Doing the Happy Dance!!!

FINALLY!  We are back into a BORING routine of retirement life!  I am always ready to take a short “getaway” but not this month!  I am through with the hand surgeries and Clay and Melissa are healthy and Melissa started a great new job yesterday!  What else could we want?  Well, OK – only one more trip to the hand doctor tomorrow and a few errands in SA and hopefully that will be it for a while.  It was a long long LONG 5 months and without a few quilting buddies I think I would have really gone crazy.  Thanks to Jaydee and Gretchen!  Great friends and quilters!

So one might ask – what does a quilter do when back to back carpal tunnel surgeries and dealing with only one hand to use for a short period with all of those projects gathering dust!  PUNT!  I had time to work on my RSC 2017 project which was not difficult to do and it was something I could work on between surgeries and all the lovely trips to SA!  I worked daily on trying to get this quilt finished by Monday and I achieved that goal!  When I started making the 4 patch blocks, I had no idea where I was going with the quilt.  Originally I had intended to make 28 blocks of 5 colors, but ran out of patience to just sit and sew 4 patches all day long.   I only used 4 colors and could no longer bring myself to make anymore blocks in other colors.  Here is the final outcome!  Anything that reminded me of this quilt that was not used is in the permanent UFO file!

RSC 2017 Challenge Quilt – Completed but not perfect!

One would think that since each and every 4 patch and 2 1/2″ offsetting squares were squared and doubled checked during the process, that the quilt would come out perfect!  Did not happen here and that is a big frustration for me as a Type A personality!  The quilt is lucky to have survived the same demise as its leftovers!

Also during this time I have been able to finish preparing the last two blocks (Blocks 1 and 2 the ones with the wreaths) for the Nesting quilt and have started appliquéing on block 1.  I love the Red Birds in this quilt.   I have only one more block to go and then I will start on the appliqué border.  This is an old pattern of Darlene C. Christopherson’s and so pretty.  Each block is different.  Blocks 1 and 2 had wreaths for the birds to sit on, but the pattern was not accurate so I quickly decided to change that and leave them off.

Moving right along, I found out that I could embroidery as soon as the cast was removed, but took it slow and easy.  I have finished 2 more blocks for Sweet Stitches project.  Today I have prepared the April Easter Bunny Block.  This was a BOM that I purchased in either 2013 or 2014.  It is fun and really fast to complete.  Kathy provides embellishments for each month that are fusible and really add to the block!





I have 3 projects going concurrently for appliqué, Nesting, Stonefields, and A Bountiful Life.  I still have to  prepare Section 5 of Stonefields though.  I also have other projects that need attention, but am thinking that I am ready to start on a Di Ford quilt – something that will be more challenging than 4 patches.  (Hummm if I have the problem with 4 patches, maybe this will not be a good idea – LOL)  I am going to start on one of the quilts from her books Primarily Quilts and Primarily Quilts 2.

In 2014 I purchased some of the beautiful Dutch Chintz fabrics to use in her quilts and it is now the time to get back to that time when I first started with Reproduction Fabrics and the Australian reproduction quilt patterns.  I have fabric for 3 of her quilts in the books so it will be fun to work with them.

All in all, I am finally at a place in 2017 where things are peaceful and calm and uneventful.  It has been a long 9 months of a not so good year.  So this is the beginning of my 2017 and I only have 3 more months in this year to produce!  I have almost forgotten that I have that wonderful new Grace quilting frame waiting for a quilt, but think it will be December before I attempt any hand quilting.

Our trip for the year will be in November as we are going to go to Santa Fe and Gallup New Mexico and on to Winslow, Flagstaff, and Sierra Vista, Arizona.  We will enjoy the new scenery and visiting for a week with our friends Doug and Jean who have already arrived in the Sierra Vista area for the winter.  Then back home for the winter, or whatever we end up with for cold weather.  It will be fun and a great chance to visit with our friends.  I miss our RV travel, but not the work involved!

An update on my new toy the Cutter Pillar I purchased at the SA Quilt Show.  It is a great and must have tool for quilters.  Today I used it as a light box – unbelievable!  To be able to use it as a cutting mat and then for the light box for tracing patterns for appliqué and embroidery is great and a time and space saver to boot!  To see how it works go to Cutter Pillar! 

Have a great week and enjoy stitching!


