Saturday, April 10, 2021

Return Journey to Normal

There’s quite a way to go to get back to “normal” pre-Covid days. I’m not even sure what will constitute the New Normal, but at least positive changes are afoot. Now that we’re vaccinated and have safely navigated our post-vac waiting period - and now that spring is here! - our lives have taken noticeable turns toward freedom of movement outside the house. If we need to run an errand, go shopping or whatever, we do. We don our masks and avoid clusters of people, and we do wash our hands thoroughly when we get home. But I’ve actually been to the mall once, and we had son Shane and DGD London over for pizza one night, then we visited Wheeler Farm and visited the animals, walked and hung out for a couple hours. We had planned to go out to dinner one night, but I was feeling lousy on Thursday and Bruce was under the weather yesterday, so we haven’t done that yet. I’ve been struggling with arthritis and my Covid weight gain, so am back to dieting (*sigh*). With a little luck we can resume regular WW (formerly Weight Watchers) meetings and weigh-ins this summer. The virtual meetings just aren’t for me. 

But enough of that. What keeps me occupied almost every afternoon is sewing. There are always errands and appointments and housework for the mornings, but afternoons are for sewing and reading (and occasional napping). This week, I started off with some light and bright blue sewing for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Here are my two Spring Star blocks.

And these are all the blocks I’ve made so far this year - two of each color every month. Each block is 12.5”.

I also got my waffle blocks sewn. Each quadrant of the waffle blocks is a block in its own right, but I’m sewing them together in fours. So, here are my three (twelve) blocks for April. They are 10.5” each.

With those blocks finished, I could move on to sewing up light blue toddler-sized quilts for Quilts for Kids. I showed you this first one in the piecing stages last week. Now, The Princess and her Monkeys (thanks, Katie) is a finished 42x48” quilt.

I was pleased with how well the light blue string blocks blended in. Since there weren’t enough of the princess or the monkey squares, I had to add in a few fillers, but they were cute things like birds, a hedgehog and such. 

The back was a piece (Stonehenge?) from my stash and the quilting was a simple flowing loop design. Most of the kids quilts I quilt are either loops or stipple because they’re so easy and quick.

This next quilt came together very quickly, so I don’t think I had anything to show before this week. I’m calling it Alphabet Monkeys, and it used up all the remaining sock monkey fabric (Praise the Lord!) I had on hand.  The blue- and white-background pieces were width of fabric, so I just arranged them pleasingly and divided them with red 1.5” strips. There was a enough of the monkeys-in-squares multi-colored fabric to make five blocks, and they were added in as another row near the top.

Alphabet Monkeys finished at 42.5x47” and was quilted with a stipple. For the backing, I used one of those 100% cotton alphabet/number curtain panels I thrifted last month. Perfect!

And the next light blue kids quilt went from an idea to a quilt top this week too. Here’s the finished top, but let me walk you through this a bit. The scraps from Quilts for Kids were the three blue and orange sea critter scraps you see below - in those exact sizes and configurations. They dictated the color scheme.  Other QFK scraps were a width-of-fabric (wof) strip of the blue dolphins, which I divided into two strips, some blue waves on white (not wof) and a 2.5” strip of gray anchors (at the very top). Oh, and those orange chevron scraps that had been trimmed from a QFK quilt backing - hence the odd orientation. To those I added some leftover chunks of Tula Pink Saltwater scraps in blue and orange from my stash.

It’s not the most beautiful quilt ever, but it works and I’m pleased with it. It measures 40x45.5” and will get quilted this coming week. I may even try some waves or curls or something. 

I’ll also be sewing my last set of light blue RSC blocks this week. And another item that’s moved to my priority list for the coming week is the purple 4-patch posy blocks. I want to get them sashed and sewn into a top. We have a QFK workshop in 2 weeks, and I’d like to have that one done by then.

And lest you think I forgot about those ugly 9-patch blocks from the 80’s that I showed you last week, think again. I got them all sewn together. Let’s take a look (if you’re brave enough. Warning; they’re U.G.L.Y.!!). First up, the pinks and blues. They’re on the design wall with some denim-colored cotton chambray that will be used as the backing. I had originally thought that I could use it for sashing or bordering them, but I wanted something to make these blocks sing. Heck, the chambray didn’t even get them humming, so it’s banished to the backing. 

I will probably still cut these 9-patches into Disappearing 9’s, but I’m thinking of bordering them with a light cream (or ??) first to add some other non-pink or blue fabrics into the mix. I’ve talked to several of my QFK friends, and one (Cyndi) thinks she may have something that will work as a border with these. We’ll see. So far, the best option from my stash is a Kaffe fabric turned backwards (wrong side), but I’ll be da**ed if I’ll use my Kaffe for this quilt. I’ve also scouted some fugly 80’s pink and blue floral prints on Etsy. If Cyndi’s fabric doesn’t work, that’s what I’ll order.  So this one is on hold for a couple weeks.

The next groups of ugly 9Ps are these green, gold, etc. blocks.  About 4 of them were the originals, and the rest I pieced from scraps to coordinate. These actually didn’t turn out too terribly badly. And I have that yellow which should help pull it all together. Not sure if this will be sashed 9-patches or a Disappearing 9P.  

Oh! Bruce ordered an early birthday present for himself. He got another guitar - a little one that he can play with his prosthetic arm. He has some “set-up” work to do on it, but it plays easily for him. Terri, I know you’re smiling here, but I have to admit to the world that Bruce has GAS. That’s Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (and he also has its sister disease, BAS - Banjo Acquisition Syndrome). He has promised me that he will begin selling off or giving away some of the instruments that he can’t play anymore. Right. I won’t hold my breath, though. I think our kids may have to figure that out some day!! (Just like they’ll have to do with my fabric.....)


