Thursday, July 23, 2020

Remembering Part 3

This is the final and last chapter of the history of Little House Home Arts. I recently told my daughter that I wanted to make a final quilt, and she started laughing and said, don't you mean, you want to make "a final SERIES of quilts" truly I have several partly done and another in a beginning stage and yet am talking about making another detailed appliqued quilt besides? She knows I never stop dreaming of making quilts! "Yes, I guess that is what I mean" and had to laugh as well. So many quilts not yet finished, such that I was sure that she was nudging me to not leave them partially done for her to finish!!

I don't produce anything in singles and haven't for a long time. It seems that creativity means getting loose and staying that way, and making huge messes and starting more before I have finished the last. For too long sewing has been my therapy and why quit now? Yes, I am aging, BUT didn't I say that I wanted to be the Grandma Moses of the quilting world?  Besides, I seem to be right in the middle of some serious marital discord, that apparently for too long has not been reconciled and so likely I will have more time on my hands and not less in future days, as we each seek individual counseling, though the outcome is beginning to not appear different from when it started.

I am sad about it all, but am not finding viable options except to change what I can and accept what I cannot. I could feel hopeless very fast but that isn't my style. Life is full of opportunities and I refuse to think that problems cannot be solved, but when the parties aren't desiring that; keeping positive and headed forward seems to be the only answer.

My sewing has evolved into making quilts, which is actually where I wanted to go when I first started sewing professionally, but was realistic about quilts not being easily marketable, nor fast to produce. Sewing for money was never what my sewing was about and still isn't. I simply love to create and so I will find uses for whatever I make and to date, have done just that. Anyway, here are glimpses of some of my past as well as present projects. A quilt, for me, is like a good book that lasts a very long time, especially when working on multiple projects at once. It isn't about "having" the creation as much as "creating" that brings me joy and keeps me entertained.

These are some of my more recent past and current projects: Enjoy and don't worry, I am still here and sewing! Some things don't change!!
Fabrics for new Bee-Attitude Quilt.
One machine embroidery of many for the Bee-Attitude

Another machine embroidery for the Bee-Attitude
A Bee-Attitude for the same quilt.

Another Bee-Attitude for the same quilt.

A wall hanging made from Japanese
Dwaibo fabrics (all appliqued and
quilted by hand.)

Close up of Dwaibo wall hanging in process.

Strips of fabric ready to make machine
sewn quilt. It is done, just not pictured.

My mother's hearts and flowers candle-wicking quilt, needed
to be finished by me. It is done by hand, using quilt-as-you-go

My mother's hearts and flowers quilt needing the last row of
blocks attached with two long sashing strips and hand-
quilted. (done by Mary M. Campen) (God-willing com-
pleted by me.--"my ticket to heaven", only if done!)

The most recent original Aboriginal Crazy
Quilt done using machine embroidery,
hand-applique, with embellishment stitching
done on machine and by hand. Still needs
last black border to front and tied to same-
   colored backing--(hard to find final fabric
 needed to complete it during this pandemic).

Civil War machine pieced blocks. I became "a class of two", so
each of Barbara Brachman's blocks were done twice using
different fabrics for different effects. All waiting to be joined
to make two quilt tops.

Same project as above. Different view.

Was created to be a backing to a Batman quilt for a niece's
child. It was too wild for her. Waiting for completion as
a quilt.

Machine sewn comforter. Hand tyed.

A sample of some 100 hand appliqued double heart blocks,
all sewn on various shades of muslin, waiting to be sewn into
one or two quilt tops.

My "near famous" Crazy Quilted Christmas Stockings.

A simple comforter made for my niece's child with her
favorite Disney Princesses.

My niece's daughter on top of  her
new comforter,with her bed tent
and birthday gifts gathered around
her! The comforter was made
to be durable, washable and

Monday, June 29, 2020

Remembering-- Part 2

Too many pictures for one blog, so I decided to do a second part to my last "Remembering Blog". I found it good to see what I had been busy doing the past several years on my blog. It started as an experiment in me sewing while I was on a medical retirement from nursing. I was in treatment for Chronic Lyme and so creating Little House served as a distraction during an experimental long term treatment program for Lyme Disease. 

My treatment involved taking Benicar in large doses to eliminate Vitamin D from my body, as it was felt that perhaps my body's production of Vitamin D interfered with my ability to fight off diseases that had been retained in the body's biofilm.  The thought was that Vitamin D acted similar to a steroid, and prevented the body's immune system to fight off low grade infections that tended to continue on. So low dosed antibiotics were pulsated,  taken on an "on and off schedule" that along with eliminating Vitamin D would perhaps cause better "kill off " of these various "hard to kill  chronic bugs in my biofilm.

