Saturday, December 31, 2022

RSC for 2022

Reflecting on my rainbow sewing for 2022 has brought me a lot of satisfaction.  Some 2022 projects are totally done, and some of them will continue into 2023 in order to have enough blocks for a quilt, or because I just didn't get the blocks set into a top yet. But progress is progress. 

These 9 quilts are all completely finished, or are in the hands of a quilter.  

And these are some of the blocks that will be carried over into 2023.  For some of these there is a plan in place for a finish.  But for others I'm just going to continue making blocks and see where it takes me.

Happy New Year!!!
And here's to a year full of scrappy fun!!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Prepping some projects

Since I've been choosing some priority projects for 2023, a little bit of organizing and prep work made some sense.  I didn't make any bags in 2022, but I did have fabrics sorted out for some that just didn't get made.  I had the outer fabrics for 3 of the Sew Together bags quilted, but never went any further with those bags. 

I went through the stash this week and pulled choices for the inner linings, pockets, binding, etc for these.  The pieces for all 3 bag are all cut and ready to go.

While digging in the stash I came across these 2 "orphan" blocks.  These were left over from a project several years ago, and ended up in the bottom of a drawer. I think these will make excellent mug rugs.  There were also some crazy black and white backing scraps in the backing drawer, so these are ready for some quick quilting, and binding. 

Parts are cut for a dozen more of the Plaid blocks.  The paper plates are great for sorting out block parts, and stacking the plates on the sewing table within reach.  

I'm working through multiple scrappy colors right now, getting ready for RSC23.  Can't wait to see what color is chosen for January (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) 2023, and I'll get busy with that color too. The parts for 6 new Pyramid blocks are laying on another paper plate.  Parts for nearly a dozen of the Small Hearts blocks are on another paper plate.   

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Another Quilt of Valor presentation

 I know I’ve said it before, but I have so say this again.  Being involved with the Quilts of Valor program is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in recent years.

The gentleman seated was supposed to receive his quilt on Veteran’s Day, but was ill so his presentation was postponed until he was feeling better.  That day arrived this week.  He is a Purple Heart recipient from the Korean War. The other 3 gentlemen are previous QOV recipients who came to the presentation to honor him, and they each brought their quilts with them. The state American Legion president attended, as well as the current Veteran’s Service Officer for our region.  

One of the men standing told me that he has instructed his family that his quilt must be displayed at his funeral, and then kept in the family.  He really treasures the quilt he received from us last year.

I am humbled.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Windmills - the last finish of 2022

 First I have to share a picture of our Christmas Eve visitor. This young buck stood outside our family room, and watched us watching him.  Off to the right were 2 more, a doe with this spring's fawn.

We live right in town, but our backyard looks out onto a valley that makes for a perfect "highway" for wildlife passing through.  Plus we have no dogs to chase them away. I just don't get tired of watching the deer and turkeys, or the birds at my feeders.

The final finish for 2022 is this child size Windmill quilt.  It will be a donation quilt.  This block is charm square friendly, but can be done in any size square. You just need 2 squares of each color for a block, stack them right sides up, cut them on a diagonal - and square up the 4 sections after sewing.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Design Wall Monday - Dec. 26

 The final Monday of 2022 is here. And it's UFO list making time!  Do you make lists? I'm a list maker for everything - tasks needing completion for work, stops I need to make when running errands, grocery lists, and more.  Lists make me look organized, even if I'm not really very organized.  LOL

I've been working on my list for the APQ UFO Challenge for 2023.  They posted a new list document online to use with 12 projects.  They draw a number at the first of each month to determine which UFO to work on.  I went through the quilt tops hanging in my sewing room closet, and the project boxes.  My list required 3 pages - just for the projects that have been started, but not finished!  That's crazy!!!  And I'm sure I'm missing some, but decided to stop here. For now anyway.  

I made a lot of quilt tops in 2022, meaning quite a few of these are listed as "flimsies", so they are ready to quilt and bind.  The tops in the photo are just the ones that haven't been quilted yet.  These should be easy finishes, as the hard part is done, right? 

