Sunday, July 15, 2018

One More Excitement

Amongst the activities generated by showing and sharing the "Owl Always Love You" quilt, and the home made decor at the ELC, one more exciting thing happened last week. This arrived in the mail: Curated Quilts, the triangles issue

It contains two of my contributions: an article I wrote called "An Inclination for Triangles," and the Triangle challenge quilt I made that was selected to appear in the Gallery section of the magazine.

What a surprise to see my name on the cover! Goodness! That's never happened before.

Holding the magazine for the first time, I noticed how sturdy it is. It's not the usual flimsy, glossy paper you'd find in a traditional magazine. These pages are more like a light-weight card stock. And of course with no advertising, the content quantity is great! It has at least a few hours worth of reading and looking. And quilt patterns! I understand why a single copy is $18. Go here for more information. 

For the contributors page, it looks like they lifted my headshot from my Google account.

My article begins on page 26. I like how the text was formatted into a triangular shape.

Pages 28-29. I collected all the quilt photos to accompany the article, and want to thank everyone who signed a permission-to-use form so their quilt could be included.

And pages 30-31. As you can see on the left-hand pages, the quilt pictures were cropped into triangles too.

My mini quilt, "Always Add Orange," appears on page 77. For this triangle challenge, we had to use fabrics in a color palette determined by Curated Quilts. 

I'm happy to see my friend Paige's (QuiltedBlooms) mini, "Research Triangle," opposite mine.

"Always Add Orange," 15" X 15"
Though I made and submitted a mini quilt for the next issue of Curated Quilts - an improv style mini  with the theme Connections - "Splices" was not accepted for publication.
"Splices," 14-12/" X 14-1/2"
This just makes me more grateful to have gotten "Always Add Orange" into the current issue.

All in all, I'm pretty happy about everything that happened this past week.

The icing on the cake is that since May 21, when I went off Arimidex (breast cancer drug) hot flashes are slowly declining. Lately I've had only one or two a day, and they're much less intense than they once were. Whoopee! And, I've lost ten pounds, though that's been all about commitment and determination to lose it. It sure feels great. Clothes-wise, I feel like I'm back into a "new" wardrobe!

Life is good. God is good! Linda

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Another Excitement

This past week was also when it was crunch time to finish making the items I contributed to decorate Amazing Grace Early Learning Center (ELC) - kites, valances, and quilts ready to hang. I'm happy to say that everything was finished and put up on Wednesday, with help from friend Joanne who has a gift for interior decorating. She's the decision-maker behind the DIY valances, and kites for the walls.

The Amazing Grace Early Learning Center is this brand new building, behind the church which is located in Oxford, Florida.

Off to the left, behind the white picket fence is the new playground, with plans for a children's garden. Several brand new pedal toys are just waiting for children to come and play.

Just inside the front glass doors is this vestibule. Joanne worked with colorful furnishings and chose  two bright red-background rugs to brighten the space. 

These wooden doors lead into a wide hallway off of which are six large rooms - the activity room (for indoor rainy day fun); an infant room; and rooms for 1, 2, 3, and 4 year-olds. 

The kites sure give the walls color! I'm grateful for piecing help from my friend Sarah who put together the blue and red kite tops. Without her help, (including some red fabric pieces from Sarah and another friend Selina), I might not have completed these in time for the open house.

The director of the ELC is Julie; she's seated in the middle, wearing the royal blue shirt.

As seen from behind the office counter. The open house attracted church members and visitors!

Thus far I've made only three valances following instructions on DownhomeInspiration. I'm getting the knack of cutting the panel board which behaves much like styrofoam. I use toothpicks and duct-taping to piece together panel boards for the needed 54" width.

Of course the fabric had to be seamed too, so there was matching involved, including making two of the valances with identically-positioned chevron patterns! Both valances can be seen simultaneously in the front office and in the director's office, so they needed to be alike.

It's sure tough to get a good photo when aiming into the light, but... this is the valance over the director's office window.

