Rhododendron Trail & Top 5 Posts of 2021

After visiting with family in Michigan for several days, I'm taking this week off. I decided to alternate between sewing and doing chores.  Sew a little, clean/sort a little. I'll start with sewing since that's usually what people want to see. I have been very slowly plugging away at the test quilt I'm working on, but can't show that yet. I also cut out clue two for the Bonnie Hunter mystery. Here it is, cut and ready to sew.

I started sewing yesterday afternoon and got half of the units done. I have to admit that I found these mind-numbingly boring. That's why only half of them are done. I guess I'd rather sort through boxes and put things away than sew. 🀷🏻‍♀️ I like how they looked in progress.

Here's the first half of the units. As always, visit the Quiltville blog to get your own copy of the instructions. Sorry for the kinda weird picture. I forgot and took the picture on my cutting mat, so had to remove the background.

I unloaded boxes of books into the newly finished bookcases. I'm pretty certain most of the books have been packed up for 10-15 years due to moving a lot and then having the basement under construction. At some point I had stashed some memorabilia from my grandparents in one of the boxes. There are a lot of postcards, some addressed to my grandma and some blank, with the blank ones all being tourist-type cards of landmarks or scenery in various locations around the US. Here's a selection (you know I had to include the flamingo one!) of the postcards. I'm guessing the ones with the kids on them are from the 1920s.

There were also some pictures of my grandpa during WWII, a mostly unused ration book, forms indicating how much pay my grandma would receive while Grandpa was away, and other war-related miscellany. I have no idea how I ended up with this collection of things, but I sure did enjoy looking through them. Here are some pictures of Grandpa along with a rupee that was in the things. I believe he was stationed in India and China.

Many of my fellow bloggers are recapping their years, so I will join in and add my top five posts of the year.

1. The post with the most views is this one from August.

2. The post that brought back happy memories for me is this one from April.

3. Something I am proud of.

4. This post from May because my garden looked really good.

5. This post from November that deserved more views than it got.

Linking with Meadow Mist DesignsFor the Love of Geese, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Flower Patch SAL Blocks 6 & 7

Today's the day to link up blocks 6 & 7 in the For the Love of Geese Flower Patch SAL. I had gotten a bit behind on these, but I'm totally up to date now! Well, I still need to work on block 8, but that released today. :)

I chose the embroidery option on block 7. I stitched a chain stitch for each stem. It's a bit wobbly, but I think the overall look is okay. If you stand back, you can't see how uneven my stitching is. It is soooo much easier to embroider on Aida fabric!

Here are all my blocks together. They're a bit cropped; couldn't fit everything in the picture.
I've also managed to get up to date on the Macaron Mystery
And I've been squeezing out bits of time over the past few weeks to make some gifts for a quilting friend. I made this little pincushion using the pattern in this month's American Patchwork & Quilting.
I made a covered button and my husband glued it onto this giant paperclip blank for me.
I made several design boards in two sizes and my husband made the coasters.

I was going to quilt one of my oldest WIPs, circa 1999. I needed to make the backing. Back when I started this project, hand quilting was still the thing. I do not enjoy hand quilting, which is partly why this never got done. Luckily there was still enough backing fabric to load the quilt on the frame. You can see the quilt top in the background.

I attempted the pattern matching using glue method as outlined at Suzy Quilts. I didn't have a washable school glue stick, so I used the Sew Line glue pen. It mostly held, but it wasn't great.

I had everything loaded and was starting the pattern my husband had selected for this (for his mom, who used to have wallpaper that matched the fabric, though in a more attractive yellow, back then). My long arm was in a crabby mood and things didn't go well. The quilt is now off the frame for unquilting. 😐

So I did a deep clean and some testing on the long arm and of course everything now works. πŸ™„

I moved along to the next project, which is a bunny pillow. My daughter selected all the fabrics from my stash (yes! using the stash! awesome!). The paper piecing block for this can be found in EQ8, but I used directions from Threadbare Quilting (Bonita Bunny).

We went with Squatty Squared for the quilting. Fun tidbit: the backing fabric was originally supposed to be a bunny skirt for my daughter many moons ago. I recently used it in a donation quilt and used most of the remaining yardage for the pillow back.

My other accomplishment for the week is getting the test quilt ready for piecing. Everything is cut and laid out and I now need to make time to sew, which will be challenging over the next week. No photos until the pattern releases though.

The only things remaining on my December list that I haven't gotten to yet are assembling the Grassy Creek top, keeping up with the Rhododendron Trail mystery, and making myself a shirt.

I mentioned before that we ordered furniture for the basement, but won't receive it until sometime next year. In the meantime, we have an FTC robot field set up. They use the giant tv (my husband's gift to himself) to display their programming while they work. I guess it's been successful--they had their first league play tournament Monday and the boys placed first! I think they were all surprised.