Then I started looking at the PIGS - Projects In Grocery Sacks.  These would be kits that I've purchased, or projects that I've kitted up with pattern and fabrics together.  There are MANY more kits than this, but these are the ones I "plan" to prioritize. Guess it's a good starting point anyway.  Maybe I'll just keep adding to the PIG list all year as squirrels distract me with shiny new projects.  Because we all know that I'll be distracted with new projects.  That's how it stays fun and exciting!

Some kits I already know I'll never make, so I should re-home them. There could be some give-aways happening in 2023.  Some of the fabrics from the kits could be put back into the stash.  

Just to prove my "geekiness", I also keep a spreadsheet running during the year.  It tracks my finishes - UFOs, PIGS, or new projects, and there is another page just for block finishes.  I was quite surprised to see that I didn't make any bags this year.  And I didn't make nearly as many pillowcases as usual.  But I did finish 20 quilts, plus donated one more as just a quilt top. Lots of sewing!

I'll go through these lists and pick the 12 that I want to put onto my PHD (projects half done) list for the local quilt shop.  Those will be my highest priority projects for 2023.  I finished 10 out of 12 this year, and did 12 out of 12 in 2021. The shop rewards us with gifts certificates based on the number of finishes we bring in and show.  It's a great motivator!

What's on your design wall this week?

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Scrappy Bricks & more

Merry Christmas Eve!!

When the weather is this cold, and the snow is blowing, then it's a perfect time to spend most of the day in my sewing room where I could stay toasty warm and have some fun.  

This was a fun Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt - partly because it's so cheerful, but also because the finished blocks were a fun discovery.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that there were over 60 of these Bricks blocks in the project box just waiting to become a quilt.  

And now they have become THIS . . .

It feels so good to have one more RSC project at the flimsy stage before the end of the year.  And there are lots of colorful Brick pieces still in that project box, so there will be another one happening.  Eventually, but not right away!

This block is for the Scrappiness Is Happiness sew-along.  It's called Santa Hat and finishes at 10 x 14".  I used a light grey background for this one, and the contrast with the cuff and pom-pom on the hat isn't the best.  We'll see how it works in the quilt when more blocks are done.  It was a very quick and easy block, so if I need to change out the colors then I'll just remake it.

It's a good thing that there isn't a new Sewcialites block this week, because it took me all week to get this one made in all 4 of my colors and sizes.  

Thank goodness for my design boards.  This one definitely needed some focus to make sure the pieces were in the right locations.  That is why it took so long to finish them.  Now I'm caught up and ready for Block #9 when it is released.  

Seven more scrappy Irish Chain blocks were constructed from the scrap bins. There is now a pretty substantial collection of these, but not nearly enough yet for a quilt.  They'll continue in 2023 as part of my scrappy sewing. 

And I used the leftover green batik from a recent quilt backing to add 3.5" squares to all of the purple 4-patch blocks that have been laying around forever.  The 4-patch blocks - 51 of them - were from a project I decided not to finish, so they've been just waiting for some inspiration.  We'll see where these go, but they are definitely on my UFO list for 2023.  

I'm linking up with Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:

Friday, December 23, 2022

Nearly caught up and making do

The colors are NOT showing up very true here, but this is the 6" batik version of the most recent Sewcialites block.  It's called Interwoven, and is a bit challenging to make sure the colors are lined up correctly.  And the problem with the colors is probably connected to the lamp issues I'm having.  

My final version of this block is the 3" one with the black background.  The pieces are cut, and laying on my design board.  But I decided it was time to put away some things and also to work on my project lists for 2023.  Plus there were gingersnap cookies waiting to be baked upstairs.

 It's difficult to see what's going on here, but I'm trying hard to "make do" with my Ott Light floor lamp, until I can find a replacement.  This lamp shines onto my cutting table, where it's critical to have enough light.  Without it, there isn't enough light in that area to even see marks on a ruler.  My sewing room has lots of space, but horrible lighting. 

