Saturday, December 9, 2023

Winter Activities

What a varied (and fun) week this has been! It seems that there is a new adventure or challenge awaiting around every corner. Having grown up in Southern California and never learning any snow/winter sports after moving here to Utah 40 years ago, it is usually much easier to keep myself occupied in nicer weather. There’s always quilting and sewing of course, but there is so much more to do outdoors in nicer weather.

This year, however, we are devoting our winter weekdays primarily to the impending spring move. We want to downsize to a condo and hopefully cut our house square footage in half. We also want to eliminate the yard work, although we prefer a main-level condo so that we can have a patio, courtyard or little patch of ground that we can care for. We want to keep that all-important (to us) connection to the earth. Nope, no upper level high rise condos for us! We’ve narrowed down our geographical area here within the Salt Lake Valley, and have started “neighborhood” and “condo complex” hunting. The area has to have the right “feel”. We’ve eliminated high traffic areas, neighborhoods with dilapidated-looking exteriors (even though some of those condos looked very nice on Zillow on the inside). The condo can’t be too small, too large, we don’t want a stacking washer/dryer set-up, plus all the other things - HOA fees not too high (older complexes have understandably higher fees), and have the right number of bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen that has a window or is open to the living area. We’ve found a great real estate agent, after meeting a few that didn’t feel right. 

Gratuitous photo of Alfie & Darla (doing what they do best)

So, we are shooting for listing our home in early February. Bruce has been working on his workshop/laboratory for months, and has made great progress. We are tackling the basement storage together, and I’m doing my studio, the kitchen, and basically the rest of the house. We take a load to the thrift store every week, and offer up potential treasures to Kim and Ruby when they visit every Sunday for our Church of Bernina sewing day! Ruby liked a lot of my old Christmas decorations and Kim favors the books, Pyrex and other useful things. This week they’re getting to pick through old quilt books and patterns, old clocks, and some specialty fabrics (wool and chenille) that I no longer want. 

Between looking at condos, house decluttering, visiting family and friends (December game night and Christmas Party for our Weight Watchers ladies card group), I have been cleaning house and SEWING!! Christmas shopping is all done - it was all gift cards and cash this year, with the exception of the big Christmas Stars quilt and stocking stuffers. 

What sewing did I do this week? I finished the Chaser Block quilt! I totally love it and will probably save it so that we can gift it personally (as opposed to donating to charity).

Chaser Finished at 48x56” and was quilted with a simple meander in gray Aurifil thread. 

I worked on some Zipper blocks - more on those next week.  No progress or work on anything else. So I’m going to take this space and time to tell you about a longer-term (as in over the next 2-3 months) project I’ve started. But first, more talking...... I want to tell a little of the back story.

When I began losing weight seriously last year, I decided to set myself 5-pound goals and non-food rewards. In the early stages, when clothes were just becoming looser and not yet warranting replacement to a smaller size, I chose things like earrings, shoes and the like. I must’ve mentioned once in a WW (Weight Watcher) meeting of my plan, and a fellow member named Ann had simultaneously brought some cute motivational ‘punch cards’ for us to use to tick off the progress. (I may have been the only one who actually used them, but use them I did). 

Fast forward to this summer, when I was 60-ish pounds down. Ann stopped me on the way out of the meeting and said she had something for me. She pulled out a square box and gave it to me. Inside was gray velvet box about the size of a compact disc, only thicker. I opened it to see a beautiful gold necklace with a pendant containing four diamonds in a beautiful setting. She said she had gone a little crazy and bought herself too many things lately, including this necklace from B--- Jewelers (very exclusive), and she wanted me to have it. I said I couldn’t accept such a gift, but she talked to me quietly, saying that I had been an inspiration to her and others, and that it would mean a lot to her to be able to give it to me. I cried, thanked her, and she was gone. Flabbergasted, I took it home and cried for a week before I could put it on. (You know, feelings of being undeserving, yadda yadda). I wore it hidden it under the blouse I wore to the next week’s WW meeting, and Ann wasn’t in attendance. But I showed it to our leader Kris who herself was flabbergasted. She said to me “You know who Ann is, don’t you?”. I didn’t. Kris said that Ann’s late father was XX, a bigwig (as big as they get) in the LDS (Mormon) church. And Ann has a daughter and granddaughters, but chose to pass that necklace to me. Cue another bout of tears...

