Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Quilt pattern to start you off

Are you ready to kick off the New Year?  Have you been searching for patterns to make for the 2012 12 QOV Challenge??? 

How about this one?  Churning Stars PDF

I think this would make a great group quilt....

What other patterns have you found ? If you could email them to me, I would love to post them and give others inspiration!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

News from Nebraska

Lincoln NE,
QOV member Sharon M, presenting a Quilt of Valor (made using Bonnie Hunters' Bricks and
Stepping Stones  pattern
) to SSG M. Brown. 

Mr. Brown's family members requested a Quilt Of Valor from their family friend Sharon. She was very pleased to do so.   The QOV was also on display last summer at the Bernina Sewing Studio  in Lincoln NE. 

This QOV was quilted by Julia Schroeder, Co-Regional Coordinator, NE

Isn't this Cool!!!!  

Are you from the Nebraska region? Have you always wanted to be involved in Quilts of Valor in Nebraska?  Well go to   On the left hand side - look for Regional Coordinators, click there and look under Nebraska - that is a great way to get the email of the Regional Coordinator - and they can help you Plug in!!! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Challenge for Long Arm Quilters too

So I recieved an email from a Long Arm quilter  ( I LOVE emails!!!) and she asked how she could participate in this 12 Quilt Challenge.....

So - here you go!! Long Armers - I challenge you to commit to quilting 12 tops through out 2012. And here is a great way to do it. We have this wonderful gal - Judie - who is the longarm/topper pair person!!

If you go to   and in the top left hand corner - there is a tab. Volunteer to Longarm.. click on that and fill it out. You can choose to just be sent one top per month, or choose to let Judie know what months you can accept tops. OR!!! Even let Judie know that you are a longarmer and you are quilting for such and such group....

And !! take pictures of those quilts that you quilt... Toppers Take pictures of the tops that you make - we will do a Mr. Linky kind of thing so you can show them off!!! Either on your blog, or by Flicker.... won;t that be fun? Our own little quilt show!!

This is Fred - he is going to keep an eye on us!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Years Resolutions

So is anyone thinking about their New Year's Resolutions for 2012? Any Quilting Goals? Any Specific patterns you want to make?  

A couple of years ago Catherine challenged us to make 12 tops for Quilts of Valor over the year.... and I took that challenge. It was great. I got to play in my stash, and make something wonderful for our service men and women!!  

And I loved the fact that QOV can pair you with a longarmer to quilt the quilt for you! Of course, I am a longarmer so I took the challenge doubly - not only to make but LA it as well.

Does anyone want to take this challenge again?  Currently there is a great need for these comforting Quilts, and if we stepped up to the plate - one quilt at a time I bet we could make a dent in the waiting lists!!! What do you think?

Here is some inspiration for quilt patterns:

Persimmon Quilts Mysteries  She has 20... count em 20! Quilt of Valor Mystery patterns available, Something should surely strike your fancy!!

A scrappy Rail Fence

There are some great patterns found at Mary's site

And of course - Bonnie's Quiltville    Oh - and over here:  Patchwork Times

As you can see there is a lot of inspirations all over the web. Any favorite places you have found free patterns?

Remember the minimum size is 55 x 65, and the max 72 x 90.... so 12 lap sized quilts shouldn't be too hard right?


Friday, December 23, 2011

Catherine Roberts' gifts to you.

I enjoy this time of year in QOVF-land. I actually get excited thinking about what gifts I can give to you, my community. This year’s gifts straddle the tech and health worlds which is rather a reflection of me.

Geeky Stuff
On my travel across country this past summer, I chatted with a quilter about computer stuff. She looked at me and said, “I am a geek. I love working with computers.”
“Yeah. Give me a choice between quilt shop or electronic’s store, I”ll take the latter each time.” I excitedly replied, expecting her to high five me.
She looked at me quizzically and affirmatively asserted, “Not me! I’ll take the quilt store each and every time.”
I knew right there and then, I am a geek first and quilter second.

So in this vein, I offer you my holiday gifts which encompass various of my hemispheres.

