Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Murna Marita.............

I have received feedback from several people asking about how I travel as a flight attendant and am still able to sew on my layovers.  In the business I am in, it can get really old looking at the walls of a hotel room.  For those of you who travel extensively for your jobs, I am sure you can relate?  Now, some of you may be thinking.........this guy gets to travel to several different destinations daily?  Why wouldn't he want to get out and explore?  There are a few reasons why I choose to stay in my hotel room and sew:

1.  Keep in mind I have been doing this for 12 years.  I have usually been there, done that.
2.  We for the most part are NOT put in a hotel with great exploring possibilities.  We usually stay very close to the airport.
3.  Renting a car, eating out, tips, incidentals add up! $$$$$$$$$
4.  We are sometimes only in a hotel for a very short period of time, 8-12 hours sometimes.
5.  EXHAUSTION!  Yeah, sometimes flight attendants get tired too!

Sewing, and quilt making have become my therapy.  It's nice to know I have a little machine that I can bring along with me while I lay over that will provide me solace and entertainment all at once.  Yes, you CAN take a sewing machine in a carry on bag through the security checkpoint.  I was somewhat surprised myself?  But, check it out:  Transportation Security Administration

I am pleased to introduce you to:
   Murna Marita!

At 11 inches tall, and 12 inches wide Murna Marita weighs almost 20 lbs.  (Notice the pageant lingo! LOL)  She was built by the Singer Manufacturing company in Great Britain.  This is the vintage sewing machine I learned to sew on as a child.  She's petite, and every bit a lady, but, don't let her size fool you, she is a heavy duty machine!  Just like the woman that owned her, my Meemaw!  Yeah, that's what I called my paternal grandmother.  So, it is only fitting that this machine be named after her.  

I knew I had her packed away, as this was one of the acquisitions I received after my grandmother's passing many years ago.  I stumbled upon her much by chance, and she truly is the reason I started sewing and making quilt tops.  She hadn't been sewn on for several years, and when I first tried her out, she ran like a champ!  A little oil, and cleaning, and she hummed her little Spartan tune!  

Here is her travel case.  My very first issued luggage from the airline.  This is a Crew3 bag by Travelpro.  I never ever used it until I started carrying Murna with me!  The bag is soft sided and is approximately 12 inches by 14.5 inches.  
Murna fits in the largest compartment, and I still have two more zippered compartments that I can carry supplies, fabric, books, magazines, or any other items I may need for sewing in my hotel room.  She DOES fit under the seat in front of me for when I commute, so I NEVER have to worry about checking her at the gate.  For those of you who know Bonnie Hunter's tragedy, with her beloved Singer Featherweight, I think I would die if anything like that happened to my little Spartan.  I use finger nail clips for thread cutting, and I pre-cut A LOT of fabric before I go to work.  I mainly string piece on Murna because I enjoy it so much, I get a lot done, and I love the patterns in Bonnie Hunter's String Fling book!  
Here's a photo of some completed string blocks, and some magazines in the front zipper compartment.
Not a bad set up?  The sun shining in, watching TV, and just sewing along!
She's a BRICK........HOUSE!

In other news, I did get 30 blocks completed for Alycia's QOV block drive and they are on their way to her!  There is still a small amount of time to participate!  The blocks go together very quickly, and will be greatly appreciated!
Patriotic Blocks
Plaid Blocks
I also received these beautiful batik fat quarters I won in a giveaway from Connie at Freemotion by the River 
They are in such a nice color scheme!  I can't WAIT to find something to make with them!  Thanks Connie and Vicki at Quilting Lodge

Feel free to ask me any questions!  I love hearing from all of you!  
Until next time, thanks for all of the encouragement!!
Kevin the Quilter

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm a WINNER..........