Treatment was to last 3-5 years, though my regular provider was forced to abandon his patients and was routed to another clinic, so was no longer around to help me wean off this protocol in a safe fashion.  The loss of my provider in the middle of this protocol, meant seeking another quickly. As we wore special dark glasses to prevent our bodies from creating our own Vitamin D when stimulated by light and wore long sleeves, people in small communities knew all in their small towns who dressed like this, and made it easier to track down those in treatment especially as I traveled around to different towns in Vermont to sell my pincushions. In this way I was able to track down patients treated by my doctor and networking with them was able to find a future doctor willing to treat me further. I continued this Marshall Protocol using a second doctor in Massachusetts. My treatment continued for eight years total, so Little House  Home Arts continued on as well and my oldest daughter and husband  took over doing sales and craft shows in limited numbers each year. I needed to live in low lux light or wear dark glasses and the sales became too exhausting! My sewed creations continued and was the distraction I needed during this long-lasting treatment. Here are more pictures of my continued creations, truly my occupational therapy during this time! Fortunately I was not contagious and my sewing became a real blessing for me!

Pet pincushions.
Owls, blooming cactus pincushions, owl scissor holders 
that when inserted made eye glasses for their big eyes,
 ice cream sundae pincushions and a plain pincushion in a cup.
From pincushions to wool pictures with 
embroidery work.

More wool pictures with 
embroidery as well as

Sunday, June 14, 2020


Memory of days past are speaking loudly to me these days. It is one thing to lose something or even someone, but those whose memories have been damaged lose so much more than simply the present. Their past can be tainted and potentially rob others of the good memories of the past.

I am wading through much sorrow these days on many fronts. As I grow older, my friends are incurring life-threatening illnesses and even my husband has experienced a serious crisis that stopped me in my tracks. He suddenly shared with me that he didn't want to be married to me anymore after just celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. It was devastating, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that something was going on with him that wasn't normal. He agreed to seek counseling and so we are both in the midst of our own individual counseling. What is going on is serious and will require long term therapy, we have been told. Both my husband and I decided to not give up easily on what it has taken us years to build!

After almost five months, there has been what I consider to be a major breakthrough. My husband is appreciating that his past traumas are affecting his present life in a way he has never experienced before, creating misunderstanding in his communications. He just caught himself in the midst of misplacing his frustration and anger where is doesn't belong, corrected himself and apologized. This is a major!  My hope for his recovery is positively reinforced. His therapy is working and at a miraculous pace!! I have new hopes for a future I had never doubted before.

This last Memorial Day was sad as we couldn't celebrate the weekend in our usual small town ways largely due to Covid19 and all the changes it has created in our community. Parades and other social gatherings and small town events were all cancelled, but I am not forgetting  those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, nor am I forgetting good memories shared with my family, though our proud history needs to be un-buried and remembered. I recall memories that need to be celebrated and rekindling hope that normal life will return in the near future. It has been a double whammy to be hit with the corona-virus pandemic and its social isolation all in the midst of our own personal crisis! To be free of both someday, will be huge, as I have a new-found appreciation for all the small things in life  that make life worth living!!

I have found it helpful to take time to visit the "fruits" of our marriage, being our two grown daughters and confirm that our family life was wonderful and real! They are my proof and tangible evidence! Many happy memories were shared as a family and they help to validate all we have lived through and for! These celebrations of memories and histories are so critical to the well-being of our country and the values we embrace!! What is occurring with us as a family seems similar to what is  happening on a larger scale in our communities, cities and countries.

In the midst of a rather complicated, but simple transaction on line, I found myself sharing with a total stranger, my history of creating Little House Home Arts and referred her to my Etsy Shop. Sadly I am so behind in terms of keeping my present creations listed, but also realized that my wares listed no longer represent all the different mediums I have explored while doing my on-line business. I went to find photos of some of my earlier creations, and found it very validating to see how our home was transformed into a house of multiple sorts of creations and thought you, my readers, might also enjoy some of the pictures I found. I am still not finding some I remembered, but was none-the-less excited to see our former days, not all that long ago, when life was simpler and thought you might enjoy seeing them as well!! These were some very fun and colorful days!!

