Saturday, February 1, 2020

January monthly mini, retreat update, new (old) machine, etc.--or the longest post on record

I only posted once in January, so there is much to share. Maybe I should have titled this, "How many photos can you squeeze into one post?" Let's find out...
My (late) January monthly mini is the completed "December Small Quilt" from the Circa 1880 club. Linking with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog.


It is the smallest of the six small quilts that were part of the quilt shop-sponsored Circa 1880 clubs. This gives you a little better perspective on the size.
My quilting on this was very simple. (Do I say that every time?) I did stitch-in-the-ditch around the piecing in the center. In the photo above I think you can faintly see the FMQ I did in the border.

I was very thrilled to get to go to most of Winter Retreat, sponsored by Village Dry Goods (the little shop over the mountain to which I often refer). It was held at the same beautiful venue it has been in for the last few years.
This is always such a boost after a busy holiday season, but with Mom's needs, I didn't think I could go. Fran (the shop owner) told me she would be saving a place for us (Kim and I) if I could work things out. At the last minute we got my nephew's daughter (a CNA) to cover the times my brother would need help with Mom during retreat. Chloe, my grand-niece, had just moved back home and was looking for work. What a blessing that was!

This is an "open sew" retreat (which I love), but they do offer classes each day for those who choose to participate. One very popular class is their annual mystery quilt, designed by Fran and Laurie. I never take classes, but it was fun to see the revealed mystery. The two quilts are from the same pattern, but one is in dark & dirty CW repro fabrics and the other is in more bright/modern fabrics. The difference in the appearance of the design is really fun to see. 
Kim, Fran, me
Here I am with my roommate and dear friend Kim, and our fun and dear friend, Fran. We started out just smiling for the camera, but ended up laughing. It is hard to be serious with Fran around.

I try to focus on UFOs at retreat. This time it was so last minute and I was very unprepared. I had just thrown a bunch of projects together and figured I would sort it out when I got there. I spent the morning taking my Mom for another medical procedure, and by the time I reached the retreat I was exhausted and had a hard time getting focused. Eventually I buckled down and pulled out a pattern I had purchased years ago when Pam Buda came to our Winter Retreat as a teacher. I purchased this pattern of hers because I thought it was fun to buy a pattern named "Winter Retreat" at Winter Retreat.
I had even brought along some blank signature blocks the year I bought that pattern and I had Pam, a couple of friends who attended, and the two shop owners sign the blocks. They have been stored with the pattern ever since. I worked on this that first day and half of the next day before I decided the rest of the borders could go on at home. I haven't managed to do that yet.

 
The second afternoon I pulled out a little quilt I started at last year's Winter Retreat. This is a Kim Diehl pattern named Prairie Sky. I had purchased the kit without realizing that it was applique. Then I had set out to find a different way to make it. 



 




I wound up foundation piecing it. I got all of the blocks finished and brought it home and attached the border. Notice how nice and neat the back is (NOT)! I made one less row than the pattern indicated, and I made solid borders instead of scrappy.

My final project was Bonnie Hunter's mystery, Easy Street. Yes, I know this is from 2012. In my defense, I didn't start mine until...2013. :)
Mine is made from thrift store shirts and back when I started this I didn't always choose shirts wisely. Some fabrics are a bit thick, others a bit ravely. I don't love working with them. Besides that fact, I make so many mistakes sewing up these blocks, it discourages me every time I try. I think out of the two blocks I made at retreat I unpicked on the first one 5 times! I think the pattern calls for about 25 blocks set on point, with pieced setting triangles. My apologies to Bonnie, but I made two more blocks at retreat (I had come with 10), laid them out and decided I was finished making blocks.
Using a straight set, it will be a nice throw quilt size. At home I used some leftover parts to put a small pieced border around the edge and then I fussy-cut the purple striped fabrics leftover from a couple of the shirts and made a solid-looking border all around. Here it is pinned to my design wall. I just need to piece the two borders on the sides and attach them. Usually I make the top borders go across the corners, but there wasn't enough of that purple--and not enough of the darker purple to do the whole border. I plan to complete those two borders today. I am being stinkin' productive lately. :)      (And it is about time!)

