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Monday, September 30, 2013

Mary Ann Fons...

Alright back off, cease and desist, chill, ice it, simmer down, relax, get a grip, kick back, veg out, mellow out, decompress and loosen up. I stand corrected. Elaine pounced on me so hard my youth hurt and it's been gone for years. It was an honest mistake...I've read Playboy, Popular Mechanics, Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated, well okay only one issue a year, and quite a few Motor Trends and a motorcycle magazine or two. Never once had I heard her name mentioned.

So when I took on the role of Virginia Coordinator for the Quilts of Valor Foundation and was going through the process of getting online, getting my bio typed up and sent off, writing intro letters and emails I was also receiving the usual welcome aboard, congratulations, look forward to working and meeting with you.
As all of this was going on I had an email exchange with a Ms. turns out she is my contact for obtaining brochures for one thing. We communicated about brochures, contacting other quilters, guilds and modern quilting. She seemed to be very knowledgeable about quilting...I'm thinking I have discovered a diamond among the pieces of coal...oh do another one of those chill outs...I'm just making an’re not coal. Anyway I'm impressed...turns out to be rightfully so.

Several days later, brochures ordered some more welcome aboard comments I bring up my latest escapades relating to QOVF with my lovely bride. "I have received some really nice emails and I got one from Mary Ann Fons." Well you would have thought I was being blasphemous. She was like a Lioness protecting her cubs, the Mother Hen, the Gate Keeper and the Voice of Redemption all in one. As I would be informed immediately, without taking a breath, in less time that it would take to glance, take a peek or snap one fingers I was informed, with some conviction I might add, it is not Mary Ann!!! It is Marianne!!!!!!...apparently there is a difference...Not only did I mispronounce her name...the questions following regarding her history and association with quilting was not at the tip of my tongue and that too was totally unsatisfactory. 

My lovely bride was at a loss how anyone even remotely associated with quilting would know Ted Williams lifetime batting average, the record for touchdown passes in a game, the Land Speed Record and the number of consecutive free throws in an exhibition put on by Larry Byrd in the 80's and NOT know who Marianne Fons was. Well I know now and I'm to be on the look-out for anything that might be signed by Mary Fons says Elaine. I just said "Yes dear." I think she is trying to mess up my head...even more. 

Oh, it don't stop there...I would eventually relate the story at a Guild I'm telling the story about getting emails from Mary Ann Fons...with conviction and in unison..."It's Marianne!!!" I knew that! I also learned she and her retired partner did pretty well with a little magazine...Love of Quilting. A TV show, a long product line of quilting goods and have earned some worldwide recognition...who'd a thunk? 

I do know this...when I needed a little editing help...Marianne Fons and June Moore were right there to help. Am I in some good company or what? 

Quilt till you wilt...we do. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another Quit of Valor, okay four...

It was another great day...they just keep coming. Elaine and I set up a QOV display with a couple of machines and had attendees stop and sew some blocks. Yes even I sewed a few...I'll stick with my 'power tool' thank you very much. This was all part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association's Third Annual Poker Run. The recipient of this year’s fundraising was Cedar Grove...the apartment complex for disabled veterans mentioned and pictured the other day. We had some experienced sewers stop by and one brand new convert. This young lady just made Elaine's day. As Elaine was packing up to leave the little girl came running over to give her a hug and thank her for helping her sew...she had never sewn before. Next generation of QOVF is going to be in good hands. We were quite busy, explaining the Request Process, the QOVF Story, what goes into a QOV and turning down numerous requests to buy a quilt. We had one woman from Germany that almost broke into tears she couldn't buy one to take home to her military son in Germany. 

Yes I was the luckiest of all. This year’s event was in remembrance of the Bombing of Beirut in 1983 that killed 241 Americans and over 200 United States Marines. In attendance were four Marine survivors of that bombing, Marines that survived the attack and were left with the task of gathering, identifying and putting their friends and comrades remains in body bags. One, a Vietnam Combat Veteran already, was only thirty minutes from a total different circumstance. He grudgingly got up; quickly showered and headed off to the building next door...he had the Sunday Command Duty. His bunk was impaled with metal and building debris...he would have surely been killed...where he had been asleep 35 minutes before the bomb was detonated. Three of the four would go on to see other combat duties in places like Kuwait and Iraq. The fourth...a very lucky Major would retire several years later...He has told me several times he never begrudged any duty again. Because of time constraints at the event, everything was behind schedule, like who knew nearly four hundred riders would show up, we didn't have the opportunity to unfold the quilts for review...but I know four more very happy veterans who were still thanking me as we were leaving. Did I have a good day or what???

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lock & Load

So yesterday came and went...and another quilt has bit the to speak...but it is ready for squaring and binding. Did a little house keeping, straightened up the table, inventoried spare parts, loaded some bobbins and oiled up the hook assembly or as I say locked and loaded for the next quilt. Did a simple 'star n cloud' pattern on a Project Linus Quilt.

I always enjoy doing these.

If we keep getting spare parts, to steal a line, "We're gonna need a bigger box."

The table was a mess...which happens when you have this much space to pile stuff on...I guess if we did those paper pantographs I'd loose a lot of space...thank goodness for PantoVision. 

