Thursday, December 31, 2020

December Monthly Mini and Gnomes in the Dome

I had thought I had plenty of mini quilts for Christmas decorating, but it turns out I was short a few. Now I am short one less. Linking up with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for our Monthly Mini challenge. This has been the 3rd year--can't believe I have kept up. It is often the only thing I accomplish in a month, so I am grateful for the motivation to at least do this!

Just a handful of green scraps, some leftover Marcus Brothers aged muslin, and a chunk of red from the "smaller than FQ" storage, and this little cutie was whipped up pretty quickly.


I actually did follow a pattern for this, which you wouldn't think I would need for such simplicity. However, I was fascinated earlier this year when I saw this book from Primitive Gatherings, and the quick way to make a negative and positive 9-patch using two squares of fabric.  I had seen the method before, but had never attempted it.

The mini quilt on page 17 caught my eye and I decided it was time to give it a try. It really is slick, but especially when working this small it is important to get your seams accurate. And I always sliver trim the finished product, to make sure they are all the same size.                                                This little piece finished just under 10x12. That is a hair larger than the pattern, but I cut my borders just a bit wider.  I machine quilted the whole thing. I wanted to do some of the quilting by hand, but there just wasn't time.
I actually had another "keep someone warm" finish this month! On a socially distanced shop hop with a friend back in September, I was taken by the Timber Gnomies fabric line from Henry Glass. My youngest daughter loves the gnomes and I thought this might make a fun throw quilt for her--for Christmas!?! What was a thinking? I swore years ago (after frantic Christmas finishes) never to make quilts as Christmas gifts--save that for birthdays! But how hard would it be to whip up my favorite quick strippie quilt pattern? I must have a very short memory.
But I did it!
This quilt is based on Mary Johnson's "My Favorite Quick Donation Quilt" pattern. I have used it many times, but I always add borders, and sometimes extra rows. Makes a good twin size quilt that way--or a large throw. I am really pleased with the results, and my daughter does love it.


I did straight line quilting down each side of the black, inner border. Then using a longarm ruler, I quilted clamshells over the "strippie" portion. The borders got a large swirl, which design I "pounced" using a stencil. Very quick and easy to follow.




 Henry Glass offered a free strippie pattern for this fabric line, and I did download it, but it was a bit too busy for me. However, you could adapt it to your liking, if you prefer this pattern.




 My son was very happy to finally have his college graduation t-shirt quilt--he graduated over 5 1/2 years ago. And I was thrilled to have it finished for him!

And now for one last gnome (as if those Timber Gnomies were not enough). Here you see our resident Dome Gnome with my monthly mini and a nearly empty basket of holiday soaps. I fill a few baskets with packages of my handcrafted holiday soaps for gifting around my community as the holidays get underway. You see there are two lonely packages left. I know the Christmas season is past, but if you wouldn't mind some gingerbread shaped soaps at your house going into the new year, leave a comment that you would like to be included in the drawing. 

Are you a resolution maker, or not? As for me--not so much. I am more of a daily goal maker, working toward larger goals, so I don't make any dramatic changes to my plans for January.

I hope you have all had times of joy through the season, and times of bringing joy to others. I know you bring joy to me!

Until next time,

Janet O.


Okay--I have to do a little more weather geek stuff. Three days ago we had such a pretty hoarfrost. It makes the world look like a fairy land. I just want to share a few photos.



Feathery frost creating fluff on all surfaces.  I never tire of it. Hopefully you can enlarge the photos for a better look.

Drawing now closed!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Beast Conquered

This quilt was started in the summer of 2015 as my youngest son's college graduation quilt. It has appeared here on the blog many times, but progress was halted on more than one occasion due to shoulder problems, then surgery, and finally a long, slow recovery.

It feels so good to have finally taken the last stitches on this king-sized quilt, and completed the label. It may have been meant to be a graduation gift years ago, but this is going under the Christmas tree this year! 

Below is the glamor shot--at least as glamorous as a t-shirt quilt can get.

The twin to this quilt can be seen HERE. I made that one 9 years ago for my oldest son's graduation.

I have another near finish that I should be able to share at the end of the month, when I also hope to have a monthly mini ready, but here is a sneak peak.

This was Thursday when I was working very hard to get the quilting finished on my HQ Sweet 16. Friday afternoon I attached the binding and got half of it sewn down by hand on the back. Hope to get the other half finished today. To finish two quilts in one month that are large enough to keep someone warm is a very rare occurrence for me. I want to bask in the feeling for a minute. :)

I had a request from someone who wanted to see my tree that only has handcrafted ornaments this year. I have wanted to do this for several years, but I always hate to leave off the ones we have collected on family vacations, or the ceramic ones I painted, or the Matreshka doll ornaments that echo my doll collection. But since we won't be hosting any family gatherings, I figured no one would care if I left those ornaments off this year. You should be able to enlarge the photos to see the ornaments more clearly.

