Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our eighth annual New Year's Eve Day Mystery Quilt :)

 This is the eighth year Kathy and I have participated in the QTMystery Quilts Yahoo group quilt mystery.  This one was designed by Carol Lange.  Clue one above and two below.  Kathy is doing the Patriots themed fabric (she is from Mass.) and I am doing the Mickey themed for my mom's sister, Aunt Nancy.

 Clue three and four.

 Clue 5 and 6.  I am counting in ASL in the pictures if you wonder what is going on there.  That is 6 below.
 Kathy's 6.
 And my 7.
 Kathy's 7.

 Our 8's.  I took the time to trim my little wings off.  Kathy was printing the clues and we did really good at not looking ahead (we started about five hours after the start since I woke up with a migraine and decided to go back to bed).  I took pictures and uploaded them and monitored the emails and facebook.  I also wound up doing lots of ironing for Kathy!

 And our 9's.
 Here is where the trouble started for us!  We had to add the corners on and we tried everything to get them to go on square.  We pinched and lined up centers, we measured with a ruler, we tried Amy's method and trimmed off the little things from the triangles...some of them looked like this and others were just perfect.  I did rip this one and anyone that didn't pass my quality control!
 Then afterwards since there was SO much bias I wasn't going to try to put the blocks together as they were.  Despite all my careful quarter inch seams and ironing (seriously Ros this might be my best ironed back yet!) they just were this side of wonky.  I wound up measuring out a 1/4 of an inch from ever edge and cut off whatever was hanging, I then fudged in what was under the 1/4 inch wherever possible.  We did all this while watching Harry Potter all day!
 I was pretty satisfied with my rows once I did the trimming.
 It is hard to see the fun festive flecks of color on the black fabric from these pictures.

 Here is the start of Kathy's.  She has a few rows done now, but I think hers was wonkier than mine and she threatened to let it become a UFO! She decided that (after she put the first two rows together and nothing matched up) she would trim the blocks to 8 1/4 and then join them.  The bottom row is two sets of two she is happier with.  So she will be ripping out the first two rows and redoing things.  She also thinks it is too red.  I love how hers looks though more blue would be an improvement, but that is the fun of a mystery!

 Here is mine with the first border.

 And done!  Here is a close up so you can see the flecks better.  I hope my Aunt Nancy loves it!


Monday, December 30, 2013

More Bonnie Sewing! And thanks *Mary*

 I had to take Jack in the Box outside to get a picture of it by our blooming bush.  I love that thing!  Especially when it is -60 degrees with windchill back home in Wisconsin.  I didn't even wear a coat to work this morning, even though it was a titch cold!  Working a waaaay early shift since I will be sewing the NYE mystery all day tomorrow and wanted to have this evening to make sure I was all set.  I am set, but Kathy has been so focussed on her Celtic Solstice she isn't set yet, so that will get done tonight!  I stay stitched the edges of this quilt and decided to just do a scrappy (maybe wide) binding on it when I get it back from Ros!
 I did manage to sneak in one more Wild and Goosey block before bed last night--I tried to go to bed early!  I got a package of awesome little triangle leftovers from Mary (I think it was from Mary, I peeled off the return label to thank her online and lost it between the kitchen and the quilting studio!) so *Mary* if you are reading, they were the first bonus triangles to arrive and some of them are already in this block!  THANK YOU!  For the record I did try to go back and look for the email or message to *Mary* in which I sent her my address and couldn't find it.  Drats! 
So no sewing for me at least until tonight, happily taking calls at work--which is the slowest it has ever been at the moment so I had time to write this post already! :) Love my job!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Completion of a Rainbow BOM--I think!

 Finally had an hour or two to get the borders on Jack in the Box.  The pattern for the blocks (and bonus pinwheels) was in Quiltmaker's January/February 2011 issue.  I have been working on this quilt for two years as the Rainbow BOM and I am happy to finally have it ready for my longarmer!  I think this will find its way to my newest nephew Colton.  My mom watches him about two days a week at her house and has a little air mattress set up for him in her office, she currently has her own quilt on it but I think Colton wants something a little less purple!  So this bright fun quilt is about the right size and will give him plenty to look at between winks!

