Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December Monthly Mini and other small stuff

Once again, just squeaking under the wire. The ball will be dropping on Time Square in just minutes (in my time zone), and December will be gone. If you recall the little Jen Kingwell Postcard Project pattern I shared in my last post, this is what came of playing with that on a few late nights when I needed fabric therapy. This will be linked with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog, for our final monthly minis of this year.

The fabrics were gleaned from some red/black pieces my retreat buddy gave me, and the backgrounds came from a Primitive Gatherings charm pack of a new line.  It finished at about 10" x 12".
Some of it is a bit wonky--I had some issues with the cutting. The templates that came with the pattern were great in all ways but one. In the photo to the right you can see the corners that are to match up. I've drawn arrows to the corners that gave me trouble. The smaller triangle has a rounded edge, while the matching edge of the larger triangle is beveled, as are all the other corners that match up. If I had been willing to mark all of the little dots in the corners and match them up that way, it might have come together more easily, but I am lazy about making and matching dots, so I suffered without them. And the rounded corner was difficult to cut, even with a small rotary cutter. I might have thought it was just an anomaly on my set, but I had purchased two sets and they were both the same.

The top did get finished with my December Circa 1880 small quilt, but knew I would have a harder time getting this one quilted than I would the Postcard Project, so this one is still a flimsy.
I had planned to make the outer border in red or green, but those black backgrounds on the stars needed some company.

Is this a familiar sight to anyone else? I let my cutting mat on my sewing room cutting table get very hacked up before deciding I should request a new one on my Christmas wishlist. I have already turned it around and the other side is not much better, so I will cut the sides that don't get as chewed up into smaller cutting mats to be taken to retreats and sew-ins, and I will replace this with the new one Santa delivered. 

First I need to remove the piles of things around the edges--and this photo was taken after I had actually cleaned most of it off. :)

The last day of December brought such a nice surprise in my mailbox. Many of you have sewn along with the Temecula Tiny Tree SAL. I longed to join in, but knew it wasn't going to happen for me this year. Well, my good blogging buddy, Sarah (at sarahdidit blog), posted that she was making 5 of them, to have some to gift. 
I was thrilled to find that I was the recipient of one of those trees. Isn't it fun? I have been sick for the last 5 days, and this was such a day brightener! Thank you, Sarah. One can never have too many Christmas quilts, or quilts from friends!

Also, in my initial post I forgot to include this sweet mug rug that arrived from my pal Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog. It came during the holidays and I had already put it to work. Thus, when writing my post it was covered with my mug (that is what a mug rug is for, after all) and I failed to add it here. That is now remedied. Many thanks, Wendy!

I have been very absent from blogland lately. I miss keeping up with everyone's blogs. I hope I have more time for it in the new year! Hope you all have a great beginning to a new decade!
Until next time,
Janet O.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The sum total...

...of my sewing since my last post at the end of November is shown below.
This is Small Quilt #6 in the Circa 1880 club. You can see from the pattern picture on the left that I have toyed with the value placement again. I thought having a dark background on the stars made the little uneven 9-patch blocks stand  out more. I am also thinking about using a cheddar for the inner border and maybe a red print outer border, with a green binding. We will see how that all plays out as it progresses.

Had another opportunity to get over the mountain again with my friend yesterday. We enjoyed a visit to Village Dry Goods, where (among other things) I snatched up this cute little "Postcard Project" by Jen Kingwell. I look forward to having time one day to actually try it.

For all you cross-stitch lovers out there, after our visit to Village Dry Goods, we proceeded south a few more minutes and arrived at Shepherd's Bush. This is a cross-stitcher's heaven! Every nook and cranny is filled with things to delight!

Teri cheerfully waited on us, and gave me permission to take photos and share them with you. You could lose yourself for hours in here!
I used to do a LOT of cross-stitch in my younger days and I have to say that I was sorely tempted to buy a little kit or two, but I talked myself out of it. Who am I kidding? I am not getting anything done on projects as it is--why add to the pile? But there were some really cute ones that I carried around for a while before coming down off of the ledge. :)
If you are looking for anything cross-stitch related you can go to their website and give their number a call. They do not take orders online, but are happy to do so over the phone. (No affiliation, just sharing info on a fantastic resource.)

You may be wondering about my drawing. I did finally draw a name for my birthday giveaway about a week ago. The winner was notified, the package was sent, and has already been received. Grace at citymousequilter blog was the winner of the drawing. I also drew a couple of other names to receive a bag of my herbal soap. Debbie at stitchintherapy blog and Gale (no blog--but soon moving to my neck of the woods, sort of) were selected. Congrats, ladies! I hope you enjoy your squishies in the mail.

