Sunday, December 31, 2017

One Monthly Goal :: December 2017 Update

Thanks to Elm Street Quilts and her monthly challenge, One Monthly Goal, I was motivated to finish a few of my unfinished quits before the end of the year.

My goal was to finish the three Cards 'n' Cowboys quilts that I started for #quiltsforvegas.

I'm happy to report that all three quilts are finished and have made their way to Las Vegas and hopefully, by now, are on their way to their new homes.

As a bonus, I was also able to finish my Tula Pink Butterfly as part of Gnome Angel's sew along

I gifted this beauty to my son's incredible principal. 

Early in the month, I finished my Cancer Can Kiss My Donkey quilt, bringing the month's finish total to 5, and my annual count to 22!

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

#95: Tula Pink Butterfly

Christmas break began this week. It was just the nudge I needed to finish quilting my Tula Pink Butterfly quilt. I had so much fun quilting along with new friends as part of the quilt along hosted by Gnome Angel. 

I first learned of this quilt along this summer when we were in the Netherlands. On a lark, I decided to order the pattern. It made it home before we did!

Gnome Angel offered several gorgeous kits, but I opted to use my own stash of greens, blues, teals, and purples. I was quite happy that I only had to buy the white background and peacock swirl border and backing. 

How this quilt along worked was that we had weekly assignments following Tula Pink's pattern. Each week we posted our assigned blocks on Instagram with the hashtag #tulapinkbutterflySAL.

The scariest part of this whole project was the curved piecing I would need to do for the last three weeks. I've never done it and the thought of it was intimidating! This is when a quilt along is real blessing. More experienced quilters shared their wisdom and I built my confidence checking another skill of my list.

What worked best for me was dabbing three dots of fabric glue on both ends and the middle of the top section before pinning in just those three places. Worked like a charm! Wombat quilts has shared a tutorial that is pretty close to what I did, except I only glued the ends and middle, not the whole seamline. 

The night before the deadline I double checked to make I had all my posted up and tagged correctly. It was a good thing I did because I missed one. And as it turned out, I won the grand prize! I was so excited to shop at Pink Door Fabrics with my $150 gift certificate. I bought lots of Elizabeth Hartman patterns, plus two Violet Craft patterns. I will be up to my eyeballs in patterns! 2018 is going to be a busy year!

We only had to finish the top by the end of the contest. When I started, I wasn't sure who I was making this quilt for, I was just along for the contest. By the halfway point, I knew exactly who deserved it. But that meant I was under the gun to finish it before school was out for the year.

I quilted it with a spiral. It's a big quilt, the finished size is 88" x 94", so I got a good arm workout getting started. 

I watched The Christmas Story Live musical as I worked. It was panned by a lot of viewers, but I loved it.

Once the movie was over, I knew I could finish with a late night. By 1 am on the last day of school I finished. D always wants to put his love in my quilts, so I placed the finished quilt over him when I finished at 1am. Since this quilt was going to his amazing principal, I knew he'd want to have extra snuggle time.

He got a Christmas tree for his room this year. It was the perfect lighting for a late night finish.

I called the school secretary on our way to drop off and asked if Mrs. Graves would have a few minutes to see us. I also texted D's teacher to make sure he could make the presentation. 

Our son's principal is an amazing person. She works tirelessly to advocate for our learners. The unique school she founded is a STEM-based learning environment where students are encouraged to learn independently, to collaborate with students in other grades, to dig deeper into the topics that pique their interest. They garden, they dance, they sing, they learn to research and present their findings. They are compassionate. They welcome visitors who are curious about how our school works. They excel. Our school is consistently ranked one of the best in the state. This was Mrs. Graves' vision and we are all the beneficiaries. 

Last year, our school lost its location and for awhile, it looked like our doors would permanently close. But Mrs. Graves was tenacious and never gave up. We are now in a new home with a new sponsor. This quilt is a tiny show of our appreciation for being part of her legacy.

The big reveal.

Reading the label.

Lots of love exchanged.

Best. delivery.ever!

