Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday

Super Blue Blood Red Moon

Super, because the moon is so close to the earth
Blue, because it's the second full moon in the month of January
Blood Red, because of the effect as it passes through the earth's shadow

As the eclipse is beginning.

Halfway into eclipse
I'd show you the full eclipse, but there's nothing to see ... 
Full Eclipse ... get it?

Unfortunately, telephoto opens the lens to too much light and the red doesn't show. 
 Just take my word for it, the red glow was real!
Faint, but real.

# # #

On a totally unrelated note, Mr. Hillside and I are taking a big step today.
Hoping to have big news for you soon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday

Tracks in the snow

January 18, 2018
On the back-front stoop, about 5 feet from the door
I haven't been able to identify them, but based on the deer tracks going through the deeper snow on the walkway I'm thinking maybe a baby deer.  Still kinda creepy and exciting at the same time, having wildlife so close to the house.  I guess it's time to make sure the raccoons haven't returned to the eaves ...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Thoughts from the Throne

We have a little 31" x 12" transom window in the master bathroom which, in most cases, would not be an issue.  But the bathroom faces up a very steep hill and, in the rare case someone might be wandering on the hill, the wanderer COULD see in.  (Don't scoff; it DID happen the day the dead deer fell on the wall -- another story for another time.)  Mr. Hillside suggested I make some kind of covering.

Hmm .... if I only had some fabric ...

As I was "meditating" in the WC one day last week, I looked up and a vision passed before my eyes.

Bathroom Wall
That rusty rose fabric I used for sashing in Grand Mess is exactly the same color as the bathroom walls!

A little sketch on a piece of paper and a few stitches later I had this:

Transom Window Covering

Where do you do your most thoughtful reflecting?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Empty Box ...

... Finished Flimsy!

At the rate I'm going, my 2018 project list that I posted earlier this week could be finished in the first quarter!

That list included four unfinished Bonnie Hunter mysteries.  Since the machine I've been using for "On Ringo Lake" is still in the back of my van, I decided to break out the ole Pfaff and work on Grand Illusion.  I had already upcycled the pieced sashing from that one into another quilt so the first order of business was to find a sashing fabric.

I settled on this rusty rose; probably not the perfect choice but it was one of the colors I used in the piecing, I had it on hand, and I had plenty of it.  I bordered the center blocks with the constant polka-dot I had used in the blocks.

Voila! Now it is a flimsy!  Check one off my list.

Grand Mess (a/k/a Grand Illusion)
I also knocked out 8 more blue geese for Loosey Goosey, one of my new Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for 2018 ...

... and I now have my first completed strip!

It doesn't show up very well in the closeup photo, but I'm using a light blue print as the background for the blue geese.  My plan is to use a similar light print for each of the other colors this year.  Since light color is something I don't seem to have a lot of, I thought I could make a list for some "purposeful" shopping throughout the year.  Well, guess what!

Loosey Goosey background squares
I was able to find something in my stash for EVERY color on this year's list!!  Background cut and ready for the rest of the year.

Hop over to Confessions of a Fabric Addict to see what other quilters are whooping about today.

Joining the link for Scrap Happy Saturday.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Coming up with a plan

Everybody's doin' it

OK, I give!  I see these plans to bust scraps and wrap up UFOs all over the blogosphere and I feel a twinge of guilt.  Not because I don't have any of these issues, but because I tend to turn a blind eye to the obvious.

Knowing (or at least hoping) that I will need to pack up my sewing room in the very near future, I'm doing my best to do some cleaning. sorting, and organizing while the snow keeps me captive on this hill.  It's time to make a plan for 2018.

  1. Sunrise on Radnor Lake (a/k/a On Ringo Lake) - Piece 6 blocks, sash, and border
  2. Long Time Gone - Finish blocks, assemble
  3. Gypsy Wife - Finish blocks, assemble
  4. Celtic Solstice - Trim inner border, add pieced border, maybe final border
  5. En Provence - Add corners, maybe final border
  6. Grand Illusion - Sash blocks, border
  7. Eventide - Make more small stars, assemble
  8. Star Fall - Assemble, add bright filler strips
  9. Sunflower Braid - Assemble
  10. Tropicana - Assemble leftover blocks
  11. Top Notch Diamonds - Finish blocks, assemble
  12. Christmas Runners - Hmm ...
You can see that most of these projects are at, or close to, the final stage of construction so this list should be manageable.  Of all these projects, Sunflower Braid is by far the oldest; it dates back to my "Yellow Phase."

