Sunday, December 3, 2017

On Ringo Lake: Week 1

A year ago I joined my very first mystery quilt. It was Bonnie Hunter's En Provence quilt and it ended up being my 76th quilt, A Team En Provence.

This week I started my second Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. Here's a look at my week 1 clue. I'm changing up the color scheme a little bit, but I'm loving the aqua and gray.

Linked to:

BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
Moving it Forward @ Em's Scrap Bag
Wednesday Wait Loss @ The Inquiring Quilter
WIP Link @ Silly Mama Quilts
WIPs Wednesday @ Esther's Blog

December 2017 One Monthly Goal

I am not at all sure how we are in December already! It's time for my last One Monthly Goal of the year. I'm so glad that Elm Street Quilts hosts this monthly motivation. I know I have been more proactive since I started participating a year ago. 

This year I was a lot more social with my quilting, participating in my first online bee, several comfort quilt donations, and SO MANY quilt alongs! Several of them are finishing up, so my December goal is to quilt at least three of my finished quilt tops.

I have more than that ready to quilt, but this is such a busy month with the holidays, Sinterklaas, our son's GOLDEN birthday, Christmas, the end of school, and keeping up with the quilt alongs still in progress, I think three is a good goal. 

I'm going to start with the three Cards 'n' Cowboy quilts I made for #quiltsforvegas. I got a little waylayed last month. I'm hoping it's not too late to get these in the hands of new recipients for Christmas. 

Linked to:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

#91: Cancer Can Kick My Donkey

My 91st quilt is going to a special person in California. Renee and I met many years ago when I was a marketing director and she was a first time author whose book was assigned to my care. Renee wrote a powerful memoir about finding faith after being abused by those should have been most trustworthy. 

Unfortunately, I sustained my brain injury right around the time her book was released. I've always felt bad that I wasn't able to do more to get her story out. 

Recently, Renee was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer that has metastasized to her liver, lymph nodes, and lungs. Her doctor's prognosis is grim. My heart is broken for her that she has to endure yet another painful trial, and for her husband and child as they face an uncertain future that may not include the one they love.

My words fail me in times like these. I feel helpless as I read her updates, but am inspired by her transparency, honesty, and bravery. I have learned that rectal cancer is particularly cruel. I knew I needed to make her a quilt. 

Renee and many of her friends have freely used some cheeky language as they talk about her particular type of cancer. Their conversation inspired my design. 

I chose blue as the primary color, because it is the color most often used for colorectal cancer awareness. Although brown is also used at times. 

For the letters, I used Lori Holt's awesome new book Spelling Bee. I have no doubt I'll be referring to it again and again. 

The donkey pattern has a cool history. It was first published in the Kansas City Star in 1931! Tim Latimer of Tim Quilts, wrote more about it on his blog

The only change I made to use Lori's book to make a small "R" for Renee on the donkey's blanket.

The letters were really fun to put together and the tutorials are some of the most clearly written I've seen. I posted a letter a day to Instagram. It was fun to have people guess what the letters would spell. 

Other than the little tweak with adding the letter, the donkey went together very quickly. 

 I did something different for the border. I cut the corner pieces on the diagonal.

For the back, I wanted a super soft minky. I quilted it with a great big spiral centered on Renee's R. The quilt is quite large so I definitely got an arm workout wrestling with it on my domestic machine, but I'm happy with how it turned out. 

Quilting from the front. 

I finished the quilt at night, but couldn't wait to take a picture. 

I kept with the backside theme with the label. I borrowed the image from another of Renee's friends, Heidi, who designed the artwork and is selling prints to help offset costs for Renee's treatment.

As with all our quilts, we finish by praying a blessing over it and the person who will receive it, and D wraps his love in it. When I told D about Renee and why I was making her the quilt, he said, "Well then, this quilt needs extra love."

This quilt got a little extra "kick" added to it. One of D's friends was over while it was hanging on the back porch. D and C wanted to give cancer a swift kick, too.

I hope this quilt gives Renee a little comfort on the hard days and serves as a tangible reminder of all the love being sent her way. 

