Sunday, December 31, 2017

Farewell 2017

This is my (hopefully brief) wrap up for 2017. First, Charley Brown and Snoopy - I just love the Peanuts gang. The waning year has been a good one - I have no complaints of any sort. The blessings are plentiful, and I am grateful.

I did finish the borders on the last UFO quilt top late last night. I am really pleased that I had the fortitude to stay with my goal of completing a UFO each month all year long. That sort of discipline is not my strongest trait.

Below are some random pics of my Large Tumblers quilt top. It is made with very scrappy Kaffe Fasset fabrics from my stash. The quilt top measures roughly 64"x 80" - a nice long quilt for a single bed. That darkest picture at the bottom was taken last night when lighting was poor.

I have to distinguish between large tumblers and small tumblers because I made two quilts with my template in two sizes - 3 inches and 5 inches. I was mostly just playing around when I made those first few tumblers, but then it seemed like a good idea to turn them into something useful, so now I have two tumbler quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Unplanned, but very much a good thing.

Today, I am looking back not just at the whole of 2017, but specifically December. As I attempt to wrap up both the month and the year, I put together this collage of December highlights.

The first picture is of my nephew Donnie, his wife Elisa and their new son, Elliot, born on the 28th. I was betting she'd deliver early, but nope! He came right on his due date and weighed in at 9.36lbs. A big'n! He is also long at over 21". Next is my very quick and easy table runner, a kit purchased in Holmes County/Amish Country. Then there's me with my wonderful gift - the Tin Lizzie long arm quilting machine.

The second row is of a WIP (work in progress) made with Roman Holiday scraps. I will try to finish it up soon. The train picture in the middle is a reminder of a fun night out we had with our friends the Ludwigs and their son, daughter and spouses; 8 of us in total. The Cincinnati Dinner Train was a true dining experience! The blue and white blocks are a preview of quilts Sharon P. and I are going to make in the new year.

The bottom row shows the really recent stuff. First, Emma finally has her wall hanging. I am so pleased with how it turned out, and I know she loves it. The pillows are a gift I gave my mom. The patchwork fronts are actually pockets and I tucked books into them. Of course, the final picture is the December UFO, Large Tumblers.

I have been mulling over some plans for the new year. We already know I am NOT going to focus so heavily on finishing UFOs, but I may tackle 3 or 4 as the months pass. I am eager to dive into some new fabrics I have acquired, as well as create quilts with the ample stash of old fabrics I treasure so much. Early this new year, I will post some goals and plans. It helps to do that so that I maintain my focus. I am too easily sidetracked, as evidenced by what I worked on this morning.

I have the attention span of a squirrel. This sewing room needs a major clearing out and straightening up. I need to be getting familiar with my long arm machine. I need to get a couple of appetizers made for the New Year's Eve party we are going to tonight. I ought to run a load or two of laundry. What do I do?? I ignore all that (typical Jayne behavior) and pull out a stack of scrappy stash fabrics and make this block. Teaching this dog any new tricks seems futile, at this point.

I will provide details soon on the pattern and how I became distracted - I need to finish up this last post of 2017, and get going on that to-do list!! Happy celebrating, wherever you are! And as always,

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 - The Year of the UFO Projects

What a successful year I have had with completing my 12 UFOs! It is hard to explain the mixed feelings I have had during the past year as I have worked on this challenge.  Ever-so-many months or years ago, each of these projects was begun with eager anticipation. They took a back seat at some point to more pressing efforts, some waiting in a holding pattern lots longer than others.

As I worked through this past year on the UFO assigned to each month, I wasn't always a happy camper, as the efforts became WORK. I wanted to move on to new stuff and fun things. However, I had such good success in those early months, I really wanted to keep myself on pace to finish them all. That's when the drudgery factor began setting in - about halfway through the year. I suppose it was that June UFO that got me - it was such a bugger to figure out. I may have taken awhile to finish it, but I did it eventually.

Now that they are all done (full disclosure: I am doing borders on December's UFO today) I am so very pleased with my accomplishment. This is worthy of a celebration!

I thought I'd use today's post to bring together all 12 UFOs to show off  the fantastic finishes I've managed. I feel like this challenge has been a very long, yet very satisfying endeavor.

January - 19th C. Reds 

February - Lorraine

March - Small Kaffe Tumblers

April - 9-Patch Strippy

May - Navy Monkey Wrench
June- Flag Day Farm Medallion - the only one not finished in its assigned month.

July - Wishes QAL from 2014

August - Hexie Table Topper - smallest UFO of the year

September - abbreviated Farmer's Wife Sampler 
October - Tell It to the Stars QAL from 2014
November - Dusty Trails
December - Large Kaffe Tumblers
I will work today to get the borders on this last one, and will replace the picture when I have a finish. All of these are quilt tops (except that table topper from August). Do I dare dream to quilt a few of these on that long arm machine I have set up and waiting??? I would love to, and you know you will hear all about it if that comes to fruition.