Quilt Shows, Judges, New Goodies, and Awaiting the Beginning of my Year – October 1, 2017

I attended a local quilt show yesterday and again I was again disappointed!  The show consisted of  pretty quilts and plenty of old quilts that were showcased in order to have an adequate number of quilts to show to the public.   I had attended the Dallas Quilt Show this year for the first time which was a very EXPENSIVE trip and a show that I have no desire to return to.  There were some beautiful quilts that were totally ignored by the Judges only to award a Modern quilt the Best of Show.   For some reason entering quilts in show is no longer desired by traditional quilters because of the bias Judges, not interested in competition, or there are fewer quilters that want to participate in a Guild.   I am also very concerned that the Vendors participating in the Quilt Shows will become extinct because it is difficult for them to financially break even at shows due to having to complete with On-Line Quilt Shops.  This is the way the world is going and I guess we must all adjust to change – whether we like it or not.  I happen to be a “shopper” and if I can save some $ and buy more fabric or tools for my quilting projects, I will.  We have all seen some of our favorite quilt shops closing because of the low volume of sales.  It is sad to see these changes.  But when we are having to pay $12 – $13 a yard for our fabrics, paying less means more for the customer.

NOW, having said all of this,  do not take my opinion as a negative because it is just a fact of life for Traditional Quilters like myself.  We are old relics to the quilt world, we do not understand the “Modern” quilt, do not understand why a quilt has to be quilted by a long arm machine that leaves little of the craftsmanship covered up and why hand work is no longer valued!  I do not want my quilts to be so stiff with quilting that they can stand up by themselves!  I say that there should be a Modern Quilt Show and a Quilt Show that showcases REAL quilting!  Keep them separate and do not continue trying to eliminate all traditional quilts.  Young quilters need to learn the basics of quilting, then branch out into the field that intrigues them the most!  Just like learning the history of our country first, then move on to current times!

We quilters who love to enter Quilt Shows wonder lately, “what were those Judges thinking”?  Well wonder no more.  It is important to read the bio of each Judge to see what quilts will be winners.  Here in South Texas, a Reproduction quilt does not have a chance in winning, nor does the traditional needle turn applique quilts.  If it is not an Artisan quilt, a machine embroidery quilt, or a long arm “heavily” quilted with feathers and other “fill in all spaces” quilting, there will be no ribbons for your quilt.  I began to see this change in judging in 2012.  The machine work is more valued than the hand work.   The Long Arm business is booming, but the shows are really suffering because those who are the traditionalists are not going to participate in a show where it is well-known that the judges are biased toward machine work only.

In my opinion, Modern quilts are quilts that are made by quilters who want to make a quilt a week without having to think, enjoy math, or dive into a challenging quilt pattern.  Kits are another way to circumvent the joy of selecting the fabrics, feeling the quality, cutting the fabric, and then sewing it together.  Accuquilt machines might be great for some but is robbing the young quilters of the basics of quilting.  Modern quilts are in the abstract, and to me they have not reason or logic in the pattern or selection of fabric.  AGAIN, I am not being critical of anyone who prefers the Modern quilts.  It is just my opinion of the Modern quilt world.

I have only been quilting since 2003 and in 2006 I began to enter my quilts in the local quilt shows for the sole purpose of helping me become a more precise quilter.  Yes, I am retired and have a lot of time (LOL – not this past 5 months though) to quilt each day.  I still enjoy the challenge in the entire processes involved in making a quilt.  I had entertained the idea of one of those Go Cutters, but quickly realized that I would never be being able to make a quilt that would turn out 100% square.  For a show quilt it is one of the most important rules when a quilt is judged!  It took me a couple of times to really think this through, but when making a quilt, I always add 1/8″ to the cutting directions.  To be held to a definite 2 1/2″ strip would be devastating to me.  One can only do so much with a scant seam line to make up the difference when squaring each HST, etc.

In 2003 I attended the Houston show for the first time.  By then I was very familiar with the Designers at that time and the fabric lines.  It was also a time when “Contemporary” versus “Traditional” quilts was a very popular discussion.  Neither a Contemporary or Traditional quilter understood the other!  Artisans became involved in our little “traditional” quilt world with their loud splashy colors.  It took me some time to make a quilt using Kaffe Fassett fabric and I have not made another, although I did purchase some fat quarters in the last year for a specific quilt and will probably never buy anymore.

There are so many wonderful techniques to learn in the making of a quilt.   When the Reproduction Era started I was slow in buying in to that, but now that is all I want to make along with my beloved Batiks.  I just knew that Batiks were a “fad” fabric when they came into the quilting world, but I started working with them and fell in love.  I only subscribe to Quiltmania magazine and purchase a lot of books from the Australian quilters/designers.  The quilts are mostly based on reproduction quilts and are very unique and highly challenging.  The regular US magazines became too “easy” and “no challenges” in making them.   The bottom line to this ranting post is to bring to light the path that the Quilt Shows and Guilds are heading and it is not a pretty one at the end.  Maybe in 2076 there will be another revival of quilts like 1976!  Think So.

