Saturday, December 30, 2023

Last Post of 2023.

It hit me this morning as I sat down to edit photos for this post that this is the LAST blog post of 2023.

This is it.  End of the road for this year.

There were a lot of incredible things we experienced together this year - and there were some not so good things that we made the best of while trying to get past them.

All in all - well played, Quiltvillians!

It's not been perfect - but is it ever?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

One More Border, Please!

I couldn't do it.

I couldn't leave the Winter Cardinal top as it was - it needed some intense color outside of the pieced geese border - it couldn't just fade out into nothing.

It needed something to contain it all.  

It needed something deep and rich, and I started pulling options. (Yes, there is a pile now to be re-stashed but I'll get to it.)

Normally I love a quilt that ends with a pieced border and just needs a good strong binding to say "That's it.  I'm done."  But not this one.

Two options are shown above.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Last Top Finish of 2023!

"I don't like paper piecing, it wastes too much fabric." I hear.

But the results are so much more accurate and you can get sharp angles and crisp points that are nearly impossible with traditional rotary cutting.

And seriously - if anyone wants to come make a quilt out of the "wasted fabric" they are welcome to it.

I tend to pre-cut my pieces just a tiny bit oversized so there is room for shift (because shift happens!) but I'm not wasting gobs and oodles of fabric in the process.  It's barely a sliver.

And most of the time I'm not cutting pieces from yardage - I'm going to my scraps and smaller pieces anyway.  These are the left-overs of other things that I just want to use up.

I may be miserly with some things, but with my scrap stash I'm not.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Post-Holiday Recovery Mode!

Happy Boxing Day for those continuing their Christmas celebrations into aftermath of yesterday - however you spent it!

Ours began with a lovely, leisurely Christmas morning - though to be honest, I spent time reminiscing over those Christmas mornings with young children clamoring to open presents and see what Santa brought as early as 5:30am.  Oh, the joyous chaos those mornings brought.

And then into their teen years when they couldn't be bothered to get up, and couldn't they "sleep in just a bit longer?!"

And now...just the two of us, and it's the dogs begging to get up and be let out to take care of morning business as if it's just any other normal day's routine.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

A Smattering of Things -

It doesn't take much.

Little things are the best things of all, aren't they?

I received an anonymous package in the mail - the return address was MINE, and I darn well know I didn't send this to myself -

The card had a sweet note, and was signed simply "Sue in Oklahoma"

And I instantly wished that we could all do this for each other.  This one simple thing.

A bundle of fun neutrals (and a black!) and a sweet treat.  

It's all that Christmas really needs to bring us peace, am I right?

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Welcome Winter Solstice -

As soon as things get dark and gloomy - when the clocks "fall back" an hour in the autumn and the days get shorter - I start counting down to the Winter Solstice.

It's a little happy holiday I hold dear, all to myself.

The Winter Solstice is literally a celebration of the imminent return of the sun, which we can all agree is pretty great. And the best part? No shopping required. 

I cherish "The shortest day/longest night of the year" because I know from this day forward that things will get lighter, brighter - and I just feel like I can breathe a bit freer knowing those long, dark nights are numbered.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Little Bit of Snow Day -

I guess the winter slow-down is in full effect here.

That whole "There's nothing you can do about it so why don't you just relax?" kind of suggestion has popped up more than once.

You know me!  I can't relax - relaxing is a waste of time.  I'll relax when this life is done and over - and not before then.  Not while there are things to DO.

As to The Hubster - He knew my "things to do" were going to include the need to go down this drive, and to get back up it again when we were done - which gave him ample opportunity to plow the drive, even with the small amount of snow that had fallen the night before.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Blanket of White -

I awoke to this sunrise this morning!

Currently only 16 degrees, but lovely to view from the warmth of a toasty inside -

This is what a "skiff of snow" is for those asking just what a skiff was in measurements.

To me, a skiff is "barely a dusting" but it's cold enough that this may stick around today as it looks like we won't get above freezing until tomorrow.

White Christmas, maybe?

I doubt it! We'll be back in the 50s by Thursday.

Brown Christmas, anyone?  Somehow it doesn't have an enticing ring to it!

Monday, December 18, 2023

Where'd The Weekend Go?

I'm beginning to feel like a kid whose Christmas break from school just flew by too fast without much to show for it.

Saturday was spent with Jeff & Casden here - the menfolk working on the terraced steps outside, and Casden and I just hanging out - and then making lunch - and by the time everything was cleared away and cleaned up the day had flown and they were homeward bound.

