Tuesday, December 17, 2019

My last finish of 2019

The spirit of Christmasis thespirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. Thomas S. Monson

Sticks and Stones is finished!

A long time ago I saw this picture and printed it. There was no artist name. I've seen the Sticks and Stones pattern many times and thought it would be a neat 'controlled' scrappy quilt. 
You can see some of my figuring above and below the picture.
After figuring out the pattern, I decided on my block size so I could cut the pieces. I wanted to use some of my blue scraps and decided to use red and white accents. 

I began this quilt early in the year and finished the blocks at the July retreatAfter the blocks were together, I decided on a red border and binding.

I used Dream Cotton batting and free-motion quilted this with a loopy motif. I used 50-weight Aurifil #2784 Navy thread.

This donation quilt is 56" square. The backing is a navy water spot fabric.

We are getting ready for Christmas - isn't everyone? We also go to Physical Therapy twice a week. Ray is doing well and making progress. Although we are skipping some traditions, we are looking forward to a wonderful holiday with family and friends. 

May your Holidays 
be Blessed with
Peace, Love, and Joy

Merry Christmas!
See you in 2020.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Jenny's Flower Garden Too is finished!

Be thankful for what you have;
you'll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don't have,
you'll never, ever have enough.
- Oprah Winfrey

I'm taking a short break - we're having Thanksgiving here.  Everyone is helping and all is pretty much in order, I think!


When I first saw a picture of the original quilt, it was called Jenny's Flower Garden. The quilt's artist was not named so I have no idea who did the original design. I did make some modifications to the design - the main change is that I left off the braided border. To give credit to whoever the original artist is, I am calling my quilt Jenny's Flower Garden Too.
Oops, I think you can tell that I folded this quilt.
This quilt is about 62" square and a donation quilt. I used batik scraps for the colors and the white/neutrals. The border is batik yardage from my stash - but there wasn't enough for the binding. The backing and the matching binding are a light blue water spot cotton that I had in my stash.

I free-motion quilted this quilt with a motif called loose feathers. I love the swirl look when I made a directional change. 

I used #2715 light blue 50-weight Aurifil thread. This quilt has a lot of quilting but with the Dream Cotton batting, it is soft and drapes nicely.


Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm very thankful for all that I have...

Friday, November 22, 2019

Some finishes and more...

In the end, everything will be okay. 
If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end. 
-Fernando Sabino

Ray's recovery is progressing. It's becoming more challenging as he is incurring more pain when his arm is lifted higher. The CPM machine lifts his arm; he doesn't. In a couple of weeks, he will begin using his arm and, sadly, I guess that will hurt more. He's a great patient and following doctor's orders. We'll both be happy when he is okay again.


I try to get into my sewing room for a few minutes most days. I finished this Scrappy Trip Around the World. It was my least favorite in the pile to quilt so I decided to do it first. It's about 52" by 72" and I actually like it now that it's done! I took pictures outside today - the temperature was in the 30s with wind but, at that moment, we had sunshine and no snow!

I free motion quilted this with a meandering stitch using Aurifil 50-weight thread, #1103 dark red. The quilt has Dream Cotton batting. The back is a blue with a small off-white dot that was in my stash.

This donation quilt was made from some 2 1/2" squares left from my scrap cleanup in May, 2018. The dark red border is left from a grandson's quilt that I made  in November, 2017. I've used that red in a number of projects but now I think I only have about a 12" square left.


I began this wool project early last spring. As much as I used to enjoy hand stitching, my old, arthritic hands just don't like it as much anymore. I'm glad to have this one done.


I picked up a pattern from Christina Cameli for some Quilted Nesting Buckets. I enjoyed making these yesterday - they are quick and easy. Christina has you draw rectangles on fabric and then you free motion a different design in each one. Each area becomes a bucket.

Here are my buckets:
Large 6.75" X 6.75" X 5.5" tall
Small  4.5" X 4.5" X 4.5" tall
Medium 5.5" X 5.5" X 5" tall

They nest nicely. You can see the gray lining in this photo.


