Thanksgiving 2015

Mutts Opportunities

Today, on America’s Thanksgiving holiday, I am grateful for opportunities that come my way.  To be sure, they are often disguised as *bonk!* on the head, occasionally causing some consternation. I am also grateful for hot and cold running water, a snug house and a garden where lettuce is growing, reminding me again of the harvest, but in a green way, not a gold-and-amber way.  I open my spice cupboard and I am richer than the ancient kings of Egypt, with spices all arrayed in their glorious pungency and flavor.  I have clothes in my closet–a variety, to be sure.  I am grateful also for comfortable shoes, socks with no holes in them, and enough fabric to last me for quite a few whiles. . . and then some more.

I am grateful for family, for my six brothers and sisters, and for parents who instilled in me a sense of excellence, of purpose, a love of education and reading and doing the right thing.  They also gifted me a love of the arts, of the decorative, of the intrinsic qualities of nature’s beauties.  I am grateful for my husband–can’t say enough about him–and our four children and their families.

I am grateful to be a writer, a quilter, a maker, and to have found quilty friends in this lovely online community.  I am grateful that you reach out to me, too, with glimpses into your lives and how things run for you.  I am richer for it.


(An Earlier Feast)

Thanksgiving Cartoon MuttsHappy Thanksgiving!

Back to My Average Life After 10 Days on the Road

Road2CA acceptance2016

Road?  Did someone say Road?  I found this in my mailbox this morning, and after jumping around my room and being a goofball for a while, the happiness over this news of my acceptance into Road to California 2016 has settled into a happy smile on my face.  Not to mention the realization that lightning has struck me, twice, with this acceptance–both last year and this year.

Vegas Night

My husband and I left for Las Vegas last week for a scientific conference of his, but we decided to stay a couple of night on the famed Vegas Strip.  I liked the Bellagio Fountains, and certainly you can enjoy the wild and crazy neon/light/building attractions, but generally, overall, I’ll probably never go back.  But it was good to do it once, I guess.

Vegas Art

This is what I did like (from left to right): 1) a James Turrell installation in the back of the Aria, near the elevators (see below), Claes Oldenberg’s famous sculpture Typewriter Eraser, and the Dale Chihuly installation in the ceiling of the Bellagio of blown glass flowers.
Turrell installment

Here’s a long view of the Turrell.  The white tube casts different colors (which you can see above), filling the room with light.  I love Turrell’s installations, given that I am completely enamored of color in quilting, too.
Barbara and Children 2105

Our daughter and her three children joined us on our last day, and yes, we ate lunch at Shake Shack (we stayed in the New York, New York hotel, and I thought posing them in front of the fake Brooklyn Bridge was appropriate).SLC Temple

Then I flew up to Salt Lake City, where I saw one of my favorite buildings, and we celebrated my father’s 90th birthday, shown below with my brother Scott.  Dad's Birthday

But I couldn’t leave Utah without hitting at least two shops: Elaine’s Quilt Block (a favorite) and a new one to me: Pine Needles, which I fell in love with.  I’ll be back!Quilt Shops

Wrong Rosette #5And now I need to buckle down with the quilting, the figuring out where to put the stuff I bought from the quilt shops, to remake the center of my latest hexie Rosette #5, because even though I probably got the memo that the pieces were too big and I should figure out the right ones. . . I didn’t.  So now it’s un-sew and re-cut and re-sew. But why do anything average?1Bently Enemy of Average

Quilty Procrastination

I feel the crisp air now of California, now that it’s finally mid-November (apparently the effect of climate change) and coming soon is Turkey Day.  (For a turkey prep that will change your life, see *here.*  We did it last year and I’ll never do anything else now.)  And then, you know, The Big One, and I’m not referring to earthquakes in California.  Yes. . . Christmas.  My friend has already sewn multiples of her gift for family and friends, and I’m just now kind of thinking about it.  I am already behind.