Have a wonderful week. Happy Christmas to you if you celebrate.

December OMG Complete!

In a first, I have completed my monthly goal well before the end of the month! Although I have many projects to catch up on, my official goal was to get current in the #Trending block of the month. I had months two, three, and four to sew. Here they are! The bees and the heart are month four.

The fox is month two and the narwhal is month three. They got sewn together in month three.

I haven't made much progress on my other, background goals for this month yet. I need to get caught up on the Macaron Mystery (two months' worth), complete a test quilt (it's halfway cut out so far), complete weeks two and three (and counting) of the Rhododendron Trail mystery, sew together the Grassy Creek and SCQG tops, and maybe make myself some shirts. Oh, and sew blocks six and seven of the Flower Patch QAL. The link up for that is next week, so I need to get busy. I'll start those today.

I finished up the last few quilts that had to be done before Christmas. I did two for Amber with loopy meander.

And one for Sara using the Paw Prints design. This was my first time long arm quilting with minky for a back. I was very pleased with how it came out.

I wish I could say this is it for the year, but the tops are already starting to pile up again. I am planning to take time off between now and Christmas to try to relax and get caught up on my own things, sewing or house, but I have to admit that having the quilts sitting in the house makes me feel anxious and/or twitchy. We'll see how long I can hold out.

One thing I'm really happy about is that we got the lower garden cleaned up for winter. We pulled a few more weeds and as much of the spearmint as we could. The smell of spearmint makes me sick to my stomach now. It was fairly easy to pull out this time, so if we can just keep at it, we may finally overcome it.

Another thing I'm happy about is that everyone was gone yesterday and I was able to get some of the floors cleaned. And one more thing--I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow and I cannot wait! Long overdue.

One thing I'm not so happy about is that I feel like the Christmas shopping isn't really done, but I don't know what to do for gifts. Some things we just won't be able to get because they are sold out/not available. I usually try to do handmade gifts, but I didn't have time this year and I don't think I can pull off creating things in the next week. I guess our gift will be our presence with family this year. That's probably the best gift anyway.

Until next week--


I've had a bit of a strange week. I feel like I'm saying that a lot lately. ha.

Friday night my husband and son were at a robotics scrimmage, so I forced my daughter to go on my evening walk with me. I noticed a strange, light orange, vertical line in the sky that looked like airplane exhaust, but it was pitch black out. We were looking at it, and suddenly it became a UFO! It was a line of very bright lights that was fairly slow moving. There was an airplane flying near it and the airplane looked like a speck in comparison. It was so eerie. My daughter thought to pull out her phone and video it. It hovered and then slowly faded away. We wondered what it could be. Our best guesses were something to do with the military or some drones. What do you think it could be? {Answer at the bottom of the post.}

I got a few more quilts completed. The first one is Jodie's Charley Harper quilt, quilted with Bora Bora. I also bound this one.

Next up is Connie's beauty, quilted with In the Swirls (I think this is my most popular design of the year?). This one also was bound by me.

Then I quilted an absolutely huge quilt for Dee. It barely fit on my frame. I'm not sure I will quilt something that large again as I really struggled with having enough space to quilt to the edges.

Finally, this antique one belongs to Beth's family. I quilted it with Diamond Loops and I still need to bind it.

I also took some time to myself and completed the first clue for the Bonnie Hunter mystery. It may be the only time I'm up to date on this one the whole time. πŸ˜•

And I took a step towards finishing my OMG for the month. I have block two of #Trending finished. It's a little wonky, but I will make it work. 

We had nice weather Saturday, so we got the flower gardens cleaned up. I do need to pull out more of the 🀬 spearmint since I abandoned my weeding part way through the summer when I got super busy with the client quilting, but most of the rest is ready for winter--just a few more weeds to pull out of the big garden. I got chased away by a mouse running amok.

I'm planning to finish up my last few client quilts of the year over the next week, and then I'm on vacation the rest of the year! I'm hoping to get caught up on more of my UFOs. Have I mentioned that my small guild is having a UFO challenge in the new year? We all know I have plenty of contenders for this challenge. (See my list of UFOs in the tabs at the top of my blog. I called them WIPs).

Oh, I almost forgot. Our UFO sighting was actually the SpaceX Starlink satellite. You can use this tracker to see when it will be visible over your area. It's worth seeing. We were able to see it again on Saturday night with the whole family, though it was definitely not as bright the second night. It looks like this is by design, based on the info on the tracker website.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation, For the Love of GeeseConfessions of a Fabric Addict, and TGIFF.

