Sunday, January 12, 2020

Linoleum Plus

Here is my first finish of 2020.  I am calling it Linoleum.

First Finish!!!

Try saying "a roll of linoleum" fast if you can :-D
How did it go?

Once upon time, a long time ago I wrote this tutorial.  Some of the resulting blocks became a part of Have a Minty Day quilt.  And yet others waited patiently to become something.

When I saw the Cross Plus Block, I had an idea. What if the colors are reversed?
Then my leftover tutorial blocks can be made into this!!!

All I had to do was find coordinating print fabrics.  Mystic Dawn from Lily and Loom was just perfect.

Block 1

Block 2

Finished Flimsy
Seams Pressed Open

Quilting in Process
Once again I added a skinny white border to protect my points from being eaten up by the invading binding.  A bright orange flannel backing with little rockets makes the perfect contrasting backing.
A striped black and white binding looks sharp with both the front and the back.

Can you see the skinny border?

Cool and Warm

Linoleum finished at 41" square and I am very happy with it.  I hope it will make some baby squeal with joy.

Linoleum Front

Linoleum Back

I will squeal with joy when I read your sweet comments :-)

I was about seven or eight years old when mom took me to an eye-doctor.  I don't remember why we were there. My eyes were fine and she didn't seem to need glasses either.  May be because she wanted to consult with the doctor about her father's appointment or surgery.
As we waited patiently in the waiting room, I saw a person emerge from the doctor's office with a green colored eye-patch over one of his eyes.

Why is his patch green, I had asked.
Because green is the most soothing color, mom answered.
Why is that, the non-stop questioning machine rattled.
Mom replied, because earth is covered with green. It is the most prevalent color in nature and is therefore most soothing to the eyes.

Although I do not know why this seemingly insignificant memory has stayed with me, it is abundantly clear why this memory comes flooding back today when earth is on fire.
Whether the world burns figuratively with war and strife or literally with bushfires, we cannot have enough green to counter that.

It may be just a coincidence that Angela chose Bright Green as the color for January in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2020, but the universe works in miraculous ways.

I started with this block.
Initial Block

Me: What do you think?
Paul: That is a big block.
Me: Yes, it will finish at 17"
Paul (attempted singing): I like Big Blocks and I cannot lie.
Me: Really? Do you like it?
Paul: It looks like a blob.  So solid in the center!
Me: I had the same feeling. I could snowball the inside corners.
Paul: Huh???

I showed him with folded squares. He approved.

Me: Snowballing is a pain.
But wait. I have a special tape, which can make the whole thing a breeze.
(By now I am talking to myself and Paul is no loner part of the conversation)

Diagonal Seam Tape - Gift from Mari

Thank you Mari.
Because of you my RSC blocks will be light and airy as a souffle and not dense like a fruit cake :-)

Here is my Refined Block, with internal snowball corners.


I made two more.

RSC Green Block 2

RSC Green Block 3

Although I only need 12 blocks to make a lap size quilt, 30 will make it queen size. 
Where do you think I am headed?


I was engrossed in making and refining RSC blocks.  Meanwhile, my flannel scraps were up to a whole lot of mischief behind my back. 
I do not remember how many baby blankets I have made. You know the self-binding, flannel ones that Jenny (Missouri Star Quilt Company) taught.
Those blankets need two flannel squares - one 40" and one 30", resulting in some scrappy strips that are too small to use and too large to discard.

I had collected those flannel leftover strips in a fabric bag and while I was distracted they conspired to become a flimsy. It was a Christmas miracle.


Flannel Strips

Soft and Cute

I used the same backing as Linoleum (Blast Off from Connecting Threads) fabric, combined with leftover strips from Paulitiks' flannel backing (that were suffocating in another bag somewhere).
An orange binding made perfect sense.

Orange Binding




I am calling this one Meanwhile.  Meanwhile finished at 43" by 45" and it is so snuggly.
If you have been saving your flannel strips, take a look. They may have miraculously turned into a soft and soothing bundle of love.

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties as well as with Angela's So Scrappy Linky Party.
As usual, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Best of 2019

It is January 1, 2020.  As I look back on 2019, I notice that there was a lot of pain and grief as reflected in the quilts from the Sacred Threads Exhibition.

For the Stillborn Bereavement Group
I made quilts for those who did not make it (Stillborn Bereavement Group) and for those who are trying their very best to survive (Soccoro Foundation Quilts) in hopes for a better life.

Soccoro Foundation Quilts

But in so many ways 2019 was a year of Badass Women. Whether it was the legendary spacewalk by the duo of Christina Koch and Jessica Meir or the more down to earth women like Fiona Hill and Marie Yovanovitch who spoke truth to power. And if Greta Thunberg and Emma Gonzales are a glimpse of women to come, I am very hopeful of our future!!!

