Yearly Archives: 2023

Final Finish for 2023

Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone! I have been seeing loads of memes on social media reminding us that today’s date is 123123 – or 12/31/23. I think that is a fun bit to notice and posting this is also just about all I will do to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Ray and I are not night owls and will likely be in bed long before midnight. We are sure to wake at midnight however because the fireworks will start popping all over the place. So noisy!!

Anyway, I do have a finish to share. Actually I almost have two but I didn’t get the binding on one of the quilts so it will be my first finish in the new year.

Last summer I bought a small pack of charms while at quilt show. The pack was an assortment (probably left from a variety of charm packs) with colors that work well together. I quickly made a top with them. I love the colors and plan to hang this in the sewing room. When my friend Sophia was here in September, she showed me the tricks for spray basting. It was so nice to have this project basted and ready to when I had the time to quilt it.

I started out by quilting the nine inch blocks using a straight ruler and making interlocking squares. Using the ruler was really enjoyable and great practice. With a pale green thread, I stitched from block to block by cutting across the green cornerstones. After this I quilted loops on the black borders. These were free hand. The narrow green and the blue polka dot borders were not quilted.

The backing is rather homely. I used an odd fabric off the shelf. I decided since it was made to hang on the wall, the backing really didn’t matter at all.

Yesterday I finished stitching the black binding down and am really happy with this quilt. It still needs a hanging sleeve but that won’t take much time at all.

This morning Ray and I took a (rather chilly) walk along the harbor in Port Orchard. We were extremely surprised to see a huge abundance of jelly fish.

The water was dotted with them – We walk the area often and this is by far the most we have ever seen. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Jelly fish in this area are supposedly most abundant when the water is warmer during the summer months. We have had a warmer winter season (as most have in the US). My daffodil stems are pushing already which is really early. Maybe this plays into it somehow? At any rate, we enjoyed watching them. They were really moving all over the place. I am sure we saw hundreds of them.

Looks like 2023 is a wrap and we are moving on to 2024. Wishing everyone joy, good health and many hours of creativity in the new year!

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Wayyy back in the fall of 1992 I moved to State College, Pennsylvania. This was a huge change for our little family; me, my husband and our three young boys. My (first) husband was taking a break from his job teaching at a local community college in California and studying for his PhD in Instructional Technology. We sold our 20 acre farm in California and moved to a little neighborhood near the university. Neither of us had ever lived in the mid-west, lived in a snowy climate, or relocated to a place so far from family, friends and all that was familiar!

We decided he would go to school and I would have an in-home daycare, making just enough money to get by while he got his degree. I went through the process and got the house and myself licensed and put an ad in the paper. It was nerve wracking, to say the least. Almost immediately, I had response from Rich and Denese. They were in a similar stage of life where Rich was pursuing his PhD and she was working as an attorney. They needed full-time childcare for their toddler, James, becoming one of my first families.

James and my youngest son are two weeks apart in age, both were just turning two years old. The two of them together made for a very dynamic duo. They were both so active, impulsive and basically into everything! It was a wild and very fun time.

As most of you know, my husband passed away suddenly in spring of 1994. During this horrific time, Rich and Denese jumped right in, helping wherever they could. After the kids and I moved back to CA, Rich and Denese came to visit the following summer, checking in on us and providing great comfort to me. When I remarried, Denese and her mom came back to California to be at the wedding. They have always been there, even from a distance, for many years.

Fast forward to several months ago, I learned Denese was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is fortunate in that this cancer is treatable and she will come through it. But we all know it is a miserable experience to go through the surgeries, chemo and radiation that are necessary to quell the cancer.

Of course my first thought was to send Denese a quilt. I wanted her to have it while dealing with chemo and the exhaustion that is so prevalent during this time. So I looked at the quilts I had in process and decided the diamond quilt was meant for her – we are great friends and diamonds are also ‘a girl’s best friend’! So I finished up the top and started quilting it. Of course then my machine went on the fritz and it spent two weeks in the shop.

