Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shocked and Still Reeling

Yesterday was a shocking day. 
 I was at work minding my own business when my husband texted me that the company he worked for for almost 30 years was eliminating his entire department and
 effective immediately he had no job.

I texted back that that was not funny and nice try, but he was serious.  
After 30 years flying for the Masco Corporation he has no job.  

Ok, ok, we can do this.  
We have been planning on his retiring in 4 years, but that was with his pension. 
 Now that won't happen until he turns 65.  He is 56.  
There is a severance package, thank goodness and it should be enough to allow us a little breathing room and time for him to look for another job.  WHEW.  
The company did hire a placement company to help them all find new jobs.

I don't know what this will mean for us for the future. 
 Possibly a move?  Maybe an opportunity close to home?  
We will be exploring all our options.  
Thankfully I have my job which has our health benefits and 
we have been making the changes for retirement. 
 I am hopeful that financially we will be ok.  
It is unfortunate that the things we thought we had a few more years to save for and therefore use in our retirement are now put on eterna hold but there are worse things, right?

We still don't have all the information and, of course, are beginning to explore our options today.

Please keep my family in your prayers as we begin this new journey in our lives!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Giveaway Winner and WIP Wednesday

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to post the winner of the scrap pack. 
 It is Collette!  
So Collette, please email me your mailing address and I will get those scraps out to you!

I have been working a wedding quilt for friends of my husband's. 
 I decided to use my Daisy Field pattern (available here).  
I made some progress over the weekend, as you saw in my previous post. 
Here is what the block looks like before being put all together.  
I am loving the use of the Pearl Bracelets!

Ah that pesky helper again too!

The color palette I was given was white and cream with gray.  I added the bits of blue.  

 I have also been working on my Secret Stalker Swap quilt.  
I got the embroidery pattern drawn and then traced on to my fabric.  Now I need to get stitching!

I have decided to try to submit this to a magazine as the design will be my own s
o I can't show it to you just yet.  

I am linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Lee's blog.

Hope you are having a great hump day!!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Weekend

It seemed like the weekend went on forever. 
Well, maybe that's because I had Friday and Monday off too! 
 We had a LOT of things to do this weekend.  
I got my hair cut and highlighted.  Pretty happy with how it turned out.

 I did sneak a little sewing in too.  
On Friday I got some work on the wedding quilt done.  
Between Friday and Sunday I got 3 rows finished.  

Of course no sewing time is complete without my helper

"Oh Hey Autumn!  Watch those paws, not too close to the needle!"

Saturday the hubby and son went off early in the morning to drive to 
Grand Rapids to go fishing with DD2's boyfriend.  
All they could talk about was the "one that got away".  

I "watched" the MSU football game while canning unending jars of salsa.

Sunday was spent recovering, doing laundry and cleaning up the mess.  
Then on Monday morning, we began the long hell that was canning almost 2 bushels of tomatoes.  Hubby was terrible at peeling them (I suspect this was on purpose), so I had to skin all of them!  

I'm not even sure how many jars we actually ended up with, 
somewhere around 30 plus another 6 jars of salsa, I think.
 We began around 10am and finished around 6pm.  I was beat!  
Standing on my feet at the sink for most of the day was grueling!!!

Now we will have lots of tomatoes to get us through though.  
There is still a bushel of peaches to can. 
 I hope hubby tackles that one today while I am at work! 
 I really disliked doing the pears all by myself last year.  

I really need to get into the sewing room to design my project for my secret stalker swap.  
It's in my head and part of it kept me awake last night too!

How was your weekend??


Thursday, September 18, 2014

All Quiet on the Quilting Front

Or so it would appear. 
 I have several things going on in the quilting department but not at any stage to share just yet.  
Soon though.  
Actually anyone that follows me on Instagram probably knows 
what has been taking up my time this week.  
See this?

This is my trunk after a stop at a local market.  Hubby and I are up to our eyeballs in canning!

These have turned into 


Last night we did a half bushel of pickles, both dill and sweet.

We bought some Blue Hubbard squash (first time)  

Does anyone have a good recipe for using Blue Hubbard?

We also bought some sweet potato squash.  Which really just tastes like squash.

Next up are tomatoes, salsa and peaches. 
 So you can see why I have not been making quilts!

Our apple tree is bearing fruit so I imagine those will be in the que to can also.