There was a bit of Sunday morning stitching time at home though - check out these cute little froggies!

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Start With Something Quilty -

I'm putting this right here.

It's making me so happy right now!

It feels festive - not overly Christmassy - but subtly festive, and it's striking all of the chords for me at this moment.

This is the last five I needed to complete before I head onto phase 2....more on that to come!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Runaway Wednesday -

Not far from here - but a bit higher in elevation there is still snow on the ground from last weekend's snow flurries.

White Top mountain is aptly named!

The sky was a crystal clear blue with a gentle smear of clouds - the perfect kind of December day to just say "Forget the to-do list" and take off.

I needed to get "Out of Dodge" as the saying went - 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Hand Quilting Continues -

Did you think I'd forgotten this project in the Swirl of Squirrel that is happening over here?

No way, Jose!

It was put on a short hiatus while I worked on the binding for the finished king string monstrosity.

But once that was on the bed, with an icy weekend ahead of me, this has been back on my lap and I've been stitching away enough that my fingers get sore by the end of the evening and I have to set it down.

These colors and fabrics are bringing happiness and light during the darkest coldest months ahead.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Good Morning, Pineapples!

This is my new favorite shirt.  I'm fickle.  Favorites can switch in and out easily, but this one - nailed it!

It was an impulse buy that I don't regret - you can find yours HERE.

The only thing I had trouble with was discerning what a color was by the description - the colors are listed, but not shown in actuality so I flipped through the catalogue to see what the colors could possibly look like.

This was listed as "peach" but it's really a beige-y pink. I'm good with it!

If I could choose my own slogan it would be "Powered by ADHD and Caffeine." LOL!

Monday, December 11, 2023

One For The Done Column!

What happens when the weather is lousy and neither The Hubster or I have anything on the to-do list?

It's wet and rainy and there's no need to be outside.

There's nothing going on at the inn - it's all closed up tight for the winter ahead.

The ONLY thing that happened yesterday was a quick run to the grocery store in the morning, stopping to check up on Tula and get her fed and loved - and after that it was a day of being home bound and doing little-to-nothing.

Doing little-to-nothing is hard for me.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Rainy Days & Binding -

Yes, I'll take the rain over snow any day.

It was a wonderful sound on the metal roof overhead when the rain started to fall early this morning.

I snuggled back down beneath the quilts and let sleep take me deeper -

I didn't throw back the covers and put my feet on the floor until 8am.  That's late for me!

But this is what the holiday slow-down brings - and it is a gift to me!

When we last left off before yesterday's Indigo Way Mystery Part Three I was sharing the quilting of the string quilt that has been my focus since Thanksgiving week. Click back to that post HERE.

There were loads of comments about the fabrics in my backing - so here you go:

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Quilting Under Way!

Weird bits of grammar you never knew you needed to know:

Under Way or Underway?

Under way is conventionally two words when it functions as an adverb or a predicate adjective (E.g., “The ship voyage is under way.”). It is usually one word, underway, when it is an adjective preceding its noun (E.g., “The underway voyage was interrupted.”).

And there you have the title of this post.  The quilting is under way!

And the underway (one word!) quilting is being accomplished in a golden colored thread in an edge to edge design called Bread Basket.

I don't know why little tidbits like this float my boat, but I never know when I'm going to need to recall this information.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

King String Monstrosity!

Adding on to my "What was I thinking??" brain pain - 

Yet knowing that 95'' before quilting was definitely going to shrink up more after quilting and washing - I did go ahead and piece more string blocks to add to the width of the King String Monstrosity (Not it's real name, but hey, it has a ring to it!)

It turns out my original count was off (By close to half!) and I needed to make 156 more string blocks.


Tuesday, December 05, 2023

And It's A Wrap!

Check out that December cloud-strewn sky!

I forget how quickly the sun dips behind the mountain beyond the creek - and around 4:15pm I ran into the sewing room and exclaimed "Now, ladies! Pictures - NOW!"

It's that fine line of too much sun on the porch causing shade on half of what we were trying to capture, and the onset of too much dusk.

But this time - the light was just right!

Monday, December 04, 2023

Quilty Through The House!

There's a whole lotta quilty going on during this last Quiltville Inn retreat of the 2023 season!

Every time I come in here there is something new being worked on up on the design walls.

I am loving how Tracy's Maymont is coming together - I'm sure she'll have it together as a top by the time departure arrives tomorrow.

