Friday, December 31, 2021

Goodbye December and Goodbye 2021

I have taken a week off from blog posting, and I won't apologize for that. Since Christmas, it has been a week of resting, planning, and puttering. We've stayed up late; slept in; worked a puzzle; watched old movies; and spent a day antiquing.

I did feel compelled, however, to post one last time in 2021 - share my monthly round-up - wish everyone a happy new year - share some ideas for '22 - so here we go.

Top Row: December began with my hosting the Frienzies for a Christmas Brunch. Not all were able to attend, but those who did had a good time visiting, making candles, eating, and playing games. DH and I attended Immersive Van Gogh in Columbus. The quote says "There is nothing more truly satisfying that to love people." The exhibit was wonderful, and we hope similar shows come to Columbus soon. The final picture in the top row is my one finished flimsy of the month, Lunch Box Social. It was on my goals list for the year, so I am glad to report that finish.

Middle Row: We celebrated Christmas a week early with two of our three children. The girls came with their guys for brunch and a day of fun. Besides eating and gifting, my mom helped us make homemade noodles, and then the daughters made some candy treats using pretzels, Hershey Kisses and M&Ms.The center picture is a festive star block that I turned into a pillow. The daughters finish out the row; this picture was taken at the aforementioned Christmas.

Bottom Row: Making pillows was a theme for the month. This red and white checked pillow is made with red fabric found in my grandmother's quilting stash, and I gifted the pillow to dear friend and quilting pal, Sharon. The last picture shows the other star pillow, along with one I made years ago. In the middle of the bottom row is the 1000-piece puzzle I worked to completion in 2 days. I don't do puzzles often because when one is out, I do little else. 

Planning for 2022 has been paramount on my mind for several days. I definitely hope to do more on the long arm machine. That would be huge to get a big bunch of quilt tops turned into quilts this year. Another definite is to work on a few UFOs that I've accumulated around here. I have several I am determined to finish. Details in coming days. 

Have a safe New Year's Eve! We are off to celebrate with friends for the evening. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!


May the blessings of Christ's birth be with you today and always! 

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Peace on Earth! Goodwill toward men!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Gifting Another Pillow

I mentioned in earlier posts that some secret sewing was ongoing around here, and now I can share one more of those secrets with you. Yes, another pillow, and yes, I do like this method of using a flap to cover the zipper on the back. It is a really smooth process and results in a very attractive finish.

This is the second pillow of the same pattern. I made the blocks over a month ago just on a whim. Then I finished one for myself. The other block remained pinned up on the design wall waiting for me to come up with an idea for a finish. 

This one got a simpler treatment than the first with that small green border. Why make it hard? The block is the pretty part; borders need simply to enhance the block. So here it is.

The back was made using the checked fabric; the red dot was the flap. I used my last green zipper.

This pillow was gifted yesterday to my quilting friend Sharon O. of the Frankfort Girls. We had our Christmas breakfast and gift exchange yesterday. What a wonderful morning. Those girls are so very special.

Christmas Eve! Are you ready for the magical day?!? I have been prepping here today, and will be up early in the morning to get the turkey on by 6am! At 1pm, this house will be overflowing with around 20-25 family members for Christmas Dinner, potluck style. As hostess, I am providing turkey, noodles (see this post), mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce and blackberry cobbler. This house will smell heavenly, won't it?


Happy Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Gifting A Pillow

Yesterday, Sharon and I spent the day sewing, and we exchanged our Christmas gifts, too. I can finally share the gift I made for her.

I don't know if I've ever divulged this tidbit about my dear friend, but she loves red. Really loves red. One of the first quilts I ever saw her make about 25 years ago was a red and white Irish chain quilt. The most often-shared pictures between the two of us are red and white quilts. Last week we shared this picture from Instagram posted by our friend, Helen Philipps. That name may be familiar to you frequent readers. Helen has some history with us in providing inspiration. You may remember that her pretty little quilt inspired us to have our Spring Dreams Sew Along this past spring. And now she's inspired this last-minute gift.