Therefore if I had to pick one, just one quilt to signify 2019, it would be Celebrating Women.


Celebrating Women

When I made that quilt, little did I know that I would be celebrating (and making quilts for) four other women - all in 2019. Like the universe was giving me a road map for the year to come.

Enchanted Lake

Smiles Delivered

I made Enchanted Lake for Olive in UK whom I have yet to meet and A Quilt for Eva whom I have met only a handful of times.

A Quilt for Eva

I made Kinda Brave for Ashni who started college this year and Rainy Day for Kay who wants to get better to see her sons go to college.

Kinda Brave

Messages and Love Notes

Rainy Day for Kay

Scrappy Pouch for me

And yet my fondest memories of 2019 are of two other women that did not involve any quilts.

Clockwise from top left - Tired in Cologne, Happy in Hamburg, Windy in Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace and Radiant on the banks of Danube

My Europe trip with Nina and the time we spent with Melanie in Hamburg was definitely the highlight of my year.

with Mell in Hamburg

I learned to make a Dresden Quilt resulting in Raspberry Swirl.
Raspberry Swirl

My greatest achievement was tackling tiny paper-piecing with Alison Glass' Trinkets QAL resulting in Comeuppance.

But this blogpost about Perfection (or the lack thereof) is my favorite blogpost of 2019.

I am overcome with gratitude for all my sisters (quilty or not) who encouraged me, supported me, guided me and loved me unconditionally.

Paul: Unconditional Love?
Me: Ummm Hmmm
Paul: On the internet?
Me: Yes
Paul: A heart emoji is not unconditional love.
Me: Neither is kissy lips but you send that to me everyday.
Paul: But that is from me. You are talking about random people.
Me: First, they are not random people. They are my readers and followers. Second, they have visited a single blogpost over 7000 times and written over 60 comments.
Paul (genuinely surprised): That is phenomenal, babe!
Me: Told ya. Love!!!

A big shout-out to all of you who made the International Sister Quilt Block and blocks, wall-hangings, runners and quilts. Thank you to Debbie, Mien, Judith, and Juanita for sending pictures of your projects with the International Sister Quilt Block.

From Juanita

from Judith

These are the links to the quilter/bloggers who have completed quilts based on the block.

Sue of KiwiKid
Karen of KaHolly
Diann of Little Penguin Quilts
Raewyn of Stitching Farm Girl
Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts
Cathy of Crazy By Design

Did I miss anyone? Please let me know.

Paul: Don't you have any goals for 2020?
Me: They are secret.
Paul: Secret? Why?
Me: Because when I share them they are likely to get sabotaged?
Paul (incredulous): Who would do that?
Me: Dunno. Life. Chores.
Paul: Do you have anything planned for 2020?
Me: Yes, I have already selected fabric for the quilt I am making for Chad's girls.
Paul: Oh yes, I see that.

Fabric pull for Chad's Girls' Quilt

Me: Now if you expect me to clean bathrooms or go grocery shopping, it will get delayed.
Paul (eyes rolling): So you want me to go grocery shopping?
Me: Unless you want to clean bathrooms.
Paul: Do we have to clean bathrooms?
Me: Only once a month, before our guests arrive.
Paul (incredulous again): And we are having guests every month?
Me: Yes, that is my new year resolution - once a month we have people over...
Paul (agitated): Why? 
Me (very calm): Because that way the bathrooms will get cleaned.
Paul: So when do our first guests arrive?
Me: On the 19th.
Paul: So we have time.
Me: Yes. Now only if you will give me the time to complete this blogpost...
Paul: BRAT

I deserved that.

I have a day job as a planner (that is my job title). That is exactly why I'd like to keep my quilty pursuits unplanned and spontaneous which allows me to chase squirrels and make whatever I want, whenever I feel like it.

Work in Progress

If I do not have a list of goals, there is no pressure of completing them and no guilt when I don't.
How is that for a 2020 goal - No pressure, no guilt!!!

Marked for Quilting

Trust me there is plenty going on in the studio.  Several (OK, two) finishes are coming up in January itself.

Star or Snowflake?

Angela just announced the RSC 2020 color for January. It is green!!! And here is my audition block.

Audition Block for RSC 2020

I made it BEFORE she announced it. Happy Dance follows. If this is any indication, I believe that 2020 will treat me just fine.

I want to end this blogpost with hope and healing.
I know that 2019 was marked with hate, anger and discord and therefore many of us are skeptical about hope and healing. Here is a story of sisterhood from NPR - a story of love and empathy from the most unexpected quarters.

