Saturday, November 9, 2019

Mother's Flower Garden and my final swap of the year

I have told the story of this quilt before--most recently here. This is the halfway mark. I am now almost finished with the first block of row #4.
Since most of the fabrics I used came from my Mom's stash (I didn't have much of a stash in the 90s), and since my Mom and I started making the flowers at the same time, and since my Mom loved her flower gardens, I have decided to call this one "Mother's Flower Garden". Also, most of these blocks have been appliqued onto their backgrounds as I have sat with Mom following the many falls she has taken this year.

No action in the sewing room, other than the fact that I finally have lights back on the tree in the Christmas Corner. This tree has been bare most of this year, and there is a long story behind the lights on that tree and my iron. Suffice it to say that I am hoping my iron will play nicely with this new strand of low energy LED lights and they can have a long and happy life together.
Most of the ornaments on this little tree are handmade by myself, my daughters and a few blog friends. Pretty soon I am going to need a larger tree.
It stays up year round in my sewing room and gives a happy glow (when I actually have lights on it) to my happy place.

For the past few years I have enjoyed planning quarterly swaps with blog friends, but as my sewing time has continually decreased, I had decided that this would be my last year of regular swaps until I have a little more free time to spend sewing. So the final swap of this year was with my good blogging buddy Denise, at Count It All Joy blog. We did a little swap of mug rugs two years ago. We both have fall birthdays, and both love the season. It was really fun, so we decided to do it again this year. Denise likes making mug rugs, and I prefer making pincushions, so we decided to swap what we were most comfortable making.

This bundle of fun arrived at my house this week. Look at that beautiful mug rug! Denise is a master at embroidery and I feel honored to have a wonderful piece of her work. Her mug rugs are so pretty I prefer to hang them on my wall--the one she sent two years ago is on my kitchen wall right now.
There is also a little bag of the fun wool acorns she has been making. She recently posted a tutorial and you can find it here.
There are some bags of one of her favorite fall herbal teas (which is yummy), some fun fall stickers, a "tea" themed bookmark, and some notecards she made, some of them using photos from my blog. I love custom notecards.
I've put the acorns in with some fall bowl fillers. They are so cute!

This is what I sent to Denise--I went a bit astray from our agreement. I made the pincushion in another color scheme I know Denise likes, rather than the fall colors. I have had this idea playing in my mind and I thought it would be a good fit for her.
Thank you, Denise, for another happy swap. 

Every spare minute of the past three days has been spent making 15 batches of herbal soap for holiday gifting.
It seems like if I haven't been sitting with Mom, I have been making soap. But it feels so good to have that checked off the list!

Speaking of Mom, she has improved. She will have to get used to being inseparable from her walker now. But after another week in the skilled nursing facility where she is getting daily physical therapy, they think we should be able to bring her back to my brother's. We had to take her off hospice to get the MRI and have the sacroplasty and therapy. We will keep her off while she continues with therapy for a few weeks, and possibly has another CT scan or x-ray to see how rapidly her tumor is growing. But she is in good spirits and looking forward to being out of an institution--even though it is a very nice one.
Thanks again to everyone who has expressed their concern and/or included her in their prayers.

This is a wordy post. I'll close with a reference to my new header photo. It was taken from my daughter's home on Halloween evening. Those are the same mountains that I see from my sewing room window, but a little different perspective from her home. It was a glorious sunset for Halloween.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October monthly mini and small quilt

Meet my monthly mini for October. I combined SITD machine quilting and hand stitching, but it was almost impossible to make the stitching show up in the photos.

My little quilt (made from leftover strips from the Indigo Challenge issued by Sandy back in  March of this year) finishes at 6" x 4 3/4". It is an itty-bitty thing, as you can see from the photo on the right where it fits in my hand.
I am linking this with Wendy over at The Constant Quilter blog.

My other finish (well, just the top) is the October small quilt from the Circa 1880 club. It will finish at about 20" square, and I will probably bind it with the same subtle black print that I used for the inner border.

