Saturday, December 30, 2023

I Love Purple!

I really DO love purple, but that is also the name of a recent line from Judie Rothermel. Just this week this arrived in the mail from a recent acquaintance, and it was like Christmas all over again! Thank you so much to my benefactor!

I promptly went to the Marcus Fabrics website and downloaded the free pattern for a quilt using this line.
Even though I am still in a "no new starts" phase, I am allowing myself one or two small projects this year, because I have been such a good girl for the past 14 months. I think I will make a large baby quilt or small lap quilt from the blocks in this design. You can find the pattern here.

But before I launch on something new, I am making myself get in a couple of finishes. Maybe the quilt shown below will be one of them. You can read more about this one here.

This is a younger sibling to another Mini Burgoyne Surrounded shown below, that I did earlier in a controlled scrappy version. You can read more about that one here.

I have been working on these little red and white blocks recently while Zooming with the Chookshed Stitchers. I have one block left to assemble, and then I can put that last row together and put the border around the whole thing before figuring out how I will quilt it.

Always fun to catch up with these gals from around the world. Lots of laughs, solving world problems, and learning from each other, while we sometimes get some stitching in. And I am thrilled that my new iPad lets me see 16 gals at one time, rather than the 9 that were visible on my iPad mini.

I finally got my Nativities post from last year updated with this year's purchases and gifts. I have made it a "Page" under my header photo. It is the very last one listed, and is (very creatively--NOT) named "Nativities." :) You can just click the link here.

It may be a bit shocking to see a post from me already, since I just posted a week ago after a more than 2 month drought. But I am really going to try to do better! This was my last chance this year, and I made the most of it.

Wishing you all peace and happiness in the new year, and the hope that you will choose kindness!

Until next time,

Janet O.

This was the sunset behind my house when I headed out for my walk this evening. It wasn't expansive, and the color didn't last long, but it was pretty while it was there.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Merry Christmas, friends!

It has been over two months since I posted and I don't blame anyone who has given up on me. I almost did.

About the only thing quilt related that I have done lately is pick up quilts from my long arm quilter. I am always so pleased with what she does, that if I was independently wealthy, I might have her quilt everything I piece. But at least two of the quilts are Christmas themed.

First up is an oldie, but goodie from 2012. This is Flurry. Click that link for the pattern from Moda. I made mine a bit smaller for a wall hanging size.

I had my quilter do an all over design in the center, ditch stitch in the narrow red border, and a swirl pattern along the outer border. I won the fabrics to make this from LuAnn's Loose Threads blog and actually got the top put together in reasonably good time. Just never got it quilted, until now.

Another Christmas quilt that finally got quilted (but not bound) before Christmas is what I called Rocky Mountain Stars. It is a Stretched Star pattern, using Bonnie Hunter's free pattern called Smokey Mountain Stars. I pieced this in 2011.

I added an extra row to the width and length. Like Bonnie's, mine was made from men's thrift store shirts. I asked my quilter to do a meander with a random holly and berry design thrown into the mix. I think she did an excellent job. She also did berries in the cranberry colored border, and a holly and berry design in the outer border, as you can see below.


The next one is not a Christmas quilt, but the colors, for the most part, would work for the holiday. This is made up from blocks that were sent to me by former blogger Karen Beigh. These blocks were from two different projects, but I thought they combined well to make a lovely quilt. I put this top together in 2016.

I told my quilter that I definitely wanted feathers in this quilt, and she did not disappoint.
I have no idea what to name this one.

Further Christmas stitching occurred at my November guild meeting. We were making "quilt as you go" placemats for the local "Meals on Wheels", and I chose to make mine Christmasy. 

We are a very small guild, and we focus on making doll quilts and mini quilts. We are appropriately named "Sew Small Guild". That is supposed to reference what we sew, not the size of our group. But we are down to 8 members, with two more saying they are joining up in January. Between the 8 of us, we turned in 36 placemats.

I love those fabrics in the top placemat. All but one are from an early Judie Rothermel Christmas line--Christmas colors, but not Christmas prints. That is my preference. I had some of this line many years ago, but used up the last scrap of it in a Pam Buda SAL last Christmas. One of our guild members brought strips from this line to our placemat making session, and it was a pleasure to sew with them.

