Friday, May 25, 2018

Quilts With New Homes

Without a doubt, all quilters like to see their quilts in the hands of people who appreciate and love them. That's what happened for me recently, and the pictures mean so much!

Last year my cousin wanted to buy several of my quilts. Of course, I was happy to part with them, but also felt quite guilty about accepting money for them. But, as they were being given as gifts to my own relatives, I agreed to accept the material costs - you know, the cost of fabric, batting, thread.

First, at Christmastime my first cousin, Ginny, received her quilt from her sister, Barbara... who is also my cousin, of course!

Ginny's quilt is Triangle Tango (62" X 74") made in 2015.

Then, for their high school graduations, Angelina and Lauren received their quilts. These sisters are Ginny's grandchildren. So that makes Angelina and Lauren my first cousins twice removed.

Both of their quilts are my own design. Angelina's is Wibble Wobble (60" X 71) made in 2011.

Lauren's is Bay Area Modern (47" X 58"), a modern block of the month completed in 2016.

Angelina, Lauren, and their brothers Daniel, John, and James all graduated from high school this past Sunday. They're quintuplets, born in January 2000. 

Living so far away, I don't know these kids very well, but I do know they've been raised by a busy, devoted, loving mom; and super-special grandparents. An interesting article about them was in the Sidney Daily News, an Ohio newspaper.

I'm sure happy to know where my quilts have gone. Thank you Cousin Barbara! Linda

Monday, May 21, 2018

Cookie-Worthy News!

I'm beside myself with joy... relief... disbelief. This morning, at my oncology visit, I heard the news I hoped for. Actually, I didn't really believe would happen.

This is the result of the Breast Cancer Index, conducted in April on the tissue removed during my lumpectomy in March, 2013.

The left side of the report indicates the chance I have of breast cancer recurrence - 2.8%.
The right side indicates what benefit there might be in remaining on Arimidex - low.

Oh my goodness! All morning I have been alternating between squeals of joy, and happy tears. 

I didn't even have to take Arimidex this morning - yay, yay, yay! I was told that as the drug leaves my system over the next ten days, I'll have fewer and fewer hot flashes. More yays! 

This news could NOT have been any better. 

I was told about a woman who, just last week, received the news that her type of breast cancer has a high risk of returning, and that the benefit of remaining on the breast cancer drug is low. How would that news make you feel? I can't imagine. 

So I am clinging to the relief I'm feeling about this positive outcome, singing worship songs of praise, and praying sincere thanks to God. I am blessed!

As thanks for everyone's care, interest, and happiness for me, I've been baking!

I wish you could smell and taste these Strawberry Yogurt Cookies - moist, cake-like, and lightly crispy on the bottom. 

This is what more than 13 dozen of them look like - a double batch. 

If you see me this week, be sure to have some. I'll be taking them to friends and neighbors. And no, I'm not eating any... that diet, you know. And now I have even more motivation to stick with it. I won't be fighting the side effect of Arimidex!

In case you aren't familiar with Strawberry Yogurt Cookies (I cannot find a recipe for them on the Internet), I'm sharing the recipe. They're a family favorite and I'm often asked for the recipe.

Strawberry Yogurt Cookies
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup strawberry yogurt (almost 2 cartons)
1 tsp. strawberry extract
3-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Add yogurt and flavoring; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, soda and salt; blend well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350-degree for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Makes about 72 cookies.

I've made these cookies dozens of times, and always say I'm gonna try some other yogurt flavor... and I never do. The strawberry flavor is yummy enough, though they don't look strawberry-ish. Sometimes I add red food coloring, but didn't have any on hand.

The recipe is on my Google drive. Access it here for easy printing. 

Enjoy these cookies! Be happy with me as you eat them! Thank you so much! God is good! Linda

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Confessions of a Quilter

In January, when I decided to not purchase any fabric in 2018, I was so optimistic! I was sure I could do it, though I gave myself a way out, stating that if a fabric was truly needed or required for a particular quilt, I would allow myself to make a purchase.

That's just what I've done.

In April and May, this is everything I bought. You'll note that there are two 10-yard bolts of fabric (white and aluminum); three 108"-wide backings (totaling 10 yards), and 5 yards of Kona aqua. Every piece is needed. Justifiable.

I wasn't able to complete my Spin Art quilt top without solid white, so that bolt of white Painter's Palette has been cut into. After hand-appliquéing the center circle to the background, I machine stitched those 35 "paint splatters" to the background.

All four 108"-wide backings are spoken for, with one of them already used to sandwich Spin Art which measures about 68" X 68".

Other backings will be used for large quilts too, including my Bernina Zen Chic Triangle QAL quilt. The 5 yards of Kona Aqua will be used to complete the quilt top.

While I would have preferred to purchase a Painter's Palette solid to finish the Bernina Zen Chic Triangle quilt top, PP didn't have a background color that looked quite right.

Here's one of the reasons I don't care for Kaufman Kona... it bleeds when washed. Every time. I learned this lesson about Kona several years ago, and now always use a Color Catcher in the wash.

