May 19, 2022: Busy week; quilting ”chores”; and more!

Greetings dear readers! It’s been a bit busier than normal around here this past week! My little band “Tutto Bene” performed a couple of pieces in a concert to benefit Ukraine last Friday evening so a lot of practicing before hand:

The concert raised over $2000.00!!!!

The very next day, the 14th, was Al and my 45th wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going an hour up the coast to Kennebunkport to enjoy a beautiful warm afternoon exploring that coastline.

You may have heard of the town as the location of the Bush family compound, which we drove by. The rocky coast is lovely:

We couldn’t help but compare this ”Atlantic” experience with our honeymoon in San Francisco and our drive down the California coast to Malibu, and the ”Pacific” experience. Lots of gratitude for both! We then went inland a few miles to Kennebunk where we stayed at an Inn overnight and had a special dinner at “50 Local”, a fine restaurant. 45 years!! – a lifetime! We’ve had our careers and retired, our children have grown up, our older grandchildren are almost adults. In hindsight, it’s all gone so fast, but I’m full of gratitude. So glad to have Al beside me all the way and that we’re still fairly healthy.

One of the places we visited in Kennebunkport was St Anne’s Episcopal church – special because if it’s seaside location and rustic stone construction – gorgeous!

I finally got around to some quilting ”chores” this week – you know, those things that must be done, but aren’t as fun as choosing fabrics, sewing, etc. I needed to make a label for Golden Glow – it still needs to be appliqued down, but it’s finally made!

When I sewed the hexagonal blocks all together for ”The Inner Reaches of Outer Space”, I did not press any of the seams, so that task needed to be done before I could proceed. My small 24” X 38” ironing surface works for 95% of my needs:

But it’s only ”open” on 2 sides and not wide enough for large projects so I have to bring out my regular ironing board with the ”big board” top for a task like this. They are stored in the basement so it’s a bit if a hassle to get them 🙁.

For this task I used my mini iron which worked beautifully!

I loved how the light from the window shone through the quilt!

Now I’m ready for the next step of appliqueing the strips of fabric across the top and bottom.

I somehow managed to get 4 more baskets done – now up to 25:

I am making slow, but steady progress appliqueing leaves for the border of Stormy Weather. There are 229 leaves per border. I finished border #2 at the end of March. I’m now about 2/3 finished with border #3:

In my last post I showed you a shagbark hickory tree leaf bud:

On a recent walk I found these in various stages of development and managed to get some photos. One ”bud” opens into a cluster of leaves. Watch the opening:

Of course, the leaves are growing and opening further as I write. ”Awe!”

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

May 12, 2022: Baskets, Buds, Blooms and more

Greetings dear readers! And then there were 21! Basket blocks, that is; up from 9 when I last posted:

I weave the construction of these into the rhythms of my days, especially when I need a break from other tasks, usually cutting pieces for 3-4 at a time and chain piecing. Working with these prints and colors is a lot if fun.

My main task this past week, however, has been continuing to clean out 38 years worth of accumulated “stuff!” The dumpster is almost full and we’ve made numerous trips to the town dump and swap shop. Our garage, a storage room in the basement, and the attic were all out of control bursting with material accumulation. Many things were no longer usable because of mice and deterioration over time.

There are a number of reasons we save things, including the idea that life is long and we’ll get back to them, the idea our children will want them, and having the space and not prioritizing pitching things the moment they become useless in our lives. Let’s just say that at this point in our lives, Al and I realize that most reasons to save what we’ve been storing don’t make much sense any more. The exceptions are some photos, items, and memorabilia related to family history and activities and a very few items of personal sentimental value – so we’ve been ruthless in our purging! No regrets! Hundreds of books were taken to the recycling bin at the dump. I gave away a tub stuffed with wool fabric; same with yarn. CD’s, unused musical instruments, old dishes, worn out backpacks, children’s toys, old sheets, stacks of cooking and art magazines, and on and on… I think the house is so much lighter, it might float away!😊 But, boy does it feel good! Quite frankly, most of us buy too much; I’m determined to keep our storage to a minimum from now on. Fabric might be the exception?!🙂

I did find my husband’s grandmother’s sewing box in the attic – the inside was shredding, not worth saving🙁.

