Saturday, December 31, 2016

Things that matter most.

A selfie taken a few months ago with Dad.
Some things are so much more important than quilting and blogging about it. I have taken a little unplanned break from blogs and stitching since my last post.
At age 93, my Father, my hero, my friend passed quietly from this life on Thursday, after having taken a sudden turn for the worse two days before Christmas.

Father's Day 2016



Through the holiday weekend their small home was filled as family and friends who loved him wanted to be there for a last good-bye. Mom and all of his children were beside him as he took his last breath and I felt his hand go limp in mine. It was a tender moment as this valiant warrior in God's army was taken home to rest. We are at peace with his passing, and I personally have no regrets. But missing him will be a daily occurrence!

So did I make it to 50 small finishes for 2016? No. Does it matter? Absolutely not! What matters is loving those who are important to you, and making sure they know how much you care.

There have been a few more sweet surprises in the mail. Pat (Amity Quilter blog) sent along this pretty star. She has made bunches of them, and I just discovered last week that my younger sister has started making them. Maybe this old dog will learn a new trick.

 
Mary (Quiltin' Grandma's blog) sent along these lovely things, and I think there was a treat included, but it was probably consumed so quickly that now I can't recall. : )





Pam (Heartspun Quilts blog) included me in the dispersal of some of her beautiful repro scraps.
Thanks to each of you!






And thank you to those who have emailed or called with your love and concern.
I will be back in a little while. Until the funeral is over Tuesday and family disperse to their homes, time will be filled with visiting and reminiscing. 
I am wishing you all a new year of love and choosing to be kind! My Dad was all about being kind to everyone. I think that will be my motto for 2017--choose to be kind.
Janet O.


p.s. It is a frosty world here right now. Pretty, but very cold!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lots of green things, and happy mail

Deadline met!! Even as I type, this quilt is winging its way to little Maggie in Oregon.

I don't know if this counts as finish #47, since all the others have been small and mini quilts. Should this be included  among them?
The pattern is Tic Tac Who? by Joanne (Canuckquilter blog). I was a pattern tester, but she hopes to have the pattern available soon--maybe early in the new year! It is well written and was easy to follow. It also includes a dog and a duck block. You can choose which animal you want to use.

This upside down photo shows the quilting designs the best--except for the owl, which I hadn't yet quilted. I had to keep the whole thing simple, or it would never have been in the mail in time.

This is the largest thing I have quilted for a while, and my shoulder was not happy about it.


I didn't feel like I would have to work that hard to push this crib size quilt under the needle, but tell that to my shoulder. Since I have mostly quilted minis this year, it hasn't been an issue.

When I decided to try Kevin's tree pattern (in a smaller size, of course), I just started cutting 1" strips, and then cutting them down to 1" squares.  I had enough squares for 8 trees, and I finally got ONE assembled.






This gives you an idea of the size of the finished tree. I'm pretty sure I won't have seven more of these assembled before Christmas!






Here is what came of those pinwheels I was playing with recently. It is about 9" square. I would think I could get this quilted before Christmas, but if I do count Tic Tac Hoot as #47, this would be #48 and then I would feel pressure to get two more done so that I could say I made 50 little finishes in a year. Can I deal with that kind of pressure on top of everything else going on during the holidays? I guess that remains to be seen.

Now for the happy mail. My delivery person has been one of my favorite people lately.




The beautiful little ornament (it isn't as big as it looks) was made by Grace (citymousequilter blog). It is already on my tree! The wonderful scrap quilt made from orphan blocks is from a dear friend who shall be nameless. It has kept me warm and cozy while curled up with a good book. I won a giveaway for shower tabs from Barb (funwithbarb blog), and she included other goodies and a birthday surprise. I keep forgetting to put a shower tab in my shower, but I am going to put one in the shower right now so it is just there and I can't forget!! And Julie (meandmystitches blog) sent some of the fruits of their labors with their beekeeping.  I have to say, these are such cute little things. And the wax has already helped keep my thread smooth and tangle free while binding Tic Tac Hoot!

Enough for now. I'm going to be having a very Merry Christmas this week with lots of family time. Whatever you celebrate (and even if you don't), I hope you have a wonderful week!
Janet O.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Stitching isn't happening.