Life  and stress has a way of wearing us all down and most of us are so blessed with memories  of  past days. It is important to take time to collect these memories about us during such a time as this and remember and hope that life will return to being less complicated, and with new-found appreciation for the small things that add such joy to our living! It is also good to remember values we embraced prior to days of this pandemic as well as days of relative peace, without rioting and so much civil unrest! Did you know that after the Spanish Flu, there also occurred much civil unrest?  It gives me hope that our future will have normalcy in it again, as our country has been through this before and recovered!! Do keep your hopes and dreams of better times alive and well!

I hope these pictures will stimulate memories of some of your more care-free, energetic and productive days or give you ideas for future creations to try yourself!! I will split them into groups and spread out my findings in blogs ahead as well! Enjoy!

Days of embroidery and needle-felting...Embellished wool
Easter Eggs!

Applique and Needle-felting combined.

No matter how small, detail work is fun...

And variations by changing colors for new looks.

Primitive needle-felting, my start to painting with wool roving.

Applique with touches of needle-felting.

And pincushions by the batches. A batch of fruit pincushions.

Acorn Pincushions.
Any design I could imagine...

Wait! An ear with pins, a perfect gift for
my acupuncturist with realistic first
More batches of tiny pumpkin pincushions!

A blooming cactus and other colorful creations by the batch!

Blooming potted plants of all colors.

All making for a colorful display booth!

Even political cushions! Fun displays!

Potted Strawberryplant blooming!

More colorful blooming cacti!

My own patterns, though most preferred me to sew them!
How about a dog pincushion?

More of my needle crafts of the past to come in the next blog!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In Need of Sewing Therapy and More!

I wrote in my last blog that I have much need for sewing therapy right now, but didn't know that the corona virus pandemic would complicate life even further! I have lived in a world of needed therapies, for many years now. I wrote much about living with chronic lyme disease, and so between various medical regimes as well as physical regimes, I work to keep myself structured with sewing, swimming, reading, and prayer to keep me as healthy as I can be. This last week the indoor pool at our local university just closed it doors to the community as a measure of controlling the spread of the corona virus. Not sure what I will do for exercise now with my physical limits, but am determined to at least do some of my physical therapy exercises here at home, as well as getting caught up on some housework!  My husband recently came to me and  talked about potentially leaving me after being married for forty years!!This was truly a "gobsmacking and life-altering" discussion! Fortunately he is getting counseling and after his first visit it was suggested he read about Adult Children of Alcoholics to learn  more about himself.

I had no idea that if you aren't a drinker, that you still need to consider the damage done by parent(s) who were alcoholics. Apparently the culture runs deep and self-alienation can start in very early childhood. I have taken to reading about children of alcoholics and the issues that they often suffer from and am also reading about the host of relationship difficulties that can occur later in life because of it. Often adult children of alcoholics open about their traumatic childhoods and bury their feelings, so it is not uncommon that many years later more problems arise. I am hopeful that counseling will help us both and that our marriage will be something that can be saved! I am still in shock but am learning to "take it all a day at a time". My readings have helped me better understand what is  happening within him, and we are communicating more about what has been wearing down our marriage.

I am a Roman Catholic convert and so divorce is not even something I ever considered and still don't wish to. Nothing is happening fast, and after forty years, we owe it to ourselves to be very careful about all of this. My husband is working a retirement sort of job and I am already retired and much legal work has already been done in preparation to try to hand down to our children what has been hard earned as well as handed down to us.

Both of our children have Chronic Lyme Disease, having gotten it from me in utero and we are wanting to be sure that none of this will affect what we were planning to leave to our children. I recently read that 75% of women who are chronically ill in their retirement years will be divorced by their husbands, though the reverse is not true. These statistics, I heard are even higher if Lyme Disease is involved! These stunning facts have made it such that I am more adamant than ever that their inheritance not be disturbed by any marital issues, as similar problems may happen to them as well. Marriage is stressful enough without having serious medical issues in the middle of everything. Lyme disease seems to be a disease that keeps on giving. My husband and I have faced on-going serious medical issues through our years together. It is a disease that is now unrecognized by the usual medical community, making all treatment uncovered by insurance, adding yet more stress to our family! As the corona virus threatens us, we feel more prepared than ever to face the challenges ahead. I have largely been housebound for about eleven years, though I am truly missing the few places that are part of my routine care now, like our local pool and swimming!

