Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Storm at Sea"

New gallery of my "Storm at Sea" students' work below.
Check it out!!!

Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers and teachers.

Teaching is more difficult than learning because what teaching calls for is this: to let learn. The real teacher, in fact, lets nothing else be learned than learning. His conduct, therefore, often produces the impression that we properly learn nothing from him, if by "learning" we now suddenly understand merely the procurement of useful information.

Today was the day. Three months ago, the owner of The Joyful Quilter, my local quilt shop, asked me to make the above "Storm at Sea."
 It is a fabulous pattern from Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day Company.

 I proceeded by chain piecing as much as possible, squaring up exactly as the pattern suggests, and focusing strongly on not sewing right through all those fabulous points on the diamonds and squares.

 Today my skills were stretched in my first quilt class where I was the teacher and not the student.

The class consisted of three students: C,  L and N. Like all students, each brought a certain set of experience and skills to the classroom. My job was to help guide their way through this pattern. Eleanor Burn pattern not only lays out every moment of making this quilt, but provides useful templates for creating the diamond blocks with ease.

Here is my sample for the day. It uses white as the background instead of black.

Here are the student's results. Check out C's points! She did a great job.

N is using a variety of fabrics including numerous different whites for her background.
 I can't wait to see the whole quilt!

Lastly, L is using a navy and black for her backgrounds and then scraps for all the other colors. 
What an awesome and different look it gives the blocks!

 The ladies each shared helpful hints with regard to cutting, measuring, pinning and staying organized. It was a pleasure to guide these ladies and to learn in the process of teaching.

Thank you, Susan for the opportunity, C, L and N for sharing your time in class today, and especially to Eleanor Burns for your fabulous patterns, tools and structure for making beautiful quilts!
More of my students' work from the October 20th and 26th, 2012 classes. Thank you for a great run of classes, Ladies. 
What a great time I had!!!!

 Finally, my light background sample runner in progress:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Autumn Eating!

As you all know, I participate in a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) share from Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, New York  (Roxbury Farm Website). The above veggies and fruits are some of my share this past week. All together we received arugula, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Carmen peppers, corn, Delicata squash, green beans, salad mix, Beefsteak tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, parsley and apples.

Not the best cook on Earth (I'd rather be quilting!), I depend on my friend, The Purple Cook, to guide my way through this new adventure in these fabulous and rich veggies. Her website provides cooking ideas and recipes, as well as freezing and long term menu planning ideas.

This week myself and another friend had our recipes featured on The Purple Cook. Check out the Sept. 13th, 2012  post titled "Readers Suggest: Arugula, Corn, Green Beans, and Tomatoes".

My recipe is the green bean salad which was a center piece of my bridal shower luncheon table well over a decade ago. Here is the link:  Green Bean Salad
(Photo borrowed from

Enjoy and Happy Autumn Eating!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 11th- A National Day of Service

The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of efforts originally launched in 2002 by the 9/11 nonprofit MyGoodDeed with wide support by the 9/11 community and leading national service organizations. This effort first established the inspiring tradition of engaging in charitable service on 9/11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks.
- From

Community service has always been a part of our family life. I am prone to volunteering myself silly and "quilting for charity" seems to be a regular activity for me.

Sept. 11th commemorations, however, always fall near my church's Dutch Fair. This annual autumn kick-off brings together the church and community in a large garage sale and family fair style event, which includes vendors, food, activities, a silent auction, book fair and ends with a chicken and dumplings dinner.

The table runners below are donations for the church's silent auction this year. In the name of full disclosure- my mother runs the silent auction and would have loved a full size quilt donation as well.

Both are made using fabulous fabrics and pieced with the 60 degree angle technique. The blue butterflies with gold accents used a center design with the only cuts at the ends. It's quilted on the obvious lines and free-motion quilted in the black center.

The Winter runner below was made from one stripe and pieced in the center.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative,, is by far the organization I quilt for the most. With each large quilt I make, I set aside my scraps and they become donations to AAQI. All the profits from the sale of these little quilts (no larger than 9 by 12 inches) go directly to Alzheimer's Research. You can read all about it on the AAQI website.

Below is my "Double Chocolat." It's made entirely from the palette of Moda's new line of fabrics with the same title.

Once upon a time I went through a Bargello phase. (Didn't we all?)

Below are the AAQI donations which have come from a larger unfinished Bargello work.
Two of the three are complete with lots of free motion quilting.

Finally a day such as September 11th, like Memorial Day, includes lots of remembrances.
Below are four donations to AAQI completed by Emily, a member of my quilting guild, in memory of Mary. Mary was also a member of the guild and was tragically killed along with her husband in a late Spring 2012 car accident. The quilt from which these pieces came was found in Mary's stash and became not four, but 10 small works which will live on in the form of fund-raisers for Alzheimer's research. Thank you, Emily, for helping to keep Mary's memory alive through her art!

Lastly, on September 11th, 2001 I lived where I could see the smoke from the World Trade Towers and I lost my television signal immediately after watching the towers fall. It was a day none of us will ever forget. 
Other than that, my only contact with a victim's family is through the Michael Canty Family Fun Run. Mike was a peer of mine, however older, in high school. I may have spoken to him once in the hallway, but otherwise, I did not know him well. He worked in the towers and died on Sept. 11th.

 His family, however, has kept Mike's memory alive through a college scholarship fund for a local deserving high school student. Since 2002, the Canty family has sponsored a Fun Run, crafts, raffles and BBQ event on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It brought the community together to remember and to honor Mike, who, I've learned, may not have been running, but would definitely have enjoyed the beer and the fun of the day! This year was the last year the Michael Canty Family Fun Run would be held. The scholarship program, however, will continue.  As of May 31, 2012, a total of $271,000 has been awarded in scholarships.


My children, seen above, ran in the children's race, made arts and crafts with all their heart,  joined me in the adult race, and then ate chicken like it was going out of style on September 2nd of this year. They know that they were running to help put another kid through college. 

I hope that my children will someday find a way to serve their community which as fulfilling as my "quilting for a cause" projects are to me..............until then, together we will run and we will remember.