The only other thing I did at retreat was label the ends of the rows of my Circa 1880. The long rows are comprised of blocks made by me, but the short rows are made from blocks swapped with others. 
  
Where possible, I made a whole row with one person's blocks. Pam, Cyndi and Wendy were my original swap partners. I also swapped with 5 other quilters. It is really a treat to have their blocks in my quilt. I took this quilt with me to Village Dry Goods during retreat and chose fabrics for the border--and ended up not using them. Well, I did use one of them. This is now a finished top.
 
I bought more of the aged muslin to make a small inner border that would "float" the blocks inside the colored border. And I did that. But I did not use the black tonal print I was going to use to create a narrow border, before adding a medium blue, small scale paisley for the outer border. It didn't click. I pulled everything from my stash that was large enough to possibly border this quilt, but nothing did it for me until I put this red paisley from French General next to the top. 
There was just enough length (barely) to border the sides, but I did have to match and piece the top and bottom borders. I was pleased that the matching turned out so well. This photo is a tad blurry, but it shows one of the matched borders.





I had tried to make this quilt larger than the pattern to fit a queen size bed.
Here it is on our guest room bed. I think it works. Now this has to get in line to be quilted. I'm thinking Baptist Fans.

Just a few quick things to close this record long post. I was recently gifted this sweet machine. Anyone know anything about it? Think it is a model 15-something (ETA: I have been corrected--this is a 99k) and was made in Scotland in the 1920s. I haven't really had time to explore it yet, but I would appreciate any insight you might have. You can click the photos to get a closer look.
 
Finally, my sweet Mom turns 90 tomorrow. This is a photo of her back in November. She is still chipper, but suffered another fall on New Year's Eve and acquired 3 more compression fractures in her spine--bringing her total of fractures in 2019 to 10!
She is so ready to "graduate", but we are cherishing the time we have left with her.




I will leave you with this cheerful view above my kitchen sink. Eight of my 16 orchids are blooming again. The others have bloom stems coming. The flowers are such a welcome sight in the midst of winter. The blossoms last for months!

If you have stuck it out until the end of this lengthy post, leave a comment and I will thank one of you with a bundle of herbal soap. 
Until next time,
Janet O.

  

57 comments:

  1. Your quilts are all beautiful, but well done to you getting that big one finished! It's amazing! Love your orchids too...I've always wanted to try growing one but I never have.

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  2. All of your quilts are amazing! The first one has such beautiful colors, it really caught my eye. Prairie Sky and Winter Retreat are gorgeous, too. I like Bonnie's quilts but they do have tons of pieces. Even in a smaller size Easy Street looks good. I love the Circa 1880 quilt, talk about a lot of pieces. What fun to share the work with friends, there are all kinds of memories stitched into your quilt. The retreat sounds like it was so much fun, happy to hear you got to go. The new machine will be fun to investigate, I don't know much about it but it is pretty. That is a sweet photo of your Mom, sorry to hear of all the fractures. Cherish your time with her. Love the orchids, I've never tried to grow one but they are beautiful!

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  3. You have accomplished so much during January, it must feel wonderful to have your Circa top completed, among so many others! That French General border is absolutely the perfect fabric to accentuate the colors within the tiny blocks - I love it, and I think Baptist fan quilting will give the quilt a wonderful texture. Your mini is adorable, it has a holiday vibe without screaming Christmas. From looking at your new old machine, I don't think it is a Model 15, but if you send me the serial number I'll try to look it up. If I recall correctly Model 15s all have the tension mechanism on the end rather than front of the machine, but I could be in error. What a gorgeous sight those blooming orchids are in your kitchen. Your window is obviously the perfect place for them. How lovely! And P.S., Happy Birthday to your sweet mom!

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  4. I know how hard it is to go to retreats when someone you love is dealing with medical issues. I am so glad you were able to spend time with your friends. Happy birthday to your mom! Your Circa top is beautiful.

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  5. Gosh, where do I start? Your Montly Mini is darling!I love the star/puss-in-corner combo, and your color placement gives it so much dimension. I can see the cable in the border, a nice detail, and with the red binding, really frames the quilt well. What a brilliant solution for the Prairie Sky blocks! I might have skipped the whole thing as I avoid both methods (paper piecing and applique) with equal passion, LOL! Yours is turning out really cute = I love the border. I agree, Baptist fans on the circa 1880. I wish I could see it in person, after all is said and done. Magnificent. I'm so glad you got to go to your retreat. Its how we re-charge, so very important. Bless you and your fammily, Janet.

