Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Recapping June and Planning July

With all the holiday weekend activities, It has taken me until now to finally pull together my June wrap-up, which I will combine today with my July plans. As you can well imagine if you follow regularly, very little sewing will be included in my June review.

Obviously, most of my collage is filled with vacation pictures. Our trip out west to see our son and to see this big, ol' vast country of ours was filled with wonder. I still marvel that we are so blessed to be able to call so many places "home" - America. From snow covered mountains, deep, clear lakes, the mighty Pacific coastline, and treasured landmarks, we saw so many breathtaking sights. 

The Tree of Life block is a nod to all the pine-covered mountains we saw on the trip. More on that below.

The bottom row contains two pics of our home refresh, which came about because of new flooring for the dining room and the front room. The final picture is a 14" block called Double 9-Patch, which I was able to work on near the end of the month. I managed to get all 20 blocks made.

Now, as I plan for July, the #1 item is to make a red and white Double Irish Chain. Sharon and I are doing this together, and since we did blue and white ones a year ago, we think we can accomplish red and white ones quickly.  My red fabric is a large amount retrieved from the boxes of my late grandmother's sewing supplies. I shared the box of red fabric in this post, and from it I made a checkerboard pillow for Sharon. The idea of using this fabric in a Double Irish Chain was decided soon after making that pillow.

I have several quilts that I'd like to put on the long arm machine and quilt - I could do a full week of quilting, honestly, and see how much I could get done. Baby quilts and other gift quilts - I have let things stack up on me.

I would really love to work on some of the new fabric I've bought lately. That scrumptious FQ pack of florals, especially, has been calling to me.

Making that tree quilt is also high on my list of July goals. It seems like a quilt with some urgency just to remind myself of the majestic tree-covered mountains we saw throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California. 

Doing all that will be a tall order, because the entire 3rd week of the month I will be vacationing - again! - in Florida with a group of girlfriends. I will really have to buckle down in the rest of the month.

I have a big day planned today - the twins are coming to sew with Aunt Jayne! You won't believe how they have grown - they will be 9th graders this fall! I have not a clue what we will be working on. I'm letting them call the shots.

I will report! 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, July 4, 2022

Independence Day!

 How extra-special it is to wake up this morning as a FREE U.S. CITIZEN! 

This might seem like an odd proclamation, but after enjoying a very special picnic and fireworks party at friends' last night, I am feeling mighty grateful for the freedom I so often take for granted. We had special guests in attendance who were celebrating their very first American Independence Day. 

We'll start with a bit of background.

It's strange how life comes full circle sometimes, but former CHS students of mine, Matt and Olivia, are now good friends with my friend's son, Matthew. Matt and Matthew met and served together in the army; Matt was a groomsman in Matthew's wedding; Matt and Olivia, consequently, have been attending the fireworks picnic for several years now. Who would have ever guessed that so many years later we would be socializing with these two former students?

Matt introduced Fawad and his family with a brief telling of the story.

That background helps to understand how we happened to have these special guests with us last night. Matt served in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, as an Army Captain in 2011-12. His interpreter was Fawad, one of many Afghan citizens aiding US servicemen in that 20-year-long war. The interpreters were essential to U.S. soldiers and were instrumental in whatever successes America gained while deployed there.

When the U.S. suddenly began pulling out of Afghanistan last August, citizens who aided America in any way were in extreme jeopardy of torture and death by the Taliban. They and their families were targeted by the Taliban for assisting US soldiers. It was a dire situation for Fawad, his wife and 1-year-old son. When Matt heard about the plight of these interpreters, including his personal friend Fawad, he went to work, diving headlong into a vast network of efforts to save American allies. Through his extensive network of military contacts, volunteers, and humanitarian aid programs, Matt spent the next 2 weeks doing all he could to secure spots for Fawad and his family on one of the last planes out of the Afghan airport.

Fawad and his little boy.
Matt has written an account of the harrowing 2-week endeavor, and his almost impossible goal of securing Fawad's safety from halfway around the globe. He succeeded in his herculean effort, but he's quick to add that he didn't do it alone; it took tremendous efforts by many to make it happen.

