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Sunday, January 15, 2017

More leaves!

I received 6 more leaves yesterday for our project from Pam Edl!
Interesting! This lady is from the same town where our guild is, but we have never met in person! She just found out about this project on Facebook and generously made this leaves for me and sent them by mail! Thank you so very much, Pam! 
And I keep working on the blocks....


Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Burning leaves of Gatlinburg" project in progress


As I posted earlier, I started making maple leaf blocks, which I created a pattern specially for this charity project, and shared it with those, who wanted to join it and make one or more blocks for me to make quilts for the fire victims. I also created a pattern for this quilt. I was keeping my eye on the fabrics and finally I found exactly what I wanted for it: dramatic Volcanic rock black batik and contrasting Mountain moss.
Many, many people from all over the world joined this project and I started receiving leaf blocks from all over United States: Rebecca Tucker, Dianne Swett, Virginia Smith - from TN; Carmella Anjos, MD; Dawn Brooks, NE; Leslie Mullins, FL; Mary Lou Dagnall, MA; Sharon Bentle, OH made 16 blocks! and also sent me beautiful batiks to make more leaves; Glenis Shallard from New Zealand and Jean Foglein from Canada!










Pam Johnson from CO surprised me with the whole top, mad with 12" maple leaves!
I am so very much thankful to every single person, who find some time to make these leaves, put them in the envelope, go to the post office and send them for me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Every leaf made by your hands is so much appreciated!

And I also made 61 leaves myself so far:


Finally I received my batiks and yesterday I started working on the blocks! Here's what I have at the moment.

To be continued.....

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fireplace cover panel



Freezing cold weather last week made me think twice about our wood-burning fireplace, sucking out the warmth of the house through the flue.

Even with a tempered glass door and a damper closed, I can feel the air flow, especially in windy weather.

This is what I made yesterday to cover it, when not burning. Winter print fabric panel + insul-bright (needle-punched heat resistant insulation) + wool backing with attached sew-in magnetic snaps, which holds the whole panel tight to the metal case around the fireplace.

We also ordered a fire retardant spray for the baking. I hope it will help to conserve some heat of the house when it's really, really cold! Well, maybe not, at least it will make me feel better!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Пора убирать ёлку! The stories of Christmas ornaments...

Закончились новогодние и рождественские праздники, пора убирать ёлку и складывать новогодние украшения в коробки до следующего года. Кстати говоря, то, что мы называем ёлочными игрушками, американцы называют Christmas ornaments, а Новогоднюю ёлку соответственно Christmas tree, по понятным причинам. 

Учитывая, что наш дом сгорел дотла12 лет назад, наша коллекция не такая уж большая пока, но мы её пополняем с каждым годом. Причём, большинство из наших украшений это не просто шарики, снежинки и звёздочки, а многие из них со своим смыслом, кому-то посвящены или были подарены в честь какого-то события или на память о чём-то или о ком-то. А чтобы запомнить и передать по наследству, их ещё и принято подписывать, тогда уж точно не ошибёшься ни с годом, ни с владельцем!
 Моя свекровь была большая умница по организации этого праздника! Сразу же после Дня благодарения она принималась рассылать тщательно подобранные и красиво подписанные каллиграфическим почерком рождественские открытки и упаковывать заранее купленные  многочисленные подарки. Она как магнит собирала в своём тёплом и уютном большом доме всё семейство на Рождество, всех детей, внуков и правнуков. В лучшие годы нас собиралось более 30 человек! Все готовились заранее, распределяли меню, по тайной жеребьёвке определяли кто с кем будет меняться подарками (чтобы наверняка каждого ждал подарочек под ёлкой), все подарки красиво упаковывались в специальные яркие коробки и украшались неимоверно красивыми бантами и изысканными подвесными лейбами с именами получателя.


