Saturday, September 23, 2017

We have a Winner!!!

  Bloggers, we have a winner of the gallon Ziploc bag of scraps left from the sewing of the Quilts of Love & Valor collection. By a random drawing, the winning comment was submitted by Robbi Buckles. Congratulations and please email me at (orphansofwar@hotmail.com) your full address so I can get your prize shipped. :) 

  Have a great weekend everyone. I hope you ...

Keep Stitchin'
 Becky

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Big News! and a Giveaway!

  I know I've been out of the picture for months and I apologize to all my followers for that. I knew if I posted before this, I'd spill the beans too soon. I have some very exciting news to share. Around the middle of May I received a call at work from Amelia Johanson, an editor at Martingale Publishing. She asked if I had ever considered writing a book. I had to sit down quick or risk falling down or wetting myself! :) I said I indeed had thought of it. We chatted for a few minutes about my ideas and whether to proceed. After several email correspondences, it was decided to run my ideas past the other editors. They liked my ideas and voted to proceed with it. School was out the end of May and I started making quilts for the proposed book. I received my contract by the 3rd week in June and I've been busy ever since.

  The proposed title for my book is Quilts of Love & Valor. It is inspired by Charles F. Larimer's book Love & Valor: Intimate Civil War Letters between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner. My son gave me that book for Christmas in 2002 and I fell in love with it. The Ritners were a family living in  Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, during the Civil War and are Charles' great great grandparents. If you enjoy history, especially the Civil War, or you enjoy reading diaries or letters written in the past, you'll love his book. Some quilt shops sell it, but you can order it directly from Charles by emailing him at: clarimer@prodigy.net. Here is the cover. The ISBN #is 0-9673863-0-6.


  My book will feature 14 quilts (with patterns) I created from inspiration I got from the Ritner's letters. Sadly, none of Emeline's quilts remain in the family's possession today. Whether they wore out with time, were sold, or given away, we'll never know. Each of my quilts are based on common themes running through the letters or sometimes one particularly moving letter. Knowing that quilters often make quilts to help them deal with hardships, grief, and suffering, or in times of joy and celebration, I put myself in Emeline's place and created quilts as she would have. Given her financial means and standing in the community, I envisioned her as a quilter who had a large scrap collection from years of sewing for her family and could afford yardage when she needed it for borders and setting blocks. As most quilters have a favorite block, I believe Emeline did too. Her favorite appears in several quilts as the main block or in various sizes  in borders or cornerstones. You'll have to read my book to see if you can spot her favorite block. :) The book will also have the letters that inspired me, Ritner family photos ,and some pictures of orphan blocks and antique sewing items, all from my private collection.

  As a thank you to my followers for sticking with me in my absence, I'm hosting a giveaway. Just for fun, I'd like you to send me your guess for what Emeline's favorite quilt pattern may have been. By a random drawing of all entries, the winner will receive a gallon size Ziploc bag of scraps left from the sewing of the Love & Valor  quilt collection. I'll draw the winning name on Friday the 22nd. If you aren't a Follower, join now; then use your imagination and think like a 1860's quilter to guess Emeline's fave.

  Keep Stitching!
     Becky

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Online Again!

   Yea! The computer guru fixed my Windows 10 problems. Or rather, she fixed me. It was more of a problem of my not knowing how to navigate Windows 10. It took a little over 2 hours for her to teach this "old dog" new tricks. Now we'll see if I retain it all. :)

  This will be really short as I leave for school in a half hour, but I wanted to see if I can access my pictures and post a few. She did offer to come back if needed. (Does that reflect her doubts of my capability?) So here goes... These will be a few of the doll quilts I made this winter starting in mid December.

   A nice little grouping. The bottom center is the quilt I made for the 4th Annual Humble Quilt Doll Quilt Swap hosted by Lori.

Some close-up shots....














That's all for now. Off to work where I'll wish I was home quilting. The rest of you...