Now on to the positives of the show yesterday.  I purchased some background fabric from Moda for $8.50 a yard and happy with that purchase.  I believe it is from E. Sitar’s Snow collection.

Next I purchased some new stamp pads from By Kate (a dear vendor friend) and have one of her new patterns that supports the Millefiori  book pattern, La Passacaglia.  I have decided to play with a block and let Kate know if there are any problems. This is Kate’s 28th year in the quilt world, by providing an alternative to paper piecing.  She uses rubber stamps that stamp the design on the back side of the fabric and then hand sew the block.  Please check out the web site – she has a link to show her technique.  She is one of my favorites.  Of course, I did not have the Millifiori Book 1, 2, or 3, so I went to  Paper Pieces and purchased Book 1.  I  like the pattern, but not so many different colors that are in the original quilt.  There is nothing to draw the eye to the quilt – the fabrics are just too busy for me.

I visited Memories By the Yard quilt booth and they were showcasing the CutterPillarGlow – LED light pad for Crafters.  This is a new product and I ended up purchasing one!   Take a minute and look at the video – I did not purchase the one that can be run on a battery because there is not a way to change the battery if it dies!  Neat product.  I also ordered the glass cutting mat that will be sent to me in a week or so.

All in all, I visited with Kate,  Rosie , and J. Michelle Watts  all of whom I have supported throughout my quilting years!  Great ladies!  Michelle designs the most wonderful Southwest patterns, Rosie carries so many beautiful Redwork patterns and Presensia embroidery thread, and of course Kate does some fantastic things with her stamp technique.  Hoping to see them all next year at the New Braunfels and Austin Shows.

AND by the way – I have no more hands to be operated on!  My plan is to be back to the serious quilting no later than the first or second week of October.  I call this time the “Beginning of my New Year”.  Well, it is the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2017, so I am a few quarters off who cares!  We will see what I can accomplish with two hands again.  All Unforeseen Requirements since May are resolved and the path is open to a “no stress” remainder of 2017!

Happy Quilting.


A One-Handed Quilter and a 21st Wedding Anniversary

Our thoughts and prayers are with the hurricane and flood victims in our state.  We are grateful that the hurricane did not hit us in La Vernia but it came close.  It makes me so sad to see the after effects of our beloved coastline and all of those suffering.  We had recently made Xmas and Thanksgiving plans for Fulton Beach but that will not happen.  So sad.  For some reason all of SA and La Vernia had a run on Gas yesterday and now there is none available in La Vernia.  People heard that the largest Refinery would be shut down 2 weeks and that started panic, OR people were trying to get home, or whatever.  Reminded me of the 1970’s and the Oil Embargo under illustrious Jimmy Carter years!  that was a big mess!

This will be a SHORT Post because I do not like to play hunt and peck on a keyboard.  The 2nd Carpal Tunnel Surgery on the left hand was yesterday and I am having an easier time with it than the right hand in June.  I am so far in the hole with my quilting I think I will never catch up!  We have been through the Doctor/Surgery/Heart Procedures Mill since May and still have eye appointments, follow-up appointments, stitches removal and Podiatrist.  At least there are no more surgeries!  We will be the healthiest 72/73 year old’s in Texas and our Doctors are making $$$ hand over fists (an OLD saying).

Here’s hoping I will be back on the 13th with both hands flying across the keyboard (no quilting done) but I can type with both hands!.  I did get the last two blocks traced on the background fabric for Nesting and the pieces are ready to press on the fabric.  But nothing else accomplished.  I will be looking at books on paper piecing and watch some of my Craftsy Classes.  I did not have the time to do that the last two months.  I want to finally master PP!  We will see if that happens!

Today is our 21st Wedding Anniversary what a way to celebrate!!!  Clay and I are blessed in so many ways that we can celebrate next month when all health issues are GONE and we can go have some fun somewhere!

Have a safe Labor Day until I become a 2 handed quilter again!!

Moving Right Along to Insanity and Back Again!

Greetings from lovely HOT HOT HOT South Texas, and I mean HOT!  Quilting here since May has been SLOW SLOW SLOW with not one quilt finished since May!  It has been like hanging from a tree waiting for the bear to quit biting at my feet so I can climb down and start my life again!  Enough of this!  I THINK that by the middle of September I may be able to get back to my quilting and OH am I ever wanting BOREDOM in my life again.  I am sure that Clay does too as we both just hate those UFR health issues that seem to come more and more as we get older!

