Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christine's Flower Garden

Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.
–Jonathan Swift

When last we left off, we were pretending it was early September. I was hurriedly trying to get a signature quilt finished for a lovely lady I know who was turning 100. This is her graduation {photo of a} photo in 1932. Isn't she beautiful? Nevermind you can see my reflection in the glass and I was too chicken/lazy to call her family and ask for a digital copy, which I know they had. Just ignore the extra head growing out of her right frontal lobe and the extra shoulder over her right ear.

Back to our story. As the deadline for the party drew near {which I might add was 11 days before her birthday. #talkaboutstressful}, I started to collect signatures for this fantastic quilt that I'd dreamt up using 1930's reproduction fabrics to make 100 signature blocks for the lady who had just been coming into her own in the 30's and was now turning 100. That was really, really fun! Families from the neighborhood and many of her long-time friends stopped by to sign a block. It was so interesting to hear what they had to say and how they felt about Christine. It turns out that she is pretty much as amazing as I had suspected.

~time elapse~

Ta, da! Signed and assembled blocks with sashings ready to go. I used Sharpies because they are relatively inexpensive and have infamous non-solubility. Yes, I know they're not archival, but they come in such lovely colors and I'm hoping that the acid will all wash away when/if the quilt gets washed some day.

~time elapse~

All told, there are 338 signatures on this quilt

Christine is just as beautiful as ever, wouldn't you agree? She cried a little bit when I gave the quilt to her at the party. And, actually you can see it wasn't quite finished. Note the binding clips on two of the four sides. I told you they moved the party up 11 days, didn't I? So many people were invested in this quilt that I decided that taking it unfinished to display was the only option. I came back after the party, brought it home to finish the binding and took it to her the next day. We had a nice time looking over all the blocks together.

As I was working on this, I kept praying that I'd be able to get it done in time for her birthday. I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off. There were so many people involved that I didn't want to let them, myself, or Christine down {not that she was aware of the quilt, but I feel like it is kind of a let-down to give someone a gift after their birthday}. There is a fellow quilter in my ward {congregation} who has a long-arm and when she came to sign a block, she offered to do the quilting as her gift to Christine. Who am I to turn away the answer to a prayer when it knocks at my front door? It was a no-brainer to take her up on her offer.

I mentioned that it was fun to collect signatures, right? The top right square in the picture above went all the way to Pittsburgh and back to be signed by a family who used to live in our neighborhood. The block under that, in the bottom left corner, is signed by a little Japanese woman who has been friends with Christine for years. That, I think, is my favorite block of all.

The block below in the bottom left corner is a close second. The couple who came to sign this block dropped by at about 9:00 pm, and embarrassingly enough, I still hadn't cleaned the table from dinner. They were very gracious while I cleared away some dishes, wiped the table and pulled out fabric samples so they could pick which they liked best. The wife narrowed it down to three different blocks and then told her husband to choose. He started to choose something that was not in the options she offered. She got him back on track and then she asked him to sign for them because he had better writing. Their kind negotiations and the familiarity of their back-and-forth was very telling of a long marriage of cooperation, mutual respect and love, and friendship. Anyway, I think their birthday wish was rather creative.

Gratuitous artsy smartsy quilt shot. That trumpet vine makes the perfect backdrop for quilts. I wish it were in bloom all year round.

Christine still lives in the house her husband built for their family in the 60's. Her family checks in on her several times throughout the day. When the weather is good, she walks around the block. She was even still driving until just three years ago, when her eyesight became too poor. She still goes out in the early mornings, before the sun comes out {she's very careful to avoid exposure of her skin to the sun} to weed her roses. I thought it fitting to call this quilt Christine's Flower Garden. The finish was really down to the wire and I didn't have time to sew the label into the back like I usually do, so I put it in the corner. I kind of love how it turned out.

More about this quilt:
Working on a plan
Moving forward with a plan
The first half of the blocks
The second half of the blocks

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Rest of the Signature Blocks

The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it. –Jean Paul

Let's pretend it is the beginning of September for a minute, instead of almost the middle of November. Then this will be a new and shiny project instead of old news. I've been working on signature blocks. I already showed you these cute green blocks.

I'm working towards 100 blocks. Here are some more green ones.

I tried to do about the same number of blocks in each color. These are the last of the green ones.

My turquoises aren't very turquoisey, but love these pretty 1930's reproduction fabrics.

More turquoise blocks. I'm going to put these together into a quilt for sweet lady in my ward {congregation} who is turning 100.

The last four turquoise blocks. In 1930 this friend of mine, Christine, turned 16. That's why I wanted to use the reproduction fabrics.

I love this sweet blue print.

And this one.

And this one.

I was really excited to finally get to the purple blocks. Partly because they are such pretty fabrics and partly because I meant I was almost done!