The quilting design happened organically. First I decided to do a couple of passes on the diamonds, anchoring them down with a few lines echoing the small center diamond. Then I did a pass echoing just half of the larger diamond.

After this was done the straight line quilting began. The lines are free hand, using the last line be my guide for the next line. The widths are similar but not exactly the same, if that makes sense. I almost never quilt a lap quilt so heavily but this seemed to be the right thing for this quilt. Also, the lines don’t go top to bottom. I worked in sections so they loop up and down at various points – boy, I am not writing this clearly, hence why I am not a pattern designer!!

The backing is a gorgeous floral I had on hand. The binding, however, was a trick for me. One would think with all of the many colors on the front, it would be a snap to pick a binding. But the backing has only four colors (green, black, white and pink) and nothing looked right. A trip to the fabric shop was needed and I found this mottled green that looked pretty from both sides.

Post Update: If you are interested in making these diamond blocks, I used the tutorial over at Bonjour Quilts. Here is the link to it. These blocks are a breeze. I offset them by adding space between the blocks as well as a sashing strip between columns.

After a quick wash (with lots of color catchers to protect that white background), the quilt was sent off to Denese. I am happy to say she really likes it. I truly hope it brings comfort to her as she goes through the rest of her treatments. I know the latter parts 2024 will be a better time for her but currently, she has more to endure. Fortunately, she has really good family support to help her get through all of this. Plus one quilt from her best friend out in California.

Sharing to my favorite link ups. See the Link Up tab at the top of the page.

Family Bridge Mix

Last week was lovely. There was time spent with so many different family members. Our family calls it a Bridge Mix (referring to the See’s Candy mix that all of us love). Each handful of Bridge Mix is different from the other yet all are so wonderful. So whenever we have a group of family members together, while it might be a different mix and some people might not be at that particular visit, it is always good.

One small handful of Bridge Mix was experienced when Mom, Patti and I made cookies last week. We made Cuccidati, as I mentioned we would in a previous post. Mom already had the filling made and Patti had prepped the dough ahead of time so it would be chilled. That left the assembling, baking and icing.

They are delicious!

Over the weekend Ray and I enjoyed time with Julia. She came home to see some family and to bake cookies with me. Peanut Blossom cookies with Hershey’s Kisses are a regular holiday cookie for us so we made a big batch. We also did some Christmas shopping which was wonderful. While she was here we had a big dinner with a few of my sisters (one came up from California for the weekend) and my parents. Another handful of Bridge Mix – each one as great as the last.

On the way to dinner, we stopped at a local house that displays an amazing holiday lights experience on their property. It was so fun to walk through it. There were many different scenes to enjoy. I cannot begin to imagine how long it takes to set it up or take it down, let alone where the people store everything all year. This display is such a generous act as it provides such a memorable experience for many people. Pictures really don’t do it justice, maybe because I don’t know how to take a good picture of the lights on a dark night?

Sunday was my father’s 89th birthday. We celebrated this with (another) wonderful handful of Bridge Mix.

Mom asked us to dress in a festive outfit and people took this how they pleased. She made a wonderful turkey dinner and a chocolate caramel cake for Dad. We had a great time.

Monday morning we took my sister and her husband to the airport in Seattle. Because this is the half way point between my house and my son’s house, we thought it would be great to have yet one more handful of Bridge Mix. Thus, we kept driving and went to visit Andrew, Naomi and the girls. Mom and Dad had not yet been to their house and loved seeing where they live. It is great to visit with the little one’s in their own environment. They played “pizza shop” with Great Grammy and Great Papa and we had a nice lunch before heading back home.

This picture is just precious – My parents with two of their 17 great grandchildren.

Weekends spent with handfuls of family Bridge Mix is the stuff wonderful memories are made of. Of course it is also a bit tiring to be on the go for three or four days straight! Today I am not sure I will even get dressed. It is supposed to rain a bit. I think staying in, sewing and wrapping a few gifts sounds just perfect!