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  6. well no soap needed here but wonderful post and very newsy! i am amazed that your orchids like the windowsill...even with central heat, would have thought it would be too cool for them...they are so beautiful! wonderful sewing projects, glad you had some retreat time to recharge and relax...

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  7. That looks like an awesome retreat! I’m glad that you could go and leave your mother in good hands. It’s really hard sometimes, isn’t it?
    Your quilts look great. I’m amazed that you finished those older ones. I guess maybe I should think about all those unquilted tops in my closet instead of starting another project.

    P

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  8. Yea,You got to go to Retreat. I think you have been productive, indeed. I am the slacker. I made Easy Street as the 1st Quiltville Mystery in my collection. I have the desire to make Double delight, but don't know when it will happen. I found my soap, from you, that I packed finally. I love it! I can always use more,lol.

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  9. Lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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  10. Hi, Janet. Loved the long post! It seems we & probably lots of others have a lot in common with you. I love Pam & Kim & their quilts. I, too, have a kit for Prairie Sky. What is that block, please. I would rather pp it like you did! It would be a good quilt for a retreat I am going to.Happy Birthday to your Mom. My hubby graduated to Heaven last Oct.

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  11. Circa 1880, amazing, just have the patience to do that quilt is awesome. You deserve a pat on the back for sure.

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  12. Lovely quilts!
    Your sewing machine is an older Singer 99 (3/4 size machine) or Singer 66 (full size machine). The decals look pretty good, but I cannot determine whether the finish is smooth or "godzilla". The stitch length lever is the screw on the pillar and does not have a number guide. Just experiment. The serial number will indicate the date the numbers were allocated. Email me if you would like more information.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the info, Phyllis. I can't email you because your profile setting does not include your email address. You have a "no-reply" setting. I am curious about the finish. It isn't shiny, but I didn't know if that was the buildup over the years, or if that is how it is originally supposed to be.

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  13. As always, I really enjoyed seeing all the projects you got finished, or worked on, during January. All of them are really pretty. Glad you got to go to the retreat, and I'm sure you had a good time there. Retreats are always fun, aren't they? --- " Love"

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  14. Lengthy post????I was disappointed when it came to an end...lol. Great pictures--I'm so inspired. Loved seeing the picture of your mom....treasure her. I lost mine a few years ago and miss her terribly. Great post today...well done!

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  15. The windows on the retreat site are so pretty. And at least three sides of them one right after another.
    Your latest mini is a good one. I like that it has the triangle units top and bottom of the star section.
    I read somewhere about how to shine up the old machines but now I forget what it was suggested to use. I have always liked those wood curved top covers. Those have a name too which I also forget.

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  16. You have had a make do attitude and continue to enjoy and treasure the time you do get to sew. Your monthly mini is your usual tiny treat. You have a gift for precise piecing. Have a special birthday celebration for your mom.

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  17. I think you achieved loads of things at your winter retreat Janet. Gosh that quilt looks stunning on your spare bed. I look forward to seeing it all quilted & finished. Wishing happy belated birthday wishes to your dear Mum. She is looking good but a bit frail perhaps. I think that view of your kitchen window sill is just stunning!!!

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  18. Wow! You've been busy!
    Happy birthday to your sweet Mom...mine is 89, too, and doing well.
    Enjoyed the post!

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  19. As always, your post is very interesting !
    You have had a wonderful retreat with friends and I love the picture of you smiling on it !
    Your big quilt is a masterpiece for sure !! Oh WOW !!
    And your minis are soooo gorgeous !!
    Happy birthday to your lovely Mum !!

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  20. Glad you got to your retreat and what a beautiful setting. Your minis are always so precise and pretty. Happy birthday to your Mom, and I admire your attitude!

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  21. Did anyone mention looking on the ismacs website using your serial number to find the date? http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/serial-numbers/singer-sewing-machine-serial-number-database.html

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  22. To pick only one thing to comment on is difficult because I enjoyed your whole update. That retreat room looks amazing- all those beautiful windows!