I remind myself that my husband's therapy is just beginning, and am guardedly optimistic that healing will come. Taking everything a day at a time is what is needed now so once again sewing, exercising, reading and praying along with seeking some psych support to change what needs to be changed will be the steps I take to support my husband and our marriage through this difficult time. He has now returned to his much loved seasonal job and my intentions are to not allow myself to feel victimized. I will be OK and will work hard to replace my fears with more faith. I realize that this doesn't mean that all will happen as I wish, but I will grow to meet whatever challenges this presents.

The ice on our nearby Lake Bomoseen is thawing and spring is right around the corner, which helps as it is a hopeful time of year! These pictures taken by my husband remind me how fast the seasons are changing, as these were taken pretty recently and the ground here is now bare, and the ice has mostly turned to water! All of my readers take courage as we all face the immediate threat of the corona virus! This time will pass quickly! Keep your "distance" and stay healthy!!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

"Never Say Never"...I am Back!!

Hannah came to visit me today for the purpose of reconstructing my blog sight as well as connecting my domain name back with my Etsy Shop and blog. Now simply click on "Little House Home Arts on Etsy" to the right of this blog (or may be in other locations in future blogs) to get to my shop from this sight. We are officially back in business!

Hannah, my oldest daughter and computer guru went back to school for her teacher's license, and over a stretch of time my business began to decline without her computer expertise due to her lack of time.  I have still been sewing straight out, but turned to making quilts instead of pincushions. My quantity of blogs lessened, as reporting on products was not so frequent. I believe I made the comment in one of my previous blogs "that photographing and writing about quilts in process was a little like watching grass grow", never mind that right now the grass is under snow and not growing at all!!

Hannah did get her teaching license and is near completion of her classes for her Masters. She interviewed and got her choice of schools in the area and has been teaching a second grade class at Fair Haven Grade School in Fair Haven, Vermont. We are very proud of  her and her achievements! Positions may or may not be continuous, and we anxiously await spring/summer when she will find out if her position continues or changes. She is thrilled to have had such a great teaching opportunity this year and loves her students and school!
Our first machine-sewn crazy quilt for my dear friend's niece.

Some less than great snaps of the detail work in it.

Again, a snap of how I personalized it to fit her personality.
This last year I made a special crazy quilt for a niece of a good friend. I started making another  pieced quilt for this same good friend, but suddenly she was having difficulty taking care of herself and was placed in a home for those with memory issues. It was a very sad and sobering time for me, who thought my friend would persevere in the same little home she had lived in for years in Denver! Phone conversations are less than adequate now and with a heavy heart, I started to create a new original Aboriginal crazy quilt learning from the first crazy quilt done on a sewing machine. It is both machine pieced and sewed, and mostly machine embellished and I am pulling out all my skills of both hand and machine embroidery, and applique work. My daughter, Hannah and I did the spontaneous patchwork very quickly over several brief sewing get-togethers, while I did machine embroidered wild animal patches for it, and later some appliqued patches of artwork adapted from Aboriginal art pictures off line, and in accordance to my youngest daughter and her boyfriend's interests. It has been loads of fun!
A picture of the first layout of this crazy quilt, to get an
overview of what it will look like.
 I ordered various trims to the blocks and then did machine embroidery along the patched edges. It is now ready to have the  twenty-five nineteen inch blocks sewn together and uniformly hand-embroidered along the seams with a heavy black pearl cotton feather stitch.
A picture to show some of the applique detail work done
 to personalize this quilt! So fun to  design and make!

Trying to match my daughter and her boyfriend's interests.

Machine embroidery used to embellish her crazy quilt!

Special animals as well as Aboriginal style fabric, machine
embroidery and braid used to embellish this crazy quilt.

I added various embroideries of each season that is so striking
about their life here in Vermont.

Of course some winter scenery needed to be embroidered
on it as half of every year in Vermont is spent in winter!

Its backing will take some time yet as I ordered The Gypsy Quilt Pattern by Jen Kingwell to create a unique backing using the left over fabrics,  many of which were Aboriginal designed fabrics we found at the last quilt show. It is a pieced sort of quilt but rather crazy-like and will fit nicely with the front when it is finished, which won't be anytime too soon!! That is alright as more sewing therapy is needed for me. I am glad to be back and hope that my blog will save many from taking time to write me personally to ask what is up with me? Never dull moments here at Little House!!

