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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Good Things Come in Red!


Who else gets all excited about New Year's gravel? LOL!

This big red beast came rumbling up behind the Quiltville Post Office (QPO) yesterday - and just in the nick of time.

This is actually something that we've been wanting to do for months - (okay 2 1/2 years since we bough the place!) and we had FINALLY had enough of the mud with all of the snow melt to do something about it.

Yesterday became the 4th favorite holiday of December: Winter Solstice, Christmas, Gravel Day, and New Year's Eve!

Not a bad way to end the year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Chasing the Winter Blues!


This was supposed to wait for New Year's Eve.

But there has been SO MUCH put on hold this year! No more hold outs!

Besides - there are so many quilters out there twiddling thumbs waiting for Part 6 of our Grassy Creek Mystery having finished Part 5 in rapid fashion as excited quilters tend to do.

And then there are those who, like me, have finished up our Easy Breezy Leader & Ender blocks and need another Leader & Ender thing as we continue to sew on all of the other things!  Are you with me?

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Hindrances and Helpers!


Would you believe it took ALL DAY to get to this point?

I could have titled this post "best laid plans"  because we all know that as soon as you plan something - everything is going to go off the rails.

No, it wasn't as bad as finding a hole in the center of the quilt where seam allowances went from too narrow to wide open. I can't count the number of times that has happened - that gaping hole just swallows up the hopping foot and creates such a mess as the machine stitches itself into what I call "the black hole of death."

How come those seams are never discovered while pressing or even while LOADING the quilt into the machine so they can be fixed before hand?

There are a few other nightmares that befall long arm quilters - and we've all been there. (So don't tell me that you have NEVER done this, or that you ALWAYS check for these issues before hand!)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Snowy Days and Sewing Afternoons


Big old house in the snow -

Cloudless blue sky!

It all seems so wonderful - until I mention it was something like 18 degrees at this point!

We headed over to Quiltville Inn on the 26th (Always known as "the morning after") to double check that pipes hadn't frozen, check on things, drop off some stuff, and move the items that had been delivered to the front porch over to the QPO.

We may have been in "day after" mode, but the USPS, UPS and FedEx were back on duty!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Grassy Creek Mystery, Part 5!


Merry Day After Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderfully relaxing day.  I know it has been SUCH a different year, and this includes how Christmas day was spent for many of us.

The little church you see here is Grassy Creek United Methodist - a beautiful spot not far from the cabin. Built in 1904 and designed by the same architect who designed the courthouse in Independence VA, and the remodeling of Quiltville Inn in 1905.  That architect was one busy man!

As I promised - this clue "in between the holidays" is going to be a simple one.

My hope is that you will be able to use the extra time this part leaves you with to catch up on other things in your lives - be it family, personal time, or even "other project" time.  

I know how things tend to bottleneck this time of the year - and our mystery time together should be enjoyable, not stressful.

Consider this week's clue to be an easy coasting into 2021 week.  There will be some cutting.  Some piecing - and a whole lot of relaxing!

Friday, December 25, 2020

A Very White and Silent Night -


Merry Christmas from our place to yours!

Of course there would be a very weird-weather Christmas to put the exclamation point at the end of this very weird year!

It was 47 degrees last evening, and raining when the pork chops went on the grill for dinner.

With a temp that "balmy" there was no way we were going to miss a deck cooking activity.

With dinner done, dishes running in the dishwasher - I was ready to settle in to some holiday dessert baking, only to realize that I had forgotten to grab the cool whip from the freezer at Quiltville Inn. (I had put it there after shopping, but forgot to bring it home later in the day.)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Yes to the Borders!


Three rounds of borders happened yesterday to complete my Easy Breezy quilt top.

Isn't it amazing what borders can do for a quilt?  I tend to want the borders to add something to the quilt, to tie what's going on in the inside together with what's at the outside.  To add a needed something to the whole, not just "slap something on there to make it bigger."  Are you the same way?

Some of you asked yesterday what I meant by "finishing the nine-patches at the edge of the quilt" so I took this photo just for you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Do You See What I See??


Do you see it now?

So many comments came in of "I didn't see the oops block either!" or "I would have just left it.

This is the block that was wrong in so many ways that I would have had to do more than just reverse a row to fix it.