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  23. I'm so thankful that you were able to attend that retreat. God blessed you with the well deserved getaway you needed. Your quilts are beautiful (and so are the orchids), and I'm impressed with how much you have accomplished.

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  24. Wow, the 1880 looks fabulous with that red border...perfectly matched I see! I love that it kept the antique appearance too. I like your Easy Street with the purple border.....makes Pop's shirts look snazzy. My Dad would have love it! Glad you got to enjoy retreat a bit and take a breather. Hang in there and thanks for sharing those great orchids. Hugs to your Mom for her birthday too.

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  25. Janet, I love this post for so many reasons! Your Circa 1880 is glorious—Fan quilting will be perfect. So glad you were able to enjoy Winter Retreat! And HOW do you get those orchids to bloom? I have six I baby along but have not seen blooms in a couple years.

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  26. What a joyful post this was! Your mini is sweet. I love the use of blacks in the Star Blocks. Very effective and gives an X design.
    That retreat room is fabulous. I like a an open sew retreat too! Its is fun to see what everyone else is working on. Your BH quilt looks great. Some quilts just take longer, right? Loved the photo with your smiling friends.
    Happy Birthday to Your Mother. Time is precious and God Speed to her.
    I'm still in absolute awe over your pan buda quilt. It is just so amazing. Instant heirloom.
    Baptist fans? yes please.

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  27. Your mother looks so sweet and I'm sure she is the treasure of your family. Love the retreat venue with all the big windows. The photos of your quits are always such a treat.

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  28. Hugs to you, Janet! You got so much done in my book...such pretty quilts, all!! I continue to pray for your mom daily, and am sorry you both are going through illness and caregiving, respectively.

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  29. Always love your posts and really enjoyed the picture overload in this one. It looks like you have been very productive. You and your Mom and all her care givers are in my prayers. Me and my two siblings are going through the same thing (falls, fractures) with my 92 year old Mom but each day is a gift

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  30. I totally understand that experience of being stressed and having plans be uncertain, and yet really needing to get to quilt retreat... and then how wonderful and healing it is. Retreats are medicinal!
    So glad you had the energy to work on so many gorgeous projects!
    I love your new machine and especially like the decal design (which I haven't seen before) and how it has Great Britain stamped on the top!

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  31. Wow! That Kim Diehl quilt looks so difficult....and yet you finished it on a short retreat? Amazing! Love her fabric and patterns....though I only managed one runner of hers...lol! Your Circa quilt continues to amaze me...a quilt that large I would definitely send out for quilting....you're a brave lady! ;-) Cute little Singer! Again....so glad you were able to get to retreat....a great way to destress a bit...hugs to you, your family and your Mom!

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  32. The mini is beautiful and oh so mini!!! I’m amazed how you can figure out how to change an appliquĂ© pattern into a pieced design. You have a very smart, creative, and mathematical brain!! I love the border you put on the circa quilt. Baptist fan quilting will be perfect. The Bonnie H quilt looks complicated to me, and I don’t blame you for stopping at throw size. It’s very pretty though! I also had to really study the two quilts shown at the the retreat that were made using the same pattern. They were so totally different looking, weren’t they? Your mom looks great in the photo. I can only imagine how much her poor back must hurt these days. Love to you all. đź’•

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  33. So much eye candy. Your are a very prolific quilter. Baptist Fans are perfect for your quilt. Hugs

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  34. I am so thrilled you were able to make it to your retreat! I love all of your projects and the way you make do and make it work!!
    Your Circa quilt is stunning and huge! I think Fans would be a great option for quilting.
    Happy birthday to your momma!!

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  35. Oh my gosh--I don't even know where to start! So many wonderful projects, beautiful orchids and your sweet Mom! I can completely understand not going any further with Easy Street--I think I had to take mine apart several times. But yours looks so great made with the shirts. The FG red is the perfect finish for your amazing Circa quilt--good choice. I love it--the fans will just add to the goodness!

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  36. Thank you for the beautiful flower picture at the end of the post. Really love the quilts, but the flowers were a welcome treat.

