Saturday, May 16, 2020

Maggie's quilt and a blogiversary

Maggie is my youngest granddaughter. She just turned 5 and I haven't made a quilt for her since her two crib quilts. It was time. I gave my daughter the choice of a few finished tops I have on hand and she chose my version of Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay.  If you are familiar with this pattern you may recognize that I cheated and used stripes and plaids in place of the string pieced blocks. This is the quilt that made my mother exclaim, "I could never get to sleep under that quilt!" 
Here it is with the binding half finished. That's where it stands.
I am the world's slowest binder. I have already spent two very long evenings stitching on this binding. People always tell me I will get faster after doing more. Are they kidding? I bound my first quilt in 4-H about 50 years ago. Believe me, I am not getting faster!

I originally named this Sunset Over the Rockies when I first made it way back when, but since it was made entirely from men's thrift store shirts, I renamed it Sunset Over the Men's Department. That is hardly fitting for a little girl's quilt, so it may get a new name--again. I'm still pondering that.

It has been a very long time since I have finished anything larger than a wall hanging with an all-over design of FMQ. I always worry that I will not be able to keep the size of the design consistent throughout. To choose a design one of my go-to sources is this book of Patsy Thompson designs. It isn't really a book, but I made it into one. She has a slew of wonderful designs for free download on her website here.

Years ago, when I was first getting my feet wet in the free motion quilting sea, I participated in the SewCalGal (now QuiltShopGal) Free Motion Quilt challenge and Patsy Thompson was one of our monthly teachers. I felt like some things (feathers, for one) really clicked for me while following her tutorials, so I looked at what else she had to offer on her website and was excited to find her free designs. As I began downloading the pages, I knew I needed to organize them somehow. I created a cover to make sure she got the credit for everything and I had it printed on cardstock and laminated. Then I placed all of the designs between the covers and had the whole thing spiral bound. It is very convenient and helpful to flip through and find a design I want to try.
My attempts never turn out exactly the way hers do, and that's okay. She plants the seed of the idea with her design and as I try to replicate it a new version appears. On my practice piece I realized I was starting the design too small and it would take forever, use more thread, and make a stiffer quilt, so you can see that I shifted to a larger scale.

And speaking of the thread, I chose a salmony orange from Mettler. I prefer Aurifil for less lint and a finer thread, but they didn't have a color anywhere close.
The Mettler color was only available in the smaller spools. I had one and I bought the last four my quilt shop had. It is only a twin size quilt, so I hoped that would be enough. But it wasn't. I had about half of the last border left to quilt when I was totally out of thread. Knowing I would find no more in town, I decided I would just make do. I reached for a spool of orange Aurifil--so much brighter than what I had been using. I picked up the bobbin that was stored with it, but when I saw it in brighter light it wasn't the same color on the bobbin. It was the original Mettler thread I had been using and it was about half full. WooHoo!! The bobbin doesn't fit on the spool pin of my machine, so I hand wound it onto the spool I had just emptied. As I continued quilting the rest of the border I practically held my breath the whole way. I made it, but just barely.

This was quilted on Gidget, my HQ Sweet Sixteen. (Can you see the panda bear fabric I used for backing?) It is the largest thing I have quilted on it since my shoulder surgery two years ago and I could tell my left shoulder tired much more quickly than my right. I need to build up those quilting muscles. There are many larger quilt tops hiding in the closet. :)
I know I have touted the excellence of the Quilter's Select rulers before, but I have to put in another plug. Before stores closed down, I had purchased this ruler, which is for machine quilting. It is thicker than the rulers for rotary cutting, and it has finger holes. The coating on the back made this stay in place for straight line quilting better than ANY OTHER METHOD I have tried--and I have tried them all, from medical tape to sandpaper dots, and everything in between.  Believe me, this is worth it!
I used a stencil and a water erase marker to mark the design in the outer border. After it was quilted, I sprayed it with water to remove the marks. As I placed the quilt in my lap to start binding, I saw something I have never seen before. Not only had the panda fabric on the back done a little bleeding, but the thread had been bleeding, too. Have you ever had that happen?? When I finish the binding I will wash it with some color catchers and see if that helps, but this took me completely by surprise! At least it doesn't show on the front.

