Saturday, October 29, 2022

Just Another Month End

It’s been a week of cool, rainy weather. Nothing of note happened this week around here. It was just the stuff of everyday life - errands, sewing, housework, phone calls and visits to and from family and friends. One highlight (for me) was that I finalized the details with a new housekeeper who has been cleaning for other extended family members for decades. She will start with us on Monday, and return every other week. That’s perfect timing because on Tuesday night, several of my friends from our Tuesday morning Weight Watchers workshop are coming over for a game night here. It should be a blast, and I may get some pictures if they’re willing.

But you’re probably here for Scrappy Saturday, so let’s talk about what I got done to wrap up Green October. First off, elephants! These four blocks (pattern by Wendy Sheppard) will finish the blocks needed for another elephant quilt. 

So these blocks will be added to these piles, 

which represent other quilt tops in various stages of assembly. In total, there will be three more elephant quilts, a pink and blue patchwork quilt that I never finished last month, and a Community Quilt that needs a backing to be pieced. Once assembled, the tops will be pin basted and added to my stack of 7+ tops to be quilted. All of that will hopefully happen during November, which is shaping up to be my Finishing Frenzy! I’m hoping to turn out at least a dozen finished quilts in November.

But I did finish one quilt this week, so here’s that one. It’s the Little Green Bricks (block pattern from Sylvia at Treadlestitches)

Little Green Bricks finished at 42x48” and will go to Quilts for Kids. The back was mostly this green tree print (I’m refusing to call it a Christmas print, because evergreens exist in all seasons!):

I also sewed up some fun wrapped candy blocks, which will finish at 8”. This is a new Rainbow Scrap Challenge block that I’ll carry over into RSC23:

The centers are 4.5” crumb squares with flip corners, and that will not be enough size to help whittle down the crumb piles, so I’ll probably begin doing 6.5” crumb squares in addition to the candy blocks beginning in January. But for this year, I did use some crumbs to finish off one green placemat.

In November, I’m also going to try to finish up the last miscellaneous mixed-color elephant blocks in order to put together the final two elephant quilt tops before year end. And I hope to tackle my black, brown and gray scrap drawers - the black one won’t even close anymore. I’ve been saving ideas, and look forward to sorting those scraps and putting together some quilt tops. So much to do and never enough time!

I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning - can you tell? - to get going to our last Quilts for Kids scrap workshop of the year. I think I’ll just be taking along my solid scraps and Accuquilt 2” square die and cutter to cut squares for future Zipper quilt kits. Today I’m turning in three finished quilts, 180 multi-colored string blocks for kits, 45 green string blocks for kits, and one completed Zipper Quilt Kit. And I’m going to resist all the sweets they always bring so that I don’t backtrack on my good recent weight loss (which I may or may not discuss at a later date, LOL). But for now, time to pack up the car! Have a great week. 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

October Nights

I love October! It’s been a glorious week weather-wise with warm sunny days, clear blue skies and cool, crisp evenings. Today is cooler with a 90% chance of rain this afternoon (YAY!) and snow likely in the mountains. We are ready! The garden is all put to bed and we *could* consider all our yardwork done. We still do have to cover up the patio furnitures and Bruce will close down the sprinkler system and disconnect hoses. If we do get another nice half day in the next week, we’ll do some final clean-up behind the sheds and spread some mulch. 

I honestly can’t remember how this week sped by so quickly. We did make a trip to Costco, got our Covid boosters and flu shots, and as mentioned we worked in the yard. I had a lot of laundry this week and some fall cleaning. And I’ve been working to hire a permanent bi-weekly housekeeper. Can I get a hallelujah?!? Sandwiched in here and there between all that I got some sewing in. 

This week in the studio I focused on getting some light and bright green blocks sewn to round out a lot of my 2022 Rainbow Scrap Challenge block sets. 

Four Framed Four-patches that will finish at 8” …

The bright green patch in the block in the bottom left really bothers me, but I’m not going to change it. When these blocks are mixed in with all their colored friends, it won’t be so noticeable. 