The aluminum gray is so I can finish the wedges quilt, "Roulette" which only needs binding.

So, have I done an okay job of restraining myself from unnecessary fabric purchases? All this yardage will allow me to complete several quilts, and keep making more. Good. Right?

I confess these new additions to my stash. Now don't blame me! I recently won an Instagram fabric giveaway of these 12 fat quarters from the new Paintbrush Studios collection called "On Your Mark." Such "me" colors and prints!

I keep making blocks for the Comfort Quilt QAL, ad nauseam. Cute as they are when finished, they're tedious.

Other than time spent in my sewing room, days pass as they always do: line dancing (now on a two week hiatus); uke-playing; Sunday worship; walking Hogan; staying in touch with family... We did watch a little of the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan - the media coverage and over-the-top interest in the event eludes me, though it's entertaining to watch others going crazy about it - and felt the heartbreak of yet another school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

Oh, and I'm dieting. (sigh) The battle is real, and I blame all of it on my breast cancer drug, Arimidex. But Monday is when I learn what the future holds. That's when I will visit my oncologist to get the results of the "breast cancer index." The test, done in March, examined tissue that was removed during my lumpectomy in March, 2013. (Who knew that all that stuff is stored?!) I'll learn what the odds are for a return of breast cancer, and whether I will benefit from remaining on Arimidex as a preventative. I've already been on Arimidex five years and two-and-a-half months, so of course I'm hoping I'll be told I can go off it. It would be so wonderful to not have 7-8 hot flashes every day, and a continual battle with weight gain. But on the other hand, I know I'll be able to tolerate remaining on it if it means keeping cancer away. God is good. Linda

Monday, May 14, 2018

Moving Right Along

Some of this past week was spent keeping up with Amy's Creative Side Comfort Quilt QAL. Today begins week 4, and I was happy to complete the week 4 assignment on Saturday, during our Central Florida MQG Sew-In. Once a month, our group uses the library community room from 10 am to 6 pm. But as everyone had to leave early (by 2:30), I left too... and continued sewing when I returned home, so as to finish these plus blocks.

Week 4 - 15 large blocks; 25 small blocks.

Cumulatively, I've pieced 38 6" X 6" blocks, and 58 3" X 3" blocks toward a twin-size quilt.

I also pieced backing for the foundation paper pieced quilt top that I'm testing for a designer, and that I can't share until July. I was glad to use up this Amy Butler yardage that I had thought to sew into a dress. The yellow is a bit lemony-bright for clothes, but will be great as a quilt back.

The rest of sewing time was spent hand appliquéing the center circle of my Spin Art quilt to a white background.

I will appliqué these 32 pieces onto the background to get the real spinning effect of Spin Art. I'd prefer to machine appliqué them in place, for expediency, but those points may be a bit tricky. Hand appliqué might look better.
Spin Art, approximately 68" X 68"
A neighbor down the street had his house painted. The workers covered the lanai screens with paper, as protection during painting. I appreciated seeing their message on the paper - a bold proclamation in this cultural climate. I love it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Retreat Results

The Central Florida MQG retreat I attended for four days and three nights (Thursday to Sunday afternoon) was exhausting and productive.

Exhausting because I have a tendency to push myself to take advantage of uninterrupted sewing time - I was the last one (of 22 of us) to turn off all the lights, the first two nights, going to bed at 12:50 am and 2 am. The two nights I stayed, I was alone for more than an hour, listening to an audiobook and piecing. And piecing.

As much as I'd like to show the 55" X 55" foundation paper-pieced quilt top that I completed, pictures have to be saved until the pattern (not mine!) is ready. Making that top was my number one priority at retreat, and I accomplished it by 12:50 am Saturday morning.

In this picture, I'm holding all the trimmings after squaring up the blocks for that quilt.

I then moved on to my next task - making Week 2 blocks for the ComfortQuiltQAL. I'm making a twin-sized quilt from the book Modern Heritage Quilts by Amy Ellis, and lots of blocks are needed.

By Saturday afternoon I'd made the 8 large blocks (6-1/2" X 6-1/2" unfinished) and 13 small blocks (3-1/2" X 3-1/2" unfinished) per the quilt-along schedule.

Since coming home and unpacking, on Monday I tackled Week 3 blocks: 15 large blocks; 20 small blocks. Next week's assignment will be to make even more! Sheesh. The next time I'm attracted to a quilt-along, I'll be giving thorough consideration to that before jumping in. This QAL is taking a huge amount of time. But the blocks are cute, aren't they?

Next I got caught up (until today!) on the Year of Scrappy Triangles that Leila is sharing. These are also foundation paper-pieced: blocks 27, 28, 29, and 30. My quilt is gonna be really bright and scrappy.

And lastly, I made a name badge holder. I've wanted one so I can wear it at QuiltCon next February, in Nashville (My room is booked!). The fabric I used is Central Florida MQG quilting cotton we had designed using our chapter logo. The fabric was made by Spoonflower.

The badge holder easily handles a cell phone (my iPhone 8 fits), social cards, and money... all those important things that we must carry.