Wow, I really detailed you to death on this post, so if you stayed with me, here is the fun part. Today, May 16th, is the actual 9th anniversary of my blog. I have a little thank you giveaway for my loyal readers and friends.  
There is an autographed copy of Pam Buda's new book--Vintage Treasures, a little bowl filler I made from a leftover block when I made a log cabin doll quilt, a Moda design magnetic closure notepad, and one of my new favorite scented candles. They are made from palm wax, cotton wick, and essential oils. They are great and I want to share them.

Leave a comment if you are interested. If you have  commented before and never received a reply from me (I reply to everyone that has an email attached to their account), PLEASE leave your email address in your comment or I have to choose a new name.
Drawing now closed! On that note, happy blogiversary to me! :)
Until next time, 
Janet O.


81 comments:

Joyful Quilter said...

Your Orca Bay quilt is lovely. I hope the next wash with the color catches solves the bleeding thread problem. I had one bleed on me recently and front or back it is still disappointing to see.

Congrats on your blog anniversary! And thank you for the wonderful giveaway. (just in case: joyfulquilter2 at gmail dot com)

Mary said...

Happy Blog-O-Versary! You know I love everything you quilt. Great job finishing another UFO Quiltville Project. Good to see your post tonight.
you know my Email, I think {pmcrowther at yahoo dot com}

Darlene said...

Love the quilt. I am a slow binder too. I am not brave enough to quilt a larger quilt. Happy anniversary. Darlene dhoctor@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your anniversary! I thoroughly enjoy your site. I would love a chance to win your generous gifts.
Thank you
Aurora
Louaurora@yahoo.com

Lynn Dykstra said...

Happy Blog birthday to you!
Love the quilt and great save with the thread there!

Nancy said...

Congratulations on 9 years of blogging, Janet! I think it's a commitment to keep up with a blog, and yours is wonderful. I always learn something when I come for a visit.
It looks like you're half way finished with the binding. I'm a slow binder, too. It seems to take me hours and hours.
Your Sunset quilt is just delightful. The lavender and coral are two color I would not have thought to put together but they look great. And that's a neat trick to substitute plaids/stripes for all the string piecing. I'll have to remember that.
It's great you found the bobbin of thread but crazy that it bled. I would never had guessed that. I hope the bleeding comes out with color catchers.

Lee Anne said...

I thoroughly enjoy your blog and appreciate your posts. Your quilts are not only lovely but they have encouraged me to try new techniques. Thanks for sharing your talents with this want-to-be quilter! Congratulations on your blog-love reading your posts

Leeanne said...

I believe I started an Orca bay quilt years ago but it ended up in my "Headache Box" haha.....
I love that panda fabric you have for the backing. Your quilting is looking fabulous. I hope the colour bleed comes out. Happy bloggy versary! Kiwi Hugs xoxo

julieQ said...

I remember when you (and I) made this quilt top! I love this version! Your strips are so perfect!

Anonymous said...

I was gifted an IPad for Mothers Day five years ago. Until then I never knew about bloggers. I have been following you ever since. Your miniature miniatures amaze me. Love your color sense and look forward to seeing your next project. Thank you for blogging. Dotti in CT

Anonymous said...

Love to see what you have made. I especially like your little quilts.
Happy Anniversary.

Shelia
sb12041@yahoo.com

Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

I think Sunset Over Whatever is a beautiful quilt! And I approve of your shortcut.

maggie fellow said...

orca bay is beautiful in your fabrics - thanks for the tips

Material Girl said...

What a great idea to use striped fabric rather than string piecing, I need to remember that tip! I have never had my thread bleed but blue dawn dishwasher soap works great for fabric bleeds- maybe worth a try. Thanks fir sharing!

Frog Quilter said...

Congratulations Janet. Always a pleasure to read your blog posts. Your Orca Bay is fabulous. I have never had thread bleed before...

JoAnne said...

Happy blogiversary! Your granddaughter will love that quilt! I had a bleeding experience years ago - the burgandy turned all of the lights pink! Never have used the quilt but keep it because of its story.

moosecraft said...

That is great use of "make do" with your quilting thread! Wow! I'm sure your grand will enjoy her quilt! I do hope the bleeding comes out in the wash! I've never had a problem with bleeding thread, but I have had issues with Aurifil thread breaking (in use AND after a quilt has been washed and dried). I've had great success with Superior threads....both for piecing and quilting. :-) Happy Bloggyverary!