I do have an idea for my A2MQG secret stalker swap, and have the wedding quilt all cut out.  
Those are on the agenda for the weekend.  
I need to actually design the SS swap quilt and get busy stitching. 
 I am going to embroider part of it.  
I hope my person will be as excited to receive it as I am to make it!

I have not forgotten about the giveaway of scraps either! 
 I have one stuffed Ziploc bag all ready to go. 
 If you have not done so already go to the this post and 
leave me a comment telling me what you would use them for and they could be yours!

OK back to canning!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was invited to participate in an around the world blog hop by my friend Pat from Bell Creek Quilts.  Sounds like fun! 
Thanks for the invite, Pat.
 Pat and I met online a long time ago.  I found out that she had family in Michigan,
 actually not too far away from where I live.  
One time when she was coming to visit her mom we met up. 
 We had a great time!!  We went to the LQS and also went to have dinner at the local hotel.  

In the blog hop we are supposed to answer a list of questions, so I will attempt to do so.

1- What are you working on?

You guys have seen what I have been working on in the last few posts. 
 I had several finishes.  
I made a Tardis quilt top and back for my son.  
I am dropping this off with my friend, Kathy to quilt for me today after work.

He was making fun of me about the coasters I made for my FIL and 
told me he would throw them away if I ever made coasters for him. 
 So *of course* I started on some Dr. Who coasters for him.

I finished some charity quilts and my kitty mini swap quilt too!  
This was my favorite charity quilt, made from all the scraps I had left over from other projects.

 I have been practicing my quilting skills too.  How about those wavy lines??

I am working on a label for my Birdie Stitches quilt. 
 Still need to turn it into a proper label. 
 You know, sew it to another fabric, turn and press?  
Then it will be ready to stitch into the quilt.

I am working on a Secret Stalker swap mini quilt too, but I am waiting for something in the mail before I can really begin.
There is a HUGE idea forming so stay turned for that.

Hubby asked me to make a quilt for a co-worker that is getting married so
here is the beginning of that.
He wanted me to use my Daisy Field pattern.
Their colors are white and cream...huh?
I asked for an accent color and was told blue gray, so the flowers will be in blue-gray and gray.
I am using Lizzy House's white on white pearl bracelets for the background.
I am actually really excited to get to work on this one!

2-How does my work differ from others?  

I'm not sure how to answer that!  
It is probably similar to lots of other people's work.  
I think every time we make a quilt it is uniquely our own. 
 I do what I like and what I can't get out of my head. 
Whatever screams the loudest gets made.

3-Why do I create what I do?

Because I *have* to.  
 I think I might actually explode if I didn't make things. 
 Quilts in particular. 
 I have been sewing forever.  (My girls told me once I was older than fire).  
I have sewn garments. 
 Maybe because I am not a small size I hated the way they looked. 
 I did love sewing Halloween costumes for my 3 kids.  
They never had a store bought costume!  
I did counted cross stitch for quite awhile and now it's quilting and embroidery.  
LOVE it!

4-How does my creative process work?

I wish I knew!  
Sometimes I can't turn it off and wake up in the night to scribble down an idea or sketch a pattern.  Sometimes I can't get motivated to save my life!  
I like to observe things around me and draw from the patterns I see in nature, 
in my work, at home and in life.  
I enjoy talking with other creative people.  
It seems to inspire and turn on my creativity.  
The internet and Instagram have been BIG influences in my creativity!!

5- Who is Mama Spark?

I am a wife and mother of 3 amazing kids, 2 daughters and a son. 
 I have been married to my best friend for the last 31 years.
I am a scientist at my day job and a wrangler of pets and kids the rest of the time.  
I love to make quilts for friends and family.  
I like to make quilts for charity too.  

We have 4 cats and a dog.  
The cats are a huge joy in my life especially now that all the kids are out on their own.  
My best friend cat, Jack passed away 2 years ago and even though we have 4 I miss him every day.

This is Jack

Our dog Abbey

Hallie (short for Halloween)

Aiden (aka Fatty McFatty)

Mosen (who says mama)

Autumn, who is the only cat besides Jack that comes into my sewing room.

Now that you know about me, 
let me introduce you to the other 2 people that will follow me in the Blog Hop.

