Monday, December 31, 2018

Final Post of 2018

But NOT my final post ever. I have decided that I want to continue to blog, and after giving the entire situation a good amount of pondering, I do think I can keep it going. I will talk more on this in the coming days; for now, I want to show you my final project for 2018.

Simple Sixteen is a free pattern I found several months ago, and as I wanted to get one more fast finish in before year's end, this was perfect for easy, satisfying work. The pattern comes from a company called Fort Worth Fabric Studio, and the website has quite a few very attractive free patterns available. I do expect that I will make some of them.

So on Wednesday, the day after Christmas, I cut these out. The original pattern is a 9-block design, but they tell you that it can easily be enlarged which I did. I had enough 30s prints on hand to make 20 blocks.

By last evening (Sunday) I put the final rows together. It was fun and pretty much mindless. Just the type of project my brain needed after all the hustle-bustle of the month.

My stitching had really slowed these past few weeks and I believe this lack of sewing was my major reason for fewer blog posts. Sometimes a break is a good thing, though. I definitely had lots going on around here, which took precedence over stitching. Finally, when an easy project presents itself for those days that linger between Christmas and New Year, grab on and go with it!

Have a safe New Year's Eve, if you are going out to celebrate. We will go to Harold and Judy's with our friends Bob and Vickie - the 6 of us have been doing New Years for 25 years, I think.

Happy New Year and Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Claudia and Denise Checking In

Since I have been in total hostess mode for the past several weeks, and practically zero significant sewing has occurred around here, I thought today might be a good day to share the productivity of my friends Claudia and Denise. Both have been in touch with me recently, and they continue to be brilliantly productive.

Denise has a penchant for making quilts with small pieces. She tells me this is a result of refusing to be wasteful of fabric. She keeps bits and bobs that many would throw away and puts them to use in some incredible creations. Here are two pictures illustrating this philosophy - definitely a beauty in the making! This WIP (work in progress) is going to be spectacular.

I like that these pictures include the hem gauge. I count eight tiny pieces of scrap fabric sewn together to make that 2.5-inch unit. These are then used as the sides of this Churn Dash block.

The result will be a wonderfully scrappy quilt. Even the corner units and the center unit are made up of scraps. The more I study it, the more I am inspired to make some use of my own scraps. I hope Denise will send pictorial updates as she finishes this quilt. Click here to see a post featuring (among other things) a scrappy quilt that Denise made earlier this year.

Claudia shared some recently finished projects with me. She sent these photos of her increasingly skilled workmanship. The tote bag in the first two pictures is quite impressive. Her quilting has gotten better and better, proving the age-old theory 'practice makes perfect.'

This throw required much less detailed skill, but I have to give Claudia props for trying a project involving fleece; that's a challenge not just everyone is up for.

This last picture is a tasseled table runner, which would be simple to construct. The challenge would be the finishing, in my opinion. It looks like the edges are folded under, matched to the back, and then stitched.

That same link also includes previous work from Claudia, so click it to have a look.

How was your Christmas? We had quite a houseful here yesterday, and - like always - had more food than we could possibly want. My fridge is stuffed with leftovers. Come over! We could feed you well!

The best part was having loved ones near. My 82-year-old mother was here, and 3 of my 4 siblings, too. Only one of our 3 kids attended, but we had nieces, nephews, and in-laws aplenty. We had a couple of rousing games of Bingo and some gifting, as well. My brother Mark was a Christmas baby 58 years ago, so we always celebrate his birthday, too. So much good cheer - I just didn't want it to end! Everyone was headed home by 6pm; DH and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas night here together.

I am thinking about doing some stitching today...wouldn't that be refreshing!?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is here! Gloria hallelujah!

Sing the good news!

I hope you are having a most blessed, restful and joyous Christmas! I will be surrounded by 21 family members later today as we are hosting the feast this year. Our daughters will be missing from the festivities; they have plans with their guys' families.

