Friday, June 19, 2020

Quilt #138 :: Happy Scrappy Colors

So, 2020 has certainly turned into a year none of us will forget!

Like everyone else, I have been holed up for the last three months. I have gone through the "organize and purge stage", where I got Niels' home office decluttered and organized a day before he started working from home. I also did a lot of purging of things from our storage room and got rid of things that we realized we didn't need after our move a year ago.

Next, I went through the "parenting in a pandemic," where we all adjusted to online learning and helping D adjust to a new routine for the rest of 5th grade. What a year for him: new house, new school, ADHD diagnosis, starting middle school, first time with homework and grades, 10 different classes on a rotating schedule...and then a pandemic! I'm so proud of how he pushed through the challenges and finished the year with all As!

Then, I went through "the slug" stage. I slept in. I went to bed early. I stared at my craft room but didn't feel motivation to do much other that slog through making masks for my family and a few neighbors. I played a lot of my favorite app, Fishdom.

And now it's summer. Our vacation plans are cancelled. D's summer camps are cancelled. We aren't able to host our soccer coaches because they are staying put in the UK this year. We are adjusting to the new normal and feel very lucky that Niels' job is secure and we have a beautiful new-to-us home to enjoy. But I'm still feeling blah.

One lesson I learned from my brain injury is that the best way to get over feeling down is to look for a way to help someone else. Quilting has been such a godsend for me in this regard, because not only is the creative aspect of quilting good for creating new neuro pathways, the emotional reward of being a giver again is incredibly healing.

Several weeks ago, while walking our dog, we noticed that one of new neighbors was expecting a little one. During our socially-distant chat, we learned that her little boy would be arriving at the end of May. We joked that with everything shut down, the only thing we had to do was to look forward to her baby being born. And what do quilters do when a baby is one the way? We make a quilt!

Before COVID closed the fabric shops, I had made a goal this year to not buy anything new fabric unless it was specific to a project I was currently working on, or backing to finish a quilt top I had completed. I also want to make more scrappy quilt to reduce the overflow of my scrap bins.

I love word quilts, so I had the idea of using my little 1.5" squares to make a rainbow quilt.

It was a fun project because it wasn't too difficult and I had fun remembering other quilts I made with the scraps.

Unfortunately, this project made little impact on the amount of scraps I still have. I think I could make a dozen of these quilts before it would make a difference!

Yellow proved to be a challenge because the lighter shades didn't have enough contrast to the white blocks, particularly the off-white pieces. I would step back from my design wall to decide which squares I needed to replace until the word "yellow" was clearly visible.

Spring came into full bloom as I was working. I love being able to look our at our little lake while I work. My mom is gardening for the first time in nearly 30 years, and making peace with leaving her beloved Arizona.

There is something very satisfying about making something beautiful and unique with tiny pieces. As I trimmed some of my scraps, I saved 1" strips for the Omigosh quilt I'm still planning to make. 

A funny thing happened while I was making this quilt. I learned that someone changed the rainbow! I grew up with the mnemonic Roy G. Biv (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). But most rainbows I found when Googling images look like this:

Instead of Green, Blue, Indigo, most rainbows show Green, Teal, Blue. So along the way, I guess I forgot what color Indigo was! One thing is for sure, it isn't Teal or even Turquoise.

My scraps are color-sorted by the "new" rainbow colors, with even Teal and Turquoise separated. But my Purple scraps include both Indigo (bluish-purple) and Violet (pinkish-purple). So I had a little extra sorting to do to find scrappy shades that could be differentiated in the quilt.

I didn't put a lot of thought into the design other than the color texts, but in my mind, it would turn out in a baby quilt square. Instead it was long and skinny once I stitched up all the colors and aligned them to the right.

I started adding more white blocks to the right and left to even it out.

I thought briefly about adding a border, but decided it was already getting a little big for a baby quilt. 

It's a little hard to see, but I quilted it with a half rainbow design. 

For the label, I had to do a little extra digging to find a ROYGIV rainbow.

