Hello Viv!

I’ve been told that I am not posting enough baby pics, so allow me to recap Vivian’s journey in photos…

Vivian at 1 week

1 week

Vivian at 3 weeks

3 weeks

Vivian at 3 months

3 months

Vivian at 4 months

4 months

Vivian at 6 months

6 months

 Vivian at 7 months

7 months

Vivian at 9 months

9 months

Vivian at 10 months

Almost 10 months!

Above selfie taken this moment as I blog – she’s asleep in her baby pack, 21 pounds strapped to my chest :)

Vivian’s Quilt

EPP top finishedhand quilting in progress I said to myself that I wasn’t going to blog any more progress photos of Vivian’s quilt until it was in the quilting frame… so, finally, here it is :)  I pieced this quilt in the little, tiny amounts of time that I can fit in between all this kid-ness around me.  One early morning at the end of summer, all the children were sleeping in and I got the quilt into the frame and this little corner quilted.  And then it sat, for two months.  Lately I’ve been quilting with thick, lustrous perle cotton, but I imagined this quilt was too delicate and sweet to stand up to those heavy threads, so I started out with standard hand quilting thread.  After doing this little corner with standard thread and standard background quilting, it seemed so, well, standard. I wasn’t excited to work on it anymore, and that is a sad state to be in.  So it sat, while I ruminated on it.  I have a plan now to include some perle cotton and a pattern that’s fun to stitch so I will want to work on it again.

The motion of hand quilting is so satisfying.  I said to my husband, I always think my quilt tops are pretty before they are quilted, but once I start hand quilting them, they seem to come to life.  Can’t wait to get going on this one again!

Hand Quilting detail

About parenting

Since the arrival of little # 4 I’m feeling busy and generally a little overwhelmed by everything I’ve got going on.  My mind is overflowing with fun things I’d like to do with my kids, projects for the house, art I’d like to get down on paper/fabric.  But, I barely get the dishwasher loaded most days, let alone sit down and do something with my kids for fun.  I love data so I thought I’d prepare a little graphic representation of what I used to dream of before I was a parent and what I’m actually doing these days:
parenthood chart 1
Parenthood chart 2That’s right, I spend 62% of my days cleaning up pee.
Of course, I wouldn’t trade any of these little buggers for anything, etc. etc., BUT right now it feels like I’m snowed in by the many mundane and even sucky tasks that parenting entails while, stuffed in every corner of my cluttered mind, the other things I’d like to do for fun and profit never see the light of day. But, enough complaining, I’m trying to claw my way back to the land of the living and this here blog post (acknowledge the problem) is my first little baby step..

A Giveaway, For Pink’s Sake

IMG_0961Today I’m participating in a blog hop for my friend Anna over at Life Sew Crafty.  Anna is raising money to help with her Mother-in-law Tina’s medical bills after lengthy cancer treatments.  Anna writes that her mother in law has remained cheerful and upbeat through it all, but now that she is cancer-free the looming medical bills are putting a real damper on her spirits.  I was especially inspired to help Anna and Tina after reading this, since I know a bit about looming medical bills dragging down what should otherwise be a joyous thing. We chose a home birth for Vivian’s arrival back in April, but after her birth I was transferred to the hospital. So, we paid for both the home birth and a stay in the maternity ward.  Our insurance picked up some of the cost, but more than half is coming of our pockets, and sometimes when I think of how grateful I am for her beautiful birth, my mind also drifts to all that we had to lay out to make it happen, and the bills that are still rolling in….  All that is to say that it just sucks to have a dollar amount on a life, so let’s help Tina and her family get over that hurdle.

IMG_0953 The block above is going to a quilt that Anna will make and donate to the center where Tina had all her treatments.  It’s English Paper Pieced, with 3″ and 1.5″ 60 degree diamonds.  Then I hand appliqued the star onto a white background.  The block is big; 14.5″,  but Anna can trim it down to 12.5″ if that fits better into her quilt.

I’ve also made this little pouch to give away to one reader who contributes to Anna’s cause:


The pink star is made from one of very favorite Liberty of London Tana Lawns.  I intended to make the background mostly white, but somehow all those lovely aquas crept in… it was pure enjoyment putting this little guy together!

For a chance to win the pouch,

1. Go to Anna’s fundraiser page and make a donation in any amount, then come back and leave a comment that you have done so.

2. Make a pink block for Anna’s quilt, which will be donated to the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids, MI, then leave me a comment that you’ve done so.

3. Publicize this giveaway on the social media platform of your choice, and leave me a comment that you have done so.

If you do more than one of the things above, please leave a separate comment for each action.  The comments are your entries to win.  This blog hop has been going on for a little while now, so if you’ve already donated (thank you), of course you are welcome to enter this giveaway.  I’ll draw the winner on Monday, July 28th.
Please also visit the other folks on the blog hop:

May 10
May 24

June 7

June 21

July 5

July 19

Anna also will be doing a drawing for some really nice prizes for anyone who participates in the above ways, so be sure to check back with her on August 2nd for a chance to win.

ETA: Linking up with Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.  So excited to have a finished project to share this week!

Star Count

I’m so excited the main part of the quilt is together!  Now it just needs a couple of strips around the edges and it’s done.  I’m borrowing these quilt photos from Frederick, since he did such a good job…  I like the second one because it includes the dimpled elbows of little miss intended recipient.

