Friday, November 30, 2012

A Trip with some Fabric Therapy

Hi Project 40 Friends!

I'm back from the first delivery trip.  Drove close to 1000 miles round trip.  My Dad is not a happy camper.  He wants to be sprung from the nursing home and he's not safe to be on his own and none of his kids have the ability to watch him 24 hours/day.  (He's forgetful and very impulsive, so not safe on his own, but convinced that he is.)  Please pray that my Dad will be content and at peace....That's a miracle that could only come from God. 

Anyway, I did not give a lap blanket to Dad.  It would have pushed him over the edge.
I gave the first 3 blankets to the counselor/activities coordinator.  She was thrilled and will be passing them out to needy residents.  She got so excited when I told her we would be sending more that she almost cried.  It was fun to tell her about all of the people across the country and in Canada that are pitching in to help with this project...Plus to give glory to God who inspired it from the get go.

There is one little indulgence that occurs each time I visit my Dad.  It just so happens that Paducah is between my house and the nursing home.  Darn!  Hate that! 

Hancocks makes for a wonderful stop to stretch my legs, visit their bathroom, and then enjoy the sale tables.  I can't remember the last time I shopped the bolts in there.  I love going through the end pieces though.  Here's what joined me on the trip this time.

I've been working on some guy quilts lately.  I'll be cutting these up and adding them to the mix soon.

I have a collection of solids that comes in handy when I'm feeling Amish or just want some sashings or old-timey setting blocks.  I'm always watching for new additions.

And I couldn't leave without this bright, happy piece.  I knew it was coming home with me!  And look it even works with 2 of the solids.

Blessings to You,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Traveling Blankies

Busy day around here.  My Mother-in-law, Dorothy, and her friend, Sheri, are busy little Project 40 elves!  They've been assembling strips while I've been packing for a trip to see my Dad. 

Sheri made this blankie with lots of pretty stitches
This is Sheri busy on the assembly line.
Dorothy is hard at it, too. 
I seem to be the slacker of the group, just manning the camera.

Diane G. sent this cheerful lap blanket!

Another of Sheri's creations. 

Here are Dorothy & Sheri trying to figure out which strips play nicely together.

Beginnings of a stack headed for Illinois.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grateful for Pain?

Yesterday I had one of those deep moments of clarity and understanding. 

Here it is:  I am thankful for the pain that I've been through.  I'm actually thankful that God let me go through the pain and not just dance around it like I wanted to.  I'm glad He pushed me through because only in the really hard, painful stuff of life did I come to know Him in ways that I never even knew existed.  His Presence was real and tangible.  His Provision, Love, and Peace were there for me every day.  I would have missed knowing Him like this if I could have arranged things my way two years ago.

This clarity came because of a post written by a new blog friend (Kris at Losing Sleep Counting Sheep).  We have corresponded about the struggles that she is going through related to Hurricane Sandy.  Kris has nicely summed up some of our emails in a new blog post.  I encourage you to read it.  It has a sweet ending.
Thanks amid Devastation

Thanks Kris for letting me be a part of your life and your blog.


"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."            --Jesus  (John 16:33)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Plodding Along

I keep plodding along with Dad's Quilt.  I wonder if I will ever stop calling it that?

I've gotten into a groove with this quilt....hand quilting on it for just a while each morning before I begin my Bible study and farm chores.  It's such a good way for me to settle my emotions as I start the peaceful and meditative.

Fan quilting from back--sorry it doesn't show up very well.

I've finished all of the center fan quilting.

The last bit of fan quilting

Chose a very simple pattern for quilting the border.

Easy-Peasy Border Quilting

The border is moving along pretty fast, so I'm starting to think about the binding.

Auditioning binding fabrics. 
Really like the one on the right which is also the
setting fabric on the outside edge of the blocks.

