Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Things to Look Forward To


I love this book!  It's not that I haven't looked forward to things so much as that I've taken looking forward for granted.  Just another part of life, just another part of a day, week, month, year.  No big deal.  This book, Things to Look Forward To: Large and Small Joys for Today and Everyday, reminds me how important having things to look forward to can be, how they can add a little spark, a little light to our days, especially after more than two years of a pandemic and all the limitations it put on us.

For each of the 52 things in the book, the author, Sophie Blackall, includes a painting and a few lines or paragraphs with her thoughts about it. 
Some of the things she names are the first snow, seeing eggs with painted faces when she opens her refrigerator, finding something she thought was lost, and coming home--plus 48 other large and small events in a day, a week, or a year.

Sophie Blackall has won two Caldecott Awards (for best children's picture book).  I can see why.  Her paintings, done with Chinese Ink and watercolor, are delightful.   

After reading her book I decided to make my own list of things I look forward to, things that happen spontaneously as well as ones I anticipate or plan for in advance.  (You know the delight of anticipation!)  These are some of them, in no particular order. 
  • Ice water, especially in the morning but any time, really.
  • Rainy days
  • Being with my grandchildren again
  • Gathering and drying lavender and sweet grass
  • Clean sheets.  Even though it's a weekly event, it still feels like a luxury.
  • Seeing a row of birds on an electric wire.  We see them gather in late afternoons along the freeway, which is about the time we're coming home if we've been up north.
  • Autumn with its glisten, crunch, and glow
  • The fragrance of honeysuckle
  • Watching a well-loved movie
  • Trader Joe's chocolate croissants.  We bring them home frozen then let them rise overnight and bake them in the morning.  Fresh from the oven they are delicious.
  • Sundays, for worship and physical, mental, and emotional rest from daily activities, concerns, and challenges
  • Thunderstorms 
  • Spending time at the ocean
  • Fresh, homemade, crusty artisan bread with Jai Lai butter.  The Jai Lai restaurant no longer exists but its butter recipe (with the perfect blend of herbs) lives on.    
  • A murmuration of starlings.  I love watching them dip and sway, then turn on a dime to fly another way.  Amazing.

How about you?  Do you have things you look forward to?  What are some of them?

--Nancy.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

One Monthly Goal for August, 2022

From these fabrics—using more of the lights than the darks—I'll make more churn dash blocks, as many as necessary.  I'm guessing I'll need at least 12.  That's part of my One Monthly Goal for August.
The other part is to decide on the layout for these blocks (straight set, on point, sashing, no sashing, alternate plain blocks, etc.) so I'll know how many more blocks to make.
churn dash quilt blocks in coral/peach/blush/melon/etc.

If I can do that, I'll be set to sew the blocks together for a finished top in September.

We had rain yesterday!  Glorious, beautiful, drenching rain.  It hammered the roof and soaked the ground.  It was so dark we needed lights on to read during the day.
I love a good rainstorm.  I only wish I could send some of our rain to you who have so little this year.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal August linkup at Elm Street Quilts. Thank you for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Posts to Enjoy #1


I often come across posts that I think are interesting, informative, creative, beautiful, fun, or that I just really like for one reason or another.  Sometimes I want to return and look at them but so often the links get lost in the shuffle.  I've decided to record them in blog posts and share them here in the off chance you might be interested.  These link posts may become an irregular feature.

Who knew UFOs are not new?!  Pam Buda shares one from 170 years ago here on her blog, pins and all.

The detail of these embroideries is amazing to me.  See how they brighten spaces in nature.

I loved Becky Goldsmith's gorgeous photos of New York City.  Maybe you will, too.

Aurifil/Moda's "Stitching Kindness" sew-along is over but the patterns are still available.  It's a great one for embroiderers who quilt--and quilters who embroider.  Theirs is red and white but other colors would be great, too. 

War and Pieced, at the Folk Art Museum, was an exhibit of amazing quilts made by men from British military and dress uniforms.  See a few (better) photos and info about the exhibit here.

When bees get involved with embroidery it can be beautiful.  It's not something I would have thought to do!

