Wednesday, January 27, 2016

winter pastime

I am in love with the process of paper piecing quilt blocks. With them I can work for a while and walk away from my machine and sit back down any time. Don't we all need a project that we can pick up and put down when those couple of free minutes beg to be put to good use??
Keeping in mind my goal for 2016 to use what I have… I spent some time pulling fabrics from my stash to organize a patriotic themed quilt.

Inspired by local quilter, designer, teacher, author Linda Halpin's quilt Pick Up Sticks I knew I had found the quilt block for my red, white and blue fabrics. Linda will say she and paper piecing don't get along so her quilt was not done by this method. I need more control over my seams so the pineapple block paper pattern is ideal for me.
Pick Up Sticks is made of pineapple blocks joined with sashing of rectangles and squares which continue the color placement of each pieced block.

With the pattern decided I went about precutting my fabrics to make stitching the blocks more user friendly and to avoid wasting too much of the fabric when trimming down each piece.

And then the first trial block.

I'll use the assembly of these blocks as I would relaxation meditations before and after the deeper concentration I'll need when quilting my Winter Solstice quilt top.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

finding sunshine on a grey day

I presented a short introduction to the process of paper piecing to my quilt guild this week. The deadline gave me the push I needed to complete the block assembly of this quilt top.

I've named it Winter Solstice though it has yet to be quilted. Designing the quilting will take some serious thought. Any suggestions?

Monday, January 18, 2016

cold spell

The fleece cardigan, the outer jacket with hood, the hat and headband, the scarf and gloves, the nearly knee high boots. Fresh water in hand, sprouts and tidbits from the kitchen. Suet and seed cakes.

For our good friends, neighbors, family.  
Our birds.

Monday, January 11, 2016

make use of what you have

I think this will be my mantra for 2016: make use of what you have.
Still in the midst of getting a handle on "stuff." Getting to know just what's in my pantry, sewing cabinet, desk. Promising myself to make use of it all, the large, the small. Keep or give away.
This is a big job and to do it right will take a while. So it's satisfying to take a time out and give yourself a gift of time to tackle a mini project.
Last year's sewing room calendar, twelve quilts illustrated in perfect squares, gave me today's happy diversion.

On the back side of the calendar there were miniatures of each quilt which made the perfect little gift tags for each box.
Gosh, I've forgotten just how much I love to play with paper.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

National Houseplant Appreciation day

Gardening catalogs have been arriving steadily.
The thermometer read 9 degrees below zero this morning.
The raised beds out in the garden are nearly unrecognizable beneath the snow.
My green thumbs are twitching and I've been "plant dreaming deep."

Thank you, dear indoor companions, for keeping me good company.
Especially now.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Twelfth night and Kings Day have come and gone, signally it's time to put the house in order. Serious sorting, packing, purging. An annual opportunity for taking inventory- of what surrounds me, what is within me.

It's a time of reflection, renewal, rededication. Of allowing un-guilty hours of reading, handwork, play.
A time for comfort foods.

Despite the cold and shortened daylight hours, our new flock, now totally integrated with the senior birds, has begun to lay. And our dear LadyHawk, one of the three remaining senior hens who will be 5 this May, has resumed laying. Keeping chickens is such good fun, their quirky personalities both amusing and good company.
Mya and Dovey are pleased that the weather is keeping us indoors so much of each day. They insinuate themselves into every project and activity. They cuddle with us and with each other.

Somehow they always know if a lap is available.

The holidays are past. It's a week into the new year. January is generous with gifts of her own.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

a view from kings' day

Oh the sweet melodies of a new year.
I'm so looking forward to sharing it with you.