight is the theme her hand surgeon has going on in the office. They have quilts through out. I was very intrigued by the round one. The staff states it is about 20 years old. It is mounted on plywood. I did get to check quite a few up close. They were hand sewn and quilted. Sadly not one of them had a label to tell their story.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Broken hand, no quilting

No, I don't have the broken hand, my sister does. She fell in my driveway on Saturday. We discussed going to the Emergency Room when it happened but we weren't sure it was broken at 1st. She also expected the ER to be busy so it was decided to see how it did. The plan was to go to the ER later, when it might be less crowded. Off to the quilt shops we went, see yesterday's posts. She is a trooper! The hand specifically didn't get better so off we went to the ER to get her hand, ribs and knee checked out. After only 5 hours in the ER it was official - she had a displaced fracture of her "pinky" finger. Knee and ribs checked out OK. Today we got to spend hours and hours at the hand surgeon, who was wonderful! Sis is scheduled for surgery tomorrow afternoon. I will work, DH will bring her to the surgical suite. I will meet her there, stay for the surgery and then bring her home. I am hoping while under the influence of "good" drugs I might hear some interesting info I might not normally hear. Just kidding. We both lead pretty tame lives. If everything goes as planned she will just have a wire to stabilize the joint...worse case is the need for a screw to hold the bone together to heal. I don't think she will be quilting for awhile. We expect she will be able to return home by the weekend. For every black cloud there is a silver lining - we get more sister time.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another TN Quilt Shop - Tennessee Quilts

Our trip to TN Quilt Shops continued at to Tennessee Quilts in quaint Jonesbourgh. This great shop in right on the main drag into town 114 Boone Street.

The shop is in a converted 2 story house. Both floors are full to the brim with fabric, notions, really cool tools, books and shop samples. Upstairs there are also quilts on consignment.

We lucked out, they were having a SALE, as my sister can attest.

Here is a shot of one of the sale fabric tables. I don't know if you can see it on your monitor but the colors of fabric Donna is holding matches the colors in her shirt. I wonder if that means those are her colors?

We met one of the Owners, Linda Crouch-McCreadie... She was wonderful - assuring us we could take our time, even though it was close to quitting time. Here she is cutting fabric for their online sales. In the front and on the right is my pile.

There were several wonderful and helpful employees when we arrived. This is Judy. Linda is in the back.

Judy is cutting the yummy fabrics for several baby quilts. Have I mentioned our 2 precious twin granddaughters and that a new one is on the way lately?

When we got there it was daylight. When we left it was dark. The staff and shop were wonderful. Thank you to all who were there on Saturday.

If you get a chance the short drive from Johnson City to Jonesbourgh, TN is well worth the 10 or 15 minute drive. We definitely will be back.

TN Quilt Shops

My sister and I decided to spend some time together on Saturday by taking a ride, it was a beautiful day to go up the mountain into TN. It is only a little over an hour to Johnson City, TN. The first shop we visited was Nimble Thimble. That's me ready to shop!

We really enjoyed the shop, lots of different items, large class room and quite a few store samples of various patterns. We met a wonderful person, Myra. She was wearing a present from a family member that was just too cute. I really need to find the pattern. It looks like a vest, is knitted as a circle with 2 arm holes. No hole for her head so part of the circle covers the back and part of it creates the neck line. The yarn was really chunky and tutti fruiti colors.
Thanks Myra for a wonderful visit!

Sister Donna on Left, Myra on Right

Friday, December 26, 2008

Twas the day after Christmas ...

and all through the house where 4 dogs a barking and playing, 2 cats a hissing (at the visiting dog), 1 sister visiting. We had a quiet Christmas, my DH, my youngest sister and myself. I worked in the morning then home to spend the rest of the day with my little family. No quilting but I did get some great frog fabric from my sister. I will have to find the perfect project for these fat quarters. My sister and I are going to Tennessee on Tuesday to view the quilt shops over there. My DH got me a GPS system for the car - guess he thinks I'm lost when I'm really at the quilt shops.
My mother finally received her quilt today, guess the bad weather in the North delayed the shipment. She is thrilled and is planning on finding coordinating pillow cases for her bed to match. It feels good to give hand made items for Christmas. Did you make anything for someone on your list this year? I would love to hear what you made and the story behind the item.

Today I am sharing another of my DH's photos. This looks like an angel floating through the trees to me. Can you see it? Hint - the head is to the right, wings up and down, the body to the left.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

International Fiber Collaborative

When I was taking a Quilt University class, my instructor Marjie
Mc Williams
was creating a piece for the gas station project through the International Fiber Collaborative. She has a post on her blog February 11, 2008 regarding her piece.She has mucho good stuff on her blog. I'm sure she would love for you all to take a look at her website and blog. I have bought fabric from Marjie and it is great - and at a fair price. She ships very quickly. No affiliation, just a satisfied customer and student. Did I mention I have taken all of Marjie's dyeing classes that have been offered? Great instructor. If you want to learn to dye - I recommend her and Quilt University.