I was hoping to have some stitching to share  this post, but it wasn't to be. I had these bonus triangles  all trimmed and ready to stitch over a week ago and thought I would at least have sewn the pinwheels by now, but my machine has been silent.



Then there are the strips that I cut in order to make miniature versions of Kevin's trees, but I was trying to make them 2/3 the size of Kevin's and the math got to be too much for me. :)


Take a look at the beautiful bundle of fabrics that arrived from Vic! I have been spoiled rotten--kind of fun! : )
This should inspire many new little creations!!



Well, that concludes the "quilty" content of this post. So just  enjoy the lights. Welcome to my home, for the holidays!

 


The front door...........















The solarium................


 
....the living room

 




...and the dining room, into the kitchen. Can you tell I love Christmas lights? 











Also, congrats to Midge E., who won the giveaway in my last post.
Until next time, when I may actually have stitched something,
Janet O.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Just another long, wordy post!

Haven't posted for two weeks. 
So many things going on, and there hasn't been time for therapy quilting. Finally I just NEEDED to quilt. I grabbed a couple of wall hangings that I started quilting weeks ago and squeezed in a few minutes here and there over the past few days, in between real life. Today I finished the quilting--binding will have to wait.

This is my abbreviated version of Lisa Bongean's 10th Anniversary SAL.
If you want to see details of the quilting, you can enlarge the photos below.
   
I think I dragged my feet on the quilting because I spent too long looking at the one Linda Hrcka quilted. I wanted mine to look like hers. I finally decided that it just needed to be done. 
This will be small quilt finish #45 for this year! 

The next one up was what I had hoped to have finished for Thanksgiving (which obviously didn't happen). This is the Buttermilk Basin pattern, which I reduced so that there would be room to hang it.

I had tossed this aside in disgust last month because when I finally made time to sit down and work on it, the tension went haywire and I had to unpick everything I had quilted. After the unpicking I just couldn't face it again for a while. Now it will be finish #46.

                 
As before, you can click the photos above to see the quilting better, if you'd like. But I can tell you now that it isn't anything fancy.
Had some sweet surprises for my birthday. An incredible package from Doniene (Now it's just quiltsII blog) with a lovely card, two wonderful little quilts and an olive wood nativity. So fun to have those beautiful little creations from her, along with another nativity to add to my collection of them from around the world. 
You can see it all below, along with the "loot" Kris (Lavender quilts blog) brought me. It was fun to visit with her in my kitchen as I was prepping food for the holiday. Look at the pretty dishtowel, the great Primitive Gatherings patterns, the mulling spices, candy, threads, etc. These bloggers are such good friends and know me well. Thank you so much, my dears!!
 
I will admit that there used to be more candy with the "loot", but it keeps disappearing. Curious.
There is also a sweet card from friend Annie (no blog--but I "met" her through blogging). She always writes her cards with calligraphy, and it makes me feel so special. Thank you, Annie.

When I received my pincushion from Kevin in the swap Randy organized, I loved the hefty size he had made.  I make wimpy ones, by comparison.
So I played with bits of scraps left from the "Light in the Window"  I made recently. It is a true "make do" creation, and this baby is big. It could be a weapon in a pinch. Kind of looks like a brick, doesn't it?


I continued my "80 Minutes a Week" challenge by attempting yet another Gluten Free pie crust recipe--this is my 4th or 5th try.
I confess that I am a pie crust snob. Before my celiac diagnosis I had worked long and hard to master light, flaky, buttery pie crust.
This pie crust is not as perfectly flaky as those I used to make, but it is the best I have made without a gluten flour. This was a pear pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. I also made a pumpkin pie for our family birthday gathering. I feel like I can call this crust a success. Not what I am used to, but pretty good.

I'm not finished yet. (I promised something fun, remember? Of course not--it has been two weeks.) It has kind of been my habit to share something with my faithful followers around my birthday. This is a little late, but here goes!
                                                          
Just what is this heap of stuff, and why would anyone want it? Maybe no one does, but FYI, it is a little pack of 60 2 1/2" squares in purple, chrome and cheddar (not everyone's favorites, I know, but it's my blog and I love them).
Then we have a clamp on, rustic  looking pincushion holder, with a vintage jar lid for making a pincushion.