I am debating if I should add one more border to the outside--maybe the same fabric I used on the inner border (hard to see here but it has flecks of red, blue and yellow and some tiny black dots.  Any advice?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Very Special Christmas Surprise!

This past year my Dad's brother Jim lost his battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  He was an amazing man of faith and one of the best male role models I had in my life.  Here is pictured with the Arizona sunshine quilt I sent him and the little memorial quilt I made him with my Dad's shirts.  He always sent my sister and I birthday cards with 5 or 10 dollars in it to enjoy a cup of coffee, this year when I got my card I wondered if it would be the last.  He passed away less than a week after our birthdays.  Today I got a surprise in the mail.  His second wife, my aunt Mary, (aunt Norma died of cancer many years ago) sent me this hand painted ornament that my uncle Jim had made for us before he passed.  This has my dad, then my Uncle Lew and then Uncle Jim in it.  It is made from a picture before my Uncle Rick was born.  These three boys lost their mom at about the ages in this picture and then my Grandpa Len remarried Grandma Nan and they had Rick.  What a treasure this ornament is, such a thoughtful gift from a thoughtful man.  Oh how I miss him, especially since my Dad is also gone.  Lew passed away many years ago from ALS.  So all three of these boys are gone, but live forever in our hearts and our stories.  

You don't have to read on, but in the hopes that one day my children's children read this blog they may want to see Uncle Jim's obituary.  So here it is:

James J. Neff, DDS, 65
James “Jim” Jeffrey Neff, age 65, of Winsted, entered into his eternal rest Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.
He was born Sept. 24, 1947, in Oak Park, IL, to Leonard and Florence (Lottridge) Neff. Jim spent his adolescent and high school years with his family in Chippewa Falls, WI.
He graduated with a bachelor of science degree from University of WI- Eau Claire, and with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from Marquette University.
After serving a term as a dentist in the Air Force in Washington, Jim decided to leave active duty in the military and start private practice dentistry. He and his beloved wife, Norma researched 50 communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and agreed that Winsted would fulfill most of their desires for a good environment in which to raise their children, be close to family, have a quality lifestyle, and provide high quality dental care.
Jim had many interests, and always jumped into life with both feet in running stride. Besides maintaining a successful, state-of-the art dental clinic, he was active in many community activities, and in national and international organizations.
He was a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate, and was instrumental in developing the Winsted Karate Club, which trained several world champions within the ASKF organization. He was active for many years in contributing to the growth of Winsted through his leadership in the Winsted Civic and Commerce Association and the Winsted Community Chest.
Additionally, he served as a director, vice chairman, and chairman of St. Mary’s Hospital and Home; and as a director of Health Central Systems. He was on the founding board of St. Mary’s Apartments (now Linden Wood Apartments), was a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 407, and a member of the Waverly Boosters. He also served for many years on the board of directors of Mayer Lutheran High School.
Jim served in various leadership capacities in the churches which he attended over the years. In 1989, he was presented the Outstanding Citizen Award by the Winsted Civic and Commerce Association; and in 2001, he was presented the Outstanding Service Award by the City of Winsted.
For over a decade, Jim has served on the board of directors of VVMI (Vernacular Video Missions International), and has been the chairman since 2004. Through this organization, he has enabled nationals in the Philippines, Guatemala, and Peru to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through Christian videos in their heart languages. He was also instrumental in beginning the Our Father’s Promise School of Ministry and Living Waters Christian Fellowship.
Jim loved the Lord Jesus Christ with his total being and boldly proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God to people with whom he came in contact. He loved to pray for people and was known for how he reflected the love of Christ.
Jim loved God’s creation, and enjoyed being outside bicycling, kayaking, SCUBA diving, camping, hiking, and cross country skiing.
He is survived by his wife, Mary (Meyer Stamm); his brother, Richard (Lisa) Neff; his daughters, Carla (Chris), and Patricia (David); his sons, Brian (Joy), and Sid (Rebecca); his brothers-in-law, John (Vicki) and Marv (Gloria) Schauland; his sister-in-law, Gena Meyer and brother-in-law Nick (Barbara) Meyer; six grandchildren, Joseph, Emma, Maggie, Alanna, Isabella and Arya; and 13 nieces.
In addition to his first wife, Norma, Jim was preceded in death by his brothers, Lewis and Allan; father Leonard and mother Florence; step-mother Nancy; father-in-law and mother-in-law Oscar and Emma Schauland; mother-in-law Mildred Meyer; and sisters-in-law: Ruth Schauland and Mary Schauland.
A celebration of Jim’s life took place Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. at the home of Living Waters Christian Fellowship at the Waverly Village Hall, with the Rev. Joel Swedberg officiating. Music was provided by the Waterfall Praise Team.
Pallbearers were Louie Stifter, Brett Monson, John Schauland, Marv Schauland, Terry Sheldon, Kim Jackson, Nick Meyer, and Rick Neff.
Visitation was Saturday, Aug. 17 at Chilson Funeral Chapel in Winsted from 4 to 8 p.m.
Memorials will be donated to various missions that Jim and Mary support.
The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted served the family. Online condolences may be made to www.chilsonfuneralhome.com.