Green, Peach and Purple

Where to start? I think today’s post will be divided in sections determined by color. Let’s start with green as that happens to be my favorite color.

Yesterday I played with loads of evergreen boughs. Ray trimmed some of the trees in the backyard and he knew I would want some of the cuttings to decorate for the holidays. We are fortunate to have many cedar, spruce and hemlock trees on the property thus a never-ending supply of boughs. I brought them inside and tucked them on the mantle and a number of windowsills. They will dry out and drop needles but I love having them here and there. The fragrance is wonderful.

I also made two swags and hung one on our mailbox and the other from the railing by the steps to our front porch. For a quick minute, I debated wiring lots of them together and hanging them along the entire railing but nah, I wasn’t feeling like such a big project. Finally, I have a large blue pot by the front door and I filled it with boughs that are just ‘planted’ into the dirt. Along with a few artificial berries and pinecones, it looks very festive. I have boughs left over which I will bring to Mom and Dad’s house later today. Mom likes having pine boughs on the windowsills too.

PS – What do you think of those cute gnomes on the windowsill? I made them last year using the tutorial on Sew Can She. Super easy project and pretty darn cute, right??

Moving on to peach – the 2024 Pantone Color of the Year. What is your response to this year’s color? I have to say, I am not a fan. I like their reasoning behind the choice but the color leaves me feeling unenthused.

Pantone explains:

…. we wanted to turn to a color that could focus on the importance of community and coming together with others. The color we selected to be our Pantone Color of the Year 2024 needed to express our desire to want to be close to those we love and the joy we get when allowing ourselves to tune into who we are and just savor a moment of quiet time alone.  It needed to be a color whose warm and welcoming embrace conveyed a message of compassion and empathy. One that was nurturing and whose cozy sensibility brought people together and elicited a feeling of tactility. One that reflected our feeling for days that seemed simpler but at the same time has been rephrased to display a more contemporary ambiance.”

Seems to me, this is asking an awful lot from the color peach but so be it. I am curious to see if ‘peach fuzz’ becomes widely used in design (clothing, fabrics, interior design) this year.

Shall we move on to purple? If asked, I would tell people purple is not one of my favorite colors. I don’t use it a whole lot in quilts and you won’t see too much of it in my closet. However, I recently bought a piece of purple sweatshirt fleece from a thrift store (of course). My plan was to make matching pants for my grand daughters (who LOVE purple). Then last week I decided to use it to try out New Look pattern N6772 for sweat pants for me. I figured if they didn’t fit well it would not be a big (monetary) loss.

Guess what? They fit perfectly. These pants are super comfortable with just the right fit in the hips, waist and thigh. I can say with certainty if I had made this pattern for the first time with a nicer fabric for which I paid full $$, they would not have worked!! It is Murphy’s Law.

But with a $3.00 piece of (very) purple fleece, I obtained a perfect fit. So, I am going to learn to love purple and wear these! (I also plan to test my Murphy’s law theory and buy a piece of fabric in a better color and make another pair.)

As for the pictures of me wearing said purple sweatpants, I took them myself with the timer on my phone. It works for the most part but I won’t be including them in my sweat pants modeling portfolio.

There you have it – some green, peach and a big dose of purple! Hope everyone is having a great day. I am heading over to my mom’s today with those pine boughs and we are planning to make a batch of Cucidati . These figs filled treats are traditional Italian cookies served at Christmas time. I think I have been eating them since I had enough teeth to chew them with! I will take a picture of our batch of cookies and share in the next post.

Happy Sewing!

Honestly, I should be dressed and out the door by now. I want to get to the grocery store and have another errand or so to do. Instead I am on my second cup of coffee and thought I would do a quick post. The grocery store can wait.

I spent all week down with a cold – honestly these grand daughters of ours really need to stop sharing germs with me. Ray is fine, the girls only felt mildly ill for about a day or two and I felt crummy for over a week. I think I am on the other side of it, just in time for Thanksgiving!!