I've spent some time trimming my blocks for the Crosswalks quilt again! The instructions from Missouri Star doesn't have you squaring up the blocks but I decided I should. For some reason, I used the diagonal connecting the two white corners to square them. After I was done with ALL of the blocks, I began to sew them together and realized my mistake. The blocks should have been squared up on the center of the colored strips. Notice the chalk line where the white arrow is pointing. The end of the chalk line should be the corner. 

I didn't take any after pictures, but all of the blocks are now squared up the RIGHT way! 


Our high school football team coops with a team just across the border in Wisconsin and they play in a Wisconsin conference. For the first time in history our high school has a State Championship team! It's been an exciting season and we are so grateful that the games have all been on a streaming radio station. The championship game was yesterday and a real nail-biter. 

We live in a village (a very small town) that enjoys celebrating the accomplishments of our youth. The parade bringing our team home last night was incredible. We had firetrucks, police cars, ambulances, and lots of cars and trucks accompanying the team and the cheerleaders. We watched and cheered from our front porch. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Recovering and a Fall Retreat

The best and most beautiful things in the worldcannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.Helen Keller

Ray is recovering. He is using a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine for 3 hours a day that moves his arm. His arm fits in the area shown by the white arrow. His hand sits on that black ball thing.

He also uses a Cyro Cuff (an ice machine) for 3 hours a day. The blue cuff where the white arrow is pointing, sits on his shoulder and wide straps wrap around his upper body for stability. Ice water is pumped through the tube into the cuff that is covering his shoulder.

He also has about 1 hour of exercises a day. So he is busy 2 hours and 20 minutes three times a day. Then we also have doctor appointments and physical therapy which are about 35 minutes away. Of course everything takes longer especially since he is right handed and this is his right shoulder.

There is lots that go on each day but the days all feel very much alike - Ray says he is living Groundhog Day - did you ever see the movie? The PT is painful at times but he's handling it well. Sadly, we have been warned that the PT will be harder when he quits wearing the sling.

We did have some fun when Ray wore the shirt I made for him to visit his surgeon, Dr. Sathoff. The doctor couldn't quit laughing - he said it made his day.
Body by Sathoff shirt
Dr. Sathoff has done three surgeries on Ray so I listed them on the back of the shirt.
Back of Body by Sathoff shirt
During surgery, Ray had a gown with a remote so he could regulate the temperature - it is supposed to aid in healing. He said it was really nice especially while he was waiting his turn in surgery.

Happily, things have changed tremendously since Ray had the same surgery on his left shoulder 18 years ago.


Our fall retreat (4 friends) was last weekend. It was only about 15 minutes away from me so I was able to  be there for three afternoons. Although not ideal, it was a fun break. My time was limited so I didn't take any photos of the great projects that the others were making. I did get a few pictures of my projects in the last couple of days at home.

I finished 40 more blocks for this quilt. I'm about half way! The scrappy log cabin squares will finish at 4" by 4".

I finished all of the blocks for this Courthouse Steps quilt. These blocks will finish at 12" by 12".

I made a few string blocks for this quilt.

I sewed for about a half hour each morning at home during the retreat. I worked on my Crosswalk quilt. 

I have now finished all of the colored strips - just need to trim the strips, sew on the white pieces and trim into squares.

Lately, I've been trying to manage some of my smaller scraps. With four quilts, I was hoping to see more scraps disappear!


We are hanging in there and doing pretty good. Yesterday at physical therapy, I sat with a lady in the waiting room. Her husband has prostate cancer that is now in the bones. He was doing PT to help relieve some headaches/dizziness. She was telling me he has less than 3 years to live and his personality is already changing from the pain. The pain will only get worse. I was happy that I had 45 minutes to sit and talk with (but mostly listen to) her. I decided that there was definitely a reason I stayed in the waiting room for the first time - I think she really needed a friendly ear. I'll keep her and her husband in my prayers. As we left the hospital, I was counting our blessings.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A lot has been going on...

