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February 1, 2023
Weekly update: a finish and a start from With Strings Attached


It's sometimes hard to realize that just three years ago most of us had never Zoomed.   This week I had three Zoom sessions --  on Wednesday,ALA Freedom to Read Foundation (two screens of participants); on Saturday, AAUW-Illinois winter board meeting; and on Sunday, Retired Members Round Table Fifth Sunday Book Club. ("Biography" was the prompt for this session.  Our choices were eclectic, from Maus to Prince Harry to Jimmy Buffett.)  

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I made16 framed four-patch blocks in each of the monthly colors for the 2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I set the blocks last year.  Now they're a quilt!  60 ...

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January 29, 2023
Oh Scrap! : Old and New Projects from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 I was able to actually dig through my scrap bins this week!

I pulled some more blue scraps and made more of my switchplate blocks.

These are made with a total of five 1.5" x 3.5" strips. Super easy to make and I think they will be really fun to play with.

I now have 42 blue blocks to play with.  I just need to make a few hundred more in other colors.

I also cut a bunch of 3.5" squares from my low volume scraps.  I have a new project in mind and I am ready ...

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January 24, 2023
Weekly update: two entertaining afternoons and another finish (and start) from With Strings Attached

It was too wet and cold for walks this weekend.   We had indoor entertainment instead.Saturday afternoon we saw  A Man Called Otto. It was wonderful--can Tom Hanks make a bad movie?  And Mariana Trevino as Marisol -- what a delight.  It complements the Swedish movie and the book.  

On Sunday afternoon we went to the College of Lake County to see The Great DuBois.Juggling and gymnastics!  The 350-seat Studio Theater is small and all seats had a good view. (The entry is at the back row and our seats were on the aisle.  Easier for Stevens to negotiate.  Mind ...

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January 22, 2023
Oh Scrap! : Switchplates from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 Most of this week was spent sewing Compassion Quilt blocks together.  But I did remember that I still have my Switchplate blocks to sew for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.

I dug deep into the mess I call a sewing room and found all the blocks I have made so far.  I pulled out all of the blue ones (I am trying not to duplicate fabrics) so I could start cutting some blue scraps.  I am hoping to get a nice stack ready to sew Sunday evening.

I might even cut a few more squares so I can make ...

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January 17, 2023
Weekly update: RSC blue, the mini swap, and a gift from With Strings Attached


More mild weather this week meant time for several walks--Camp Logan (Illinois Beach State Park) and three forest preserves:Sedge Meadow River Trail, Raven Glen West, and Rollins Savanna.  

Top right:  milkweed pod. Center: "winter berries" is my generic name; moss is about the only green this time of year. Bottom: ground cherries; Indian hemp, aka dogbane, pods.  Here's more about dogbane.

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When I finished My Blue Heaven last month there were triangles and squares left over.  There were enough triangles for 210 HSTs as well as a lot of squares.  I was able to make 26 star blocks ...

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January 15, 2023
Oh Scrap! : January RSC from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 It felt so nice to find some time this week to cut up some scraps.

I worked on my first Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for 2023.

The color for January is blue.

I am only making two different blocks this year.  The first are these 36 patch blocks made from 2.5" squares.  I am really trying to keep things simple this year.

The second block are these hearts, also made from 2.5" squares.

My plan is to make 3-5 blocks of each color and then make two or three donation quilts with them.  I made the blocks the ...

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January 9, 2023
Weekly update: an anniversary, some walking, and a WITB surprise from With Strings Attached

Twenty years ago this past week (January 2, 2003) I began a new job as director of the Zion-Benton Public Library.    It was my sixth and final professional position.  It was a good move for me and, I think, a good move for the library.  (This appointment began with less fanfare than APL in 1982 and that was perfectly okay.)

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The week's been overcast and damp albeit snow-less.  After good walks last weekend it wasn't until this afternoon (Sunday) that I got out again.  Top:  the sun came out for a moment.  Left: a fringe of icicles.  Fungus ...

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January 8, 2023
Oh Scrap! : All Scraps No Blocks from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 Boy, is my house a scrappy mess.  My sewing room reached max capacity, so I moved a sewing machine out to my dining room table.  It is now so covered with scraps, I am really unable to get much done.  

As you can see, I do have my blue scrap bin out and have been trying to cut pieces for my January RSC blocks.  I also have a couple of rail fence stacks waiting to be sewn into quilt tops.

My curious helper even jumped up there to see what the hubbub was about. He took one look at the ...

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January 2, 2023
Scrappy New Year! stash report, annual reckoning, and OMG for January from With Strings Attached


Fast away the old year passes . . . hail the new, ye lads and lasses!

We spent New Year's Eve watching 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone.  We've gotten caught up in the Dutton family saga.  I'm reminded of the epic movie How the West Was Won which made a big impression on me.  (It came out when I was 10.)  

While we watch I sew and I am pleased to report that I quilted and bound another one of the wheelchair quilts.   That's five out of eleven.  

The stash report for December:   fabric out, 81-1/2 yards.   Fabric ...

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January 1, 2023
Oh Scrap! : 2023 RSC Blocks from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 Happy New Year Everyone!

My little Helper Arthur and I wanted to wish all of you the very best in 2023.

I always love New Years - by the time the end of December rolls around, I am done with the previous year and I look forward to a fresh start!

I see Angela has announced January's RSC color for 2023 but I already did my test blocks in red.  I am going to make heart blocks and 36 patch blocks.  Why 36?  So they are the same size - I might just combine the two blocks in one quilt.  I ...