Most all of the setting fabrics I used are from Pam's brand new line of fabric, New Circa Essentials. Only the outer border is from one of her other fabric lines. I deviated from the pattern by putting the uneven 9-patch blocks in the outer corners. I also switched up the value placement a few times. None of that should come as a surprise to long-time followers. When have I ever been able to follow a pattern to the letter? Okay, there are those few times I have been a pattern tester, and I do behave myself in situations such as those.

Still very busy with Mom's care, but she has greatly  improved since having "bone cement" injected into her two sacral fractures. Her pain level is much more manageable and she has started physical therapy to regain some of the strength and balance she has lost during this month of sitting around waiting for them to figure out what was wrong and what could be done about it.
Thanks to all who have checked in, and included her in your thoughts and prayers.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

This is what came of it...

Thought I'd post a quick update before anyone sends out a search party. It's been a while.
As the title mentions, this is what came of the urge I mentioned in my last post (so long ago that I can barely remember it) to play in the plaid shirts.

This is based on the wall hanging pattern Barn Star 3 by Corey Yoder. The purple on the top is an audition for a little larger border than called for in the pattern. It will finish over 40" square and I plan to use it as a baby quilt for a future grandchild (wishful thinking). It took parts of 4 shirts and a little white yardage. The blue is a small check pattern, but it is hard to tell in the photo.

Aside from that I have made a few tiny 9-patches from the leftover strips of the indigo and cheddar used in a recent challenge.


I am auditioning the 3/4" finished blocks on an indigo print. Trying to decide if I will make a few more blocks and enlarge this, or leave it be. I still don't have a monthly mini for October, so maybe I should opt for a quicker finish.

Thanks for all who have prayed for, and asked about my Mom. She fell again just three days after my last post. We left the ER after 5 hours, having had some x-rays and stitches, and knowing she'd broken her clavicle. My brother tried to take her home and care for her, but the pain in her back increased daily. The ER x-rays had shown nothing out of the ordinary. After 3 days we got her into skilled nursing, just for a week (we thought) while her body recovered from the shock of the fall. Finally we got her in to see a doctor at a "spine and pain" clinic. He thought it was most likely just inflammation and gave her steroid injections in the area. She just got worse. Finally--two weeks after her fall--we got her to the hospital for an MRI and learned she has a sacral fracture. She was supposed to see the doctor Wednesday to learn her options, but she has been sick the past couple of days, so we wait.

I hope I make it back to post my Monthly Mini before the month is up, but I spend much of my day with my Mom at the care facility, and by the time I get home I have so much to catch up with, and am too tired to sew when all is said and done.  

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

September Monthly Mini

I am so pleased that I am not posting this minutes before midnight on Monday. I took the last stitches in the binding on this little quilt while watching our local college football homecoming game on TV with hubby and my sons and DIL. The quilt finished at 9"x10", and each 9-patch finishes at 3/4". I am linking up with Wendy (constantquilterblog)  and her monthly mini links for September.

This had its beginnings when I had leftovers from the little quilt I made for a swap with Kris (lavenderquiltsblog) in early 2018. This one is a reverse of the value placement of Kris' quilt. It has been languishing in my sewing room for almost a year, waiting to be quilted. I had started quilting it months ago, but didn't like how it was looking, so I set it aside. Needing a monthly mini in a hurry (no surprise there), I unpicked the less-than-pleasing quilting and tried again.

This is the view of the quilting from the back. Better than my first try, but still not my favorite.  I was okay with it until I put that swirly border on. I should have practiced more, but I was not going to unpick this baby again!

Other than a bit of work on my Circa 1880 quilt, the only other progress for the entire month is that I finished up the piecing of the Circa 1880 club small quilt for August (we get a new small quilt pattern every other month). 
I really messed with the value placement on this quilt, making some of the churn dash blocks sink into the background, while others stand out. A few of the bits of fabric had to be pieced in order to be large enough to cut out the piece I needed. Three of the sashings were pieced. I wanted it to appear to have been made from a scrap basket, where choices were limited. I also slipped a little churn dash block into the center. I had fun playing with this one.

