Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's a Wrap

Because each year I have my blog posts printed into a hardcover book - 2015 is volume 7! - I need to squeeze in one last 2015 post to wrap up my year of quiltmaking and sewing.

A tally of only completed projects reveals that I made:

9 quilts and/or wall hangings. While I don't think that's very many, I reminding myself that each one took extra time because I quilted them myself. When put together, I'm noticing a color theme here. Ahh. Bright?

16 articles of clothing that include tops, shorts, and a skirt. These are some of them.

4 toddler dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World. I'll definitely make more in 2016.

3 pillows
 4 pin cushions

5 totes and wristlets

4 free motion quilting samples to use when teaching in 2016

And some assorted items: a counted cross stitch palm, washer pattern weights, 16 Jelly Clip pouches, and knitted dishcloths. 

Surprisingly, the one thing I made this year that was not quilting related, and by far and away received the most "likes" (308!) on Instagram, was my decoupaged "war desk," so named after seeing the movie "War Room". Who would have guessed that others like it as much as I do?

I have more than a few projects that were begun in 2015 and aren't finished. I think I have five quilt tops waiting to be quilted. You know what I'll be doing in 2016! WIPs!

One special WIP is My Small World. I plan to call it "My Florida World." Though this quilt top is just 35" x 53", it's full of interest and detail: embroidery, English paper piecing, hand appliqué. To give you an idea, the sky area patches are 1" x 1". I began this as a quilt-along in June, and though I didn't keep up with the along, I'm tickled about completing the quilt top today - on New Year's Eve.

Two thousand fifteen found me happily occupied with teaching, entering/sending quilts to national shows, participating and volunteering in two quilting organizations - the public relations team for Quilting Guild of The Villages, and Media Coordinator for Central Florida Modern Quilt Guild - line dancing and walking regularly, participating in Bible study, and visiting doctors (too often!)!

January and February will continuing to find me be happy occupied as I start teaching again, and attend at least two quilt shows. The first is World Quilt Florida in Orlando next week - January 7, 8, and 9. February's AQS Show in Daytona Beach from the 24th to 27th will be special because "Ad Libbing," the quilt Lora and I made, has been juried into the AQS show.

As well, Quilting Guild of The Villages' biannual "MarketPlace" is coming up January 15-16. Those days will find me hosting my friend Lora who will have a vendor booth at Marketplace. More than 50 vendors will vend, and Lora's will be the only shop that's exclusively selling modern fabrics. I'm excited to work in her booth - "Will work for fabric!" (Ha!) Visit us in the Dragonfly Quiltworks booth.

Though my word for the year was "thankful," upon reflection I know I failed to diligently behave thankfully. When new medical concerns arose, or I worried about something, or my feelings were hurt, I wasn't thankful. But the upside of my failure to give thanks is that God is always faithful. I can return to thankfulness again and again, and He lovingly accepts it from me.

Have a wonderful 2016 friends! Linda

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas with Family

We've been away from home since December 16, and returned with a head cold I can't shake. It started Christmas day. No whining here, but suffice it to say I'm still feeling pretty miserable. Blocked sinuses make for a relentless, dull headache that doesn't coordinate with my plans to sew.

Anyway, our 14 days away from home were spent driving to/from Austin, Texas, where we stayed with our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, and also spent two nights with former-Iowa friends living in Boerne, Texas.

Prepare for people picture overload! 

Five year-old Austin liked the flashing Rudolph nose I brought for him.

He's a Legos kid (like his dad was) playing in his room for hours at a time.

This sweet-looking fella, Luke, doesn't take well to everyone. He'll turn two years old next week.

The only time he would let me near him is when I had the juicer going in the morning, and let him drop in the vegetable and fruit pieces.

In this picture I was on the receiving end of "the hairy eyeball" as I was attempting to cajole him into letting me put him in his crib for a nap.

Luke and daughter-in-law, Lyn.

One long morning, Lyn and I made awesome sugar cookies... if we do say so ourselves.

While in Boerne visiting Patty and Greg, Patty and I treated ourselves to mani-pedis. What a great way to spend time with a friend. A margarita and cranberry vodka don't hurt a bit either!

The four of us spent an evening on the San Antonio Riverwalk. It was decked out festively for Christmas. And so crowded for a Tuesday evening!

This is our just-bathed, dear, 12 year-old Hogan who has been having health problems. While in Austin, he saw a vet who diagnosed his incessant scratching as a subcutaneous skin infection. We had to give him a medicated bath - oh how he hates getting wet - antibiotics, and daub a topical steroid on all the lumps he had scratched open. The ones near his eye socket, and eye, were the worst. But, of greater concern is a growth on his chest. Several weeks ago our vet in The Villages found abnormal cells. On January 6 he'll have surgery.

Christmas is always an extra special time when children are involved. We shared it with Darth Vader and Stormtrooper, sporting their new pajamas.

