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The windows are open….

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and after the damp cold spring and long snowy winter that is a wonderful thing.  It will require practically daily dusting to remove the pollen that is coming in with the fresh air from all of the surfaces in the house but it is worth it.  Summer officially starts in 5 days but in my mind as soon as I can leave the windows open summer is here.  I love this time of year – well, lets be honest I love every time of year.  I love all of the seasons for different reasons but that is a topic for another day.  Today is about how everything looks bright and fresh and happy outside right now.  I love the poppies and the irises, I love that the peonies will be blooming shortly.  I love the blue skies and the big puffy clouds.

This past Sunday was fathers day. I had a nice phone conversation with my father.  Chuck got 5 very nice phone calls from the “kids”.  It was a sunny day and the weather was beautiful.  We had a nice quite day.

I have gotten a lot  done the past few days.  I am working on a new quilt – it will be a gift but I am pretty sure the recipient will not see is here.  I got the pattern from the Missouri Star Quilting website.  If you are looking for a new pattern you might want to check out this website – there are a lot of fun easy patterns.  This is a picture of the blocks on my design wall – this is not the final layout just a peak at the finished blocks.  I will move these around a lot before I decide on the finished quilt.  It is so much easier to use a design wall than it is to crawl around on the floor.

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I have also been spinning again.  I purchased some wonderful fiber from Weston Hill Farm – www.westonhillfarm.com – but I haven’t really started to spin that yet.  It is so beautiful that I want to practice some more before I spin it.  I have been spinning some fiber that I purchased at the Common Ground Fair last September.  It is such a relaxing craft.  I really enjoy it and I will have lots of wonderful yarn to knit when we hit the next season that I love.

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I also finished a penny rug this week.  I have it sitting on top of my Treadle Sewing machine.  I will probably not leave it there forever because the sun will fade it too much, but I like it there for now.

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I am hoping that the weather stays nice so that my veggie garden does well.  We are trying something new this year.  We have black poly with straw over it covering the garden this year.  Our hope is that this will cut down on weeds, hold the heat in the ground for the plants and help everything grow a little faster and bigger.  I will let you know how it works.

Garden and Pool

Garden and Pool

the garden

the garden

I hope you have a nice day and that you are able to enjoy the sunshine.

Be Kind…

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do we make quilts….

Georgette's Cookies

Georgette’s Cookies

Last night was our Annual Tea Party at Evergreen Quilters.  We have a wonderful potluck tea.  We bring lovely tea sandwiches and wonderful sweets for dessert, above is a picture of some delicious cookies with an amazing quilt theme.  They were so pretty I almost didn’t want to eat them.  We wear beautiful, funny and outrageous hats and we have a wonderful evening.

We ask 3 of our members to display their quilts and tell us about their quilting journey.  We have such talented quilters in our group it is wonderful.

As we were sipping our tea and eating our cucumber sandwiches, 3 of our Potholder quilts were being presented to 3 veterans in Arizona.

Veterans and their wives receiving their quilts

Veterans and their wives receiving their quilts

We have been making these quilts to present to Veterans to thank them for their service to our country.  The veterans were overwhelmed by the quilts, they never expected to be given such a tribute.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that we brightened someones day and that we were able to show how much we appreciate the service and sacrifice that they made for us and their country.

I will ask our membership to continue to make these quilts because it is so wonderful to be able to brighten someone’s day in a way that they don’t expect.  I really believe that paying it forward is a wonderful way to share our talents.  As quilters we love to create quilts and to be able to share that with such a deserving group of people makes me very happy.

 

We had a wonderful tea party and a great evening.  This is why I love being part of a quilt guild.  The ladies of Evergreen are always creating wonderful quilts, placemats and pillowcases to give to people who need them.  It is one of the best things about our group.  When there is a need we step forward to share our talents and fill the need.

Keep quilting….