When I finished the quilt, I walked it over to its new home. Mama didn't answer the door so I left it on the handle. Seeing someone open a quilt they didn't expect is my favorite thing, but I know better than waking a newborn! 

I always hold my breath a bit when I send a quilt off until I know that it has safely arrived in its new home. Happily, my neighbor stopped me outside a day later to tell me how shocked and happy she was with the new quilt--the first she has ever received. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, check out #HappyScrappyColors on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse. 

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Quilt #137 :: Year 15 (TBI Temperature Quilt)

Hi friends! I had grand plans to write a big long blog post today to reveal my first finish of the year, and a very personal one at that. I am very happy to announce that my epic 2019 quilt chronicling my 15th year as a brain injury survivor is finished!

I actually finished it on the 11th, just in time to submit it to a local quilt show. Woo hoo! Bucket list itemed crossed off! Because I only had 10 days to finish the quilt after making the last block on January 1--including hand sewing the binding and sleeve...and learning how to hand bind and make the sleeve...and starting it the day before the quilt was due...I didn't have time or brain power to take a good picture of the finished quilt. 

However, in a few weeks, I will get to see my quilt hung in a real live quilt show and you can bet I will be taking lots of pictures hung up while it's on display. 

I have much more to say, but my brain is still not playing well with my words after all the December craziness, so it will have to wait. In the meantime, I wanted to share my quilt today because it is my brain-aversary today! My brain injury is sweet sixteen!

This is what I shared on Facebook today:

My brain injury is 16 years old today! Sometimes I miss my pre-TBI life. I’d like to be able to drive whenever and wherever I want. I’d like to be able to trust my brain to keep up when I’m in public or in situations that trigger my symptoms. I’d like to be able to make plans without caveats. I wish I was able to have written more books. I wish I could make more memories. I wish I could avoid my crashes and headaches and vertigo and blurry vision and fatigue. But, mostly I am grateful. I have a husband who loves and advocates for me. I have a son who challenges and inspires me. I have friends who accept my flakiness and welcome my spontaneous invitations. My mom lives with us and shares her silly pup with us. We have a beautiful home with a long table and comfortable guest room. I have discovered quilting, which gives me an outlet for creativity and generosity. I am happy and content.

So, please come back again to hear more about this quilt, see pictures of the show, and discover what I learned about (still) living with a brain injury. 

**Updated 6/2/2020**

My goodness! What a year it's been! My brain completely pooped out for about 6 weeks after I finished this quilt. I just couldn't shake the cobwebs and spent most of 6 weeks in bed. I finally started feeling better at the end of February and the COVID hit. Fortunately, our family has stayed well, but my sew-jo has been lacking as adjusted to having everyone home all day, supervising D's on learning, and so much cleaning.

But I'm back and hoping that our summer at home will be just the stability I need to get back into the quilting swing of things.

My TBI quilt was accepted into the quilt show and it was quite a thrill to see it among so many quilt.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Is anyone else looking around for the flying cars we were promised on the Jetsons? As fun as that would be, I'm glad we at least have robot vacuum cleaners!

We enjoyed a quiet day at the de Jong Lake House: watching TV, playing games, working on a puzzle, sewing, and writing my end of year posts. 

In case you missed it, last year I made 16 quilts.  It's a bit less than previous years, but considering we had a big move and renovation in 2019, I'm pretty happy with that. Here's to more finishes in 2020!

Speaking of goals, I created an updated post of the goals I set last January. I always set way too many goals, but I did hit quite a few, and in a few minutes, I will complete the last block of my TBI Temperature Quilt.  I'm looking forward to it being my first finish of 2020.

As far as monthly goals, I'll update this post shortly with a list of my 2019 One Monthly Goals (hosted by Elm Street Quilts). I missed a few last year, but with 3 weeks in Europe visiting family, , working on an epic, every day quilt, and yes, the move, I'm okay with that. 

Today, we will enjoy another lazy day together as a family. Niels loves binge-watching international shows, so I suspect I will spend some time next to him setting my goals for 2020. 

What are you goals for 2020?