Kevin the Quilter!  Come on down!
OK, so it wasn't really like I was a contestant on the Price is Right, (although, I would LOVE to be) but, I am a winner and am jumping up and down just like I would be in contestants row!  Connie at Freemotion by the River hosted a great batik giveaway along with her friend Vicki from the Quilting Lodge earlier this month.  I am always amazed at Connie's works of art, and how much work she gets done!  She is quite prolific!  Anywho, I found out much to my surprise I won her batik giveaway!  YAHOOOOO!  I can't wait to see the fabrics I will be receiving!  Thanks for hosting the giveaway Connie!  I am delighted!  On a side note, I found out Vicki and I grew up 40 miles apart!  SMALL WORLD!

So, as promised, I am going to share more about another win, and the quilt I made my friends Jamie and Ted.  When I first started quilting, I was on the look out for deals!  Clearance fabric being the main deal I was in search of!  I found a great fat quarter bundle in autumnal colors in a clearance bin at a fabric store.  The first thought that came to mind was my friend Jamie.  She and I have been friends for quite some time, and I know how much she loves an autumnal color scheme.  Well the fabrics were perfect!  Next, I had to choose a pattern which took a while to decide upon.

As I was going through some of my grandmother and great aunt's sewing items, I found an old piece of cardboard.  I wasn't quite sure of what to think of the shape?  But, on one side it said, "5 inch Dresden."
My old Dresden template.

What on earth was a Dresden?, research began, and I found out about Dresden Plate quilts.  AHA!  I remembered seeing quilts like that, that my grandma had made!  THIS was the pattern that must be used for Jamie and Ted's quilt!  After all, they are lovers of all things vintage, and they love to entertain!

I loved how the colors and patterns came together, and decided which layout I liked best with each Dresden petal. But, I was in need of some sashing, and border fabrics.  Enter this wonderful woman........


This is Donna standing in front of her beautiful civil war quilt, and she works at a great quilt shop close to where I grew up.  Being new to quilting, not to mention being a man that quilts, I was a little intimidated shopping in quilt shops, so I took my mommy with me! LOL  Dad was there too, but, had found a very comfortable chair to fall asleep in!  As is the case most of the time, Donna thought my mom was the quilter until my mother informed her that I was.  I had brought one of my Dresden blocks with me to match some colors up, and Donna was so enthusiastic,  interested, and willing to help.  Upon seeing the block, she asked if I was entering the quilt in the River Heritage Quilt Guild Show?  The theme for the quilt show happened to be Dresden Plate!  I just looked at her in my best "WHATCHYOU TALKIN' BOUT WILLIS?"  face, and then laughed hysterically!  A quilt show?  Really?  Yeah, RIGHT!  I just KNEW she was kidding until I turned around after I had been looking for some sashing fabric, and saw a bunch of ladies gathered around the cutting table talking about my block.  Donna requested that I come over and tell the story I have already been telling here on the blog, to the ladies gathered there.  The ladies began asking questions, and they were so encouraging.  It really lit a fire in me to want to enter this quilt show!  I thought.......what do I have to lose?  I can add this experience to the "bucket list." 

I do have to tell a funny story about that first visit with Donna.  As we stood at the cutting table talking, a lady in the quilt shop kept looking at me very strangely.  She came over to us and said, "I apologize, I don't mean to stare, but, I have never seen a man that quilts before?"  LOLOLOL  Too funny!

I continued working on the quilt, and talked some things over with my long arm quilter, Ann.  Ann is an award winning quilter with AMAZE-BALLS skills that I happened to find by chance.  That is another blog post in itself.  Ann was also very encouraging of me entering the show, and gave some invaluable advice concerning the quilt.  So, it was a done deal.  The quilt was destined to be named "Autumn Dresden" and would be appearing in the quilt show.
This was my first photo of "Autumn Dresden" after receiving it from quilting.
I love pieced backings.
Upper right corner of Autumn Dresden.
Ann's quilting is beyond phenomenal!
There are some really great textures on this quilt!