Enjoy!
--Nancy.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

A Gift and Churn Dashes for Chookyblue's Sew-Along

Cynthia of wabi-sabi quilts made two delightful quilts for her yet-to-be-born twin granddaughters.  She noticed the churn dash blocks I'd been making and emailed me to offer some of the backing fabric she'd used for the back of the twins' quilts.  
It arrived not long ago.  The fabric is gorgeous and I love it!  Along with the fabric, Cynthia sent this wonderful postcard.  The best part of the image on the card is the little toddler/pre-schooler pulling the maid along as if to urge her forward more quickly.  Haven't we all seen little children do this?  The Dutch painter, Jacob Ochtervelt, captured the gesture, facial expression, and movement of the little girl so exquisitely.  The gifts are delightful, Cynthia.  Thank you so much for thinking of me.

I've made just one block with the fabric.  The colors work perfectly.
I think I could have been more careful in my cutting so that all the corners would have been sharp, with color there instead of white.  I'll be more careful if I make another one.

I have now 50 churn dash blocks in varying tints and tones of blush, coral, salmon, apricot, peach, and pink.  These are so hard to photograph for accurate color!  The lights look lighter and the mediums look either darker or brighter.  Previous posts with closeups (here and here) might be more accurate.
churn dash blocks
The questions I'm asking myself now about these blocks are --
  • Is there too much variety in the colors?
  • If not, should I be careful about the arrangement of the blocks for color?
  • If so, should I make more light, more medium, more slightly darker/brighter blocks?

And I think it's time I start to consider the layout of the blocks. 

Straight set?
churn dash blocks
On point set?
churn dash blocksm, on point set
With or without sashing?   Below are two fabric options I have on hand that might work for sashing.  Both seem a little dark to me.  I also have a really pale, almost blush, fabric but I don't think I have enough of it.  Width of sashing?  And then cornerstones:  medium, darker, the same fabric as the background, or different?
churn dash blocks
Or maybe an alternate set with churn dash, plain fabric, churn dash, etc.  Will I have to search for fabric?

There's the size of the quilt to consider and decide, too.  I guess I feel like I need to make some choices now so I know whether to make more blocks. 

There are so many options and decisions when making a quilt, especially when you're deciding as you go along instead of using a pattern.

Many thanks to Chookyblue for hosting this sew-along.  She has a list of participants with links to their blogs in the sidebar of her blog.  I think there are 41 of us.  Such a variety of quilts we'll have when we're finished!

Just recently one of my biggest challenges to making and finishing a quilt is finding backing fabric (at a price I'm willing to pay).  Prices of everything have gone up, including fabric.  Maybe I should begin choosing backing fabric before I begin a quilt?

We've had several days of wonderful thunderstorms, several days of just rain, some hot and humid days, and now, today, it was in the low 80s with low humidity, too.  One of those summer days one dreams of in the depths of winter's snow and ice.  A perfect day.

I hope you're doing well!  Thanks for visiting (and leaving a comment, if  you do).

--Nancy.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Buckeye Beauty Quilting Finished for One Monthly Goal

My One Monthly Goal for July was to hand quilt two more rows of this little Buckeye Beauty.  I quilted the remaining three and a half rows for a finish.  Next is to cut around the edges, choose binding (maybe those reds in a previous post--or not), and get it stitched down, both front and back, then was and dry for a complete finish.

This quilt will never win any prizes--it's a homey and homely utility quilt--but I hope it will find its way to some baby or toddler who needs the warmth it will provide. 

I'm continuing my search for backing fabrics for several different quilts, including Time Flies (looking for print with red/tan/black and hopefully related to time in some way) and Everyday Patchwork (seeking dark/teal green, possibly printed with other colors).  I love it when I can have the next quilt ready before I finish the current one. 

To keep with our 43-year tradition, we went to the state fair yesterday, the first since 2019 due to Covid.  We are so tired and sore!  We are having an enforced rest.  It would take an emergency and a surge of adrenaline for me to move faster than a turtle's pace today.  In general the fair was a disappointment but we did enjoy the natural resources with its prairie meadow flowers.  (Click on any of the photos below to enlarge and see detail.  The photos will open in a new window.)

I thought these delicate white flowers--whose name I do not know--were beautiful.  I think they are only about 1/4" wide.
It drizzled while we were there and I captured a photo with droplets of rain clinging to the leaves.  I love it!  I also like this plant's little seed pods.
This is Rattlesnake Master. I think its prickly globes are delightful.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal July Finishes at Elm Street Quilts.  Thank you for hosting, Patty.  Please visit the link-up to see what goals others set and met in July.

I'm also linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts and
> Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
Thank you for hosting, Alycia and Wendy.

--Nancy.
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