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Goals Updated

2019 Planning Party

UPDATED 12/31/2019:
It's the end of 2019 and how did I do? Well, I made the fewest amount of quilts this year than I have since I started quilting--just 16--but I also moved, so I'm giving myself some grace!

As 2018 winds down, I have started thinking about what I want to quilt in 2019. I had started to jot ideas for this post when I saw that Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl--who designed the Wayward Transparency quilt I made this year--is sponsoring a 2019 Planning Party. Just the kick in the pants I needed.

I'm sure this list isn't exhaustive, and I know I won't be nearly this productive, but I made a list of the quilts I could think of, just off the top of my head, that I want to make.

Overall Goals ::

I have four overall goals to guide my quilting this year.
  1. TBI/Temperature quilt. I've seen a lot of temperature quilts where crafters make one block or one row with a specific color to correspond to the local weather. I'm thinking I want to make one to record a year of my life with a brain injury. End of year update: Tomorrow I will complete my final block and plan to have this be my first finish of 2020.
  2. Reduce Scraps. My scrap bins are overflowing! I hope to always be working on at least one scrappy quilt this year as I work on other projects. End of year update: I've used a lot of scraps, but my bins are still overflowing!
  3. Make One Scrappy Quilt Each Month. This goes along with Goal #2. I'm part of a local quilting group that always needs quilts. I should be able to whip up more quilts for them. End of year update: my scraps are more organized now. I've started separating blocks of 2.5", 2", and 1.5" squares. Hopefully that means it will be easier to make more scrappy quilts in 2020.
  4. Be More Active with Sew It Forward. In 2014, I started a FB group of generous quilters to make quilts for my family after my dad's home was destroyed by fire. My brain injury does not allow me the ability to run the group anymore, but the amazing Tina Burlington has taken it over and amazes me on a daily basis. I would like to contribute to more projects under her leadership. End of year update: no change. :-(
  5. Finish UFOs. In 2017 I was part of a lot of social quilting projects. I want to get them finished up.  End of year update: 5/16 finishes this year were UFOs started before 2019
  6. Write Up Blog Posts for Every Quilts. I've been good about writing posts about recent quilts, but I missed quite a few in my first years. I'm slowing catching up and look forward to having the last 19 posted! (Hmmm...19 quilts left. I just finished my 119th quilt....) End of year update: I kept up with all 16 new quilts, and wrote posts for ten of my early quilts. Nine left to write!
  7. Move to a bigger quilting space. We are going to be moving some things around here at the de Jong Dream House. One of the advantages is that I will get more space for my quilting! End of year update: When I wrote this goal, I was thinking of moving to the basement. Instead we moved to the Lake House, where I have a fabulous and huge new studio. Six months after our move, I'm still settling in.
  8. Learn to Long Arm. I already know that my boys bought me long arm lessons at our local quilt shop. I'm hoping to gain confidence so I can finally buy a long arm of my own! End of year update: I had my lessons. And in April I bought my longarm. Unfortunately, by the time we moved and finished renovations, I forgot how to use it. I'm hoping to take lessons again in 2020.
  9. Write up one of my original patterns. I have several original patterns that kind followers have requested. I've done some testing, now it's time to start writing! End of year update: no change
19 in 19 ::