To see more pictures of this project, check the hashtag #cckmdquilt on Instagram. You can see what I'm currently working on by following me at deJongDreamHouse.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 One Monthly Goal Update: Cancer Can Kiss My Donkey Quilt

When I decided that this cancer comfort quilt would be my November One Monthly Goal as part of Elm Street Quilt's monthly motivation, I thought it would be a fairly easy finish. The letters were made with patterns from Lori Holt's awesome  book, Spelling Bee.  The donkey pattern was first published in 1931!

This quilt top went together quickly, but the super soft minky was a pain in the...donkey.  Minky has a tendency to shift. And the larger the quilt, the more likely the minky is to shift. This quilt turned out much larger than I intended! With all those spiral turns, I had to stop more than once to rip out areas where the minky folded over or wrinkled.

But all is well, and I finished it on the last day of the month. I'll take a picture in daylight tomorrow and write up a full post about this quilt. In the meantime, I'm going to post this entry to the link up before midnight!

Updated: Here is the full write up on the quilt.

Linked to: 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #20: Lovely Dishes

I've gotten a little behind with my Grandma's Kitchen blocks. Life has gotten busy and it's going to get busy as of this week with Thanksgiving Sinterklaas December 5, D's golden birthday later that week, and of course Christmas, and all the end of year fun. Stress shuts down my creativity so it took me a little longer to figure out how I wanted to do my blocks.

For the moment, I've skipped block 19, and worked on block number 20 from Pat Sloan, Lovely Dishes. 

With the holiday season kicking off today, it's fitting that my block celebrates the time of year that we are most likely to use our "lovely dishes." Growing up in Minnesota, my early years found us celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas by making the trek through (often) snowy roads to tiny Blackduck, which is only about a hundred miles from the Canadian border. 

When I called mom to ask about Gramma's dishes, she said that Gramma had some white china with gold on them. I couldn't picture them but that's probably because I would have been sitting at the kids table with paper plates!

This picture is from the house Gramma and Grampa lived in before I was born. I think maybe Gramma's lovely dishes are in this cabinet.

I don't have a good picture of Gramma's lovely dishes, but I did find this picture of her silverware. I took it the last time I was at her house in Arizona, while she was in the hospital with mom. I had a feeling it would be my last time there so I took time to take it all in.

While browsing for pictures, I also found these pictures from my early Christmases in Blackduck. That's me transfixed by the big frog.

My brother and I checking out the nativity in the basement.

Once I got a little older, we started celebrating a combined Thanksgiving/Christmas in Wisconsin because it was a more central location for everyone. One of my favorite holidays took place when I was maybe ten. My aunt Terri and uncle John were caretakers of a Girl Scout camp. There was plenty of room for everyone to sleep and explore the grounds. I wish I had pictures from that weekend.

In my teens, Gramma and my Aunties were over the big holiday prep, lovely dishes or no. So we started celebrating our Thanksgiving/Christmas gatherings at a casino! All you can eat buffet and no clean up. While the smoky environment wasn't so fun for me, the adults sure enjoyed the entertainment.

This picture wasn't taken at one of the casino Christmases, but it doesn't capture the tone of our fun-loving family.

As an adult, I often spent Thanksgiving at home with friends. But after getting married and become a mom, we started spending some of our holidays in Arizona with my mom and Gramma. 

Sometimes we enjoyed a small dinner at mom's house. And sometimes we joined the rest of the retirees for a buffet in the clubhouse. 

I love this picture of Gramma in her poinsettia sweatshirt. She loved getting her poinsettia each year, and often wore her fancy sweatshirts in the winter months.

One last Christmas story to share, and it's one of my favorites. It's one of those memories where the origin gets fuzzy after awhile, but family memory and inside jokes remain. Patsy & Elmo had big hit in the late 70s/early 90s called "Gramma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." Of course, we loved singing that song to Gramma Ann. And we especially liked making up our own lyrics to it. 

After Grampa died, we loved to tease Gramma whenever she got special attention from the men around her. And because Gramma had lived in her 55+ community for several decades, everyone adored her and spoiled her. One year, someone at the park gave Gramma a peck on the cheek. It was just the fodder we needed to make up a song: "Gramma got kissed by a stranger, walking over to Chi's house Christmas Eve."

Smiling at that Christmas memory, I started this block with the red reindeer print. The acorns and leaves are for Thanksgiving. And the gold accents for the rim of Gramma's lovely dishes.

I still haven't put any of my rows together yet, though I did have the idea that I will use some of the filler space to include important dates, like Gramma's birthday, wedding date, etc.