I quote from the International Fiber Collaborative website for this project
"The Gas Station Project

The first project of the International Fiber Collaborative was to provide an opportunity for people who enjoyed working with fiber arts, whether professional artists, hobbyists or students, to come together from all over the world to express their concern about the worlds extreme dependency on oil. The project was called the World Reclamation Art Project (W.R.A.P.), otherwise known as the Gas Station Project. Participants crocheted, knitted, stitched, patched, or collaged 3 foot square fiber panels that expressed each participants concern about the topic. Simply by designing and creating these panels and participating in this project, they were expressing their concern about this important subject to all nations. All of the panels were then sewn together to completely cover an abandoned gas station in central New York State."

There is now a new project for fiber artists.

Again quoted from the website "The Tree Project

The International Fiber Collaborative announces its 2008–2009 project, Interdependence. Participants will create a full-sized tree for display in April 2009 at Big Springs International Park in Huntsville, Alabama. Much like a live tree is interdependent on its leaves and roots for survival, societies are interdependent on the greater whole, family units, communities, and countries.

Participants from around the world are invited to create leaves to contribute to the creation of the tree. In total, up to 30,000 leaves may be used.

How to Participate

* Leaves should be created using fiber or fiber techniques.
* Entrants are encouraged to be creative in deciding on materials and techniques, and may paint, stitch, crochet, patch, quilt, knit, or glue (water resistant glue).
* Each leaf should measure roughly 5 in. wide (at its thickest) x 7 in. long.
* Leaves may also have shape and dimension.
* Submissions may relate to interdependence in a social, economical, political, ecological, or geographical way.

The tree’s trunk and branches will all be wrapped with handmade fiber sleeves.

The application deadline is March 15, 2009."
I will have to think about this - I may just enter.

I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate.

All things Quilty

That is what this blog is suppose to be about. I also include tidbits about my family. I belong to a number of lists. The QuiltArt list has a few posts about quilting cars. As I followed the links I found this about a woman who created a quilt on her car using nail polish. I don't believe I would be brave enough to do that. My mom taught me to think about resale value and my car is not an older car that I could do this to. It actually gives me the shivers to think about it. I do like the idea of the car wrap better - no damage to the car paint. I am really intrigued with the idea of wrapping my car in a "quilt" but suspect it would be quite expensive. I am not affiliated with this company and don't know anything about them but it gives you an idea what I'm talking about.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mom's Christmas Quilt

I finally completed my mom's quilt. I sent it out priority mail to get it to AZ in time for Christmas. There is a story behind the quilt. It is written out on the label. I used my embroidery machine to create the unique label. It is a cross stitch pattern of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to indicate the reason for the season. I used some fabrics that are a reminder of our trip to Sweden a few years ago. For those who don't know, my mom is a 100% American born Swede. When I bought my Volvo they had a Overseas delivery program. We got 2 free airline tickets to Sweden, 15 days of free insurance and registration, a night in a 4 star hotel (really beautiful). We got to meet relatives we didn't know and to visit my paternal great grandmother's birth place. It is still in the family. To commemorate this trip I created a quilt in the Swedish colors, yellow and blue. It is backed with fabric I bought in Sweden (that oddly enough was made in the US) After returning to the US I found the same fabric at my local quilt shop for less money. They have to import and there aren't many fabric shops as we know them here. I have more fabric that will find their way into future quilts. I hope mom enjoys her lap quilt.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Flakes

I found this fun site in a round about way. I belong to a QuiltArt list. Karen Fridy had a post on her blog, Design Stitches, which directed me to Mrs. Goodneedles's blog and on to Make-A-Flake. What a hoot. Be a kid and give it a try. I did and had a great time. It took a bit before I got the hand of the scissors. What great quilt blocks these would make.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Palliative Care Month

I work as a Nurse Practitioner in Palliative Care for CarePartners in Asheville, NC. This post is not about work, it is about a group of wonderful, giving people who provide care to the very ill and how we work together. Palliative Care month was actually last month. One of our very dear members, Barbara Anderson-Friedman, had a brilliant thought about a year ago. She provided cotton squares to a number of the hospital units and asked them to make squares depicting what Palliative Care meant to them and their patients. The blocks were so creative and wonderful, all works of art by themselves. In November the Palliative Care team from the hospital and those out in the field got together for an evening of fellowship to create the quilt top. We had pizza, washed our hands and created. Those who couldn't sew pressed fabric, pinned squares together or just enjoyed the fellowship. One of children of one of our Docs even created a block with a picture of what Palliative Care meant. (It looks suspiciously like his family, but in the pure sense of palliative care that is what it is to him - safety, love and family). That is what this palliative care team is for so many in our community.
We had a great time together. The quilt top is ready for the 2 borders (Yes I will get them done - after Christmas) then someone better at quilting than I, will get the quilt to finish. The plan is to present it to Misson Hospital and it will be hung in a place of honor. Another example of teamwork, love and care we provide to those with life limiting illnesses.