I always have multiple quilts in progress. I like to sew to my passion, working on whatever project inspires me. Sometimes, I'm sewing to meet a deadline. And sometimes, the fabric and pattern sit in a project bin for a long time before I get around to it. Part of the reason I started the list pictured above was because I wanted to see how much progress I could make in one year. That said, in no particular order, here are my top 19 priorities in 2019.
  1. Milky Way QAL--blocks complete End of year update: no change
  2. Magnolia Mist QAL--top complete (finished 05.29.19)
  3. Rainbow Cascade QAL--4 blocks done End of year update: no change
  4. Master Bedroom--pattern designed and fabric pulled End of year update: no change
  5. Ring of Kerry QAL--fabric pulled End of year update: no change
  6. Cameras & Canines--pattern designed, sample block made End of year update: no change
  7. Churn Dash Swap--waiting on last block End of year update: working out final design
  8. CJ Houndstooth Tiger--pattern designed, fabric pulled End of year update: no change
  9. Molly Apron--pattern designed, clothes gathered End of year update: no change
  10. Mollie's Mermaid (finished 01.20.19)
  11. Millie Beauty and Brains (finished 03.03.19)
  12. Zipped (U of Akron)--top complete (finished 12.14.19)
  13. Buckeye Brick (finished 02.01.19)
  14. Purple Abacus (finished 3.04.19)
  15. Hidden Gems of Menlo (Lola Bee)--top complete (finished 12.11.19)
  16. Project Linus--blocks made (finished 04.13.19)
  17. Mrs. Miller's Steinway--pattern designed (finished 03.19.19)
  18. Omigolly, Miss Jennnifer--pattern designed (finished 05.12.19)
  19. Ashley's Heart--pattern designed, fabric pulled End of year update: no change
Top priority: TBI Temp quilt
Quilts Currently In Bins/UFOs
  • Catan
  • Hannah's Good Fortune (finished 10.10.19)
  • Baby Burd quilt (finished 12.31.18)
  • Charity Butterfly
  • 365
  • SCOPE pillows (finished. No post)
  • Niels shirts
  • Niels' Weighted End of year update: I bought one instead!
  • Kreza Memory Pillows End of year update: I made the quilt instead
  • Kreza Memory quilt (finished 11.20.19)
  • Berky Memory quilt End of year update: no change
Quilting Queue:
  • Mom's cactus End of year update: no change
  • Mom's Christmas  End of year update: no change
  • Dutch quilt shop  End of year update: no change
  • Anniversary blocks  End of year update: no change
  • Shelly Beach Library  End of year update: no change
  • Star Wars  End of year update: no change
  • Habitat for Humanity  End of year update: no change
  • Hemza End of year update: no change
  • Thin Blue Line  End of year update: no change
  • BELL End of year update: no change
  • Dare to be Square  End of year update: no change
  • Jodene Elephant  End of year update: no change
  • Chris' Lumberjack  End of year update: no change
  • Christian American Human  End of year update: no change
  • Weiner dog for Kathy S  End of year update: no change
  • I am Enough for Rachelle  End of year update: no change
  • Bob Ross  End of year update: no change
  • Cathedral window  End of year update: no change
  • Antelope Canyon  End of year update: no change
  • COWS (with circle of friends block?) End of year update: sample block made
  • Self Portrait  End of year update: no change
  • Hexie  End of year update: no change
  • Crazy quilt  End of year update: no change
  • Snowflake  End of year update: no change
  • Solida  End of year update: no change
  • Kara  End of year update: no change
  • Wonky Log Cabin  End of year update: no change
  • Yo yo  End of year update: no change
  • Rolling Wave  End of year update: no change
  • Morse code  End of year update: no change
  • Will's Otter  End of year update: no change
  • Braille  End of year update: no change
  • Pinterest Inspiration 

  • 6.5” scrappy strips QAYG  End of year update: no change
  • Scrappy celtic midnight  End of year update: no change
  • Chris' lumberjack  End of year update: no change
  • Blue crazy  End of year update: no change
  • Birch  End of year update: no change
  • Dutch scraps  End of year update: no change
  • Illusion  End of year update: no change
  • Pixelated Brutus  End of year update: no change
  • Minion 2  End of year update: no change
  • Pixel book  End of year update: no change
  • Oh My Gosh  End of year update: no change
  • Pineapple quilt  End of year update: no change
  • Patchwood Pals  End of year update: no change
  • Pinterest Scrap Busters
Epic Quilts (not necessarily 2019)
  • Omigosh
  • Dear Jane
  • Jacqueline de Jonge
  • Splendid Sampler 2
  • Farmer's Wife
  • Illusion
  • Quiltville Mystery 2019 (make 2, one scrappy, one solids)
  • Illusion
  • Quilts in my Binder
  • Boo Davis book
  • Elizabeth Hartman 
  • Dutch Scrappy
  • 100 Scrappy Book
  • Anne R baby (write pattern)
  • Kyle house
  • Jacob
  • Griffin
  • Landon W (Hufflepuff)
  • Landon B
  • Ellie
  • Garden Mosaic
  • Make cards and greeting cards out of quilt photos. (like Em's Scrap Bag)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Quilt #136 :: Zipped

In 2014--a year after I started quilting, and a few months after our high school exchange student returned to the Netherlands--we welcomed our first university student. We loved having Marissa stay with us all year, but she totally ruined us. We couldn't imagine a better fit with our family. We did want to continue opening our home to anyone who needed a soft landing in the States, so we jumped at the opportunity to welcome college students. 

