Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Daring to Dream

Lately, I have been thinking about goals for quilts to make in the new year. Invariably, however, this leads me - at least for awhile - to ponder the ultimate quilts. You know what I mean, I think. Those fantastic quilts that are just so amazing that they dare you to dream about making them yourself. Do you ever have such wild dreams??

When I ponder the quilts that I 'someday' would love to make, here are a few that come to mind. I will just show you pictures - explanation is unnecessary, because I would be willing to bet that many of you quilters out there have the same awe and desire and admiration for these quilts that I do.

Either Bella, Bella (above) or Viva (below); not both. 

 In 2008 (if memory serves), I attended a Ricky Tims seminar in Tennessee, and I saw this Rhapsody Quilt in person. It is utterly breathtaking. I have a similar book for it, but not this precise pattern.

Don't worry. I won't be tackling any of these in the new year. I have far too many UFOs to attend to this coming year - yes, we are doing another UFO challenge. Someday, though, I do hope that I can see myself actually doing more than just dream about making one of these quilts.

I'm dreaming, yes.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Post-Christmas Report

I've not been around here too much since the big visit by Jolly Old St. Nick! However, I did want to share a couple of pictures before we were too far removed from Christmas!

The twins got sewing machines for Christmas!! I give gigantic kudos to their mother, my sister-in-law Ann, for having such good sense! They were so excited to show me their new treasures, too! I have to say, I didn't have a whole lot of luck helping them get these machines threaded and operating when we were together on Christmas afternoon. I think with fewer people around and an atmosphere more conducive to concentrating, I might have been more successful.

It gave me an idea, though. They are both so interested in my quilting, that I think I need to make a date (or several) with them individually to have some sewing lessons on the real sewing machine. At age 7, they seem old enough to sew straight lines. We could easily construct a simple purse or something. This will definitely be going on my goals list for 2015.

Are you making your list of goals for the New Year? Will you be sharing them??

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Adam's T-shirt Quilt

Christmas morning DS Adam opened a gift that was over a decade in the making. While he was away in college between 2001 and 2005, I began a t-shirt quilt of his many cross country and track t-shirts, with a few other memorable shirts added in.

Then at some point I figured out that I was going to be very close - maybe even short - on sashing and border fabrics. I also couldn't figure out how to insert the small patches into the borders.

So I just quit on it. That is a method I frequently resort to.

This past January, when we were making our UFO lists, I put this quilt on the list. I wanted it completely done - top finished, quilted, bound and gifted to Adam.

Yay! I did it!

I used a border print by Jinny Beyer for the sashing and borders. The problem I encountered was that I cut way, way too many sashing strips, and that resulted in my being left with short pieces for the borders. This probably made me mad, so I just quit on it.

I dragged it out in January to assess the progress. (One forgets these details in the span of a decade, you know.) I had been moving it from shelf to closet to bin; back and forth, for it was always where I needed access. It seem apparent that I just needed to bite the bullet and get the darned thing finished.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas To All

From all of my family to all of you and yours, I wish you a most joyous Christmas! May you have peace, love and joy in your heart today and always. (Thanks to Getty Images for the photo.)

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Busy Day With Twins

We are quite busy today making cookies. I am at my sister Sandy's house and Emma came with me. Sandy's daughter Abby is here. And Mark's twins are here. Hopefully my Mom shows up soon.

We are having FUN!!

Have you stopped by Lynn's blog for the Around The World Blog Hop? If not, you should!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Santa's Been Busy!

Tonight Santa killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.

I have an item on that famous UFO list I have been referencing for the last few posts that was needing to be finished for a Christmas gift. Of course, this made it a priority. I finished it off, and now I can check off two things: one item on the UFO list, and one item on the Christmas to-do list.

Yay, me!

Don't you just love it when a plan works out even better than you planned? Here's how great my binding worked - totally coincidental - I didn't measure a thing. I just cut a bunch of lengths and stitched it on. Wowzers!

It is now finished, wrapped and under the tree.

On another matter, I want to remind you to visit Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oats for her installment on the Around the World Blog Hop. Mine was last Monday, and Lynn will have hers posted tomorrow. It was fun doing mine, and I had some really positive feedback. I think you will enjoy Lynn's contribution to the Blog Hop.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Christmas Gift Exchange

When families get so large that exchanging gifts becomes a financial burden and the true meaning of Christmas gets lost in all the wrapping paper and ribbons, it's time to come up with another plan.

After a few years of drawing names to minimize costs and headaches, my extended family tried a new plan a couple of years ago. It worked so nicely that I suggested that we do it again. I hope it advances for participants the notion of the true meaning of Christmas - giving with genuine Christian spirit to loved ones.