I hope to find quiet time today to remember the real reason for the day - the birth of our glorious Lord. What a gift to the world! Here's a sweet prayer I will recite as I count my blessings.

Merry Christmas To All!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Craft Update

On Thursday, the Frienzies were here for brunch. You read all about the big day in my last post. You also read that we did a quick and easy craft. After we finished said craft, everyone agreed that the glammed-up candy dishes were top-heavy; they had a strong tendency to tip over with just the slightest jostling. Some of the girls have remedied the situation, and the results look fantastic. Here's the before picture.

They sure look pretty, and they were certainly easy to build, but we quickly realized that tipping was a concern. Someone mentioned that adding a flat base would solve the problem. Three Frienzies have followed through. Take a look.

Pam had lots of mismatched plates which had been used at a family wedding, so she grabbed one and glued it on. Perfect!

Hettie painted a base in festive, holiday green and attached it to the red pedestal. Works great with the red and green M&Ms.

Susan used a spatter-ware plate to stabilize her candy dish. It gives it more of a country look, wouldn't you say? It works, for sure. I am glad everyone has taken these different directions with the base. They are individualized; each one is really reflective of the maker.

Also in the last post, I shared my little impromptu quilt made while Sharon and I sewed. I have taken a better picture of it, and thought you'd like to take a look.

Pom Pom de Paris is an old fabric line from French General; I had a FQ pack that I'd just barely dipped into. I could make several more of these. Maybe I will. Currently undecided. *grin*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Sewing With Sharon

After the Frienzie Brunch on Thursday, Sharon and I headed upstairs to the sewing room. We have been so sporadic in our sewing these past few months. And with my OUC schedule changing next semester, it will get worse before it gets better.

When presented an opportunity for sewing, it must be seized!

Sharon wanted to continue working on her Chock Full O' Charm quilt, which she did. And I have no new pictures of her progress to share. I can use this throwback picture from November, however.

I had a chance to do a bit of fun sewing. Several months ago, Sheryll (of the Frankfort Girls) shared a couple of cute creations that I attempted to imitate. The fabric is Pom Pom de Paris. (I think!)

The center panel is a 6.5-inch square fussy-cut from a fat quarter. The borders were cut at 1.5 inches, and the outer border was cut at 3.5 inches. The finished size is 21.5 inches and it is now ready for quilting. Or, I might make more and see what I come up with.

It felt good to get back to the sewing machine. All the holiday prepping and semester finishing and friendly gathering have limited the sewing time. I do love all those other things, and savor them all for the blessings they are. Sewing/quilting is always on standby when things slow down.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Brunch With Frienzies

Back-to-back posts about back-to-back brunches. I have taken on the role of hostess this past week, volunteering to welcome two of my favorite groups. You read about the quilters who came last week. Now let me share the fun we had when the Frienzies came for a day of Holiday Cheer.

My table was set for only 7 - we sadly missed our Frienzie Lyn due to her husband's illness. The gift bags contain the parts for a craft we worked on later in the day. The tablecloth is a giant piece of Roman Holiday home dec fabric that I found on a sale display years ago in Holmes County. I think there was 10 or 12 yards of it and I bought it all. I cut it in half to share with Sharon. I love bringing it out every Christmas - just makes me so happy!!

And even happier are Frienzies around the table!! From left to right: Kay, Susan, Hettie, Pam, Sharon and Sherrie. All of us taught together at Chillicothe HS and most retired from there. Hettie, our youngster, still teaches, but she has moved to Southeastern HS.

This group picture is a bit blurry, but it's the best we have. I notice that my star on top of my tree has fallen over! Oh well, it may just stay that way through the remainder of the holidays.

