Saturday, March 26, 2022

Three Ring Circus

It’s been one of THOSE weeks here at our house. We haven’t slowed down all week. The weather here has gone from cold and sunny to warm and sunny, with high temps expected in the seventies all weekend. Anyway, I’m going to spare you most of the details, but let me just hit the highlights.

On Monday we visited our dear friend Terri, had lunch and exchanged Christmas and birthday gifts. It’s been way too long between visits! It was absolutely a heartwarming day. That evening, Bruce’s brother Marv in Arizona called and said one of his Utah friends died and Marv wondered if he could stay here so he could attend the wake. He didn’t know when yet, but would let us know. Monday and Tuesday were busy days with construction going on in our hall (linen closet expansion) and laundry room (total redo). I also had WW, plus we ran errands. On Wednesday I painted the laundry room while our contractor Jeff worked on the closet and shelving. That evening at 6:30 pm, Marv called to say he was 3.5 hours away. WHAT?!?!  All the construction tools and equipment plus the removed doors were staged in the guest room! Poor Jeff had to come back (good thing he’s family) and move all his construction stuff to another room so Marv would have a place to sleep. Hmmmf!  I was not happy with Marv.

On Thursday morning, Cousin Kim and I went to a local quilt shop’s March Madness sale, and I bought about 25 yards of fabric to donate to Quilts for Kids. It’s staying in the bag and it’s not even going to see my stash. I did get one 4-yard cut of floral fabric for myself too, hehe. In the afternoon, Bruce and I had our eye exams. We both only had minor tweaks to our prescriptions. At Costco we ordered the eyeglasses and my new frames will be blue and green! We filled up the tank with gas and took out a mortgage to pay for it. Just kidding! It was pricey ($4.549 per gallon), but we drive a hybrid and it’s not really that painful. Friday we spent with Bruce’s daughter Emily, her husband and our delightful grands - lunch and playing and garden tours and walking and summer plans. It was great. 

Somewhere in all that, I grabbed a few minutes here and there to sew. 

18 Bowties, 4.5”

Bear Paws at 6”, 9” and 12” (finished size)

The current remodeling will finish up next week some time. I’m busy cleaning (there’s dust everywhere!), and shopping for cabinet knobs and decor. Jeff is also installing new wide baseboards in the master bedroom. Then I’ll paint that closet interior and we’ll recarpet in there and buy an adjustable (think “sleep number”) bed. Hopefully that will be done by the end of April so we can focus our attention in the garden. 

We have so many plates spinning now that I need a secretary! Seriously, when I get overwhelmed by things, I deal with it by crying. A good cleansing, ugly cry. But I didn’t let myself do that until after my eye exam, because my eyes go wonky for a couple days. But I’m past that now, and it’s the weekend anyway, and it’s sunny! Life is busy, but very good!

Linking to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Round Robin Quilt Finish

The quilt that I finished through working with the awesome ladies of the annual Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) is ready for its reveal. I actually finished the binding several days ago and we’ve been waiting for a day that was sunny and without a stiff breeze for picture-taking. But this is spring in the Salt Lake Valley, so I might as well be wishing for a unicorn. It just doesn’t exist. So…. We battled with the breeze to gather a few snapshots, and it is what it is!

May I present “Swimmingly”, whose name was coined by my friend Sally.

I had this quilt professionally quilted with a nautical pantograph that includes all manner of sea life and seashells, anchors and more. Perfect! The binding is a black Kona cotton that blends in well with both the front and back.

“Swimmingly” finished at 57x64”, which is a great lap size for us. Bruce has claimed it as his, which is fine with me, LOL. 

So, with all that said, I’d like to thank the organizers of the SAHRR for their time, organizational efforts and cheerleading as we all followed their prompts and leads to create some fantastic quilts and other finishes. You guys are awesome, and I hope we’re all able to continue this for many years to come!