Unfortunately, it was mostly full of junk like rusted needles, old spools of thread, pieces of elastic, buttons (not collectible), etc. – not even a thimble! But it did have these interesting items – they’re not matches!

The town is Pittsburgh, PA and I’m guessing these are from the 1940’s. I was taught to use nail polish to stop stocking runs!🙂 There were also a couple of garters in the box for the time before panty hose!

I continue to make time for my walks and this is a favorite month! Color returns and I love studying buds.

Ferns unfold:

These are shagbark hickory leaf buds:

Not sure what bush this is (near the bog); such a gorgeous pink and green combination!:

Or this- it looks like the bud wants to fly away with leaf wings:

These are ”samaras” from red maple trees – lots of people know these as “helicopters” or ”twirlies.”:

Blooms that caught my attention:

And amazing trees in the neighborhood:

I’ve just finished an excellent book by Rebecca Solnit, whose books I highly recommend:

It’s ”a reflection on George Orwell’s passionate gardening and the way that his involvement with plants, particularly flowers, illuminates his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and on the intertwined politics of nature and power.” ”Solnit has written an exquisitely layered book….Her exploration into how and why cultivating beauty matters reminds us of the singular fact: life is both flower and thorn.” The range of topics covered is so interesting and the writing is excellent. Not a book to ”escape” with, but one to make you think.

Covid still haunts us, especially those of us in the Northeast, though we are trying to live as if it’s not going to kill us if we get it. My son in NYC just had it for the second time, even though boostered and careful. A friend has it. I’m masking again in some places, but not afraid – yet – of some indoor gatherings. I went with a friend to a jazz club to see Dee Dee Bridgewater – fantastic!!! Made me realize how much I’ve missed this kind of thing:

My quilt bee has been gathering in person the past couple months and I’ll leave you with this photo of my friend Rosemary – 90 yo! – with her latest wonderful creation. She remains a great role model of how to age gracefully:

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

May 4, 2022: A New Project!!; ”Awe Walks” and an interesting sighting at the pond

Greetings dear readers! I enjoy hand work – applique, quilting, and embroidery embellishment – very much, but I also enjoy machine piecing, especially FPP. I like to have a project in the machine piecing phase always in progress so I can indulge in that pleasure on most days. So, after recently finishing the piecing of ”The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,” I wanted to get a new FPP project going. What to do? I’ve been itching to use the new contemporary florals I bought last summer and ideas have been floating through my mind for months. I kept coming back to baskets and the FPP pattern – the block is 6 inches square – I designed last September for Halloween Baskets:

Remember this monthly mini?

For a while I’ve been wanting to make a larger basket quilt with a completely different color scheme and thinking that this basket pattern with the contemporary florals would be a good marriage. I decided to give it a try. I love it and am off and running!

I’m having a great deal of fun choosing the 4 fabrics needed for each block – basket, trim/feet, handle, and background:

For the baskets, I cut out the shape on paper and I find a spot on the fabric I like:

Here are 8 more blocks, so far:

All together, so far:

I’m loving it! I’m making the handles with a bias tape maker and hand appliquéing them before sewing the pieces together. Of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing😊. I made 3 baskets before realizing that – to my eyes – the handles were too thin:

I set these aside (this month’s mini?🙂) and started over, making wider handles. The change is subtle, but just what I wanted. I am pretty sure this quilt is eventually going to my granddaughter, Ursula, who is currently 3. I’m calling it Ursula’s Spring Baskets. All 3 grandchildren received baby quilts from me and each of the older 2 got larger quilts for their beds at age 7. This basket quilt will probably be twin or queen size – not sure Ursula will have to wait till she’s 7 for it, but there’s no hurry to finish it!😊 I have no idea what the setting is going to be, whether there will be sashing or alternate blocks, etc. For now I’m just having fun making the blocks!