StoryCorps: A Hateful Attack Led To A Forever Friendship 

Some happy moments from 2019

Wishing you a Happy New Year 2020!!!  I will be linking with MeadowMist Designs Best of 2019 and all my other favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

If you have any thoughts about cleaning bathrooms or inspirational women, please do share!!!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Rainy Day

Once upon a time...when I was still new to this country, I went shopping in WalMart.
I came across a pair of orange flip-flops with nylon mesh fibers. When I slipped my foot into them the fibers were pressed and I felt like I stepped on a cushion. It was cloud heaven for my feet at a bargain price of $3.99.  Naturally I bought a second pair and took it to my mom on my next visit to India.

Oh yes, I have a finish!

Several months later when I asked her if she liked her new flip-flops, she replied that they were too nice and she was saving them.

Oh no!!!


There is this constant struggle between "saving for a rainy day" and "living in the moment"

Earlier this year I received a phone call from a college friend. Let's call her Kay (a short form of her name). Her rainy day was here.

She had been diagnosed with lymphoma.
What can I do for you, I asked.
Pray for me, said she.
I will. But tell me your favorite color, I asked
I like all bright colors, she replied.

As soon as I hung up, the thought process began.

What do I want most  on a cloudy, dreary and rainy day?
Fried foods, of course.
But what do I long to see?
A splash of colors - as bright as can be.

I chose to make a tulips quilt for Kay.  Time to sketch.

Rough Sketch

I pulled out the newest, brightest and boldest fabric to make the most colorful quilt for her.
This was the time to open my "saving for a special project" fabrics.  Now.

Recently acquired Boundless Fabrics

I opened up the FQ bundles of Boundless Awaken and Boundless Spark fabrics.

For the Leaves

For the flowers

As I began measuring and cutting fabric, my mind wandered to the past.

We had met in college.  Kay joined the masters program in Geology/Geo-technology while I was pursuing an undergraduate degree in Architecture.

First Block
HSTs to leaves

I was immediately struck by her warmth and simplicity.  We became friends but did not spend a lot of time together because we were in separate programs.
Everyone loved Kay. She was elected to the student body council.

Design Wall
Tulips grow

Do you notice that there is one stem (in the picture below) that is unlike others?
No, it is not random.
It has a very specific purpose. To find out, keep reading.

All the Blocks
As the tulips were made, there were little triangle discards from the snowballed corners (stitch & flip).  I collected them on a separate design wall.

Too pretty to discard

This can become something

Banishing the distraction of little triangles, I turned my attention to the main quilt that needed sashings.

Sashings added

Kay and I graduated and drifted apart.
We fought our battles, lost some, conquered a few and settled in the US - one on each coast.
Facebook helped us reconnect.

In 2016 when I visited Elle, I met Kay. Elle and I went to her husband's restaurant in Walnut Creek - Babalou's Mediterranean - and had the best falafel ever. That garlic sauce changed my life.

In 2016 at Babalou's Mediterranean
The happy couple!!!

The original layout had  included a border. I had envisioned the bright fabrics leftover from tulips to form a pieced border. However, that idea did not work.

The border clashes with the tulips

I auditioned a few other fabrics for border.

May be this could work

I don't think so

And chose this - a splash of color, LITERALLY.

With the border decided, I began to think of the backing. It should be something meaningful. When I saw this fabric, I knew this was the one.

Backing for a Mom's (and a Dad's) Heart

This fabric would remind Kay of her two boys (now 13 and 15) who had seemingly grown-up overnight, but would remain her little darlings.

Apple Green Binding

An apple green binding is just the perfect match for both sides.

Rainy Day Quilt finished at 63" by 70".  Here are a few pictures of the finished quilt.
I have a new model and she is a delight.

Thank you Amanda

Modeling could be her second career!


Rainy Day Quilt

A Field of Tulips
Apple Green Binding

Do you see the moon over my shoulder? Like the universe is sending blessings for Kay.
Sun-kissed and Moon-blessed

Oh joy!!!

Color is Happiness

Brightness Galore

Tightly Hugged

Pop & Sparkle


Label & Love Letter

Close up

I wanted to include a secret love note to Kay, hidden in the quilt.
Hidden in plain sight. And this is where that different stem plays a role.

Do you see it?
This brown fabric strip was left over from the Meet Cute quilt and it was just perfect.  Four brown circles for four characters P <3 K :-)

Now, do you see it?
It is the shortest love-letter.

There it is :-)

Will she notice? Should I tell her?
No, let her find it. It should be a surprise.

I told her to look for it. Did she find it?
Well, this is her response.

I LOVE love love the fact that Kay's boys became part of the process of finding the love note hidden in plain sight.

Maybe some of you think I am kind and generous.  But let me tell you a little secret.
I saved something for me.


All those little triangles left over from the stitch and flip tulips were converted into this little zippered pouch - which I am keeping for myself.  See I am not so selfless.

Keeping this beauty!

Selfishly for me :-)

Holiday season is a time for sharing and caring.  Make sure it includes self-care too.
I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. They bring joy and cheer to me, just as this quilt does to Kay.