It would have driven me nuts to leave it - Once seen I could not unsee it!

So yesterday's job was to replace the block I had removed the day before with one that made me happier.

Not only was that oops block an oops in color placement - but if you look just below the empty spot where the new block is going to go - you can see that this offending block also had a background that matched its neighbor - a double OOPS in my book.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Easy Breezy Rippy Stitchy!


I got this far with quilt top assembly yesterday afternoon.

I could have continued - if you really look close you can see that I am more than half way there.  That should be enough encouragement to keep ANYONE going, right?!

Well, sometimes it's a photo that clues us in to what is really going on - and those certain wrong things stick out like the proverbial sore thumb!

Monday, December 21, 2020

When Leaders & Enders Get Real!


This was my #mediafreesunday activity!

And believe me - it took all day!

I tallied up the  Easy Breezy  blocks last week, affirming that I had enough for the size of quilt I want with this one.

For most intents and purposes - quilts that are around 70'' x 90'' mean they will fit a twin bed at Quiltville Inn, but also be large enough for naps on the couch.  

I've made some smaller projects recently, and though they are quicker to make, and bring great happiness and satisfaction, there are only so many spaces for wall quilts, or table toppers in my life.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Stories from the Neutral Bin -


Lola in the midst of EVERYTHING!

Yesterday afternoon presented itself with wide open opportunities.

Do I sew on this project? Or that project?  Or maybe CLEAN the studio (Do you really want to waste a very chilly yet extremely sunny December Friday afternoon CLEANING? Nope. I thought not.) or perhaps do something I had put off for more than a year?

When I moved "most" of my studio stuff up to the Quiltville Post office in Virginia from North Carolina one of the things I promised myself I would do is tackle the bins of "as of yet untamed" fabrics and get them into the Scrap User’s System to add more volume and variety to my selections.

The thing I am MOST lacking?  Pre-cut neutrals.  I have plenty of pieces and parts, fat-quarters and yardage.  But I want the fun of knowing I need a variety of either 1 1/2'', 2'' or 2 1/2'' strips (And sometimes 3 1/2'') and can quick-grab them from the Scrap User’s System at my fingertips.

Having to cut all of that from yardage or fat quarters - well it takes FOREVER to cut enough variety before I can even start sewing.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Grassy Creek Mystery, Part Four!


Happy Friday, Quiltvillians!

Another week has flown by, and it is time again for another Grassy Creek Mystery clue!

I took this photo of one of my favorite scenes, just down the road from the cabin, on my way to Quiltville Inn and the QPO.

I love passing by this house in all seasons, but by far - fall is the most glorious.

ALL of our Grassy Creek colors are represented in this one favorite photo - even the grey of the storm clouds moving in don't take away from the brilliance of the autumn color palette.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Snow Day that Wasn't...


The white winter wonderland didn't really happen.

I had envisioned inches of white and fluffy wonderfulness - and what we got was freezing rain and a build up of treacherous ice that had tree limbs cracking under the weight.

I did make the right decision to stay home and not go anywhere - Rain on top of ice is nothing to take lightly when it comes to mountain road driving.  Or driving ANYWHERE for that matter.

No, it was best for everyone to just stay put at the cabin and work from home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Quilting Before the Storm!


There was a flurry of activity at the QPO yesterday.

The big news has been looming for days - that Wednesday/Thursday could provide us with 3 to 5 inches of ice and snow and other "wintery mix" weather.

For the first time in years - with no travel ahead that weather could impede - I'm actually giddy about the first real dumping of the year.

Earlier in the month we had just a skiff - just enough to make things pretty around here. But it didn't stay long, no more than 24 hours, unless you were standing "where the sun don't shine."

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

That Little Road Trip - (And TWO Gift-Aways!)


On Friday I took a little getaway.

Sometimes you just have to!

Part Three of our Grassy Creek Mystery had just gone live -

All of the mail that I could get out was out.

(And yes, the Simple Folded Corners rulers arrived YESTERDAY so I'll be caught up on all outgoing orders by closing time today. Hooray!)

And I just needed a long drive in the abundant sunshine.

Monday, December 14, 2020

In the Finishing Line Up!


