Quilt Finish · This-and-That

Quilt Finish: Blossom and This & That for May 2023

I’ve been storing up some This-and-Thats, so buckle up, here we go.

First up is a quilt finish. I started this in June of 2021, and finished it today. I was teaching classes about this to Guilds and thought I needed to make up a sample. Or two. Or three. But finally, the genesis of all the samples is finished. I promised it to my sister, who always impresses me with her ability to adapt to whatever the world throws at her. She told me it will probably hang in her soon-to-be-finished basement (she lives in a colder climate than we do).

I quilted the petals simply, and the surrounding area and little more densely. It’s made of all Anna Maria Horton fabrics, from a wide range of her collections.

I seem to be going through irons like water lately. That means that this last one only lasted a few years, instead of decades. We’ll see what the new Shark one does. I’m sort of over name-brand irons. I look for the vent holes and if it has a ton of places for the steam to exit, I usually buy it.

Thought you’d like to see the full branching of that Mother of Pearl plant I showed you last week. These colors!

This popped up on Sherri McConnell’s Instagram today, and I love them. You’ve got to keep your eye on Sherri. She is Industry personified, and always has such fun things to share. So head over to her blog to see all her talents as well as links to the download. The free downloads for this block can also be found at Fat Quarter Shop, as they are building a Charity Quilt with delightful blocks.

Continuing with the flower theme, the geraniums on the left are from our front yard, and have just thrived in this cool, rainy weather we’ve had. The flower on the right is from our Chinese Fringe bush in the side yard. I love how they uncurl like they are strips of paper (like quilling? remember that?).

We’re three weeks into the garden, and so far we haven’t killed anything. The bare-limbed jacaranda took a hit this year from all the cold weather and the jury is still out on whether it will come back to life. Once the heat lands, we spend all summer trying to keep the vegetables alive, working hard to get our proverbial “64-dollar tomato.”

Why yes, I will be up early to watch all the Pomp-and-Circumstance, especially the bagpipers. I already purchased my souvenir, but it won’t be here for a couple of weeks:

I plan to use this when I inaugurate my kitchen. If you want to have your eyes glaze over, a lot of it is on Instagram under the hashtag #itsnewkitchentime2023 but that does not mean I’m doing this in 2024, or 2025, or ever again. I’m weary of not being to cook normally, although we are getting good at soaking our pasta to make dinner. And I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I made a pan of brownies:

That Breville oven has saved my sanity during this past eight weeks. The tile went up today on the backsplash, and as I type this, our contractor, Saintly Dennis, is installing the drawer/door fronts. Okay, hang on. We are almost finished.

Did you see the costumery of the 2023 Met Gala? This outfit above wasn’t one of them, but it was waaaay better looking that most of them, and this Rainbow Woman is completely covered, unlike a lot of what was worn at the Gala. Geesh. It had such potential.

Two sides of motherhood (in advance of Mother’s Day):

When your Young Adults are of a certain age, this might be a great sweatshirt for them.

And this is for when your Mom has passed away, and you are surprised that Reality is so different than the Expectation.

Happy May Flowers to you, all!


The Ladies are Back: This & That February 2023

They’ve lain quietly in the quilt block graveyard since December 2021, and I’ve decided it’s time to resurrect them. I have combed the book I have by Freddy Moran — the designer of this block — a bazillion times, looking for ideas. I don’t know about you, but ideas often go wandering around in my house at night and when I wake up, I can’t find them. So today, I’m writing about my newest take on this quilt.

The Gridster Bee ladies made these blocks and notions for me:

I wanted to use all the blocks, but some are needed to help jumpstart either a planned smaller quilt or majestic back art.

UPDATED: You can find all the patterns up on the circled page, above, in the header.

The center ladies are together and I have notions and blocks on two sides. I liked the giant zig-zag I found in the other books I looked through, but thought pops of color might help make it interesting. All the black will be predominantly black-on-white prints and all the white will be — wait for it — predominantly white-on-black prints.

I’m cutting a bunch of squares and rectangles. The trick is to reverse half the blocks:

So…that’s ten-thousand being made one direction and ten-thousand the other way. I’m taking bets that I won’t do this correctly, but I will be “snowballing” for a while.