And this is outside her office. This space will later have a small bed and will be designated as an area for any child who becomes sick. That's my quilt on the wall too.

I made "Building Fun" in 2016 from a pattern by Geta Grama. I used the first collection of Blueberry Park fabrics to put it together, and after finishing it, stored it away in the top of the closet. It turned out to be the perfect wall hanging for this venue, and I'm thrilled it has a home now.
"Building Fun," 48" X 58-1/2"
As well, I offered another wall hanging. This is "Modern Princess Feathers" made in 2015. It's English paper-pieced, appliquéd to a background, and domestic machine quilted with big stitch hand quilting to enhance the color changes. I designed this and submitted it for publication to a quilting magazine. It was rejected, and so it too went into the top of the closet... until now. I'm very happy knowing it will be used to help teach colors to two year-olds!  

Over the next few weeks, I'll continue to work on valances for the six remaining windows in the ELC. Each teacher is choosing fabric for her classroom, so once those have been selected, I'll do yardage calculations and ordering, and eventually the making too. 

Dan has also helped get the ELC ready by installing hand towel dispensers and wall baskets that hold emergency information. Together, he and I assembled a child's grocery store. That was probably our biggest challenge! A "work together" project isn't always easy.

Everything we've helped with at the ELC has been very rewarding. Now, we're looking forward to hearing that by early to mid August, the ELC fills enrollment at 62 children. Linda

Friday, July 13, 2018

An Exciting Week!

This week, three exciting things happened! Since life is usually fairly routine, these things made it extra fun.

On Monday, I finished Austin's quilt, and even sewed a label to it.

I will say that I'm disappointed in how washed-out the label looks. I even intensified the color of this photo that I inserted, and checked inkjet printer colors to make sure it was printing properly.

I used Printed Treasures, and haven't been happy with that product lately - the paper backing is so difficult to remove - so maybe that had something to do with the problem. Next time I need a label, I'm trying another brand: EQ Printables Inkjet Fabric Sheets.

I have Elaine of @messygoat ( to thank for suggesting the quilt name. It's perfect: "Owl Always Love You."

Anyway, I'm so happy with how this quilt turned out! It was quilted with Quilter's Dream 100 percent Cotton batting, Aurifil 50-weight threads (on top) and YLI 40-weight light gray on the bottom, and finished at 58" X 68".
"Owl Always Love You," 58" X 68"
I was able to take it to the Central Florida MQG meeting Monday evening where members revealed their Inspiration Challenge quilts. Eleven of our members participated. If you'd like to see what they made, and what inspired them, please see this blog post.

Several people who saw this picture on Instagram commented on my skirt matching the quilt. Yes, it did! Guess you can tell how much I like bright colors.

On top of the good feels about this finish, our daughter-in-law Lyn (mother to Austin), shared the quilt picture with Austin's art teacher, Miss McFee. She happens to be on Instagram too, and ended up (with my permission), posting to her Instagram feed the picture of Austin's artwork, and the quilt!

She gave a good explanation of the class project.

Now I want to convince Austin that we should enter this quilt in QuiltCon. Of course I'm extremely uncertain whether it might be accepted. And, I don't know if Austin will let me keep the quilt long enough to find out! Linda

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Austin's Quilt Progress

With this coming Monday being the deadline for completing my quilt for our Central Florida MQG Inspiration Challenge, I've been spending long days in the sewing room. Since last Sunday, when I pin-basted the quilt sandwich, it's been nothing but quilting and quilting for the past three days.

Walking foot quilting is where I started, quilting most of the quilt that way. I later added some free motion quilting too.

Batting is Quilter's Dream 100 percent cotton. These are the colors of 50-weight Aurifil thread I used, and yes, I changed colors fairly frequently. 

By Independence Day, I was nearing the end of quilting.

With 40-weight YLI gray thread in the bobbin, the quilting shows up fairly well. 

In lieu of watching fireworks - which are not displayed here in The Villages, and I haven't seen in eight years anyway - I finished quilting the quilt by 10:15 pm. It now measures about 60" X 70". 