A little bit more work to do to make this for the backing of
this crazy quilt, done with left over fabrics used on the front,
as well as some personalized photos of my daughter, her
boyfriend and their special cat-child, and a special
dedication block to my daughter from her sister and I!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Best of Fall 2019

Our colors started turning early this fall, and so we went took many drives in search of them early in the season. Usually we are late leaf peepers who find ourselves too often looking at them on the ground. It did seem that whenever we went out, however we brought the clouds with us and though the leaves were pretty, they didn't glow as they will when the sun is shining brightly. At last, the weekend before Columbus Day we found great colors and so my husband returned to get them in the morning light and this is a sample of what he found. All credit goes to Tom McMillen for these photos taken near Lake St. Catherine, Vermont.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The 2019 Vermont Quilt Festival

Dear Readers,
Once again my family and I attended The Vermont Quilt Festival, 2019. I want you all to know that I found the perfect outfit to wear. It was one where I can easily be found in a crowd. I call it my "Where's Waldo" suit. Afterwards we went out to dinner at Costco for their special foot long hot dog with cold drink for $1.50. There are no complaints with this bill o' fare as we prefer spending at the quilt show instead! It was there that we saw a woman of similar age wearing a red and white striped dress and all wondered if that was her "Where's Waldo?"outfit? It did save me on many occasions when my daughter was able to easily spot me in a crowd, after finding Waldo for so many years in her youth!!
Me in my "Where's Waldo outfit" along with my daughter. The only time I
use my rolator is at quilt shows where it doubles as a shopping cart!

Now for the quilt show news! They mixed up the lay out this year! The vendors were all located together in the first room and the quilts were in the second, perhaps knowing the main purpose of any quilt show for us quilters is shopping first and show second. It did seem to discombobulate us a bit but first set out to find the bathrooms right between the two rooms.

We took in  the quilt show quickly as we have come to appreciate that my dear husband photographs all the quilts so we can re-enjoy the show for the entire year and actually from an easier vantage point for me...sitting down at my computer! Every year I get more lame, and more than once my daughter suggested that if I stood up straight and walked right, I would consume less energy than crawling behind my rolling walker!! She is obviously clueless just how hard it is getting for me! Next year, I will perhaps have my husband add rear and side view mirrors to my handlebars to keep me aware of how I need to better navigate to stay out of people's way!!

The quilts made our jaws drop. No matter how much I grow in my skills each year I find that the quality and creativity of the quilts shown increases exponentially!! Enjoy a bit of the show courtesy of my husband, Tom McMillen, photographer and be the judge yourself!!

I love the stories and sights that surround the quilt show. We heard that one of the winners wasn't going to enter her quilt as she didn't think the quality of her work measured up!! Typical quilter's attitude, if you ask me!! Perhaps the greatest sight, however was seeing an elderly couple whose husband was leading his wife who was navigating with the help of her white cane for the blind. They stopped at every quilt so he could verbally describe each quilt to her, so she could appreciate it too! What a dear man and it all demonstrated that no matter what, quilt shows are for everyone! It seemed no matter what direction we went, this couple were there "seeing it all"!

Please click on  control with your mouse centered over each quilt and roll your mouse button forward and backwards to make each appear bigger and smaller on your computer screens to enable you to read the details on each quilt tag or even look at the details on each quilt. I have included the photo of the credit tags following each quilt, which tells details about each quilt! Note that the leaf quilt was done using a solar printing technique!! Enjoy!...And all credit goes to these amazing quilters and my husband who takes time to photograph them every year. They are truly my yearly inspiration for my sewing, though what an amateur I am next to these quilters! Each quilt is so beautiful!! I selected my favorites, awarded or not! I also stopped to talk to one of my favorite quilters, Connie Harris Farrington, from Queensbury, New York. She is so friendly and warm and has shared much with me about her quilting process, which has been very encouraging to me!

Last, but not least is a quilt done by one of  my favorite quilters. I was very pleased that this year Connie Harris Farrington was awarded for her work. Every year she enters one of her quilts in the show and each is about women and their accomplishments. This year's theme was about Women of the Pen. Note that she always does a double sided quilt, as her quilts teach and so she doesn't miss a space to deliver her message. She has taught me that quilting is about learning and processing. "Not every quilt", she says, "is worthy of being finished" and "each quilt is about learning". She always has several quilts in process and each seems to work its way to completion or not. She has taught me to enjoy the process more than the outcome. Quilting is about living and learning and expressing yourself. It is OK to work on more than one quilt at a time and whether or not you finish them is not the point. This came as a great relief to me, though I am attempting to finish more and more of what I have started, though she is right, not all are worthy of my time.