While I was being lazy on the couch and scrolling Facebook, I saw a post in our (sort of) local sewing group. Someone had made these ornaments and I really liked them. Looking at the tutorial on AppleGreen Cottage, I saw how easy they would be to make. I carried my Kleenex, Ricola cough drops and water up to the sewing room and got started. I love them! The bells really finish them off but the center could have anything – a pretty button or a fluffy pom pom would also be cute. I am going to put a thread loop on them for hanging.

When we were with the girls two weeks ago, A was really enjoying playing with American Girl Dolls (they were her mother’s). I thought about making something for them for Christmas and had this brainstorm to make a set of hospital items. My daughter in law is a physician so the girls see her wearing scrubs quite often. She is a radiologist so I am trying to create a way for them to play pretend doctor. There are two dolls so one can be the patient and the other, a doctor.

A few months back, the conversation above happened between A and Daddy. Clearly she is trying to understand what Mom does when in her office (she works at both the hospital and from home). Maybe she doesn’t understand one doesn’t have to take their skin off to look at the bones, she does seem to grasp that taking pictures of bone suits is the way to make some money. Hahaha

Additionally, I got to work on a Christmas tree skirt for Julia. This is her first time putting a tree in her apartment so she is collecting a few holiday items. I didn’t use a pattern for this – but in case you are wondering, I used five inch squares and kept the diameter at less than 42″ so I could back it with one piece of fabric. The pom poms really add some character to the skirt. It was an easy project and I will bring it to her on Thursday.

OK – my coffee is now cold (ugh!) so it is time to get dressed and head off to the grocery. For those of you in the US – enjoy the holiday this week. I know the world is a bit of a mess but we always have so much to be grateful for. Find those small blessings and count them up. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ring Me – Quilt Top Finished!

Over the past year my friend Sophia and I have been trying to work on some older projects. We have done a decent job of it and gotten a few things finished up. I have another one to share with you today! This one came about because I had to take my Bernina to the shop. Fortunately I have a back up machine for these times. It is an older Kenmore and works well. However, I don’t have a 1/4″ foot for it. I wanted to work on something where precision wasn’t key.

My unfinished Ring Me quilt was the ticket. This pattern has no points to match making the piecing very simple. This project was started back in early 2017. I took part in a blog hop to announce the release of No Scrap Left Behind, written by Amanda Jean Nyberg (aka Crazy Mom Quilts). I love this book! Amanda has written two quilt books, Sunday Morning Quilts and No Scrap Left Behind. I have both of them in my library. She had an incredibly popular quilt blog but chose to stop blogging at the end of 2018 after a ten year run. Fortunately, she left the blog up so we can all still access her amazing ideas, tutorials and quilt patterns. She is definitely the queen of scrap quilting!

Back to the quilt now. When I was due to publish the project for the blog hop, I was really in the early stages of making the quilt top. I posted progress pictures (see above) and that was as far as it got.

In a relatively short time, I was able to complete the quilt top. With a charcoal gray background, the solid ‘rings’ add vibrant color. To make the rings, I gathered solid fabric strips and trimmed them to about 1 1/2″ or 2″ wide. After making strips sets I cut strips that were 1 1/2″ wide. These were combined with 1 1/2″ corner stones of the gray and stitched to squares.

I encourage you to find a copy of the book if you don’t already have it. The book has many patterns made with scraps with the projects categorized by shape of scrap (eg squares, triangles, strips). Before I knew it, I had my top completed and sewing without the 1/4″ foot was a non-issue.

Yesterday the sun was shining through a window in my bedroom and I knew it would light up the quilt top. Isn’t this stunning? I love the way it looks with the light pouring through.

Stained glass, right?? The seams on the back side of the flimsy look like black framing around the color and the sashing strips. Such a cool effect. This is as far as I took the project though. I wanted my Bernina back for quilting it.

Today I was able to go pick up my machine. I have one quilt in process where the quilting is nearly finished (I was working on it when the Bernina decided to get stuck). Once that quilt is done, I will baste this one and get going on it. Can’t wait!