To see more pictures of this project, check the hashtag #djtulabutterfly on Instagram.  You can also see other versions of the quilt using the hashtag #waywardtransparencyqal .You can see what I'm currently working on by following me at deJongDreamHouse.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

PEI Modern Quilt Guild Mystery 2017: Clue 4

Another month is flying by! Clue 4 of the PEI Modern Quilt Guild mystery was fun to make. I love the precision of paper piecing, especially when it is made of nice easy blocks like these.

The mystery continues through April, so I'm thinking I may need to buy some yardage of my favorite Anne of Green Gables prints. I started with a layer cake and my options are dwindling! 

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#92, #93, and #94: Cards 'n' Cowboys Quilts

Winter has arrived here in Ohio and it is the incentive I needed to finish my December One Monthly Goal: quilting these three Cards 'n' Cowboys quilts I made for #quiltsforvegas. I will be sending them to the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild, who will be distributing them, along with many, many others to those affected by the shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017.

I had already starting to think of design ideas before the Las Vegas MQG put out the call for quilts.  I couldn't get the idea of cards and cowboys out of my head. It seemed like a meaningful way to combine the location of the shooting with the country music the victims were intending to enjoy at the concert that night.

The Las Vegas MQG requested quilts using grayscale blocks by Cluck Cluck Sew, and at least one of her heart blocks. Here are just a few of the creative ways quilters have put these blocks together.

Clockwise from top right: Alissa Lapinksy, who worked tirelessly on the Quilts for Pulse drive,  Kirkenoll Quilts from the Little House, and Red Letter Quilts
It was easy to adjust my pattern to fit the guidelines. 

I planned to use a traditional card trick block. It's been one I've wanted to make for awhile. But I decided to make it with squared and rectangles instead of half square triangles and quarter square triangles.

The boot design came from Debra Clutter Designs.  I had to adjust the size a bit, and they came together nicely.

I ended up making three quilts because I made three quilts for Quilts for Harvey. Two of the quilts are in patriotic colors, the third uses scraps from the Western Scrabble I made my mom a few years ago.

I love when my scraps can turn into something beautiful. 

It's a little hard to see, but I used my standby spiral quilting on all three quilts.

For the label I did something a little different. Rather than printing on printable fabric, I used freezer paper to stabilize solid white fabric that I printed on my inkjet printer. I used Steam a Steam 2 as the stabilizer because it is much softer than the printable fabric and the label is no longer rough.

I hope these quilts bring comfort to those who receive them, and I pray that our nation will find a way to reduce these senseless acts of terrorism.

As of this posting, the Las Vegas MQG is still accepting quilts, blocks, and monetary donations. If you are so inclined, please visit their website for more information. 

On Ringo Lake: Clue 3

I've completed the third clue for Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake mystery quilt. One of the things I really like about her mystery quilts is that she encourages participants to use their scraps.  I haven't used a lot of coral so I don't have any scraps in her suggested color. But since her inspiration this year is a lake in Minnesota, I swapped the coral for Minnesota Viking purple. Purple is my favorite color so I have a lot of scraps! 

Fun fact: the 2018 Pantone color of the year is Ultra Violet. 

It's my very favorite shade of purple! I guess I've been a trendsetter all these years!

Now it's back to finishing up some other projects while I wait for Friday and clue 4. 

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

On Ringo Lake: Clue 2

Clue 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt was a gaggle of flying geese. It may be because I have multiple projects going on, but it feels like it is taking me longer to complete each clue this year. But at least I'm not dealing with a sliced off finger like I was a year ago when Bonnie revealed the second clue!

I'm also grateful I picked up a flying geese ruler from Creative Grids this year. Making geese four at a time is a real time saver and with the ruler, none of my geese go to waste. 

I'm lovin gthe blue and teal together. This is going to be a beautiful quilt. 

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

One Monthly Goal :: December 2017

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. 

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

#91: Cancer Can Kiss 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, Stumbling Toward Faith, 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.


Renee ended her fight with cancer this evening, September 18, 2018.

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.