Here's an excerpt from Matt's account, written just after last August's military exit from Afghanistan. The story details events between August 17 - September 5, but it must have seemed like an eternity to Fawad and his family. I admit to choking up and wiping tears as I read.

"We also tried to keep things in perspective, and remember what THEY must be going though, on the ground in Afghanistan. At least we were safe in the U.S., even if we were getting worn down by the difficulty of the situation and the long hours. I have never had so many prayers answered in such a short time as I have in these last few weeks."

You know, we see and hear the news, and it all seems so remote, so distant and foreign to us. This up close and personal story of a race to secure freedom has left me with newfound admiration for what our military - both active and retired - can do. They are heroes! 

I enjoyed talking to Fawad and his wife Halima. During our introduction, Fawad told me that "Matt saved my life." Even ten months later, the sincere and pure emotion with which Fawad said this was evident in his voice and in his eyes. After reading the story, I believe Matt truly DID save his life!

Halima described arriving in DC with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing. They left everything they had in Afghanistan, and have no hope of ever recovering any of it. She said that she has liked every American she's met - everyone has been friendly and welcoming to her. (I was happy to hear that!) They are currently living in Columbus not far from OSU. Fawad has a job and Halima has just started working at a daycare where her son can be with her. Donations to the fund mentioned in Matt's account have provided them with a car. 

I am so proud to share this incredible Independence Day story. What a privilege to be living in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.' What a privilege, indeed.

God Bless the USA!

Quilting content will return tomorrow! *wink*
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Slow Sunday Stitching

The title of today's post is a bit of a misnomer in that I have done exactly zero slow stitching on this beautiful Sunday. However, in recent weeks I have been somewhat attentive to Lake Effect, and I thought I'd share an update.

The slow-me-down parts are nearly finished. Even though I feel I am becoming more accomplished with the back-basting method of applique, I find it hard to make myself work steadily at it. These four panels are mostly done, with the remaining work needing to wait to go on when the corners are joined. I am feeling pretty good about how they look, even with some very wonky berries.

I am now at the point where I am thinking it is time to attach these panels to the center portion. It appears I will need to attach more hexies to make it all fit.

I don't know if anyone will recall that I began making this (in 2017!) with a misconception of what a 3" hexie was. I had one measuring 3" from tip to tip and made all gazillion of mine with that template.

Many months later, I learned that, in fact, the 3" is the body of the hexie. Hmmm. That presented me with a problem.  I would need to improvise or start over. 

Undaunted, I knew my project could be salvaged, and it would result in "making it my own." I kinda' like that idea, so on we go.

I worked on this minimally while on our vacation. Too hard to applique in the car, and hotel lighting mostly didn't suit me. No worries. Way back in '17, I gave myself 10 years to finish this quilt. Five years in, and I feel as if I am mostly on course. 

I will link to Kathy's weekly slow stitching party. Many of those gals regularly check in to see how I am doing, and I like to do likewise with them. Hope you'll have a look, too. 

Kathy asks what we are doing today, and I have to laugh at how our day has been. 

We have a raccoon problem in our backyard. They eat the birdseed, damage the feeders, rip the hummingbird feeder off the branch, and now they've even pushed through the screen on our porch and sniff around. So we have been trapping them. They are easy to trap with the right kind of trap, but then we have to "dispose" of them. We can't bear to kill them so we "rehome" them. Just after midnight last night, we took one away, and first thing this morning, we took another. We take them far enough away so that we hope they don't return. People are always telling us that they are smart enough to return, especially if there are babies back home. 

I will report further developments.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Reveal: Two-Room Refresh

In yesterday's post, I alluded to my sewing time being diminished because of our efforts at restoring order to our recent refresh in the front room and dining room. We are far enough along in the process that I will share our new look. Some things still remain to be done (is it ever finished?), but we have definite plans for making those things a priority in the coming days or weeks.