The blocks are 5" and paper pieced. I printed the pattern out on freezer paper, which meant I could peel the whole pattern off the back of the blocks when I was done.

To be honest, I was really relieved to get these last four blocks done. Christine's birthday is September 17th. But the party is scheduled for the 6th.

And here's a little recap of all 100 blocks – 25 sets of four.

Time to get them signed and all put together!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Story of My Life

Happily ever after isn't a fairy tale. It's a choice. –Dawn Weaver

This is one of my favorite wedding pictures. It serves as a reminder that some things never change. My hairstyle has been pretty much the same for the last 18 years. And Mr. Bug still has that amazing smile.

What a photo can't measure is how much two people can grow together.

I've spent 43% of my life with Mr. Bug. It is impossible to imagine life without him. It hasn't always been easy, but the struggles make the good times even sweeter!

P.S. This video portrays a very sweet love story. Don't ruin it by looking up they lyrics for the song. They are kind of depressing.

P.S.S. The Corn Wagon Quilt Company, my favorite LQS is also celebrating their anniversary today. They have $1.99 fat quarters from 9 to 10 am. I think I'm going to do some double anniversary celebrating today.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sabbath Songs: Glorious

There are times when you might feel aimless
You can't see the places where you belong
But you will find that there is a purpose
It's been there within you all along
And when you're near it
You can almost hear it

It's like a symphony just keep listenin'
And pretty soon you'll start to figure out yo part
Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies
In each one of us, oh, it's glorious
–Stephanie Mabey

This beautiful song is featured in Meet the Mormons, which chronicles the day-to-day realities of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints living in countries around the world. If you love cutie David Archuleta's voice a free mp3 download of this song is available.

Find a theater near you

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mischief Managed

Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life. –Adele Brookman

I suppose it is just as well that I haven't blogged in several months because the cobwebs on the decor seem to fit nicely with the theme of the day.

I'd really like to dust off the old blog and get back to regular posting. It's been one wild and crazy adventure at Bug Cottage lately, and totally in a good way. I increased my work hours over the summer to close to full-time, which is counter-intuitive since the Not-So-Little Bugs are home more during the summer, but things all worked out. When school started, I took on some new responsibilities at work and so bumping up to full-time followed.

As time has gone by, I've been keeping a mental list of all the things that I want to blog about, but the list keeps increasing and it seems so daunting a task that I haven't had the nerve to start. I've done lots of fun sewing though, and I'm hoping to get in a few posts about that soon. In case you were curious, I did finish the Signature Quilt for the woman who turned 100 in September. The party was 11 days before her birthday so it was close, but I got it done in time.

As you can imagine, I've been spending a little more time than I used to at work. They are a really wild and crazy bunch. One of the programmers pulled the best prank ever today.

Halloween is my favorite. Dressing up is so much fun. There was a costume contest today {winners to be announced Monday} and my office mate and I decided that we were going to be Minions. We were nicknamed the AdMinions {Admin + Minions}. It was a great collaboration and I think we pulled it together nicely.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Girl's Camp Highlights

In the strength of the Lord I can do all things.
He know hows to change the weakness in me,
So I will let His love lift me up.
He believes I can do hard things if I will trust Him,
And walk forward in the strength of the Lord.
–Jenny Phillips

Monday, June 2
Waaaayyyyy back at the beginning of June, LadyBug and I went to Girl's Camp.
{Can you believe that 23 teenagers turned up at 7:00 am to go camping?
LadyBug is on the front row, second from the right.
I am on the front row, third from the left.}

I use the term "camping" here very loosely. It was a lot different than when I went to camp as a young woman. We had to sleep in tents, dig latrines, and cook on a number 10 can stove. There were a few similarities. We were definitely up in the mountains, surrounded by trees and deer and nature. But that is where the similarities ended. We slept cabins with bunk beds {there were no mattresses; you had to bring a foam pad, but is definitely better than sleeping on the ground}. We had electricity and running water and flushing toilets and showers {never mind that finding time to take one was a completely different matter}. We still had to cook on propane camp stoves and pot guts ventured into our pavilion area to pick up any food we dropped. But there was a fridge in a pantry area with a door that closed to keep the pot guts from getting into the food storage. On a scale from one to roughing it, I'd say we were only one step down from the Ramada Inn.

The camp is situated on 8,000 acres and about 2,500 girls stay there each week. Over the course of the summer 70,000 young women each spend five days enjoying the best Utah has to offer. We left bright and early Monday morning. We had 23 young women from our ward attend. After we unpacked our gear and settled in, we had several fun activities with the other young women in our stake {around 100 more girls}, including a rousing version of Bazooka Bubble Gum, complete with gum for chewing.

