Santa So Far

Santa So Far

I received two more blocks from my bee-mates today, and it was a good conclusion to a Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day in class.

One boy cried, but not because of anything I said or did (horrors! how could he let English interfere with what he was thinking about as he sat in my classroom?)  Thirteen of the seventeen students that managed to come to class were unprepared, madly trying to finish up their assignment as they smiled and looked at me.  Four students were perfect.  I love them.  Three had emailed me that they couldn’t come to class with the following reasons: “I have a migraine and don’t feel so well,” “My mom’s stew didn’t sit so well and I don’t want to be running out of class all the time,” and “I have to be somewhere at 3.” (Our class begins at 3:00.)

After trying for nearly an hour to get the class off the ground, I made everyone sit down from where they were crowding around my desk, seeking help, and said, “You aren’t prepared.  Is it my fault?  Shall we postpone the next essay?”  And then I had what one of our teachers calls a “Come to Jesus” moment, when we re-acquaint them with the Truth, which is that not only does the teacher need to be prepared for class, but the students do too.  “And today, you are not prepared,” I said, calling for a break to clear the air, dismiss  the crying young man (family problems), and figure out where to go next.

So it was lovely to to come home to the two newest blocks, and I arranged them up on the wall, along with the one I’d made to replace Linda’s.  She gets a Full Pass on making quilt blocks because three weeks ago her home burned to the ground.  They escaped with their cat and their hard drive and not much else.  I’ll think of her every time I look at 54-40, or Fight.  Makes a bad day at class look pretty trivial, doesn’t it?

Bad Block 54-40 Fight

Maybe my bad day really began last night as I worked on the block?  Don’t worry.  I “un-stitched” it, flipped around the row, and put it back together properly.

I can only write about this now because a good colleague interrupted her grading to listen to me whine all the way home.

Of course, she took my side.  (Thanks, Judy.)  And doesn’t Santa look great, surrounded by lovely quilt blocks made by lovely friends?


Four more days until we reveal our Four-in-Art Quilts.  Come back and see the art on November 1st.


WIP: Bits and Pieces

America is a Tune_label

I’m finishing up bits and pieces, collecting bits and pieces, and am covered with bits and pieces of thread (On Mondays and Wednesdays — my teaching days — I’m always worried I’ll stand up in the front of the class with snips of thread sticking to me).  Above is the label, all sewn on, for my recent Schnibbles quilt: America Is A Tune (it must be sung together).  Finished that up tonight.

Carmel Blues Redux in process

This is the Schnibbles from last month all pinned up ready for quilting.

Santa and His Blocks_1

The blocks from the Mid-Century Modern Bee are starting to come in, and as they arrive, I iron them and smooth them up on the pinwall next to Santa.  It’s so fun to see them come in, with their nifty signature blocks (we decided to do a signature block and I’m really happy we did!).

Some Other WIPs:
Lollypop Tree–it calls to me from the guest room closet where it is on a hanger, like a siren song.  I ignore it, for the most part.

Friendship Quilt Blocks–I just need to sew them together.  What is taking me so long?  Our novel for class, Moon Over Manifest, has a signature quilt in the story line, so I took in a few blocks to show the students.  As I looked at the signatures of the women, I thought of each of these ladies.  This will be a gem.  At some point.

Santa (above).  I could start working on the houses and trees, I guess, now that I’ve finished up my Four-in-Art quilt for the November reveal.  (Suppressed squeal of joy)  Come back in a few days and see the gallery.  We have eight total now, so it should be a fun blogging/Flickr day.

Friendship Swap Blocks with Krista–we finally worked out our schedule and are ready to go.

I also have fabric for a Halloween quilt — oops!  Next year.

Not a WIP: finished my novel Light Between Oceans–loved it.  Can recommend it highly.

WIP new buttonLinking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced,
if she decides to run it, as I know she’s been very busy with getting things ready for market.


Finish-A-Long, Q3 Wrap-Up and Quarter 4 Goals

fal-q3 goals_2013

These were the goals of Quarter Three of the Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne of She Can Quilt.

1. Hunter’s Star is finished, and is renamed At the Bandstand, Under A Starry Night — Quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List.  I had started in 2002, and finished it up this year.

2. Rhonda got her hot mitts, and then I made a second pair for my daughter-in-law Kimberly, who liked them so much.

3. The colorful tote, made in Keiko Goke fabrics, is finished and I’ve been toting it around as a purse, I like it so much.

4. Lollypop Tree is still a quilt top, hanging in my closet.

5. Ditto the Friendship Quilt.

6. The so-called Facets quilt is finished, and has been re-christened as Juxtaposition, quilt #121 on my 200 Quilts List.

7. The Four-in-Art quilt with an owl theme was completed, and is named Congruence, quilt #119 on the 200 Quilts List.

8. The Citrus quilt was quilted together, quilt #118 on the list.

In addition, I completed a quilt for a new grandson: Charlie’s Quilt.