Be Kind…

Faith

 

Great weekend….

tulips

 

What a great weekend I had!!!  First of all Spring has arrived and by Spring I mean warm weather without humidity.  Happy Dance!

raffle quilt in progress

raffle quilt in progress

On Saturday a group of ladies from my quilt guild got together to assemble our Raffle quilt.  It is such a good way to get a lot done in a short amount of time.  It is also a great way for beginners to learn new the finer points of getting your quilt to lay flat. There is nothing worse than a wavy quilt.  It is impossible to get it to lay flat and it is equally impossible to have it quilted.

Georgette, Carol and Terry

Georgette, Carol and Terry

 

Denise, Jane, Iola and Judy

Denise, Jane, Iola and Judy

Here are a couple of shots of our group at work.  We had a wonderful time and when we were done the hardest part of the quilt top was complete.  I have a couple of borders to add but they are measured and ready to be sewn on.  I will then applique some flowers around the edge to make it even prettier than it already is.

Of course Sunday was Mother’s Day – there was also a Marathon that was going right past our road.  A dear friend from Albany who grew up with our son was in the area with some of his siblings to watch his wife run the Marathon.  So while they waited for Avery to complete the run (she did very well but says she will never do it again), they came to our house for a little Brunch.  We had homemade muffins and fruit salad.

George, Katherine, me, Tommy and George plus a little bit of Chucks finger.  ;)

George, Katherine, me, Tommy and George plus a little bit of Chucks finger. 😉

It was so beautiful that we decided to eat outside.  I have not seen these wonderful young people is a long time and it was so wonderful to catch up with them and hear about the exciting lives that they are living.

The crew with Chuck.

The crew with Chuck.

I am so appreciative of the friendships that our children have developed over the years.  They are friendships that will last for the rest of their lives.  It is very easy for them to communicate with all of the new technology – one of the positives of the times.

After the kids left we went up to Portland and Chuck purchased me a wonderful a unexpected surprise Mother’s Day gift.  It is a Ball Fresh Tech Canner.  I will be able to can goodies from the garden without all the steam in the kitchen.  I will post some pictures when I use it.

The day was completed with lunch sitting outside by the river at Run of the Mill restaurant.  It is a microbrew pub and it is in an old textile mill in Saco – great lunch.

It was a sunny, warm day and I really enjoyed myself.  I had great chats with my 2 darling kids and a nice conversation with my own mother.  So overall it was a great weekend.

I hope yours was as well.

Be Kind…

Faith

Spring is trying so hard to get here….

my view this morning

my view this morning

This was the view from the car window this morning on my way to the post office.  How beautiful is that?!?

We spent part of Saturday trying to get some work done outside.  It has been a very slow, cold spring here in the northeast this year.  The trees are budding and the tulips are above ground but is has been a slow moving process.

 

I am always excited to start to get some thing into the ground.  It is ok to plant lettuce, onions and peas this time of year.  They do not mind the cooler temperatures.  With that in mind Chuck and I decided it was time to get to work.

getting the garden ready

getting the garden ready

We like to use as much organic material in the vegetable garden as possible.  We will, after all be eating the fruits of our labor.  I am not quite so picky with the flowers as I am the veggies for obvious reasons.  I will give the flowers a shot of Miracle Gro every now and then but never the veggies.

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This is the product that we use and it has worked well in the past.  It just give the garden a pick me up.

Many years ago we bought a little tiller – actually I think the technical terms is “speedy hoe”.  It helps blend the compost into the garden a bit easier and more thoroughly than by hand.

Chuck hard at work

Chuck hard at work

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So my Lettuce, parsley and onions are in the ground.  We got some rain on Saturday night so everything is watered in.  Now we wait.  Hopefully we will have a productive garden this summer and we will have wonderful fresh veggies for our salads.

Enjoy the sunshine.

 

Be kind…

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

So while I wasn’t blogging I was…

Having fun!!!!

We spent time visiting family in Florida.

Chuck and Gail

Chuck and Gail on the Beach!

We went on a sunset cruise in Sarasota.

Sarasota Bay

Sarasota Bay

We walked on the beach.