There was an article in the NY Times this week called, ”An ’Awe Walk’ Might Do Wonders For Your Well Being.” The gist is that if, on your walks, instead of ruminating on your tasks ahead and/or your concerns, you focus on what’s interesting and/or beautiful around you, and cultivate a sense of awe, it’s a lot better for your well being. Of course, this is what I’ve been trying to do on all my walks!

Recent ”awe” sightings:

A (broken) egg; size indicates possibly a wild turkey?

A patch of moss on the forest floor with perfectly regular rounded edge:

I recently learned that this is called ”turkeytail fungus” because of its resemblance:

My friend and I could not figure out what was causing the green color in the water (it wasn’t a reflection) – had to have been some sort of plant life – but it was quite beautiful!

As I was starting to head home from a recent walk to the pond, I heard a splash and saw something swimming. It looked like a dog, but I didn’t see any owner around. It dived under the water and didn’t come up for at least 30 seconds so I knew it wasn’t a dog! It didn’t look like a beaver. Then I got a side view and knew it was a river otter!

Sorry I couldn’t get a better photo. The Lamprey River is about a quarter mile through the woods further on from the pond. River otters are adept at traveling over land. Their main diet is fish, but they eat frogs. I’ll bet this one was feasting on tadpoles and there might be some frogs though I’ve not seen them yet. This was a first time sighting for me – talk about ”awe”!😊

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

April 29, 2022: April’s Monthly Mini: ”Janet’s Gift”; Earthly Delights

Greetings dear readers! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I received this lovely gift from Janet O. at ”Rogue Quilter” for participating in her scrap bag challenge:

I decided it was time to use these fabrics in a mini so I made this little doll quilt:

I went with rectangles because it’s a shape I don’t use that often and I supplemented with some red from my own stash. I hand appliqued the white strips in the border, but the piecing and quilting is by machine.

Size is 14X16.5 inches. It’s imperfect – like me! – but I like it! I used a piece of French General for the back:

Thank you Janet for your gift which inspired me to make this doll quilt and I’m calling it ”Janet’s Gift.”

I also made something else this month that I consider part of my ”mini” work – 3 reversible hot pads:

The other sides:

These are each 8.5 inches square and have a layer of Insulbrite (heat resistant) as well as regular batting inside. My old hotpads were disreputable looking 😝. These are so much nicer and were easy to make!

Spring in New England tends to creep up slowly and I’m relishing the changes. Just this week the pond has become filled with fat little tadpoles which are hard to photograph because they swim away at the slightest sound. They look like elongated smudges in the photos (I count 5 in the first photo):

Soon they’ll be frogs!

From the pond, I walk down to the river:

Along the way I admire the greening up of the bushes:

And I visit my favorite Forest Monument:

The Wild and Scenic Lamprey River is high and flowing strong at this time of year:

The sound of the rapids is soothing:

On my way back, I study some of the many buds and baby leaves I see:

When I get back, more cleaning out of the garage awaits!!😊

We have gotten rid of a ton of stuff – the dumpster is almost full! – and it feels great! These boxes are all empty now, flattened, and removed. But I can’t end this post with that picture so here’s one of a lovely sky recently:

Be sure to visit Wendy’s blog, The Constant Quilter (link on the right side)to see all the monthly minis for April. Have a great weekend!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

April 23, 2022: Thoughts and Happenings

Greetings dear readers! The Maple Leaf Rag top needs only the vein and stem embellishments on the lower two corners’ leaves in order to be finished! It is 91 inches square, doesn’t fit on the design wall, and is impossible to lay out flat anywhere in my house. Yesterday when the sun was shining I did my best to get some photos on our porch. These will likely be the last photos I post of MLR until it is quilted – by a long armer, not me! I started it in late September 2020, so a bit more than a year and a half ago, and I’m thrilled to get it to this point!

I’ve also been working on April’s mini and slowly removing the foundation papers from IROS.