Debbie Aiton (L) & Barbara Anderson-Friedman(R)

Marcie Johnson

Josh Kamell

Nancy Crouch (L) & Jan McNamara Houck (aka me) (R)

Dr. John Langlois

Dr Andrew & Elena Kamell

The quilt top - finished as far as we could go - with Jennifer Kamell (L) & Kerri Spinelli on (R) the rest of us are hiding

Jennifer Kamell, Me, Nancy Crouch, Barbara Anderson-Friedman, Kerri Spinelli

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ATC for Christmas

I have been experimenting with ATC (Artist Trading Cards) or perhaps they are really more in the postcard category. They are for the most part 4x6. I made a few for the folks at work. I have enjoyed playing with my ribbons, scrapbooking doodads, and tonight some yarns. I believe I will make up a large piece then cut it into the size I want and see what turns out.
Please let me know what you think of first attempts. Thanks!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sorry about the puddle song

After helping a few people learn how to add a subscription link to their blogs I thought I'd go look at widgets. I found and tried adding several widgets to my blog. A Christmas Countdown widget and a pug dog singing. I laughed so hard I almost made a puddle of my own. (I am getting to that age where laughing hard can have unexpected consequences). I hope you all enjoy the song.
Here is another picture from my favorite photographer, Dan my DH. This would make a great quilt don't you think? Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Friends

Today has been a busy one. Trying to complete items for Christmas, listening to audiobooks and meeting new friends from the QuiltArt list. Most of us have blogs and there have been discussions on the list regarding how to promote ones self during this down turn in the economy. As I have linked to all these talented people's blogs I discovered that many of them aren't promoting themselves through their own blogs. I have gotten to "speak" via email with several artists today. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share with so many, so quickly. I hope I have made some new friends today. I look forward to seeing their new posts now that I am able to subscribe to their blogs.
I am including a picture of my Husband's that makes me happy. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Thought to Ponder - or From the mouths of Babes

I was talking to one of my sisters today when she shared a story of a conversation she had overheard at work earlier this week. She's been thinking about it all week and I suspect now I will too.
There was a small child at the therapy department. The therapist asked the father if the child had been talking about a "pretend mother". The father said he had been. He had been telling his parent his real mommy wasn't perfect but his "pretend mommy" was. This is an interesting concept for a small child; real people aren't and don't have to be perfect but in a pretend world things can be perfect.
None of us are perfect and looking for the perfect anything can make you angry and never really satisfied with what you have or are. During this holiday season I want to remember that my real life isn't perfect but my pretend life can be. I would rather have my real life...warts and all.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New work

We have completed 2 craft shows in the past week. Here are a few of the items that did not sell so far.

This is "Elegant Angel" Original design by Lily Kern. Class taken at

An original design. "Bear Creek" hand dyed and commercial home dec fabrics. Adapted from Dan Houck's photo.

12 Dog Days of Christmas. Commercial fabric panel

"Summer Bargello" Created during class Bargello Seasons with Ruth Blanchet - Won 1st place Table Runner at the WNC State Fair, Sept 2008

"A View of the Blue Ridge Mountains" Created with hand dyed and commercial fabrics. Original design adapted from Dan Houck's Photos - Won 1st place and a Judge's Choice Mixed Media at the WNC State Fair, Sept 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Lights and Cotton Candy

Bet you are wondering what these 2 things have in common. Tonight DH and I went to Bristol Motor Speedway to see the Christmas lights display. It is magical! We haven't been for several years and it certainly has grown in the number of lights displayed. It took almost an hour to drive through it all. At the end there is Christmas Village set up in the infield. They have the optional photo with Santa, one craft booth, Speedway Souvenirs and food booths. One of my weaknesses is Cotton Candy whenever we get to go to fair like advents - usually during WARM weather. It was 20 degrees but I got my Cotton Candy in pink and blue - I am such a happy girl!

Back to quilting related items. I have just finished up 2 craft shows. One for work, with 10% of proceeds donated to the CarePartners Foundation and one with the Leicester Artist Group. I will be doing one more on Wednesday in our inpatient hospice unit for patients, their families/friends and the staff. I am not going to make any more items. Very few of the Christmas items sold at the 2 previous shows, go figure.
I want to thank all who came, looked and most of all purchased one of my items. They are all made with love.