So, all that to say that I am making Ann a thank-you quilt. Seems a small thing by comparison, I realize, but I know that she takes interest in the quilts that some of us bring to share before our WW meetings with other quilters in the group. What fabric line am I using? My coveted Anne of Green Gables, of course. Here are the first two blocks that I’ve made.

The pattern is Quatrefoil from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I have fussy cut the Anne pieces for the block centers. The corner four-patches will make a lovely chaining effect between blocks, and there will be two borders - a stop border and a wider floral outer border. I hope to give it to her around Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure yet if I will quilt it myself or have it professionally done, but I’m leaning toward the latter. Anyway, I wanted to share that story with you as I get going on this very meaningful quilt. 

Today we have Bruce’s daughter Stacy and her kids coming over. They live about 45 minutes away and the weather has been off-and-on-snowy, so we decided to hedge our bets and have our Christmas gathering way early. We’re taking them out to lunch, giving them all their Christmas gifts, and letting the kids clean out and choose anything they want to keep from our soon-to-be-defunct toy cabinet. (Ha! A method to my madness.....)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and week, and that you’ve got that Christmas shopping beast tamed! 

Linking to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge


  1. that sounds like a very nice lady to give you the necklace. I think a thank you quilt sounds perfect and good luck on your continued weight loss. Good luck on your house hunt - it is hard deciding to move and then make the move into something your really want and the right size etc

  2. I think a quilt is a beautiful thank you gift (and that's going to be a pretty one)! How wonderful to know that you inspire the people in your group. Good luck with the cleaning out and downsizing, too. That's a big job, but a feel good one when it's accomplished!

  3. The joy of is so special that she chose you.
    With your deadline to be "cleaned out" a little bit away, it gives you many opportunities to let friends/family go through the items you are parting with. Less to haul, happier feeling.

  4. Congratulations on the completion of your Chaser quilt, Cathy, and the progress you've made on your decluttering/downsizing efforts! Best of luck on the home shopping and the sweet quilt you are making for Ann. A quilt sounds like the perfect Thank You gift for her!

  5. Good Luck on finding the condo of your dreams;))) We have often thought about moving to a condo--but in our area the HOA fees are exorbitant and we are not up to moving far
    away as our children and grands are all within one to one and half hrs of us...
    Plus we are used to this area having lived her for 40 years +/-. -- but day to day housekeeping and maintenance may end up making the decision for us, too...we are enjoying this house we love for as long as we can...I hope you find the right place for you...
    Those quilt blocks are so lovely--your generous friend will certainly love it...
    Hugs, Julierose

  6. My goodness you have achieved such a lot this week on both the decluttering and sewing fronts. The Chaser top is so bright and cheerful. The gift from your WW friend is amazing - not surprised by your overwhelmed reaction. However, you deserve it. I should not think your WW group has ever had such a successful student. A gift graciously given and a gift to be graciously received and cherished.

  7. What a lovely story about Ann and the unexpected gift. I'm sure she will love her unexpected quilt gift and I imagine a few more tears will be shed, by both of you.

  8. Your chaser quilt is sew pretty! Congrats on the finish!

  9. Hi Cathy! You never know the impact you have on others and the inspiration you've unknowingly given. I think it so sweet of Ann to give you the necklace. Those four diamonds just might be four members whose lives you have touched. I hope you wear the necklace proudly and in the spirit it was given. Making her a quilt is a fabulous idea! Your fussy cut centers are fab and I know she will feel all the love and care being stitched into each block. I can't wait to see it complete. {{Hugs}} a bunch ~smile~ Roseanne

  10. I absolutely love that Chaser quilt. That would be perfect for donation quilts. You've inspired a whole new plan.

  11. Seeing your Chaser quilt has made me determined to make that or maybe a candy taffy quilt in 2024. Thanks for sharing the lovely story of your friend Ann. Good luck with finding a home with all the boxes checked! Moving is monumental! 🤯😳


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