Friday, December 30, 2011

CQJP progress

I added linens to the corners of the surrounding blocks. The next step is what to do about a border around the picture.

Below are some shots of the many letters, cards and postcards from my mother's French pen pal, Michelene. They wrote to each other during World War II and for a while afterwards. In the early 1960's, I wrote to Michelene once or twice. Most of her letters were saved.

I had thought about scanning some of these & printing them to use in my quilt. If not, I think they'd make a great quilt on their own.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CQJP - more blocks

Here are the eight blocks i've completed, surrounding the center picture which I printed today. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Several people have strongly suggested keeping the white linen border. I wish I could come up with a way to do that without using pieces of the linens in the blocks themselves. Somehow I feel that it takes away from the center piece in each block.

I do like this and I look forward to getting on with the handwork.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Progress on CQJP blocks

 It has been cold, wet and windy today. I woke up to pouring rain. Poor dogs dashed out to do their business and came back in cold and wet, shook themselves off and made a bee line for the sofa (which I wisely keep covered with a blanket).

 I had lunch with my sister in law at Marietta Diner then came home and procrastinated a bit, looking through pictures and old documents I found while searching for some photos I wanted to include in this quilt. I ran across a letter my mother had received from the Veterans Administration around 1979 apologizing for mistakenly sending her an overpayment notice. I cannot imagine getting such a personal, polite letter from any government agency today. When Mom died seven years ago, an employee of the Social Security Administration hung up on me after telling me that they were just too busy to process our claim for her final SSA payment.

But, moving on...

I finally got to work on another block. I'm still a little ambivalent about this. I look at it one minute and it looks pretty good to me; another time I'm still not happy with it.

Here are some pictures of the latest blocks.

I've been moving them around the center block, which will be the photo you see of my aunts. I'm thinking I should put smaller cq blocks around that center picture. 

I've also decided not to include the linens in the cq block except as the center. I like the blocks without them better. 

I've left some large pieces deliberately to be able to place some photos in those areas. Speaking of photos,  digging around today I found more of the aunts in quilting mode:


Peggy, Mae & Emma

Gladys & Mae

Still have to find those slides I made for the project I did in school. I am sure I have some great photos in there.

It's the last night of Hanukkah. We had a great weekend with family and way too much food.  This was taken the fifth night when we celebrated with my dreidel cake which I make each year.

 (I'm just dreaming...please don't wake me...)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from Zoe and the rest of the Clan!

I'm on vacation for the next ten days during which I hope to get A LOT of stitching done since I've fallen behind.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AAQI Awards $30,000 to University of Michigan

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 6:03 PM

Message body

Re posted, with permission, from Ami Simms:

On Monday volunteers from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) presented a check for $30,000 to Dr. Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova at the Life Sciences Institute of the University of Michigan.  Dr. Garneau-Tsodikova and her research team will be using the money raised predominantly through the sale of donated quilts to develop multifunctional drugs for Alzheimer's disease.
Pictured above (from left to right) are:  Jacob L. Houghton, Todd J. Eckroat, Wenjing Chen, Keith D. Green, Rebecca A. Reed (kneeling),  Joshua J. Bornstein, Dr. Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova, Ami Simms, Pat Holly (kneeling), Sue Nickels, Debbie Chenail, and Ruth Langdon.

It is unusual for researchers and those who fund them to ever meet. AAQI volunteers have had this opportunity three times. It is an extremely rewarding experience.

We bring quilts to explain our mission of raising awareness and funding research through art. Dr Garneau-Tsodikova's grandmother and aunt have Alzheimer's. She is motivated by their struggles with AD to work towards a cure.
We also bring Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts to sell. They become tangible reminders of the hope we all share that some day there will be a cure for this horrible disease.


It was truly amazing how science and art came together as Dr. Garneau-Tsodikova explained the work of her research team to quilters Pat Holly and Sue Nickels using a quilt from the AAQI traveling exhibit ("Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope") made by Mary Andrews. In the background are exhibit quilts by Mona Fallis and Gay Young Ousley.

For everyone who sews for the AAQI, I know you do so because you care deeply about finding a cure for Alzheimer's. Let me assure you that what you do matters. Every single stitch counts. Your art touches people in a most special way. Just look at the faces of the people below holding the quilts you made!

Together we CAN make a difference.
To everyone who supports the AAQI by making quilts, buying quilts, and through financial contributions to our nonprofit, please accept my personal and heartfelt thanks for the work you do to make the AAQI a reality.
Together we have raised more than $679,000 since the AAQI began in 2006. This is the 10th research project we have funded.
Thank you!
Ami Simms
Founder & Executive Director
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Portrait of My Daughter Drinking Coffee

I started making this for the AAQI but it turned out to be too large and besides, something faded and left a dark blotch on her forehead. Also, I didn't like the way her hair turned out. But overall I'm pleased with this as a first attempt, and will definitely do another one.  This isn't the greatest picture but I was too lazy to take another one. I'm binding it in the same polka dot as her dress.

