Friday, October 28, 2011

Priority Alzheimer's

I've been involved with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative since it was founded by Ami Simms whose Mom was afflicted by this terrible disease. Their main fundraiser is the sale of Priority Alzheimer's Little Quilts -- quilts that fit into a priority mailing envelope. Their goal was to bring 1500 little quilts to International Quilt Festival in Houston, and THEY DID IT! All sales go directly to fund research for Alzheimer's Disease, which also afflicts my mom, who now lives in an Alzheimer's facility.
This is one of the quilts that I donated to the 2011 Priority Alzheimer's Project. This "Tiny Trees" will be for sale in their booth on Row T of the main exhibit hall at International Quilt Festival, Houston.

Here's a link to another of the projects undertaken by AAQI, "Alzheimer's: From Heartbreak to Hope" Each of the purple rectangles bears the name of a loved one who was afflicted by the disease. The strips were taken around the country and people lined up in droves to add the name of their loved one. Each of the strips was quilted and bound to make this amazing exhibit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Bear of a Year

Emaciated black bear cub at The Wildlife Center, Espanola, NM

I don't know if you knew that I also post bird and nature blogs at New Mexico Birds. I usually post a couple of articles each month, mostly about birds. But, my most recent installment is about Black Bears and the high number that are being found starving and injured during this record drought year. Wildlife and nature are a major part of my life, and I'd like to begin including links to those posts here too.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Days for Girls

My small quilt group, Designing Women, has undertaken several charity projects, but Days for Girls was quite different than any of our previous endeavors. This worthy group collects and distributes women's sanitary supplies to women in Third World countries, primarily Africa. Did you know that in these areas, girls must miss school and women must miss work due to their monthly menstrual cycle? It made all of us realize just how lucky we are to take these supplies for granted.
Days for Girls supplies four different patterns for pad holders, in different sizes, to meet varying needs. This is the simplest to stitch the diamond shape. The organization also insets all the snaps that are used to hold them in place, so we didn't have to worry about that.
The Cutting and Organizing Crew: (l to r) Lisa Stewart, Pat Drennan, Mary Chappelle (who brought the idea to our group), Twila Bastian (our hostess for the day) and Debbie Caffrey.
Cathy Combs concentrated on making flannel pads that would fit into the pad holders.

So did Cynthia Figueroa-McInteer!
Five newbies joined our group for the "sew-in", including two teens. All of them are part of Hawks Aloft, the avian conservation group that I also head. From l-r: Amelia Porter, Lizzie Roberts, Rhianna Roberts, Chellye Porter and Lindsey Porter.

Here Lizzie shows off the cutest pad holder ever!
Amelia's pad holder is doubly cute!
Anita McSorley took on the task of top-stitching the pad holders.
Ta Da! And here is our finished pile of pad holders, 105 in all. All made from scrap fabrics from our stashes. We also made a pad to fit into each pad holder.
It was a great project, particularly meaningful for young American girls who learned more about the lack of basic sanitary supplies in some countries. Days for Girls supplies a goody bag that contains two pad holders, 10 pads, and also soaps and other hygiene supplies. Check out their website and think about have a sew-in with your group. You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quilting by the Lake - 2011

A Fabulous Class

Tricksters at QBL

Imagine my surprise when, after returning from lunch, I asked a question and several sheepish faces stared back at me. Finally Joanne exclaimed, "Don't ask me! I have the smallest head in the class!". That really got my attention and I wondered just how it was that she knew that. It turns out that they were busy using their flexible curves for another purpose besides drafting quilting patterns -- measuring the circumference of each other's heads.

Friday night was QBL Show and Tell, where each teacher and her class get up on stage to show the results of the week long class. Imagine my surprise when my class marched up on stage, flex curves in hand and then donned them as head ornaments!

We simply had way too much fun at QBL!

And, without a doubt, I had the best students in my class!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Very Special QBL Class

Nancy Sporn displays her work in progress.