After Marissa left, I turned her room into my craft room. Our short term guests stayed in our guest suite downstairs. It was bigger and had an en suite, so it was a really nice place for jet legged guests.  Three months after we said goodbye Marissa, we said hello to Eugen from Moldova. 

We had so much fun with Eugen! We made Russian food, played Settlers of Catan, and got thrown into modern college life. He only studied at the University of Akron for one semester, but by the end of his time in the US, he was bringing friends over who continued to visit us after Eugen returned to Moldova. 

While Eugen was here, I started to make a University of Akron quilt. But as a brand new quilter, I was slow and never finished it before he left. It was in a project box for the last five years, during which we hosted another 20 students. Finally, when we moved to the Lake House, I made a list of my UFOs (unfinished objects). The top was finished so I just needed to quilt and bind it. 

This fall, we hosted our first college student at the Lake House, Richard from...the Netherlands. I actually got the request to host him when we were in the Netherlands visiting Niels' family this summer. We've had a lot of fun with Richard, too. He was a great sport about our house being renovated. He played countless games of chess with D, who now loves the game so much he's on the school chess team. He and Mom always have a Scrabble game going on, and it bugs mom to know end that someone who isn't an English native speaker wins so often! Niels has enjoyed having someone to talk Dutch news with and I have really enjoyed our conversations about religion, psychology, and sociology. 

When we host college students, our main job is to make them feel welcome to their new home in America, take them around to buy anything they need to school, and help them settle in. Personally, we want to treat our bonus sons and daughters the way we'd hope someone would care for D if he was studying abroad.

Most of our students stay for a year. A few are here for several years. Richard also only stayed for one semester. We always tell our kids that they are welcome "home" whenever they want a home cooked meal or our company.

When Richard asked if he could stay with us again before he headed home, we were happy to welcome him back. He was able to enjoy Christmas prep with us, like making cookies. 

There were many students I could have given the Akron Zips quilt to over the year, but Richard was coming when I finally got the spark to finish it!

It's been so long that I don't remember the name of the pattern. I suspect it was based on a Christmas quilt. When I reverse Google search the image in my file, I get broken links to Keepsake Quilting and a deleted blog called Quilts and a Mug. (Rest assured, I am better about copyrights and giving credit now!)

The week before Richard arrived, I had a crazy goal of delivering four quilts, including his. I was so close, but was downed by a massive headache the night he came over. The next morning, I got up, finished the quilt, and had Richard step outside, so we could do a dramatic re-enactment of how I had planned to surprise him with his quilt!

As expected, he was a great sport. 

And now that Richard is safely back home in the Netherlands, we await the arrival of our next son or daughter. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, check out #zippedquilt on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse. 

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Quilt #135 :: Hidden Gems of Menlo

In 2018, I was part of an online quilting bee hosted by Blossom Heart Quilts.  My month to be queen was December, which is always dangerous because quilters run out of steam at the end of the year. This was the second year in a row that I participated in a bee using the blocks on Blossom Heart Quilt's page. The first year, I made my Purple Abacus Quilt

This year I chose a more difficult, paper-pieced block called Hidden Gems. 

By the time all my blocks came in, I was busy with other projects, both quilts and our big move to the Lake House. The blocks were placed together in a project bin as I awaited inspiration to finish. 

That spark came in November when a volunteer from D's new school asked if I might have a quilt to contribute for the winter benefit auction. I didn't have a completed quilt because I usually give them away as soon as I finish one so I looked through my UFOs (unfinished objects). I knew it wouldn't take long to piece the blocks and finish it, and I was excited to see it completed. I had actually thought I might keep this one to myself, but my son's school is a good cause.