The craft mentioned earlier was a big hit. I saw the idea on Pinterest and bought the supplies at Pat Catan's in Washington CH. We simply had to paint the pedestal and let dry; glue the jar to the pedestal; tie a ribbon around the top; fill with colorful candies. If I were to make another one, I would add a round flat base for stability. It tips over too easily, as it's top-heavy. Pam says she is going to use an old plate for that. (Pam, send a pic! I will use it!)

We exchanged gifts and had a slow, leisurely morning and mid-day enjoying the great companionship. Our monthly get-togethers are wonderful; each and every time I am grateful that we all make the effort to keep our group going strong. Friendships need nourishing, and we are committed to feeding ours! (Literally and figuratively!)

Sharon stayed later for sewing!! I have some pictures of our latest sewing room activity and will bring that to you tomorrow!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Brunch With Frankfort Girls

Last Friday morning the whole gang showed up for our Christmas Brunch! What a fantastic group of ladies. We meet every-other-Friday morning and take turns hosting. This year, the Christmas celebration just happened to fall on my hosting date, so we partied and gifted and giggled and gabbed - there was not one stitch taken!

I should have taken a few pics of my feast and my table, but alas, I did not. The menu consisted of Crockpot Breakfast Casserole, Ambrosia Salad, assorted mini-muffins, cinnamon rolls, Hot Mulled Cider and Mimosas. Nothing fancy, but filling nonetheless.

Here are some pictures of all the girls as we opened gifts. We trade names, and reveal who we bought for when we exchange gifts. And, we all get a little something extra, too. Such a generous group!

Jan, Becky and Sheryll. 
That pretty "quilts" in the frame is my gift from Sheryll. 

Sharon and Helen.

Terry and Sharon.
You can see by the array of gifts all around that there was quite a bit of gifting and surprising for all. The best, though, is the strong friendship we all have. To say that this group is compatible would be an understatement. These girls are just the best and I am blessed beyond measure to count them as friends.

Coming up tomorrow, I will play hostess to another group of dear friends who are blessings in my life - The Frienzies are coming for a Christmas brunch.  (Yes, another one!) I have had a fun few days of finishing off some Christmas decorating; today is food-prepping day. We will have a similar menu and a gift exchange. Oh, I just love Christmas time!

I hope you are enjoying the many blessings of the Christmas season! I want to savor every moment!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mid-December Panic

Perhaps "panic" is too strong a word, but I do have something of a quandary on my hands. It occurs to me this early morning 13 days into the month that I ought to decide if I am going to continue blogging or not. My last post was on the first, and I really have not even had additional blog posts planned. Perhaps this is because I have really not been sewing very much. Instead, I have been focusing on finishing the fall semester at OUC, and getting ready for the holidays.

Some of the "getting ready for the holidays" has involved stitching. I pulled out all my little trees this year. These didn't make the cut last Christmas, but since we are hosting several "events" this month, I thought I'd go all out with the Christmas decorating. On one of the little trees, I planned to use my garland of homespun yoyos for a primitive look. I discovered that my 15-year-old garland was much shorter that I remembered, so I made more to add onto it. This is the extent of the sewing I have done this month - 40 more yoyos.

I cut out the circles and carried them (along with snippers, needle and thread) on a quick overnight to my brother-in-law's house last weekend. I am happy to report that I stitched them all, and attached them, too. Satisfying way to keep my hands busy during drive time and such.

The tree looks a bit lopsided in this photo, but I have not noticed that in person. Strange. Oh well, my little tree makes me happy with its twinkly lights, tiny bulbs and garland of yoyos. A simple tree, to be sure.

Here's a larger view of the corner in which it sits. The piano is from my mother's; we got it about 25 years ago when she moved into town. The Noel cross stitch on the wall is from over 35 years ago; I stitched it from a stamped pattern. The tree came from my Frienzie Kay when she and her husband moved (downsized) just a few years ago.

Tomorrow I have the first of my "events" - the Frankfort girls are coming for brunch and a Christmas gift exchange. If we happen to get around to stitching, well then, all the better! It will be a fun morning, for sure.