We all need a bit of Maymont in our lives - no triangles, just super-duper scrappy fun!

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Those December Quiltvillians!

The halls are decked!

Things are festive and fun all throughout the inn -

It's our last retreat of the 2023 retreat season - how can 4 years have gone by so quickly?

Now that winter is upon us, the Hen Den is the place to gather, the flame from the gas stove keeping everyone's toes toasty - such a great place for gathering and conversation.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

When Quilts Don't Fit...

I got caught up in the webbing yesterday.

And yes, this is a continuation of where I left off in yesterday's post so if you are new or missed it, you might want to flip back and catch up HERE.

It's not that the webbing of this top was difficult - that went just as expected with no upsets other than the usual "ran out of bobbin at the beginning of that column and didn't find out until much later..." (Like you've never had that happen - right?!)

This is the first quilt I've set this way - with longer sashings and shorter sashings and cornerstones.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Design Floor Update!

Reach and bend, and stretch and place and pivot and rearrange -

I'm a bit stiff this morning - I'm not lying!

I'm catching you up with where we left off in yesterday's post on the progress of my current all-consuming string quilt project.

I know several folks were leaning toward darker colors for sashing - but I don't want a dark quilt.

I want something bright and happy to get me through the winter months.

I live in a log cabin - my walls are wood-colored.  Things can look a bit dark, and I need some sparkle.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Lost In The Strings...

What was I thinking?

I already had two other projects kicking off....the red/gray/neutral cardinal inspired star thing (That I'll jump right back into once the string thing is off the floor) and the Arizona sunset thing I couldn't wait to jump into after taking those gorgeous sunset photos from the top of South Mountain while visiting my dad.

I just really don't usually do this.  Get wheels spinning in too many directions - it makes me feel like I can't accomplish anything.

I admire folks who can have 97 project boxes with different things in progress, but my OCD/ADHD hyper-focusing brain just doesn't let me go that direction.  I need to see things completed at least on some fronts before I can move into another direction.

That all went out the window over Thanksgiving week with the NEED - I mean, really - A NEED to just mindlessly go to town on something.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Double Quilty Gift-Away!

Monday after Thanksgiving - and all weekend long I was a day or two off.

For the first time in what seems like forever, I had a full long holiday weekend of real relaxation and no worrying of what was to come next or things that had to be done, or people to be checked in on over that the inn.

It was truly wonderful and I hope you were able to do things like stay in your jammies a bit longer, enjoy that second leisurely cup of coffee, watch a bit of tv not worrying about deadlines - and of course stitch some on Part One of our Indigo Way Mystery.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Thanksgiving Weekend in the Strings!

Did yesterday feel like Sunday to anyone else but me?

Today feels like Monday, and it's only Saturday.

I think there was so much build up to Thanksgiving, and then yesterday's Part One release of our Indigo Way Mystery - I've just been all kinds of "What day is it anyway?!"

Not that more weekend is a bad thing.  It's great for sewing - only I must confess that my Arizona Sunset project and the Cardinal inspired other project have been set aside for a bit until I finish something up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

On Thanksgiving Eve

Hi there!

I'm writing this on Wednesday evening so as to leave my own Thanksgiving Day pretty much media - free as I step away to enjoy our very small community Thanksgiving.

There are just the two of us here at home - Jason is in Oregon, Jeff and his family are sharing their holiday with Ashlyn's family this year.

My house is full of the delicious aroma of pies baking. Or should I just call it custard?

The Hubster is not only gluten free, but has never liked pie crust and tends to leave it sitting there filling-less on his plate.  So why bother?

We just skip the crust and get to the good stuff, with a big helping of  whipped cream on top.

Calm Before The Storm -

Thanksgiving week.

I think back to all of the big family gatherings we had while I was growing up.

All of the traditions - food, family, fun.

It's a nostalgic feeling. A warm feeling.

The arrival of Thanksgiving always somehow feels like the gateway to the holiday season, but it still gives me permission to slow down - just a bit. A Calm before the holiday storm.

My own feelings of the origins of Thanksgiving, as they came to light - the real story - (Time magazine article HERE.) and the things I think about during Thanksgiving have changed.  A bit.

That myth of a community of pilgrims and natives dining happily together? Nope.  And this is a hard thing as the Hubster's 9th great grandfather is William Bradford.  Yes, THE William Bradford of Mayflower fame. My sons are 10th great grandsons.

