Memorial Day Tribute

Monday, May 27 is Memorial Day. We have a special reason to celebrate this year.

We have always known that our grandfather OJ served in Word War I, the Great War, the war to end all wars. He had been taken as a prisoner of war (POW). He died when our father was just 16 years-old, so we never knew him, but dad would occasionally reveal snippets of information: his back was covered in cootie bites from his time in the trenches; he sometimes mentioned a place called Chateau Theirry; a young German girl helped save him in the camp by giving him extra food; he never picked up a gun again after the war.

Through some research I discovered that he had enlisted in Binghamton, NY. He signed up with another young man who would later become his brother-in-law. They were two country farm hands looking to find their place in the world — a war to fight was likely a chance to change their circumstances in life since there was no family business to take over or a farm to inherit or college tuition to be had. Many years ago when I went to Paris for the first time, I tried to imagine what they experienced when they landed in France as Doughboys.

Over the years I’ve looked for OJ’s military records. However I could never verify his service because there was a fire in the National Archives in the 1970’s and it destroyed all the records from that war (and some from WWII). Or so I was told….

As a surprise gift for my father, one of his elderly cousins has been working for years with her local Senator to find information about OJ. Some government archivist would come up empty and she’d tell them to go back and look some more. This went on for years. Then unexpectedly a package arrived in the mail: it was his records, along with notes from his commanding officers about the battle where he and many others were captured, as well as information about the camp where he was interred.

I am so excited to get my hands on this information. Next week I’ll be in Ohio with Cindy. I can’t wait to dive into this treasure trove. Thanks cousin Helen!

Cindy and I hope that dad and his father both know that we are thinking about them this Memorial Day.

We honor all those who have served in the United States military and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and our freedoms.

We created this patriotic table runner as a way to express how thankful we are.

You can download this free pattern by clicking on the link below.

Thankful Patriotic Table Runner 05 14 17

Vintage Treasure #3

In previous posts, I mentioned Sandy and I are working on three vintage treasures for mom’s friend, Bea.

The third and final Vintage Treasure we are working on is an 80 x 80 inch quilt top made from flannel and corduroy shirts worn by Bea’s father.

The flannel squares were cut 6 x 6 inches and finish at 5.5 x 5.5 inches.  Some of these shirts were well worn, making it a really special quilt.  Below you can see the shirt pocket outline in the blue plaid square.

Pocket outline

This top needs a bit of TLC as many of the squares were sewn together by hand and have frayed or split apart.
Hand Sewn

I think we should be able to fix this quilt top in one day by reinforcing the hand sewn seams by machine.
Flannel fringe 1

There are so many nice flannels here and we bought solid red flannel for the backing.
Flannel fringe 2

We love this quilt and can’t wait to show you the finished project.  It’s a true family legacy.


Do something that scares you

I highly recommend the life philosophy of taking scary leaps in order to freshen up your life. Although I am most definitely not a sky-diver or roller-coaster brave heart, I’ve always been a bit cavalier about my job. I’m a serial job-changer-without-a-plan. Because, hey, there’s always a new gig out there <hopefully>.

Oops, I did it again, I quit a job I loved in order to see what the wide world had to offer. Luckily, I’ve landed a new job already and I’m running on adrenaline while I try to demonstrate my usefulness in the first few weeks. This new job is going to be fun for lots of reasons, but three are top of mind:

  1. It’s a work from home job! Yippee! I get to spend the day near my sewing machine. I’m convinced that a 15 minute sewing/coffee break once in the morning and once in the afternoon will give me a mental break (beneficial for my employer) and a sewing window (beneficial to my quilting goals). The 15 minute time-limit will be strictly enforced with an egg timer.
  2. My new boss is located in Austin, Texas. Can you believe it? I will “have” to travel to one of my favorite spots on the planet about every two months or so.
  3. The work is very interesting and challenging.

My faith in the unknown has played out to my advantage again. When one door closes (or is slammed shut), another opens. I’ve been lucky. I am convinced that the short-term risk will be rewarded in the long-term.

While visiting my new team in Austin last week, I snapped some pictures of the rose bushes around my hotel. Roses are prettiest when they open up and let go. This might be a metaphor for my life philosophy!

A closed rosebud — constricted, don’t you think?
An open rose — ready to drink up the world.

So what am I going to do with my 15 minutes of sewing/coffee break time in the morning and afternoon? I’m going to get started on my son’s high school graduation gift quilt. His college colors will be purple and gold. He’s not a fan of those colors, and I don’t want to be so obvious, so I’m sorting my tans and browns. I plan to insert some random purples and golds to make a dorm bed quilt that is masculine while including a subtle nod to the school colors.

Sorting through the tan pre-cuts, planning a masculine scrappy quilt.

Graduation is not until the last week of June, but I’ve got to get moving on this quilt. My first 15 minute break is scheduled for tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Wish me luck!

Vintage Treasure #2 (Advice Needed)

Hello, it’s Cindy reporting in on a rainy Ohio evening.  This post is a continuation of Monday’s blog.  Sandy and I are helping a family friend finish some “Vintage Treasures” with sentimental value.

Check out Vintage Treasure #2 (and yes, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED!)

This top has been machine pieced and it measures approximately 65 x 90.  The fabrics are from the 60’s and 70’s…what a trip down memory lane!

This beautiful quilt top came complete with extra fabric (we will probably use for the binding), paper and cardboard templates AND an entire stack of triangles cut out and ready to go!
Bag of Goodies

One of the templates has been re-cycled, clearly from sewing notes!  We just love finding things like this!
back of triangle pattern

Bea would like us to add two more rows of triangles to the quilt top.  Since they are already cut out, it shouldn’t be too hard!

Here is a view of the side edges:
Triangle edges

Here’s where we need your advice!  Should we:

A:  Cut the side edges so they are straight

B:  Leave the edges “as is” and add a bias binding

If you have made a quilt like this, we would appreciate any finishing tips!

Triangles in a row