Saturday, December 21, 2019

So Much Progress (and a Finish) to Share

Another busy week draws to a close, but I'm jazzed because I have something(s) to share with you! Happy Saturday, and welcome!

First, a finish. YAY! I finished the Newport Butterflies quilt for Cousin Kim. The fabric line that we both loved was called Newport, and it contains several butterfly prints. Kimmie loves butterflies. Hence the name Newport Butterflies. I had purchased the fabric in a 10" square stack (a Layer Cake), and cut those in half to make brick-sized pieces that would show off the print. I didn't realize until just now that the pattern echoes the brickwork of our house in the background!

The sashing or "mortar" is Kona Snow, and Newport Butterflies finished at 58x72".  After practicing quilting butterflies a bit, I forged ahead and quilted lots of little butterflies and swirly loops into the quilt.

Like the meandering lines, the butterflies are multi-directional. 

They are cute, but definitely not a consistent size or shape. Do I care? Heck no! They are different, just like in nature. I know Kim will love them.

Newport Butterflies was my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for December. That makes 12 of my 12 monthly goals finished for this year! Woo-hoo! That is such a happy thing for me, especially given all our challenges this year. And it shows that sewing is definitely my happy place and keeps me grounded when the world is going crazy around me (or is the world just fine and I'm the one going crazy?) Anyway, I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilt's OMG Finish-Along post. This was also my finished goal #3 for the 4th Quarter Finish-Along. My goal list is HERE.

I made a couple zip pouches for sweet friends. One of them I forgot to get a picture of before gifting it this week. But the other one is stuffed with little gifties and I did get a picture. These are just Bonnae's colors! The zip pouch is sitting on a newly-sewn ironing pad made from a couple of fat quarters.

The ironing pad is two-sided. This print above was a quilty cheater cloth that I picked up for a song on this year's quilt Shop Hop. The other side, shown below, is a wild purple fishy print which was a fat quarter I ordered from Spoonflower last year. It's laying on my newly-covered ironing board pad. Yep, I've been busy!

And speaking of Spoonflower, I couldn't resist their 50% off fat quarters earlier this month, so I bought the two shown below. The cannabis print is to make into a zip pouch for my brother who imbibes (and lives where that is legal). He's an epileptic who has used marijuana for decades (since we were kids living at home in California where he secretly grew it) to control seizures. Oh, I have stories about those days! Anyway. The other print is just one I fell in love with.

Next in line will be to quilt this little nap quilt (bad shot of partial basted quilt) for the grand cats Xbox and Carl. The size is roughly that of a crib quilt. It will be delivered sometime between Christmas and New Year along with the family gifts when we see them.

And then there is this monstrosity - my rainbow selvage blocks from this year. This quilt top has been sitting in Time Out for a couple months. I was hoping that it would somehow either change itself or that I might grow to like it. Nope. If it weren't already sashed, I would've ripped the large 16-patch blocks into four-patches and started over. But I hate it so much that I'm not willing to invest that time in it. Heck, I'm not even going to add outer sashing. Just quilt up the da** thing and donate it. Bam! Done!

And last but not least (are you still awake?) are the four blocks I stitched for the Block Lotto this month. They are hourglass blocks that measure 6.5". As usual, since my friend Nann and I have been running the Lotto since August to keep it going until year-end, the blocks I make are for donation. It's sad, but the owner of the Block Lotto site has decided not to renew the site. I can't say that I blame her. Interest has fallen off over the years, and she has to pay the site hosting fees. So, this will be the last month for Block Lotto.

* * * * *
ALERT!  I just moved Newport Butterflies from the washer into the dryer. Since this was the quilt's first laundering, I had thrown two color catchers into the wash. As I went to put it in the dryer, I checked the color catchers - only to find out that they weren't color catchers, but dryer sheets! WHAT?!? What is happening to my brain? Didn’t it just get back from vacation? Well, it doesn't look as though any colors bled. Whew! Thank goodness I used good quality fabrics.

* * * * *

As I age, I've learned that I don't enjoy or cope well with all the stress of the Holidays. For us, that's about mid-November through the end of the year. So, we've devised alternate routines and celebrations that let us keep things very low key. Thanksgiving is either just us (and maybe a family member or two who doesn't have plans) or going out to family or restaurant. Christmas gifts are bought here and there all year as something reminds us of someone, or else they get gift cards or money. Wrapping is minimal (a bag?), reusable or given in a card. Decorating is also minimal (bonus: we've been able to donate a couple tubs of "stuff" to charity). Christmas baking this year was a two-fer. I made Bruce's favorite cookies, which I do periodically for him, just in time to serve some for dessert at our family dinner gathering last week. Neighbor gifts are jars of jam that I made last summer. Even the kitties got their gifts early (new beds and catnip toys) when I took advantage of a Chewy coupon a couple months ago. I can't decide if it's my age, or if I'm getting smart or lazy or some combination of all of them. But I rather like the toned-down version of things. It allows more time to enjoy people; friends, family and each other.

I've already shown you the picture of our tiny Christmas tree, but now I'm going to treat you to our menagerie nativity. There is no baby Jesus, although we did find a half walnut shell for his manger. Stay tuned for that next year. In the meantime we have a little soapstone elephant (from last year’s Kenya trip), a wood deer (that I got in Austria in 1970), a dough turkey (made by son Shane in 3rd grade), a see-no-evil monkey, a rooster from Portugal, two marble mice (they're the best kind), a pewter rabbit (Austria, 1970), a one-eared bunny that just wandered in, a wood-carved owl (also Austria, 1970) and a smiling Buddha-like character. Eclectic, irreverent, cute. Just like us!