Next I sewed together last week’s Little Bricks blocks (pattern courtesy of Sylvia at Treadlestitches). Here is the 42x48” flimsy (quilt top):

But then I realized I should sew a few more of these blocks in greens to add into a multi-colored version that I’ll continue working on for RSC23. Eight more Little Bricks Blocks. I loooove sewing them! I’ve got some chunks of green fabrics that I’ll fashion into a suitable backing next week. 

The mess of scraps in green, brown and purple have been officially sewn into a top that measures 38.5x46”.  I don’t know why it looks bowed in this picture. It is square. But I do have trouble reaching up so high to get it on the board. I think I’m shrinking! 

Next came the string blocks. I had to set aside my multi-colored string bin to work on the greens instead. I’ll pick up the multis again next week, but will probably only sew 2-3 sets of 15. That means I will not make my goal of 300 multi-colored string blocks by the end of the month, but oh well. Any that I do sew will be appreciated by Quilts for Kids and will help reduce the string pile! So, here are my green string blocks instead, 3 groups of 15 (6” finished).

Finally, the last blocks sewn were these 4” bowtie blocks. They’ll join the other colors and I’ll continue making these next year until I come up with a plan. 

That’s what I have to show for the past week. I’m linking up to Angela’s blog for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s Scrappy Saturday

Next week I’ll get back to sewing *some* multi-colored strings. I also have about 6 green elephant blocks to sew, plus the final Bear Paw blocks, crumb tumblers and a placemat to assemble. But my primary goal is to pin baste between 6-8 little quilts in preparation for a “Finishing Frenzy” in November (or sooner if I can get to it).  But first, exercise!!!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Chasing Squirrels

It was another beautiful autumn week here in the Salt Lake Valley. The daytime temperatures were in the low 70’s and evening temps in the high forties/low fifties, and more of the same is forecast for the next ten days. It normally would be cooler and wetter, but these aren’t normal weather patterns anymore. Regardless, I’m not going to complain. The extended nice weather is helping us to button  up all the outside work before it gets cold.

This week we pulled everything out of the vegetable garden except the tomatoes. They’re still producing, slowly, so we’ll let them stay on the vine to grow until we get a frost warning. This morning our arborist is coming (he’s actually here now)  to prune trees and trim bushes as well as to cut back the grape arbor and the Concord grape vine and climbing roses along our back wall. The wall separates our lot from a commercial property that was a large furniture store. The furniture store was vacated and sold early last year, and after a year of zoning changes, public meetings and revised plans, the building will be demolished at the beginning of November. The property was changed to a medium-density housing site, and two-story townhomes will be built. That’s no higher than the furniture store was, and is much preferable to commercial or high-density housing (apartments). All of that info is just to say that while they’re tearing down the old building, I hope they tear out the dang cypress bushes on their side of the wall that are half dead!

Between all the yard things and the exciting January 6 Committee Hearing, I was antsy, or should I say “squirrelly”? Yes, I did do my 60 string blocks this week as planned. I’m keeping on track toward 300 string blocks by the end of the month. But everything else was much more fun…

Let’s get the strings out of the way first. Our Quilts for Kids chapter uses them in sets of 15 along with 15 blocks of a solid color, and fabric for two borders. They make kits with those components for members to sew into quilt tops. Here are my four sets of 15 blocks on the right. The left stack is the blocks made previously.

Here is Alfie, my supervisor, checking out my progress. Apparently, 180 six-inch string blocks stacked up on top of each other measure 6”. Satisfactory. Carry on.

The highlight of the sewing week was finishing the quilting, binding and labeling of the quilt top Circle of Stars donated to me for QFK by dear McGill U in South Carolina.

I absolutely adore the variety of colors. Can you see the circles that the eye perceives from the star points through the nine patches? Circle of Stars measures 63” square.

The quilting is merely serpentine stitching in a vertical line so as not to take away from the beautiful piecing. But it adds a lot of nice texture. And the backing! I love the beautiful two-toned blue floral.

This quilt will make some teenage young lady very happy! Thank you, McGill! 

So after McGill’s quilt was finished, and in breaks from stitching strings, I couldn’t seem to focus on my planned list of sewing tasks for the week. I was supposed to pin baste 4 quilt tops. Meh. Let the pile grow a little more (as if 17 tops weren’t enough). Or start on my green RSC string blocks. What?!? More strings?!? Not this week, thank you. So, maybe I’ll do my green Little Bricks block (pattern courtesy of Sylvia at Treadlestitches) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. October is light and bright greens. 