This week has been a bit of a drudge as I have had a cold. While I can’t prove it, I am guessing I caught it when I was babysitting the girls last week. Who knows? Historically, my sweet grand daughters have been very generous in sharing any germs they might be harboring. We went home on Thursday, Friday the 3 year old started running a fever and on Sunday I started to feel sick. Oh well. They are worth it. We had so much fun with them. My son and his wife took a well deserved trip to Hawaii. Ray and I had the pleasure of spending loads of time with the grands. Here are some pictures of the fun we had:

Playing in puddles.

So much dancing, wrestling and gymnastics happens with these two. They love to perform for an audience.

This silly girl was having some dessert and watching a show on the iPad. I had to laugh when I walked by and saw her sitting like this. Ouch.

We did a number of art projects with the kids. This one was fun. I put blue painters tape down and told them to paint the sections however they wanted to. It was a challenge to peel up the painters tape though. I should have used heavier paper (or even cardboard). The tape was pulling on the paper a lot so I had to go super slow. The results were great though.

Aren’t these pretty??

We went shopping one day and H (age 6) saw this make up kit that said ages 5 years and up. I was very hesitant to buy it so I texted the parents a picture of it to see if they approved. She was overjoyed when Mom and Dad gave the go ahead. Oh my gosh, the glitter and color these two had all over their faces for the remainder of our time together. It was so funny.

The girls love their grandpa and he enjoyed lots of snuggle time.

Overall, the week went well. We came home exhausted and happy. These two kids were one of the reasons we wanted to move up to Washington. Ray and I grew up with grand parents who were actively involved in our lives. It is so special to have a close relationship with the girls.

It is time to go plug in the Bernina and get it set up. I have missed this machine and am anxious to have her back up and running! If I don’t post again, I wish all of the US folks out there a Happy Thanksgiving next week!!

Linking up with Alycia at Finished or Not Friday

October Activities

October has been a great month for being outside which means I have not done tons of quilting. However there will be plenty of time when the rainy, gray weather begins. Ray and I have done lots of hikes around the area, picked berries, spent a week with his mom – so many fun days. Let’s go through it!

Ray’s mom had not been up here since last fall so it was a treat to spend time with her. She is a very easy houseguest. I had gotten my Covid vaccine a day or two before she came and it knocked me down pretty hard. So for the first couple of days she and Ray hung out together and when I felt better I joined in. (I don’t know why that vaccine was so hard on me – did any of you react strongly to this one??) My kids all came for a bbq over the weekend which was fantastic.

We went to a local nursery that is a favorite of Ray’s and mine. Michele bought me a Japanese Maple tree for the front yard as birthday gift. While we wandered around we came across this wooden carved statue of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Look closely at all of the detail as this is just amazing. It is all carved from ONE tree trunk. We inspected it for a long while; it was incredibly impressive work. Red Riding Hood’s facial expression looks a little strange but otherwise, amazing!!!

So many of you have asked about my dad’s health. You are all really thoughtful!! I want to show you picture proof of his improved health. Steroids can be magical. Fortunately, he isn’t experiencing any negative side effects from taking them daily. It seems like he will need them for months to come. But the doctors are following him closely and monitoring his health while he is on this regimen.

Last May I started adding a bit of a jog to my walks. In June I began running and soon was able to run three miles. Not fast, mind you, but I could run the distance. Since then, I have done two races with Ian, my youngest son. He loves to run and is really quick. For this race on October 15th (celebrating Ian’s 33rd birthday) he did the 10K and I did the 5K. He ran his best time so far for for his 10K and took 3rd in his age group. I had hoped for a better time but for whatever reason, this run was a struggle for me. (I think it had to do with my blood sugar and the food I ate before the race.) Anyway I ran it but was a bit slower than the first race I did in August. I also took 3rd in my age group but many of the women in my age group choose to walk the race so this isn’t a huge deal. But I am enjoying the running I am doing and try to do a three mile run at least twice a week.