Previous blocks:
If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:
Pat Sloan (Click here to see other Lovely Dishes blocks)
BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
MOP Monday @ Tweety Loves Quilting
Moving it Forward @ Em's Scrap Bag
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She 
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Wednesday Wait Loss @ The Inquiring Quilter
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
WIP Link @ Silly Mama Quilts

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

PEI Modern Quilt Guild: Clue 3

Between being extra sleepy and extra distracted this month, my quilt projects have been piling up! I now have 5 quilt tops to quilt! Time for me to get into the holiday spirit with the Hallmark channel and crank out some quilting!

In the meantime, I have managed to finish my November assignment for the Prince Edward Island Modern Quilt Guild mystery quilt. 

The name of this block is lozenge. It was a little tricky for me because the Anne of Green Gables fabric I'm using are from a 10" layer cake. I only have one square of some of the prints and I messed up the cutting on one--grrr... But I'm happy with how these turned out.

If you'd like to join along, it's not too late! You can find details on the PEI Modern Quilt Guild website or Facebook page.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #18: The Fridge

And here we are at week 18 of  Pat Sloan's Grandma's Kitchen quilt along! The name of this week's block is The Fridge.

Pat's block is inspired by the old-fashioned metal ice trays, which amazingly enough are available on Amazon for the *bargain* price of $37.95 for 2!

My version of the block is not inspired by frozen water, but warm water. Gramma loved to swim! 

The fabric I chose for my block represent the lakes of her native Minnesota, the oceans of her travels, and "her" pool at retirement community where she lived for the last several decades of her life. 

She loved turquoise and I think every swimsuite I ever saw her wear was either turquoise or some shade of water blue.

She was a staple at her water aerobics class. She was quite fit and healthy until her 90s.

It was only fitting then, that after she passed, my mom snuck her in to visit her pool one last time.

Some of my other quilt alongs are finishing up, plus I finished a long overdue quilt in memory of a friend's sweet daughter.

That said, I haven't started putting my rows together yet or printing out photos, so here's my current digital layout.

Previous blocks:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

One Monthly Goal: November 2017

This is my 11th month of setting a One Monthly Goal with Elm Street Quilts. I haven't hit 100%, but I've hit the majority of my goals. I know that I have made several of those goals especially because I shared with the world that I was going to finish it. That is especially the case with last month's goal, Stella's memory quilt.  I'm so glad to have had the accountability to get that quilt in the hands of her mama.

So now we're in the home stretch of 2017. I have a bunch of quilt along finishing up and I have three quilts for Las Vegas to finish quilting,  but my goal is to finish another comfort quilt. It's for a friend who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer that has already spread to her lungs and liver. The outlook isn't good and she is feeling all the things you would expect of someone dealt such a blow.

On her better days, she cracks jokes about the type of cancer she has. Colon cancer is messy. It's stinky. And it's really cruel. This friend is not one for flowers and platitudes. The idea for her quilt came to me late one night and immediately got up and sketched it out.

The letters will be pieced using Lori Holt's awesome new book, Spelling Bee, which  I already know I will be using over and over. And if you don't mind me being a fan girl for a moment, this book is seriously cool. With the BEST directions and layout I've seen in a quilt book, it has patterns for capital and lowercase letters in two sizes, numbers, punctuations, plus a whole bunch of fun things like animals, vehicles, a camera, and even a sewing machine. Plus, there's a ton of quilt patterns in there. I love word quilts. In the past, I've been paper piecing my letters. But now, this is my new favorite alphabet. /gush.

The donkey is from a pattern that's been around a long time. It was first published in the Kansas City star in 1931! Tim Latimer of Tim Quilts wrote more about the history here.

I chose brown and blue for the main colors because they are both used for colorectal cancer ribbons and awareness. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect minky for the back. Chocolate and blue were so popular when my son was born, but it's harder to find now.

Learn more about colorectal cancer here at the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Linked to:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 One Monthly Goal Follow Up: Stella's Memory Quilt

As October comes to a close, it's time to follow up on my One Monthly Goal for October, to make Stella's Memory Quilt. Stella was a very special baby born to a friend of mine. But, for reasons still unknown, Stella was stillborn. 

I am very happy to report that Stella's quilt is done and I have plans to deliver it to Stella's mama this week. 

Linked to:

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