Thursday, February 7, 2019

TBT #14 A Cozy Quilter's Christmas

Would you believe I have a couple of Christmas items still around my house? A snowman quilt or two, Ă  propos for January wouldn't you say? A Stars and Mittens quilt... and this cushion, or pillow.
That other cushion is one of the items I made when I was chosen to do the Desire to Inspire Challenge for Henry Glass Fabrics back in 2016

I need to get back into stitchery. It is so portable, I enjoy do it, and I love incorporating it with quilt blocks. Welcome to Throwback Thursday Quilts if you are new here! This is a place where we can write posts about those quilts we made prior to our blogging days, and let others see our quilt journey. I find it's kind of therapeutic to revisit these, and discover stories you might not have realized are held within the fibres of those projects.

I totally recall the making of this little pillow. I do not recall who the designer is. Edited: thanks to Annette, it's a Crabapple Hill pattern! Of course! I have a few of theirs; love their designs. I prepped it for our family's first trip to Florida for Christmas 2004/05. It was the first time we'd flown anywhere since Christmas 1987/88, and we were going for two full weeks, staying on an island! I remember the thrill of that. Anna Maria Island. Still love it to this day.

I remember stitching those little star quilts hanging off the pine tree branches, how they took a lot longer than I thought they would! I remember clearly the condo we'd rented, sitting on the couch in the early morning, having coffee, and stitching away until the girls (teenagers then) got up. 

I like the asymmetrical design of the pillow, as well as the corded, self-made binding finish.
I knew I was going to use some of my hoarded Nancy Odom fabric to complete the cushion. (I may still have it, gulp, supposed to grow into a quilt, even have her book that came out at the same time as this line.)

I clearly recall the sound of the never-ending traffic along Gulf Drive, so foreign to us Albertans (at that time) who lived out in the country for one, and who had double-glazed windows due to the extremely cold winters for another. Floridian windows are single pane.

The back is so interesting too, and of course I incorporated a label! I can't recall if she had you make the triangles across the back or I added that feature.
The pillow is stuffed with fibrefill, through an opening in the side and then the pillow is stitched shut.

I recall the first morning in our condo, standing beside MacGyver as we gazed across Gulf Drive at THE Gulf and the beach, like RIGHT THERE. Him saying to me in amazement, "I could drive here." He hated flying at that time, now is fine with it. "This is amazing; I never want to leave." We'd left -30C temperatures back at home, and were basking in a sunny 27C. We couldn't wrap our frozen brains around being 'just' in the United States and the weather being so drastically different. "Whatever it takes, I am going to live here one day." And we did, buying a condo in 2008, having a winter escape, enjoying a fall retreat, getting a 'Spring Break', even experiencing the sweltering steam room of summer there, too. Those trips helped us both get through those last years of work!

It was a great trip, starting an entire chain of life-changing events that eventually saw us moving to southern Ontario, me quitting teaching pre-retirement, and he retiring a few months before 55. We had a good Christmas, MacGyver got to drink a beer on New Year's Day on the beach, he, Dayna and I went on a sailboat cruise, and she got him to eat popcorn shrimp for the first time. She'd had it in Florida earlier that year when she went with her friend to Anna Maria. Her trip brought us there for that Christmas. Crazy, how one event has that domino effect! Of course, I found a couple of great quilt shops. On another day the three of us also thoroughly enjoyed Mote Aquarium, and we all four spent a couple of days in Orlando, where we went to Sea World and Cape Canaveral, then took a circuitous route back to Anna Maria via Daytona Beach, (this all without a cellphone, without GPS, just using good old maps and road signs) where I dipped my toes in the Atlantic Ocean, then drove through the Ocala National Forest. There we marvelled at a couple of guys, in late December, gearing up to go fishing in their open fishing boat, similar to ours. We wouldn't be putting ours in for another 5 months! Waaaahh. MacGyver (with us three girls in tow) actually did visit a long-time hero of his, Don Garlits' museum in Ocala.

I remember many trips across the road to sit on that beach, stitching on this pillow, reading or just drinking in the view, the sounds of the water and the birds, and soaking up the sun.

I remember crying the morning we drove back over the intracoastal waterways to Bradenton, where we'd turn north, taking the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to Tampa to get on our airplane back to Edmonton. I didn't know then that I'd be back the following Christmas...

I remember the girls crying when we got in our frozen diesel truck (that started!!) in -35 weather because they were SO COLD!

Each time I pull this cushion out for the Christmas season, all those memories flood back, and warm my heart and spirit.

Wait, what's this?! Well the colour scheme is perfect, and there's an elf 'stuffie'.... and I was just writing of warming the heart and spirit...

This is what is taking up rather a lot of time these past few days... a new addition to our family last weekend. His name is Rufus and yes, he's a Rottweiler, and yes, it was time. Our beloved Mama Bear Rottie, Naala, died 14 months ago to the day this coming Saturday, February 9. Can't believe it's been that long. MacGyver wanted a boy. I did not. MacGyve wanted a puppy. I did not. However, this little, make that not so little pumpkin, did come home with us. He's six months old, so a good compromise between puppy and adult, and fitting in so well! Well, maybe not so well just yet where Bella is concerned, but it's early days yet.