Праздник начинался со стола и вкусной еды, потом все дружно и каким-то образом невероятно быстро убирали всё со столов, мгновенно наводили порядок на кухне, вся посуда убиралась в мойку, а бумажная ещё проще, просто отправлялась в мешок и все рассаживались в зале в ожидании подарков. Ребятишки помоложе сновали по комнате с коробками и пакетиками в руках, вручая подарки получателям. Разворачивание подарков было похоже на ритуал, все восхищались, не скрывая эмоций, искренне радовались каждому подарку, и обязательно благодарили лично каждого. Эти рождественские встречи оставили в памяти самые яркие и добрые впечатления! Когда моей свекрови не стало, сестра Джуди сделала на заказ для всех нас орнамент с её фото (в центре), справа мой свёкр (в молодости), а слева другая сестра с мужем, которых тоже уже нет с нами.
Эту фарфоровую парочку нам подарил uncle Kenneth, её брат, в год, когда мы поженились. Если присмотреться, то на книге можно разглядеть "Наш первый Крисмас" 2004. Кстати говоря, он подарил нам два таких орнамента, ну просто у него было их два, а в тот год видимо больше никто не поженился, ну он и подарил нам оба! А в конце ноября 20016 второй орнамент сгорел вместе с ёлкой и с нашим вторым vacation home in Gatlinburg, о чём я писала ранее. Как будто знал, что второй точно пригодится! Я точно знаю, где она подвешена: чуть выше и левее центра.

А этот очаровательный музыкальный орнамент перешёл нам по наследству от свекрови; она его купила для своей ёлки в тот же год, снизу видна надпись от руки.

А я стала украшать её ёлку в виде вот этого ангелочка c того же года (подписано Natali 04).

Когда мои сыновья пошли служить в морской флот, мы приобрели вот такие две шапочки в их честь!
А моя свекровь купила для них вот таких двух солдатиков:

 А это тоже подарок от нашего дядюшки,большого любителя антиквариата и просто необыкновенных и редких сувениров и подарков!  Мини почтовый ящик. Почему-то это самый мой любимый орнамент!
А такими мы были в 2006, когда я проходила курс радиации и химиотерапии; один из самых удручающих моментов моей жизни.
Многие из дорогих и фирменных орнаментов имеют свои персональные коробочки, которые обеспечивают им неразбиваемость и сохранность на многие годы! Хотя, надо сделать поправку: относительно!
Но самая интересная и неординарная часть наших орнаментов перешла нам по наследству от свекрови в 2015 году, когда она покинула этот мир. Это украшения, выпускаемые ежегодно к Рождеству исторической Ассоциацией Белого Дома. Свекровь начала приобретать эти орнаменты с 1981 года, когда родился её первый внук. Задумка была такая, что каждый внук (мальчик) будет ежегодно получать по такому орнаменту до конца её дней. Она продолжила эту традицию даже тогда, когда стали появляться правнуки! А прожила она долго, и умерла в день своего 88-го Дня рождения. На тот момент у неё уже было 19 внуков и правнуков, причём моих сыновей она всегда считала тоже своими родными внуками, что конечно же было большой честью для меня и для моих детей! Как я уже рассказывала в моём предыдущем посте, нас  сразу же приняли в этой семье как родных. Когда она умерла, я решила не прерывать эту традицию и стала тоже покупать эти орнаменты, один для нас и по одному для наших детей. Вот она, эта коллекция.




Ах да, по иронии судьбы, в этом году орнаментом стала ПОЖАРНАЯ МАШИНА!



Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: resolutions and the word of the year. Interview with Natalie.