The Finale quilt parade can be found at Quilting Gail’s blog, here. Come see all the wonderful quilts! 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Just Stringin’ Along

This week’s post is going to be short and sweet. Well, short anyway… I’m feeling more grumpy than sweet. The time change was not kind to me this week. I hate leaping forward an hour! Fingers crossed that the House agrees with the Senate and will make Daylight Savings Time permanent next year. Anyway, after a nice and busy birthday on Pi Day, I was dead tired. And that, coupled with the time change, made me sleep in late on Tuesday like a slug, so I missed my WW meeting (formerly Weight Watchers). Then on Wednesday I had my annual physical and had to fast until the afternoon appointment for the usual blood draw. I had a couple fish tacos finally about 2:30. I have been alternately ravenously hungry and tired at the oddest times since then. My body doesn’t know when to eat or sleep. 

Plus, it’s been noisy and hectic here. Our family contractor Jeff, who re-did our basement wall after last summer’s storms and floods, is working here for a week or two. We are finally remodeling the gutted laundry room. I’ll do a before-and-after post on that. Jeff is also doing lots of handyman stuff for us, like fixing leaky faucets, (and replacing the master bathroom one) and tightening all our towel racks - just little things that are difficult for Bruce to do with only one arm. And impossible for me to do with no brain  desire to learn. We’re also remodeling the linen closet in the hallway. Again, I’ll do a before-and-after on that. This house was built in 1963, and I swear, the men who designed this home must’ve had their heads up their a**es. The linen closet has little depth (12” shelves? Seriously?), but the wasted hall space is as big as a bedroom. We already expanded one of the hall closets back in ‘09. So the linen closet will be bumped out about 4-6 inches and new shelving and doors installed. It will require moving a wall and light switch, but the new “wall” will be doors that open out instead of slide on a track. Probably a pricey solution to having a nice place to store quilts (and other linens too, I guess, LOL), but expense be damned!

In the sewing room, I’ve been only sewing strings. Truly, that’s it. It’s all I was up for mentally or physically.  I have yet to put the binding on my SAHRR quilt (“Swimmingly”), and there are four little quilts that are basted and ready to be quilted. Just like they all were one week ago. *sigh*. But these are the yellow strings I sewed this week after I had already finished last week’s yellow and blue strings quilt.

Lest you think I’ve been totally shiftless this week, I should add that I have cut blocks and fabrics and assembled six quilt kits for Quilts for Kids members to sew up. 

The first 3 kits used solid-colored string blocks with a feature fabric (1 yard) and strips for two borders. The other three kits were Zipper block kits with solid fabric borders. I also have another 120 multi-colored string blocks sewn and 3 sets of 15 solid-colored string blocks (and counting…) to assemble into more kits. In the last two weeks I’ve managed to pare down my strings from two bulging 18-gallon plastic bins to one large tote bag and a shoebox. And I hope to sew more strings the rest of this month. Since our chapter is so short on donated fabric, we’re resorting to using strings to “make” fabric and cleaning out our stash in the process. Waste not, want not. 

Over the next week Bruce and I have two families visiting us (one is Bruce’s daughter Emily and family who are coming from Idaho), and eye doctor appointments on Thursday for new eyeglasses. But on Monday we get to head up to Bountiful to have lunch and spend some much needed catch-up time with our dear friend Terri, widow of Bruce’s lifelong best friend and “brother” Mike. We are both looking forward to that. Terri (and her family) have always been like family to us. The three of us could spend hours talking (and have many times!) Love you, Terri!

So later this morning Bruce’s other daughter Stacy and family are coming over. We’re taking them all out to lunch because I don’t cook for crowds anymore. Then we’ll come back to the house to play. Our driveway/tarmac is *the* place to ride scooters and doodle with sidewalk chalk.

Have a great week, friends. I’ll be back early in the week to link up to the finished quilt linky for the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). Today I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday. And the smart money says I’ll probably collapse for a nap around 3 pm….

Saturday, March 12, 2022

So Much Sewing

This week I put in a lot of time sewing. So much time in fact, that I’m burned out this morning! I’m going to brave the spring cold and go out and spend an hour or two in the yard. I need to prune a few things before they break dormancy, and a little flower bed cleanup would also be time well spent. Then I may read or even do some fun sewing this afternoon, but we’ll see. Let’s back up to last weekend, though.