Geek Side of Town
Almost since QOVF’s inception, we have subscribed to offers a wealth of classes for those wanting to learn more about computing, photography, graphic art, film editing just to mention a few subjects. The teachers are the best in their field and they know how to teach. You have the luxury of sitting through the classes multiple times or just pausing 24/7. One has the distinct feeling that Lynda and company care about their students and staff which is so refreshing in this day of dog-eat-dog. At $25.00/month, it’s one of the best deals around.
This site is full of pithy suggestions from organizaing your life to computer files. It sounds a bit over-the-top but they actually pull it off more than not.

Backup Advice
Your drive WILL crash; it’s only a matter of time. Try and to help with keeping your data safe.

Seeing the Light at the End of the Getting Healthier Tunnel
Coasting as one gets older is NOT recommended unless you want to see your lab values rise to the abnormally high end of the scale and clothes sizes soar to the stratosphere. Or at least, coasting is not good for me. During this past year, I have found the following movie, books and website which have been a source of inspiration.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, the movie, might change your life. It is about an Australian morbidly obese man who drives juicing across the US. I know that might sound odd (and it is). I think one of the strengths of the film are the people he interviews and that one person is Phil Jay Staples. You can watch it on netflix streaming; plus Joe has a great website Reboot which explains/supports his juicing/getting healthier lifestyle.

Forks Over Knives is a film about two men-one a PhD in nutrition and the other a cardiac/thoracic surgeon who came to the same conclusion: a plant based diet improves all around health. I recommend this film not so you can be convinced to switch to a plant based diet but so you will have some facts about what does what to your body. You can find the film here at amazon or at netflix streaming.

Mindfulness Training
Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book “Full Catastrophe Living” is an excellent book explaining the basics of getting the mind in shape. (What good is the body if the mind keeps chasing chickens inventing stories that make chickens out to be monsters?) His eight week Mindful Meditation course has helped thousands physically and mentally. UCLA also has a great site that is open to all  They offer online mindful meditation courses as well as many inexpensive courses at their UCLA site.

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth
Where is that darn silver bullet/pill that will melt the pounds away? As we all know but are somethings unwilling to admit, there is no such entity (minus surgical intervention). Geneen Roth’s approach to achieving a healthy weight is to be mindful of why you are eating. Her book is personable as though she were right there in the room with you. I think it’s probably easier to just follow a diet than to explore the reasons why I am grazing/stuffing myself with food that is just filler. Here’s the amazon link.

Love Soup by Anna Thomas
Hands down, this is THE best soup cookbook ever. The soups are healthy, wholesome and earthy. I would recommend using the amounts for ingredients she suggests when you first begin. Then you can wing it on your own. I never knew ‘roots’ could be so flavorful and satisfying from taste to visually appealing. You can get it here. My favorite recipe so far is: ?????.

Broadcast television will be the Death of Civilized Culture
When our kids were growing up, we canceled cable tv. We had rabbit ears to bring in our programs which basically consisted of Public TV and CBS, NBC affiliates. Fast forward to our move to Washington state. Our rabbit ears no longer worked because of various mountain ranges and this is when I learned about Google TV. I have now weaned myself from all tv and can say for myself, I am a better person because of this move. I have discovered several internet websites that are truly stellar and edifying. I hope you find them as uplifting as I.

TED-Ideas Worth Spreading.
TED-talks has brief talks that simply have me inspired and whistling a tune. There are topics for everyone and it’s FREE! Try this talk on for size.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
I don't know for sure that I am on the naughty list, but I have tried to be good this year.  I thank you for all the gifts you have left for me in the past.
This year I just wish to keep QOVF going forward to achieve our mission of covering all those combat warriors who have been touched by war.  We have many who help in this endeavor, but I could really use:
someone to be the Newsletter Editor, someone to be the Blog and Facebook editor, and a fund raiser so that we can pay for the website, brochures, and office expenses.  it would be great if you could find us more hard working people to be Coordinators in the rest of the states and regions.