While this isn’t an award winning photo, it shows the size of the huckleberries my husband has been picking. I haven’t lived where these grow wild prior to now. Last year we were just too busy getting settled to notice them. But this year! Ray has picked so many of them. He spends quite a while cleaning them because they are tiny!! Getting those little stems cleared out is not a fast task. But yum. He has made huckleberry jam and a batch of huckleberry muffins so far. There is a quart of berries in the freezer waiting for his next inspiration. I do enjoy having a husband who is comfortable in the kitchen.

Check out these quilting rulers!! I treated myself to two sets of Bernina quilt rulers as well as a ruler foot. When Sophia was here in September we talked about how much fun she has using rulers to quilt with. I have thought of these now and then but couldn’t get it in my head that it was doable. Free motion quilting is already fairly awkward. To add a ruler to the mix when moving the fabric around?? But guess what? It is so fun. The rulers have a layer of thin adhesive (or some sort of gummy substance) on one side of them so they do not slide. I have been looking at loads of YouTube videos and tutorials on the Bernina site.

I haven’t used them on actual projects yet. So far, I am just playing with them. It is super fun and I can see using them on something real fairly soon. Also, for those of you who are frugal like me, Bernina presser feet and accessories are super pricey. I am a fan of watching EBay. The foot I bought used for half of the retail price. The ruler kits arrived in unopened, original packaging so were never used. They were also half of retail price. This hobby is rather expensive so saving a few bucks where I can is helpful. It takes some patience to watch for items that you specifically want or need but I think it is worth it.

Looking ahead at the week, I am hoping to spend a bit of time in the sewing room. However, on Saturday my Bernina started acting up while I was quilting a lap quilt (see above) that I am anxious to finish because it is a gift for a friend. Why fail me now??? The timing is not good here. But it seems to be something to do with the hook (behind or under the bobbin area). I have cleaned and oiled, threaded and re-threaded, changed out needles, rewound the bobbin about 87 times. What else can I do??? Ray looked at it for a while but couldn’t find anything either. I don’t want to take it in because it takes so darn long to get it back, it is probably something simple and it will be a $250 outlay. How frustrating! If anyone has ideas as to why the upper thread is binding up below after just a few stitches, please leave a comment. Anywho….. If I can get the Bernina 570 back on track, I will finish the lap quilt.

At the moment, I have my little back-up machine set up. I used it to make a pair of cozy joggers yesterday but I can’t finish the quilt with it. The little machine is actually quite a work horse and is fine for piecing and making clothing.

Have a lovely week everyone. Wish me luck in figuring out my silly sewing machine mystery!!

I will leave you with this cute picture of the girls ‘rowing a boat’ at the pumpkin patch over the weekend. They always make me smile.

Love These Batiks

It has been a long time since I made something with batiks. This finish is actually one of teamwork though. I was in the Goodwill at some point in early spring and found this quilt top for $5.00. I sure don’t know why someone donated it and I knew I couldn’t leave it there! How easy it would be to finish it up and donate it to Mercyful Quilts.

With life calming down around here, I found a few minutes to spray baste it and get it quilted. This was the first time I quilted a project that had been spray basted and it was lovely. No pins to fuss with and the backing stayed nice and flat. No wrinkles or puckers to be found. I am in love.

Quilting this was actually a quick, fun process. (Sometimes the quilting part gets a bit boring for me). But I decided to do (mostly large) circles and they look cute. It is a really cheerful quilt between the bright batiks and the bubbly circles.

The backing is a very soft voile I have had on the shelf. The photo doesn’t show the exact color which is a soft orange. I love voile backings – they have a wonderful drape and make for a cozy quilt.

I think the best part of the quilt is the binding. When Sophia and I were on our mini shop hop last month, she found this cool rainbow hombre fabric and suggested I use it for the binding. By cutting it along the length of the fabric (parallel to the selvage) the shades alternated in a lovely fashion. It worked out so well.