Today’s the last day of QuiltCon, and in that spirit, here’s my story. We had a nice speaker at Guild the other night, but I must have sat down at the wrong table. Every quilt she showed (such as a Gwen Marston liberated stars, a traditional spider web, etc.) the lady next to me said (in a not-soft voice): “Do you like this quilt? I don’t like this quilt. I hate modern quilts. I don’t like these quilts.”

The spiderweb block is a modern block?

This is #1306 from BlockBasePlus. Name: Spider Web. Date first published: 1933 in the Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Company periodical. The guild speaker’s blocks were a bit different, with no cute triangles on the corners, but I think 1933 qualifies a block as a “traditional quilt block.”

from here

This full, beautiful quilt is titled Beach Umbrellas, and it’s made by Cindy Wiens of LiveAColorfulLife. It’s made with the free spiderweb block found in my PayHip shop in the Pattern Lite section (three different sizes of blocks!), but unlike what was shown at our guild the other night, I do think Cindy has made it modern. Her use of a softer block in the borders — no, there is no overlay: she used pastels to get that look — and the bright, bold colors really make great use of this traditional block.

Here’s another block (on the right) that might be pushed into the “modern” category with its use of non-tea-dyed, contemporary fabrics, but I’d still consider it a traditional block. I doubt my neighbor would have. This block was from my class at Road to California 2023, taught by Becky Goldsmith. Her quilt:

All of this is to say, thank goodness for the Modern Quilt Guild which has pushed all of us quilters into updating our stash, brightening up our outlook, and helping see the possibilities in traditional blocks. Cindy’s quilt, above, would have been pretty humdrum if it were made in tea-dyed prints with tiny rosebuds on them (or “calicos” as the Guild’s guest speaker kept saying). I’m not going this year to QuiltCon, but I did get my granola made (as promised on IG), and I did watch some rain.

Lastly, another friend of mine has passed away. Judy was a gifted artist, quilter, bookstore-owner, friend, cook, wife, mother, and grandmother and that’s just some of her titles. Last year she’d had a stroke, which confined her to bed, half paralyzed. I tried to visit her often and listen to her stories, as I considered my own wealth of blessings: health, mobility, and an ability to still sew a seam. She kept me focused. She loved Ireland (shown in the photo). She could do a deft mimic of the accents and dialects she heard while there, and I still say Pos-Toffice when I head out to mail a letter.

When I was Trader Joe’s early this month, they were selling those annual bunches of daffodils, and lo-and-behold, these were from Ireland. I dropped by two bunches on the way home, trying to put off that errand because the car was full of groceries, but the little sprite inside kept saying, “Do it now, Elizabeth.” Judy was sleeping, but she awakened briefly to receive the flowers. I gave her aides directions on how to put the flowers in water, saw that Judy was back asleep, tapped a kiss from my fingers onto her cheek, and left. She died within the week.

Thursday my husband and I went over and picked up her fabric and yarn collection from her daughter. As I was sorting through them, preparing them for her friends to come over and have our own mini-version of an Irish wake, I discovered this: a house block signed by Freddy Moran, 2001. And the memory came flooding back.

That was the year that Judy and I both took classes at Road to California. Our classes were right next to each other: hers with Freddy and mine with Joen Wolfrom. At our lunch break we ate our sack lunches together, as Judy, with her delicious sense of black humor, told me some funny stories about Freddy seeming to help herself to her students’ scraps. We both laughed.

While a traditional Irish saying begins: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,” I prefer to focus on the latter half: “Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” In my ladies quilt, l will also include these patches, thinking as I stitch:

my dear Judy, may heaven always look like your beloved Ireland–


And this week…

I don’t know…just working hard on a new pattern. Here I’m using the Curves Tool in Affinity Photo (Command + M) to lighten up the image. I think images look better in print if they are a little lighter, and a touch more contrast. My new pattern has (so far) about 50 images in it, mostly photographs, as I try to explain it well.

I’m excited about it.

It took me several whiles to figure out what the heck an Artboard was, but now I love them. This is my Warehouse Artboard. Artboards are like grabbing another sheet of paper while you are thinking about something. This pattern currently has about 10 artboards, with different ideas on each one. And yes, a place where I park the ideas that didn’t quite work out, like that border idea at the top. I didn’t know A THING about digitally designing when I purchased the Affinity Designer, about three (?) years ago? But they have books, and tutorials and nice guys on YouTube, so I’m figuring out things as I go. And one of my favs is the Curves (shown in the video).