Longboat Key Beach

Longboat Key Beach

We had company and we ate wonderful food.

littleneck clams

littleneck clams

We went to a concert in Portland, ME.

Lake Street Dive @ The State Theater in Portland, ME

Lake Street Dive @ The State Theater in Portland, ME

We had our master bathroom re-done.

We torn our ugly wet bar out and had it replaced with this. 20140430-171027.jpg And I finished quilts.

The months of March and April were very busy but it was all fun stuff.

Be kind….. Faith

And we cooked……

Lamejoun hot out of the oven!

Lamejoun hot out of the oven!

Last Friday my dear husband and I decided that it was time to make Lahmejoun. My wondeful Armenian friends know what this entails, lots of work! For my non-Armenian friends, Lahmejoun is an Armenian meat pie, probably unlike anything you have ever eaten before. They are the best addition to any meal, or a meal by itself.

So Friday we went to the market and bought 8 lbs. of ground lamb, bell peppers, garlic, lots of parsley, crushed tomatoes, flour and yeast. For two and a half hours I cleaned, cut and diced veggies. Then I added all of that and some wonderful spices to 8 lbs. of ground lamb. Needless to say you need a very large bowl to mix all of those ingredients. That all went into the fridge to wait til morning.

The next morning I mixed 2 packets of yeast with lots and lots of flour. I think at this point it was about 6 lbs. of flour. To say that my arms were getting a bit tired is an understatement. The fun hadn’t even started yet! I let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

While the dough was rising I continued to chop veggies and made a pot of Minestrone Soup.  My mother-in-law Irma taught me how to make Lamejoun and whenever we made it together we also made a pot of soup to go with it.  Irma was not Armenian, she was French Canadian and Irish, she was a hell of a good cook and she happily taught me everything she knew about Armenian food. We always had fun when we cooked together.

I have 2 beautiful ovens, both were set at 500 degrees. Thankfully it was a dreary, rainy cool day so having the ovens on that high was not unpleasant.

To make Lamejoun you need to roll out the dough into a thin round disc about 7-8″ in diameter.  Then you add about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture.  I use parchment paper on the cookie sheets so that I don’t have to wash them between batches.

Chuck hard at work

Chuck hard at work

Cooking them is a 2 step process.  First they go on the bottom of the oven for about 8 minutes then they are moved to the top rack for an additional 6-8 minutes.  This is where Chuck steps in.  While I am rolling out the dough, he is watching the oven and counting the fruits of our labor.  The first 2 Lamejoun that come out of the oven go right into our mouths.  Oh my goodness! it is sooo good hot out of the oven.

We worked together for a couple of hours, until we had 6 dozen Lamejoun baked.  Trust me we were tired.  It is a lot of work but the end result is so wonderful.  We can go to the markets in Boston and buy Lamejoun but I have to say there is nothing like homemade. At this point we have 5 dozen Lamejoun in the freezer – we will deliver some to various family members over the next couple of weeks.

5 dozen ready to go into the freezer

5 dozen ready to go into the freezer

If it is a dreary Spring I will make more – they are a great dinner when you are busy and don’t feel like cooking.  Chuck and I had a great day cooking together.  I don’t know how my dear Mother-in-law ever made 100 of these by herself – she was quite a lady!

Now back to my quilting.

Be Kind…

Faith

I love this quilt……

Christmas Stars

Christmas Stars

This quilt has been in my life for 20 years, but until yesterday I couldn’t say that is was complete. I started it as a class at Log Cabin Fabrics. It was a block of the month class that met the first Thursday of the month for either 6 months or a year – I can’t remember. Seems to me we got 2 blocks each month. I opted to hand piece the blocks. I made the decision to hand piece the blocks for a few different reasons.

First, I love to hand piece, second, there are a lot of points in these blocks and I wanted to be sure to have pointy points, third, I love hand piecing!  I loved the fact that I could take the work with me where ever I was, in the car, at a field hockey game or the orthodontics office.  Those places were all part of my life when I started this quilt.  How life has changed.