The lamp part works just fine, but the stand has broken at one of the seams where the sections join.  First I taped with duct tape.  That worked for a couple of days.  Then I added a layer of heavier duct tape when it began to bend again.  When that wasn't enough I added some very sticky tape that has a thin metal shield.  And yesterday this poor lamp was draped over my cutting table like it had fainted.  So I taped a thick curtain rod alongside the stand to give it more stability.  Can it make it for another week or so until I can get somewhere to buy a new one?  Or maybe I'll find something better than a curtain rod for support.  

Thursday, December 22, 2022


UPDATE:  wind chill is -47, with actual temps of -18 this Thursday morning!!  Brrrrr! 

No sewing for me yesterday.  

Due to the impending winter weather, the college basketball games in the area were rescheduled - from 7 pm games to noon games.  That allowed the visiting teams to hit the road home before the weather got worse.  So at 9:30 am we hit the road for Brookings. The photo may look bad, but the road itself was dry all the way to and from the game.  And the Jacks won!!  

We got back home by 4 in the afternoon, and it started to snow about half an hour later.  Good timing!

Since we expect a high today of about -8 below zero, I think I’ll stay home and sew today. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Ready for Christmas

 Although we aren't celebrating our family Christmas until New Years Day this year, I'm mostly ready for the holiday.  We're hosting again this year so it's extra fun to make sure the house is decorated.  I just don't get quite so carried away as I did in past years.

The stockings are hung - and mostly filled up with stocking stuffers. I really enjoy seeing all of the stockings hanging up.  That big Santa face stocking belongs to my oldest grandson, who is 11.  At some point he may decide he wants a more "grown up" stocking.  Every year the grandkids each get a new pillowcase in their stockings, plus some other fun little items.  Grandpa is getting a pillowcase this year too.  He picked out the fabric last summer, so he gets the pillowcase I made with it. 

The big tree is up, and most of the gifts are wrapped and under it.  This tree is decorated with lots of fun ornaments I've collected over the years. I try to find one whenever we're on a trip. I do collect some specific ornaments too. There are lot of glass icicles, angels, and crystal stars.  Some ornaments are handmade - by me, or my kids, or friends.  

This angel is one of only 2 surviving angel ornaments from my childhood. She a little shabby, but I love her.  Some were special gifts. I love my eclectic tree, and enjoy the memories for each ornament as I unpack them every year.

There is only one gift that hasn't arrived yet, and a few little things to wrap.  My tradition with the kids is something to wear, something to read, and something fun to "play" with.  That little quilt hanging behind the tree is a finish from over 20 years ago.  I appliqued the Santas and reindeer, and hand quilted it, while sitting in the bleachers during summer basketball camps when the youngest daughter was too young to drive, probably 13 or so.  She just turned 39 last week.  

My dining room has a pencil tree that stays up all year.  I enjoy being able to see it when I'm sitting at the desk in my office.  It's usually very minimally decorated - often just a seasonal garland or some flowers that I change out.  

This year I put my cardinal ornaments on it instead of hanging them on the big tree.  It seemed fitting, since my cardinal quilt is hanging on the dining room wall.  

Monday, December 19, 2022

Design Wall Monday - Dec. 19

It was an interesting weekend, with the highlight being a Quilt of Valor presentation. I always feel so honored to be involved in these presentations but it's extra special when the quilt goes to a friend.

This gentleman and I have known each other for a long time.  He was an elementary principal in a school where I did a lot of staff development work over the years.  Now he leads a statewide school administrators group.  But more important is that he is a Desert Storm veteran who has continued his life of service by his deep commitment to his community.  

His nomination had been kept a secret from him for months, with the local Legion keeping his wife involved to find a date that actually worked.  We were finally able to present his quilt (surprise!!!) at a community holiday event on Saturday evening, so there were a lot of people there to honor his service. I love a good surprise!  And this man is so deserving. 