The concept is rather simple. Instead of going out to buy what might be a perfect gift for the recipient, we each give a gift of our time and talents. Participation is optional, and any age can join in.


Above is the gift I offered the previous time we tried this idea. I shared doing it in this post. Everyone wrote their "gifts" on a 3"x5" card, and we put them all in a basket. After drawing numbers, we went in order drawing cards out of the basket. A gift could be "stolen" by the next person who drew if they really wanted a particular gift that had already been drawn. "Stealing" could only happen on your turn, so you had to pay attention to who had what. Number One could steal after everyone had drawn. We had about 20 or so involved and it was lots of fun. Kevin got the gift my sister Carol offered - a drawing. She is quite talented, and her drawing of our house now hangs in our dining room. 

 The reflection of the Christmas tree and my ugly mug can be seen in the glass on the picture, but you aren't looking at those, are you?

Examples of some other gifts include a home-baked apple pie from Mom; lasagna prepared by sister Sandy; car-detailing from a brother-in-law; an afternoon of yard work from my husband; teeth-whitening treatment from my s-i-l, the dentist; free babysitting from DD; computer clean-up/maintenance from a nephew; and so on.  It was a wide-ranging variety of "gifts" and some were "stolen" a lot.

I have another idea for what I will offer in this year's exchange. I will share it with you after Christmas.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, December 19, 2014

There's No Curing Me

I just did a post in which I admit to one of my quilting shortcomings - I start lots of projects. I finish a few of them. But I start a lot. I like starting. It's the most exciting part of the entire process, I think. Finishing is good, too, but sometimes you have to work kinda' hard to get to a finish.

I have no less than 6  UFOs that I say I am trying to finish, but what do I do? I start something new. I tell ya', there's no curing me!

I was sorting through some things in the sewing room and happened across a sweet little table runner pattern that someone had given me. It looked so easy, and I remember the friend's table runner from this pattern, and I really loved it. So I reached for a Charm Pack - a really old one - Pashmina by Moda - and began cutting. I won't be able to show you the progress I've made on it because it might spoil a Christmas surprise for someone who could be reading. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Completed Project

Now don't go thinking that I completed a project. No, no, no!

That title misleads you on purpose. I had every intention of completing this, but my time was in such demand elsewhere that I seemed never to get around to working on it. So that's where DH stepped in. And stuff like this is right up his alley, too.

I love my new, refurbished dresser! And there will be another one coming soon, too. You can see a tiny portion of it in the 'before' picture.

The new dresser has been moved into my sewing room, and I now must devote a significant amount of time to straightening things around. The sewing room is quite a wreck right now. Looks more like a crime scene than a work space. (Sharon, you will vouch for this, I'm sure!) *wink*

I have frequently commented on how my time has been so limited this fall, but I don't think I've ever fully explained how this fall differs from last fall or any previous fall since I've retired.

Part of it has to do with my agreeing to teach 4 days per week. In previous semesters I'd only been teaching 2 days each week, and those were always fantastic schedules. I still felt "retired" with a part-time job.

This semester, however, I was asked to trade a class with another professor who was juggling doctors' appointments. I figured I could handle a 4-day work week for just one semester, so I agreed to the trade. It is a decision I hope I don't have to make again. It darn-near got the best of me!

I did survive it, and final grades for fall semester have been submitted. I am feeling freer already.

The other part of the busy fall involves working on the historical society book. Our deadline is the end of this month, but we are trying to finish before Christmas. I expect a couple more l-o-n-g days between now and then. I will share more information on the book in the coming months.

I can, however, show you a picture of our beautiful 99-year-old high school, the subject of the book. The big century mark is next September 1st, so come to Greenfield because there will be much celebrating.

As far as we know, it is the only high school in the entire nation that was gifted to the community by a private citizen still operating as it was originally intended 100 years ago. Awesome, right?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

A week or so ago, I was contacted by Sandra White at her blog, Hand Piecing. She is participating in a blog tour called Around The World Blog Hop and asked me to join in. Sounded kinda' fun, so I agreed. If you are here for the first time, WELCOME! It's so nice to have you visit!

I do have to set the record straight on one thing - if you have read about this blog from Sandra's blog, you might think that I am a grandmother. As of now, I am not, and to my knowledge, won't be any time soon. I am quite patient to wait on that phase of my life, but when I do become a grandmother, I hope that I will be as wonderful as my own grandmother, whom you met yesterday. ;) Happy Birthday, Grandma!!

Participating in this Blog Hop involves showing you the projects I am currently working on, and answering some questions about myself. I recommend getting comfortable, as this will be a lengthy post. Let us begin!