I spent my weekend doing this!

It didn't take long really - the main little string block centers are the "middle" cut-outs from behind my recent hexie star applique finished a couple of months back.

It was only September.  It feels much farther back than that.

Does your year feel twice as long, too?

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Quiltmaker Bundle Gift-Away!


I think it's time for another fun Gift-Away!

I hope to keep the fun rolling through the month of December - bring on the holiday quilting spirit!

And though the two fabulous magazines shown here are full of holiday cheer - it's all about Valentines Day and spring projects (OH YES, can we get there please?!) but this will give you time to MAKE those projects over the long winter months ahead.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Grassy Creek Mystery, Part 3!


Welcome Back, Quiltvillians!

I am hearing from many of you that you are enjoying a much more relaxed pace this mystery go-round.

I am so glad you think so.

There have been many realizations during this whole year.  The biggest one for me was that I have been running at break-neck speed for the entirety that this blog has been running. 15 1/2 years now.  Good gracious - who would think it would take something like a global Covid pandemic to make me finally realize that the go go go I had been going on was just not sustainable long term.

I have discovered that I like life in the "normal" lane, instead of always in the "fast" lane. We'll leave the "slow" lane for when I am MUCH older! LOL!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Road Trippin' for Books!


This is Ivy giving me "The Look" as I hauled in heavy box after heavy box full of my personal book library.

I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, but it needed to wait - previous 200 mile round trip jaunts to Wallburg NC from here have dealt with the moving of the stash and studio items.

THERE IS STILL MUCH MORE TO GO! (Is there a stronger word than daunting?)

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

In a Pressing Conundrum.


Sometimes pressing doesn't go the way our brains think it should!

Things like "Always press to the dark."  "Always spin the centers of four-patches and hourglass units" may give a false sense of security that any project is going to fit together well - 

It's one of those things that sometimes stops me in my tracks as I go merrily along with a stack of blocks that I haven't yet decided how I'm going to set -

Such was the case this morning!

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Ring in the Red!


Oh, how I love red!

From pinky red to fire engine and tomato orangey red - all the way to burgundy.

I just love the punch that red brings to the table!  

Is there anything that doesn't go with just a bit of red?

My friend Saska swears that "Red is a Neutral!"  I think she may be right.

Monday, December 07, 2020

A Sew & Sew Weekend!


Pardon the slightly blurry photo-

I arrived back to the cabin at "evening dark time" on Saturday evening to find that SOMEONE had strung Christmas lights all over the place!

It made me as excited as a little kid - I swear.

The must wonderful thing is - we are remote on our side of the mountain ridge.  You can't see the cabin from the road below - 

This is for us. Just for us.  

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Well Dang, Skippy!


Sometimes days just get derailed!

I could jump right in with the problem - but that would make the problem take up the main focus for my day - and here I am one day later and looking back on it.

The problem that "ruined" my day - really wasn't as bad as it could have been, and as I look back - there was SO MUCH GOOD that this little minor set back does not need to be given that much credit for "ruining" my day.

Mountains out of molehills, as they say?

Friday, December 04, 2020

Grassy Creek Mystery, Part Two!


Welcome back for Part Two of our Grassy Creek mystery!

I have to tell you - I was watching my newsfeeds over last weekend and I couldn't believe the fast and furious sewing going on, people were finishing the same day we released the clue!

And I know that isn't everyone - and truly, this is NOT a race. It needs to fit your life and what is going on with in it.  So if you are feeling behind - please don't.  The clues will be waiting for you when you have time.

The one thing that has been helpful to many in the past is to set the previous clue aside, and give the new one a start.  Even a dozen units will teach you what you need to know so you can come back to them later.  Use the time on clues that are not so intensive to catch up on those you left behind.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Fun Finishes (& an IronEZ Gift-Away!)


Well, I COULD get the borders on, if Lola wasn't laying on them!

You know the whole "Her name was Lola, she was a Show Girl" lyric - and the show girl decided she had to be the center of attention yesterday while I was cramming my best to get these borders on before going home time.

It's not like she just lays on top of everything I am doing - it's that she rolls around in her own kind of "cat on quilt" lap dance.

It's hysterical!

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Open Minds and Changing Opinions


This morning, about 7:45am.