ThreadCatcher said...

Congrats on your blogging anniversary! I am a slow binder too. I finally decided to machine bind the majority of my quilt finishes. I will go check out the machine quilting ideas on Patty's blog. I need all the help I can get with that. Thanks for the chance at your giveaway.

Little Penpen said...

Happy Blog-versary! Yours is a blog that I love. I love the name Sunset Over the Men’s Department. 🤣 Thanks for offering a giveaway for your special day!

Debbie said...

How about Moon rise for Maggie???? Or some variation for a name for the quilt. Just a thought.
Love the quilting designs from Patsy Thompson....your variation is wonderful. I love the bigger size too. Good save with the thread. As for the bleed....wash with color catcher but use Dawn in the blue hue to remove the bleed. I was quilts and fabric in Dawn all the time. It has a mordant effect on the dyes, too.

Jackie said...

Oh goodness - I surely hope that color comes out when you wash it. The quilt is gorgeous! I always love your banner picture - sunrise and sunset is my favorite tines of the day.Congrats on the anniversary.

Lorraine said...

Happy Blog-anniversary. I enjoy reading your blogs especially the ones that feature your “minis”.
Whew! What a save with the orange thread,

Denise :) said...

LOL! I love the quilt's name ... but I can definitely see where you might want to rethink it for a five year old granddaughter! Either way, I think she'll sleep just fine under it -- it's very pretty! Oh, and I *adore* binding, so next time, just send it along and I'll send it back finished!

Whew...you really did just barely finish the quilting before the spool, didn't you? Charmed! Funny you say that about your shoulders. Did you have both done? I've been fishing with Todd quite a bit this year (which I haven't done a lot of because of the last two years--surgeries, first in July and then in February), and I've noticed my shoulders have been aching! But Todd did say I was casting better than he'd ever seen me cast, so surgery must've paid off! LOL! I've never tried ruler quilting, and I'm still not sure I understand the concept of it. Perhaps one day. Wow --

I've never had thread bleed like that--that's crazy! I wonder if it's a characteristic of Mettler threads? Clever girl, though, rewinding the bobbin thread onto to the spool!

Happy Blogiversary to YOU!! Just know I totally sang that! :)

cityquilter grace said...

well happy blogiversary! and has it really been 5 years since you were in NH? totally unreal...lovely giveaway but leaving my name out of this one...i like 'sunset over the rockies'....the salmon and purple...you know for purple mountain majesties? cannot believe little maggie is 5 already....great post!

Barbara Black said...

Happy blogiversary! Any gift from you is a treasure so count me in!

T Holzer said...

Happy 9th! I've been enjoying watching what you've made over these past six or eight months since I've discovered your blog...especially the minis and what we can do with our leftovers. I've yet to actually make one, but soon! Thanks for this chance.

Sharon Stroud said...

Woohoo! Happy Blogiversary! When you wash the quilt, use Synthropol to remove the bleeding and stop it from bleeding again. Usually can get at a quilt store. I had red through all layers on a white quilt. Synthropol removed all the dye and it looked like new! Good luck! Love the give-away; thank you for the opportunity!

Cindie said...

Happy Blogiversary! I'm so glad I found your blog a while back, so enjoy seeing what you create.
cindiesam at yahoo dot com

Loris said...

I love your idea for using the stripes for string blocks. It works perfectly in this lovely 'Sunset' quilt for your grand daughter. Five years of living seems like a great milestone to bless with a quilt. I hope she feels the love.
That bleeding problem has kept me from doing marking unless I have pre-washed as I have also been surprised by it. I have not seen it with thread though. I hope the color catchers help in the wash. I think it took most of my bleeds out.
Thank you for sharing the link to Patsy Thompson designs. That is quite a treasure she has on her site. I need to work on some new looks. I went back to meandering the last couple of quilts as I just needed to get them done.
The new header picture is so beautiful. There is nothing quite like Utah skies! Happy Blogaversary! Thank you for sharing treats as well as all the wonderful inspiration through out the years!

Michele said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win a prize on your anniversary. I love your Ocra Bay quilt and your substitutions. I love a busy quilt. Lots to look at!

Karen in Breezy Point said...