  1. Sorry to hear both you and Bruce have felt unwell this week, hope you are both fully fit now. You still managed a huge amount of sewing! Love the Princess and the Monkeys quilt, you certainly made the most of those gifted scraps. The Monkeys Strippy Quilt turned out really well and you made a great top from those blue and orange pieces. You make very inventive use of scraps. Have a good week.

  2. Happy to hear you are out and about and feeling better the two of you. Tom is still in "resting mode"--what he calls it is not what I think of--he tried to just resume his normal gadding around here, but has finally realized he needs to rest and recuperate (Home Nursing can be difficult haha)anyway...your projects are really so neat!
    We haven't been going "out and about" very much given our latest medical experience but we do feel a lot less stressed now that we are totally vaccinated. But, like you, still being cautious also...
    Sounds like you are getting a whole lot accomplished--enjoy this weekend hugs, Julierose

  3. Oh my lots of projects going on at your house--
    You made me laugh with the GAS--you see I have a son who is 45 and has been into guitars since he taught himself to play at age 13--and on Easter Sunday I learned he has 16 guitars now--some are collectors ones--some he plays--(he also has been teaching music lessons for many years and has done bands and recordings-but it's not my kind of music!!! (these are electric guitars--) and now I have a name for illness--thanks-
    luv, di

  4. If you need some more sock monkeys, I think I have a couple of 1-yard cuts stashed that I loved when I bought, but can't quite figure out how to use!!!🤪 And what a lucky princess to have a whole kingdom if animals now, not just the monkeys! (Monkeys alone could get boring, so variety is good.) I hope you and your hubby are feeling better now and am looking forward to seeing more on those "ugly" 9-patch blocks.

  5. I'm glad that life is beginning to return to a new normal for you. Your blocks for the rsc are looking good. Your comment that your husband has GAS made me smile. Replace the G with F (fabric) and I guess that's us!

  6. Congratulations and now you cane enjoy life a little bit more, breathe easier. Lovely projects.

  7. Your Spring Stars are so pretty! And I always enjoy seeing your scrappy kiddies quilts, you have an amazing touch with these. Guess Bruce cant help his GAS affliction, after all, guess it's rather like co.lecting fabric?

  8. Your Spring Stars are wonderful in all the colors, and so is the Princess and her Monkeys! You are always coming up with fun ideas for the QFKs, too. Glad you're feeling safer about going out and about and seeing your important people, too - we're getting there as well. Don't we all have a ____ Aquisition problem? For Mike it is golf clubs - he always "needs" a new something or other!

  9. Spring stars are beautiful blocks and they look so well together. You have beeing busy, great projetcts and quilts.

  10. Your daily routine sounds very similar to mine! Sometimes the afternoon sewing just has to be pushed to the back burner in lieu of a nap. Sweet. That's a fun bunch of quilts you've been working on. I heard the sound of relief about your sock monkey quilts being done!

  11. I think we are all struggling to define our new normal. As much as being fully vaccinated has been a relief, there's this niggling feeling of pessimism that much caution is still needed. And the media's need to constantly emphasizing the negative doesn't help.
    You've been moving right along with QFK production. And I really like the Spring Star blocks, but can't start something new until I finish a few things and get my H2H projects done. I didn't finish last year, so I feel compelled to make up for my lapse.
    I also need to find a balance between garden work and sewing pleasure and squeeze in some reading time too. We're due for a cooler and rainier week, so at least that will force me to spend time inside.

  12. That's a LOT of productivity packed into one week, Cathy!! I still maintain that those "ugly" quilts don't look SEW ugly on my screen. :P

  13. Have you tried black with the ugly 9 patches...for a bit of amish flair. And let me know if Bruce would like to trade a sewing machine for banjo. Molly says I have sewing machine acquisition syndrome and GAS (Golly, Always whining about Something!)

  14. I think GAS, in a husband, can be bad. But BAS? Deadly. Just deadly. And not even "silent, but deadly." But worse than both would be using Kaffe fabric with the fugly nine patches. I'm getting the vapors just thinking about that!

    But let's speak of more pleasant things, like how cute Princess and Her Monkeys turned out! And that you've used up the Sock Monkey fabric! Sometimes there can be a bit too much of a good thing, and it feels swell to have it move along to greener pastures. Or would that be (light) bluer pastures? :)

  15. Loved seeing all the sock monkeys get used up in such a cute quilt! Congrats to Bruce on his new guitar - long may the GAS (and BAS) continue!

  16. I really like your spring star blocks. Could you tell me where I can get the directions to make them. Thank you.

  17. Ugly Nines??? They have a lot of potential Cathy. I think that some navy and turquoise should perk them up nicely. Pizza with friends sounds so amazing and distant. I am not sure I am fit to see people. I am so out of practice. I have a feeling that I will hug the pizza and eat my friends. Consider yourself warned :-D Spring Stars are lovely and the monkeys are so cute.

  18. Hi Cathy! I just LOVE your RSC Spring Star blocks. What a fun quilt they will make! ~smile~ Roseanne

  19. So much eye candy, Cathy! Your waffles sing and the stars blaze brilliantly. Love all the color! Ok, I must agree with you on the pink & blue 9Ps -- ugh! Then I had to laugh when I saw the yellow & green 9Ps. I thought, "Those look pretty good!" Then I read that most were additions from your scraps. Ah ha! Great week!

  20. Wonderful blues! Spring Stars is great for RSC colors. I went to Macy's and Kohl's for the first time in AGES this week.


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