We had a wonderful time at Ryan (my son) and Kim’s (DIL) home last Saturday evening. We left home at 5:30 in order to get there at 6:00, and I mentioned to Bruce it usually only takes us 20 minutes so we’d be early. HA! As we pulled out it started raining and then almost immediately began hailing. OK, I’m a careful driver, so we kept going. Within a mile or two from home, the hail was so big and loud that we pulled into a closed car wash and took shelter under the check-in/vacuum canopy. We stayed there until the hail subsided, about 5 or 6 minutes. Then we set out again. It was only raining by then, but there was lots of lightning and thunder. The traffic was pretty intense for about 10 minutes, but that was because everyone was (thankfully) driving very slowly and cautiously. We didn’t go far in that 10 minutes, but we did make progress. Then the traffic thinned and we were able to make it to Ryan’s house in 50 minutes. Whew! It was a white-knuckler all the way!

Ryan fixed the most delicious salmon I’d ever eaten. Usually I’m not a big salmon fan, but his had a great rub on it and was moist and flaky. Perfect! We also had a tossed salad, fruit salad and rice pilaf. And for dessert…. Birthday cake! I was going to make two kinds, but long story short - we just had a yellow two-layer cake with homemade buttercream frosting. Very traditional and boring, but yummy.

Then when we went out to go home, it had already snowed a couple inches and was still going. But we made it home safely with no incidents, and the whole evening was so worth all the driving hassles!

On Monday, I got a call from our Quilts for Kids President, Sandy, that my batting was ready. So I went over to her place and delivered those 165 string blocks and got batting for 8 quilts. QFK can get it wholesale, so it’s much cheaper for me to buy it through them for the kids’ quilts. Sandy also asked if I’d sew 3 quilt kits she’d just unpicked. One of our elderly members (who is starting to have some dementia issues) loves to sew these kits, but doesn’t really know much about sewing - things like straight lines, quarter-inch seams, pressing, thread tension. But we don’t want to take this away from her, so we smile, unpick and re-sew them. That’s what I did on Monday and Tuesday. They’re sewn and basted now, so I’ll show those next week when they’re complete.

Now here’s something I do have pictures of and can show you. I got some blocks sewn for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. March is the color yellow, so I sewed up 20 bullseye log cabin blocks. These will finish at 7” each.

Next I worked on framed four-patches. 

These are made with 2.5” squares and strips and will finish at 8” each. 

Thursday was a marathon quilt basting day; the three QFK re-sews I mentioned earlier plus two yellow scrappy quilts, which will also go to QFK. I quilted them on Thursday and Friday. First up is a pastel little quilt (40x46”) in yellow, pink and blue. 

I did a horrible job on the quilting, and don’t think I didn’t hear about it from my supervisor, Alfie. He’s shown here telling me I’d better “shape up or ship out”.

The backing was made of two chunks and a single strip of sweet fabric remnants I’ve had for awhile. They match so perfectly.

The second scrappy quilt was made from my stash of yellow strings. And since the Ukraine people have been on my mind and because I had blue and white string blocks too, I mixed them into this Charlie-Brown-Visits-Ukraine quilt.

I usually use 56 of these 6” string blocks to make a quilt that’s 42x48”. But my backing wasn’t wide enough for that, so I did just 6 blocks across and 7 rows down, then added a blue strip on the top and bottom. This little number finished at 37x 44”. 

On Wednesday, my quilter called to say that Swimmingly, my Stay at Home RR quilt (SAHRR), was ready to be picked up. So I went and got that on Wednesday and trimmed it up. I’ll add the binding sometime this week, and then it will be ready for the parade of quilts on the 21st. More on that next week!

Next week and the week after promise to be busy with my annual physical, eye doctor appointments and two family visits (one from our Idaho daughter and family). But for now, off to the garden! Life is good!

Saturday, March 5, 2022


What a busy and fun week it was! The temperature got up to 70 F degrees on Thursday, which was a fluke. Friday was cloudy and cooler and we’re expecting snow - or rain - this weekend. We need the moisture and I would much prefer that to unseasonable temperatures!

I’m going to back up to last Saturday and hit the week’s highlights from there. At our monthly Quilts for Kids workshop, the program was changed from working with scraps and bits of fabric (crumb piecing) to working with strips. That made sense, actually, since we can then use the resulting scraps in a future crumb workshop. We’ll be doing crumbs in May. But on Saturday, we sewed like the wind and a dozen of us got through one 18-gallon tub of strips in 3 hours and churned out lots of string blocks. Typically we make quilt kits that members can “check out” (like a library) and then sew and return. These string kits will consist of 15 strip blocks and 15 solid blocks, 6.5” unfinished each, plus enough fabric for two small borders. We made enough strip/string blocks for 20 kits!

