Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of 2015



How can I pick just five posts?  I am redefining the guidelines to choose five quilt-related and four non-quilt-related posts.
 Forecast: Scrappy With a Chance of Nine-Patches


















Postage Stamp 9x9
















Super Scrappy 

















Blue Stars 







Daisy Patch


















Riotous Scrolls and Roses 











Grand Manan 
Kriegsjahr, 1915: When this You See, Remember Me

















Polishing the Silver



Here is the link to other quilting bloggers' Best of 2015 entries.

DWM: Christmas, thrift shops, cake stands, and 9 patches (with design notes)

Mackerel clouds, Christmas Day
Our Christmas was pleasant and quiet. We took beach walks Thursday and Friday (no snow, mild breeze). The Christmas Eve service was at 4 p.m.












My husband's gift to me was a check. He said, "I expect you to spend this all on quilting."  In anticipation of that I ordered three dozen spools of Aurifil from the Fat Quarter Shop when it had a flash sale (50% off, free shipping). I haven't spent the rest of the gift....yet.






The Hallmark store is in the same shopping plaza as the Salvation Army. On Monday I went to the former to get yet another sympathy card. I stopped at the latter to see if there was anything interesting.  P.E.O.s gravitate toward anything with daisies and this 1970's basket purse was just $1.99. (I posted the photo on the P.E.O. Facebook page and got more than 400 "likes." If I had a penny for each I'd have paid for the purse twice over.)  I always wanted a basket purse but I never had one. Nowadays I'd consider it very inconvenient (no interior pockets, no clasp, inflexible).

On Saturday I took a box of "misc. household" (as I write on the receipt) to Goodwill. (Sometimes I give to Goodwill, sometimes to Salvation Army. It depends on where my other errands take me.)  I came home with this, all in a bag for $3.00.  The pillowcases were what I wanted! I'll give the patterns to a friend who does blackwork embroidery.  (Will I ever finish the embroidery? Probably not.)   I looked up Molter-Reinhard and found this historical information .







Last week I posted a picture of two cake stand blocks. Here is how that project turned out -- 33 x 33, 2 yards. The backing is a tropical floral print that I got on our 2008 trip to Bermuda . Time to use it!

And while I had the batiks out . . . I chose Stars and Nines in batiks for both the 2012 and 2015 Block Swappers birthday block exchange.  Everyone sent wonderful, colorful blocks -- but all together on the design wall they were too varied. I took the blocks apart, resulting in 6" nine-patches and 6" Ohio Stars. I tried setting the stars as the center surrounded by nine-patches, and vice versa.  I realized the two blocks were visually unbalanced.  On to this design!  Some of the nine-patches had light corners and some had dark corners.  I made many more of both. I tried a straight setting.  Nah.
I tried a diagonal setting.  Yes, indeed!  It's 54 x 70, 4 yards, and will not have a border.   Eventually I will find a way to use the Ohio Star portions.



I'm linking up with other quiltmakers for
 Design Wall Monday
 Oh Scrap
Monday Making














P.S. Happy 90th birthday, in memoriam, to my mother.  (Photo: December 28, 1963.)






Monday, December 21, 2015

DWM: bubbles stalled and cake stands started


Weekend activity:  two funerals.  One was at my hometown church (25 miles away) and one was here (in Zion).  Consequently "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," and "for all the saints, who from their labors rest" have been on my mind.

Back in the studio:

I assembled the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. Oops!  Can you see the problem?  (The purple block is too small.)  Back to the cutting table.













However, at the moment the cutting table has been overtaken by batiks.  The Coalition for Healthy Communities board will have some changes in 2016.   A long-time board member is stepping down. I said I'd make a wallhanging to honor her service.   Batiks go with everything and the more batik prints in a quilt the better.  (Blocks are 4.5 unf.)



Batik FQ--yardage is on shelves

  How can I tell it's Christmas week?  I have NO MEETINGS!

I'm linking up with quiltmakers at
Patchwork Times
 Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
So Scrappy
 Love Laugh Quilt






Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday update: border solution + a finish

I appreciate everyone's suggestions about the borders for the pinwheel triangles project. The dark blue strips are 1.5" unfinished. Fortunately the math works out so that the 2.5" unf  HSTs meet up at the corners. The outer borders are 6" unf.  The flimsy is 68 x 84.  6-1/8 yards used.

This quilt has no destination so I am in no hurry to quilt it. I found a great backing fabric in my backings stash.










Speaking of backs -- I used 3.5" mini-9's from the Block Swappers to make the pieced insert for the back of the Christmas HeartStrings quilt.  Another finish -- hooray!


This week I have used 9-1/8 yards. I haven't bought any fabric but I splurged when the Fat Quarter Shop
offered a flash sale on Aurifil thread -- $5.50 per spool.  I got three 12-spool sets that should arrive tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

DWM: HeartStrings, December

I have enjoyed the creative exercise imposed by my goal to make a 48-block HeartStrings quilt each month in 2015.  For the December edition: I had not intended to use Christmas fabrics but in the end that's what I chose. (Another instance of never say never!)  Note that the design places green-centered blocks in the middle and red-centered blocks around the perimeter.