But first, let me show you a few "before" pics of the job. Before leaving for vacation, we took up all the carpet and emptied out the rooms for easier floor installation. 

Piano was in the dining room; gave it away to first person who'd come get it.

Carpet coming out; it was the original 1992 carpet.

A totally empty dining room. This room will be done first.

Two rooms of furniture pushed to the center of the front room.

Stacked and compacted into the front room.

The flooring installation took just one day, and it came exactly a week after we returned from vacation. We sure were glad to have done all the carpet removal and packing prior to leaving. I'd have hated to have that massive task waiting to be done when we got home. The only hard part was living with these two rooms in such disarray for a week. (Small problems, right?)

The dining room is about half done!

As work began in the front room, we moved furniture to dining room.

Beginning to return things to their places.

It was fun ordering rugs, slip covers, and curtains and then having them delivered right to our door! We had some things to return, but truly, it was a very easy way to go. I have learned that online shopping is a huge time saver.

And now for the reveal - tada! We are quite pleased with our new spaces. I find that I am enjoying sitting in the front room. I have a chair situated in such a way that affords me view of the front yard and the back yard. Nice! It's like I am in a new house, sort of.


As you enter our front door and look left, you see the front room, a space that has gotten very little use in the 30 years we've lived here. It got a new paint job about 8 years ago and other than that, it has looked pretty much like it did in 1992. Here are some old - before - pictures of this space from this same general view.

The emphasis in these two old pictures was obviously Christmas, but the room is what we'll focus on here. In addition to the new flooring and rug in our update, we've added a slip cover to the couch. Our plan is to change out the wall art in 3 European-inspired pictures in this room to some that lean more toward a country/vintage look. I intend to order digital downloads and re-use the frames, if possible. While the couch is in the same place, we've rearranged some of the other furniture and added new curtains.

In this photo, I've walked diagonally across the room and taken the picture looking back toward the front door. It looks quite monochromatic and I do not mind this at all. It feels restful and calm which seems to be exceedingly inviting. Maybe we will spend more time using this room now.

Next to the front room is our dining room. It had served many purposes over the years, and we rarely use it for dining. While the kids were at home and especially through their high school years, it had more of an office use with desktop computers and printers. The piano was also in this room. Below is a picture from 2019 when my sweet Frienzies were here for our Christmas gathering. You cannot see the floor, but you can see the old center light, the piano on the right and the previous curtains.


The ceiling light was changed out in 2020, and the cupboard in the corner has been replaced with a kitchen cupboard from my dad's side of the family. The family piece is smaller and more suited to a dining room.

With the leaves of the table removed, it is easier to see the flooring and new rug. We like having more space in this room with that larger cupboard removed and replaced with the smaller family piece. 

Stepping into that back corner and looking out toward the front room, the two rooms are pulled together with the same flooring, same curtains, same paint and trim, and similar rugs. This view shows the new flooring really well.

The part of all this that has taken me so long was the dishes. Three cupboards in these two rooms had a lot of dishes. China cabinet, Hoosier cabinet and kitchen cupboard. Full. Of. Dishes. All had to be boxed up and moved out. I put them all out on the front porch. But...the problem with that was that it all got dusty and buggy and had to be washed - mostly by hand - before going back into the cupboards.Ugh.

I procrastinated. Big time.

One thing will get me in gear - hosting an event. The Frankfort Girls were here yesterday, and I was determined to have these rooms back together in time for them to get a tour. With DH's help, we did it.

Now, new month, new rooms, and more time for quilting! I have some fun stuff planned for this month! Stay tuned for details.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Friday, July 1, 2022

Welcome July!

I have returned! My sporadic attention to this blog will hopefully improve with the beginning of a new month. Welcome July! I'm glad you're here, and I want you to be long and lazy, okay?

These lilies are growing in our garden. DH has planted lots of them and they seem to come into full beauty at the end of June and early July. What gorgeous splashes of color we are enjoying! You may as well enjoy them, too!

The last one pictured is rather unique in that the tall purple bloom is growing out of all those yellow flowers. Cross-pollination? I guess so.