I used the scraps to make this mini quilt for a friend for Christmas. It started out to be a mug rug, but ended up a little big for that role, but kind of small for a quilt. I can't believe I just said that!
She has it now, so I thought it was okay to share it.

For my birthday last month hubby took me to a first annual Nativity Market in Salt Lake City. Hundreds of nativities available for sale. I am drawn to the international nativities, and that is where hubby snapped this photo. Above my head you can see the sign for the area where I spent my money--"Nativities From Around the World". I came home with three new ones--one from Peru, one from Kenya, and one from Columbia. And then my neighbor to the west of our farm gave me one she brought back from Argentina, where she and her husband have been providing leadership for a mission there for the past three years. When I get a chance I will update my nativity page and let you know, so you can see the new additions, if you are interested.

Then early this month I went to a nativity display at a local church. The posters said there would be a thousand nativities on display, from around the world. Sounded wonderful to me. This is the sight that met my eyes when I walked into the church's "Cultural Hall".
Over 1000 nativities everywhere you looked, in every imaginable style and theme, from countries all over the world. And here's the kicker--they all belong to one woman!!! And to top that, this is only half of her collection. I can't fathom that, but it is a good warning not to get too caught up in your collecting of anything. My sister referred to this as a "holy hoard". But there were some very beautiful, reverent nativities, and I spent well over an hour browsing through them and occasionally speaking with the owner as she wandered among the visitors answering questions.

Oh, I need to post more often. I have cut out many things I had intended to share because this is so long, but I really want to show you this. Another splurge on my birthday was a new case for my violin.
It is carbon fiber and the color is called lavender, though it is much lighter in color than any lavender I have grown. I prefer to call it lilac. I have had the same light brown case for this violin since my parents replaced my starter violin when I was 15. That old case was over 50 years old! Christmas Eve morning (does that make sense?) I am playing a violin duet in church with a young gal that is almost 50 years my junior. In preparation had my violin refurbished last month (it has been 17 years since I last played in church), and figured it was time for a case upgrade. I love this case. It makes me smile every time I look at it.

I am sorry that it has taken me so horribly long to get a post written. Some of you may recall that I offered a Kathleen Tracy book in my last post (months ago). Denice is the winner of the book, and she has been notified via email.

If you are celebrating Christmas, I hope you have a joyous and peaceful holiday commemorating the birth of our Savior.
Until next time,
Be creative, and be kind.
Janet O.

From a recent evening walk. This is not the sunset in the west, it is a reflection of the sunset over on the eastern side of the valley, and it happened to be brighter and more colorful than the sunset itself. Click the photo to enlarge and get the full effect.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Little quilts, and big and little boats

There have been attempts made several times over the past few weeks to get a post written, but I never got farther than opening the "new post" window.

However, I do actually have a couple of small tops to share. From a pattern Pam Buda gave to our Circa 1880 Club when she visited us last July (based on a little quilt made and gifted to her by her friend Karen S., of Elgin, IL), I made these two little cuties. They measure 9 1/2" x 13 1/2".

It is a sweet way to use up leftover blocks and pieces from our Circa 1880 quilts. I planned to make one with a black fabric for the sashing and borders, but it just didn't happen. As I dug through fabrics to see what I wanted to use, these two seemed to be playing nicely, so I picked them. I am very happy with them--but I still might make a black one someday.

For those who were interested in the items I shared in my last post (back in August), I did draw names, notify those chosen, and get them sent off--I just never wrote a post to share that info. But Grace, Denise, Terry, and Cathy K. have all received their little packages.

But there is another chance to throw your hat in the ring. A friend was cleaning things out of her sewing room. She had 2 extra copies of this book. I took one copy for me, and this one is to share with someone who would like it. Mention in your comment if you are interested in the book, and I will do another drawing in a week or two.

I spent almost half of the month of September in travel. We got on a big boat (the Zuiderdam) and cruised with friends again from Quebec to Boston, with several stops along the way. We enjoyed walking around Old Town Quebec.

Saw some glorious sunsets over the water.

Visited PEI, Cape Breton, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Saw lots of these...