I still have a bookcase full of Christmas fabric . . . but you already knew that.








Here is my current design conundrum.  The 48 blocks in the center (arranged in pinwheels) used just about all of the red/tan floral fabric. (There were five 2 x 9 strips left over.)  The pattern calls for the HST middle border and uses one red print fabric for the inner (2" fin.) and outer (6" fin.) borders. Here are the fabrics I've auditioned.
 The blue has small reddish dots. I think it's too dark to use for both the inner and outer borders.

Small red print = too much.



Somewhat better:  skinny (1" fin.) blue strips flanking the HSTs and a small red print?  The blue is still very dark.







I searched my stash again and came up with the red/green/blue leaves-on-tan (Hoffman).  I think I like it!


I'm linking up with
 Oh, Scrap!  (Quilting is More Fun Than Housework)
 Design Wall Monday (Patchwork Times)
Monday Making  (Love Laugh Quilt)


More holiday doings

We've had unseasonably mild weather this week. I was late to Rotary on Thursday because I had to take a picture of the sunrise at North Point Marina. 


  My P.E.O. chapter's holiday potluck was Monday evening.  I had lots of time -- then I was late! -- and in my rush to pick up my friend Erika I *forgot* the wallhanging (see photo on right) that I made for the gift exchange.  Fortunately Erika had something to substitute.  The wallhanging will have to wait for next year.

My contribution to the potluck was Kale/Broccoli Slaw. I can't find the particular blog that published the recipe I used, but it includes:  2 c baby kale; 2 c chopped broccoli stems; craisins; sunflower seeds; a bit of chopped onion; shredded red cabbage; shredded carrot; salt & pepper.  Dressing:  1/2 c mayo, 1/2 c sour cream, 1 T honey, 1 T lemon juice.  It was very good!   (I bought broccoli and chopped the stems myself because the local supermarket didn't have  packaged "broccoli slaw.")

On Wednesday Stevens and I attended the 7th annual Kindness Essay Banquet.  The fifth graders in our school districts write about "the kindest person I know."  The winner in each classroom comes to the banquet (with his or her family).  Grand prizes (iPads!) are awarded for the best essays in each district. The children wrote about grandparents; the friend of an older brother; a Zion police officer; an aunt.  Their insights were profound.  Stevens gave the invocation and he and I were among the Rotarians who read the winning essays aloud.



Thursday the United Methodist Women had their holiday luncheon, with a white elephant exchange.  That evening I went to Erika's P.E.O. chapter's holiday party -- dessert and a white elephant exchange.  That meant two white elephants left the house but two white elephants came back in.






 Fortunately, Saturday provided an opportunity to send off a herd of white elephants.  It was the AAUW holiday luncheon. We have a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, and the holiday quilt raffle.  I took a box of stuff for the silent auction and brought only a couple of items home.  I spent $2.00 for a piece of Christmas fabric (3 yards), $1.00 for a box of Christmas cards, and $1.00 for a book.
The quilt raffle made $345!  (The silent auction made $647 and the 50/50 made $96.)









Helen makes the centerpieces every year. She is so creative!











"Sing a Song of Christmas" was the children's holiday performance at church today. Each of the 20 kids -- ages 2-1/2 to 15 -- had a part. They all did a great job!




















Monday, December 7, 2015

DWM: holiday celebrations

The first week of the month is always meeting-filled, this month overlaid with a holiday theme.
Carthage Chapel 
 *   Zion Woman's Club luncheon on Tuesday (entertainment by a barbership quartet).  
*    Quilt guild party on Wednesday.  There was some panic that afternoon when we found out that another organization had scheduled the township meeting room until 6 p.m.  The committee expected to get in to set up at 5:00 and the caterer planned to come at 5:30.  In the end we lost only a half hour.  We have some now-traditional activities at the holiday party -- a fat quarter exchange (actually bundles of four fat quarters), door prizes (quilty gift items) (tickets given to those who brought canned goods for the township food pantry), and a Christmas block exchange (each participant makes one 12" block).
*    AAUW board meeting on Thursday (a week later than usual due to Thanksgiving), which I hosted.  Being hostess spurred me to get all the Christmas decorations out.

On Saturday evening we joined friends from Rotary at the Carthage College Christmas concert .  It's held in the college chapel and features all the choirs and the orchestra.  There's a buffet dinner beforehand.  The chapel was filled -- perhaps 1,000 people.  The music is magnificent!

On Monday afternoon I went to Buttons and Bolts to help work on the guild's 2016 raffle quilt. We're doing a Judy Niemeyer pattern which is quite involved. 

At home: I pulled out a flimsy to quilt. I made a pieced backing, contemplated it, and decided I didn't like it. What to do?  In this case, I set it aside.  No use stressing over the backing for a scrappy quilt that does not have a deadline or a destination!  

I was more productive with these two projects. 

I made 20 ornaments (3 x 4, approx.) to take to the United Methodist Women's luncheon this coming Thursday. 

These scrappy strip blocks are my entry in this month's Block Lotto . They are 5 x 18-1/2, unfinished.  