Keep Stitching!
Becky

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Winter Hibernation

    Maybe you thought I went into hibernation since my last post of August 2016! I almost wish I had. The reality was not so relaxing as a long sleep would have been.

    After that post I had computer problems over the next few months. Eventually my old computer died. I bought a new one in December with Windows 10. I HATE Windows 10, just so you know. I can't figure out how to do anything except check my emails. I cannot load pictures onto this computer, or if they're here, I can't find them. I'm having a tech person help me on Monday. So maybe I'll get back to normal posting WITH pictures.

   That wasn't all my problems this winter. It started in October with 3 weeks of severe tendonitis in my right arm. Excrutiating pain all the way to my shoulder. I missed 3 weeks of work and couldn't even quilt! I caught an upper respitory flu after Thanksgiving, missed 4 days of work and took 3 weeks to quit coughing. In early January I fell backward off the curb into the street, hitting the back of my head, laying unconscious for an unknown amount of time (it was 6 AM when I took the garbage out.) This resulted in a trip to the ER, x-rays and scans, treatment for a concussion, and another 3 days off work . It was a Thursday so I had the weekend in there too for added time to heal. In February I had a case of the stomach flu with all the discomforts associated and missed 3 days of work. I was only back for a week when I caught the mother of all chest colds, missed 4 days of work and coughed all throughout March.

  This has not been my best winter. I always hate winter anyway, even when I'm healthy. At least I'm here to tell about it, right? Glad to be feeling well and anxiously awaiting the computer guru's help. I'm not that good with computers, but I've always been able to do the essentials at least, till Windows 10 came along. I hope they don't ask me to do a commercial for them. It would not be pretty!

   So this post has no pictures. They all reside on my camera till I get help. I don't like to post with nothing to show. I have made 14 completed doll quilts (average size of 18" by 18") with hand-quilting this winter and want to share them with you all. So, please hang in there with me. I'll be back blogging ASAP! Until that time...

Keep Stitching,
Becky

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Missing Garden Pictures as Promised!

   I was hoping for the clouds to return so I could take garden pictures without the glare. No luck, but at sunset I went out and took these.

  The first is my boulder garden that Randy has dubbed, Stone Henge, because we are getting a lot of sight seers since I installed it. : )  The boulders are bigger than they look in the photo. They are all about 3-4 feet across and 20-30" tall. It took a large dump truck of topsoil to backfill behind them to create the garden. The garden is about 24' from front to back and about 30-36' across. The trees are Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Birdsnest Blue Spruce. The flowers are hybrid Daylilies, Hardy Phlox, Lavendar, and Creeping Phlox.





   This is my favorite boulder which I named Snake Rock. It has a 4" wide groove snaking across the top. I have no idea what caused it, but I love the look of it. When I water or it rains, the water flows thru the groove and pours out the end between the boulders. Fun to watch! Hey, I'm easily entertained. : )

  These are of Mom's arbor and adjoining garden spaces.... There are pink Knockout Roses planted in the center of each stone wall, not blooming on this day of course!.


  There are 4 varieties of Clematis planted on the trellis fencing on each side of the patio. Next year we should have more privacy when they fill in.



  These are the new compost bin...


  This working side faces south. Perfect for composting. The lush greenery in the front is volunteer mini pumpkin and gourd vines. I never have to buy them to decorate with again! Last year I harvested 21 and the vines were a third this size. They have spread over nearly half of the Berm Garden. In fact, I've had to prune them. They are garden bullies.

  These are of my Berm Garden. The huge flat rock in the lower front is a bonus rock I got with my boulders. It is 8" thick and about 6' across. I have it extending out over the dry river bed, which during a rain is anything but dry.

  Plants are starting to mature on the berm. I added the stepping stones this year and a ton of new topsoil to mix in.

