Sunday, January 31, 2016


How did I do?

It's the end of the month and time to assess how I did on my One Monthly Goal (OMG). To recap:

  • Finish assembly of yellow/gray pineapple top, make back, take to LAQ, name and label.
Yellow/gray exploding pineapple -- needs a name
Well, I finished the top, sort of ...

Un-named Pineapple Finished, sort of, still un-named
I am not happy with the corner blocks in the border. I didn't get a photo but they are a simple square in a square -- very large and klunky compared to the pineapple blocks. I have enough fabric to make some more pineapple blocks for the corners and I think that would make me happier. So it could be called a finish, but ....

The second hiccup is that adding the wide borders caused me to run short of what I planned to use for the back. I will be stopping at Whittle's next month on my way to a retreat so I can take care of the back situation and also replace the corners at the retreat.

The bottom line for OMG: it definitely helped me to have one finite goal for the month and I will not beat myself up for not reaching the total goal.

I will be reporting in with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts. Pop in and see how other quilters did with their One Monthly Goals.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wrapping up the Blues

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016 - January

The color was blue, the challenge met

Seven Twinkle Stars for the column-along ...

Two of Seven Twinkle Stars
... with only one blooper ...

Oops -- fixed later
... a bin of tiny 4-patches ...

4" 4-patches

... a HUGE stack of string blocks, both dark and light ...

String blocks
... and note the strip of sashing on the right from some 1-1/2" leftovers.

In the process I pulled out a UFO, also blue

Smith Mountain Morning
For my first time participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I did OK.

Reporting in with Angela at So Scrappy.

Friday, January 29, 2016


Plan B

A little over a year ago my husband and I purchased a couple of acres in a lakeside subdivision south of Knoxville with the intention of building our "dream home."

Big Dreams
Being an architect, my husbnd was wise enough to check out the architectural guidelines because he had some very specific design ideas that wouldn't fly just anywhere. With a little adjustment in his plan we found the guidelines acceptable so we proceeded with the purchase. He began drawing.

Now we have been informed that the guidelines have changed and our minimalist roof slope will not be acceptable. What is most irritating is that my husband volunteered to serve on the architectural review committee but was never given an opportunity to voice an opinion on this change. Even if the powers that be (and that's the problem with most HOAs) reversed the decision, we have such a bad taste in our mouths that we have no desire to continue at that location.

So this weekend we're off to look at some properties further east.

Needless to say the last couple of days have been spent poring over multiple listings and nothing has been accomplished in the sewing room. Wish us luck!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blue Monday

What's Wrong With This Picture?


Blue is the January color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge so, confined indoors by the snow,  I decided to work on a few more Twinkler Stars for Angela's Column-Along. I looked under every pile on my cutting table, between strips in the blue box, under the ironing board, on the floor under the sewing machine -- that fourth 3-1/2" background square was nowhere to be found and I had no more of that particular fabric to cut a new one.

A solution!
BUT, I did have a 2" strip, so I cut two 3-5/8" chunks ....

It barely shows
... stitched them together along the long side with a scant 1/4" seam, and trimmed to size.

Voila! A complete block!  Despite my recent rants about Tri-Recs units (the dark points) I think I have finally mastered the process. I'll share my tips in a future post.

In my quest for fabric to finish the corner I even searched in the Smith Mountain Morning project box(es). I haven't touched this project since I took the class from Bonnie Hunter at Mountain Quiltfest two or three years ago.

This is it!
I found it woefully incomplete with far too many blue and brown fabrics tied up in limboland. So I decided to spend today cutting what I need to complete it and then I can file the fabrics back in their appropriate containers.

Smith Mountain Morning, from Scraps and Shirttails by Bonnie Hunter, is what's on my design wall today.  Oh, and did you notice what the star points are made from? Yep, more Tri-Recs! I will NOT be deterred. I might even finish the border on Celtic Solstice ......

Take a peak at other design walls at Patchwork Times.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Life in Black and White

Snow Day!

3 Inches at  9 a.m

Heavy snow on Japanese maple

Garden angel
Rhoddy through the screen
Final measurement -- 6 inches.  The most snow since 2003 (last year was mostly ice).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let the Fun Begin!

Cleanin' and Organizin'

Stage 1 -- Inventory the unquilted tops. This included measuring, photographing, noting if back and/or binding had been prepared, and starting a spreadsheet to track.

First 20 of the unquilted tops
Altogether I counted over 30!!! A few I plan to keep for myself, including one that my husband admired as I had it spread out on the dining room table to measure. The rest will probably go to charity. I know one local guild needs to replenish its supply of bed-size charity quilts. Some would be appropriate for wheelchairs and a couple are crib size. I am amazed at how much floor space has appeared throughout the house!