Off to the right you can see the "fireplace" our son put together from a cardboard box, and various colors of construction paper. The string of lights are meant to give it the glow of warmth. He made this last year, and it's just special. Our Brent is a pretty clever fellow!

Each Christmas seems to unerringly follow an unplanned theme. This year was the year of "drinking." It took the form of cups, bottles of alcohol, and mugs. We were tickled to receive these 30 ounce Yeti mugs - the hard-to-find, hot Christmas gift of 2015.

Best of all, Christmas is about sharing time with someone(s) you love. 

I hope yours was happy, and that you shared some love too. Linda

Monday, December 28, 2015

It's in the Mail

I've just received an email notice from the USPS that a MassDrop order I placed has arrived. I can't wait to pick it up from our mail station. I'm mentioning it here in case any of you, like me:
  1. ever look for a good quilting-related deal, or
  2. occasionally buy something you didn't think you'd ever need! Ha!
Such was the case when I ordered a TrueCut 360-Degree Circle Cutter.

In February I'll be teaching this "Candy Pop" quilt at the Lifelong Learning College. (Full details on "Teaching Schedule" tab at the top of this page.)

I always like to share with students multiple ways to accomplish something, so each of them has an option of finding a method or technique that works best for them.

In the February class, I'll teach several different methods for machine-appliquéing a circle to a background, and several different ways to cut out those circles. My new MassDrop, TrueCut 360-Degree Circle Cutter is one of them. (Doesn't free shipping make a bargain even better?!)

An extra blade comes with it.

I'm excited to give this circle cutter a try. I'll be sure to write a follow-up post about it. Linda

Friday, December 25, 2015

Jelly Clip Pouches

Merry Christmas! This time of year is always special, even if we don't put up a tree or decorate. When family doesn't visit, there's no reason to go to the effort of making the house festive. Instead, I focus on the reason for this holiday, and spend time making gifts for others.

One of the several homemade items I spent time on was Jelly Clip Bags. It all began with this one, an aqua Jelly Clip that came with my aqua Janome Derby sewing machine when I purchased it from MassDrop. It was fun to sort through my bag of selvages to coordinate colors with it.

I still love shopping from MassDrop, a bulk-buying discount company. If you haven't signed up yet, you're missing out!

Anyway, after I made one little (4") Jelly Clip Bag, I had to make more. They were the perfect gifts for friends, line dancing instructors, and my Bible study leader and hair stylist. I had a blast picking out fabrics to go with the clip colors. I managed to find a few prints that were appropriately Florida-tropical. 

I hope your Christmas was merry! Linda

Monday, December 14, 2015


This past week found me spending more time making things I can't share yet. But, because grandchildren don't read my blog, here are a couple pairs of shorts my Texas grandsons will receive.

That's University of Texas Longhorn fabric. I always take time to make pockets that match the pattern in the shorts. The pattern is "Kid Shorts" by DanaMadeIt, in sizes 2 and 7. I'm hoping they'll fit the boys next summer.

An update on my Mini Quick Curve Ruler project: Mini Trees. It's at a complete standstill. I ran out of the Moda Bella parchment and Kaufman Kona peridot to make more trees. I thought I started with enough, but I messed up cutting... and you probably know the rest of that story! It happens to all of us! (Please reassure me that it does. 😁)

I picked up this "Apples to Oranges" sewing kit pattern when in Kansas City, at Modern Makers. Every time I saw that orange, I liked it. Now I've learned that this is sort of fussy to make with all the pieces - orange sections to be appliquéd (I did those by hand), and the leaf cut, batted, and stitched.

And at times it was just downright awkward to sew to join pieces in a circle. 

What I noticed when I finished, is that the sewing kit doesn't hold its shape well. The side with the appliquéd orange sections is the stuffed pin cushion part. The side with the zipper is hollow, and meant to store the sewing items.

However, when it's empty, there isn't much shape to it. See the orange on the right? See the right side of it? It's kinda squished. I guess I'll have to "load" it to see if it better holds a round shape.

I can no longer call my slow progress on "My Small World" part of the quilt-along. The "along" started in June, and all the other quilters must surely be finished! But I'm working on Section 6, the final section, and keeping to my Florida theme. So far, this area includes: sunglasses, an alligator, another pink flamingo and "The Sunshine State" (text).

A brief medical update... last week I began taking the prescription drug Tambocor, to help regulate my heart. And I learned from Dr. Q that PAD (peripheral artery disease) in my legs, is providing more concerns. My most recent STRIDE test reveals a lack of blood pressure in my right big toe (!) indicative of a blockage (caudication). So, a second new-to-me prescription drug, Pletal, is supposed to help dilate blood vessels to allow better blood flow. All I know is that both my legs are aching/burning again whenever we go for long walks, and when I line dance. To say the least, it's much less fun to dance, and it's definitely discouraging.