I hope you'll dig up one of your oldies but goodies quilts or quilted projects like my cushion, and tell its story! The linky will be open through Sunday midnight.

Inlinkz Link Party


  1. What great memories. I need a place down South...I'm tired of winter..... Well hello Rufus. Look at that cute little face.

  2. Oh, Rufus! You are a little heartthrob! The cushion is absolutely adorable, Sandra. I can just imagine you stitching that cozy winter motif on a warm sunny beach. It looks right at home in your up-north location, but so neat that it evokes memories of Florida days. If your weather is like ours has been (schools here have been closed for days), you will want all the reminders of Florida you can get. Stay warm and cozy, and have fun with your newest family member!

  3. Love your pillow and the memories it invokes...warm, toes-in-the-sand weather!! I always seemed to spend the summer in Tampa when I was house/pet sitting for my daughter when she was deployed. I have never lived where the humidity is over 25% on a regular basis until then...but I found it really didn't bother me. I would turn on the air conditioning when the temps inside hit 85F, but had to turn it off when it got down to 80F because my feet got cold!! Rufus is adorable and it will be interesting to see how Bella adapts to having him there!!

  4. Funny how those projects we work on and pull out every year have so many memories. You mention Ocala and I realize how close you were to Gainesville. Rufus! He's adorable, and I'm so happy for you. I didn't plan on another cat either, but then all of a sudden, it was time. Wilbur has a whole different personality than my other two, and I thoroughly enjoy him. Poor Bella. These transitions are so difficult. I'm sure she'll put Rufus in line and all will be well (as far as Bella's concerned anyway).

  5. Show me a picture of an animal and you might as well not have written anything about quilting and travelling because now my brain is in Rufus-is-adorable mode! Look at those big puppy feet! And that sad, I need loves face! But the cushion is also very sweet and I hear you about hoarding favorite fabrics. Just yesterday I used up almost the last tidbit of a Bonnie and Camille print I'd been hoarding for at least 10 years! Enjoy Rufus and my condolences to Bella for getting a DOG (the horror!!!) as a new brother.

  6. You were putting quilts in tress back in 2004! I love it! I love baby Rufus so much and can't wait till I get to meet him <3

  7. Cozy picture of winter projects that you’ve made! I’ve been thinking the same thing, about a stitchery project. I haven’t had a 'to go' project set up for the longest time. I’ve been oogling Val Laird Designs on Etsy for my next project. Just can’t choose one!

  8. Hi Sandra, love the cushion/pillow and love the story that goes with it. I too have fond memories of Florida many, many years ago now.

    Rufus looks a cutie.

    Admin now - the is no link in the email to the rest of the post; second time. Just thought you'd like to know.

    Michelle in Scotland

  9. Rufus is SO adorable!! Such a sweet little face! I'm sure with a little time, he and Bella will become fast friends! My dogs always loved their kitties when they warmed up to them! Thanks for sharing your sweet memories!

  10. Those memories, you write as if it was yesterday.And a new addition to the family, he will give you so much happiness, and fill an empty space, not replacing Naala, but in his differences, will fit in just right.

  11. A lovely pillow and a great way to bring all the wonderful memories back. Rufus can come stay at my house any time. He is beyond adorable.

  12. Whoooa! you sure have a lot of memories "stuffed" in that pillow. I totally get it, as I have memories like that too, about things. Some in quilts, some in other things. As for Rufus ... look at all that innocence in those eyes ... and remember that, when he "does" those dreadful puppy things one of these days! Never. Right? :)

  13. What wonderful stories but oh my RUFUS! He is adorable. My Percy just turned 11 - can’t imagine life without him. He is one lucky boy. Having been in a boy house, I wanted a girl, but of course, we got a boy .... Funny you and Wendy both did Christmas TBTs this month!

  14. Rufus is adorable! I love that embroidered tree. I just took down my Christmas cards today. I've just started to swap out the winter stuff for Valentine themes.

  15. I made the Cozy Quilter into a wallhanging. It is a Crabapple Hill Studios design. Good luck with the boy puppy 😊 A78mandel at yahoo dot com

  16. I prefer to knit now a days, I do miss stitchery though. A beautiful pillow. It is amazing how much memory a "simple" pillow can evoke! Welcome home, Rufus! You are beautiful and you are going to love it there :)


  17. Hi Sandra and Rufus! Aww, what a sweet boy and I just adore his name. That face! Look at those paws - he's got a bit of growing to do. Thanks for sharing all of your sweet memories of Anna Maria with us. I can just feel the sun warming you while you sit on the beach. We could all use a bit of that warming around these parts - we sun deprived for sure. ~smile~ Roseanne

  18. What a lovely story! Lovely cushion too.
    Congratulations on the adoption of the handsome Rufus. He looks adorable.

  19. first, I will never forget how cold Edmonton was... I do remember one time, walking downtown, and saying to my then boyfriend, let's just take a nap shall we? He grabbed my arms and started pumping them and I started crying.
    Rufus is painfully exquisite! How sweet is that expression? 6 months is a great age! Adult teeth so no shredded arms! He is so cuddly I want to come feel his soft fur. Good luck with puppyhood, again. I know Milo at 8 weeks was almost our undoing. He will be 2 in a month, I can't believe we all made it to adulthood!
    LeeAnna (tardy to the party)


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