So last week, while on the hunt for something else, I found a box of red fabric while searching through my grandmother's sewing stuff. I shared the pictures on IG, but not here. Now you all can see them.

Clearly labeled in a stationary box.

Large pieces with torn edges and 'fluff' - I'm guessing this was used in a Christmas display.

Completely full box. Old fabric; not top quality, but useful, nonetheless.

I knew instantly what my gift would be for Sharon. In fact, it was so perfect that surely some divine intervention occurred somewhere along the way.

I'd been in a bit of a quandary about what to give her. Our usual gifts are wine and fabric. We have both been faced with the reality of the folly of continuing to buy-buy-buy fabric, so I really didn't want to go that route. Discovering the red fabric instantly solved my dilemma. The fact that it was Grandma's fabric was extra special, because Grandma actually hand-quilted the red and white Irish chain for Sharon all those many years ago. I told you it was divine intervention. Full circle, I tell you! *smile*

Another bonus is that I am using fabric from my stash - previously Grandma's stash - and not buying more. I used some very vintage fabric in my Christmas tub for the backing. Remember in the 80s and 90s when vests were fashionable? I had a vest made of this fabric. The selvage indicated that I bought it at Joann Fabrics.

And, yes, wine was involved, too. I found the perfect wine bag while in Myrtle Beach on vacation back in September. It has our favorite refreshment motto on the front!

The secret Christmas sewing is done, and just about all have been gifted. Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Quilts In The Kitchen

Most every seamstress or quilter has a plethora of holiday pretties to sprinkle around the house, right? I have drawers and tubs and stacks of all manner of holiday items - pillows, table runners, coasters, quilts, throws, wall hangings, candle mats, and more.

Our kitchen island, above, which was the work center for the massive noodle making and candy production described in yesterday's post, normally looks like this, below.


And that table runner is one of the easiest, fastest you could ever make. Here's a link, if you want to give it a try. I made this one 3 or 4 years ago after seeing my quilting buddy Sheryll make about 20 of them for her sisters and sisters-in-law. As long as you have two complimenting fabrics, you can make this runner.

Of course, any holiday theme or event will work - I think one of red, white and blue would look fantastic on the picnic table this summer. And think of one for Easter or fall or birthday or well, you get the idea. A quick search of "15-minute table runner" on Pinterest will elicit numerous additional tutorials.

I'll probably be doing lots of brief little posts this week as I prep for the big day! Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 20, 2021

An Early Christmas Celebration

I've been missing for a few days and given the time of year, you can probably guess that we've been doing some Christmasing. We hosted our daughters and their guys along with my mother on Saturday for a festive brunch, gift-giving, and noodle-making.


So, if you'll indulge me, I will deviate from quilting content to share a few pictures from our day. I was remiss in recording the day, so I'm very grateful for smartphone photo-sharing.

The daughters are skilled at being hams in front of a camera. Here they strike a happy pose while making some holiday goodies. Emma, on the left, and her big sister Erin made some chocolate and pretzel bites. They are yummy!

A big plan for the afternoon was learning to make homemade noodles from our family's noodle master - my mother, Grandma Jeannie to the girls.

On Christmas Day, I am hosting the larger extended family for a big feast. Noodles will be on the menu, so we made enough for 25 with Mom's guidance. Erin and I are watching, listening and learning as she demonstrates how to recognize when the dough is ready to be rolled out.

Emma and her BF Glen had another batch going on the other end of the island, so Mom worked back and forth with us as we attempted to master this family favorite.

I did not have a picture of the noodles spread out on waxed paper to dry, but I have a partial look at them in this picture of the kids making the pretzel treats. 