...and visited the Lucy Maud Montgomery memorial park, and the Anne of Green Gables house, PEI National Park, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, and the cemetery where the majority of the bodies recovered from the Titanic were buried. If you haven't yet sensed a theme, I love historical things, and I am sparing you from most of the photos of the many other historical places and monuments we visited.

Did some of this (in a little boat--kayak, actually) off the coast of Maine (yes, it was foggy--but fun)...

...had a delightful visit with these good people while there...

(for those who may not know her by sight, that is Wendy the Constant Quilter in the cool shades, with her hubby, Gordon, behind her). Always a treat to be able to spend time with them. Thanks for taking the trouble to meet up with us!

In Boston, before flying home, we only had a chance to visit a handful of the sites on The Freedom Trail, but the one that touched me the most was the newest addition to the trail, The New England Holocaust Memorial

This had me feeling so much emotion. It is pretty amazing. You can take a virtual tour at the link below. I know it isn't the same as being there, but it gives you an idea of the well-thought-out layout and design.

Then a couple of weeks after we got home, Hubby and I headed up to Idaho for a few days. We did many things, but our main objective was an afternoon kayaking trip to a little cove off the Snake River created by a spring. It can only be accessed by water, and hubby has been kind of obsessed for the past couple of years, with getting up there and seeing the spring. It took less than an hour to paddle to the spring from the rental place. The water was glassy for much of the way.

In the photo above, where the light-colored, downward pointing triangle-ish shape is seen on the darker rock wall ahead, it pretty much points down to where the little cove is off to the right of the river, as the river bends away to the left.

Inside the cove the water is clear, and the color of turquoise. Such a peaceful, magical-feeling place. We had it all to ourselves for about 15 minutes. Then we headed back upstream to turn in our kayak and drive to the little creamery in the nearby town. After a couple of hours of kayaking, I think you earn an ice cream!

The next day, before heading home, we visited a "relocation camp" where 13,000 Japanese Americans were wrongfully held during WWII. This is all that remains of the structures, but there were large signs with photos and information placed around the grounds to help you understand what went on for these American citizens who were denied their rights.

It was a sobering experience. Hard to believe this happened in our country.

That concludes my travelogue post. 
I can't believe I let so many weeks go by without a post. Shame on me. In my defense, we have had family staying with us since August 1st, and they are my priority right now. But I do hope to be back again before October is over. Maybe I will finally take down all the patriotic mini quilts and get up the fall and Halloween colored ones. And maybe not. ;)

Until next time, be creative and be kind.

Janet O.

Just a little taste of fall from my neck of the woods. It was a bit past peak color when I got this photo, but still pretty.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A Jumble of Things

The donation quilt was completed, mailed and received on schedule. It was fun to break my "No New Starts" rule and make something for a good cause. Thanks, Nancy, for sharing this opportunity with us.

I did the "piped" binding for the second time, and liked it just as much as I did the first time. Most of my quilts will still get the hand stitched finish on the binding, but when doing a quilt in a hurry, or just one that will likely get dragged around and washed a bunch, the "piped", or "flanged" binding is sure slick.

Below is the finished top of one of the projects from the Pam Buda class I attended last month. I made fewer blocks, and added the purple on the corners where they met up to form squares on point. I am toying with calling it Geode Crystals, or Amethyst Crystals. Pam calls it Haunted Maze.

I wasn't really careful on the matching of points as I stitched this together, but it has so much movement to it, I don't think it is as noticeable as it usually would be. I have to say, I LOVE that border print. It is from the previous Cheddar and Coal line (Pam just came out with Cheddar and Coal II), and I think it may be one of my favorites of Pam's fabrics. I thought I had more of it in my stash, but this FQ appears to have been it. I have about half of it left. And there doesn't appear to be more than one FQ of it online, that I can find. Pam has several lines in the works, so hopefully my attention will be caught by a print in one of those lines, and I can stop obsessing over this one.

I'd share the other blocks I worked on at the retreat, but I can't find them. Seriously. When I first got home I was just in recovery mode. Once I was back into the routine of life, I decided I should make some progress on those projects from retreat. This was the only one I could find. I had only made one block each on the other two projects, but I did have one of them entirely cut out, and I'd really like to find it. I decided they were lost because my sewing room was a disaster, and was sure that when I took time to clean it, I would find the missing blocks.