I've been spending time at my MacBook, working-up a new Keynote (Powerpoint) presentation about domestic machine quilting. So far it's 70 slides long.

In March, I'm giving this program - along with a domestic machine workshop on walking foot quilting and free motion quilting - to a Jacksonville guild. And happily, another guild in Boca Raton has invited me to give the presentation next August! It's exciting to do a little traveling in Florida, and share my domestic machine quilting story and lessons-learned, with other domestic machine quilters. I'm aiming to be inspirational! 😊 

In case you don't know to be jealous of me, here's a picture of the gorgeous pizza Dan made for dinner Saturday night. He is the best cook, and among the many wonderful dishes he makes, he has perfected the art of pizza-making. This is from-scratch dough, so the crust is crispy but soft inside. And the ingredients... fresh herbs - the basil just makes it - with sausage and fresh mushrooms... well, it can't be beat.

You are jealous, aren't you?! Linda

Monday, December 7, 2015

Medical Update and More

I'm afraid I've neglected blogging since Thanksgiving. Several of you have emailed to ask how I'm doing since my heart catheterization, so here you go.

That heart cath was a week ago today, and it went well. It was my sixth visit to the cath lab in Ocala, so I felt completely comfortable about all of it. Only anxious to get the results. I even teased a tech about needing a "rewards card" because of the frequency of my visits! He was quick to tell me that after ten visits I get a toaster, and that when I reach 20, I'll get a quesadilla maker! Oh boy! Ha, ha.

However, this was my first cath visit where the catheter was inserted through a vein. The previous five visits were for arterial catheterizations. Anyway, in less than five minutes the doc fed the catheter through my right groin to check the pressure on the right side of my heart. He determined that I do not have pulmonary hypertension, as a different doc told me on November 5. I was so overwhelmed with relief that I shed a few tears.

My doc is speculating now that the problem might be at the "cellular level"... that arteries into my right heart chamber may not be dilating properly. Whatever the problem, my heart periodically races and pounds really hard for no apparent reason. Anyone looking at me can see it bouncing in the hollow of my throat. After seeing my doc this week, I expect to get a prescription drug. Of course, I'm not happy about being put on another drug, but the doc told me that if it works, "you'll be on it for the rest of your long, long life." How can I argue with that?

Friends, thank you for your concerns. You bless me. (Hugs.) Psalm 138 has been my song of praise.

I am now, considerably less worriedly, sewing away in my sewing room. Still, I'm unable to share too much because, after all, this is "Santa's Workshop!" So, a few things I can share...

I finished making 10 pattern weights and have been using them a lot! In fact, I wish I'd made them a long time ago! Straight pins are so futsy by comparison. Weights are just the ticket for holding down patterns as I rotary cut. You can see that I used the ties from fabric bundles to wrap around pairs of large washers. This is such a good idea, found on Pinterest.

Several of my Black Friday/Cyber sales purchases arrived. I am plum tickled about getting 47 pieces of Blueberry Park. The designs are over-printed onto Kaufman Kona, so they're a nice weight in beautiful colors. 

Following my usual routine, I prewashed these fabrics before they went into my stash. I did four small loads, and this is the dye that attached itself to Color Catchers. Amazing, isn't it? More dye was released than I expected. The blue fabrics bled the least.

Here's the first thing I whipped up with Blueberry Park. My all-time favorite top pattern: "Tortola" by SisBoom. Last night I wore it to a three-hour line dancing social. It was totally comfortable, and I happily danced to 37 line dance tunes! My legs ached only a few times. Yay.

Another mail arrival was a Mini Quick Curve Ruler by SewKindofWonderful. I was very excited to try it out, so I did.

Here's one block of the free "Mini Trees" pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Each of my blocks will finish at 7-1/2" X 13.

Of course, a quilter always has to keep supplies in stock, and when they're available at a big discount, even if you don't need them at the moment, you buy. So I did. 

The 4" square, Triangle-in-a-Square Bloc-Loc ruler will be tested early in the new year.

Something else I found interesting, though if you're a member of the MQG, you already know, QuiltCon West (February 2016) had a record-breaking number of quilt entries: 1810!

Isn't that astounding? One of them was mine... my Prism quilt.

The rest of the statistics...

  • Number of quilters: 1019
  • Number of countries: 21
  • Number of US states: 50
  • Number of guilds: 116

The most quilts were entered by MQG chapters in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin. Everyone is supposed to learn in late December whether their quilt(s) was juried into the show.

My quilt pile is growing, so I thought to hang a couple more of them in the guest room. There's one in the laundry room now too. After sewing sleeves onto them, and some rearranging of the guest room wall, here's the room that visitors sleep in at my house. As someone on Instagram commented, "It's like sleeping at a quilt show!" Heh, heh.



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