This quilt has had me thinking of pins and pinning! So much important pinning is needed for accurate Y seams. I have not bought new pins in forever and started to notice a lot of bent pins. I think this just happens with use over time and I decided to treat myself to some new pins. My guild gave me a gift certificate to a local quilt shop as a thank you for doing a demo on prepared edge applique for them, and here’s what I bought:

Two sizes of ”Magic” pins. The fact they’re heat resistant doesn’t mean much for me as I don’t iron over pins, but I like the easy grip handles. I stocked up on my favorite Tulip hand work needles and I added to my upgraded collection of Quilters Select rulers, which I LOVE! I started with the 3×18 inch and these new ones are 6 1/2 inch square and 12×6 inches.

Before I leave the topic of pins, I want to confess that I routinely sew over pins with my machine. I usually slow down as I go over the pin, especially when I’m using a short stitch length, and this allows the needle to slide around the pin. I very occasionally break a needle, especially if I forget and go too fast, but I often go months without that happening. I have never, ever – in 28 years of quilting! – had a sewing machine needle hitting a pin and cause any kind of damage to my machines; Berninas for the past 21 years. I know I have read some quilters say ”never!” sew over pins, but recently I was happy to see another experienced quilter say it’s OK as long as you slow down. Feel free to share any thoughts you have on this and also any pin recommendations – are the relatively new Karen Kay Buckley pins worth the cost? I’m thinking of trying some.

At this week’s guild meeting, I won one of the 2 door prizes – first time in years!😊 A mini wool pressing mat and a kit to make a quilt block for Ukraine:

My lucky day! Our speaker for the meeting was Pam Weeks, the curator of the NE Quilt Museum, talking about some of the quilting pioneers of the early 20th century who actually created businesses lecturing and creating and selling patterns and kits – Marie Webster, Ruth Finley, Carrie Hall, etc. She had a few quilts with her:

She pointed out the “negative space” on these quilts – room for quilting! – which is so in vogue with modern quilters right now.

Look what’s in my driveway right now – a huge dumpster!

We demolished our 49 year old shed which was seriously deteriorating and hope to get a new one installed this summer. Meanwhile, having the dumpster is a great excuse to clean out our garage and attic of ”so much stuff” that we really don’t need anymore. This is cutting into my quilting time, but absolutely worth it!🙂 Almost 6 years into retirement, I’m finally throwing away all the stuff I cleaned out of my office and saved ”just in case” I decided to go back to work. I now know that is never happening! I’m saving one small folder with a few performance evaluations to remind me of all the things I did. I’ll remove from their frames and save the certificates of my med school graduation and my Internal Medicine Board Certification. I have a few cards from patients and staff and a fun CD full of photos from my 32 years of working at the University. And that will be all that’s left to remind me of 45 years of devotion to medicine! And I’m perfectly OK with that!

But is it any wonder that I’m reading books about loss?!😐 I highly recommend both of these books:

The Mary Pipher book is a re-read and well worth it. The Bruni book is the story of his sudden loss of vision in one eye in his early 50’s and how he handled it, but he also talks about dealing with loss, in general, which we ALL need to do, and gives many examples. He’s an excellent writer so the book is a pleasure to read, as is the Pipher book.

One of the very best ways I deal with stress and loss (along with quilting!) is my quiet walks in nature; there’s nothing like it to calm and center myself, correct my perspective, and make me grateful. So, I will end this post with some recent photos of spring’s arrival in my neighborhood:

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

April 16, 2022: Finally happy with MLR Corners!; More from the quilt museum

Greetings dear readers! After my last post, my reader Kyle commented that she liked the 3 leaves for the corners of MLR, but thought the converging branches still seemed to stop too abruptly. I went back to the design wall and studied some more and realized that if I moved the leaves and berries inward closer to the corner of the light green inner border, they seemed to close that gap between the branches better. Much better IMHO!!

And here’s a photo with the leaves and berries for the upper right corner pinned on and the middle of the quilt folded over so you can see what this looks like with both upper corner designs on:

I’m finally happy with this solution! I’m making these maple leaves with the prepared edge applique method and there are several curves to deal with:

This is probably the most complicated shape I’ve done with ”prepared edge” technique and has made me realize that I have quietly morphed over the past 3-4 years from exclusively doing needleturn applique to mostly using the prepared edge technique. There was no conscious decision to change; it just happened as I became more comfortable with the newer (for me) technique. I enjoy the prepping (for the most part!) and I like the speed of the hand work with the edge already turned.