The scary part was washing it. With so much of red batik in that quilt top I was quite apprehensive.

Two Color Catchers to the rescue!! I am ever grateful to whomever invented these great little guys. Not a bit of fabric bleeding happened.

This simple project is a finish and now I have three quilts ready to send off to Mercy Hospital. Each one is very different which is great because each of the families served are just as unique. We like to have a variety to offer them.

If one (or two) readers want to join me and do a joint contribution to Mercyful Quilts, I would be happy to finish a quilt top of yours. Lap size and not made with any juvenile prints are the main requirements. I know there are many of you with extra quilt tops made and maybe you’d like to send one to me for finishing. Let me know and we can work through the idea together. Alternatively, you are always, always welcome to send a finished lap quilt to Mercyful Quilts on your own. If you need more info, let me know.

Thanks everyone!! Happy weekend to all of you!

Linking with my favorites. Check out the Link Ups tab at the top of the page.

2023 Positivity Quilt Finished!!

I really wanted to get this posted during September! The goal was to have this finished by Labor Day weekend which, for the most part, it was. The only thing unfinished was the hand sewing on the back of the binding. But so much was happening and by evening I was too darn tired to stitch it down.

As Dad has gotten better and the worry lessens, life is getting to feel (a little bit) more normal. I finally got that binding stitched and am happy to show you this sweet quilt!

I loved making flowers using the Dresdens I had made some time ago. I only had to make one more to complete this. I was attaching the ‘flowers’ first to the quilt top by stitching around the border and along the seams of some of the petals. Then I attached the center circles using a blanket stitch on my machine. So they are firmly attached to the quilt top. As I was finishing the binding I kept thinking about washing this before donating it. I realized (luckily in time!) that I really need stitch through the Dresdens and backing fabric so they won’t pull apart when washed. The unquilted portion, especially on the larger Dresdens, is too wide.

Looking at the back side, it is obvious where the blank space is from the unquilted Dresden. As an aside, backing this quilt with the last of this bold floral was very satisfying. It has such a pretty, autumnal vibe to it. The background on the front and this print on the back were from the same fabric line so I wanted to put them both in the same quilt. I did have to add a chunk of blue solid to make this work.

The butterflies were made with tiny Dresden bits and pieces. I really like them as well as the partially blooming flower above it to the left.

Another little butterfly! Quilting was done with a simple stipple on the background and wavy lines on the leaves (thanks to Janine, Quilts From the Little House, for that inspiration)!

Many, many thanks to Preeti for this cute pattern and her time hosting this QAL for Mercyful Quilts. Also sending gratitude to the quilters who made and donated Positivity quilts to Mercy Hospital.

For those of you who were not able to participate but want to help, Mercy Hospital is in need of more lap size quilts. Basic requirements are no smaller than approximately 55″ x 55″ and no larger than approximately 65″ x 80″. For style, that is totally up to you. We do not serve children so no juvenile fabrics please. We love having a mix of male, female and gender neutral designs and colors. Also, if you want to, we do love having one or two patriotic quilts for our veterans. Lastly, please do not send us anything from a home where someone smokes inside the house. We need quilts free of fragrance. Should you decide to wash it before sending (which we do prefer) please do not use fabric softeners or any sort of scented detergents. If you have more questions, please leave them in the comments and I will get back to you.

I am just finishing up one more comfort quilt which I will share soon. Then they will be sent off to Mercy Hospital!

Linking up with Oh Scrap and Finished or Not Friday. Check them out too. I have been so out of the blogging world and had forgotten how much I enjoy looking at everyone’s projects!!

My Parents, My Kids and a Dear Friend

It has been one month since my last post. Many times I have thought I should sit down and write but it never happened. Life got so crazy around here!