Thank you, Covid, for not terrorizing me this month. But judging from the Stories on Instagram, more flu, gunk, covid, disease, pestilence is coming our way here in California. I made plane reservations to see my Dad on his 97th birthday in December and I figure I’ll just come home and quarantine as it’s pretty much a sure bet that I’ll catch something up there in the snowy climate.

I put this up on Instagram (whatever happened to that program?) and took my ballot out to the mailbox. We have BallotTrax and it’s already been received, and since I live in a non-hysterical-about-mail-in-ballots state, it’s been counted, too. So cool.

And then the next day I got another ballot in the mail. What?? Yes, now I’m one of *those* voters. If I chose to use it. I had recently renewed my driver’s license online and must have checked the wrong box somewhere. I called the Voting People, and he said just destroy it. Or write VOID across it and mail it back. I can also drop it by, if I wanted to. (I’ll just destroy it.)

I’ve been saving these for a while:

Yes, mine is next week, thank you very much. Right before Joan’s funeral, where I’ll be helping with the family meal afterward. Life just kind of rolls on and on, doesn’t it?

This was in the New York Times. I love this. Every once in a while, my mother will hand me a file she has on me. Now that she can’t see anymore, they don’t come my way, but her handwriting looks so much like Eliza’s grandmother’s handwriting.

Lastly, GREAT NEWS!! I found a source for the 17-lb. vellum I use when I do Foundation Paper Piecing. It’s from JAM Paper and Envelope. It comes in 100-sheet packs and 500-sheet reams. I purchased the ream I have many ages ago and it is still providing me with many happy moments of foundation paper piecing.

So, Happy Halloween, Happy Voting, Happy End Of Political Mailers, Happy Life–


This and That • October 2022

Yes, it does, but sometimes I forget and think that it’s the State-of-our-Nation or the News or my List-of-Things-To-Do, but really…we all know. This was the block for our Gridster Bee this month for Carolyn. It’s a block from Brigette Heitland of Zen Chic.

And this was made because of Love. It’s a curtain that goes around a lab table that has a sensitive microscope: you need darkness to do the work.

It’s made out of black-out lining, and after a couple of repairs when the chairs ran over it, I wrote this on the side. Why am I talking about my husband’s lab at the university? Because he’s clearing it out, shutting it down, and it was like Old Home Week in there. I seriously have not been up on campus for like three years, well before the Covid Shut-Down. So it was strange walking through all those familiar places (I earned my Undergraduate and Masters Degrees in Creative Writing there, so yes — I spent a lot of time on campus at one point in my life).

On the left above Dave’s desk: a photo my friend took of me when I was an undergrad, and then two other photos are pivotal times in our life together: the small silver frame holds a family vacation taken about one month after we were married: Dave, Me, and the Four Children. The middle frame, just above the tape dispenser is when our first son married.

Dave got this building built, as I like to say. I won’t be leaving any buildings on campus to my memory, but I will be leaving a black-out lab curtain. Which they will probably throw away.

Speaking of trash, this was us yesterday morning, on the way to the Free Dump Day.

Why is it that I find even trash interesting? (aside from the smell)

All done! Regular Trash and Hazardous Waste Trash. Showing our love to our home, one happy trash day at a time.

This is the second Louise Erdrich book this year. Because she reads her own books, it’s like entering a trance to listen to them. In grad school we used to call it the Fictive Dream, and the goal (always) was to get the reader there, and then not break the spell. Erdrich has succeeded with this novel.

A couple of weeks ago, when my friend Joan was bedridden, recovering from a stroke, then all of a sudden another, and then her Stage Four lung cancer was diagnosed (she’s not a smoker) and we rang the doorbell to say hello for just a minute, or maybe not. Depending. Her granddaughter Greta answered and came out on the porch, and then was joined by Hanna, then Elsa, the Three Graces, I think, all lovely and tender and shining while their grandmother was dying in the back room, only we didn’t quite know it yet. At my stage of life, I recognized quickly that this potentially sad news was completely unwelcome to these young women, and how to find a way to step over the gap of fighting hard, unwilling to let go to that place where you accept and wait and watch? I remembered Maxwell’s quote and Susan Sontag’s stitched quote about the Kingdom of the Well and the Kingdom of the Sick. Joan had lived in the Kingdom of the Well for nearly all her 92 years, felled last year by a broken hip, but still calling me up to check in with me, ask me something, folding me into her life, always.