The focus of being grateful (The THANKS part) is still here. It's a day of gratitude, of family, food, movie binging with perhaps some hand quilting in progress, and pie.

But I think it is also important to focus on the second part of the word.  The GIVING part.

We can't change what happened 400 years ago. We can only change what we do today and forward.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Sparking Inspiration -

What sparks your inspiration when it comes to choosing colors for a quilt project?

For me the answer is simple - EVERYTHING.

Every little thing from the fresh veggies in the grocery store, to a field of flowers, to the colors of a magnificent Arizona sunset.

From the ocean to the mountains to...everything!

In this case it is this photo that struck me while cleaning up the remains from my current Kiwi project, also made with remains of our soon-to-start Indigo Way Mystery.

I seem to soon be sewing up all of the red - after just being on a blue jag throughout our Star of Hope (which also took care of the blue leftovers from my own Indigo Way Mystery.  

What goes round, comes round and is a great way to clean up the cutting table!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Drive-By Wreath Drop Off!

Yesterday's arrival at the QPO Studio, and subsequently Quiltville Inn was a bit delayed by my side trip to the USPS to drop off two bins of outgoing mail.

And when I did arrive to feed and check in with Tula (Who is right as rain and was wondering what took me so long to serve her breakfast!) I go in the back way - up the drive, and to the back door, not the front door.  It wasn't until FedEx had dropped off a package that I saw this beauty!

This gorgeous wreath is made by Judy Clayton - 

I love that they come all the way from Indiana to Mouth of Wilson VA to load their trailer and big panel van up with fresh Christmas trees to haul back to their Garden Center in North Webster, IN.
I'm just sad that I missed their sneaky delivery and missed out on hugs and catching up.

Friday, November 17, 2023

From There To Here.

Happy Friday!

It's not like Friday's are much different than any other day around here.

But I remember the feeling of "What a relief! It's Friday!" that the end of a school week would bring - or on those rare occasions when I worked a Monday to Friday job with the promise of a weekend off.

Come to think of it - that only happened for a short few months when I was working as a massage therapist at a Chiropractor's office.  

It seems I have worked weekends - at least part of them - through my entire life as being under the banner of "self employed."

I still use Fridays as a marker in a way - looking back at the things I've accomplished or made progress on in the past week.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Back Home.

Hi everyone!

This is the view outside my sliding glass door to my basement studio/office at home....and I am so happy to be greeted with sunshine this morning.

As we were driving home from Bristol TN last night I kept watching the thermometer on the car dash drop and drop and drop - at once point reaching below freezing.

It's quite the shock to a body who has been in the Arizona desert over the past week!

But no matter how much I loved warm temps and being with my dad - there really is truly no place like my own home to come home to.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

South Mountain Sunset

There is nothing prettier magnificent than an Arizona sunset.

The sky lights up with color in ways that I haven't seen on the East coast.

I had mentioned earlier about a set of circumstances we had dealt with over the time that I've been here, and I am happy to let everyone know that everything worked out, and we were able to actually get out and do some things for the remainder of my stay.

What happened? 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Keaton Quilts Gift-Away!

Good morning Quilty Friends!

I'm still in Arizona - heading home on Wednesday.  More to tell you on that -

But this morning I wanted to jump start your week with a fantastic gift-away!

"New York New York - It's a Wonderful Town..." (Can you hear me squawk-singing this morning?)

And now it is made even better by Justin Stafford's dream of bringing a full featured quilt shop experience to you right there in the Big Apple.

I love cheering folks on with their dreams, the bigger the better.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Gonna Need More Hexies!

Good morning, all -

It's Friday morning and 8:30am Phoenix time and all is still quiet here.

How is it that a body can still feel so tired after doing little more than watching TV all day?

This is just not my usual, and it throws me for a loop.

My ADHD is in hyper-drive and I'm doing all I can to just relax into the moment and go with the flow as the saying goes.

Dad is recovering from a bad cold that has laid him flat for a week.  I'm cutting him a great big break and he deserves it - he'll be 84 in February.  It takes longer to recover and aging is progressing as it will for all of us who are lucky enough to live long enough to experience it.

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Arizona Bound-

Good morning from Sun Lakes, Arizona!

I'm surprised I made it to 6:30am before rolling out of bed - but then my body clock decided it was really 8:30 at home time so here I am.

I'm just sitting here writing at my dad's little dinette table while he sleeps a while longer.

It's great being here - but it was also great getting here!

Everyone needs a friend like Martha who knows every back road and interesting piece of history.