The main issue was my dad and this weird illness that seemed to begin out of the blue. He is 88 years old and other than a cold here and there has never really been sick so this was shocking to him and the family. Turns out he has developed an auto-immune disease that is quite painful (Polymyalgic Rheumatica). He has been in so much pain and trying to get him the proper treatment for this has been horrific. When Mom and Dad moved to the area in July, they immediately made appointment to become established with a primary care doctor. The first available appointment was in November. Because they are were in good health, we all thought nothing of it. When Dad became sick in August, it became clear we do not have enough doctors in our area. NO ONE would see him since he wasn’t an ‘established patient’. We took him to Urgent Care and the Emergency room twice and each time, they suggested Ibuprofen and that we should make an appointment with a rheumatologist because his blood work indicated he had a problem. This was not the least bit helpful. He cannot have an appointment to a rheumatologist without a referral and he can’t get the referral because he doesn’t have a primary care doctor which he cannot get an appointment with until November. What a vicious cycle. I spent many, many hours on the phone just calling doctors randomly to try and get him in. It was truly a crazy experience.

Finally as luck would have it, I had an appointment for my annual physical. While there, I told my primary care doctor of this whole debacle and he felt terrible for my father. In an act of true human kindness, my doctor said he would see my father. My doctor isn’t accepting new patients but he walked me to the reception area and told the scheduler to get my father in that same week. OK – now we were making some progress. The same doctor talked to his partners and one of them said they would take my parents as new patients. Even more progress! At his visit, Dad was prescribed steroids which are helping but he is still very uncomfortable. The doctors are working on getting the level correct to reduce his pain. Now that he is ‘established’ with a doctor I was able to get him an appointment with a rheumatologist Except the rheumatologists are all scheduling months out. Sigh.

Well I know how to play this game. Dad is now scheduled for two appointments with two different rheumatologists (and hopefully they don’t read quilting blogs or I will be busted on this)! He has an appointment with one in December and the other in April. I asked he be put of the ‘cancellation list’ at both offices. I have a reminder in my phone to call each one every week and see if he can take a cancellation because I don’t honestly have any confidence they will remember to call if one opens up. With any luck, he will get in sooner than December but at least we are making progress.

As my daughter-in-law said, Dad has been the victim of our very broken medical system. What a wildly irritating experience this has been. As for Dad, I am grateful he is feeling a bit better but he is still having so much pain so we need to keep working this broken system until all of this can be resolved.

While visiting with my dad and mom, we have been looking at old photos. They are such a treasure – here is one with Dad (left side), his little brother and his younger sister. This was taken in their back yard in about 1947 or so.

During all of this, there was a family wedding celebration. My son came out from Brooklyn, NY for a week. It was a great distraction for Mom and Dad to see some family (though Dad was unable to go to the reception).

Kyle and mom.

I loved having Kyle here – we went to the beach, did some hiking, he jogged alongside me at my very slow pace, and we ate loads of yummy food.

Beach time.

Our visit with Kyle was followed by a visit from my friend Sophia. This was also a great treat! I created a mini shop-hop and we toured around visiting quilt shops. The state fair was happening so we headed over there, specifically to see the quilt exhibits. We also did some hiking, and again, ate some yummy food!

Because she is a veteran with a can of spray baste, she helped me use it to baste a lap quilt. It wasn’t messy and, was in fact, super easy. Since she left, I sprayed two more projects. My only issue thus far was having the spray nozzle clog up. I think I have that all fixed though.

Best of all, Sophia taught me how to do some basic paper piecing. Yahoo! I can’t say I enjoy it all that much, but I can see the benefits of it for certain types of projects.

The holiday project on the right side has been in my unfinished pile of projects for years. Sophia and I had taken a class together back in 2016 and this was one of the projects. Once I set it aside, I totally and completely forgot how to make the little trees. My patient friend showed me and I got the trees finished, just seven short years later. Hahaha. The block on the left is just practice. I printed a few papers to use as practice so I won’t forget again! I have to keep practicing this or it won’t stick. This isn’t how my brain works so it is tough for me to remember the process.

School started for the girls. They are both loving it. Love H’s traditional first grade toothless grin. That is it for now. Hoping I will write again before a month’s time is up!!