Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 Goals

Happy new year! 2020 was certainly a year none of us will forget. I look forward to this new year filled with promise and potential.

I shared a little bit in my last post about the vision issues and brain fog that kept me from writing much last year. Hopefully now that I'm seeing better, I can shake the cobwebs in my head to be able to write a little more. 

I'm going to start with my 2021 quilting goals. I'm not sure what happened with my 2020 goals. I guess the year started the way it ended. Time to get back to it. As I did in 2019, I'm inspired by Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl's annual planning party

Overall Goals ::

I have a few overall goals to guide my quilting this year.
  1. Become a Confident Long Armer. This is just embarrassing. After saving for years, I bought a longarm when we sold the Dream House. It took a few months before I could move into my new craft room, and then longer while my attention was on moving, remodeling the kitchen, and settling in. By the time I could sew every day again, I had forgotten every thing I learned. I signed up for a weekend long arm training event last March, but COVID. So this year, I am going to pull up my big girl panties, load some panels and just get started. 
  2. Complete the 365 Block Challenge. In 2018, I started Kathryn Kerr's 365 Block Challenge. I stopped in April because I didn't like that I chose a busy print as my main fabric. I chose a new color scheme for 2021, and am planning to make a mini quilt with the blocks I made in 2018.
  3. Organize Scraps.  Last year I was gifted several bags of scraps. Mostly strips and scraps 3" or smaller. I have been slowly going through them and organizing them by size and color, trimming down as necessary. 
  4. Make One Scrappy Quilt for Each "New" Quilt. There are so many great organizations needing quilts. Between my scraps and my need to practice on my long arm, I want to make sure that I continue making scrappy quilts. 
  5. Finish UFOs. I realize it is rare for a quilter not to be up to her eyeballs in UFOs, but I am hoping to whittle down my unfinished projects. I keep my projects in Sterilite deep clip boxes in the Kallax portion of my craft table. 
  6. Write Up Blog Posts for Every Quilts. I've made 145 quilts. I have written posts about all but 16 of them. I would like to catch up on those this year.
  7. Finish setting up Vesper View Studio.  I am incredibly lucky to have such a large room with a view at the Lake House. When we moved in, I had dreams of hosting sewing dates with quilter friends. But COVID. My goal this year is to finish unpacking and organizing so I can write a tour post to invite you over virtually.
  8. Write up one of my original patterns. This continues to be a goal of mine. It's on the list, but may remain on the back burner until my brain fog lifts a bit. 

Projects in Bins:

I have many quilts in my to do queue. Some are still in the early brainstorming stage, some are simply fabric pulls, some are life events needing to be celebrated in fabric. And some I have even started!

As of January 1, 2021, this is my list of quilts and quilt ideas that have made it to the project bin stage

  1. Milky Way QAL--blocks complete 
  2. Rainbow Cascade QAL--4 blocks done 
  3. Master Bedroom--pattern designed and fabric pulled 
  4. Ring of Kerry QAL--fabric pulled 
  5. Cameras & Canines--pattern designed, sample block made 
  6. Churn Dash Swap--flimsy complete
  7. CJ Houndstooth Tiger--pattern designed, fabric pulled 
  8. Baby Boy Burd
  9. 365 Challenge - 2018--about 90 blocks made
  10. 365 Challenge - 2021
  11. Catan
  12. Charity Butterfly
  13. Mom's AZ Christmas Tree
  14. Dutch quilt shop  
  15. Anniversary blocks  
  16. Hemza 
  17. Andrew Yang
  18. BELL 
  19. Jodene Elephant
  20. Chris' Lumberjack  
  21. Christian American Human
  22. Cathedral window
  23.  Antelope Canyon
  24.  COWS (with circle of friends block?)--sample block made
  25. Self Portrait  
  26. Hexie 
  27. Easter Baby - outline drawn, fabric pulled
  28. Snowflake
  29. Solida
  30. Stingray
  31. Wonky Log Cabin
  32. Yo yo
  33. Rolling Wave
  34. Morse Code
  35. Will's Otter Fan
  36. Nautical Guest Room
  37. Happy Quilt
  38. Daniel's Toolbox
  39. Man Parts
  40. Tree Skirt
  41. Snowflake
  42. Carisa's Shelter
  43. Oops & Orphans
  44. Braille
  45. Sofia
  46. Vesper View (Grassy Creek)
  47. celtic midnight (write pattern)
  48. Bright Birch Trees  
  49. Dutch scraps  
  50. Illusion  
  51. Pixelated Brutus  
  52. Oh My Gosh  
  53. Pineapple quilt  
  54. Patchwood Pals 
  55. Dear Jane
  56. Jacqueline de Jonge
  57. Splendid Sampler 2
  58. Farmer's Wife
  59. Kyle House
  60. Danielle Irish Chain
  61. Griffin's Kayak
  62. Landon W (Hufflepuff)
  63. Keith's Radio
  64. Landon B
  65. Ellie's Ballet
  66. Jax Panda
  67. Blake's Minecraft
  68. Simone
  69. Granny Squares
  70. Make cards and greeting cards out of quilt photos. (like Em's Scrap Bag)

Here's to a creative new year!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

We survived 2020!

