A good time for hand quilting

 Happy Dia de los Muertos!  Here in TX, the day of the dead is a pretty big deal, with friends and relatives celebrating the people they've loved and lost.  Not a day of sadness, a day of remembrance where they enjoy things that they enjoyed with their departed.  It's actually very nice, once you get past the dressed up skeletons and understand it for what it really is.  

The handmade Christmas quilt is starting to feel like a quilt.  That feeling is hard to describe, but in the quilting process, there's a point where it stops feeling like three things being sewn together and starts to feel like one thing, a quilt.  Maybe it's like reaching critical mass of stitches or something, but when it gets to a certain point, it "feels" like a quilt, it feels weightier and solid.  This quilt is there.  

I finally finished that narrow border I was quilting three straight lines in...there's nothing harder than quilting a line that looks straight and I took it out a lot and put it back in again.  The border itself isn't straight so I had to quilt a line that looked straight and centered, whether it is or not.  Then, I could focus on the border.  I ran into trouble with the original echoed half circles and  tried a couple other ideas, but then figured out the original idea and proceeded with it.  I had to pull out a fresh water soluble marker to do it tho.  And a small compass that has a holder large enough for the pen.  But, once I had everything I needed, marking moved fast and I can quilt one of those in about an hour and a half.  I'll fill in the V shapes along the outside with more echoes that come to a V shape.  And, I'm probably going to have to get back into the quilt center to fill in some V shaped spots that I left empty.  You can see some of them just inside the red border below.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to put there, but anything other than more echo would likely look pretty odd, so that decision is made.    

Halloween is kind of hit and miss at our house.  We hope for the best and usually eat more candy than we give away.  This year, we decided to set up a table outside like we saw people do last year.  Of course, putting candy on a table means monitoring it.  We made bags with candy and a small wind-up toy in each one.  We probably had more fun than anybody that walked up.

This is what we looked like after dark.  

This was the hit of the evening.  Rob had this plastic cauldron and he drilled a hole in it and put a string of small orange lights inside and covered it with white tissue paper.  Everybody was curious about it and reached out to touch.  

I made chocolate chip cookies for us and fresh bread and the best chicken salad I ever made from a couple of leftover pieces and we had sandwiches on warm fresh bread.  Then we went out and waited for the children.  When the children got taller than me, we turned off the light and went inside.  We might have had a dozen kids.  

I'm getting ready for the next phase of fence and am digging up the back garden.  There are holes everywhere that will get filled and trampled and rained on and will flatten out and I'll forget where everything came from and am planning to re-design the whole thing anyway.  It is both discouraging and exciting.  

But, I'm still getting flowers.  The nasturtiums I planted this year are still going.  It's the only time I've had this kind of success with them.  And, one of the hibiscus is giving me the occasional flower.  The green zinnias are really putting on a show and even my poor, sad Mr Lincoln rose gave me a flower this week.  

I got the nicest surprise this week.  My boss sent me a fruit basket as a thank you for a project that's just wrapping up.  I was very touched.  We haven't created the relationship I'm used to enjoying with my managers.  We're not close and we don't "chat" and it's all business between us.  That's okay.  We'll figure out our way.  And, you don't really know a manager until they write a performance evaluation anyway and a fruit basket is kind of a performance evaluation, I guess.  I never think to take a before, so here's an after picture...after I took out two pounds of crinkly brown paper that jumps and escapes and ends up EVERY where.  

Y'all have a good week!  Find something that makes you happy and let it.

Be well!!  Lane


Anonymous said...

Your porch set up is great. I’m sure the 12 kids and your neighbours appreciated your efforts. The basket was a nice gesture from work. Can’t say many bosses would do that. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day. Mary

Dot said...

Your Christmas quilt is so SATISFYING. Every time you share a picture, it looks better and better - softer and cozier....

The two of you really know how to celebrate the holidays. Your decorated table, Halloween lights, and witches' cauldron are delightful.

By now, after a hot summer, every blossom in your yard has been earned.

Nice show of appreciation from your boss who may well wish to be as personable and verbal as yourself and settles for a fruit basket.

Related to that, I have been working on following your good example and pushing myself to be more verbal and approachable. You seem to have a good grasp on what matters in life.

Anonymous said...

We had a decent number of kids, but only about 30% of a 'normal' year. My favourite was the 12-13 year old who showed up in a suit and tie (his friend was in a King Kong costume) and tried to negotiate for the candy we have left.

"Ma'am - it's getting late. It's starting to rain. I'm sure you're tired of coming to the door. My friend and I are willing to help you out - we'll take all the candy in that bowl off your hands, no questions asked."

I explained that I already have a shareholder who has a claim on the dividends (my teenaged son), but gave them both a few generous fistfuls of candy just because he made me laugh. Hopefully I haven't created a monster...

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Your quilting is lovely. Happy dia de los Muertos to you! I hope you have seen the movie "Coco". It is the best Disney Pixar movie in years. Sensational. Kudos on your gift from your boss. What a kind thing to do. Enjoy your success! I love Rob's idea about the cauldron with tissue paper and lights. I will try that next year - if I remember!