The first time I was aware of Bonnie's mysteries was when I started seeing photos of Orca Bay online. Of course, I had totally missed the sew along, but was ready when the next one started. You were so smart to use stripes instead of the string piecing. That's not a process I enjoy--so time consuming! I have had red thread and also dark blue thread bleed like that. I think I got most of it washed out of my last mishap, but not all. Maybe because I know it's there I can spot it--perhaps no one else notices it as it's pretty faint now. I hope you have better luck! Happy blog anniversary!

Pat said...

Your grand daughter will be thrilled to curl up and drift off to sleep under her new quilt...it is perfect! Colorful and interesting patterns capture children’s hearts every time. Have had issues with older DMC embroidery floss bleeding onto fabric, but can’t recall sewing thread doing that. Wonder if it has something to do with the orange dye process. The orange chalk General Pencils are famous for leaving a permanent mark on fabric - avoid those! Wonderful machine quilting - you have the touch. So beyond me...Happy Blog Anniversary - I always look forward to your postings. They are filled with many lovelies, tips and your writing is filled with so much personal warmth.

Deb G. in VA said...

happy blogiversary! I love seeing your quilts, especially your mini quilts! I dislike binding and I am slow at it too. I've been trying to bind by machine on some of my smaller quilts.
Here's a link to a post on fixing bleeding quilts https://www.colorwaysbyvicki.com/save-my-bleeding-quilt.html#/
Thanks for the great giveaway, Vintage Treasures has been on my wish list!

Terry said...

Congratulations on your blogiversary! Your quilt (and quilting) is beautiful. And thanks for the chance to win some great goodies too. :0) terrycookxyz@gmail.com

Quilting Babcia said...

First, Congratulations on your blogaversary! I just realized my eighth is coming right up too. I'm really happy that you and some of the blogging friends we made during the 2012 FMQ Challenge are still keeping their blogs active and sharing their work. Your granddaughter will have a wonderful growing up quilt. She'll love the back best right now I suspect but soon will come to appreciate the more sophisticated design on the front. It was that way with my grandson, but after I turned him loose with a box of hst cutoffs last fall and told him to design his own blocks he really got into it. It's so fun to be able to instill a love of our craft in at least some of the grandkids.

Heather said...

Happy Blogiversary!
I love your version of Orca Bay! That is going to ba one happy girl!

Brenda said...

Your thread story is pretty funny. Thanks for sharing with us, who would totally appreciate your stress on that last border. Also, the link to the free motion quilting patterns is a great resource. I have printed about a dozen pages to get me back in gear. Happy blog anniversary!

Robin said...

Don't put me in the drawing but I had to tell you how wonderful this quilt turned out. Your granddaughter is one lucky little lady to get such a great quilt. Isn't it great how things turn out with you finding the same thread on the bobbin? No coincidence, you were being helped.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Yes, I agree might want to rethink naming that quilt for your Granddaughter. Color catchers are life savers--I recently had an accident with something stitched in red--I thought it was a total loss--color catchers to the rescue and the piece was salvaged.

Julie said...

I love your grandaughters new quilt Janet. Gosh I think I was holding my breath as I read of your "escapade" with the orange thread from the bobbin!! Lucky it was enough. I have used the colour catchers before & found them really great when I had some felt bleed in a penny rug I hand washed. Congratulations on your blogversary & thanks for the chance to enter your wonderful Giveaway. Happy New week to you Janet xx

Sue SA said...

Thank you for the FMQ link, I really need to venture into something more exciting then stipple and have plenty of quilt tops to practise on as well! I so love it when you have a win at thread chicken! I really love that you used striped and plaid fabrics rather then string piecing - much more sensible idea! Happy blog anniversary. I am sure your binding is only slow because you are taking small perfect stitches!

Sue SA said...

Oh I meant to say that I have had the fabric fade after ironing off a Frixon pen that I used for marking quilting lines, but never had the thread bleed. I do hope it comes out in the wash for you. I am wary of markers now and prefer to use a Hera took for marking straight lines.

ChristieB said...

Congratulations and Happy Blogiversary! 9 years - fantastic! Fun to go back and see where it all began! Good luck with color catchers- I've had good results using them. Bet your granddaughter will love her quilt from you. Here's to many more years of blogging! HUGS... and stitches
(queen bee chef at hot mail dot com)

Susan Du said...