 The quilt has not progressed much since the DCMQG meeting 9 days ago… now that it’s so big it’s gotten hard for me to work on it while holding the babe and so that leaves, well, just about never, for me to pick up the quilt and get it done.  Not that I am wishing it to be any different.  The fourth time around, we are well aware of how fleeting everything is.  Vivian’s milestones keep flying by; one month, then two, then three.  She smiles big toothless smiles and had her first laugh the other day, watching Evelyn jump up the stairs like a frog.  She grabs at her toys and holds her head up high when rolled on her tummy.  Sigh, where is my newborn nugget?  Speaking of babies, another of mine has recently turned 11… how?  Violet is already a teenager at heart and Evelyn is only a couple inches and a couple of pounds behind her.  I’d wish for a pause button except that they are obviously so pleased with growing up.


Have I mentioned how much I love the back of a piece of patchwork?  I’m sure I have..

Check out the others: Monday Morning Star Count

Happiness on the side of the road

The other day when I went out to get the mail, I noticed in a neighbor’s yard  a little unmowed strip where some lovely roadside weeds had sprung up.  This is chicory, with its delicate starry shape and pretty periwinkle color, and it’s always been one of my favorites. The way the flowers are perched on their stems seems almost sculptural.  Definitely an inspiring subject to photograph.  That tiny section of lawn smelled like summer to me, like long walks along back roads and driving in a hot car with the windows rolled all the way down.

Later in the day, I saw two men with weed-whackers milling about over there, so I’m afraid my little beauties have met their fate.  I’m glad they existed for that brief moment and that I saw them; they reminded me that it’s time to move out of this town and back to the country for good.





Star Count #24

Thank goodness for Jessica at Life Under Quilt’s linkups, or I would never post anything!  Here is how my baby quilt is looking:  IMG_0399

And that last chunk is assembled into a few big pieces.

Last night, Vivian fell asleep in my arms on the couch and so I stayed up late, basting some tiny diamonds, triangles, and a few more hexies.  I need these tiny shapes to fill in around my star points, and the quilt actually needs a couple more rows of white on the left side, which didn’t fit on my foamcore “design wall.”


I’m feeling really optimistic about getting this thing in the quilt frame soon!  And after spending so long piecing it, the quilting will be a piece of cake.  Vivian Pepper is in her bouncy chair beside me right now, her eyes questioning me when we are going to head up to bed.  She is my good helper, anchoring me to the couch during the day so there’s nothing I can do but stitch…

Star Count #22

Well, I missed a few star counts somewhere in there… but I’m back on the wagon now so let me just jump right into it:

A very astute comment from Dolores caused me to remove the almost-solid red diamonds that were surrounding the pink star in the lower left here:

and replace them with some very pale mint and aqua diamonds.

I like it so much better now.  In fact the pink against the aqua is now my favorite part of the quilt.  The white star points kind of fade into the background now, but I don’t mind.  So this piece of the quilt is all one big chunk now.  The rest is mostly in larger chunks, with a few areas of single pieces still remaining.  I had an episode of negative progress when Vivian was just a couple weeks old.  My sweet Evelyn, the almost-3 year old, was helping me by raising all the blinds one morning.  In her excitement to pull the cords, she knocked over the sheets of foamcore on which I had laid out all the pieces for this quilt.  She very sweetly told me that she made a mess and could I help her pick it up…  The pieces, probably a hundred or more at that time, sat in a pretty forlorn little pile for several weeks until I made the time to re-design the quilt and then set the boards somewhere less precarious.

Gus took some pictures today of me sewing.  This is my favorite way to sew these days, bopping and swaying about, always music on the stereo, she stays asleep so well in her little pouch and I am mobile and hands-free.  Vivian is two months old today.  Two months!  I’m doing all I can to keep this little one near.

I’m linking up with Life Under Quilts Monday Morning Star Count.  Jessica asked what goal we would like to set for the beginning of summer.  Boy I would love to see this quilt in the quilt frame on the first day of summer!

Vivian Pepper

Roughly a dozen blog posts have been composed in my mind since April 2nd…  They mostly start off with ” Meet Vivian”

and somewhere in the middle mention how relaxing and peaceful it was to give birth in my own home instead of a cold dreary hospital surrounded by strangers.

Depending on how much time had passed since her birth, the imaginary mind-post would end with me saying how lovely it is to be pampered by my husband and my mom, or that the other kids were being so sweet to their new sister (still are!), or that I was sad my mother had to go home so soon, or that I was panicking because it was time for my husband to go back to work and leave me alone with 4 kids; two who need home schooling and two in diapers.  Maybe I would have gone off on a tangent about how my other children’s hospital births compared to this one.  But these all happened only in my mind because even though this is my fourth time around, I still suck at getting the baby to sleep somewhere other than in my arms, and getting to the computer requires more fortitude than I can conjure most days.  So, almost 6 weeks later; world, meet Vivian Pepper!

Star Count #12

I’ve got half of my quilt all pieced into big sections.  I’m leaving it like that as I work on the other half in case I want to make any changes.  ‘Cause right now, there is a lot that’s irking me about this quilt, and I have to make some decisions about how much I want to go back and excise and how much I just want to press forward.

Luckily I have lots of time to stitch! Every day that Baby declines to make her debut is another day spent relaxing and sewing.  I’m starting to think she is waiting until her quilt is done to come out.  I do love these little “cogs” with the vintage mushroom fabric in the center!  I got the mushrooms at Goodwill a couple of years ago as a little home-made valance.  I was so excited when I realized how well they fit into this project!  I might replace the one that has dark blue petals with apple green or chartreuse, if the right fabric presents itself.  Or maybe not.

I really want a quilt that is all white and pale like these random bits, with just a few tiny colorful stars mixed in.  Trying to resist temptation to start something new before seeing this one to completion!  WHY IS THAT SO HARD?!!!

Thanks Jessica for the continuing motivation over at Life Under Quilts!  It’s definitely helping me to keep my mind from wandering…