Welcome to 2020 – the year of Fearless

If SPARK brought me far along on my evolution in thinking, then there should, in theory be some relationship between last year’s word, and this one. And given that this year’s word came to me in a Chinese fortune cookie – of all things! – I have to believe that’s true. There’s a component of the Law of Attraction at work here, and I do believe in it.

Fearless fortune cookie
Conquer your fears. Otherwise, your fears will conquer you

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New Traditions this Year – Stockings

So welcome to the last post of 2019. I hope this New Years finds you celebrating the year that was, and anticipating the year that will be. I’m having a very Circle of Life moment now, and part of that is this holiday season saw many of my holiday traditions reinvented in new ways – which is what, in my opinion, traditions are best at.

My original stocking

I was given a Christmas stocking when I was born, and its the same pattern that was used to make the ones that were given to my cousins and my sister. I had one grandmother who was very skilled and talented with her yarn work, and so it always seemed natural that the Nana made the stockings.

When I married Mike, he didn’t come from any such tradition – his stocking was literally a clean one from his Dad’s dresser. At the time that we were married, all I could find were Bucilla kits with sequins and felt, and that’s what we had when we were a family of four for many years. I still can’t knit anything.

By the time that we began to get daughters-in-law, I had become a quilter, and I discovered that they make stocking patterns. All the stockings I have made have come from Eleanor Burns book, Christmas Quilts and Crafts. I have gotten more mileage from that book than any other book in my library.

So, now that I am the Nana, Eleanor and I made more stockings – a sort of continuing the tradition. In my case, each of the stockings is quite unique…and fits (as best as I can tell) the kids personalities.

Had’s tree trimmed with buttons

Had is my only granddaughter, and her stocking came from a pieced strip set which just happened to fit the template for the stocking perfectly. A green stocking! I used my Cricut Maker to cut the tree and the lettering on her name, and trimmed the tree with white buttons – this was when she was just beginning to be fascinated with the buttons. The stocking isn’t quilted, but it is lined, and durable.

Colby’s Gingerbread men

Colby’s stocking was easy to come up with a pattern for. I’ve never met a little boy who loves to wear plaid like his dad – and his papa – as much as this kid, and this one is going to be a foodie for sure. Just like his dad. The gingerbread men got a little puffy paint icing on top, but like Had’s…this one is strong

Henry’s learning about Santa

This year brought new additions, and as I mentioned above, new traditions. We held our celebration at the home of my son and my daughter-in-law. This was their season, and with three littles, it makes a lot of sense. I had asked them about continuing to do the stockings, and they said that in our family, we can continue to do Papa and Nana stockings. I remember being the one who inherited Christmas so many years ago, and I always knew that there would come a time when it would pass. This was the year.

Wesley’s Rudolph stocking – check out the nose

So I set off for the scrap box (if you remember the post from a couple of weeks ago, when I learned just how much Christmas fabric I didn’t know I had – that was because this project was going on in the background. And I didn’t want to post pictures until the kids had seen them. Henry is 11 months, and Wesley is just over 6 – so they don’t as yet have much of an understanding about what this is about. But the scrap box didn’t let me down – they are separate, but similar.

I do believe that I’m at the end of the stocking run, but it’s been a lot of fun. Of course, I can always make more.

Farewell to SPARK

SPARK is an acronym for Shift, Possible, Actions, Results, and Kind…my words (or my talismans) for 2019. This year, which has brought me so much joy and happiness, didn’t start out that way at all…and a lot of THAT is because of SPARK. Each time I came to an opportunity, or a decision point, SPARK was there.

I started the year (as I have done in the past) needing to do some serious work on myself. No growth happens in your comfort zone is a very true statement – it should be on a pillow somewhere. Maybe I’ll add it to my list of 2020 projects. Feedback?

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Never Judge a Quilt by It’s Fabric

It’s been a while since my last entry into a Quilt Challenge, and this one was something that called to me. My local quilt Shop, Quilting Away in Amherst NH was hosting it’s annual challenge, and I wanted to participate. The shopowner selects one fabric, and it’s a kind of quilter’s choice as to how to use it. The quilts are then hung in the shop for a month, and shoppers (and shop hoppers!) are encouraged to vote for Viewers Choice. I always love these kinds of challenges…it seems to me that no two quilters ever see a fabric the same way. The featured Image is the challenge fabric.

Challenge was a good word for it – to me it was a beautiful palette of colors, well balanced, with some beautiful motifs contained within it. And a ton of geometric lines which would be a ‘challenge’ to put into a traditional block. This one had to marinate for a while on my design wall until I came up with a plan. Knowing me, if you thought there was a deadline involved, you’d be right! Normally, when I do a challenge – I take the basic fabric and add to it. Not this time.