So we had a wonderful day; the food - and drinks! - were good. The gifts were thoughtfully given and gratefully received - no pics! *Waahh!* I missed a wonderful opportunity for a picture of Mom with the quilt I recently made. My intent all along was to give it to Mom, and she definitely loved it. But not a picture. Good grief.

I never want these kinds of gatherings to end, but end they must. We won't get to see Erin and Jeff on Christmas as they will go to Jeff's family. Emma and Mom will be back. That celebration is going to be my major focus for this week. Preparing for 25 (+/-) will take some effort. And that means very little sewing or quilting. 

That's all good. I am pretty much done with my making for the holidays. If I do any stitching this week, it will be the cherry on top!

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Productive Day With Sharon

I fail so miserably when sewing with Sharon because I rarely remember to take pictures of her projects. I promise to do better.

I can, though, tell you that my sewing day yesterday was anything but a failure! My productivity topped the charts. And it has carried on into this morning, as well. 

I did finish the other Christmas Star, and other than to show how I  built it out to be bigger, I won't say more beyond that until after it has been gifted. Christmas secrets!

The other item on my list was to turn this old canvas feed sack into a tote bag. I have dragged my feet for far too long, and the reveal will also have to wait until after Christmas. But I did finish it, and am getting ready to deliver it later today. More Christmas secrets!

The other thing I worked on that was not on my radar at all, was to make a block with these leftover bits from my Cobalt Stars quilt. I think this could easily become a pillow cover.

Just piddling, at this point. I was more focused on what Kaffe quilts I would make in the new year, so I had books pulled as well as fabrics - dreaming and planning.

Short and sweet, and limited details today, I know. Christmas secrets!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Sewing Day!

It has been weeks since Sharon and I have had our sewing day. Maybe since before Thanksgiving?! 

Of course, family time and holidays always take precedence over sewing time, and between Sharon's family activities and my own, we just couldn't see our way clear to setting aside a day for stitching. Throw in the fact that I've been under the weather a bit, and it just wasn't to be.

As I consider my sewing options today, I can think of three directions I might go.

My first thought is to work with this Christmas star. I still have one block left over from my earlier effort in making a pillow for Christmas. I don't know if I will make another pillow, or maybe go in a different direction. But it is very likely that I will do something with this block.

A second option is to finish a UFO that could be a Christmas gift. I've not pictured it here because of it's potential as a gift. And you'll just have to wait until after the holidays to see it.

And my final option is to return to working on Temecula Baskets. I went great guns on it when I was making blocks. And now it's time to put the top together. I should not be dragging my feet on such straightforward work.  

 Which will win out? I guess I'll be back tomorrow to let you know!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Ohio Star Block Exchange

You've read here on many occasions about the incredible enjoyment I take in the group activities of the Frankfort Girls. In addition to our every other week meeting for coffee and stitching around the kitchen table, we often have additional sewing days, take occasional shopping trips and do fun block exchanges and sew-alongs.

We just completed a block exchange, perhaps our most ambitious one to date. We started with 9-patches, then advanced to Churn Dashes, and this time we did Ohio Stars. We try to keep the rules of the exchanges as simple as possible, naturally, and this time we had 3 basic guidelines: 1) dark background, neutral star; 2) 9-inch block; 3) generally reproduction-oriented fabrics.

I took my stack of blocks and spread them out on my cutting table to photograph the variety. They will make a gorgeous quilt, don't you think?


You may recall the post from a few weeks ago in which I detailed our gifting one finished Ohio Star quilt to Frankfort Girl Sharon. You can click back here. You'll also see her quilt. I plan to finish mine very similarly to hers. I think most of us are following suit. It's just so darn pretty in its straightforward simplicity.

I doubt I get to this before Christmas, and perhaps not even before the new year. If that's the case, you can be sure it will appear on the goals list for 2022.

Have a wonderful Monday! 

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Hosting the Frankfort Girls

On Friday morning, I played hostess to my sweet friends in our quilting group fondly referred to as The Frankfort Girls. I've explained in previous posts that over the years we have evolved from the point at which all the ladies were from Frankfort, but the name has stuck. The Frankfort-Kingston-Williamsport Girls just doesn't roll quite so easily off the tongue! 

