Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Doldrums

I've been absent, I know, but I didn't realize it's been almost a month since I last posted.  Life has been piling on to the point I didn't feel like saying much.  

I mentioned in an earlier post about the cloud no longer accepting my photos.  No sooner had I gotten that situation resolved than I learned my computer memory is nearly full.  So my sweet husband purchased this external drive to store my photos and other stuff I don't need daily access to.

(Don't you love my cool mousepad?)

Then I got a message on my phone that the memory is nearly full!  Thinking the daily dose of great-grandbaby photos might have something to do with that, I asked my techy son and he advised that I should check my phone storage in settings because that message could have been spam.  Indeed, I have only used 1/3 of my available space!

But, really, things have been going downhill since late April when I developed a severe pain in my left side.  I was so convinced that it was a gastro-intestinal issue that I was actually looking forward to the dreaded colonoscopy at the end of July!  Not only was there no GI issue, but I had complications from the procedure and spent nearly two days in the hospital.  The upside of this is I lost 10 pounds! And I'm doing my level best not to put the pounds back on.  

The consensus of the medical community is my problem is in my back.  Medicare won't pay for an MRI until I go through PT.  And while I was considering whether I wanted anyone messing with my back when we don't know exactly where the problem lies, I came down with Covid (along with almost our entire small church congregation).  Yes, we've all been vaccinated and boosted so fortunately most of us only had a mild case of whatever variant is going around here.  

And while down with Covid I developed tooth pain, probably not related.  The upside is I now have a new local dentist -- no more 2-hour drives back to Nashville.

I was able to get a few things accomplished in the sewing room with what little energy I could muster.  

All of the Christmas Cross blocks are finished and the strippy columns are ready to be joined together this week at Devo and Sew.

I also stitched the Zinnia blocks into columns.

After a good pressing, the columns will go together soon.  As is, it's about square so I'm debating if I want to add borders and, if so, how big?  

The big push right now is preparation and packing for Quilt Camp class in a little more than a week.  I have all the students' kits ready to go.  Now I need to make sure I have all my supplies, plus a project of my own to work on while I'm proctoring the Studio on the last two days.  There will be three of us going in my van, so we need to pack efficiently.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Weeks in Review

 Now that my photos have returned from the cloud, I will try to catch you up on the last couple weeks.

Devo and Sew - Several finished Log Cabin Star tabletoppers were shown.  I am so proud of my students!

These gals were my test group for a class I will be teaching at Quilt Camp at Cedar Lake next month.  Some have even been quilted already.

The Mamma Would Be Proud - No more monochrome plates at Chez Smith!

Remember the heated seats I didn't know I had?  Look what I discovered last week:

Yep, a sunroof!  And it's operable.

I spent several days in the sewing room last week, but forgot to photograph my progress.  I'll try to get pictures later this week.  We're heading out for an anniversary celebration at a state park later today.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Miracles Happen

I had tried everything I could think of to get my phone photos to upload to the cloud.  I deleted bunches of photos from the phone to make room, I read the phone manual, I went to ... nothing worked.  Until I installed a new phone ios update yesterday -- and suddenly 50 photos appeared on the computer!

So now I can show you my latest DrEAMi project.

The block is called Crossroads (or sometimes Patience Corner) according to Julie's Quilts and CostumesJulie found a handy tutorial for the block at Connie Kresin's blog Freemotion by the River.  

I have 20 (out of 30) 12-inch blocks ready to sew the last seam.  I have used many stray jelly roll strips in a plethora of bright colors (though the above block is not representative of brightness) and still have not made a dent in my strips.  Getting the blocks all together will be my next Devo sew day project.

We have a church golf outing this afternoon and I have not swung a club since last year's outing.  Wish me luck.  At least it's a scramble and I can at least contribute to the team with putting.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Alligator Alley

 Yes, I live in the South, but not deep enough into the South to have alligators ... until I looked up on a recent morning ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

My Mother Would Be Mortified

 The Mamma always preached, "A colorful plate."

So what did I do for last night's dinner?

Orange salmon, orange carrots, and orange sweet potato fries!  At least it was the RSC color ...

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Home Again

Truth be told, one of the reasons for my taking a break from blogging was a two-week trip to New England and environs.  (I don't like to announce in advance that we will be away from home.)  I had great plans to work on the computer problems when we had free time, but I left the manual at home!  So photo coverage is limited.

On our way up we stopped at a favorite state park in West Virginia (Hawks Nest), had a great visit with a grandson in Boston (also spent a day on Cape Cod), drove across New York to visit a nephew where my brother and his bride were also present, visited state parks in New York and Pennsylvania, spent one night on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and closed out the trip with a meet-up with my college roommate in North Carolina.  

Along the way, I gave a Christmas quilt to my niece-in-law who tends to go overboard on Christmas decor.

