Sunday, January 29, 2023

Just a Few Little Things

So much for being a better blogger in the new year! Oh, well--I still have hopes to improve.                       
I have just been sewing tiny things this month. Every block in this post finishes at 2"! This is the one that looks the most complete, though it is just a flimsy. I'm thinking I'll call it Sea Glass and Sand.

Sometime early last year I agreed to teach a class for a local guild, and we set it for February of this year. That gave me lots of time to get the pattern and samples ready. You know how that goes--in your mind you think you have plenty of time, so you push it off until you realize there isn't that much time left. And what time is left is called "Crunch Time"!

Here it is again with the inspiration piece I did a few years ago with some blog friends. It was our Indigo Challenge, issued by Sandy at My Material Creations blog. I had already written up patterns for the blocks in this piece, and used them to create the new piece that is a little smaller.
I am rewriting the patterns to be a little more user friendly for people who may not be used to making 2" blocks. When I wrote up the original patterns they were directed to a group already sewing 2" blocks by the boatload.

In my own guild I am still teaching the Tiny Blocks designed by Lynn Hopkins (patterns and specialty rulers available through Fran at Village Dry Goods). We tackle two blocks each month. These were the story boards for the construction process this month.

The one on the left shows a few different cutting technique options for a rather easy block. The one on the right shows a step-by-step way to make those tiny flying geese (finishing at 1/2" x 1") used in making the star, very accurate.

The other little thing is that I finally got the last four ornaments finished that I was making from my Dad's plaid shirts. The year after he passed I made five of these for my Mom and two of these for each of my siblings as their birthdays rolled around. And then that Christmas I made two for each of my daughters. But I never made them for my sons--until 5 years later!                                      With the border, these ornaments finish at 2 1/2" inches--the pineapple itself is 2". Now that I am finished with Dad's, I need to start making them for the family out of the scraps from Mom's quilts. She didn't really wear cotton clothing that would work well, so I decided her quilt scraps would be the best option.

I also spent a little time with Chooky and the Chookshed Stitchers on Friday. Even though I wasn't there long, any time spent with them is always a delight.

Now I have a confession to make--don't laugh. I bought ANOTHER nativity. I just should not go in that bookstore after Christmas. I went in to buy something my daughter asked me to send her, and the nativities were 75% off. I was just going to look and not buy, but when I saw one of the ones that I had admired before Christmas was still there--and it was the LAST one (the display model)--I had to check out the price. How can you argue with $17 dollars (it was originally almost $75)??

The lighting in this photo doesn't do it justice. It is made of Springstone, and comes from Zimbabwe. I don't know anyone who has been to Zimbabwe, but I'm sure I can find somebody. :)

I was trying to get this post finished before midnight Saturday, but it is a few minutes after now, and I need to be up early for choir practice. I'd better close, and wish you a good Sabbath.
Until next time,
Be creative and be kind!
Janet O.

Had to include a sunset from Tuesday evening, when I drove a mile down the road to visit a friend. It looked like the sun was trying to burn through the clouds that shrouded the mountaintops.

Monday, January 2, 2023

The Last Monthly Mini--and a hodge-podge

This mini post is different in a few ways. It isn't your typical mini, it is the last one for 2022 (landing in 2023), and it is the last official monthly mini with our fearless leader, Wendy (Constant Quilter blog). Thank you Wendy for the five fun-filled years of monthly merry-making with minis (oh, I love that I got two alliterations in one sentence). :) Check out Wendy's blog for the last round of links to the monthly mini makers.

This is what will have to count as my December mini. The four blocks that make up the Bear's Paw on the pocket each finish at 2".

Based on a pattern from The Inspired Wren, I adapted it in a couple of ways. It is a nice tote, on the smaller size. Following the pattern makes a 9.5" x 12" tote that is 2" deep. I had to make mine a tad smaller to accommodate the fabrics I had that would match the pocket I had already made. That was my other adaptation--pockets.

This pattern did not include pockets. I added one outer (the Bear's Paw block), and one inner. Before sewing side seams, I attached the outside pocket on one end, and the inner pocket on the other, as shown below.

Other than those two items, I followed the pattern as written. It is well written and easy to follow.It does call for fusible interfacing, and it was a miracle that there happened to be enough of it on hand, since I haven't used the stuff for about a decade!

The inside is finished off nicely with French seams, so there are no raw edges exposed. I like that.

This was my contribution to my guild's Christmas gift swap. We were each to make a bag of some sort and we could choose to fill it with goodies or not. I threw in some of my soap, a bag of treats, and a mini Dresden Plate pattern and template. 
I hope the new owner likes it.

My guild gobbled up what little sewing time I could scrape together in December. Along with making the bag for the guild swap, the Bear's Paw blocks on the pocket were part of the assignment I have in guild this year to teach those who want to continue making Lynn's "Tiny Club" blocks, even though he is currently serving as a missionary elsewhere. 

I try to cover two blocks each month--an easier one and one more complex block. Lynn used to make very detailed individual "storyboards" for each step in the process of making a block. I can't go into that much detail, but I have been doing something like these for each block.

On the complex blocks I do a more detailed step-by-step progression from cutting the pieces, to the finished block, like you see on the left. On the right is a simpler block, where I just show a couple of method options, and then the final step to the finished block. Each board reads left to right, top to bottom.

The week before Christmas we made a very spur-of-the-moment decision to attend a Mannheim Steamroller concert. This music became popular when we were young marrieds (a lifetime ago), and as our children grew I think all four of them played at least one Mannheim Steamroller Christmas song for a piano recital.

It was a fun experience, even though I look like a deer in the headlights in the photo.                                                                                                                          
And I have a small confession to make after my last post about my collection of International Nativities. The store where I have purchased about a dozen of those nativities has a clearance on many of them after the holiday. Though I can't recall now why I had a need to drop in the day after Christmas (smirk), I walked out with two more little Nativities--and I already had one from each of the countries. I think I need an intervention.

We woke up to this on New Year's Day. The snow continued to fall all day. It wasn't heavy snowfall, but it was heavy snow, if that makes sense. 
Utah is known for its dry powder snow, great for skiing. But this was very wet, heavy snow, and though it is good for the snowpack in the mountains to fill our reservoirs in the spring, it is miserable stuff if you have to shovel it. We probably had about 10-12 inches by nightfall. Some parts of the valley had a little less, and some had a little more. The fact that our state has been in severe drought conditions for some time now means this is a welcome sight, no matter how miserable it is for driving, or how backbreaking it is to shovel.

I look forward to a new year of being more intentional, more thoughtful, more compassionate, and more creative. Wishing you all a. bright new year!
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Whoops, forgot to ask--if any of you follow via bloglovin' and you are reading this, can you tell me if bloglovin has been giving you trouble? My last post never showed up there in my feed--just a picture of a soccer player with a quotation, but it said it was a post from rogue quilter. I did a Google search and saw a lot of complaints. Should I offer Feedly instead?