These photos get the tree from most angles. You can enlarge them to see the ornaments. The crocheted chain, large felt ornaments, and most of the counted cross-stitch were all made around 40 years ago, early in our marriage when buying ornaments wasn't an option. Many of them haven't been on the tree in decades. There are ornaments made by my mother and mother-in-law, my daughters, granddaughter, myself, neighbors, and some of you.

You may have noticed a little guy sitting on the window ledge. That is our "Gnome in a Dome." Many of you have an elf on a shelf, and some have a Nisse or two (or more). When hubby and I recently visited a Christmas display at a local garden center we couldn't help but notice that gnomes seemed to be the predominant theme. We decided we could use a gnome for our dome. He is a cute little guy.

We will be having Mom join us for a few days next week. It will be a privilege to have her with us for Christmas this year. There will be precious memories made. She wasn't supposed to live to see last Christmas, so it is a miracle she has made it this long. Though frail and struggling with short-term memory issues, she is still spunky and her dry wit keeps us laughing.

If you are celebrating Christmas, or Chanukah, or any other special traditions in your family, I hope you will cherish those with whom you are able to gather, virtually or physically. Make memories that will be remembered fondly. Choose to set aside differences, forgive past hurts, reach out to those who may be a bit harder to love. See if you can help someone feel valued. Choose to be part of the change the world can use right now.

Until next time,

Janet O.


Earlier this week I was walking to my car in a parking lot and was captivated by the view of this sun dog. It is brighter than any I have seen before (does this prove that I am a weather geek?). ;)

Monday, November 30, 2020

November Monthly Mini

True to my norm, I am posting my November Monthly Mini just under the wire. I will link up with Wendy, our faithful and fearless leader. Check out the link to see the other monthly mini makers (I love alliteration). Haven't thought of a name for it yet, but it measures 20"x24".

This was made up when I came across a bag of Sandy Gervais autumn and Halloween scraps given to me by my retreat buddy a few years ago.
She met me at a local quilt shop that is about halfway between our homes, saying she had something for me. Her trunk was full of boxes and bags of scraps and yardage she was cleaning out.  It was like Christmas for me.


It is a simple double 4-patch. I have always loved those. Once upon a time I actually made one that was large enough to keep someone warm. I need to do more of that.


I was so excited that my copy of Barbara's new encyclopedia came early. Wasn't due until Dec. 1st. It arrived on the 28th of November. DH ordered it for my birthday. I am enjoying perusing it. My old edition has been a favorite, and this edition is even more fun, with colored versions of each block included.


Hope all my U.S. friends had a good Thanksgiving, however you had to adapt your celebration this year.

We had a pie social on Wednesday in my youngest daughter's backyard. There were 10 of us, and we kept our distance between households. It was supposed to be in the 40s, so we were prepared for it to be cool. But just before we gathered, the sun went behind the clouds and a breeze picked up. It was cold.

We wrapped up and did our best to enjoy pie and ice cream in spite of the chill factor. We only lasted about 50 minutes, but we had fun and created a memory.

That evening on my walk, the sunset looked like the mountains were on fire. Love it when that happens.

Our actual Thanksgiving dinner consisted of only 5 of us--smallest ever! Last year I think we had 20, and we thought that was small.

In spite of the craziness of this year, there is still so much that fills my heart with joy and thanksgiving. Among those blessings are the friendships I have made through this blog. I think about you and pray for you, and I enjoy the visits, whether via email, texts, calls, or those rare but delightful visits in real life. Thank you all for being a consistently good thing in my life.

Until next time,

Janet O.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Monthly Mini and the Beast!

This is my Fairy Garden Party, based on Bonnie Hunter's Garden Party pattern. You can go here to read how this quilt shrunk when I was making it at a workshop with Bonnie, if you are not already familiar with the story. And here you can see how the top came together back in 2017.

I am linking with Wendy for our monthly minis. She keeps us going with her encouragement and example. Follow the link and check out the wonderful autumn mini she made, and enjoy the links to the other mini makers there.

The quilting of this has had me stumped. It is small--as you can see here, with my hand in the photo. Sometimes I feel like things this small can look clumsy if you put too much quilting in them, especially if you don't use a really fine thread. Hand quilting was not an option, because the back side is wall-to-wall seam allowances.

I finally decided to stitch down either side of the green chains, and around the flower centers, with a little more quilting in the borders. (You can see that I forgot to get rid of the marked lines in the border before taking these photos.) 