Every quilter has to have a few new things to look forward to, don't you think?  So this is what I am anticipating:

New Projects
  1. Goose is Loose - Rainbow Scrap Challenge strippy quilt
  2. Zig-Zag CCDs - Another RSC project using my chunky churn dash blocks
  3. Sage Project - Intrigued by this color on the RSC list, I pulled a collection of fabrics 
  4. Mystery Quilt - A quickie mystery I'm planning for March if I can learn to set up a linky
  5. Wedding quilt - GS-2 is getting married in August! I'm hoping they will choose an existing quilt but I want it to be something they will use so I may have to start something new.

So that's it - my public declaration.  I'm counting on youall to hold me accountable.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Scrappy Saturday #2

Great day to stay in

Garden Angel - my weather prognosticator
We actually have it a lot better than other areas in the mid-state.  It started raining early Friday morning and by 9 it was turning to ice.  There was a hole in the cloud cover, the rain stopped.  In the afternoon I looked out the window and a very fine snow was falling.  So fine that we only got a dusting; 40 miles to the north and west got 4-5 inches.  A few more flakes fell this morning and now the sun is trying to come out, but the temp will not be above freezing today so my Weather Angel told me to stay in and work on my blue scraps.

At my Rock Island Retreat this week I started my first column of Goose is Loose in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) color of the month - light to medium blue.  Learn more about RSC here.

Blue Goose is Loose
The strip finishes 6" wide and each goose 2" high. There are 28 geese in this strip; my goal is to have 36 so that each strip is 72" long.  With all 10 monthly colors, I will have a nice 60 x 72 quilt top.  This project was inspired by Sandra (Musings of a Menopausal Melon) who did it for the 2016 RSC.  You can see her flimsy here.

Thanks for all the positive comments I've received so far!  Several have asked for more information on the pattern so here is my source:

This is a self-published manual so not available on Amazon.  Cindy Williams (not the actress) vends at several shows in the Southeast; I picked mine up at the Mountain QuiltFest in Pigeon Forge in 2017.  You can find more about Cindy on Facebook here.  What I love about this manual is Cindy has lots of quick piecing tips and has taken the math mystery out of several frequently-used shapes, including the kite on the cover.  She really is The Math Whisperer!

Linking up with RSC Week #2 at soscrappy

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Retreat Day Four

Over too soon

On Sunday afternoon it seems like we have forever in front of us then, suddenly, it's Thursday afternoon.

This morning I sorted through all my Gypsy Wife detritus, pulling out large scraps and sorta big scraps.  Everything else was piled into my neutral bin and into the car it went.  It was time to start on the Goose is Loose for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.   Here it is with 28 geese ... and an oar.

I will probably add a few more geese cut from yardage when I get home.  I managed to screw up the cutting, much as I've done everything else on this outing, but was able to salvage the geese thanks to my father insisting I take geometry in high school!

Bad weather is moving into middle TN overnight and my DH is anxious for me to get home so I will be leaving right after dinner ... and after we put all the furniture back in position.  Time to get packin'.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Retreat Day Three

A Little Headway

While I am still struggling -- mainly trying to settle on a process -- with "Gypsy Wife," I did make a little progress today.

GW Section 1
Section 1 was completed this morning.  And a bit of progress was made on Section 2 this afternoon.

GW Section 2 partial
Sorry about the crappy lighting in my photos; the options are limited, to say the least. 

By late in the afternoon I came to the conclusion that I really need to work on this where I can spread out (and not have to clear the kitchen counter every time there is a meal).  Also, a design wall would be very helpful in keeping track of the placement of the vertical strips and since the park has "thoughtfully screwed" photos and objects to the walls, that limits design wall locations.