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  37. Lovely to see your post come up Janet and so good to see you have had some sewing time. It sounds like, once you were able to relax, you had a great time at retreat and that's awesome to read. I enjoyed reading about all of your projects and hope the wee momentum created by retreat, and I am wondering, your grand-niece's continued help, continues to ease your mind and soothe your soul.

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  38. Am so happy for you that you went to the retreat--you needed your friends and they needed time with you! Wow! For someone who was challenged with what to work on--you made some great progress and quilts. Flowers add a bright spot to cold winter days!

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  39. As always, your quilts are wonderful. I have a small collection of orchids too. Only one is blooming now but two others are sending up flower stalks.

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  40. I love your Circa 1880 quilt. Very inspiring. I'm so glad that you got to go to retreat and work on your UFOs. I'm not good with orchids. Yours are so gorgeous all grouped together. I may have to try one more time to get them to rebloom.

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  41. I think this mini is one of my favorites. It is so stinking cute. It's so nice to see that you're able to get some fun sewing in. The orchids are wonderful. The only thing we know how to do with orchids around here is kill them. I just don't have the right window. Tell you mom Hello.

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  42. LOVE that little quilt at the beginning. You have been busy!

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  43. I just love how you made that quilt with foundation piecing instead of applique--amazing...hhugs, Julierose

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  44. Glad you got to go and have fun. Enjoyed reading everything and looking at all your progress
    Aurora

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  45. Your smile in the picture of you and your retreat buddies is just radiant! I'm so glad you got to take a break and get away and just quilt and eat and have fun! You needed it! Your mom is really lovely! Continuing to keep her (and you) lifted in prayers. Wow, girl, you got a LOT accomplished through the month! But that first mini may be my favorite! Happy February! :)

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  46. Oh Janet this is my favorite mini of yours yet! I have finally linked everyone into the mini post. It has been a crazy weekend. Your C1880 quilt is beyond gorgeous. I love how you floated the blocks and for a minute I thought we had used the same border fabric, but I see by the close up that they are a bit different. I am amazed as always how you line up and match your fabrics so well. I think that is why I like busy prints, I don't have to worry about lining anything up! I'm so glad that you were able to go to the retreat. Sometimes we just need to recharge our batteries. Happy belated Birthday to your Mom!

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  47. You had an amazing number of projects moved along during your hastily planned retreat. I wonder if you were pleasantly surprised by this as you wrote your blog. Prayers for you and your mom.
    Connie W.

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  48. LOVE all the photos. Beautiful work in every one!

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  49. Can’t think of a better way to reenter the blogging world than checking up on your doings - you have been very, very busy Janet!! To see your C1880 quilt laying out on the guest bed - so stunning...and good to hear you were able to get a well deserved Winter Retreat packed in with everything else going on. The fun you had is very apparent as well as all that was accomplished. Thank you for sharing!

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  50. Enjoyed all your photos! Love all your orchids - waiting for my one orchid to bloom again. Your Circa 1880 quilt is amazing! I really would like to make one like that but don't have the patience to do so. Thanks for sharing! HUGS... and stitches

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  51. WOW Janet. You had quite a successful retreat! I know what you mean about getting ready. SO stressful. You still managed a come-back!
    Your Circa 1880 quilt is just amazing!!!
    No need to send me soap!!
    Keeping good thoughts for your mom!

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  52. My goodness, January was a banner month for you! So many wonderful projects to be proud of. Your mini stars quilt is just the sweetest :) The orchids on your windowsill are beautiful. Enjoy!

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  53. Beautiful. I love it.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  54. Belated Happy Birthday wishes to your mom. I hope she had a good day. So sorry to hear about her additional fractures.
    Your Circa 1880 quilt is stunning. Up close the blocks, fabrics, and colors are interesting and beautiful. From a distance, as in the photo on your bed, they look calm, peaceful, unified. And gorgeous!
    It's great you were able to go to the retreat -- and got so much done.
    I think your Easy Street is perfect with 12 blocks. I made a smaller version of the quilt, too, which is not yet quilted. It was my first (and last) mystery sew-along. I like to know in advance what I'm working toward, at least when there's a finished quilt to see. ;-)

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  55. Your Circa 1880 quilt is beyond beautiful! Looks Wonderful on the bed! Inspires me to perhaps work on mine during my next 4 days off! Belated birthday wishes to your Mom reaching 90 years old!

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