When I started trying to stitch straight lines from point to point down the sides of the green chains, I had to keep weaving from point to point--there were no straight lines involved. Oh, well, I am so done with the quilting on this. I had the outer border almost completely quilted when I discovered the tension on the back was off (even though I had tested it before I started), and I had to unpick it all. But it is finished now and I am glad to cross this off the UFO list.

Also in the UFO department, I have made major progress on The Beast, my youngest son's king-sized college graduation quilt. It is all quilted!!

Maybe I will actually have it trimmed and bound in time for Christmas, since I didn't make it for his birthday (2 days ago).

The random number generator chose comment number 26, so my lovely friend Kris (who blogs at Lavender Quilts) will be getting a package of my herbal soap when it finishes curing in a couple of weeks.

Hope you are finding beauty in the world around you.

Until next time, 

Janet O.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Humble Quilts SAL--and then some rambling

I finally got my little version of the Humble Quilts fall SAL completed. Named by Lori, "50 Shades of Brown," I have chosen to call my version "Mud Pies." While using the hose in my Mom's back yard recently to water of few of her perennials, I found myself remembering that our sandbox used to be by that hose. We would sometimes employ the hose to create lakes and rivers in the sandbox. Occasionally we would also be found making mud pies, which could take on many shades of brown. Hence the name.

This photo may give you a better idea of the quilting. I really wanted to hand quilt this, but I accepted my reality and quilted it using the walking foot on my machine. Then I squirted it with water and let it air dry to give it a semi-crinkly appearance (my dryer is broken--repairs happening this weekend).

I was so grateful that Lori kept it simple for us this time around. I don't think I would have had the brain power to make anything complex. I couldn't even handle making it smaller, or making a duplicate, both of which have been known to happen with regularity around here.

In case you are wondering about the little display rack in the first photo, I will tell you what I am able. Last year I briefly joined a couple of miniature quilt groups on Facebook. But it all began to be too much for me--too many ideas, too many people, too much time spent scrolling through trying to keep up. I soon dropped out of them. But while still in them, one quilter posted a great magazine rack she had picked up at a thrift store and repurposed for miniature quilts. I absolutely loved it. Many readers asked her questions as to dimensions. I copied the picture with the measurements she shared and filed it on my hard drive. Out of sight--out of mind.

Last month hubby and I were helping an elderly friend paint his home, and as this man is still an active  woodworker, I recalled the great little quilt rack and asked if I could hire him to make it for me. I found the photo with dimensions on my hard drive and emailed it to him. He used red oak, and I told him to leave it unfinished--I will stain it. I love staining wood (but may not get to it for a while). He brought it to me last week. I think he did a beautiful job. I had him put a few less rungs on it so more of each quilt shows. I love it as is, but I know it will really be beautiful when it is stained.
I can't recall who it was that originally posted this in the Facebook group. I can't believe I didn't put that info on the photo. There are some of you readers that are in that group, I know. If you recall who posted this, please share it. I should be giving her credit.
Lately I have received some much appreciated fun mail. Sandi sent the cute soap, pretty scissor fob, and great quilt magnet. I won a giveaway on Wendy's blog and received the beautiful magazines and charm squares. Then Barb sent the sweet, wee quilt and lovely FQs. During stressful times it is such a delight to find a wonderful surprise in the mailbox. I also appreciate those who have sent a text or email to check in. My blog friends are amazing. I know I am really lax in my blogging. I am hopeful that it won't always be so hard to find time to quilt so that I have something to post. 

I almost didn't watch the presidential debate, the last one was so disheartening. But I joined it a few minutes late and was grateful that a small degree of civility was present that had been sorely lacking in the first one. Something that has really impressed me is that the two candidates in my state's race for governor have appeared in an ad together, promoting civility. Don't believe me? It can be viewed here, and it is gaining some national attention. Kind of sad that such a thing is so rare. It shouldn't be.
Not only is it election time, it is also Pumpkin Spice time! I got a giggle out of this. Maybe I just need a Pumpkin Spice oil change to get out of my mental funk.:)                                                        Has anyone else sat out in the wee hours of the morning with a few blankets and a warm drink to see how many meteors they can spot? That would be me two nights ago, for a total of 7 meteors in 35 minutes--starting at 2 a.m. It was magical. You have to take joy where you can, and anything involving the sights in the heavens makes my heart happy.

Spent an afternoon last week making soap, and when it has finished curing in 2 1/2 more weeks, I will draw a name from the comments and send them a few bars. I'd like to pay it forward on the fun mail. I may tuck in a few other surprises.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Mini of the Month and Humble Quilts SAL

Once again just squeaking under the wire with my Monthly Mini. Linking up with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for our monthly mini parade.