Binding will take a bit of puzzling as I will align binding colors with the solid colors along the edge of the quilt - clockwise from the top: yellow, aqua, beige, green, pink, pink, blue, blue, aqua, yellow. Full steam ahead to a finish!

Last Saturday I made the first of four patchwork kites that will hang in the vestibule of Amazing Grace's Early Learning Center. This is the smaller size (24" tall X 16" wide) and two more are needed; one larger kite is needed too.

I also made the first 54"-wide X 14"-high valance and went to the Early Learning Center to hang it in the staff room. It looks good, so I'm moving along to make two more of those. The kites, valances and two quilted wall hangings (already made) need to be finished by next Wednesday morning as that's when Joann, my decorator-friend, and I will hang them all... just in time for Thursday's 4-7 pm open house! 

There's no grass is growing under my feet. Linda

Friday, June 29, 2018

Irons in the Fire

This week whizzed by and saw me anticipating several projects.

My first objective has been to complete Austin's quilt top - the one I'm making as a recreation of his artwork. These past few days have been spent making and appliquéing bias tape. I made the tape with help from my friend, Selina (SelinaQuilts) who loaned me use of her 1/2"-wide Clover bias tape maker. It's so nice to have a Villager-friend to borrow from! Thank you, Selina! Now I need a 1-/2" bias tape maker!

To shape bias tape circles, I used as templates my ruler work Quilter's Rule nested circles in three sizes.

The top finished at 62" X 71", so is a nice size for actually using. I need a live consultation with Austin to discuss possible names for this quilt.

After doing a "victory lap" around the quilt top (called that by Christa Watson) to stabilize the edges, I soaked the quilt top in Quilt Soak water, in the utility tub. I felt that was necessary because I used Elmer's Washable School Glue to adhere the bias tape before stitching it. I want to make sure all that's removed.

I hope basting and quilting happens this weekend because on Monday July 9 our Central Florida MQG Inspiration Challenge pieces are due.

In the meantime, I've been anticipating what I'll need to do to make Amazing Grace church's Early Learning Center (ELC) pieces. The ELC open house is July 12 from 4-7 pm and I'd love to have some or all of my items made and hanging.

This chevron print arrived from It's a Henry Glass design called "Big Splash," and will be the fabric that covers three hard-board valances in the director's office, main office, and staff room.

Pulling other colors of prints from the colors in the Big Splash fabric, I'll cut 2-1/2" square (some already cut are on the upper left) to make four patchwork kites that will hang in the vestibule area, outside the main office. There will be one large kite and four smaller ones. I used graph paper to draw those, and count how many patches are needed for each: 78 for the large kite; and a total of 186 for the smaller kites. Instead of batting, I'll use Annie's Soft and Stable on the inside, so the kites will hold their shapes as they're hanging vertically on the walls. That piece of orangey-red Blueberry Park fabric (lower left) will be binding for at least one of the kites.

As for the valances.... I'm going the DIY route and will follow this DownHomeInspiration blog tutorial for making your own. I've thoroughly read and re-read how to do it. Dan and I went to Lowe's to get this panel foam. 

If all goes as planned, these five sheets of panel foam will be enough to make three valances 14" high by 54" across the front. I'll have to piece both the panel foam and the fabric (match the chevron prints), but I expect to make it work. My goal is to have a prototype made by next week, so I can hang it to see how it looks. 

Last Tuesday morning found me hurrying home from line dancing to be at the computer to register for QuiltCon. I'm excited to go to Nashville, February 21-24, 2019. I got into both my half-day workshop choices: Deconstructing Design with Sarah Nishiura; and Fingerprint Improv Curves with Mel Tuazon. And I'll attend five lectures, on Thursday and Sunday. When I went to QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah I used an all lecture pass, and it was great. However, I didn't find the 2019 lecture topics as appealing. Still, I know with certainty I won't have time on my hands! I love to inspect all the quilts, and I'm making arrangements for meet-ups with Instagram friends. 