Here are some more photos of quilts from the Barb Vedder and Bird exhibits recently at the NEQM (now closed)for you to enjoy:

Look at all the wonderful fabrics in this great quilt (I apologize for the lighting effect from the window to the right of the quilt!):

I love Barb’s use of lettering in this next one and I love how her quilting and fabric choices go with the theme:

Love her use of red and the hand quilted circles on this:

Love these houses!

And now for some bird quilts:

I still have several more wonderful photos to share in upcoming posts! Honestly, this was one of the best groups of exhibits at the museum, ever!

I continue to enjoy my early spring walks. Some of the mossy green colors are amazing and there’s always something lovely at the bog:

Happy Easter/Passover/Ramadan to those who are celebrating! Happy spring to those of us in the northern hemishere!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

April 11, 2022: Two tops near completion!

Greetings dear readers! Two tops are nearing the finish line! I have the borders on Maple Leaf Rag! But I’m still deciding about the corners. This is a big quilt – about 91 inches square – so it doesn’t fit on the design wall and I don’t have a floor space big enough to spread it out so this is the best I can do for now to show it to you:

Here’s a closer view of one ”empty” corner:

Filling that corner with custom quilting is an option, but there’s a part of me that wants applique there. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ”falling leaves” idea so played some more and tried a different maple leaf shape arranged like this:

Here it is from a distance with the red leaf switched to a gold one (and, of course, if I use this I would embroider veins on the leaves):

And from further back:

I think it works, but I’d love to hear from you! All your comments so far are much appreciated!

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space blocks and rows are all sewn together!!

160 Y seams were required! They were not difficult, but very time consuming, requiring a lot of pinning and making sure not to sew into the seam allowances. It got a bit boring after a while and as the rows were sewn together, it got somewhat unwieldy managing the whole thing. Now I’m in the process of taking the foundation papers off:

I’ve made a decision about the top and bottom edges – I’m appliqueing them to strips of fabric. If I left the top pieces jagged, they’d flop when the quilt hangs. At first I thought I’d use a solid black fabric, but I realized I have quite a bit of this fabric that I used to make many of the black blocks:

I put a strip up:

And I really like how this looks far better than plain black! Problem solved! I’m going to use it on the bottom edge too, I think.

I’m enjoying all the signs of spring as I walk through the neighborhood. Crocuses are up:

Forsythia is out:

Trees are budding and I’m still seeing occasional amazing fungi!:

As we approach Earth Day, I’m hoping all of us prioritize treasuring and caring for our beautiful home!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

April 6, 2022: Vacation Wrap-Up (Part 3)

Greetings dear readers! Spring is slowly arriving here in northern New England. I saw some tadpoles in the pond this week and some buds on the bushes and trees. I enjoy watching flora and fauna respond to the change of seasons and am grateful for the time and opportunity to observe. For this post, though, I’m looking back at the last few days of our vacation.
After our lovely time on Sanibel Island, we drove to the Atlantic side of Florida for 2 days in Vero Beach. We stayed at the Carribean Court Hotel:

Within walking distance of a beautiful beach:

Unlike in Sanibel, the only birds we saw were gulls😊:

We mostly walked and enjoyed relaxing and some good food, but we did go to a high-end arts and crafts fair full of beautiful things – but NO textiles! Not even weaving! Not sure why the exclusion, but it was a bit disconcerting.

Next up was the train ride back to Lorton, VA, right outside Washinton, DC. We decided that we would only ever consider using the auto-train again if we were staying in Florida several weeks; otherwise, better to fly and rent a car. We spent a day and a half in Georgetown, admiring the architecture of the old townhouses, and enjoying gorgeous spring weather and flowers blooming way earlier than here at home!!!

We found a fabulous used book store to browse in, I was treated to a wonderful birthday (73!!) dinner at a favorite Georgetown restaurant (La Chaumiere), and, of course, I had to spend some time at the Natonal Gallery!!😊 There was a special exhibit of 17th century Dutch paintings – a favorite genre of mine – so I had to see it.