Second CQ Block

After a 36 hour labor I have produced CQ Block #2:

If the blocks are going to frame a center block, and the pieces of embroidery provide the framing, this will be on the right hand side of the center block, with the embroidered piece on the inside. Obviously I'll have to cover up that stain with something but that won't be a problem.

Not sure this is coming together like I thought it would. I'm hoping I'll be happier with it as it progresses. In this block I feel like the colors are kind of chaotic.

Good grief, it's just a quilt block. What am I obsessing about?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First CQ Block

I hope I accomplished what I started out to do with this block. I should have had a better distribution of the light/dark fabrics.  After talking to Debra on Saturday, adding the photos to the finished block seemed like a better plan than trying to incorporate them into the block itself. I managed to find some fabrics that will not detract from the pictures and have a vintage look. At least, I hope that's the result. This is all new and was a little like giving birth or maybe root canal surgery. Just kidding. Stretching is always painful at first. But I think it'll all be worth the effort.

Monday, December 12, 2011

CQJP Theme

The theme of my CQJP will tell the story of the Wednesday Quilters - the ladies you see in these photos, plus a few more who wandered in and out, including me!
This group of women consisted of my mother and most of her sisters, five of whom you see here. One sister had passed away before their weekly quilting started. When my daughter was born, I started attending these weekly sessions. A couple of cousins usually showed up too. It was something I looked forward to each week, and continued for years. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011


A few weeks ago I was in my favorite quilt shop with a friend. We were picking out fabric for a quilt she wants me to make for her when another quilter walked up. I asked her what she thought about the colors I had chosen. Of course she offered an opinion! :-) Later my friend said, are all quilters like that - you're all so friendly and helpful to each other. I said, you know, for the most part, yes. It's like this online community of friends (and notice I did not put quotation marks around that word) we have here. Yesterday I got a call from Debra to talk through my malaise about the cq project. I came away with new ideas & a fresh perspective. And in several ways, a confirmation of some ideas I already had been mulling over. Sometimes my biggest problem is a lack of confidence. It was very generous of her to spend about a half hour talking through ideas and helped me get over some obstacles, amidst the Chrismas music & shoppers at Publix ;-) - so thanks - as always, Debra! (That yardstick has a very long reach!)

So I sat down to dive in to the cq project, turned on my machine and - snap, crackle, pop - the overhead light went out and so did the machine. I thought a fuse had blown but no. DH thinks the ceiling fan shorted out for some reason. It's only the side of the room my sewing machine is on, oddly enough. But then I think this house was wired by circus clowns. I won't tell you what the guy found when we were doing some remodeling a couple of years ago. Okay, I will tell you: he found live wires behind some paneling under the stairs. Yes. Live naked wires. It's a miracle the house hadn't burned down  - or that he didn't get electrocuted. I guess theyve been there since the house was built 30 years ago.

I have to make mac & cheese for a lunch party today. Hopefully DH will get the overhead fixed and I will be able to sew this afternoon & evening. I'd love to get 3 blocks finished. It seems doable but you know, this is NOT as easy as it looks. But it's a great challenge and mental exercise for me getting way outside my comfort zone.

Meanwhile, I have been looking at what others are doing and everything is so fantastic. This is going to be a great year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Plan for Today

I feel like a lost a day yesterday. It was a long day at work and I was pretty much mush when I got home. Today I'd really like to get 3-4 cq squares done but also have some errands to run. BLECH. Working really cramps my quilting style. I feel like I need to get out and clear my head a little today anyway. Tomorrow I have a lunch party with some library friends & I've got to cook something for that. It's the DH's long weekend to work, this computer is being uncooperative, both girls are working and - I'm not going to lie - I'm a little down in the dumps. I can't get this cq thing to come together & I'm getting frustrated. The holidays are right on top of me, my daughter's graduating from college AND her birthday is the first week of January and I'm feeling the pressure of needing to do something for her but I don't know where to start. Just feeling a little overwhelmed. But - it's a beautiful day~! Not too chilly & the sun is shining. I'm just going to sit here and see where it goes. I'm not even going to post a picture of my preliminary cq block until I rework it. I should have pictures by this afternoon. I don't want to get too caught up in this but Michele at Quilting Gallery is having a blog hop. I could spend all day at that but I won't...really.

Update: God. Sorry about that photo of the scary quilt. I promise not to do that again. Not without fair warning.