And now this.

I read them the quotes, and Greta wept. I cried inside, both for Joan and for these three beautiful Graces of granddaughters. Elsa slipped us into Joan’s room — just for a minute — and brought chairs. After five minutes, we began pulling away, saying our good-byes, not wanting to tire her out, this radiant bright spirit of a friend. I didn’t know then it would be the last time to see her. Do we ever know? We left Joan’s favorite, Irish Soda Bread on the doorstep for them to find when they returned at night from the hospital, and left our love through texts and notes, and then…she left us. Joan was called Home.

When I was writing my novel for grad school, about a woman who loses her family in one icy accident on the road, I asked Joan if I could interview her. Long ago, her young adult son was riding in the hills with another friend, taking a break from families, renewing their friendships when the vehicle suddenly turned over, tragically taking the life of both men. Joan was left another granddaughter and years of grief. We talked a long time about what it felt like on that day of the news, the day of the funeral and burial, the hollow spot left for years afterward. I don’t know if my writing reflected all that Joan shared with me, but from her, I learned about resilience and pain and sorrow and forgiveness and moving on.

In our brief time at her bedside, I also read this thought to Joan, at her granddaughters’ request:

[S]ince this life is such a brief experience, there must be regular exit routes. Some easy. Some hard. Some sudden. Others lingering. Therefore, we cannot presume, even by faith, to block all these exits, all the time, and for all people. Nor, if possessed of full, eternal perspective, would we desire so to do.

Since certain recollections are withheld, we do not now see the end from the beginning. But God does. Meanwhile, we are in what might be called “the murky middle.” Therein, however, we can still truly know that God loves us, individually and perfectly, even though we cannot always explain the meaning of all things happening to us or around us.

Neal A. Maxwell, “The Great Plan of the Eternal God”

Take care,

Gridsters · This-and-That

Печворк Візерунки

aka Patchwork Patterns (in Ukranian).

This search term showed up in my stats this past week, albeit in Russian (I translated it into Ukranian) and since I’m always interested in the world, I thought it would be fun to use it as a title, and see what happens.

But aside from the title, this post is a This-and-That style of post, which means rounding up a few loose ends and tucking them in.

We had a fun block this month for the Gridster Bee. We used this pattern from ScissorTailQuilting, but there are others out there, as well as a whole combination of names for this thing. I’ve made this block a handful of times for bees, and it’s always some new version of the block for the same-old familiar block. I’ve also done a Friendship Swap, back in the Flickr Days, organized by Susan of Patchwork n Play. I swapped blocks with Krista, and recently she just finished up her quilt. Here was mine:

What’s fun is seeing multiples of the same block together:

The Queen died. (Old News, I know.) One of my friends did a link-to-your-relative program and she came up as 10th cousin. As I have Scottish and English blood in my lineage, I’ll bet I could match that.

I found this quite moving, but I was only getting the news in drips, in between everything. First time a woman has joined the Vigil of the Princes, but I’m guessing with Princess Anne, there was really no discussion about whether or not she’d be doing this. (If you click on that link, turn on the sound as the music is lovely.) I think I liked watching this because secretly I’m a total British Royals fan (well, some of them), and because it was some of the first news that wasn’t the horrific war in Ukraine, and the awful political fighting of our elections (although I hear the British elections could give us a run for our money).

I also took a road trip.

Clouds over Red Rock Country, Southern Utah

You can see more of it here or the condensed, video version here.

I also delivered my quilt to my daughter-in-law Kim, who said she loved her quilt. Thank you for all your comments on the last post. I am slowly writing back to you all (see below for why I am slow at this), and appreciate all the things you mentioned about the tricky relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.