We opted for the "up and over" route to get me to the QPO this morning - adding a couple of extra miles, but the scenery is worth the time that it adds to the trip!

This is the "high spot" on Grassy Creek, and I love this view of the little valley below.  A community church is flanked by a well manicured cemetery.  Fields and farms and plots of Christmas trees are everywhere you look.  

And even in these cold temps of about 21f degrees it is idyllic.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

First Snow of Winter 2020


This was my world this morning!

I awoke to a world of winter white - the trees and ground looking like frosting on ginger cookies. (Which are my favorite for the holidays - and snow puts me in a baking mood!)

Snow for me is like Christmas music and Christmas decorations - it can all happen as soon as Thanksgiving is over!

In other words - you can't stop it so bring it on!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Cyber Monday Sulky Mystery Box Gift-Away!


Good Monday Morning, everyone!

I'm a bit delayed in blog posting today.  I could call it a typical Monday, but it is anything but typical.

Remember the attack deer that hit my van a few weeks back?  This morning is the morning we needed to drive out and drop the van off to be repaired.

We had to be there by 9am, and I was dropped back off at the QPO - carless for the day (Or for the next 2 weeks) and will be picked back up by The Hubster when he finishes HIS work for the day -

So while it's been quiet here on the blog front, there has been much paddling behind-the-scenes, including my lovely #mediafreesunday that happened yesterday!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Saturday After -


This is where we spent our Thanksgiving afternoon!

It has become kind of a tradition - going up to the Appalachian Trail that crosses through Grayson Highlands state part if the holiday weather is fair enough to do so.

I would say that 63 degrees on Thanksgiving Day is a rarity for these parts.  Of all of the years I wished that my dad could be with us, this would have been the one.

One year ago he was helping Dave to load fire wood onto the side porch at Quiltville Inn in anticipation of our first beta test retreat that was in full swing at this time.

It makes this weekend kind of a weird first anniversary, doesn't it?  I think the only word that I can use to describe how this year was derailed is WEIRD.

But this warm 2020 Thanksgiving? Weirdly wonderful!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Grassy Creek Mystery! Part 1!


Good Morning, Quiltvillians!

Let the Black Friday mystery sewing commence! 

You know, as I sat here the past 30 minutes before hitting PUBLISH on this post - I realized that though so much has changed this year during the Covid Pandemic of 2020 - that this ONE THING - Our ability to join together to participate in this global quilting mystery fun has not changed!

And I am so grateful for that.  For the sewing behind the scenes, for the watching of everyone pulling their fabrics and deciding on color changes and all of the happy hubbub that comes with that - this is our crazy normal behind the crazy.

So before I go any further, I want to thank you for once again participating in our yearly reader appreciation mystery, and for your sticking with me through the past year of just plain weird.

And if you are new here, I want to welcome you too - and I hope you will have a great time and stick around for the things that happen throughout the year - and join us again when next winter's mystery rolls around.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Wishes!


Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible so I can enjoy our little Thanksgiving on the mountain as much as possible, with as little computer work as possible!

Our plan this year - so different than most - is to focus on SIMPLICITY.

We are planning Japanese hibachi on the Blackstone grill with steak, shrimp, veggies and fried rice.

I am excited.  Preparation is nearly nothing - the rice was made yesterday.  The remaining prep work is just slicing and dicing.

And yes, there will be pumpkin pie - 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Just Ahead of Winter's Arrival -


Yesterday was a winterizing day.

While it doesn't look like it here - there was much weather stripping going on by The Hubster as I took care of things on my end, stopping to help when help was required.

Old buildings can be plagued by numerous things - single paned windows, glass front doors with drafty cracks.

Last year the condensation that happened around the front door at the QPO required a squeegee on the front door glass every morning - cold on the outside, warm on the inside - and drafty cracks.

We hope we have solved some of that for this winter, but short of replacing the whole glass front door - I don't know what we can do.  The building is from the 1940s to 1950s - and I am not sure how old the glass door and big front picture window are, but replacing them is out of the question for this year.

Don't you love how Lola is watching the quilting going on?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Monday on the Run!

 
Baby Christmas Trees growing up on Grassy Creek!