Stage 2 - Organize/reorganize the stash.  One of my blog friends (sorry, I don't recall exactly who) mentioned that she is making string blocks (among other things) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. That became my next organizational task -- do something with the enormous pile of strings (wish I had thought to photograph it) that had accumulated over the last 6 months. First I pulled out all the blue strings (January's color); the rest went into a large plastic tub, but not before I went through a second large tub of scraps looking for anything thin and blue. I also took that opportunity to pull out strings of other colors to go into the string bin.

String blocks and a string border
The studio is already looking neater after I made about thirty 6-1/2" string blocks, a length of 2" wide sashing/border, and about sixty 2" 4-patch units.

Itty-bitty 4-patches
Even my light squares came from the blue pile!! In the end I had a few strips that could go in labeled strip drawers and a few chunks that could go in the blue scrap box. And the surface next to my machine is clear ... for now!

I think this much progress is whoop-worthy so I'm linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I'm Back!

Retreatin' and Meetin'

As I suspected, I was not able to connect to the internet last week at Rock Island State Park. Oh, well, there was nothing earth-shaking to report, anyway.

The yellow/gray exploding pineapple that was supposed to be finished on Day 1, took the better part of two days.

Exploding Pineapple
All I had to do was insert the sashing between the rows and add the borders. But it's a big quilt and I had to fussy-cut the sashing and make sure the blocks lined up. I'm sure eating and visiting with our neighbors had nothing to do with the time it took ....

It came out to be a nice queen size (I borrowed The Queen's bed -- only one in the cabin -- for this photo shoot). I'm not totally happy with the cornerstones in the border (not shown) -- they're kinda klunky -- so I may rework them. I'll put the back together this week and this will probably be the next thing to go to the LAQ.

With the time left in Day 2, I tried working on RSC16 Twinkler Stars for the column-along, however my Tri-Recs (a/k/a Peaky and Spike, a/k/a V-Block) units were coming out 1/8" too narrow. (Sorry, I forgot to photograph.) I could probably fudge the difference in the seam allowance but I was just so annoyed that despite my careful attention to detail they were not accurate. They NEVER are!!! Am I the only one who despises them???

So I shifted my attention to the borders on Celtic Solstice. (Another lost photo op.) Turns out if I used the narrow light inner border that the pattern called for, the pieced borders would be a block short. I had enough extra fabric to make more blocks but guess what? That pieced border is made from Tri-Recs units and I just wasn't in the mood -- wonder why .....

I decided on Day 3 to start something new. All the pieces for Starfall were cut at Diana's New Year house party so it should have been easy-peasy.  Two days later I had only finished 3/4 of the blocks. Granted, I started with the largest and most complex ....

Starfall - a sampling of Blocks C-A

The remaining stars have wonky star points so they should go quickly. All the mis-matched size blocks go together with filler rectangles. That one dark grey in the center is not really that dark in real life.

It was a somewhat productive week but, in the end, Geese on the Move never saw the light of day ...

I'm not complaining. It was a wonderful week with great friends. The weather was perfect (and cold). And I was able to get away from the pressures at home for a bit. (MIL is still holding her own, BTW.)

Saturday was a sew-day at the modern guild meeting. I worked on a name tag which I will share with you in another post.

Four weeks coming up with very little on the calendar. Maybe it's time to do some cleaning and organizing in the sewing room ....

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Retreat Time

Rock Island, Rock On!

This will be my eleventh year -- or is it 12? -- hosting a small quilt retreat at Rock Island State Park near McMinnville, TN.

Rock Island 2010
There will be 8 or 9 of us in two cabins.  Lots of running back and forth, I'm sure. I wrote about what I plan to accomplish here.

The park is in a remote area with very limited cell service. Last year they were installing WiFi so I might be able to file daily reports. But if you don't hear anything from me for a week, just know I'm having a grand time!