When the time came, I hand delivered the quilt, and low and behold, there was Donna helping out!  She literally had tears in her eyes seeing me entering the quilt.  The day of the show came, and my dad and one of his friends had gotten to the venue where the quilt show was held earlier than me and my mother.  I saw him whispering to my mom, and I had a feeling something was up?  Yep, he was letting my mom in on something he saw attached to my quilt.........
 THIRD PLACE!  Not so bad for a first time entry?

I was so pleased!  I couldn't believe I actually placed especially after seeing the absolutely stunning quilts that were in my category!  Donna's included!  Yep, there I was in a category with Donna, the woman that encouraged me to enter!  Aren't quilters the best!?!?!?

Donna and me at the River Heritage Quilt Guild show!

I am sorry for being so long winded, but, I do hope you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed living it!  This was just the you honestly think I can settle with third place now?

I'll BE BACK! 

Thanks for all of the encouragement! 
Kevin the Quilter 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This week in pictures.....

I have had the past week off since I worked the week before, and it has been jam packed!  Packed full of what you may ask?  Well, why don't I share with you in pictures?

My mother and my nephew share a birthday!  Not only do they share it, but, it is also my mother's twin brother's birthday as well!  IMAGINE THAT!  We also have a beautiful cousin that shares their birthday as well!  February is a BIG birthday month for our family!
Here's my beautiful mother and handsome nephew on their big day together!

I was also able to share Christmas with my best friend and her husband!  (I know.....a little late, but, better late than never!)  I will have a post about my gift to them coming up in the future, but, for now, I will share with you their reactions to receiving their gift.

My friend Jamie and her husband Ted receiving their gift.
(By the way, it's NOT the Boston Terrier booty that I gave them!  LOL)

I wonder what it could be??????

Is this what I think it is?!?!?!?

The unveiling!

Merry Christmas!  (In February!)

It's so special being able to give something I designed specifically for them!
I think they liked it!

I will be posting about this particular quilt in the near future.  It is the first quilt I entered in a show, and to my surprise, it won 3rd place thanks to the help of my amazing long arm quilter Ann!  But, more about that in a future post!

I was able to browse a couple of antique malls and stumbled upon these beauties:

Does anyone know the name of this star and setting?

And a Rocky Road to Kansas!  

I was also blessed by the kindness of some quilting friends this past week!  Just take a look!

Not one, but, TWO delicious bags of scraps!  YUM!
Thanks Bev!

And lots'o'patriotic scraps for some Quilts of Valor!  YUM!
Thanks Ann for letting me go through some of your friends items!
(Please ignore the messiness of my sewing space!)

And, finally, a finish!  This quilt top was made using Tara Rebman's pattern called "Eating in Bed" in the premiere issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine
This quilt will be donated to my new found friend Bev, and her efforts with the V.A.

This quilt was A LOT of fun to make, and actually kind of made a dent in some of my scraps!  It finishes at 95"x95", and uses 16 fat quarters.

It was a fun and busy week, and I hope you enjoy all of the photos.  I return to work this week, and have my annual training later this month.  I hope you all have a fun filled week!

Stay tuned next week for my post about my first quilt show win and some of the wonderful people I met along the way! 

Thanks for all of the encouragement!
Kevin the Quilter

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Liebster Award.......

The Liebster Award!

During this season of Grammys and Oscars, I have been awarded the Liebster by Nina, at Quilts, Life and Balance.  Thank you SOOOO much Nina!  The Liebster is a fun award by bloggers to bloggers.  To qualify the blog must have less than 200 followers or must be less than six months old.  Once the award is received you are to write a post and:
  1. List 11 random things about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions posed by the nominator.
  3. Choose 11 blogs to pass the award on to and link them to your post.
  4. Create 11 questions for those 11 people to answer.
So here goes....................