My biggest frustration has nothing to do with the pattern.   Many of the blocks I made several months ago won't fit into the  template of the pattern so I am having to enlarge or "ensmall" them.  Anyway, enough excuses!  I will finish this when I get home.  I am not going to let it languish.

The one thing, the one significant thing I can say about working with Jen Kingwell's patterns is that they have opened my eyes to the ways disparate blocks can be put together into a unified whole.  I am not sorry I started on this journey.

However, tomorrow I will be working on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for January.  After dinner tonight I cut squares to make a Goose is Loose strip in BLUE.

Some Chunky Churn Dashes could make an appearance, too!  Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Retreat Day Two

Not much to show

One of the kids gave me Jen Kingwell's "Gypsy Wife" for Christmas and I decided this retreat was the perfect opportunity to get down and dirty with it.  This is the sum total of my progress:

Gypsy Wife Blocks
And to be honest, at least half of those blocks were made a couple of months ago when I spent a week in Savannah with my SIL (and when I thought I could make it without a pattern -- ha!).

I had started "Long Time Gone" back in the summer and had no problems with that Kingwell pattern.  But GW is giving me fits!  I know a lot of it is my eyesight, not being able to distinguish some of the numbers in the tiny gray print. (Forget that I misread the corned beef recipe yesterday and left out the vegetables.)  And I'm sure the distractions of the retreat aren't helping, either!  But add in the fact that almost every block in GW is different, and the instructions are mostly written (rather than graphic), and some blocks build on previous blocks (but with different dimensions) ...

Just know I'm frustrated, but determined to forge on.  Well, I really don't have much choice since this is the only other project I brought with me!  I'm going to put up a design wall tomorrow and get serious about Gypsy Wife.  You'll have to check back to see how I hold up.  My blue scrap bin may make an appearance.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Retreat Day One

Mission Accomplished

The good news -- since we were here last year the park has installed WiFi for the cabins!  (Still no cell service in the holler, though.)  Sew I am able to provide daily reports. 

After getting settled in Sunday evening, I got one border on Scrap Jar Stars before I crashed into bed.  Finishing it up was my first order of business this morning and it didn't take long before I was done.

I'm not sure I'm 100% pleased with my border choice, but at least the edges are stabililzed.

Next on the agenda -- assembling the second picnic quilt for the grandsons.

Picnic Quilt #2
OK, on to the Big One:  Gypsy Wife.  The rest of Monday was spent cutting 1-1/2" strips from some of  the larger chunks of fabric in my collection before I start cutting them up for the blocks.

Settling in now to watch the college championship -- Go DAWGS!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rock Island

Rock On

It's time for my annual retreat at Rock Island State Park in McMinnville, TN.  If my memory hasn't failed me (yet), this will be our 15th year.  Only two of us have attended all 15 years.

Rock Island 2010
I started this retreat the first year our state park system offered a BOGO on cabins during the winter season.  I looked for the least expensive which thankfully was in a reasonable driving distance.  Turns out they were also the most modern cabins (at that time) in the whole park system.  We are able to sleep 5, each in her own bed.  We move all the furniture out of the great room and set up our Sew-Ezi tables.  We each take turns with a main meal or lunches; we don't go hungry!

Sew, what do I plan to work on?  First up will be putting the borders on last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge finish, Scrap Jar Stars.

Scrap Jar Stars
Next I want to assemble the second picnic quilt made from my grandsons' plaid and striped shirts.

Picnic Quilt
The rest of my time will be devoted to Gypsy Wife.

Gypsy Wife blocks
 I started making my own neutral version in August based on photos I'd seen on-line but I started to feel overwhelmed with how to put it together.  Now that I am blessed with an actual pattern as a Christmas Present, I'm going to use it as my starting point.  I have already made a variety of blocks in various sizes.

And if I get tired of that or hit a snag, I will take along my blue scrap bin to start working on my RSC18 blocks for January.

All of this to say I will be out of touch with the world for most of the week.  I'll do my best to catch up reading blogs and responding to comments as soon as I get home.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018

Week One

Angela at soscrappy announced the color for January on the first day of the month -- BLUE!  She suggested we grab from the lighter shades of our blue scraps and save the darkest ones for later in the year.