I had a ton of green scraps and strips in 2 ½” widths. Long story short, I calculated that I could easily make a 42x48” top for Quilts for Kids with 56 blocks in green. I found a partial jelly roll of Kona Snow for the background and away I went! They were chain pieced in about 2-3 hours. So, here are the blocks, soon to be assembled into a quilt top.

And then another squirrel came scampering by. This squirrel was a little bag of purple, green and brown scraps in the form of quarter-square triangles and strips, plus about a half yard of green solid. There were enough triangles to make 10 blocks, but I’ll only use 9. The other block will go into the Orphanage. This is what the mess looks like now, pinned up on the design wall.

It still needs some additions and tweaking. I ran out of the solid green and may have to use some white or lavender to beef it up, especially lengthwise. The leafy fabric on the left, which I used as a backing on another quilt recently, is the last of that print and will be a perfect backing. Stay tuned for progress on this mess next week.

Time to go hit the showers! We have a family brunch later this morning - our DGD Lauren is down from college this weekend and we’re celebrating. 

Saturday, October 8, 2022


It’s been a busy, on-the-go week. Last Saturday we drove up to Syracuse (Utah, not New York, LOL) to visit Bruce’s daughter Stacy, our grandkids, and Stacy’s fiancĂ© Chad. They just bought a 6-bedroom home to house themselves and their combined six kids. It’s a lovely newish home and it was great to see everyone again and we had a fun time.

On Sunday, Cousin Kim and I sewed and did puzzles as we usually do. I had an accident with the rotary cutter and cut off part of the tip of my left index finger. Between Kim and Bruce and the first aid kit, they got it to stop bleeding after about 10 minutes so they could clean and bandage it. By the next day it was doing much better, but I kept the gauze and bandages on until we were done working in the yard (putting the vegetable garden to bed, except the tomatoes) on Monday. After that, I switched to 2 regular bandaids. I’m a fairly rapid healer, so by today it only hurts if I press it (duh, so don’t press it, Cathy)… but the funny thing is that the side of my fingernail is also cut off where the rotary blade did its deed! You can be assured I’ve been way more mindful using the rotary cutter since then!

Much of my sewing time this week was spent custom quilting Kim’s large Halloween quilt. First and last time I will ever custom quilt a quilt with so much black in it! Made my eyes wonky! When she gets it trimmed and bound, I’ll show a photo or two. 

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s October color of light and bright green, I did manage to get three green elephant blocks sewn. Three down, six more to go…


The elephant blocks finish at 10”, and the pattern is Stomping Ground by Wendy Sheppard. I’ve made three quilts from them already, and have two more to assemble with these blocks. That leaves just three more elephant quilts to assemble beyond those, with the remaining green ellies I’ll make this month and the miscellaneous-print ellies next month. I’ll be sure to do an Elephant Parade (or “trunk show”) when they’re done! 

I also finished the last two Antique Tile blocks in bright green.

Here they all are pinned up on the design board. The placement is not final.

I won’t sash the blocks, but will add a thin white stop border and a wider border of the multi-colored print on the right. This will go into the pile of quilts to assemble beginning next month. It’s one that I plan to keep for future gifting.

I also got half of the beautiful quilt top quilted that McGill U donated to Quilts for Kids. What a pleasure to quilt her beautiful work. I’ll show that all next week!!

And the last of this week’s sewing, a little bit every day alternating with the Halloween quilting, was the 60 string blocks that I’ve set as a weekly goal in October.  Four groups of 15 blocks. 

I can just hear you saying “string blocks are string blocks. How do we know these aren’t the same blocks you showed last week?”  So, I’ll show the 120 blocks together…

Are you happy now? LOL

On the sciatica front, I’ve been (mostly) released from physical therapy. I have one more follow-up session in November before we close it out. The exercises have really helped. They’re relatively easy and I enjoy doing them. And I will continue with them, adding more resistance with bands, etc. I’ve been getting around pain-free. Bruce and I even participated in a Cancer Walk with Weight Watchers (WW) around Wheeler Farm this week. Also, I’m intent on doing a 5K walk with WW and the Utah chapter of the American Cancer Society on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Salt Lake City. We’ll see how that goes!