- Hi, Natalie. Happy New Year to you and all your family and friends! Wishing you all the best in 2017 and may all your best dreams come true!
-Thank you so much! Happy New Year to you too! Thank you for taking the time to interview me today, on the 1st day of the year 2017!
-My pleasure! Let's talk about your blog, your patterns, your business and about you, if you don't mind.
-No, I don't mind! Thanks for asking.
-You started your blog in 2010, is that correct?
-Yes, that's correct, Friday, August 13, 2010. I think it was the time, when reading and sharing blog posts became the most popular, I guess much more popular, than now. Even my Mother-in-law, who was 83 then, had her own blog! Seriously! She was posting pictures, stories and memories about her life and family. Several years before she passed away, she printed out several copies, pretty thick colorful books of her life story, written in her blog, and gave them to her kids, - very good way to save the precious memories, making a hard copy of the blog, priceless for descendants!
- Is your blog is also your life story?
- Not really. "Quiltessa. Patchwork palette" - the name of my blog, it's all about my passion to quilting. My nickname is Quiltessa. And here's the funny story about the second part - "Patchwork palette". This was the initial name of my blog, and I started it in Russian. When my husband once translated it from Russian, using Google or some other translator, we couldn't stop laughing: "Rag picker" - that's how it sounded! Terrible! So, later on I just changed it to what it is now, that's what was my initial idea! Patchwork palette is NOT the same as Rag picker!
- That's really funny! So, your blog is mostly about quilting and your hobby?
- Pretty much! I was always fascinated by the art. Never learned painting (my sister did!), but was always feeling some source of creativity in myself; always loved learning something new, always loved experimenting, never afraid of making mistakes, considering errors as a part of experience. I always loved sewing, since I was a little girl. I have a story in my blog, almost dramatic, about my first experience, using my mother's sewing machine, you might want to read it.  I was thinking about it many-many times, what if my mother punished me then or her reaction was opposite? Probably I would never love sewing that much! But she gave me an inspiration then, also helping and teaching me sewing, as well as knitting, crocheting and many more...
- Would you tell us a little more about yourself, please.
- Sure. My name is Natalie, born in Russia, just in between Moscow and St.Petersburg; nested in Ukraine at the age of 3, when my parents moved to the very South of Ukraine;
graduated from school at the year, when the Olympic games in Moscow took place. Then studied for 5 years in the institute, studying French and English to become a school teacher. Married and gave birth to two boys;
 Divorced after 5 years of not very successful marriage, right before the Soviet Union collapsed.
My Mom was elementary school teacher; she helped me a lot with my boys in their early age. She was a strong person, very well educated, very good teacher and a good person.
Unfortunately, it didn't last long. I lost my both parents in 90s.