I would like to use the same fabric for all the binding, but don't have any large pieces of brown fabric.  I could (and may) go shopping for a brown binding fabric.  But in the spirit of frugal quilting I would really like to use what I have.  I'll most likely piece some of my brown prints and just go with it.  Sometimes the binding fabric makes a big difference in a quilt, but in this case I don't think it's much of a design element. 

Some other bits of brown print fabric from my stash.

What do you think?  Any strong opinions?


Assembly Line to Start Soon!

I will be visiting my Dad at the end of November.  He lives about 7 hours from me (near my siblings). My Sister & I will be attending what promises to be a difficult meeting to plan for my Dad's care.  Reality vs. What My Dad Wants are definitely in conflict considering his mental and health status. I'll be requesting your prayers when the time for my visit grows nearer.

I know there are some finished strips and completed blankies out there floating around.  I'm planning to assemble some lap blankets next week (seems appropriate for Thanksgiving week, I think).  Whatever is completed will go with me on this first trip back to see my Dad since Project 40 began. 

I'm not trying to rush anyone, but if you would like your work so far included, please mail your package soon. Don't worry if your strip(s) aren't ready, I'll be making more trips and if need be will make local nursing home deliveries.  No doubt the need is great and I would love to see this effort grow.

I'm listing a Post Office address here.  Please let me know when you mail something and I'll be watching for it.

Pam Stahl
P.O. Box 1875
Mt. Juliet, TN 37121-1875


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Project 40 Progress!

ALL Project 40 Info here!

Val crocheted this strip and is working on another!

Strip collection to date. I love seeing them all rolled up.
Karen sent the teal ones.
Pam J. made the blue-brown variegated one.
Dorothy made the oatmeal colored one.
Playing with layout.  Can't wait to finish up more strips and sew them together!
Sherri made both of these lap blankies!!  Hooray!

My heart is heavy today with all this Dad stuff.  Yesterday my brother told me about an upcoming meeting with nursing home staff to discuss Dad's care and transition from Rehab efforts to Residential.  My stomach feels sick every time I think about it.  So many questions in my head.  Trying to figure out things that I can't. Only God can work out a mess like this and give peace to my Dad, my brother, my sister, and me.  I pray that He will.

I'm thankful to have Project 40 to keep my hands busy while my heart prays. 

Thanks to all of you for joining me in this effort.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Do You Keep a Journal?

Yesterday I dug out some old journals looking for clues about Dad's quilt.  Specifically, when did I start making this thing?!  I never did locate any answers, but what I did find was even better. 

I found God's faithfulness and love covering my life.  He's been there in the awesome, mountaintop moments, and His presence was even more pronounced when I have struggled through the hard, sad times. 

I can also see His direction, His guiding voice in my entries.  Interestingly enough, He's been telling me some of the same stuff for years.  I'm not sure if that means I'm a terribly slow learner (yes!) or if He is simply reassuring me and encouraging me to stay on this path with Him.  Probably both.  I'm sure there are times when God wants to shake me till my teeth rattle, but instead He patiently repeats the lesson.

I encourage you to keep a simple journal.  Try not to make rules about it or be legalistic.  Just be you.  Write what comes to you--perhaps a basic record of your days.  Other times you may need to hash out bigger stuff.  I also like to list prayer requests that I am lifting to God and the answers as they come. 

Sometimes we forget that God has been right there with us through all our stuff.  I think keeping a journal helps with that forgetful tendency.

Do you keep a journal?
Has God revealed Himself to you through journaling?

May your day be blessed with sweet remembrances of God's faithfulness and love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's for Dinner, Mom???

Welcome to Control Central here at my house.  Most days I can be found here cooking up trough-fulls of food!  My sons are both teenaged bottomless pits.  Eating is somewhat of a sport with them.

So come on in and see what's cookin'!

Oops, there's food around the edges, but what's Mom cooking up?

Oh NO, that looks like Fat Quarters & Cornbread!  Not again!!

Current WIP--I LOVE making scrappy 9 patch blocks!