Now, as I look ahead to 2018, I do not even want to think about finishing a UFO. I do still have a few. (Or more than a few, if we are honest with ourselves, right quilters?) I may decide that doing one every 3 or 4 months will satisfy me. I don't want to repeat the pressure I put on myself to do one a month, that's for sure! I will just wait and see how I feel in a few months.

I hope you have enjoyed following along with my '17 UFO Challenge. It's been fun looking back at the quilts. Three are hand-pieced (April, May, August); one is entirely my own one-of-a-kind design (June); over half are scrappy, as opposed to color- or theme-oriented. I think these 12 quilts adequately represent my wide-ranging preferences.

I just discovered that a blogger had a 17-for-17 UFO project going on for this year; while I did not participate in it, I may try linking up with it; click the link to see what others have finished this year. I am also linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Way Back Machine

Through a series of conversations with some of my siblings (I am the oldest of 5), I went digging recently through some pictures from our childhood. I knew I had a few of these in  my possession, but it has been ages since I've seen them. I pulled a few out and took them with me to our Christmas Day get-together at Mom's. Lots and lots of reminiscing ensued, making the day extra special. As if Christmas with family isn't special enough, these pictures brought back some very sweet memories.

One tradition we had (although, I suspect we only did it a few years), was to climb into one bed on Christmas Eve at which time Mom would read to us. There is one particular book that captured our imagination, and we couldn't get enough of it. We wore it out from our constant reading and dreaming and imagining and wondering. The artist, I have discovered, was George Hinke, and his detailed drawings mesmerized us for hours. Waiting for Christmas was bearable with images like these to gaze at in wonder. These pictures provided a REAL look at Santa's workshop and how toys came to be!

Another tradition for us was waiting on Christmas morning to open presents. We were 5 kids separated by 6 years, age-wise. Do you think our mother had her hands full?? I can't even imagine. Our dad farmed and milked cows, so the milking had to be done first thing every morning, even on Christmas. Imagine the agony of having to wait until Daddy came in from the barn, clean up, and have a bite to eat. This w-a-i-t-i-n-g was pure torture for us! But Mom was clever, and managed us like a pro! We couldn't open presents until we were dressed. We had to have our teeth brushed and our hair combed. We had to open our stockings. Finally, when Daddy was ready, there was a much anticipated arrival at the door of the family room where the tree and presents were waiting! Magical! Mom always took a picture of us at the door. Sweet, precious memories here.

The photo is blurry. I should have worked harder at getting a clearer shot. Anyway, you see the 5 of us, getting our first glimpse of all that Santa left under the tree. Moments after this picture was snapped, I'm sure we raced to get a closer look and to open those packages!

This is a typical picture of circa-1960s Christmas goodies. We were always mystified by the abundance of presents, even though I know Mom and Dad were not indulgent with us. It seems like that back in those days Christmas was so much simpler, and we were satisfied with these fantastic things. Do make note of those stockings hanging off the backs of the chairs. I still have my stocking, and used it every year until about 5 years ago, when it was becoming just too fragile. I now display it every year like this.

My brother and sister still have theirs too, I believe. By the time the two youngest came along, this style was no longer available, so their stockings looked different.

Now, in the very early years, getting dressed was not a rule and pajamas were allowed, as Daddy didn't have cows at that time. I wonder who bossy-britches here is with her hands on her hips? I am definitely doing some tractor inspection, wouldn't you say? Alan, my next younger sibling, is taking a closer look at this fine piece of equipment. I have heard that vintage pedal-tractors like this are worth a lot of money these days to collectors. We have no idea whatever became of ours.

Well, that about wraps up my reminiscing for today. I have the Frankfort girls coming in tomorrow morning for some stitching and fellowship. After that, I think I will make some curtains for a window in the family room. More on that task as I get into it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Old Ornaments

As we wind down our Christmas and begin the process of putting it all away for another year, I find myself feeling nostalgic for the earlier Christmases in my life. I put out only a fraction of the decorations I normally do, so not much of the old stuff made its way to our tree this year. Two ornaments that did are perhaps the simplest ones.

Back when we were young newlyweds and had little money for holiday decorations, I used my crafting skills to cross stitch some ornaments that could easily be popped into simple plastic frames and hung with ribbon on the tree. I suppose I made at least a dozen, but to my knowledge, only these two remain.

Aren't they sweet? I love their simplicity. Before everything goes back to storage, we plan to sort through all the boxes and tubs to weed out things we no longer want or need. It is possible that I will come across a couple more, and they will definitely go into the "keep" boxes.

Tomorrow, I will share some golden oldies from when I was a child. Now talk about nostalgia!

I am enjoying a couple of days of R&R before Christmas gets packed away. We drove home from my father-in-law's house earlier today, and even though it is December 27th, we still played Christmas carols while on the road. It's nice to let Christmas linger, wouldn't you agree?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Secret Sewing

So much of my recent sewing was of the secret variety and I just could not risk sharing here as I didn't want to spoil any surprises! Today, however, I can share a few things.