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My 5 senses in quilting – are they changing?

How my day starts

I have been thinking lately about the progress I’ve made in my quilting journey. In some areas, it’s not as pronounced – but in some areas, it’s something that even I can see. Everyone’s journey is different, and progress is sometimes (often times) a factor of the time one puts into working on their craft. At other times, it’s a function of what gifts Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom (?) bestows on us, and how graciously, we accept her gifts. They can’t be regifted or exchanged, but how we incorporate that new reality can make a world of difference in our daily living schedule.

Most people would associate sight (and I will get to that in a moment) as our primary ‘sense’ used in quiltmaking…but in fact each of the five senses is used in our craft if you think about it. The sense of touch is something that I associate with the soft, smooth feel of a really good quality cotton (or even flannel), where you just want to ‘pet’ the fabric or run your hands over it. That sensation is fed by the quality of the greige goods that are used in production. if it feels good on the bolt, won’t it feel good on a cold night to snuggle under? I know that I’ve had the chance to run my hands over rougher quality cottons – and the label may say 100% cotton, but I go with how the fabric feels.

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Looking for Quilting Inspiration on the road

Shot of Lime Greem

If you had been watching my Facebook or Instagram feeds last week, you would have seen a series of photos post, seemingly random, all with the hashtag theme #inspirationiseverywhere. And I believe it is, but the truth is that those photos weren’t nearly as random as they seemed, and they’re a good jumping off point for this week’s blogpost.

I was traveling with my husband, and when I do that, I don’t post that we’re out and about until we’re home. There’s no sense in tempting fate. The photos actually have a theme to them – they come from hotels we have found along the way. Would you believe that the photo above is a shower curtain from LaQuinta hotels – I’ve actually seen it twice – once in RI, and this past week in North Carolina.

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It’s the start of my quilting year…

When the calendar changed last month, I had a faint sense of welcoming from my days as a mom with kids in the house. I loved back to school time, My kids are now grown with kids of their own, but the sweet days of September still leave me with a faint sense of new beginnings. Cooler temperatures (that’s supposed to be the case!), new notebooks, new shoes, a clean slate for projects which have been dormant too long. September this year brought me a LOT of engagements to work through, and now I’m looking at a desk full of things which need to get done. That’s a good thing.

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September Color Challenge – Lilac/Lavender (or Violet?)

Monthly Color Challenge – September

Happy September – I can’t believe we’re here already. I’m happy to be back participating in Patterns by Jen‘s Monthly Color Challenge again…this time for the Lilac/Lavender color for September. Truthfully, I’m also thinking of it as Violet – but that’s mostly because I’m a fan of the Dowager and the Downton Abbey movie due out shortly. If you haven’t seen my May entry into the challenge, you can see it by linking here.

This color challenge is one that Jen is running throughout this year so that we can both explore color and learn new blocks. As you’re reading my blog post on this, you can also find the other bloggers for this month here:

Jen Shaffer – Patterns by Jen

Joanne Harris – Quilts by Joann

Maryellen McAuliffe – Mary Mack’s Blog

Sarah Myers – The Quilted Diary

This color isn’t one that I usually work with – and obviously, I need to change that! – but I started by going through my stash and pulling out two versions of that color – a light and a dark.

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Reveal – Ringo Lake Renovation

Ringo Lake Renovation

This is the story of a quilt whose story I began almost two years ago, but the story isn’t over yet. This is a sort of ‘You get to pick the ending on this one…. this fall, in Houston (or online!). This is the story of the quilt I’ve donated to the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project, the proceeds of which help to fund the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

In 2017, the auction helped to raise over $52,000 to help fund the fight for a cure for Ovatian Cancer, and I (along with my partner in this project, Cheryl Szynkowski) have been pleased to participate again this year. The online auction will be held from October 23rd to Nov 6 this year, and I hope that we exceed the 2017 numbers – the mission hasn’t been accomplished yet.

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Safeguarding Our Quilts – A New Look at Best Practices ( 2 of 2)

Last week, I talked about the importance (for both safety and documentation) of putting a label on your quilts, and shared how I’ve recently updated how I do mine. In today’s post, I’m going to show you how I add watermarks to my photos – for free – and walk you through the process on a step by step basis. This is an update of a tutorial which I had originally done in 2015. As of this date (Aug 2019), I’m not receiving any compensation for this tutorial from the company.

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