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December 19, 2022
Weekly update: ninth flimsy + WIP from With Strings Attached


The Lake County Symphony Orchestra's Welcome Christmas concert was Saturday evening.  Guest soloists sang recitatives  from the Messiah.    Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite was mashed up with Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Sweets -- the symphonic version vs. the jazz version.  The concert ended with an audience sing-along to Leroy Anderson's Christmas Festival.

There was a raffle to win a chance to conduct the orchestra in Anderson's "Sleigh Ride."  A guy named Bill was the winner. "Have you ever conducted before?" asked Ron, the real conductor. "Never!" Bill replied.  Fortunately the musicians knew the piece very well! 

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The beavers have ...

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December 18, 2022
Oh Scrap! : Sorting Fabrics into Kits from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 Most of my sewing this week was putting together brown/blue rail fence blocks into quilt tops.  But I am trying to work on other quilts at the same time.  

I have finished all the blocks for this quilt top and have almost all the rows sewn together.  I hope to get it loaded up on the longarm next week.

A lot of my time has been spent sorting and organizing donated fabrics.
A good friend showed up this week with a big bag full of flannel bits she thought I could make into some smaller quilts.  I organized them ...

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December 12, 2022
Weekly update: the social whirl, Blue Heaven, and a burst of flimsies from With Strings Attached

Holiday gatherings this week were great fun.

Tuesday noon:  I was co-hostess for the Zion Woman's Club luncheon and used my vintage tablecloths on each table. In lieu of a white elephant gift exchange we each packaged "festive food."  (I gave a gift box of Penzey's spices and received four different kinds of treats from Trader Joe's.)    We collected hats and mittens for kids at Elmwood  School in Zion. 

Tuesday evening:  my P.E.O. chapter had dinner at a great Italian restaurant.   There was another festive food exchange.  (I gave Penzey's, again, and got a ...

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December 11, 2022
Oh Scrap! : This, That, Those from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 This week seemed to fly by so fast.  I feel like I should have a lot more to show for it - but this is all the scrap sewing I did.

I made this single 16 patch block for a future donation quilt.

I started sewing together the rows on this scrap quilt.  I still have two partial blocks I need to finish but the blocks are big so the rest of the quilt should go together quickly.

The first of the rail fence blocks are starting to arrive in my mailbox.  I am so thankful for the response I have ...

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December 5, 2022
Weekly update: holiday concerts + goal progress from With Strings Attached

 There's a flurry of Christmas/holiday festivities the first two weeks of December and then things quiet down.   I had two luncheons -- GFWC District 10 on Wednesday and Lake County Women's Coalition steering committee on Saturday.  At both I sat next to women I'd met but didn't know well. The conversations were very pleasant.  
The huge cross in the Carthage chapel

Friday evening Stevens and I and our friends Debbie and Bill went out to dinner and then to the annual Christmas festival at Carthage College.  The concert has become a holiday tradition.   We noted fewer ...

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December 4, 2022
Oh Scrap! : Module #5 Release from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


I have been working on the fifth module of my Scrap Mixology series for seems like forever.  I am pleased that I finally finished it and I am ready to share some of the lovely quilts I made with it.

The first quilt I finished using this pattern is this lovely on-point version using a bunch of Kaffe Fassett bits I had.  Some were in my scrap bins and some were leftovers from previous projects.

I called this pattern Chunky because the pieces are large.

The base block is ridiculously easy.  But the 16 page pattern reveals so many ...

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November 28, 2022
Weekly update: the blue bins from With Strings Attached


Both Friday and Saturday were sunny and warm. We enjoyed outings to Ray Lake and Pine Dunes.   

Lower left: a beaver lodge. Lower right: a ladder.   The trails at both preserves were 2.25 miles.  The more I walk the easier it gets!

A front came through and today (Sunday) was overcast and much colder.  After church we stayed home.  We put out the Christmas decorations.   The boys are back! (The biggest one never went away....)   These are all German nutcrackers (and four smokers) acquired over many years.  

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In the studio: 

The blue bin, home to fat quarters and chunks ...

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November 27, 2022
Oh Scrap! : Something to keep me Busy from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 A few weeks back, I mentioned that I have been organizing a little something behind the scenes and that I would be sharing it soon.  I keep running into a few obstacles, but I think I am going to go ahead and let you know what I am up to.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have been evaluating what is important to me and what I want to focus on in the future.  I am working less on my "day job" so how do I want to fill my spare time.  That is why I decided to finally ...

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November 21, 2022
Weekly update: surprise revealed + unexpected development from With Strings Attached

 Brrr!  It's cold -- no walks this weekend.  I look forward to Wednesday-through-next-weekend when temps will reach 40.

The studio is in the basement where it's cozy in the winter and relatively cool in the summer (the effect of earth-sheltering).  I finished the  16-patch quilt that was under the needle on Friday.  I had in mind that either blue or green for the setting but I couldn't find a print that would go with both the light cream and the definite tan in the 16-patches. I did not want to make MORE 16-patches since the point of the ...

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November 20, 2022
Oh Scrap! : Tiny Bites from Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

 Even though my sewing time is limited now (new puppy), I am still able to find a few minutes here and there as he sleeps.  So, I am trying to focus that time on one specific project.

This week it was on this scrappy three-quarter log quilt I started months ago.  All I need to do now is make the half blocks that go on the edge and play with block placement a bit.

I decided to go with this up/down layout.  I think once the blocks are sewn together the effect is going to be awesome.  I hope ...

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