 
This photo shows you how you clamp the thing to your sewing machine table or the table beside your sewing chair. You can glue any kind of pincushion there that you would like. The shop where I bought them had a pincushion in one of the vintage jar lids. (which is why I included one), and it looked really good. You could even glue on a regular old tomato pincushion, if you wanted to (but you wouldn't, would you?).

 


Included is this little quiltlet, along with the hanger and hooks.
The color is really off on this photo because I took it at night. The flash on my camera went out on Thanksgiving Day, and ever since then I have to try and time my photo taking when there is plenty of natural light. This wasn't one of those times. 
I guess that about wraps it up, except I will add in a couple of bars of my herbal soap, too. 
So let me know in your comment if you are interested in this bundle of fabric and metal. I'll give it around a week.
Until then,
Janet O.

Drawing now closed.







Saturday, November 19, 2016

Who am I kidding?

I always have such big plans for holiday projects (like the three Christmas flimsies I was going to have quilted and bound for use during the holidays this year). But of the remaining three Fall projects I had hoped to have on display before Thanksgiving, this is the only one that got finished--and it is the smallest of the three, of course.

The other two are layered and basted, but that may be where they stay for now. Just not much time to quilt.

This is one reason.

It was time to get all of my soaps made for holiday gift giving. There are a few more trays of soaps still in their molds in my soap curing cupboard, but I am finished making soap for the year. Over the course of the past 4 days I squeezed in making 15 batches!

Since this year my b'day is the day before Thanksgiving, that means I will be cooking instead of celebrating. So DH took Friday off work and we did a little early celebrating. Among other things, we took a quick trip over the mountains to Village Dry Goods and I bought something totally frivolous, but I love it.



Are you scratching your head and asking, "What is it?"






Does this help? Each one is hand crafted from scrap metal. I love functional things that are aesthetically pleasing. If it hadn't been for the 25% discount from the quilt shop's "Birthday Club", I don't know that I would have splurged, because it wasn't cheap. But I reminded myself that I had saved up some money for a birthday quilt shop splurge, so this was it--along with some yardage, and another little cool thing I will share in my next post.

Karen sent along a few more "scraps" (my scraps never look this good). Thank you, Karen! I am blessed by your orphan projects.
 
In truth, they are projects for which she has lost her enthusiasm, and they were accompanied by some lovely pieces of fabric.
 
I have formulated in my mind how I will be finishing these projects. Wish there was time to get right on them, but this is not a time of year for me to be taking on new projects--not even Bonnie's mystery! Don't know how so many of you manage that!

I saw on Sarah's blog  a little while ago that she was tatting some snowflakes. Love those delicate, lacy-looking things! I said if she ever decided to sell any I would be her first customer. Needless to say, we worked out a deal (she would make me 2 snowflakes a month for three months) and I now have 4 of the 6 flakes I ordered. 
 

Here they are on my tiny year-round sewing room tree.

I'll give you some individual shots so you can enlarge them and see the details. So pretty! Thanks, Sarah!

















Speaking of snowflakes, we had a real taste of winter this week. Woke to this view one morning.
 
It is mostly melted now--except on the mountains, but this was such a pretty sight. 

Hopefully I will have something fun for my regular followers next post. Stay tuned.
Until then, 
Janet O.



Saturday, November 12, 2016

More Madder

Sounds like really poor grammar, I know. But after completing the top for Lori's recent Quilter's Madder SAL, I realized that a few months ago I had begun hand quilting another little madder quilt that was a Lori SAL, and I hadn't touched it for quite some time. Now the quilting is completed, but the binding is only pinned down on the back.
Small Quilt finish #44 for the year!

Lori named her little quilt Harmony, and since I played fast and loose with the design, I call mine "Close Harmony". It finished at about 14 1/2 " square.

Here it is with the more recent (and as yet, not quilted) Quilters Madder.









I hand quilted this one. I don't do that very often anymore. Gidget gets jealous.








That is all the quilting I have to show for the past week, but I will share the last couple of "80 minutes a week" challenge projects I have completed recently. 
I made gluten free, vegan chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Pretty good, if you haven't tasted a "real" chocolate chip pumpkin cookie for quite some time.




Next I baked up some gluten free crusty seed rolls. They aren't pretty, but they taste good. : )




Hopefully next time I will have some machine quilting finished that I can share. 
Until then,
Janet O.



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