Thursday, January 7, 2016


... it's about time

I'm finally putting fingers to keyboard while thinking about quilting plans for 2016.
  • My first goal is to only set monthly goals -- eat the elephant one bite at a time, as they say. In the past I have set grand goals for the entire year, only to find my attention diverted or my circumstances changed and the goals are either unattainable or immaterial.  
Heidi at Red Letter Quilts  has issued the OMG challenge (One Monthly Goal) with a linkup at the beginning of the month where I can state my goal and a linkup at the end of the month to report my progress.
  • Related to OMG, a second activity will involve stash reduction. I want to take some time each month to re-evaluate, reorganize, and reduce the amount of fabric I have. The more I use, the less I'll have to pack when we move! 
Circumstances here with the Queen Mother have not changed (thanks to all who have sent encouraging messages and offered prayers), so we'll remain here for a while longer. The new house is still in the design stage, but the Main Man can work on that anywhere we live and we certainly want to be in East Tennessee when construction begins.
  • Also related to OMG, I want to address UFOs without setting a particular overall goal for completion. One or two might pop up in a monthly goal from time to time, but I refuse to feel guilty if my children inherit some partially finished projects! However, I will attempt to do something with them, even if it means passing them on to others or completely trashing.
I have recently reduced the number of boxes containing "someday" projects by returning uncut fabric to the shelves. If I ever decide to make those quilts, it might involve some shopping ..... just sayin' ...
  • My major goal for the year is to update and improve my blog -- basically freshen it up, add some of my personality to the template, index/tag my posts, and figure out how to do pages. I also want to devote semi-regular times to writing. 
Ideally this will also manifest itself in more participation with new linkups, thus reaching a new audience of potential friends. I can't tell you how special my blog relationships are to me.

  • Finish assembly of yellow/gray pineapple top, make back, take to LAQ, name and label.
Yellow/gray exploding pineapple -- needs a name
 Heidi said we could only have one goal, so that's it. However, I also plan to:
  • Finish blocks for Geese on the Move, look for appropriate setting/sashing fabric.
  • Make 6-8 blue Twinkler Stars for the column-along that Angela at So Scrappy is hosting as part of Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016.
Waiting to become Twinkler Stars

  •  Put borders on Celtic Solstice

Celtic Solstice - Bonnie Hunter mystery 2014
  • Start working on Starfall
Starfall - needs a name
I know this sounds ambitious, but I'll be heading out to my annual Rock Island Retreat next week with four whole days (and some nights) devoted to nothing but sewing ... and eating ... and walking ... and eating ... 

Hop over to Red Letter Quilts and see what others are working on this month.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Things that make us smile

Two of my favorite girls
snuggled under the Christmas gift quilt ...

DIL and CG watching Supergirl
No, Supergirl is not one of them -- There's a little head tucked on the other side of mom ...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

House Party!

I could live here ...

It was my first visit to friend Diana's house (which is stunning, BTW), but take a peak at her studio! 

With a full bath and small kitchenette area, I could stay forever!

Spacious cutting table
I spent two days standing at the cutting table, prepping for the January Rainbow Scrap Challenge (blue) ...

and cutting pieces for a new quilt (Starfall).

The year is starting to take shape already.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Feeling like a slug ...

... waiting for the other shoe to fall ...

It seems like the entire blogging world is reviewing their years, reminiscing on their most successful blog posts, and setting goals for 2016, while I sit here, moving as slowly as a slug, trying to be motivated, but kinda numb instead.

My mother-in-law, whom we lovingly refer to as the Queen Mother, has been declining in the last few weeks and we have finally enlisted the aid of Alive Hospice to help us through this time. Known for her stubborn determination (a/k/a Eveready Bunny), she could hang on for quite a bit longer, but we can finally see what the future holds for her. Our goal is to keep her comfortable, free from pain.

And while I'm not directly related, nor the primary caregiver, I feel helpless, not knowing what to do. Can I cook with gas while she's on oxygen ... what hair care products can  we use ... what does that cough mean ... silly stuff we take for granted under ordinary circumstances.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

However, it IS January 1, a new year extends in front of me, and so today I intentionally turned to quilting for both comfort and motivation.  I actually have two new projects in the works!

First is a class sample to accompany a proposal for Fall Quilt Camp at Cedar Lakes 2016.  I am working up a class from blogger Jan Ochterbeck's book Cut and Shuffle Quilts.

She presents such a fun concept of starting with a simple framed block, the Block Mama, and then cutting it into 9 pieces which can be turned and shuffled and repositioned into several new and exciting block designs.

Positivity in progress, using the Plus Block
Second, I have decided to not only participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016, hosted by Angela at SoScrappy, but I will be doing her column-quilt-along in addition to other random scrap blocks in the color of the month. I have an ulterior motive in doing the column quilt-along as it will become a class sample for another Quilt Camp proposal on strippy quilts.

My friend Diana invited the S'mores to a house party at her new home and studio when her husband decided to go hunting this weekend. Oh, what trouble we can get into! I spent a good portion of today cutting up my blue scraps, the January color for RSC2016. I just went for the day since I will be cooking breakfast for the homeless Saturday morning, but I plan to go back and get another project cut for an upcoming retreat.

Maybe the mojo is coming back ...

I do have a few goals in mind for the year which I will share in future posts.

My wish for all ...
A Joyous New Year