Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Start With Something Scrappy!

I'm closing in on close to 130 completed Churn Dash blocks.

I'm nowhere near done yet, but the variety in each and every one of these keeps me going -

I am continuing to sort through bags of scraps gifted by the daughter of a long time blog reader and scrap quilter after her mother's passing. 

Pressing and cutting, mixing and matching them with my own scraps along the way, I find myself wondering what OTHER projects these fabrics came from.

I have sorted through bags and bags, and there is still more to go (Again, see HERE!) rejoicing when I found a piece just big enough to get the 4 matching small squares around the center, or big enough to get the 4 half-square triangle corners.

These scraps came from so many projects over several decades.  It's a treasure trove of fabrics-gone-by.  Styles, colors, manufacturers - I'm walking a timeline backwards to the beginnings of my own quilting journey.

Little gems - each and every one!

The purple in the as-of-yet-to-be-assembled block is ALL that there was of this piece in those scrap bags.  I love the free flowing dandelions on it - it has me thinking of spring.

What other quilts did this fabric show up in - made by she whose hands are now still?

And then my mind wanders - I'm turning 60 in a few days.  How many more years are ahead in my quilting life until my hands are also still?

Why was turning 50 so freeing and amazing, yet 60 terrifies me?  

I didn't feel old at 50 - but 60 - that's definitely over the hill on the downward slide.

There is still so much fabric to sew up!

And so much lint to clear out!

After so much sewing I knew my trusty 301 needed a spa break.  I had used up the last of the bobbins I had wound previously.  I needed a new needle.  And the machine definitely needed a de-linting session and a good drink of oil in all the right spots.

Have you checked your bobbin area lately?

Cleaned, oiled, needled, reassembled, and a seam test taken so I could replace my seam guide in the right spot and I was good to go.

After many up and down trips with the tractor to clear as much of the drive as possible the van was chained up and slowly driven down and parked at the end of the drive.

Down is one thing - trying to go back up is another.

Until the drive is cleared from all of that ice that was covered with 8'' of snow, I will be leaving the van at the bottom of the drive.

Our drive is about 1/4 mile long, and since getting the tractor we've been able to maintain it well.

It's the best it has ever been - except when it comes to ice/show on top of mud/gravel.

There is nowhere at the bottom to build a second garage - Off to the right side of the photo is a huge ditch with a creek running in it. (Grassy Creek!) The mountain is in the way.  There is no flat spot to be found anywhere.

We are talking about the inconvenience of only a couple of weeks in the winter that parking off mountain is needed.

This is just how we have to do things.

A spreader has been ordered for the tractor, and we'll be picking up truckloads of sand from the quarry for future storms.

Salt is not recommended on dirt - it's good for concrete or asphalt, but not dirt as it just makes things more slippery. Salt is also not good for the native plants that grow here.

The truck has chains.  The tractor has chains.  But it is much easier going down than getting back up and that is all there is to say about it.

Anyway - just for kicks, I recorded us going down in the truck (with chains) so that I could take the van (already at the bottom) to the QPO Studio and check in on things, spend time with Lola, and get a start on the weekend's mail order that came in during this snow event.  Click to Play:

It's a bit hairy at times.  But it's only a couple/few weeks a year.

Today temps should reach into the 40s.  I'll be able to get to the QPO and back and continue to leave the van at the bottom until the ice clears enough for me to drive it to the top once again.

I have Yaktrax for my boots. And spring is only 60 days away!

Those who have lived on mountainsides through all seasons over several years will understand what I'm talking about. Flatlanders may not. I was born in Minnesota and Minnesota knows NOTHING about this kind of mountain living. It's topography. 

Yes, it's a bit of an inconvenience, but the benefits of the rest of the year make up for dealing with any amount of ice or snow that comes our way.

Did you see this release in Saturday's Post?

Quilt Size: 67'' X 75''

The introductory price for Cherry Crunch is marked 25% off in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.  No coupon needed!  Price reduction good through 1/31/22.

And while that is exciting on its own - it's even BETTER if we throw in a Gift-Away, don't you think?

I will be drawing for ONE lucky winner and THEIR FRIEND who will each receive the printable PDF pattern for Cherry Crunch along with a Facets of Red fabric roll from Cotton to Quilts

(Fabric prize must be shipped to a USA address only.  If you are outside of the USA we can ship it to a friend within the USA who can then forward it on to you.)

You gotta be in it to win it!  Click to Saturday's 1/15/22 Post to enter.

And it doesn't end there.  I have placed some OTHER Winter themed patterns ALSO at 25% off with no coupon required!

Forever Mine PDF pattern includes the runner too!

On sale at 25% off through 2/13/22

Warm Hands, Warm Heart & Winter Blues are both 25% off through 1/31/22.

If this is your first time downloading digital patterns from my store to a computer click HERE.

If you intend to download to an iPhone/iPad click HERE.

Time for a bit of breakfast, and then over to the QPO for a busy work day ahead.

What plans do you have for today?