Wowza. It has been a long time since I have posted. Here it is, the last day of the strangest day of our lifetime, and I couldn't miss the chance to make an update. 

What did 2020 look like for the de Jong family?

Like most people, our year started with optimism. We were settling into the Lake House. D was loving his new school. Mom was recovering from her double knee replacement surgery and was looking forward to travelling.


Mom's travel plans now involved trips up and down the stairs. Back and forth along our street. And occasionally, a trip to ALDI. 

The first weekend in March, we cleaned out Niels' cloffice (closet office). Since he drove D to school every day, he didn't have a work at home day, so it had been a low priority project. It was great timing because he has been working from home since March 13 with no plans to return to the corporate office in the foreseeable future.

After leaving the Dream House and moving into the Lake House so D would be closer to his new school, it's ironic that he has also been doing school remotely since March 13. He will be home for his entire 6th grade year. We are beyond thankful that he is thriving with his arrangement. With his ADHD, the freedom to fidget and belt out songs from Hamilton while on mute has been a blessing all around. Google Classroom makes it easy for him to see the status of his work and he has been able to keep up. Over the summer, he work on 6th grade math on Khan Academy and did so well that he was put in 7th grade math this year will a plan to start algebra in the fall. 

As for me, COVID hasn't changed my day to day life very much. I like to stay home anyway. The only difference is that I'm not alone. I'm never alone!! :-) I had high hopes to do a lot of quilting this year, but spending time with my family was more important. I see this year as a gift. The whole world was forced to slow down the way I was forced to slow down after my brain injury. It has been interesting, and often disheartening, to see how some have responded to this gift of time. When else in our lifetime will we be able to save lives by staying home? I realize that I speak from a position of privilege. Our home is secure and our income hasn't changed. So many do not have ability. We are happy to stay home to make the world safer for those who must be out.

The big challenge for me this year has been my vision. In September of 2019, I hit my head--again--on the door to our dryer. I thought I was fine after a few days, but my vision was more wonky than usual. I had a harder time keeping things in focus and vertigo has been a real challenge. I wasn't able to see my computer screen clearly, or subtitles on the TV so my world got pretty small. I could only keep in focus things that were an arm length or less away. I have an extra large iPad that I used almost exclusively. Of course, trying to see made my brain tired. So I slept, a lot. I usually slept until about 10 and went to bed after dinner. I went to the doctor...a lot. We tried different prescriptions, which is a challenge because my vision changes from day to day and varies depending on how tired my brain is. Finally, in late October, we got it right. When I am rested and my brain isn't stressed, I see better than I have in over a decade. (In fact, it was ten years ago today that I sustained my last bad TBI, the one that messed up my vision and metabolism). I still struggle with brain fog when it comes to writing, which is why I am woefully behind on my blogs. 

For the last few weeks, I have been learning to see beyond my arms. It sounds odd, I'm sure, but it's overwhelming at times. There is so much more to see, particularly when in the car or looking out my window. Sometimes it triggers vertigo. I'm still pretty tired. I am able to stay awake longer, but need to lay down. I have played a lot of Fishdom. 

I'll make a separate post with my goals for next year. I'm not sure that I made a list of goals for 2020, but here is a little recap of what I was able to do. 

* I (only) made nine quilts this year. Hopefully as get used to using my laptop again, I will share posts on each of them.

* I'm still working on learning to use my longarm. I don't know what my mental block is, but I have a bunch of panels and it will be my #1 goal for 2021.

* My studio is slowly getting organized. It will continue to be a process because I was gifted several totes of scraps that I am slowly working through sorting.

* The highlight of my quilting year was seeing one of my quilts displayed at my show for the first time. The fact that it was my TBI quilt was even more special.

I'm wrapping up this post as I wrap up this year. Here's to a happier, healthier 2021!

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. 

Linked to:

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.

Linked to:

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?

Linked to:

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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