Don't forget the men and women who are serving our country far from their homes,
Love and cookies,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Poem

 Shared by Susan Gordon, Region 8 Coordinator and Sharon Ledbetter, Idaho Coordinator.

 I received a Christmas card yesterday with  WWII soldiers decorating a tree in the forest.  This was the poem that accompanied the card:

T’was the might before Christmas, he lived all alone
in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
and on the wall pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sobering thought came to my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and so dreary,
the home of a soldier, now I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The solder awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice:

I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
my life is my God, my country, my corps.”
The solder rolled over and soon drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still,
and we both shivered from the cold evening’s chill.

I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, “Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.” 

by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt

Greetings, Goodies, Gifts and Wishes from your QOVF Volunteer Staff

Here are two tips:

When making QOV pillow cases, where the accent, body and cuff seam come together can be difficult to feed under the pressure foot of some machines.  Simply bang the heck of this area with your trusty hammer (doesn't every gal have one of these in her sewing box?), then sew as usual.  You will find your machine zips right over this one difficult area with a smooth, even stitch.

And since many in the Quilts of Valor community are also knitters:  If you have a small project that requires blocking, simply place the item in a salad spinner, immerse into warm water until object is saturated, remove from water, place in sink and spin until damp.  Block as you normally would.  This eliminates the possibility of stretching the object while damping and removes most of the water to speed the blocking time. 

Happy Holidays to all,
Lenny Truitt
QOVF Bookkeeper

My tradition goes back 32 years.  My oldest son arrived 6 weeks early,
12-5-79 instead of 1-17-80, and then ended up with jaundice and a loss of 2 pounds overnight. I was sent home without him, so my family took me out to purchase our tree and ornaments. My son came home 3 days later and today is a police officer in a small city outside Dallas, Texas.  So every year I dig out the tree and ornaments on December 4th and have everything up and in place by December 5th.

Beth Riebschlager
New Mexico Coordinator

If it's not too late, here's mine:

Snicker-doodles: A Santa Favorite

Every year my children and I spend Christmas Eve making up a couple batches of Snicker-doodles. Santa gets a plate full left in the living room by the tree before the children head to bed. Last year, the kids, now teenagers, forgot to put a plate of cookies out for Santa before bed. When they awoke Christmas morning, there was a note in each of their stockings that said: "No milk & cookies, no gifts. Better luck next year." They ended up having a scavenger hunt to search for their presents. The moral of the story: don't forget Santa's cookies! And keep in mind that he especially likes snicker-doodles.

1/2 cup butter (softened/room temp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cup sifted flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 T sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon (for topping)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar. Then beat in the egg. Sift and stir in the dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet about 2-3 inches apart. Shake the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of each ball of cookie dough.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Enjoy a few warm, right out of the oven. Then leave a plate for Santa!
Katy Vickers
Kansas Coordinator

Hi there,

I'd like to share a favorite recipe for the QOVF Staff Christmas sharing of 'gifts'.  This is something that my family requests at every opportunity.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
1 1/2 cup finely crushed Oreos (about 18 cookies)
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.   Combine crumbs and margarine; pat firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan.  In large mixer bowl, beat cheese until fluffy.  Add Eagle Brand milk; beat until smooth.  Add 3 eggs and vanilla, mix well.  In small bowl toss together 1/2 cup chips with flour to coat; stir into cheese mixture.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle remaining chips evenly over top.  Bake 1 hour or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool to room temperature.  Chill.  Remove sides of pan and cut to serve.  Refrigerate leftovers

With deepest gratitude for those who serve,
Judie Yates
Longarm/Topper Coordinator
Quilts of Valor Foundation

I have a couple of recipes to share for the holidays.  
 Cheese Potatoes
 2.5 lb of potatoes peeled and sliced thin
1 c. half and half
1 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese 

Whisk together soup, half and half and Parmesan cheese.
Mix well with potato slices and pour into a greased casserole dish.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees until potatoes are tender.  
The second is a cookie recipe that is always requested by my son and his friends.  Warning:  It has a lot of ingredients and makes a ton of large cookies.  