It isn't often that the chemistry among a class rises to this level. It ranks among the most fun class ever! Students were skilled, creative, and mischievous. We bonded almost immediately. Of course, the SuperGlue helped the bonding process.
Joanne Williamson created a sawtooth border effect through careful selection of background fabrics.
Linda Santana used rainbow geese to surround her star.
Charles Johns' star features intricate edging to highlight each star point.
Sue Colwell's design is growing beyond the circular design.
Drafting the design.
Paul Leger and his star featuring rainbow colors. This is part of a larger project focusing on a community celebration in his home town.
Sally Ickes got the prize for bringing the most fabric to class.
Amy Quinn and her star.
Kitsee Demeree took classes from me many years ago. It is thanks to her lobbying efforts that I was invited to teach at QBL this year. Thank you, Kitsee!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

QBL - Accommodations

QBL is held at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, where the dorms are brand new and the rooms are arranged in suites. No traipsing down the hall to the communal bathroom. My Suite-mate was one of my favorite teachers, Libby Lehman. We had not been at a venue together for a long time -- so many words, so little time. Libby has special travel accessories, like this Baby Bird blow dryer, so small it would fit into a nest.

Quilting by the Lake - A Very Special Conference!

Jeannette Rossi and her star and Pointy Dude border.

The first class was a two-day Sensational Stars and Circular Borders class, followed by the three-day Flying Colors class. Almost everyone signed up for both classes so it was more like one five-day class, my favorite thing to teach.
They got a lot done too. Here Irene Dietlin shows off her star with the Flying Diamonds border.
Doris Prol got the prize for the fastest sewer in the class. She moved at light speed and it was all I could do to stay ahead of her, demonstration-wise.
Here, she shows off an entire goose strip, replete with Flying Fishies.
Cynthia Moreland opted to surround her star with a Flying Goose border. It was the mostest fun with totally great students.

Quilting by the Lake - The Auction

My first year teaching at Quilting by the Lake in Syracuse, NY. Hosted the the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, they ask faculty members to decorate an apron to be auctioned off on the final night to raise funds for scholarships. This is what my apron looked like when it arrived. Pretty ordinary!
I thought black and white graphic prints might just do the trick. And, I found a couple of rainbow goose strips to go along with the B/W fabrics.
Stitching ... Stitching ...
All done! Now, for the auction part! We, the teachers, collectively decided on a beach theme. A field trip to Walmart yielded beach towels, a beach ball, little balls (100 of them), and a cute little bucket. Libby downloaded beach boy music. Jane Dunnewold stuffed the beach ball under her apron! Imagine that! Then ...
We got to dance on stage as our apron was auctioned off. In all, they raised $5,000 for scholarships! Way to go QBL!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Bathrooms, er, Toilets

Did I mention that sheep are big business in New Zealand, with 4 million people and 40 million sheep? And, that Kiwis have a good sense of humor!

The Glaciers -- Fox and Franz Josef

Geology on a massive scale! Imagine the power that carved these steep glacial valleys.
And, on a more detailed level, the glacial ice carved the rounded, intricately patterns rocks that litter the valley floors.

Mike and Madeline scampered right up to the base of the now retreating Fox Glacier.
While at Franz Joseph, the current glacier is a fair trek up the valley. We lacked the time necessary to fully explore this one.
Justine and Karen enjoyed the walk
as did Shirley.
We were left with a sense of awe and insignificance at the power of ice.

Donna Stewart, The Wool Patch

At Harihari, we visited Donna Stewart and her husband in their home, a tea with outstanding scones, and more surprises.
Donna works exclusively in wool, and had a small basket of hand-dyed wool for sale. Her business, the Wool Patch, will be undergoing changes soon. Donna is pursuing her dream, and after eight years of trading and meeting some wonderful people, she will be studying art and design full time at Christchurch Polytech. Donna's work is unique and all of her quilts are wool. This one features many of New Zealand's rarest birds.
While this quilt is more traditional.
Everyone, especially Jane, really enjoyed the show and tell, but the biggest surprise was ahead - -

PUPPIES! Their Jack Russell terriers had produced six little pups one month earlier.
Justine holds up one of the pups so it can get a smooch from our driver, John.
Betty was instantly in love. I suspect there will be a puppy in her near future.
It's a good thing that we would all have to get on a trans-Pacific flight. Otherwise, we might have had to scrap over who got to take one home. Here, Judy bonds with another pup.
While we were acting like besotted fools, Mama Dog just took it all in stride. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your home with us.