Nice pockets for safely storing whatever's important. This is such a neat concept.

I started to play with fabrics and improv piecing for the quilt I'll make from Austin's artwork. I had thought to make a wall hanging, as the piece is for the "Central Florida MQG Inspiration Challenge," due in July. However, when Austin saw this picture (his artwork is on the left), he told his mom he can't wait to get his quilt. Guess that means I'll be making a larger quilt with bigger hunks of fabric! I need to be thoughtful about figuring how to scale up his 8-1/2" X 11" design to something that's 65" X 76" or so. I think I'll start on EQ8.

In between sewing and working on projects was fun - seeing what everyone else was working on, socializing, and enjoying drinks: Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Buttershots, and wine - not too much though, nor all at once!
If you're on Instagram, check out our retreat hashtag: #cfmqg2018retreat

I showed a friend, Peggy (GummyBearGirlQuilting makes delicious, flavored gummy bears soaked in various types and flavors of alcohol) how to piece blocks together as a "Web." In this picture, the stack of blocks on Peggy's left is her quilt top, all ready to sew together.

In this picture, Peggy's quilt has been webbed (chaining connects the rows), and she's ready to join the rows. If you'd like to learn this method of piecing blocks into a quilt top, you can see my Web Tutorial here.

Retreat was a really, really great time, with everyone getting along, and sharing among all of us. There weren't the little pocket-clusters of friends who kept to themselves as I've seen at other retreats. Instead, everyone interacted, and changed-up who they sat with at meals - a perfect retreat in my opinion. We've already got next year's retreat planned for late March. Yay! Linda

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cutting Action

It's been a little busy around here since returning home. Where does the time go?!

On Monday, I submitted my article about triangles to Curated Quilts magazine. For those of you who aren't familiar with this modern publication, here's the link to the website. The magazine just came into being in January, with print and digital issues available. If you think it's sort of expensive, I'm with you there, but just know... there's no advertising. Makes a difference, doesn't it? 

While I was focused on writing, I intermittently I worked on projects. For me, I've learned that I write better in intervals of time. Walking away from the topic for a while helps me look at it with fresh eyes when I return. Isn't that the way it is for us when we're working on a quilt project too?

Though I have two WIPs that are calling for attention, I'm unable to finish either of them due to needing fabric! Yikes. 

The quilting is done on "Roulette." Binding is needed, but I'm completely out of solid grey fabric. I don't think a print or any other color would look right, and I don't want to risk making it look less than I want by "making do." It's a quilt I'd like to enter into QuiltCon 2019. 

The same goes for the Bernina Zen Chic quilt along I've been participating in. I've completed all the triangles and just need to assemble the top. However, nearly five yards of fabric is required for the background! 

This is the ZenChic finished version. 

I'll have to break down and order fabric to finish these. I'm waiting for the next sale of Painter's Palette Solids at It's coming up soon!

Though I'm disappointed in myself for not using stash to complete these two projects, I also know I've used up as much stash as possible to get them to this point.

Momentary madness made me sign up for another quilt along - the Comfort Quilt QAL. It's being led by Amy Ellis of AmysCreativeSide who is also owner/editor of Curated Quilts magazine. The Comfort Quilt is from her book "Modern Heritage Quilts." 

Basically the quilt design is small and medium-size plus blocks on a background of neutrals. If you register to participate, Amy sends a link to information, including one of six size options. 

I certainly wasn't thinking clearly when I decided to make a twin size quilt! Though it's a scrap-buster, I didn't know much time I would need to spend rotary cutting! I tried to use as many scraps as possible, so cutting one plus at a time was time consuming. Conservatively, I probably spent 16 hours cutting. Likely more. For several days, my sewing room was pretty messy.

Our week one assignment was to make two test blocks. That little one is 3" finished.

For week two we're to finish cutting all the background pieces. There are a total of four sizes of background pieces. Two of them require 572 patches for a twin-size quilt. 😳 

These are all the plus pieces. I'm going with a combination of aqua and green with some random orange pluses thrown in. If I expect to keep up for the remaining six weeks, I'll need to piece a total of 246 medium and small blocks! Sheesh.

No doubt I'll have something to work on during retreat with Central Florida MQG! Ha! It starts Thursday and goes to Sunday afternoon. We'll be at Luther Springs in Hawthorne. 

Besides the Comfort Quilt, I'm pattern-testing for a friend so I have foundation paper-pieced blocks to turn into a quilt top. And I'm starting my quilt for the Inspiration Challenge at Central Florida MQG

For this challenge, we've been asked to share our design inspiration and creative ideas as we go along. At our regular Central Florida MQG meeting on July 9 everyone will share their finished pieces. This is my inspiration.

My adorable seven year-old grandson, Austin, came home from school with this piece of crayon-resist and watercolor artwork. I was completely smitten with his colors, and the graphic shapes across the design. I'm seeing an improv-pieced background with appliquéd bias tape shapes. When I told him what I was thinking to do with his design, he was pretty happy. I'm excited and can't wait to get started. Linda


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