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?


  1. very nice mini cum tote...yeah i know all about 'heavy' snow...snow is pretty but after a day not so much...great to see you on zoom...a blessed new year!

  2. Happy New Year Janet! What a great post. I love your bag and I am impressed with anyone who can make 3 dimensional things. I have always wanted to make a bear paw quilt.
    Rich and I went to a Manheim Steamroller concert last year and loved it. It is such an amazing sights and sounds concert and really put us in the Christmas Spirit.
    My MIL collected Nativity sets and would often get them when she traveled. I think you new ones are lovely. It is good to remember that the Miracle is celebrated around the world.
    Yes, bloglovin is no more. That is why I have added a long list of blogs I read to my home page blog page so I can visit them more easily. I miss the platform very much.

  3. Oh I love it when a project can be beautiful AND functional! Your final mini is just perfect in every way. I'm sure the lucky recipient was thrilled to get it! Good for you for taking over the beloved "Tiny Club" teaching. What a lot of work! I look forward to seeing your future tiny blocks. Just amazing! I'm so happy to see those little Nativities came home with you. They couldn't be in a better place. I've never done bloglovin. I just add all my favorites to my sidebar and they come up in chronological order whenever a new post is up. My only resolution this year is to be better about blog reading and commenting. I need to set a time limit and perhaps schedule a certain time a day for it. Happy New Year!!

  4. Happy New Year, Janet :-) Praise God for the moisture! We're getting rain in our dry state. It's a good start to this year!

  5. P.S. I'm still just using Google's Blogger

  6. I Love the 2 additions to your nativity collection!! Your bag turned out so nice -- love the bear paw block! The snow is beautiful -- Here in Idaho, we had 2 storms that both left a lot of snow... now we are in the melting phase. I love Manheim Steamroller -- listen to it every Christmas! Happy New Year!!

  7. Your two new Nativities are charming and are so different from the others you already owned.
    Love your new bag! I wanted to mention that one of the most handy gifts I recieved at my 1st baby shower (43 years ago!) was a bag of similar size to grab when you don't need the whole diaper bag. One diaper, wipes, a toy and a bottle and you're good for running a quick errand with baby.
    Oh, and I love Mannheim Steamroller and aways l listan to their Christmas CDs.


  8. My husband and I also attended the Manheim Steamroller concert at the Eccles for our anniversary. It was fabulous, and I didn't want it to end. I subscribe through, so I never miss your posts. Happy new nativities, they're darling. And Happy New Year!

  9. Your bag is beautiful and the colors so cheerful. Someone was very lucky to receive it at your guild meeting and a perfect way to end the year. Love your new additions to your nativity collection. I've always enjoyed Mannheim Steamroller's music. Glad you got to experience it live. We've had quite a bit of snow on this side of the divide as well. Every bit is definitely appreciated and needed.

  10. Oh, your bag turned out great. What a great idea to exchange homemade bags for Christmas. I think I'll suggest that to my little group early so we can work on making one and filling it all year long if we want to. I've been enjoying your soap. I put the large bar in the shower and took a refreshing one this morning. Thanks again. We got about 10" too which is almost unheard of on the west side of the valley. What a gorgeous day it was yesterday

  11. Another wonderful post Janet. My first thought when I saw the tote bag was that that was not your usual colour ways. It looks much brighter in the first photo than in your progress pics. Just beautiful & Bears Paw was one of the first quilt blocks I ever learnt about when I began Bear Making. Lovely snow pics - I always think its beautiful but then I don't have to try & shovel it to get my car out I guess! Happy creative, stitchy, healthy New Year to you too Janet. xx

  12. Your bag with the “bear paw” pocket is lovely and definitely counts as a mini!! Here in New England we are very familiar with wet, heavy snow but you’re right about it being good to alleviate the drought. I’ve bookmarked a list of blogs and gradually go through the list - several each day - over the course of a couple weeks, starting over when I reach the end. I may not see a post the day it comes out, but I catch up and it works for me!