Mostly, I am trying to complete the 12 UFOs in the challenge that my little quilting group had this calendar year. I am probably in last place, as I still have over half of them to complete. I began with such high hopes, too. I was derailed a bit in the spring with family stuff, but I got back on track once things settled down. Lately, though, I find myself derailed again by the time I'm spending on non-quilting projects and my composition classes at Ohio University - Chillicothe.

With that introduction, I will give you specifics. First, I am hand piecing the remaining few blocks for a UFO I call Six-Point Star. I began it about 13 years ago.

A second UFO is the Tumbler quilt top that I started about a year ago on a whim. I will only need 2 or 3 hours at the sewing machine to finish this quilt top which is my goal.

Tumbler is going to be a throw. Since I am inventing it as I go, I can make it whatever size I like. I have an idea that I want to create a solid inner border and then add more tumbler blocks in an outer border. We shall see.

Third on the UFO list is to quilt a Schnibbles called Sunday Best. I will do it on the machine. It is sandwiched and ready to go. I still think I can get it done by our deadline.

The fourth and fifth items on the UFO list involve finishing Christmas pillows that I hand pieced last December when I was laid up after my surgery. It would take about a half an hour to finish them, so I should just do it. How easy! And a third pillow needs to be finished and will be gifted to a friend who has the design on the barn at their farm.

One item on the UFO list will likely not make the deadline; I'm just not going to push myself to complete it. I have a Flag Day Farm panel from an old Minick and Simpson line. My goal was to use this panel in a quilt; I have an idea of what I want to do, and will definitely get it done in 2015. I'm thinking of a medallion quilt with many borders added around it - is that called Round Robin? I think it is.

Not all my current projects are part of the UFO Challenge. I am trying to finish hand quilting my Long Road Home quilt. I put it in the quilt frame over 2 years ago; it's been ignored more than I care to admit, but since early October, I have been very focused on finishing it.

Those of you who have followed me for awhile know that in January I joined in 2 quilt-alongs. What was I thinking?? Actually, I have enjoyed them, and I managed to stay caught up with them through October, which is pretty good for me. I hope to regain my momentum and have them done this month.

One QAL is sponsored by Jolly Jabber at Fat Quarter Shop. It is called Wishes, and proceeds benefit the Make A Wish Foundation. Here are my blocks to date.

The other QAL is sponsored by Judy at Patchwork Times. It is called Tell It To The Stars. It has such an involved border, but I am quite eager to see it finished. I need to cut the sashing strips and get it put together.

Let me go on the record here and now: I will not do a quilt-along next year. While these have been fun, there are far too many quilts I've planned on making to get sidetracked by the whims I find in blog-land!!

I am not exactly sure how to respond to this question. You see, I doubt very seriously that I actually have "a genre." My work is all over the quilting spectrum - I like just about everything. Machine piecing and hand piecing; machine quilting and hand quilting; repro fabrics and bright Kaffe fabrics; two-color quilts and scrappy quilts; modern patterns and traditional patterns. With this variety of interests, it is impossible to say what "my genre" would be!


Why? I have never stopped to ponder why. As far as I am concerned knowing why is just not relevant. I do it because I enjoy it; I love quilts and I love fabric and since no one is lined up to give me gorgeous quilts, I make them for myself. Simple as that, actually.

As for writing, I have never thought about this either. I taught high school English for 30 years, and found it to be a satisfying career. As soon as I retired, I started teaching Freshman Comp at OU-C on a part-time basis, and I enjoy that, too.

I write this blog to keep track of the projects I am working on, planning to work on, and recording the wonderful things my friends are working on. It's on-line journaling, I suppose.

Since retiring, in addition to writing this blog, I have entered into a writing relationship with the Greenfield Historical Society. We did a little paperback book a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed it so much that I jumped at the offer to do a bigger book with them. This one will be a coffee table book about our beautiful high school; we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of its opening next September. I am learning that I enjoy writing as much as I have enjoyed teaching it all these years.


As for quilts, my creative process varies quite a bit. I have been know to find a pattern, go to the quilt shop and buy the fabric and then make the quilt. Or put the pattern and fabric away in a bin for making at a later time. Sometimes much, much later.

I have also been known to do quite the opposite: find myself in a quilt shop, see some amazing fabric that screams to come home with me, and buy that fabric (and more, most likely). The fabric is always content to be petted occasionally and wait patiently for a pattern to come along.

I have lots and lots and lots of fabric waiting for a quilt pattern to come along; in fact, I will very likely have to live to be about 150 in order to use up the fabric stored upstairs. I've made great strides at limiting the fabric buying in favor of using from the stash, but it's still going to take many, many quilts to use it all.