My reasons for slowing down with posting have largely to do with my attempting to return order to my house. Before vacation we tore out the 30-year-old carpet in the front room and dining room. Within days of returning from vacation, the new flooring was laid. Then began the long and very tedious process of recreating our living spaces. We tried to do a bit of a refresh from the look we'd had previously - which amounted to updating tired looks from the 80s and 90s, mostly. hmmmm 

We are almost there. I will share pics of the new spaces in the next couple of days.

All that vacationing and remodeling in June left little time for sewing, sadly. My productivity suffered - waaahh! Perhaps I can devote some good quality time to playing catch up this month.

Hope you have a great Friday! And a great July! We get to start off with some Independence Day fireworks!

Lots to celebrate!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Kaffe Fasset's Wonderful Colors

Or, let's stop and smell the roses!

Finally, all 100 of the 9-patch blocks are made, and I want to take just a moment to make note of the wonderfully vibrant colors that Kaffe Fasset's fabrics are known for. Wanna' have a stroll through a garden full of color? Let's go!

My ten sets of ten 9-patch blocks. All ready for the next step. The quilt is called Spring Double Nine Patch, and these colors were selected to convey a bright spring flower garden with all the pops of color.

I have totally enjoyed digging through my tubs of KF fabrics to pull these old pieces. Many times I used scraps from previous makes, which has been gratifying. I suppose many of these are now discontinued, as they have been in my stash for a very long time.

These present quite a stark contrast to the sweet pastel florals in yesterday's post, don' they? I like all the fabrics!! *truth!* 

Frequently I am reminded of my late grandmother's reaction to my showing her a quilt made with KF fabrics - she definitely turned up her nose. She was not impressed. Not to her liking at all! Indeed, these are very different from the calicoes she used!

I hope our little stroll provided a cheerful start to your Saturday. DH and I are now headed out to a garden center to see what the end-of-season sales have to offer. Real flowers, not fabric ones. *grin*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Irresistible Florals

I  am hopeless, dear readers. For all the blustering I share about no more buying and using from the stash, just one look at an online fabric offering, and I fall off the wagon. You recall (see last post) that I had to acquire more Aboriginal Dots in ivory about a week ago. That meant a quick foray into online fabric searching. 

Help me, Lord! The temptations! When sellers couple a pretty fabric offering with a discount -20%! -  I am a total lost cause.  Here's what I bought the same day I bought the one yard of ivory dots.

The fabric was listed on an Etsy shop called Cottage Couture Fabrics out of White Lake, MI.  The need to own this fabric overcame me, I swear! Clicking that "buy" button was way, way too easy. 

Now, I do not - DO NOT! - have one ounce of buyer's remorse. I am thrilled with this little pack of fat quarters, and I have ideas swimming in my head of how I will use it. 

First, let me show you what I plan to pair them with. I have two polka dot fabrics that seem perfect for these tiny pastel florals. Take a look at both and tell me which you would select.

Option one is this delicate blue with creamy white dots. Love it. A lot. 

Now here's option two.

The dots are smaller, and even though it isn't very evident in these two pictures, the blue is slightly different. Do you prefer one over the other?

Here is my current inspiration photo, taken from Pinterest.  Click the photo to be taken to the shop, another Esty shop, and this seller is from right up the road from me in Columbus! Sweet!

Isn't this a dreamy vintage quilt!? I would love to recreate it with my new fabrics. It would be fun to make all those hourglass blocks with the florals, then mix and match them with different florals around the centers of the stars. Glorious Ohio Stars on a creamy white set together with blue polka dot setting squares. Simply dreamy.

This quilt has to be made.

A thought: Did you know that I will have to live to be about 258 years old in order to make all the quilts?

Well, while I figure out how I will accomplish that sort of longevity, have a few more looks at this pretty floral fabric.

When shown with both options, the smaller dot is the obvious choice.

Have a great day! My list is long, the day is gorgeous, and I must get in gear!

Happy Quilting, Friends!