  13. I am always in complete awe of your minis! And I love that bear paw...I've always wanted to make a bear's paw quilt. Manheim Steamroller is the only Christmas music I listen to! And I use Feedly for all the blogs I follow. It's worked great for me for years! :0)

  14. Haha, An intervention?! You are too funny! I love your newest nativity sets! Your bear paw is so cute and I'm sure whoever received it loves it. It is so neat and tidy using the french seams.
    I am now using Feedly and it is convenient for reading blogs, but I'm not posting through them.

  15. Love your bear paw bag, a perfect finale for the monthly mini challenge. Your nativity collection grows, what could be better?! I've never used Feedly, but gave up on Bloglovin years ago. Still get post updates on my Blogger dashboard, it has served well these past 11 years. We have an older album by Mannheim Steamroller but have never had the opportunity to attend a concert.

  16. Wishing you a Happy New Year. The bag turned out rather well. Love the new nativities. The snow is pretty, despite being hard work for you. I haven’t used Bloglovin’, rather I just add blogs to my Feedly reading list, which works great.

  17. I love your bag and your new nativities! So wonderful that you are teaching mini quilt making and I wish I could take your class! I am reading your post on

  18. Cute bag, good to be involved in your Guild. No concerts for us, we did buy a new CD or 2 to listen on the way to the Temple. It's snowing again here this morning. Yesterday's snow melted by mid day. I called a SNOW day? Sew Day anyway...
    Playing with my Machine Embroidery still. I might need a Kimberbell intervention. Never too many Nativities, IMHO, lol

  19. That's a great-looking bag, Janet. I like that you added pockets--so helpful--and that you used a French seam on the inside.
    The blocks for your Tiny Club are amazing. I love the block you made on the left.
    I'm so glad you are getting snow!!!! The wet stuff is really heavy and hard to shovel but maybe that means you're really getting more water?
    I follow on Feedly so I'm no help with Bloglovin'.

  20. I chose not to post a guiding word for this year; but, I must confess that the word: "intentional" (as you mentioned, also) would have been mine if I had. Whether I post it or not it is one goal that I hope to live by in 2023. Your tote bag is lovely and congratulations to the lucky recipient. I love it! Your storyboards are brilliant, by the way! Happy New Year!!

  21. Happy New Year! Great idea to get a two for one with your bag project, especially with your beautiful tiny blocks.

  22. Hey Janet - LOVE the new header photo - those lights twinkling are so beautiful and nostalgic. Thanks for the Tote tip - might just whip a few of them up, between kids quilts. BTW, I'm still working on them, using all the gifts people have sent me. Gotta get using that mini Dresen Plate template - it's still on the TOP of my stuff! Happy New Year.

  23. Happy New Year Janet! What a wonderful post. It's great you got that snow, considering the drought conditions. From so many years in New England, I know about the wet heavy snow! The typical dry powdery Utah snow is so much nicer;). The concert must have been fun. Nice to add two more nativities to your beautiful collection;). Your orange tote is so vibrant, just fun and cheerful, made extra special with the addition of pockets. It sounds like you have a very active local guild. I keep a list of quilt blogs on my sidebar, and I click on them right from there. I tend to go down the list in order, most recent first, but it does mean that sometimes I read a post very soon after it is published, and sometimes not for a week or so, and I confess I don't catch every single post.

  24. WOW!! A bag!! I did not know you EVER made bags!! It is definitely gorgeous and the bear paw patch on the front is delightful!! I miss the snow!! Instead we have had lots and lots and lots of rain this year and high winds (up to 70 mile an hour gusts). A sink hole, closing highway 101 south of here is sure going to put a damper on this year's Quilt Run next month!! Stay warm and Happy, Happy new year!! May 2023 be our best one yet!! Love ya!!

  25. What a lovely bag you made for your guild's Christmas gift swap, Janet! And you are the perfect one to continue teaching those teeny-tiny blocks to guild members. The new little Nativities will be welcome additions to your amazing collection. We are in need of snow and I can't believe I'm saying that. We've had a really mild winter so far.


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