Happy blogiversary from a fellow former 4Her! Your granddaughter is going to love it!
dusnc at tds dot net

JeanInMaine said...

Happy Blogiversary Janet! I love all your mini quilts, I look forward to each new one that you post. Too bad we don't live closer, I don't mind doing the binding at all, at our quilt group that's the part I usually volunteer for.

Quilter Kathy said...

Congratulations on your blogiversary and another amazing quilt! I also used striped fabric on that one (instead of string piecing blocks). What a great quilt!
I have never heard of thread bleeding before... hope the colour catcher wash takes care of that.
Don't enter me in the draw since you'd have to take out a mortgage on your house to pay for the postage to Canada!

Rosy Ribbon said...

Beautiful quilt, and happy blog anniversary

Bonnie58 said...

Happy blogiversary!!
Love your quilt!!

Kathie weatherford said...

I liked to read a out your struggles with machine quilting. It keeps me trying. Your she is great. Kweather78@aol.com.

Tia said...

I love your quilts. Happy Anniversary!

GrammaGrits said...

Love the quilt for you granddaughter! Happy blog anniversary!

mangozz said...

What a shame on the bleeding thread and fabric! I almost always pre-wash fabric to check for bleeding but I've never had thread bleed before. I will never use that brand now. I hope that the color catchers will fix it for you. Maybe you should contact the thread company? That's a lot of work almost ruined, especially since it's a gift. I love your color choices though and I don't think I have seen an Orca Bay quilt that I didn't like. What a generous giveaway, and I would love to be entered to win. Thanks for the opportunity.

Karen said...

HappyAnniversary! I found your blog several months ago and have really been enjoying it. I love your granddaughters quilt.

Lori said...

You had to work for that quilt! So funny you had just enough thread. Weird how that bl;ed a little though.
It's a terrific quilt!
Happy Bloggiversary!

Debbie said...

I have always enjoyed all the small quilts you accomplish. And I really like the Orca Bay version. I have done the same on another of her mysteries with a batik But your granddaughter will love having something made by YOU. Happy Blogivesary! And so happy you found the bobbin to finish it off

The Joyful Quilter said...

Happy blogiversary, Janet! Thanks for the ruler recommendation. Your version of Orca Bay is gorgeous! I can't quite wrap my hear around it being made from thrifted shirts, though. I don't see any variation in the photo. Were you able to buy multiples of the same shirts?

Karen said...

I think your machine quilting is quite nice. Each person has their own individual style so if yours does not look like the sample, it is just fine the way you do it. I hae not had time to practice. I am supposed to be learning machine quilting. I know the basics and have for years but can do nothing fancy.

Randy D. said...

If you are at nine years, I'm probably right behind... THANKS for the reminder!
I love what you did with the thread. GREAT idea. And I've never had thread bleed...
that's crazy.
Love your quilting!!
Congratublogations!!

xxx

Sherry said...

I love your Orca Bay quilt! I started that one but never finished it. It's in a plastic tote in my closet. I'm thinking of getting it out and doing a smaller wall hanging size. I've got lots of time now that I'm retired. Congratulations on your blogiversary!

Bobbie said...

Happy 9th Anniversary on your blog!! Your grand daughter is going to love her new quilt that was made with so much love from grammy. Thank you for such a lovely blog with so much awe inspiring quilts of all sizes (I love the little ones).

Anonymous said...

Happy 9th anniversary.
Love reading your blog from the other side of the ocean! Keep up the good work and stay safe and healthy'.
Love Mieke
m.dinkelaar@planet.nl

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

At first I thought "you've experienced a thread miracle!" but as I read on, it seemed more like a (minor) thread tragedy. I've never had thread run, and Mettler is good thread. It's a terrific looking quilt for your grand daughter and the backing adds some fun.

Happy Quilter said...

I always enjoy reading your blogs and seeing what lovely and interesting quilting you're doing. Thanks!

Rand said...

Congratulations on you blog anniversary Janet

Barb said...

Happy Blogiversary! We are the winners there for all that you share with us.
Your quilt is just wonderful. The color combination is unexpected and great.
Your grand daughter will love it.
Your quilting design is wonderful. On a large quilt I like a larger scale to keep it soft too.
thread bleeding? unusual . hope it all comes out.
Wish I lived closer for many reason, but I would trade binding sewing for some FMQ! I like to do bindings.
I have heard about a spray you can put on the back on your rulers and I would love to try it.
What a sweet giveaway.