As expected, it didn't take long to finish piecing. I didn't need any sashing or borders because the blocks make a cool secondary pattern I didn't want to disrupt. 

The main challenge I had was that my thumb was still bandaged from slicing it on a mandolin at Thanksgiving. It was tricky to pin the quilt, but Niels helped me out. 

For the backing, I used two fun metallic prints I had been saving for a special occasion. I like the back as much as the front!

For the label, I used an element of the school logo. 

I'm happy to report that the quilt had more than one bidder--my big fear! And the winner also won quilting lessons from me. I'm looking forward to creating another quilter to the craft. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, check out #hiddengemsofMenlo on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse. 

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Quilt #134 :: Jacob's World

2019 is quickly coming to an end. The conclusion of the a year is always hectic with Thanksgiving, Sinterklaas (Dutch Christmas), D's birthday, and Christmas. By the time we get to the last week of the year, I am wiped. This month, I also finished 4 quilts. I'm operating on fumes!

In my pre-brain injury life, I loved the week between Christmas and New Year. My type-A personality loved to reflect on my year, make new goals, create new files and spend the week planning and organizing. Now I just want to curl up and take a nap!

I am getting plenty of sleep this week --and always!--and since I have finished the quilts I really wanted to finish in 2019, I want to take some time to write about my recent finishes before I jump into the new year. 

I already wrote about the memory quilt I finished for my friend Shanna. The quilt I'm sharing today marks something much happier: the friendship between my son and one of his best friends, Jacob. 

These two have been besties since kindergarten. In addition to their love of learning, they shared a passion for trains, and then space. After five years being classmates at their STEM school, the boys are now attending different schools, but stay connected through Minecraft and their Gizmo watches. What a gift technology is for today's kids. 

As D's friends from elementary move on to different middle schools, I've started to make friendship quilts. As a mom, I want to show my appreciation to the good kids D's tribe. I've already made quilts for Max and Caroline, who moved to Texas. 

Jacob's quilt got started last January when I saw that Pat Sloan was hosting a quilt along based on space called Out of this World.

Readers of this blog may recognize Pat's name as she also hosted the Grandma's Kitchen quilt along, which was the basis of the six (nearly) identical memory quilts I made for myself, my mom, and my four aunts. 

When I told my son about the new quilt along, he said I had to do it, then suggested I make it for Jacob since he was having a rough year and he wanted to give him a quilted hug. 

I had grand plans to have D write a bit about each block's topic, like I did when I was making Gramma Ann's quilt, and his friendship with J. But then we sold our house and found a new house and moved and remodeled and ran out of time and energy. 

I did get some cute pictures of D every month, though, especially after we moved and we used his super cool mural of the ISS as a background. 

The main change I made to my version of Pat's quilt is the addition of Jacob's name. Once again, I used the letter patterns in Lori Holt's book, Spelling Bee.

D and J share a birthday week in December so my goal was to finish in time for D to deliver it at J's birthday part. I sliced my thumb on a mandolin on Thanksgiving so quilting this, especially with minky, was quite a challenge.

But I pushed through and finished in time for D to complete the most important step. Sleeping the love into the quilt. 

D also helped me with the label by drawing this...

...which I turned into this.

I have been really proud of D for the friends he's chosen. He is kind to everyone, but the people he gravitates to kids who are smart, inventive, creative, and polite. Jacob is no exception. Every time we have given him a gift or had him over for a playdate, he always thanks me. When D has a rough day or moment, J is able to comfort him or help him find a solution to his frustration. I have loved watching their friendship deepen and strengthen through the years, from silly kindergarten antics to deeper conversations about life. 

Quilt delivery was especially fun because D got to do the delivery. I loved listening to him talk about how I made the quilt. J didn't even see the whole quilt before bolting over to give me a huge hug. It is so gratifying to have a quilt received with such appreciation.

I look forward to many more years of friendship between these two. 

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #JacobsWorldQuilt on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

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