We have had a very wet weekend and Saturday morning I picked 4 pints of raspberries in the rain. I couldn't bear to see them go to waste and if I waited for the rain to stop in a few days, many of them would have been overripe and mushy. I love picking berries and I love rain (we live in a high mountain desert where rain is a welcome blessing most of the time), so I enjoyed the experience--except for the rain that ran up my sleeves whenever I reached for the berries on the taller canes. It is my Dad's patch, and I had helped him care for it the last few years of his life. I have tried to keep up with it since he passed almost three years ago
This evening my DIL made a gluten free/vegan lemon poppyseed bread with a lemon drizzle. We sprinkled our slices with fresh, rain-kissed berries and it was YUM!

I'm feeling an urge to play in the plaid fabrics from thrifted shirts. Maybe a baby quilt is in my near future--just for fun! I pulled a pattern today and I've chosen the shirts I want to use. We'll see if anything comes of it.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Insanity in the sewing room

I don't know what else to call it. I already have all of my rows made for my Circa 1880 quilt, so why is it that I have spent what little time I can get in the sewing room lately making these? These are all 2 1/2" unfinished blocks, with those centers finishing at 1".

When I started making the "rogue blocks" to put in my quilt a few months ago, there were a couple that were just an uneven 9-patch with a tiny block in the center.
This past week I've been dreaming up more center blocks that can be scaled down to a 1" finish.

Those 16-patch centers are strip pieced. There is no other way I could have made those squares finish at 1/4". Having a ruler with good marking, and using fine thread helps increase the accuracy in stitching 1/4" finished rows (and a good dose of insanity really helps).

And the pineapple and log cabin center blocks are foundation pieced, of course. Each 1" finished--more insanity!

Kat Keefes Quilting shared her "signature block" idea with our Facebook group. She used the selvedge with Pam Buda's name printed on it--so clever!
I played around with the idea and came up with one of my own, and included some sentiments from one of Pam's fabric designs, as well.

The only other sewing that has taken place has been on the August small quilt pattern for the Circa 1880 club. I tweaked the value placement on the fabric--inspired by a Kim Diehl churn dash quilt I love that has 9-patches in the center.

The center blocks and sashing are assembled, but I had still been auditioning borders until I recently settled on this lovely blue paisley from the Mrs. Miller's Apprentice line of fabrics. Notice that I tucked a churn dash block into the center block. This is larger than the other small quilts in the club so far, but I really love it.

I shared with you in my last post what I had received in my swap with Julie (my threadbare life blog). Now that she has received my package, I can share with you what I sent.
I had to swipe this photo from her blog, because I forgot to take a photo of this before I sent it (she did the same from my blog with what she sent to me).

I sent her an uneven 9-patch pincushion, a notepad,  my handmade herbal soap, a favorite treat, and a mini quilt I made from scraps found on top of the "trash" bin at retreat last January. Julie is the queen of rescuing unwanted items and up-cycling them into treasures. I wanted to send her something that I had rescued and this was all that fit that description. It was such a lovely exchange. Thanks so much for participating, Julie! This is my second swap with a New Zealand blog friend. Oh how I hope to see their homeland someday--and maybe even get to see them! :)

This is my first post in September--pretty pathetic. It had better not be my last. I need to have a monthly mini ready to share  in a little over a week. Yikes! I am nowhere near ready!! I'd better quit playing with the Circa 1880 blocks I don't need.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

August Monthly Mini--etc.

This monthly mini (with Wendy @ The Constant Quilter blog) is posted with not a minute to spare. I had thought I would quilt the indigo/cheddar quilt in my last post for my monthly mini, but I still can't decide how I want to quilt it. I was down to the wire time-wise. I rummaged through the sewing room looking for something that would be a quick finish. The black/red/gold quilt in the photo below is what happened.
It was probably 5 or 6 years ago that I assembled the 4-patch and gold blocks. When I noticed that one of the black 4-patch units was turned the wrong way I decided I needed to fix it. I set it aside, but every time I thought I would fix it I decided I didn't love it enough to put the time into it to either fix it or finish it. I was desperate enough this time that I felt I could finish it without fixing it. So I slapped a couple of borders on it, did simple diagonal lines through the blocks and straight lines around the red border, with some loops in the outer border that you can see if you click on the photo to the left. I think I even like it now.