First is my friend Sara.  
She blogs over at Growing Stitches.  
Sara and I met online.  
We actually even met in person!  
She lives near my middle daughter in NC, so on my first visit to her we met up. 
We met up with another blogger too and went on our own private quilt shop hop. 
 Sara is a  prolific quilter, very energetic and inspiring!  
She has a new baby and an amazing little man too, but I won't steal her thunder about them.  
Please go visit her on September 22.

Next up is my friend Anna.  
She blogs over at Woolie Mammoth.  
I think it is her sense of humor that drew me to her blog.  
Then I stayed for her amazing work.  
She does a lot of things I find interesting.  
Like her work with wool.  
Her blog is a great one to follow.  
She always has interesting things going on. 
 I hope that someday we can meet up too.  
Eventually I plan on going back to the pacific midwest. 
 I hope you take a few minutes to visit Anna on September 22 also.  

I think that pretty much covers things from Mama Spark's world! 
 If you have any questions, please ask away!!


Friday, September 12, 2014

My Charity Quilts and A Giveaway


I have a few quilts to share with you that I am giving to Mott's Children's Hospital for the NICU. 
 I will link up with both 100 Quilts for Kids and also Finish it up Friday.

First up is one I made a long time ago but just putting it with the donation quilts.  
It is a chenille blanket.  
I love how the chenille came out on this one!

The back on this one is adorable too!  
I used the dot from one if the DS Quilts fabrics.  I love that print for bindings!

The other one is something I made awhile ago too to use up some of the fabric squares I had cut for another quilt.  
It is very sweet.

I got to use this great Finding Nemo fabric for the back too!  
Some "little" will love this!

The last one is a quilt I made using left over squares cut for a different donation quilt.  
I was actually able to get 2 quilts from all the left over squares by adding white squares in between.  That also allowed me to not have to do so much matching!  
My creative process at work!  

This quilt was small enough that I decided to try quilting it myself.  
I had heard of other people using some of their decorative stitches on their machines by enlarging them to use for the quilting.  
That's what I wanted to do.  
So I chose the number 4 stitch on my machine.  
It made a great wavy stitch.  
Those white squares were just begging for something. 
 Not just white wavy lines.  
Does this give you a clue?

I decided to do straight lines making a rainbow across the quilt like this

Autumn thought it was a GREAT idea!

Look at all that crazy texture!

I used a vintage sheet for the back.  It almost makes it look 3D!

I found some left over pink to use for the binding and it worked perfectly!  
I am very happy to have 3 quilts to donate! 
 I have a second one of these quilts to finish piecing and then will use the same backing and quilting to do another one in the future.  

I think I need to pack up my scraps though and 
send a stuffed FRB off to someone that would love to have them!  
If you pay the postage, they could be yours!!  
Tell me what you would do with a big box of scraps in the comments and 
I will draw a winner from the comments next week Friday.  
I have some pretty great scraps but I need to empty the THREE bins I have so I can get to refilling them again.

So that's it, leave me a comment telling me what you will do with them 
(even it you just want to pet them) 
and make sure there is a valid email address for me to contact you at or I will have to redraw.  

I plan to get that box stuffed tonight so maybe I will post some pictures this week too!!!


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A2MQG Charity Quilts

I am the co chair for the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.  
I share this job with my friend Stephanie.  
(who is awesome by the way!)

We have been collecting quilts for the several charities.  
We are trying to stay local.  
The three groups that we are donating to are

Mott's Children's Hospital, for the NICU

The Ann Arbor VA hospital 

Margaret's Hope Chest in Grand Rapids

I thought it would be nice to document the quilts we have so far for donation.  
I have a couple more at my house that are mine and I will be donating them to Mott's. 
 I wanted to use those as my donation for 100 Quilts for Kids too so will post those separately. 
 This is now being run by Heather at Quilts in the Que. 
 You can find information right here if you are interested in donating too!

So on to the photos. 
 Most people did not put their names on their quilts so I can't give credit, but each and every one showed a generous heart by donating to someone in need! 
 I can say from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!  
Your gift will be loved and appreciated!!

In no particular order:

I have always wanted to make one of these Mod Mosaic quilts. 
This makes me want to make one even more!

The front

And the back

This is the front 

And this was the back!

I hope you have enjoyed viewing these as much as I did photographing them!  I plan a drop at Mott's soon.  I need to call the charity director this week to schedule when I can drop them off.

GREAT job members of the A2MQG!!!  You ROCK!!!