- How old were your parents, when they passed away?
- Well, my dad died at the age of 57 after the complications of the terrible road accident. Mother lived another 4 years, and then she died, when reached the same age. They both left us too early....
- Sorry for your early loss, Natalie.
- Thank you.
- So, what happened later, when your kids grew up?
- Well, I was transplanted to USA at the age of 40 and rooted in Tennessee after being happily married in 2004.
- What is you husband's name?
- His name is Hugh. We met in France in spring 2004; then he came to visit me in Ukraine and on August 29, 2004 my feet first stepped on the American land, which became my new home!
- Have you married soon after your arrival?
- Yes, I had a fiancee visa and 90 days to decide, either I wanted to get married and stay here or leave the country after that term. We didn't hesitate and married soon, on September 16! Woo-hoo!!
- Did you like the USA?
- Well, yes! Totally new world for me! My husband's family was so friendly to me since first I met them, everybody were so welcoming and kind to me, very nice, so I felt like my family was restored again. 90s were so cruel: Soviet Union collapsed; early divorce, both of my parents died, my ant and both uncles also passed away, I raised my sons on my own and that was not easy in the early years of independency of Ukraine. So, the family I married here, changed my and my sons' life a lot!
- Was it hard to adjust to this new life for you?
- It wouldn't be truth, if I say no. In the very beginning it was really hard for me to understand the people, even my husband! Being an English teacher in Ukraine evidently has nothing to do with being an american resident, especially in the South. The accent was so different from what we learned at school, and so hard to understand, so, most of the time I was just smiling and pretending to participate the conversation. Every time when they start talking, I miss the first part, containing unknown to me common names or places, which made me then so easy to lose the thread. And it's hard to be a dummy!
- How long did it take you to adjust?
- Oh, I don't know, maybe 2-3 years, maybe more... I am comfortable with listening to the radio or watching TV,  the language is pretty clear and easy to understand most of the time, but even now, I still have trouble understanding some people. I hate talking on the phone, by the way! I don't have many people around, I am staying at home most of the time, I am not practicing enough, yes, I am listening a lot, but this is not enough, you need to be involved in conversation, - that's how you gain your experience, which I never have enough.  But I am trying to improve my language. I have lots of friends on Facebook, running my own Quiltess.com store and my Etsy store "Quiltessence", which gives me a good chance to communicate with my customers, polishing my skills.
- Your earlier blog posts are in your native language. Why did you decide to change it?
-Yes, I used to write my blog posts in Russian, but since last year I changed the tune and started posting in English only (almost), it also helps me a lot to improve my language, I need more practice!
- I see. I know you also design your own patterns, do you sell them?
- Yes, you can find them in my Craftsy pattern store "Quiltessa Natalie". I started designing in 2015 and was very excited with this brand new business for me. As I said before, I am always full of ideas, but never have enough time to make all those projects, I have in my head. I am trying to keep records of all my inventions and projects, but it doesn't really help! One day I over sudden realized: when I die, all my ideas and undone projects will die with me! That's not fair! I always hear from my family and friend, who often receive my handmade gifts:  "You need to make patterns! You need to sell them!" So I did! I started learning "how to"! Maybe not top notch yet, but I am trying to do my best and I am improving myself.
By the way, the word of this year for me would be IMPROVEMENT. Not only for patterns and my business, this will be applied to many other things, which need to be improved in my house, in my sewing room, in my garden, in my relationship, in my head etc...
- Sounds good! Wishing you good luck! And may all your improvements come true!
- Oh, thank you so much! I will be working hard on them! Thanks for taking this interview! Will be glad to talk to you again! Have a happy and productive year!
- Thanks! The same to you!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

"Angel's landing", the story behind the Arch and the quilt

One of our neighbors' house in the mountains had a name "Angel's landing". Beautiful house,  perfect landscaping, vibrant foliage and flower colors for every season: dogwood, irises, hydrangea, roses, ground covers, maples, and much more.... 
But this arch... Such a nice addition to the house! It always attracted my attention when we went walking with our dog Murphy. That was really an eye catching spot! One day I met the guy, who lived in that house. He invited to me to sit down on the bench under the arch and we were talking and talking. He came to United States from Czechoslovakia long time ago, married, had some kids and now grandkids. They fell in love with Great Smokey Mountains, as many of us, and built this house, which turned to their vacation home.   Still can't find any picture in my my folders of the house, but the Arch is the thing I was going to talk about.
It turned me on and I started thinking about making a quilt with that arch on it. At that point of time I was really interested in watercolor quilts and this idea with the arch was just what I needed for my new project in my dream. But it seemed to me, that the picture with the driveway in font and garage on the right was not quite inspiring, so I started digging for the help. And I found this beautiful Thomas Kinkade picture, which I decided to use for the quilt.   

More pictures of the quilt and how I was making it, you can find in my earlier post


Monday, November 28, 2016. Wildfire in Gatlinburg destroyed 2400+ houses, including this beautiful place.  



Even though this is so hard to think about the lost house, about that guy and those memories, this two storied chimney with fireplaces looks still so victorious! She survived the fire! 

And! Believe it or not: the arch, that arch, made of wood, as well as the wooden sign "Angel's landing" are still standing in front of the pile of ashes! Isn't it something?


 I haven't heard from that guy for a while, don't know if he's still alive, have no idea if this house will be ever rebuilt. But I am glad I have some personal touch to this house, well - the Arch, which gave me the inspiration to make the quilt, which is still hanging in my sewing room. Will be reminding me forever about this beautiful place -"Angel's landing".