It is a very busy time of year, and I hope in the bustle of it all you can find time to relax and enjoy the sights, scents, and sounds of the season. And if your celebration is about the birth of Christ, maybe you can make time to view this beautifully made 18 minute video of that blessed event. I especially love the reaction of one of the wisemen near the end.

If all goes well, my little quilt at the beginning of this post will  be completed in time to link up with Wendy at the end of the month for her monthly mini post. And maybe then I will share more of what the holidays look like around my place this year. For now, I am off to spend my day with my Mom.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

November Monthly Mini and Thanksgiving

Another "just under the wire" monthly mini. Here it sits among the Thanksgiving decor on the dining room hutch. Linking with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog.

You may recognize this from back in June or July. When I got it pin basted and ready to machine quilt I finally realized how wonky the inner triple sashing was.

So I unpicked the cheddar and the triple sashing. I tried reattaching the sashing and 9-patch corners, but they were still not as straight as I would have liked. I tried one more time, with a bit more success, but was not satisfied.

I got the piece damp and "blocked" it onto my wool pressing mat, hoping I could stretch the wonkiness out of it a bit and have it dry straighter.

It helped, but it was still not up to standard. At that point I was so done with this, I decided it was good enough. I also decided I didn't want to reattach the cheddar borders. I pin basted it and machine quilted the whole thing with stitch-in-the-ditch.

Now for the binding.There were already so many stars and dots in this little quilt, I wanted something different. I finally chose a blue with a subtle stripe and I cut it on the bias. Sewed the binding onto the back with the machine. When I wrapped the binding around to the front, I could see I had a new set of problems. The triple sashing and 9-patch corners had become very narrow on the outer edges, thanks to the binding--even though I cut my binding 1" and sewed it on with a very scant 1/4" seam. I unpicked the binding and tried one more time--this time shooting for a 3/16" seam allowance. Wouldn't you know it--the 9-patches are too big on most of the outside edges. So be it. I was finished! 
I think the past six months of barely setting foot in my sewing room has resulted in me forgetting how to quilt. This seemed so much harder than it should have been. But it is finished and maybe by next summer I can pull it out and it won't be full of bad memories. :)

We woke up Thanksgiving morning to this view from our front door. It was still coming down, and continued to pile up.
I like the shot on the right of the marshmallow hats our mailbox and paper box were wearing.  

We were hosting 20 for dinner, and our roads are not top on the list for getting plowed.  Sometimes it feels like they don't even make the list. Thanks to good people in our community who have large plows on their trucks and tractors, our road was passable. And thanks to hubby who used a shovel and the plow on the farm 4-wheeler, there were places to park. And to our youngest son who was here for the weekend, who joined in the shoveling party, everyone was able to make it up our stairs and across the deck to our door.
All 20 of us
Mom and her 4 kids
     Mom used to come to our house for Sunday dinner every week, but this is the first time she has been here since Mother's Day. She just can't do stairs anymore, and you have to go up a full flight to get in our house. She was carried in for this gathering. I think it is time for a chair lift on our interior stairs!

There was a big sale at the quilt shop over the mountain (Village Dry Goods) today. Had to get out after such a busy week. Didn't go with anything in mind this time--just bought what I liked. Found some lovely pieces.

Also got all of the soap out of the "curing cupboard" today. It is time to start packaging it up for holiday gifting.
All 15 batches out on the kitchen island to make sure it passes inspection.

Last week was my birthday and I often do a little "thank you" drawing at that time, but had nothing to share and no time to blog. So let's catch up now.
As a thank you to my blogging (and blog reading) friends, I offer this little quilt I finished recently, a set of Temecula notecards/patterns, a little zippered pouch, a magnetic notepad, some bars of my soap, and a 5"x5" Quilters Select ruler for you to try. Since my friend, Annie M., gifted me one, I am hooked. I bought two small ones right away online, and then I shared them with the quilt shop over the mountain (Village Dry Goods--again). They got them in and I bought two larger ones with my birthday month coupon a couple of weeks ago, and another today at their 25% off 5th Saturday sale. If you are interested, leave a comment--and thanks for following along and being a part of this great online quilting community!

With any luck, I will get another mini finished and post it before December wraps up. :)

Until next time, 
Janet O.

Drawing now closed


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.