One of our group was out of town, so six of us sat around the kitchen table, ostensibly to stitch. Truth be told, very few of us stitched this time around. I did a bit of hand quilting, and maybe one or two others stitched a bit - most of the morning was spent simply visiting and catching up with one another. 

Terry had a fantastic show and tell for us - and seasonally perfect, too. She'd spent a good bit of time embroidering these nutcrackers. At some point she sewed this top together and had a friend in her guild do some custom quilting on it. It looks so good! I recommend clicking on each picture to zoom in on the details. Such beautiful work!

I am eager to see where Terry displays this in her home. She always does such a good job with decorating, so I know she has a place all planned out for it.

The only other show and tell was mine, and it was on the table at which we gathered. The quilt made out of two partial French General jelly rolls served as my table cloth. I talked about quilting it here.

This picture shows off the diagonal chains quite nicely. When I was making it, my one true goal was to figure out a way to have red chains going one direction and light chains going the other. It appears that mostly my goal was achieved, doesn't it? This is a pattern I sorta' just made up, so it feels pretty good to have it work out successfully.

The last time we Frankfort Girls were together, we traded our Ohio Star blocks, and gifted Sharon O. the surprise quilt we made for her. That gifting part has already been shared, but I have yet to show you my glorious collection of blocks! I will share them in my next post.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Checking on Those Goals

In all the years I have made a goals list, 2021 is promising to be the first in which I have made the most progress. This is a very satisfying statement to make, I tell ya!

The list is becoming quite marked up. Since I've made significant progress, I suppose that is to be expected. In previous years of minimal progress, no marking up of the list was necessary. Go figure...

Today, I want to address items 13 and 14, which are marked with special symbols above. (Keeping all the symbols straight is another thing that's never concerned me!)

Item 13, Scrappy Trip Around the World is likely not going to be done, but I did another scrappy quilt that will serve as a substitute -- Scrappy Irish Chain, which I worked on in July and August. Here is a link and a repeat picture below.

Scrappy Irish Chain was a labor-intense project, and I have to think that had I done Scrappy Trip Around the World, it would have been equally intense. I have no qualms whatsoever in swapping these two out on my goals list, and counting it as a goal achieved. 

It does mean, however, that Scrappy Trip Around the World will be in the list for 2022. Here's just one inspiration pic I'm ogling. There are gajillions on Pinterest. Click on the picture to be taken to the source.


Perusing Pinterest will elicit many "looks" for this quilt, and this one in particular appeals to me because it is controlled in the coloring. Rather than to throw every color of the rainbow in, I like that this one employs the calm, cool colors in the blue-green spectrum. I don't know if I am destined for a blue-green quilt, but I am going to try to be deliberate in my "look" - something I don't really do very well.

Now, move on to item 14, which is my latest flimsy finish (see yesterday's post). It still hangs on my design wall, but could very easily be quilted before the end of the year. It is small - about 42" square - and would be super-duper fast. I have plenty of my brown/pink fabric left for the binding, so I'm set. 

While I am speaking of the 2021 goals, let me just say that the two items left - 6 and 9 - are in serious jeopardy of NOT being started. Phhshaw. 

In all honesty, #6 Great Granny Squares will look a lot like the quilt above, Scrappy Trip Around the World. And, # 9 Little Orphan Scrappy just ended up being too daunting for me to think about this year. I still love it; I've bought the pattern; I will likely make another attempt in the new year.

That final item on the list - quilting 2 quilts per month - is still a work in progress, but looks like I will fall short of the goal. So far this calendar year I have done 16, and while they have mostly been smallish quilts, a few were big whoppers, so I have stretched my comfort zone, for sure.

And that is all the updating I have for you today.

Happy Quilting, Friends!