Packer (Celtic) Solstice Clue 5 is Done!

Last night I cut all the parts for clue five of Packer Solstice and started sewing away.  I had only put five complete blocks together when I thought wait a minute...my quilt doesn't have orange in it!  I had looked at my substitution list and saw it was yellow for Bonnie's blue...then I neatened up all the fabrics (all in one bag for mine and Kathy's quilts, we are using some of the same colors/fabrics) and somehow I cut away on the orange.  Unfortunately that isn't the right color for Kathy either since she is following Bonnie's colors and needs blue!  Oh well, I guess I am ahead on some future project!
 So tada, here are my clue 5's all done, ironed and neatened up.  We watched QuiltCam several hours after Bonnie was on and cheerily sewed away.  I had about 15 extra so the worst of them went in a bag.  I plan to redo them and maybe do a pillowcase or something with them.
 Here are all the clues so far, my bin is about full and I am doing the 75 x75.
 After that was done, I couldn't resist playing with the parts a bit--copied straight off a few other blogs but had to see what the imagined blocks look like in my colors!
 Love them both, but suspect Bonnie will be WOWing us with her reveal.  I can hardly wait!
 Kathy has been sewing all week long every chance she had to try to catch up on her clues.  Today she started working on clue four so I suspect she will get to clue 5 before 6 is out!  She is doing the larger quilt so I am amazed she is keeping up....this mystery isn't for the weary!

Linking up with Quiltville!  How is your mystery coming along?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Other Goodies and Goodness!

Here are the lovely fabrics we exchanged at our PHXMQG annual fabric swap!  There is a whole table of low volume prints and a whole table of "print" fabric.  Some folks went home with huge piles of fabric if they did the full swap of both.  I did some of each and got a smaller pile back, but I love them!

Here is the finished puzzle that the folks at work did in the break room!  This is a hard puzzle but we have some talented puzzlers!
This one is from the same "mystery puzzle set" and is the one we started last Christmas, then put away for most of the year and got back out and started over a month or so ago...it is getting there!
Randy gave me this DeGrazia print for my sewing room.  I have always wanted this print!  I think I have the magnet of this one that was my Grandma Nan's too.  I love it!  I actually met Degrazia many years ago at the Gallery of the Sun in Tuscon when my grandparents and uncle came to visit us.  I was about ten or eleven I think and my uncle was around 15 or 16.  He had on a belt buckle with his name and when Degrazia saw him he said "Hi Dan!" and my uncle was like how does he know my name???  It is a family story we have shared for years!

My grandma Char bought the "flowergirl" statue and now my mother has it and one day it will be mine, most of the Degrazia pictures my parents have have already been passed on to me.  I love it so mcuh I have even cross stitched several of the pictures.  My mom has several of the horse statues too.  Our whole family loves Degrazia!
This last picture is from my swap partner Philla from the NewQuiltingClue Secret Santa swap.  She made me two ornaments and sent me some lovely Christmas towels and potholders! 
I am still at work and am dying to get at clue five for Celtic Solstice....think I will start in on it when I finally get home!  Happy Friday Folks!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas with the Family--Take Two!