Today is Friday, so that means: housework. Vacuuming is particularly needed in my sewing room. Rotary cutting improv shapes sure leaves behind more fiber bits as compared to other types of cutting. And gee. the sooner I can get it cleaned up, the sooner I can start making another mess! Linda

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Six Years Today!

Six years ago today, on June 23 - it was a Sunday in 2012 - we moved into our home here in The Villages. Our son, DIL, and grandson Austin were waiting to help when we pulled into the driveway. Dan and I can't believe we've been here so long! 

We finished unloading our U-Haul truck literally minutes before Tropical Storm Debby began. Link to move-in day. It rained and rained and rained, for three days. Nonstop. We were sure we were facing flooding as we did in Des Moines in 1993. However, we quickly learned that sandy ground (Florida) behaves much differently than clay soil (Iowa). Water here soaks through the sand, and once the sun comes out to dry up the streets, within minutes you won't see a puddle anywhere.

We've adapted to Florida. We're not too smug to recognize that we've been "woosified." When the temperature drops to 70, we think it's "turned cool."

Since March 2015 we've been driving our second golf cart. Today we noted we've put 18,037 miles on it. That's a lot of seat time! But we don't think about it much when it's a pretty drive going nearly anywhere at any time of year.

This is our show-stopping Bismarck palm in the front yard. It's the view from my sewing room bay window, and I love it. Apparently it will get quite large.

By contrast, my Australian friend Di looks small standing next to a Bismarck palm we found while visiting Leu Gardens in Winter Park, in February 2017. Dan and I know won't be around to see our Bismarck get this big.

Sewing room action has been a little slow this week due to the usual activities, a dentist appointment, and going twice to Amazing Grace Lutheran Church's Early Learning Center. In August, this brand new facility for 60 children ages infant to four years will open.

As we have been attending Amazing Grace since last October, we're volunteering to help get the ELC set up. Dan and I build a toy grocery store stand, and hung wire baskets on walls. I will make valances for nine windows in the building, starting with the director's office, front office, and staff meeting room. I've ordered fabric and will buy materials to assemble the valances and get them hung. And I'm making several patchwork kites to hang on the wall in the vestibule. No doubt I will share pictures.

Until fabric arrives, I've been working on the improv quilt based on grandson Austin's artwork. 

I'm making the quilt top with these 5-1/2" high by 6-1/2" wide blocks. All of them are improv-pieced with four to six different solids in each one. 

This is the final layout of the 120 blocks. The top should measure 60" X 70".

Before settling on this layout I turned the above picture into black and white so I could see the balance of values. I am satisfied with this. 

So this is the state of of the top. I'm in the midst of "webbing it." Link to tutorial here.

The top will be completed today, and then I'll begin to audition bias tape to replicate the shapes Austin drew horizontally across his art. It remains to be seen whether the various bias tape shapes and colors will make the quilt entirely too busy.

I'm listening to an audiobook while I'm sewing; it's "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate.

For those of you who know that I quit taking the breast cancer drug (Arimidex) on May 21, and may be interested... I'm still having 4 to 6 hot flashes a day. The frequency has slowed down a tiche, from 7 to 8 a day I had been having. Honestly, I hoped they'd be gone by now. I've also been seriously dieting for seven weeks and have lost eight pounds. I'm getting back into clothes I haven't worn for a couple years, but I'm finding it's taking a lot more persistence to get rid of.

Where's the chocolate?! 😭

It took more than a month, but most bloggers are happy that Blogger will again cooperate with comment emails. I've followed the step-by-step instructions provided on the Blogger forum to erase, save, reset, and resave my email address so as to receive comment notifications. As much as I'm looking forward to this return to normal, I am also cognizant that I will continue to not receive comments from anyone using a Yahoo email address in their Google profile. Google doesn't play nice with Yahoo, and hasn't for at least seven years.

I hope I hear from you! 🙏 Linda


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