Have I mentioned I'm teaching a PantoVision class at Birds of a Feather in February 2014...well not today anyway. I'm not too stoked...people have actually signed up...They put my picture in the "Meet the Teachers" section on's web site under Birds of a Feather...thought for certain that would eliminate sign ups.

For those that don't know...I am an early are the two Corgi's we share space with. So this morning I am joined by the male...Nikee...about 4 he comes up and takes his place on the chair. Normally I feed them around 5. Well as it were I was in the middle of something, around 5, and needed a coffee refill, so down the stairs I go...cup in hand, Nikee in the chair. I get my refill and am headed for the stairs to the Man Cave when I am met with this...and the telepathic message..."You do know what time it is."

Honestly...I don't think he would have let me by...and by the time I turned around the female...Lilee...was at my heels...with pretty much the same message.

Quilt till you Wilt...we do...

Monday, September 16, 2013

So far this month...

We are in the process and very near completion of labeling all of the quilts, 34 residents in the 32 Unit complex, to be awarded to Disabled Veterans who will be the residents of Cedar Grove, a planned veterans apartment complex scheduled to open on the 26th of this month. There is a very distinguished list of dignitaries scheduled to make appearances and speeches at the opening. I will be making a symbolic award to one of the new residents at the opening while the other recipients will be awarded their quilts in a separate ceremony. The Tidewater Quilters Guild members have been working diligently for months to see this become a reality and to represent them and the Quilts of Valor Foundation is an honor.

All 32 apartments will be universally designed and 16 units will be fully accessible, including three units, which will be sensory accessible. Case management services will be facilitated by staff from the Hampton Veterans Administration Medical Facility and onsite counselors.

Elaine and I had the opportunity to visit the Quilts of River County in Gloucester, VA on the 13th and what a great experience that was. Three guilds from the area represented their work, their dedication, and the very historic region of Virginia with an exemplary showing of quilts. Not only did River Country Quilt Guild, Bay Quilters, Stingray Stitchers have quilts displayed in the show area, and in some of the historic buildings in the Historic Courthouse Green but in almost every store front on Main Street. It was a day of enjoyment and reflection on some of Virginia's history and how quilting has been a part of it. The Quilt of Valor area at the show was prominent and staffed with some extremely dedicated quilters. They too are preparing for a mass presentation to the veterans currently receiving treatment at a local VA Hospital in the Spinal Ward. I hope I have the opportunity to witness these presentations in November. As the Virginia Coordinator for Quilts of Valor Foundation it was a pleasure meeting with Mickey Sears, President of River County Quilt Guild and learning of their commitment to Quilts of Valor and their community.

Built in 1766 and Still Standing Tall

On a little lighter note...I am rubbing off on Elaine.  No really...look what she brought into the house to store her sewing machines feet and other accoutrements. Not sure where the screws, nut and bolts are but I'm sure I'll run across them someplace.

Well that's it for now...for those that don't know we are in the need of patriot blocks for future Quilts of Valor quilts. I have several awards that need to be made but as yet don't have the quilts. If you can help please drop me a note and I'll send you the particulars...til later...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Already!!!

I woke up and it was September...already. The local news stations and those paid to guess at the weather are talking about winter likes it's tomorrow and the magazines I get regarding motorcycles and golf are highlighting cold weather gear. No wonder it goes by so fast they don't let one season finish before they want to discuss one that isn't here's short enough (life)...quit rushing it.

Quilting...still at it regardless of the season...the one pictured is a Project Linus Quilt...the piecer...can I have favorites??? Well she is one...that's not Elaine...but to say she was a little 'thrifty' on the backing would be an understatement. If I know one thing about her tops...they are square...which is why I was able to pull it off...but 3/4" on each side is a little tight. What was Joan Rivers hook line...oh yea..."Can we talk?" I'll be using it when I see one of my favorite piecers here real soon.

You recall...some time ago 'Shop Till You Drop' Well it happened again...we just kept shopping. If you review some of the photos you'll see we had an old piece of remnant carpet on the floor in front of the power tool. Well no more...while we were out, and on at least a monthly basis we stopped in to one of the local Five Below stores...and what did we find but rubberized, 25" square, interlocking floor mats. Would you believe two for $5...So we bought a couple, replaced the carpet and gave them a try. Well they worked out really well. We had been pricing the solid piece mats, the squares at Lowes and Home Depot and honestly the carpet was just fine...until we ran across these. They provide good cushioning and after 6 or so hours in front of the Innova there is no undue fatigue or strain on the back or say I'm a satisfied customer is to say the least. We went back and picked up some more to make what you see and Elaine got six more for the garage and her Re-purpose Work Space. The least expensive solution we had discovered previously was in the $250 range...what you see was $30...Shop Till You Drop...Oh sorry, Five Below is currently between Texas and the Atlantic. to go...sun will be up soon and because it is short (life) I don't like missing any opportunities to enjoy it...Oh and really good news. Elaine has been successful at getting another location for the Every Third Saturday Quilts of Valor Sew In...we had the rug pulled out from under us by the newly elected officers at a local legion hall. You know they say everything happens for a reason...brand new facility, local library, and the best part...FREE. Don't you just hate when that happens...NOT...

The overhang you see on the right...batting...not backing!!!

But you have to love the workmanship...and square as they come.

3/4" on the left included 'selvage'

Let's just call this Happy Feet.