FAL Q4_2013

I’m taking off most of the oldies and adding three new quilts: a Christmas Quilt, a Schnibbles that I never quilted, and the Map-themed project for our Four-in-Art group (that’s the preliminary sketch there in the middle).  I left on the Friendship Quilt just to keep it alive–if I can just get the top together, then I’ll take it to my quilter to finish it up.

Santa Claus Center

(Well, at least the center is done!)

It’s good to set goals.  It’s also good not to turn them into sticks to beat yourself with.

FinishALong Button

Linking up with Leanne’s 2013 Finish-A-Long.  Do you have some things you’d like to finish?


A Quibble and A Muse or Two

Santa Quilt measuring

To prove to my Mid-Century Modern Bee, that I am on task, getting ready for their blocks, I decided to start on the center Santa.  And instead of raw-edge fusible applique, I went with needle-turn hand applique.  The directions are sketchy, at best, on this center square, just the big piece of art (shown in disguise, above) and a note to cut the finished center piece to 24 1/2″ square.  I didn’t catch that one at first, and started appliqueing.

Santa Pieces

I traced the pattern, in reverse (taped up onto a window) onto freezer paper, which I then ironed onto the top of the fabrics, and cut 1/4″ around. This pile was where I started on Saturday morning, while I listened to our church’s General Conference, a respite in the wild and crazy world.

Chopping off the Top of the Tree

I was pretty far along when I realized that the picture was too big for the alloted measurement, by 1/4″, and that was with no seam allowances.  So I cut the top of the tree off.

Santa Center appliqued

This is where I am tonight.  I must have really gotten excited about shrinking this as it now measures 22″ top-to-bottom approximately, but now I have enough room for a smaller inner border of red.  That’s the quibble.  Now to the Muse(s).


My grandchildren came for the weekend.  This is the first set (4 girls) –well, three of the first set.  We made cookies that we later decorated when the second set (4 boys) arrived.  I’ve made each grandchild a quilt, so you could say their very arrival on this earth served as inspiration.

Men Ready for Meeting

The father of the four sons, Chad, is on the left and the father of the four daughters, Matthew, is on the right, flanking my saintly husband.  While they look fully grown to you, in my mind, their are young boys, scrappily fighting in the upstairs bedroom over who gets the Transformer toy, like Chad’s boys in our front room shortly after they arrived.  Boys will be boys, and that always involves a bit of wrestling around.


I was the muse for my sister Susan, when she made me this beautiful shawl/scarf, which I’ve already used a couple of times to keep me warm while grading.  A noted historian, she writes comments on my blog like:

“I find the names of these blocks quite interesting in their historic nature. Fifty-four Forty or Fight refers to the battle over the Oregon boundary between US and Great Britain. It was a campaign slogan in 1844. Clay’s Choice no doubt refers to the great Whig politician Henry Clay, who helped broker the Missouri Compromise that would set back the sectional conflict until the eruption of the Civil War in 1861.”

I love her and was glad to learn about my quilt blocks!

Caitlin's Quilt Top

My quilt group is also inspiring–we’ve been going strong for about fifteen years, and Caitlin (above) is a new member with her first quilt top, just finished last Friday night.

Greek Fest Cross

I saw this when we went to Greek Days at the local church, just a couple of miles from us.  It reminded me of the Marcelle Medallion, which has been so popular around the web, and I can’t tell you how many pictures of stone floors I have from around Europe, quilt patterns in all of them.

Greek Fest Visit

I was quite impressed by the stories told by the priest, as he led us through his sanctuary, telling us of connections both modern and ancient, and it was an interesting point and counterpoint to the thoughtful talks I listened to in my church’s conference, as all these things remind me that we are more alike than different in our hearts and our minds, whether or not we worship the same.

Sunrise October

This morning, we tiptoed out of the house, the grandchildren still asleep before their big day at Disneyland, to see this glorious sunrise.  We stopped to take it all in, then moved on, pausing at each street, savoring the changing colors.  This, too, is a muse of grand proportions.

It seems that every time I hit a rough patch, it stills me enough so that I can move in a new direction.  Who would have thought that after finishing Kaleidoscope, with all its fussy English Paper Piecing, I would be appliquing a Santa down to a new square of cloth?  But this is the direction the Muses have beckoned me to follow.

I am always frustrated by the rough patches and I can hear my parents chuckling in the background, as they know I like things to always be still and placid and never, ever, in turmoil.  I’m a harmony junkie, if you will, not only in relationships, but everywhere in my life.  “This too will pass,” my father used to say to me when I’d come to them in tears, upset by something or another, yet I always found it hard to believe their soothing counsel.

But I feel quite enriched this weekend, in spite of the chaos of an afternoon of eight children.  I savored their noise and games, hoping it would never end, but of course realizing (that for sanity’s sake) it needed to.  The trip to the Greek Days Festival on a hot October’s day.  A visit to my sister last week.  A new sewing project.  Thoughtful and touching messages to the heart.  And last, but not least, the best inspiration of all: the anniversary of our first kiss, twenty-five years ago.

May your muses find you this week.  Happy Quilting!