This is a wonderful day.
I've never seen this one before.
- Maya Angelou

Ray had his left rotator cuff operated on about 18 years ago. It was an excruciating recovery and at the time, he made the comment that he would never have the right one, which was already torn, repaired. I guess we should never say never. The right one is so painful that he has to have it fixed. We have spent the last few weeks "getting ready". There have been lots of doctor appointments and physical therapy sessions (which didn't help but insurance dictates that, generally, you have to try everything before you have surgery). Ray's EKG was a little irregular so we added a few cardiologist appointments and a test this AM. The cardiologist has now cleared him for surgery.  Ray also really wants some outside things ready for winter. The days are generally crazy! Surgery is only a couple of days away.

In the middle of all of this, we both have had birthdays. They seem to come fast but we are grateful that they keep coming!

I have found minutes for quilting most days. I looked through this book by Kim Brackett a while back

and decided to make this.

Here is a close up of the simple blocks.

I made a bunch of strips and put three strips together but I goofed!

I rearranged.

The only way these were correct is if I used the wrong side and that wasn't going to work!

So I redesigned the block.

Putting four blocks together resulted in this.
The quilt is together in this photo but not well pressed. I used bonus triangles (from the ends cut off after joining pieces on the diagonal) to make the border. This is now in the "to pin/sandwich" pile.

I was going to make a courthouse steps log cabin block from various scraps. I came across this colorful fabric that was leftover from a quilt backing. There is enough to make the whole quilt so I will use scraps but it won't be scrappy! The center block will be various navy fabrics. (These photos were taken at night - sorry)

I have 6 blocks done.

I also finished putting the blocks together for this quilt and added a red border. It is now in the "to pin/sandwich" pile.

I've been playing with some scraps making log cabin blocks. Each block will finish as a 4" square. I have a ways to go.

I also finished this sweater. I think this is my first selfie in a mirror. The pattern is called Xstatic by Isabell Kraemer. I used Venezia Sport by Cascade Yarns. It is 70% merino wool and 30% silk.

I'm not crazy about the neckline; I prefer a higher neck on sweaters. I tried the sweater on as I was making it and I must not have had the shoulders where they belonged because I thought the neckline was higher. I do love the finish on the neck though. 

I'm not sure what the next few weeks will be like but we'll be looking for wonderful days.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Harry Potter Quilts and Pillows

While we were in Canmore, AB, Canada, last spring, I bought a panel with the four house crests of Hogwarts, the Harry Potter boarding school. I thought I would make pillows or wallhangings. When I showed them to our "Harry Potter" grandson, he requested a quilt. Since he has bunkbeds, that meant two quilts. I made pillows from the other two crests.

First is the Slytherin pillow. Both pillows are quilted with a walking foot and cross-hatch stitching with black 50-weight Aurifil thread.

I added some meaningful script to each item but it is rather hidden - black thread writing on black fabric. A motto for Slytherin could be "Do what is necessary" - you might be able to see it here on the top of the pillow..

A couple of Slytherin traits are resourceful and intellegent. Maybe you can read the intelligent.

This is the  Ravenclaw pillow. 

The motto could be "Do what is wise".

A couple of Ravenclaw traits are clever and creative.

The back of both pillows are the same. This is the same fabric as the backing on the quilts. The covers are easily removable for laundering.

The first quilt is the Gryffindor quilt. It's 70" by 90".

The quilts were rather labor intensive. You can read a little about the process here. I designed the quilts but I didn't think about how I was going to add the black stripes. It worked out though so I'm happy! I used a walking foot and black 28-weight Aurifil thread. It was fun using a heavier thread - you can see it - and my Juki sewed great with it.

I used black 50-weight Aurifil thread (a thinner thread) for crosshatching the crest.

I added a Gryffindor motto above the crest: "Do what is right".

Below the crest are some traits of Gryffindors: brave, loyal, smart.

The backing is the same black grunge stars as the pillows.

The Hufflepuff quilt is also 70" by 90".

I used 28-weight #2600 Dove (gray) to quilt this in the same manner as the Gryffindor quilt.

I used black 50-weight Aurifil thread (a thinner thread) for crosshatching the crest.

The backing is the same black grunge stars as the pillows and the Hufflepuff quilt.

A Hufflepuff motto might be "Do what is nice".

Some Hufflepuff traits are kind, loyal and honest.

Grandson G likes everything so it was well worth my efforts.


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