Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Time Out!

I think it is Murphy's Law that says if something can go wrong, it will.  That is what happened with my Scrap Jar Stars quilt this week!

This is the photo I posted last week with all of the blocks, sashing, and cornerstones laid out.

I can see now that the problem was already there, but I didn't realize it until I had gotten this far - 3 rows completely sewn together, and the fourth and fifth ones ready to be sewn on, as well.  Can you tell what it is?

The top right and bottom right blocks are oriented wrong.  Every other block has the 16 patch in the middle oriented so that a colorful 2 inch square is in the top left corner, not a white square, except for those two blocks.  ;(  This has happened every time I laid out the completed blocks for a photo all through the year - you'd think I would have been paying attention before I started sewing. *Sigh.*

Now, I am not a perfectionist with my quilting; usually I'm in the "Done is better than perfect" camp.  But this just really bothered me!  So...

I put this quilt in Time Out for about 24 hours!  Lol!  It was time to work on something that required very little thinking - some string blocks perhaps, or something with my basket of bonus triangles.

But, after a little break, out came the seam ripper! (for the umpteenth time this month, it seems.)  And here is where I am right now - ready to sew the block and sashing strip back in as soon as I fill a new bobbin.  I guess my Scrap Jar Stars and I will have a New Year's Eve party together down in my sewing room!

Then I can start 2017 with all the stars aligned!  ☺

Linking up with the first Oh Scrap! of 2017 over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Wishing you smooth sewing as the year begins!

Friday, December 30, 2016

RSC 2016 - Wrapping Up

2016 was my first year to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and it has been a great experience for so many reasons!  I have enjoyed having a goal to meet every week, and trying lots of different blocks and techniques.  It has been so much fun to link up every Saturday and see what other quilters who are participating have been working on.  And the best part of all - getting to be friends with other quilters who enjoy working from their scrap bins in a rainbow of colors - and being so inspired every week!

So, what did I accomplish this year with my RSC projects?

I have one completed flimsy of 16 patch blocks - this one is ready to layer, baste, and quilt, as soon as I find the right backing for it!

My Scrap Jar Stars quilt is just about to the completed flimsy stage - this week I worked on stitching up the blocks into rows and adding the borders around the outside.  More on that in tomorrow's post!

I ended up joining in on the Monkey Wrench block-making experience, and there are 29 of those little guys hanging on my design wall right now.  Hopefully they will stay put and not cause any trouble while they are waiting for more friends to join them!

And I have a big pile of Double 4-patch blocks that I haven't decided how to proceed with.  Maybe they will make some donation baby quilts, as soon as I figure out how best to put them together!

Looking ahead to 2017 - what plans do I have?

I will definitely plan to quilt up my two flimsies into finished quilts, and continue to make Monkey blocks until I have enough of those to do something with!

I'm also planning to make more Maple Leaf blocks in our colors of the month this year - these are fun and fast to make and I think would be beautiful in a variety of sizes and colors.

And, with inspiration from this photo (I think it came from Facebook) - 

I'm planning to make lots of string blocks, and hope to turn them into a String Star quilt.  Each block will have a white piece through the middle, and then there will be a variety of blocks made - low volume fabrics, half low volume and half in a color, and all in a color, like this - below - 

And we'll see what happens!

Thanks again to all of you for the inspiration and entertainment I find in your blogs every week!  Happy New Year!  May 2017 be a wonderful year for you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I Like Thursday #11 - the Comics Edition

Something LeeAnna said in her post the other day made me think about how much I enjoy reading the comics in the newspaper every morning.  I can't remember when I started, but I'm sure it was during the time when I first started teaching 5th grade.  There's just something about starting your day off with a little chuckle that makes everything seem possible!

Here are three comics that I never miss -

Baby Blues -

Having had little kids in my house once upon a time, I get a lot of chuckles reading about the adventures of this young family!

Zits - 

For people who have raised teenage boys!

Pickles - 

This is my stage of life now!

If you ever make it to Santa Rosa, California, I recommend the Charles Schulz Museum.  Charles Schulz was the creator of the Peanuts comic strip and he was a very interesting person.  We visited his museum when we were in California this past fall.  