So I have really been trying to get more organized in my sewing room. Last week I went through cupboards, drawers, closets, and boxes. I boxed up scraps from several baskets and shipped them to a friend. I sent other boxes of fabric to a worthy group. I then made a list of every finished top that still needed to be quilted, and every UFO I discovered (this is something I have been itching to do for some time, but at the same time, kind of afraid of what I would discover). I dug up 28 UFOs, and only 7 of them are mini quilts. Then there are the finished tops--25 of those. Since that discovery I have three of them prepped with batting and backing to go to my longarm quilter as soon as she is back from vacation. Only 6 of the 25 tops are doll quilt or mini size. Three of them are baby quilt, wall hanging or lap quilt size. I didn't realize I had that many bed quilt flimsies waiting to be quilted.

And I still haven't found those missing blocks. But I found some other things I would like to pass on to someone who might actually use them.

1. A half yard of the turtle fabric, with one turtle fussy-cut out of it.

Also 4 FQs of coordinating fabrics, and the leftovers of the brown FQ that I used part of in the donation quilt at the top of this post. All of these fabrics were from Hobby Lobby.

2. Leftover yardage from Lisa Bongean's Snowman Gatherings and Snowman Gatherings II lines. Also 2 full mini charm packs and one partial.

I made three small quilts and a wall hanging from these fabrics, and it is time the leftovers find a new home.

3. These are scraps that I think I may have picked up from a scrap bin at a shop where you stuff a bag for a set price. I thought I could make a cute mini out of them, but apparently I burned out on making snowmen quilts on the fabric above.

4. What we have here are the 2 Midnight Flight blocks I made in a class with Bonnie Hunter back in 2017, along with whatever pieces I had cut for more blocks (I'm not even sure exactly what I have cut out), and the leftovers from her Easy Street mystery. I had cut out enough for more blocks than I actually made. These are all cut from thrift store shirts.  I know I will never make more of these blocks. I really had a hard time keeping the pieces in the right places, and used the seam ripper SO MUCH just to make these two blocks. Someone braver (and smarter) than I can tackle it.

If you are interested in any of these, mentioned it in your comment--and include your email, if you have never had a response from me before. If I don't have your email, you won't be eligible. I will draw a name if more than one person is interested in any of them. 

I won a prize on a blog this month. Deonn, over at Quiltscapes, held a drawing for this book, and now it is mine! You can check out Deonn's blog here, to see more of the technique from the book.

That is all the quilty content for today. You all know I love sunsets, and we have had some amazing ones this month. Sometimes as I walk in the evening I feel as if the clouds are  coming to smother me. I thought I'd share a few from the past couple of weeks. You can click to enlarge these for more of the effect.

One last thing I want to share. When I am on these evening walks, often row upon row of birds will pass overhead. Early in the month it was the very noisy Canada Geese honking loudly as they flew over. But more recently the birds are very quiet, and I don't always know they are there unless I happen to look up--unless they are a larger bird, and then I can hear the whispering sound of their wings as they flap their way past me.
In the attached video, watch for the line of birds coming from the horizon. Make sure your sound is turned way up and your surroundings are quiet. It helps to expand the image to full screen, too. As they get directly above me, you should be able to hear their wings for just a moment. This never fails to thrill me. And the crunching sound you hear is my feet on the gravel road as I turn to capture the birds flying over. I hope this works. I haven't attached a video in a long time.

Hubby and I are off on another adventure soon, so it may be a couple of weeks before I will post the results of any drawings we may need to have.

Until then, 
be creative, and be kind.
Janet O.

Drawing is now closed.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Partying with Pam Buda (and Fran and Pati)--photo heavy

Back in 2019 the Pam Buda Circa 1880 Club (sponsored by Marcus Fabrics) that met at Village Dry Goods submitted a video of our club to Marcus for a contest they were sponsoring. We happened to win. The prize? A visit from Pam Buda herself. It was scheduled for April 2020. Of course, it was canceled due to COVID. Fast forward to July 2023, when it was finally able to be rescheduled (thanks to the persistent people at Marcus). And that is where I spent two days a couple of weeks ago.

We started on Friday morning with a special party just for our Circa 1880 Club members. The three ladies pictured below made it delightful.