We went to my mom and dad's for our second Christmas celebration..it was different not have my brother, his wife and two boys with us but we hope they are enjoying Costa Rica!  We can't wait to see the pictures and hear the tales of their adventures.  They don't have a very reliable internet there so we haven't heard much so far!
We ate my grandmother's recipe of boiled dinner (which is ham, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, boiled into yummy goodness!) and had Hershey Bar pie for desert along with Snicker's fudge which my sister and I made together. 

I had my mom and sister open their first present early so we could get started on crocheting Packer scarves.  Both of them caught on really fast and by the end of the two days they each had their very own Packer scarf and had it down.  I found a SUPER EASY youtube video entitled "New and Improved Sashay/ Ruffle Scarf pattern by Cre8tion Crochet" that made it easy.  I am at work so I can't access it to add the link right now. (Gotta love being on hold!)

We worked on a puzzle that I got at the dollar store for 60 cents both days we were there (most everyone got into taking a turn) and we finished it up!  Great size for a two day gathering, lol last year's puzzle didn't get too far and after putting it away for a long time I finally got it out and have been working on it, but it still isn't done!  And speaking of puzzles, my favorite sister bought me a cool puzzle for Christmas so I have one to work on when I do get last year's puzzle done!

We were all very spoiled this Christmas--I think everyone was happy with all their goodies, I know I was.  I got lots of quilty goodness, I can hardly wait for time in my quilting studio to play with it all!  My mom even ventured to the fabric store and bought me a pile of red and cream fat quarters...they are gorgeous!  Kathy bought me the block tool that Bonnie Hunter raved about on QuiltCam one day...it looks really cool!  She also got me an autographed copy of "Ring Around the Hexies" by Bonnie and Mickey Depre!  This is my next new project.  I love hand piecing hexies and love Bonnie's blocks, so I need to pick fabrics and get going on at least the hand sewing part!
I also got all kinds of fun stuff for our Packer guest room!  My daughter gifted us several gnomes (to go with the one she got me two years ago) and Coleman's girlfriend Lexie got me several things too (picture frame, light switch cover and a clock) and then Kathy got me the coolest little Rodgers Lego (and I got her a PACKERS in special lettering made from animals) and my mom and dad got me the coolest metal art Packer helmet from Cabo and a large Packer pillow as well as a bottle light with Christmas lights in it for a cool nightlight or mood lighting.  Kathy got a set of two glasses too.  Our Packer room is looking fantastic!  I am now saving up for a futon so we have a guest bed and the room will be set!

I gave my favoite sister Tina the Tobacco Road quilt.  She had admired it several times on facebook and it didn't have a home so it found its way to her.  She couldn't stop gushing about it and took it to her boyfriend's house to show off and everything.  She also got the gnome pillow I made and a Halloween Rock Candy tabletopper (as did my cousin Tara, mom and Tiffany) so she was happy with her haul from me! 
We also played games this Christmas.  Everyone except Coleman got in on Quelf and they really liked it.  We did a lot of laughing since the game is so silly.  We gifted mom Scrabble since she can't find hers (likely in storage) though we didn't get a chance to play it and Kathy got Farkel.  We played that on Christmas day and once we caught on to the rules (and stopped trying to make it work like Yahtzee) we had a good time with it!  It was a really nice couple of days and we are so thankful for all that we have.  Next year we hope to have Hannah, Nathan and Mac come visit for Christmas and we will be even more blessed!  

 Kathy is still working on the hst clue...she is hoping to get them done today so she can get started on the four patches for Celtic Solstice.  The next clue comes out Friday..the weeks just fly by!  I have been trying to visit all the blogs on the linky Bonnie has going and leave comments.  I am so amazed by all the different guesses people have though I chuckle because Bonnie usually has two blocks and the guesses are just one giant block that I have seen so far!


Secret Agent Mystery and Indigo Way Mystery Coming Along!

Here is the last clue for the Secret Agent Mystery Quiltalong  We had to cut things apart and do a bit of sewing before putting our top toge...