Cowboy Cookies:

2 sticks margarine
2 sticks butter
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 T. vanilla
4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
4 c. Quaker oats
3-4 c. corn flakes crushed
8 oz. chopped dates
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. dark raisins
1 bag chocolate chips 
1 bag white chocolate chips

Cream margarine and butter together.  Add sugars.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda together.  Add to mixture.  
Stir in oats, corn flakes, dates, raisins, and chips.  The mixture will be stiff.
Roll into large balls,  I use a large cookie scoop.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Flatten the balls slightly.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes.  Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
This makes several dozen cookies.  

Here's hoping that everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Blessings to all.

Reg 9 Coordinator (DE, MD, PA)

Dear Friends,

This is the most awesome fudge recipe ever, not a quick one, but definitely worth the effort!!!  Enjoy
 Fannie May Fudge
 4 cups sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 teas. vanilla
25 large marshmallows (cut up)
1 cup butter
13 oz. milk chocolate (cut-up)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (cut-up)
12 oz. unsweetened chocolate (cut-up)
1 cup nuts (optional)

* Mix together milk, sugar, vanilla and butter.  Boil this mixture for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Add cut up marshmallows and stir until melted.  Add chocolate one kind at a time and stir each one til melted before adding the next kind.  Stir rapidly until all are melted.  Add nuts if you desire.
* Put in lg greased sheet pan (12: X 16")
* Wait til fudge is set before cutting in small 1" pieces

This recipe makes a huge batch of fudge

Merry Christmas to all!
 Jackie Dudek
Arizona Coordinator

Every year I sit down and watch the Santa Clause trilogy with Tim Allen.  I have a close friend with whom I used to watch the movies, but she now lives a couple states away with her husband and kids.  I like to watch those movies snuggled up on the couch and I think of her and the fun we had together.

Joheather Grant
Michigan Coordinator

Funny story

I was fortunate to be in Germany to award quilts of valor to several wounded men who were in the care of my son Eric, who is a nurse practitioner for the Air Force. He cautioned me not to say anything about their wounds or home. He also warned me that although some of them looked normal they had traumatic head injuries that affected their behavior and if they said something inappropriate not to take it personally. I appreciated the advice and had a quilt in my hand to award to the first person I saw. He was walking down a hallway in the facility. Eric called his name and said, "Hey Sarge, I want you to meet my mother, she has something for you." So when he got to me and said, "Hi",  I started my mentally rehearsed spiel about the group that made this quilt for him and how we appreciated his service. As I was talking, he backed up, put his hands on his hips, and I cut my spiel short. When I stopped talking, he said jovially,"Lady, I just came from where it was 145 degrees in the shade, what do I need a quilt for?"
Good question, I was thinking, in astonishment, with my gaping, silent, mouth. My face must have reflected my astonishment because in the awkwardness  of the moment, he declared loudly for all to hear, "But pretty soon it will be winter and I will sure need one then, he took the quilt from my hands and hugged me while he thanked me and I recovered.

The next fella was sitting at a table with crutches nearby. He was alone and looking blankly into space.
I walked up to him, started my little spiel and handed him a quilt. "For me? he said. I said "Yes, just for you to keep." "I never had a quilt. he said. 'Well you do now and you can take this one home to keep," I said with sympathy. "HOME! he blurted out with pain, I don't have a home  and I am NOT going back to where I came from. I could have dropped through the floor, I had said the word I wasn't suppose to say, home. Trying to soothe him, I said, Well, you can come to Arkansas and live with us. It's nice there, there are a lot of trees and lots of lakes to fish in.  "oh my, I thought, what am I saying?" "I might." he said. He was opening the quilt to look at it and by now it was opened and he started to comment on how beautiful it was. He stood and wrapped it around him and leaned forward to hug me as he thanked me and told me to thank the ladies that made it. His tirade had passed as quickly as it came.
I left him then, thinking, I do have a guest room if he ever shows up on my doorstep. He never did.
Best Wishes, Sharon Bailey Region 7