Me, far left, brother on the right

In North Carolina I gave another favorite quilt to my college roommate who has a cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Taken at a Christmas Tree Farm and Winery

All-in-all, it was a fabulous trip (though I never darkened the door of a quilt shop).  And I'm happy to report that my back pain became less and less as the days progressed!  

Hoping to catch up with Mt. Washmore as well as the computer issues over the weekend.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Taking a Break

I would love to show you the beautiful Log Cabin Star table toppers my Devo-mates made in our recent class, but my photos are still not downloading.  However, I can show you some of the progress they made in my class.

I am going to take a brief hiatus while I reorganize my computer files.  In the meantime, enjoy this recent sunrise over the dam.

PS:  I'm almost 100% recovered from my recent hospital experience.  Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Pardon the Interruption

I've had a rough week with health issues, including a brief hospital stay.  And, to make matters worse, my I-cloud is full so no pictures have uploaded for over a week so I couldn't even show you the exciting thing I was working on before the interruption.  

But today I had an inspiration:  email the photo to myself!  So that's what I did.  You may remember the cute border print I picked up at the end of last month.

This is what it grew into:

It's currently 42" x 42".  I have cut a 2-1/2" bright yellow border to secure the seams and make it bit bigger.  I have enough of the border print to make at least one more baby quilt.  I'm already thinking about what 6" block I want to use ... maybe a churn dash ...

Friday, July 22, 2022

Favorite Kitchen Tool

Several bloggers have responded to Leeanna's  I Like Thursday prompt: kitchen tool that does what it's paid for.  Which prompted me to mention MY favorite tool that I didn't have to pay for ...

... my grandmother's kitchen fork.  The tines are fine enough to test for doneness, yet they are strong enough to turn a large chunk of meat in the skillet without releasing the good juices.  One of my sons refuses to use it because he says it's rusty.  It's just the patina, I say.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Sew Day

What does one who is already packed and ready do when Sew Day has been cancelled?  I sewed anyway, wouldn't you?

Yesterday I was planning to continue cutting and kitting up blocks for a couple of baby quilts that will be donated to the pregnancy center in town.  So that's what I worked on -- at home.   And, yes, I've started yet another new project. 

When I was in Jonesborough at the end of last month I found this darling border print on the sale table at Tennessee Quilts.

I have cut it into strips and plan to use it as an alternate row to a row of pieced blocks.  I chose Grandmother's Choice II (from Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks) in a 6-inch size for my blocks.  

I'm using a variety of solids to go with the multi-color polka dots.  My plan is to alternate solid outside triangles with the dotted background triangles when the blocks are placed together.  

I was really looking forward to going to Devo and Sew yesterday so that I could show you the progress made in my Log Cabin Star class two weeks ago.  I was thrilled with how well everyone did in the class and I've seen pictures of two finished projects already!  I'm going to miss the next couple of sew days so I'm hoping pictures will come my way (that's a hint to the gals who read my blog ...)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

A Bad Case of Start-itis

I don't know what's come over me. Since June 9 I have started four new projects.  And the more amazing thing is I have kept at them!

All of the Zinnias are made and have been carefully arranged (and re-arranged) on the design wall.

The first two columns have been stitched together and removed to make room for that project on the left.  It is Tuscan Vineyard (Happy Stash Quilts/Marcia Harmening).  

Since I am not a fan of applique in large doses, I have substituted a strippy fabric that I've had in my stash for quite a while.  I had previously selected a variety of scraps to use for 9Ps or something simple with the strippy fabric, but I fell hard for those crosses.  I'm still trying to decide how I will arrange the cross blocks as they are a mixture of fabrics. 

It will have the "look" of Christmas without being "in your face" obviously Christmas.

I started and finished a small top while at retreat (Peaceful Retreat), and I have started another Log Cabin Star table topper to use as step-outs in a class I will be teaching at Quilt Camp at Cedar Lakes in October.  I did a dry run with my Devo and Sew friends on Tuesday and I was impressed with how well they did.  More on that in the next post.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The Prodigal Quilt Returns

WAY back in January 2020 I submitted a small quilt to be part of a touring display to commemorate the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.  My quilt featured 36 rosebuds (worn by supporters of the amendment) because Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the Amendment, making it official.

Perfect 36

Because the first women to vote in a previously closed election after the 19th Amendment went into effect did so in South St. Paul, Dakota County Minnesota, the Dakota County Star Quilters hosted a nationwide challenge to create small quilts honoring the American women's suffrage movement.  (Coincidentally, 36 quilts were submitted from 16 states.)

The first display was at the Dakota County Historical Society Museum in South St. Paul March 3 - August 5, 2020.  Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown began March 15, 2020 and display venues in Washington, Indiana, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York were cancelled.

I was able to see the display when it began circulating again at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY September 1-October 16, 2020.

From Paducah it went to Winona, Minnesota through the end of 2020 when more shutdowns began.  Circulation began again in June of 2021 and my little quilt visited Hastings, MN; Hamilton, MO; Minetonka, MN; Hudson, WI; Winterset, IA; and St. Cloud, MN.