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your thoughts and friendship over the year. I truly love and appreciate all of you. I wish you and yours the Happiest of Holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, the Solstice, or whatever else (because I don't know all the holidays, to my shame). May you enjoy good company, love, warmth, peace and plenty.


  1. I love the butterflies! It turned out very nicely. I'll happily "adopt" the selvages from you if you're that disgusted with it. I think it's creative! I do love your little menagerie, too. Very meaningful. We also find ourselves with a somewhat smaller holiday these days because the children have scattered, but it's no less happy, just different. I do miss having all the kids and the presents and the baking, but I don't miss the tired and the stress. Happy holidays and a great 2020 to you as well!

  2. You always make the most amazing projects, but today I am drawn to the friendship star quilt in your header photo. Yumm.

  3. Your brick quilt turned out so cheerful! I am always impressed when people put the sashing between the bricks. I'm too lazy for that! I gives a nice clean look. Cute little butterfly quilting too.

  4. Your quilted butterflies look wonderful fluttering across the quilt! You've been really productive with some great progress and I bet you aren't the first person to swap a dryer sheet for a color catcher by accident. Most of us just keep those little events quiet, thanks for sharing and making me feel better! I love your little menagerie and I hope you and your family have a happy everthing!!

  5. You've been a busy little bee once again and definitely put most of us to shame with all you accomplish. I love the flutter-bye quilt and I really don't see anything at all wrong with the one you hate. As for Christmas celebrations, I've noticed a lot of bloggers pretty much echoing your thoughts (myself included). If the truth were known I've grown to mostly dislike all the 'festivities' and 'have to do' things. I can live without the decorating aspect too. Maybe it IS a getting older thing, but I would rather like to stick my head in the sand and forget about December altogether. My joy in the season is in making things for my loved ones, but even that has been cut back dramatically. This is the first year in over 30 that I haven't made a series of ornaments that were either given as little gifts or were used as tags on larger gifts. And I seriously doubt anyone will miss them (least of all me!!). I know - bah humbug!
    Have a wonderful relaxing time with Bruce and your family Cathy....Merry Christmas!

  6. you always produce so much! Congrats and beautiful

  7. The butterfly quilt came out beautifully! Nice quilting on it.. especially like that it is free-quilted--just like butterflies...;))

    We have scaled back on holidays too; money gifts for all except the two youngest who get a present under the tree (and $$ to go to future college expenses). We treat each other to little things throughout the lieu of lots of presents under the tree--which is now a little pre-lit tabletop muss no fuss...

    I am happy to hear that your quilting has helped to sustain you in these difficult times...I hope that your Holiday and New Year are healthy and happy... often thinking of you Hugs, Julierose

  8. I love your butterfly brick quilt, very pretty. It's a shame you really don't like your SELVEDGE quilt, after all that work each month. Perhaps the best thing to do is to offer it to your reader who put up her hand for it. She will resurrect it, and you won't have to waste time quilting something you really don't like.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and thanks for sharing this year's R S C, and all your nice comments, my first year of taking part. I snjoyed it so much I already planning for next year!

  9. Nice job on finishing Cousin Kim's quilt. Those quilted butterflies are SEW darling!! I'm not sure I see the problem with your Selvedge Quilt top. I looks lovely from here!

  10. Your butterflies quilt is lovely - sounds like the perfect gift for Cousin Kim!! Your nativity is fun and unique, too! I'm with you in simplifying the holiday - that has made ours much more relaxed and enjoyable. Merry Christmas, Cathy!

  11. Newport Butterflies is beautiful and I really love your butterflies quilted into it. PERFECT!!! I think our Christmases will always be a bit hectic as that is probably the one time of year that motuvates us to really clean for company. When the company stops coming, we may just live in filth! Haha! This year we even rearranged the den, something we talked about doing since spring. See how motivated we get when guests are due to arrive? Oh brother! Merry Christmas to you & yours!

  12. I much prefer your free motion butterflies to a too perfect pantograph any day. They look very natural. I've done them often, but have trouble keeping them symmetrical. The Christmas season has always been a stressful time for me so I happy we've been able to simplify it now that 3 of the 4 grown children all live several states away. And I'm perfectly happy to never set foot in a mall.
    Merry Christmas to you and Bruce. Enjoy your quiet time.

  13. Newport Butterflies is simply lovely, Cathy! I'm so happy to see it in its finished state with free motioned winged beauties flitting hither and thither on it. Does Kim absolutely adore it? I'll bet she does!

    Your fabric acquisitions are very fun, and I like those lotto blocks. I needed some block inspiration and might just grab that one.

    We also do very, very toned down and simple holidays now. This year we only brought out two strands of colored lights and one little shelf of silly red and green stuffed animals. Oh, and my Christmas quilt. I'm happy for it to be quiet and peaceful.

    Merry Christmas to you, Bruce and the kitties :)

  14. Your butterfly quilting is fantastic! Perfect compliment tot hat quilt! And I love the menagerie under your tree!

  15. Newport Butterflies turned out great! I need to keep that idea in mind...bricks and sashing!
    I’m off to see if I can locate the cannabis fabric! I have a future grandson-in-law who would get a kick out of it! 😄

  16. Love the butterfly quilt motif. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish!


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