Christmas Rush Progress

Between beautiful fall walks on the farm and sewing on my #1 priority Christmas quilt project, I’ve been awash in color.

The ridgeline above the farmhouse
Country road, take me home (Thanks John Denver for some of the best lyrics of all time!)
Sunset from the top of the hill

The current string quilt project has really decimated my scrap strip drawer (yay), but has created lots of crumbs that I’m saving in order to salvage the 1.5″ squares that are still available (obsessive, I know!)

Mom has been saving me lots of time by performing all of the pressing duties for the string quilt. This queen sized quit is destined for her friend, so I know she wants to be part of the process. Together, we are a string quilt block making machine!

I’ll be adding a 1.5″ white border on the outside of the top, and already we created a piano keys outer border for the finishing touch. I think it will only take a day or two to assemble everything. I haven’t decided yet about the backing. I’ll have to consult with my assistant on that.

I hope Mom’s friend, a lover of riotous color, will be surprised by her Christmas gift and that is will keep her warm while she’s stranded in that nursing home.

Barn Raising III

Since I’m working on my barn quilt blocks, I thought I’d share some photos of barns in Ohio and New York. Here in Ohio, there are many barns that proudly display Ohio’s Bicentennial logo for the celebration in 2003.

The barn below is a bit weathered but we can still see it was part of the celebration.

Below are links to some other beautiful barns in Ohio and New York.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t include the “official” gray barn that Sandy and I know so well!

Happy Monday!

Barn Raising II

I am working away on the Lori Holt Barn Blocks for our brother in law’s quilt. Sandy and I think 20 blocks are needed for a queen size bed.

Below is a preview of what I’ve accomplished so far. I found some hummingbird fabric in my stash and I like how it looks with the weathered gray barn siding fabric.

I found some cool cat fabric and decided Mr. Kitty needed to perch in the hay mow.

What’s not to love about flamingos in a barn? I think this looks downright tropical!

I had some horse fabric on hand. Don’t these cuties look like they’re having fun running around inside the barn?

All of these barn blocks are fun to make. I get to play with color and am using lots of scraps. Yay! I’m making room for more fabric!

The Rush Begins

Cindy and I have 4 big quilts in the works, hoping for a Christmas finish for all.

I’m taking a week of vacation from my pays-the-bills job and “relaxing” at home with a long housework to-do list, a big pile of new fabric, and an urgent side-hustle project I’ve got to complete. It should be fun–no, really–I mean it!

I love to get the chance to use my brain in a different way. I’m not the type to sit by the beach for very long. Nor can I relax in front of the TV without something to do. I expect this to be a stimulating and inexpensive staycation– well, as long as I can stay out of the fabric store.

Also, I’ve given up social media for the time being. Twitter makes me laugh, but it represents hours of wasted time where I could be doing something productive. The golden rule I’ve drilled into my son is that he should be a creator of content, not a consumer of content. The creators are the ones who achieve things in the life. I choose to be a creator. This week I will enjoy my dedicated creator time.

For accountability, I’m listing the four quilts in the pipeline for a Christmas finish:

  • Modified Garden Gate Charm for the young granddaughter of a dear friend. I chose the fabric Fiddle Dee Dee by Me and My Sister Designs as the foundation of this quilt. I’ll supplement with fabric from my stash to add even more interest.
  • Same quilt in a different color way for the middle granddaughter of the same dear friend. She has another granddaughter who is a toddler — I’ll have to think of something for her too, of course!
  • My first string quilt. A long time ago, I created a few blocks of a string quilt so I could understand the technique. Those blocks have been stashed in a box for a while, but I restarted the project because it’s a really good way to mindlessly sew while reducing the contents of a crammed strips fabric bin. Our mother has a friend who has been trapped in a nursing home through this pandemic. The string quilt will go to her. Mom is here helping me iron and seam-rip. She’ll be a big help in ramping up the block production line.
  • The barn quilt for BIL in Florida. Our youngest sister asked for a replica of the Bee In My Bonnet quilt I made early in my quilting career. It was my my first sew-a-long quilt. I was trying to make a paper pieced pattern of our gray barn for BIL, to make the barn quilt extra special, but it has just not come together way in the that I planned (yet). So, Cindy resurrected the Lori Holt barn pattern and she’s off having fun and speedily churning out blocks. She already has 5 barns completed. She has agreed to make all of the barn door blocks using patterns from the book Sylvia’s Wedding Sampler by Elm Street Quilt (I love this book!). We’ll work on the quilt together over long distance. We think we need 20 barns to make a queen-sized version.
String quilt in progress.
Two color ways for modified Garden Gate with Fiddle Dee Dee fabric.
I love this color combination!

Mom and I did some more canning this week. We made yummy spiced pear jam from a pear tree that my son and my father planted many years ago on the farm. This is the first year that the tree has produced an abundance of pears. I used this recipe as a base, but added star anise, and a hunk of fresh ginger along with the cinnamon sticks. I also subbed apple cider for the water. It is amazing. I’m adding it to my morning oatmeal as a topper, but I’m dreaming of making it an accompaniment of a warm roast pork. (BTW, my lawyer says you shouldn’t take my canning advice.)

And let’s not forget about the sauerkraut, bubbling away in the quart mason jars right behind me. The cabbages came from my community garden plot. When we were little on the farm, mom used to make sauerkraut in big floor-sized crocks. However, I believe older sister Sue is currently using said crock as an end table. So…we’re trying a new-to-me-thing called a pickle pipe. I love a useful invention and I am fascinated by fermented foods at the moment. (Insert more lawyerly language about ignoring any advice that might involve food poisoning.)

Happy fall! Happy Sandy’s vacation week!