165 string blocks = 2 piles of 3.5” each!

That workshop had me all fired up for sewing strings, so on Sunday and Monday, I pieced 75 string blocks, then pulled out 90 more multi-colored string blocks from my cache. I’ve been making them for months and months. So, 165 more blocks are going to our Board to make the kits!!

I have plenty of strips and strings to work with, and that was supplemented by my friend Claudia in Washington who sent a boxful of kid fabrics for backings, as well as chunks and strips. It’s so much fun to have a fresh infusion of kids fabrics, especially when some of what I have is dark or adult-ish. Thank you, Claudia!

Claudia - you might recognize those monkeys!!

Tuesday brought March and the start of a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month we are working with our yellows and golds. How perfect is that? So many of us have the Ukraine people in our hearts and minds, and the interwebs are springing up with yellow and blue (Ukranian flag colors) quilting ideas to ease our hearts and possibly provide potential fundraising opportunities. I plan to join in later this month as some of these organized efforts begin. How about you?

But first I tackled my yellow elephants. Yellophants!!

I got all six of them made this week. Notice the pineapple ears. Chevron ears. So much fun! These blocks will finish at 10”, and are from Wendy Shepard’s pattern, Stomping Ground

Next up were the Antique Tile blocks. I’m doing two of these for 10 months and will assemble all 20 blocks at year-end into a quilt that measures 48x60” (or larger with sashing).

On Wednesday, Bruce and I went to a newish quilt shop and we dropped off Swimmingly for quilting.  The picture at the right is just to refresh your memory. The picture makes it look bowed, but it’s not in real life!

Before taking it to the quilter, and thanks to the pep talk by my friend Roseanne, I gave myself some grace and didn’t throw in the towel on it. Instead, I added a small black stop border around the entire perimeter of the quilt (not shown in the picture) to preserve the points. At the quilt shop, we picked out a nautical-themed pantograph. Bruce had a ball checking out their long arm quilting machines and talking to the ladies. 

We’ll have it back in a couple weeks, which will give me plenty of time to add the black binding and finish it before the Stay at Home Round Robin finished quilt parade. I’m trying to think of a venue that might be good to use for some glamour shots of the finished quilt. But we’re landlocked here, and I don’t see (sea?) a visit to the coast in my immediate future. There’s always the Great Salt Lake, but..... um, probably not. 

On the same day we went to the quilt shop, we actually spent the afternoon at South Towne Mall in Sandy, where we went clothes shopping (pants for both of us, plus a belt for Bruce and personals for me) and had a coffee treat and split a pretzel. And then we stopped for a nice dinner on the way home. Wow. It was so nice to be out and about in public again and doing some normal things. And I sure got in a lot of steps!

The other thing I did this week was pull three personal (“personal” meaning made by me) “kits” of scraps to make Quilts for Kids quilts this month. The first turned out not to have as much yellow in it as I thought, but I added the middle yellow chunk and it will work fine for this month. Here is what I’ve cobbled together.

This top helps me use up the aqua selvage half-hexie blocks and lots of random pastel strips in pink, yellow and aqua. It measures 40x46”, perfect for a little toddler girl. I plan to quilt it this coming week along with one or two or three other quilts from Jo’s Country Junction Community Quilts program. All finished quilts will go to the Salt Lake Quilts for Kids group, and be documented here and eventually on Jo’s blog

I think that just about wraps it up for this week. Tonight we’re going to my son Ryan and DDIL Kim’s house for dinner and to celebrate Ryan’s and my birthday. It’s a little early for both, but for working couples like Ryan and Kim, weekends are it. Ryan is doing the cooking (he loves it and he’s the best chef in the family!) and I’m baking the cakes. Yes, that’s cakeS, plural. Ryan and I like the plain yellow cake with buttercream frosting and Kim and Bruce like chocolate (which will be made into cupcakes). And they’ll get all the leftovers, so I won’t feel guilty having just one piece!!