Left to right: Fran (owner of Village Dry Goods), Pam (fabric and pattern designer extraordinaire, and owner of Heartspun Quilts), and Pati (Director of Marketing for Marcus Fabrics).

Though the photo below is a bit blurry, I love it, because it looks like they are all trying to "make a point". I do not recall what they were trying to say. Maybe they were singing. There was a little bit of that happening at one time. (I promise, we were only drinking water with the refreshments of fruit-kabobs and banana cake.)

Below you can see where we enjoyed a little game to help us get to know Pam--and win prizes. Pati asked the question, we guessed the answers, Fran held the bag of our ticket stubs, and Pam drew the winner, then Pati distributed the prize.

After learning much about fabric production trends from Pati, and about Pam's many upcoming fabric lines from both of them, we then had an opportunity to share our Circa 1880 quilts. First we saw Pam's--the one that inspired this whole Club. This was based on a vintage quilt Pam had seen in an older publication.

Then club members had an opportunity to share their quilts. There were so many great versions. I have only chosen photos of 2 that are each set a different way from the original pattern as shown above in Pam's quilt.

Following the fun of this gathering, I had lunch with a couple of friends, and then we visited the Brigham City Museum of Art and History, which currently is hosting the "Light the World" quilt exhibit, featuring art quilts from around the world. We returned to Village Dry Goods to do a little shopping, and I was startled by a familiar voice behind me, calling my name. There was Lynn Hopkins!

Lynn is the designer of the Tiny Blocks that I had been teaching each month in my guild this past year, in Lynn's absence. He is currently serving a mission with his wife for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he was back in town briefly for a family event. He'd hoped to be able to make the party with Pam, but schedules didn't work out. Above, left we are holding his Circa 1880 quilt, and above, right he and my friend Ruth were looking at something he had made from his Tiny Blocks. You just can't talk to Lynn without ending up laughing, as this photo attests. He has very big plans for the future of his Tiny Blocks. They may get even tinier!!! So maybe I should say he has small plans?

That evening in my hotel room I was  Zooming with Chooky and the Chookshed Stitchers while having my dinner, and stitching some tumblers. Below left, you can see my machine set up on the hotel desk, and to the right you can see some of the global participants that evening. It was the perfect way to close out a quilty day, and it is always a lot of fun.

This is all I got sewn together that evening before calling it quits--just three rows from the box of large tumblers I have had cut for years. This is a start--and I am trying to be totally random. We'll see how long that lasts. These are laying on the Kingsize bed in my hotel room.                                                                                                                                                                                              Next morning we were at the Brigham Academy Center for a full day class with Pam. I love this venue--all kinds of natural light. This class was open to all, not just those in the Circa 1880 Club. They capped registration at 50. Below you can see my table-mates in the foreground.

We made one block from each of the three small quilts featured in her new  pattern, Haunted Halloween. I'll show my progress on those in a later post. 

We had a break for lunch, after which Pam did a trunk show with many of her beautiful quilts. Here are just a few of them.

This was just what I needed after a couple of crazy busy and stressful months of summer. These ladies in the photo below made it so very fun and refreshing. My thanks to Village Dry Goods, Marcus fabrics, and these three gals, for all of the work and time it took to make this great for those of us attending.

Pam has been a special friend for many years, and it was very sweet to spend time with her again. I hope there will be a "next time". Thank you, Pam!

Before I close this I need to announce the winners of the drawing from my last post, celebrating my 12th anniversary of blogging. Sadly, 18 of the comments were from people who did not have an email attached to their comment and did not include their email address in the comment, so they could not be included. 
I had the random number generator choose the winners.
*First place went to Denise @ Count It All Joy blog--she will get her choice of the kits.
*Second place goes to Nancy @ Joy for Grace blog--she will get whichever kit Denise doesn't choose.
Apparently you had to have a blog with the word joy in the title to win this time around.
I have notified the winners via email and will get their prizes sent out to them this week.

I have several things I want to blog about that will need to wait for a time when I haven't already written a chapter book for a post.
Until then, be creative and be kind.
Janet O.

p.s. If you love Kim Diehl, another blogger is having an anniversary giveaway that you might want to check out. Click here.

A sunset from an evening walk during the last week of July.