This week I also sewed up the final two rows of my Pam Buda Circa 1880 Quilt. I am loving this quilt, and I have enjoyed slipping in a few "rogue blocks." In fact, I added another one to my very last row. If you have ever tried to draft a churn dash block to finish at 2", you know the challenges I faced. Blocks based on a 3x3 grid don't play well on a 4x4 grid--but I persevered and finally ended up with parts assembled for three blocks.
I stitched them up and proceeded to add one of them to my last row. After pinning it to the design wall along with all of its friends, I stepped back and wondered what had gone wrong.
Okay, I admit I was sewing late at night--again! In my sleep deprived state I just added this block to the row, without removing one of the other blocks to make room for it. I still haven't fixed it. But I need to do it soon, and start sewing the rows together.  I made mine with 27 rows. Every other row is made with blocks I swapped from another quilter. So I made 14 rows from my own blocks, and 13 rows with blocks from friends. I have really enjoyed the swapping.

Last, but definitely not least, Julie (My Threadbear Life blog) and I had agreed to do a little exchange. It ended up being a pincushion exchange--and so much more! Her package arrived today from New Zealand, and I am a little hesitant to send hers now. Look at the glorious contents I received.

The whole package smelled like lovely lavender, thanks to the soaps and the sachet. There are amazing flavors of chocolate, and a beautiful handmade card.

Get a closer look at this clever pincushion from an up-cycled old spinning wheel bobbin. Notice the little alphabet beads spell "quilt", and there are tiny hexies, and sewing related charms attached. I love it!

Up-cycling is Julie's specialty and her blog is a constant source of amazement for me. She is so creative.

I told Julie I hadn't sent her package yet because I wanted to include some of my herbal soap, and it isn't finished curing yet. I will probably send it next weekend, and when she has received it I will share with you what I sent. A huge thanks to Julie for the fun surprises, and for all of her inspiring blog posts!

If I don't hurry and post this it won't be August anymore, and my monthly minis are tired of always being late.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Coming up for air (Don't know if that means me or this project)

Remember this project?  This has been a leader/ender project at one of my machines for five years now. It was inspired by Kathie Holland, formerly of "Inspired by Antique Quilts" blog. Each windmill is around 4". I've enjoyed throwing in some "make do" blocks, and I recently came across one block I had made from some accidentally backwards cut pieces. I think I want to throw that reverse windmill in the mix somewhere, for a fun little quirk.
This photo is from two years ago, and I have added many more blocks since it was taken, but my design wall is kind of full right now, and I had no desire to lay these out on the floor, and then have to keep bending over, or crawl around on the floor to pick them up again.

I recently got all of the blocks out and stacked them by color to see how evenly divided the colors are.  Then I figured out how many of each color I had cut and ready to sew, and how many more neutrals I need to cut to go with them.

Then I clipped the finished blocks in groups of by ten, by color. I think I am going to be making about 90 more blocks and then see what size quilt it will all create.

I've also been trying to assemble the "June" small quilt for the Circa 1880 club.
I can't seem to get the cheddar/indigo color palette out of my blood. In this photo the borders are just laying on the design board around the completed center. Since taking this photo I have been able to attach two rounds of the borders.

Though my sewing room is currently a mess (and may be for some time), it is still my happy place. Even when I am so lacking in focus that I can't simply run my leader/ender blocks under my needle, I may still choose to come into this disaster area and read in my chair. Notice the aforementioned full design wall?

You can see a partial shot of the hexie flowers on a design board to the right in the photo above. I am now on block #12. Hubby and I are heading to Sun Valley, Idaho. He belongs to a choir that is going to perform at an outdoor venue there. It takes several hours on the road from here to there, so I may get another one or two hexie flowers stitched to the background if the light is good.

Anybody recommend a good quilt shop in the Sun Valley area? I am going to have time on my hands while hubby is in rehearsals. :) 

Until next time,
Janet O.