I can’t close this post without showing some gratuitous pictures of our cute cats. First, Darla. I found her snuggled in Bruce’s side of the bed one morning when he didn’t pull up the quilt all the way.

She’s such a diva! And here’s Alfie, pictured with his paw reaching out to nudge me. He was demanding attention, naturally. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Just Stringing Along

Last week I had finished all my light blue blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s (RSC) September color. And while most of us had deduced that the final color for October would be light and bright greens, I decided to work on a few other things around my sewing studio this week. My green scraps are all sorted by size and shape and I’m ready to hit the ground running today. But let’s backtrack a bit to recap this last week.

My string bucket was overflowing.  I should’ve taken a picture, but we all know what a mountain of fabric strings and strips look like. They’re mostly multi-colored strings because each individual color is usually kept with its mates. So I began sewing string blocks on Sunday.  Cousin Kim was sewing with me, and we first pin basted two large quilts; her Halloween quilt (more on that momentarily), and a quilt top donated for Quilts for Kids. 

As I sewed strings, I realized that I could probably get literally hundreds of blocks from the bucket. So, I decided to set myself a challenge. I’m going to try to sew 300 (6.5”) string blocks by the end of October. Week One was this past week, and I sewed 60.

Four stacks of 15 blocks

So in the four weeks of October, I hope to sew 60 blocks each week to reach that number. I’m pretty sure I have enough strips to complete that many, but we’ll see! 

Judy B (GrammajudyB blog) wrote to Diann B (Little Penguin Quilts) and me and invited us to join her in sewing crumb candy blocks for RSC’23. Diann has started hers, and I had commented on her blog that I wanted to do them too. Perfect RSC/Quilts for Kids block! Here is my 8” (finished size) test block.

This would sure be a fun block to do in Christmas colors for a Christmas row quilt!

Another thing I did was to start the quilting on Cousin Kim’s Halloween quilt. It’s a central panel surrounded by twelve 12”, sashed blocks. I’ve quilted three individual blocks in loops and started on the center panel custom quilting. I decided a spider web would be a perfect large motif for the upper right corner.

It’s a bit hard to see it, but that’s OK because the quilting should be subordinate (my opinion) to the fabric anyway.  The rest of the quilting in the panel will mostly be outlines and echoes of the haunted house, black cats and pumpkins. I have a matching panel to make a Halloween quilt out of - we all bought them when we visited Missouri Star Quilt Co. last year. Unfortunately, my plans got interrupted by sciatica in September, so I’ll postpone my quilt until next year. That will give me time to settle on the blocks I’d like to make to surround the panel and squeeze those in here and there as my schedule permits. 

My final project for the week, sewing-wise, was to quilt this lovely donation quilt from McGill in S.C. It was a simple matter of stitching in the ditch.

It was such a joy to quilt this beautiful, colorful quilt! Thank you for your generosity, McGill!  The backing she provided was a dark blue print supplementing the mostly navy grunge back. 

The second quilt that McGill donated is one of the two that Kim and I basted on Sunday, so that will be done in the coming week, along with (hopefully) the blue and red checkerboard quilt top! 

Finally, Darla would like to thank you all for your comments and wishes for a speedy recovery from her traumatic dentist appointment. She has taken to borrowing my cell phone and taking selfies. 

Yesterday we harvested a lot of vegetables from the garden and will be taking them to daughter Stacy and family today (including a pumpkin). Before we leave, we’ll pick a grocery bag-full of green grapes and purchase a couple of Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake pizzas. On Monday we will be digging up the entire bed of potatoes and the rest of the onions and carrots. The tomatoes and cucumbers are fine for now, but we’re beginning fall clean-up while keeping an eye on the weather forecast. 

I think that’s it from here. For my Florida and South Carolina friends and family,  I’m glad you’re all safe. We’re all thinking about you and hoping that the recovery efforts are as swift and smooth as possible considering all the devastation. Our hearts go out to you. 

Linking to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge at Angela’s blog.