If you'd like to find out more, check out this link -

And on a not so comic note, I signed up for the daily emails from The Writer's Almanac after LeeAnna's recommendation last week, and I really like it!  Another thing I find I am enjoying starting my day with is a poem, and some info on this day in history.  Tuesday's poem was especially beautiful - 

Winter: Tonight: Sunset 

Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first

through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop

and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.

I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening

a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.

I do say a prayer of gratitude for being here today, and wish you a wonderful Thursday and a great rest of the week!  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Top 5 of 2016

Cheryl, at Meadow Mist Designs, is hosting a link-up this week where we are invited to share our top 5 blog posts of the year.  I had fun writing up this type of post a year ago, so thought I'd join in again this year!  If you want to read more about other bloggers' best of 2016, check out the link up over at Cheryl's blog starting tomorrow, December 26th..

I was amazed to see that this will be my 120th post this year!  Wow!

1.  I ended 2015 blogging about this quilt, and began 2016 with it as well.  It is my Scrap Vortex quilt, which I finished at the very beginning of January, after working on it throughout 2015.  You can read more about it here.

This post got lots of views and lots of comments!  I really love this quilt and had a great time making it - it definitely stretched my scrappy quilt-making skills!

2.  I participated in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the first time this year, and it has been lots of fun, both creating my own chosen blocks for projects throughout the year, and also getting to know the other quilters who participate.  Being part of the RSC this year has lead me to blog more and to try all kinds of different blocks and designs - big and small.  Two of my RSC projects are on their way to being finished, a 16 patch quilt and Scrap Jar Stars.  

Read about the 16 Patch flimsy here

and my Scrap Jar Stars here

3.  My post titled Unexpected, back in April, told about my experience with falling and breaking my wrist.  No fun at all!  But I sure appreciated my bloggy friends who offered lots of encouragement for me to continue sewing through the healing process.

4.  In spite of my broken wrist, I was able to finish this wall-hanging, that I called "Circle of Friendship,"  for a special friend for her 60th birthday in May.  I loved working on this piece, and am proud that my HST skills have really improved this year!

5.  And finally, I tried some improv quilting this year!  I participated in the Crosscut quilt-along on Instagram with Debbie from A Quilter's Table, and made this piece, called Cream and Crimson.  You can read more about my process here.

It's been a fun and busy year in my sewing room and on my blog.  I'm so happy to have tried new things and made new quilting friends throughout the year.  Here's to a great 2017, friends!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

It will be a quiet Christmas Day at my house.  For a variety of reasons, we have celebrated Christmas early with some friends and family, and it will be a late Christmas with others.  So here at my house there will probably be some slow stitching and book reading and soup eating and football watching.  I'll be doing most all of that under my latest Christmas quilt - my Charming Plus Quilt that I finished earlier this week.

I quilted this in a very simple way - diagonal straight lines from edge to edge, so that every plus block has two lines of stitching going through it.

Binding is made from my leftover pieces of Kate Spain's Jingle.  I really love this text print and have used it a lot since I bought some yardage of it last year.

The boys are enjoying their Christmas quilts this year!

Wishing you a lovely Christmas Day filled with everyone and everything you love!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Star Light, Star Bright

I had some time this week to get back to my Scrap Jar Stars quilt blocks, made for the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and began adding the sashing strips and cornerstones.

Here they are, all laid out in the right order!  I will probably end up adding some sort of outer border, but haven't decided what it should look like yet.

I got everything set up to chain piece these together - 

And made some progress!

Since tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I don't know if the regular RSC link-up over at So Scrappy will happen, but if it does, I will plan to be there!

Wishing all of my scrap quilting friends a wonderful Christmas, spent the way you most love to spend it!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I Like Thursday #10 - Happy Christmas!

Last week, after I read PaulaB's post about her Christmas Nativity scene, I decided I needed to share mine! My dad made this for me the first year that my husband and I were married - in 1976!   It could be considered an antique by now.

This Nativity scene is special to me not only because my dad made it, but also because it very different and unique from any I've seen before or since.  It begins (and gets put away) as a puzzle!

If you look carefully at this photo, you'll be able to see all the important characters from the Nativity, but I'll also point them out to you as I set it up.

Here is the barn - it forms the base of the puzzle.

Next come Mary and Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the manger.  You can tell Mary and Joseph from the other people because they are kneeling by the manger.

There is a shepherd watching his flock by night.