A little - pun intended - sewing also happened this weekend.  The red and white 3" version of Sewcialites 2, block #8 is done.  Perfection is overrated in my opinion.  Not everything lines up perfectly in this one, but who will notice once it's quilted?  This block is called Interwoven by Shereece Nicole.  The biggest challenge was getting pieces in the correct spot, but laying it out on a design board as I sewed was a big help.  And taking my time!

A couple more mug rugs were finished, with 2 more just needing to be bound.  These have been fun to sew, and they make good little gifts.  

Lots of binding was handstitched down on this bright Windmill quilt while watching football on Saturday.  My Jackrabbits beat Montana State on Saturday to earn a trip to Frisco Texas for the national championship game.  And before that I watched the crazy Vikings game where they came back to win after being down 33-0 at halftime.  The crazier that game got, the faster I was stitching.  One side left to go and this quilt will be a finish for 2022.

What's on your design wall today?


Sunday, December 18, 2022

One final scrappy finish for 2022

 This Windmill quilt will be the last scrappy finish for the year.  Binding will begin today.

The Windmill blocks were part of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for 2022, and used up lots of orphan charm (5") squares.  Each block used 4 squares - 2 of each fabric.  

I made another Windmill quilt earlier this year, using 30s prints with a light background.  This one will possibly be donated or gifted as a baby quilt.  And there is one more Windmill top hanging in the closet to be finished up some other time.  Maybe in 2023. 

This Windmill block is one I've used over and over again through several years, especially for donation quilts.  This is a fast and easy block pattern, except for squaring up each section before making the actual block.  But it's worth the time to square them up before sewing them into the block.

No pattern used now, although originally I saw it in a magazine about 20 years ago and it was called Rolling On.  Now, I just stack the 4 charm squares all right sides UP, and then cut in a diagonal 1.5" inches from top left to 1.5" bottom right.   And after sewing those blades together, I square each section to 4.25" inches.  I think this would be a good pattern for a layer cake too, with that diagonal made about 3" from the corners.  I might have to try that this year with a layer cake.  

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Scrappy mug rugs

First of all I need to wish a Happy Birthday to daughter #2 today.  39 years ago she was born between blizzards. And it seemed we were snowed in most of that winter.  

A friend needed a couple of mug rugs for Christmas gifts, so I had some fun Friday morning playing with mug rug ideas.  Two of these “fruity girls” mug rugs are finished.

Then I used the same pattern for the lemon fabric.  And the coffee cups made use of a cardinal print that was in with some holiday fabrics.  These could become more mug rugs or even hot pads.

I’m linking up with RSC today:

Friday, December 16, 2022

Snow day fun

Isn't this snowman fabric just perfect for snow day sewing?  This is Plaid block #30.  I just HAD to make one more of these blocks before hanging them all in the closet for now.  I'll make more of these in 2023 as part of my RSC blocks. 

Thursday was definitely a SNOW DAY.  Tuesday it rained all day, and felt more like April outside.  Wednesday morning it changed to snow, but it was wet and sticky snow.  Wednesday night the cold and wind moved in, along with more snow.  And most of Thursday we were in a Winter Storm Warning. I've lived in the upper Midwest my whole life, so this is just normal winter, right?  And we desperately need any moisture we get, so no complaints from me.  

I really had to laugh because my husband shoveled a path on the back deck so he could refill 2 of the bird feeders.  But before he could get back out there with the seed bricks, the squirrels were exploring the path.  He greases the pole so it makes it harder for them to empty those feeders.  One big squirrel has figured out how to leap from the railing and hang upside down. But the rest just hang out on the deck and on the ground to clean up what the birds push out.  So entertaining to watch the birds - and the squirrels. Our kitchen bay window looks out on this deck so we do a lot of bird watching.

Late on Wednesday afternoon I finished binding the Hello Birdie quilt.  I just adore the bird blocks, so I know I'll make more of them.  There is a purple batik one (tucked in with my pattern) that was my practice block when the pattern first came out.  So maybe the next ones need to be all bright batiks.

