Thursday, November 17, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 11/17/16

Hi, everyone. I'm sitting here wondering how it is possible that a mere week from today is Thanksgiving! I'm feeling totally unprepared for the holidays to be so close upon us.

Last Thursday night, I attended the 2nd annual Coffee and Chocolate Soiree (more pictures here), a fundraiser for Central Valley Justice Coalition, an organization raising awareness of and seeking to prevent human trafficking in our valley. Our daughter-in-law, Christa, is heavily involved in volunteer work. It was held at a cool venue in the artsy Tower District, and as we learned more about the extent of human trafficking,  we also had a chance to sample lots of fabulous chocolate and other treats.

As I've mentioned before, Christa is a gifted communicator, and we are proud that she is using her talents to raise awareness and also educate girls and work toward prevention.
Brian, Theresa, Jason, Jane, me, Christa, Jill

I'm not sure why Mark sent this to me. Or why he keeps saying, "Don't make the redhead mad." I'm starting to get a complex. I'm not one of those redheads with a temper. I'm NOT *stamps foot*
I posted this on Instagram with the caption: "If you have any questions at all regarding my party affiliation, this is it." Enough said. And if you want one of these (and they are super soft!), you can find them on Instagram, @sewstateuniversity.
Our son, Aaron, has known Tricia, the mother of this cute little guy, for  his entire life. Tricia was six weeks old when we started going to the church we still attend. Besides church, they went to high school and college together. So when Tricia and her husband went to Portland, Oregon, on vacation, they found the brick in Pioneer Square in memory of Aaron and Christa's first child, Caleb. So special.
Every year, very good friends from Calgary spend time in Carmel, one of our favorite parts of the California coast. We left Sunday morning to meet them there. And it's that time of year when traveling can be somewhat treacherous due to fog and low visibility. It can get much worse than this.
The shop windows were already decorated and it seemed so festive.

We had a wonderful time with Russel and Ingrid.
The next morning, Mark and I found a spot in Pacific Grove to watch waves. It was gray and foggy, and the waves were really crashing, although it's always hard to capture that in a photo. The biggest waves always show up right after you have given up.... We turned the classical music on, and watched for about an hour.

A few miles down the road, in Monterey, it looked like this.
Seen at Levi's cross country meet yesterday, these t-shirts worn by parents from another participating school. Look closely. First of all, "elementary" is misspelled, but also the name of the school is Storey, not Story.
And then on the front, "your" rather than "you're." Now I'm wondering if their son's name is actually Nathan.
Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 11/10/16

Last week we celebrated my father's 89th birthday at our house with family. I'm not sure that he will remember the celebration, as sadly, he has Alzheimer's. But we did have a lovely time and he seemed to enjoy it.
We have talked about pulling out the yucca plant in our back yard. Almost as if it knew what we were considering, it decided to explode with blooms this year.
Seen on my walk the other morning.... Glad there wasn't a car parked on the street.
It was fun to see Levi run in his cross country meet yesterday.
I am completely caught up on bee blocks. It is kind of bittersweet. The Mid Century Modern bee was one I carefully curated four years ago, but decided to bring it to a close this year. Many beautiful quilts have been made over the years as the talent in this group has been amazing. Thanks to all who have been part of the bee over the years.
Improv blocks for Nancy
Elizabeth had such a great idea. She wanted us each to make the block we had chosen when it was our month to choose, out of Anna Maria Horner fabric, essentially a sampler quilt. I think that is such a great idea. This was a fun one, as I got to make another "books for baby" block, like the ones in Ella's quilt, and I used the selvage as the book spine. Now I want to make a whole quilt of designer "books." 

I'm also part of a "spelling bee," where over the year we have made words for each other. This bee is also coming to a close, and it is my turn this month. I have chosen lyrics from my favorite song, The Prayer:

Let this be our prayer,
when we lose our way
Lead us to a place,
guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe.

This has been long been my favorite song, since I first heard it sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. This week, I heard a new version by David Archuleta and Nathan Pacheco. I hope you will take a few moments to listen.

I have received my first words. I love these words made by Mary.

Elizabeth chose "guide us," which seems especially appropriate at this time in our country. I think this song will become even more meaningful to me in the coming days.

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Finish: Books for Ella

This quilt has been a long time coming, so expect this to be a picture heavy post.

This is Ella. She came into our family at three months of age from the county social services system. Our son and daughter-in-law, Aaron and Christa, are wonderful parents with huge and loving hearts, and from the beginning it was their hope that the placement would eventually end with Ella being adopted.
There were ups and downs along the way, lots of ups and downs, and many times of uncertainty as to the final outcome, but nearly a year ago, shortly before her 2nd birthday, with many friends and family in attendance, Ella Jane Wiens became an official and forever member of our family.

I've made quilts for each of the grandchildren.

We are a family of readers. After seeing Ayumi's Books for Baby block in her book, Patchwork Please!, I knew that was the quilt I wanted to make for Ella.

At the same time, it was my turn to request blocks from two different bee groups, the Mid Century Modern bee, and the Sew Sisters bee. I only requested one book block from each member, but for some reason, several of my bee mates, many of whom had followed this nearly two-year journey with us, made more than one block.

Blocks started arriving in the mail.

Several friends who were no longer part of these bees, or had never been in a bee with me but knew Ella's story, asked if they could make blocks too. In fact, there were so many cute blocks that I only made two myself!
It was overwhelming. Some even did extra special fussy cutting for that little sliver of text at the top of the book, special messages if you look closely.

As soon as I saw Megan's (@lushknit) Books for Baby quilt on Instagram, I knew how the blocks needed to be framed and sashed.
One of the two blocks made by me
She was kind enough to let me copy her quilt, and oddly enough I had the same fabric in my stash that she had used.
Several months ago, Amy invited me to be part of a blog hop as her new book, Intentional Piecing, had just been published. She chose  the "Tell Me a Story Quilt," where each block can tell a little story with some fussy cutting. I decided to make 12 blocks, intentionally choosing fabric that would represent me, so Ella would know a little more about me. If she looks closely at the blocks, she will know that I love art, drink a lot of coffee, play the piano, love to read, think a day at Disneyland is the best, love opening snail mail, like to knit and crochet, would prefer to dress nearly always in denim, love to sew, like to eat pizza and Mexican food, prefer real clocks and watches, and love rainy days.

Also, nearly all my friends sent signature blocks so I added them around the story blocks.
As soon as I saw this backing fabric, I knew it was the perfect choice for this quilt, with words like family, friends, warmth, love, and most especially, chosen.
I used two blocks made by special friend, Carla (@lollyquiltz), for the label, and added names of contributors who hadn't made a signature block.
I finished the binding the other day, and took it to the children's section of one of the local libraries for a couple of photographs.

I can't imagine our family without this special little girl.

She is so dearly loved. The warmth and generosity of my friends has made me feel cared for beyond measure. Words can't begin to express my thanks to every single one of you who contributed to this very special quilt.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Fort Worth Fabric Studio.