Here is an update on what little quilting has been going on in my Studio in the last month!  I have been working on RSC 2017 Challenge – a 4 patch quilt.  I wanted some mindless sewing but yet work on a quilt project.  I have completed the following for my RSC 2017 project – 28 blocks of purple and white;  28 blocks of blue and white; and now working towards the teal and white blocks, but only 5 blocks finished.  I am not going to do black or neutrals.  So maybe I will have all completed by October (what a dreamer I am)! I am going to put this project away as I am tired of mindless work and want to do something different.  I have no idea how I am going to set all of the blocks – guess that will be done when I am completely finished driving myself nuts with mindless work!

Sample of Finished Blocks!


RSC 2017 Challenge  Only 61 Blocks – Seems like it should be 100

I love the Teal Blocks

I did complete one block for Ms Potts and have two ready to appliqué.  There are 2 other blocks that I have not worked on and will probably change the blocks as I do not like the pattern so those are definitely on the back burner, in fact they may just go into the fire!

Ms Potts Block – No I did not mess up the Vase – that is the way the pattern is!

Today I am going to start prepping some embroidery work (if I get off the computer).  I have a BOM that I purchased from Kathy Schmitz in 2013???  I completed the January Block and had started working on the February Block, but never finished it.  I am in the mood for embroidery so today I am going to prep another block just to have it ready to work on in the evenings and hopefully it would be nice to have both completed by next Wednesday before surgery.

January Block

February Snowman – Whoops – Needs his hand!

March Winds – Next Block to work on!

I want to prep Section 5 of Stonefields but that may take me a day or so to do that as it means selecting fabric and cutting out the freezer paper.  I also want to try Sashiko but of course I have been wanting to do that since 2014 so I am hoping that I will find the time to work on that technique before the end of 2017!  Where has the time gone? I have found out that being a one-handed quilter just doesn’t cut it!  LOL

As you can see I am like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter time by preparing my projects to work on in the evening time during the winter evenings IF we have a winter (for South Texas that may be NEVER!).  We have had nothing but 100+ and high humidity along with horrible heat indexes.  I have had to give up my early morning walking and now I am doing a Stationary Bike inside – which is fine with me until we have “cooler” weather!

In 2018 there are two quilt shows that I hope to be ready to enter, New Braunfels and Austin Shows.  I was unable to enter the San Antonio Show this year due to those lovely UFRs, darn! At least I will be able to attend the show and see what South Texas quilters are working on.

My Carpel Tunnel Surgery on left hand has been delayed until 31 August, so now I have about 7 days to really relax and quilt, as long as no one finds out! Phones off the hook and the gate lock!!! LOL   We went through a tough month again but it turned out fine Clay missed the bullet.  I wish I had his immune system!  So healthy!

Were you aware that there are ONLY 132 days until we have an opportunity to start a new year –  1 January 2018!  I remember in 1992 how much I wanted that year to be over with and was so happy to bring in 1993 – it ended up being one of the best years of my life!

Vacations to the Gulf Coast are scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas!  We have rented a Cottage with 2 bedrooms and a full kitchen and living room at Fulton Beach and are looking forward to the Holiday Getaways!  I am sure there will be a short get away in October  to ABH (anywhere but home) to celebrate being through with Doctors for 2017!

If I am lucky enough to complete some of my little short goals between now and 31 August, I will do one more update, if not, it will probably be in mid-September or a little later when I will do another post.  Until then, happy stitching, keep cool or warm (if you live in Iceland) and see you in September! (I think my Scorpio humor is showing today!!!!)

RSC 2017 in Blue

Talk about Slow Stitching Sunday,  how about Slow Stitching Week?

I am making slow progress on RSC 2017 Blues but at least some progress! I am becoming extremely frustrated with hand braces.  Seems like forever in getting through the 6 weeks.  Oh Well…..I miss my hand applique, Embroidery, and those knitting lessons that I thought I would be taking this year.

I have 7 blocks made in Blues and a lot of 4 Patches of Blues and Purples already sewn and ready to make 21 more Blue blocks and 12 more Purple blocks.   Of course I am only 6 months behind in this project, but what is a few months backlog?


RSC 2017 Four Patches in Blue

At least I am close to MAYBE finishing them by the 31st and then on to the color for August.

OK, I have achieved 2 goals, not quilting goals, but my walking goals and I have lost some weight  so I will be happy for that!

Have a great week and stay cool 😎  we are in for nothing but 100 thru 102 for the week. Whoopee!


Sunday Lunch – Are You Hungry?

I never post food because most foods are not on my safe list. But there is a one time exception and this is it!