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Mad City Mama quilt from my book Adventures with Leaders & Enders available in the Quiltville Store.

It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.
It's necessary!
Remember, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can assist others around you!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!



  1. If you think 60 seems old, try 65! Something about getting the Medicare card in the mail. At least I can still sew....just finished trimming and stay stitching the center of my mystery quilt...

    1. Try 81! 60 is just a kid. The big 0 numbers never bothered me, but for some reason the 1 year after was. Now I'm just thankful to wake up every morning.

  2. Bonnie, first I want to say thank you for being a lifesaver to me this season. I have moved into my daughter's house temporarily, and I don't have much of my sewing stuff with me, until we find a home and get settled there. I have downloaded all the mystery clues and am planning to make it when I am reunited with all my scraps. I am entranced with cherry crush and as soon as I see my red scraps, it will be game on. You are keeping me focused on the future, while I am mostly idle. Secondly, 60 is really no different than 50. It is all in our heads really. If you are healthy in body, you can go on forever. Look at Martha Stewart at 80!! I will be 65 this year and have no plans to slow down in my sewing and crafting. Keep up the good work and c'mon spring!!

  3. My day is going to be some hand quilting, sewing a couple more Rodo trail blocks, and packing a couple of boxing for moving. I'm trying to do a couple everyday instead of all at once.
    I'm turning 60 on Feb. 3 so I'm right behind you, Bonnie! I guess I have basically stopped thinking about my age. I really don't 'feel' older & it always stops me when I think...really I'm that old!?!

  4. Hey I recognize that purple! I think I have some scraps of it around here somewhere 🙃

  5. I confess I had wondered if your recent anxiety related to your upcoming birthday. I spent the whole of my 39th year worrying what it would be like to turn 40, only to find that 40 felt much the same as 39! I expect you may find that a similar thing applies to you, even though it will be a bigger birthday. And the way the world is now, with Covid and other problems, perhaps a birthday should be appreciated ? Feel free to delete these comments if they offend you. Nina D

  6. My dad always taught us to NOT use salt to melt the ice on our drive/walkways but to instead use lawn fertilizer. What then washes off the drive/walks doesn’t hurt the vegetation nearby. Of course, your drive is much longer, but it might be useful on the walks around the house/Inn/QPO……..

  7. age is only a number...at nearly 72 and 1/2 sewing and quilting more than i ever did...everything needed still works fine! two big detours in the past 4 years were only temporary...

  8. I feel your pain regarding age. A couple years ago I did the math on purchasing a long arm machine and concluded that I can't make enough quilts in the rest of my life to make it pay for itself.

  9. Those Churn Dash blocks are too cute!

    Here's how I remember to clean the lint area, in case it helps anyone else. I keep two foam pedicure toe spacers under my machine to hold bobbins - eight bobbins in the spacers and one in the machine, so I fill nine bobbins at once. When they're empty and it's time to refill, I do a quick lint clean under the plate. When it's time to fill them a second time, I do a full clean and replace the needle. Hope this helps someone!

    I grew up with a very long, steep gravel drive, only we lived at the bottom. Many hikes up/down in the winters to where we parked cars at the top and where we met the school bus. I feel you!

  10. My son mentioned I will be 3/4 of a century in July, I came back with he being 1/2 a century his next birthday. Yes Bonnie mountain life is different. My husband and I lived in the Rocky Mountains at 10,000 feet then 7,000 feet for 35 years. We now are in the Smoky Mountains south of you at 2,000 feet, we love mountain living, it sure is easier now that we are retired. Take care and be safe. Happy stitching.

  11. For me, it's looking at turning 70 that gives me the willies. At 60 I was still working, at nearly 70, I'm not. As for the driveway, I grew up in northern Idaho. Even though I now live in Minnesota, I get it. I used to enjoy driving miles and miles of forest service roads that looked like your driveway, only in the summer, NOT the winter! Glad you can get to Lola today. I know you leave her with lots of food, water and litter, so she's OK, but she's a social girl and needs her "people time" to thrive. Too bad she can't get along with Ivy and be able to be with you more.

  12. This year will be 72 for me. Still feel young and quilting is one of the reasons. Watched your ride down the driveway -WOW!! but then I was thinking of the trek back up. Hope it melts soon.

  13. For me 70 felt old for the first few days, then I decided I wasn't going to be old yet, now 72 is approaching in a few months. Don't let the number get you down, you are only as old as you feel so feel young!

  14. 77 and quilting up a storm!! I've had a full couple years with Guild postions and our Bi-annual show, getting them all wound up so I can finally retire.... Ha!!! Will still have my fingers in the pie somewhere. Maybe you could erect poles, rope and a pulley like they used to do with laundry lines and pull yourself up and down the hill!

  15. So glad you find value in using older fabrics in your quilts and also promote piecing the backs. Definitely appreciated!

  16. As to your turning 60 you are actually getting just another day older. You have a healthy body, your parents are still alive at whatever age they are. So tell gyourfear to go. Enjoy whatever is in store and stay with what you love to do. I'm 16 plus years older so I do know what I'm talki.g about. Only God knows the future.