Tuesday, June 3
Tuesday was hike day. There were several different hikes as part of the camp certification, and which hike you went on depended on how many years you'd attended camp. I went with the first-year girls. It was a little short of a 3-mile hike and all of the first-years in the stake went together. It wasn't LadyBug's favorite activity. We went at our own pace, walking at almost the back of the procession, but we made it in the end. The trails were amazing, criss-crossing all over the camp and marked with signs so that you could find your way to and from almost anywhere. We didn't have a particular destination, but just made a loop back around to our campsite. The paths were wide enough for only one person and we were asked to stay on the paths, preserving the foliage. It was incredibly beautiful and very peaceful. Even though there were 2,400 other girls there somewhere on the mountain, aside from the girls in our stake, I felt like we had the place to ourselves.
{Top left: Legacy Lake
Top Right: LadyBug and me at the summit of our hike
I know that hat is dorky, but I wear it anyway
Center: Entire group of first-year campers
Bottom Left: My first year campers - Kenna, LadyBug, Abbey, Me and Jada
Jada just turned 13 and the other girls are 12
Bottom Right: Moving upwards along the trail}

Wednesday, June 4
Wednesday we got to go canoeing on Legacy Lake. It was my favorite day. LadyBug, one of our other girls, and I shared a canoe and had so much fun paddling around.
{The bottom picture is a panorama of about ¼ of the shoreline.
Right click on the photo to open in a new tab so you can zoom in for more details.}

Wednesday, we also provided the camp an hour of service. I was so amazing at how self-sustaining the camp is. It is staffed mostly by volunteers; retired couples serving together. They have their own water treatment plant and everyone who comes and stays at the camp gets an opportunity to give back just a little bit. During our service, we pulled some logs along the trail back to our campsite to be cut into firewood. Prior to that, someone had been into the woods to cut down trees that had died. The trees were cut into manageable size logs and dragged to the trail for us to take back to camp. From there someone else cut it into firewood so that we could use it in the evenings for campfires and s'mores. Anything that wasn't large enough for firewood was run through the wood chipper by someone in our group and then later, another group could take it in wheelbarrows along the trails to keep them from getting too dusty and dry. In one our, we provided the camp 125 man-hours so that the next group could enjoy this beautiful camp.

Thursday, June 5
Thursday was the challenge course. There were five or six {I forget} low challenges and each ward was asked to send one or two leaders to be trained on those so they could help the girls when it was their challenge course day. It had a really fun time helping the girls and the challenge course is one of their favorite activities for the week. The high challenge, of course, is the highlight of the day. LadyBug and I were in separate groups; my group did the high challenge first and then moved on to the low challenge where I was trained. From there they moved on to the other courses and I stayed put. I got to see and help LadyBug and my other girls when they came through my challenge, but didn't get to see any of them on the high course. I was told that LadyBug met the challenge with determination.

You start by climbing a rope ladder. Then you have to move from the rope ladder to a suspension "bridge." At the end of the bridge, you get to go on a zip line. My goal for the week was to enjoy the experience as much as possible, so I didn't think about it, but just put the harness on and climbed the ladder one step at a time. I'm so glad I did.

Friday, June 6
When I was asked to work with the Young Women in my ward January, I knew that I would get to do a lot of fun things. And there would be some hard things, too. Girl's Camp was hard and wonderful. When you throw 23 girls together into two cabins and they spend all week hiking and canoeing and staying up late giggling, there is bound to be some drama. But I have to say, the drama among these girls was minimal.

Aside from all the fun things we did at camp, there were opportunities to feel God's love and guidance and to learn together. We met together as a stake for Family Home Evening on Monday. We had wonderful speakers on Tuesday and Wednesday night. We sang together and prayed together. Thursday night we spent together as a ward talking about our experiences and the things we had learned. And each of us was able to spend some quiet time reflecting, praying and studying. Those private moments I spent seeking guidance from the Lord were well spent and have helped me to make some important decisions.

We were all also given a challenge to complete during the week. There were scriptures to memorize, songs to learn, talks to read, questions to answer. You could complete the challenge at your own pace and every one of the 23 girls in our ward, plus all of the leaders who attended {believe me, there was no way I could have pulled it off by myself. The camp director was spectacular, as were the other two leaders who came up} finished the challenge. As recognition for this, we were given a beautiful silver pendant with a young woman and the Provo City Center Temple {currently under construction, and which is very special to me} etched in gold. These were created just for our stake and I was so thrilled to earn mine!