This is one of the best meals we have had together lately. So, I thought I would make everyone hungry.  It is the best Beef Roast I have prepared since I gave up beef.

Menu was a Shoulder Roast cooked with potatoes and carrots in the Crock Pot.

 Melissa provided that yummy green bean casserole that I just had to have a tablespoon of them.  Yummy!

And for a fat-free (😇) dessert – Pineapple and Blackberry Cobblers:

My Cobbler recipe is on my previous post.

Thank you Gretchen!


RSC 2017 and Genealogy

Good Sunday Morning to all.  We are half way to August and now time will really speed up!  Still dry, but some showers here and there.  Last week I took 3 days to work on the Smith family line.  By Thursday afternoon I was DONE.  A lot of brain cells burned up!  LOL.  It was time to get back to relaxing and sewing the Purple 4 patches for RSC 2016.

The plan was to sew the 28 blocks for the purple and start on the blue for this month.  So far I have 16 blocks sewn and have decided to cut out some blue 4 patches this morning before Melissa comes for a Sunday visit.  This next week will be devoted to RSC 2017 blocks.  I want to catch up with the schedule and then finish the purple and start on February which was teal.  It takes a lot of time to make 28 blocks.  Once the 4 patches are ready it takes about 25 minutes to put a block together – of course that is if one is perfect and makes no mistakes like turning the 4 patch the wrong way!

I have decided to use this as my setting and my blocks are just placed on the design wall as I finish them.  I have 3 different purples in each block.  I try to put the darker ones in the middle and two different colors on each side.    Some of the colors that are given each month will not be used, I may take advantage of that and work on the ones I have not completed yet.

RSC 2017 Purple Blocks (Color for January)

Now for the Genealogy.  My cousins and I have been trying to find our GGGGrandfather Henry Smith – WELL – try to find someone who just did not want to be found, OR he went by another first name.  What a mystery.  I did research my GGGGrandmother Mary Polly Kimmel and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could trace her family all the way back to Germany!!!  I think it was her GGGrandfather Jacob Kimmel that fought in the American Revolutionary War!  This line will qualify me for DAR if I am interested in submitting the paperwork (not sure about wanting to do more paperwork).  I started with a 2 page typed written letter by a family member years ago.  It is like unraveling a mystery.  Names spelled wrong, no birthdate, etc.  But there is enough information to give me some sort of paper trail to start on and I do love research but it can be so time-consuming.  But most of the time when researching one can find one sibling, child, husband, etc and it opens up the entire world.  The DNA from Ancestry is great to find some distant relatives.  I also was surprised to find out that the Smith’s were Mennonites and they all located in Pennsylvania.  The information that I had been given was that Henry Smith was born in France and came here to escape the Napoleonic Wars.  I am not sure that is a fact.  I believe that he was from Germany and that when he came to America he came through France – that is where most of the ships came from.  I will continue on, but only after I have cleaned up my Ancestry trees and loaded Family Tree Maker.  So much information available.  I am 98% European and now I know that the French and Swiss side is from my Father and the German side is from my Mother!  She kept telling me I was Pennsylvania Dutch!!!  I also understand now why I was so at home when I worked in the Washington DC area – that is where my ancestors on my Mother’s side started out in this great country!   I hope you enjoyed this little jaunt through my family history – I need to start a separate Blog for this!  Hum!!!

I have been very successful in getting my walking in at 6:30 AM.  It is so humid even then it ranges from the mid-70’s temp and anywhere from 88 to 94% humidity.  I took the day off today because Melissa is coming and I decided to fix a pot roast in the crock pot.   It is in the crock pot cooking and then I will make a blackberry cobbler and a cherry cobbler for desert.

The recipe I use to make a cobbler is so easy.  Melt a stick of butter in the glass pan while mixing up a cup of flour, sugar, milk, 1 tsp baking powder.  Take the pan out with the melted butter and pour the batter into the melted butter (yummy).  The batter is enveloped by the hot butter.   I use Lucky Leaf pie filling and randomly drop tablespoonfuls  of the pie filling into the mixture.  There is no stirring involved in this recipe.  Cook it at 375 for 45 minutes.  Today I am going to cook it at 350 for 1 hour and see how it comes out.  The crust will be crunchy around the edges from the butter.  Hungry yet?  Maybe I will remember to take a picture of the results and post it and make everyone hungry for sure!

Today I can start working without the brace for my hand – 2 hours on 2 hours off.  I will be glad when I do not have to wear it all day long.  I still will have to be careful for while, do not want a “re-do” on my dominate hand again! I am missing my appliqué so much, but taking the time to just relax in the evenings.

Have a great day!