So I’m skipping all that, and going right to the New Year and its projects.   Because it’s never too late to focus on something in the future, where I’m going to live, than to spend time moaning over the fact that I have nothing sewn for Christmas, which will soon be in the past.  All this is because I seem to be an expert at procrastinating.  According to Timothy Pychyl, interviewed on *this site,* I have demonstrated several of the key unproductive responses to a dreaded task (from *his book*)[my comments are in brackets]:

  1. Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  2. Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively (usually for unimportant tasks)
  3. Downplaying the importance of what you have to do
  4. Giving yourself affirmations, focusing on other your values and qualities that will solidify your sense of self [even though you aren’t getting your work done!]
  5. Denying responsibility in order to distance yourself from what you have to do
  6. Seeking out new information that supports your procrastination (e.g. when you tell yourself you need to have more information before you get started on something)[a classic grad school trick]

So, in order to model for you number 1, 3, and 5 nearly all of them, I hereby give you:

2016 Projects

Projects for the New Year (or earlier, if I want):

  • Unpin Shine: The Circles Quilt after I spend close to 3 hours pinning it, take it apart and layer on another layer of wool batting, and then re-pin it in order to quilt it, or merely obsesses about quilting it, as the case may be.
  • Start the Spelling Bee.  I’m still trying to think of a theme or a pithy phrase to have my beemates make for me.
  • Continuing Chuck Nohara block creation.  There is no date by which these have to be finished, so it’s pure sewing enjoyment.
  • I’m the Queen Bee for Mid-Century Modern Bee in January and I already have my idea (I’m not telling).  We’ve had some changes, and have 2 openings for quilters who have their own blog –or– a body of work on Instagram/Flickr.  You also have to be over 50 (the Mid-Century thing), be vetted by our committee, have a modern tilt to your sewing, are a capable sewist, and love to be on time with your bee projects.  Leave a comment if you are interested.
  • Four-in-Art has a new yearly theme (Color) and Simone has announced our first quarterly challenge: Microscopic.  I’m totally jazzed.  We also have a couple of openings, and the same criteria apply — except for the age thing.  We’d also like if you would be willing to be creative and try new approaches to quilting. We make our quilts and post them on our blogs/Flickr accounts (we do not send them anywhere, so perfect for international participation).  Up to this point, they’ve all been in the 12″ square format, but we are now leaving the size open to the artist.  Leave a comment if you are interested. The guidelines we came up with are:

1. Members should have a desire to expand their creativity.
2. Have a body of work on line that members can review via blog, Flickr or Instagram.
3. Make a year commitment to the group, and do their best to make deadlines- unless some crazy life occurrence happens.
4. Be willing to review other Four-in-Art work and leave a comment within the first week of publishing.

  • Write my pattern for Spectrum, a mini quilt, and get that up on Craftsy/PayHip.
  • My time with the Traveling Threads Bee is almost finished.  Just waiting on one more package from the quilter ahead of me, and then I’ve completed all the blocks for my beemates.  My blocks have also been returned to me (all the Alison Glass fabrics in the corner up there) and I’d like to dive into that.
  • Plan out the Halloween Quilt my friend Leisa and I are doing:

HalloweeenQuilt 1008dollars

Apparently all my readers are more clever than I (but I knew that already) and have located the pattern for me.  Thanks very much to Leslie in Rome, and everyone else.  You are the best!

It’s called “Hallowe’en 1904,” and is from Blackbird Designs.  Common Threads in Wisconsin seems to have it back in stock, which is great news!

See how easy that was?  And how I didn’t think about Getting Ready for Christmas once?

But according to Pychyl, one of biggest recommendations to avoid procrastination is simply to get started. “Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think. . . .When you find yourself thinking things like ‘I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow,’ ‘I work better under pressure,’ ‘There’s lots of time left,’ I can do this in a few hours tonight’, let that be a flag or signal or stimulus to indicate that you are about to needlessly delay the task, and let it also be the stimulus to just get started.”

Happy mid-November, y’all.  Let’s get started.


Chuck Nohara Quilt Blocks


I have a new girlfriend and her name is Chuck Nohara.  Like all of my girlfriends, she is charming, sweet with a bite of spice, witty and oh! so clever.  This is her book, purchased from QuiltMania.  She’s also worth her weight in euros — er, dollars — so get ready for that part, too.  If you live near a quilt show that’s coming up, sometimes QuiltMania comes to quilt shows and you can escape the horrific international shipping costs.  I admit only to the fact that I was in recovery from surgery when I was shopping and perhaps the drug-induced haze had something to do with it, but now I’m having fun.

I was suckered drawn into this by the adorably cute photos of her work on the #chucknoharaqal on Instagram, and as soon as I saw some of these blocks, I was hooked.ChuckNohara3

The hashtag sashing is also very cute.  I may or may not do this.  Depends on my current state of mind.ChuckNohara2

You can make over thousands of these blocks, hence the title “2001,” which does not refer to the year, but instead to the number of block drawings inside.  There have been other Chuck Nohara books, and they are scarcer than hen’s teeth.  QuiltMania republished her work (text is both in French and English) and so now we can get her designs.  Because of course you want a new girlfriend, too.ChuckNohara6 ChuckNohara5 CN606 prep

This is the one that drew me in.  I’m prepping up some of the blocks just to try them out.  Susan of PatchworknPlay and I are going to join the quilt-a-long and do some of the blocks, too. If you jump in with us, head to Instagram and post up your blocks there.CN969 prep1

I started by scanning the page I wanted, full-size.  I then cut out my block, placed it on the copier bed and enlarged it until it measured 6″ on a side.  For the birdhouse, I needed to enlarge it by 283%.  But the cherries needed 301%.  I have no idea why.  Those mysteries are way beyond my pay grade.CN969_prep3 CN969 prep2

A perfect little project to tote along to doctor appointments, on car trips, and on a journey to my father’s 90th birthday celebration.

Flying Through a Rainbow Mini Quilt

Flying Through a Rainbow_frontlabeled

Flying Through a Rainbow
Quilt #152

You’ve seen this one before, but I wanted to give you the directions on how I put it together.    Flying Through a RainbowI made this for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, the final small quilt of my four mini swaps.  I know that people traditionally go over the top for this swap, but when I glimpsed into my partner’s life, I realized that she did a variety of activities and wanted to honor that by using the Flying Geese block going in multiple directions, but with a twist: I used two half-square triangles to make the block so I could work in a bunch of neutral light fabrics behind, including a fun fabric that was a bowling score sheet (one of her hobbies–she doesn’t read my blog, so I’m safe to tell).

Flying Through a Rainbow_blue Flying Through a Rainbow_green Flying Through a Rainbow_orange Flying Through a Rainbow_purple

I cut a 4″ block from sixteen different solids (then sliced it in half diagonally), choosing four gradated hues from four different color families: violets, blues, greens and yellows.  I then cut a 4″ block from ten different low-volume background fabrics and sliced those on the diagonal so I could mix and match the backgrounds.  Yes I had some triangles left over on the backgrounds, but I wanted a variety.

I cut four 3 1/2″ center squares, then laid out all the cut pieces so I could see the play of backgrounds to the colors.  After I was able to get an arrangement I liked, I stitched the two half-triangles together, pressing the seam allowance to the darker side.  I trued them up to measure 3 1/2″ blocks, using the nifty BlocLoc ruler I bought at QuiltCon.  It’s worth every penny, believe me.

Then I sewed each color family together as if it were a nine-patch, then trued up those four blocks.  Last step is to sew the four blocks together.

Flying Through a Rainbow_quiltingA

I am always stumped by “how to quilt this thing.”  I decided to keep playing around with the triangle theme: I traced smaller triangles in each larger one, and echo-quilted those.  In each color group the triangles are placed in different places, providing a different, yet harmonious quilting design.  The background was quilted in the wavy line stitch from my sewing machine.  I had to dodge around the triangles a lot, switching back and forth between the wavy stitch and a straight stitch.  That’s one more reason I’m glad it’s a mini: they are easy to maneuver on the machine.

So that’s the season for my mini quilt experience.  It was a good experience and I had fun coming up with ideas.

Rolling Rainbow Star_labeled

Rolling Rainbow Star
Quilt #150

I did finally finish the pattern to Rolling Rainbow Star (above) and it’s now in my Craftsy Shop (or PayHip, if you are from a VAT country), if you want to make a great little 16″ quilt.

I do have one more mini that I didn’t swap.  More on that in the next post.

And That Has Made All the Difference: a Four-in-Art Quilt

Made All the Difference_full

And That Has Made All the Difference
Quilt No. 151, November 2015
#4 in the Literature Series

I close out the Literature Series with another poem, a famous poem, by Robert Frost.  You can even guess what it is by looking at the colors, and those leaves — yes, I chose “The Road Not Taken.”


I chose a family group picture from the last time we were all together, almost 2 years ago this December, and cut-and-pasted it into a photo I grabbed from the web of a golden allee (which I think must be in New York’s Central Park).  I tweaked it, then printed it on some fabric I’d prepared with Bubble Jet (more info about that on *this* post).


I let it dry from the printing, then set it with Bubble Jet Set, laid it out to catch the excess moisture (below), then hung it to dry.


It needed more leaves.  So I cut out scads and scads of leaves from fabric that I’d backed with fusible webbing, and ironed them on.  I framed the photo with a partial log cabin arrangement, then quilted it.

Made All the Difference_1

In conjunction with the making of this quilt, I read the book by David Orr, The Road Not Taken, which is an analysis of this poem, which apparently most of us get wrong (sorry to be the one to break this to you).  We think it’s about rugged individualism, of the choices that we make and how we come out on top.  That idea, apparently, is routed firmly in our American way of looking at things, which is to say, that as a country, America comes out on the top in scales ranking us as the most individualistic  (only the Czech Republic was tied with us.)  And it’s certainly part of the part and parcel of this poem, when we talk about it and think about ourselves as that individual (notice how there are no other people in this poem) striding through a dappled forest, making astute and informed choices.  But really, it’s about so many things.

While there are many threads in this book, I was quite intrigued with the idea of being at the crossroads.  And in introducing that idea, Orr wonders if it’s not about the final victorious moment, but rather it is about”[t]he moment at the crossroads”. . . “in which all decisions are equally likely. We haven’t moved, we haven’t chosen, we haven’t sinned” (51).  Orr quotes the introductory note on Frost in the second edition of The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry:” ‘The Road Not Taken’ seems to be about the difficulty of decision making but is itself strangely reluctant to resolve. It keeps us in the woods, at the crossroads, unsure whether the speaker is actually even making a choice, and then ends not with the decision itself but with a claim about the future that seems unreliable’ ” (70).

MadeDifference_backEven Frost himself, in a note to Leonidas Payne in November of 1927, writes: “My poems—I should suppose everybody’s poems—are all set to trip the reader head foremost into the boundless. Ever since infancy I have had the habit of leaving my blocks carts chairs and such like ordinaries where people would be pretty sure to fall forward over them in the dark. Forward, you understand, and in the dark” (53).

Forward and in the dark is about how I feel about many decisions I make, but the quality of individualism whispers in my ear at all times: I am the one who can see clearly to choose, as if the “I” was unchanging, solid, rooted in bedrock.  Yet doesn’t the choosing change us?  And then doesn’t every choice become monumental?  Orr agrees, saying that “If we can’t persist unchanged through any one choice, then every choice becomes a matter of existential significance—after all, we aren’t merely deciding to go left or right; we’re transforming our very selves” (60-61), which is one aspect of what the poem is about: choice is slippery and transformative, yet a constant in our lives.

Made All the Difference_2

However you think about it, I did make a significant choices some twenty-six years ago to marry my husband, to join with him in raising the four children I brought with me out of a period of loss and devastation, and in doing so I not only changed my life, but the lives of the children.

And that has made all the difference.MadeDifference_back


“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Here they are together.  Somehow I need to stitch them together and meld them together into one quilt.

Tiny Nine-Patch

About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States.  Our blog is *here.*  Please visit the other members of our Four-in-Art Group and see their Literature Art Quilts:

Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton (delayed by house flood; will post later)
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Susan at PatchworknPlay
Tiny Nine-Patch
Next reveal date is February 1st, 2016.  We have had a series of emails amongst ourselves, clarifying where we want to go in the next year, and found again our desire to keep working together.  Rachel is now the head of our group, and we will have a new theme and quarterly challenges.  Stay tuned.

A New Purse/Tote Bag

I went looking for a new purse the other day.  I’m headed up to Utah to help celebrate my father’s 90th birthday and needed a new purse so I won’t embarrass myself with my three other fabulous high-fashion sisters, who buy purses like this:


I suppose I could do that, but it would eat up my fabric budget for about six months a year. I first pawed through the ranks of ho-hum-department-store purses, then saw a few of these:Purse_chips Purse_fringe Purse_milk

My nieces and a few younger quilters thought they were terrific, but when you are up against Prada, you know Betsey Johnson is going to be just too out there.  (But I did kind of like the milk carton.)  I realized that a purse I had purchased in 1988 looked just like the $150 purses on the rack that I liked, I decided to take that one with me.  But at the very least, I still wanted a new tote bag.Totebagblue_1

The fabric is called Geishas and Gingkos from Lonni Rossi, and it’s not only cool on the print side, but I flipped some around for that peek-a-boo pocket in the front, too. It’s probably the first time I haven’t thrown the fabric in the back of the stash cupboard, but instead turned into something current.
Totebagblue_2 Totebagblue_3

I used Two Pretty Poppets Stand Up & Tote Notice, whose name I tried mightily to figure out, but never did.Totebagblue_4 Totebagblue_5

I wasn’t in love with this pattern, but I can’t really fault it in anyway either.  Her directions are pretty good, with lots of photos, but it took me a day of working up my courage to jump in with printing off the PDF, aligning everything, re-tracing it for a pattern (which often didn’t align with the other part of the pattern) to figuring everything out.  It does earn points for that very cool  front pocket, the interesting angled top and pretty good directions.  I wish it had a picture of all the pattern pieces with their names and what to cut out of what; I kept the PDF patterns close by while sewing. You’ll probably have an easier time of it, so give it a try before you pass judgement on it.
Totebagblue_6I couldn’t figure out how big it was in real life, even though the dimensions were all listed.  I found out only later, that the medium (the size I made) was just about 1″ too short to fit my iPad in below the snap closure.  I can get it in sideways, so I’ll probably do that.  I also change up the pockets in all the patterns I make, so mine are a bit different.
Totebagblue_7 Cool front pocket.  I spliced it so I could enjoy the purple flowers from this fabric line, but used the backside of the fabric at the top.
Totebagblue_7aIt calls for foam in the middle.  I used Soft and Stable from ByAnnie.Totebagblue_7bWhen sewing the lining in, I found this problem again: mis-matched size of pattern pieces.  I made it work.  No big deal.

Totebagblue_8So, I’m all ready now except for the fact that I’m now obsessing about what to wear.

Another Mini and a few more things. . .

Simply Mini Swap_Jana

This very cute quilt arrived yesterday from Jana, my (secret) Simply Mini Quilt Swap partner.  Boy, was I bowled over–I love it!  I had to take it outside to my back fence photo studio today to get a good shot of it and I love the pinwheels and the colors and that perfect binding. Thank you so much, Jana!

Traveling Threads Marci w my blocks

This too-light, too-washed-out, picture doesn’t do the blocks from the Traveling Threads Bee justice.  They are a collection for Marci, who is making a sampler quilt.  As always, I tried to look at the quilt to see what it needs, not like I’m some quilt-whisperer or something, but just every once in a while, it can just pop into your mind.


And since she specified she wanted a sampler quilt, I decided it needed some curves, as in a basket block and a Dresden plate block.  I cleared the Dresden with her, and just threw in the basket with that curvy handle.  I set it on some of Marci’s favorite fabric: the clothespins.  I think I only have one more to go until I’ve finished making for my bee-mates.  The regular delivery of these treasures seems to have bunched up somewhere; hopefully it will arrive before Christmas!Merit Badge SewingSome more sewing. . .I had fun sewing on the various badges and rank achievements for four Scouts: my eldest son and his three boys.  It was like deja vu to an earlier time.
Pattern_NYT_2015I clipped this out of the New York Times style magazine this past Sunday, as I loved all the texture shown, both in architecture/design and in fashion.  We who are doing the Millefiore quilts are right on trend!  Which reminds me that I need to get back to that. . .


. . . right after I finish up my Four-in-Art quilt, which is posting this coming Sunday, November 1st.  This is the last post of our literature theme, and I look forward to seeing all the creations of those in my group.

from here

I did finish up my Quilt Abecedary project: a way to teach myself how to make quilt letters, in preparation for the 2016 Spelling Bee, a group who will make quilty words for each other.  I hope I’ll improve in my lowercase k skills in the future.  That one was tricky.

fall 2015 garden

We think we are finally turning the corner on summer and finding our way to fall, which means get our fall garden planted: spinach, cabbage, lettuce (2 kinds), a Glacier tomato plant (trying it for the first time), oregano, chard, cauliflower and broccoli.  Some of these are new to me; we’ll see what survives.

Bunnyhenge circle bunnyhenge

Another sign of fall is the scheduling of my Fall Frolic trip to Orange County with my former colleague/now friend, Judy.  We hit the usual: Roger’s Gardens, ‘lette Macaron Shop, Wafu’s Sushi, South Coast Plaza, Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, Crystal Court, and IKEA.  This year we found something new and whimsical: a pocket park of sculpture next to the Newport Beach Civic Center and Fashion Island Mall, from where these bunnies — almost waist-high — were photographed.  They’ve been nicknamed Bunnyhenge by the locals.  I loved them.

Lastly, I have actually filled in some plans on my calendaring book.  This is revolutionary.  I often would rather write down what I did, then cross it off, than make plans that will never be achieved.  You can call me a goal-setting wimp.

halloween 2015

Happy Halloween!

Oktoberfest’s Blocks and Quilts and Plans

IMG_5162.JPGWhile I really love the festive cookies sold during Germany’s Oktoberfest, it’s the giant pretzels I really miss.

IMG_6234.JPGIMG_5545.JPG And who can forget the cute dirndls, wore by the most traditional Bavarian women? (I have three, all made by hand with fabric lugged home from Munich.)  But in honor of those weeks of partying they do in the Bavarian Alps, I’ve been partying here in my sewing room, finally gaining enough stamina to put in nearly a full day’s/several days’ worth of work.  In other words, it’s catch-up time.


A package of blocks from our Traveling Threads Bee finally caught up to me (we’ve had some delays) and I placed Amber’s blocks (she blogs at One Shabby Chick) all over my design wall to admire the handiwork of my beemates.  So often when I get a batch of blocks, I recognize that there is a different goal for those of us at the end of the bee.  Those at the beginning work on creating blocks and filling up the holes.  But if you are towards the end of the trading circle, a good look at the quilt is necessary, asking: what does this quilt need?  In this case, it needs some negative space, the hint given by that lone six-pointed appliqué star there on the turquoise background.

Starshine rays

The theme of this quilt is “I love you more than all the stars,” with the request to make pink stars on a range of blue backgrounds.  Amber also included this really cool lame cotton, which of course I couldn’t wait to use.  I kept singing the lyrics to Good Morning, Starshine in my head, and realized that’s where I needed to go.  So above, are three starshine blocks.Starshine on AmbersQuilt

I tucked them in around the edges of the quilt, pronounced it done, packed it up and mailed it off to the next partner in our bee.Detail Halloween Quilt 2015-2 Detail Halloween Quilt 2015

After two years of saving a few Halloween-themed Polaroid blocks, I pulled them out and put them into a random bordered square arrangement.  While I should be working on Halloween in March, or even April, I never feel like working on Halloween then.  Halloween Quilt 2015 Quilts for the Quilter

This, along with my basket quilt and another quilt Lisa and I finished for a friend, are now at the quilter’s.  Yes, I’ll enjoy my Halloween quilt NEXT Halloween.

Fabric for Halloween quilt

Except that there may be another quilt joining that one: this is our stack of fabrics from Primitive Gatherings quilt shop (and there are a few more from Temecula Quilt Company) that Leisa and I put together, so we can make this:

Halloween Quilt 1904

from the ever-talented Thelma, at Cupcakes ‘n Daisies

However I promised her we wouldn’t start on it until after the holidays, so the fabrics are stashed away until January.Alphabet to S

And I’ve made it up to T/t on my Quilt Abecedary project (T/t were too shy to pose for a photo).  Only a few more, then I’ll need to start really honing in on the theme of my quilt and what I want my Spelling Bee-mates to make for my quilt.  I’m first up in January, so I’d better get cooking.

And then after that finishes next year, I’m game to do another traveling bee.  And then after that. . .

It’s nice to be looking far forward once again, rather than just hoping I can make it through a day at a time.  I used to do quarterly goals for several online finishing collaborations, but have fallen out of the habit of looking ahead, bogged down as I was in this summer’s detritus of the here and now.  I still don’t fill up my schedule book too far ahead, not knowing if my stamina will hold out.

And does it really help to focus on your goals?  We’ll never quell that controversy, but according the article, How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back on the 99u blog, focusing exclusively on your goals may “spoil your experience of the activities you’ll need to pursue.”  Even the first article linked above notes that “relentless fantasizing may actually reduce one’s odds of achieving goals.”  But, rather, “adopting the mind-set that your strengths and abilities are not fixed, but can improve over time and with effort, can have self-fulfilling results” (99u — always a good site for reading about this sort of thing).

For this reason, I’ve found often that reviewing my achievements often provides motivation to go forward, a sort of “I finished that one, now I can finish this” one sort of process.  Or I can say to myself, “I like the feeling of having completed this,” and enjoy the feeling like when I walked out of the post office yesterday, having mailed off a bee-mate’s package of blocks.

To close, here’s one two more thoughts:

make a plan

from here

but don’t forget to. . .Happy Things

I plan to quilt.

Mini Madness Wrap-Up (Mostly)

This past summer, I joined four swaps, then had my head examined and swore never to do it again.  It was sort of a good thing to have some small things to try out my design skills and to keep me quilting, so I guess another title for this post is “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”  I do plan to do individual posts on a couple of them (so you’ll see them again), plus I have one more mini quilt that I made with quite a story (not shown, but soon).  But so far, here they are, in the order they rolled out from my house.

Mini House_frontlabeled

The Heart’s Solace: Home, Sweet, Home (No. 147)

This post has both a free pattern and a tutorial, with links to the original tutorial.

House Mini Gift

Although a little bit late (she had fabric and pattern issues), Emily sent me mine and I am so in love with it.  I ended up drafting her a pattern on my QuiltPro quilt software, which I’m happy to share with you.  It’s in a PDF file: Emily’s House  On the first page, the piece for the narrow sashing around the central patchwork square is cut off.  I’d recommend using the width of the pattern piece as a guide and cutting a strip to fit your work after you start sewing it together.

Rainbow Gardens

Rainbow Gardens, No. 148

This post has links to my Craftsy/PayHip store where you can purchase the pattern.

Kaffe Mini Gift

Here is the creative and beautiful quilt I received from that swap–a lovely Dresden-plate type circle of houses.  I love them all and love the variety of sewing machine fancy stitches that my partner used.  I hear there is a pattern out there for it called Dresden Neighborhood (by Persimmon Dreams) and you can buy it from Craftsy.

Little pouches for swaps

One hallmark of swaps is the little gifts that you send, although I did join a swap titled “Simply Mini.”  (More about that one later.)  I made two of my swap partners Dumpling Pouches and filled them with interesting PostIt Notes, some washi tape and quilty trinkets.  I’ve seen some swap loot that is over the top; I hope my partners aren’t disappointed (all of them have received their packages).

Rolling Rainbow sent off Rolling Rainbow_front

Rolling Rainbow Star–I made one for the Simply Mini Swap and then had to make one for myself.  I changed up the binding on it to tell them apart. A future post and pattern are coming for this one.

Rainbow Rolling Star_back

I love this backing.

Flying Geese

Flying Rainbow.  The last one I made was for the Schnitzel & Boo swap–the grandmama of all swaps on Instagram, now in it’s fourth year.  I wanted to say I did that one, and now I can.  The quilter I was to send to liked bowling, cooking and classic comic books, so I bought her some bowling score fabric to use the quilt, and backed it with fabric showing wee chefs and bakers. A future post with a tutorial and free pattern are coming for this one.

Flying Geese_back

Now my To-Do list looks like this:

Mutts To Do Lists 10_8

 Just kidding.  Now I have to clean out the garage before our hoped-for El Nino rains arrive.  (Fingers are crossed!)