I'm linking up with
  Patchwork Times  (Design Wall Monday)
Love Laugh Quilt  

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Rabbit, rabbit! and November stash report and a flimsy

From Wikipedia:  " 'Rabbit rabbit rabbit' is one variant of a common British superstition which states that a person should say or repeat the word 'rabbit' or 'rabbits', or 'white rabbits' or some combination of these elements, out loud upon waking on the first day of the month, because doing so will ensure good luck for the duration of that month."

I first read "rabbit rabbit" circa 1965 in a Trixie Belden mystery.  For years (decades) I never remembered to say it.  Only in the last year or so have I done so. I can't say that my life is any luckier.  (An online quilting friend always warns against doing laundry on January 1 because whatever one does that day one will do every day the rest of the year.  Though I avoid doing laundry, my husband has been known to throw a load in the washer New Year's Day.) 

Here's my November stash report: 
Fabric acquired:  9-1/2 yds ($50.50)
Fabric used: 32-1/4 yards
Year-to-date acquired:  172-1/8 ($427.10)
Year-to-date used:  315-7/8
Net decrease: 143-3/4

The Twinkler blocks were on the design wall for a week and a half. I knew that if I took them down they'd be consigned to the box o' blocks, not to see the light of day for months.  I contemplated an on-point setting but rejected it because 
a.  I wanted to use as many of the 46 blocks as I could,
b.  9" blocks on point = 13.5" (big!),
c.  On-point would require setting triangles. I didn't have enough of any one black-on-black, nor do I have enough of a variety of black-on-black (for scrappy).
Instead I used a straight setting. I like the sparkly shoo-flies created by the cornerstones in the sashing. [Would a non-quilter be able to understand the jargon in that sentence?!]   The bright-stars-on-black border is cut from an 8-yard piece in my backings stash.   The flimsy is 72 x 82. The setting used 1-3/4 yards. A good start for December! 






Monday, November 30, 2015

DWM: two finishes and fence-sitting

In and around the activity chronicled in the previous two posts, I finished two flimsies.  I had enough backing for both of these quilts that I didn't need to make a pieced insert but I'd done that with the other quilts I finished this month, so why not?

Purple-and-green HeartStrings.
I pieced the strip of green/purple specifically for this backing.
















Framed Coins.  I made the flimsy last spring when I was displaced from my studio. I had just enough of the orange-with-circles print to cut 5" strips for the border.  The insert is made with 3.5" nine-patches from the Block Swappers.

I have decided to sit on the fence during this year's
Quiltville mystery.  I will save each weekly clue in the event that it turns out to be a design that I really like.  Meanwhile I will devote my quilting time to finishing flimsies and making swap blocks.

I'm linking up at
Patchwork Times
Oh Scrap!
Love Laugh Quilt

Thanksgiving Day and then it's Advent!

Thanksgiving dinner preparation began Tuesday with "that" cranberry relish.  Those who listen to Morning Edition on NPR know that it's Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish.  Susan Stamberg repeats the recipe every year.  Here is the  2015 version.

I discovered the recipe about 1991.  My colleague Pam came into the library saying she'd heard a great recipe and story on the car radio. She quickly copied the directions on a catalog card and made a photocopy for me.  I still have the photocopy in my recipe box. (Recipe box? That's a story for another post.)

Years later Stamberg said it turned out that her mother-in-law had gotten the recipe from her daughter who had clipped it from Craig Claiborne's column in the New York Times.  Stamberg had Claiborne as the annual recipe-reciter one year. He said he'd gotten far more mileage out of that recipe than any other.

I made side dishes using two recipes from the Chicago Tribune:  parsnips and beets with citrus aioli and butternut squash roasted with maple syrup and topped with feta.  Dessert came from a recipe in Parade magazine:  sweet potato cheesecake (spiced with cinnamon and chile).

We use a roasting bag for the turkey.  Purists may scoff, but it keeps the oven clean and the turkey turned out nicely.  I boiled down the bones and made turkey soup.

We didn't go shopping on Black Friday but we did go to the movies -- we saw Brooklyn.  It is a charming love story and we recommend it!

Stevens provided pulpit supply on Sunday at Memorial UMC in Zion.  (Gee, without his preaching robe, and with the flag behind him, he looks like a politician.)

I have accumulated a lot of Christmas cards -- the leftovers from boxes and this estate sale.  I was determined to use them up this year.  I nearly did!  We put up the wreath, the tree, and the Nutcrackers.  I am hosting the AAUW board meeting this week and wanted the holiday decor up, even if it seems too early.


Thanksgiving week

 It was a quiet week! I had only one meeting, on Tuesday morning. We also went to a community Thanksgiving service Wednesday evening.

November 2015
Warm weather mid-week meant most of the previous Saturday's snowfall melted. I took a long walk at Camp Logan, the middle unit of our lakefront state park.  The lake levels are 8" above average (according to this bulletin). That results in a lot less beach.


March 2013



November 2015


Can you see the culvert hidden in the tree branches?

It was installed just two years ago. Here's a photo from two years ago.
November 2013







Note to self:  if there's a piece of beach glass on the other side of a fallen tree, be sure to get all the way under the tree before straightening up.