11 Random Things About Myself:
  1. I am big guy.......6'2" 200+ lbs.
  2. I love browsing antique malls, flea markets, and thrift stores.
  3. I am a chicken keeper.
  4. I was taught to sew by my mother, grandmother, and 2 of my great aunts.
  5. I have been a judge of beauty pageants, and scholarship pageants for several years.
  6. I attended Mineral Area College on a full ride music scholarship.
  7. Although I am a flight attendant, I suffer from extreme Acrophobia (fear of heights) and Gephyrophobia (fear of crossing bridges) cars, at least!
  8. I don't care for crowded supermarkets and stores, and prefer to do my shopping late at night when there is no one around. 
  9. I love cooking, especially for others.
  10. I don't like people touching me when I am working on the plane.  
  11. I have had an appendectomy. 
Answers to Nina's Questions:

1. Are you a coffee or tea drinker?
I like both at different times, and for different reasons! There is nothing like a nice cup of coffee (half and half, and sugar please) with a good ole’ country breakfast, or while walking through a big city on a cool crisp morning. And, I love me some of my momma’s sweet tea just about anytime!

2. Name one quilt or pattern that is on your "some day" list.
This would have to be Bonnie Hunter’s Pineapple Crazy quilt. I just hope I have enough scraps one day to do it! It takes A LOT!

3. Do you live in the city or the country?
I live in a very small city out in the country.

4. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of blogging?
My favorite part about blogging is the interaction I get from other like-minded people from across the globe. I have “met” some amazing people via blogging. My least favorite part about blogging is the feeling of inadequacy, or ignorance about various tools, programs, and designs for blogging I have no idea about. (If anyone hears my cry for a blogging mentor....please respond!)

5. Where (sewing room, dining room, etc.) do you sew?
My sewing room is in my basement. Albeit unfinished, it is my sanctuary to be creative, and escape the world.

6. When you are not sewing or working, what activity do you do?
I love to browse through antique malls looking for Boston Terrier “anything,” vintage quilts, and various types of glassware I collect. I also love growing a huge vegetable garden and tending to chickens.

7. Do you sew in the quiet or is a radio or TV playing? What is it playing?
I always have the radio playing while I am sewing. It could be playing just about anything, as I am not a radio dial snob. Country, inspirational, 80s, disco, NPR; as long as it is not playing rap music, or something profane, I will give it a shot. I keep the dial on the radio moving!

8. Have you ever been to a quilt convention or retreat and if so, what did you like most about it?
I was able to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston last fall with my quilting friend Ann. I loved being able to see the vending booths, and meet some great people. Of course viewing the quilts was eye opening! It was a trip full of inspiration!

9. Name a historical figure that you admire.
Jesus Christ. He did so much for me, I can only hope and pray I do everything I can for Him.

10. Would you rather spend a day at a spa or a day at a fabric store?
Set the I getting a massage at the spa, or is there a clearance event at the fabric store? LOL

11. Do you like to ride roller coasters?
I love riding roller coasters (as long as I don't open my eyes on the climb up), and I usually feel like I am on one most every day I work on the plane! 

Blog Nominations (in no particular order):

Crazy for Red
The Modern Diary
Life In Pieces
365 Days and Other Ramblings
Peachy Pages
Pokeydot Quilting
Sandra's Snippets
TLC Quilts and Walks
Quilts, Life and Balance (No rules say I can't re-nominate you Nina! LOL)
This Guy Quilts
Amy's Passions

Questions for Nominees:

1. Who is the person most responsible for introducing you to quilting?

2. What is the first quilting project you ever made, and how old were you when you made it?

3. Who is your most favorite quilt designer?

4. How many quilting projects have you made to date?

5. What is your most favorite breed of dog?

6. What color is the shell on the eggs you eat?

7. What is the longest flight you have ever been on, and where were you going?

8. Which is your most favorite city to visit?

9. Where is the best Quilt Shop you have ever been to, and what is it’s name?

10. Do you have a large or small family?

11. Have you ever gone fishing? If so, what is the biggest fish you have ever caught?

So, there you have it.  I hope my nominees have fun with this. I enjoy all of your blogs so much and love to see what you've been doing both sewing and otherwise.  Thanks again Nina for this honor!  I truly appreciate it!

Thanks for all of the encouragement!
Kevin the Quilter