Well, my little quilt has fulfilled its mission and returned home yesterday, 

complete with a commemorative label.

Welcome home, little quilt.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Productive Retreat

It only took me three and one-half days, but I got all the flower blocks made for Zinnias and will finish the top this weekend (more realistically, next weekend😐).

Only the first eighteen are pictured on my board above.  The last seven are mostly dark and I need to get them up on my larger design wall at home to get an even balance of the colors and values.  I am so in love with these blooms!  So unlike anything I've ever done (or possibly ever will), but it was well worth the challenge.  I'm so glad I did all the cutting and kitting at home.  I kept forging on because I knew that if I put it away I would forget what I was doing.  

On my last day at retreat I embellished this Asian panel that has been in my stash for several years.

The pattern is Peaceful Retreat (Pine Tree Country Quilts).  It was designed for a larger panel so I had to scale things down a bit.  Mine is 34" x 38" whereas the pattern version is 58" x 63".

I don't know when I've ever been to a show or shop, purchased two patterns, and finished both tops within 4 weeks!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

How My Garden Doth Grow!

Making headway -- very slowly -- on Zinnia while retreating at Tennessee Quilts Retreat House in Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Eighteen blooms done, seven more to go.  I've arranged them by color for now just to make sure I have a good balance to distribute throughout the quilt.  

Trimming tiny flying geese right now.  What doesn't get done today will have to wait as I have other projects in line for the next two days.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

My New Toy

The raised garden trug currently sits empty in the secret garden ...

... which would involve either a hike around the garage to the side yard, or a trek down a flight of deck stairs if it were in use.  Neither of which is handy for grabbing herbs as I am prepping dinner.  So I ordered a smaller planting system to go on the deck and after waiting nearly a month for it to arrive from Gardeners Supply, it's finally here.

It's on casters so I can move it around to get the best sun exposure.  I had been nurturing some herbs and a tomato plant indoors for several weeks.  Now they are in their permanent home, assuming they survive the weeks of mistreatment in my kitchen.

I transplanted the two remaining lettuce plants from the birthday colander into the bottom bin along with a struggling thyme plant.  The middle bin has a healthy oregano plant and two hardy rosemary plants.  The top tier has basil and the one sad tomato.  I'll probably wait till I get back from retreat to plant more tomatoes. It rained overnight and everything looks good so far. 

I'm leaving strict instructions with the Main Man for watering in my absence.  The nice thing is the bins are self watering so all he has to do is fill the trays underneath each one through a hole on the end.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

About That DrEAMI Project

Not long ago I wrote about one of those "drop everything" projects, the pattern for which I had purchased at the Pigeon Forge Mountain Quiltfest.  The pattern is Zinnia, by Laundry Basket Quilts (Edyta Sitar).  My plan is to make it my major project at a retreat next week, so I have been diligently cutting, prepping, practicing, thinking ... well, you get the idea that I've been pretty much obsessed with it for over a week.  I finally have a practice block to show for my efforts.

Jocelyn the Canadian Needle Nanna incorrectly assumed I was improvising, recreating the pattern by looking at the picture.  While I have been known to do that with traditional blocks, this one is far more complex than I want to recreate, so let me explain.  The pattern is designed around a Laundry Basket Quilts layer cake collection of prints for the colorful parts.  I'm not using those and I'm not going to cut my fabric into 10" squares just to cut them into smaller pieces!

The first obstacle I had was converting cutting instructions to fit the scraps of colorful batiks I wanted to use.  I started by "kitting" up 25 blooms along with the corner background triangles.  Easy enough as I only needed four 2" squares and one large triangle of color.

Then it was on to cutting the background pieces -- one WHOLE page of cutting instructions!  (I would include a picture of the page but that might infringe on copyright.)  I am labeling each group so that I don't accidentally put the wrong piece in the wrong place.

I finally had the majority of pieces cut and packaged.  My big dilemma, however, was the large leaf.  The directions call for cutting half-square triangles from a 5" green square, combining two values to make a large triangle square, then adding small background flip corners.

Aside from the fact I despise flip corners, none of the greens I wanted to use were 5 inches.  BUT I had a collection of green jelly roll strips left over from a previous project.  Could I possibly strip piece the green part of the leaves?  Why, YES, I can!  So I trimmed the strips down to the size I needed, stitched them together, then cut them into 6-1/2" chunks.

I marked the midpoint, then added background triangles (which I folded to mark the center) to each side.

Then I centered my 4-1/2" square over the piece and trimmed to size.

And voila! One large leaf.

Now everything is cut, packaged, and ready to start sewing on Monday.  
Stay tuned for my progress!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Conundrum of the Week

 If one serving is two biscuits, 

why are they packaged three to a pack?

I put the extra one in a snack bag and after two days I have another serving!