So you wonder, why if I loved the blocks so much and took them with me just about everywhere, did it take 20 years to complete.  It became a UFO (unfinished object) for a few reasons.  After piecing all of the blocks they were all different sizes, not because I pieced them wrong – the idea was to trim the blocks to all match.  The problem with that was that I would need to cut off my precious points in order to have them all the same size.  They were stuck in a box to wait til later.  I would pull them out a few times a year and try to come up with a solution.

Well after 20 years I have progressed as a quilter and an idea finally came to me.  Add background borders to all of the blocks and them trim them so that all of the points would show and the blocks would all measure 17 1/2″ square.  Next step – put the quilt together – add sashing and borders.

Then it needed to be quilted.  I could not hand quilt it or it would take another 20 years to complete.  I don’t feel skilled enough to quilt it on my sewing machine.  A good friend suggested a long arm quilter that she has worked with.  I packed it up and sent it to Shirley York of Blue Moose Quilting.

Well, Shirley is truly an artist!  The quilting that she did on this quilt is wonderful, whimsical, it “completes” my quilt in a wonderful way.  Here are some pictures to show you how special it is.

 

Water Wheel Star

Water Wheel Star

Octagon Star

Octagon Star

Radiant Feathered Star

Radiant Feathered Star

St. Louis Star

St. Louis Star

Mariner's Compass

Mariner’s Compass

Castle Wall

Castle Wall

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

California Sunset

California Sunset

Interlocking Block

Interlocking Star

Hearts Design

Hearts Design

Flying Swallows

Flying Swallows

Snow Crystals

Snow Crystals

If you click the pictures you can see the quilting details a little better.

Happy Quilting and hopefully Happy Spring soon too…

Be Kind…

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilt guilds….

 

Evergreen Quilters Pin

Evergreen Quilters Pin

Last night I attended our monthly quilt guild meeting.  We meet 10 months a year on the 3rd Monday of the month.  We skip July and December.  July is too hot and lots of people are vacationing or up here in Maine waiting for the vacationers to arrive or depart from visiting .  We don’t meet in December because of Christmas – we are all too busy trying to complete that last gift or waiting for the festivities to begin.

The Evergreen Quilters are a chapter of the Pine Tree State Quilt Guild.  There are chapters all over the state, we are located in Southern York County.  Quilt guilds are a wonderful way to meet other quilters, to learn new techniques, to join with others to make items for Charity and to just have some fun.

When I moved to Maine in 2008 I knew that the best way to meet people with the same interests as I have was to find some quilters.  I googled Quilt guilds in Maine and all of the information that I needed to jump into the quilting fray was right there in front of me.  I contacted the President of the Evergreen Chapter and the ball started rolling.  Turns out the President was a friend of my neighbor, who was also a quilter.

The friendships that have developed from my membership in the quilt guild are wonderful.  Haha! but that is not really the topic that I started with when my fingers hit the keys.  What I was going to talk about was how wonderful quilters are!!

The quilters in our area and in our chapter have done some really amazing things – and here is a list of a few…

Every year we donated approximately 300 Placemats  to Meal on Wheels in York County.

This year we have completed or in the process of completing 14 Red, White and Blue quilts to be donated to Veterans.

A Veteran's Quilt being planned

A Veteran’s Quilt being planned

We handed out 24 packets of fabric to make quilts for children in need.  Some will be Linus quilts, some will be for Wrap-a-Smile (where over 19,000 quilts have been donated), some will go to the battered woman shelter.  There are sadly always children in need of the hug of a homemade quilt.

We loaded the back of a Jeep with handmade tote bags and toiletries for the battered women’s shelter to distribute to the women who leave their homes with next to nothing.

We congregate, we laugh, we create, we encourage, we teach, we comfort, we support, we share, we donate, we make friends and we quilt!