   Remember the Galvas? They are my tin family who live in the Berm Garden. Mom (Valentine) and Dad are seen here. They're started to feel a little crowded.
   Can you see Rusty Galva hanging out next to the green trellis? Typical teenager...he doesn't want to be seen with his parents. : )
 This is the waterfall end of the dry river. The tall native grasses hide the waterfall itself. We just had a heavy rain a few days ago that washed some of the river rock over the falls into the drainage ditch. Randy loves that of course. : 0

   
My trees are getting some size to them now too.


  That concludes the garden tour. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by! As always...Keep Stitchin' 
Becky

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My Summer Vacation?

   School starts for me next Tuesday. This has been a wonderful summer, but it seems too short now. Every year I plan big projects to do during my summer break, usually garden related. This year was no exception. I had a long list this year. I plan to retire in two years so I 'm trying to get all the big projects done before then. I'm not getting any younger and where I used to be able to work 10-12 hour days working in the garden, I find 6-8 hours is stretching my limits now. A friend told me I needed to get back to work so I could rest!

  My first project in June was to build a two bin compost pile. I used green treated lumber and posts to build a 4" by 8' structure with a divider wall down the middle to form two bins. It stands 40" tall and sits behind my Compost Tumbler which I haven't had much success with. A church friend has a prolific compost pile and gave me the directions to make mine. By next summer I should have lots of rich compost. Of course, I had to create a garden setting around it to make it appealing to visitors. I spread a ton of river rock in front of it, moved my antique park bench, another red wooden bench, bird houses, and hung vintage garden tools , etc to the area to spruce it up. My husband just shook his head. Why decorate a compost bin? Why not, I said.


   I wasted no time starting the next project. I reclaimed an arbor I had built Mom 10 years ago. After her death  in January, I hauled it home where it spent the winter laying on its side on my patio.  I wanted to place it centered off my patio as  an entrance to my back garden. It needed some minor repairs first. Even green treated lumber has a life expectancy. It had grown out of square with the move and laying on its side. That was a challenge to fix. When I was ready to erect it in place, I had a high school boy, Rhett, help me because it was very heavy. Rhett is in a program called Silver Cord where students do volunteer labor leading up to graduation for special honors and to enhance their college resume. Yeah! Free labor, although I did feed him lunch. :) Once erected to its new home, I decided the arbor needed an enclosure. Mom had a rail fence on either side. I built a stone wall on either side to enclose the patio for more privacy. That lead to my decision to enlarge the flowerbeds on either side as well and wrap them around the front of the wall. Again Randy asked, "Why?"  And of course I said, "Why not?" Does a gardener ever really need an excuse to expand?

  July came all too soon and Randy decided we needed to go on vacation. We left on July 1st and headed for Gettysburg! We spent 3 days there and loved every minute of it. The battle was fought July1st thru the 3rd so we were there for the reenactment. I bought yards and yards of Civil War repro fabric at the wonderful quilt shop there, Needle and Thread, which specializes in Civil War cotton fabrics. And surprise!!! Randy stepped in front of me to pay for all of it. I was shocked and he said, "Happy Anniversary!" It was our 35th on July 11th. I thought the trip was my present, but I didn't argue the point. :) We went to Antietam National Battlefield, Harper's Ferry, Manassas (Bull Run Battlefield), and Washington DC over the next 8 days. I soaked up all the history I could and Randy had fun too. I think history is growing on him!. Some people go to Hawaii or on a cruise for a big anniversary, but Randy knows how to make me happy...Civil War historical sites every time.

  Here are a few of those moments in pictures:

  This delightful lady is Shelley Reetz who portrays Sophie Porter, wife of Union Brigadier General Horace  
Porter, aide-de-camp to General U.S. Grant. We hit it off immediately and I visited her every time we were in the vicinity over the three days in Gettysburg. Randy accused me of stalking her! 


 Recognize the fellow in the top hat? These gentlemen and several more not pictured, portray Union Generals, officers, and Honest Abe himself at various venues. They speak in the first person in narrative form retelling their career exploits. You really become convinced they are the actual historical people they portray.