I generally always have projects in various stages of completion, because sometimes I just don't know what my mood will want. If I am in the mood for cutting out a quilt, I generally always have one waiting in the wings. At other times, I might be in the mood for some hand-stitching. I always have something ready because that is what I do every other Friday morning with my friends in the Frankfort group. And still, there are times when I just want to do something fast and show some results for my efforts. I will have some machine project waiting for those times. I think a lot of quilters operate this way, so I'm no different.

One thing I do that sorta' drives me crazy: I like starting things. The finishing is the hard part. I guess I get bored or I want to move on or something. Anyway, that is likely the reason I have so many UFOs. And guess, what else I do? If I make a mistake, I have no patience for fixing it. So many UFOs have been put away because there was some error that aggravated me and I just wasn't interested in fixing it. Silly, huh?

As for my writing process, with this blog I try to write a blog each evening and schedule it to post early the next morning. I don't always operate this way, but when I do, I like that system. If I am going to be away, I will sometimes schedule several ahead, but it takes planning and time - two things I am often short on. And, it doesn't bother me in the least to just go a week or so with no posting whatsoever. I know I ought to be more reliable, but I do this for my purposes - not to make money, not to impress others, not to become widely read - just for me to keep track of what my friends and I do.

So there you have it - everything you probably never knew you wanted to know about me! Hah!

I have recruited one blogger to join in on this Blog Tour. I'd be ever so happy for you to click on this link to Lynn's blog, Sew'n Wild Oats. She will be posting her contribution to this Blog Tour next Monday, December 22. (I will remind you to go visit then, too.) Her blog is one I have followed for a long time, and I think you will like it, too. She has some beautiful quilts that offer no end of inspiration, and she has a pretty Golden Retriever named Mazey.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tomorrow Is A BIG Day

Here's a day's advance notice: tomorrow, December 15, is my grandmother's 98th birthday. Is that not impressive?? This picture was taken on her 96th birthday.  She's a bit more frail, but still just as feisty as she's always been. Kevin and I stopped over to visit her Friday night; we took her a card and a carton of oysters of all things. She loves oyster soup, and my mom will make some for her. Funny.

This is the woman to whom I attribute my love of quilting. My mother taught me to sew, and I took to it early on. Mom made all of the clothes my sisters and I wore growing up, until I was able to make my own, about 8th or 9th grade. Quilting was never a big part of the mix then. Oh, I was aware of it, because every winter Grandma would have her quilting frame up and we just recognized it as a part of the decor when we were at our grandparents' house. (I have that quilting frame now and I'm planning to set it up after Christmas and quilt on it over the winter.)

It wasn't until I was married and thinking of decorating my own home that I began desiring quilts. I realized that I couldn't afford to buy them at antique shops or flea markets, so I determined that if I wanted quilts, I was going to have to make them myself. And who else to ask for help and advice than Grandma? We grew quite close through our common interest in quilting. For that I am ever so grateful, too.

Besides that quilting frame, I have all her other quilting stuff now, too. Over the summer, I cleaned the last of it out of her house and brought it here. I recorded that monumental task in several posts back in July. I also have been recording pictures of as many of her quilts as possible. The tab at the top of the page will take you to the ones documented so far.

This picture is from the late 1990s, I'm guessing. Grandma and I are at her quilting frame; the quilt she's working on is one that I pieced. I have it upstairs.

I have written many posts about Grandma over the years. Suffice it to say, it's a great blessing to be pushing (cough) 60, and still have a grandmother who is as spry and alert as she is. Happy 98th, Grandma!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Book Winner

In the middle of Thanksgiving festivities and such, I received word from the publisher at Split Tree Publishing of our winner in the book giveaway I sponsored in October.

My Frienzie Pam was the winner! How nice! Since most of my readers here are friends and family, there was a really good chance that I'd know the winner. Congratulations, Pam! I hope you like the book! It's a sweet little thing, in my opinion. Pam has a strong sense of family and tradition, so the book is perfect for her. I have seen a couple of quilts that have been handed down in her family displayed around her house. 

I have more to add! And it is so relevant! I can't believe I didn't think of this when I made the original post. (Fortunately, I have friends I can count on to be my brain when my brain needs help!)

Just after Pam retired from CHS where we Frienzies all worked together, she set about to write a book. Her years of teaching and counseling teens gave her much material to use in a YA book about teen pregnancy.  Her book is called Pregnancy is the Common Thread and is available on Amazon.

Each chapter begins with a quote about quilting. The book illustrates the effects of an unplanned teen pregnancy on not just the girl, but on her family and community as well. As the story unfolds, the neighbors get together to make a quilt for the young mom. One reviewer explains that this would be a great book for middle school or youth groups to study and discuss.

I so admire Pam for accomplishing her goal of writing a book.

Don't you think it's fitting that Pam would win the give away? Serendipity at its best!

Happy Quilting, Friends!