SallyC said...

Happy Blogiversary! Love your quilt and really like the name. Great job on the quilting, that is something I just can't get comfortable doing.

Linda Enneking said...

Congratulations on nine years of blogging. I'm sure it is quite a commitment to keep it up so long. I always enjoy reading your posts, and have learned a lot from them. I have considered getting a sit-down quilting machine, but I don't think I could do very good free motion work. So it's stitch in the ditch and straight line quilting for me, or I send them out.

Julierose said...

Beautiful quilting--neat in that great orange/peach-ey color. Thanks for the chance to win;
~ ~ ~ waving from afar Julierose ~ ~ ~

Marie Chat said...

Yes Happy Blogiversary to you ~ 9 years is a long time it seems to me. Your quilt is so happy so I hope when you washed it the bleeding went away! I think your hint about how you saved those quilting designs was brilliant. Great tip! Thanks for the chance to win. Love Pam's designs and fabric. I prefer this account: mceddins@earthlink.net

dortha said...

Happy blogivetsary. Enjoy reading your blog. Looks like a good book.

Kyle said...

Happy Anniversary. I'm glad you continue to share you quilts and experiences. Your quilt for your granddaughter is perfect. Clever to use a striped mens shirt. Bummer about the bleeding. Hopefully, those magical color catches will do the job.

AnnieO said...

Maggie will be thrilled no matter how long the binding takes you! String piecing isn’t my thing either—love your colors and quilting. Mettler thread clogs and shreds in my Viking machine so I rarely use it. Happy Blogaversary! So happy you’re still blogging.

Unknown said...





































Great job finishing up your Orca Bay! Mine is still in bits and pieces, but it is all together in a project box:)
I enjoy following along on your quilting adventures, and am always happy to see "Rogue Quilter" pop up in my inbox. Thanks for the lovely give-away and congratulations on 9 years! rjt7@yahoo.com









Carline said...

I was so glad to see that you improvised on the string blocks. That is a great idea and the quilt is beautiful.
Thanks for the opportunity to win these goodies. i really like the mini-log cabin. Thanks also for sharing, I like the details by the way.

Barb said...

Love the quilt and hearing about your goings on. Happy anniversary on your blog.
samplerbee@yahoo.com

QuiltGranma said...

How about Sunset over (whatever granddaughters name is)?

carol said...

Your granddaughter will be lucky to have this beautiful quilt. I have two granddaughters but I don't know if I am skilled enough to gift them with a quilt. I am slow binding too.

Anonymous said...

I have had colors bleed into the backing but not the front, most notably a vintage Hummingbird quilt top that I hand quilted. At first I was a bit dismayed but decided I could live with it on the back. Congratulations on your blogversary! I love staying in touch with you and seeing what you are doing! You do inspire me to keep chipping away a little bit every day, even when I can only stand to sit at my machine for a few minutes at a time. Barb Stommel

Ruth said...

Such an interesting post! Congratulations on your blog anniversary! I have been following you for a very long time and have won several things from you, so don't put me in the drawing (if it is even still open). I have a tiny quilt you made covering an antique doll in a little doll buggy and 2 little quilts hanging in my sewing room made from pieces you sent and a pattern I just won recently! You are so generous! Once when I mentioned that i had run out of pins while basting, you sent me a bag with lots of safety pins (I thought of you while I was basting my son's quilt on Monday). My first and only DVD that I bought about FMQ is by Patsy Thompson. What a great idea to make a book of her designs. I have been saving some quilting designs from a quilting magazine, but I'm not as organized, so I think I know where I put most of them (at least I hope so). The Orka quilt is gorgeous!

Raewyn said...

Belated congratulations on your 9th blogaversary Janet. That's lots of interesting and enjoyable posts. Interesting to read about the quilting experiences for your GD - I do hope the bleeding thread sorted itself out with a wash but if not, I bet your GD will think it's a fun feature - if she notices it!

Chookyblue...... said...

Definetly time for a new quilt.....
Wow congrats on 9 years..... Blogging has been such a wonderful platform. Unique to itself..... The best way to connect. I'm trying to get back into mine..... I've missed it