December OMG

What should December's goal be? So many choices! My list looks like this:

1. Get caught up on Flower Patch SAL--had to fix block four, need to sew block six to get current. You'll see in this picture that block four is now looking correct. :)

2. Get caught up on #Trending--need to sew October, November, and December's blocks.

3. Get caught up on Macaron Mystery--at this point, it's only November's clue, but December's comes out tomorrow.

4. Work on Rhododendron Trail--haven't done anything besides choose the fabric. I would love to stay current on this one. I'm just not sure it's feasible with my quilting schedule and other commitments.

5. Sew test quilt--Fabrics are selected, but I need to cut and sew the entire thing. This will be happening this month, but it will not be December's goal since I can't actually share any pictures of it until the pattern is released.

6. Sew together blocks from this year's SCQG BOM. This is a program I ran for my guild mates in 2021. The final block got sent out to members today. I had instructions for 13 blocks and will be using 12 of them in this version.

7. Sew together the Grassy Creek top that is currently taking up the entire design wall.

8. I would love to sew a shirt for myself. I've had piles of fabric waiting for several years now and I just never get it done (because I find fitting difficult and intimidating).

My official goal is going to be option number two: get caught up on #Trending. I am hoping to get much more than that done because I am planning to take off most of this month! I have several more quilts to finish for people and once I finish those, it's vacation time! I have so many things to catch up on, sewing and otherwise.

                    Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal December Link-up

Now that the basement is finished (minus one slider door, which finally got delivered Monday after waiting for months), I need to go through the bedroom where we piled all the stuff, sort through it, put away what I'm keeping, and donate or sell the rest. 

The basement has been a very long project, five or six years maybe? The carpet got installed a month or so ago, but we had to have the installer back to fix the seams since most of them were very visible. He came a week ago Tuesday and it's looking much better now. I asked my son to vacuum since there were lots of little carpet strands everywhere. I about died when I saw the marks from his vacuuming job. Maybe you can see if you look closely?

I decided I wanted to go look at furniture at the local store on Friday. I had a good idea of what I wanted so the shopping part didn't take long. Choosing fabrics was a lengthier process. Of course the colors don't look the same in the store as in your home. I did make a selection the same day and my husband returned the samples Saturday and put down the deposit. In six months to a year I will have living room furniture! Both companies we ordered from are based in Indiana (where I live), the furniture is made in Indiana, and the wait will still be that long. Good thing this is a want rather than a need. We brought a few pieces from upstairs down to use until the new stuff arrives.

I did a work on a few quilts over the past week. I quilted another of Toni's memory quilts. Poor lady, she's gotta be tired of making these. She told me she has one more.

And I did custom quilting on three tree skirts. On the first one, I did cross hatch in all the squares and feathers on the star points. I even got fancy and used three different thread colors.

On the other two, they requested that I only stitch in the navy star points. I felt like it needed a bit more to hold everything together, so I learned how to use the Intelliquilter to stitch in the ditch. The thread looks white in my pictures, but it is actually Glide Mercury, which is a silver color.

Now for some more personal things. I am very sensitive to artificial smells and am allergic to dogs and have apparently become allergic to cats in my middle age. Despite my efforts, sometimes I receive quilts with strong fragrances or an excessive amount of pet hair. My solution has been to have my husband shake out the hairy quilts outside, open my window, and/or wear a mask while quilting. Then I vacuum my leaders and Swiffer and mop my floor to suck up hair and dander. If my leaders smell, I have been spritzing them with this Lysol Fabric Mist to knock down the scents. You can see that my bottle is almost gone and it appears they don't make this product anymore. Do you have a suggestion for a fragrance free fabric mist that does the same thing?

My husband gifted me this lovely HEPA air purifier over the weekend and it has made such a huge difference in the air quality in my sewing room. The difference was noticeable to me within 24 hours. I often get congested or get a sore throat while quilting, due to dust in the air or sometimes the scents or allergens. My symptoms have nearly disappeared since plugging it in. We hit Cyber Monday and ordered a few more for upstairs.

We were able to get our booster shots over the weekend. The only symptoms I had after the first two were a little dizziness, fatigue, and minor body aches. This time, I had a horrible headache the first day. It quickly went away once I broke down and took Tylenol near bed time. My arm was sore near the injection site and I kinda looked like I had some Hulk muscles due to a bit of swelling (kinda enjoyed that, need to make more time to get back into my exercise routine) Monday. By Monday evening, my armpit swelled up and became very tender. It's quite annoying because I can't comfortably put my arm against my body. That being said, getting the booster shot is exactly the right thing to do and the benefits are worth the minor pain/inconvenience (and looking like I'm growing a third boob in my armpit). Please do your part to help end this pandemic. So many lives have been needlessly lost. Get vaccinated, and if you still refuse, then at least have the decency to mask up. Masking reduces your risk 53% according to newly released studies. Please protect those around you. You never know what health issues those around you may have. Save a life. I worry every time my parents go out because vaccination rates and masking are very low where they live. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month. Also, my mother would probably be mortified if she read my blog and saw this! πŸ˜„