I love the scenes, details, and landscapes of these works of art:

I especially like the depiction of sea life in this one. A closeup:

So many other great paintings! But I had to spend a bit if time with the impressionists too😊. Aren’t the pink and blue colors delicious in this Mary Cassatt masterpiece?! And the green boat and green on the hat!

Loved the colors in this Cassatt painting too:

A lovely getaway and now we’ve been home for almost 3 weeks. Spring takes its time here and I have to appreciate delicate beginnings:

I walked to the bog this week and saw this amazing green moss on a log, marked by shadows – talk about color!

And this area of the bog looked impressionistic to me🙂!

The Maple Leaf Rag top is all sewn together and I think I’ve made a decision about the corners. The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is almost all sewn together, too. Stay tuned for my next post!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

March 31, 2022: Monthly Mini

Greetings dear readers! Alas, because we were away half the month, and because of other demands, I couldn’t find time to make a new mini for March so I’m sharing an older piece. Of course, like all of you, I have been thinking about Ukraine and the war, which is heartbreaking. I’ve seen Ukraine’s ”blue and gold” colors shown everywhere in support – even this building in Alexandria, VA on our vacation:

So I looked through my collection of doll quilts and found this one in blue and cheddar to share:

I made it in 2016 and used quite a few different blue and gold fabrics in it. It’s 15 X 18 inches.

I like how I alternated light and dark blues and am happy with the yellow centers:

You can see the hand quilting on the back:

It is heart wrenching to see and think about all the destruction and loss and the refugees fleeing and seeking safety. That this war is happening is painful and infuriating! Jinny Beyer has quilting friends in Ukraine and recently had 2 posts on her blog – – with comments from them and photos of quilts they’ve made (go see and read!!). Here’s one by her friend Lena:

Amazing! Let’s all donate what we can to help and hope for an end to this madness soon!

Go to Wendy’s blog, The Constant Quilter (link on the right side) to see all the minis for this month.

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

March 27, 2022: A Visit to the Quilt Museum!

Greetings dear readers! I visited the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA last week. How lucky am I that it is only one hour from me?! I did not want to miss seeing Barb Vedder’s special exhibit – it closes in just under 2 weeks – and it was totally worth the trip!! The museum also has 3 other exhibits up and I had a delightful morning doing one of my favorite activities – looking at quilts! For today’s post I am taking a break from sharing my vacation photos and have chosen 2-3 quilts from each of those exhibits to share. Hopefully they will whet your appetite to go see the the exhibits before they close if you can – because there’s nothing better than seeing them in person! I’ll share more photos after the exhibits close.

I am so grateful to have become one of Barb’s quilting buddies through our blogs. Her quilts are beautiful and she is an inspiration. Her blog, Fun With Barb (and Mary) is well worth reading and the link is on the right.

I especially love Barb’s wonderful use of color and probably my favorite of her quilts is this one:

The pink and red together is so striking! She also often uses letters or words on her quilts to great effect. Her hand quilting and precise applique are beautiful!

This piece is so interesting and personally meaningful to her:

She makes gorgeous traditional quilts, but has been exploring modern styles and techniques too. Lovely color choices and ”big stitching” on this one:

The thought provoking traveling exhibit, For the Love of Gaia was at the museum – gorgeous, but sobering pieces:

The poster for the exhibit:

And one more quilt from Gaia:

The third exhibit featured birds:

And finally, the museum featured some quilts with trees:

This piece is amazing – as is all of Ruth McDowell’s art – because it’s all pieced, no applique.

I love the trees on the border on this one. But look at the incredible tiny stitches of the hand quilting!!

Pam Weeks, the museum’s curator, does a fabulous job. She has a special interest in ”potholder” quilts – each block individually bound before being sewn together – and has a new book out on the topic, which I bought and look forward to reading:

The pictures and overall quality of the physical book are marvelous. I’m sure the content will be excellent. Who knows – maybe I’ll be inspired to make a potholder quilt (like my friend Wendy Reed, who specializes in these!😊) after reading this!!

Watch for more beautiful photos from the museum in future posts.

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi