An Unexpected Hiatus

It has been so long since I have written a post, I hardly know where to begin! From mid-November to now, I have been sick with one thing after another. This has been incredibly annoying! There are so many respiratory viruses going around and I believe I have sampled all of them. Our area has been hit so hard that my primary care physician’s office is unable to see any respiratory/flu cases in person because the staff has come down with it and now they are very short handed. It is just wild. The kids have it the worst and the children’s Tylenol and Motrin is flying off the shelves. Anyway, in case you’ve wondered, that is what caused me to go missing. I have been reading and watching TV and doing bits and pieces of sewing as I could.

I think I need to do a general post to catch up with what has happened around here. This blog is somewhat a journal and I can’t just ignore a whole six weeks!

In mid-November my amazing sister hosted an early Thanksgiving for our family. There were about 50 people attending and another 15 couldn’t make it. We haven’t had the group together in a very long while and this was great fun. My parents have six children (my sisters and I) who then in total had 21 children and those grandchildren have had 16 children. If you add in all of the spouses and partners, we have one big family! When I think of the numbers that make up our group, I always come back around to my parents. I am so grateful they had a big family and started this whole ball rolling!

When we all got together it seemed like every single one of the kids attending was coughing like crazy. The following week, the adults started to catch the bug. It was nuts – but also worth it to be able to see everyone in one place.

Two weeks later was Thanksgiving. We had dinner at my son’s house. Look at this big girl learning to baste the turkey! We enjoyed a smaller group this time. It was pure luck that most people felt decent for the holiday. (The girls have also been sick constantly for the past 6 or 8 weeks).

Being home so much did allow me to work on a holiday quilt. I saw a free pattern by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs called Candy Circle. I have a very large bin of holiday fabrics. Many of them were already cut into five inch squares which made putting this together quite easy. I chose the gray and white background to give it a modern wintry look.

When I had the quilt top on the floor for basting, I decided I wasn’t happy with the large expanse of gray in the center. Not sure how it popped into mind, but I thought adding a big snowflake would be fun. My husband created the template for the snowflake and I found some white, tone on tone fabric with a very slight shimmer to it. Perfect!

I fused it to the center while the quilt top was on the floor and then stitched the raw edges of the snowflake first, before I started to quilt it.

Quilting this piece was a bit unwieldy but overall, it went really well. On each section, white, gray, and colorful, I did a different motif. This kept me interested – honestly, quilting something this big becomes a bit mind-numbing for me after a bit.

It is now on Julia’s bed and I think she really likes it. (I couldn’t resist the snowflake pillow when I saw it in the store. It looks like it was made for the quilt!) Most impressive to me was the fact that I made the quilt top completely from stash. I had to buy the backing fabric but otherwise, this was all made using fabric and batting I had on hand!

In the early fall, I went to a quilt show and as I wandered the vendors, I saw this advent calendar. I know I could easily make this but it was all finished and so cute. Supporting the vendors is important – I know I was very appreciative when quilters shopped my booth at shows in the past. I picked it up for the girls and later on headed over to the Dollar Store. Each pocket has two items in it, one for each girls. Some candy, some hair ties, stickers, and holiday stamps. This picture is from the first December 1st. I think they have enjoyed their daily treats. (It is hung somewhat high because of their Labrador – A calls him a Wabrador– puppy who would surely sniff out the forbidden chocolate).

Moving on! I have also been sewing gifts for the girls for Christmas. I am excited to be able to spend Christmas with them. We haven’t ever been there to watch them on Christmas morning so this year will be extra special.

This apron is for little sister. It is lined so she can wear it either way. This fabric is an older print that has been in the holiday fabric bin for a while now. I think she will love the cookie print. For big sister I made one with princesses and castles. It is already wrapped and somehow I forgot to take a picture of it.

I also made each child a teddy bear. I have never made a stuffed animal and have to say, this was really easy. For me, the most challenging part was stitching the mouth. I had to take it out a couple of times to get a decent result. The teddy bear pattern is from TieDye Diva. Here is a link for you. The pattern comes with some clothes and I did use them for the pants. For the hoody, I went over to Best Dressed Bears. She has lots of simple and super cute teddy bear clothing patterns. Here is the link to the hoody. The patterns over at Best Dressed Bears are made for a slightly bigger stuffed bear so I just made the pieces a smidge shorter in length which did the trick.

OK – I think that sums up the last six weeks. After soooo many boxes of tissues, cups of tea and honey, inhalers, antibiotics, humidifiers, and more naps than I can even count, I think life is back on track. I hope you are healthy and happy. Julia is home and has been patiently waiting around for me to feel better. We love going to some of the cute towns around here for window shopping and just enjoying the Christmasy vibe. Hopefully we will do that tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Linking up with lots of fun blogs. Check it out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

32 thoughts on “An Unexpected Hiatus

  1. Deb E

    So glad to see your post – how awful you spent so much time sick, though! Fingers crossed that all that is behind you and that you are totally well & able to enjoy all the festivities with your family (and especially your beautiful granddaughters)! Enjoy your visits to towns nearby with your daughter!

    We’ve been slowly getting projects done around here – the 75′ retaining wall is now done, and we just have to lay the 150′ of underground pipe in the trench in front of it. I hurt my back (that happened way after & I’m not sure HOW I did that) so that will have to wait a few more weeks till I am able to bend enough to work on that with hubby. We are looking forward to 2023 being the year we finally get the patio cover up along the length of the house, the brick path laid from the patio up the hill and the planters in for the trees. I am really going to enjoy being able to be outside, even in the heat, under the cover of the patio!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Happy Holidays Deb! It’s nice to be back.
      Sounds like you have made tons of progress on the yard! When the heat rolls around in June, you will be so glad you did. What did you use to make the retaining wall? My husband did so much of that with our last two properties. He hasn’t really decided what he wants to do with the current property but I know the wheels are turning!
      Have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂

  2. Carol Westover

    What a beautiful family!!!! So very sorry about all of the sickness…. hopefully, everyone will be able to overcome their viruses and have a very safe and Merry Christmas.

    So good to see you re still active… missed your blog … do take care and be SAFE!!

    Carol (aka Tehachap)

    1. Bernie Post author

      Merry Christmas Carol! I just have to believe this is all coming to a close and the family will be healthy for a while.
      I just read a few of your posts and it sounds like you are going to head back to San Diego. This seems to be a good idea, based on what you have been writing about. Wishing you and your husband a happy holiday and all the best with the upcoming changes in the new year.

      1. Carol Westover

        Yes… we are. My husband really doesn’t want to move–he’s been saying he wants to die right here in this hour, because it’s ‘home’. But I can no longer care for him and myself. I need a break and I think the only way I’m going to get one is to move back to San Diego where we can be near family and friends who will help care for us. Just the pits….Hugs to you …Have a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Year’s. I don’t know what the new year will hold for me, but hopefully I’ll be able to continue sewing. Huggers… T

  3. Pamela Dempsey

    That’s a large and happy group! The snowflake ❄️ makes that quilt shine. I had some of that gingerbread cookies fabric a long time ago, really cute apron and little bears, they will be loved 🥰

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Pam – I think I got that gingerbread fabric at least five years ago – probably at a thrift store. It is so cute though and my grand daughter will enjoy having her own apron. She is at the age where she wants to help in the kitchen now. So, this will make her feel like a big girl!
      Merry Christmas to you!!

  4. Sandra B

    So sorry you have been sick, and I hope all that is behind you and your family now….
    I love your Christmas fabric quilt! I am always amazed how such simple shapes can result in such amazing quilts!! And adding the snow flake applique in the center gives the quilt such a festive look!! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I hope you and your family all have a wonderful Christmas….enjoy seeing the grands on Christmas morning…

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Sandra:
      When I was starting to baste the quilt it became clear to me that I had such a huge amount of negative space in the center. My quilting is fine but not good enough to be the star of the show, know what I mean? So the snowflake became the star and the quilting took a back seat to it. It really worked out well!
      Have a wonderful Christmas!! 🙂

  5. Diann@LittlePenguinQuilts

    Bernie, so great to see a post from you! That’s an amazing family photo – what fun! So sorry you have been sick, though. Your Christmas quilt is beautiful – lucky Julia to sleep under it. Enjoy those sweet grand- girls on Christmas morning!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Diann. It was super fun to make the quilt – Julia didn’t know about it and was happily surprised to see it. Have a wonderful holiday!!

  6. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie! I’m glad to hear you are on the mend . . . and best of all, you have all that gunk out of the way for 2023. You’ll start out on a high note. Oh, that basting the turkey photo is just the best . . . until I scroll more and see the quilt. You couldn’t have passed that snowflake pillow by – it is just perfect on Julia’s bed. Those teddy bears!!! Holy moly – I will check out those links for next year (too late for this holiday). And the Wabrador story and advent calendar – how adorable is that?!! Merry Christmas to you and your family. How fun that you’ll be able to see the wonder of Christmas morning up close and personal. Enjoy time with your girl and those grands and all your peeps. {{Hugs}} a bunch! ~smile~ Roseanne

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Roseanne. I was a little nervous when she was trying to baste the turkey. My grammy side kept thinking she would squirt hot drippings on herself – but she was so careful and paying close attention. Really fun to see her working like that.
      Enjoy the holidays with your family. Hope you will give the teddy bear pattern a try sometime. It was super fun and truly very easy.

  7. Kathleen McCormick

    So good to hear from you and here’s hoping you have had everything you can for a bit! Kids and the cycles of viruses are really hard on all those who care for them. The snowflake on your new quilt was exactly right. It is lovely when you can make it really your own with your own touch. The kiddos are adorable and those bears are so sweet. I have two grand nieces that I would love to start making things for, but just kind of hesitate. I do have some sherpa that would make pretty good bears….adding to a list!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Don’t hesitate!!! The bears were lots of fun to make. For some reason I bought this huge bag of polyfil for the stuffing and used about 10% of it. That bag could stuff 100’s of bears!! I suppose I will have to make more stuffies (as the girls call them).
      Happy Holidays Kathleen!

  8. Kay Welch

    So sorrry that you have had to deal with being so sick. That’s absolutely no fun at this time of year. In spite of that, you have been quite productive. Love the quilt, the bears, and appreciate the links you share for us to find the patterns.

    Hope you stay well, enjoy the rest of the holiday season with your family,
    Take Good Care, Kay

    1. Bernie Post author

      It was somewhat easy to be productive – I isolated in the sewing room which has a guest bed in it. I was trying to stay away from my husband as he is immune compromised. So I would nap and sew, nap and sew, etc. Seems like I was in that room for weeks – So I got projects done. 🙂

      Merry Christmas Kay.

  9. Wendy

    I am so sorry you’ve all been so sick, and I hope you are all better soon! I love the group photo – you all look like you have so much fun! Of course, the girls are too cute, and I enjoy seeing what you are making for them! Love the Christmas quilt – I still don’t have one! Maybe I’ll get one done this year!

    1. Bernie Post author

      It is our only (big) seasonal quilt. I just thought it would be fun for Julia to have this and be able to change hers out for the Christmas season. Not going to attempt a king size tho!
      I am feeling better now and feel so grateful. It was a long time to be down with something.
      Merry Christmas Wendy!

  10. CathieJ

    I am so very sorry that you have been ill. I keep praying that all that stays away from us. Hopefully your large Thanksgiving celebration was worth the subsequent sickenss. I love that quilt. The snowflake in the center looks fantastic.

    1. Bernie Post author

      The Thanksgiving celebration was worth it. We aren’t able to get together very often. Everyone is so spread out – all through California, one family came from Virginia, another from Colorado. It is almost impossible to get a date set and have such a nice turn out.
      Merry Christmas Cathie!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Carole – I have missed everyone. I wasn’t really even reading blogs either. As for that big gray center, it would be pretty if it was quilted with an intricate design, but that isn’t something I can do. I love the snowflake though.
      Happy Holidays Carole!!

  11. Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl

    I, too, caught some kind of crud (a cold?) from a sick kiddo at Thanksgiving and it took over 2 weeks before I felt somewhat normal again. I sure hope you are all through the rest of it and have a healthy and very joyful Christmas!