Emilee’s missionary farewell was the main reason we went to Utah, and it was good to see her launch herself into the world. If you live in Argentina and meet her, be kind — she’s lovely! And to prove I’m a normal woman human, right after arriving in northern Utah and two days before the family get-together I hit Dillard’s department store, looking for a top to break myself out of my covid wardrobe. I loved this dotty one, and glad I found it. Most of my clothes are so tired, having been used/worn throughout covid. Anyone else feel the same? My quilts are more up-to-date than what’s hanging in my closet!

Lastly, I finally gathered up my Autumn Leaf blocks from the Gridsters and put the center together. Coming soon: borders!

And Pumpkins! And Witches! And Halloween! And November, then December, then…

Guess I’d better get quilting–


This and That • (July) & August 2022

Yes, I skipped July, but here we are for August!

My fabric forest as Queen Bee:

What a leafy wonderland! The small leaves at the top are their signature blocks.

I’m leaving Gridster Bee, my creation of five years-going-on-six at the end of this year. I don’t know what Patti will do with the bee after that, but you can contact her directly if you would like to check if there are any slots available.

(Madeline Dore, now found here, but used to be found *here*)

This worked out for many years and they are still a great group, which you can see by clicking on the Instagram hashtag #gridsterbee.

I did finish the Gridster Bee block for August already. Robin asked us to use colorful, bright, kids-oriented fabrics, of which I’m sad to report I only had a few. How my stash has changed! It was a fun block, and on the signature block, we were to write our favorite (children’s) book:

This was mine. I once raised an “Alexander” and today he is a fabulous father, friend and son. Who would have thought we’d make it through those years in such fine form?

Becky Goldsmith, a favorite, has put up a video on how to change up our EPP stitches. Take a look.

I’m writing this next tip here, and not on IG because I don’t want Them to Find Out.

Although Instagram seems to be behaving a *touch* better these days, I’ve taken to reading Instagram on my home computer, through the browser (like Safari or Firefox, not the IG app). It’s like the Old Days! I only see the people I follow, and I can comment on their posts without the annoying deluge of suggested posts and ads. Try it, before They take it away.

Trip to Utah Last Month was Busy…But Never Fear!

I managed a mini Shop Hop while I was there. In spurts. Like 10 minutes at a time over several days. But it’s always nice to see fabric where it lives on shelves in fabric stores, and Utah has some mighty nice shops. Here’s a link to their website, where it lists some of the shops I was able to hit. However, I missed our Southern California Shop Hop while I was gone. And yes, the yellow fabric from Mother Superior’s Fab! Fabrics (lower right) was used in the making of my Sunflower! block.

I came home with a horrid case of asthma (I am making progress, having finished with two of the four medications–hooray) but at night, when I think the pollution has cleared out, I’ll go outside in our side garden and enjoy the sky (an old photo, above). We also saw some stellar skies one morning near Beaver, Utah, when an amazing sunrise opened up our travels home that day. So many people around me have had extraordinarily difficult challenges – from devastating health diagnoses to broken hearts — and so I welcome these small colorful blessings, helping me keep my balance.

Circling back around to Mother Superior’s Fab Fabric Shop from my Utah Shop-hop, that store was the brainchild of Heather Purcell, who with her husband Bob, started and ran Superior Threads. Yesterday was her funeral, as she died of cancer too early. Mourning her, I clicked in to watch it on Zoom, but was cheered by the view of so many of her quilts, displayed at the front of the church. I listened to her first son, and recognized so many of her sayings and inflections. Her sister spoke, and again, I heard Heather. I went in and out of tears during the 90-minute service — especially during Bob’s talk — and at the end, everyone paused as the choir sang “Aloha ʻOe” (Farewell to Thee), before the family filed out behind her. Aloha, Heather. We will miss you.

Photo of Heather and I in front of one of her quilts, 2012.

Speaking of 2012, this was my summer To-Do List from a decade ago.

And to wind this up this This & That post, I noticed that Laundry Basket Quilts has restocked their Tannenbaum quilt. I’m happy to report that I finished mine up in April of this year. I’m calling it early. The inner panel is from Laundry Basket Quilts with some changes in the background fabric. I added the outer borders, and yes, the pattern is in my PayHip shop (link on upper right).

Having Christmas lights in our bushes year-round makes me happy.

Take time for a sunset–