And, of course, the Three Wise Men and their camel.  Can you see their crowns?

And finally, a few more sheep have wandered in to see what is going on!

It's not Christmas at my house until I set up my Nativity.  At the end of the holidays, it does take a minute or two to remember how to put the puzzle back together!  As long as I remember to put the camel and the cow in first, and to point their heads to opposite sides, then I can do it!  :)

Happy Thursday!  As always, I hope you are having a wonderful week!  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Charming Plus Flimsy

Back in October, I started this little quilt because I've been wanting to make a plus quilt, and Tisha at Quilty Therapy was having a quilt along.  After a few stops and starts, I've actually finished the flimsy, and just in time for Christmas!

The Christmas fabric is a charm pack of North Woods by Kate Spain, and the pluses are various low volume scraps from my stash. 

It was fun to combine dark and light holiday prints with my dark and light scraps in mostly gray tones.  I love the pops of dark green and red in this fabric, but I like the effect the lighter colors give it as well.  

In keeping with the scrappiness of the flimsy, I dug through my drawer of Christmas fabric for a pieced backing.

I ended up deciding to use some penguins and peppermints!

This will be a small quilt - about 36 x 42.  I think it will be fun to throw over the back of my red chair in the living room at Christmas time!

My goal this week is to get it quilted and be stitching down the binding next Saturday on Christmas Eve.  I'm looking forward to that!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Scrappy Christmas

A couple of Christmas Monkeys showed up at my house this week.  And they insisted on having their own Christmas tree.

The little Christmas tree block is from Kevin the Quilter, a blogger I just discovered this week, through The Joyful Quilter's blog post last Saturday.  When I saw the adorable Christmas trees that he shared a tutorial for, I knew I needed to make at least one!

Of course, when I finished it up, this little snowman decided it belonged to him.

Hopefully, the monkeys won't put up too much of a fuss!  

Sharing at ScrapHappy Saturday, and looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been doing this week!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Like Thursday #9 - the Hot and Cold Edition

Last week, we took a short trip to Arizona to visit my mom.  It was beautiful down there - mid 60s during the day - a nice change from Colorado in December!

Our predicted temperature for Saturday is 4 degrees...with lows below zero.  I don't even want to think about wind chill.

                                                     Cold Clip Art

So, last week, we enjoyed lots of walks in the Arizona warmth.  Since the neighborhoods around my mom's house were all decorated for Christmas, we had to go out each night and take a look at the lights.  People decorate a little differently for Christmas in Arizona.

Since the Little Penguin Family loves birds, we are always on the lookout for them, and there are lots of birdwatching opportunities in Arizona.

My husband took this photo right out my mom's dining room window, at her hummingbird feeder.

We found lots of water birds at the Riparian Reserve in Gilbert, AZ.  At one pond, there were all kinds of these birds (I think this one is a Stilt) in the water, hunting for food, and their reflections made a fun picture!

When we returned from our trip, I was signed up to do this -

Yes, I am a bell-ringer!  I started volunteering to ring the bell for the Salvation Army last year after I retired. Several other retired teachers that I know were doing it, and I thought, "Why not?!"  I like the Salvation Army because all of the money they receive stays in the community where it was donated.  Plus, you see lots of interesting things as you stand out in front of the grocery store.  This time, some handicapped kids from our local school district stopped by with cookies and hot cocoa for us.  What a sweet surprise!

Did I look a little cold in that photo?  I was!  So, I had to come home and have my favorite lunch -

And I must have it in my favorite Campbell's Soup mug, too!

I am so lucky to have such generous quilty friends!  In the mail last week, there was a package from Cynthia from Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  I had commented on how much I liked this quilt that she had made, and she sent me some scraps from it!

Coffee, combined with fabric, and words!  Lots of favorite things all rolled into one!  Thanks, again, Cynthia!

And, finally, I thought I'd share the book I'm reading right now.

I've enjoyed Sandra Dallas' books for a long time, and this one is turning out to be a good one.  It's about the life of a midwife in a small mining town in Colorado in the 1800s.  Sandra's characters are always quilters, so woven in among the rest of the story are bits about quilts and quilting that always fascinate me. Sandra tackles some tough topics (this midwife is accused of murder), but her writing always keeps me reading!

As always, I hope you are having a great week!  Check more "I like" posts over at Not Afraid of Color.