Close-up--I like sewing up wacky combos.

I'm trying to sew some more dull-ish blocks to tone this down a bit as it grows.  The potential recipient will appreciate that.  PLUS...adding some dull ones will make the bright ones sing even more.  :)

Hope you are having a great day.  Think I'll go have a piece of Scrapple Pie!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Project 40

Dad's Quilt in progress.  Held by my sons.

This story is a bit windy.  If you are looking for the Project 40 details just scroll to the bottom.

Years ago my Dad requested that I make him a quilt.  And not just any quilt...He wanted a King-size quilt!  So I started it.  I made the top in a reasonable amount of time.  Then the real question arrived---How do I quilt this thing?!!  I finally made the executive decision to hand quilt it (yes, you read that right!).  Truly, I must have been on hallucinogens to think that it would ever be completed. 

Well years passed and I worked on it in dribs and drabs.  I would make some headway and then lose interest or life would squeeze quilting out of my day/week/month. 

Then a terrible thing happened.  Everything changed.  My Dad had a stroke following heart surgery this year and is now being cared for in a nursing home.  Oddly enough, hand quilting has helped me through these past months.  I've stitched and prayed.  I showed the quilt to my friend, Sarah, and she pushed me to work on it every day and get it finished.  I have. 

As I near completion on this quilt, my heart is sad.  Lots of regret.  Sorrow over things past, things that will never come to be.  I wanted my Dad to love this quilt and feel my love and God's love stitched into it. 

I doubt my Dad will ever come home from the nursing home.  He's very impulsive and frequently confused.  My siblings and I can't figure out how to keep him safe without 24-hour care. 

I'll keep this quilt in hopes that my Dad will come home to his King-size bed again, but my heart of hearts knows the truth.  He won't.

As far as giving him the quilt anyway, this mega-quilt would certainly overwhelm my Dad's room at the nursing home.  Gee, it might even be as big as his room. I can just hear the nurse screaming "Code Quilt" as they try to keep The Quilt from smothering the poor man!

Dad goofing off with Grandchildren December 2011
So the quilt is not meant to be.  I know you're thinking, "Well duh, Girl!  Make a smaller quilt!"  You're right, but he already has a more reasonable sized quilt from me.  So he really is covered in the quilting department...I just wanted him to have this special quilt.  Ok, enough about the quilt.

Since his stroke, my Dad forgets that his children love him, care about him, and visit him regularly. 
It's heart-wrenching to see the anguish he goes through.
I want to make my Dad (and lots of other nursing home residents) a gift that he can hold onto and "remember" our love.  I want my family and others (that's YOU!) to be able to help make these gifts.

Project 40 was born to meet this need.

We are making lap blankets for nursing home residents.  (My Dad is not the only one that needs to "remember" that he is loved).

"40" stands for 40 inches.

Here's what you do:
Knit or crochet a 40 inch long strip from washable yarn.

40 inches is the only number that you need to remember.

You choose everything else.
You choose the width to make your strip, the stitch pattern, to knit or crochet, the color...
Use whatever yarn you have as long as it is washable.

(as far as the "washable" part...These blankets will most likely go through an industrial laundry on occasion.  If the yarn isn't washable, their beloved blankie may turn into a pot-holder.  So yes, the washable part is important!)

You can then mail your completed strip(s) to me at Strip Central. 
I'm listing a Post Office address here. 
Please let me know when you mail something and I'll be watching for it.

Pam Stahl
P.O. Box 1875
Mt. Juliet, TN 37121-1875

My dear Mother-in-Law promises to help me sew the strips together to make toasty warm lap blankets filled with love from all of  us.  We will keep making these blankets as long as people will help make strips. 

Project 40 blankets will be delivered first to the nursing home where my Dad resides and then to others....hopefully many others.

May God use our hands to greatly love those that feel forgotten.

Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  
    Ephesians 5: 9-10