Blue Scrap Bin
A quick glance into my blue scrap bin reveals lots of options for my planned projects.  "What planned projects?" you say.  First, I will continue making chunky churn dash blocks that I started in 2017.

Chunky Churn Dash
These little gems finish at 6" so it will take a lot to make a decent sized quilts.  I don't know who to credit the block design to; I picked it up from other bloggers who were making them. (Thanks, Cathy, for pointing out it's a free Bonnie Hunter pattern)

A new project this year is The Goose is Loose, design is by Cindy Williams, a/k/a The Math Whisperer.  In her book Wait ... What?, a book of quick piecing techniques, she has a chart with cutting dimensions for a range of sizes.  So helpful.

Another blogger used this design to make RSC columns last year. Wish I could remember who. (If you recognized yourself, please let me know so I can properly credit the inspiration.)    (Thanks, Diann, it was Sandra at and it was 2016.)   I am making my columns 6" wide; the geese will be 2" high.  My goal is to make 36 units for each column.  Cindy's technique makes two at a time so it should go quickly.

And finally, I want to participate in "Squared Away," the 2018 RSC Sampler.  Angela and Mari at The Academic Quilter will introduce a new block each month.

Mari's Red Cross in blue
 I love 5x5 grid blocks.  To make things work with my previously-cut strips, I am going to be making 10" blocks.

To learn more about the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hop over to soscrappy.

Friday, January 5, 2018


On Radnor Lake

I have been playing along with Bonnie Hunter's mystery "On Ringo Lake."  Her final setting can be seen HERE.  It is absolutely stunning, but more work than I want to invest right now.  The last thing I need is yet another unfinished mystery to go with the three I have from previous years.  So I've decided to simplify things.

From the beginning I had planned to make half the number of units which would have resulted in 25 blocks.  I also decided to use a limited number of fabrics rather than dig through a bunch of scraps cutting a few bits from each.

As the clues were released each week, I anticipated that parts would be used in groups of four so I made my units in sets of 4.

When I tried to guess what the block would look like, I came up with this arrangement:

Well, I was wrong, but I like this block.  So this is what I am working with.  You may be able to see that each fabric is the same within the block; however, each block will be different than the next.

As of this morning I have 14 of 20 blocks assembled for a 4x5 setting.

I will use the neutral fabric as sashing with aqua/brown cornerstones.

Cornerstone fabric
AND I found the perfect border fabric in my stash of batiks!

I can't decide, though, if this a sunrise or a sunset.  What do you think?  (forget that it looks like a sunflower)  Radnor Lake is a local state park so the quilt will be either "Sunrise on Radnor Lake" or "Sunset on Radnor Lake."

To be so close to a finish on a Bonnie Hunter mystery less than two weeks after the final reveal is definitely whoop-worthy.  I'm linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Super Moon

Welcome 2018

Super Moon
So bright it lit up the bedroom at 4:30 when I awoke.  That second moon is a reflection in the kitchen window, kinda surreal.  It's 5 degrees this morning, -10 windchill.  Good day to stay inside and work on my plans for 2018.

Another look ...

Monday, January 1, 2018

On Ringo Lake

Nearing the finish line

In recent years Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville's Quips and Snips has hosted a mystery quilt-along in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.  I really had not planned to participate this year, but when I saw the colors for "On Ringo Lake" -- coral, aqua, and brown -- I couldn't resist.  Besides, it's always fun to feel like you are a part of a larger quilting community when so many other quilters are working on the same project.

I started falling behind with the weekly clues at Clue 3 due to activities here at the house that restricted access to my sewing room.  Now we're in the Rapid Fire finish stage.  Clue 6 was released on Friday, Clue 7 on Saturday, and Sunday's Clue 8 revealed the block construction.  So I spent the weekend in the basement trying to catch up.

Sunset on Radnor Lake (a/k/a On Ringo Lake)
I came up with this alternate block construction while messing with the layout on my design wall and I like it.  Now that the final setting has been revealed, I believe I will continue with this block construction and a simpler setting.

I still have quite a few units to make.  I haven't made the diamonds and may skip them altogether.  Or use them in a border.