As a teacher for decades, I'm not a stranger to being home on snow days.  My husband always teased me that the only time I actually baked was when I was snowed in with the kids and didn't have school.  I still feel the urge to bake during a blizzard. Since Christmas is coming I just couldn't resist making some spritz cookies this week.  And then they had to go into the freezer so we didn't eat them all before the kids and grandkids come on New Years day.  

The other baked item was Rosemary Spiced Nuts.  They are a big favorite around here.  Any kind of nuts you like will work, but I tend to stick to cashews, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios.  They are baked with a spice and olive oil mixture.  What's not to like about rosemary, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and Italian seasoning?  The recipe is one I found on Pinterest.  

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Butterfly Garden

All 4 versions of block #7 of Sewcialites turned out quite cute. This block is called Butterfly Garden.  

It snowed most of the day yesterday and is expected to continue today with wind added to the mix of weather.  That means more Snow Day sewing and maybe some cookie baking.  Block #8 should be posted at some point today so maybe I’ll get a start on that one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Sewing while it rains

I baked a batch of cookies, got about 2/3 of my Christmas cards ready to mail, got a haircut and manicure, scanned a bunch of old photos, and managed just a little bit of sewing the past couple of days.  The winter storm hitting this region has mostly produced rain and ice here, but today we expect that to change to snow.  

Pillowcase #4 out of 5 for the grandkids is done.  The last one uses the same basketball fabric, but has a different top.  It's pinned and sitting next to my machine this morning.

The 9" version of the Sewcialites block #7 is finished.  This is Butterfly Garden.  Now I just need to make the other 2 versions to be caught up - until tomorrow when #8 will be posted.  

Four more of the Plaid blocks are done too.  These used the last of the 3.5" squares I pulled out of the box of squares I spilled last week.  There are 29 of these blocks made so far.  Since they are only 7" finished I'll need quite a few more of these to make a good sized child's quilt. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Sewcialites and mini clips

The Sew Vintage group had a fabulous Christmas party on Saturday afternoon, and it was so much fun. It's just a wonderful group of ladies with ages ranging from 30s to 80s. Our common interest lies with quilting and all things vintage.  And we enjoy getting together.  We did a potluck, and I know that I tasted every single tasty dish from the bounty!  I love potluck!

We each brought a gift with a vintage theme, and played a game to exchange the gifts randomly.  Some of the gifts were actually vintage items such as a lovely cookie jar, a china Christmas bell, and the pillowcases in my photo. Other gifts had a vintage vibe.  The gift I took home included these beautiful hand embroidered vintage pillowcases and alphabet mini clips. The pillowcases have butterflies and will go perfectly with the butterfly quilt that will go onto my guest room bed in the spring.  

There was also this set of the mini clips with tiny wooden circles labeled with the alphabet.  Becki made these herself.  I use numbered pins for labeling rows of blocks, but these are perfect for identifying the many pieces in individual quilt blocks.  

My first use of these clips was for the Sewcialites block #7 called Butterfly Garden.  On the pattern the designer has the pieces labeled A-H.  As I cut the teeny tiny pieces for the 3.5" block I just clipped them together with the correct lettered clip.  Then when the pattern said to join a 7/8" (yes that is correct) piece G to a piece E - no guessing which was which.  I know I'll use these clips a LOT.  Thanks Becki - I love my gift!!

The only Sewcialites block from last week that I have made so far is the red and white 3.5" version.  Sunday only allowed for about an hour of sewing time, and this is the only block I managed to do.  Sunday afternoon I attended a play with friends and went to supper afterward to celebrate one of their birthdays.  The play we saw was "Away In The Basement - Church Basement Ladies".  It was put on by the local community theater and so well done.  Funny and great singing!! 

The small red and white blocks are most likely going to be used with the house block that was part of a UFO just hanging out in my sewing room.  The final layout won't be figured out until I have all of the Sewcialites blocks done.  But it's fun to play with ideas as we work on these.  

Now I need to get the other versions of this butterfly block made before the next one comes out later this week.  I sure don't want to fall behind.