Anyway, here's something I can show you that won't make you spew your morning coffee (hopefully). I'm not completely unproductive or dysfunctional. Debra sent me some embroidered pieces awhile back for AAQI quilts. I put together a cq using one of them:

Those fabrics are Japanese silks. When the Summer Olympics were here in Atlanta, the Georgia Quilt something or other got volunteers to make quilts for each country that was represented. My quilt went to Nauru, a country I'd never heard of before then. They also made quilts for the Special Olympics (I didn't participate in that one), and miniature quilts for the Winter Olympics which were in Japan.* I sent a miniature quilt and in return, the Japanese quilters send all of us several pieces of silk, which were lovely and, you guessed it, I've never used until this piece. I just need to embellish and finish this for the AAQI.

*Not that it matters much but I think the way that one worked is that the Japanese quilters made larger quilts for the athletes, and we made mini-quilts for the quilters.

Now I just need an infusion of caffeine and I'm good to go.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm still working on the cq blocks. I'm not satisfied with what I've done so far.

Here's that wacky quilt top I was telling you about. This must have been done somewhere between 1940-1950. A lot of interesting fabrics, and the pieces are fairly large. Some of them look like feed sacks. [edited: removed the picture. too ugly.]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photos on Fabric

Below are some examples of some pictures I've printed out using both the freezer paper method & commercially prepared inkjet printable fabric. I think the freezer paper method gives a softer look. The commercial printable fabric seems to give a sharper image. The type of fabric also makes a difference. Higher thread count in the picture on the right. It just depends on what effect you want. 

I often iron freezer paper onto muslin or some other fabric and then cut it to 8.5 x 11 inches. It works pretty well and it's definitely cheaper. **Added: Debra points out that fabric should be treated with Bubble Jet to keep it from fading or the image disintegrating if it gets wet. **

Freezer paper images.

The last two were printed on commercially prepared fabric.

There are a multitude of tutorials on doing this on Youtube and other places on the Internet. Try Craft Gossip, too. I'd search for them and link them here but my computer is an antique and it takes FOREVER to load photos - and some of these blogs (heh, heh) are very photo-intense. Kind of like this one. I'm sure there are folks out there who have done this and have great ideas and tips to share, please feel free to do so in the comments. And I'll work on getting the links together during lunch at work where I have a much faster computer. 

Please do comment on the photos above, and come back soon.

AAQI Raises $62,000 at Houston

From Ami Simms:

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) raised $62,000 during International Quilt Festival (IQF) in Houston , Texas . From November 2-6, 2011 , volunteers sold 1,141 Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts (mini quilts measuring 9" x 12" or less) breaking all previous sales records for the all-volunteer nonprofit organization.
Click here to see the quilts that sold in Houston.
This was the sixth year the AAQI was invited to display and sell Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts by IQF founder and director Karey Bresenhan. Brooke and John Flynn, from Billings , Montana , again sponsored the booth.
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative awarded $115,000 in grants in 2011, funding research at the University of Michigan , the University of Pittsburgh , and Cornell University . AAQI grants are made possible in large part from income generated by selling made by its supporters. Nearly 9,000 Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts have been donated since the effort began.
The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope, a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's, and the Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts project are two of its programs. The AAQI has raised more than $679,000 for Alzheimer’s research since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint , Michigan is the founder and executive director of AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Her mother had Alzheimer’s.
For more information on the AAQI or to make a donation, contact Ami Simms at 810-637-5586 ( 9 a.m – 3 p.m. Eastern), or

p.s. I'm so pleased to say that I had six miniature quilts at Houston this year that sold. This cause is so dear to my heart. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rough Draft

When I first thought about making a quilt using family photos, I planned on doing a kind of free-form patchwork - decide on the block size, choose the photo, and filling the spaced with fabric. This was one of the initial blocks I made:

I planned on filling in the large blocks with embroidery.

What about using this same concept but the patchwork blocks would be crazy blocks. This block is 10" square so at least one of those sections would have to be 6" to fulfill the requirement for the CQJP.
I also started a cq block building around one of the photos:

So I'm curious about your thoughts. Would this work?

Quick Post

I did work yesterday on a quilt that I can't post pictures of because it is a surprise gift for someone.
But, I can give you a glimpse of the fabrics I will be using. The person I'm making it for loved these batiks. It's a simple pattern which I hope I can complete this afternoon.

I also played around with the cq blocks, working some pictures into them and will post pictures of them this afternoon. Right now, I'm running late for work. Have a wonderful day, everyone.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Children's Health Care of Atlanta Christmas Parade

Some photos from the Children's Health Care of Atlanta Christmas Parade which ate up most of my day today. Here are some photos of me and some coworkers (and other parade participants!) who braved standing in the cold wind for 3 hours, while admiring and having fun with the Happy Tails therapy dog group. Thank goodness the horses and llamas were BEHIND us this year. Just sayin'.

At the end of the parade route, near Phillips Arena where the SEC Championship game was about to be played. Always fun being downtown .....