    Adding the snowflake to the center of the bed quilt was an inspired choice and it was the perfect touch. I’m sure the girls are going to love the gifts you have made them, and I hope you and Julia enjoy a lovely day together today!

    1. Bernie Post author

      So you got it too Yvonne! It has been a very contagious season! Hope you are all healthy again.
      Your comment is lovely – ‘an inspired choice’ – very flattering!
      Julia and I had a blast enjoying a lot of window shopping, some “real” shopping and a wonderful lunch! Today is absolutely treacherous out so we are very thankful we got to go.
      Merry Christmas to you and your husband!

  12. Alycia Quilts

    well heck fire – you got hit hard – but! All those kids together – what fun – i bet there was no a moment of silence and your folks just lapped it up!!!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Absolutely! We got hit very hard. Julia went back to school after Thanksgiving and was sick for final exams. Ugh.

      Today I feel so much better and it makes me so happy. Feeling normal is just the best after a long time being sick.

      The noise level – it was incredible. Sooo sooo loud. It made me a little crazy actually. I kept having to go to an empty room to take a break – there were so many kids and they were really excited to be together. Between that and the numbers of adults talking – it was super loud.

      Anyway – all is well now! Happy Holidays to you and your family. Hope you will be celebrating with family this weekend!

  13. Torry

    I think winter makes every health issue worse! For me, it is my left knee. I am trying to avoid surgery as long as possible. Hopefully, that means sometime in the summer. Had my right knee done in the winter and I hated wearing shorts in the cold!
    Then, insult to injury, I took a flat on my face fall. Face and hands are fine. My left shoulder is still suffering. If it doesn’t start to feel better, I will have to go get x-rays.
    Still, I made 31 neckwarmers, over 300 ornaments, 110 Barbie gowns (gowns were a donation to a non-profit which provides toys for children) , 12 pair of sleep shorts, and 10 pairs of PJ pants. My machine is due some maintenance!
    Today we went to West Seattle to spend some time with our daughter and grandson. While our daughter ran some errands, grandson and I made wreath ornaments with his picture in the center of the wreath. He was so excited to give his mother the ornament for her and his daddy.
    She was so thrilled with the final result, as was I!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and to all of your readers also!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Torry – Your donations astound me! So many children and adults both are having a better Christmas because of your work. Your sewing machine must be exhausted!
      Sorry to hear about your fall. That must have been awful. I hope your shoulder heals without having to do anything other than rest it.
      Hurray for having time with your grandson. I love making little things with the girls. Both of them love doing crafts of any sort. I hope that lasts for a long time!
      Merry Christmas to you too sorry!

  14. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

    Nice, nice, nice!!! All of it, Bernie!!! Love the big family gathering you were able to have! Ours have been small, but a larger group will be happening this evening. And of course I love seeing all your hand made gifts and quilts! I’ve admired that free pattern, also. Love the snowflake addition!!! Merry Christmas!!!

  15. Linda

    Bernie that quilt is just beautiful! I wrapped Jenni’s little gift in a fat quarter that I had cut the edges with pinking shears, and she loved it. It was just Jenni and Hubs and me on Christmas, since her ex had the Littles, so we were kinda lonesome! Your family photo makes me wish we had had more children. 😉 Your girls are beautiful!

  16. JanineMarie

    What a fun group photo, Bernie. You will cherish it forever. It made me nostalgic for family reunions when I was little, as my mom was from a huge family, too. I’m sorry yours led to illness, but I I think that was a holiday tradition for us, too. I’m glad you felt good enough to make some fun presents and a whole (!) quilt. You certainly did hit the winter vibe, and that snowflake is the perfect bit of bling. I’m sure you are tickled that Ray had a hand in it. I’m sorry you didn’t get to spend Christmas morning with the littles, but I hope that when you do get together it will feel like it anyway. Our Christmas celebration was delayed by a couple of days, so my kids could spend time with their other families, but it all turned out fine. If they had tried to come on the weekend, they would have been stopped by the big winter storm. And as it was, the traveling was easy for them, and we had lots of snow for sledding, snowball fights and snowperson building, I hope you have a beautiful start to the new year.


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