The inspiration for this little quilt began when I saw this post from Barbara of her mini last month. She showed a picture from the book Childhood Treasures that had inspired her mini and that sent me to my copy of the book. I didn't end up using the one that caught my eye that month, but decided it would be my mini for September--and here it is.

This photo shows which quilt from Childhood Treasures inspired me. That print around the three sides of the doll quilt in the book made me think of a beautiful Jinny Beyer print called Mariposa that  had been shared with me by Pat at Amity Quilter blog (thank you, Pat). A couple of years ago she used it as the focus fabric in a Humble Quilts SAL.  You can see her finished product here.                              Since I don't have a doll bed, I figured I would put the border around all four sides, as this will probably be a wall hanging or table topper. 
I didn't get a great photo of the quilting, but maybe you can see it a bit in this photo. Haven't thought of a name for this yet. It has such a mix of fabric designers. I considered calling it "Jinny Beyer makes a Diehl to Di Ford," but that would be leaving out Howard Marcus, Paula Barnes, Jo Morton, and maybe more. I'll have to ponder it a little more.
I've been on a roll with the 2 1/2" 4-patch blocks with setting squares. I was just finishing piecing up my monthly mini when Lori at Humble Quilts blog posted her first step in her doll quilt SAL. She has since posted the second step, and the setting is remarkably familiar.        Looking forward to seeing the border that Lori says is next. It's not too late to join in!
DH and I had a whirlwind getaway last Friday and Saturday. It was good to get out and do something almost like we used to. Does it look familiar? It is a 5 hour drive from home and I have spent many vacations here--with my family as a child, with my children as a family, and now as a pair of "old people". 

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I am enjoying the cooler nights, the changing colors, and the golden hue to the evening light. In a world that has been throwing us curve balls on a regular basis this year, I hope you are finding ways to create joy for yourself and others each day. 
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Monday, August 31, 2020

August Monthly Mini--Love Thy Neighbor

If you were around the blog three years ago you may have a faint memory of this--"Love Thy Neighbor."

Three years ago Maureen (pursuitofquilts blog), extended an invitation for others to join her in making a quilt titled "Love Thy Neighbor," and to consider using house blocks. This was in light of the troubles going on in Charlottesville, VA at that time. I made the top, but I didn't get it quilted. Now seemed like as good a time as ever to complete this little quilt. I can't think of what we could use more right now than love for our neighbors.

Once again, I finished it up with some hybrid quilting. It was machine quilted, except for the echo quilting around the hearts. The house blocks were hand pieced, which I rarely do. They were part of an "airport layover kit" sent to me a few years back by my friend, Annie. This is the second little quilt I have made from the blocks in that kit and this one finished at 14" square. You can see the quilting a little better in this photo. Linking this to Wendy (the constantquilter blog) for our monthly mini roundup.

I know you have seen this next quilt quite a bit, but now that I have the binding completed, I want to share it one more time. This is "Mom's Flower Garden," so named for a few reasons. First, Mom and I started making Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts at the same time 22 years ago, after I learned the technique of EPP and shared what I had learned with her. Second, most of the fabrics came from my Mom's stash, since the fabrics I owned at the time were for clothing construction. Finally, almost all of the blocks were appliqued to their backgrounds during the hours I have spent at Mom's side over the past 15 months. Since Mom finished her quilt within a year of starting it, she is happy to have lived to see the day that I finished mine.

I have to throw in one more glamor shot. After having almost tossed this UFO out a few years ago, I am just giddy to have it finished and to actually like it. When it was haunting me in its unfinished state, I wondered if it would even be worth it to finish it because I didn't love the fabrics anymore. Well, the principle of synergy is at work here, because when it all came together it was better than I imagined. 

We have been getting the smoke from the fires in California, thanks to the jet stream, and at times it has been so bad that we couldn't even see the mountains that surround us. That is why this view from my evening walk was so welcome. A windy day had cleaned out the valley and the mountains were clearly visible again. That is the moon just rising above the mountains and the clouds.

I'll admit that all of the divisiveness in the country has been getting me down. Those who are hijacking the BLM movement as an excuse for violence disrespect the cause and efforts of those who are trying to bring about positive change through peaceful protests. The politicizing of good health practices during a global pandemic seems crazy to me. And the vilifying of all police officers due to the heinous actions of some is unfair to those who bring honor to the uniform. How did all this hate and venom find such fertile soil in our country? Can we not remember how to love our neighbor?
Will you join me in seeing if you can find something kind to do for a "neighbor"? Keep it simple or get creative. Just reach out and brighten someone's day, somehow (I know many of you are already doing this). It will brighten your day, too. And couldn't we all use some day brightening?

Until next time,
Janet O.