“American Quilter” May 2016 Issue




I haven’t said this enough but I am truly honored to have my articles for some lesser-known charities in each American Quilter issue in 2016.  Overjoyed.  Blessed.  Humbled.  And not just my voice heard but the voices of all of those who represent the work that they do for others.

In the May 2016 issue of American Quilter, I am the voice for our four legged critters.  Cats.  Dogs.  Pets.  They deserve love as they love us so unconditionally.  My reward?  A ton of wet slobbery moochies from our two family canines.  They deserve belly scratchies, for sure!

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    A T-Shirt Quilt in the Making for a Spencer

    I was hired by a lawyer to be his legal assistant/secretary/gopher in 1993, before my husband and I had children.  The gal who called me about the attorney’s selection of me had the last name that was my maiden name, Spencer.

    On my first week of work in what was literally a broom closet converted into an office that we shared, I just *had* to ask her about her last name.  Once I found out that it was her married name, then we talked about her husband’s family.  And this information gave me goosebumps!  Her husband’s parent’s names were the EXACT first and last names of the oldest uncle and his wife on my paternal side of the family.  NO WAY!  I knew that my aunt and uncle had already passed away, so I knew it wasn’t my immediate kin.  But, then I was shocked to find out that her husband’s name was also one of my first cousin’s names.  (queue the Twilight Zone music).  We were both thunder-struck.  Though, her now ex-husband was probably kin to us somewhere down the proverbial genealogical tree – it was fun to share Spencer stories.

    Then, she got pregnant and she and her husband moved to the north of Austin and she went on about her business of being a working woman, wife and expectant mother many miles away from our broom closet.  I attended a baby shower for her, just before her daughter was born in December 1994.  Unbeknownst to me, when I went to her baby shower, I was pregnant, also, and had no idea!  I had been told I had a tipped girl-part and could probably not ever get pregnant – boy did the ‘practicing’ physicians get THAT one wrong!  About a month or so before my due date, she and her baby girl came to my wedding shower.  It seemed we found ourselves together, even when we were miles and miles apart.

    And our daughters just graduated from high school in May.  Our parallel journeys will continue as I believe her son is in the same grade as our second daughter, in different schools miles apart, of course.

    (Another aside, without even knowing it, we both have yellow labs, too!)

    Because I try to gift close family and friends with quilts when they are babies, graduates (high school or college) or weddings – I reached out to this gal and asked her if I could make her daughter a quilt for a graduation gift.  She readily accepted my offer and told me her daughter wanted a t-shirt quilt.  I was a bit leery, given that the first one I had made was not of the quality that I desired, I was willing to try again.  I did a day’s worth of research because the first one I made had stabilizer that was way too stiff for my preference.  I found a much more pliable stabilizer and had her purchase all of the necessary fabric, stabilizer and to send me the t-shirts she wanted to use in the quilt.

    Yesterday, I went home from my office much earlier than usual because I just didn’t have the gumption to waste time work on the computer.  I read a couple more tutorials (because my memory is not to be trusted anymore) online about making a t-shirt quilt and then got busy cutting up the t-shirts they wanted me to use.  Once I had everything cut out, my youngest daughter helped me lay all of the shirts on our bed and I took a picture of them and sent it to my friend – just to make sure I got all of the shirts (front or back) that they had asked me to use.

    While waiting for their confirmation, I began pressing the stabilizer to the t-shirt blocks and was VERY happy to note that the stabilizer was, in fact, *much* better than the previous one I’d used.  I got down to the end of the stabilizer she had purchased and still had three shirts left to press.  DRATS.  She is purchasing more and sending it to me and then I can square up the blocks and begin putting the quilt together!

    I’m excited about this quilt – both from a quilter’s standpoint as well as it being gifted to a young lady I made a baby quilt for 18+ years ago.  The only problem?  The college she is going to is that one in Texas whose colors are maroon and white….and that is what the quilt fabric has all over it.  🙂

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      Charity Quilting: Quilts for Kids

      More than two years ago, I requested quilt fabric for a quilt from QuiltForKids.org organization.  Unfortunately, it arrived near the time I was diagnosed wtih MS, so the kit sat in my to-do pile for a couple of years.  Of the quilts I was able to make while dealing with the MS and the symptoms, the charity quilt was not a top priority in my life.

      Enter my foster mother in January this year, who demanded I keep her in stitches (literally) so she didn’t get bored while wintering with us.  Unfortunately, the quilt she made with the fabric the QuiltForKids.org sent for us met a sad demise.  My foster mother is new to domestic machine quilting and she didn’t pin her backing well enough to the front of the quilt and ended up with a huge “bubble” (fold) on the back of her quilt.  Not to mention that our lab claimed it as her own even before it was quilted, regardless of whether is was made for her or not!

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      Therefore, I gave my FM one of my original precut quilt kits and that is what she made for us to send to QuiltForKids.org!

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      My foster mother with the quilt she made.

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      My foster mother, showing the back of the quilt.

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      The label that QuiltForKids.org sent to us for our quilt.

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      My foster mother wanted me to make sure to take, and show, a photo of the different patterns and thread colors she used.

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      She always has fun with the backs of her quilts!

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      The finished quilt – an original design by TK Harrison of BOMquilts.com and QuiltTherapy.com

      QuiltForKids.org appears to be a very legitimate charity organization.  No information comes up for them at BBB.org (Better Business Bureau), which usually means there are no complaints about the organization and they are not a member of the BBB.

      Here is a couple of images from their website:

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      QuiltsForKids

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        Sasha the Terrier Terror

        Whoa, we have a cat.  Not a feline cat, but a canine cat.  This wild thing really busts the moves at night (of course, just as we’re all up in a circle getting ready to say prayers), running through the house, terrorizing Phydeaux (who is a big lug when it comes to retaliating) and creating new race tracks to run around the furniture and through the rooms. 

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        Oh yeah.  Nascar at its finest, right here in our living room….including the roaring of the engines (which would be kids AND dogs).

        And the minute I sit down in the recliner, she is on top of my like flies on…..well, you know.  And she doesn’t just jump up and sit down as my Tenny-dog did.  OH. NO.  She flies into my lap and climbs clear up to my head, licking and nipping all the way….until I finally pull her away from my body (those aren’t paw pads – I swear they have octopus suction cups on them!) and settle her into a comfy position for both of us.  She won’t stay there, of course, but she will eventually settle down if I pet her in just the right places — which changes daily.  😉

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        Then, she’ll stop for just a minute and hunker down and shout out some puppy barks for the son-man.  Have yet to figure out what that’s about, but she sure likes to bark at him!  hehe

        Potty training still in full swing, though we’re down to just a few accidents in the house a day.  It sure helps having another dog around, to show a new pup the potty-train ropes!  Now, if we could just get her to stop chasing the bigger-than-she-is chickens as she runs down the deck, we’d be set!

        But, that angelic face is enough to make you stop, drop and roll.  Those eyes!  Those ears!  The look she gives of total trust and glee that SHE is gifting YOU with her presence:

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