The tree harvesting continues - huge trucks driving past the QPO all day long.  If the weather weren't so blustery yesterday, I would have stood out front and just waited to get some really good photos of them passing by.

But the chilly wind was blowing everything sideways, and there was too much else going on to just stand in the driveway waiting for a "possible" photo op to happen.

The trees you see here are about year 2 - it takes 7 to 8 years for a Christmas tree to reach harvesting height.  

And can I say that even toward the end of November - I love that the grass is still pretty green here.  I crave green in the depths of winter.  This helps me hang on just a bit longer!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Blue Spruce & Pine Tree Point!



"I'll have a Blue Christmas without you...." sang Elvis!

I'll have a glad Blue Christmas - where blue is not bad or sad at all!

Talk about a fast and fun project, guaranteed to bring some early holiday cheer - even if it IS still officially before Thanksgiving, where early Christmas cheer is somewhat taboo and frowned upon here in the USA.

AND IT MAKES NO SENSE!  Besides the fact that it is 2020 after all.

Saturday -while Mona quilted up a storm at the long arm, I pieced my way through the making of my very blue version of Pine Tree Point at the sewing machine.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Another Day in the Quilt Mines!


Lola spent yesterday supervising.

It's extremely hard work keeping track of two quilters with so much busy-ness going on.

She was a very good sport about it, though -  She didn't butt in and tell us that this didn't match, or that didn't go, and why didn't I try this instead, or don't I know that quilters should never do that....

She just kept her mouth shut and....

Friday, November 20, 2020

Thursday, Full of Scraps & Strings!


Lola!  In the middle of everything!

Yesterday held so much promise - sun was shining, and though on the cold side, the wind was not howling - and that is a very good thing in these parts.

I had a good handle on the outgoing mail (There are still some Simple Folded Corners rulers and Simple Folded Corners Minis in stock, but going fast!  More on on their way.) by the time my friend Mona pulled up the drive next to the QPO.

It had been SO LONG since we have had quilting time together.

And for those wondering if you really CAN self-quarantine for 14 days so quilting can happen - yes you can.  It just depends on what you want and how bad you want it, including how badly you want to keep your friend safe from YOU!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

When Friends Come Quilting!


Simple quilts bring so much joy!

A couple of weeks ago my friend Martha was struck by a compulsive desire to stop EVERYTHING and make a snuggle quilt from the scraps of other items she has made for her 4 year old granddaughter.

If you've felt that kind of "Drop everything, I have to do this RIGHT NOW!" kind of compulsion - raise your hand!

We were chatting, and I said - you don't need anything fancy for a 4 year old.  They are not about the intricacies of the pattern, the size of the pieces or the overall appearance.  They are about the colors, and the novelties and other prints included that capture their fancy and imagination.

Martha decided that a simple nine patch would more than suffice, and she headed to her Scrap User’s System - something she has just recently implemented and discovered the true benefits of - and simply pulled 2 1/2'' strips for some scrappy and colorful blocks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

November 2020 Quilty Box Gift-Away!


I know that any given month is flying by quickly -

When the next Quilty Box arrives and it is time for another great Gift-Away!

And what a GREAT BOX this one is!

This month we're thrilled to have Natalie Barnes curate the November 2020 box with all of the super things you'll find inside!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tuesday - Where to Start?


This happened over the weekend.

I am happy to say that I worked on these blocks through Saturday afternoon, and by Saturday evening time I was feet up in my chair with a trash can between my knees (Oh, isn't that just an attractive image!) removing paper from all of the string blocks I'd completed.

I will be sewing these together and complete that quilt top soon - it may be this week end coming up. I hope so.

And then #mediafreesunday happened - I completely disconnected myself from my online life and set into working on this:

Monday, November 16, 2020

New PDF Pattern - Pine Tree Point!


There is a new bit of fun this week in the Quiltville Store!  Say hello to Pine Tree Point!

I know you have been eager to see just where the green strings were going to end up over the past few weeks - I've been BUSY behind the scenes!

I have been sewing up the proverbial storm while I watch the seasons change around me.

These two projects are inspired by the multitude of Christmas tree trucks passing by Quiltville Inn on a daily basis these days - Tree harvest is in full swing, and it is marvelous to see!