  I met these lovely ladies strolling the grounds of the reenactment. LOVED their dresses.


  I'm standing in front of the pool at the WWII Memorial. This is a fantastic memorial to all who fought in the war. I hope all those still living get to visit it. I got goosebumps and was so moved by it. I can only imagine what they feel when they see it.
 
Here I'm holding a rifle that was actually used in the Battle of Gettysburg. It was so heavy I couldn't hold it in firing position.

And, of course I I had to see the Lincoln Memorial. Standing inside at the foot of his statue, I wanted to break out into the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Lucky for everyone present, I remembered I have a terrible singing voice, but I did hum it the whole time there. :)


I became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution last year, so I had to visit the DAR museum. I posed with my membership card at the entrance. There was only one bed quilt on display. It was in the "Texas" room. It's applique and mind boggling to see all those apples  (?) or giant berries in the baskets.


  
I took 479 pictures on this trip, so believe me, we saw a lot. I won't bore you with all of them here. (You're welcome!) This is already too long. I've tried to take pictures of my garden projects, but it's always too bright and they come out blurry. I will try at sunset again and post them next time if they turn out.

Till then, keep stitchin'!
Becky

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ditsy for Doll Quilts!

    Boy, it has been a long time. We have been having spotty internet for months. When I planned on posting, I couldn't get on. When I could get on, I had too little time to post. So annoying. Finally our Hotspot died altogether and it took a week for Randy to decide on our next service provider; then another week till Mediacom could install it for us. I have more bars than ever and it is so much faster too. Win. Win.

   I participated in Lori at Humble Quilts blog doll quilt swap for the third year. I was thrilled to come home from work one day recently and find a package on my front porch. 

 Inside the package...this is looking interesting.

   Oh, wow! A darling quilt and other gifts too!


  The quilt is perfect. She couldn't have picked any more perfect fabrics to suit my taste. Yummidy!
   And she used a vintage feed sack from Washington for the backing to personalize it even further.

   Thank you Laurie!!! I LOVE it. And thank you to Lori for hosting a wonderful swap. The name I received to make a doll quilt for was Kevin of Kevin the Quilter fame. I was more than a little nervous at making a quilt for a man quilter. From my experience I've found that male quilters are more precise and mathematical than women quilters I know, especially me! I chose to reproduce a c.1875 doll quilt from Ohio for Kevin. Let me tell you, I was very careful to use my best skills and create a quilt I was proud of for him. I made the reproduction as close to the original as I could and sent it off with my breath held. He liked it! Whew, I'm so glad.  ( 14" x 17 1/2")

  The original had a brown striped homespun in the center.  I chose a brown toile with a farm scene instead. I was able to match a lot of the other fabrics with repros I have in my stash.

  I've finished a couple other reproduction doll quilts lately. It takes the most time to try to match each piece in the original to fabrics I have. If I don't have the exact reproduction fabric; then I find one with same color, scale, and similar print. It's like a treasure hunt. You should hear me squeal when I find a match!

   This is a repro of a c.1870 9-Patch found in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I had to make it when I saw the main fabric was poison green. :) It is a petite 12 3/4" x 12 3/4".






  This next one caught my eye because of all the madder prints and ONE poison green triangle! I wondered why...  It's c.1875 from New England and is 12 1/2" x 14".

   I was thrilled to find I had the exact poison green repro in my stash. The original had a blue (?!) striped binding. I had a scrumptious madder stripe I thought would look better.

  Lastly, I finished the little Square in a Square doll quilt and will be gifting it soon. It finished at 11 3/4" x 11 3/4". I used a wonderful red and creamy yellow oriental toile for the backing. I can't show a picture of the back because the label would reveal the recipient.



  I went to the Kalona, Iowa Quilt Show and Sale yesterday. I took pictures of the antique quilts and will share next time. Thanks for stopping by. Keep Stitching!

  Becky