  17. Turned 65 last week, 60 wasn't bad!! Medicare card in hand, Eye Dr and Dentist appts not fun, but necessary. That drive is scary. Be safe and keep stitching those cute blocks!

  18. You’re talking about a spa day for your 301…. I have 3 of them and decided to rehome 2 this year. Got them out to list on marketplace, and tested them to make sure they were still sewing ok. They were fine when I put them away a year or so ago, but one is sewing really lugged down…guessing it’s some kind of motor issue. The other one was fine until a thread wrapped around something in the bobbin case. I took the needle plate off to get the thread out, and now I can’t get the feed dogs and needle to clear the plate…either one or the other is hitting when I try to sew. The screw holes are machined, so I’m not sure how this is happening. Has anyone ever had this problem?

  19. Your driveway looks like mine in VA. My property backs up against the Blue Ridge Mins. They got snow nut no as bad as a week or so ago. I was born in Maine and lived for years in Minnesota, so understand reference to Flat Landers ;

  20. The joys of living in the shadow of the Blue Ridge in VA are incredible! We park along the main highway and walk the 1/2 mile,(winding and hilly) dirt road to our house during these icy and snowy days. We are both seniors in our 70's - you have many years to enjoy quilting and rural winter roads-keep trucking!

  21. Um, I will be 60 later this year and I guess with 11 year olds I don't have time to really think about it. Don't let it get to you, age is all in the head!

  22. Well, you know they say that age is just a number. Attitude makes a difference and I don't see you slowing down any time soon. As I recall was was a tad bummed out when I turned 60. Didn't want to celebrate. Now, I'll be 74 in March and I never felt "old" until last year when the CDC and media kept emphasizing that people over 65 were at more risk from Covid. Of course, I can't get up and down in the garden as easily any more. But I'm thankful for my health and I'll just keep plugging away.

  23. LOL Your post brought back "fond" memories of the lane on the farm where I grew up in Illinois. Not mountains and not even terribly steep or curved but it could be a pain to get up in winter. And that telephone phone pole that was just off the lane in the perfect spot the car where the car (any car) liked to start sliding. So much fun during the age of miniskirts when you either learned to drive up the hill or have to walk up in a short skirt.

  24. Hi Bonnie:
    We will make you an Alaskan for a couple weeks of the year. Being born in MN, you know how to deal w/ the cold. In Alaska, we know we need 4 x4, and studded or stiped tires for winter, Yak Trax are great, but the pair I had only lasted a couple years. Now I have made alterations, to make them work. I have had the diamond cut ones, they only lasted one year. I have tried all kinds of cleats, but they are necessary, as we have ice under the snow, too. And yes, dealing w/ a little bad weather in the winter is worth the living the rest of the year! I am right there with you!

    I love your reminder that we have to put our own oxygen mask on first, before we can assist others. I have ten years on you, so you have a lot of quilting left in you, and I hope I have at least another 15 left in me! One gal in our group is 86 and she is going strong. We can do it!

    Kasilof, AK

  25. Bonnie we also have a dirt drive and buy "Urea" at the local feed store. It is fertilizer and is very good on ice when it is mixed with sand. It melts into the ice making little holes and roughens the surface.
    I turn 66 in a month or 2 and am feeling it today..it is -25C here and there is another 6 inches of fresh snow outside on top of th 24 inches we have had this week already. I fell hard yesterday but will get out and shovel again today..I need to fillt bird feeders. I enjoy your blog very much even tho I am not really quilting..I allowed someone to get to me and the joy has gone for now. It will return and in the meantime I am making bags, totes and stuff. Enjoy 60..

  26. I am celebrating 72 today!! Hoping you have a wonderful birthday day and a great year of quilting!!!

  27. I went to my local quilt store yesterday to get fabric to complete about 3 projects - it's supposed to be pretty cold in central OH for the next few days and that means it's time to stay inside and sew!! Yay!!
    I empathize with the turning 60 situation - I had a hard time with that one! My husband was planning a surprise b-day party and had to call everyone to cancel it when I burst into tears at the arrival of my Golden Buckeye card in the mail. (OH sends one out when folks turn 60 - it's good for discounts at some places like state parks, restaurants, etc.) I got over it and for some reason, turning 70 a couple of months ago didn't bother me at all. Happy birthday in advance!!

  28. 60 wasn't bad but 70 was scary (I had trouble saying it.) That was 11 years ago and at 81, still going strong. I'm a little slower, need a little more sleep and watching where I put my feet to try not to fall. Trying to realize that my quilting years are numbered and to finish the quilts I really like and not buy more "stuff" that my kids will have to find a place for. I love your Blog and save them to read a week's worth in a day. That way I don't spend too much time on the Internet, giving me more time for sewing. I need to maximize my sewing time as I seem to tire more easily and need to walk more to ease the back after sewing. Hate getting older but wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's. It's an amazing ride if you can live in the moment, see the world, and love your God, family and friends with all your heart.


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