All too soon, our week at camp was over. We were packed and ready to go by 9:00 am. I was home, unpacked, the braids out of my hair, showered and smelling sweet as ever by about 2:00 Friday afternoon. In the weeks since then, even though I got rid of the camping smell, I haven't forgotten the things that I felt and learned there; most importantly that in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Signature Block Quilt Update

Some quit due to slow progress never grasping the fact that slow progress is progress. –Unknown

For me, life is particularly busy lately and quilting and blogging have had to kind of take a back seat. Work is busy. My kids are high on the priority list. I spend a lot of time cooking, because I have to. Gluten free and dairy free is hard to find in fast food restaurants or even in prepared or partially prepared foods at the grocery store. I'm not complaining. We're eating a lot more fresh foods without preservatives. And I've enjoyed exploring new tastes and finding ways to eat delicious food that doesn't disagree with my body. I've become a curry addict. It is awesome.

Right now, the sewing project that occupies my limited time is a signature quilt for a very special lady in my neighborhood who is turning 100 in September. I've been thinking of this quilt since she turned 99 last September. I bought fabric clear back in March. And I've been working on blocks since mid-May. Each set of four blocks takes about an hour, give-or-take, depending on how interesting/how much attention the TV show I'm watching/listening to requires. About an hour a day is all I have for sewing and what seemed like slow progress has turned into this beautiful stack of 52 blocks.

Since I didn't post as I went you get all the blocks in one giant, picture heavy post. A lot of the prints came from the 30's Playtime line by Chloe's Closet for Moda. This is one of them.

Loved this print! It came in several colors and it was hard not to get them all.

This is how I left things when I finished working that particular evening. The next morning, it looked like a perfectly staged photo op, so I took it.

Moving on to the reds.

See comment on pink block in same print above.

This is another print that I had a hard time not buying in every color. I love those pretty roses!

Orange is such an underrated color.

This one is a Lori Holt print.

Each set of four blocks takes a little less than half of a fat quarter. I'm definitely going to use this print in a fall quilt.

I love yellow. It is so sunny and bright. This is another print that came in several different colors, but I only got it in yellow.

This sweet print might just be my favorite, but I can't say for sure.

The rose print also came in yellow. I didn't get more than two colors of any print, but it was tempting.

This, I think, was my least favorite print. But once I cut it and put it together, I like it. A lot.

All put together, those 52 blocks make 13 of the 25 flowers for the quilt {layout}. I'm more than half-way to 100 signature blocks! That is pretty exciting! The half-way point is sort of the barrier to me; it is where the mundane becomes exciting again because what I have left is less than what I've already accomplished.

After I put together the collage, I started in on the green fabrics. If you ask me my favorite color, I would probably say blue. Or maybe red. But secretly, I think that green is my real favorite color. And now I have 56 of 100 blocks done.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Stitch In Time: May Finishes Giveaway Winner

A stitch in time saves nine. –English Proverb

So, I looked up the phrase "a stitch in time saves nine." I wanted to know its origins. Also, finding the perfect quote for my posts is a part of my process. Sometimes a quote is exactly what I need to tie everything into a nice, tidy prose package. Sometimes it takes me in a different direction. And sometimes, it just distracts me. There's a lot of information out there, if you know what I mean.

I always thought that "a stitch in time saves nine" meant that if you hurry and do a sloppy job, you'll have to redo. Or in the in the case of sewing unpick and redo. I don't know about you, but I hate unpicking. But from what I read, the saying is meant as a warning against procrastination. A small tear mended now will require only one stitch, but if you leave it and it gets bigger, you'll need 10 stitches to fix it. And if you rearrange the letters of this little advisory, they spell out, "this is meant as incentive." I'm a world class procrastinator. Perhaps I should take the incentive.

Words of caution with subliminal messages aside, I thought it was a clever play on the words to name a linky party for finished stitched projects each month "A Stitch In Time."

The irony of all of this is that I am just now posting the winner of the May Finishes Linky Party. I've been putting it off until I have a chance to click and comment on all of the links. I like to do a thing properly. After all, a linky party is all about showing off your stuff in a socially acceptable forum. And seeing all of your beautiful finishes is something that I really enjoy. But too much time has passed and I need to announce the winner.

Before I do that, I have an item of housekeeping. I cancelled the June Linky and mentioned that I may take the whole summer off. Obviously, the linky is on hold as I haven't opened a July post. At the moment, I haven't decided whether I'll be starting up again after the summer or not. But I absolutely reserve the rights to the name "A Stitch In Time" when I do start back up.

Thank you to everyone who has participated over the last 2½ years and thank you to the many who linked up in May. Without further ado, the winning number, drawn by LadyBug, is 10.

30's Playtime Charm Pack

Congratulations to
:partytime: Beth :partytime:

Beth will receive a 30' Playtime Charm Pack by Chloe's Closet for Moda from The Fat Quarter Shop, provided I haven't procrastinated too long and they are still in stock. Make sure you check out the adorable place mats she made for her mom. There were lots of other great finishes in May, too. Since I haven't been able to check them all out, how about if you tell me which, of those you visited, were your favorites?

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