Machines at the ready - must be a lunch break

Machines at the ready – must be a lunch break

We are all working on a Raffle quilt that will raise money to support our guild – all members who would like to make a quilt block, we get together to lay it out, sew it together and another member will quilt it for us.  While doing this we learn new techniques, work together, make new friends and have some fun.

completed block

completed block

 

our quilt will be similar to this one

our quilt will be similar to this one

So if you are a quilter and you are quilting alone, find a group!  It doesn’t have to be an organized group with dues and rules – it can be a group that you meet at your local fabric shop, it can be a group that you have met online or on Facebook.  It starts out being about quilts and fabric and patterns and ends up being about friendships and support and real life.  Get involved – take from it what you need and give to it what you can.  It will be a blessing.

Be Kind….

Faith

Another UFO….

I am participating in a UFO challenge.  Earlier in the year I signed up to complete 6 UFO’s this year.  Every month on the 10th of the month we are given a #.  This month the #2 was chosen.  The second quilt on my UFO list is to complete a mystery quilt that I started a couple of years ago.  It was a mystery challenge that was done by Evergreen Quilters – the challenge was to have them done by May.  Well maybe it will be done by this May.

top completed

top completed

As with most UFO’s (aka unfinished objects) something makes you come to a screeching halt in your progress to complete the quilt.  In this case I sort of fell out of love with this quilt.  I didn’t have enough fabric to finish it the way that I would have liked, I wasn’t thrilled with the final layout of the quilt, and it wasn’t quiet large enough in spite of the fact that this was supposed to be the size for a Full Size bed.  Oh well, that is the issue sometimes with mysteries.  When you get towards the end the mystery is whether or not it will be completed.

another view

another view

The fabrics that I chose will be perfect in my guest room – I like the colors, and it is a completed top soooo….it is time to sandwich it and finish it.  I plan to quilt it on my domestic machine.  I need to decide how I want to quilt it – I have a pretty good idea what I am going to do.  I will get this ironed and layered and hopefully I will start quilting it this weekend.

the view from my back door yesterday

the view from my back door yesterday

The weather men are talking about another storm on Thursday.  We have a lot of snow out there right now but more snow is ok with me.  Of course I am not the person who is moving it all, and I know for a fact that the person in my house who will be moving it all is running out of places to put it.

I will be working on quilts -some new ones, some old ones and some that are somewhere in between.  Sounds like a good plan to me.

Stay safe in the weather – whatever yours might be.

Be Kind…

Faith

The fragility of life…

Last night while enjoying an early birthday dinner with our daughter and her boyfriend we got a disturbing text message from our son. He asked if we had heard any news about a tragedy. Of course when you are asked a question like that you stop what you are doing and quickly grab the phone to check out social media. It is amazing that we hear good and bad news in such an impersonal way.

A young lady whose family has been part of our lives for over 20 years had just lost her fiancé. This is a family whom we have loved, we have laughed together, worked together in church endeavors, and watched our children progress from toddlers to wonderful young adults with the amazing potential for happy, complete lives.

Sadly, one of these lives has been altered in a way that none of us can comprehend. Lindsey’s fiancé had not been feeling well, he had gone to doctors, he had various tests performed but no definitive answers. Sadly he passed in his sleep on Saturday morning. He was 30 years old, he was kind, thoughtful, smart and the love of Lindsey’s young life. They had made plans, they had dreams!

Now all of the dreams have crashed! Her mother and father are devastated! They lost someone they love but they also have to try to console their daughter. What do you say, how do you ease the pain when your own pain is so intense? How do you answer the questions, why? How do you not lose faith? How do you continue when your life as you know it has been snatched away in such a sudden and devastating way?

My heart is breaking for them all. I have no words to offer them, I can only call and remind them that they are loved by many.

So remember to never take for granted the people you love – life is fragile and can be hard with questions that we can not answer.

We will continue to pray for the family of my friends and to pray for all of the people who have lost this young man. I will pray that they can find peace and that they will find the answers as to why this happened.

Remember Be Kind…
Hold the people that you love close,

Faith