So, about this blogging thing. The long and the short of it is this: I am going to make a decision by the first of the year about whether or not to continue. I have not missed blogging this month. Is it time to move on? Do I just stop or take a break? (As if I haven't already taken a break!)

In previous stretches of time when I would fail to blog regularly, I always had a nagging guilty conscience that pushed me to post. That hasn't happened this time. I just haven't even thought about it.

Blogging has never seemed a chore to me. Lately, though, the time and the effort of keeping a blog  going has been more work than pleasure. That's not how it should be, to my way of thinking.

I definitely have some decisions to make. If I am going to continue, I want to do it right, give it the effort it deserves.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Hello December!

Here we are, folks! The end of the year, the first of December, and this month will just fly by as we are busy as can be.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, let's wrap up last month.

November was a month of family gatherings - three big one. The group in the top row is a group of cousins on Thanksgiving Day at my sister's house. The group in the middle row are my husband and his siblings. We were in Coshocton in the middle of the month for my father-in-law's funeral. Jim is pictured in the center photo. The two groups in the bottom are members of my mother's side of the family - her first cousins Dave, Steve and Scott (first picture) and her Uncle John, Aunt Nina, and another first cousin Marilyn (middle picture).

So that covers the family pictures. The quilting pictures show two flimsies - the Christmas panel quilt and the Chock Full O' Charms quilt, and then two stars I've just recently made. I am seriously entertaining a new year's goal of stars, stars, and more stars. We'll talk more about that as the month wears on.

So, let's see what I can accomplish this month. I doubt there'll be a whole lot of sewing, as we are hosting 3 different events here this month. With all the shopping, decorating, cooking, baking and wrapping, I will be busy enough. I can't forget the end the fall semester for my three comp classes. It'll be nice to have that off the radar for awhile.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

9.5" Ohio Star Blocks

I find myself in a curious spot at the moment in which I don't have any particular quilting deadlines to meet and no definite plan to start anything soon.

The hustle-bustle of Christmas is taking top priority along with finishing off the semester at OU-C.

Yesterday, I felt compelled to create a little something, though, so I secluded myself upstairs in my sewing room and came up with two Ohio Star blocks. I found a pattern that made a 9.5-inch block, and I knew it would come together quickly.

As is generally the case, the most difficult part is deciding which fabrics to use! The cutting is simple and only a few parts are necessary for this block.

Doing a star in Christmas colors was a no-brainer. I made the quarter-square triangle blocks with 4.5-inch squares (2 red, 1 green, 1 white) and I like how the resulting block turned out.

After finishing this block, I had the idea to make another Ohio Star, but use just two fabrics rather than three - just to see how it would look.

I'm calling this colorway 'Butterscotch" as it reminds me of those yummy Werther's hard candies. This look pleases me as much as the first. Ohio Star blocks are hard to be dissatisfied with, apparently.

I played around with a photo editing app on my phone and came up with the following pictures which show what an entire quilt of these blocks will look like. This is fun to do once a block picture has been cropped close.

I took the single block and made a 9x9 collage using an app called Layout (I use the free version for iPhone.). The photo below shows 81 stars. I did this by using the 9x9 photo in a new 9x9 collage. This allows me to get an idea of what a full size quilt of this block would look like. I sometimes cannot visualize the end result, so this helps immensely.

I did the same thing with the Christmas block. Check it out.

Doing this Christmas version reminded me of a quilt I made in 2015 that looks amazingly similar. See if you don't agree. The main difference is that the stars actually share points. I will have to pull this quilt out and measure the blocks. I am curious as to the size of the block parts and how it compares to what I made yesterday.

Now you know how I entertained myself for an afternoon. I'm pretty easily entertained, wouldn't you agree? Next, I must turn my attention to several dozen rough drafts which have found their way to my inbox. We are in the homestretch for this semester. Yay!

Happy Quilting, Friends!