For my mother, I made these two pillows. The fronts are pockets and into each one I slid a paperback book. I saw this idea on Pinterest awhile back, and the patchwork was done with Christmas prints. I wanted Mom to be able to have the pillows out year-round, and I recalled that back in the spring when we attended a quilt show together, she was exceedingly fond of all the quilts made with 30s prints. It was a no-brainer to make her pillows using my scraps from the 30s stash. These took no time at all to make, and I can see a matching lap quilt coming along someday to complete the set. 

And at last, I can show you the finished wall hanging made for DD2. Emma had asked for this over a year ago! I bought the fabric, finally, this past April while at the Canter's Cave retreat. I began sewing on it at our Veteran's Day event in November. The final stitches were taken on Christmas Eve! I quilted it this past week, and hand-tacked the binding down. From all indications, Emma really loves it, and I am sure it will be hanging on her wall immediately. I hope it will lay flatter than what this picture is indicating. Being folded into a box has made it look somewhat misshapen.

Christmas continues with us as we are soon heading out for my f-i-l's for the day. DD1 and her husband will be joining us there.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Dorothy Gifts Her Quilt

My neighbor and good friend Dorothy has been quilting for less than a year, and already she has made three quilts. All three are finished, too; no lingering UFOs to be seen! Click here to see Dorothy's first and second efforts.

Below are two pictures of the quilt top before being quilted. Dorothy, who is our district's lunch lady, found a woman who subbed at school to do the long-arm quilting. It was serendipity, for sure!

This third quilt is by far a more challenging quilt with all the triangles in it. Ohio Stars in navy and white - it is gorgeous! Dorothy found the pattern free on line, and I helped her cut it out last summer. She worked on it as she had time. She was motivated because all along Dorothy intended to give this quilt to her mother for Christmas.

About a week ago, Dorothy picked up the finished quilt - have a look!

This past week Dorothy traveled to Jacksonville, FL, to visit her mother and the gifting happened. These pictures sure do tell the story of a happy surprise!

Doesn't this just thoroughly warm your heart?? I just love how quilts can be such a welcome gift, so appreciated and often unexpected. Dorothy is still such a new quilter; I am doubly impressed by her determination to learn and work at this craft. She is definitely a go-getter in all that she does.

* * * * * * * * *

Christmas Eve! Are all the gifts wrapped? All the cooking finished? Our guests will be arriving later today, and tomorrow after we open gifts, we will be traveling to Hillsboro to have a Christmas feast with my family at my mother's house. Then Tuesday, we will head to my father-in-law's house to continue celebrating! Such excitement!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The January Plan

Sharon and I have cooked up a brilliant plan for our first project of 2018. We have talked it over, considered color options and fabric use; all that remains is to put the plan into action come January.

Back in March or so, I did a 5-part series on some antique quilts in a friend's family heirlooms. One of those quilts is the inspiration for the quilt we will make. I have no idea if there is a proper name for this design; Sharon and I may put our thinking caps on and give it a name - something clever, of course.

The two blocks used are the Monkey Wrench block and the Snowball block. I have no idea what size the blocks are in this antique beauty, so I just randomly made 6.5" blocks to see  how they would look.

After searching the stash and collecting a good variety of blues - mostly navy blue - and two suitable neutrals, I made two Monkey Wrench blocks and 4 Snowball blocks. I think this size will work just fine.

It will be fun to work on this quilt. The size of the units had been on my mind for a couple of days, so I decided to go ahead and play around with them so that I could see what awaits us. I next need to figure out how large I will make my quilt. When we are making up a pattern we can go with any size we like! My supply of navy is varied, but no piece is exceedingly large; I have many half-yard and yard cuts, along with many fat quarters. I will have to go with scrappy blues, which should work out fine. 

Are you planning your New Year's sewing? This is just one of many I have planned for 2018!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Matthew and Lindsey's Wedding Quilt

Last month a sweet couple got all hitched up, and now I can finally give them their wedding present. I took forever in deciding which quilt to give them, and once I thought I'd decided but then at the 11th hour, I changed my mind. I really should have had this all done prior to the wedding - I definitely had plenty of time. I was just so indecisive!

I shopped the quilt closet here in the quilting room for this gift. I made the pinwheel quilt using a Thimbleberries pattern. This quilt is small-ish; I will refer to it as a nice picnic quilt or a back-of-the-couch quilt.

I used two fabrics and pieced the backing. I have always loved this little quilt top, and now it will go to live with two happy newlyweds. I hope they will love it, too.

I finished the binding Saturday night. Later today, my friend Cheryl, the mother of the groom, will stop by to pick it up for delivery to the couple.

Today is sewing with Sharon! I have a little project to finish for Christmas and I hope to continue working on the December UFO - those Kaffe Fassett tumblers. It will possibly be getting its borders today! woo-hoo!

Happy Quilting, Friends!